This Family Robinson = Team Fit for Life

This Family Robinson = Team Fit for Life

Monday, April 20, 2015

Good Food Good Fuel

So I see it all the time all over social media and I hear it from moms in person too.  What the heck should I pack the kids for snacks on the go?  Well my dear I've been doing this unprocessed food thang for some time and I have to be honest.  If you start your kids on unprocessed snacks later in their childhood it's going to be a battle.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't make the switch, but just know it's not going to be easy.  However, it is a battle worth fighting.  If your kids are smaller and they start out that way it will be much easier because they'll never know the difference.  Also don't even think about trying the my kid is a picky eater crap.  If your kid runs the menu, then you need to learn to say this is what Mommy/Daddy made because it's good for your amazing body and if you're really hungry, then you'll eat it.  I started my kids out with fruits, veggies, and all unprocessed snacks, however my Emma does everything within her power to eat the crap.  We went on vacation in February and I caught her trying to sneak the sugary cereal that the kitchen was loaded with every single morning.  It's ok every now and then, but not every day.  We want to build strong bodies and immune systems
by instilling healthy habits.  Let them get in on the prep and they'll become more interested in their food.  Grow a garden so that they're invested in what goes into their bodies. 

So here's a list of healthy and tasty unprocessed on the go snacks.  These are kid tested and husband approved, so you can be sure they do taste good lol.


1.) Turkey Meatballs -
1 lb ground turkey, 3/4 cup rolled oats, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 to 2 tbsp. garlic, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 egg, 2 tbps. Worchteshire sauce.  Roll into balls and bake on 400 for 20 minutes.  Keep refrigerated

2.) Frozen Shakeology -
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk, 2 tbsp PBfit, 1 banana, ice, blend

3.) Dip It -
Carrots, cucumber, bell peppers and hummus

4.) Protein Balls -
Banana mashed, protein powder of choice, 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1 cup peanut butter

5.) Honey Dessert -
Plain greek yogurt, granola, local raw honey, PBfit.  Keep refrigerated or in a cold bag on the go.

6.) Mix It Up -
Popcorn, cranberries, and peanuts - sweet and salty

7.) Sweet Potato Fries -
You can make these quickly or you can buy the precut non gmo Alexia brand and bake them up for an easy on the go snack.  My kids like them cold too. 

8.) Apple Fry Dippers -
Sliced apples with a side of almond butter

9.) Flies on a Log (doesn't that sound good lol) -
Celery with pb spread on top and raisins on the pb.

10.) High Energy Trail Mix -
2 cups pumpkin seeds without shells, 1 cup slivered almonds, 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, 1 cup dried cranberries, 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.  Combine everything in a bowl and mix.  Place 1/2 cup mixture into 12 small resealable plastic bags for snacking.

Those are our top 10 favs.  If you have any questions or want to see more of any type of recipe, leave a comment or email me at teamgetfitforlife@gmail.com

I hope these help and give you a little idea of where to start =)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Garlicky Chicken and Veggies

This is by far one of my favorite meals!  One, because it's yummy and tastes like comfort food but is actually healthy and two, you can make so much that it lasts for days.  You can make several meals out of this depending on how many people are in your family.  Since you're cooking a whole chicken you can do what I do and split the leftovers up into lunches for everyone the next day, shred some of the chicken for salads, chicken tacos, or use it for a quick meal of chicken and veggies over quinoa. 



 So here's the recipe:

1 whole chicken (organic preferably)
6-8 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 small bag of baby carrots
6-8 red potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
Dutch oven or big pot & casserole dish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven & brown chicken over medium heat
Once chicken is golden, place carrots, potatoes, & garlic in the Dutch oven
Salt & pepper the bird & veggies & then place the lid on top
Place your Dutch oven in the preheated oven & cook for 1 1/2 hours

At this point you can walk away & workout, play with your kids, or whatever
your heart desires until it's done & ready to eat in an hour and a half.
Enjoy!!!!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Quick & Clean Soccer Night Dinner

At our house Monday and Tuesday are pretty laid back.  We don't have a lot going on those evenings, but it seems like as soon as Wednesday rolls around everything suddenly gets busy and a tornado of confusion rolls through my house lol.  If I'm not organized, prepared, and ready for what we're doing I end up getting frustrated and annoyed.  In order to not be that way I have started planning our meals better.  Wednesday nights I leave as soon as Matt gets home from work.  I babysit our friend's baby and I'm gone from 5:45pm until around 10pm.  If I don't plan dinner and have it ready everyone will suddenly go into starvation mode and eat anything and everything in site.  You know your family does it to when you're out of the house lol.  On Thursday nights Matt typically works a little later, Emma has soccer, and Matt almost always schedules his chiropractic appointments for that evening.  I have to have dinner ready that night by around 5ish or else everything falls apart.  I can guarantee you that I would head right for the off limit foods as soon as Matt and Emma leave for soccer if I didn't plan ahead. 

Tonight we're having gluten free strawberry and hemp pancakes.  They're so good and fluffy.  We have to make gluten free these days because poor little pale skinned Lincoln is gluten intolerant and lactose intolerant.  When we have breakfast for dinner I always make the pancakes ahead of time so they're ready on time.  Plus then I don't have to stand over the hot stove while Lincoln destroys the kitchen.  So, if you're like us and your evenings are way too busy to be chopping, prepping, mixing, and cooking for hours to produce a clean meal for you and your family...I want to help you.  I've been eating clean for over 6 years and have learned a lot about how to make healthy food without having to sacrifice taste, how to eat clean on a tight budget, and how to meal prep.  Whether your goal is weight loss, healthy eating habits, gaining meal ideas, new recipes, or just knowing you're not alone as a busy exhausted mom...you're invited to come check out the meal ideas and more. 

