Saturday, August 20, 2011

Feed back needed!

Hey guys, I know I haven't been the best at updating this thing and I know before I started it I had people give me ideas of what I should write about.  The unfortunate thing is that I saved that list of things in my iPhone that died back in April. :( I think I tried a written list but somewhere I've lost it.  So let's throw out some ideas here on the actual blog of what you want to hear from me next.  I will take your ideas and we'll create a poll on my facebook page for the topic of my next big blog post.  So that means you should also go "like" my facebook page so I can also do better at it, too. Facebook Page HERE :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tummy Tub

**Just so you know I am not being compensated for my review on this product.  I'm merely writing about how wonderful it is because I know it saved my sanity and it can save yours too!**

Some of you have seen posts from me on facebook (or my last post from this morning) about my Tummy Tub.  I paid somewhere around $75 for my tub and stool set when I was about 20wks pregnant with my twins.  With Conner I had found that after he outgrew the $10 baby tub he really just wasn't ready for the big bath tub.  Sure, there are swivel seats to put in the tub but I didn't like those either.  I felt you had to fill up the tub so full to really let your baby enjoy the water and that was just wasteful, and took forever to fill it up.  Plus it was hard to get at a good angle to stick my hands down and wash Conner off without lifting him up out of the seat.  It was probably the worst $30 I ever spent on a baby product.  Disappointed is a severe understatement.

When I came across the Tummy Tub early in my pregnancy I did all the research I could about it because I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be throwing my money away.  Some things about the Tummy Tub that really caught my attention were that...

*It grows with your child.  It works from babies from birth until...whenever.  Conner is almost 3 and he can still squat in the Tummy Tub and actually occasionally does squat in it for his baths.  lol.  The twins are 13 months old now and they still fit very nicely down in the tub.  I think this might get them almost to 2 before I really have to give it up.

*In Germany, doctors can prescribe (yes, write a PRESCRIPTION!) for Tummy Tubs to help relieve colic and gas.

*It comes up to chest level on babies so that they are less exposed to air that can make them cold and make bath time a traumatic experience for them.  Also because there is less surface area, the water stays warmer longer.

*It's safe.  There have never been any accidents or injuries reported.  To read that directly from the site, go here.

*You don't have to bend over the bathtub. HALLELUJAH!

This thing was amazing after being pregnant twice.  Pregnancy ruined my body and leaning, bending and kneeling by the bathtub makes me very uncomfortable rather quickly.  And the twins want to stand up in the big tub and I'm so nervous that they'll slip and fall that I can't just sit back on the toilet like I can with Conner.  With the Tummy Tub I am free to sit in a chair (or on the toilet in the bathroom) with the Tummy Tub on it's stool, between my knees.  No pain necessary :)

So I took a chance on a baby product I just *knew* my family and friends were going to think was a gigantic waste of money.  When I posted on my facebook page that I bought one I had more negative comments than positive ones.  People didn't know why I would pay so much for a "bucket".  But it's not just a bucket.  Tummy Tub actually compares their product to a bucket.

The best thing that I haven't mentioned yet (other than in my post from this morning) is how Tummy Tub continues to save my sanity, time and time again.  Here are some examples.

*One night, Saoirse was screaming and nothing I did made her stop.  She was dry, she was so full she refused to nurse anymore, I'd given her teething gel for her gums in case she was teething.  I think I even gave her a little bit of Tylenol.  I even tried wearing her in the baby carrier.  Nothing was working.  I finally got the bright idea that I should try the Tummy Tub.  At worst, she would continue to cry.  At best, maybe she'd be quiet.  It didn't take even a full ten seconds for Saoirse to calm down and smile at me.  I really wished at that moment I could kick myself for not thinking of the Tummy Tub sooner.

*I rarely use the tub for bathing Conner unless he asks.  However a few months ago he busted his head open for the very first time and with the liquid bandage we weren't allowed to get that spot wet.  So how was I supposed to give him a bath?  This is the kid who dumps water on his head to watch it drip down his face.  I was in trouble.  But of course I had an idea. THE TUMMY TUB!  Conner was able to squat and stand as necessary to get wet and be washed.  And when it was time to was his hair it was the perfect height for me to lay him across my lap and wash and rinse his hear without ever getting the glue on his forehead wet.  Yup, I was winning.

