Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Birth Story of Baby Jude {Part 1}

This time around I had Gestational Diabetes, again.  They detected it early, at 8 weeks, and I was on a restricted diet from day one.  At first it was a bit of a nightmare and really messed with me and brought me back to my days with an eating disorder.  Here I was obsessing over everything I ate, my whole day was planned around the food that was going in my mouth and what my blood sugar monitor might say.  With that, I was considered a high risk pregnancy and with that I had more monitoring.  In the last 4 weeks I was going to the doctors office every week, twice a week, one day was an ultrasound and follow up and the next day was an NST and a follow up.  I was spending 6 hours at the doctors office every week.  It was nice to be able to monitor our little guy so closely and make sure he was healthy.  We were told from day one that I was due on June 20th but would be induced June 10th if things didn't move along on their own. 

At our last appointment (Friday, June 3rd) the doctor let me know that the baby was still too high, and that he would like to see me again June 13th (3 days after my projected induction date), and we would discuss a new induction date from there.  I was bummed leaving this appointment because I was sore, my feet were so swollen it was hurting my ankles to walk, and I was ready to meet our little guy. That afternoon we went and met baby Colby, who was originally due a couple days after Jude, who arrived 5 weeks early and was in the NICU.  Seeing his sweet face and talking with Alex really put everything in perspective.  The doctors know what they're doing, they've monitored me so closely, so far, so I needed to chill and trust what they say.  I actually posted a photo from that afternoon saying something along the lines of "I apologize in advance for all the belly shots over the next couple of weeks, I'm embracing every last moment."  Not knowing, that was my LAST belly shot and that Jude would be making his appearance, sooner rather that later.

With this birth I had so many plans and really wanted to skip as many medications as possible, especially Pitocin.  So, with that said, I wanted this baby to come on his own and skip having to be induced.  So Sunday, June 5th, I took to Facebook and asked for natural ways to induce labor, from friends.  I was told everything from take a walk, to sex, to taking supplements.  That night we took a 30 minute walk as a family, up and down our road.  Nothing strenuous, mild incline, and I drank plenty of water.  If anything, it felt nice to get out of the house with the boys and our doggies and move around. 

If/Then on tour in Charlotte this week! {Review}

Haven't we all sat and wondered about our choices in life, what if we had done this instead of that, what would have changed?  If/Then tour explores a rarely seen split narrative with the main character Elizabeth to show just that.  If I'm being honest, it took me half of the first half to realize there was a split narrative.  I was a bit confused about her getting a job in one scene and then the job going to someone else in the next.  Once I finally caught on to the split narrative I was hooked.  The main character Elizabeth asks the very question, "what if?" and from there we see her life split into Liz "the fun and free spirit" and Beth "serious career first/love second".  Each side shows it's perks and how one choice really can make all the difference.

I was a little bummed to find out Idina Menzel wouldn't be a part of the cast touring in Charlotte, but was more than pleasantly surprised with Jackie Burns performance.  Her incredible chops in every musical number and tenderness in every scene has you falling in love with Elizabeth's character.   I can't forget to add that Anthony Rapp as Lucas and Tamyra Gray as Kate were equally as stunning. 

I've never been emotionally pulled into a show like I was with If/Then.  I felt myself tearing up during, "Hey, Kid."  A number about the emotions you feel once your child is born and all these thoughts overwhelm you about who they'll grow up to be and if you're ready to be a parent.  Maybe it's because it was my first night out of the house since we had our baby boy six weeks ago, emotions were running a little high!  And then again during "I hate you", you are drawn into Liz's character and empathize with her heart breaking as her husband leaves for deployment.

The show is playing in Charlotte at Belk Theatre until July 24th, if you haven't bought tickets be sure to grab them HERE.  It is 2 hrs and 40 minutes long with intermission.  This is a great show for a date night, or a night out with the girls, because of language and adult content this is not one for the kids. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Huggies Little Swimmers Playdate! #waterthemdaily

For those of you that follow me on social media you know that our sweet baby boy, Jude, was born June 7th.  You may have also noticed that we took him out for his very first play date NINE days later.  It wasn't just any play date, it was a water park play date at Carowinds new Myrtle Turtle splash pad that was sponsored by Huggies Little Swimmers.  They were shooting for OK Magazine and Emily Maynard was the host.

