Baby #2: Second Trimester Musings

Now I’m in my third trimester – not quite ready for baby yet, but the end is in sight for my pregnancy.  It’s mostly an awe-inspiring and overwhelming feeling to know that we are going to have a new baby in our lives very soon.  My second trimester was full of different feelings and issues than my first trimester (read about my first trimester here).

Symptoms, Issues & Body Changes

  • Pain – Sciatica – I noticed around week 18 that I was having a new pain in the left side of my back and hip that sometimes would travel down my butt and upper thigh.  It was nearly debilitating for a couple of weeks while I was working full-time and trying to get relief.  On the recommendation of my doula, I started going to a chiropractor who not only is a mom herself, but knows how to specifically treat pregnant women.  After the first session, I was shocked that I had immediate relief.  I’ve gone back several times but I can’t believe the difference it has made.

 

  • Weight Gain – By the start of my 3rd trimester (28 weeks), I’d gained roughly 20 pounds.  Not too little, not too much.  I originally hoped to only gain 25 pounds total, but I’d already hit that around 32 weeks.  Now I’m hoping for a total gain of 30 pounds or so.  I might not succeed, but it’s a goal.

 

  • Baby Movements – On a typical day there are lots of baby movements, but not necessarily all day long.  Some days I won’t feel movement for a while, then I’ll have a five or ten minute period of intense movement.  It’s not so much straightforward kicking, but more rolling and pushing on the outside and internal pushing/pressure.  Often baby will push on my bladder and boy does it burn!

 

  • Fatigue – I haven’t had terrible fatigue (knock on wood) but some days I do feel it.  I’m trying to walk every night, and I notice by the time my 20 minute walk is done, my body is ready for a break.  The extra weight and pull of my body makes even simple walking more challenging.

 

  • Sleep – I typically go to bed by 9 p.m. and wake up between 6:30 and 7:30.  Between those hours, I might wake up 2-4 times to use the restroom, and briefly wake up to roll over 6-10 times.  I’m handling it pretty well, which is good because I’ll need to wake up plenty when the baby is born.

 

  • Bump Size – At my last appointment my fundal height was measuring exactly on target for where I was in my pregnancy.  During both 2nd trimester ultrasounds, baby was in right around the 50th percentile.  I definitely look pregnant, but I don’t think I’m extraordinarily big in the belly.

 

  • Mood Swings and Anxiety – After the shock of pregnancy wore off after the first few weeks, I sailed through pregnancy with no anxiety at all.  Having struggled off and on with depression and anxiety my whole life, I was very happy about this.  However here and there lately, I’ve had bits of anxiety about impending birth.  Sometimes I’ll find myself feeling a bit weepier than normal.  Nothing too intense and it passes within 15 or 20 minutes.

 

New Habits I’ve Adopted

  • Mindfulness – This is what sticks out to me when I think of new habits for my pregnancy.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading in preparation for natural childbirth, and I try to fill my mind with awareness, calm, acceptance, and positive thinking.

 

Pregnancy Favorites

  • Snoogle – I couldn’t sleep without this pillow.  I tuck it between my upper thighs and it goes all the way to my ankles.  It is so comfy to snuggle with this every night.  It does take up a lot of room in bed, but it’s worth it.  It really helps with sciatica and muscle cramps.

 

  • Ina May Gaskinher book “Guide to Childbirth” and her Tedx Talk – Her book was invaluable in giving me insight and confidence into a birth without medical intervention.  The personal birth stories were empowering.  The other half of the book was informative and factual information about childbirth, practices, and insight into having a low/no-intervention birth.

 

 

  • Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke – I just finished this book and really enjoyed its insights into staying mindful during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  The book I just started reading is Hypnobirthing by Marie F. Mongan.

 

  • Organic decaf coffee – I love a cup of coffee every morning, and about 3 or 4 times a month, my husband and I stop at Starbucks.  I always have organic decaf at home and the office, and when at Starbucks I have been getting either a plain decaf Frappuchino or, when it was colder, a hot decaf.

