The Amazing Hiccuping Kicker!

 

Jaycie in pool by JulieAnn Corbin

My long, tall Jaycie Bear loves pools!

My youngest daughter, Jaycie, turns 10 today and with every birthday, I wonder where the time went! Jaycie is a sweet soul and she makes a memorable, positive impression on everyone she meets. She certainly made some impressions on my insides when I was pregnant with her and she made sure her entrance into the world was unforgettable.

As Jaycie is my second child, I was better prepared for what labor and child birth entailed. I was much calmer and more in control than I’d been while giving birth to Jordan. I was also able to get an epidural with Jaycie, whereas I hadn’t been able to get one with Jordan for various reasons. All due respect to the women who do childbirth without medications, but I’m just not one of them. Even with the epidural, I still felt some pain, but as the drugs were at max dosage, I managed it. I can’t even imagine what the pain level would have been without the drugs!

What made Jaycie’s birth truly memorable was that she kicked and hiccupped through at least the last hour of labor. I’ll be telling the story forever about how the nurses found it fascinating and amusing that Jaycie kicked and hiccupped through all my pushing. They just couldn’t seem to fathom how she was able to do that while under so much pressure. It was just another indication of how unique Jaycie is and gave me fair warning that she was not like “normal” children.

When Jaycie was finally out, I was ecstatic that I had a second daughter and surprised that she looked nothing like her older sister. I’d expected another little Jordan but Jaycie wasn’t that, never will be that and that’s fine with me! Jaycie was very active when she was just born and nearly rolled out of the plastic bassinet they put her in. I thought for sure she was going to do everything early because she was obviously a fighter.

As soon as she figured out how to smile, Jaycie woke up every single day as a smiling baby. She’s never thrown a temper tantrum and I’ve only seen her slightly mad once when I made her eat summer squash. There isn’t a mean bone in my Jaycie Bear’s body and there’s an innocence about her that everyone notices. When we go out to playgrounds, parks or swimming pools, she happily introduces herself to any children she meets and asks their names. I love that she’s outgoing and that’s another thing that makes her different from Jordan and I.

As it turned out, Jaycie did almost everything much later than other children and she’s still catching up, but that’s okay. She’s a very intelligent, clever, kind and loving child with endless creativity. I’m grateful every day for both my girls and I can’t imagine my life without my amazing hiccupping kicker!

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Softening rain

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Interesting cloud formation after the rain

Yesterday we finally received significant rain for the first time in many weeks. It’s been one of the driest summers we’ve had in this region since I first moved here over 10 years ago. I know for certain it hasn’t been this dry since I moved into my house in August of 2011 because I’m quite sure I’ve had to mow every week through spring and summer up until this year.

While I don’t miss the mowing, the lack of rain had turned every surrounding stream to dry rock beds. My yard felt like solid rock whenever I walked on it and looked like a desert filled with dead, yellow grass. I had to water my small trees and any outside plants every morning to help them survive the hot, dry weather. Any days I forgot to water my plants resulted in dead or dying plants and I think next year I’ll plant a few less pots.

There have been many days when the forecast predicted thunderstorms but they’d all pass to the north or south or evaporate before reaching this area. I was therefore skeptical when I saw the colorful blob of precipitation on the radar of my weather app. I wasn’t certain it would make it this far and actually drop rain if it did.

Fortunately, the storm clouds held together and thundered over our area dropping a substantial amount of much needed rain. I’d forgotten what wet roadways looked like! There were two big rounds of storms that swept through yesterday and when I took Jazzmin out into the yard afterwards, I was amazed to feel that the ground was slightly squishy and wet beneath my bare feet. It wasn’t like walking on rock anymore and I reveled in the softness from the rain.

Seeing my deck wet and my birdbaths overflowing with rain were welcome sights after such a long period of dryness. I’m sure the earth, trees, plants and animals were all extremely grateful for the rejuvenating softness of rain.

Deflecting Deer Flies

Shoofly deer fly repellent

My weapon to deflect deer flies!

