Friday, July 25, 2014

Check out my new blog!

     Space on this blog has run out and life has been crazy and I haven't had much time to keep up with blogging. I am getting this parent-of-two-kids thing down so I have started blogging again, but wanted a new space to do it. So check out my brand new blog Running a Well-Oiled Family where I will continue to keep every up to date with our lives.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Graham is 10 months old!

        Graham is 10 months old now. I am not sure how much he weighs or how long he is. He is soooo very close to walking and can take four or five steps at a time, sometimes more. Other big deals this month are that he stayed overnight for the first time away from us while we were at a wedding. 

Eating: Graham still loves eating anything and everything. He typically has a large bottle first thing in the morning followed by a solid food breakfast, a bottle and a solid food lunch, a mid-afternoon bottle, solid food dinner and bits of whatever we are eating, and another bottle when we put him to bed for the night. It's hard to say which food is his favorite because he honestly loves all foods. 

Sleeping: Graham is still a great sleeper. He sleeps a good 12 hours at night and takes two naps a day, one late morning and one a couple hours after lunch. He still uses a pacifier when he sleeps, but that's pretty much the only time. We will probably phase it out sometime around his birthday if he doesn't do it himself. 

Other Stuff I Want to Remember:
He is wearing size 6-12 months and size 12 months. He is in size 3 diapers when he wears disposables. Shoes are pretty difficult to fit on his feet, but when he does I think he is somewhere between a 3 and a 4. He has crazy messy hair and dark blue eyes. He still only has his two bottom teeth. 
Graham loves playing with his brother. He enjoys playing outside a lot, particularly with the water table. I has also discovered his brother's big wheel and likes to sit on it or have us push him around on it. He enjoys playing peek a boo. He can even entertain himself for short periods of time now, which is amazing for a 10 month old. 
He likes taking baths with his brother. He has been sitting up in the tub for the past couple months. 
Graham loves being read to. We probably don't read to him as much as we did with Owen, but you can definitely tell he loves it too. He will bring a book over and just plop down in my lap. His favorite is a little board book about a race car. 
Graham is really friendly, even with strangers. He does really well in church nursery for the most part and they really love him there. 
Like most children, he is attracted to technology and will try to get our cell phones, tablets, etc. if they are nearby. It's really pretty crazy. He will crawl as fast as he can to get it before we can take it away. Sometimes if he reaches it before we get to him, he will turn to look at us like, "Aren't you going to stop me now?" Or we will say "No, no" and will shake his head back and forth and smile mischievously. 

Here are some other photos from his 10 month photo shoot:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Graham is nine months old!

 At nine months, Graham:
  • Weighed 18 pounds, 15 ounces (22nd percentile)
  • Was 27 inches long (10th percentile)
  • Had a head circumference of 43.5 centimeters (7th percentile)
Graham still loves to eat. He has tried some new foods this month including peaches, ground turkey and chicken, blueberries, strawberries, and even some pineapple. He really has never shown any dislike for a food we have given him. All food is his favorite. He typically has a bottle of formula in the morning first thing, followed by a solid food meal. Another bottle and solid food meal at lunch. A mid-afternoon bottle. A solid food dinner in addition to eating bits of whatever we are eating and then a final bottle right before bed. It is impossible to eat in front of him without him begging to share. Regardless of whether he has just eaten. He will also eat pretty much any crumb or piece of leaf, fuzz, dirt, etc., off the floor so I have to sweep frequently.  He also likes to try to eat grass and clover outside. 

Graham is still a great sleeper. He now naps twice a day, having dropped his late afternoon nap. Now he wakes between 7 and 8, naps around 10:30, again at about 2 and then goes to bed at about 7:30 at night. He sleeps with a thin Aden+Anais blanket, a lovey, and a pacifier. He loves to toss them all out of the bed first thing when he wakes up. He also jumps up and down in his crib a lot. 

