Saturday, October 15, 2011

October So Far

Ezekiah did a cartwheel off our porch steps

Urijah decided to try his hand at photography

We had our first snowfall!

Little Eskimos

Zarik and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary and actually got to go out to dinner (double amazing was that I found something I could eat on the elimination diet at our favorite restaurant, Danny's Corner Bistro!!)

And we made our own cheese crackers. So yummy! This is going to be a regular activity in our house for sure.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Cleanse Down

So I finished my Isagenix Cleanse (detailed here) At the end of September. October 1st I started a "Comprehensive Elimination Diet" that my awesome Dr has put together. More on that later. First, the Cleanse:

I was surprised how ease I found it. Except for the last week. My 2nd to last cleanse day found me sick with a cold, so I decided it wasn't wise to continue as a cleanse day, and instead just had chicken soup all day. Then I struggled to find another day to fit that cleanse in, so it just didn't happen. That was the week I was on a jury, so yeah. Not the easiest week to stay on track. I was proud of myself, considering everything, though. On the last day, I measured and weighed myself to see the difference. Here are my results: (Oh, and I'm not going to tell you my actual weight and measurements, ha. Just how many pound and inches I lost.)

Weight - 10lbs lost (YEAH!)
Neck - 2" lost
Upper Arms - 1" lost on each arm
Chest/Bust - 4" lost
Diaphragm - 2.5" lost
Waist - 7" lost!!!! (I was most shocked and excited by this!)
Abdomen - 3" lost
Buttocks - 2" lost
Upper Thigh - 1.5" lost on each leg

All in all I was really excited. Although for me weight loss is a secondary thing right now, I know it's a byproduct of all I am doing. I was really nervous I'd get to the end and there'd be no outward change, though. I was scared my body was broken for good. This really gave me a boost of confidence.

So now we're onto this Elimination Diet. It's kinda the opposite side of weight loss from the Cleanse. In the Cleanse I wasn't restricted (beyond sugar and drinking anything but water) in WHAT I ate (although they encouraged you to eat "healthy"), but I was restricted in HOW MUCH (calories). The Elimination Diet is restricted heavily in WHAT you can eat, but NOT in HOW MUCH, or calories.

So here are the things I'm avoiding: Citrus, Dairy, Eggs, Gluten (ie wheat), Corn, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Egg Plants, Peppers, Pork, Beef, Processed Meats (ie hotdogs, coldcuts, even though I can have turkey), Shellfish, Soy products, Peanuts, Butter, Margarine, Processed Oils, (ie most condiments), Alcohol, Caffeine, Coffee (even Decaf), Soft drinks (even caffeine free, sugar free ones), Sugar (brown or white), honey, maple syrup, HFCS, cane juice.

Amazingly, I'm 8 days in and not starving! The nutritionist that works with Dr. J gave me an awesome 1 week menu of ideas that has helped a LOT. And the way we eat (multiple small meals through the day, almost like snacks) I still haven't gone through a lot of the recipes. I'm looking forward to trying a lot of them. Here's a couple pictures of things that are helping me through this:

This is my breakfast most mornings - A protein smoothie: Mixed Berries, Chocolate Pea Protein Powder, Coconut Milk, and Flax Oil.

This was a yummy Applesauce Bread. The kids LOVED it, ha! They ate the majority of it. I liked it with a little Apple Butter or Pear Butter spread on top.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Colors of Fall

I love fall. I love taking drives with my family. I love Colorado. I love combining the three of these things. Coming from a place where there weren't really any deciduous trees at all, I absolutely LOVE taking drives with my family in Colorado in the fall. Aspens are so amazing this time of year! I love watching as Pikes Peak's lower half starts looking like it's on fire. Everywhere you look there are splashes of color among the dark green Pines. When I was driving to Cripple Creek for jury duty a couple of weeks ago the leaves had just started to turn, so the following week I convinced Zarik that we should go out that way and take a drive. I'd also found a cool scenic drive website that gave us a great idea of a route to take. Here's a glimpse as to what we get to enjoy every fall.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

God is in Everything - Even Jury Duty

This last week I had Jury Duty. Honestly, I didn't really think I would be picked, even if I had to go the one day. The day of I was driving there (we have to go to Cripple Creek, which is about 45 minutes down a wind-y road), listening to worship music and really just having an awesome time with the Lord. After getting there, signing in, and watching the "orientation" video, we were given assigned seats. Well, mine was front and center. And from my previous experience, I know they pick the jury in order of seating. Sure 'nough, after a long, boring morning (Thank God they let me bring my crochet in! It kept my ADD hands nicely occupied!), a nice lunch, and another hour or so, I was put up in the jury box.

