Saturday, June 6, 2015

Toddler wearing with an Ergo Carrier and How It Has Saved My Parenting

Almost 3 years ago, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl in the world. She had big blue eyes and a little bit of dark hair (that later went red for a few months, then went blonde). She was perfect in every way, until I realized she screamed ALOT. And by a lot, I mean like 5 hours a day, for no reason, other than she wanted to move and her little body wasn't developed enough to do so yet. We took her to the doctor and asked about the incessant screaming that was making me want to grab a bottle of alcohol, cry myself, and totally run away. Her pediatrician said it was "Maybe Colic" although she displayed no real colic symptoms, he was just as lost as we were. Finally, at my wits end one day, I pulled out a carrier I had been given, and walked outside with Kasey and Turk. The crying immediately stopped. I walked until I couldn't walk anymore and the carrier grew uncomfortable. I did this routine for weeks, as it was the only thing that kept my little girl from screaming for hours on end. After Layla hit past the 9 lb mark, the cheap carrier I had been given grew to be extremely uncomfortable, so I quit using it and began to just carry Layla around in my arms, which caused my arms to get tired and the dogs to get upset because I could only handle one at that time.

A few weeks after this (and Layla was now about 3 months old), my Mother In Law and I stumbled upon a baby boutique and consignment store in Tallahassee during one of her visits. This store was about to change my entire parenting life! They had cloth diapers, baby carriers, and all kinds of odd contraptions I'd never imagine were used for children. Layla began to cry, so I was walking her around, in my normal zombie like mode to get her to stop crying when a sales associate approached me and asked if I would like to try an Ergobaby baby carrier. I explained to her that I had a carrier at home, but it had grown completely uncomfortable, so I appreciated her help, but it wouldn't... help. She smiled and asked me what brand of carrier I had (a cheap infantino from Walmart), and then walked me over to the Ergobaby display and showed me the difference between the carrier I now hated, and the carrier I was about to fall completely in love with.
Ergobaby carriers are different due to the fact that they have a waist buckle and the shoulder straps so that it allows the baby's weight to be distributed evenly among your body, rather than putting all the weight on your front side as my infantino was doing, causing it to be extremely uncomfortable past 10lbs! She had my attention now! I listened and watched her demonstration with a hunger I'd never experienced before. She was telling me how it calmed babies who always wanted to be held, allowing me to be handsfree without being uncomfortable myself, and how this carrier would last until 35-45lbs (performance carriers go to 45), and she had even seen a woman jogging, with one baby on her back, one in a stroller and a dog running beside her! I had to have this carrier! That is until I saw the price tag. The original Ergo was $110, the performance $140. I left my job when I had Layla, so that I could be a Stay at home mom for awhile so we didn't have daycare fees, and my husband wanted me to continue to go to school without trying to work, excel in school, and be a mom too. (Yes, I have an amazing husband, I know!) So this price tag seemed a bit much for us at the time, I told C about the carrier and he was impressed but he agreed that it was a bit out of our reach at the moment, as we were still behind a bit from Layla's birth and us adjusting to only one income.

So now, lets talk about this pricetag of the Ergo Carrier for a moment. An Ergo carrier still runs just over $100, but heres where I can now justify (and hopefully save another mama some cash!) that cost to it. Say you go and buy one or two cheap carriers at $30 a piece, then buy a wrap like a moby wrap $40 which really don't last as long as a woven wrap, which means you'll need another wrap at $100.. by that time you buy those multiple carriers, you passed the value of an ergo already! and have multiple carriers you hate and cant use, which means you wasted your money! Yikes! No new parent wants to waste money. Ok so back to the ergo!

A few months later, I was able to go buy my Ergobaby Performance Carrier (I got the performance for its mesh quality, which as I live in florida,is totally essential!). Layla was crawling and pulling herself up on things by this time (6 months old) but she still loved to go outside for walks now (minus all the screaming..which resolved itself as soon as she began to crawl and roll around ) and loved to be held close to me.

As Layla began to get older, we noticed that she began displaying many red flags for autism when it came to language and communication, but she was always ahead in her developmental milestones so her doctor dismissed us at our concern that she never began to babble and was now over a year old (His reason? She was always ahead in her milestones and so it was ok for her to be a little late on talking and we would wait and see if this changed at her 18 month apt, but he also sent her for hearing tests due to her daddy's bad ear history, and also sent her for speech eval to be proactive. She also had her daddy's bad ears, which could have been the reason for some of these language and communication delays. Her hearing test at 16 months revealed she was only able to hear about 40% of things, due to fluid buildup in her ear. This fluid was not able to drain for some reason. She was in no pain and had never had an ear infection or illness at this point, so it was determined to be just due to a faulty lineup in her ear thanks to her daddy. Her ear doctor said it was standard to wait 6 weeks to see if the fluid went down on its own, and then we'd see what the next step was. Layla ended up having to get tubes in her ears to allow the fluids to drain on their own, and allow her to hear. She is now enrolled in speech therapy (for the past year) and occupational. The scariest thing about Layla is that with those ear issues and the fact that she does have autism, Layla doesn't respond to her name very well, especially if shes outside or in another stimulating environment. So, rather than respond to her name, she will often just run away laughing. Which can be absolutely terrifying, depending on where you are. She has no fear, no concept of danger. This isn't due to a lack of parenting on my end, it has to do with her autism. Layla once pulled from my hand, and ran (and she is VERY fast. Like really fast.. lets put it in perspective: Her dad can run cross country, and marathons, and ran track in highschool. Layla, at the tender age of 2, can keep up with her father when he runs! YES. SHE CAN. I have screws in my right ankle and am currently pregnant with a high risk pregnancy.. running isn't an option.. lol) for the doors of CVS. She ran right through them and I, running when im not supposed to!, threw everything I had in my hand ...wallet included, ran after her, she ran right through the doors, laughing as I am hysterically screaming her name, and into the parking lot (the edge.. but enough to terrify me) before I caught up to her. Layla also has a lot of sensory issues that can cause her to run from situations that are loud or that she perceives as overwhelming. Knowing these cues is what has helped me tremenduously, but This is also where babywearing (toddler wearing in this case!) really means a lot to me!
Toddler-baby wearing means that my 2 year old has no chance of being able to wrestle free from my grip, and able to run (and not respond to her name). It means she is safe, at all times. I can bring her anywhere and know shes perfectly safe and secure, and I am able to accomplish what I need to in a short amount of time (without having to pack her BOB stroller, diaper bag, etc.. which while pregnant.. these things are a CHORE. its a chore to get out of the house, walk down steps, load a truck..etc. And if I do too much, I run the risk of contractions, being at risk for pre term labor. Thank you LEEP and cervical cancer!.. not). Layla loves to be worn, even at almost 3 years old. When situations become too loud or too overwhelming for her, she runs to me with her ergo. When we are out in public and face a situation like this, she buries herself into the carrier, and snuggles close to me. It gives her a sensory break and provides her with a comfort like no other. When you see that your child has sensory issues and becomes easily overwhelmed in crowded areas, and will cover her ears, but will instantly be fine in her carrier snuggled up next to you.. it is worth every penny to have a carrier like an Ergo. My performance carrier is holding up really well after nearly 3 years of solid use (and yes, I am able to wear her at 7 1/2 months pregnant with ease!! and my doctor says its fine for now). I was given an Ergobaby 360 for my birthday last year, and I love it too!

