Monday, August 17, 2015

The Etsy Shop Has Launched!

You can now purchase our Endless Love Bracelets on our new Etsy site (click on the shop tab at the top for a direct link)! My goal is to upload new products to the shop every two weeks-sometimes it will just be a restock of current products, and other times I will be introducing brand new products. You can keep up to date with shop news by following us on Facebook and Instagram @onabutterflyswings.

The Endless Love Bracelet is our charitable cause bracelet, and all proceeds are used to make care packages for other parents of stillborn babies. I donate these care packages to the hospital where our sweet Emma was born. I have ten packages that are heading to the hospital this week thanks to previous Endless Love Bracelet sales.

Thank you for your love and support!



Friday, August 7, 2015

A Stink & The Crunchy Mamas to the Rescue! *GIVEAWAY*

I was provided this product for review. I am not being compensated, and all opinions are 100% my own.

Well, this is going to be embarrassing, but it's the only way you will understand just how amazing the product I am about to share with you is. {There is a giveaway at the end, so I promise this is worth a read ;)}

I sweat. I use natural deodorant. And sometimes that means I get smelly. Am I the only one here? Please tell me I'm not. {Insert cute emoji with the hand raised--you know which one I mean} If you're a natural deodorant user you probably understand. I'm not a smelly person (really, I promise!), but there is a big difference between using conventional deodorants and natural deodorants.

While you think that over, let me give you a little backstory. For several years now I've been making changes in the way I eat, clean, and care for myself, my home, and my family, in an effort to live a more clean and natural life. I'm not perfect, and there is definitely room for improvement, but I'm happy with the choices I make for myself and my family. I got especially crunchy last year when I started using essential oils (I use and recommend Young Living Essentials Oils-you can email me for more info), which prompted me to make even more healthy lifestyle changes. Just to keep it real though--I ate a Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Smash Blizzard the other night and loved every artificial bite. Balance is my mantra. But, I digress...

One of these healthy lifestyle changes was to throw away my conventional deodorants and replace them with a natural deodorant. There seem to be conflicting beliefs about the health risks of conventional deodorant, but my approach is to always choose a more natural option when possible. Why take the risk of synthetic, potentially toxic, chemicals being absorbed by your body if you don't have to? I'm not here to preach, so do your own research and decide, but I'll tell you my underarms are getting the natural version!

I have been through 4 different natural deodorants, and all of them left me wishing for a shower by the end of the day. Natural deodorants just don't seem to work all that well. AmIright? Although tempted to switch back to the artificial stuff, I've continued to try one deodorant after another, in hopes that I'll find one that doesn't leave me clamping my arms to my sides, or smelling like patchouli incense and the sixties.

Then one evening, after buying said fourth deodorant, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a post from The Crunchy Mamas looking for some people to try their natural deodorant and share a review on Instagram. Helloooo, deodorant number five! I emailed The Crunchy Mamas, and was super excited to receive an email back from Ashley letting me know they would be sending me one of their deodorants to try! I chose the Her Pit, which is their deodorant for women, scented with organic Lavender and Sweet Orange essential oils. They also have a His Pit and Mint Pit. 

I have been using Her Pit for a week now, and I am in love! This is the first natural deodorant that actually works for me. For real. There was a day this week that I went to the gym in the morning and then washed windows and cleaned off the porch outside during L's afternoon nap. I didn't want to shower until after all of that, so that morning I just washed my face and applied some fresh Her Pit. Can I tell you that after all of that, and no shower since the day before, I still smelled fresh?! This stuff is legit. It is priced at $9 a jar, but you only use a pea size amount under each arm. After a week there is barely a dent in my container, which means it's a great value! I've also been happy with how moisturizing Her Pit feels after it's applied. I've had trouble with some natural deodorants in the past and the large amounts of baking soda in them. Applying those after shaving is like lighting your underarm on fire. Her Pit, though, goes on smoothly and without irritation. 
*And they're doing a promotion right now where 10% of deodorant sales go to one of three Pit Bull rescues. Yay for helping doggies!*

Here is what you will find in a container of Her Pit:

image source


Sure, I could probably whip up some natural deodorant myself (that thought crossed my mind during the deodorant search), but why? The Crunchy Mamas are rocking mamas, working their business and making awesome all-natural products that actually work. I love their mission and fun vibe, plus I'm all for smelling great and supporting some hardworking mamas while I'm at it. 

