Thursday, December 30, 2010

I can't believe 2010 is almost over!

And what a year it was! It wasn't half bad, considering that my husband was deployed for more than half of the year. We made it through pretty well, I'm so glad to have that behind us.

Adelaide is almost 4 months old, one quarter of a year! I can't believe how quickly she's growing! And McKaleigh is growing into quite the little girl, and boy does she have a mind of her own.

Over the last year, I have made a lot of changes in my life. I really dedicated myself to living a more back to basics lifestyle. I haven't always done well with it, but I do feel that I've made a lot of great changes throughout this last year. I cloth diaper, even if it's just part time, I still feel good about decreasing the number of diapers I'm sending to landfills. I use way fewer one use items, I try to only buy things that are reusable. These last few months, we've really started to eat less processed foods. We still go out to eat on occasion, sometimes more often than I'd like, but we do eat a lot more whole foods than we did a year ago. I really hope to see these things continue into 2011, and would love to go even further with it.

One way I'm taking things a step further is that I'm going to grow dreadlocks. I started a couple on my own, but I'd really like a majority of them to be freeform dreads. Here are pictures of my hair with three twist and rip dreads, and hair that hasn't been combed in two days:).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So excited for Christmas!!!

Christmas is less than two weeks away! I love Christmas so much!

I have all but one of McKaleigh's Christmas presents purchased. This is seriously the most excited I've been for Christmas, since I was a kid! The things I'm getting her are on the pricey side, so we're doing quality over quantity:). We bought her a tableware set and tea set from Green Toys. This company uses 100% recycled plastic, made right here in the USA. I'm going to wrap those up with some playsilks from an Etsy shop (DreamSpunKids.) Also got her a huge stuffed dog from Target, and the last think we have left to get is the wooden fridge from Palumba that matches her play kitchen:). Those two things will be from Santa... because I don't want to figure out how to wrap them! Then for both of the girls we got a bunch of little books and puzzles as stocking stuffers.

I just can't wait to play Santa Claus this year! What are you getting your kid(s) for Christmas?

Monday, December 6, 2010

When you stop trying so hard...

...everything just starts to make sense!

About two weeks ago, I started a blog post about how I didn't know how I was going to manage everything, without my mom here. I never finished the post, but my mom left a week ago, and things have been going better than I ever could have imagined they would!

My mom was doing so much of the housework, when she was here! She did a lion's share of the cooking and cleaning. I really don't know what I would have done without her these past three months, especially since my husband was gone. I think part of the reason things have gone well since she left is that I've gotten really used to the house being tidy and I love having meals prepared from whole foods.

It's like I don't even have to try! Everything just happens. I've started waking up at around 7 everyday (way earlier than normal.) McKaleigh sleeps until at least 8, sometimes until 10! So you can imagine how much I get done in the mornings. I love the quiet:). It's a good time for me to tidy up the house, so we can start the day with a clean slate. I've even vacuumed the living room twice this week, lol.

I've done a pretty good job of making sure I sign into Biggest Loser on our Kinect (which is awesome, by the way! I highly recommend it!) Hopefully that will help get rid of the baby belly I have left. Still a little softer than I'm comfortable with.

Cooking has gone way better than it's ever gone before. I'm really starting to love cooking and I'm excited to start trying out some new things! We've eaten out more than I'd like, but honestly, I knew it would be a difficult transition for me. I really don't know how to cook much, so every so often it's nice to just pick something up. I always feel SO much better when I cook fresh veggies, though. Part of me tends toward perfectionism, so I don't really like trying new things, because I'm afraid of doing things wrong, or having things not turn out. It's getting easier, though, the more I try to make new things!

This is starting to get long, so I'll cut it off here. I'm so excited about life right now!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

He's home!

Wow the time has flown! It's been two months since I last blogged! So much has changed! Adelaide is getting bigger everyday, McKaleigh turned two, and Michael is home from Iraq!

I can't believe how big Adelaide has gotten. She's really starting to coo and make other cute baby noises, staying up for longer stretches at a time, and holding her head up pretty well.

McKaleigh turned two a month ago. We had a little get together for her and she had a blast! We got her the cutest little kitchen from

And then of course the most exciting thing that's happened since the last time I posted was that the hubby is home! He's a month early, and we weren't sure if he'd be back for good or not, but now we're almost positive that he won't have to go back! I feel so blessed to have him home safe and sound.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adelaide is here!

So I'll start with stats, then get into the story:).
Her full name is Adelaide Elizabeth Jane Koch.
She weighs 6 pounds and 10 ounces and is 20 inches long.
She arrived at 3:00 am on the dot, this morning, September 1st, 2010.

Yesterday (August 31st), I started to have some contractions in the early evening. At first I thought they were just braxton hicks contractions, even though they were sort of patterned. At around 8pm or so, I had my first more painful contraction that I had to actually work through. After that I told my mom, "it's probably nothing, but it's not entirely impossible that I'm in labor right now." I was in denial for quite awhile. My husband is deployed and should be home for his R&R in the very near future, so I was really hoping she'd hang on another week or more.

Around 9pm, I decided to get in the tub at my house. I mean there was no way I was in real labor (haha :P,) and they say that a nice warm bath will usually stop contractions, if it's not the real deal. I stayed in for about half an hour and didn't have any contractions... or at least I didn't feel any contractions. I get out of the tub and a few minutes later have another contraction. At this point I decide it'd be a good idea to start timing them. They all lasted 1-1.5 minutes and for awhile were around 8-10 minutes apart.

