Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alabu Skin Care - A Giveaway!

Alabu Skin Care is a family run, all natural skin care business. Founded by Maryclaire from a desire for a more simple way of life, Alabu has now grown into an incredible line of soaps, lip balms, moisturizers and more!

More and more people today are also realizing that Maryclaire's vision is one that they have as well. However, while searching for more natural, more organic, and eco friendly products, we are usually left empty handed or having to pay large amounts of money for them.

Alabu offers a great line of products and they are all natural. Every single one. You can trust that the goats milk soap or the almond lotion you are using come from the best, safest ingredients out there. In fact, all of their soaps are made in small batches and used by the family themselves. Every order is guaranteed to be the quality that people have come to expect from Alabu.

For review I received two bars of soap (Baby Me and the Oat and Honey), two lotions (the naturally preserved in original and almond), the vanilla lip balm, and the original Shea body butter.

I have been using their products for a couple months now and all I can say is that I love it! I switched to natural soap about a year ago, but this has been the best I have tried. The Oatmeal and Honey is exfoliating and has a more rough texture that I love. With bar soap, I like it to have some texture. It is very moisturizing and that is saying a lot due to the fact that I have eczema and very alligator like skin. The Baby Me soap is for the boys and is very gentle, unscented, and also extremely moisturizing. Both boys use it and have no reactions what so ever. As a mom, it is so important that my children use the safest, most natural products available.

The lotions come in a 4oz bottle which is perfect for your purse. I also keep some by our guest sink. The original is unscented and very gentle. I used it on Easton after bath one night while he was having an eczema flair up on his face. While it didn't make it go away, it didn't aggravate it either. That is huge! So this is the lotion you want if you have the most sensitive of skin. The almond scented is my favorite because, to me, it smells like chocolate covered cherries. Seriously it smells good enough to eat. The fragrance goes on strong but fades quickly so you don't have to worry about an intense fragrance all day. It is such a treat after I wash my hands. I will say however, that it is a lighter moisturizer and is not for intense dryness. It is great for the every day wear but not a really thick lotion.

The Shea Body butter stick on the other hand, is for those really dry spots. I use it on my elbows and knees and occasionally on my hands. It is a bit greasy but absorbs very quickly and really works great. I love this product so much, as again, I have some seriously dry skin. Plus you cant go wrong with a roll on product. No mess!

Last but not least, is the lip balm. Now here is where I am super picky. I have a brand of lip balm that I use and I only use that brand. However, this one worked just as great as my go to and I loved the vanilla flavor. It is very subtle and Adam took it for himself since it wasn't too girly like my others! I loved it and it really works on some of the worst chapped lips.

When it comes to natural skin care, Alabu is awesome. I love their soaps and light weight moisturizers so much but my favorite was the body butter and the lip balm. We really tested these products out over the winter and they far exceeded my expectations. I have to say thank you to Alabu for making quality, natural skin care that is actually affordable.

The best part of all of this?? One of YOU will win a $50 gift certificate to their online store!! How amazing is that! You know that summer is fast approaching and you will need some great skin care!

All you have to do is visit Alabu online and leave me a comment telling me what you would spend the money on! That's it!

For extra entries (leave a separate comment for each):
1. Follow my blog with Google friend connect
2. Follow me on twitter
3. Tweet about the giveaway and leave me the link (can be done daily)
4. blog about the giveaway and leave me a link

Giveaway will end on April 22, 2011 and the winner will be announced April 25, 2011 . Good luck!

Monday, March 28, 2011

rub a dub dub, two little fish in the tub

Well I am so proud of us! We have polished our routine enough now that we finish with dinner and baths at least an hour before bedtime. It gives us some breathing room that is much needed. I always feel so rushed because I never allow myself enough time to get things done. Not anymore!

And since I had a bit of breathing room, here are a couple quick pictures of my little fish :) Man I love those boys!





The cutest little fish I know!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


These pictures are from yesterday and I can't help but share. They made more "masterpieces" than I could possibly ever display! I love them so much and I love seeing the world through their eyes. So, Picasso, eat your heart out ;)






On a random note, I can't wait to meet Elias and see who he will resemble more. I love that little babe so much already! Austin has requested he have red hair so then there will be one of each lol! I can't wait :) If I had to guess though (because in my dreams Eli always looks about the same) he will have lighter features light EJ. We will see!!

the gift

It is quiet here this afternoon. Adam came just around 1 and picked up EJ so that he could enjoy the rest of the day with his big bro and his daddy. It is Adam's day with the boys and there are so many things wrong with that statement but I can't even wrap my head around them all. Adam has to have a day because he is not here. He is missing it. The day to day snuggles and kisses and tantrums. The smiles, the tears, the laughter. All of it.

