Still Stunned

Having a baby still stuns me.
Mostly when I look in the mirror while holding her.
And her little face is just grinning away.
She’s grinning at herself of course.
And maybe her second momma reflecting back at her too.
The momma holding her is still amazed that’s she’s here.
Out of 24 eggs, she’s the only one that made it.
She’s the only one.

Making babies is miraculous no matter which way it happens. Conceiving without the aid of modern medicine has a 25% chance every month for healthy fertile couples. Conceiving via IVF renders a 40-45% chance for couples in their late 20s, early 30s.

Either way, there’s still a huge chance that pregnancy won’t happen.

I still remember the doctor telling me after the transfer of our one embryo, after he’d sandwiched it in between what he called the peanut butter layers, that what happens next they don’t know. They don’t know what happens between transfer and implantation.

They (the medical community) don’t know.

So I went with a miracle. A miracle happens.

A miracle.

And then we saw her little heartbeat fluttering away at the 7 week ultrasound. We saw it again at 9 weeks.

And heard her whoosh-whoosh at 12 weeks.

A miracle for sure.

 

This girl

She practiced standing up all weekend. And blessedly slept through the night with one 1am wakeup.

Growing is hard work.

Auntie Jenn’s visit was a blast. Little miss loved having someone else to practice standing with and giggle with all day long.

She loved the ferry ride. From inside the car.

And this morning she got to tell all her daycare friends about her weekend.

Meanwhile, I managed to finish The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. Can’t recommend this one enough. With all the late night/early morning feedings lately, I’ve been able to do more reading than I expected. I’m now on the third book of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy.

Nothing like following up lit fiction with genre fiction. It’s all about balance.

Collage of life

I think I posted about the Project Life app on Instagram a while back. I’d never even heard of the app until Emily Ley posted about the app on Instagram. Then I found out Becky Higgins has this whole shop devoted to amazing scrapbooking collections.

I’m really glad they came out with the app though. I have no space to physically scrapbook anymore so it would have killed me to not purchase any of her collections.

To say scrapbooking on my iPhone is easy is an understatement. I love how these have turned out. I love them so much I applied to be on the Project Life Creative Team for next year. Crossing all fingers and toes!

And I just realized I sent in a sample with my application with a typo on it! There goes my chance. Grrrrr.

The sickness

Beginning with the first day of school, we’ve been battling sickness.

Little miss seems to just get over something to start up with something else.

I’ve been blowing my nose for over a month now.

She’s back in the swing at night to sleep. Poor babe is congested. Again.

It just keeps cycling through our classrooms and daycare.

But you wouldn’t know it from this picture. Love.

Lovely sky

I’m continuously reminded how blessed I am to live in such a gorgeous part of the country. We’re expecting a big storm this weekend so these fantastic clouds rolled in early. Can’t wait for fall to kick off finally!

In other news, little miss is going to be seven months old in a week! I almost can’t believe it. Where has the time gone? She’s crawling like a speed demon these days. The girl barely sits still unless she’s super tired. I foresee many activities and sports in her future.

She’s attempting a few foods but sometimes can’t be bothered. So far applesauce is tolerated and rice cereal is ok. Avocado is a no-go at this point but she mowed through a quarter of a small frozen peach this morning. I’m hoping to try pumpkin in a few days. Any other suggestions for a brand new eater?

Painting My Face

I’ve loved makeup for as long as I can remember.
I used to dig into my mom’s Amway stash when I was little (remember Amway makeup? Anyone? Blue compacts??)
I’d ask for the peel-off nail polish for my birthday, Barbie makeup kits for Christmas.
I begged and begged to be allowed to wear makeup in middle school.
Finally, in seventh grade, I was allowed clear mascara (whoot!) and green eyeliner. Because, you know, green accents brown eyes.

I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Then in high school I was allowed a translucent face powder compact, a little more eye makeup, and brown mascara (never mind that my eyelashes have been black since birth- brown wasn’t as harsh apparently.)

Once I hit the pageant circuit my sophomore year, I entered into a whole new arena of makeup. Pancake foundation, thick liner, lipstick with liner, black mascara, brow pencils, concealer. I learned so many tricks and tips to really accentuating my eyes and lips for the stage. I managed to figure how to wear my makeup in the real world using those tips and tricks but with a lighter hand. I’d easily spend 30-40 minutes just making up my face for a regular day, never mind a competition. Every shadow was blended, every line smooth. If not, I’d wipe it off and start over.

Oh my. How things have changed.

With a baby, I barely have two minutes to myself, let alone 30 to make myself up.

I had sort of resigned myself to being sans makeup until little miss goes to kindergarten. And some days being sans makeup is ok. Makeup free days are liberating actually.

