Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is



How many of you have heard the expressions, put your money where your mouth is, practice what you preach, or prove it?  Well, I've decided to do that. I have more on my plate than I ever have and yet I still find time for things like Facebook or Instagram.  I'm rarely at a lunch or dinner where one of us is on one of them at some point and it's just sad. I'm a wife and full time mom to 2 active boys who need a lot of attention. I'm a grad student and in the middle of getting my new home unpacked and renovated.  How can I possibly give all of the important things in my life the love and attention it needs if I constantly find things to distract me, such as social media? The answer is, I can't.  I love sharing my life with others, especially with family who live far away. That is who I am in nature. I blog for goodness sake. I will always have a passion to share information about what I've learned from experiences. I am proud of my family and friends and love interacting with  them as much as I can, even if it's only through social media. The problem here is, I'm really not giving my actual life 100% of "me," because I'm also fitting an unnecessary internet life in there too.  From sharing pictures, to status updates, to party invitations. There's not a whole lot you can't do on these sites.  I'm too engaged in showing the life I'm living on social media that I'm taking away from my engagement in my real life. Most of us are guilty of this to some extent, I have just made a personal decision to do something about it.

I'm challenging myself to 14 days free from Facebook and Instagram. I'm wondering if I'll survive and make it through the moments when I take a picture of my kids that is so adorable, it would be a shame for no one else to see it. I hope I can stand not being up to date on what everyone is up to. What if I miss a party?  What if I miss a pregnancy or engagement announcement? 

What IF I spend more quality TIME with my CHILDREN?
What IF I spend more TIME working on MYSELF?
What IF I LIVE in the MOMENT
What IF I LOVE IT?
Now that's EXCITING.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Mommy Cultures




The Pre "Baby Fever" Woman:

Before I ever considered having a child, I knew I wanted 5 children, a 2 story house, and the white picket fence, obviously.  I loved how chunky a baby could get and how good they could smell.  I had names picked out before the husband and knew how many years my kids would be apart.  It was so easy then.  To dream and plan a future so far in the distance is nothing but innocent fun.  I never thought once about any one of the most common touchy-topics I, as a mother have faced and deal with today.  The things I thought about were light and fun, and I think that's just how it should be when you're no where near considering having a child.  So for you women who do NOT have babies on the brain, keep dreaming, because in the end, that's what it all really is, a dream, NOT reality.  Just focus on NOT having a baby and you can keep that dream alive.

The Mother to be:

When I first learned I was pregnant with my first child, it was a feeling like no other.  Scared shitless.  My computer is telling me that "shitless" is not a word.  I don't care, it's a feeling, a VERY strong feeling, so I will continue on and leave it there when what my laptop would be happiest with is if I said shit-less.  Just doesn't have the same effect.  Anyway, I tried very hard for my first child.  Like, VERY hard, so you couldn't have told me that I would feel so undoubtedly afraid, and that after I smiled at my husbands face after telling him that we finally got what we'd been hoping for, I closed the door and cried in the shower tears of pure fear.

After getting over the shock of it all, I accepted the happy news and found all things joyous about it and went with that feeling instead.  So for the first 3 weeks that I was able to enjoy actually knowing I was pregnant, I walked around smiling and day dreaming of my perfect baby, perfect family I was going to have and how FUN it would be. 

Week 6 hit and I wanted to crawl under a rock until the 24-hour hangover feeling went away.  And anyone who knows me knows I am the hangover queen.  I wasn't handling it well to say the least.  After I came out of my nauseous fog at 14 weeks, I began googling everything.  Ugh, now my computer is telling me that "googling" is not a word either.  How is that not a word by now?  It's practically a verb that is so conducive in today's society, many of us would either be dead if we didn't do it, or many of us would be a lot happier.  Regardless, you get what I'm saying.  So I figured a few things out by taking important key words to google.com.  
Words and questions like:  When does morning sickness go away?, constipation, iron deficiency, what CAN I eat while pregnant?, what do I take when I am sick?, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, mucous plug, sex during pregnancy, baby names, hormones, husbands who don't understand what you're going through, epidurals, perineum, birthing plan, natural birth, etc. 
The list could go on and on. 

