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Monday, March 31, 2014

Life as I know it is over.

Remember last month? When I blogged about how having two wasn't really that hard and most of that was coming from the fact that I got a couple hours of free time to myself each day? When they both napped? At the same time? For like two hours? Every day? And it was awesome?

Let me refresh your memory:

What is hard is rarely having yourself to, well, yourself.  I'm lucky, like I said, and I actually get some time during the day and evening to myself when they are sleeping concurrently...usually. However, on days when Carys rejects her nap and is awake all day, I usually get to a point where I. want. to HIDE. Five minutes to shower, PLEASE. I'll even take two minutes to go pee by myself without someone needing me. On the days when they both don't nap, it's 12+ hours of constantly. being. needed. And touched. And serving two little dictators with no regard to yourself. With no break. Really, it's hard enough to go all day like that WITH a nap and an hour to yourself. On days without that hour break, it's just really, really hard.

I also said:

Also, thank god for naps. Please don't stop napping til kindergarten, Carys.

So karma decided to punish me for bragging and now Carys doesn't nap.  WHAT THE FUCK, KID? You're supposed to nap until you're three. THE BOOK SAID SO.

It's like a 90% chance she'll skip it any given day.  Swim class followed by four hours at the zoo where she walked the entire time? No nap. NO NAP. It's super awesome because now she's exceptionally grumpy come bedtime (but an earlier bedtime doesn't seem possibly - she already goes down at 7:30 or 8). It's super awesome to have to be "on" for fourteen hours a day. It's super awesome to have a toddler breathing down your back every minute and super awesome to not ever take a shower alone again! SUPER AWESOME FUN DAY!

I kid, I kid.

No, no, I don't. It really sucks.

On the plus side, though, I no longer have to schedule our days around naps (and have a little bit of time before I'll have to start doing so for Emmeline), which means we have slightly more relaxed days and can spontaneously do things as soon as the mood strikes. And she's slowly getting adjusted to less sleep, so the grumpy evenings are improving.

Oh, and also...

Speaking of sleep.

She sleeps in the hallway now.


It's either a parenting win or a parenting fail (probably fail) but at least she goes to bed without a fight.

She was having a really hard time going to sleep, for several weeks. It was becoming a ridiculous spectacle. One night, she kept coming out and laying down in the hall and I put her back a hundred times and on the hundred and first time I went to put her back and she'd fallen asleep. The next night she came out again, and I asked her to go to bed, and she said, "No, thank you, please. I sleep here," and promptly fell asleep.  At that point I had to ask myself if I really wanted to spend two hours going back and forth with her every night, and whether I really cared where she fell asleep, as long as she fell asleep. And I thought really hard about it and decided that nope, I don't care. I just want her asleep, without a big production.

So the next night I asked her if she wanted to go to sleep in the hallway or in her bed. And she choose the hallway. So together we picked out a pillow and a stuffed animal and made her a little bed outside the door, and she promptly fell asleep.

And she has repeated that every night since.

And it's a parenting win because she's sleeping without a fuss.

But obviously also a parenting fail because hallway.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

DIY : Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

I've been making this coconut oil sugar scrub for myself for a few years now, ever since I discovered the magical cure-all that is coconut oil, and made it for a few people for Christmas. All but one of them (what, don't you like it, mom!?!?) asked for directions to make it themselves. So maybe it's good? Maybe it's something people like?

All I will say is that I used it religiously with Carys when I was pregnant with her and only had one stretch mark (named Judy). I was not nearly so diligent with using it when I was pregnant with Emmeline and got like a thousand stretch marks.  COINCIDENCE?


So this is easy. There are a ton of variations you can do to personalize it to your preferences - some are pictured below.

But the basics are coconut oil and sugar.  Use white sugar for a soft, gentle scrub; brown sugar for a slightly more exfoliating scrub, and turbinado sugar for the scrubbiest of all.  Sometimes I go a little crazy and mix more than one type of sugar in! HOLD YOUR HORSES.


- Coconut oil (I used this one)
- Sugar (white, brown, or turbinado)


- Other oils, such as olive oil, almond oil, or vitamin E oil (I got the olive oil and vitamin E oil at Trader Joe's and the almond oil here)
- Scents, such as vanilla (my preference), lemon, orange, lavender, or eucalyptus

1. Gather your supplies. Don't forget the two-year-old who won't stop touching everything.

In this picture, going clockwise from left, are turbinado sugar, white sugar, olive oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil, coconut oil, lemon essential oil, vanilla, and eucalyptus essential oil. These are just options - you really just need the two basics. For this particular batch, I used coconut, almond, and vitamin E oils, the turbinado and white sugar, and vanilla.

