Fall is hit or miss here in Dallas. Some years, the leaves just shrivel up and fall off the trees without much color, but then other years we get breathtaking displays of color and light. This year was one of them. Here are some photos I captured of our fall...
Here's my new handy keychain from dōTerra that holds 8 small vials of essential oils for use on the go. I've been gradually soaking up the knowledge over the last year-and-a-half of how these oils can help me and my family. When I started using them, all I knew was that lavender made my bath water smell good, and now I'm carrying fennel in my purse. Ha! It's a journey.
So, here are the 8 oils I chose for my keychain:
- Lemon - There are a myriad of uses, but especially during this season it's great for congestion. If I rub some lemon (diluted with coconut oil) on the back of my neck and around my throat, it helps stop a stuffy or runny nose pretty quickly. I've been battling an allergy flare-up with this crazy wet fall weather. This morning I was at a friend's house, and she made me some hot tea. I was able to add a few drops of lemon oil to the tea to help soothe my throat.
- Clary Sage - This is just one of my favorite scents that always calms me. I figure if I'm having a hormonal day, I can inhale this or rub it on my wrists for some relief.
- Fennel - Ever since I was pregnant this last time, I'm sorry to say I can't take the smell of DigestZen oil. Instead, I use Fennel oil (which has a fresh scent, like a vegetable) diluted on the tummy for any digestive issues. Handy just in case we go to a restaurant where cheese accidentally jumps in my mouth.
- Purify - I used this oil much more in the summer because it's amazing to take the itch/sting out of bug bites and as a bug repellant. But it's also great to have on hand to clear the air and neutralize bad smells. You can add a few drops to a cotton ball and put it in the air vent of your car. This would be great if driving in an area with a lot of heavy exhaust smells - I hate that!
- OnGuard - This is an everyday oil. I use this all the time on the girls - I have it in a roller bottle diluted with coconut oil too, and I rub it on their feet before we're going to be around a lot of other kids. It helps protect against germs, so I feel like it's a little shield that I can have with me at all times.
- Lavender - What isn't lavender good for? For me, it opens up my sinuses, calms me, soothes cuts and burns, and so many more things I haven't discovered yet. Recently, I used it diluted on Norah's chapped upper lip and to soothe a burn on my finger.
- Melaleuca - This is what I would use to immediately disinfect a cut or to clean an area that's been exposed to something gross.
- Helichrysum - This is a miracle oil, I tell ya. It's pricy, but you get what you pay for. I was thankful to receive it for free with my bonus points from dōTerra. Several months ago, I partially shut my finger in the door of my car - yeah...OUCH. There was a puncture wound at the top of my pointer finger that was swelling quickly and turning purple from bleeding underneath, and thankfully, I happened to have a few drops of Helichrysum on hand. I put one drop on the wound, and I'm not kidding, this oil stopped the bleeding and actually reversed the bruising and swelling before my eyes. Amazing stuff. I also used this on a really bad face scrape my daughter got recently on her nose and under her lip. I didn't want it to scar, so I applied Helichrysum every night and let it scab over. I kept applying the oil, and the scabs came off neatly with perfect, unscarred skin underneath.
- Peppermint - This is another staple oil, but I'm nursing, and peppermint oil can affect milk production for some people. I didn't want to risk it so I'm avoiding this oil right now. This is also why I didn't include the Breathe blend, which I normally love.
- Cardamom - This is a new oil from dōTerra that is also helpful for respiratory issues, and I've been using it instead of Breathe.
- Balance - It's one of my all-time favorites, but I'm going to be totally honest...the only reason I didn't include it is that I've run out of Balance stickers, and I didn't want a handwritten sticker to "mess up" my keychain. Haha! Wow, I might need professional help.
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What are your favorite essential oils to carry with you? I'd love to know!
We have a winner of the Kangaroo Care babywearing necklace giveaway ~ comment #7: Susan Manes! She'll be using the necklace just to wear and for her sweet 1-year-old daughter to play with. Thanks to everyone for the entries!
If you're still wanting a necklace, visit the Kangaroo Care Etsy shop NOW - they're having a 20% off sale!