I’ve lived in this region of Upstate NY since 2002, but I’d never encountered a deer fly until the summer of 2012, the second summer in my home. I think it has to do with the fact that my house sits across the road from a stream-filled ravine in front and has a large, hay field behind it. The combination of wet from the stream and abundance of deer and critters behind me creates the perfect environment for deer flies.

If you don’t know what deer flies are then I’m quite jealous! They’re flies about the size of a house fly and they love to swarm around in hot weather, landing and biting on whatever living creature comes along. When they first appear, they’re abundant in my driveway, especially the end by the road, but they also buzz and bite in my back yard when I take Jazzmin out. Getting the mail required constant swatting to keep the buggers at bay and walking Jazz becomes so unpleasant, it’s not always the summer heat that keeps us inside.

I’ve searched online in the past for suggestions to keep deer flies from landing and biting, but I discovered that the usual bug repellents don’t work well. I read up about these double stick strips you can put on a hat or something. The strips attract the deer flies and the buggers then become stuck and can’t escape to bite you. The idea of walking around with dead and dying deer flies on a strip on my person didn’t appeal though so I continued to search for other suggestions.

Thankfully, I finally found something that works! When the deer flies starting being a nuisance in the late spring this year, I did my usual online search for help and this time, something different came up. One of the top results in my Google search for “deer fly repellent” was something called Shoofly Deerfly Repellent. As it had deer fly right in the name, it sounded promising! I clicked on the link and found myself on the website for Blackberry Creek Soaps out of Wisconsin. The page talked about the Shoo Fly All Natural Deer Fly Repellent Soap and the Shoo Fly All Natural Deer Fly Repellent Spray and what they were effective against. There were also several positive reviews by happy customers (I still need to write my own) so I decided to get the soap and the spray and give them a try.

It took a while for the products to arrive, but once they did, I eagerly tried them out. I used the spray first because it seemed easier for me to apply. It has a very strong smell that took me a while to get used to, but as it’s all natural, I was okay with that. I sprayed my arms, collarbone and back of neck, got Jazz all ready and we headed out on our walk.

To my utter amazement, the deer flies still circled us but they didn’t land and bite! They did eventually get at my ears, but ever since then I put a little spray on my fingers and rub it on my ears and forehead and that keeps them from biting there. The deer flies circled above me and occasionally landed in my hair (I imagine wearing some sort of hair clip sprayed with the stuff would prevent that) but they didn’t bite me. I was thrilled! Not only did it keep the deer flies away, it also kept black flies and mosquitoes away! I’d finally found something capable of deflecting deer flies and protecting my skin from their nasty bites! Me wearing the spray keeps them from descending down to Jazz’s level so she’s free of bites too even though I don’t put any spray on her.

I tried using the soap bar too, but found it harder to use and not as effective. That’s probably operator error and not the product’s fault. Considering my personal success using the product, I would recommend it to anyone dealing with biting insects. I love that it’s all natural and I’ve grown to like the smell. I don’t feel bad about leaving it on my skin and by the following day, the scent has faded anyway. I recommend spraying arms and other areas flies might land with the spray and then rubbing it around with your hands to make sure you’re thoroughly covered because opportunistic biting flies will find any opening to get you. I’m very happy to finally have some protection against them and now the only thing that keeps Jazz and I from walking are hot temperatures, just as it should be in summer.

Thousands of words

As I didn’t have my girls today and I’m leaving tomorrow evening after I’m done watching them for my ex, I knew I had to use today to get as much writing done as possible. I had several freelance articles to write of varying word counts and I also had college writing assignments that are due tomorrow night and that I know I’ll be too tired to deal with once I arrive at my hotel for the night.

I wanted to get the bulk of the writing done today so I can spend tomorrow enjoying time with my girls amid packing (I’ve barely started), baking goodies for this weekend’s Pow-wow and finishing up pre-trip odds and ends. I knew if I left any writing until I had the girls at my house, I’d feel conflicted and stressed and I don’t need that added onto trying to get everything else done before my road trip.

