VBAC vs. C-Section

October 6, 2015

VBAC vs. C-Section

For those of you who are new here, I had my first baby (Hudson) via a scheduled c-section, and chose to have my second baby (Sadie) vaginally. Today I'm going to share my VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) story with you....so if you are not interested in reading about birth and labor go ahead and click that x and we'll see you tomorrow.

 I shared my reasons for wanting a VBAC here, but to review: a VBAC would be safer for me than surgery, hopefully I would have an easier recovery, and I was a good candidate because my c-section was due to a breech baby and not failure to progress or baby getting stuck. I also had a doctor who was 100% committed and confident in my ability to have a VBAC and I was delivering at a hospital that was capable of monitoring me and making sure I was safe and so was my baby. If you are considering having a VBAC please discuss your options with your doctor.

Okay. I'm just going to say it. I've delivered a baby both via c-section and vaginally and I have to say it sort of makes me feel like super mom. I know that's silly, but I am really proud of myself for doing what I had to do to get those sweet babes here. And every mom should feel that way too, no matter how your baby entered in to the world. I have learned this: There is no fun way to have a baby. This post is in no way meant to judge anyone for their decision. It is simply a comparison of my experiences of having both a vaginal birth and a c-section.

Let's break it down...shall we?

- Contractions are....no fun.  My experience with my first baby was a little different in that I had a scheduled c-section for 11am but my water broke on it's own that morning at 4am. So by the time I got to the hospital I was having mild contractions. But they were nothing compared to the contractions I experienced the second go-around. You can read Sadie's birth story here, but during labor I definitely had a "what was I thinking?" moment. I mean...it was awful. Contractions were coming so fast and hard I couldn't focus on anything but the pain. I started to doubt my decision. Everything during labor felt so foreign and I would have known more what to expect if I was having a repeat c-section. But I'm so glad I stuck to my plan. As soon as I got my epidural I was like "yeah....I can do this. Bring it." Seriously the epidural was a game changer for me. For those of you who have natural births, hats off to you. I couldn't do it. 

- Pushing a baby out made me feel empowered. Everyone was cheering me on and knowing that my baby was literally right there was SO motivating. That feeling was missing from my c-section experience. I still felt proud and excited about having my baby, so don't get me wrong. It's just that there is something about the encouragement from your spouse and everyone in the room while you push a baby out that just makes you feel a sense of accomplishment. And it was much more exciting. I pushed for just under an hour, and honestly it felt like a long time but not that long. Pushing was hard....but adrenaline definitely kicked in.  My epidural was great in that I didn't feel any pain but could feel pressure and knew when to push. It was just such an awesome and empowering experience that I don't feel like I got during my c-section.

- As soon as my epidural wore off, I was up walking around with minimal discomfort. With my c-section I wasn't able to get out of bed until the next day. My husband was in shock this time when I stood up and walked around...and he was so so so happy. With our first baby, he had to do basically all of the baby care, which was overwhelming for a new dad. But with a VBAC I was able to get the baby on my own and didn't feel as helpless.

- I wasn't as heavily medicated. With my c-section I was on all kinds of pain meds and they just made me feel more tired. And itchy....so so so itchy. With a VBAC I took pain meds but they weren't as heavy duty and I definitely noticed a difference in my alertness.

- The trauma to my body was a lot less. I had a 2nd degree tear on my lady bits with my VBAC but it was NOTHING compared to being cut open and then stapled shut with a c-section. It's all a matter of perspective, I'm sure, but for me, it was a lot easier to heal and feel more like myself after the VBAC. With my c-section, it took several weeks to not feel like my incision was going to bust open. I also took my pain meds for 3 weeks straight. But with a vaginal birth I hurt a lot less and healed a lot more quickly.

- I got to leave the hospital earlier. I hated staying in the hospital with both of my babies. I know some people love it, but for me there were constant interruptions by nurses, techs, and staff and I got basically no sleep. With a vaginal birth we got to leave after one night and with a c-section I had to stay two nights.

- There was more after birth bleeding. Every mom knows that after you have a baby you have to deal with postpartum bleeding. When you have a c-section they suction a lot of that blood out for you, so you bleed but it doesn't last as long. With a vaginal birth you have to get all that blood out the old fashioned way. Not fun.

- I was sore. The day after having a baby my butt, arms, neck, and chest were so sore from gripping my legs and pulling my body up into a push position.

- Overall, my mood was better. Once I got home I had to take it easy with a vaginal birth, but I didn't feel as helpless as I did after having a c-section. Walking around or going up and down stairs wasn't as hard after a vaginal birth. 