I'd like to pay it forward and give away one container of Crunchy Mamas Natural Deodorant to one of you! 

This is an Instagram giveaway, so I apologize to those of you who are not on there. Visit my Instagram page @onabutterflyswings for a post with all of the details and rules for entering. 


I hope you'll visit the Crunchy Mamas on Facebook, Instagram, and on their website, and give them a like or a follow. They have lots of fantastic products for the whole family, and I know you'll find something you love!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I Forgot My Place

Having a living child has given me a free pass into the "moms club". I swap baby gadget recommendations, baby food recipes, joys, and frustrations with other moms. I proudly carry my baby on my hip while walking through the store, or coo and giggle with her while we wait patiently in a line. I am one of them.

Some days it's easy to forget how it was before. When I was a mom, but not in the "moms club". And then there are days and times when it hits, and it hits hard.

I've been planning to attend a local baby wearing meeting tomorrow. At the meeting there is a whole library of different slings, wraps, and baby carriers that you can try, as well as educators that teach you safe ways to use the carriers with your baby. I'm not sure if you've seen the price of baby carriers, but I'm a big fan of getting a chance to try before I buy.

Being an introvert, I normally get some anxiety about going into new situations like this. It's hard for me to meet people and make small talk. Being a bereaved mom it's even harder.

When I first planned to go to the meeting I felt excited about getting some advice and help with ring slings, and even excited at the idea of spending some time with other moms and babies. And then I remembered my place in the mom world. I live on the bereaved mom side, and it can be full of anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. I began thinking about the inevitable questions...is this your first, how many other children do you have, how old are they? I thought about the uncomfortable conversation that starts and ends with, my firstborn daughter died. I thought about the inevitably crunchy moms that will be there sharing their natural birth stories, with talks of delivering at 41 or almost 42 weeks, home births and water births and the like. I thought about all my plans for Emma's birth, waiting and waiting so I could have that natural birth experience, and then I waited too long and she died.

Going and trying out a ring sling doesn't sound so fun anymore. Maybe all I need is to get these thoughts out and I will feel okay tomorrow. That's the thing with grief, you never really know. Tomorrow when it's time to leave for the meeting is when I'll know how I feel about it. I do stop and think about the mom that has lived through loss and it too afraid to tell someone else, or feels like she doesn't have anyone to talk to. Maybe she's there waiting for me, waiting for me to be brave enough to say those terrible words out loud. And if she's not at the Monday baby wearing meeting then she's out there somewhere in the world. I can't hide out forever, maybe it's time to be brave.

If you are not a bereaved parent and you are reading this, you may say: you are one of us, we are in this together, we are united by motherhood. And to you I say, I am so thankful you are so naive. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I mean I am so glad you don't know what it's like to be one of me. There will always be a difference. We are both mothers, but I am one kind and you are another. Thank you for not trying to make me be you, thank you for letting me be in my place, while sharing in yours.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hello, Summer...Wreath!

My go-to spring and summer wreath is one that I created with a friend shortly after we lost Emma. I felt the need to create, and the wreath is what came out of it. Actually now that I think about it, I think that making that wreath may have been the start of my craftiness. Creating things, no matter how well they turn out, has become a form of therapy for me. Here is a post from my old blog that shows you the wreath and gives you the tutorial on making it.

After two years, however, my wreath was looking a little worn, and I decided it was time for a new wreath DIY. Here is this summer's creation. Cute, right?!


This pretty little wreath at 24 Olive Street was my inspiration. I love the bright happy colors and touches of whimsy she used. I added the chipboard "hello" to mine for an extra touch of fun. 

