Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BobbieJean's 2 pc Tong Set Review and Give-A-Way!

    You may not know this but my husband and I LOVE to cook! When we go shopping we always end up in the kitchen section. When we went to bed bath and beyond for a wedding registry, I am not the one who did the scanning. Nope the man got trigger happy over everything you could possibly use to cook and serve in. My job became keeping him on track as far as matching and color scheme. We got some awesome stuff though! Thank you to all of you who read the registry! Ha ha

    A while back I discovered the power of Amazon. Ordering online made my life so much easier! With a little one at home we can't always run out and shop like we used to, so now we shop from the comfort of our home. Somethings, however, never change we still end up in the kitchenware section. Ha ha

    Our most recent order was a set of tongs made by Bobbie Jean's Kitchenware. We got the item in less than a week and were amped to put them to proper use! Me, being the baker, was psyched about the bonus spatula! I've been using the same dollar store one for far too long. I love the look of this set. They have a very practical yet visually appealing design. So you can put those handy loops they strategically placed on the ends of all three items. Oh yes, there are three items! It comes with a 12" and 9" set of tongs as well as the spatula. The 9" is my personal fave since I have small hands and the longer ones just seem to be too much. I know they are for further reach but I'm not for lack of arm stretch so the shorter ones suit me fine. The rubber grip on the handles made them so much easier to control and maneuver.
I definitely recommend this product and will be anxiously awaiting website going live! For now you can check them out on Facebook:

Guess what?! I get to do a give-a-way!!!

The first person to follow the link from my Facebook page to this review and then leave a comment on the post of the review with the words "pickle popsicle" gets a set just like the amazing set I just reviewed!

* Disclaimer: I received this product at a discounted price in return for an honest review. All statements are true to my personal experience. All photographs are property of Dear Mrs. Adkins.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Every Pregnancy is DIFFERENT!

Why  do moms feel the need to scare hopeful, expecting, or new mommies? We constantly post about how we love our babies and our new 'role' as a mommy. Yet, when someone asks how it is, more times than not, they are fed the nasty details of pregnancy, birth, and labor. Only to end the horror story with a confession of love. Wait, what? But you just said....

This is very confusing and horrifying for the woman on the receiving end. So, why do we do this? We want to support new mommies, right? Yes, pregnancy, labor, and delivery are scary. Yes, sometimes things don't go as planned, but please remember EVERY SINGLE PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT. What happened to Jane Doe, or even your mom, most likely will not be your experience!

With that being said, here is the jist of MY experience. It's not meant to scare or glorify. It is just the truth, honesty.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

I had been sick off and on for a few weeks, sometimes more so than others. It came in waves and was normally early morning or late evening. We had been 'trying' for about 6 months. So I was psyched when that stick said it was positive. Over the next few weeks morning sickness got worse and worse. It continued to kick my butt for the next 6 months. Yup, that's seven months of all-day-sickness. It was day and night. I got sick in the car so much I even had to carry a Tupperware bowl with me just to make it to work. Those poor people at red lights. It sucked, there were days that I couldn't move from the couch. I couldn't even hold down water. And none of the little tricks worked. I tried everything: the little candies made specifically for morning sickness, popsicles, eating crackers before getting out of bed, drinking 64oz of water, taking B12, phenergan, Nothing worked! I got dehydrated once to the point of needing a drip, despite my best effort to avoid it. Many people were prescribed zofran to help ease morning sickness, but my Doctor wouldn't let me take it. Would you believe other moms got irate with me about this? I believe because if they had taken it, they took it offensively that my Doctor is basically saying they shouldn't have. Some Doctors still prescribe it. My doctor just chose not to for certain reasons and I definitely wasn't going to push the issue against his professional advice. So I dealt with it. Yes, sometimes I wished I could give up. I wished I could have it easier. I wished I was as lucky as so and so who hasn't been sick at all. However, so and so was going through different problems. Being sick sucked, but with much effort it wasn't hurting my baby for me to feel like I had been beaten and left in a ditch to die. However, so and so had been put on bed rest from eclampsia! She was scared, I didn't blame her. Eclampsia can be very serious if not caught and controlled. It can hurt the mom and the baby, even cause death. Sickness was nothing compared to that.

