Friday, July 29, 2011

My new favorite baby product

I would not consider myself phobic about germs; however, I am vigilant about trying to avoid germs if possible.  I always sanitize my hands after grocery shopping, because I am freaked out about all the germs lurking on the cart handle.  I know they usually have sanitizing wipes by the carts now, but I still feel germy when I finish grocery shopping. 

Now insert Luke into the equation.  Up until now, Luke has been in my Ergo or Moby carrier during shopping trips.  That has generally worked out well.  But now he is much heavier, and much more curious.  I figured we both would enjoy shopping trips better if he could ride in the cart.  He sits up really well now, so I wanted to give it a try today.  Thanks to a handy dandy baby product, I didn't have to worry about gross germs!  He likes to chew on anything and everything, and all I could imagine was him leaning over to chew on one of the metal bars.  Eeeeeks!!!!

It's called The Clean Shopper.  Specially made for neurotic parents like me :-D  It really is great though.  He had a nice semi-padded area to sit.  It was easier to keep his toys in the cart with him.  And the best, no germ worries.  At first he was a little unsure about being in the cart.  He sat semi-motionless, almost afraid to move.  After a few minutes, he realized he could move around a bit and he got really excited.  He started pumping his legs up and down to make himself bounce.  It was cute.  A side benefit to this contraption is it covers my handle too! 

There are a lot of baby products out there, and some are just worthless.  It's so nice to find something completely worthwhile.  <3    

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One week down, a lifetime to go

One week ago I made the decision to bid farewell to a love of mine: Diet Coke.  I have known for quite some time that I needed to break free from the DC, but I never had the motivation.  I have gone to great lengths lately to rid my life of harmful chemicals, so it just didn't make sense to continue to drink Diet Coke (or any diet sodas).  I honestly don't want to know too much about the harmful effects of aspartame because I would probably panic.  I did a quick internet search and after reading one article, I decided to stop there.  Rather than focusing on the possible harm I did to my body, I'm choosing to focus on the positive effects of eliminating aspartame from my diet!

I am definitely having some withdrawal symptoms.  Daily headaches is the biggest thing I'm noticing.  I've started drinking iced tea, so the headaches shouldn't be from caffeine withdrawal.  I was afraid I'd be in a horrible mood from the withdrawal, but that hasn't been too much of an issue.  Overall I'd say the split has gone much better than I anticipated.  I'm glad I quit cold turkey.  I think if I had one a day, it would fuel me to want more, more, more! 

In other news, Luke about sent me over the edge this afternoon.  The day started off fine....we had a nice morning together, and then met a friend for lunch and even did a little shopping afterwards.  He did great!  I was happy because we were going to arrive home just in time for his nap.  Well, tragedy struck on the way home when he decided to take a 'lil snooze.  He only slept for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but that is enough to give him the dreaded "second wind".  He refused to take his nap when we got home.  I would have been okay with that if he was in a pleasant mood. But no, that would be too easy!  He was in a horrible mood because he was exhausted.  I tried every trick I have to get him to sleep.  Nothing worked.  So I eventually gave up and surrendered to the fact that he was not going to nap.  It was a loooong evening.  Thanks to the bath tub, we both made it through.  The bath tub is magical for some reason.  He can be extremely fussy, and as soon as he gets in the water he calms down and is happy.  He is now peacefully sleeping in his crib, and I hope he stays that way all night! <3        

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No longer ridin' the cool train

Yep, it's official.  I am not cool anymore.  In fact, I am an embarrassment.  I don't know how this happened!  I don't wear "mom jeans".  My haircut is stylish (I think?!).  My clothes are respectable (I thought!?).  I do drive a not cool.  Maybe that is what started me down this slippery slope.  Yes, I will blame the minivan.  Because it certainly can't just be ME who is not cool!  :-)

It started a few weeks ago.  Nolan, Luke and I went to Olive Garden.  We went at an odd time during the week, so I wasn't concerned about my appearence too much.  We had been home all day so I just went as I was.  Black yoga pants (cute flare legged one from the GAP), purple T-shirt, and Nike slip on sandals (bare feet - I know not to wear socks with sandals!).  We got out of the van and Nolan says (with a horrified look on his face), "Really  mom?".  What?   "Yoga pants....that shirt...sandals....for Olive Garden"??  I look fine!  What is wrong with this outfit?!?!  With a disgusted look on his face he said, "That is not what you wear to a restaurant."  I laughed it off, but did wonder for a few moments if I looked ridiculous.  I see others out in public with similar attire.  But are they fellow out-of-style moms?  Since I have stopped working, I sort of live in yoga pants and T-shirts.  I'm on the floor playing with Luke, I get spit up on multiple times a day - it's not glamorous over here.  Plus, since I'm not working, we don't have money laying around for me to keep up with all the latest styles and trends.  But I don't consider myself "out of style".  Or am I?!

