Monday, January 31, 2011

A couple natural solutions to add...

While I'm sitting around waiting for Abbi Grace to decide she is ready to come out for some snuggles, I thought I'd update you on my progress in transforming our house to a chemical-free one. It has been a slow process, but I've definitely liked the changes we have made.

1. While I still use coconut oil for EVERYTHING, I found that it wasn't quite enough to moisturize my dry skin during the winter. So I came up with my own home-made lotion. Now I use it for my face, to keep stretch marks off my humongous preggo belly, and everywhere else. And I can't wait for Abbi Grace to get here because I'm going to smear it all over her tiny body as well. I love it because the ingredients are natural enough to eat. (And I did (by mistake); I licked the spoon out of habit after stirring it in my pot :)

There are a number of oils you can choose from in making your own lotion; these just happened to be the ones I had on hand: coconut oil, almond oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter. You definitely want to use coconut oil because of all the antibacterial, healing properties, and the shea butter is very important as well, because it makes the lotion more thick, rather than just a thin coating of oil. Cocoa butter is a pain because it is so hard, but I wanted to use it since I had it and I do think it helped the consistency of the lotion.

I have no recipe; I just dropped spoonfuls of each of them into my pot on the stove and left it on low for a while till I could stir it up together. (You definitely want to keep the temperature on low so that you don't destroy all the healing and nourishing qualities of the ingredients!) Then I set it out on the counter to cool and finished by putting it in the fridge for a while to solidify. I've done it a several times now without measuring and it always turns out a little differently, but it always works. And my skin has never been happier! I clean my face with olive oil and then put this concoction on it and it just feels so good!

*If you are one who likes to measure and prefers a more precise recipe, you could try out THIS one or THIS one.

2. I started making home-made deodorant. This is probably one of my biggest money-savers because I made just a small amount about 6 months ago and I still have a ton!! I used Lindsay's recipe and it works fine for me. I do believe your body goes through a little change as it gets used to not having the chemicals of store-bought deodorant because I needed a lot when I first started but now only a tiny bit will work just fine.

Ingredients:

6-8 Tbsp Coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch (arrowroot is preferred)

Directions:

  1. Combine equal portions of baking soda & arrowroot powder.
  2. Slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon or hand blender until it maintains a firm but pliable texture. It should be about the same texture as commercial deodorant, solid but able to be applied easily. If it is too wet, add further arrowroot powder/cornstarch to thicken.
  3. You can either scoop this recipe into your old deodorant dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. Makes about 1 cup. This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

For a picture tutorial placing this recipe in an old deodorant container, visit here.

Lastly, I invested in a Norwex enviro cloth and window cloth to simplify my cleaning. I still use my tea tree oil or vinegar solutions for some things, but I am loving the simplicity of these two cloths for everything else! I chose it because it is made out of microfiber cloth with an innovative design that uses anti-bacterial silver particles integrated into the synthetic microfiber, ensure (according to their website):

• Single-celled micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, yeast, and viruses cannot survive or adapt in silver exposure
• Surface-to-surface cross-contamination is eliminated
• Rapidly drying cloths prevent bacteria growth in the cloth itself
(Read THIS review to learn more about it)

Practically , it has worked really well for me! I have seriously never had such clean, streak-free windows before and I love the fact that I didn't have to use any chemicals at all! I love wiping my sinks down with it and knowing that there will be no gross mold or bacteria growing in my towel. I simply rinse it out and hang it out to dry after each use.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Karlie Sue at Two Years!

With the sudden onslaught of the flu in our family, I completely forgot to write Karlie's 2-year update (or maybe it is because I am still in denial that my baby is actually2 :)! So here are some random facts about Karlie at age 2:

-- Karlie is simply one of the happiest children I have ever met. She keeps a smile on her face almost all day long and has the greatest belly laugh ever!

