Work Hard. Be anything you want to be… #whatajoke #iamconfused #nowwhat

If we work, we will succeed, and be rewarded. WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!

We grew up in a time that hard work meant you could do and achieve anything. So, we worked hard. That was the American way. You went to college, you worked in trade, you went in the service. You gave back. That’s what America is. img_3118

So, we did that. We gave back to our communities. We started to have families, and then we gave back to the community even more when we had children. As parents you want to build your community up for your children. Children do that to you, and for you. It’s about something bigger than you.

So, I worked hard, I had faith, I tried to give back, I tried to be happy (and I have been), I tried to live the life we were told we could live… and be successful. #whatajoke

It’s not true. For so many of us, it was a lie. We worked hard, we started families, we bought and built houses to provide for that family. That was our primary goal, take care of and build and spend time with the family.

Somewhere along the line, things broke… we couldn’t continue to live the way we were living. Things were more expensive. Things like shirts and pants, cheese, milk, gas, haircuts, cribs, diapers, childcare, dance lessons, sports, insurance (health, car, home, pick one), things insurance didn’t pay for, don’t even get me started on taxes (as smoke comes out of my ears)… and don’t we at least get a weekend away sometimes that doesn’t cost a thousand freakin’ dollars?

Overnight, our paychecks didn’t pay our bills. How did that happen??? I played by the rules.

We’re a 2 income family, doesn’t that mean we’re the ones working harder and should be able to get ahead. Isn’t that the whole idea of working??? Isn’t that what that Women’s Lib movement and “burn the bras” was all about? Sometimes, I wish I lived back then, maybe I’d understand it better. I’m thinking not though. Most of those bra burners put their bras back on, drove their station wagons, raised their kids and are now snow birding in the Sunshine State while the rest of us lose our everloving minds trying to keep it all together. WTF? How did that happen?

WHY did working since I was 14, even through most of my college and grad school years (minus the nursing school part, God Bless my Grandma Lorraine) NOT PAY OFF? I worked my ass off so that when my kids needed me I had a job that was only part time or at home or I had saved enough to be available for them.

WHAT A FUCKING JOKE IT ALL WAS!

Apparently, the jokes on me and many of my generation. WE TOTALLY BOUGHT IT!!! And, now I’m paying for it, and I know many of my friends are too. Nobody can get ahead in this economy if they have school debt, health care cost debt, health issues (so many do) and try to live a healthy lifestyle to remedy or avoid those health issues.

When I say a “Healthy lifestyle,” I mean, affording healthy food, time to exercise, time to work, time for family, time to troubleshoot the ups and downs of life, time to decompress, time and money for a vacation, the opportunity to get ahead. Is that so bad? Isn’t that life? What am I asking for that I haven’t earned? I’m confused. If this is what’s expected, we might as well succumb to a life of pain, illness, stress and shorter lifespans. I for one refuse to submit.

I know there is a whole adult generation younger than me now, and they don’t have the same experiences. I have friends with grown kids crying because things in society (specifically this ignorant election of 2016) don’t go their way. Many don’t see why everything can’t be free? Have we dumbed down our society to the point that they don’t realize that somebody has to pay for it? Who’s that supposed to be?

A family that makes $80k a year can’t afford $20k in health care, 30% in income taxes, another significant percentage on property taxes, utilities, groceries, home/car insurance, pets, vacations, sports, home maintenance, clothing, savings, school, etc… That doesn’t end in a balanced budget. This is why the middle class is slipping.

So, now what do we do??? #bethechange

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I do it ALL for My WHY?

HI! A friend and fellow Inspirer asked for some insight about WHY we do what we do? What gives us PASSION, what gives us ENERGY to keep moving forward? What is your WHY?? Think about it, write it down, it might be a little more motivating than you realize…

Tell your story

My WHY is My family. I do everything I do for my kids health and well being. I’m working harder now to spend time on the beach later with my Hubby when we are old and our kids are wildly successful and can take care of us (play along, I have faith).  Continue reading

How I Saved My Fibro with My Shakeo

Hi! If you’ve found this post, you are probably wondering what Fibromyalgia is, and then you’re going to wonder what Shakeology is, or you already are? So, let’s start there.

