Friday, May 12, 2017

Embracing Imperfection

If you're anything like me, you probably follow hundreds of "mom lifestyle" accounts on Instagram. Your newsfeed is probably full of cute kids and skinny moms with perfect hair, perfect homes, and enough money to buy new outfits every week. You probably realize that your life looks nothing like theirs... and, if you're anything like me, you might not want it to. Let me explain...

Every day, I see dozens of pictures of smiling kids posed in front of an artsy brick wall, or in a suspiciously spotless nursery, or nestled up next to a mom with her hair and makeup perfectly in place. I'm sure you've seen those pictures, too. You know exactly what kind of accounts I'm talking about.

Just an hour ago, I scrolled past a photo of a 2 year old girl dressed in a ridiculous - I mean - beautiful dress, crouched over poky rocks on the side of her house. She doesn't look like she's enjoying herself at all, and y'all I swear, I can almost her the bribing going on in the background as her mom promises treats if she sits still for a few more pictures. Usually, I scroll through my Instagram feed and dismiss it all as harmless. But this photo keeps bugging me.

For starters... it's not real life. No one's life looks like that. I'm more certain that that mom didn't just happen to snap a candid photo of her daughter playing in their rocky flower bed. The mom clearly took her daughter outside because her house made a nice background for the picture. Taking posed pictures of your kid is obviously not a big deal, but it bothers me how hollow and soulless and fake it all feels. What's the point in searching for the perfect background, the perfect outfit, or the perfect pose?

With so many people pretending, authenticity has become priceless. Do you want to know what real life looks like?

Real life is stickers on foreheads and playtime in the same pajamas you've worn for 2 days.

It's green bean faces and wearing sweaty tank tops with no makeup, because spending time with your son is more important to you than spending time making yourself look pretty.

I can get caught up in the aesthetic and the colors and the perfect angles, too, but at the end of the day... what does it benefit me? Don't get me wrong, I believe in working hard whether it's for a fortune 100 company or for a blog with 3 readers. So I'll continue to take blogging & social media classes, I'll continue buffing up my (nonexistent) photography skills, and I'll continue learning how to write better.

But at the end of the day, the perfectly posed photos don't mean much to me. The only memories attached to them is me trying to keep Ezra from rolling around while I search for the right lighting. The pictures that mean the most to me are the imperfect ones.

Until next Friday, I'll be keeping it real!

Friday, May 5, 2017

3 Foolproof Ways to Waste Your Day

When Voddie Baucham delivers a particularly convicting sermon, he often uses the phrase, "If you can't say 'amen', you better say 'ouch'." and right now, I'm definitely saying "ouch".

I've become hyper aware of how poorly I spend my time since Auston deployed. I think that's because sitting in front of the tv isn't always a waste of time when you're snuggled up next to the love of your life. But when you're alone, the baby's been asleep for hours, and you're on your 5th episode of Fixer Upper... you're clearly not spending your time wisely. And by you I mean me.

So, since I'm trying to combat my own time wasting tendencies (especially in this season of deployment!), I've compiled a list of tested and trusted ways to waste your day.

1. Don't spend time with God.

Prioritize Instagram, tv, and housework over everything. Remember, your time is best wasted when you're ignoring God.

Am I the only one that struggles with wasting my time like this? I've done my quiet time at night for as long as I can remember because it's when I'm least distracted, most focused, and have the most time to myself. But lately, at the end of the day I seem to either forget my quiet time or come up with an excuse not to do it. I am so prone to scrolling through Facebook for hours before it ever crosses my mind to open my Bible or prayer journal.

2. Focus on the negative.

Stew over the car that cut you off in traffic. Commiserate with me, myself, and I when Junior disobeys again. Make sure you carry that frustration until you can dump it on your husband. Keep in mind, the pettier the inconvenience, the better of a time waster it is.

