I miss my life, but I love this one more.

The Taboo Carnival

Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Spring is “I Miss My Life!” This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on life before and after motherhood and “missing” some of the aspects of life without children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I think my first true sobering moment after the initial shock of the news of my first pregnancy was a few weeks later at the end of my first trimester. I had been well into several weeks of battling debilitating and incessant nausea. I continued to struggle with this for months, and had a lot of down time to ponder the reality of my impending parenthood. This one particular time in early pregnancy, I laid in bed and sobbed. Images of moving to Austin, Texas (about 3 hours away, and my favorite city), finishing school at UT, and getting involved in the music scene there as a bassist and an otherwise spontaneous free spirit with my loving husband at my side, seemed to just melt in my imagination. I was (and still am, actually) about 30 credits short of a Bachelor’s degree, which has always been a very realistic and important goal to me. In fact, my first thought when a doctor told me I was pregnant was, “How am I going to finish school!?” And as a newlywed only 6 months in, I laid there and felt bitter about how my life alone with my husband would soon be no more. I was so nauseated and weak from what I experienced to be “24/7 sickness,” that I began to experience a little bit of depression while realizing the pain of what it means to release my personal dreams to Neverland in order to focus on becoming a good mother at 21 years old. Collage 1The intensity of that initial overwhelming grief for the loss of my fantasy childless life has become increasingly less potent after over two years of all that encompasses pregnancy, childbirth, life with a newborn, life with a toddler, oh and yet another pregnancy and baby just 11 months after the first one! You see, many countless eternally special moments have since overshadowed that initial sadness and have made the journey worth it. But the remnant of these dreams is still present in my mind from time to time. And yeah, I do miss it sometimes. Collage 2My journey as a parent of ‘Irish twins’ has been hard at times (okay, pretty much all the time), but all the labors encompassing that journey have been extremely self-defining and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I could chalk up motherhood into one word, it would “selflessness.” And unless you are ready to put a large portion of your selfish goals to rest in order to profit your babies, you might find yourself thinking, “I miss my life before kids.” Oh, the freedom of being able to grab your wallet and keys (only) and drive to a friend’s house for awhile. Oh, the simplicity of surviving on frozen pizza with your newlywed spouse. Oh, the excitement of going out every weekend and doing spontaneous things! Oh, the freedom of not having to think of all the 10,000 things that come with the journey of motherhood. These sweet freedoms seem like memories of a distant past after only two years of parenthood. I hear of some of my other unwed/non parent friends doing some really fun things and I think about how sweet it must be for them to exercise those freedoms that they likely forget to cherish like someone in my place would. While I am so happy for them, sometimes I feel robbed of my young adulthood and I long for those more social days. And after several years of parenthood, it seems that my time with my dearest friends is just all too rare. And that can even include my amazing husband with whom I live! While I usually have only a few small hours to spend with him once my girls are in bed for the night, my mind is often reeling with all the things I have to do that sometimes it’s hard to fully relax and enjoy those precious baby-less times with him. Though I never could previously fathom myself having “Mom Brain,” but I totally do. It happens!! Life with two babies under two years old is hard. Life before I first became pregnant seems like a happy dream now. Collage 3When I catch myself missing my life before children, I wouldn’t say I feel guilty. And that’s because I don’t let myself dwell on it. I almost always catch myself in this train of thought and I remind myself how blessed I am to start this beautiful journey so early on (and at all!). Some people don’t find their loves for many years into adulthood, and some struggle to conceive. I have personally known of both of these scenarios and I refuse to let such hardships go in vain. When I think of all that I have come to know by now, at a mere 23 years old, I quickly realize that my achievements are monumental for any lifetime, let alone the first 1/3rd or so of the average lifespan. I mean, I live in a house on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood with tons of young families and children, I am happily married, I have two beautiful daughters, and an awesome dog. I am so very blessed! And because I am already well into the phase of my life that involves bearing and raising up children, I take pride in the fact that I’m arguably “ahead of the game” since settling down and having a family seems to be a major bullet on most people’s ultimate lifetime to-do list. Collage 4You see, the two things that I miss most about life before children are the social freedom and excitement of a blank canvas future where my fantasies about what I would like to do in life actually seemed possible. And what keeps me sane is that one day when my children are older, I will have more of a social life without feeling the guilt of robbing my innocent children of that precious Mommy/baby bonding time. And actually, my future is still a blank canvas, except now there are my amazing daughters in the picture that I get to impart all my life’s wisdom in and witness them grow up into incredible women and eventually my best friends. Perhaps my free spirit musician in Austin, TX dream is not all lost- maybe in a few years we can relocate to that charming city after all, except now that I have kids, I’ll be able to include them in the fun that such a place can offer. I know that I’m more than capable of finishing that ever esteemed goal of graduating from college, when I’m ready. And I would like to get a Master’s Degree too. Oh, and along the way, I get all the benefits and experiences that come exclusively with parenthood. That selflessness that is so constantly exhausting and that is often overlooked, is actually maturing me faster into the accomplished human being that I probably would have become anyways. And by the way, I’ve already done the math: by 42 (if I don’t have any more babies), I’ll be an empty-nester with many extra hours a week to put into both my professional and personal goals. Nobody said it was easy, and I’m here to confirm that it isn’t. But I’m going to keep on keeping on with my head up high and a smile on my face, because all is not lost. The fulfillment I have gained from the parenthood journey so far greatly overshadows what I sometimes think I miss. I love to count my blessings, for they are many. Life goes by too fast to stay hung up on the possibilities of yesterday.