I’m not kidding when I say I wrote thousands of words today. Most of them were for freelance work and the rest were college work and well, this blog post. I haven’t written quite this much in a rather long time, but I’m proud of myself for getting almost everything written that I wanted to. I even managed to squeeze in washing Jazzmin during one of my necessary mental breaks.

Although I wrote a lot, I certainly didn’t talk a lot because it’s just me and my animals when I don’t have the girls. The two younger cats and Jazz have been sticking close to me though, listening to me type away and eagerly awaiting a return to silence. The remaining words I have to write can wait until I wake up tomorrow morning before my ex drops off my girls because tonight, I am officially worded out.

Changing up my New England trips

This bridge over the Hudson River is one of my favorites on my New England drives.

When I cross this bridge on my New England road trips I know I’m close to MA.

When I started making frequent trips to New England, the dates I would visit were mostly random and didn’t usually coincide with any particular events. That all changed after I attended my first Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness pow-wow and realized I wanted to attend as many as I could. To that end, I’ve planned my trips around the dates of the MCNAA pow-wows for the past two years and I continued that tradition this spring with the Spring Planting Moon Pow-wow, their first pow-wow of the year. It was after that most recent trip that I realized it was past time to change things up a bit.

As usual for my most recent trip, I drove out on a Wednesday, stayed in a hotel up in Seabrook, NH, stocked up on a few groceries from Market Basket, visited Newburyport and Amesbury and took a day trip into Boston. I’d told the friend I’d known the longest from New England, and who was one of the main reasons for my first trip out that way, that I wanted to see them and they said they wanted to see me too. It had been a year since we saw each other and I thought a brief chat and a hug wasn’t too much to ask.

Unfortunately, when it came down to it my friend made excuses for why they couldn’t see me and we never saw each other. Although I tried to shrug it off at the time, it hurt my feelings and made me realize it was time for a change.

As it turned out, I did get my chat and my hug during that last trip, just not as I’d expected. I gave one of the MCNAA Board members a ride home after helping out Friday before the pow-wow and she and I had a nice chat while navigating the stop-and-go Memorial Day traffic. I received several hugs from familiar friends at the pow-wow and an especially tight one from Harry the Hawk, one of my favorite pow-wow dancers. So despite the hurt caused by someone I had called friend, the universe reminded me that I am a valued friend to others.

In the spirit of change and taking a different path, the main reason for my upcoming New England trip is to volunteer at and attend the MCNAA Summer Moon Pow-wow in Danvers, MA. I won’t be making any trips up to New Hampshire, northern MA or into Boston, not that there’s really time anyway. I will be heading out Thursday evening instead of Wednesday morning because I watch my girls for my ex Thursday and don’t want to miss time with them. Plus, heading out in the evening should help me miss a lot of the usual traffic I encounter in MA.

My hotel is a less than 10-minute drive from the pow-wow location at Endicott Park, which will be a welcome change from having to drive down from Seabrook, NH. I’ve never stayed in Danvers, only visited there for pow-wows so I’ll have to learn a completely new area, but I’m sure it will be good for me. It’s past time I explore more of Massachusetts than just the few specific locations I’ve visited and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of interesting experiences just like always. I’ll probably get all sorts of lost too…just like usual. 😉

“Beauty Tips” from a Semi-girly Tomboy – Hair, Nails, Vitamins, Exercise & Diet

Curls and Star Wars shirt by JulieAnn Corbin

Curled hair and a Star Wars shirt because I’m awesome like that 😉

As a continuation of my previous post, here’s what I do to care for my hair and nails long with the Vitamins I take daily and what I do to eat healthy. This is all what I’ve found works for me and everyone is unique so always do what is best for you.  I do actually use every product I mention and the ones I provide links to in this post are ones I want to help promote because they’re sold by Native American owned and operated businesses. The only “compensation” I receive by linking to them is the hope that others purchase and enjoy these great products.

