mama cloth 101

Pink Lemonade Shop mama cloth pads

Something funny happens once you start cloth diapering…you begin to look at other items that you throw away and wonder if you can find a reusable option.  Like baby wipes.  Or paper towels.  Or cloth napkins.

Or *gasp* menstrual pads.

Yep.  I know it’s kind of weird.  It took me a while to get used to the idea too.

So.  Let’s talk mama cloth.  Cloth menstrual pads.  They are seriously awesome.

At some point along the way of my crunchy mommy journey I started to hear about mama cloth.  It kept coming up in the mommy groups I belong to and in conversation with other moms so I got curious and I began to look a little further.  They are super popular for postpartum (in lieu of those humongous diapers pads you probably used) but I didn’t learn about them until after I was past that point.  But by the time my first postpartum period arrived when Hudson was almost 10 months old I knew I wanted to give them a try.

I did my research and Pink Lemonade Shop seemed to be the #1 recommended brand of mama cloth.  I waited until they ran a sale after Thanksgiving and then bought an assortment of pads to try.

Pink Lemonade Shop mama cloth stash

I LOVE them!

They are so, SO soft and much more comfortable than the disposable ones.  The wings snap around your underwear so no sticky papers that get folded up under themselves or stick to your skin.  And they are super easy, much easier than I expected.

Here’s the run down:

Why might you want to use mama cloth?  Like with cloth diapers, getting a stash of mama cloth is expensive up front but will likely save you money on your feminine products since they are reusable.  I have not run the numbers on that though so feel free to do some number crunching on your own and report back.  For me it wasn’t the money savings this time (although that is a nice perk), it was for comfort.  Conventional menstrual pads are so uncomfortable.  I think I’m sensitive to the chemicals in those products and I just feel really yucky and almost diaper rash-y when I use them.

Minimizing waste and being environmentally friendly might be another big reason why you’d choose mama cloth.

I have not yet experienced this myself (I think it’s too soon to tell) or looked for any scientific evidence but I have heard many people say that after switching to mama cloth their periods became much lighter and their cramping decreased significantly.  I’m probably not explaining this correctly but the theory I’ve heard about this is that the chemicals in disposable pads and tampons pull the blood from your body (since absorbing liquid is what it is designed to do) and that actually makes your period worse.  Letting the body bleed at it’s own pace (by not using those chemicals) results in an easier period.

Like I said, that’s just what I’ve heard.  But it’s worth a try!

What about the gross factor?  Just about every time I used regular pads I would end up with some blood on my panties that I had to rinse and stain treat, so honestly I wasn’t concerned about that…I figured if I’m already dealing with blood it wouldn’t really matter.  And so far I’ve had no issues with it.  It’s much less gross than dealing with baby poop!

How do I wash them?  I include them with my diapers.  I run the diapers through a rinse cycle first on their own, and then add the mama cloth in for the wash cycle.  If you don’t have cloth diapers then you could just add them to a regular load of laundry that you will be washing with hot water.  Your mama cloth will come with more specific instructions, I’m sure, but it’s really not difficult at all.

What all do I need?  A stash of mama cloth, of course.  Plus a few wet bags.

mama cloth 101

Like I said, I chose to buy my mama cloth from Pink Lemonade Shop.  The prints are adorable (which is certainly not necessary but is a nice perk) and they were by far the most recommended brand.  She has some starter kits already put together and if you are unsure of what you want that’s a good way to try several sizes out.

PInk Lemonade Shop mama cloth setPink Lemonade Shop sets are usually coordinating colors like this one that came with a 9, 10, and 11 inch pad

Because it had been over a year and a half since I’d had a period (pregnancy and then breastfeeding) I really couldn’t remember how heavy my cycles were plus I wasn’t sure if that would change after having a baby.  Since I wasn’t totally sure what all I needed I got out some of my old disposable pads and panty liners, measured them and bought pads that were about that size.

What I started with:

– one 11 inch overnight pad
– two 10 inch heavy pads
– four 9 inch day pads
– two 7.5 inch pantyliners

pink lemonade mama cloth stash

This was a good amount to try but was not enough for what I would consider a full stash.  I was having to wash every day or day and a half and while it’s only for a week that is still a lot to keep up with.  I’d much prefer to be able to make it about two days so I’ll continue adding to my stash in the future.

There are different fabrics and materials.  I chose the ones that have a minky top with a windpro fleece back.  The minky is incredibly soft and the best part is that it does not stain.  I know!  So great!  In fact all the pictures that go along with this post are of my mama cloth that has been used several times – no blood stains!  You can read about the other fabric options here.  One of the other options is raw silk; I haven’t tried it but it’s supposed to be wonderful for anyone who deals with yeast infections because it is anti-fungal.

windro fleece backs of pink lemonade shop mama clothbacks of some of my mama cloth – all are fleece; the brown has pilled just a little but is still totally functional of course

You’ll also need a wetbag to use to store your used mama cloth in until you wash them.  My favorite wetbags are these Bummis bags.  The small one is the perfect size and has a little loop with a snap that you could hang over a door handle or even on a hook on the side of the toilet.

bummis small wet bag for mama cloth

What about on the go?  I use a Planetwise travel wet/dry bag for on the go.  I put a pad or two in the “dry” side (the dry side is for clean items) and then I’m out I put the dirty one in the “wet” side of the wet bag.  It’s no more difficult then with a disposable pad and actually it’s easier because you don’t have to hunt down a trash can.

