Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hell hath no fury like 3 weeks of "Vacation"...

So we were gone for a while. A long while. And we've learned some lessons. I'll share them here so you can avoid them at all costs. You're welcome.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, DO NOT DRIVE TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FROM SEATTLE.

I mean, you can. While 20 weeks pregnant. With a 2 year old. But I would not recommend this. It sounds like fun at first. You've borrowed a portable DVD player (LIFE SAVING DEVICE), you've made some yummy food for the road, you're staying over 2 nights in hotels to break up the trip appropriately. Seems like all should be good, right? Until. You decide that if you eat another homemade, organic peanut butter and jelly sandwich you might just lose your ever loving mind. So you grab some food. Which is, of course, garbage- even if you go to those few places that serve hormone free burgers and chicken. And then. You begin to experience the wrath of the toddler. The toddler who you forgot to change so she's soaked. SOAKED. And who was fine in the car, but now that you've decided to let her run around and get out some energy has suddenly turned into a screaming, whirling ball of angry. And forget trying to put her back into said car. Everyone around you will assume you're kidnapping her. Don't worry, the screaming subsides eventually. Just put on the Muppets soundtrack. But only the Mah Na Mah Na song. For the 367th time.

Also. Keep in mind you're driving with a preggo. So you may have just passed all those slow cars on that one lane highway through the mountains. But it doesn't matter. Because approximately every 20 minutes, said preggo WILL make you pull over so she can pee. Complain all you want. Just remember, driver, that YOU HAVE DONE THIS TO HER.

Congratulations! You have finally made it to San Diego! No one was stabbed so you consider this a win. And tomorrow night, Nana flies in to help wrangle the munchkin while daddy is at work all day long every day. Because this wasn't so much a vacation as a work trip that wifey and babygirl refused to let hubbs take by himself. And since preggo wifey is all high risk and can't fly, driving the total of 3,600 miles is a necessary evil.

This week goes by fairly smoothly. Nana is a HUMONGOUS help and babygirl only has a few meltdowns. Mainly in Disneyland, when we evil grown ups dared to try to cover up her pretty Ariel dress with a sweatshirt when the temp plummeted. Imagine if you were to dismember someone with a dull butter knife. THAT level of screaming and kicking. In the happiest place on earth.

Adorable. First thing in the morning, meeting the princesses. Precious.

End of the night. DAGGERS. Completely. Over. It.


We had many adventures, and then Nana had to leave. BIG MISTAKE. Tired preggo mamma and toddler replaced by a different, unhappy child that mamma didn't recognize in tiny hotel room with no vehicle and no healthy food options equals unhappy mess that really just wants to get the hell home already.  All the Peaceful Parenting books I read flew out the window as I found myself yelling 45 times a day "DON'T TOUCH IT!!!", "STOP SCREAMING!!" (always helpful when screamed), "STOP RIPPING THE BIBLE!!"

Finally, we are free to go. THANK. GOD. So we decide to take 4 days to drive home. This seems ridiculous in so many different ways, but when will we ever drive up the California coast back to Seattle again? Let's just do it. Back in the car. This time, zero amounts of homemade food since our hotel for the last week didn't even have a refrigerator. All crap, all the time. Stopped up, cranky, tired, homesick car load for  4 days. WOOHOO. Oh yeah and Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so let's menu plan on the drive home and order a turkey over the phone. The very last one left at our fave Bill the Butcher. A 15 pound turkey for 3 people??? SUUUUUURE. It's only $92. that is totally justifiable right? Hubbs? Less than pleased. Whatevs. We had turkey.

And in the final phase of ALL IS NOT FAIR FOR THE PREGGO ON A ROAD TRIP. Napa. We drove through, and stopped at, several wineries. In Napa. AND I. CAN'T. DRINK. Perfect.

Outside a gorgeous winery, where I got to watch hubbs sample some AH-MAAAAZING wines. UNFAIR.


So we get home. Sleeping in our own bed is heaven. Eating our non-processed homemade food again is glorious. Trying to get back into our routine? HELL. Apparently, 3 weeks gone equals one very very clingy, tantrum-y toddler. Who LITERALLY clung to me 24 hours a day for a full 2 weeks. Even while sleeping, her little arms were death gripped around my neck as she snored in my face. Which was adorable. Except have you ever tried sleeping in the same position, while pregnant and having to pee every 2 hours, for the entire night? Not. Pleasant. Naptimes were back to only sleeping with mamma- something we STILL have not been able to fix. And from the day after Thanksgiving and lasting an ENTIRE WEEK- we got hit with a cough and cold. It was mild. But. Our energizer bunny of a babygirl did not MOVE off of my lap for that entire week. I've never seen her sit still for so long. And of course that meant that every time I needed to move- to get water or food, to pee, to just GET UP, she freaked out and screamed, and I ended up having to wear her. which is SUUUUPER pleasant with my protruding belly. And getting prepped for Christmas? HA! Christmas cards will most likely end up being Happy New Years cards, decorations didn't go up until 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, and I'm still not sure what I'm cooking. And oh yeah we have to mail out all of our loved ones' Christmas gifts so maybe I should have figured that out weeks ago......

The shining light on this whole experience, besides of course getting to take babygirl to Disneyland which I've been BEGGING the hubbs to do for about a year now. We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that our organic, non-processed food lifestyle has a HUGE impact on our kiddo, and us. It took 2 weeks to get all that garbage out of our systems again and start having regular poops and attitudes. But I finally got my sweet natured, happy, helpful babygirl back! I was a bit worried she might have just entered that terrible phase and I would be SOL for Baby A's arrival. But nope. It was just all the junk in her system.

So I'll continue reading all the studies on behavioral issues in kiddos connected with high fructose corn syrup, food dyes and additives, and processed foods. But I don't really need to. I got to live it for a total of 5 weeks. And now? I don't care how tired I am. I don't care how difficult it will be with 2 kids. I will be cooking from scratch almost all of our meals from here on out. (I suppose I'll give myself a break sometimes and we'll go out to a trusted restaurant occasionally). But I can guarantee that that will be astronomically easier than dealing with a crazo toddler and an infant. 

It might seem like asking a lot from already tired, stressed out mammas. And trust me, I GET IT. But. If you're finding some behaviors from your kiddos a bit unsavory, just give this whole organic thing, and as much non-processed food as possible, a try for a few weeks. If it is processed, just ensure it doesn't have any artificial dyes and as few ingredients as possible, hopefully all ones you can pronounce. I SWEAR ON MY LIFE you will see a difference.

It's nice to have babygirl back. I'm gonna keep it that way.

Loves!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A tangle of arms and legs...

So another mommy post. I might touch on just HOW ANNOYED I am that it looks like WA voted against labeling GMO's, but if I let myself really go there it would consist of mainly curses and just how ignorant Americans are willing to remain while we all get sicker and sicker because of our food system.

I digress.

I'll be in San Diego for basically the rest of the month of November and so this will be my last post for a while. I figured I'd end on a happy sappy note. Not something people are used to from me, but too bad. Here it is.

We were all snuggled in bed the other night, because YES WE STILL CO-SLEEP. DEAL WITH IT. Oh hey there I am.....

anyway, babygirl has this habit of trying to sneak back into my womb by any means possible. She reserves it mostly for bedtime and upon entering a new place for the first 10 minutes. Typically, as I'm all sorts of pregnant and sweaty, I try to push her off onto daddy, or let her know that the people in the room are not going to kidnap and eat her. However, on this particular night, I realized how much I'm going to miss these moments when she's no longer so willing to cuddle. When she no longer needs me for her warm up period before interacting with others. How I'm gonna miss the smell of her sweaty little bedhead, or how she randomly grins in her sleep. Or shouts out "DOG. WOOF" with her eyes still closed when the neighborhood dogs give their 3 am concert.

We recently moved her crib into our bedroom and removed the front portion of it to encourage her to sleep in her big girl bed. Which she used maybe once for about an hour. Daddy thought, and I kinda sorta agreed that before baby #2 makes an appearance she should get used to sleeping in her own bed, as having all 4 of us in bed might be a bit dangerous. Someone has a habit of punching and/or kicking us in the face while we sleep.

But, I'm not ready. Not to mention babygirl is definitely not ready- she still suffers from some pretty traumatic night terrors which are heartbreaking. I'm not ready to not wake up to her face on mine, breathing on me and ready to pounce. or not have her, inch by inch, make her way into my armpit in her sleep. I'm not ready to throw her baby-ness completely out simply to make way for the new baby.

And so, I've decided. I'm not gonna. Yeah yeah yeah there are a ton of differing opinions on this, but honestly, when have I ever really cared about anyone else's opinion? This child is so so excited to take her babies and nurse them, rock them, put them to bed, carry them around with her. I want her to hold onto that, and love on baby a ton. But. If I start stripping away all of her comforts, all of the things she's come to rely on to get her through the night, literally- I have a sneaking suspicion she's not gonna think that new baby is so cute. She's going to try to sell him. She's thrifty that way.

And I gotta be honest. The thought of all 4 of us snuggled up in bed? That sounds like heaven to me. Not when they're teenagers. Obviously. But now, when they're small and cuddly and their morning breath isn't bad and they still can't completely pronounce the 2nd syllable of any word....in the time that feels like an eternity during whiny time and an instant at the same time. While they're still my babies. I want a family bed. There I said it.

But what about you and your husband? How will you ever have sex?

People please. I'm pregnant. Clearly this has not been a challenge for us.

Do I think this is going to hinder her ability to ever sleep on her own?

Nope. When she's ready, she'll know that she's safe. and that nighttime isn't scary. If I decided to just go ahead and throw her in her own bed or own room now when she's not ready I think there's a much better chance that she'll never be ok with sleeping. And that's just a bummer cause sleep is awesome.

But your hubbs hates it, right?

No. Does he sometimes miss just cuddling with me at night? Of course. Would he trade in all the snuggles he gets at night, especially after working long hours and not getting to see her all day long? Not for anything. The sweetest sight is when I wake up and she's all nestled up in his armpit, both snoring away. Serious. Melt.

There is nothing like waking up in a tiny tangle of limbs and bedhead. It reminds me how blessed I am. And how granola I've become. It also reminds me that no matter how much she tries to imitate being a tiny little adult, she's still my baby at heart, and I'm gonna keep it that way for as long as I can. 


Friday, October 18, 2013

Hey look I'm alive! Or, Why I suck at blogging right now...

