Monday, June 30, 2014

Fitness Update

I was going to update daily, or at least every other day on how the fitness challenge was going. I've altered my original plan quite a bit, but I am still doing the things I feel most important.

I started a myfitnesspal account and for the first two weeks I religiously tracked every exercise and calorie I ate. Of those two weeks, I had two days where  went over my calories, and it was by less than a hundred. My calorie goal was about 1200 calories a day. 

Sitting here at my desk one night, I started thinking how calories were not created equal. Some of those days I still ate some less than healthy food (Sonic has amazing shakes :S) and some days I ate healthy food and was full, but was 2-3 hundred calories under and I didn't really want my body to think it was starving and now store the fat. So I stopped obsessing over the numbers. I ate what I wanted (still cutting back a ton on "bad" foods) and just started using more portion control. Yes that plate of food was good and I loved eating it, but I was no longer hungry and didn't NEED a second plate. You know what I mean?

I'm still soda-less. Which is a big thing for me. I'm not eating a ton of chips and junk food, I've only eaten fast food when we've been traveling an on two occasions when for some reason or another dinner was either ruined or not ready. I try not to eat to close to bed time. I know those calories will just sit their because I am not active at night. Weather permitting,  my husband, son and I walk to the grocery store to shop rather than drive the truck. It helps on gas, and also it's a guaranteed mile and half of exercise.

I am on day 26 today, only 4 more days of my originally planned 30 days. I have decided to try another 30 days, and see how I feel about things then. For now, I'm actually enjoying eating healthier. I'm finding new recipes to make for my family, doing a lot of crock pot meals that can be used as left overs and I'm not tempted to say "I don't want to cook, let's get pizza". Now I just throw it from a freezer bag into a pot and re-heat.

Let's talk stats.

Starting Weight: 180lbs
Starting Waist: 34"
Starting Hips: 42.5"
Current Weight: 175lbs
Current Wasit: 33"
Current Hips: 40.5"
That makes for a total loss of 5 lbs and 4 inches. 
I wish it were more, I won't lie, but at the same time, I'm super proud that I lost that. I was 174 when I became pregnant with my son, and 177 when  I got pregnant with the twins. One more pound and I'll be where I was 3.5 years and 3 babies ago.

REVIEW- Adovia Facial Lift and Firm Serum

Adovia: Facial Lift and Firm Serum
(w/ Dead Sea Minerals and Vitamin C)


Personal Disclaimer: I was given this product free via Adovia and Tomoson.  I will be paid a small fee to do the review but they want honest reviews and that's what I'm planning on giving them. You saw my blog a few days ago regarding the same company, but a different product, hair conditioner. I was really impressed with that product, but this one... not so much.

The product sells for $49.00 on Amazon, if you want to check it out, you can find it here. I believe when I purchased it (with a coupon code) the list price was actually $56.00. My initial thought was HOLY CRAP no way in hell would I see that product without ever trying it and purchase a fifty six dollar bottle. Luckily, mine was free so I don't feel I wasted good money. 

Let's start with the Pros: 
1.) Nice Packaging, nice look. Don't mind it sitting on my bathroom counter.
2.) Feels amazing when you apply it to your face. 

And the Cons: 
1.) Either by design flaw, or just my personal bottle it didn't pump. I had to take the nozzle out of the bottle to use it.
2.) After two days of using it as directed my face broke along the areas I had applied it to. As I rarely ever have acne on my face and didn't change anything else about my routine, I'm going to say that this was what caused it. 
3.) Due to the break out, I had to quit using it and never saw any results. Bummer.

I do have to say that I HAVE seen good reviews on this product, I just didn't experience the benefits personally. If I based it on only my own experience, I'd say don't waste your money. For my vlog on this product and the two other Adovia products, you can click below and watch!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Contract Arrived

A quick update before I float off into the oblivion of very little internet access for the next few days.

I received the contract in the mail today, complete with the parents' signatures. As we're heading to a family reunion, we're just going to run into the city on the way and sign the papers at my Lawyer and then drop it off at their lawyer. One of my surro friends had her contract validated within a few days so I'm hopeful for a speedy process. As soon as everything is validated I can get a transfer date and a box-o-meds. Every girl's dream.

Saturday we're heading to a park in the city that has roller coasters and what not, I figure I'll get my thrills in now before it's too late!

