kids

There’s Really No Manual On “How To Be A Parent”

In the past month we’ve been to enough doctor’s appointments, hospitals, follow-ups and pharmacies that I honestly found myself saying “It’s still September?”. Finally getting through what seemed like all of the sickness and my son comes home with the nastiest green snot and horrendous diapers you could possibly imagine. Ladies and gentlemen we have a virus! As well as the start of an ear infection from all of the slime in his head. The doctor’s words, “be prepared, because siblings are likely to share sickness…” made me want to break down right there. I had just spent nearly six weeks wiping boogers, butts and being up all night with coughing fits and congestion. The last thing I wanted was to start it all over again.

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Like most moms would, I found myself stressed and over-thinking. Trying to sanitize and clean everything. Trying to not be that wife who calls and cries to her husband saying “I just need a break”. Unfortunately, my husband has also been having energy and sleep issues, unrelated to having insane children; paired with my postpartum hormones, a new birth control and sick babies… a cozy home would more likely be found under a rock.

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My saving grace? Wine and chocolate. Just kidding. I wish. It’s been prayer, aromatherapy and coffee. It’s in realizing that it’s not that bad and in reality, my day could be so much worse. We have a roof over our sick and achy bodies. We have food (that we may or may not be able to taste) that nurtures our over-worked and exhausted systems. We have heat, cool air, clean running water and clean clothes and blankets. We are loved by each other, no matter how irritable and impatient we may be. My essential oils may not be miracle medicine, but good heavens how they can lift your spirits. Diffusing a spice-blend Thieves, or a calming Lavender and Peppermint, or even just rubbing it on aching bodies and heads and inhaling deeply can be just enough to take the edge off. Spurting out a quick thank you Lord for giving me patience when the kids take turns having fits, the dogs knock them over or make them cry or whatever the next meltdown reason is. Taking a second to realize that I have a husband who, though tired and depleted and working, comes home and helps me take care of all of us, doesn’t complain and really doesn’t ask for much, puts the situation into perspective.

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Becoming a parent changes everything you thought you knew about life. Some days you have to dig down deep and find all of that strength you’ve been questioning because you don’t have that someone  to reassure you that it’s there. Some days you may need to break down and let it out, but you’ve got to pick yourself up and figure out a way to get through it. I will admit, I am always complaining about my house. I feel like it’s never clean enough, and you know what? It probably won’t be until my kids are school-aged, and by then we may still have babies making messes! I need to work on it, to find what works and do what I can to make myself satisfied with it.

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Above, is how I make dinner most nights… with a toddler attached to my legs.

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And, trying to clean while Jaxon’s awake usually means something else will inevitably be just as messy, somewhere else in the house.

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Grocery shopping can be awesome, if they’re napping.

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But days like this are my favorite… when they’re sweet, playing and being the amazing little gems they can be.

You know what gets me though? I read an article the other day (because I seem to always be reading some article about how to make my life better, or how to pep-talk myself, or parenting tips and what-have-you) that made me realize something:

  • If you’re always complaining about your life, griping to your spouse, worrying about getting things perfect and ultimately setting an overwhelmed tone for your family, you will never be happy. Your spouse will start to feel helpless and may resent you, your standards will never be met because you hold them on an unrealistic pedestal - side note, we all know the best cleaning you will ever do, is always the hour before someone’s to arrive, right? Nobody’s house is really as perfect all the time, as it looks when you arrive - and your children will ultimately think that it is okay to be negative, stressed, ungrateful and act just as you do when such situations arise.