I like the performance carrier for Layla for the fact that it is a bit wider than the 360, so it gives a more comfortable seat and support for Layla's long legs. I am sad that she does seem to be outgrowing her carrier, but because the carrier is such a safe place for Layla, I decided to see if I can find her a carrier that is wider, will support her legs more as she grows, and has a higher weight limit, while still being comfortable for me (especially with baby #2 due in 10 weeks). I found that Lillebaby has a carrier called "CarryOn Air toddler carrier", and it has a weight limit to 60lbs! So I am excited to announce to everyone that once Layla outgrows her Ergo soon, she will still be able to be carried. I plan on purchasing it (or asking for it as a birthday gift lol.. #thatmommylife...when you ask for carriers for your birthday and cloth diapers! omg.. I love me some Grovia cloth diapers too). Baby and toddler wearing has gotten me through some really tough times parenting wise from those early days of screaming, to those fighting nap days, helped me help my daughter with her sensory issues, and offers me a chance to get all the snuggles I could ask for. I cannot thank companies like Ergobaby enough for a product like this. I really can't! Thank you Ergobaby, for your product. Now please, develop a toddler carrier ;)
If anyone has any questions about baby wearing, toddler wearing, and autism, please feel free to reach out to us, I promise I don't bite.. unless you are my husband. ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What people can quit saying to me about my daughter.

I just want to say, I'm normally not a rude person. I will tell you like it is, but in general, I like to take the non-confrontational route. However, I'm finding that several well meaning people are just driving me insane.

Let me begin: My daughter Layla is a happy go lucky 2 year old girl. Curious, big blue eyes and bouncy, unruly, crazy blonde curls. She came into the world able to lift her head and look around. She hit all her developmental milestones early or on time, except when it came to talking. She was crawling by 4 months, standing by 5, cruising at 6, and walking at 9. She never babbled or made sounds, or responded to her name like my friends babies did, but her doctor said that due to her being on time or early with everything else; he was ok with waiting til her first birthday before getting concerned. At 13 months, her doctor sent her for hearing tests and ear check, and began the process to get her involved in speech therapy. Her results showed she had fluid buildup in her ears so badly that she was only hearing about 40-50% of what is being said. She had never had an ear infection or been sick a day in her life up til then, so we were sort of shocked. I say sort of, because we half expected her to have ear problems due to the fact that her father had tubes, constant infections, and eventually had to have his eardrum reconstructed due to his ears being so bad. I also have minor issues with fluid buildup in my ears during allergy season, and have to do a special routine to keep that at bay.
She had her tubes placed in May. Her hearing supposedly is up to normal standards. But she continued to not talk, ignore us, and she just is full of lots of quirks. But that is what makes her so special.

Her speech therapist claims she is above average in mostly everything, on time in everything else, and communication is .5%. But we were going to start getting that on track. Along with that, came the "autism" word. C and I had suspected Autism for awhile, and kept pushing some one to help us figure it out so we could get Layla the early intervention that she would need. But due to the fact that Layla is pretty social, and has a history of hitting her milestones early, no doctor wanted to investigate her quirks further, but we kept pushing. We knew something was off. Something wasn't right. We looked into, and found a list of individuals who were able to do an autism diagnosis in our area. I mentioned this to her speech therapist, who said she was also able to do the diagnosis/evaluation. So we went with that, but are waiting on final results as well. Last update: Her speech therapist is recommending an autism diagnosis, problem is, Layla easily adapts to situations and mimics well so they have to keep changing their findings because of how well she does!

The problem we are running into as parents are coming from the people nearest to us. We had to accept that something was wrong with Layla months ago, and accepting that allowed us to persue finding out and getting her treatment. Family and friends near us do not want to accept that fact, often stating
"Are you sure she can hear you? I don't think she can hear you. She can't be autistic, she just has hearing issues, I think."

"She's so smart though. Nothing is wrong with her."

"I'll pray she will be healed from all autism diagnosis"

"She's too social to be autistic"

"She loves to cuddle and snuggle, she can't have autism. Autistic kids don't like to be touched."

"She will grow out of it."

"She will talk when she is ready. Give it time."