All the internet did was scare me shitless once again and cause me to shut down and go back into my cave called denial.  I read the book "What to Expect When Expecting" and that was pretty standard and tame so for most of the pregnancy, I stuck with that.  At this stage of "Motherhood," to be honest, I was more concerned about how the pregnancy would be affecting me while my little monkey was happily taking over my body, than I was about what kind of reality would hit me when he swung off the tree and into my arms.  I was doubting my word of choice with denial a little earlier, but it's sounding more and more perfect, the longer this post gets. 

In late pregnancy I joined this club...or group...or cult called Facebook.  Have you guys heard of it?  I thought so.  Once I joined Facebook, I found out that I was actually not a very good pregnant woman or a very good mother-to-be.  I realized I hadn't put any thought into whether I would or would NOT vaccinate, circumcise or feed my son organic food.  I was basically told indirectly and passive aggressively that I was doing my child a HUGE disservice by NOT considering to NOT do or DO any of these things.  I mean I was told these things by a highly opinionated, uneducated former high school classmate of mine.  Like, I should definitely take her approach and information for all things to do with my child and run with it.  This was a moment when I realized that I would never stop being judged as a mother and woman from this point on.  I was no longer looked at as someone who could make her own decisions about my child, but I was an opportunity for someone to preach to me about something they know more about, because they had a baby 6 months before me. 

I was scared shitless, still.

The Mother of One:

While I was contemplating how I've basically wasted 9 months of my pregnancy on NOT considering whether or NOT to DO or NOT do what all of what my fellow mothers were doing on Facebook, I went into labor.  Shit, I'd already fucked up my child, because I was still NOT prepared to do something other than what my husband and I had already decided we would do.  So do I circumcise my son even though the know-it-all, former classmate wouldn't approve?  And do I give breast feeding my best shot and see how it goes even though that stay at home mom who is still breast feeding her baby at 2 years old told me it's the ONLY way to give my baby proper nutrition?  Obviously doing my best wasn't going to be good enough.  I HAD to do it right?  For like, at least a year, right?  And while I was recovering from my vaginal birth that my Facebook friend told me to do epidural-free (which I didn't, shockingly) I was faced with the vaccination opportunity.  As the doc was coming in to give my son his first vaccine, I asked about it.  He gave me a very thorough run down of the reasons, the risks and so on and then asked me if I was considering not doing it.  I told him I had always planned on vaccinating my child, but until recently hadn't thought about the option not to do it.  He asked me what sparked that.  I told him, "oh this girl I went to high school with told me it was poison to my baby."  Once he asked me if she was a professional who gave me advice, I told him, "no, she just had her first baby less than a year ago and that's it."  I listened to myself say those words and that was all I needed to hear.  I was doubting MY decision over some opinionated know-it-all who wanted to change the world in many different ways one vulnerable, inexperienced mother at a time.  They should make a "NO SOLICITORS" filter for Facebook these days.

Needless to say, I spent the first few years of motherhood getting unsolicited advice from many new mothers who swore their way was the right way because it worked for them.  I was inexperienced, and sleep deprived, perfect ingredients in creating an insecure mother.

Questions I would be prepared to answer when having my 2nd son:

Do you plan to circumcise? That's NONE of your business.
Do you plan to breast-feed? That's NONE of your business.
     If so, for how long?  Please refer to my answer above.
Do you plan to feed your baby only organic food?  Yes if I win the lottery, absolutely.
Do you plan to vaccinate your children?  That's NONE of your business.
Do you plan to co-sleep?  That's NONE of your business.

The Mother of Two:

I circumcised my second son, just like my first.  That is my right, and my choice.  A choice that my husband and I came to with careful thought and consideration. 

I breastfed my second son for 8 months.  I am BEYOND proud of myself and my son for our teamwork during that time.  It was NOT easy and I have been very forthright about that from the beginning.  The bond we shared will be a wonderful memory.  With my first son I gave him breast milk for as long as I could and I am SO proud of him and I as well.  We share an amazing bond for other reasons than breast feeding. 

