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. 2

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Twas the weekend before Christmas, and silence all through the house. Both the boys are sleeping..and even the cat’s are leaving me the heck alone.

Which is the perfect time for a blog post, right?

I hope the holiday’s are finding you well, and that you are soaking in all the holiday joy. I on the other hand, can’t believe Christmas is next weekend. It has come by so quickly. Everything I wanted to get done this year, is for sure not happening. Like making tamales, maybe next year. I kind of thought that was going to be an ambitious goal.
So while the two boys are sleeping I figured what better time to work on my second installment of letters to my son. This one takes a lot of time and thought, so I really needed to have some semblance of peace around me while I work on it. Which is why there’s only 2 so far because it so rarely happens.

So volume 2, is going to be all about me…but…not really? It’s going to address all the things I have learned so far from being this little boy’s mama. And I know for sure I am not done learning.

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Dear little smushsmush,
When I first found out I was pregnant with you the emotion I had was disbelief. I wish so badly that I could tell you it was euphoria and Joy. But it wasn’t. I felt like someone was playing a joke on me, and not because I didn’t want you, oh boy did I want you. It was because I felt like I had tried and hoped and dreamed for so long that I couldn’t even believe it was possible that now you were here. Eventually after 15 pregnancy tests and the first ultrasound that disbelief wore off and it was replaced with joy…and worry…
And that leads me to my first and one of the most important things you have taught me.
You’ve taught me to love myself in a way that no one and nothing has ever taught me.
Growing up I have always struggled with my weight and pretty much every aspect of my looks. I got made fun of for my red hair and freckles and my weight. I got fun of for being too pale, and even still I get told that I should go get a tan. I already know, that it is going to break my heart the first day that you come home upset or crying because someone was mean. My sweet boy, know that high school and all the other years are not the best years of your life. Brush off what they say and only worry about being a good person at the end of the day.
I didn’t do that. Throughout my childhood, I really struggled to fit in, and to be ‘pretty’ enough. And so, it was no wonder that in my high school years I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed an eating disorder. (Sorry mom, if you’re reading this, which I’m sure you are, because you have done nothing but support my ambitions in life). I felt horrible I didn’t even want to look in the mirror. And when I did look in the mirror all I could see was something repulsive.  Obviously, everything people said about me was right. Or so I thought.   And when you feel that disgusted by yourself, all the time, it’s a hard thing to handle. I remember that one of my high school goals, wasn’t to get good grades, it was to drop a ridiculous amount of weight in a short period of time so that I could walk across the stage, accept my diploma and show those assholes that were mean to me that I could be pretty.
It started small, and greatly progressed. Before I knew it I had fully developed an eating disorder…and I loved it. I loved the sense of control and I loved how much weight I was losing, I loved finally being ‘skinny’. But here’s the thing…It was never enough. I never felt good enough. And that’s what it comes down too. It didn’t matter how much weight I lost, I was never going to like myself until I really learned how to love myself. And that is not something I have really accomplished until having you. Don’t get me wrong. I still have my moments, especially because the eating disorder was also about having control and I greatly desired and enjoyed how much control I felt I had while doing that. But when I look in the mirror now, when I have down days, I take a step back. And I think about how truly wonderful my body is. No, I may not be at the size I want, but I grew this tiny perfect little life inside of me for nine months. My body shifted around, and pushed itself upwards to fit you, and grow you, and nourish you. My body…is badass. And I refuse to disrespect it in the manner I used to. I refuse to not recognize the pain, and hardship it went through during labor to birth you, and the energy and love and life it took to nourish and grow you. I am beautiful because of that. And feeling that way is an emotion that I have never experienced, that appreciation for my body has never been there…until you.
The second thing you have taught me is patience. Please know that I am not perfect, and I still and will always have my moments. But man, I am trying so hard to get better about this. My level of patience before having you was zero. So it goes without saying that it has gone up. When you first came along, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing (still don’t) and so there were moments that were very frustrating and I didn’t have the patience for that. But now I have started to recognize that sometimes when you are fussing and just want to be held, it’s a sign…that we both need to take a pause from everything that is going on and take a break. You have gotten  me to slow down, to pause and breath. This is something that I never understood or was capable of. I never realized how much I truly needed to learn how to do that, but I did. I am too uptight, expecting things to always go perfect and to always go my way. That’s not life. And That was a hard pill for me to swallow, one that I still struggle with and probably will for your entire life. I truly hope that when you look back on your childhood you will see and recognize how hard I tried to control and better this.
The third thing is the realization and acceptance that I do not have everything figured out and that I don’t have to have everything figured out.
When I turned 20 I freaked. I didn’t have a college degree, or a career, we were losing a house, and I was living with my boyfriend in a different state then my parents (your daddy was that boyfriend).
I felt like everything was spiraling out of control, because I had nothing figured out. I remember thinking I was never going to amount to anything, that I was already 20 and I had nothing figured out.
Here’s the thing kid.
I’m 27. And I still don’t have everything figured out.
But now, since having you, I’ve realized that that’s ok. My most important job is raising you to be a good person. I have more of a plan then I did when I was 20. But I also understand that shit happens and plans change, and I am more okay with that now.
Here’s the thing little man, you can plan out your entire life. Go buy a bulletin board, index cards and push pins and map it all out, take the tedious time and energy to put up your idealistic life plan. But you will only be setting yourself up for failure.
Because when life happens and you have to take off half of those index cards, stuck in your plan and your way you will be unable to recognize the bigger picture, the ultimate end goal…being happy.
Please don’t do this.
Don’t make the mistake I made in my early 20’s.
Have a plan but be flexible, be comfortable and willing to change those index cards, to rearrange them and have back up plans. Recognize that sometimes, those index cards you painstakingly wrote out, those ideas you put down, with love and hope…sometimes they need to be let go…and that’s totally okay.
The only constant is that we are constantly growing, and changing. We are never who we were yesterday. So how do you expect, that at 20 you will have how the rest of your life is going to go figured out?
These are just the three big things you have taught me so far. I am constantly learning from you still. I love learning from you, and watching you grow and learn. I never realized how much you would teach me. It may seem small, these three things, but they are monumental to the grand scheme of my life. You are the best thing I have ever done.
Sometimes, you may not like what I say. Sometimes, I may not want to say or tell you these things, but I will. Because I need you to know the truth. I will always be honest with you Edwin. I will always tell you the truth of things even if they are hard. Even if I want to protect you.
Someday when you read all of this, I hope you will understand, and love me for the way I was, for the good things, and for my faults and indiscretions. I hope you will learn from me and find happiness.
Love always,
Mama

