Sunday, September 21, 2014

back in the groove

Now that school is back in session, I feel like we're settling into a more "normal" groove.  Lots of things still going on, but it feels more manageable.  It has been a crazy, busy month (football has taken over for realz... gah!) and I so need to go back and pull out some pictures and blog about them. Lots of firsts for these kiddos!


  • Porter is playing tackle football.  I'm not thrilled they start so young (3rd grade) but he really likes it.  He gets braver and more confident with each practices (says Ryan... because I stay home with Amelia..... she's a wild beast at practice, trying to jump on the mats with all the big kids).   As much as I complain about practice time and the busy-ness, I love watching him play. 
  • Hudson is taking an art class- painting!  We signed him up for flag football but he refused to even attempt to participate so we aren't going to push it with him.  He's total opposite of Porter and I honestly don't see him in physical sports, but we'll see.  He was SO excited about the painting class!   
  • Amelia started dance class... Creative Movement.  She's super excited to go, and oh my gawwwww kill me with cuteness!  Can I tell you how long I've waited to have a little girl to wear a cute little leotard and piggies?  GAWWW!  She went into class without looking back, and when she came out she was ALL smiles, saying "I went a dance class!  I got a sticker!"
  • I haven't been out to ride Lacey as much as I've wanted to.  Once a week has been my average... which is phoooey.  But, it is what it is.  I finally ventured out into the trails/fields behind the barn and can't believe its taken me that long to go check it out.  Perfect riding areas!  I only wish we had another horse so I could have someone come along and ride with me.  It gets kind of boring riding alone. 
  • Amelia and I are headed to South Carolina next week for a girls-only weekend.  Well, it was supposed to be kid-free but I had literally NO ONE to watch her so I'm taking her along.  It'll be my grandma, mom, aunt, cousin, me and Amelia.  We're going to Edisto Island.  I can't wait. 4 full days of relaxing at the ocean. Heaven. 
Question for you readers.... we recently had an incident where I realized I REALLY needed to have parental security on our computer/internet for the kids.  So, our internet is pretty much locked down.  It has really opened my eyes to the age Porter is at, as well as how many things our kids are exposed to at such young ages.   Today Porter recognized this funny mom-parody ("All I need is Space") as the tune to "All about the bass".  I asked where he heard that song and he said he heard it at school.  So and so was on YouTube on the iPad.   (they have classroom iPads).  Kids at his school are also allowed to have iPods out on the playground.   Is it just me or..... does this seem inappropriate?  I mean, some of the "popular" music is soooo inappropriate for younger kids, and I'm sure half the parents don't listen to what the lyrics are saying.  We're really trying to watch what the boys are exposed to, and I'm just feeling uncomfortable with young kids having unmonitored access to YouTube and use of personal iPods with unmonitored materials on it.  What do you think?  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

it doesn't have to be taboo

Have you seen the article about the Duggar kids floating around... The one talking about how they announced their pregnancy before the standard 12 weeks, and that they chose to do so because they would acknowledge their baby if they did miscarry?  This kind of hit home with me, and made me feel guilty.  

See, right after I came home from Silver retreat I found out I was pregnant.  Yes.  Pregnant.  #4.  Huge surprise and not planned.  At.  All.  I spent a good week feeling awful.... Thinking about the things that a 4th child would screw up.  Like drinking wine in France, or vacationing as a family in one hotel room or only having 3 cubby baskets in my foyer.   And then I started to realize how great it would be... One more child to love (or drive me crazy), one more chance to savor those little baby moments, one more gummy faced smile, one more first step.  I got excited about watching our 3 kiddos with a new baby, and seeing Porter and Hudson dote on another little baby.  I started to get excited.  


We have never really announced our pregnancies until I think close to 10 weeks.  Usually after we get a chance to have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat.  Before we left for France we told a few family members, and I'd told a couple close friends. But while we were in France, Ryan talked freely about it.  My getting knocked up was kind of the butt of our jokes because, well, it's kind of funny when your friend asks if you have a tampon bc they need one in the middle of a castle tour and you're like "Hello, me? Did you forget I got knocked up?"  


We got home from France and I was looking forward to LeeAnn scanning me and hopefully becoming "Facebook official" as I was close to 9 weeks along.  


And then I miscarried.  And it kind of became this taboo, awkward thing.  Thank GOD I was home when this began because it was a painful few days, physically and emotionally.  I wanted to hole up in my room for the week and just be done with it.  It was an awful last week of summer.  I felt like I was in labor for half of the week and unable to do anything productive with the kids.  I was grumpy and sad and nonexistent as a mother.  I felt like a failure.  I let a few people know what happened but all the "acquaintances" that had been told?  What do you do then?  Ugh.  And then this article came out.  And I realized.... This doesn't have to be a big secret.  This happened.  This baby had a heartbeat and little arms that moved and it shouldn't be taboo.   It's part of our story.  I can write about it.  And document this as part of our life.

I am no stranger to miscarriage.  Before we had Porter I miscarried very early- at 5 weeks.  It was awful-  when the only thing you want is a baby and you lose a pregnancy you're so excited about and you don't have other children to keep you preoccupied and all you can think about is the waiting and wishing and hoping.  This miscarriage hasn't been as emotionally difficult- it was unexpected, both the pregnancy and the miscarriage, but I do feel sad when I realize I should be 12 weeks along now, and that other friends are announcing pregnancies and I would have been pregnant with them. 

I'm not sure where we will go from here. We hadn't planned on a 4th child but now that we welcomed the idea I feel like it feels right.  But then I worry that maybe the miscarriage was a sign that we aren't supposed to have a 4th.  That we don't need anymore craziness in our lives (who does?).  And, well, we all know the Ry and I never produce any calm, complacent, docile children so surely a 4th would be another wild, strong willed, independent kiddo.  I guess time will tell, and we'll have to see what direction prayers and fate point us in.  But for now, I rest easy knowing I don't have to feel like this is/was something to hide.  Thank you, Duggars, for opening my eyes.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

what a compliment

Amelia woke me up this morning stroking my hair.

A: "Hair look nice. Take a shower today? Take a bath today?"

Me: "Are you asking did I take a shower or am I going to take a shower?"

A: "Am I"

Me: (laughing)  "Yes, I am going to take a shower today"

A: (grinning, because she knows she's so goofy and cute) "Okayyyyy"

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's a chair for...

Yesterday I had to have some bloodwork done so I took the kids with me.  Its usually an in an out type deal but for some reason, we ended up waiting in the waiting room for 50 minutes before being called back.

Anyhow, in the waiting room they have chairs all around, and one was like a loveseat chair but not quite as big.... inbetween a loveseat and a chair. Amelia climbs up, all charming and cute and says "Its a couch! I'm sitting on the couch!" So, porter sits with her and he says "Its just a double chair Amelia." 