I only had one scare during my pregnancy. I am O-neg blood type, so from the beginning I was told I needed to get a shot that would prevent any complications. No big deal, I can take a shot. Then the phone call came that informed me I had already been in contact with a positive blood type and since I hadn't had a blood transfusion it could only mean I had miscarried before. Ouch, that hurt. I lost a baby and didn't know it? Yes, it hurt my heart, but it's far from uncommon for a woman to miscarry and not know. I wasn't sure of the risks of having the antibody and couldn't get any answers because no one really knew. They just kept saying it was rare. From that point on I had to have blood drawn and tested every two weeks in order to keep an eye on the titer value of that positive antibody.  Thankfully the titer only bumped up a small amount once and still wasn't enough to cause concern.

All of my other tests were passed with flying colors, but so and so had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to be put on a special diet. The rest of my pregnancy was uneventful. Which I am definitely not complaining about. And after getting over the all-day-sickness at 7 months my only issue was heartburn. Boy oh boy the heartburn!

Three days before my due date I had run out of zyrtec. I can't go a day without allergy meds with out ending up with a full blown sinus infection the next day. So at 2 days before the due date I was a miserable ball of sneezing shotty mess! I had spent the day working from home, after being told the day before by a co-worker that no one wanted to be at the office with me there. Rude, yes, but considering the source it shouldn't have surprised me. I am a computer tech, I work with fellow computer techs....We aren't known to be the most socially able group. Unfortunately, there isn't a video game that teaches these guys how to deal with a pregnant woman. Thankfully, I build websites so as long as I have internet connection I can work. Anyway, I spent the entire day sneezing my guts out. My husband came home from work with zyrtec. I immediately took two and asked if we could go for a walk. I was hoping fresh air would help with the sneezing and itchy eyes. We walked about a mile with me sneezing at every step. I joked about being surprised I hadn't caused my water to break....20 minutes later, it broke. Honestly, I wasn't sure at first. It felt more like I had wet myself. I called several people to ask before deciding I should go to the hospital just in case. In the car it finished breaking. I flooded the front seat, but was feeling no pain at all. We made it to the hospital and into a room with no hiccups and still no pain around 7:30pm. Around 10 pm  we decided I'd be ok to take a nap so our family and friends left the room. Sometime between 11 and twelve I rolled over to my right side so I could watch the monitor. Almost immediately the pain kicked in and gradually got worse. So I finally changed my mind and practically begged the nurse for an epidural. The doctor came in and checked me. I was only 6cm so they started setting up an IV drip because you have to have a full bag before they administer the epidural. Almost half a bag later the nurse came in and I needed to go before I wet myself so she helped me to the bathroom. When I sat down it felt like he was gonna come out in the toilet. I got back to the bed and was checked again. was about to be on and much to my dismay too late to get an epidural. A few minutes later I was pushing. Trust me there was no choice in the matter. My body literally made me push. The pain was indescribable. The Johnny Cash song "burning ring of fire" played over and over in my head. They laid my perfect little man on my chest and started sewing me up. I felt every needle prick, that sucked too. Our little man was born at 1:11am. It was the happiest most painful moment of my life. I forgot all the sickness, all the heartburn, all the pain the second I looked into his eyes. We had done it, he was here and the worst part was over and we had survived. That is all that mattered.

Key points:
●morning sickness my rear, more like all day and night sickness
●drinking water helps with swelling
●cooking in a cast iron skillet will boost your iron levels
●preggo jeans are not comfortable despite the stretchy waste band
●waters do break like they do in the movies
●everyone has an opinion, which you have the right to ignore
●I saw my actual OB a handful of times during my pregnancy, the rest of the time it was a Nurse Prac
●another doctor delivered my baby
●oh!! despite my drug allergy being listed in my chart I was still repeatedly offered pain meds so make sure you stay on top of what you are given!
●I left my birth plan at home, but never needed it
●when the pain starts find something else to focus on and I mean FOCUS
all of your being. For me it was a vent clamp on the ceiling directly above my head. I felt like I was burning a hole into it.

It has been 3 months since I gave birth. I feel awesome, my little man is healthy, and though I remember being sick and the pain the details are so faint that I can see now why people say you don't remember any of it eventually. All I feel now is an overwhelming love that I had been told about but didn't grasp until my little man was out in my arms. It grows stronger everyday, with every smile, every giggle every touch.

