Thursday, February 2, 2017

Vanamo Rainbow

Name: Vanamo Rainbow
Type: Wrap
Material: 50% cotton 50% linen
Size: 4 (base -1)

I'm going to be honest with you, I've been avoiding writing this review. And before you think anything bad, it's because this is going to be one of the sweetest goodbyes. I mean, I may have to fight my two year old to get this wrap back in the package since he's claimed the wrap as his own. It has gotten us through some sickness, some two year old tantrums, some beach trips and  park trips. It has been there for us through good, bad and ugly. I mean, after all, who can resist smiling when such a stunning rainbow is around? Which is saying a lot for me because I generally dislike rainbows. But this one is just different. It is subtle but still very rainbow.

Anyway, enough of me waxing poetic. When the wrap initially came I was... well, I was not impressed. It had only been worn once and if you have ever felt new linen wraps, you know what I mean. It was rough and while not hard to wrap with, it also wasn't enough. The weave structure made it grippy so I had to work a little harder to get my passes in place. But, once I did, they were stuck. It made a great ruck wrap which is what I use most so I stuck with it. And man, it was worth it. After about 3 months of nearly every day use, it is butter. The grip in tightening that was once there is now smooth gliding passes that stay put. It is still an amazing ruck wrap too. Now that the passes glide easier it also makes an amazing chest pass. I absolutely adored it in a Double Hammock tied at shoulder. The knot wasn't diggy like most knots at the shoulder are for me. Due to the knot being comfortable, it also made an AMAZING torso carry.

Though this was my (30 lb) 2 year old's favorite, I also loved it with the (20 lb) baby. It didn't get diggy as I hear linen often does and pleats well. Plus, it's super soft once broken in which makes it great for blankets and other kinds of cuddles. It's light and airy which makes it great for warm climates and fun stuff like the beach. It was also quite nice to wear over a sweater thanks to the grip.

This wrap will most definitely be missed.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Your algorithms need work...

Across the last two weeks more and more Social Justice activists have had content removed and have received temporary bans from Facebook lasting from 24 hours to 30 days. I'm sure you're wondering what they, well we, could have done to receive these temporary bans. Well, we spoke up against racism and used the words "white people." Apparently white people don't like being called white and Facebook is willing to help protect that level of white fragility.

It seemed as though it was a targeted attack since most of the people within my circle had in happening in babywearing groups. Because apparently talking about the racism we have experienced made them uncomfortable enough to want us silenced so they began reporting us. But, it has become clear that this is more wide spread since activist outside of those spaces are also being targeted.

The comments that have had us banned are tame in comparison (you can find examples of the comments here: Facebook Has a Problem and my algorithms don't see color) to the fact that many times actual slurs, hate speech, threats to kill are seen to be not violation of Community Standards. Yet, calling out racism is. This is very clearly a move to silence activists whether it is abuse of the algorithms that handle automated banning or if it is due Facebook upholding white supremacy and fragility.

We see you, Facebook. This is unacceptable.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Emmeline Textiles Partita

Normally, I at least wait until I have worn a wrap for a while before I even write anything about it. But, I am super excited about this new colorway of Emmeline Textiles Partita! I have tried both Partita Wisteria and Eleanor Pearl and both blew my mind, so I am sure this one will as well!

Also, this shade of yellow is PERFECT! I love the color yellow, but yellow doesn't quite feel the same about me. This shade however, is like the perfect soft yellow that will probably work for almost anyone. And the shimmer is absolutely amazing. It is hard to capture the exact yellow because it is so subtle. But, I'll keep trying!

Okay, enough talking, now I need to wear it some more now!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I'll Be the First...

I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from perfect. If I had the time, I could and probably would, make you a list detailing each and every flaw. But, honestly, that's not the point of this post. Maybe another day. In my imperfection, I've made a lot of questionable decisions. Though I wouldn't change any of those decisions because they have led me here (and I mean, have you seen The Butterfly Effect?!) there are still a ton of what ifs that keep me up at night. The latest and most often recurring choice that is keeping me up at night is college.