-- For the most part, Karlie is very obedient, but she is also very stubborn and sometimes chooses not to listen. If I warn her that she is going to get a spanking if she doesn't obey, she usually immediately says, "yes, ma'am" or "happy heart!"

Although the girls LOVE being in the same room and it has worked out well, Karlie could not handle the freedom of a toddler bed. She did great the first month, but after the newness wore off, she constantly climbed into bed with Karis to tickle her and play. The girl is so stubborn and it didn't matter how many times I spanked her! I desperately needed a nap time rather than an hour of disciplining over and over, so we decided to put her crib back in the room. The girls still get to be together, and it has worked beautifully. Our favorite part is that in the morning, Mark will go get her out of the crib and she climbs in bed with Karis and they read together for 10-30 minutes (depending on the day) while Mark and I get dressed and get breakfast started.
--- Karlie is obsessed with stickers, "I Spy" books, and floor puzzles. She will do them for hours as long as she has someone to help her.
--- She is also obsessed with numbers and will point them out whenever she sees them.
--- Karlie has learned all her numbers, colors, and letters and most sounds
---Karlie picks out her clothes every day and ends up wearing Karis' clothes more often than not (they are way too big, but it doesn't matter :)
--- Karlie has become somewhat of a picky eater -- she will sit down and eat a couple bites of food and then proclaim herself "all done" and "may pwease scuse?" (May I please be excused?) But after we tell her no, that she must sit and finish with us, she usually will continue eating and eat a decent amount.

--- Karlie prefers whole meat (cut up) rather than casseroles of any sort. She loves steak, hamburger, hotdogs, chicken, etc dipped in ketchup or honey.

--- Karlie would eat my home-made granola, cereal, muffins, or breads all day long rather than anything else.
--- Karlie is quite the talker and she and Karis have the funniest conversations! She also loves to sing at the top of her lungs and they usually sing together all day long. She has picked up on some of Karis' favorite phrases and it is really funny to hear her say them.

-- Karlie seems to completely understand about the baby now and is VERY excited! She often tells me to "open" my shirt (pull it up so she can see Abbi rolling around in my belly:). She loves to put her hand on my belly and feel Abbi kick!

--- Karlie loves to dress up and usually wears a special hat or necklace all day long

-- She loves to be a helper and will often run and do the chores I ask Karis to do before Karis has time to do them.

Karlie is just so sweet and so much fun! I feel so blessed every time I look at her!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Some ideas for fighting viruses naturally

Whew! I think we are all finally better! So glad the flu is gone from our house! When I called my holistic care doctor to get some ideas for how to beat the flu, she gave me several suggestions that I thought I'd share with you. I couldn't try them all out because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, but I plan to stock up for next time! So here are five tips she gave me for fighting a virus (which seems to be a lot harder than an infection!)

1. Mix together two TBS apple cider vinegar with about 1/8 tsp baking soda. Drink it after it stops fizzing. Take 3 times a day.

2. Make ginger root tea -- boil water, pour over fresh ginger root and let steep like you would any other tea.

3. Make a ginger root spritzer -- extra probiotics! Let the ginger root tea ferment on the counter with whey and honey. (Sorry; she didn't give me proportions so I'll have to experiment and get back with you :)

4. Natural pain reliever -- instead of taking Tylenol which keeps your body from fighting the virus naturally, try these pills instead that not only help relieve pain but encourage your body's own immune system to fight back stronger! If you don't have all of these, just take whichever ones you have and it will still help: 1 capsule each of turmeric, ginger, and bosweilla, and two capsules of cayenne pepper.

5. Collodial Silver -- a mouthful every few hours web you are miserable!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gratituesday

I wouldn't wish the flu on my worst enemy. But God was gracious to us throughout it all and I thought I'd share some reasons I've been thankful the past week:

... That Mark and I came down with it at different times -- I took care of him and the girls for the first three days, and then he took care of the girls so I could rest. I really don't know how we would have made it through if we had come down at the same time. It's not like I could beg for babysitters since we were so contagious!

