October 11, 2014

family photos, emersonisms & just plain happiness

I can't even begin to put into words how much I love Phil and my life with him and our little Emerson. There is a fullness of joy that just can't be explained it can only experienced as a parent and as a wife. Yes there's a 'real life' scene with it's ups and downs and teething, ugh the teething, but I can't think of a time aside from my years of childhood that I've ever felt happier and truly taken care of on all levels. The Lord has blessed us immensely with our little E and oh-my-goodness he's just so dang cute!

He's growing so much and it's mind-blowing every single day! He's spitting out words left and right and walking so confidently... often into the street of our cul-de-sac without guile. Ei yi yi! He keeps us on our toes! He gabbers as if he's carrying on a conversation, looking me in the eyes with full confidence that I know exactly what he's telling me. He's a full-fledged daddy's-boy and hardly lets me hold him when he's around, despite the fact that I try 200 times harder to gain his affection. Though he always holds a special place for me at bed-time and cuddles me all the time. 

He's obsessed with tooth-brushes "bsh" still and is growing fond of pencils and crayons, particularly for munching on of course. Though he has graced us with installation artwork series upon my night table and the wall of our bedroom.

He's feisty and knows what he does and does not want. Has a very clear, yet adorable baby-voiced "No.," and while he says it, it's usually featured with a push of the hand in the face or toward the object he does not want.

Can't go a day without being outside diggin' in the dirt or playing in the water. He loves dandelion globes and when on a walk he always points to them requesting someone to pick them up so he can blow the seeds. He notices every airplane, bird and helicopter in the sky.

Other things he does:
folds his arms for prayer
knows to blow his nose, smell
gives the best kisses and hugs to us, his friend Glenn, and his teddy
signs milk, please, all-done

Words he knows:
"Maow" // kitty
"Woof" // dog
"Eys" // eyes
"Es" // eggs
"HaT" (emphasis on Tz) // any and everything warm or hot
"Bat" // bath
"Bsh" // brush (tooth, paint)
"Wawa" // water
"Dego" // there you go
"Ts-tha" // what's that?

September 20, 2014

My happy! - Gratefulgram

Grateful-mony coming your way! (I've been tagged 3 times to do that 5 days gratitude thing, so I'm cheating and just doing one big long Fast'n'testimony style schpeel) 

I'm gonna be honest. This week coulda sucked, bad. My entire family is in Disneyland this whole week and despite it being our choice to stay home to prepare to pay off the last of our debt, pay for schoooool tuition etc, it still just stinks not being there. I mean, it’s Disneyland and my family hasn’t done a huge vacation like this since forever. Suck reason #1 Then I got a boot on my car and had to pay 70 bones while doing a nice deed for a friend. Apparently Karma wasn't in my favor at the time. Suck reason #2. Emerson's naps have been skiwampus this week of course while I've been doing an online class and so I was not able to do anything during daylight hours and in turn have had to stay up pretty late and then still get up when he does. Tired reason #3.

Pretty good reasons to be grumpy eh?

Well despite all that, we've been looking for a real kitchen table for a while. We've had one of those cheap-y ikea desks to make due but have been looking to upgrade. I found what I wanted in the As-Is discount section of Ikea 3 weeks ago but we just didn't have the time or means to get it then and once it's gone, it's gone. Well I went back last week with my Mom and IT WAS STILL THERE. Like really, miracle of miracles! That never happens! It's the exact table I've been wanting for a really great deal and it was there. Heavenly Father knew! Blessing #1

A mysterious reimbursement came out of nowhere. Blessing #2

I was able to chat with a friend who's preparing to have a baby and she values what I have to share and we can just talk about baby-stuff and respect one-another. She's such a good person and very admirable, positive, and stood by me while I was angry at the boot-guy. haha! I'm grateful I have friends who love me and look to me for advice even though I don't really have much to offer but myself and my own experiences. Blessing #3

I have an incredible mentor in my life who sends me post-cards of encouragement and who's doing everything in her power to help me succeed. I've got a lot of work ahead of me with a new project in the works but it is going to be a huge life-changing thing and I owe it all to her for trusting me and giving me the opportunity. She is such a great example of a God-loving soul and through her I've sought to strengthen my own personal relationship with him. Those southern-folks, gotta love'em! Blessing #4