I envy Auston's natural ability to let it roll off his back when he's been inconvenienced or slighted. His feathers are never ruffled, he's never frazzled, he's the coolest of cucumbers. Letting things go does not come easily for me. Praise God for the work of the cross and how radically He's changed my heart! If it weren't for Him, I'd probably never get over the time my brother stole my Password Journal back in 2005 😜

3. Don't reach out to someone in need.

Your time and resources are best spent on Y O U . That mom with the week-old baby doesn't need someone to keep her company when her husband returns to work. Oh, and that older lady that sings in the choir every Sunday definitely doesn't need help around the house despite her crippling arthritis. Not lending a hand is a great way to waste time.

There is always someone who could use an encouraging word, an afternoon of help, or maybe just someone to keep them company. It's not hard to shoot a text message. It's not hard to double up your dinner recipe. And it's not hard to lend an evening to the new mom at church. If you can't think of anyone, ask around! Someone knows someone in need.

Did I miss any big time wasters? Let me know!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Liebster Award Nomination

I'm about to type something that I never expected to type... I was just nominated for a blogging award! I am overwhelmed and humbled!

The Liebster Award is an award specifically for up-and-coming bloggers. It's a great way to reinforce that wonderful sense of community that all bloggers crave. Plus, it's an opportunity to show some love to your favorite bloggers.

I was nominated by Stephanie of Lattes, Lilacs, & Lullabies. We recently met in a Facebook blogging group and I immediately fell in love with her style of writing, her very unique outlook on motherhood (go read a few of her posts... you'll find out what I mean), and her dreamy blog design! I can't thank you enough for nominating me, Stephanie! I'm so excited to continue the chain.

Here are the rules:

1. On your blog, thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.

2. Link back to the blogger that awarded you.

3. Upload the award to your blog. This can be done by writing a post about the award, and uploading the award image in your sidebar.

4. Answer the questions you have been asked by your nominator in a blog post so we can get to know you better.

5. Nominate 5 blogs with less than 200 followers, that you believe deserve to receive this award.

6. Notify the owners of those 5 blogs that you’ve nominated them so they can accept their award. Bloggers can be nominated more than once, giving their readers more chances to learn more about them.

My Questions From Stephanie

Why did you decide to start a blog?

I was drawn to blogging by the idea of becoming a part of a community of other writers - specifically other women with similar interests. It's a decade-old dream of mine that I had previously failed at. Between multiple unsuccessful attempts, school, work, marriage, and having a baby, I put my dream on the back burner. But I'm in a different place than I was a few year ago. My husband is gearing up for deployment, and motherhood (which is already isolating) is about to get even lonelier. So the desire to meet other like-minded people has been rekindled with a passion.

How did you choose the name for your blog?

When I was deciding what I wanted to write about, the most specific category I could fit my interests into was homemaking. But, I'm young (I was only 19 when I wrote my first post!) so I knew I still had/have a lot to learn. That's why I chose to give myself the title and my blog the name Homemaker in the Making.

What's your family's favorite holiday tradition?

Auston and I have only been married for 1½ years so we haven't had much opportunity to form traditions. However, growing up in a family with 7 kids, my favorite tradition was that we would all sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve. Except, we didn't do much sleeping, instead we played board games, ate way too much candy, and created priceless memories!

What is your favorite thing to cook/bake for your family? And, are you willing to share the recipe with us?

My absolute favorite meal to cook is surprisingly unexciting dish. It's called Spicy Sauteed Chickpeas with Ground Beef and Cilantro, but we always call it Ground Beef & Chickpeas. I make this at least once a week. It's super fast, super easy, and we both love it. That's a win, win, win!

What place in the world would you most like to visit, and why?

If I was put on a plane today and told that it would fly me wherever I wanted, I'd probably choose Italy. The food, the historical landmarks, the architecture, the artwork, and [what I know of] the culture are all so appealing. I blame this infatuation with Italy on my freshman Humanities Professor. I'll never know how she was able to make each Italian century more exciting than the next, but she did!