If you want to create a similar look, here is my how-to:

Materials Needed
  • 18" grapevine wreath (I got mine at Michael's for $4.99-Don't forget you can use the Michael's app for a 40% off coupon!)
  • Assorted scrapbooking paper
  • Twine-I used yellow baker's twine
  • Mini clothespins
  • Mini pinwheel-I bought mine pre-made at Michaels. If you're super crafty you can DIY your own.
  • Wooden skewer for attaching pinwheel
  • "Hello" chipboard-I found this at Hobby Lobby
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Spray paint 
Directions
  • Use your spray paint to paint "hello" the color you have chosen
  • Decide on the size of triangles you want for your pennant banner (I used Pages on my computer to create a triangle, since I cannot draw a straight line), make a tracer, and trace your triangles onto the scrapbook paper.
  • Hot glue the paper triangles to your twine, glue into clothespins, and hot glue to the wreath
  • Hot glue "hello" and the pinwheel onto the wreath
  • Make your paper accordion flowers using this tutorial and attach to your wreath with hot glue-I used scrapbook paper circles that I cut out for my flower centers
If I can do it, you definitely can! Of course, looking at the picture of the finished product I see things I would change, but overall I'm pretty happy with this crafty creation! 

Happy summer, friends!


This post is not sponsored, I just like shopping at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. ;)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Joy and Sadness

Today is a day marked by both joy and sadness, as so much of life after loss is, particularly parenting after loss. That becomes our "new normal" doesn't it? Joy and sadness intertwined.

Today, June 24, is L's seven month birthday, and it is also Emma's due date.

I feel such joy celebrating L and the seven amazing months that we have had her here. I can't believe it has even been that long already. Every day is better than the last, and although I don't think there is any way I could love her more than I already do, each day I somehow love her more and more.

But alongside this overwhelming joy, my heart is very heavy. I remember so clearly this date two years ago. I remember sitting in the family room with my hand on my belly, wondering when my labor would start. I wondered if it would be on that day, my due date, or in the days following. I wondered how it would feel when contractions started and how Emma's birth would unfold. But I never got to feel the excitement and anxiety of labor because Emma died in my belly just 8 days later.  

The stretch between Emma's due date and her birthday are hard days. I'm left looking towards this horrible day and knowing there is nothing I can do about it. All of the regrets, guilt, memories, and emotions come rushing back to the surface from where they've been hiding in the deepest parts of my heart and mind.

I'd like to think that I could spend these next 8 days focusing on the joy and light and love of Emma, and I'll try, but it's oh so hard. All I want to do is go back and change my choices, to schedule my induction sooner (among other things), which means in all likelihood Emma would be here and alive today. But then as I type that I think of my precious, beautiful, joyful Lilah napping upstairs. I know that if Emma were here Lilah would not be, and I get a panicked feeling rising in my throat as I think of life without Lilah. Thus is the paradox of parenting after loss.

The rational part of my brain fights to take back over, as I pull myself back from the guilt and regret circling around in my mind. It's times like these that I'm thankful I don't have to do this alone. I think of the verse from Psalm 55 that tells us to cast our cares on the Lord. It is so much easier to say: here Lord, please take this, it's too heavy for me. Isn't it?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Milestones

Grief is a funny thing. Even when life has started on a new path, and there are bright happy days ahead, it still lingers there in the background, waiting to reclaim you. I find that milestones often bring it back, rearing it's ugly head. Some would disagree with my description of grief. Some say grief is love, embrace it. And I agree, it comes because of love, but I would rather feel the love and light for Emma than the aching sadness. It's such a hard balance to find. When I am feeling happy it can be hard because I feel like Emma is distant from me. It is easiest to remember her and feel her when the weight of grief is on my shoulders. Of course, I'd rather be happy than sad though. Does that make sense? Do you feel the way I feel?

All of these hard heavy feelings and thoughts are starting to swirl around as Emma's second birthday approaches. Two years. How can that be? It's so hard to imagine having a two year old daughter here, especially as I sit here watching my six month old on the monitor as she sleeps. It's so surreal and confusing.

I also look ahead to our life with Lilah and wonder how it will be parenting both her and Emma. Emma will always be included, and a part of our family, but I also want to make sure that Lilah never feels that she is in Emma's shadow. I guess one look at how Lilah is the center of our hearts and lives, and I don't need to worry about that happening, but then I worry that Emma is not getting enough of my thoughts and attention. Do you see the vicious cycle? I also worry how having a sister in Heaven will be for Lilah. I think about my kindergarten students who talk about their families and brothers and sisters, and I wonder what Lilah will say. Will she say that her sister died? What will the other kids say? Kids can be mean. Will Lilah be "the girl whose sister died"?

