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I was so busy late last week with Nora’s birthday, work, and prep for Nora’s party that I didn’t even have a chance to share with all of you a guest post I wrote for Julia over at My Life in Transition as part of her “Moms Make It Work” series.https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3911/14481562494_c527118420_m.jpg

Truthfully, I wrote this post a few months back, so if you’re a regular reader, you might notice that a few things are out of date—mainly all of our ages (we’ve had a bunch of birthdays since then), and the photos! But in the post, I discuss a bit about my background, career, and how I handle being a working mom. The biggest factor for making it work? Michael, of course. The post is about more than that, though. :)

Anyway, hop on over there to check it out if you haven’t seen it yet. And check out other posts in the series as well. It’s fun to read all about moms and their life situations, and how we all “make it work.”

 

Nora Grace is 4 years old. She’s a KID.

In some ways, it feels like yesterday that I was lying in a hospital bed, staring at her tiny features and getting to know her. On the other hand, that time feels so far away, such a blur, and like that baby couldn’t possibly be the girl I know today. How does it happen so fast? How do they grow right in front of our eyes, but without us even realizing just how much they’re changing?

It’s incredible. And she is awesome.

Nora at 4 is smart, inquisitive, and has the memory of an elephant. She’s a sponge. She is a snuggler, and seems to crave physical affection. She’ll grab my hand at the breakfast table just to hold the back of it against her cheek. She’ll squeeze our legs randomly, still asks to be held, and won’t go to sleep without a series of bedtime kisses.

Nora is a better big sister to Vivienne than I could’ve ever imagined she would be. She’s patient, kind, gentle, and loving. Her expressions of affection for her baby sister are so genuine that I often find myself in awe of the love. She shares, and she wants Vivienne included when she does things.

Oh, she’s a people pleaser. If we correct her behavior, even gently, her facial expression crumbles and she asks, “Are you mad at me forever?” or declares “You don’t love me when I naughty.” Neither is true, of course, and we’ve told her a million times, but it never changes what she says.

My eldest daughter—the girl who made me a mom—makes me proud every single day. She has her moments, of course, because she’s a child, but overall, I think she’s a well-behaved, polite, sweet little girl. I’ve loved watching her personality evolve, and I know that this next year is likely to be one during which she changes by leaps and bounds. I’ll hold on for the ride.

Last night, I took out her baby book to show her the pictures. Maternity photos, ultrasound images, and pictures from our first hours together. It’s seriously surreal to be looking at them with her and having her ask me questions about them. Again, what happened to the last four years?!

This morning, we greeted the birthday girl in her bed, as she sat up waiting for her day to begin. Per our tradition, we took her out for giant pancakes, making sure to bring candles.

This year, it’s different. She was acutely aware all day that it was her birthday and it was meant to be special. She kept saying, “But it’s my birthday…” with this sly smile on her face. Like, I’d say, “Nora, sit in your seat politely” and she would climb back up but look at me and go, “But Mommy, it’s my birthday.” I guess she doesn’t think rules should apply. :) However, as we were nearing the end of breakfast, she looked at me and said, “Thank you, Mommy, for taking me out to breakfast,” and then turned to Michael and said, “And thank you, Daddy, for taking me to breakfast.” HEART MELTED.

Afterward, we spent a few low-key hours at home, pretty much letting her do whatever she wanted to do (which involved watching Frozen). At one point, she apparently got a little bored, because she was like, “Why aren’t we having fun on my birthday?” Oh hahahahaha. We didn’t have the jam-packed day planned that we did last year, so… oops. But in the afternoon, Michael stayed at home with Vivienne while she napped, and I took Nora to the mall for a much-anticipated birthday treat: Getting her ears pierced.

I mentioned a while back that we were thinking about doing this, and well, we did.