To new, expecting, or hopeful mommies: Pregnancy is temporary and everyone has a completely different experience. So just because so and so did that, doesn't mean it will happen to you. Pregnancy is downright amazing, I actually grew a set of balls! Haha Do not be afraid of things you can not control, just go with it and know it will not last forever. Enjoy every minute of the miracle and be proud that you are strong enough to handle it. You can do this, You are not alone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why We Don't Cry It Out

"You are spoiling him. We will all have to deal with it when he becomes a whiney needy toddler! He needs to cry it out." Yep, I'm actually quoting someone. Was little man being fussy at the time? Nope! So what brought on this unwarranted advice? Well, honestly probably just the need for a parent to offer two cents, but it got me thinking. I've said it numerous times and I still stand by it. If he doesn't have a reason to cry then he won't. I firmly believe that when he cries he needs something. Whether it be food, a clean diaper, or simple human interaction, I will provide. He has no other way of communication. At three months old my little man can't tell me what's wrong and he sure can't help himself to whatever he requires for happiness. What am I here for if not to make sure his every need is fulfilled? Yes! Human touch is most definitely a need in infant development. Many people swear that by not letting him cry it out he will be socially stunted. A simple Google search will prove this to be a myth. There are actual studies that show it's quite the opposite. That babies who have had to cry it out can be challenged physically, emotionally, and socially.
Not letting him cry it out does not mean that when little man cries we pick him up coddle and soothe him back to sleep no matter what time it is or how long it takes. It's so much easier than that. I have been going off this same belief since day one and with the exception of when he had surgery , and that time his tummy got into a bind, our little man hasn't had to cry for a period longer than two to five minutes tops.
I have gotten pretty good at understanding why he is crying when he cries. Of course, him being hungry is the easiest to figure out, for the most part, because of his signs. He chews on his hands or anything that comes within inches of his mouth or he smacks his tongue a lot to let me know he needs sustenance. We do feedings like rituals. I always change the little man's diaper before he eats in case he falls asleep soon after. Eliminating the probability of having to do so after he eats and ultimately waking him up.
When he needs a diaper change he gets fussy, not a full on cry, just whiny and fidgety. Who could get comfy when swaddled in their own secretions after all? A few wipes, some powder and he's happy and baby fresh in no time.
When he's sleepy he fidgets endlessly, kicking and throwing his arms wildly while....and this is key....rubbing his face. Little man can't help himself, if he is sleepy that face will either be buried in the closest cushion, arm, stuffed animal, or his own hands. Sometimes he can be pacified with his paci, others I need to rock him. Either way I don't expect him to put himself to sleep completely by himself. The trick is to get him right to the point of heavy eyes and then lay him down and allow him naturally doze off. He will wake up a few times while he sleeps and cry out, but placing a hand on his back, or speaking to him, will calm him within seconds.
When he just wants attention he cries but with no tears and is very easily distracted. So when he starts this I take the opportunity to do activity time. We practice rolling over or sitting up. We hang out on our tummys or backs and play with toys. Sometimes, we just sit and read a book.
Coddling and soothing does happen. From time to time a little cuddling or pacing the floor is necessary, but as with most things once the crying stops I can resume whatever tedious task required my attention. Maybe we got lucky. Our little man is so easily pleased or distracted from things that cause him to cry out.
Everyone is different. What works for us will not work for everyone. So I'm not at all trying to give advice on how to be a parent. I simply believe that our little one doesn't cry to manipulate us. He cries because it is his only means of communication. If I stop trusting my motherly instincts my baby will do the same.
Here is a great article about this very subject and the research behind it.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Kudos for Awkward

I'm guilty, I browse Amazon's free book lists for my fix. Since becoming a mommy I have invested in a number of books  both ebooks and good old fashioned paper and ink. I get 1/4 of the way through it before the little man wakes up or something equally attention demanding beckons me away. So I found the freebies to help relieve the guilt of all these partially read novels taking up space in my home and on my tablet. I do, however, apologize to the authors of the rare gems that shine through the stacks of freebie abundance. Every so often I finish a book and think, nice, I would have happily paid for that! Though deep down we all know I'm secretly happy I got something awesome for nothing.

Last night I finished one such gem! "The Story of Awkward" by J.K. Ryals. It was cute, it was honest, it tickled my fantasy and would have even steamed up my glasses, had I the need for such, at other times.