Thank you again, Stephanie, for nominating me! I had so much fun reading your answers on your blog and answering your questions in return. Now, for my nominations! (I'm playing a little fast and loose with the number of followers since I know some of y'all have a good bit more than 200)

Rebecca at Happily Evelyn After

Lauren at Peanut Co.

Melissa at Melissa Calvert

Stephanie at From Where I Stand

Melinda at House on Herzog

Okay ladies, I've listed your questions below should you choose to accept this nomination! I look forward to finding out more about you all!

1. Who is your #bloggoals and why?

2. What's your favorite Disney movie?

3. What inspires you to write?

4. Finish the sentence, "In a perfect world..."

5. How did you choose the name for your blog?

Happy blogging, y'all!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Why I Give My 6 Month Old Alone Time

Have you ever heard the joke about the little boy who wouldn't talk? It goes like this:

A woman gave birth to a baby boy whom she loved dearly. All was smooth sailing until his 1-year-old check up. When the doctor asked if she had any concerns about her child, the mom responded with, "Well, Doc... he won't talk." The doctor thoroughly examined the baby but he could find nothing wrong with him, so he told the lady to give it some time and he'd talk eventually.

But by his 2nd birthday, nothing had changed. Once again, the mother brought her son to the doctor. He was examined again, but still the doctor could find nothing wrong with the boy. The doctor told the mom the same thing as last time, "Give him some time. Sooner or later he'll talk."

This went on for the next three years with no changes from the boy. When he was 5 and it was finally time for him to start preschool, his mom was a ball of nerves. On the morning of his first day, the woman kept thinking, "What if the other kids pick on him? Will he understand what's going on? How will he be able to ask for help." She was so jittery that she accidentally overcooked her son's breakfast.

When she set his plate in front of him, he startled her by saying, "You burnt my toast!" The mom was astonished. "What did you just say?!" He then repeated himself, "I said, you burnt my toast." His mom was flummoxed. "If you knew how to talk all this time... why haven't you said anything?"

The little boy shrugged. "Up until now everything was perfect."

I never intended on taking parenting advice from a corny joke... but when I heard that one a few weeks ago, it stopped my in my tracks. Let me explain why.

Ezra is just days shy of turning 6 months old and he still can't roll over onto his belly or his back. He's nowhere close to being able to push up onto his hands and knees to scoot (much less crawl), and he's lightyears away from having the core strength (or the desire) to sit up unassisted. In and of itself, none of this really concerns me. Ezra is the most easygoing baby I've ever met. He's often a little lazy, he loves to be held (and I'm always happy to hold him), and he's content to lay on the floor without trying to roll. For Pete's sake, I can still leave him on the couch without worrying about him falling off... and he's 6 months old! Crazy, right?

I don't want you to think I've been turning a blind eye towards this. I've paid attention to all of the baby milestones since day one and I've talked to his pediatrician about my concerns during each well-baby visit. But with his laid-back personality, I really wasn't sure there was a problem at all.

But, there was a problem.

Me

(Even just reading that stings.)

I didn't want to believe that I could be the problem, but I couldn't help noticing some remarkable changes in him when a friend of mine came over two weeks ago. Rather than sitting on the living room floor and doing tummy time with my son, I stayed on the couch with my friend and let Ezra play by himself. Normally, when Ezra does tummy time, I'm right there next to him, handing him toys, continually talking to and engaging with him, reading him books, making his stuffed animals dance and sing, and moving anything that's out of reach close enough for his chubby, uncoordinated hands to grab. And normally, he only holds his head up for a maximum of 3 minutes before he lays down to take a break. But that day... he was a totally different baby.

He watched me for the first few minutes and I returned his glances with smiles, with "Hey, Bubby!"s, and with silly noises. But he soon became engrossed in his toys and forgot all about me. Even though he wasn't looking at me, I continued to watch him as he held his noggin up off the ground for a solid 25 minutes before resting on the floor for just a moment. I also witnessed him try to move himself closer to the out of reach toys (hello, problem solving skills!!). To say I was shocked would be an understatement!

