Never In a Million Years…

It’s taken me 3 months to write a post about this.  If ya’ll know me, you know I don’t sit on things I want to write about, but I didn’t know if I wanted to write about this.  It was throwing me off.  I barely even wanted to talk about it with friends and didn’t and still (to this day) don’t know how to process it.  Here it is.

On March 13th this year, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Just writing that makes me want to punch the keyboard and throw my computer against a damn wall.  My mom.  My mom, whom, is one of my best friends, that watches our boys, that goes on vacations with us, that lives 5 minutes from us, that is around us everyday, and that is always there when we need her.  Yep, that mom.

Now that I’ve gotten the worst part out of the way (actually typing the word and seeing it written in front of me), I’ll tell you some more about what happened.

In February, my parents went to Destin for 4 days for a mini vacay over President’s Day weekend.  She told me she was getting a mammogram when they got back, because it had been a couple years and the year 2019 was going to be the year she caught back up with everything, medically.  She went in for her procedure and we went about her business.  They’d always been normal before.  Also, I should note, not that it really matters these days, but we have NO FAMILY HISTORY of breast cancer, or any type of cancer on my mom’s side of the family that we know of.  Even on my dad’s side of the family, there’s been no breast cancer.  The next day, they called to say they saw something very small, but couldn’t tell what it was, and wanted her to come back and have a diagnostic mammogram.  I had urged her to get the diagnostic before she went in for the initial appointment because they are the type I always have to have, and there’s less chance of them seeing thickened tissue or fibrous tissue and thinking it’s something else.  She went in for the diagnostic and they saw the same small spot, but couldn’t tell if it was a tumor or not because of the size (less than 1MM), so they did a biopsy and told her it would be 2-10 days before she would hear anything, but probably sooner rather than later.

On March 13th, Mason had a teddy bear parade for Pre-K.  It’s a big deal to the kiddos; they make a float and put their favorite stuffed animals in it, and walk around the gymnasium (a la parade) for the guests.  Then, after the parade, a special guest gets to stay for a picnic.  Mason had chosen me to stay after with him, but my mom was with me for the parade.  When we were going to gather his float after the parade before the picnic, one of his teachers invited my mom to stay for the picnic as well.  I could tell my mom was anxious because it had been 2 days and she was expecting to hear from the doctor.  I was completely thinking everything was going to be fine.  I mean, my mom is the picture of health, minus her addiction to baked goods.  She had left her phone in her car accidentally while we were watching the parade and having our picnic with Mase and I’m so glad she did.  😦

After the picnic, I went home to grab a PB sandwich to go back to work and on the way back to work, I got “the call”.  Invasive lobular carcinoma, very small-less than 1MM, stage 1.  What the actual hell do you say?  What do you think?  I can tell you what happens:  You don’t think.  You don’t say much.  You have a dark cloud in your brain that won’t go away.  It’s not real, after all.  It’s not real.  It’s not real.  It will all be OK, because it’s certainly not real.  I told my mom the doctors had found it very early and everything would be OK.  I went to work and called Brock and started to feel the knot in my throat.  At work, one of my favorite co-workers came in to hand me something and I told her.  When I said the word, I just started crying.  About that time my boss called me for something.  I can’t even remember the conversation I had with her, but it was between sobs.  I told my therapist.  I figured she was going to have to deal with me at my worst and wanted to prepare her.

My mom had already gotten an appointment the next day with the doctor in the women’s center and 3 people had asked if I was going to the appointment.  It honestly hadn’t crossed my mind.  Newbie over here at this kind of thing.  I figured she and my dad would want to handle it themselves.  Also, it was early March and as all of my readers know, I have contamination OCD, and the flu was still going around, and the appointment was at the hospital….I’ll let you put the pieces together.  I finally texted my mom to ask if she cared if I went to the appointment, because I had a lot of questions to ask and I needed to hear the answers from the doctor herself.  I figured every single person in the room would interpret what the doctor was saying differently, and I needed to take notes and really understand what was going on.  If you don’t already know this about me, you should know I go down medical rabbit holes I never come out of.  Mostly because of my OCD, but also I’m a nutrition NERD, so I’m pretty good with medical jargon.  I had reached out to one of my oldest friends in the midst of all of this.  She was always so close with my family and offered to watch Mason while I went to the hospital with my parents.  It was all happening so fast and still felt like I was outside my body, just going through the motions.

