Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Satisfying My Book Addiction

I finally broke down tonight and purchased some new reading material for myself.  Lately I've been on a purchasing spree for Piper.  She is already enrolled in two separate book clubs, both Dr. Seuss and Baby Einstein, so I figured it was high time I fed my own addiction instead of readying her bookcase for what I'm positive is a genetic obsession with the written word.

For those who do not know, I am a huge fan of Nikki Sixx.  Yep, I'm a rocker at heart who grew up listening to all kinds of music and Motely Crue has always been one of my favorite groups, with Nikki as my favorite member.  Back in the day I was enamored by his bad boy behavior and good looks.  I know some of you may be scratching your heads and trying to figure out where my attractions lay, but seriously I think he's the shiznit!  Now I have grown as an adult and am highly impressed with his new band Sixx A.M., his photography, and I've heard his writing is quite remarkable...yes, I have much more respect for him now that he's more than just a bad boy rocker, he's got substance and intelligence to boot.  Back in 2008 he wrote a book called The Heroin Diaries.  I've been wanting to read it for some time, so tonight I went on a search to find myself a copy.  It wasn't an easy task finding it in hardcover, still in decent condition, and without being outrageously expensive; but I finally did!  Once I had that book in the shopping bag, I just had to add a few others, as always.

Cannot wait to finally read this!
Next on the list was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  I love the classics but this is one I have yet to read.  I recently saw an excellent movie rendition of the novel and it reminded me that I had not yet remembered to grab an actual copy of the book.  Lucky for me, Barnes and Noble had a nice, brand new hardcover version in their bargain book section.  I especially love books at a discounted price!  I am as equally excited to get this as I am the Nikki Sixx book.

Got to love those Bronte sisters!
I recently read Alice Hoffman's new book The Dovekeepers.  It was the first book of hers I have ever read, and you may be familiar with her work as she wrote Practical Magic which was adapted into an uber awesome movie.  My  mom had a paperback copy of said book, but I just really hate dealing with paperbacks while trying to read in bed, which is where most of my reading occurs.  Since Alice Hoffman was fresh on my brain, and I thought The Dovekeepers was one of the most remarkable books I have read in some time (seriously go buy a copy), I decided to go ahead and pick up a hardcover copy of Practical Magic.  I was also intrigued with another of her books in the bargain books section at B&N called Seventh Heaven, so of course I had to go ahead and purchase this additional title as well.

Absolute must read!
Supposed to be even better than the movie!
Great reviews, intriguing story line!
As you can probably tell, my love of a good reading material extends throughout all genres.  I kind of jump all over the place with what I read and the genre of the moment is usually a reflection of my mood at the time that I end one book and look to begin another.  I am currently about halfway through Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides, and my god can that man write!  His words are like delicately spun silk.  I wish I had discovered his writing a bit sooner because he really is an astonishing writer.

It's like butter!
All this talk about books, I guess maybe I should start another blog entry label entitled The Book Nook or something of that nature...kind of like what I'm starting with the Food Fantasies section.  Who knows, I'm just beginning to branch out a bit more into various other areas in which I can share my thoughts via the almighty blog.  It's nice to not be held to just talking about my pregnancy, because I do have a life outside of growing this remarkable little girl inside me.  And as with my reading, I also like to touch upon different genres with my writing.  I'm hoping my readers will enjoy the change of pace once in awhile.  I have excellent taste in food and books, so recipes and book reviews just seem like a natural direction to take things.

Okay, well that's all I really had for this evening.  I got all excited about my new purchases and just had to share.  I seriously need a library added on to the house as there is no more room for books around here, but I love the old school turning the pages style of reading and don't feel I could ever go to electronic versions of books.  Maybe after the nursery is finished I can look into that, hahahahaha!

Until next time, good reads to you all!


Here comes the broken record part...feel free to follow Piper and I on a daily basis on Facebook.  Also, please take a moment if you would and vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking the banner below.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Quality Time

I'm lying here in bed as I usually do around this time of night.  Lately I've been getting to bed quite early, usually by 9, but I don't ever actually go to sleep anywhere near that early of an hour.  I have spent most of my life as an insomniac, so staying up late is pretty typical of me.  Even when I was taking Ambien I still managed to make it to at least midnight every night.  But now that I am pregnant, I'm in bed sooner but up even later.  I am up later for a good reason, though, to spend quality time with my darling Piper.