 

Now that my pregnancy is down to a few weeks, I’m trying to finish buying all the necessities, get the house prepared, and get myself mentally prepared.  I still have to wash clothes and cloth diapers, pack a hospital bag and diaper bag, install the car seat,  and clean second-hand baby items like the bassinet and swing. The countdown is on for baby #2 and although part of me is overwhelmed, I’m also really excited to meet our baby!

If you’re pregnant or have a little one, I’d love to know your most used and loved products for the first few months!

 

Baby Wishlist: Natural, Non-Toxic Items

Here are a few items from my Amazon Wishlist for baby!  I’m due in July, so while I have a few bigger items, there are still a lot of miscellaneous and smaller items still on my list to buy.

 

FridaBaby The Windi Gas and Colic Reliever – Worth a shot as an alternative to gripe water.  I looked at ingredients for at least a dozen gripe waters; for me, even the most natural were still not natural enough for a newborn.  Virtually all babies get gas, and when they do, it’s painful for them and can result in a lot of crying and distress for baby and everyone else.  I’m definitely willing to try this natural alternative for relieving gas.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Non-Scents Shampoo & Body Wash – This is the bath product I plan on using due to lots of great reviews and fairly wide availability.  I also wanted to use a wash that had no essential oils or scents added.  Newborn babies are very sensitive and there really is no need for me to make my baby smell like vanilla or oranges – babies smell good enough on their own!

Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifier – So far, this is the most natural pacifier I’ve come across.  It’s 100% natural rubber instead of plastic, and actually has no plastic components at all. It also meets more stringent European standards.  This is definitely worth trying if my baby is a pacifier lover.

Natursutten Glass Bottles – I’m not completely certain which brand of glass bottles I’ll purchase, but this is definitely a contender, along with the Lifefactory Bottles. The goal and plan is to breastfeed, but I also want to pump so that my husband has the opportunity to bottle feed.  Not only that, but at some point when I go back to work, I’ll need to pump anyway. Glass is a vastly superior bottle material to plastic if one can afford it.  I actually used plastic with my older daughter and cringe every time I think about it. But I also believe in doing the best we can with what we know and what we have access to, because no one is perfect.

Snuggle Me Organic Baby Bed/Lounger – This is seriously a “wishlist” item, because at this price I’m not sure I can justify the purchase.  However, I want to get an infant lounger and this is my first pick.

HABA Rattling Max Toy – This is such a sentimental toy for me.  When my daughter was about 2 or 3 months old, this was one of her first toys.  I still have hers, though when she was older she broke the bottom wooden ring.  I digress. One thing I do not want in my teething baby’s mouth is a conventional plastic toy. I want another Max rattle for this baby because not only is it nostalgic, but it’s made by a great German company with sustainable practices using natural beechwood and natural non-toxic colors.  Oh, and it’s a beautiful toy.

These are just a few of the natural, non-toxic items on my baby wish list.  Do you have any recommendations? I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

Non-Toxic Beauty & Skincare Wishlist

First, a little about my current approach to my skincare and beauty purchases. For months I’ve avoided purchasing products I don’t need.  Mostly, I purchase items as I run out.  Products like lipsticks and blushes are mostly a non-priority until I use up some of what I have.   The first reason for this approach is to budget finances better.  The second is that I don’t want to be consumed by materialism.  The third is that I find it ridiculous to accumulate more makeup or skincare products than I could ever use up before they went bad.

Having gotten that out of the way, here are some products that I’m interested in purchasing as I use up and replace my current items:

 

Purely Simple Face Cream

Osmia Organics Purely Simple Face Cream – It might seem as though something like this wouldn’t warrent a second glance – after all, it even says in the name that it’s a simple face cream.  However, all face lotions are not created equal…far from it.  I’ve tried lots, both mainstream when I was younger, and high end green brands.  This is my favorite and I want to repurchase soon.  It sinks into the skin quickly but leaves it hydrated, all with limited natural ingredients.  Let me just say that is no easy feat.

