Friday, August 17, 2012

Living with Food Intolerances

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This is my story about why we chose to go gluten and dairy free for our daughter.

I totally thought that toddler diarrhea was normal. I don't know why, but I didn't even question the fact that Scarlett was still having between 3-7 runny poops a day. It became a normal occurance and I didn't even question it. Doctors are always telling us that it is normal for a toddler to have diarrhea, but is it normal for diarrhea to be their normal. It wasn't until I took her in for a regular check-up to nurse practioner in our area that it was brought to my attention. She suggested we try a gluten-free diet, decrease the amount of dairy in her diet by giving her rice, coconut or almond milk, and start giving her probiotics.  After about two weeks I saw a little bit of difference in her attitude, but she was still having diarrhea. At this point I made the decision to take out all dairy in her diet. I had always kind of wondered if it was the dairy she couldn't tolerate because her colic did get better when I cut dairy out of my diet while nursing but I never stuck with it. Anyways dairy is a hard one because it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for dairy to rid itself from your body.  However, after about 5 days of off dairy I had a completely different child. She had a completely different attitude and was way more laid back. And she was finally pooping normal! This is especially nice since we use cloth diapers (aka: more flicking and less dunking!!)

The test came when my husband accidentally gave her a bite of gluten free, but not dairy free cookie. That tiny bit of butter caused a huge upset. The next day she was constantly whining and would not let me put her down. Also, the diarrhea was back full force. I put her on her little potty and she just screamed as diarrhea came out. I felt so bad for her. A few days later without any dairy and things got better again. Every time we introduce dairy into her diet, even a bite she has an upset stomach. Along with this she got a bite of whole wheat bread at a friends house accidentally and the next day she was covered in a rash. From this point on I was convinced. We haven't done any testing which can be expensive and inconclusive at times, but based on these facts I am pretty sure Scarlett is gluten/dairy intolerant. Even if we did get her tested now her testing would be inconclusive because her gut is more than likely healing from the damage gluten and dairy have caused. They would need us to reintroduce gluten/dairy into her diet to do the tests and there is no way I would ever do that. She is so incredibly miserable when any of her food gets contaminated with either one.

I have also delved into the gluten and dairy free diet. And I can tell you that I feel so much better when I don't eat gluten or dairy. My energy levels have improved tremendously! I sleep better, have a more normal bowel movement pattern (too much info I know), and my skin has started to clear up. The moment I decide to eat gluten or dairy (sometimes Caribou Coffee coolers get the best of me!) I feel sick and run down until it clears my system again. Most of the time I just stay away from it because the energy crashes and sick stomach are not worth it to me.

Chris doesn't follow the gluten/dairy free diet but everything in our house and the meals I cook are all gluten/dairy free. And because of this he is starting to notice changes in what he can eat. He can no longer tolerate any frozen meals, Chinese buffets, or any heavily gluten based meal. He does admit he feels better when he eats only what I cook.

I think some of these changes have to do with the fact that we are cutting out almost all processed foods and our bodies are functioning so much better. When we introduce the processed wheat and dairy laden foods our body goes out of wack and we feel horrible. It has been five months since we have started this process and I am so glad that we decided to take this change for my daughter and our family. It is  no longer an option for us to go back to eating the way we were.

I plan to write more about out specific diet and recipes I have found. I also want to drive into why I threw out all the white sugar in my house (gasp!) and how we are diving into clean eating.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rhubarb Girl

I was cutting rhubarb one day for a dessert and guess who picked up a piece and starting munching on it.
She loved it!
Coincidentally, I used to love eating raw rhubarb when I was little too! 

Our Little Garden

 Along with getting a CSA share this year we decided to do some raised beds in our backyard. We have had a big garden out at my parents farm, but it never got weeded and they kinda took over every year. Raised beds are SO much easier and we have only had to weed it a handful of times so that is a huge plus. I am so proud of my husband for building them for me and I loved how they turned out. Plus they were super cheap it only cost us around $35.00 to build them all. Here are the plans we used. Everything is the same except my husband doubled the width of them. 

So excited for tomatoes! Unfortunately I have no red ones yet, but they should be coming soon. 