"That silly monkey has been playing me this whole time!" I laughed to myself. I was finally starting to realize that I was the mom in the joke. I had made life "perfect" for my baby. Why would he ever exert himself to get a toy if he knows mama is going to hand it to him? Why would he hold his head up to look at the book if he knows mama will move it to the side so he can look at the pages even while laying down.

I am by no means the first one to figure this out. I took to Google for some e-research and sure enough, it's a pretty well known fact (to everyone but me apparently) that children learn a skill/concept/task better when they learn it by themselves.

This was tough for me since I have the tendency to confuse what's best with what's hardest (e.g. what's most taxing on me). It feels unnatural to leave him to his own devices when I see him struggling to reach for a toy, even if I know that I'm only letting him be by himself for 5 minutes (and that it's giving me a quick reprieve, too).

Hopefully the "problem" was caught early enough that his milestones will all even out before long. Until then, I'll keep doing my best, inevitably making mistakes, and learning as much as I can along the way.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fave Freebies Friday

So I've been doing some brainstorming this week and I think I've come up with a better posting schedule! Although, to be fair, anything would be better than my current routine of posting whenever inspiration strikes and ignoring my blog the rest of the time. So here's what I've come up with!

To keep myself disciplined, I'm going to write a blog post every Friday. I'm still toying with my schedule, so I may end up changing things around a bit before I find my sweet spot. For now, this is what you can expect!

The first Friday of every month, I'm going to write a list post. For example, 5 Lies About Formula Feeding (And 5 Awesome Benefits!) is a list post!

The second Friday of every month (which is this post!) I'm going to write a Fave Freebies Friday post! Whether it's a free printout, a free activity, or maybe even a few giveaways, the fourth Friday will be all about free! I think I'm most excited about this monthly post!

The third Friday of every month, I'm going to write about homemaking. Homemaking is a pretty broad category, but I like that! These posts will range from motherhood, being a wife, home decór, recipes, diys, baby advice, etc. I wanted this category to be open ended, so "homemaking" is as specific as I can make it.

The fourth Friday of every month, I'll write about something deployment or military related. I'll be sharing my monthly mini celebrations, what deployment is teaching me, or maybe the care packages I send. This weekly post will change once Auston is back home, but since deployment is now a big part of my life, I figured it needed its own monthly post.

Eventually I'd like to write more than just once a week, but between the baby, the deployed husband, and my insanely packed summer (I planned a lot of trips to keep me busy while Auston's away!) I just can't do more than one post per week. So that's what I'm committing to!

Phew, okay, I've finished my preamble, now it's time for the fun stuff!... err, the free stuff!

To start off my very first Fave Freebies Friday, this month's freebie , I've reached out to Megan at Small Town Charm and she's given me the go ahead to share this swoon worthy print with you... for F R E E !

That lettering, y'all! I'm dying over here!

Right now I'm re-doing my laundry room - think dark grey, crisp, clean white, a few rustic-y accents - and this print is for sure going up in there! There are few things that could possibly make me want to do laundry, but a pretty picture with an encouraging quote will definitely make doing this chore a little cheerier.

You guys should check out the other prints at Small Town Charm while you're at it. Megan's calligraphy prints aren't just beautiful, they're also super affordable which I am all about (hello, enlisted Army salary!). Or, you could brighten your Insta feed and follower her Instagram.

If you use this print in your house, send me a picture! I'd love to see it up somewhere while I wait for my laundry room to be done!

Until next Friday, happy blogging!

Deployment Bucket List

With Auston deployed, I need a solid plan to keep myself busy. I wasted his last TDY sitting in front of the tv and scrolling through Facebook and I don't want to repeat that while he's overseas. Plus, if I don't plan activities ahead of time, my hermit ways will win and I'll never leave the house other than going to church or the grocery store. For my own sanity and for Ezra's sake, I need to be intentional about getting out of the house a few times a week.