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Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!

  • 10 Drastic Differences Between Life Before and After Becoming A Mother — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama compares her life before and after becoming a mother and muses on why it is pretty incredible despite never having a moment alone.
  • Sometimes — ANonyMous @ Radical Ramblings reflects on the things she misses about being childless, despite the fact she wouldn’t change her decision to become a mother for anything.
  • The Baby Moon is Over — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot remembers her babymoon and misses the simplicity of being a wife before children.
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Tarte Makeup Review

As an avid makeup lover, making the transition to “healthier” and synthetic chemical free makeup has been a slow process. I’ve only recently begun wearing makeup again somewhat regularly. The vast majority of my pregnancies I went mostly makeup free to play it safe- I didn’t want my precious unborn babies exposed to pretty much anything questionable. Now that I have only my own bodily self to account for (less nursing), I’m finding myself returning to my typical makeup that I had in my collection before my “green conscious” lifestyle. Ideally I would like to only use products that are superior in chemical content, but such an ideal will require not only a sum of money, but a fair amount of time to accumulate desirable products. Therefore, I shall document and review new products as I  try them at my own pace!

These days, I am finding that makeup is now a fun way to have some relaxing me time while my girls are asleep or otherwise preoccupied. I’ve always been drawn to cosmetology and the application of makeup as art, so I feel as though I’m rediscovering my passion and interest as a natural minded mama. But now, there’s a twist. Find and use exceptional makeup that isn’t terrible for my body to absorb.

Introducing… “TARTE” makeup!!

American made, cruelty free, and formulated without parabens • mineral oil • phthalates • triclosan • sodium lauryl sulfate • synthetic fragrance • and gluten. Additionally, the brand utilizes their patented ‘T5’ formula with five different high antioxidant (free-radical fighting) fruits, vitamins, minerals, and various other plant extracts in their products!

Now to clarify, I don’t claim that this brand is the “best” out there as far as healthy/low risk makeup goes- this is simply a better option than what I have typically used in the past. http://www.ewg.org has a fairly extensive database of 80,000 personal care products that are rated 1-10 based on ingredients. The lower the rating, the higher the quality of ingredients. Tarte products vary on this scale but are mostly mid range (2-7). When I find the ULTIMATE products that get 1’s on that database, I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂

My current Tarte collection includes the following…

Lip stain, Lucky~

I’ve never tried “stain” variants of makeup until now. And I think I’m pretty sold on the idea. Simple concept: “stain” products stay on longer! This particular one is a matte version, so I like to use this lip stain and put a chapstick or clear gloss over it. The color typically stays distinct for several hours.This shade is a fairly light pink (pretty much exactly the color of the tube pictured far left above). This is definitely a great fun-in-the-sun color if you ask me! This is not an every day item for me, but I’m really glad I have it in my stash of makeup now.

Cheek Stain, Loving~

Blush is typically something I have never had much luck with, until now. My typical routine has been to apply some powder for a great look and then without fail, it fades within a few hours. This “cheek stain” gives blush a whole new foothold in my everyday regimen!

