Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oh baby!

That's right, I'm pregnant! Baby #2 is due October 9. :) I'm 12, almost 13 weeks now.

We found out I was pregnant on our amazing cruise to the Bahamas! I had no idea I was pregnant when we left for the cruise (I would have been maybe 3 or 3 1/2 weeks) but while we were on the ship I was cramping like crazy and my boobs probably doubled in size (OK, not literally, but it sure felt like it!). I was late for my period... but honestly that is kind of normal for me so I just thought, "Cramps, sore boobs, my period is going to start." But it never did.

Anyways, you can't really buy a pregnancy test on a cruise. I'm sure we probably could have found one in Puerto Rico or something but we were with other family members and didn't want to give ourselves away so I spent the whole time wondering if it was all my imagination or if I really DID have to pee more suddenly, and if the complete exhaustion was from more than just too much sun.

 We got back to Florida and made an excuse to go to the grocery store (a very valid excuse...). While we were there we snuck a $0.88 test and I went to 'use the bathroom' where I took the lovely test you see above in a good old fashioned Walmart. I was probably around 5 weeks pregnant at this point. When I saw two lines I actually did a double take. Honestly I thought I was just kidding myself. How many times have I been a week late and it was nothing? So I quickly snapped the picture with my phone to prove it to myself and my husband. We both looked at the positive test in shock and awe and then had to hide our glee when we got in the car to go back to the hotel. It was so hard not to tell!

Anyways, we kept it secret until Buck's birthday. I think I was around 7 weeks when we told our families. My main symptoms were cramps, exhaustion, muffin boobs (like a muffin top but with your bra), and severe acid reflux (Morning sickness has been there but it's been mild compared to last time around. I've only puked 4 times).

We announced to good old facebook and the rest of the world at 10 weeks.

Now I'm almost in my second trimester. I've gained about 3 lbs... maybe. I lost 5 lbs before the cruise and gained about 6 on the cruise, so either I've gained only 2 lbs of pregnancy weight or I've gained a whopping 8. I'm not sure how to calculate that. Either way I'm up 3 lbs from what I typically am. It feels like I've gained 50 though. My morning sickness/acid reflux is still present but it's much, much more mild now. I have to get up to pee every night without fail and I'm so exhausted I can barely move sometimes. I've been accidentally napping with a noisy 4.5 year old running around so you know it's bad! And by far the worst symptom is the pain!

I am in pain all the time. My uterus hurts (I've been having a lot of braxton hicks. I can actually feel the outline of my uterus because it's so rock hard!), the ligaments holding up my uterus hurt, my back hurts, my sacroiliac joint hurts so bad sometimes I can hardly walk, my pubic bone hurts, and I'm getting headaches too. Ugh. I'm crawling my way through my exercise classes at school and then I go home and nap.

But still, I'm really happy and excited about this baby! We got to see it briefly at my first doctor appointment at 10 weeks.

Isn't it cute? :)

All seems to be well and the baby is healthy as far as we know. I apparently have low blood sugar (but that was just one test) and of course my ever present low blood pressure (98/40) but other than that I'm healthy too. I hope it stays that way! Some days it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed and feed myself and Jake, so I hope I don't end up gaining 100 lbs and becoming a couch potato. It's good that I'm in school. It forces me out of bed in the mornings!

Well there you go. This Halloween we're going to have a cute little newborn to dress up. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Missionary Package

I thought it would be fun if I posted what I sent to Hannah for Christmas. I don't know about you, but I always find it difficult to figure out what to send people!

First I decided to send her some 'good news'. 

Then I sent her some oatmeal.
Then some money for laundry or anything else she needed.
And then of course some 'spiritual meat'. Who doesn't like beef jerky? (except vegetarians of course).
Swedish fish are also good for the missionary soul.
And some tools that I made from ore (or actually just bought...)

I also thought a good file would be nice.
And some chapstick.
Everyone needs some fuzzy socks to lounge in, especially when its freezing cold outside.

Breath mints are always good too.
Isn't she a cute missionary?? She's the one on the right.