So. It's been a while. And I apologize. Life went ahead and kicked my ass. I'm getting used to it now. Here's the scoop.

Babygirl and I decided to take a last minute (like booked the tickets the DAY before we left last minute) trip to New Jersey cause Nana needed an Ava fix. We were putting off going to Jersey, or making any kind of travel plans because it looked like we were gonna be moving to South Carolina by the end of the summer, and we figured once we did it'd be an easy drive to Jersey to visit family.

But, babygirl and I went for what was supposed to be a week. We flew out Tuesday. On Wednesday, the hubbs called me and said "looks like I didn't get the position. not moving for a while at least." Ummmm, bring on the tears and the suckfest.  At this point in the summer (early August) I had already packed up my stuff and moved (in my head). I was SO. DONE. with Washington. Craptastic weather. Too far from family. And come August 26th, we would have to start paying for 3 plane tix since babygirl was turning 2. I was NOT HAVING IT. Charleston was beautiful, and SUNNY, and warm, and on the east coast and SUNNY. I didn't have miserable allergies there. We could get out from this stupid expensive mortgage finally. I could see family so much more often. and Disneyworld was just HOURS away!! 

So to say my world came crashing down with that phonecall is fairly accurate. I had no idea what was coming.

Friday morning. Having a blast in Jersey, although not feeling great. Waiting for my period, which was 5 days late. Called my mom at work and asked her to pick up a pregnancy test on her way home because, although I was sure I wasn't, I knew if  I just peed on a stick then my period would show up the next day. Cause I went and spent money. Murphy's Law and all that.

HA! She asked me how long it took, and  said about 3 minutes. Except. I walked out of that bathroom about 50 seconds later, because I had 2 VERY VERY VIVID LINES. More vivid than any test I had taken with babygirl. And it showed up IMMEDIATELY.

WHAT. THE. EFF.

My mom looked at me, and I just lost it. Couldn't stop bawling. We realized this was probably why he didn't get the job in Charleston. God's timing and all. I was not amused. Called the hubbs, and he was stupid ecstatic. Said he couldn't stop smiling all day long at work.  Awesome for him. I did not want this. This was not my plan.

I of course knew why I felt so crappy and it continually got worse. Morning sickness was sucking hardcore. And I kept wanting to kick myself. I realized that we hadn't been safe 1 time. 1 lousy time. We had talked about maybe possibly having another child after we moved...but my hope was that I could push it off and push it off and then we would decide not to do it. I had already envisioned our family in the future...our perfect little family of three. One child. That was all.

Having a toddler and having morning sickness was not making this any easier on me either. She was clingy. It was hot. She wanted to nurse. I wanted to die a little. She didn't like strollers but carrying her was making me even more sick. I called the hubbs the day before I was supposed to fly home and broke down, telling him there was no way I was getting on a plane by myself with a toddler feeling this craptastic. He had to fly to Jersey and come get us. He heard the desperation in my voice and said he had to work the rest of the week cause he was the only manager in the office, but he would fly out on Friday and take us home. Trip extended to a little over 2 weeks. Which was awesome to have my mom there to help, but I have to say there's something REALLY nice about having a bathroom attached to your bedroom, so I was itching to get back home.

The next bunch of weeks (also known as my first trimester) were me basically locking myself in my house and being sick and sad and worried and sad and sick some more. Went to the doc and found a really really strong heartbeat and a healthy pregnancy. Also found out that I'd have to go on a blood thinner regimen. NOT HAPPY. That doesn't exactly mesh with this whole no medicine, organic, clean living we had been doing. And of course, when I JUST STARTED to feel like I was mastering my life as a mommy, and I was really enjoying my body and how great I was feeling, of COURSE I would go and get pregnant and ruin that all in one shot. How was I gonna handle two? How would babygirl feel about it? I was already being a terrible mother due to how terrible I felt. TV all the time. Not doing a whole lot of cooking. Forget eating at the dining room table. Going on walks wasn't happening. Leaving the house wasn't happening that often.

And lets just add on to that that I was TERRIFIED. Am terrified. Although a little less now. What if this baby comes even earlier? What if it's a boy, and boys are statistically less likely to pull through a preemature birth? I'm not connecting to the pregnancy now, what if I never do? How am I ruining babygirl's babyhood by getting pregnant again? Do I have to cold turkey stop nursing so it doesn't bring on contractions?  She can't handle that. Can we, as a couple, as a family, handle losing a child? And after finally ridding my body of toxins, how is it gonna handle being shot up with blood thinners? I don't want that but I want a healthy baby.

So. I disappeared for a bit. To clear my head, and because looking at any kind of computer screen or book was making me uber nauseous. And here's what I've come to accept.

God gave us the baby for a reason. He knows what our family can and can't handle, and clearly he thinks we would make a good family of 4.

We got a fabulous high risk doctor willing to work with us. So, I am NOT injecting myself with lovonox daily, but I am taking a baby aspirin every day so that the placenta doesn't develop any blood clots, since that's what likely happened to cause the abruption with babygirl. Not super happy, but better than ALL of the drugs they wanted me on.

It looks like this one is a boy...so someone I know is going to get a little snip snip since I. AM. DONE. having babies.

I am more tired than I have ever been in my entire life. Babygirl knows something is up, and has decided to be ridiculously clingy, a poor napper, a poor sleeper (back to 2 feedings in the middle of the night, awesome) and extra whiny to make up for me being sick and tired. She's also taken to mimicking me puking, which is just perfect. So there's that.

And. I have to start giving myself some leniency. Sometimes, cooking is NOT in the cards for me. I'm trying to make more than is needed at time consuming meals so I can freeze half and have it on those days when I'm not cooking. And a lot of times we have pasta. And we're not eating chicken because *GAG* I do NOT do chicken while pregnant. Bring on the pork and beef. So I started buying a few organic cereals (this baby is a cereal fiend). And I started buying some organic frozen foods that I can heat up because GOOD LORD I'm eating 75 times a day (a parasite on the inside AND one on the outside leaves this mamma starving) and I need a little variety in my life. And we eat out a lot more than we used to. Still trying to only go to those places that I know use decent ingredients, but it's not nearly as good as making everything from scratch so my body is of course playing mutiny every once in a while.

And I'm not reading a bunch, or watching food documentaries, or on facebook or this blog much.

I AM watching an awful lot of SuperWhy and Disney movies. And I'm trying to be ok with that.

And ironically, for all the bitching and moaning I did ALL SUMMER LONG about my need for constant sunshine, I REALLY need Washington to get in gear and BRING ON THE FALL. I'm a sweaty, hormonal beast and if I can't start wearing all my adorable preggo sweaters to cover the "is she fat or pregnant" bump I'm gonna lose my flippin mind.

So there's that.





Friday, August 2, 2013

33 Years

I have been obsessed with my weight/ looks for as long as I can remember. I have also felt sick to my stomach for as long as I can remember.

Obsessed with food. will this make me fat? will this make me sick?  how many calories in it? will I have to throw this up? is this bite worth hating myself when I look in the mirror?

And I'm not alone. Not by far. Because EVERYONE I KNOW is thinking the same things. EVERY FEMALE I'VE EVER KNOWN has been on a diet for a good portion of their lives. EVERYONE has looked at pictures proclaiming how fat they are. We all talk about it. Like it's just the cool thing to do to talk about all of the parts of your body that you hate. That you wish you could zap away.

Nailed it.

I love and hate this. I love this because it shows how "plastic" we all can be. We can recognize this behavior in ourselves, and laugh about how ridiculous it is, while continuing to do it. I hate this because how many teen girls sat in that movie theater and went "if she hates her calves, mine are repulsive!" Not intending to at all, this scene sent a message that even skinny isn't skinny enough.

And I've had it.

The BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY that is the diet industry is profiting off of making us feel fat, shame for being fat, and giving hope that their product will be the cure that will fix all of the problems in your life. Cause when you're skinny you have no more problems right?

I have 2 little words for the diet industry. F*** YOU.

F*** YOU for pushing us to believe that we can't be good unless we live up to your standards.
F*** YOU for working arm in arm with Hollywood/ Fashion Industries to make the genetic freaks (yeah that's right Giselle...you are NOT THE NORM) the gold standard for woman.
F*** YOU for ROTTING US FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Knowingly. Willfully.
F*** YOU for KNOWING that your plan can not possibly be long term, that it will have TERRIBLE health consequences, and for pushing it anyway all in the name of the almighty dollar.

I read somewhere (and try as I might, I cannot find this blogpost again... ARGH) that the diet industry started after World War II. And it started because the men in power at the time were scared. Women had to start working, since their husbands were off fighting. Working outside of the home had given women some empowerment, and men were scared as hell. If they weren't able to keep their women at home and in-line, what would this country come to? So, they decided to hit us another way. Kill off our confidence by making us feel less than. Telling us that the way we looked, now that we were out in the work world, was the only important thing, and if we didn't measure up? Well then we simply were not worthy. I have zero idea where she got her information, but as far as all of the other research I've seen as to when the diet industry started? It all lines up. And so I choose to believe her. I think it's the same thing that happened with the mommy wars. Just more ways for women to tear each other apart and down. And this makes me RAGE.

I grew up in the 80's and 90's. Margarine was the healthiest thing for you! Buy that tub of country crock- butter is bad! So fattening! Instead eat this....only part of it is made out of plastic. Yup. Plastic. NEVER EVER EVER eat eggs! Especially the yolks! The cholesterol will kill you immediately! Don't use salt, use this fake it-kinda-tastes-like-salt-but-it's-all-chemicals-so-it's-good-for-you! NEVER EAT FAT! Fat makes you fat. Don't eat calories! Calories make you fat! Here, we created these little pretty blue and pink and yellow packets of powder that make everything SUUUPER sweet but no calories. and no fat. so dig in!

Snackwells, Fat Free Ice Cream (even the name is oxymoronic), fat free potato chips (they only cause a leeetle bit of anal leakage), fat free salad dressing, calorie free soda, sugar free everything.

Then it was onto NO CARBS!  Parents watch out, bread kills. Put down that potato. Put down that fruit. Carbs will send you straight to your grave! Isn't that why all Italians weigh 400 pounds!!! (oh yeah, they don't...let's just not mention Italy or France or just Europe in general....) If you just eat bacon and meat and cheese all of your problems will be solved! Stay away from the rice!  Look at all those fat people in Asia...err...no don't look there. Just STOP EATING CARBS.