It was a civil case, so there were 7 of us (6, plus one alternate). 4 women, 3 men, and I was the youngest by at least 15 years. I'm guessing I was for sure a defense pick because I was younger, in jeans and a t-shirt, multiple piercings, and a Christian. But I was just safe enough that the prosecutor didn't mind me there (mom of 3 who crochets). The case was a rancher in his 70's who was hauling cattle for auction and had stopped by the side of the road when a young guy (I took him for about 25) reached down for a cigarette, veered to the right striking the cattle trailer, and possibly clipped the rancher who was at his driver side door. The reason I say I was a defense pick was the young man was young (yes I know that's redundant, ha), had multiple piercings, is in a band, and plays on his Church's Worship Team.

As the week went on I got to know the other 2 women who were on the base part of the jury (the 4th was our alternate). One of them was a new Moppets teacher in my MOPS group that I just didn't get to meet in the chaos of our first week (in fact, she's Mika's teacher for this year). They were both amazing Christian women and we had some great discussions. The first night of the trial, I had a dream where the light of the Holy Spirit was shining down on me and two other jurors (the other women) and the peace of God was on the defendant. I kept praying into that, wondering how this was going to play out. Unknown to me, one of the other women was also having similar dreams during the trial. On the second day, there was a witness by video that I really wasn't comfortable with. The Lord was really speaking to me about that and how to pray for that guy on the drive home that day.

While most civil cases here take about 3 days, this one ended up going 4 very full days. The prosecutor was taking his sweet time with all the witnesses and really painting a picture of this poor old man whose dreams were crushed because he was injured so badly 3 years ago in this accident. Despite that, I really didn't have a peace about just awarding him all these damages. They were asking for almost $400,000. When we finally got to the Jury room and got to deliberate, it was amazing for me. Not a single other juror was convinced he was actually hit or even tapped by the car or that any resulting injuries would have caused the long term issues he was dealing with. So all we were comfortable doing was giving him 3 months worth of ranch help and 50% of the medical bills for that time. So we awarded him about $6,500. And here in his closing statements the defense was begging us to just not go over $25,000!

The only way I can account for all of our hesitation and unity is the Holy Spirit. This whole experience proved to me once again something I should know without hesitation by now: God is in EVERYTHING - even Jury Duty.

Oh, and I got myself a reward for going through this week. It's something I've been wanting for a while now - Whaddaya think? :-)

Hint: it's the bottom one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Quest to Find My Healthy Self

The last few years have been really tough on my body. Namely because I had 3 babies in 3 years. After Mika and Urijah my body seemed to react fine: I lost all but 10lbs pretty quickly and after I quit breastfeeding I lost half of that, so I was only left with 5 extra pounds that didn't go away before I found myself pregnant again. Ezekiah's pregnancy was a little different. First, I didn't have my normal weight loss at the beginning because I was able to manage my morning sickness better than I had with the older 2. Second, I had low progesterone and spotting in the beginning which made me scared to death I was going to miscarry again. Third, near the end of the pregnancy I ended up with PTSD caused by my previous miscarriages and fear of the problems that led to Mika's C-section possibly repeating (there was never an indication of this, but it's a fear that has followed me into the end of each of my pregnancies). Fourth, the little bugger decided to stay in until 42 weeks and 2 days. After he was born, I didn't lose a pound. Not even his body weight! Everyone told me to take it easy on myself. I was breastfeeding and since I've always had supply issues I couldn't risk going gung-ho on my weight and killing my supply. Then after I stopped breastfeeding (This past June), to my horror I gained 10lbs in one month and 5lbs the following month. WTH was going on here????

I called up my PCP and we started trying to figure out what was going on. Both he and my chiropractor came to the conclusion that my adrenals were completely exhausted and I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Because light is just really being shed on adrenal fatigue, there is a lot of conflicting or wishy-washy information out there about it. Most of the websites I've found (except for this one) make it sound like a fake I've-just-been-overworked excuse. However if you look at the function of the adrenals, you see that they control hormones. What led to my diagnosis was that I've been having typical signs of hormone and thyroid issues, but all my tests were coming back normal. So something wasn't right. Our theory is that my body had too much stress over the last few years with my pregnancies and breastfeeding and the fact that I'm a single mom almost half the month. My adrenals were on overdrive for so long they finally couldn't keep up. So my body went into lock-down/survival mode by lowering my metabolism and screwing with my hormones. According to my doctor, the things that help to heal this are sleep/rest, exercise, and no caffeine/sugar.

