Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birthaversary & 7 Days Shampoo Free! (Plus a mini Baby update!)

Tuesday was my 28th birthday! It was also our second anniversary! =D I can't believe it's already been 2 years, and that we're about to be parents! AHH!

Anyway, here's a photo of how pregnant I am on my birthday! Pretty SUPER pregnant! I'm sort of amazed that the shirts I already had were long and big enough to cover my belly for the most part... And still look good!

Anyway, as I am 9 months pregnant, we didn't do anything super exciting. We also took our trip to Portland on Sunday, so that was kind of part of it :) My adoptive mom Victoria came and picked me up for lunch at the Olive Garden! Soup & Salad combo... YUM!

We then walked around some stores for a while (trying to walk out the baby! I swear it doesn't actually work!) And then hit up a new cupcake shop downtown for dessert. It's called Twinsies and it's RIGHT next to the Elsinore Theater on High St. Delicious! I think this will be a permanent stop on girls day out trips! 

I got a Samoa Cookie Cupcake (obviously the chocolate one) and Victoria got a NY Cheesecake! Both were delicious! Though, I totally wish I had tried their Cherry Pepsi cupcake! 

The ceiling at Twinsies. Cute, right?! The flower lanterns were LED and changed color. LOVE IT! 

We also ran a couple errands that mom needed to get done and we stopped by my Freddies. It was nice to see everyone, but I don't think I quite miss WORKING yet. I miss the people, though! 

After I got dropped off at home, Patrick and I went out for our "Birthaversary" (As dubbed by my friend Sarah! I loved it and kept it!). We went to the Roadhouse Grill on Lancaster. I told Pat to pick a place and surprise me, and I'd never been there! So it was a great choice! After a yummy dinner, we came home, cuddled up and watched Naruto. Nothing super exciting or outrageous this year, but that was perfectly fine! 


No Shampoo update!

As I said in previous blogs, I'm apparently just allergic to all kinds of shampoo. My scalp breaks out, I get horrible dandruff, my skin breaks out around my hairline.. It's awful! While probably partially due to pregnancy hormones, I've always had issues.

So, I decided to go as minimalist as possible and do a baking soda rinse, and condition with apple cider vinegar. Here's my hair after 1 week. It's still working out the "poo" from everything and finding it's own balance, but it FEELS better. I still have some flyaways, but I think I just need to use more of the vinegar. It takes approximately 3 weeks for your hair to find it's balance, but apparently after that it's FANTASTIC! So, here's hoping! 

To crush the smell of the vinegar, I just apply some perfume oil on my temples and the usual spots on the neck area, and it smells lovely for DAYS!

One Week Shampoo Free! My hair feels lighter and curlier already! Excuse the gigantic mess in the background, as well as my unhappy expression. Haha.


Baby Tobin Update:

So far we're not dilated (not that this actually means anything), and I haven't had Braxton-Hicks Contractions lately either. He's Due Saturday, so we'll see if he decides to make his appearance on time! I know some of you were asking if we still needed anything, and we have a wishlist on amazon going. We could -REALLY- use some diaper covers since we're cloth diapering. It doesn't really matter what kind since we don't know what works best for us yet. :) We'll also want a cool mist humidifier, and a few other things. The list is located here! :)

Thank you again to EVERYONE who has been so helpful, supportive and GIVING to us and our almost here son! I just feel like we can't thank you all enough for all the awesome gifts you've given us!!!

<3 Hopefully the next update will be the birth of Baby Tobin! Complete with pictures and a name! 

But, right now I'm off to meet up with Tauna for Jamba Juice, and Bryttni is swinging by to give me her leftover Evening Primrose Oil before she heads out of town! It should be a fun day! 

Love you guys! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mini Babymoon - A Weekend Getaway!