... For a wonderful church family who jumped to not only pray for us, but bring us meals. I sent out a short e-mail in the morning and within few hours, I already had 3 offers for dinner that night!

... for a great doula (who is also a midwife) that I could call when I had questions and know that she likes to do things as naturally as possible. I was afraid to call my OB for fear they would want to see me or tell me to go to the emergency room because of my fever. I knew it wasn't necessary (I kept myself plenty hydrated, baby was still kicking up a storm, and I was keeping close handle on my fever) and I appreciated having my doula's advice while I stayed at home to rest.

... that I had washed all the baby stuff the week before! I can't imagine having that laundry to do in addition to what piled up while we were so sick!

... for my great holistic care doctor who was willing to chat with me over the phone and give me suggestions for naturally dealing with the flu, as well as fix me some colloidal silver and flu remedy for Mark to pick up.

... and most of all, that Abbi Grace was quite obedient and showed no signs of even wanting to come out while we were so miserable!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

An ode to a fever...

As much as I feared getting a fever, I am now a firm believer that when you are sick, a fever is your best friend. I know it doesn't make sense because a fever makes you feel miserable. But it really attacks your sickness and you get better so much faster!

Case in point: Karlie was miserable on Thursday, and Karis and I were miserable on Friday. With the girls, I let the fever run its course like I always do. I never give them Tylenol, because it keeps the body from fighting off illness on its own. Now, their fevers got really high and they were very lethargic and miserable (hard for a mama to watch!) but it worked and both of the girls were 100% better in just 24 hours! It was amazing. I mean, they woke up bright-eyed and bushy-talied and had way too much energy for me :) I was still utterly miserable because I had to make my fever come down anytime it peaked so it wouldn't harm the baby. So I've been fighting this fever for 3 days now.

But I'm still thankful. Abbi Grace is alive and well, kicking me all over like crazy, but staying put for a little while. That was my biggest prayer. Now if she could just give me this next week to regain my strength, stop coughing, breathe again, and eventually try to get my house back in order and rid it of flu germs. Can you imagine how much laundry I have piled up since I haven't done any in 4 days? And it probably won't happen tomorrow, either :) But that's ok. The biggest priority is for me to rest up so that my body will be ready whenever Abbi decides that it is time to come out! Oh, I can't wait to meet her!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You know you are miserable when...

...You completely fall asleep in a matter of seconds on the cold, hard tile floor.


Yep, last night Karlie came down with the miserable fever. So pitiful. And Karis and I started showing the initial signs of the flu as well, so I dosed us all up with that homeopathic flu remedy. And doubled all my other natural remedies I take. And it seems to be working! Karis and I have all the symptoms except for the fever and chills, which is what is most dangerous to the baby. So even though we are all exhausted and feeling lousy, and I wish we could have just avoided it compeletely, I am very thankful. It was almost a relief to go ahead and come down with it so we can deal with it and stop worrying. But please keep praying for us, that the medicine will keep my fever at bay and that the baby will just stay put until I can get everyone well. And thank you to a wonderful church family for jumping to bring meals so quickly!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pray for us...

It has been a rough week, folks. I really can't complain, because my family has been amazingly healthy this winter. I think I came down with one cold that was really helped by my natural remedies and that was it. But this week has been tough. Mark came down with the flu late Sunday night and was utterly miserable. I gave him some homeopathic flu remedy in the morning, which helped him sleep, and by the 2nd dose in the afternoon, he was feeling pretty perky, amazingly enough. (So I'm a big fan of homeopathic medicines now!) Unfortunately, he thought he was all better and went to work on Tues. and then a mtg. at church and completely overdid it, so the fever and aches and chills returned last night and he's been miserable today.

I was doing pretty well through all this, just exhausted since I wasn't getting the normal help from Mark in the evenings with the girls. But honestly, I've just been in a state of delirious excitement about the fact that Abbi Grace will be here so soon!

