Sunday, June 22, 2014

Product Round Up.

I've been trying to get away from my department-store faves and find discount versions of personal care items.  This can be tricky because I'm pretty picky about ingredients - I'm a no sulfates, parabens, and phthalates girl.  Aveda and Origins can be good sources for shampoo/conditioner/bodywash/facewash, but with quite a price tag! (and a required trip to the mall - which never happens anymore) Two children and one income = no more $30 lotion for Mommy.  Anyway, I'm not complaining, I'm sharing great things I've found!!

LOVE this new bodywash - I think my friend Amy Eason might have recently IGed a love for this brand, too:

SheaMoisture Olive & Green Tea BodyWash with Avocado - in a pinch you could also make salad dressing with it!!  This stuff is SO great - smells really good, and has been really moisturizing for the past two weeks that I have used it.  This is really important now that we're in pool season, as the chlorine can do a number on my skin.  I have also tried Burts Bees Milk (& Honey maybe) BodyWash - not good, didn't love it, made myself finish the bottle, took forever.

Here is a Burt's Bees item that I have returned to time and time again - the Milk and Honey Body Lotion.  Moisturizes really well, absorbs quickly, smells good (not fragrance-y).  It's more expensive as your Target lotions go, but I think it is worth it.  I tried to switch to the Whole Foods 365 Brand lotion in lavender, but it goes on thick and white and just won't rub in.  I have no time for lotion that needs additional attention when both my preschooler AND my baby are pulling on my towel.

If you've been to my house and washed your hands in either of our bathrooms, the soap you have used is not what the bottle states.  I've been refilling the foaming hand soap bottles with 2/3 water and 1/3 Dr. Bronner's Pure Castille Soap in lavendar.  There are 100s of uses for this soap - all handily printed on the giant 32oz bottle.  I keep forgetting to use it as a face wash, but it is supposed to be good for that as well.

An item for which I'm pretty sure there is no more-affordable-option:  Aveda Hand Relief.  We always have this on hand (har, har) at our house.  It smells amazing and moisturizes really well.  Even Pete swears by it.  So I usually get a bottle in my stocking, and maybe one for my birthday. 

I've used a moisturizer with a daily SPF of 30 for the past few years (I upped it from SPF15/20 around my thirtieth birthday, I think).  This Maybelline BB Cream is my favorite:  higher SPF, uses naturally sourced sunscreen, not avobenzones and oxybenzones, which are a no-no when pregnant or nursing.  And honestly, if I can't have it on my skin when pregnant or nursing, should I really have it on my skin at any other times? (Check out the Environmental Working Group's website for a guide to safe sunscreens here.) I was hoping to switch to Neutrogena's BB Cream, mostly because of my girls Jennifer Garner and Keri Washington, but one glance at the back of the bottle showed oxibenzone and oxisalate as the sunscreens. wump-wah.

I've been using a Neutrogena Naturals facewash, and not loving it.  I might not be able to find anything that beats my favorite Origins facewash:  Checks and Balances.  It's spendy, but a bottle lasts forevah.  Checks and Balances™ Frothy face wash

I've been using Drunk Elephant Umbra sunscreen for the past week - and I love it!  It goes on well, not too much residue, seems to work okay, has gotten great reviews.  But, BUT - it's so expensive!! (I got mine from Anthropologie with a store credit I had from Christmas) And the bottle is almost halfway gone because we've gone to the pool three times this week.  So I will have to go back to using my Badger SPF 30 - also good, also gets great reviews, but has a pretty thick white residue that needs to be rubbed in really well.  Target is now carrying Honest Co., so I might give their sunscreen a whirl.

Right now I'm finishing up Aveda that we have - Rosemary and Mint Shampoo, but am excited to try Alba shampoo and conditioner, now available at Target.  As is everything else I use now.  In my current life I only go to Trader Joe's, Target, and Kroger on a weekly basis.

I have found the perfect pink for summer - Essie's Madison Ave-hue.  If you're family, it is the same color as Grandma's pink suit that she wore to Hank's wedding(in 2001), and the same color as the belt and shoes she wore with the pretty white eyelet dress at her and Grandpa's 60th Anniversary party (in 1994/5?).  So I think of it as Grandma Prann Pink....
madison ave hue - pinks by essieI have painted my nails now three times in a row this same color - I never do that!  It looked good when my skin was paler, and now that I am, somewhat regrettably, browning right up, it still looks good!  I always use Essie's ridge-filling basecoat, followed by two coats of color, and finish off with a top-coat.  Sometimes it takes me more than one evening to finish, but it makes for a pretty good at-home pedicure!

