April 30, 2014

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Casey from Real Suburbia

Hey! I'm Casey and I blog with my best friend, Sarah, at Real Suburbia. A 26 year old, stay at home, part time single mom. Married for 5 years to a man who works out of town most of the year, mother to an almost two year old named Wilder. I breastfed and pumped for 14 months. 

 I'll start from the beginning. When we finally got pregnant after six months, I knew I wanted a natural birth and knew I wanted to breastfeed. Blood pressure issues (not preeclampsia) threw a wrench in my natural birth plan. I had my gall bladder removed in my second trimester, was on two different kinds of medicine because of the blood pressure, almost got pneumonia, and was on bed rest the last four plus weeks of my pregnancy, which I didn't follow and almost had to have an early emergency c-section. When I was 38 weeks, my doctor said because of my blood pressure, going into labor could cause me to have a stroke or even die, so they wouldn't risk inducing. My natural birth plan went out the window. I knew I still had control of breastfeeding. My twin sister only breastfed for 6 weeks and then switched to formula. No other moms or expecting moms I knew were going to breastfeed. My c-section happened, but not without problems. I threw up through the whole thing and they took Wilder to my husband while I was recovering for an hour. They rolled me back into my room and immediately started trying to help me feed him. I requested no bottles be given to him, no pacifier because I was terrified of nipple confusion. I was very disoriented from the anti-nausea meds they gave me, all the people staring at me, and this tiny red headed baby. I couldn't focus. I had a great nurse who helped me figure out my routine which seemed to be constant switching sides, feeding every 30 minutes so he would latch on. There were two or three other women who delivered along with me and all I could hear were their babies screaming and I didn't understand why Wilder was being so calm and quiet. They told me I had been the only one who had decided to breastfeed and the other moms were currently trying to find the right formula for their newborns. That scared me as well. I didn't know that was something you had to figure out if you chose formula. I wanted to breastfeed him because I was scared of that trial, along with having a newborn.
 My milk came in on Christmas Eve and I was miserable. I wanted to stop. I was so miserable and scared (yet again) of mastitis, that my mom ran to the store to buy me a pump. I was over producing. When I fed him, he would choke at the pressure and I knew I had to start pumping. I would feed on one side, which was perfect for him and then pump the other, switching every 2-3 hours when he would feed again. When he was 3 weeks old my husband finally got to feed him a bottle. He took it like a champ and nipple confusion was never an issue.

 The most rewarding part of breast feeding was that my son did not get sick. He didn't get a cold until he was 21 months old and I firmly believe it was because I breast fed for so long. I also co-slept because it was easier for me and for him. I could feed him and we could drift back off to sleep together. We did it together for 14 months, until we moved him to his crib.

 I thought I had the breastfeeding thing down. Around three weeks old though, my husband got me my favorite sandwich. A bratwurst covered in sauerkraut. It was DELICIOUS. Little did I know, much to my surprise, what you eat affects your milk. That sauerkraut gave my tiny guy the worst night of colic, the worst night to date of my life as a new parent. Onions, however, made him sleep so well.

 The challenge I had with breastfeeding was with my weight. I was told breastfeeding would help you shed weight like crazy. I was also told that you have to keep your calories up to keep your production on track. That led to me gaining weight in the fear that my milk supply would drop and I would have to switch to formula before we made it to the whole milk stage. When I would cut my calories drastically, my supply would plummet. It was this back and forth seesaw that really made me want to give up. But, I didn't. I stopped focusing on weight loss and more on providing what my son needed.

 Breastfeeding is frustrating. I walked through it blindly. I didn't know I had a community I could reach out to. When I googled it, I usually got the worst case scenarios. Ask questions, find communities. Get help. Learn from women close to you and friends you make. Chances are, they had issues too. Breastfeeding was the best choice I was able to make. And if or when we have another, I would do it again, no questions asked.

Casey blogs about parenting, crafting, and getting through life with the help of her best friend and husband at Real Suburbia.

Be sure to catch up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries at the top of my navigation bar!


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April 29, 2014

Essential Oil Favorites...and a giveaway!

 Okay my friends today is an exciting day! I am FINALLY getting a chance to share my absolute love for essential oils! I've been using them for a few months now and have been absolutely blown away by my love for them. They are totally a game changer in my book! I got so sick and tired (literally) from constantly being sick thanks to Hudson bringing home daycare germs, so I wanted to find a natural way to defend my family and help us live a more natural, healthy life I use doTERRA oils because I believe they are the purest and best oils out there. Depending on the oil, they can be taken orally (in tea is a great option!), in a gel capsule, rubbed directly on your skin, or put in a diffuser. . I'm no expert...but here is the 411 on my favorite oils....