In the appointment I tried to do what I do best in awkward situations, I tried to make them all smile by making dumb jokes.  If there’s one thing I know, it’s to ALWAYS look for the silver linings.  Always.  I tried to make sense what was being told to us, and to the doctor’s credit, she was literally drawing everything out for us, which helped a ton.  I heard about hormones, and sizes and treatments and through it all, I kept my calm.  The nurse for the nutritionist came in next and you guys, I’m not kidding when I tell you that the nutritionist’s name was Dr. Macaroni.  No lie.  I couldn’t stop laughing.  The nurse was explaining some basic things to my mom and I was chiming in with what I knew.  Finally, she suggested that I make my mom an eating plan since she said I was telling my mom the things she would suggest anyways.  To end our visit, a nursing assistant came in, sweet as ever, and gave my mom a binder with references and information on just about anything and everything.  Then, she said, she had forgotten my mom’s bag, and came back with a bag that had a crocheted hat in it, a stuffed animal and blanket.  THAT put me over the edge.  No, my mom wasn’t having chemo, she wouldn’t lose her hair, why did she need a stuffed animal?  I get it….volunteers do these projects for the hospitals and it’s very sweet.  Very thoughtful, but nope….it suddenly made it seem more real.  I couldn’t have that. Because, you know, it still wasn’t real.  Since my mom’s doctor was able to get her in so soon, we were still waiting on the hormone test to come back.  If it was HER2 (I think that’s what it’s called) negative, like the doctor anticipated, then no chemo would be required.  She would take a hormone pill for the next 5 years and have mild radiation after surgery that that would be the end of it.

I left the doctor that day feeling numb.  I kept asking myself what was happening.  We had asked the doctor what her thoughts were that caused it and she said likely environmental and nutrition factors.  But, they weren’t for sure, of course.  Like I mentioned above, my mom is the picture of health, tall, decently skinny and hasn’t had prior medical issues.  But, she likes her sugar.  I know sugar feeds cancer cells similar to throwing a steak at a dog.  All I kept thinking about was how I was going to fix it, how I could help and what I could do.  We had a plan after that appointment, dependent on the hormone test that was due to come back in the next few days, and that made me feel a little better.  I felt like we were organized and had dates and kind of sort of knew what was headed our way.

You know, grief is weird.  Denial is weird.  I remember that Friday I went to Chipolte to get dinner and just cried in the parking lot.  I started opening up to a few more friends and to my surprise, a lot of their mothers/mother in laws/grandmothers/aunts etc. had a bout with breast cancer as well.  When I went to see my therapist the next week I told her it was so unreal to me that it felt like nothing was even happening.  She explained to me that when we love someone so incredibly hard, and something bad happens, our brain puts up an incredible force shield in the form of the strongest denial you can experience.  She said both my mom and I were feeling this.  I’ll be really honest here, to this day (post surgery, and radiation) I still don’t feel like it’s real.

My mom was only concerned about one thing.  Getting the tumor out.  ASAP.  She was advocate for herself, calling the doctor daily until surgery was scheduled (2 weeks sooner than planned) and I’ve honestly never seen someone so excited and in a rush to have a surgery.  She decided on a lumpectomy.  The hormone test came back, just as the doctor anticipated, HER2 negative (Praise Jesus!), so no chemo was on the horizon.  Also, they were relieved to find that it had not spread and nothing was in her lymph nodes.  The man upstairs was taking care of my mom, for sure, and still very much is.  The surgery went extremely well.  She was so happy it was out of her body.  She was groggy the day after surgery when I came over with the boys to see her.  All she kept talking about was how relieved she was that the poison was out of her body.  Honestly, I would have handled it the same way as she did.  “Ok, this blows, but let’s get this sucker out … right this minute!!”  With a mastectomy, the chance of it ever coming back was 1% or less.  With a lumpectomy, the chance was less than 2%.  I personally would have hacked both of my boobs off and went through the painful surgeries to get new ones, but I respected my mom’s decision to get a lumpectomy.

About 2 weeks after the surgery, she started the process of preparing for radiation.  So many new things were coming up that I was learning about.  For example, they mold a “bed” for you at the radiologist, so you can basically slide right in and be hooked up and out as soon as possible.  After meeting with her radiologist and getting a CT scan (that came back great) and a few other tests, he suggested that she just come for a month, for only 15 minutes a day.  Basically, she had one of the lowest forms of treatment, which again, was such a blessing.  We prepared our schedules (my boss is AMAZING by the way) and worked radiation in every single day of the week (Saturday and Sunday were off days) for a month.  She was proudly able to “ring the bell” on May 29th.  Looking back, I wish we could have been there when she rang that bell (I had the boys and Brayden had conditioning camp), because it was just another hurdle she hopped through with grace and courage.

The next step was starting the hormone pills.  She hated the idea of going to the oncologist, because it kinda just reiterated that she had ONCE had “the c word”, as she says.  She had blood work and a bone density test done before starting her pills.  All of that came back great, so she started the pill last Wednesday.  The pills scare her, just because of their menopause-like reputation.  And, I get that.  It took her around 8 years to go through menopause, so the idea of reliving all the hot flashes and night sweats and mood changes is, I’m sure, no walk in the park to think about.  However, we know we are all very blessed in that she only has to take a pill and doesn’t have to go through chemotherapy.  She will be on this pill for 5-10 years depending on how her follow ups go.

