Beau at 16 Months

It’s official! Beau is no longer a baby. He is definitely a toddler and all boy! It seems like he has changed so much since he turned the Big 1 just four months ago. He’s crazy smart, very independent and always on the go. He makes parenting more of a joy but also a challenge each day. Since he’s got my temperament and stubbornness, he can make discipling so difficult at times. Time outs and spanks just don’t even phase him most of the time. (In fact, I’ll just take this time to publicly say a big I’m Sorry and Thank You to my mom for putting up with my tantrums as a toddler! 🙂 ) Also, I am constantly learning not to hover! Beau is always getting into things and climbing on things and I catch myself saying “don’t do that” or “be careful” or “don’t touch”! I want to let him be adventurous and explore and get messy and climb and fall and learn to get hurt and that I’ll be there when he inevitably does. But, it’s hard to just let him learn on his own without always feeling like I have to be there to scoop him up at the first whimper or letting him make a mess because it’s fun and he’s being creative… even though I just see extra clean up time!

At 16 months:

  • You are just such a little boy! You love all things that go- cars, trucks, airplanes, motorcycles, school buses. You love to wrestle and play rough and tumble. Funny story: We were at Gymboree Play & Music the other day and at the end of class all of the adults lift the large parachute up and down over all of the children. One of the little girls was just laying on her back watching the parachute fly up and down and Beau ran over and laid on top of her and say “aaaghhhhh” like he wanted to wrestle and the little girl was so scared. I thought it was hilarious and had to reassure other parents that he wasn’t assaulting her, he was just trying to play!

  • You love to be messy! You want to eat on your own and smear it all over, you like to spill your water and splash it all over your tray, and you think burping and tooting is funny. Good news, you aren’t a picky eater at all and will eat everything we eat!
Messy boy!

Messy boy!

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  • You are so smart! You talk ALL THE TIME! You love to do learning activities like reading books, playing with shapes, playing with animals, and playing on the ipad. You almost know all of your letters and can either point to the correct one when I ask you or if I hold up a letter you can tell me what it is. For some reason, you are obsessed with letters U and V. You like to carry them around and say “hi U”, “hi V” and you point them out every time you see those letters on something. You are now playing for a lot longer by yourself and you play intentionally. Like getting out the barnyard and animals and just playing with it by yourself. Or pulling out books and reading through the entire stack all on your own. You also love being outside and playing in the water.

  • You want both mommy and daddy to be around all of the time. If one of us leaves the room you will say “mooommmmeeee” or “daaaadddeeee” until we come back. You love looking at pictures of us and pointing and saying “mommy, daddy, Beau”. I also think it’s so cute that you come up to us and say “hi mommy” or “hi daddy”. The other day you walked into the kitchen and said “hi daddy, yuv you” completely unprompted. So sweet.

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You're a cool dude, Beau Wade!

You’re a cool dude, Beau Wade!

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We’re Moving! Finally!

Alan and I bought our first house a few months ago and we have been completely transforming the place before we have to be out of our tiny apartment on Wednesday. We bought an older one story house in Lewisville on a gorgeous street where no one house looks the same and everyone has 30 year old trees in the front yard that give lots of shade. The house we bought was very outdated and not our taste at all! I’m excited to share before/after pictures and step by step process for a lot of the work we (along with help from family and friends) have done so far. I’ll be sharing that in the coming weeks.

I’ve been thinking a lot about things I will miss about living in our apartment and also what I look forward to about our new house. I thought I would share those!

1. I actually don’t mind living in an apartment! Oddly enough, I feel safe in our apartment. I like seeing the same neighbors as we all come and go from our building or park next to each other. I like knowing that there are tons of people around if anything should happen… there are ears to hear, and that gives me a sense of comfort. Along that note… I won’t miss hearing our upstairs neighbors walking around or dogs barking or car alarms going off outside Beau’s bedroom right during nap time!

