Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Introducing... Melissa Rossine Photography

I've mentioned here and here about photoshoots I've done. So thankful for my sweet friend Ashley for modeling for me and letting me take some maternity photos for her and then asking me to do photos for her family! Really awesome.

In college I had many, many roommates and several of them took photography classes. I always wanted to, but honestly felt like my creativity was nowhere near the level of theirs and so I avoided signing up for that intro to photography class. But it's always been something that I wished I was good at and something that has never stopped being fascinating to me.

But I didn't realize quite how much I loved photography until after my son was born. We bought a DSLR camera a month before we found out we were pregnant - it really was something I knew I always wanted and luckily we had some wedding money to "play" with. But I never really had anything to photograph before I met Caedmon. I adore photographing my son - I love capturing all of his different expressions and now I love looking back on photos I took of him a year ago and just admiring how much he's grown. It's awesome to have those memories captured.

I've never really had a hobby. I've always wanted one - but just never found one that fit. I've always been jealous of my husband because he is an exceptionally talented musician. Exceptionally. I wanted to be exceptionally talented at something. I like doing creative projects but I don't have one that I consistently go to when I need a little creative outlet. But photography is something I'm just gaining a new appreciation for each time I pick up my camera. It's the first hobby that I actually love! Not that I'm especially talented in this area - but I truly believe my skill here is growing and I think with a bit more practice I might even someday get to the level of exceptionally talented. :)

I've talked to many friends about how I want to be a part-time photographer, if you will. I absolutely love staying home with my son (and future daughter) during the day... but it gets lonely sometimes. I don't know many other women my age with kids yet so we don't have a lot of play dates or anything during the day. So the opportunity to get out of the house every once in awhile to do something I love I think would really be great for my soul. My friends have all been super encouraging - telling me that I do actually have some talent and I just need to basically put myself out there and practice more.
So here I am. Trying to spread my wings into a totally new thing that is just mine. My break from chasing my toddler around and get out of the house and just getting the opportunity to do something I love... and hopefully create something beautiful for other people. Now, I have no idea what will happen with this - I'm leaving in God's hands and his timing and will just have to wait to see what the future holds. But right now - I'm just thankful to have found a new hobby that I truly do love!

So, all of that to say... I had another photoshoot this past weekend. And another one next weekend! And two or three others lined up. I'm pretty excited for the chance to just build up my portfolio some more and get more practice. The really neat thing is that I can really tell a difference between each shoot - just how much I'm learning from each one. That has been the most encouraging thing.

I went to dinner with some girlfriends a few weekends ago and mentioned that Michael had told me I just need more confidence in myself - and also more practice with photography. And that a photographer friend who I really look up to told me essentially the same thing. Maria piped up and said she and Mark really needed some new photos of themselves for around their house... and that they would be happy to model for me! From this conversation I'm also doing a mini-shoot, and another shoot for two other friends of mine. Pretty neat. :)

We've known Mark and Maria for about four years - they are one of the most awesome couples we're lucky enough to know. They make each other laugh so easily and it's impossible not to have a good time when you're around them. You can just tell by how they look at each other in the photos how crazy they are about each other - and they've been married almost 10 years! So awesome.

This is one of my favorites - I just love how he is looking at her! It makes my heart happy.

I was able to get so many pictures of them laughing - it was perfect! 

This one is my favorite from the day. I just love everything about it.

And this one is so very them. They are seriously the most in shape couple we know. For real. Right now they're training for the tough mudder happening in just a few months! I'm definitely not that brave. :)

Ah, what a wonderful way to spend a few hours! I had so much fun... and I think they did too :)
 If you're interested in a photoshoot - please let me know! Would seriously love the chance to hang out with you and hopefully create something that you love. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012


How far along? 36 weeks

Updates on baby: still doing great! she's probably weighs about 6 pounds and is probably gaining an ounce a day.

Symptoms/Body Changes: Heartburn. Bleh! But the nausea didn't bother me this week, so that's been great :) Mostly just physically uncomfortable at this point. I got out my birthing ball (that is really just a big pink ball) but it's more comfy than the couch. Plus I feel like it's never a bad idea to just roll my hips around - I mean, that's got to be good for them, right? and I cannot stop reading peoples birth stories. It's for some reason my new favorite thing to do before bed!

Cravings/Aversions: Nothing new... heartburn has been awful, awful so I'm trying to be mindful of things I eat - but honestly I have heartburn after everything.