I started packing my bag around 11:45, since that was something I hadn't planned on doing until this week (I know, I'm a total procrastinator.) As I was packing my bag they became closer to 5 minutes apart. That's when I decided to call The Birth Center's answering service. They connected me with the midwife on call and we started to talk about what had been going on. While we were on the phone I had two contractions about 3 minutes apart, so we decided that I definitely needed to go in, and agreed to meet at 1:15, since I'm about an hour away.

We finished getting ready, and I went with my mom and McKaleigh in one car, with my brother following us in the Cobalt. The drive was pretty long, but giving my mom directions was a nice distraction and she was very encouraging as I worked through each contraction. They remained about 3 minutes apart for the entire car ride. We arrived to the birth center right on time. I went in and as soon as the midwife checked me, she said "well it's a good thing you came in," which was great to hear. Then she totally surprised me and told me I was already 8 centimeters dilated!

To be honest, I prepared myself for much, much worse than what I experienced as far as pain. I thought for sure that I had so much worse ahead of me, since I was at an 8. I labored the last bit in the tub, so that may have helped, but even when she told me I could push whenever I was ready, I just couldn't believe that I was done dilating and that part was over! I had no pain medication whatsoever, and really never felt like I needed it. It's amazing the difference breathing and moving WITH your contractions instead of against them, can make.

After trying to push a few times in the tub, I decided that delivering in the tub just wasn't going to work for me. Half of my pushing I did leaned over a big ball and on my knees. Eventually my thighs got pretty tired, so I turned over and delivered her in a semi-sitting position.

When I first got set up in the birthing room, my brother set up his computer for me. Michael wasn't online, as I assumed would happen, but luckily I got a hold of someone he works with and they got him for me. Michael then got on skype and got to witness pretty much the entire thing. Well... except for the most important part! He got up to do something, thinking I still had quite a bit of pushing left to do. The second he was gone, the big push came, the one that you can't stop from happening, you just have to give into it. Within a minute or two of him getting up, I had a baby in my lap and he walked back in to a crying baby girl:).

The entire experience was amazing! After she was born she was brought up onto my chest and her cord was left alone until it was done pulsing. My mom cut the cord, which is funny, since I don't think our cord has been cut yet;). After a few minutes, I put Adelaide near the breast and she just knew what to do right away. She nursed so well, it was really great, plus the fact that I'm tandem nursing and already had my colostrum in means no sore boobies for mommy:), at least not yet, lol. Adelaide was never "taken" from me, when I decided that I was ready to get cleaned up, that's when she went to be weighed and measured. Everything was on my time, I love the birth center!

McKaleigh was present for the birth, and was very interested in her new baby sister. I can already tell that she's going to be a great big sister. I can't wait to see her interact with Adelaide more in the days and weeks to come, as she gets used to her.

I'll get to go home today, yet another thing that I love about the birth center:). Just waiting for a while until then.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It's been far too long!

Wow! I can't believe how long it has been since I blogged. I'm pretty much a failure:P, lol! I didn't stick to my schedule, surprise, surprise. I have been generally doing better about getting stuff done. I'm just too much of a "go with the flow" kind of person, and although I thrive on a schedule, I can never stick to one. Oh well, I just need to accept that that is who I am!
I'm halfway through my 3rd trimester! Less than two months left to go, yay! I can't believe how big I am... and how much bigger I'm probably going to get! I just feel like I can't get any bigger than this, haha.

It's so different being pregnant when you already have a toddler. Last pregnancy I could lie around all day, sleep whenever I wanted to, hop in the car to get food without needing to put anyone in and out of a carseat. This time is not so luxurious;). I am so much achier than I was last pregnancy, seeing that I have a toddler who needs to be picked up on a semi-regular basis. This pretty much reassures me that I really am ready to be done having kids. I couldn't imagine doing this again, with two kids! Seriously, you women with three or more kids are amazing! My husband and I both feel pretty certain though, that two is the perfect number of children for us:).

Not sure what else I should add into this little update. The Georgia heat is killing me... and my electricity bill, ahhh! I am so ready for summer to be over! Now that I'm not in school, summer is totally overrated, lol.

Well, that's all I got for now... a totally random, not very well written post... but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week one, day two

I've decided that maybe blogging frequently about this new method of staying productive will help me be successful. It will help me figure out what about my system works and what needs tweaking. Right now I am finding that one aspect of my "plan" is definitely going to help me stick to it.

This one thing that I think will help me a lot is that I don't have a set task for every single morning. I purposely left half of my mornings open so that we would have time for walks, playdates, appointments, etc. Well, it will also help for when I have an off night, like tonight. Let me explain...

Today during McKaleigh's nap, her diaper leaked. I stripped the bed to wash everything. Had the mattress cover in the dryer and the sheets in the wash and then totally forgot about it! Bedtime rolls around and then I remember... CRAP! So bedtime gets delayed by almost two hours because they need to be dried on low heat and it takes for-ev-er. Also, today I vacuumed half of the house, and since it's been awhile, I moved all of the furniture. As a result of this, my back is killing me! So now there are dishes on the counter, McKaleigh's toys are everywhere, and I just don't think I can bear to be on my feet anymore than is necessary.