Emerson has been saying a lot of words lately and I just can't get enough of the cuteness! He's walking all the time, a wobbly cheeky curly-haired little dude who's just a ball of fun. He helps me simplify, stay carefree, have zero ounces of OCD left in my body, and just stop take the time and focus on getting to know him. #5 infinity

Phil cut down some bushes in our front yard this week and needed some help getting rid of them. Within hours of asking on facebook if anyone could help one of my friend's and her husband so willingly came to our aide. Blessing #6

God is good guys! Sometimes it just takes having some crappy days to reveal the light and joy of what is really there and given freely. Life is good. Even without Disneyland, I've found my happiest place on Earth. :) *Awe! Cute cliché ending!* 

August 3, 2014

Let's Talk: romance

I'm going to throw it out there and be quite a bit candid in this post so if you're a little squirmy when it comes to sex-talk, you might want to move along. **Just a little disclaimer.**

Alright, let's talk about it, you know... romance, sex, and what MANY mothers (and yes husbands too) might deal with, lack of desire. I only know it from the wife and mommy standpoint so forgive me if it comes across as being a female-only issue because I know that isn't the case for everyone, it's just the case for me.

I've got a 1 year old, and two months after getting married I got pregnant with that now one year old, so needless to say that really awesome honeymoon-sex stage didn't last all that long. I was hit pretty hard with extreme pregnancy exhaustion, school, stress and all that. Since then, not much has changed. I obviously don't have that same level of pregnancy-tired, (I've seriously never been so tired in my life) but I'm now Mommy-tired. I've got a mind going a million miles an hour thinking about Emerson, Phil, Drop Talk, oils, the future, business, school, Emerson, everyone, life, Emerson etc. (Not quite in that order, but pretty close). It's the kind of tired where you feel like you're being pulled from all angles and your head is filled with a bajillion thoughts and worries a minute, the very last of which being your own sexual needs and appetite.

This is the case pretty much everyday. There's no exception to the timing, place, or special occasion. This feeling (or lack thereof) is no respecter of persons. Oh yeah, and throw in there female hormones, period, a baby who might just wake up at any given time, and you've pretty much got a recipe for intimacy disaster. Try not stepping on the eggshells, okay?

Well, recently Phil got a new oil called Shutran to try out that may help support normal male testosterone levels. He's on hormone replacement therapy for a damaged pituitary and we fork out quite a bit of money every month since it's not covered by insurance or the VA. Bla bla bla, long story short, we're happy to find any way to support his testosterone naturally and in turn minimize the amount of hormone meds he has to take. So the day the bottle arrived he opened it and put FOUR drops on each arm.. Uhhh that's a lot.

Here's the status I shared on the Drop Talk Lounge after he did that,

"Philip put 4 drops of Shutran on each arm ten minutes ago... He's been checking me out and attempting to grab my bum saying, "I wanna make out sooo bad!
"Where's my Goldenrod and Idaho Blue Spruce when I need it? Heaven help this poor tired mother and wife! Shutran is Idaho Blue Spruce on steroids. Guess it won't hurt to use a few drops myself."

So that's what I did. I went ahead and put two drops on my forearms and HOLY COW. Ten minutes later, I was sitting with my legs crossed having a conversation with my family and my foot was shaking uncontrollably. I had so much energy it felt like I needed to go run three miles to get rid of it (and I'm not a runner, fyi). Women have a bit of the testosterone hormone in them so a little bit of a boost is totally going to bring out a more dominant, aggressive, energetic, antsy side (you know, all the emotions and behavior men usually have in the forefront that we women usually have to help them balance it out).

99 likes and 70 comments later... Oh boy... that convo was quite hysterical. Someone in the slew of comments suggested to 'not forget the orange oil rubbed on the thighs and to have fun.' Well that night when the kiddo was in bed all that energy was put to good use. So to spare you details and to obviously keep the intimacy part behind closed doors let's just say it did the trick. I haven't felt that carefree, worry free, energetic, flirty and "into it" in a long while.

