Just the Essentials

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you likely remember that when I was pregnant with Knox, I lost my everloving mind. I was the most stressed-out pregnant person in the history of all creation. I cried every single day, I worried, I researched, I Googled. Oh, the Googling. You guys… it was pure crazy town. One good thing that my neurotic researching did for me was solidify my ever-growing desire to do everything as naturally as possible in regards to raising a family: our eating, cleaning and life in general. I am a big fat lover of all things green, crunchy and natural. Can’t help it. Call me a hippie if you must, but I own it.

We started out with choosing healthier food items. Organics when possible, less processed food (this increased even more upon the discovery of Knox’s soy allergy/sensitivity). We chose to cloth diaper with Knox, then Brody (we only lasted about three months with Brody- working full-time, diapering two kids and the fact that Brody was the most labor-intensive baby on the planet stifled my desire to continue… I still love you, cloth diapers). Green cleaners, including laundry detergent, replaced our traditional cleaners. We really tried to do things as holistically as possible for the health and well being of our family- I still feel a deep passion for this stuff.

Last year, I added essential oils into my repertoire, and y’all, it’s like a whole new universe. A lot of you have asked me about our oil usage, lately, so I thought I’d share. If you don’t know what essential oils are, they’re the concentrated oils from plants, flowers, shrubs and fruit that have different protective and medicinal properties. They’ve been used for thousands of years (frankincense and myrrh that we read about in the Bible are essential oils!) in lots of different ways. I recently switched over to the Young Living brand oils, and I have to say, I LOVE THEM. I began with their premium starter kit, which has a diffuser and 11 oils, plus some samples and literature to get you started.

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If you purchase that kit, you’re also considered a wholesale distributor and get a nice discount on your oils (you do not have to sell them to be a distributer- you only have to order $50 of oils a year to keep that status, so it was a no-brainer for me). There are a million ways you can use these oils, so it can be kind of overwhelming when you first begin if you don’t research a little first!

It’s so much fun to learn about these oils. I love diffusing something natural in my home that not only smells great but has health benefits aside from scent.

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We also use oils internally in veggie capsules (like an empty pill) for allergies, cold prevention and other afflictions. Then we use some topically, as well. I am obsessed with Stress Away which smells insanely awesome and also has the added bonus of helping get rid of stress. I wear it on my wrists every day. I also have been rubbing Vetiver on Knox’s feet twice a day because it can help with some ADHD/Autism behaviors. I will let you know how that goes once I have done it for a few weeks- I didn’t stick to it last fall when I started on the Vetiver for him. So far, I have seen the best results with Stress Away and my kids’ activity level. My mother-in-law came over the other day and asked what was in my diffuser because my kids were SITTING ON THE COUCH. If you have been around my children for 45 seconds, you’d understand the shock and awe surrounding that.

If anyone is interested in learning more, let me know. These things will change how you live your life in the best kind of way. My friend Karie and I are doing an online class on Facebook on Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m. (you can tune in later in the week if you miss it). We’ll talk about what oils are, the everyday oils & what they’re used for, then how to replace some commonly used items with essential oils. It’s free, you can participate from your computer and still be done in time for Downton Abbey. Amen. I’d love for y’all to attend if you’re interested in learning more. Just click the link above to sign up. If you have specific questions on oils or how to get started, let me know in the comments or email me.

Our Crazy: Learning to Balance Life

This week has been an exceptionally busy one in our house, and it’s one of those weeks where Trevor and I have completely missed each other. Monday was our one “normal” evening, then on Tuesday I had small group at 6:30, Wednesday he was on-shift, Thursday I took dinner to a dear friend that just had a baby & Trevor had his small group, last night we had friends over for dinner and tonight he’s working again. I almost remember what he looks like.

Working at the fire department has some great perks (i.e.: 48 hours off at a time), but the being gone for an entire day part isn’t so much fun. Trevor is basically a stay-at-home-dad 2/3 of the time, which is great, but it kind of throws off our dynamic for spending time together. When I used to have the kids all day on my own, the second he got home I’d be all “here you go, I’m taking a shower and going to pee by myself.” It’s very much the same with him, now that he’s home with them, except it’s “here you go, I’m going outside to use my chainsaw.”

I’ve found that since our lives have followed this pattern, there has been a shifting of roles between Trevor and I. When we first got married, I used to do the bulk of the housework and all the cooking, even though I also worked full-time. When we were both out of the house, it had to get done somehow- I am a take-charge control freak, so I just did it. Enter two children and housework survival mode. When neither one of you is at home during the day and there’s a mountain of laundry, dishes to be done and 38 pounds of crumbs on the floor, someone better get to stepping the second they get home. That’s a lot of work for one person that also wants to see their spouse, spend time with their kids and have some semblance of a social life.

