Friday, January 31, 2014

Ebble's Favorite Things: Cold Weather Edition

1. Don't let winter weather get you down! Cozy up with a good book and enjoy your time inside. I've been reading quite a bit these last few weeks. Robert Galbraith's book The Cuckoo's Calling was an excellent read! FYI: this book is actually by J.K. Rowling...nice try, but you can't hide your genius from us diehard fans. Rowling sure does know how to grab the reader's attention, and she did not disappoint in this novel. Great character development, fascinating storyline, and she even leaves room for future adventures.
2. Cold temperatures mean dry skin. Costco sells a 2-pack of Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. This is my favorite lotion to use on my ultra-dry skin, and you can even add a few drops of essential oils to give it a great smell. I recommend lavender.
3. If I'm feeling a little chilled, I like to warm up in the bathtub reading a good book and listening to relaxing music. I found this Debussy album at Borders - back in the day when Borders was a thing - and it is still one of my favorites on cold, dreary days. Light a candle for even more relaxation.
4. Fleece-lined leggings. Whether you are taking a walk on a cold day, heading for the ski slopes, or lounging on the couch reading a good book, fleece-lined leggings are a wonderful way to cozy up your winter wardrobe. I have these Athleta leggings and wear them to work, on runs, and to bed...then sometimes I wear them again the next day...They are warm, and they are my favorite pants right now.
5. There is nothing like the perfect cozy blanket. Jeff surprised me on my birthday a few years ago by giving me a "cuddle kit." It came with a Pottery Barn faux fur throw he found on sale (pictured above but no longer available), cuddle coupons I could use any time I wanted to cuddle, and scented candles. The blanket (and cuddles) are still a big hit in our house, and I highly recommend finding a special blanket for cold weather coziness.
6. To keep baby's skin moisturized in the winter, we use a natural body oil from the Honest Company. I love this stuff because it is perfect for adults too. Give your loved one a foot or shoulder rub with this stuff, then cozy on the couch with a glass of wine or...
7. Hot chocolate! Warning: this recipe makes a TON. Share with your friends.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Don't You Know That You're Toxic

Britney Spears is my hero for recording the song "Toxic."

Now let's get Honest. My journey as a mother started the moment Jeff and I decided to have a baby. Since then, our #1 priority has been to protect the health and well-being of our family. The most basic way we can do this is by making sure we have a clean, hazard-free home. The problem? Sometimes cleaning supplies can cause hazards in the home.

My friend J. came over when she found out we were trying to have a baby. She wanted to give me a tutorial on how to "cleanly" clean our house. Before her visit, I was a lover of all things bleach, Clorox wipes, and the like. BUT she showed me the light, and did you know that pure, plain vinegar can do basically the same thing as bleach? And did you know that it is 100% edible, 100% natural, and 100% clean? And mix vinegar with lemon juice, essential oils, or tea tree oil to get twice the grease-fighting, germ-killing action! You can get 2 giant bottles of vinegar at Costco for about $7, and can use it for descaling coffee makers, unclogging drains, stripping soot from a fireplace, killing mold and germs, and removing unpleasant scents from trashcans. The best part? After I clean something with vinegar, I don't have to worry when Everett immediately puts his mouth on the newly sanitized surface...except then I have to sanitize it again.

A few of my friends and family members wonder why I care so much. It is a pretty long explanation, so bear with me here.

I decided to become a vegetarian about 5 years ago after visiting my vegetarian GBFs in Seattle. I was training for a marathon, and went on a 13 mile run along the Puget Sound waterfront. After I finished my workout, I couldn't believe how good I felt. The fresh air mixed with the temperate climate made me feel like Superwoman. I probably could have gone much further, but did not want to keep brunch waiting any longer. All weekend we went to vegetarian-friendly restaurants, ate lots of organic food, and drank SO much champagne with our friends.

 When we arrived home I still felt that leftover energy from my workouts, and I had never felt better in my life! Then a few days later, Jeff and I made a chicken dish with enough leftovers to last for days. I quickly felt my energy dwindle, my body became sluggish, and I was having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.

When you are a runner, you are well aware of the fine tunings of your body. I quickly realized that my energy from a few days prior was actually from eating good food with my friends - food that was free of chemicals, preservatives, and hormones. It was then that I made the decision to buy produce from the organic food section as often as possible (if it was not available in my garden), and to only eat locally raised, hormone-free meat (since this is not easily and cheaply found, I am basically a vegetarian).

So given that back history, when my friend came over to show me how to clean with vinegar, I had already known that making a natural change to my routine yielded positive effects. The fact is we don't really know what products like Bleach and Lysol do to our bodies and our babies over time. We do know that chemicals like bleach were used in warfare to cause harm to the human body. So was my daily bleach spray on the counters causing symptoms I was experiencing that have since disappeared? It is hard to say. I do know for a fact that eating chemicals from produce and hormones from meat was changing the way my body operated, so seeing a connection between chemicals on my counter tops and my basic human health does not seem too far-fetched.