Here's tonight's meal and recipe.  It's a very easy one!!!

Gluten Free Strawberry & Hemp Pancakes 
 
Live G Free Pancake Mix (clean, gluten free, dairy free, and only $1.99 from Aldi)
2 organic eggs
3 cups of almond or coconut milk
6 tbps sunflower oil
1 tbsp. hemp hearts
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
 
This makes a lot of pancakes, so you'll have some left over to freeze for quick breakfasts. 
We put a little bit of almond butter on top with some fresh strawberries and organic agave.
So good and quick. 
 
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spinning In A Nightmare

So I've mentioned a couple of times on Facebook about having teeth removed and fighting some infections.  What I haven't mentioned to anyone accept my immediate family is that I've had 14 infected teeth, and they recently found an infection in my jaw bone that had apparently been there for at least a year.  I haven't felt 100% for at least the past 2 years, but I just figured that it was the exhaustion of being a special needs parent and then my pregnancy with Lincoln.  I've had right shoulder blade pain since 2012 and my arm would often fall asleep for no real reason.  It didn't happen all of the time and when it did it was usually at night when I was asleep.  I thought it was likely due to my carpal tunnel and thought nothing more of it.

Looking back on the last year I'd say this all really started to rear it's ugly head during Lincoln's birth.  I was on the table numbed up and it took the doctors so long to get him out.  He was big and low and it felt like they were pushing my insides up into my neck.  I kept feeling like I was going to die.  I remember looking at the monitor to check my heart to make sure I was ok.  I could feel my heart leaping around like crazy and then out of nowhere it would drop real low and then spike real high.  I was scared to death and then he was born.  He wasn't breathing and the NICU team ran in.  It was like the girls birth all over again.  I started crying and asking what was going on, but no one would answer. After what felt like a million years (but was really just a few a minutes) the team said he was fine and that they were just getting ready to intubate him, but then he started breathing and crying.  As soon as I knew he was ok, I gave the ok for Matt to go out to recovery with Lincoln.  I was scared, alone, and had never felt so close to death as I did in that very moment.  I remembered that they still had to put me back together and sew me up before I could be out in recovery with my baby.  It seemed like it took sooooo long and my numbers were all over the place.

My recovery wasn't too bad and the placenta capsules helped tremendously.  I felt amazing for the first few weeks.  Then we all got the norovirus in mid to late February and my immune system was completely depleted.  It was terrible and it took everything within me to somehow be there for the needs of each one of my kids.  To top it off we had just decided to homeschool Emma through the remainder of the school year.  I was certain I would bounce back and take it all on like every other challenge I've ever faced.  But by mid March I found myself still struggling.  I was okay at home, but every time I would drive I would get dizzy, and when I was sitting I had a feeling that I was about to have to run to the bathroom.  It was odd and I had no idea what to think.  To begin with I didn't have a primary care physician.  My life revolved around the 18 different specialists that follow Abby.  I have in the past tried to make appointments for myself.  I even made an appointment with a doctor in the midst of my bulimia and the doctor wanted to prescribe anti depressants.  WHAT THE CRAP!!!!  I wasn't depressed, but I can tell you that not being offered any helpful options was depressing!  I used to have a Dr./PA when I was in the Army, but after my 8 week postpartum appointment with the girls I only saw a doctor once for my yearly check up.  I always had the need to be followed by a PCP looming in the back of my mind, but as the years went by and surgeries, diagnosis, therapies, and deployments took their tool...I began to forget that human side of me.  In 2010 I had proudly overcome bulimia and was back to a healthy weight, but I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to see a dentist.  I made an appointment and was excited to go.  I hadn't been to a dentist since I was in the Army and they had done some root canals and other work.  I had a MAJOR fear of the dentist for some reason, but was ready to face whatever damage I had done to my mouth.  The morning of my appointment my nanny/respite provider that had been with us for a year came to work to basically tell me she was quitting.  I was floored and so disappointed that I forgot about my appointment.  You have no idea how many times over this last year that I've wished I would have remembered and gone to my appointment with the girls in tow anyway.  But you can't change the past, just learn from it.

Over the last few years I have often thought to myself that I should make an appointment, but the longer I waited the more embarrassed of my mouth I became.  I did finally make another appointment, but something with Matt or the girls ALWAYS came up and I'd have to reschedule.  I never got to go and then I found out I was pregnant with Lincoln.  Fast forward to March 2014 and I'm driving down the road alone heading home from a consignment sale.  I was excited to be out alone, but something just wasn't right.  My right arm suddenly went completely numb and my heart started jumping.  I quickly pulled off the busy road I was on and turned into a neighborhood.  I called Matt and told him what had happened.  I told him that I would just eat a protein bar that I had in the glove compartment and maybe I'd be okay to make it home.  I ate the bar and headed out of the neighborhood.  I made it about 5 miles down the road when my right arm and right leg went numb again.  I couldn't feel the steering wheel or gas pedal and I felt dizzy, light headed, and thought I was going to go the bathroom in my pants.  I pulled off the road again into a Firestone parking lot.  I called Matt again and was trying desperately to explain to him what was happening.  My speech was slurring, I couldn't stand up, and I was scared to death.  I didn't know what to do so I forced myself to walk into the Firestone.  I called 911 because I wasn't sure if I was having a stroke, a heart attack, or if maybe my c section incision was infected.  I told the staff so that they wouldn't be alarmed, but of course everyone in the store was suddenly freaking out.  I tried to sit and wait patiently for the ambulance to arrive, but things got so bad that I could no longer sit or stand and I had to lay on the floor.  The room was spinning and when the paramedics got there I thought for sure I was going to throw up and go to the bathroom at the same time.  My heart was racing, I could hardly breath and I was sooooo scared!  The put me on the stretcher and took me into the ambulance.  They did an EKG, ran several other tests, gave me oxygen, and I had stickers and leads everywhere.  They checked my incision and everything looked beautiful  Nothing appeared to be wrong.  How in the world was all the happening, but nothing was wrong with me?  I was told that I was having an anxiety attack from the demands of my life and that I needed to take some time for me.  That's what I was trying to do while I was shopping by myself!!!!
*The Ambulance Day* 