I am so SICK of hearing these things. We had to accept autism as part of our daughter, why can't you? I'm not out there wearing "Autism Rocks my World" shirts and bumper stickers saying "My child has autism", because in fact, I hate the fact I have to deal with autism. I love my daughter with all of her quirks, and we have her in all the early intervention programs (speech, occupational), but I'm not about to claim I love autism, and that it rocks my world, or proclaim it to the entire world that my daughter is autistic (possibly). Its none of their business. The reason I'm not out there proclaiming all those things or "being proud" of It is because of people and their stupid questions and judgements, and often even more insensitive statements. I'm proud of my daughter as a person. I love her as a person, for who she is and what makes her who she is.
So, people can quit saying the 7 things above to me. Accept Layla for who she is. Keep your opinions to yourself. I don't want to discuss it with you, unless you have a medical degree. I don't want you to debate on whether or not my child is "normal". She isn't, and that's ok with us. We need it to be ok for you as well.

So, to answer your questions and statements above,
Yes, she can hear you. She can hear very well actually. She just wanders and doesn't respond to you when you call her name. Its a part of dealing with autism.

Autism (and any other special needs) does not mean "stupid", so yes, she is smart. She also is autistic.

You can pray for her all you like. We do as well. But rather than pray for her to be healed, pray for us, pray that we are shown how to help her and guide her and raise her properly. That is more important to me than making my child "normal". I love watching her wrap things into her hair for comfort, and the other quirky things she loves to do. So, while praying for her healing, pray for her as an individual as well. Accept her and her autism as well.

Yes, Layla loves to interact with our friends and play with other children. But you also have to understand, just because you've seen and heard about what one child is like with autism, You only met ONE child with autism. Everyone is different. Please keep this in mind.

Yes, Layla loves to be held, to snuggle, to cuddle, and to be kissed on. Again.. not every autistic child doesn't like to be touched.

While her speech therapist thinks that its possible Layla will score off the autism chart later on, I'm not getting my hopes up, just in case. And I'd really appreciate it if you didn't either. Thanks.

If Layla can do every other milestone early, She could talk. She's not talking. We want her in speech to help with this, to get her going. Instead of telling me "she's going to talk when she's ready", which now at this point makes me want to cry and punch you in the face, please don't say anything at all. Be proud that we took the steps to get her enrolled in speech and trying to help her get going. Many autistic children are non verbal. Do some research.

And finally, please. Please, please, just think before you speak! It is a sensitive subject for me and my husband to discuss with everyone. Be kind. Be sensitive. Be patient.
When Layla has a tantrum and a meltdown, don't judge. She is experiencing a sensory overload. So rather than shaking your damn heads and talking about our lack of parenting skills, how about walk a mile in my shoes, a mile in Layla's shoes even.. and offer support. Offer to dim the lights, find her blanket and monk monk that calm her down. Layla is a well behaved child, but certain situations just get to her. Please be understanding of this. No, I don't want your advice. No I don't want your judgement either. I want you to come up, hug me, and tell me I'm doing a good job, even when it looks like I have no control. I promise, there's a method to the madness. I just want to know Its going to be ok..and that I'm doing ok.

If you want to do research and learn more about autism, I recommend checking out
They have been an invaluable resource for us. Although everyday is a learning experience in our house, this website helps us understand just a little bit easier.

Thank you.

If you are reading this and think your child may be on the spectrum( including sensory processing disorders) and are interested in getting it further evaluated, or your child is "off" or behind in language and communication.. please don't hesitate, the earlier you seek help and get help, the better the outcome for your child because early intervention in the early years (while the brain is still developing) can help "retrain" your child's brain, giving them a better outcome later in life. We have had to fight for Layla to get this far, but not giving up and pushing for her to be further evaluated was what got others to finally notice what we did. You can't give up!
If you are needing help with speech or occupational therapies, check into early intervention programs in your area. In florida, early intervention is called Early Steps.
Early steps is federally funded and can pay for speech therapy and occupational therapy, or they can work with your insurance to waive your copays as well if you so choose. A doctor can refer you into the program, or you can contact them yourself and have your child evaluated.

Each state has a different name for their program, but it is worth looking into. Services can go from birth to age 3, and they help develop an IEP for school age kids after that time as well (and if it is needed).
Just google "early intervention in _________(your state here)__________" and see what pops up.

For help finding an autism diagnosis or sensory diagnosis, check
Where to get an autism diagnosis by (your state) with autism speaks as well.

I hope this helps. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Natural Choice: BOX Naturals

So, in my last posts(and I apologize for the lack of posting), I was dealing with a lot of feminine issues downstairs. No one ever really likes to admit that things "aren't quite right" because of the stigma that comes along with it. Fear of being judged because you "must be dirty" or "don't take care of yourself", well, truth is, Infections don't discriminate whether you have a clean or a dirty hoo hah, although you are more likely to end up with an infection if you don't take proper care of yourself. I, however, did everything correctly..from not using perfumed products, to not using soap and only water down there, washing clothes in hypoallergenic soap, to using reusable menstrual products (aka My Sckoon cup!), to taking probiotics and prebiotics, but infections still come to me easily. It was worse with the Mirena. Finally after I had it removed, and the bleeding stopped, I had issues continuing after that, I always felt irritated, and uncomfortable, always itching and burning, and battling constant infections, I would try so called soothing wipes, only to end up more irritated and with another yeast infection. When I went in for my pap smear that year, I was called with my results and told my pap was abnormal, and that I needed a colposcopy. My colposcopy and biopsy results showed abnormal changes, grade 2 (CIN2) precancerous cells on my cervix, so my husband, my doctor, and I decided that we would undergo a LEEP procedure to remove the cells, instead of taking a wait and see six month approach (as is industry standard). I went in December 19th, for My leep and had a follow up appointment six weeks later, in January 2014. My doctor practically hugged me when she came in for going ahead with the procedure. She said that within the 2 weeks from my biopsy results, to the surgery date, my precancerous cells had turned to Stage 0 cervical cancer (aka CIN3 but definitely contained cancer cells as I'd later find out). Because it was stage 0 and she was super thorough and made sure I got clear margins, I wouldn't need Chemo, but it would be six months before we would know if it worked for sure. Scary! At this appointment I told her my irritated constantly feeling had improved, except for the week before I was due for good ole aunt flo to show up, I was also left extremely sensitive to anything (still) that touched me. I said then I become irritated and developed a yeast infection, every month it seemed like.
Doctor M explained that in some individuals, their bodies are super sensitive to the changes in the hormones before Aunt Flo shows up and therefore it causes an imbalance down there and wah lah! Infection!

