An Uncomplicated Life Blog


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Currently, January Edition

What's going down around here, currently

When it rains, it pours right?! Always. I have a bunch of cool posts that are 90% finished, but if you follow me on the 'Gram, you know that Teddy was in the hospital for a weird virus that caused him to be unable to breathe. Check out this post for the details if you missed it. Of course, that happened over MLK day, so all the kids were out of school, and hubby and I had to divide and conquer to get everyone taken care of. Does anyone else's school have TWO days off for MLK? Because we do. That was rough, on many levels! Anywhoo, I've had exactly zero minutes to finish those awesome posts, so here I am, scrambling on a Wednesday to get one out. I thought it'd be appropriate for just a good ol' fashioned life update! Here's what's going on, currently:

Teddy's health status:
He was in super rough shape for 24 hrs but turned a massive corner after a full day and night in the hospital, with the highest level oxygen they'd give an infant outside of the ICU and hourly to every-other-hour breathing treatments. He was negative for flu, negative for RSV, and the virus that caused this remains unidentified. After nearly three days in the hospital, he was able to come home to us! I was so thankful that my husband brought him into the ER when he did... I'm anti-ER trips. Since we have a nebulizer, my stance was to give him breathing treatments hourly until his pedi opened up (they open at 7am, so it would have been about a three hour wait) but he insisted that he should go in. I rolled my eyes and said, "go for it then" and stayed home with our other three kids. He showed improvement from our nebulizer and his lips or fingers weren't turning blue, so I didn't think it was a *true* emergency. Welp, I was wrong and he was right.

Look at that teething slobber! Also, the twins' eye color is insane - they change from green to grey to gold to blue daily

I can't help but think about what would have happened if I'd have been home alone with all four kids and this would have happened... Would I have called 911? Would I have woken up all the other kids, put them in the car and exposed them to all the germs at the ER? No, I wouldn't have. I'd have used our nebulizer and waited until morning. So while all of this was inconvenient timing, I'm SO SO SO thankful it happened during the first week that my husband was actually home in January! With four kids, you've got to divide and conquer to get everyone taken care of. If I was solo, I'm not quite sure how I'd have divided myself. It was a true blessing that this happened when both mommy and daddy were home and able to care for everyone!

A final note about Teddy's hospitalization: I was absolutely FLOORED at the generosity of my Dallas friends. Nearly immediately, I had friends coming over to help me with Henry and Otto, bringing me meals and calling/texting/messaging me if there was anything they could do. Here's something valuable I learned - if a good friend of yours gets into a stressful situation (kid in the hospital, sudden or random divorce/separation, deceased parent or some other tragic event), claim your space. The best things that happened were friends who were like, "I'm coming to take your other kids on a play date, be there in an hour!" or "I'm stopping by with supper for tonight! Any requests or food allergies?" When people asked if they could do anything, I wasn't sure what to say. But when people simply told me what they were doing, I was SO relieved - it was one less thing I had to do. Be that friend. Don't ask - just start doing. And to all the followers who reached out or commented on my post, with positive thoughts or prayers, THANK YOU. Teddy showed no improvement until all those started to pile in. I read every one of them, even if I didn't respond (still trying to catch up!) but felt so loved and supported and lifted up in prayer from y'all. You're truly the best people on the planet. Thanks for making a personality you know on the internet feel loved!

He was 7 or 8 months old here. What a little pumpkin!

Ok, on to lighter and brighter things that are going on this month!

My new skincare routine:
I'm not big on telling people to buy things - there's definitely enough materialism in the world. A few months ago, I crowd-sourced what skincare systems people loved. I got AMAZING responses, all of the brands mentioned were brands I'd be interested in. I went with K'pure Naturals because I loved that there were minimal ingredients, that I could actually pronounce and were all natural (think coconut oil, vitamin E, etc) and it was a four step system, so it included a face wash, toner, serum and moisturizer. It's also cusomizable, so whatever your skin needs are - acne, anti-aging, combo skin) you can change the products to reflect your needs. At checkout, I realized another bonus! It's a small company based in Vancouver, so the prices listed are in Canadian dollars! Currently, if you're in the US, that's a benefit to you. My total price with shipping was $102 for the four step program. But because of the exchange rate, it was only $83 US dollars! That was an unexpected *bonus* 25ish% off. If you're on the hunt for a natural skincare line that is natural, that uses glass over plastic, that you can pronounce everything in it - this is your brand! I cannot speak highly enough of it.