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I’ve been trying to be more positive. Trying to not complain. Trying to be happy and find the positives in things. Someone once made the comment to me “Oh you’re just now starting dinner? You know you won’t be eating til midnight…” and though they truly meant it as a joke, it made me realize that nobody knows what goes on in your house except the people in it. Everyone has an idea and a plan for their days and their lives and some families have kids who stay up until ten-eleven even eleven thirty at night and that’s what works for them. Some families have that story-book kind of family where they actually do eat at six, bathe at seven and kids are down by eight. Our house? We often don’t eat til eight and kids go down when they’re tired. Truthfully, evenings are not my thing. Well, mornings aren’t my thing either but that’s because evenings are supposed to be for sleeping and with two kids under two, they’re just not. These are what I’m going to say are the beautifully rough years. Things will rarely go as planned, days with any type of timeline may go askew but you will never get these years back. They are only babies once, and with two under two, you’ve got to do twice the lovin’ that you would have to do with one. And that’s what I have to remember… No matter what time they get up, they nap, they eat, they go to bed, you have to try to make the most out of every day because you won’t get these years back.

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I know I’ll look back on these days and miss these adorable faces and remember only the good times (and maybe some of the absolutely terrible times, too). Everyone needs a reminder that it’s okay to do your own thing, because as we’ve all found out… that’s really the only thing that works anyway. It’s okay if you sit down for dinner at 8 o’clock, it’s okay if they’re up til midnight, it’s okay if your house looks well lived in, it’s okay if you cry. Being a parent isn’t easy, but you’ve got to remember why you’re doing it and know that when you raise that amazing young woman and respectable young man, these long days and nights were so worth it.

It’s about having a strong marriage

I’ve been having one hell of a month. If you’ve seen any of my previous posts from the past few weeks you’d know that both kids have been sick and has been rough. Two weeks ago on a Sunday, I ended up calling my husband home from work so that I could take little miss Abigial (and myself, since I was worn down) into the emergency room. She’d been coughing, congested, irritable, had as slight fever and just didn’t seem to be getting better. After five long hours, we were discharged with a diagnosis of RSV and a questionable blood and urine report, and bronchitis and an ear infection for myself. That following morning (Monday), I took Abigail in to her pediatrician for her follow up appointment from the night before. Tuesday, I took Jaxon in for his follow up from the week before. Wednesday, I took Abigail in – again – for another follow up to see that she was progressing. That evening, Abigail went nine hours in a dry diaper and was put on a feeding of pedialyte to hydrate her. Thursday, I went to an ENT and ended up on antibiotics for a sinus infection. That evening, Abigail went another four hours with a dry diaper. Friday, Abigail and I went in again to address her dehydration and a continuous cough. From there, we were admitted to a hospital for fluids and a regimen of breathing treatments with albuterol and atrovent for her airways. Saturday afternoon we were discharged and had a full 36 hours before we had to see another doctor. Following Monday, we went into her pediatrician for her follow up from the hospital visit, and she’s finally looking better.

Come home from the doctor’s, drop off Abigail, go get groceries and necessities for Josh and Jaxon to travel the 18+ hour drive to Iowa. Josh’s sister had her wedding that weekend and it was supposed to be our family trip to see his side of the family, the first time in nearly two years, and have them meet the kids. I spent all of Monday afternoon packing and cleaning and making sure I had everything for them. Tuesday, we woke up, Josh changed the oil in the car and I packed them a cooler full of food and a duffel bag full of snacks. They left at 12:30p Tuesday and with many stops in between, arrived Wednesday evening at 10:30p. I’d say that’s not too bad for driving 1,100 miles with a 16 month old.

I spent Tuesday evening with a friend… the first ‘girl time’ I’ve had in quite a while. Spent the entirety of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday watching Netflix and snacking and wound up having an emotional breakdown. Being overly busy and having such an emotional past two weeks… and then just, stopping and sitting and focusing on a whole world of characters that don’t exist for three days. It kind of makes you lose your mind. Not to mention that this is the first time I’ve gone more than 48 hours without my little man and as much fun as I know he’s having, I miss that stinker and wish he was home with me. Today, I picked myself up, cleaned a good majority of my house, did laundry, cooked and baked and feel like I actually accomplished more than beating myself up.

