No One Can Escape The Germs

Unless you are my husband. Somehow that man doesn’t catch a cold. Last year, he had food poisoning with me and he only went to the bathroom twice. Meanwhile, I was living in the bathroom all day long. He also had a mild case of allergies for a whole week. Now that I think back to it. I’ve only known him to get the flu once. He also contracted Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease from our daughter. He was pretty miserable from that. He has an amazing immune system.

Since moving to Savannah, each year my allergies have become worse. Not to count that I tend to catch any stomach bug, cold, or pink eye from the kids. I have to say, since beginning essential oils, I have been able to ward off many illnesses or drastically reduce the run time of the sickness. At the same time, I do believe the oils can help only so much. With the case of pink eye, you should go see a doctor; not rely on oils. (No brainer there…)

Over the weekend, I woke up with a terrible sinus infection. I’ve never had a sinus infection before, until two months ago. I had a small one that worked itself out with the help of sinus congestion medicine. Then it went back to chest congestion, wheezing, and coughing. So when I woke up Saturday morning feeling like a dump truck had ran over my head, I wasn’t happy. I just finished a round of antibiotics! I suffered with intense sinus pressure, ear pain, runny nose, coughing, dizziness, loss of smell, and loss of taste. I was relieved to be able to get an appointment with the same Nurse Practitioner I saw just two weeks ago. I was given two shots in my rear and another round of a higher level antibiotic. Yet, here I am, still feeling like complete crap. I cannot workout. I can’t even breathe through my nose. I still have the sinus congestion and pressure. I would have thought I would have been given a medication to help with the mucus production and congestion. So, I sit around this house, feeling like I’m on Death’s door step, looking like…

Drinking hot coffee to wake me up from a restless night of coughing, blowing my nose, and unable to breathe.

Literally, carrying a box of tissues with me where ever I go. My nose doesn’t stop running, yet it never clears up enough to breathe through it.

Drinking plenty of water because the antibiotic can cause dehydration. (Not to mention burst tendons from working out. Yeah, actual fine print of the medication handout.) Since I can’t workout, eating healthy snacks…like these almonds I can’t taste.

Trying to “rest” as my son uses me as a jungle gym and patient for playing doctor.

In 10 days, if the sinus infection still isn’t cleared. I get to visit an ENT to have my sinuses flushed out. Honestly, by this point, I would rather just have that done. I think two rounds of antibiotic and steroids in two months while the sinus issue gets worse is plenty of evidence for a referral to a specialist. But who am I??

My daughter developed an ear infection last week from a runny nose due to allergies. She’s on antibiotics, an antihistamine, and breathing treatments. And my son has a constant clear runny nose with a little cough. I mean, when does the sickness end?! I’m hoping soon. This momma is sick and tired or being sick and tired.

I would say I’m the only one going through this, but I know I’m not. All of my friends, co-workers, etc. are having to take their kids and themselves to the doctor for various issues. I’m not the only one suffering through allergies. It’s like what could possibly be pollinating in Savannah right now?! Well, it will be 70 degrees tomorrow…so I’m sure there are plenty of plants producing their horrific reproduction poison.

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Stay Germ Free, My Friends.