Now I'm going to tell you that Shutran isn't cheap, so I'm not going to out right encourage anyone to just fork out the cash to buy it, but I am going to say that if there is a need, it would be a wise investment. Sexual intimacy is such an important part of a marriage and is key to building that strong bond as husband and wife. If you're not ready to fork out the money just to try it, start with a predecessor Idaho Blue Spruce, it's cheaper and comes in a 5ml bottle.

The main ingredient in Shutran is Idaho Blue Spruce, which has been found to help support normal male hormone levels in men. I know this because Phil was a guinea pig in some early testing of this oil before it was released at convention 2013. He along with a small study group of men with Phil's same issues, had their levels tested by an endocrinologist. For three weeks they were suppose to use Idaho Blue Spruce twice a day. At the beginning and end of the 3 weeks they had their levels tested. Each male in the test group had their testosterone levels raise at least 300-400 ng/dL. That's a pretty big deal.

Among the essential oil community I'm a part of, many women have tried Idaho Blue Spruce to not only help their partner but to help themselves gain that necessary boost to get in the mood for intimacy. Among other oils known to regulate and balance female 'desire' are Orange, Ylang Ylang, Lady Sclareol, Sensation, and Progessence Plus (another of my personal favorites). I've tried Orange as described above but haven't tried the others for this purpose so I can't yet share my experience with them. Another oil that is great in-the-moment oil to use as a natural replacement in the likes of KY warming jelly products I like V6 (a carrier oil) mixed with Lavender. It's safe on latex as well... just fyi.

Aaaand...that's, that.

Any more questions? Let me know in the comments.

For more talk about Young Living Essential Oils "Like" Drop Talk with Philip and McKenna on facebook and message us if you want to join the Drop Talk Lounge.

July 9, 2014

America, Saving Private Ryan, and Thoughts

I love America. I've always loved America. I always will love America. There is something about America that makes me feel like I need to be a better person. I'm not talking about pop-culture-entitlement-miley-cyrus-twerking America. I'm talking about the REAL America. The America that believes in principles like honor and integrity, service and duty, courage and sacrifice.

America has a deep place in my heart. When I think of America, I feel like joining Patrick Henry in exclaiming, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" Ahh... America, one of my greatest loves.

One pivotal moment in my life came from, in fact, a movie. I don't remember when I first saw it, but at some point in my teenage years I watched "Saving Private Ryan." I remember hearing that it was the most realistic movie ever made (or at least the beach landing scene was), so I was intrigued. There were a couple of sequences and scenes that had a profound impact for me.

I don't think anyone who has seen the movie can forget the beach landing sequence at the beginning of the movie. It was just... sad. Some men walking around with limbs blown off. Other men with their guts hanging out, screaming for their mothers. Men being shot. Men being blown up. Men fighting for their lives. I have deep, somber feelings just thinking about it.

Side note: I remember watching it with someone who was laughing during parts of the beach landing scene -- particularly when a bullet is deflected off a man's helmet, he takes his helmet off in shock, then he's shot in the head. How incredibly disrespectful and pathetic. Sometimes, movies are made to accurately tell the story (even if Hollywood still adds a little "Hollywood" to it). Laughing in movies like "Saving Private Ryan" or "Black Hawk Down" or "Lone Survivor" when men are being killed and maimed is completely disrespectful to the men who actually lived it (and to their families and widows). Have a little respect.

Later in the movie, Captain Miller (Tom Hanks' character) is talking to a couple members of his squad. He tells them that, back home, he is a high school teacher. He also tells them of his hope to return home to his wife.

I remember watching this scene for the first time and thinking about his wife and all of the other wives and mothers of men who would not return home. How were their lives affected? What were their feelings when their home was approached by a pair of servicemen? What was it like to pull down the blue star flag to replace it with a gold star flag?

This impacted me because it made it real. WWII veterans were no longer old patriotic guys with hats who served in a war a long time ago. They were men who left their homes to serve their country. They were husbands, brothers, sons, uncles. They were schoolteachers and office workers and car mechanics. They weren't superheroes, and yet, they were. They were Americans and they were, in fact, the Greatest Generation.

After watching "Saving Private Ryan," I kept having the similar thoughts over and over again:

"If they went through all of that and they were just normal people serving their country, then I have to do SOMETHING."

