I’ve had ulcerative colitis for over 13 years now. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic auto-immune disease where your body attacks its own colon and creates ulcers that will bleed if agitated too much. My colitis started after a mild episode of giardia after drinking some bad water while working for the Forest Service. I was on medication for the first 4-5 years to keep it under control. Then, I had the great blessing of working with a fantastic dietician to find out if my colitis was becoming inflamed due to some of the foods I was eating. I went on a 6 week (VERY intense) cleanse, then slowly reintroduced foods back into my diet. What I discovered is that one of my main trigger foods was dairy products. So I cut out dairy and was able to manage my disease with diet. This worked beautifully until the Fall of 2013. We had a lot of stress that fall and I had a flare up and began bleeding again. In gastroenterology world this means that I had to go in for a colonoscopy and get back on medication. I was broken hearted!
My mom was talking to one of her friends at work about some of the issues I was having and she recommended essential oils. Since I was already using oils, I jumped on the chance to call this ladies sister who is a doTERRA consultant. Super sweet lady and very generous! She sent me a mostly full 5mL bottle of DigestZen and some DigestZen softgels. I started using this oil every two hours. Within 2 days, I was already feeling better. In a week, I was no longer bloated to the point where I felt 5 months pregnant. In a month, I started weaning myself off of the medication. It’s been almost eight months since I started using DigestZen and I feel amazing. I avoid dairy and gluten products and manage my stress with exercise, journaling, and prayer. I only use the DigestZen twice a day as prevention and randomly, if I slip up and eat something with gluten in it (it’s SO hard to never eat any gluten at all).
This experience was enough to get me enrolled with doTERRA. Since I enrolled I’ve had SO many successes with these pure oils that I decided to start a business; which for me is just a great opportunity to share the power of essential oils and educate people on living a lifestyle of wellness.
Oregano is the go to oil in our house when we get sick. My husband brought home a nasty virus a few weeks ago…Knocked him on his butt!! A couple of the guys on his crew got the same cold and ended up with bronchitis. I was dreading the kids getting sick and really wanted to help the hubby get over his cold fast. I mixed up the flu recipe I teach in my “Essential Oils for Kids” classes and gave the hubby some instructions on how to mix up a “flu bomb”.
Flu Bomb for Kiddos
20 drops of Oregano
40 drops of Lemon
30 drops of OnGuard
Mix in a 15 mL empty bottle or a 10 mL rollerball bottle and fill the remainder of the bottle with a carrier oil. Rub on the bottoms of the kids’ feet every two hours while awake. We use this blend of oils whenever the kids are sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick. It’s a great immunity booster!
Flu Bomb for Daddies and Mommies
4 drops each of:
Lemon or Frankincense
Mix in a capsule and take every 2 hours until symptoms subside. For this particular cold, my husband was taking these bombs for about 7 days.
After rubbing the kids down and being diligent with the big people bombs, my son didn’t get a single sniffle. I had a tiny touch of the cold for a few days. My daughter got the sinus pressure and drainage and a touch of a cough, but she was over it in 3 days. My husband kicked the cold in a week. The rest of the guys on his crew that caught this nasty bug, had if for 2-3 weeks. One of them even tried to go back to work too early and ended up in the ER…YIKES!!! So glad we had the oils to help us avoid and recover from that nasty bug quickly.
Where do I begin with lavender?? There are so many things you can use this God send of an oil for. My favorite use lately is for allergies. In the spring time the grass really gets to me. I can’t stop sneezing, I’m itchy, and if it gets really bad I’ll break out in hives. YUCK! To help find some relief I’ll mix lemon, lavender, and peppermint (2 drops of each) in a shot glass of water and down it. Then I’ll take the lavender and rub a bit of the oil across my forehead and down the bridge of my nose. Works like a charm. The great thing about this is I can keep taking the oils if I don’t get relief right away. I just keep reapplying until I feel the relief I need in order to breath easy.
Another one of my favorite lavender stories involves hot grease and an exposed arm. I was trying out a new recipe for stuffed peppers in homemade enchilada sauce (DELICIOUSO!!!). I had some olive oil heating in a pan and then added some cayenne pepper to it. I was stirring it up and got a little too vigorous with my spoon and some hot grease popped out onto my arm. I ran to the sink; which in my tiny kitchen is just turning around. Cold water was not easing the pain, so I got my lavender out and put some of it on the burn…eased the pain instantly! I reapplied every hour because it was still pretty painful from time to time, BUT it never blistered and healed up very quickly.