Her solution for me was: Use aquaphor, and hydrocortisone cream a week before my period, and take a diflucan pill about that time as well to combat my hormone drop infection issues. Cool.

Until you try to use it.

So one day, while I was on instagram, I saw a post about BOX naturals. They said they used essential oils, were PH balanced, biodegradable, and only natural ingredients in their wipes (which can be used other places other than just your hoo hoo!). I am a firm believer in essential oils and their healing properties (don't even get me started on my love for Young Living Essential oils!), but I was very nervous about buying a whole box and then they don't work, even though their price is extremely reasonable ($8.99 for a box of 12). I know my body, I thought. I know I'd buy them and then totally be in hell because of it! So, I decided to ask a question to the company and voice my concern because of how sensitive I am after the whole cancer thing. They offered to send me a trial pack so I could test the product and see if it worked for me. Jackie was so sure it would be perfect for me. I was very grateful for this opportunity..and I was determined that I would email them back and let them know if it worked for me or if it didn't. They deserved to know either way. I received my samples in the mail and was impressed with the super cute packaging and the very sweet note included. I received a Lavender towelette and a Rosewater towelette. I waited until I knew I was about due for my monthly visitor to test them out, because I know this is the time I react the most to everything, therefore I would be putting BOX naturals to the true test!

Fast forward about 2 weeks later, I was woken up to Aunt Flow coming to visit me a day early. But the classic irritation was there. With great hesitation, I reached for my Lavender BOX wipe and decided I would give it a try. I took it out of the package and smelled the beautiful smell of lavender, the sheet itself was strong (not wimpy feeling at all!), and it was really high quality stuff. Definitely impressed. I took a breath in and took the hoo hah cleansing plunge. Usually it takes several minutes before the burning, itching, and feeling like my hoo hah is on fire to kick in, so I waited. The only thing I noticed was the fact that my irritation was now gone, I wasn't itchy, and I felt BETTER than before I had used the wipe! This feeling lasted me for HOURS. No burning. No itching. No infection. Nothing! My irritation was completely gone! It had to be the lavender essential oil (which is excellent for hoo hoo issues, ladies). I was beyond estatic! I emailed Jackie from BOX naturals, and I swear I must have told her a hundred times "THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMPANY AND AMAZING PRODUCT!". BOX naturals truly is an amazing company! If it could not cause a reaction with ME..its definitely worth it! I recommend every woman have Lavender wipes for their lady parts in case you get caught off guard (or work out and get sweaty and irritated from that)..and Rosewater for face and other parts! They are that good!! Do yourself a favor, ladies, and head over to and go buy yourself a box or two...and see what BOX can do for you! You will not regret it!

What also sold me on the product? (and Im taking it from their website)"BOX products are all natural, individually wrapped towelettes that are gently scented with essential oils. Made in the USA, pH balanced and 100% biodegradable, they’re also entirely free of parabens, dyes, petrochemicals, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances." They also post their ingredient list online here . How many other companies that make your make up and your feminine wipes do this? I bet not many! So, Um... Yeah, I'll take 10 Boxes, thank you :)

Please note: I was not paid in any way shape or form for this review. These are my own thoughts and opinions, and I just happen to be head over heels for this company, their product, and their amazing customer service!

BOX Naturals, You should be proud of yourselves!! You make an excellent product and have wonderful employees! I salute and support you 100%!!!

Coming soon: A review of the ERGO BABY 360! and BOB Revolution Jogging stroller SE :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sckoon Cup = Love, Love, Love (A post about how you can come to enjoy your period)

The title probably has your eyebrows raised, (and if you are a male, I suggest leaving now before I mentally scar you for life) how can one enjoy your period? Am I insane? Probably. But if you hear me out and give a menstrual cup a try.. you will be proud to call yourself insane.  I promise.

So what is a Sckoon cup you may ask? A sckoon cup is a menstrual cup, made of medical grade silicone. Next question you are probably asking is what the heck is a menstrual cup? A menstrual cup is a cup (usually made of silicone, but you can get some of latex/rubber..but why? Just why?) that collects your blood flow, rather than absorbing it. Why is this better than pads or tampons? A multitude of reasons!

Pads vs. A Menstrual Cup:
1. You have to buy them every single month (and for some women, one package isn’t enough) and at anywhere from $4-7 a package, multiply that by 12 and see whatcha get. Ouch.

2. Pads gave me rashes. Didn’t matter which brand, I broke out into a horrid rash.

3. You sit in your own blood with a pad. Eww. Nasty.

4. Pads smell, because your bloodflow comes in contact with the air.

5. Noisy packaging that is in no way, shape, or form “discreet”. So everyone and their mother and brother know you are on your period.

Tampons vs. A Menstrual Cup:
1. Tampons may allow you freedom from rashes and smell, but can cause more cramps

2. Risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome)

3. Rayon fibers left behind in your hoo hah.

4. Absorbs everything. Including your own natural lubrication, which can leave you feeling itchy and more suspectible to infections. (didn’t know that previously? Yeah manufacturers don’t advertise that on tv!)