I've made a list of things that I'd like to do during this deployment. Some are boring, some are fun, and some are pipe dreams. But this way, when I find myself with too much idle time, I won't have to try to come up with an activity; I'll already have a bunch of ideas!

Memorize a full chapter of the Bible

Journal every day

Attend PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel is a women's Bible study on base that all of the chaplain's wives lead (and many other military women go to) but I have yet to attend. Oops!)

Run 3 times a week

Travel to a new place with Ezra and explore the local sights, just the two of us

Memorize 1 new verse every week

Read Wuthering Heights and Pride & Prejudice (I'm still not sure how I made it this far - as a homeschooler no less! - without reading either)

Attend at least 4 FRG meetings (another military group for spouses that I've never attended... military wife of the year here, folks!)

Take Ezra to Disney World

Try 3 new recipes every month

Repaint the baseboards and doors

Celebrate each month down with a little mini celebration (I'm thinking cupcakes and icecream!)

Send 3 care packages to Auston

Paint and add shelving to the laundry closet

Take Ezra to the splash pad and/or beach at least twice a month

Lose the baby weight

Write at least 2 poems a month (an old hobby that I've let die and I'm hoping to revive)

If you can think of anything fun, practical, or hands-on that will help me fill my time while Auston is away, I'm open to anything and I would love suggestions!

Monday, April 10, 2017

$25 Yard Makeover

There's no nice way to say it... our front yard was an eyesore. In our front yard alone, we have a dozen-or-so monster sized oaks and pines that drop leaves, twigs, and even branches all year 'round. While I appreciate the constant shade... my lawn does not. Between the lack of sunlight and an unending cover of leaves, the only green things that will grow in our yard are weeds.

I've come to terms with the fact that my yard will never win yard of the month, but that doesn't mean that I'm ready to give up on it.

I decided to set a $50 budget, but I only ended up spending HALF of that. I'll take you step by step through how I created a stunning yard for only $25!

The first thing you need to do is decide what part of the yard is most important to fix. Since the grassy area of my yard is a lost cause, I decided to stick with the flower beds. As you can see in the picture below, we originally had nothing in front of our deck. Not only did it look unfinished, but you could see clear through to the old, rotting lattice and the weeds and random objects that had accumulated underneath. This was our biggest problem area.

After checking at Lowe's, I realized there was no way I could buy enough flowers to cover this eyesore and stay within my budget, so I had to think outside the box. That brings me to the next step.

Step number two is to work with what you have. I know that everyone's resources are different, but you might be surprised with what you can come up with. Even if all you find is an old garden pot, you can plant a pretty annual in it and still save yourself the cost of a brand new flower pot. For us, working with what we had meant digging up some Irises from the massive patch at the end of our driveway. I dug up enough of them to cover the front portion of the deck and I'm happy to say they handled the transfer just fine.

The third thing you can do to save money is remember that one man's trash is another man's treasure. One of our neighbors was getting rid of their 10 year old edging bricks because they were ready to spruce up their yard, too. Though the bricks have some stains and are showing some wear, they were still a big step up from our unkempt yard (plus, they were FREE!).

It only took us 45 minutes to carry the bricks to our yard and set them up. Plus, there were just enough for us to do our entire flower bed. That is sweat equity at it's finest, y'all!

All we needed to buy at that point was 1 bag of gardening soil for the Irises and 6 bags of red mulch for the flower bed. With just a few inexpensive fixes and some elbow grease, we dramatically improved our curb appeal.

This is what we spent on our supplies:

Irises - Free

Blocks - Free

Gardening Soil - $4.48

Mulch - $20

If you're looking to spruce up your yard this Spring, I want to encourage you that you really can do it and you don't have to spend an arm and a leg along the way. Sometimes it's the smallest things that have the biggest impact.

What outdoor projects are you doing this Spring? I would love to hear in the comments!

