Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Home Stretch

I seem to have been on an emotional roller coaster lately with all these pregnancy hormones (hence the minimal attention to the blog), and as we enter into this last little stretch of the pregnancy, I now find myself battling feelings of insecurity one minute, experiencing excitement the next - only to end in a mini freak out session about the fact that in just six short weeks, I will be the mother of FOUR kids. Yikes. How has the time gone by so quickly?!

The chaos all started with an abnormal test result that came back after I had my prenatal blood work done in January. That had me pretty messed up for a few weeks until we had some confirmatory testing done and everything came back normal just a few weeks ago. I'll get into more detail where that is concerned in a later post, but talk about dealing with some unnecessary stress. Good grief. I was pretty much an unproductive basket case for the duration of that trial. Thank heavens it is over, and I can focus on this pregnancy and getting prepared for the delivery.

Now that the end is in sight, though, I must admit that I am feeling a little ill-equipped for baby #4. I remember when I was pregnant with L-Bear, we had the nursery finished and even re-painted MNM's room MONTHS before he was due. I even made both of them cute little quilts to welcome him into the world and to help her feel not-so-left-out. When I was pregnant with B-Boo, I bought all the material to make her a quilt, but never got around to it, and it is still sitting in a bag next to my sewing machine almost two years later. lol. Now, we have another baby coming and we still don't even have a vehicle big enough to fit all of us in it. Sheesh.

Maybe one day I will get it together. Maybe one day I will have the babies out of my bed and into a room of their own. Maybe one day I will even go through all of B-Boo's baby clothes and re-organize them for the new baby in her new dresser (which we have yet to purchase. lol).

We did decide to have another baby shower, which will transpire in a few weeks, and I am really looking forward to actually celebrating this great blessing. Hopefully, after all is said and done, we can start to settle down a bit and get a little more organized. Go ahead and say it. I am a disorderly mess. I won't hold it against you. ;)




Thursday, February 20, 2014

Focusing on Gratitude to Get Through the Day

So, these last few weeks, I have been feeling pretty lame due to illness and some other stress factors that I have been facing - And as I usually tend to do when life gets chaotic, I have been neglecting the blog as a result. 

I have been a bit too scatter-brained lately to produce anything halfway worth reading. I think about my blog every few days - heck, I even think I might have something worth talking about, but then the dust starts to settle, life and stress start to surface, and my brain is toast again. I start to think that maybe I will feel much better after this week is over when we'll (hopefully) have some more answers where my health is concerned. I even think I will try to sit down and focus on positivity more, and who knows - maybe a miracle will happen, and something somewhat legit or even halfway interesting will emerge. 


In the meantime, however, I am trying to recall the wise advice I received recently, which inspired my last blog post: Every single day you make a choice. I know that I am so blessed to have such an amazing support system, and I thank Heavenly Father daily for the strength I am able to receive through the Atonement and through the joy my family brings to me. I was reminded of these blessings again today during my personal scripture study, wherein I read about the pre-existence and how we were foreordained to do certain things. I have a firm testimony of this principle, and I know that I was foreordained to be a mother. I receive a tremendous amount of comfort knowing that I am taking on such an important role in our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness by striving to be a faithful wife and mother, and raising my children unto the Lord.


So to get through today, I choose to focus on these blessings, and will lean on the comfort of the Savior to bring me out of this funk. In an attempt to do so, I decided to write a list of the things I love about each of my children. Obviously, this list could go on for miles, so for all intents and purposes, I will focus on a few, simple things I love about each of them - some of the things that make them uniquely special in my heart.


So without further ado:


1. MNM (my 13-year-old daughter) - I love how:

a. she still likes to lie with her head in my lap and cuddle every once in a while, as if she were still a small child;
b. she loves to read and always has a book in her hand; and 
c. she likes to show her gratitude in simple, thoughtful ways, like a homemade card or a song that she sings and dedicates to me. She has such a big heart, and I am so lucky to be her mom.

