To run away? A child’s question

So, this parenting post is more of an observation than anything. I read a library book to the kids today about a character not feeling respected enough and wanting to go off on his own adventure, alone. He went.

As he was off on his adventure he encountered a bunch of dangerous and frightening experiences. After being lost, then chased by a predator he somehow found his way home where everyone was so excited to see him. They thought they’d “never see him again.” He was fine.

Then just a few minutes ago, the kids were watching a popular tv program where a character broke her mother’s necklace and decided to run away. She got lost and couldn’t find her way back. Her brothers found her and everything was alright in the end.

Now, here’s the problem, these stories and shows are giving our kids the message that when times are tough it’s a good idea to run away. Then it teaches them that if they do, it might be frightening but they will be okay and return home.

My concern is that this is not the case in real life. When kids run away, some end up dead or missing forever. God only knows their fate and it is very unsettling that these “lessons” are being taught.

As drastic as it might seem, would it be better for the show to set an example of one or two of these runaways having a not so happy ending?

I feel as young as they are, kids have a better understanding of life and the world when we show them the truth about it as early as possible.

What do you think?!?! Tell me in the comments, would you tell your child a “runaway” story where the kid doesn’t get to come home??

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The Dreaded Question: Are you done?

The dreaded question: Are you done?

It could mean many things but people ask me wanting know whether I’m done having kids.

 

 

NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!

After all, it’s my life, my body, my wallet!

However, I am not rude or crass so I explain.(sigh)

I come from a fairly large family of 5. I am the youngest with 3 brothers and a sister. My siblings are all close in age being born in a span of 5 years and then I came along 3 years later.

My husband is an only child.

We both derive from a “broken” or divorced home.

When we first discussed the possibility of having children of our own we decided that our baby would not be raised alone. We didn’t foresee this many babies but for sure did not want just one.

After my pregnancy and about five minutes after delivery I knew I would have as many as I could…within reason.

We also discussed our age and what we wanted for ourselves. We didn’t want having kids to consume us. We wanted a life and relationship too. We wanted it all!

After kids grow up so many parents find themselves not knowing who they are besides “Jimmy’s mom and dad.” They find that they have lost themselves and each other. We didn’t want that. We also didn’t want our kids to have to miss having their parents at their graduation or wedding or watch their babies be born. We want to be there for them for as long as possible. So, we put an age cap on our child-bearing not a number cap.

“As many as I can before I’m 30”

Everyone rolled their eyes and told us we were crazy when they heard this. In fact much of the eye rolling was in disbelief because having kids was stressful and hard work. I guess it just comes naturally to us because here we are, baby # 5 on the way and I’ve turned 30.

Now, for the dilemma: My thirtieth birthday came and went and we were “done.” Somehow, by God’s grace and plan for us, we are expecting again. I will be 31 just 2 1/2 months after this baby is born.

Our family dynamic is largely based on our earlier philosophy that we would not have just one baby. When Juniper was born we said straight away we would try again immediately so she and her sibling would be as close as possible and they would always have each other. It worked! We conceived again when our first-born was just 4 months old. They are just shy of being Irish twins. I always say the best gift I could have ever given Juniper is Lemon 🙂

 

A year break from pregnancy and after losing some weight, we did it again. Another set of almost Irish twins in Ash and Oak. Again, they are the best of friends and will always have each other.

If you couldn't guess, I'm the baby!

If you couldn’t guess, I’m the baby!

siblings2

This where I get arguments, “but no matter their age, they will have each other” I disagree! My four siblings grew up together with the same memories, the same experiences, the same parents and they have a great connection because of it. Of course, no family is perfect and no sibling relationship can be compared to another but I can see it in my siblings. They relate differently to each other than they do to me and there is only a three-year gap between me and my sister. In “kid time” three years is a good span. She was three when I was born, she was walking talking using the potty. When she was six and learning to read write and go to school, I was walking talking and using the potty. When she was nine, spending time with her friends and doing things nine-year-olds do, I was reading writing and learning arithmetic. When she was fifteen talking on the phone to boys and painting her nails, I was (as embarrassing as it was) playing with Barbie dolls. So as much as three years doesn’t seem like a big difference now, back then, we weren’t that close. -She’ll argue me here- I followed her around and she put me down telling me how annoying I was…it’s what BIG sisters do.