Friday, April 7, 2017

5 Lies About Formula Feeding (and 5 Awesome Benefits!)

My mom has always been a bit of a hippy. She was in the La Leche League long before it became cool, she chose not to give my siblings and me most of our vaccinations, she used essential oils before anyone had ever heard of Young Living, and she gave birth to my brother and me un-medicated in her home. So it's probably not a surprise that I grew up believing "breast is best".

I would never have said that giving your baby formula was wrong, but I definitely thought less of moms that didn't breastfeed. Which is crazy!... not just because there is N O T H I N G wrong with formula, but also because I had never had a child! Who was I to judge anyone else's parenting choices? But that's not the point... not yet.

When I got pregnant in January of 2016, I started doing my research. I met with a lactation consultant, I read breastfeeding books, I searched through blogs and articles, I even burned my eyes off when I stumbled upon a photo of mastitis. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I went to great lengths to prepare for breastfeeding.

To make a long story short, beastfeeding was not how God intended for Ezra to get his food (you can read about my breastfeeding and Failure To Thrive story here). And because my way of thinking has been so dramatically changed, I thought that I'd share my newfound knowledge with you!

5 Lies About Formula Feeding

1. You're a selfish mother if you feed your baby formula.

Maybe you're like me and you don't have the option to breastfeed. Or maybe you work and can't pump enough to feed your baby. Unless you plan to sit around eating bonbons and ignoring your child, putting your baby on formula is not on inherently selfish choice. Most of us have been indoctrinated to associate formula with an unloving, neglectful mom that doesn't make time for her baby, but that's seldom the case. Feeding your baby is feeding your baby. It really shouldn't matter where the milk is coming from. If you are getting food in your baby's belly, then you are doing your job, mama!

2. Your baby won't get adequate nutrition if you feed him formula.

Say what? Y'all, this is 2017 not 1853 when babies were fed sweetened condensed milk as formula. I still believe that breastmilk is nutritionally superior to formula, but that doesn't mean that formula doesn't have everything that your baby needs. And in my case, my breastmilk was actually lacking the fat that Ezra needed to grow. Fastforward 6 months and I have a healthy, happy baby and it's all thanks to formula!

3. You don't love your child as much if you give him formula.

I can't believe that I actually have to clarify this, but I do. Even pre-baby Mary believed this baloney. You wanna know why? Because we're constantly being told this crap! We mothers are being fed this biased, one-sided narrative and it's dangerous for babies like Ezra. Feeding your baby formula does not mean you love your baby less and breastfeeding your baby does not mean you love them more. I know some stellar moms and some crummy moms and they fall on both sides of the spectrum equally.

4. Your baby won't become emotionally attached to you if you feed him formula.

This is another lie that's used to make moms believe that formula is a grave and dangerous evil. I know every mom feels this way, but I can't imagine any mom loving her child more than I love my son. And Ezra is just as attached to me as I am to him. My little man is already a grade A momma's boy. When he's playing, he looks up to make eye contact and smile at me approximately every 7 seconds. Emotional attachment has little (dare I say nothing?) to do with a method of feeding and all to do with how you love, care for, and show affection to your child.

5. People will stare at you if you feed your baby formula in public.

This one may or may not be a lie, but here's the deal; people stare at breastfeeding moms too. For some reason, the general public (e.g. pre-baby Mary) have a lot of unwarranted opinions on how, what, and where a mom feeds her baby. The good news is this is easy to get over. If your baby is eating, then nothing else will matter to you. That's how you know you're a good mama!

There are many, many benefits to formula feeding, but these are my favorites!

1. Peace of mind

When I breastfed Ezra, I thought that he was getting more than enough. In reality, he was getting almost nothing at all. When you formula feed, you can see and control exactly how much food your baby eats. This has brought so much comfort to me over the past 5 months.

2. Daddy can help feed, too (and relatives, and sitters!)

This is one of the best things about feeding Ezra formula. Auston gets to experience just how wonderful it is to hold his son close to him, gaze into his sweet brown eyes, and feed him. Not only is it good for the dads to bond with their babies, but it's good for you, too! Now you can share those nighttime feedings. Can I get a "whut whut!"?!