So, here we are.  July 1.  I feel like yesterday was March 13th.  Call it denial, call it, I don’t know, whatever you want, but it still doesn’t feel real to any of us.  My mom has handled everything like a rock star.  Whizzed through surgery, healed up awesomely, went through the entire month of radiation with no side effects and has had amazing test results.  There is still, and will be, so much emotion wrapped up in this.  I think the reassurance the doctors are giving all of us is letting us just run right through everything.  My mom told me that one day the radiologist looked right at her at one of her follow up appointments and said “Patty, you do NOT have cancer, remember that.  It’s gone now.”  When she told me that, I wanted to drive to Avon and give him a high five and a hug and I’ve never even met him.  Little reassurances like that.  They are so important.  In my mind, this battle has been won.  I cannot even tell you how strongly my mind is SET on that.  I keep telling my mom this was just a bump in the long, exciting road of life.  Oh and I told her we should take vacations more..haha.

So, that’s what has been going on with our family since February.  We are so incredibly thankful for those who reached out, who asked questions, who checked on her, who checked on my family, and those who called and texted.  My friend Danielle that willingly gave up most of her day to watch Mason so I could go to my mom’s initial doctor’s appointment, Mason’s pre-K teachers who prayed for my mom and always checked in, my amazing co-workers and friends who were literally checking on her everyday and my friends and mother in law who reached out to my mom and sent her cards and flowers.   Everyone has been so amazing.  I wasn’t sure about…literally, anything, when all of this happened, except for that my mom would be OK.  That’s all I could think about.  It’s surreal.  It’s one day at a time and one foot in front of the other.

See, my mom is such a big part of our lives, that there’s no other way to look at things.  It’s all a marathon she’s going to continue to win.  The “c word” as she calls it, is GONE.  Now we move forward in a healthy way.  She’s touched so many people and so many people have been inspired by her.  I was proud of her when she put her story on Facebook.  I was glad she wanted to talk about it and share the good news.  I can’t even describe to you all how wrapped up in the clouds of Heaven that I feel.  Is that a thing?  I mean, can you be wrapped up in clouds?  I don’t know, but I envision them to be perfectly fluffy and something that just engulfs a person in the best possible way.  I know how extremely blessed my family is.  I know not every family gets this and I’m not naive enough to think we all have all the time in the world.  I know life is about one day at a time.  But, I can tell you that every day is a wonderful day, a cherished one, a fortunate one and one filled with a lot of love.

My ask is this.  Please continue to pray for my mom and our family.  Always keep her in your thoughts and in the back of your mind.  She’s on the tail end of this journey and has come out of this with flying colors, but we pray for continued great health.

A final thought and PSA.  Get a mammogram.  Even if you are under 40, even if you are under 30, even under 25.  Don’t be scared to get a mammogram.  It literally saved my mom’s life in every way (with a healing hand from Jesus).  I’ve had to get them since I was 23 because of fibrocystic tissue and the year they came out with the diagnostic mammogram, or “3D” mammogram, I switched to that.  It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you feel ANYTHING out of the ordinary, go, run, to your nearest women’s center and get one.  And if you are at the age that they are required, please, please go every year and get yours.  They are a blessing and a gift.  Truly.

xoxoxo

Mary

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March 13, the day of “the call”

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Throwing it back to 2002

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Brock and I’s wedding

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Beachin

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Throwing it way back!

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A little Holiday World fun!

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Gradual Changes for a Healthier Life

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2019 has thrown our family some curve balls.  I’m not going to get into WHAT those are at this moment, but it has prompted my entire family (parents and brother included) to make some changes.  As a whole, we are pretty healthy peeps.  We are all pretty active and decently aware of what is good and what is bad.  For me personally, the past year I have really cleaned up my diet.  And I would say, in the past 3 years, I’ve just made minor changes that have become permanent.  BUT, hey……I know, You know, We all know….there is ALWAYS ROOM to improve.

I’ve always been this weird nutrition researcher nut; any opportunity I can get to put my blue light blocking glasses on and hit up my friend google into a deeper dive, I’m up for the challenge.  Only now days, I have more resources, like podcasts, blogs, audio books and documentaries to supplement my nerdy-ness with.  I’m not a doctor, but I did take nutrition courses my junior and senior year at IUPUI.  I mean, for a hot minute, I thought about being an RD.  But then, you know, I didn’t.  haha.  Regardless, over the past 20 years or so, I’ve always been a sucker for nutrition information and ways to lead a cleaner, healthier and “greener” holistic life.  No, I am not and do not want to be the lady wearing hemp clothes I made myself, while harvesting my own crops and beheading my own chickens, making my own soap and cleaning everything with said said soap.  Sorry, literally, I’m laughing at loud at that last sentence because I think I just described someone I can guarantee you I will never be, unless the zombie apocalypse happens.  In which case, I’m going to MI to live with my friend Andria who knows how to DIY everything out of virtually nothing.  I’m sure we could totally set up a bunker and survive with our families in tow! haha.