Until today, when I had my OB apt and they scared me to death about the possibility of me getting the flu. Because not only would I be miserable, but it would most likely throw me into labor. And let me tell you, labor is unbearable enough without adding a fever, aches, and chills into the mix! Plus, I'm ever so afraid that they would want to keep the baby away from me to keep her away from the germs. And that would just be a nightmare!

So I'm seriously battling fear right now. Fear of the flu, which is ridiculous. I know my God is in control. I know that Abbi Grace will come only when God says it is time for her to come, and His timing is more than perfect. I know He can keep me safe from the flu or protect her from it even if I get it. But I'd really appreciate your prayers right now. Thanks

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Karlie's birthday celebration!

Karlie's actual birthday is tomorrow, but we celebrated this weekend with the grandparents. We had a blast! Karis was actually more excited than Karlie, because she remembered past birthday celebrations. While they were reading books together in their rooms after first waking up in the morning, we heard Karis excitedly telling Karlie that it was her birthday and exactly what was going to happen and Karlie said, "O-tay!" But once Karlie realized all her grandparents were here and there were decorations and balloons and presents, she got pretty excited as well!

Still a little groggy and snuggly after her nap... everyone got here and we decorated during nap time, so she was pretty amazed :)

Once she got ahold of the balloon, she started dancing around and squealing... and the excitement and energy continued for the rest of the night!
I love that grin!
Nina brought some of Daddy's old books, so we read them while waiting for Aunt Terra and Baby Cademon to get here
I love my mother-in-law! So blessed!
Karis wanted to hold Cademon, who is quite a large baby :) She did great, though!
Karlie came over to check him out as well.
Since I am so far along in my pregnancy, I decided to do this party as easy as possible and not to try to make a cake with the girls. I missed it, but Dairy Queen sure makes a fabulous cake! Karlie had picked out a puppy tablecloth and was pretty excited about her "puppy party."
"So 'cited" about the confetti on the table!
She wasn't quite sure what to think of the candles, though :)
But Karis loved them!
Family pic before blowing out the candles...
We love our baby girl!
She tried to blow them out...
...but needed a little help
Once it was in front of her, we couldn't get any more smiles -- this girl was totally focused and engrossed on eating her ice cream cake!
There's that toothy grin again!
Snuggling with Grandma....
And getting tickled!
Trying out her new trike
Reading with Nina before bed...
You gotta love the tutu on the trike!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just can't get over Christmas carols...

My girls always get obsessed with Christmas carols over the holidays. Even though we've put up all the CD's and don't sing the carols before bed anymore, they still sing them all day long! Here are a few clips I took of them singing in our bed after naps the other day:









Wednesday, January 12, 2011

36.5 week Bump and Locks of Love

So I've been hearing it again for not showing off my baby bump, especially since it has gotten quite large this last month. I figured today was as good a day as any since I needed a before and after picture of my hair. I've been growing it out to donate to locks of love and wanted to get it cut before the baby comes. (Because my, oh, my, those breastfeeding hormones make my hair fall out like crazy! After Karlie was born, I promised Mark I'd cut my hair before we had another baby so we wouldn't have to vacuum every day :)

Before the hair cut:
I hate taking pictures of just me. For some reason, I can never get a natural smile on my face unless I am holding one of my girls. They just always make me smile :) So this is the best I could do without them:


Guess what? I had a real smile on my face in this one because I was looking at my baby... but of course you can't see because my hair was in the way :)

And after...
This is undoubtedly the shortest I've ever had it in my life! I can't even put the back of it in a pony tail! So I'm still getting used to it but I am still glad I did it. I was so tired of wearing my hair in a pony tail every day because it was just too long to do much else with it. And now maybe I'll actually take the time to dry it since it will take only a minute rather than 25 :)

I still think my face looks better with long hair, but Mark said it was cute and that's all that matters! Plus, it will be so much easier to deal with when Abbi comes!
And yes, you've probably noticed the little red ring on my arm... I somehow managed to get ringworm (probably from one of my pets, I guess). Luckily, it is slowly going away naturally with just applications of tea tree oil and coconut oil. I'm just thankful it didn't spread anywhere and my girls didn't get it! If anyone else has any experience with natural remedies for ringworm, let me know... mine are working, but very slowly!


