Tuesday, April 16, 2013

love yourself

This video kind of says it all. (You may tear up like I did.)  It's an epidemic in our day and age with women.  We want to be skinnier, happier, prettier, curvier, sexier, etc. etc. etc.  Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful.  

God created you perfectly.  He created you wonderfully and in God's image.  

"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  -1 Samuel 16:7

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."  -Psalm 139:13

You're beautiful! Embrace it. :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

more tips for living healthier-- with or without babies

So I think I have a lot of good tips I've learned from different places (books and internet, mostly-- none of these things are my own revelations) and usually when I talk to people about some of my healthy living tips, they are so thankful!  Last week I did a post on what I think is the most important part of living healthy which is what you eat and what you feed your kids/baby.

Here are some more little tips and tricks that we live by in the Waagner household: (okay, so Cannen and I live by them... Eric is still learning ;)
        p.s.  These aren't just for people with babies! Anyone can live healthier!

1)  Plastics and BPA-
This is something that I learned a lot more about after I had Cannen but I wish I'd known this simple trick earlier.  BPA is a chemical that strengthens plastic but can mess with hormonal development if it's leached into your body (especially kids).
To keep our household free of BPA, we go by this simple mantra "4, 5, 1, and 2- all the rest are bad for you".  Here's what this means:
These numbers you can find on the bottom of any plastic container or toy-- anything plastic.  If the number (or letter) is anything but a 4, 5, 1, or 2--- it's bad for you.  A child shouldn't be putting it in his/her mouth, you DEFINITELY shouldn't be heating your food in it, really, you shouldn't have it in your house.  
  Tip:  Most all organic companies are BPA free in every plastic that they put on the market.  Go with those.  Plus organic shampoos, lotions, baby products, and etc. are better for you anyway... but we'll get to that later.

2) Non-foods to keep out of your life:
~Refined flour- refined flour turns into sugar as soon as it enters your body.  Your body processes it like sugar and breaks it down into glucose which causes a spike of blood sugar, then a crash (i.e. sugar high, sugar rush...) and then you're hungry again 5 minutes later.  Swap any refined sugar or flour for their whole grain equivalent.  This will help avoid the crash and it's way healthier for you.

~Artificial sweeteners-  For those of you who live on these in coffee or sweets, I'm about to ruin your day.  The ONLY healthy sugar choice is pure cane sugar.  And I wouldn't necessarily call this sugar "healthy" for you but it's better than anything artificial.
          Aspartame- triggers migraines and breaks down into FORMALDEHYDE in your body... No, I'm not kidding. Unfortunately, aspartame is in almost every single diet/zero calorie soda.  Gross.

           Splenda, Truvia, Agave, Stevia-   "Natural sweetener"= healthy, right?  No.  These contain 70-80% fructose-- MORE than what's found in some high fructose corn syrup! BAD!  Of these, agave is the best, I guess. So try to find agave that has no more than 30% fructose and make sure it's organic and 100% pure.

~Artificial Colors- If it can make a food blue or purple, it's probably not good for you. 

~Sodium Nitrates- don't buy ANY processed meat unless it's labeled Nitrate Free.  Nitrates are linked to cancer and and are really bad for pregnant women and children.

Lastly, when it comes to bath and beauty products, I'm a stickler.  Especially things that Cannen uses.  Here are some things I've learned and some tips for staying healthy in this area:

1) If a label says Hypoallergenic or Natural-- this literally. means. nothing.  The government doesn't regulate these two terms with definition so the company is free to define the words however they want. Example: the product may contain aloe, which is a plant based ingredient.  So the label will say "Natural" and "Allergy tested"... but no.  Just the ALOE is natural.  Every other ingredient may be crappy and bad for you.

Also, make sure anything you buy organic, SAYS "Certified USDA Organic".  Any company can put organic on it's label but it's only certain to be organic if the USDA cleared it as so.  

Also, "unscented" is not a good thing.  Unscented on the label means that they have just covered the fragrant ingredients with an unscented fragrance.  Look for "fragrance free" which means there are no engineered fragrant ingredients.  Unscented means nothing.

