May 2013Back Home Again: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Letters

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Dear Work Week: Thank you for only being four days long. I really needed a short week!

Dear Culligan Man: Please hurry up and deliver our water. I'm on day 5 of drinking hobo water and it's quite gross!

Dear Ewan: I love that you want to be just like you Daddy. He's a really good man!


Dear Cecily: You are too cute for words. I love you!


Dear Seton Harvest: I am so glad we were able to get in. I can't wait to go pick up our CSA bounty tomorrow!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Facebook

I finally started a Facebook page for my blog. Please go like it!

https://www.facebook.com/BackHomeAgainBlog#


Happy 90th Birthday Grandma!

My grandmother turns 90 years old today!


So, what was going on in 1923?

Time Magazine was launched.

Retiring Speaker of the House.  First issue of TIME
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Women's one piece swimsuits began to be worn.

Swimsuit Competition, 1923
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The Hollywood sign is built.

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The first baseball game was played at Yankee Stadium.

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Insulin is introduced as a treatment for diabetes.
Banting and Best with a diabetic dog
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The first portable radio is developed.

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Ninety years. That's a long time! Just think, she's been through the Depression, World War II, the Cold War in its entirety, the beginning of space travel...not to mention the invention of the television, the computer, cell phone, all sorts of technology. What she must think about how times have changed.


For those of you who don't know, I lived with my grandmother growing up - she was my second mom. While we didn't always get along when I was younger, I now love talking to her about when she was a child and what she remembers about our family from back then. She's the oldest one of her siblings still living and I know she may not have that much time left so I try to enjoy her company as much as I can. I'm so glad that she has gotten the opportunity to meet her great-grandchildren too. Not everyone can say they met their great-grandmother.


Happy Birthday Grandma!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May Conscious Box Review

A while back, I won a Conscious Box giveaway and it finally arrived! If you don't know, Conscious Box is a monthly subscription box that provides sustainable products from businesses that care about the planet. Right up my alley! For $19.95/month ($12 plus $7.95 shipping), you receive 10-20 products.


It arrived  in two boxes, made of recycled cardboard of course :-)


This box was PACKED! I honestly don't know how they got all of this in there.
I received:

MYLK Dairy Free Chocolate: I actually received two of these and while they arrived a little melted, you can't fault them because it was 86 degrees out today! Let's just say that one of these didn't make it through this review :-)

Q.bel Whole Grain Minty Mint Crispy Wafers: I cannot wait to try these. They are already packe din my lunch for tomorrow!

Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters in Berry Crunch: I'm very excited about these also. They will go in my lunch or as a snack for Ewan. Perhaps we'll share!

Ojio Raw Organic Hemp Seeds (sample): I honestly don't know what I will do with these. Possibly throw them in a fruit smoothie. I just can't see myself sprinkling them on something and eating them.

parma! Vegan Parmesan (sample): Again, I'm excited about this. It just so happens that I'm out of Parmesan cheese...

Teeccino Maya Herbal Coffee: I received organic French Roast. I'm not an actual coffee drinker (just lattes at Starbucks!) so this will go to a co-worker.

Yogi Organic Tea (sample): While I like tea, I received Egyptian Licorice and Ginger, neither of which I like so this will also be going to work. 

Natural Vitality Natural Calm (sample): I'm not sure about this stuff to be honest. While I definitely need to take a chill pill every once in a while, stuff like this kind of freaks me out. I will hold off on it for now.

Eat Whatever (sample): This will definitely come in handy as I love onions and garlic...

7th Heaven Miracle Mud Dead Sea Deep Pore Cleansing Masque: I can't wait to try this out as I was just saying that I wanted a facial for Mother's Day.

L'Ecuyer's Gormet Goats Milk Chocolate Mint Soap (sample): I received two of these. I generally only use hand soap when we run out of liquid and I'm too cheap/lazy to go buy more at that moment. So, now I have some hand soap for then! 

Surthrival Adult Toothbrush: A 100% biodegradeable and BPA free toothbrush. I'm in!

Pridegreen Life Cycle 13 Gallon Trash Bag (sample): A trash bag that naturally assimilates in a landfill between 18-36 months when a normal trash bag takes 1000 years? Yes please! We don't have a lot of trash because we recycle so much, but I'm very very excited about this. I never knew such a thing existed!