Months passed and the dizziness and weird feeling of needing to go to the bathroom just kept getting worse, but I had no other symptoms.  EXCEPT, one night I did have SEVERE chills suddenly after putting my pajamas on.  I got so cold that Matt had to put a sweater on me (I was shivering so hard that I couldn't get the sweater to go over my head), lay me in the bed, cover me with 2 blankets, and then lay on me until I warmed up.  My mom came upstairs to my room and urged me to go to the ER because she thought I might have an infection in my incision.  I couldn't really justify leaving my babies when I knew that my incision was healing well and I had no other symptoms.  As the summer rolled around I began to wonder why it was taking me so long to lose all of the baby weight.  I had been doing Insanity, running, and doing a few other workouts, so really I should have shred every ounce and then some.  I had lost most of it, but there was still some just lingering and I knew there was something off about me physically, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

In June I started getting REALLY TIRED!!!! Tired to the point where I couldn't wake up in the mornings to feed the kids.  Matt was having to call in to work to help me more than he should have, and I could not longer get up with Lincoln in the middle of the night.  I would regularly wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I was going to throw up and I couldn't go to sleep without first feeling like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I started trying to figure out what type of doctor I needed to see, but my symptoms were all over the board and I didn't know where to start.

I will NEVER forget the night I woke up in a panic because I couldn't stop shivering, I had gripping stomach pains, and I could barely breath.  I could hardly get my shoes on and walk to the car I was so dizzy and weak.  Matt was taking me to the ER and my mom was coming over to watch the kids.  Luckily the ER was right outside our neighborhood, but the drive there felt like a cross country trip with miles and miles of car sickness.  Long story short, the ER doctor did an x ray of my stomach and told me that I have gastritis.  He sent me home with anti nausea meds, and proton pump inhibitors.  The next day I pushed myself to go shopping at Costco and the mall.  At one point I must have had a fever because I became delusional in Costco and couldn't remember why I was there.  Later at the mall I was losing my ability to walk and kept having to brace myself on walls and railings.  On our way home my right arm went completely numb and the right bottom side of my skull started shooting pains through to the top of my head.  Matt called our chiropractor and he met us at his office on a Sunday.  He adjusted my atlas and said that it was off.  If you've ever had your atlas adjusted then you know it aint no joke!!!!  It's a crazy feeling, but I did feel better after he did it.




*The day at the mall*


The next week my mom prompted me to make a dentist appointment, not really thinking that it had anything to do with how I'd been feeling, but rather she knew I needed to see a dentist in general.  There happened to be a dentist office in my neighborhood, so I figured that I'd make one there and to my surprise they got me in within a day.  One look at my mouth and the dentist immediately said I had 6 infected teeth and 2 were abscessed.  He prescribed amoxicillin for a week and suggested that I make an appointment with an oral surgeon to have all 8 extracted.  I didn't feel comfortable being put to sleep with all that was going on with me.  My heart felt so weak and it scared me to think of putting anesthesia in my body.  I made an appointment with the dentist to have him remove them in his office.  During the 2 weeks between starting antibiotics and having the 8 pulled I ended up in the ER 4 times with a multitude of tests run on every part of my body.  I was scared that the infection had spread and I was right in fearing that because it was spreading rapidly even while on amoxicillin.  Apparently my body hates anything from the penicillin family.  I had never had to take antibiotics for anything other than the little I'd had in my iv during my c sections.  During the first 7 days on amoxicillin I had crazy outbursts of anger in the car toward Matt.  I had several terrible fevers, my lymph nodes were swelling in my neck to the point of having a hard time breathing, and I couldn't drive anymore.  I would try with all of my might to drive Emma to school, but every time I would head out I would be quickly overtaken by vertigo, nausea, and my heart often felt like it was about to stop.  My eye sight started to go and the pressure behind my eyes was so bad that I couldn't focus anymore.  Before I stopped driving I would drive a few miles and have to stop to pray and ask God to help me drive a few more miles so that I could get my babies home.        


                         
*The day I blacked out driving through an intersection*

Once we realized the first antibiotic wasn't working I forced my dentist to call in a stronger one.  He put me on clindamycin and that started to work.  I didn't feel better until a few days after having the 8 teeth taken out.  It was traumatic and my dentist flat out sucked!!  He was horrible at extractions and by that point my anxiety was beyond control.  After he took the teeth he had to give me oxygen and was prepped to give me blood pressure meds.  It took me over an hour to relax enough to get up and walk out.  I could hardly walk because the pain, nausea, and anxiety was so bad.