So that's what you'll find if you dig around in my bathroom!  What are your favorite go-to items for summer?  Anything you love that's no longer available?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Nine cheerful months of Caroline.

Our little sweetheart is nine months old.  She really is always cheerful - happy, giggly, smiling, pleasant.  Unless, of course, you try to hold her and your name isn't M-O-M-M-Y.  Then she'll probably cry.  But she'll play with you, just don't try to pick her up and carry her away.

Everyone is always so focused on how wonderfully chunky Caroline is, that no one notices she's really long, too!!  Stats:  weight  20lbs, 14oz (83%), length  30" (98%)!!! This means we will have to switch her to a convertible car seat sooner rather than later. (wump-wah.  no more carting-sleeping-baby-into-store)

So Many Changes this month!

Caroline is no longer our downy chick- she has grown actual, thick hair.

On 6/02/14, I was stopped by a stranger in the grocery store who told me Caroline had the prettiest shade of red hair.  This was huge to me!!  It was my first independent confirmation of her hair color.  I called Pete as soon as I got back in the car, grinning ear-to-ear, to tell of Caroline's first-ever hair comment.  Later that week, an older gentleman walking by me pushing Caroline in the cart said to his wife, "Did you see that cute little carrot top?"  I'm so proud of the littlest redhead.  Hope she doesn't tire of the compliments.  Pete is pretty good-natured about the old ladies wanting to talk to him about his hair.

5/26/14 First Memorial Day - first time to go to the pool

5/27/14 First time in the backyard wading pool.

5/28/14 drank water from a straw cup
5/30/14 started rocking back and forth on her hands and knees
6/01/14 crawled backwards, and pushed back to sitting from being on her tummy

6/06/14 clapped her hands and signed for milk; pulled up to kneeling on stairs
6/09/14 Caroline started crawling!  First time was towards her Raffi, later went straight for the play kitchen, pulled the oven open, and pulled out the wooden pizza.

This was on a Monday, by Wednesday she was crawling to other rooms in the house (ooh!  what's in daddy's office?  I LOVE shoes!!  O-Oh, I can crawl into mommy and daddy's closet and pull shoes down off the shelf - I LOVE shoes!!)
6/12/14 sitting up in crib when I came to get her from nap

6/15/14 First Father's Day

Eating: breakfast every morning - puffs and yogurt.  She starts slapping her tray when I get the yogurt out of the fridge.  Also eating a greater variety of textures at other meals:  grated cheese, shredded chicken, ground beef, avocado, etc.
Sleeping: Ugh.  I was so excited when I wrote her 8-month update that I was going to write about how Caroline had returned to her 12 hrs of sleeping each night, because at that time, she had!  Unfortunately, learning to crawl has caused a major sleep disturbance at our house.  When Caroline wakes up, rather than suck her thumb to soothe herself back to sleep (like she used to do), she rolls over, pushes up, and crawls into the corner of her crib.  Where she gets stuck.  And wails.  and WAILS.  The past two nights Pete and I have gotten about three hours of sleep.  Hopefully this is a temporary issue.  Update:  It takes me a few days to get these blogs posted, and last night Caroline slept through the night, after a semi-brief period of wailing.  So, hopefully, we've turned a corner.
Likes/Dislikes: kisses, peek-a-boo, Where is Caroline?, patty cake, SO big, playing with the Mrs. Potts tea set, shoes and laces.  Dislikes being in the stroller for long periods of time, and waking up in her crib, apparently.
I want to remember: her beautiful porcelain skin, the way her feet look before getting any real use (still so plump), how she pushes her foot into my underarm while she nurses, or grabs her big toe and swings her leg back and forth.  How exciting it is each morning to see her roll over, push herself to a seated position, and start to crawl.  How she crosses her feet at the ankles while seated in her infant carrier.  Her delight at the very sight of her sister. 