I highly recommend using their skincare line with this rose quartz roller too - it helps the toner and serum set in and feels GREAT, not to mention promotes circulation and the cool stone helps de-puff your face/minimize eye bags. It's on sale for $16 (HALF OFF) and there's an Amazon 5% off coupon to apply too! Yay sales. Def worth the money!

My thoughts on cleanses:
If you checked out this post, you'll know that I did my first juice cleanse ever. Well, not only that, but my first cleanse ever! I generally don't believe in diet gimmicks, and I definitely don't think it's a means for weight loss, but holy heck did I feel and sleep better when I did it and after! In fact, I plan on doing this cleanse every quarter. Next one will be after my trip to New Mexico to visit Jaelan from Making Mrs M at the end of March (I cannot WAIT to see you, my love!)

The BEST diapers we've found:
With Henry and Otto, we only had about 12 months of crossover of two being in diapers, and they weren't the same size at the same time, so both got organic cotton, fragrance free diapers (we used this brand with Henry and this brand with Otto). Having twins is diapers is another story! It's expensive. You burn through your whole stash quickly. I've found that the Kirkland diapers, which are chemical softener and fragrance free, are about the best diapers we've ever used. In fact, I wish I'd have discovered them for the older two, because we used to spend $240/mo on diapers and now, even with twins in diapers, we spend $35. A MONTH. Because you get 180 diapers (full disclosure, that lasts us about weeks so not quite a month) but the cost savings and the quality are so amazing, I just had to share! We've been wholesale club members at several places for years, but just really started using our Costco membership. If you have a large family and like organic products, I highly recommend them, both the diapers and everything else Costco offers. I'm sure soon I'll transition most of my weekly grocery shopping there - especially when the kids hit puberty and REALLY start eating (we already go through several loaves of bread, several gallons of milk and about 40 eggs A WEEK. Good grief, I can't imagine what life will be like when they're teens - and then they bring their friends over! Sweet goodness, we'll have to take out a second mortgage on our home just to feed them!)

Great reads:
I'm currently reading The German Girl, and don't love it. It's very repetitive and a rather distressing story, although I'm only 50 pages in. I'm hoping I get more into the story and it becomes less of a buzzkill. Two reads that I really enjoyed, though, were In A Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman In The Window. In fact, I finished The Woman in the Window in about 3 days, which when you don't have lots of spare or leisurely time (hello, four children) is fairly impressive! Both are thrillers and both are page turners for sure. If you're looking for more great titles, check out this post I wrote and stay tuned; I'm going to do a short list of my most current favorite reads soon! I shared how watching less TV and being on my phone less were goals of mine for better mental health in 2020, and so far I'm sticking to it! I only watch Hometown (I love them as a couple, don't you?) and Vanderpump Rules, because I just can't quit my trashy TV. I'm also in awe that most of the cast is my age or even older (Jax is the same age as my husband! I mean, how do you still act like that?!)

That's what's going down around here lately. I'm feeling good about sticking to my 2020 goals, but - it is still January. I'm looking forward to a healthier February. I hope. And I really, really just want spring to get here. After Christmas I'm like oooookkkkkk we can return to warm weather and long, bright days please! I know I'm not the only one. I'll check y'all next week with all that great content I have lined up, including how to have an indoor herb garden in the winter, a fitness update and some thoughts I have on "gender inclusive" parenting. It's gonna be good!

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Value Of Saying Thank You and I'm Sorry

It's common courtesy to say thank you, and we all know we should apologize when we're wrong - but are you using these two phrases enough?

I'm going to get real with y'all - this post isn't exactly a friendly PSA. This post comes from a place of frustration. I've recently been reminded just how important saying "thank you" is, and it also reminded me that coming out and saying "I'm sorry" is just as important. We all have people who do kind things for us, be it as small as holding a door open or as large as donating a large sum of money to a cause or donating a large chunk of time to help them with a cause that's near and dear to their heart. Saying sorry is equally as important; you've got to admit when you made a mistake and tell the people affected that you know you made that mistake and are sorry for it. But it seems like in today's day and age, people are really reluctant to say either of these things. In fact, I'm currently upset with someone because she has consistently NOT said either to me. I'm going to write about it in hopes that it encourages you to say one or both to whomever might need to hear it from you.

Keeping the details to a minimum to protect identity, let me share what's driving me so batty about this whole "thank you" business, or rather - the lack thereof. There's a person who is in the position to need not just a whole bunch of *my* stuff, but very specifically, stuff I already own and no longer have a use for. Not heavily used, worn or things in a crummy condition. Things that would still be insanely expensive to buy secondhand. Things that I owned and were in like-new condition. It wasn't just one thing or a one time donation to this person - it was a trickle of things over several months. Multiple installments of a wide variety of things. And not once did I ever get a thank you. Not. Once.