9 inch day pad from pink lemonade shop fits perfectly in a planetwise wet dry bagone 9 inch pink lemonade shop day pad in a planetwise wet dry baga 9 inch day pad laid flat fits perfectly in the dry pocket

two 9 inch pink lemonade shop day pads rolled up in a planetwise wet dry bagtwo 9 inch day pads rolled up can also fit in the dry pocket

So what do you think?  Are you intrigued?  Totally disgusted?  Planning to try one or two?  Ready to make the switch completely?

P.S. If you are more of a tampon user then you might want to look into a reusable menstrual cup like the Diva Cup or Lunette.  I have not tried these and to be honest, while mama cloth doesn’t gross me out this kinda does, but I know tons of women who adore theirs so it’s definitely worth a look!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review.  I bought all these items with my very own hard earned dollars and these are my honest thoughts.  Some links are affiliate links.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party

We celebrated Hudson’s first birthday with a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party.  I picked it because I love that book but also because it was a super easy one to plan for – there were tons of ideas to steal inspire me on Pinterest and since the book is all about food I was just able to use that as my meal plan rather than having to figure out what to serve everyone.

My goal was a simple but fun party and I think we achieved that!  I did a few decorations but nothing crazy, a simple meal, and we just tried to relax and enjoy everything.  I’m sure Hudson had no clue what was going on but I think he had fun playing with his friends.

Here are some pictures from the party.

The invitation:

Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday invitation

(invitation template here; I used Picmonkey to personalize it and then used Shutterfly to order them)

The decorations:

An easy and cute door decoration made with paper plates and some scrapbooking paper.

IMG_0226

Balloons and more scrapbooking paper for the caterpillar on the wall.

very hungry caterpillar birthday party balloon caterpillar

Balloon and streamer backdrop for pictures

very hungry caterpillar birthday party backdrop

IMG_0212

I love, love, LOVE this caterpillar with monthly pictures over the gift table.  It was so easy to make – I used my Silhouette to cut the circles and numbers out of scrapbooking paper and slapped two of my favorite pictures from each month of his life on it.

I won’t be taking this down any time soon because I love looking at it.

very hungry caterpillar birthday party present tablevery hungry caterpillar birthday party montly pictures

Fun pennant (banner? bunting? not sure what these are called) over the food table

very hungry caterpillar birthday party banner(free download here)

very hungry caterpillar birthday party banner and food table

The menu (mostly inspired by the book):

- sandwiches (peanut butter sandwiches cut into circles and placed with a tomato “head” to look like a caterpillar and then bread and fixings to build your own cold cut sandwiches)
– chips
– oranges (Halo clementines, actually)
– strawberries
– apples
– watermelon
– cheese cubes
– pigs in blankets (to represent the sausages)
– pickles
– grape caterpillars (grapes on a skewer to look like caterpillars)
– chocolate cake
– ice cream

very hungry caterpillar birthday party food table very hungry caterpillar birthday party fruit very hungry caterpillar birthday party sandwiches

very hungry caterpillar birthday party sausagesvery hungry caterpillar birthday party grapes

very hungry caterpillar birthday party cakes

Hudson’s smash cake – wise friends told us not to use colored icing and after I used colored sprinkles on his smash cake for his one year pictures I decided that was a messy bad idea too, so we just kept it very simple for the cake for his party and used a removable topper for color!

very hungry caterpillar birthday party smash cake

The cake for the rest of us.  Not my best decorating job and I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out but I also wasn’t willing to spend hours on it this time so I’m ok with a less-than-perfect cake (becoming a parent has really helped me relax and refocus my priorities!)very hungry caterpillar birthday party cake(printable food labels here)

A sweet friend of ours embroidered (appliquéd? not sure of the correct term here) this shirt for Hudson to wear at the party.  So adorable!!

very hungry caterpillar birthday party shirt

Cake time!

IMG_0028IMG_0029IMG_0031IMG_0042IMG_0048IMG_0057IMG_0061He loved his cake!  He dove in and chowed down.  And then he stayed up until midnight that night so I’m thinking all that sugar might have been a bad idea!

We had some extra balloons blown up that we didn’t get around for using as decorations.  We had put them all in Hudson’s pack n play in our living room to keep them corralled; the kids found them and had a blast!

IMG_0072IMG_0079IMG_0082

 

Time for presents!

IMG_0095 IMG_0103 IMG_0137 IMG_0139

IMG_0141Please note that after opening all those toys, Hudson is still playing with balloons while his friends enjoy the toys!  Hilarious!  It’s like they say – boxes and paper (and balloons) are all kids really care about…not the actual presents.IMG_0143IMG_0166IMG_0170

We had so much fun!  Visiting with friends, watching the kids play, and celebrating my big boy’s birthday.  It was perfect!

I tried to give credit to the inspirations for all my decorations but I realized that I had seen the same ideas show up in many blogs so it’s hard to credit just one person.  Check out my Pinterest board instead if you want to see where I got my ideas.

Also a huge thanks to my friend Tiffany who grabbed my camera and took a ton of pictures during the party for me!

3,000 feedings, give or take

With Hudson’s birthday Friday we hit a huge milestone: one year of breastfeeding.   I did a little math and that comes out to roughly 3,000 nursing sessions (with a wide margin in either direction of course).