Getting ready for baby: We have the dresser! And the rocker and her room is really coming together. I also took C's old car seat to the fire station this week and had it installed. And we deep cleaned both cars and started clearing a place in our room to set up the pack n play - which is where we plan on letting her sleep the first few weeks. (We moved C to his crib at 4 weeks, thanks to my dear hubs. Hoping the transition for baby girl will go just as smoothly!)

What I miss: Being able to walk around without feeling like a 300 pound man. 

What I am looking forward to: Midwife appt tomorrow, always good to just get to hear her little heartbeat :) 

Weekly wisdom: Make lots and lots of plans the weeks before your due date. This time goes slower than the whole pregnancy combined - so give yourself lots of things to look forward to! (And friends, don't be surprised if you get a bunch of texts from me trying to hang out with you...) :)

16 weeks

26 weeks

36 weeks

Saturday, May 26, 2012

foodie friday

So I mentioned here a little bit about how we do our grocery shopping each week - and since I shared a lot of what we bought I thought I'd share just some of the different meals we had, too. Sorry, I wasn't so good about taking photos this week!

We almost always have a veggie dinner night - where we try to round up some of the veggies that we haven't eaten yet. So one meal consisted of mashed sweet potatoes, corn, asparagus, a side salad, and a tomato because I really wanted to finish off the rainbow of colors I had going (red - tomato, orange - sweet potato, yellow - corn, green - asparagus and salad). Random, but a yummy dinner!

We also lately have been having burger night at least once a week. For this meal we added a bit of onion, garlic and cheese to the ground beef and Michael made patties and cooked them on the George Forman. We put some lettuce and tomato on them and I made sure to buy some whole wheat buns, too! We also had sweet potato fries topped with cinnamon, corn, and macaroni and cheese to finish off this meal. *Caedmon ate ONLY the macaroni and cheese at this meal. Such. a. bummer!

And a few other simple meals we had were - 

The pasta we got from Lexington Pasta was one meal that we had with some asparagus.

Spaghetti is another weekly staple. We had this with a side salad this week.

And then yet another staple around here is black bean burritos with guacamole. We have whole wheat tortillas and fill them with some brown rice, black beans with some Rotel mixed in, cheese, sour cream, guac, and jalapenos. :) Very easy and also very yummy! I make excellent homemade guacamole... or I sure seem to think so :) Michael always teases me about eating most of it all by myself. But this week Caedmon gobbled it up, too!

I could so easily be a vegetarian :) I like that our weekly meals generally only have meat in them once or twice. And we have been doing so good with incorporating at least one or two veggies into each meal dinner time.

We ended up using all of the produce from the market except for a few peaches and a little bit more lettuce which will just carry over into this week.

We went to the market this morning and I have several different things on the menu for this week - hopefully they'll work out! And hopefully I'll do better with next weeks foodie friday as far as photos are concerned :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

to-do lists

I love lists. I make at least one a day of just different projects I want to do, birthday ideas, chores that need to get done, things to add to our grocery lists, whatever... I just love them. So, while I was thinking of our nursery to-do list, I thought I'd go ahead and share it here, just because maybe you like lists, too. :) My dad is coming up this weekend with the dresser and a wooden rocking chair so we're hoping after that we can get everything finished. And then I suppose I'll have to find other things to keep me busy over the next few weeks.. :)

  • Move white dresser and chair into nursery
  • Have dad take brown dresser
  • Arrange furniture
  • Lower cornice by about 1 inch
  • Find ottoman for the rocking chair
  • Hang prints and other wall decorations
  • Find photos for the empty frames (1 5x7, 1 4x6)
  • Make a yellow fabric flower for the frame with the gray print
  • Spray paint mirror for above the crib white
  • Hang mirror
  • Install extra shelf/hanging bar in nursery closet
  • Look into blackout curtains/blinds (for both nursery and C's room)
  • Finish washing all sheets, blankets, changing pad covers
  • Spray paint rocking horse white (it was mine when I was little and it currently has some red nail polish for eyebrows and rosy cheeks... not the cutest thing as it is right now!)

Okay, that's all I can think of for now... hopefully by early next week it'll all be finished and I can snap some photos of it all completed! I've been waiting because it's just not there yet, but hopefully it will be soon.

