Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Essential Oils: A former skeptic turned total believer

This past Christmas I decided it was time to ask my mom to get me the Young Living Essential Oils starter kit.  For months I had watched countless women post about them on Instragram, Facebook, and their blogs about how beneficial essential oils were in their life. What held me back for a long time was the cost, and just general skepticism -- I believe in some crunchy hippy stuff, but not all! I also wanted to make sure the oils were high quality and safe for me to use internally, and on my baby!  After Felix got his first of many colds, I was hoping that essential oils might be a way of helping his symptoms naturally -- instead of overwhelming his system with antibiotics and tons of ibuprofen or tylenol. 
When we finally got settled and moved in I opened up the box and poured through all of the material inside. It's definitely intimidating at first. I had never met with someone in person about using essential oils, and had only skimmed through Instagram posts and facebook groups that teach you the basics. I decided that using the diffuser was an easy way to jump in, and with time I would learn which oils can be put on what body parts for different ailments. Just a month later, and I'm totally hooked. I have seen firsthand, the benefits of using essential oils and am so eager to find out how to incorporate them more into our daily lives. 

Here's a short list of what it's helped with so far:
- Seth's snoring
- my funky moods
- bedtime
- cold symptoms
- headaches
- stinky things
- neck and back tension
- cough and congestion
- did I mention SNORING?! hallelujah!! 

Lavender was an easy go to. I knew it was in baby bed time stuff, so I diffused it in Felixs bedroom for a couple hours before bedtime. This resulted in a calm baby who didn't make a peep when he was tucked into his crib at night. Now I use it frequently to help us all relax and wind down at the end of the day. Lavender is also good for soothing bites, burns, and stings. It can help with dry or chapped skin, and even dandruff! That is next to try on my list as my dandruff has dramatically increased since moving to the PNW. 

Young Living has blends which are fantastic. I particularly like Stress Away. It helps my mood when I'm having a difficult day (which is not uncommon with a toddler). I like to diffuse it almost every day, and it smells great! They even make Stress Away in a roll on container for easy application when you're out and about. 

My next favorite is Valor. Valor is a blend of frankincense, Rosewood, Blue Tansy, and spruce essential oils, it smells amazing too!  As a wife of a snorer, I will do whatever it takes to sleep better at night. Usually I will ask Seth to roll over onto his side about 5x a night to help him stop snoring, but recently that hasn't been working, it helps maybe 1 out of 5 times. I had heard that essential oils could help with snoring but this is where my real skepticism set in. How could rubbing an oil on my husbands big toe REALLY help with snoring? I read that the key is consistency so I am pretty religious about putting it on both of his toes at night before we turn in. For two weeks I have had to wake him up to turn over significantly less. And some nights I don't wake up at all. 

There was one oil in my kit that I didn't open until recently. I didn't really understand the benefits of it so I figured I would give it a shot after I did some research. Melaleuca oil is also known as Tea Tree oil, is known as a great skin refresher. I rarely ever put anything on my skin. My routine every day and night is a face wipe and moisturizer. I wear makeup maybe 2 days a week, and am blessed to not have any acne issues. I do get pretty big blackheads on my nose. I started putting just 1 or 2 drops on with my moisturizer and my skin is brighter and my nose has no visible blackheads. It's not my favorite smell in the world, but after it is all rubbed in the smell goes away quickly. 

Purification is another oil that smells strongly, but for all of the right reasons. When I diffuse it, which is often and especially before people come over, it gives the illusion that my house is really really clean. It is also a very versatile blend. You can add a drop to your laundry for a fresh scent, put some on a cotton ball in your stinky shoes (aka every pair of TOMS I've ever owned), or diffuse it to neutralize odors in the air. 

I could go on and on about what I've used oils for. Peppermint for tension headaches, thieves for Felixs cold, R.C for Felixs cold, citrus fresh as a mood booster, Joy as a mood booster and stress reliever, Breathe Again as a powerful vapo rub for Felixs asthmatic cold, and Pan Away for my achy body. 

I'm not going to try and sell you anything, mostly because I chose not to sign up as a distributor or anything like that.  I don't want to pressure anything to buy something they aren't going to use! I have found Essential Oils to be extremely versatile, helpful, and valuable. They are also completely safe when used correctly, who doesn't love to use 100% natural products especially for their kids?! 

If you have any questions about Essential Oils and there benefits I encourage you to join a facebook group or follow an IG account that has expert knowledge. I am a total novice, but I will happily share more insight as we continue to use them in our daily routine! 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Taking back the shower.

There are a lot of phrases coming out of my mouth lately that I'd never thought I'd need to say.
There is no exaggerating when people say "toddlers get into everything". I mean, it really is everything. Every square inch of our place is his territory now that he is walking.

And he doesn't want toys. He wants toilet seats, toilet wands, cat food, potato mashers, the dishwasher door, sharp scissors, and anything from the recycling bin.