I had fun coming up with these scriptures. I just typed in key words on lds.org to find the scriptures. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beast Training Day 20

Hey! Well it's 20 days into January. I have to say, I'm doing really great! I started school last week, and training is going well. I've been able to stay very consistent with exercising and healthy eating. I'm down to 125.8 lbs. I'm still losing weight, although not as fast as when I first started. I just have 5.8 lbs to go!! :) That means I've lost 4.6 lbs. It may not sound like a lot, but for me its the difference between fitting comfortably in my pants and not fitting in them, so I'm feeling pretty happy about it.

At school I'm doing Zumba, Pilates and Fitness for Life. That's 3 hours in a row, twice  a week of guaranteed exercise. On days I'm not in school I've been walking and doing some weight lifting or DVD's at home. I try to exercise between 60-90 minutes. Saturdays are 'active' rest days (laser tag, hiking or swimming anyone?) and Sundays I take completely off. It sounds like a lot of exercise (and it is!) but I am feeling great. Most people in this country find it hard to even get the minimum amount of 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Note that it is the minimum amount for health, NOT for weight maintenance or weight loss. For weight maintainance at least 60-90 minutes is needed and for true fitness, many people need to exercise for at least 2 hours 3 days a week and 60-90 2 or 3 days. 

There is a myth out there that exercising for more than an hour a day is bad. I don't know where that came from but it's absolutely ridiculous! I make sure that I eat plenty of snacks (nuts, clementines, carrots, boiled eggs, almond milk, yogurt, etc.) and I don't push myself too hard. All I can say is that I am feeling really good and I'm happy about the changes that are happening.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Beast Training Day 4

Weight: 127.4 (Down 3 lbs! I'm not sure if I'm losing water weight or actual weight. We'll have to wait and see!)

What I ate:

Navel Orange
1 serving oatmeal with 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tsp. brown sugar, and 2 T. cream
1/4 c. almonds

Mixed salad greens with 7 olives, 1 T. creamy Caesar dressing, and 1 tsp. of Parmesan.  1 russet potato, sliced and baked in 1 T. olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Ketchup.

Snack/Dinner: I'm fasting for fast Sunday, so nothing.

How I exercised:

20 squats, 20 'girl' pushups, 20 calf raises, 20 oblique bends (10 done before each meal and snack)

 The following may be TMI, so proceed with caution! This has been my most painful period ever! The last 10 months  or so my period has been all over the place. I never know when it's going to come and I've been getting really bad pains right where my ovaries are in between periods. My doctor said she felt a cyst on my ovary but an ultra sound a few days later didn't show one. I've been told that cysts can come and go so there is a big possibility that I have cysts and that is why I've been in so much pain all the time. It's also been causing me some really bad acne. Yuck! I'm hoping things get better. :( Luckily, I'm not letting it get in the way of eating better.

Another note:
There is a good reason why my diet is currently lacking in vegetables and fruits. It's called "I don't have any money". I'm just eating what we have in the house, which happens to be mostly dry goods and canned goods. I am lucky enough to have oranges, 1 pomegranate, salad, and some canned goods on hand. I highly encourage a diet rich in fruits and vegetables!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Beast Training Days 2 and 3

January 2, 2014

Weight: 128.4

What I ate:

Navel Orange
1 serving oatmeal with 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tsp. brown sugar, and 2 T. cream
1/4 c. almonds

1 C. wild rice mix with 1 T. flax and Bragg's liquid amino's, 1/2 c. green beans, 1/2 c. rinsed canned black beans.

Snack: I had a yummy treat! 2 canned peach halves topped with a mix of 1/8 tsp. baking powder, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon,  2 T. flour, 1 T. brown sugar, 2 T. milk. Add 1 T. of sliced butter on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Dinner: 1 C. whole wheat spaghetti, 1/2 C. spaghetti sauce, 4 tsp. Parmesan cheese.

How I exercised:

20 minutes of cardio dance
40 squats, 40 'girl' pushups, 40 calf raises, 40 oblique bends (10 done before each meal and snack)

Notes: I'm having some really painful  'girl problems' today so it was really hard to exercise, but I did it anyways! My back and stomach have been cramping like crazy. :p I've also been craving sweets and chocolate, which is why I made myself a treat today. It really helped, and since I only made one serving I wasn't tempted to overeat.