Also, I think having a daughter is going to help me become even craftier. I've made a cornice, crib skirt, hair bow holder, and I sewed a pennant banner to hang somewhere in her room of just some scrap fabric I had... It turned out really cute and I'm hoping to find the perfect place to hang it. Anyway, there will definitely be photos of all of these things soon! Promise. :)

And because maybe I'm weird I like seeing the things I've completed, so I'm going to go ahead and include that, too. :)
  • Choose paint colors
  • Measure wall/figure out stripe order
  • Paint
  • Make cornice
  • Hang curtains and cornice
  • Find prints for nursery
  • Make hair bow holder
  • Make crib skirt
  • Find a mirror/art for above the crib
So very excited to get this room done and to meet our baby girl!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

foodie "friday"

I dropped the ball with foodie friday... sorry friends! But I decided to try to make up for it by posting a bit about our food budget and how we try to make it work. I've had several people ask me about this and while we're definitely not experts, we are learning a few things about trying to make our food budget go as far as possible, especially with us being a one-income family.

I guess the first thing I should mention is we really, really try not to eat out. And honestly with Caedmon being the active little boy he is - neither of us even enjoy going out to eat anymore. It ends up one of us will be fiddling with him the entire time so we're really not able to chat or enjoy ourselves. Half the time I sit by myself with Michael takes Caedmon for a walk or he sits by himself while I take him to the restroom to distract him with washing his hands. It's more stressful than anything. Sometimes it goes well, but the past few times it definitely hasn't been worth it. It's just easier to eat at home (unless of course my parents are with us or we're on a date... but those are special occassions!). 

So our eating out budget is nil and we're currently budgeting $100 for groceries each week - however, lately we've been going over by about $10-$15 each week. No bueno. I have a friend who was going to price check certain things on different days of the week at farmer's markets... and another friend who shops at 3 or 4 different stores to get the best prices. I wish I was more like that! Unfortunately, I'm lazy, but I will definitely try to do better. We do all of our grocery shopping at Kroger, Whole Foods, or the farmer's market. 

 We start at the market and just look around for different types of produce we want to eat for the week. We're buying almost 90% of our produce there. And just knowing that we're supporting local businesses for some reason really makes me want to eat more veggies. I realized when our veggies our from Kroger I don't feel that pull to make sure I eat them all and honestly we would end up throwing some away consistently. Not so with farmer's market produce for some reason. Whatever, it's working for us! :) We also buy a pound of ground beef each week and a pound of bacon about once a month. So we walk around first, look at prices and decide what we want and then walk around once more and make our purchases.

Here's a little breakdown of what we spent this past week. We might need to try to start bargaining with some farmer's to get a better deal, I mean, people do that, right? So in case you can't read it above, we've got:
Strawberries - $5 from an incredibly sweet couple from Madison Co.
Sweet potatoes - $5 we bought a basket of them and there are about 9 small potatoes in it
Peaches - $5 another basket, there were about 7 in it
Pound of ground beef - $4, from Triple J Farms... we did a CSA with this farm a few years ago and just really like supporting them. Plus this is about the price we pay for beef at Kroger, so I feel like it's a really good deal!
Asparagus - $5 we've been buying some each week, the past weeks it's been $3 and this week they raised their price to $5... we may not be buying this each week anymore!
Onions - $2 for 4 small onions
Lettuce - $4 a bag of 3 small heads of lettuce 
Pasta - $4 for 2 bags of pasta - which is one serving for our family
Corn + Tomatoes - $6 (Corn was .75 each - we bought 6 and tomatoes were $2/lb - 3 tomatoes at 1 lb)
Honey - $7.75, which is very pricey but the size jar we bought will last over a month

So total we spent $47.75 meaning we had a little over $50 left to spend at the grocery store. So after we get home I sort everything and make a meal plan for dinners for the week and then make a grocery list of things we'll need to fully complete our meal plan for the week. You'll see our menu (hopefully) Friday. :)

This week our grocery list was really small - avocado, bananas, ranch dressing, ketchup, milk, yogurt, eggs and bread. But somehow we still went over budget. It was sort of a lack of communication - I knew we already had things like spaghetti noodles and pasta sauce but Michael was the one to do the shopping this week and came home with some more :) And we got extras like ice cream, hummus and pita chips, 2 boxes of cereal, mangoes, etc... But now we'll have some extra things that will go into next week/the week after so hopefully everything will all balance out.

