A Look Back at 2013…

My husband said it best when he said that this year was a year of big gains and big losses. I mean huge gains and losses. Over all it was amazing and I am grateful to have lived it and spent it which such incredible people.

Proposal

I make fists when I am really excited!

So the year started with the best day of my life, my husband’s 35th birthday. At his birthday dinner he asked me to be his wife. I’m sure some people may say that our wedding day should be even better, but not for me. Knowing that this incredible man wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and be married was the greatest moment of my life.

In 2013 we also found a church that we absolutely adore and had many adventures. I ran both Ragnar Del Sol (a 200 mile relay race) and the Ragnar Trail Run. We say Alex Clare, who I’m slightly obsessed with, in concert. And as if my ass wasn’t lucky enough, I won tickets to see my all time favorite musician in the world…. Prince! -The man puts on an amazing show. We went to Vegas a couple times to celebrate with friends entering their 30′s and friends getting married. On one of these trips we walked away with matching tattoos!

Wedding pic 1

We got married and had a reception both here in Arizona and in my husbands hometown in Wisconsin. I hadn’t met most of his family until the wedding and so my family has grown.. a lot.

We lost my husbands mom this year, which was completely unexpected and a big loss for our family. I am so fortunate to have had the chance to meet this incredible woman. The timing of things is always fascinating and leaves me know doubt that we all have a purpose and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment. We are so glad that we had her at the wedding and she could see us so happy and let her in on what are plans for the future were (hint: baby).

My husband started his own business this year and is now officially the best handyman and pool service man that ever existed. I ended the year with a promotion at work. This year has been crazy and sad and amazing. Life does what it does and we can just hope to be present in the moment, dream of bright futures and hang on for the ride.

Sunny Unicorn

Let’s see what 2014 brings…

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“Safe” Deodorant Reviews…

As you know from my Dangers of Deodorant post I have tried out a couple different deodorants that are considered to be non toxic. I am happy to share our experience and help you to make a decision about which brands of “healthy” deodorant you may want to try out.

The first non toxic deodorant I ordered was called “Pit Putty” from Bubble and Bee.

I ordered Orange Vanilla Pit Putty Organic Deodorant with Baking Soda, for me and Lemon & Clove Pit Putty Organic Deodorant with Baking Soda for P.

20130902_101138 

Ingredients: Organic arrowroot powder, organic coconut oil, aluminum-free baking soda, and essential oils (and organic vanilla extract in mine). That’s it… No “Bad” Stuff!         Their deodorant is certified organic. It is free from parabens, aluminum, and propylene glycol.

Smell: I love the smell of the Orange Vanilla; it is very fresh, and not strong or artificial smelling. The Lemon and Clove is a little too hippie smelling for me, but I should have known that when I ordered clove, again, it wasn’t too strong though.

Usability: It goes on well for the most part. Little clumps do come off, but I’ve never had a problem with it getting on my clothes. It is a little crumbly, but they do not use chemical binders which make it even more safe, so that is a fair trade for me. It seems to go on smoother with hairless armpits than it did on P’s manly armpits.

Performance:  It works for me! My armpits stay dry and smell fresh all day and this was tested during the summer in Phoenix. However, P did not have the same luck. It wasn’t very effective for him at all. Keep in mind that I work in a freezing office all day, P is in and out of his car and runs around as part of his job.

Overall: Good smell (Orange Vanilla). I LOVE that this is an organic product and does not contain toxic materials. I am happy with the product and would buy it again for myself, but it didn’t work well for P.

The next “safe” deodorant we tried was Lavanila: The Healthy Deodorant Vanilla Lavender

Lavanila 

Ingredients:  Aloe barbadensis leaf juice (Aloe juice, water/aqua), Propanediol (Corn derived), Zea mays (Corn) starch, Sodium stearate (Coconut derived), Silica, Carrageenan (Seaweed derived), Stearyl behenate (Coconut derived), Citrus medica limonum (Lemon peel oil), Inulin (Artichoke derived), Saccharomyces ferment, Alpha-Glucan oligosaccharide (Sugar derived), Yeast beta glucan, Lonicera caprifolium (Honeysuckle) flower extract, Usnea barbata (Lichen) extract, Valeriana officinalis root extract (Valerian), Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal) extract, Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree) flower/leaf/stem extract, Lycium barbarum fruit extract (Goji berry), Botanical fragrance blend. It contains NO: Parabens, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, Silicones, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Synthetic Dyes, Sulfates, Chemical Sunscreens, or Aluminum.