3. You can eat and drink whatever you want.

For me it was caffeine. I couldn't have a smidge of anything caffeinated or poor Ezra would wind up constipated and unable to sleep. This might not sound like that big of a sacrifice (and believe me, I'd give up Coke a million times over for my son) but it is really hard to stay awake those first few weeks without any caffeine. I mean HARD. Now that he's on formula, I don't have to worry about dairy or caffeine or anything else that some moms do.

4. It's less stressful to feed your baby in public.

I dreaded breastfeeding Ezra in public. He hated the cover and would pull at it, I'd inevitably flash someone, he'd be screaming. It was real fun. I don't think I need to expand on just how much easier it is (and how much less opportunity there is for flashing) when you feed your baby formula.

5. You don't have to worry about pumping at work.

I'm blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom so I've never dealt with this personally. But I remember how hard it was to find the time and privacy to pump when I was on vacation over Christmas. And I can only imagine how much harder it would be at a workplace, day in and day out. If your baby is on formula, you never have to worry about pumping (or washing the bajillion pump pieces) ever again!

What are your favorite things about formula feeding your baby?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Essential Oils for Acne Treatment

I'm not normally one to freak out over a zit, but last week when a volcano appeared on my chin just 2 days before our family photos, even I started to panic. I knew I needed to take action to clear it up before I was in front of the camera.

I poured Sweet Almond Oil into a 10ml roller bottle and added 5 drops of Lavender Oil - my all time faaavorite oil - with 5 drops Tea Tree Oil.

Why Lavender and Tea Tree? Lavender Oil is well known for its healing qualities and its ability to minimize scars and soothe irritated skin. Tea Tree Oil has cleansing properties and many use it for acne, sunburns, or even regular household cleaning!

For 2 days I used the oil roller twice a day (morning and night) and by the time we arrived for our photo shoot, the blemish was all but gone! This recipe was a L I F E S A V E R!

What oils do you use for blemishes?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Why I Bought Cow Udder Cream

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. No, I don't own any cows. And, no, this isn't an April Fool's Day prank. But I did buy cream made for a cow's udders.

I have fallen so head over heels in love with Bag Balm that I feel like I'm in a committed relationship with it.

About a week ago, Ezra started to get a bad diaper rash after having a reaction to something he ate (I'm almost positive that bananas are the culprit). I tried everything under the sun: Desitin, baby powder, airing his bottom out, breastmilk, lavender oil, an oatmeal & baking soda bath... but nothing was helping. It got so bad that his whole bottom was red with 2 dime-sized open, weepy sores.

I felt so guilty that I couldn't fix it, and guiltier that I might be making it worse by trying so many things. I had exhausted all of my options and my sweet son was the one who had to suffer through it.

While I had Ezra outside for some diaper-free time, my neighbor, a newly retired nurse of 30+ years, came over for a chat. I mentioned Ezra's diaper rash and how nothing was helping. She ran back over to her house and came out carrying a green, square tin. She scooped out some yellow, petroleum jelly-ish goop and rubbed it onto his bottom. "Don't panic when I tell you what this is." She said, "This is actually made for chapped cow udders. It's called Bag Balm and I used to use it on my daughter's diaper rashes. Nowadays, I use it on burns, cuts, and even on our cats."

I was skeptical, of course. But I was willing to try anything to find some relief for Ezra's sore bum. I made sure that I cleaned him well and reapplied the balm with every diaper change and within the first few hours the open sores were completely closed. By 48 hours, the rash had shrunk to 1/3 of the original size and was no longer red, just slightly pink. There was no more pain or tenderness.

I haven't had time to use it on anything else, but I'm already a believer. I can't imagine what would have happened to Ezra's bottom if my neighbor hadn't shared this with me... so I think it's only fair I share this information with you, too. This stuff works miracles, y'all!