39 Weeks Pregnant! With the "Mask of Pregnancy" and in the middle of a baking soda shampoo cleanse... I look fabulous! =D

It's been said that a "babymoon" is good for couples just before you have your baby, especially with the first! So, we'd been trying to get over to the coast for a weekend, something quiet just for the two of us. Well, as usual, timing AND money didn't happen at the same time. It happens. We'll have money saved up for something and the car will have an issue to be fixed, we'll need to suddenly pay something unexpectedly, etc. Eh, whatever. :) 

So we decided Portland was easier, closer, and had a few more things to do besides just wandering the beach and getting all sandy. Though, I would have LOVED some clam chowder from the Sea Hag. But, we've got a wedding to attend this summer on the coast, I'm sure I'll get my chance! 

We started off by going to Portland's famous Saturday Market. Eh. It wasn't as fun as I remember it. It was PACKED because the weather was really nice this weekend, and twice as big as I remember it being. There wasn't a whole lot of variation anymore, either. We had wanted to find some nice wall art, either for our living/bedroom or something we can put in a nursery when we move. They had a lot of fantastic artists with beautiful prints and paintings, but just far more than we had wanted to spend. But, I'm just not spending $150-200 on wall art for a newborn... He doesn't care what's on his walls! 

Being that we both LOVE different kinds of food, we tried a couple of different small things around the market. Patrick got some Northern African food dish, and I went with a Lamb Gyro. Both were alright, but not as good as we hoped. We did find the BEST elephant ears and strawberry lemonade though, down in the shops near the nicer area of the market on the water front. It was FRESH! 

After we decided we were just finished with Downtown (we actually didn't hit up Powell's and spend a bunch of money! Yay!) We hit up Salvador Molly's-- A place featured on Man Vs. Food! Adam Richmond hit up Portland in his first season of the show and the food challenge was their Habanero Fritters-- Aptly named "Great Balls of Fire!" If you eat all 5 with ALL of the sauce, you get your picture put up on the wall! What's in the Great Balls of Fire?  Here's the video. 

This part is what Patrick was most excited about! So, here are some photos from our trip here! 

These are the "Cheesy Poofs". Cheese, Chipotle, and Potato with Crema and Mango Salsa on the side. This was enough spicy for the pregnant lady right here!

Kahlua Mojo Pork- A funky twist on the traditional Hawaiian dish, with dirty garlic mashed potatoes, mango slaw, tamarind BBQ sauce, and garlic vinaigrette on the salad. It was pretty tasty, but we ended up with some leftovers... We shared this and the app because of the other things we tried at Saturday Market. No need to spend another $10 or more on another entree.  But the leftovers were also...

Because of This! 

Great BALL of Fire! Patrick didn't want his co-workers to kill him (He works in a small office fixing computers all day), so he decided just to try ONE, and then perhaps come back another time for the challenge...

Pre-Ball Of Fire!
Patrick trying out one of the Great Balls of Fire!

Post "Ball of Fire"! 

In his defense, we haven't had a whole lot of spicy food since I've been pregnant. Normally we're ALL over that. But considering water gives me heartburn sometimes, we try to play it safe. He's even had the infamous ghost pepper before. I'm sure we'll work his tolerance back up and go back another time!

We then drove around SW Portland for a while,  just sort of checking out all the neat stuff that is Portland. There is always something interesting to see/find/do. Then we decided to head over to Uwajimaya's -- An Asian supermarket in Beaverton. It's pretty much AMAZING if you've never been. When I lived in the Portland Metro area- I went ALL the time!

They have pretty much anything you could ever want that's Asian themed. I love asian foods because they are DELICIOUS and if you have family members with allergies, you can probably feed them something from here without worrying about them dying or needing to call 911. American food just has too much crap in it!

They have a deli, and an amazing FRESH and LIVE fish market. We took a few photos. 
Fresh Crab! The guy on the top left was dancing around, the little kid in the reflection was giggling at him. :)

Live Tilapia. They're freaking delicious! 

These lobsters were HUGE. Like, probably as big as Elmo is right now!
Sashimi makings! I just thought the Octopus was kinda fun. Though, I don't like the texture of octopus, myself. It's kinda chewy. 