Lavender
My favorite way to use lavender is to combine it with Hudson's body lotion or fractionated coconut oil and apply it to his feet at bedtime. It helps soothe and calm him down and he has been sleeping through the night (most nights!) and takes amazing 2-3.5 hour naps now! When we were out of town this past weekend I forgot to bring my lavender...and Hudson slept horribly! I'm never forgetting it again! Lavender can also be used on a diaper rash, insect bites, burns, bruises, cuts, scrapes, and for people with allergies. If I had to pick just one oil, it would be this one!

Lemon
This is another must in our home! I use lemon on EVERYTHING in our kitchen and bathrooms because it is a great all natural sanitizer. The smell is amazing and so fresh! I use lemon on a damp cloth to wipe down our stainless steel appliances. I also use it mixed with water in a spray bottle to help sanitize our counter tops. I also add a drop to our dishwasher and our dishes come out spotless! Lemon is also great in tea for sore throat relief.

Peppermint
I love to use peppermint in my tea as a great pick me up! It smells so great and really helps me when I start to drag in the afternoon. It's also great for headaches nausea, diarrhea, swelling, mental fatigue, overheating, inflammation, sore muscles, sprains, upset stomach, motion sickness, rheumatism/arthritis, respiratory infections, viral infections (Herpes simplex, cold sores), itchy skin including poison oak and ivy, bee stings, and the dreaded sinus congestion. Just one drop of peppermint (orally or rubbed on your nose, but diluted for kids) works miracles!

Melaleuca 
My number one favorite use for melaleuca is to help with adult acne! Yep....I'm 30 years old and still get breakouts. When I feel one coming on I dab a little bit of melaleuca to the spot and it's gone by the next morning. Holy cow, this stuff is AMAZING and my skin is so thankful! Melaleuca is also great at helping your body fight off viral and bacterial infections and to help with colds and sore throats. It can be applied directly to the skin and in most cases without being diluted so it can be used on cuts, scrapes, or burns where there is potential for infection. It is one of my favorite oils!

Oregano
Oregano is one of the most powerful natural antibiotic available. Anywhere you might use an antibiotic, oregano is something you can reach for. Oregano is a very hot oil, so you would either need to apply it to the bottoms of the feet or take it internally in a gel capsule.

DoTERRA also makes some amazing oil blends all designed to help your body. Here are some of my favorites:

OnGuard
This is hands down my favorite oil blend and has been my #1 go to for warding off daycare germs. I was so tired of constantly having someone sick in my house! Diffusing it into the air aids eliminating germs and bacteria brought home by your child from school. I rub a few drops (diluted) to Hudson's feet (and on to mine and my husbands!) each night and it is an instant immunity booster!

DigestZen
This oil blend is so great for calming an upset stomach. It can be used internally but I usually just rub some directly on my stomach...or dilute it and rub it on Hudson's tummy. Works wonders!

Breathe
This is another favorite...it's great for people with asthma. If only my husband would try it....anyway, I also dab this on my nose when I'm feeling stuffy and it helps clear it right up! Breathe would also be great in a diffuser. 

Deep Blue
This is an amazing oil blend that helps relieve muscle and join pain, bruises, and headaches. And it smells divine! 

Did you know that you can use oils on your pets too???? Wrigley has itchy skin due to allergies, so on him I combine 2 drops of lavender plus 2 drops of frankincense with water in a 4 oz spray bottle and spray it directly on his skin for relief. (Be sure to dilute oils big time when you use them on your pet. And avoid using melaleuca on dogs. Consult your vet with any questions.) You can also use rosemary and purify (oil blend) as a flea repellent.

You can buy any of these oils from my website HERE, under "shop for products."

If you are looking to get your feet wet with essential oils I HIGHLY recommend the Beginner's Trio, which is a full size bottle of lemon, peppermint, and lavender. Or, if you want to try a few more oils, I recommend the Family Physician Kit. If you have any questions about doTERRA oils, I would be happy to help you. I'm not an expert, but I can provide lots of guidance. Please email me at thegirlintheredshoes @gmail.com

So, want to try these oils for free???? It's giveaway time!

