A blog for new parents looking for healthy living and tips on raising their baby.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I Don't Love My Husband Like I Used To

My husband's laughter echoes throughout the dark house, as his hands graze lightly across my swollen belly. He eagerly waits, a hint of a smile still on his lips, and laughs again as a series of punches and kicks erupts from my midsection.

Like most soon-to-be parents, we found ourselves awake in the early hours before the sun rises, talking about how much our lives were going to change in any moment. After all, it was just a matter of time before our family grew by one whole person. We'd manage our way through the sleepless nights, we'd decided, and we could tackle the mountains of poop. As long as we had each other, we would succeed. Our love would never change. 

And then, our little boy was born.

And as I sit here and remember the final weeks of my pregnancy, I can't help but think how everything has changed.

I had no idea how much I would relish in the delighted screeches that now bounce along those same walls, as my son chases his daddy throughout the house. We imagined them. Oh, we couldn't wait to hear his little voice for the first time. But, how was I to know how much I would anticipate the sounds of my husband's tires in the driveway after work. Not because I needed a break, but because the sounds of my boys laughing as I cook dinner melt away any stresses of the day.

I could have never dreamed of the amount of love and pride my heart could simultaneously hold as we stood, with his arms around me, watching our son confidently take his first steps. It was impossible for me to predict how much my heart would burst for my husband, as I looked at our son.

This love, it's deeper. It's far stronger. It's so much bigger than I could've ever imagined.

Because, after a long day with a teething baby, and a mountain of laundry, he's the one I want to laugh hysterically with when our son does something hilarious. He's the one who understands that our kid has been a sassy-pants for the last two days, and he's the one who tells me to sleep in anyway.

Our love has changed.

We find deep joy in watching the amazement in our son's eyes as he sees a duck for the first time. We occupy ourselves with discussions about diapers, and toys, and potty training. We no longer have a  burning desire to sneak away, just the two of us, onto some great adventure. Because we're now a party of three, and our love has only multiplied.

Of course my love for him has changed. I knew it the instant I softly placed that 8-pound newborn into his arms. In that moment, I saw how miraculous life itself was, and I knew that parenthood was going to be an incredible journey. I am so lucky to be on it with my best friend.

Until next time,

Monday, August 22, 2016

Surviving the Road with a Toddler

It's been a few years since we made a trip to the beach, so you can imagine my excitement when my mother-in-law contacted us for a spur of the moment beach trip!

*Cue excited screech and happy dance*

Not only was I thrilled to dip my toes into that salty water, but I was even more excited because this was little A's very first trip to the beach! After 5 minutes of excitement, it really started to sink in. I had signed up for 8 hours worth of driving with my rambunctious, uncontainable 16-month-old.

Little A is still teething pretty hardcore (I mean, when is he not?), so I was definitely kind of worried about the trip. At the same time, it was settled, we were going to the beach. And, to the beach we went. And we had a wonderful time. Little A is a total water baby, so the salty waves were right up his alley. The water totally grossed him out, but it never stopped him from splashing and enjoying it.

Our little day road-trip consisted of a wide range of reactions from little A. From excitement and happiness, to sleeping, to screaming bloody murder-we dealt with it all. These are my top tips for surviving the road with a toddler.

1. Snacks

I don't know about you, but here in my house snacks are a lifesaver. Whether it be Cheerios or little bits of fruit, the best snacks are the ones your toddler can easily grab with their chubby fingers, and feed themselves. We have a little snack cup that I like to put things into so he can access them without a problem. Little A stayed pretty content with a sippy full of homemade juice, and some Cheerios!

2. Company

Halfway to the beach, we stopped and picked up one of my best friends. She has childcare experience, so I knew little A would have a blast around her. Thankfully, during the periods that he would begin to get fussy, she could soothe and distract him. It really was such a help to have her riding with us.

3. Fun

Honestly, I think the most important thing is to keep them busy. Toddler brains are active little things, so staring at the back of the car really isn't going to keep them happy for very long. We brought along several toys, especially ones that he hadn't played with in awhile. Next time, I think we're going to load some music and videos onto the iPad because I think that would be beneficial!

4. Pull Over

When it's all said and done, there is no shame in pulling over and calming your baby down. About halfway home, little A woke up and started crying. We were literally in the middle of nowhere, so we turned on some music and hoped to soothe him back to sleep. It wasn't working. In fact, the crying quickly escalated to screaming bloody murder so we had to pull off somewhere. After a quick nursing session, he was happily sleeping, and we were on our way.

Overall, I think it's just the work-up that really gets you going. I was so worried that he would be miserable the whole time that I was more anxious before the trip than during it! I'm so happy that we were able to go, and I think my little beach bum was too.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why You Won't Find Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) in my House

Yesterday, while browsing on Facebook, I stumbled upon an article talking about the possible link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy, and behavioral problems in children. The numbers of children and families affected by behavioral disorders are shocking. A whopping 6.4 million American children between 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, one of the most common disorders.