2. L-Bear (my 3-year-old son) - I love how:

a. he is constantly telling me that he loves me and cares about me "so much";
b. he climbs into bed with me each night and tells me all the things he is sorry for doing that day - bless his little heart; and
c. he wants to go with me everywhere I go, and always wants to be a helper in the kitchen. He is my right-hand little guy, has such a thoughtful, loving spirit, and I am so lucky to be his mom; and 

3. Baby Boo (my 21-month-old daughter) - I love how:

a. she wraps my arm around herself every night to fall asleep;
b. her eyes light up and she gets so excited every time she hears the song, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" from "Frozen." She even clicks her tongue at the appropriate time, and has started repeating a word or two of the song, which is absolutely adorable; and
c. every time L-Bear hits her or does something to her out of impatience, I tell him to say he's sorry - yet without missing a beat, SHE will go over to him and wrap her arms around him - almost as if to say, "It's okay, brother. I love you." She truly has such a sweet spirit. Her smile lights up my heart, and I am so lucky to be her mom. 

It's amazing how having an attitude of gratitude can instantly change your mood. I am thankful for each of my children. They are the shining beacon in my life that reminds me of how truly blessed I am. They are my saving grace, and it is they who are constantly teaching me how to be the best version of myself, how to be a better daughter of our Heavenly Father, and how to truly love. I am so thankful for the blessing of their presence in my life, and I am thankful that Heavenly Father entrusted me to be their mom. :) 


Friday, January 31, 2014

Every Single Day You Make a Choice

These past few weeks have been a bit of a challenge with the babies being so sick. It all started over the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend when L came down with a cough - out of nowhere. We still went to church that Sunday, but by Monday night, his cough had gotten progressively worse and he was up half the night coughing so badly that he almost threw up several times in bed.

I kept him home that Tuesday as a precaution, and was glad that I did, as he ended up throwing up all over the floor, leaving a trail from the couch to the bathroom door at about 10:00 a.m. that morning. Had I sent him to school, I'd have had to walk to go pick him up since we still don't have a second vehicle. As I stood with him in the bathroom afterward, trying to clean him up well enough to stick him in the bathtub, B comes traipsing into the restroom and slipped on his vomit. I spent a good portion of the rest of that morning cleaning up children and puke, then rubbed them both down with essential oils before laying them down for a nap.

L ended up missing school Wednesday and Thursday of that week as well, but was feeling much better by Friday (although, he doesn't have preschool on Fridays). Only by then, B had come down with the same virus, full blown. Thursday night and Friday night were pretty horrible for her, the poor thing. She had such a difficult time coughing and choking on mucous that she threw up several times both nights. Friday night, we went through every last towel, sheet, and blanket that we had in the house before the coughing subsided enough for her to finally get a few hours of sleep. I had to do 5 loads of laundry (linens and clothes) the following day, just to get through the pile of laundry that had been soiled from the whole fiasco. By that time, she had also started to battle a fever off and on, and continued to do so throughout the course of the next few days.

Saturday night, she didn't throw up at all, but she started this extremely bizarre behavior, where she would wake up in the middle of the night screaming her little head off. She would also start scratching at her face in a fit of rage and would hit herself in the head, sometimes grabbing onto her hair and pulling, as if trying to yank it out. It was almost like she was possessed or something, like she was out of her mind. I don't know if she was just in a severe amount of pain, or what, but we tried applying and diffusing essential oils, offering her a drink of water or something to eat, but nothing seemed to get through to her. She just kept going back and forth from Zach to me, then back to Zach, and by the time she finally started to calm down, the three of us (Zach, the baby, and I) were out on the living room couch practically sleeping in a sitting position. We were so exhausted.

Sunday night, the fiasco started again, only this time it lasted a total of almost three hours. Poor Zach had to get up at 4am for work in the morning too. I dare say that neither of us could have possibly gotten more than three hours of sleep that night, so the next day was pretty challenging for both of us. I was sure glad when B finally slept through the night (for the first time in almost a week) on Monday night.

Since Tuesday, both kids have been on the mend, but life has still been pretty stressful, as it usually is when kids aren't feeling 100%, and can tend to be clingy and whiny - not to mention all the naughty little annoying things they have been doing all week to drive me bonkers. Zach has been gone a LOT with work and lessons, too, and I've been stuck home without a car for the majority of the day (each day) with not much of an opportunity for any kind of break from it all. I think that especially has been pulling on my sanity strings a little.

Anyway, through the chaos of the last few weeks, I started to feel a bit down. I think the Lord has really recognized my need for a little extra TLC, though, for I have felt His love in abundance - particularly over these last few days.