Conscious Ink "Gratitude" Temporary Tattoo: I have no use for this.

Cuppow Lid: This lid fits regular sized canning jars and turns them into a travel mug. Genius!

I also received Seventh Generation and Happy Squeeze coupons. You know me, I love coupons!


While there are several things in here that aren't my taste, overall I really liked this box! I've been debating trying out a subscription box for awhile, but I wasn't sure which one to get or if I should spend the money. Let's just say that my very first subscription box experience has been a good one. I definitely think that $19.95 is worth it for everything you receive! (Receive your first box for free - you just pay the shipping - using the code FIRSTBOXFREE)

Have you received a Conscious Box before? What did you think?




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seven Months!

Guess who turned seven months old this past Saturday :-)



Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

We went up to visit my family this weekend to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday. Her actual birthday is later this week, but since we won't be able to come up, we had a little celebration while we were up there.


We also went to the zoo, where both kids had a blast! Ewan rode the Safari Sky Ride with me over the African animals section.

I'm not so good at the selfies! :-)
  And rode the train with Daddy.


We got home this evening after a LONG drive in the rain. So glad to be back!

What did you do on this long weekend?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday's Letters

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Dear Three Day Weekend: I am so glad you're here. I have needed an extended weekend for quite awhile now!

Dear Weather: Why do you have to be cold this weekend? I was really looking forward to going swimming!

Dear Ewan: You were doing so good sleeping in your own bed. What happened?!

Dear Cecily: I'm so glad you're feeling better and we got that nursing issue figured out. You were freaking Mommy out!

Dear Readers: I don't really have much to say today. I'm sorry. My brain is already on the weekend! Have a good one!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alternatives

On the day I'm guest posting over at Boogies N BooBoos about one of my favorite alternate grains, millet, I bring you this.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What is Crunchy?

A friend and I were discussing "crunchy" things we do this past weekend and it got me thinking (which is fitting since I'm guest posting at Wannabe Green today - check it out!). What qualifies as "crunchy"?

According to http://www.urbandictionary.com, a person who is crunchy has "adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons."

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When I think of a crunchy mom, I think of someone who breastfeeds, cloth diapers, makes their own baby food, baby wears and co-sleeps. Not to mention doesn't vaccinate, grows their own food, uses all-natural remedies, makes their own cleaning products, recycles, joins a csa and/or meat share and is gluten-free, vegan or some other non-mainstream diet.

I don't really consider myself crunchy at all and my ICAN buddies call me the mainstream mom in the group. But after our conversation, I realized that out of that list above, I breastfeed, baby wear, co-sleep, recycle, grow my own herbs and vegetables, joined a csa for the first time this year (but am a frequent visitor to the local farmer's market), use natural cleaning products whenever possible and am attempting to make my own baby food this time around and have been dabbling in natural food dyes. Maybe I am pretty crunchy afterall.

What about you, are you crunchy? What are some crunchy things you do?


Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend Recap

I'm linking up this morning to tell you about my weekend shenanigans.


This weekend was incredibly busy in our household! Saturday morning we had a yard sale with our close friends and made over $300! We got rid of a bunch of stuff but will still have plenty to take to Alan's parents' yard sale in a few weeks.

Saturday evening we went with our friends to their church social, which is basically like a school carnival. It was a blast! The kids are old enough to play games and ride some of the rides and you could tell they had tons of fun too.


And I got lots of cuddles in with my baby girl...can you believe she's going to be SEVEN months in less than a week? I sure can't!


Sunday, we decided to skip church (bad I know!) to try to finish mulching the yard in the morning while it wasn't super hot and humid. I got to try out my Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer again that I got from BzzAgent, which is super sweet because it is a no mess system that doesn't waste water because you can see when the fertilizer tablets have been completely used.

I also got to hang out WITHOUT kids with a good friend at Starbucks for a bit in the afternoon :-)

We then spent the rest of the day just hanging out in the a/c because it was HOT!

The weekend went by way to quickly, but it was a good one! How about you, what were your weekend shenanigans?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's Letters

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Dear Friday: I am so glad you are finally here...and I have no obligations tonight!

