Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Missed You Guys

I just wanted to pop into this space and post a quick blog about my upcoming blog plans. Life took over and this space just could not be a part of my time. You will read all about our struggles later, but for now, hi! I miss pouring myself into these virtual pages. I sat down and made a list of items I want to prioritize in my life and this made the list(along with regular pedicures and more chocolate).

I have about 50 blog drafts all going at once and I'm hoping to hit publish daily. I want to share a LOT of my thoughts, share tips from a homeschooling mom of many, and maybe even throw up a couple reviews.

I also want to dive into a ton of homeschool blogs so I can share my journey and also try to figure out which curriculum choices to make this year. I am looking for a major overhaul and I'm leaning towards Bookshark curriculum. More about all of that later!

For now, welcome. To those who have stuck around, thank you! I hope to expand on this little space of mine and do some major updates.

So much love to you all! Oh, and here is cutie pie baby in our favorite cloth diapers, Thirsties!

Say hello to baby #5 Lilah Ann. Birth story coming soon! I'm only 16 months late. 😂


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Before I miss it completely, Happy World Breastfeeding Week! I am so beyond blessed to have nursed 4 precious babies until at least a year old. I know not every mama is able to do this and I am in no way trying to make anyone feel bad with this post. I just want to give all the mamas who breastfeed a virtual high-five! It can be hard to make the choice to breastfeed and I am proud of each and every mom who tries. Happy World Breastfeeding Week to all the warriors out there, to all the moms who are working so hard to normalize it.

I've been breastfeeding for the past 3 years straight and I wouldn't change it for a second. I breastfed my 3 year old until the day her brother was born and I've been nursing him ever since. It's been a crazy ride! Like I said though, I feel blessed. I know not every mom has it so easy. My heart goes out to the ones who have struggled and fought to breastfeed, but weren't able to do it in the end. You are AMAZING for trying and for fighting. You are amazing and you are one of the moms working to normalize nursing. Thank you to all the moms who nurse in public and endure dirty looks or stares or are asked to leave. Thank you for taking a stand and fighting back! No one should ever be made to feel ashamed of FEEDING their child. 

I'm grateful for the educators out there working so hard to get the correct information to moms and I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces of information. When I had my first son, I had a c-section and they gave him a bottle of formula prior to bringing him to me to nurse. I was not happy about this! They should have just brought him to me to nurse and this graphic is why it angered me so much:

Babies do not need formula. Their stomachs are so tiny in the beginning that colostrum is enough. So many moms are led to believe that their baby isn't getting enough milk and it's easy to be scared into thinking this way! Of course no mom wants to think their baby is starving.

My biggest piece of advice to breastfeeding moms is to stay calm. Getting stressed out is not going to help your milk let down. Babies can pick up on our panic and they do not like it. That phrase, "Keep Calm Nurse On," always plays through my brain. It's so true though!

Here is a picture of my now 14 month old on the day he was born. This is the first time he got to latch on and it was pure heaven for me. I had lost so much blood that Jon was holding him for what seemed like the longest time. He was screaming to nurse and finally getting him meant everything to me. Getting that skin to skin and getting to nurse right away was my birth reward and I could not think of a better gift! These are precious memories I will cherish forever.

So thank you to all the moms who are out there fighting to normalize nursing! We have come so far and we have so much further to go. There will always be people out there who think nursing is gross, but maybe we can change one person's mind when it comes to breastfeeding. I have seen people change their stance first hand and it is incredible to witness. Nurse on mamas!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Coconut Oil 101

I really wanted to take some time to chat with everyone about coconut oil. I cant begin to tell you how many people have told me coconut oil is bad for you. I hate that it got such a bad rap back in the day and I am here to clear it's name! 

For me, coconut oil has a zillion uses. My favorite uses are oil pulling(don't worry, I have a whole post planned all about this), using as a carrier for essential oils, I use it to cook with and use it in a ton of beauty and bath products. I couldn't be without it and it makes me sad that so many people think it's bad or don't know anything about it.I hope by the end of this blog post you are inspired to run out and buy a couple of jars, but be warned, you may become severely addicted like me!

The number one myth I hear about coconut oil is that it is a saturated oil and will raise cholesterol levels and cause someone to have a heart attack. Seriously, I cant tell you how many times I have heard this. I guess in today's society, it makes sense, but it's false. Many people do not know that there are two types of cholesterol. One is good and one is bad. Your doctor measures both of these and both are important to watch. Coconut oil raises your good cholesterol(also known as HDL - High Density Lipoproteins). Having higher levels of good cholesterol actually helps lower the bad cholesterol(known as LDL - Low Density Lipoproteins). I also want to note that the saturated fat in coconut oil is a medium chain and therefore does not contribute to obesity. The medium chain saturated fat in coconut oil helps to rev up your metabolism and can actually help you lose weight! The rumor that coconut oil is saturated and is therefore bad was started by companies pushing soybean oil, which we know is horrible for you.