At first I didn't notice it. I think because part of me was just kind of relieved to get some of this stuff out of my home, and I was happy to help out. But then something weird happened; this person straight up demanded that I give her some things I was still using, because their situation was changing faster than anticipated. That's when I noticed the rudeness. The entitlement. And most importantly, the outright lack of a single thank you. We're talking THOUSANDS of dollars of stuff, all given for free. And not one damned thank you!

One day, a mutual friend sent me a text and asked me what was going on with the whole thing, and it was reassuring to know that it wasn't all in my head. The behavior of the one party was out of line and tacky, and other people were noticing as much as I was. That conversation got me thinking beyond the value of a thank you, and onto the larger scale of saying "I'm sorry" too. Both are equally important, and both things should be said every day. Yes, every single day.

That stupid book, "Girl, Stop Apologizing"? Sure, you don't need to apologize for yourself or the space you take up, but you absolutely should apologize for your behavior. When you do wrong, you say "I'm sorry" as you admit to your mistakes and the people you wronged.

My marriage isn't perfect, but one thing we both do really well is apologize to each other. It might be right away, it might be later that same day or even the next morning, but I'd say both my husband and myself are excellent apologizers. And a simple "I'm sorry" goes a long, long way - in a marriage, with a family member, in a friendship and perhaps most importantly of all, to your children.

I know I don't parent perfectly. Sometimes I yell way too loud or way too hard. Sometimes my punishments are too harsh. Sometimes I over-react. And in those moments, or shortly after them, I make sure to apologize to my kids. Whatever I'm doing I will stop, kneel down to my kids' level, look them in the eye and tell them I'm sorry for what I did, that I made a mistake and that I love them. I don't even ask for their forgiveness, but guess what? Me compassionately saying I'm sorry nearly always solicits a "That's ok mommy, I forgive you and I love you too!" back from them. And then we all move on and get back to playing.

You know what else? My kids also know how to say thank you. Server brings them a meal? I help them get their shoes on? They get a gift? Yup, from small to big things in life, my kids know the value of saying thank you. And they're learning the value of a sincere apology.

I'm not sure when, where or why it seems like the social grace of saying thank you and I'm sorry fell off the cliff. I don't understand why it's a hard thing to say. Not only does it humble you, but when you humble yourself first, it makes people like you more, want to help/give you more and think more highly of you. There's a tremendous value in saying thank you and I'm sorry. Make it a point to say both of these things everyday and watch your relationships vastly improve. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The 10 Best Essential Oils For Under $10

High quality oils don't have to be expensive! These are the best Revive essential oils for under $10

The biggest myth I believed about essential oils for wayyyyy too long was that they had to be expensive to be great. The multi-level-marketing companies tell you that to justify the prices they charge you, but it's just that - a myth. When I found Revive essential oils, I found that quality (you can read all their GC/MS reports online, unlike Young Living or doTerra) with a price tag that didn't make me choke, balk or my husband roll his eyes. Yes, you can ingest them. Yes, they're legit. Yes, you'll save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year. If you've never tried oils, you're sick of the high MLM price tags or you're simply skeptical they work, I've crafted a list of the best essential oils for under $10, and provided ways on how to use them in your life everyday.


Tea Tree:
Easily, this is one of the oils I use the most. I use it on my face for breakouts, I use it to purify the air if there's a sickness in our home, I use it on cuts to keep infection at bay and I put it on the nozzle of my saline spray that I use up my nose every morning to help keep sinus infections away. Those are just a few of this oil's use - there are many more! I always have at least three bottles on hand, and actually have them stationed around my home for easy access. I use it that much!

This is the other contender for my most used oil. It's called the jack of all trades, because you can literally use lavender on or for just about anything! I use it on my skin to calm puffiness. I put several drops on my pillowcase at night to help me sleep better. I use it in my DIY bug spray that REALLY works, in my DIY acne face wash and in this allergy relief roller. It's amazing topically or in your diffuser. It blends extremely well with other oils for combined use or diffuser blends and it's gentle enough to use on a newborn. 