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic pain disorder. fibromyalgia-cycleIt involves multiple systems with the primary symptoms being pain, sleep problems, and irritable bowel syndrome. The root of these symptoms seem to lie in the nutritional issues and sleep issues. Other symptoms include irritable bladder, migraines, restless legs syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud’s Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.

IMG_2538Shakeology is a nutritional supplement that has globally sourced superfood ingredients like Proteins and Fiber that help reduce hunger and food cravings. Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals help fight free radical damage and help support a healthy immune system. Adaptogen Herbs help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress. Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes to help nutrient absorption and support regularity and healthy digestion.

Now that you have that knowledge, let me tell you how I believe the nutritional difference with Shakeology helped my Fibro…

I’ve had Fibromyalgia most of my life. I will be Continue reading

How My Superfoods Help Me

Hi! If you’ve found this post, you are probably wondering what Fibromyalgia is, and why I say “superfoods” have helped me.

First, let me tell you about Fibro…

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic pain disorder. fibromyalgia-cycleIt involves multiple systems with the primary symptoms being pain, sleep problems, and irritable bowel syndrome. The root of these symptoms seem to lie in the nutritional issues and sleep issues. Other symptoms include irritable bladder, migraines, restless legs syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud’s Syndrome, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.

IMG_2538Shakeology is a nutritional supplement that has globally sourced superfood ingredients like Proteins and Fiber that help reduce hunger and food cravings. Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins, and Minerals help fight free radical damage and help support a healthy immune system. Adaptogen Herbs help the body adapt and respond to the effects of stress. Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes to help nutrient absorption and support regularity and healthy digestion.

Now that you have that knowledge, let me tell you how I believe the nutritional difference with Shakeology helped my Fibro…

I’ve had Fibromyalgia most of my life. I will be Continue reading

What’s Your Excuse?? Reality Maybe?

Here’s my list of excuses:

  • Congenital Hip Dysplasiaaf8119baa06da42794553e2c664e150c
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • My Kids, time I want to spend with them, and the time they just need me
  • Work
  • Taxiing my kids to/from wherever it is they have to be….
  • Care for my family, aka paying bills, cleaning, pet care, permission slips, troubleshooting printers (and f’n routers every couple months, like right now, ugh), school plays, guitar lessons, horseback riding, groceries that. are. always. gone.!!
  • Then, of course, something unexpected throws the whole game plan off….. Like today’s migraine… UGH!

Excuse vs. Reality? Reality really is what it comes down to when you think about it. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes, we’re usually our own worst enemy. Let me ask you… Continue reading

Mommy & Daddy Need A Time Out

Let’s think about this a minute… Time Out? Hmmmm….

A moment to be by yourself.

A moment to be left alone.

A moment to get away from the hype.

A moment to step back and regroup.

A moment to detached from the goings on in the world.

A moment to block out the noise.

YES, PLEASE!! I’ll take that Time Out NOW!

This past weekend, my husband and I Continue reading

Because I can

11870736_10205366104767915_6178803902882541499_nTonight, like every night,

I walk my path.

Tired. My bed is so much closer, but I have to…

Because I can.

Someday, I won’t be able to.

Tonight, I can.

He was curled up, hard to find his face, but I did.

Then, to her room.

I’d already been in here once.

We’d already had our routine.

Him too.

Both had oils, smiles, chat, hug. 😉

But, I still had to walk to their room,

and kiss them good night,

just one more time.

Because I can.

It’s what I do.

Every.

Single.

Night.

I’m a Mom.

 

Always enjoy the journey.

Because we can. 😉

sunset on riverside

 

How the hell did that happen? 50 pounds later…

Growing up as an athlete, weight was not a problem… until my teen years. I stayed fit multiple ways; there was soccer, gymnastics, swimming, roller skating and ice skating, field hockey, tennis, weight training and the list goes on. As an adult, I controlled my weight by eating healthy, walking, weight training, waitressing, bartending, nursing, biking, swimming, pilates, yoga. I even taught pilates for a year when Drew Elizabeth was a baby. Best shape I’ve ever been in, and I was 35 and had 2 kids! I love pilates and thought I’d do it forever, but then I started my graduate program, and my exercise habits took a slow slide into the dumpster.