So why reach for coconut oil when there are other good oils out there, like olive oil?

My Top Uses For Coconut Oil

- When using coconut oil to cook, it has a high heat point. This means, unlike olive oil, it is great to use in things like stir frys because it wont break down. I love using coconut oil when cooking. If you don't like the taste of coconut but want all the benefits, try refined coconut oil. It's just as good for you but without the coconut taste. Check jars carefully for unrefined and refined labels.

- Use as a skin moisturizer plain or with essential oils. I personally love whipping my coconut oil in my Kitchenaid mixer. It stays fluffy and light and is the perfect thing to keep in my bathroom. Maybe I'll do a blog post all about how to do this!

- Coconut oil can be used as a cloth diaper safe diaper cream. It works better than anything else I have tried and is safe on my baby's skin. I have one child who has horrendous eczema and this is all I use on it nowadays for diaper rash or any eczema flair ups.

- Along the lines of mamas and babies, I used this stuff like crazy during my last two pregnancies. I say save yourself some money on expensive stretch mark oils and just use this. If you love the smell of coconut like I do then you will love slathering this all over a giant pregnant belly. If you don't love the smell of coconut, reach for refined oil or just add some yummy smelling essential oils.

- Use to remove awful cradle cap from baby's head. I just rubbed some of this all over my son's head, used a soft brush to gently scrub it away and then washed his hair like normal. It worked like a charm and I love that it was already handy in my bathroom. Seriously, I keep a jar of this all over the house.

- One of my favorite mama treats is to use this mixed with organic raw sugar as a body scrub! You can keep this in your bathroom as long as no water gets into your container. I recommend keeping it in a squeeze type container instead of a jar to prevent water from getting in. I also do the same for a homemade lip scrub.

- Of course, you can always use this for a simple, yet luxurious massage oil instead of buying pricey ones.

- I've always used vitamin e as a facial moisturizer instead of lotion and I've always had fantastic results. Lately I've been using equal parts vitamin e oil and coconut oil and it's even better! I highly recommend this combination to hydrate your skin and keep it soft.

- It helps heal skin that has been injured or has an infection. We mix essential oils with our coconut oil and then apply topically for first aid.

- Like I said above, it's a God send for my baby girl's eczema. I have also heard wonderful things about it helping psoriasis. 

- Boost your brain power with coconut oil and it's medium-chain fatty acid - lauric acid! This is also found in breast milk and is amazing for your brain. Coconut oil contains 50% lauric acid. There is a ton of research out right now about coconut oil being a possible treatment for Alzheimers and it is truly fascinating to read about.

-  Oil pulling! I oil pull with coconut oil and Young Living's Thieves oil and I love it. I will write more about oil pulling later.

- I add a couple tablespoons to my smoothies every day to help boost my milk supply and to give my body healthy fat to start the day off.

- Replace all vegetable oils in any recipe with coconut oil! I also use it to season all of my cast iron skillets and dutch ovens.

- We take this camping to help ease the itch of bug bites or the burning with sunburns. I just used this recently on a sunburn for my daughter mixed with a couple drops of lavender oil. 

- When breastfeeding, I don't even bother buying expensive nipple creams anymore, I just keep little jars of coconut oil all over the place and use that. I love that I don't have to wipe it off before my baby nurses.

- I take coconut oil with a Vitamin D supplement to help me absorb the Vitamin D properly. Vitamin D needs fat to absorb and I love that I am getting so many benefits from a healthy fat.

-I use it as a carrier oil with all of my essential oils, especially when diluting them for my kiddos. My kids love the smell of coconut oil!

- I am currently in the process of opening my own Etsy shop full of homemade bath and body products and coconut oil is a major ingredient in everything! I cant wait to share all of that with everyone! Coconut oil is the perfect replacement for awful ingredients in a wide variety of bath and body products!

As you can see, I use coconut oil in dozens of aspects of my life and there are SO many more uses out there. Do you have a use for it that isn't listed? Please share with me in the comments below!

My favorite brand of coconut oil is Nutiva and you can buy huge jugs of it from Costco for around $22.00.

I hope someone found this blog post to be helpful! If you loved it, please plus 1 it on Google plus, pin it on Pinterest, tweet it or share on Facebook! I really appreciate it!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

August Scentsy Giveaway!

I know I am a few days late getting this posted, thanks for being patient guys! We just had our best friends in the world move to Wyoming. It's been an emotional few days helping them pack up their Uhaul and having to say goodbye for now. 