I do believe, however, that there are really crappy things in our every day lives that we could clean up a bit to be healthier.  I also believe that gradual changes are everlasting in the long run and that you will feel and look better when you adopt some healthier lifestyle changes.  I completely 100% believe that beyond genetic factors, our environment, and the foods we choose can play a big role in making us sick.  On the flip side, knowing that, we can do things to prevent those diseases sometimes by taking extra time to care for ourselves and our families.

Here are some simple swaps for a healthier life:

Household:

Laundry Detergent:  Swap out the Tide for Seventh Generation or Honest Co laundry detergent.  The “fragrance” in traditional laundry detergents are horrible to put on our bodies.  Anything that breaks my kiddos’ skin out immediately when they come in contact with it, is something I don’t want in our home.

seventh generation products

Dishwasher Detergent: Swap whatever powder or liquid you use for the lemon Seventh Generation liquid dishwasher detergent.  It smells great and doesn’t have all the chemicals!

Dryer Sheets:  Instead of chemical filled Bounce or Downy sheets, I use Method organic sheets (I buy them at Target).  You can also buy wool balls and put lavender essential oils on them and toss them in the dryer.

Home Fragrance:  DO NOT USE PLUG INS!!!  Swap them out (yes, even the Bath and Body Works plug ins) for organic candles and/or a diffuser and some high quality essential oils.  It’s hard, I get it.  I love the B&BW plug ins….especially in the summer time.  But really, they are just emitting chemicals we don’t need in our body.  My favorite thing to do in the summer now is to diffuse tangerine and lemon in my diffuser.  You can grab a diffuser on Amazon for 20.00 and they last forever!  There are several Etsy shops that carry natural candles as well, and the bonus is that you are supporting a local business!

Cleaning Products:  I mean, most of these are horrific and I think most of us know the chemicals in them are horrible for us to breathe in.  I’m not an expert, but I was brought up with my parents using white vinegar to clean most things; which made me want to use natural cleaning products for the most part.  In fact, before my OCD diagnosis in 2014, I never even used Lysol or bleach products, because I was scared of Brayden breathing them in.  Since then, I’ll admit, I’ve used Lysol more than I should and bleach bathroom cleaning products more than I care to own up to.  But, little by little, I’m going back to my old ways of using natural products when I can.  I mean, life happens and people get sick, so I don’t think it’s bad to have a can of Lysol or strong cleaning products on hand for that situation.  But, for the regular routine, I’m switching to more naturally derived products.  My favorites are Honest Co surface cleaner and Seventh Generation bathroom cleaner, along with good ol vinegar.

Outside:  Please don’t use Round Up or like products to kill weeds and “treat” your lawn.  The end.

 

Foods:

Meats:  Limit red meat.  No, I did NOT say exclude it.  Just limit it.

Also, beef should be organic, pasture raised, not just grass fed.  Grass fed can actually mean a plethora of things.  Google it.

Turkey and chicken should be organic and free range, cage free.  Local is even better if you have access to it, but just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s not pumped full of antibiotics, so make sure it’s all the things listed above as well.

PS–just as a side note for ya…organic bison is actually really really good.  Keep it in mind when shopping next time for your red meat fix.

Dairy:  Keep it organic.  Local organic if possible.  Yes, milk delivery still exists in some places.  It’s really important to keep meats and dairy organic because of all the growth hormones, grains and antibiotics that are fed and injected into animals.  I know so many farmers and have picked their brains (would you expect anything less?) and they swear up and down the reasons for doing what they do (as far as raising beef and chickens), but I know there’s a cleaner way.  I mean, most of us have seen it and know it IS possible.  Is it traditional?  No.  Is it possible?  YES!  All I can suggest is to keep asking around.  I think if you are local, you can order from Tyner Pond in the Fortville/McCordsville area and they deliver for free!

Tyner Pond info

Fruits and Veggies:  My thought on these are to make sure to buy organic if it’s grown in the ground.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, root veggies etc.  I personally do not buy potatoes of any kind at our house…which is totally a personal choice.  Starchy carbs…not a fan.  But, that’s for another day and another post.  Also, I like to buy organic for all of our berries, lettuces, and apples.  Oranges, bananas, peaches, lemons, limes, pineapple, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and avocados I usually buy non organic.  I mean, I probably should be buying organic peaches, but I don’t buy them often and when I do, it’s usually at a local orchard, so I just wash them with a natural fruit and veggie cleaner really good before I peel them and eat them.  As far as canned fruits and veggies go, I buy organic because of the coating on the insides of the cans.  I just always have, and always will.  As far as frozen fruits and veggies…I usually just buy organic green beans, corn, spinach, and berries.  I dont really buy a ton of frozen fruit and veggies only occasionally since I really prefer fresh.