 

For my little munchkins, that’s not how it is. Their personalities, however so different and their interests unique, they love spending time together and learn a lot from one another. They genuinely love and value each other’s company. When they are older, I don’t doubt this will change immensely, but I’m confident we are giving them a good basis for those memories and experiences that form a camaraderie between siblings.

So back to our current dilemma…are we done? Probably not, because we’ve been doing things by two’s around here and this baby in my belly will need a friend just like our other seedlings have each other. I try to be as fair as possible but not, because sometimes life isn’t fair, but in this instance I don’t want one baby to feel like an only child as I did.

So, agree, disagree? What is your family dynamic and why? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!!!

 

Featured image courtesy of Jenny Grant Digital Imaging

 

 

I cured my thyroid without a single prescription pill!

 

I CURED my thyroid disease without a single prescription pill!

A year ago I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. This is my story:

 

Symptoms and signals

What started out as what I thought was baby blues and general recovery from a c-section went on to wondering about post partum depression; then went even further into “Okay, something is wrong with me!”

I was tired ALL THE TIME! Angry and short-tempered. Then, the real symptoms began. I was losing weight at an astronomical rate, even for breastfeeding. Then, I noticed marks appearing on my legs. What looked like bruising but had no sensitivity and I know I didn’t bump into things on my inner thighs and backs of my calves. Eventually the marks were showing up on my forearms, lasting for days and even longer; I was scared. I thought ‘cancer, or stroke!’ I experienced dizzy spells, delirium and blacking out! All scary stuff!

For weeks, friends and family and even I kept telling me, “it’s time to go to the doctor!” Well, I don’t do doctors well. Maybe it was the specific doctors I have seen but none have been nice. I think the term is “bedside manner.” Yeah well, they didn’t have ANY. There are other reasons I don’t like doctors but that’s another post for another day.

Doctors, tests results and THEIR advice

I finally did go to the doctor, though. Truthfully, I hadn’t been to a general practitioner in years! I only went to OB/GYN for pregnancy and checkups. When I made the appointment the earliest available was with the nurse practitioner. She was … nice, listened to my laundry list of ailments and concerns. She ordered testing and said I should follow-up for the results. Instead of a visit like she suggested, I got a phone call from the office with a prescription for thyroid meds and that was that!

 

“you’ll need to take this prescription for the rest of your life.”

 

I had questions, though. Was this the end all be all of my problems?? Their answer was, “yes.” Thyroid conditions are permanent and I would have to take the hormones for the rest of my life. This was not the answer I wanted to hear, so in comes the research. (I’m stubborn, I know.)

On my own, I decided to follow-up with an endocrinologist, a specialist in dealing with the endocrine system. Someone who could hopefully shed some light on why my symptoms didn’t match up with the diagnosis, where they came from to begin with and hopefully a better course of action than just ‘take these pills’. After all, my blood work showed one thing, hypothyroidism, and my symptoms showed hyperthyroidism. Baffling!

The endocrinologist advised that my condition, which could be in general terms, Thyroiditis, where the thyroid has been damaged and is now under/overreacting according to my hormone levels, which weren’t stable. Given the circumstances of being 8 months postpartum she mentioned a rare case of postpartum thyroiditis with the future outcome to be a permanent condition of hypothyroidism and ultimately taking the meds for the rest of my life.

She also found a nodule on my thyroid and ordered an ultrasound which showed a mass on my thyroid of about 2cm. She suggested having it removed, along with any part of my thyroid it might be attached to.

“Surgery is necessary to eliminate this growth.”

Hmm, where have I heard this before? Yeah, I wasn’t buying it.

I continued to research, finding once surgery of such an important gland is performed, there is no going back, that’s it. It’s gone. It did not sound appealing to me; I’d like to stay intact.