January 3, 2014

Weight: 128.2

What I ate:

1 Navel Orange
 1 serving oatmeal with 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tsp. brown sugar, and 2 T. cream
1 boiled egg

1 C. whole wheat spghetti
1/2 C. Spaghetti Sauce
4 tsp. Parmesan cheese

Dinner: 1 slice of bread, 1 T. peanut butter, 3 canned peach halves.'

Dessert: 1 small brownie 

How I exercised:
30 pushups, 30 squats, 30 calf raises, 30 oblique bends (10 done with each meal)
Walked 2.5 miles

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Beast Training Day 1

So, as you know, I signed up for the Spartan Beast this year! It's June 28, 2014 so I have 5 months to get my body in shape or get my butt royally kicked!

This was actually supposed to be a Super Spartan. I'm not sure when it changed, but it's a Beast now! I'm excited but also nervous. I remember how hard it was for my husband last year (although to his credit he did it without any training at all!). I'm not the strongest person, so I have a long way to go before I can climb ropes and scale walls. I've also been sick the last 3 weeks. Between the stomach flu and a bad cold, I haven't been exercising much.

I'm going to post my measurements, what I ate, and what kind of exercise I did today. I would LOVE it if you guys helped me stay accountable.

January 1, 2014:

Weight: 130.4 lbs.
Waist: 27.5 inches
Lower Stomach: 32.5 inches.
Hips: 38 inches
Thigh: 19.5 inches
Arm: 11.5 inches
Bust: 36 inches

What I ate:

Navel Orange
1 serving oatmeal with 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tsp. brown sugar, and 2 T. cream
1 boiled egg

1 whole wheat tortilla, 1/3 C. Colby Jack cheese, 1/2 C. rinsed, canned black beans, 4 Large Romain Leaves

Snack: 1/2  a pomegranate

Dinner: 1 C. cooked wild rice mix topped with Bragg's liquid aminos and 1 T. flax oil, and   1/2 chicken breast seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and cumin and baked in the oven, 1/2 C. canned green beans

How I exercised:

Walked 3 miles
40 squats, 40 'girl' pushups, 40 calf raises, 40 oblique bends (10 done before each meal and snack)

I will be measuring out my food because serving sizes is something I really struggle with. Some days I can't seem to get enough calories in and other days I'm WAY over the mark. I'm trying to keep my calories around 1,200-1,400 per day. Each meal should be around 350-400 calories, plus a 100-200 calorie snack, but of course, it will vary with each meal. As training gets more intense I do plan on adding an extra snack and upping the calories, but for now this is what my body needs in order to lose 1 lb or more per week. The food was all very filling so I wasn't at all hungry. I also take a prenatal vitamin every day, as all women in their childbearing years should whether they are pregnant or not!

2014 Year of the Spartan!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Truth, Tolerance and Love

“The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with.” –Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal-

By now I’m sure most of you have heard about the two big headlines of the week, namely, Phil Robertson being placed on “Hiatus” from A&E’s show Duck Dynasty, and secondly, Same Sex Marriage in Utah. It has come to my attention from more than one source that I am “Just as bad” as the people doing the wrong thing if I sit here and don’t do or say anything. Therefore, I have decided to write this blog in the hopes of stating my personal opinion and also encouraging love, tolerance, and patience with others whose opinions are differ from yours.  

I’ll start off with the matter of Phil Robertson. I heard a lot about it before I actually read any articles on it. I heard that he was fired, that his first amendment rights to freedom of speech were taken away from him, that he said being gay was like bestiality, and several other rumors. Then I read some articles for myself and here is what I have come up with. 

He had an interview with GQ. In the interview he is asked about several controversial things including what it was like growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana, and why he voted for Mitt Romney. Then of course, he was asked about what he thought was a sin.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” 

After this interview, he was put on an indefinite hiatus. 

A statement from A&E:

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," the network said in a statement Wednesday. "His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."

So let’s dispel a few rumors right now. He wasn’t fired. He was put on a temporary hiatus. Indefinite means for an unspecified amount of time, not forever.

Also, he did not compare being gay to bestiality. He said homosexual behavior was a sin, and he said that sleeping around was a sin, and he said bestiality was a sin. He did not compare them; he simply stated what he thought was sin.