This is what I'm preparing for, practice is good!

My typical knocked up with the feet up nightly routine is as follows:

9pm - Hit the bed to relax and prop my feet so my edema won't get out of control (that's my damn excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

Cankles!  And one big ole nappy toe!
Don't judge me!
As you can see from the pic, I do have swollen feet. Not even the cat wants them around.  And please do ignore the nappy big toe with its old polish and toenail bruise in the process of healing.  It really isn't easy to get to the feet for proper grooming these days.

9pm-11pm - Usually I use this as laptop time.  I crack out on Facebook, catch up on the shitty ass news of the world which really has become no fun at all to read.  Why can't there be a friggin' happy news channel?  Would it be so damned difficult to try and get people to smile once in a while?  Why all the pessimism?  I know people are out there that are doing wonderful things and bettering themselves and the planet, are helping others and having a good time doing so.  So why not share their stories once in awhile?  You say no one would read the happy stuff?  I call bullshit!  Okay, had to get that off my chest, thanks for letting me vent.  Anyway, I also use this time to catch up on other blog readings, check emails, ponder the universe, etc, etc, etc.  It's just basically lazy me time.  Sometimes I also play the one type of computer game I'm addicted to.  I love those hidden object adventure games.   Don't ask me why, but I'm totally hooked!

11pm-1am - This is when I typically get to reading.  I love a good book and almost never turn out the lights without at least getting a few chapters under my belt.  I'm currently reading Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides.  I recently saw the movie again and my mom had a copy of the book.  Let me tell you, that man has a way with words!  His writing is so lyrical and smooth.  I think he's going to be one of my new favorites.  I'm really surprised I have never read any of his stuff before now.  Better late than never, I suppose.

1am-2am - This is now Piper time, and the best time of my day.  This is what I was referring to as quality time.  I often don't do anything at this time but concentrate on her.  She gets all wound up at this hour and I like to just lie here and feel or watch her wiggle around.  I sometimes read her some Dr. Seuss, other times I just simply enjoy her presence.  I will admit that sometimes I do continue to read for awhile, but eventually I shut off the lights, wrap my arms around my growing belly, and just think about our future life together.  Once in awhile this will backfire and I'll start letting the typical new mom doubts creep in.  Things such as will she love me? Will I be a good mother? What if she hates me? What if I can't handle being a mom?
What if I panic?
In other words, all the stupid crap that I don't actually have to worry about comes out.  Of course, I always get my head back up out of my ass before it starts crowding her in there and refocus on how awesome I am and how I'm going to be the best mother in the universe!  I say always follow asinine doubts with bouts of overzealous big-headedness.  It's the only way to balance it all out.

2am - I'm usually asleep or on the verge at this point.  Sometimes I'll go to sleep a bit earlier if I'm really exhausted, and on the bad nights I might be tossing and turning till close to 4!  Oh how I dislike when the old insomnia takes hold.  I hope Piper's love of the wee a.m. hours isn't a sign she inherited my insomnia.  But if she did, I guess we'll turn it into even more quality time together.

So there you go, my typical lazy evening routine since pregnancy.  It fluctuates here and there, but usually not by a whole lot.  For instance, I usually do not write this late.  I'm actually thinking this may be a good change to the routine I can continue from here on out.  Couldn't hurt as it seems being productive would be better than scouring the crappy news world!  I could always save that for while I'm at work and needing some time to kill.  Now that I think about it, crappy news world would probably make work seem oh so much better.  The whole "things could be worse" type of motivation.  Yeah, not a half bad idea.

Right now it has just turned 11:22pm.  I'm off my usual routine which feels kind of nice and just hanging out in bed until Piper wakes up.  That reminds me that I failed to mention my constant interruptions from my routine with regular potty breaks.  I really should start a graph that documents exactly how many times a day I actually have to pee now. I bet it's close to 40 or so.  Hell, I usually now get up at least six times during sleeping hours to waddle to the toilet.  That's a whiz an hour considering I get about six hours of sleep a night.  Totally ridiculous!  And I pee less during sleeping hours than any other time of day.  I so want to go see The Hobbit while it is still on theaters, but think I'd miss half the movie with my constant bathroom breaks.  Oh well, just a small price to pay to the Piper!
I'm always in the red zone now!
Now that you are all sufficiently in the know about the amazingly exciting life I now lead at night, I will bid you adieu.  In other words, it's potty time!  I think I'll read Piper One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish tonight.  It's one of our favorites and it's a good night for reading stories.
Look!  A baby fish!
She is going to be addicted to all things Seuss after she is born.  I enrolled her in the Dr. Seuss Book Club and will probably stick with it until she has the entire collection.  Nothing wrong with giving her the gift of words at an early age.  It runs in the family and is a tradition I plan on upholding.