But it's okay, really it is. The reason this system will work is that I'm allowed to have an off night. Tomorrow morning I will clear all the dishes and tidy up the play area. I won't let this one slip up ruin everything, because really it doesn't have to. I've done so great in just these two days, and not in the way I usually do. Normally I have a few days where I get so much stuff done and then I'm just so exhausted and get bored with it. I haven't gotten all that much done, just regular stuff, and only what I have scheduled to do. I think that makes such a big difference. I am making my expectations much more reasonable. Now I will end this post with a cleaning tip:).

Carpet spot/stain removal: This is for stains that have been around for awhile, not sure what to do when a stain is happening.
-First, I vacuumed over the area(necessary around here with all the dog hair.)
-Second, I sprayed with a solution of one part water and one part white distilled vinegar, then went and did some other stuff and let it set.
-Third, I scrubbed with a brush and a solution of warm water and Dr B's (I think the real key here is using a scrub brush and not trying to use a rag or sponge.)
-Then I just let it dry! I had these weird dark dirt spots in the middle of my living room that wouldn't come up from vacuuming alone, and then also had some bigger spots in the hallway from where the chihuahua likes to pee. These steps totally removed the stains! I'm going to be doing this on all of the spots in my carpet from now on:).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I think I finally got it!

It's only been one day since developing my new strategy for productivity, but I think I'm really onto something this time. The key this time? Having a WRITTEN plan!

I love all things google, so I opened up a google spreadsheet and got to work.

The first thing I did was make a section for tasks I want to do everyday. I broke it down by room, and each room has what time of day I should get those things done in. For example, I want to keep the dishes put away, either washed or in the dishwasher, NOT sitting on the counters. So I wrote it under "kitchen" and underneath wrote "after every meal," because if I let it build up, it just gets ridiculous! Another thing on my everyday tasks is simply tidying up. If you have small children you know that it feels like a never-ending battle. My solution to this? Twice a day I put everything away, during naptime and after bedtime. This keeps things tidy enough for my liking, but I don't go crazy trying to keep up with McKaleigh throughout the day, because I know I'll get to it a little later. Those are probably my two biggest things. If I can keep those done, seriously that alone will make me happy.

After I finished with the everyday tasks, I made another section of things I wanted to do every week. Split everything up by day and two different "time slots" in the day: "before lunch" and "after naptime." In these slots there's only ONE task. Some places have bigger tasks, some have smaller ones, or nothing at all. I'll vacuum one half of the house twice a week and the other half of the house two other times a week, sweep/mop the kitchen two times a week, and once a week I'll clean the bathrooms, always "after naptime." That's one area for everyday. It's enough to keep my house clean, but not too much that I will feel overwhelmed or over-exerted. "Before lunch" is saved for grocery trips, non-diaper laundry, and play dates.

I have a feeling that I will figure out more things to add over time, and perhaps will add monthly tasks, too. It's definitely a living document that will change and evolve. I had to start with something, though! I've been getting so annoyed with myself, not getting anything done. What I think will make this different than what I posted a few weeks ago, is that I do not have the energy to be doing as much as I expected myself to do with my other plan. This set up gives me plenty of time to get things done, so I can take breaks when I start to get too tired, but still get everything done.

It's definitely more realistic, for me.

I'll update later this week so we can see how week one went:).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Time and time again...

I disappoint myself, *sigh*...

I always start with the best of intentions, but my follow through is just awful! Honestly though, I'm really getting to the point where if I'm up doing things for more than half an hour, I become completely exhausted and my body aches all over! Plus for the greater part of the last two weeks, McKaleigh and I have both had colds. This has resulted in a huge increase in our TV watching time and internet using time.

I don't really know what the solution is. I mean, I know that I'm happier when I'm productive. Without fail, anytime I have a day where I get a lot done, it's always a good day, and I always feel good about it. So what drives me to being lazy? I feel like crap when I'm lazy! What's the payoff for me to continue this behavior? There isn't one! So why can't I just do the things I want to do? Have a clean house, spend more time playing with my daughter, and spend more time discovering new things that will make me happy, other than the internet and TV.

If you figure it out, will you let me know? There has to be something I'm missing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I love my mom:)

This was posted on today's Sunday Secrets on It spoke to me as soon as I saw it and I even teared up a little. People always act like turning into their mother or father is the worst thing in the world. I can honestly say that I don't feel that way. I think my mother is an amazing woman, and I would be proud to be like her. I can only hope that my daughters will be as close to me, as I am to my mother.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Are we still in the honeymoon phase?

My husband and I were wed on November 1st, 2007. It has been 2 years, 6 months, and 1 week. Would you believe me if I told you that we've never really had a fight? Sure there are times when I've been mad at him, or he has been mad at me. In these instances though, the other person knows and admits to being in the wrong, and it is always resolved quickly. We have never had even one of these instances last an entire 24 hour period. I always hear people say that the beginning of marriage is one of the hardest times, and one of the periods when you are very likely to divorce. So it has been making me think about why marriage comes so easily to my husband and I, and what sets us apart from the typical young married couple in America.

First and foremost, and something that makes us really just lucky... We have practically identical expectations of each other. Our thoughts on what is okay and isn't okay are the same in almost every instance. I think that being so like-minded is the main thing that has made our marriage easy.