My giveaway for August is the Flower Vine warmer and a bar of August's scent of the month - Fuzzy Blanket! I am in love with this light, cozy scent. It really does smell like how a fuzzy blanket should smell right out of the dryer. 

This is a deluxe warmer and retails for $30.00. This month only you can purchase it for 10% off or you can win it here! Happy spring flowers and curling tendrils dance in glowing white porcelain. This warmer is gorgeous when lit up in the dark. It emits a creamy glow and you can really see the floral design when it is glowing.

There is a description of the Fuzzy Blanket scent. Also don't forget this scent is 10% off in August since it is the scent of the month!

All you have to do is follow the rafflecopter instructions below and I wish everyone good luck! Thanks for reading my blog and supporting my Scentsy journey!

Disclaimer: I purchased both of these items with my own money and am sponsoring my own giveaway. No one has paid me to write anything about Scentsy.

This giveaway is open to US only. So sorry to my out of country readers. I need to figure out how much shipping would be and open up a giveaway to you guys. I'll keep you posted about that! This giveaway will also end on August 31st at midnight MST. Thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 1, 2014

Scentsy August Specials!

August is a wonderful time to make a Scenty purchase or take the plunge to sign up! In this post I am going to talk to you all about the wonderful things August has to offer!

First of all, August is 10% off time for Scentsy! Nearly everything on my website is 10% off in August only. Use this time to take advantage of stocking up on Summer scents and warmers that are going to be discontinued after August 31st. You can pick up a 6 pack of Scentsy bars for $22.50! That's like getting each bar for only $3.75.

Here are some lists of the scents, warmers and promotional items that will no longer be available after August 31st!

I also wanted to share with you all the scent and warmer of the month for August! It is absolutely adorable! I am so in love with this warmer that I purchased it myself!

It just screams summer! I had to have it! Remember, this warmer is 10% off since it is the warmer of the month. The scent of the month is called Fuzzy Blanket and I will post it's picture and scent description below.

And last but not least, I want to share why August is the perfect time to join my team! August is transition month with Scentsy because the new catalog comes out September 1st. Scentsy doesn't want you to have to go out and buy new testers and catalogs when the new one is released, so they are including them in starter kits along with everything else that comes in the kit for August only! It's super sized starter kit month and the perfect time to join! It's still only $99.00 to sign up and you get $45.00 worth of testers and catalogs for free! Click the link to my website below and click on the JOIN button to sign up on my team! We have an awesome group of girls with challenges every month and tons of support!

As a special bonus, I want to show you all a sneak peek at the Fall/Winter scents that will be released on September 1st! Please contact me if you would like samples of these scents or catalogs mailed out to you starting September 1st!

Thanks for listening to me rave about Scentsy!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Scentsy July Specials and Bonuses!

Make a Scentsy purchase from me before August 1st and I will mail you a special gift directly from me. Purchase over $50.00 and get a bonus gift. All orders placed before August 1st will also receive a free sample of August's scent of the month - Fuzzy Blanket!

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in my Scentsy journey and I cannot wait to see where it takes me! It's exciting to think about where I will be in a year. Thanks again guys!

Don't forget that July 31st is the LAST day you can purchase any of the Bring Back My Bar scents! These scents might never be back, so stock up now! They are gone after July 31st!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Best Ever Beef Stew!

I made this beef stew recipe for dinner tonight and I just had to share it with you all. I forgot to take a picture though so that was a major blog fail, but this recipe is amazing. This is one of our favorite meals. We do follow a modified Paleo diet in our house. This means we allow cheese sometimes and occasional sour cream. We let our kids use ketchup and occasionally I use corn starch, like in this recipe. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Best Ever Beef Stew


2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
3 tbsp oil (we use coconut oil)
4 cubes of beef bouillon (we use better than bouillon and just dump a couple spoonfuls in)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 large potatoes; cut and cubed
4 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion; chopped
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cold water

In large pot, cook beef in oil until brown. Dissolve bouillon in  the 4 cups of water  and pour into pot. Stir in seasoning. Bring to a boil and then simmer and cover for one hour.

Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the pot. Dissolve cornstarch into the 2 teaspoons of cold water and stir into the stew. Cover and simmer 1 hour more.

And there you have it! Delicious beef stew! I hope your family enjoys this simple recipe as much as we do.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Scentsy Christmas in July Sale! 50-75% off!