I'll let you all to your own slumbers now. I wish you all a very good night, may you sleep wonderfully, wake up refreshed, and have a kick ass Friday tomorrow (or today, depending on where you live).  And if you're out doing a TGIF thing later on, have a shot of tequila for me as it's been way too long since Jose and I had a meaningful conversation, hehehehehe.

No this is not recent!
Till next time, as always, feel free to follow Piper and I on a daily basis on Facebook.  Also, please take a moment if you would and vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking the banner below.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's High Time for Pie

Mom's Uber Delicious Cream Cheese Cherry Pie


It's to die for, I promise!

Okay, I know it took me longer than a day to get to this recipe, but I ran into some logistic issues with maintaining a cooking page.  As you know, I'm technically still a newbie at this blog thing, and so still learning the ropes.  I did not realize that "pages" offered through my particular blog hosting site of choice were static...aka cannot contain multiple posts.  So, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how to go about the desire to maintain a recipe page while not being able to separate each entry.  So far, I'm still working on that issue.  But while I'm figuring out the trials and errors of logistics, I figured I'd better go ahead and get this recipe out!  It's too delicious to keep secret, so here it is.  I hope it is worth the extra wait for most of you.

What you'll need...aka Ingredients!

For the crust:

1 cup Corn Flake crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

For the filling:

8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup real lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 can cherry pie filling, chilled

Now for the fun part, making the pie!

First off, you'll definitely need a pie pan of some sort.  Doesn't matter what kind, but round is usually a good shape for a pie.  Also, you will need to go ahead and place the can of pie filling into the fridge to chill.  It's better to get it over with lest you forget later.  After you've got that taken care of, you can move on to the ingredients.

If you can still find Corn Flake crumbs in a box in your neck of the woods, consider yourself lucky.  This past holiday season we had to, for the first time ever, make the crust from scratch.  If you have to purchase a box of actual Corn Flakes and crush them in a blender yourself (or whack the crap out of them with a hammer, it's great for relieving tension)...

video

...then plan on a big box of flakes because you'd be surprised how small they get after a good pounding!  Also, you may want to add just a tad bit more butter if making your own crumbs.  They tend to be a bit drier than those right out of the box.

Once the Corn Flake crumbs are good and submissive, pour in the melted butter and sugar.  You can do this while in the pie pan as my mom does, or be like me and mix it all in a medium bowl and then transfer.  Once the ingredients for the crust are well mixed, spread and press evenly along the bottom and sides of the pie pan.  Remember this is a homemade pie, so don't get all stressed if your crust is not up to Martha Stewart's standards.  I prefer mine to look loved rather than Top Cheffed.

Now that your crust is ready, time to make the filling.  Now about this cream cheese, you do not want to cut any corners here.  Sure you may be watching your waistline, and if so maybe you shouldn't be eating pie.  No seriously, I jest.  However, light or fat free cream cheese will not do at all in this pie.  We tried it one year and the filling just never set right.  So make sure you get the full flavored stuff or suffer the consequences of a runny pie...blech!

Take your full flavored cream cheese and beat it on low with either a hand or stand mixer, your choice, until nice and smooth.  Slowly blend in the sweetened condensed milk.  Once that is mixed in nicely, then add in the lemon juice and vanilla extract at the same time.  This is important for some reason.  I'm no expert on the science behind food blending, but for some reason the filling is a hell of a lot better when the last two ingredients are blended in at the same time.  You'll just have to trust me on this one.

After all the delicious innards are blended, then plop them into the crust trying to make it all as evenly spread as possible.  See, wasn't that easy?  Now Just pop the pan into the fridge and chill for 24 hours.  I know, no one likes to wait for pie, but delayed gratification can be very rewarding.  Since you worked so hard on getting everything together, not you can lick the bowl.  Don't lie, you know you want to!  And don't share either, you did all the work so should get all the delicious rewards.  I say this now knowing that my mother always let us kids fight over the bowl licking in the end.  So if you must, just for fun, let the Hunger Games battle for bowl licking begin!

