Swimming Lessons

I'm so proud of my big girl. We started swim lessons at the "Y" last week and she's loving it! It's a small class - just her and two other little boys but it's perfect. Her teacher is very sweet and I can see the progression in skills she's teaching. I know Karlyn will probably need additional lessons since this is the beginner class but you have to start somewhere. She's definitely not afraid of the water. This is also her first real "group activity" outside of daycare so it's fun.

I asked her after the first lesson if she was practicing her strokes and motioned my arms forward and back. She said, "Mom, they're not strokes, they're ICE CREAM SCOOPS. Of course.


She did have to straighten out the boys a couple times and tell them to quit splashing her. Who knows...maybe she'll be an Olympic swimmer one day! #notwiththesegenes

I remember taking swim lessons at my aunt's pool when I was younger and it was FREEZING. Luckily they have the pool warmed a bit. (I keep saying "a bit." Darn you Peppa Pig.) I did have to save her on the very first day. They were getting into the pool and she didn't know where the steps ended. She went right under and the teacher's back was to her. I ran over there and the teacher pulled her up. She was fine, but it seriously happened in the first five seconds!

I can't wait to see how she's doing by the end of the month!


Monday Stuff

I just made myself some hot chocolate. BECAUSE IT IS CHILLY OUTSIDE. The low tonight is supposed to be 37 degrees. I won't complain too much though because I know what's coming>>>>> Summer.

I'm just happy we have a brand spanking new AC unit to keep us cool this year. Thank you Jesus.

I want to say thank you for the response to yesterday's post. I felt relieved once I finished it. I know it was long but I kind of needed to go through it all in order for some of it to make sense. I definitely plan to write more about MTHFR.

I made a call to my ob-gyn's office today. I'm kind of excited in a weird, nervous, I-probably-shouldn't-be-excited-kind-of-way. We're starting the Clomid soon.


To say I have mixed emotions is an understatement. I'm worried, anxious, and ready. I'm scared of side-effects but I truly feel like this is the next step on the path to getting pregnant. If it doesn't work, I don't know what we'll do next. If it does, super. I may update on how I feel while on it, or I may not. I haven't decided. I did watch some YouTube videos...yes, there are videos out there about taking Clomid and yes I watched them to see what they had to say. Ha. I won't however, be doing a live pregnancy test like one of the girls did. Talk about pressure! Anyways...I'm ready to get the show on the road. And I'm hoping it's not awful.

Monday is now one of my fave days because The Voice comes on! I love that show and have tried hard not to miss an episode. Mondays nights are two hours long and Tuesdays are one hour. So I'll usually tape them both in case I don't get to sit down and watch them live. Or in case Peppa Pig comes on. Which it does.

Our tax season time is running short though. It's only a matter of time before Ryan comes home and takes the remote control from both of us!


My Journey to Health

I began writing this post in August of 2013 and finished it today.

I'd be lying if I said this post will be easy to write. After mulling it over in my head for weeks now, I have to begin. I've received help from too many other bloggers as I've searched desperately for answers and read just what I needed to at just the right time.

You might see the title and think, journey? She seems pretty healthy to me! And I guess in some regards, I have been healthy. I've looked healthy at least. But things are not always what they appear to be on the outside and that is so true when it comes to our health. This is going to be a bit long-winded but I will do my best to be succinct.

**It's going to be personal. It might be uncomfortable. So if you'd rather read a funny little entry on life with a toddler, skip this one. :> OK?**

~I'll start from the beginning. I grew up eating what I'd call a standard American diet. My mom cooked a lot but we also ate fast food at times...Sonic, Kentucky Fried Chicken. I ate oatmeal cream pies (mmm) and I don't really remember having any food "issues." I played high school sports and my cross-country coach encouraged us to give up sodas, so I did, no problem. I never did drink them regularly after that. I never had a weight issue. I had what I'd call a fast metabolism and I distinctly remember going out to Cici's for lunch during a week-long basketball camp and pretty much chowing down. My friends were kind of astounded. I remember my high school basketball coach telling me (half-jokingly) that I had better top 100 pounds before the next upcoming season. I'm pretty sure that was EARLY high school. I loved to eat, loved to be active, and life was good.