Hey guys! I owe you a ton of posts I am working on and have scheduled to go up in the next couple of days, but right now I had to share with you a killer Scentsy sale! Scentsy is having Christmas in July from July 21-28 or while supplies last. These warmers are 50-75% off! I have a feeling these are going to go very quickly, so hurry! Why pay full price later when you could pay half price right now?? I am obsessed with the pumpkin one and just placed my order! All of your orders help me shoot to the top of my Scentsy goals and I am extremely appreciative. P.S. - I may or may not have purchased a special holiday warmer to use as a giveaway :)

Check out the warmers that are part of this sale below and make sure you click my links to purchase! You can find the Christmas in July sale tab on my website in the left sidebar. Click. Shop. Enjoy. And stay tuned for upcoming details about all of the new holiday scents coming out September 1st!

All of the above warmers are only $17.50! That is incredible. I have linked all photos to their actual web pages for your convenience :) I hope you all enjoy. I know I am getting my Christmas shopping done early!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Post Vacation Vacation?

Bandon, Oregon Beach! Absolutely Gorgeous!

I now truly understand why people say they need a vacation after their vacation! Twenty-four hours on the road to get to Oregon, 6 days visiting and taking it all in and then a twenty-four hour drive back to Arizona. I was done in! I know I promised blogging while I was gone, but that was a horrible promise. I will have to make it up to you all somehow. There was no way I was able to work while I was gone. What I do promise is a lot of gorgeous pictures. I think I am in love with Oregon. I am obsessed. In fact, my husband and I are doing some serious talking about moving there. Do any of my readers live in Oregon? I'd love to hear all about where you live and what you love about Oregon!

I have several blog posts planned out and I am hoping to get another one up this week. Thanks for being patient while I recover from vacation. My biggest complaint? Zero normalcy. I've adopted and whatever goes attitude this week and I am hoping to get a hold of things next week. Bedtime has been a nightmare the last three nights. I'm ready for a drink and a long bubble bath!

How is everyone else enjoying their summer? What kind of adventures have found you?

Happy Summer!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Those First Moments (C-Section vs Vaginal Birth)

"Women's strongest feelings [in terms of their birthings], positive and negative, focus on the way they were treated by their caregivers." Annie Kennedy & Penny Simkin

I've been trying to think about how I want to word all of these emotions I feel inside. It's hard to put into words just how I feel, but I'm going to try. I think sharing our experiences can help so many people and I want to help as many women as I can. Birth is something I am extremely passionate about and I have experienced a whole slew of birth scenarios. What I want to talk about are those first few moments after birth. Those moments are so life changing for me in different ways.

With Michael, I didn't have a preference on anything at my birth and I certainly had no idea what a birth plan was. I had read dozens of books about birth and looking back, they all said the same stuff. Having a medical background, I had decided to let them do whatever they wanted, and that was wrong. I regret not having a preference or a plan of any kind. My birth went completely off course and after 4 hours of pushing, a 104 degree fever and 22 hours of labor, I had a c-section. And don't get me wrong, he was NOT positioned in the birth canal right, but they should have done more to help me get him to turn. They allowed me to push for 4 hours and the baby was never in a position to come out that way. I wasted so much energy pushing and by the time he was engaged properly, I was exhausted. My OB was not there the entire time and I had a nurse that barely spoke to me. Looking back, I'm angry I wasn't supported more. I gladly signed my c-section consent. I was exhausted, had a fever and was puking like crazy. I was done. I wanted to meet my little boy. And there was nothing little about him. As soon as my OB pulled him out she said, "oh mama, there was no way you would have had the energy to get him out. You have no stomach fat, this is all baby! He's huge!." Later she told me he was also the longest baby she had delivered(22 inches). At the time I didn't care that half a dozen people got to touch him before me. As soon as I heard him cry, I burst into tears. And when I finally got to hold him, I cried even harder. I don't want this story to make anyone think this birth was not emotional for me. It was. It was all I knew. I wasn't disappointed at all and even to this day, I'm not disappointed. This is how he had to be born. Could it have been prevented? I think so. Even still, it was my son's birthday and I only want to celebrate that day. Here is a picture of my first time ever holding my little guy:

He made me a mother. When I held him, I cried. Then I passed straight out in recovery and didn't see him for hours and hours. I didn't care either. They took him from me so many times and I never even thought twice. I did feel kind of detached from the whole scenario. Like I said, I let them do whatever they wanted. I had no preference. I wish I had taken a clear side on things I wanted. I think that is my only regret.