Now go to bed.  The night will pass quicker that way and that will make your wait time before eating your pie more doable.  Upon waking, go check the pie.  If you have little ones around or a spouse, you may find mysterious fingerprints in the filling at this point.  No fret, the topping will mask that later on.  And if there are no fingerprints? Go ahead and swipe yourself a taste.  You can always blame it on someone else later!

After your 24 hours of purgatory are up, open up your can of cherries and top your pie as evenly as possible.  Once this is done, it's time to dig in!  Yep, you're ready to finally enjoy your uber delicious creation.

If you feel adventurous and/or experimental, go ahead and divulge into some tweaks to the tastiness.  We have tried several different fruit toppings.  Our second favorite, discovered this past Thanksgiving, is peaches.  Also, even though I've never personally tired it, you can take a chance with a graham cracker crust.  I've been such a fan of the Corn Flake crust that I have yet to venture into new crust territory.  I know some relatives who have, and they seem to enjoy the change just fine.

I'm glad I finally got around to sharing this recipe again.  It is the number one must have item at all of our holiday gatherings and has been since I was just wee one.  I plan on continuing the tradition with my daughter, and I'll probably even let her lick the bowl!  I hope you enjoy the pie and get lots of praise from your loved ones regarding your fabulous creation.  Feel free to tell them you created the recipe all on your own, it won't hurt my feelings.  :-)

Till next time, as always, feel free to follow Piper and I on a daily basis on Facebook.  Also, please take a moment if you would and vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking the banner below.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

I Thought This Kind of Love Was Only In Fairytales

I've loved my little girl from the moment I knew I was pregnant.  Hell, probably even before then.  How could I not?  She's my creation and very much a part of me.  I couldn't imagine feeling otherwise.  How was I supposed to know that that love was just the tip of the love iceberg?  I really had no idea how much more love I had in me until last Tuesday on January 15.  You see, that was when I had my 4-D ultrasound where I got the chance to see little Piper in detail for the very first time.  What a remarkable technology!  The ability to see your child in the womb and see what they actually look like, it's just plain magical.  As I lay there on the technician's table with the ultrasound wand moving across my belly, I fell in love with my daughter 100 times more than before.  Seeing her little hands and cheeks and eyes and mouth and nose and everything else,...well it was just flat-out breathtaking!  I cannot stop looking at her pictures and I've been thinking about her nonstop.  I cannot even concentrate on my job!  If this is how I feel now, can I even hope to survive the love explosion once she is actually in my arms?

This entry I'm dedicating to my precious Piper Amelia, not that each and every one of my entry's isn't directly related to her in some way.  But this one is her showcase, her debut, her step into the spotlight.  For this one is where she comes to life for you all, as a little girl and not just as a fuzzy black and white picture of a somewhat human looking entity.  I hope you all enjoy her as much as I do.

Meet Piper Amelia
In this picture you can see her big, pouty, gorgeous lips.  I wish the umbilical cord hadn't been in the way of her right eye, but we were lucky to get her to move her hands away from her face.

My Angel
She is very cozy and snuggly already
I'll get back to some more pictures towards the end, but for now I want to move into video clips of the actual ultrasound session.  It was quite a long video at first, but I've broken it down into shorter segments for convenience.  Above each one I'll include a little description of what you are about to see.  Unfortunately there is no sound with the videos, although we were talking with the technician and she was explaining things to us the entire time.  I'll do my best to convey the gist of what was going on during each video.

Our first look at Piper was of her covering her face with a completely open right hand.  As a matter of fact, she was quite prone to covering her face with her hands.  The Tech said seeing the open hand was a good sign for it ruled out Trisomoy 19, a form of Down Syndrome.  It is always nice to hear good news.  This video also shows off her chubby cheeks once her hand is out of the way.  The tech says chubby cheeks on a newborn usually indicates they will be a good nurser.

video

This next video shows off her gorgeous profile.  Isn't she a doll?  Also you will see the black and white ultrasound images of the tech checking her spine.  It  is long and perfectly formed which also rules out spina bifida and/or other spinal abnormalities.

video

This next one is just another cute look at my precious girl.  If I have my videos correct, the tech will run the white arrow along the umbilical cord which just casually floats around Piper in her little womb world.  It was in a good position as to not make us have to worry about any dangers of her tangling up in it.  Notice Piper's right hand curled up by her face.  The tech said this is a choice she is making and will continue this outside the womb.  In other words, I need to make sure she wears mittens to keep herself from scratching her face and I shouldn't ever try to swaddle that right arm as it will make her quite upset.