It’s not all easy… actually, life shouldn’t be just “easy”. It means there’s nothing you’re pushing for. I’ve always been told that “if you don’t have an emotional reaction to something, it means you just don’t care”, and you need to care. About anything you can. The only way I made it through these past three weeks was because of my amazing husband. The fact that he was able to come home from work to allow us to go to the hospital, to stay home with us while we were sick, to take care of our little man on their trip and to reassure me that I am, in fact, doing a great job as a mom and a wife… makes all those mountains into mole-hills. What’s more, the fact that he told me I needed to pray, to trust God and to remember how blessed we are humbles me and brings me to light that He ultimately always has a plan; part of that plan was giving me a life partner who is my support, reassurance and my compass pointing me to Him in my lowest moments.

When people hear that I’m a military wife, or know that my husband is special forces, they offer me compliment saying “You are a strong woman”, or “it’s hard, you’ve got to be so strong to be his wife”. I used to think “yeah, it is hard and I am going to have to be strong forever”… but talking to Josh last night – rather, listening, since I was sobbing my eyes out – made me realize it takes a strong couple, not a strong person. Not only a strong couple, but a strong marriage and one founded in Christ to really pull through tough times. Apart or together, you need God and you need each other. In my opinion, the greatest marriage counseling you can get, is sitting down with your spouse and a Bible, being open, honest and considerate and building your relationship on the Prince of Peace.

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Jaxon Wyatt Barker: a birth story and cesarean section experience

Sitting down to write this post, I initially gave myself an hour and the topic of gluten-free dairy-free… However, running to get a tissue three times to stop a monstrous sneeze from covering everything in front of me with snot, changing a sick little princess with a blowout diaper (like, four days of not pooing all in one tiny diaper) and having my chest covered in spit up, snot and who knows what other fluids post-nursing makes me not want to write about food. At all.

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So, I’m writing about Jaxon, instead. When I got pregnant I was one of those women who did NOT want to read the millions of various baby “how to” books, much less that bible-sized book famously named What to Expect when You’re Expecting. I wanted to buy it solely so I could throw it at anyone who tried to tell me I needed to read it. I wanted a natural vaginal birth and was going to breastfeed, end of story. If I had questions, I Googled it or called my mom and mother in law. My lovely husband, however, wanted books. Daddy books. So, I got them for him and I must say he was amazing throughout the pregnancy. He even got sympathy pains, which… I hated. I was the one growing a child and I hated that he got moody, emotional, body aches and cravings. It wasn’t fair! But, as most of my role models and friends with kids said to me, it just meant he was really invested and cared – and considering that perspective, I became thankful and grudgingly excited. It wasn’t that I wasn’t excited, I think I was overwhelmed with moving to a new place (we found out we were pregnant three weeks after moving into our new house 2,800 miles from my home of 19 years) and it didn’t seem real that I was going to be a mom.

All that being said, I was not the one who did the baby registry. I was not the one who picked out nursery items. I was not the one who thought of things such as diaper brand or types of clothing and such. My husband did. I must disclose that Jaxon was a planned baby and I did want to have a baby with Josh, but I was 19 at the time and truthfully hadn’t planned on having kids until I was 25 or 27 or even later. It happened fast. I was thrilled to be pregnant and I don’t regret it at all, but at the time it just didn’t seem real.

I enjoyed my pregnancy. Though I was crazy emotional and hungry all the time, I had a good pregnancy. When I was about four months into my pregnancy I started working as a swim and water aerobics instructor, which I did back in WA. It kept me busy, in shape and making some extra spending money. We had just gotten a second dog, Bella – a chow and husky mix -, from a shelter as a companion for Gustav and I absolutely felt like I already had two kids with them running around. If you want to have kids someday, get a dog first. It definitely prepared me, especially doing dog-training with them; it’s amazing how many training rules apply to raising kids, such as following through on consequences, saying things once and enforcing that they listen to the one command and showing that you are the head of the household and set the rules. It’s crazy, so seriously… if you want to have kids, get a dog first.