In high school, like most teenagers, I thought I knew best. Much to my mother's dismay, I decided not to apply to any 4 year colleges. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and in my mind, I could knock out my gen ed classes then transfer to a 4 year school. Less debt & it would give me time to decide. My mom pushed for me to reconsider but, I was stubborn.  After graudation I moved to Orange County, got a job and I finished my first year. Then decided I wanted to move back to the Valley since I thought I missed my friends. I stayed in school for a semester and I worked my ass off. And then, life happened. By life, I mean I got pregnant. I tried to stay in school but I was barely able to handle life with how sick I was so I took some time off. I ended up moving back to Orange County with my mom and tried to get back into the swing of school and while I attended a few classes at University of Phoenix, I still just wasn't there mentally. I moved to Long Beach after another short stint in the Valley and left UoP. Once again, I went back to school, still with very little direction but did it because that's what I thought I should have been doing. I went to school through working full time, I went to school through pregnancies. I did that on and off until 2014 when I had my 3rd.

So, I have all of these credits and no degree. I have all of this debt and nothing to show for it. And it's wearing on me. I wish I had waited until I knew what I wanted to do. But, on the other side I wish I had listened to my mom. I wish I had at least stayed the course and finished... something. I mean, right this second, I am 6 classes shy of my A.A. in Child Development. 6. That's two semesters. Or like, if they offer the classes during winter, I could knock that out by the end of Spring semester. And I'm debating it... but... I don't know that I would actually use the degree.

I love children. I wouldn't have so many if I didn't. But, for the most part that degree is used for jobs in the classroom. I don't want to work in the classroom. I am more interesting in the paperwork side of well, life. Most of my adult life I've worked in an office. I kick ass in office jobs. I can type, I can file, I can answer phones and direct people, I can organize your life and Google all of your questions. I love deadlines and organized chaos. Basically, I love knowing what to expect. Little humans, I have learned, are actually the complete opposite of that. But, also... I'm so close.

My focus is special education. I ended up taking a few classes on special education because I was starting the IEP process for my oldest daughter and I wanted all of the information I could get. And well, ended up taking all of them. So, realistically, I've toyed with the idea of being an advocate or working with an advocacy agency in any capacity. Which, would fulfill that love for paperwork and also my desire to continue working for a non-profit. (I've worked mostly for non-profits dealing with addiction.)

I have an appointment with a counselor on Monday to discuss next steps because it's very possible that all of my doubts are really being fueled by my fear of failure and anxiety. Anyway, wish me luck.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

It's Ok to NOT be Ok.

Last month, I did sober September with some good friends. It was an eye-opening experience because I was forced to actually deal with my anxiety and other reasons why I drink. It also gave me a chance to work through some of the core issues that trigger those reasons.

One of my favorite things to remind myself is that it is okay not to be okay. The reminder is simple, accepting it is not. So, it is something that I have to remind myself of often. Usually this reminder is partnered with me reminding myself that it is okay to take care of me. At the very start of Sober September, an article from the Mighty regarding the least talked about parts of self-care came across my Facebook feed. It has been an open window in my phone's browser since that day because it serves as a reminder that there is more to taking care of yourself than just taking a break and allowing myself to be not okay. Self-care also means taking the steps to actually be okay.

I think right now the biggest struggles that I have in regards to self-care are both knowing when to quit and knowing when to ask for help, both are deeply tied with knowing my own limits. I have a very bad habit of pushing myself to a breaking point in order to not inconvenience anyone else, not recognizing the damage that I am doing to myself in the mean time. One of my biggest fears (and triggers) is rejection. So, in order to avoid rejection, I avoid confrontation. Sometimes the anticipated reaction is far worse than what would actually happen. But, my mind ALWAYS goes to worst case scenario. 

It's time for me to totally and completely acknowledge that I am a mother of four children, three of them being between the ages of 9 months and 4 years old, one of them with special needs. I have limitations and that's okay. It's okay for me to say no when someone asks for help that I don't have the energy to give. It's okay for me to not engage. It's okay for me to not hold others emotional bagage when mine is heavy enough. It is time for me to not only set boundaries but also stick with them. It's also okay for me to set doctors appointments for myself and make other appointments that I need in order to be a better me because I do have a partner and family. I need to use my resources better. I need to reach out and ask for help and not just wait or hope for it to be offered. 

It's going to be hard. For me and probably others, especially my kids. But, in the long run I think it will make us all better. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Yaro Ivy Blue Review

Wrap: Yaro Ivy Blue 
Material: 100% cotton
Size: 4.6/6 (Base +1)

Though I have heard a lot about Yaro, this was my first time trying out a Yaro. And, spoiler alert, I loved it! I'm super excited that Marsupial Mamas is now carrying them and especially since they are at such an amazing price point!
The wrap arrived in loom state & I couldn't get over how soft it was already. I kept petting it while I was waiting to get in the washer. And then it just got softer after I washed it. I was a bit skeptical about it because of how thin it is because I generally prefer thicker wraps. Though, I live in Southern California and we were in the middle of an end of summer heat wave most of the time it was here so I did most definitely appreciate how thin, lightweight and airy it is! It became my go to wrap on the hotter days because of that.

