Tuesday, July 15, 2014

No Shampoo: Week 1

Well, as of today I have successfully completed week one of "no shampoo".
 
Here is my hair diary, thus far:
 
Day 1: On day one, I washed my hair with baking soda and then conditioned with apple cider vinegar (both very diluted with water). My hair was AMAZINGLY soft and easy to manage. The best part was ZERO tangles in my hair after the shower. I could brush right through it with ease which also meant less breakage. My hair was not oily today.
 
Day 2: On day two I washed my hair with only water. I have heard that the baking soda CAN dry your scalp so I decided to only use it every other day during this transition period. My hair was slightly oily on day two but not NEAR what I was expecting.
 
Day 3: My hair was slightly oily again today but not so much that I couldn't wear it down. The only reason I wore a ponytail this day was because I realized that I missed a spot when straightening my hair and it was driving me crazy so I pulled it back.
 
Days 4-7 I will summarize since they were relatively the same. My hair was worn in a ponytail. It was too oily for me to comfortably wear down, but again, not near what I have been expecting it to be.
 
The oily hair is expected since my hair has to balance itself out after decades of shampoo stripping it and causing it to over produce oils. So, to report after week one, my hair is doing as expected, although the oiliness is horrible right now. The BEST thing I am loving so far is the fact that I don't ever have tangles in my hair anymore. Amazing. That makes life easier plus it means I have less breakage.
 
I'll report back again next week!
 
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Bereavement Doula

I'm hitting the books again.
 
Only this time, it's for something very near and dear to my heart. I am studying to become a Stillbirthday Doula.
 
What is a Doula? You can read about that {here}.
 
Stillbirthday provides a unique training that prepares their doulas to provide support for birth with any outcome, in any trimester.
 
I encourage you to check out {Stillbirthday} and everything that this organization does for the baby loss community.
 
Already, though I am just in the beginning stages of training, I have found healing for myself that I didn't even realize I needed. I am so thankful for this opportunity. I am thankful to all of you who encourage me daily. You are such a blessing.
 
 
 
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why I Advocate Breastfeeding in Public (A Christian's Point of View)

Oy with the Poodles already.
 
First off, high five if you understood that first reference. We just became best friends.
 
If you're friends with me on Facebook, and haven't block me from your newsfeed (ha!), then you probably know that I advocate for breastfeeding in public. It's natural and it's normal. It never fails that I am going to get at least one "friendly" message telling me how wrong it as a Christian. And since I get relatively tired of typing the same novel over and over, I am putting it here so I can just send them a handy dandy link. You'll see that I am a sucker for convenience.
 
First, I live in a small town in a rural county in conservative Alabama in the heart of the Bible Belt (no complaints, just setting you up for this post) and I am well aware that my opinion is not the popular one. Weird, hippie, I really don't care what you call me, although I do prefer Staci.
 
I 100% support breastfeeding in public. I am a Christian.
 
Let me give you some background. I grew up thinking that breastfeeding in public was awful. WHO DOES THAT??? Save that for your home. You know why I thought that? Because that is the attitude I was taught everywhere I went in a small town in a rural county in conservative Alabama in the heart of the Bible Belt. Then one day, I grew up and learned that I could think for myself, and I began to question why breastfeeding in public was so bad.
 
Then came the day that I had children and I breastfed them. I breastfed Audrey privately in my own home for eight weeks. I excused myself if we were somewhere else. I can remember thinking, why do I have to hide? Why do I have to sit all alone and bored? Is breastfeeding shameful? And the answer is no. I quit breastfeeding after 8 weeks only because I felt like I couldn't do it in public and it was too much of a hassle.
 
Then, I had another child and I am still breastfeeding her (10 months strong--woohoo!). Having two children is a whole new ballgame. I cannot simply excuse myself when I have another child to take care of. Breastfeeding an active baby is also a whole new ballgame. She wants to see EVERYTHING. Which is normal. She is learning about the world around her.
 
So let me address the popular excuses or the lovely alternatives that are offered by the "BUTS". (I support breastfeeding, BUT).
 