2. Mix the sugar and the coconut oil in about a 50/50 ratio. Err on the side of too much sugar. This particular tub of coconut oil was about 2/3 gone, so I just made the concoction in the coconut oil container (it's actually the PERFECT size and plastic, so I can keep it in the shower).  I let Carys help. Pouring sugar in a small container is apparently messier than I anticipated.  Keeping it real in the pics below. Mess, represent.

The coconut oil will be solid at room temperature (unless it's really warm). That's okay. Just scoop some out like ice cream. Once you add the sugar and start to mix it up, it will start to liquify.

You can be done here. EASIEST SCRUB EVER. But I like to be unpredictable so I kept going. What will I add next?!?!?!

2. Add any other oils - I added a few good drizzles of almond oil and vitamin E oil. It's okay to skip this step, or to add just olive oil if that's all you have on hand (I've done it that way and it's still awesome). You want to maintain the 50/50 sugar/oil ratio.

3. Ours was looking a bit soupy (you want it a thick hummus-like texture) so we Carys added more sugar. A lot more. Whoops.

3B. Add a little more oil to counteract the extra sugar. Repeat ad nauseum.

4. Add the scent. I REALLY love the vanilla with the coconut and the sugar. It's like a delicious dessert. But I've made it with orange essential oils before and that was really nice, too. I add a capful, and then a little extra splash just to really push the crazy.

5. Mix, mix, mix.

You'll likely have some white chunks in it. Don't worry about them.

6. Go take a shower and come out smooth and yummy-smelling. I use it on wet skin, and do it as the very last thing so that more of the oils stay on my skin and don't get washed off. But you can use it on dry skin for a really rough scrub.  When I use this, I don't have to put lotion on afterward. It's slightly oily but dries really quickly - and leaves your skin SO SOFT.

Note: The next morning you might find that the coconut oil has solidified and left a white solid layer on top of the scrub - that's fine. Just use your hands in the shower to mix it back up. You might also find that the scrub has become soupier as more sugar dissolved in the oil - just add a bit more sugar to fix that issue.

Enjoy, and try to refrain from eating it! Carys has. She says it's delicious.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Climb On : A Little Something for Me

A lot of this blog  Most of this blog  This entire blog is pretty much about the girls. Getting pregnant, having a baby, raising a baby, raising a toddler, getting pregnant again, having another baby, raising a baby again, raising a baby and a toddler....it makes sense because, well, that's my life. The girls are my passion and my reason for being and my two favorite things in life. I love being their mom, I love being with them, I love it all. Except for these incredible toddler tantrums that I think are a glimpse into the world that is Three and let me tell you...I want a refund. I don't want to take the trip into Three. I'll keep Two, thank you very much.

All that is to say that I don't do a lot that is just for myself. I sometimes do a shoot or a wedding here, or a trip to Target there, or an adult outing way over there, but it's rare. Before I got pregnant with Emmeline, I'd started going to the gym with my sister several times a week and taking Carys to the gym daycare there. After I got pregnant again, I got too lazy to keep going (that 1st tri exhaustion is no joke) and then I was too big to keep going and then I had just had a c-section and then I had a newborn and long story short, I cancelled the gym membership. But I've been itching to be active.  After multiple failed gym memberships, though, I've come to the realization that I just am not a gym kind of girl. I'm a long bike ride kind of girl. I'm a go on a hike kind of girl. I'm a rock climbing kind of girl. WHAT? Rock climbing?


My sister (via her boyfriend via their friends) started rock climbing (sport climbing) at an indoor gym and has been loving it. I couldn't go with her for ages since I was, you know, gestating a kid, and then couldn't go because I wasn't cleared to work out. But I finally got a chance to go with her this last week and I. am. in. LOVE. It was so incredibly fun.

I'm still a total beginner - I did my first belay training/test last week and should get certified this week - but I got shoes and my own harness (no more stinky gym rentals for me!) and am planning on making this a weekly thing.  There are lots of young chicks out there doing it (although it's definitely male-dominated) but not a lot of 30-something, stay-at-home moms who are wickedly out of shape doing it. At least not according to Blogs On The Internet. So this should be an interesting journey.  If for no other reason than the lingo. Which is awesome. Climb on!

