Is Sunscreen A MUST??

I think it goes without saying that sun damage can be a cause of cancer. What isn’t said often enough is what’s in some sunscreens might also cause cancer. In other words, some of the chemical ingredients in sunscreen might be doing more damage than the sun. Ugh. (facepalm)

We can’t win. Or can we?

It’s important to know what’s in your sunscreen. There are so many chemicals in various sunscreen products. I always recommend considering more natural ingredients. It’s also important to have a bag full of tricks to keep your skin safe in the sun, and you might not even need to use sunscreen. (Gasp) WHAT? Am I for real? HAHA. I know, I know, that goes against EVERYTHING. You’re thinking Katie has definitely lost it… but hear me out. I’m not saying never, and I’m not saying always.

I try NOT to use sunscreen for my family. Yup, I said it. If I can avoid sunscreen, I do. How?

I work around the sun, I wear hats, I wear lightweight clothing, I wear sunglasses, and I change where I sit and if I face the sun depending on the time of day and the amount of time I’m going to be spending in the sun. I want to get a healthy amount of sun but I don’t want to get too much. Sunshine is the best source of Vitamin D there is! And, it’s free!

I read a great article today about how Vitamin D boosts the immune system. That’s super important, and summertime is a great time to get those vitamin D levels up naturally. 

When I do use sunscreen, I buy mineral-based products. I have fun with the zinc. Remember those days of white noses at the beach when we were growing up? (Ah, the nostalgia.)  And, guess what? Using zinc topically is a great way to get a little extra zinc, another way to help boost our immune system. WIN! 

One of my secret weapons to check out the ingredients and see reviews for the products I use is EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens and Research.  It has all kinds of summertime sunshine safety information. 

Here are a few simple rules to follow when you spend time in the sun:

    • Apply and reapply sunscreen if you’re out in the sun all day.
    • USE A NON-TOXIC SUNSCREEN, Zinc based products are my fave.
    • Put on a hat with a big brim.
    • Children under 6 months are not supposed to use sunscreen, so, keep them in the shade.
    • Avoid the sun between 10a-2p (this is when the sun is the strongest)
    • Cover up with clothing.
    • Keep in mind that young children put everything in their mouth, so don’t put sunscreen on their hands.
    • Remember that even under an umbrella at the beach or pool, the sun reflects off the sand and the water, you still need to apply and reapply.
    • Put sunglasses on children as early as the will tolerate them, the sun causes cataracts. 
    • If your child takes medication, make sure this doesn’t make them more sensitive to the sun. (i.e. tetracycline).
    • Stay hydrated!

So, with those little tidbits of information, I hope you find creative ways to get outside to enjoy the sun and boost your immune system. I hope you all have a fun and safe summer!

As always,  Enjoy the Journey, friends

Sweet Summertime

Getting ‘Glutened’ is Drugging My Kid! I’ve had it!! (Digestive Health Series, Part 3)

 

So, What does getting ‘glutened’ look like?

A. Laziness, fatigue

B. Anxious, depressed, irritable, angry

C. Disoriented, unaware, spaced out, Cognitive dysfunction

D. Stomach ache, migraine, joint pain

E. All of the above and then some!!!

Anyone that has talked with me knows this is a hot topic for me. What angers me the most is the total disregard of our society for the people that have true dietary issues that are ignored by the general population, including much of the medical population. As a nurse practitioner, I don’t like to say we’re missing things in medicine, but… WE ARE MISSING THINGS!!!!

As a mom, I knew there was more to it, and I knew I needed to keep searching for answers. Never. Give. Up. That’s going to be the name of my book. I’m not really a very good writer, avoided it like the plague in school. I have no idea where to start with a book, but it’s a goal of mine, and I need to share our story with other families. Moms need to know that it is worth every bit of energy you use figuring out how to help your child. 

He is so bright, it puts him on a different level. Friends started noticing it before I did, he put concepts together that 2 year olds just didn’t put together. He was smarter than some of the adults in his world and it caused problems. Problems that gradually got worse as the years went on. There were jokes about Einstein being thrown out of school, he even has a hat with Al on it. But, seriously, it took a decade of lots of struggles and difficulties to realize he wasn’t going to get better with prescriptions or school accommodation or anything else traditionally done for bright, ADHD kids. We’d been trying for years, and things were just getting worse… WHY???  Continue reading

Children Should NOT be Exposed to Some Things…TURN THE TV OFF!!

stop the madness

If we have a hard time wrapping our brain around it, how the hell do you think the kids feel… TURN THE TV OFF!!!!