 

Beauty/Hygiene Products: 

If you use nothing else organic on your body, USE ORGANIC DEODORANT!!!!!  Especially if you are a woman.  Think about it.  It’s literally right next to your boob.  With breast cancer as popular as it is in this world today, why would you not use something as natural and organic next to that area of your body, knowing it soaks into your skin/bloodstream.  My favorite brand (and I’ve tried about 5 kinds) is called Native.  I can work out, I can be outside all day….I can do all the things with it on.  I love it.

We also have always and will always use organic body wash/shampoo/conditioner.  I use Honest Company body wash/shampoo for the kids.  Yes, even my almost 11 year old uses lavender or orange vanilla body wash/shampoo, because, well, those are basically the only scents they have right now haha.  If Honest is not available, I will pick up Burt Bees.  I just have never, ever even thought about buying the boys something that’s not naturally derived.  I also use the Honest Co lavender body wash myself.  When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I will use paraben and sulfate free brands.  Not organic, but much better than “the usual”.  Some of my favorites have been Living Proof and certain types of Biolage.  I also use some Alterna Caviar products as well.  I’ve been eyeing a new brand called Navy that I may try out soon, since their finishing spray looks like a life changer!

honest co products

When it comes to sunscreen, I will use 2 brands.  I use Rodan & Fields on myself because it does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, which is very harmful because it’s a hormone interrupter, or vitamin A (while good for skincare, very bad for sunscreen).  While not a “natural” product, R&F sunscreen proves year after year to provide excellent coverage and protection.  The kids use Kiss My Face natural sunscreen.  It may seem strange, but there are some REALLY bad chemicals in sunscreen.  Not just bad for us, but actually bad for the ocean and little critters in the ocean.  I say no thanks to putting anything on my body that could not only harm me, but also the fish swimming around me in the ocean.  How crazy is that?  Just remember, oxybenzone.  Stay away from it.

Skincare.  I know what you’re thinking…how can you publish a post on using natural and organic items and sell a non-natural skincare line as a side hustle.  Welp kids, because it’s really super simple, Rodan & Fields Unblemish is THE ONLY PRODUCT that has worked for my acne and cleared my skin up and I’m forever grateful to those 2 superior Dermatologists that created the entire Rodan & Fields product line (there’s actually 4 main types of regimens and several other types of amazing products, I just use the acne regimen called Unblemish, for those who aren’t familiar).  Here’s the thing, I’ve looked at the ingredients in Unblemish and several other R&F products I use.  The Unblemish does not contain parabens or some of the other harmful products out there that are commonly found in most brands on store shelves.  R&F also does NOT test on animals and is considered safe by dermatologists in the USA, Canada and Australia where we have expanded our line thus far.  (PS…we are expanding to another country very soon…lips are sealed right now though).  Also, as a side note, this will probably come as no surprise, but other countries are a lot more strict on the products they use than the US…unfortunately.

The bottom line is this….while I do not owe anyone an explanation for this, I choose to explain, because I want people to know it’s very important to do your own research.  I look at it like I had spent so much time and money on natural and organic lines that didn’t work on my acne or skin tone at all.  So if I use a brand of skincare that works, and yet doesn’t contain a lot of the harmful chemicals listed out there, I’m winning; whether it says natural or organic on the label or not.  And also, have you read all of the above that I am doing, and am using organic for?  As for the kids, they don’t use a separate skincare line yet.  The Honest Co body wash/shampoo works great for their little faces right now.

Makeup: I’m a big Tarte Cosmetics user.  I love their eye shadow so much, their eyeliner and Shape Tape are also a few faves.  I think Tarte may be a cleaner option, though not 100% natural by any means.  I actually want to try some eye shadow palettes from Beauty Counter though, as I think they seem pretty clean.  I think cosmetics are kind of hit and miss.  Some of the products in a line can be “safer” than others.  Again, I think it’s important to do your own research.  Don’t be fooled by words like “bare” and “clay” and “naturals” or “minerals”.  While these are all words we may associate with nature and association with nature may be “clean” and “natural”, it’s just simply not true.  Watch out for ingredients like talc.  Talc used to be very popular back in the day, but it’s very dangerous to our body.  PS, don’t use baby powder that lists talc as an ingredient either.  I think it comes down to what you feel comfortable with using because there will be probably more bad than good when it comes to cosmetics.