I am fairly certain I freaked out about it way more than she did. I was really nervous about the placement of the earrings on her ear lobes, whether they were even, etc. The ladies at Piercing Pagoda left it up to ME to judge and give the final OK and it was way more pressure than I was prepared for. Haha! But it’s done, and I *think* they look like they’re supposed to. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a couple of minor panic attacks afterward, while I repeatedly studied her lobes as we wandered back through the mall. I eventually concluded that I surely had to be over-thinking it. Type A mom, reporting for duty. YIKES.

Anyway, the actual piercing? She didn’t even flinch. I had heard (and told Nora) that they would give her a teddy bear to hold, but that didn’t happen, so I offered up an app on my phone. They counted down, they pierced both ears simultaneously, and it was literally like nothing happened. Nora had this look on her face like, “OK, now what?”

She was definitely proud of herself, though. She couldn’t wait to get home to show her daddy. On the way home, she randomly asked me, “Mommy, how do you sleep with earrings?” God, she’s so cute.

At home, we whipped up some cupcakes to bring in for her preschool class tomorrow, then we went out to dinner as a family, where she had her favorite—macaroni and cheese. Again, in the middle of dinner, she thanked us for taking her out, no prompting necessary. Just another sign of how she’s maturing. I can’t take it.

This photo of Nora and Vivienne is ridiculous. Funniest thing ever. What a bunch of goofballs. They were clearly very excited about the cupcakes.

It was a good day. I love this kid so much it hurts, and it just keeps getting better and better. How blessed we are to have her in our lives every day, and to celebrate on 9/11 every year.

Happy 4th Birthday, Nora! I couldn’t be more proud of you, and feel more fortunate to be your mommy. Thank you for being you.

 

For a year now, Nora has been asking me when she can go to school.

“When you’re four,” I’d tell her. “You’ll go to preschool. And then when you’re five, you’ll go to kindergarten.”

This morning, the day finally came. Michael got her out of bed and she popped into our bedroom to see me. “MOMMY,” she said. “I’m SO EXCITED for school!”

Last weekend, we were hyping up school more than ever, and Nora finally confessed, “I’m scared to go to preschool.” Thankfully, the school had an open house on Monday morning during which we could take her to check it out, play with some of the toys, and meet her teachers. After an hour there, Nora was back on Cloud 9 about preschool. She was already singing its praises.

“I LOVE MY SCHOOL!”
“I want to go to school EVERY DAY!”

Michael asked her what her favorite part (of the open house) was, and she exclaimed, “EVERYTHING!”

So, yeah, she was psyched as soon as she got up this morning. The poor thing had to wait until NINE O’CLOCK and she was not happy about that. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen her so anxious to go somewhere. She was asking me every five minutes if it was time to go.

Good thing I distracted her for a good half an hour by torturing her with my camera. ;)

I spent a good chunk of time in the last week designing this sign in Photoshop. Much inspiration from Pinterest, of course. I finally got it printed up at Kinkos yesterday, and I’m so happy with how it turned out.

She came up with “apple picker” all on her own, by the way. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked her. “What do you mean?” she replied. “What do you want to do for your job? You know, when you go to work. Some people are doctors, or lawyers, or teachers…” I explained. Immediately, she goes, “Apple picker.” Alrighty then. Haha! It cracks me up. I can’t wait to see how her answer changes from year to year. And I’ll always remind her of when she was 4 and wanted to be an apple picker. :) I shouldn’t laugh, actually… maybe she’ll run an orchard some day! It’s just too darn cute.

{This pose was all her. She kills me.}

Finally, it was time to get going. On the way out to the car, we made one more stop in the front yard for a photo of her with her backpack on. Because it just made her look that much bigger.

Michael called us when we were on our way to the school (he was already at work), and got to hear how excited she was for the ride. When we pulled up and parked, she goes, “That was easy!” because apparently it didn’t take as long to get there as she thought it would.

I got her out and she started walking. I took a moment to breathe and take it in. My baby. Walking into preschool for the very first time. I just can’t believe she is this big already. How?

