Mom-ing is hard!

I recently had a friend share a post on Facebook and the first line read “mom-ing is hard”. That’s not to say mom-ing isn’t wonderful and amazing and the best thing that’s ever happened to me, but... mom-ing IS hard. It is wonderfully, amazingly and the best kind of hard. I find myself constantly wondering and worrying if what we are doing with Jaxon is okay. From where and how he sleeps at night to his nap times during the day to purees vs. baby led weaning, I think all mom’s just want to do right by their babe. And personally, I think the wondering and the worrying makes you a pretty top notch mom and you’re doing great. 

From the moment we found out we were pregnant to when we found out what we were having to my water breaking at home, I feel like there’s the “expectation” version that we all share and post about on social media and then the “reality” version. You know the pictures I’m talking about, the side by side funny pictures where the mom’s making dinner for her family with her hair and make up perfect while her kids play nicely in the background (EXPECTATION). And then there’s me over here stirring dinner on the stove, bouncing baby on my hip because he’s tired and doesn’t want to be set down and oop, he spit up all over me because I was bouncing too much. No make up, hair in the same bun I slept in the night before. (REALITY). Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t my every day life, but it’s fairly accurate. 

When we first decided to start trying we told ourselves that it may take time and not to get frustrated or stressed out over the process! (EXPECTATION). Two months later we were pregnant! (REALITY). Even when you’re trying to get pregnant, there’s a flood of emotions when you see those two pink lines. I suddenly worried about every thing I did & if it was okay for baby. 

When we did our gender reveal, I had told myself it doesn’t matter what we have, because we have a HEALTHY baby! But I allowed myself to start imagining decorating the nursery for a little girl & found a small business that made the cutest bows! (EXPECTATION) . And when my friend lit the smoke bomb and that blue smoke billowed it and up into the sky, I cried. Like turned into Chase and cried in front of 30+ friends. I remember Chase whispering to me “Just smile, it’s ok!” And the next morning eh asked me if I was disappointed we were having a boy. (REALITY). I wasn’t disappointed, I was surprised. I had truly thought it was a girl. And you guys... I am so glad we have our sweet boy. He is without a doubt the sweetest, chillest kid. This reality is far better than any expectation I could’ve had! 

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Our first week home from the hospital I imagined we’d sit in our bed as a new family & snuggle, drinking coffee and watching movies while the snow fell outside. (EXPECTATION). But really we had to get a bili blanket for Jax due to high jaundice levels and have at home nurses come and visit and get his little foot pricked and blood tested. And one week postpartum, I ended up in Urgent Care and then the ER with a kidney infection. (REALITY). 

I imagined sitting in our bed, or in the glider in his nursery nursing my little newborn baby boy, with a smile on my face as my body did this amazing thing and produced food for him. (EXPECTATION) . Trying to nurse Jaxon the first month or so was absolute hell.  I felt defeated. I had told myself when I was pregnant that even if I couldn’t nurse and had to pump and feed or even supplement with formula, it would be okay as long as baby was healthy! But the mental toll it took on me to not have a baby who latched well was overwhelming. Every time he would latch on, I’d cry. I’d curse in my mind and sometimes out loud. It was painful & I felt defeated. I’d pump and feed, but felt like a failure because I wasn’t truly “breastfeeding”. I’d try to get him to latch for 24 hours and take 48 hours off because I was in so much pain. (REALITY). I was determined. And one day, it clicked. I wasn’t doing anything different than I’d done before, it just clicked for him & he had a good latch. And he nursed well! 

I thought I’d make lots of purees for Jaxon to eat when we started introducing solids to him. Being in the kitchen blending up all sorts of concoctions for him to try. (EXPECTATION). Then I discovered BABY LED WEANING. And I’m 99% positive I’m not doing it correctly, but I’m doing a form of it that we are comfortable with! (REALITY). Essentially baby led weaning allows baby to self-feed and control consumption. There are moms giving their kids whole foods to break down, but I’m a chopper. I chop up whatever we are eating for dinner into very fine bits for him to eat. And while I’m on the subject of BLW, yes.. Jaxon eats exactly what we are eating (within reason). He’s had meat, spices, etc & has done VERY well with it all! Baby led weaning might not be for you and your family, but we are loving the results so far! 