We really try to use the cash system as far as food is concerned and for the most part we do really well. However, when we go over we just put the rest on our debit card. Ideally I think we could put back a few items to make it essential that we only spend the cash amount we have on hand. It's something we're still working on. But one benefit to using cash - it hurts a little more. When you go over it's maddening to hand over all your cash and still need to give the cashier your card. And on the other hand it's incredibly awesome to hear your total and know you stayed in budget.

I know Wal-Mart is cheaper, however, we buy nearly all items organic and Wal-Mart does not have very many things (if anything?) organic. It's just something that we think is important - but I know some people aren't into it. We've noticed as far as dairy items are concerned Kroger and Whole Foods are the same price - both typically have one brand of something on sale each time I'm in there. Kroger also sends us lots of coupons in the mail every few weeks and we really try to utilize those when certain items are on sale. We don't use these every week or anything, but it's something I'd like to get better about.

I saw on Pinterest a tip on planning meals for the entire month at once - I think this could be a really neat option. However she bought most ingredients from Sam's (we're unfortunately not members) and when you're only shopping once a month there's not a ton of opportunity to buy fresh produce (something we're trying very hard to incorporate into our daily diets). So while that would be really awesome, I just don't think it's right for our family. But I'm definitely snagging some of her recipes and the idea to double them and keep one in the freezer. I should start now so we can have a few stowed away as we become a family of four!

So, pretty random :) And maybe more then you wanted to know about our grocery shopping visits... :) But if you have any tips of your own - please send them my way! How do you do your meal planning for the week?

Monday, May 21, 2012

35 weeks

How far along? 35 weeks

Updates on baby: still doing great! she's probably weighs about 5 pounds about now :)

Symptoms/Body Changes: Exhaustion, with the hot weather we've been having my feet and hands are swelling at the end of the day, heartburn, nausea/vomiting again in the mornings and well as some new not-so-fun more personal symptoms that I'll just keep to myself. Basically, I'm pretty much ready to not be pregnant anymore!

Cravings/Aversions: Nothing new... I'm not craving sweet things as much. I used to crave everything sweet but now if I've had one sweet for the whole day - I'm happy.

Getting ready for baby: I made the hair bow holder, everything is washed and organized. Next weekend we should be getting her dresser and a rocking chair that my grandpa refinished from my parents. Excited to see her room come together! After next weekend I plan on taking some photos to share so you all can see it, too. I really love it!

What I miss: just feeling like myself. Pregnancy is awesome and I love it, but it's also tough. Really tough.

What I am looking forward to: Getting her room all finished this weekend :)

Weekly wisdom: Sorry, nothing new for this week either.

15 weeks

25 weeks

35 weeks

Monday, May 14, 2012


How far along? 34 weeks

Updates on baby: still doing great, as far as I can tell! she's quite the little mover in there :)

Symptoms/Body Changes: Just more of the same - worn out!

Cravings/Aversions: strawberries and peaches and also any kind of chocolate :)

Getting ready for baby: I think we're mostly ready - I've finished sorting/organizing clothes. I want to make a hair bow holder and then I'm hoping to get her dresser from my parents so her room will just look more finished. And I found a mirror at HomeGoods this week for above her crib! :)

What I miss: my wardrobe! my clothing options are just getting more and more limited... Definitely didn't realize quite how big my belly was getting until I started digging in Michael's dresser for things to wear when I'm around the house.

What I am looking forward to: My mother's day gift was for a massage and a manicure and pedicure... this Saturday! So very excited for that!!!

Weekly wisdom: Sorry, I've got nothing for this week!

14 weeks

24 weeks

34 weeks

Friday, May 11, 2012

foooodie friday!

I used to be so good at posting meal ideas and recipes that we had used every Friday and then all of a sudden I just got really, really bad at it. However, with the local farmer's market up and running again and with us having more of a desire then ever to eat more local/organic, real food... I'm picking it back up. Or, going to try to... no idea what the next couple months are going to look like for us! But here is the run down on some of the food we had this week. 

We got home from vacation Friday afternoon and instead of going to the grocery store we decided to wait and go to the farmer's market Saturday and hopefully get almost all of our ingredients from there. We bought whole wheat bread, a pound of ground beef, a pound of bacon, 2 quarts of strawberries (it IS strawberry season, after all), red and white potatoes, onion, garlic, corn, lettuce, asparagus, green beans, peaches, parsnips, tomatoes, and pasta. 