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Josh and I visited his family in Iowa for the holidays and we visited mine in Washington in my third trimester. Little did I know that a week after returning from our trip to visit my family, I’d be in labor and having my baby just over four weeks early. In my second trimester, I had been put on light-rest per doctors due to being “too active” teaching classes and being sent to the hospital with contractions, dehydration and irregular pain.  At a month before my due date, May 2nd, I went to work as usual and did my paperwork to wrap up the session’s classes and proceeded to go home, change and head out to our first Labor & Delivery: Birth Class. It was awesome. The whole 90 minutes was entertaining, informative and straight-forward. The instructor closed out with to “get things going, go home and get some going.” So, we did.

I rolled over at 2am with light contractions and drank water, figuring I was dehydrated again. I woke up every twenty minutes with a contraction until 5am, when they became stronger and ten minutes apart. Chug more water. 530am and they’re five minutes apart, so I get up and call Labor & Delivery at my hospital and she suggests that because I’m only 35w+5d, I’m probably just in false labor, but maybe to come in and be checked anyway. I make myself some tea and diddle around on the computer for half an hour, knowing Josh doesn’t have to be up until 6am. Once I heard his alarm go off, I go into the bedroom and say “So… I called L&D and they think I should come in to be checked… I’ve been having contractions for a few hours.” With wide, sleepy and slow-processing eyes, he says “Okay, well… I’ll text in and tell them I have to take you to the hospital. Do we need to leave right now? Or…” And I told him no rush, it’s not too bad and I’ll probably just be put on bedrest. He says “Okay, let’s eat breakfast and then we can go. Why don’t you pack a bag? Just in case.” So, I do.

We left the house around 7am and by that point my contractions were a little less than five minutes apart and fist-making painful. We get into the hospital and after being admitted and being told my contractions weren’t “that bad” per the monitor, they gave me a pitcher of water and told me they’d check again in two hours. 10am, and I finally see a doctor. She does a cervical exam and with a surprised look on her face she says, “well, you’re 5cm dilated… and definitely in labor.” By 11am, I was just about 7cm and the doctor says “All right, are you ready?” Unfortunately, sweet little unborn Jaxon was not in a safe position to be born vaginally and I ended up signing a consent for a cesarean-section. It still hadn’t hit me. Josh was standing next to me a mess of emotions, mostly of excitement, shock and disbelief that our precious jewel would be coming that day.

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The C-Section went without a hitch and Jaxon Wyatt Barker was born at 12:47pm at 5lbs 9oz and 19in. It all happened so fast, and they showed him to me and Josh went with the pediatric staff while the surgeon stitched me up, and I dozed off. In the post-op room, I attempted to breastfeed, and gave Jaxon what colostrum I could manage to hand-express but the staff were not comfortable with his blood sugar levels and took him immediately to the NICU. It still hadn’t hit me. I was taken to my room to sleep and recover.

My "it hit me" moment.

My “it hit me” moment.

On May 5th, two days after he was born, I asked a nurse to take me to the NICU. I’d been a handful of times since then to visit and give them my pumped breastmilk for Jaxon, but this was the first time I’d be going without Josh, as he went home to take care of the dogs. Seeing him in the little see-through bassinet, all by myself. Having him placed in my arms and holding him, smelling him, feeling his little fingers and toes… it finally hit me. I was a mom. I had a baby. I had this baby. He was my baby. It was amazing and heartbreaking. That was the first moment I felt like a mom, and it was also the first moment I felt like I’d failed all that being a mom was supposed to be. I didn’t plan. I didn’t get to have him vaginally. I didn’t read the books. I didn’t stay informed. I didn’t fight to have him vaginally. I didn’t know my options. It was the beginning of a long three months of guilt and a journey of forgiving myself.