"I can't let them go through that without doing something to honor them."

"Their lives cannot be lost in vain."

For me, I simply could not ignore what they had done and go on living my life as an American who has done nothing to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. So "Saving Private Ryan" had a great impact on my life and my decision to enlist in the military. I could go into details about all of the reasons I decided to enlist, but I'll save that for another post, another time.

God bless America!

July 4, 2014

Germany - Part 1

Phil, Emerson and I were blessed to be able to go to Germany for a month from May 19th to June 18th. There has been something about Heavenly Father's timing that has really been impacting my life lately. It's been one of those times of clarity when the Lord is showing me the how many of the random puzzle pieces of my seemingly chaotic, non-purposeful life, start to fit together and make some sense. In turn giving me greater perspective, meaning and purpose.

I lived in Germany off and on for an accumulation of nearly 5 years after I graduated high school. I loved my time there, I loved the culture, the language, the FOOD.. ohhh the food, and chocolate, the history, the beauty, but most of all the people I had built friendships with. When I left to come home I had left a piece of my heart there. I had never really had the chance to say goodbye to many of the people whom I had known, many of whom were like mother, father, brother and sister roles to me while I was there. It was always in my desire to return and to show whomever I would marry my beloved country of Germany and treasured city of Frankfurt am Main.

When I married Phil and had Emerson so quickly after we got married I never thought I'd be able to take him to visit for a very long time. I had never thought it plausible with us both in school and with a blossoming family. Yet, four months ago we met a family, a beautiful family, the McLeans, from Alabama who are ALL about dreams. Little did I know that meeting them would in turn make one of my dreams come true and set our life on a course that has the potential to change many, many things for us and our future.

Monique McLean is the founder of the Lemon Dropper Young Living membership team. She came to Utah with her family and other Lemon Droppers in March to visit and teach a few classes on essential oils and meet up with current Lemon Droppers in the area. Phil's dad had met her at the corporate offices one day and after work came over to visit Emerson. During his visit he told Phil about this team that was really 'doing things right' for their members and helping equip people with a knowledge of and love for Young Living essential oils.

For the first time ever Phil was impressed and knew that this team really dispelled a lot of the bad approaches that a lot of Network-marketing companies and distributors do, and do horribly, and reeeally turn people off to network marketing. Though, there was just something about the Lemon Droppers that really appealed to Phil and he came to me with huge enthusiasm and said, "you HAVE to do this," literally as he was writing an email to Monique from my computer on my behalf. I exclaimed, "but you hate network marketing Phil, we both do!" He retorted, "No, THESE people are doing it right! Let's DO this!" For the first time ever I was the one talking Phil out of joining a network marketing group... a company that his own father has worked for, for over 5 years. It was all very strange to me, but the more I learned the more I really desired to be a part of it.

We decided that we would jump ALL IN, take the summer off of school and start our journey with Young Living and create Drop Talk as a platform to be able to talk about our experiences with the oils and share some of the insights we've learned from Phil's dad about the science, testing and distillation of oils, particularly Frankincense, because he literally is one of the world's experts with Frankincense oil. I'd been using the oils for over a year but never thought I'd actively share them with anyone other than family. It just wasn't my thing. I have a higher tendency to be an introvert, aside from really desiring to make friends and serve others, at times the artist in me would rather keep what I love to myself, go to school, do what I do and just paint and do projects here and there... yes, very selfish thinking, I know.

So two weeks after we as a couple decided to jump in, Monique posted that she was looking for anyone who had any connections to Germany or the United Kingdom. Oh, well, funny enough, I most certainly do. So I messaged her at the off chance that she would even consider anything I had to offer and her only response was, "Oh wow. Ok. We need to chat ASAP! Maybe tomorrow. I have some free time. Got a plan for that. Ummmm. This could be Huge!" So immediately my hopeful heart gets beating and my mind start imagining the biggest thing I could intake at the time. Germany... what if she means to send us to Germany?

