Lets talk mommy stuff! (part 1)

 

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(A couple days after I posted this I realized that I might have forgot a few things. If you read the original post already, just scroll to the bottom to see the new tips!)

I’ve been pretty reluctant to write a post about mothering or raising little ones because I just feel like I’m still learning every day (and certainly no model mother), but it’s becoming more clear to me that the voice saying “yeah right, what sage advice could YOU really give to people? You yell all the time. You’re no mommy blogger.” is just my sense of self-doubt (it’s quite a LOUD voice, too). I’m trying more and more to ignore that voice, not just towards my blog but in all areas of my life. My first piece of advice for this post, and this really applies to everyone (not just mommies) is to recognize that voice of self-doubt in yourself and say “not today, satan!” (that was meant to be humorous, i am not religious nor do i believe in the devil). Ignore that voice that makes you feel like you’re not good enough and that you cant “do the thing”. You don’t need that negativity in your life. It serves no purpose. Try and keep trying and always do your best.

Ok…Now that I’m passed my self-doubt about this post, I find that I really do have a lot of things to say about raising little ones. I have two little girls, a 5 year old and a 3 year old, and I’m a stay-at-home-mom. Don’t let anyone tell you that stay-at-home moms are lazy or that our lives are soooo easy. When we are home all day, all the time, with our babies, it’s not easy at all. It’s a full-time 24/7 job and we don’t get breaks. We have no privacy (we cant even go to the bathroom by ourselves), we’re expected to get all the housework done (because we’re home all day), keep everyone fed and happy all while having kids UNDERNEATH OUR FEET OK??? Literally, as mommies, the babies/toddlers never leave our sides and it makes it quite difficult to get anything done at all.  But this is not what we’re talking about today. I almost went on a rant there wooo!

Here’s some advice that I would give a friend who’s becoming a new mommy. I know my advice might not be for everyone, this is just what I personally would tell a friend asking for help. Take what you want and ignore the rest. This is the first part of my mommy advice post, this ones for the infants (the next ones for the toddlers).