I also reached out to my OB on my search for an explanation of the other ailments the thyroid was not supposed to be responsible for, like the bruising. I thought my breastfeeding the baby could have something to do with it all but after more testing… my clotting numbers were off and she suggested a hematological oncologist. That’s right, ONCOLOGIST. More doctors…more testing. But, no answers. I visited the endocrinologist again for follow ups, visited with a surgeon to discuss removing the nodule. Everywhere in my quest, I got dead ends. Several times all the doctors mentioned my insurance. They all talked about legalities involved in what they can do and even SAY to me. One doctor admitted that the medical board he had to answer to would take his license for even discussing other options than the approved protocol. YUCK! I was done!

I appreciate Doctors and their knowledge and expertise but modern medicine, contrary to popular belief, is not an exact science. It is scientists making educated guesses based on medical journals and previous cases. What if I had something new? What if my condition wasn’t in their medical journal or text-book? What if the tests were wrong?

One study I found said a woman who has had a c-section (which I had) has a higher chance of developing a thyroid issue. I’m bitter at this point and grinding my teeth at the thought of being in the labor delivery room for 30+ hours with failure to progress and the doctor saying we don’t have a lot of options, C-section is the way to go. I remember I was holding onto what little shred of laboring dignity I had left. I told him I will not agree to this, I won’t say yes to a c-section (as I signed the paper authorizing the c-section).

See, I had worked so hard throughout the pregnancy to avoid a c-section. We, in fact, had one scheduled because our baby was breach. I found a Webster certified chiropractor and after just 2 treatments, a baby that had been lodged in one position for 4 months turned around and engaged head down the day before the c-section was to take place. We canceled. She measured big though and labor began on my due date as it always has. I had steady contractions for a few hours and 7 cm. dilated was as far as I made it. The baby never engaged in my pelvis and contractions were not steady anymore, they were 3 minutes long and 10-15 minutes apart at times. This was not good. I had no other choice but to go home and wait and risk me and my baby’s lives. This is why I appreciate doctors and modern medicine. I would have no doubt been in BIG trouble had we not gone ahead with a c-section. MY baby? 10 lbs. 8 oz. Yep. I gave birth to a toddler, although it was more like birth was taken by our OB . Now, after all that, I am left with a scar and damaged thyroid. I know! I have a beautiful healthy baby, for now. Some reports babies born via c-section are more likely to develop health issues later in life.

The point of the story and of this post and of LIFE is that there is always another way. And such my quest continued…

Finding alternative treatment to thyroid issues.

There is the typical synthetic hormone replacement that I had a prescription for. Then, there is naturally derived thyroid hormones extracted from pigs, which most conventional MDs will not offer. Neither sounded appealing to me, of course. I was searching for something wholesome. I found and rejected different diets and supplements until I came across this one program about repairing the thyroid not just managing the symptom. REPAIRING it. So it can do what it is supposed to do naturally. But the doctors say that’s not possible. Once you have a thyroid problem, it is permanent. I was up for the challenge.

After a small investment I received a program that worked mainly off of a diet geared at healing the thyroid by making lifestyle changes that promote thyroid health, eating foods that heal the thyroid and supplementing with hormones and different vitamins and minerals as needed to fill in the gaps.

The lifestyle changes were nothing new because I was already avoiding toxic chemicals and environmental endocrine disruptors as best I could. After carefully discussing with my husband, we decided to give the healing diet 3 months and see what happens. If no change, we agreed I would then take medication.

Closely monitoring things like mood, sleep patterns, basal body temperature and pulse, I began.

This program helped me! It’s hard to tell to the extent that I actually had a thyroid problem or that I had become highly sensitive to gluten. The diet eliminates all grains. It also eliminates polyunsaturated fats, nuts, seeds, legumes and cruciferous vegetables. I know, you’re thinking, ‘what’s left?’