A second after I snapped this photo of her walking all big and independently ahead of me, she turned and held out her hand to me. “Mommy. Hold my hand,” she asked.

My baby is still in there after all. :)

We got inside, she found her own cubby, and hung her own backpack. She responded to the teacher’s greeting, then I watched her beeline straight to the toys to play.

“Mommy,” she said. “Are you going to leave now?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“YAY!” she cheered.

She wants me to let go. She wants to fly.

It’s “only” preschool, but I’m nudging her out of the nest a little. Three mornings a week, she’s testing out those wings.

I hope she maintains this level of enthusiasm through high school.

 

You know how sometimes, there are things that happen in the news that just really hit you hard?

That happened to me last week with the death of Officer Daryl Pierson. I was up kind of late on Wednesday night, and before I went to bed, I heard on TV and via social media that a police officer had been shot and killed in downtown Rochester. I found myself staying up for the live news coverage, trying to wait for the middle-of-the-night news conference that would maybe reveal his identity. I was panicking a little, having a few connections in my life to the RPD.

I ended up falling asleep before the news conference, but when I woke up in the morning, I found out that they had not yet released his name. They were giving the family more time to notify their entire family, and scheduled a mid-morning news conference. In the meantime, I learned more and knew it was very unlikely I was going to know this man. But I was still dreading learning his name, and learning his story.

Sure enough, it was just about as bad as it could get. Officer Pierson was 32 years old, married for 10 years, father of two small children—a 4-year-old boy (who had started kindergarten the same day his father died) and a 3-month-old girl. He had served in Afghanistan with the Army, then with the Rochester Police Department for eight years before his untimely, senseless death.

Additional details about the man who shot him also came to light. A career criminal, who was just released on parole from prison on August 11 after serving three years for robbery. The guy was out for just three weeks and managed to shatter a young family—taking a husband away from a wife, taking a father away from his babies.

I can’t even.

I haven’t been able to shake the tragedy from my mind and my heart. I know that people die young and unexpectedly all of the time. I know that none of us know when our time will be up, or when we will lose our own loved one. But this man seemed to be so good. He gave so much of himself to not only his family, but to this country, and this community. How unfortunate for all of us to lose such a soul.

My heart is broken for his family. I definitely find myself squeezing mine a little tighter in the days since. It just hit so close to home. Officer Pierson was our age. Their children are similar in age to ours. They lived a happy, normal little life in a home in the suburbs, just like we do. And now that’s gone.

I passed by a local fire station on Friday morning and saw that their sign out front read, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rochester PD” and their flag flew at half mast. I teared up. It has touched everyone. People are sad, and outraged.

And there is no way to comprehend why this happened.

My thoughts have definitely been with the Piersons. I can’t express how sorry I am for their loss, and I know the entire area is feeling the same way.

{As if our local community wasn’t hit hard enough by Officer Pierson’s death, we saw on Friday the crazy news story of a small, private plane that was flying over the Atlantic, pilot unresponsive. Live coverage was being broadcast on CNN, MSNBC, and more, and we soon learned it had a local connection. That plane was from Rochester, carrying two very influential and successful local entrepreneurs—Larry and Jane Glazer—who were heavily invested in the revitalization of downtown Rochester and the betterment of this area. The plane ended up crashing in the ocean off the shore of Jamaica, and remains missing. It has been a hell of a week around here.}

 

First of all, thanks to those of you who attended the introduction to essential oils webinar I hosted with a few friends a couple weeks back. It was fun, and a learning experience for all. Based on the feedback we received, it was beneficial for those who tuned in, but it was also great for us to get the practice running something like this—it was our first one! If you missed it, but are interested, there’s good news! I can give you a link to the recorded webinar (so awkward to see/hear myself talk, ew!) or you can attend our next one! That’s right; we’re doing a repeat. Another Introduction to Essential Oils webinar! Save the date: Sunday, September 28 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Email me for more about all of this at heatherdriveblog at yahoo dot com.