Skip forward a little over 2 years to Violet's birthday. Her big day was a huge surprise. I went to an OB appointment and was complaining about throwing up all morning and having contractions, but my scheduled c-section wasn't for another week and I wasn't due for two more weeks. My OB thought I had a stomach bug that was making me contract, so she sent me for IV fluids. Jon and Michael were banned from triage because they wouldn't let little ones in there. I had no way of getting a hold of him and lo and behold, I was in labor. They checked me and I was a 4, then an hour later I was a 5. They gave me terbutaline to try and stop my labor, it didn't work. We were having a baby! I needed to get a hold of my husband. After 4 hours, he told them he needed to know what was going on and he walked back just as they were telling me we were going to go have our c-section. So yes, I was having an elective repeat c-section. Just talking about this makes me want to smack myself in the face, but hindsight is 20/20 and when you know better, you do better. They had convinced me that Violet was going to be as big as Michael and she was also face up like he was. I had convinced myself that a c-section would be easier than going through an entire day of labor and then having a c-section. When I went into labor on my own and I was 5 cms, I should have told them I wanted to try for a vbac, but I didn't. They had me in that OR just as soon as someone could get there to watch Michael. When I was getting my spinal I remember wondering if I was making the right choice, but I just wanted to meet her. I was done being pregnant and I used that as a reason to just agree to the c-section and be done, finally. Once again, I think it comes down to feeling supported. I had zero connection with my OB and she wasn't even the one who delivered me, a woman I never met did. I felt completely detached from this situation as well. All I knew was I wanted my baby girl. It took them forever to get her out, they even had to use the vacuum. I felt SO much pressure and I kept wondering why she wasn't out yet. It seemed like it took so much longer to get her out than it did Michael. And it was longer. Her arm was up by her face and the cord was wrapped around her neck and arm. They told me I would have ended up with an emergency c-section had I tried to vbac. Even now I wonder if they told me that to make me feel better. Either way, as soon as I heard her cry, I bawled. And I knew I wanted her right away. We were unprepared for her birth and luckily my grandma had brought a disposable camera. Here is my first moment with my first baby girl:

This time I kind of minded that so many people got to touch my brand new baby before I did. And it was after Violet's birth that something really changed in me. I knew if we had another child that I didn't want another c-section. I also knew this would be a challenge. I wanted to feel supported and cared about. I wanted my voice to be heard. The thing is, I had to find my voice first. These people aren't mind readers. I had to speak up and that meant figuring out what it was I wanted. So I researched like mad. I joined ICAN and tons of mom groups online. I learned facts and heard opinions and read story after story. I felt incredibly empowered and I knew what I wanted for baby #3.

Before I ever got pregnant with my third, I knew I needed to find a vbac friendly OB practice here and I did. I picked a practice at the university hospital here because of one doctor in particular. I didn't end up seeing him(until I was in preterm labor), but I saw the most amazing woman EVER as my OB. She was a 4th year resident and she didn't bat one single eye at me when I told her I wanted to VBA2C(vaginal birth after 2 c-sections). She said the guidelines had just changed to allow it and I was a perfect candidate. She was seriously a cheerleader for me my entire pregnancy. She never doubted my ability to vbac and I am almost in tears right now thinking about her. She meant the world to me and still does to this day. I dont think she realizes the impact she had on me. With Josie I went into preterm labor randomly at 32 weeks and thank goodness, they stopped it. I got to walk around 5 1/2 cms dilated for 6 weeks until Josie's birthday. That day is literally everything to me. It changed me. I have my entire birth story on my blog if you want to read it, but I'm gonna give you a short hand of it. I went in having contractions, which was nothing new, and I wasn't making any change in my cervix. Yes, I was 5 1/2 cms, but I wasn't technically in labor because it wasn't changing. They told me if I agreed to a c-section that I could stay and have my baby, otherwise I had to go home. Mind you, my OB was not there at this time. Needless to say, I got pissed off and my blood pressure skyrocketed. I knew I didn't want pitocin, but I also knew I couldn't continue on the way I was going having contractions all day every day. They decided to admit me and start pitocin because my blood pressure was too high and when I got to my room, it was normal again! They broke my water, started pitocin and gave me my epidural(from hell, which you can read about in my birth story). I eventually told them to turn my epidural off because I wouldn't be able to push. In the midst of all this, I was being attended to by some OB I had never met and then my OB came in. They had called her to tell her I was in labor and she came in! She told that OB that SHE was delivering my baby and to take a hike. I cant begin to tell you how happy I was that she was there for me.