5. No more wandering string! Ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That damn string wanders. When I had to start fishing it in my behind, I was done. Not to mention it getting wrapped up in my lady bits made my lady bits unhappy! (I’m super sensitive..)

6. Noisy packaging, plus waste from the applicators.

7. Risk of ruining your septic system.

8. You may need different sizes during your cycle, which means different boxes.. which means more money spent to end up, literally in the trash or down the drain.

So the Pros to a menstrual cup:
1. No noisy packaging. Most menstrual cups come in a silent pouch made of cloth (and sckoons is organic. Win Win!)
2. Sckoon cup is made out of medical grade silicone, which has no absorption to it, so your natural lubrication is left right where it belongs. It’s also FDA approved.
3. No smells to alert the world you are on your period, no pad lines, and no need to sit in your own blood. *gag*
4. No wandering string!
5. Its reusable! So, within 6 months (at say $6 for a box of tampons) the cup has already paid for itself, and you no longer have to worry about “do I have enough tampons to last me through today?” “do I have enough pads to make it through my vacation without buying more?” Yeah.. that question no longer exsists! You have your cup, your pouch and you are good to go! Talk about….
6. Space Savers! No more huge bulky boxes and packages under the sink!
7. No more embarrassing “Oh no, did my so and so see my tampons in there?” panic moment.
8. You are going Green with a menstrual cup.
9. Menstrual cups last for years. Again “MONEY SAVER”.
10. Menstrual cups are comfortable and do not cause cramps. In some cases, they have helped relieve cramps and shorten periods because your flow is allowed to “flow”. Its not being absorbed and you aren’t dealing with chemicals in pads or tampons, which can attribute to cramps as well.

So, whats the cons to a menstrual cup, you may ask? The cons would be short. Its hard to find a fault with a menstrual cup that can’t be overcome.
1. Some women experience a learning curve and have leakage the first couple of months. Don’t give up!
2. The “EWW” factor. Yes, a cup collects your blood, so you have to empty the cup.This also is a learning curve and disappears over time. (If I can!)
3. You do have to know your anatomy a little bit ;)

I hate blood, I hate the sight of blood..any blood. I get woozy and lightheaded. I was really hestitant to try a menstrual cup because of how it collects the blood and then you have to dump the contents down the toilet, and rinse it out. The thought of that (what I call the “eww factor”) deterred me for awhile. After I had Layla, I had a Mirena IUD placed at my 6 week checkup. I ended up bleeding for the next 8 months (along with constant infections) before I finally just called my doctor and told them what was going on and that I couldn’t take it anymore. But during that 8 months, I was constantly plugged up with a tampon and I was always irritated because of it. I couldn’t wear pads or pantyliners because they made me break out into a huge rash. Cloth pads were an option, except my whole blood phobia and I hate the idea of sitting in my own mess. Eww. So, I stumbled upon menstrual cups. I found a free sample of “Instead Softcups”, and tried them. There is a learning curve to them as well, but I was determined to make it work. I had no more irritation and no wandering string. Awesome! I used those for about 6 months as I found out I had an abnormal pap, that went from normal to CIN3 (which is considered stage 0 cervical cancer) in a matter of months, caused by none other than that damn Mirena IUD. I had a leep procedure done in December, and then I began researching which menstrual cup I wanted. I did a lot of research and narrowed it down to two. The ladycup and Sckoon cup. I ended up choosing the Sckoon cup because 1. They are made in the USA. (Keepin it patriotic here), 2. It is ridges, rims or other random parts to irritate my already super sensitive lady parts. 3. Medical grade, FDA approved, silicone. (I’m allergic to latex). 4. They deal with mostly organic stuff. 5. Its listed as the “softest” cup available.

In March, I finally took the plunge and bought my Sckoon Cup (Ecopak!). I was in love. I did have some issues when I did a dry run, which were I had trouble telling if it had opened up completely while inside me. However, I had to be doing it right because when good old Aunt Flo showed up, I experienced not a single leak.  It was super comfortable, and by my second month of using it, I feel like a pro. I shudder to think how often I used disposables, when these were so easy and I was helping the planet by not creating so much waste (or clogging septic systems ;) ) I am going to purchase a size 1 here soon, because I do feel the size 2 is a little too big for me, as I have a super light period thanks to Lo loestrin fe and I guess my lady parts are a little smaller. I asked Sckoon cup, via their Instagram page, if this would be advisable, or if I should just stick with the size 2. Their response was that if I was “fit”, I could probably get away with a size 1, especially if I had a light flow. I will do an update of the size 1 when the time comes (within the next month or so). My cramps I haven’t noticed that big of a difference in, as they aren’t too bad after having Layla (previous endometriosis sufferer) and being on BCP.

How long can you wear your cup? You can wear your menstrual cup for up to 12 hours! Yes ladies, 12 hours! Imagine being able to leave your house in the morning, and not having to worry about your period all day long! Can we say “confidence booster”?! However, if you are on your first day or so and you have a heavy flow, you may need to empty yours sooner than 12 hours. It will take you a few cycles using your cup to learn when you need to empty it and how long it takes you to fill it. Its also going to take a few cycles to learn to get used to and how to use your cup properly so you don’t have leaks anyway. Don’t get discouraged if you do experience leaks. It takes 2-3 cycles to perfect the ‘art’ of using a cup. I feel like using the instead softcups for those few months prior to making the switch to Sckoon Cup really helped me get a feel (literally! Lol) for where my cup should go, and that’s why I didn’t have any leak issues with my cup. It was a little weird for me at first to sit and have to push things inside me and reach inside me to pull it out. With a tampon, you just push it in. With a softcup, you have to push it down and back (almost like you are pushing it to your bottom instead of up inside you..) . I used this method when I got my Sckooncup and this really seemed to help me with insertion as well. Inserting your Sckoon cup should not hurt! I repeat, it should NOT hurt. If it is hurting, you need to stop, reread your directions, and perhaps get you some water based lube or some cold water, begin breathing and try again. For lube, I use Luvena prebiotic. It’s a prebiotic water based lube (glycerin free) that my doctor recommended when I was having all my issues when I had the IUD in. For insertion you fold your Sckoon cup in one method that is recommended with your instructions, I found the first two recommended folds to be the best. I usually use the C-fold method, but the punchdown fold works just as well for me. Once you find the "fold" that works for you, you then can use your water or your water based lubricant (Luvena, in my case), and push down and back. I know the "down and back" seems to make no sense, like you are pushing it towards your rear end, but this is actually the correct way! You'll get used to it. Whatever you do, do not push it up like you would a tampon. I had mine pop open part way and somehow hit my external lady bits and yeah.. NOT fun! It does make for a good giggle now though. I've found the down and back method has left me with no questions of "is it in right?" and definitely left me leak free.