*The day I had 8 teeth extracted*

Ok, so you would think this would be the end of the story and everything would get better from here on out.  Yeah...me too!!!  BUT it didn't...it got better and then it got scary again.  In September I ended up with candida throughout my body, oral thrush, yeast infection, and I was severely dehydrated.  Like iv upon iv dehydrated.
*The day I found out I had candida, thrush, yeast infection, and was severely dehydrated*

In mid September my right ear started to ache and I figured I had an ear infection.  I went to urgent care to have it checked out and to my surprise they didn't see anything but a little clear fluid.  October came and the ear pain was only getting worse.  By this time I had started seeing a family doctor and LOVE her!!  One day I was on my way home from Walmart when my gums started to hurt below an extraction site.  I looked in my mouth to find a fistula on the gum beside the extraction site.  So this tooth was one of the abscessed that was taken and the gum hadn't completely closed up.  I called the dentist and he called in amoxicillin for me.  WHAT WAS I THINKING WHEN I OKAYED THE AMOX??????  I picked it up, started it, and hoped we could get to the bottom of this at my next appointment with him the following week.  Well, apparently he had left the abscessed root tip in my gums and didn't have any plans to remove it.  That's when I found a new dentist.  I had the root tip removed and was shocked when the dentist informed me that I actually have another infected tooth that the original dentist should have removed.  I left with 2 less teeth and thought for sure this nightmare was finally over.  The hope lasted only a few days...my ear started hurting again.

Let me just pause in this terrible mood killer of a story and ask...are you even still reading?  If you are, bless you!!!

Okay so in November on my second day at my new job I started to feel feverish and totally out of it.  I lost feeling on the right side of my face around my sinuses.  My ear was aching like crazy and it kept turning bright red and burning.  I made it to the end of the day and when I got in my car to drive home I was scared to death.  I was so dizzy that I had a really hard time driving the very busy highway.  Later that night I went to the ER.  Again they told me I didn't have an infection and that it was possible I may have MS.  By this point I'd had several doctors tell me it sounds like I have MS and refer me to a neurologist for an MRI.  The next day I went to my family doctor and she thought it was pretty clear that I had an infection above the last tooth I'd had extracted.  I went on another round of antibiotic and this time it was Bactrim.  Bactrim is my enemy!!!  It works, but it kills my liver and gallbladder.  While I was fighting that infection my right eye starting twitching constantly and my ear pain never went away.  After the course of antibiotics I saw an ENT and he diagnosed me with arthritis in my jaw joint and a deviated septum. Ok well, nothing seems to helps to treat those and my symptoms just continue to get worse, however I'd been reassured by several doctors that I didn't have any infections.  What a relief right?  NOT!

Of course I started to feel sick again in all the ways that had become normal by now.  It was 2 weeks before Christmas and I went in to see the dentist only to find out that I had another infected tooth that needed a root canal.  By this point I had used all of my dental coverage for the year and had to pay the insane amount out of pocket if I wanted to get through yet another infection.  I was so mad and asked the dentist if this one was new.  Apparently in the beginning  of all of this I had A LOT of teeth that were infected, but they wanted to save most of them via root canal.  Had I known this in the very beginning I would have opted to have every single one taken out.  I don't like root canals and don't trust them, especially with my dental history, but I went ahead because I trust my dentist.  After the root canal a week before Christmas I was still having weird neurological pain and piercing ear pain.  I sat down with my dentist and looked at the ct of my mouth.  We didn't see a clear view of an infection in my gums that were causing pain down my neck, but together we decided that we would do exploratory surgery in the gums that once housed an abscess and the infected root tip.  Well, true to form my body didn't cooperate and out of nowhere my lymph nodes started to swell all over my body.  My neck was so swollen it ached and hurt to breath.  I went into the dentist on January 8th and informed him that he would be taking my two molars on the bottom row of my teeth that day.  I had a hard time coming to this decision because I lovingly referred to those teeth as my chewing teeth.  They worked together well with my top molars and allowed me to eat a wider variety of food.  Unfortunately I've become quite the pro at spotting infections and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my bottom molars were indeed infected.  The dentist successfully extracted my right molar and when he did he discovered the severity of the situation that's been keeping me in this terrible nightmare.  I noticed that things quickly became emergent between he and the hygienist.  He sliced my gum next to it (the one that had been abscessed and had the root tip left in it and extracted) and low and behold there was my jaw bone...infected and gummy.  It's no wonder my ear ached and my neck and shoulder hurt constantly.  That little stupid piece of crap was literally the pain in my neck...and everywhere else.  All I heard was scraping on both side of my bone.  It hurt even though I was numb.  It took at the very least 20 shots to somewhat numb me.  I never got fully numb due to the infection changing the ph balance.  I had to suck it up because I knew it had to be done or else I would eventually lose my life due to this life sucking turd stuck in my jaw.  As I laid in the chair listening to the scraping, flashes of the past year flooded my memory.  I started crying and although the physical pain wasn't my favorite feeling, the emotional pain of what I've been through was just too much anymore.  I've been scared I was going to die every single day for nearly a year.  The hygienist held my head, rubbed my shoulder, and told me that it was finally going to be ok.  For the first time in a long time I had hope and I believed her.  Keri if you're reading this, thank you sooooooo much for being there for me.  You truly made Better Dental live up to its name that day.  I've never had a hygienist care one bit if I felt anything physically, let alone emotionally.

 *The weekend after my jaw bone was scraped and 2 teeth extracted*
*Today!  Yes I look terrible, but honestly I'm EXHAUSTED beyond belief*

So I'm healing well now and my extraction sites are closing nicely.  My ear pain has gone down A LOT, however it's still there to a degree.  I still have pain in my sinuses and I discovered last Thursday that I have 3 more teeth that need root canals.  Essentially they are infected and I saw it again while viewing my ct.  WHY was I not made aware that these were problem teeth all along?  I have to make this statement because I'm sure you're thinking how in the world can someone get that many infections?  Well ladies and gentleman it may come as a surprise but I do in fact brush my teeth, floss, and gargle with mouth wash (I've recently been gargling with essential oils it's WAY BETTER).  The problem is that the years of bulimia decayed my teeth to the point of no return.  Top that with a vegan diet and I was all kinds of nutrient deficient.  I may have won the bulimia battle, but I unknowingly continued to do harm to my teeth as the years went on.  I'll touch on oral health and nutrition in another blog because this one's quickly becoming a book and aint nobody got time for that.

