Thursday, July 18, 2013

When Life Calls

Wow! I can't believe the last time I blogged was on June 1st. That day seems like a lifetime ago but at the same time, just yesterday. Since moving here to the midwest, everything is happening on overdrive for me (can't speak for Gary on that one...). I am no longer training in pediatrics, I've cross-trained to NICU and have had several solo shifts there already, and on my days off we explore our surrounding areas or lounge at the pool soaking in gorgeous 90 degree heat and glorious humidity. Just yesterday, we drove over an hour to Norfolk, Nebraska to play at the AquaVenture water park. It's a smaller park made for a small town but it was perfect for our little guy and he enjoyed it immensely! As did we!

Even though we live near the city, it's still a small town life we now lead; finding things to do for fun takes a little bit of creativity and more than likely, a little bit of driving too. Fortunately, the two bigger cities that have more things to do than our own new home are only 1.5 hours away from us in either direction.

Actually, it's more than just fun and games that we look for in these two cities. Omaha, Nebraska, is an easy 1.5 hour drive from here and has the closest accredited, free-standing birth center to us. After having Daniel I knew I would not want a hospital birth for our #2 and as we talk about our plan for a second child, I'm relieved that I won't be forced to deliver at the hospital where I work! Now, whether my insurance will cover any part of an out-of-network birth in another state is an entirely different issue... but this is such an important aspect of our family planning that I'm willing to pay the out of pocket expenses.

When my parents come to visit us on September, we will probably plan days of play in Omaha and our other "big city", Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I also want to visit the Ingalls Homestead in Desmet, South Dakota. My mom grew up watching Little House on the Prairie as a child in Japan, while I voraciously read the series front to back when I was a kid. Visiting one of the many places Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up would be so interesting for us! Weather in September should be comfortable enough to spend some good time outdoors.

In the spirit of exploring our new surroundings, Gary and I finally braved eating at our first sushi restaurant here in Iowa and boy were we disappointed. I really, REALLY wanted to like this place - the service, albeit slow, was very friendly and the atmosphere was fine. The fish was good too... but the rice. Oh, the rice. The MOST important thing about sushi is the rice. It is the one constant throughout the world as modern sushi takes on its own face and flavor apart from traditional sushi. It should be firm but soft, not mushy, sticky yet not clumped together, and have the slight taste of seasoned rice vinegar. This cooking and seasoning of the rice should complement the fish and when it's not there in any way, well, you've failed at sushi making my friend.

This restaurant's rice was everything sushi rice SHOULDN'T be. It was cooked to death and lacked flavor. It did such a disservice to the quality of the fish that it was almost painful to eat. In hindsight, we should have ordered much less than we did (at a painful $70 tab, I felt robbed) and gotten McDonalds on the way home. I enjoy their $1.29 hamburgers a hundred times more than I enjoyed this sushi experience. But I am not deterred. There has to be good sushi here in the Midwest! And I will find it...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I've Never Been a Hat Person

Source
Since starting my big girl job 4 weeks ago after graduating and being work-ready 3 years ago, I've noticed a huge personal growth spurt happening within me. For the last year and a half, my primary job was that of being a mom and wife. Now I juggle motherhood, taking care of my man, and sustaining my family financially - I am changing the hat on my head constantly now!

And I've never been fond of hats.

I'm learning to, though. Any nurse will tell you about the importance (and the "easier said than done" reality of) keeping work at work. I never had a hard time separating my work life from my personal life, except for the occasional difficult situation I encountered; during my 6 years of nursing assistant work with hospice patients, I think my track record of keeping it separate is pretty good. I think it's even more important now than ever before to be able to do this, particularly since I work with the pediatric population now as an RN and I have a 18-month old at home. If I saw the face of my little boy in every child I cared for, every day, I might not make it through my first year of work!

Being able to switch hats is especially important at the homefront too. I noticed a huge disconnect between my little guy and I when I entered the work force 4 short weeks ago. The first 2 weeks were 5-day work weeks; going from being home every day to not being home much at all really confused his poor little mind! He was suddenly preferring to be with his dad, running to him when he was hurt or sad, and I have to admit that it really hurt my feelings. Since I've assumed my regular schedule of 3 days a week though, he has gotten over me being gone (thank goodness on my mom-heart!).