- Long term recovery was much quicker with a vaginal birth. It took several months to feel like myself after having a c-section. My incision healed but I could still feel it when I would move or if clothing would touch it the wrong way. It's also still slightly numb right over my scar. With a vaginal birth I felt like myself a lot more quickly. But....things were not quite the same down there, if you know what I mean. That took a little bit longer. Ha.

So for me, a vaginal birth was a lot better experience than a c-section. For me, the only good thing about having a c-section was that I didn't have to go through the pain of contractions. With that said, I would pick contractions, labor, and pushing hands down over a c-section.

I also want to note that probably some of my feelings about having a vaginal birth also have a lot to do with the fact that it was my second baby. I wasn't as nervous or scared the second time around because I knew more of what to expect. I think that if I would have had to had a repeat c-section it would have gone a little better than the first time, just for that reason. Knowing what to expect would have made my recovery a little easier too.

I know a lot of you are in my same situation and trying to decide what is best for you and your baby. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

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Hey Friday

October 2, 2015

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So happy to see Friday come around! This little lady and her brother have been conspiring against me in the sleep department this week, so I'm looking forward to a little down time......oh but wait, I have to pack up my house this weekend instead. Yay me. 

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Thank you all for your sweet comments on our new house news!  It turns out a lot of you want all the details (yay!) so I'll be spilling them for you as we go. Yesterday we made a trip over to the house and the first floor was totally framed! Some rooms felt big and some felt smaller than we thought...which we were told is normally what happens during this stage. So fingers crossed it all feels right once the walls are really up. There have been a lot of sleepless nights already over this house, so I'm praying it all turns out how we pictured! We've been calling it "the land" for forever and every night Hudson begs to "go to the wand please mommy?" He was totally digging this big digger. 

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Hudson is still all over the place with his Halloween costume requests. This week he decided he wanted to be Captain America. He has never seen any of the movies or toys but Captain America and his gang of friends are on his tooth brush and tooth paste and he's obsessed. We'll see who he wants to be next week. Hudson was pretty excited about his "spooky bat bag" our friends at Peekawho sent him! Sadie got a pumpkin one and both kids have their name embroidered on them....love it! You can see them on Peekawho's site here. Use code "BOOREDSHOES" for 10% off trick or treat bags. 

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Does anyone use Huggies Reward points? I've been collecting them since Hudson was little and keep cashing them in for Gap/Old Navy gift cards! For the next two days they are doubling the value of rewards points...so don't miss out! More details here

Have a great weekend my friends!

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife.

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I've Got a Secret

October 1, 2015

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So...I've been keeping a little secret from all of you. We are building a house! And we've already started! Because we don't have enough going on already...let's add a major project, right?

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I'm finally coming out of the fog of new baby + new house decisions + current house showings....which means I finally get to share our big news. Here's little Sadie on our land just before they broke ground. Yep....this California girl is going to be living in the woods. It's a big change for me but I'm so excited!

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My husband and Hudson at the "big giant hole." As you can imagine, this process is basically Hudson's dream come true.

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Dirt + trucks = Hudson is the happiest boy EVER.

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So far they've put in the foundation for the house, the basement, and have started working on the first floor. 

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I've picked out every single fixture, appliance, flooring, and hardware in the house already....so all that's left is to decide on paint colors! Well, and for the guys to actually build the house. But still. Making ALL THE DECISIONS (plus getting our current house ready to sell and dealing with showings too) just weeks after having a baby was no joke....but it's done and I can't wait to see it all come together. I'll be blogging about the process for anyone who is interested. Once we get some walls up I'll be sure to share a little tour with you all!

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If you have any questions please let me know...I'll try to include the answers in an upcoming post. I'm nosy and love these kind of details from other bloggers...but I have no clue what you all want to know, so be sure to ask! Also, we are moving out of our current house next week. Yikes. Send prayers. And wine. 

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Two Kids is Like....

September 29, 2015

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Having two kids is like.....

Wrestling two opponents at one time where one is a crazy drunk raccoon and the other is a baby koala that clings to your neck and never leaves your boob.

Driving past your destination and telling your toddler you "forgot how to get there" just so you can squeeze in an extra 15 minutes of nap for the baby.

Eating the cold mac n' cheese off of your toddler's plate because it's likely your only chance to get lunch.

Having a stranger hold your crying baby while you sit in the hairdresser's seat with a toddler in your lap because he's scared to sit by himself. And if he doesn't get a haircut right now he never will.

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Nursing a baby on the couch while the toddler naps next to you. It's such a sweet moment with both of your kids that you start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside...until you realize that warm feeling is actually toddler pee. 