Smell: Very clean and fresh. Not overtly feminine, so P has no problem wearing it either.

Usability: I was expecting a similar experience to the Pit Putty assuming that “safe” deodorants were going to be the same. The Lavanila is very smooth, it has a round shape and glides on so easy. It feels a little wetter, but it isn’t wet. I instantly feel like it is covering more area. It is smooth for hairless and manly armpits.

Performance: This also works for me. I do not feel sweaty and smell fresh all day. This works much better for P. He does feel like he needs to add more halfway through his day, but smells good all day long as well.

Overall: Pretty packaging, glides amazingly, smells great. We will be buying this again as it works for both of us.

 

The Pit Putty from Bubble and Bee is less expensive and worked for me, plus I love how few ingredients they have, but the performance and smooth glide of the Lavanila are worth the extra price and additional ingredients in my opinion.

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Support…

To be honest, I thought sharing my approach to preconception health, future pregnancy health, and parenting would be met with a response of “goof for you” or “that is awesome” or my dream response of, “you’re gonna have one lucky kid with a mom that loves them this much already”. I thought I would share my experience and what I’ve learned through this blog and hoped to inspire someone or to teach them something they didn’t know that could positively impact their future child’s life.

Is that how this is going so far? Not exactly… I will say that my readers are AMAZING and have kept me motivated. However, in face to face conversations with people that I share what I am doing with (friends, family, acquaintances) I feel like I get more pushback than anything. (There are some people in my circle who support me 100% and to these few, I will be forever grateful.  I don’t know that I’d be able to get through this journey without you.) There are some well meaning people that just warn me not to get too carried away or put too much pressure on myself. There are also others that seem to think that my sharing my approach and what I am excited about is somehow a judgment about the way they approached or plan to approach their pregnancies, or how they raised their children.  This is not the case, I am just excited about my future child and am planning to take an approach that is the healthiest for ME, and falls along MY approach to life. If your kids turned out just fine and you smoked crack throughout your pregnancy, hallelujah, I’m glad they are fine, but please do not be offended that I share a different view.

I am not perfect, my preconception and pregnancy plans are not perfect. I’ll never be able to learn absolutely everything there is to know about creating a healthy, smart, happy baby, but I am going to try, I am going to take what I am learning to heart and if it turns out that epigenetics is a bunch of crap (which I don’t believe at all because I strongly believe in epigenetics) then, oh well, I tried my best and if anything, I made myself healthier.

I guess what I am asking is that you please support me, please educate me, and please share what has worked for you. Please don’t think I am judging you or that I think you did it wrong, and please don’t judge or suppress me.

Did you experience this when you were planning your family?

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Dangers of Deoderant… with a Happy Ending

If there is such a thing as learning too much before you get pregnant, then I am in danger of it, but Oh Man, let me tell you I’ve learned some interesting things. For example, did you know that you should not have Lasik eye surgery within 6 months of conceiving or while breast feeding. I don’t really know why, but I read it and believe it and have temporarily put my dream of laying on the couch without my glasses going all wonky on my face to bed. It is all for a very good cause.

bad deodorant

bad deodorants

So, Deodorant/ Antiperspirant…. the silent killer. OK, not that extreme, but it isn’t very good for you pregnant or not, but especially when you are expecting.

WHY?: Most deodorant/ antiperspirants (to make things easier for myself, I’m just gonna call it deodorant) contain one or many of the following ingredients: Aluminum, Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene glycol, and Triclosan.

Who cares?: I do and you should. Here’s why… Let’s start with aluminum, this is a heavy metal which can become a neurotoxin when absorbed in the body. Aluminum and Parabens can mimic estrogen’s hormonal effect and throw things off balance. Phthalates also alter hormonal systems and have been linked to a higher risk of birth defects. Phtalates can cause low sperm count in men  and genital reproductive abnormalities in male fetuses and babies.    Scared yet? I’ll continue, in large quantities, Propylene glycol can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, and heart. Triclosan is classified as a pesticide and probable carcinogen.  No thank you deodorant! I don’t want any of it, not before I conceive, not while I’m pregnant, not in a boat or on in a moat, not ever!

