Palm Breeze Sparkling Spritz: A New Favorite


Some things I guarantee you’ll never see:

  1. A unicorn
  2. The Loch Ness Monster
  3. Colleen drinking a beer

If you’ve been around this blog longer than my pregnancy, you know that homegirl here has a strong affinity for adult beverages. Whether it’s wine or a pretty strong cocktail, I’m admittedly a girly-girl drinker. Seriously – sipping on a sweet, fruity drink (or two) during the summertime is just sheer perfection in my book. Anyone else? 

This weekend, my idea of perfection was achieved. We kicked off the summer party season at a Cinco de Mayo party thrown by our friends, Becky and Paul!

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We live in thee best neighborhood. Like, seriously. We lucked out by having a neighborhood full of fun people who have turned into great friends. Impromptu BYOB summer get togethers are not uncommon around these parts. Thankfully, we’re all firm believers in the ‘sharing is caring’ mantra, and as such, I’ve discovered some of my favorite drinks at these get togethers.

My problem is that because I’m not a beer drinker, I can’t just ‘grab and go’ when it comes to my drinks. It’s rather…involved. I have to bring bottles of alcohol and mixers and spritzers and fruit garnishes and before you know it, I look like a freakin’ bag lady when I head over to a neighbor’s patio.

But this year, things are going to be different for me, friends. Enter: Palm Breeze sparkling spritz.

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It’s everything I could possibly want. It meets my fruity & sweet criteria to the max, and it’s absolutely delicious (dangerously so, if you know what I mean.) My girlfriends agreed that the Pineapple Mandarin Orange tastes like an adult orange soda and our only complaint is that it’s sold in a 6 pack. That said, what I really like about it is that I can just grab, go, and share with my girlfriends. Bye, bye, bag lady.

As of now, Palm Breeze sparkling alcohol spritz comes in two flavors, Ruby Red Citrus and Pineapple Mandarin Orange. I went with the Pineapple Mandarin Orange because pineapple and orange juice are normally two staples in my mixed drinks. You can’t go wrong with those two flavors.

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If you enjoy fun, fruity, girly drinks, I highly suggest you give these a go. And if you’re in the DC area, please tell me you’re going to the girl’s night out event that Palm Breeze is throwing next Monday. You and your girlfriends get free food and drinks, and you’ll get treated to blow outs! Seriously, if I still lived in DC/had hair, I’d be there in a heartbeat. Palm Breeze, please come to me in Richmond – kthanksbye.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Easy Iced Latte

Lately, I’ve gotten into a bad habit. I say bad because it’s so good, but way too expensive.

I’m talking about Starbucks, people.

I’ve recently fallen back in love with their iced lattes, but at $5 a pop, I had to pump the breaks. I’m frugal to a fault, and spending $35 a week on coffee that I can easily make at home seems silly (although, I do think everything tastes better when you’re not the one making it.)

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get this mason jar!

At Starbucks I order an iced skinny soy vanilla latte, so that’s what I was on a mission to recreate at home. Thankfully, it was really easy to do. I simply brewed my coffee for the week on Sunday afternoon and put it in the fridge so it’s nice and chilly for me in the mornings.

The ingredients list is simple

  • Silk ‘very vanilla’ soy milk
  • Torani sugar free French vanilla syrup
  • Coffee
  • Ice

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I use 2 tbsp of the syrup and pretty much do half coffee, half soy milk but it’s no precise measure. Mix it all together in a cute cup or mason jar, and enjoy!

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How do you take your coffee? 

I’ve always thought people who drink black coffee are such bad asses. Alas, I am so far from bad ass status. 

We Did It: Ate in Public with a New Baby

Jack tured a month old on Saturday. I know I’m supposed to say, I can’t believe it’s already been a month! The time has just flown by! But you and I both know we don’t play those games around here.

I’ve felt every minute of this past month.

Does that mean every moment has been bad? Absolutely not! Not even close. It simply means that this has been, hands down, the longest month of my life.

Sleep deprivation and crying baby can do that to a person.