Fast-forward to college and I had to pick a major. Not right away, but eventually. I chose Exercise Sports Science because that's what I was interested in. Somewhere around my Sophomore year I'd say, I began to be interested in "health." Healthy living, healthy eating. I found these online fitness/diet forums that were full of girls talking about workouts and healthy meal ideas and I thought, wow, this is cool! This stuff gets me excited! I continued to learn and study exercise science and stayed active throughout college playing intramural sports. I really can't remember having any major health issues while in college. I do remember getting a little caught up in calorie counting. The funny thing though was that I was never trying to lose weight. I would just read Oxygen magazine where the fitness models ate these six 350 calorie, evenly-spaced-out meals per day of chicken, egg whites, and oatmeal so I kinda started thinking that's what healthy meant. I very much recall getting up early to open our school's gym at 5:00 am (I was a manager) and making my protein powder oatmeal with blueberries before I headed out the door. I know my roommate loved me!

After college, I interned at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas and immediately after took my first real job as a personal trainer at Larry North Fitness. Still no real health issues. I kept on eating a healthy diet and workouts were regular. While at Larry North, Ryan and I met and started dating. It sounds bad to say it, but around this time is when things started to go a little south. Of course I was over the moon about my new hunky boyfriend :> but I just didn't feel very good. I remember telling my mom, I just don't feel good a lot of the time. I'd eat, and then not feel great. I also at this time started suffering from what I'd call the only real episode of depression I've had. It was not fun. I think there were several contributing factors: I was living on my own in an apartment with a girl I really didn't know, working at a job I didn't like with odd hours (I had moved on from Larry North) dating someone seriously really for the first time ever - which was a good thing! But my over-analytic self was so tied up in figuring out if he was "the one" that I was stressing big time. I wasn't sleeping very well and I felt like I was walking around in a fog. I remember one time just laying in my bed, not wanting to get up, not even really wanting to go on.

The low point was me calling my mom from work one day as I was filing some papers...I felt like I might be having some kind of anxiety attack and I said, "Mom, you've got to help me. I need some help." She took me to a local doctor my dad had seen who asked me a few questions, me crying, and prescribed me an anti-depressant. Lovely. I know I didn't take it very long because it made me feel wonky. Slowly, somehow things started getting better. Ryan and I continued to date, I got a new job as a physical therapy technician with normal, regular hours, we got engaged, and I moved into a house with a couple of other girls. I was working out (hello, wedding!) and trying to eat right and for the most part I think things were good.

Fast forward. We got married! I took hormonal birth control for the first time, starting a few months before the wedding. The effects of being on "the pill" for a mere five months would continue to affect me for years afterward. It. was. awful. I turned into a not-so-nice person and had a myriad of unpleasant side-effects. One of them was sore breasts. And I'm not talking just a little sore. It was horrible. Every month from then on would not pass without me enduring a week to almost two weeks of painful, lumpy breasts that made it hard to wear a bra. I was miserable and PMS would turn me into a raging, emotional mess and the pain only added to that. I saw doctor after doctor, researched my eyes out, tried everything anyone suggested, and was told over and over that they didn't know what to do and it was "normal." Fibrocystic breast pain. And it was genetic, from my dad's side. I tried vitamin E, evening primrose oil, vegetarian diet, no chocolate, no caffeine. I would plan things around when I knew I would be sore because it was so uncomfortable. Somewhere in there I had a fibroadenoma removed from my left breast.

I was left with one ray of hope. I had an ob-gyn tell me that if I got pregnant, the soreness might go away. That my body might "re-set" so to speak and that post-baby, this might not be an issue. And...she was right. After Karlyn was born, I didn't suffer from the breast pain. Until I got pregnant again. That was when it came back and we went on to miscarry that baby. Back to the monthly pain. My periods weren't fun. I had ridiculous cravings and severe mood swings. Every month I would get canker sores inside my mouth that were brutal. I just always felt a little "off" a lot of the time, despite trying to eat what I thought was a healthy diet and regular exercise.