 

Misc Items: 

Sheets contain high levels of formaldehyde….did ya know that?  So I try to shop for organic bedding as much as possible.  Also, think about next time you have to spray for bugs outside.  I mean, I feel ya sis, I don’t want a spider infestation or bees swarming me when I walk outside either, but just do some research and see if there’s a “cleaner” way to get rid of them.

 

There ya go, friends.  Those are the main items I choose to swap for (hopefully) a cleaner, healthier lifestyle for our family.

I’m no chemist.  I can’t tell you why harmful ingredients are harmful and so common with certainty.  But, I can tell you what I’ve researched and what I’ve learned along the way; and I can also say with some certainty that no one is going to be perfect and sometimes you just have to do the best you can.  You notice that I used the word gradual in the title of this post, and there’s a reason.  If this all seems overwhelming to you, just try to change 2 things a month.  These are pretty easy changes, but they do take time to incorporate and probably a little more money.  Cheaper than doctor’s visits though! 🙂

I hope you found this helpful!  If you make different swaps, comment and let me know!  I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day, all!

xoxox

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

Vitamins and Supplements the Kids & I Take Every Day

Good morning friends!  Happy MLK Day to you all!  If you are off today, make the best of it, if not, make it a great day anyway!

*Also, before I get into today’s post…please know I’m not a doctor/nurse/caregiver.  These are simply just my opinions.

I wanted to write a short post on what vitamins and supplements the kids and I take every day.  Why just the kids and I and not Brock?  Well, because Brock doesn’t take anything…#TypicalDudeProbs.  I have always thought health was equal parts interesting and super important.  I took nutrition courses my third and fourth year of college because the science behind nutrition has always amazed me; so much so, that for 5 minutes, I thought about being a dietician.

I don’t really think anyone gets all the nutrition they need from food these days, unless you are eating a perfectly balanced menu every single day.  I didn’t really start giving the kids vitamins until they entered the petri dish known as school.  Also, I never thought to give them probiotics (partly because I never knew they were freakin’ magic) until Mason was 3 and having lots of constipation issues (sorry, TMI) and we were literally trying everything to get him regular (FYI…he’s still not, but it’s much better than it was).  So basically I learned and still am learning as I go, but I have done my own research and looked at 5 million reviews on what we take.  There is still a lot to learn and if anyone has any suggestions for additional vitamins and supplements, please comment and let me know.

I’m breaking this down by morning and night, though most of what is taken of a morning is taken by me.

Taken in the AM:

Mason (5 years old)–1 elderberry gummy (We use a brand called Nature’s Way and Sambucol).

Brayden (10 years old)–1 elderberry gummy.  (We use a brand called Nature’s Way and Sambucol).

Mary (like I’m going to tell you my age!) — 1 Vitamin C (1000 mg, Nature’s Way), 1 Vitamin D3 (5000IU, Naturewise) 1 bio-identical testosterone trochee (1.5mg).

Taken in the PM:

Mason–1 elderberry gummy (Nature’s Way or Sambucol), 2 Immune C with zinc and echinacea gummies (Lil Critters), 2 multivitamin gummies (Garden of Life My Kind Organics), 1 probiotic (Garden of Life Organics).

Brayden— 1 elderberry gummy (Nature’s Life or Sambucol), 2 Immune C with zinc and echinachea gummies (Lil Critters), 1 probiotic (Garden of Life Organics).

Mary–1 elderberry gummy (Nature’s Way or Sambucol), 1 probiotic (Young Living Life Nine), 1 Vitamin C (1000 mg, Nature’s Way), 2 hair/skin/nails vitamins (Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair with biotin/folic acid/fo-ti/zinc and paba), 1 progesterone trochee (30mg) and 1 Kavinace Ultra PM (NeuroScience, adrenal, GABA support and sleep aid).

In the fall and winter the kids usually take more than what they would take in the summer on break.  Usually during the summer months, they will just take their probiotics.  Also in the summer, I will go down to 1 Vitamin C a day and stop the elderberry.

One thing we will never stop, no matter what season?  Probiotics!  I cannot stress it enough that everyone should be taking a good probiotic.  The more strains of bacteria the better.  My Life Nine from Young Living has 9 (if it wasn’t obvious haha) and the kids’ have 5, but there are some out there that have even more than 9!  My advice is to do your own research and find which one is right for you.  I would start by googling brands that have 9+ strains and then dig into ingredients, cost and reviews.  Gut health is so crucial for every day healthy living.  It’s kind of our foundation to health.  Getcha gut healthy, getcha self stayin’ healthy!