I have worked closely with Sarah from The Oil RN to learn a lot about these amazing oils. She is a registered nurse and works with doTERRA oils. Sarah has been a great resource for me and has offered to give away a Beginner's Trio (lavender, lemon, and peppermint) to one lucky The Girl in the Red Shoes Reader! Yay! Enter to win below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Also, these oils may seem expensive, but trust me, they will last you a LONG time! You only use a few drops at a time and most of my oils look barely used after several months....so it's totally worth the money. If you are interested in opening up a wholesale account (it's easy, and it saves SO much money!) or if you are interested in joining my team, please email me at thegirlintheredshoes @ gmail.com


***Please consult your doctor about using these oils if you have any health concerns. Please consult your child's pediatrician before using oils on young children.

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April 28, 2014

Zoooooo!

Mark this down as Hudson's best weekend EVER. We traveled to the east side of the state to see our good friends Mo, Ali, and their son Logan (who is about 2 months older than Hudson)....and man, Hudson LIVED IT UP! And had some crazy wind-blown hair too.

We went to the Detroit Zoo on Saturday and Hudson LOVED all of the animals....even though he called most of them "puppy". See that polar bear puppy in the back left corner? He was one of my favs.

 Hudson loved the brown bears puppies too!

 And wanted nothing to do with the rhinos or the kangaroos. Most of the time I chased him around the zoo and just enjoyed watching my crazy guy have so much fun!

 We managed to get both of the boys in the wagon for a little ride and snack. They had so much fun talking to each other and laughing. Hudson was straight up obsessed with Logan and didn't even want to sleep without knowing exactly where Logan was. So needless to say, we didn't sleep much all weekend...but it was worth it!

 Hudson's favorite part of the zoo was this elephant statue. And the gorillas, where he ooo-ahahah'd the whole time.

 And oh my word, he LOVED the butterflies. 

On our way out we spent a little time playing with plastic penguins and giant legos. I think Hudson could have stayed in this section the entire time, he loved it so much! The rest of the weekend was spent chasing two little boys around, playing with toys and bubbles in the back yard, lots of mini tantrums, dancing to Mickey Mouse, eating frozen yogurt, and so many laughs.

And thankfully, Hudson slept over 12 hours last night. Yay!


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April 25, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday! As usual I'm linking up with the lovely ladies of The Good LifeA. Liz AdventuresCarolina Charm, and Hello Happiness for 5 on Friday...and you should too!

 {one} Our Citrus Lane box arrived this week! For those of you who don't know about Citrus Lane, it's a box subscription service for kiddos...and it's basically amazing. Our box always arrives at the best time (right when I need a new distraction for Hudson!) and we love it every time! Click here for 50% off your first box plus free shipping! In our box this month was the Prince's Bedtime Book and CD from Barefoot books. We LOVE getting books in our box and this one is cool becuse it has a CD that goes along with it. Two tumblers from Green Eats, a free custom Mother's Day greeting card from Treat, lemon verbena dish soap from Mrs. Meyers Clean Day...and oh my word, I love Mrs. Meyers so so so much! It smells divine and it almost makes me enjoy doing the dishes. Almost. And we also got some tools from Green Toys. We already have some of the same tools from our Green Toys tool box (which we love!)...but I was still happy to see these in our box....now mama or daddy can hammer and work with the tools right along Hudson, which he loves. Again, click here for %50 off your box!

 {two} I'm working on another day in life post and I just have to share this little gem. Man, I love this boy. Picking him up from school is usually the highlight of my day...except on days when he does not want to leave because they are doing something fun....and I have to drag him out. I sure hope they don't think I'm a child abuser or something!

 {three} During my mama vacation yesterday I had to get out of the house (so that the cleaning lady could come) so I did what any normal person would do. Went shopping. But it was totally necessary, right? First world problems.

 {four} Hudson was NOT a fan of the bunny ears, despite my offer of a fun photo shoot.

{five} I was supposed to paint my hallway yesterday during my day off....but I didn't. This is seriously the LONGEST painting job in the history of time.

Happy Friday!



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April 24, 2014

Everyday I'm hustlin'

Everyday I'm hustlin'. Hustlin' to get everything done. Hustlin' to take care of my family. So today, I'm taking a mama vacation. Just when I started to feel like I was going to loose my mind from the demands of motherhood, work, blogging, and cleaning the house I realized that I had several vacation days saved up at work...and I haven't had a "me" day in a long time....so this little day off is totally deserved.
I need this mug, don't you think? 

 This morning I dropped Hudson off at daycare (and I'm not going to feel guilty about it) and now I'm sitting at Panera enjoying my favorite bagel and a little uninterrupted me time. Every mama deserves to take a little time for herself.

I know that the days are long but the years are short....and things wont' always be like this. But today, I just need a break. Know what I mean?

I'm going to run some child free errands, take Wrigley for a walk, possibly paint my hallway, and just enjoy a little break.

Happy Thursday! 

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