Everyone's smiling at Amelia, who is just being adorable as usual. Hudson, who was super grumpy all morning, says all loud "It's a chair for fat people"

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Firsts

I spent the weekend in Spokane, WA for Young Livings Silver Retreat.   It was full of all kinds of firsts for me...

-Upgrading to First Class on my flight to Phoenix (Janell texts:  "I upgraded to first class last night on a whim... there's a seat next to me!  It's only $200!"   Nicole texts back:  "I'm going to kick your ass!")
-White water rafting ("I want a peace raft! You are all traitors!  I don't want to splash!  I want a new raft.  I need to switch rafts!")
-Ordering room service and spending way more on it than I ever would have in the past
-Buying my first pair of LuluLemon leggings.  HEAVEN On EARTH.  Worth the $90 (yes.  OUCH!)
-Crashing a wedding 

This weekend.... I can't even express in words how amazing it has been. This weekend has been about friendship, oils, education, camaraderie, more laughter than you could ever need, new experiences, and the realization that you're more blessed than you could ever have imagined. This weekend has made me realize how life changing the past year has been. Life changing in a GOOD way. A really, really, really good way. I'm going to miss all these girls once I arrive home but am thankful to know that we will be together again soon and when we do--- let the good times begin... AGAIN!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Amelia's Big Girl Bed

I'm not exactly sure how we're already to this point.... packing up the crib and busting out a big girl bed.   It's breaking my heart, I tell you! The last one is bittersweet.   So bittersweet.

I've been putting this off for awhile now.   We moved Porter into a twin bed when he turned 2.  Hudson we moved at 18 months.  Last weekend Ryan went out of town and that night, Amelia decided to show me her skills in scaling her crib.  She's officially on the loose.  I had been browsing Pinterest with ideas for her big girl room so I was getting excited at finally just changing things over.  I decided to go for it.

Originally I'd wanted to use the headboard I bought that matches her dresser.  However, after a botched attempt at putting a full sized bed in her room, I decided a twin was better suited.   She has a long dresser (which takes up room) and her big dollhouse and stable, and I plan to put an Expedit shelf in there as well.  So, twin it is.

Her room is pretty "vintage" inspired, so of course a Jenny Lind bed is only appropriate!  I scoured Craigslist and found one 2 hours away, by Lake Michigan.  You know what that means... ROAD TRIP!   I'll document that separately, because that's quite a story.

So, I got her bed home and set up, and she was so excited about it!  She keeps calling it her "Bunk Bed"   I love it.  She's doing pretty good so far staying in bed.  Naptime is probably the hardest.  But, lately she's been scaling back on naps as well.  She still needs them (seriously!!) but instead of her typical 2-3 hour naps its been a quick hour nap and then she's still grumpy. BOO!

I've already ordered a quilt from Pottery Barn Kids, and a bunch of different vintage sheets and pillow cases from Etsy and eBay.  I can't WAIT to pull her room all together!  It's going to be DARLING!











Monday, June 30, 2014

lazy days of summer is a lie

If you're on Facebook, or a blogger, or even on Pinterest.... you'll recognize the posts I'm about to mention.  I hop on Pinterest and I see millions of posts about Summer Bucket Lists and fun summer activities and crafts and places to go.  I have a Summer Fun board and the past 2 years I've created our own Summer Bucket List of some sort to keep our days full.  I crave the busy, the full days, the crammed in activities and outings.  And then, on the other hand, you will come across posts talking about "screw the lists" let's let our kids have a summer like we had when we were kids in 1975... let them run rampant through the neighborhood and not \\\\\\\\\\\\\\see them until dinner.  Let's do nothing all day but relax and enjoy each other.  Forget bucket lists... forget millions of fun, planned activities.

I envy those people who are able to do that because in all honesty, I think the lazy days of summer is a big fat lie.

What brought me to think about this, you ask?  Well.  This morning I woke up and knew I had to get the kids out of the house or I'd lose my mind.  I had already decided I'd take them to my grandma's pool so that's what we did... by 9:30 we were on the road, hit up the grocery store for snacks, drinks and lunchables, and swam until around 12:30.  You'd think this was a relaxing type of morning... right?

Wrong.  

These are my children we're talking about.   The entire time they were at the pool- my boys, my 9 year old niece and Amelia, I heard my name called less than 387 times and I had to get after Porter about 436 times.  They begged me to get in.  I got in.  Then they (mainly my kids) only shouted after me to watch this or help me do this or look at this or this person is doing this!!   Oh. My. WORD.   So 12:30 rolls around and I'm exhausted.  

We get home and I send everyone upstairs- nap for Amelia and reading time for the boys.  An hour passes (as well as 5 or 6 interruptions from the boys asking when they can come down... holy mother eff.... can I get ONE HOUR??) and not long after, Amelia is up. We watch a little tv to wake up and then head outside.  Take out pizza, the neighbor kiddo Eian, the hose and kiddie pools for the evening line up.

You'd think this would entertain them, right?

Wrong.

These are my children you're talking about.  Stops quirting your brother.  Share the slide.  Don't push. Don't hit.  Stop bugging him.  Leave her alone.  Stop screaming so loud.  Hudson leave the hose on the jet setting when you're shooting at their targets.  Porter stop whining about your pool floatie.  And the list goes onnnnn and onnnn and onnnn.

7pm we finally had to send Eian home because Hudson decided to start emptying the pool out and didn't stop when I asked him to.  In the house, shower and bath time now.   It's going to be an early bedtime.

Now... we had a full day.  I'd love to wake up tomorrow morning and just lay around the house... let the kids play and read a little, organize a few things etc...  But no.  That sounds amazing in theory but do you know how much fighting and whining would be included in that scenario?   I think tomorrow we're headed to the zoo.  Then maybe back to the pool Weds or Thursday and on Friday we're going to an Adventure Park to do an obstacle course in the trees type deal.   I'm exhausted just thinking about the week, but I know if we just sit at home it'll be nothing more than me screaming at kids for non-stop fighting and Porter instigating things left and right (because I'll be honest- this boy is like 5 kids in one.  I could have a whole herd of 10 kids and it'd be less work than Porter among 2 others.  He knows how to get under peoples skin and bug people and push limits like no other).

So screw you, lazy days of summer.  I guess... maybe lazy days means 5 margaritas deep so the kids' fighting is drown out by a tequila stupor but.... maybe I'm wrong.  I guess I'll continue on my jam packed summer filling in the down time with activities to attempt to maintain my sanity.

firefly nights


Tonight was one of those marvelous, once in a blue moon nights where life just seems perfect.  I almost missed out on these moments... I originally had plans to ditch the family after Kidz Kamp night and go for a few drinks.  The kids have been driving me bonkers at home lately.  It's been a Long, rainy week. 