They even carry the infamous DURIAN fruit. I've seen people try to eat it on TV and fail miserably. I'd never seen or SMELLED a whole one until here! It smells like sweaty feet and fermented onions... I can only imagine how horrid that tastes!

Uwajimaya's also carries a buttload of other things. My favorite section growing up was of COURSE their Hello Kitty Section! This is actually smaller than I remember, but who KNEW that much Hello Kitty existed? They also carry lots of kitchen/housewares/etc and have an entire Asian book store that is really neat. You can even pick up art supplies! I HIGHLY recommend going here at least once if you've never been. Especially if you actually live close! 

I know this doesn't seem SUPER exciting, but on a budget, and being 9 months pregnant and having to waddle everywhere, this was pretty much perfect! At the end of the day, my poor feet were swollen to sausages, and are still a teensy bit swollen today. As I was taking most of the pictures, and I'm pregnant, that's why there were't many photos of me, I apologize. I'm sure there will be a TON of them going up in the next week or two when Elmo arrives!

We have only 5 days until Elmo's due date! My birthday is tomorrow, and we've got a TON of things planned already for the summer! Weddings, Family Reunions! I am SO excited! 

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and actually ENJOYED the awesome weather we had! 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Adventure in No 'Poo Hair & Skin Care - Day One!

Hey everyone!

As I said in my last rambling, I decided to try doing the "No 'Poo" hair care technique. Being fairly sure that I'm allergic to some (or all) chemicals in most shampoos. I also have the same issue with skin care products. Even in the rare occasion that I -DO- find something that seems to work, a few weeks later my skin has a reaction to whatever is in it.

So, instead of going through and trying to rule things out, I decided to start from scratch! I read up on different techniques for homemade shampoo/conditioners and settled on the most basic one- A baking soda rinse for the scalp and ACV (apple cider vinegar for you non crunchies) for the tips as a conditioner. I even took pictures. Apparently, if successful, your hair has a LOT more body and pizzazz after it detoxes from all the crap that they put in shampoo.

Here's the before photo. Keep in mind, I'm currently 8.5 months pregnant, cranky, and wearing my hubby's Half Life t-shirt because, well... It fits over his gigantic kid growing inside me.


Now is a good time to mention that at the same time, I also stumbled upon a skin remedy that is also supposed to work wonders, and takes about 3 weeks of daily use to really show itself. Wanna know what it is?

You ready?

You use honey. That's it. Seriously. All natural honey, of course. But, never the less... just plain ol' honey! Just a little bit of honey (I used about 1/2 a teaspoon), warmed up in your hands and massaged all over the face. You can let it sit for up to 10 minutes (beyond that, I expect it would be kinda difficult to wash off) and then rinse with a towel and warm water. I was a little surprised to find that it both dries your skin, but moisturizes. I do have pretty temperamental skin, so if I find later on that I need a little extra moisture (probably before bed) I'll probably supplement with coconut oil.

Here's an after picture for the first day of no 'poo, just so we can see the immediate difference. I apologize, I used my cell phone camera, not the super awesome real camera we have. I'm not sure why, let's just blame pregnancy brain on that. But you really can tell the difference, regardless.

See? Minus the cranky pregnant lady facade  and the different camera, my hair already has more body and oomph, and my skin already looks a little less angry at the world. I should mention here that you really won't need to use your hairdryer much when trying this technique, this was after having a towel wrapped on my head for about ten minutes while I did the honey scrub. I guess shampoo and conditioner was making it retain a lot of water.

Anyway! That's what's going on in -my- neck of the woods while waiting for little baby Tobin to make his grand appearance!

Hope everyone else is having a fantastic week!

For more info on the No 'Poo ideas I used, here are some of the starting points I used.

