Sunday, September 30, 2007

UPDATES: Chapstick addiction, potty-training, and homemade laundry detergent

My poor chapped lips. I'm not kidding. I accidentally licked my lips on and off one day last weekend (I don't even know why...perhaps it was particularly dry - ?); this sent me into a downward spiral a cracked lower lip for an entire week. My lower lip is STILL cracked and has been extremely painful if/when it gets bumped. My predictions of being back to normal by this week completely plummeted from the sky, like I dying swan. But not that gracefully. I have no predictions now; maybe I'll never return to normal. My lips probably don't even know what normal is. I've been a compulsive chapstick user for 10-15 years now. Accursed Bonnie Bell got me started as a teen and that was even before the glamour of sparkles came on the market.

[Crap. I can't believe I'm old enough to say that. I'll be 30 years old this next Saturday, BTW.]

Starbeans has new underwear! He is so excited about them that the last thing he said as he drifted off to sleep last night was, "New underwear..." Unfortunately, he doesn't understand the concept and 1) pooped in his first pair, and 2) peed in the second pair. There is a third pair in the pack, but by then I'd given up for the day and let him run around bare again. At least then he remembers to use his potty chair, and he did: both pooping and peeing in it this evening. My grandparents are here visiting for the weekend and I didn't have the time or ability to focus on him to the extent he needed for his first day in big boy underpants. But still...we're getting somewhere. He sits down and uses his potty chair for almost every BM and potty, whether anyone is in the room or not. And he is excited about his new underwear, so much so that he has an extended dance session every time he has had a pair on. It's so cute.

The homemade laundry detergent works like a charm. Squeeze washed two loads today, both smelling fresh and clean; only a tablespoon was used each time, mind you. I am very pleased. I wish I would have gotten on the ball earlier! I need to Hark the Herald Angels and get the word out to my cronies: it is just that easy. If not for the sake of going green, maybe this will entice you: the blog I got the recipe from estimated that with the homemade laundry detergent, she is spending .12 cents a load. With a conventional detergent, it was .43 cents a load. That is a considerable difference for 10-15 minutes of labor, what...once a month? A couple times a month? Not to mention the ease on our natural surroundings. Phosphate free!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Making my own laundry detergent is something I've been thinking about for quite some time. My reasons include:

  • Cost: I'm pretty sure that the environmentally-friendly stuff costs more, although I've never bothered to check prices. It will definitely be less expensive than either option, nonetheless.
  • Fragrance: I can't handle the perfume-y smells of the conventional detergents. Thankfully, the enviro-stuff we've been using is fragrance-free.
  • Going green: I'm on the track and have been for quite some time [since I fledged, but not always knowing my options]. It can be a sometimes-slow changeover, as it takes time to gather the information, resources, and finally taking the plunge, which can be intimidating in some circumstances.

Here's what I've got to say about it: I made it this evening and seriously I cannot believe how easy it was! Oh my goodness, it was almost too easy. I simply grated 4 bars of soap and mixed the ingredients together. I was surprised how easily the soap grated; maybe some are quicker to grate than others. I used Ivory. The whole process probably took 10-15 minutes, including finding the storage containers. Total cake.

I got the recipe from Frugal Upstate, a blog I found when I googled "cloth napkins" [another project I want to tackle soon]. I believe she got her recipe from this site.

Homemade Laundry Detergent -- Recipe:

  • 1 cup grated soap
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup washing soda (different from baking soda)


  • 1 Tablespoon for regular loads
  • 2 Tablespoons for heavily soiled loads

Like I said, I used Ivory, but Fels Naptha or Zote (laundry soaps) are used in most of the recipes I found online. Both can be found in the laundry aisle, I believe. I found washing soda in the laundry aisle as well. [I remember now...part of the reason why I hadn't made my own detergent is that I had never been able to find washing soda...but I finally found it at a grocery store in Large Town, SD.]

As I just made the detergent, I haven't used it yet; but I'll be sure to post on my impressions of it. The true test will be Squeeze: he is very particular about his laundry detergents. I feel very optimistic about the whole deal, as so many others make their own laundry soaps and have had good results.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Belly Shot: 36 weeks

I can't believe how skinny I am. I didn't include my head...I wasn't smiling because I didn't realize Squeeze did a whole body shot. The vanity, yes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"A guide to your labor and delivery" and other thoughts on homebirth

In the mail yesterday came a "guide to your labor & delivery experience" from the hospital where the back-up doctor we saw delivers his babies. I read through it with piqued curiosity. As you all may know, we delivered at a hospital last time but it was on the midwife unit. We had 1 room for labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum (LDRP); although, we ended up delivering in another room because that was where the birthing pool had already been set up and we were moved to the OB unit the next day. So I guess we didn't really get a full LDRP experience anyway.