Pictures online make menstrual cups seem huge! This intimidated me so much when I began to research cups. I thought "how is that HUGE thing supposed to fit in here?!" However, when I ordered my size 2 sckoon and it arrived, I was shocked at how TINY it was! I thought they shipped me a size 1 by mistake!! My size 2 sckoon cup (without measuring the stem) is not even as long as my thumb..which is all of 3 inches. Ladies, please, our men are longer than 2 1/2 inches, so don't let pictures fool you!! I tried to take some to show its actual size, but I couldn't get it to look any less bigger on camera either. So please, don't let the pictures intimidate you and influence your decision! Sckoon cups are also the smallest out of each menstrual cup brand. *thumbs up*

To clean your cup, you simply boil it for 5 minutes or clean it with a menstrual cup wash. Sckoon does not make a wash of their own yet, but both Divacup and Lunette cups webpages do. You could also wash with some soap you have at home, but go for unscented. Scented items going into your hoo hah are never a good idea.

All in all, I would not trade my Sckoon Cup in for the world! I am so happy I purchased my cup, and that I made the switch to a reusable menstrual product that wont hurt me, leave fibers or chemicals inside me, and has health benefits for me and the envoirnment! I tell everyone who will listen about it! One small change can help in big ways, and I hope that I’ve helped some of you ladies make a small change. I wasn’t given a free cup to review, I purchased the cup and am writing the review because I believe in putting the word out there for great products and helping women empower themselves and make informed decisions when it comes to researching menstrual cups. I believe in the product so much, I signed up to become a Sckoon Cup Green Ambassador! THAT’S how impressed I am with the company  The only other company I’ve done reviews for (again, I bought and paid for these products, fell in love, and wrote a review about it) was ErgoBaby.

If you have any questions about Sckoon cups or anything else in general about this post, feel free to leave a comment.
If by chance, you have decided to purchase a Sckoon Cup, go to their website at and please feel free to use my associate code (being a green ambassador benefit) to save yourself 10% off your order: My code is WUEZOB .

And please, tell a friend! Lets help get Sckoon cups mainstream!! 

Sizes: Size 1: under 25 and have not given birth
Size 2: 25 or older or have given birth.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Southern to the some ways!

So when a lot of people think of Florida, they think of suntan lotion, bikinis, Miami, Daytona, Orlando, beaches...etc. A Southerner would see Florida as "BOILED PEANUT STANDS!" So, because I made my first batch of boiled peanuts on Wednesday, I decided I would post a recipe..because they were dang sure good! I LOVE Garlic! So I made Garlic boiled peanuts.

Here's what you will need:
1 lb of uncooked shell peanuts
3/4 cup (more or less, depending on your saltiness taste, I usually play it by ear, this is just a guess)
3-4 Garlic cloves
Water enough to fill up crock pot
then half a quart size pot for final boil
So, I first let my peanuts cook on high in my crock pot overnight, from about 7pm til 4am when DH got up and turned it off. I added 2 garlic cloves at 11pm and let the taste get into the water (mince these two cloves!). I also added some salt at this point, but not a lot, because the peanut shells were still pretty hard, they don't absorb much flavors at this point. Then the next morning I smashed the two remaining cloves and broke them in halves, transferred the peanuts to a big pot and added some more water and salt, boiled for about 2 hours, and PERFECTION! The garlic and salt were able to soak through the shells by morning, adding a wonderfully delicious taste. Yum.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Avoiding the Same old, same old... 5 years!!