Due to this new root canal information, after much prayer and research I have come to the decision to have the last 3 teeth extracted.  I've chosen to have a partial denture made and I have to tell you I AM ECSTATIC about it!!!  I know most people are probably embarrassed, but not me! After all I've been through I deserve to wear a beautiful smile.  At the end of this (which is right over the horizon) I may have lost 14 teeth, but I'm gaining my life back...and a beautiful healthy smile that will never cause the problems I've been through.  Slowly but surely I will eat real food again, I will leave the antibiotics behind, I will smile with the teeth I always dreamed of, and I don't care who knows they're fake.  You know why?  Because if by telling my terrible story I can help someone, then it's worth it.

Moral of the story:

Don't throw up your food...it's gross, causes terrible health problems in the long run, and if you decide to...you may want to make sure you have enough money set aside to save your life at any given moment.

Second piece of advice:

PLEASE teach your kids how important oral health is.  How it really is easier than we think to get an abscess, it's not all that rare for it to spread to the heart and or brain (look it up), and that it's just as easy to take care of your pearly whites as it is to destroy them.

If you are here...congratulations!  I can't believe you stuck with the post this long, but I'm honored that you did =)


Friday, June 6, 2014

Only The Lonely Or Not...

All of my life I've wondered what I was going to be when I grew up.  As a young kidlet I wanted to be many things.  What I wanted the most was to be a singer.  As early as first grade I would gather my friends during recess and choreograph a dance that we would perform while singing a laundry list of songs I made them practice.  In case you're wondering we had the best rockstar band name EVER!!!  We were called the Teddy Bears and you can just imagine how awesome our following was lol.
My teacher Mrs. Korea was gracious enough to allow us to perform for the rest of the class.  I'm pretty sure they thought we were pretty ridiculous, but at the time I thought they rocked the classroom with us.

I actually did go on to sing in more musicals than I can remember, auditioned for Star Search *insert hysterical laughing and memories of watching Star Search with your family*, and sang in a praise and worship band as a young adult.  We traveled, did outdoor concerts, and I loved singing with them every Saturday night.  Those years are some of the best of my life.  I thought I would go on to have a singing career because that's all I had ever wanted...ever since those days with the Teddy Bears lol.

But...life doesn't always work out the way you thought it would.  I don't have to tell you that, it happens to every one at least once in their life.  Before I knew it I was engaged to my first husband who was leaving for Basic Training.  I was pumped to be an Army wife...whatever that meant.  I was living in Tn and doing a whole lot of nothing.  I mean, I was an assistant manager at Claire's and was pretty proud of that, but it's not like I was going on to make it a career.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just knew it was temporary while I waited for my then fiance to finish training and then get stationed somewhere.  I didn't even give much thought to what I wanted to be anymore, I guess i just figured I would make a good housewife and mom one day.

In 2003 I moved from Tn. to Fort Bragg Nc. where my ex husband was stationed.  We had gotten married a few months prior and my life revolved around that.  It's crazy because within the first 2 weeks of being at Fort Bragg, I knew I was meant to go in the Army.  It had NEVER been a thought in my mind until I saw a girl in BDU's (battle dress uniform or what some call fatigues).  It awoke a drive and motivation in me I didn't know existed.  I was so excited and couldn't wait to do it.  I did however wait an entire year before I left for Basic because I was 40 lbs. over weight and needed to get in shape.  I started running and thus began my love affair with the sport.  Some days I would get up at 5 am to run before work & then run after work from 6-7 pm.  I was obsessed!!

A few months before I left for basic training my ex husband had surgery on his left ankle and heel.  He had been injured jumping out of a plane (airborne op), and the surgery was supposed to fix things for good.  It didn't, it made the injury worse.  He was given pain meds to take while he was recovering at home during his 30 day convalescent leave.  Unfortunately he became highly addicted to the meds and became a totally different person.  He was unhappy with life, unhappy with everything, played Playstation and ignored me.  Until one evening after work.  We got in an argument (over something petty I'm sure) and I was going to go to the Library for a little while to give us both time to get over it.  He wouldn't let me leave and barricaded himself in front of the front door.  I tried to get through, but there was no way I could.  I was so tired of the way things were going that I offered to go visit my family in Ca for a while.  He told me that no one wanted me, my family didn't love me, and that I was useless.  That night was the first time he hit me, and it didn't stop until after I came back from airborne school and one of his friends watched him punch me in the face so hard that I flew into my dining room wall, then slid down and hit the floor.  That was the day it ended, because I wasn't the same person anymore.  I heard his friend say "I told you not to hit her" and when I completely came to I stood up, walked towards him and picked him up.  I walked into the bedroom with him and threw him on the bed, ran out, and stuck a chair under the door handle to lock him in.  Then I left and filed for divorce not long after.

The entire reason I went into the Army was because I had a gut feeling that I needed to learn to be independent.  I needed to become who God had intended me to be, and that there was a part of me that was sleeping and needed to wake up.  I can say with full confidence that it was absolutely true!

While I was in the Army I LOVED every second of it.  I was good at it and it made me realize my full potential in this life.  I didn't settle for mediocre anymore and realized it's completely okay to reach for what may seem unattainable.  I had every intention to make it a career.  Matt and I both did.  But, yet again life doesn't always work out the way you thought it would.  I had the girls and for the first 6 months of their life I felt like I had completely lost my identity.  When they were 4 months old I went to the recruiter to go back on active duty.  I ultimately realized that that phase of my life was over and that I was okay with it.  It wasn't easy, especially when we had family members asking when I was going back to work, or what I was going to do now.  Matt always had the best answer "She already has a full time job, she's a mom to premature twins...isn't that enough".  I did still feel lost though when it came to my career, work, outside life, etc...  All of my friends had been in the military.  I lost EVERY. SINGLE. FRIEND when they realized how much my life had changed.  It was depressing, but a good lesson in the long run.  I learned who my friends were...or rather that I truly had none.