Secondly, neither of us is irrational, and in the rare case that one of us does behave irrationally the other never responds irrationally. When conflict arises between the two of us, it is a one sided event. One person is mad at the other person. Neither of us brings anything up upon first thinking of it. We both sit on a subject for quite awhile and think it through very thoroughly, before we'll bring it up. I think this gives us a more realistic view of the situation at hand. When I think something through first, it lets me think about how I want the events to play out. Thinking alone first, may help me calm myself down, so as not to attack my husband and make him defensive. Many times this makes me realize that what I'm mad about is a little silly. I still bring up whatever I had been thinking about, even if I realize that I was being irrational, just to get it off my chest. Almost immediately after something is brought up, it is resolved. I think part of that goes back to point number one, we have similar ideas of what is wrong and right, so if one of us is mad, the other person totally understands and apologizes.

Neither of us is too proud, nor too stubborn to admit they are wrong or say they are sorry. I don't care how proud or stubborn you are with every other person in the world; with your spouse, there should always be room for submission, from both parties. Neither of us feels inferior or weaker for saying we're wrong or sorry. I think, if anything, it makes us respect each other more. Of course it's not always easy, and I may delay a minute or two, but once I realize that I am wrong, I admit it very soon after, as does he.

So these are just a few of the main things that I think make my marriage so successful and easy. I didn't write this to show off and say "look at how awesome we are," although we are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself;). I just think that in a society plagued with divorce, it's important for me to share what helps to keep my marriage a happy one. I know two and a half years isn't long, but most people who get married at the age that we married, have already divorced before the two year point, so I think we're doing pretty well. I have trouble believing that two people who have been as happy as we have been for these last two and half years will ever split up. I know anything can happen, but for now I'm sticking with saying that it won't happen to me;).

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ella Belly mei tai giveaway!

Part of my crunchiness involves crunchy parenting. This includes babywearing, as you may have realized from my earlier babywearing post. Well it can turn into quite an addiction, haha, and makes you want to try out as many different kinds of carriers as you can get your hands on! I've never tried a mei tai before and have my first one on the way right now. That is not enough of course though... I want to try more!

A friend of mine has a blog, Newly Wed, Newly Bred. If you've never read her before, you should, because she's hilarious! And she has lots of great giveaways! What's better than free stuff??? Ummm, just about nothing! Right now she has an Ella Belly giveaway. I've never tried one before, but Megan is by no means a new babywearer, so I trust her judgment!

On second thought, don't, because I want to win! Hehehe.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My plan to become more productive

Awhile back I started leaving the TV off for a majority of everyday, with only catching up on my favorite shows via Hulu. For a few days I got a lot of stuff done, then it started to taper off and I just ended up spending so much more time on my computer!

Half the time I'm not even actively doing anything, just switching back and forth between pages, trying to figure out what to do. I don't know why, but the internet just sucks me in! Even when I'm not doing anything interesting!

So I have decided that I am going to start limiting my time on the computer. If McKaleigh is awake, I set the timer for 15-20 minutes and that is all the time I allow myself. When she is sleeping, that is when I can feel free to just waste my time doing nothing on the internet. I just put her down for a nap, so that is why I am writing this now. Another exception will be when my husband is online, but he can send a message to my phone to prompt me to go to my computer.

Today I have had two timed periods of time on the computer, plus some random time during lunch. That's really good for me! Normally I would just be on the computer all morning long, and the time I spent on the computer today would probably equal the time I normally spend not on the computer. When the timer goes off, I actually turn my computer off and shut the lid, instead of just setting it down, because I always seem to drift back to check stuff.

I have gotten so much done today compared to normal! We've lived here since November, and I finally just hung up a few pictures in the living room. I tidied up, since my daughter loves to tear up junk mail and spread it out all over, that alone took quite awhile. I also dusted in my living room! It needed it so badly, and that was quite a task. I still have quite a lot to do to get this house looking the way I want it to, but I think I'm off to a good start. I need to make more lists, that's for sure!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I reserve the right...

To change my baby girl's name as many times as I want to before she's born!

Mariela just didn't feel right. I still love the name, but when I call the baby in my belly Mariela, it doesn't stick at all, and I feel like I'm forcing it.

For a day or two I was looking for a girl's name that started with a T, since McKaleigh is named after Michael, I was thinking this baby could be named after me:). Well I don't really like many T names, and none of them felt right either.

So I finally decided to give up on my crazy methods, and just chose a name that I really love, and make it have meaning.

The first name as of right now is Adelaide, Addy for short:). McKaleigh goes by Kaleigh for short, so I thought it would be nice for them to each have uncommon names, but with common nicknames. Adelaide means "of noble kind" and her daddy and I both love pretty much anything that has to do with nobility. There was a queen of England named Adelaide and when reading about her on Wikipedia, I found this quote: "Queen Victoria, who never forgot her aunt Adelaide's kindness to her, remembered her at the christening of her firstborn child, Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise." Well if you haven't read previous posts, my grandmother's name is Mary Louise! That to me was a major sign, and I really just can't imagine naming her anything other than Adelaide.

Middle names are still up in the air. Adelaide Mary Louise is in the running, but not my favorite. Another possibility is Adelaide Louisa Marie, just a different take on Mary Louise. The name that I'm pretty sure we'll be going with is Adelaide Elizabeth Jane. My mom's name is Jane Elizabeth, my middle name is Jane, my sister's middle name is Elizabeth, and McKaleigh's middle names are Elizabeth Anne. I like that they would share their first middle name, but have different second middle names... McKaleigh Elizabeth Anne & Adelaide Elizabeth Jane. It makes me smile just typing it out!

