April 15, 2015

Peace Out, sniffle sniffle, happy happy joy joy

If you didn't get the memo from yesterday, The Fire Within is moving! From today on, if you wish to keep up on all things crazy, head over to my new site:

The Simple Salty Truth

It's sad leaving this little blogspot behind, but oh so happy to start a new chapter. Crazy things are a-brewing, I tell you. For more details and to subscribe by email to the new site, click on over.

See you on the flip side!


April 14, 2015

9 months and an announcement

I just realized that by putting "9 months" and the word "announcement" in the same sentence that I might have just freaked people out. Heck, I freaked myself out. NO, not pregnant. But everything does have to do with babies.

First baby: this one:

OMGeeee, she is 9 months old today! (Only 3 more months of nursing, yesssssss) This girl is just, well, there are no words. We are finally past the 9 month sleep regression (thank you Jesus) and she is finally over the annoying whining/singing that occurs at every waking moment. I actually think she's just frustrated she can't crawl yet. 

Her personality is so alive and real and I *love* this stage. Well, except for the diva part.

Last night, as I was rocking her to sleep, I forced myself to take in every single moment. I mean, I was holding a baby. MY baby. I was overwhelmed with how lucky I am. That, no matter how hard and crappy it can be sometimes, I never ever take a moment for granted. It all can be taken away tomorrow. I could never have this experience again. You never know. In that rocking chair I was humbled and emptied and filled and just so grateful.

OK, now onto my next baby. This blog. I've had a love/hate relationship with it in the past but it kept calling me back (we went over this already, like a while ago or something). And now, it's being born into something new. (see what did there?, good job Kristine.) 

Today is the last day of The Fire Within. This blog, you all, have treated me so well. But it's time she blossoms into something new. Actually this blossoming has been in the works for a few months now and tomorrow will be the next chapter in, hopefully, a long book. Man, I'm getting too frilly and sentimental - especially on a Tuesday morning. 

BUT STAY TUNED. I'm so excited I'm kind of jumping out of my skin. Peace Out.

April 13, 2015

this weekend

Well, a busy bee little weekend we had. Full of lots and lots of good (kind-of-crazy-at-costco) kid time. A mama needs alone time but sometimes more fun than that is just bringing a kid along. One kid. Turning something ordinary into a fun little date. AND making errands slash normal life a bit more lively. 

Avila and I hit up the coffee shop and got our little toes-ies done after church yesterday. I'm kind of jealous of the gold glitter she chose. We chit-chatted, read books, and she told me all the amazing stories in her head. But everyone thought I was her sister, bahahaha.

On Saturday I chose the worstest time in the entire world to go to Costco. But it was bearable (lol, I'm on a roll) 'cause I had this dude with me. This FIVE-YEAR-OLD dude. He helped me stay calm when 10,000 people were blocking every entrance to every aisle and he helped push a cart through the parking lot (we had two, eek). He used his birthday money to buy Mr. Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see? and his little voice from the back seat chanting along was just. so. melt my heart.

And, yes, FIVE. Friday was the big day. Five is like the transition from little kid to big kid and it is a special day for all. Seriously, when kids turn five things just get easier. Levi has two longish, better snuggle those cheeks now years to go.

And speaking of Levi, he wanted a date too so he chose to be Mr. Hair Stylist. Super fun getting a Lego wheel stuck in your hair.

Lola gets mama all the time and I tried to distract her with some golf (PS: I love love watching golf...it's so peaceful and relaxing...) but she chose to unfold errything instead. Don't let the angelic Instagram filters fool you - she's trouble man.

And now, Monday. Fresh week. Busy week. 
But my kid-love-tank is kind of brimming over so it's all good. 

April 9, 2015

From sick to not sick...Part 3

Home stretch...then I'll stop talking about intestines. But perhaps I should start talking about my (lack of) parenting skills. Hashtag that's a knife.

Anyway, this is the final installment of my current health journey. Sure, I'll update along the way and if anyone has any preguntas (questions...trying to keep my español alive) shoot them my way.

Before I close this baby out there are two big things I want to acknowledge - things I have realized are key and that I carry with me while dealing with my current status in life:

1) GRATITUDE: I never (ok, how about hardly ever) let myself get down about anything I'm going through. Despite the pain, the unanswered questions, the long journey both behind and before me I am so grateful for everything I have been blessed with. Life is still. so. good. and this just happens to be my cross. I may cry about it here and there, but I embrace it. And, as Chrissy said in her comment yesterday, there is a big ol' spread waiting for me in heaven. WITH FRENCH FRIES.

2) IT IS NOT SELFISH TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I was smacked in the face with this after my last meeting with my doc. Yes, I take time to workout but it has to be more than that. I now have to take the time to rest, put my feet up (probably while playing Legos or a rousing game of Old Maid), take my meds, and (in some cases) put myself first. I have to realize it's not selfish to say no. It's not selfish to read a book. It's not selfish to have to wait a couple days to respond to emails. It may not be easy but it's not selfish.