Thankfully, my little man loves to be rocked and I'm a mommy that aims to please. Tablet in hand rocking in a hand-me-down wooden rocking chair I lull my little one to dreams while devouring pages of fantasy, mystery, horror, and the occasional romance. I consider this to be the life.
Tablets are handy little things, I'm even writing this post on one. I use mine mainly for entertainment during times when hand freedom is limited. When I'm not using the Kindle app, I Google, anything and everything. I even Google people. I'm not a stalker just curious, I even googled our pediatrician and glanced at her social media pages. Hey, it's there at your finger tips, use it. Knowledge is power!  So after finishing "The Story of Awkward" I googled Mrs. R.K. Ryals. I found that she has several other books available so I can make up for not buying the one. I also found that she is from my home state!  So here is to embracing your awkward and supporting the home team.... R.K. Ryals, look her up on Amazon. "The Story of Awkward" is bound to touch your heart in one way or another. Thank you Mrs. Ryals for sharing your talent, heart, and soul with the masses and high-five for being a fellow Mississippian!

Check out her website
Amazon kindle edition here!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Please allow me to introduce myself

 For 25 years I swore I would never have kids. I repeatedly blamed it on my selfishness and honestly believed I would not be having any children. Even my husband agreed, we just wanted to enjoy each other.

 We dated for about 4 years before we said our "I do's" . We had a simple outdoor wedding with the reception in an old restaurant known as the rootbeer saloon. It wasn't actually a saloon, and was located in a dry county. A strategic move on my part that doesn't necessarily work when one of your groomsman carries a cooler at all times. The night went surprisingly well considering I had basically planned the entire thing and I am admittedly not the most organized individual. I hand made anything I could figure out how to do and loved every odd ball piece that resulted. I wasn't a nervous wreck on the big day either, I was giddy as all get out though. I giggled like a school girl the entire time. I just couldn't believe that someone so amazingly talented, and handsome, and sweet would choose me to spend the rest of his life with. I was on cloud nine!

 A few months before our wedding, something inside us changed. We both decided we wanted to have a family. So as soon as the wedding was over we started trying. I found out I was pregnant in March, that it was a boy in June, and we met him in October. I have plans of posting more about all of this at a later date, for know I'll just share the 'cliffsnotes'.

 Soon after our little man arrived my husband's mom's battle with cancer took it's toll. She left us in the beginning of December. Though we all knew it was coming, no one could have expected it to happen so soon. Or perhaps we just refused to see the truth. Either way my husband was most hurt that our little man would have to grow up without her.

 All these events set in motion an emotional roller coaster inside everyone around me. I thought back to when I was pregnant and had questions it helped to read other people's experiences. I dove into blogs of all sorts, from birth, to parenthood, to photography and crochet. ha! Suddenly I felt the need to know a little bit about everything.
 Several times the bloggers confessed that blogging helped them keep their sanity. That getting everything from tutorials to thoughts down in one place helped them sort through this beautifully messy life. So here's to those ladies and gents for the motivation and inspiration to write Dear Mrs. Adkins......

Shout Out!

Memories, one of those things that last for a while but gradually fade over time. Unless you have an awesome photographer...or photographers.  I never knew how important photos were until I met the miracle duo April & Paul of AprilandPaul Photography. Soon after getting engaged I set out to find our engagement/wedding photographers. For weeks I emailed and googled and searched and read reviews, but ultimately I fell in love with a quirky video that April and Paul had on their site. It wasn't long, it wasn't even narrated, just captioned with a cutesy song playing in the background. After watching the video I felt I already knew this pair. The awkwardness of meeting someone knew and having them shove a camera in my face was eased just a bit by seeing that these two were just like us. Except waaaay more talented with a camera! I rummaged through their blog and website. I oo'd and awed at the beautiful people and sceneries. Check some out here! There was something about their photos that made me feel like I had been present at these beautiful events. I could feel the love. The tenderness of a kiss gave me chills. The sweet smile of a mother warmed my heart. I just knew I wanted these two to photograph my memories.
Let me tell you something, photographers are expensive, but luckily my dad offered to foot the bill as our wedding present and April & Paul worked out a payment plan and set a date for the engagement pics.  April did a blog post about this very issue. Read about it here. I was ecstatic, I almost felt like I was meeting celebrities when they showed up on the day of the engagement shoot. They were professional but not corporate. It was like hanging out with our buddies while they took a few pics. The pictures that resulted were magical. Want to see? Look here! I'm not a fan of posed photography. They look very awkward and uncomfortable. April and Paul set up the pose but allow you to fall into a relaxed position before snapping away. They do this with simple conversation. Basically, this is where I want you now tell me how you met? It worked! They got real smiles and even one glare. The results were amazing! Try picking a's impossible! Looking at our engagement pics made us on anxious to see how they'd capture our wedding. But details on that are for a later date. All of this was a long way of saying thank you April and Paul! Thank you for giving me pocket sized memories I can carry with me always!