You're my Favorite Reason to Lose Sleep

It finally happened! The moment when you lay your baby down wide awake and they go to sleep on their own. I was beginning to have my doubts that that truly would happen. I mean not really because I know she wasn't going to be needing me to put her to bed at 20, but I had doubts it would happen anytime soon. Much to my surprise my little girl put herself to sleep last night. No crying or training involved. Usually we just lay with her on the couch or in bed until she dozes off. A few times I have tried laying her in her crib but she cries and I pick her back up and take her to bed with us. Last night she was being kinda antsy but I could tell she was tired so I tried to lay her in the crib. Much to my surprise she rolled over and fell asleep!

To say that I LOVE sleep would be an understatement. It was the hardest thing to get used to after Scarlett was born. Especially when she went through the up all night spurt! Even on the nights when I would get so mad and exhausted I am glad we did it the way we did. I am thankful for all of the little snuggles and kicks in bed. I would do it all over in a heartbeat for her! Every single sleep deprived day! I am still glad I never made her cry even though there were some nights I was totally tempted. And now I know that it is true that kids will eventually learn to put themselves to sleep without crying.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My dearest sister, 

Happy Birthday!!!

 I love you so much and could not ask for a better sister. 

We may not always have gotten along, but now we are closer than ever.

 I am so thankful for someone to share all of my deepest, darkest thoughts without fear of judgement.

You are always there for me.

I mean who else was going to go through 3 days of labor with me, pushing on my back all night, then coming back and cleaning my house before we came home.

I have spent all of my life looking up to you. 

Why do you think I always stole your clothes and make-up and wanted to hang out with you and your friends? I wanted to be just like you! 

We may be polar opposites in almost everything, but you are my Best Friend!

You are kind, generous, and gentle and everyone always loves you immediately.

I used to be jealous of this, then I realized that it is one of the many gifts God has given to you!

You are strong and beautiful on the inside and out and I am so proud of you for all you have accomplished this last year. 

You have been through some hard things but you keep going with your focus on the Lord

You are an incredible mother who loves her boys with a fierceness!

I am so lucky to have a sister like you!

Happy Birthday Big Sis!

I Love You!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

She Dressed Herself

So some of my friends have put cute pictures of there kids up is crazy mismatched outfits when they dressed themselves. This is what Scarlett came up with when Mom left some clothes in the laundry basket for her to get at. Of course she had to put on her Elmo pajama bottoms ( i don't think I have blogged on it, but she LOVES Elmo).  I have to say I couldn't help but laugh when she came slowly waddling in with a big grin on her face! She sure loves to perform!


Her "Oh" face!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beans and Broccoli

This is out first year doing a CSA share with a local farm and we LOVE it! The vegetables are wonderful and I love knowing that we are supporting the local food movement. I also love knowing where our food is coming from and knowing that we are recieving the best nutrition. Most produce in the store is picked early and sits in the truck and store for weeks before we get it. This causes it to lose nutritional value. With our box the produce is picked only 24-48 hrs before we get it and it is picked at its peak instead of early. 

Along with our box we also get to be involved in harvest events. This means we get to go out and pick a certain number of five gallon buckets of produce to can or freeze. This last weekend was the green bean and broccoli pick.

 I picked 2 five gallon buckets of green/yellow bean by myself while Scarlett and Chris were napping. When I got home we all went back out to pick broccoli.

This is our two five gallon buckets of beans and two five gallon buckets of broccoli. I also picked some kale and cucumbers for salads and kale chips.

So Chris (thank goodness for his help or it would have taken me forever) and I spent most of the weekend chopping and blanching our produce. It is a TON of work! But I know it will be so worth it this winter! 

 This is what everything looks like after blanching and freezing. The picture is kinda bad because I we had already put the produce in the basement freezer and I didn't want to lug it upstairs just for a picture. We got around 20 quart size bags of beans, around 10 gallon bags of broccoli and around 1 1/2 gallon bags of broccoli stems for soups.

I also did the pea pick earlier this year and blanched and froze them. Thank goodness for a wonderful friend who came to help shell them!

I also froze 5lbs of strawberries and  20 lbs of  blueberries. Yes, 20lbs! We LOVE blueberries in this house, especially frozen ones. They will probably be gone in a few months. I actually found an organic strawberry farm 45minutes south of us so that is where I got my strawberries. They are one of the dirty dozen so I was excited to find some organic! I made strawberry and strawberry rhubarb jam with 5lbs and froze the other 5lbs for smoothies.