This blush is in a push up tube, reminiscent of stick glue (okay, bad analogy). I think it is considered “wet” blush (not a powder), which is new for me. I’d say its similar to using lipstick as rouge in a pinch, but application is much more friendly for cheeks. This particular color has a shimmer to it, too. Loose powder over it helps to blend and seal it. Those who are a fan of the matte look might want to beware, though I’m not sure if the other colors have this also. Personally, I’m all for a faint shimmer, especially on the cheeks where smiles radiate.

To show you the staying power, I documented the proof!

Tarte Before AfterI tried my best to keep the same lighting here. Though my skin tone varies slightly, you can see here how this cheek stain is really potent, without being too overbearing upon first application. Shown is pre-makeup, post-makeup, and then after a long day of chasing babies and running errands!

Rare is the blush that I happen upon and buy again when I run out. This is a keeper! I especially love the slight copper tone it gives my cheeks. It seems much more natural for my skin coloration as opposed to the brighter pinks that I’ve used in the past. I can’t wait to wear this with my peach/coral colored matron of honor dress next month for my friend’s wedding! It compliments my dress quite well. Okay, I LOVE this stuff!!

Amazonian Clay Eyebrow Pencil, Taupe~

What originally hooked me to this brand is the incredible brow pencil! Personally I would rather use no brow definer than one that is very obviously there, so this color is perfect for me to subtly fill in the brows and very slightly extend their length. (See before/after pic above, in reference to my eyebrows). This shade is extremely versatile as well for various skin and hair tones. It gives such a natural look! I’m on my second pencil and it will be a part of my regimen indefinitely. I love that it is “Amazonian” clay but I think this can work against the product (and consumer) if it has been manufactured too long before it gets used. Aka, this can dry out and crumble on you. I didn’t have this experience with the first pencil, but went through about 1/2 inch of my recent one that crumbled out bit by bit with the slightest pressure. To prevent this, I only click it once or twice for the least required amount for usage. I haven’t really had an issue with that since! All in all, I really like what it does for my brows and plan to buy again in the future.

Tarte brand makeup is sold at my local Ulta and Sephora. It’s not a drug store/grocery store brand, but if what you put on your skin and in your body matters to you, it might not be such a bad thing to slowly invest in some better alternatives to the very prevalent synthetic chemical laden products that are offered at most outlets.

Next makeup product review: Origins Under Eye Concealer!

CarasFinalSigCaraJean

Musings on my Unmedicated Births

After two full years of pregnancy, postpartum recovery, more pregnancy, and more postpartum recovery, being 9 months out from the birth of my most recent baby is leaving me feeling GREAT! Having two daughters just 11 months apart has really been quite an undertaking. Finally, I am beginning to feel this ongoing and consistent sense of renewal in my motherhood journey. As I perceive this new season in my life, I am beginning to reflect back on my birth experiences, especially since I am beginning to see a new wave of friends who are soon-to-be new moms! I thought about sharing my detailed birth stories on my blog and decided not to post them publicly since they contain some pretty explicit details that are very personal to me and my incredible experience. If you are interested in the ‘R rated’ version, send me an email and I’ll consider sharing. But for now, I’d like to take some time (for the first time in written form) to reminisce on how I prepared for these defining experiences and what they meant to me on a non-physiological level.

I remember John, my husband, and I watching a video of a natural childbirth a few years back and being overcome with both fear and awe. I seriously questioned anyone’s ability to do that. Especially mine, since I have never tolerated pain well. I was so relieved to come to my senses and realize that childbirth was not an impending reality for me in that moment.

Fast forward about 6 months and… I’m 4 months pregnant. WOAH! Talk about irony. My previous determinations about childbirth were uncomfortably all too relevant at this point. Turns out when you know you are going to have a baby, whether 9 months away or 1 month away, this climactic life event weighs heavily on your heart and mind. Some weeks after realizing my first pregnancy, in our little newlywed apartment, I watched “The Business of Being Born” on Netflix. I was astounded. By the way, if you’re pregnant, do yourself a favor and watch it, too! After watching it, for the first time in all my life, I wondered “Could I really do it?” Could I actually birth a baby without pain medicine or unnecessary medical interventions that are presently considered protocol?

From that documentary on, I began a quest. A quest to research the possibility of a natural birth in our extremely medicalized society. That documentary pulls a lot for home births, which I decided early on that I wouldn’t pursue just yet. However, it revealed a lot of information to me about what is considered acceptable in a labor and delivery room. This was the start of my becoming informed and prepared to naturally birth a baby in an obstetrician led Labor & Delivery wing of my local hospital. The follow up books I read and recommend for additional research on the natural birth process include Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize, The Birth Book by Dr. Sears, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.

