Sunday, April 20, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April Citrus Lane Review!

This month's Citrus Lane box was pretty darn awesome. With Earth Day around the corner, CL tapped some of my favorite green companies to contribute to the boxes! Here's the run down...

Tools & Things from Green Toys ($19.95 for full set)
Everything by Green Toys is made from 100% recycled milk containers! The toys are incredibly sturdy and contain no melamine, BPA, phthalates, or PVC. They themselves are recyclable too (#2 plastic). We love this super sustainable, made in the USA company.

Tumblers from Green Eats ($5.99)
A joint company with Green Toys, these toddler sized tumblers are dishwasher safe and have the same environmentally friendly perks as all of their toys. Charlie loves drinking from big boy cups and I love not having to worry about gross plastic chemicals.

Prince's Bedtime Book/CD from Barefoot Books ($8.99)
I love when we get new books in our Citrus Lane boxes. There are so many great stories out there for little kids, its hard to keep track. This is a beautifully illustrated and adorable story about a prince who refuses to go to sleep despite the efforts of just about everyone in the kingdom. Charlie loves that he can "read" along with the CD, listening for that classic "chime" to turn the page. Barefoot Books practices sustainable business practices, which is always good to hear. You can read about them here.

Lemon Verbena Dish Soap from Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day
I've never used Mrs. Meyer's products before, but I see them all the time at Target and the grocery store. The dish soap is concentrated, so you only need a little bit and it rinses clean, so you're not rinsing rinsing rinsing and wasting water. The smell is divine - like something from a spa, not your kitchen sink. Seen as the sink is the closest to a spa I get, I'll take it. ;-) This little sample size bottle will be perfect for washing bottles and sippy cups when we travel. 

Greeting Card from Treat
"Treat" is a new, higher end off shoot of Shutterfly, my favorite place to print pictures and enlargements. I've never ordered from them, but with this code for a free greeting card, I may give it a try. Not all of the free trial offers Citrus Lane sends out are things we'd buy or do, but this one was spot on. Who doesn't need a greeting card? Cards range in price, but seem to be around the price of a regular greeting card in the store. You can also get your customized card sent digitally for $.99, which is a pretty cool option.

While we are familiar with most of these brands, its still awesome to try out the different products. Now that we've been getting Citrus Lane for a few months, Charlie knows the boxes are for him and is excited to tear into it. He handed me the soap and card offer.....and carried the rest of the toys off. When I gathered everything back up for a picture, the half of the tools were already being played with and he refused to give them up. I guess that speaks for itself!

The Verdict...
This box is exactly why I love Citrus Lane. Fun new toys to try, cute books, things for Mom. Definitely an A+ month.

Do you get Citrus Lane? What did you think of this month's box? If you want to try Citrus Lane for your little one, you can use my link for $10 off your first order!
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All views in this review are the opinion of All Four Love. No compensation was received in return for this review. 
This post contains affiliate/referral links.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fitness Friday: Milestone Giveaway at Sparkly Runner!

To celebrate 10,000 views, my friend Sarah over at Sparkly Runner is having her first sponsored give away! The awesome team from RUNtelligence is giving one lucky winner a free tshirt! If you haven't seen their hilarious shirts, you need to!

Personally, I need this one to go with my 30 while I'm 30 bucket list, amirite?!

Check out Sparkly Runner, people. I love Sarah's inspiring and real stories about training, running, and life. She got ME running and that's a pretty impressive feat in itself. ;-) The giveaway runs until April 25th, so be sure to get in before its gone!

Sparkly Runner

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nuby Tear Free Rinse Pail Review

**This post was sponsored by Nuby and contains links to their products and media outlets. The product being reviewed was provided to me by Nuby free of cost. All opinions are 100% my own and I do not review products that I don't believe in or use myself.**

My first review as a Nuby Blogger! When Nuby asked me to pick out my review products, I scanned their site looking for things that I'd genuinely buy. I'm not about reviewing things that we wouldn't actually use. When I saw the Nuby Tear Free Rinse Pail it immediately went on my list!