 

 

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

If I were an empty container then I would be…..

There’s something you guys should know about me.
I am obsessed with turning garbage into something useful. Or I guess maybe not garbage, but more of things that you would just throw away and not think anything else of.
We could probably write a list of the things I am unhealthily obsessed with…like chocolate…Supernatural…Cat’s…office supplies (seriously you should see my desk drawers they have been re-purposed to contain office supplies and nothing more.)
But that list would take a lot more time then we all have, and Id like you guys to still like me at the end of the day.
I have given in to my obsession of giving purpose to lost and lonely throw a ways. I feel like I am the Andy of Toy Story in the world of garbage, me being Andy and the garbage being my adored toys…and when I reference that I am definitely not talking about Toy story 3. Sorry grown up Andy.
Anyways, my point is, my obsession has led to this blog’s first craft post! YAY!
Little man finished off his bottle the other night, and that bottle was made from the last scoop of formula that I had. And rather then throw away that container I set it to the side thinking there had to be  a use for it (I told you…it’s an obsession)
I’ve been growing lettuce from re-purposed kitchen scraps, something I found on Pinterest, of course and decided that lonely little formula container  would make a perfect planter.
So here’s the supplies you will need:
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Scissors
Mod Podge
Empty Formula container
Pictures/Photo books (I have like 20 thousand groove books so that’s what I used)
Roller thing (Yup)
Potting soil (Not pictured)
Plant(s) (also not pictured)
Brush to apply Mod Podge (I had a ghetto fabulous moment and attempted to use a butter knife…don’t do it…just don’t)

Before starting go ahead and un-click the formula lid from the container and set aside.

First you’re going to want to select photos that you’d like to use, we are just making a collage of them on the container. Keep that in mind while selecting the pictures though, you don’t want huge close ups or super zoomed out pictures. There is a balance here with the picture selection.
My tip is to plan out the pictures, the cutting of them and placement, you could even go as far as using tape to put the pictures on so you can thoroughly plan your layout then glue with the Mod Podge after. Try not to be like me and dive into the project, it doesn’t always end well.
My other tip is to try and not get any of the Mod Podge on your table…it’s kinda of annoying to try and wipe off especially once it’s semi dry.
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Go ahead and cover the front side of the container with Mod Podge and place your cut out photos on the surface, you are going to want to try and smooth them down as much as possible so the pictures don’t get lumpy. That’s actually what that roller thing is for..but I found it kinda useless for this project.
Just place the photos on kind of overlapping. The beauty of this kind of project is that it doesn’t have to be perfect in the slightest. Which makes it right up my alley. No one has time to line things up perfectly. I really just don’t have the patience, let’s be honest.
Let the front side dry then turn over and start the back side (as seen in above picture)
You are again going to apply the Mod Podge and place your photos on the container.
Then let dry.
This project isn’t really hard, it’s kind of just time consuming. Another tip would be to keep a damp cloth on hand, the Mod Podge dry’s on your fingers and the dried Mod Podge sticks to your photos when coming into contact with wet Mod Podge leaving behind ugly gluey fingerprints.
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Once both sides have dried, take your brush after dipping it into the Mod Podge and go over the photos to seal them. Since I used a sponge brush I found it was best to brush the Mod Podge on in one unified direction, so that the brush design that did show was uniform and looked like it belonged.
Now…don’t have a moment like me where I angrily brushed one coat, two coats, three coats, four coats wondering why the hell my pictures weren’t looking all nice and glossy and finished.

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AHEM
Ya….that definitely says MATTE
Basically…if you want a glossy finish don’t get the Matte one.
Next tip? Do not…I repeat do not try and pour the potting soil into the container before the glue has dried….just trust me on this okay?

After that drys you should have something that looks like this: vzm-img_20161021_171913

Now…I have a tendency of killing…I mean over watering my plants so I like them to have drainage holes in their containers and a bottom that catches the water. So I went ahead and took a hammer and nail to the bottom of my container to get a hole…don’t do that…it will just crack the bottom. Remember that whole diving right into things…?…ya.
It wasn’t too badly cracked and actually worked out for being a drainage hole..just wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked it to be.
The next goal found me with a hammer trying to crack the little clips off the formula lid..don’t worry my husband stepped in and saved my fingers…and the table…
He got a set of pliers and snapped them right off for me.
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Then the next step was just to fill it up with soil (while dry…I repeat…while dry) and plant my little lettuces.

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I loved my end result. I squealed…loudly. All the while realizing that I have unapologeticaly  become that mom who pastes pictures of her kid all over everything. But man, doesn’t it make my table look so much better.
Happy crafting!

 

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.