Advent Guide 2013 November 27, 2013

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving 2013. For the past two years I have been sick from about Thanksgiving through January. It’s a talent. This year I am GOING to be healthy if it kills me. I refuse to get sick. So don’t breathe on me. ;)


smashwordscover2013If you would like to freshen up on the advent guide posts that I provided last year, all of the information in the Guide is included, you just can’t access it as easily as the downloadable or printable versions. I have been busy this year and haven’t edited the POD version of the Advent Guide yet, but hope to get around to it in the next few days, because I really like to have the book to hold. It is nice to not get on the computer more often than necessary while we are celebrating, in effort to create a more unique and ‘special’ atmosphere for the holidays.


I have, however, updated the text only ebook version. If you would like to be able to download the ebook, it is available on Smashwords for $3.99, and FREE for the first 5 people that SHARE this post either on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or with an email announcement to your circle of friends that may be interested in joining in on the fun! Simply like and share this post, then comment to let me know and I will give you your very own coupon code for your free copy.


Soon we will have a version available with the photos, but not today. ;)

christmas paper houses

Of course, I have some new ideas for making our own calendar again this year. Wouldn’t want to make it easy on myself and use one of the previous three years’ calendars. ;) I momentary considered the $1 felt calendar at Target this week, but I actually really enjoy crafting…and I feel cheated if I don’t allow myself to pick a new project each year. So, here is one more suggestion for a fun advent calendar to create this year, if you want to follow along. :)
I like to have a calendar that makes is clear to my little people that the days are disappearing and the big day is creeping up, so I am holding off on the one piece calendars with pockets, doors, or drawers. I have done three styles of calendars so far: foam pocket ornaments (these are the original directions in the guide), traditional chain links, and handmade scrapbook notes folded as envelopes with notes inside. We have a ton of holiday scrapbook paper from some previous craftiness, so this year we are going to make paper houses.

calendar with houses


I will cut the paper, write the advent notes on the ‘wrong side’ of the paper, fold them into houses, and number them. We will then proceed to organize them in the appropriate order and open one each day. I’m hoping that it turns out as adorable as I imagine…but you know how that goes, if you have ever tried to recreate something you saw on Pinterest. I will post photos for you all to feel thoroughly inspired by (or mock ;) ) as soon as I actually get it done. I’m waiting until after Thanksgiving this year. I know…so unlike me. But I’ve been busy turning pumpkins and the cardboard that our new window came in (you may recall the grouse incident) into traditional Thanksgiving decorations. In fact, I’ll leave you with that. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy your holiday, and I look forward to hearing about how you plan to incorporate the Advent Guide into your Christmas celebrations this year. :)






How to keep your zebras healthy November 5, 2013

photo (19)




I have what may be some excellent news for some of you. My family and I have been on a nearly 7 year journey to going from the SAD (standard American diet) to a nutritarian diet and lifestyle. We eat food that is high in nutrients and low in crap-disguised-as-food. We bought a juicer and joined a local organic CSA…but since I have been knocked down and thrown for a loop with POTS and EDS, I can’t juice like I want to anymore. It requires way to much energy and standing up, and we were throwing away money buying produce that I WANTED to juice but couldn’t.









My husband and mother were doing the best that they could do to keep up with healthy food but after a year of this, we have been resorting to sandwiches, cereal, pizza, and spaghetti. We have done okay with fruit and, as you can see in this photo from tonight, some raw and cooked veggies like carrots, but we have been falling far short of the amount of produce we want to have every day. I firmly believe that a diet high in vital nutrients from fruits, veggies, greens, and healthy meats will give my body the ability to heal itself. I will never be ‘cured’ from my genetic dysfunction, but I CAN give my body the tools to heal itself as much as can be done.






My kids have likely inherited my connective tissue disorder and my biggest challenge in life is doing everything I can to raise them to love to eat healthily and make their bodies as strong as possible. Anything that helps me do that while balancing POTS and EDS is getting us just that much closer to being healthy and happy.   So I started searching and saw that Dr. Sears (whom I trust immensely) recommends a chewy supplement that isn’t a vitamin but an all natural chewy made from a full range of vegetables and fruits that are juiced and then concentrated into powder.   I never followed through with buying any but was impressed with what I saw on Dr. Sears’ website.







While discussing my ridiculous list of health challenges (as well as my husband’s and children’s) with a friend, and bemoaning my frustration with preparing food – even just rinsing and chopping produce – she told me of a supplement that her family has been taking for over three years. I realized that it was the same product that Dr. Sears advocates and decided to give the product a more thorough consideration.