Over the course of the next few weeks Monique and I were in touch and talking about expanding the Lemon Dropper approach over to Europe and helping those already there to gain some momentum. Europe has very few members despite Young Living having a farm in France and head quarters in England. Essential oils particularly from YL have incredible potential for expansion there as the oil lifestyle and natural remedies are already something the Europeans are living and doing. Homeopathic treatment is the norm and the stigma about them is almost non existent there. Because of Young Living's seed to seal quality control it's very easy for many to see the value in using YL oils versus store bought oils that are available there. There's a huge difference in perfume grade oils that are used for soaps and pleasant aroma, versus medical-grade theraputic quality oils that are even safe for ingestion. (But that's a whole lot of story for another day.)

Anyway, plans started expanding and the more we spoke on the phone or through message, the more likely it looked like she was serious about taking us with her and her family to the UK and Germany. She set up a Facebook group for me and another Lemon Dropper from Alabama (who originally planned to go with us) to help with the planning for the European tour. While we all contributed to the planning, because I wasn't very busy due to being such a newbie and they both were busy with other obligations, travel and accommodating their teams. Over April and the beginning of May I got hit with a lot of questions and "secretarial" type work. I decided to just take the reigns since I was the only one who'd actually been to Germany for an extended amount of time and start scheduling meeting times and places for classes, basically trying to earn my stripes for this great possibility of going there.

The contract for our apartment was ending and the need to finalize our plans of where we were going to live and if we were actually going to go to Europe were approaching. Everything was mostly solidified but we still had not finalized tickets and dates for departure to and from. Because of their hectic schedule it was tricky getting a hold of Monique to get some logistics worked out and Phil and I were getting nervous because we did not have a place to move to at the time, assuming we were flying to Europe, we planned that we would put our stuff in storage until we got back and figure out residence at that point. Meanwhile Phil's parents were looking to move and had in their mind that we could move into their old home if they were able to find something.

Emerson and I had applied for new passports, as well as the other Lemon Dropper and her son who were going to join us. As time drew closer for the date we had talked about leaving Emerson and I had received our passports and she and her son still had not. Turns out that apparently the passport offices had not turned in her application, or it got lost or something, and their passes would not get there in enough time for them to be able to go. She was sad but also relieved because the timing of it would have not been right for her.

By the skin of our teeth everything for our tickets were finalized the week we began moving out from our apartment. Phil's parents had found a home and in turn we no longer had to search for apartments to move into upon our return. We really were going to get on a plane as a family and fly to Germany with many adventures awaiting us...

 ...to be continued...

July 2, 2014

How I lost the Baby Weight Questions Answered

I got a bunch of questions from my last post so I decided to just do a video to answer more on HOW I used Young Living Essential Oils and other products to lose the baby weight and get down to less than I was in high school. I'm still blown away at how effective they were for me!

If you have any more questions let me know at droptalkers@gmail.com

June 29, 2014

Lost my post-baby weight, plus some!

Alright, let's be honest here. I'm not a huge runner aka I hate running. I haven't had a pass to a gym since high school. I haven't danced in a couple years. I don't do yoga, or zumba, or anything... So in other words, I don't exercise. I don't do weight-watchers, or juice fasts, or 30 days of whole foods, or any "diets" for that matter. I'm pretty much the laziest weight-loss peruser in the whole world.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE healthy eating. I eat whole foods and dark leafy-green salads about 85% of the time if not more when I can. I love me some whole grain breads (yep, gluten, good ol' GMO gluten.) And I LOVE eating chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. It's healthy, right? Healthy for my SOUL!

My form of exercise means going on walks... as in like, slow, long-walks-on-the-beach type stuff, no power walking here. Aaand that's pretty much the extent of it.

So wait, you're likely asking what the heck DID I do to loose the baby weight?

Well let's set some ground work shall we? I like history, numbers and figures so I'll take us back to when weight mattered to me and what my habits where then...

Highschool (9 years ago): 
When I was in high school I was dancing three+ times a week and running (walking quickly) at the gym, I weighed about 150lbs and wore about a size 10 (I've got hips people, mmmk?) My eating was terrible. I would skip meals all the time and come home and binge on popcorn or four to six pieces of white bread slathered in butter. I never drank enough water, ever, and always had headaches. In my teenage brain I thought skipping meals would help me maintain my weight while I ate whatever I wanted for dinner. Uh, let's just say I was dumb.

