Monday, September 30, 2013

Banking Your Baby's Cord Blood + a MamaRoo Giveaway!

Just finished the enrollment process to donate baby girl's cord blood with LifeBankUSA and got to check this off my list of "Things To Do Before Baby" mega-list. For whatever reason, finding a donation site was really challenging (until LifeBank) this time around. A lot of companies are actually turning down donations because they are already filled to capacity, and other companies just never got back to me or they were running too far behind their enrollment/application process for a November baby and couldn't take us in time. After starting to come to terms with the fact that we will just discard our baby's precious cord blood, I received an email from a representative from LifeBank USA, asking me if I'd be interested in writing a blog post on their company and help them in promoting their amazing Mamaroo giveaway they have going on right now. It could not have been more perfect timing and it was such a relief to me that they came to my rescue right in time.
If you don't know anything about it, there are soo many reasons to preserve your baby's cord blood, or otherwise donate it. Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proved successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. In fact, 1,988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.
You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from 2 usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking and it is available only through LifeBank USA. Whether you choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking or Cord Blood Banking alone, there are still many other reasons to choose LifeBank: LifeBank is the only company that offers cord blood, placenta blood, and tissue banking, and they are also the first to release placenta-derived stem cells for a successful transplant. They have been absolutely wonderful to work with and they will collect cells from anywhere in the US. Another reason to bank with LifeBank? They include tissue banking (tissue from the placenta) for free. Placental tissue contains mesenchymal (MSCs) and MSC-like cells. While stem cells found in cord blood and placenta blood have been used to successfully treat patients, there are currently no approved uses for stem cells derived from the umbilical cord or placenta tissue. Possible therapeutic applications are in early research stages and LifeBankUSA's parent company is actively involved in their development. LifeBankUSA will store the placenta tissue for you as part of their banking package using their cryogenic tanks for long-term preservation. In the event your baby's tissue cells are ever needed for future therapies, the tissue may then be processed and cultured using available technology at the time. Banking with LifeBankUSA will definitely give you peace of mind, knowing that this stem cell-rich blood can be used to treat certain diseases in the future.
Along with peace of mind, LifebankUSA also wants to give parents the chance to win one of the hottest baby items, the 4Moms mamaRoo.  LifebankUSA will be giving away TWO 4Moms mamaRoos (valued at $260 each) in a random drawing from entrants in their Facebook contest. The mamaRoo bounces up and down and sways from side to side, just like parents do when comforting their babies. It plays soothing nature sounds and has the option of plugging in your own MP3 player. Enter HERE to win this amazing baby item!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By entering the contest, you understand that you are providing your information to LifebankUSA and not to Facebook. This is a sponsored blog post. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

8 months // bits of life lately

I know I've been super slacking this month but in my 8th month and have been a busy little (tired) bee. Both Chris and I stood up in a wedding last weekend and I've been super busy trying to get everything else in our lives situated for baby girl's arrival. On top of that, most days I've just been extremely, extremely exhausted. But here's a few pics for you of the past week and my growing belly and the beautiful wedding we were a part of:
home (toxin-free) mani in Cream Tea by Butter London
 the morning after, pumpkin spice & caramel apple cider sbux in bed from my sweet hubby
 sick, cuddly landon
 & Just because

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Finding Balance

At 32 weeks and officially 8 months pregnant I'm still going to yoga regularly and loving it. I am in much, much better shape physically this time around than I was with Landon and definitely owe it to my regular vinyasa flow and hatha yoga practice.  Besides being in better physical shape, my mind has also been in a much better place. I am have much more energy and motivation, I'm overall much happier, and more relaxed and less anxious than before. While a 3 year time difference and greater sense of self I'm sure has played a big part in this, I am 100% sure that my yoga practice has played a huge part in this difference, and I also give a lot of credit to Kayma Englund for all her amazing guided meditations she's been offering.
But ever since hitting the third trimester though I've noticed a bigger (literally) difference in my body and I'm noticing I'm having a harder time doing poses and transitions that I once had no problem with at all. I've noticed a much harder time sleeping at night, a surge in hormone levels, and as a result have been getting irritated and frustrated much more easily. My sense of balance is definitely physically compromised right now as the baby is about the size of a small watermelon in my belly right now, but I've also noticed that my sense of balance mentally has been compromised as well. I find myself obsessing over one thing one minute, getting very easily distracted and OCD about the next thing that catches my eye, lots of bouts of forgetfulness, and overall not keeping things in their right perspective and priority. When Kayma sent me this guided breathing & relaxation post and audio files it was like she had completely been reading my chaotic preggo mind. For any expectant mothers, or anyone striving to gain a greater sense of balance in their lives, please take a few minutes to listen to these new audio files from Kayma below, they're guaranteed to make you feel more relaxed and completely refreshed, and go about your day with greater sense of perspective and calm. It still blows my mind how much of a difference these guided meditations can make in that present moment, and even more, throughout my day, thank you Kayma!