Yesterday I became a flat-out embarrassment.  We were at the grocery store, and I spotted a girl in Nolan's class.  She was with her mom and brother.  Nolan is friends with this girl, and so I assumed they would be greeting each other.  I made  the obvious (?) mistake of walking down the same aisle as them.  Because, well, I needed peanut butter and they were in the peanut butter aisle.  When we walked past them, Nolan and the girl muttered a hello to each other.  They both looked mortified.  When we turned the corner, Nolan hissed at me "Mom! Why did you go down that aisle?!?!".  Um, I needed peanut butter?  He said, "Look at me!"  We were headed to football practice, so he had on a T-shirt that clearly did not meet acceptable standards.  Then came a big sigh, and a slight shake of his head.  It was then that I realized, OMG, I'm an embarrassment!  LOL  I proceeded to laugh, and say it's a sad, sad day when you realize you aren't cool anymore.  An older woman overhead this and exchanged a knowing glance with me and smiled.  She has clearly been there.

When we got out to the van, Nolan and I had a laugh about all of this.  I still have a hard time believing that I'm "the mom" sometimes.  I think I'm still young and hip, so it's funny when my child acts embarrassed of me.  Nolan assured me that I am awesome, and that he is not embarrassed of me.  He didn't want me to write this post because he felt badly, and spend yesterday evening telling me how much he loves me.  I explained to him that it's okay.....I am not upset.  It's just funny to me.  I think it's a requirement for kids to, at some point, be embarrassed of their parents for one reason or another.  I'm smart enough to know that in a few years he will be truly embarrassed of me, and will not follow up his display of embarrassment with a proclamation of his love for me.  He will be embarrassed, and that will be the end of the story. 

 Mr. Cool at the zoo :)

Luckily not too cool to pose in a picture with mom :P

I am Luke's favorite person right now, better enjoy it while it lasts!!!

I love being a parent.  All the ages and stages hold new and interesting joys and challenges.  I am lucky to have such awesome sons <3

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Speed dating

This post is not about a singles speed dating event.  It is about what dates look like for Mark and I now that we have a baby.  Or maybe I should say it is about our lack of dates now that we have a baby! :P

I know this is pathetic, but I have to admit that we've never left Luke.  Well I shouldn't say that....we did leave him in the newborn nursery at the hospital when we went to the NICU to visit Adam, and between nighttime feeds so I could get some rest.  And I should  mention that wasn't the best experience considering that they left him screaming in his bassinet and did not feed him on time.  Other that that, either Mark or I have been with Luke constantly for the past 7 months. Crazy!!

There are a couple of factors that have led us to this point.  One, we live out in the middle of nowhere.  There aren't teenage babysitters "around the corner" or "down the street".  It would be a huge ordeal to get a sitter out to our house, not to mention the fact that we don't even know any young girls that are old enough to babysit.  So general logistics is one issue.  Also, I am frankly still traumatized over watching my baby die.  I am deathly afraid of something happening to Luke or Nolan.  I still, 7 months in, go in to check to make sure Luke is breathing at night.  At this point, if we left Luke with someone I know for 100% sure that I would worry the entire time, and I would not have any fun.  Finally, if there were no other outside factors, it would still be hard to leave Luke because he can be a bit difficult at times.  Generally he is a happy baby.  However, there are times when I am the only person who can soothe him because he wants to nurse, or he just generally wants him momma.

How are we surviving, you ask?  Mark and I are pretty good about giving each other small breaks as much as possible.  And as far as couple time, we've just had to get creative.  When Luke goes to bed at night (luckily he is usually asleep in his crib by 8 or 8:30pm) we have time to hang out together.  We take walks together on Sunday mornings, and Luke usually goes to sleep in his stroller.  That gives us some time to have adult conversation without interruptions.  Also when we go places the car ride is usually a good time for chats (on the way to the destination....for some reason the drive home from anything is usually full of screaming/crying).   Luke likes to watch a Baby Einstein video sometimes, so last week we put him in his swing in front of a video and we had a quiet dinner together.  It was awesome for us to have a calm dinner, and Luke enjoyed the video so it was a win-win situation. 

Today we had a 30 minute speed date, and it was great!  Nolan had to earn $10 to contribute to his school shoe purchase (I have a $40 limit, and the shoes he wanted were $50).  One of the jobs he agreed to do was babysit Luke for 30 minutes.  Mark and I cashed in today :-)  We got him all set up in the playroom with Luke, and then we were free!  We decided to use our time browsing the Sunday ads and reading the newspaper while sipping iced tea.  That sounds super boring, but we enjoyed it because we never get to do that anymore.  Now that Luke grabs everything in site, looking at the newspaper is out of the question.  He tries to eat the newspaper, rips it, wrinkles it, etc.  The 30  minutes went by VERY quickly (Nolan set the timer, LOL), but afterwards we both felt refreshed.  Being able to have an uninterrupted adult conversation during the daytime was awesome.  Nolan has four other small jobs to do to earn the $10.  If you want to know the truth, I think I would have paid $10 just for those 30 minutes ;)

I know the day will come when we feel okay leaving Luke with someone.  We're just not there yet.  In the meantime, we will continue to find creative ways to spend time together.  We'll take whatever time we can get! <3       


Saturday, July 23, 2011

So excited!

