Post Office Tales - Part 1

It seems lately that people want to comment on my children while at the post office.

The first incident happened months ago and I truly meant to sit down and write about it - because it touched me. The second happened maybe a week ago. Both caught me off guard!

* * * * *

We were standing in line waiting to pay for our packages when the girl ahead of us smiled sweetly and started making conversation. "Ahh, they're so cute." You know, the usual. I don't know if she was married or had children of her own - I think neither - and we chatted for a second. All of a sudden, she broke my train of thought.

"That's really neat that they're so close together."

I can honestly say I've never once had that thought cross my mind. Our girls are five years apart. Five years and nine days. Close together??

I let the conversation roll around in my head for a while as I reflected and a new sense of gratitude washed over me.

All those years of waiting, hoping, crying. I never once thought, "Oh gosh, this is just so neat...I wonder what God will do." It was more, "What in the world are you doing? Why are you screwing everything up?"

Her words threw me.

Yes they may argue at 7 and 2; they may clash in ways that siblings closer together might not, but it IS neat. It's neat that they are together at all. It's neat that after four losses in four years, God granted us our heart's desire for a second child. It's neat that they are SISTERS and have each other. It's very neat.

Sometimes we simply need to flip our perspective. Easier said than done right? Another person looking from the outside-in may see our situation painted completely opposite how we view it. And give us something to be grateful for.

I think God plants people into our lives - even complete strangers - to do this for us at times. So be on the lookout. Be open to experiencing a shift in how you view your situation when the opportunity presents itself. I will probably always remember this girl's words that day and the new perspective they gave me.

When I'm tempted to wonder, "Why did it work out like that?" I can think instead, 

"Wow, that's really neat!"


10 Tips to Eat More

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Weight gain!

It's not a common goal, but is one I have become increasingly interested in over the past few months. Having been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and MTHFR, plus the addition of an ectomorph body type, I have always struggled to gain weight or muscle the way that I would like.

I finally decided to begin a program called Bony to Bombshell, which you can read more about here. Unfortunately for many with this struggle, it's not as easy as saying, "Just eat more!" So many variables are involved and every individual is different! Since beginning B2B back in November, and through my own additional research plus trial and error, I have compiled a list of tips for those looking to eat more and gain weight.

Below is part one of a three-part series. Let's begin!

  1. Don’t drink with meals. Drinking too much liquid with meals can fill you up before your food does! So easy does it. Have a few sips throughout your meal but don't guzzle down 16 ounces while you're eating. Drinking too much with meals can also affect your digestion.

  2. ADD in liquid calories! I know, I just said, DON'T drink with meals. Instead, drink in-between them! Drinks like almond milk, orange juice, and protein shakes can provide extra calories with minimal effort. Eat your cereal with milk, orange juice with breakfast and a protein shake for an afternoon snack. Liquid calories go down quickly and can bump up your intake without making you feel too full.

  3. ADD in healthy fats. Healthy fats are your new BFF. Peanut butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, and nuts are great options. Slather peanut butter on a banana or add to a protein shake, cook meats and roast veggies with coconut or avocado oil and snack on nuts. Choose your favorite! Cashews, almonds, and pistachios are all good. f you've never tried a salt & pepper pistachio, you're missing out.

  4. Snack on trail mix. Buy a big bag and portion it out. My favorite is Prana - Kilimanjaro Deluxe Chocolate Mix. I get it at Costco! It's gluten-free and dairy-free and full of chocolate. Because that's the best part of trail mix anyways, right? Trail mix is easy to eat and packs a big calorie punch in a small bite.

  5. Stack on to your salads! Salads don't have to be just a "diet food." They can still be a source of micro-nutrients and fiber. Add in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado, oils + dressings to bulk yours up. Toss in meats, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, or dried or fresh fruit. On a weight-gain diet, salads shouldn't constitute a large portion of your food, but every now and then it's OK!

  6. Drink OJ with b-fast instead of water. I feel like I'm contradicting myself here but orange juice can be a great calorie booster. It contains sugar which can stimulate your appetite to eat or drink more. Have a bit with breakfast instead of water or coffee, just don't drink 2 cupfuls!

  7. Make your own healthy desserts! When you make your own, you can control what goes into them. For me I want them to be gluten-free and dairy-free. Eating dessert is a great way to add in calories and hey, it tastes great! Rachel Mansfeld is incredible at creating delicious sweet treats that are good for you too.

  8. Eat dessert. Get into the habit of having some dessert after lunch or dinner, ideally both. Eat homemade donuts and banana bread for snacks or buy a box of your favorite gluten-free cookies. This variety pack is AMAZING and I don't feel bad snagging one for breakfast now and then. Enjoy!

  9. Eat before bed. Don't go to bed hungry! Cereal with almond milk, banana, and peanut butter is one of my favorite pre-bed snacks. I don’t do as well with large amounts of protein right before bed, so I try to stick to mostly carbohydrates and fat. Choose something you like and that works for you. Forget the old recommendation of not eating two hours before bed. If you're trying to gain weight, you need to eat. 

  10. Eat foods you LIKE! This is not the time to force-feed yourself raw carrots and broccoli. Actually, there's never a good time for that. If you like the food you're eating, you're more likely to eat it! While your weight-gain diet should still be comprised of mostly healthy choices, and remain balanced, that doesn't mean it can't taste good. So build your meals and snacks around the foods you love. And eat up!