Here are a few things that this hospital overviewed:

  • 8 bed maternity unit, 3 LDRP rooms.
  • Additional private rooms with semi-private baths are available.
  • If a c-section takes place under normal circumstances, the support person can be present. If it takes place under emergency situations, they cannot: they can see the baby as soon as it is taken to the nursery.
  • The child can stay in the room with the mother as much as she wants, but there is a nursery with highly-skilled nurses on stand-by so she can rest and recuperate before going home.
  • Hospital policy allows that video footage can be taken before and after delivery, but not during delivery.
  • Permission must be obtained before medical staff can appear in any pictures.
  • Nurses and lactation consultants are on hand to help with breast-feeding.
  • Physicians will determine how the mother and infant are doing medically before a decision is made concerning discharge.
  • Visitors must be healthy and must wash hands before handling the baby. There will be no visitors after 8:30 pm.
  • Breakfast: 8:00 am - Lunch: 12:00 pm - Dinner: 6:00 pm - Lunch & Bedtime snacks are also offered.
  • No smoking on any hospital property, inside or out. To assist smokers, free nicotine gum and lozenges are available to patients, families, and visitors at the Information Desk.

I found this to be fascinating. It also spurred memories of visiting my mom in the hospital after delivery, in rooms where curtains were drawn and other people where on the other side of the fabric [we were probably visiting you, Erik]. I had forgotten about that. How terribly uncomfortable! Even as a fairly open person, I think that would make me feel uneasy. I can't imagine the torture it would be for someone who leans towards being extremely private. Like my husband.

I didn't post this to say, "Look at how terrible the hospitals are!", but I did I post it to contemplate how much procedure is included in a hospital birthing process and how normalized hospital births have become within our society. It is just expected: You give birth in the hospital. That's how it is done. [I can't even tell you how many raised eyebrows and incredulous looks I've had over the past 8-9 months.] I also posted on this out of sheer interest and for what I consider to be a loss of privacy.

Several of the stated rules are there to protect the hospital's interests, as with the policies on video footage, staff pictures, and discharge. I suppose the emergency c-section rule could fall within that category as well, although I'm not 100% sure of the reasons behind this policy. Trauma? Keeping the space clear? Safety?

Some of the rules, like healthy visitors, hand-washing, and no smoking are no-brainers. Most parents probably adhere to these no matter where they give birth. I thought it was pretty interesting that there is no smoking on any hospital property. I assume that includes employees - I wonder where they go to smoke? The guide specifically states that smoking in a car in the hospital parking lot is included in the restrictions. No sidewalks, parking lots, or even cars in parking lots. Fascinating!

The 8 bed maternity unit with 3 LDRP rooms made me wonder: Are there 2-3 beds to each room, with a shared bathroom for the remaining 5 beds? I walked around completely butt-naked for most of my labor and at least 1 day after delivery. In fact, the day after delivery, I can remember a hospital worker knocking on the door, saying, "Food service!" I was in the bathroom whose open door faced the room door, naked as a jay, preparing for yet another sitz bath and said, "Come on in" like being naked was the most normal thing in the world. She blanched and looked like she was going to back out, so I said, "No really, come on it -- I don't care." So she did, the poor thing; I'm sure she was traumatized. Anything even resembling modesty left me for a 2-3 day window. [This may surprise my close friends, who have never seen me naked even once. They've probably seen my boobs within the last couple of years though.]

Segway to thoughts on birthing:

Yesterday was 36 weeks for me. Starbeans was born at 38.5 weeks. As my time draws closer, I am contemplating more of what our labor and delivery will be like at home. I am really looking forward to it. Not only to GET THIS BABY OUTTA ME (yes, I've reached that point: I remember now, how terrible the last month is - and it is only going to get worse), but also to experience giving birth in the comfort and privacy of my own home. I wonder if it will go faster, or at least seem quicker, because I'm at ease in my own cozy surroundings. I know for a fact that I will be happier. Squeeze will be too: I can't wait to hear his reflections on it after the fact. He has been slightly adverse to the idea of a homebirth, mostly because we probably won't be able to get it covered by our insurance. But consider this: our midwife charges 1,500 plus cost of gas for all prenatal visits; we also ordered 37 dollar birth kit that she set up from an online homebirthing supply company. I met with a midwife in Minneapolis who charged 3,000. Our midwife is from SD, which probably explains the difference [cost of living]. Our last birth on the midwife unit at HCMC in Minneapolis cost 14,000. I'm not kidding. That was the grand total. After insurance, we paid 800 of that (but that doesn't include the co-pays during prenatal care). To me, that 700 dollars is nothing. The trade-off is worth every cent. And can you imagine how massive the ease of financial burden would be on either the individual or the state, for those who do not have insurance?