 

 

Rose Petal HydroSoul - evanhealy

Evan Healy Rose Petal HydroSoul – It’s been a while since I’ve purchased an Evan Healy hydrosol, but they are really great.  I love using rose water hydrosol in spring and summer when I need less moisture.  This one looks lovely and I love the packaging.

 

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Jordan Samuel Plié Treatment Cleanser – I feel like so many people have been talking about Jordan Samuel lately.  I love using a good cleanser that is also affordable.  For me, $20 for 3 ozs of natural face cleanser is very reasonable.  I’m really leaning towards buying this one when my other cleansers run out.

 

Earth Mama Angel Baby line – I want to try several of their products, primarily for my baby who is due this summer!  Currently, I plan on purchasing their Natural Nipple Butter for breastfeeding, their Natural Non-Scents Body Wash and Shampoo for baby’s bathtime, and some of their teas.

 

4.5oz Super Sensitive Organic Body Oil
California Baby Super Sensitive Body Oil – It’s important to me to use no fragrances (natural or otherwise) on my baby for the first few weeks.  Most baby oils contain fragrance or essential oils, which can potentially irritate delicate baby skin.  This is one of the few products I’ve found that is organic, affordable, and completely scent-free.

 


Kosas Lipstick in Undone – OK, I want pretty much every shade they make since I purchased Rosewater, which is an absolutely perfect lipstick.  If I must choose just one, I’d pick Undone, which is a makeup artist favorite, with good reason I’m sure. The shade is a nude pinky-brown and looks beautiful in every photo I’ve seen of it.

 

RMS Beauty Signature Set: Pop – I think these palette sets are brilliant.  RMS is probably my number #1 favorite non-toxic beauty brand if I had to pick, but they aren’t exactly affordable.  This is such a fantastic way to have multiple products for a fraction of the cost.

 

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Glossier Boy Brow – I want to purchase a few of their products, but primarily Boy Brow in blonde. Doing my brows is pretty much a daily standard for me, even when I’m not wearing any other makeup.  I’d also love to try their Stretch Concealer and Cloud Paint.

What non-toxic, natural items are on your beauty/skincare/baby wishlist? Let me know in the comments!

Baby #2: First Trimester Musings

Photograph from the book “Yoga: The Essential Positions” by Jacqueline May Lysycia

I received one of the biggest shocks of my life last autumn.  At an ob/gyn appointment for cyst pain, the doctor said she wanted to do a routine pregnancy test.  However, I really, really, really didn’t expect the doctor to come up to me 10 minutes later with a funny look on her face…and then tell me I was pregnant.

It has been several years since I had my one and only child, my daughter.  It truly feels like starting all over in many ways.  However, I’m older than the first time around, and hopefully more prepared this time.

The whole spectrum of emotions has hit me at different moments over the past several weeks.  I’ve felt shock, disbelief, scared, overwhelmed, anxious, excited, happy, and blessed.  Sometimes I feel several different emotions in one day.

As with my first pregnancy, my true prayer is to have a healthy child.  Here are some changes I’ve experienced as well as the things that have been the most useful and comforting to me thus far.  Now I am nicely into my second trimester, but I’m dealing with a second round of morning sickness, which stopped around 12 or 13 weeks and then came back about 2 weeks after that.