Coming soon...part 2! Got a comment or question? Drop it below or contact me via my contact page.

Stay in Touch!

Whole30 RECAP!

I finished my Whole30 over three weeks ago but never sat down to write the final recap post! It feels longer than that!

Overall, I AM glad I chose to do a second Whole30 and am SUPER glad I had a group of women doing it with me for support! When I decided to embark on this challenge, I posted about it on Facebook and asked if anyone else was interested in joining me and it turns out, they were! It was so amazing having that support and accountability, especially during the (surprisingly rare) times where I thought, I don't know if I can keep going.

The Whole30 is an experience like none other and I highly recommend it for anyone who is wanting a dietary re-set, looking to feel better physically, or hone in on possible food intolerances. It eliminates grains, dairy, added sugars and unhealthy fats but lets you eat your FILL of meats, fish, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats. There are soooo many resources out there now to help you meal plan and find new ways to mix and match meals within the confines of the program rules. Since I was already eating a mostly whole foods diet, it was not a hard adjustment for me in some regards. In others, I struggled.

Let's talk about some of that!

1) I got tired of sweet potatoes. Though it's possible to vary your SP intake between whole, mashed, roasted, shredded, etc. it's still a sweet potato. The Whole30 rules do allow you to eat white potatoes now but I found that they were causing symptoms for me personally. More on this later and it's tie-in with autoimmunity.

2) I struggled with carb intake. I've always felt I do better with a slightly higher carb intake than some might call for on a paleo diet which is why although I never eat gluten, I have eaten rice, beans, corn tortillas, etc. at my meals for variety and extra CARBS. On Whole30 though, those things are out. It was hard for me to feel like I was getting enough carbohydrate all the time through sweet potato, bananas and other fruits and squashes. Now that Whole30 is over, I find myself in that same place due to the fact that my body isn't responding well to the carbs I used to add in. I'm still trying to wade through that process.

3) My sleep wasn't great. A lot of people report better sleep at some point during their Whole30 and again, I've found that carbs help me sleep! I have quite a few different health issues going on right now so it's hard to pinpoint exactly one thing on the sleep. Hormones, a possible autoimmune diagnosis, and getting glutened once on Whole30 (In my own house! How does that happen?) can all lead to poor sleep. 

It wasn't ALL gloom + doom though! There were some good things!

1) I tried new foods! I made plantain chips, turmeric roasted carrot and parsnip FRIES, and fell in love with GOLDEN MILK at night - which did help me sleep some! (Almond milk, dates, ginger, and turmeric.) I made my own MAYO! And was introduced to Tessemae's dressings!

2) I felt my blood sugar regulate. Instead of waking up starving or feeling like I constantly needed to munch all day or snack between meals, I easily began to make it from b-fast to lunch and lunch to dinner with little eating in-between. I felt satisfied by my meals and didn't feel lethargic afterwards with sugar cravings on top.

3) I took pretty pictures. I created a #katiswhole30 hashtag on Instagram where I can look back for inspiration at some of my Whole30 meals.

During the final week and a half of my Whole30 I had to fight off some PMS and cravings for sweets which I did with some almond-coconut-date cookies (recipe on Insta!) I probably ate too many but hey - I made it through without chocolate or going off-plan. I did have one super hard HORMOTIONAL day in there where I didn't know if I was going to pull through but I did. Now that super dark chocolate is back in my life - it's alllll goooood. :>

Whole30 re-set my body and cravings which is what it is designed to do! Along with the testing I'm currently undergoing with my functional medicine doctor, it helped show me what I can and cannot bring back into my diet without consequence. I have brought sugar back in by way of some honey, maple syrup and dark chocolate. But I'm OK with that for now. This timeline is such an accurate depiction of what you might experience while on Whole30 and I found it to be so true for me at points along the way. There is definitely a 21 day interlude!! But oh the satisfaction when you hit DAY 30! And you know that you've done it!! #allthepraisehands

Have you ever done a Whole30 before? Would you consider it?

Let's Be Friends!

Whole30 Week 3, Recap

Whole30 is over THIS. WEEK. So, I'm late as usual on the recap but so it goes.

Week three was a good one. My crazy weird bladder flares finally went away and I felt pretty good in general. Really good at times! Both my moods and blood sugar have felt more stable which is a huge win. I can easily go from meal to meal without getting cranky / hangry and I haven't even missed sugar all that much. The past week has been a bit different in that regard though as I knew I was coming up on my period and when I'd typically be craving more junk and yes, sugar. Surprisingly I really haven't craved CHOCOLATE all that much. Maybe it's because my micro-nutrients are UP (magnesium?) and less sugar begets less sugar <cravings.>

I tried some new foods like parsnips, made my own Paleo mayo and experimented with turmeric milk. YuM. I did go through what the Whole30 timeline calls, "The Interlude" around day 21 where the thought of yet another compliant food or meal is enough to make you want to just not eat. But I got through it. My advice on those days is to just. get. through. it. Eat. And go to bed and wake up to another day. And try new recipes! That's a life-saver on Whole30 and a must. 

I'm feeling a tiny bit anxious on life after Whole30 and not sure yet how I'll reintroduce foods and whether it will be formal or not. We shall see. I can't believe I'm almost done!

Whole30 Week 2, Recap

I knew if I didn't sit down and write this, I'd blink and it would be week 3! Today is day 17 and I'm officially over halfway through my second Whole30. Crazy!