A typical day of meals while on this program:

Breakfast: An apple, egg frittata with zucchini and cheddar cheese, orange juice and coffee

Mid-morning snack: yogurt

Lunch: Organic grass-fed cheese burger with tomato (SANS bread), a pickle and chips or french-fries(the oil is important)

Afternoon snack: Carrot salad (shredded carrot, coconut and olive oils, apple cider vinegar, dash salt)

Dinner: Baked potato with butter or cheese and organic ketchup with chicken salad

Evening snack: Ice cream (Haagen-Dazs Vanilla)

I mentioned the gluten sensitivity because when you have celiac disease(an autoimmune disorder) or an intolerance to gluten, the chemical reactions it causes within in your body can cause an onset of other autoimmune diseases such as thyroiditis, diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis as well as over 100 other disorders. Most of the autoimmune disorders, once diagnosed, are considered incurable or permanent by doctors and the medical community only to be managed with prescription medications.

This is not the case for me, however.

How do I know gluten is the culprit?

Throughout the three months I was a new woman. I was able to get up in the morning (before 9 a.m.) and function like a normal person. I was making it through my days without falling asleep in random places like at red lights or the doctor’s waiting room. I was nice again. (I used to be nice before all this started, then I wasn’t) I stopped avoiding my friends and family because of my mood. The bruising stopped! In fact after about a week all my symptoms stopped.

Have you ever been to a bakery? A real down to earth homey type bakery where you step in and the smell and warmth envelope you like a big blanket and snuggle you up. Do that; then have someone tell you that you can’t have any of the baked goods. Been to a pizzeria lately? Hot and sweet with the aroma of garlic and cheese. The vision of a floppy dough with sauce and stringy gooey cheese….Can’t have it! Favorite burger joint? Don’t even think about it because without that soft yummy bun it’s just a slab of meat on a plate. Cakes, cookies, pastas? NO. NO. NO.

My life and love for good food was over and I hated it!

But I felt good. It’s a trade-off.

There were a few occasions when I went to a function whether with family or friends and was asked about the gluten. More like I was ridiculed and looked at as if I belonged in a straight jacket. Those days were tough. I started questioning myself. And then, I ate bread.

The following day, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was angry. I had a headache. Oh and within 24 hours of eating the gluten I had bruises on my legs.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

I had choices to make. Tough choices(well not really) It was me and my well-being or the wheat!

I chose me!

After the three months, I went back to the doctor. They tested my blood. They looked at me like a medical anomaly. It was a miracle!! My thyroid and clotting time was normal…but I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid…eh… I mean, I didn’t take the medication!

 

 

Today: I am 7 months pregnant and have had my thyroid and clotting function tested during every trimester. It is all perfect! Like nothing was ever wrong. Oh, and this pregnancy, I have gained a “normal” amount of weight…not normal for me. I have gained between 60 and 90 lbs. in my other pregnancies. Things are very clear to me. Like a veil has been lifted.

I choose me!

 

 

This is my story! I am not a physician or medical professional. The information contained herein is for informational purposes and does not serve as advice diagnosis or treatment, please consult your physician for your own health needs.

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In our medicine cabinet

What’s in our medicine cabinet?

Okay, not our real medicine cabinet. It’s a metaphor for what we do to support our health and prevent getting sick.

My personal take on healthcare is not treating symptoms but preventing illness. We’ve all seen the images floating around social media about “Farmacy not Pharmacy” and showing pictures of food with the caption “healthcare” then pictures of prescriptions and the caption “sickcare”. It’s true. If we maintain healthy lifestyle and take care of our bodies we can be better suited to ward off diseases and common ailments like colds and flu.

At our house, instill a number of regular practices to keep up an ideal health situation for our family and we are living breathing proof of our methods.

Of course for all you “live by the doctor, die by the doctor” people, you will question our validity because we are not doctors and for that you should not read this post. Just click the “x” and move on with your day.

Everybody else: get ready to learn about some alternative methods for staying healthy and getting over sickness fast without taking “drugs” to feel better. I will warn you that some of these methods you have probably heard of and even tried and for some you may think I’m a quack and belong in the loony bin but I assure you these are all things I , my husband and our children have done and continue to do on a regular basis to maintain the benefits from our efforts.