{Finding Balance} Guided Relaxation & Breathing
by Kayma Englund

As you may know (and if you don’t this may just blow your mind) we have many different, even complete opposite sides to our personality and our overall physical, mental and emotional being. The relief is… this is completely normal! I find that quite often we favor some qualities or traits and disregard others we have deemed less favorable for whatever reason. The truth is, we were gifted with these opposite qualities and to ignore certain sides of ourself can actually lead to imbalance. Beyond these personal qualities, every day we are riding a wave through the many different aspects lives – the ups and downs, negatives and positives paired with the dual nature of the weather, responsibilities, work, love, feminine cycle – just to name a few. Realistically we are always going to be experiencing these dualistic qualities which is why tools like deep breathing, relaxation, yoga & meditation are so important to bring us back to a more balanced and aware state of mind.

Interesting facts…

Our breath links our body and mind

The Right Brain (associated with left nostril breathing) is the “creative thinking” hemisphere of your brain. It corresponds with the moon, feminine energy, emotions, relaxation, nurturing, calm and cooling, expressive and creative tasks.

The Left Brain (associated with right nostril breathing) logical thinking hemisphere of your brain corresponding with the sun, masculine energy, logic, action, heat, competition and force.

So, breathing in through your right nostril, will access the left brain and vice versa. Consciously alternating your breath between either nostril will allow you to activate and access your whole brain because now both sides are receiving the oxygen they need to perform.

A few helpful tips…

Favoring one nostril more than the other can effect the heat or coolness of your body. So, breathing through your left nostril (cover the right) will help cool you down (pregnancy? hot flash? heated argument? you name it).

If you can’t sleep at night lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will calm you down and slow your heart rate.

A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing (audio track included below) is a quick pick me up if you are feeling tired or stressed. It provides your body with a dose of extra energy.

Alternate nostril breathing is great way to remove stale air and impurities from the bottom of your lungs. Did you know that 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs?

A few minutes of focused alternate nostril breathing (or any deep belly breath) is helpful in calming an over-thinking, over-worked mind. It truly is the best way to calm the mind and nervous system.

Hope you enjoy and feel free to leave comments below!

Peace & Love

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Made a few tweaks & changes to my butternut squash mac & cheese recipe I posted HERE last fall. After almost cutting my finger off & seriously injuring myself while chopping up the raw butternut squash, I made a few adjustments to make this recipe safer & easier to make. It tastes just as good, just prepared and cooked a little differently. Still delicious and still serves an army. Just put half of it away in my freezer for later. Hope you enjoy :)

What You'll Need:
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
- 3 cups elbow macaroni
- 2 3/4 cup milk or milk substitute
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour (wheat or white)
- 8 oz or 2 cups shredded cheese. I used extra sharp cheddar cheese but other cheeses that taste amazing with the butternut squash are Gruyere and fontina cheese.
- 8 slices bacon (optional. turkey or regular bacon).
- 2 chopped sweet onions
- fresh parsley or sage (or dried if you don't have any fresh)
- fresh shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese to top
- Optional bread crumbs to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Cook pasta according to directions, drain, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
3. Peel and cut butternut squash in half. Place on baking dish and cook at 425 for about 20 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.
4. In a medium pot, combine the milk, flour, and shredded cheese over medium heat until melted and keep warm.
5. Cook chopped onions in skillet with olive oil until onions are a golden brown.
*Optional: cook bacon in skillet and crumble. Can add to the mac or keep on the side. I'm still not a meat eater, but everyone else says it's amazing with the bacon.
6. When squash is done cooking, mash or cut into chunks and combine with milk/cheese mixture and onions and then add all to the macaroni bowl.
7. Optional: stir breadcrumbs in with melted butter and sprinkle over dish.
8. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese over dish.
9. Bake until top is browned, about 15 minutes or so. Sprinkle with parsley or sage & salt & pepper to taste.
10. Bon appetit! Also tastes great paired with red wine &/or garlic bread, & definitely the epitome of fall comfort food on these chillier nights :)

Monday, September 9, 2013


Our house guest for the next two months & Landon's new best friend, Ziggy
Nesting, every night these days. My feet are loving this moroccan pouf I got for her nursery. (Expect a full tour of her room within the next couple of weeks - going to love it!)
Partying hard @ a friend's BaByQ
Ghost stories by campfire with little (big) imaginations
A quick gig downtown @ the renegade craft fair. I will be his momager someday.
little feet
& most recently today, 31 weeks in 95 degree heat.

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