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GAPS Diet Week 2

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This diet is a lot of work ya’ll. I am not even joking when I say that I got mad at one point and just walked out of the kitchen.  I reached a point where I didn’t want to see soup bones any more.  It’s okay though, I took a break, and resumed my cooking duties.

I cannot express this enough, stay ahead of your cooking if you decide to do this diet.  In my house, this is incredibly challenging, as my kids eat A LOT! My kids (all six of them)  eat grown man sized servings for all of their meals. This means I basically took up residence in my kitchen.  I am so thankful for my kitchen.

Read about our reasons for attempting the GAPS diet here.

This week, we moved through stages 3 and 4 of the intro diet.  For some, this is moving fast, for some it is slow.  This diet is unique to each person in how they are going to heal.  My kids were already used to eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, so I ‘ve been able to give this to them from the beginning.  I believe this and being strictly broth based for the first week have really helped my kids to jump start their gut healing.  They have had the sensitivity test to both eggs and dairy, and neither have showed any reaction what so ever.  This is phenomenal. Although we knew eggs were not an issue.

Having 25 hens makes that quite a relief.

This week we added eggs and avocados.  My husband said he never thought he would cheer having avocados and roasted meat. Stage four allows for almond meal based bread and roasting of meats.  The children are joyful for things they can chew!

Foods that have been a hit:

It can be hard to find things on this diet that appeal to you after day in and day out of broth and mushy veggies. Avocado can really add a creamy dimension to your soups. Make the ginger gummies. Basically 2 cups of ginger tea hot mixed with 1 cup of cool water that has 1/4 of gelatin stirred in.  Add this and hone together and chill.  Instant gut soothing gummies that add flavor to your diet.  Scrambled eggs in homemade lard are also a huge hit this week.  Oh the flavor and satiation!

You are really limited on your choices for the first few weeks of the GAPS diet, or months for those that stay on intro for months.  I will be moving my family through it quicker, financially it isn’t feasible to stay on intro for a prolonged period.  Some people begin the diet on full gaps and then go back to do intro at a later time, so hopefully it will be beneficial to do this the way I am planning.

Changes we are seeing:

The biggest thing we have seen in the last couple of weeks is the complete absence of John’s bloating and almost no stomach pain.  This is a great thing for him, he isn’t one to complain nor does he give in to pain, yet over the last year, his stomach really began to affect him in a big way.  He was miserable.  To have him nearly pain free and have much less discomfort, well….it’s a blessing.

I have also noticed a difference in behavior and attitudes of my children, minus one.  However, it has not been long enough for me to really judge whether the diet is beneficial to attitude.  This would take observance over a much longer period for me to believe there is a change.

Overall, I would say week 2 has been a success.  I am so looking forward to moving through this intro though, and getting the full GAPS going.  We are seeing a positive sign towards being able to tolerate fermented dairy in the future, if that happens, it was all worth it.  The goal is to overcome intolerances and have restored gut health.  In addition to the diet, I will be adding a good probiotic the diet this week.

 

cooking · food · GAPS Diet · healing gut · recipe · Uncategorized

GAPS Intro Diet Carrot “noodle” Soup

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Ahhhh soup, it is the basis of your GAPS diet experience.  You will eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner….and then eat it some more.  That rich broth will be working all the time to heal and seal you while providing your skin with the most anti-aging beneficial glycine and collagen.  Think of that good stuff while you force yourself to overcome soup over load.

You have limited ingredients to use on GAPS Intro Stage 1.  However, limited ingredients doesn’t have to mean boring and tasteless.  Here is a soup that I made for our crew that even the Dad raved about(and he hates butternut squash).

Carrot Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 1 whole chicken shredded
  • 3 quarts of broth (from that chicken you just shredded, preferably with fat from the chicken…..you need AlL THE FATS)
  • 2lbs of carrots cut into noodle shape. I use a spiral cutter for mine.
  • 2 onions
  • 1 butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 1 TBS of minced garlic
  • salt to taste

Combine all but the carrot noodles into the stock pot, cook til the squash has softened a bit, add the carrot noodles.  Serve when everything is softened and the flavors are on point.  It isn’t an award winning soup, but it is fun and tasty and gets the job done.  You can pour a little sauerkraut juice from fermented sauerkraut on top.  Intro stage says only a teaspoon or two.