I fed my second son pureed organic fruits and veggies until his appetite and food preference expanded.  Then I retired my Whole Foods purchases and 2 years later, I am happy when he will eat an apple without sucking the juices out before spitting it all out.  My first son ate fruits and veggies from the store bought jars.  I am SO happy he survived.  Looking back, it seems as though I should have been worried.

I vaccinated both of my children and wouldn't change that decision.  I did much more research the second time around and still came to the same conclusion.

My husband and I never co-slept with either of our children.  With both of our sons, I did skin to skin at night for hours as infants. One of my absolute favorite memories.  I brought them up to bed with me from their bassinet when they cried or couldn't sleep because they wanted to be near me.  I took naps in my bed with both of them as babies, held them in my arms for countless hours.  I snuggle them both to sleep at night, to this day.  We comfort them when they have bad dreams.  They lay in between my husband and I when they are sick and fevered.  I don't need to explain why we don't co-sleep and I'll never have to explain that to my children, because they know that they are never too far from Mommy and Daddy. 

This is not me, trying to bash any mothers or fathers who are making different decisions than us or are making some and not all.  This is me trying to help other mothers out there, or soon to be mothers, or women who want to become mothers, that there is NO NORMAL.  As mothers we are on the internet, on Facebook, talking with our friends and family comparing stories because all we want to feel is accepted and normal.  There's nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong with trying to change who we are as women and mothers, just to fit a mold.  Just to follow a fad.  And believe it or not, so much of motherhood has become a fad these days.  Mothers have been breast feeding for thousands of years, we do not need to make mothers who can't or choose not to, feel any less than an incredible mother.  That is not ok.  There will always be backlash in any culture where there are opinions and different perspectives, but as women and mothers, we should support one another in the decisions we make.  Not try to change them with information that is unwanted and unwarranted.  Respect is something we need a lot more of in these Mommy Cultures.  To respect someone else's point of view will not hurt us, but hopefully enlighten us. 

I am someone who chooses to be very open about my struggles and triumphs in life, but mostly in motherhood.  I am honest and only want to help and encourage other women and mothers to do the same.  I try my absolute best to only give my opinion when it's called upon.  I don't like to shove my view down someone else's throat, but if you ask, I will tell you with 100% honesty.  And when it comes to motherhood, I would be doing any mother a disservice if I sugar-coated an ounce of it.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

10 Joys of Being a Mom to Little Boys



If you had asked me 15 years ago what I envisioned having children would be like, I would have likely told you that I would have a boy first, then 2 years later have a girl. Somewhere in there I would have stated that it would be fun and that babies are cute.  You know, because my naive 16 year old self actually believed that things just worked out the way I wanted them to.  I probably wouldn't have envisioned never having a daughter, yet raising 2 boys, 4 years apart in age.  I'll say what all mothers should say and would say at this point, and I'm being sarcastic even though I 100% mean what I'm about to say.  I wouldn't change having my 2 boys for anything.  There I said it, I obviously love them to no end and would die for those little monsters, but you must understand, I grew up with all sisters and 1 step-brother.  I was as unprepared for this angle of motherhood as any one person could be, but I sure am making the most of it.  As often as I go through the day whining to myself and anyone else that will listen, of all the woes that I deal with on a daily basis, I laugh my way through it too.  Because watching your child grow up is as new to me as it is familiar.  I'm watching them relive my own childhood in so many ways.  It's fascinating, and it comes with some great, and unforgettable memories I will lock in the vault forever.  Here are my top 10 greatest 'joys' so far. I can't wait to see what's in store for me in the next 6 years.

1.  What's a Clean House?

A clean house has worked it's way so far down the priority list that when someone tells me they cleaned their house, I immediately respond with, "well, I cleaned my boys last night in the bathtub, and that took place in my house, so..."