I initially bought peppermint to try my hand at making my own chapstick (didn’t work out as I had hoped), but have discovered it to be useful for many other things as well. I think I use my peppermint more than any other oil I have. Besides the fact that I love the smell, I find it to be very therapeutic. When diffused it can freshen and lighten the air in a room with-in seconds. I find that it clears my head when I breathe it in and helps me feel fresh and clear. I rub it on my temples to alleviate head-aches. I first started diffusing peppermint oil after my daughter came down with a cold. I heard that it could help clear your sinuses. This works really well and it eased some of her discomfort. It also helped my house smell magnificent. Now I put a few drops in whenever I want to clear the room and give us a little pick-me-up. It works MAGICALLY!! Stress head-aches can be a daily ailment for me. My high-stress job makes me tense at times and I hate popping a pill every time I get a head-ache (especially while I’m breast feeding). I had a raging head-ache after school one day and didn’t take the time to dilute the oil. I just rubbed some onto my temples, across my forehead and onto the back of my neck (just below my hair line). It was almost instant that I felt the relief. AMAZING!! I was instantly sold, and now I don’t leave the house without my little vial of peppermint oil (which I added a bit of lavender in due to its calming characteristics). Another use I’ve discovered for peppermint oil is that it can help alleviate growing pains. My poor son has been getting some nasty pains in his legs recently. I mix up a few teaspoons of olive oil with about 6 drops of peppermint and 6 drops of lavender and it works within seconds to help give him some comfort. He’s even been asking for this soothing rub down every time he starts getting achy. I keep a batch mixed up just in case we need it. Love me some peppermint!!
During the period of time that my son had the molluscum virus I finally got fed up with the darn things and took him to the doctor. My regular pediatrician was unavailable at the time, so we visited with one of her partners. After taking one look at the rash, he instantly knew what it was. He said that “it would eventually go away (in 12-18 months!!), but there was no known effective medicine out there. People have tried several things to make it go away. What may work for some people, doesn’t work for others. It’s a trial and error process.” Of course, this was not exactly what I wanted to hear. BUT at least I knew what it was and we were on our journey to clear it up. This doctor suggested that we try tea tree oil (undiluted) directly on the rash.
We picked up some tea tree oil at nearby health food store and began to use it right away. We used this “medicine” religiously for over 4 weeks. It didn’t work for us. He still had the molluscum. We eventually stopped using the tea tree oil and tried something else. To see how we finally cleared up this nasty virus see this post. Just because it didn’t work for us, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for others however. I know so much more about essential oils now that it could have been the tea tree oil we were trying; which wasn’t necessarily the most pure.
I have found many other uses for the tea tree oil however. It works great in my diaper rash ointment and the solution I add to my wipes (sometimes even over night). If the rash is bad, it could take a couple of days, but I still prefer the oil over the store bought brands. It’s very gentle on my sweet daughter’s bum. I will even lather her up a bit if I know we are going to be doing something away from the house as prevention against diaper rash.
My husband also uses tea tree oil on his feet when he gets “jungle rot” or athletes foot. A couple of drops in a carrier oil all over his feet at night and again in the morning until it clears up (which is generally only a couple of days). He ends up with this fungus every summer after he starts fighting fires…probably has something to do with working long hours in the heat and not being able to change your socks more than once or twice in a four day period. He’s always ripe for the picking when he comes home from a fire. Yeah for not shower in over 2 weeks!
Mr. Soup as an ewok. Yes, he’s adorable. If your thinking about making him your own…he’s too much for you. Trust me.
I have and love bees. An unfortunate draw back to bees would be the stinging factor that they have a tendency to bring on the beekeeper and their family. Luckily, I have managed to not be cursed with any allergies and my kids have as well. We did have a little issue with a bee sting concerning our youngest…Mr. Soup (nickname… long story). He was stung last year and he had an abnormal reaction but nothing too serious. This year however was quite the different matter.
Like all normal two year olds, this little guy has a tendency to learn through trial and error. He decided to play with a bee and was quite shocked when it decided to sting him. He quickly swelled at the sting site on his hand. In a time span of about 3 minutes he started to swell in his face and feet. Hives broke out over most of his body that were welted and raised. We have a history of severe bee allergies in my family so I freaked out and was of course preparing for anaphylactic shock. After about ten minutes of normal even breathing I ruled out calling the ambulance. The hives were making life rather itchy for him though. I rubbed him down with some lavender and when that didn’t seem to help I put him in the tub with some epsom salt.