Now, if you pay enough money, you can go ahead and buy a friendship with Jenny, pay for some pals over at weight watchers, or have meals sent to your house from Nutrisystem (you'll save SO MUCH MONEY in groceries....except that you have to supplement with fruits, vegetables, bread, dairy....).  Or just pay someone to HYPNOTIZE YOU so that you never have to eat again! Or wire your jaw shut. Or only drink green smoothies.

And HATE LIFE.

Oh, and be sick. Extremely sick. Like, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, feeling like there's an army of little men stabbing you in every single one of your vital organs. Develop headaches, exhaustion, muscle weakness, loss of hormones, too many hormones, depression, anxiety. AND GAIN WEIGHT.

So that's basically the story of my dieting history...of my life. Because food and life? they go hand in hand. You need food to live. It's not something you can just not think about.

But today??  Today I'm claiming VICTORY over the fraudulent diet industry.

I have NEVER FELT HEALTHIER. My skin is clear, my hair is normal, my cramps are not forcing me to take copious amounts of drugs to give the smallest amount of comfort, I get headaches once every few months and only when I sleep with my neck in a weird position, I no longer have to always carry ibuprofen with me, or immodium, or tums because I DON'T GET HEARTBURN, and I rarely have stomach issues anymore....(just don't ask me how I'm feeling after I eat some garbage food at an amusement park). This coming from the girl who vomited EVERY SINGLE DAY for over a year and it couldn't be diagnosed. Who pooped up to 12 TIMES A DAY for no apparent reason. Who gained a CRAP TON of weight and bloat but was somehow malnutritioned.

This, my friends, is a miracle. Oh yeah. And the best part? Yes, I now fit into clothes that haven't seen the light of day since I got married. Yes I actually bought, and WEAR a two piece for the first time since my honeymoon. Yes I'm loving the way I look and feel right now. BUT. EVEN BETTER. My BMI is in the normal range, my percentage of body fat is in the normal range, my bone density is fabulous, my percentage of water in my body is spot on, I'm sleeping normally, my body is functioning as a body should , I'm not tired, weak, bloated, irritable, crampy, achy all the time.

And I'm sure your first thought is "What diet are you on?"

ZERO. No diet. because diets are of satan. "Well what exercise plan are you doing?" None. I run after my toddler. I clean my house. We go walking with friends sometimes. I once tried to do a pilates video, but babygirl decided to sit on my head so that didn't last long. We dance. We chase the cats. We go up and down the stairs a million times because someone LOOOOOVES the stairs now. I give her airplane rides (I'm sure that counts as an ab workout, right?).

The point is, I'm simply living my life. I'm making food the way food was made waaaay back in the day. Or, the way it's made now in countries where people eat a loaf of bread every day, accompanied by pasta, chocolate and wine, and they are all itty bitty with some nice curves.

I let it go. Do I obsess about food? Nope....but I do get REAL excited to figure out what I'm making for dinner. Because I know it's gonna be delish, the hubbs will be excited and continue to let me not ever have to go back to work, and babygirl will chow down. Do I eat dessert. Hells yeah. Do I buy cookies or cookie dough? No. I make dessert. I swear, the cookies that have been raved about by many only took maybe 15 minutes to put together and another 12 to cook.

My "secret" is to simply eat REAL FOOD. Did you know that fat is good for you? That your body CANNOT function without fat? So we buy Kerrygold butter and cheese. It's made from GRASS-FED COWS- imagine that, cows being allowed to eat what cows were designed to eat and not being injected with artificial hormones and antibiotics. Eating Kerrygold butter is unicorns dancing on rainbows good. We only drink organic whole milk (I'd like to move to raw milk, but someone I know doesn't feel like spending $12 per gallon...) Did you know that drinking anything but whole milk is giving you zero of the nutritional benefits you thought you were getting from drinking milk, and the process they have to make it skim or 1 or 2 percent is not a particularly healthy one? Same goes for ultra pasteurized milk...stay away- if the expiration date is a few months out do not buy!We use a crap ton of extra virgin olive oil (organic or certified, because a lot of companies are slipping nasty crap into their olive oil and are getting away with it). We eat bread. I just make it myself. And it's not really that hard, just a little time consuming with the rise times. Bread should have 4 ingredients in it-take a look at the packages you buy. It's INSANE what they're putting in there.

We buy ZERO processed foods (at least for babygirl and I. sometimes the hubbs gets some organic frozen meals to take to work if I didn't make his lunch for the next day). Do you know what they put in processed foods? A lot of chemical stuff to allow it to sit on a shelf and never expire. Also, they add gluten to almost everything. No wonder everyone and their mother is allergic to it. I was too. But not anymore!

Is this lifestyle easier? For me, it is. Mainly because I've always loved cooking, and I come from a family where everything was homemade. And also? I'm a food snob, and once I've tasted what REAL FOOD tastes like, I can't really go near the other stuff. It really is disgusting. 

Now. Obviously there are some meals that I make that are fairly time consuming...like lasagna. And when I make it, I make it in huge quantities so I can freeze it and we can have a yummy made from scratch meal when I'm just feeling lazy. However, the majority of meals that I make take no longer than 30- 45 minutes to put together. I do buy pasta for a lot of the pasta dishes I make, but I buy organic, made in Italy pasta that has only 3 or 4 ingredients. So, not Barilla. Or the blue boxes.

I have discovered a bunch of different ways to save time, save some money, and make yummy food. So I'm thinking perhaps I just need to host a big ole cooking party and we can all learn how to make different stuff. Fun and yummy. That's my kinda party.

So, the take away? After a lifetime (I'll be 35 in September, and I've been on this path for almost 2 years) of complete and total obsession with food, not eating, and being sick, I can breathe easy if we have plans for dinner AND something afterward. After years of battling an eating disorder, I'm no longer embarrassed to eat in front of anyone else, I no longer think about food 24/7, I no longer hate my body, I no longer miss out on life.

I seem to have not only healed my body, but I just may have healed my soul too.

Loves!



Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Closer to Fine- The Indigo Girls and Me

One of my all time favorite bands. The Indigo Girls provided the soundtrack to my high school and college days. Teenage angst, love, hate, break-ups and make-ups, searching for who you are...they were with me every step of the way. The first boy I really loved, and his passionate serenading me with "Romeo and Juliet" after we broke up, in front of my friends and cast mates (completely embarrassing then- now one of those moments I'll never forget because, seriously, when does that happen outside of the movies right??). My tool bag boyfriend and all the ways he made me feel less than had me scream singing many an IG song in my car parked at the inlet. My very first Spring Concert teaching my very first Freshmen Girls Choir where I arranged my very first song- "Let it be Me" with one brother on the piano and the other on the congas (introducing an entire new generation to the awesomeness that is Indigo Girls).  Little failures and little victories all come flooding back just by putting on "Rites of Passage".  My brother and I still love to rock out in the car to any one of their albums, naturally picking up the different harmonies and just chillin.

So, why am I waxing on about my band love?

Because last night was HUGE for me. MOMENTOUS. And I owe it all to our organic lifestyle.

Stop saying that's the dumbest thing you've ever heard. Hear me out.

Prior to last night, the last concert I attended was Creation, held at the Gorge, for 3 days, about 7 years ago. My brother and I went with a few friends. The entire time, the only thing I worried about was getting sick to my stomach in a place that only had portable toilets. Cause eww. So. I didn't eat. I tried not to drink too much water. Anything to keep my body from doing what it usually did. To say that this hindered my enjoyment is an understatement.

Since that time, I have been avoiding activities, hikes, experiences, LIFE in general. Because my body ALWAYS plays mutiny. The hubbs and I have missed out on so much because I didn't feel good. How crappy is that? How awful to miss a large chunk of your 20's and some of your 30's because of your literally shitty system?

So, while at the zoo with a friend, I saw that my fave, the Indigo Girls, were playing a concert. AT THE ZOO. And I decided that I was gonna take babygirl to her first, and best obviously, concert. Getting ready for it, I will admit, there was that little voice waaaaay back in my head trying to creep in, reminding me not to eat too much before or while we're there cause I don't need to get ill at the zoo, but I largely ignored it. I was just excited. Not nervous excited. Not "well i'm probably gonna puke right before and have to cancel" excited. Just plain ole excited.

And the concert? ROCKED. We had a blast. I didn't immediately spot all of the places where I could go and quietly puke if I needed to. I didn't have an escape plan if I had to end the night early (hubbs and I NEVER car pooled with other people. just in case.) I just went. And sang. And danced. And watched babygirl make new friends and enjoy some good music.

And that, my friends, is why I'm so passionate about this whole new lifestyle thing we've got going on over here. Because unless you've lived a life with an unknown illness that robbed you of every little single last bit of enjoyment and health, you have no idea how grateful I am to have a night like last night. And I want to have SO MANY of them. I want my daughter to have the kind of amazing experiences with me, and the hubbs, that I had with my parents growing up. Seriously, who else's mom threatens to ground them if they DON'T get on that roller coaster? (she knew I would love it if I would just stop worrying and get on. and I did). That woman was basically the director of all activities for us, our friends and some of the neighborhood kids. Every summer day was amazing- trips to Six Flags Great Adventure, trips to the beach, bike rides, volleyball in the backyard, bbq's at our house while a bazillion of us played "keep away" in our pool. (keep away is a fun, and dangerous game we created where you simply have to keep the ball away from the other team by ANY. MEANS. POSSIBLE.) Crab man - where our insanely strong dad would walk sideways throughout the pool, grab you under his arm and you had to try to get away. Regardless of how many kids he captured at the same time, no one ever escaped. ever. Because he's crab man.

My parents were (and still are) young and fun and active and the memories they made for me, my brothers and all of our friends I will treasure forever. and I want that for babygirl. And we're well on our way to that now.

It's just kind of amazing what not vomiting daily can do for your life.

Loves!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Broken

What started out as an idealic relationship with God (I mean, I SAW HIM when I was 3, hanging out with my recently deceased Nana, telling me every little thing was gonna be alright), turned into a struggle of I'm-not-worthy-enough that still rears its ugly head every now and again.

An entry for Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday.

I was molested by a female neighbor when I was 5. We were playing doctor. I didn't realize what had really gone on- but my mom noticed I was red and swollen and asked what happened. We didn't play with those neighbors anymore. Something similar happened with a female babysitter a few years later, but I didn't tell anyone. It felt dirty and wrong, and I didn't want to get in trouble.