~For Mommies With Infants (0-1 yr)~

  • Always smile at your baby! And ignore people who say not to hold them too much. Listen to me, there is no such thing as holding your baby too much, ok? I’m being completely serious.
  • Breastfeed. It’s the best thing for your baby, not just nutritionally but for bonding. There are a lot of great reasons to breastfeed including the rush of oxytocin you receive, it helps your uterus contract and stop bleeding, it has the perfect amount of electrolytes/fat/nutrients for your baby, you save money, you will likely lose your baby weight fairly quickly. I don’t look down on mothers who use formula, but if you’re able to breastfeed, do it. And don’t give up without a fight (there are sometimes difficulties. I highly recommend Mothers Milk tea! I drank it 3 or 4 times a day because i had trouble making enough milk. Babies drink A LOT!)
  • Sing to your baby. Even if you’re just humming. Introduce music to your baby as early as possible. The are so many benefits to singing to your baby that I’m gonna go ahead and leave this really interesting article right here for you to check out. It can really teach your baby a lot, not to mention help soothe them.
  • Swaddling is really important in comforting your baby. He/she has been wrapped up tight in your nice warm womb for months! They’re going to be really disoriented out here in the open. Make sure you know how to swaddle!
  • In case of colic, here are some tips- try applying pressure to the belly by laying the baby face down on your lap with your hand under their belly and rub their back with the other hand, swaddling (of course) while rocking or light bouncing, singing, white-noise (like from a fan or even clothes dryer) soothes by reminding them of the womb, switch formulas (if you’re formula feeding), and finally gripe water! You can find gripe water in most pharmacy sections of grocery stores (or any vitamin/health food store). Its a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and herbal extracts. Many parents swear by it (as do I!) and it also helps with a bad case of hiccups or teething pain!
  • Teething is not fun for anyone. But there’s some simple solutions that I’ve found help a great deal. One thing (and this might sound strange just bear with me) is a necklace of baltic amber beads. You can make one yourself (just look for a reputable seller because it has to be real baltic amber) or buy one (look online! I recommend Etsy). The warmth from your skin activates the succinic acid in the amber and your skin absorbs that into your bloodstream. It helps with anxiety, inflammation and pain relief (and arthritis in the elderly!). It’s tried and true for me. Then of course there’s plenty of products out there for this very ailment, like frozen fruit mesh teethers, wooden teethers, dissolvable teething tablets, gripe water, etc. You can also try a frozen washcloth!
  • When you start to introduce “solid” food to your baby, try not to rely solely on jars or squeeze packets of processed baby food. I encourage you to mash up fresh fruit with a fork! Try bananas and maybe add a little bit of strawberry in there (pure strawberry might be a little sour), making applesauce is very simple, avocados are great and easy to mash, veggies can be mashed after steaming them a bit (or maybe if you have a good food processor?). Make your own baby food! Then you’ll know exactly what you’re feeding them. Feed them a rainbow of fresh produce!
  • Co-sleep with your baby. This means letting your baby sleep in bed with you or pushing their crib right up against your bed (there are also co-sleeper bed things  you can buy, they’re neat but expensive). Sleeping with your baby in bed makes the bedtime ritual much easier, if your baby starts to stir you can soothe them (or nurse them) back to sleep before they’re even fully awake, it reduces separation anxiety from not being able to see them, night-time nursing helps your milk production keep up, everyone gets a lovely, restful full nights sleep! Not to mention waking up to that smiling face 🙂
  • Always keep a spare shirt or two (just a plain black or white t-shirt) in the diaper bag for YOU. Babies spit up all the time, and sometimes it’s more than can be wiped off with a burp rag. Puking also happens sometimes and you’ll be shocked at how much can come out of such a tiny belly, you’ve been warned. Spare shirts are also great for when your breast milk leaks through your bra.
  • If you’re squeamish about getting poop on you, mommy up and get over it. Its going to get on you. It’s not a big deal. Yeah it’s gross, just wipe it/wash it and move on.
  • This might be a bit too “crunchy granola” for you, but I’ve tried cloth diapering (along with cloth wipes!) and I definitely recommend it to all mothers. On average, you’ll spend about $550 the first year on diapers alone. Not to mention the impact disposable diapers have on the environment. It’s really not hard to clean the cloth diapers, you just have to dump as much solid waste into the toilet as possible and then toss them in the washing machine (it wont coat your washer in poop, i promise!) with a bit of dawn dish soap and vinegar or some detergent with no coloring or perfume. You have to also dry them carefully, because the water-proof coating will warp and come off. There’s plenty of mommy blogs that will explain how to care for your cloth diapers. If you have any questions though, leave a comment!
  • Your babies are sensory beings, they need to touch, smell, taste EVERYTHING! So if you don’t want your baby to mess with it, make damn sure its put up high or put away. Your baby may start to pull themselves up to stand as early as 8 months, so keep a close eye on them and their environment.
  • Mommy blogs are an indispensable resource. Without their advice I imagine I would probably be very depressed and basically falling apart at the seams. Mothering is hard, and you aren’t alone. I find pinterest.com very useful for finding parenting articles on specific issues. But don’t let yourself constantly compare yourself with other mothers. Your unconditional love is good enough. You are good enough. Don’t listen to that voice of self-doubt. Talk to yourself like you’re someone you’re taking care of and trying to help. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend.
  • Journal and record all the milestones your baby makes. Sit and write about the whole birthing experience. Everything you never want to forget. Paint their feet and press them onto a pretty piece of paper. Take lots of pictures. Journaling can be very therapeutic and can help you get your thoughts in order. Flannery O’Connor said “I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
  • You should view loose change on the floor or low tables as an OUTRAGE! Pick it up immediately. Look out for anything they can fit in their mouth and put it away. Make sure you’re up to date on how to help a choking baby. It’s also important to know the difference between choking and gagging. If the baby is coughing hard or crying, they can probably get the blockage out themselves. If they’re choking they can’t make a loud cry. There’s a great youtube channel to help you learn first aid for your baby (including minor cuts, first allergic reactions, eye injuries, seizures, etc.) called “CPR Kids TV”. Here’s the video for helping a choking baby.
  • Always always always take the diaper bag with you!! Even if you don’t expect to be out for more than 30 minutes. Grab. The. Diaper. Bag. And make sure you’ve got a baby blanket in there in case you’re like me and like to be covered up for nursing. (I’m not telling you that you should cover yourself, please don’t freak out on me! You do what you’re comfortable with.)

I really hope this was helpful in any way. ❤

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the snowman

There is currently a video going viral of my brother in law shoveling snow in nothing but swim trunks. As of now it has over 12,000 views and counting.

 

I know, it’s kind of hilarious, but hear me out. Before you start making comments accusing him of doing meth, I want to share something very important and very interesting.

My brother in law, Devon, is practicing something called the Wim Hof method. Wim Hof is a guy from the Netherlands, and if you’d like to skip this whole blog post and just watch the vice documentary on him, that would be just as well. Its only 40 minutes long, and I kid you not, it could transform your life. Watch it.

 

So, to over-simplify things a bit, because it is very late (I decided this needed to be posted immediately), this man (Wim Hof) has turned a tragic situation into a discovery that has Harvard changing their texts books. He’s proven through numerous tests  that you can control your autonomic system (adrenaline, hormone and immune systems), just through a breathing technique and cold shock therapy. The breathing technique also regulates his core body temperature, enabling him to climb enormous mountains in nothing but shorts. Scientists have also injected him with toxins that would, on an untrained individual, make you very ill for a short time. But using the breathing technique he was completely unphased by it! They did the same thing to a dozen of his students, and they all resisted the toxins just the same. If you’re really interested in the science behind all of this, he did an interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick that is really great. I’ll just make this one a link though, because it’s almost an hour long (but don’t let that discourage you!)