Studies like this really make me think.
"Oh no, there's really no harm that could come of taking some Tylenol when you have a headache" my OB told me, at 8 weeks pregnant. Of course, she wasn't intentionally trying to cause some random behavioral disorder in the tiny blob growing in my tummy, but how much do we really know about the pill we're swallowing down? My family and I definitely like to take a more natural approach to most things, so we haven't had Tylenol in our house for quite some time. But, the article I read on Facebook really made me want to start digging into the facts of one of the most over-used OTC pain-relievers, and share it with you.

Most people recognize acetaminophen, or for my UK readers paracetamol, under the brand name, Tylenol. However, this drug is found in numerous medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, and may be one of the most dangerous ones so readily available to you. In fact, it is the number one reason people call the Poison Control Center with over 100,000 calls per year. This harmless drug sends 56,000 people to the ER and accounts for nearly half of all acute liver failure in the US.

In 2014, the FDA issued a safety alert statement, recommending that health care professionals stop giving prescriptions with more than 325 mg of acetaminophen because taking more than 325 mg per dose of acetaminophen may not "provide additional benefit that outweighs the added risks for liver injury." Knowing this information now really makes me rethink all that extra strength Tylenol I've popped in my lifetime. With each pill at 500 mg, and the dosing at 2 pills every 6 hours, who knows what I've done to my liver.

Your liver is not the only thing affected by acetaminophen. Acetaminophen use, and accidental overuse, can wreak havoc on your skin-the largest organ you have. Acetaminophen has been linked to  two, potentially fatal skin conditions: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). These conditions cause severe blistering of the skin, and require hospitalization. To me, the scary thing is knowing how easy it is to take too much. 

Another thing I find interesting is how quickly Tylenol is recommended on teething infants. This is so strange to me, because in 2011 the FDA recommended that all infants' Tylenol remove their analgesic (pain-relief) claim, because there is no evidence that it relieves pain in children between 6 months and 2 years of age. 

As if all that evidence wasn't enough, the science behind glutathione and acetaminophen's impact on our body's production of it was enough to make me toss all the acetaminophen products our house had. Glutathione is considered the mother of all antioxidants. It has been praised as protecting the body from chronic illness. Glutathione detoxifies your body, recycles antioxidants, and is vital to the immune system. It protects against aging, cancer, and disorders like dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and autism. The only problem? With every dose, acetaminophen significantly decreases these levels in the body. Imagine what this is doing to you.

There are alternatives.

One of the most common reasons for Tylenol use is headaches. Headaches are also a tell-tale sign that your body is low in magnesium. Honestly, most Americans should be on a magnesium supplement anyway, as studies have shown that nearly half are severely deficient in it. A daily magnesium supplement is all I needed to stop my migraines during pregnancy. Coincidentally, adding a supplement to big A's routine actually stopped his brutal Charley Horses at night.

When taking Tylenol for aches and pains, it is very likely that there is inflammation in the affected area. Ginger has actually been proven to rival drugs like Ibuprofen and Motrin for its anti-inflammatory capabilities.

In our house, our favorite pain reliever is turmeric. Because of its active ingredient, curcumin, turmeric is an incredible pain reliever. Because of a car accident a couple of years ago, big A has a bit of back pain, and turmeric has made a world of difference in his life. He takes a daily supplement, as well as taking some if he notices any pain. I also cook with turmeric almost every day.

It's scary to me how little we really know about these medications that are so common and so easy to get. I just hope that as we know better, we do better.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 7, 2016

DIY All Natural Pedialyte

Last week, big A had a couple of days off work and we spent them downtown Pokemon hunting, and enjoying our first taste of bubble tea. It was such a wonderful few days off together, and something we all really needed. The night before big A was due to return to work, I noticed that little A felt a bit warm.

Now, little A has never had a fever before, so this was new territory for all of us. Early in the night, we woke to vomit-everywhere. Honestly, it was quite a scene.

A little side story: I hate vomit. Like, the very smell of it makes my stomach twist in disgust. So, it was a real plot twist when I was given a 'happy spitter' who spent the better half of his first 6 months of life vomiting.

Anyway, at that point, we knew he was sick. Burning up, nauseous, and just plain miserable. I spent most of that night holding him under the cool shower water, as it seemed to be the best for his tummy and his fever. This continued through the weekend, and little A refused everything. All food, all drink. Everything, except nursing. I've never really been so thankful for breastfeeding until that point. It was such a relief knowing that he was still staying hydrated.

As he began to get better, I offered basic, bland foods and water. It was suggested I offer Pedialyte as a way to replenish any lost electrolytes, but one look at the ingredients sent me running. I decided to do a little reading and create some of my own.

So, Pedialyte obviously isn't available everywhere. People in third-world countries don't have access to a Walmart down the street. The WHO and UNICEF have created guidelines necessary for an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) when someone is vomiting or has diarrhea. This is a simple, basic, three-ingredient drink with no extra fillers or preservatives. It's easy and can be made in less than 5 minutes.