Symptoms & Body Changes

  • Nausea/Morning Sickness accompanied with dizziness and body aches
  • Discharge a.k.a. leukorrhea
  • Mild to moderate fatigue
  • Ovarian cyst pain around weeks 2-6
  • Tender breasts
  • Tender stomach
  • Beginning of a belly bump
  • Mild breakouts on my face, almost exclusively around my mouth and chin area
  • Bizarre dreams
  • Restless sleep
  • Very frequent urination

 

New Habits I’ve Adopted

  • Daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid/folate – pretty standard
  • Kegals – to strengthen the muscles in preparation for childbirth
  • Daily stretches and squats – again, to strengthen my muscles and be as fit as possible for childbirth
  • Walks – as applicable when the weather allows
  • Meditation/Relaxation practices, light yoga as allowed (when I’m not sick) – As an aside, this isn’t really a new habit – but I added it to this list and I think it is essential that when you’re pregnant and growing a baby, you try to have as calm and peaceful a demeanor as possible for YOUR set of circumstances.  I have many stress triggers in my life, but I constantly bring myself back to a state of relaxation and meditative peacefulness for my sake and my baby’s sake.

 

A Few Pregnancy Favorites So Far

  • Peppermint tea – for morning sickness/nausea
  • Pregnancy tea – soothing and mild, suitable for when I’m nauseous
  • ASMR – for relaxation when I have morning sickness or anxiety
  • What To Expect When Expecting book & app – for weekly summary of how baby is developing
  • Meow Meow Tweet Spot Treatment – for hormonal breakouts
  • Motherhood Maternity & Old Navy Maternity – for comfy, affordable clothes;  I’ve also purchased a few maternity clothes from consignment stores
  • Sea Bands – for nausea…I couldn’t say how well they worked, but I have them
  • Sour hard candies – for nausea…again, not sure how much they helped, but they were cheaper than Preggy Pops and essentially the same thing
  • Hot cocoa in lieu of coffee – heat almond milk and then whisk in cocoa and stevia.  Voila.

What are/were your favorites during pregnancy?  I’d love to hear about what you love(d) in the comments!

Peacefully Handling a Child Being Uncooperative

mygirl

Is it obvious that I totally tried to make a P.C. title to this post?

Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  Sure, that might not be the case for every single mother on this earth.  But for those mothers who try hard every single day to raise a decent, loving, intelligent, open-minded human being, it is the hardest job ever!

It’s also the most wonderful job I have, truly.

However, I’d be embarrassed and ashamed if people knew how many times I’ve stumbled as a mother.  I try to do the best I can, but the thing is, I’m human, too, and therefore fallible and imperfect.

My daughter is what many refer to as “spirited” – a term used in the book “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka – a child who is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic than an average child.  It can be a challenge to raise such a child with your wits intact.

An issue I want to discuss is dealing with an uncooperative child.  A more specific example of this issue is getting ready on school mornings.  On a typical morning, I do my makeup, get dressed, feed the dogs, pack my breakfast and lunch, pack my daughter’s breakfast and lunch, and pack my bags for the day.  We have to leave home around 7:30 a.m. so I can get my daughter to school on time (and no, her riding the bus to save time isn’t an option).

In the morning, my daughter is responsible for dressing in her school uniform and shoes, and brushing her teeth and hair.  For years, I’ve had issues with it taking 45 minutes or more for her to accomplish these things, usually with my constant reminders to put on a shirt, or put on shoes, etc. Mornings were frequently stressed because we are always running late for school.  It is an absolute heartbreak for she and I to start our day stressed and mad at each other.

I’ve tried arguing.  I’ve tried yelling.  I’ve tried being calm and sweet.  I’ve tried rationally explaining my cause. I’ve tried emotional teary appeals. I’ve tried rewards.  I’ve tried a fun chore chart.  I’ve even tried explaining truancy. Nothing worked.

At my wits end, I really snapped one day when my mother happened to be babysitting (my daughter’s school was out for the day).  I had said I was tired of my daughter not listening in the mornings.  My mom talked to me and ultimately, gave me a solution:

No arguing, no yelling, consequence based cause-and-effect.  And absolute follow-through.  I took this approach over a month ago, and only had to warn of it twice – and it has worked better than anything else so far.

The first morning I employed this tactic, she was being slow as usual.  She sings, plays with the dogs, or just goofs off.  In a nutshell, I said, “We need to leave in 20 minutes.  If you aren’t ready to leave the house, you will go as you are, even if you aren’t wearing your shoes.  You’ll have to go like that.”