*This morning.  Oh heaven help me, this morning.  Sheenagh screamed for an hour and a half and I finally came to the conclusion she was gassy.  But what in the world could *I* do for gas?  Sure there's gripe water and mylicon but I don't buy them because I feel like they're not really effective.  I rubbed her poor little belly hoping to help her get things moving along, but nothing.  Somewhere in my exhausted stupor I thought "Hey, maybe the Tummy Tub will help her pass the gas".  So at 6:30am I was running the tub full of water.  And again, it didn't take but a few seconds for her to stop crying.  The way the water works at soothing babies and helping their gas problems is like magic.  I massaged her belly some more and about 30 seconds into the bath she let out a belch that I am admittedly proud came from my tiny squirt. I let her play for a bit and Conner came to keep her company and they splashed and giggled though it all.  Once she was dried and dressed her belch count was 4 belches total.  I was then able to lay her back in bed, get Conner a cup of milk and lay back in bed for another two hours of sleep.

Gosh, I'm so wordy.  I can't help it though.  This is a wonderful product and I just *know* that if you had one, you would think so too.  Do yourself a favor and at least go to the and check it out for yourself.

And here are some pictures of my sweet little monkey from this morning <3

Exhausted is an understatement

It's not even seven o'clock in the morning and I'm writing a blog post.  A short one, but still... a blog post?  :sigh:  It can only mean that all THREE of my children are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  The rough nights of having twins seems to only get more rough some nights, like last night.  My sweet Saoirse is getting all her molars in and is in so much pain at night that it breaks my heart.  Night time are the only issues we have.  Her amber teething necklace seems to do the trick all day but at night it's a different story.  I don't know how long I cuddled and nursed her last night before I could lay her in her own bed.  Once I finally could it was liberating lol.  I had room to stretch and sleep.  Then I woke up to screaming.  Conner's screaming to be exact.  I can only imagine he had  a nightmare from the scared screaming that was escaping his mouth, so into our bed he went, cuddled with Mommy to calm down.  Casey left for work probably around 4am and all was quiet.  But then along came 4:30am and Sheenagh screaming.  I rolled her in bed with me to nurse, and nurse she did for a little bit.  But then came the squirming and the the kicking.  Oh goodness, the kicking.  Somehow Sheenagh always manages to plant a good kick right in my c-section scar. Every. Time.  I was so tired I desperately tried to convince myself that if I put her back in the crib she would cry it out a little and fall back asleep.  So I tried it and the screaming still didn't stop.  So I just decided to cuddle and love her as best I could.  I finally deduced that she must be gassy and I tried to rub her belly to help her pass it.  Or to help her poop if that's what she needed.  I didn't care what she needed at that point, I'd do it. I just needed her to sleep so that I could sleep.  After she woke up Saoirse with her screaming (which ended up with Saoirse next to/on me nursing and Sheenagh trying to roll all over us) I was awake.  Lovely.  But then I got an idea and I have no idea where it came from.  THE TUMMY TUB.  Yes, I needed to put her in the tummy tub.  At the very least, it wasn't going to hurt anything.  So Saoirse was unlatched and much to her dismay, put back in the crib and I carted Sheenagh off to the bathroom, quite unwillingly, to throw her in a bucket of warm water.

I'm not lying when I said she was in it for ten seconds (max) before she stopped screaming.  She let me massage her belly a little and within 20 seconds out escaped a decent sized belch.  HALLELUJAH!  So I backed off and let the tummy tub work it's magic.  Of course at this point Conner decided it was too quiet to sleep (after sleeping through all the screaming) and came in the bathroom to keep Sheenagh and I company.  I can only assume Sheenagh must have felt much better because she and Conner proceeded to splash me with water and giggle.