I haven't gotten food-bored yet, except maybe when it comes to carbs. Because let's face it - your main source of dense higher-carb foods comes from sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and some fruit. How many different ways can I make sweet potatoes?

Diced and roasted, pureed with coconut milk and cinnamon, shredded like hash browns, whole, mixed in with white potatoes? Fun, Fun, Fun.

I've still had some hit or miss sleep and bladder pain, which got rather annoying. I'm not sure what during Whole30 triggers this but I think it happened last time too? I plan to chat with my doctor about it. Don't worry, I don't think these are "normal" Whole30 woes, just part of my makeup and being super sensitive to stuff and changes and all that.

I still feel like my blood sugar is super-stable and I don't feel hungry between meals. This is a HUGE WIN to me and means that i'm hugging that balanced blood sugar line a lot closer which is what my doctor wants. {praise hands!} I used to wake up feeling like I HAD to eat asap and now I don't. Even though I do try to eat within an hour of waking up which is a good policy for anyone I think.

I plan to try and pull out some new recipes for this second half so that I don't get bored.

Week 3, here we go!

Whole30 Week 1, Recap

For my first Whole30 two years ago, I wrote a quick daily recap which was kind of neat to read back over the other day. This time, I've decided weekly will suffice. Something about having two kids...

Today is day 8! Officially over 1/4 of the way through. Here's how its gone so far:

Food wise, it really hasn't been that tough. I feel like I'm at a place where the majority-ish of what I eat is real, whole food so it's not a complete overhaul; instead more of a tweaking here and there. No more Mission tortilla chips, no more chocolate, no more gluten-free cereal before bed.

The first few days were a little rough in that I had some uncomfortable symptoms and trouble sleeping. I found a super interesting article one night (while not sleeping) that discussed just WHY you may have trouble when beginning a Whole30 which put my mind and body to rest a little. You can check it out here

I just geek out over this kind of science!

As far as the other "uncomfortable-ness," it's not something I talk a lot about but one of the things I have dealt with over the past few years is some bladder irritation and possibly IC, intersticial cystitis. This is another blog post for another time and I don't have it completely all figured out yet. But my bladder is pretty sensitive and if I eat gluten, it doesn't like it. I'm still looking into autoimmune related issues and I did have one friend tell me that for some people, changing their diet to AIP for instance (autoimmune protocol) can trigger a flare. Think of "flare" as a bladder spasm feel in this case with lots of frequency / urgency. Fun stuff huh?! Anyways, when you cut out sugar, up your protein and fat, things change inside and I think I was probably half reacting to that and half reacting to some hormonal shifts. Good times all in all. But not really. 

I was actually starting to get worried but it's gotten better. I started making sure dinner included a nice amount of carbs and turning off my phone an hour before bed and relaxing in a warm epsom salt bath like I usually do. It worked. Better sleep!

Now, as far as week 1 benefits! (hopefully I didn't lose you with all the bladder talk. Isn't it an awkward word?) What's even more awkward is dealing with it at 34. Between it, MTHFR and my newly near-diagnoses-of-almost-Celiac, it gets kind of crazy town.

I really feel pretty good. I can tell my blood sugar is stable and more balanced because I can go longer between meals or snacks. I don't feel the need to snack like I did before or constantly eat all day. I don't wake up hungry with that low blood sugar feel. I don't feel tired after eating. My digestion has improved. I'm having fun trying new recipes like carrot fries with turmeric or salty kale chips. Tonight I did dip plantain chips into almond butter - hey O! That was good. But that's another thing the Whole30 does. It messes with YOUR MIND. Things start to taste good. Things like plantain chips in almond butter. #yumyum

I'm excited to keep going. Bring on week 2!

10 Tips to Rock Your Whole 30!

We all know beginning a Whole 30 can seem daunting. Thirty days of delicious, pure, whole foods? No ice cream?! I know, I know. But trust me. You CAN do this!

All it takes is a little preparation and a whole 'lotta mindset. With that in mind, here are ten tips to help you get started.

1) Clear out the foods you WON’T be eating.

  • Put them away, give them away, or throw them away. Just move them out of sight. And if your whole family won’t be completing the Whole d30 with you...

2) Create a separate shelf in your pantry and fridge for your Whole 30 approved foods.

  • Choose one that's in your line of sight so that you can see what you’ve got as soon as you open the door.

3) Tell your family and friends what you’re doing!

  • You’re going to need their support, especially from the ones that LIVE with you. Ask them politely not to offer you non-Whole 30 approved foods during these 30 days.

4) Google, Google, Google.

  • Not sure if a food is safe to eat while on Whole 30? Your new best friend is going to be Google. You can literally type in “xyz food, Whole 30” and get multiple links to an answer that has probably been asked before.

5) Whip out a calendar and start looking at the month ahead.

  • What upcoming events and gatherings do you have? Start thinking now about how you will navigate, bringing your own food, eating beforehand, etc.

6) Utilize Pinterest, Instagram, and yes Google again to find recipes, meal plans, and more.

  • Type in “Whole 30 Breakfasts” on Pinterest or use hashtags on IG like, #whole30meals or #whole30approved - There is a LOT out there!

7) Write down 5 quick and easy meals that will be your “go-to” when you’re tired, short on time, hangry, and can’t think of what else to make.

  • Post it on the fridge where you will SEE it! Example: rotisserie chicken, baked sweet potato fries, salad. OR, Omelet with veggies + fruit.

