Summertime mean’s Bug Spray and Sunscreen

I’ve been meaning to get this post up. I feel like that is the headliner of all my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to get around to this, and I’ve been meaning to get around to that. That could seriously be my life motto. The title of my memoir, ‘Mama meant to get that done yesterday’.
It’s what it is I guess.
What spurred this on today then, since it’s something I’ve been meaning to post since July? Well you see my child decided to rip a handful of my hair out today, just for the hell of it. Why did that spur this on? I have no idea. Because it doesn’t really relate to this at all.
Back in July we flew back to Wisconsin to spend some time with my parents and sister. Smush adored them, and I think it goes without saying that the feeling was mutual. Guys, there’s really something to say about being home that is irreplaceable. The place where you grew up and ran wild, it’s your roots. And nothing can ever take that away or replace it.
However, I didn’t miss the bugs and mosquitoes that seem to come with Wisconsin. Seriously, the joke is that the state bird is the mosquito. You can say that being from California, my husband is a little paranoid about getting bit by bugs, especially mosquitoes. And I really didn’t want doodle to suffer the fate of my child hood, being covered head to toe with mosquito bites.
“I swear guys, it’s not the chicken pox. Mosquitoes just feasted on my flesh.”
The mosquitoes can be relentless, sometimes even after bug bombing, burning citronella candles and spraying with bug spray.
We all know the stuff that’s in bug spray, stuff that I’d prefer to avoid putting on my infant if at all possible. So I went in search of something we could use for doodle, being well aware of how bad the mosquitoes are from my own past experiences.
And I came across Babyganic’s Bug spray:

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Now, according to the bottle, it say’s its made with 100 percent natural essential oils, it’s non-greasy, Paraben and Deet free, not tested on animals, and a few other great qualities. I can for sure get behind that.
Except I couldn’t.
I wanted to love this. But, again, I couldn’t.
It smelt weird to me, now in retrospect and rereading the ingredient’s I’m assuming it was one of the essential oils listed on the bottle. And it say’s its not greasy. But I found that not to be true. It didn’t spray well, and considering the consistency of it I’m not quite sure why they chose to put it in the spray bottle. I had to spray it onto my hands then try to rub it onto Smush. It didn’t absorb well what so ever, it felt like I was taking a stick of butter and rubbing it all over my kid, and I’m pretty sure it stained his outfit.
So what right? That’s the price I’m willing to pay to have less chemicals and more goodness, with a side of confidence in a good quality product….right?
No.
Because it didn’t work.
Or maybe it just didn’t work against the caliber of those Wisconsin mosquitoes, because they still went after him. We ended up using OFF!; which worked great.
And I’m sure I looked like the crazy California hippie trying to go chemical free, and fix something that wasn’t broken. Basically, I was disappointed. I had hoped for more with this one.
Their sunscreen however, was amazing. Because let’s face it, no matter where you are in the summer time you need to protect yourself and your babies from too much sun.

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Do you guys remember, shortly before July a bunch of parent’s were coming forward with pictures of their infants who had suffered burns from their sunblocks and or bug sprays? That’s what set me off on this search. I had a little mommy melt down. Because I’m freaking super mom, with a cape and sword, supposedly protecting my children, yet just a few months ago I was rubbing the same brand sunblock on my kid that these other poor babies had suffered from. I beat myself up over it.
It’s really hard in such a consumer driven world to always make sure you are getting the best of the best. Especially because sometimes you are mislead about the quality of a product. I’m not perfect, but I try even harder now to eliminate excess chemicals and other stuff from my children. I wish we lived in a world where that wasn’t necessary.
According to the bottle this sunblock is made with seed oils and is free of all the crazy stuff, fragrance free and etc.
And it was great. My husband and I also used this and none of us got burnt. Except for when he went fishing with my dad and decided he was going to skip the sunblock. Seriously, husbands.  It absorbed and didn’t leave any oily residue, which is important to me, because as an especially pale child I always hated how oily and gross sunblock left me. But I had to have it put all over or risk being miserably burnt after 10 minutes.  And while no one loves being lathered with sunblock, Smushsmush tolerated it, the fact that it absorbed quickly helped. It didn’t have a weird smell, and it performed by preventing sunburn.
What a contrast in products.
And on that note, I hope this helps. The reason why I choose to ever review anything on this blog is to be helpful. I do reviews, because sometimes I feel really tired of going to read what someone has to say only to find out that they are selling the product or brand. And when I search for real people, real moms with real opinions I can’t find many. I just want a real perspective. And while I do have the affiliate links, I chose amazon so I could review whatever products I wanted as honestly as I could with no affiliation to the actual brands/companies.