video 

Okay, on to the heart.  In this video the tech is maneuvering to get a look at all four chambers of the heart to make sure they are all functioning properly, are the right size, and the heart is in the correct location within the chest.  Everything was perfect!  She also checked her heart rate which was 152 bpm, which is also the rate it should be.  In the last part of the video the tech checks on her stomach and kidneys to make sure they both contain fluids.  The stomach is the black hole on the left of the screen and the kidneys are the two black holes on the right.  Both had fluids which means Piper is swallowing and passing amniotic fluid without any problems.  She could survive if born early, which is definitely a relief at this point just in case.  Although I know no just in cases are necessary.

video

This fifth video once again shows how Piper loves to hide her pretty face with that right hand.  I figure she wants a big debut when entering the world so is giving just enough to leave us wanting more.  Also, more importantly, in the black and white segment the tech is checking her umbilical cord.  We were delighted to find out that she does actually have two arteries in her cord.  Our initial ultrasounds with the high risk doctor indicated she only had one and it was a bit of a concern even though she didn't show any signs of developing differently because of her unique cord.  Well now we know that was all a mistake and her cord is completely normal.  The tech points out the one vein and two arteries a few different times just to make sure.  She also checks the umbilical cord attachment at the belly button to make sure it wasn't leaking.  Everything looked spot on.  The last portion of the clip shows her positioning of her left arm around her tushy.  She enjoys curling up in a ball, which is completely by choice as she has plenty of room to move around at this point.  Tech said she would probably be extra cuddly because of her choice to get into a wad.  I'm all for extra cuddly!

video

In this next clip you finally get a pretty good look at her sweet little face.  Her umbilical cord is floating around in front of her, but her hand is down for the time being.  Don't mind all the bouncing around during the  black and white portions from here on out, that's just the tech shaking my belly with the ultrasound wand trying to either get Piper to change positions or the umbilical cord to move out of the way.  Don't worry, it doesn't hurt her!  It is kind of funny to watch, however.  The last part of this clip is oh so important as it once again proves that she is a girl!  Yes, I held my breath during this part.  I was terrified they'd find boy parts and then her whole nursery, which is totally not refundable due to the fact it's all hand crafted special pieces, would be a very expensive waste of girlyness.  Luckily she only had her girly parts and I could breathe once more!

video

Only a few more clips to go.  I know you want more, but it's all I have for now.  This next one just once again shows her stubborn side with wanting to cover her pretty little face with her hands.  It also shows the tech arrowing over her bald head.  The tech said she probably has a little bit of fine hair on her scalp, but not a whole lot.  In a lot of the still pics it looks like she has a ton of dark hair, but that is just shadows as you can tell from the video.

video


Clip number eight, this is a funny one.  You have to keep your eyes open and watch closely, but after all the jiggling and trying to get her to put her arms down, she finally gives the camera the bird at about one minute in.  Yep, she's just like her mother!  After that she finally moves her hands down and out of the way.  Once again she shows off her chubby cheeks, stunning pout, and down right gorgeousness!

video

And the final clip for the moment, here it is.  This one is short but gives us all a pretty darn good look at her without too much in the way.  I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I am that she's so adorable already and that all her parts are normal and no abnormalities or growth issues were found.  She is perfect in every way, and I couldn't be happier.

video

Here are a few of her other stats at the time of the ultrasound.  She weighed about 3.2lbs and was measuring an entire week ahead as she has done from the beginning.  The technician said even though her due date is not until April 10th, she would say April 3rd is more likely based on her size.  By the way, she was 27 weeks and 6 days at the time of the ultrasound.  If she continues to grow on her same track, she will most likely be between 8.5-9lbs if she hangs in there till her due date.  In all, she is in the top 79th percentile for her size at this point.  Another cool thing is the length of her legs.  Here is where she shines!  I ordered me a tall girl, and that is what I got.  Her legs were extremely long and measured in the 98th percentile based on her femur measurements.  Her daddy is 6'4" and all the women in his family are 5'10", so I imagine she will have some lovely, lengthy gams on her when she grows up.   Because she was trying to hide her face with both her hands and feet at one point, you probably noticed her feet up in her face in a couple of the clips. That just goes to show how long her legs are at this point.

