Guardians of the Galaxy

*As a special treat for you all, my sweet husband will write his first guest post for my blog. He gets a wee bit excited every time a new Marvel film is made so who better to share his excitement about the new movie, since we were able to go a special press screening?*


Hey everyone, this is Kari’s husband; I’m here to transport you into the Marvel universe. On Monday, I went to see Marvel’s “The Guardians of the Galaxy”, and it was awesome! I know this post isn’t like what you normally read here, but hopefully there are enough of you out there with a little inner geek waiting to get out that you will enjoy this post. Being my first post I’ll try to keep this fun and do my best not to add any spoilers, though it may be hard considering I’ve been reading everything I could about the movie before it came out.

Let me start by saying it’s not your typical Marvel movie. You’ve got “Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer” all led by “Star Lord”, well, sort of. They’re not your typical super heroes, in fact they’re not really super heroes, which is what makes it great. The whole basis of the movie revolves around this group of 5 that are not really partners as much as a group of misfits that are stuck together. The one thing the all agree on is that the bad guy “Ronin” needs to be stopped and it’s up to them to do it.

Having seen all the Marvel movies (except Captain 2) I was excited to see how this compared to their other movies, having very little that ties the characters to Earth. This one blew them all out of the water. They really put a lot into this one to make it the epic movie fans wanted. The one thing that caught me off guard about the movie was the swearing, since very little if any is in the other movies, this one on the other hand had more than all the other movies combined. But it’s who the characters are; they are by no means perfect or considered “upstanding citizens”.

Overall, I recommend seeing it. It’s a great movie with everything you would expect from a Marvel comic set in space. Aliens, space ships, explosions and of course a little bit of super hero-ness to make it apart of the Marvel universe. The ending was epic, and I can’t wait to see if and how they tie it all together with the existing movies set on Earth and Asgard.

Disclaimer: We were able to view the movie at an advanced screening for review purposes. All opinions expressed are our own.

Looking Forward to The Baby Ladies BlogHer Baby Shower!

I am getting so excited about BlogHer coming up this weekend, it is getting hard to sleep. I am looking forward to meeting other bloggers, connecting with brands, learning a lot to help improve my blog(s) AND all the fun events! One of the events I am most looking forward to is the BlogHer Baby Shower put on by The Baby Ladies featuring Save Babies Through Screening and Baby’s First Test!

Since I will be attending with my sweet newborn daughter, this first event of my weekend is a meaningful one. Although it will be fun, the focus is on helping to spread information about newborn screening, and although my youngest is now 5 months old, it feels like she was just born yesterday, and our hospital visit is so vivid in my mind.

There are a few different types of screenings that are done right after the baby is born, including hearing and blood tests. I thought it was really cool that they were able to come into our room to do all the screenings. The hearing screening was non-invasive and my baby slept right through it. The pulse-oximetry test was done to measure her oxygen levels, and since she was a small baby they also did a similar test for an hour while she sat in her carseat to make sure she was safe to go home in it.

The hardest test for me to watch was the heel stick, where they take blood from the babies heel, but I knew that it was an important safety precaution. These blood tests screen for a number of serious health conditions, but the specific conditions tested vary by state- click here for a list of all the conditions screened for in the state of California

We were relieved to see that none of our baby’s tests came back with typical results, and also to know that if she had a health condition detected on the screening, we would have found out early enough to improve her prognosis for life. We are thankful that these tests exist and are routinely implemented in the United States on all babies.

Around one if every 500-700 babies has a condition that is able to be detected by these early screenings, which make them a necessary and important tool in caring for our infants. 

The Save Babies Through Screening and Baby’s First Test websites both contain a ton of helpful information about the screening process and more. And follow me on twitter to keep up with what I learn firsthand at the TBL Baby Shower on Thursday!

Save Babies Through Screening Foundation

The mission of the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation is to improve the lives of children and their families, by working to prevent disabilities and death resulting from disorders detectable through newborn screening tests. The Foundation’s goal is to see that every baby born in the United States is screened successfully, effectively, and comprehensively.

Save Babies Through Screening Foundation educates parents, pediatric healthcare providers, and policy makers about available comprehensive newborn screening, the importance of obtaining positive or other test results requiring follow-up actions within 5 days of birth, and the importance of prompt confirmatory testing and treatment/management when needed.

Baby’s First Test

Baby’s First Test houses the nation’s newborn screening clearinghouse. The clearinghouse provides current educational and family support and services information, materials, and resources about newborn screening at the local, state, and national levels and serves as the Clearinghouse for newborn screening information. This resource is dedicated to educating parents, family members, health professionals, industry representatives, and other members of the public about the newborn screening system. This site also provides many ways for people to connect and share their viewpoints and questions about the newborn screening system.

