Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Healing Journey

So, I’m a horribly inconsistent blogger, there’s no denying it. But hopefully, now that I am done with school and have figured out the ropes to my new job of Stay At Home Mom (well, as much as I’ll ever have motherhood of 2 toddlers figured out), I will have more time for blogging! Learning to balance the needs of my children (play, naps, healthy meals, etc.) is the toughest job I’ve ever had, and the most rewarding.

Anywho, what has really been on my mind lately is healing. It’s a LONG story…and I have a life, therefore I’m going to skip to the basics and spare you the detailed journey to the present point in my life.

My daughter has suffered with severe constipation since she was about a week old. I’m talking like only pooping once every 10 to 11 days, painful kind of poops. I also suffered with painful poops and constipation my entire childhood, but it got better as I entered my twenties and ate a more varied diet. Also, since the age of 12 (maybe 11?) I have been dealing with moderate acne that sometimes would almost clear (especially in the summer time when I was outdoors a lot) and frequently flare up. Both of my children have eczema and recurring yeast diaper rashes.

As I looked for ways to heal my acne (not gonna lie, this whole “health” discovery came from my pure anger and frustration at my acne not going away, hello I’m not a teenager anymore!) I came across dietary changes as a successful way to heal acne. The more I read, the more things clicked and the more a-ha moments I had. I started remembering things from my childhood that suddenly made sense, like chronic ear infections, daily tension headaches, constipation, acne, bloating, dizziness, etc. One discovery led to another—dairy free, gluten free—until I had read enough and came to the conclusion that I had leaky gut (and had thus passed it on to my children during birth). Yikes! As sucky as it was figuring out what the heck was causing my seemingly unconnected symptoms, it was nice finally knowing what I could do about it. A way to not only heal my acne, but my daughter’s constipations and my son’s eczema?...heck yeah! Turns out, the SAD (standard American diet) diet we were consuming is basically slowly killing us (and millions of other people). Kind of like you can smoke for 30 years before lung cancer finally finishes you off, or slowly be poisoned by asbestos before dying of cancer. My first thought was great, all I have to do is change our diet. Yeahhh…changing the way you eat isn’t that easy. See, I LOVE carbs, like I used to eat 3 bowls of cereal a day, it’s my favorite food, besides cheesy bread, pizza, and ice cream. You wanna know why it’s so difficult for most people?  Because bad bacteria in your gut are sending neurotransmitters (messages) to your brain telling you to crave sugary foods and carbs because that’s what the bad bacterium eat! Tricky, huh? And let me tell you, the first 3 days of eating a 100% whole foods, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, egg-free diet was HELL. I wanted BREAD! In any form! It seemed like each day I would cave in and “cheat” by eating a handful of peanuts, or worse- melting honey and peanut butter in the microwave to create a yummy gooey treat. Thus I came to the realization that this strict of an elimination diet was not going to work for me. It may work for many people, and I still think it is probably the most effective and efficient, but it’s not going to work unless I adhere to it 100 percent. So, I did some more digging, and found a gut-healing diet that is more on par with my life and personality (I have NEVER been able to diet-I used to joke that’d I’d rather work out all day than have to be on a diet). It is a temporary diet, like most elimination diets are, that my family and I will be doing for 2 weeks. We then reassess the state of our gut by slowly reintroducing problem foods (dairy, gluten, eggs, etc.) to see if we have a reaction. If nothing happens, we continue with our lives eating a whole foods diet (no one should ever go back to eating the SAD way). However, if there is a reaction, we continue with the special diet for 4 more weeks, than reassess again. The book that outlines this plan is The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health, by Dr. Mullin. It’s a fascinating read, even if you don’t follow his plan.

So, even though we (read I) failed at the GAPS diet in January, we have been eating a balanced whole foods diet, with the only grain being the occasional sprouted spelt muffins (home made, of course, with no refined sugar) since then. Some improvements have occurred: the children no longer have a yeast rash and it has stayed away for over a month, Prairie is pooping daily (sometimes 3x a day), my constipation has gone away, and Jaime and I have both lost a few pounds.

Anway, the point of this post is to bring you all (if anybody actually reads this) along on the journey with me; sort of like accountability partners. I am hopeful that posting my progress on the world wide web (with pictures, eek!) will give me motivation to finish. Because if I fail, I’m not only disappointing myself, but I’d also be a liar and failure to everyone else.