Hungry mosquitoes and fun in the sun,
Paperdaffodils

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Letters to my Son vol. 1

Hey guys, welcome back!
We had a short Hiatus there, mostly because of school work…but also because another reason I had started this blog was to do a series called Letter’s to my son. I was excited about it, and it was the major reason for starting the blog and doing this. But I found myself unable to write the first one. The words have been in my head but whenever I sat down and tried to write them they stuck, lodged in my brain like little pricker’s lodged in your foot.  I wanted this to be right. Not only right, but perfect. So, in a sense I was already failing. Because there is no part of writing or blogging that is perfect. Let’s be honest, there is no part of my life that is in any way close to being a semblance of put together or perfect.
So here I am. Kicking and screaming. And I’m going to write it, I’m going to get it. Or maybe I won’t, maybe it’ll end up being only half as good as I want it to be. But the point is, I’m going to do it.

 

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Letters to my son Vol. 1

Dear Edwin,

I don’t hope or dream that you will become the next president. I don’t hope you’ll follow the footsteps of Gandhi, or become a doctor or lawyer or rocket scientist.  While these are all admirable things, with the necessity of growing admirable and strong qualities it’s not something I am asking of you, it’s not something I am dreaming up for you.
I hope you are happy.
More than anything I hope you develop your own dreams, and pursue them with all the passion and perseverance of your entirety. You cannot live my life or the life I dream up for you.
Find something that lights up your soul, something that you are so excited to do that you are up before your alarm clock goes off, ready to accomplish it.
If that’s being an artist, or working a 9-5 job to support a growing family, or if you want to chain yourself to a tree in the rain forest to stop deforestation, I will be happy. That’s just to name a few, there are so many possibilities, don’t sell yourself short.
Be humble, never flaunt what you have, and make sure that what you have is through hard work and effort on your part.
Only look to others to see what they need and what you can give to them.
Don’t take, even if it’s someone you feel is undeserving or who won’t miss it.
I hope you feel and see and taste the world to the core of your being. The colors and the noise and the life all around you is irreplaceable, valuable, important.
Always stand up for what you believe, this will not always be easy, you will find that your beliefs, your values will be subjugated to others beliefs and values. That’s ok.
Don’t worry on it, explain your values and beliefs, present all that you do with knowledge behind it, reasoning and then move on. Some people will see your side of it. Some wont. Some people will hate you for it, some wont. It is not your goal or job to impress everyone, or for everyone to like you.
Never resort to violence.
Be a role model, to all of those around you, hold yourself in a way that is not expected but that is always admired.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, especially animals. We are not here on this planet to be destructive or hurtful.
Understand and recognize, that you are not, cannot be and never will be perfect.
You are beautifully, wonderfully crazily flawed in every essence of the meaning. The beauty and tragedy of being human, is it takes time to gain perfection, to gain expertise on skills, and thoughts and traits. But time is not something we have.
Hold the door open for women, be respectful of women. Never forget where and how you came into this world; through a woman. That a woman held you, and loved you. A woman nursed, and soothed you.

All the while understanding that some women will come and go from your life in destructive whirl winds.
Know that someday someone will break your heart. They will break you down. They will make you feel unworthy.
I hope you follow your heart, I hope you understand your worthiness and don’t stand for those who do this to you. I hope you recognize what you will and will not tolerate, that you put your foot down. The right person will not need you to change who you are, they will never ask that from you.
I hope you live your life full of passion, a splattering tornado of emotions, colors. Chaotic and uncontrolled, unapologetic.
And on that note, I hope you find love, a love that ignites you and grounds you, but never one that extinguishes you.
Please learn the difference. A good love will ground and stabilize you, but ignite your heart and soul, like a lighting pole grounded with rubber, constantly being struck by lightning but never setting the world around it on fire.