Most importantly, she "feels" like an Adelaide. It's easy for me to call her Adelaide and Addy. I truly think that it is already her name:).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Two little princesses for me:)

I had my ultrasound today and it's a girl!!!

I am ecstatic! I kept going back and forth between wanting a boy and wanting a girl, so I would've been happy either way... but for the most part, I really wanted another girl!

Now I can buy tons of girly diapers for McKaleigh and not feel guilty, because I'll be using them for two little girls! Especially since I am planning on mostly buying Nifty Nappy diapers, which are one size diapers that truly do fit newborns well.

It's really kind of a relief that I don't have to worry about buying a bunch of little boy stuff, or feel guilty about using tons of pink stuff with a little boy.

My chosen name is Mariela Stephanie Lynn. Mariela is after my grandma, Mary Louise:). Stephanie is my mom's BFF, and Lynn is after my husband's aunt. I sort of have a method to my naming, hehe. McKaleigh is named after my husband, Michael. Her middle names are Elizabeth, my mom's middle name, and Anne, mother in law's middle name is Ann.

So I'm keeping up with a pattern:).

I love baby names, and I'm so happy to be having another girl!!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Making changes in my kitchen!

Well, I did it. I bought new cookware and dishes.

I got a stainless steel set of cookware, which I already love, to replace my cheapo Wal-Mart brand non stick cookware. The teflon has been flaking off of it basically since we got it, but hey, what can you expect for $20?

I also bought a set of Corelle dishes to replace my made in China set. Not to mention these are so much lighter weight! I can easily lift a stack of the plates or bowls without struggling, haha. Our old set is still in pretty good shape but is SO heavy! And I didn't like that it was made in China, I'm trying to phase out the China-made products.

The downside? I used my Military Star Card, EEK! It was just driving me nuts that I "needed" to replace these and I didn't want to wait an extra month or two! I am going to be selling a bunch of stuff and then will make a payment toward the card to try and make up the difference. Still, I'm disappointed in myself because I've been trying hard not to use the credit card.

I feel like there's so much I want to do in making the transition from non-crunchy to crunchy, that it's totally slowing down the getting out of debt process. With buying things does also come selling the old, so it's not like it's going to totally make us broke. Plus the lifestyle we're turning to ultimately should save us money, seeing that it is important to me that we try to live simply. It's all the transition that is costing me, I know long run it will be worth it.

Really, right now when hubby is deployed is probably the best time to be making these changes. We have enough to be paying off debt and make this transition. By the time he comes home we shouldn't have to be spending money on going crunchy, so then we will be focusing 100% on getting rid of debt again. Even with switching to all things crunchy, we're still going to be paying off a ton of debt. Have to remind myself of that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not much longer... gotta keep telling myself that

It's been more than 3 months since my husband left for this deployment. Still have about 6 more months until he'll be coming home for R & R. I'm happy about that though, since it means he'll most likely get to meet the new baby then. Originally, they had him coming home in April or May, and let me tell you, I was not happy about that. I've come to terms with the fact that he may not be here for the birth, I would just really like it if he could at least meet the new baby before s/he's three months old.

I really can't complain too much, I get to talk to my husband pretty much daily. Very rarely do we go even one day without talking, and I don't know if we've ever gone more than one day, so far. It is a little annoying that I don't have him here to go run out and get things for me, lol, especially with these pregnancy cravings. It's hard having to rely completely on myself, but really, I've adjusted pretty well, and it's our normal for now.

Not too much longer and my mom will be here. She's coming back to the states this summer, with my brother who is starting college in the fall. He wants to go to a college nearby, so that will be nice. My mom will be living in our guest room, which will be great, since I will need help with my active toddler as my belly gets bigger, hehe. Then I'll have three months of a baby and a toddler and no husband, so she will be here to help me then, too.

Time is going by so quickly and so slowly, at the same time. It's funny how that can happen:).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Babywearing is not dangerous!

Babywearing has been done for centuries, safely. It, in and of itself, is not dangerous. People who do not educate themselves on how to babywear properly and companies that make unsafe carriers are what is dangerous. There are specific slings that are very dangerous. These slings are pretty much like bags, and bear no real resemblance to a proper sling. Here's an article about the sling I'm referring to. And here is an article of a recent recall!

There are also some carriers out there, that although not life threatening, are not good for your baby! Any carrier that allows your baby's legs to dangle straight down is not a good carrier. This is bad for both their hips and spine. And even though you think your baby enjoys being able to look out at his/her surroundings, your baby should never face out in your carrier. This is also very bad for baby's back and hips, and can cause over-stimulation. Here's a link with explanations of the actual physical harm it is causing.

These two types of carriers, bag-like slings and "crotch danglers," make up a very small percentage of the options available. They are simply two of the cheapest, most widely available options, which sadly means they are everywhere.

This blog has a ton of information about the pros and cons of each type of carrier. It also lists the brands to buy and the brands to avoid, for quality, safety, and comfort. It's a great reference for anyone interested in babywearing. I refer to it frequently.