In other news, Carys started a tumbling class a few weeks ago. This last week was week four of six. The first two weeks, she was in class with two completely adorable but crazy rambunctious twins (we'll call them L and V, since those are their actual initials and I'm not creative) who ran all over the place like little madwomen. It was funny, but I felt bad for their poor mom, who was so clearly frustrated with them. For the two classes they attended, she threatened that they would go home or skip next week pretty much the entire time, and now they haven't been in the latest two classes, so maybe she followed through on her threat? All that to say that it's a one-on-one class now, which is pretty awesome. She gets the teacher's full attention and gets to do so much more each class and is loving it.

Andplusalso she looks like she's five now and it's ridiculous and makes me die a little inside. In equally good and bad ways.

And the baby is pretty damn cute, too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Letters to Emmy : Three Months

February 12 through March 12, 2014
Dear Emmy,

I'm writing this on the last day of my maternity leave - I go back to work Monday. Can you give me just a minute while I go in a corner and sob? How are you THREE MONTHS OLD, GURL?  Life is passing too quickly. Everything is going by too damn fast. (Melodramatic much?) I already feel like I wasted the last three months, even though I spent minutes and hours and days and weeks holding you and breathing in your essence. But turning you over to someone else on Monday is going to be hard. Harder even than leaving your sister, because she was staying at home with family when I worked. You're going to a really great, small, in-home center (because all our relatives are jerks with real jobs now) but it is terrifying to leave you with people who don't love you as much as I do. I didn't have to leave Carys with a non-relative until she started at preschool when she was 18 months old. HOW WILL I DO THIS? I'm freaking out just thinking about it now. You're still so tiny (okay, maybe not on the charts, but to me you are!). Is it too late to move to Norway or somewhere with 10 year long maternity leave?

You've changed so much between two and three months and have lost so much of that newborn-ness. You're gaining control of your movements, have discovered your hands, and can grab toys hanging from your playmat. The first time you did that, you couldn't stop smiling. You've started talking to us with soft baby coos and gurgles and just look positively delighted to be a part of the conversation.

Your hair disappeared rapidly, as I feared/expected, but I thiiiiiiiiink it might be starting to grow back. Maybe. It's still so fuzzy and soft, and you still have the dark fringe around the bottom and....that's about it. But it's okay, the baldness only serves to accentuate your giant blue eyes and round head and chipmunk cheeks. And seriously, that is one adorable round head. And those dimples. I cannot get enough of those dimples.

You're growing out of all of your 0-3 clothes (and maybe I'm still shoving you in a few of them because I REFUSE TO LET GO) and into the 3-6 month clothes. You're equally giant and tiny. Every time I put you in a 3-6 month sleeper and it's too big still, I'm a little relieved, I'm not going to lie. I'm looking forward to knowing toddler and little kid Emmeline (not so much tween Emmeline) but I am okay with it taking forever to get there, especially if you're to be my last little baby.

You strongly dislike tummy time and being woken up and the first few minutes in your car seat and middle of the night diaper changes. You love baths and your changing table and your playmat and the mobile above your swing. You love one finger in your mouth and your Wubbanub paci. You love being held (by anyone, you don't care who) and sleeping in the crook of my arm. You love both your sister and dad and will give them quick smiles and track their movements.

I sometimes feel guilty about not getting as much one-on-one time with you as I had with Carys, but I do one thing with you that I didn't with her that evens it out a bit - I bedshare with you. I put you in your little bed next to mine when you go to sleep around 8:30 (as I did with her) but after I nurse you the first time, I usually just keep you in bed with me (following all safe sleeping practices, obviously, like keeping all pillows and blankets away from your face, and I have a Snuza on you at all times). It was a long time before I mastered side-lying nursing with Carys (like she was probably 6 or 9 months old) and by the time we did, she was already sleeping in her crib. With you, I nurse you and then we both go back to sleep, blissfully in each other's arms (literally - you tuck one arm into my underarm and usually have the other flung against my chest). It makes me feel a little better that we have these sleepy nighttime cuddle sessions to help even things out. And I HATE waking up in the morning and having to move you. I would literally lie in bed all day long with you like that if I could. There's nothing better in the world right now.

My sweet, chill, go-with-the-flow Emmy. My sweet chubby baby with dimpled cheeks and roly-poly thighs. I love you so much.