During the Fall of 2011 my co-worker started talking about an "Eat Real" challenge her CrossFit gym was hosting. All I had heard about "Paleo" at that point was that you ate MEAT! ha. I thought the whole Paleo thing sounded a bit dumb...just eating a bunch of meat?! But, always eager for new health/nutrition knowledge, I signed up. I still remember standing with my team that night talking about what we hoped to achieve during the challenge. I talked about how I hadn't been sleeping well and I wanted to kick some sugar cravings.

The challenge was tough. We ate meat, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. No salt. I lasted 25 out of the 33 days because Ryan had his second emergency surgery within just a few months of the first, after rupturing his spleen. I noticed positive changes. My mood felt more even, more stable. I slept a little better. I thought, man, this is it! This is what I need to be doing to feel better. I got off track, went back to eating the way I'd always had (what I thought was fairly healthy) and then would start eating Paleo again. The Summer and Fall of 2012 were rough. I  kept trying harder and harder to eat a strict Paleo diet and I kept not feeling good. I was dealing with insomnia, urinary frequency and bladder prolapse. My cycles weren't going smoothly (nothing new there) and I felt like my body wasn't working right. I honestly thought I was going crazy that summer. We had just gone through our first miscarriage (May 2012) and I was trying to recover emotionally. My insomnia was INSANE. I'm talking up all night, feeling wired, trying desperately to will my body to sleep on into the early hours of the morning. And then I got to go into work! I'm a little fuzzy now on the timeline but a couple of things happened in there. I started researching (again) to try and figure out what the heck was going on with me. I do know that on October 1st of 2012, I passed out at work. I felt awful that morning but went into work anyways. The hospital told me I had a bladder infection and sent me home. Super. I went to see my gynecologist and in tears told her I was falling apart. She sent me to her doctor, an internist who ran some blood work including a panel to check for celiac disease. It came back negative, but I was not convinced. See, I had already cut out gluten for several weeks before that and every thing I read about this kind of testing said you HAD to be consuming gluten to consider your results accurate. Why had I cut it out? This stupid rash. With all the Summer craziness had come a horrible rash on both of my legs that was oddly symmetrical. It itched bad and I kept thinking, am I using some new skin product? What the heck? I researched again, because it's what I do. I found a link to...gluten! So I stopped. Again. Bingo! The rash went away. I also went to a dermatologist a few weeks after cutting gluten (so it didn't look this bad by then) who gave me a prescription for some cream and told me it was probably just dry skin. Yeah. Try again.

Fast-forward. The rash went away and I still kept some gluten in my diet. (head slam) I decided to ditch the strict Paleo plan and added some foods back in. I want to add something here. I would later find out that gluten can play a big role in insomnia for those who are intolerant but just as huge I believe was me discovering how important carbohydrates are, even on a Paleo diet, and ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN. Part of the reason my body was acting so crazy I believe was that I wasn't feeding it enough. I had convinced myself that beans were of the devil (not Paleo!) rice was out, etc. Even though I did NOT need the gluten, I did need more calories and carbs. I am so thankful for two websites who pointed me in the right direction at that time. 180 Degree Health and Paleo for Women. OK, back to the story. We found out we were pregnant in January of 2013. I specifically remember making re-fried bean quesadillas (flour tortillas!) to quell some of the nauseousness. It was a long 10 weeks. Or short. At what should have been ten weeks we found out we had lost the baby and my world shattered once again. My doctor assured me there would be testing this time. (They don't test you after you lose one.) I had about 16 vials of blood drawn one afternoon and waited to see what they would come back with. In the meantime, I was at it again. Researching. Reading. I kept finding things tying gluten intolerance to miscarriage. I had no idea what my test results would show but I decided once and for all to cut it out. If there was even a CHANCE this was messing with my body's ability to keep a baby, I was done with it. So on April 18th of 2013, almost one year ago, I went gluten free and haven't looked back. Not once have I regretted that decision. A few days later my test results came in.

I had MTHFR.