When I became a parent, giving gifts became more fun to me than getting gifts.  It's awesome to watch your child's face light up with excitement.  Tonight I feel like it's Christmas Eve, because I have a big surprise for Nolan tomorrow! 

Ever since he turned 9, he periodically asks for a double bed.  He had a twin bed, which I felt was fine for him.  I slept in a twin bed my entire childhood without any problems.  However, I started to take his pleadings seriously when he fell out of his bed a few times recently.  And when I peek in to check on him and half of his body is handing off his bed.  He is a wild sleeper.  Always has been.  He thrashes around and moves A LOT.  Since he is only going to get bigger, I decided to upgrade his bed.  Then I decided I might as well give his room a make-over since I had to buy bigger sheets, comforter, etc.  I have been gathering everything for the past couple of weeks.  I managed to keep it all hidden from him, and tonight was makeover night!  He is at a sleepover, and when he arrives home tomorrow, he has a big surprise waiting for him.  I have to say, I think I did a pretty good job.  I cannot WAIT to see his face!!!!  :-D

Nolan made the comment once that he wishes he had his name on his wall like Luke and Adam.  Wishes do come true <3

Luke was really good while Mark and I moved furniture.  He played nicely on his mat :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I've got a lot to say this evening, but I'm too tired to say it all!  So I'll pick one topic for tonight and save the others for later. 

Product reviews!

First up - Citra Dish.  We used the dish soap and dishwasher soap.  WOW, so glad we gave another brand a try.  Both soaps clean better than what we were using (Dawn and Cascade).  My hands weren't dried out, our counter tops haven't looked so shiny in a long time, and our dishes came out spotless from the dishwasher.  The dish soap was $3.79 and the dishwasher soap was $4.19.  Very comparable to what we were spending, if not cheaper.  I got free shipping through  If you are looking for a safer soap for your dishes, I HIGHLY recommend this brand.  As a side note, our package arrived from a bit damaged.  The liquid soap had leaked a bit and it was a mess.  About 1/4 of the bottle had spilled.  I called customer service and they were wonderful.  They are sending replacements, which will arrive Friday.  No hassle whatsoever. 

Avalon Organics deodorant spray (grapefruit and geranium).  I was nervous about this one.  I have a huge problem with smelly people.  I know I shouldn't, but I do.  I nearly gag when I smell body odor.  I don't want to stink.  Surprisingly, this stuff really works!  It felt like I wasn't wearing any deodorant, no white marks on my clothing, and it kept body odor at bay.  Since I read so many reviews about natural deodorants that didn't work, I'm pretty lucky to find a good one on the first try.  I should mention that this is only a deodorant.  I don't think any natural deodorants are also an antiperspirant, since sweating is a healthy normal process.  I don't have a huge sweating problem, but if you do I could see how this might not be a good product for you.

All Terrain Herbal Armor insect repellent.  This was the only insect repellent that I could find that got good reviews (between a 0-2 on the EWG database).  It seemed like the repellents that were a 0 or 1 did not work (according to reviews).  This one rates a 2, which is at the top of our goal range.  It works!  We tried it yesterday evening and none of us got any bites while wearing it.  Yesterday was hot and very humid, and we were working around greenery.  If it was not an effective repellent, we definitely would have gotten bites.  I am not crazy about the smell, and after you spray it on you have to rub it in.  But overall, it's a good product.  I'd rather deal with those two cons vs. covering my body in DEET. 

Kiss My Face Upper Management styling gel.  My husband uses gel everyday (he has curly hair) and he likes this product.  He didn't notice any difference between this one and the one he had been using (L.A. Looks).  This one rates a 0 on the EWG scale, and his old one rates a 6.  So he'll be making the switch! 

Dr. Bronner's products.  Love, love, love!  We tried his bar soaps, classic liquid soaps, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and lotion.  All are wonderful. 

  • I like the bar soap for my face and liquid soap for my body.  I only needed a tiny bit of the liquid soap on a shower puff and got lots of suds.  A little really goes a long way.  Also, I was able to fill all of our foam dispensers with the liquid soap.  Again, a tiny bit goes a long way.  I put a little in the bottom of the dispensers, and then filled the rest with water.  That produced a rich foam lather.  I used the liquid soap to shave my legs, and that worked out well.  He does sell a shaving gel, which I might try. 

  • The lip balm was so smooth and moisturizing.  It didn't leave a sticky residue. 

  • The lotion was a thinner texture than I was expecting, but did a great job moisturizing my skin.  It had a very light feel to it, and soaked into my skin quickly.  I liked that it didn't leave my skin feeling greasy. 