8) Post a list of non-food activities to choose from when you’re stressed, bored, or just need a distraction to ride out a craving.

  • (Take a walk, call a friend, paint your nails, take a bath, stretch, do yoga, sip some hot tea.)

9) Write out your goals.

  • WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? What do you hope to achieve? Do you want to sleep better? Have more energy? Squash your inner sugar demons? Figure out which foods are giving you trouble and contributing to symptoms? Whatever your reasons, write them down and refer back to them when you start to feel discouraged (you will) or are tempted to quit.

10) Know that you CAN do this!

  • You are not giving up ice cream forever - just for 30 days. You are CHOOSING to fill your body with whole, unprocessed foods that are going to nourish you and provide your body with ingredients it recognizes. And at the end of 30 days, you will be so glad that you did! You can do it! You can do it! You can do it! Yay!!!

You Do Know How to Eat - Sort Of

I felt like, "People don't know how to eat" might have been a little too broad-sweeping. Obviously, you know how to eat - you've been doing it for years and there are people out there who have dialed in and nailed down a way of eating that helps them feel their best, bring them joy, or that works for them outside of either of those two things. But some of the statements I hear or read make me think that others are still struggling.

Things like, 

"My co-worker just started a 500 calorie diet."

"I'm not working out or eating well, and my body is starting to hurt."

"I really want a cookie. But I know I can't have one - help!"

"I ate pizza today instead of a salad. I failed."

"When I exercise I am always starving and I need to try and curb that hunger."

Misconceptions about health and fitness abound! And it bothers me to know that depression, anxiety, poor sleep, mood disorders, hormone and fertility issues, and more are directly affected by what we eat. Instead of looking to our diets, we too often treat those things with prescription or over-the-counter drugs or go on restrictive and otherwise unbalanced diets to achieve better health. (And not that medicine does not have it's place - it certainly does.) But what I want is to crack the door open on another resource - your FOOD! There's a better way!

Thankfully you don't have to have a degree in Nutrition to figure it all out. Your body and how it reacts to what you eat provide an excellent road map if you'll stop to take a look - and listen. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I at a healthy weight for my body, height, frame?

  • Do I have joint aches and pains on a consistent basis?

  • Do I feel energized after eating, or tired?

  • Am I happy with my current health and body?

  • Am I sleeping well?

  • Do I need caffeine to stay awake and alert throughout the day and sleeping pills to go to sleep?

  • Is my digestion regular? 

  • Have I given up on the thought that my body could function at an ideal level and that food could make me feel GOOD?

  • Do I believe that to achieve health, I have to eat perfectly or give up anything fun, sweet, or yummy-tasting?

What's your score? =) JK. It's not a test. But your answers to the questions above are telling. And will start to give you a look inside as to how your body functions and the state of your health.

I'm excited to dive into and begin to talk about the things I've learned over the past several years and some key changes to my health and diet that have made a huge difference in my day to day life and well-being. I hope you'll come along!






February 1st and Some Writing Stuff

Hi! It's me.

I don't even know how to start this thing. The longer you go without doing something, the harder and more awkward it is to start. As the new year approached, I promised myself I was going to start writing more and growing my blog. It made my "More Of" list which was basically a brain-dump of things I wanted more of in my life in 2017. <the baby's crying and I just looked at her and said, "How am I supposed to do this? This is why I don't write."> But I know that's just an excuse. We make time for the things in life that are important to us and we find time when we decide the time is going to be there. For real though, I'm going to have to go lay her down. brb.

No nap. Just applesauce.

As I was some point I have to stop talking about writing and actually write. I loved this by Jon Acuff in his book START,

"I was scared to write a book. Talking about it was easier and safer than trying it and possibly finding out that I didn't have what it takes. I had clutched apathy like a shield to my chest for years, pretending I didn't really care about writing a book. I was also lazy."

I won't say that I've been completely lazy as I do have a thirteen month old who I carried around for nine months, birthed and then waded through a postpartum haze with but I have been scared. And yes, some pretending that writing isn't a deep-seeded passion of mine that I enjoy. Or that I think I'm half-way good at. Or that I long to use as a vehicle to help other people. Mostly I just think about it a lot.

Oh, man, I should write about that!

Seriously, that would make a great topic.

One day I'll write...and then I don't. Instead I check social media for the umpteenth which is getting you and I both no closer to our goals or health. But it is more fun! And feels less scary.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of talking to one of my favorite girlfriends. She told me I could I be her "food therapist" because our topic often turns to food, and healthy life and how do we do it? I said, "That's what my blog will be! Food Therapy!" And I admit one of the things that keeps me from writing is not knowing how it will all turn out or what it should look like. Health Blog? Lifestyle? Just food? Family anecdotes and cute stories about my girls? Do I need to come up with all my material and post it all at once? It needs to be perfect, right?! But I don't KNOW it all so can I even do this? <That's what it sounds like in my brain.>

Referencing my good buddy Jon again, I don't need to worry about all that. I just need to start. I need to find thirty minutes and write. That's it. Don't worry about what it's all going to look like or where it might lead, just start and the path will reveal itself.

My passion is food. And nutrition. And the recurring thought I have that sounds condescending but really isn't is this:

People don't know how to eat.