After a couple of days of chopped veggies, meats, and broth soups….my kids were happy to see some “noodles.”

cooking · GAPS Diet · healing gut · nutrition · Uncategorized

Gaps Diet Week 1 (Kids and All)

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This week, I made the absolutely crazy decision to put the whole family on the GAPS diet. Before I delve any further, let me pause here and thank my mother for the king of all kitchen appliances…..the instant pot! For without it, I would have lost my sanity completely.

What is the GAPS diet?

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  The diet was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, and addresses nutritional deficiencies in people who suffer from digestive disorders such as crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, IBS, IBD, severe constipation, candida, and more.  It also addresses issues like autism, adhd, depression, anxiety, apraxia, learning delays, and other psychological problems that are plaguing people by the millions.

Did you know:

  • In 2000 1 in 150 people had autism. In 2010 1 in 68 had autism, and the number just keeps rising. (source)
  • 9.4% of children have been diagnosed with ADHD (source)
  • The number of children ages 2-5 who have been diagnosed ADHD rose more than 50% from 2007 to 2008 (source
  • 16.2 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode last year.  That is 6.7% or all US adults. (source)
  • IBS affects 11% of the world’s population. (source)

The theory behind the GAPS diet is that so many of these issues are caused by a leaky gut.  Essentially, the gut flora is made up of trillions of microbiomes.  If a person is lacking in these beneficial goodies or over loaded in the bad guys, their gut may be damaged, allowing toxins to go undigested and leaking into the blood stream. This would cause a whole host of trouble in the body.  The goal of the GAPS diet is to heal the gut, replenish the much needed good bacteria, and get the body in optimal working order.

Why are we doing this diet?

In a word….John.  Over the last year, since we came home from Ethiopia, John has been having severe stomach pains as well as pain in the groin.  Grace’s eczema has spread to her arms.  Zeke is always catching a cold.  Andy was formally diagnosed with high functioning autism.  The other three were orphans and could use better gut health overall.  I have to say though, I did this for A&T years ago, and as long as they eat gluten free, chemical/sugar free, they have regular bowels.  Now Down syndrome bowel agony for us yo.

Back to John….he has been to doctor after doctor getting the ole colonoscopy, ultrasounds, etc.  Nothing has showed up.  This is good and bad.  No cancers is good.  No answers is bad.  Our bio kids have developed severe food intolerances to so many foods over the last year, and honestly, we are open to anything that will help with the anxiety that is HFA (high functioning autism).

GAPS has A LOT of anecdotal evidence of success.  I have been considering it for years and years…..and year.

So why not do this earlier?

It is a lot of work.

When I say a lot of work, I mean OH MY GOSH just give me a bed in the kitchen already.

How-to GAPS

To start GAPS, there is an intro phase.  This is where we are at right now.  The intro phase is very basic foods such as homemade broth, stewed grassfed meats, non-fibrous vegetables, and animal fats.  The full list is here.

The intro phase is divided into six stages and can be completed in a month up to six months.  It really is unique to each individual and the level of damage they have to their gut.  We have moved through 2 phases this week.

What did we eat?

Soup….soup….more soup…..egg yolks

In order to make this higher carb, you must consume a lot of carrots and butternut squash.  These are higher carbs veggies that are necessary for small children especially.

Squash Soup

Fill a pot with carrots, a chopped butternut squash, chicken broth, a little grated ginger and cook til soft.  Use an immersion blender to puree this mixture and serve with a drizzle of raw honey.  My kids LOVE this and it is a great source of carbs.

Effects?

When healing the gut, there may be a side effect of die off.  This is the bad bacteria dying off, these nasty suckers do not want to die and will cause all sorts of havoc in your body to try to convince you to give in and give them the garbage foods that will keep them alive.  We have had a few die-off symptoms.  One kid peed their pants, one barfed, a few have been overly tired.  Thankfully, they whisked right through those ugly symptoms within the first couple of days.  John has had a lot less pain in his stomach, but also experienced more tired feelings than usual.  It is coffee free….oh coffee.