  • The hand sanitizer did not leave any kind of residue on my hands and was an easy spray bottle. 

Dr. Bronner's is a top quality line of products.  They are readily available online and in stores, and the prices are very reasonable since you can find it on sale.  All of his products rate between a 0-2 on the EWG scale. 

Sadly, my love affair with Terressentials was extremely short-lived.  The mud hair wash was fun while it lasted.  When I was blow drying my hair this morning, I realized my hair was sort of greasy.  Yuck!!  I didn't think I would miss the lather, but I do.  Also, I don't like that it's more of an obscure product.  I am going to try John Masters Organics.  I think it's closer to what I'm accustomed to using.  It is pricey ($19 for an 8 oz. bottle), but I've been paying $16/bottle.  If it works well, I'm willing to spend $3 extra for a safer product (a 2 on the EWG scale).  I am sort of a princess when it comes to my hair :P

I am anxiously awaiting my new EcoGlo mineral make-up to arrive, and then that will be everything!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Trial and Error

Our non-toxic, earth-friendly product testing is in full force!  Let's just say that I'm glad Mark is 100% on board with this venture, as we have already struck out a few times.  We're okay with that, since we want to like the products we use.  We knew it was unlikely that we'd get it right on the first try with every product.  So here we go:

I'll start with the bad.  I have spent hours researching products and reading reviews.  I think reviews are so helpful, especially when you can spot a trend.  There will always be a few negative reviews, but if several people are citing the same issues, usually that is a good indication of a bad product.  I made the mistake of buying blindly for dish soap and dishwasher detergent.  I was at Kroger, and got really excited when I saw they carry many of the products I've been researching online.  I saw the dish soaps, read the ingredients and took a chance.  Big FAIL.

The brand was Earth Friendly Products.  I bought laundry detergent (to compare to the eco-friendly one we already use), dish soap, and dishwasher detergent.  I hate the dish soaps.  The dishwasher detergent didn't even come close to cleaning our dishes.  And the dish soap left a film on our countertops.  The laundry detergent seemed to be okay; however, based on the performance of the other two products, we are afraid to continue to use it.  We are afraid that over time we will see that it's not getting our clothes clean...or leaving a film...or fading them.  So I think we are abandoning that entire line.  I wanted to like it since it would be convenient to buy it at Kroger.  Oh well.

We are going to stick with Mountain Green detergent as our go-to clothes cleaner.  We are trying Citra Dish for our dishes/dishwasher.  Ordered it easily through (along with our clothing detergent).  Hopefully that works a bit better for us!

Terressentials hair wash is awesome!!!!!  I love it!  I am picky about shampoo, so that is saying a lot.  My hair is soft, shiny, and manageable.  The best part is I am able to let my hair air dry and it still looks great.  I have never been able to do that before.  Ever.  One weird thing I've noticed is when I workout I sweat more around my hairline.  This hair wash removes all the gunk from other products, so I wonder if my pores were so clogged from my shampoo/hair products that sweat couldn't get through?!  Who knows....but it happened two days in a row, so I know I'm not imagining it.  Mark and Nolan also love this product.  So I think we have a keeper.  My only complaint is I have to order from the company website (they don't have free shipping).  Even with the shipping cost, it still comes out to be the same cost as the shampoo I've been using.

Aubrey Organics hair spray: works well.  I can't rave about it too much because I don't rely heavily on hair spray.  Mark is the same way.  So for our purposes, this works good enough. 

Dr. Bronner's bar soap: Love it!  We are still waiting on the liquid soaps to arrive, but have tried the lavender and tea tree oil bar soaps.  I used the lavender bar for my face and body and was pleased with the result.  I felt very clean, liked the smell, and it did not seem to irritate my skin in any way (so far).  Mark said the tea tree oil bar got his hands very clean after work, which is saying a lot (his hands are filthy when he comes home).  Nolan said, "I feel so clean", when he used the soap.  Dr. Bronner's is sold at Kroger, and many websites, so I'm happy we like it.  It'll be easy to purchase.  We ordered some other products from this line and are hopeful they work as good as the bar soaps!

We are still waiting on make-up, bug spray, lip balm, hand sanitizer, lotion, hair gel, deodorant, and dish soap/dishwasher detergent (from various brands).  Will update as they roll in :-D

One thing I've realized from this venture is I love to research and learn new things.  When I was working, I was always researching and learning things relating to children, counseling, education, etc.  Even though I'm at home with Luke and Nolan now, I still want to use my mind.  Learning about non-toxic/earth-friendly products is interesting to me.  I hope that some one might read this blog and decide to try some natural products based on my positive review.  And if not, that is okay!  I'm a "to each his own" kinda gal.  Do what works for you!  <3    


Saturday, July 16, 2011


I love things that inspire me to better myself in some way.  Inspiration can come in many forms, but one of my favorite forms are quotes.  They are usually short and simple, but say so much.  I came across two quotes recently that spoke to me.