1). Can't you cover up? Puh-lease. When you can get a blanket over my active, curious ten month old, I'll cover up. Good luck by the way as she flails and screams (which draws much more attention to my breast than a quietly nursing babe). Did I mention I live in Alabama? IT'S HOT. Please put a blanket over your head either inside or outside for 10-20 minutes and let me know what you think. Don't forget how heavy your chest will get as you are deprived of fresh air.
 
2). Can't you go the car? Again it's hot. Oh, I can crank my car? Have you seen how much gas costs? It's also not fair to my older daughter to have to completely abandon our activity to drag her back to the car.
 
3). Go the bathroom. My husband can tell you that I will avoid public restrooms for their designated purpose and will scope out all of my options when it is necessary. No way am I going in one for something completely unnecessary. You, however, are welcome to enjoy your dinner in there. I won't stop you.
 
4). That should be done at home. My bad. I'll never leave my house since my baby only drinks breastmilk. I'll let you break my five year old's heart when you tell her she can't go anywhere with Mommy until her sister is weaned.
 
5). Can't you pump? Actually, I am blessed and I can pump. But a lot of women physically cannot pump. While I can pump, if I will be gone more than 3-4 hours then it's useless. Because then I would have to pump in public which would draw a LOT more attention than nursing ;). And I'll be honest. I hate pumping and I do it as little as possible.
 
Now, I am pretty conservative. I prefer to nurse Cate in the corner or in a wrap. I use the two shirt method and often receive compliments on my sweet sleeping babe (Hint: she's nursing, not sleeping).
 
But here comes my argument less the snark. I often hear that people don't want their husband or kids to see breastfeeding. I don't care if you breastfeed in front of my husband. That's is not the same thing as a woman just throwing her shirt off in front of my husband. Intentions mean a lot. And I trust my husband and know him well enough to know that he views breastfeeding as feeding a child and not in a sexual way.
 
Let me jump over the edge here. I WANT my kids to see breastfeeding. Not just because they are girls. I would feel the same if they were boys (maybe even more so actually). I want them to be exposed to it. I'll use Audrey for an example. Recently she saw a mother on a bench breastfeeding a baby. Now, the way I was raised, I would have been in shock that I could see the top of this woman's breast. Audrey, however, turned to me and said "Look Mommy! She is feeding her baby. Isn't that baby so cute?". I was so proud I seriously could have cried.
 
Breastfeeding is not nudity. If you think that, we will have to disagree. Walking down the street without your shirt on just because you feel like it is nudity. Breastfeeding a child is feeding a child. Again, intentions.
 
I also find it ironic, that while breastfeeding is taboo, cleavage is acceptable. Oh, you're a conservative who doesn't think cleavage is acceptable? Do you wear a bathing suit? Strapless dresses? I don't know about yours, but my conservative one piece swim suit shows more than I show when breastfeeding.
 
What kind of message do we send women and our children if they see that society accepts flaunting your skin with ill intentions but shames a quick flash of skin for providing nourishment for a baby? Exactly what role do we want our girls to think they have?
 
I want my girls to have Christian values. I want them to know that dressing immodestly attracts the wrong kind of attention. THAT's what I want them to see me taking a stand against. Not an innocent mother feeding her baby.
 
When my girls see a mother feeding her baby, I want them to be the ones that smile and say "Good Job Momma!", and give her some encouragement. Not give her a disgusted look while not batting an eye at the hundreds of people they pass in mini skirts and cleavage (I'm not advocating disgusting looks to anyone, just point out the discrepancies).
 
I don't want to compare breastfeeding to sex because it's not anywhere near the same. BUT I do want to point out our apathy towards one and our firm stand against another. What gives?
 
And it seems to be only Americans that have this problem. I have found countless images and mission trip blogs that feature women comfortably breastfeeding in the church with no one batting an eye. (image search "breastfeeding in church").
 
"and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:12
 
There are several instances in the Bible where breastfeeding is used as a beautiful metaphor. They portray breastfeeding as a joyous and celebrated thing, not a shameful one. I found 24 instances where the Bible references breasts for breastfeeding or nursing. I only found 7 (4 in Song of Solomon) where breasts were referenced as sexual. The Bible uses the breastfeeding relationship as a metaphor of how He cares for us. I can't find one verse where it says it should be shameful or hidden. I find it to be celebrated.
 
