Sunday, October 31, 2010

Product reviews

When the kids came home 9 months ago I knew very little about hair care. Oh sure, I had browsed a few sites and I knew how important hair would be for a white mom of a little black girl. But I wouldn't allow myself to buy anything for the kids until we had exited courts and the kids officially had our last name. That magic moment never happened and so I just put hair care on the back burner.

After the earthquake, when it became apparent Haiti would allow kids in the adoption process to go to their adoptive families, we had some major shopping to do. Kaylin and I headed out one night and picked up winter boots, sneakers, 2 outfits and hair products. I knew there were all kinds of blogs and websites I could look at, but I didn't have the time. So we headed to Sally's and asked the lady what we needed. We both felt super silly. We came away with conditioner, shampoo, detangling spray, and a comb.

The first few weeks the kids were here in Canada, their scalps were a mess. We could not control the scabs on either one of them. So I asked the experts. Black women. They had all kinds of advice for products we should try. And they had styling advice for Gaelle to prevent the scabs. So we bought them and we tried. Nothing worked with the scalps and we ended up shaving Peter's hair down to nothing. That worked.

Robin ended up, on his own with no input from anybody, buying Baby Oil and trying that. I don't know if it helped or it was just coincidence, but the scabs stopped on both of them. So in addition to styling products for Gaelle, we faithfully applied Baby Oil to their heads every morning and night.

We had a ton of hair products and when I finally had time to read some of these amazing hair blogs and websites, I realized why so many of the products that had been recommended to us, just didn't seem to do anything except stick to the hair. Most of these products contain petroleum and mineral oil. These ingredients clog the pores in the scalp and coat the hair surface. They give the hair a sheen and are cheap to make. They do nothing to help protect the dry fragile hair that Gaelle has.

So, I have tried to go with natural hair products. These are much more expensive and more difficult to locate, and not everything works the same on everybody's hair. So here are my product reviews for Gaelle's hair.

Silk Elements Silken Child Extra Moisturizing Conditioner was the first product Kayin and I came home with last January. It's a good product with a great price. I've since found a conditioner I like better but this is what we take to the pool. After swimming, we have the kids stand under the water and rinse, rinse, rinse, their hair, then I coat their hair with this conditioner. We rinse again and that's it.

Silk Elements Silken Child Leave-In Detangler is another decent choice that we can buy from Sally. It works well on Gaelle's hair and is very cheap. I use this when I take out a hair style or if I need some more "help" to comb through her hair. I'm not buying this at the moment but am using a little bit of conditioner if the hair seems tangled.

This is my favorite conditioner for Gaelle's hair. I was thrilled when a local store opened and started carrying Jane Carter products. I bought the Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner and since I started using it I can see a huge difference. Her hair is soooo soft when I take out the old hairstyle and it's so easy to work with. I used to leave the Silken Child conditioner on for at least 30 minutes and then rinse it out and reapply it. There's no need to leave this in the hair. It's just that good.

I've been looking for a styling product that will not leave a gunky residue in the hair and yet will still help hold the style without all kinds of fuzzies. I may not find a product to do this. As I become more skilled at styling and as Gaelle's hair becomes more healthy, her hair will not be as fuzzy. Anyway, I purchased the Twist and Lock by Jane Carter to help me style her hair. The jury is still out. It definitely does not leave any residue but I'm not sure it is really doing anything for the style. And it is very pricey. But a little goes a long ways.

This is not a natural product but I like this enough to use it until it is finished. I won't buy another bottle, but I do think it is an easy way to moisurize the scalp and the hair. Ketty Hair Lotion was suggested by the owner of a Black Hair Salon. She has been especially kind and helpful to us when we go in and so I spray Gaelle's hair with a little water and then put a little of this on the scalp and her hair every night.

Virgin Coconut Oil is one of those products that can be used in a multitude of ways. It is messy because it liquifies at warm temperatures and again, a little goes a long way. I want to use this as a deep conditioning thing. A couple of times, I have taken out Gaelle's hairstyle and left the coconut oil in the hair overnight. However, that just isn't convenient for us. Lately I have been coating the braids and the twists to help me take out the old hairstyle. This works really well for us.