THREE THOUSAND.  3,000 times my body has nourished and fed Hudson.  Isn’t that amazing?

If you’ve read my breastfeeding story then you know that I was very unsure if I would be able to breastfeed at all but my ultimate goal if I were able to breastfeed was to do so for a year.

WE DID IT!

It was NOT easy.  I shared about our many issues here and how incredibly difficult of a time we had at the beginning.  When I posted that we were eight weeks in and had gotten over the very worst.  My last paragraph of that post said:

“Breastfeeding was my Mount Everest.  My marathon.  It was something that I felt so very passionate about and was going to do absolutely everything I could to make it happen.  It turned out being much harder than I anticipated but I persevered on and we did it.  I couldn’t be more proud.”

Rereading that entire post, and that quote in particular, makes me cry.  Eight weeks compared to the 52 I’ve now nursed is such a small percentage, but it was so trying and so discouraging, and that paragraph just sums up everything I was feeling.

The worst of the breastfeeding issues had thankfully passed by the time I wrote that post.  I still had pain every time he latched, although not nearly as bad, for the first five months.  Months five to eleven were great – super easy.  As he gained more mobility and head control nursing at night became easier because he could lay next to me in bed and I could doze some.  Latching was basically painless.  Feedings were much quicker.

IMG_5025

Pain unfortunately came back in month ten or eleven as he got his top teeth.  He has only bitten me once, but many times when he latched it hurt and he would leave teeth marks just from the pressure of his teeth.  Thankfully that has now passed for the most part.

There have been several plugged ducts but have never gotten bad enough to turn into mastitis.  I’ve had supply dips only twice since the original issues, both times when I tried to diet and apparently didn’t eat enough.  Both times were easily resolved with some of my tincture.  Hudson is a very active nurser who likes to kick and pinch while he eats.  That’s very frustrating.

For six months he was exclusively breastfed.  At six months we introduced solids but still kept breastmilk as his main food source.  At a year he still nurses several times a day but also eats rather large meals.  He won’t drink from a bottle, only from the breast.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses but compared to the beginning it’s been a cake walk.  Feedings are so quick, less than 15 minutes!  The frequency has gone down.  He no longer spits up tons after every feeding.  We both are experienced nursers now and know what we’re doing.  Compared to the poor fumbling pair we were a year ago we are total pros now!

Reflecting back on the year it amazes me how far we’ve come.  Being able to breastfeed my baby was so important to me and it means the world that we were able to do so.  Yes, it can be challenging and yes it can be painful but the bond we have is indescribable.

IMG_7291

So where do we go from here?

I actually don’t have a plan.  Like I said, getting to a year was my goal and I didn’t think much past that.  I do not intend to wean him now just because he’s one and that’s some magic cut off.  I don’t have any problems with extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding past a year old) and think it’s very natural (contrary to what many people think) so I’m sure we’ll keep going but I have no idea how long.  I hope to let him go until he decides to self-wean but I guess we’ll have to see because I may get tired of it and be ready to speed up the process before he is.  Hudson is not a comfort nurser so he may easily quit nursing one day.  Who knows?

I’ll be honest, there are many times that I want to be DONE.  I’m the only one who can feed him.  I can’t leave him for more than a few hours.  I get tired of the kicking and pinching and slapping and rubbing.  Some days I’m just touched out.

I want my body back.  I have lost almost no weight in the year since he was born.  I’ve tried.  I’ve exercised and tried to eat healthy and yet, nada.  From what I’ve read some women don’t lose the weight until after they quit breastfeeding (a total opposite from what I’ve always heard about how breastfeeding helps you lose the weight quickly) especially if they experienced supply issues.  Well that sounds familiar, huh?  Selfishly, I want to be able to exercise and diet and lose the weight and not have to worry about my milk suffering.  I’m 40 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and 60 pounds over a good healthy weight.  We aren’t ready for baby #2 yet but when we do get ready for that I’d rather not be packing baby #2 pregnancy pounds on top of the ones still hanging around from baby #1.  Plus my chest is huge.  Like, way bigger than it ever was before the reduction.  I have so few clothes that fit it isn’t funny…even my maternity shirts are too small in the bust.

But then I think of how convenient it is to be able to feed him.  And how breastmilk is so good for him.  And the bond that we have.  And then it makes me sad to think about quitting.  So I guess only time will tell.

But no matter what happens I am so, SO thankful that I was able to reach my goal of a year of breastfeeding.  Being able to breastfeed my baby was important to me and I’m glad it we made it.

Photo Jan 14, 3 06 13 PM

—————————————————————————————————————–

And now a few fun facts because there may be a few of you sitting there thinking “ewww breastfeeding past a year is weird and it’s so super creepy to see a toddler breastfeeding and if they do that then that mom clearly has some issues going on”.

Yes, in the U.S. it is not the norm to breastfeed past a year.  In fact, only 26.7% of babies are still breastfeeding at all at a year old (source) (<— That’s actually the national average, some states are much less.  I think Mississippi is only 10%.  You can see how your state ranks in the CDC’s 2014 breastfeeding report card)  However, worldwide the average weaning age is 4.2 years old (source).