We have also decided that depending on the onset and duration of labor, Starbeans will go to my MIL & FIL's house. The midwife said that 2 years old is the hardest age to have around for the laboring part, particularly. They are so demanding [yes!] and don't have any kind of a grasp of what is happening; she has had women whose labors have slowed because of this. It makes sense to me. I'm not sure that he would be able to let go of me, so to speak, for any length of time: and that definitely does not lend itself to focusing on moving labor along. We'll have to send the potty chair along with them!

I will probably be posting more on my feelings about our impending homebirth in the future. I will definitely be posting on my thoughts on it afterwards. It should be interesting! I can honestly say that I can't wait. Later, babes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

First simple sentence

I'm fairly certain that Starbeans said his first simple sentence this morning. All parts were there, nothing was dropped. He said,

Pickles taste good.

Isn't that the cutest? He spotted the pickle jar in the refrigerator when I was starting to make breakfast, so I gave him one and sat him down in his chair while I worked. Pickles taste good is what he said when he was finished. And I agree, pickles definitely taste good.

Before this, he's been saying things like:

  • Read books. Upstairs.
  • Baby kittens. Drinking mama's milk.
  • Cars, trucks.
  • Hungry, Mama.
  • Apple tree. [As in, let's go see the apple tree.]
  • Have it! [When he wants something.]
  • Wash dishes. [He loves "washing" dishes.]
  • Washing machine. Diapers.
  • Hi Gwampa, hi Gwamma.
  • Potty on toilet.
  • Love you.

And so on and so forth. Pickles pushed the old boy over the edge, into the land of complete sentences. Interestingly, pickles were always a big thing in my family too. In fact, they were such a hot commodity at our house that in high school, one of my brothers would buy them for himself and write his name on the jar so no one else would touch it. I used to have Guess the Number games with my brothers at the Kid's Table at family parties, where a pickle was the prize. I guess it must run in the blood, because Starbeans has loved pickles from the very start. Num.

Monday, September 24, 2007


We are in the midst of potty training, I think. My SIL & BIL finally got so exasperated with their 3 year old, who had shown no sign of interest in potty training (actually, probably anti-interest), that they started bare-butt potty training him a couple of weeks ago. The last I heard, he had no peeing incidents and only pooped on the floor twice. It has also sparked his interest and has been feeling pretty proud of his accomplishments.

We talked about it and thought that if we were actually going to do it, things should start well before the baby is born; so, on what seemed the fly, we started. Last Tuesday. He has been diaperless for the entire week, except for the Night Diaper, naps, and going outside. Ha! We've only been in public twice, as I haven't had access to a car for 3-4 weeks now. He is doing very well and like I said, I think we're potty training. I'm not sure what happens from here or how long it takes, but I can tell you that he is peeing and pooping in his potty chair the vast majority of the time (he has both pooped and peed on the floor a couple of times, but nothing to freak out about). Squeeze has been very helpful and supportive, which 1) kicked the ball off, and 2) has encouraged me to persevere. Thanks, babe. [LOL - I never call him babe.]

Starbeans has even peed in the potty chair 3-4 times without my supervision. Once, my back was turned for less than 1 minute and when I swiveled around, he was getting off his chair and sure enough: there was pee in it. The other times I've been out of the room and he has either been by himself (or in one instance, with my friend, Mimi, who visited this weekend) and he sat down on his own volition and went. Amazing. The night before last, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and I instructed him that if he had to go potty, to go in the chair, blahblahblah. [We are talking about this all day long, I could repeat the lines in my sleep.] After a little bit, he came running into the bathroom shouting, "Potty! Potty! Potty!" and brought me to the spot where the potty was; I was wincing a little bit, thinking it might be the floor, but he brought me straight to his little puddle in the potty chair. He was very proud of himself. I was endlessly pleased, because it seems as if the connections are being laid in his brain.