5 cups filtered water
2 tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix everything together, and encourage your child to drink as much as possible. If you've ever had the Smart Water brand, the taste kind of resembles that to me. It just tastes like water, really. 

It's definitely scary when our kiddos are sick, and I'm so glad that little A is back to his happy, healthy self. 

Until next time, 


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Are Box Tops Really Worth It?

This is a sponsored post by General Mills. All opinions are my own.

As parents, we plan - a lot.
I'm constantly thinking about little A's future, his education, and how the decisions I make now can greatly affect him later.

He may only be 16-months-old, but I spend a fair amount of time thinking about his education. It is my job, as his mother, to ensure that I do everything possible to provide him with a variety of opportunities. It is every parent's dream to send their child to the best school, with the best rating, and the highest test scores. But, the truth of the matter is, not every family has access to a school like that.

The Public Education Crisis

Head out to any major city, talk to the people, and public education is bound to come up at some point. Many of our public schools are generating students that are falling behind, and parents are noticing. School officials have scrambled to uncover the reasons for their shortcomings and, despite numerous budget cuts and changes, many schools are discovering a harrowing issue: funding. 

Startling new findings show that as many as 1 in 3 public schools in the U.S. are overcrowded. This causes a disproportionate student-teacher ratio that, ultimately, hurts the kids. 

The biggest problem in this country is that many of the public-funded schools rely on varied income, like property tax. This results is huge disparity across the states. Schools in locations high in richer families tend to do very well. Then, we find schools, many located in larger cities, that are literally crumbling. This gap in funding could be as wide as over $10,000 per student, which is a terrifying thought to parents in poorer neighborhoods. 

But we have the chance to make a difference. Not only that, but we can make a difference where it matters most: our child's school.

I know you've heard of Box Tops for Education. And, I know you might be rolling your eyes right now. 
But seriously, you have no idea what your child's teacher could do with that $0.10. Think about how often you eat Cheerios, or Old El Paso Tacos. Every single box is another dime in the bank account of the school where your child spends a majority of their day. 

And now, as a way to kick off the back-to-school season, Walmart is offering FIVE boxtops on select products! 

I can already hear the dollar signs. 
Seriously, imagine for a second, if every parent was sending in their box tops. Imagine the school your child could attend. 

Not so out of reach now, is it?

Until next time, 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gluten-Free Chick-fil-A Sandwich Recipe

I may have mentioned it before, but my teenage self spent a little time working for Chick-fil-A. I honestly enjoyed it far more than you'd expect for a minimum wage fast-food joint. More than the experience though, I LOVED the food. I could devour chargrilled chicken sandwich, completely destroy a box of Chick'n Minis, inhale a spicy chicken sandwich...you get it.

But, a Celiac diagnosis destroyed all of that for my family. And though, we have never been healthier and my husband has never felt better, I still find myself missing some of my old gluten-filled indulgences.

So, after a particularly long day of Pokemon Hunting, we wanted something quick, easy, and delicious for lunch. For a few months now, I've been dying to sink my teeth into an incredible juicy and tender, but gluten-free, chicken sandwich. It's taken a few tries to really perfect my recipe, but I think I'd challenge CFA with this sandwich!

So without another wasted minute:

For the marinade:
1 cup pickle juice
1/2 cup almond milk

2 chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk
1.5 cups Pillsbury gluten-free flour
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 cups olive oil

1 package Schar gluten-free hamburger buns

So, you first want to start out by slicing your chicken breasts in half long-ways. Traditionally cut chicken breasts are just far too thick for a sandwich, and this way you're getting two sandwiches with one breast!

Toss your chicken, pickle juice, and milk into a bowl to marinate for an hour, if you're pressed for time. If you have a little while, I found that allowing it to sit in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours yields the best results. 

Once you've left it to marinate for a bit, you're ready to get started. 
Prepare for cooking by preheating oil on the stove over medium-high heat. For our first batch, I used coconut oil and was not impressed by the coconut taste. Olive oil gives a more authentic taste. 
Add milk and eggs directly into the bowl with the marinade, and stir lightly to coat the chicken. In a gallon Ziploc bag, add flour and spices. With tongs, transfer chicken from bowl to bag. Shake to coat. 

By now, the oil should be hot enough to start filling your house with a smell that will draw teenagers from their hideaways. 
Cook chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, then place on paper towel to soak up all excess grease. 

Guys, I have searched high and low for the BEST gluten-free buns on the market. Seriously, I must've tried every single bun available by now. 

Schar buns are DEFINITELY the way to go. I have never found a gluten-free bun that held together so perfectly-I often forget they're even gluten-free.

For an even more authentic experience, butter the bun (I used ghee!) and quickly heat it in a skillet. This softens everything, and just gives it a delicious taste.

Top with lettuce and pickles, and enjoy!

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I've really grown to love juicing so very much! Concocting and experimenting with my own flavors has become a strange obsession of mine, ha!

However, juicing can come with some strange side effects...