As soon as I can type a more put together and coherent post, I will tell you all the wonderful things about the tummy tub and why you need one, too.  I promise, you'll thank me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things..(for the kids)

I've recently been asked on my facebook to spill the beans about what some of my favorite natural products are for basic things such as diaper rash cream, soap, etc.  So here is a list of things I've thought of off the top of my head. I'll be splitting this into two posts. This one is going to include things that I use on my kids and hopefully tomorrow (or at least soon) I will post about my favorite products for me.  Some of these products will overlap so just be warned you might start reading and feel a little "deja vu".  You're not going crazy because  you most likely already did read about how much I liked that product.  It's very possible that I've forgotten something but in my defense, there are a lot of things I love. I'm not going to list all the ingredients and claims for every little thing that these products do, but I will leave you a link so that you can find and do some more research yourself.

I think I've covered everything that was asked and that I can think to cover.  If you'd like any opinions on any other categories please, feel free to let me know in the comments.  It's taken me three hours and having to stop and start this blog post to finish it so I apologize if I've forgotten something :P

* Delish Naturals Yum Bum Butter- This is made by a Canadian WAHM and is wonderful. I've used it for diaper rash cream and for cradle cap and it worked for both.  I have also loan some to a friend and she claimed it took the itch out of her son's eczema.  I assume it worked really well because her son climbed the counter to get the stuff and used the rest of it (which was quite a bit) on himself, so even 2-year-old's like it :) This is cloth diaper friendly.  Other places you can purchase this product (in the USA) are ali AND swan and Rockin' Green Soap.

* Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm- This is also cloth diaper safe.  I received a sample with a purchase over the holiday season and it works really well, just as well as the Delish Naturals stuff.  I prefer the Delish Naturals because of their delicious scents but this is a nice alternative.  You can also purchase this product on Amazon with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime or Amazon Mom.

*CJ's BUTTer Spritz- This one is cloth diaper safe, also.  It also comes in a tub like the two creams above, and I think in a stick?  CJ's BUTTer is just general a favorite in the cloth diapering community.  My only experience has been with the spritz.  I don't love it as much as I do the first two, but it's great for the times that I don't want to get my hands messy or a teething rash has left a tender butt so red that touching it would cause more pain :( Monkey Farts is hands down my favorite part about it.  I just love a good fruity booty ;)

*Method Baby Squeaky Green- This is my favorite rash cream that you can get in the store.  I usually pick mine up at Babies'R'Us.  Some places online claim that it's cloth diaper safe but I noticed repelling in my cloth when I used it, so I save it for when I've got kids in disposables.  I'm pretty sure all of their products claim to be 99% natural which is a lot closer than most things you can use on your kids, right?  I also really like that this stuff isn't sticky like Desitin and other things.  It's nice and smooth.

Squid Balm- You can find my blog post about their products below this one.  Their things are not tear-free but are very  mild.  I use them on my nearly 1yo twins and my 2yo.  I've gotten it in their eyes a time or two but a swipe with a dry towel makes it better.  Their eyes have never been read or bloodshot afterwards either so irritation is very minimal.  The products Squid Balm has includes soap, solid lotion, solid shampoo, solid conditioner and an oil face cleanser.  You really can not go wrong with this stuff, I love it all and it's all I use anymore in the shower for me and the kids.

*Method Baby Squeaky Green hair + body wash- This is what I started using for the twins when they were born (before I found Squid Balm).  I really like this stuff. It smells nice and is gentle.  I use a tummy tub to bathe them in and used to just squirt some of this in the water.  That way I didn't have to pull them out to wash them off and instead could just stick my sponge in the water and wash them while they were still immersed.

*Method Baby Bubbly Bath- Conner loves bubble baths but most bubbles are NOT tear free and hurt his eyes.  He likes to dump water on his head so just being careful doesn't cut it when it comes to bubbles.  The suds up fairly well just by squirting some in the stream of water going into the tub from the faucet.

*Squid Balm- Solid lotion bar that is all natural.  Go to the link to read all the wonderful stuff about it as I really would just be copying and pasting it anways :) It was originally intended to help relieve eczema for the creator's daughter but works great as just a general lotion.