I was over 40 when my weight was creeping up, quickly, and I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong… I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! It all started just after my brother’s wedding in April 2012. My goal has been to get back into that dress.

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April 2012, 40 years old and feeling good (before the gain).

So, when I hopped on the scale at the Y in January, I thought it was broken. I know that sounds like a joke, but, I really did. I went to my friend’s house. I told her I needed to use her scale, because I didn’t own one and the one at the Y had to be broken. I came back down the stairs stunned.

The scale wasn’t broken.

I gained 30 pounds in 8 months! WTF! How the hell did that happen??? 

I had a plan. I joined the 3 month weight loss program at the Y.  I went to cardio classes at 5:30am, which is almost impossible for me (Fibro is a chronic fatigue disorder), but I did it. I was doing weight training, I was walking. I was working out 6-7 times a week, even won highest attendance in that contest. I lost 4 pounds in 3 months… What?? That’s it!! 4 pounds! I have never had trouble losing weight. It’s never been easy, but I know how to get it done. Well, I thought I did. I was struggling.

Off to the doctors… primary doc, endocrine doc, neither of them thought there was a medical problem. Katie was just gaining weight, it happens when women turn 40. WHAT!?! NO! That was not acceptable. But, what was I to do. I kept struggling.

In March 2014, I was heavier than I had been when I was full term pregnant with either of my children. This couldn’t be happening. How was this happening. I was crying almost every day when I got dressed. I didn’t want to get dressed. I was so depressed and disappointed with myself.

I went to a friend’s 50th birthday party and a college roommate’s wedding that month. I was so very happy for them, and I hated how I felt inside and how I looked on the outside.

I hid. These are the only pictures I can find of me at that time.

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Top right, February 2014, before I knew, I was swollen and inflamed. Left and bottom right are about 4 weeks into my purge. You can see my face is a bit less swollen. But, my stomach was so upset in both of these pictures. I can still remember, and it was almost 7 years ago.

I had an epiphany one day reading a Fibro blog, I clicked on a link to yeast allergy because I was somewhat familiar. I was worried I might have some of those symptoms. OMG… Did I have some of the symptoms??? I. Had. Every. One. 

Let’s see if I can remember them all…

  • dry skin
  • constipation
  • bloating
  • stomach upset
  • asthma (it got so bad I went back on meds I hadn’t been taking for years!)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • eczema
  • thinning hair
  • yeast infections (yup, those kind of yeast infections!)
  • sleep problems
  • dandruff, with fungal patches on my scalp
  • UTI (never had a UTI except when I was prego)
  • major sugar cravings
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • acne
  • the list seems to go on and on…

It. Sucked.

So, what to do? Fortunately, I’ve got this friend… Thank God I have all kinds of knowledgeable friends. Remember, Kathy, the allergy RN from my allergy posts? She got a text real quick… not only did she agree with me, she thought the same thing when she’d seen me the previous week.

So, how do I fix it?!?!? Avoid the following:

  • Sugar
  • Processed, packaged foods
  • Vinegar, anything vinegar based
  • Leftovers past 24-36 hours old, they start to grow organisms, a healthy GI tract can tolerate this, mine could not.
  • Yogurt has a ton of sugar, beware.
  • All berries/grapes and other fruits naturally have fungal organism, that white mold that shows up after 5-6 days. Our GI system should be able to break that down, unless it’s inflamed and leaky, like mine was!
  • Breads with yeast (flatbread and crackers would be ok on occasion)
  • Wheat is a cross-contaminant, so I should avoid that.
  • Wine (!problem!) I had to do all this AND avoid wine… because it’s fermented. Oh, champagne is even more fermented. (A girl’s gotta have sip on occasion, so I do enjoy a mimosa (or 2) here and there!)
  • Alcohol is fermented. (…but Vodka is distilled!)
  • Change to coconut and olive oil, avoid vegetable oils because they are inflammatory, be sure to buy quality items.
  • Balance your Omega 3 oils with your Omega 6 oils. (Fish oil, tuna, coconut, olive are Omega 3 sources.) I get my coconut oil here.