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Once I was discharged as a patient, I was allowed to stay in the NICU’s Rooming-In room. He was breastfeeding great and was hardly being supplemented anymore, it was all looking good. I was placed in this room at day 6 of being in the NICU, in hopes that we’d be going home within 48 hours, but little buddy had other plans. He had a dsat spell, which meant his lungs were having some slight issues… and that we’d be there for another five days. I couldn’t tell you how many days and nights I cried. I would go for walks, and see the names change on the rooms of the mother-baby unit, knowing that they got to take their babies home and I was stuck there, waiting and not able to go home. What made it worse was that my room was an internal room and had no window, which made my baby-blues even worse. After those four days of observation, I was told he was doing great and just had to make it through the night without another dsat spell. I went to my room and slept, praying we’d be able to go home soon. I woke up right before the doctors did rounds and went and sat with Jaxon so I could hear the news I wanted, that he’d be in my room and on the road to going home. Hearing that he’d had another dsat spell early that morning broke my heart. I almost lost it and started crying right then. The doctor told me that because Jaxon had fixed his breathing on his own, they were only going to require three days of observation before reevaluation, but all I heard was more time in the hospital.

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I hadn’t been home since that morning I went into labor at 2am. I wore the same four outfits, changing pieces out and switching them with things Josh brought. I was eating pizza, take out, nuked food and knew all the gossip within the entire NICU staff, ha. I stopped getting my hopes up and on that third day, I went to hear how he did expecting that we’d be there for longer, only to hear that he did great and he’d be in my room within a few hours. Let me tell you that going from a baby hooked up to a machine keeping track of practically every possible bodily function, and having a cordless, normal, newborn baby is one of the hardest, I think, adjustments as a parent. You’re constantly checking his pulse, breathing and temperature because before he needed all those cords, and now he just… doesn’t? It doesn’t compute.

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Well, after a total of 16 days, we were released to go home. The longest 16 days of my life and by far some of the most emotionally straining days. He was a great baby, though. He slept well, ate well, fussed as normal and threw up occasionally due to my having oversupply of milk. It was quite the adjustment, but we made it work. I had baby blues which turned into a lot of guilt and emotional struggle relating to my c-section. It was three months of stress on our relationship but I realized that I had been blessed with the most amazing husband who had sympathy pain, enjoyed spending time taking care of his son and wife and that God provided me with a healthy and happy baby, no matter how he came into the world. My scar is still prominent and instead of reminding me of something I felt guilty and ashamed of, now it reminds me that God has a plan and works all things out together for my good. For the longest time Josh and I wondered if it was the stress of travel, the sex the night prior, the activity of my job, all of the above or just a chance that he was 29 days early. It wasn’t until our little Abigail was born 29 days early as well that we came to the conclusion that our babies, and God, had different plans than we did, no matter what we did, they were coming when they wanted. My NICU experiences have humbled me and ultimately brought me closer to God and my husband. I wasn’t quite thankful then, but looking back on our journey, I am so grateful for all that it’s given me.

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The ins and outs of a military family

Being a military family, you get used to not having family around. There are times when Josh is gone for days and it’s just me with the kids. And someday, there will be a time when the babies won’t see their daddy except through a computer screen for months. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, patience and mental preparation. Some days, it takes an extra cup of coffee and a glass of wine.

For instance, today… Josh is working all night and won’t be home for bedtime but twice for the next ten days and for Jaxon, that’s rough. Daddy is part of his bedtime routine. I hold down the fort, feed the animals, do the laundry, pick up the disaster that Jaxon created, make sure the kids are both bathed, changed and tucked in. It’s what you do… you have to. It’s part of what I signed up for when I made that promise to be his wife, his support and ultimately his rock just as much as he is mine.

Technology of today has granted us many blessings, Skype being one of them.