Hair care

I’ve been growing my hair out for a few years and it’s now down to the middle of my back. This is the longest it’s been while still being natural, i.e. no hair color or perm. To help my hair grow and remain healthy, I take 10000 mcg of Biotin every morning along with my other vitamins (which I’ll cover later). For deep conditioning, a couple times a week I apply coconut oil to the lower half of my hair, put it in a low bun and wrap saran wrap around the bun, letting it sit like that for a few hours before washing it thoroughly. I’ve tried other mixtures of egg yolk and honey and such to help nourish my hair, but they’re rather messy and I’ve found coconut oil works fine for me.

Although I did try the no shampoo route a few years ago, I discovered it just didn’t work for my hair and so I went back to washing my hair every other day. My favorite shampoo is Sister Sky’s Sweetgrass and Yucca Root Shampoo because it’s free of Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates. I follow with their Sweetgrass and Horsetail Herb Conditioner through the bottom half of my hair. I find that the shampoo and conditioner makes my hair very happy and create wonderful smell that lingers.

After I rinse my hair, I then wrap it in a 100% cotton t-shirt that says “Mom” on it in big, pink sparkly letters. A plain 100% cotton t-shirt would work fine too, I just grabbed that one to add a little “mom glam” to my routine. I wrap my hair in a cotton t-shirt instead of a towel because I read that it’s better for my hair than scrubbing a terry cloth towel through it. I’ve found that my hair is much happier when I use the shirt.

When I take my hair down out of the shirt, I then comb it out with a large tooth comb and if it’s warm weather, let it air dry. I have to blow dry it in the winter to avoid getting a chill, but in the nicer weather, I air dry as much as possible to avoid heat damage. Most days during the summer I wear it in a braid or a bun but sometimes when it’s cooler out, I curl it with my Automatic Hair Curler, making sure a apply a heat protective spray to my hair first.

Nails

I have never received a professional manicure or pedicure in my life because I can’t justify spending money on such things, but I imagine they’re nice things for those who like them. I have very healthy nails, always have, and they grow quite fast. I tend to keep my nails rather short and trim them with nail clippers because they interfere with my typing, beading, housework and yardwork otherwise. If I do grow them long, I like to use one of the colorful nail polishes made by Native War Paints.

Vitamins

Every day I take a certain set of vitamins as I’ve found them beneficial in supporting my health and immune system. I take a daily women’s formula multivitamin, the 10,000 mcg of Biotin I mentioned earlier, 1000 mg of Vitamin C and 400 IU of D3. I believe the Vitamin C helped me avoid any cold or flu this past winter and the D3 helped stave off the winter blues that used to plague me. I’ve also been using a tablespoon of local honey in my morning cup of tea (one bag of Celestial Seasoning’s Morning Thunder and one bag of Bengal Spice) and I haven’t had an issue with allergies in over two years. If you struggle with allergies, I strongly suggest adding local honey to your daily diet as a natural alternative to allergy medications. It took about a year for the full effects in my case, but it was well worth it! Plus, I rather love honey so it was easy to do.

Exercise and Diet

To stay fit, I walk my dog Jazzmin whenever I can and lift weights. I curl 20-pound weights to work my biceps, use 12-pound weights for tricep extensions and 5-8 pound weights to work my shoulders. As an additional aerobic workout, I practice pow-wow dancing or do a Zumba routine. I know that to increase my weight loss I need to exercise more frequently and eat less but that doesn’t always happen.

Having a healthy body is also about what you put in it and while I don’t eat a perfectly healthy diet, I do make an effort. During the week I have a smoothie for breakfast and it consists of a Greek Yogurt, apple slices, carrots, kale, blueberries, strawberries, raw bee pollen, raw chia seeds, turmeric, light vanilla Silk soy milk and vanilla protein powder. This smoothie usually lasts me until lunch. If I’m home for lunch, I make a salad or wrap with chicken and cheese and drink a shake made of soymilk, chocolate protein powder, 3-4 ice cubes, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. For an afternoon snack, I’ll either have 6-7 Triscuits with cheese or toast half a whole-wheat pita pocket and dip it in hummus. Dinner changes daily but I try to stay healthy. Desserts and going out to eat are usually my downfall.

