Thursday, December 26, 2013

 

Happy New Years!


With 2014 set to begin may we be the best parent, wife, friend, daughter and sister that we can be for this New Year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Food: Quick and Easy Side Dish

I have been working really hard putting together my Christmas menu, sampling new recipes, searching for the perfect roast recipe and organizing my grocery list. After I found, tested and happily ate the trial roast with my family, I still couldn't decide what side dishes would go well with  it. I went through all my cookbooks and online cooking magazines and found two rich and creamy vegetable sides but they both needed to go in the oven. I needed one more side dish that was quick and easy to prepare but that could be made on the stovetop. That's when I remembered this recipe I wrote over the summer when I was growing swiss chard in the garden. So I decided to prepare it again for my family and see if they approved. After not a kernel of corn was left last night I am happy to share this recipe with everyone which finally completes my Christmas menu. Now off to finish my grocery shopping.

Merry Christmas to all and wishing you all good eats!

1 tablespoon of olive oil
I large yellow onion diced
2 1/2 cups of frozen sweet corn, let it sit a few minutes to thaw
2 bunches of Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of water
1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese


In a medium non-stick sauté pan warm olive oil over medium heat and add the diced onion. Cook the onion 4-5 minutes until light and translucent.



Add the corn and cook for about 7 minutes until it begins to turn light brown. Keep stirring the vegetables and if they begin to stick add a bit more oil. You want the corn and onion to turn light brown because it brings out their sweetnes. Add the salt.


Add the Swiss chard and water. Stir until the Swiss chard wilts and is cooked through about 2-3 minutes.
                                                                 Top with cheese and serve warm.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fashion: BIG THANK YOU TO:

What a lovely time we had at our  Holiday Event and Fashion Show. Thank you to all of our vendors and designers. To learn more about our vendors and designers please click on their name.

Kidtyme 
Origami Owl jewelry


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Institutional care shapes infant brain's response to Mom....



I came across a great article in the LA Times regarding maternal attachment. If you think your child is too shy around strangers, it's great to know that it's a defense mechanism. There is so much to learn as parents and a great place to start is learning from our little ones. To read more please click below:

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-adoption-maternal-attachment-20131204,0,6309864.story#axzz2mcVDPoeb

Monday, December 2, 2013

Books: Meet Author Barbara Gibson-Paul at the Holiday Event Tomorrow

 

 

Meet kids author Barbara Gibson-Paul tomorrow at our Holiday Boutique Event. We will be having a book reading of Max Pays Attention at noon. So come and enjoy a story by the author herself. Kids Ahoy Indoor Play Area is located at 20929 Ventura Blvd.#28, Woodland Hills, CA.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Kidorable, Frankie & Sue, and more.... Fashion- Mommy Approved! Kidorable

 

Fashion is a way to express yourself and boy do our children like to express themselves. We at Mothersofthevalley.com love fashion and know how hard it is as mothers to get out and find the latest trends and to find those great hidden jewels. Well we have found some to share with you just in time for the holidays. These fashions finds will make great buys for your little darlings or as gifts.




Frankie & Sue

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I was on a mission to find something that was stylish, but something new too. Then a friend told me about a line by Frankie & Sue. The first thing I thought upon seeing the clothes was "Bohemian Chic." I think the line is filled with refreshing patterns and comfortable styles. As toddlers tend to run and jump around, you don't want to have something restricting them. The electrifying colors of the clothes are impressive! Pictures do not do it justice! 

Frankie & Sue designs don't look "cookie cutter." They have many colors to satisfy
many different types of children. "The colors were perfect for [my daughter's] skin tone," said Sanaz about her daughter Emma's dress. "I have it with us on our trip to NY," she says, "I also plan for her to wear it at Thanksgiving. The colors are very vibrant and the quality is excellent." 

 As a mom that loves fashion, I too was impressed with the quality of the clothes and their refreshing style and comfort. I thought my daughter looked adorable in it and the cut was perfect. An extra plus is that all products are 100% made in the USA. 