Anyhow, at church Ry decided he wanted to go to outback to eat after the Kidz Kamp event was over and the kids begged for brown bread.  It was 7:30 and I knew we were asking for a disaster.  We are gluttons for punishment and always leave dinners at restaurants thinking "why did we do this again??"   But anyhow, we went to outback.  
The kids were amazing.  Sure they got antsy but for the most part they were great!  They ate their food, kept themselves entertained and we treated them with desert.  We all shared a chocolate thunder in which no one whined over anyone else getting more than them.  We left and I couldn't stop praising the kids for their good behavior.

On the way home Ry said to me "do you hear that?"  Yup. It was the sound of the boys talking and laughing and conspiring together.  Happily!   No fighting!  In this moment they were best friends.  Partners in crime.  

We got home and noticed there were fireflies outside.  We ran in and got a jar and went out back to catch some. They spent a good 20 minutes chasing the fireflies and filling their jars.  It was the perfect end to a summer night. 
Here's to hoping they sleep in in the morning!







Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Find out what all the talk is about....

On Monday I am hosting an online essential oils class.  It will take place on Facebook from the comfort of your home.  Join in to learn about Young Living Essential oils- what sets them apart from other oils, how to use the oils, and what they can be used for to help your family!   To join in, send me a message and friend request on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nicole.barczak.3 and I'll add you to the group!   Everything will happen on Facebook, in this group, on Monday June 16th.  


Saturday, June 7, 2014

FREE book when you take the plunge!!

So, I did a bulk order of these books and I have 5 extras.   They're normally $25+ shipping/handling from the publisher, but I'm going to send it to you for free with the purchase of the Premium Starter Kit. I love my oils, but I also think it's essential (har har!) to have a guide to teach you how to use them properly. First 5 peeps to take the plunge and order the kit get oily goodness and the must-have book for free! (new enrollments only)

Want to learn more about Essential Oils and about my oily journey?  Start HERE. 






To purchase a starter kit please follow these simple instructions:
  1. Go to:  Wholesale Member Sign-up
  2. Please make sure you've checked Wholesale Member (and not retail customer---you will not get wholesale prices as a customer)
  3. Enter #1443070 in the sponsor ID and enroller ID areas (they actually should already be there)
  4. Fill out your info
  5. Select your kit ($150 premium starter kit is the best value.  You get 11 oils plus a home diffuser in this kit)
  6. You can say no to the Essential Rewards--in fact, I recommend this until you've tried the oils and know if you like them or not.
    Disclaimer:  The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Read the full disclaimer here. 

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    24




    24 hours. 

    Night and day. 

    Fresh beginnings. 

    New outlooks. 

    I am thankful for the rising sun, bringing a new day to start over fresh again.  

    Sunday was rough.  As a matter of fact, the whole weekend was rough.  I have been in a terrible mood lately and this weekend Porter was in a completely ridiculous mood.   The past few days he has done nothing but whine and moan and complain and argue and rage and cry over everything.  Mood swings galore.   The littlest things set him off.  If something isn't his way he either whines or pouts or stomps or yells.  It felt like I was living with a 2 year old Jekyll and Hyde in the body of an 8 year old boy.  I spent my whole weekend breaking up arguments, typically started or instigated by Porter.   I'm going to be honest.  By Sunday, I really didn't like my kids.  At. All.  I was exhausted.  And angry at myself for blowing up at them so much but also angry at them for their attitudes.  I wanted to leave and go find a hotel to stay in for a few nights alone and in silence because I was sure my head couldn't take anymore noise and whining and arguing.   I ended the weekend feeling so defeated. 

    Monday came, and when I picked the boys up from school I ran a few errands before picking Amelia up from daycare.  The two boys that got in the van after school were complete opposites of the boys I'd spent the weekend with.   They were kind to each other.  They were talking to each other- without picking and irritating.  I stopped at the gas station and let them pick out a snack since we weren't heading straight home.  The entire way to JoAnn Fabrics they shared snacks, trading Cheez-Its for Bugles.  Porter bartered, "I'll give you 4 Cheez-Its for 2 Bugles!" And they laughed with each other at the trades.  We stopped at JoAnn to pick up my sewing machine and they were fascinated by the monogram sewing machine that was sewing cars and frogs and trains.  Hudson gladly shared the rest of his Bugles with Porter, Porter thanked him in a kind voice.  They shared each others excitement as they watched the machine stitch a car.  I stood and watched them... in awe.  These boys.  AHHHh.  This is how I want to feel about my boys.  Pride.  Joy.  Love.  The lady at the sewing station told me to go ahead and look at fabric while they watched the machine.  I hesitated, thinking... I don't want to miss these moments of kindness and getting along.  Surely they'll start fighting and I wont' be here to break it up.   But, I walked away so proud of them... I couldn't believe what a change it was from the day before.  In 24 hours I went from wanting to run away from them to not wanting to leave their side because I wanted to marvel in their relationship with each other.  

    I am thankful for new days, new beginnings, and new outlooks.  24 hours.  

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    serendipity


    April 2014 was my 1 year anniversary with Young Living as a Lemon Dropper.

    April 2014 I hit an enormous milestone in the company:   Diamond

    Just the thought of this blows my mind.  It is surreal.  I've worked so hard for this yet it is so unexpected.  I can't explain it.  Who am I to be here?   Who am I to achieve this?  Who am I?

    Let me tell you a little bit about my journey.  The other day I saw the word serendipity on pinterest, and it resonated so loudly with me I couldn't deny it.   This entire journey was serendipity to me.  God was working so strongly in my life, and I had no idea.  I had no intentions of being on this journey, and I had no clue this is where my life would lead me.

    In 2012 I quit my job as a literacy coach.  If you've followed my blog for any length of time you'll remember what a struggle I was at around that time.  I wanted to be teaching full time (note *I* as in... that was MY plan, not Gods!), and I'd been putting in my time in a district/school I loved but doors were not opening for me like I had planned (again.. *I*).   I needed to continue working on my Master's Degree to fulfill my educational credits needed for my professional license, but I didn't want to finish my Master's without ever having taught full time.   I was at a cross road.  After I had Amelia, I was hit with a blow that forced me to drastic measures- I quit.  I quit with no other plan in place. I quit on the spot.  I knew my future in the school was not going anywhere, I'd never be hired in full time so I quit.  It was one of the bravest, scariest things I'd ever ever done.  My husband was proud of me but I was terrified.  While I didn't make much at the school (between $14k-$20k a year... no benefits etc), that income was necessary for us to survive.  My only plan was to dig in and pursue photography full time.

    2012 to 2013 was the hardest year ever for me.  I never spoke much about the struggles we went through and I really never divulged how low we got.  We fell behind on our mortgage.  We struggled to afford groceries and formula for Amelia.  We made bad financial decisions, my student loans defaulted.  It was bad.  I never confided this in anyone- ever.  Prideful, I guess maybe?   It was an embarrassing year of my life.  I wanted others to perceive me as flourishing and staying afloat, when in reality, we were sinking fast with no life boat in sight.  I trudged ahead with photography, putting all my efforts into that.  I started a little "side gig" of painting signs to pay bills.  Sure, I loved the artistic job and while I enjoyed it, it was kind of humiliating inside to know that I had a bachelor's degree and was painting signs to keep my family afloat.