Being able to remove my nurse hat and put on my mom and wife hats as soon as I step through our front door is so vital, not just for me but for my guys. My little boy needs me to be his mom all the time, no matter how exhausted and sleep-deprived from working nightshift I am. My husband needs me to be his wife while juggling our son, not this woman who just came home from work and would give anything to have a quite moment to herself. And on the flipside, my patients need me to be their nurse, not a stranger who would rather be at home with her family.

Despite the many roles I now play in my one life, I am so grateful. I love that I am finally fulfilling my dream of working as a registered nurse and what's more, getting to care for children! I am over the moon that I have a husband who, at the drop of a hat, moved across the country so I could achieve my dream, overcome gender role "norms" to stay home with our little boy while I bend those same roles and become the breadwinner. And of course, after a long shift of wearing my nursing "hat" (figuratively, anyway) while taking care of sick kids who need Me the Nurse, coming home to my healthy and happy little guy who needs me to just be me is the greatest gift of all!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And Here We Are!

We are two weeks into our new life here in the Midwest! Before we moved here, I heard many different things from various people (people who live out here, people who used to, etc.) about what it's like to live in the Midwest but what I gathered from what everyone told me was this: I'd figure it out when I got here! And while it's vastly different from California in every single sense, I am enjoying it so far and look forward to the years we spend here making a name for ourselves.

When I talk about where we now live vs. where we spend the majority of our time when we're out and about are actually several different places. We came out here with every intention of living in the state where I found a job - Iowa. When we started researching where to live, we discovered that the area we are in is actually a border town that also includes the southeastern most point of South Dakota and the Northeastern most point of Nebraska! So while I work, we play, and I will more often than not be referring to Iowa, we actually live in South Dakota (and may even enjoy some time out in Nebraska, like we did today).

My x-chromosome-folk are tucked safetly into bed as I listen to my second Midwest thunderstorm come down amongst the beautiful, full trees that have finally bloomed to life after the lingering cold. It's warm, SO warm, with summer pretty much here in a sense that I'm used to - apparently, it gets pretty muggy and humid here, which it is not yet. But the days are long and warm, the trees are beautiful, the grass green and growing without much help from umpteenth gallons of sprinkler water. It is so different here than in California!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Life, Temporarily Reduced to Boxes

We are up to our eyeballs (well, I am - Gary's 6'3" and I'm not stacking boxes that high) and full steam ahead in our cross-country move and so far, the experience has been only mildly heartbreaking. It must be from all the times my family and I moved when I was a kid, because this isn't the hardest part for me. In fact, it's pretty invigorating and liberating. Going through stuff I haven't seen in a while, getting rid of stuff I haven't used since our last move (which is basically my personal golden rule - 1 year and it's out!), making room for new stuff later on! We recently gave a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, but most of it was my old clothes and some baby items. Gary hardly gave anything away, so while packing up our bedroom I noticed much of the clothes are his. Hmm.

But anyway. We currently have a miniature city in our living room, with the stacked boxes for skyscrapers and everything else as... everything else. The hardest part about packing has been to remember not to pack everything up at once, since we started 2 weekends ago, and to also remember to pack for the trip. With Gary road-tripping it and me flying with the munchkin, we need to make sure we have everything we need for the actual trip(s) to getting to our final destination.

And then, there's the emotional component of such a massive move - this is the hardest part for me, by far. Leaving my family, my entire family; to follow my dream and carve a niche in this world comes at a price and that is physically removing myself and my small clan from my parent's life. They haven't said anything to me about it, but my grandma says she's never seen my father so stressed in his life. And to the few people she's talked to about it, my mom is saddened to see her grandson go. We all know it's extremely temporary, that Daniel won't remember this part of his life, and we'll be back here in California before we know it. This is something that my grandmothers had to endure time and time again with my parents moving us around; I don't think my mom ever thought she'd have to witness the same thing with me, but such is life.
I spent yesterday with my best girl friends, something I'm glad I got to do because I don't feel like I'm going to be able to bid everyone I know a proper fair well. I would have made time for them regardless, but it just sort of magically fell into place yesterday and I'm so thankful for it. Later on this week, I'll have dinner with other family members I didn't get to see last week or over the weekend. This coming Saturday, we will pack up all of our belongings and head down to San Diego; on Sunday, Gary and my brother will set out towards the Midwest and on Monday, my mom and I fly to Minneapolis to see my family. My aunt will be driving us down to Sioux City, again helping me out immensely and showing that it really does take a village to move even a small family.