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers should breastfeed “at least until one year of age and then as long as baby and mother mutually want to.” (source)  The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers breastfeed until two years of age or beyond (source).

Kellymom.com, the go-to website for all things breastfeeding related, lists a ton of benefits to extended breastfeeding (aka breastfeeding past a year) with studies cited for all listed benefits.  I encourage you to check it out.

Now, please don’t get all worked up because “Caitlin is saying that I’m a bad mom if I don’t breastfeed and that she is awesome because she breastfeeds and if you don’t breastfeed past a year then you’re awful!!!“.  That is NOT why I included the last few paragraphs.  It’s not to condemn anyone.  It’s not to make anyone feel guilty.  It’s not even to say that I’ll necessarily nurse for another year or two or three.  It is strictly to try to shed some light on the cultural misconception that we (most Americans) have that breastfeeding past a year is weird or crazy or gross and has no benefits.

And before I hop on my soap box about our twisted perception of how breasts are fine to be flashed around if they’re used sexually but don’t even think about discussing breastfeeding because then breasts are just wrong, ’cause we don’t want to go chasing that rabbit, let me leave you with a personal thought:

I used to think extended breastfeeding was weird too.  I didn’t have a specific cut off age in my mind, but I certainly thought breastfeeding a toddler was strange.  And then I had a baby.  A baby who is on the verge of toddlerhood as he cruises around furniture and walks behind his push toys.  An almost-toddler who is still very much a baby who needs his mommy.  A baby who can sign “milk” and gets so, so excited when he knows it’s time for milk because he loves it.  A baby who unlatches and gives me the biggest, milkiest grin ever after he’s full.  So now it seems a lot more natural and a lot less weird.

Like I said, I don’t know what the next year will look like for us breastfeeding-wise but I’m going to keep on nursing and we’ll just take it a little at a time.

one

Hudson's one year comparison

Today my little man turned one.  It sounds so cliche but I don’t know how that happened.  It seriously feels like yesterday when I was holding him in my arms for the first time and now he’s an active, almost-walking, almost-talking, table-food eating, laughing, cheesy, expressive, kissing, loving little guy.

I can’t even begin to convey all the feelings and emotions from this past year.  There really aren’t adequate words.  What a wild ride.  I love Hudson with a love more powerful than anything I had ever experienced before 7:55pm on January 23, 2014 when they laid him in my arms for the first time.

How do you even sum up such a year in one little blog post?

Hours we’ve spent rocking.  Many nights of broken sleep.  Thousands of nursing sessions.  Times when we sit and just watch him after he’s fallen asleep.  Afternoon playtime in the floor when Daddy gets home from work.  Hours of screaming in the car.  Learning to roll and sit and crawl and grab and stand and cruise and throw and eat table foods and give kisses and sign “milk”.  Snuggles in bed in the morning.  Carrying him on my back while I cook and clean.  Splashing in the bath.  Sweet curls.  New teeth.  Spitting up.  Dirty diapers.  Church camp.  Christmas.  Halloween.  Easter.  0-3 month clothes, then 3-6, then 6-9, 12, 18.  Baby talk.  Nicknames.  Playdates.  Leaving him in the nursery at church for the first time.

So many memories and special moments.

Happy birthday my sweet baby precious.  You’ve changed my life this last year and I love you so much.  I am beyond blessed to be your mommy.  I hope to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you…but please try to slow down time just a bit.

Here’s just a sample (a rather large sample!) of my favorite Hudson pictures to recap the year.

{0c34156e-d1cd-47d7-b363-e0551bd4840b}_5

IMG_9202IMG_3445IMG_3480IMG_3568IMG_3620IMG_3687IMG_3694IMG_3774IMG_3895IMG_3956 IMG_3962 IMG_4127 IMG_4137IMG_4165 IMG_4208 IMG_4221 IMG_4259 IMG_4260 IMG_4297 IMG_4349 IMG_4427 IMG_4496 IMG_4511IMG_4601 IMG_4657 IMG_4699 IMG_4707 IMG_4742 IMG_4776 IMG_4790 IMG_4806 IMG_4948 IMG_5084 IMG_5226 IMG_5302IMG_5320 IMG_5412 IMG_5431 IMG_5540 IMG_5640 IMG_5661 IMG_5729 IMG_5800 IMG_5895 IMG_5929 IMG_5961 IMG_6113 IMG_6171

IMG_9578 IMG_6395

IMG_9587

IMG_9638 IMG_6534 IMG_6543 IMG_6595 IMG_6785 IMG_6808 IMG_6935 IMG_6955 IMG_6983 IMG_7030

IMG_9747 IMG_7163

IMG_9769IMG_9779 IMG_7325 IMG_7477 IMG_7481IMG_9857

mini kitchen makeover – new dishes and curtains

Last night I *finally* got the curtains done for our kitchen and I’m in LOVE!  So, so cute!   The fabric I chose looks ever better than I expected and the addition of the curtains gives this space some needed color and coziness.

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains 2

The fabric I used is called Tutti Frutti Apples.  After two years of living here and never finding the perfect curtain fabric (not that I had looked that hard, mind you) I stumbled upon this last fall at a fabric shop in my hometown.  The fabric was $7 a yard and that was more than I wanted to pay so I left it even though I really loved the fabric.  Luckily, a few months later I was at my favorite local fabric store and discovered that they had this fabric in their $2.50 clearance bin!  Hooray!