2.  Sleeping With Boys:

A mom of boys is the only person who can truthfully say she had a wild night with a few boys and woke up with both of them in her bed, and it be completely acceptable.

3.  Farts:

In a household full of boys, the word farts, the smell of farts and the act of farting is like any other hobby out there.  It's fun to do, they are good at it, and everyone but mom usually gets a good laugh.

4.  Laundry:

I do more loads of laundry in one week than most do in a month.  Having boys could be compared to having little broadway actors who require constant costume changes.  Except the costume changes of my 2 sons come at the expense of dirt, snot, potions that smell like vinegar and sour milk, dead bugs and the ever popular poop, from either the dog or my 2 year old.

5.  Backseat Brawlers:

A mom of boys can always find a moment of peace while brothers go at it in the backseat for the first 20 seconds.  At least until the first punch is thrown, or until one of them screech a blood curdling scream.  Then, I'm snapped back to reality.  If they aren't talking or screaming at me for a response, I choose to have my own thoughts for as long as they allow.

6.  Apologizing in Public:

A mom of boys can frequently be seen apologizing to others in public places for the sounds and smells coming out her child, whether it's being done by accident or on purpose for comedic relief.  We can be seen apologizing for the all too honest statement made about the lady in front of us in line who decided to pretend she didn't hear my little angel's observation, while she clenches her jaw.  Or just for the constant machine gun sounds, or any other gun sounds coming out of his mouth, followed up by the invisible gun  pointed at every person who walks by. Sometimes I tell the passer-biers that he wants to grow up to be a soldier and fight for out country, hoping they'll find him endearing, rather than annoying.  But my cover is always blown when my son yells out "NO I DON'T, MOM!"

7.  The Sweet Smell of Dirt:

I can be away from my boys, having some free time and suddenly get a whiff of dirt, then immediately  become sentimental, because the smell of dirt always reminds me of my kids.  It's that smell after they come in from the backyard where they just "saved" 100 rollie-pollies by sealing them into a tupperware filled with water for them to drink.  Or being at the park running around in 85 degree weather, sweaty and sand filled from hair to toe.  I've never appreciated the smell of dirt so much.

8.  The Potty Wars:

I can go to any other person's house and while using the restroom, I automatically try to put the toilet seat down whether it's already down or not, wipe the toilet seat, or try to avoid wet spots at the base of the toilet on the bathroom floor.  It's like being on auto-pilot.  I have mastered this technique in my sleep just so I don't have to sit on another toilet without the seat down, or sit on a wet toilet seat, or better yet, step on the drops of pee that didn't make it into the toilet.  It's become a game that I've realized will only be won by acceptance.

9.  The Crying Game:

In our house, either I am crying or the boys are crying.  It can be sparked by stress of my rambunctious and uncontrollable boys, or by how they can display such love for one another that it brings me to tears.  To watch a brotherly bond be built is definitely worth a good cry, but so is the meltdown they both just had over who's going to have the last fruit roll-up.  I never know what kind of day I'll get, I just hope I get lucky and have 2 fruit roll-ups on hand.

10. Forgiveness

I can go from pleading with my boys and almost waving my white flag, to being the most grateful mother on earth for having my sons.  See, the moment my oldest sees that he's hurt my feelings or made me upset to the point of no return, he can and will say things like, "mom, you're a princess, the most beautiful princess in the world and I love you."  Followed by a dozen kisses to my face.  It's like he works for the Matrix and has just erased my memory.  I literally may start to tear up out of joy and tell him he's the best child on the planet, all while choosing to forget the completely offensive comment he just made.  Probably something like, "mom, are you pregnant? Or did you just eat a lot of food again?" I'm always forgiving and thankfully, I know they are always forgiving me as well.