Too many thoughts have been let to wander to what has been, what could have been, what is to come. And what I need to realize is the now.
In the words of  my favorite turtle from Kung Fu Panda, "Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, but Today is a gift. That is why it is called the Present."
True words indeed, even though they came from an animated cartoon character.

I just feel out of sorts today. Could be due to the steroids I am on for my asthma, but a lot of it is the fact that I don't like being alone. I don't know how to do it. I hate the nights that Austin spends the night at Adam's place and I hate the days he has both boys. I don't like being away from them and I just feel worthless without them here. I know that probably sounds crazy to some, maybe most people. But it is my reality. I don't mind the extra work of being a single mom and in fact, I am doing really well with it. But on the days that it is just me, well not so much. I should be steam cleaning my carpets or going grocery shopping, but I am on here typing instead. It is almost as if my boys keep me afloat and give me meaning. They give me breath and courage. They make me, me. And I am so blessed and so overwhelmed with gratitude for the enormous blessing that they are to me. I need them as much, if not more, than they need me.

When I walk around the corner, just out of sight of EJ, he always calls "Mommmmmyyyyyyyyy" in the sweetest most melt-your-heart voice imaginable.
Some people are not born mothers but I am. There is nothing I cherish more than being called "Mommy".

On the other hand, I need to let the Lord minister to me in these quiet moments where I find myself alone. I need to let Him fill the void and let Him be enough. If we all truly allowed our Savior to be ENOUGH and to fill every void and emptiness in our lives, think how different this world would be. Everything would be different. I would be totally different.

It is no secret that I struggle with anxiety and worry and it is more apparent now than ever before. His peace is something I get to feel on a daily basis and it takes my breathe away. But in some moments, like now, I do not always accept His sweet gift and instead I wallow in the overwhelming.

So I breathe, focus on Him, focus on the moment, and let the stress slip away. The tears come as they often do, and I surrender again. And again. And again.
I lean in to the One who calls me by name and knew me before I was created. The one who will never let me fall and will never walk away.

And as I type, sweet little Elias is kicking away inside and I can't help but smile. God's timing is always perfect isn't it? Oh how I am ever grateful to a Lord who knows me better than I even know myself....

Life is a hard road and I am right smack in the middle of the mud. But it won't always be like this and I know that. I can see the sun and feel the warmth even now. The hope that is tomorrow, but the gift that is today.

Friday, March 25, 2011

for the love of cookies







Nothing beats warm, fresh from the oven, chocolate chip cookies! And Austin poured in all the ingredients and formed the cookies and placed them on the cookie sheet! He is my little helper and I love it! EJ woke up from his nap yelling "cookies" :) So grateful for sweet moments with my two little men.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

long days, really long nights

Well it is almost 7pm and EJ is still asleep from his afternoon nap and I have decided to let him sleep.
Last night was rough to say the least and ended up with us rushing off to the ER again.

Ej has been sick since February and was diagnosed with strep and we had that treated. Then he got a cold and a nasty sinus infection, and again, we had that treated. Now it is settling into his chest and my poor sweet little toddler can not stop coughing and can not breathe. We are on albuterol every four hours and he just finished a z pack. Last night however, he woke me up at 2am and couldn't breathe. He was wheezing and his whole body was jerking trying to breathe. This lasted three hours and off we went. After him coughing a ton of yuck up and throwing it up in my car, he finally was able to breathe better and rest. We got home later this morning and he has been put on some other different meds as well. It is looking more and more like he is following in his moms and brother footsteps and will have asthma as well.

So anyways he went down for a nap at 2 this afternoon and I have every intention of letting that little babe sleep. Hoping beyond hope of course that that means I get to sleep tonight :) Running on about 4 hours wears me down. Is anyone else not a nap taker though? I tried so hard to take a nap with him and I can just not nap! Hopefully we will sleep well tonight. Deep breathe in.......................Okay better.

On a totally different note I had my big anatomy scan today as well. Elias is measuring right on track and looked great! We changed my due date again and I will actually be delivering in July instead of August! How exciting! Some days feel like they are so long, some nights feel even longer, but this pregnancy seems to be flying by! I am now past my half way point and I can not believe it! I can feel him moving everyday now and you can feel and see him move from the outside. Austin got to feel last night and he loves it! Both boys will rub my belly and tell little Eli that they love him. It is so sweet! I have gained 8 pounds so far which is pretty good considering I gained 40 total with each of the boys. But we will see what I end up at! Ha!