Footlights Dance USA 

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Since watching Fame I have loved dance wear. It's not just for the dance studios but for everyday purposes. So I thought what better way to show that than by having our toddlers wear them. I have found many unique pieces for my daughters with Footlights Dance USA. 

Tutu's, tutu's.. I just can't get enough of them. Nicole wore a tutu over the Polkadot What leggings to give it a dancer look. Why get your tutu's at your local store, when you can go to where professional dancers go. "Alyssa could use her clothing as is or in layers for dance class, everyday wear, and dressy too," said Dayna about her daughters outfit for the Mothers of the Valley fashion show. 

As autumn brings winds and chills don't forget your leg warmers. "The leg warmers will be fun for cold days" says Dayna. Nicole wore hers with her capri pants. Both the capris and legwarmers have multiple uses. And to keep you extra warm you can layer the top with a dancer wrap from Footlights USA

Kidorable

Autumn is here and this is the time to start looking for your toddlers winter wear. You can go to the mall from store to store or... you can look up Kidorable for great winter wear rain coats and rain boots. I first came across the company when I needed winter boots last year for my daughter. I could not get over how (kid)-dorable:) the boots where. I purchased her a pair and she always had an excuse to wear them.

"They are stylish, but comfortable. Kids are always running around and moving. You want to make sure they look good but also feel good in what they wear," says Cynthia. "Tristan has worn the boots with no socks, because he loves them, and he has not complained once about them hurting his feet. To me that is style and comfort perfected." Boots can be a hard sell to toddlers, but guess what? Once they have them on they won't take them off. "(Tristan) loves them! I was a bit concerned he might not like the boots because he has never worn rain boots and he is a little fussy but he wants to wear them everyday!" 

As a mother, we want them to look cute, but you also want a product that lasts more then just a season. Thank goodness for Kidorable, because here we are at another autumn and I can't believe her fairy rain boots are still in great shape and ready for another year of muddy puddles and racing daddy down the block. And f.y.i., toddler fashionista Siri Cruise has worn Kidorable

 NANO Hernandez


Adding something funky and cool to a boy toddler is not easy. Think about all the times you had to shop for a boy toddler outfit. It's hard to find something that stands out and is of great quality. New and Wow is what you find in Nano Hernandez attire. Since I have two daughters, I couldn't visualize adding skulls or contemporary art to a toddler piece, but it does work. It makes me think, "that little man look badass, in a cool rocker way!" 

What is great for us parents is the quality of the sweatshirts. That is what Hiep told me about her boys Nano Hernandez sweatshirt. She said that her boys love to put the hoodies on and look cool. She went on to tell me that the other day she turned around and looked at them and took a double look. They looked like this real badass boys in the sweatshirts. It took her breath away. We both agree that the sweatshirts are of great quality cotton and do not lose quality in the wash. These sweatshirts are the kind you borrow from a friend and hope they never ask for it back:) 

They are not limited to boys either. Nano Hernandez makes attire for girls, toddlers and adults. The onesies are great for keeping the infants warm during the cooler days, and when it is warmer I just add a tutu and she is set. Whichever you chose they will keep your little ones warm during this coming winter, while still looking fashionable. Sanaz, Allison's mother says, "(I) loved the color and graphics on the (sweatshirts). They were a favorite." Nano Hernandez has that great combination of quality and unique style. Nano Hernandez took on the challenge in making boys toddler wear and did an outstanding job! 

Polkadot What!

You can wear your black and white leggings or your occasional colorful leggings. And if you need more than that to add a splash of color to your toddler's wardrobe. Polkadot What! may be just what your mini-me needs. I first noticed these legging on the daughter of "How I Meet Your Mother'' actress Alyson Hannigan. 

It is so creative how two different patterns can work together and really give the outfit a fun, carefree look. My daughter was so comfortable in her Polkadot What leggings and the shape didn't wear out for a long time. I added a pair under a tutu and a t-shirt and voila!... the capris are so darling why not wear them all year long, just add leg warmers and boots during the winter. 

Don't let the weather depict your wardrobe. Add some layers and a little dance style to make you a daughter shine not just at dance class, but outside the dance room. If fashionista, Sarah Jessica Parker has her little ones wearing Polkadot What, we have to take a look too. 