2) Tear-Free baby shampoo and body wash-  This is disturbing.  Most lotions, body washes, and shampoos that say "Tear-Free" contain a special mix of toxic chemicals that work by NUMBING your baby's eyes so they can't feel the other harsh chemicals stinging!  AHHH! Go for organic, plant based actives.  Also look for pH balanced soaps and shampoos because this will naturally not hurt baby's eyes or skins.

3) Parabens-- these are found in any water based products (shampoos, conditioner, lotion, body wash, etc.)  Paraben is a preservative.  We absorb the parabens through our skin and they've been found inside breast tumors and linked to cancer.  They are also toxic to our reproductive and immune systems.  Look at the ingredients and make sure there are no parabens. (USDA organic= no parabens)

OOOOOOOOOKAY---- so by now you think I'm a crazy paranoid fool who spends most of the time in the grocery store checking labels and looking psychotic, but I'm not.  These are just some of the tips that I try to go by- keyword TRY.  Sometimes, economically, you can't pass up the sale shampoo or non-organic, cheaper mangoes.  Aspartame or not, sometimes I need a Diet Coke.   But for the most part, I try to incorporate these things (and there are TONS more) into our every day life to keep me, Eric, and especially Cannen as healthy as possible.
 It's meant to make life a little easier, not complicate things.  And TRUST ME, once you do have a baby--- you'll want to know ALL of these things to protect their little bodies.

More tips to come next week!  By the time I'm through with you maybe you will be a little health-crazy like me, butttttt I think it's worth it. ;)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

getting greener

So quick update before we get to the main part of this post:  Cannen is still perfect and Eric is still handsome.  Nothing much has changed around here! ;)  Cannen is learning new things everyday.  He now pretty much sits up by himself, rolls over, communicates well, and has been teething a bit.... even though we have yet to actually see a tooth.  Annnd he's STANDING UP (well, standing up holding onto the couch or something)! He is so uninterested in crawling, he's just decided to work on standing up! He's such a chill baby too. Even when hes fussy, he's never that fussy.  His new thing that we are working to break him of while he's young is separation anxiety.  Ohhhh the separation anxiety.  When I walk away from him he has a mini breakdown until he sees me again.  When I put him on the floor with toys and don't sit with him... breakdown.  At first it was super cute because he just loves me that much but now it's just annoying.  Other than that, Eric's job is going great, I'm still happy everyday with my great life, and Cannen is healthy and happy and that's all we can ask for!

Now for my real blog post.  This isn't just for mommies-- keep reading.
When becoming a mama you just become SO much more aware of the things around you and your baby.  I think before I eat anything (mostly because I'm breastfeeding) and I'm EXTRA particular about food. I also read labels on most everything-- food, baby products, toys, cleaning products, clothes tags-- and I research everything.  Is this okay to clean the table with?  Is this okay to give baby to play with?  Is this food going to give baby an upset stomach?  I'm not to an obsessive level and I'm not too annoyingly particular with things, but then again compared to other people maybe I am.
Mostly, what I've learned is that I wish I had known half this stuff before I was pregnant because I would have implemented some of the it a looooong time ago.  I feel like there are so many things out there that people don't know about so here are some tips for healthier living:  (Note: this isn't a lifestyle change-- it's just little things you can add to live healthier everyday)

HEALTHY FOOD:  Here are my two priorities when buying food:

Buy Organic:  Buying Organic has been a growing trend but it REALLY IS IMPORTANT.  Whether you're worried about the environment, your health, or animal welfare, it matters.  I personally agree that those three things intersect importantly.
What does Organic really mean?  If it's a fruit or legume, it wasn't sprayed with toxic chemicals and farmers couldn't use GMO's (genetically modified seeds). (p.s. GMO's are banned in all of Europe because of their toxicity... the FDA hasn't banned them because, well, mass, fast production is the name of the game these days. Gross.)  If it's meat, the animals weren't given antibiotics or hormones and were fed an 100% organic diet.  I don't want that in my body and it can have bad, lasting effects when eating all that modified food.