Lastly, his freedom of speech was not in any way infringed upon. He was asked his opinion and he gave it, as is his right. A&E read it. They disagreed with it and stated that his personal beliefs do not reflect those of A&E. They put him on hiatus, as is their right. 

Whether you agree with what he said or not, the fact is, he was asked his opinion and he gave it. If that isn’t freedom of speech, I don’t know what is. In this country you have the right to say what you want. However, you DON’T have the right to avoid the consequences of saying what you want. Whether the consequences are good or bad, there are still consequences to every single action and choice you make. 

In my own personal opinion, I believe that the specific sins he listed ARE indeed sins. I also believe that the way he said it, and many other things he said in the interview, were in poor taste, and perhaps ignorant. 

I can see why people are upset about him being put on hiatus. The guy was asked his personal opinion and he gave it. Does this really warrant a suspension? I personally don’t think so. But however unjust we may think it is, let’s not forget that it is A&E’s right to decide this. 

I do think that it is somewhat hypocritical to ask a man about his beliefs and then tell him he is wrong afterwards. I ask you this. If a famous gay actor was interviewed and said that Christianity was wrong, would he be fired? It’s unlikely. This is the double standard of society. Wrong is now right, and right is now wrong. We are now ‘bad’ if we think homosexuality is a sin. 

Isaiah 5:20

20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Here is what I say. Don’t waste your time being offended by other people’s personal beliefs. Being upset and offended most likely won’t change what they think. You have your opinion and I have mine. Let us agree to disagree, and let God judge between me and thee! 

Phil had the right to state his personal beliefs, A&E had the right to suspend him, and you have the right to be smug or upset about it. Nobody’s rights were taken away, even if there were perceived injustices.

Now, let us move on to the next topic. 

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”-Rick Warren-

I am LDS, obviously. And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I quote from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.”

I stand by the prophets and their teachings, and I intend to honor my temple covenants. I believe that Thomas S. Monson truly is a prophet, and that he receives direct revelation from God. I believe that what this document proclaims is true. 

What I don’t believe is that we should hate homosexual people. It doesn’t say that we should call them names. It doesn’t say that we should tear them down. It doesn’t say we should harass them. In fact, we are commanded to love one another. 

Matthew 22: 36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

I’ve often heard the expression, “You can hate the sin, but still love the sinner”. And truly, we are all sinners. There is none among us who are blameless before the Lord. If we couldn’t love sinners then we’d be all out of love

They look like loveable people to me, even if I don't approve of what just happened.

I’m going to put it out there that I don’t believe that gay marriage should be legalized. However, I’m not going to go out there and protest. I’m not going to get upset if it IS legalized. And I’m not going to harass gay people who decide to get married. As long as my religious rights are protected, and I'm still allowed to oppose gay marriage and my church is not forced to perform gay marriages in our sacred temples, then I see no reason to stir up contention.

If it comes down to another vote against gay marriage, then I will do so, because it is my right, just like it is the right of any other Utahn to vote for  or against gay marriage. 

What is frustrating to me is how underhanded the legalizing of gay marriage was. I believe the judge was more concerned about his own personal beliefs than he was about the beliefs of the majority of Utahn’s.
I’m not very knowledgeable about politics. I try to be, but honestly it just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t like reading or watching the news. I don’t enjoy listening to politicians. But I can say that it really bothers me when politicians and other government officials are corrupt. What happened to “government of the people, by the people, for the people?”

Either way, whether this law gets appealed or not, I stand by what the church says:

“The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

If someone in my family came to me and told me they were gay, would I still love them? Absolutely. Would they still be part of my family? Absolutely.  Would I march in a gay pride parade? Absolutely not. 

I believe in the Plan of Salvation. I believe that the atonement applies to everyone, not just those whose sins we ‘approve’ of. I believe that there is truth, and there is tolerance, and that we can still cling to the truth while being tolerant of others beliefs. 

I’m not a perfect person. I’m not a perfect Christian. Sometimes I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes I’m not very loving. But I AM trying. I am always trying to be better than the person I was yesterday. 