Other Things I Want to Remember:
Graham is wearing size 6-12 months clothes and 9 months clothes. He wears size three diapers when he is in disposables. He will soak through a disposable at night so we put him in a cloth diaper for bed. He is for the most part in cloth during the day too. 
His hair is getting pretty long, particularly in front. It is a similar coppery brown to mine and Owen's. His eyes are still blue. 
He got his two bottom teeth, but has not shown any signs of getting any more teeth any time soon. 
We had Graham dedicated at our church just before he turned nine months old. 
He said his first word - Mama! - on June 8. He took his first steps (two!) on June 21, a day before he turned 10 months old, walking from his daddy to me. He hasn't started walking yet, but has taken up to four steps at a time since then. He can definitely cruise around and transition from one piece of furniture to another easily. And he is the faster crawler I have ever seen. He has rough little knees from crawling all the time. On grass, he will bear crawl, keeping his knees up and walking on his hands and feet, which is really cute. He also started to wave this month and will say what sounds like "Hi." It's stinkin' cute. 
He is still very much a Momma's boy and prefers me over pretty much everyone else. He has separation anxiety. He loves to be near me and will crawl into my lap or roll around in my lap if I am sitting on the floor. If I am near, he is very friendly and sweet with others whether he knows them or not. He also really loves Daddy and will crawl as fast as he can to Tim as soon as he comes in the door after work. And he is obsessed with his older brother. If Owen is napping while Graham is awake, Graham will try to crawl down the hall to Owen's room and bang on the door. 
He loves playing with blocks and balls. He can actually roll a ball back and forth with you pretty well. He loves to knock over block towers when Owen gives him a chance. He prefers Owen's toys to his most of the time. He still likes his jumperoo and the music table. Perhaps his favorite new (to him) toy is the water table. I can put him and Owen outside with it and they will play happily for a couple hours in the water. 

Here are some more photos from his nine month photo shoot:

Waving Hi to Brother and Daddy. 

Two teeth!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Must Have Essential Oils for Moms

     With Mother's Day coming up soon, I wanted to share how I've been using essential oils as a mom. With the limited number of medications you can use on infants and small children combined with how unhealthy some conventional medicines are for young ones, essential oils are a great alternative for our family and I love being able to help my children naturally. 
      I got into using Young Living Essential Oils in January of this year because I was fed up with my family being sick. To give you an idea of what we were dealing with, we had racked up a bill of more than $500 in just the four months after Graham was born and were in the pediatrician's office at least once a month dealing with one major illness after another (whooping cough and RSV to name a couple). My poor sweet newborn was put on more rounds of antibiotics than any tiny baby should be on. So after learning about oils and doing research for a month (during which we contracted two more different illnesses), I stopped making excuses (money being a big one) and made the decision to try them. And since then, the only one of us to get sick was me! I had a stomach bug in April, but with the help of my essential oils, the duration of my illness was greatly shortened and neither the boys nor Tim caught it! Four months of the boys being illness free might not seem like much to you, but for us it's a record! I am so thankful that for the past four months, we have finally gotten to see what Graham's personality is like. We thought we had a "high maintenance" baby because he seemed so unhappy all the time. Turns out he just felt bad from being sick. Now he's all smiles and crawling and chasing after his brother and loving every single food we give him to try. These oils have so helped my family and I am so grateful!
     Now, I am not anti-modern medicine or against taking my kids to the doctor ever, but if there is a natural alternative that I can try, then I'm going to take that route first. Essential oils are so versatile and there is likely one (if not many) that if used correctly, can ease symptoms and help with a number of issues as well as if not better than medications. I now reach for my oils before I use anything from my medicine cabinet. 
       There are so many issues related to babies and kids that you can use oils for: teething, sleep, upset tummies, colds, fevers, allergies, and so many others. I wanted to go over some of my must-have oils for treating children and for helping moms. (I'm not a doctor though, so don't take this as medical advice. I'm just relating how these oils have worked for me in certain situations with my kids.) 
      Also, Young Living recommends not using oils on babies younger than six months. I personally did not follow this recommendation completely because Graham dealt with colic a lot as an infant so at around five months old, I began using an oil on him that helped with gas. I would rather use a natural oil than an over-the-counter medication so I just recommend that parents do their own research and use their best judgment. And of course, diluting an essential oil with a carrier oil (coconut, olive, grapeseed) is also recommended with children as they may be more sensitive than adults. To begin with, try diluting essential oils 1 drop to 30 drops of carrier oil. I also diffused around Graham as an infant. 