My lil puffy-face
The hives were progressively getting worse in the tub. Just before reaching for the benedryll and knowing I was about to face a all day nap (resulting in staying up all night with my lil dude) I decided to give the essential oils a try. The common treatment for allergies with essential oils would be equal parts lemon, peppermint and lavender. I mixed this up in a little sample bottle and gave him 3 drops of the blend every 20 minutes for about 2 hours. He was not happy as the oils do not taste like candy and any form of conforming to authority is unacceptable to him. SO!!! I had to force it on him. I decided to just get it done and give it to him straight rather than in water. Much screaming ensued… did I mention I did this every 20 minutes for two hours? He hated life that day. I hated life that day.
The hives started to lessen after about 2 or 3 treatments. I gave him another dose right before nap time and he was able to actually sleep. When he woke up he was symptom free. Well, aside from the typical reaction of a sting sight swelling. Thats something we can live with. We did topically apply deep blue, lavender and some frankinsence to lessen the swelling and it did go down in pretty good time… but nothing too miraculous. Mostly, it helped with the itching which is nothing to scoff at.
Generally, bees stay out of our yard and my other two kids have yet to see a sting. My daughter has no interest in the bee yard and doesn’t have a desire to get close. My four year old is some kind of bee whisperer though. He has no trouble letting a bee crawl on his hand and will sit next to the entrance watching the comings and going of the bees. He will cry and freak out if somebody else gets stung though. So if your thinking bees are a bad idea because of your kids, I will say do your research or email me and we can chat about it. Bees are awesome.
I will however be anxiously awaiting the next sting with Mr. Soup and if the allergy worsens we’ll probably start packing epi pens.
I’m quite plainly the most awesome gardner ever known to man. I have to say that in the world of strawberries, I’m kind of a big deal. I decided to treat the public with tantalizing views of what I have the ability to grow.
These strawberries are so delicious I have been having a hard time beating the birds to them. Its was a challenge to get every harvested berry into an image but I have scarcely accomplished it.
The bountiful harvest.
Ok enough sarcasm. So, I can’t grow a respectable sized strawberry. I’m thinking that if I really wanted to be a successful gardener I should have either started while I was in Middle School or I should travel through time to when I am 50. I’m convinced that gardening successfully is something that comes with years of experience. I just wished that this year wasn’t that year… or that year was five or ten years ago . Oh well you have to start sometime. I’m hoping for a better crop next year and will start reading up on strawberries…again.
Being a working mommy can be one of the most difficult things you may ever have to do. Some days it’s easier to leave the kids than others. For me, it’s always easier to leave them when they’re both happy and healthy; which at times are few and far between. Sometimes I feel like it’s a miracle if both of them are happy and healthy on the same day.
On the days when they seem like it’s the end of the world when mommy leaves for work, I worry about them all day. Luckily my amazing, loving sister watches my kids while I’m at work. We have a very open, honest relationship. I feel like I can check-in with her every hour if I need to and she won’t be frustrated by it. Usually the kids are fine after I leave; which helps ease my mind some, but I still like to check-in.
Whether it be teething, minor sickness, tiredness, or just needing/wanting to cuddle mommy, those highly emotional beginnings to our day can make a few hours seem like a decade. Here are some of the things I try to keep in mind while I’m away from my babies on these difficult days:
This too shall pass!! It’s difficult being away at work, but some women have no other choice. Try to remind yourself that your kids are taken care of, and you will see them soon. They won’t be emotional forever. Who knows… tomorrow is a new day, and they might be the happiest children in the world when you leave.
Have an open honest relationship with your childcare provider. I realize not everyone can have a family member watch their children. The most important thing is to have a person you trust and who you can talk to about what happened during your child’s day. My sister and I sit down and break down my kids’ days (even down to every poo-poo they had that day). I like to hear as much as I can about how things went.
Check-in as much as possible. Text, call, e-mail, instant message…whatever it takes to receive piece of mind that your children are OK. Work out something effective with your childcare provider.
**make sure your boss knows and is OK with how you keep in touch with your kids during the day (I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble at work).
