Seasonal Relief with Zarbee’s Naturals

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received a promotional item and a product sample as a thank you for participating.

I always have a rough time with my nose and sinuses this time of year.  Well, at least since a few years after college.  When I was younger, I always noticed my dad’s springtime sneezing and congestion, but felt lucky it wasn’t me.  At about 24, that all changed and I was hit with the seasonal congestion and suffering I always saw in my dad.

I’m not going to lie – congestion is no fun.  I’ve been sick more times than I care to think about this year, and finding something to ease my congestion is a challenge.  Abbie loves being outside, and it’s so important to me to be able to run around and play with her outside and be active.  I can hardly chase after her, push her on the swings, or pull her wagon if I’m so miserable I’d rather be laying on the couch inside!

I’ve tried all kinds of over the counter medications to varying effectiveness.  Some work better than others, but I wanted something more natural to use – enter Zarbee’s Naturals Seasonal Relief.

Zarbee's Naturals Seasonal Relief

Zarbee’s Seasonal Relief is made with Butterbur, an extract Europeans have used for centuries to ease congestion.  I know what you’re thinking – oh, another natural remedy.  But does it work?

I tried out Zarbee’s for a few days this past week (and you can too – check out their offer for a free sample here), and am happy to report it has helped my congestion.  I’ve been able to breathe easier without the side effects medications had given me.  My husband said I haven’t been snoring as much (not that I did, obviously), and I feel overall better.  Plus, because the ingredients are all natural, I don’t have to worry about taking it daily if I need it – and in fact, I can take it up to three times a day.  It’s been helping me keep up with the outdoor playtime Abbie wants and breathing easier.

Want to try it for yourself?  Check out Zarbee’s website at – you can sign up for a free product sample there, or grab a coupon to pick it up at CVS or Target.  You can also get more tips on Natural Relief with a short quiz, sent right to your email.

Zarbee's Natural Relief Tips


Natural Relief Quiz

The best part is that Zarbee’s wants to hear how their product works for you.  Once you report back on, they’ll donate to your choice of  four causes that support exposure to and the protection of fresh air, including Fresh Air FundChildren & Nature Network, Moms Clean Air Force, and Healthy Child Healthy World.  A solution for seasonal congestion and a donation to a great cause?  You know I signed up for that one!

What are your best tips for natural relief from seasonal congestion?


(These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  As a reminder, Zarbee’s Naturals Seasonal Relief is intended for children 12 years of age and above.)



Post-Baby Immune System

A few of you noticed from my instagram feed yesterday that I got hit with another horrible stomach bug over the weekend that carried into yesterday.



I used to NEVER get sick.  I mean never.  I got seasonal allergies and the occasional cold, but it was never anything I missed work or school for.  I was one of those “perfect attendance” kids in school, and it continued into my working years…until now.

As I laid on the couch yesterday resting and trying to clean out my DVR (one of the only perks of a sick day), I couldn’t help but wonder why I keep getting sick all the time.  And not to blame it all on my daughter, but…

  • I battled sinus congestion throughout my pregnancy that didn’t end when Abbie was born.
  • I’m now on Flonase to keep the swelling down in my nose so I don’t get sinus infections as often.
  • Speaking of those sinus infections?  I’ve had 5 in the last 16 months.
  • I’ve caught two of these awful stomach bugs that empty you out and completely dehydrate you (the only upside is the crazy weight loss it gives you!)
  • I get headaches more easily
  • I’m much more sensitive to seasonal pollen, dust, etc.  There’s lots of sneezing in my household.

I know I can’t be the only one.  Pregnancy and birth definitely seems to have changed my body and my immune system, so I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve got to attack it back.  Going forward, I’m going to do everything I can to strengthen my immune system.  Not earning any PTO because I’m sick all the time is getting old really fast.

With that in mind, I did some research on how to strengthen my immune system.  A lot of it is common sense and things I’m already doing, but I compiled a list for myself that I’m going to try to work on each day.  {source: Harvard}

  • Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetable, and whole grains
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.  Don’t smoke.
  • Get enough sleep.  Adults need 7-8 hours each night.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Make sure to cook food thoroughly, especially meat.  Ensure raw meat doesn’t contaminate cooked meat (or anything else, for that matter!)
  • See your doctor regularly for checkups.
  • Take a multivitamin.
  • Research any supplements you choose to take before adding them.  Talk to your doctor to make sure they are a good choice.

The above are tips people usually agree on.  Then you start getting into supplements and vitamins…and I get confused.  Anyone have experience with this and any tips they can share?  Am I the only crazy mom who gets sick all the time??

Abbie: 16 Months

Weight:  I think about 24 pounds.

Health:  Good.  Fighting a cold the last week or so, but nothing major.  Thankfully she escaped the stomach bug that Chris and I had over the weekend.


Sleep:  Sleeping through the night every night.  Down to one nap both at daycare and at home.

Social:  Lots of noises, but not a lot of words.  She understands us pretty well, just isn’t talking as much as I’d like her to.

Diet:  Sometimes 2 bottles, sometimes 3.  She also has 3 meals plus snacks.