Why Broth?

Broth is literally a superfood that everyone needs in their life.  The minerals and nutrients leeched from the bones of healthy animal sources provide so many health benefits to a person. The grannies from the old days were on to something with the ole chicken soup remedy.  It wasn’t so much the chicken meat as all the delicious marrow, gut soothing collagen, and body healing nutrients that came from the chicken’s bones….and feet.

I don’t use feet.

Chicken feet are caaaareeeeeeeaaaaappppppy.

John brought me the feet a few years ago from a round of meat birds he had butchered. Oh my gosh, they are HUGE, and have claws, and are just creepy.  I can’t ya’ll.

Bone broth is rich in gelatin and collagen which helps to heal the lining of the gut, soothe the stomach, and even help your hair and nails.  It helps with joint pain, I have been drinking collagen for years to help with inflammation and joint pain.  If I go a week without it, I am in agony and fatigue again.

What comes next?

After working through the initial intro phase (6 stages), you go on to eat the Full GAPS diet.  This is grain free, sugar free, and full of probiotic rich food (hello fermented sauerkraut) that are meant to help restore and replenish your gut.  While it is restrictive, the hopeful outcome is absolutely worth it to me.

  • if John doesn’t suffer the extreme stomach pain anymore….worth it!
  • if Andy is calmer and able to manage himself a bit better…..worth it!
  • if Grace’s eczema could go away……worth it!
  • if the kids have a strengthened immune system…..worth it!
  • we will always be gluten free due to true celiacs in the house but if we could heal other intolerances and have dairy again……worth it! I need cheese.
  • if I could  be free of anxiety….worth it!

Really there are so many reasons why I have finally jumped into this diet.  Medications, herbs, therapies, tests, and so sooooooo many other approaches to many of these problems haven’t worked.  This is our last resort and I’m hopeful.

I’m hopeful and tired, because seriously cooking everything very particularly and in enough quantity to keep 8 people fed around the clock….yeah that’s a lot.

Cheers to good health!

Edit to add: I will have future posts with helpful hints, recipes, and progress updates.

faith · joy

Are you weary?

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Can I be honest here?  This has been a very intense season of weariness for me.  More and more, I am letting myself forget to find solace in the Holy Spirit, and instead, wallow in the never ending demands and stress that is our household.  It is almost as if I have two different sets of glasses with which I view my life.

Sometimes I have those rose colored glasses on.  The behaviors of children who need 24/7 eyes on them, suddenly become manageable.  I do not let the weight of what it means to always have to be “on”  ALL of the time, control my feelings, and thus life is more peaceful.  When I have these glasses on, I feel hopeful, I feel more rested, I feel okay, I feel fierce.

For the most part though, I allow myself to wear the ugly olive green glasses.  This makes my life look like crap, and feel like it as well. I allow myself to wallow.  I allow myself to focus a little to much on the fact that I spend a lot of my day wiping butts. The behaviors of my children who will forever behave in a challenging way, begins to lay heavy on my heart, and I let myself make that my idol. I let myself focus on the fact that, I can’t go on a date with my husband more than a few times a year.  I let myself focus on how hard it is to leave the house.  I let RAD rule my mind, emotions, home, everything and consume me so much that it is my idol.

There I said it.  I am allowing the burden to be the idol.

Well played satan.

If I am being really real, I will tell you that I spend hours and hours, trying to problem solve my life.  How can we reduce the overwhelmingly challenging behaviors of some kids, find a “solution,” get it ready, try it out, it works for a day, it fails miserably, and repeat.  This inevitably leads to a complete failure feeling, leading my focus away from God, and finding me once again obsessed with “fixing” the house so we can breathe and have peace.

Can there be peace in the chaos and can I have joy in the struggles?

The Bible says yes.