Dear Wolfgang: I'm sorry but I'm so glad the spring season is over. After agonizing over it for several months, I've decided not to play this summer. I would like to spend the full weekend with my family while it's warm. That and I've been extremely frustrated with certain people in my section. I will re-evaluate in the fall and decide if I wish to continue.

Dear Yard Sale: Please be good. We have a lot of stuff we want to get rid of!

Dear Cecily: I'm so so sorry you're sick :( Please feel better soon!

Dear Ewan: You amaze me everyday with how smart you are. I can't believe you aren't yet two and a half, yet you already recognize your name as well as mine and Daddy's.

Dear Husband: I know it's been rough lately, but I love you for forever and a week!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My records...continued...

I wrote this post about a month ago about trying to get my records from Ewan's birth. For my new readers out there, here's a brief recap: I had a c-section with my son and have been suffering from post-partum depression basically ever since. I had a successful vbac with my daughter, but is has brought to light all sorts of emotions about my son's birth and I've been wanting to see my records so I can know what really happened from a medical perspective.


The hospital asked me if I wanted everything or just the abstract since the entire record is 150 pages. I decided to get the abstract because I have to pay per page. Even with that, it's still about $40!  Well, I finally receive it and it's all of my records. I mean all of them. For my entire pregnancy. Which is so not what I asked for on the form I filled out, I wanted just labor and delivery. No wonder it was 150 pages!

I haven't decided if I'm going to call them back and ask for the entire record of labor and delivery or not, mainly because I don't want to pay another $40 but also because I found what I was looking for: that the nurses knew Ewan was posterior when they checked me just after I was admitted and did nothing to help get him to turn. I know, how does that help me? Well, it makes me feel better to know that I was right :-) I was right in that they had to have known, even though I've been told by several doctors that it's possible they didn't. I guess it gives me some focus to my anger instead of being angry at the world for my c-section  :-)

I did however notice something in the placenta report that I'm curious about. It said that the placenta was partially calcified, I had an infection and that the cord was inflamed. Now, both Ewan and I were find the entire time I was in labor, no fever, no crazy fetal heart rate drops, nothing. So, what I'm wondering is if that stuff is because he was born at 41 weeks and is part of what happens when you go overdue or if it was the start of a problem and it's a good thing he was born when he was before it turned into an emergency situation.

What would you do? Find out the truth or choose to believe it was a good thing it happened when it did?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Revolt Week 3



I recently joined Revolt Now Fitness in an effort to re-vamp my weight loss. The idea is to revolt against your weight and current lifestyle. The plan basically runs in six week spurts (uprisings) with weekly meal plans that you prepare Sunday to make it easier on you for the week and daily exercises. Saturday is a free day. Since I'm breastfeeding, I opted not to detox and just jump in with the first week's meal plan because I don't want to inadvertently lower my milk supply again, on the advice of Nichole Huntsman, Revolt's founder.
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Week 3 Weigh In: 204.1 lbs, down 0.6 lbs from last week.

While it's not as much as I was expecting, a loss is a loss! 

I've discovered that I have to tweak the plan a bit. There's no way I am able to cook for the entire week on Sundays, so I make the main things like chicken and fill in the rest during the week. This is something I really like about Revolt - I'm able to tweak the plan to make it work for me!

And I ran yesterday. We went on a walk last night and I ran part of it. I can't even begin to tell you the last time I ran outside.So, the workouts are working!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meet My May Sponsors!

I’d like to introduce you to several of my sponsors this month. Please check these ladies out!

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Krystal blogs over at My Life of Travels and Adventures. I love reading her blog because she lives in Philly and it’s really nice hearing about her adventures where I used to live!

Some fun facts about Krystal:

I am training for a half marathon over Memorial Day weekend.... I hate running.

We sold our house and are moving at the beginning of June... We will be staying with my parents for a bit. Help me!

I have lived in Philadelphia for 8 years now and still do not like Philly Cheesesteaks.


Megan blogs over at They Call Me Mommi. She's the mother to two adorable boys who also happen to be my nephews!