What’s even better about all of this, is that he’s not just a “freak of nature”. Anyone can do the Wim Hof method with full success. He does week long courses, teaching people how to do it. Then at the end of the week, he takes them all up to the top of a mountain, all wearing almost nothing. Obviously you don’t have to fly to Poland to learn the Wim Hof method, but it would be a pretty great story to tell 😉

The benefits of this technique, the breathing as well as the cold therapy, are simply amazing. It can heal wounds and disease, help shed weight rapidly, relieve or eliminate anxiety and depression, increase your energy and overall sense of well-being, and the list just keeps going.

My husband has also been practicing the Wim Hof method for months now, and it has changed his life. If you have any questions, we would LOVE to hear them!

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The little speck way out there in the water is my husband plunging in a lake in December

 

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daydreams of spring

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for spring.

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I’m getting really geared up about growing some fruits and veggies and herbs, even though every time I’ve tried to keep a plant alive or even start seeds it fails horribly and I don’t know why. I just keep trying anyways because I just really really want to garden. I’ll get it one day.

We’re a bit pressed for space, but that actually kind of excites me because I kind of have no choice but to do vertical and container gardening. I love it. Here’s some projects I’m daydreaming about:

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I think I’ll just use my chain-link fence for this

If I feel like getting crazy, I’d really love a small raised bed

Another thing I really need to do is make a compost bin. Not just for my garden, but I’m really trying to reduce our waste production as much as possible. I’m constantly pulling stuff out of the trash (off of the top) and putting it in the recycling bin hahahaha!

Don’t even get me started about fairy gardens…

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This is going to be so much fun to do with my little ones!

Thank you for reading!

 

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Hello again

Hello, dears. I am back, it appears, with some new ideas.

Mainly I’m just going to blog about the things that I”m doing (because I’m always doing something) and not really worrying about being so likeable that i could potentially make money blogging. It’s too much pressure for me, and my life is currently too chaotic to put as much work as I’d like to into my content, so, it is what it is.

And I’m ok with that.

Well, I imagine this blog will be filled with arts and crafts type things, as well as healthy eating, cool stuff i come across, and recipes. I seem to rotate what craft peaks my interests; for two weeks all I’ll want to do is sew, then the next week I’m absorbed in my art journal, the next two weeks will be smoothies and yoga, etc etc etc.

Currently I’m starting a cookbook. Mostly I just want to pass down something awesome and personal to my girls. Something useful. I’ve got a rough draft going in a black spiral notebook.

(you’ll notice that i draw faces on everything)

 

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I thought “how can I make this belly happier?” and it was obvious: a flower crown. Brilliant.

Thanks for reading, and I hope my blog keeps being enjoyable for you 🙂

until next time

be good to yourselves

 

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Personal Traditions

personal traditions

If you’re anything like me, you like to follow traditions in an intentionally unconventional way. We (my husband and i.. and my parents for that matter) feel like holidays are forced and just more stressful than relaxing and happy! Why should we eat a turkey for thanksgiving (especially if we can’t afford it for whatever reason)? Why not pizza?

We feel like widely celebrated holidays and traditions are only traditional to us because that’s just what we’ve been raised doing. So it makes it all a bit pointless. So why not make our own traditions? Or at least spice up the standard Hallmarky ones?

Can i make a special request while i have your attention? Valentines day. Can we just… STOP THAT FOREVER?

Traditions are great if you’re hopelessly sentimental like me, but they should actually MEAN something to you! You, personally. As in: Create Your Own Traditions!!! It’s so much more rewarding and fulfilling!

For example:When i was a child, i started my own tradition of watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon version) every Christmas Eve night, and also making a tent in my room and sleeping in it (same night). I don’t do the tent thing anymore, though maybe i should, but i do still always watch that movie on Christmas Eve. This will be a fun tradition to share with my children!

Another example: I put paint on the bottom of my daughters feet every birthday and print them down on paper and frame it.

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I also sew them a plushy every birthday (until they no longer like plushies anymore).

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Yes.. All by hand. I wanted them to be as personal as possible (in hopes that, being their first birthday present, they’ll keep them forever)!