My depression, anxiety, fear, and constant focus on daily struggles tells me no.  I’m going to suffocate (if you’ve never had severe anxiety, that may not make sense but yes suffocate) right here under the weight of my own life. The sin that I have not guarded my mind against, tells me that I can’t pray and feel freedom in Jesus.  I have to fix this life first.  I am not worthy to worship right now under the guilt of failing yet again.

That is a lie.

The Bible verse above says to guard your HEARTS and your MIND. Guard your hearts and your mind.  To me, this means eat right, exercise, take the meds or supplements that will help, and be proactive towards guarding your mind.  The mind is very powerful.  It can make you think your life is a million times worse than it is;  that this life that we have now is the only thing that matters, that you are sick, that you are weak, that you cannot take any more, even that you do not like people that in fact, you love very much.  The mind controls everything about you, and the Bible tells us to guard it.

Guard your mind? Have you ever been in the thick of everything that hurts in life, and been to exhausted to open your bible? To exhausted to think or read? So you go a month, a year, all while allowing those negative things to take over residence in your mind.  They begin to manifest in your emotions, guiding your daily behaviors, possibly even manifesting physically (hello stress related disease), and you fall further away from any guidance by the Holy spirit.  You can’t focus.  You can’t pull away from the pain and misery, the struggles, the suffocation.  You haven’t been proactive at guarding your mind, and sin has taken hold.

And you are weary.

Ever been there?

The good news is that you get a new chance every day to start being proactive about guarding your heart and mind.  Will the stress of life just disappear? Uh…no. However, you can change the glasses with which you are looking at those stressors.  Put on your rose colored glasses and try not to make an idol out of things that stink.  Yes, it might take up your whole day, and it might make you cry, but you still have God.  He still loves you, and whatever is going on down here, doesn’t take away from the eternity up there.

Whew, that’s hard to focus on in the midst of struggle though isn’t it.

It’s not a sprint.  You aren’t going to wake up and say, “oh hello new glasses, life is fine and manageable now.” You can wake up, break a sweat, drink some water, break the addiction to sugar that is causing insulin fluctuations that also take a toll on how your mind perceives things, journal some thoughts, clear your mind, read your Bible, let it soak in, forgive yourself and those around you for making things suck, and keep practising on letting God carry your anxiety.

Keep moving forward with it.  Keep practising. Seek out ways to be proactive. Be on guard.  The enemy wants to take control of your mind, break your spirit, make you feel as though everything is coming down on you and there is no way to feel better or escape.

There is a way.  Even if you are feeling helpless….pray. Talk it out with God.  Prayer doesn’t have to be formal, if it did, I’ve probably not ever prayed much then.  I’m not a formal person, but I’m pretty sure that God hears me even when it is the pitiful “I am hurting please help me.” Pray then move.  Move something, do one thing towards helping yourself.  Listen, one thing builds to another, and all of a sudden you are strong and fierce in the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes we just have to make baby steps and build to fierceness over time.

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The Unseen Mom

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I recently noticed a relatively common yet sad oversight.  This time, the oversight came in the form of a consignment sale advertisement.  There is a consignment sale that fills an entire warehouse, and usually brings the masses of savvy shopping mothers, hoping to fill their homes with needed (and not so needed) essentials at half the cost.  We are talking a lot of people in one building.

To offset some of the chaos, this consignment sale advertised special shopping times for certain groups of people.  There was early participant shopping.  Understandable, after all, you’ve put in your effort to make this event happen….get your shop on! They have an expectant and new mother shopping time.  Oh yes, it is hard to fight the crowds when you have a giant belly, swollen feet, and the bladder capacity of a pea. Totally makes sense.

They then have times for teachers, medical personnel, and a few other groups.  It is hard for these people to get to the sale before things are gone.  I get that, and I have the greatest respect for ALL of these people.  What I did find odd, there was no time set aside for special needs parents.

If we are making plans to make it easier for parents who face unique challenges, why are we not helping special needs parents out?

My guess.

People don’t see us.

Not really.

Oh I bet people see us at the store.  In my case, they see my kids faces (and the amount of children I have) and they smile a sympathetic smile.  Sometimes they make a comment about my hands being full and they move on.  So, you “see” the special needs parent….and then you don’t.