More soon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

*Adovia Dead Sea Salt Deep Hair Conditioner* Review

*Adovia-- Dead Sea Salt Deep Hair Conditioner*
Rating: ★★★★
I was so excited to try a few of Adovia's products. One of them was their Dead Sea Salt Deep Hair Conditioner. I have to start by saying I have notoriously bad luck with conditioners. They either leave my hair greasy/oily or my hair is tangled and dry feeling after use. I have tried salon brands, drugstore brands, and of course the ones sold at mass retailers like Walmart or Kroger. Anywho-- needless to say, I was a bit worried when I was given the chance to try it out, and I went in fully expecting to be unimpressed.

My First Thoughts:
I went to amazon to order the product with my freebie code I received in order to review it. If you're curious, you can look at/buy the product here. I saw the actual price, $19.00 and thought-- holy crap. that's like 3 bottles of the conditioner I was currently using. I rarely spend almost 20 dollars on any thing like that-- conditioner, shampoo... even make up. I figured it better be dang good to be worth that.

My Experience:
I was shocked to find out on my first time using it, that it was so much better than the other products I've tried. My hair was soft, without being greasy, it looked better, styled better and felt so much lighter. I should say, I don't have overly thick hair, to my hair isn't SUPER heavy to begin with, but there was definitely a noticeable difference. I've been using since, and I loveeee it. I hear the company has a shampoo as well and I'm thinking about ordering that as well to go with it. The price is still a little hard for me to wrap my head around, but I've seen similarly priced conditioners in Walmart, so it's not an unreasonable price.

My Personal Disclaimer:
Although I was given this product for free and paid a small amount of money for the effort. I was not paid to give a "good" review. If I hated it this product or thought it didn't work or wasn't worth the money, I would NOT tell you that it was (as you'll see in an upcoming blog). So I hope you take my thoughts to heart if you consider buying this product :)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Premium Natural Turmeric Curcumin-- Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
Premium Natural Turmeric Curcumin
I received my product a few weeks ago, but wanted to give it adequate time to make sure there were no odd side-effects or anything that might pop up after consistent use. I cannot say that I am changed from having taken it as I can't prove there is any benefit at the moment. The benefits of the product definitely peeked my curiosity.

On the bottle, is says:
"Curcumin C3 Complex, is an extract of Tumeric with a unique blend of curcuminoids, and when combines with Biopertine to increase bioavailability, has been shown to help support liver, heart, cardiovascular and immune system function, while having anti-inflamitory and antioxidant effects, as well as aiding joint function."
That was interesting, but before I dedicated myself to trying this product out, I wanted to see if Turmeric has been studied at all to prove that it could help these things.  A quick google search of "Turmeric" answered my questions, with even more advantageous claims then the company, NutraViva made.

Cost wise, I was initially a little off set. The bottle of 120 capsules sells on Amazon for $29.99. On furthur look, however, the price is very comparable to their competitors. My intial concern was that this was for a one month supply, but after reading the directions and recommended dosage, this is actually for a 2-3 month supply. The price is much more reasonable when you consider that it's only 10 to 15 dollars a month. Not much if it does as it claims.  You can purchase it here.

Like I said, I can't say that I have increased heart or liver function, but I can say that I feel it's worth the money to try the product. It's 100% natural and contains no additives, which also caught my attention. It's made in the USA, has non GMO ingredients, and is cGMP compliant. The capsule is vegetarian and it does not include stearates, Silicone Dioxide, Fillers, Preservatives, Artificial Ingredients or Binders.

The Pills are reasonable sized to swallow and do not have a bad odor. I didn't have bad breath or belching after I've taken like other vitamins/supplements have done.

For someone that had never heard of the product or even competitor products, I'm happy, and would definitely consider purchasing more when my supply is depleted.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait

On June 4th, my lawyer and I finally went over the contract via phone. It took almost two hours, as the contract is over 40 pages long. Intense huh? He answered the very few questions I had, and then we made two changes. One to my address, and one grammar issue.  He sent it back to the IPs lawyer to have him make the changes on the actual document.

On June 10th, I received the final agreement via email. I was originally planning on signing a separate, but identical, contract. I did that with my last IPs. The lawyers however decided it would be faster for the court if we signed the same copy. With separate copies, they have to read both copies word for word and punctuation mark by punctuation mark to make sure they are identical. So the parents will be printing out and signing the contract in front of a notary, and then they will mail it to me and I'll sign the same one in front of a notary here.  Finally, I'll send it back to their lawyer and then it can go to court to be validated and have the Pre-Birth Order granted.

So now I wait. I don't like waiting. It's a flaw of mine. I'm impatient and I like things to go at the speed I want them. Luckily, the parents (or at least the IM) seem really on top of things, so I'm sure I'll be getting it in my mailbox, in the next few business days.