To celebrate surviving the first Month of Jack, we thought we’d go to breakfast at our favorite local breakfast diner. We’ve been going there most weekends for the past two years, and as you’d expect, we’ve become ‘regulars’ (totally a Bucket List item for us) and we were excited for our favorite waitress to meet Jack.

Surprisingly, we actually got our shit together and headed out to breakfast.

As we got closer and closer to the restaurant, I felt my anxiety mounting. This wasn’t just “going to breakfast” anymore. This was a complete and utter gamble (I hate gambling. I like ‘sure things.’) We could either enjoy a meal, or easily be those people with a hysterical baby who ruin everyone else’s meal.

I desperately didn’t want to be those people. 

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Maybe it’s because I was hyper-aware thanks to my ridiculous anxiety, but I noticed a few things during our first meal in public with a newborn.

  1. We’ve entered into the “kid crowd.” When we arrived on Saturday, it wasn’t the bustling scene to which we are accustom. Rather than seeing people roll in with cute purses and put together outfits, we all lugged diaper bags, baby carriers and critical reinforcements like pacifiers and coloring books. It was 7:30am, but it was obvious that it was mid-afternoon for the majority of the customers.
  2. There are perks to being a new parent. Like, your favorite waitress buying you a mimosa to congratulate you. Yes, at 7:30 am.
  3. I’ve never eaten a meal so fast in my entire life. We all but ordered and asked for the check at the same time. Coffee? No thanks – I don’t have time to let to cool down. 
  4. Like the ‘objects in mirror may be closer than they appear’ warning, when your baby cries in public ‘sounds may appear louder to you than they actually are.’ Seriously, Jack let out a simple, one-second cry (because that’s what babies do) and my eyes darted around the restaurant expecting to find a person complaining to management.
  5. We managed. Yes, Jack ended up crying. Was it terrible? No. Did anyone ask for us to be removed from the restaurant? No. If anything, we got sympathetic smiles from everyone that said ‘Been there, done that.’

Maybe next month we’ll try something new and radical again. I don’t know, maybe I’ll take him out in public by myself. Maybe. 

Why Planning Your Child’s Birth is a Colossal Waste of Time

I’m a Type A planner to the core of my being. I like feeling in control, and even when I can’t be in control, I like to fool myself into thinking otherwise.

For almost ten months, I imagined/pseudo-planned how Jack’s birth would go down.

In my mind: I would go into labor and the epidural would be waiting for me bedside as I arrived at the hospital (because fuck the idea of feeling any pain.) I would recall the countless articles I pinned about labor and delivery, and I would read positive affirmations when things got rough. Our birth photographer, who we booked months in advance, would be there to capture the exact moment I laid eyes on my precious baby for the first time. It would be beautiful.

After I gave birth, my friends and family would be waiting in the lobby as Cory pushed through the double doors and excitedly announced the gender of our sweet baby. I would have the nurses’ thank you basket at the ready, and everything would be just fine.

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In reality: I had contractions for 24 hours before anything really happened. I spent 7 hours in labor and delivery the day before Jack was born, only to be sent home. By the way, when you’re 39 weeks pregnant and desperate to have a baby, 24 hours feels like 24 years.

I didn’t plan on that.

On the actual birth day, we got to the hospital at 10pm. The REAL contractions started, and I found out they can’t just give you an epidural because you’re in pain. It made me curse every cinematic birth scene known to man. When the nurse told me I was dilated, but not effaced enough, and that I might have to go home – I lost it. There was no way I was dealing with that pain.

I didn’t plan on that. 

When the nurse came back in and told me that the doctor agreed to have me stay the evening, I told her I loved her. And I meant it. As she put in my IV, I told myself, Okay, okay. Everything is going to be just fine. 

Not one minute later, the nurse looked at the monitoring screen and said Um. I need you to roll over. 

And as I did, a team of nurses rushed into the room. I was flipped around, the bed was inverted, and they pulled out an oxygen mask.

It was all happening so fast.