If the love is threatening to burn you and your surroundings down, it’s not love.
Son, know that you are just one person. But if you are a good person you are one less person adding hurt, and hate to the world.

Always pursue knowledge over money.
Follow the things that will feed and nourish your soul, nothing less, nothing more.

These are the things I hope for you. These are the things I dream for you. They are tiny and huge, taking up no space but taking up all of it.
Perhaps it’d be easier if I just asked you to become a Doctor. To have a mansion in Beverly hills.
But I can’t, I won’t.
I expect so much more, I know you can be so much more.
You are me, and your dad, you are generations of flawed and wonderfully imperfect beings.
Filled with love, glittering and new.
And this is how we start, this is how we change the world. Through you. Through who you become.

Love,
Mama

To the pumpkin patch we go

In the Midwest, fall is a big deal. It’s like the prom of life, you don’t just show up to it and sit in a corner. You dance the night away, and have a couple sips of punch. There’s crunchy colored leaves and chilly nights. And in fact, some of the days have started to develop a chill to them that eat right through your clothes and remind you how heinous the winters are. When you do the pumpkin patch in the Midwest, you are on someones farm, you are viewing their hard work for the past months, their livelihood. It’s spectacular.
There are corn mazes, hay rides, apple cider. And when I say apple cider, I mean warm homemade apple cider that warms you to your core.With cinnamon sprinkled through it that makes your bones tingle.  People are wearing scarfs, boots and sweaters because they are cute but also because it’s necessary . And then there are all the pumpkins….and man…is there a lot. Green ones, orange ones, white ones, bumpy ones, smooth ones, large ones…I could go on and on.
So
when I think of a pumpkin patch, that’s  what I think of.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure from the first part of this post you are thinking I am a California hater. I’m not. California is where I built a home with the love of my life. It’s where I started a family and am raising it. So California will always hold a spot in my heart…
But…let’s face it…California is currently like the child that never shows up to class.
It’s like someone gifting you a brand new diamond tennis bracelet then you find out a couple days later that all those shiny diamonds are fake.
I digress.
Saturday we went to the pumpkin patch, at least a version of one. There was a small area with pumpkins and the rest of the entire area was blow up jumpy’s for the kids. which, was lots of fun and really cool for all the kids. Little man was definitely too little for this, but it was still fun because I knew what was going on. They also had petting zoos.
Man….let me just tell you about my obsession with petting zoos.
If you ask me if I want to go somewhere, my first question will be “Is there french fries?”
And my second question will be “Is there a petting zoo?”
Extra bonus make believe brownies if there are both.
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So we took Edwin into the petting zoo, that was pretty much the first thing we did. My husband did not marry me with no knowledge of my obsession of petting zoos.  There was a goose that refused to tolerate any human contact (can’t say I blame it) A couple of goats, some chickens, and this sheep. We had more fun then little man, he was thrilled with sucking on his hand…but I think he was interested at the same time, he spent a lot of time staring at this sheep.

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And then….of course I had to get him with pumpkins. That was my whole ulterior motive to this outing 🙂

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My little lion man was pretty tired out by the end of this outing, but he was very good the whole time.

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All and all..it may not be the Wisconsin pumpkin patch my heart is yearning for…but if this little guy is with me…its all I really need.

The 10 baby items I couldn’t have survived without

Here’s the scene, your sweet bundle of joy has arrived, healthy, with ten fingers, ten toes and virtually in your eyes is the precise definition of perfection. Between all the doctors and nurses and visitors at the hospital there isn’t much time to think or consider anything for the first day or two, and by the time there is you’re home with your new little human who is expecting you to love, and cherish and nurture them…now what??
Sitting on the couch that first day when we got little man home all I could do was stare at him in complete wonder, and complete fear.
It was then that I realized that I sincerely, entirely had no idea what the hell I was doing, or where to even start.
So here it is folks, my somewhat choppy list of items I feel we couldn’t have survived without for the first 3 months…because let’s face it, having a new baby is hard enough without having some stuff to make it a little easier.