By this time next week, I will be in the town I call home for at least the next 2 or 3 years.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Keep moving. Just keep moving.

Well, I did it. I went and found a job! A for real, grown up, what-I-went-to-school-for, JOB. I'm still in complete and total disbelief over the idea that a hospital has finally given me the benefit of the doubt, brought me in to interview me, and come to find out that they actually like me. My "we'll have a decision by Friday or Monday, by the latest" response from the manager turned out to be a "I'd love to offer you the position" on early Thursday afternoon...

The only catch. I traveled, far AND wide, for this job. All the way to Sioux City, Iowa. And what's even more is we'll actually be living in South Dakota!

What the what?

Where are these places?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dream a Little Dream

More and more lately, I am realizing the power of making dreams happen. In hindsight (and even as I was saying the words), my proclamations of not wanting to be a nurse anymore was fueled by the fact that I couldn't find employment. Had I fell into a job right after graduation, my feelings would have been vastly different.

With that said, I feel that now that the wait is over and I have finally found a job, I am now looking at friends of mine from nursing school who did fall into positions with their employers quite easily and assuming the role of registered nurse almost over night. Examining the fact that they were absorbed into units that they didn't necessarily see themselves working in as student nurses (we all have our dream units!), but having the ability to hit the ground running compared to me: I had a baby and several years of searching high and low, experiencing stress and anxiety I didn't even know were possible due to high student loan debt, but securing a job in the unit I've always been drawn to, even from when I was a child.

Which is better? It's hard to say. All I can say is that for me, the wait has been worth it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Blog Identity and a Little Personal, Too

Okay, ladies and gents. It's official. I am having a blog identity crisis. I have zero idea in what direction my blog is headed in and I feel like my post subjects are all across the board. 

Actually, my problem with this is probably pretty indicative of how I feel about the rest of my life - total chaos. My apartments in shambles, my MonkeyBoy and I stay in pajamas for most of the day (sometimes through his first nap!), laundry gets done but remains largely unfolded and/or put away, kitchen cleaning consists mostly of using the dishwasher and spot-cleaning, and I'm not even sure what's going on in my head these days.

I think the one thing (err, two things) I can count on to not be confusing are my relationships (Gary, baby, ETC) and that time is flying by way too fast for me to catch my breath (insert loop of previous paragraph here). I really, truly want to know how other moms seem to be able to do it all! I mean, don't they stay in their pajamas all day, reheating cold coffee and chasing their kids around the toys on the ground to change their diaper? And can we talk about spilled milk for a minute? And how much I miss nursing because spilled milk never made it past my t-shirt? There are Cheerio fragments on the ground (thank GOD that's easy to vaccuum), the plastic sheet under his high chair is... gross right now from dinner, it shames me to admit. It looks like World War III up in here with all the toys lying face-down on the ground!

And here, I sit sipping tea, enjoying a cupcake and blogging about how crazy life is. I swear, I do NOT have ADD or anything like that (clinically diagnosed, anyway). Sometimes, you just need to let it all hang out. But really, I am having a blog identity crisis so please bear with me as I hash some things out and discover what it is I'm really trying to say. I'm coming to grips with having a toddler, having a period again and not breast feeding while simultaneously realizing I'm suddenly not sleep-deprived, so I realize things are slowly going back to normal - as normal as can be with a child to care for, but you know. Normal.