I have no doubt that in 20 years my boys will be offering me up more than a top 10 list of 'joys' of being the sons to their mother.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Moment Like This



Wow, I haven't blogged in a long time. Sorry friends, I've been away.  When I say "away," what comes to mind for you? Are you picturing me on a tropical beach somewhere under the sweltering sun? Or maybe in the snowy mountains sipping on some hot cocoa? Well, let me tell you, you're way off.  Times around our household have changed quite a bit in the past 2 months.  We put our house on the market after my husband got a great job opportunity about 80 miles south of where we were living.  I quit my job and we relocated to my in-laws house while our house was in escrow and we shop for another house.  I've now taken on the completely foreign concept of being a stay at home mom of 2 boys.  When I say "foreign," I mean that in the most genuine yet sarcastic tone possible, because it's so true yet so false.  I've taken turns staying home while the kids were babies, but it was either home with my first child, or home with my second while my oldest was in daycare.  So to have 2 home mostly all day, it's definitely foreign, because it's a completely different ball game.

I've literally become that mother that wakes in the morning and throws on her gym clothes only because I am HOPING I will make it to the gym.  I'm sure when I show up to Kindergarten class, the mom's think I've just come from spin class, but that's fine, I'm totally ok with them thinking false thoughts about me when it comes to my workout regime.  The only real problem I have with my comfy workout clothes are how flat my sports-bra makes my already flat chest look.  And after 2 kids, it's like come on, I should be doing them all a favor and at least throwing on my padded bra for decency's sake.  But again, I've become the mom who doesn't care.  I'm now transporting my children to school by walking the block while pulling them in a wagon.  I'm sure my actions are screaming, "granola, environmentally friendly, workout fanatic, stay at home mom."  All the while I'm really screaming in my head, "what the hell am I doing?" And "why does this feel so amazingly weird?"  The only part of this that's true is that I literally stay at home with my children.

I have worked my whole life unless I've had babies at home or was in college, but even then, I was pregnant while doing that too.  So to NOT work and stay home with my children is kind of like the dream job I never knew I wanted.  I am a natural stress case, so for me to only stress about how horribly my 6 year old talks back to me is kind of wonderful.  So, when I say I've been away, I mean mentally.  I'm off in walk my kid to school, haul my 2 year old to Starbucks, pick my kid back up from school, put my 2 year old down for a nap, do laundry and work out when I can, LAND.  It's a complete mental place that exists.

I took my 2 year old son into the back yard the other day and let him do sidewalk chalk that I purchased at Target for $4.99 and ride a scooter while I sipped my coffee.  WHO AM I? Sidewalk chalk? That's so suburban, stay at home mom, chic.  It was amazing.  Most of the time those sweet moments where I feel serene only last for a few hours or just for that day and then when a day comes to repeat itself the exact same way, I'm usually left wondering why I don't feel so great about it, but that hasn't really happened yet. Of course unless my husband pisses me off the night before and I'm thinking of what I'm going to say to him when he walks through the door, because, after all, I have time to think about those things now. Not so good for my husband though since I'm a mastermind communicator.

As wonderful as it's been, by Thursday, I'm snappy with the kids and ready to have a drink.  I am NEVER alone during the day.  My 2 year old insists on being with me in the bathroom, while I shower, while I exercise in the living room, when I get the mail...the list doesn't end.  So this doesn't come without it's walls that I hit my head against on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.  I have days where I literally lay on my bed and watch HGTV during my 2 year olds nap while I could be getting dishes and laundry done and then some.  I am utterly exhausted by night's end and can't begin to express to someone who doesn't have kids or has never had to stay home with them day in and day out, how this feels.  It's the most rewarding, exhausting job.  I wake up and do it all again the next day and the next day and while I keep feeling like it's got to get old at some point, I've yet to hit that point.  The scariest moment is yet to come.  Summer will begin and I won't have that 4 hour break with just one child to care for, I will have 2, sometimes 3 kids when my niece is with us, which is a lot.  I had a grand plan to walk the kids to the park and let them burn off energy while running in the water feature, until I called Parks and Rec and they told me that due to the drought, the water feature will not be happening this year.  Of course that would be the case, so now I have to come up with another plan.  The house that my husband and I are buying has a pool, but that won't be ours until mid to late next month.  It will be an interesting start to summer to say the least.