 

These are all just examples of our Expectations/Realities. Set your expectations high, but be prepared for the realities of life with a little one. And be okay with them! Don't get discouraged if things don't go exactly as you imagined & every day isn't "Instagram worthy"!
I’m currently working on letting people’s opinions roll off my back. Because I’m just a new mom and Chase is a new dad and we are doing our best with our little boy. I'm reminding myself that not everyone may agree with the choices that we are making, like co-sleeping or baby led weaning. And I may not agree with how another parent raises their child, but this world is already full of negativity and judgment, I'm choosing to NOT judge other mama's and hope that if you're a mama bear you feel encouraged and supported as you read through our page! 

-Allie

Oh Yeah! I’m Supposed to be Wedding Planning!

I love writing about Jaxon and our journey to 10,000 ounces. I love sharing the mommy must have's I’ve found and I am 100% committed to being as open and honest about my motherhood experiences. But there's another huge portion of my life that I am so excited to share with all of you! And that is WEDDING PLANNING! So little by little I'll be sharing all of the exciting details and hopefully if you're a bride in Minnesota or even the surrounding states, you might find an amazing vendor through this! 

So much of my work and world is in the wedding industry. Every weekend I pack up my bag of curling irons and hairspray and I get to be a part of someone’s special day. But now, here I am, planning my own wedding and I have NO idea where to begin!

Step one: hire the best wedding planner, DONE! Thankfully, I’ve hired someone who in my personal opinion, is the BEST. Ashley & her team at Ashley Skeie Events (www.ashleyskeieevents.com). Not only is she a personal friend of mine, but one of the most talented and creative wedding & event planners I’ve gotten to work with. Ashley and I went to the same high school, played soccer and cheered together and I was even a bridesmaid in her beautiful wedding. She has always been a big part of my life. There was no doubt in my mind that when I got married, Ashley would help me plan! In fact, I would text her ideas before Chase even proposed. 

What was important to us when finding a Wedding Planner? 

  • Someone who hears our ideas & can translate them into a reality! Something Ashley does so well! I’ve given her numerous half-baked ideas & she has such amazing ideas where I find myself saying “yes! That’s exactly what I meant!” 
  • The right kind of inventory! Ashley has a basement full of goodies that I got to peek in on! With the package we did with her, we get to take full advantage of what she has! 
  • That brings me to packages & pricing! I asked Chase if we should just have Ashley and her team for the Day-Of and his response was, “Nope! I want her help with all of it.” Uhh, ok! Fine by me! Her packages include so much, but his reasoning for hiring her for the planning process was because he wants me to ENJOY the process of planning! 

So onto our next big decision: the photographer! I knew it was super important to make a decision about the photographer ASAP! Some of these photographers book out years in advance! Thankfully, being apart of this crazy, beautiful world of weddings, I’ve gotten to meet a handful of talented people; from make up artists to photographers & videographers, I’ve met some of the best in the Midwest. It was so important to me that Chase feel comfortable with who we hire, so when I asked him what he thought, to hear he had the same person in mind was a relief. Not only have I worked with her and seen her in action, she did Jaxon’s newborn photos! That’s right, folks: April of Sophisticated Grace Photography! (www.sophisticatedgracephoto.com).

What was I looking for in our wedding photographer? 

  • Obviously someone we both felt comfortable with. April did our newborn photos & Chase felt 100% comfortable with her! 
  • Someone who didn’t charge us an arm & a leg for 8 hours and no rights to the photos. April’s packages are so reasonably priced & she is all about telling a story!  She’s not just going to show up and do the bare minimum! She tells a story! 
  • Creative, creative, creative! April honestly takes some of the most stunning photos so we are hoping she can take two awkward people and take some beautiful pictures! ;) 

What's next? The dress!  I honestly had zero intentions of purchasing a dress, but when we went to The Posh Rack I honestly couldn't pass up the amazing price for this beautiful dress. I had gone in expecting to just try on dresses to see what kind of style I would like! The sales consultant, Bri, was so encouraging as I tried on these beautiful dresses four months post partum, not loving my body in these gowns. My cousin and maid of honor, Chloe, came with me and put dream baby Jax over here to sleep. So while he slept, I found a dress. My girlfriend and bridesmaid, Sara, came at the end, shocked I'd found one. I told her I was just as shocked, I didn't think I was going to make a purchase! 