Emily was such a sweetheart and made a point to walk around an introduce herself to everyone who attended.  When she saw Jude she couldn't believe I was already out and about just a little over a week after having him.  I was sick the first two weeks after having Jayden and couldn't believe how normal I felt just days after giving birth to Jude.  She said, "I'd still be in my PJ's in bed eating cookies", which I assured her I've had plenty of that going on but was so sick with our first baby that when I felt good enough to get out I was ready to go.  She looked so gorgeous with her pregnancy glow and pink sundress and baby Jennings was such a cutie pie!  It was such a fun event hosted by Huggies, and I loved meeting all the other moms and their kiddos.  After seeing an Advanced Screening the night before, we loved that Huggies Little Swimmers disposable swimpants featured our favorite characters from Finding Dory!  Jayden, Daddy and Jude enjoyed splashing around at Carowinds Myrtle Turtle Bay.  Jude rocked a size small Little Swimmers swimpants and I enjoyed the fact that they have easy-open sides that make water side changes a breeze, so you can get back to having fun in the sun. No doubt that we will have a few of these in our beach bag for the next few years.  They are perfect for any time your little one is playing in the water, whether that’s running through sprinklers in the backyard, having a fun day at the beach or taking a trip to the local waterpark.

We had fun splashing around Myrtle Turtle Bay and wished we had more time to check out the rest of what Carowinds Carolina Harbor had to offer, but with a newborn we knew our time was limited.  As a mom of a 10 year old and a newborn I was impressed with how easy it was to get around the waterpark with both of them and having something different offered for each of them.  Jay splashed around in the kiddie pools nearby with plenty of lifeguard coverage and we played with Jude in the Myrtle Turtle bay splashpad area.  I will say, bring another adult with you if you have little ones.  There's so much to see and do and the more hands, the better! Another plus is that the waterpark has it's very own entrance, no need to trek through the front entrance and walk past all the rides and such.  Thankfully, because of their new construction Carowinds has made it even easier to enjoy a day at the waterpark with your family!  Another tip, rent a cabana!  I never would have thought of it before with just Jayden, but now that we have a little one I see how much that could work for us!  For $85 (Monday-Thursday), you can get a cabana with wifi access, one tube rental, satellite TV, chaise lounge chairs, a mini-fridge and table and chairs for eating. It's a great space for the little ones to take a nap, mom's who breastfeed and for the rest of the family to hang out in the shade for a little cool down spot. This is where I stopped to feed Jude after splashing around for an hour.  The mini fridge was my favorite part of the cabana because I wouldn't have to worry about keeping food or bottles cold, which is huge for this exclusively pumping mama!  There's also this wonderful thing called pool side service that comes with your cabana rental. Need a drink or a snack? Just ask.

We had such a wonderful time and can't wait to go back!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Save BIG on Pampers starting this weekend! #PampersSavings

As a mom and a nanny for the past 10 years I've seen my share of blow outs, and I stand by the quality of the Pampers brand.  For over 50 years parents have trusted Pampers to care for their babies.  Pampers offers many options to cover the different stages of your babies life.  Including diapers, wipes and training pants.  Pampers Swaddlers happen to be my favorite and they are so soft and sensitive for my newborn.
Also, with my experience I know exactly how expensive diaper costs can add up to be.  I try to stay on top of all the deals and share them with my friends.  Well, get your scissors ready!  Pampers is offering BIG savings in this Sunday's (May 15, 2016) paper!  This weekend you will be able to get your hands on a coupon for $2.50 one Pampers Diapers or Training Pants.  You read that right!  $2.50 off of ONE pack!  What a deal!  All Pampers Diapers are included in this deal except trial or travel size packs. 

With so many great options in the Pampers lineup, no matter what stage your baby/toddler is going through, Pampers has you covered!  If you have a little one at home that is potty training they are also offering a print at home coupon for $2 off of Pampers Easy Ups.  To save with this high value coupon make sure you have set up an account with

For more information be sure to check visit

You can also follow them on social media!

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Pampers. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Dreft #Amazinghood Baby Shower Giveaway

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Dreft. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.

When anyone thinks of babies they of course think of sleepless nights, diaper surprises and sporadic schedules.  Yes, parenthood and babyhood is messy. But I personally think of the sweet smells of baby powder and baby freshness.  Those messy and imperfect moments are often the most memorable and thanks to Dreft, parents can embrace the mess of #Amazinghood. 
It's been a little over ten years since our last baby shower so being on top of what's new and innovative was our challenge.  We had fun registering but there really is so much more out there now for babies.  We had two baby showers, one for my friends and one for family.  Our first shower was a cute little man cub theme and we played games including match the celebrity to their baby photo.  This shower was hosted by my best friend of almost 20 years (wow!).  Our second shower was an ocean/beach theme and we had it at a local park with family.  We were blessed with many great gifts but after them both, I couldn't wait to get all the cute little outfits we were gifted, home so I could wash them with Dreft detergent and have his nursery smelling like sweet baby freshness!  I may have even used the blissfulls in our laundry just so I could get my daily dose of baby on my own shirts!  Laugh all you want but it's been proven that baby scent is a powerful driver of emotion – just a simple whiff of freshly-laundered clothes with baby detergent can bring back memories of the entire amazing babyhood journey.