When you are preparing to leave, be honest with your kids about where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. I get to go at lunch to see my kids, so I tell them I’ll see them at lunch and then when I leave after lunch I tell them I’ll see them after nap. Make sure to explain the time frame in terms they’ll understand depending on their age.
If your child/children begin to cry when you are trying to walk out the door, give them one big hug and a kiss. Tell them it will be OK and just walk away. In my experience, if you linger the separation anxiety and emotional goodbyes become a daily routine. Once the cycle has begun, it’s hard to get past it. So, even though it’s one of the most difficult things you’ve done, you have to force your body to walk away. I promise that your baby won’t cry forever. Once they realize you won’t be back for awhile, they will begin to play and carry on their day.
Don’t worry that your baby’s going to be mad at you when you get there to pick her up at the end of the day. Most likely, she will be excited to see you. There may be a time when she is mad at you for leaving, but again…this too shall pass! She can’t stay mad forever.
When you do get home, pay as much attention to your kids as possible. Make every minute you’re with them count. The stresses of keeping your house clean and making sure dinner is perfect can wait until your kids are older and able to entertain themselves a little more. No one is going to judge you if you can’t do it all. Your kids are way more important than a clean house.
Maybe it will get easier as they get older. I’ll have to wait and see. For now, I’m just taking it one day at a time. We’d love to hear your thoughts on separation anxiety. Please comment below if you have any tried and true strategies to make these difficult times easier.
As I finish up my seventh year of teaching, I am beginning to reflect on how the year went and what I could do differently next year. One thing I am confident about is the fact that the parents of my students are pleased with how the year went. I pride myself on having a good relationship with the parents of my students. It all boils down to one word…EMPATHY!!
I like to reflect on how I treat children in my classroom. I want the kids to feel safe and I want to create an environment that I would hope my own personal kids would feel comfortable and safe in. Empathy is huge when creating this kind of environment.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a perfect person and I have had my fair share of parents jump my case, talk to the principal about something I said/did in class, and even had parents pull kids out of my class to home school. I take these things to heart and try to never make the same mistake again.
So where does the parent fit into this you might ask…Sure you might want to jump your child’s teacher about something, report them to the principal, or even go so far as to pull your child out of school. Those are all your rights as a parent. Teachers actually expect you to be your child’s biggest advocate. It may make our lives harder sometimes, but the way the situation is handled makes all the difference.
Having an open and honest relationship with your child’s teacher is vital. I love it when parents email me or touch bases a couple of times a week to check on their child; its shows that they are a partner in their child’s education. I can’t speak for other teachers, but I really LOVE these kinds of parents. I can ask for help from them if I need it and it’s much easier to approach them about an issue I may have had in class. BUT it can’t all be peaches and cream and there are times when your child’s teacher may have really crossed the line, so you’ll want to confront them about it.
No one likes to be verbally attacked. Criticism can also be hard to take, but the delivery of the criticism can make or break whether or not your conversation with your child’s teacher spirals out of control and someone’s feelings get hurt (yours or the teachers).
Here are a few tips to avoid a screaming match at the school
EMPATHIZE. Try and get inside their head before you approach them. Why would they have made the choice they did? Is it possible they don’t know about the effect of their actions?
PLAN. Decide a calm way to approach the teacher. What can you say to them that will make them feel like you want to discuss the issue, but not attack them or fight with them? Write it down and take it with you if you need to.
CALMLY APPROACH. You set the tone for the conversation. Approach them calmly and coolly and be honest about the issue that is in question. Make sure they allow you to finish before they get defensive…try to stay as calm as possible, even if you get interrupted.
CALMLY LISTEN. If you want the teacher to listen to you, you’ll need to listen to them when it’s their turn to tell their side of the story.
DISCUSS what steps need to be taken in order to fix the problem.
AGREE. Reach an agreement about what will happen next and how it can be avoided next time.
These uncomfortable conversations can spiral out of control rapidly. Do your best to stay as calm as possible. You and the teacher will be able to work more cooperatively, if you’re both able to keep a cool head. If you can do this, but the teacher keeps getting defensive and angry get the principal involve (which may require putting off the conversation until he/she can meet with you both).
Always TRY to approach the teacher first. Nothing is more upsetting than being hind sided by a parent and being reprimanded for something you had no idea about. It may seem easier just to go to the teacher’s boss, but in the long run it will drive a wedge between you and the person who spends a huge amount of time with your child.
By working with your child’s teacher, your child will get a better education and feel safe in the school environment. Kids love it when their parents get involved, especially if you have about an hour a week to volunteer in the classroom.