So why the Posh Rack?

  • All of the inventory for off the rack pricing! Seriously, you guys, I had a budget I told our sales consultant and I purchased a dress for 50% less than that! 
  • So many options! Like I said, I went to just try on dresses and see what style I was looking for & they did not disappoint! 
  • That being said, I've told you guys over and over that I want to be totally transparent with you so I will say this: it is off the rack. I got to leave with a dress in hand. A dress that does not quite fit me. I see it as motivation to keep losing this baby weight, but the fact that it doesn't quite fit, I'll be honest, is discouraging. In the back of my mind I keep feeling like I should go and try on dresses that actually fit & see if I'm still 100% in love with this dress. So, if I do! I'll share that experience when it comes :)

And that, my dear friends, is where we are at with the wedding planning! There are other details we've decided, but c'mon, I've got to have a FEW surprises for our wedding :)

-Allie

Six Hundred & Four

I was recently asked why I was donating my breastmilk and the only reason I could think of was "Why Not?" I've been so incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing supply so far & there are so many local moms who are in need of donor milk. And before I share any more of our journey, I feel I need to say this. I try to not get involved with controversial topics, but this just happens to be one of the biggest ones out there. You hear all the time "Breast is Best"... but really? I am 100% a believer that FED is best. If you're rolling your eyes at that, then it may be best that you stop following our journey, because I will never KNOWINGLY make a mom feel bad about the choices she makes for her child if she truly believes it is best. Breastfeeding mom's feel shamed for nursing in public and yet I feel like most of the mom's who shame formula are the breastfeeding moms! Again, my personal opinion. I've heard countless stories about mom's feeling so discouraged and dealing with postpartum depression (PPD) because their milk dried up and they weren't able to continue to breastfeed. Or they thought their baby was nursing really well, had a great latch and their breasts were feeling emptied after a feeding, but they weren't really producing very much and their little ones were actually starving. So as a member of this amazing club, this culture, this thing called motherhood... let's support and uplift each other... ALWAYS.

Now onto an exciting chapter in our journey to 10,000 ounces!  

I get to share two donation stories! So, let's start with the first. Our amazing friends De and Kerrian had the most beautiful baby girl last week. And you guys, let me tell you, she is perfect. So I have to start off by congratulating these two. Next, I have to say that Kerri is a real champion. She had baby G with ZERO drugs. Kerri, you are my hero... truly. In the weeks leading up to the baby arriving Kerri and I had many talks about breastfeeding & pumping. I told her that our freezer will always be open to them if they're ever in need of breastmilk! And folks, I'm so glad they took us up on it!
Side note: One of the biggest things that I think is so overwhelming right after having a baby, especially for new moms, is this need to nurse and have your milk come in and wait.. am I doing this all right? For me, personally, they did NOT say anything about waiting and nursing so my body would get used to the baby's feeding schedule. So the day after we were released from the hospital, I picked up my pump and put that thing to use right away! Over the next week and a half I started to pump around 49-54 oz/day! Again, we were bottle feeding Jaxon at this point. 
Okay, back to De and Kerri and their beautiful baby! Kerri had mentioned they were going to supplement with formula, while they waited for her milk to come in. This is what had done with Jaxon for a few days and worked great for us. But I was able to offer baby G a little breastmilk to help until mom's milk came in! 
I was able to give this beautiful baby girl

57 ounces!