**To go to any of these designers homepage, please just click on the highlighted names.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Plum Organics RECALL

PLUM ORGANICS VOLUNTARILY RECALLS A RANGE OF POUCH PRODUCTS Emeryville, Calif., Nov. 8, 2013 – Plum Organics is voluntarily recalling specific pouch products within its Baby Stage 2, Tots Mish Mash and Kids lines after discovering a manufacturing defect that may cause spoilage in some pouches. Recalled products can be identified by the “Best By” dates ranging from 08/05/14 (August, 5 2014) to 12/08/14 (December 8, 2014) and the letters “AT.”

Plum has determined that the potential spoilage may cause some pouches to swell. Out of an abundance of caution, Plum is removing all pouches with affected codes. Parents should not feed any of these products to their children. Consumers who have purchased affected products should contact the Plum Organics Consumer Hotline at 866-495-3774 or send an email to info@plumorganics.com to request a product replacement voucher. "As a father of two, I know how it feels to want nothing but the very best for our kids and yours,” said Neil Grimmer, president and co-founder of Plum Organics. “Over the years, Plum has worked hard to earn the trust of parents, and we fully intend on maintaining that trust. We are taking every action to ensure that our highest standards are being met

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fashion: First Annual Mothers of the Valley Event

Our First Annual Mothers of the Valley Event / Fashion Show is behind us and we had so much fun! 
Frankie & Sue designers Carol and Sue

A special thank you to our designers who participated in and donated to our fashion show--  Frankie and SueKidorablePolkadot What!, Nano Hernandez, Yari Daisies and Footlights-dance.com. We were even more excited to have a guest appearance by the designers of Frankie & Sue. What a treat!


More special thanks to our vendors for their time and work... Arte Bijourx, Clay Prints, Kidtyme, Teacher Resources for Parents. And a round of applause for Miss Melodee Dance Studio who were there all day and capped it off with a special performance by Miss Melodee herself that had all the kids dancing! For more on our designers and vendors please stay tuned. We will have more later this week. Until then please click here for some highlights: First Annual Mothers of the Valley Event highlights.





Sunday, November 3, 2013

Entertaining: Creating a Baby "Surprise" Shower

Putting on a baby shower is a very intimate thing. It's not a bon voyage to a friend; it's celebrating a new chapter of her life. OK, I'm being a bit dramatic, but now also imagine you don't know the gender of the baby. That was our predicament when my friend Kathryn, Ashley and I prepared to create a perfect baby shower for our beloved friend and sister, Victoria.

Invite:
I love the website Etsy and that is where I began my search for the perfect invite. I know that Victoria loves the vintage/shabby look, but since I didn't know the sex I wanted to make sure it wasn't too girly yet still had a bit of a feminine touch. I found four invites that I felt Victoria would love and sent them to her to see and to pick her favorite. The baby was a surprise, that didn't mean the invite had to be too. The invite is important because it sets the mood for the party.


Food:
A baby shower is usually held around the noon hour. People will walk around and chat... usually about the mom-to-be and how great she will be as a mom! It's not a formal sit down event, so we kept it simple. I wanted to add color so we had a fruit- berry salad. To add details to the food, Ashley added chalk label tags.


Decor:

This is where our creative minds really went into overdrive. It means use your resources! I went to the websites Etsy and Pinterest for help.


Instead of pink, blue, baby boy and baby girl decor we each had the same idea of birds, vibrant green and yellows. It's not the colors that make the baby shower, it's how you use them.

- Dream Maker Baby Shower Game was my find on Pinterest. Everyone writes a dream wish for the baby, you attach a pretty ribbon to it and tie them all to an item of your choice.


 

 - One game that is fun and everyone gets a kick out of is the My Water Broke Game. Everyone has a drink with a miniature toy baby frozen inside an ice cube. When the ice melts and your baby is set free you yell,  "My water broke." The first to shout is the winner.