My ABC's and other random things


Via the lovely Nic of Chevrons & Anchors!
  • A - Age: 28. Just 28. I really dislike this number.
  • B - Bed size: Cozy queen.
  • C - Chore you hate: Folding laundry is the most obvious chore I hate the most.
  • D - Drink of choice: Just water, followed closely by coffee & tea.
  • E - Essential start to your day item: Coffee at the very least, or tea if I ran out.
  • F - Favorite color: CBE86B and similar tones.
  • G - Gold or Silver: Silver-toned jewelry looks better on my skin tone. I like yellow gold, but I don't feel classy enough for it.
  • H - Height: 5'5".
  • I - Instruments you play(ed): I played clarinet for about 6 years; dabbled in piano for 3 years or so.
  • J - Job: Stay at home mama, writer, former healthcare provider, Registered Nurse.
  • K - Kids: Just one.
  • L - Living arrangements: We live in an apartment, just us three.
  • M - Mom's name: Mom :)
  • N - Nicknames: Jules
  • O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Delivering my son was the only overnight stay I've had so far.
  • P - Pet Peeve: Leaving the bath mat on the floor instead of draped over the side of the tub, dirty kitchen sinks, wearing shoes in the house, wearing shoes at all (I love flip flops), people who talk too much. 
  • Q - Quote from a movie: Can't think of one right now (not much of a movie person)
  • R - Right or left handed: Righty
  • S - Siblings: A younger brother.
  • T - Time you wake up: Usually 8 am.
  • U- Underwear: Always.
  • V - Vegetable you dislike: Can't think of any I dislike.  
  • W - What makes you run late: Just my general inability to be anywhere on time. I'm chronically late.
  • X - X-rays you've had: Left elbow, teeth (for orthodontic work), lungs.
  • Y - Yummy food you make: I'm not terribly shabby in the kitchen so most everything I make usually comes out good (tooting my own horn here!).
  • Z - Zoo favorite: Elephants :)
We spent the weekend hanging out with my brother's girlfriend - she drove up on Friday evening to watch Daniel for Gary and I while we drove to a few apartments to scope out (and weed out) a possible future abode. We don't need to move until the end of March or early April so this is just us being proactive. The first two apartments, while in our price range, are not options for us. The third apartment was absolutely lovely and though slightly out of our budget, we could make it work and the amenities makes it well worth it. 

Daniel and I are spending the majority of this work week on our own - Gary will be in Colorado on business through Thursday evening. I'm definitely looking forward to a nice, quite weekend though. My parents will be up on Saturday and I can't wait to see them!

In regard to a previous post I shared about the wonders of the Oil Cleansing Method, I really need to take it back. It ALL needs to be taken back. I gave it a legitimate try, using it once a day, adjusting the ratios of carrier oil to castor oil every few weeks or so but several things were happening that I just could not overlook. One is that my face just was NOT improving. My face wasn't more oily and I really liked the way my skin felt (not tight after I washed, not dry during the day even with minimal application of moisturizer, etc), but the acne wasn't going anywhere. Two (and this was the even bigger issue) was the fact that I broke out in an allergic reaction to something in the oil mixture on my eyelids and upper lip. At first it was just dry, patchy areas but towards the end (mid January), my eyelids were so red and painful from my lash line to almost my brow bone and from the bridge of my nose to the outermost edge of my eye. There was a similar reaction from near the septum of my nose down towards both sides of my lips (inverted V shape). I stopped using the oils going on two weeks ago and those areas are finally looking better; this is the first day that my eyelids aren't red and patchy, though rogue dry spots are still popping up on all three areas. 

Funny enough though, since Daniel and I have stopped nursing earlier this month (so I'm assuming, post-pregnancy hormones are probably FINALLY going back to normal as a result of that), my acne is clearing up on its own. I'm using a run of the mill, organic non-soap skin care line that is available at Target so really, no big deal. I was fairly convinced during this entire 10 months that I had this acne that it was hormone-related but I figured it could be controlled anyway. Oh well, lesson learned!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Signing Off On January

I have been horrible with my most obvious New Year's Resolution of: blogging more regularly. Truth be told, I've decided to shift that goal into just plain journaling more - I busted out my old notebook, bought a new one yesterday, and received a pack of mini-journals from a friend a few days ago. We'll see if this any more fruitful...

Flushed with fever
Gary was gone for almost 2 weeks in a row (working late, getting home LATE before leaving for Vegas for the rest of the week; home for a 1.5 weekend, leaving for Chicago on Sunday evening for the remainder of last week). We knew Gary would be gone a lot these next few months since back in December, so I planned to spend last week down in San Diego with my parents. The night before I planned on leaving, however, Daniel came down with a fever that came and went over the course of three days. It was just the fever though, as terribly hot to the touch that he was. He was in good spirits though, never fighting me to cart him back and forth to the store (first, for dinner; second, because I as unknowingly low on Tylenol and ran out before his second dose), and slept off and on with me keeping somewhat of a vigil over him. I didn't get much sleep last night, to say the least.