Clothes:  All in 24 month and 2T clothes.  I think some of the 18 month stuff would still fit, but it’s wintery so I went ahead and packed it all away.

Baby Gear/Toys:  Still LOVES books, her chalkboard table, and occasionally her toys (why play with toys when mommy and daddy’s things are more fun, hence the Gatorade bottle in these pictures).


Crying:  Temper, temper, little one.  We have some rough years ahead, I am sure.

Likes:  Books, her ball, being outside, the swings, the slide, playing “where’s Abbie,” the cats, dancing, jumping, being chased by mommy and daddy, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and any and all music.

Dislikes:  Diaper changes, the word no, getting her hair washed.

Milestones:  More teeth!  We now have 4 top, 4 bottom, and some molars coming though!


Abbie -

I’m not going to lie, you are getting to be more and more of a handful.  You’re so full of energy ALL the time and sometimes it’s hard for Daddy and I to keep up.  It’s good for us, right?  We’re so looking forward to all the fun things this summer will bring – slathered in sunscreen of course – and love watching you learn.  Could you do Mom a favor and try to talk a little more though?  You’ll get what you want (well, maybe) a lot faster if we can understand you!  Love you so much, little one.






Five On Friday 4.18

Time to link up with DarciAprilChristina and Natasha for Five on Friday!


Passover started this week, and we headed to have Seder with my sorority twin Bekka and her family up in Gaithersburg. I haven’t seen Bekka in months, so it was amazing to see her, and Abbie got to experience her first Seder…even if all she did was play with yarmulkes and eat matzoh.





We’re going to a wedding next weekend, and while we’re there, Chris’ brother and his wife are going to babysit Abbie for the first time.  They’re coming over this weekend for a practice run since they haven’t put her to bed before – this way they’ll know what to do next week, and Abbie will be a little more comfortable.


I broke down and decided I’m going to need shorts this summer. I’ve historically stuck to skirts and pants in the summer, but now that Abbie likes to run around everywhere and LOVES being outside, I need something easy and comfortable to run around after her in. I ordered a few pairs of these ones from Old Navy and am hoping they fit well! I haven’t worn shorts in years, so it’ll be a change for me…and I better stock up on some self-tanner or my super pale legs will blind someone!  I also grabbed a few tees and a fun dress I hope will fit!

Spring/Summer 2014 Mom Style



I want to thank everyone for being so supportive of my #32for32 project on Wednesday. I loved doing it, and I hope the people who found those pennies had a little bit of a brighter day because of the luck they found.


Abbie is fighting a cold right now and it’s no fun.  I hate when she’s not feeling well, especially since she can’t really tell me how she’s feeling.  Thankfully, her Citrus Lane box arrived today to cheer her up, and we watched lots of Mickey Mouse tonight and I’m hoping she feels better soon.


Hope you all have a good weekend!

Sleep Chronicles: Kate’s Story

Today I have the pleasure of introducing another mom to you in the sleep chronicles – Kate from Life with Noah.  Kate’s a Canadian mom (she lives on Prince Edward Island…where Anne of Green Gables took place.  So cool!) to 17 month old Noah with baby number 2 due in June.  I think you’ll need to update that blog title soon, Kate!  Read her story below!



Hi there Sleep Chronicles readers. My name is Kate and I occasionally blog over at Life with Noah, formerly Awaiting Baby O’Brien. I am a full-time working Mama from up north in Canada, am Mommy to my adorable 17 month old son Noah, and am currently 29 weeks pregnant with baby#2 due to arrive in mid-June. Yes, my husband and I are just a little crazy..but feel we really hit the jackpot the first time around and are so excited to give Noah a little brother or sister so close in age.

Leading up to Noah’s birth, I read every darn book about babies, breastfeeding, and parenting in general. Being a total Type-A, I figured you could never be too prepared. Well nothing prepared me for the life of a newborn…and their sleeping habits. I am happy to be here today to share our story with you all. Thanks so much for having me Jess!


Noah was born 11 days overdue, at 8 lbs 7 oz on November 14, 2012. He was a go-getter right from the start, as big babies normally are. Overall, labour and delivery went perfectly for us (other than being overdue). We planned on breastfeeding, and shortly after he was born he latched on like a trooper and we successfully breastfed to a year.

It took Noah exactly 9 months to the day since he was born for me to say I felt confident he was consistently sleeping through the night. Nine very long months. The journey to getting to that point has not been easy. We’ve had many ups and downs along the way. But I never lost hope, and knew that eventually he would get the hang of things.

Let me do a little recap of our journey to a full-nights sleep:

First 6 Weeks – the first 6 weeks of Noah’s life he spent in the napper of the pack n play. We swaddled him and tried just about every swaddle blanket on the market, but he hated being confined and also hated sleeping on his back. He never really slept well in the pack’n’play, he was very hard to settle and was always grunting and moving around in his sleep. It was super frustrating and hard for me to sleep as I was constantly peering over at him to be sure he was ok. He woke every 2-2.5 hours to eat overnight and tended to use me as a human pacifier for many nights those first few weeks.