Combine that with a volatile divorce that essentially ended the relationship I had with my father until well after college, and you have the perfect recipe for a lost little girl with zero self-worth, searching for love from male friends since females were not to be trusted. My mom is the only reason I survived with some shred of God's love for me.

I decided I would be a virgin until marriage. Until senior prom night- when that decision was taken from me while I was asleep. (I know, who falls asleep while making out with a boyfriend?) I woke up after it started and didn't want him to feel bad, so I didn't say anything. And also? I didn't break up with him. Nope. We had sex so I had to marry him, right? Enter the next 9 months of the worst. relationship. ever.

Did I mention I had an eating disorder through high school and most of college? So yeah. There's that.

And then it was yet another poor choice in mate. One who made me feel worthless. One who gave me a ring. Luckily, one I figured out was NOT the right one before the wedding.

But. That led to a string of one night stand-ish type encounters. Things I don't want to think about. Things I cringe about. That leave me wondering how in the world I did not end up pregnant or with a disease. God watched and protected me. As much as I was pushing His love away.

I tried to get back on the right track. I dated a super Christian boy. He was amazing. I fell hard. But. He couldn't get passed my past. Unlovable. Unworthy. Used. Unclean. Broken. Into a million little pieces.

And now? I have a husband I'm madly in love with. I have a babygirl I'd give my life for. They have helped to build me back up. Help me see my purpose. It's taken YEARS. Struggles. Cursing. Fighting so hard so he would just leave. so I wouldn't be left. But he loved me through it.

And then my church. My amazing church family that finally sent a message of pure LOVE and GRACE. Of "you are forgiven" and "you are cherished" instead of "who could ever want a rose that has been passed around by so many hands". a rebuilding of spirit. a rebirth of soul.

There are days I still feel broken. dirty. slutty. But God lifts me up. always. dusts me off. whispers I'm loved. you're mine. nothing will change that. you're clean because I LOVE YOU.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

a blog to apologize for not blogging

Yup. It's summer.

Apparently, it doesn't matter that I don't have a job. Summer break is summer break, and I am SLACKING at this whole blog thing. Granted, there's a bunch going on right now (just figuring out the rest of our lives and all, no big deal). But still. I feel bad.

My intent was to go back and read my old blogs and find the topics that I said I would cover in a later post and then actually do that.

Yeah. That hasn't happened yet.

So this is my apology to you, along with an I-promise-to-do-better. Later. Like, when the sun goes away again for another 10 months. Right now, girlfriend and I are enjoying our outside time. Vitamin D and tan. Fixes everything.

In the meantime, I am thinking about what else I'd like to cover here. And here are some of my flashes of brilliance:

- Fluoride and why you should never use it
- watch "Food, Inc" and blog about it....finally
- Alcohol owned by Big Ag
- some more random mom posts, since babygirl IS the most dramatic child ever. EVER.
- Vaccination- or "how I hope not to lose friends and alienate people, but I have to divulge everything I've researched, but I promise I don't think you're the devil for vaccinating your children"

So. I should get on that, huh.

Anyway, if you have something you'd like me to post about, you should let me know. Leave a comment. Visit my facebook  page. Send a smoke signal. Lemme hear from ya!

Loves!

Friday, July 19, 2013

It keeps me up at night...

This is not an easy post. This is what I think about when the lights are out and the fam's asleep and the noise of the day has finally turned off. It's also something I'm not sure I'll ever know the answer to, or if I even want an answer to. Just some ramblings that I thought I'd share...because I can't be the first mom to struggle with this.

If you're new here, I am the proud mamma of a preemie babygirl. Born 10 weeks early due to placental abruption, she flew into this world dramatically and forcefully, and that's just how she likes it. She's now almost 23 months old (about 20 months adjusted age), and learning new things every day.

But that's just it. She's not learning the same things that other kiddos are learning. Some of that is most likely my fault- I don't do a lot of learning based play with her. We don't go over our colors, our letters, our animals. We throw tennis balls, we dance wildly to Pandora, or just the music in our heads. We tickle fight. We giggle. We cook dinner together. We clean together. She wears all of my underwear around her neck. And anything with handles is her new purse that she prances around with. We have naked time, and she attempts to pee in her potty (sometimes just holding onto it as she sprays down the floor). We read the books she picks out. Usually more than once. She tries to dress herself, which a lot of times ends up looking like this:
we take walks. we hang out with our buddies. we have long conversations- not quite sure how but girlfriend connects with me without having to know the words. I just know what she's thinking, feeling, wanting. And she gets what I'm saying to her.

She's finally picking up on more words, but she's not really using them that much. She repeats words when we ask her to, and she follows directions fabulously. But outside of the CONSTANT babbling and play acting, she feels zero need to say real words to us. (Of course, minus the HI DA!!! that the hubbs gets every time he walks in the door).

And therein lies the rub. The one that gets me all insomnia like. The voice in my head that has been telling me since college when I worked at a summer camp for special needs children and adults, that it was practice for my life. The quite insistence in my gut that I not get her vaccinated, because I know that she'll be changed forever by it. The something in my heart telling me that babygirl is just gonna be a bit different than her buddies.

Kiddos far younger than her have mastered some of these speaking skills that she doesn't have/ use yet. And I know that every kid works at their own pace. I really do. But that doesn't stop the voice.

And I know that she is doing things now that most kiddos her age don't do. Life skill type things. She knows how to bathe herself. She buckles herself into everything completely unassisted. She stops and really THINKS about everything- the mechanics of it. She does NOT stop to think about climbing anything and everything- but as far as how things work, she's a mini hubbs- the little engineer.  She knows how to dress herself, shoes on correct feet and all. Independent doesn't begin to describe it. Mamma gets shooed away a lot.

And yet. I'm not enrolling her in every let's-learn-our-colors classes like I thought I would. I'm not taking her to speech therapists. Please, she hasn't even seen her pediatrician since January. Part of it is the different studies I'm reading on all the different methods of parenting around the world. The one that caught my eye? Primary School starts at age 7 in Finland. And they "learn how to learn". It's a fascinating article, and one I hold close to heart, since that seems to be the strategy I'm going with currently.

I thought it might just be laziness on my part (and maybe it partly is), but the time I have to spend with her I really don't want to be forcing her to learn things that I feel will come naturally at some point. Having said that, I now of course am a little worried that words aren't coming quite as naturally as I thought they would. And since we've done heavy attachment parenting, I thought maybe she's not talking because all of her needs are being met so she doesn't need to. Should I ignore her so she'll ask me for things?

It's scary, this whole parenting thing. Like, I haven't said all of this to ANYONE (hubbs and mom included). we can call it internet bravery. Sometimes the scary is less when typed. But sometimes the scary is all I can think about.

So. I read. A lot. And sometimes it's so comforting. To see that other cultures don't put SO MUCH into milestones. And their kids turn out just as smart. And sometimes I feel like a bad parent who has failed my child. But then I see how happy she is pretty much always and think I must have done something right.

This ball of busy will simply teach me more about God's timing. A lesson I'm not so sure I wanted just now, thank you very much.

My teenie preemie will someday learn to talk. I'm almost sure of it. When she's good and ready (stubborn little thing from day 1). And she might be a little behind her buddies. But she might catch up. And if she doesn't? Well, we'll tackle that when the time comes. I'm learning to take it in stride. I'm learning to deal with that voice. I'm sleeping a little better, sometimes.

Loves!

How AGT helps restore my faith in humanity

Yup. I'm a sucker for a good story. I also apparently enjoy weeping at a weekly scheduled time. And America's Got Talent is that fix for me.

Would you like to know exactly what prompted this post?

In the midst of reality shows highlighting stage moms who yell at, berate, embarrass, and harass their children into doing better, looking better, being better, I saw something that made me weep with joy.

Perhaps you remember last year's large dance group- they specialized in Latin dances, and the age ranges were crazy, like 5 to 18. Their instructors were a husband and wife team who glowed with pride every time their group performed.

This year, their very young son and daughter competed, separately, with a dance partner. They are amazeballs. The precision and understanding of those dances blew. my. mind. And then I started thinking. Oh man, these kids don't get to be kids. That's not cool. Is it really worth it for them to lose out on their childhood just to act like little adults and hope to become famous?  I really started to get angry at parents who forced their kids to grow up too quickly.

And then Vegas happened. And the little girl and her partner fell. And they got right back up, on the beat!, and continued on as if nothing happened. But after the performance she crumpled. And I was cringing at what we would see.

And then her parents. Her fabulous parents. He said- everyone falls. every dancer falls. I fall. It's how you get back up that makes the difference. And you got up like a professional. And then the hugs and I'm so prouds and giggles ensued, and I wept. Because I want that for every kid. It is an amazing testament to the power of positive coaching. You don't need to be an "Abby" (Dance Moms) or a pageant/ stage mom to "get" your kids to be the best.

And I'm taking it all in, because this mamma? This mamma used to be a coach. And no matter how much love I heaped on my girls....I know I heaped on a lot of yelling too. Some moments I'm super not proud of. I was young (22 when I started), but I can't blame it all on that. But I'm learning. And I'm glad I got schooled in a great way from watching reality tv.

So my babygirl can be involved with whatever she wants (right now it's looking like gymnastics or learning to be a monkey). And I'm learning to be the best coach I can be for her.

And trying to contain my crazy.

Loves!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What's on the Menu?? How Should I know!

I don't really feel ranty (unless, of course, you'd like to talk about the absolute LACK of driving ability I continue to find in this state), so I figured I'd just try to be helpful instead. We'll just see how that goes....

Anywho, I love to cook. LOOOOOOOOVE it. I will admit, it's definitely more difficult with a toddler underfoot, but still. What I have found, though, is that I'm not always that creative (thanks Pinterest, for pointing that out). I have my standard faves, but I do love variety, and since eating out for us doesn't happen much due to all of my scary reading, then blogging, topics, I have to spice things up. I figured I can't be the only one who has this issue, so I'm addressing it here. Here goes.

First.  I'm not going to bother typing out "organic" in front of every single thing. That's just obnoxious. So just know that every single thing we purchase is organic. And if it's meat/ cheese/ dairy, we try to make sure that it is also all free range and grass-fed. (Cheese is just not that easy. For the most part we stick with that, but it's quite limited, and we find that cheese imported from Europe is trustworthy, since they banned most, if not all of the crap that we put in our cows.)