My last post gave you two new health-ified recipes to add to your arsenal of healthy meal options. I feel like I spend a lot of time making unhealthy recipes into healthier options. When I began my weight loss journey, nearly 4 years ago, I realized many of my “go to” recipes were filled with unhealthy junk. No wonder I was overweight! I’ve learned to change my eating habits to attain a better weight… a healthy weight. For instance, this weekend the Hubs and I wanted a steak dinner. It helped that the ribeyes were on sale. I made sure to buy cuts of steak that were leaner, without a ton of fat marbling throughout. In the past, we would have accompanied those steaks with a loaded baked potato. Loaded meaning covered, smothered, and soaked in butter, cheese, sour cream, and bacon. Yeah, not very healthy. Because I am trying to reduce my body fat (stubborn fat from the pregnancy around the abdominal area), I’m reducing the amount of carbs I eat. I decided to stick with cauliflower as the potato substitute. I did have 4 slices of bacon I needed to cook leftover from my breakfast meal prepping. So, I baked and crumbled those. I roasted the cauliflower in the oven on 400F for about 25 minutes. I sprinkled a little cheddar cheese on top and melted for a couple of minutes in the oven. I topped with the bacon crumbles and chopped green onions. My “loaded” cauliflower was a much healthier option than the loaded potatoes of the past. My other side was my steamed garlic and onion green beans. All I do for those is sauté minced garlic and onion in a little oil (whatever works for you…I like ghee) for 7 minutes, add my green beans to the pan, add a 1/4 cup of broth (can be veggie, chicken, or beef…I do opt for no added salt) and top the pan with the lid. I keep a small opening to vent the steam. It takes about 20 minutes on medium high heat. Another healthier meal for you. I pair those sides with roasted chicken, pork tenderloin…whatever, really, even salmon. I obviously cannot make some recipes healthier, like brownies. I mean, there are countless recipes on Pinterest that try; but there is nothing like brownies made with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. That’s where your willpower has to kick in. You just cannot eat those types of food all the time and lose weight. Valentine’s Day is coming up. You are bombarded with candies, cakes, and other mouth watering delicacies. It is fine to indulge on an item or two. I know I will be enjoying a dessert. However, don’t undo your hard work. I try to keep my desserts to special occasions, like Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or social occasions. I will admit, there is a certain week of the month, where I have strong cravings for chocolate or sweets. It could be brownies, chocolate chip cookies, or cake. I find that if I deny myself that one craving, it gets worse. However, if I go ahead and eat that craving, just once, it totally disappears. This last time was an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen. I haven’t had one in a year; but the craving was intense. I shared one with Hubs and I’m good on them. That’s all I needed. That also helps you to tell yourself “no” for the next craving. It’s like parenting myself. “No, Kayleigh, you may not indulge your craving this month because you did last month.” It sounds weird, but I feel it holds me accountable to my fitness goals.

I have a very special day coming up this week. My daughter’s pre-school does a “Donuts with Dad” program. Unfortunately, Hubs cannot make it this year. It will be donuts with Mom and Little Bro, who will have his specially made donuts. I will enjoy every bite of that donut with my little girl. I won’t go overboard and eat five of them, but I will enjoy at least one…maybe a donut hole or two if they have those. This is why it is so important to make each workout count. Push yourself each time, and there shouldn’t be any guilt when you do indulge.

Onto a slightly different topic about health, let’s talk about the flu. Holy Cow! It is bad here. Everywhere I turn someone else’s kid is down with the flu, strep, or a stomach virus. I’m trying to keep us germ free. I probably look like a crazy mom sanitizing hands, spraying Lysol on everything, wiping everything down with Lysol wipes, and constantly washing my hands.

While some people knock them, I’m using my essential oils too. I’m diffusing several times a day and applying my Immunity blend roller to feet at night. My viewpoint is, if it hasn’t been 100% debunked for effectiveness, I’m using it. Haha! Seriously, the oils have helped me with my sleeping issues. I used to be an incredibly light sleeper. I would wake up every time Hubs moved. Not to mention, any time I was stressed or worried about something; I would stay up most of the night unable to calm my head for sleep. I have zero sleeping problems. I have a few blends I mix for peaceful, deep sleep. Even Hubs is amazed at how well I sleep at night.

I couldn’t help but laugh at this meme. Hubs recites Shakespeare’s Macbeth the witches scene to me every time he sees me making oil blends. We have an on going joke about my oil use being related to witchcraft. (Disclaimer: We are simply joking and do not believe that essential oil use is in any way associated with witchcraft.)

Realistically, all you can do to protect yourself from these germs is to wash your hands. If you or your kid does begin to have any symptoms of being sick, stay home or go to the doctor. For goodness sake, do not go to work, school, or any other place to spread your germs.