So what’s a girl to do? Be stinky?… Luckily, there is hope in the form of non toxic deodorant. Have you tried researching the best kind of non-toxic deodorant? It is no easy task let me tell you. Based on a lot of time, research and review reading I made two purchases which I will review in an upcoming post. 

and we all lived happily ever after… see I said there would be a happy ending :)

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Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

In case you are wondering “Who is this chick? And why should I read her blog”, I’m happy to fill you in. I am 32 years old and currently live in Phoenix, Arizona. I am married to an amazing man, P, and we live with our Frenchie, Sunny, and cat, Thomas. I currently work full time, outside of the home, for a financial institution, but my purpose for working is to pay the bills so that I can live the life I love. I am a life driven person way more than a career driven one.

 me (2)

I have a desire to live in the moment, but often fail to do so as I am always thinking about the future (and what I’m going to eat next- I know). In thinking about the future though, I get so excited! When I want something or am on a kick, I can put all my energy into it. When I get into something, I get a mini obsession with it (hello, pre-baby planning). This can make me a little impatient at times, I don’t like waiting on people or for things when I’m on a mission or super excited about something.  I get inspired by things I see on TV and movies a lot and often think I’m going to start a new career or hobby because something looked cool. I truly believe that I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to. I wear my heart on my sleeve and have a horrible poker face.

Likes…

Love – Love of life, people, and passions. The pursuit and maintenance of happiness is also very important to me.
Disneyland – My absolute favorite place in the world!!!!! I skip around with a goofy grin on my face like a kid.
French things – I am a Francophile. I love French people, French Bulldogs,  French culture, French landscape, the French language, croissants…
Music- I love music. Prince is my absolute favorite, I am currently digging Alex Clare a lot too.
Food- Candy is my favorite food right now (I’m working on changing that to prepare for future baby). I also love sushi and strawberries (not at the same time though, because eww)
Games – I love playing games and having game nights. I also like playing Texas Hold ‘Em
 

Dislikes…

Food- Pizza meats and breakfast meats, also butterscotch
Mean people- no comment needed there
“No” – I don’t like being told no. Usually because I don’t ask for something unless it really matters to me.
 

Fun Facts… go devilsI call these fun facts, because unless you knew me extremely well, you’d probably never guess. I am quiet and not initially outgoing, but once I am comfortable, watch out!

I used to be a Showgirl. I am a dancer and was lucky enough to get a change to do so professionally in Las Vegas. I was a background dancer in an Impersonator show and a variety show and spend a few years as a dancer/ magician’s assistant. My illusion was getting cut into nine pieces!

I tried out for professional Women’s tackle football. Like I said, I get inspired by stuff a lot and I was at a college football game and thought that I should be down there playing because it looked so cool. I stuck out like a sore thumb at this football tryout and made it to a couple of practices before I decided it wasn’t for me. Plus, I wanted to tackle people and the coach took one look at me and said “receiver”.

I skated with the Roller Derby for a while. I watched a movie about roller derby and decided I had to try it. I skated with them for about six practices, but wasn’t very good or extremely comfortable with the speed at which we were going, so when it came time to be drafted for a team, I stopped going, plus I never really clicked with the girls. (I guess you shouldn’t assume that roller derby girls would be especially warm and welcoming)

I have trouble turning down challenges and dares and feel compelled to prove people wrong when they say I can’t do something.

 us (2)

Right Now…

I am a girl who is happy about life and excited for her future. I feel incredibly blessed. My current mini-obsession is (you guessed it)planning for our future baby. I have a hard time concentrating on anything but that subject. I am loving the research and daydreaming about what life and future baby will be like. As much fun as that is, I also want to enjoy this very moment, where I am writing and indulging my passion and enjoying life just as it is.

{Note: If the title made you get a Rolling Stones song stuck in your head, then I think you are cool and we should be friends}

 

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Well I’ve Never Been Spain…

When P. and I got engaged, I did all the things most women seem to do at this time and started brainstorming and planning like crazy (wedding post forthcoming). One of the big decisions to be made was where we would go for a honeymoon…

A while back P. and I went to see The Way. Brief summary: It is about a man who completes a pilrimage in his son’s honor. It was life changing. We were both really moved by the movie and inspired to do something like this one day. The pilgrimage featured in the movie is The Camino de Santiago de Compostella. It is the pilgrimage route to a cathedral in Spain where the remains of the apostle St James are buried. The most popular route for this pilgrimage starts in France and ends at the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

plumbs spain

Photo courtesy of J and N

P is super outdoorsy, I prefer a few more comforts and luxuries. I knew that a fancy European honeymoon was not going to be an option. I also wanted to do something unique, so… what if I combined our styles with a backpacking trip in Europe. Tah Dah!!!! We’ll do the Camino de Santiago!