Since it is Christmas, I’m asking you to give our Savior one thing. Give him your love

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

If the savior was standing in front of you, would you call him names? No? Then don’t do it to someone else.
Remember that the savior ate with the sinners and stopped the stoning of an adulterous woman, and by most standards, adultery is a more serious sin than homosexuality. 

John 8:7

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

This Christmas let us Christians not forget the first 6 letters of the label we have taken upon ourselves. Christ. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Annalyn's Roast Turkey

Annalyn’s Roast Turkey

You Will Need:

1 Turkey, at least 1 lb. per person
½ of a lemon
1 stock celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
½ an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced and divided in half
1-2 sticks of butter, softened
1 lb. bacon
Salt and Pepper
1 T. flour
Paper towels or a cloth, for patting
Turkey Size oven bag
Wire rack
Roasting pan
Sharp carving knife
Carving Forks
Serving platter

  1.  Purchase your turkey, fresh or frozen, planning on at least 1 lb. per person. We like to buy even more than this so we have plenty of leftovers.
         2. Thaw your turkey in unopened packaging in a pan in the fridge. Allow about 1 day per every 5 lbs. of turkey. If you need to thaw your turkey faster, keep in packaging and submerge in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes thawing time per lb. of turkey. 
  3.  After your turkey is completely thawed, open the packaging and remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the turkey. Set aside for later use.

      4. Avoid rinsing your turkey. It is unnecessary and spreads germs. Instead, pat the turkey completely dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Bring turkey to room temperature for about 1-2 hours to ensure even cooking. 

     5.  Tuck the wings of the turkey under so they won’t burn, and to create a base for your turkey to sit on. Rub the juice of ½ a lemon inside the cavity of the turkey and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Add in chopped celery, carrots, onions, half of the garlic, and what’s left of the lemon.

     6. Make a pocket between the skin and meat of the turkey with your hands. Slather half the butter between the skin and meat and slide in slices of bacon. 
     7.  Add remaining garlic to the rest of the butter and slather all over the top of the turkey. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary.

      8. Set a wire rack in a roasting pan to elevate turkey and allow for even cooking. Add 1 T. flour to oven bag and shake. Have another person help you slide turkey into bag. Follow the instructions for the bag, usually making slits in the top so it will crisp up. 

     9.  Roast turkey at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 degrees F. for the remaining cook time. Rotate the pan 180 degrees every 45 minutes to an hour.  The turkey should crisp up nicely if you made the slits, but for extra crispness slice bag open for last 30 minutes of roasting. Cook until the thermometer registers 160-165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast and 175 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh. Cook time will vary by weight of turkey.

•             1 ½ to 2 hours for 8-12 pound turkeys
•             2 to 2 ½ hours for 12-16 pound turkeys
•             2 ½ to 3 hours for 16-20 pound turkeys
•             3 to 3 ½ hours for 20-24 pound turkeys

                *Add ½ hour cooking time if you chose to stuff your turkey. 
10. Let the turkey stand for about 15 minutes before cutting open the top of the bag. Transfer to plate using two carving forks, inserting one in each end, to lift the turkey from the bag. Let the turkey rest another 15 or so minutes before carving.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Grow Long and Healthy Hair

I mentioned on Facebook that my sisters and I are having a hair growing contest. We are going to see who can achieve the most growth in the next 18 months while Hannah is on her mission. Our starting measurements are as follows:

Hannah: 28.25 inches
Annalyn: 26.25 inches
Amanda: 18.25 inches

We all have pretty long hair to begin with and my hope is that I can reach around 33.5 inches or more total. I’m not really sure how fast my hair grows so who knows what it will really be. The longest I’ve ever had my hair was to my butt. Right now it’s just about to my waist. 

To some people growing long hair seems so impossible. I’m here to tell you that it’s actually quite easy; the hardest part is having patience. But nevertheless, there are a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years to keep my hair healthy. 

Washing and Conditioning:

1. My first tip is DON’T. Ok, so I DO wash my hair, but I definitely don’t wash it every day. The ideal for healthy hair is to only wash it once or twice a week. For some people that may not work, so at least try to go a day in between washes. Your hair will thank you. Even if it means you have to pull your hair up in a bun or pony tail. Continue showering daily, but use a shower cap or clip in your hair. You might also try simply rinsing your hair instead of washing it. 