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It helps keep extended family connected and allow for families to see their grandchildren, nieces, nephews and even great-grandkids grow even with a geographical hindrance. The ability to make long-distance calls and have them just be noted as regular calls, even, is a huge change from a decade ago! I remember not being able to call my aunts and uncles because they had a different area code, even though they only lived forty minutes away. How times have changed. I am so grateful that my kids are able to talk with their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, even though we live so far away from them all.

There are things that make it especially hard… like when the kids get sick. Jaxon has been fighting a cold, or what I thought was a cold, for now two weeks. Each time we saw improvement, within 24 hours he’d seem to jump two steps back. We ended up taking him to the doctor’s and found out he had Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease, a virus that causes fever, coughing, sore throat, achy body and blisters on the hands, feet and mouth. That caused him to have a build up of mucus and congestion which sent his glands into overdrive, also giving way for his airway to become inflamed and made it hard for him to breathe.

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We ended up needing to give him a breathing treatment of albuterol to open his airways… which, as you can see, he wasn’t thrilled about. After fighting with him for fifteen minutes (and it still wasn’t done giving the full treatment, yet), I had a nurse come listen to him to see if he needed more.

IMG_20140902_121203Oh, and all through that 15 minutes of continuously playing “gotcha” with a mask on my wheezing one year old, my poor little princess was just dying for attention. Thankfully, after they listened to Jaxon’s breathing and decided he needed another treatment, they sent in a nurse to help me out.

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Changed the receiving piece to a pacifier and nasal opening for inhalation, he did a little better. With the help of the nurse’s cell phone games, and some cartoons on TV. But after about eight to ten minutes, he was arching his back and running for the door.

IMG_20140902_125122 IMG_20140902_121154Finally! The solution was a lollipop, (go figure, sugar!). And thank The Lord after this treatment, the doc cleared us to go home. With a brand-spankin’-new-and-insurance-covered Nebulizer for Jaxon, should we need to use it again. By that time, the nurses were handing Abigail off to one another while completing their rounds of patients. Once I got everything together we were able to go home, and best believe both munchkins went straight to their beds and napped after all that.

And… that kind of stuff happens. Sometimes often for military families. Especially the ones who have multiple children. You push on. You clean when they go to bed, you sit down and decompress and remind yourself that it won’t be like this forever.

Some days, your kid kicks you when you try to put his diaper on (because he has an awful rash that hurts), runs away and decides he wants to eat hot dog buns and plums for dinner… and that’s okay. Some days, you just go with it.
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Even if he gets upset when you tell him to stop drinking his bath water…

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Or, he decides to unfold all of your nicely folded laundry and unplug the computer which had unsaved documents on it…

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Well, if daddy isn’t coming home. You have time… to fix it, to relax, to pick up, to cry… whatever you need.  Don’t stress it right now, just wait til he’s in bed and let him wreak havoc on all he can until he’s so tired that his eyes start drooping. And then, you get him dressed for bed, record a video saying “ni-ni daddy, buh-bye” and send it to your husband. Tuck him in and plop yourself on the couch and take a breather. Tackle things one by one and then tuck yourself in bed and grant yourself the pleasure of relaxing and enjoying sleep, no matter how much or how little you get. Because your family is whole, you have been blessed with a husband who loves you, beautiful children and the means to provide for you all. There are days of chaos… and there will always be days of chaos, but because of those days, you will be thankful for every great moment in your life. Every time things go right and you have the whole family together and playing and happy.

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These are the moments we live for, as military families. The love between us is why we do what we do. The love for our country, the love for those we serve with and the love for those we want to protect from war, harm, hate and destruction. We support each other, look out for each other and ultimately fight for each other to stay united and stay together. It may not be for everyone, but for those of us who are in a military family, it makes us strong and makes us proud. We go through the hard days, the long nights, the never-ending emotional times but we’re fighting for what we believe in – even if our role in the fight is just to support the soldier halfway across the world. It may look like a bunch of crazy, but it’s our kind of crazy and we own it with dignity.