Anyway, that's it for now. Just a few things i'm using.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekend fun

Open house at CBC TV last weekend. We went to see how a TV station works. There were a couple of photo opportunities. See the kids excape a shark.

And the adults thought it was cool to see the "young" guy from "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" which is filmed right here in Halifax. The young guy isn't really all that young but he plays a goofy teen in a lot of sketches, so we call him the "young" one.

And our young ones were thrilled to see "Bo" from "Bo on the Go". Another photo op.

And no sitting around like a couch potato with Bo. See Gaelle run with Bo. Maximun Bo Power!!!! The kids were a little concerned that Dezzy, the Dragon wasn't around, but still they had fun with Bo.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Robin's mom moved to Halifax September 2009. We've all enjoyed having her around and have loved seeing her interact with Peter and Gaelle. She saves her calendar pages of cute animals for them, shares her gum with them, and will patiently sit and listen to them.

She also sits patiently with Snickers and scratches her back. Last week Grammy made another move. This time to Yarmouth. We're all so sad to see her go but hope this will be a good move for her.

We've also had another huge change in our family. Robin went back to work today. His 9 month family leave has ended and now we're all getting used to some big changes. It means more responsibility for Emily and Kaylin. It means after school care 3 days a week for Peter and Gaelle. And it means they stay at school for lunch every day.

BIG CHANGE. We will all miss the stability and steady presence that he has provided the past 9 months. But so far so good. Our first day went smoothly and the kids seem to be handling the change well.

Monday, October 18, 2010


It never ceases to amaze me how excited Peter and Gaelle get over experiences that are new to them. They knew about Thanksgiving but really didn't know all it entailed. So as Thanksgiving approached, they were over the top excited... thinking it was going to be a great day. And it was. We all had so much to be thankful for.

So as we started putting dishes out on the table, the questions flew fast and furious. They had heard the words but didn't really know what they all meant. Stuffing was identified as cranberry sauce. Gravy was called sauce. And sauce was LOVED!

Sweet potato casserole was another favorite. Why not? It's almost like dessert. Yum.

This past weekend we switched the kids clothes around. Summer clothes away, sweaters out. Gaelle was literally spinning around the room with excitement. Can I try that? I want to wear that. On Sunday they both put on some new winter outfits. Don't they look sharp? They just love to dress up and it's so much fun to watch their excitement.

It's also interesting to see their lack of concern about old clothes being given away or even thrown out. They really don't care. As excited as they are to see new clothes, they just dont' get attached to much and so can easily watch us get rid of the old.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Maritime fall fair

And we thought Peter was the top gardener with his beans. But check out the giant pumpkin. Impressive.

All Canadian kids. When Gaelle saw this picture she asked if she was a girl or a boy. She's a girl and in Canada she can be a Mountie... even though she's a girl.

This pig was wandering around and eventually found its way over to this cow where it just curled up and went to sleep. So cute! Peter loved the animals while Gaelle kept her distance.

Peter and Gaelle weren't the target audience for the tractors but they had a blast trying them out anyway.

Lots of hands on demonstrations, even milking a cow.

Sunday afternoon jaunt

We have had some gorgeous fall weather and it feels so good to get outside and explore our community with the kids...and Snickers.

Peter discovered how much fun it can be to take an old shell and SMASH it. And there were plenty of shells around to send flying through the air.

Photo op. This anchor is a tribute to the men and women of the Canadian Navy who died during times of peace. The chains are truly impressive.

Another photo op in front of the Prince of Wales Tower.

Apple Picking

What would the fall be without apple picking? Gaelle was so thrilled to head out with her class to pick some apples. She learned to count down the sleeps until the widely anticipated day.

Time for the hay wagon ride.

Robin hauled out his old family apple peeler to "wow" the kids. It really makes the job so much faster.

Gaelle and I rocked the apple crisp. She loves to help in the kitchen and did a great job helping me with the apples. And the apple crisp was yummy. Love it.