The Gift of Love: Operation Shower

Disclosure: I’m a Pampers Baby Board member. This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are purely my own. It seems like so long ago that I had my baby shower. Probably because it was! Sheesh, over 8 years now. I remember being ridiculously grateful to have had the people around me share in the joy of the birth of the Frog Princess.

I think I’ve said this before but if you’re new, here it is: we had FIVE baby showers! I’ve never felt so loved and so blessed. Having my family around me made a huge difference during that special time.

I was in LOVE with this shower invitation. These were also the colors of the baby room.

Me, at one of my baby showers. I was already on bed rest here but thankfully, my midwife cleared me to go.

This is what I was thinking when I heard about Operation Shower, a non-profit that throws baby showers for expecting moms whose husbands are stationed overseas. How amazing is that?!

Even more amazing? Pampers is donating diapers and wipes to support this great event.

I had a chance to chat with a mom, Alicia, who has been a recipient of one such shower. One of the things that is near and dear to my heart is the telling of our stories. I am a big believer that our stories bring us together no matter our differences.

Alicia is married with 3 boys. She is an LPN at the 56th Medical Group at Luke AFB.  Her husband is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician in the USAF.

Her husband has been stationed at Luke, AFB in AZ for over 7 years.  She says “It is a rare gift to be able to stay in location this long and we are very fortunate. He's been in the military for 8 years and has spent approximately 4 years apart from us due to deployments, trainings and temporary duty assignments.”

I was reminded that it’s not just our service men and women that serve but that their families do as well.

When I asked about Operation Shower she shared:

In 2013, I was pregnant with my youngest son and my husband was scheduled to deploy just 6 weeks after his birth.  I heard about Operation Shower through our local Airman and Family Readiness center and figured it would be something nice to go to. It was their first time here in Arizona and I had no clue what it was going to be like.  When I arrived, I was blown away by how much effort is put into a shower. Everything was perfect! The love they show you and the gifts that Operation Shower obtains from generous donations are phenomenal!  It really makes you feel special knowing there are people out there who truly care about the military community and the unique challenges that come with it.   

 

Later that year, I was contacted by Operation Shower and asked if I could come and speak to the moms at the 2014 Phoenix shower. It was at that shower that I found out how rewarding it is to be on the other side of things. Volunteering at a shower and watching all the deserving families be showered with gifts, is truly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  Since then, I am a regular at Operation Shower events that take place here in the Phoenix area. Every year, I help locate moms who meet the criteria to attend a shower and every year I get up on stage, tell them my experience and offer words of encouragement while they go through this challenging time.”

Yeah so…I had some sweaty eyeballs after seeing this project through Alicia’s eyes. Of course, eyeball leakage didn’t stop there.

Me: What do you think this operation brings to moms and families?

Alicia: Beyond the gifts and love they show us, Operation Shower provides a place where military spouses who are pregnant and going through deployments can come together and connect. They provide somewhere that the military moms can form friendships and lean on each other to get through these difficult times. THAT is one of the biggest blessings they can give us! 

Me: What type of impact does a diaper donation have on moms and families?

Alicia: Of course, the gift of diapers from Pampers helps families prepare for their little one, but it isn’t just that. Every single gift from every company is them telling us that they care. Companies have so many things they can get involved in but they choose to support us.  I am truly thankful for Pampers and the support every sponsor gives.

I couldn’t end our interview without asking what Alicia would tell a new mom. I found myself nodding my head in agreement. Her response? “Take lots of pictures! You will never find yourself regretting documenting memories but you may regret not being able to look back and see them.”

Yes to pictures! And speaking of pictures, here are some great images from the event in Connecticut.

You might be asking the same question I did “how can I help?”. The answer is simple: donate! Pampers kicked off donations with Baby Dry diapers and wipes and now it’s your turn. It takes a village, right?

Head on over to Operation Shower and see what baby products you can help with. You know diapers are always a necessity. I always breathed a sigh of relief at my showers when I saw those beautiful yellow and blue boxes! And I’m sure the recipients at Operation Shower do too. So, get to it, people! Is this a great program or what?

Mami Mondays: She Makes Me Better! {Giveaway}

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Disclaimer: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMe Media and Pampers.  All opinions are 100% mine. This blog was nowhere to be found before 2010. And I wouldn't ever have thought about it prior to 2009.

That was the year my life changed. The year the universe shifted.

Through the simple act of being, the Frog Princess completely changed the trajectory of my life. I pray I am a better woman for it and that all I do makes her proud.

Having a mini-me in my life has meant so much. Particularly when it comes to my activism and what I do in order to make this world better for her. I feel as if my entire life has been reconstructed. For the better.