So, while I'm technically here, I'm really not.  I'm off and away doing what my elders tell me are the best days and years of my life.  But like any circumstance, I may not see these wonderful days as being so wonderful all the time, but I do understand what they mean.  I do understand that these moments will never be returned and that as much chaos as I'm in, I will want this chaos back.  I will one day wish to have my boys wanting to be with me 24 hours a day and wanting me to kiss their boo boos.  I understand.  And I really am living in a moment that I had no idea I needed. I will savior this.

  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Presence: Wrapped in Love



I am often consumed by pressure.  Pressure from myself to be perfect.  I make lists and plans in my head of how I want things to play out or be done. Out of fear, maybe? Fear of being rocked by emotions I'm unprepared to handle....maybe?  I've always been this way since I can remember.  I've always held people to a higher expectation, especially if I like you, or God for bid, love you.  Do what you say you're going to do and follow through.  I can be tough on the ones I love due to my expectations. My intentions are so good, but the realistic mess of it all caused me to experience growth through  all of the let downs. Since the most recent naive time in my life, I've grown up, and learned the ways of the world, the beauty and the darkness.  I've kept some of my old habits, broke a few and let some go completely.

Then, as I've always planned everything, I planned my pregnancies, what type of mother I wanted to be, you know, my fairy tale.  But once that little baby was here, it took every vulnerability and insecurity inside of me, threw it right back in my face and said, "I will forever be a reflection of you, so get your shit together and don't fuck this up."  Maybe not in so many words, or words at all, but that first stare said everything I needed to hear.

The good parts of it all, which we all love to share, were; my life changed, my world became very small and my focus was honed in on something so important that nothing else mattered.  But before I had the magical moments of wanting to better my life for this little boy, I was, for lack of any 2 better words, scared shitless.  The overwhelming feeling of being responsible for a single being's life is when I actually realized that my shit wasn't together.  I was a wreck.  I hadn't gotten my Bachelor's degree the way I had planned to do before I had a baby, so what if something happened to my husband? Then what? What if I needed a break?  What about me?  I realized that my life had been stripped of anything to do with my needs and all to do with someone else's.  I mean it got pretty selfish in the emotions department, but I'm human right?  I enjoyed my pregnancies, I relished in them and thought motherhood would be the same.  It just wasn't, it was hard.

I was harder on myself than any one person could have been on me.  I convinced myself that every decision I made for my child would either create a loving, honorable man, or most definitely a sociopath who couldn't relate to anyone in the outside world. I guess the good news was that I was taking this seriously, but as I've always been told and teased, maybe a little too serious.  My Dad used to tell me I was being too sensitive when I'd become offended or saddened by a joke that he meant nothing by.  Sometimes I agree with that statement and tell myself that same thing when I'm feeling offended or sad, but there are appropriate times for sensitivity, and it makes me who I am.  I tend to take things to heart, very serious and personal.  I've gotten better as I've gotten older.  Don't  they say everything gets better with age?  But I'll always be this deep, sensitive and sometimes, serious person.  So, my analyzation of myself as a mother would be no different.

I had found myself in so many situations where I was with my children physically, yet thinking of all of the other things I needed to be doing.  *GUILT*  I'd been physically with my children and felt like I just needed to be anywhere but there in order to get my sanity back. *DOUBLE GUILT*  Then when I'd be without my children trying to get my sanity back, all I wanted was them, with me and in my arms so I could apologize for the fact that I shipped them off for 2 days, not for quality time with Grandma and Grandpa but for ME.  *GUILT GUILT GUILT*  I convinced myself that I was messing up as a mother because they probably felt unloved and abandoned.  Little was I realizing all of the memories, bonds and laughs that were being created and had. There was love for them in this world to be experienced and had, other than my arms.

***Now here is where the light shines through.  After I go through my self-analytical emotions, I become exhausted by my own judgement.  I begin to fight back and tell myself, "give yourself a damn break!  You are with your children 99% of their lives when you're not working an 8 hour day.  You feed them, bathe them, play with them, laugh with them, support them, cheer them on, tell them you love them, smother them with kisses and you're THERE!"