Charlie has always loved bath time, but with all that thick curly hair of his, he has come to hate having his hair washed and rinsed. Even with tear free shampoo, he absolutely hates having water poured on his head. I don't blame him - it takes A LOT of rinsing to get all the soap out of his hair. The Tear Free Rinse Pail was literally the answer to my bath time prayers.

Shaped to scoop in even shallow bath water, the Tear Free Rinse Pail has a nice grip handle and one side made of soft silicone to sit comfortably flush against your child's forehead, preventing water from getting on their face. After pretending to use it on myself a few times, it was "Charlie's turn!"

People. LOOK at this happy kid!!

I am not even exaggerating how much I love this product. Bath time was so much less dramatic and Charlie's wild hair actually got clean. I've tried regular cups and trying to get him to tilt his head back. The silicone edge is really what does it. At around $6, its well worth the money to clean this sticky little boy. Now we can wash up quick and get on to playing.

Now to figure out how to get them out of the bath...

You can pick up the Tear Free Rinse Pail from Buy Baby Direct, Cookie Kids, AmazonIdeal Baby, and Kmart.

Check out Nuby's social media sites for coupons and info about their other awesome products!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CAH Update: Genetics

Over the past two weeks, we've met with pediatric genetics and pediatric endocrinology to get updates and make a plan for Ginny's care concerning the CAH. While we didn't learn anything game changing, its always nice to talk to her doctors and feel on top of her condition.

Last week, we met with the pediatric genetic specialists at the children's hospital. I wasn't sure what to expect for this appointment, but it turned out to be a lot of family history questions and then answering any questions I had. The big question I had was, "What now?" What do we do from here? What can we expect? Will things change for her over time? What will this look like as she grows? The answer?

They're not completely sure.

I get it, this condition looks slightly different for everyone that has it. For Ginny, despite knowing that she has the common form of 21-hydroxylase deficiency doesn't excuse the fact that her presentation is not totally typical. She requires a very low dose of medication, yet when her initial blood work was done, her hormone levels were all over the place. Suffice to say her genetics specialist and her endo are both interested in watching this play out for her as she grows. Not the comforting answer I was looking for, but I guess it'll do. She's growing, developing, and happy. What else could I really ask for?

The specialist requested that Jeff and I get blood work done to label out our CAH related gene mutations. Since this is a recessive disorder, both of us needed to contribute a gene to Ginny in order for her to have the disease, but knowing exactly what is going on with our genes will give an overall clearer picture. He wasn't as concerned about testing Charlie at the moment, but asked us to defer that question to Ginny's endo.

The best news we got from the appointment was about future children. With these being our genes, we can't control what would be passed to another child, should we have more. The genetic specialist did say, however, that Ginny's condition was mild, completely controllable, and would never affect her quality of life over time. It should not impact our decision to have additional children should we want to.


Today, was her endo check up. Every few months, she needs to go in for a height and weight check and to make sure her meds are still at the right dosage. Though these appointments will space out more as she gets older, she'll need to see an endo for the rest of her life. Luckily, I really like her endo and all the nurses are ridiculously sweet.

Turns out, the doctor isn't concerned about Charlie at all. With how often he's been sick and through his various surgeries, if he had CAH we'd certainly know by now. Well, that's good news. He also talked about Ginny's genetic results and the communications he's had with a doctor/researcher colleague out at UC San Francisco. This is a little confusing, so hang in there. Ginny's condition is very rare. Within that realm, however, her cause of adrenal insufficiency is common (21-hydroxlase deficiency). The exact allele that is causing that deficiency, however, is extremely rare. The lab that processed her genetic work up, one of the largest labs for this kind of testing, has only seen 13 cases of it.

What does that mean? Maybe a little, maybe a lot. It does mean that its really freaking crazy that Jeff and I both had this extremely rare gene. Needless to say, we've been asked by 2 different doctors if we're related. Um, no.

Her endo is going to try and find out information about the other cases to help us get a picture of what her future will look like. They're still curious about her odd symptoms. One of them being an abnormally high progesterone level at birth that has been slowly declining over the past year and the absence of an enlarged clitoris (the presence of which is a very common trait for CAH girls) until 3-4 months old. He thinks that her high progesterone levels were masking what the excess androgens would have typically done to her body, but he doesn't know why. We'll be doing another round of blood work in May to test her progesterone and ACTH suppression.

