Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Green in '14

For the past 8 years or so, I've wanted to make some major changes with our lifestyle.  I've made small changes before but they seemed to never stick.  A part of my problem was that I was on my own with these changes.  It's very hard to make changes for an entire family, whether good or bad, with only one person.

After doing some reading and research, my sweet husband is finally on board!  I can't tell you how excited I am for this and what it's going to do for my family.

My goal and challenge for this coming year is to get rid of all the chemicals, preservatives, and junk that fills our lives.  This is no easy task and not a cheap one either.  At least with some of the items that we will be purchasing.

Our plan is to replace household items with safer alternatives as we run out.  We've already changed toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and conditioners.  We still have many more items to change out.

Here are the things that we have changed:

Ed went with a natural toothpaste from a local health foods store.  It's a nice option but also pricey.  It was about $4 for a single tube.

To save money, I made toothpaste.  It taste a lot like baking soda and Ed said that my breath, though did not stink, smelled like oil.
                                     To make homemade natural toothpaste
                                      mix together- 1/4 c baking soda, 1/4 c organic coconut oil, 1 T sea salt, few drops                                       peppermint oil.

Body Wash:
We picked up some Dr. Bronners soap and Ed really likes it.  I still have some of my body wash/soap to use up before I switch over.

Shampoo & Condition:
Ed is using the Dr. Bronners soap to also wash his hair and for shaving.  I'm a bit more leery to wash my hair with an all purpose soap.  I guess I really won't know unless I try it. I opted for a homemade shampoo and conditioner.

                                     For the shampoo
                                     Mix together 1 T baking soda, 2 cups water, 10 drops essential oil of your choice.
                                     After wetting your hair in the shower, put the mixture on and work through your                                            hair.  I had a large measuring cup that I used but I think a squeeze bottle would be                                        easier to use.  Some websites say to use 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water.  I                                            think this will be an experiment until I get the amount that my hair needs.

I used it for the first time today and was surprised.  I thought that it would be hard to work through my hair or that it would be full of tangles.  I was told that there will be a few weeks for your hair to adjust to this and that it will probably feel differently the second time that I use it.  

                                    For the conditioner
                                    Mix together 2 T apple cider vinegar, 2 cups water, 10 drops essential oil of your                                         choice.  Work through hair.  I let it sit on my hair while I washed my body.  Rinse                                         with cold water.

Friday, December 20, 2013


This week Ed officially finished his coursework for his Master's degree in City & Metropolitan Planning.  This has been a long process which I am grateful for.  After his coursework all that he has to finish is his professional project which is like a Master's thesis.  He plans on walking in May and graduating shortly after.

Living here has been a huge sacrifice.  It hasn't been easy but I can't help but feel this has been a blessing.  I've learned so much through this experience.  It has humbled me greatly.  I do look forward to this ending.

Christmas is next week.  I love this time of year when I can celebrate my Savior's birth.  I cherish the time I have with my family.  We're keeping it simple this year; there isn't much that we can do on our college student income.  Even with it simple, I'm excited to see my children enjoy Christmas morning.

I've been aching for trip.  It's been two years since our last trip when we went to Venezuela and Aruba.  I have planned several trips over the last 24 months knowing that they won't happen; at least not now.  Depending on my mood or what we're studying in homeschool determines where we're going next.

Ezra is starting to sleep a little better at night.  Naps are going well with a good schedule.  He is taking a 1 to 2 hour nap in the morning and then a 1 to 2 hour nap in the afternoon.  My poor system is messed up though.  I wake up every hour whether I need to or not.  It takes me several hours to fall asleep at night, sometimes not until 2am.  I then sleep until 10a.  I believe that my circadian rhythm is out of balance. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A year

It's been a year since I last blogged.  Oops!

We are still living in student housing at the University with a new graduation date set for the spring or possibly the summer.  Ed is working a few jobs at the University but we're still living on student loans.  This has been beyond hard!  He finally has a topic for his professional project (like a Master's Thesis) which will be on International Development.  He is hoping to find a job in International Development soon.

My sweet baby boy was born February 6 and is now 9 months old.  He is a joy in my life, although I wish he's sleep through the night.  He is super happy and is a wonderful addition to our family.

I have started to homeschool Olivia and I LOVE it!  Her anxiety became unbearable over the summer. I couldn't even leave the room to nurse Ezra without her freaking out.  3 weeks before school was suppose to start, we decided to keep her at home.  It has been a great choice for our family.  Her anxiety is nearly gone and she is learning so much!

Lucia is in preschool and loving it.  She just turned 4 last month.  We were able to have a huge birthday party for her which she loved.  She has been so much happier over the last year.  (She wasn't a happy baby or a happy toddler)

I have been in physical therapy for months due to some complications from my pregnancy.  The good news is that I'm finally able to sit on the floor without being in pain and it is becoming easier for me to stand up (after being on the floor).  My back still hurts while I sleep, but it's getting better.

I have started to go to the gym at 6am three times a week.  This is pure torture for me!  One-I get very little sleep at night so I much rather be in bed and Two-I have to modify many of the workouts because I am too weak to do them.  But I know that this is good for me so I have hopes that I will see changes in my body soon.

Ed's grandmother traveled from Venezuela and visited us for a few weeks.  It was wonderful!  I cried when we had to say good-bye.  I love that my children have 3 living great-grandparents.  Olivia and Lucia have met all of them and I am happy that Ezra got to meet one.  They all live in Venezuela.

I am signed up to begin class at the University (not the same one that Ed is attending) in January.  I'm excited to go back.
Ezra--age 9 months

Olivia--age 6

Lucia--age 4

My family!
Perhaps I'll be better at keeping up with this.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

September and part of October

Apparently I haven't been very good at keeping up with this blog.  I have good intentions, but it doesn't happen.  Right now I find myself with 50 minutes of spare time, which has become very rare.