They don't know what they should be eating, how they should be eating, or how to achieve a healthy weight. They give up on day 3 of whatever current diet they're on because it's all too exhausting and complicated and I'll just go back to doing whatever it is I was doing that has me no closer to a healthy, fulfilling life. A life in which food plays a fun and non-stressful role and that doesn't require me thinking about it 24/7 to look good or feel good. They don't know how to eat for life.

And I want to help with that. 

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, believe me, I don't. There are a lot of things I'm not very good at. I used to be neat and organized; now my house is often a mess. (I'm getting better!) Decorating is not my forte. Neither are little girl hairstyles. But food, I kind of get. And I continue to learn more every day. I'm passionate about helping YOU understand that what you EAT every day affects you more than you realize! And it's possible to use food as your ally and see it less as an enemy. Can we do that together?

I need you to ask me when you see me, "Are you writing?" Because clearly I need some accountability. Or - you can always comment on a blog post and say, "Keep it up!" That works too. :> And if you care nothing about food or learning how to eat, I'll be sure to throw stories about the girls in as well. 

It's February 1st! The month of lovvve. Go love yourself.

Eat breakfast.

Nursing the First Year

As we approach Krosby's first birthday I wanted to take some time and write about our nursing journey and what it has meant to me as her mama. I know everyone's story is different, not every mom wants or chooses to breastfeed and some are not able to. But for me it is something that has been extremely special and meaningful and that I feel has such big payoff!

As with all things motherhood, varying thoughts and opinions on the subject abound but here are some of the reasons I chose to not only start but stick with it.

{I want to give a disclaimer of sorts ahead of time. :> If you didn't or couldn't b-feed for any number of reasons, let's still be friends! I don't think you're a bad or weird person. I think you're a GREAT mama. You did what you felt was best for you and your baby. I don't want to spend an entire blog post couching each statement with "but it's ok if you didn't!" These are my reasons, my story and my hope is to perhaps educate, inspire, and/or simply relate the part that it has played in our lives. We're individuals with unique life experiences! If my story or opinions are different than yours, it's OK.}

1. It felt natural. Breastfeeding is part of God's design! Biologically, our bodies are designed to nurse babies and wouldn't you know it, when the baby is born you body goes to work to prepare sustenance for this new little life. Amazing sustenance that is specially formulated to be the right proportion of immune-boosting nutrients, the perfect temperature and a comfort for their sudden exposure to the outside world.

2. It's less work, eventually. Breastfeeding is not easy, until it is. It's hard at first! There are many challenges, especially as a first time mama that make you want to give up. Soreness, trouble latching, baby falling asleep, just getting the hang of it, mastitis, clogged ducts. But - if you can work through those issues one by one and have an awesome support team behind you, it really does get easier! And once you both have the hang of it, it. is. a. breeze. You can work on your phone while feeding your kid. Or better yet, doze off! There's no worrying about bottles to pack, how many you need, will we run out, etc. As long as mom is there, you're good! 

3. The health benefits are huge. For baby and mama. Babies have less colds and viruses at such a tiny stage in life and also a reduced risk of developing chronic conditions later in life. It reduces the risk of SIDS. For mama, it can mean stronger bones, a huge calorie burn (helping your body return to it's pre-pregnancy size sooner - this is true for some women, not all) and lowers the risk for certain cancers. 

4. You save money. Breastfeeding is FREE!!! And all the budget-loving daddys said "Amen." The cost of formula over the first year can add up to anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on brand. 

5. It's a great way to lower stress and fend off postpartum depression.

"Motherhood, and specifically breastfeeding - the most central physiological act of mothering during infancy, changes you because it literally alters your brain - structurally, functionally, and in many ways, irreversibly."

While nursing, oxytocin levels increase, which is the hormone responsible for breast milk and is the same chemical released in the brain when a person falls in love. Breastfeeding mamas were seen to release less stress hormones in certain situations.

"The nursing response of the oxytoxin circuits is reinforced by the feeling of pleasure created by bursts of dopamine - the pleasure and reward chemical. Dopamine is jacked up in the mother’s brain by estrogen and oxytocin. The mother’s blood pressure drops, she feels peaceful and relaxed, and she basks in waves of oxytocin-inspired loving feelings for her baby. This neurological mechanism explains one of the ways that breastfeeding reduces the risk of a mom developing postpartum depression"

This is a big deal to me as I did suffer with postpartum depression very badly after my first daughter was born. At the time, I knew nothing about MTHFR, or that I needed to change up my diet and supplements. I feel very confident that nursing has helped make me a calmer, happier mama in light of all the struggles and challenges that first year brings. 


I do remember one day specifically wanting to quit. Krosby was projectile spitting up a LOT and I was over it. And it had only been a few days! I didn't know why it was happening, I was tired (I'm sure) and beyond frustrated. I scanned the formula aisles. Holy crap! That much for one container? I knew in my heart I wanted to keep going. And she stopped spitting up. I needed to change the way I was feeding her for a time, and it worked magically. We did some slight block feeding and that did the trick. It is so super important to have a support system in place and to know WHY you are wanting to breastfeed in the first place. It might seem inconsequential at the time, but during those first early months and as long as you wish to continue, the health and bonding benefits are HUGE! Nursing positively affects a baby's gut health which will play a part in his or her future health many years down the road. 

An antibody found in milk, SIgA, helps set up a healthy intestinal tract environment so that the baby is better equipped to handle environmental problems later on.

“We now recognize more and more that factors in breast milk influence the gut microbiota, which in turn sets up the immune system to have fewer chronic illnesses later in life...” 