If you are interested in a natural birth, please take note of my reading materials! Why? Because, these were a big part of the reason I was able to maintain the mental fortitude to bear through a 17.5 hour long labor and a year later, a 6 hour long labor, with no pain dulling meds- because understanding childbirth to a maximum degree and knowing that it is a perfectly designed for success is what really helped make it happen for me. The more I read and the more I reflected on my will to birth naturally no matter the “pain,” the more prepared I felt. When I would share my plans to do this with friends and family, I fully trusted the statement that I will have my baby naturally. Yes, without an epidural or other pain medications that are so frequently used. As soon as I decided that a med-free birth was for me, I committed to it, 100%. I never thought “we’ll see, I might change my mind in the moment if it hurts too bad.” It was all or nothing in my mind.

An intense moment during a contraction, sitting on a birthing ball.

An intense moment during a contraction, sitting on a birthing ball.

The reason I’ve taken the time to mention the mental preparation for my childbirth experiences is because I feel that this is what really made a difference for me. One thing that stood out to me in my self-education process is that pain is essentially a derivative of fear. And with childbirth (and many other things in life), fear comes from a lack of true understanding. In this case, understanding the process, understanding the capability of a woman’s (my) body, and fully understanding the risks of intervening with nature’s perfect way, was truly what carried me through to that moment that my daughters were placed on my chest and I could see their sweet shining faces for the first time.

For my older daughter…

I began laboring with consistent, hard contractions at 11:45pm on a beautiful Sunday evening and I labored for 17.5 hours. The last 3 hours of which, I was not progressing past 9.5 cm of dilation and was given a 20 minute “ultimatum” to either progress or get an emergency cesarean section. I did not take contractions as easily as I had hoped. In fact, I had struggled so hard breathing during contractions that for two days after the birth, my lungs/neck/chest were extremely sore. During the pushing phase, it was all forced, loud, and overwhelming (the exact opposite of what I specified in my birth plan) and I ended up with some serious afflictions that most women do not usually experience. I later realized that this was more than likely due to what is known as ‘purple pushing’, that is, when it’s completely forced and timed (as opposed to mother-led pushing where you follow the cadence of pushing with contractions). But given my time constraints that I mentioned before, sheer exhaustion from being up all night, and desperation to finally see the little creation that all my suffering was for, I was determined to finally be through with my labor!

After some extremely intense pushing, it was over. Like that, it became a memory. I had done it! I had no intravenous fluids, no medicines, no epidural. And you know what? When it was all over, it WAS over! It was so incredible to go from being at the most intense, primal, struggling, raw moments of my life to… sheer bliss (what is most often otherwise known as relief), calmness, and happiness. Within 2 hours of my beautiful, furry headed, snow white, mini-me, newborn baby Eva’s birth, I took a shower and felt new again.

Shortly after Eva was born!

Shortly after Eva’s birth!

For my younger daughter only 11 months later

For several days leading up to true labor, I remember feeling some stop-you-in-your-tracks braxton hicks contractions (painless, but intense). I welcomed these, knowing that any pain free dilation would mean getting off the hook during that hard labor! I was awakened from my slumber around 5am after a solid two days of my body’s natural warming up process… to contractions that beckoned deep moaning. Though I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, we ended up making our way to the hospital after just a couple of hours of these (didn’t want to make a car ride too dilated). I was disappointed to find that I wasn’t as far along as I had hoped upon our arrival. Despite this fact, my labor progressed pretty quickly once we were there. Both times I labored, I agree for my obstetrician to break my water. Though I was very hesitant both times, it turned out to be an excellent catalyst for moving the labor process right along. Once that took place, it was show time within a few short hours.

I labored less than half the time as my first daughter’s birth, and I got my perfect ending that I didn’t get with my first birthing experience! From the time of my first “hard” contractions early that am, my labor lasted a little over 6 hours. During the weeks and months leading up to this birth, I think I was more nervous than the first time around. However, it turned out to be a bit more manageable than my first. Same hospital, same obstetrician, and my nurse was the best friend of the nurse who helped deliver Eva! She was so supportive of my birth plan and encouraged in those final moments when I felt extremely vulnerable that my body would “know what to do.” This is what I had told myself all along! I trusted, gave in to my instincts, and Lena June arrived before my obstetrician did! No lie!