Second. You need to have a well stocked pantry. For us, that means extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, dried beans, lentils, rice/ risotto, pasta, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nut butters, nuts, flour (unenriched, unbleached white flour, coconut flour, almond flour and quinoa flour), raw local honey, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red and white vinegar, an assortment of spices like red chili pepper flake, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel, tubes of tomato paste, jars of crushed tomatoes, quinoa, tortilla chips, cornmeal, buckwheat, potatoes. I've been able to make every kind of food under the sun with just these items, and they don't go bad.  There *may* also always be chocolate chips and brown sugar in there. You know. In case people drop by and I have to make cookies.

Third. Well stocked fridge. We have a fabulous organic produce delivery service that gives us a box of seasonal, local produce every Monday. We've tried so many different veggies and fruits that we never would have because of this and I get so excited every week to see what I can make with that week's goodies. And, they allow you to go in and customize your order (of course, you can still only get seasonal produce), so if I'm not loving one thing, I can get something different. We also visit our local butcher (Bill the Butcher- FABULOUS!) to stock up on meat, usually a month's worth. Typically a whole chicken, some chicken breasts, ground pork, ground beef, bacon and sometimes sausage. We'll make seperate trips if we're wanting lamb or steak. Milk and butter are always on hand. maple syrup. I make yogurt every week so that's always in there. Eggs. Strauss Family Creamery Chocolate Ice Cream- we are officially addicted. And we get bags of organic frozen berries from costco that are always in the freezer. Cheese- always fresh mozzerella, cheddar/ dubliner, goat/ feta, parmesan, and usually one fancy pants cheese (brie is always a hit and gruyere is fabulous too). Siracha (that was actually my brother's doing, but I've used it so many times and it's always a good staple to have). The roasted garlic that I make about once every 3 months (SOOOOO much tastier than garlic powder- recipe is here. And of course, feta stuffed olives, because babygirl and I could eat our way out of a barrel of those.

And there you have it. You can basically find all of those things in my house at any time. And I swear, 99% of the meals that I make and post about on my Dear Dinner Diary page are made up of those ingredients.

You'll notice I don't list any condiments on there (minus dijon mustard- because apparently someone figured out how to make it using only mustard. amazing!) I started really studying the labels of everything, even the organic stuff, and I still was not loving what I saw. So we stopped buying them, and now I just make my own condiments. Sounds like a pain, but it is really easier than I thought, you can cater it to your taste, it's cheaper, and it's a million times yummier.

I lost track, but next number important step is to set up your kitchen the way it works best for you. Sounds simple enough, but I didn't really ever embrace that until fairly recently and HOLY CRAP what a difference! I would say the MOST important change I made was to ditch the grinders for salt and pepper. I got ceramic jars to hold loose sea salt and pepper in (you can really use anything that looks good on your counter and has a lid).


 My sea salt and pepper holders are in blue with a cork lid. Just watch a cooking show. Any one. And you'll notice that they all do pinches, or handfuls, of s&p. No grinders anywhere to be found. With good reason. I cannot explain to you how much easier my life got once I started using this trick. And all that other goodness on the counter? My must have tools. You NEED a zester in your life. It grates cheeses, lemon and orange peels, spices like cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Again, huge huge timesaver. and TONGS. They are magical. I will never ever ever flip meat or anything else over with anything else. Tongs are your friend. And of course, an easy pour container for your oil. Points if it's fancy pants.

Because my kitchen is my haven, I MUST HAVE COFFEE. And since the hubbs spent, arguably, too much time in Europe, an espresso machine was a need. So we invested in a Nespresso- without a doubt the best purchase of our marriage. Makes the perfect cappuccinos and lattes. And of course, I have my fave cookbooks out on the counter for easy access.

I will admit, I have an obscene amount of counter space. That was a must have when purchasing a house. But I used to waste it. I hid that kitchen aid mixer in my pantry for 5 years. In those years, I maybe used it a dozen times. Enter whole food movement. Mixer on counter, and I use it at least once a week. So when my in-laws bought me a Kitchen Aid Food Processor (yes, I am aware that I am beyond spoiled), that went right on the counter and is used almost daily (which is why there are no parts on the base- they're in the dishwasher).  And we decided to not use microwaves after reading a lot about them. First off, because they make food taste horrible. Admit it. And second, because who wants to radiate their food? So. We sold ours and bought a hood. Now my smoke alarm doesn't go off every. single. day. and there aren't lingering food stanks. It's bomb.

Now that your kitchen makes sense for you, you'll find it a lot more relaxing to be in there. I know it sounds stupid, but I promise you, it's truth. And you know, especially if you have kiddos running around, every little second of time that you can save is huge.

I roast a whole chicken (2-3 pounder) about once a week. It's nice to have chicken on hand for lunches since we don't do lunchmeats,  and I make stock, which is infinitely better than storebought stock, WAY cheaper, SO SO good for you, and I use in a ton of stuff I cook. I just freeze it in mason jars.

Now onto the meals!

I feel like it's kinda cheating. I feel like every day when I post my dinners, I'm taking credit for something that is not truly my own. But here's how it works.

While drinking our breakfast smoothies, babygirl fully absorbed in SuperWhy, I decide what protein we're going to eat for dinner. Either that or I see what fun produce we have and what I'd like to base my meal on. Then I go to www.thechew.com. I type in the protein or produce, and I scroll through the recipes. I read through a few until I find the one that sounds the yummiest. The Chew is a fairly new show, so sometimes it's a bit limited. If I don't find something there, I go to www.foodnetwork.com and type it in. Then scroll through. Sometimes, I combine a few different recipes of things that sound good. I typically have to tweek it for what we have in the house, or for our taste (we don't eat seafood, so I'll use seafood recipes and make chicken or pork). That's it. I take out the meat to defrost and about an hour before hubbs gets home I start cooking whatever it is I've decided on.

TOTALLY CHEATING. I don't rack my brain for new, creative recipes. I get inspired at times, but really, I'm just plagiarizing other chefs. Is that a thing? 

It typically takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to put dinner together...longer if I decide to make bread, tortillas, etc. Even making the dressings, condiments and other accouterments only takes a few minutes and a good whisk.

Then I take all sorts of pretty pictures, while the hubbs explains to babygirl that mama is nuts, and I brag on Pinterest. Because I suck at arts and crafts, but dammit I can cook so there!

Loves!








Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Social Media- Please remove your heads from your collective a$$es

RANT ON.

In the past few months, maybe even few years, I have seen a plethora of things that piss me off on Facebook. Now that I'm more tech savvy, I'm seeing these things on twitter, instagram, etc etc. And now I've just hit my breaking point.

So what's got me raging this time?

Pictures of breastfeeding babies. Pictures of women who've endured mastectomies then covered their scars with tattoos in lieu of reconstructive surgery. Pictures of preemies with shunts in their heads to save them from brain swelling.

All of these pictures have been removed by Facebook for inappropriate content.

REALLY, FACEBOOK?

Women standing up, encouraging each other in the face of a disease that might be a death sentence, encouraging each other during the 2am feedings where you think your nipples just can't take it anymore, where super hero mammas are exclaiming with joy that THEIR MIRACLE IS ALIVE AND THRIVING....these are the pictures you choose to take down??

Want to know the pictures I want off of FB?

How about the ones I get on my newsfeed when my clearly horny acquaintances from other countries (they may or may not be related to the hubbs) "like" photos of women SPREAD EAGLE NAKED. You know what I don't want to see first thing in the morning? Vulva.

How about the pics that pop up when others decide to "like" a page dedicated to putting plastic surgery barbies in a too-tight bikini top in all sorts of "sexy" poses on motorcycles, cars, boats, feigning orgasm faces.

How about the pics of celebrities who apparently forgot to PUT. ON. THEIR. DAMNED. PANTS. before leaving the house. (Ri-Ri I'm looking at you. And you, X-tina)

How about we get rid of THOSE pictures, and then we can talk about how inappropriate it is to see less boob than you would in a v-neck with a child attached.

I've never considered myself a feminist (I really don't think I'm educated enough in that world to give myself the title)...but this sure smacks of sexism to me. As long as the pictures satisfy some sort of sexual pleasure, then it's all good. But GOD FORBID we take a look at something REAL. Something BEAUTIFUL. Something MEANINGFUL. Well now, that just makes us uncomfortable. And it's all about the comfort of our fellow men (I'm looking at you, large men on airplanes who insist on sitting spread eagle and REFUSE TO LET ME USE MY OWN ARMREST).

RANT OVER.

Jersey out.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why I'm Irritated...today

I'm kind of over it. The "everyone is being so honest so I'll jump on the negativity band wagon" thing that's been happening on parent blogs all over the country lately. I'm all for honesty...but can we celebrate everyone without making anyone else feel like they must be crazy, or abnormal. Maybe it's just me, but I feel a little like I CAN'T be honest in social media because then I would be making others feel bad. and that ticks me off.

So what am I talking about? 

It's posts like "Why I dread breastfeeding". "Why I regret being a SAHM". "Why what you do doesn't matter so you shouldn't be happy in it"...and on and on. (Yes. Theses are all actual blogs that were on Huffington Post today)

I'm sorry that it didn't work out for you the way you hoped it would. I truly am. But should I feel like I'm a freak show because I love it? Because I feel like I was called to do it? Should I keep quiet about my day and my thoughts because it makes you feel bad? AND.  Don't you think maybe, just maybe, your "honesty" about how hard everything was/ is is scaring the crap out of new parents?

We all know it takes work to be parents. Not a shocker. We know it takes work to breastfeed. But weren't there some moments you loved? Wasn't there SOMETHING outside of guilt that made you keep on keeping on? Even a little? I'm all for not making people think your life is perfect, and that everything came easy. But COME ON. Every day for you was hell. You were simply a dairy. You had no impact on your (now grown) children's lives because you raised them instead of working outside the home. No one appreciates you at all, ever. You are a shell of your former self because you chose to be a mom.

These statements are not exactly helpful either.

Everyone has different struggles in parenthood, and in general. But I notice that the only ones being plastered everywhere only contain the downsides. Is it just cool now to thrive in your suffering? Misery loves company so let's all band together and not give any credence to the possible positives of the role that YOU CHOSE.