I didn’t plan on that. 

The team of nurses parted ways and a doctor quickly introduced herself as I laid there, desperately looking at Cory for an answer. What is going on?!

The doctor said we’ve got to go, and the team of nurses started unhooking my IV and oxygen and rolled my bed out of the room and started running down the hall. All I heard was, We’re doing an emergency c-section.  

It was 10:55pm.

I didn’t have time to call my mom. The photographer wasn’t there. Surgery?!

I didn’t plan on that. 

The operating room was exactly like you see in the movies.

I was panicking on the inside, but somehow I remained oddly calm. All I could think about was my baby. I can’t describe the feeling of sheer terror when you don’t know if the baby is okay.

Within minutes, I was receiving spinal shots and then going completely numb. Nurses and doctors were yelling my information and stats about the baby’s dangerously low heart beat, I was asked to sign some papers, and asked if I would accept a blood transfusion in the event that they needed to save my life.

Yes, absolutely. Sure. Could someone please explain what is going on!? Where is my husband?! 

I was laid down, a blue sheet was pulled up, and Cory finally appeared by my side. The doctor on my side of the sheet explained that I’d feel pressure, but no pain. He said I was doing great. He said it would be over soon.

As I laid silently on the operating table, I prayed what felt like one hundred Hail Mary’s. I begged: Please, God, let us be okay. Please let everything be okay. 

I didn’t plan on that.

And then, at 11:17pm, I heard it.

A baby’s cry.

It was the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing thing I’d ever heard in my entire life. In that moment, the world stopped spinning, and I felt my heart change forever.

The doctor came up to the blue sheet, held up a beautiful, big baby and said “It’s a healthy boy! You did great, Mama!”

Cory and I cried tears of joy. I thanked God. I breathed a sigh of relief.

The doctor on my side of the sheet asked, what’s his name?!

Jack. His name is Jack. 

That is what I planned on. 

 

 

Totally Truthful Thursday (on a Monday)

I was going to write a Totally Truthful Thursday: Mom Edition post, but let’s be honest, my days are blurred together and the only two times of day I know are light and dark. So, today we’re going to have a Totally Truthful Thursday: Monday Edition post.

(Parenthood: the place where Type A personalities go to die.)

Totally Truthful Thursday Monday: New Mom Edition 

// I am covered in spit up, but I’m not even considering changing my clothes. Why? Because it’s going to happen a million more times today, and frankly, I don’t feel like adding extra clothes to the ever-growing laundry pile.

// Currently, my life consists of two daily goals: showering and keeping Jack alive and well. Anything else is icing on the cake, my friends. Icing. on. the. cake.

// The other night I showered and put on make up and put on real clothes (so much icing on this cake) and spent a few hours with my lady friends for the first time since Jack was born. I was so thankful to leave the baby with Cory (for the first time) and get out of the house. Alone. 

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// I’m exclusively breastfeeding, but yesterday we introduced Jack to a beautiful, beautiful bottle. I sat next to Cory while he fed Jack and I almost cried – tears of sadness because I wasn’t the one feeding him and tears of joy because I WASN’T THE ONE FEEDING HIM!

// I know everyone’s postpartum journey is different, but I haven’t been focusing at all on getting my body “back.” I’m not cleared to exercise, and I’m focused on fueling my body for breastfeeding. And as far as I’m concerned, three and a half weeks ago, my body accomplished the most miraculous thing ever; to shame it would be downright insane. That said, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t thrilled when three weeks postpartum the number on the scale returned to my pre-pregnancy weight. On the flip side, it just proves that the number on the scale is a useless litmus test of “body after baby” because I weigh the same, but everything is different. Nothing fits me like it used to, but I honestly do not care. I feel great!

IG// Jack has baby acne. I didn’t know that was a thing. I’m new here.

// I’ve been having so much “real talk” about new motherhood with a select few, and it’s made all the difference to my sanity. As soon as I’m out of this fog and have time to reflect, I plan to put a voice to the silent truths of being a new mom. No, it’s not always pretty, but no woman deserves to feel crazy or like a bad mother because she doesn’t enjoy every minute of having an infant.