There are a majority of special needs families report not attending church anymore, there just isn’t a ministry to help with their circumstances nor congregations who understand(in some places) the abnormal behavior that might disrupt service.  They don’t have children who can participate in sports, so you don’t see them there.  They have children who see your kid for an hour in PE and then not at all.  You don’t see them at school functions.  You don’t see them at after school functions, because their kid had a complete meltdown in the living room due to the line on their socks not matching right, and could not be consoled, leading to another missed opportunity for socializing.  You don’t see them at the Friday night football game with their kids, because the amount of people and the noise are just too much for their child to handle.  Same goes for the birthday parties you don’t see them at…..if their kid even got invited.

You don’t see them because they are at home (or the hospital) taking care of their child.  So why would you consider them when making plans for certain parent groups?  Why would you give them much thought?

Hopefully you will though. It is a lonely job sometimes, being the one who can’t join in the chatter with other parents while their kids chase a ball around a field with their feet.  It is lonely sitting at home listening to the sermon on the television, or leaving the party early due to too much stimuli for your child.  It is lonely not being able to talk to someone about your problems without them just giving you sympathy eyes, or thinking you are a horrid person for saying “poop sucks and I don’t want to wipe another butt today!!!” when they haven’t lived in your shoes and cannot possibly understand.

Nobody wants an, “I’m sorry this is your life” discussion.  Or the, “oh you are so strong, I don’t see how you do it, I could never.” Nope, this is not what we want.  What I want is to be invited.  Be understanding if at the last minute I can’t go, but don’t disregard me as a friend and forget about me.  Or, be understanding if I do come that I might have to spend my time “guiding” my kid while we chat.  I still care about you, I am interested in what you are saying, but at the same time I need to make sure that my kid doesn’t wander off down the street or take a stranger up on a mystery sticker offer.  I want church congregations to let me parent my children with the discipline and rules they need, while also understanding that sometimes they have behaviors that might not be normal, and it might disrupt the congregations.  Or better yet, for some special needs parents, a place that helps special needs parents with their challenges while still getting to be part of the worship service.

I want a bathroom in a public place that doesn’t require a special needs mother to change her adult sized child on the FLOOR!

If anyone could use a sale on kids clothes, it’s the parents who spend their money on medical equipment, therapies, and a whole host of other very costly things associated with special needs parenting.  Things that “regular” people do not consider, because they don’t have to.  It’s not their fault, parenting is hard with neuro-typical kids, not a whole lot of time to consider others. I get it.

I think with the rates of autism growing at such an alarming pace, it is time to start seeing the parents who care for kids with extra needs.  It is time to start empathizing (not sympathising) with their lives and making an effort to  be part of it, even if uncomfortable things happen.

 

 

 

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What pain steals.

A few months after we committed to adopt Glory, my world changed.  I do not talk about it much, it’s incredibly defeating.  I like to pretend that it doesn’t exist. About 2 1/2 years ago, the summer we decided to pursue adopting Glory, and proceeded to do the ever so popular paper chase, I came down with an illness like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

At first, I had pain in my feet.  I thought perhaps I had injured them during exercise.  The pain spread, it began to radiate down my hips and legs into my feet.  I am quite tough when it comes to pain.  I did not use pain medication aside from ibuprofen and tylenol during the recovery of all 3 c-sections that followed 30+ hours of natural labor attempts.  So, trust me when I tell you that chronic pain is no joke.

Along with the pain came the fatigue.  Not just run of the mill exhaustion, but deep down, completely incapable of movement, fatigue.  I had days where it was all I could do to keep up with the children, and I would fall into a heap of tears, unable to cope with not being my “normal do-it-all self.”

I began to have pain in my shoulders and my back.  I couldn’t figure out why there was so much pain…..neither could the doctor.  My muscles ached, I was completely fatigued, and then my memory and recall became fuzzy.  I lost a lot of my hair over a year’s time. And I became unable to sleep.  Every night was tossing and turning, despite reduction in caffeine and electronics, just not being able to get into a sleep mode. Initially I did test anemic, but once that was resolved, the pain didn’t go away.