OK OK, without further adieu let's close this sucker out...picking up where I left off from yesterday:

**Adrenal Fatigue: this one totally caught me off guard. You can read about it here but pretty much the adrenal glands are responsible for managing stress hormones. If the body is in a constant state of stress for too long (from life, emotions, or even inflammation) the adrenal glands get waaaaay too taxed and they shut down. But you see, I had energy. I slept fine. I don't let myself get stressed out and when I do I can manage it pretty well. But my doc pointed out all the symptoms I did have that related to adrenal fatigue and, well, now it all makes sense. And looking back I guess I did set myself up for this: marathoning, being pregnant (again...), marathoning while pregnant, inflammation from my health issues, all the crazy busy-ness of normal homeschooling life with 4 kids, the fact that I never sit down (EVER), then the weight training and the this and the that and it all adds up to my little adrenals saying NO THANK YOU. 

I'm on a couple different supplements for this one (I'll share at the end) but pretty much I have to take a step back in life and focusing on healing. Rest. Recovery. Which obviously led me to the question: "Doc, can I run marathons???????" Her response: "Um, nooooo. Not right now."

OK, exhale Kristine. EXHALE.

Not only should I not be running marathons at this point, I actually have to back off from what I'm currently doing. I'm used to operating at such a high physical level that to even take a step back is kind of paralyzing. All last week, when I was trying to take "breaks" I would sit down and then become overwhelmed by emotion - paralyzed in the "not doing" - because I have trained myself to just keep chugging along, one foot in front of the other, up this mountain of life. But apparently this mountain is killing me. Like yesterday for example: we were rushing out the door to get to our school class and all the craziness hit me at once. My stomach immediately seized up and I was in physical pain from the stressful episode for a few hours. Not fun.

Sooo, current prescription: cut out anything non-related to the most important things (namely family...), seek out help for the times I do get overwhelmed, take an extra workout rest day during the week (or at least use it for a walk or something), focus on healing my inflammation, back off from bright electronics, and just slow the heck down. Even thinking about cutting back gives me both relief and fear: relief in that I finally have an excuse to let go. And rest. Fear in the thought of "how will it all get done...and how do I say no when more and more tries to get added to life???" 

and lastly (oh, please Lord LASTLY).......

**The Endo: endometriosis to be exact. I was initially diagnosed with this fun stuff right before getting pregnant with the Lola. At least that's what all my symptoms pointed to and was going to do the laparoscopy thing but then, well, got pregnant. It lays dormant while pregnant and nursing but is starting to flare up again. I initially managed the flare ups (before Lola) with diet: no meat, sugar, dairy, grains - which seemed to help a bit. But that was just a band-aid and I'll be spending the next few months trying to figure out a course of action. Hawaiian sun kills this stuff, right??

Alright, here's a big ol' list of everything I'm on. Some of these I take just once, others multiple times a day. Again, this is MY OWN course of action. Check with your doctor before starting anything. Just make sure your supps/meds don't have fillers - the fillers in my Costco prenatal were contributing to the badness.

Probiotics - 100 billion parts per serving: restore gut health/balance.

L-Glutamine: healing the intestinal lining

Vitamin D3: energy, lack of sun in the PNW.

RAW Digestive Enzymes: pre-meal

Papaya enzyme: after meal if needed

Vitamin C: headaches, yeast die off, general health

Eleuthro: Adrenal health

Prenatal: nursing, general health

Slippery Elm and Peplic tea: adrenal health. But this stuff is gross.

Diatomaceous Earth (FOOD GRADE): intestinal health

I also believe in healing through food. This is HUGE and probably even more important than supplements. Organic, natural, REAL food. Grass-fed meats. Free Range eggs. Nothing artificial. No dairy, gluten, soy, corn, legumes. My body can also tell the difference between farmed and wild salmon. I eat a lot of organic fruits and veggies, lean chicken and fish, eggs, coconut and olive oils, plant-based protein powders, and sweet potatoes/squash. Very little grains. It can get boring but whatever. At least I don't get tempted by the twinkies. OOOOO, twinkies. 

OH and if you missed it, here's Part 1 and Part 2 of my journey. But that's all for now. My kitchen is a war zone and Max has some little buddies coming over soon to celebrate the last day that he's FOUR. Because tomorrow he's FIVE. Big kid territory. Whoa.

April 8, 2015

From sick to not sick...Part 2

OK, before I commence Part 2 of this baby, I have to pat myself on the back. Who cares if bragging takes away some heaven points because yesterday I endured Poop-ma-geddon and didn't get a lick mad. Or say one swear word. It was inevitable I guess that the boys sneak some gluten or red dye #5 candy somewhere - especially after 5,000 Easter egg hunts and lots of yummy goodies lying around (on the ground...Levi likes to eat off the ground) and while I will spare you the details let's just say I was scrubbing walls.