Crunchy Betty - No Poo To You Too
How To Quit Shampoo Without Becoming Disgusting

Honey Facial Cleanser:
Crunchy Betty - The Honey Challenge

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Hair Smells Like Cookie! --Adventures in the Crunchy Lifestyle--

Even before pregnancy I had sensitive skin. I often have to swap shampoos or my scalp freaks out, and lately my skin has been freaking out more and more. I've tried specialty shampoos, special skin care products, prescription products... all with little to no results. Or, they work for a while and then stop working once my body acclimates to the chemicals that are in whatever the product is. Lame, right?

Patrick and I both get irritated skin from some laundry detergents, too. Plus, with my hormones going crazy with our son almost here, I also have been having reactions to some "fragrance free/hypoallergenic" detergents and fabric softeners. So, I figure, this whole naturalistic thing might not really be so bad. People really didn't have a whole lot of allergies to things before we started mass manufacturing things like shampoo, detergents, body wash... all that stuff. In fact, even into the early 20th century, people only showered once a week if that, and only washed their hair around once per month. If whatever they did worked for them, why not me?

So, even if the excessive sensitivity is due to pregnancy and hormones raging, what harm will it really do to try the natural stuff? I'd been told before that coconut oil is almost a cure all... It has SO many uses, and it's SUPER healthy for you. While out on our nightly walk last night, I spotted some at K-Mart, a tiny jar of it for two bucks-- and snatched it up.

When we got home, I just used plain water to clean off my face (which was burning with iritation) and smoothed on some coconut oil... Even just putting it on soothed! Today, my face doesn't nearly look as bad with "the mask of pregnancy" as it had yesterday, and I can feel it's calmed down a lot. A plus, right!

I read more and talked more to the MamaRev girls and they said it should also calm my scalp... So I found out the best way to do it and applied a couple teaspoons to my scalp for a little over an hour today. I had to shampoo twice in order to get it all out (I had to use VERY hot water, and my regular Head & Shoulders shampoo), but it WORKED!  My scalp feels a LOT better, and my hair smells amazing. Plus, you don't even need to condition afterward. Plus! I also smoothed some on the rest of my irritated skin on my arms, legs and my poor overstretched belly. Applied right after a shower, your skin absorbs it right away and it doesn't seem to feel oily at all afterward. I looked up some good natural facial and body washes as well, so I'll be trying those soon as well.

This did make my day a LOT better, as I'm actually a little more comfortable in my skin right now. Baby Tobin is still uber comfortable in my belly, and appears to not have any ambitions of making his grand escape anytime in the next few days. He kept me up all night with lots of amazing heartburn and Braxton Hicks contractions, so I didn't sleep very well. Not to mention when I woke up, I threw up all of the stomach acid that had built up throughout the night. Yucky!

While I've not had the WORST pregnancy experience by far, I wouldn't say that I'm one of those women who has loved every minute of it. Itchy skin and scalp, constant heartburn, backaches, waddling, sleepy... It's pretty much been 6 months of uncomfortable awkwardness, and 3 months of not so bad.

Yeah, I love our little booger but I'm excited to finally meet him!

Anyway, if anyone else is interested in some crunchy-hippy-granola cures-- here's the first website I looked at:

Crunchy Betty

And if you were wondering what all you can use coconut oil for:
160 Uses for Coconut Oil

Monday, April 16, 2012

Preparing for Baby Tobin!

Well! Elmo is due in just under 2 weeks! We'll see how 'on time' he is. He seems pretty comfortable in there, so I have a feeling he'll be either right on time or late... Of course!

In getting ready for his arrival, we came to the conclusion that moving is just out of the question for right now. So we decided to re-do the apartment. We put the bed in the living room for some extra space until we move. It's weird, but not too bad! We have a lot more space to work with. Sort of like a really big studio apartment, with a spare room, and a walk in kitchen.