The worst thing was that I couldn’t exercise.  If I did, I would be in intense pain for the rest of the day….if I could make it through a workout at all.  This was the worst, because this was the thing that proved to me that this was serious.  I have always enjoyed exercise as a way to reduce stress.  The day I delivered Zeke, I walked my littlest sister to death trying to get labor to progress. I walked 27 miles the week I delivered Grace. It is just something I love to do.

I have had PCOS since I was 22, probably well before that, but 22 is when I was diagnosed after crazy high  testosterone and multiple cysts on my ovaries showing via ultrasound.  PCOS does not make it impossible to lose weight, but it does make it more difficult.  It is also common for people to say they are trying to keep the weight off always, any break in constant effort, could result in a 20lb gain in like 2 weeks. In addition to stress relief, I have used exercise to help keep my weight down.  It’s nowhere near goal, but it’s also not 244 like it was at 21.  Needless to say, when I couldn’t exercise, I was more than a bit nervous.

Having pain like this is hard to cope with mentally.  Not because of the physical discomfort (although that does take a toll), but because of what pain steals.

Pain steals days.

Pain steals happy moods.

Pain steals precious time with my littles.

Pain steals memories that could be made, but instead you watch from the sidelines…..or say once again….I’m sorry I just can’t.

Pain steals pride and self confidence.

Pain steals my children’s perception of me being the “best” mom.

I refuse to use prescription pain meds.  I come from a lineage of addicts, and I just feel it best to not even go there, not even non-addictive drugs.  So, I have been on a journey over the last few years to find a way to build energy and reduce pain.  I have tried a myriad of supplements, some work better than others.  Holla to my fave: collagen!

I started exercising again doing just 15 minutes of mild walking.  It would nearly knock me out for the day, but I persevered.  I kept at it, building more time and endurance. Now during good weeks, I can do 45-60 minutes of kickboxing.  I started taking melatonin to help me sleep.  It helps to get to sleep, but I still roll around often to readjust in the night and try to ease the pain.

I do not have some miracle cure story.

I have the truth about what it’s like to look “normal” and feel completely destroyed.  On the outside, I look just like any other 30’s mom with a little pudge going on.  I am stubborn and refuse to back off on my daily routine any more than I already have, so people see me teaching my kids, playing with them, cleaning house, cooking from scratch, sewing (when my hands aren’t stiff and throbbing), and doing whatever other normal moms do.

On the inside though, I am sobbing. I am hurting, I am silently begging for relief and enough energy to carry me through the day. I do not get to fully enjoy things as I once did, because everything is burdened by the pain.

Last week, I took two kids to Nashville (a five hour drive each way), for a doctor’s appointment.  After the appointment, they wanted to walk the mall.  So we did.  I was already pretty worn down, but we did it.  Then they wanted to walk another big store.  We did.  However, I had to turn down the last requested activity.  I was hurting so bad that I had literal tears and I just couldn’t walk anymore for the fatigue (and I still had to drive us home).

Andy asked me if all moms were tired and hurting all of the time.

That cut me to the bone.  I don’t want to feel this way, and I push hard to always be doing stuff with and for the kids.  I don’t sit down much during the day, because if I do, the pain gets worse and I have a hard time getting  back up for life.  So, I work to be engaged with the kids.  Yet, I just couldn’t do one more thing that day.

That day, pain broke my heart a little.

How do you explain to someone that you look great but feel agonizingly bad all of the time…..they don’t know what that is like, so it is really really hard for them to empathize.

 

Pain is invisible.

How can something invisible be so damaging.

I am still trying to find what is wrong.  They have said fibromyalgia, but now with my wrists and the joints in my fingers being so stiff and in pain, it may not be fibro. Whatever it is, I want it gone.  I want to heal it, and I’m on a mission to do so.  I’ll let ya’ll know if I fulfill my mission.

In the mean time, have some compassion for your fellow man.  They may be suffering from something that you have no idea about.  Be forgiving and give grace to others, for you have no idea what troubles fill their shoes.