I was miserable. I hated the way I felt, the way I looked, how tired I was. I found myself in a deep depression. I was desperate to find my previous healthy self. First of all, I cut out caffeine (waahhhhhh!). Then, my chiropractor and doctor had a few different options they presented to me. The 2 that appealed to me the most were Isagenix and an Elimination Diet. Because of the place I was in mentally I decided to start with a 30 day cleanse. Here's why: 1)I've heard of the Isagenix products before. I trust them, although I don't like their business perspectives and think they're pretty overpriced. 2)I knew I needed something that was stupid simple to do and completely laid out for me. 3)I wanted the month to prepare for my Elimination Diet, but wanted to start doing SOMETHING. The Elimination Diet is a program put together by my doctor. You eliminate a ton of foods that can cause common issues: Gluten, most meat, shellfish, soy, peanuts (no other nuts), dairy (including butter), sugars, and a few select veggies specific to me (corn, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and pepper). These are basically to see if there are reactions I am having to any of these. If I gain more energy on the diet and then adding in, for example, milk makes me feel sluggish or makes me break out, etc, then we know I have a problem with it.

Now I feel it is important to say this: I know there are many types of products, cleanses, diets, etc. out there. It seems that everyone has the "best" one that everyone else should use and nothing else compares and you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you use anything else. (note* This is a huge reason I can't give my full support to Isagenix even though I do think they have a great product. Their consultants can get downright degrading) However, after looking at quite a few of them, I decided this was right for me right now. Maybe one day I'll do a juice cleanse. Maybe one day I'll try P90X. I probably won't buy protein from a specific company because my hubby is a genius with finding cheap ways to get us amazing products that just don't have name brands stamped on them. So please, don't read all this just to tell me that I should really be doing it "your way". This is one reason I've stayed away from mentioning much about this on facebook.

Today is day 21 of my 30 day cleanse. I'm actually taking a break today because I've come down with a bad cold and today was supposed to be a cleanse day (vs a shake day). But I'm still just going to eat small, healthy portions of chicken (some soup, some breast) and veggies today to try to kick this thing. Zarik and I can both see a huge difference in my body and energy levels already. I still struggle to exercise, (that's a whole other post) but I've really been trying to do 20 minutes of SOMETHING a day, be it walking, the gym, a Wii game I love called ExerBeat, or taking the kids to the park and running around with them. To help with my nighttime snacking addiction I've been knitting or crocheting, which has been fun to learn.

WHEW. It feels good to be able to share this. I've been keeping in close to me, but longing to share what I'm doing. It's been easier than I thought, but I know I can't do this alone. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Year in Pictures

Wow! Has it really been almost a full year since I posted?? I guess as a mom of 3 now I don't feel like I have much to say besides "Fed the kids breakfast - Changed a diaper - Picked up toys - Changed another diaper - Fed the kids again - Changed ANOTHER diaper - FINALLY the kids are in bed and I get a feaking second to myself".

Now that we finally moved the baby out of our room (Ok, ok, we actually put him in my closet so he's not really out of our room, but I'm getting a lot more sleep!) and dealing with my health (more on that in another post) I'm finally feeling more like myself and like I can update on what we're up to. PLUS, we got a new camera! My big Sony Cybershot SLR wasn't holding a charge anymore so besides our smartphones we'd been camera-less for a while. I was looking for something smaller that could fit in my pocket and work with just one hand since I'm quite often carrying a kid or two plus diaperbag and food and get the idea. So I got this pretty little number:

So here we go: A year in pictures


Starbucks in Reno while Driving to Grandma's

Babywearing Daddies are Hot!
Bumps and Bruises

Learning to eat the "Baby Led Weaning" Style
Naps with Daddy

Sibling Fun
Naps on Mommy

We love Chick-Fil-A - This was Family Night
Up close and personal at Earth Day

Ezekiah got his turn with the nebulizer
Pioneer Days Train

We got to ride on Daddy's plane!
Family vacation in Telluride

Renaissance Festival

In the airport flying home from Grandma's
Mama's big helper in the kitchen

Astronauts at the Denver Museum of Science and History
Getting to ride on our first school bus (just from a parking lot to a Patriots Day Festival)