Photo Credit: my sister and brother-in-law

P was down for the plan and I couldn’t have thought of a better idea. What a great way for newlyweds to bond and really go through something epic together than to walk to a cathedral in Spain for a few weeks. What a great metaphor for the journey of marriage itself, go through the ups and downs, good times and bad, and accomplish something amazing in the end. It wasn’t in our budget to go on a honeymoon right away, so we are planning a one-year anniversary/ honeymoon trip.

Noah Spain

Photo courtesy of my sister, J

After doing some research, I found that the most popular Camino route starts in France (sigh, I love French things) and takes about 5 1/2 weeks to complete. At first I was on board, but then reality set in and it is very unlikely that we’d be able to get that much time off and afford to be away that long, plus, to be honest, I had no clue who could watch Sunny, our French Bulldog (see, I love French things) for that long. So, after more research, I found another route from Portugal, the Camino Portugués!!! This route starts in Porto, Portugal and takes about 1 1/2 weeks, much better :).

I am a city girl and not a backpacker by any means. P, got me, my first official big girl backpack for my birthday, isn’t it awesome! I have a lot more planning to do and thingsbackpack to purchase for this trip. I took out the backpack for a two night camping trip (oh the things we do for love) and I can tell you so far, that 1. I love it, and 2. I need better packing skills, I ran out of room fast and that was only for two nights.

I absolutely cannot wait for this trip, plus, it is our one big out of the country trip that we will take before trying to make a baby (I would love to conceive during our trip). I’ll keep you posted on the trip planning, and post a lot of pictures and journal stories from our trip. 8 1/2 months to go! Buen Camino!!

{Note: If the title made you think of the Three Dog Night song, then I think you are cool and we should be friends}

Where did you honeymoon, and how great was it?

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Baby Hopes…

Above all else, I hope our baby is Happy.  I dream that our child will know that they are loved unconditionally. I want to firmly ingrain in them the belief that they can do absolutely anything that they set their mind to, because I believe that with all of my heart. Of course I want them to be healthy as well.

Baby bunny

Nephew

I hope that my child will be vulnerable and open. I hope that they feel accepted, secure, confident, loved, and encouraged. I can’t wait to teach our baby our family’s outlook on the world and to show them how beautiful it is. I hope that they experience pure joy, the kind that comes from your belly.

I want to be a parent that is kind and understanding. I want to encourage my child to try a million new things until they discover their passions. I want to be a good example for my children. They will develop their understanding of what women, mothers, and wives do based on my actions. I want them to know that women are strong and can do anything, that mothers are loving, supportive, and nurturing, and that wives are kind and loving towards their husbands. I want to demonstrate a good healthy marriage so they know what to look for when finding their own loves. I hope this will be an adventure for my husband and I to navigate through together and that it will strengthen our bond.

boys

Adorable nephews

I can’t wait to see our child smile, and hear them laugh, to see my husband, P, hold our baby and for Sunny to give our baby a sloppy kiss.

 

I read about sleepless nights, cracked nipples, crying babies, and huge responsibilities, and a warm smile grows from inside of me. In a crazy way, I look forward to it all because this feels right to me and I believe it will be so worth it

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Baby Fears…

We didn’t sit down and make a decision to grow our family, it was a thought that grew in our hearts. While I feel that this is the next step for us and that it will be amazing, I am still scared to death.

Sleeping Sunny

What is so scary about a cute, helpless, smiling, drooling bundle of joy? Let me tell you… For one thing, that tiny bundle of joy needs a lot from us. A lot of time, money, and attention. Right now we just have to make sure that Sunny and Thomas are fed and finding someone to watch them is hard enough. Having a baby will change everything and I really, REALLY like the way things are. We are newlyweds and happy and madly in love (yes we have ups and downs like every other couple, but overall, it is amazing).

P is my favorite person and my best friend and I love having his attention (Quality Time is my primary Love Language). I don’t feel that I am ready to be so selfless. P says that being a parent is the most selfless thing anyone can do. I always want to be his favorite person and I want him to always be mine. I’ve seen couples that have kids and seem to make everything about them and their bond seems to fall apart. I do not want that. Our bond is the most important thing to me. I would love for us to love, adore, and give our  time to our child together and have parenting be something that we do as a loving unit. I love our time and being able to do whatever we want. I also see people seem to lose sight of themselves and define themselves as “mother”. I don’t want to just be someone’s mom, I want to be me who also has a child. I don’t think anyone plans on this happening, it just seems to happen. The responsibility seems overwhelming. Not to mention the lack of sleep, less grown-up activities, fewer date nights, less me time, the things that will happen to my body that are scary, yet magnificent and amazing at the same time. I think some of my fear comes from wanting to do everything perfectly and being afraid that I won’t be able to. I want to be a perfect wife and perfect mother and my best self possible all at the same time. God willing, maybe I’ll do ok.