Water

It’s a big part of our day. I know. I know. EVERYbody drinks water and knows all about how it keeps us healthy. I mention it here because water is the essential component to keeping our body operating at its optimal ability. Water flushes out toxins as well as keeps us hydrated keeping the toxins flowing right out of our pours, literally. Something you may not know is the type of water we drink does make a difference. I don’t mean the tap/filtered/bottled debate of drinking water. Kangen Water, a water that can work miracles. Watch this video to learn more:

After drinking Kangen water we feel better overall!

Honey and cinnamon goes a long way for our immune system. For the skeptics on this one, here is a link for Snopes that includes the benefits.

Honey and cinnamon

 

Anyway, even without the proven benefits the kids LOVE it like candy!

Fruit Snacks and Juice pouches

HAHAHA I know. I know. This one sounds ridiculous to me too but it works! Vitamin C intake is a known boost to our immune system and there is no shortage in a package of fruit snacks and a 100% juice pouch. A word of caution: the ingredients are key! Some versions have toxic ingredients like carrageenan, aspartame, and GMO high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and flavoring. Please if you try this crazy method be sure to find organic fruit snacks and organic juice pouches that do not contain these harmful substances.

fruit snacks

Why we don’t just take our chewable vitamin C?

Because of aspartame, artificial coloring and other harmful ingredients used to make most vitamins and supplements. We tend to stray from the traditional kids vitamins and use whole foods to harness nutrition.

Vitamins

If you’re a parent, go to the cabinet and pull out your kid’s multivitamin, whether prescription or over the counter, check out the ingredients and educate yourself what you are actually giving to your kids. It’s shocking!

 

Regular Hand Washing

Do I even need to go into this one?

 

Neti Pot

neti pot

A Neti Pot is a device designed to facilitate nasal irrigation.

What is nasal irrigation?

Using saline solution to flush out the nasal passages as well as sinuses.

Why is this practice beneficial?

Flushing the sinuses and nasal passages clears bacteria and illness causing germs from the body. Typically a cold or flu pathogen will be inhaled through the nose with the other environmental toxins. It will incubate there for a period of time before your body reacts (gets sick) to its presence. By regularly flushing this super highway for germs we reduce our risk of getting sick.

This link to Wikipedia shows this practice was used as a daily hygiene ritual in ancient India.

Chiropractic care

Visiting a chiropractor is not just for the injured. In fact, you can prevent injury by partaking in regular chiropractic care.

chiropractic

Here is a fantastic article about why spinal health is so important to our overall well-being and ability to function optimally.

Avoiding common household chemicals

Any bottle of cleaner that has a warning or caution notice is not something we should bring into our homes. These toxins contain disruptors that will damage our bodies in a number of ways. Neurological, endocrine, digestive, immune systems are all in danger when these chemicals go airborne. Our body can only neutralize so much before it has a dangerous effect on our health and ability to fight off common germs.

Crack the windows

Even in the dead of winter or sweltering summer it is important to have airflow in our homes. Bringing fresh air in and sweeping harmful toxins out. I’m sure most of us know this one.

Take off our shoes

Shoes

Leaving the doctor’s office floor at the door is a big step to keeping our home germ free. A recent study shows we can keep our homes 60% cleaner by one easy step: removing our shoes. I agree with this one big time! Keep the outside, outside. (the lazy in me sees this as an excuse to have to wash the floor less often) Having a Dog puts a damper on this for our family, unless we invest in a pair of shoes for him too.

Keep our distance

Another tool for keeping healthy is just staying away in general. It’s almost impossible if you don’t want to be a hermit but when you do enjoy a friends company try not to get too close. Avoid being in the line of fire. You know, close talkers and spitters and cannon sneezes? I try to keep back at least 2 feet if I can. This sounds harsh but my health is more important than ingesting your bodily fluids.