And 11 months later... Lena June!

And 11 months later…
Lena June!

I highly recommend committing to an un-medicated birth if you and your baby’s health allow! I think that if you take the time to read or watch some of the aforementioned movies and books, you’ll find (as I did) that the case for it is strong in both statistics and intuition. I count it a true blessing (x2) that I was able to experience back to back all nat-ur-al births that ended with two beautiful and healthy daughters. I couldn’t have done it without the unconditional support of my husband and mother who were there in the delivery room with me both times.

Being able to tell everyone “I DID IT” (unmediated, as planned) was beyond gratifying. I am somewhat of a humble person, however I had zero qualms about sharing my accomplishments (and still do) with anyone who will listen. I would say that naturally birthing my two babies has empowered me on a very deep level to be the mother I was meant to be. Surely all other moms feel a great sense of accomplishment no matter the type of labor and delivery experience, but I have a sense of primal womanly pride that I was able to actively get through the roller coaster of labor and delivery that my body was perfectly able to accomplish. Most women are capable, but I would say that our minds are the key to whether or not we can tap into these capabilities. Truly, I am most complete knowing that I did it the hard way- natures way.

I sincerely hope that every woman can experience her baby’s birth in the way that is best for the two of them- no matter the level of medical intervention. I support life, in all situations where it can be assisted by the hands of a medical team. And secondly, I support a labor and birth allowed to manifest in its purest and most untapped version, wherever the health of mama and baby is not compromised.

I hope you enjoyed reading my reflections on my birth preparation process, abridged stories, and post delivery reflections. If you have any interest in natural birthing, I hope I have encouraged you to continue on your quest. Best wishes!

CarasFinalSigCaraJean

My Deodorant Recipe!!

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Here it is! My very basic and effective alternative to toxic, commercial antiperspirants. Did you know that the “deodorant” you likely buy at the store comes with a significant health risk? These widely consumed products contain aluminum salts that block the ducts of your body’s highly developed system of excreting toxins. Over time, this leads to excess absorption of the active ingredient, aluminum (linking them to Alzheimer disease), can cause skin discoloration, and is also thought to cause breast cancer. Not to mention, keeps your body’s toxins inside! While the National Cancer Institute disputes these health claims, many (including myself) still question the actual long term value of these products as so many people are falling prey to the continual rise of disease. I don’t know about you, but I would rather seek out a simpler, less expensive option and wait to hear of further research on the aforementioned negative claims. I say, why risk being a part of the experiment?

Alas, my deodorant recipe! I have found it fairly fun to whip up my own deodorant (baby food jars make great containers!) that is simple to make, effective, and lasts several months at a time. In my past attempts at this, I have made less than perfect versions where the coconut oil solidified in the winter (creating an almost impossible to use deodorant rock)… and one batch I made had too much baking soda and it irritated my armpits. So! My most effective recipe is the one pictured above. If you find that irritation occurs, you may add more cornstarch. You do not need essential oils, though they are a great addition. Personally I have found “icing” to be the ideal texture during preparation, as it can solidify slightly after it sits awhile. All you need is a blueberry sized dollop that melts in your hands. Hope you decide to put it to the test!

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The Potato Patch Experiment…

One mid-December afternoon I looked upon my potato stash and realized that a handful of small organic russet potatoes had sprouted! I had a fresh sack that hadn’t yet sprouted so I decided to experiment with the older ones. I took those 6 little spuds and planted them, right in my backyard. It took me about 20 minutes to clear all the grass from the soil in my designated area, and scoop up some dirt to soften the soil and plant them.

BEFORE (A few minutes after they were planted and watered):
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AFTER (2 Months of Neglect):

IMG_20130213_161927HA! I supposed that my experiment was so unplanned and came together so fast from the time I thought of it, acted on it, cleared a spot, planted, and watered it, that it really never even had a chance to sink in. AKA: I was so busy that I forgot to check on my first little potato patch until almost 2 months later! And by golly I’ll say it caught on! I could only identify what seemed to be plants from 4 potatoes. Still, a 66% success rate is fairly impressive! I had gone outside early to check on it while John was in the shower. When he came downstairs, I was awaiting his appearance with the most proud grin and stance to which he appropriately responded, “….Yes????” I was so happy to share the good news of my first impromptu attempt to grow food. To my surprise it really was not so hard at all! 🙂 Some of the potato plants even have dainty little white flowers.