I think I've had my head in the sand a little bit lately. I've been living this amazing life every day and I haven't allowed myself to feel too much grief. I've packed it up, neatly stored it in a box in the back of my mind. I struggle with that. I'm a little too good at compartmentalizing things. Now, with Emma's birthday approaching in a few months the box has torn open a bit, and the sadness is creeping back out, along with guilt for boxing up my grief, and in my mind, Emma, in the first place.

So many ups and downs and emotions. It's just another day in the life of a bereaved mama.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The First Three Months

I can't believe that we are approaching Lilah's four month birthday! In some ways her birth seems like forever ago, and in many others it feels like time has flown by. I realize I haven't written anything about her birth or my experiences with her. It's been hard, overwhelming, and absolutely wonderful. 

To be honest it only feels like lately I have fully embraced having her here. I think that probably sounds different than what I mean. I have loved her and been so so thankful for her since the moment she was born, but it was hard for me to believe and feel like she was really ours, to really believe that this is our new normal after living with a different new normal for so long. I feel like recently I have fully awoken into this beautiful new life. It's hard for me to even put into words how much I love her. Sometimes I look at her and cry because she makes my heart so full. 

Parenting after loss has definitely had its unique emotions and challenges. There are the normal fears, emotions, and anxieties that "new moms" feel, but being what I like to call "a second-time, first-time mom" has its own set. I am constantly battling between normal mom worry and insane anxiety. Every little sniffle triggers a worst case scenario in my mind. There have been many times so far when I have to talk myself back down to reality. I also have an intense need to be with her and to care for her. It's hard for me to trust her with anyone else. After Emma's death I struggled with guilt and feelings of failure with myself and my body, and now with Lilah I feel like I want to care for her and protect her at all times. I have this need to make sure that nothing happens on my watch again. Next week I start back to work and she will go to daycare, and I am absolutely heartbroken. I just don't know how I can put her in someone else's care for forty hours a week. Unfortunately, staying home is not a financially viable option for us (at the moment-holding onto hope that one day I can make that happen), so for now I will do what I do best-adapt and thrive.  

Here are some pics (from the hundreds on my phone!) of our sweet baby girl. She is quite juicy but I do think the pictures make her look a little squishier than she is. ;) Lilah loves to talk, smile, and giggle. She has rolled over a few times but still doesn't love tummy time. She is starting to teethe and Sophie the Giraffe is her favorite friend. She sleeps great at night but is not a fan of naps. She is wearing almost all 6 month clothes already! She is our sunshine!






Friday, February 6, 2015

Acceptance

Acceptance. The supposed "last" stage of grief. I've always disagreed with this. I don't think there is an end point. A point where I'll say: "My daughter died and I'm okay." I just don't get that.

Today is a hard day. I'm feeling heavy in grief over Emma's death and I'm feeling the anxiety it causes me related to Lilah. Will she be healthy and safe? How can I bear to leave her at daycare in just a month? I feel this intense need to be with her. I guess that's how it is when you have two daughters but you only get to hold one of them. I didn't feel this heavy anxiety early on. I guess it's time to tackle this new stage of grief and motherhood.

While Lilah is napping I decided to sit down and spend some time on my Bible study, something that I have unfortunately neglected for too long. I opened up my study guide to the next section and the lesson for today is called "Life Unravels Sometimes" and it discusses hard seasons of life and the stages of grief. Whoa. If I ever needed a reminder that God is present and working in my life, here it is. I needed this today. I needed to be reminded that I am still grieving and it's okay. I have a second beautiful daughter who brings me so much joy, but I still get to be a mess sometimes.

So, as I read in my Bible study book through the five stages of grief, I come to acceptance. I still disagree with the standard definition of acceptance, but today I've looked at it with a new perspective. Here is what I have to say about the fifth stage of grief:

Acceptance-I understand that Emma is gone and I cannot change that. I accept that I need to create a life where she is not physically present, but is still an active part of our family. I accept that my journey does not end here. I accept that I can have a beautiful, happy life. I accept that I will always grieve and that's okay.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Essential Oils 101

Back in August I was introduced to Young Living Essential Oils. I was already interested in clean, natural living, and I was excited at the prospect of being able to incorporate essential oils into this lifestyle. I attended an Essential Oil 101 class, which was fabulous! It explained how to use essential oils, the benefits of essential oils, what sets Young Living apart from other companies, and the 10 most commonly used oils and their benefits and uses.