Onto baby number 2! Again, this was a find from the breastfeeding group I'm in on Facebook. Jaxon and I got to meet sweet baby Angela and mom Suzanne! It should be noted that Angela is four months older than Jaxon, but Jax was just as big as her. This made me laugh as people always seem to mention how he's "such a big boy". While the two babies had a pretty serious staring contest and challenged one another to see who could eat the most grass without the mom's noticing, Suzanne and I were able to have a wonderful conversation! We shared bits of our labor and delivery stories, adventures with baby led weaning & funny tidbits about the little ones. This is mama number two who has actively sought out breastmilk for their baby & I am so honored to be a part of THEIR journey! It is SO encouraging to meet like-minded moms and ask questions and feel NO judgment!! So Suzanne, if you're reading this... thank you! You encouraged me today!! 
Baby Angela took home

547 ounces!

Our total donations to date is:

2,054 Ounces

That means we have:

7,946 Ounces

left to go! 

-Allie

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Mama Must’s! (pt. 1)

As a new mom, registering was such a fun yet overwhelming process. Picking out the cute clothes and fun toys was so much fun, but we didn't realize all of the little things that we would need when it came to things like breastfeeding & pumping. So I want to share with you all my  favorite items!

#1

I got the Spectra S2Plus Electric Breast Pump and L O V E it! Obviously, I don't have anything to compare it to, but I love how easy it is to use! It only weighs 2.5 lbs with an extremely quiet motor and a night light which was great during my night time pumping sessions. What would make this pump even better is if it had a sound machine built into it! So, there ya go Spectra, that's my one and only wish list item for your product! :)  

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 www.spectrababyusa.com

#2

My FAVORITE item that I didn't even know existed until I joined the "Minnesota Breastfeeding Mamas" group on Facebook is the Haakaa Breast Pump & Stopper! If you've never heard of this and you plan on breastfeeding, this item is a MUST! It's made from 100% soft silicone and it just suction cups right onto your breast. There's not a machine to connect to and there's nothing to assemble. I personally like to use my Haakaa to collect my "letdown". So whether I'm nursing or using my manual pump, I just suction cup to my opposite breast & let the Haakaa collect whatever my body naturally gives! My first time using the product, it collected 4 oz of milk I was otherwise wasting! I think the added suction helped, of course, but what a revelation that was! To see this milk that I could've been collecting all this time! They were kind enough to collaborate with me and send me the 5 oz which has a little suction on the bottom and the flower stopper which is great for storing it in the fridge! The 4 oz is great for me to bring to work since it’s a little smaller & fits great in my cooler! 

www.haakaausa.com

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#3

Hands free pumping bra. Let me say that again... HANDS FREE PUMPING BRA. Okay, now it seems like a no-brainer, but as a first time mom, I had no idea something like this even existed! For the first month of Jaxon's life, I sat on the couch holding the cups against myself. What a game changer it was when I finally got this bra! Major benefits of using a hands free bra are:
-Let's state the obvious, HANDS FREE! If you're a multi-tasker like me, this will come in handy! 
-Massaging! This is KEY for me when I'm pumping. It helps me increase my letdown, allows me to collect at least another ounce if not two while pumping, & helps to release any clogged milk ducts.

I recently collaborated and received a hands free pumping bra from Simple Wishes to test out and here’s why I love it compared to my other standard pumping bra. First of all, it zips up the front and has Velcro settings in the back to adjust the size. It can’t ever stretch out! I can just readjust the Velcro & have a nice, tight fitting pumping bra! It has a wide fit all the way around. Second, straps optional! It came with straps, but since I’m usually just putting it on to pump, I LOVE that I don’t have to slide into straps & can just zip it up. Might sound silly, but it’s the little things that make all the difference! And third, honestly? It’s just so comfortable!! So far, it’s my favorite hands free pumping bra, no doubt about it! 

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www.simplewishes.com

 #4 

My Solly baby wrap! Now that Jaxon is older and more wiggly, I find that the Baby Bjorn works better because when it comes to putting on the baby carrier, clicking a few straps together is much easier than the wrapping process. That being said, with the Solly, I feel like his weight is more evenly dispersed, my back doesn’t hurt as quickly, and it doesn’t leave any marks on his face or arms. So we still use our Solly when I want him facing me, snuggled close & know he’s not going to get distracted and want to look around. 