Let me spell that out for you. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase - And wikipedia tells us that it is the rate-limiting enzyme in the methyl cycle, and it is encoded by the MTHFR gene.

I'll be honest. I don't understand everything there is to know about MTHFR although once I knew I had it, I began learning. I have more to learn, but it was a start. Let me try to explain it how I understand it best.

People who have MTHFR can't absorb, process, and/or convert folic acid like they should. A body without MTHFR can convert folic acid (you know the stuff in your multi-vitamin AND found in most processed foods) into FOLATE and then use that. But with MTHFR you don't and not only can you not use it as effectively, the folic acid can store up in your body and become toxic. Because it can't go anywhere.

MTHFR is a genetic mutation and is passed down from your parents or parent. It is most commonly seen at two different locations: C677T and A1298T and you can have single or double copies. I was told mine is heterozygous C677T, meaning I have one copy that is mutated and one that is working. Side Note: After testing, we know that both of my parents have this. My mom has the A1 copy and my dad (though he hasn't been tested) has the C6 copy. I know this because that's the one that was passed down to me) Side Note 2: The C677T variation lends itself to cardiovascular issues (my dad) and birth defects/miscarriage (me). Side Note 3: It is estimated that half or more of the population has the MTHFR mutation in some form, but many don't know it.)

I'm going to save a more long-winded post on MTHFR for later and for the sake of time (holy moly) continue on with this novella. After reading me the results, my doctor's office told me I needed to supplement with methylfolate (the already converted form of folic acid), b-12, and take baby aspirin as soon as I got pregnant again. Also, from my own reading I learned that I needed to avoid folic acid. That meant in my vitamins and in my food. Hello gluten! It lined up 100% with what my gut (literally) had been telling me the whole time. Not only was my body NOT using the folic acid I kept shoving in, it was storing it up to toxic levels and causing who knows what kind of chaos.

I spent April and May of 2013 trying to figure out exactly what I needed to be taking. I'm still experimenting somewhat. We spent the second half of 2013 recovering from another baby loss as I tried to reclaim my health. My journey isn't over; we still want another baby. Babies! Although I now have my MTHFR diagnoses and some knowledge on how to proceed, I still have a few lingering issues and no promise of sustained future pregnancies. Hormonal imbalance still continues to be an issue. I do believe though that I have come a long way.

Why do I share this story? Because I feel compelled to. Because I hope to use anything I've gone through to help someone else. Because I feel like none of us go through hard times or situations, only for ourselves. Because I want to remember. Because someone else might be there too.

If you made it to the end, congrats. =) I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, or any response you might have and know that I truly appreciate it all.


Kid-to-Kid ~ Summer Clothes Haul

I love Kid-to-Kid. I know I've said that before but I really, really do! It's so fun to look through the store and find gently used clothes, shoes, and toys for your kiddo. They sell maternity clothes too so I totally took advantage of that when I was pregnant with Karlyn. They offer cash or store credit when you bring in items to sell and also have a punch card system that earns you 20% off your purchase. They'll have sales where regular or clearance priced items are an extra percentage off and then the savings really add up.

Yesterday I went by on my lunch hour because Karlyn needed some shorts and more warm weather clothes. Even though Spring is just barely upon us, I like to be prepared because Texas can be 40 degrees one day and 80 the next! Plus I don't know why, but I really enjoy switching out her clothes between seasons. I think it's the organizer in me (or the one who used to live there) that loves the whole process. And let's be honest. Little girl clothes are just cute. :>

So...what did I get?

  • 11 shirts
  • 8 shorts
  • 1 skirt

$80! That was also taking $5.00 off because I spent enough. *Hint, Hint ~ There's a code you can text once you're at the register when you've spent more than $30.00.

Two of the shirts I got were brand new with tags still on and the great thing about Kid-to-Kid is that they are usually picky with the items they accept. So everything was in good to great condition and PERFECT for daycare. Here's the thing. My child is going to paint on, spill juice on, and run around the dusty playground in these clothes so I really don't see the need to spend insane amounts of money. Now of course we have separate clothes for church and going out that I don't let her wear to school so they stay nice. Same with shoes. She has school shoes and other shoes because I've seen first-hand the destruction that can happen there!