So here are my Must-Have Oils for Moms:

  • Lavender is one of the most common and versatile oils. 
  • It is antiseptic, analgesic and a relaxant. 
  • I combine lavender with whipped coconut oil and use the cream for a number of things.
  • I use lavender to help heal scrapes and cuts and ease painful burns, including sunburn. 
  • I use the lavender cream on diaper rash. 
  • I diffuse lavender for sleep and also put a drop on Graham's lovey so he will inhale it while he is falling asleep. 
  • Lavender is also a natural antihistamine and I use it, plus lemon and peppermint diluted in a mix for Owen's allergies. Tim also loves using this blend. 

  • Peppermint is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral. It can be used for pain relief, stomach issues, and curbs appetite.
  • I use peppermint to help bring down fevers naturally to a level I am more comfortable with. Dilute one drop to a few drops of carrier oil and apply to back of the neck, down the spine, around the belly button and under the arms. 
  • For nausea or upset stomach, you can dilute and apply to the stomach or simply smell it from the bottle. If you have a child that deals with motion sickness, put a few drops on a cotton ball and stick in the air conditioning vents to diffuse in the car. 

  • Thieves is an essential oil blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary. 
  • It is highly antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-infectious.
  • Studies at Weber State University in Utah showed that Thieves had a 99% kill rate for airborn bacteria when diffused for just twelve minutes. 
  • I dilute Thieves and use it on the bottom of the boys' feet any time we are going somewhere where they will be around other children or somewhere like the grocery store where they will be in germy grocery carts. If we are around someone who we later find out has become sick, I will diffuse Thieves in our house. I also diffuse after playdates. 
  • If any of us were to get sick, I would apply Thieves to the sick person every few hours and diffuse a couple times a day to help lessen the duration of the sickness and help keep the rest of us healthy.  
  • Thieves can also be used for oral care so it is great for teething because it contains clove oil. Clove oil is a natural source of eugenol, which is used in the dental industry to numb gums. Simply dilute with a carrier oil and apply to the gums with a Q-tip.

  • RC is a blend of three types of eucalyptus, myrtle, pine, spruce, marjoram, lavender, cypress, and peppermint. 
  • It provides relief for people suffering from colds, sinus congestion, bronchitis, coughs, sore throats, allergies, and other respiratory issues. 
  • When Owen seems congested, I diffuse in his room at night and apply it to his chest and upper back and to the bottoms of his feet on the Vitaflex points for the sinus area (under his four toes.)

Breathe Again Roll-On:
  • Breathe Again is a blend of four different types of eucalyptus, peppermint, copaiba, myrtle, and manuka.
  • It relaxes airways, reduces sinus congestion, and reduces coughing. 
  • Owen has pretty bad allergies and sinus issues so I tend to roll this onto his chest at night. It helps him to breathe better and not snore. 
  • Di-Gize is a blend of tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, fennel, lemongrass, anise, and patchouli. 
  • The blend was made specifically for stomach issues like upset stomachs, nausea, stomach bugs, gas, constipation, and reflux. 
  • I used this for Graham's colic and constipation as an infant. I simply diluted it and applied to his stomach in a clock-wise direction to give him relief. It can also be used for babies with reflux. 
  • I also used this when I had a stomach bug and felt relief from the nausea and stomach pain. 

  • Purification is a blend of citronella, lemongrass, lavandin, rosemary, melaleuca (tea tree), and myrtle.
  • I used Purification, plus lavender and Thieves, when Owen had an ear infection and was able to get rid of it without antibiotics. Here is the tutorial I used (I used the oils I had on hand):
  • When diffused, Purification can help with stink issues. Put a few drops on a cotton ball and put in the bottom of a trash can or diaper pail or a stinky gym bag (I'm thinking ahead to when the boys potentially participate in sports). Put some in with stinky laundry. 
  • Apply to bug bites and stings. 
  • Use this recipe to make all-natural bug repellent: Combine 4 ounces distilled water, 4 ounces witch hazel, and 10 drops each of Thieves, Purification, and Peppermint in a spray bottle and apply before going outside. 
  • Purification and lemon can be used together to help heal poison ivy rashes. I had great success doing this and Tim's rash was almost completely gone in a week.