I'm ashamed to say that we used a "crotch dangler" AND we faced McKaleigh outward. Thankfully, not frequently, we only used it a handful of times. A majority of our babywearing was done in a homemade stretchy wrap, and facing outward wasn't something I did often. But still, we did it, and it's because, unless you seek out the information, it's not readily available. Companies that make these poorly made carriers actually show babies being worn facing out, so how is any parent supposed to know the damage it can cause your child? Isn't it sad that companies that make and sell these baby items are so poorly educated on the items they are selling?

Also, unless you've done thorough research and actually know what you're talking about, don't try to tell someone that wearing their baby is dangerous. It is not! I don't know how many stories I've heard recently, of mamas safely wearing their babies being hassled because of all the fuss in the news. It is always by people who have no clue what they are even talking about and have likely never worn a baby.

So once again, babywearing IS NOT dangerous. Bad carriers are.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A complete rundown of the products I use

Last month on payday, I made my list of things I needed, in order to make the things listed below. A trip to the commissary/grocery store, the local natural food store, and the dollar store got me everything. I will admit, the initial investment when you buy the Essential Oils and carrier oils seems pretty hefty, but these will last for quite some time. The EOs are in tiny bottles, but you use them usually in quantities of drops at a time. I bought my spray bottles at the dollar store, and they are of pretty nice quality! I made a day of it and mixed everything that afternoon. Gave away all of my old products and haven't really had to give any of it a second thought!

*signifies a hyperlinked phrase:)

Health & Beauty

Face Wash: I have this split between two small bottles. One stays in the shower, one stays on my counter. I also just bought regular unsalted almonds and put them through my food processor.
-3 oz honey (cleanses)
-4 oz finely ground almonds (gentle exfoliant)
-2 oz apple cider vinegar (toner)
-2 oz water
-6 drops Lavender Essential Oils (anti-aging and anti-acne)

Face Lotion: Apricot Kernel Oil after washing my face. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil any other time.

Makeup: Making the switch to *Everyday Minerals

Lip balm: Currently Burt's Bees Medicated Lip Balm. May try Everyday Minerals's lip balm. Also Goat Milk Stuff(link below) sells a balm I might also try.

Body Lotion: EV Coconut Oil. I've never really been a regular body lotion user, because I hate the feel of lotion, but I love how coconut oil makes my skin feel!

Deodorant: Instructions from *this blog. Super easy, though is quite the work out, haha. Works really well.

Toothpaste: Currently not crunchy! Thinking about using just plain baking soda once the tube I have runs out. I'm open to suggestions, lol. Prefer homemade and simple, over organic store bought products.

Body Wash: For now I use Nature's Gate Organics- Lavender & Aloe. Probably going to switch to *goat milk soap in the very near future, for McKaleigh, too, and probably as our hand soap.

Wash/Condition Hair: Refer to any of *my no 'poo blogs.

Hair spray: I use the water and sugar recipe from *this blog. And, yes, it really does work!


All Purpose Cleaner: The bigger the spray bottle, the more EO you need to use.
-1 part water
-1 part white vinegar
-20-30 drops of EO (I used lemon)

Disinfectant: Smells great! Love using it.
-2 cups water
-1/4 cup white vinegar
-1/4 tsp Lavender EO
-1/4 tsp Tea Tree Oil

Carpet cleaner(spot cleaning): Spray the following combo, let sit for a few minutes. Follow up with a sponge or brush and soapy water. Works every time:). This spray can also be used when cleaning your veggies.
-1 part water
-1 part white vinegar

Toilet bowl cleaner: I sprinkle 1/4 cup of baking soda all over the inside of the toilet, and follow with 1 cup of vinegar. Let fizz for awhile and follow with just the toilet brush.

Dishwasher detergent: Love this one! Have it in a container and just scoop it in. Recipe says to use 1 tbsp per load, but I fill my detergent cup.
-1 cup Borax (find in laundry aisle)
-1 cup baking soda
-1/4 cup salt (I used sea salt)
-1/4 cup citric acid (2 unsweetened lemonade kool aid packets work)

I use a lot of tips from *this site. They have tips and methods for literally any household cleaning situation you can think of!

One month no 'poo-versary:)

It's been one month since I decided to go no 'poo!

So one revelation has come to me... I grew up in an area in Iowa where your water was hard, unless you had a water softener. Well, apparently in Georgia, the water ISN'T hard! I just assumed water was hard every where, unless it was softened, haha!

I'm now only using my old wash routine of baking soda and apple cider vinegar on Sundays. Two or three other times a week, I use an acidic rinse. So far I've used diluted apple cider vinegar, and cranberry juice (not together, lol.) I'm also going to give applesauce a try.

No 'poo can be a big process of trial and error. Figuring out what ratios of baking soda to water and apple cider vinegar to water work for you. Or if these don't do well for you, figuring out which of the plethora of options will work for you.

For troubleshooting, I'll again post the blog that I refer to. Info: Shampoo Free.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toys, toys, toys

Ugh! So the newest itch I've gotten surrounds my daughter's toys.

They are ALL plastic! Plastic, that I am now learning, may not be all that safe.

Most of them are light up toys or just plain noisy. Which I am now learning is really not great for her development.

So what's a mom to do?

Well I'm sure as heck not just going to keep things this way. I'm going to sell all of her toys! And then use that money to buy her simple wooden toys that will let her use her imagination, and help in her cognitive development. The first to go will be anything using batteries! Eventually, I would like to be mostly plastic and battery free in toy land. One step at a time, though. We'll get there, soon enough.

