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    5 Fun Fall Things To Do with the Family in Houston

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    This past weekend my family and I took Jayden out to Froberg’s Farm in Alvin for a little pumpkin patch fun. It was inexpensive, local, and tons of fun for the kiddos. We lucked out because the weather was perfect when we went down there. We were able to go through the corn maze, walk around the farm, and take tons of pictures without sweating or getting over heated. I love this time of year because it is the best weather in Texas to be outside, and you get to layer it cute fall outfits! Below is my list of my top 5 Fall things to do with family in Houston.

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    Family

    How to Save Money by Making Your Own Baby Food

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    Like most mom’s I want the best for my child, especially when it comes to what I am feeding him. I’m a big advocate in making baby food, not only because of the health benefits with less preservatives, but also because you save tons of money by doing so. An individual container of baby food cost at least $1.50. If you feed your baby 3 times a day for a whole month it would cost you roughly $126. But making your own baby food would save you at least $100 a month. Below I will show you how I make baby food in bulk for the week, using the products below. Consult your pediatrician to make sure your child is ready for whole foods.  We started when Jayden was 4 months after getting the ok from our doctor.

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    Ingredients:

    I am a big fan of frozen veggies and fruits. They have a great selection of ready to steam veggies from peas, to broccoli, to mix blends that make great baby food. I like to blend veggies and fruit together for taste. Apples and bananas are easy fruits to blend and works well with veggies. It’s honestly personal preference and what your baby likes. Usually for every bag of veggies I mix two apples.

    Directions:

    1. Set out bag of veggies and let it thaw out.

    2. Once thawed out blend veggies and fruit separately (I use a Nutribullet for all my blending needs)

    3. Combine in large tupperware

    The smaller tupperware is how I measure out how much to prepare for each meal. I fill 75mml of blended baby food and warm up in microwave or bottle warmer. I mix the food with a scoop of formula and two spoonful of rice cereal for a thicker consistency. The rice cereal is optional, but I like it because it is filling . One bag of veggies usually last him a week.

    So for all you Mom’s who want to save money, save time, and give your baby the best, try it out, and let me know what you think! And if you love this simple and easy tip share it with a friend!

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. For more healthy tips and fitness advice follow my IG @dawnpdarnell_wefit!

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    Family, Fashion

    Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

    Last Minute Father's Day Gifts

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    Father’s day is just around the corner, and if you are a last minute shopper and don’t know what to get your dad, here are some great gifts for under $100 the father in your life will love!

    Vestal buckle watch – I love these watches. The light weight, ergonomic design makes it a great everyday watch for dad. Plus it has a lifetime warranty! Great quality for an affordable price.

    Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity & Sleep Wristband – This is a pretty cool gadget that I know every guy will love. It tracks your steps, calories, sleep patterns, and so much more and syncs directly to your iPhone.

    adidas Golf Men’s Stretch Camo Print Shorts – I love these shorts. They are perfect for the summer. They dry fast and are so comfy he will want it in every color.

    Nike Golf Innovation Color Block Polo – More of that dri-fit technology your dad will love for the summer. If he loves to golf he will want this in his wardrobe.

    The Art of Shaving Carry on Kit-Unscented – I think this is such a cool idea for men. A cool way to make your guy’s shaving experience that much better.

    Nike Roshe One Men’s Shoe – This is a great everyday Nike for less than $100. Great for that dad on the go!

    Stance The Fourth Socks – Getting socks can be fun! Get him ready for the Fourth of July with these cool socks!

    John Varvatos – I just love this scent for men. It has a very masculine scent for that guy’s guy in your life.

    Happy Father’s Day Cupcakes – You can’t go wrong with cupcakes! What dad will turn down food, especially cool father’s day cupcakes like these. Source: WTFGadgets.com

    Saxx Vibe Boxer Briefs – Men’s Accessories | Buckle – This has to be the comfiest boxer briefs for men. Check out their “hammock” technology guys will definitely appreciate.

    Funny Fathers Day ‘Happy Farter’s Day’ Greeting Card –  Last but not least you can’t forget a card. Here’s a funny card he will get a good laugh from.
    Hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day!
    <3 Dawn

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    Family, Fashion, Food

    Roost

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    This weekend for my first Mother’s Day my husband took us out to the city for the day. We went to this cozy hole in the wall restaurant called Roost in Montrose to try their famous fried cauliflower and donut holes. It was amazing and I highly recommend anyone who wants to try something new. I loved their unpretentious feel and diverse menu inspired by local availability of farm fresh ingredients. After dinner my husband and I went to a local park downtown to take family pictures. I can’t believe my little man is trying to walk already. Love some of the candid pictures my hubby took of us. I know I will cherish these memories forever.

    Below is a more detailed look of my outfit. Can you believe my dress and heels are less than $15! It’s a steal for a momma on a budget. I posted links below where you can purchase the items. IMG_0324 IMG_0326IMG_0327  IMG_0328 IMG_0329 IMG_0332

    dress: sheinside/shoes: cicihot/ purse: guess/ belt: BCBG/ earring: Kendra Scott/ bracelet: Alex and Ani/ hat:(similar style)

    <3 Dawn

    P.S. Don’t forget to follow my instagram located below  @dawnpdarnell for more fashion and style post. Thanks and have a great day!