Cheery & Bright!
I usually don't pick out "outfits" while I'm there but I kept finding things that went together or that I knew would match items she already had at home. Brands included Gap, The Children's Place, and Carter's. I was really pleased with my purchase! Here are three of the outfits I like best~

They had these two pieces on display together so I snatched it up. =)

Karlyn loves skirts and twirling so I think she'll love it! I'm probably saving it for an Easter basket. 

Sometimes resale shops are hit or miss so if you don't find much the first time, wait a bit and try again! What about you? Do you shop resale? What are you favorite places?


March - and Thoughts on Clomid

Ah, March.

Seriously. Now it's almost April?

I have a lot to catch up on. And I'm pretty sure that's all I ever say now since I never blog.

I did my fertility cleanse. Kind of. I started it and was really consistent during the first phase. I felt groggy a lot of days and kind of blah and eventually started having trouble sleeping. I got some feedback that it was probably due to the fact that my liver was working overtime (the first phase focuses on liver detox.) It seemed like it was kind of cleaning me out, so to speak and I didn't have tons of energy. The sleep thing started getting to me so towards the end I cut back on the pills and tea to once a day instead of twice. I started the second phase ten days ago, only a couple days before I got SICK. I got "the crud" as I've affectionately termed it - sore throat > turns into fever> turns into sinus gunk> turns into cough. It really only was bad for about 48 hours and I've slowly gotten better. So I didn't "cleanse" during that and...I kinda just haven't been doing it. I had read that you weren't supposed to complete the second phase if you were pregnant or thought you might be and since I was sick and didn't know for sure if I was pregnant (I'm not), I just kinda stopped. Plus, I really didn't feel like dealing with more sleep issues. Sleep is big for me. Andddd...I really thought the first phase was going to be most beneficial for me anyways. Yada Yada. The GOOD NEWS is that I haven't had one day of pain, like I've been experiencing the past few months. Not one. I'm really curious to see how next month goes too in that department. If I see consistent relief there, the cleanse will have been well worth it!

What else this month? I signed Karlyn up for swimming lessons which we'll start in April. I'm really excited for that and I think she is too. I've had some work changes that I'm still adjusting to. Ryan's been working like crazy as April tax deadlines approach. Oh how we all love busy season. #notsomuch

Our dog ran away. And didn't come back. This really needs to be a post in itself and probably will be at some point. So crazy.

I turned 31. I never feel my age anymore. Is it because as adults we don't walk around saying our ages? I didn't even get used to saying or feeling thirty. And now thirty-one. My sister and I had an amazingly fun day to ourselves full of good food, shopping, and a movie. If you haven't seen Divergent, I highly recommend it. It was SO. GOOD. I wanted to run, jump, or box someone after seeing it. Amazing. And I found this tea infuser mug. And obviously had to get it.

* * * * *

Ryan and I have been having conversations about where we go next. Fertility drugs, specifically. I had some testing done last Fall (second batch of tests) and the doctor said based off of those, we could try clomid. Not for the reason most people try clomid, but because the tests showed we (or I) could use a little "boost." Of course I did what I always do and looked up clomid, read about it, etc. Ugh. We decided to wait. We were in the middle of building our house, the holidays, and all that...fast forward. I don't like a lot of what I read about it. Even though my doctor's office tells me it will be fine, the not-so-lovely side effects that a lot of women have on it scares me. Because just knowing myself, if there are side effects, I'm probably going to experience them. It's just kind of how I am. It seems like there are two opposite camps when it comes to clomid users. 

There's the first:

"I didn't have any side-effects, I couldn't tell I was taking it, and it was really OK."

Then the second:

"I had hot flashes so bad I thought I might die, headaches that never ended, and mood swings so severe that my husband feared for his life."

I just really don't know what to do. Do we keep trying and waiting on God's timing, hoping that whatever my body lacks right now will be supernaturally taken care of at the right time? Do we try the clomid and see that as God's provision in helping us have another baby? It's been almost a year. We're in our early thirties. I don't know. I would love to hear any advice, experience, or thoughts other may have!