What would happen if I wrote about how I dread the day babygirl no longer wants to breastfeed. Or how I LOVE cooking for my family- I look forward to it on an almost daily basis. How I love keeping a clean house. How, regardless of the temper tantrums and crankiness, I wouldn't trade this job for anything else in the world. How uber-obsessed with my daughter and hubbs I am. Of course, I'll add in there that it took some serious work.  Work to get her to sleep by herself for naptime (19 months to be exact). Work to get her to breastfeed. It took months of a nipple shield, it took months of daily biting, sometimes drawing blood. It took sometimes not going out without babygirl because she refused to take a bottle. Some days I ask the hubbs to just pick up dinner cause I can't even think about coming up with a meal. Sometimes, clean laundry stays in those baskets until we've reworn everything in there and I just have to wash it all again. Sometimes there's just a lot of crap on the floor, and I still don't turn on the vacuum. 

BUT.

I wouldn't trade it. Not a second of it. Not for anything in the world. And I don't think my life is meaningless now. Do I have the same impact now as I did when I was a teacher? Nope. Does that make me sad? Not really. Does everyone feel this same way? Nope. Is that ok. ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY.

I'm going to share with you now the biggest lesson I've learned since becoming a parent. I'm telling you this has SAVED. ME. And it's this:

KNOW going into it.

KNOW that you're not going to sleep like you used to. For the next few years at the very least. Accept it. You'd be amazed how much less irritated you'll be when you're woken up on an almost nightly basis for however long. Cause you expect it.

KNOW that your life is going to look drastically different than it did before kiddos. You'll be more open to it if you just stop fighting it.

KNOW that there are going to be days when ZERO gets done. And be ok with it. Cause you just CREATED A HUMAN BEING and shit got real.

KNOW that there will never be another thing on the planet that you love as much as that tiny little person in your arms.....and there will never be another thing on the planet that drives you bat s*** crazy like that tiny little person in your arms. That doesn't mean you love them less. It means you're human and all of those references about toddlers just being tiny drunk adults?  They're true.

KNOW that if you plan to breastfeed, your boobs will HURT. In the beginning, you might not be prepared for it. Because everyone talks about how beautiful it is. But the beginning? Just remember, it passes, fairly soon. Just hang in there, and ask all your breastfeeding friends the secret to non-cracked nipps. Everyone has them. (Mine are putting breastmilk on them, followed by coconut or olive oil).

And please. PLEASE. Take everything you read, including this, with a grain of salt. Everyone's experience is different. If someone tells you everything is absolutely perfect- they're lying. If someone tells you that life was hell and there are no redeeming moments to be found- they're lying.

Look for the folks in the middle. Look for the mommy blogs that resonate with you. Trust me, you'll find, and then treasure these women that you don't know who are living your life and your issues that you immediately bond with. (I have my phone on me at all times when I'm getting babygirl down for a nap since I have to hold her for about 20 minutes after she falls asleep before I can put her down- and it's GAME ON for mommy blog time).

I may not have the standard yoga pant mommy uniform (I JUST CAN'T DO IT), but I'm right there in the everyday messes, tantrums, and beauty of life with a toddler. Perhaps I'll invest in some yoga wear if more babies come along. But probably not. I'm from jersey and I've gotta represent.

Loves!



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Genetic Roulette" a MUST SEE documentary

So I watched "Genetic Roulette" on June 15th with the hubbs and babygirl. I took 5 pages of notes- it would have been more but someone was cranky and needing to nurse sporadically throughout the hour and 25 minutes.

Let's start with it was really REALLY hard to not yell at the computer (and so I did). It was really REALLY hard to not stop it every 3 minutes to look at hubbs and say WHAT THE EFF!?!? (and so, I did). It was really REALLY hard to not look down at babygirl and think "how on EARTH did I not completely JACK UP your system while I was preggo with you?"- and then I remembered that I, in fact, did. And I'll spend the rest of my life ensuring that the damage is reversed and teaching her how to keep her body healthy.

And so friends, I'm going to share a good portion of the info with you, here. And I encourage you to RUN and watch this movie. Now. Right now. No more burying our collective heads in the sand when it comes to what exactly is being done to our food supply. And make no mistake folks. This is really only being done in the US and to some extent, Canada. Most European countries, Australia, many Asian countries and some African countries have banned GMO's, have banned Monsanto (aka satan's minion), and have DEMANDED that any and all GMO's, food dyes, chemicals etc be LABELED on their products. And by the way, they are. THEY ARE. They are either NOT USED in the products they import to Europe, or they are LABELED with a warning similar to cigarette warnings. For example, Kraft makes a macaroni and cheese for the UK that contains ZERO food coloring (the orange color comes from spices like turmeric) and ZERO GMO's. When asked why they wouldn't sell THAT SAME KIND here, they responded that based on their customer inputs, no one here wants that. Ummmm.....I call bull s***.  To say that my blood boils just knowing that a) they've already done this so they easily CAN and b) unlike the UK government who demanded it, ours just lets Big Ag do whatever the hell they please in the name of corporate greed is an understatement.

Awesome. 3rd paragraph in and shaking rage with boiling blood.

Did you know that 88% of corn and 94% of soy grown in the US is GMO? Staggering right!?! But, you say, I don't eat corn or soy so I'm good right? Do you eat any processed food at all? Because if you do, you are guaranteed eating corn and soy, in different forms (soybean oil, corn syrup, soy lecithin, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil etc etc etc). Yeah, vegetable oil is really soy bean oil- it's cheap so that's what they go with. I strongly advise you only use organic extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil. And if it's not organic, chances are that olive oil is actually cheaper oils mixed together- that's just a whole nother post but seriously we're getting ripped off in a big way.

Did you know that GMO's have existed in our food supply since about 1992. Here's how (and partially why) they were created. They take genes from one species and force it into the dna of another species. They gave a few examples. That are horrifying. One was the dna of a cow forced into the dna of a pig so that the pig would grow cow hide. I'm sorry. I'm not anti-science. But that's just wrong. On so many levels.

There are 2 types of food GMO's- herbicide tolerant and pesticide producing. So. They force herbicides/ pesticides into the genes of plants (soy, corn, alfalfa, wheat, etc), and then those plants either are able to tolerate a crap ton of poison (Round-up weed and pest killer), or the plant produces that pesticide inside- meaning you can't ever wash it off. It's now part of the plants' dna. They've already proven that GMO craps, er crops, are less nutritious- Round Up makes nutrients unavailable to the plants, hence how they kill weeds. So you, and the animals that are eating these crops, are not getting nearly as much of a nutritional benefit as you may think you are. Plus, if you're eating the animals that are eating these crops, you're getting a double whammy of chemical poisons in your systems, not to mention the illnesses of the animals whose systems were not meant to tolerate this garbage either.  But I keep getting off track.

The gene sequence of the GMO crop is NOT FOUND IN NATURE (not surprising, since nature didn't create Round-up and didn't intend the crops to ever mate with it). Our bodies, then, do not recognize this as food. They see it as a foreign substance and ATTACKS it. This attack causes inflammation. And inflammation leads to a host of diseases- auto immune, crohn's, reflux, thyroid, not to mention diabetes and allergies (which was all known to the scientists at the FDA when this stuff was released into our food chain).

Let's just use common sense for a minute. Let's say you don't believe that this could ever happen. Here. the land of the free and all that. You don't believe that scientific evidence was covered up. Fine. I'd like you to think back on the last conversation you had about "kids today" with your peers, kids, grandkids, etc. You know you've made a statement like this:

"When I was your age, we could eat whatever we wanted in school. How is a kid so allergic to a peanut they can't even smell it!?!"

"When I was a kid, there was none of this gluten-free, dairy-free, nonsense. A glass of milk never killed you. A slice of bread and a bowl of pasta was hearty and healthy!"

"When I was a kid, we didn't have to take pills for ADHD. Our parents told us to just calm down and focus, and we did."

Do those sound familiar? Stop lying, of course they do. Of course you've said them. Because it's the truth. Who the hell wasn't ALLOWED to take a pb&j to school for lunch??  It was EVERY ONE'S lunch.

Now here's the common sense part. When did we start to see the rise of food allergies in kids? Of autism. Of ADHD. Of Crohn's disease. Of some SERIOUS childhood obesity problems. Of diabetes. Of KIDS WITH CANCER. When??  The mid to late 1990's. And it's SKYROCKETED since then.

Please please please don't tell me that you can read that and still say "it's just a coincidence".

It makes me weep. Literally. I'm literally crying right now. Because what we've done to generations of children, and ourselves??  What GREED and MONSANTO and GOVERNMENT has done? Produced a nation of sick people. Dying people. Fat people (while shaming them into believing it was all their fault). ENTIRE BUILDINGS DEDICATED TO CHILDREN WITH CANCER. I can barely even type that sentence out. There SHOULD NOT EVER be that many children with cancer. Who die of cancer. EVER. Of millions of women who struggle with some sort of reproductive issue- infertility especially.

THIS IS NO COINCIDENCE.

Would you like to know why?

In 1992, the FDA scientists were finding that GMO's were causing massive health issues in the animals it was tested on. Problems like tumors, infertility, obesity. They found that it could lead to an increase in allergies. That information was stifled. By who?

Michael Taylor. He was MONSANTO'S LAWYER. Who was then hired as the HEAD OF THE FDA, just in time to push GMO's into the generally recognized as safe category. He then was hired back as the CEO of MONSANTO. And he went back to the FDA again.

Monsanto. The makers of Round up (the weed killer and pesticide used on plants everywhere). Of course, if plants can withstand more Round up, Monsanto gets to sell more Round up. One better, if they can somehow create seeds that will produce it, patent those seeds, and then somehow are able to make everyone buy seeds from them, signing a contract to ensure that users must destroy their crops every year and buy new seeds from Monsanto yearly....well they stand to make quite a bit of money, don't they.  Yes, this happens. This is their operation. And getting one of their own to head up the FDA? Genius. And the FDA then made this statement- "It is the company's responsibility to decide if it is safe." SERIOUSLY!?!?!?  Good thing we have an FDA huh?

Oh and by the way. Monsanto made Agent Orange. Just so you have some idea of what kind of science we're dealing with.