In 2009 I enrolled back into school for Sports Medicine and Kinesiology at AMU.  I worked hard as a full time student and a mom to twins while Matt was deployed.  I did school work while Abby was in surgery after surgery that year, because my goal was to go to Medical School next.  I finished at AMU in 2011 and realized I didn't want to be an MD, but I didn't want to just be Mom, wife, house keeper, laundry folder, nurse to Abby, etc...  There's absolutely nothing wrong with being all of those things...those are all admirable things and more than enough for a lifetime, but I still needed something of my very own.  Something that didn't have anything to do with feeding tubes, therapy, surgeries, cleaning, mothering, or folding laundry.  I knew that I didn't want to put my kids in day care.  Again, there's nothing wrong with that.  Every one's life is different and for some that's a necessity and the kids love it.  For me, I just wanted to be with my kids all of the time.  I really like those turds!!!

I stumbled across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and their philosophy made sense to me and paralleled mine.  I enrolled and then graduated a year later as a Board Certified Practitioner and Health Coach.  I started my practice in the middle of my school year and boy was it rocky the first 6 months.  It wasn't until 2013 that things started to get busy and I really began to see the fruits of my labor.  Doing what I do is fun and fulfilling, but it's also A LOT of hard work.  Doctors have the luxury of computer systems that help them review their patients health history.  There's nothing like that for my practice.  Doctors also have the luxury of not focusing on the whole person (that's not really a luxury though now is it.  I believe that's more like convenience on their part), so they never have to dig deep, research, and help the patient truly figure out why they're having this issue or that issue.  My job is to help prevent, heal naturally, and encourage positive and sustainable change by helping the patient find what their body needs.  It's not always easy and I've had some cases that were very difficult and the individual struggled through the program.

I personally have struggled over the last year when it came to my professional life.  I didn't know if this was all for me.  I was pregnant the majority of 2013 and didn't always want to get up and work.  I actually was glad when I went on maternity leave because I could take a real break for as long as I wanted.  After I got back into the groove of my new normal being a mom of now 3 kidlets, I realized that yes...I do still want to help people heal naturally, and that my passion for truly helping people is still there.  I NEVER wanted to do something for the money aspect, I always wanted to do whatever I was meant to do because I was passionate about it.  However I still haven't felt like I'm 100% where I'm supposed to be.  I've prayed and asked God if I should go back to school.  After much prayer and consideration I start at Campbell in August to finish up some pre requisites I need for possible future programs.  Even though that would seem like enough, I still felt lacking in my practice.  I've wanted more ways to help people reach their goals and fullest potential, just like so many have done for me along the way.

I've had a lot of people tell me that it would be great if I had a list of recommended clean products and recommended workouts.  That's the one thing I can't offer those that I work with.  I have had people go through my health coaching programs, lose the weight, stop smoking, kick soda, get off of medication for mood disorders, recover from leaky gut syndrome from gluten intolerance, control their ADHD naturally, etc...  What I have come to a stand still with is what workouts to offer them.  I want to be able to provide a  well rounded wellness experience.  What I realized was that if I'm not constantly progressing, than I become stagnant quickly.  Maybe that's why I work out so hard and love cardio.  If I'm not on a path to do better than I did before, then I become stagnant.  That's just me and my personality.  Due to the request for supplements, body care, etc... I became an Arbonne consultant because I believe in the integrity in their products.

So, I've been a Beach Body Coach for 3 years and LOVE every program I've ever done. I've done P90X, Yoga Booty Ballet, Hip Hop Abs, Insanity, and will soon have T25 going.  Has anyone done Turbo Fire or Les Mills Combat?  I really want to do both.

When my first marriage ended, I decided that I never wanted to be in a position where I couldn't provide for myself.  When I got out of the Army, I knew I needed something that was mine, while also affording me the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.  It took me a really long time to get here, but I learned a lot about who I am.  I set a lot of really big goals & you know what...I've reached them all!!!  Through my time in the Army, my practice, and Beach Body I've been able to provide for my kids in ways I never thought I could.  I love to look back on where I came from (I grew up part of my life on welfare and vividly remember standing in line for government cheese and peanut butter).  My mom did what she had to to provide for us, and for that I'm forever grateful.  When I think of the person I was when I was an assistant manager at Claire's, I get confused.  I have no clue who that person was.  When I think of who I was when I was allowing my ex husband to hit me for all of that time, I thank God that He had a plan for me.  Anyone can pull themselves out of any situation, achieve success, and become whatever they want to be.  If I could go through all of that (and more there's just not enough room and I'm so ready for bed) so can you!!!  If you're a stay at home mom and need something that's your's, you can do it!  There are so many options, it just takes the belief that you can, and the ability to lead with you heart!


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Eczema & the Road Less Traveled

When Lincoln was born I thought I was going to breast feed like a pro since I'd already breast fed and pumped for the girls in the hardest situation I can imagine...the NICU.  He latched on like a pro and I truly thought that the rest would be history.  Unfortunately that wasn't the case.  We did the cluster feeding and feeding on demand which meant I was basically useless in any other capacity, which was totally fine with me because I assumed that it would all be worth it once he matured enough to go a little longer between feeds.  After about 7 weeks of breast feeding and pumping he was having horrific reflux, gas, constipation, and a stopped up nose that would wake him every single night, several times a night.  By 8 weeks he began to develop red bumps behind his ears that quickly spread to his chest and forehead.  I took him to our family doctor who said that it looked eczema and she suggested Eucerin on his forehead and chest, and then vitamin d oil behind his ears.  I went home bathed him in the Dr. Bronner's Baby Pure Castile Soap and slathered him up with the Baby Shea Moisture lotion I'd been using since his very first bath.  He immediately SCREAMED in pain!!!  His face, chest, and neck suddenly got bright bright red and I had to bath him again to get the lotion off and stop the pain.  He screamed and screamed so much that day and as a result of his pain I cried watching this perfect little baby in pain because of something neither of us understood.

