September 27, 2014

the birth of Quinn Calista

My due date with Quinn was June 30th.
On July 1st at 11:45 pm, I was uncomfortable, unhappy, and I desperately wanted a good night's sleep. I had been fighting restless leg syndrome for months, sleepless nights for almost my entire pregnancy, and had been experiencing contractions almost all night every night for 3 weeks.
I was 80% effaced, her head was in a zero position, but I was only dilated 1 cm after 3 weeks of contractions.
At midnight, I took a tylenol pm and laid down hoping to fall asleep for a few hours.
At 12:30 am, labor started.
Let's just say that the Tylenol PM was not the best way to start labor.

Although labor was not as intense and fast as I had experienced with Elliot, we knew it was the real deal and we got to the hospital around 1:30 a.m.
Hannah (my younger sister) met us at the hospital.
Holly (my beautiful friend and the photographer) arrived around 2:30 a.m.
This is where I was when she arrived.

photo credit: Holly Goertzen

health, wellness and Essential Oils

I didn't grow up in an au natural family.
And although I was raised in a well-educated environment, I didn't learn very much about the human body, health, or nutrition.

I used to drink a lot of pop. I'm surprised some of my friends didn't have an intervention for me. It was bad. And I'm going to tell you how bad, just to make a point. By the end of my Pop-Drinking Career, I was drinking a can of pop every class period at school. 7 pops at school. Plus probably more in the afternoon and evening.

I used to eat out a lot. Sugar, additives, preservatives...I never thought twice about it.
I honestly never really thought about what I was putting into my body.

I also used to be on a lot of medications.
For migraines I took excedrine migraine plus a prescription nasal spray.
I used to get strep throat every year at least once. Antibiotics, over the counter throat sprays, cough sytrups, the works.
I used to have terrible acne. I was on antibiotics for 3 years for that, plus topical cream.
Toe nail fungus.
Tooth decay.
Sore throats.
Dry skin.
Oily skin.
Restless legs syndrome.
Nausea during pregnancy.

There are so many various ailments the average person deals with, and in our culture today, the solution can easily be found in the multiple aisles at your local drugstore or even at Target!

A few years ago, I had reached a place of desperation. I was 25 years old, and my health situation was awful. I was rapidly gaining weight, depressed, exhausted, constantly stressed out, not sleeping well, and getting sick all the time.

God intervened in pretty amazing ways, but it started with small realizations.
I watched a few documentaries about food and wellness.
I started to think about getting the vitamins my body needed and avoiding harmful toxins that were hurting me.

We don't eat a perfectly "clean" diet, and there are still a few bottles of Windex in my cupboards, but for the most part we are making conscious decisions about what we bring into our home, and what we put in our bodies. It has been a complicated journey at times, but I feel so at peace with where we are in the process right now.

And man, we feel good.
Well, we feel better.
But the reality is, after twenty five years of toxins and very poor diet, my body still struggles a bit. Jeremy's body struggles. And our kids do still have various minor ailments.

That's why I am so excited about essential oils.
I don't believe that essential oils will fix every single ailment you can possibly face.
I think that your diet matters.
Your lifestyle matters.
Are you sleeping?
Are you eating well?
Do you have a healthy rhythm to your life?
All of that matters. But in my home, even with a conscious pursuit of health and wellness, we still face minor aches and pains. And in situations where I don't want to immediately go to the doctor for a prescription drug, essential oils have become a very positive alternative!

I had really bad restless legs during pregnancy. Really really bad restless legs. 
A friend recommended an essential oil for my legs. And lo and behold, it worked.

Then, I had a really bad tooth ache. Actually, make the tooth achesAn infected root canal, an infected crown, and three cavities. Nausea during two pregnancies turned into a whole lot of calcium deficiencies.
I am in the process of getting those teeth taken care of, but until then, using On Guard on my teeth has helped SO.MUCH with the tooth aches!

Quinn was breathing really thick at night. It sounded mucousy and I was worried. So I used a little bit of Breathe on her chest and her feet. And I kid you not, within 2 minutes she was breathing completely differently. It really opened up her airways and the heavy snoring sound went away completely!

Jeremy was having chest pain. He was born premature and his heart has always been weak. He has occasional flutters or irregular heartbeats, but this was different. It was really worrying us, because it hurt him really bad and it wasn't going away. After 3 weeks, we did a bit of research and from what we could tell, a virus had settled in his heart.  We decided to try On Guard since that has been known to fight viral infections. And after 3 days, his heart pain was gone.

The stories just keep coming. And doesn't it make sense?
If you think about it, God created plants and herbs with medicinal qualities because he knew we would need them! Why we ever got away from using them, I don't know. But I am finding so much joy in returning to a natural way of treating the things that I used to treat with Nyquil or Tylenol!

dōTERRA's essential oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, which means that they test every single batch of oils several times to ensure quality and purity.

I can't promise that essential oils will fix every single ailment in two days or less.
But I can tell you that we are on a fixed income and every single penny counts. We would not be spending any money on essential oils if we were not seeing positive and meaningful results.

We are investing in oils because we want to provide health and wellness for our daughters in the safest and most natural way possible. Based on my research and experience we believe that the best way to prevent illness, treat minor issues, and help maintain overall health and vitality is through the daily use of essential oils.

:: I am a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate who receives Bonuses and commissions from the Company. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. ::

September 8, 2014

no regrets

​Dear Future Me,

First off, you look so healthy and alive... are you finally sleeping again? How long did it take for the corpse-like dark circles under your eyes to go away? And how are those stretch marks looking? Still funky and crinkly? Oh well. You look SO HOT and its very obvious you now shower on a regular basis. You probably even shaved your legs this week. Nobody needs to see your stomach.