There are several more supplements that I would like to start taking like a good organic Fish Oil, but I just haven’t taken the leap yet!  I also bought Zinc to have on hand, but haven’t been taking it regularly since my hair vitamins have zinc in them.  I also know the kids take a lot of gummies and I hate that they are consuming extra sugar because of it, BUT if it gets them to put some vitamins and good stuff in their bodies that pizza,  pretzels and organic lunchables can’t deliver, I’m here for it.

Just a helpful tip, lady to lady….the Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair vitamins are LEGIT and worth every single penny.  Do you know how many hair and nail vitamins I have tried???  Well, let me tell you, I’ve tried at LEAST 10, ranging in price from 80.00 to 6.00 and I’ve never seen results.  Hair Sweet Hair is literally the ONLY vitamin in it’s category that has started new hair growth for me, all over my head.  Also, my nails grow at lightening speed and could be used to cut ….pretty much anything.  How did I find out about this gem?  My blogging friend, Cristin over at CristinCooper.com.  Side note: she’s one of my most favorite bloggers ever and hilariously funny…also, she’s from NC, so she’s already winning at life in my book.  But get the vitamins, they are so good.  So, so good!!

So, that’s it!  I know it may seem like a lot, and as Brock would say, our kids may as well be 80 year olds with day of the week pill holders, but let’s face it, most kids eat like crap.  Yes, mine will eat berries and PB and green beans and occasionally a bite or two of broccoli, but as a general rule of thumb, I think it’s important to try and supplement when possible.

 

Just as a recap, here are the brands I use for our daily vitamins/supplements:

Kids:

Garden of Life Organics Probiotics

Lil’ Critters Immune C with Zinc & Echinacea

Nature’s Way (or Sambucol) Elderberry

Garden of Life My Kind Organics Multivitamins

Me:

Nature’s Way Vitamin C 1000mg

Naturewise Vitamin D3 5000IU

Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair

Young Living Life 9 Probiotic

Nature’s Way (or Sambucol) Elderberry

NeuroScience Kavinace Ultra PM

Testosterone 1.5 mg (bio identical hormone)

Progesterone 30mg (bio identical hormone)

 

Most of these items can all be found on Amazon or even at a local Fresh Thyme, Whole Foods or a local specialty “clean” store.

You CAN NOT buy the hormones I take over the counter.  You will HAVE to talk to a doctor that specializes in bio identical hormones and have lots of blood work done to find out if you need hormones or not.  Balancing hormones is very important for optimal health, but it’s NOT something you can do alone.  Please reach out to a doctor that specializes in this and do your own research when considering these options.  If you are local to Indiana, and are interested, please send me a message or comment and I can give you my doctor’s information.

I hope you all have a great day, and I’m gonna leave ya with my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quote….”The time is always right, to do something right.”

xoxo

 

 

 

Blog Funks and Other Equally Random Things

I’ve been in a blogging funk lately.  I haven’t made the time to sit down and plan something interesting out.  Horrible, isn’t it?  I’m trying hard to prioritize the best I know how, but there just are not enough hours in the day for this working mom!

Anyways, moving along!

As much as I hate to admit it, fall is around the corner.  I don’t want it to be, because I know the ugly step child that follows it.  Winter pretty much ruins fall for me.  I really want to like fall, with its apple orchard fun, flannel and pumpkin spice everything, but the cold weather and gray skies for 4 months in the winter—ugh, what a Debbie Downer, that winter.  Since I don’t see us moving this year before winter gets here, I’m just going to sit back, try to enjoy fall and knock back a few pumpkin spice lattes (now with REAL pumpkin haha)

And now to a super fun topic!  Snapchat (follow me at bbmary11) and New York Fashion Week, or as I like to call it #NYFW.  I’ve been obsessing over snapchat lately, mostly because I feel like I’m finally figuring out how to use it.  Coverage of New York Fashion Week has been crazy good on snapchat the past 7 days!  So many fellow bloggers, so many celebrities, so many models, so many gorgeous designs!  I’m A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D!  Seeing all kinds of coverage of so many designers, many of which I had never heard of, just makes me realize how small my little “fashion (if you want to call jeans and a shirt fashion) world” is.  Basically it made me want to step up my game.  I have all these questions now, such as “am I too short for knee height boots?” “how much can I layer without looking fat or pregnant?”  And, then….I did the unthinkable.  I logged onto Pinterest and typed in “fall fashion trends”. Game over.  I had never done this before because honestly Pinterest makes me feel like less of a mom because I just can’t do all the fun mom stuff everyone likes to showcase.  I am what you call, not creative.  However, I can go out and buy stuff like a boss, so these fall fashion tips…boom!  Show me the store!  I’ll get my wardrobe in line one of these days!