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    Family

    Opening Day – Jayden’s 1st baseball Game

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    Me and the little guy
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    Our first family vacation

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    Globe Life Park

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     A beautiful view from the suiteDSC03354 DSC03371 DSC03373

    Cutest baseball butt I ever saw

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    Batting practice

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    Home plate seating

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    Dessert buffet

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    Family picture at the game

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    Texas Ranger kicks

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    Our little slugger

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    What a great way to celebrate a win

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    This weekend we embarked on our first family vacation to see the Opening Day of the Texas Rangers. Not only was it Jayden’s first baseball game but it was his Uncle Jeff’s first Opening Day as the Manager of the Texas Rangers. Jayden finally got to meet some of his family near and far who came to support Jeff Banister on his big day. It was a wonderful family reunion, and our little man did great on his first vacation. I couldn’t help but snap shot all of Jayden’s cute baseball outfits he wore to the game, gifted to him by his wonderful family. He enjoyed every moment of it, getting smothered with kisses and spoiled with love. He even walked away with a souvenir Lego action figure of his Uncle from his Honey Do. How cool is that? I know he will appreciate it when he gets older.  Baseball runs in his blood and there was no better way to get introduced to the game than getting to share such a proud moment with family.

    <3 Dawn

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    Family

    2 Month Slugger

    Spring training has begun and guess who’s ready for baseball season to start? Our little man who is not so little anymore. He has gained 5 lbs since birth and is now 22 1/4 inches long. I love his little crochet baseball outfit his Aunt Hayley got him for his shoot. His daddy is very proud to know his son is following in his footsteps.
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    At two months Jayden loves to baby talk and blow bubbles. One of my favorite thing he does is give open mouth kisses. He loves to give his mommy kisses! He is more vocally expressive with his wants and need and has become more independent now that his eyesight has developed. It has made it easier for me and my husband to do things around the house with him in his rocker or in his baby carrier without getting fussy. He still hasn’t slept through the night but is occasionally sleeping 4 to 5 hour stretches at night. This past month has been easier for us as parents now that we are more knowledgable and comfortable of what we are doing. Since he has gotten his shots I am excited to finally take him out. My husband and I were a little bit paranoid with all this news of non vaccinated kids and the flu going around we wouldn’t even take him to the grocery store. We still worry and freak out about the little things but we are lucky to have tons of help from our family.  We are very thankful and blessed to have such a wonderful little boy, and we can’t wait to see what the next month holds.

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    My little stud muffin.

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    Can’t get enough of those chubby cheeks.

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    Always such a happy baby.

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    <3 Dawn

    P.S. Can you believe how much he has changed in a month? Check out his one month photos here.

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    Family

    Jayden’s 1st Month

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    Woot! Woot! What a milestone! Our little man is one month and we survived as parents. I can’t believe how much he has grown! Packed on almost 3 lbs since his birthday. This boy loves to eat, fart, and make funny faces. He is advanced in his motor skills, kicking, grabbing, and holding his head up. It was a crazy whirlwind of a month with many challenges, but in the end we couldn’t be more thankful for our healthy growing boy.

    One of the challenges I had as a breast feeding mother was keeping up with his appetite during his growth spurts. By his second week we were supplementing with formula in addition to my breast milk. The restless nights, 24/7 eating periods were both physically and emotionally exhausting for me. I don’t think I could have kept it together without all the help from our family, both of our mothers, and my wonderful husband. He saw me at my worse, barely surviving on two hours of sleep, no shower in days, walking around in stained spit up and breast milk leaked clothes, but always managed to make my days better when he came home. Just watching him be such a good father to our son made me fall in love with him over and over again.

    Here are some pictures we took of him for his first  month. I used my new photo editing software Adobe Photoshop my husband got me, and for the first time using it I was pretty impressed at how user friendly it was. I definitely have much to learn as a beginner photographer, but I am pleased with the results. Can’t wait to watch this little man grow!

    <3 Dawn

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    Family

    Jayden’s Birth Story

    Jayden's Birth Story

    One hundred jumping jacks and seventeen hours of labor later, on January, 19, 2015 at 6:08pm my son made his debut into this world. I had been planning and anticipating for this day to come, and though it didn’t go as I had planned or be what I expected, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

    It was early Sunday morning when I noticed my mucus plug had been released. At that point I was 40 weeks and 3 days over due and any kind of progress was happy news to my ears. I had been waiting for what it seemed like forever for the arrival of our baby. My patience had grown thin and I was growing more and more hopeless that this baby would never arrive.