You can imagine that when I first saw the Pampers #BetterForBaby video, I was suffering from a massive sweaty eyeball situation.

This video is everything! These words, y'all! These words! I love that Pampers is reminding us to celebrate the many ways babies bring out the best in all of us. I can't watch this video again because I am going to lose my gangsta card! You cannot be hard and watch this video. It will melt your heart.

I loved her expressions in my womb and was pleasantly surprised they didn't stop there.

I was reminded that there's nothing I wouldn't do for my girl. With the simple lyrics of this song, I was taken back to those sleepless nights when she was still in my womb and I would dream of holding her in my arms. Then I was reminded of the sleepless nights holding her close to my heart and having a clear understanding that this little person needed me to make the world a better place for her.

Babies do that, don't they? They have the ability to put life in perspective and they can make everyone around them want to make every bit of this world a better place for them. I think they're magic in that way. Bringing joy, happiness and hope along with the sleepless nights.

For me? I never went back to corporate America after being unceremoniously dismissed from my job. I wanted more than long days in the office and short hours with my girl. That was my lesson from that experience.

She inspires me to make this world better just by being in it.

I told Potus that I was redefining Mamihood for my child and I meant it. I'm showing her that there's another way to do "it". Working, still. But, being able to work my life around hers has been such a blessing. And by doing this, I hope I am inspiring other Mamis that want to redefine their lives to make room for the blessing that is a child and all the work that comes along as we try to make changes for the better.

Of course, I want to hear from you! How do you make the world better for baby? Answer below and enter to win an awesomesauce gift pack from Pampers! The gift pack includes:

  • Pampers Swaddlers and Wipes (did you know Swaddlers now go up to size 6? You're welcome!)
  • Grace & Lace Spring Floral Scarf (A portion of every sale goes towards building orphanages in India) - $20
  • Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Baby Care System (Makes healthy, homemade baby food in minutes.) - $60
  • Thinkbaby THINKSTER Straw Bottle (All Thinkbaby products are recyclable,  convertible to the next stage of drinking, and free of BPA, phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, PVC, and PET.) - $10

If you win, you'll be doing better for baby with these better for everybody products! So, let me hear from you...

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And if you want a chance to win some of these prizes sooner, be sure to RSVP to the Pampers #BetterForBaby Twitter party on 7/7/15 @ 9 p.m.

Thankful for Pampers: Giving the Gift of Sleep

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A couple of months back, the Baby Board was asked if we were interested in giving someone the gift of sleep. After a resounding yes, we were provided a gift card and told to go forth and give. How. Cool. Is. That? It made me fall in love with Pampers just a little more. I thought about it and thought about it. I could give to strangers, people that were certainly in need. But something inside of me kept telling me that this had to be personal. Then one night, at around 1 a.m. I came up with the answer.

1460963_676580392381645_639688582_nYanira is my crazy, beautiful friend whom I very much care about. On this particular night, in between writing assignments, we were touching bases via chat. I recall her telling me that her uterus didn't feel right. And that scared me. Recently, Yanira shared her story of loss. To see her where she was, at 20 something odd weeks pregnant made me feel beyond proud and blessed for her. I recall telling her to rest and drink lots of water. My uterus misbehaved as well so, I thought I was giving good advice.

It occurred to me then that the gift of sleep can be given not just after the baby is here when we are changing diapers and nursing around the clock. I wanted to give Yanira the gift of knowing that in spite of everything that she had been through and the fear that I know probably resides comfortably in the folds of her heart, she could sleep soundly. For two reasons: because 1. I, like so many of her friends stand believing that everything will turn out just fine and 2. She could continue on with not having a shower registry or thinking about getting the baby this or that while her friends did this for her.

We held a virtual shower on November 14. After having a hard time connecting in the Hangout, we took it to Skype. I had been threatened and cursed at prior to this event as a truckload of boxes arrived the day prior.

We chit chatted and laughed while Yanira ate Cheetos and did not share with any of us.  Talked about babies and not-so-babies. It was a nice way to come together with so many of us bloggy sisters living clear across the country sometimes. I was reminded of how important friendships can be. And how we don't have to know each other a million years to get someone. To understand what they're going through or to be there for them.

 

There were a couple of times that my friend got choked up that night. There's that mixture of joy and sorrow that cannot be escaped. And then there are also hormones to think about. She cracked jokes and deflected as only she can.

To say thank you to Pampers for allowing me to give the gift of sleep, in a different way, does not seem like enough. It's my turn to get choked up. I am beyond thankful. I was already brand loyal. But this outpouring of concern and this freedom to let us do this in a personal and special way grants Pampers a heart loyal forever.