Except. Please don't tell me to just relax and THEN it will happen. That's advice I'd rather not hear. Because it just doesn't always work that way...and it's frustrating to hear and then feel guilty...well gosh darn it, if I could just relax! Yeah.

* * * * *

You never know what a day will bring. And this month has brought some very hard things for my immediate family. Issues that are being worked through right now, an unknown future, and tears shed over a possible diagnoses. Life is hard and I'm learning this more and more each year. There are beautiful joyous moments and then times when you get the wind - or life - knocked out of you, over and over again. I don't know how to process it all and I don't know how to pray. 


Wedding Weekend

This weekend was so much fun! The only thing better than going to your own wedding is watching one of your siblings get married. We started off with a Saturday morning girls brunch at which Karlyn refused to speak to or look at anyone until after she'd eaten. I got to meet more of Kristen's family and we ate at the cutest little tea room. They even had gluten-free pancakes! Score.

Adding another "K!"

Next it was time to rehearse or "practice" as we kept telling the kids. They all had so much fun running around together! The wedding venue was absolutely gorgeous with tons of natural light. It was the perfect spot.

Then it was time for lunch! My mom reserved a room at Anamia's and the food was excellent. Friends and family gave speeches and Kollin and Kristen played a fun game where they each held a shoe - one from him, one from her - and raised it up to answer questions like, "Who's going to call mom first after a fight? Who's going to do most of the cleaning?" :> We got a sibling pic!


It started off COLD!! We met at the hotel and took some family pics that I cannot WAIT to see. The photographers did a great job of grouping us together and getting it done. Karlyn found Sprout TV on inside the hotel lobby and scored a cup of apple juice so she was happy as could be. I kept telling Ryan my goal for the day was to keep her happy. Happy = walking down the aisle. Hopefully. We did have a cute moment before we even left the house that morning. I decided to try and curl her hair a little which I'd never done before. She saw me walking towards her bathroom with the iron and a comb in my hands and in a nervous voice said, "um, is that for me or for you?" I said it was for her and that it wouldn't hurt. I was proud of myself. I got the ends curled under quickly, no one was burnt in the process, and it stayed all day.

Time passed pretty quickly, more pictures were taken, and before we knew it guests were arriving. The sun started to peek out and nobody had lost the rings. Things were looking good. :-) Ryan and I sat down and left Karlyn in the back with the wedding party hoping she would be ok and not have a meltdown. The music started and it was a simply beautiful ceremony.

Kollin and Kristen wrote their own vows and of course my brother had to start his off with a Michael Scott quote. Both of them did an amazing job writing them though. I'm so thankful that God brought them together! Enjoy the pictures!

The Beautiful Bride

My two adorable dinner dates

Congrats Kollin & Kristen!!! We love you!


Getting ready...

My fertility cleanse came! I was checking the shipment tracking on Monday morning and it said it had been delivered. I ran to the front front porch and there it was. :) How geeked out is it that I'm excited about this cleanse? Such is my life.

I would probably begin Sunday but since that's the big WEDDING DAY, I'm planning to start Monday. There are two different phases to the cleanse so you take half of the products for one phase and half for the other. Approximately. I watched a You Tube video today by a girl who used the cleanse and it was pretty neat. She had great success with it! So we'll see. I've read that there can kind of be some detox symptoms like headaches or extra tiredness so I'm anxious to see how I do on it. I'm planning on trying to take it easy while I "cleanse" but also fitting in some regular sweat sessions.

Other Stuff.

*I love this post Diana wrote today. So good. 

*I can't believe my brother is getting married! Yay.

*Blondes have more fun right? I don't believe that but I did go blonde-r today.

*I keep watching the weather for Sunday. I'm proposing no rain. Can we do that?

*We had asparagus with dinner tonight. I'm embarrassed to admit that I never buy it fresh. It was SO GOOD. I'm going back for more at $0.99/lb.

*TGIF tomorrow right? These weeks are flying by.