Her response?  Tears, telling me I was mean…you get the idea.  I looked firm on the outside, but on the inside, I felt horrible.  I didn’t let her know that.  All that morning, she sulked and acted as though something really terrible had happened, but she got ready on time without much incident.

Later that day I told my mom how she reacted, and thankfully my mom told me I had done right.  She said most likely my daughter had gotten upset because up until that morning, she knew how things worked.  She could be slow and not get ready on time, and mom would get upset or yell to hurry up.  That’s it.  No big surprise.

When I “changed the game’, there was no yelling or anything – just “get ready or go as you are, no exceptions”.  That was new and she didn’t know how to “play” that call.

A morning or two later, I had to use this warning again.  Get ready on time or you will have to leave the house unprepared and/or undressed.  She got pretty upset again and even said grandma was mean for being on my side, but she got ready.

So far, a few weeks later, I have had far less issues with her getting ready in the morning.  Typically, it’s as easy as firmly but gently reminding her, “get ready” or “we have to leave in 15 minutes” or some variation of that, and she is on task again.

Would I follow through if she didn’t get ready?  Yes.  Because if it happened once and she had to go to school without socks or her backpack, I think it would be the only hard lesson she would need.  I’d be willing to follow through and explain to her teacher so that she understood what happened.

As of yet, I haven’t had to follow-through, except one day when she couldn’t find her sneakers and I made her walk outside onto the porch in just her socks.  She was very upset with herself but didn’t act upset with me.  Unfortunately it was pouring rain and luckily the sneakers were in the car, so I was able to grab them and tell her to put them on while sitting on the porch.  That was a close call for her and she saw that I was willing to let her suffer the consequences.

I think this exercise has taught her self-accountability and responsibility.  It has helped so much but I’ve had to be willing to follow-through.  In the end, it has made our mornings SO much nicer and easier.

How do you peacefully handle tough parenting situations?

Our Lovely, Peaceful Fall Day

lakeSunday, October 9, 2016

8:30 a.m. – Drinking organic coffee we made in our French press (we’re both addicted to it since I bought it about three weeks ago). My husband asks if I would want to go to a lake about a 45 minute drive from home.  I’m on board. We pack up the kid and two dogs and are driving by 10:15.

11:00 a.m. – By this time we’ve made it to the college town that sets on the outskirts of the scenic lake area.  We go to a flea market, a Halloween store where my daughter tries on two costumes, both of which are “too itchy”, and finally stop to eat lunch before heading towards the lake.

1:30 p.m. – Finally arrive at our first stop where we hike for a while with a whiny little girl, one very smart, obedient dog, and one somewhat ditzy dog. I try to keep my sanity as I am interrupted 10-20 times while I take photos.

The sky is clear with just a few wispy clouds.  There is a breeze and it is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Basically, the weather you’d expect in heaven.  Just perfection.

bugMy daughter is very curious about nature and always, always gets dirty.  I’ve learned to embrace and even enjoy the fact that she loves sticks, leaves, cute bugs, dirt, puddles, and sand.

2:15 p.m. – By this time, we’ve driven to be right on the lake. It’s lovely and the dogs and kiddo are loving being in nature.

scavengingOn the beach, there are things to be inspected by a curious little girl.  But under the trees, in shady spots, there are signs of autumn…

wetleavesI love the way leaves look when they’ve fallen to the ground but not yet decayed.  So beautiful and fragile.

rocksGathering pebbles on the edge of the lake.  I loved collecting rocks as a child.  I think it has to do with some unconscious childhood desire to connect back to the earth.