"Fall seven times, stand up eight times." (Japanese Proverb)

"Happiness is different from pleasure.  Happiness has something to do with struggling, enduring, and accomplishing." (G. Sheehan)

These made me think of the weight loss journey.  Anyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight knows that losing weight can be quite the journey.  Ups, downs, twists and turns.  Missteps can turn into completely falling off the wagon.  It's not always easy to get back on track.  I have been doing pretty well with Weight Watchers.  I walk daily, and I stay on track usually.  I am upset with myself though, because I find that I'm not as dedicated as I once was.  I am not at my goal weight yet, and I need to refocus.  Otherwise, I will never reach my goal.  That is the hard, cold truth.  I wish I could be one of those people who just "eat healthy" and are able to maintain or even lose weight.  But I'm not one of those people, and I have known that for quite some time.  So, it's time to saddle up and get back on the wagon.  Back to counting every single thing that goes into my mouth.  Otherwise, all those pounds I worked so hard to lose will be coming back, very soon.  Not gonna happen!  :-O

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pictures and first impressions

We're very excited that some of our new "natural" products have started to arrive!  Mark is totally into our big switch from artificial to natural products.  I think that makes it more fun as we are testing our new goodies.  Here are our first impressions so far:

Tom's of Maine Whole Care with fluoride spearmint gel

We love it.  It tastes great and does a good job of getting our teeth clean.  My mouth felt really weird for the first five minutes after I brushed my teeth.  I don't know how to describe it - maybe gritty?  Like there was a film on my teeth.  Then that feeling went away, and I was left with smooth-feeling teeth, and my mouth tasted fresh for an hour or two.  That is much longer than we get from the Colgate we've been using.  Mark's experience with it was the same as mine.  I think we lucked out and found a winner right away for toothpaste.

Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash in Sultry Spice 

Quite a switch from what we're used to.  This is one that I will have to update after a few weeks use.  The company provided detailed instructions about the "detox" hair has to go through when using this product.  It's actually a mud, which is so weird, but so fun!  If you need that bubbly shampoo experience, this is not for you.  There is no lather whatsoever.  Our first impression is we like it.  The smell is heavenly.  I can't stop smelling my hair!  The first week is supposed to be the worst....and I think my hair already feels great, so I'm excited to see how it feels in a week when it should be at its best.  This one rates a 0 on the EWG's database, so I hope to love it since it's incredibly safe. 

Those are the only two products we've tried so far.  The hairspray we ordered arrived today, but we haven't tried it yet.

In closing, here are a few cute pictures of Luke.  We got him a new bath chair, which we all love.  Luke loves it because he can play independently in the tub.  When I say independently, I don't mean we leave him in the tub alone - just that he can splash around without us having to hold on to him :-)  We love it because we don't have to endure a backache as we bend over the tub, trying to hold on to a wiggling, slippery baby who wants to play in the water.  Everyone wins!  If you are looking for a good bath seat, I would highly recommend this one. 

After Luke's bath we put on his nighttime diaper - which has to be stuffed to the max.  I thought he looked so cute and chubby and had to snap a few pics.

  And that's all!  Have a great weekend <3

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the bright side....

I'll get the bright side.  First I'm going to vent.

Luke has started a new trend that I hope goes away as fast as it appeared.  Our days start off great.  He'll be in good spirits, adaptable to whatever the morning holds, and is generally wonderful to have around.  This lasts until his afternoon naptime, usually sometime between noon and 1:30pm.  He goes to sleep, and then he wakes up in a roar.  He'll be in a horrible mood for the rest of the day.  Whining, clingy, and lots of demands.  It's very stressful.  And annoying.  Nighttimes haven't been much better.  He'll awaken more than usual, is restless, and generally miserable.  Mark and I are right there with him in the misery!  We suspect teething is the culprit.  However, we have blamed fussy streaks on teething before, but then a tooth never appears.  So who knows! 

This morning was really rough.  I look forward to the easy mornings, since I know what could be in store during the afternoon/evening.  So when we got back from our walk and he started in with his whining, I knew it was going to be a long day.  At one point I put him in his swing so I could go cry.  That is a rare event for me - I typically do not end up in tears over Luke's behavior.  I think what sent me over the edge was thinking that he was going to be whining all day today, instead of just the afternoon/evening.  I said a prayer and had to dig deep to find the strength to go face our fussy little love bug.  Thankfully, the day wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  After initially fighting a nap, he finally settled down and took a nice long nap.  He woke up happy and we had a great afternoon/evening.  Whew.  Thank God for answered prayers.  And Thank God for Nolan, who is my sweet little helper.  And for Mark, who is my constant, faithful partner in parenting.  When things get rough, their support means everything.  <3 

On to some happy things: 

1.  We got a beast of a blender.  It's got a special "ice crushing" blade.  They were not joking when they made this blade.  I created a smoothie recipe that is to die for.  Nolan is so excited about the "new offering from the Moo Town Cafe" :)  (He takes the cafe thing sooooo seriously, it's precious!) 