A dance party in the middle of the kitchen during "the witching hour" to get the wiggles out.

Stealing a pack of fruit snacks and eating them in the bathroom.

Having discussions about boy parts and girl parts every time your toddler "helps" you change a diaper.

Having your toddler dictate the family's halloween costumes: Sadie is either going to be Thor or a helicopter. Not sure how I'm going to pull either of those off.

Getting slobbery kisses from two kids and loving every second of it.

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Laying your baby inside of your giant purse on the floor of the library bathroom while you help your toddler hover over the toilet seat. True story. Note to self: never forget to bring the carseat with you to the bathroom.

Nursing a baby while playing catch. Nursing a baby while crashing toy cars in to each other. Nursing a baby while talking in a batman voice. Nursing a baby while playing a game you don't understand,  has no rules, and involves you being the "bad guy."

Sending your toddler on pretend missions to fetch a burp cloth/wipe/diaper just to have 30 seconds of peace.

Getting so excited that both kids are napping at the same time that you spend the entire 20 minutes of the nap overlap texting your mom about it. 

Racing out of bed when one kid cries out in the middle of the night so that he or she doesn't wake the other.

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Thinking that having just one kid with you on an errand feels like a luxury.

Praying that the baby's diaper doesn't leak all over the place because you forgot to pack an extra outfit.

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Luckily, that last one can be prevented by purchasing quality diapers, like these. Now that Sadie is rolling around, grabbing her feet, and becoming more and more mobile, we've switch over to using Huggies Little Movers diapers and I couldn't be happier!

The new Huggies Little Movers Diapers have a moving baby system for outstanding grip, fit, and wetness protection which absorbs on contact. So Sadie can so get the most out of every little move as she begins to kick, roll, crawl and walk. Lord help me...I'm not ready for my baby to grow up!

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Be sure to visit Huggies and upload a photo or video to Instagram or Twitter of your moving baby using #SetBabyFree for the chance to be featured on Huggies social pages!

How have you adjusted to two kids? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments!

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8 Tips for Potty Training and Keeping Your Sanity

September 24, 2015

Potty Training

I did it. Yes, I did the impossible and potty trained a toddler just a few short months after having a baby. And I didn't loose my mind. Forget the M&Ms and toys, I deserve a special treat, don't you think? In reality, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Hudson shocked us all and trained in 3 days. YES, 3 DAYS!

Want to know my secrets? I'm not a potty training expert, but here are my 8 tips for potty training and keeping your sanity:

1. Wait until your child is ready. SHOCKER. What can I say? If you came here for some super miracle potty training technique then you came to the wrong place. It sounds simple, but waiting was the key to our success. Hudson's pediatrician recommended we wait to train him until he was close to 3 years old. He said we could torture ourselves for several weeks or months by trying too early, or we could wait until he was ready and train in a few days. Well, the wait paid off because Hudson rocked the potty train like nobody's business. 

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather change more diapers than have to clean poop and pee off of every surface in my house. Can I get an amen?

2. Praise. Lots and lots of praise. We cheered, clapped, high fived, and danced our way to the potty train. Every success was celebrated so that our big boy felt proud of his accomplishments. And he should be proud. Using the potty is a big deal! If Hudson had an accident, we quickly cleaned him up and moved on. Zero negativity was vital to our success.

3. Bribes. Yep, I said it. My name is Julie and I bribe my child. M&Ms did the trick for us. Each time Hudson used the potty he got one M&M. Two for #2. The first few days we would remind him that he would get an M&M, but then we stopped mentioning it. If he asked for an M&M we would give him one, but he soon forgot to even ask! Also, we used these just for potty training and not any other type of reward, so they were a special treat.

4. Ditch those diapers. Once it was potty day, we ditched the diapers and rocked undies. Pull-Ups are great, but they feel like a diaper, so don't even bother (except at nap-time...more on that later). Wearing undies not only helped Hudson feel like a big boy, they also helped him feel when he was wet. 

5. Don't leave the house. Wait to potty train until you can stay at home for at least 3 days. Because potty training while at Target is...the worst. Wait until you feel confident in your child's ability to let you know when they need to potty before you head out of the house. If you can't do this within 5 days then I think you've jumped the gun on potty training. We didn't leave the house for three days while we trained. Fun times.