I bought all that they had and it ended up being exactly what I needed.   I think I had maybe a half a yard leftover.

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains 3I thought about doing a picture tutorial but honestly there are a million curtain tutorials on Pinterest and mine is nothing special.  But for what it’s worth, here is the quick Caitlin version:

For a nice, full, ruffly curtain I used 3 times the width of my window.  I didn’t even measure in feet or inches, just held the fabric up to the window three times to determine how much I needed.

I cut split the yardage in half by finding the middle, cutting in about an inch, and ripping.  It thrills me every time how fabric rips in a straight line.  It’s quite satisfying and makes me feel like I’m on Project Runway.  Each half became one valance.

Then I just hemmed around each rectangle, leaving room at the top to slide the curtain rod through.  Fold over twice, press it down, sew a straight line.  Easy peasy.  Really the ironing is the most tedious part.  I don’t even pin and then the sewing goes very quickly (as long as my junky machine doesn’t jam up a million times.  grr).

The sides I folded over 1/2 inch and then 1/2 inch again.  The bottom I think I did 1/2 inch and then 1 inch.  For the top I folded over 1/2 inch and then about 2.5 inches to allow for the curtain rod.

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains and plate wall

I like to follow The Nester‘s motto of “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”.  My edges are probably not perfectly straight and I know I didn’t sew in a straight line but I also know that if I don’t just get it done then I’ll never finish anything.  I used white thread to sew the short sides and then switched to a green that matched better for the top and bottom.  That’s one great thing about the fullness of these curtains (in addition to the fact that I prefer that look) because it hides the imperfections.  I’m just happy to have it done, mistakes and all!

corelle south beach

By coincidence (or probably because my subconscious is drawn to these colors) my new dishes match the curtains perfectly.  When we got married we registered for some dishes from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I hate them!  They are so heavy and all of them have gotten chipped over the years.  I grew up using Corelle dishes and I love how durable and light they are.  I fell in love with this new (at least, I think it’s new because I don’t remember seeing it when I’ve looked in the past) Corelle print called South Beach and knew I these were perfect to replace our old dishes.  I put them on my Christmas list this year and got enough to replace our old dishes – yay!  It was a fun bonus that they matched the curtains!

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains

And lest you start to get jealous of my perfectly tidy kitchen with matching place settings displayed, let me assure you that is NOT real life.  This is what the kitchen table looked like about five minutes before I took those pictures.  All that mess on the table got relegated to the kitchen counters for a few minutes while I staged and took the pictures and then back to the table it went.

Just keeping it real for you.

What project, small or large, have you gotten done recently that make you feel accomplished?

 

 

a sopping wet New Year

The Date: New Year’s Day 2015

The Time: 9:15 pm

The Setting: Our house

The Background: After a whole day spent taking down Christmas decorations, giving the house a good clean, Hudson refusing to nap and being a general fuss bucket, I was wiped.  Usually Michael and I stay up ’til midnight or later but I was so exhausted that I took a shower and was already in bed reading, planning to go to sleep early.  Hudson was asleep in his bed next to ours.

The Story:   I’m laying there reading and I hear a “drip, drip, drip“.  I think to myself “Hmmm, I must have not turned the shower off completely.  I’ll ask Michael to turn it off when he comes into the room”.  Because I’m tired.  And I’m pooped.  And I don’t want to haul myself out of bed to check on the shower.

Michael is in our half bathroom in the living room and he also hears a “drip, drip, drip“.  He thinks to himself “What is Caitlin doing out there to make that sound?”.

And then.  Chaos.

Michael shouts “hey!!”…pause…”HEY!!!”

This is big cause for alarm, my friends.  Michael is not a shouter.  Like, ever.  I’m the loud one, not him.  Plus, Hudson was asleep.  Once he’s asleep we whisper.  Michael would never, EVER shout and risk waking Hudson up.

So obviously something terrible has happened and I just know an intruder is in our house or some similarly awful event.

I bolt out of the bed and run out the room, slamming my thigh into the corner of the bed as I run, and yell “What?!? What?!?”.  Thankfully Hudson stays asleep.

Michael is already running up the stairs and yells down at me to grab some towels.

No need to ask why because now I can clearly see the water pouring steadily out of the light fixture in our living room.

Oh no.

Michael gets upstairs and sees that the washing machine is full to the top but water is still spraying into the barrel.  Water has come out of the washing machine, flooded the laundry room and hallway (and part of the attic, we later found), and leaked through the ceiling, and come out through one of the light fixtures.

I grab towels and wipe up the puddle in the living room then put a large mixing bowl under the light to catch the water.  We start mopping up the water upstairs.  We used every.last.towel in our house.

Michael calls his dad to bring the shopvac over.  They pull up the carpet, run the shopvac, and set up fans everywhere.

Photo Jan 01, 10 42 16 PM

Around midnight we’ve done all we can do so we finally head to bed.

So much for an early night, huh?

(Hudson slept through all the commotion too.  Amazing since he’s a terrible sleeper even on a good day!)

Turns out, one little hose from our fancy-dancy, less than two year old washing machine had come loose and was spraying water everywhere.

The good news:  

– Nothing was seriously damaged.  There is only one tiny water spot on the living room ceiling and a larger (but not awful) one in the garage.  The pad under the carpet had to be replaced but the floors and the carpet were fine.