We decided it will be easier to just load up on produce at the farmer's market depending on what's in season/what looks best to us when we're walking around, and THEN do our meal planning once we get home. Then we make a trip to the grocery to get things we weren't able to at the farmer's market - milk, eggs, yogurt, bananas, etc. 

We did buy non-homogenized milk from Whole Foods this past week (and we plan to get it from the farmer's market this week) but oh. my. word. There is a HUGE difference in taste - it is so much better! It's pricier, but again, we just truly believe the cost is worth it in benefits. And with as much milk as our son drinks - we want to be sure it's as healthy as possible! And we actually got it for free because the cashier had tried it and wasn't a fan so he said he'd give it to us for free to be sure we actually liked it. Neat!

So, first up... homemade granola! This stuff is so yummy. It was super easy to make and I honestly don't see myself buying granola ever again. It's a WONDERFUL replacement to box cereals. Caedmon is not a fan, but I'm hoping if we just keep offering it, he'll change his tune. :) I added raisins to ours and used pecans instead of cashews and only sunflower seeds instead of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. 

On the stove in the photo below is honey and butter... how could this not be a good thing? :) It was so nice to have granola to munch on this week whenever we wanted a snack. My favorite way to eat it is as cereal topped with strawberries. Yum!

For breakfast we had granola, yogurt, waffles, or scrambled eggs. This is a pretty typical breakfast spread for each of our weeks. I usually will make one or two batches of waffles for the week - each batch makes enough for two meals for our family... and they're really easy. I then refrigerate/freeze the leftovers and we throw them in the toaster over on mornings when we're just not feeling cereal. It's sort of my own recipe - if you'd like to try it let me know! :) This week we topped them with local honey, bananas, pecans, and shredded coconut. Mmmm... (P.S. local honey is oh so much better than the stuff from the store - plus it's supposed to have some benefits if you suffer from allergies, like my poor hubby... so I definitely recommend getting you some!)

My favorite dinners this week were...

Baked chicken, zucchini and yellow squash with garlic, onion, and cherry tomatoes and asparagus. (Sorry, no photo!) This was great... however we were both so hungry about an hour later. So we went out for frozen yogurt - and I still had a bowl of granola cereal before bed! Our bodies definitely aren't used to dinners without carbs!

Hamburgers with homemade fries, parsnips and corn. Michael may have been hell-bent on buying parsnips and I obliged and tried to cook them - but I can honestly say I have zero desire to try my hand at cooking these things again! They're a lot like carrots but you need to core them - or chew around the core and... yea, I'm just not a fan! Props to you if you are! But everything else was great! We put our local garlic and onion in the meat and topped them with our local lettuce and tomatoes... We also used our whole wheat bread from the farmer's market - because I forgot to buy buns. I wouldn't recommend this - use regular buns if you have 'em. 

Pasta (from Lexington Pasta... this stuff is on our menu each week, so yummy!) with green beans and almonds. Again, I was still a little hungry after this meal (but Michael wasn't so I blame the baby) so next week I'll plan to have bread and maybe another veggie with this meal. 

Veggie dinner - tried to finish off all the veggies leftover from the farmers market - zucchini and yellow squash with onion, garlic, and cherry tomatoes, corn, mashed potatoes. The hubs did this meal all on his own and I loved it. Veggie plate dinners are an absolute favorite of mine!

Lunches always look a little funny around here. I typically graze throughout the afternoon and Caedmon doesn't eat much at meal times so I let him graze with me. Throughout the afternoon this week some of the things we ate were - whatever leftovers from dinner we had in the fridge, tomato and tomato sandwiches (whole wheat bread topped with a bit of mayo and a slice of tomato), peach, apple, strawberry smoothies, mango, graham crackers, pita chips and hummus, corn chips with cheese, pickles. Random, but it's what's working at the moment.