I want to point out that eventually your scalp will adjust to less washing’s and produce less oil. Washing daily can contribute to oily hair, believe it or not. If your scalp is dry it will produce more oil. The less you wash your hair, the less oil it will produce, the less you need to damage your hair with harsh chemicals, and the healthier your hair will be! 

In the meantime, try out a dry shampoo if you can’t make it a day between washes. You might just find yourself a new friend. And when you DO shampoo your hair, only shampoo your roots and use a moisturizing shampoo. 

2. I also recommend using a wide tooth comb to gently detangle your hair BEFORE you get in the shower. This way you won’t have to spend time detangling wet hair that is more susceptible to damage. 

3. Use conditioner. As far as I’m concerned, conditioner is nonnegotiable for growing long, healthy hair if you ever plan on using shampoo. It doesn’t really matter what kind it is, although I have my preferences. For cheaper brands I like Dove, Pantene and Aussie. For name brand I like Matrix Sleek Look and Paul Mitchell Tea Tree, Lavender, Mint, which I'm currently using.

I always shampoo my hair first so my conditioner can sit longer. After I rinse out my shampoo and gently squeeze out the water, I then spread quite a bit of conditioner on my hair starting from the nape of my neck all the way to the ends, focusing more on the ends. I sometimes put a little bit on the top of my hair too, but some people feel it makes their hair greasy. After that I gently twist my hair up into a clip and let it sit for the rest of my shower while I wash my body, shave, etc. I do wait to wash my face until after I rinse it out so I don’t get breakouts from my conditioner. 

4. Use deep conditioners, leave in conditioners, hair masks, hot oil treatments, etc.
 I like the deep conditioner from Pantene. You just leave it in damp hair from 5-30 minutes and then rinse it out with cool water. You hair will be as soft as silk after. A more expensive, but good one is the Moroccan Oil intense hydrating mask. Leave it in all night or day before you wash your hair. I also like making my own. Mix conditioner, olive oil and honey together in a bowl and apply it to your hair. Leave in for 30-60 minutes and wash and condition as normal.  Use a deep conditioner or hot oil treatment once a week for normal hair or twice for extra dry hair. 

I also use a leave-in-conditioner. Any brand will do although I’m currently using Paul Mitchell. I like it because it’s very light weight. I just apply a dime sized amount to damp hair and comb it through. I always apply products starting in the back, bottom and working my way up and forward, so it doesn’t get greasy at the top. 

As an alternative to leave-in-conditioner, hair oils are also great. Moroccan oil or Argan oil are good, as well as coconut oil or jojoba oil. Some people also use olive oil, avocado oil, or apricot seed oil. Apply from the bottom up, focusing on ends. You only need a very small amount of hair oil, but it will make your hair very shiny, soft and smooth. In fact, I might recommend this even more than leave-in-conditioner. And if you have really thick, dry hair you could even use both. I can’t stress moisturizing and hydrating your hair enough!

Cutting and Trimming:

1. My first tip is to cut your hair. That should be the first step in growing long hair. If you start with damaged hair, your hair probably isn’t going to grow as fast. The reason is that split ends continue to split up the hair shaft, causing breakage and frizz.  It’s hard to grow long hair when it’s constantly breaking off! The only way to get rid of a split end is to cut it off. You don’t have to chop all your hair off, just an inch or two depending on how damaged your hair is. Some people may need more, others less. You decide. 

2. After you start with healthy hair do NOT fall into the salon trap of cutting your hair every six weeks. You will never grow long hair that way. You hair only grows about ½ inch per month (depending on the person) and if you get ½  an inch off every 6 weeks you’ll only ever grow maybe 1.5-2 inches per year! That would take forever! Instead, if you have very dry or damaged hair, opt for trimming ½  an inch off quarterly or if you have healthy hair maybe every 6 months to a year. I do recommend periodic trimmings to rid yourself of dry, split ends, but if you have healthy hair, the less the better! Your hair can grow up to 6 inches per year if you don’t trim it.  