1 to 3 months - When Noah was 5 weeks we took a family ski trip to the States. We brought the pack n play with us, but he never spent a night in the thing. He still was having a hard time settling at night and we were exhausted.We had brought our Fisher Price Snuggabunny cradle swing with us in the back seat of my Jetta (hilarious first-time parent move), and thank goodness we did. We started putting him in the swing at night, and miraculously he started sleeping better. After the trip we returned home and started using it at home as well and he started sleeping in stretches of 5+ hours at night. We had found our temporary solution. Everyone kept telling us, do whatever you need to do to get some sleep. I had immense Mommy guilt that I was doing something horribly wrong to my child by leaving him in the swing overnight, but at the time we were so sleep deprived, we really didn’t give it a second thought.

First ever nap in his crib…it lasted 10 whole minutes.

3 to 6 months- A week after Noah turned 3 months, I was talking to some Mommy friends with babes around the same age, and from our conversation I realized the time had come to move Noah out of the swing and into his own room. It was time to start some good sleep habits and break the bad ones. Up until this point he was spending half the night in the swing, the other half in the pack’n’play next to our bed. Also around this time, our swing motor broke. So it was now or never.

These few months were rough months in the sleep department. Noah hated to be swaddled and fought it like crazy, but couldn’t sleep unswaddled either. We ended up buying a transitional swaddle, the zipadeezip and it was a lifesaver for us. I was determined to get Noah out of the swing at night and for naps, but it was difficult. We started a bedtime routine at the same time every night…which included bathtime, sleep sheep, zippy and rocking chair. At night he would start out in the crib, but was still waking frequently. So in my dazed state, he’d finish off the wee hours of the am in the swing. We started off putting him in the crib for one nap a day, but he wouldn’t nap long. Then I’d cave and put him in the swing for nap #2 just to get a nice long nap out of him so that I could nap too.
At 4 months, still loving his cradle swing.

Around this time he also became dependent on his soother, his wubbanub. He would wake in between sleep cycles (every 45 mins or so) and not be able to get back to sleep without his soother. I think this dependency was a result of the swing, he was so used to the swing putting him back to sleep that he couldn’t get back to sleep on his own without some mechanism…we had created a monster! He was not yet old enough to find his soother on his own and pop it back in, so every 45 minutes or so my husband and I were running in to his room when he would fuss to pop the soother back in before he REALLY woke up.

One night during this time my mother came for the night since we were exhausted. She slept in the spare room with the monitor and was up at least 6-8 times with Noah overnight. I think she was shocked at how bad a sleeper he was. Fragmented sleep isn’t healthy for anyone, I don’t know how Noah managed to be such a happy baby despite his terrible sleep habits. As a result of our desperation, we tried letting him CIO once or twice around 4-5 months. It was horrible, he cried over an hour on multiple occasions and we were all in a tizzy. I decided that I wasn’t ready to do that again, so we abandoned that idea. We also tried dream feeding, but it never seemed to make that big of a difference.
Noah in his Zipadeezip sleep sack!

6 Months – Noah was 2 weeks shy of 6 months when we started him on solids and after starting we noticed a big difference in his sleeping habits right away. He also figured out how to find and pop his soother in on his own not long after that. He went from waking many times a night, to waking twice a night. He also started going to his crib awake and putting himself to sleep.

Things continued to improve, we cut his 3rd cat-nap out and his naps started lengthening from 3 short naps, to 2 long naps a day. By 8 months, he was occasionally sleeping through the night and was napping 3-4 hours in the day.

At 9 months, he was consistently sleeping through the night and was taking 2 two-hour naps, at 9 and 2pm every day. He was much better rested from a good night’s sleep, which in turn, made for better nap times I believe. We were also much better rested, which makes for a happier Mama and Dada.

At 17 months, Noah now sleeps from 7pm-7am every single night. It is glorious. He puts himself to sleep still, but does enjoy cuddle time in the rocking chair before bed. He still sleeps with his soother (that’s another hurdle we will have to cross at another time) and he still sleeps in his zippy. My husband and I love our evenings together after he goes to sleep and I no longer have to go to bed at the same time as the baby to ensure I maximize my sleep as well. We had a small regression around 11-12 months when Noah’s molars made an appearance, which was also around the same time I went back to work after my year of maternity leave and Noah was starting daycare. But that lasted only a few weeks. Those newborn days seem so far away…but it is time again for us to prepare for many sleepless nights as the arrival of baby #2 approaches.

Overall, it’s been a long road to get to where we are today with Noah’s sleeping. And for all you mommies out there with babies that don’t sleep, trust me, it will get better and know that there are other babies out there that don’t sleep well. You are not alone, and this too shall pass. In those first few months, just do whatever you need to do to get a bit of sleep whether that be the swing, a soother, or co-sleeping. I kept telling myself I think it was almost a blessing in disguise having a bad sleeper as our 1st child, that way, if we are blessed with a second child who turns out to be a great sleeper, we will really appreciate it!  Thanks for having me Jess!

If you’re a mom who’s interested in sharing her child’s sleep story, please let me know – I’m always looking for stories!  Email me at