    In April, something led me to essential oils.  The Lemon Droppers, to be specific.  I never had an interest in them, never thought the oils- or the business- had a place in my life. But  God had other plans.  I whole heartedly believe this was a God thing- He was working in my life to guide me on this path.  He led me to this serendipity of life.   My son had been sick with a sore throat, and we'd had on again off again sickness all winter, and multiple things led me to call my friend Michelle and talk to her about these oils.  I knew I wanted to try them but I didn't have the money.  Literally... I did not have $150 to squat on.  However, she told me about the business side and how the Lemon Droppers worked and I was very skeptical. I've done direct sales companies before and I've never gotten anywhere with them.  How was this going to be different?  She assured me, it was different.  Lemon Droppers worked together, they were a team, they helped each other.  They had a different approach and while the team was new, it was doing amazing things so far.   I charged my kit to a credit card and prayed I hadn't just done something incredibly stupid.

    Here's the kicker... I couldn't even tell Ryan what I did.  Yes. I hid it from him.  He saw my oils on the counter and I just kind of shrugged them off.  He asked how much they were and I told him "Free.  A friend sent them to me." HA!  Well, they WERE free after my first months check!

    This past year has been the most amazing, mind blowing year of my life.  I spent months praying to God that this would work, that this THING... this team... this job... that I had no intentions of doing, would pan out.  In the late summer I had the opportunity to take back my horse from my teenage years. At the time I was making enough to pay her board, but I was hesitant to count on that money.  Every time I visited her at the barn I prayed that I would always be able to afford her, as I knew without Young Living that having her would not be possible.   I've prayed for my team, for my team members, for the growth of the company, for my wisdom and leadership.  And every month I see progress, some months larger than others, but I see progress.

    I begin to say "I have built this team below me" but I know that is not true.  I haven't done this alone. God has put me on this path, and He is the reason this has succeeded thus far.  And my team- I would not be where I am without an amazing, motivated team.  I can't take credit for this, but I did work my butt off.   When I started this business, I treated it just like that... a business.  A job.  I "clocked in" each day and spent time learning the business end.  I spent time working with teammates to brainstorm ideas, encourage each other and get our ducks in a row.  I wasn't one to sit back and hope it happened.... I knew after a month or two that I was going to MAKE this happen. I was going to help make big things happen not only for myself but for my team.

    So... Diamond.  This makes me giggle because it is so insane to think that is where I am right now. Diamond in a year.  2 levels away from the highest rank in the company- and I made it there in 12 months.  This journey started out with full on skepticism, turned into desperate prayer and finally rejoicing praise.   At my 12 month mark I had 9,000 members on my team, and over 1,000 of them business members.  That number makes me laugh.... I am essentially a leader to 1,000 business members.   What the what?   Remember what I made in A YEAR as a literacy coach?  That's my monthly check. (YL income disclosure statement)  Who am I to have this success?  Who am I to have been given this path to follow?   Who am I to find this financial freedom and yet have so much freedom with my family and children while they're young?   This is a God thing, that is all I can say.  I would have never chosen this path myself.

    One of my favorite things about this job- this job as a team leader- is helping others find success in building their own business as well.  I have cried many tears of happiness hearing my team members success.  Is everyone going to have the same rapid success I have had?  No.  Is everyone going to hit Diamond within a year?  No.  But... I have no doubt in my mind that anyone who works hard enough at it, and puts in time, effort, enthusiasm and commitment will eventually get to this point.   Those that refuse to fail, those that refuse to quit- they will find success.  If you jump in with both feet, fearless and with faith and work at this like it is your business (because it IS YOUR business and YOU and only YOU are responsible for its success and progress!), I know it will show results.  I know this because I've seen it happen time and time again.  

    Serendipity.   Lemon Droppers has been my serendipity.  The unexpected good... the path I never intended to take.  The plan I never had in place.

    Saturday, May 17, 2014

    What are essential oils and why should I care?

    I found this awesome blog post at Created Essentials, and wanted to share here:

    If you had asked me a year and a half ago to define aromatherapy, my brain would have immediately conjured images of spas with hot stone treatments, cool pastel colored walls, and ocean noises.  Oh, and some kind of relaxing smell-making machine in the corner (which I now know is called a diffuser, by the way.)  It would not have occurred to me that essential oils are therapeutic and used successfully to help real medical conditions.  

    Essential oils are and have always been medicinal. In fact, they are the first medicine mankind had, outside of nutrition. Well-preserved oils were found in alabaster jars inside King Tut’s tomb. There are 188 references to essential oils in the Bible. Oils like Frankincense, Myrrh, Rosemary, Hyssop, and Spikenard were used for anointing and healing the sick.  Dr. David Steward, author of “The 12 oils of Ancient Scripture” said, “Essential oils were a part of daily living among Hebrews, Jews, early Christians and their Gentile neighbors throughout Biblical times. Thirty-six of the 39 books of the Old Testament and 10 of the 27 books of the New Testament mention essential oils or the plants that produce them.” God has always intended us to use them for emotional, spiritual, and physical support.

    All through history, essential oils have been expensive and extremely valuable. Even now, pure therapeutic oils can be costly. But when you realize that, for example, 3 TONS of plant material is required to produce a single pound of Melissa oil, the cost begins to make more sense.

    Unfortunately, most of the oils being produced today are sold to the perfume industry for their aromatic qualities only, and therefore not much care is taken in the processing. They are distilling for quantity rather than quality, and the essential oils lack most, if not all, of the chemical make up necessary to produce medicinal results.  Add that to the fact that even products legally labeled as “100% Pure” are only required to have 5% of the essential oil present in their product, and you can understand why more people in modern times have yet to discover what truly pure essential oils can do.

    And what pure, therapeutic oils that have been distilled properly can do is amazing. Essential oils are the life blood of plants... they are the regenerating, oxygenating, and immune-strengthening properties of plants. They are so small in molecular size that they can quickly penetrate the skin, and lipid-soluble so they are capable of penetrating the walls of your cells. Some can even pass through the blood-brain barrier, making them effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. In fact, essential oils can affect every cell of the body within 20 minutes, and then be metabolized like other nutrients. Essential oils are powerful antioxidants and bring much needed oxygen to the cells and stimulate the immune system.

    The “Reference Guide for Essential Oils” by Connie & Alan Higley states, “Pure essential oils are antibacterial, anticancerous, antifungal, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antitumor, antiparasitic, antiviral, and antiseptic. Essential oils have been shown to destroy all tested bacteria and viruses, while simultaneously restoring balance to the body.”