We are all looking forward to seeing that beautiful boy, Yanira. And then you're back to your regularly scheduled gift of sleep (or, the quest for it, I should say).

You are so loved. All of you.

Pampers Baby Board 2 Disclosure: Pampers provided me with a gift card to make all of the purchases needed to ensure Yanira could not walk in her hallway without bumping into a box. All gift selections, idea for gigantus diaper boxes and craving for Cheetos after the shower are purely my own. I am a proud Pampers Baby Board Member.

Pampers Pays Tribute to Babies

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post Did you do it? Did you enter your awesome adorable baby pictures like I told you to? Because Pampers showed out and showed us all about the different ways our babies love, sleep & play.

To honor these priceless love, sleep and play moments, Pampers hosted a special event on Wednesday night in New York City's iconic Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. The historic site, which is celebrating “a century of arrivals” this year, was transformed as the littlest of arrivals (babies!) helped to unveil a first-of-its kind, user-generated baby photo experience. Throughout the last month, Pampers has rallied parents across the country to submit photos of their babies experiencing love, sleep or play to the Pampers Facebook page for the chance to be featured in their big celebration.  After receiving more than 30,000 photo submissions, Pampers compiled the images into a larger-than-life 3D projection. Mother-to-be, actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Mexican actress, mom and TV host, Jacqueline Bracamontes, were on-hand at the event to walk the “teal carpet” and help Pampers reveal the display while celebrating the millions of unique ways babies experience love, sleep and play.

For those who couldn't attend the event, Pampers captured the unveiling of the 3D photo projection on video so parents everywhere could personally experience the special moment-in-time and delight in seeing babies’ unique moments of Love, Sleep & Play  proudly displayed on the massive wall of Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal. Check this out...

Wasn't that the bees knees?! Well, Pampers is still celebrating. They want to give you a prize pack to help you celebrate all the ways our little ones show us how they love, sleep and play. The prize pack includes:

  • A lovie blanket - for wonderful LOVE-filled moments
  • "Buenas Noches Luna"book - to prepare baby for a great night of SLEEP
  • Cloud B Sleep Sheep - to help lull baby to SLEEP
  • A Playskool toy - to help baby enjoy moments of PLAY
  • Coupon for a pack of Pampers diapers and wipes - to help baby make the most out of Love, Sleep & Play

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Disclosure: This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Pampers.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Love, Sleep & Play: The Princess & The Pampers

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. But all the adorableness below? All mine & priceless! I have been mourning my baby girl growing up so fast. Missing those days when I'd put her on my shoulder and she would burrow into my neck for a nap. I think part of it has come from the joy I've been feeling as I watch my girlfriends and their new cuddly, lovable, ridiculously snuggly bundles.

How could I ever forget those days? By the way, I know I was sleep deprived and perhaps not looking my best but, that's not what I remember. Which is a good thing, I guess.

What's clear in my memories as I hold my big girl are those times when I'd stare at her as she slept. She has always been a nighttime traveler.

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The endless afternoons where I did nothing but watch her "speak", make faces and freely giggle with me. Or the plethora of kisses, given at whatever time she felt the need to pucker up.

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And the countless ways in which we snuggled, cuddled and loved on her. I'm blessed to have been able to nurse for almost 16 months. Though there was so much running around with work, chemo rounds with mami and general insanity that one experiences as a first time mami, those quiet moments when I'd get to hold her, nurse her and generally love on her are some of the most precious to me. Her grin when she'd see me after a long day at the office is forever etched in my heart.

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Because of my experiences, and the fact that my baby was a Pampers girl, I'm proud to be able to tell you about their new global campaign - Love, Sleep & Play - that celebrates and pays tribute to all the millions of ways babies uniquely experience those three things.

As a brand that has cared for the well-being of babies and their families for more than 50 years, Pampers understand the pressures parents feel in caring for their babies the supposed "right" way.  I love the idea of being able to celebrate and embrace all of the different ways that babies experience their surroundings. Each baby is cared for differently because each one of us is different. To me, it speaks to all the different ways we mother and how there is no one way to do it. Of added importance is the fact that Pampers recognizes and is celebrating and rallying behind all the unique ways in which babies experience love, sleep and play.

Check out all the adorableness in this video:

Pampers is calling parents across North America to submit photos of their babies experiencing Love, Sleep or Play to be in the running to appear on Pampers Facebook page, Twitter feed and our special online gallery.  Plus, they could be a part of a huge surprise New York City celebration this August.

I want to enter all these cute babies that I know and love but I'm sure that their mamis beat me to it.  Will you be submitting your moments with baby?