Here's something scary:  Synthetic Pesticides, which are sprayed on most all conventional produce, are among the TOP TEN chemicals associated with increases in autistic children and learning disabilities. Buying all organic all the time is impossible and expensive so just choose the produce with the highest content of pesticides to move over to your "organic" list.
These dirty items are:  
Bell Peppers
Green beans

My second priority is Buying Local:  Think about the fruit you're buying from the grocery store in January.  Most of it was shipped from Chile or China.  It takes four to seven days to GET to the grocery store which is about a week of being hauled on nasty freight trains or trucks.  Produce starts to lose it's nutritional value the MINUTE it's picked.  If we're honest, you'll go crazy trying to find/buy everything on your grocery list locally so ofcourse there will be the quick pick-up from the store BUT the more you visit and get to know your local farmers markets you'll be able to gradually move more and more of your foods over to your "buy local" list.  PLUS, and just as importantly, buying local helps out your small business owners and farmers.  The same amount of money for healthier produce AND helping the local economy?-- DO IT!

Here are some links to some favorite farmers markets around Richmond:

If you DON'T live in Richmond, go to this website, plug in your zipcode, and it will tell you where your local farms and farmers markets are!--   www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets

To find out which vegetables are the best and most "in-season" at any time in YOUR area, go here and plug in your zip:  www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal

I'm going to make this into a little series.  Next post will be Friday and I'll cover a little bit more on healthy living. I'm hoping you all can learn a little bit and start eating and growing and living healthier!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So this is a pretty exciting week for Eric! He started his new job as a Mortgage Broker yesterday and he seems to like it so far.  We still aren't sure if he will stay at this job or take this as a temporary position, though.  He has some other companies calling and wanting to interview him in the next couple weeks so if he finds a position that he'd like better than we may pursue that.  For now we are just so blessed and thankful to God for finding Eric a great job that will pay the bills and keep us comfortable.

Cannen is getting more and more squirmy and learning more everyday!  He's got such a little personality.  He's reaching for toys more and he'll get mad if you take one away from him.  Eric and I can both be extremely stubborn (we're working on it...) so we knew we'd have a little spitfire for a kid. He'll whine a little and he can get a little attitude with us but I swear, knock on wood, the child NEVER CRIES.  Like, ever.  It's baffling to us as we sometimes try to think of the last time Cannen cried and we just can't.  He's SO happy 99% of everyday which makes us so happy! We must be doing a pretty decent job at this parenting stuff! He LOVES his crib which is awesome because we put him down for bed or a nap and he just lays there and goes to bed! Sometimes he'll wake up from a nap and just lay in bed for over an hour, quietly, just playing with his blanket or looking around, waiting for someone to come pick him up.  He has slept through the night since he was 7 weeks old and so I think he must get his love for sleeping from me.  He talks (i.e. makes crazy terodactyl noises) a lot but they are awesome and we love hearing his little voice through the monitor, waking us up in the morning.  He's more and more fun everyday because he's learning to interact with us and it's just the cutest.  I don't mean to brag but I think I have the perfect child-- as every mother does.

I can't help but feel like I'm living a dream life sometimes.  All I've always really wanted is a loving husband who puts God and our family first and a home that is just simply full of love all the time.  I've always wanted a husband who will protect us and provide for us and make the Lord the center of our family.  A husband who shows me and tells me everyday how much he loves me and our family-- and Eric is all those things.  He blows me away sometimes.  Before Eric leaves in the morning he kisses me and tells me something sweet, and when he walks in the door after a long day, the first thing he does is find me and kiss me and he somehow still has energy to help me with Cannen.  I love that after almost a year and a half of marriage and an 8 month deployment abroad, we still act like newlyweds and are crazy about eachother! This past Thursday, Valentines Day, I really just focused the whole day on Eric and how important love is in our every day life.  
I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom and I'm so blessed to be able to do that too.  To each his own but I feel SO excited every day that I get to wake up and just spend the day tending to the house and taking care of my son.  To me, there is nothing more important and I'm so blessed that I never miss a moment of Cannens life.  
Our home is truly SO full of love and laughter all the time.  It just makes me so happy.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

smash scripture

I was reading a post online the other day and the woman was talking about how she reads her son a book of nursery rhymes every night.  Inevitably, soon her son knew all the words to each of the nursery rhymes just simply by her repeatedly reading them to him every night.  She then came up with an idea.  Cannen also has a ton of books and he already loves when we read to him.  We will always read him his nursery rhymes and Dr. Suess, etc. but I'd rather him be memorizing something more meaningful. Ya know, instead of singing him to sleep with a nursery rhyme about falling out of a tree in his cradle...  (...... I mean, really?)