One thing I really want to do for her, as she gets a bit older, is to give her a HUGE dress up wardrobe. I always loved playing dress up when I was little, but never really had the resources, so that is one thing that will definitely be happening in this house:). Who needs noisy light up toys, when you're pretending to be a doctor/nurse/astronaut/princess?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update on my lack of 'poo;)

I have changed things up a bit. I'm now attempting to completely forgo my hair touching water between my bi-weekly rinses. I've been doing a lot more reading around and have a very good reason as to why. I have hard water! So when I get my hair wet and put nothing in it, mineral deposits build up on my hair, yuck! If I do need to do something with my hair between washes I will probably just take a shower and use some sort of acidic rinse to prevent any buildup (probably apple cider vinegar,) but leave out the baking soda. Right now I'm trying to get my hair used to only being washed twice a week, because eventually it will slow down the oil production and will no longer look like a greasy mess;) haha!

It's really not that bad now though! I washed Sunday, accidentally used a bit too much oil, so I did a water only rinse yesterday (before learning the mineral deposit thing.) Today it was a tiny bit greasy, but just powdering a bit of cornstarch in there for a minute and brushing it out, has my hair looking like new... well almost new, lol. My ponytail is my new best friend:). And my boar bristle brush does wonders for my hair, too.

Twice a day I brush my hair out really well with my regular hairbrush. Then I go over my whole head with the boar bristle brush several times. After that, I flip my head over and brush out the back of my hair several times. Once I flip back up my hair is poofy and huge, haha! This is just to help the sebum (natural oils from your scalp) move from my scalp out to the ends of my hair. So once I'm done doing this I use my regular brush over it once more.

Around the house I HAVE to keep my hair up, or else I am constantly playing with it, making it much greasier than it'd be if I could just leave it be, haha. I use scrunchies though, so it's relatively easy to go from being up all day, to wearing it down if I want to.

Anyways, just thought I'd share:). I feel like I learn new things everyday!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

All about no 'pooing

I'm sitting here trying to think of just one topic to write about. It's kind of hard to pick just one, so maybe this will just be a little update about everything:). On second thought, I may just dive more deeply into explaining "no 'poo."

No 'poo is going wonderfully. Being a stay at home mom, I never really got too dirty or sweaty, so I didn't shower daily, or even every other day. I would shower about every three days or so. Well now with going no 'poo I've found that if I just jump in the shower every morning to rinse my hair out and do a quick scrub down, I feel great! My hair looks great, and I feel refreshed and ready for the start of the day. After my hair is done going through the detox phase, I may go back to showering every other day, but for now, I'm enjoying this routine.

If I don't shower daily, my hair does get quite greasy, because of the awful detox period, and my hair getting rid of the years of buildup from my old shampoos and conditioners. If I shower everyday though, you can't even tell that I'm not using shampoo or conditioner! Right now I'm trying to keep my washing routine to twice a week, Sunday and Thursday.

In case you haven't read earlier blogs, the actual wash routine is as follows.
  • I put 1 tbsp of baking soda into a cup. In the shower I fill my small cup with water and scrub that into my hair. I let it sit for at least a minute, usually while I'm washing my body, then rinse.
  • Then I take my other cup that is half filled with apple cider vinegar and fill it the rest of the way in the shower. (Note: I used to pre-mix my ACV and water, before my shower, but it was just way too cold, haha!)I pour this all over my hair and let that soak for at least a minute, usually a bit longer, like you would with conditioner. This is usually while I'm washing my face and doing any shaving that I might need to do.
  • After I've let it sit I rinse my hair VERY thoroughly. I let the water run over my hair for almost as long as I let the vinegar sit in my hair. I use my hands to press the water through my hair, and press my hands along my scalp as well. I do this to prevent any of the vinegar from remaining in my hair, and I never have a vinegar smell after my hair has dried.
  • Also, in each step I massage my scalp very thoroughly, like enough that I can feel my scalp move a bit with my fingers. When I don't do my wash routine I also massage thoroughly in the shower and help the natural oils move from the scalp down through to the rest of my hair.
There are a lot of good sites out there to help in learning about no 'pooing and why you should do it. Today I found an amazing site that I'm going to start using as a reference guide. Here's a link in case you're interested.

Honestly my hair looks better than it has EVER looked before. And this is without even using styling products. My hair is softer, silkier, and has more body. I've never been happy with my hair. Even on past "good hair days" it still was never all that great to me. Now I LOVE my hair, and I think it looks fabulous:).

No 'pooing might be "green" and "crunchy" but that's really not even why I decided to try it. I tried it out because I wasn't happy with my hair and I wanted a change. The green/crunchy part is just a plus.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A break in the "No TV"

So I'm taking a little break tonight, for the finale of The Bachelor! I watched every episode this season, couldn't pass up the finale! Honestly, I haven't been paying much attention, but I want to see who wins.

Things have been going really well around here. I'm loving my natural beauty products: my homemade facewash, the apricot kernel oil as face lotion, EV coconut oil as body lotion, homemade deoderant. It's all working really well, and makes me feel great! Then of course there's the twice weekly baking soda wash of my hair and apple cider vinegar rinse:). My hair has never felt better!

McKaleigh and I ate some really good food today. Almost nothing processed, lots of veggies, yummy! I need to look into some more vegetarian meals. I'm not a vegetarian, but I only really eat fish and chicken, and there's only so much fish and chicken you can eat, haha!