Every time, aside from clapping and whoot-whooting our celebrations, we are making a very big deal about bringing it to the Big Potty, dumping it in, saying bye-bye, and flushing. We even both carry it. [Ack, what if he tripped??] We have a seat for the Big Potty too, so if we are in the vicinity of the bathroom, I can just plop him on that. Otherwise, we have a Baby Bjorn potty chair that stays where we are: the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom, upstairs. It has been quite handy. I like how I can just pull the chamber out and dump it: the design is so simple. There is no funny-business or finagling, trying to get it in place. [Thanks for picking that up at a garage sale for me last spring, Mimi -- it's great!]

I guess we will keep on track from here and then move to wearing underwear? I'll keep you posted. If any mamas have advice or would like to share their experiences with me, please do. I am very interested in what the future may hold.

9:57 AM Update of Extreme Irony:
Just as I was finishing this inspirational post, Starbeans may have laid the biggest crap on record in his Night Diaper. Yes, the irony stings. He woke up, came out into the living room and instead of snuggling with me as he usually does, he just kind of hung out by the bedroom door, rolling on the ground. After a couple of minutes, he walked down towards the sun room; I followed after a couple of seconds, asked him if he wanted a morning snuggle and then smelled it. Yes, yes, yes. Just when I open my big mouth, things go haywire. LOL!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My grand husband

Squeeze took this picture. Isn't it lovely??

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chapstick Addiction: being kicked

I'm not totally convinced, but I think I may be in the clear. It has been almost 3 weeks now, but it is possible that my lips have finally balanced out, or at least come close to it. Yesterday was the first day in these 3 weeks where I wasn't fixated on chapstick throughout my waking hours. In fact, at some point in the evening, I finally noticed that my lips weren't bothering me. I can see light at the end of the tunnel; and what an unpleasant tunnel it was. Three weeks of dry, cracked, chapped, pained lips.

I haven't used lip balm the entire time, however, I have used vitamin E and flaxseed oil intermittently, but tried to keep that to once or twice a day. I'm trying to quell an addiction here, folks: I can't let myself get hooked on something else. It is hard to explain my level of addiction.

Here are a few examples of the mania:

  • I kept chapstick in handy spots in almost every room of the house.
  • Every coat or jacket with pockets contain lip balm of some sort.
  • If I had a pocket, it was there.
  • If I didn't, I kept it in my bra strap.
  • All bags were equipped with at least one form of chapstick.

It was sick. SICK, I tell you!

In all this time, I hadn't done a google search on this; but look: Lip Balm Anonymous. The main page was updated as of August 2007, but many of the other pages haven't been updated since 98, 99, or 00. Nonetheless, wow! With how much information he has on this page, I doubt that it is a joke. Addi[c]tionally, the author says that many people can attest to days or weeks or discomfort and/or pain after quitting their addiction. I can attest to that, as you well know. After that, there are pages upon pages of people discussing their addiction to lip balms.

My [former] weapons of choice:

I will say that my lips aren't totally normal yet. They are smoother and less irritated and not driving me crazy every minute of the day, but not completely normal. I'm hoping, a little more realistically now, that everything will be balanced within a week from now: like, all signs of lip balm cravings gone forever; with smooth & healthy lips to boot. I think this is a very real possibility.

That would make it one month to kick the habit. The tenacity!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Reading Nook

After discussing the children's books I've collected over the years, I decided that I needed to experience the pleasure of providing photographic evidence. So, here they are, more for my excitement than yours:

They were mostly in boxes or mixed in with our other books before we moved to this house. The move afforded the opportunity to keep them all together! And, I'm pleased to report, that Starbeans is past the phase of wanting to rip every single book off the shelf (todos los dias). Besides, I think the top two shelves are so packed that he would have to work at it for quite sometime. No, no -- he is content with picking one or two books at a time. For which I am glad. The Mother Goose book we love so much is on the top shelf, big and green, almost smack-dab in the middle.