// When do babies start smiling at you? When Jack smiles, I know it’s because he’s farting, not because he recognizes me. (That doesn’t mean I don’t tell myself differently…)

// I sit on the couch for the better part of the day cuddling my sweet baby. This means I’m watching a lot of Netflix. I’ll probably finish Season 3 of Revenge this week. I’m putting out a call for series recommendations now. Help a sister out.

// I’m so tired.

Made in Mechanicsville: DIY Earrings

Hey, guys! I’m poking my head out of the new-parent-haze to bring you a really fun guest post from my friend, Lauren, of Made in Mechanicsville. I adore her handmade jewelry (I own two pairs of these…and these…and these…and just picked up these as well…) and I’m so thankful she’s agreed to help me out with a guest post as I continue to adjust to our new normal :) Do yourself a favor and check out her shop and follow her on Facebook and Instagram – she is always hosting awesome giveaways! Thanks again, Lauren! 


Hi everyone! Lauren here from Made in Mechanicsville. I’m guest blogging for Colleen today and am really excited to share a fun and easy DIY you can create using just a few tools you have around the house and some polymer clay. The end result? An awesome, handmade pair of modern earrings for Mom, just in time for Mother’s Days.

DIY Colorblock Earrings

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Bake Time: 15 Minutes

Dry Time: 24 hours

 Tool List

  • Sculpey Polymer Clay in Mom’s favorite color
  • E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive
  • Small Paintbrush
  • Testors Metallic Enamel in Silver
  • Earring Backs and 6mm Flat Stud Settings
  • Mini Metal Cutouts
  • Roller
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Pan
  • Oven

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First, protect your work surface with aluminum foil. Then, remove the clay from the plastic wrap. You can either cut a piece with a sharp blade, or just break off a piece the way I did in the photo. Soften the clay by manipulating it in your hands for a few minutes.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.33.34 PMWhen your clay is soft and pliable, roll out your clay to approximately ¼” thick. I used the end of a small whisk in my kitchen because I don’t own a rolling pin. Improvise! You can use a glass cup or any round smooth surface.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.35.11 PMChoose a mini metal cutout shape that you like — most packs come with at least 4-10 options to choose from. I chose triangles and circles for a modern look.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.36.55 PMRemember that handmade doesn’t mean perfect. Don’t beat yourself up if your shapes aren’t quite perfect! That handmade touch of unique, organic quality isn’t found in some big box retail product, which is what makes your pair so special.

Pre-heat your oven for 275 degrees. Bake your clay pieces for 15 minutes and allow them to cool.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.40.58 PMUsing a small amount of E6000 (this stuff is strong!), apply the earring backs to your baked clay pieces. I like to do this prior to painting because it allows you to easily hold the clay piece while you paint.

Allow earrings to dry at least 30 minutes.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.42.33 PMThis next step requires your imagination and concentration. Use the metallic paint to gently create a color block look, paint dots or whatever your little heart desires! The Testors metallic enamel is extremely thin, and doesn’t require a ton on the paint brush. Be conservative when you dip at first, adding more if needed.

Allow to dry overnight. When ready to package, create fun packaging with kraft die-cuts or scrap paper. Punch holes with small hole punch to create earring card. Write Mom a handwritten and heartfelt note, and wrap with pretty packaging. Your handmade-with-love DIY is now Mom’s favorite piece of jewelry.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.45.12 PMNo time to create this DIY for Mom? Made in Mechanicsville is a handmade jewelry shop based outside of Richmond, Virginia. Head over to our brand spankin’ new website to find something special for Mom this year!