Fast forward to pushing. The monitor wouldn't stay in place and it kept looking like Josie's heartbeat was dropping. It wasn't, but it looked that way. I was only getting a contraction every 10 minutes or so, even with turning the pitocin up. A chief OB came in and told me I had to get her out in the next contraction or I was headed for a c-section. My OB was LIVID. She was giving this doctor so much attitude and was just plain angry for me. She knew I could do it and I WAS doing it, we were just waiting on my body to contract. Because she was a 4th year resident, she had to do what this lady said. They got the vacuum out to assist me, but I wasn't having a contraction, finally I just pushed anyways and out she came with their help. I was pushing so hard and had my eyes closed. My OB told me to open my eyes and not to miss it! That moment just means everything to me. Seeing my baby still ATTACHED to me. I had never seen an umbilical cord before. The pictures of her still connected to the cord are so special to me. And then I lost it. Completely lost it. I bawled my eyes out. I was crying so much, I was shaking. Emotion took over me. I was holding my baby first! And she was beautiful and perfect and not even crying. She just stared at me. The first thing I said to my husband as she was born was to take a picture! I knew I didn't want to ever forget this. And here is my first moment with her:

I don't want to down play my first moments with Michael and Violet, because they are amazing in their own way, but this was completely different. This was how it was supposed to be. I really felt so complete. I did it! I scaled a wall I never thought I would be able to or allowed to do. And I was SUPPORTED. Finally!! Her first moments make me cry every single time I think about them. I cant help it. It's a part of me now and a part of me I am so thankful and happy to have.

And then there is Lawson. A completely different first experience with him. I have his birth story posted here. With Lawson I couldn't have my amazing OB. She had accepted a job in Hawaii. I cant tell you how depressed that made me. We decided to go with a midwife practice at the birth center. I wouldn't be allowed to give birth at the birth center though. I had to give birth at the hospital with the midwives. And once again, it comes down to support. I had to meet 8 different midwives in this practice. I didn't have a bond with ANY of them and this was a HUGE bummer for me. I wanted it to be like it was with my angel of an OB. I wanted them to joke around with my kids and talk to me like she did. She was my friend, she was amazing. I seriously had to mourn not having her at Lawson's birth. I've heard so many wonderful things about midwifery care, but this was not the case for me. While they were all nice, I had no bond with any of them. Even though I had a midwife with me the whole time I was in labor, I didn't feel connected with her in any way. I didn't feel like I could be me or open up. I think there is no greater time in a woman's life where she should be able to be free than in labor. Unfortunately, I felt alone in labor and his labor was something I had to conquer by myself. I was determined to have a natural birth and I did! I did it, again! His first moments were a little different though! Here is a picture of me the first time I held him:

I got everything I wanted as far as delayed cord clamping and skin to skin, but I also was bleeding a lot. I wasn't supported in my birth. I told them I didn't want to be on my back pushing, I told them I didn't want to be told when and how hard to push. I was ignored on both counts and I think that contributed to me tearing as badly as I did. I lost a lot of blood and I didn't want to feel them stitching me or messing around down there. So in that picture, I look so sad. I was so incredibly happy to have my surprise gender baby BOY and I was so proud of my body for going into labor and doing everything on it's own! But I was also scared. I wanted to be left alone with my baby, not messed with. After Lawson was born, I didn't bawl right away like with Josie. They plopped him on me and I felt relief! I was so relieved to be done. That pressure is NO joke. Then it occurred to me to find out what this baby was! I picked baby up and saw it was a boy and then I bawled my eyes out. His cry made me cry all over again and I was instantly in love just like the others. Just like with Josie, I got to hold him first. I ripped my gown up and plopped him right on my skin. I earned that glorious moment. It was different from Josie, but still amazing.

So I guess my point in writing this is my experiences have all been so different, but they have all been life changing for me. These first moments with my children are all special and are all held dearly in my heart. I'd be lying if I said I hold them all equal though. Hands down, Josie's birth was my victory. I am so thankful to God that I finally got my vbac with her. That day changed everything about me. It made me stronger for Lawson's birth. It made me research more. It made me know I could do a natural birth and I felt so empowered. Her birth opened doors for me and changed me as a woman. And I think that it all comes down to support. Those first moments all boil down to having the right support. For me, I've come to learn that I NEED to feel supported and encouraged. I need a relationship with my care provider. For me, my emotions are tied to these feelings.

If I had to give anyone any advice about birth it would be to pick the right care provider, hire a doula, fight for someone who meshes well with you. It made all the difference in the world for me having that connection versus not having it. All of my births are victories for me. They all resulted in healthy, amazing children. Each day holds a special place in my heart and each has changed me and made me grow, just in different ways. I hope to feel supported and encouraged whenever we have our 5th baby and I know I will learn more about myself with that birth to help me with my 6th. These births will continue to change me as a woman and a mother and I cant wait for those first moments.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Road Trip Tips From A Family Of 6!

We've been on our fair share of road trips, most recently to Disneyland, and I've learned a few things along the way. Hopefully I can give other families out there some useful tips and tricks to survive long car trips with kids. My children are currently 7, 5, 3 and 1. We are planning on embarking on a 20 hour road trip up to Oregon in a few days and I'm back in planning mode. Time to revisit my tried and true tips, so here we go.