- "Measure of Love" game idea came from a shower favor that I saw online.  A company actually makes spoons with engravings. I liked the idea but I thought it would be cute and crafty to do them myself, so it had more of a "personal feel." 

"I found the 'measuring spoons set' at World Market.  She says "I used antique 1940's typewriter font for the tags, and just printed them onto the paper with the name, date, and measure of love words on it.  I used a stamp for the bird (obviously anything goes) - I cut them out from a different piece of paper and mounted them (with mounting stickers) onto the tag to give it more dimension." said Ashley.


- Embellish a Mason Jar as we did with a polka dot green ribbon around some fabric and tada!

- Sometimes things jump at you. Look around in the bins at Target or Michael's and they always have something. I found some 3D stickers with P's on it and added them where I could add some color.

- Simple wood spoons and forks can be jazzed up by adding the initial of your choice with a stamp.


- Kathy was just in love with the tissue paper banners she had seen on Etsy and knew it would add pizzaz to anything. 

- Finally add some cute cupcakes and you will have them eating out of your hands.



As I mentioned you don't have to go crazy in thinking boy or girl. You just have to add details with your friends and use your resources, like we did with Etsy and Pinterest

** Since this was written our mommy to be welcomed a baby "GIRL"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food: 3 Great Dishes I Recently Made

One of my favorite things to do is flip through cooking magazines and search online blogs for new recipes that might become regular meals in our home. These are three yummy recipes I have recently made.  I did not take pictures of all three recipes but have included one of the pasta dish.  Hope you enjoy!

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables and Bacon from Martha Stewart

I love this recipe so much we eat it like a main dish and include a side salad to complete the 
meal. I also add half a butternut squash because they are currently in season and it goes 
well with the other veggies. I like that my boys love the taste of roasted vegetables because 
their sweetness really comes out. If we have leftovers they are great warmed up the next day. 

Shredded Beef Tacos from Mangiodasola blog


I love slow cooker recipes especially ones like this that are really yummy. This one can be

a little spicy so I reduce the amount of  chipotle pepper. Next time I make this I am planning
on making my own adobo sauce. This is also a great entertaining dish because you can
leave the meat in the slow cooker and guests can make their own tacos. 
Who doesn't love tacos? 

Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

I remember the first time I made this recipe Rob and I could not wait to try it! The aroma that
fills the home is so yummy! And we tried it we were not disappointed. Rob gets happy every
time he knows I am making this for dinner. Its quite filling so I serve this with a side salad 
also. This does take a long time to make so I double the recipe and freeze half. 
It's worth every minute of work! 



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: We Made You Out of Love



  1. We Made You Out Of Love: The Answer To The Number One Question On Every Child's Mind "Where Did I Come From? by Greg Marconi, Michael Marconi, Daniel Han (Illustrator)



We Made You Out of Love is our kids version of the birds and the bees story. This story is humorous, fun and enjoyable for the whole family. I personally was taken by the great art work. At first, I thought it was maybe more suitable for pre-school kids and up, but my daughter (2 years-old) loved the rhythm of the story and it kept her attention from beginning to end. Sometimes I have to read it to her a couple of times. She loves to carry it around and sits for long periods at a time just looks through the pages. Happy baby, happy mom.
Abbey enjoying one of her favorite books

Every child will ask at some point how they were made, well moms & dads here is your answer. Pick up this book and answer their questions. Just an idea to the authors, but it would make a cute movie. For more information on this charming book please go to: http://flyingmarconibros.com/

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hot Spot: Séraphine's "Kate Effect"

Kate Middleton's fashion style has been making headlines for some time, but it's her maternity wear that has the UK press coining it the "Kate Effect." I had a chance to sit down with Cecile Reinaud, the designer behind Séraphine and Kate's Middleton's most memorable maternity looks. I like to hear about the newest styles for the girl next door, but it is even better hearing about the styles for the new mom next door!