This got me thinking.

And then I packed Cannen up, put us in the car, and went to Michaels. I bought a smash book, some markers, some index cards, and some stickers, and got to work.

A day and a half later, I've <almost> finished Cannen's first (made by mommy) smash book of scripture! (and hopefully it will last long enough to be passed down to each of our children.)

Here's a little peak at how it's turning out
(Note: it's supposed to look fun-ish, artsy-ish, and homemade... I'm not a professional printing press over here)

I'll post more pictures as I keep going.  There are a ton of pages to fill so I'm trying to find all the very best verses but the bible is really just full of so much good stuff-- it's hard to narrow it down!
I pray that one day Cannen will find it to be sOooOOoo cool that his mama made him a book that he'll want to read it all the time, and consequently, memorize some of the most important words he'll ever read.

Here's one for us parents (or soon-to-be... or not-so-soon-to-be... parents):
"Train a child in the way he should go, in the way of the Lord, 
and even when he grows up, he will not turn away from it."    -Proverbs 22:6

Monday, February 4, 2013


We had a really fun weekend!
Lately Eric has been taking me on lots of dates and it's been great!  We've always committed to having one fancy date night a week to spend time together and lately we've been trying a bunch of new restaurants and we've been having a lot of fun.
Friday night we went on a double date with our friends Daniel and Aimee to The Hill Cafe (HIGHLY recommend. So good.) , and Saturday night we went out with Des and Tony to Burger Bach (also awesome.  They have a cool, rare draft beer selection).  We are so thankful for our friends.  JUST when we feel like boring old people with a baby, our awesome friends come along and take us out and love on us. We are so blessed to constantly have good friends texting and calling us wanting to hang out, and they especially love when we bring Cannen along so it's really a win-win!

Sunday we went to our Pastors house for a super fun SuperBowl party!  Brandon and Katie have a beautiful home and we had so much fun meeting more new, young couples and watching the game! I made little individual 7-layer dips which came out really nicely!  I saw the recipe on Pinterest so the fact that they actually came out successfully shocked me a little!  My parents offered to watch Cannen for the game so that was super nice.  We are so grateful that my parents live so close to us.

Big event of the weekend:  Cannen rolled over!!! (I totally missed it though... Eric saw it and swears he did it all by himself!)
If you've spoken to us, we'll be the first to tell you that we were not encouraging this, haha! I knew as soon as Cannen rolled over that would mean that we would have to start watching him that much closer.  It's been relatively easy until now because I could lay Cannen down somewhere and know that he'd just stay there!  It's really exciting that our little man is growing up though and learning new little tricks.  He's perfect.
We've also started giving him a sippy cup and feeding him baby food! He's doing great with the baby food and we're just feeding him twice a day.  He still nurses from me and thats where his main nutrition comes from.  (I'm still the biggest advocate for breastfeeding and it really is the BEST thing you can do for your baby. It's the best decision I've made for Cannen yet.)  He's SO funny with his sippy cup because we just put a little water in it and he has really been trying so hard to figure out how to work it and get the water out... hes surprisingly really good at it though!  We have such a smart baby!

BabyBoy actually just woke up from his nap and I hear him squeaking and talking to himself in his room... I love his little noises.  I'll never get enough.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump", and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even to go the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.  So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."   -1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Something to think about... 

Love others more than yourself. It goes passed just being kind, it goes into everything that love is.  Which is the next verse of the bible.

"Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,  Doesn’t have a swelled head,  Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”  Doesn’t fly off the handle,  Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,  Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,  Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,  Always looks for the best,  Never looks back,  But keeps going to the end." 
-1 Corinthians 13:8