6. Potty Options. If you have baby, buy your toddler a little potty in addition to a potty seat for each toilet in your house. (To find out what seats we used, see below.) Toddlers don't really understand how to hold it. When they have to go, they have to go RIGHT NOW! Since most of the time I can be found either nursing a baby or holding a baby, a little potty was a lifesaver for me! Hudson can get on it without my help, and I don't have to worry about him falling or tripping while using a step stool. It definitely comes in handy when Hudson has to go and I'm in the middle of taking care of Sadie. The only problem is he prefers it to using a potty seat.....which is a major downfall of a little potty.....because cleaning it is zero fun. So if you don't have another young child to tend to I recommend skipping this and using potty seats only.

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Kind of like tip #1, wait to potty train your child until they can communicate with you when they need to go to the potty. If they are too little to understand that, then it's too early to train them. Waiting until Hudson was able to communicate to us when he needed to go potty was another key to our success. I think girls reach this milestone before boys...another reason to wait! Hudson was about 3 weeks shy of turning 3 years old when we trained....but every kid is different.

8. A big reward. We let Hudson pick his reward ahead of time and he picked this backpack for school! We also kept reminding him that in order to go to pre-school he had to be able to pee on the potty every time. Hudson was so excited about school that this worked for us. Find something that motivates your child and remind them frequently of their reward.

So here's how it went down for us: 

Potty Training
Hudson was probably ready for a few weeks before we attempted to train him. Yep, that's right...I put it off. Mostly because I had a newborn to take care of and didn't have the energy for what I thought would be a big potty battle. But in order to go to pre-school Hudson had to be potty trained, so I had to get it done sooner rather than later. If I knew then what I know now, I would have just gone for it....but I had no idea he would knock it out in 3 days!

Day 1: 4 accidents. After an accident we would clean him up, remind him to tell us when he needed to use the potty, and move on. Absolutely no negativity of any kind!

Day 2: 0 accidents. Say what? This was probably a fluke.

Day 3: 1 accident. He told me he needed to go but I was on the phone and couldn't help him in time. My fault.

But that was it! We've been accident free since then! 

A note about Pull-Ups: Some people will say that a sign of being ready to potty train is your child waking up from a nap/bedtime with a dry diaper. Well. Hudson only did that a handful of times....so we stick him in a Pull-Up at nap time and bedtime. Lately he has been waking up from his naps dry, so it's about time to switch to undies. But I think we'll wait a little longer on the night time switch. Cleaning wet sheets is not on my list of fun things to do in my spare time. 

Here are a few things we found helpful when potty training........

Potty Training

1. A potty seat for each bathroom in your house. We have three....so we have one of these (which I like for boys because the front part comes up pretty high to prevent pee getting everywhere) and two of these (which I like because they have handles)....Hudson likes both seats equally.

2. A little potty. We used this firetruck potty and Hudson calls it his "car potty."

3. Flushable wipes are a must have for messes that need just a little more clean up. These ones are my favorites. Trust me on this one.

4. M&Ms. I'm not above bribing my kid and these did the trick!

5. Hudson enjoyed this little book about using the potty, which we read in the weeks leading up to training.

6. Cute undies. These days of the week truck undies are our favorites and Hudson loves picking out a pair each day. Not knowing how many we would go through in a day, I bought like 20 pairs. Turns out we didn't need that many, but you never know! And how cute are these? Love.

7. The Potette Plus. My aunt sent us this after someone recommended it to us on Instagram. It's great for potty-ing on the go. It can be used as a potty seat on a big potty or it can be it's on travel potty...it has legs that pop out and comes with disposable bags that you tie to it so your kid can pop a squat anywhere. Genius.

8. A big reward. In Hudson's case, a back pack. Or as Hudson would say a "pack bag".

So there you have it! My tips for potty training and keeping your sanity. The big takeaway? WAIT until your child is ready. And did I mention waiting until he or she is ready? Can't stress that last one enough folks.

*affiliate links used

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The Breastfeeding Diaries: Lauren from Perfect Little Happiness

September 23, 2015

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I knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that I wanted to breastfeed. I wanted to because it was going to provide invaluable benefits to my future child, from the immunities and vitamins to the security and comfort it would give her. I researched and researched and kept finding more and more benefits. How cool is it that your breastmilk constantly changes in order to meet your child's needs? The information felt endless! It was really a no-brainer to me.

I will start off by saying I truly wanted to give up breastfeeding several times, but I actually made it until my daughter was 2! See? There is light at the end of the tunnel.

I tell you, though, each age has its very own hurdle:

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Getting the latch down. And having it not hurt so bad you have to bury your head into your shoulder and scream your favorite curse word. That was my main focus. Latch more, hurt less, so I can swear less. Thanks to lanolin and my cooling gel nursing pads, the pain went away after about a week. Thank god, because I'm pretty sure my nipples would start to quiver when it was time for her to eat.