The court process should take roughly around two weeks. That seems to be about the average. So I'm still hopeful for a late July transfer. And a med start in the first week or so.  I'm just so excited to get things going for this couple....

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Unbiased Blogging: Co-sleeping

I don't believe anyone can be truly unbiased. Which makes the title of this seem a bit odd, yes? Here's the scoop deal reality. I don't care. Whatever floats your boat. If you want to know more information though, I'm dedicating this post to you. If you're searching for what's right for you... read on. I choose my choices and as long as you aren't hanging your child out a window or beating them senseless.. I think your choice is fine as well. Don't take my word for it... or your mom's... or the woman down the street who has eleven children and never has a hair out of place.  Make your own choices. Make your own mistakes. Find what works best for you. At the end, I'll post a separate part with my choices, and my reasons.  So, let's get started.

The one thing I stress as always, is research.
  • Check the sources. 
  • Read actual information.
  •  Read both sides.
The Pros:
  1. Can help encourage breastfeeding, by making nighttime feeds more convenient at night.
         *So, the theory behind this is pretty much exactly as it says. Co-sleeping can help make breastfeeding more tolerable during night time feeds. You aren't required to get up, you can literally roll over and pull out a boob and tada, baby has food and you can carry on sleeping. 
  2. Helps mom get her sleep cycle in-sync with baby.
         * You sense the baby stirring, you stir. You hear a cry from right next to you. You wake up and don't chance not hearing it from the other room or over the monitor. In the end, you become pretty in-tune with each other, waking around the same time and even falling asleep similarly. 
  3. Helps baby fall asleep more quickly, which in turn leads  to more overall sleep for mom and baby. (Argument on the Con Side also)
         * Without being shifted or moved from a crib, into arms to nurse/bottle feed the baby can stay in the same location. In the situation of a bottle feeding mother, the baby can still lay there while the bottle is prepared (safely away from edges if they are rolling, of course) and is in general less "bothered" by the hassles of a night time feeding. They might not fully wake up from their sleep state making it even easier to feed them and let them full immediately back into sleep.
  4. Can increase bonding and special moments for Parents that Work Away from Home.
         *Someone has got to pay the bills, right? So for the parent(s) that work away from home, these moments may be the only ones they have some days to be close to and enjoy the child. This can help increase bonding with that parent and the child, and provide a sense of closeness.
  5. Studies show that infant can have a more stable physiology.
         * Studies show that infants who sleep near to parents can have more stable temperatures, heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies that sleep by themselves. Physiologically, these babies sleep safer.
         ** Much like when infant twins are in the NICU or Nursery, nurses will put the two babies in the same bassinet as they help sustain each others "normal" stats.
  6.  (Note: Can be found in both sides of the argument) Decrease of SIDS.
         *Studies have shown that countries where co-sleeping is the norm, rather than the exception, babies that either sleep in or next to their parents bed have a fourfold decrease in the chance of SIDS.
         **Contributing facts include that babies that co-sleep spend more time sleeping on their backs, rather than side or stomach. Also, parents breathe CO2, and it works to stimulate baby's breathing.
The Cons:
  1. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) advises against sleeping in the same bed for safety purposes.
         *Co-sleeping can increase the chance of accidental smothering. The baby might be caught up in your blankets (typically larger and heavier than one would find in a crib), or a parent might roll over onto the baby and stop the child from breathing. 
  2. Less sleep for the parents.    
         *Babies wiggle, moan, whine and are generally not quiet when they sleep. If you are easily awakened, you might spend most of your night in a state somewhere between awake and asleep. In turn, this can make the parents more irritable, less tolerant in the day time.
  3. Less sleep for baby.
         *Having the baby near you makes it that much easier for you to give in to the part of you that wants to pick up and hold the child at every noise. When other times he/she would self settle, now they may become fully awake. 
  4. No Sex
         * For a lot of people, this one is major. It's hard to Adult Tango when there is a third person in the bed with you. Especially when you are either afraid of A, moving at ALL to wake the child or B the child keeps nestling closer and trying to get in between you.
  5. Hard time adjusting later on
         *Some people argue that sharing promotes independence, but there is also note that it could cause the opposite. when you do move baby out of your room, the transition may be harder if not almost impossible. 
  6. Increases SIDS
         *In cases of prematurity or low-birth weight babies, studies who that their is an increase risk of SIDS
         **If you or your partner smoke, drink, take drugs or are too tired/incapable of responding to the baby.