But then there are days I want to feel just a little more polished. A little less like I’m carrying all the baggage in the world under my eyes (seriously, how do I get this twitch under my eye covered up??) But my routine has to be fast and practiced. I don’t have time to mess around with multiple steps.

Brow shadow, concealer, mascara, and tinted moisturizer. Those are must-haves for my basic face. When I’m feeling fancy and reckless, I opt to smudge on one or two of Maybelline’s Eye Studio Color Tattoo colors. Check this out:

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This is pink, obviously.  Smudged into my crease, I actually look halfway alive.  With Barely Branded on my lid and on my brow bone, my eyes are done for a daytime look. I can brush in a little dark gray (MAC Print is my fave) into my crease for a little drama (if I have the time which is almost never.)

I love these little pots.  The colors really do stay on for 24 hours and NO creasing whatsoever.  This is huge because at $5.99 a pot, I can stock up to my heart’s content.  My eyelids tend to crease very easily with regular shadow.  I can layer shadows over these and the color just stays and stays. I’d compare these to MAC’s paints and say these are better ONLY because of the price (I heart MAC but at $15+ per tiny tube, I buy on very rare occasions and use very sparingly.) Maybelline’s Color Tattoo products are very comparable in texture and staying power.

And this tired teacher definitely needs inexpensive, quick applying, long lasting makeup.

**Maybelline and MAC Cosmetics have no idea who I am.  All opinions stated and products reviewed are my own and no one compensated me for anything. 

Why I Stopped Following Fitness Blogs

Every time I go to the grocery store, I’m constantly looking for the best deal. Asparagus is $6 a bunch? Not the best deal. Spaghetti squash is $.49/lb? Best deal. Bananas are $.59/lb? Best deal.

Then I go online to find a new top or pair of pants and the comparison shopping continues. The Gap has a coupon but JCrew has my favorite. I get a teacher discount with JCrew but only in person or over the phone (I loathe ordering anything over the phone.) Carter’s is having a blowout doorbuster sale – better stock up on onesies for little miss. Pottery Barn Kids still doesn’t have that organizer on sale – keep waiting.

When I was pregnant, I used to compare myself to other pregnant women via social media.

Oh she’s 16 weeks too? But she’s not showing like I am. It must be fat in my belly.

Wow, look at her at 22 weeks. Barely a basketball. Mine could go through a hoop right now.

35 weeks? Really? I can hardly tell. But I am already being asked daily when I’m going to pop.

For the last six months, I’ve compared myself to other post-partum moms. Again with the belly. Hers is flatter or bigger or still there – unlike or just like mine.

The fitness IG accounts are the worst, in my opinion, for deflating a new mom, along with blogs of women that have two or three kids in tow as they do yoga on the beach, run around the block several thousand times, and/or work out in their driveways. I find myself constantly down about not being the active fit mom. For not being up at 4:30am to go to the gym every morning like I used to last year. For not having flat abs once again. For letting my thigh muscles wane.  For having jiggle where there wasn’t before.  For weighing less than I did pre-pregnancy but my clothes still don’t fit right. For having breasts that feed and don’t fit into a sports bra comfortably. For not picking up the five pound weights in between little miss’ wakefulness and working my biceps. And definitely for not having that flat belly back by the six week post partum mark.

At six months I should definitely have made some kind of progress in the fitness department. I mean come on! What else do I have to do all day long when I’m not working at school?

Never mind that little miss is back to waking every two hours at night. Never mind that breastfeeding is still working so I’m her midnight (and 2am and 4am) food source. Never mind that she’s not napping again so I’m trying to get her down by nursing, putting her in the swing, laying her in her crib, taking a car ride, wearing her in the Ergo pack, laying down with her. All in the same day. Never mind that there are loads of laundry to do, dinner to maybe think about never mind fix, vacuuming to be done, animals to take care of, and beds to be remade.

But I don’t have time to sit here and feel bad about myself for not looking like a fitness model or not doing burpees while little miss naps. She doesn’t nap, burps hurt my wrists, and I never looked like a fitness model anyway.

The Test

Little miss has her first cold. Boo. Some say we’re lucky she’s older than their babies when they had their first. All I know is she sounds terrible and I hate that she’s feels poorly.

So I’m putting my essential oils to the test. With infants, because essential oils are SO potent, it’s important to dilute with a carrier oil. I’m still using almond oil. I used 3/4 full dropper of oil plus one drop of lavender and one drop of Breathe blend (think super strong Vicks rub). Then I massaged it into little Miss’ skin after her bath, concentrating on her chest area.