***Okay so EJ just woke up and he has a fever. If he still has a fever in the morning we have to go back to Children's. Deep breathe*****

Alright I better go love on my little one. If you can spare a prayer, pray he gets better soon please! Three weeks+ is a long time for a little one to be so sick....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

hope is still here

It has been a long couple of weeks. The boys and I are trying hard to get our new routine down, and I will say, some days it is difficult being the lone ranger. That is my reality though right now and I am embracing it. If it takes the bad to get the good, I will take it all. And when you have two little boys who adore you, and a third rolling around inside, it is hard not to see the good. To see the beauty of this new season. To see the hope that lies where it was least expected. Hope and beauty....two thing that are so abundant in this trying time. And I am thankful to the One who gives sustenance when it is needed most.

We went to the Arboretum today and it was wonderful. EJ screamed for about 2 hours straight while he desperately fought a nap, but besides that we had a blast. And beauty? Oh.my.word. there was beauty!








Truly all of nature speaks His name!

On a random note, I received my official  acceptance letter from TWU today and I am enrolling in classes for the summer. I am really going to try to get online classes since I will be 8-9 months pregnant and waddling around a college campus isn't my idea of a lot of fun! I will let you know!
Also Elias is 19 weeks along now and that marks our official half way point (since I deliver at 38 weeks)!! Can you believe it? I sure can't! Here is a belly shot Austin took with my iphone. And yes he cut my head off :)
I think it is safe to say I am huge and I feel every bit of it too. The funniest part of pregnancy is the random comments you get from strangers. I just can not believe what comes out of some peoples mouths!

I know I am lacking in pictures of the boys but I promise my next post will have lots of pictures. Or I will try! Photographing lightning like children is never easy ya know ;) Until then sweet friends!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

what it means to be alone (a post I never thought I'd have to write)

Sitting in a darkened quiet apartment is as strange of a circumstance to me as trying to decipher a foreign language. Only now, I have no translation dictionary to help me stumble through this place. I have no road map when my feet have no direction and I certainly do not have a compass. I am alone in this place and I am lost. And I have lost. I have lost so very much that frankly I am tired of the upward climb. I am weary of fighting through the storms to see the clearer skies. The see the dawn emerge behind the black. I am weary and tonight I am broken. 

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

Tonight marks my first night as a single mother to three beautiful boys. Tonight I am the sole guardian of my precious little ones. Tonight I stand alone before the Lord praying for mercy and praising the One who is still God despite my circumstance. Tonight I cling desperately to the promise that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, because it is all I can do to breathe. 
I seek His arms strength once more as He carries me through the depths of this sinful word. 

The fact is, is that we can not choose what this life gives us. We can only chose how we react to such things. We can waste away in defeat or we can collapse before a God who can handle it. A God who has gone before and a God who is faithful. He promised us a difficult path in life as I have seen over and over but I also know He truly never leaves us during the worst of it. He alone can calm the storm. He alone can walk on top of the crashing waves. He alone can sustain us. He alone.

So where do I go from here? My marriage is over, our family torn apart, my heart is broken, and the enemy is whispering lies into this quiet darkness. Where do I turn? I turn my gaze upward and I know. Although the weight of this pain is crushing and the loneliness is sure to settle deeply, I can know with out hesitation that my God is not far, that He hears my cries, that He will bring glory from this if I allow Him to. I know the Truth come what may. 

So I say into this quiet emptyness, I am not alone. For my hope rests not with man. My hope rests not in this world. My Hope is in Him and in Him alone. 

I should apologize for the depth of this post but I am not going to. This is my heart tonight as I face the uncertainty of what is to come. Life has crashed around me so very unexpectantly and I have been left reeling. I have put on a brave face all day for my sweet boys. Austin came to me in tears this evening sharing his feelings. I can comfort and hug but I cant fulfill every question he has. Unfortunately there is no answer for why families fall apart and why a daddy leaves. This is never what I would have chosen for us, for them. I would do anything, give anything, if I could just shelter them from all of this. 

I am not 100% on what will unfold in the coming months but I am working on a plan and I ask for your prayers for what is to come. Most importantly I ask your prayers for Austin and EJ. To surround them and protect them as much as possible from this. I truly believe divorce is never God's plan but I know He will see us through this. Things will never be the same, we will never be the same, but maybe just maybe The Creator can rebuild us even more brilliantly. Maybe just maybe The Potter can mold us into an image even more like Himself. 

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