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ANYWAY, let’s talk essential oils—specifically what I’ve been using, and what was new in my order this month.

doTERRA mail day: It continues to be one of my favorite days of the month. I love seeing that package sitting on my doorstep!

Elevation
This is the “Joyful Blend,” also affectionately referred to by many as “Sunshine in a Bottle.” To me, this definitely has a “nature-y” smell, and I’ve been using it for general mood management. Feeling a little blah? Rub on a little Elevation. Stressed? Elevation. Tired? Elevation. It’s one of my new go-to blends for my diffuser, which I use mostly in our family room while I’m relaxing (or working) at night.

I have a friend who has long suffered from periods of depression and she swears by Elevation as one of the oils that helped her get through a really tough stretch this past winter. I’m hoping Elevation can help me out in the colder months, when I do start to get some seasonal blues (usually between January and March).

Balance
This is another mood management oil, doTERRA’s “Grounding Blend.” This month’s bottle was actually ordered for a coworker. At this point, I’ve had several friends order Balance from me, specifically for the purpose of helping out with anxiety. I’m not kidding when I say that every one of them (4-5 people now!) has come back to me within days or weeks of using it to tell me how amazing it is and how much they love it.

A friend from high school said that when she feels an “attack” coming on, she rubs a little bit onto her wrists, then rubs her wrists behind her ears. Within 2-3 minutes, “I can breathe again,” she says. The stories from the others are really similar. My coworker has been sharing her bottle with her roommate, and she has randomly thanked me no fewer than three times for hooking her up with Balance. Good stuff.

InTune
I just realized that everything I ordered this month was a blend. Go figure. Anyway, next up is the “Focus Blend”! This one helps… well, focus. It’s pretty simple. I have fellow oils enthusiast friends who swear by InTune for ADD and ADHD, some who use it on their kids every day before they send them to school. I had heard some negative things said about the scent of this one before I ordered it, so I was pleasantly surprised when I liked it. It probably smells predominantly like patchouli, so if that smell is particularly offensive to you, you might not be a fan.

This particular blend comes in a convenient roll-on vial. In times when I really need to focus on what I’m doing, I dab this on my wrist—literally just a dab, not even “rolling”—and it’s plenty for me. It’s a really strong oil blend, so if it’s too much, you can always consider diluting it. Others have recommended putting it on the bottoms of the feet, then covering with socks and shoes.

A quick, funny testimonial about this one: Those of you who attended the webinar got to “meet” my friend, Chelsey. Well, Chelsey’s husband swears by InTune for helping his golf game! :)

Purify
The “Cleansing Blend,” and they’re not kidding. Purify smells like clean laundry to me. I’ve diffused it a few times in our house and it definitely gives the room a “just cleaned” scent. And if you actually want your laundry to smell like… clean laundry? You can add a drop of this to your detergent. We use a natural detergent that doesn’t smell like anything, so this is a good option for something like that, should you want to add a fragrance without adding synthetics. Purify can be used to make a variety of homemade cleaners as well.

The bugs are terrible in our area right now. Unfortunately, there have been a handful of times that I have forgotten to put bug spray on, and when that happens, Nora tends to get chewed on… A LOT. I saw Purify recommended with Lavender as a 1-2 punch for knocking out the itch and redness associated with bug bites. Nora has been itching really bad, and complains about her bites. Now, however, she actually requests oils when the bites itch. This morning, after I finished applying the combo (first Purify, then Lavender, by the way) to six bites she got yesterday, she said, “They don’t itch anymore!” Sweet girl. I applied oils to the bites last night, too, and a few of them were already looking substantially better this morning. I expect to see further improvement today.