    Later that day I decided to go for a walk with my sister around the mall to get things moving, and when we got home I took a recommendation from a friend and added a hundred jumping jacks. It wasn’t until 1 am in the morning did I start having contractions along with a bloody show to compliment it. It started 10 minute apart like mild cramping, but by 6am they were 6 minutes apart and getting progressively worse and more painful. I remember the only relief I had through my contractions was petting my cat Sasha and counting down the minute. When my contractions reached 5 minutes apart my husband and I decided to go to the hospital.

    When we reached the hospital we received promising news we would be meeting our son before dinner time that day if not sooner. I was still able to walk through my labor but after being up all night I was beginning to tire and between contractions I would nod off because I was so tired. At 8am I was only 3cm dilated our doctor came in and gave me an option to break my water to speed up the process. I hastily agreed to the procedure. Even though I had wanted a natural birth, seven hours of labor had tested my patience and I was ready to get this baby out.

    If there was one thing I wish I had done different it would have been that decision right there. No sooner after they broke my water my labor pains intensified a hundred times worse. I was 4 minutes between contractions with a minute long contraction. By 10am, after 2 hours of labor with my water broken I was ready to either kill everyone in the room, or pull my hair out. I knew at the time I couldn’t go any longer without an epidural. I still wanted my husband alive, and I still wanted to have hair by the end of this so I finally gave in. I remember that moment that epidural was put inside me, I felt like I was in heaven. Within minutes I passed out, and the last thing I remember was me thanking the anesthesiologist and telling him he was an angel.

    Five hours later I woke up, refreshed with the biggest smile on my face. Both me and my husband had taken a little nap and we both felt rested after a long night of laboring. Shortly after I woke up the nurse checked me and gave me good news that I was 9cm dilated and almost ready to push. There was a tiny upper lip of the cervix that was still left that we had to push through before we started the final birth pushing. I remember my legs were numb and not feeling any pain down there. It was the best feeling in the world, but it made it harder for me to push because I couldn’t feel myself pushing. I remember just imagining myself pooping when I was pushing and just hoping I was doing it right.

    Finally after getting through the little bit of cervix I had left, it was time to do my final pushing. My husband was doing such a great job coaching and helping me through the process. He kept the mood light in the room with his jokes. My doctor brought the mirror out so I could see myself push. It helped me out so much to see my progression when I push. I remember the moment I saw his hair and his head peaking through it gave me such an adrenaline rush. When the nurse asked me if I had one push left I remember screaming, “I have two!” That final push when his head came out and the doctor pulled the rest of his body out was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was in disbelief. I just couldn’t believe I had carried such a precious human being.

    My husband was able to cut his umbilical cord and be there for the cleaning. I remember the moment they put him in my arms I was over joyed. He was more than I could have ever imagined. After the delivery I only had a minor tear and some stitches. The recovery process went very well with little complications. I did have a slight fever through the delivery so my baby and I had to be on a 48 hr watch just to make sure everything was ok. Overall I was very pleased with how everything went. I couldn’t have asked for a better hospital, nurse, doctor, and support staff. I commend those who’ve had natural births and hope one day I will be able to do the same. My first was a great learning experience, and I’m so glad I get to share it with ya’ll.

    ? Dawn

    Jayden's Birth Story Jayden's Birth Story

     

    Family

    40 weeks and 2 days later….

    As I walked to the checkout line, waiting to make my purchase, I stared enviously at the lady ahead of me with her cute baby boy in tow. I was 40 weeks past due and walking and shopping was one of my favorite things to do to pass the time. I was ready for my baby to come into this world, and as a first time mom, patience was not on my side. I never felt so envious like this before. At first I was excited and appreciative of all the new moms out there with their babies, knowing I would soon be one of them. But now wherever I looked, in the grocery store, at the mall, on Facebook, Instagram, all I saw was what I was missing out on. I know statistically 40% of first time mothers deliver after their expected due date. But like most first time moms, we all secretly hope to be in the other 60% who have their babies earlier or on time.

    Earlier this week I had embarked on an experiment of 10 days and 10 ways of naturally inducing labor. I tried everything:
    1. squating
    2. eating pineapples
    3. drinking raspberry tea
    4. walking
    5. Eating spicy foods
    6. Dancing
    7. Bouncing on an exercise ball
    8. Massage
    9. Stairs
    10. Sex
    I was hopeful I would be one of those success stories you read on pregnancy websites where it worked for them, but yet no baby for me.

    It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, even though you know no two pregnancies are alike. I had to accept that the most natural thing in the world, and one of the biggest gifts God could give you has no due date. He will come when he is ready, not when you are ready. It’s a lesson that not only you will have to learn and accept now but in the future in all stage of your child’s life. We can only do our best and give our best as parents, but ultimately he will be who he wants to be in his on time and in his own ways. It’s funny how even at the earliest stages of conception, God has already given us lessons and insights on the future of the gift that we shall receive.

    So as I sit here patiently waiting, tired, anxious, with mix feelings, I am one thing above all and that is grateful. Because if there’s one thing I can 100% bet on is that we can’t be pregnant forever! And whether it be a day or a week from now, I will wait for this blessing to arrive, because in the end I know he will be worth every minute.

    <3 Dawn P. Darnell

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