Stress Away:
  • Stress Away is a blend of copaiba, lime, cedarwood, vanilla, ocotea, and lavender. 
  • The blend can help ease nervous tension and reduce nervous tension. 
  • I use Stress Away topically on myself or diffuse when I am feeling - you guessed it - stressed. 
  • Graham also responded well to this oil when he was a little baby. He was younger than six months so I wouldn't apply it to him directly, but I would swipe my roll-on bottle across my neck and cuddle him close as I rocked him and nine times out of ten, he would fall asleep within five minutes. 

Peace and Calming:
  • Peace and Calming is a blend of blue tansy, patchouli, tangerine, orange, and ylang ylang.
  • This blend promotes relaxation, improves mood, and can help with sleep. 
  • I like to diffuse this in the late afternoon when we I am waiting anxiously for Tim to come home from work and trying to make dinner and the kids are going crazy. 
  • I use a combination of Peace and Calming and Peppermint for coughs. I combine both oils with a carrier oil and apply to Owen's chest and upper back. 

If you want more information on using oils on babies or children, contact me at 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Graham is eight months old!

 So... that thing about second time moms is totally true. But I recently took photos of Graham now that he is eight months old and I am going to try to get back into posting monthly about him. 

Weight: A little more than 18 pounds

Graham loves to eat! He takes a six ounce bottle every three hours. We have switched to formula, but have a stash of breast milk in the freezer that we still use as well. He can feed himself his own bottle now, which is pretty cute. I normally hold him still or prop him up in my lap while he has his bottle. He had his first taste of solid food on February 1 at five months old. He has since tried oatmeal cereal, apples, pears, bananas, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, mango and avocado. He loves everything, though avocado is not his favorite. He also eats little bits of our food from time to time because he gets really jealous when we eat in front of him. He loves eating Puffs as well. 

Graham sleeps through the night most nights now, going to bed around 7:30 or eight and sleeping until about 8 in the morning. Some nights he will wake in the night once. He is sleeping unswaddled now and goes to bed with a lovey and a pacifier. He naps about three times a day: late morning, early afternoon and a really short nap in the late afternoon. 

Other Things I Want To Remember:
       Graham is wearing 6-12 months and size 9 months clothing exclusively. He now wears size 3 diapers if he is in disposables. He would probably be in size 2 shoes if he wore shoes. 
         His hair is light brown and fuzzy. Like his big brother and Daddy, he has a cowlick in the front that makes his hair His eyes are still blue. He still has no teeth. At this age, Owen had almost four. People always say that he looks like his big brother, but I think Graham and Owen look very different. 
        Since he began crawling at five months and has been pulling up and cruising around furniture for the last couple months, Graham is always on the go. I have to keep an eye on him all the time. He likes playing with his toys. His favorite things to play with are stacking blocks and cups, balls, and anything that makes noise. Nothing much keeps his attention for long though and he prefers to just play with random household objects like coasters and shoes. He really enjoys music and will bounce up and down while it's playing. He likes playing in the jumperoo for periods of time. 
         Graham really loves bathtime with his older brother. He will try to crawl over the side of the tub and into the bath if I don't put him in fast enough. 
         Graham does okay in the car for the most part, but typically has at least one crying spell during long trips. He is back to being happy as a lark as soon as he is out of his carseat though. 
         Graham loves to watch older brother play and tries to follow after him. 
         Graham is a momma's boy at the moment. He has definitely gotten to that age where he has begun to distinguish between people and can recognize faces. He definitely knows who Mommy and Daddy are. I really love this at the moment, because he will still let other people hold him and all, but he just prefers me most of the time. Sometimes he will show a bit of separation anxiety, but for the most part he is very friendly and willing to go to anyone. He does well at church nursery and our various small groups when he is away from us. 
          He is easy going and good-natured and has a smile for everyone. He laughs easily and babbles a little now. Mostly Bababa and mamama. 
          He was stung twice by a wasp last week and after crying for just a short time, was back to his usual, happy self. The doctor was super impressed.     