*Method Baby Squeaky Green Lotion- I really like this lotion also.  It's not too thick but still makes my hands feel nice.  I really never remember to put lotion on my kids but I keep this by my kitchen sink and use it fairly frequently when I've been washing my hands so much that they're starting to feel dry and chapped.

Friday, July 8, 2011

My kids have never smelled so delicious.

For those of you who know me (and didn't just stumble upon this blog by mistake) you know I love to tell everyone and their grandmother about anything that I love.  Baby-wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, elephant herding, etc. You get the picture.  And when I come across a product I love, you'd better watch out because every time I find a use for it in YOUR life, I'm going to tell you exactly why you need to buy it.  Right now. While I'm watching you.  Go ahead and have your credit card ready... I mean it. 

Squid Balm is a company with body care products that will rock your world.  They are made by a mother who was looking for products that were safe and didn't irritate her daughter's sensitive skin.  Any mother of a child who has allergies and eczema knows how hard it can be to find the right product to use.  Look no further. Squid Balm is a real winner.  

I've had the pleasure of trying out EVERYTHING that Squid Balm has to offer.  So yes, I was given products to test out, but this blog post was my own idea and all the views and opinions expressed in this blog post are mine and mine only.  If you agree with me then that is a mere (but awesome) coincidence.  

Without making you travel to the website I will tell you that they have solid lotion bars, solid shampoo bars, solid conditioner bars, bath bombs, soap, and oil cleansers (for YOUR FACE!) My absolute favorite is the oil cleanser.  I'm not kidding when I tell you my face has never felt this awesome. Never.  And it's not making me break out so apparently it's as awesome as I think it is.  I'm very self-conscious about my face and to be honest I had pretty much given up on washing it with any sort of cleanser because everything made my face feel dry and damaged.  I don't worry about any of that anymore.  Don't be a skeptic. Try it and become a believer. 

Next, you're probably wondering "What the heck is up with all these "solid" products".  Solid bars of products mean that there are not any added preservatives or water.  I'd say if foods get to brag about "no added preservatives" then it's probably pretty BA that body care products can do the same.  The products you use on your skin can be absorbed, so keeping out anything that might be potentially harmful (or in the very least, unhelpful) sounds like a decent idea.  Months ago I came across the company Lush and tried some of their products.  I wish I had come across Squid Balm sooner.  By far, the Squid Balm products are my favorite.  I am in serious lust with the scent of my Lush soap but it left my skin feeling kind of dry after a shower.  Enough that I noticed it which says something because I can be fairly unobservant.  The Squid Balm soaps have left my skin feeling nice and never a time where I stepped out of the shower feeling the need to douse myself in lotion.  And ahh, the lotion.  The solid lotion bar is a bit odd to apply.  I can't really say that I've masted it's art, but I want to.  I keep forgetting about it because I've never been one to apply much lotion but the one leg I managed to get fully covered was the nicest I've ever had one leg feel in my entire life.  

I think my most favorite of favorite products has to be the solid conditioner bar. Unfortunately my hair is too short (and the shampoo is already too awesome) for me to need the conditioner.  The use of the conditioner in my hair makes it greasy as I am one of those special people the should never use conditioner on their roots... and well... These days my hair is all "root".  Or mostly is.  So why is it my favorite? Deb (the brains behind Squid Balm) told me her favorite use for the bar is for SHAVING.  If I have to admit to hating buying any one thing it would be shaving cream.  I never remember to buy it, I'm always running out and I never have time to shave my legs anyways so what's the point? In a pinch I have used lotion, conditioner and body wash to shave my legs.  None of those things really cut it.  But hey, why not give it a shot?  Let me say this, I will never buy anything else to shave with.  My legs felt so smooth after shaving that I didn't even need the lotion.  They felt so smooth that I made my BFF Laura (who by the way doesn't like hugging, or touching people in general) feel my leg.  And I made her feel it in public.  (And for those of you wondering, no I didn't die and yes, she thought my leg felt very nice, thank you). 