Another amazing, multi use oil (and definitely one that's in my top 5 most used - I always get the 30ml bottle and go through it within a month or two!) It's another one in my allergy relief roller. It's in my facial toner. It's notoriously exceptional at cleaning - add a few drops to hot water and vinegar and boom, you've got a great surface cleaner. I use it in my fridge freshener too. I diffuse it with Immunity Boost when I want to kill germs and bugs when all the kids have coughs and green snot pouring down their little faces. It's great for energy if you're dragging and when I was pregnant, I'd keep a bottle in my purse and smell it when bouts of nausea would hit. Something about the fresh, clean scent really helped lessen my prenatal nausea! A definite staple in any oil collection, and priced per ml's, one of the best deals too.

Lemon, Lavender and Immunity Boost are some of the oils I get the 30ml bottle of, because I use them so much

Sweet Orange:
This is one of my all time favorite smells! There's no way you can smell this oil and not be happy. It's an immediate mood booster. I love to use sweet orange and patchouli in my diffusers in the morning to set the tone for the day. It's also known to help whiten teeth, so if you add a drop to your toothpaste before brushing, it's a smile brightener. 

One of the best ways to use grapefruit is as a water flavor-er. Did I just make up a word? Probably! I like to add one to two drops to my water container. It freshens it up, and grapefruit is known for promoting weight loss/water balance in the body (ie - a de-bloater). Like most all citrus fruits, it's an excellent cleaner, and I used grapefruit in this DIY garbage disposal cleaner (ever have a stinky sink? Yeah, these are just what you need to clear that out!)

Now hear me out on this one, because I know this is an "acquired taste" oil. Well, not so much the taste, but the smell. When I started with oils, I hated this smell! I just thought, dirty hippy... Now I absolutely love it. It's a grounding oil, and pairs wonderfully with lavender and sweet orange in your diffuser. It's great for your skin, so paired with frankincense and lavender in your skincare routine is a great way to go. It's also a meditative oil, so if you're looking for calming, grounding and finding intention while you meditate, this is a great one for the price, as most other oils in that category go for $25-$80. Definitely the best grounding oil that's budget friendly.

This one goes on the top 5 list with lavender, tea tree,  and lemon (the 5th oil is Immunity Boost but that one is $14 so I can't put it on this list!) My favorite diffuser blend of ALL TIME is rosemary, peppermint and lemon. I diffuse that before we have people over and I'm regularly told my home smells like a spa. It's in my DIY bug spray. It works wonders applied at the temples and the nape of the neck for headache relief. If you have a stomach ache, add a drop to either hot tea or cold water and feel the relief. It's a wonderful oil for the summer months, as it's very cooling. Put a drop under your tongue for better smelling breath. Yup, this one is another staple in my home with all it's amazing uses.

This is the other affordable grounding oil. But the great new is that beyond grounding, it promotes hair growth. Just have a baby and are in that horrible postpartum hair fall out situation? Add some cedarwood to your shampoo. Want longer lashes? Add some cedarwood to your mascara. Hubby starting to go bald? Add some cedarwood to his hair routine. In fact, I have a whole post on hair care, so if you're looking for other hair-growth-promoting ideas, check it out! It's also a promoter of sleep. I have it on my nightstand and add a few drops to my pillowcase, along with lavender. Outside of hair growth and sleep, if sandalwood isn't in your budget, cedarwood is a great replacement that's budget friendly!

I got this oil in my Young Living starter kit, and didn't touch it for two years because I had no idea what to do with it, and it didn't smell good so I never added it to my diffuser. I learned via some oily mom groups that dilluting it (with coconut or a vegetable oil) and applying it to the gums of infants helps with teething. I later learned that it's like a "magnifier" for other oils, meaning if you use a drop of it with, say, lavender, it makes the effects of lavender stronger. If you want to super-charge your oils, add a drop or two of this with your desired oil.

Stuffy nose? Congestion in your chest? Simply want to bring in some "fresh air" to your home? This is a great oil for all of that! If you've ever walked around Northern California and smelled how refreshing that air is, you know the smell of eucalyptus. This oil works wonders for winter colds and congestion, and is a cooling oil so it's great in your diffuser in the summer. FYI - because I know someone will email me about this - this oil is NOT safe for cats, especially if your cat climbs on counters where diffusers are and drink the water/breathe the air directly coming out of it.  

Great quality essential oils DO NOT HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE! There is absolutely no need to spend over $100 to get your oil collection started - or even maintained. All of these oils are staples in my collection and all are under $10, which means you could buy all 10 and not spend $100! Plus, Revive has free shipping. Don't like the oils? That's cool too, you can return them. If you've never tried oils or are skeptical about them, I highly suggest starting with a few of these inexpensive oils and simply play around with them - diffuse them or use them as suggested under each oil. Just switching out your scented candles for diffused oils will make a difference in your home.