I know I don't have to tell my 2 sons that I love them 100 times a day, but this Mommy does.  If I only said it once, it would be enough, because my actions every moment I'm with them is showing them my love.  Being there is my love.  Together as a unit, as a family is love.  I have so much joy and love from and for my children, I glow.  I literally glow when I'm not with them, because they are inside my heart, filling it with love and light.  I can't help but to glow.  I am exhausted, I am run down, but I now know that this chaotic bliss doesn't last long enough and I will miss it.  I was missing it when I was judging myself.  I wasn't allowing myself to live in the moment, because I was criticizing my actions in that moment.  I was holding myself to an unattainable expectation, and punishing myself with guilt.  I know I'm not the only mother in the world who has done this, but to write it down makes it real for me.  I was able to receive my bachelor's degree in my own time and probably didn't give myself enough credit, but that accomplishment brought me joy and I did it for myself, without guilt.

I still struggle with guilt and have to put it all into perspective at times.  But all I want you to get from this is, if you can be present and give love to your child, you're doing a great job.  Our children are going to remember us being there and feeling our love.  When we live in the moment, those are the memories that last...what could possibly be better?




Monday, November 11, 2013

A Love Letter to my Husband


 


Dear Husband,


I knew you were good, but not this good.
I knew you were strong, but not this strong.
I knew you would take care of me and our babies,
but never had I imagined I'd be this happy.

You're whole life is this family.
Every decision you make is only to enhance our lives.
You make it look so easy, and I realize,
it's because this is where you want to be.

I'm neurotic, hormonal and a stress case no less.
You're calm, rational and tell me I'm beautiful when I'm a mess.
You cook, you clean, you do the laundry.
You have kids on your hip and tell me to go take some time for "me."

You support me, believe in me and make me feel like there's nothing I can't do.
 I love you for loving me, seeing me for who I am and choosing me to be with you.

You work SO hard and NEVER complain.
Your children look to you and see Superman.
I look to you and see a Saint. 

Baby, you're my BEST friend, my rock, my soul mate.
I'm honored to be your wife and be apart of this life you help to create.

I only hope I can make you as proud as you make me,
because honey you are one in a million
and I'm going to spend my life making you this happy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Allergen Ridden Woods: My Journey, Part 1



As a child growing up on the Central Coast of California, I never knew what an allergy was. I suffered horrible headaches here and there, but was never affected by anything in nature so to speak.  I moved to Northern California at 21 with my now husband and was blindsided by my horrible reaction to the plants, trees, weeds, grass, you name it.

About 6 years after living in the Northern Valley, I began getting chronic sinus infections. Every time I got a cold, it inevitably turned into an infection. One year, my primary doctor told me I had come in about 7 times with a sinus infection. I knew I needed help and something else was going on. I was having dental sensitivity so badly that I constantly thought I had a cavity and when my dentist took my xray, he told me my sinuses were completely clogged.  When I should have been enjoying the most beautiful times of the year in Northern California, I was cringing at the trees blooming and the leaves falling.

Once I saw an ear nose and throat doctor, I was sure this was going to be the answer and my saving grace. I had horrible sinus pain and headaches almost on a daily basis.  My ENT told me that I had a deviated septum.  This meant that my sinuses were not draining and therefore, causing chronic infections. Ok, this made sense! Unfortunately, in order to fix that problem, I had to have surgery.  So after going through 9 long months of pregnancy with my second son and having the worst sinus pain ever without much medication at my disposal, I gave birth and I received the surgery. My pain went from terrible to unbearable.  The surgery did not cure my problem.

I was devastated to find that my headaches actually got worse.  I went back to the ENT to be checked out, because I was sure something was wrong since I felt worse.  My doctor told me that unfortunately it looks like my issue now was allergies and I needed to see an allergist.  I felt so completely defeated. All I wanted to do was FEEL BETTER.  It's the most frustrating thing to be in so much pain and everyone who has tried to help you can't help you at all. The surgery did what it was supposed to do, completely cleared my sinuses in order to drain properly.  Now, the problem was, my sinuses were so clear that the allergens had even easier access into my sinuses, in turn increasing my pain.