I am hoping to have a freezer full of produce for the winter. I also plan on canning some tomato sauce too. Canning is just way more work to me than freezing, but I only have so much freezer space and we plan on getting meat this fall. I just got a flat top this last winter to replace our dying 1970's electric stove that came with the house and I am hoping it will work for some canning. I have heard mixed reviews on if you can can with a flat top or not. I plan to give it a try so I will let you know how it goes. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Love Letter To My Body

I was really prompted by my friend Vanessa's post on a letter to you body. I have been thinking about writing about this topic lately but just couldn't seem to get it typed out. It has been awhile since I have truly blogged about my feelings so I thought this was the perfect way to start again. 

Deep breath..... This topic is a hard one for me. Write a love letter to your body. Uffda! Where do I even start. Here it goes.

Dear body,

I am sorry! I am so sorry for never loving or respecting you the way I should have. I am sorry for always calling you fat. I am sorry for being ashamed of you. I am sorry for always wishing you looked like another persons body. I am sorry for all of the times throughout middle school and high school I made you throw up all of the food that was there to nourish you. I am sorry for all the times I only fed you shakes and diet pills for weeks. I am sorry for measuring your worth based on a number on the scale or jean size. I am sorry for not taking better care of you than I have.

At 23 years old I have not cherished you the way that I should have. I have spent most of my life wishing you were different. Wishing I had bigger boobs and smaller hips and thighs.

 But no more! I will spend no more of my life wishing you were different. I will spend no more of my time judging your worth based upon a number on a scale or jean size. I will feed you good food and give you exercise not to attain a certain number, but to be healthy, feel good and be strong.

I will remember that you were created by God and that He made you perfect and just the way He wanted. Yes, you may not live up to society's view of perfect, but you are perfect to God.  He made you to worship and love Him. We are called to "Praise Him, for we are Fearfully and Wonderfully made" (psalm 139:14).

Image via:

Today I am also thankful for a husband who loves you. Who thinks you are perfectly beautiful. Dimply butt, sagging breasts, and all.

And lastly, thank you body for allowing me to carry life inside of you. Thank you for my beautiful baby girl! For getting me through through 3 days of back labor and helping me to provide at least a small amount of breastmilk to nourish her. For helping me get through the long sleepless nights. For allowing me to snuggle in close with Scarlett as she sleeps and feel content knowing she is next to me. I want to love you, so that she will grow up learning to love herself for how God made her. That she will not have to struggle as I did.

No more will I criticize you in the mirror scrutinizing every single thing that doesn't equal perfection to the world. I try to no longer look longingly at others wishing I looked like them. I am going to try to cherish you from this day on. 

Praising you for all of the good things you have allowed me to accomplish!

I'm linking up with SheLoves Magazine to celebrate our bodies just as they are. Feel free to write your own love letter to your body.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My heart melts

My heart melts when I see Chris and Scarlett all snuggled up.
I cherish the nights she wakes up and comes to bed with us to snuggle. 
Even though she is definitely a mommy's girl she loves her Dad!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy 4 year anniversary to the man that I love. 

To the man who never complains when the house is messy and it is spaghetti for dinner for the third time that week.

To the man who never left my side during my LONG labor with Scarlett.

To the man who can change my bad mood with one silly joke.

To the man who comes up behind me while I'm cooking with a baby on my hip kisses my neck and tells me he loves me

To the man who supported me through 9 months of almost constant nursing and pumping

To the man who never left my side during my bouts of postpartum depression

To the man who loves me enough to consider my feelings before making a decision

To the man who comes home from a long day at work and yet plays with Scarlett before anything else

To the man who reminds me to read devotions and prays with me

To the man who feels my hurts with me

I could go on and on. I cannot believe we have been married for 4 years today. It seems time keeps flying by faster and faster.

I just heard the song by Brad Paisley "I Thought I Loved You Then." And it reminded me of how I feel sometimes. 

Now you're my whole life now you're my whole world
I just can't believe the way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than it's ever been
We've come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then.