2. I love that I can be standing in our bathroom doorway and see into the kitchen, our bedroom, Beau’s bedroom, and part of the living room. I can also be in the bathroom and hear Beau playing and know he’s ok and not getting in to anything. I’m kind of not excited about our bathroom at the house being so far away and out of earshot from the living room. I’ve been thinking, what do people do who live in large houses? Do I have to take Beau with me to the bathroom when I need to get ready?! I also like that I can be cooking dinner and Beau can be playing in the living room and Alan can be in our bathroom and we can have a conversation and I can keep an eye on Beau all at the same time! I’m going to miss the smallness in that way.

3. I LOVE that we don’t have to pay or fix anything that breaks. Our water heater burst and we just called maintenance and they came and replaced it as well as the carpet that got wet right by the laundry room. We have had two different dish washers, had the disposal fixed, regular non-toxic pest control, and never had to mow or landscape the lawn. I don’t like having to pay and do everything ourselves now!

4. This was Beau’s first home. His room is so cool and it’s all he has ever known. So it’s a little sad to take it all down and say bye bye to the place where I nursed him as a newborn, changed all of his diapers, and put him to bed every day. Does every parent feel this way when moving with a little one?!

5. Despite the things I will miss about the apartment, I’m so looking forward to owning our first house! We actually have a ton of space and look forward to having lots of family and friends over without feeling cramped. I look forward to meeting our neighbors and hopefully making new friends with people that live by us. I can’t wait to set up Beau’s kiddie pool, sand box, and slide in the backyard and look forward to starting my own garden. Alan is excited to have a large outdoor area for a grill and a garage with a workbench and someday get the tools for wood shop stuff.

6. There are so many things I have been wanting to do but keep putting off for “when we are in a house”. Things like using my sewing machine again to make outfits or things for the home, buy a deep freeze so we can buy a large portion of local organic grass-fed beef, and I’d like to start making a lot of products like homemade bath and beauty items and homemade foods like canned fruits and veggies and kombucha and yogurt.

So there you have it, those are the things I have been thinking about lately as we begin to switch from renters to owners. Do you have any advice for us first time home owners?! 🙂


Raw Milk- Part 3

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 and Part 2

There are so many questions and concerns people have in regards to drinking raw milk. Most of those questions can be answered here!

Properly produced and handled raw milk is an extremely low-risk food. You are more likely to become sick from contaminated produce or packaged foods in the grocery store than from local organic raw milk. I can think of several instances within the last year or so that items like spinach, peanut butter, and frozen berries had to be taken off shelves in grocery stores for e.coli contamination.   These articles  cover many aspects of raw milk safety, as well as the relatively higher risk of many other foods.

One thing that I find interesting is the fact that the FDA claims “Raw milk is inherently dangerous and should not be consumed.” However, you won’t see the FDA claiming deli meats, seafood, produce, and chicken as being dangerous and warning against consumption… even though more food borne illnesses occur from outbreaks in these food categories than raw and pasteurized milk! Pretty ridiculous!

Another thing to consider when purchasing milk is the breed of cow and if the cream is separated from the milk or not. Each breed of cow produces a different amount of butterfat. Jersey cows produce more butterfat than Holstein. Also, some dairies will skim off the butterfat in order to sell containers of cream, so their milk is lacking all of that great creamy rich butterfat that should separate at the top of the carton. If your carton of milk doesn’t have a thick layer of cream at the top, you’re missing out!

Look at the cream that rises to the top. Good stuff!

Look at the cream that rises to the top. Good stuff!

Ok, where do you get raw milk!? Fortunately, it’s legal to at least buy raw milk in the state of Texas. Unfortunately, you can’t just head out to the store to pick up a gallon (like you can in 6 U.S. states), you have to buy raw milk directly from the farm. Here is a list of sources for real milk in Texas. There are also many co-op groups if you are interested in starting to buy raw milk but don’t want to make the drive out to a farm every other week or so. Group members rotate turns in picking up the milk and have a pick up time for members to get their milk. You can also ask the farmer if they have regular customers who live in your area and they may be willing to get you in touch with others so that you could set up your own group.