– Usually I have a tub of my Young Living stuff that I take to classes and vendor events that sits right directly under that light fixture.  It would have all been completely soaked but we had moved it when we mopped the floors during our huge cleaning spree and had not put it back yet

– For some reason, instead of putting all the Christmas stuff back in the attic that day like I normally would do I had just stacked it all in the guest room and planned to put it in the attic later.  Good thing because water leaked into the attic in the exact spot where the Christmas decorations would have been.  As it were, only a few empty cardboard boxes in the attic got wet.

– We have incredibly kind neighbors who let us use their washing machine the next day to wash all those towels and the clothes that had been in the washer when it broke.

– This happened while we were home and awake; I can’t tell you how many times we’ve started the washer right before we go to sleep or leave the house.  It would have been horrible if we hadn’t caught it as early as we did!

The bad news:

– We had to buy a new washing machine.  But it’s easier to use than our old one.  And it plays a pretty song when it’s done washing.  And we got our old one fixed so we should be able to sell it and get some of our money back.  So I guess it’s not all bad.

Photo Jan 20, 6 36 16 PM

What a way to start the New Year.  Let’s hope the rest of 2015 is much less eventful!

an oily year

A year ago today was a pretty important day.  No, not Hudson’s birthday, that is next week (although it is definitely super important and will receive many blog posts of it’s own in the coming days).  Today is my one year anniversary using essential oils.

If you’ve read my oily story then you know that I really didn’t know what I was getting in to – where to purchase, how to use them, or even what they were good for.  It started with me just wanting some essential oils to use to make nontoxic household cleaners but as I researched I learned they could be used for way more things so I dove in and ordered.

A year ago today that lovely Young Living package arrived on my steps, I tore into my oils, and the rest, as they say, is history.

You can read more here about how I was a convert within 24 hours as I used oils to ease the pregnancy back pain that had plagued me for months.  That was the start of my journey toward using oils for our health.

I also posted this picture on Facebook with the caption “Yay for long weekends!  Starting it off by playing with my new Young Living essential oils :).”  <—– that, unbeknownst to me, was the start of my journey toward an oily business.

Young Living essential oils starter kit

Multiple people commented on that status; some asking for more information about oils, others saying they also used and loved essential oils as well.   People were intrigued!

Less than a week after those oils appeared on my doorstep Mr. Hudson made his entrance into the world and life turned upside down.  In the hours and hours of sitting and rocking and nursing and holding I started reading about oils and researching more and listening to webinars and learning and learning.  And I messaged and text (texted?  what is the plural of text?) and emailed friends who had oily questions.  And then one person wanted to try oils so she signed up.  And then another.  And then my Oily Gurus group held an online class; I posted about it on Facebook and had 40-something people who wanted me to add them to that class!  Wow!  Several more signed up.

And then, all of the sudden, I had a bit of an oily business.

I didn’t set out to build a business.  I had always said I would never sell anything because I didn’t see myself as a salesperson.  But this evolved so naturally and I found that I wasn’t so much “selling” oils as I was sharing my experiences and what I had learned.  I was teaching…not about math or the library, and not in a school setting, but teaching nonetheless and it was fun!

A year later I can’t imagine life differently.  Essential oils have given us alternative options for our health, a “hobby” that I can participate in so I’m not “just” mom all day every day, an extra source of income, a way for me to make new friends and connect with old friends.  And I love it.

If you are interested in finding some natural, alternative options for your health, your home, your family, your pets, you name it, I encourage you to look into essential oils.  I would be thrilled to help you through that journey, I’m part of a fabulous group with tons of support – Facebook groups, webinars, business training, or more.  Or if you already have a friend who is using oils and sharing about them then talk to them.

If you’re interested in the business part, maybe earning some extra money to pay off debts or saving for a vacation or being able to quit your job and stay home (yes seriously, we have quite a few people in my oils group who have been able to do this thanks to their Young Living business) then I’d love to help you with that too.  We have lots of resources and help and can get you started building a business.

To be clear, you don’t have to “sell” oils, many people just order them and use them for their family and that’s totally fine.  Or you might be like me (and many, many others) who never planned on it but it happened so naturally that they found themselves with a little side business.  Or if you know you want to do this right out of the gate then go for it!

In honor of my Young Living anniversary I’m doing a little giveaway.  The first person to sign up with me before the end of the day tomorrow (Sunday, January 18) will receive an Essential Oils Pocket Reference (an invaluable 300+ page reference book that gives detailed information about each oil Young Living offers plus information on how to use them for various issues) PLUS a 5ml bottle of Valor.

eopr and valor

That’s BIG y’all.  I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to offer Valor as a giveaway.   Valor has a special place in my heart because it’s the oil that wowed me when I first got my kit…it not only helped me with my pregnancy back pain but also quieted my insane pregnancy snoring.  It’s actually no longer offered in the starter kit (you can still buy it, it just doesn’t come in the starter kit anymore).  So some lucky person is going to get an amazing starter kit (it’s SUCH a great value…over $300 worth of stuff), a reference book so you’ll know how to use your oils, an additional bottle of pure happiness Valor, plus access to all of the goodies my team has to offer (private groups, business classes if you want, online classes, and more).

This is what all comes in the kit and ordering instructions are here

Young Living member #1612080

What are you waiting for??