Some facts about Megan:

I am a Twenty-something wife & WAHM with 2 amazing boys!
I am a very bubbly, energetic and optimistic person who loves to write about her life, kids and share some great giveaways/reviews with my readers. I've been blogging for going on 4 years on many different websites, but my current blog is by far my favorite - They Call Me Mommi was inspired by my boys, because in Fact, they really do call me Mommi :)

I tend to put more on my plate than I can handle - but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am currently starting my own Travel Business, I am an Independent Sales Consultant for Scentsy and I am thinking of starting a local children's event newsletter & Website. On top of that I am also planning on homeschooling my oldest child this upcoming school year. I am getting more involved in my sons Boy Scout group, was just chosen to be the Social Media Manager for our troop - trying to accomplish all this on top of cleaning the house, cooking and spending time with the hubby is a lot!  But who needs sleep, right?


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Natalee blogs over at Eat, Nap, Play. I love her blog because she writes about a little of everything, just like me.

Some fun facts about Natalee:

I am a big science geek. I work as a clinical laboratory scientist.

I would rather sleep in a few extra minutes than take the time to put on make-up or do my hair every day. Beach waves every day!

I am addicted to social media. I would be lost without my Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and email accounts.

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Meagan blogs over at Healthy, Skinny, Bitch. I love her blog because her weight loss is so inspiring!

Some fun facts about Meagan:

I recently dropped my Psychology major after 4 years to pursue my lifelong passion for the arts and obtain a degree in Graphic Design. It's quite the change but one I am so glad I made!

I have been dancing since I was 3 years old and continue to this day with an Adult Combo class - we do every style imaginable and get the opportunity to perform 3 times a year!

My blog is a mix of everything - I talk about every day happenings, my love of positivity, and especially my ongoing weight loss journey. 65 pounds down, 40 to go!

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Bekah blogs over at re-solve. I love her blog because she’s all about being green, like me!

My favorite random number is 72.

I have had two pet rabbits, both named after characters from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I am addicted to Margherita Pizza.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

THE Collective Blog Hop


Welcome to the NEW and IMPROVED weekly blog hop party, THE Collective.
This is a link up for bloggers who want to gain followers and meet awesome people.
Not sure if this is the blog hop for you? Listen to what other bloggers have to say...

"Just to let you know, your blog hop is the best I've participated in for gaining new friends!!! I couldn't believe the results!! Thank you!"
- Danavee, This Vintage Grove
"I'm dropping by to let you know that I love being a part of your blog hop! 
 I have been meeting really nice bloggers.  Bloggers who are actually friendly and want to connect! 
I'm putting the blog hop button on my side bar, like, permanently!  Everyone should know about it. Just thought I'd share with you. Thank you."
-Vickie, Oh Abby Day

"Hi BreAnna, just want to say that your blog is beautiful, creative, and fun. The GFC collective is one of my favorite parts of the blogging week. Love meeting new friends and fellow bloggers. We just started our blog and were amazed at how helpful the GFC collective is! Keep up the amazing work."
-Alea and Rachael, Sparkle Your Life


"This GFC Collective Hop is seriously one of the best link ups out there! Through this hop I have found so many great blogs & friends that I wouldn't have otherwise found! Thank you so much for hosting such a fun link up! Please take the time to link up & join along! You won't be sorry that you did!"

Has THE Collective done wonders for your following? Let me know, shoot me an email at peacoatsnplaid(at)gmail(dot)com




and our lovely co-hosts for the week

Eryka @ Abcde
Holly @ Back Home Again


...want to co-host? Email Bre at peacoatsnplaid(at)gmail(dot)com






Happy Mother's Day!


I got the best present ever today. Alan took photos of the kids and put them in this frame for me to take to work. I love it! I have to leave shortly for an orchestra performance, we went to breakfast and have just hung out. I leave you with a few photos taken yesterday in our front yard.


Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

It Doesn't Have to be One or the Other

Again linking up with Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals for Preparing for a Little One.

I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding - I think all mothers should try it and it makes me really sad when a mother chooses not to try at all. Cecily is exclusively breastfed and that is something I am extremely proud of. I don't know if it's because I've done this before or if I just got really lucky this time, but we haven't had a hard time at all  (which is not the norm!).
Breastfeeding Ewan, on the other hand, was a struggle from the beginning. When I was finally allowed to be with him, three hours after my c-section, he wouldn't latch. I was devastated. I bought into what I was told at my breastfeeding class about how if you place your baby on your chest they will magically find their way to your nipples and start nursing. Maybe some do that, but definitely not either of my kids!