McKaleigh has a cold, which really stinks, since she hasn't quite figured out how to blow her nose. Being the great sharer that she is, she has given that cold to me. Wasn't that sweet of her?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Going green/crunchy...

I am now entering my second phase for going green and crunchy!

Phase one was eliminating paper products and using primarily cloth. I still have TP on hand for guests, and paper towels on hand for especially gross cleanups, but for the most part, I'm all cloth! I also started "no 'pooing" during this phase, although that technically fits in better with phase two.

Phase two is switching to all/mostly homemade cleaners and health and beauty products. I bought white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, cornstarch, witch hazel, chamomile tea, borax, honey, and I think I am forgetting a few things I've already purchased. I still need to get essential oils and some containers. With these products I will make an all purpose cleaner, disinfectant, window cleaner, other various household cleaners that I'm forgetting at the moment, face wash, deodorant, and will wash and condition my hair. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with most of my old stuff.

Phase three is partially started, but that's when I'll focus more on food. Right now I've been focusing more on just avoiding processed foods. Eventually I'd like to buy more organic, and even grow some of my own food. Who knows what the phases after that will be, but this is what I have set out for now!

I'm really loving these changes and it's not as hard as it might seem. Just do things slowly. You don't just wake up one morning and you're all green/crunchy. It has to start with one thing at a time.

For me the starter was cloth diapers(still use a sposie here and there.)
From cloth diapers, I went to cloth wipes.
From cloth wipes, I went to cloth household.
Not sure how, but from cloth household, I went no-poo, haha.
And that's where we are now, with the homemade products!

It's definitely a process, and the more I educate myself on the dangers of the products being consumed by the average American, the more I want to actively do something. Not buying their products is the first step.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 2 of NO TV!

Like most Americans, I watched a lot of TV. So much in fact, that I felt like I never got anything done, because between the shows I watched, keeping up with all the social networking sites I frequent, and taking care of my daughter, there wasn't much time left for anything else!

I noticed that more and more often, McKaleigh was zoning out on whatever was on TV. I never watched any kids shows, but she was still hooked to the TV at times. This was my primary reason for no more TV. I may still watch a few select shows here and there, but only the ones that I REALLY love. I will no longer be watching the shows that just happened to be on. Heck, if it's not on, I probably won't watch it, haha.

I truly believe that not watching TV has made it so much easier for me to get things done. I just did things today, without really thinking about it. I was constantly thinking of the next thing to do, instead of vegging out in front of the TV and my computer all day.

I did the following things today:
  • Made pancakes and eggs for breakfast(instead of the typical cereal or bagel.)
  • Decluttered a majority of my kitchen(the side I actually cook on... other half still needs a lot of work:P.)
  • Moved my full sized bed into the guest room, to make room for the king, got the bedframe today.
  • Did a bit of vacuuming in my room and the guest room, but still need to clean them more thoroughly.
  • I cleaned up the dogs' room, like completely cleaned it up (yes my dogs have their own room:P.)
  • Finally got the futon mattress from the garage and into the dog room.
  • Vacuumed the futon mattress because it was gross from being in the garage.
  • Re-organized the furniture in the dog room and set up the kennel that was in my room, in their room for big ol' Jack.
  • I lost track of time, so we had a late lunch.
  • After lunch, I actually cleaned up everything I had used to make it, and all the miscellaneous dishes that had been laying around!
On a typical day, before no TV, I felt productive if we had 1 cooked meal (the other two would be packaged) and I got the dishwasher loaded! And I would feel extra productive if I vacuumed the living room, haha.

Today was day one of using all cloth, and I've got to say, I love it! It just works so much better than paper, and with as many paper towels as we were going through, we're going to save loads of money!

Tomorrow will be day three of "no 'poo"ing, and my second time using the baking soda wash and apple cider vinegar rinse. I was going to wait three days, but we have playgroup tomorrow, and I don't want to be too greasy.

McKaleigh decided to not nap until supper time, so I better sneak off and cook while she's sleeping:). Today has been a good day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wow, so much has happened in 2 months!

I'm 12 weeks pregnant! I can't believe I haven't blogged since finding out! I'm due September 3rd and am soooo excited to be having our second baby.

Things have been rough lately, last week McKaleigh was sick for most of the week. Then we had to put down the oldest dog, because he couldn't walk anymore. We knew the alternative was hauling him back and forth to the vet for a few months before he would end up just dying naturally. I'm a small girl and he was a big dog, so it just wasn't a feasible option:(.

This week has been much better so far. McKaleigh finally got over her sickness this weekend, so we made the jump into cloth diapers. I love love love them! I have more on the way and wish I would've been cloth diapering from the beginning! I'm so excited to cloth diaper baby #2.
Switching to cloth diapers has led me to want to live a generally greener life. I'm thinking about switching to cloth all around (even mama cloth *gasp*) because I'm tired of buying things to throw away, when there are reusable options out there!

Today was also day 1 of me switching to a "no 'poo" routine. Instead of shampoo I used a baking soda/water combo and instead of conditioner I used an apple cider vinegar/water combo. My scalp is a bit dry and itchy, but I know that it's just part of the process of my scalp getting used to producing it's own oil again. I may have to make up a natural deep conditioner for the mean time though. I saw a good recipe in Cosmo, lol.

So that's just an update on some stuff around here... I know I don't really have many followers, but I write these more for me than anyone else anyways:).