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Homemade “baby” Wipes

When Jaxon was born, he had such sensitive skin that nearly everything made him break out. Of course, the one thing that didn’t, happened to be the most expensive brand of Huggies Diapers available. Being that I wasn’t quite ready to cloth diaper since his poos were so awful (imagine spreading a mixture of honey and peanut butter onto a towel, sticking it on your skin and trying to clean that mess a few times a day, no thanks!), I decided to suck it up and cut costs by making my own wipes, instead.

Here are my ingredients for homemade wipes:

  • Durable Paper Towels (I’ve tried different types and bounty works best)
  • 4-5tsp of Baby Wash/Soap
  • 3tsp or less Oil (coconut, grapeseed, organic baby oil and the likes all work too)
  • 2 cups Hot water
  • A deep, round tupperware with secure lid
  • Measuring utensils
  • Large sharp knife
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You can use the 2X and cut them into thirds or the regular and just cut them in half.

 

I’ve bought so many different types of paper towels but always end up coming back to Bounty because they’re the only ones (I’ve found) that stay together and hold up well enough when wiping dirty bums.

**disclaimer, occasionally my wipes come off center (since they’re two-ply) and I’ve not yet found a way to fix that, but I am working on it. You may have better luck with the regular paper towels, opposed to the select-a-size with the centering issue. Using the regular sized paper towels was the only time I didn’t have any issues at all.**

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Sharpen your knives, ladies and gents. Otherwise you end up like me… Looking like I own a cat, when I just have mommy-brain.

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Cut your paper towel roll into

  • 1/3 if you’re using 2x Bounty paper towels
  • 1/2 if you’re using Regular Bounty paper towels
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If you were wondering about the size of my container

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Now, take your plastic container and cut an “x” notch in the top of the lid. This is where you’ll pull wipes from. Make it fairly large as you need a little bit of give so you don’t rip the towels.

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Many recipes call for boiling and sanitizing their water before using it for wipes but our water reaches over 160­­° so I just use hot tap water. You may boil it if you so feel the need. Anywho, pour the two cups of water into the container.

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Measure out the oil (I used 2.5tsp here) and pour it into the container.

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Measure out the baby wash (just about 4tsp here) and pour it into the container along with the hot water and oil.

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Self explanatory… Mix it.

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Now, take the paper towel roll, cut-side-down (or if you’re using the middle of a 1/3, whichever side looks less butchered ;D) and place it into the container, pressing down as much as you can.

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This is what it will look like after about 15-20 minutes. Let it soak until you can feel that the solution has absorbed all the way to the top of the roll.

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Once it has, loosen the cardboard piece by applying pressure in opposite directions… like so.

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And you should be able to pull the cardboard right out!

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Reach into the center of the roll and feel around for the end piece… and pull up.

IMG_20140902_170907Once you find it, press it through the “X” on the lid, and press the lid down until it secures. It may take a little (or a lot of) pressure, but you should be able to press it down and secure the lock.

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And, that’s it! Here shows the size of one individual wipe using the 1/3 or a select-a-size Bounty roll. I prefer this size, because even if I use four to six of them, it’s still using much less overall space than a traditional wipe and most of the time, I only need one or two wipes for a regular wet bum or dirty face.

 

Fun fact, if your tiny human is not sensitive to fragrance, you can add therapeutic grade essential oils for a light smell and additional cleansing properties.

Also! I make these wipes, and have gotten my mom on the bandwagon, for makeup-removal or face cleaning wipes. Usually with those ones I’ll add a drop or two of Lavender, Lemon or Purification Oil .

If you’ve made wipes cleaning or otherwise, I’d love to hear about your recipes and trials, please comment or email me!

 

 

Being a mom is a marathon, keep on breathing.