It all started one morning with a simple, little meme that a friend posted on Facebook. I had had a particularly stressful time fighting L tooth and nail all morning just to get dressed, and after he was finally on the bus and on his way to school, I was left feeling on edge and emotionally beaten. I happened to log on to Facebook shortly after returning to the house, and the meme was one of the first things I saw. It was an animation of a scene from the inside of a tour bus. On one side, there sat a man who stared out his window at the dull, rocky side of a mountain, a sad frown painted on his face. On the other side, there sat a man peering out of his window at a beautiful scene of sunshine and rolling hills, a smile illuminating his expression. At the top of the picture were the words:

Every single day you make a choice.

Seeing this image immediately put me in check. I was reminded that I am in control of my feelings, and that I have the power to either see the positive things in life, or dwell on the negative, overwhelming things, ultimately leading to feelings of sadness and frustration.

That same day, I felt the prompting to recommit myself to daily, personal scripture study - to invite the spirit into my life, and to give myself a constant reminder of our Heavenly Father's love for me. It's only been a few days, and I cannot tell you the incredibly positive impact it has already had on my emotions AND my thinking. I think when we focus on the blessings in life, the many marvellous things we have to be thankful for, it's easy to see the beauty in simple things that challenge us, things that might otherwise be devastating to our happiness, should we choose to only see the frustration in our situation.

Yes, I have a lot on my plate on any given day, as many stay-at-home mothers do - shoot, as parents in general do - but I am so grateful that I have that opportunity to begin with, that I have such beautiful, healthy, amazingly magnificent children, and that I get to be the one they run to when they are sick, scared, tired, sad, etc.

I know that they are only small for a very short while, and that before long, they will prefer to hang out with their friends or to be left alone in their room to read or listen to music (as I am already getting a taste of this with my oldest, M), and I won't be such a desired commodity in their everyday life. I know that then, I will have much more time to do that personal reading I long for now, to go grocery shopping on my own, or to just stinkin' use the restroom in peace - but it will be then that I long for the days that  they were small and just wanted me hold them in my arms. It will be then that I will look back on this time, wondering how it all passed by so quickly.

I am thankful for the love that my Heavenly Father has shown me through my trials these last few weeks, for the blessings in my life, and for the constant reminders that as one of His beloved children, I am loved and I matter. I am also grateful for a friend who acted on the prompting to post a simple meme on Facebook - one that reminds us that, "Every single day you make a choice," because from here on out, I am choosing to focus on gratitude and love. :)





Thursday, January 9, 2014

Delicious, Remineralizing Fruit Smoothie

If you read my post from yesterday, you'll already know that I have been doing some reading lately on how to remineralize your teeth. Well, this morning, I came across this great article that has some very good information on some of the diet changes that can be made to start the process. I read in the article that adding coconut oil to your diet can be very beneficial, so I decided to try it today when making the smoothie that I have been making for the babies with the cod liver oil/butter oil capsules.

Well, the smoothie was a huge hit. Both babies chugged it down, and I thought it was absolutely delicious (although, I took my portion of the smoothie out before adding the cod liver oil/butter oil capsules since I can just swallow those whole. I wanted to make sure the babies got as much benefit from the capsules as possible).

Anyway, since this smoothie was such a success (it definitely met with my little ones' approval), I thought I would share my recipe, in case any of you were interested in trying something like this yourselves.


Delicious, Remineralizing Fruit Smoothie

2 cups raw milk
1 container greek yogurt
1 cup organic spinach or kale
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1 Tbs. local organic honey
1 banana
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cod liver oil/butter oil capsules (per person) - I used Green Pasture Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend capsules.

Directions: In a blender, combine all non-frozen ingredients (except for the oil capsules) until smooth. Add the frozen ingredients, blending well after each addition to ensure smooth consistency. When contents are blending smoothly, remove any portion of the smoothie to which you don't wish to add the oil capsules. Add oil capsules to the remaining portion of the smoothie (in the blender) at this time and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy.

I know it's best to always go fresh/organic when possible, and that not everyone likes to add frozen berries to their smoothies, so if you choose to use all fresh, organic fruit, you will need to add a little bit of ice at the end to give it a slightly frozen consistency.