I'm sure someone will argue, but MODESTY. Yes, modesty. Dress modestly. I 100% support dressing modestly. I dress modestly and I nurse in public. They can go hand in hand.
 
I did find a lot of verses about sexual immorality that I am sure many people try to use in this argument. But ladies and gents. There is nothing sexual about my breasts when Cate is eating. Ew. That's like thinking of a vagina as sexual during childbirth. HUH? I know, right? There is nothing sexual about it when a child is involved. So, sorry, you won't change my mind with that argument.
As a Christian, I am determined to love and support breastfeeding mothers. As a Christian, I want to be one leading the way for our society to QUIT SEXUALIZING BREASTFEEDING. I think Audrey's view on it is the perfect example. Sexualizing breastfeeding is a thought process that is taught. Normalizing breastfeeding is a process that is taught (but can be learned as I am living proof of). It's up to you to decide.
 
{Christianity Today article on Breastfeeding in Public}
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Monday, July 7, 2014

We're Over, Shampoo!

Well, I've decided to do it. At least for 30 days. I'm committing the next 30 days to the "no poo" "movement". (Is it a movement? I don't know.)

There are a LOT of reasons I have decided to give this a shot. You can read about many of them {here} or  {here}(or just do a search for "no poo").

"You're not going to shampoo your hair?!?" Gross, right??? Wrong.

First, shampooing every day or every other day actually causes your hair to secrete LOTS of oils. That's the reasons most Americans (we seem to be the only culture who thinks it's gross to go more than 48 hours without shampoo) can't go long without washing our hair before it looks like a hot mess and we have to shampoo again. The shampoo has our hair conditioned to over secrete oils to make up for what the shampoo strips out (This is also why you need conditioner. Basically to repair what the shampoo does). Ditching shampoo, for most people, will allow you to lose the oily look.

After your hair makes it through the transition phase and balances itself out, you will have much healthier hair as a result. Most people report results of less frizzy and easier to style hair.

It's cheaper. All you need is a $0.50 box of baking soda and a bottle of apple cider vinegar. CHEAP.

So, you save money, and if you're into "going green", you produce a lot less waste. CH-CHING!

Quitting shampoo can also help keep your complexion looking much better. Score!

So I am taking the plunge and volunteering to be a guinea pig. Here is one of the last pictures I have of my hair after being washed with shampoo. I'll let you know how it goes.

Have you gone "no poo"? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Give the Gift of Time

Have you heard of the CuddleCot? 

It's an incredible product, and through this product, families are able to receive an irreplaceable gift.

When Barrett was born sleeping, we were only able to have him in the room with us for short increments of time, because with a stillborn baby, the room temperature can be damaging to their bodies. This is time with our babies that is lost and time that we can never get back.


The CuddleCot seeks to provide some comfort during an unimaginable time in grieving family's lives. The unique cooling system of the CuddleCot allows these babies to remain in the room with the parents so that the parents are able to have additional time with their babies; time that they wouldn't otherwise have. 

Time. It is a precious gift when it comes to your children. And when you are already having to say goodbye, every minute and every second counts. The CuddleCot provides this gift to bereaved families. 

This allows families to have time they wouldn't otherwise have to bond with their baby, and just take them in; change their clothes if they want, take photographs, or whatever else their heart desires. There is no rush, just time.

When Barrett was born, our hospital staff was incredible. They did everything in their power to ease our pain. We would love to provide this hospital with this resource to further assist bereaved families.

You can read more about the CuddleCot here: http://flexmort.com/cuddle-cots/

To make this possible, we need your help. The CuddleCot is an amazing, but costly product. Every single dollar helps. You can donate here: http://www.gofundme.com/aumgh0

You can also donate by purchasing a T-Shirt here: https://www.booster.com/rushcuddlecot

Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for any support you are able to provide. If you can't donate, please consider sharing this post.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

August

I try to like the month of August. I really do. I work really hard to find all of the positives--it's my niece's birthday month (the only thing I truly find myself excited about in August), and it's also Barrett's birthday month. I do my best to try to make all of the good outweigh the bad.