2.  I have been in search of the perfect sandal.  I had something very specific in mind, and I have been searching for a couple of months to no avail.  Then I found them.  But they were too expensive ($130).  I went on a quest to find them cheaper on the internet.  Amazon, my favorite site ever, came thru.  Found them for $50, free shipping.  Sold!  They arrived yesterday.....they are so awesome!!  My feet are very happy.  I haven't loved a pair of shoes so much in a long time.  I took a picture of them.  I know that is insane.  Seriously, who does that?  Like I'm ever going to print that bad boy out and stick it in a family album.  I've got issues :)

3.  After doing much research, I have located and ordered some safer products for our family.  We were horrified to learn that most of the products we've been using contain many unsafe/dangerous chemicals.  We have shampoo, body soap/hand wash, deodorant, lip balm, hand sanitizer, lotion, facial wash, toothpaste, hairspray, and hair gel on the way.  All organic, safe products that rank a 0, 1, or 2 on EWG's cosmetic database.  Zero is the best, 10 is the worst.  Most of the products we had been using ranked a 6 - 10.  Yikes!!  Interestingly, the products I found are not much more expensive than what we've been using (some were the same price or cheaper).  We're excited to see how our new products work.  I am not okay with being smelly and/or having greasy this stuff better work or it's back to our old chemical-ridden faithfuls until I can find products that work effectively.  :P      

And I think that is all for now.  My bed is calling me.  Must get sleep while I can in case Luke decides to grace us with his presence during the night!       

Monday, July 11, 2011

A busy boy!

Luke has been very busy lately! We have noticed so many changes in his development within the past month. It’s exciting to watch him grow, learn, and change :)

Solids: We are going slow with solids. We were giving vegetables and rice cereal once a day during dinner time. Now we are giving him solids during all of our meals. It’s going….okay. He’ll eat homemade green beans, squash, and rice cereal. He was NOT a fan of sweet potatoes. Basically they traumatized him. Since then, he’s been very skeptical of any and all solids. We even tried bananas, thinking he would love bananas and then would once again trust solids. Nope. We decided to start mixing the fruit/vegetable with his cereal in hopes to dilute the taste a bit. That helps a lot. He even ate sweet potatoes when they were mixed in with his rice cereal. The lesson we took away from all this:  Luke does not like strong tasting foods (yet). So from here on out, we’ll probably introduce all new tastes via rice cereal. Gradually we’ll work to plain solids. A small modification that will hopefully prevent food drama.

Milestones: Lots of changes here. This morning I watched in amazement as he started off laying on his back. Flipped over to his stomach. Got up in the crawling position. And then pushed himself up into a sitting position! Wow! It was so cool! He has mastered the crawling position.  He'll get up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth. He moves his legs in the crawling position and is even able to have his booty up in the air with his feet/hands on the ground. But he can’t figure out how to make his arms work. When he tries moving his arms, he plops to the ground on his face. He has figured out how to scoot across the floor backwards (when in a crawling position). However, this just makes him angry because he keeps getting further and further away from whatever object he was trying to reach.

The other new development is walking when holding onto our hands. He is just starting this and can only take a few steps before his legs seem to stop working. It’s cute because he gets sooooo excited about it.  Here are some pictures from this morning.  Nolan was giving a crawling and walking tutorial to Luke.  It was hilarious!

Check out my new trick Momma!

I can even put my booty in the air...

I want to do big things like my brother does!!

I am really big now!

I love my brother so much!

I suspect that I will soon be blogging about a mobile Luke.  I am not sure I'm ready for that yet.  I clearly remember chasing Nolan around.  And he was a very cautious baby, so I had it easy with him.  Something tells me Luke won't be so cautious!  I am mentally preparing myself for the new challenges ahead of us.  I plan to thoroughly babyproof in hopes to cut down on chasing/frustration.  We'll see how it goes :-)


Friday, July 8, 2011

Success and scary stuff.

I am happy to report that I can once again sing praises for cloth diapering.  It's all thanks to a diaper sprayer my lovely husband recently installed.  I did some research and ordered this one, based on the positive reviews.

It did not disappoint.  Some of the ones I found that were specifically for cloth diapering had complaints about not being powerful enough, leaking, hard to install, etc.  This one was easy to install, and is one powerful little sprayer!  I can't say it's fun to clean off's just more tolerable now.  If you are looking for a good sprayer, I highly recommend this one. 