This little girl. How can I possibly express what her life has brought? Our days are filled with her precious smiles and cackles, "buh" and "duh" and "ma-ma-ma," and the joyful sounds of both daughters playing together (nicely, most of the time). It brings so much more life to our home! She points at everything, loves to tear apart toilet paper, does a happy dance at the sight of an avocado, already stands on her own without holding on and has taken one step, loves to try to lick shoes and the dog's bone, and sleeps in our bed, which I don't regret one bit.
Yes, of course the days are exhausting and like every other mother, I feel tired and inadequate and desperate for time away. But mostly, I find myself wanting to drink in every second of this little one's life, realizing that what everyone said is true: time passes much more quickly the second time around.
I've never been so sick as when I was pregnant with her - so many days of begging God to take the sickness away while simultaneously pleading with him to keep my baby growing healthy and strong. When I was that sick, barely able to take care of my older daughter most days, I had no idea who Norah was, if she was even a boy or girl. For months, we were sure we were having a boy. But this precious girl was preparing to come to us, to join our family.
Because of you, Norah Jewell, I feel more vulnerable than ever. Another piece of my heart has been given away, and there's not a single thing I would change about that. I'm truly reveling in the days of having another little one - these exhausting, difficult, beautiful, fleeting days.
A few years ago, I discovered Kangaroo Care on Etsy ~ the artist in Estonia makes beautiful, colorful babywearing necklaces from crochet beads and wood. The textures and colors are interesting for babies and safe for them to play with and chew on while nursing or just being rocked and held. Bonus: you get to directly support the work of an artist.
This is my first Kangaroo Care necklace I got a few years ago when Luci Belle was a toddler.
I wore it when Norah was born, too.
That necklace made me happy, and I wore it for my babies until it was literally threadbare, faded, and the string finally snapped. It was hard to let go of a piece of jewelry that was between me and my children during so many important moments.
It was time for a new one, but I just couldn't decide. I don't do well with too many options, and all the colors were glorious! These are the ones I was drawn to...
I finally decided on the bottom left. It just jumped out to me. For me, when in doubt, the answer is always bright color. It goes with pretty much everything I own, and I - and the girls - couldn't be happier with it!
now for the exciting part...a giveaway!
I also ordered the bottom right necklace in the above photo - the white and grey beads with white ruffle! I'd love to give this necklace away to one of you!
To enter, just post a comment and let me know who the necklace would be for and why - if you'll be giving it to a friend or keeping it for yourself, which is totally great too! I'll randomly choose a winner from the comments on Tuesday, November 25th.
I didn't have a sister growing up and always longed for one. Now I get to witness the wonderful sisterhood developing between these two. Surprisingly, to this day I have never heard Luci Belle say anything mean to or about her sister. She's always happy to see her and to have her around. I know it won't always be that way, but for now I'm soaking in all the sweet innocence that it is!
With all the "perfect" parenting days we get to experience, there are also those less than stellar ones where you find yourself driving around the neighborhood aimlessly, sipping hot tea and eating chocolate and praying your tired, cranky children fall asleep soon in their car seats. You pray for sanity and grace and just a few moments to at least go to the bathroom by yourself.
Today was one of those. Nothing really major was "off," it was just one of those days that started off with whiny-ness and bad attitudes and kept escalating. It's even worse when we have no real plans for the day other than our morning school time. I could feel my chest getting tighter and the frustration starting to build.
Mid-morning, Norah slept for a hot 30 minutes and wanted nothing to do with napping after that, and her two top front teeth have just cut through so she's gnawing on everything in sight and wants to be held every waking minute, which I love doing, but sometimes you need a break. When I was able to slip away by myself to the bathroom for a few minutes, I returned to see Norah inside an Amazon box on the dining room floor, chewing on a My Little Pony covered in Sharpie. Luci Belle was trying to play an educational computer game that kept getting stuck and was repeatedly yelling my name. Our dog was walking around nonchalantly with a Q-tip and a big ball of my hair in her mouth. No kidding.
Around 12:30pm, I was running out of steam and attempted a universal nap time for all three of us, but was met with major 4-year-old resistance, "But I don't know HOW to take a nap," she whined. Norah kept crawling on my face to pull herself up on the bedpost.