I’ve worked in pediatrics and dealt with mental health patients for decades. WE NEED TO STOP THE MADNESS!!! Wake up! There is hatred! It sucks! But, we cannot change it, and we need to know how to protect ourselves from it emotionally.

The list in this article is a repost from 2 previous posts; one about natural disasters, and  a post about Continue reading

I do it ALL for My WHY?

Happy Friday! 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

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

From 6lbs to Bigger Than Me

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I’ve always known…. someday it was going to happen….

I look up at him now…. My little 6 pound, 37 weeker.IMG_1951

It seems like just yesterday he was obsessed with trains and his batman cape. He was a Conductor/Engineer/Superhero in the making for years. 🙂

And, now, his voice has started changing, it’s so different…. Who is this? This grown boy? This young man.

I knew someday this would happen… but already?

It happened right in front of my eyes…

He was shorter than me just 9 months ago, and now, he’s only a half inch from his father. It’s his year. 6″. Boy to man.

In just 14 years….he’s bigger than me. (sigh)

IMG_1946I always knew someday he’d be taller than me. I even stood below him on the step between our foyer and living room a few different times over the past few years, just to check the view from that angle. He asked me once what I was doing. I said, “Just seeing what it’s like…” and, now it’s happened. No turning back. Life as I’ve known it for the past 14 years is now different.

I do kids, pediatrics, and before that, I delivered babies (loved it!!), I’ve watched kids grow up. Had the chance to watch dozens of kids that I helped bring into this world grow up, So cool! I still get to see many of them. It really is amazing to watch these little babies turn into toddlers… then preschoolers… (but, mine are long past preschool now).

One day, you walk them into kindergarten. At your elementary school (mind blowing kinda day). His kindergarten teacher was also his father’s, just 30 short years ago. Talk about mind blowing for her too. Especially because of the uncanny family resemblance of father and son. You should have seen her face when she realized it.

That was only the first of many mind blowing moments, this parenting thing goes too fast. There are so many “precious memories.” I hope I am filing them all in the right places.  I don’t want to forget ANYTHING. But, I will, we all do.

Today, when thinking back about my little baby, the nights, the breastfeeding, the multiple bags and essentials to tote, it really seems like a lifetime ago. I guess it is… his lifetime.

My precious little baby, my firstborn, my gift from God that He chose to challenge me with… I just look at him in awe sometimes…SOIMG_1956 Much more than he realizes. My Joshie.

As a parent, I sometimes think of MY creation. Well… OUR… my husband gets credit too. I know the whole procreation, reproduction, cycle of life, blah blah… But… I. CREATED. A. HUMAN. BEING. Have you ever really stopped to think about that? I DO. And, have multiple times over the last 14 years.  #SURREAL. That was the first adjective I could think of to describe being a mom after Joshua’s birth… it truly is surreal. just. no. words.

The miracle and blessing of life. Of Family. Of LOVE. #priceless

So, today, on my 14th Anniversary of Motherhood, I know how truly grateful and blessed I am. I have been chosen to raise these precious children.

I will try the best I can every day, and never, ever, ever give up. Even when I have nothing left, I will never let them down, not if there is a breath in my body. I’m their mom. It’s what I do. It’s my job.

Enjoy it!!!! Please. The journey is what YOU make it!

Write your story your way.

LIVE Your Journey!

Walk YOUR path!

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Oh, The Places You Will Go

At some point I may get to add a pic of my tall one… but for now, that camera shy 14 year old alludes me. And, I try to respect his privacy (doesn’t always happen though, so stay tuned). 😉

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Our Joshie

Just to give you an idea of that height… Morgan is actually leaning, Josh hasn’t quite caught him yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of days.

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Family Ice Skating at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

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Caught a pic… a wee bit different from that little boy walking through the waves.

 

YOU’RE WRONG!! That’s not it at all….

 

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The kindergartener that knows the right answer, but won’t raise his hand.

The 7th grader that goes to the nurse for a “bandaid” a little too often.

The student with a headache before math class EVERY day.

The kid that just keeps making jokes and disturbing class.