Germany round 1:
When I went to Germany for a five months as a nanny I gained a disgusting amount of weight because I was depressed and in the land of chocolate and honey, and bread, and deliciousness. I had no self control. I think I weighed my worst at that time, if I recall about 180 lbs. That's 30 lbs of nutella people, ON MY THIGHS! Sick!

I came home for a few months and never really lost all of it but settled at about 165. Meh, whatev's my thighs still rubbed but I had clothes I fit into, ok sweet, good enough for me.

Germany round 2:
I went back to Germany for 3 more years working at a pre-school and started leaning more about healthy foods. I learned that there were more types of lettuce than just iceberg and learned to cook a bunch of asian meals from one of my Philippine colleagues. I maintained my 160ish weight but felt a lot better physically.

Home for good:
When I came home from Germany the second time I started at UVU and was going through a lot of life changes and my weight dropped because of it. I bought a whole bunch of skinny-me clothes and felt great and probably got down to nearly what I was in high-school, but a healthier-eating version.

University/Life Changes/Dating:
Cue dating a bunch, then meeting Phil, getting married, and getting pregnant two months in. When we got married I pretty much leveled out at about 165, eating well, but still eating a bunch of processed foods and not eating much whole-grains and whole-foods.

During my pregnancy I began to really get serious about eating well and exercising. I've literally never eaten so well in my life! I swam at least a couple times a month and would go on walks often. In the first few months I even tried to take up running, yeah, still not happening. During my pregnancy I gained the usual 30-40+ lbs and I think at my last appointment before I had Emerson at 42 weeks I was 195lbs. Of course much of that was blood volume, placenta, 8.5lb Baby E, etc, etc. but still I was squishy, I needed to be. Mom's need to be squishy for their babies, it's just how it goes!

So here I was, post-baby and about 175lbs, and a size 12-14 as long as the pants are stretchy. I got down to a solid size 12 within 2 months, eating right and breast-feeding. After 4-6 months I got in to about what I was before being pregnant size 32 waist size 10ish and plateaued for months at about 165 lbs.

9 months post-partum I first learned about the Young Living distributor group called the Lemon Droppers and went to and essential oil intro class. I'd been using a few oils during my pregnancy for stretch mark prevention, a couple of them passively when I got sick, and lavender for Emerson's sleep. But I didn't create much of a habit with the oils and I didn't know that there were oils for weight-loss and oils that could help flush fat toxins etc. As soon as I learned about Lemon for weight loss I jumped right on that and found myself a glass water-bottle to start adding a few drops to my water to drink.

1 year Post-baby:
I've been using Young Living's citrus oils (Citrus Fresh, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, or Tangerine) in my water every day since and that is literally the only thing that has changed in my eating and exercise habits. In these past 3 and a half months I am now down to 143lbs, fitting in size 6-8, less than I was in high school! Went from 25 inches circumference on my thighs to 23 inches. Say what? I'm no longer squishy around my belly and back and my hips are smaller than they've been, I'm going to say, ever, cause ever sounds about right.

I'm literally in shock every time I get on the scale because the past four months my eating habits have been horrible. Like, pizza-twice-a-week type horrible. Plus Phil and I just spent a month in Germany and I actually ate more junk food than I have in the past 2 years combined. I literally ate from sun-up until sun-down, getting my fix of all the German goodies I could while we were there. We walked everyday but I was walking about the same before we had gone so I can't credit it to that.

Now I'm not saying that eating junk food is the way to go. I definitely encourage eating well and exercising in whatever form suits people best. Now that we are home I'm drinking a Pure Protein Complete shake every morning at getting back to eating more whole-foods, but for real. For real. I feel awesome and I'm never bloated anymore, except for a rare occasion, then I'll just add some peppermint to my water or rub Di-Gize oil on my belly! And, just an FYI all this hasn't affected milk supply, just in case you nursing mom's wanted to know. 

I'm tempted to say this even motivates me to take up running...but... ehh.. who am I kidding! Maybe I'll just stick with swimming to strengthen my muscles.

P.S. Don't judge my photos. I'm not a model and loosing flubber doesn't mean I gained a six-pack. Ok? ;)

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