I'm going to miss this baby bump...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The last of the Christmas pictures!

We enjoyed spending the 2nd half of our Christmas break at my parents' house and had so much fun.

Karlie was utterly obsessed with this pair of kissing snowmen (if you put their lips together, they light up and jingle and say, "I love you!") and made them kiss over and over again...
They were both very excited about the little tree Grandma put out for them to play with and decorate over and over :)
Even Pup-pup got into the festive spirit and allowed us to put reindeer antlers on her!
Karlie helped EVERYONE open their presents :)
They were super excited about their new doll house -- they were so immediately focused that I couldn't even get a single picture of them looking at the camera!
Karlie immediately wanted to put on her new church dress and dress-up crown and vest over top of her snowmen pajamas :)
What a fun time celebrating with family!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting close!

We are officially down to the last month of pregnancy and feeling the excitement of not knowing when Miss Abbi Grace will decide to appear! I personally prefer my babies fat and happy, so I'm not one who wishes for an early baby (although I must say it would be nice to be able to breathe again, sleep on my stomach, forget about my back-ache, and eat food after 9pm without regretting it when I lay down to sleep 2 hours later :). Karlie was only a week early, so I'm hoping Abbi will stay in at least til then. (Plus, I have a long list of things I'd like to accomplish before she arrives!) But I must say that I'm eager to meet her!

I had an OB apt today that was ever so exciting!

First of all, I came back Strep B negative, which is a HUGE answer to prayer because now they have no reason to have to stick an IV in my arm and I don't have to be labeled crazy and ridiculous for trying to get rid of it naturally and refusing the antibiotic. It will just make everything so much easier!

Secondly, I finally met one of the midwives that I have been trying to get an appointment with for the past 36 weeks! She is almost always on call and so it is very likely she will deliver my baby! I shared my birth plan with her (if you want to read it, click HERE) and she was actually excited about it!! She said, "Yay, now I finally get to be a midwife!!" She said that out of over a thousand babies she has delivered, only about 20 of them have been med-free. She didn't have a problem with anything on my birth plan, although she warned me that several of the nurses might not be happy with it. But she encouraged me to not give into them. I cannot tell you how encouraging it was to talk with her, especially how at my last birth I got into battle after battle about my natural wishes. So I'm pumped about it and feel good about my birth plan and the midwife group I have chosen!

We've been super busy at our house getting ready... It has really been so much fun! I had no idea the girls would get so excited about all the preparations. The girls talk about Abbi all day long and have had so much fun helping me wash her clothes and get her room ready. Karis seriously wants to look at each article of clothing individually and talk about how much Abbi is going to like it and how cute it is. Then she gives it to Karlie who wants to carry it around the house and show anyone who is around (Daddy, kitty, etc) and tell them it is for Abbi Grace. Oh, they are so precious in their excitement for her!

So this week is "get the baby room and clothes ready" week, then we have Karlie's birthday this weekend (Can you believe that she will be 2?!?!), and next week I hope to get a lot of cooking and baking done and put into the freezer so I will have nourishing food after she is born. After that, she is welcome to come anytime!! Oh, it is just so exciting!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas smiles

We were so excited to see Rich and Mel over Christmas! We had not seen them since May, and were so grateful that they made the long trip to Nina and Papa's house!

The girls had a lot of fun helping each other unwrap presents...
Karlie set up her new doll house people in the chair to chill with her :)
Karis loved her new pink blanket and immediately wrapped herself up in it!
We love Nina and Papa!
Trying to get the girls to sit still for a family photo... always difficult :)
I love my girls!
Karlie and Papa
Karis even let Uncle Rich snuggle with her for a minute!
Dancing on their new floor puzzle!