The 2nd grader that STOPPED and put her pencil down on the second problem.

The 8th grader avoiding class because there’s just TOO many people.

The 6th grader with more than occasional stomach ache.

The class clown that’s avoiding what he doesn’t know.

The 3rd grader that’s pretty damn smart, but says, “I can’t do that!” when faced with a more mentally challenging task.

The 1st grader that runs in school even after being told to STOP, not because he’s defiant or has ADHD, but because there is thunder and lightening outside!

The 9th grader who can’t pay attention in class because she can’t fall asleep at night worrying about her grades.

The 1st grader that resists help and completely melts down.

The 8th grader that thinks life is going to end when she gets a C.

The kid that asks to go to the bathroom, but talks to every adult and child along the way to avoid the unknown and awkward feeling of going back to class and NOT fitting in.

Kids don’t have panic attacks…

Kids avoid.  Kids hide.

KIDS DO NOT ASK FOR HELP!!!

Kids repress.

They run away.

They back into a corner with their hands over their ears.

They complain about “nothing.”

They fight back.

They need adults that know the difference.

THEY. NEED. US. TO. UNDERSTAND.

We need to recognize childhood anxiety!

Before it’s too late…..

#think globally

#YOUcanmakeadifferenceforjust1kid

* I know each and every one of these children, they are real, they struggle. Do you know how many children struggle? More than you think. >25% and 1/2 are likely not diagnosed, so you see there is a gross underestimate statistically.

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

 

Stress…Are we setting a good example?

Stress affects everyone.

Stress interferes with our basic human needs to survive.

Stress interferes with our health and ability to live productive lives.

Stress changes our world.

Young or old, alone or part of a family, stress affects all of us. It changes how we act. It changes how we think. It changes our decision making. It affects how the world perceives us.

carring stress around

 

How do you handle stress?   Do you let others see your stress?   Do you let your kids see your stress?  Do you make sure your kids see you dealing with stress in a healthy way? That last one is the hard one.

stress at the desk

When you think you have everything all under control, and it just unravels and falls apart…. Have a plan!

The past few months were pretty stressful in our house. I don’t always handle stress well. I don’t think clearly. I don’t make the best decisions. And, it’s obvious to everyone in my world that something is wrong. I wear my stress just like a new outfit. When it’s bad, it overcomes me. I get stuck. It sucks. And, what also sucks is that my kids don’t get the mom they need. None of us are able to be 100% the person we want to be when we are stressed. Fact.

Many of us don’t deal with our stress well, and the effects are profound. We have a society that is tired, less productive, irritable, gaining weight, depressed, anxious, and generally unhealthy both mentally and physically, all because of stress. Stress changes our bodies in multiple ways, hormonally, gastrointestinally, and cognitively, just to name a few.

When the brain, the gut and the hormones are messed up, guess what? Life is messed up, and things just don’t go so smoothly. Unfortunately, our immune system gets the direct assault. If you want to read more about stress and the immune relationship, I recommend  Paleo Mom’s blog posts about how leaky gut and stress affect our health. The impact of stress on our health is so profound, I encourage you to learn more about it, and hope to write another post about it soon.

Take a look at our society, 1 in 3 are sick, the majority are overweight, many are out of work or incapable of keeping a job, most self medicate with alcohol and cigarettes, and many with illegal drugs. The majority of relationships fall apart, many children don’t live with both mom and dad (some with neither), and respect for one another seems to be at an all time low.

As a society, we are not functioning well. We are not dealing with problems and they are causing stress and it has a domino effect on our society as a whole. So, back to the reason I started this post…

We need to deal with our stress, but HOW? 

Lifestyle choices. Simply put, we need to go Back to Basics:

  1. Safety and love. This is a basic human need, and many people are not loved and do not feel safe. Many things about the basic needs of our society are broken. Lack of respect & broken family systems are a central part of this problem. Everybody needs somebody.
  2. Proper Nutrition. This might be #2, but only because #1 is so primal. This is such a crucial element to one’s health both mentally and physically. Balanced nutrition can cure and prevent many of today’s “modern diseases.” Eating 3 balanced meals a day is a must. Not just our body, but especially our brain needs fuel, and food is that fuel. Too many unnatural foods (I use the word food loosely here) in our diet lead to health issues. If you’ve ever read my blog, you know how I feel about processed vs. natural foods. We will save that discussion for another post.
  3. Adequate Sleep. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body doesn’t have time to replenish. Simple supply and demand here. You can’t keep drinking out of a glass that you don’t refill. For more details about the importance of sleep and how much sleep we each need, check here.
  4. Exercise/Physical Activity. Our body is mechanical, it’s quite amazing actually. Our body needs to be toned and fit to perform how it was meant to, and how we expect it to. Muscles are there to support bones, if muscles are not toned and in shape, they can’t do their job. Think about all the back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and hip pain in this country. Much of it is because we don’t keep our muscles toned. And, exercise has a direct impact on good digestion. Good digestion is the key to good health! Learn yoga or pilates, just 10-15 min before bed will make a lifetime of difference in you physical and digestive health. I promise. 😉

All of the above have a huge effect on how our body functions.

Proper care = proper function, aka, we can deal with life (and it’s stressors) better when we are healthy. Fact.

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Life does this to us from time to time.

So, last month when my stress meter was in the danger zone, and my boss (Who is The Best!) asked what I was doing to take care of me, I knew what I had to do… I told her that I wasn’t doing so well the first few weeks. I even left the house for a couple hours one night because I just couldn’t take it anymore. (I’m not totally nuts though, I just went to my aunt’s house to deflate.)

So, what was I doing to help with my stress? I had been trying to eat pretty healthy (keep in mind that wine is made from grapes 😉 ). I was trying to get adequate sleep (the nights I wasn’t up late researching everything I could find to help my son). And, I was getting ready to start an exercise program (that I should get off of this computer and good do). The exercise program was something I was excited about; the “physical activity” part of my equation had fallen off my radar and I was feeling icky not being in better shape.

Another thing I support wholeheartedly, but was not doing was talking to someone professionally, as in a therapist. I am lucky to have a 2 for 1 in my massage therapist. My massage therapist is one of the best people in my world. We found each other about 12 years ago, and we’ve developed this true friendship/inner psyche kinda love. We share so many of the same philosophies about life. She knows where my muscles are the most stressed and we chat during my massages, it’s better than psychotherapy… Well, better until she gets to the painful parts, but I call that “feel good pain” because it helps decrease the daily muscle aches/pains and gets the stress toxins out of my muscles (and out of my body). She helps me survive. I can’t express the impact massage therapy has on my world. I highly recommend it. I think most alternative therapies deserve more credit than we give them. Alternative medicine works, these therapies haven’t been around for thousands of years for no reason.

We need to fulfill our basic human needs to survive and be productive.

We need to be healthy and happy to live productive lives and be prepared to deal with life’s stressors.

We need to be good role models for the next generation. We need to deal with our stress. We need to address problems, not ignore them. We need to find solutions, not complaints. We need to treat others as we want to be treated.

We need to demonstrate positive alternatives to acting out in negative ways. Our youth need to see adults dealing with life’s stressors in positive ways. This will make a huge difference in our world. This is a job that all adults are responsible for, like it or not.

Learning to deal with stress is a continuous journey for all of us. I’ve been struggling and learning for decades now. I’m still doing research, but I’m also doing a few Sun Salutations (that’s yoga for those of you that still haven’t caught on to how wonderful yoga is) along this journey to help decrease my stressed. I have tried to work through the most recent “worst” stress in my life. It’s much easier to deal with now that we are on the other side of it (well, mostly). I am proud to be able to show my kids how to deal with stress. At times, I set a good example of what not to do, but I most recently set a good example of what to do by making the lifestyle changes that help me deal with my stress. Just 2 weeks into my exercise program, I’m feeling so much better. And, my kids have the mom they need and deserve. Maybe I’ll share a little more about my exercise program in another post soon.

I hope you have outlets for your stress. If not, I hope this post encourages you to create a few. If you want a little help, just let me know. There is nothing easy about life. We all need to stick together. It takes a village, no matter what your age. The support system I had through my most recent stressful issues made all the difference.

Don’t let life dictate what you do; take control of your life and take it where you want it to go.  Learning how to deal with the stressors makes the journey much more successful and enjoyable.

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A nice vista along the way is good for the soul.

So, eat well, sleep well, exercise, surround yourself with like-minded, positive thinking people and…. Enjoy the Journey! You’ll be glad you did.