If you live in the North Dallas/Denton area and would like to try the most delicious and nutritious milk you have ever tasted, let me know and I will be happy to get you more information on a few groups in the area.


All Natural Cold Remedy

I hate being sick! Beau and I have had a summer cold this week and it has been miserable. I have felt so guilty when Beau has brought over a toy or book and I just sit there with no energy to even talk. Not gonna lie… we have seen Elmo way too much this week!

For the past few years, I’ve been chewing raw garlic to kick a cold, but recently just read about giving a concoction of raw garlic, honey, and water to toddlers to help boost their immune system. For older kids and adults, you can add raw apple cider vinegar to the mix for even more immune power!

Here’s what I do:

1. Use a garlic press, grater, or finely chop 1 clove of garlic

2.  Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey

3. Add 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar (skip for little ones)

4. Dilute with filtered water.

Mix it all in a small glass or container and drink up. I use a spoon to give it to Beau. Let me tell ya… this stuff is awful and I’m a big baby about it. Make sure to take this after having something to eat and definitely have a glass of water or milk to wash it all down. I also like to have something to eat right after to get the taste out. Beau gets a cup of milk and a snack. You can take this a few times a day until your are feeling all better!

I plan to make this pickled garlic to have on hand in this coming cold and flu season!

We also use Maty’s All Natural Chest Rub- this for me and this for Beau to help with coughing. I have also put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil on a rag and hung in the shower and then take a big breath in from the damp rag to help with the coughing and clear up phlegm.

What do you use when you have a cold or your little one has a runny nose and cough?


Raw Milk- Part 2

Did you happen to check out the links I provided in the first post about raw milk?

There’s so much information about processed milk and raw milk that I can’t possibly write about it all in one post. That would be super long and super overwhelming. I’m going to summarize a lot of information to compare conventional cow’s milk with organic milk and raw milk to help explain why we switched to raw milk.

I love the phrase, “you are what you eat eats”. If you are consuming milk from conventional dairy cows, then you should know what those cows are consuming and what the living conditions are like. Do you know where your milk comes from? It’s ok if you don’t, most people have no clue. Did you know cows are suposed to roam around outside and eat grass? Sounds like a big DUH!? But the sad fact is, majority of dairy cows are not fed or treated this way at all. Conventional dairy cows in our country are given growth hormones, antibiotics, grain, GMO soy and corn, and a mixture of other disgusting things in their feed (think garbage). These cows live in concrete lots, are never allowed to even see the sun and roam on grass, live in their own urine and feces, and are so sick that they only live a few short years and are then slaughtered. It’s really sad and really disgusting!

This milk is not healthy by any means. Due to unsanitary conditions, infections from over milking the cows, poor diet and living conditions, the milk has to be pasteurized (heated at high temperatures). Pasteurization kills all of the bad bacteria along with the good. The milk is then run through teeny tiny tubes to denature the milk and create a consistent texture (homogenization). And because milk from conventional dairy cows has very little, if any, nutrients and vitamins, synthetic additives have to be used (which are linked to many health problems). No wonder so many people have health issues like allergies, skin problems, ear infections, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease related to processed dairy consumption.

So what about organic milk? I would say organic milk is a little better than conventional milk. But, FDA regulations state that organic dairy cows can be fed anything as long as it’s organic. So, the cows can be fed organic soy, organic corn, organic anything! And the cows aren’t required to have access to grass and sunshine! Then this milk goes through the whole process of pasteurization, homogenization, and synthetic additives. But not all organic milk and milk products are the same, so check out how different brands are rated. 

Then there is raw milk. Raw milk and cultured raw milk products from cows, sheep, goats, and many other mammals has been consumed by traditional cultures for centuries. Raw milk is a living food with vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and beneficial microorganisms and nutrients needed for their growth to aid in a healthy gut and immune system. So when raw milk is pasteurized, all of these benefits are destroyed. Healthy cows that roam on grass and are raised in non-toxic organic environments produce safe and nutritious raw milk.

touring a dairy farm

touring a dairy farm

Next week I’ll post about the sanitary concerns with consuming raw milk, the many benefits of raw milk, and how not all raw milk is created equal.