We offer Caedmon whatever we eat at dinner. I'll sometimes put applesauce or yogurt on his plate but he rarely touches it. At the beginning of the week he had a virus and so I was blaming his lack of appetite on that... but his appetite is still lacking. He'll always eat corn and pasta, and he did eat a bite of hamburger and our potato fries as far as dinners went. But he doesn't do great with meal times, honestly. I just tell myself that all I can do is offer it - if he's hungry he'll eat. I'm not worried about his weight or anything and it's really impossible to force-feed a toddler so again, it's just how things are working at the moment. Hopefully his appetite will pick up next week. Unfortunately I have no tips for getting a toddler to eat! All I can say is try not to stress about it - continually offer healthy choices and when they're hungry - they will eat. :)

One neat thing about shopping local and having produce that you paid a little bit more for - it makes you REALLY want to be sure you eat it all. We ate so many veggies this week and I'm just really proud of our food choices. The farmer's market has become sort of an event on Saturday mornings... we almost always eat a scone while walking around and it is just so fun supporting local farmers and just getting to talk to them. Caedmon loves it, too :) At one vendor Michael and I were sampling cheese and he started saying "bite. bite. BITE!" just louder and louder until he got a sample of his very own. So many of the farmers/vendors say "Glad you're starting him off right!" And i just love that... because we really are trying to instill the values of good eating habits as well as supporting our local farmers. I'll touch more on budget later on in the week... this post is long enough! :)

Whew! That was a lot about food. Hopefully not too overwhelming (or in some cases probably underwhelming, ha!) But I'm really enjoying getting back into my groove in the kitchen. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

'green' updates

I wish there was another word for going green but since I can't think of another one right now, it's just going to have to do. :) I mentioned in this post we are starting to boost our efforts to just make our home a safer place as far as toxins are concerned.

The first thing I thought had to go was the household cleaners... no more clorox wipes, windex, pledge... I knew I was not okay having my kid around all of those yucky chemicals. So I started to make my own. And I love it - you can find so many good recipes of homemade cleaners online or on Pinterest but I still thought I'd share just a few of my favorites.

Window/Glass cleaner

50% water 
50% distilled white vinegar

Just spray onto glass. It works THE BEST out of any store bought cleaner out there. I wipe off with a cloth but leave it just a little damp, then I take a coffee filter and wipe it down once more to pick up any leftover water/vinegar as well as any lint the cloth may have left behind. (Sometimes I use this as an all-purpose cleaner if I don't have any made up)

Furniture Polish

Olive Oil with a splash of lemon juice, could also add orange oil to give it a nice smell, but not necessary

Simply mix together, pour onto cloth and wipe down furniture. A little bit goes a long way! Again, this ends up being way better then the store bought stuff. You've just got to trust me.

Drain/Disposal Cleaner

1/2 c. baking soda 
1/2 c. vinegar 
hot water

Pour baking soda down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes - add vinegar and let it foam up a bit, then pour hot water (either from the faucet or heated on the stove) down the drain. I usually run my disposal at the same time as this step

All Purpose Cleaner

2 c. water
1/2 c. distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner's unscented, but I've heard really good things about the peppermint scented kind!)
3/4 c. hydrogen peroxide
20 drops tea tree oil
(optional) 20 drops lavender/lemongrass oil

Mix ingredients together in a spray bottle. I use this mixture mostly on our bathroom counters, the shower and tub, the kitchen counters and cabinets, wiping down the washing machine... most everything! I've never added any essential oil but I think I'm going to need to buy some! There isn't much odor but I think it'd be nice to have it smell like lavender or lemongrass or orange or just something when I'm finished cleaning! :)

Okay and the second thing we I realized had to go was all of our body and skin care products. After reading through the list of ingredients and knowing very, very little except for ten especially toxic chemicals to watch out for - I saw that not one of our items in this department was safe. Not one! A book I really love is Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano. It's an eye-opener for sure! 

So after feeling an enormous amount of guilt for lathering my son in all of those beautifully scented baby washes and lotions and learning they weren't safe, I started with his items - and replaced it with one. Hugo's Naturals baby shampoo wash. And I can honestly tell you his hair (while being super soft before) is ridiculously soft after using this after only a week or two. He also had dry patches on his elbows and one on his leg that I would put lotion on after a bath - I don't need to do that anymore. His hair and skin is just so soft. It's amazing what our bodies can do when we give them room to do it - without lathering ourselves in unnecessary chemicals. I'm definitely open to trying other brands, this one happened to be on sale the week I decided to make the switch. He loves bubble baths, so I knew I wanted to find a safe option for that, too. I picked Yes to Baby Carrots bubble bath. I love this stuff. I've not found a diaper cream yet. Honestly, we use the stuff so rarely I'm not sure I'm going to spend more money on this just yet. I might try some coconut oil though - I hear it's possible to replace diaper cream with it. Definitely worth a shot!