My health journey really started with my second pregnancy almost 2 years ago, but I am just now truly embarking on a healthy, healing journey to not only loose weight but improve my quality of life and that of my family.

Now, time to “before” pics:
3 months postpartum with Prairie (last March): I had lost all of the baby weight and was about 163lbs.
Hips: 41.5in.
Waist: 32.8in.
Thighs: 21.27in.
February 20, 2014, about 145lbs. Can you tell that I've been working out 4 days a week for the past 2 weeks?! I'm happy with the progress and hope it continues. Now, to heal the gut and banish constipations, acne, and eczema FOREVER!
New measurements
Hips: 37.5in.
Waist: 31in.
Thighs: 20in.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Soo...Yeah, it's been awhile

I haven't blogged in awhile because my life was insanely busy this summer. Jaime was out of town all summer working, I have (had*) two kids under the age of 3, and was finishing my last semester at Iowa State. As of August 9, 2013 I am officially graduated!!! I am now enjoying being a stat at home mama :) WAY better than doing homework and sending the kids off to daycare (not to mention the $300/week we are saving)! Hopefully, I will be able to blog more, but honestly, I still have a lot on my plate. I REALLY want to catch up on my sewing to-do list, we are packing for the big move this December (a post on that tomorrow), and my two kids (obviously) need a lot of my attention, on top of daily chores.

Anywho, we went to Washington D.C. at the end of August to celebrate! So, here comes a large photo dump of my summer:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Time For a Photo Dump!

I've been very busy with classes and learning to juggle two kiddos lately, so not much blogging going on. The funny thing is, I started this blog as a way to chronicle my experiences as a mom in college, but I rarely have the time because I'm busy...or too tired! Anywho, here are some pics of those two kiddos that keep me so busy :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Are y'all ready for a big confession? I no longer LOVE pocket diapers. Huh GASP! I know...It's not to say I don't like them; it's just that they aren't my favorite anymore. After just over 2 years of experience cloth diapering and with 2 kids now, I have tried almost everything. What I've come to realize is that pockets are perfect for beginning your cloth diaper journey as they are easy to use and daycare/grandma friendly.
My stash from awhile ago (when Gabe was maybe 18 months?) Look at all those pockets!

Now that I've tried flats and covers and fitteds with covers, these are by far my favorite. After long usage I've noticed that the fleece in pockets and all-in-ones don't hold up so well. They don't necessarily get holes, but they stop being so clean. The synthetic fibers hold on to poop particles and detergent build-up more than natural fibers like cotton and bamboo. So I guess it's not the style of pocket diapers that bothers me, but the fact that nearly 100% of them use fleece, suedecloth or some other synthetic stay-dry material. For some, this can lead to more yeast infections as it's difficult to kill the bacteria so once the child gets an infection, the diapers keep reinfecting them.

Unfortunately, I didn't come to this realization until after purchasing a lot of BumGenius Freetimes to complete our stash. I absolutely LOVE the design of the Freetime, I just wish it was made of cotton like the Elemental, then I'd be a very happy mama! If it weren't for the kids being in daycare (and my husband's angry response when he realizes I want to sell all the diapers we just bought) I would completely redo my stash to include:

  • at least 6 more covers
  • exchange the prefolds for more flats (I prefer flats because they dry quicker and are more customizable than prefolds). 
  • fitteds for night time use
  • a few more upcycled wool covers

When I first started cloth diapering the "old school" diapers were very intimidating. In reality they can be just as easy as pockets, especially if you simply "padfold" a flat or "trifold" a prefold into a cover before hand, then it's ready to go at the next change. What I do is fold all the flats as I'm putting the diapers away. We have a bin for prefolds and flats and a bin for covers in our changing table. At a diaper change I simply wipe down the used cover and set it to air dry, grab a clean cover, set the flat in it and snap/velcro it on to baby! For daycare I would love to exchange all my pockets for the Best Bottoms diaper system, which you can see for yourself here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3 months

Prairie turned 3 months on March 4th. I wasn't going to do the traditional 3 month pictures because we are really tight for money, but she is so stinkin' precious I just had to get her pictures taken! I decided to take the pictures myself at home. She's always smiling at me anyway, so I figured I'd just dress her up when she is in a good mood and shoot some photos! Here are the results:

I took A LOT more pictures, but those were the "best." Here are some of my favs that didn't make the cut:

 This expression is priceless :)

Daddy wanted a picture with her but by this time she was done with the photo shoot and would give us no more smiles.