#1 - A MUST for me is a DVD player in the car. We aren't huge t.v. watchers here, in fact, we only have Netflix at home, but this is a must have for me on long car trips. With so many kids and such a broad range of ages, this keeps them all happy and content at least for a little while. Our van came with a DVD player that holds 6 DVDs and it is a Godsend.

#2 - Anything they can color. I am a huge fan of those little Grab and Go packs from the Target dollar section. We've gotten Minnie Mouse, Hello Kitty, etc from there and they are perfect for on the go. My three year old is especially entertained by these and they are only a dollar.
#3 - Some sort of tablet. We are blessed to have two iPads for our children to share and once again, they are a lifesaver when kiddos are getting bored. Normally our children have to earn turns on the iPad, but on vacation there are no rules. When someone is getting bored in the car, we can hand them an iPad and let them play educational games or my kids' favorite, Minecraft!

#4 - A new toy. We don't always do this, but for Disneyland we did. We got each of the kids a new small toy that they would love. My girls got small Lalaloopsies and Michael got a small Lego set. This gives them something exciting to play with in the car for awhile. It definitely keeps their interest having something new and buys me a few hours of happiness.
#5 - A special drink. My kids think it is so fun to have special road trip drinks. We never buy juice boxes at home, but on road trips we do. We love Honest Kids pouches. They are organic and super affordable at Target. Offering my kids a fun juice pouch keeps them happy for a little while.

#6 - Snacks. And not just any old snack, something special that they don't get every day. We bought Organic applesauce pouches, beef jerky and for a special treat, Muddy Buddy Chex Mix. My kids are going to be so excited. Sometimes a snack is all you need to keep kids happy and I am totally willing to bribe my kids with snacks.

#7 - A new DVD to go with our DVD player. I never tell my kids about this. We always find some fun new movie we think they would like watching and this always works. Of course, we bring tried and true favorites along too. This trip we bought Despicable Me. My kids haven't seen it and I hope it keeps them happy.

#8 - Frequent stops! When you plan a road trip with kids of any age, stopping frequently is a must. We try to make stops and let the kids get out and run around a little bit. This is exciting for kids because they get to explore a place they haven't been. For some reason, rest stops are fascinating places for a kid.

#9 - Easy access. This is for the parents, but it prevents meltdowns, so I'm adding it here. Pack smart! Keep everything organized and within reach. I know I get stressed out when I realize someone's special blankie is in the trunk or the pacifier I need is not in reach. For me, this is HUGE. I organize like a mad woman and anticipate anything. I make sure I have extra pacifiers and plenty of drinks, snacks and blankets within reach to throw at my kids.

#10 - For my 3 year old - Her portable potty! Hands down, I bring this along. When she has to go, she has to go, even if it's on the side of the road.

#11 - For my 7 Year old - A chapter book and a journal he can notebook in. I think it's fun for kids to keep a vacation journal and my son gets a kick out of this. He can write and draw anything from our trip and create a memory. My little guy also gets migraines which lead to him getting car sick every time. Needless to say, we have a bucket for him that goes with us.

#12 - For my 5 year old and 3 year old girls - Stickers! We bring small notebooks and a ton of stickers to keep them busy.

#13 - Pillows and blankets! For my kiddos, nothing comforts like a blankie and we always bring theirs and a pillow along. I encourage sleeping on long road trips lol.

#14 - Last but not least for me, try and travel at night. The roads are way less busy, it's less stressful and the kids can sleep! I get to listen to music instead of Disney movies and my husband and I can enjoy adult conversation, not fighting over fruit snacks!

So there you have it. In no particular order, all of my road trip tips and essentials! Share what works for you on long road trips in the comments below! I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July. Wish us luck driving that weekend!


Disclaimer: I am not being paid to show any of these items. I just wanted to have some visuals, so I linked them to Amazon. I am not affiliated with Amazon in any way. Some of these products we currently own and others I used as an example(like the DVD player).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Scentsy July Scent of the Month and Bring Back My Bar Deal!

I had to crop this image because there isn't an official social media image out there yet, but I wanted to let you all know that July's scent of the month is Vanilla Bean Buttercream and it smells AMAZING. Seriously, where has this scent been all my life? During the month of July you can get it for 10% off! I have plenty of samples available to those who are interested. Please use the contact form here on my blog or here on my website and I will be sure to get a sample out to you! I am planning on going on vacation to Oregon from July 5-13th, but any requests submitted during that time will go out as soon as I get back!