This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Pampers.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

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The Potty Papers: Epilogue

If I had delusions that my baby girl was NOT growing up, they have now been summarily dismissed. I have been putting off writing about this about this because, with it comes the realization that the little 6 lb 4.4 oz little bundle that I carried in my belly is now well on her way to early childhood.

It is my pleasure to announce that for the last few weeks the frog princess has been sleeping in her undies. And though I positively adore Pampers I am happy to say that we are a diaper free home now!

How exactly did this happen and why am I sad over it? I remember I couldn't wait to get her potty trained. Ya'll remember, don't you?

I am sad because time is moving faster than I care to admit.  Wasn't I just pregnant with her? I look back and see that it was three years ago this month that I found out I was having a girlchild.  THREE YEARS!

And now all I am left with are beautiful images of my little bundle and that same spirit that she's always had.

On her first day at home and that same outfit next to her last size of diapers. Wow.

The Scoop on Potty Training:

I started doing this in May when I knew she would be going to school. While I used the "one day potty training" method, let me tell you, it's not all done in one day. But, as I'm sure you've heard, the key is consistency. Once I figured out that her Easy Ups were keeping her from figuring out when she was wet and keeping me from being consistent, everything changed.

Okay so, I'm here to tell you that we still have timing issues with the poop. This was definitely the hardest thing to get her to tell us. It still is. And then it's so sad (and cute) to hear her tell us: I'm so, so sorry (with a slight lisp, hands together head bowed and puppy eyes staring at you with a slight pout of the lips - this chick should be on TV!).

Just last Sunday she pooped in her pants rather than miss out on fun (I will never understand this). The first time she pooped in the big girl potty she told me she was scared. Who is scared of not having poop up against their bottom, I ask? Apparently, all toddlers. Who knew? This was also her way of keeping control. There were a couple of times that she held it for a couple of days. Don't panic if this is happening to you.

Some pretty awesome docs recommended that I just give her foods that would make her poop. I found dried blueberries to be the magic pill and now keep her eating them regularly for, well, regularity.

If you are just starting on this potty training journey, welcome and DON'T GIVE UP!  One day very soon you'll look back at the diaper days and actually think back on them fondly. That is, until you actually have to change another diaper.  How were your potty training experiences?

For more on potty training check these out:  The Potty Papers: Ready  The Potty Papers: Set The Princess and the Potty Wearing the Big Girl Panties

 

Pissing Match

For the last couple of weeks, the frog princess has been leaking at night. Well, she hasn't, the diaper has. Now let me say that I am a loyal fan of Pampers. I used swaddlers with her and moved on to baby dry when she started wearing bigger sizes. Now, she used to have accidents sometimes which was understandable because my baby drinks a ton of water. Here's the thing, all of a sudden it's been happening REGULARLY and I've especially noticed that it's been with this last box of diapers. She's in a size 4. The big problem is that in the last week, she's been waking up in the middle of the night crying and all wet. So her sleep was disturbed as was mine.

This past weekend I just had it! I was pissed (pun totally intended). I posted a frustrated tweet on Sunday night. Funny enough, Pampers replied and asked that I call. After explaining the situation, I was told to go ahead and move her up to a size 5 because they are more absorbent and also that I should pick up the overnighters. Because I'm only halfway through my current box of size 4's, Pampers said they'd send me some coupons for diapers which I appreciated. But mostly, I just want my baby to not wake up wet. Their advice went a long way.

I grabbed some size 5's which seem to be working. Publix did not have Pampers overnighters but they did have Huggies so I grabbed those because at 6:30 I can't possibly go store hopping to look for the brand. The size 5's are working well during the day. Night 1 of the Huggies and she woke up a little wet though not in the middle of the night. I was grateful for the night's sleep and not having to change sheets and jammies and cleaning my frog princess up. Night 2, she woke up dry with the Huggies and I was VERY happy.

Today is the 3rd night and I felt like I was dressing one of the astronauts. She thought it was hilarious as I poked, prodded and ensured that she was tightened in the right places, equally covered, etc. I've never taken so much care to put on a diaper as I did tonight. When I get my coupons I will try the Pampers Overnighters.

I don't know about you but, I am VERY brand loyal and especially with the things that I use on my baby girl. I'm a Pampers girl all the way and especially after seeing that they took the care to reach out to make sure that my frustration was handled. Good customer service goes a long way!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Of course, this begs the question as I am about to embark on potty training: has the pissing match just begun? What do you guys do when you have leaky diapers? What type of diapers do you use? Which ones are your favorites? Here's hoping to a piss free night!