    Pause and take a moment to think about that.  God has been telling His people to use essential oils for thousands of years. Long before what we consider modern science even knew about bacteria and viruses. The laws of God always mesh with the laws of science. Don’t let anyone tell you different! In fact, modern medicine will still tell you there is not much they can do about a virus (like the common cold, for example), but there are MANY antiviral essential oils shown to destroy viruses in laboratory testing. Because of this, there are hospitals that currently use Young Living essential oils to prevent and help with staph/MRSA.

    Here are just a few more thing that pure essential oils have been shown to do:
    • Provide natural pain relief
    • Reduce Inflammation
    • Ease stress and anxiety
    • Help ADD and ADHD
    • Decrease insomnia
    • Rejuvenate skin and alleviate skin conditions
    • Support muscles and bones
    • Improve the circulatory system
    • Promote optimal endocrine function
    • Soothe digestive disorders
    • Protect against colds and influenza
    • Improve mental clarity
    • Provide oral and dental care
    • Protect against cancer
    • Clean the air of germs, toxins, mold, heavy metals, and odors

    My family has also used them to treat scrapes, bruises, cuts, strains, joint and ligament issues, hormonal issues, anxiety and depression, back pain, headaches, tooth pain, sinus issues, influenza, colds and other viruses and infections, digestive issues, rashes and skin issues, ear aches and infection, air and water quality issues, and general cleaning. This is not a complete list by any means.

    Young Living essential oils are not just scented oils! I'm going to be honest... some of them don't smell good to me at all. The fact is, an essential oil should most often smell like the plants they are distilled from, and if they don’t you have a problem. If the peppermint oil you are using smells like a candy cane, ask yourself what a peppermint plant smells like in nature. (Hint... NOT like candy!) If it does then the “essential oil” you are using has most definitely been adulterated somehow, and I wouldn’t recommend using it for therapeutic purposes. (This is a great article about adulterated oils: http://essentialsurvival.org/adulterated-essential-oils/)

    Aromatherapy works because the molecules enter your body and your brain through your nostrils and your sense of smell. Some pure essential oils smell fantastic, and some not so much, but if it is pure then the smell has no bearing on the effectiveness of the oil itself.  It is the properties of the oil that matter.

    Essential oils can be inhaled, applied topically either diluted or undiluted, and taken internally safely – if they are actually PURE essential oils, and depending on the specific essential oil you are using.  Pure essential oils are powerful, volatile (meaning the molecules “jump” around which is why you can smell them as soon as you open the bottle) substances, and you should always research safety guidelines before use.

    That being said, they are far safer than most of the pharmaceuticals and over the counter drugs being taken en mass by most people. There has never been a reported death due to essential oils, but around 10,000 Americans each year are reported to have died by taking prescription medicine as directed.

    Think of what you currently use in your household, on yourself, or on your children to treat the issues mentioned in this article. Are the products you use healthy or filled with chemicals that are causing more problems, while quite possibly not even fixing the ones you have?

    You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying essential oils.  I use Young Living oils and products because I can know that they are the purest possible essential oil out there. The only way for you to know is to try them for yourself!

    These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements in this article or on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. These are simply testimonials or experiences I or others have had, and in no way guarantees your results would be the same.

    *References: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, Connie & Alan Higley, “12 Oils of Ancient Scipure”, David Stewart, Ph.D., R.A., D.N.M., 20 Health Benefits of Essential Oils by SoundConcepts, Essential Survival.org

    *blog post by Created Essentials: 
     http://createdessentials.com/what-are-essential-oils-and-why-should-i-care/

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    angel kisses

    I love freckles. 

    I have freckles, so I guess I have to love them, right? 

    Porter has had freckles since he was a toddler, and I always tell the kids they're kisses from angels.  I noticed recently that Hudson has some faint freckles spattering his nose and cheeks.  I pointed it out and he was astonished.  I told him they're kisses from angels... that Nina must be giving him kisses!  

    A few days later he comes out of his room and says "MOM!  I have another freckle on my wrist!  Oh. My. Word!  Look!  Nina must have given me a kiss last night!"  Melt my heart.   This boy... he has such a childish wonder about him.  

    I love him. 



    our home away from home


    We finally broke down and decided to get a camper.   We've contemplated it before by we were never in a good place financially to buy one, or take a loan out for one.  So, the timing felt right this spring.  We have been paying down debt and wanted to splurge on something fun for us as a family. We found a hybrid camper in great condition, owned by an older couple.  I was so nervous about spending the money on a camper because is heard horror stories about floor rot and water damage and delamination  Yadda yadda.  After meeting Betty and Bruce, I felt they were honest and trustworthy.  The kids are so excited about the camper.  I already have plans to decorate and recover the cushions and make new curtains!  I want to buy matching bedding so that it all is adorable and cozy and cute!  Haha!  I really want to paint the cabinets and go all out but I don't think Ry is loving that idea.  Psshhhhaawwww!   So we made last minute plans for memorial weekend and are going to mackinaw for a week in August.  I am trying to make plans for a weekend in June, July and September too.  Not sure Ry will be able to take a lot of time off since we are going to the beach in June too.  But anyhow, Bring it on, 2014 camping season.... We are ready for ya!  

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Mothers Day 2014

    I am incredibly blessed.   I've had good mothers days.  And terrible mothers days.  This year, however, was incredibly perfect.

    Ry let me sleep in, and I was woken only by Porter, who brought me breakfast in bed.... A bowl of Trix cereal in a kids' Ikea bowl, meticulously layered on top of a small kids Ike's plate and then a larger adult plate.  I like this boys' presentation. ;-). He also brought me Oj in a cup with a top.  I love him.  I are my cereal half asleep (partially thinking.... Strain the milk... I'm almost positive he doesn't know to use 1% milk and there's a chance he used Amelia's whole milk).  He came upstairs and snuggled with me for a bit, and then later Hudson and Amelia came up to snuggle with me too.  I love snuggling with my kiddos.

    I got up and was presented with one of the best Mother's Day presents ever... A journal from the kids. Ry had found an old scrapbook of mine I never completed.... It had one page in it titled "pieces of me" and was about myself in 2005, pre-kids.   He had the kids each draw me a picture and write a note.  It was adorable.  Then I took the kids outside for a few minutes.... The weather was beautiful.

    We decided to go out for lunch.  Ry had outback in mind and I knew it would have a long wait.  I figured mcdonalds was in our future.  I called outback and sure enough, 2 hour wait.  No way.   We went to Wendy's.  A little classier than mcD's.  It didn't matter to me.  I was with my family.  It was perfect.

    Amelia and Hudson took a nap and Ry made me some raised garden beds for the yard.  We spent all afternoon planting flowers, building garden beds, digging holes and planting veggies.  The kids helped, and played and were filthy by the end of the day.  My mom came over as well and took the kids to the park for a little bit.  We ordered pizza for dinner and finished the evening off with baths/showers all around.  You know you had a good day when you require two showers and your feet are black from soil!  