In the meantime, we have a healthy, growing baby girl. She's 19 lbs 10 oz, 28 1/2 inches long. She's coming down off a growth spurty week of sleeping and eating and is finally filling out 12 months size clothes.

Her next appointment is in July, which may come with a new med dosage, depending on how much she grows. Otherwise, keep on chugging along!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter is Coming!

Easter always sneaks up on me. It doesn't help, however, that it keeps changing what day it is celebrated. Last year, it was March 31st, so we obviously didn't do much of anything with a spankin' new baby at home. Well, except for a lot of this...

Anyway, now Easter is the 20th and creeping up fast. February through April is so busy at work, its a wonder I remember it is Easter at all! With a 3 1/2 year old who is learning about Easter (both the Jesus and Easter Bunny versions) at daycare, we have to do something. He's expecting the Easter Bunny to visit, which is fine with me since its a tradition we had growing up and one we'd like to continue with our own kids. The problem is....what the heck do you put in Easter baskets that isn't 100% sugar?! Because you know what's going to happen....I'M going to end up eating it all.

Charlie's first Easter we made him a little basket of things he needed (and a little candy for us). A 5 month old doesn't realize that socks are a crappy present anyway. His second Easter, we went to Hershey Park and he got some bubbles. Happy as a clam!

For this year, I was stuck! I think he'll love doing an egg hunt, but I didn't want to fill the eggs with (just) candy. With a little thinking (and searching on Pinterest), I came up with a list of things to add to his egg hunt that aren't terrible for his teeth.
  • Stickers or temporary tattoos (one sheet can be cut up into multiple pieces)
  • Character socks (from the $1 Spot at Target)
  • Toy cars
  • Goldfish or animal crackers
  • Magnetic letters (like the kind you'd put on the fridge)
  • Bath color fizz tabs
  • Army men or small figurines
  • Change (for his piggy bank)
  • Chapstick (which he seems to be obsessed with lately)
  • Little finger puppets
  • Pieces to a puzzle (he can put it together when he finds all the pieces!)
  • A little bit of candy. C'mon, everyone needs a Peep before breakfast on Easter morning!
The trick is to find things that are small enough to put in the eggs, but that aren't complete choking hazards for Ginny.

His basket was a little easier since there are a few things he needs for the spring/summer. We are filling his basket with Crayola Color Wonder paper and markers, bubbles, water shoes, and two Disney movies (Toy Story & Toy Story 2) we got from our Disney Movie Rewards points. Ginny's basket was another story. It has sat empty, save for a pair of sunglasses from the Target $1 Spot for like a month. That is still a work in progress. There isn't a lot she needs, but with Charlie paying more attention, an empty basket might be more noticeable. Maybe some socks, flip flops, and a new book will do to fill it up?

What are you putting in your little one's Easter basket?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days: Donation Drives You Didn't Know About

I had hoped to update closer to the midway mark, but missed that by about a week. Regardless, there are two weeks left between now and Easter and there has been A LOT of cleaning and decluttering around here! If the dates don't seem like they line up, remember - Lent doesn't include Sundays in its 40 day count. Also, I started a day late, so I'll end on Easter instead of the actual end of Lent the day before. That being said, 27 days down, 13 days to go!

It has actually been very refreshing to get rid of so much stuff. I would start a room with a paper grocery bag....then quickly realize I needed a laundry basket.....then a trash bag! Some spaces obviously had more to give than others, but I don't even miss the things we've gotten rid of.

Where has our stuff gone? Several different places. I did a bit of research online and found that there are a huge number of item specific donation drives out there for things that people really need. Did you know that you could donate old cell phones to victims of domestic abuse? Or eye glasses to be reused? I didn't! Those things would have been pitched. Here is a list of all the places we found to donate items...

These are all national links, but there may be homegrown organizations in your area. Do a little Googling to find out! It may sound like a lot of leg work to get things out to these different organizations, but do what you can. Goodwill and Salvation Army are always options as well, but if an item can be put to a specific use rather than sit on a shelf, I'd rather that.