Even better, one of my favorite things about our new house in the Rolling Prairies is what I will forever think of as The Reading Nook. It is a hallway of sorts, upstairs, with slanted ceilings and painted aqua green [the color is a bit dulled in the pictures]. It isn't neccessarily small or narrow enough to be a hallway, but it isn't a room either. It is simply a large space to walk from two bedrooms on the northern end of the house to the bedroom on the southern end (on the east there are the stairs, a closet, and a small storage room). It was the perfect size for a loveseat and two bookshelves, one on each end of the wide section of the hall. From the moment I saw it, I knew what we'd use it for: books, books, books, and reading together as a family. I am so in love with it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Narrowed focus

I have some major baby brains going on over here. I'm having a hard time focusing on any task other than day-to-day survival that isn't baby-related. If it isn't somehow connected with the babe, I either completely forget about it or dread doing it. Even the day-to-day tasks can get put on the back-burner. Like today when I boiled the milk for yogurt, then forgot that the oven was on once it was actually in there and killed the culture at decidedly hot 250 degrees. Dah! Or this morning, when I over-salted the scrambled eggs, or yesterday, when I left the stove-top on while I was simply drying out the cast iron skillet. Crap.

I've found that I am doing a lot of planning, organizing, and getting my mind ready: constantly going over the changes I expect and grappling with what I'm not sure to do about. Co-sleeping falls into this category. How am I going to make room for a toddler and a newborn and do it safely? I don't even have anyone to ask -- I don't know anyone else personally who co-sleeps. How will naptime(s) work? What will Starbeans think of the new babe? How will I share myself with two? When will I sleep?

I have also:
  • Bought fabric for the new wrap I plan to use. I want to be able to be completely hands-free, able to focus on Starbeans and/or work while holding the new babe almost 100% of the time. The Maya Wrap does not afford that luxury - too much weight is on one shoulder and I usually felt like I needed to have a hand on his back or head when I was carrying him. With the wrap I plan to use, I can do both front and back carries with the weight evenly distributed on both of my shoulders. I do plan to keep the Maya Wrap around, though.
  • Almost finished the boppy I made (I just need to sew the final seam shut). I want to nurse a newborn comfortably this time, without the assistance of 2-3 pillows. It should also be helpful when he/she is learning how to sit.
  • Bought the diapering accessories I needed for the second baby through Green Mountain Diapers -- 2 water-proof changing pads, another water-proof tote, and 2 more wool diaper covers in the next size up (XL) for Starbeans' Night Diaper. I went with Aristocrats this time: they are more expensive, but they are Made in Canada, not Made in China. I can definitely tell the difference in quality and fineness of product. Plus, their XL fits 30-50 pounds, while the Babyology XL fits 28-35 pounds. I still need to get a few more Snappis, and 2 extra Bummi Super Whisper Wraps in each size -- I think 8 will be more manageable than 6. [Sometimes it is a juggling act to make sure there are enough clean diaper covers in between washes with only 6.]
But the changes within the last week are physical too -- I'm more clumsy, not sleeping well (too uncomfortable), and feel exhausted by the end of the day. I would say my pregnancy has been almost unnoticeable until recently. I've been able to move spontaneously, sleep well, pick Starbeans up like normal, and generally forget my status. Until now.

Yesterday was 34 weeks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Little Nanny Etticoat

I really, really love Nursery Rhymes: I'm discovering this through having a toddler. A good friend gave Starbeans a Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes book at his Meet the Baby party [as I botched it and accidentally bought a plane ticket to WA for his Baby Shower...whoops]. I enjoyed leafing through it at the time, but now we are full-bore into it. Starbeans requests it almost every evening and the more I read it, the more I enjoy it! A lot of the verses are so rhythmic, I find myself either singing or repeating them to myself at the strangest times. Little Nanny Etticoat is my current favorite -- it is just so fun to say. Our version has, "The longer she stands, the shorter she grows", to which I am partial.
Starbeans' favorites include:
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
  • To Market, To Market
  • Mary had a Little Lamb
  • The Three Little Kittens

He regularly sings the first three and gets quite stirred up over the illustrations of the Three Little Kittens crying [over their lost mittens]. Last night while he was eating a snack before bedtime, he said, "May-yee wit" to me several times before I realized he was saying, "Mary went" as in, "Everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go" -- I had to ask him to repeat it several times before telling him that I didn't understand; he finally said, "Yittle yam" and the light bulb flashed.

If there is one thing about motherhood (aside from all the cuteness) that thrills me, it is knowing that I will be able to cultivate a love for verse and prose in my little one(s). I find that to be quite exciting. Have I told you before that I started my collection of children's books several years before Starbeans was even a twinkle? It's true. Almost all through thrift stores, I have amassed quite the collection. Mostly fairy tales, children's poetry, story books, fables, and science-based books [think bugs, trees, sea creatures, etc.] Of course, all being books that caught my eye or imagination. The one thing I didn't realize that I should have been looking for were: TRUCK BOOKS. The kid is crazed about truck books. A lot of the Richard Scarry books have all sorts of different illustrations that fit this need, but I've had to keep an eye out for vehicle-specific books at the library and thrift stores for the past half-year. Funny, because I would have never have guessed. I wonder what a girl would want that I didn't think of?