Daniel was fever-free on Monday morning so we left, and he was in good spirits even when his fever returned later that day. Had I known this would happen, I would have kept us home, but having my parents there was extremely helpful during the first part of the week. Then on Thursday, a rash developed on his trunk. It never really spread onto his extremities, but it was enough for me to finally consult the triage nurse at his Pediatrician's office. The RN said it may be Roseola and said it would pass on its own with little side effect. After I did a little research myself, the description sounded exactly like what Daniel has experienced with the fevers and then with the rashes. It was all gone by Saturday morning, but  not before becoming inconsolable over the last few days of our trip.

Not a happy camper, this one.
Everything upset him, he wouldn't let ANY of us hold him, and he slept horribly  No naps, awake every few hours at night, crying, ugh. I felt like a mother of a newborn all over again. I know it was a combination of a few factors on top of the illness that really made the tail-end of our trip a total disaster. However comfortable he is in my parent's home, at the end of the day, it isn't home. It wasn't his home where his toy box and TV and bathtub and most of all, where our bed is. And also, Gary's presence was very greatly missed. I'm so sad that he was acting the way he was because I thought being at my parents home, which he's comfortable with, would be okay for a week.

We are still adjusting to the changes in Gary's new schedule; he'll be gone again for most of next week. We will be spending it at home, as I really don't want to relive last week anytime soon.

Going off on a semi-tangent, something I haven't really talked about on here at all is the fact that Daniel is now completely weaned. As of the 12th of January, he became a whole-milk drinking big toddler; In the beginning my heart ached slightly at the thought of my baby boy growing up so fast and no longer needing me in that way, but as the weeks rolled by I noticed a tremendous amount of growth and maturity in him that I don't think we would have noticed as much if he were still nursing.

First of all, he is a phenominal sleeper now. It only took 14 months, but it's better now than never! He sleeps, on average, 10 hours straight at night (9 pm to 7 am) and naps 2 hours in the early afternoon w/ a quick power nap (45 minutes to an hour, tops) in the early evening to get him through dinner, bath, and more play. He doesn't need ANY help falling asleep now aside from the occasional back patting/rub, but even that is dwindling. Last night, we laid down in bed around 8 pm to wind down and watch Tangled (I love that movie!) and he was out, all on his own, by before 8:30! I was blown away! One minute, we're watching the movie and the next, I look over and see he's knocked out! I spent the remainder of the movie reading in bed (currently reading Cloud Atlas, a great read so far). And now, he has a very specific daily schedule: awake around 7 (8, if I'm lucky), play and breakfast, lay down for a nap around 11, nap for a few hours, late lunch, more play, little nap around 5 if he needs one, dinner, a bath (if I didn't give it to him earlier), wind down and hopefully asleep by 9. Every single day, it's like this. I never thought my routine-less little infant would turn into a toddler who put himself into his own schedule!

We're shopping around for a new apartment for when we have to move in March/April and because of his age now, we're looking at a 2 bedroom so he can have a place to call his own! He'll be 17 months when we finally move, so I'm hoping to transition him into a toddler bed. My mom bought us a crib for him, which largely went unused over the past 14 months because he much preferred sleeping with us. It is a convertible crib, we just need to buy the parts to convert it. And of course, I'm looking for cute, funky decor to deck out his first bedroom - I am loving Ikea's children line!

Daniel's Room Inspiration Board
And of course, January 25th was my birthday! Your's truly is officially 28 years (young!), in what is considered my late twenties, and I feel... absolutely no different. Haha.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

On What It Is I Want to Do

Source
The other day, Gary asked me a simple but very loaded question that kind of opened the floodgates in my thinking machine once I actually started processing his inquiry.

What do you want to do?