I didn't name every Con and Pro. As with most debates, the Anti co-sleepers can come up with a 1000 arguments to go against it, just as easily as the Pro co-sleepers can name 1000 reasons to do it. It can be never ending. As I said before, go with what you feel is right, after you've done your research. Try something, and adjust. You adjust a lot as a parent.

Now, here's my take.
I didn't read any studies. I'd heard of co-sleeping and thought..."Uh.. HELL NO." A couple of my sisters in law co-slept with their kids, and I thought that was fine, for them. All I could imagine was rolling over and crushing my baby. If I didn't, I was sure my husband would, more than once have I got whacked by a stray arm or leg while he flopped around in his sleep. My husband felt the same. 

The first night we brought my son home, we dutifully laid him in his bassinet and as our room as small and already held the crib (we did want to room-share for the first few months) his bassinet was right inside our door, pushed as close to the side as possible so we could get around it. 

On cue, the baby woke up and as I was still trying to nurse him, I went and picked him up. I changed his diaper as he screamed and went with him to sit on the bed and nurse him. When he was done, I put him back in the bassinet.

On the second or so night of parenting I was exhausted. Which I hear is pretty normal. Who knew? I picked him, we sat on my bed, I propped him up on the boppy pillow, I leaned back against the wall.... and I woke up about an hour later.

Cody lay in my arms, boob having fallen out of his mouth at some point, asleep. And I thought... "hmm... that was a nice rest." The next feed was the same, unintentionally. I was just so tired. Finally after about a week I realized I was falling asleep during every feeding. It probably wasn't super safe, as I was sitting on the bed and could fall over/off or anything really. So, the next night I laid down... and that's how we started co-sleeping. 

Now, even after I stopped nursing (that's another story) he still slept with us. Partly because we were used to it, and partly because he was. At 5 months we transitioned him into the crib, which was a fight. He was used to having someone hold him all night. I'll be honest, it was horrible. At 7 months we transitioned him to the nursery.  Again, horrible. I'm sure we sort of did that to ourselves.

He's two and a half now. He's had his own room for a while, and even moved to a big boy bed last year. With our family uprooting twice in the last 6 months, things have been crazy and at the moment he's sleeping with us again.  

We have a queen size bed and he somehow manages to take up a good chunk of it. It's not always ideal. It's not always nice. It's also not always bad. I don't cuddle my husband as much as I used to, and sex is out of the question when he's in the bed with us, but we deal. It works for us. Cody goes to sleep, we go to sleep. We're content.  That said-- "No way in hell.... is this child sleeping with us when he's 5..." 

Switching Tunes

I have so many things going on in my life, right now. It's insane to keep up on. I've decided I'm going to slowly roll this over to a cover-all blog rather than just my surrogacy journey. I may lose some followers... I may gain some, either way. I feel this is the direction I want to move in.

I want to incorporate more information, more articles to ponder, projects to do, places to go... I'm pretty excited about it all, really.

I'm going to ease into it all, but I want to give you some basics on me and what to expect, first.

I was married in 2010, and we conceived and delivered our son in 2011. Cody is absolutely amazing, with the ability to be absolutely frustrating at the same time.  You'll be hearing about him. I'm wanting to try new parenting methods, new techniques... and I want to tell you if we love them, or if hate them.

For longer than I've had a blog, I've had a YouTube Channel, if you're interested, you can view that here. I love making videos.  I shared my engagement, my wedding, my journey of trying to conceive, my pregnancy, and then my entire surrogacy journey. I'm still going. Getting stronger and better at it over time. I'll probably shamelessly promote videos of mine on here, or at least link them to related blogs so you can get a fuller picture.

I'm starting to try and live a healthier life style. I say try, because it's a battle for me. It's battle against easy. It's easy to not cook and order pizza, it's also easy to sit here and watch episode of my favorite shows and not get out. Cody inspires me to want to get out and live healthier. I look at some of the things I and others eat, and quite frankly... I don't want him eating it too.

I love to write. I'm working on a novel right now. I am a perfectionist and I always stop right before the end, afraid to finish it, because then I'd HAVE to send it in. Right? I really do enjoy it though, I see so much in my head for these characters (and for these books) that sometimes it's overwhelming.

I'm going to school. I took a brief pause while I line everything up for this next surrogacy, and as I start to complete my generals, I realize I may have a change of major in mind. I may not. So many things seem appealing, how do you choose the RIGHT one.

I've joined a couple companies that send me products to review. I'm excited to start sharing new products. I may love some, I may hate some, but I promise to give my honest opinion. One of them is Tomoson, the other is Influenster.