Just like the rest of us, Cecile told me she and her team were glued to the television waiting to see what Kate would be wearing in her first appearance after the birth of her first child, Prince George Alexander Louis. "We knew she was buying many of our dresses," said Cecile. "But we didn't know what she would be wearing until that day." When that moment came Cecile and her team were wildly excited- "everyone in the office [was] screaming our heads off." Even though a Séraphine store is located just around the corner from Kensington Palace, it was at Séraphine.com where Kate began her shopping. 


Fuchsia Knot Front Maternity Dress 
Kate has made maternity wear look fashionable. It's not that maternity wear was irrelevant before, it's just that you wouldn't find it on a typical best dressed list. "That is the signature of our brand, this Parisian chic look," says Cecile, and it's all about, "keeping to classic things like polka dots, working with classic color palettes, but with real pops of colors to stay in with the right fashion of the moment." She continued, "We are really trying to cover this Bohemian chic mom to the super glamorous evening type of person that needs a cocktail dress."

Though the world has just discovered Séraphine designs, it's something that UK womehave known for some time. Cecile began Séraphine 10 years ago. "I became pregnant in the first year," she says. "It was a bit crazy because I thought I need to experience this, the stages of maternity." How does she make sure she is still as in touch with her audience now as she was then? She has a fun little secret.  "Now when I design things I always try them on with a fake bum so I can still keep close to the product."  She went on to tell me that "the plus point is that I really kinda retested a lot of shapes and am so aware of the comfort factor and how to beautify your shape."


I like that Séraphine post-baby items look just like my pre-baby clothes. As I told Cecile, I am currently only wearing tops that I can pull and tug at so I can nurse. Therefore, I am very limited on tops and refuse to go into my "one-day-I-will-wear-again pile. When I asked about this she told me that they're "finding shapes that can adapt." "We always try to work with clever things like elastic (that) can retract back to shape as well," she said.  "We use really good quality jerseys that have good retention so that it won't get saggy, and work after." One fabric I have never seen before that the tops have is bamboo fiber. It's a silky soft yarn with temperature-regulating properties that can help you stay comfortable when we get hot or cold, which seems to happen a lot post-birth." Cecile believes it is their concentration on maternity wear that puts them ahead, "we only do maternity wear so we are obsessed about it and I think it shows." She says, "The plus point is that I really kinda retested a lot of shapes, and am so aware of the comfort factor and how to beautify your shape." 


It isn't just Kate Middleton who has been seen wearing Séraphine. It seems several Hollywood  mothers such as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner and many more have found comfort in the brand. Cecile herself hasn't had the pleasure of meeting any of them. "We have had [celebrities] come to the store but I wasn't there either," she says, "so I missed all the action." But she may have a chance to meet another fashionable Kate, Kate Winslet, who lives in the UK and as Cecile said "we are kinda dressing her for some events." So keep an eye on Kate Winslet and you may find she is wearing Séraphine. "It's great just knowing that they love the clothes and they like the brand and they choose us," Cecile said "Meeting them will be a plus."

 Another important factor I noticed was the prices at Séraphine. They are very reasonable. You can get a top for $39- $65. Sounds good since I keep seeing maternity tops going for $100+ dollars! Cecile explained the reason for the practical prices is that she understands maternity wear is only needed for a limited period of time and the prices reflect that.  Just like your average woman next door has an endless possibility for clothes, so does your average new mom or mom to be, thanks to the team at Séraphine!

You don't have to wait until 2014 when Séraphine opens its doors in New York, you can begin your shopping with just a click at USA link www.Seraphinematernity.com/maternity-clothes.html.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hot Spot: Baby Surprise

In this past year alone several of my friends have decided to forgo learning the sex of their baby prior to giving birth. For me and my hubby-- we went the other way and wanted to know as soon as possible. We liked having two surprises-- the sex... and then the actually birth and meeting our babies. I believe that whatever works for each soon-to-be parent is the best plan. But my first thoughts in choosing to not know are always, "You will still get a surprise no matter when you find out," "How will you decorate the babies room?"... and "How am I suppose to shop for the baby?" (much less important:). Maybe many of you have thought the same things. But obviously this is not a new trend. It's just that now as mothers we are in the mist of 'baby world' and more aware. My mother herself didn't learn the sex of my youngest sister (we secretly think she wanted a boy and knew she was carrying a girl).  I asked a couple of my girlfriends who decided to wait on learning the sex of their babies about why they chose to do so. Of course, after listening to their answers, a bit of guilt came over me for wanting so badly to know the babies sex, while they so obviously enjoyed not knowing.