We can’t wait to see your finished gift! If you Instagram your DIY Colorblock Earrings, tag The Lunchbox Diaries (@lunchboxdiaries) and Made In Mechanicsville (@madeinmechanicsville)!

xoxo,

Lauren

Owner + Designer, Made In Mechanicsville

www.madeinmechanicsville.com

Why I Haven’t Written Jack’s Birth Story

Becoming a mother has been better than I could have ever imagined. The love I have for this little boy is beyond indescribable. I love everything about him. I laugh at his silly faces and weird sounds. I literally sit and stare at him for hours on end, simply in awe of the fact that I grew this perfect person. 

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But, honestly, I think that’s the boring shit that no one wants to hear about. Because, duh, everyone loves their own child.

I know I want to hear the stories and experiences women seem to keep to themselves; the not-so-pretty ones. The real-life ones. The ones that prove we’re not superhuman.

The ones like yesterday morning, when I found myself walking around my house singing made up songs about poop and crying babies, checking Jack’s diaper, holding him in every way imaginable, putting him in his rocker – then his swing – then laying him on his back – then his stomach (praying, Please, God, will this one work?) with no avail.

After 45 minutes of Jack screaming for no apparent reason (you know, other than being a two-week old baby…) I curled myself up in a tiny chair, on the verge of tears, and snuggled him close and tight to my chest. Then it happened: silence.

It was 7:02 am.

And I took to Instagram

IGI tried writing Jack’s birth story for the blog, because it’s a doozy, but I just haven’t finished it.

I haven’t finished it because it seems like I’m writing a novel, and I can’t figure out what’s TMI and what’s not. I haven’t finished it because I’m sleeping in 3 – 4 hour increments, broken up by 40 minutes of breastfeeding and burping and lulling back to sleep, and I’m absolutely exhausted.

I haven’t finished that birth story because it makes me cry. Actually, lots of things make me cry. Not because I’m actually sad or miserable or depressed, but because yeah, some moments I do feel sad or miserable or depressed.

I haven’t finished that post because I haven’t had two minutes to sit down since Cory went back to work a week and a half ago. I haven’t finished it because I’m recovering from that emergency c-section and I’m in pain. But, being in pain doesn’t matter when you have a little baby crying and all you want to do is fix it.

And lastly, I haven’t finished that post because I’m trying like mad to figure this first-time-parent thing out. No one tells you, New Mom, that the beginning is tough. It’s a beautiful, wonderful, blessed toughness, but I’d be lying if I said that in-the-moment when you’re covered in spit up, baby tears, your own tears, and you haven’t slept in what feels like 800 years, it doesn’t feel anything but tough as hell. 

But before you know it, the moment of madness turns into a beautiful, cooing baby and you simply cannot imagine your life any other way.

 

It’s a BOY!

So, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard the news: My sweet baby Jack arrived a little before midnight this past Wednesday, March 25th!

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If you’ve followed along this pregnancy journey with me, you know that I was not a major fan of any of it. From 26 weeks of straight morning sickness, to being constantly uncomfortable; I just wasn’t one of the lucky women who glowed throughout her pregnancy.

But, OH. MY. GOD. 

I’m here to tell you that feelings during pregnancy and feelings about motherhood are not correlated. Guys, I am happier than I could have ever thought possible. I am head-over-heels in love, and would gladly endure a my wretched pregnancy a million times over if it meant I’d end up with Jack.

He’s perfect.

And while I have never been so exhausted or unsure of “doing things right,” I have also never felt such an overwhelming sense of pure love and happiness.

He’s five days old, and I already feel like I have so much to tell you! Once I can formulate actual, cohesive sentences about Jack and our experiences thus far, I’ll put together some posts. Until then, hang in there with me as I begin to navigate what is sure to be the most incredible experience of life!

If there’s a question/topic you’d like to read about (i.e. ‘did you write a birth plan?’ or ‘do you still look pregnant?’ ;) ), let me know!

OMG I Can Meditate

One of the things I’m pretty open about here on the ol’ blog is that I struggle with anxiety. Everyone has their thing and for me, anxiety is it. I’m also open about the fact that anxiety medication was a game-changer for me, but I had to discontinue use once I got pregnant.