2:45p.m. – We drive a short distance to our final stop.  While the little one plays on a playground and literally buries her Barbies in the sand, my husband and I sit with two tired dogs under some shade trees.

dogs3:00 p.m. – Feeling genuinely blessed.  I’ve been dealing with ongoing health issues lately (I know, I should join the club, right?) and it is physically and emotionally draining at times, especially when I still work full-time and have a child.  Having days like this recharges me and makes me feel loved and at peace.

shadetrees3:15p.m. – Stop for gas and snacks – the husband has nuts and iced coffee, I have water and a granola bar, and kid has an ice cream sandwich, which is a special treat that she doesn’t get very often. Dogs have lots of fresh, cool water.

4:15p.m. – Husband and I get home and crash together in bed for a nice late afternoon nap.  Little girl plays very quietly (we always cross our fingers that she won’t be too loud – I was pretty vehement before we took a nap for her to play in her room right next to ours very quietly).

6:00p.m. – Little girl and I make homemade vegan chili and cornbread together.  I liked the cornbread but it got a thumbs down from her and husband…not sure why.  Oh, well.  The chili was good.

9:00p.m. – Everyone is settling down for the night: two little dogs, one little girl, and one husband and wife.  Nighty night.

10:30p.m. – Finally get kid to settle down and go to sleep after letting her watch a movie past her bedtime.  It’s OK since today is a holiday and she doesn’t have school.

You know how sometimes in interviews, a person is asked to describe their perfect day? This was pretty close for me.  Although it wasn’t like we were sipping coffee and eating croissants in Paris, it was special and beautiful nonetheless. Happiness comes when you create it.  I hope this post has inspired you to have a beautiful fall season and to try to get outside and enjoy the weather!

Simple DIY American Girl Bedroom & Beds

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And when I say simple…I really mean simple – no tools, no nailing, no gluing, no difficult cutting!  YES.

For the past two years, I’ve taken my daughter to the American Girl store for her birthday.  Now that she has two dolls, she really wanted a bedroom for them.  I did a lot of searching for ideas – some were insanely over-the-top American Girl houses, and others were much more simple.  I don’t have any wood skills of which to speak, so I knew I needed to figure out something that would be affordable and simple.

For the room itself, I used a cardboard box that an accent chair was shipped in.  It was roughly 4’x3′ so I knew it was going to be a perfect size for a room. I used a box cutter to remove the top flaps of the box, and then to remove one side of the box.  What was left was the bottom of the box and 3 sides.  I reinforced the strength of the box by using duct tape around the edges.

The next step was covering the “floor”.  I found contact paper to be the best solution – it wipes clean, comes in lots of styles/patterns, and is affordable.  I found contact paper with a wood floor pattern which worked great for the bottom of the box.  I did have to be careful as I put it in place because without care, lots of air bubbles will get trapped.

For the walls I also used contact paper – this time a fun but somewhat muted polka dot pattern.  Again, I had to be extra careful as I put it in place to minimize air bubbles – there were still a few that I couldn’t manage to escape, but they aren’t noticeable.

 

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For the beds, I used two wire racks very similar to this.  When purchasing one of these racks for a doll bed, it is important to check the dimensions – some of the racks are not long enough for an 18″ doll like American Girl. Three great things about the style we have are: they are coated and won’t rust or break; they are affordable, and they stack if my daughter wants to change them into bunk beds (note: not all styles of these types of racks are stackable – make sure to read the info to know for sure).

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For the blankets, I suggest taking your child to JoAnn’s or someplace similar to pick out blanket fabric.  There is so much to choose from, but I recommend something soft and pliable. Some patterns are really eye catching, but if it is a super flimsy or stiff fabric, it won’t look nice as a doll blanket.

Depending on the fabric type, you can make the blanket in different ways – sew with a machine, hand stitch, use liquid stitch, or if it’s a fabric that won’t fray, you could just cut to size and call it a day!