These are just some of reasons breastfeeding has become such a priority to me. I dealt with mastitis early on {where I felt like I had the flu / woke up and thought I was dying!} as well as several clogged ducts. For me, I think those both happened as a result of trying to do too much too soon. It hasn't always been fun and without hassle being the sole provider of Krosby's nutrition but as the months have gone on, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I was less worried this time around about schedules and "has it been three hours yet?" I did more on-demand feeding which set me up with an amazing supply and reassured her when she was upset. Even now I can calm her down extremely fast if she is fighting sleep or we're in the midst of teething woes. 

She has not been sick once, other than a tiny cold that required no doctor's visit and we've had zero ear infections. Karlyn began getting ear infections right after we weaned around seven months. That has definitely been one difference this time around that I've observed. Breastfeeding is a commitment, no way around it but I am happy - oh SO happy - to say we are closing in on one year of successful nursing. I don't have a weaning date in mind but will follow her lead as she continues eating more food at meal times. Every baby is different - some wean sooner, some later. And with Winter upon us, I'm in no hurry to shut off such amazing immune support for her little body. The value of breast milk does not diminish with age; rather it becomes more nutritionally concentrated. Super cool!

I'm thankful for our journey to date and know that in the grand scheme, a year is such a short time in her life and in mine. I will always look back on this time with fondness and gratitude for the chance to care for my sweet girl in this way. Motherhood is a gift - though not always easy - and will stretch and challenge us in a number of ways. Feeding our babies, no matter how we choose to do it, is part of mothering and should fill us with thankfulness that we get to play a part.



10 Months

Krosby. I hope you'll forgive me kid. You haven't had an official monthly update since four months. Anddd that's what happens when you're baby #2 and momma's trying to build a business. So sorry sweetie. We still love ya!


I can't believe you're ten months old. That blows my mind. It goes by so fast {and yet so slow} all at the same time. The first few months are a blur, aka survival mode. But even as you slip out of that and into "OK, I think we're going to make it" mode, the days still fly by. You are such a joy. The other day I was thinking about our losses and I read a quote that was talking about how through the waiting, the losses, and the heartache, God was just preparing you. He wasn't done with you yet and it wasn't time for you to join our family. He was working on you that whole time and now here you are. Such a blessing.

What's going on with you at 10 Months?!


These are 9 month stats. (see above) Height: 27.5 (50%), Weight: 21.9 (90%), Head Size: 17.5 (60%).


You are a little butterball. And so squishy! You wear a size 5 Honest diaper. You might still be in a 4 but they run small and I sized up. You're wearing 9-12 month clothing and maybe a size 3 shoe? Honestly, you don't wear shoes much/hardly at all. #aintnobodygottimeforthat 


On a good night you sleep through the night. But we still don't have you going to bed early or at a proper ten month old's bedtime. You're typically in bed around 9:30-10:00ish. Usually a bath beforehand, some pj's, nursing and to bed. Paci + Sound Machine. If you're teething or going through a leap, you'll fight sleep or wake up in the middle of the night. But most nights are solid. I love seeing your face first thing in the morning!


You are still nursing like a champ. At your nine month appointment we talked about adding in some regular little meals so I've tried to do that. It's nothing super regimented. Breakfast is hit or miss but I've been giving you a little lunch and dinner each day. 

Foods you've tried: avocado, sweet potato, banana, applesauce, yogurt squeeze, green beans, pinto beans, all kinds of meat {your FAVE!} salmon, blueberries, butternut squash, yellow squash, peas, white potatoes, scrambled egg, banana + egg pancakes, gluten-free french toast (this morning!) Mum-Mum's, yogurt melts, and an oatmeal/quinoa blend.

You're different than your sister. You hate avocado and aren't much of a sweet potato fan. You love meat: deli turkey, roast, chicken, turkey sausage, beef, and salmon. You don't want me spoon feed you; you'd rather do it yourself!


You're not much into toys. {Maybe you don't like hand-me-downs?} You'd much rather crawl / walk around the house getting into things. You like to suck on Expo markers and chalk >> Mother of the Year over here. You're happy banging on the Direct TV box and messing up the settings or picking random items up off the floor to see how they taste. You like playing peek-a-boo with daddy and that makes you smile.

Other Things-

You are just a delight kiddo. Hard work, but a delight. YOU ARE WALKING. (gah, how I could forget this in the first draft?!) You started out taking a few steps about a month ago which led to four or five steps and then over the past week you've just taken off. You still crawl half the time.

I love your fluffy hair that keeps on growing and how happy you are to see Karlyn each day. Your little wave is pretty much the cutest thing ever and you can do it on command. We're working on clapping but so far you hit the top of one hand using the other. You don't like being told "No." You like to respond with a "EEeeh!" when you hear it. You have beautiful blue eyes and almost six teeth - two on bottom and three plus one any day now on top; you won't let me look.

You're squirmy during diaper changes and have to be holding some sort of distraction. You've attempted a couple of stairs. You still sleep with Ollie, your big giant mint green paci. Bless that thing. You really don't have any words just yet. For a while you were saying, "Ma ma ma ma ma." I can't wait to hear some soon! Your nicknames include: Kros-BO, Kris-Kross, Mae Mae and Big Girl.

We love you so much sweet girl. Stay little awhile. {You're not allowed to go past 1.}



On Babies...and More.