 

www.sollybaby.com 

-Allie

 

Nine Hundred & Fifty

Many of you may know who I am, but I'm hoping there are new friends who have found this blog and have no clue who I am or where I come from. If you are new, welcome friend! I'm truly so glad you've found your way here! 
I'm excited to share with you all that today, I made my biggest donation yet! We've already been able to donate 500 oz to two different local moms! Thanks to the Facebook group "Minnesota Breastfeeding Mama's" I found a mom who was searching for donor milk and without even knowing it, her search brought me so much JOY. This beautiful local couple is adventuring down to Arizona at the beginning of September to ADOPT a newborn baby! My heart is overjoyed with the fact that I'm able to donate milk to this new family! Heather, I'm so blessed seeing you and your husband open your home and your hearts to this sweet little baby! 
You see, when I was six months old, I was adopted from South Korea. It seemed like the perfect family to kick off my 10,000 ounces. First, the fact that this Minnesota mama is working so hard already to provide for her little bean literally gives me chills. I was her third or fourth stop to pick up donor milk. Second, that there are so many LOCAL MOM'S who are willing and able to donate their milk! I'm so honored to be a part of the gang & wish you all the best of luck! Third, and finally, that there's a beautiful mom in Arizona helping a this couple become P A R E N T S! I'm so thankful every single day that my birth mother made the decision that she did so that I could be adopted by my amazing mom and dad. Becoming a mom has shown me that there truly isn't anything I wouldn't do for my sweet Jaxon.

Our total donations to date is:

1,450 Ounces

That means we have:

8,550 Ounces

left to go! 

-Allie

 

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What 950 ounces           looks like

Half a Year

My oh my how time has flown by. I can't believe our sweet baby boy is S I X  M O N T H S  O L D! One hundred and eighty two days of being a mama. He is so curious and always observing those around him. We are so in love with this tiny human.

We're starting to transition him to sleep in his crib in his nursery and I think it's harder on me than it is him... most nights. Let's be honest, this parenting thing can be hard. My biggest fear is letting this little boy down. I'm always asking myself, "is he where he needs to be? what milestone should he be hitting now?" If you checked my google app on my phone, it's history content would be filled with "with a new baby is ____ normal?" Thankfully, I have a tribe of wonderful mama's who are always more than willing to answer questions. Do you have a mom tribe you surround yourself with? Mom's who UPLIFT & SUPPORT you even if your way of parenting differs from theirs? I hope so. And if you don't, find them! They will be your saving grace when you're crying and exhausted & your significant other doesn't understand what's so rough about breastfeeding. 

Six months of loving this little boy and watching him grow and explore. I hope the next six months slow down. I'm cherishing every snuggle and late night feeding, because I know it will all be over soon! So I will say to any expecting or new moms what I rolled my eyes at every time a mom would say it to me... Enjoy every step of the way. From pregnancy to your labor & delivery and beyond. Time will fly by and before you know it, the 6 lb 14 oz newborn you brought home on a snowy day in February will be a 17 lb 2 oz tank. 

-Allie

Land of 10,000 Ounces

I've been seriously debating whether or not to pursue this "goal". Let me start from the beginning, but I will try to keep this as brief as possible. I knew when we got pregnant I wanted to try my hardest to breastfeed our baby, BUT I told myself if I CAN'T, it's OKAY! I had read different articles and stories from different bloggers to prepare myself. When we had Jax, I was more determined than ever to have my milk come in, have him latch & have a wonderful bonding opportunity with my son.  Well, my milk did NOT come in right away, we had to supplement with formula and every time I tried to get him to latch I would dig my nails into the palms of my hands trying not to cry and scream over the pain. This was NOT the dreamy experience I had hoped for... far from it.