Stay save and healthy!

Healthier Food Options

It’s no secret that I love food.

Unfortunately, if you do not fuel your body with the appropriate types and portions of food; you carry around extra weight in the form of fat. There is the obvious form of fat that stores under your skin. However, fat cells can build up in your arteries and heart; creating serious health problems. Even carrying the extra fat causes joint and bone damage over an extended period of time. That is why it is incredibly important to me to keep a healthy diet, along with exercise.

I’ve been overweight. I literally ached all the time, my breathing was labored over the smallest tasks, and I was physically sick most of the time. After I had my daughter, I knew I needed a change in my lifestyle. I needed to be a healthier version of me for her. I still struggle with the balance of health foods versus unhealthy. I mainly struggle because unhealthy foods are readily available in the forms of drive thrus, quick grab bags, and no clean up afterwards. It’s easier to come home pre-heat the oven for a unhealthy casserole of some sort, quickly eat, and finish the evening activities…or better yet, just go through a drive thru.

That is where I have to make the deliberate decision to say “no!”. To do that, I meal prep. Basically, I make a bigger batch of my healthy food and store it in the freezer for those hectic nights. I also plan out my menu each week and only buy those items needed for those meals. You can’t cook tacos if you don’t have the ingredients!

My first recipe is a healthier version of an egg roll. I enjoy Asian takeout! But the calories, sodium, and preservatives are terrible for you.

First, I browned a pound of ground pork in my cast iron pan. I drained the pork. Then I threw a bag of shredded cabbage and shredded carrots into the pan and sautéed with a minced clove of garlic, sprinkle of ginger, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a teaspoon of chili sauce, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, and a tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos. I opt for the aminos. Then I mixed the pork back in with the cabbage for a couple of minutes. While all of that was going on, I had a sheet pan of chopped broccoli, squash, cauliflower, yellow onion, and red bell pepper roasting in the oven. I seasoned them with a small splash of sesame oil, ginger, and black pepper. Super basic. I wanted to top all of this off with chopped green onion; however, the grocery store has been out lately. This made enough for 6 meals! It’s also easily adapted to fit into the Keto, Paleo, or Whole 30 diets. It was absolutely delicious!

My second recipe was a sausage, sweet potato noodle, and broccoli one pan meal.

I used a nitrite free, natural andouille sausage for this. You can use turkey sausage or any ground sausage, really. I just love Cajun foods and decided to add a little spice to my life with this dish. I spiralized 3 large sweet potatoes. I browned 2 pounds of the andouille in y cast iron pan, then threw the sweet potatoes on them. I steamed a head and a half of broccoli. I felt the andouille gave enough flavor to this dish without anything added, except a clove of minced garlic and a hint of black pepper. The entire dish took 20 minutes to cook and gave me 8 meals. I topped the dish off with a sprinkle of feta cheese to give a creamy factor to cool my tastebuds between the bites of andouille. If you use an Italian sausage, you could use parmesan. Yet another simple, healthy, and tasty meal.

By cooking in bulk, I’m able to save time (and choose a healthier food option) for those busy nights where I am tempted to eat unhealthy meals.

I love to share my recipes in hopes that I am helping someone else to choose a healthier food option.

Finally Thawing or Maybe Not

Two weeks ago was an unusually chilly week for Savannah. (Chilly might not be the right word to use.) We actually had snow! We looked like this while playing in it…

I bundled up the kids for a run to the park. Within a few minutes, SP was begging to turn around. She normally doesn’t even notice the weather temperature when she has park time on the agenda. However, when the snow fell, she couldn’t have been happier. She’s been begging for snow. Last year, when we took our mountain vacation during Christmas, we were expecting snow. She was incredibly disappointed to leave without it snowing. (It snowed the next week…such our luck!) This Savannah snowfall was a wish come true for this little girl!