I quickly learned that the Juice Plus supplements have been the topic of a good number of research studies that have been published in 26 medical journals. Not only that, but they are involved in an ongoing research project that provides free supplements to children (over 150,000 so far) for three years each, and monitors the general health of each child. For each adult supplement purchase, a child may be sponsored and receive free supplements. Oh, and you can’t overdose on them…and since I did do that myself with vitamins as a child, that was good information.





So, I found something that made sense to help my children bridge the gap between what I WANTED to feed them and what I ACTUALLY fed them, thanks to my delightful dysfunctions. And if I bought myself and my husband these supplements, we would get them for free FOR the children. I can tell you that I take a big fat fistful of medications and supplements every day, just trying to attain a level of functioning that would allow me to stand in the kitchen for 10 minutes throwing together a meal that resembled healthy in some small way. Or not. Sometimes it just gets me feeling well enough to pour a bowl of cereal or ask Matt to bring home a pizza.





The basic idea for me is that I need some way to get me over the hump and well enough that I can reintroduce actual healthy meals and snacks after taking these supplements long enough to rebuild my body’s ability to heal itself. Then I will combine moderate fresh juicing (because if you don’t know this already, juicing can be time intensive. And by can be, I mean IS. But I guess that all depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is. ;) ) It is my goal to ultimately return to preparing the healthiest possible foods for my children and husband, and my hope that this dehydrated juice chewies and capsules will help get me there.





I’m also quite impressed with their whole foods based shake mix. I have been searching for years (really. YEARS) for a whole foods shake mix that A) I could stand to put in my mouth, B) Had a protein that the sad, irritated lining of my stomach would not despise, and C) Had a sweetener that didn’t infuriate the lining of my bladder. Day 3 and the gastritis and interstitial cystitis are accepting this new drink very well. I am a creature of habit and I have been searching for a healthier alternative to cold cereal. Essentially, if I can’t make it less than three steps I ain’t eating it for breakfast. ;) (This has been especially challenging for me since one of my children prefers things like spaghetti for breakfast than cereal. I’m not totally sure she’s mine. ;) ) It tastes good enough that I have had absolutely no trouble watching my kids devour their Halloween candy (read: chocolate) while drinking what tastes, to me, like a chocolate milkshake. And, yes, we do allow total-crap-halloween-candy. You gotta live a little, people. ;)


While I mostly just hand mix it in a cup milk or almond milk, there are innumerable delicious ways to add variety. So far, whole milk and bananas make the best combo for me. I have plans to attempt other combinations, but dump and mix is about all I can manage so far. I know. It’s sad. lol






I hope that if you have trouble attaining your ideal amount of healthy whole food options, like I do, that this method of nutrient intake will help you reach that goal. I know many of you struggle with chronic illness like I do and may be searching for some realistic answers. I certainly don’t believe that a chewy or encapsulated supplement could (or should) take the place of healthy eating and lifestyle choices, but maybe it can help us all bridge that gap between ideal and actual.






If I’m gonna be a zebra, I might as well be a healthy one. 



Tell Santa We’ll Be Good This Month November 1, 2013


photo 2My husband is a bit competitive. If we’re in separate vehicles and there is more than one possible way to get wherever we are going, he’ll choose the other one just to see if he can beat me. If there isn’t another pathway, he’ll pass me so he can still get there first. This works out well for him in his sales career. It used to drive me bananas, but I have discovered a way to make the best of it. Once or twice a year we challenge each other to a contest to see who can _______ the longest/fastest/highest. So far we have attempted:



going the longest without carbonated beverages

lose the most weight

take so many walks every week

and now…

go the longest without grains or added sweeteners



I like these games bc, while I never beat him when it comes to traveling time or athletic prowess, I almost always win when it comes to determination to abstain. If stubbornness is the only required skill, I’m all over that. ;)

photo 1


This time around, we are adding in a couple of nutritional backup methods…so we’re hoping that we will come out the side feeling more energetic and healthy. While we typically give up on self control the day after Halloween, heading into two months of indulgence, this year we are bypassing the indulgence and heading directly to giving things up for the new year. The great news is that the healthy shakes we are drinking actually taste good enough to sit next to a bowl of Halloween candy and not eat any. That’s a pretty stinkin’ good shake. I’ll keep you posted on its long term sustainability, but the first two hours have been great. ;)




To The People With The Scary Yard October 31, 2013

To The People With The Scary Yard

Let me just say that I am all for your freedom to decorate your house and yard any way you please for Halloween. Well, that may be taking it a bit too far. I’m all for decorations as you desire, mostly. But, please remember that not EVERYONE wants to, or is developmentally prepared to see all that you find amusing about the holiday.