And through all of this? There has only ever been 1 HUMAN FEEDING TEST. Just 1. GMO's have been on the market for 30 years now. And just 1 human test. And do you know what it found? Bacteria from the toxins stayed in our gut and continued to function. We don't poop it out. It doesn't pass through. It stays and wreaks havoc on our systems. Which causes "leaky gut"- where the lining of your stomach is no longer tightly woven...it now lets larger and larger chunks pass through. I'm gonna get personal, and a little gross here. My hubbs thought I was insane, and making stuff up when I told him that I could evacuate my meal about 10 minutes after eating it, and IDENTIFY what it was. He told me that it was impossible (he was pre-med for 2 years before switching to aero space engineering. he's kind of a smartie pants). I asked him if he wanted to see for himself. He declined. (Thank God, cause I'm not sure our relationship could have survived him inspecting my # 2's.) But guess what? I was right. Because I had some serious leaky gut. I was told by my gastroenterologist that I was malnutritioned. Turns out, when the food passes out of your stomach and directly out your anus with no digestion, you don't get any nutritional benefits. Do you know what else a leaky gut causes?  FOOD INTOLERANCE/ ALLERGIES. Perfect.

They also found that the toxin from GMOS's (known as BT toxin) is in EVERY CELL OF THE PLANT. Every cell. And it effects the plants (and us) the same way that it is meant to effect the weeds and pests- it slowly destroys them from the inside out. Yup. Why on EARTH would anyone think it would be safe to consume something that was DESIGNED TO KILL LIVING THINGS.  This info brought to you by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, by the way. Not some radical activist group, lest you think that this is not "real" science.

Can I just tell you that I am only on page 2 of my notes? This is going to be a long post but I'll try my best to condense.

LIVESTOCK THAT EAT GMO FEED. For starters, cows were not meant to eat corn. They were meant to eat grass. In a field. Happy, wondering cows. So there's that.

There was a DRAMATIC improvement found in cattle and pig health when they were introduced to non GMO feed. Like, within 2 days, the health issues the farmers had been seeing disappeared. Not just one farmer either. There was better fertility, way less birth defects, no diarrhea, and the animals were much calmer.

Let's talk about milking cows, shall we?  Monsanto created a hormone to make cows produce more milk. They mixed it with E COLI to inject them. It's called RBST, or RBGH. And until recently, without going organic, there were no RBST free options. And even now, Monsanto fought (though they didn't have to fight very hard since it was one of their guys as the head of FDA that passed the decision) to have a label on all RBST free milk that says *there are no studies to show that milk from cows treated with RBST is harmful*. Total and udder cow dung. (you see what I did there?? good stuff.)

Would you like to know the REAL info on RBST?  Science has found that men are 4 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO GET PROSTATE CANCER. and women? 61.6% INCREASE IN BREAST CANCER.

The approval of RBGH was hugely controversial, and here is a FANTASTIC example of how our dollars worked FOR US.  It was immediately banned in Europe, Japan, Australia... (yeah everywhere except here). And we found out. And we got mad. And we demanded better. And so:
WALMART, STARBUCKS, and other big American companies STOPPED PURCHASING MILK FROM COWS TREATED WITH RBST.

People. That is huge. HUGE.

We have a voting voice. We vote with our dollars. AND COMPANIES LISTEN TO OUR DOLLARS.

Oh, and fyi. The Monsanto scientists that created the RBGH injection? They refuse to drink anything but organic milk. One actually PURCHASED HIS OWN COW to ensure that that stuff never touched his, or his family's, lips. NICE.

And the claim that GMO's are helping to feed the world? Well, we're finding it's actually the exact opposite. Organic crops always outperform them. And the documentary goes into great detail regarding what happened in India when GMO Cotton was introduced. It's shocking. But I'll let you watch for yourselves.

9 crops. 9 crops are GMO crops. And you think, well I'll just avoid those. But those 9 crops are found in 72% of foods. It's pervasive. It's everywhere.

And since the plants are all becoming resistant to round up (because of course, that's what happens- we learn that in freshmen science classes), they're using more and more and more. And now? They're finding ROUND UP IN THE BLOOD OF FETUSES. And in 60-100% of rain and air samples.

So how can we reverse GMO Damage? There is one way. And it's been proven to be effective ALWAYS. ALWAYS.

Go on a non GMO diet. It reverses the damage. You know what else it does? It tells Monsanto, and the fraudulent FDA, that we will no longer tolerate being slowly poisoned to death. Vote with your dollars. VOTE FOR YOUR HEALTH. Our food should not be poisoning us.  There are so many corporations that don't want to see this nation healthy. No, no conspiracy theories. But if you don't think Big Ag and Big Pharma are in bed together, nestled up nicely with the head of the FDA, you're missing a biiiiiiiig piece of this puzzle. But we'll get more into pharmaceuticals another day. I'm exhausted from the rage and the crying and the kicking my own ass for letting my babygirl be affected by this crap.

I love you. I want you healthy. I've seen WAY too many people in my life be taken by cancer. People that should still be here. People I love dearly. HEALTHY PEOPLE who should not have died. And I want it, I NEED IT to stop.

Please watch.

Loves!





Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Natural Flavoring" and other General Nonsense

BEAVER. ANAL. GLAND.

You read that correctly. Beaver anal gland. Not something I ever thought about before. Until I was forced to. And those three little words have convinced me that I will never again put anything non-organic, labeled "natural flavors" in my mouth again.

There is a TON of crap in processed foods. That's not really shocking. What is disturbing and shocking is that a company can yell "Natural Flavors" on their labels....and no one, NO ONE, monitors what that means. There are no rules for that phrase. Seems a bit odd. Seems hard to believe. And you will be amazed at what Big Ag is calling natural.

Let's start at the end. Literally.

Beaver Anal Gland (known as castoreum) is what they use for "natural" vanilla and raspberry flavorings. Think back to the last time you had a fruit juice, or pudding, or CAKE MIX and it touted the natural flavoring label and wasn't organic....you may want to keep a bucket next to you if you continue reading. I know I needed one after reading this list. I mean, besides being totally disgusting...what if you're a vegan?

 L-cysteine- that word doesn't sound very offensive. Except that it's human hair and feathers. And it's used in BREAD. It's a dough conditioner that makes the bread apparently have better taste and texture (I beg to differ). You know who uses it? SUBWAY. Eat fresh my a$$.

Carmine- crushed abdomen of the female Dactylopius coccus, an African beetle-like insect. It's used as a red dye, in things like ruby red juices, candies, and yogurts (thanks Yoplait and Tropicana). Ummmm. I'll pass.

Above is just the highlights reel. There are a total of 15 things on this particular list....these just happened to be my favorite.

To read the full list from Rodale, and you should, go here!

Carageenan is another one to be on the lookout for. The problem is, this one is actually natural, AND it's used in organic foods (also found in Toms from Maine children's toothpaste). It's made from seaweed and is used to keep foods from separating, but it's been found to cause bowel inflammation, leading to other not so great things.

More about Carageenan, and high fructose corn syrup here.

And really. Is anybody buying those crap commercials stating how corn syrup has gotten a bad rap and it's just as natural and good for you as sugar? So many things wrong with that sentence.

THIS. READ THIS.

I know I'm asking you to read an awful lot of extra stuff in here, but I didn't think this post would be all that effective if it was just me yelling about how awful this stuff was. So I'm backin it up with science. I'll give the highlights from the above. But really you should read these.

"Not-from-concentrate orange juice is processed with “flavor packs” to artificially ensure that each bottle tastes exactly the same." Do you know how pissed I was when I bought a crap ton of oranges in order to make the hubbs some fresh-squeezed oj, and he told me it didn't taste very "orange-y". What the hell??  It was made out of ONLY ORANGES. Then, I read about this. And now, I get it. (I hate oj, always have - until I started squeezing it myself- so I had no idea what he was talking about). And they DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU IT'S IN THERE. Dirty Liars.

"The canning process for soup is so violent that companies grow huge, super-tough carrots for the soup so they won’t disintegrate." Why?  What about soup canning needs to be that violent? And also, most soups are made with MSG, even when they say they are not. Awesometastic.

"Coffee creamer is made of corn syrup and (hydrogenated, trans-fatty) vegetable oils." For the caffeine junkies out there, that will take a cup of coffee anywhere, even when those little I-don't-need-to-be-refrigerated creamers are the only kind available. And all those flavored ones that are refrigerated. Just, don't.

"Shredded cheese is packed with cellulose — aka refined wood pulp — to keep it from clumping." Perfect.

I heart food babe, and here's what she had to say about it.  Watch the video. Trust me.

"Givaudan is the largest flavor manufacturing company in the world. They pride themselves on making flavors that are irresistible – starting from mother nature, taking something as simple as a strawberry and then destroying everything mother nature intended for it." "It might be ingenius chemical wizadry to them. But I call it WARFARE. Is it too far to say they are using chemical warfare to slowly kill us one by one...?"

Re-watching this video right now makes me want to punch these ass hats in the throat. SHAKING RAGE. I have to remind myself, a lot, that I am a Christian and I am called to love others. Because most of the time? I want to lock these people in a room and force feed them their chemical flavorings until they get the diseases that are killing our children.

WHY CAN'T WE JUST EAT THE FOOD THAT HAS THAT FLAVOR? You know what tastes a million times better than powdered roast chicken flavor?  A ROAST CHICKEN. ARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!

But it's all about the benjamins, right?

Am I too white to pull that off?

GRAS- Generally recognized as safe

Did you need more reasons why not to trust the FDA? The above article gives you a bunch more.

"Opium poppies were used by the ancients for pain relief; only when opium was refined and mixed with tobacco in the 17th century did it become addictive. Bolivians have used coca leaves for millennia as a home remedy for aches and pains; it was only when cocaine was refined and concentrated to high doses that it became addictive and poisonous. Even marijuana has beneficial properties, e.g. preventing nausea and vomiting with chemotherapy; 18 states currently allow medicinal use, and Colorado and Washington have adopted recreational-use statutes. What about our food? Paracelsus would argue -- real food is food, but processed food is poison. Literally. "

"First: A substance can become GRAS in two ways: a) "general recognition of safety through experience based on common use in foods requires a substantial history of consumption for food use by a significant number of consumers" 21 CFR 170.30(c); or b) "generally recognized, among experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate its safety, as having been adequately shown through scientific procedures ... to be safe under the conditions of its intended use" 21 CFR 170.30(b). The operative phrase here is "intended use."" GRAS was never intended to give the food industry free reign to add any substance in any amount to our food supply. "
"Second: Before 1997, a food company had to petition the FDA to get a substance on the GRAS list. Now all it has to do is convene a meeting of scientists (paid by the company -- talk about conflicts of interest) to sit in a room and declare a substance is GRAS. And they don't even have to tell the FDA they did it. Of the 10,000 items on the list, 3,000 have never undergone review, and for an estimated 1,000, the FDA was not even notified.""Worse yet, the FDA does not systematically reconsider the safety of GRAS substances as new information becomes available; and even if it wanted to, it couldn't because it has been underfunded by Congress for decades. GRAS has simply become a back door for the food industry to add substances to our food supply without FDA approval."