So there you have it! A glimpse into the “beauty routines” of a semi-girly tomboy. Thank you for visiting my blog and feel free to ask questions or add comments. =)

“Beauty Tips” from a Semi-girly Tomboy – Skin Care

Woman in green dress by JulieAnn Corbin

I may be just a smidge sassy 😉

Growing up with two older brothers has perhaps made me a bit rough around the edges and something of a tomboy. Nevertheless, I also have a “girly” side and understand the importance of inner and outer beauty. I am not a “beauty expert” by any means but I have established a beauty routine that has benefited me and I share it in the hope that it may benefit others.

Why I started caring for my skin

When I was around 16 years old, I read an article in a magazine about the importance of washing, hydrating and protecting facial skin from the sun’s rays. That article featured a picture showing the skin of an older woman who had taken care of her skin and a similar age woman who hadn’t taken care of her skin. The creases, spots and wrinkles on the woman who hadn’t taken care of her skin were enough to convince me to start caring for my own skin. I started washing my face every day with Noxzema, always removing any makeup I wore and applying a facial moisturizer with at least SPF 15. I’ve been applying sunblock to my entire body in the sunny weather for at least that long because I was not fortunate enough to inherit my father’s dark skin and I tend to burn instead of tan. I’m also prone to a prickly rash if I go out in the sun without protection. Those are some very good reasons why I prefer being “pale and healthy.”

Daily facial routine

Every morning and night, I follow the same routine to care for my face.  To wash my face, I apply warm water and an apricot scrub and then use a small spinning facial brush to work the cleanser around my face. I then wash the cleanser off my face with splashes of warm water followed by cold water because I read somewhere that it helps close my pores (though I can’t remember why that’s important). I pat my face dry with a cotton towel and then my routine differs a bit from morning to night. In the morning, I place few drops of argon oil in my palm to work gently into the skin of my face and neck because I find that my face feels dryer in the morning. I follow that with Painted Earth Skincare Boo-Boo Gel and then Aveeno Positively Radiant Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. At night, I skip the argon oil and Aveeno and just use the Boo-Boo Gel. That Boo-Boo Gel is amazing stuff! I sometimes apply it after a day out in the sun doing yard work or attending a pow-wow and it makes my skin feel instantly cool and refreshed. It’s also great for bug bites and minor skin irritations.

Skin

To moisturize the skin on the rest of my body after a shower, I apply pure coconut oil everywhere while my wet hair is wrapped in a 100% cotton t-shirt. Once the coconut oil has been absorbed by my skin, I take my hair down out of the towel because otherwise my hair gets “greasy” from the coconut oil. When I need to moisturize between showers, I either apply more coconut oil or the generic equivalent of Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Lotion such as Equate Ultra Restoring Lotion.

Makeup

First off, I want to salute the women of the world who love makeup and can apply it flawlessly because I do believe makeup application is an artform in and of itself. Women should do whatever they want to in order to look and feel beautiful for themselves and not worry about the judgement of others. That said, I’m not one of those women who loves makeup and can apply it flawlessly and I know that I never will be. I don’t believe that makes me better or worse than anyone else, it’s just who and how I am.

When I do wear makeup, it’s usually clear mascara and long-lasting lip color that doesn’t require re-application. Now and then I put on eyeshadow and blush, but I’ve never found a foundation that felt comfortable on my skin. I’ve used liquid, powder, mineral, magical, mystical…okay, I made those last two up, but I imagine even they wouldn’t feel right on my face. Plus, I like my freckles and “flaws.” I do occasionally use black mascara on my lashes but it rarely looks very good. As I don’t wear eye makeup often, when I do, I tend to forget I have it on, rub my eyes, cause myself stinging pain and look like someone beat me up. Suffice it to say, a full face of makeup and I will never get along.

Sith warrior by JulieAnn Corbin

Halloween 2015. The most makeup I’d worn in a while.

Stay tuned for my “tips” on hair care, nails, vitamins and eating healthy-ish. 😉