So we learned to share- I learned that letting someone else fold towels (even if they did NOT fold them the way Martha Stewart teaches, which is the ONLY WAY) is okay, and Trevor learned that he likes to take charge of the laundry. Because he is a saint. And since he started at the fire department, he has been home way more than I am, so he does do the bulk of our laundry, cleans and takes care of the dishes while I’m at work. When I get home, I cook dinner for everyone, clean the kitchen, then we both do the bath time/bedtime routine with the boys. His schedule really helps with child care, since the boys both only attend half-day preschool. When Trevor is on-shift, my mom takes care of the boys at our house, which is AMAZING. Obviously on the weekends if he works, I just fly solo. That’s when I get to channel my inner Martha Stewart and bake things (the boys LOVE helping me cook), deep clean the house and spend good alone time with the kiddos. My favorite days are weekend days where Trevor is off- then we feel complete having everyone together under one roof (or outside).

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This constant rotation of schedules is hard, but it works for our life in the crazy stage we’re in right now. Our household roles aren’t “the norm,” and Trevor had to really get used to being the primary caregiver for the kids during the week. But you guys, it has been such a blessing to our family. We have been able to keep the kids out of daycare (yay for not spending a gazillion dollars a year on that) and allow for Knox to have in-home therapy during the day so that we can focus on being a family at night. I wonder how long this will go on and what the next part will look like, but for now, this is our current crazy.

 

Baby Fever Cannot Be Cured by a Puppy

Let me just put it all out there for a minute. I have baby fever. Bad. Like I am pinning nursery ideas for this hypothetical child’s room right now (Baby #3’s pin board is private, so that I don’t have to field awkward questions about this non-existent infant). My fever is not helped by the fact that my oldest asks me for a “Baby Sister Snowflake” constantly. This started a few weeks ago, when Knox told my mom he wanted a “silly baby sister snowflake,” then elaborated on how she was 1) a human baby (not a snowflake) and 2) would be sweet (no crying) and 3) would have hair like mommy’s and eyes like Brody’s. It freaked us out a little bit because the kid was so adamant that Baby Snowflake was happening (I may have taken a pregnancy test out of pure weirded-outed-ness). The youngest offspring… not so much with the baby sister.

I asked Knox last week, “Do you want a baby sister or a puppy?” He said “a baby sister!!”

I asked Brody, “Do you want a baby sister or a puppy?” He said “I want a dumptruck.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

So, I, in my infinite wisdom, thought, maybe this deep urge for a third child can be solved by a cute, cuddly puppy. Because puppies are like babies NOT AT ALL (<– foreshadowing). So, I began looking around online for puppies that could be mine. I do want a Goldendoodle one day something fierce, guys. I found a litter that had just been born this week, so I figured this gave me a few weeks for talking up my cause to the husband AKA the voice of reason. I knew that experience would only deepen my cause and further my chances, so I thought, “let’s borrow a puppy for the weekend and see what a glorious idea this really is!”

Lucky for me, my mom has a new puppy, Max. He’s around 11 weeks old and is a mini Australian Shepherd. Read: little, cute and fuzzy. With blue eyes. It’s not even right.

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So I asked if we could borrow him for the weekend, and she agreed. Max came over Friday afternoon, and the boys were ELATED. Okay, I was kind of elated, too. I mean, LOOOOOOK.

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Immediately, Knox and Max struck up a lifelong friendship. Brody is a little more ornery and really just wanted to feed Max treats, have Max chase him, but NEVER touch him in any way.

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I was so thrilled with my genius decision. Puppies are so cute, and this will surely satisfy me over having another child. For certain, you guys. FOR CERTAIN.

Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Cute moment #1: Knox holds the puppy and begins to sing “I love you, I love you” and I melt. Dogs are awesome.

Cute moment #2: Watching the puppy eat is SO MUCH FUN!! Puppies are the best.

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Cute moment #3: The dog pees immediately when we go outside. How obedient! Babies don’t do this!

You’re waiting for this situation to change, right? Yeah, about that.

Reality check #1: The sweet dog takes a dump on the rug. Um, I like him a little less right now, but that’s okay. He’s just a baby. This is still a good idea. He is so cute.

Reality check #2: Dogs bite children when they play and chase, and then children cry about the life-threatening injury they’ve just received, which is in fact a barely visible scratch on their leg. Babies do not have teeth, and I kind of like that about them. Maybe we should wait a little longer to get a puppy…?

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Reality check #3: After the dog makes Brody cry, Brody makes the dog cry by seeking revenge. This is not a good situation.

Reality check #4: Holy crap, when it is midnight, 2 a.m., 4 a.m. or 6 a.m., I do not enjoy walking outside in the ridiculous polar vortex of weather we are having to stand in 2 degree WIND and wait for this stupid animal to pee. Because he wakes up every two hours to screech at me until I do this. The love is gone. Do not wake me up, bark at me, make me take you outside to pee and then don’t pee. And run around in the freezing cold like it’s fun. Puppies are irritating. I do not love them anymore.