1. Hands Free Pumping Bra:
Nursing is hard. Start and end. In the beginning you nurse so often you feel like you are never going to do anything but nurse ever again. And then there’s the growth spurts….the fussy nursing is enough to drive even the calmest person to a snapping point. Then we get into pumping, because let’s face it as much as you love your precious brand spanking new smush smush you are dieing for some adult time, to see a movie or to have a nice dinner with your understanding but neglected husband. But you can’t leave baby anywhere without a milk supply. Then going back to work looms over your head, and the pumping bonanza begins. And man, does pumping feel like a chore. When you aren’t nursing or pumping you’re obsessively counting how much milk you have in the freezer and doubting your milk supply. It takes forever to pump because you have to do one boob at a time, or baby starts fussing as soon as you get situated. Enter the hands free nursing bra…it’s a game changer. You get to pump both sides at the same time, decreasing the amount of time you spend pumping. It also leaves you able to do something other then pump, such as read or play a game. For me, I had a lot of issues getting my milk to come out while pumping. Pumping both sides at the same time has been the only thing that has helped.
(Please note that through the entirety of this post, what works for me isn’t guaranteed to work for you.)

2. Snacks and Meals:
Okay…I know…this one is more for Mom and Dad then baby…but we count too right? Honestly my parent’s being around to help the first week was a lifesaver, they cooked and cleaned and loved on us. I have no idea how we would have made it through with out them, especially with my emotions out of wack, recovering and zero sleep. My mom made us home cooked meals pretty much every night, there is no amount of money in this world that can replicate that. On that note, my  suggestion is having easy to eat items on hand, and food items that are at least semi healthy that you can eat one handed. There were plenty of times after my parent’s left that I found it impossible to feed myself between nursing and/or dealing with a fussy baby who wanted to be held all the time. Then my milk supply would dip and tears of frustration would ensue from both myself and the kid, sometimes at the same time. So, it may be for Mom and Dad, but ultimately what’s good for Mom and Dad is good for baby too.

3. Gas medicine:
We have used Mylicon . Please be sure to clear any and all medicines or the like with your Doctor before hand. It is better safe then sorry so if you aren’t sure if something’s ok, just ask anyway. We did get the OK from our Doctor because little man was pretty fussy and didn’t and still doesn’t burp very well.I still don’t drink solid amounts of dairy because it has seemed to irritate his tummy. This has been a lifesaver and usually right after giving it to him he let’s out some impressive gas or goes number 2.
If you are apprehensive about the possible chemicallyness (is that even a word though?)
you could always start with gripe water. I did start with that and it didn’t really seem to have an impact on him. He also got hiccups every day, which sounds cute…but it wasn’t because when you’ve spent 20 minutes trying to get a gassy baby to sleep only to have them wake themselves up from hiccups and have to start all over again you just want to cry, or scream..or rip your hair out, and then you stand there considering why you can’t do all 3. If you are interested in Gas medicine and have gotten the go ahead from your Doctor you can find some here: gas be gone!

4. Baby Swing:
There was a time when all little man wanted was to be in his car seat and have us swing it (obviously not all crazy Tarzan style) or he would scream like he was at the top of the Empire State building needing to get mama’s attention all the way at the bottom.
So…Nana bought him a swing, and MAN did this make a difference. In fact I remember being sick (which really ended up being a clogged milk duct) and sitting in front of the swing, the only other thing he would tolerate beside being held, and hoping he would go to sleep, he did. And Mama got an hour of sleep. Hallelujah. The things you will do in order to get sleep when you have a baby….like…swearing to never eat another Twinkie in your lifetime again if he will just close his eyes and sleep for 20 minutes. I call this the sleep bargaining stage.
He doesn’t really tolerate this anymore, now that he is more active he arches his back until his little butt is almost out of the seat. But I will take what I can get, and it bought precious hours for a couple of weeks.