Recap of Milestones from the Last Few Months:
Five months old: 
First solid food
Starts crawling

Six months:
Pulls up by himself
Visit from Papa and Nana and Aunt Jenny
Sleeps through the night for the first time (10 hours)

Seven months:
Visit from Grandpa and Grams
Starts transitioning from one object to another (i.e. from couch to coffee table)
Starts cruising
Trip to Georgia to visit family
First Easter
Begins sleeping unswaddled

Here are some more photos from his eight month photo shoot:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Graham is five months old!

        This post is super super super late. Obviously, Graham is now six months old. But I wanted to post this anyway because I had written it up a while back, but never had the chance to take photos of him. I will try to get his six month post up soon since we just had his doctor's appointment last week. 
       The most amazing thing about this last month is that Graham is now starting to try to crawl. Its crazy. Now that he can roll from back to front, he rarely stays on his back. He gets up on his knees and rocks back and forth and then sort-of hurls himself forward. He also does planks and will even push himself up on only one foot. It's nuts. His poor little knees have rug burn all the time, but there's no stopping him from trying to crawl. Though he isn't officially crawling, he does make his way all around the floor and loves chewing on all his baby toys. His favorites are an Innobaby flower shaped teether, his cow lovey, his Green Toys twist teether and his Hape wooden dumb bell looking toy. 

Graham is still eating every three hours around the clock. He eats five ounces every time. 
I am currently unable to keep up with him because he eats so much now so I have had to dip into my freezer stock and have given him formula occasionally. I am hoping that eventually he will sleep better at night and not need as much to eat since I think his middle of the night feedings are just for comfort and not based on actual hunger. He still is a "happy spitter" and spits up frequently, but he is gaining weight just fine so we don't worry about it too much. 

Graham is still not sleeping through the night or even close to it. He typically fights us on going to bed for the night and doesn't typically fall asleep until eight or nine o'clock at night, sometimes later. We then typically feed him one last time before we go to bed at about 10 or 10:30. He will then wake up between 1 and 2 to eat and again sometime around 4 to eat. He will then sleep his longest stretch of the night from 4 a.m. to eight or nine in the morning. Of course, with Owen waking up in the morning, I don't typically benefit from his sleeping late in the morning. Mama is seriously in need of some rest! (Edit: In the two or three days since turning five months, Graham has stopped waking in the early morning for a second night feeding. He eats sometime between 10 and 11, again at 1 or 2 and then sleeps until about 7 a.m. Yay!)
      We moved him to the crib in the nursery when we got back home from visiting family at Christmas. We moved Owen into a twin bed in his own room. The transition went surprisingly well. 
      Graham is still swaddled when he sleeps. We swaddle him, give him a pacifier, and rock him until he falls asleep. We play white noise throughout the night. 

Other Things I Want To Remember:
       Graham is wearing 3-6 months and size 6 months clothing exclusively. He now wears size 2 diapers if he is in disposables. He does an alligator death roll when we're trying to change his diaper now so that makes diaper changes a lot more fun. 
         His hair is starting to grow in more now from where it was rubbing off. This is probably because he sleep son his stomach now that he can roll over. His eyes are still blue and seem to be getting a bit lighter. 
        I now bathe Graham with Owen most nights. I typically bathe Owen first and then Tim will bring me Graham and I will put him in his Summer Infant mesh bath in the tub right next to Owen. They both really seem to love bathing together. Owen especially loves helping me pour water on Graham. Graham loves bathtime and in particular enjoys sucking/chewing on the wash cloth I put over him to keep his body warm in the tub.
         Graham is enamored with his older brother and follows him around the room trying to see what he is doing. He enjoys watching Owen play with his toys and will try to get Owen's toys. Owen is not a huge fan of this. 
        We sit Graham in his Prince Lionheart seat so he can practice sitting up. He enjoys sitting up and being able to look around. We tend to do this mostly when we're eating dinner so we can all eat at the same time. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

No more sickness in this house! (Young Living essential oils)

I'm really excited to tell you about Young Living Essential Oils. They are blessing my family in so many ways. And before you think I've gone off the crunchy mom deep end (I know what you're saying... first cloth diapers, now this?!), just give this post a read.