…and the most important instrument in our “medicine cabinet” is none other than…drum roll, please…

SLEEP

Another motivator for homeschooling, getting adequate sleep on our bodies own individual unique sleep cycle is imperative to our bodies reparative abilities. If we cannot charge our batteries properly or for long enough we will NOT stand a chance to be healthy. Without enough sleep our body will be worn out and not able to keep up battling germs and toxins. So turn off your alarm clock and go to bed early!

When we put it all together we have a pretty hefty arsenal of tools in our medicine cabinet, many of which are utilized directly after contact with a known sick person.

How does this even happen?

Well, some people don’t have the consideration to share their ailments with those they come in contact with until after the event or function. The ones that know they are sick but still come to a function infecting the other attendees because they care more for their own enjoyment and less about the overall health of the community.

Or some people don’t know they are sick until after the event and then some at least do have and take the courtesy to let people know. I appreciate this more than anything because those little germs are incubating in my sinuses and if I don’t have symptoms I still have time to evict them from my nasal passage and avoid getting sick all together.

In general, some people have bacteria that they are immune to the symptoms. The stomach flu carrier that experienced the wretched fury once a few weeks ago but grew an immunity to it not knowing they are carrying a spec and transferring this terrific illness to someone else. This is why regular practice, especially when in high risk scenarios like going to a doctor, hospital or visiting an elderly person, is crucial to maintaining our health.

We visit our chiropractor at least once a week. During the months where colds and flu are prevalent we take honey and cinnamon daily; eat fruit snacks and juice pouches often, after visiting friends and family we use the neti pot and be sure to wash hands often.

Happy health keeping! Hope you have found some new weapons to combat colds and flu for you and your family.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician!The information here should not take the place of medical advice. I urge you to talk to your health care providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of alternative medicine and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this blog of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTal health insurance: Zinc

 

Link to Zinc

According to Wikipedia

“Zinc is an essential mineral of “exceptional biologic and public health importance”. Zinc deficiency affects about two billion people in the developing world and is associated with many diseases. In children it causes growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, infection susceptibility, and diarrhea, contributing to the death of about 800,000 children worldwide per year. Consumption of excess zinc can cause ataxia, lethargy and copper deficiency.”

Darryl’s story:

I love my husband! But. He stinks! He has body odor even right after taking a shower. He has sleep apnea where he sweats profusely and snores loudly. (you can imagine the impact of MY night) Why is the one who snores always falls asleep first? This past winter he developed a severe case of eczema on his back. His toenails are thick and discolored(which is why he doesn’t like sandals). He has been steadily losing his hair along the hairline and that common spot on the top his head for a few years now. We chocked his bad breath up to smoking and poor diet but it turns out he was just deficient in zinc.

After taking 50mg of zinc twice a day for just two weeks we have noticed a significant improvements in all of his “flaws.”

Looking at the symptoms separately we could rationalize and just deal with it being bad genes, stress, poor diet or environmental consequences but as a whole and learning about zinc, the lights have been turned on!

15 ailments cured by everything but the kitchen ZINC

  1. Night vision
  2. Body Odor
  3. Bad Breath
  4. sleep apnea/snoring
  5. Eczema
  6. Acne
  7. Restore sense of smell and taste
  8. Healing injuries or sores
  9. athlete’s foot
  10. cracked skin
  11. dandruff
  12. fungus
  13. hair loss
  14. prostate problems
  15. rashes

Finding Zinc in our food

Some of the highest concentrations of zinc can be found in lobster, oysters and red meats. Depending on zinc levels in soil some plants rich in this wondrous element are wheat, nuts, seeds and beans. Processed foods also contain zinc but it is added into fortified breads and cereals. I prefer whole foods and naturally occurring nutrition over this form of consumption.

 

“SUPPLEMENTal health insurance” is a blog series highlighting various methods, supplements, vitamins, minerals and home remedies for common ailments and improving health.

Disclaimer: I am not a physician! The information here should not take the place of medical advice. I urge you to talk to your health care providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this Blog of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.