By the next morning, all dog novelty has worn off with me. He and Knox had some fun playing together outside, and he is still very cute, but Max just isn’t as enticing as he was yesterday. Probably because he has now peed on my mud room rug WHILE I WAS PUTTING ON MY SHOES TO TAKE HIM OUTSIDE TO PEE, and I don’t have time for this nonsense. Babies pee and poop in their pants, and I find this far more efficient and easier to clean. Babies do not bite. Babies do not shed. Babies do not leave “gifts” for you to find with your foot in the dark. Babies prefer to be tended to inside, where there is heat and no wind. Babies do not eat smelly dog food (that is apparently also deliciously tempting for three year-old boys). Babies are human, and well, that’s just better.

Puppy fever: defeated.

Baby fever: NOT.

Frame Filler- Free Bible Verse Printable

I am busy rounding up pictures for my giant stack of new IKEA frames from our trip last weekend. I. LOVE. IKEA. Let it be known. I am likely going to expand our hallway gallery wall to the wall across the hallway that’s totally blank.

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I like to mix up my media and use something besides photographs. I really like to have God’s word all over the walls of our home, and there are some great art options out there featuring Bible verses. However, I am cheap, and I prefer my art to be free. Is that too much to ask? I use design software all the live-long day for work, so I figured, I’ll just make my own stuff. So I did! Here’s the first of several (same print, three colors), and I thought “maybe I”ll share this with those awesome blog friends of mine.” So I am. Just click on the pictures below to pull up a .pdf to save and print them yourself. They’re all formatted as 8×10. Feel free to pin and share, as well. Happy Saturday!

Free Printable Bible Verse from My Coffee is Cold in blue- Romans 15:13 Free Printable Bible Verse from My Coffee is Cold in purple- Romans 15:13 Free Printable Bible Verse from My Coffee is Cold in pink- Romans 15:13

 

Free Printable Bible Verse Romans 15:13 from My Coffee is Cold in three colors

 

Life Lately

Hello there. We’ve had a busy past few weeks, but then again, I feel like all of our weeks are busy. It’s a real issue, and I’d venture to guess that you have the same issue. I am pretty sure that’s it’s a widespread phenomenon. This past week, our littlest boy turned three years old. What the heck, man. How is that even possible?? I remember his birth like it was yesterday, and I just remember being so darn happy the whole time we were in the hospital because, hello, he got to room in with us and NOT go to the NICU like his big brother. The first thing I noticed about Brody were his squishy cheeks, then the birth mark on his leg. I always knew they brought us the right baby in the hospital, so I kind of liked having it there for reference!

Hi, this was literally five minutes ago in my mind. The cheeks, I tell you. So much cheek. He was three weeks early and still weighed 7 lbs 10 ounces. Can you imagine the size of this child at 40 weeks?? Let’s not think about that, it makes me hurt.

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Anyway, let’s jump of off memory lane because it makes me misty and head into the present. We kept things simple for his birthday since our official birthday celebration was going to the USS Yorktown a couple weeks back. We just did cake and a couple presents (all puzzles- the kid is puzzle-obsessed!) at home the night before his birthday since Trevor was on-shift for the actual big day. He loved it.

Lucky Brody partied all week long with a preschool birthday celebration, two Valentines Day parties and then his own birthday shindig at home. Party animal. And yay for Publix because I was not about to make a homemade cake on a Thursday night, so this worked out nicely.IMG_9953

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Trevor’s parents got Brody the gift that keeps on giving in the form of the LOUDEST ride-on car ever made: Tow Mater. As you can imagine, this thing has been rammed into our walls and our nice clean baseboards 487 times so far. Plus, Knox keeps trying to tie other cars to the towing hook, which results in a fit because, oh yeah, he can’t tie knots. But, Brody loves it, so we deal with it for now. Soon it will go live with the grandparents.

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We have this cute little Leap Frog birthday cake that’s been a consistent favorite of the boys for a few years. Brody carried it around and sang “Happy Birthday” to himself all week long, which was adorable. He sang to himself before every meal.

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We’ve been doing a lot of work on our yard lately, and by “we,” I mean Trevor, of course. He was able to borrow this skid steer from his uncle and has really taken advantage of it. He’s been leveling out our backyard to prepare for our fence going up this month (hallelujah!!) and working on our driveway (double hallelujah!). That driveway has been a thorn in my side since we moved in this house- it’s so bumpy because the rock they used for it is massive- it’s like driving over boulders. Plus, the layout didn’t work at all. Trevor re-routed it and made it more usable, now we just need to get some landscaping done in front of the house! It’s pretty bare, so we are looking forward to doing that when it warms up a little bit.

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We went to Ikea this weekend for the first time (cue angels singing). I got a gift card from my mom for Christmas, and I  have been itching to spend it. Our couch is from Ikea, but I ordered it sight-unseen online after reading upwards of one trillion reviews and researching it (we love it), so I was pumped to go in person. We took Knox with us but left Brody with the grandparents because 1) he hates the car and 2) he hates the car a lot. We had a fun time and got tons of stuff for the house (more picture frames, kitchen goodies, sheets, rug, etc.). Knox enjoyed himself, too, and was very well behaved.

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So, that’s pretty much the past week in a nutshell. I will try to not wait two weeks to blog again because it’s pretty lame to do that. Have a great Tuesday!

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