On a funny note, Nolan is quite intrigued with this new contraption on the toilet.  I explained what it was and the possible uses for a bidet.  He then proceeded to say he was going to "try it out".  Um, gross.  Luckily that was a one-time experiment.  His comment was, "That water is COLD".  LOL

Another success - I made my own baby food!  I had considered making my own baby food, but wasn't sold on the idea, so I went ahead and bought a few jars from the store.  I noticed the green beans we fed Luke were a brownish-green color, had no taste, and generally seemed disgusting.  He ate them the first time, but conveniently let them fall back out of his mouth the second time around.  Mark really wanted me to make my own, since he wasn't impressed with the jarred food.  He bought me a Baby Brezza, a baby food cookbook, and some storage containers.  The Baby Brezza couldn't be easier to use.  All I had to do was put some frozen green beans in the container, add some water to the steamer, and hit the start button.  The machine steamed the veggies and also blended it all on its own.  The whole process took 20 minutes and I basically didn't have to do a thing.  That is my kind of baby food making :)  The best part?  Luke loves green beans now.  Score!

I have to admit that I've always sort of rolled my eyes at people overly concerned about buying organic, chemicals in household products/hygiene products, etc.  As I've mentioned in other posts, I've been putting more effort into avoiding processed foods/cooking healthy for our family.  I also try to avoid harsh chemicals in products I use on Luke.  But I wouldn't consider myself too over the top.  I generally buy into the thinking that foods/products are regulated, and that if something is dangerous, it wouldn't make it onto the shelves in stores. 

However, my opinion has officially changed on this subject.  I have Yahoo set as my homepage.  Each day there are rotating articles that pop up.  They are generally easy reads....nothing too groundbreaking.  Which maybe is why this article scared me so much.  I didn't go searching deep into the internet, this article popped up in Yahoo.  I figure if this is floating around so easily, there are probably much scarier things I could find out about additives/ingredients if I really went searching.

I'm really glad I read this article (because I usually don't read those articles).  It was a good wake-up call for me.  My false sense of security is gone.  This makes me feel even better about the recent changes I've made to our eating habits.  It's going to be whole foods all the way for us.  It's more work to make everything from scratch, but at least I'll know what is in our food.  Scary stuff! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Family Time

First, Happy 4th of July!  Always a fun summer holiday.  Usually the 4th of July arrives with a feeling of dread, since it seems like summer break flies by after the 4th.  Work and school start back up, and the rat race begins again.  However, not this 4th of July.  This will be the first August in five years that I'm not preparing for a new school year.  Honestly, I'm not sad about it either.  I am completely enjoying my new role of at home wife and mother.  Someday I'll want to step back into the career world.  Just not during this season of my life.

Today is a big day because it's a holiday, but also because January 4th was the last full day that Adam lived.  The six month anniversary of his death is upon us.  As this date approached, I had quite a mix of emotions.  I had a few days where the sadness was oppressive....many bad memories came back, and it was really hard.  I kept reliving those awful days at the hospital when we didn't know what was wrong with Adam.  I felt physically sick pretty much all the time.  Deep down I knew something terrible was about to happen....but I tried so hard to remain hopeful.  I remember it was Christmas day, and my nurse kept coming to my room to ask if Mark had arrived yet.  As it turned out, she was asking because a doctor was waiting at the nurses station to tell us Adam was terminally ill.  I don't know what words to use to describe that awful conversation.  It took my breath away.  We didn't tell anyone the news that day.  We figured there was no need to permanently alter Christmas day for anyone else.  For us, Christmas day will always mark the  moment we found out about Adam.  Everything happened so quickly after that....many parts are truly a blur.  Sometimes I think my mind is protecting me from feeling too much too fast.....memories are unlocked little by little.  I deal with them as they come.

And so here we are, six months have come and gone.  I choose to live my best life in honor of Adam.  There are good days, and there are bad days.  I walk to his grave site every day.  His name is still up on the wall in Luke's room, and I'm not sure when, if ever, I will take it down.  I am not afraid to talk about Adam, and I don't care if that makes people uncomfortable.  I know we are extremely blessed to have Nolan and Luke.  Losing Adam has brought Mark, Nolan, Luke and I so close that our bond is unbreakable.  We are walking a road that most will never know or understand.  I will never understand why Adam had to die so soon.  I do, however, accept our circumstances.  God is in control and has a plan.  I have faith and trust

We dedicated our day to Adam, and it was jammed packed with fun family moments.  Here are some pictures from our day!

A huge moment in a young boy's life - the first time driving something.

Outdoor swing installed!  Luke's reactions to his swing.  This is awesome!

Oh how I love my big brother, and my new swing.

Whoa......this is different from my indoor swing (as we started pushing him higher).

This had better slow down RIGHT NOW or I'm going to freak!

It was "eat with your hands" day at the Moo Town Cafe.  Fruit skewers, spinach artichoke dip with bread/chips, and 7-layer Mexican dip.  YUMMY!!!!  A chocolate eclair dessert topped off the meal.  Good eating happened in our household today :-D

Fun in the pool!

Relaxin' on a raft - love the feet reclined up out of the water!  LOL

Enjoying a meal on the deck.  Messy baby!