2 months:

Supply. Man, did this hurt my ego. Why does it affect our egos? Probably because it's supposed to be innate, it's the purpose of boobs after all. But when struggles arise, it makes you feel like a failure. Going in and seeing the lactation specialist was the best thing ever. Seriously. She was so sweet and kind and helpful, I felt like I owed her big time. Reasons why my supply could've been suffering: not pumping enough, latch could be a little off, not enough calories (ha, right!), hormones changing, introduction of the mini birth control pill, sports bra could be too tight during gym time, and a few other possibilities I can't remember. Did I ever narrow it down? No. I still don't know exactly why I had a drop in supply, but I do know what to do/not to do for next time.

3 months:

Back to work. Pumping was a breeze there. After all, I had my own office. Granted, my coworkers could still hear the sound of my pump, which I was extremely insecure about, but I had my own space. So it was all good. I was drinking mother's milk tea like I had some sort of addiction. But let me tell you, NO one would be addicted to that stuff. Gross. I had no choice but to get used to it. Later, I would discover blessed thistle capsules and say good-bye to the tea.

4 months:

Supply. Again?! I have almost run out of my frozen milk supply. I have not discovered blessed thistle yet. I'm still oh so young, and oh so naive. I pumped and pumped until I wanted to cry. I would nurse my daughter, and then have to pump for another 20 minutes afterward. It was emotionally taxing. Especially when she just wanted to be held. We had to give in and supplement with 4 oz of formula at bedtime. And sometimes intermittently during the day. Why did this feel like a punch in the gut? I'm still feeding my child. It just didn't feel good to be unable to provide.

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I have now introduced myself to Blessed Thistle capsules. Wayyyy easier and less gross than the Mother's Milk tea. Finally no supply issues. Finally. I was getting pretty sick of that roller coaster. But now we are getting ready to start solids.

9 months:

Teething. She now wants to nurse all the time. I am her pacifier. Oh did I mention she ditched those? Apparently she only goes for the real thing. She also sometimes bites my nipple. THAT hurts. She is eating solids three times a day now. Growing baby.

 photo DSC_0680.jpgOne year:

Breastfeeding is easy peasy. I made it to my goal of one year! We have also just introduced whole milk. It's very limited, but sure helps me out. Pumping at work is getting harder because it's hard to find the time. Since I'm not bringing home a ton of milk anymore, she gets a sippy cup of whole milk instead of breast milk at daycare.

14 months:

I'm packing the breast pump away. I haaaaated pumping. I mean who really likes to stick their boobs in a vacuum? I wasn't getting much out anymore anyway. So I figured as long as my daughter was fed normal food during the day, I could nurse her nights and weekends.

15 months:

I was right! My supply intuitively knew to produce nights and weekends. This was amazing. I started to worry if my daughter was too old and if people would judge. She has started to become acrobatic while nursing and kicking me in the face. This is kind of fun :).

18 months:

Thought we would've been done breastfeeding by now, but she has no interest in quitting. She has even started to call it "hummy". I mean, how cute?! I feel like the "right" thing to do is start weaning, but she would be extremely upset. So I just keep going. I started to gradually cut down nursing once a day weekdays and twice a day on weekends. People would start to ask "when does she quit that?" I would just smile and say, "when she's ready".

23 months:

This is the final month. I decided I had to be done. I needed my body to be mine. I never thought I would nurse my child until she was 2 years old, but it was an amazing run. We made it to the World Health Organization's recommendation of 2 years! I couldn't tell you exactly the last nursing session I had. I remember thinking the next day, though, "well I guess yesterday was the last time I would ever nurse her." I wasn't sad, I was happy for the time we had. She tried to hop on my lap a couple times after that, but with good distractions she completely forgot.

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My daughter is two and a half. She has only been done with nursing for 6 months, but it has felt like 6 years for some odd reason. It's not that I miss it, either. I have tested her out a few times by asking her if she remembers "hummy" and she doesn't seem to at all. She usually responds with, "hummus? and crackers?", her favorite snack. I will always remember the way she begged for it immediately after getting home from daycare.  The way she would play with her ear and kick her leg up. The way she would look up at me and gaze into my eyes. The way my left side always seemed to have way more milk than the right. The way she would "talk" with a mouthful of boob, which was basically humming, about how yummy the milk was.

My advice to new moms or moms-to-be someday: Don't give up. There will be hurdles, but in the end it's worth it, because there are so many benefits for you and your baby. If you need help, don't hesitate to ask someone. Educate your family and significant others so they can learn and be as passionate about breastfeeding as you are. Everyone needs a good support system!

You can find Lauren on her blog, Perfect Little Happiness. 

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