I feel like I’m going to have another baby. And it’s hard to describe other than just that gut, instinctual feeling. I could be wrong. We could go on to have no more children and raise the two beautiful girls we have now and what a gift. What a huge, miraculous blessing we’ve been given. But throughout my pregnancy and even after I didn’t have the “this is my last” thoughts. You know...

“This is my last time to be 30 weeks pregnant.”

“This is my last time to bathe a newborn.”

I just never did. It’s actually quite interesting (humorous?) to me the amount of time I’ve given this subject considering how long it took us to have our two. And how I was never truly in control of any of it. So it’s funny to me when thoughts cross my brain like, “Hmm, should we have more? When? I am soo not ready right this minute. But if we wait too long…”

I guess those kinds of thoughts are normal but it’s not really up to us to a certain extent. I just have a feeling that we aren’t done. And that {if/when} we get pregnant next time, it might be a boy. OK, OK, I’m done forecasting.

Here’s the thing. Pregnancy is hard. Babies are hard. Raising children is hard. And as a new parent if you can’t look me in the eye and say, this is the gosh-hardest thing I’ve ever done, then I’m just not sure you can be trusted. Kidding. I remember several months ago having this frank discussion. It was sometime in the Spring because Ryan was working Saturdays. We had our small group meeting and I had gotten myself and the girls ready to go. I’m sure I was tired because #newmom. Krosby had blown out of yet another outfit (with baby #3, I’ll get the diaper size thing down!) and we loaded everyone up. We buckled our seat belts up front, looked at each other and said,

“Why did we have a second kid?!”

“I don’t know, but we’re not having anymore!”

Did I mention it’s hard? The lack of sleep, the constant feedings, the complete upheaval of your current day-to-day routine. So why? Why, Why, Why can someone tell me do I look at my nine month old and think, “Oh my goodness. She is so stinkin’ squishy, cute I might die and it really wasn’t THAT bad and look at her. I mean, she’s amazing! Look at them together! Look at me having all my mom stuff together. {Keepin' it PG here.} Maybe we should do this again.

What is that? To quote my friend who will go nameless, “It’s a sickness. A DISEASE!” But don’t be offended. She has three kids herself and is pretty much a rockstar.

Could it be that God sets this desire in our hearts before we even know it?

There’s something about nine months. Maybe you’ve had the entire length of time that sweet child was inside you as she’s now been out and you’re starting to have coherent thoughts. Maybe it’s that in-between stage of not still a newborn - not yet a toddler that has me all googly-eyed and thinking in the quiet spare two minutes of each day, “I mean, if that happened again, it would be OK.”

We went through a lot to bring Krosby into the world. Lots of time, testing, tears and wondering what God was up to. And now to see the redemption in it is simply astounding. As I’ve thought back and forth about it all, a quote I read not long after she was here keeps coming to mind.

It’s by Brene Brown who I desperately want to start reading:



As it turns out, it’s not my story. It’s His. And while I certainly in my limited finite mind, would not have chosen to write certain parts, He did. Who knows what else our story holds? Maybe there will be more losses. Maybe none. Maybe two more babies. Maybe none. But I do know that life has unfolded far better than I could ever have planned, and here’s the thing. It’s not all about me, or our family or what decisions we make. When God gets the ultimate glory and writes our story, we can rest in the knowledge that it’s for our good as well.

And that is something my mama mind can rest in. While I think about more kids.

Inspire YOU

Can I be honest? In a world of female entrepreneurs, it’s not always easy. On a good day, I am confident in who God made me to be and the message I have to to spread that’s all my own. I have a unique voice, my own thoughts and my own personal spin on things that is going to make a difference in someone else’s life.

But then something happens and I lose my vibe. I browse around a fellow girlfriend's page and think, WOWWW. She’s really, really good. What in the world?! How does she have so many followers? How does she DO that?

And that may be a hundred different things. I get sucked into this vortex of HER and instead of coming away inspired, I leave in a funk, sulking, unsure, and unhappy for another person’s success. And ya’ll. That is all on ME!

She didn’t do anything wrong.

In fact, my ill-flavored response flies in the face of what I’ve been reading in my personal development the past few weeks. And I want to share it with you. Because I think jealousy <and let’s just call it what it is here> is something we all struggle with. But here’s the thing.

There is enough to go around. Enough success. Enough income. Enough followers, fans, and friends to be had. Enough paths, enough ideas, and enough of the comparison.

It has to stop!

Her success is not my lack. I have to remind myself of that. It is OK. But when I sit there in that place and stew, when I allow myself to go there and start feeling sorry for myself, or that somehow her accomplishments define and set limits on my own, I’m in a dangerous place.

Let me encourage US with this thought today. You have a God-appointed path to walk. You have the makeup, personal experiences, and quirky quirks that make you, you. And no one can take that away from you. We absolutely can and should draw inspiration from others and learn from their mistakes {and successes!} but true freedom and focus come from staying in our own lane, doing our own best, and being assured that what we plant today in effort, we reap tomorrow in results.

A friend shared that last part, in effect last night and the timing was perfect. My job is to do my best. My job isn’t to look around and feel all jumbled inside because someone else is doing their thing and rocking it. What a distraction from my purpose and poor use of my time. It does nothing but zap me of my zeal. It made me think of what our teachers used to tell us.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper.”