My appt. with the allergist couldn't come fast enough.  We did all of the tests on my back and found that I was HIGHLY allergic to dust mites and found other allergies that needed to be looked into further by conducting tests where they actually stick me with a needle that has the allergen in it.  The results from that became the talk of the office that afternoon.  The nurses huddled into my little room in the office because they had never seen someone have such a reaction to every tree, weed, grass, etc. The doctor sat me down and told me, "you need to move." I laughed, and said "what are you talking about?"  He went on to tell me that I will not have a quality life here in Northern California anytime soon.  We needed to begin my shot treatment, 2 shots a week for the next 1-3 years and if that doesn't help me, I need to move to the ocean.  I was shocked. I knew the pollen and everything else from living in the valley was to blame for so many people's suffering, but never did I think I would be told that there is a possibility that there is no help for me.  Again, I was devastated.  To be in such pain, still, and have a specialist tell me that there may be nothing he can do, but we can try.  So in April of 2013, I began 2 shots a week.  

I am 5 months into my shot treatment with no change.  I was told it will take at least 6 months to feel a difference, maybe even a year.  I am suffering on a daily basis with something that is completely out of my control, or is it?

I had a very serious talk with my husband and we agreed that my health must come first.  We were going to give the shot treatment a chance to work and be open to other options if it doesn't.  Then, one day I was having a conversation with my co-worker and she was telling me how her husband had allergies so bad that they almost moved out of Napa, which is where she lives.  We talked about my similar struggles and she told me that her husband was about 90% better and living pain free by going to see Dr. Cleo Riffey.  A chiropractor and alternative medicine specialist.  There was an allergy program she told me her husband completed. It's a 2-3 week treatment and a complete holistic approach to curing your allergies.  I was kind of skeptical, but so desperate that I'd try anything at this point. 

After some research and reading some success stories, I made my appt. to see Dr. Riffey. It's been the craziest learning experience and I'm only 2 treatments in.  There are a series of tests they do on you once you come in.  There is a muscle test that actually immediately shows the things that your body reacts negatively towards, just by holding it in your hand.  The energy from the "agent" immediately interacts with your body and if you have a negative reaction to it, your muscle test becomes weak, where without anything in your hand, it's strong.  It sounds crazy to some, I'm sure and completely makes sense to others, I'm sure.  I've been on a spiritual path for a while now and completely believe that we can heal ourselves from within with the right state of mind, positive energy and the right help from someone like Dr. Riffey who has been studying this stuff for 30 years.  The tests she did on me and the results from those tests said so much about my body that she could never know and I never disclosed. At my first visit, she explained that she was taking everything I'm reacting to and reprogramming my body and energy NOT to have a negative reaction. Some other tests were conducted at my second treatment today in which Dr. Riffey made a vial tailor made for all of my weaknesses and reactions to anything and everything I could possibly come in contact with.  It's a complicated process to explain, and I know I'm not giving the complete explanations of the process just yet, but I am supposed to take 10 drops twice a day of this serum for 3 weeks.  Then, we will see how I respond.  The day after my first treatment I had one of the worst headaches, then for 2 days straight after that, I did not have one headache, not even an inkling. That is HUGE for me.  Some may say it's all in my head, but I feel like I have gone to such great lengths in the science world for treatments and answers, that I can now feel confident that I am doing the right thing by seeking a holistic approach.  If I'm even 10% improved by going this route, it's worth it. 

All I want to do is feel good and stop the suffering and help someone else in the process if I can. We have to be our biggest advocate for anything concerning our well-being.  Who else is going to love you more than you? I am constantly telling myself not to give up every day.  I know allergies don't seem like a serious medical issue, but if you're one of the few that struggles every single day, it's an issue that consumes our lives and takes away our quality of life just like any other equivalent condition. I will definitely keep updating my progress, or lack there of if that's the case.  I will be completely honest about how I'm feeling, but at this moment, I feel complete optimism.