I ended up taking a few supplements trying to help my milk come in: GO LACTA & Milkies Nursing Time Tea. When my milk came in, IT. CAME. IN. But despite the new abundance of milk for my baby, the whole idea of nursing him made me want to cry. I hated that this beautiful thing made me want to scream and swear. At this point, I told myself I would become an EXCLUSIVE PUMPER. Jax took a bottle GREAT and at this point I was pumping 48-52 oz/day! (Which I was later told by my lactation consultant was "Whoa! Too much!") Our deep freezer became my own personal freezer for all of this breastmilk. *Thanks, Chase for giving it up!* I'd joined a Breastfeeding Mom's of Minnesota group on Facebook to ask questions and learn from other moms; first-time moms and mom's who have been braving parenthood for quite some time. I was encouraged by them all to donate milk to those in need. There are mom's of preemies, mom's who can't produce, & mom's whose supply has dried up, all wanting to continue the breastfeeding journey and I want to help! At first, I wasn't sure how I'd feel giving away MY baby's food. And to be completely honest, I've become a little OCD about pumping, freezing & storing my milk, but that first donation was AMAZING. (I'll be sharing my favorite pumping tools & tips on how I store and freeze our milk). Jaxon now has a great latch and feeding time doesn't make me want to cry anymore, but I've decided to continue to pump & freeze as much as I can. 

To date, I've been able to donate 500 ounces

I've decided to try and hit an even bigger number. A number that, as a Minnesotan, seems to make sense.

10,000.
That's roughly 78 gallons.

So now, with the 500 oz I've donated so far, I have 9,500 oz. to go! 
I'm excited to share this journey with you guys!! 

-Allie

 

Those Two Pink Lines

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We'd just gotten back from a week vacationing in Wisconsin, attending a friend's wedding.  I had taken a pregnancy test before we left that came back negative.  I went into the week ready to drink Bloody Mary's in the morning and margarita's at night and spend my time in between soaking up the sun on the boat and that is exactly what we did.  We had no idea that it was our last week just the TWO of us. 

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I was doing the bride's hair the morning of her wedding. I remember thinking she had such a calm spirit even while series of unfortunate events unfolded that would surely send any other bride into a fit.  Due to these circumstances, I was asked to be a BRIDESMAID the MORNING OF THE WEDDING! I was happy to step up and fill in.  I immediately called Chase and said, "Can you please bring me my make up and shoes?? I'm going to be in the wedding today." To which he responded, "Yeah. Wait, what?!" The night before I hadn't felt 100%, but thought it was from spending too much time in the sun, little did I know it was from something entirely different.  I tried to squeeze into this bridesmaid's dress and I do not exaggerate when I say I was tied & hot glue gunned into this dress... Super fun. But really, it was truly a BEAUTIFUL wedding and it was so fun to be a part of! The bride, Kelsie was stunning and I'm not just saying that because I did her hair. :)

@SophisticatedGracePhotography

@SophisticatedGracePhotography

Fast forward to Sunday and we were home! I remember my girlfriend, Chelcie had messaged me and told me to take a test already! She had just gotten a positive test the week before & didn't know I'd really taken a test prior to leaving.  For some reason though, I felt like I should take another one and I'm so glad I did, because this time there was a second line almost immediately. 

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 Shocked isn't the right word. We'd only been trying for two months, I was absolutely stunned! We were P R E G N A N T! It happened so fast! I decided that this was why the bridesmaid dress wouldn't fit me. :) In reality, we decided to start trying because we felt like we had heard story after story about couples who wanted to wait until they had X, Y, and Z checked off their life list & once they started to try they found it more difficult than they'd hoped. We knew those two pink lines would change our world, but I think I was surprised by how much love I felt immediately seeing them show up. Our sweet bean was growing in my belly and I couldn't believe it! 

-Allie

It's Nice to Meet You!

3 things you should know about me:

1. The most important thing you need to know about me is that I’m a new mom to the sweetest boy, Jaxon. I can’t wait to share with you what in my realities of pregnancy, labor & delivery, breastfeeding & being a new mom!

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2. I am NEWLY engaged! My fiancé and I have been together for over S E V E N years and Hallelujah! He finally proposed! I'm sure I will brag about him from time to time. From trying on wedding dresses four months postpartum to planning a wedding with a new baby, this will be QUITE the adventure! I can't wait to share my favorite Minnesotan vendors and the do's and don'ts that I learn along the way of wedding planning!

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3. I am a hairstylist and LOVE my job. Having Jaxon has limited my work schedule, because I am fortunate enough to be home with him 80% of the time, but I'm so unbelievably thankful to have a career that allows for such flexibility! I work most weekends doing wedding hair which is one of my favorite parts about my job!