I'm sure some of you think I've gone all government conspiracy theory. Maybe I have. It's becoming abundantly clear that the big ag companies ARE DESPERATELY trying to hide information- why else would they spend MILLIONS on trying to ensure that GMO food does not have to be labeled? If there's nothing wrong with it, what's the big deal? You label a food when it has nuts in it. And soy. And gluten. So why not GMO? Call me crazy, but I actually like to know what I'm ingesting.

And what I've learned sickens me. Or at least, it did until I did something about it.

So please don't think I'm rude if I refuse to give babygirl the snack you offered her. I sincerely appreciate your generosity. But I CANNOT UN-KNOW this. And I hope you can't either. Because without our dollars buying their business, Big Ag will have to change. Lord knows something has to, or we're gonna find ourselves in even worse shape than we are now. 

Have you watched TV lately? Here's the line-up:

Kids! Eat frosted chewey gooey yummies! Drink this obnoxious colored beverage! SO GOOD! Go beg your parents for it!

Are you fat? Do you want your life back? Eat our meal plans! Not a veggie or fruit to be found but all these celebrities are real skinny now! EAT IT! LOOK LIKE THEM!

Accu Check NAAA-NOOOO!  You're the one I choose! (YUP. A cheery little jingle for a diabetes blood checker. You know. An awesome little gadget that has a cool new look for all the teens and kids that now need to check their levels due to Type 2 Diabetes).

And repeat.

When did we let the greedy rat bastards completely take over? Let's take our food power back.

Loves!















Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grease Slick Acne Face No More!

My. Face.

UGH.

My face has been the bane of my existence since high school and continued into my 30's. I was pretty sure that I was just going to have to live with the insane crazy acne I had, and being so damned greasy you could fry an egg on my forehead for the rest of my life. After all, I'm Italian, so I thought it was totally normal.

I started using Noxema on my face when I was in junior high, because it was clear I was going to be a zitty hot mess. Nothing was going to prepare me for what was coming. It was pretty freakin awful. I had to wear make-up at all times. but no matter how much I slathered on, you could still see my horrible skin. And when your skin is that bad??? Zero self esteem. Everyone must be staring at it, right? I mean, it's just RIGHT. THERE. There's no way to hide it. except Halloween. I LOOOOOVED Halloween when I could paint my face with all sorts of make-up and you finally couldn't see those angry red monstrosities.

I went to the dermatologist, but nothing they recommended helped. No prescription cream touched it.

I went off to college. I slept in my full make-up just in case we had a fire alarm in the middle of the night. It seemed to actually get worse. I tried ProActiv. NIGHTMARE. It didn't clear it up, it actually made the zits ginormous CYSTS that were suuuuuper painful and absolutely un-hideable. I sent that right back.

My sophomore year, I was diagnosed with endometreosis, and after surgery, my doc put me on birth control to help it not to grow back. That actually helped my skin. It wasn't perfect, but it was significantly better. I just turned into a psychotic beeotch.

Turned into???

Shut. Up.

Anyway. Because the pill was mad expensive and not covered by my insurance (I could spend the next few hours RAGING about how Viagra is covered for men, but bc is not, even when it's used as a medication for women, but I won't. yet.), and because I didn't relish the mood swings, I took myself on and off of it over the course of about 10 years. Without fail, my skin would get awful as soon as I went off of it. So back to a dermatologist I went. I was teaching high school by this time and when your students' faces are clearer than yours, you know it's a problem.

She put me on accutane. There's A LOT of paperwork you need to sign to take that, and blood tests you need to have done. It totally jacks up your kidneys and liver, and you have to sign a waver swearing you won't get pregnant, AND you can't donate blood until at least 6 months AFTER you've taken it because if a pregnant woman gets your blood it will severely harm the baby. This stuff is no joke. You should see the warning labels all over it. It was supposed to be one round of it and my skin would be clear forever!!!  except oops sometimes kids on it committed suicide. or went into crippling depression. or had kidney or liver failure. But whatevs, my skin would be clear. HAZZAH!

Sooooo.......it was red and crusty and dry for a while. And then I stopped getting zits, although my scars were not cute. And then my dosage was over. And my acne came back.

What. The. Eff.

So I got on another round. By the way, each round is about $500. Yup. Awesome.

This one kinda sorta took a little bit better.....but I still got zits. a lot. along my jaw line especially. and my nose. and my forehead (thank God for bangs).

My number one worry on my wedding day at the age of 27?  Would I have a breakout??  RIDICULOUS.

I continued to use harsh chemicals on my face- salicylic acid being my go-to. Until I got pregnant. And I wasn't allowed to use that anymore. My skin cleared up a bunch due to the crazo hormones, and I just used Cetaphyl. It was recommended by everyone because it's "safe" for pregnancy. And I kept on using it after I had babygirl cause it was mostly working. Except for the oily part. And the random dry patches. And the acne scars. And the never leaving my house without make-up.

We had been organic for about a year and a half, when I started paying attention to all the garbage I was putting ON my body as well. And propylene glycol?  That was some serious crap.

" Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. Propylene glycol is also used to make polyester compounds, and as a base for deicing solutions. Propylene glycol is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as an antifreeze when leakage might lead to contact with food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. It is used to absorb extra water and maintain moisture in certain medicines, cosmetics, or food products. It is a solvent for food colors and flavors, and in the paint and plastics industries. Propylene glycol is also used to create artificial smoke or fog used in fire-fighting training and in theatrical productions. Other names for propylene glycol are 1,2-dihydroxypropane, 1,2-propanediol, methyl glycol, and trimethyl glycol. Propylene glycol is clear, colorless, slightly syrupy liquid at room temperature. It may exist in air in the vapor form, although propylene glycol must be heated or briskly shaken to produce a vapor. Propylene glycol is practically odorless and tasteless. " (definition on a cdc.gov website) i don't have the energy to even get started on the highlighted section. I mean really. The next line down tells us how they use it in paints and plastics. does that SOUND like something we should ingest!?!?

Basically, it allows your skin to suck in more of all of the chemicals that are found in soaps, shampoos, moisturizers- you name it.  So not only are you washing with antifreeze, but it's aiding in sopping up all kinds of nastiness. Perfect.

So I looked. And wouldn't you know, on my "safe" bottle of cetyphil, there was propylene glycol. How on earth is THAT safe for pregnancy???  In the garbage it went. And I went searching online.

I stumbled on several websites for homemade face wash, soap, shampoo, shaving cream, lotion. You name it, they made it. But for facewash, my favorite was just a tiny little blurb that I unfortunately have not been able to find again, otherwise I would totally give her credit. Here is her recipe/ instructions for face wash:

Daily, get some extra virgin organic coconut oil. put some in a jar in the shower. Grab about a quarter size-ish scoop with your fingers. rub it on your face. rinse with warm water. When you dry off, don't dry your face. let the oil act as your moisturizer (you can add more if you need it but you definitely won't need it after your skin gets all healthy). Since I'm a bad example, I don't wash my face at night. I KNOW. I pass out before I get around to it. If you are one of those perfect people who do, then use this at night, in the morning just rinse with water, and if needed add some as moisturizer while your face is still a little damp.

Once every 3 or 4 days, exfoliate with 1/4 tsp baking soda mixed with enough water to make a paste. You will not need to do this as often as you continue to use this method. Follow that with the coconut oil wash.

Easy. And cheap. And so I figured I'd try it. I even made jokes about it on facebook- don't judge me for being a grease slick hot mess, and don't lick my face. HA! Hilaaaaarious.

But.

It worked. Like, that day. It was such a major improvement I could barely believe it. And it took zero time for my skin to get used to. It. Just. Worked.

So. Today I took a pic. 100% make up free. No filters. I've been using this now for a few months.
please ignore the fact that I look like a hairless cat. my blonde eyelashes and brows are the reason why I MUST wear mascara every day.

Even my acne scars are not nearly as bad. And I no longer wear foundation. I use some bronzer (I AM from jersey), some blush, some mascara and lip gloss/stick.  AND coconut oil works as an amazing sunscreen- it protects from burning withOUT blocking the Vitamin D that everyone is so deficient in (mainly because the poison sunblock companies keep preaching about slathering yourself in their chemical shit storm 75 times every day to "protect" you).

And it's doing a really nice job in the wrinkles department.

Years and years and years of garbage on my skin. Of needing to hide my face. Of being SO. EMBARRASSED. of my face. And all I needed was a little mother nature.

Do I still get the occasional zit? Of course. I still get my period so this is a given. What do I use to get rid of it?  Right now, I use breastmilk. This may not be an option for everyone. I highly recommend it. But if you don't have access to any, leaving a thick baking soda paste on it for a bit will help. As will using lemon as an astrigent.

Now, make-up. Well. Since I rarely use foundation (I will if I'm going to a wedding), I still use my bare minerals that I've had forever. I'm sure that there are some things in there that are no good...but since I do it so rarely, I haven't really checked into it. Slackerface.

My bronzer and blush? Yup, pretty sure those are awful too. My hubbs has this thing about me throwing out stuff. I'm supposed to finish it before I buy new. So, hopefully in the near future I will have an update on that.

My mascara? I just recently got a Stila mascara. I know not all of their stuff is good, but the lady tells me that this one is free of all of that garbage and she loves it. I looked at the ingredients, but have not researched them. I bought it because I simply listened to her and I was needing it RIGHT NOW, so I'm *hoping* she wasn't a dirty liar.

And lipstick. I've been getting Burts Bees gloss and chapstick. Now, I'm not a huge fan of this company anymore since it was bought out by Clorox, who is the opposite of trustworthy. However, I was wanting lipgloss RIGHT NOW and the ingredients looked pretty good, so I caved. I really have to do research on the make up thing. Let me know if you found any you love that are organic/ natural/ etc.

So that's the story of my face. Here's to ending puberty when you're in your 30's! Hazzah!

Loves!