If you do volunteer, try and get the teacher to allow you to work with the kids. Copying and prep work is always helpful, but it means more to your child if you actually help with the teaching. If the teacher really needs help with their prep work and you’re feeling generous, volunteer an extra hour a week to help out. Or offer to take a few things home with you to be done and sent back the following day.
Be involved. Be your child’s biggest advocate. Be open and honest with your child’s teacher. These three things will help you work effectively with your child’s teacher. Please comment on any successful experiences you’ve had with a teacher. Share what you did and how it helped better your child’s school experience. I’d also happily answer any questions you have about this.
I don’t know about how things go in your house, but some weeks in my house it seems like I never get to sleep. I haven’t seen a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep in over four years. I know what you’re thinking, “HOW IN THE WORLD DOES THAT HAPPEN??” Well I’ll tell you…It all began when I was pregnant with my first baby. Now as you mommies well know, sleeping whilst pregnant is not an easy feat (especially in the later months). Post partum, part of my exhaustion was contributed to my decision to do attachment parenting; which I LOVE, but it’s hard to stay rested when your children are so close to you all the time (especially if they wiggle a lot).
The best advice I have for you on how to handle these pre-delivery days, is to sleep when and where you can. You have a hard battle ahead of you, so in order to be ready for the big “D-Day” you’ll need to sleep and rest up as much as you can. Take naps if you can…If not, go to bed early and try to get as much rest as possible. Some nights I slept on the couch with my back propped up by pillows (I had AWEFUL heartburn). One thing that also really helped was to sleep on my side with one of those big body pillows between my knees.
Try to relax! A nice warm bath is a great way to calm your nerves and ease achy bones and muscles from all of the extra weight you’re carrying. Maybe put a few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil in with you to help the process. I would take a bath nightly before bed, it really helped a lot! I would take a nice warm cup of chamomile herbal tea with me and sip it while in the tub to help with the relaxation as well. It’s important to take some nice deep breaths while you lie there in the water. It not only brings more oxygen to your brain and helps calm your mind; it’s great for the baby too.
After I had our beautiful son, we soon discovered that sleeping was not his strong suit. Some nights it seemed as if he would fall asleep just to wake up again five minutes after I got him back to sleep. This was all fine and good and I was able to cope OK, until I went back to work. I lost my afternoon nap and was having to get up earlier to make it to work on time. Now he’s four and still wakes up at least once a night. One choice my husband and I made as new parents was that we couldn’t handle letting him “cry-it-out”…we just couldn’t. So I always got up with him and we did a lot of co-sleeping.
Now we have two wee ones and neither one sleeps through the night on a regular basis. There are times when both of them are in bed with us making a mommy sandwich. My poor husband gets feet in his face and chest all night. Luckily he is understanding and patient with the kids. They tend to do better over the summer months when I’m home with them every day and we can have a solid routine. I know in my head that as they get older they will develop independence and good sleeping habits. I’m doing my best to guide them and teach them good sleeping habits.
If you are like me, and can’t handle the process of “sleep training” your baby, but need ways to cope with your exhaustion here is a short list of some of the things that I do to keep my head above the water:
Go to bed after the kids go down for the night. Even if you just go to read a book, go to bed. If I sit down and watch TV, I’ll be up much later than I should and make my exhaustion worse.
Take naps when you can. In the car (while hubby’s driving of course), on the weekends, whenever you have a few minutes to just close your eyes and let your brain turn off for a minute or two.
Eat healthy. Nothing makes exhaustion worse than a poor diet. Processed foods can create many digestive problems (heart burn, indigestion, diarrhea, etc.). Sometimes it’s hard to avoid these foods, but try not to eat them too much.
Take a break from time-to-time. Have someone watch the kids so you can take a walk, a nap, or even just a few moments at home to yourself.
If you can afford it, go get a massage. If you are able to enjoy the expensive kind of massages, sweet talk your hubby into giving you one. You deserve it!
I know it can be hard to admit when you’ve had too much or that you can’t take any more. Before you hit your breaking point, stop, step back, and get someone to help you. Even a couple minutes of quiet time can mean the world on a day when exhaustion is at its peak. I know I feel better when I get a chance to recharge my batteries. You will too! Life is too short to be serious and responsible ALL the time. Sometimes you just have to let a few things go, so that you can make it through your day.