Okay, well I'll wrap this entry up with the rest of her ultrasound pics.  They are all not perfect, but they all give some perspective into what she looks like.  I hope you enjoy them as I cannot stop looking at them on a a daily basis.
























And last but not least, I forgot I had uploaded a short clip of the ultrasound to Youtube.  I cannot remember what all is on it, but believe it is from the last five minutes of the session.  Anyway, I guess that means we all get to enjoy it at the same time!


Well, I think I have finally run out of video clips and pictures for the time being.  I'm still in wonderment at the
technology now available to us mothers.  It has been a joy to be able to share all of it with my family who all had their families way before any of this technology came around.  The biggest joy, however, is just simply seeing my unborn daughter and her beautiful face, knowing that in less than three months I will finally be holding her in my arms.  It's going to be difficult to wait that long, but it will be the best moment of my life when it finally happens.

Till next time, as always, feel free to follow Piper and I on a daily basis on Facebook.  Also, please take a moment if you would and vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking the banner below.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

You'll get it soon!

I am currently working on the tedious task of video editing. I had a 4-D/3-D ultrasound this past Tuesday and I'm trying to shorten the recorded session into shorter video clips.  It's been a learning process as I had to find a way to convert the original video file into a new format, take the new format and find a decent video editing program, then learn how to use the editing program without previous training or urge to use the help button.  Luckily I'm pretty good a fiddling around and coming up with solutions.  However, now that I have everything I need to do what I want, it is taking a bit more time in the manipulation portion of the project.  So instead of making everyone wait a few more days for another post, which is going to be a totally awesome one I promise, I decided to take a short detour and offer up a review of the body pillows I have used during my pregnancy.  While I have never been a product reviewer, I figured I'd give it a whirl and see how it goes.  So here we go, my uber fun body pillow review!  Let's get going!
I wonder which way I'll go?
Most women who have ever been knocked up are probably pretty familiar with the myriad of body pillow designs out there in stores and in cyber land.  But how can one possibly know which one to get when they obviously cannot be tested before purchasing?  Hell, most of the ones I discovered on the internet were not even available to look at in local shops.  I basically found deciding on a proper pregnancy pillow to be guess work backed by a hefty price tag, which can be very dangerous.  While I cannot tell you about the pros and cons of all of the pillows out on the market today, I can give you an honest review for the two I have purchased and personally spent many intimate moments with.  So here goes.

First off, the Snoogle.

This is how it looks on the shelf
The Snoogle was the first body pillow I purchased, but before I get into the meat and potatoes of the review, a little background information on what I was looking for in a pillow.

I have a horrible problem with rolling over onto my back while sleeping.  Now this is not so much a problem normally, but starting in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy it can become an issue.  Once you start to gain all that baby belly, sleeping on the back can cause low blood pressure, can decrease circulation to your heart and your baby, and can also screw up your breathing and digestive system.  Basically, this position causes your newly added weight to crush upon your intestines and major blood vessels such as the aorta and vena cava.  In the simplest terms, you shouldn't do it.  However, if you are like myself, you have absolutely no control of what you do in your sleep.  I usually always fall asleep on my side and wake up on my back.  This is most likely due to old dance injuries acting up when lying in certain positions for too long.  Both my knees and hips have pretty good damage to them from my once being a career ballet dancer.  At night, whilst sleeping, they both tend to get achy if I've been in one position for too long.  Therefore my subconscious response to the pain is to roll over on my back to alleviate the pressure on my joints.  Well this was all fine and dandy pre-pregnancy, but not now!  So to make a long story short, I needed a body pillow that would prevent me from rolling onto my back, that's it.  Of course comfort was also key, but the prevention of back sleeping was the number one must-have result.  Okay, back to the Snoogle review.

I ran across the Snoogle initially at Babies "R" Us and liked the looks of it.  However, it's price tag left something to be desired.  $70?  Seriosuly?  After seeing the price I passed up buying the Snoogle on the first go around.  I was only in my first trimester, so I still had time to shop around.  About a month later I went maternity shopping at Destination Maternity, one of the very few maternity shops we have here locally.  Low and behold they had the Snoogle and it was only around $55.  Still not a great price, but doable considering I was quite anxious at this point to find a pillow.  So I went ahead, bit the bullet, and bought it.

