Friday, June 16, 2017

Things not to put "right up in there"

I found this pretty yellow evening primrose growing on the Appalachian Trail and it reminded me of something I haven't really thought about in a couple of years:
People behave differently with pregnant women.
They say things they would NEVER say to non-pregnant women.
The more visibly pregnant a woman is, the weirder it gets, too.
Both my kids were two weeks late, and I looked like an exaggerated cartoon version of a pregnant woman, so every time I left the house I knew I was opening myself up to some "interesting encounters."
Let me preface this next part by saying: 
I know they meant well.
and also
I am not any kind of an authority on any subject.
I'm just a sciency flower nerd armed with a field guide and Google, 
so you go ahead and do what you want.
So, anyway, here is my advice to pregnant women:
Please ignore all the advice regarding stuff to put in your hoo-ha.
I don't know how many times I had this conversation
(sometimes with strangers and sometimes acquaintances)
When are you due?
-Sometime last week.
Have you tried x, y, z methods of inducing labor? Also, you should try evening primrose oil- just put it right up in there and you'll go into labor in hours!
(Also, I should note that I live in an are where selling essential oils is super popular, so this may not be an issue you don't live in an area where everyone and their sister is selling essential oils.)

This is what evening primrose looks like:
and you should definitely NOT put it in your va-jay-jay.
Despite mountains of purely anecdotal evidence, scientific studies have never been able to prove even marginal efficacy.

 However, there have been crap tons of side effects in participants of those unsuccessful studies:

"Evening primrose oil may also cause abdominal pain, acidity, acne, altered immune system function, anxiety, belching, bloating, cellulitis (skin infection), colic, constipation, cough, cramping, crying, decreased or increased duration of childbirth, depression, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, dryness of mucous membranes, eczema, fullness, gas, gastrointestinal adverse effects, headache, heartburn, increased bleeding time or decreased platelet aggregation, increased risk of inflammation, indigestion, irregular menstruation, irritability, itchy and fatty skin, loose stools, musculoskeletal adverse effects, nausea, nervous system adverse effects, pneumonia, reproductive system adverse effects, respiratory system adverse effects, seizures or lowered seizure threshold, skin lesions in newborns, skin rash, slower dilation during childbirth, stomachache, tension, vivid dreams, vomiting, weight gain, or worsening mania.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: There is a lack of sufficient data on the use of EPO during pregnancy or lactation. A study has reported women taking EPO by mouth to have a longer labor, slower dilation rate, prolonged rupture of membranes, use of oxytocin, and arrest of descent."

(emphasis mine)

I love traditional medicine as much as anyone, but it's dangerous to make the assumption that just because something is natural means it's safe.
I'm sure your cousin's sister's neighbor that sells essential oils will probably disagree with me about EPO and want to argue that her hairdresser's sister is a midwife and buys the stuff (from her) by the gallon and just goes around with a super-soaker full of it to help her patients go into labor naturally, but I'm just going to go ahead and say it:
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is great for attracting birds and bees to your garden, but it belongs soundly on the list of  
things NOT to put in your cupcake.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Slowly accomplishing a deferred dream

Aside from setting little goals to reach each week, I've also been setting big goals for my family this year. I've accomplished several of them, like getting LC into the #1 school in the state and having an art show, but there are several more I'm working on that will take years. One is to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. When I was younger I dreamed of doing the whole trail in one glorious year, but now that really isn't an option for me, so I bought a trail map and little by little, weekend by weekend, we've been working our way up. We highlight the trails that we've done and it is so exhilarating to watch the map light up with marker. 

In a way I'm kind of glad I never got to do it when I was younger because then I may not be interested in hiking the whole AT again now, and doing it now, while more difficult and arduous schedule-wise, means that my tiny explorers get to go too. There's a quote from Christopher McCandless that hit me hard:
"Happiness is only real when shared."
And the older I get the more I see the truth in that.
Alone, I find satisfaction, but not happiness.
There is no happiness in finding a perfect rock for sliding down if you're alone. Sure it might be interesting or fun, but the happiness comes from hearing the happy squeals of your kids as they tumble down onto each other laughing.

Working on my goal to hike the entire AT has also renewed my love for finding rare wildflowers, and thanks to social media I can share my finds, which is really fun because I never knew so many other people would also find them interesting. Take this rare beauty for example- a ghost plant (also known as corpse plant or indian pipe) from a rare family of plants that contain absolutely no chlorophyll and can only be found on a few hillsides in Appalachia.

 Finding it was fun, but sharing it with others who thought it was neat was like finding it again! 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Technical Difficulties

I've been trying for several weeks to build a website with a selling platform (that's not Etsy) to sell the rest of the paintings that didn't sell at the art show, but I've been having a really difficult time. I successfully made a wix site, but couldn't add a selling function without paying an arm and a leg. Then I made an old fashioned HTML site that worked flawlessly with my paypal links, but looked like absolute crap and kept degrading the quality of my photos for some reason. It seems like I have to decide between functionality, appearance, and cost. Till I can figure out how to have more than one of those I'm just going to post a few things here. 

Watercolor on paper 8 x 10 $75

Moonlight Through the Pines
Watercolor on paper $75
If you would like to buy either of these, please comment here, 
or for faster service email

Monday, June 05, 2017

Week 2 of Summer: Art Show!

Last week we got the house in order and this week we got ready for...
LC's first Art show!!!!!
Compared to last week, this week was HEAVEN!
LC was so excited when I told her about it that she immediately sat down and got to work finishing all the half finished paintings from her nature journal.
I bought a bunch of frames and did a little outlining for her and the collection came together really well!
(All the paintings in the front rows on the table are by Lillie. The big ones in the back are mine.)
On the night of the show roadwork had completely blocked the studio creating a really difficult parking situation and also it STORMED. I was getting worried that no one would come and Lillie would get her first taste of what being a professional artist is really like (see also: disappointing).
Thankfully I was wrong!
So many people love my little artist girl that the studio filled right up!
(LC with her best friend)
All the proceeds from any art sold went to her BES tuition.
Together we raised nearly half a year's tuition!  

Week of clean wrap up: This was a terrible idea.

The title of this post says it all. 
I tried so hard to get my house perfectly clean,
and keep it perfectly clean
for just one week
and I failed.
Not only did I fail, but I made everyone
(especially me).
Keeping a house clean with a two year old and a six year old just is not a worthwhile endeavor.
(Aside from being unworthy of my time, it's also really darn near impossible.)
So we're back to our normal messy selves.
Toys are on the floor.
Play dough is on the table.
A half finished painting is propped up in the hallway.
I still do the dishes daily,
vaccuum when/where possible
and keep everyone in clean clothes but other than that
messy mommy is BACK
and everyone is very glad
(especially me!)