It also helped that she had hot chocolate waiting for her each time she came in from a snow adventure. It was a super special experience for her during the Christmas break.

Last week was her first week back to school. She was excited to start back and see her friends. She cares so deeply and I love that about her. Speaking of school, it is that time of year to register again. It has made me realize how fast this move to Auburn is coming…And all of the things I need to arrange. I can tell she excited to go to a new school, but sad to leave her friends here. It has helped that two other students have already moved this school semester. She makes remarks that she will be moving too and her friends will miss her. I think it helps that we are allowing her to finish the school year. Downside to that is that she will not be able to attend any summer camps. I will have her all summer long…right up my rear…along with her brother. Yaaaayyyyy…

January is usually when the gyms are crowded with New Year resolutors claiming this will be the year of weight loss. There is a major decline in participation by February though. I’ve been three times so far. Between the weather, sick kids, my unending respiratory issue, traveling, and hurting my back; my fitness has taken a back seat. (I didn’t hurt my back while working out. I was wrestling my son into his car seat when I pulled a lower back muscle. I mean, man, that made me feel old. I don’t even have a cool story to tell about it. Haha!)

I am going to see a doctor about my respiratory issue that I’ve been struggling with since Thanksgiving. I thought it was a little cold. I woke up with chest congestion and a dry cough. I never ran a fever or even felt “sick”. You know, the tired blah feeling from a cold. I feel absolutely fine, other than having this hacking wet cough (that worsens while working out), wheezing, runny nose, sinus congestion, and periodic sinus pressure. Here is the kicker, the symptoms begin to go away when I travel away from Savannah. Once I’m back, all of the symptoms hit me harder than ever.

Recently we traveled back to Auburn, AL to look at a few houses. The entire week leading up to the trip, I was miserable with sinus pressure and headaches. While in Auburn, I didn’t have one sinus pressure headache, my cough and chest congestion lessened, and my runny nose disappeared. It is the strangest thing ever. I have noticed my allergy issues have worsened with each year we live here.

I’m hoping the doctor can figure it out. It’s kind of embarrassing to be running or anything cardio and begin a burst of hacking coughs. Even SP has a cough and runny nose, now that she’s finished with her allergy medicine too. I’m convinced we are allergic to some pollutant in Savannah’s air. Growing up, I never had allergy issues; even being on a farm.

I have two recipes I will share next time that you can add to your healthy meals repertoire. I’m doing more meal prepping for myself, mainly for lunch. I already meal prep so much for LB (my son), that it doesn’t take much extra time to prep for me either. We eat a lot of the same fruits and veggies in our diet. I just have to be careful not to season his portion of the food and keep my protein away.

Until next time!

Welcome 2018: Focus

After a two month hiatus, I thought reviving my blog on the first day of the new year was fitting. I thought about deleting it. However, after having several people ask about the blog or why I wasn’t blogging anymore, I thought better of it. I thought my hiatus would be a short term break. I was incredibly busy with my Ruth Bible study, my daughter’s school engagements, and life in general. I told myself I would blog about taking a break until I finished the Ruth study, which never happened. Each evening would pass by without a blog post. I would think of things I wanted to blog about, but never had the time to sit down to do it.

I used yesterday and today to reflect on 2017. I realized I’m still not as healthy as I would like to be. 2016 ended on a bad note. I was drowning in post-partum depression without any light at the end of the tunnel and trying to educate myself on how to be a mother to my newborn with an incurable genetic disorder. 2017 wasn’t much better. I’m still struggling with depression and anxiety. I’m still navigating this new reality as a mom with a child with a rare disorder. I’m still coming to terms with how my struggles affect me as a mom to my daughter and a wife to my husband. (Spoiler alert: It isn’t good.)

Which is why my word for 2018 is focus. I want to focus on my mental health, to continue to heal. I want to focus on my physical health, to continue to push myself in the gym and clean up my nutrition. I want to focus on my family, to be present for my kids and husband. I want to focus on my relationship with God.