I continually think that I can't love Chris any more than I do at that moment. But each day I continue to grow in my love for him. I am so thankful each day that God brought him into my life. 
After 1yr of dating
The night he proposed in Estes Park, Colorado where we first met after 3 yrs of dating
Engagement pictures
Pregnant with Scarlett
Our Family
 March 2012 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Picking Dandelions

Holding Daddy's Hands


Walking down the winding path
I hold tight to Daddy's hand
His firm but gentle grip makes me 
Feel safe like nothing else can
I don't know where we are going
But my Daddy knows the way
He leads us down the path that's right
And will not let us stray
I hold on to his hand tightly
I know he won't let me fall
For my Daddy is the biggest and the strongest of them all
I don't ever have to worry 
When I hold his hand in mine
Because I know he will protect
And love me for all time

Author: Sharon Froese

She is Definitely her Father's Child!

 Always reaching for the mouse and keyboard!

Mommy's old laptop is her favorite toy!
Will she be another computer whiz like her dad?

Friday, April 20, 2012

11 random things

I was tagged by Melissa to participate in 11 random things.

The first requirement is a picture of me. I have not a whole lot of pictures of me by myself since I am usually the one behind the camera, so you will have to settle for one of me and Scarlett.

11 random things in no particular order:

1. I always seem to start a new project before finishing the one I am on and it always drives me nuts!
2. I love to sleep, but always stay up way to late.
3. I love to read. The only time I end up reading is at night (hence the staying up to late)
4. My purse never stays organized no matter how hard I try
5. My favorite candy is black licorice (no joke). When I was in high school I would eat about a half of bag for supper followed by an energy drink before I went to work at the nursing home. Obviously I didn't care as much about health back then!
6. I just learned how to make my own chicken broth (super easy and incredibly good for you)
7. It scares me to drive in our Minnesota winters 
8. I really would eat lutefisk more than once a year
9. I talk way to much and sometimes go home wondering if I said to much or if I said the wrong thing. Sometimes I dwell on this and end up not falling asleep til late again!
10. I either had to share a room with my brother or my sister until I was 13. It was awful being the middle child. When my sister and I would get sick of each other I moved in with my brother and vice versa. I finally got my own room when my sister moved out.
11. I have way to many hobbies I want to get into and not enough time. My new sewing machine from christmas hasn't even been used much :(

Now on to the questions Melissa asked us to answer:

1. What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memory is of playing on the big roudn bales with my siblings and cousins. I loved king of the hill.

2. What is your biggest fear? My biggest fear is losing the ones I love. I always have fears when Chris travels for work that he is going to get in some big accident. Then I have to remind myself God has it all in his hands.

3.When you started driving what kind of car did you have? My first car was given to me by my parents and was a blue pontiac grandam. I drove it til my first year in college when I got in an accident.

4. What moves you to tears? Oh pretty much everything around that time of month or when I am pregnant :) Disclaimer: For those wondering that does not mean I am pregnant :) But seeing a baby being born is probably the time I feel the most moved.

5. Why do you think babies spit up on you when you just put on clean clothes? Maybe they just want you to wear a part of them all day! They figure if they have to wear it, you might as well too!

6. What was the hardest life lesson you had to learn?
You mean besides I can't have everything my way all the time :)

7. What is something you are good at?
This one is actually hard for me because I feel I am mediocre at a lot of things but wouldn't necessarily say I am good at it. Although my husband thinks I am a pretty good cook when I want to be. He would say I bake good too if he ever got to taste anything I bake.Usually it doesn't take me long to eat what I bake!

8. Fast forward 30 years and then look back. What is something going on right now in your life that you will miss?
Playing and snuggling with Scarlett. I LOVE this age and will be so sad when she grows out of toddlerhood.

9.  If you have children what is something he/she has taught you?
Miss Scarlett has definitely taught me patience. She has also taught me to stop and take time to enjoy the ones you love. So many times I get caught up in tasks I forget to take time to play.

10. Name something on your bucket list.
 To run a marathon. I am running my first 10k next month which is only 6.2 miles. Only 20 more to go to run a  marathon :) Okay this one might take me awhile!