Lindsay at her baby shower
What made you decide not to find out the sex of the baby? 
Lindsay: A long-time friend recommended we not find out because she had waited and felt it was totally
 worth the wait.
Whitney: Keeping the gender a surprise has been a tradition in my family for years.  Most recently, my brother and sister waited to find out the sex of their babies (which both turned out to be boys)
Michelle:  I love surprises and thought this would be the best one ever!  Unlike a Christmas present I wouldn't be able to sneak a look!
Vanda: I am the mother of 3 kids, Madeline (6), Jonah (5) and James (22 months).  The gender of the first 2 was a surprise for my husband and me, as we chose not to find out.  However, we did decided to find out for our third pregnancy. 

Was that what you always wanted to do or was that something you and hubby decided? 
Lindsay: I always thought I'd want to know right away but we both decided it would be fun to wait.
Whitney: I've always planned on saving the big reveal for the day of birth, and my husband just went along with my plan (but he was less into the idea as the baby grew!).
Michelle: Both my husband and I always felt it would be a lovely surprise!
Vanda: Even before we were married, when talking about having kids, Paul and I had talked about not finding the gender of our kids.  It was definitely something we both agreed about and when I was finally pregnant the decision not to find out was not hard at all.  
Vanda:  Even before we were married, when talking about having kids, Paul and I had talked about not finding the gender of our kids.  It was definitely something we both agreed about and when I was finally pregnant the decision not to find out was not hard at all.

Michelle with her baby Kiwi
How often were you tempted to find out? 
Lindsay: The only time it was a bit hard was when we went to the ultrasound. We kind of second guessed our decision for a moment but ultimately  decided to keep with the plan.
Whitney: As I got closer to the 35-week mark, when I had my baby shower, I definitely got more and more curious as to the sex each time I was in my doctor's office.  But I never considered just having the doctor tell me.
Michelle: No! Easy and exciting! Not many people believed us that we didn't know while we were pregnant!
Vanda:  We were never tempted to find out for babies #1 and #2.  And I can honestly say that it was a decision that worked for our family.

Was it a hard decision? 
Lindsay: Not really, it felt fun and different to do it that way. 
Michelle: Never tempted! Not even with number 3 pregnancy!  
Vanda: We actually rather enjoyed not knowing.  It was mysterious and fun not knowing and we felt it was pretty special to have a little baby growing inside me and not know   until the moment he or she entered the world.

Who would cave in to finding out the sex first you or hubby? 
Lindsay: Me!! Luckily my husband has strong will!
Whitney: My husband would have ABSOLUTELY found out the gender if I wasn't a big, round (hee hee) roadblock during this entire journey.
Michelle: Neither of us!! Both on the same page with this one thank goodness!
Vanda:  When baby #3 came around we were planning some home remodeling projects, including getting furniture and painting the kids’ rooms and I caved.

Whitney with hubby at baby shower
What have your friends and family said about your decision ? 
Lindsay: Most friends and family were frustrated with our decision on because they said it would be "hard to know what to buy" 
Whitney: Most complaints about our decision to not find out have come from friends who want to get us something very unique and personal for the baby.  Their intentions are so sweet and genuine, but some of my girlfriends can get downright feisty!  It was always funny to tell a friend for the first time that we weren't finding out the sex, and then listen to that friend complain about how that was a really selfish idea (always said with a smile, though)
Michelle: They have been happy and supportive in our decision if not somewhat surprised at our ability not to find out early!
Vanda:  it was mostly positive.  Most of our immediate family also did not find out gender during their pregnancies, and a few of the extended family didn’t know either.  So we weren’t exactly breaking the mold.  However, so many others couldn’t believe we didn’t know and weren’t going to find out.  The top 2 comments we heard were 1) “I just couldn’t not know! or 2) “but how will you know what to buy?”  I always understood comment #1, as even I couldn’t believe that with the option to find out, we actually didn’t want to, but comment #2 was usually the one that got to me.  Those who said it would give me this puzzled look.  For me it was simple.  One blue outfit and one pink outfit for the hospital and the rest would come later.  Anyhow, we always knew that we would try for more than 1 child so I never planned to buy pink everything or blue everything.  The major stuff such as car seats, strollers, playpens, etc., and especially the nursery, would be used for all babies in our home so it would be gender neutral