Hudson’s 11 month update

Eleven months.  Sniff.  Sniff.  That means the next time I do one of these posts he will be a year old!  It’s gone so fast.

growth

According to our very unofficial measuring Hudson is 23 pounds and 29.5 inches.

His 12 month pants (like jeans and khakis) are way too small now and stretchier 12 month clothes are getting tight too.  He’s right on the verge of 18 month clothes; he has a few 18 month items that I’ve been going ahead and putting on him – they are a bit too long still but at least they aren’t like spandex!  In disposable diapers he wears a size 5.

food

He LOVES to eat and he eats a variety of food.  The holidays have really given him some new yummy things to try.  Some favorites have been turkey and dressing, macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, vegetable soup, spaghetti, ham, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, oranges, beans, and so much more.

IMG_7279vegetable soup

IMG_7321IMG_7322

IMG_7325first time eating spaghetti…and loving it!

He still nurses four times a day and once or twice during the night.  We don’t hold a strict schedule around here but it usually works out to be about 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm (so basically: before breakfast, before lunch, in the afternoon, and then right before bed) then he’ll wake up once or twice between 8pm and 8pm (let me be clear…many nights he wakes up multiple times between the time we lay him down for bed and the next morning, but I usually only breastfeed him once or twice during those wakes ups).

Something new that he’s doing is burping after he nurses.  Once he was able to sit up on his own I quit patting his back to burp him but recently I’ve noticed that after he nurses and I sit him back up he does this funny little hum sound and kind of pushes some burps out.  I don’t even know how on earth to describe it but it’s pretty funny!

sleep

Well, it’s a little better.  He takes two naps – one around 10am and one around 2pm.  I hold him the whole time while he naps or otherwise he won’t sleep.  His New Year’s resolution is to start sleeping on his own ;).  We’re going to work on that this coming month.

He starts out the night in the cosleeper next to us then ends up in our bed at some point.  Usually he wakes up several times during the course of the night but not because he’s hungry so we just rock him and put him back down.  Thanksgiving night we stayed with my grandparents and he slept an uninterrupted stretch from midnight to 6:30!  That hasn’t happened in over five months!  I don’t know if he was just totally pooped from all the activity or what.

On a good night he will go to sleep easily, wake once to eat before we go to bed, stay asleep until 6am or so before he wakes up to eat again, and then sleep a little longer until finally getting up for the day around 8am.  That is rare.  Most nights there are significantly more wake-ups than that.  But hopefully he’ll keep improving and this will become more of the norm.

We can only hope.

IMG_7291 Even though I get frustrated having to hold him to sleep so much, I wouldn’t trade this view for the world.  I’m trying to enjoy the snuggles while I can.

mobility

Super fast crawling, lots of cruising (holding on to furniture and walking around it), but not standing independently or walking yet.

IMG_7281We keep having to move stuff further and further back as he is able to reach more

IMG_7163I was nervous about putting the Christmas decorations out and for good reason!  As soon as I hung this garland up he tried so hard to reach it.  He wasn’t quite tall enough but he sure tried hard.  He left it alone after the first night.  The Christmas tree was another matter…I had to move him away from it many times a day because he wanted to pull the ornaments off and yank on the strands of lights.  That was exhausting.

other firsts

Hudson said his first word!  He’s been babbling forever and making sounds like “dadada”, “bababa”, “mamama”, etc. but right around Thanksgiving he started mimicking us saying “bye bye” and he’s been saying it ever since!  Any time he hears us say bye or tell him “Hudson, say bye bye” he’ll say it.

Since he has teeth now we got his first toothbrush.  I’m not as consistent about using it as I should be (as all my dentist and hygienist friends cringe and fuss at me) but we try to brush his teeth before bed (when we remember).

He discovered the stairs this month but he doesn’t really try to climb them yet, just stands there and will reach for things that I’ve set on the steps.

IMG_7169

adventures

We went to see Santa at our local library and he did much better than I expected!  I thought he would freak out and cry but he just looked at him very solemn for a while.  We couldn’t get him to smile for the picture but at least he didn’t scream.

IMG_9766IMG_9770IMG_9775IMG_9779showing off those pretty teeth!

We went to the mall one day to do some Christmas shopping and the area of the mall that has Santa also periodically “snows”.  It started snowing while we were walking past so I drove Hudson through it.  He was not a fan and started crying.  I wasn’t a fan either once I realized it was soap or some other weird substance that I had to clean off of everything!

IMG_7315

Michael had to go out of town for work for a week; Hudson and I stayed home for this trip and my mom came and stayed with us for a few days.  One evening during that week I had a booth at a Christmas bazaar and I left Hudson at home with my mom instead of bringing him like I usually do.  I was gone for about four hours and that was definitely the longest I’d ever left him.  He did great, it was just a pretty big step for us!

IMG_7121playing with Uncle Brendan at Thanksgiving

We travelled quite a bit this month for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Hudson did much better with all the people around at the holidays than I expected!  His cousins and aunts and uncles just loved seeing him.  He travelled better than I thought he would, too.  We borrowed a dvd player from a friend and found that it kept his attention pretty well so we downloaded some Daniel Tiger episodes and rigged up my old iphone for him to have something to watch in the car.