So, basically that leaves veggies and meats, with no marinade. I did come up with some good dinners like this one. This was actually last nights, and it was yummy.

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Chicken with fresh lemon, garlic, salt, pepper, italian spices over baby spinach with peas and sweet potatoes. Now that I’ve changed, I think this is scrumptious. Actually, it was!!

I’ve learned more about cooking with dry spices, and now wouldn’t do anything else.

I’ve learned that I prefer to put my meat on a bed of greens, and don’t really need salad dressing if I have it that way. Good luck finding salad dressing without vinegar or soy. Soy is a huge inflammatory. I avoid it at all cost, along with the other inflammatory foods.

What I’ve learned in my research over the past few years is that inflammation is the root of most health issues, including obesity. Now that I know that, I look back at the struggles I had in my life with my weight, my fibro, my asthma, my skin, my irritable bowel, my anxiety, and it all makes so much sense. It was all because of food intolerances and gut imbalance that I knew nothing about. I know I’m not alone… look at the obesity epidemic in this society.

I encourage anyone that has weight challenges to learn about inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. Knowing this knowledge will change your world.

Besides diet changes, what should you do:

  • Probiotics to help balance the gut.
  •  B-complex, Vit C 1000-2000 mg, Vit D 2000-5000 IU each day, omega 3. Most multis don’t have enough in them unless they are a high dose. In my recent readings, I’m learning more about the CRUCIAL role of Vit D, which is really a hormone, and essential.
  • Purge from the above foods listed for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, then slowly try to reintroduce some things. Still only eat them on occasion. Adding fermented foods back into your diet is helpful for a healthy gut if you don’t have candida.
  • Exercise, at least 3/x week, but daily activity is important.
  • Find ways to manage your stress, this is crucial! Cortisol changes everything. High cortisol makes is really hard to be healthy in multiple ways.
  • 8ish hours sleep should be a minimum. WE HEAL WHEN WE SLEEP!!
  • Change your cookware to avoid non-stick chemicals like teflon. I use solid ceramic Xtrema by Ceramcor.
  • I have found that eating Paleo/Anti-inflammatory is the way to go for me. I have decreased my grain intake significantly.

There wasn’t anything easy about it. I honestly didn’t think I’d see the day I got back into the dress I wore to my brother’s wedding. But I have, comfortably.

This was part of my journey that was and continues to be a real struggle. I wanted to share, because I think there are an awful lot of people out there going through what I went through. You don’t have to.

Of all the chapters I’ve lived, I must say, this was a really tough one. I have learned an awful lot from this part of my journey, and now I can share some pretty important health information with others.

I knew I needed to write this post when I first learned what was going on. I prayed my journey would have a happy ending. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I’m writing and telling you all about the successes. I hope it helps you!

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January 2016, 44 years old, 50 pounds lighter than my max weight. BAM! HELL YEAH!

Mom “Firsts”

Who cries when they drop their kid off for SATs?? Who does that?? (Yes, I’m raising my hand.) In my own (emotional) defense, he is taking them early, so, it’s not like I dropped a high school junior off, he just finished 7th grade yesterday. (Well, it was yesterday when I started this post, summer has been busy, so I’m just reviewing and posting it now. Oops. 😉 )

Yea, I know, nice mom I am… I made him get up at 6:30am the 1st day of 4597688930summer vacation to take the SAT. The cool part is all of the amazing opportunities that will be available to him after this as part of the John’s Hopkins University-Center for Talented Youth program. The even better part… when he does take the SAT next time, when it will count for college, he will have already been exposed. That is going to be invaluable!

So, this was another “Mom First” for me. I had no idea there would be so many Mom Firsts…. That first day I left for work when he was 3 months old, I cried. The first day I dropped him off at preschool…cried. Finished preschool, yup, cried. Went to elementary, cried. “Graduated” 5th grade-like a baby, yes. I. did. Starting middle school… yup! So, you get the trend here. And, we shouldn’t even talk about my ride to grad school orientation 4 states away when my daughter was only 1 year old (3 days away from hubby and kids for the first time)… I think I cried until I was out of our state! It was ugly.

