May 21, 2014

Simplifying My Skin Care Routine


I am not a fan of my skin.  I never have been.  It's blotchy in places, I have large pores and am prone to cystic acne.  I have tried so many products to get the skin I dream of having.  None of them worked any miracles.  My solution?  Accept my flaws (this is the most important thing that I cannot stress enough), stop wasting money and cut down on the chemicals.  My skincare routine is not 100% natural, but it's fairly close.  

First, I switched out my eye makeup remover for olive oil.   It does the trick and I always have it available.  I know what's in it and it provides extra moisture to the area around my eyes.

I dissolve 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in 1/4 cup water and add about 5 drops of iodine and keep it in a plastic bottle.  About 20 minutes before I wash, I swipe it on and let it dry.  It helps bring blackheads to the surface to be washed away.  You can find Epsom salt for as little as a dollar.  It's also something that I always have on hand. 

I use Dr. Bronner's to wash my face.  I use a 3oz plastic bottle and dilute it 1:1 with water. It doesn't take much to clean your face.  It's very thin and watery and easy to use too much.  Don't be tempted, though.  It only takes a couple drops.  I don't recommend using the peppermint soap.  It might be too harsh.  Try rose, almond or lavender.  If you are acne prone, you can always try the tea tree.  A 32 oz bottle of Dr. Bronner's will cost you about $17 and can be used for so many things.  It's almost always diluted when used so 32 oz goes a long way.  Much better than the $20+ I was spending on Clinique face wash.

I have also started making my own toner by mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water.  The smell isn't great when putting it on, but it quickly disappears.  I love it because it is so simple, cheap and good for your skin.  Again, apple cider vinegar is something that I always have on hand.  In the summer when have an abundance of cucumbers from the garden, I make a cucumber toner. If you have a juicer, mix the juice from 1 cucumber and 1 lemon with a teaspoon of honey and keep in the refrigerator.  If you don't have a juicer, you can give the cucumber a whirl in the blender to make a puree and run it through a mesh sieve or cheesecloth.

During the day, I use a store bought moisturizer with an SPF.  At night, I use a thin layer of coconut oil.  I whip 1 cup coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil in my Kitchen Aid mixer until it's light and fluffy and keep it on hand in a glass jar.

When it comes to breakouts, I spot treat blemishes with tea tree oil.  Also, once a week or if I have a large break out, I use an egg mask.  I mix 1 egg white with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of honey until it's frothy.  I use a cotton ball to put it on, wait for it to dry and rinse it off.  It tightens pores and is great for acne.  If used too often, though, it can be very drying.

Since I've started this routine, I haven't had a problem with cystic acne.  I can't tell you how happy this makes me.  Even though I usually only had a couple blemishes at a time, it was still painful and ugly.  Mostly painful.  I feel for people who deal with widespread cystic acne.  I still get the occasional garden variety breakout, but it's easily treated and doesn't bother me.  I should also add that since I have made it a point to drink my 8 glasses of water a day, I no longer have a problem with dry patches of skin on my face.

I think that covers everything.  I like knowing the ingredients of the products I put on my skin.  I also like that I am saving a ton of cash!






May 20, 2014

Off

I don't know how to explain it when the feeling sneaks up on me, when that moment hits me so hard from behind, it almost knocks me over.  That moment when I am certain that I can not referee one more fight, I can not wipe one more dirty butt, I can not survive one more tantrum.  It's there, so intense one minute, then gone the next.  It's not the moment itself that bothers me.  It's the frequency.

All moms have that moment, think the thought, feel the feeling.  Every once in a while, though, it hits so often that it never seems to leave me.  It's always in the back of my mind, nagging me, making my heart ache, leaving me to question everything about myself as I try to shuffle through my day like normal.

There are questions.  What am I doing wrong?  What should I be changing?  What should I be looking for?  How do others make it look so easy?  Will I ever have peace?  There are answers.  Try spanking.  Stop sleeping with your kids.  Find a hobby.  Have a date night.  You just don't appreciate how lucky you are.

In my heart of hearts, I know the answers to my questions.  I know that what it really boils down to is the all consuming hugeness of motherhood.  It's hard to swallow sometimes.  I know that soon enough, this feeling and the difficulty will lessen.  It will be all but forgotten, tucked in the back of my heart, like the pain of childbirth.  Of course, I'll keep muddling through.  I just wish I could get more days off than off days.


May 19, 2014

In Seven(th) Heaven

Kennedy has turned 7!


She is the perfect combination of funny and sweet.  She loves to goof around and make people laugh.  Much to my dismay, she is a huge fan of toilet humor.  However, it's always delivered in a way that makes you wonder if that sweet, quiet little girl really just made a fart joke. 


She loves to make things.  She is always mixing some concoction or saving things from the trash to give them new life.  It doesn't always work out well. The most amazing dish the world has ever known or the next great invention is just beyond her reach, but she knows it won't always be.  She's patient.  She takes her time and enjoys life.  Rushing is not Kennedy's style.


Her newest goal is to figure out a pony tail so she can fix her hair.  She hasn't quite gotten it down yet so she uses bread ties and clips.  She has a loose tooth that she refuses to pull out.  It just keeps sticking farther and farther out.  It will fall out when it's ready. 

Kennedy Anne, we love you!  Thank you for bringing laughter to our family.

May 12, 2014

We Did It!