My DIY Wedding

I had a jump on planning my wedding, a 2 year leap was more like it.  My then fiance and I had been together for 2 going on 3 years when he proposed. I had no clue it was even coming.  He did the southern thing and went to my parents for permission, so it seems everyone knew but me! That's a story for another time. Let's just leave it with a word of appreciation for the old way of doing things. I was very touched that he had asked for my hand in marriage. Getting the blessing from my family wasn't something I had ever really stressed. We aren't exactly steeped in tradition, nor was I a youngin' who had not experienced the world, but I digress. 
We ( the hubster and I) both knew the importance of my finishing the associates degree in Computer Networking I had started at the ripe age of 25 and would be finishing just short of my 28th birthday. Hey atleast I did it. For this reason we set the wedding for after graduation. The October after to be exact. Perfect Mississippi weather time! 
Starting the planning right after the engagement, I knew I wanted things that I could start making now and collect till the wedding. I poured through magazines/ezines, blogs, and pinterest. Pinterest being the most helpful ofcourse. I started a pinterest board with my wedding hopes, dreams,and diy ideas. 
Time goes by
Almost a year and a half later and I realize I am about to graduate and get married. I had a preacher, I had a venue, I even had a wedding photographer. (Well, An awesome photographer duo whose work you can drool over below and I'm sure you will see several places in this blog in the future.View their site!
.....but I had not made anything. I had collected a dining room full of stuff, I just hadn't put anything together. So then the mad rush was on. Here are a few things that resulted of a brides DIY madness.

1.My Bouquet.

I started collecting brooches soon after the engagement. I knew I wanted flowers with sustainability. I had every intention of making my bouquet, as well as the bridesmaids' bouquets, and groomsmans' boutineers, way in advance. Which did not happen....
I asked the moms and aunts to keep an eye out for neat inexpensive brooches. I wound up with 70+ brooches, and only a few didn't make it into the bouquet. 
You can find several tutorials for making brooch bouquets on Google and Pinterest. I used a burlap hydrangea to thread my brooches through as underlying stability. With out it all the brooches just looked droopy and wouldn't stay in place. 
Tutorials tell you to use a wire to wrap around the pin part of the brooch and then thread the free end like a stem through the underlying stability flowers. The burlap hydrangea in my case. In place of wire I used guitar strings because we have an abundance of used ones thanks to the hubster. After wrapping with the I wrapped the wire with floral tape. Your brooch should now look like a flower. Make a bouquet with all of your stemmed brooches. Wrap all stems together tightly with floral tape, then cover with any material you choose. I used burlap 

2. Bridesmaid Bouquets and Groomsman Boutineers.

These are made from scrapbook paper, floral wire, floral tape, and burlap ribbon. 
I made these here for tutorial.
After making the flower I poked the floral wire through the bottom, stabilized the flower to the wire stem with floral tape, made a bouquet, and wrapped the handle the same as on my bouquet.

3. Signage.

For this I simply spray painted a canvas black and then used paint markers of various color to write the names and positions of our bridal party. This one sign saved me from having to have bulletins printed. It's a wedding, you pretty much know what's going on and since we were among for short and sweet we didn't feel the need to print an itinerary. I apologize if this half-hazard approach to our wedding is offensive, but we were just happy to be married. To be getting a piece of paper that made us one legal entity. The wedding was our celebration. We didn't want it to turn into a source of stress. 

  4. The Guest Guitar and Advice book

 My husband and I are musical people. It plays a very important roll in our lives. My husband is a guitar magician. Because of this we wanted something that we could display in our home. We spray painted an old guitar and had everyone sign it with a sharpie. It is now mounted on the living room wall above the couch. A constant reminder of an amazing day spent celebrating love with friends and family. 
 The advice book is from a Shutterfly. I simply uploaded pictures, personalized it, and clicked order. Easy and we will have it for years. Every page showcasing one of our beautiful engagement photos and/or living advice from attendants. 

5. The Arch
Yup, I found the idea on Pinterest and my mother-in-law and father-in-law made it a reality. They found the doors and he made it into an arch. I now have it stored away waiting for spring so it can be used as a trellis adorned with roses.

6. My dog
I didn't create him but I did include my dog.  He has been my constant through good and bad times. He was my only child and is my best friend. I could not have imagined celebrating such an important day without all of my family. 

It's your wedding, no matter what anyone else thinks or says do what makes you happy, because in 40 years the memories are all you have. 

Special thanks to April and Paul Photography!