BUT I DIDN'T TURN INTO THE HULK. I was calm, people. CALM. And now I feel on top of the world. Bring it on, toddler diapers. You a'int got nothin' on me....Actually don't bring it on. I'm so over those.

OK, Back to our regularly scheduled programming. But not sharing this failed muffin recipe. Bad...it was bad.

This is Part 2 of my "from turning sick to (hopefully soon) not sick series. Part 1 can be found here, where I explain everything my 5'1" body is going through. This part will focus on the steps I'm taking to get better. Disclaimer: check with your doctor before taking medical advice (which I'm not really giving - mostly just sharing my experience) and if you need a recommendation in my area I have some awesome names for you. Also, this is what's working for me so even if you're dealing with the same *stuff* you may need things tweaked here and there.

AND to make it easy on the eyes (and fingers...at 5:30am...yes, you're welcome. I set the alarm extra early to bust this baby out) I will use bullet points. Short and sweet. Just like me yesterday when I didn't lose it over poop.

**Celiac disease: this one's pretty simple. Avoid all wheat, barely, rye, oats. None of it allowed in the house, sorry. I'm crazy psychotic about checking every label and I'm the weirdo that brings food pretty much everywhere I go. Even to Florida for 5 days - yup chicken in the carry on. I don't eat at events or parties or restaurants unless the chef personally comes out to explain to me exactly how/where he's prepared something and even then it's with reservation. I don't ever let myself get down about it - it's just life and the cards I was dealt. I just suck it up and, during meals out, I order champagne and focus on the conversation of those around me - not just the meal.

**FODMAP Intolerance: You can read about it here but basically it's the inability to digest certain foods. Probably goes hand in hand with my leaky gut. Some things on the list are watermelon (sniffle sniffle), onions, garlic, cauliflower, beets (sniffle again) pears, apple, and on and on. Discovered this one after I was COUCH RIDDEN for 5 HOURS after consuming a homemade beet and cauliflower soup. Poor husband had to come home from work I was in so. much. pain. Most grains also bug me as do legumes and peanuts. Not really related to the FODMAP but keeping a food journal helps identify any culprits.

**Dairy Intolerance:  pretty self-explanatory. No dairy. I tried to incorporate some back in a month or so ago and was left with a horribly scaly mouth and canker sores. Anything related to the skin/mouth is food related. Hence Levi's cheeks yesterday. If your kids have these cheeks, get them checked out! And if anyone suffers from canker sores, get them checked out! It could be gluten/dairy/or a host of anything else.

**Low Iron: My initial doctor missed this one the first time around (when I was running marathons, quite a few months before getting pregnant with Lola). I even ran my 50 miler anemic. Wahoooo. Got on supplements a few months later and they are totally helping. Took them throughout my pregnancy, because low iron and babies growing is not a good combo.

**Fat Malabsorption: You can read about it here. Working on this one naturally (here is a good list) but basically upping my digestive enzymes before meals, avoiding grains, adding in more coconut oil, and fermented foods. I also take L-Glutamine to repair the intestinal lining.

**Yeast Imbalance: The overuse of antibiotics has created such a horrible gut/yeast imbalance in our culture. Yes, they're necessary sometimes (like with all my births - group B strep positive and they save babies' lives) but they are still overused in many cases. Symptoms: bloating, red scaly yeast rashes (hence Lola's rash on her back and behind her ears), stomach pain, thrush (I had oral thrush 3 years ago and it was the most painful thing I ever went through. Knives in my mouth. I went to the ER after not being able to eat or drink for 3 days. They had no idea what it was and then the Holy Spirit or something popped this idea into my head and when I started treating it for thrush it went away). My treatments include a super-powerful probiotic (found here - I take mine twice a day), Vitamin C, Diatomaceous Earth (FOOD GRADE), and an anti-Candida diet. Here is also a spit test you can use to see if you have an overgrowth of yeast. When you start to kill off the little buggers you'll feel like you're going through drug withdrawals: brain fog, dizziness, the shakes, flu-like symptoms, cravings. I had to be careful with the die-off this time around while nursing as Lola got grumpy for a few days as the toxins were leaving my system. Epsom salt baths and LOTS of water helped with the detox. As did reminding my husband that I would be crazy for a few days.

OH and side note, side note: bone broth! Sharing mañana.

OK, tomorrow I will finish up this bad boy and chat about what I'm doing for the Adrenal Fatigue and  Endometriosis. And what I'm doing for the kids. And a big ol' picture/list of all my supplements (a lot of which anyone can take and benefit from). Because I'm tired of typing and you probably need a coffee break. But not too much coffee, lest it taxes the adrenal glands. OH MY WORD, just please don't take away my coffee.