What have been the challenges in not knowing the sex?
Lindsay: I don't know if there really were any real challenges. I felt comfortable with a neutral theme for all of the baby gear and decor. The BIG pro was all of the anticipation.
Michelle: No challenges! Only tiny challenge was convincing people we didn't know the sex! The pros were that all our new born baby gear was neutral colors as well as the nursery! So all baby gear could be used for any other new editions to the family!

Did you ever have second thoughts about not knowing the sex?
Lindsay:
After letting the technician know our decision was to not know the sex, we felt really strongly about not wanting to know.

Michelle: Never had second thoughts! Wanted a healthy baby! Happy with either flavor!

Vanda and Family
Did you guess right on what the sex was? And have other peoples opinions on what they thought you were having have an impact on you your thoughts of the sex? 
Lindsay: YES! Other peoples opinions really had a way of swaying my thoughts, but only because it seemed almost everyone thought it would be a girl. I was SO wrong but I got what I wanted, the surprise of a lifetime!!
Whitney: My husband is sure its a boy, but aren't they always?  The feedback I've received from complete strangers, as well as friends and family, is that I'm carrying as if its a boy. So I think that has probably shaped my opinion a bit, as I, too, am leaning more towards boy at this point.  But in the beginning, I was thinking girl, probably only to counter my husband's strong boy-push, so we'd be prepared either way.
Michelle: 3 times I thought I was having a girl and 3 times I had a boy! Each pregnancy was very different!
I wish I'd kept a list of who thought I was having which sex as some people were so convincing! Others opinions didn't influence my thoughts!
Vanda: I was convinced that Madeline would be a boy.  Paul came from a family of 4 boys and his brother had 3 boys.  In my mind I was destined to be a mom to boys.  Then I heard “It’s a girl!!!”  It was an amazing moment.  One I will never forget.  When it came to Jonah I didn’t prefer one gender over another although a small part of me thought it might be a girl.  Again, I was wrong (hahah!) and I heard “it’s a boy!!!” It was fun to have family, friends and even complete strangers guessing based on how you looked or felt.  Everybody had an opinion!  For baby #1, a family acquaintance was convinced that we were having a boy based on her “ring on a string” test.  According to her, she had “never been wrong.”  And so our family and friends waited to find out, just like we did!

If you have another child will you find out the sex?
Whitney: I think if we're lucky enough to have another child, we probably WILL find out.  We'll have enough going on with our first child, and more surprises may not be what we need!  And that way, we'll get to experience both versions of pregnancy -- the complete mystery, and the planners paradise.

How was it different knowing then not knowing? 
Lindsay: As glad as I was to wait to find out the first time, I definitely knew I wanted to know the second time around. When you when you wait to find out, it feels like you're finally able get to meet the baby you've been wondering about for 9 months and it's just an incredible surprise. Knowing the sex the second time around was thrilling because you get to really prepare, mentally, emotionally and materialistically.
Vanda:  I do wish we had not found out for baby #3. I regretted that decision almost immediately after finding out.  In that one moment in the ultrasound room, as happy as it was, the mystery was gone.  With so much being instant in this world, 9 months is not eternity and that wonderful feeling that I had experienced while pregnant with Madeline and Jonah of not knowing and the anticipation of the birth to find out, was gone.  Of course, it didn’t make that moment any less special.  James was born and our family of 5 was complete.

Was it just as big of a surprise? 
Lindsay: I was definitely more surprised with the first time, but knowing is EVERY bit as wonderful :)

** Whitney has gone on to have a healthy beautiful baby boy!