AromaTouch
doTERRA calls this the “Massage Blend,” but from what I can tell so far, it’s good for far more than that. I ordered this bottle of AromaTouch for my sister-in-law, who was having problems with Restless Leg Syndrome. For months, she had been needing sleep aids or Benadryl to get to sleep at night because her legs were bothering her so much. Out of curiosity, I looked up RLS on neweverythingessential.me (Have I shared this with you all yet? It’s my favorite essential oils resource), and found AromaTouch recommended for help with RLS. Apparently, Deep Blue can be effective, too.

Anyway, I ordered it, it arrived, I gave it to my sister-in-law. That night, she rubbed it on the areas of her legs that were “acting up,” and… peace. She slept without medication for the first time in a long time. And she’s continued having success with it since then. This is one of those results that’s still a little surprising to me. I believe in the power of essential oils and have experienced it many times myself, but this was pretty amazing.

AromaTouch is also great for relaxing muscles, soothing tissue, and calming tension… which probably explains why it’s called the “Massage Blend.” :)

Deep Blue Rub
I have had Deep Blue (the oil version) since I first started using doTERRA, so I already love it. But since I’ve been doing CrossFit, I’ve definitely had days where I have a lot of large muscle groups that are sore. I wanted an easier way to apply Deep Blue to larger areas, so I wanted to give the Deep Blue Rub a shot. It’s the same Deep Blue, but in a lotion so that it’s already diluted and ready to apply.

This little box is a box of sample packets, which are tiny, but still good for 2-3 applications, depending on how big of an area you’re applying to. I decided to go with this at first since it’s only $5, and I wanted to see if I liked it as much as the oil before buying a whole tube of it. LOVE IT. The heating/cooling action caused by the Wintergreen and Peppermint in it is so soothing for aching muscles, and I also feel like when I use it, my muscles recover more quickly, too. And it is definitely easier/less messy to apply than the oil. I’ve written before how I have also had success with Deep Blue helping with sore joints as well.

I’m definitely ordering more Deep Blue Rub!

The last item in my photo up above is a small bottle of OnGuard, which I received for free as part of doTERRA’s Product of the Month promo. I’ve written before about how it is an immunity-boosting blend. We use it in our household to make homemade hand sanitizer and shopping cart sanitizing spray, and use it on our feet and in the diffuser when we’re fighting off illness.

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All in all, a great doTERRA order this month with a lot of great results and things to talk about. Still loving our oils!

Just one more quick story… Last weekend, we drove the 2.5 hours (each way) to visit Michael’s sister and her family for our nephew’s birthday. By the time we left to come home (same day), I felt SO SICK. I had a HORRIBLE headache and as we were pulling away from their house, the motion of the car was making it 10x worse. I was dreading the long ride home. I happened to have ALL of my oils with me since my sister-in-law had wanted to see/experiment with them, so while Michael was pumping gas before we left his sister’s town, I grabbed Peppermint, Lavender and Frankincense. I rubbed 1-2 drops of each across my forehead, and waited. Within five minutes, I felt better, and within 10 minutes, I felt totally normal. I was able to sit comfortably and chat with Michael like usual for the entire ride home. THANK GOODNESS.

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I’m getting ready to place my September order next week, so if anyone wants to get in on that, let me know as soon as you can. As I’ve mentioned before, if you want to try essential oils, I’m completely willing to help you out by giving you the benefit of my wholesale discount and then mailing them your way. No obligations. I’ll hook you up. :)

And if you want to just talk essential oils? Questions? Email me at heatherdriveblog at yahoo dot com, because I still haven’t grown tired of talking about them. And don’t forget about the webinar that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

If you want to browse, here’s the link to my doTERRA store, but I promise that it’s better for you to email me to start because I can get you better deals. I don’t want you to pay more than you need to for oils—my primary motivation has always been to share them with people!

There does happen to be a pretty good promo going on from doTERRA this month, so there are some excellent free products to be earned for both new and existing wholesale account members. I don’t want to drone on about it here, so if you’re interested in your own account (which is free, with no obligations)—you guessed it—email me!

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Check out all of my previous posts about essential oils here.

Happy Thursday!

 
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