I could have gone all-out and made a headboard and a dust ruffle for the beds, but I chose not to.  Instead, each bed only has a “mattress”, blanket, and pillow.  I recommend not using cotton batting for the bedding because it is too fluffy – not what you want for a realistic looking bed.  Instead, I used layers of an old terry cloth bath towel and used that as the filling inside fabric.  For one mattress I used leftover felt, which is very easy to work with.  For the other bed, I used a leftover cotton pillowcase which worked well, too.  The mattresses are thick and soft, but not lumpy.

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We added a few accessories – I picked up the small wooden doll dresser at Michael’s for less than $10 and my daughter painted it with watercolors believe it or not.  The zebra rug was a piece of craft fabric I also picked up from Michael’s for about $5.

Breakdown of what I spent:

  • Contact paper for floor/walls: $10
  • Dresser: $8
  • Rug: $5
  • Bedding Fabric: $10

Everything else was repurposed, i.e. FREE:

  • Cardboard box
  • Wire racks (from my mom)
  • Leftover fabric
  • Terrycloth bath towel

I hope you enjoyed reading how I made a simple, affordable American Girl doll bedroom!  Maybe one day I’ll be really adventurous and make a kitchen or bathroom…

Natural Kid’s Products for Outdoor Playtime

outdoorkidsproducts

It’s almost summer, so that means the next few months will include a lot of sun and outdoor activities.  To keep my daughter protected from sun damage and buggies, here are a few things I keep close by.

Sun Hats and Caps – For me and my daughter, a hat is an absolute necessity in summer.  Both of us being fair skinned and prone to burning, I use physical “sunblockers” as often as possible – meaning I try to shield our skin with clothes, sunglasses, hats, and natural shade that things like trees provide. We also aren’t fans of tank tops because our shoulders would burn too quickly.  I am not a fan of being in direct summer sunlight; it somehow zaps my energy and makes me very uncomfortable physically.  There are lots of companies that specialize in clothing that have a sun protective factor that is essentially built-in to the garment.  I actually do not own any clothing products like that, so I can’t offer any feedback.  However, a good old fashioned ball cap works, too.

Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30 – This is a great versatile, vegan, paraben-free sunscreen.  It’s lightweight enough to wear under makeup, or to slather all over my body and my daughter’s body.  It doesn’t have much of a scent and though there is a subtle white cast, it isn’t that bad (I’ve definitely seen worse).  The ingredients are great, too.

Honest Company Sunscreen Spray and Sunscreen Stick – At the risk of being controversial, I also have a couple of Honest Company sunscreens.  I actually purchased these a while ago, before the controversy over the efficacy of their products.  I’ve used their sunscreens many times, and personally, have never had an issue at all.  However, the responsible thing to do it to reapply sunscreen frequently.  If my daughter is swimming outdoors, you better believe I’m reapplying sunscreen every 30-40 minutes like clockwork, regardless of the brand.

Hurraw! Sun Balm SPF 15 – A lip balm with SPF?  How very 21st century!  When I was growing up, and indeed, until a couple of years ago, I’d never heard of a lip balm with SPF.  Talk about a product that makes you go, “Why wasn’t this widely available a long time ago?” I guess I’ll chalk that up to more and more awareness of the effects of sun damage on us, so there is more demand for sun protection.  Anyway, I love this balm.  I keep it in my purse because I have my purse when we’re out-and-about.  Smells pretty nice, too.

Badger Anti-Bug Spray – First, we don’t spend a lot of time outdoors. I have a deep appreciation for nature and we do go on walks, to parks, nature preserves, etc.  However, I don’t spend a lot of time outdoors except maybe in spring and summer.  My daughter and I are not only sensitive to heat and sun, but I am not a fan of bugs.  That’s me just being honest!  However, for times when my daughter is playing in the backyard or climbing the neighbor’s tree (which the neighborhood kids love to do), I have her spray her exposed skin with this bug spray.  It has really clean ingredients – only organic oil and essential oils, so I don’t have to fret about what is getting absorbed into my daughter’s bloodstream via her skin.  So far, it seems to work pretty well based on our needs.

What outdoor products are essential for you and your family?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!