This is what happens when you tell a 9-year-old boy he has pretty eyes.  He made sure to cover them up with chips!?

I love my family.  We hope Adam felt our love today <3


Sunday, July 3, 2011

A younger Nolan

I posted some older pictures of Nolan, and somehow the post disappeared!  Weird!

Anyway, I was going through old pictures and found some of Nolan when he was the same age as Luke.  These are even better than the ones I originally posted, as they are the same age (Nolan was a bit older in the previous ones).  It's amazing how much they look alike!

Here is my sweet baby Nolan touching grass for the first time:

And here is Lukie touching grass for the first time.  Notice how Nolan was gently touching the grass, and Luke totally grabbed the grass (he pulled out two fistfuls of grass!). 

Some other random pictures of Nolan:


Love my boys!!  <3

Saturday, July 2, 2011

One thing leads to another...

What a week.  Hectic.  Annoying.  Exciting.  Tiring.  Frustrating.  Lonely.  We've had contractors in and out all week.  Caulking, prepping, and painting our house/barn.  Sealing our driveway.  Fixing our microwave.  Fixing our internet.  Delivering a mower.  Feeling pretty lucky that we were able to address the needs around our house.  And we are happy with the results, which is always a bonus.  This is the first time we have liked the way the exterior of our home looks.  Our trim used to be painted a very ugly orange-ish color.  It was pretty bad, but we left it alone until it needed to be repainted due to wear, not cosmetics.   

The painters were good for the most part; however, they did complicate my life a bit.  First thing...they disconnected our internet cable while up on our roof.  I wasn't mad...accidents happen.  I kindly asked them to check the satellite, as a cable had come unplugged.  Our ISP could actually see on their computer that a cable was unplugged.  However, the painters denied ever touching the satellite.  Right....a cable just happens to unplug itself while you are up on the roof beside the satellite.  So we had to wait two or three days (with no internet service) for a tech to come out from our ISP, only for him to climb up on the roof and plug in the cable the painters had unplugged.  Again, I know it was an accident - but it was frustrating that they refused to acknowledge the issue.

Also, they decided it would be a good idea to leave our front door open for hours while the paint dried.  I understand the door couldn't be closed with wet paint; however, put a tarp up or something!  The result?  Countless flies and other insects took up residence inside our house.  Our declawed house cat got outside (luckily I happened to see him outside before disaster struck).  And the best part?  At least two mice came inside. 

I didn't actually see the mice enter, but I knew something got in because our cat was diligently hunting.  He was exhibiting the same behavior as the last time there was a mouse in our house.  I tried to convince myself it was nothing.  But there was no denying it this evening when our cat and dog worked together to catch the mouse!  I walked into our living room, and saw it on the floor.  They were playing with it - it was alive, but barely.  I completely freaked out.  Mark was at work, so I called him....he knows me well enough to know I was not able to deal with the mouse, so he came home to take care of the situation.  Love him for that.  I know mice are tiny, but I am scared of them and have no desire to touch a half-dead mouse.  He informed me later when he came home the second time, another mouse had been caught and killed by our cat.  Really?  Thanks, painters.     

I've been a bit lonely this week, as my husband has been swamped at work again.  He basically has only come home to sleep (late at night) for the past three days.  I try to stay positive during these times, but it's hard with a baby around.  With all the work happening on our house, I needed to be going somewhere to get out of the house wasn't an option (I did sneak out for a much-needed walk with a mommy friend...I decided I wasn't going to be a complete hostage in my own home!).  It was exhausting and lonely.  The good news is, he's almost done and life will return to normal soon. 

Something we are excited about: we finally have our own mower.  Considering that we've lived in our home for over four years, this probably seems odd.  It is odd.  Around the time we bought our home, my husband purchased a commercial grade, gigantic mower for his business.  He decided we could share it with his parents and his business since it was such a big mower....and too expensive to buy one for everyone.  This seemed like a good idea, but it turned out to be a nightmare.  Our grass would get long and need to be mowed.  The  mower would be in use.  Then it would rain.  Or it was being serviced.  Or broken and getting fixed.  Then he would forget to bring the trailer used to haul the mower to our house.  By the time the mower arrived here, our grass would be a jungle.  Our lawn pretty much always looked terrible.

We decided it was time.  It simply wasn't working anymore (it never worked in the first place).  I decided that since we now have a mower I feel comfortable operating (I hate the zero turn mowers....we bought a tractor), I'd like to take over mowing.  Why would I ask for this task?  It'll be a break for me!  By the time Mark gets home from work, I'm so ready for a break.  When he has to mow, that becomes a day with no breaks....which isn't cool.  It'll be perfect because he'll get a chance to take care of Luke without any help/intervention from me once a week, and I'll settle into the comfy seat of our tractor, listen to my iPod, and manicure our lawn while enjoying a break from mommy land.  I'll be a John Deere drivin' girl :-)