It’s true. It is OK to draw inspiration from someone else. That is how we learn, grow, and improve. We’re not made to do life alone and rely only on ourselves. But it’s that moment when inspiration turns. And I knew it! I could feel that ugliness creeping in and those feelings of disdain and “Ugh, whatever,” as I doubted if what I had was good enough.

Let’s not do that friends. Can we hold each other accountable? Can we find ourselves amazingly talented, uniquely gifted and our talents perfectly portioned for the task at hand?

The next time you find yourself looking out instead of in, remember that YOU have something to offer and only YOU can bring it! So rock it girl. And stay in your lane.


The rest will follow.

Kati, Take a Break!

It's amazing to me the things that stick out in my memory. Mostly because I have a terrible one and constantly feel like I can't remember anything.

But I do recall this day quite vividly from college. It was a holiday weekend, maybe the Friday leading up to three days off in a row. I was probably a freshman or sophomore, somewhere in there. I told you - I don't remember things.

But I had decided to go to our school's wellness center and workout. I loved that place! It was really nice and new when I started there and a place I felt comfortable on campus. I was walking back to my dorm after finishing up and ran into a couple of people...I don't even know that I'd call them friends necessarily since it took me a while to make them but I do know what was said. I'm sure the conversation went something like this.

"Hey, how's it going? What are you doing?"

Me: "Oh, just getting a workout in."

<Look of confusion>

"Kati, it's the holiday weekend. Take a break!"

It probably shouldn't have been that big of a deal. And it's not like I walked away crying. But I distinctly remember feeling embarrassed, weird, like an oddball. Silly for going to the gym, when probably no one else was there.

It was the weekend. Why couldn't I just be normal??

Even now, it stirs up feelings inside me. Because I entered that time of my life extremely shy, naive, and like most college kids, unsure of what I wanted to do in life and where it was all going. All I knew was that I enjoyed staying FIT.

Every time I walked into my advisor's office, he'd say, "Kati, have you decided what you want do?" And I'd say, "Yes, remember? (well, once I had decided) I'm going to do Exercise Sports Science. And be a personal trainer."

He never made me feel odd about that; he was head of the department. But despite his involvement and participation in my life goals, I still felt a twinge of uncertainty when I recalled that silly little conversation where one off-the-cuff comment made me question it all.

Did I really need to care so much? Was being into health and fitness silly? 

I can get emotional thinking about it because that is where it started for me. I had enjoyed playing high school sports but I knew I didn't want to coach those same sports or teach PE like a lot of others pursuing my same degree. I hated math. And the only subjects I liked were English and my ESS classes. I became more interested in nutrition. I didn't feel a draw towards anything else, so I went with what I knew and what I liked. 

Fast-forward. I tried personal training in a gym environment but it wasn't my thing. I didn't know what my thing was but for ten years, I tried to find it. I looked and searched and prayed and was bored and frustrated and thought - what is there for me? What is out there in the field I'm so passionate about that would allow me to do what I love?

I never guessed I would find it. But I'm so glad I did. And that story is for another day, but let me tie this all together with a thought. 


It's true! And had I let that off-handed comment throw me off the path I felt led to pursue, who knows how different my life might now look? If you feel passionate about something, if you feel called and led to DO what you do, then do it! Don't let another person, thing, excuse, or obstacle stand in your way. Find your way through - fight for your passion - and don't stop until you've reached your goal. If that takes your whole life, bravo! You will live a life well spent. Your heart will beat faster, your smile shown more often, and others around you will feel the energy that comes from doing what you LOVE.

Happy Weekend my friends. #DontStopBelieving

Day 1. Post 1. Welcome!

Well, hello! And Happy September!


How did that happen? Didn't we just have Christmas? Wasn't I just sitting in the hospital bed holding my sweet, sweet baby girl?

Where did the time go? :-0 

I mean, I'm ALL for cooler temps and less sweating in general, but why does each passing year of my life go by so. stinking. fast? I don't understand it. Unless it's this thing they call getting older. eek.

But I digress. I'm happy you're here! I'm happy I'M here. It may not seem {or look} like much, but this little space has been stuck up in my head for quite a while now. However, a new baby, a new business, and lots and LOTS of laundry have kept me from it.

<<Why does the second child increase laundry ten-fold??>>

The Lord must have wanted me to finally pull it together today though as my motivation kicked into high gear and the baby napped for-evah.

I'm excited. If you've followed my/our story, you know I've been blogging for years off and on {@}, but I felt it was time for a new space. A new look. Because let's face it - my life does not look the same as it did five years ago!

I can't wait to tell you more. I can't wait to pour my heart out. I don't have a fancy camera. Most days I'm snapping pics of our fam with my iPhone so there will be some pictures - but mostly I wanted to write. I have so many things that pop into my head to talk about and things that keep popping up that I know i'm being prompted to share. But you know how it goes. Life is cray! Always.

I thought about putting this off and waiting to hit publish until I have new head shots, a logo, more fancy smanch. But that's been just my problem. I keep waiting and waiting and in the meantime, the itch to write isn't going away.

This space will evolve! And so will I.

I spent time on numerous "live chats" today figuring out logistics (thank you tech-y people!) and this is where I landed. I'm excited {did I already say that?} to see it unfold. And I hope you'll go with me on this journey. 

I'm just a Wife, Mom, and Health and Fitness Fan. I double-dip in the PB jar and a hot Epsom salt bath to end the day is my jam. Throw in a snack and...bliss.

It's a new month! New look. And a brand new name. Welcome!