And there you have it. If you try this smoothie, let me know what you think. Or, if you have a good remineralizing smoothie recipe that you would like to share, please feel free to do so. I am still learning the ropes of the remineralization process, so I may tweak the recipe a bit as I become more knowledgeable. In the meantime, enjoy. :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Can Tooth Decay Really Be Healed Naturally?

So, I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make. I took the family to the dentist last week for routine checkups, and to my horror discovered that B-Boo (my 20-month-old) has two cavities (one in each of her bottom-back teeth), and L-Bear (my three-year-old) has seven! Yes, that's right...7!

I was completely shocked (and embarrassed as a mom) because at their last check-up, neither of them had ANY cavities - AND I am the one who usually holds them down to brush their teeth every day and make sure they are getting cleaned properly, so I just can't fathom how so much damage was done in such a short amount of time. Even more horrifying than the fact that they each had so many cavities, however, was the thought of each of them getting drilled on and having to endure the pain of needles and said drilling. :(

And because B-Boo's cavities are right in the center of her back teeth, the pediatric dentist referred us to an oral surgeon for an evaluation in case she needs to get a root canal. Can you believe that?!? A ROOT CANAL! She isn't even 2 yet! I am sure you can imagine my horror - picturing my 20 lb., tiny baby girl, as petite and precious as she is - being sedated and lying helplessly on her back while they drill on her and cap her poor, little teeth. Yeah, I immediately started feeling a sense of panic. I am sorry, but she is just TOO dang little to be needing a root canal. ::sigh::

But then I remembered an article that I stumbled upon on Facebook a week or so ago called Toddler's Severe Tooth Decay Halted in Only 5 Days. I scrambled around Facebook that evening, trying to remember how far back I had seen the article, and who had posted it so I could go back through and read it in detail. Then I found it, thank Goodness.

The article talks about the average number of toddlers with cavities increasing over the last 5 - 10 years, and how something must be seriously wrong with our children's diets in order for such a drastic change to have occurred in such a short amount of time. Unfortunately, it didn't go into detail about how to fix the problem, but it did share a video testimonial of a mother whose toddler's decaying teeth were healed by simply changing her diet according to a book that she had read by Ramiel Nagel, called Cure Tooth Decay. Naturally, it piqued my interest, so I checked out the author's website and soon found myself on a mission to find an alternative solution for my babies too.

Can cavities REALLY be healed naturally though - without drilling and being filled? Has everything we've ever thought about the properties of our teeth been wrong all along? Some of the research I have come across as a result of this enlightening concept has completely blown my mind, and I am still in the process of learning so much more. I ordered Ramiel Nagel's book and it should be here in a few days, but in the meantime, I have been doing some of my own research, and have already started to put some of these findings into effect.

For example, Sarah, the author of the above article posted a link to her previous blog post titled, "How I Healed My Child's Cavity." In that article, Sarah talks about her pre-teen son who had a cavity, and how she healed her son's cavity with information that she had learned from a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price, former head of research for the National Dental association who pioneered the idea of healing cavities naturally through nutrition. Apparently, Dr. Nagel's book (Cure Tooth Decay) is even based on Dr. Price's program, which has been proven to be 90-95% or more effective in remineralizing decaying teeth.

Anyway, so Sarah started giving her son butter oil and cod liver oil every morning with a breakfast of raw butter and honey, and after only a few weeks, she took her son into the dentist to discover that his cavity had, in fact, healed on its own. After reading this, I started asking myself, "Why raw butter?" I soon found out that raw butter is very vitamin rich and has a lot of super healthy components that are vital in the remineralization process.

According to an article by The Paleo Mama, which also refers to Dr. Nagel's book, Cure Tooth Decay:

Raw milk is very rich in fat-soluble vitamins, like Vitamin A, K, and E. It is, also, rich in water soluble vitamins like C and B-complex. A quart of raw milk from grassed cows contain 50% more vitamin E and 7% more folate than pasteurized milk.  Moreover, fresh raw milk naturally contains vitamin C which is completely absent from pasteurized milk (source). All these vitamins are extremely necessary for good oral health.
Raw milk is extremely necessary if you are interested in remineralizing your teeth and healing present cavities. 