Dreft is partnering with popular reality TV couple Sean and Catherine Lowe from “The Bachelor” to celebrate their new role as expectant parents and share their beautiful, messy journey of “amazinghood.” I was so excited to hear this because I've been following Catherine's pregnancy journey on social media because we're due just a few weeks apart from each other.  Sean and Catherine Lowes’ parenting journey and partnership with Dreft commenced at their Dreft “Loads of Love” baby shower (on April 27th) – where the couple was showered with all the love, support and essentials needed to prepare them for the arrival of their precious new baby.  When asked about their baby shower registry, Sean and Catherine have noted that Dreft Newborn detergent was a must have. Their parents used it, their friends recommended it, and the smell of freshly washed baby clothes has made them even more excited for the little one’s arrival.

 Dreft offers 3 products, Dreft Stage 1: Newborn; Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby and Dreft Blissfuls. We of course, had Dreft detergent already on our registry.  It wasn't until I was sent the Dreft Blissfuls in the mail, that I added them to our registry as well! Dreft Blissfuls are little tabs that dissolve in water, safe for all fabrics and loads and has that long lasting baby scent!  Your child is only a baby for one year, but with these magic tabs you can bring back that baby scent anytime and let the memories come flooding back!

To keep up to date on all things Dreft, be sure to check them out online and on social media!

Dreft online
Dreft on Facebook
Dreft on Twitter

Here's something really sweet!  You too can share in the Lowe's journey through #Amazinghood by entering an awesome giveaway of a Dreft “Baby Shower” gift package. This cute Dreft “Baby Shower” Package (ARV $75) includes:

  • Dreft products (Newborn, Active Baby, and Blissfuls)
  • Little Me Welcome to the World Bib and Burp Set
  • Little Me Giraffe Gown
  • Gender Neutral Lovey

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Beat the heat this summer with $1 movies! {2016}

It's back!! This is one thing we look forward to every year. As much as we love Summer, some days we love to beat the heat and stay in the AC and enjoy a movie favorite for $1!
The 2016 Summer Movie Express runs for 9 weeks with select titles playing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer. Start time is 10 am, and I always suggest getting there a little early because Summer Camps like to show up for these and the theaters fill up fast! These are great for younger kids too, because if they have a total meltdown half way thru the movie, you're only out $2!

They start in Charlotte and Huntersville June 14th, but please see your local theatre for program start date. Admission to these films during the Summer Movie Express is only $1 and a portion of the proceeds goes to the Will Rogers Institute.

Showing by week:

Week 1
The Lego Movie

Week 2
The Iron Giant: Signature Edition

Week 3
The Smurfs 2

Week 4
Despicable Me 2

Week 5
The Peanuts Movie

Week 6
Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Curious George

Week 7
The Book of Life
Hotel Transylvania 2

Week 8
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Shaun The Sheep

Week 9
The Croods
Dr. Suess' The Lorax


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Double Digits! Our boy is TEN! {Personal}

Wow, 10 years old.  We've reached the double digits!  Just 8 more before you start choosing which college you will attend

This year's favorites:

Food: Terriyaki Chicken and Broccoli & Cheese (what mommy makes)
Sport: Basketball (same)
TV Show(s): Once Upon a Time, The Walking Dead and Shark Tank
Best Friend(s):  Kade, Kenon, Sam, Riley, Eli and Ian
Teacher: Miss Seamster (hasn't changed since 1st grade)
Song: Resurrecting- Elevation Worship
Singer: Mack Brock
Book(s): Ungifted 
Toy(s): BB Gun, Tablet, Stikbots and Nintendo 3DS
Movie(s):  Little Shop of Horrors, Zootopia and I am Sam 
When he grows up he wants to be: "Animator, I'll make a lot of money doing something I love to do.  Me and my brother will work together: A Downing Production"

As I went through pictures over the last year I realized how many great memories were made.