That night I stayed up literally all night researching the what and why of all of this.  Over the course of a month I began to connect the dots.  Yes we knew it was a form of eczema, but figuring out which type and what the cause was felt like it was dragging me down every day of the second month of his life.  I felt like a failure when I realized that I was likely the largest contributing factor in every one of his eczema hives.  I realized that genetics played a major role in his digestive system and that thanks to me he had inherited my not so wonderful digestive system.  Since it's extremely difficult to test babies for food allergies, treating a baby with a suspected allergy is more successful when you do an elimination diet.  To begin with I stopped exclusively breast feeding because my stress level was through the roof between his issues coupled with Abby's needs.  I struggled immensely with this because I had great plans to nurse Lincoln until he was at least 12 months, but hoped to go longer.  To supplement we ended up trying 4 different formulas and like clock work every 7 days the rash would reappear with a vengance.  I first removed complete milk proteins, then corn syrup solids, and hoped and prayed for good results, but it only got worse.  The breaking point was the night that I watched him struggle to breath while saliva built up in his mouth to the point that he couldn't swallow and it just poured out of his mouth.  I know from experience with Abby's food allergies that this was also an allergic reaction to the soy and partially broken down milk proteins.  I called the pediatrician on call and got nowhere at all.  I knew what we needed to do, but the pediatrician refused to acknowledge that it could possibly be a food allergy.  We needed to immediately move to one of the only two formulas on the market that's gluten, soy, lactose, whey, and milk free.  I would have preferred to have gotten a prescription that night, but the on call doctor was unwilling.  The next morning I called Target and low and behold they had a can in the pharmacy.  I immediately started Lincoln on it and within 24 hours his rash was gone, he started sleeping through the night, his stopped up nose was clear, and he was no longer in pain.

I've been so relieved to see my baby flourish now that he's on the right path.  However, this man still has extremely dry and sensitive skin.  I've done so much research and spent so much money trying to figure out what lotions, creams, oils, shampoo, baby wash, and sunscreen will work for him.  In the process of finding the right formula and body care products his scalp also got eczema hives.  Once the hives dried up they turned into dry ugly scales that eventually flaked off.  I had tried everything under the sun with very little luck, until one day my mom invited me to her house to check out some Arbonne products.  Now I'd heard about Arbonne before and loved what I'd tried when I came across them 8 years ago while in California.  I actually have their Translucent Loose Setting Powder in my makeup case right now and didn't even realize that's what I've been using *mom brain*.  So I went because I remembered this awesome lotion I used to have that helped with my wrinkles.  Yes I have some wrinkles that I so lovingly acquired while Matt was deployed, Abby was going through surgery after surgery, and all of those other stressful mom moments that come with having multiples and a special needs child.

Anyway, so as I was looking through the products and samples the woman had brought over I started talking to her about Lincoln's skin saga.  To my surprise she whipped out a big sample of baby care products.  She said that a friend of her's had a child with the same problems and that the Arbonne Baby Care Lotion made a huge difference.  After having tried product after product I was skeptical to say the least.  I had read about so many different products that helped so many different babies, only to find that they didn't help mine.  I took the sample anyway and told myself that I would try it sometime.  When I did get around to using it I was pleasantly surprised at how absorbent it was and loved the fact that it wasn't greasy and didn't leave a residue.  After using it for 24 hours Lincoln's skin had stayed hydrated and stopped flaking.  I was so impressed I ordered the whole baby care line and have been using it on him every day.  I'm soon going to start using it on both girls because they also have sensitive skin.  Thankfully their skin is nothing like Lincoln's, but still sensitive nonetheless.

What I LOVE about all of the Arbonne products is that they're formulated without the use of parabens, PABA, benzene, mineral oil, petrolatum, phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde donating preservatives.  All of the products are plant based, gluten free, have no synthetic dyes, and are made without the use of animal products or by-products (vegan certified).

I LOVE them so much that I've decided to become a consultant not only to receive the amazing 35% discount on my families products, but mainly to combine them with the nutritional aspect of my professional life.  Now I'm not the type of person to buy into the whole consultant let's throw a party type of deal.  If I love a product, I typically keep it to myself.  However, 1% of the time when I come across something amazing that I know others can benefit from, I will share it.  Whether it's nutrition, makeup, skin care products, supplements, etc...I'm happy to share if I truly believe in it.  This is something I truly believe in.  I spent so many years going to school to learn how to become a better and healthier me while also helping others do the same, that Arbonne and what they stand for seemed only fitting.  I want what I put on my body and my children's body to be just as clean and pure as the foods we put in our bodies.

If your kiddos have struggled with eczema I would love to send you some samples of the ABC Arbonne Baby Care Set and the if you're interested in anti aging products I also have samples of the RE9 Advanced skin care line.  The RE9 changed my view on morning and nightly facial routines.  I had never been big into preventive skin care until after I had Lincoln.  I saw what a toll the pregnancy had taken on my skin and decided that I needed to take some sort of preventive measures.  I LOVE the RE9 and saw amazing results in just a week.  The wrinkles I do have are barely visible, my sleepy eyes look like they pop, and the days that I just don't have time to put on makeup, the glow I get from RE9 is more than enough for the day.