Oh baby Caroline, we just love you the most!!  Of all the littlest red-headed nine-month-olds, you are our very favorite.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 Swim Class

This year we signed Ellie up for swim classes at Transylvania University.  Everyone says that these are the best classes offered in town, with smaller teacher/student ratios than at the Y.  (Ellie has taken two sessions of six-week, child-and-parent classes at the Y.) 


One session was eight days of 30-min classes in a row, and our session started the Wednesday after Memorial Day.  Ellie was very excited to start swim lessons, and to wear her flip-flops (she only gets to wear flip-flops if we are going to the pool/beach.)

Day 1: Face in the water, being held in the water, learning to kick.

Day 2:  Diving board!

Day 3: Goggles. 

(insert groan here) From this class on, more time was spent getting goggles on the girls than was spent in the water.  Goggles came off, had to be put back on, hair got caught, eyes were squished wonky, etc, etc, etc.  For our part, once she took her goggles off, we told Ellie she wasn't getting them back on.  (other parents weren't as mean.)
 Days 4-6: More of the same - but very cute each day, and brave in the water!
Day 7: diving for rings.  a.k.a. being held by Miss Andi underwater to grab a ring.

Day 8: last class.  Review of skills.  Jumped off the board by herself - VERY proud!

Kick, Kick, Kick!
My overall review of the classes would be: meh.  I had hoped to have the very basic swimming skill of FLOATING achieved at the end of the classes.  But they never really practiced floating without a noodle (except for one brief moment on the first day).  I also would have liked to see them teaching holding your breath and blowing bubbles.  We're lucky if we can get Ellie to close her mouth at all.  I'm glad she has the confidence to jump off a diving board, but she has no idea what to do once she's in the water.  Here is a sequence of her trying to 'swim' to the noodle. 


Waterlogged, but okay.
She leaves the edge of the pool, and plop - down she goes!  I've tried teaching her to float on her back at our pool, but I'm not a swim teacher, and she won't put her ears in the water for me (just miss Andi).  So, it was a fun week-and-a-half, and Ellie loved it, but did she learn any basic swimming skills?  Notsomuch.  Pete thinks I am expecting too much for her age, but I could swim by age three, and I want her to be safe at our pool this summer.

Tired, but happy, girl.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Caroline - 8 months old.

I've tried to cull these pictures down, and have put many of them into collages, but there are still a ton!

look at those little tiny teeth!

These next few months are going to be full of big changes - the ones everyone anticipates - crawling, walking, etc.  We've had a few already, and, unlike with Ellie, I am sad instead of excited.  I know that this is the last time for any of these things, so I feel like every major development is the end of an era.  That being said, check out her two little teeth!!  They are the CUTEST!!!!

Obviously, in her eighth month, Caroline had her first two teeth emerge.  (right around mother's day)
She also produced more front sounds:  /f/ and /v/, and /dadada/.  She began scooting backward and forwards while seated. 
Firsts: road trip to Florida, visit to the beach, Easter, Keeneland, Derby, 5K (Through the Zoo), Mother's Day, bite of ice cream.
Eating: roasted sweet potato sticks, mashed potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe
Sleeping: up every three hours to nurse starting the week her teeth came up (had been sleeping 7p-5a prior to that).  One particularly rough night the eve of tooth number one emerging - up every 90 min, not consoled or put back to sleep by nursing.
Likes/Dislikes: Likes shoelaces! and feet.  Loves bath time and splashing in the water, naps, wagon rides, rolling a ball back and forth.  There's not much she doesn't like.  She doesn't like it when we don't let her eat grass, and when we lay her on her back.  
meeting Grandma Prann
First time at the beach! 
First Easter
Another beach visit - she squealed when she saw the water!
Wearing my old clothes.
More vintage Laura
First Derby Party!  She wore Lilly, of course. :-)
Sister suits!
Through the Zoo 5K.  It was pouring, but she had a good time.
Mother's Day morning - riding in a car cart together
Mother's Day Brunch
These picture from Mother's Day illustrate life - it is impossible to get us all standing in the same place with our eyes open while smiling - so look at all three photos and compile a nice mental portrait.

That's about it.  We're already halfway through her ninth month, and it has also been full of new milestones - almost on a daily basis!  I'll try to be so late with her nine-month-update, but life gets crazy with two.  We love you so much Baby Caroline - the sweetest surprise we ever did see!!