It's the month I was able to hold my son. It is the month Barrett was born, and so many beautiful things and friendships that have bloomed from that.
 
But I am going to be incredibly real with you in this post. I am going to be 100% raw and human. I hate August. Beginning in June, I start to feel the dread. It is already hitting me so hard. August feels like a dark cloud looming over my head in the summer. I try to push it away and run away from it, but it follows me. It gets closer and closer with each passing day.
 
I feel like I am walking around with a weight on me and I know so many other grieving mothers feel this same feeling. In fact, there are many who share my feelings about August. Too many mothers know exactly what I am describing.
 
August and it's impending arrival floods me with so many memories. The day before his birth, the day of, and the memories of the following days including his funeral are as clear in my head as they were in those moments. The moments that change your life so drastically are slow to fade. They become a part of you.
 
August brings those memories raging back for me. They never hit me when I expect them. It's always at random times. Like yesterday when I had a doctor's appoint on June 23...and I saw the date and thought, "Two months. Two months until his birthday". Or when I get a notice that something at work is scheduled for August, and I realize how close that is. It hits me when I realize that June has flown by and July will probably be the same way.
 
It hits me when I see that Audrey goes back to school on August 6, and that will be two years since we received the joyous news that our precious baby was a boy. August 6 will be two years since the last time I saw Barrett alive.
 
I have moments still where all I want to do is be alone and have a good cry, even almost two years later. There are some wounds that time can't heal. The moments are fewer, but when they hit, they are still just as strong. I have so much to be grateful for, but that doesn't mean we aren't allowed to grieve as well. My two living children do not replace the one who is missing.
 
August, I am dreading you right now. I am trying to embrace you, but you bring so much hurt. August, you make me feel like I am having to give my baby away all over again.
 
 
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Monday, June 23, 2014

MyOatmeal.com *Review*

*Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and may differ from yours.

I have to admit that I was pretty intrigued when I was first contacted about reviewing myoatmeal.com. Custom anything is always better, right? I'm not sure what could be much better than customizing your own food.


Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day and I LOVE oatmeal. I was crazy excited to be able to create my own oatmeal. Myoatmeal.com has an easy process that allows you to add your own ingredients including grains, fruits, and other flavorings. You can even choose the amounts of each items and the type of sweetener, if any. It is the ultimate custom product. 

 As awesome as that is, it doesn't stop there. You are even able to name your unique oatmeal flavor. When you receive your oatmeal, you will notice that it has it's own special label with the name you picked out and the ingredients you chose.

So.....what did I make???

My first custom flavor was "Sweet Apple Pie". It contains multi-grain oats, flax, apples, ground flax seeds, apple pie flavoring, and brown cane sugar. AMAZING. If you are used to eating instant oatmeal from the box, this will knock your socks off. It was SO much better. The flavor was incredibly rich, and, yes, it had that amazing flavor that makes apple pie one of my favorite desserts. I even let Cate try some with me, and she couldn't get enough of it!


Next up was "Chocolate Strawberry Delight". It contained quick rolled instant oats, strawberries, quinoa flakes, brownie flavoring, and cane sugar. While the apple pie was my favorite, this was pretty delicious too. It was definitely a different flavor for oatmeal, but that was my intent when making it. I wanted a change with this one and I got it. The mix of chocolate and strawberry made a great combination and is perfect for when I am in the mood for something different in the morning.

Myoatmeal.com has more than just oatmeal. They also have PB Lean which is dehydrated Peanut Butter. There are different flavors of this you can order, or you can create your own just like with the oatmeal. We tested the chocolate hazelnut. WOW. The taste is incredible and it is so easy to make--you just add water! Did I mention it has 85% less calories from fat? Win-win! 

The verdict? Not only does this company have great products, but it is a really fun process as well. It is so much fun to create your own flavors and try them out. I personally cannot wait to see what else Audrey and I can come up with. We will definitely be adding some custom PB Lean to our order next time as well.

What flavor combinations would you like to try? Let me know in the comments!

Connect:
Website (Create yours here!)

*Disclosure: I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and may differ from yours.
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