Almost 2 months ago, I wrote about running a 5K with Corrina.  That 5K was among the many things we did this weekend.  I wrote about how I wanted to get in better shape and stop making excuses, drop a few pounds and run this thing with my daughter.  Well, none of that has happened.

I thought that maybe I was just making excuses to get out of going to the gym.  I thought that if I just set my mind to it, time would magically appear.  Guess what.  It didn't.  If anything, I've had even less time.  Between my husband's work schedule, the kids' activities, the daycare hours at the gym and of course, a finicky 3 year old, it has been almost impossible for me to get to the gym.  I want to go.  I love to go.  I'm going to keep trying.  Things are starting to settle down for us a little, so maybe there will be time.

So, Saturday, we pinned on our numbers and went for it.  We had a great time and despite being overweight and grossly out of shape, I managed to make it through without passing out, having a stroke, heart attack or dying.

Girls on the Run has been really great for Corrina.  She has really enjoyed running.  I think it's something she wants to keep doing.  I want to do this with her.  Like everything else, I can only try my best. 

*Please note that I did not use the word fat to describe myself.  After the race Saturday, I posted a picture of us with the caption "the fat lady didn't die".  I was then lectured by my daughter about referring to myself as fat.  I am pretty comfortable with my weight.  I don't let being overweight define me.  I don't sit around talking about it or hating myself for it.  I'm comfortable with using the word "fat" jokingly.  If it bothers her, though, I will stop!

May 7, 2014

Field Trips, Twitchy Eye and the Duggars

Just when we thought this school year was never going to end, we have found proof that it actually will-field trips.  Field trips are fun.  I've been on 2 in the last week.  I accompanied Corrina to City Museum and Kennedy to the St. Louis Zoo.  My favorite thing about this was unexpected one on one time with my girls in places we would normally never venture without the entire family in tow.  It was a lot of fun.
Possibly the world's largest underpants

About a million years ago, when I was a kid, field trips were different.  My mom packed me a lunch, slathered me in sunscreen, handed me a $5 bill and sent me on my way as usual.  At school, we boarded a bus with our teachers and maybe 3-4 volunteer moms.  The teachers and these moms wrangled us around whatever venue, we acted like mental patients, then went home and told our parents how fun it was and how good we were.

Today, every kid is accompanied by a parent, some have both parents.  We drive ourselves, meet our kid, spend the day with them, take them back to the bus and meet them back at school.  This is a wonderful set up for parents, kids and teachers (who get a free day in a cool place).  For someone with slight social anxiety, this can be kind of hellish.
fun mirrors did not make me look much thinner. bastards.

First there is the meeting of the parents on the playground to determine ride sharing.  For someone with social anxiety, this is the equivalent of being last picked for the kickball team.  It's horrible.  There's always the chance that someone will actually offer you a ride.  It takes a while to answer this question.  You sit there with a strange look on your face while you consider all that could go wrong if you get into a car with 3 women you barely know.  After a while, you smile and decline, not realizing until later exactly how long it took to answer the question.

When you get to your venue, there is a lot of waiting around for kids to get off the bus.  This is the stuff nightmares are made of.  Sitting around in a group with all these people who are chatting and conversing because, well, they're normal people.  They form normal relationships.  Hell, they form words and even that is more than you can muster.  Every once in a while, someone will take pity on you and try to strike up a conversation.  When this happens, all you can manage is a twitchy eye and some strange noises that never quite form words but might be mistaken for a yea or an oh.

School functions are terrible for people with social anxiety.  I keep fighting the urge to run off screaming and never be seen again, though.  Showing up and having people think I'm strange, bitchy, standoffish, possibly from another planet or maybe a serial killer is much better than telling my kids that I just don't want to go.  I don't know how I got this way.  To some degree, I can see that I've always been like this, but it seems to have gotten worse when my kids started school.  Hopefully by showing up and fighting my way through, I can keep my kids from turning out this way. 

Side note:  The Duggar family was at the zoo the same day we were.  Though I was avoiding parents, I had no problem trying to hunt down Michelle Duggar and become her BFF.  However, Kennedy wouldn't let me.


May 5, 2014

Connecting

 It has been a really rough week in the Pohlman house.  My father-in-law has been in the hospital since last Saturday.  His situation seems to change almost daily.

One thing I am adamant about is being honest with the kids.  I've been giving them updates as I get them and trying to help them understand what is happening with grandpa.  It's hard for everyone.  They are so close to him, there is no way for me to hide it or sugar coat it, not that I would want to.

On top of that, we have been unbelievably busy.  It's hard to spend quality time together when everyone seems to be running in different  directions.

 
Yesterday was the most perfect day.  Even though Steve was gone, we spent the day connecting as a family.  We didn't do anything special.  We played outside, ate ice cream and read Charlotte's Web on a blanket under a tree.  We needed it.  It was one of those days that I think I'll always remember and strive to recreate.  

What would I do without these four?  They are everything.

May 2, 2014

Three is the Magic Number

Stella is 3!  She is unlike anything we've ever seen.  
 She loves to sing and dance.  She loves reading books, watching movies, playing with dollies and smiling.
 She sincerely believes her name is Baby Bear.  To her, we are a family of bears.  Mama Bear, Papa Bear, NeNe Bear (Corrina), Ken Ken Bear (Kennedy), GiGi bear (Georgia), and Baby Bear. 
She completes our family in the most perfect way!  We love you, Stella Bella!

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