There comes a time in life when you realize you have settled into a routine. You do pretty much the same thing, every single day. For example, Chris wakes up and gets ready for work at 5:40, I try to wake up to sit with him while he has his morning coffee and snuggles with me before leaving at 6:15, then Layla and I wake up every morning at 7:30 (with a little variance here and there to such a time as 7:31 or 7:32), we have our morning BF'ing session, then she eats Mum Mums and Aunt Kim comes over before she heads to Hibbetts. The rest of our day is spent exploring, eating, napping then mom rushing around trying to clean, study, and do homework while she is napping, and then we watch some tv together, and when it cools down outside, I take Layla outside for a walk with her puppy walker, and play time in the grass. Chris returns home about 6:15pm, and Layla has dinner, bath, and bed by 8pm. Chris and I are not far along behind her at about 9.
We got together 5 years ago today. We actually had met several weeks beforehand, and Chris spent two weeks trying to get me to give him the time of day. I loved his son, but Chris? He drove me nuts, what man walks up to you and says "hey, can I cook you dinner one night?" and acted like it is nothing. What man walks up and gives you his number and says "you can call me tonight, if you get bored?" who asks if you will help them pick out a dog for their kid? He would come back in after signing JD out, just to come in and talk to me. He was persistant, cocky, and soooooo hot. I didn't want to talk to him or give him the time of day because I didn't want to like him. It was really undeniable though that he was everything I looked for in a man physically..and mentally. However, I've always had terrible luck with men, so why should I even bother trying to keep up and give them any chances? Besides that, I was dating someone else at the time, who was in the Army and nearly double my age, and I was happy with that relationship. However, he knew I wouldn't cheat on him, but he knew I was young and could use more experience around men, so he encouraged me to accept Chris' offer of dinner. I refused. I never called him, I never text him. When he would mention that his "phone never rang", I'd cooly reply "I didn't get bored". He still didn't give up. My coworkers all liked Chris immediately, he was young and good looking, and he was stable (something Rick wasn't). They both tried to convince me to accept his offer for dinner saying "Hey, you never know, you may have fun and like him, you never know unless you give it a try" (Kim, I am holding you to this! coughcoughbrockolicoughcough).. finally one Friday afternoon, I realized that JD wasn't there, and we had already had a bond, so I decided to text Chris to see where my "son" was (I had a group of kids who I called my kids). He was like "Who is this?" and I was like "Miss Brie!" a few minutes later he text back and was like "OH the hot teacher!" .. I had to stop reading the text and recompose myself because I started laughing so hard.. who says that to someones face? OMG where is this guy from freaking mars? finally I read on "JD is going to his friends house tonight, I get off at noon on Fridays so I picked him up. " I replied back "oh ok, I was just wondering, Hes a great kid, i'll miss him on Fridays". No sooner than I hit send, another text "How about dinner tonight then?" Persistant little bugger... geez. I sighed and looked at Kim and Patti and my grandma and told them that he asked me out to dinner...again. "HE LIKES YOUUUU!" "GO!" "HAVE FUN! YOU DESERVE IT!" Even Rick text "Go, have fun.. I have missions this weekend and wont be available to talk. I trust you, I love you". Little did I know, but would soon find out, Rick's "missions" involved sleeping around with another woman on a regular basis, and I don't share well, so our relationship would be over in a matter of days after that text. (ps to all you cheating morons who send pictures of you and "female friends" ... you can right click and hit properties which tells you the date and time pictures were taken. Im no fool.) So, I text Chris back "sure, dinner sounds good. I don't get off til 6:30 though and I'll need a shower and all" He text back "how about 8? That enough time for you to get pretty? I'll pick you up.. I'll need directions though" "k sounds good. talk to you when I get off." Everyone was beaming but me.. lol. At about 8:15, Chris finally rolls into my yard.. he missed a turn and was halfway to sopchoppy before he realized he was probably going the wrong direction. He allowed me to drive when he got there, which was amazing. He also reached over and pushed play on his CD player, which started blaring Gary allan music.. I flipped out and asked him who told him. He looked confused, and was like "told me what?" "That Gary Allan is my favorite singer, ever!" "Oh.. he's mine too! no one told me that, I swear". GREAT. Just what I need, someone to compete with me over my gary allan favoriteness. lol. We talked about our birthdays and discovered our birthdays were one day apart, split up by 9 years difference. He told me he had a lot of things to tell me about himself and his past one day, I told him no worries, I had a past that I refused to tell him about because I didn't want or need anyone's pity anymore. I just said its "effed up" and leave it at that. He took me back to his apartment, which raised my guard a bit, because I thought we'd be going to dinner somewhere in PUBLIC, aka neutral ground. He said he had rented a movie, had some drinks, and got a pizza.. (some dinner! lol) He apologized because it was so impromptu that he didn't have time to prepare or it would have been better. I was fine with that although I can't eat pizza sauce, like ever, without getting a killer heartburn acid reflux type reaction, so I refused to eat but had plenty to drink. We watched our movie and talked, I fell asleep for a little while, he kept trying to kiss me and cuddle me and I kept pushing him away. He even tried to undress himself!! He asked me if i'd consider moving in, and that we should try to have a baby together, because we'd "make a beautiful baby". I was pissed! The alcohol had kicked in though and I decided to show him how to "get down"...which I completely made a fool out of myself. As I started to go downhill from alcohol, he asked me to come inside so he could get me a jacket because it was cool outside. He tried to get "fresh" with me again, so I then told him to take me home, immediately. He looked hurt but did just that, as I cursed headlights and tried to dance on the stairs, finally as I got home I had sobered up some, I climbed out of his truck, and prepared to slam the door, when he was pleading with me to just "look at me" I refused because "you're just going to try to kiss me like they do in the movies or something", but I got out of the truck, then glared up at him, he was like "I just want to remember this, in case you never want to see me again". I closed the door, and muttered "got that right!" and stumbled into bed. The next morning my grandma asked me how my "date" went. I told her "terrible, I never want to see or speak to him again!" She got upset because she hated rick, so she was hoping I would have had fun so I'd leave Rick (which ended up happening because of his infidelity, discovered in the next day). a few mins later, I receive two texts from chris "Good morning, I keep thinking about you this morning, I miss you". OH HELL NO, NOW HES NEEDY and CLINGY? NO. I ignore that, and his call. Finally later on I text him about a bruise on my arm, he texts immediately "you hit your arm on the table when you were dancing"... "did I keep my clothes on?" "Yeah..unfortunately for me" "sicko" he calls me a few moments later, "Hey, would you consider going to the pound with me and JD tomorrow to look at dogs? Do you know their hours?" "Yeah, 1-6. Ok, I'll go, because I told JD I would." "ok good, he was asking if you would come with us, I wasn't sure..after last night. Look, Im really sorry.. I don't know what my problem was, and that's not an excuse. But I am not normally like that, Im really sorry." "I can live with that. What time do you want to go tomorrow?" "How about I pick you up at 1?" "sure." "Ok, see you then, bye."