We switched shampoo and conditioner to a brand called Nature's Gate (it was just on sale at Kroger). I'm not a big fan, though so I'm excited to run out of it so I can try something different! I found some Dr. Bronner's castille soap in the clearance section at Kroger a while back and bought it on a whim. Now this took some getting used to. My skin felt very dry after rinsing it off... but I knew I wanted to stick with it because my skin just needed to get used to the lack of some of the chemicals it was used to. After two weeks, I really love this stuff. I feel like my skin is so much softer! I think I'll definitely try something different whenever we run out... something with lavender or just any type of natural scent (one ingredient to stay away from is fragrance... which is in absolutely everything. So at least look for petroleum and paraben-free if fragrance is an ingredient).  

I threw out my cocoa butter lotion and replaced it with this that I use for C, too when he needs it. It doesn't have much of a smell and is just nice. 

Michael did try shaving with coconut oil and he didn't mind it. He said he would need to shave every other day as it hurts if your hair is too long and you try to use it. And it's more of a process - but his face was super soft and smelled faintly of coconuts afterward. :) He used it for about two weeks, and then after a weekend of no-shaving went back to the regular shaving cream and that's his preference. We just bought some fragrance-free Kiss My Face shaving cream - it doesn't lather the same but it was a good switch! And I just use a little conditioner when it comes to shaving my legs... it's just what's easiest for me. :)

And about my make-up. One thing I new I wanted to get rid of was my mascara. It's the only makeup I  use everyday and I always buy the really, really cheap stuff. I replaced it with this. It is definitely more expensive but as it's something I use every single day - it's worth it to know it's a safer option! Plus, they donate one tube of mascara to a cancer patient for every tube that's bought. Pretty neat. I use Bare Minerals make-up and while I haven't looked in too it in too much detail yet - I feel like it's a pretty good choice.  

We decided to use California Baby sunscreen. Last summer we bought a certain type of more natural sunscreen and that stuff was so thick and impossible to rub in. We're really happy with the California Baby kind. It's pricey ($20 for a little bottle) but we just have to tell ourselves it's worth it. 

It's hard to remember we vote with our dollars... and therefore really should be researching every company we purchase from! But sometimes that's overwhelming and I know it's something I rarely do... But it's definitely something I want to get better about. At least we're starting to make better choices with a few of our purchases. Anyway, these are just a few of the switches we've made. It's so refreshing to step into the shower and just have three bottles now that we're sharing everything (rather than the 6 or 7 we had before!) It's just incredible to see how many things aren't really a necessity. I know the organic route is not for everyone (my mom still rolls her eyes at me whenever we talk about it) but it's something we definitely feel good about ourselves with making the switch. If organic isn't your thing - you could still simplify just by sharing more instead of each person having their own shampoo and body wash. Just a thought. :)

Also, my little challenge for April about not using the dryer... our energy bill was $20 less! Not a crazy amount, but I was excited that it really did make a difference. Definitely something I'll do more often - but not all of the time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

33 weeks

How far along? 33 weeks

Updates on baby: she's doing great in there! she's probably about 4 pounds and is the size of a pineapple :) I had a midwife appt this morning and everything is going really great so far! I'm measuring about 2cm behind (but anywhere within 2 more or 2 less is normal). I was consistently 2cm behind with C as well, so I guess that's just the norm for me. (Even though C was 8+ pounds when he was born... I might be getting super duper nervous about the birth part now, ha)

Symptoms/Body Changes: Everything is just so much harder! I almost cried trying to put on my pajama pants last night, ha. 

Cravings/Aversions: healthy food! after a week of sub-par eating while on vacation I've been craving fruits and veggies this week :)

Getting ready for baby: I've made a crib skirt and cornice... excited to share them on here soon! Hopefully there will be a big completed nursery post soon. We're still a few weeks away from having it totally done, though

What I miss: being able to put on clothes without it being such an ordeal. I wear Michael's t-shirts a lot of the time because mine are nowhere close to fitting anymore! 

What I am looking forward to: Well, Caedmon is sick this week... so I'm just looking forward to having my little man back to himself. It's the worst thing in the world when you're kid is miserable.

Weekly wisdom: Just make sure you love your doctor/midwife. Leave most appointments happy with your decision. :)

13 weeks
23 weeks
33 weeks

Saturday, May 5, 2012

32 weeks

22 weeks 

32 weeks
I sort of missed a week - so just the photo this time around! We were busy enjoying the beach... look for a post on that soon!