Some days you wonder how you do it… Some morning you just wish you could pause time for an extra hour. Some nights you just want to put them in bed, even though it’s nearly two hours before bedtime. Some days they fuss and whine and cry just because and sometimes it’s even at the same time and same volume. Having two under two, I’ve experienced a taste of this nearly every other day since I brought little Abigail home. But you know what makes it worth it? Seeing my loving husband curl up with Jaxon at the end of a long day, or handing him Abigail while I feed the ravaging monster his dinner and minutes later looking over at her passed out on Josh. Knowing I have a family, a great and beautiful family and that this is the hard part and that it will get easier.

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Just the other day I had to run to the post office, which with two babies is not running anywhere. Just to “drop by the store” is a 30+minute endeavor of unloading the stroller, getting them into it, making sure you have everything, finding the shoe that got kicked under the car and finding the stroller-accessible-entry. Snacks. Snacks are the answer to having a toddler. It’s amazing how much they can eat. As we were finally getting to the front of the line (never, never, never, go to the post office at 4:45 when they close at 5pm) I go to grab my postal package which was conveniently wedged under Abigail’s car seat and behind Jaxon’s seat. The 50-some-odd year old gentleman in front of me is making faces at Jaxon and laughing Jaxon makes them back and asks me if he can help me get the package out. Getting it out he asks if he can place it on the counter for me while I get them back situated and I just look at him and say “yes please, thank you so much.” He looks at me with the most caring and genuine eyes I’ve ever seen and says “I don’t know how you do it” and smiles a smile that says “you are amazing, I am so proud to see good moms like you still exist”. I don’t know if that’s exactly what he was thinking, but it sure felt like it. Without thinking too much I replied “Thanks, some days… I don’t either.” and gazed down at my, once again, shoeless toddler and smirked.

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As I walked out to my car once we finished I thought about that encounter and how my response seemed flat and unappreciative of his compliment. What I should have said was “only by the grace of God” because truly, if I didn’t have the patience, grace and kindhearted love of God I don’t know that I would make it through most days. I may never see that man again but that day will stick with me forever. That someone sees the work I’m putting into these two kids and that I’m doing a good job. Not only someone, but a stranger who doesn’t know me or what my situation is.

Ever since the first day I went out in public with both kids, I always dress up when I have the two of them alone. When Josh asked why I do, I told him that it’s because I don’t want to be one of those moms who seems scattered and barely hanging on. We chose to have two babies quite close together and though some days are rough, and by rough I mean three glasses of wine rough, but there’s no reason I need to look a mess. It may seem petty, but it makes my day go better. Physical appearance is the first thing people see of you, second being your body language and third being the things and way you talk to your kids/spouse/peers. That’s not to say you need to fake anything, but looking good shows people you care about yourself and when you care about yourself you truly are boosting your own confidence. I am happy with our decision to run this marathon of chasing one kid after another, and side aches are treatable; and for me, who is not a runner or even close to a marathon participant, it means slowing down and taking a breath, keeping on and keeping positive.

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On the note of taking a breath, I also inhale deep breaths of my Lavender and Peace & Calming Essential Oils and slather it on both babies before bed. It’s my life-saver and not only does it calm me down but when I’m calm, I don’t stress out Josh – which ultimately makes for a much better day.

 

Our Sickness Remedy

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When woke Jaxon up from his nap he was burning up with a fever, congested with dried snot all over his face and every time I moved him he’d cry in a way that you could just tell he was aching. (See top photos in his adorable cow diaper.)
Made a oil cocktail of coconut oil (my carrier), peppermint oil, thieves oil and eucalyptus radiata oil and slathered his back, neck, ears, chest and feet.
Twenty minutes later and his fever is down, he wanted a shirt on because he was cold -got goosebumps- and he was visibly feeling relief. He’s still a little grumpy but instead of crying at every movement, he’s slowly walking around with a snack dancing to Pandora. (See bottom photos.)

I love my oils. They make sick days much more tolerable.

**full disclaimer, I am not a licensed medical professional. I only know what works for my family and choose alternative, holistic and natural medicine. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries about Young Living Therapeutic Grade essential oils.