Now for the 3rd and final random topic:  I decided to jump on the 21 day fix wagon.  I’m not going to explain to everyone what the 21 day fix is, because you would have to be living under a rock not to know.  I thought “oh, this will make me think differently about food and cure all my portion control problems!”  The kit came, I meal prepped…which does take at least 3 hours by the way, and I put off using the containers and started the workouts.  I really like the workouts!  The first day I made a mistake by going balls out and doing lower fix.  My legs were shaking so bad that I was literally having problems walking in a straight line for 3 days!  Anyways, now that I’ve gotten the hang of the workouts, I’m doing much better!  I try to get in at least 3 a week, maybe 4.  Brock and I don’t have the schedule that most have of a morning, and we are gone so much in the evenings so I just try to fit it in when I can.  Which, I’ve found that as soon as I have the house to myself, or Mason is the only one with me, I’ll hurry and fix him lunch so I can start a workout.  It never fails, I’ll be 5 minutes into the workout and Brock and Brayden will come home and I have to hear whining about how my workout isn’t Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Ninja Turtles.  I’m glad they do know that Autumn Calabrese is not in fact a Ninja Turtle or talking Mouse.  😉

I’m just going to lay it out honestly for you….I haven’t followed the diet plan, because the containers are more intimidating than I thought.  I’m good with the meal prep, I’m more than good with eating clean food, but I think I’ve counted calories for so long that any other method of dieting or watching what I eat sends my brain into hyper drive.  I want to say I’ll get better at using the containers, because obviously that is what the whole program is based off of, BUT I know myself, and if there is a way to sabotage anything I do to lose weight, I’ll find it.  I don’t want to be that way, but it’s like my brain is telling me to be that way.  Story of my life.

So basically, I’ll give you guys an update on the progress next month right before I head to the BEACH!!!  If I end up not using the containers, hopefully I will at least have picked up recipe ideas from the others in my challenge group and find more ways to eat clean and healthy and lose a few pounds from following those recipes.

Now, for your viewing pleasure….here are a few pictures from last weekend!

b football

My newest initial necklace from Bip and Bop!  I love it!

My newest initial necklace from Bip and Bop! I love it!

This is a shameless selfie.  I was having a good hair day.  Those must be documented!

This is a shameless selfie. I was having a good hair day. Those must be documented!

linds and mary

My wonderful friend who is having twins! Doesn’t she look fab!

And finally…….

pumpkin spice pic

Happy weekend all!!!

A Day In The Life..if I wrote a food diary…

Food diary……
If I were to write a journal entry everyday about my thoughts on what I was eating and doing to become healthier, I’m sure it would go something like this:

This morning I decided I would start Shakeology again, being as I got on the scale this past Thursday and it said I had gained 3 pounds. I figured it had something to do with water retention, but I guess not since the scale said the same this morning. It’s no secret I don’t drink enough water, but I’ve played this game with my body for at least 14 years now, so my body should be used to the amount of water I get everyday.
Along with my Shakeo this morning, I made egg whites with a small spoonful of pico de gallo and about a 1/8 cup serving of 2% shredded cheese. Major protein! Beverage was dark roast PLAIN coffee.

Snack was 12 almonds. Solid.

Lunch was a you pick two meal from Panera. ½ portion of the chicken cobb salad with avocado, with NO dressing and ½ portion of the broccoli cheddar soup. 430 calories total.

Late afternoon. Trying to drink water…..on bottle #2. Part of me thinks I’m so far behind on drinking water that I will never physically be able to catch up.
I’m thinking of all the “healthy eating” things I SHOULD have done already today, like how I should be on water bottle number 3 or 4 instead of 2, how I should have not forgotten my oils at home so I could have had lemon in my water, how I should have packed snacks to fill my work fridge because it’s completely bare.

Oh and my afternoon snack was 2 fun size mini packs of skittles. Normally not my thing, because I don’t really eat a lot of candy at all, but they sounded good today. 150 calories. Technically, that’s an alright calorie count for a snack. Good nutritionally? Uhm NO, but technically not a complete fail.

And now we come to dinner. It’s really hard for me to figure out what I want to fix. I’m totally jealous of all the people who meal plan like a boss and stick to it. I don’t do well with the same meals everyday and Brock and I aren’t big leftover eaters, so we usually just fix enough for the 4 of us.
Then there’s the fact that I never know what’s going to sound good ahead of time. Please tell me this changes once you get into a good meal planning routine?
We ended up having a take n bake pizza from a local grocery store. I only had 1 piece though. Not terrible, but not what I would consider ‘clean’. I’ve also started buying the supreme version of pizza bc it comes w veggies on it. Sometimes I even add more!
Literally as soon as I was done eating, I
jumped on our exercise bike for 45 minutes.
I’m also proud to report I got about 6 of the 8 glasses of water I needed yesterday!
So that was my day! What would your food diary look like?!

If you use my fitness pal, feel free to add me and see my food diary daily! Bskmek@hotmail.com 😊👍

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