To be totally honest, I absolutely loved it!  It had a great shape, was very supportive and comfortable, and it could be used it a ton of different positions.
Nice shape (fashionable cover sold separately)
So the pic above is it's basic shape.  I should note here that the cute little cover you see on this one is not standard.  It comes in plain white (at least that was all that was available here) and fashion covers, if you can find them, run extra.  Yes the cover slips off for easy cleaning or redecorating, either way it's a nice bonus.  As for the shape, don't let the simple shape fool you, this baby can do tricks!
So many options!
As you can see from this pic, the Snoogle can be twisted into quite a few awesome positions depending on how you need and want to use it.  I found it excellent for reading at night, supporting both my back from behind and my book from the front.  It also created a nice little nook in my reading position for my cats to snuggle in.  Genius!  In all reality, this position pic only shows the basics.  There are many other positions you can twist this sucker into if you are creative.
This is a great one!
Overall, the Snoogle is a great body pillow.  It is comfortable, adjustable, and easy to clean.  But the big question of the day...can it keep a gal from rolling onto her back?  The answer is yes and no.

Take notice of the standard sleeping positions.
Here is a pic of the standard Snoogle sleeping positions.  While it is comfy in every position, once you've decided on a particular position, it is not an easy task to change your mind.  You can roll your own body from side to side, but either it's going to be long portion behind your back or long portion supporting your belly.  I found this to be an issue.  For me, I really needed the back support so long portion behind the back was my preferred position.  I mentioned previously that I ache in my joints when in one position for too long.  This means I have to change which side I'm sleeping on several times a night to alleviate those pesky little cramps.  Unfortunately, there was no good way to adjust the pillow to be behind my back every time I needed to roll over.  The sucker is quite large and pretty heavy, so maneuvering it around while half asleep and under covers is just plain not going too happen!  This inability to change it's position caused major issues as I would still roll over onto my other side, but that would then lead to me not having any back support and subsequently rolling on over to my back at some point.  Basically, the pillow worked for me half the time, which is not enough to keep the panic factor down when I wake up and realize I've been once again sleeping on my back and possible cutting of circulation to my baby...ahhhhh!!!

Don't get me wrong, this is an awesome body pillow that I would highly recommend for pregnant women who don't have the same problem with the back sleeping that I do.  And it is such a great pillow just for everyday use, too.  My mom ended up buying herself one cause she liked mine so much.  Hell, I gave mine to my dad once I decided I needed a different pillow.  Now both my parents sleep in their bed with a Snoogle.  How's that for comfort!

Yep, that's my dad and his Snoogle...and Sage the cat.

While it wasn't absolutely 100% perfect for my needs, I would still give it 8.5 out of 10 stars.  I am basically deducting one point for not working for the back and half a point for price.  Although, if you shop around a bit, there may be better pricing out there as long as shipping doesn't get in the way.
Almost perfect, bu not quite.

Okay, onto to the next pillow!

Upon determining that the Snoogle just wasn't cutting the mustard in regards to the back sleeping problem, I went on a search for another pillow that might work for my needs.  This time I was bit more cautious regarding the shape of the pillow, for now I knew more of what I was looking for...something I could either adjust easily, or something that was equally supportive of my back regardless which side I chose to sleep on.

This was a tough search as once again there was no place locally that had any sort of decent body pillow inventory and it is very difficult to get a good idea of firmness and size via the internet, but what can you do, right?  So I scoured the internet and finally, remarkably, came across a pillow that looked perfect!

This looks promising!
As you can see, this pillow has complete back support no matter which side you lay on.  And look how big it is!  Doesn't it look like a dream?  One look at the Today's Mom pregnancy pillow and I had to have it!  I initially found and purchased it from Drugstore.com, as they had free shipping which was excellent cause this thing is a monster.  However, I just found it on Babyage.com which also has free shipping and $10 off your initial purchase if you sign up for their newsletter.  If after reading this you decide you must have it, you will want that $10 off as it runs $79.99!  Yep, this bad boy is quite pricey.  That almost stopped me from purchasing it, but I decided my healthy baby and peace of mind was worth a little extra expenditure.  So, once again I bit the bullet and bought the pillow.