Gorgeous Newborn Photos from Natalie Chiles Photography

As I sit here and stare at my sweet sleeping 5 month old baby, I realize that it is high time to share her precious newborn photos with you, blog world. Whether you just need a heaping dose of adorable in your day, or you are in the market for a top notch newborn photog, scroll down and check out the epic cuteness.

Natalie Chiles is a friend of mine and a very talented photographer in the San Diego area. She focuses on family and newborn portraits and her personality is the perfect balance of warm and professional. For the newborn sessions, you have the option of having Nat come to your house or heading to Nat’s home which features some stunning natural lighting. 

We decided that it made more sense for us to meet at Natalie’s home. We were able to just show up and the set-up was all ready for us. Next to the studio set-up was the perfect area for us to hang out and relax when Natalie was photographing the baby solo. Elodie loved this area because there was a tv with lots of fun movies to watch and an adjacent play area. 

As soon as we arrived we felt comfortable and relaxed. We took our family photos first, and then my husband, Elodie and I each got our photos done with the baby. 

Even though our newborn decided not to be the most cooperative, Natalie was exceedingly patient and really captured all the precious sweetness of our new baby girl. She made sure that I was getting the shots I had hoped for and switched out the background and props several times to get some of my special requests in.

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As you can see, Natalie really outdid herself with these amazing shots. (This is only a small fraction of the photos we got! To see more, check out Natalie’s website.) I loved the whole experience of working with Nat. She puts her heart into taking, editing and delivering her work. When my photos were ready she came to my house and sat and viewed them with me, and I could tell that she feels rewarded watching the expressions on our faces as we take in the beauty she captured of the life we created. It was very emotional. Nat pays such close attention to details, and even the way she gift wrapped our flash drive was perfect. 

Natalie also created a beautiful Facebook cover photo for us, and created special little books and a collage print of my favorite photos to display in our home. I normally don’t buy a lot of prints from photographers directly, I usually buy the CD with printing rights, but Natalie put the time and effort into creating exactly what I had in mind and I will definitely be buying more of these photo extras the next time she photographs our family.

I am so thankful to Natalie for the love she put into our newborn session. I whole heartedly recommend Nat to anyone who hopes to have special memories of a priceless time in your life. You won’t be disappointed!

Club MomMe Spring FamilyFest Recap!

We had such a blast attending the Club MomMe Spring FamilyFest in Huntington Beach.

The day was jam packed with amazing speakers, fun activities, awesome baby items and was great fun for the whole family. I loved the whole event but here were some of the highlights!

Blogger Breakfast

To kick off the day, there was a tasty breakfast spread for bloggers and other VIPs to meet up and mingle. I saw some familiar friendly blogger faces and made some new friends, like Ruby from Westside Mommy

Meeting Dr. Harvey Karp

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Every parent knows Dr. Harvey Karp's lifesaving advice from Happiest Baby on the Block, the 5 Ss: Swaddling, shushing, swaying, stomach or side lying and sucking on a pacifier helps babies to kick start their calm reflex. 

Before the event, Elodie had a grand time playing with her new friend, Harvey, and laughing at his great toddler jokes. He is not only a baby-whisperer but is especially great with children. I appreciated his talk on how to have the Happiest Toddler on the Block, including how to speak Toddler-ese. His books and videos are great, but it was a special treat to hear him speak live. (And now we are even pals on Twitter!)

Vendors

We met so many amazing entrepreneurs and baby and kid related businesses. There were many familiar favorites, (including some that I have worked with before like Daddy & Co. and ErgoBaby.) and also new companies just launching their products, like Otteroo, a cool new water floatie that even infants can use!

It was fun to interact with these family oriented folks and get to try out or take home some of their amazing products.

Kid’s Entertainment

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If you were to ask Elodie, I am sure this would be her favorite part. From music and dancing to face painting and balloon animals, there was a lot of opportunities for kids to play and act like kids!

New Baby Product Demos

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Rachel from Club MomMe did a great job of showing off the latest and greatest in the baby world. There were some fantastic products I had never seen and many that I personally own and use all the time. There were A TON of businesses showcased, and most of those products were even raffled off. I won a cool Petunia Pickle Bottom organizer. Rachel was very knowledgeable about all the features of the products and had really brought together the best in the industry under one roof!

Sweet swag

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It’s always fun to see things in person, but it is even more fun when you get to bring things home and try them out for free. This event had some AMAZING swag bags, no joke. Here is a photo of some of my favorite items, but my swag bag was filled to the brim with awesome goodies to use and love.

When comparing this event to your typically family event, like a street festival, this FamilyFest would just beat it hands down. Let’s be honest, you would probably spend more money at a Street Fest or local farmer’s market than you would on admission to the Club MomMe Spring FamilyFest. And you wouldn’t get to bring home half the cool stuff.

This is a must attend family event for all of southern California and I can’t wait until next year!

Disclaimer: I received admission to the event in exchange for spreading the word about the awesomeness. All opinions are 100% my own.