What is your word for 2018 or your resolution?

Introvert Living an Extrovert Life

I think I’ve peopled too much this week. I’ve reached my peopling quota.

I’m having a hard time expressing the thoughts in my head onto this blog tonight. I’m so exhausted. I just want to eat my leftover birthday cake and go to bed. Haha!

The above is a true depiction of me every morning this week. I’ve amped up my workouts, so I’m incredibly sore too. It’s hard to quietly walk down stairs for coffee, then back up stairs to shower when every muscle in your body is screaming in pain.

I have things I want to talk about; its just expressing them in a coherent manner is an issue. First things first, yesterday was my birthday. I’m going to shock you…I turned 31. I know, I know…I don’t look a day over 20. Hubby and the kids made my day extra special. SassyPants made sure to tell everyone it was my birthday. And I do mean everyone. Haha! I thought the day was going to start on the wrong foot. I dropped my brand new tub of protein powder while screwing on the top. It spilled every where.

There were a few tears shed and a fleeting thought of sweeping it back into the tub. The stuff is expensive! I did manage to have two awesome workouts where I finished with second best times in both on Wednesday. I felt those workouts on my birthday, yet still managed to get in two more awesome workouts. When I got home, Hubby had bought me flowers and my favorite lunch (Chicken Salad Chick). That evening he brought supper from our favorite little Italian restaurant in Savannah, along with a Little Mermaid decorated cake from Baker’s Pride Bakery. Y’all, if you visit Savannah, go to Baker’s Pride Bakery on DeRenne Ave. Traffic is a pain in the rear, but the donuts are worth it. So frickin’ worth it!! Anyway, they make amazing cakes and cheesecakes. Their cheesecakes…oh my stars…pure heaven in your mouth. Let’s go ahead and admit that I’ve needed these extra workouts. My diet has been awful!

Then, today was my first day on the job. I worked with the toddlers. My word, I forgot how adorable toddlers are! I bonded with one little boy over zero turn lawn mowers and backhoes. He was a lot apprehensive about his mom leaving him with us. He cried until we gave him his paci, which his mom explained she is trying to wean from him. Finally he heard the lawnmower outside and wanted to see it. I pretended I couldn’t understand him with the paci in his mouth. He agreed to put it up to so I could pick him up to look out the door to see the lawnmower. I could tell he was still very uncomfortable. So, I pretended I was a zero turn lawnmower and he was operating me. That broke the ice with him. We played on the playground, made a bunny craft, read a bunny story, and pretended with playdoh. There was another little boy and girl with us too. I think we all had a good time together. I’m looking forward to my next Friday shift.

I also took SassyPants to have an occupational therapy evaluation for her sensory processing disorder. Honestly, this past year I have been so focused on HappyBottom’s needs and my needs; that I’ve neglected SP’s need for OT. I just couldn’t juggle all the appointments, feedings, and my emotions. I can tell you, you will never get used to hearing the affirmation that your child is atypical. I knew she had SPD and the evaluation was to get started on the OT. But, gosh, it felt like a punch in the gut when the OT began explaining her atypical behaviors. I guess apart of me just wanted to be surprised by hearing your kid is typical/normal/no worries/why are you here. I can’t explain it; but it hit harder than I expected it too. It is hard for parents of non special needs kids to understand the gut wrenching realization that your child will be different. They just will be. And you cannot do anything about it…and I have two. Sometimes, its just a lot to deal with and accept. Which is why I am so glad to have such supportive friends that understand when I need a break for me, a listening ear, or a hug to cry in. Leading the Ruth Bible study has helped too. I never expected to enjoy leading a group as much as I have. It has been therapeutic and encouraging. While I’ve been so busy with my new endeavors, it has helped me emotionally heal and spiritually grow.

I didn’t receive any feed back for blogging about the Ruth study, so for now I will just continue what I’m doing.

Y’all have a fabulous weekend, friends.