I’ll repeat in the morning. But I can tell I’m already breathing better so I’m hopeful she’ll be breathing better soon too.

The Business of Oil

I don’t know if it’s the Washington air or my getting older but I find myself trying to approach some things in life more naturally.  Like my health.  (Never mind the three bags of Cheeto Puffs I inhaled while in California during the quilt retreat last weekend – what happens at quilt retreat, stays at quilt retreat.)

Occasional junk food aside, I do like trying to find natural alternatives to everyday chemical products.  Except toilet cleaner.  Have you ever tried to use an all-natural toilet cleaner?  If you have well water or hard water, you can almost forget about your toilet ever being sparkling again without bleach.  Thankfully, Lysol makes a cleaner that is septic-safe.  And it kills the stains. I like a clean toilet so I don’t mind the chemicals there.

But I do sometimes mind all the pain killers, allergy pills, and other medications.  I used to get excruciating migraines ten years ago.  Only a prescription medication would dull the pain.  I don’t have anything against prescriptions when they’re absolutely needed.  I get it.  I’m on a daily thyroid medication.  But when I just have a dull ache in my temple or my lower back is stiff from sitting on the floor, I don’t always want to be popping a pill to get rid of the pain.  And that’s when I started researching essential oils.

I won’t overwhelm you with what I found because there is SO much information about oils out there.  But I will tell you what I love about them.  They’re plant based and have no chemicals.  While oil remedies might take more frequent and longer doses (as most natural remedies do), the outcome is the same as their chemical counterparts.  I love a dab of lavender on my temples when I’m feeling stressed.  I used to use peppermint for my sinuses and plan to use it again once I’m done breastfeeding (peppermint decreases milk production and I’m all about boosting it right now.) Fennel is great for boosting milk production though.  Eucalyptus and Oregano are alternatives to peppermint for sinus issues. Breathe is an oil blend by DoTerra that is a mix of several fantastic oils like peppermint and tea tree to really clear up those sinuses. Deep Blue can be found on the same page as Breathe and it’s another awesome oil to mix with carrier oil and rubbed directly onto the lower back (my biggest problem area in terms of soreness, especially as little miss grows!)

Some oils can be ingested and some are better used topically.  I personally like to put a couple drops on the soles of my feet straight, without a carrier oil.  And carrier oil is just a plant based oil that allows oils (even hot ones) to be placed on the body if you have sensitivities or you are putting them on young children.  Some people use fractionated coconut oil (some fats have been removed so that the oil stays in a liquified state) and some use almond oil.  I’m using almond oil right now because that’s what I have in my house and it’s what I use on little miss after her baths.

Speaking of little miss, I use a couple drops of lavender in her bath at night.  A couple is all that’s needed because essential oils are so strong.  A 5mL bottle will last quite a while even when using it every day.

I also have a diffuser for my classroom that I’m excited to try out with the On Guard blend from DoTerra.  Every year without fail, my classroom becomes an incubator for germs (what classroom doesn’t?) No matter how often I sanitize desks and door handles, the crud gets passed around multiple times a year.  I’m planning to diffuse On Guard every day to protect not only me and my family but my students as well.  I’m hopeful that there will be fewer absences this year.

Do you use essential oils? Which ones do you find most beneficial?

Almost all the oils I mentioned are in the Family Physician Kit (click here and use the search bar to find the oils (including the fractionated coconut oil) you’re looking for.)  Fennel and Eucalyptus are single oils and they can be found here

All opinions stated are my own. As a Wellness Advocate for DoTerra, if you purchase anything through my retail site, I will earn a commission.

Baking Math

It’s been a weekend of experimentation.

The Mister’s birthday is today. And he loves German chocolate cake. More specifically, he loves my sister-in-law’s German chocolate cake. Since she lives 1000 miles down in CA, we had a problem.

Fortunately, I knew which cake recipe she uses (or used to – I don’t know if that’s changed). It’s straight off the Hershey’s cocoa powder tin. I love that it’s a chocolate cake and not a true German chocolate cake because German chocolate cake never tastes chocolatey-enough for me.

But the frosting. I didn’t know her recipe for the frosting. But lucky for me she shared her grandma’s recipe.

Here’s where the math comes in. The Mister emphatically told me more than once he didn’t want a whole cake. Because then, you know, we’d eat the whole darn thing. He said cupcakes would be best. So I took both recipes, cake and frosting, and divided by the lowest common denominator. That turned out to be 4. Which still made about 8-ish cupcakes. And more than enough frosting.

Here’s where I should show you a picture of the finished cupcakes with their coconutty pecan-filled toppings.

::crickets::

Yah. They’re gone. All gone. And I’m told they were delicious.