He was asking, of course, about what I'm doing w/ the whole nurse job hunt adventure I'm sort of still on. His main concern is how I keep flip-flopping; in my defense, I stopped the back and forth w/ what direction I'm going once I got the email from my most recent job interview that panned out to nothing. I wasn't fed up, stuff just got in the way - Daniel's first birthday, entertaining family, the holidays and everything that entails, hanging out with friends and family still - we JUST got back to normal from all of that, which I'm sure is not unusual. It's just, during that time, my gears shifted.

Gary understands me. He supports my wild ideas and crazy schemes. This is not normal, people. The fact that he is willing to work these crazy hours, sacrificing time at home with this amazing little boy we call our son, so that I can stay home to raise him... and then continue to remind me to write or blog since after a long day of chasing our Tazmanian Devil incarnate, I'm exhausted and just plumb forgot. He's a catch, people! So I get it when, at the end of the day, he still wonders what the fuck it is his wife is thinking. 

I have the tendency to be very defensive, turning into a very ugly person that I am not proud of. This left-field question sent my mind reeling because let's face it, I know exactly what I want to do. Unfortunately for my creativity, I am a very left-brained thinker/doer. Growing up, I crossed my T's and dotted my I's in accordance to what I thought my parents would approve of, and this was totally on me. They never did anything to make me this way. I'm not a rebellious person by any means, so to think of doing something with my life that my parents will not approve of still makes me shake with anxiety. Did I mention that I'll be 28 in a week?

I'm one of those people who come to that dividing line of doing what makes others happy vs. doing what makes me happy, seemingly very often. One very good example where I chose me over them comes to mind; I left my ex-husband. It took a lot of time, self-discovery, and self-allowance to forgive myself for that one. Sometimes, it really does seem like choosing to make others happy over myself is the safest, easiest route to take, doesn't it? But not so.

Had I not chosen to do right by me, I would not be here. Gary would not be mine. Daniel, my son, would not be mine. All of that is inconceivable to me, even the difficulty that is currently our station in life. One thing I've learned is life is a series of ups and downs, even if I don't do what makes me happy, I will still end up sad. So in the end, I will choose me. I will always choose me... since really, I'm all I have.

So I think we all know which road I'm taking now. I'm employing myself, every night from between the times of 9 pm and 2 am Monday through Friday and during the day on weekends, I put on my Jo March "scribbling suit" and write. Sometimes the words flow, other times I struggle. It's really no different than any other endeavor in life and Gary said how now, he can't say I'm not doing anything. Ha! Seriously. I need sleep!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

We ventured out to a beautiful park yesterday (the same one we had his birthday at in November).





Monday, January 7, 2013

Becoming Me, The Writer

Source
In a person's life, they may find that they are faced with an event or a period of time that causes something(s) about themselves to change. They start to shift into a person they never thought they would be - a person they were meant to be, rather. Self discovery is what some may call it; one would be so fortunate to go through this, but I suppose that it could be both a blessing and a curse. It's all about timing and probably a bit of luck. Which side of the coin will it be?

I am whole-heartedly convinced that I am going through this right now. I've had both life changing events and periods of time: entering motherhood, moving far away from my family, meaningful and mature commitment, unemployment, and financial hardship are just a few things that I've had the pleasure of handling all at once in the last few years. Each and every one of those aspects are completely different but at the same time so intensely intertwined that it's no wonder I'm changing into this person. I was destined, AM destined, to be this person.

A writer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Secrets in the Pantry for Healthy Skin

Last month, I decided that enough was enough. I no longer wanted to deal with the mom-acne I've been suffering since April. "Breast is best" be damned, the hormones that my body is still surging with are reeking havoc on my skin and I am not a happy camper. I think anyone would be upset by the state of epidermal duress that I am enduring but you see, I have been dealing with acne since I was a teen. It cleared up a few years ago after I tried treatment after treatment, finally enjoying beautiful glowing skin during pregnancy and shortly thereafter... very shortly, anyway.

I take my "'breast is best' be damned" statement back, because I actually wouldn't trade being able to nourish my son naturally (psst... and for FREE!) for anything, not even clear skin.