I had a really awesome nurse who helped me, and I discovered that because my boobs are HUGE, my nipples were flat and I needed to use a nipple shield. Ewan would latch with this, but I knew that I needed to get him off of it because it can hurt your supply down the road and cause nipple confusion.
We were doing good at the hospital, but when we got home, it was a completely different story. Babies have a growth spurt around 5-6 days old and unfortunately due to my c-section, my milk didn't come in until 6 days postpartum. We got home at 5 days and all he did was scream unless he was eating. He actually cried himself hoarse. I didn't know what I do now and thought that he shouldn't be on the boob all the time (which in the early days, yes he did!), so I thought something was wrong with him. I called his pediatrician, who told me that we should try formula since my milk hadn't come in yet. I had always looked at breastfeeding as something I wanted to do exclusively and even though we had tons of formula samples in the house, I had every intention of donating them, not using them. But, try formula we did since we were desperate.

Because I was also recovering from a c-section and then at seven weeks postpartum, surgery from having my gallbladder removed, plus moving across the country when Ewan was two months old, he had formula on occasion, even though I primarily nursed him. However, he suffered from reflux and was a very fussy baby until 3-4 months old and I was never able to pump much to build up a freezer stash. What I did have was gone when I was unable to feed him right after my gallbladder surgery. So, when I went back to work, I had no choice but to give him formula at daycare and nurse him at home. I did, however, pump at work so that he could have one bottle of breastmilk and to keep up what supply I did have. While I was devastated that I couldn't give him only breastmilk, I took comfort in the fact that I was giving him everything I could, which was so much more than a lot of babies get.

So many women think that it is all or nothing - that if you aren't able to exclusively breastfeed, then you can only do formula. This is so not the case! While yes, supplementing with formula will eventually lower your supply, it is possible to do both - supplementing at daycare saved our breastfeeding relationship and I was able to nurse Ewan for a year.
I will say that exclusively breastfeeding Cecily this time around definitely has its advantages though. For one, it's free!  I don't even want to know how much money we spent on formula for Ewan, and it wasn't even all the time. Cecily has been much less sick than Ewan ever was as a baby, most likely because my antibodies transfer to her in breastmilk. Also, I can feed her anywhere and don't have to worry about if I'm mixing too much or too little formula because she just eats what she needs. While formula has come a long way since we were kids, it still isn't a true replacement for breastmilk. 

Breastfeeding is hard, especially in the beginning but it's so incredibly rewarding and empowering to know that my body has provided everything Cecily needs. Here's a post I made a few months ago about just how hard it can be. Probably the best advice that was ever given to me right after Ewan was born was to Take it one feeding at a time, one day at a time. Eventually it will get easier. Around six weeks, it so did! There are many resources out there for breastfeeding moms if you know where to look, kellymom.com being one of the best. There's also the breastfeeding community on LiveJournal (if you don't mind the snark), as well as your local La Leche League. Not to mention utilizing lactation while you're in the hospital or going to a lactation consultant after you go home (be warned that not all are created equal!). Asking women you know that have breastfed before can also be an invaluable resource! (hint hint...feel free to ask me anything!)

Some additional tips:

  1. drink LOTS of water and make sure you eat enough (yes breastfeeding burns calories like crazy, but if you aren't taking in enough it will affect your supply), 
  2. it will hurt in the beginning until you get used to it, 
  3. be prepared to take a nursing vacation in the early days (I know this sounds crazy, but it is completely normal to just sit on the couch with your little one latched on for HOURS while reading, watching tv etc.), 
  4. relax (easier said than done as a new mom, but your baby can sense when you're stressed and it makes everything that much more difficult), 
  5. be prepared to try several different positions - what works for us is the football hold
  6. and finally it is a learning experience for both of you!
While I think that every woman should give it a shot, ultimately you need to do what is best for you and your family. With Ewan, what was best was to supplement at daycare. This time around with Cecily, what's best is to exclusively breastfeed.




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