In addition to the scent of the month, you can also purchase a discounted Bring Back My Bar 12 Pack! This is 25% off and such an amazing deal! You pick 12 discontinued scents they are bringing back for the month of July only. This 12 pack sampler is $45.00. I cant wait to place my order because I heard Fresh Cut Grass is amazing. Here is a little more information about all of the Bring Back My Bar Scents:
I'm really excited to smell these scents for myself since I have never had any of them! For those of you who have been Scentsy addicts for years, I bet you are dying to get your hands on some of these. Get them while you can because they are only available through July 31st! Make sure you check out my website for all your Scentsy needs! Remember, you can request catalogs or samples here on my blog using my contact form or on my Scentsy site.

Take care guys! And have an amazing 4th of July. Be safe out there!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Blog Name - Fresh Update

It definitely looks different around here, and I am liking it! I hope you are all enjoying the new name, layout and design. I've been working really hard on it and I am in love. I think it really screams who I am. Feel free to look around. I've updated my All About The Conner Family section, contact page and all of my sidebar links. I've added buttons for all of my social media and I've shared two precious youtube videos of mine. You can click anything in my sidebar to see more of me on other forms of social media.

I really hope everyone is loving the new direction of my blog and stay tuned for much more!

My facebook page name is being switched to my new blog name, so in the meantime it is still Getting Kinda Crunchy. I had to get it approved. If you enter my Scentsy giveaway, please know if you follow me on Facebook and enter, it's going to say Getting Kinda Crunchy. You are in the right place! I just had to wait 14 days for them to change it. 

Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to see on this blog. I have several posts scheduled for this week and I will be blogging our entire vacation to Oregon. We leave July 5th and come back July 13th. Posts will continue to go live during that time though so no worries there. I cant wait to share with you all our adventures on vacation! Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post all about my road trip survival skills with 4 kids!

I hope you are all having an amazing Summer making memories and please have a safe 4th of July!


July Scentsy Giveaway!!

It's the beginning of a new month and that means my first monthly Scentsy giveaway! I am so excited to be doing these monthly giveaways for you guys! I love spreading the word about Scentsy and what an amazing product it is! I am always giving away free samples and product! It makes me feel good inside and I am so happy to do it.

This month I am giving away the Jane Plug-In Warmer and a bar of July's Scent of the Month - Vanilla Bean Buttercream. This scent is seriously delicious smelling! I have been warming it non-stop since I received it. You guys are going to love it!

I hope everyone is having an amazing Summer. We are looking forward to our family vacation in Oregon! Hopefully this giveaway can brighten up someone's Summer even more. Enter to win below and good luck!

Open to US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I purchased these items with my own money and am doing this giveaway on my own. I was not paid to write this and all opinions of the product are my own. I am a Scentsy Independent Consultant and I want to give as much as I can away to the readers of my blog.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Summer 2014 Bucket List

Does anyone else feel like this Summer is going by way too fast? We have had birthday parties, grandma visiting, and tons of other events filling our weekends. We are doing an astronomy unit for homeschool during the Summer and we are getting ready to go on a road trip to see my mom and sister. I decided to sit down and prioritize the things we want to get done before Summer is over. These are all fun things we want to do to make memories with the kids. I thought it might be fun to post it here on my blog and hopefully I can give someone else ideas. I hope you all enjoy. Let me know what you all have on our Summer bucket lists. How is everyone else spending their Summers?

Go to Coldstone and get ice cream - NOT paleo, but a nice treat

Visit our Science Center twice

Go to the Desert Museum three two times for Summer Saturday evenings

Go bowling as a family

Visit Tombstone, Arizona/Grandmom(Jon's mom visiting)

Take a family vacation to Oregon

Visit the beach

Visit the redwoods 

Go swimming at least 5 4 times at our good friend's house

Play in the rain once

Have smores on the grill

Make homemade ice cream 

Do 2 science experiments

Finish Astronomy

Go camping with amazing friends

That is our Summer bucket list. We have already accomplished several of these items and we may add to it. I hope we could give you some fun ideas. Please share yours in the comments below! I will update as we get more things crossed off.

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Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

July Scent of the Month Sneak Peek and Sample!

I just wanted to let you all know about July's scent of the month! It's Vanilla Bean Buttercream and it smells HEAVENLY. If you love frosting, this is the scent for you! This smells exactly like frosting and I just want to eat it. I got it today and my whole house smells amazing. I do want to let you all know that it wont be available to purchase until July 1st, but I really want to send out samples. SO, if you are interested in Scentsy or this scent, please contact me. I want to make a Scent of the Month Sample mailing list and I am figuring all of that out right now, but in the meantime, leave me a comment here with your email or contact me through my Scentsy website. I can have samples being mailed out beginning July 1st. I truly love this product and I really want to spread the word!

Also contact me if you would like a catalog mailed to you!

Thanks Guys!