IMG_7202

He does better (not great, but better) in the car when he’s watching his shows, although long trips I still have to sit in the back with him, hand him toys, talk to him, hold his paci in, pat him, etc.  It’s exhausting and a workout but the screaming has decreased dramatically so it’s worth it.

other stuff

His hair just gets curlier and curlier, crazier and crazier.  I’ve given up brushing it after a bath because that actually makes it look worse, so I just let the curls do their thing.  We get asked all the time where he gets his curls from…the answer is Michael!  His hair was curly when he was little and would be wavy now if he let it grow out.

IMG_7117 IMG_7119IMG_7228IMG_7230So cute – I was stretching during my workout and he started copying me

IMG_7319I put several of his books on that bottom shelf (because he was always trying to pull our books off the shelf) – he’ll go get them and sit and flip through them for a good long time

IMG_7333reading a new book he got for Christmas

For some strange reason he started hating baths this month.  He used to love baths and would splash and play but right now he screams his head off in the tub and will fight you to try to keep you from setting him in the water.  I *think* it’s because we recently started sitting him up to wash him (instead of laying him on his back on his foam pad thing) and a couple of times I got water in his face when I rinsed his hair.  My best guess is that kind of traumatized him and now he doesn’t want to take a bath at all.  We’re working on trying to get him comfortable in the bath again but it’s not very fun right now!

IMG_7481oh you know, just hanging out in the bathroom flipping through a magazine…

IMG_7176 chewing on Daddy’s camelbak

IMG_7197passed out in a back wrap nap

I know this is a bad picture because it was so dark but I have to show how he uses his paci sometimes – he sticks the whole entire thing in his mouth!  He’s nearly gagging on it when he does that, but he keeps doing it over and over so I guess it doesn’t bother him too much.

IMG_7286And that wraps up Hudson’s 11th month!  I’ll see you back here in a month to do his ONE YEAR update.  Wahhhhhh!

11 month comparison

Hudson’s nine month pictures

Here are a few (ok, a lot) of the pictures from Hudson’s 9 month photo shoot.  Unlike at his six month pictures when he gave us tons of smiles and really cheesed it up, this time he didn’t want to smile at all!  We worked so hard to get him to smile but he just wanted to be really solemn!  He usually such a ham but he wasn’t feeling it that day.  He was drooling buckets and you can see the bags under his eyes (a good indicator that he isn’t feeling well) so I’m sure that had something to do with it.  But we still got some amazing pictures.  Big thanks as always to our amazing photographer, Shelley, at Sweet Dreams Photography.

2 3 He did not like the hat.  It was a little too big plus he kept taking it off as soon as I put it on4 1015 17 19 22 I kept baiting him with my phone to try to get him to smile or crawl toward us.  He was so happy when he finally grabbed it from me!  I love that Shelley included this picture!23 Sooooo not a fan of the hat!26 29 3339 40 41 42 45 47 48 49The fence was the last pose of the day and we finally, FINALLY got him to really smile!
50 55 57 58 There’s the big cheesy grin!  59 61Such a handsome fella!

High Five for Friday

It’s sure been a while since I did one of these, huh?  Well here’s what I’m loving today:

1.  Homemade peppermint mocha with homemade whipped cream.  Best. Drink. Ever.

homemade mocha whipped

2.  I’ve been meaning to make us stockings for a few years now.  I’ve had the pattern picked out and purchased but just never got around to finding fabric and sewing it up.  I finally picked some fabric and am ready to get started on the stockings (and a matching tree skirt).  Fingers crossed I get it done by Christmas!

This is the pattern I’m using.

stocking pattern

I wanted something that wasn’t necessarily Christmas fabric but would have that same color scheme, that wasn’t too trendy but not old either.  Something that would look relatively timeless.

One of the first things I saw when I walked into the fabric store was this quilt.  I could not stop looking at it!  So gorgeous.  The colors and patterns were perfect and lucky me they had all the matching bolts of fabric right there with the quilt so I was able to get what I needed.

Love love love.
Christmas quilt

stocking fabric

3.  I also super lucked out while I was there with some curtain fabric.  If you follow my Facebook page you know I found some fabric that I loved a while back at a fabric store in my hometown.  Lo and behold the store I went to today had it…and it was on clearance for $2.50 a yard!!  I think it was $7something at the other store so I was thrilled!

curtain fabric

4.  Our Christmas decorations are almost all done.  We put most of them up Tuesday and then Michael went and got us a tree last night so tonight we plan to get that decorated and then we’ll be all set (well, besides the stockings and tree skirt that I need to sew….minor details ha!)

Christmas tree
We definitely had to modify some decorations and get creative with our placement thanks to Mr. Curious here who has to get into EVERYTHING.  That garland usually hangs to the ground – I looped it up to make it shorter but he still had to try to get it.

Decorating the tree should be interesting….reaching for the decorations

5.  I got a new headband.  And I like it.  That’s all.

headband

Now for the LOW five part of the week….

gray screen of deathAngryflashinggrayfolderwithquestionmark of death.  Yep, that happened last night.  So we’ll be going to buy me a new laptop tomorrow.

The positive of that is Yay new laptop! but the negative is Well there goes my Chrismabirthaversary gifts for the rest of forever.

Computers are expensive, yo.

And that about sums it up!  Happy weekend to you all.

This post brought to you by one fussy baby who is finally asleep.

wrap nap