    It was the perfect end to the weekend.  

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Monday Monday!

    Monday has become my favorite day of the week. 

    1. It's CLEANING DAY! (well, every other week). LOVE starting out the week with a fresh, clean house! 
    2. It's my work day... for reals, this makes me happy! Amelia is getting loved on at Miss Marleens and I get an entire day of quiet to focus on work/my team etc. 

    Mondays are so underrated!

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    How are babies made?

    So, the other night we were getting the kids ready for bed and the boys and I were laying in my bed (Well, I was laying there chatting with them, they were bouncing around).  Ry was putting Amelia in bed and Porter says to me "Mom, how are babies made?"

    Uhm.  Whaaattt? 

    He's 8.  In 2nd grade.  And TALK ABOUT BEING PUT ON THE SPOT!!   

    First let me say, I never want to lie to my kids... and Ry and I have been having lots of discussions with Porter lately about lying (porter doing the lying, or accusing Ry and I of lying to him) and we've been really trying to reinforce that we're a family and we aren't going to lie to each other.  From the beginning the boys have known the "technical" terms for boys and girls parts... not pee pee or potty spot or whatever some might call it.  Its always been penis or vagina.   And a few months ago Porter did ask how Amelia came out of my tummy and so I told him "Well, she came out of my vagina."  I know this subject is something I want them to always be able to ask us about so I didn't want to shame it. But HOLY HELL what do you say to that question on the spot!!

    I asked him what he meant, and I tried to say "Well, babies are made inside mommies tummies."  he continued... no but I mean HOW are they made?   

    OH MY WORD

    I tried to slowly get into it... "Well, there's this thing called a sperm and an egg, and when they combine, they make a baby"

    Please let that be enough.  Please let that be enough.  

    "Noooo, mom... I mean... how does it get made?" 

    I asked him where he heard it from. He said Max at school told him... its a bad word... he wanted to write it down for me.  So he ran to his room and got a notebook and wrote "SEX" on it.  

    FRICK.  Frick.  WHAT THE HELL DO I SAY TO THIS???

    I asked what Max told him, and why they were talking about this.  

    P: "Well, the big book of knowledge in the library was talking about how babies were made.  So I asked Max.  And Max told me s-e-x.  His mom told him.  What is that?"

    Me: "What did the big book of knowledge say?"

    P: "I don't know.... if I would have checked it out of the library as my library book, I'd probably know!"  

    HAHAHAH!

    So at this point, ryan comes in and he hears the convo and he says "NIC!  He's 8.  The stork brings the babies."  HAHA!  (Porters says... what's a stork?)  

    I am pretty sure I failed but I tell him.... "Well, sex is a special kind of hugging that mommy and daddies do."

    KILL ME NOW.   

    Ryan stifles his laugh.   I'm dying because I don't know what to say but I know the stork isn't the right answer! 

    I ask Porter if that answers his question and he says "Yep!"  And I remind him that he can always come and ask mommy and daddy anything he has questions about, and he should talk to us about those things and not his friends, and that he probably shouldn't talk about sex or how babies are made at school because its something that kids should talk about with their moms and dads.  


    Holy lord.  HOLY LORD.

    Also... I looked up the "Big book of knowledge" on Amazon.  And here is one of the reviews:




    and this blogger has the pics!  GAH!!!  http://leonsmom.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/never-say-never/  










    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    Well, how do you watch tv at your house?

    Oh, not sitting in a saddle?  Huh.  That's strange. 

    I brought my saddle home to clean it and Amelia insists on "riding horsey" on it throughout the day.  And, well... watching tv in a saddle seems like a great idea too, right? 


    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    Boss Lady

    My boss is horrible today. She screams demands at me in a foreign language and when I try to comply to her requests she runs from me screaming "Noooo!" #tinyterrorist #bossladyneedsanap

    This girl has hit the terrible 2's, that's for sure.  She pushed the stool over to the kitchen counter and climbed up to get into the candy jar. I found her on the counter with an unwrapped starburst in her mouth.  A wrapped one was in her hand, stretched toward me screaming "HEEEELLLLPPPP" to have me open it for her.   When I removed the tasty little choking hazard from her mouth she proceeded to throw a 5 minute tantrum on the floor.  *sigh*

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    Just some updates


    • Porter has been so so excited to be doing a "Tumble to Cheer" class after school.  I had a feeling it'd be all girls, but he was the one that said he wanted to do it.  One of the coaches was a male, so I thought... well maybe its more of a tumbling class, not "cheer".  Yeah.... tumbling lasted about 2 minutes.  I left school to pick up Amelia and by the time I was half way to Marleen's I got a call to pick him up because it's all girls. Bummer.
    • H: (disgruntled because he lost his bedtime book for not getting his pajamas on during the 15 min he was upstairs) Everybody hates me. Nobody even wants to play with me outside at recess.

      P: I want to play with you Hudson but I don't see you. If you would eat faster you could come out and we could play.

      H: What do you want me to eat all my food at one time and choke? And I would choke and die? And then an ambulance would have to come and everyone on the playground would see and hear what everyone was talking about?

      Oh the dramatics...
    • We finally planned our beach vacation for June.  We're headed to a different location that normal... Topsail Island!  I've heard great things about the area, and I think it should be pretty similar to Holden Beach, where we usually go.
    • Because we waited so long to book our beach trip (because we were kind of in limbo waiting to hear if Ry was going to take a position at the Greensboro, NC location and I didn't want to have a beach trip planned if we were going to be moving in June/July etc...).... we had to change dates.  Which made our beach trip begin the same weekend I had plans to go to Chicago with Katie for a girls weekend and to see Needtobreathe in concert.  UGH.  I luckily was able to resell my tickets b/c the section I bought was sold out, but it bummed me out that I'm not going to get to see them in concert.  :(


    Fake Birthday

    Hudson: "Mom! Tomorrow is sissy's fake birthday!" (aka her birthday party)

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    This journey called life....

    When I started this oily journey, my goal was to try something more natural for our family and my "bonus" would be to make enough money to "get us through the winters" when photography was slow. HA! I am cracking up at God's humor in this because I had no idea how much this would change my life- in an amazing way! The people I have met through this, the stories of healing I've heard and seen, and the lives I've seen changed- both physically and financially. It astounds me. Literally, I thank God every day for leading me in this direction. I don't have plans to pick up and move across country like my friends Monique and Lindsay (whose businesses I'm right behind by just a few months!) but the possibilities that have opened up to my family because of this blow my mind. I can't wait to see where we all are in the next year or two... or heck, even the next 6 months! It's an awesome journey to be on, thank you Lord.

    Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Deep thoughts on "Siblingships"

    This afternoon I came across this blog post:  What I love about being a Mama: Sibling Friendships and while I could relate to that euphoric feeling of melting into a puddle at seeing your children truly LOVE each other, it also made me feel really sad.  Sad, you say?  Why?!  *sigh*

    Sometimes I feel like the biggest mama failure ever because my kids rarely seem to like each other.

    The boys fight ALL. THE. TIME.  And if I were to pinpoint a "culprit" it would be Porter... because I swear to goodness we can get into the car after pickup and I ask how their days were and Hudson starts to excitedly tell me and Porter, rarely ever fails, has to make some snide remark about how stupid that was or that sounds dumb.  I mean, its not ALWAYS Porter, but if I were honest he's the instigator 75% of the time.

    It's not just that... its really so much more.  The boys get along with Amelia great.  She's the munchkin little sister that they adore.  Sure, she annoys them but for the most part, they bend over backwards for her... her little antics and needs are charming and adorable.  But with each other?   They can't see past the ends of their noses.  A brother asking for a favor is a huge inconvenience.  They don't talk nice to each other.

    Don't get me wrong... there are times that they get along beautifully.  Usually it is when I am fed up with their fighting so I send them both to their separate rooms, only to find they've snuck into Porter's room to quietly play legos together.  And there are times they'll wrestle and joke around, or ask to have sleepovers in Hudson's room (because he has 2 beds), or times that they play Minecraft together and crack each other up.  Oh I relish those times... I stare at them in awe wondering why... WHY can't it be like this all the time?  Why can't they have this beautiful "siblingship" where they adore each other and have each others back all the time?

    I don't really know how to change it.  I don't really know what I've done wrong... or what I can do to make it right.  Sometimes I feel like its a crapshoot, this siblingship... that personalities often just clash and make it impossible for them to be "friends" most of the time.  But sometimes I feel like its something I've done, something I've not nurtured, somewhere I've gone wrong.

    I'd love to know your thoughts on this... I'd love to know how your children's relationships are.  Are they close in age?  Far apart?  Different genders or the same?  Do they share a room?  Do they have similar personalities?  Has their friendship been close from the beginning or was it a work in progress?   Tell me the scoop, friends.... this mama needs help.






    early morning drama queen

    This sums up my day with Amelia. 7:30am and she wanted to go outside with her "whoo whoo" hat on (ahem... Owl bike helmet, that is...)



    We did make it out for a 3 mile bike ride, so that made her happy for a little bit at least!




    Wednesday, April 9, 2014

    desperate measures

    Sometimes I just let her empty the whole thing of wipes. Because it keeps her still and quiet for 15 minutes.



    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    Great Wolf Lodge | Spring Break 2014

    This year we weren't able to take our annual spring break beach vacation because Ryan couldn't get time off work.... the other programmer beat him to putting in for the week off.  BOO.  I was not happy about being stuck in yucky Michigan spring for the week, let alone stuck home with 3 kids in the yucky Michigan spring.  I decided I'd take the kids somewhere for a few days to get us out of the house.

    We contemplated Chicago but then were told Chicago was a mad-house over spring break with kids being off school, so we nixed that idea.  Great Wolf Lodge happened to send me an email promo and it was a great deal, so I booked a couple nights!

    The last time we'd gone to GWL, Ryan had influenza and the boys ended up sick so we left a night early. It sucked.  (read about that here  And funny.... my pic of all my nasty cleaning supplies and OTC meds. GAG.  Porter has had a dry cough today and I've been oiling him up with Ravintsara and Eucalyptus.  My how times have changed....) I was excited for them to get to enjoy GWL... 2011 was the only year we went... and it was a bust!

    My mom was in town for spring break so she came with us. Extra hands... yes, please!  I ended up surprising the boys with the trip the day before.  They were so shocked.  They couldn't wait to go, and Hudson cracked me up packing his backpack and a huge bag full of his stuffed animals.  That kids loves his animals! 

    We ate at a few places we rarely/never eat at... Jimmy Johns (eh okay... kind of bland) and 5 Guys (DELISH and fabulous service!).  We hit up Old Navy and Target (I forgot swimmy diapers and flip flops... and they were right next to eachother).  And of course... the hotel!!

    The kids could not wait to get to the water park.  Amelia LOVES the water, so of course she's yelling "MAAAAHHHHMMM!!!  Fwimmin!  Fwimmin!" trying to hurry us up.  She has no fear of water, and would play all day if she could!  The boys wanted to do the lazy river first.  Weird, right?   Amelia used her puddle jumper floater and she literally swam the entire way around the lazy river.... TWICE!  She has no fear.  They all went on the smaller water slides but I could NOT get the boys to go on the big ones!  Hudson did go on one off of the big Fort Mackenzie, but he surprised me with not being very daring in that aspect.  Porter didn't surprise me.  The kid is fearless in so many other ways, but rides?  No way.  Disney taught me this about him HAHA!   Hudson loved everything there... the kiddie water slide, the lazy river, the activity pool and the toddler area.  He hopped from one place to another.  Porter liked the hot tub, activity pool and Fort Mackenzie.  Amelia loved the lazy river, kiddie slide, and the toddler area.  She has no fear of doing things on her own, walking up the stairs to the slide alone, going down alone, dunking into the water, swimming alone.... she amazes me.  





    The first night we were there I let the boys do the MagiQuest.  We ended up doing some package that included the wand and topper and game and a cape... $100 later we were on our way.  It was a bit confusing at first to figure out but once we got going Hudson and I were able to complete one mission. We completed two more the next day.  It was a lot of money to invest, but the next time we go I know we'll just have to pay for the actual game, and its a nice alternative to the water park. Keeps the kids entertained!  





    Tuesday we all took a LOOOONNNNG nap in the afternoon.  I don't think anyone slept very well the night before.  Amelia had woken up around 4am, and then the boys were up on and off from 6-8am.   Tuesday night we had pizza in the lobby and listened to Storytime, then headed to the room to hang out for the rest of the evening.  We watched some shows and relaxed.


    The kids had so much fun. It was the perfect amount of time for the waterpark.... I wouldn't do any longer than 2 nights that's for sure.  We must make this an annual getaway during the winter!





    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    fake four

    F-o-r is just a fake four. It's just a word to use in a sentence. -Hudson

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    reading and technology punch card

    I've been wanting to create some kind of reading reward for the boys, as well as a technology time limit type deal for them.  I finally made myself browse Pinterest and came up with a plan.... punch cards!

    We're implementing them now, but I really can't wait to use these this summer!  My plan for them is this:

    Technology Punch Card:  They will get one card per week, and each punch is worth 30 minutes of technology time.  They can't use more than 2 punches a day.   Once their punch card is used up, their technology time for the week is up.  They can earn more tech time by reading more books....  :)


    Reading Punch Card:  For every 30 minutes they read, they get a punch.  Once their punch card is full, they can redeem it for 30 minutes of technology time (xbox, wii, iphone, computer, DS, etc).... OR they can redeem it for $3 towards a book in their book order!  