If you have already tried Arbonne and love it, let me know if there's any way I can help you with future orders, and if you're new to the products I'd be happy to send loads of fun samples to you to try.  My whole family has fallen in love with the products and they're now the only makeup I wear, body care products we all use, and nutritional supplements and protein powders we use.  I'm so thankful for the night that I received the sample of ABC Arbonne Baby Care because it has relieved so much stress from my life, while also clearing up my precious baby boy's skin.

Summer
Uniquely You Health & Wellness
Arbonne Consultant ID# 14833199

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014

As I reflect on 2013 I'm in shock at how many wonderful things our family has experienced.  We started the year out by counting down to March 3rd which was the day we flew to Florida for Abby's 6 day Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios Make A Wish vacation.  We had the most AMAZING, unimaginable, relaxing, memory making, and once in a lifetime trip we could have never imagined.

When we came home we were so sad that it was over, but we were so touched by the founder of Give Kids The World and his amazing story that we were moved to do even more with The Abby Marie Foundation.

In the beginning of April my mom started an awesome job at Duke that had her traveling all around NC.  In May she went to Wilmington, so we decided to take a trip to Carolina Beach (one of our favorite NC beaches) since it's so close to Wilmington.  We stayed there for a few days and had an awesome time.  During that trip I had a very strong feeling that I was pregnant, but my family didn't believe me...they never do, lol!  I still had about a week to wait to take a test, but I just knew I was.  One week later at midnight on the day I could take the test I got up and waited for the test to tell me what was up.  Sure enough I was pregnant!!!

Once July rolled around I couldn't believe how fast time was flying.  Emma began kindergarten, and we began the paperwork to enroll Abby into kindergarten and start her IEP.  In September we found out that we were having a boy, which I knew in the depths of my soul from literally day 1 of this pregnancy.  I had his name picked out from week 5, but it's changed a little over the first trimester.  Originally it was going to be Lincoln Kennedy, but we didn't think he needed two president's names, lol!  We talked about Lincoln Michael, since both of our dad's names are Michael.  If you've wondered, yes he is named after President Lincoln and Thomas has no link to anyone, we just like it and thought it flowed well.  The girls are named after family members, but Lincoln is our first child that's not named after anyone.  I plan on him being president, so I felt he needed a strong name.  I'm kidding...no really I'm not, lol!!!

In September we also thought we had finally found the perfect floor plan for Abby to grow and develop in, while also meeting all of the needs of our growing family.  We picked out our lot, were choosing our counters, flooring, cabinets, etc...  We were really excited, but as the weeks passed we started to feel like something just wasn't right.  We took a little break from the house and gave it a few weeks.  We weren't planning to start building until February of 2014, but we wanted to make sure that we didn't make any wrong decisions.  In the first week of November we stumbled upon a house that caught our eye.  A few months prior my mom had stopped at a garage sale there and the owner had told her that they would be putting it on the market in the next year.  My mom drove us by at that time, but I remember thinking that it probably wouldn't work because it has 3 stories.  It was a beautiful house, but I honestly never gave it another thought.  Well wouldn't you know it, the house that we stumbled on in the beginning of November was the same house from a few months prior.

We decided to take a look and ended up LOVING it.  It had a perfect bedroom for Abby, plenty of room in the common areas for her wheelchair to roll smoothly through the house, a big bathroom and kitchen downstairs for her to learn daily living skills, and what I LOVE the most is that the laundry room is connected to her room.  If you have a tube fed child, then you know how often bed sheet and clothing changes happen that ultimately send you running to the laundry room with tubie food filled sheets and blankets.  There are so many other great things about this house, but there are also a lot of things we knew we'd need to do to make it our home.  We decided to put our offer in and a few days later we found out that the owners had accepted.

Later in November my aunt and uncle came to visit us from California and by the end of their visit they were excited to make the move here in the spring.

December has been great, I've just been in horrific pain and am sooooooooo ready for 2014 to roll around so that I can give birth to an amazing future president, lol!!  In all seriousness though, as I reflect on the past year I'm floored that God has blessed us in so many areas of our lives.  Both Abby and Emma are healthy, we're going on 3 years without any brain surgeries or surgeries in general, I've met an amazing chiropractor that's helped me heal from years of pain, Matt's VA disability was processed and approved for far more than we expected, and we just bought a new home.  I honestly don't know if I can say what has been the most amazing thing from 2013, but if I had to say what I'm the most excited about right now...it would be starting the new year by bringing a new life into this world.  I always felt like someone was missing from our family, but I honestly didn't know if I had the energy to add another child to the ever growing chaos we call life.

I've taken a lot of time to reflect, but I've taken very little time to dream about the next year.  I am very excited to get back into a regular workout routine, go back to work (mainly in my at home office), drink smoothies again every day (I don't drink them every single day anymore because that's not what Lincoln has wanted), and go on our first vacation as a family of 5 at the end of February.  I'm excited about a relaxing vacation, but am not looking forward to a 3 to 4 hour drive with a new baby, an Abby that thinks she needs to yell at us every time we get in the car, and Emma who thinks it's absolutely vital to talk non stop.

Ultimately it's going to be a great year...looking forward to taking things a little slower with a little baby man and my miraculous girls.  As for Matt, I have a strong feeling that he'll be spending lots of time in the new year getting his man cave set up, playing darts and watching whatever sport is on with his friends.  I'm so thankful for those of you that read my blog, my friends on Facebook and Twitter, in real life, and my amazing family members.  I can't wait to see what amazing blessings God holds for you in this coming year.  Happy New Year to you and you're family, and I hope you have a fabulous time ringing it in.  As for me, I'll be drinking organic sparkling apple cider, eating some taquitos, and dipping them in quacamole.  Jealous much????  LOL!!!

Until next year...