11. When you are dead and gone what do you hope people will remember about you?
Only good stuff I hope! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Job as a Mom

I have printed off this picture and stuck it to my bathroom mirror. Why? Because I don't know about you but many times I feel the enemy putting thoughts of guilt in my mind. If only I hadn't yelled today or if only I could spend more time reading to her, etc. I am in constant fear of not doing things right for Scarlett. I need to remember daily that the most important part of being a Mother is pointing my children to the Lord. And the best way I can do this is to put the Lord first in my life and staying in continual relationship with him. It isn't going to do her any good if I read her all the bible stories and send her to Sunday school, but personally am not walking daily with the Lord. If I remember to put the Lord first all other things will flow out from this.  I also need to remember that it is okay to want to do things right. However, along with that I need to remember that I am an imperfect person, therefore an imperfect parent. But where I fail, God will succeed.

Where I have been lately

Wow, can't believe my last post was over a month ago. Life has just been so busy and I haven't felt like writing lately. It has also been very emotional. I have been helping a young woman who is pregnant by a rape. She is due any day now and I have been asking God continually to give me the wisdom and words to say to help her through this. I know however that it is not me that will help her get through this, but the holy spirit working in her.  I have to constantly remind myself that even though I wish I could, I cannot change the situation and God does have a plan for this! I have to remind myself that what the enemy intends for evil, God can use for his purpose! She is giving the baby up so it is a very hard situation.I am sure this will be the hardest birth I have ever attended. So please be in prayer for her and for the situation. Pray that this would lead her closer to God and not further away.

I also feel very strongly lately that God is leading me into a doula business. I have had the wonderful opportunity of attending two friends births this year. I also have another woman who I will be helping give birth in May or early June who was referred to me by a friend. I felt this calling right before I found out I was pregnant with Scarlett and actually took a doula class, but just have never gotten around to getting certified. Basically all I have to do to be certified is have two of the women I have helped through labor give recommendations and write essays on three different doula books.  Easy enough, but I just haven't gotten around to it. This is my goal in the next month.

For all of you who live around me do you think that a doula service is needed in this area?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wild Child: Part 2

Guess who has learned to pull out chairs and climb onto tables. She thinks it is pretty funny, while her Mother does not!

Wordless Wednesday: First Time in the Sled

My New Hobby

Last year in the beginning of November I decided I wanted to learn to crochet. The main reason was because I wanted to make a lot of my Christmas gifts. After many nights of trial and error, I have found a new hobby I love! I was taught the basic single stitch by my great grandma when I was younger, but that was as far as my skills went. She gave me a learn to crochet book that I had kept and used that to learn more stitches and how to read the pattern. Here are some of the projects I have completed so far.

 Headband and Queen Anne's Lace scarf for my mom for Christmas

 Basic Double Crochet scarf for my dad

 Toddler Booties for Scarlett (these were a lot of trial and error
but loved how they turned out!)

 Toddler Booties on

 Newborn Hat for cousins baby

 Another hat for cousins baby

Bobble Blanket for cousins baby
Monkey Hat ( I like it but want to try it with chunky yarn next time)

Sleeping Beauty

We always have to fight Scarlett to get her to take her naps. I literally have to hold her down for a few minutes then she will usually drift off. However, this particular day she was not having a nap. My husband held her for over an hour then decided to just let her go because maybe she wasn't going to take a nap. He went upstairs for a moment and came down to this. She had crawled up in her seat and fell asleep. Why she choose this over the couch we will never know!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wild Child

Scarlett is my little wild child. She loves exploring her environment, much to my dismay at times!

 Trying to sit in the colander. She seriously worked on trying to sit her butt in there for a half an hour. 
 Daddy even has to watch his computer better. She has mastered the chairs!

 How can you be mad at a face like this!

Oh the joys of shredding toilet paper and depositing it all over the house!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Sweet Surprise

I truly thought Scarlett was done with the sling. She hated the sling when she was a newborn, but by 4 months she loved it. I wore her alot! Especially before she could crawl. I did the dishes, vacuumed, went for walks and even mowed the lawn with her in the ergo. But by 11 months she was walking good and didn't really want to be cooped up. Much to my surprise last week after about a month of not wearing her at all, she decided she did not want to be put down. So I decided to try wearing her once again. I think she missed it and I realized I missed it too! I carried her around almost all day while I did things around the house. It was a sweet surprise!