Future me, I am writing today for the sake of all young moms you will encounter ten years from now. I am also writing for you, Future Me. Because I know that you look back on this season I am in right now, and you feel regret. Regret and wistfulness and nostalgia and perhaps (Lord help us) baby fever.

(Side note: Future me, you are 37 years old, and it is not time for you to have a baby. Buy a puppy. Or a goldfish, since you really don't like pets and I'm sure that hasn't changed. Wait, We don't have a dog in 10 years do we? Please tell me it's an outdoor dog. Oh Lordy, Future Me, you are really stressing me out.)

Deep breath.
Okay, back to the topic at hand: regret.

Future Me, ten years from now, I have a feeling you are are looking back on this season and feeling regret. You sit around a table at Mum's with all of your 37 year old friends, 3 years away from a mid-life crisis, and you go around the circle saying things like:

I wish I would have held my baby more often.
I wish I wouldn't have stressed out about keeping the house clean.
I wish I would have gone on more dates with my husband.
I wish I wouldn't have felt like I needed to always be working side jobs.
I wish I would have soaked in those early years...they just grow up so fast.
And you are going to cry, because Future Me, there is no way 10 years will have changed the fact that you cry about everything. No chance.
You say "Elliot is 12 years old. She's almost a teenager! Why didn't I take more time to play with her?" And you and your friends all shake your collective heads and sigh and share all of the reasons why you feel like you didn't savor Young Mommyhood.

Future Me, here is what you need to know. It may feel like you have a lot of things to regret, but the truth is, there's a lot you have forgotten. You don't remember soaking it in because right now I/You/We are FREAKING EXHAUSTED and our brain Does.Not.Work. You may not remember soaking it in, which is why this letter is so important.

Future Me, You DID love your life. You DID take time to play with your babies. You did SO MUCH to love your family well.  You did hold your babies - a lot. You held them while you cooked. You held them while you pooped. You held them while you ate. You held them at church, at mums, at Usborne Parties, even when you gave that talk to the Women's Group last week! You wore them in slings, you toted them around, you rocked them, you snuggled them, you kissed their yucky unbathed faces. You did NOT bathe your children, but you DID hold them and kiss them and snuggle the living daylights out of them

Future Me, the reason you wanted the house clean was because YOU LIVED IN IT. ALL DAY. From 7 am to midnight, you were in that house. You needed it to be clean for your own sanity. You didn't scour the house. You barely swept it. All you did was pick up toys occasionally, do laundry, and once in a while clean the mirrors with your toddler. It wasn't overboard. You weren't OCD. You just wanted to maintain a tiny bit of peace and calm in the chaos of having 2 babies in 2 years.  And also, Future Me, you cleaned with your daughters. You let Elliot play with water while you did dishes. You let her unfold your laundry while you raced ti fold it faster than she could unfold it. You let her help you vacuum. You swept together. You took out the trash together. You do not need to regret basic cleanliness.
Future me, here's the deal. You and your husband were not poor. Not in the global sense. And you knew that. I LOVE MY LIFE, Future Me. I wouldn't change a thing. But sometimes I eat oatmeal twice a day to save money. And sometimes we don't go on dates because we would rather support missionaries than pay for babysitters. And sometimes your health isn't great and your husband chooses to buy you doTerra oils instead of taking you out to a movie. It's FREAKING SEXY to have healthcare, Future Me. Don't forget how sexy your husband was when he worked so hard to pay for your chiropractic care. And don't regret all of the hours you sat on the couch watching the Office with your Best Friend. Remember that episode when Jim pops into the interview room and asks Pam on their first date? Remember how Pam gets tears in her eyes, and you and Jeremy looked at each other and were both crying? yeah. That's a sexy free date and you loved it. Don't forget that you loved couch dates.

Future Me, you don't regret selling Usborne Books. You don't regret working side jobs. You don't regret substitute teaching. It's hard sometimes, and it's definitely busy. But Future Me, I am fighting SO.HARD. to stay home with my babies for as long as possible. I'm building a home library for them so I can hopefully be a homeschool mom. I'm trying to make a difference for the Kingdom. I'm busy, and somedays I hate it, but even when it sucks, I love it. I love it, Future Me, and we don't regret any it (except maybe the oatmeal...)

Future Me, you are soaking in the early years. You play with "agua" with Elliot ALL.THE.TIME. You sing songs in the car. You speak Spanish to your girls. You laugh. You steal glances in the rear-view mirror and make her giggle. You snuggle Quinn all the time. You co-sleep with her, even though it's hard sometimes. You nurse her in the middle of the night. You get her to smile and coo. You and Jeremy are constantly telling each other how much you love your life.

Future Me, some of what you remember is true. You watched a lot of PBS, and barely ever showered, and ate a lot of hot dogs. But Future Me, you were awesome. You did a great job. And you have nothing to regret.

So when you're talking to young mommies who are in the middle of this chaos, who are fretting about potty training and cosleeping and mucousy coughs and whether or not to use antibiotics, please, for the love of St. Peter, do not say "Oh, but it goes so fast, just soak it in because these years will be gone so soon!"

It's true, the years do go fast. But young moms know that. They cry about it all the time.
Here's what mommies need to hear when they are IN IT. Here's what I need to hear.

"Young Mommy, You're doing great. You might not remember all of the small moments that feel so repetitive and insignificant, but they mean so much to your children! Watching Daniel Tiger with your 2 year old matters. Shielding your 2 year old from Calliou matters. Rocking that baby that won't take a nap if she's not 2 inches from you boob... it matters. Picking grapes and granola out of the EFFING DINGING ROOM CARPET (kind of) matters. And you are a ROCK STAR for doing all of the little things 200 times every day. Your children love you. Your husband loves you. You are a great mom, and I can tell you are doing everything possible to love your babies well. You won't regret it."