This year you:
  • probably read close to 100 books, no joke.  
  • volunteered your time to help others (we love your generous heart)
  • became a big brother.  He will be here in June and is a lucky boy to have you to look up to.
  • visited: Raleigh, North Myrtle Beach, Tampa, Wilmington, Orlando, Disney World and LegoLand for the very first time!
  • played Basketball
  • fell in love with musical theater, you saw: Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Matilda and Wicked.  You fell in love with Wicked and make us listen and sing to the soundtrack often!
  • lost: Daisy {our 10 year old German Shepherd}
  • played Minecraft, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Disney Infinity (not much has changed)
  • fell in love with animation and have created many stop motion videos 
My letter to 10 year old you:

You never look at something as it is, you have the ability to look at an object and a person and are able to see its fullest potential. You look at life with such enthusiasm, you always find fun everywhere you go. You are bold and fearless, you could care less what others are doing and you make your own path. I pray that confidence never leaves you. You are empathetic towards everyone and have been caught sitting with kids in silent lunch just so they didn't have to sit alone. Your mind blows us away, the things you think up or say are so intelligent and well thought out. You love Jesus so deeply and want everyone to know who He is. You are mommy's fiercest defender and always lend me a helping hand, most times without me even having to ask. We never want one day to go by where you don't feel loved or special. Especially your birthday. You are such an amazing kid, we'd love to take the credit but we know you're a gift only God could create. We love you, your family loves you, and most importantly God loves you. You are always more than enough all on your own and don't you forget that! Happy 10th Birthday, Jay!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

NASCAR Hall of Fame Easter Egg 400 on March 26th {Giveaway}
Join us for an Easter egg hunt, Spring craft activities in the Great Hall for all attendees as well as entertainment by Mr. Nigel and Friends, photos with the Easter Bunny and, of course, Champ the Cheetah! We will also be showing the movie “Shaun the Sheep.”

Win a family 4 pack of Tickets on our Facebook Page HERE!

8:30 - 9:30 a.m. 
Spring craft activities in the Great Hall for all attendees as well as entertainment by Mr. Nigel and Friends.

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. 
Easter egg hunt begins in Race Week
(separate egg hunts for younger kids)

10 - 11:30 a.m. 
“Shaun the Sheep” movie shown in the High Octane Theater
This event is FREE for Rookie Racers Kids Club members and $7 for non-members. All kids under age 2 will receive free admission.

Rookie Racers Kids Club members can RSVP by 
clicking here.
General admission tickets can be purchased by 
Click here to learn more about joining the Rookie Racers Kids Club today!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Gearapalooza 2016 Tour Coming to Charlotte for Expectant and New Parents!

 Gearapalooza: The Ultimate Baby Gear and Registry Event
South Charlotte Banquet Center (9009 Bryant Farms Road, Charlotte)

 March 9, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Join us for an evening filled with:
  • The chance to meet the best baby gear vendors and check out the latest products.
  • A 90-minute info session and Q&A with Jamie Grayson, The BabyGuyNYC.
  • A jam-packed gift bag filled with essentials for mom + baby for everyone!
  • The chance to win THOUSANDS of dollars in prizes!
  • Exclusive discounts from Shower Me with Love TONIGHT ONLY!


Tickets start at $53.74 and include gift bags. Attendees have the option of purchasing a Platinum Ticket for $132.87 that also includes a Beco Baby Carrier (valued at $140). The event also features thousands of dollars in giveaways.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Harlem Globetrotters: Coming to Charlotte! {Giveaway}

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Charlotte! Our guy gets so excited because they always come to town around his birthday! He's a Basketball player himself and just loves the joy The Harlem Globetrotters bring to the court!

Celebrating 90 years of providing smiles, sportsmanship and service to millions of people worldwide, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their unrivaled family show to UNC Charlotte’s Halton Arena on Saturday, March 26, 2016, at 2 p.m., and 7 p.m., during their 90thAnniversary World Tour, presented regionally by Krew Mobile, America’s new family cell phone service.

On the court, the Globetrotters’ 90-year celebration will feature some of the greatest athletes and entertainers on the planet. With a star-studded roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard and Cheese Chisholm – plus female stars TNT Maddox and Sweet J Ekworomadu* – the Globetrotters’ one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment. Every game will showcase incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction. After the game, Globetrotter stars will sign autographs and take photos with fans.

Not only will we be taking our boy, we will also be giving away 4 tickets to one lucky reader!!

Please tell us who you will be bringing if you win to be considered as a winner. Giveaway ends on March 18th at midnight and winners will be notified via email. Once we choose a winner we will give you 24 hrs to respond and then we will go to who's next in line. Extra entires to anyone who shares on social media. You must tag "The Playful Mom" in all posts to be considered!
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