When wrapping with it, the first thing I noticed was the amount of diagonal stretch and microtecture that it has. If you haven't noticed, those are my two favorite wrap qualities. The wrap slid into place, hugged all of the right places then stayed there. It had the perfect amount of glide to get it where I wanted it and held in both a half knot and full knot in both front and back carries.

I tried it with all 3 kids that can go up. (9 months, 2 years, 4 years.) With the 9 month old, it was great in every carry I tried it in. Double Hammock, Front Wrap Cross Carry, Double Hammock with a Poppins finish, blah blah blah. I tried a lot of carries with it because I loved it. It did great with him. Actually, it was great with my 26 lb 2 year old as well. With the 4 year old it was best in multi-layer carries, other wise it got diggy after a bit, which I expected because of how thin it was.

Despite being thin and airy, the wrap is pretty tightly woven. Even with my every day use of it for a month or so, I didn't notice any pulls or broken threads. I just noticed it getting softer and easier to wrap with as time went on. So, I would say it isn't very pull prone. Which is always a good thing!

The biggest surprise for me is that it reminded me of a thinner version of Pavo Textiles' Sketchy. The texture and stretch were incredibly similar as well as the soapiness that mixed perfectly with the grip.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this wrap for people that like thin, airy, supportive wraps with diagonal stretch and great prices. It would make a great every day wrap. It would be best for newborn through about 25 or so pounds in any size and base or longer for any children bigger than that. It would be great for both new wrappers and experienced wrappers.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Simple Truths that are Often Forgotten

I am often told that I am a good listener. I think most people fail to realize that it is because I spend a fair amount of time wondering if I am talking too much, listening enough or if I am simply taking up too much space just by existing. I try to take up the least amount of space, both physically and metaphorically. Being in the spotlight makes me uncomfortable. For this reason, idle chit chat might as well be a form of torture. But, nothing is worse than actually being asked to tell people about myself. Which, I can tell you, is a form of torture.

I've always made sure that I keep friends around that enjoy the attention. It makes it easier to retreat into their shadow because within a shadow my existence isn't being questioned. In the shadow it makes it easier for me to do a word count and measure my words worth. Day in and day out, I spend much of my time wondering "is this important?" "is this adding to the conversation?" "did I say 'I' too many times?" and most of all, "do they actually care?" And funny enough, the answer in my head is often times, no. No, people do not care what I have to say and no, people don't actually care whether or not I actually contribute to a conversation. This is often confirmed when even conversations in which I have opened in reference to myself, turn into people speaking over me and about themselves.

While this has always been something that I have done, I have noticed that it is happening more often. My need to not take up space has led to others also not leaving me space or consideration. Often times it is just assumed that I will be the one there to listen or I will be the one there to help. Whether I can or want to isn't ever taken into consideration and my lack of wanting to take up space often allows it to stay that way.

So, what's changed? Looking back to 6, 4, even 2 years ago... life has changed. In big ways and in little ways. My support system has dwindled. Both in real life and online. At one point I had friends and an active social life, now I am lucky if I am invited to hang out. My level of confidence has dwindled. I went from being comfortable and confident in my body to not even close. I have had 3 babies in the last 5 years and unlike my first two pregnancies, I have not been able to lose the weight and with each pant size increase there has been a confidence decrease. What makes it worse is the fact that if I even dare to bring up that I am not comfortable in my body, I am told that I am still small so what room do I have to complain. I guess the fact that I am 30 lbs over the weight I am most comfortable at doesn't matter. Add in the financial ups and downs of the last two years and I guess it makes some sense.

But, still... the idea of opening up to people is terrifying. The quickness in which people are able to turn conversations back to them as if what I am saying doesn't matter, the lack of interest in what I am saying. The lack of... reciprocity. All of that while I am drowning in a sea of toddlers and babies and big kid dramas. It's a lot. And it isn't.

And right now I am focusing on me and how I need to change it. I think that means putting myself out there more, more time for self care, and knowing when to walk away. I'm going to be doing a lot of walking soon.