Source
My best friend introduced me to the benefits of using natural and essential oils in skin cleansing (The Oil Cleansing Method, or OCM for short) but like most people, I was immediately skeptical. Oil, to cleanse my skin? Please. I ended up spending a total of 8 months and hundreds of dollars on different ways to heal my skin, some that made my acne worse and none that made it better. Then a couple months ago, I started having an interest in natural ways of caring for my skin with things I already have at home: greek yogurt, olive oil, baking soda, et cetera, things that many people already have in their kitchen arsenals for consumption or cooking. What did I have to lose with giving OCM a try? Could it be the olive leaf that I've been looking for?

I started on my journey by researching a few websites (this one being my favorite resource!) for a few days, experimenting with cleansing simply with olive oil for the first few nights, then finally digging in and purchasing Castor and Jojoba Oil, as well as some Tea Tree essential oil. I'm a 3 weeks in, give or take, in what OCM junkies refer to as the transition/purging stage. To be able to say that my skin looks healthier as it is healing is incredible.

Other natural skin care techniques I've started to include are Greek yogurt masks and baking soda scrubs. I began using plain Greek yogurt as a mask back in October and I definitely love the way it makes my skin feel. I stopped using it after a while but have started using it again. After starting OCM, I learned about the benefits of baking soda and coconut oil as a face scrub. I exfoliated with just baking soda last week and I loved the results but I found that my skin was a tad irritated and raw when I was done. I decided to try a different tactic and instead of making a paste with water, I mixed the baking soda with liquified coconut oil (with hot water, not the microwave, so to not denature the oil). Let me tell you, this made a world of difference! My skin felt SO smooth, even my eyelids and upper lip! I found this website that gives a bunch of different natural scrub recipes, baking soda and coconut facial scrub being one of them. I've been hooked on using coconut oil for skin care since we started Daniel on cloth diapers but now I'm all about using it on me, too!

So what's next? I'm not sure. Even if it doesn't completely clear my skin up, it's doing a whole lot better than anything I've spent a lot of money on has thus far. I spent about $30 up front for the different oils I didn't have, bottles that will last me for a while. I am still hopeful though, not just about OCM but about natural skin care in general. Keep your figures crossed for me!

Friday, January 4, 2013

On Me-Time in the Grocery Store

As I was driving home with Daniel from the Japanese market today for some much-needed items that have long since disappeared from our fridge, I decided that I would go to the regular grocery store for the rest of our kitchen staples when Gary got home from work and could watch our boy while I quickly shopped by myself. Daniel fell asleep on the way home and I really did not want to deal with him having a meltdown when I tried to put him back in the car seat to leave to go home, even if our super market is only a few blocks away.

Besides, I did the same thing last week and it. Was. NICE. Walking around the market alone, not feeling the need to verbalize every little thing on my mind to a child who doesn't comprehend what I'm saying anyway, being able to use the front of the cart because it's not being occupied... those sorts of things. The first time I ever dared go to the grocery store by myself, I couldn't believe I even considered this sort of thing having my me-time; back when I was single, I really disliked it. Oh, how the times have changed.

Back to our drive home today, while I sat in silence because Daniel had fallen asleep, I thought "Now, if only it were socially acceptable to have a glass of wine with me while I shopped." That would really just complete my me-time right there. I'm not talking about having a place to sit and sip/taste some wine like Whole Foods does, I'm talking legitimately having a glass of wine in my hand (or, even a special wine glass "cup" holder attached to the shopping cart...). I don't think grocery stores have any idea how great of an idea this is: picture it. Mom's everywhere, congregating in grocery stores without their kids or partners, shopping the aisles and drinking wine - a glass an hour is my limit, but can you imagine a mom who might have had to much to drink? She may feel the need to walk it off, say, and end up spending much more money than she anticipated. It's a win/win! Moms get their me-time while getting a necessary chore done and stores potentially sell much, much more than they would have!

However, I feel like this would open up a whole other can of worms like driving (even slightly) under the influence of alcohol, operating a shopping cart definitely under the influence of alcohol, and possible bar brawls in aisle 5. So.

But a girl can dream, and this mama will just continue to do so, of situations that are completely impossible and really only nice in my imagination. I have a very vivid imagination...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013

Happy New Year, friends! 

I have so many exciting things in store for myself this year, one of which includes keeping this blog much more updated. But for now, I leave you all as I finish up the holiday season with my family with this quick update.

Have a safe and pleasant new year!