    >> DOWNLOAD HERE <<

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    Winter Updates


    • Hudson has become such an awesome reader.  He's blown through the sight word list at school and is reading Junie B Jones books on his own.  So proud of him!   His newest thing is the where's Waldo book and reading the lists in the back to find "extra" things to search for
    • Porter has also turned into a huge reader lately.  He really likes the magic treehouse books.  He will go through multiple chapters in one sitting.  I often find the boys reading at night and can't bear to make them go to bed when they're voluntarily reading!
    • Lately the boys have been sharing a room.  I love that every once in awhile they decide they want each others company.  I love peeking in before bed and seeing them sleeping in the same room
    • Winter has been long.  Too long.  I'm itching to get out of the house and itching for some major changes.  I go from wanting to move out of state to remodeling our house to redecorating rooms to moving to a new house in michigan.  Ryan's feeling it too as he tore apart our 5th bedroom in the basement to drywall it.  And he's great at tear out but apparently hasn't had the motivation to work on the rebuilding part.
    • Ry is looking into transferring to a different branch of his company- in North Carolina.  We've always wanted to move there but just haven't had the opportunity nor guts. Well, my job is providing far more than any outside the home job could and lucky for me I can work anywhere.  I'm excited at the opportunity but so nervous about the thought of leaving family.  I'm just not sure.
    • Adding another cup of water to the soup, we've begun exploring the local foster to adopt agencies near us.  I've always wanted to adopt a little girl from china and always have felt like I have a daughter that isn't biological to me out there somewhere that belongs in our family.  Ryan is adopted, though he's never felt a huge pull to adopt.  Or maybe any at all if I'm being truthful.  The biggest reason I've never thought it'd be part of our life was because I worked outside the home and also because of money.  But now I work from home and have a very flexible schedule, and money is not an issue. We have a few friends that foster and have/are adopting and I've really felt this tug to look into fostering to adopt. Ryan is opening up to the possibility- he's up for a 4th child but he's really hesitant about the potential heartache of saying goodbye to a foster child.  So, we will be meeting soon with a local foster to adopt agency to get more details.  I know we would be wanting to foster/adopt a little girl 2 or under.  We've asked the boys what they think about this and they were so excited.  They adore Amelia.  They argued over whose room the new little sister would get to share... They both want to share with a sister hahah!
    • I am finally discharged from physical therapy for my wrist and have been cleared to go horseback riding again!   Only.... I haven't had the time to go!  I miss riding so much.  But part of me is kind of scared to risk falling on my wrist.  I'm hoping to make it out this weekend.
    • Porter started wrestling this winter.  He's really doing well and catching on quickly.  Too bad wrestling tournaments are a lot of waiting around to watch 1 to 3 minutes of action.  And it makes me anxious watching these boys wrestle.  Gah!!   But he likes it.  So that's good.  Now to find something that Hudson truly likes.  Hmm.   Not a fan of soccer.  Or basketball.  Or horseback riding (too smelly).  That boy....
    • Hudson has been going through this really scared phase.  He is scared of the dark, of being alone in a room at home, of waking upstairs alone and even showering alone.  He asks to leave the bathroom door open.  When he takes a shower he says "I feel like a ship is about to gonna fall on my head".  What in the world??!?  He also is terrified of pictures of large ships.  And books about ships.  So strange.
    • Amelia started going to daycare 2 days a week.  I really needed to have at least one day a week where I had silence in the house- where I can work distraction free.  Miss Marleen wanted her 2 days a week (for consistency) so instead of my grandma watching her on Mondays while I volunteer in the boys' classrooms, she goes to Marleens then as well.  She LOVES it there, and does such a great job.  Of course, I had no doubt that Marleen would love her and she does.  :)  I love that she gets to be around other kids and do projects and crafts, and I get a day to spend with the boys at school and a day to work distraction free.  Win-win in my book!

    Sunday, March 9, 2014

    oil pulling: I tried it and I didn't die!


    When I first saw all these posts on Facebook and Pinterest about oil pulling I immediately thought "GAG... gross!  I will NEVER do that!"  But... like all things that I've ever said "never" about, I decided why not... I'm going to try this and see what the hype is all about. 


    First let me say... the biggest thing that freaked me out was the thought of putting oil in my mouth. And swishing it.  For 20 minutes.  I have a weak gag reflex and I don't like white, creamy things (like mayo, ranch dressing, sour cream, alfredo sauce..... get your mind out of the gutter...)  Coconut oil is white.  And creamy. Which means that gives me the heebie jeebies. 

    However, I've been looking for a natural teeth whitener and kept noticing that oil pulling makes your teeth whiter. And so I decide to take the leap.


    What IS oil pulling, you say?
    Oil pulling has been around for years... it’s an ancient Ayurvedic technique that basically involves you swishing oil in your mouth for 20 minutes (no more no less) to help improve your oral & overall health. It's pretty simple... while you swish, the oils travels around your mouth and up into pockets your toothbrush can’t reach and pulls out the bacteria and disgusting toxins. Yahoo!


    What are the benefits of oil pulling?
     
    1. whitens teeth
    2. it gives you a reason to be quiet, relax and just BE for 20 min.
    3. banishes bad breath
    4. strengthens teeth, gums and jaws
    5. clears sinuses
    6. relieves headaches & hangovers
    7. increases overall oral health
    8. prevents cavities and gingivitis
    9. detoxifies body
    10. helps you sleep better

    So... HOW do you oil pull?
    Well...I have 3 easy steps for you!


    Step 1
    Spoon ½ to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and begin swishing (I added 1 drop of YL peppermint essential oil).If it’s cold, it will melt. This is the step that wigs people out the most and to be honest, I almost quit right then and there.  The melting... thick oil feeling... EEEK. GROOOSSS.  But.... once it melted it was fine.  There really wasn't a flavor, and it wasn't too bad!

    Step 2
    Swish the oil around your mouth for 5-20 minutes. Yes, 20 minutes sounds like forever. I swished while I was doing my makeup and hair so the time flew by. If you can't make it to 20 minutes, start with 5 minutes and work your way up to 20. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was your amazing new found dental health.

    Step 3
    Spit the oil in the garbage (do NOT spit down your sink drain... it'll solidify and clog it!) and brush your teeth. Don’t swallow it. Remember, it has "pulled" all of the bacteria out of your mouth – you don’t want to ingest that.

    Now, I didn't taste the peppermint oil much while swishing, but once I spit the oil out I could taste it faintly.  Next time I think I'm going to try YL Thieves.  I love the cinnamon smell, and I think it'd be refreshing. So, try it! I swear to you... if *I* can do this... you can too! Come back and let me know how it worked for you. Today was my first try at it, but I plan to continue and hopefully update with my findings.  Let me know what you think about oils pulling and if you've been doing it for awhile, have you seen any great benefits?!