When I received  it and opened the package, this pillow was even larger than I expected.  This could be an issue for some of you gals out there, especially if you have a bed mate who isn't covered in fur.  I am single so the fact that it took up over half of the bed, which is a full size at this point, wasn't a problem for me.  Sure my two cats had less space, but my comfort is just slightly more important right now.  This particular pillow also comes in four different colors. I chose the baby blue as in the pic above, and I love the color.  I find it quite soothing and much better than the plain white Snoogle I had.  Then again, for the price, I guess I could have bought myself a fashion cover for the Snoogle.  Anyway, it also comes in white, almond, and espresso just in case you were wondering.  Besides the availability of various colors without an extra price tag for them, the cover on this pillow easily zips off for cleaning.  Once again, this feature is very nice to have and a must for any body pillow as you will need to wash it once in awhile.

If you have one of these, you will need to clean!
Now we come down to the important part, comfort and ability to keep me off my back.  On the comfort side, at first I was a bit disappointed as it was quite a bit softer than my Snoogle.  I was so used to sleeping with it's firmness, that I almost didn't give the Today's Mom pillow a chance.  The main issue was in the head rest area.  It was a bit squishy for my tastes.  So I simply unzipped it, threw in a lumbar throw pillow from the couch, zipped it back up, and BAM, I was back in business!  I was very lucky to have an extra pillow the right shape and size to use in the head portion, but I don't think most people will think it's too squishy to begin with.  Like I said, I was coming off the Snoogle which has a very firm head rest, which some people have actually complained about.  It's really just a matter of taste in the end.  The important thing to remember is that with this pillow, if it is a problem, it can be easily solved with a bit of ingenuity.  I would recommend just a standard lumbar pillow if needed as they tend to be just the right size.  You don't have to worry about what it looks like since it will be zipped inside the cover.  Mostly you will just need to make sure it isn't too stiff and therefore swinging the problem in the other direction.
That's my kind of pillow!
After working out the initial head rest issue, the rest of the pillow was great.  It was just the right amount of squishy for cuddling up.  And it's shape?  Oh the shape was delightful!  The size and width of the side pillows were perfect for me.  They allowed me to place the pillow under my belly and between my thighs and at the same time supported my entire back.  If I rolled over, it was like rolling over into the exact same pillow on the other side, which completely took care of the problem I had with the Snoogle.  And when I rolled over, it was never onto my back.  The size of the side pillows made it virtually impossible to do so as they kind of hold you in a cozy pocket of sleeping heaven.

In the end, the Today's Mom pillow ended up solving my back sleeping problem.  As time has moved along, it has also gotten more and more comfortable.  The initial feeling of the pillow has changed quite a bit.  The more I use it the more it seems to conform to my own body and needs.  It also has helped eliminate most of the achy joint issues I previously had.  There is something about the angles it keeps my knees and hips at, some unique type of support, that has reduced the number of times I feel the urge to roll over due to cramping.  That is a blessing that was totally unexpected and much appreciated.

I will say one last thing about the Today's Mom pillow regarding it's size.  It is VERY large!  Since I use it under the blankets, at first I had to roll over the top of the pillow to get out of bed to pee during the night...and this happens more and more frequently now that I'm in my third trimester.  Needless to say, that was a bitch and a half, but doable.  Eventually, however, this problem lessened with use.  Now I can simply flip the side pillow upwards, much like bending it at the "elbow," and simply get out of bed without having to roll across the top of it.  So if you decide to get this pillow and the getting out of bed thing bothers you, trust me it will work itself out with time and use.

Overall, I would give the Today's Mom pillow 9.5 out of 10 stars.  I was going to take off a whole star for price.  However, even though it was pricier, because it solved my back sleeping problem and magically helped my achy joints it got an extra half star for surprise extra comfort.
Totally worth the money!
It may not have the ability to bend into a thousand different shapes, but that wasn't what I needed from it.  My review is based on my needs, so others reviews may be completely different.  Overall it was the perfect pillow for me.

I hope this review comes in handy for someone.  No I am not getting any royalties from the makers of these pillows to say anything.  I wish I was!  In the end, it's just me killing time and offering up a hopefully useful tidbit while you wait on the next blog entry.  I actually enjoyed doing this, though.  I may just end up trying my hand at some more reviews as time goes on.  I'm sure once I get this little girl out into the world there will be a thousand and one products that either impress me or piss me off.  We'll all just have to wait and see if I bring reviews into my blogs.  Definitely couldn't hurt to throw some variation into the mix!

Well that's it for now.  Until next time...don't forget to vote for me on Top Baby Blogs and join me on Facebook!

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