"Felix, please don't lick the toilet seat"

"Felix, please stop sticking your hands in the trash can"

"Felix, mommy deserves to shower without an audience."

That one really struck me as I said it.
Because, I really do deserve to take a shower without a toddler trying to pull the shower curtain down, or throw his sippy in the toilet, or stick his ENTIRE mouth around the toilet brush. Please excuse me while I throw up at the very though of that.

Yes, motherhood is sacrificial. Yes, we are in charge of a tiny human at ALL times. Yes, I am no longer my first priority.
But can't a sister take a shower alone?
Do I have to feel guilty every time I pass Felix off to Seth for 3.5 minutes to take a shower in peace?
But I do.

While I am "Mom" 24/7, 365, always on call, always ready, I am also chief house cleaner. Chief grocery shopper aka belly satisfier. Chief laundry doer. Chief banker.  I am still a person aside from my role as Mom. But seeing as that every second of every day I am "Mom", being a person aside from that is tricky.

So I've decided to take back showering.  Dangerous, I know. But satisfying. And peaceful...kinda. For 3.5 minutes while Felix yells and bangs on the door I pretend to be blissfully unaware. Even though I'm really not, Moms, are we ever unaware of anything that's going on with our babies?

I love the quote, "Moms don't sleep. They worry with their eyes closed".

I'm learning that self care is really important. It always seems to be the first thing to go when motherhood sets in. It's crazy how unimportant deodorant and a hair brush can be on most days. And how moms can have perfectly styled children while staying in the same yoga pants for 3 days. I recently discovered that my favorite pair of yoga pants, maternity yoga pants mind you, had holes up the ENTIRE middle seam in the back.
Blissfully unaware, right?
Thank goodness I usually wear yoga pants with a sweater that covers my butt.

Welp, Felix's naptime has officially expired. 30 minutes to a T. Maybe our next child will be a good napper. A mama can dream.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Hello from Aloha!

Aloha! Or should I say hello?
Well, greetings from our new home in Aloha, OR.
It's not pronounced the way you would think.
It's actually pronounced UH-LOA.
We learned that from the locals. 

We're slowly settling into our new digs.
But it's hard for me to totally settle knowing that we won't be here for longer than 6 months -- we will moving into a house of our OWN soon. 
Now that is something to look forward to. 

Oregon is a fun new place for us. Everything seems so different, so foreign. I imagine it will take some time for us to adjust for it to truly feel like home.

Seth is really liking his new job. If you're wondering, he's manufacturing airplane parts. I wish I could explain in more detail but I would be stumbling over some pretty big words like silicone and fuselage. Ask him if you must know more. 

And our new place is only 15 minutes away from his work, which is such a lifesaver. The traffic in Portland is a nightmare so we needed something close to his work. 

I'm adjusting to what its like to have Felix with me full time.
With Seth having been in school after he was born, and then job hunting, and then living with my parents...I had someone around most of the time. And we had friends near by so we were able to go out on dates if we wanted or get some free time for ourselves.
I know it's only been a week but I'm already craving that date night. That alone time. Because even after bedtime there's still cleaning, unpacking, laundry, and tons of sewing -- the mundane stuff. It makes you crave a night out alone with your husband. Not to mention we spent the two previous weeks without each other, including Christmas. 

And Felix has had a tough time adjusting, if you were wondering. 
It's hard to adjust to a new room, in a new home, while being sick. 
I need an extra dose of patience and grace with him. And I need to join a mom's group...STAT. 

I think we're all craving normalcy. And we'll get there. I know it.
I keep telling myself "we've only been here a week". 

Here's a few things we love about Oregon so far:
1. Not having to pump my own gas. When you have a toddler that screams every time you're out of sight, getting gas can be tricky. 
2. Strip malls. They are EVERYWHERE. If you don't see the store you are looking for, drive a half mile the other direction an I bet you can find it. 
3. Weather. It's nice having some real weather, and not having to worry about the drought all the time. 
4. Everything is green! Hence the rain and the non-drought. I love being in this new landscape.
5. Mountains. On a clear day you can see Mount St. Helens and Mt. Hood from the main road you drive on. There's just something really neat about these towering beasts of mountains close by. 
6. My friends. I haven't lived within driving distance of my two closest friends since 2010. Now they are both within 30 minutes of me, and there are even more of them in Seattle --it's a dream come true. 
7. BEER. If there is one thing I'm snobby about, it's beer. This is land of the beer snobs and I love it. LOVE it. 
8. People are so nice here. Maybe it's just first impressions but everyone I've encountered so far is super friendly. 

I'm sure the list will grow as time goes on. There are definitely things I miss about California -- but we're on to new and exciting things so it's important to focus on the positive. 

And thank you for all of your prayers and happy thoughts these past few weeks. We feel them. 

With love, from Oregon.