I hope this is an accurate precursor to my soon to come raised square-foot garden bed- I have been planning for it since last Fall. (I promise, I’ll put more effort into that one.) My square-foot garden is currently under construction but I promise to post on that as the project is underway!

CarasFinalSigCaraJean

Green Living: An Introduction

When I became pregnant with my oldest daughter, my life changed in many ways. I learned that everything that I ate, breathed, and put on my skin would be passed along to my precious unborn baby. And I realized that for years I had unknowingly been using products that contain known harmful ingredients. Boy did this open a whole can of worms. Enter: completely new lifestyle and lifelong quest to choose the most natural and healthy options over synthetic chemicals and toxins. Along with pregnancy, birth, and mothering young children, “green living” has been a huge interest of mine since late 2010.

Living green actually means a lot, to a lot of different people. I think the most general definition, for those that are not as familiar with the topic, would be: a conscious effort to minimize exposure of environmental toxins, seek holistic treatments, minimize direct impact on the environment, and an all around attempt to live a more self-sustainable life style with simple/nature based options. Its now been about 3 years since I have taken on this consciousness and I have found my endeavor to become “green/earth conscious” has been very rewarding. Knowing that I am not slowly poisoning myself or my family and the environment and not wasting money on toxic products has been an obvious benefit. But honestly, understanding that I am a being of nature that can greatly benefit from healing (or otherwise useful) things that come directly from nature has truly enlightened me as a human being. I feel more connected to the planet we live on, knowing that its more pure substances provide the highest amount of benefits for my body or even my environment. A big example of this is essential oils (which I will, no doubt, be expanding on in future blog posts). I know that by the merit of my own deeds, though seemingly insignificant, I am taking a small amount of action against a way of life that is damaging to humans and environment. I guess you could say that this is a way for my to fight the status quo in my own way, to hopefully help affect the change that we so desperately need as a civilization.

So how do I apply this to real-life? For me, this means many different things. To name a few: cloth diapering, having the hobby of reading the ingredients on just about everything, avoiding certain harmful ingredients, buying and eating organic wherever possible and feasible, doing as many do-it-yourself projects from home as possible, reusing anything and everything, choosing natural fibers in products over plastics and/or synthetics, pursuing a diet that is simple and plant based as much as possible, avoiding petroleum, avoiding the word “fragrance” on ANYthing, minimizing my general consumption of any given product, avoiding pharmaceuticals as much as possible, utilizing the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, and choosing nature and simplicity over what is usually accepted as the norm in today’s society.

As I continue to add to my site here, I will take specific aspects of my own personal “green living” approach and expand on them. I hope you will find that such a lifestyle is not as extreme as one might believe. It’s actually a very freeing thing to live more simply and naturally! My interest in this topic and gradual attempt to shift to a more earth conscious way of life has spilled over into other areas of my life as well. For example, I am beginning to evaluate the amount of waste my family produces makes me question what it is that I am consuming… and, do I really need it? Naturally I have become more minimalist in my approach in food consumption, pharmaceutical consumption, pest repellent, beauty regimens, and overall consumerism. And after all that, I just know I’m leaving some things out. What I ultimately mean to say is that the green living approach really begins to overflow into other areas of life and can become an actual mindset that is applicable to other things.

What’s fun about it is that it’s not just all or nothing! You can really pick and choose what is most feasible and makes most sense to you and utilize it the way you see fit. I am definitely not a perfect example of what it is to “be green” and I have a long way to go to be where I’d like to be with it (for example: I would like to make my own laundry detergent, quit buying and using plastic bags altogether, grow my own food, etc) I do, however, think that I can be a little bit helpful to those that are interested in it and maybe just don’t know where to begin, or to those who are in the game with me and just want to learn some new ways to reconnect with and respect this earth a little more. I am always down to learn some new things, so if you take the time to share your tips and secrets, I would love hear them!

I can’t wait to share my various approaches with you. What I’d like to do is title any post where I specifically expand on this aspect of my life is title it “Green Living: _______” to distinguish it from my other posts. You will definitely find me mention some of these things amongst my other reflections though! Hope you enjoy what I have to offer. Until next time…

CarasFinalSigCaraJean

Diaper Rash Help

Need help with diaper rash? I have a cure-all that works within 24 hours, guaranteed. You might be surprised how simple it is! It’s taken me about a year to figure this one out. And I have paid quite a few bucks testing out expensive “green/earth friendly” tubes of butt paste!