It’s A MLM Kinda Week

You are probably wondering what MLM stands for. Murphy’s Law of Motherhood: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong because it only effects mother and her tight schedule.

My entire week was slammed by MLM while I was still trying to make up things from the evacuation. Last Friday, Hubby made a round trip to Alabama to get all the paperwork settled for our new cars. He ended up having to work all day Saturday as well. Unfortunately, Friday evening I decided to give eating pizza another try. I did it not long ago, but it wasn’t from a major chain, and didn’t have any adverse reaction. I usually abstain from pizza because it wrecks my digestive system. Specifically, it causes an unpleasant IBS flare up, where I spend the day in the bathroom. This time, the flare up lasted 5 days. One night, I was in such pain, I contemplated going to the emergency room. I also lost 6 pounds and ate a ton of soup and crackers. It was one of the worse flare ups I’ve ever experienced. The fact that I was fairly stressed about such a tight schedule and nervous about Wednesday night small group didn’t help the matter. I thought the flare up cleared on Tuesday, then that night it hit again for two more days. I basically carried a bottle of pepto around with me and took a gulp before I went anywhere. Having a chronic illness can really hamper matters.

So, while all of that was going on, I was still trying to manage my schedule. Saturday, I managed to take the kids grocery shopping. I even swung into Hubby’s favorite coffee shop to buy his favorite drink and deliver it to him. Hey, my Saturday might have sucked; but his didn’t have too. I felt a little better Sunday morning, so we went to church. I drank coffee during Sunday School…and shouldn’t have. During Sunday School I inquired about a job posting within the church for a nursery worker. I was told that help was greatly needed and if I applied and passed a background check, being hired was a high probability. The days and time slots needed fit my schedule perfectly. I could not not apply, especially when I have been wanting a part-time job. I got the job!! I’m now a part time working mom! And let’s be real, I’ve had 4.5 years experience in childcare, not to mention the times I babysat as a teen and for family. I think I got this. Haha! I was still suffering from my tummy issues on Monday, so I had to skip working out. It gave me a chance to run some of those tedious errands that you push off, like buying stamps. I also received the official “you’re hired and come fill out your tax info” call, so I did that too. I have to admit I’ve been on cloud nine ever since. Tuesday I woke up feeling better. I decided to check HB in the child watch program so I could take a cycle class. Bad idea. Not only did I begin to have tummy issues later that day; but I’m fairly certain that’s where HB caught pink eye. More about that in a bit.

Finally, it is Wednesday, my big day! It is super booked too. I had to drop SP off at school, rush into Savannah during morning rush hour. I made it within a couple of minutes to spare. The appointment took nearly two and half hours. I’ve never been so thankful for the lunch program. The kids had a quick nap and off to church we went for the evening. While SP was in her JAM program, I volunteered in the kitchen. Before I knew it, it was my big moment. My time to lead a small group within the book of Ruth.

It was amazing! I was afraid no one would show or there wouldn’t be any participation. I had several people tell me they were unable to attend; but wanted to come in the future. I had a total of 7 people, two were men. (That’s a big deal! Usually its just women.) I had positive feedback about how I led the class. So, I’m excited for this Wednesday where we will discuss chapter 2. I’m thinking about making separate posts covering just the Ruth study. It is so insightful to spiritual growth during difficult times. If that’s something that interests you, let me know.

If the day couldn’t get any better, I was asked to fill in on Friday for work. Then, MLM struck. HB woke up with a goo encrusted pink eye on Thursday. So far, SP and I haven’t had any signs of it yet. Today, I spent the day snuggling and disinfecting. I can tell you I am so ready for Hubby to be back tomorrow. I know SP is too. She couldn’t wait to get in bed tonight because it is only “one more sleep until daddy comes home”. Seriously, she asked to be tucked in first and it was only 7. She has missed her daddy so much.

I am ready for a normal week though…both parents tag teaming healthy kids. Go away MLM!