 

Uncategorized

It’s a real thing…..face belt

I have become completely enamored with random things that are absurd and for sale.  I figured that if I was amused, maybe ya’ll would be as well.  So, I’m going to attempt to revive this space that I write in sometimes (not so much since I brought home the little diva 9 months ago).

The first thing I am going to share is the face belt.

Yes! It is a belt for your face! What?

face mask

Doesn’t she look happy.  I mean, she basically has a jock strap stuck to her face, and yet, she smiles.

You can find this picture and product here….not my affiliate link, cause I’m amused enough to share without payment.

Wear this jock strap for the face for 30-40 minutes to whip your face wrinkles into submission.  They claim that for just $12.99 with prime shipping, that you to can be less face fat and saggy.

I’m not going to lie, the extra pounds plus 33 years of life, plus this special needs mom thing that I do, has given me some face fat and sag.

Still not going to force my face into the “breathable and soft material” that most closely resembles the support worn by males doing sports like things.

Oh but it gets better.

This is actually a thing!

facemask2

This scares the CRAP out of me and you can find it here.

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing better than getting my face sag tightened while also giving the UPS man the heeby jeebies, thinking I’m a lady (being pink and all) who forces people to put the lotion on it’s skin. (Truth Bomb: I’m terrified of scary movies, so that’s the only part of that movie I know about, but hey it makes great reference here).

This mask claims to promote metabolism.

AND it has reviews! That’s the best part.  I love amazon reviews.

So here is what I want to know.  When I was a teenager, I had knee problems, and I had to wear a knee support also made from soft and breathable material.  It trapped in the sweat.  That trapped sweat smelled no matter how often you bathed and also washed your support.

So…..does this cause smelly face sweat?

Is it worth it?

Well, it’s a non-surgical face lift-ish kind of maybe possibly could work for some but the reviews aren’t so good so maybe it doesn’t work, soft and breathable belt for your face.

It’s a real thing that I find amusing.

 

Uncategorized

A Week of Basic Sewing

Last week, I set a goal to finally start sewing up this fabric into Fall clothes for the kidlets.  My school/craft room is in order….err…organized chaotic order?….who let those kids have glue sticks and paper anyways…..

In my spare moments, I was able to trace and cut 7 shirts from my favorite pattern for littles.  This is a free hoodie pattern found (here) and only goes up to a 5t. It runs small, so Zeke and Glory are my last two to wear it, thus this is my last year to use this pattern for my small people.

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Glory has an incredible amount of these hoodies passed down from Grace, who barely wore them last year.  Zeke, however, has no shirts to be passed down.  Tanner would have to grow a lot in order to pass down his clothes, and as of yet, these two are not in similar sizing.

You see this poor baby’s nose? He had an unfortunate collision between himself and the train table.  It’s hard to get dressed in the morning by yourself ya’ll.

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This shirt is my favorite, but only because it is the softest and most snuggly of them all.  Seriously, I need one in my size.

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Listen, when you have muscles, you have to flaunt them man.

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These shirts come together so incredibly fast.  I mean, who doesn’t love an adorable and quick sew! Especially when you have 6 kids and very little time.

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This one was Zeke’s favorite.  He absolutely adores anything monster truck.  Who knew, I pulled this out of the scrap pile from a bunch of clothes I had made him when he was a teeny baby.

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He really was a good sport about modelling all of these shirts, one right after another.

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But then again, I am lucky, all of my kids love love love getting something from “the machines.”  They love mom-made clothes.  They are also, all of them, expecting mom-made halloween costumes….I’ve done this to myself really.

A week’s worth of shirts, sewn in a week’s worth of time.

Who am I kidding….he’s three….this is what…2 days worth of clothes?!!!

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Push Away, Move Closer


This little one has been home nearly 7 months now.  Seven months of adjusting to being family, to being her mother, her adjusting to finally having a mother. She has a fiery spirit, she’s a fighter, and although it helped her as an orphan….it is a hindrance to bonding. 

She pushes away.

She begs for closeness. 