Fast forward two years and here we are! Cloth diapers, clothesline for bleaching our laundry naturally, teething necklaces instead of Tylenol, making our own baby food, compost bin for fertilizing our vegetable garden instead of using chemical fertilizers...All that said, we are definitely not the Granola Patrol. We love the look of a freshly bleached bathroom, and still have bleach on hand for its occasional whitening power. We are ALL about chemicals and hormones in moderation (I ate a hot dog the other day because I felt like it). But the word "moderation" is key. You can never be too careful when it comes to lifestyle choices, and you can never eat too many Oreos (which decidedly do not fall into a natural food group).

Now that you know the Wirth history when it comes to cleaning and eating, let me tell you about my recent mail order binge. I signed up for the Honest Company's monthly shipment of household products, as well as a Birchbox! I have yet to receive the Birchbox, but my initial reactions are that it is only $10/month so why not, and that the shipping is abysmally slow for this impatient girl. However, I already have some LOVE, like, and meh opinions about the Honest Company products I have received thus far. So stay tuned for more from your favorite Granola Patrol President. AAAAAND stay tuned because we might just have some house news for everyone...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

13 Months of Love

Our little guy is 13 months old!

Photo by Uncle John.
Here is Baby Everett in a nutshell:
  • He has 8 teeth.
  • Is somewhere in the 10th percentile for weight, 30th for height.
  • Loves bananas, oatmeal, and carrots.
  • Loves to read books. Goodnight Moon  and Little Quack Counts are his current favorites.
  • Is walking, but still does a lot of crawling.
  • Takes 2 naps a day and still loves to cuddle with his swaddle blankets while sleeping.
  • Likes playing with the cat, flushing the toilet, pulling diapers out of the diaper pail, and turning lights on and off.
  • Can point when you ask where things are, follows directions, and attempts to repeat words and phrases with some amount of accuracy. 
  • Loves playing with other kids, especially his friend Jack.
  • Takes breaks from playing to receive the occasional hug from Mom/Dad/Babysitter. 
  • Likes seeing pictures of machinery (ie tractors) in books, and likes playing with wheeled toys.
  • He is generally happy, and maybe a little busy...

This kid is hardly a baby any more! He is becoming more independent by the day. At his 12-month checkup the doctor asked if Everett was responding to the phrase "No."

"By 'responding' do you mean continuing to do what he is doing while looking at me over his shoulder with a wicked grin?"

He is exploring, learning the boundaries of the world, and pushing those boundaries where he sees fit. It is so much fun having this little being around, it is challenging at the end of each day, but it is oh-so rewarding when he looks at you with adoring eyes and coos, "Hi MummMumm!"

Red cheeks and red ear - Little Man fell asleep in my arms.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Restoration and Renewal

It's a new year, meaning new beginnings, growth, and renewal. New Year's resolutions are about starting fresh and making positive changes in our lives. This year I did not make any resolutions, mainly because I hate feeling like a failure when I am unable to make these dreams a reality. I want  to run a half marathon this year, but I am not resolving to. I want  to practice yoga once a week, but I can't realistically do so.

This New Year is particularly tough for me because I turned 30. Yeah, my birthday is on New Year's Day. Try going out on New Year's Day. You can't! Everything is closed, everyone is hung over, friends are often out of town, and the birthday gets forgotten. It never really bothers me because this is how it has always been. We can usually celebrate the night before with everyone else. However, this year Jeff threw me an awesome surprise party on my actual birthday, and I felt very loved and honored. I am so blessed to have such a thoughtful husband!

The day was also bittersweet. The Big 3-0 officially makes me an adult. This basically means I have no chance of getting a date with Barney Stinson, and I no longer have an excuse for making bad choices (like dating Barney Stinson). I should technically be in my life career making good money, and my uterus will now begin to wither. And here comes January 1st with everyone making resolutions to diet and exercise, while Everett plays with my baby pooch.

Considering that I am now an adult, and evaluating all that has transpired in my personal life over the last few weeks, I have been examining my life with a fine-toothed comb. Am I where I thought I would be? Is this the life I want to have?

I do not know the answers.
I do not know where life will lead me, and I do not know what things will look like when I get there. Heck, I don't even know if I'll have a roof over my head this year! But in all this chaos and uncertainty, I vow to be positive and open minded about the journey, to cut out sources of negativity in my life, to have faith in times of trouble, and to love every step of the way.

We hiked the Grand Canyon a couple years ago. Definitely a worthy resolution if you are looking for one!
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