The next day, 09/28/2008, Chris and JD showed up right at 1pm, JD was in love with the 7 dogs at my house, and super excited that I was going with them. I kissed Kasey goodbye, introduced Chris to my grandfather, who was providing a healthy amount of stank eye in his direction, and we left. We walked around the shelter, looking for that "right dog". JD and I fell in love with a big pit bull dog, and I walked around to find Chris bent in front of a kennel, on his knees, "We found a dog we like", I say as I bend down to let a puppy lick my finger and steady myself on his shoulder, "I like this little guy right here..." I look over to see a little brindle puppy, who's head is small but his body is huge. He's adorable. JD thinks so too, so I let the workers know we would like to see this one, as we are escorted outside to play with him. The moment I saw Chris snuggling this little puppy, my heart melted. He's not a bad guy at all. He adopted that puppy that day.. and 5 years later, Turk is still asleep at my feet. As we neared the apartment, Turk got carsick all over me, and the truck, I still go into fits of giggles over the scene as it was happening "HOLD HIM OUTSIDE THE WINDOW!!!" "WHAT? NO!" That evening, I told Chris I'd bring him a kennel and etc so he didn't have to go to Tallahassee to buy everything right away, we could go next weekend. As I come back, JD is overjoyed to see me, and Turk curls up in my lap. Chris was like "see..he knows already who his mom is.." After JD goes to bed, Chris and I sit on the floor with Turk. He looks so handsome lying there.. I can remember it so well. We looked at one another for a few minutes, then we just kissed once. His kiss did something electric to my body, and you could tell it did the same thing to him. We agreed we wanted to be friends for awhile, and if we felt like things were good, we wanted to eventually go into a relationship later on. We wanted to do things right for JD, and for us. From that point on, we were all inseperable. We never kissed or hugged in front of JD, and I spent nearly every evening after work with them (mostly at JD's request). As time went on, we realized we were crazy about one another.. 11 1/2 months after we met, we were sitting together, and all of a sudden he leans into my ear and whispers " I love you". I knew in an instant that he meant it, with every fiber of his being. I couldn't breathe, I got all teary eyed, as I told him I loved him too. I was crazy in love with this man, although it was a different feeling of love than I'd ever felt. I felt like he healed me, he completed me, he fixed the broken parts, and disreguarded the messed up parts, and he made me feel at peace. Safe. Protected. It was the most contented feeling. whenever I saw him, my heart skipped beats and instantly my day was better. Here we are 5 years later, I still feel the same way about Chris. He walks into the house or room and instantly, I still feel all happy giddy, but yet I feel complete. Its not that crazy story book romantic story type feelings you see in movies. But that's the difference between what we read and see on tv, those are ficton, this is real. So, I guess some things never become the same old, same old. Even though our rountines may feel like the same old, same old, feelings and emotions do not become that way when they are something that is real. This man is my life, my heart, my soul. In the 5 years we've been together, he's blessed me with a daughter, my step son, a family (momma in particular!), and my college degree, hes blessed me with confidence, teaching me to speak up for myself, and to take a stand, and on June 2, 2012, he blessed me with his last name. He works so hard to make sure we have everything.He does drive me insane sometimes, and makes me mad to where I want to hit him with a frying pan, but of course, at the end of the day, all I can think about is how much I really do love him and that makes the silly reasons of being mad, seem so tiny. Our life isn't perfect, and I promised him long ago, that when he got with me, He'd never be bored because I always do something to keep things interesting... I have yet to fail in that respect. lol. But our life is perfect for us.. it has ups and downs. It has swigs and swags, zigs and zags.. but we wouldn't have it any other way. Hes never been one for a whole lot of words when it comes to emotional things, but the other evening, he really did leave me speechless. He told me I was the center of his world, his everything, and that he loved me more than anything in this world. Little does he know, he is all that to me..and so much more. Layla and I are blessed to call him "dada" and my husband. The same old same old after 5 years? Never. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Whats My Superpower? I make Milk! A post on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding seems to be the most simplistic tasks that could possibly be given to a woman. Its programmed into our DNA..thats why we grow boobs, so when you're pregnant, you're thinking "it can't be that difficult to do!" so you don't give it too much thought. Wrong move! Breastfeeding is an art. Its a skill. A skill that requires mastering. When I gave birth to Layla, and they had the chance to finally get her to cry (it took a tube and suction to clear her lungs first), they finished halfway cleaning her and laid her onto my chest. She promptly lifted her head and looked around, as if she was 2 months old and not 2 minutes old. Amid her fan club of grandmothers, god mothers, and one super proud dada, she was able to put on the best show ever. She then decided it was time to find my boobs and find them fast. I rarely held babies, so I was terrified I'd drop her, or would hurt her, or something. anything. Then, she latched. OUCH. I was so tired, my adrenaline had way past kicked in and run out, so I was crashing. I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone "cradle" a baby and try to figure out how to breastfeed. The next two days in the hospital were increasingly frustrating. I couldn't go to sleep, I couldn't figure out how to properly get Layla to latch on, she was screaming constantly, and the nurses and lactation nurses only made me feel worse. Like I was expected to know how to do this immediately, then told me I wasn't doing it right and maybe I should just give her some formula by the time I was released. My boobs hurt. My nipples hurt. I was tired. I was sore. I was exhausted..I cried again hysterically for the second time since I had gave birth. I thought I would be a failure if I couldn't figure out how to put a baby to my nipple and feed her.. I guess now I knew why they called breastfeeding "an art". The nurse told me I would have to go rent a pump and pump to feed my girl. Freaked out, as soon as I was discharged from the hospital, we went to rent a pump. (Little did I know, my insurance covered pumps for FREE... and the nurse wouldn't tell me!) We got home and I began to pump, my boobs were killing me. My mother in law got me a glider for the nursery and my boppy pillow was waiting, with Chris' help and the boppy and the glider, I finally found my comfortable position for nursing and we no longer had any issues. Layla is 10 and a half months old and I can feed her, type a paper and talk on the phone all at once. Its so hard in those early days to see it as being "easy" one day..but it does happen eventually.