So yes, for myself I love all these products.  I love them so much that using them on myself just wasn't enough.  I use them on my children.  I don't think my kids have ever been so clean.  While I've contemplated it, I've managed to keep myself from rolling them in the mud just so I could clean them off ;) These products are NOT tear free.  The things that make products tear free are chemicals and that's not something we want added to our natural products.  They are, however, mild.  And when I say mild it means that yes, I use them on my children, and no, my kids do not like me washing their hair and yes, I've gotten it in their eyes (all three of them).  More than on one occasion.  All it took to "fix" the problem was to wipe their eyes with a dry towel.  Other than being a little pink around the eyes from where I just rubbed them with the towel, there wasn't any irritation. No bloodshot eyes and all screaming had ceased.  Actually, only one of my kids screamed and that was Saoirse. Anyone who has met Saoirse, knows she's a drama queen.  Sheenagh just started rubbing furiously at her eyes and grunting until I dried her face off.  

So there you have it folks.  I double dog dare you to go to their website and have a look-see.  (That's my hick-talk for "check it out").  I'm most certain you will like what you find.  Deb is super wonderful and more than willing to answer any and all questions you may have about the products that she has.  

(Tristan these are some of the products coming to you!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Ugly Truth

I keep thinking I'm going to organize a blog post on breastfeeding.  I want to tell everyone how wonderful it is and I want to dispel some of the myths going around about why women can't breastfeed.  I want to make sure every woman is fully informed of whatever choice she makes in feeding her baby.

Today I want to look at the ugly side of breastfeeding.  I've been inspired by a friend who is frustrated.  In her rant I got the feeling that she felt like she would be judged by the breastfeeding mothers (like myself) who make it seem like breastfeeding should be sunshine, rainbows and unicorns that fart glitter.  Let me just say there are days that those unicorns wouldn't have saved my sanity.  I am openly admitting that there are times I felt incredibly guilty for the way I was feeling about breastfeeding.  So instead of telling you all the wonderful things that breastfeeding is, I'm going to tell you all the wonderful things it's not.  Because let's be real, no one really believes in those unicorns to begin with.

1. Breastfeeding is not always fun. 
           Oh, you heard me.  Please, englighten me... what is more fun than being held captive on the couch/recliner/rocker/bed by a hungry baby (or in my case, babies)?  There were days that I would have answered that question with, "Getting my bikini line waxed", "Having a tooth extracted", or "Poking myself in the eye with a dull needle".  It would be a lie if I told you a relished every single minute of those first few weeks of Saoirse and Sheenagh's tiny little lives.  I remember they were tiny, floppy, unable to assist in getting themselves latched properly at the breast and I was perpetually trapped in that space between sleep and awake, and ended up with plenty of fumbling and silent swearing on my part.  The only thing that saved me from sabotaging the breastfeeding relationship between me and my babies was the simple fact that in order to quit I'd have to be coherent enough to find my way off the couch and into the kitchen to make a bottle. And then later I'd have to find my way back to the kitchen to make sure the bottles were washed.  I mean, seriously?  I was just lucky I stumbled into the kitchen often enough to feed myself.

2. Breastfeeding is not always easy. 
       Just ask any mother who has dealt with thrush, mastitis, clogged ducts, breastfeeding mulitples, breastfeeding a high-needs baby, unsupportive husband/partner, unsupportive families, uneducated healthcare professionals who sabotage their breastfeeding relationships, etc.  Your only weapon against the hard times is education.  Know what to do about these issues.  Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your decision to breastfeed, even if that means finding a local chapter of your La Leche League, or an online community of breastfeeding mothers.  Having a support system of knowledgable mommies or professionals is a MUST.  Otherwise you can fall into literal "booby-traps" that will sabotage breastfeeding for you.