  1. When any amount of poop is present, bring baby directly to the sink and splash warm water on the buns until they are nice and clean. *Do not use soap. Even the mildest soaps will sting that raw bottom and make baby very upset!
  2. Pat dry with a clean, dry cloth. I use either one of my clean cloth wipes or a hand towel/washcloth that is handy. *Pat very gently!
  3. Cuddle baby if he/she is still upset from rash or step 1 or step 2. Or just because.
  4. Lay baby out with no diaper on a pee and poop safe blanket/burp cloth/towel/etc to catch some air. This step is one of the most important parts! While baby has any amount of redness, this step is imperative to do for a minimum of 5 minutes. The longer, the better. Beware though, this step comes with a risk… However, it’s worth it. Personally I’m not too weird about poop getting on blankets/burp cloths since my washer sees its daily dose of baby poops from cloth diapering (more on my adventures in cloth diapering soon)!
  5. If baby pees or poops, go back to step 1.
  6. When you’re tired of anxiously waiting for baby buns to become happy once more, apply Lanolin, very gently to the rash.
  7. Reapply diaper and clothing.
  8. Cuddle baby some more!

*Repeat the process for every poopy diaper until the redness is no longer present.

Wait so, what’s this about Lanolin, you might be wondering? Ah yes, a note about Lanolin. Okay so Lanolin is that stuff that comes in a purple tube that’s for sore or cracked nipples. Woah! For diaper rash!? Here’s how I came to discover this extremely effective product for diaper rashes. When I bought a second hand Medela pump, it came with a big fat tube of this stuff. I also received some tiny sample tubes from the hospital during both of my daughters’ births. I never did need it for nipple issues, but I never had the heart to throw it out. When I had my girls, I found myself washing my hands constantly for countless reasons. And man did my knuckles suffer!! It seems like nothing would relieve the dryness and cracking.

I tried various lotions and coconut oil as well (more on the amazing uses and benefits of coconut oil soon) but I found these to be to thin and some commercial products straight up stung when I put them on my hands! I tried lavender essential oil with coconut as well which helped a little, but I needed something more heavy duty. Then I had an “aha!” moment and remembered this gigantic tube of purple stuff and gave it a go. Not only did it relief the dryness, I swear it did the healing within 2 applications. And actually, it’s on my hands as I type this moment.

One of my favorite parts about this product is that it’s 100% pure. And anyone who knows me, I love it when I see only a small handful of ingredients on the label for ANYthing. Let alone it is rare to find any cosmetic product that literally is made up of just one single thing. So what is it made of then? Well, it is actually an animal product. Lanolin is the naturally occurring wax that animals with wool produce (commercial Lanolin is mostly derived from sheep). It is highly water proof wax that aids sheep in shedding water from their coats and it has been used for centuries for the protection, treatment, and beautification of human skin (according to wikipedia). Lanolin is taken from the harvested wool when it is squeezed between rollers. Therefore, no animals are harmed in the process.

So back to the point here… Lanolin is amazing!!! Once I started using it on the tops of my hands (it’s way too sticky to use anywhere that will touch anything else), I thought ‘hmmm… I wonder if this would be good for a red butt!’ Coconut oil was actually my minimalist first choice, but with diaper rash the goal is to coat the butt to create a buffer between additional poops and pees that actually stays. And with cloth diapers especially, I find that coconut oil is to thin and rubs right off (or absorbs into the skin too soon). Coconut oil is a close runner up though. But Lanolin just blows it out of the water.

When I applied Lanolin to red buns over night, the next morning they were good as new. During the day, it takes maybe 3-4 diaper changes/applications to cure the rash! (Not without rinsing and air drying, of course.) Now I will say that anyone who cloth diapers should be aware that too many applications of this will get on the cloth and can cause build up… which can lead to leaks. Usually when I use Lanolin more than a couple times, I have to strip my diapers. But in my opinion, it’s worth it. Lanolin is also commonly found where other diaper rash pastes are sold, so this is a big plus (look near the nursing pads and other nursing items). I hope you try my method of chasing diaper rash. If you do, please let me know how it works for you! It is my fail-safe and I hope it becomes yours too.