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The left one is Autumns and the right, Elsies. I wanted the fabric to be super colorful and stimulating for their 1 year old brains.  The backs have different fabric too! (and a special secret which you’ll see later)

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Then of course, Autumn is 2, so she has two plushies! Meet Lula. She’s kind of the favorite.

i have embroidery on my butt

Like i said, i wanted them to be super special so i embroidered the butts, haha

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Then we’ve got our little tradition of the first birthday cake. Its special because its not a cake, it’s a pie. A raw food pie from the cookbook of one of our favorite singer/songwriters Jonsi (of Sigur Ros). You can find the cookbook here (its free! but it might not work on mobile? you have to flip the pages..) The wonderful thing about raw food is that since the ingredients aren’t cooked, the food retains all of its nutrients! And none of the recipes in the cookbook use refined sugars, only agave or honey! But it is so sweet and rich. Almost too rich! But goodness it’s delicious! I implore you to try it.

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Elsie(the top one is Autumn, bottom ones Elsie)

So how about it? Do you have any personal traditions or holidays?

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Gifts for Introverts

Not sure what to get for the introvert in your life? Put down those tickets to Disneyworld, and consider this list.

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Knowing what the introvert in questions enjoys doing when they’re alone is important. Do they like to read, draw, cook, listen to music, do yoga? It’s ok if you have no idea, but knowing what a persons hobbies are is obviously the best place to start when getting a gift for anyone.

1.) Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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They don’t necessarily have to be noise-cancelling, but if you can afford it i highly recommend it. Bose has some extraordinary quality headphones and earbuds, but i personally like the Beats brand for the design and all the different colors (plus they’re a little cheaper than Bose). Headphones are a godsend to introverts and people suffering from general anxiety disorder.

or, for the child introvert in your life, these are wireless and come in a variety of colors!

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2.) Books

Let me first say that not all introverts are bookworms. Plenty of extroverts enjoy reading just as much as anyone. This is another one of those where you kind of need to know what that person is into (so i cant help you there), BUT here’s a few books that celebrate the elusive introvert.

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If your introvert does in fact love books, a giftcard to a bookstore is an excellent present. I highly recommend the online store Better World Books. The money you spend there goes to literacy programs in Africa, and shipping is FREE. (and they have gift certificates!)
E-readers are also great options for book-lovers.
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3.) Journals

Journals are great for people who have a lot going on in their heads that they’re keeping inside. Be sure to throw in some nice pens! -wink-
You can’t go wrong with a nice moleskin
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There’s also hundreds of pages of gorgeous leather journals on Etsy.com. They come in a variety of colors, sizes and some are surprisingly cheap (and customizable!)
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or, for the more environmentally friendly  introvert, there’s 100% recycled material journals

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4.) Tea (or tea accessories)

I’ve always thought of tea as a somewhat introspective and even intellectual drink. It’s so customizable to your needs and tastes; it can pick you up or relax you or just plain taste amazing. It’s a great way to promote a sense of well-being.

If your introvert doesn’t own a tea kettle, that might be a good place to start. You’ll also want to look into tea strainers for loose leaf tea. This awesome Ikea teapot has a strainer built in!

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There’s also a decent amount of cute novelty tea infusers out there Babushka-in-Cup-e1395730356118

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yes that is a tardis and yes im hyperventilating

5.) If you know that the introvert is creative, Keri Smith has a really cool set of books made for exercising your creative muscles.

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6.) (This one is sort of a joke, but) The Ostrich Pillow.

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Yes. This is a real thing that people are actually using in public. It blocks out most noise and covers your eyes, leaving a space for easy breathing. It’s just ironic because it screams “LOOK AT ME!’ and also “LEAVE ME ALONE!’. 

So what do you think? Would you wear this for on-the-go napping?

I hope you enjoyed this post! There will be more like these to come, so look out for that between now and Christmas. Let me know in the comments if you thought i forgot anything!!
 

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Hello, November!

Now that Halloween is passed us, we’re onto the next month of crafts and projects. October is my favorite month of the year, but honestly it makes me kind of anxious because i want to make the most of it AND THEN SOME. I put October waaaay high up on this pedestal, so it’s inevitably never the way i want it to turn out. But I try my best, and that’s plenty good enough for me.

This month holds my youngest’s birthday (shes turning 1!) and of course Thanksgiving. I’ve started my own tradition of sewing up a special plushy for my girls every birthday (until they no longer like plushies), and I’ve chosen an owl plushy for Elsie’s first. I’m also planning on making her some warm, comfy baby booties. I really love sewing, from upcycling old clothes to making pillows and plushies. I’m starting to seriously run out of places to store my fabric scraps!

Speaking of sewing, since the bitter cold is setting in here I’ve decided that my wardrobe needs some over-sized infinity scarves and cute hats. I dont know how to crochet or knit, but learning how to finger-knit is on my November to-do list for sure. I’m pretty sure i need (to make) this hat.
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Then of course we’ve got Thanksgiving coming up, a great opportunity for trying new recipes. I’ve got my eye on this Cranberry Blueberry Sauce from http://www.averiecooks.com/
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What’s on your November to-do list?

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