I'm hoping the blog doesn't become too hard to follow as I move more things into it. I just felt it needed more. I needed more.Writing this all down makes the long time contemplation seem a little more real, and now I need to go and change a lot of things. Starting with the format... and the layout... and the headline.... the url.... the name....

Okay....feeling a little ahead of myself now...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Influenster TLCVoxBox

I joined Influenster last month, and received my first voxbox from them today.

What is a VoxBox?

It's AMAZING. I received a FREE Box of goodies to try out and review!

The TLC VoxBox was a focus on Moms

View My Goodies!

And they gave me a coupon for Breyer's Gelato!


Neosporin to Go-- Price: $4.97 to $7.50
Neosporin for the mom and kid that's on the go! With Cody almost three and us always doing things, this is going to be a welcome addition to my purse! He constantly falls ans scrapes himself!

Breyer's Gelato Indulgences-- Price: $4.49 to $5.99
I love that I can eat this for a little over a 100 calories per half cup! Something that is sure to taste yummy and also fits ino my diet!

Ivory Bar Soap-- Price: $3.99/10-pack
Pure and Clean with no added dyes and perfumes... plus... you can do fun stuff like THIS.

AVON Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother-- Price: $30.00
Blurs the lines on your forehead and around the eyes, instantly! You can even apply it on with makeup!  I haven't tried it YET, but I am so anxious to give it a go!

Puffs to Go-- Price: .49c/single pack
Puffs with Lotion! Super Gentle for my toddler's nose and face!

Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card
Having the chance to earn up to .75c OFF A GALLON makes me slightly less depressed every time I have to gas up my pickup truck now!

Overall, so excited with Influenster, and I can't wait to unbox some more VoxBoxes!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

30 Day Fitness Challenge (Days 1-2)

Day 1
How it went: 
Day one went better than I expected. I was hungry between meals, and I didn't care for that, but I still made it in under my calorie goal with a little over 200 to spare.

The Food I ate: 1032 Calories
Lunch: Yogurt, Apple and Banana
Dinner: Homemade Chili and Cornbread
Snacks: Celery with Peanut Butter! 

Exercises: 99 Cardio Calories burned + Strength Exercises
Imitation Rope Jumping
Jumping Jacks
Reverse Sit-up
Abdominal crunches
Push Ups
Day 2
How it went: 
I woke up so sore, and I think it worsened throughout the day. All the leg work I had done in my exercises I could definitely feel now. It ached to walk up and down my stairs to my bedroom. I drank 5 glasses of water, which is about 5 more than I usually do. I found that I didn't get as hungry between meals.

The Food I ate: 1240 Calories
Breakfast: Cereal in Milk
Dinner:Cafe Rio Nachos
Snacks: Wheat Bread slice with Peanut Butter

Exercises: 68 Cardio Calories burned
Starting Weight: 180lbs
Starting Waist: 34"
Starting Hips: 42.5"

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's not quite surrogacy related.... but...

I need to lose weight.

Not in the oh my gosh I don't wear a size 5 anymore way... either. In the--I need to be able to zip up my pants without lying down and sucking in kind of way.

I'm fine with never being the weight I was in high school. Frankly... I was thinner than I would want to see myself.

 (circa 2008)
I want to be healthier.
I want to be able to go down do a size 8.

That's not an unreasonable goal.
It's bigger than I was in the picture.
This was before saggy skin and stretchmarks though.
My body will never be like THAT, but it can be BETTER.

I've gotten lazy. I delivered the twins and I said-- heh--- I'll be pregnant soon anyways... Which, is true.

I can't do an intense diet and exercise regime while I'm pregnant, but I CAN start working towards a healthier me NOW.

I am not a good dieter. If you say I can't have it, I want it more.  So I'm LIMITING things, rather than cutting them. I'm LIMITING my time on the sofa, I'm LIMITING my sodas and my sweets, and I'm LIMITING those fast food runs.

I'm going to start exercsing, slowly at first. I have asthma so I have to take it in moderation. But everyday I WILL be active. I may walk around the block, or run around it.... but  I will go out.
(<circa 2 months ago)

I've made plans before and they fall through so soon after. I'm making this blog now, and a vlog later, to make sure I'm accountable to someone other than me.

Tomorrow I'll post my first set of "stats" I'm going to go for broke, I'll post my waist.. all my measurements... everything.
And what I did that day.

My goal is 30 days of fitness and healthy eating. 30 days seems doable.... one day at a time.