I bet you could name just as many mom firsts that made you cry. Did you think we were going to cry like this just because our children were living their lives? Wow! I had no idea the emotional roller coaster that motherhood would be, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world, not one minute, even the bad ones.

And, now that I’m posting this almost 2 months after I started, I’ll admit, Yes, when his SAT results came, I shed a tear too, mostly because I was so shocked and proud. Way to go, Josh!

So, through the tears of all your “mom firsts” make sure you take time to Enjoy the Journey!  And, tell us about any Mom first’s you’d like to share! 😉

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SnOw DaYs

Walking through my living room this morning picking up nerf bullets, I thought to myself, “Someday, I’m not going to have to pick these up.” WAIT(!!!) just a minute…. Ummm… someday… I’m not going to have to pick up nerf bullets… or any kids toys, for that matter… At that moment, I decided how grateful I was for snow days.

The first few are always so exciting. The kids are up early. They want to go outside and play. You dress them up, only to spend less time outside than it took to get ready to go outside. Then, afterwards, there’s hot chocolate. Marshmallows? Yes, please. Yum.

By the 5th or 6th snow day, they don’t even care where their snow boots are, they don’t want to go out, “it’s cold out there.” Josh told me it was just frozen water, no biggie. That was before the fun of sledding (pictures to follow). It was cold, but we eventually thawed out. 😉

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Sitting in front of the fire reading with the cat… Peaceful, leisurely, snow days.

If you don’t live in an area that gets snow, I’m sorry. I am glad I got to grow up somewhere that it snows and we had days off school for snow. It adds a few days on to the calendar in June sometimes, but, when it’s only February, you really don’t care. I remember being out over a week my Senior year of high school. Didn’t matter to me, Seniors’ last day was set no matter how many snow days there were. A little selfish of me? Sure, but, I was 17, what do you expect.

Now, I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me the benefit of staying home on snow days. Believe me though, I’ve put my time in. I’ve driven home from work on roads that were sheets of ice. One time, my husband drove me to work when I was an OB nurse, and we followed snow plows all the way down the highway from our town to the neighboring town where I worked. And, just like hospitals, most pediatric and other doctors offices don’t close unless the weather is really bad. So, it’s only been in the past couple years that I had a job with ‘snow days.’

Parenthood is about so many things, the daily meal planning, keeping track of all the schedules, getting the laundry done, keeping the house just clean enough to live in, homework, and all those other things that are so challenging and time-consuming.

Parenthood should also be about the snow days… The days that weIMG_0401 have no choice but to slow down. The days we take the time to enjoy the beauty of nature. The birds in the bird feeder with a backdrop that’s a perfect blanket of snow. The sleeping pet that enjoys having everyone home. And, the mom/dad that gets a chance to slow down, even if just for a moment between working on assignments while working at home on a snow day. 😉

Some of the best moments are the ones that are not in our plans. What is it they say about spontaneity?? All I know is that it’s a good thing. We need to take advantage of the moments that are dictated by forces beyond our control, and we make a change to our daily routines. That’s what is called “Enjoying the Journey” my friends. And, it’s essential to a good life!

Right now… Drew is sitting next to me reading Chapter 3 in her novel, Farewell, My Lunchbag, A Chet Gecko Mystery, and laughing right out loud. This is her reading assignment for today’s snow day. You see, my kids are not at a deficit for something to do. Their teachers email their assignments. 🙂  I think it’s a great alternative to the loss of instructional time. So, on this snow day, I get to experience something I would not have otherwise. Drew would usually be doing this reading in school. My opportunity to witness the joy it brings her is only possible because of this snow day.

So, today, like most snow days. I will be grateful for the time that I get to be Mom. These are the moments I’m not going to have someday. These moments of pure, innocent childhood that I am blessed enough to witness.

Snow days give us a chance to smell the proverbial roses. I hope those of you that have had a snow day or two, or more, remember how magical snow can be for a child (and an adult).

So, whether it’s your first or your umpteenth snow day… Please…  Take the time to Enjoy the Journey! 😉

My crew

My crew sledding