Her mind is full of emotions that her three year old self cannot evaluate and process. I myself have problems evaluating and processing emotions sometimes, and I’m an adult, so it makes sense that she lets her emotions present in shrieking. Oh the shrieking. Logically, we know why the fits happen. Aside from normal 3 year old development, she is developing a new language that doesn’t yet allow her to communicate and express herself fully. She is subconsciously holding a resentment towards me for taking her from her home. I can’t say that I blame her. She also just plain ole doesn’t like to be told what to do, not even in the most “here are your choices” kind of way.

There is one thing I have noticed, that is not much different from what we faced when we adopted Anna and Tanner. She has an expected failure mentality. She often says, “I can’t do it.” Sometimes it is feigned helplessness, sometimes it is her literally thinking she can’t. There are many of these moments throughout our day. I tell her she can do it, she is capable, sometimes she tries and succeeds right away. Sometimes she throws a fit, then tries and succeeds. 

So many emotions for this little one. 

What is the saying? Those who need love the most, ask for it in the most unloving ways.

This is truth. So we push forward, forging a path of our own, stealing moments to bond and making the most of them. 

We just keep trying….all of us. 

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Thoughts On Grief

This year, I have been witness to as well as purveyor of, much grief.  I have watched my daughter grieve the loss of her country, her family, her language, and everything that she knew as her life.  Although I know what would have happened if she had stayed, she had no idea, and even if she did, it would not have lessened her grief and loss.

I have witnessed my Grandmother saying goodbye to her husband of almost 60 years. Watched as she said, “it’s okay….I’m going to be alright….you go and rest.” Witnessed her tears as his life slipped away to heave, leaving her here to exist on this side…half of her gone.

My aunt died unexpectedly, and I witnessed the gut-wrenching sobs of her siblings and mother….of my siblings…myself…as we tried to wrap our minds around what happened, as we tried to acknowledge that she is no longer here.

Again, I witnessed the sobs of my aunt when she called to tell me that my dad had died.  My Granny had to say goodbye to her son, accept that he was gone, that his life did not resolve how we had hoped it one day would.

A friend that I’ve known for 20 years lost her husband at only 34 years old.  A sudden loss of life so young, she had to say goodbye.

Grief is frustrating. It cannot be hidden from, it presents itself in a million different ways, and you can’t fight it no matter how hard you try.

I HATE GRIEF!

Grief is raw, bringing the deepest hurt from a person, to the surface of reality.  It takes up occupancy in every hour…every second, of every day.  There is seemingly no end to grief when one is deep within.  It is all consuming and all feeling.

Grief does not have a handbook.  Oh there are many books out there that try to guide people through it, they try to contain grief into bulleted steps with which one can work through.  It doesn’t work that way though.  My loss of my Grandpa is nothing like the loss my Grandmother had when he passed.  My daughter’s loss over her whole world, is nothing like the loss two of my other children experienced when they left Ukraine.

Every person is different.  Every person will experience grief in a unique way, that only they can.  For some, they will cry at every commercial, every hour in which the loved one died, and in general, at every moment that their loved one crosses their mind.  This can go on for days….months…..

For some people, they may get angry at the ones they feel responsible for their loss.  My daughter throws tantrums and rages through her feelings of loss.  Some people stop eating, some people camp out at the grave site, some people eat constantly, some people withdraw and speak to no one for a while, some pretend to move on, some journal, some paint, some throw things, etc….etc…etc…

There is NO WRONG way to grieve. (Aside from illegal drug use of course).

Give people space to grieve.  Don’t try to force them to feel better in order to make you feel better.  Don’t ask them if they are okay.  Undoubtedly, they will tell you yes they are okay, because it is uncomfortable for you to hear that NO….their life sucks right now….they are hurting.

So they hide behind a veil of “okay.” Resulting in you thinking they are okay, and lessening your support, acceptance of their behavior, and concern.

Coming through grief and learning to live life again is not easy.  Give people space.  Love them with acceptance and freedom to have their feelings.  Rejoice when they smile and enjoy life again, but don’t try to rush it in order to make yourself feel better.