I first learned about essential oils when a Facebook friend who was honestly probably tired of hearing me complain about my sick kids sent me a sweet private message about how she has been using essential oils to keep her family healthy and also treat a number of health issues. My original thought was, "Sure thing crazy lady. Enjoy your snake oils and voodoo medicine." 

But then Graham got sick again. And again. 

So I began to look into essential oils, and Young Living Essential Oils in particular. I researched on the Internet and asked my friend endless questions. She eventually added me to a Facebook group where people can ask questions and share testimonies on how the oils have helped them. And not long after that, I purchased the starter kit so I could try them out. I was still skeptical, but I figured other than putting my family in a bubble, I was at a loss as to how to keep my family well. 

What sold me on the oils was how healthy my kids have been since I started using them. Owen and Graham have not gotten sick in the last month. And that's saying something! We haven't had an entire month of being well since Graham was born more than five months ago. We have started attending church again and putting the kids in nursery without fear of them bringing home some new disease and I have had playdates with other kids without worrying about getting something from them. And I give all the credit to the Young Living Thieves blend of essential oils. The Thieves blend is based on research about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. When they were captured authorities offered to lessen their punishment if they would explain how they were avoiding contracting the plague. University testing found that diffusing Thieves kills 99 percent of airborne bacteria.  

Here's a look at what the oils in the premium kit that I bought can do:

In addition to helping our immunity, I have used the oils for lots of other issues now too. Here are a few of my favorites and how I have used them. 

Lavender: In addition to just smelling nice when diffused or sprinkled on laundry or rubbed on your wrists, lavender has a ton of other uses. For instance, clumsy me burns myself while cooking (or straightening my hair...ahem) all the time. Just a dab of lavender essential oils on the burn takes away the pain immediately and helps prevent blistering. I have also used lavender (and frankincense - yes, the kind they gave to Jesus) in coconut oil to moisturize my dry hands and feet this winter and they are the softest they have ever been without my going to get a pedicure or manicure! I also have rubbed a smidgen on the boy's cheeks to help with chapping. 

Peace and Calming and Gentle Baby: These two blends are used to help improve sleeping. Since I began diffusing them at bedtime, Graham has started sleeping much longer at night and only wakes to eat once during the night as opposed to the two or more times he was waking before I started using oils.

PanAway and Valor: I have had issues with my lower back since I was a preteen. If I bend over or twist in just the right (or wrong) way, my back wrenches and I am in tons of pain. I did this the other day right before bed and was having a hard time finding a comfortable position and couldn't fall asleep. So I got out of bed and grabbed my oils. I mixed one drop of each of these blends and rubbed it into my lower back. The pain relief I felt was practically instantaneous! As in just a minute later I was back in bed and completely pain-free. 

Stress Away: Stress Away is one of my favorite blends. I use it during the day like perfume when I'm feeling stressed out. It is also Graham's personal favorite oil. Whenever he is inconsolable and we have tried all manner of ways to calm him, I swipe some Stress Away on my neck and cuddle him close and within about five minutes he will be calm and 99 percent of the time sleeping peacefully afterwards. 

Clove: Clove oil contains eugenol, which is used in the dental industry to numb the gums. I use it diluted with olive oil to numb Graham's gums when it seems like he is teething. I doesn't get all over the place like store-bought numbing agents and a little will go a long way. I have also used it on myself when my jaw popped out of place while eating the other night and I was in pain. The taste isn't great, but the results are quick!

DiGize and Peppermint: Both of these oils can be used for digestive issues. You know, the kinds of things you usually deal with using that fluorescent pink medicine. I use it on Graham a lot since he has such a sensitive tummy. When he seems gassy or constipated, I rub some on his tummy diluted with coconut oil and he seems to feel so much better pretty quickly after. 

I am so enjoying using all natural oils to stay healthy and heal our bodies without over the counter medicines. Particularly because their aren't a lot of ways to ease symptoms for babies and toddlers (no cough medicine until age 6, FYI). I have found so many ways to use them and I am still learning! In fact, if you are interested in learning how essential oils work, read this blog post. 

Feel free to leave me any questions or comments or e-mail me at to learn more about how I'm using the oils or about Young Living. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Images source: Young Living