After that, I was barely holding it together. My face was so contorted that Luci Belle actually asked me, "Why does your face look like that?" And I answered something lame about how she was being mean to me. She was quiet for a moment and then just came over and hugged me. Then I was able to look her in the eye, be the adult, and apologize for my terrible attitude. We were able to talk calmly about how it feels when we're rude and disrespectful to each other. I believe my children need to see that I'm not perfect, and they need to see me ask for forgiveness. And Lord knows, they see it a lot around here.
So, time to get out of the house.
In lieu of nap time, we packed up the car and went to Urban Acres Farmstead to see Daddy and to get Mommy some adult interaction.
I finally ended up driving around the neighborhood drinking tea and eating chocolate hoping they would both fall asleep for much needed naps, and they did. Looking like a deer in the headlights, I made it back to our house, parked in the driveway, and settled in to read for a few quiet moments. Always have a book in your bag. Trust me.
Exhaling, I sat in my driveway thinking about how much I need grace when I've been ugly and reluctant to serve my family on days like these. I'm thankful for fresh starts, for small breaks to pause and recharge, and for one of the greatest truths I know - "His mercies are new every morning."
And all the mamas said, "Amen."
We all have those days when you just want to go inside a closet and scream at the top of your lungs. I've had several lately - my almost 4-year-old has been going through a big emotional change and has entered a new stage of ear-shattering tantrums.
But this day we had recently...it was just one of those perfect days. Everyone had great attitudes, there was an abundance of sunshine, and it was warm, but not too warm (dare I say, fallish?). My moments were filled with work caring and providing for my family balanced with just "being."
It began with my morning drink, slightly revised for Whole30: hot Yerba maté, warmed coconut milk, 1 date, and unsweetened cocoa powder whipped in the blender until frothy. I added a sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice on top. So yum.
We then packed up the car, double stroller, and all the random thingamajigs that Luci Belle puts in her purse and headed to Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas - an unbelievably beautiful place that's part of the Arts District. It's privately operated so it's always super clean and safe - there are even employees walking around and an outdoor library where you can grab books and games to read on-site and return. It was a gorgeous morning, and we seemed to have the entire children's area to ourselves. Klyde Warren really has made Dallas way cooler - it's the perfect city park. Reminds me so much of Hudson River Park in TriBeCa, NYC.
Then, we headed across the street to the Dallas Museum of Art which is totally free now! The "Center for Creative Connection" had all kinds of play/art activities for children. We sifted through buckets of tissue paper, buttons, wire, and tape and made some paper flowers.
There was an interesting exhibit there created by mothers for mothers, asking the question below. Tiny pieces of tile were available where you could write your answer with pencil and then place it on a scale on the "others" or "self" side, or right in the middle. I placed mine in the middle as I thought about how to find more balance.
Seems fitting that we ended up spending the rest of our afternoon doing just that...we found a spot in the sun to rest, play, and soak up some Vitamin D. No matter what our day looks like, it always goes better if we spend time outside.
By the way, my creative, adventurous Luci Belle had another wardrobe change - seems that happens about five times a day lately!
I can't be thankful enough that we have a small grassy area in our backyard now where we can sit and play. It's surrounded by perennials that are friendly to bees and butterflies, like the pair of Monarchs that visits us several times a day.
This girl loves collecting flowers and reminding me the importance of being wild and free. I learn a lot from her.
As we sat in the grass together with our toes touching, she surprised me by saying, "I'm just thinking of all the good things I get to do with you." My heart welled up, because so many days I feel completely inadequate, but I'm glad she remembers the good things.
This little ray of sunshine just sat in the grass happily for awhile, discovering a leaf. What joy she brings to our family! I don't want this baby stage to go away. I'm afraid of not appreciating it enough and it passing me by when I'm not looking.
The evening was filled with all the ordinary every day things that I love - the smells of dinner cooking, the hum of the TV from the living room as my husband was finally home from work and cuddled up with the girls on the couch. After they were in bed (at least for a little bit), I had some quiet time on the back deck under the twinkle lights with a hot cup of tea and was able to finally finish Love Does by Bob Goff. My heart was so stirred by this book - I can't wait to share some thoughts...
Not all days feel this "perfect" ~ that's for sure. But I'm thankful for those that peek through, full of life-giving moments to fuel me for the ones that are more challenging. Now more than ever, I feel that this season of life can be so difficult but so very lovely.
It's all in my perspective how the day will turn out, because we're guaranteed nothing. "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." (Albert Einstein)
This day, I chose everything.