While Halloween is largely enjoyed by adults and teenagers for its macabre appeal, for the most part, Trick or Treating is an activity in which relatively small children partake. Like the 10 and under crowd. If you are going to deck out your house and yard with mutilated bodies or dead Zombie girls singing to the tune of Ring Around The Rosie, while swinging from a tree in your front yard (you know who you are), DON’T leave your light on and hand out candy. At least wait until 8 or 9:00 after the little kids have gone to bed. And for the love of all small children everywhere, DON’T create a pathway so that the ONLY way to your front door is to walk closely past all of your creepy decorations.

Sure, parents walk along to keep their children safe and to make decisions like “hey kids, let’s skip the freaky dead-girl-on-the-swing house” but sometimes it is difficult to see all that lies behind the homemade smoke and lights show from the end of the driveway. Do you really want to be THAT house that all of the little children pass up, anyway? REALLY?

I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t like houses like yours when I was a kid, myself, and I sure don’t appreciate at now as a parent. I can imagine that you are incredibly nice people. You probably have your own kids or teens that love your decorations… but for the 6 and 4 year olds of the world, please remember that not everyone wants to be terrified on Halloween. In fact, after your yard, these two sweet little trick or treaters only wanted to go back home. Congratulations. I hope it was worth it.


A parent who just wants to let her kids have a fun night of dressing up and getting candy.


A long and winding road October 26, 2013

Filed under: BEINGmomME Basics — beingmomme @ 5:17 pm

As we continue to meander down our life’s path, we are constantly searching for answers and a more energetic vessel in which to live out our days. It seems that my get up and go got up and went, as they say. For the past 7 years, we have been striving for healthier eating habits, adventurous family activities, and greater wisdom to teach our children about building a good foundation for the rest of their life. Somehow I continue to be drawing energy from more and more limited resources. 


I have, at times, used juicing fresh vegetables and fruits in an effort to increase my intake of nutrients and have recently taken to drinking homemade bone broth which has done a lot to get be back up off of the couch and back to feeling a little more normal. I still have a long way to go, however, and my ability to juice at home has just not returned yet. Even with a super awesome juicer, the energy required to make our own juice just isn’t available for now. 


I spend a small fortune on medications and supplements, hoping to get well enough to function and return to preparing our own healthy meals. I learned of Juice Plus, which is a collection of dehydrated juices in a capsule form. I have just ordered them and am officially crossing my fingers that they will serve as a bridge to provide the nutrients that I need from dehydrated juices until I am able to return to our own juicing.


I have always been a big fan of Dr. Sears, as a parent, and he strongly recommends the supplements for adults and children, so I decided it was worth a try. It just makes more sense to me than to take vitamins, about which I keep reading negative information. It was a good deal less expensive to become a rep and get a discount. On top of that, for every adult order, you can order a free child’s chewable supplement with the same dehydrated juices. 


SO, anyway – this is me officially hoping that it will make a difference in how I feel, or at the very least serve as a backup plan to get my family the nutrients we need on nights that I don’t have the energy to do more for supper than sandwiches or cereal. I don’t intend to sell the products, particularly, but if you have any interest in them let me know. :)


My shugar’s on fiar. October 25, 2013

Filed under: BEINGmomME Basics — beingmomme @ 11:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

I make an effort not to write very often about the strange things that are wrong with me – or the continuing speed bumps in our life – because, well…it can be overwhelming to some. I also don’t want to come off as a whiner. So, I usually just don’t write very often on the blog at this particular moment of our life. There are so many incredibly wonderful things that happen, too…but it’s usually just easier to slap it on Facebook than to bust out the laptop and be more intentional. 


I also have an increased hesitation to speak or write publicly because my brain seems to have taken a leave of absence. I know that it is related to the medical issues I have flooding my system, but seriously, it’s getting ridiculous. I have never been much of a speller but I can typically muddle through with a nod to spell check and the little wiggly red line. I have always had trouble with things like wierd  weird, and accross across…but can remind myself that “you don’t want to cross two c’s (seas)”, and to put “i before e, except after c” – oh, and of course the difference between except and accept. It has always just seemed as though I had a brain glitch that I had to give a swift kick every now and then. No biggie. 


Then there were the early parenting years, when you can’t remember your own name, much less the correct names of your children (Moose? Oh wait, that’s the dog. You’re Hadley.) Vocabulary drops significantly, and you absentmindedly tell your adult friends that you’ll be right back – you have to go potty. Or ask someone to hand you that thing-a-ma-bob over there. And since you probably hang out with other like-minded parents, they do hand it to you without hesitation. Because they knew exactly what you meant, but they’ll have to get it for you once they get back from the potty, themselves.


I had just started to get adjusted to baby brain – my youngest is 4 and just barely starting to let me come up for air long enough to get the required amount of oxygen to my brain for more complex thoughts and conversation – and run on sentences. …when the stress of life took advantage of my predisposition for dysfunction, and I am fairly certain that I am flat out losing my mind. 