It didn't take long for me to realize that essential oils were something that could really enhance the health and happiness of my family. At the time I was entering into the third trimester of my pregnancy and I was dealing with a lot of hard emotions. I began using the oils to deal with sleeplessness, worry, and feeling down. I experienced so many benefits from the oils, and I really feel like they helped me through those final few months. My favorite oils I used were Lavender, Peace & Calming, Valor (can't say enough about this one-I about went through a whole bottle), Stress Away, and Bergamot. I took my oils to the hospital with me when I delivered Lilah, and I used them during some of the hardest moments of our stay to calm and center myself. During my postpartum period I have enjoyed using the oils listed above in addition to Joy and Grounding.
*ask me about getting a wholesale discount

Throughout the last several months I have spent a lot of time learning about essential oils and the ways I can safely use them with my family. I've had fun experimenting with the oils and enjoying their benefits. I'm so thankful that I discovered Young Living and I'd like to give you all the same opportunity. I am hosting a free online Essential Oils 101 class. It is open to the public so I encourage you and anyone you know to join us. It is a completely laid back, no pressure event. There won't be sales gimmicks or pressure to buy or sell anything. I am excited about the oils and I want to offer an opportunity for those who are interested to learn about them too. If you'd like to join us click here to join our Facebook event. There will be lots of great information, opportunities for questions and discussion, and of course some prizes! Feel free to contact me with any questions you have or if you're interested in buying or selling the oils. :) You can also learn more on our team Facebook page and on Instagram @healthieroilthethyme.




Friday, January 23, 2015

Balance

Recently an inspirational mama, and talented etsy shop owner (check out her beautiful hand stamped pieces here!), posted a giveaway on Instagram asking which word or Bible verse you would choose to represent 2015 for yourself. The word "balance" immediately came to mind. I have always been someone who struggles with saying no and takes on way more than I should. Having a newborn baby really brought this into perspective. I've realized that I need to cut some things out and find balance in my life. I can't and don't need to do it all, and I want to make sure that what I am doing I am doing well--first and foremost being a wife and mommy.

Before I started this sacred space for Emma I had another blog, A T-Shirt and Pearls. The more time I put into On A Butterfly's Wings the less I put into A T-Shirt and Pearls. Along with everything else I've committed myself to, managing two blogs was too much. The time factor aside, I didn't have the energy or desire to blog about "trivial" things when I had so much raw aching emotion I needed to work through here. Keeping the word "balance" in mind, I have decided to stop pretending that I plan to write again on A T-Shirt and Pearls, and I will be consolidating everything here onto On A Butterfly's Wings.

The grief over Emma's death is still real and present, but it is no longer my only identity. My story is changing and growing, and On A Butterfly's Wings will represent that. There will still be posts dealing with grief and sharing about my sweet Emma, but there will be other posts too. Recipes, DIY projects, baby stuff. On A Butterfly's Wings is where I found myself again and I will continue to share myself here. This blog will change as I have changed.

I hope that you will continue to visit with me here. I hope we can connect whether we're aching, hoping, living, loving, or just having a little fun. Thank you for sharing in my journey. xoxo


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Life Lately

It's been quite awhile since I have really written on this blog. The third trimester of pregnancy was hard for me. In addition to the physical discomforts, I had a lot of anxiety about Lilah's birth. It is very hard to prepare to give birth to a living child when your only experience is giving birth to a child who has passed away. My coping mechanism was to shut down and cling to what was close and comfortable. Finding the words and sharing them here wasn't something I wanted to do.

Then came November 24, the day that my bright beautiful rainbow was born. The first few weeks were tough. Really tough. There were the physical aspects of recovering from a c-section and the emotional aspects of getting to know Lilah and learning to mother her, all while feeling the rawness of Emma's death all over again. Not to mention learning how to breastfeed--man that was hard!

Lilah is now 8 weeks old and I can finally say that I have the hang of things. I love spending my days with her and I love her more and more each day. The fog of the first few weeks has worn off and (most days) I actually feel like this is my life. It's such a strange dichotomy, parenting one child who is living and one who is not. It's hard.

Here's a picture of Lilah that I took this morning. She has grown so much!