 Zoo

Bottom line: My gut heart tells me that it is all worth it. Despite everything I am afraid of. I feel strong and peaceful about this (all my research doesn’t hurt either).  See {Baby Hopes}

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Let the Preparations Begin…

I am a planner and I love having something to look forward to! So naturally, I am already deep into pre-baby/ pre-conception preparations. It isn’t my nature to sit around and wait for what I want so I want to get started now. Ever since the idea of making a baby was put into my heart, I have been trying to learn everything I can. I am getting really excited about this!!!

K with books

I want to learn absolutely everything and I want to do everything in my power to set this future baby up to be as healthy, happy, aware, smart, and developed as possible. So, the research has begun and guess what?!, there are things I can be doing, even right now, 9 months prior to TTC. WooHoo, let’s get this started!

The development that takes place in the 9 months you are pregnant will impact this future person for the rest of their lives. What an incredible responsibility!!! Dr. Michael C Lu writes, “Increasingly doctors and researchers are learning that by the time a woman gets pregnant, she may have already missed a critical window of opportunity to bring forth her baby’s fullest potential.” What you eat, the products you use, your environment, and stress level all impact a developing fetus. There are tons of studies that show that proper prenatal care can help reduce the risk of not only birth defects, but learning disabilities, and obesity in adulthood, to name a few.

This is some of what I’ve read (or perused) already… (I’ll do some book reviews after I’ve read a few more and picked my favorites). I love the Library and how they let you borrow books on your Kindle.

Loving this book so far K book

What to Expect Before You’re Expecting;   Belly Laughs;   What to Expect: Eating Well While You’re ExpectingReading nowGet Ready to Get Pregnant  (loving this book); The Attachment Parenting Book

This AMAZING blog : prebabyblog.com

I’ve made a few changes already in my excitement and prudent pre-conception preparations. I have started taking a prenatal vitamin. This is probably the most important step for me as I don’t have any pressing medical concerns that need to be addressed.  Folic Acid get it now! (I may elaborate on this more later). I have switched to what I call “Hippie deodorant” that has no aluminum which is a neurotoxin when absorbed in the body. My hippie deodorant also has no parabens , fragrance, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I probably shouldn’t put on my body. We are also using hippie toothpaste that doesn’t have sodium laurel sulfate. (Hippie product reviews to come later). I have amped up my exercise routine because what I’m hearing is that doctors let you keep exercises the same way you were before pregnancy, with a few modifications of course. I am more conscious of what I am eating, not too many food changes yet. 1. It isn’t necessary this early in the game. A more truthful,  #2. It is not easy or fun, yet, to eat super healthy (I love candy). But, I am considering cutting out caffeine. Actually, that is a lie, Tuesday was the last time I had caffeine, but I said considering in case I fail. I love my Dutch Bros coffee so much.  This is not necessary, yet for baby, but I’m super caffeine sensitive and it’s probably a good idea for me personally. I’ll switch to decaf.

Dutch Bros

I’m learning a lot and can’t wait to share all of the fascinating things about baby making that I learn.

What did you do, or are you doing to prepare for pregnancy?

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The Plan…

Now that the baby obsession has begun, I need to formulate a plan. This is what I have so far…

Daily Dose

I am so happy to be married to a great man and I’d like to have a fair amount of time for “just the two of us” before the arrival of a bundle of joy. Also, I am not yet ready to share hubby’s attention (more on baby fears to come). So we’ve come up with the plan that we’ll be married for at least one year before we start trying to conceive (TTC). Plus, we never went on a honeymoon so we are I am planning an elaborate One-Year Anniversary/ Honeymoon trip. It should be pretty cool and kick most other honeymoon’s asses. I’ll elaborate more on honeymoon planning in another post.

So, I’ve got the next 9 months to plan a really cool trip and get ready to make a baby. I want to be so good at this (the baby prep part) so badly. I’ve read a few books already and follow pre-conception and pregnancy blogs, and I’m trying to get in the best possible baby making state as possible.

 movies

With that long of a timeframe ahead (or will it fly by?), I’ll need to find other distractions before my baby craziness gets out of control Hello, honeymoon planning, but I highly doubt I can go too long thinking about it. Ooh, maybe we can conceive on our trip…

How long were you married before you guys decided to start trying to get pregnant?

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