Okay September.  School was a huge challenge for Olivia.  She'd cry every morning when I dropped her off no matter what I said to her.  It would tear me to pieces seeing her that way, but I kept a strong face and tried to encourage her.  It eventually got to point where I had to tell her that I wasn't going to listen to the crying anymore.  That seemed to help.  What made the biggest impact was asking her what her last name is. Odd, yes, but this worked.  She told me what our last name is and I told her because of this last name we can do hard things.  She thought about it and proudly walked into her classroom, tear free, and told her teacher that she could do hard things.  We talked about this later in the day and I explained to her that some things might seem hard right now, but soon they will be easy.  We have been tear-free almost every day since!

We found out the gender of the baby in early September too.  We're having a BOY!  I'm very excited.  After having my two girls and planning on this being my last child; I really wanted a boy.  This will be the first grandson on both sides.  My mom currently has 9 granddaughters!

Olivia started swim lessons again after having a break for 2 months.  She is s-l-o-w-l-y making progress.  Coming from a girl who was afraid of getting her face wet, the progress she has done has been remarkable.

October 9-- Third week of lessons Olivia finally puts her face in the water.  She said it was amazing!

Lucia decided to potty train herself.   I'm not complaining.  Lucia is stubborn and pretty much does things on her own timetable.  One day she decided that she was going to wear panties and go potty.  I wasn't able to argue with her.  I made her a potty chart that she worked diligently to complete.  The reward was swim lessons with Olivia.  We're now starting a new chart to record the nights that she wakes up dry.  She really wants to wear panties to bed like Olivia but this will come with time.

Olivia was recognized at her horse lessons this past week.  She was their 2000th session this year and to celebrate there was cake, balloons and a bag full of goodies for her.  This week is their last session for the year.  I complain to myself every week about the hour drive (each way) but once we're there it's total bliss.  I look forward to next May when sessions begin again.

Olivia at Resolution Horse -- Their 2000th session rider this year.

Lucia and Olivia with two of the volunteers.  Patty in the blue and Terry in the brown.  They have been wonderful to work with!

Lucia started her first swim lessons this week.  She is doing really well.  She won't jump into the pool unless helped and won't put her head under the water, but this will come with time.  I was determined to start her much earlier than Olivia to hopefully get rid of the fear early.

Lucia-- first swim lessons with her teacher Amie

I have been carpooling with a lady in my apartment complex to and from school.  I take the kids to school and she picks up.  I am not a morning person but I LOVE this time in the morning with Olivia.  It's 20 minutes that we get to talk.  I'm using the time in the car to work on various things like memorization, reading, math facts, or just to talk.  On Tuesday I asked her what she wanted to talk about and she wanted to talk about the circulatory system.  She's always been fascinated with the human body.  You would think that she'd want to become a doctor in the future but her reply is a cowgirl mommy.

September was also the Brigham City Temple open house which was a very special treat for our family!

Olivia, Nicol and Lucia at the Brigham city open house.

I guess we're caught up now.  Hopefully I can stay on top of this a little better....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School Not Going Very Well

All summer I would hear from Olivia, "When do I start Spanish school?"  She was even more excited the day that she got to meet her teacher and tour her new school.

For the past 10 years I was convinced that I would home-school my children.  I wasn't happy with the education that I received.  I wanted to find what they were passionate about and help them succeed.  When Olivia was 2 years old I started a pre-preschool with her.  She quickly picked up everything that I threw at her.  As time went on we were working on first grade reading and math.

About the time that my husband decided to return to graduate school I knew that I might not be able to home-school.  I know for some they can do it no matter where they live or the situation but I felt that between living in a much much much smaller place and trying to get pregnant and it might be too much for me.  I had severe postpartum depression after Lucia and didn't want to push my children aside.  So it was time for me to think of schools.

Public school honestly was my last option and with grad school we couldn't afford a private school.  I looked into dozens of charters school and still felt lost.  I prayed a lot and took this matter to the temple and felt strongly that Olivia needs to learn Spanish.  This is for many reasons including: it's a part of her heritage, it would be wonderful if she could talk to her grandparents, it will give her an advantage in the future, etc.

So I was off to find dual immersion schools.  My options fell from dozens of options to only 3.  One school was in a horrible area that I'm not even comfortable driving in, the second was a gifted program that she would have to test in and the last option was a charter school.

Olivia tested for the gifted program early in 2012 and we finally received the results in May.  She did WONDERFUL on the test and obviously shows that she is advanced and gifted but because they give first preference to children whose siblings are already attending the school, there wasn't room for her.

I headed to the charter school to see what I thought and fell in love with it.  It truly is a great program for her!  We applied, was accepted and Olivia was beyond excited to attend.

School started last week and today is Olivia's 7th day of school.  Friday I was told that she cried twice during school and all weekend she cried saying that she didn't want to go to school.  Monday was a holiday and therefore no school.  Tuesday morning was filled with sobs and I was informed by her teacher that she cried during school as well.  This morning was horrible wreck!  I had to dress her and literally force her to get into the car.  

I miss having Olivia home but I know that this is the best option for her.  She tells me that the day is too long (it is full day Kindergarten) and that she misses me.  Everyone that I've talked to says to send her to the public school half day program, but there will be no Spanish and she knows that material.

I feel at a loss what to do for her. I want her to be happy because this is tearing me apart, but at the same time I want her to attend this school that I worked so hard for her to attend.  I honestly think it is in her best interest.

What do I do?