Forever chapped?

I'm on Day 4, Week 2 of my End of Chapstick Odyssey and I'm sorry to say that it isn't getting much better. I've wondered if I have to slough through several layers of addicted skin before I can normalize, for my lips were almost white this weekend with peeling skin and they still feel like sandpaper. I'm limiting my vitamin E use, as I can see myself becoming addicted to that as well: I use it perhaps 1-2 times a day, mostly when my lips are so tight that I can't even smile normally. Thus, my dismal report is that my lips are still severely chapped and there are even a couple spots that have cracked and bled. A week and a half later.

I just need to keep on reminding myself that I knew it could take several weeks. I was warned. I was also ready to kick the habit. And there is no way I'm turning back now. I've come too far! 1-2 weeks of torture is not worth simply going back to the old routine. Squeeze wondered yesterday if I could just start using it "like a normal person", but I assured him that I would fall right back in line with keeping it on me at all times and slathering my lips with the stuff 20-30 times a day. It's all or nothing, baby.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wah-woo [water]

Our water supply comes from something called Rural Water, meaning that we have water piped into our place for some kind of cooperative, rather than obtaining it from a well. Paying the Rural Water bill requires a little more work than our water bill in Minneapolis: we have to read the meter each month, do a little subtraction, and figure out the payment based on the charts vs. simply writing a check from the bill mailed to you.

The 5th of the month is the trigger date for checking the meter: so, one day late, as I was walking out to the water meter this afternoon, I realized that the distance to the meter was probably as far, if not farther than the end of our street in Minneapolis. It was a strange thing to ponder, how things change and yet can feel pretty much normal.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


It's Day 6. I'm still uncomfortable -- it isn't pure torture like this weekend was, but it is still quite unpleasant. My friend told me it took her a couple of weeks. Many, many days. A fortnight, maybe more? I can't wait to balance out a bit and feel more normal.

This post might be entirely dedicated lips and chapstick.
Very interesting....right.

Starbeans didn't nap today, so it was go-go-go. I guess it kept my mind off my lips. A little.

Non-chapstick related news: While Starbeans and I were snuggling this morning [we snuggle every morning when we first wake up], he said, "Potty...potty...potty". We went straight to the bathroom, stripped down his [dry] night diaper, and he proceeded to pee on the pot. Excellent, little man. Excellent.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A visual

Squeeze took this picture this morning before he went to work. Isn't it lovely? I can actually appreciate the corn, based on this photo. The yellowness is quite stunning in contrast with the green of the [weeds] lawn. And see the wind towers in the background?

Chapstick: MY ENEMY

I haven't used any kind of lip balm or chapstick since last Thursday night. I am a warrior; I am a trooper; I'm not giving in. The only thing that I've used within recent days has been vitamin E on my poor lips, which have been chapped to hell and back. Literally.

Friday was spent licking my lips almost continuously. Note to self, and any others kicking the chapstick habit: DO NOT LICK YOUR LIPS!! LEAVE THEM ALONE!! YOU WILL CREATE MAJOR HAVOC AND DAMAGE!! I'm serious.

Yes, my lips were chapped beyond belief -- like, I've been picking bits of dead skin off of them, they've bled in spots, and I have a couple of minor scabs. Do NOT lick your lips. I also had sores on the inside of my mouth (around the inside of my lips) from my teeth, from bringing them in to lick. Oh man, was it disgusting; but thankfully, the wounds healed after a day.

I've been so focused on my mission that it took my good friend Mimi saying, "You haven't considered using any alternatives in the meantime?" to have the light bulb slowly flicker on and realize that, yes, I can use vitamin E to soothe those poor, dry, chapped suckers. Quite literally. Rubbing my lips together pre-vitamin E was not unlike rubbing sandpaper together. Thanks Mimi! It is good to have a little outside influence into the mania of quitting an addiction. My brother compared it to quitting smoking, with how much I've been thinking about it. The vitamin E has been quite soothing and I actually feel a little more human after using it.

It will be interesting to see how long this actually takes to get out of my system. I'm on Day 5, and this girl isn't giving in. The saga continues...