I went through the rest of the baby stuff, taking note of what clothing stuff we'll be needing later on. We have enough stuff to probably get through most of the summer, depending on what we end up doing. LOTS of onesies! =D Really just need some short sets and rompers/cooler sleepers. We'll also need some warm clothes for the fall/winter. Which, if all else fails, we can trade some of our newborn stuff in (there's lots!) at either one of the MamaRev/LLL swaps or at a consignment store like Once Upon A Child. I'd prefer to trade it to moms I know, but most of the other moms have girls, or their babies will be in the same sizes as Elmo if they do have boys. Most spring babies are girls, I guess!

We did make the decision to cloth diaper while at home, and just use the disposables while we're out. I think aside from the size 1's, we'll have just the right amount for outings, so that's nice! I think the decision for Patrick came pretty easily on the cloth, as his family cloth diapered, whereas mine did not. At least, not anytime recently!

But, you know me... Once I researched everything, I realized just how much better for baby, the environment, and the pocket book cloth really is. I figure that if we save over 100 dollars per month, I am willing to have a poopy diaper bucket in the house. Grammy is paying for Diaper Service for a couple months until we get a place where we can wash them (I really doubt the landlords and other tenants would appreciate us washing diapers in the community machines!) And then we'll have to figure out our own system.

As far as pregnancy goes, I'm at the end!! So I'm overly emotional, tired, cranky, achy... Not to mention my hormones are going crazy and my skin is freaking out badly! I've totally got the "pregnancy mask" going on. I asked some of the other crunchy moms and they recommended trying coconut oil, so that's on our shopping list for this week! Cocoa Butter has been helping my arms and legs, but my face FREAKS out pretty badly when I try to use it. Yuck! I know that in a month or two it should have calmed down, but goodness!

I hope "Elmo" Tobin knows how excited his daddy and I are to meet him! Now just to relax, try to get things in order, and wait impatiently for our little bundle of awesome to arrive!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Origins of Easter Traditions

So, not mommy related, but this is sort of a pet peeve of mine. I don't know why, but it bothers me when people don't realize how stolen the traditions of a holiday really are. ANY holiday. I should say that it is -NOT- my intent to offend anyone, just to inform.

For example: How many of you know why we color and hide eggs? Or why they're brought to us by a bunny?

Well, if you've ever wondered, here's your answer.

Before the onset of Christianity, the pagan pantheons of gods were widely accepted as the religion of the lands. Many were similar, in that they had gods that represented different aspects of life. Rebirth, Death, Luck, etc... They all had their own gods that you would pray to. The gods had different names, depending on what region you were from. The Romans, Greeks, Irish, Saxons, Egyptians, and more all had their own interpretations and names for the different gods, much as we have many different sects of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism today.

Oestre (later mistranslated in German to Easter) was the Saxon goddess of spring and renewal, rebirth and of course fertility. . Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox, Ostara had a passion for new life. Her presence was felt in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The animal that represented Oestre was the rabbit-- known for it's rapid reproduction (tied to fertility and rebirth, obviously). Originally her pet bird, Oestre changed him into a hare, but left him with the ability to still lay eggs, in remembrance of his former life as a bird. He was also gifted the ability to be a fantastically fast runner.

Eggs are an obvious representation of fertility, and chicks are a very cute representation of new life or birth. Both eggs and the Oestre Rabbit were used in festivals to celebrate spring. Eggs were also used in fertility rituals in order to bring luck to women hoping to become pregnant. The eggs were commonly dyed and given as a wish for prosperity and abundance of the harvests for the new year.

When Christianity made it's first appearance, the shunning of the "Old Religion" and it's traditions began. In order to keep the rituals around, adults began hiding the eggs for the children to find. Candy-- a common gift in Easter baskets today was shaped in honor of the rabbits and eggs as a way to still honor the goddess Oestre.

As you can see, when Christianity took over as the popular belief, they had to find intricate ways to keep the beliefs of the older religions alive, and make it an easier transition for the new converts to support and understand. As blasphemous as it was, they did a very graceful job of combining both religions.

I hope that no matter what you celebrate this time of year, you have a fantastic day with friends and loved ones!