5. Blankets:
I admit that this one probably seems silly, you are probably seeing it and thinking…well..duh. But I tried really hard to compose this list with items that I found I didn’t realize I’d need or that I didn’t know would help save our sanity at times.
This is a combination and here’s why.
You need an assortment of blankets, thin gauzy blankets, solid medium like blankets, fuzzy blankets, blankets for the blankets…just kidding.
But seriously between baby spitting up, and peeing, diaper blowouts and plain dirtiness  you are going to want a good amount of blankets on hand if not just because you don’t want to have to do laundry every single day. Not to mention a blanket that may suit a stroll outside in the stroller may not be the appropriate weight/warmth for the baby while he is inside with let’s say…the heat running.
Blankets are not a bad idea….just sayin.

6. Burp clothes:
Again, this may seem like  a DUH thing…but I really had no idea and we started off with a whole whopping zero.
Between spit up and drool…oh god…so…much…drool, you are really going to want some of these, even if you just buy a big pack of cloth diapers and use those. And like above, you are going to want a lot…because let’s face it, no one has time to wash a couple burp cloths every single day. And if your interested in seeing the pack of cloth diapers turned burp cloths here’s the link:
Burp cloths

7. Baby carrier, Bjorn and or Ergobaby for example:
He doesn’t tolerate being put in this so much anymore, but there was a good solid 3 weeks that he was put in it pretty much always and not only was he put in it, but it was all that made him happy. He wanted to be held at all times or he cried. When you are stuck on the couch all day holding a baby you become very desperate to even be able to do a load of dishes or throw in some laundry or just some pajamas since the pair you’ve been living in for the past month has spit up all over it and is about to start growing mold. Or…you could just keep buying new ones:Non-Moldy Pajamas

hey…I’m not here to judge.

There was a solid time frame of the Bjorn being crucial to the point that not only did we take it everywhere but one time we forgot it so we went back home to get it.
On that note the Ergobaby and Bjorn are not the only baby carriers you can get, they are just the two we have utilized, the Bjorn is simple and easy to strap on, it does the job quick and dirty and I honestly really like the simplicity, but the Ergo baby, while being much harder to put on and get baby in is ten times more comfy, especially on your back. I’d recommend the Ergo baby for when you are going to be wearing baby for long periods of times and the Bjorn when you are just running into the store real quick.

8. Binkie’s:
Ok…bare with me, I know this is controversial for nursing mamas. There’s the whole nipple confusion ordeal for starters. Short of smush smush not latching well to my left side and biting with his little saber tooth, which caused a cracked and bleeding nipple. OUCH…and..TMI. He really didn’t have any latching issues, which is one of the concerns with binkie’s they say you really want to make sure the baby is latching properly before introducing binkies. We got the okay from our Doctor before we went ahead and gave little man a binky. I was very thankful to introduce him to them because I was ready to pull all my hair out from all the nursing. Even to this day little man’s appetite has seemed insatiable.
I usually have to trade him a binky to regain control of my boob. And I swear, we have 20 binky’s and can never find any of them. Our baby really liked the brand MAAM.

9. Pack and play with infant/newborn napper/insert:
This thing has been a lifesaver on so many levels. It’s one consolidated area for changing, storing items like diapers and back up wipes, and for sleeping. We have probably used it every single day of smush smush’s life. And…it’s only going to continue to grow with him, which I think is an added bonus.

10. Swaddlers:
I never took to using receiving blankets and folding origami over the baby. I didn’t have the patience or attention span to learn it. My husband was really good at it so he ended up doing it until we finally bought some swaddlers like these:Summer Infant and these Halo

At 2 am, trust me, the last thing you want to do is deal with a blanket coming unswaddled. With the swaddlers sometimes it was all that would get him to not startle himself awake and start fussing. Also in the beginning my husband and I didn’t know we weren’t supposed to put a blanket on him…so…we were.And while it makes sense now as to why we cant, we didn’t know in the beginning or even think much of it. Once we realized it’s been swaddlers ever since. He has a nice fuzzy one that’s like blanket material that I call his bedtime swaddler and a couple of thinner ones I use when I’m worried the other one’s may be too warm. These really were an item we both agree full heartedly we couldn’t have survived without, which is why it made it to number 10 (which is this list’s number 1)

And on the cheesy side, the most important was the love and support of our family.