Raw Milk- Part 1

Milk from a cow that roams on pasture and gets plenty of sunshine. Milk from a healthy cow that doesn’t need growth hormones and antibiotics. Milk that hasn’t been heated to a temperature that kills the nutrients and healthy bacteria. Milk that has a thick layer of cream at the top of the carton when you go to get a drink. This type of milk is something that most people don’t even realize is a possibility. It’s also the kind of milk that is illegal in some states! I’m talking about local, organic, raw milk!

I have consumed all sorts of milk! I grew up drinking conventional 2% milk, then switched to skim milk when I was in college because I was “eating healthy”. I also drank soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk when I went through a vegan phase. I still like homemade almond milk and coconut milk, but have cut out the soy. So, why did I switch to raw milk? Well, I have been trying to switch us to a diet that is very little processed foods and more of a diet that includes local products. So, when thinking about milk for us and Beau, I chose to go with raw milk, straight from the farm.

Check out that cream at the top! Yum!

Check out that cream at the top! Yum!

Just like me, I’m sure you’re wondering how this could be safe and how nutritious is raw milk compared to other milks and milk substitutes? I will be posting more information about the benefits of raw milk, where to buy raw milk, and the yummy things you can make with raw milk in upcoming posts. Until then, check out these links for more information about raw milk.

This is a cool infographic showing raw milk vs. pasteurized milk.

FAQ about real milk

The Devil In The Milk

Choosing The Best Milk


Show Your Dad Some Love!

Father’s Day is coming up soon and I bet you’re wondering what random gift you should get your dad this year! Well, here’s my advice. Skip the random gift. Show your dad some love with a letter. Take the time to write out all of your favorite memories of your dad, write down the things you learned from him, tell him how he’s impacted your life and how much you love him. This may feel corny to you, but seriously, a heartfelt letter letting your dad know he is loved and appreciated will be so much more appreciated than a coffee mug or t-shirt…. don’t you think!?

I wrote this letter to my dad on his 50th birthday and am so so so thankful I got to tell him EXACTLY how much I love him. I don’t look back at all the gifts I got my dad and think, “I’m sure glad I got him that Starbucks coffee set” or “Thank goodness I bought my dad that Gap pullover!”.

I wrote out a list of memories of my childhood that included me and my dad and then wrote a letter to tell him how much he was loved. Here is the letter I wrote to my dad on his 50th birthday  (I also got to read it at his funeral):

Dear Dad,

I know that as you are getting older and things are challenging in your life right now, it can be hard to think of all the blessings in your life and know how important and special you are. It sort of reminds me of a George Bailey scenario (from It’s A Wonderful Life). How great would it be to see what the world would be like without you!? Well, I can’t speak for the world, but I can speak for myself and my brothers and sisters. You are very important to me and so many other people. You are a dad, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend.  You have been given a wonderful family where everyone loves you. You have been blessed with the opportunity to give a high quality life to all of your kids. You are a blessing by the materials you provide. But, you provide so much more, things that only you can provide. You give love to your children that only a Dad can give, this is so important! You provide wisdom and advice on what seems like every topic…even if we don’t ask for it! 🙂

You provide encouragement when each of us wants to try something new or achieve a goal. You have always been there to show that you care and love us. The greatest memories I have of you are when you did small things to show I mattered. Giving me a Valentines Day gift when I was a little girl, playing on the playground with me, cooking pancakes and eggs for Saturday breakfast, helping me learn to ride a bike, buying me a car and helping me take care of it, coming to all of my games and dances, and so much more. The greatest gift you can give is your time, and this is how I know you love me. Thank you dad for always being there, for always showing a Father’s love, and for valuing me. I love you.

Love,

Jen

Last picture I have with my Dad- The day after Beau was born!

Last picture I have with my Dad- The day after Beau was born!

P.S. – If you don’t have a dad or aren’t close to your dad, you could do this for anyone in your life that means a lot to you. Your mom, a best friend, a mentor, or a family member that you adore.