After reading this, along with Dr. Price's assertion (regarding cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil) that, "One without the other did not do his patients justice, but the two together worked like magic", I ordered some capsules from Amazon that are a blend of the two oils. I started taking the capsules myself but realized very quickly that it was going to be dang near impossible to get the babies to swallow them, so I tried blending them up in a fruit smoothie, which both of the babies love. Yay.

I also decided to look into getting some raw milk and butter to start giving the kids, but found that it is really difficult to come by, so I started looking up videos on YouTube about how to make raw butter yourself. I plan on making some raw butter tonight, and will let you know how that venture turns out. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on healing cavities naturally?

I will post an update as soon as the kids have had follow up appointments and the state of their oral health has been re-evaluated. ;)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hopes of a Happy Ending

Gems of Reflection, #52
I know I already posted a Gems post today, but seeing as how it's the last day of 2013 - and because I am a slacker and didn't get these out on time - I wanted to get this last Gems post out before ringing in the new year tonight.

I absolutely cannot believe that a whole year has gone by since we started these Gems posts last January. Yet here it is - New Year's Eve - and here I sit, nostalgically writing the last one.

It was more than a year ago that I stumbled upon a jar of journal prompts that belonged to my late mother-in-law, and it has been such a treat reflecting on each little Gem over the course of this last year. If you have the time, click here and look through some of these posts, then comment on your favorites below. It would be an awesome tribute to her, and a pretty neat way to ring in the new year. :)

Now, focusing on this final reflection, I feel kind of saddened by the fact that I don't really know a lot about my mother's wedding dress, or even the day they were married. My parents were married very young, and divorced when my older brother and sister were still really little. They then remarried a few years later, and that second wedding is the one of which I have more knowledge.

I remember seeing a picture of her in the silky, silver dress that she wore that day, and I believe they only had a small ceremony and get-together at our house in Henderson.

Sadly, my parents were divorced when I was a senior in high school, but my mom did get married again a few years later. I wasn't able to attend the wedding, as they were married on a romantic, Alaskan cruise ship, but she looked absolutely beautiful that day in her cream wedding dress and elegant pearls. I only wish that story had a happy ending, though, for my mother is one of the most loving, selfless people I know, and she deserves to be truly happy. Unfortunately, however, that marriage ended abruptly just shy of their six-year anniversary.

One thing I know about my mother, though, is that is she is a survivor. She has been through so many trials in this life, yet she always manages to stay true to her faith in Jesus Christ, maintaining an attitude of gratitude. If anyone has a reason to be bitter or hopeless, it is her, yet she continues to give of herself and love those around her unconditionally.

My mother has always been someone that I've looked up to as a pillar of strength, and I know that she doesn't need a man in her life to be happy; however, I still hold onto the hope that one day she will meet her Prince Charming, and will have her happy ending all the same. :)

Reflecting on Education

Gems of Reflection, #51
I absolutely loved school - both in high school and college. In high school, I played several sports, including volleyball, basketball, and track. It allowed me to have some amazing life experiences and meet some incredible people. I also played in the marching band my freshman year, and that was a blast too. I think all of these activities helped me to stay focused on getting good grades and making choices that would help me to maintain eligibility status, thereby having a positive high school experience.

College was a bit of a struggle for me, only because I was a single mother working full time AND going to school full time too. M, who was only a toddler at the time, went from daycare to daycare, often not seeing me but in the morning and at bedtime, and looking back, I think she may have really suffered from the lack of one on one interaction with me.

I don't regret getting my education; though, and I had many awesome experiences that shaped my thinking and molded me into the person I am today. College is where I really started to hone my love for English grammar - where I first started thinking that one day I might want to be an English teacher. I also really gained a love for the Spanish language in college, and it was this point in my life when I really started to become fluent. It was partly due to the several (five) semesters of Spanish classes that I took, but it can also be attributed to the opportunities I was given outside of school (at work, for example) to speak the language and communicate with others on a regular basis.

I got my AA in English in the 2005, and I am grateful for the scholarships I received, and the numerous family members who supported me through the process and helped me to accomplish that goal. I only hope that one day I'll be able to go back to school to complete my Bachelor's Degree - possibly with a minor in Spanish. Maybe by then, we'll be living in Utah, and I can get my BA from BYU. That would be awesome! :)

Source: twowritingteachers.wordpress.com via The Purple on Pinterest