3. Learn to trim your own hair if you can. Trust me; hair stylists will often cut your hair shorter than you want. It’s in their best interest to keep you coming in every 6 weeks. Besides, you will save yourself a lot of money. Look it up on YouTube or check out a book from the library to find out how to do it. I usually cut my own hair and I only go into a salon occasionally to make sure things are looking even. I have even cut myself long layers.

Styling and Heat:

1. Avoid heat whenever possible. I prefer to gently squeeze excess water out of my hair (never rough up your hair with a towel. Use the towel to squeeze) and then air dry it. I only straighten my hair on very special occasions. I don’t even own a curling iron.

2. If you must use heat for any reason, use a heat protectant spray. I use the Paul Mitchell brand, but Tresseme is also a good one. This will not only protect your hair from damage, it will also help you style your hair. 

3. Use the proper heat settings. Use the low setting on your blow dryer and let your hair air dry as much as possible first. As for curlers and straighteners, use the lowest setting that will let you get the job done the first time. The more you run a straightener over your hair, the more damage it will sustain, so don’t use too low of heat, but also don’t use too much heat or you will burn your hair. 

4. Use good products. Ceramic straighteners and curling wands are good. I use a Helen of Troy Salon Pro straightener. Also, I use a ceramic, ionic, boar bristle round brush to style with my blow dryer (and I only use it occasionally). DO NOT use nylon bristles. They will tear your hair. 

The right brushes are a must. In addition to my boar bristle round brush I have a boar bristle paddle brush, a pick (picks are best for thick hair, whereas a regular wide tooth comb might be fine for thinner hair), a rat tail comb for parting my hair, and a regular paddle brush, which I use with caution. 

Also, avoid pony tail holders with metal or plain elastic, and opt out of any hair accessory that takes out any significant amounts of hair when removed. Avoid Velcro rollers or the hot rollers with spikes. My favorite rollers are the spiral rollers. They are cushioned and create really cute curls or ringlets (depending on how you wrap your hair), and are especially great for long, thick hair. I can’t even fit all my hair in regular rollers. 

5. Avoid styles that will damage your hair. That means avoiding perms, hair dye, peroxide, henna, alcohol based hair spray, ratting your hair, etc. If you plan on dying your hair or heat styling daily then perhaps butt length hair is not for you. Opt for gentler styles such as buns, various braids (these can also create waves without heat), heatless curlers, air drying, pony tails, etc. There are all kinds of heatless styles out there. Have a look on YouTube and be amazed. 

6. Be gentle when you brush. Try to avoid brushing wet hair. Gently comb out wet hair with a pick if you must. If you use a leave-in-conditioner, put it in before brushing wet hair. It will help get out tangles. And whether dry or wet, always start from the bottom and work your way gently up through the knots. This will get rid of tangles faster and with less damage. 

Additional Tips:

1. Sleep on a satin pillowcase or wrap your hair in a satin scarf or sleep cap. This will reduce friction on your hair at night which will also reduce fly aways, frizz and baby hairs around your hairline. It will also prevent your hair from getting dry throughout the night and as a bonus, if your hair is up when you sleep you will also prevent the oils from your hair to getting on your face and causing acne.

2. Be very gentle with your hair! Treat it kindly. Don’t yank on it, rip through it, or allow it to get caught in things. Don’t rip out elastic bands and other accessories. This damage will add up quickly. Keep it safe if you want it to grow long!

3. Between trims you can cut off split ends with sharp scissors. Just sit in a brightly lit place, twist a section of hair and look closely. Trim off any split ends you see. 

4. Massage your scalp daily. This will stimulate growth. 

5. Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. I recommend taking prenatal vitamins or a regular multi-vitamin that contains folic acid, biotin, vitamin E, calcium, iron, vitamin A and B6. Eat plenty of greens and healthy fats. A fish oil supplement can also help.

6. Be patient! You won’t grow butt length hair overnight. I probably have 5 years’ worth of hair hanging from my head right now. It simply takes time.

7. Have fun with styles! There is a lot you can do with long hair. Try out different braids. I like the 4 strand, fish tail, and rope braid. They are all really easy and look cool. Get on the YouTube and find hair tutorials. Show off your beautiful hair! 

Here is a picture of my hair from the back. :)