Once I stopped using Celexa, it was so important to me that I practiced natural coping mechanisms to deal with my anxiety. I’m open to trying just about anything when it comes to relaxation and centering myself. Yoga, acupuncture, essential oils, calming teas…you name it, I’m game.

It was kind of a no-brainer that when I was offered to try out a new meditation app, I jumped on the chance. Now, let’s be real here: meditation is something that I was kind of on the fence about. Mainly because I took a meditation class once, and the last thing I remember was the instructor telling me to cleanse my third eye before I fell asleep. Like, the instructor had to wake me up at the end of class. I was literally drooling, which made things even better.

Anyway, back to the app.

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What I like about this app, OMG I Can Meditate, is that it makes meditation doable for anyone. It’s not intimidating, nor does it require the user to have any sort of experience with meditation whatsoever (thank God!) It’s seriously like having your own mediation coach in the palm of your hand, who you can access at any time. Annnd you can do it in 10 minutes.

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The first time I tried it, I kind of failed. I’m not kidding you when I say that the meditation coach, Lynne Goldberg, has the most soothing voice. Like, so soothing that it put me to sleep. [We can see a trend here, obviously…]

It was my fault because I didn’t follow the rules. I was laying down, elevating my cankle, and Lynne specifically tells you not to be lying down. Sorry, Lynne! 

Anyway, Lynne talks you through the meditation with calming music playing in the background. This sounds so weird, but I love guided meditation, like savasana at the end of a yoga practice. You know what I mean? Well, that’s exactly what this app is like.

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There are even meditations specifically for morning and night [finally, one I’m supposed to fall asleep to], as well as certain speciality meditations like stress & anxiety and meditation for pregnancy (under ‘women’s issues.’)

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I’ve genuinely enjoyed using the app over the past few weeks. Like anything, it takes some time getting used to, but I’ve found it to be worth tackling the learning curve. If you’re looking for ways to naturally reduce anxiety, or you’re simply interested in cultivating mindfulness, I highly  recommend this meditation app.

It’s not free, but thankfully I have 10, 3-month membership trials to give away! I’ll be picking 5 winners on the blog, 3 on Facebook, and 2 on Twitter. Make sure if you’re entering the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter, you’re following me! (Or, for more information, head on over to www.omgmeditate.com)

To enter here, leave a comment telling me why you want to try this app! Head over to my Facebook and Twitter to enter, too!  

“No Baby” + Labor Signs

“NO BABY” is how I have to start every phone call and/or text with my family and friends, so I thought I’d bring you in as well ;)

I don’t know if this is normal or not, but it’s at the point where all I can think about is this baby arriving. Every day I wake up thinking, “is today the day?!” and then I’m disappointed by bedtime because I am so over this. I’m just wildly uncomfortable and sleep deprived, really.

I haven’t talked to the baby throughout my pregnancy, but I’m doin’ a whole helluva lot of talkin’ these days. Mostly like, “I’M READY FOR YOUUU!” and “WHY ARE YOU STILL IN THERE!?”

over it

I’ve arranged everything for maternity leave at work. I’ve gotten my car cleaned (the Penny hair was outrageous.) The car seat is installed. I’ve packed my hospital bag, and the “thank you” basket for the nurses… What I’m saying is: everything is ready – expect for this baby, obviously.

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Which outfit will we get to use?! While we won’t be posting identifying pictures of the baby, follow along on Instagram and Facebook for baby updates!

My newest thing is Googling “indications labor is near” which makes me feel like a complete and total basket case, yet oddly relaxed at the same time. I’ll tell you: this and old wives tales regarding gender are the only things I’ve Googled throughout this pregnancy. I tried my best to stay away from Googling aches and pains and other things that would freak me out!

According to ‘The Google’ a few more things have to happen, but I’m hoping my doctor can give me some clearer insight this afternoon! ;)

If you’re a mom (or are more familiar with labor than I am), play along with me. Looking back, what were your indications that labor was close?!

For everyone: Do you Google signs and symptoms for anything? I’m pretty sure WebMD should be called “You Have 24 Hours to Live.com”