Thanks to the lack of collagen in my body, and gravity, I don’t get adequate blood to the upper regions of my body when I sit or stand. You know…like my brain. With POTS, brain fog is pretty much part of the deal. And it apparently gets progressivly progressively worse. I can’t spell a darn thing anymore. But it’s not just the things that I have always flaked out on, or from lack of sleep as a parent. I spell things so far from correctly that it is absurd. No really. Take a wild guess as to what I was trying to type when these floated out onto my keyboard:




tock clicking

My possessive and plural s’s are impossible

Sometimes it’s just something like intellegent. I can’t even figure out which part is incorrect! And I used to know! I used to BE intelligent! Thanks to spell check, I can find out pretty easily, but that’s not always around to help. 


The other day, while driving, I realized that I had been poking around in my purse for my car keys for about five minutes. For my car keys. While driving.


Tonight, I pushed the seat belt release with my right hand, while pushing the door with my left elbow and couldn’t figure out why the door wouldn’t open. 


I also avoid conversation in general, but especially on the phone. It just takes entirely too much effort to form coherent sentences, much less carry on an intelligent conversation.  (By the way, it was the ‘i’ that was wrong.) 


So, I plod along, avoiding conversation and wishing I could wear a sign around my neck and a signature to all of my messages and texts that says “yeah, I know. Just bear with me.” But I’d probably write bare instead…and that could create some awkward situations. SO, if you happen to notice that I make blatant spelling or grammar mistakes somewhere, or you see me looking confused while trying to get out of my car…just turn me around and point me in the right direction. I’ll probably get there eventually. ;)


Oh, and thanks. I appreciate the help. 


Waiting for Goodbye… August 7, 2013

Filed under: BEINGmomME Basics — beingmomme @ 9:28 pm


I haven’t cried much about the impending loss of my father in law. This is for a lot of reasons, none of them having anything to do with not being sad that we are losing him.


I’m a thinker. If I don’t have time to think, I don’t process emotions as readily. Of course, there are the immediate emotional responses to things, like having my foot stepped on my my four year old in cleats. You can’t help but to respond to the immediate pain of such things, typically. My parents jokingly call those moments “Spirituality Tests” because you frequently blurt out the most natural-to-you words without filtering.  ;)


But in my day to day life, especially lately, I have about a million things swirling around in my head:

  • Keep Kids alive
  • Keep Dogs alive
  • Keep Fish alive
  • Keep Dogs from eating each other or Kids or Fish
  • Feed Kids and Dogs and Fish and Myself if I can find something that doesn’t make me sick
  • Keep house from burning down while Matt and Mom were both gone for 5 days
  • Prepare for Homeschool
  • Figure out how to teach a Dyslexic person to read, write, do math…
  • Control and balance my spinning plates of Chronic Illnesses…
  • Soccer…
  • Groceries…
  • Remember to go to the CSA to get produce on Thursdays…


And then of course there are all of the things that I shove on top of that to attempt to do something for personal enjoyment – like helping a friend design her social media marketing for her home business, or planning and organizing our ‘curriculum’.


I am doing my very best to keep my act together for Matt and for our kids. I don’t believe that Matt wants me to not be emotional about his dad, or anything like that…it’s just that this isn’t about me. It’s Matt’s time to grieve and our kids are losing their first grandparent (though they have lost one ‘Old Grandmother’/great grandparent) and they have already had to deal with losing both of their dogs this past Christmas. And every time I have a doctor appointment, I have to reassure my kids that it isn’t because I’M dying. I’m okay. It’s just acupuncture. I’m NOT going to die. (I have to tell myself that, too.) I am just trying to be the person who is keeping it together so that no one else has to.


Anyway, that being said…I haven’t cried much about this. But music really has a way of speaking to me…of leaking in through the cracks and painting pictures in my mind. And today, this song came on. It comes on a lot, actually, but today it brought with it images of my mother-in-law as she waits to say Goodbye. I cried a little. Shhh…don’t tell anyone…I’ll deny it.


I imagine that there are nights that she lays in bed wondering if it is the last night that she will go to sleep next to her husband. In many ways, she likely looks forward to his release from pain, even though that means he will have moved on. The song mentions the perfection of the person to whom the song is directed and I smiled as I thought of all of the ways that my husband’s parents are perfectly imperfect for each other.


I thought for a moment about the people that I know who have had to say Goodbye earlier than they had planned, and how different the experience is when the death is not as sudden or unexpected. You get time to say goodbye and to relive life’s more precious moments together. You have more time to prepare…if one can ever really be prepared to lose someone to death. I think of my mother-in-law and of my husband and his brother and sister. It is bitter sweet to have warning. And I wonder if she ever lies in bed and thinks something like the message of this song…(link below picture. :))


Bob & Kathy



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