3. Breastfeeding is not always a "no-brainer"
      I wish I could tell you that my natural instinct kicked in and I was amazing at breastfeeding because it was what I was created to do.  Unfortunately it took a lot of research and trial and error before I figured things out.  With Conner I was so afraid of starving him that I let him latch poorly and make my nipples so sore that they bled.  I took it as a hard lesson learned and when I had the twins I didn't let them latch poorly.  I spent time with them individually until we both figured things out, breaking suction and re-latching until I didn't want to scream from the pain.  On a similar note I freaked out a tiny bit inside every time we went to the doctor for well baby appointments and Sheenagh was consistently 2lbs lighter than Saoirse.  I had a "paranoid Mommy moment" until I realized they're getting the same milk.  They're just individuals growing at different rates and have two different body types.

4.  Breastfeeding doesn't work for everyone.
     In all honesty there is a very small percentage of women who are unable to produce milk and breastfeed.  Many women who say "I couldn't breastfeed" fall into two categories. A) Mother's who didn't like it and wanted an easy out so they didn't have to explain themselves or feel guilty about their decision or B) Mother's who fell into a booby-trap of misinformation that ruined the breastfeeding relationship or pressured them into weaning.  There is a story my grandmother likes to tell of my great-grandmother.  This was in a time before formula and bottles.  My great-grandma knew of a lady who had lost a few babies.  They had been incredibly fussy and just unable to survive.  Finally my great-grandmother went to visit the woman after she had a baby who was failing to thrive and suggested the woman express some milk.  My grandmother told me this woman's milk was green and so foul you couldn't even stand to be in the same room with it.  My great-grandmother being the intelligent woman that she is helped her friend concoct a "formula" to feed her baby.  The woman then went on to feed I think four babies who grew into adulthood.  In other cases women are in the work place and just not able to maintain a breastfeeding relationship.  I know of a woman who had to stop because she was unable to pump enough milk to keep up with her baby's needs and her baby was experiencing nipple confusion.  She decided to switch to formula and bottles to make her daughter's time at daycare less stressful because she wanted the breast and not a bottle.

The moral of the story is that as a mother who cares about providing the best for your children, you have to educate yourself with knowledge.  When it comes to the well-being of your kids ignorance is NOT bliss.  Trust your gut and your instincts.  If you feel something sounds wrong then get a second opinion, ask a mother you trust or research it yourself.  I am incredibly pro-breastfeeding, probably to the point that people would want to label me a lactavist and assume I am judgmental even though that is certainly not the case.  If you make an informed decision to breastfeed your child then own it.  Don't second guess yourself because the people closest to you don't understand why you just won't give a bottle.  And if you feel that feeding your child formula from a bottle is best, then own that too.  Don't give excuses or explanations on why you didn't/couldn't breastfeed.  A simple "This is what was best for our family" is the only explanation you'd ever need to give. Anyone who who can't accept that answer is nosy and ignorant.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Me Want Cookie!

I suppose it's fairly obvious that I'm a HUGE procrastinator.  For that I sincerely apologize :\  However I've decided to grace you tonight with a post about one of my all-time favorite COOKIE recipes.  Chocolate chip cookies are my weakness.  I once told a friend of mine in college that I would do nearly anything for a good chocolate chip cookie.  The next time I saw him he graced me with a whole bag of different kinds of chocolate chip cookies. And the great guy that he is, he didn't make me act a fool in public to deserve them.

My favorite recipe comes from my days in Lifeskills class (home-ec equivalent).  It's called the "Neiman Marcus" cookie.  So named due to an urban legend of how a woman acquired the recipe and viciously posted it on the internet. You can find the story in the form of an email forward here, along with the recipe that I'm going to post in just a bit.

Before I post the recipe I'd like to add that I have a fabulous product review coming up as soon as I can gather all my thoughts into one coherent post.  The product is Squid Balm and I am fairly certain I love this stuff even more than I love my Lush (and anyone who knows me, knows I appreciate my Lush products).  I really encourage you to check out their site and be sure to read their About Us, The Real Squid, and the Fine Print (especially the last line, LOL!).

Without further ado, the recipe. Please note that the recipe makes 112 cookies and can be halved so that you don't have quite so many cookies. :)

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated) **For a halved recipe I grate 2 regular sized Hershey bars**
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla 
Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet..Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies