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How Eliminating Foods Saved Our Daughter

When Alexandra was a baby, just weeks old, I could tell something wasn’t quite right. Her diapers just smelled far too terrible. My husband claimed maybe I had forgotten what dirty diapers smelled like. Our girls are 23 months apart, I hadn’t forgotten. 
In the early morning light, there it was, blood in her diaper. 
I was exclusively nursing. The solution (via our pediatrician recommendation) to solve this irritation, for our girl, was that I no longer eat dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, eggs or corn. I removed these items from my diet (quickly lost all the baby weight) and by the time Alex turned one, she was cleared to resume a normal diet. Her intestines had had time to heal. 
Fast forward six years…

It’s now Karoline’s turn. Once she started kindergarten I began to realize Karoline was needing allergy medicine quite often. She could never fight a cold on her own and her airways were often times very tight. We turned to asthma medicine, an inhaler and continued allergy medicine. Meanwhile, I wondered if it was her room, the air ducts, the environment, this, that, the other…

However, I could not shake the idea that maybe something she was eating was causing this. Karoline also had insanely huge tonsils. We made an appointment with an allergy, asthma and sinus specialist around Christmas time last year. Upon arrival I expressed that I wanted to know if something she was eating could be causing the inflammation of her tonsils and the bulk of her breathing issues. 
The specialist took a look at Karoline’s tonsils and said we wouldn’t be able to know anything until her tonsils were removed, they were just far too large. 

We scheduled the surgery.

In recovery the surgeon told me Karoline’s tonsils were the biggest of the day. 

I was hopeful her dang tonsils were going to be like a splinter. With her tonsils out, there would no longer be any issues. 

Just four days post surgery, Karoline needed her asthma medicine. A few days after we had to add back in the allergy medicine. A few more days, the inhaler. My poor baby needed the inhaler to not cough (think like on the movie Hitch, when Will Smith keeps trying to clear his throat after eating shellfish) four to five times a day. 

I was fed up. I refused to believe that my perfectly healthy six year old needed to take this much medicine for the rest of her life. 
We went to see our primary physician, whom I greatly admire and appreciate. I expressed concern that I just could not stand by and give her more and more chemical medicines every day. He decided to order a simple blood allergy test. 

We did the test. Within a few days we had an answer. Karoline was, and is, allergic to beef, fish, corn, eggs, dairy and wheat. 
At the time my husband and I had just watched, “What the health?” and were trying to live a more plant based life style. Making the adjustments to her diet was not as difficult as one might think. Especially with the practice I had from when Alex was a baby. 

We removed these foods from her diet. In a matter of weeks we were able to cut out ALL of her medicine and the use of the inhaler. Through elimination of the known allergy items I was also able to pinpoint that almonds also are a trigger for her asthmatic symptoms. 

It’s been almost a year since Karoline had her tonsils removed and almost nine months of a modified diet. In the first five months of removing these foods from her diet she gained eight pounds. EIGHT. 

Over the last few months she has fought colds on her own, without the need of a doctors visit or medicines! Her body is finally not fighting the foods that were poisoning her. Now it can fight the viruses. 

Staying on a vegan diet with my husband has been hard. We have been unable to do so. However, I try to have a few vegan dinners a week. 

A few weeks back, I went into our doctors office to pick up a few things and saw a book sitting on the counter. The title was How Not to Die, by Michael Greger, MD. The nurse said that our physician was recommending all of his patients read it. Again, I admire our doctor and respect him quite a bit. After all, he was the one who heard my concerns and suggested the blood allergy test that may have very well saved our daughters life. So, I bought the book on Audible. 

The benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables and less meats and dairy are astounding. I can not adequately reiterate the astonishment, and also the frustrations, I’ve had while listening to this book. 

What I can say is, if you, or someone you love, are currently taking any medicine or are in any pain, you can not afford to not read this book. 

Furthermore, if you are a mom, and you have a hunch that something isn’t quite right, KEEP FIGHTING. Do not take no as an answer. Just because a specialist says something doesn’t mean it has to be true. If your mom gut is talking to you, goodness gracious, you listen and you feed it some broccoli.

*The views and opinions in this blog are just views and opinions and a recount of our personal story. Don’t take my word for anything, do your own research. My only hope is this may spark you to do so. 

Weight: It’s just a number.

I’ve gained ten pounds since some time last May (I would weigh myself when I would drop my girls off at my parents house before school). 

In August 2018, when I started working full time for the first time EVER, I was TERRIFIED. I worried I was going loose all the strength I had worked really hard for. I also had a fear of regaining the fifteen pounds I worked really dang hard to loose. I weighed myself often and adjusted my calorie intake (I always ate but would pass on dessert or a drink with calories in favor of water) to stay between 120-125 pounds. With my new work schedule I would make it to the gym two times a week. 

After the end of the school year I didn’t have easy access to a scale. The concept of weighing myself had slipped by the wayside. Partly because of the lack of convenience and because, well, I felt good, my pants fit, and I had confidence. So, what was the point?

This year, since I’m no longer in my teaching license program, I’m getting to go to the gym 3-5 times a week. Furthermore, fitness has become a must in my life. The endorphins, the time for myself and the fact that it helps me through particularly rough or anxious days, has made it something I have to make time for. 

The other day I noticed a scale. I stepped on it. 


Come to find out, I’ve gained TEN pounds. However, this time around, even with those numbers on the scale, all of my pants still fit. 

I eat every meal of the day (I am diligent about having one serving- most of the time). I also eat cleaner than I did last year. 

But still, I have gained ten pounds, I’m not sure where this weight is hiding. However, I am pretty sure it helps play a part in my ability to do a 40# dumbbell snatch and a squat clean and jerk over and over again in a workout!! My shoulder strength feels good. Actually, I sort of love it.  Side note, sometimes I touch my arm and I am legitimately shocked it’s mine and that it’s so hard. You guys, you should love your arms.

As I am sitting on a park bench editing this I actually do think I know where some of the weight is, I caught a glimpse of my hiney in the glass as I walked by a door, there may be some there! Women of the world, embrace your booty.

What’s the point in sharing this with you? I guess to say if you’re putting in an effort to consistently take time for yourself to fit a work out in, there will be results. Consistency doesn’t yield immediate results. Consistency does produce a habit. Finding a healthy outlet is a must. Consistency may also one day result in a, “Dang, when did they get there?” realization as you walk by your reflection. 

Making lunches makes me bitter...

Some evenings I loath making lunches. I really just don’t want to do it. I remind myself that of course I love the people I’m making these meals for. However, sometimes this isn’t enough to keep me from sulking! I whine that I just want to sit down and have time to do what I want to. 

Some weekends I don’t want to do the weekly cleaning. the laundry, menu planning, meal prep and shopping. 

Last year in the midst of living in in between housing, finishing my schooling, learning how to be a teacher and first time working mom, and building a house I had little time for myself. I kept my gym routine up as best I could. However, the time outside of this hour was always devoted to something else. 

Then I remembered audiobooks are a thing. 

Busy or not, audio books were able to transform my monotonous chores into me time! 

If you’re in over your head and you’re not finding any time for yourself I urge you to try an audio book while you’re doing routine chores. 

A local library card will open the door to thousands of free audio books! 

I recently re-remembered this little trick to make the most of my time and to help me quit pouting about making lunches... 
I just finished City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now I’m a few pages in to Girl, Stop Apologizing, by Rachel Hollis.

Last year a few favorites of mine were,  Where the Crawdads Sing and The Language of Flowers. I highly recommend all four of these titles.

I can’t quite articulate what audio books have done for me. I don’t want to be dramatic and say they saved my life. But honestly, last year in the midst of our busiest year yet, they helped me through a really hard season. 

The stories I listen to transform mundane tasks into beautiful stories and something accomplished.

If you’re struggling with finding time for yourself and you need to feel like you’re accomplishing something more, give an audio book a try! 

Do you know about the goodness of audio books? Do you have a favorite? Would you please share it with me so I can add it to my list? 
*Now accepting collaborations for wireless headphones or ear pods. I’m not picking either will do.

Hey Girl...

Hey girl, I know you’re upset, confused, emotional and quite frankly, don’t know what’s wrong or why you feel the way you feel sometimes.
Hey girl, I know you don’t think you can just start out of no where. 
Hey girl, I know you don’t have time or energy.
Hey mama, I know your babies might cry when you leave.
Hey mama, I know the house will be a mess when you come back.
Hey mama, I know often times you don’t feel like you. 

Hey woman, I know it’s hard to be you. 

One more time for the ladies in the back...
Life is hard and there are so many reasons why you just can’t. 

You, way back there, are you listening? Go for a walk, take a step out of the house and out of your daily routine. Give yourself an hour of the day for you. 

Hey ladies, find a place or a group of women who support you every step of the way. Mama, find a routine that works for you, even if that means giving up a precious hour of sleep in the early morning light. 

Women of the world, hear me, you will never regret getting out, taking time for you and catapulting your day, mood, emotions and your health with an endorphin high! 

Mama, I know you, I was you. I could barley breathe, I was drowning. 

Struggling woman, I’ve been working out for two and a half routinely steady years. But today, today I wanted to quit. I put my head down in the ground, I didn’t think I could do it. Then I looked around at all the women working hard and got back up. I can do it. My body can do amazing things. My body, my workout, my speed and my weight, but with the support of other strong women. It’s me that I’m working for, it’s me that I have to strengthen: mind and body. 

Little lady, you are beautiful. Curvy lady, you are beautiful. From A to Z, when you take a step forward to better yourself, you better ALL those around you. Today, without the support of women around me, I wouldn’t have kept going.  

Daughter, wife, mama, lady, girl or woman: Taking time to go to the gym or fit in a workout isn’t selfish, far from it. When you’re able to be your best you, you can be the best for your “them.” 

Find the place in your heart where you want to stop the car, climb to the top of a snow bank and take a picture. Find your fun again, find your smile again, and then keep going back to whatever form of workout it is that allows you to feel the freedom of being happy! Mama, when you fall out of the routine, pick yourself up and start again. 

The House My Husband Built, Part 1: Bathrooms, Side Spaces and Kitchen

We moved into the home my husband built in July! Since then we've still been finishing major projects and trying to find pieces to fill our home. I really would love to just have the whole house decorated already. However, I'm working through decor and pictures we have to try and rework them in new spaces and give them life, even if they aren't my absolute favorite. Hopefully I'll be able to find a few accents and pieces of furniture to fill in a few more spaces as the months go on.
I hesitate to share because I'm no Joanna Gaines, I'm not sure if anything in the house even actually goes together. I am just a girl who is striving for trendy while keeping it simple and on budget.
Hopefully grass will be in place of all this dirt come spring time!
Lots of chalk art on the concrete in the mean time.
I STILL need to paint the front door... We are leaning towards navy blue.
Front entry, still need a fancy rug, I really like this one, a sign and coat hooks. 
The rebar on the rails was left over from our foundation. I found something like this on Pinterest and Tim made it happen!
Mud room, eventually there will be storage closets, a bench, permanent hooks (these are just the stick on) and cubbies for shoes, hats and gloves. 
I’m standing by the laundry room and the half bath. 
This mirror is from Target.
Basket: Hobby Lobby, $4 on clearance.
Gallery wall made up of items we already had.
 The girls' hallways. I LOVE my measuring stick. I've wanted this since I was pregnant with Karoline.
 Girls bathroom (this mirror was supposed to be black but it kept coming broken). There are gold accents in here so this works, too. Vanity is from Costco.
Tim's office, storage, shelving and new curtains needed in this space.
One day this living room corner will house two cute chairs and a round whisky barrel type table.
I love this little corner. Plant, free at school; basket, from a sweet old neighbor; blanket, IKEA, old books, from thrift stores and one from my dear mother in law; candle sticks, free at a yard sale; letter board, Hobby Lobby. The brick on the fireplace is the thin brick version of the brick on the exterior of the home. I'm contemplating white washing it a bit. However, I also really like it as it is.

 Master bath: rugs from Amazon.
 Vanity from Costco and mirror from Ross for $50.
 Still need to find another curtain option. Thinking black Roman shades.
 Master closet, hers.
Master closet, his. Organizer from Wayfair.
 The cake plate with lid, on the top shelf, was my great grandmothers.
 Coffee bar, needs to be painted navy blue (I bought it from a neighbor for $10). A smart friend suggested painting it a color that has meaning to us. Navy would have been one of our wedding colors, had we not decided that spending an insane amount of money on one day for a wedding was crazy.
 Beyond the coffee bar leads back to the mudroom, laundry and half bath.
 Some cool kitchen organization that my A-type heart loves!
I didn't even know a drawer microwave was a thing.
This thing freaks me out. Physics, I don't get it.
This is the only light we will be replacing, not bad for having to make all house decisions while also becoming a teacher and working mom for the first time...
I had wanted a round, farmhouse-y table, Tim said no. So, now the light doesn't quite fit the feel of this space. We will get a black, more square/edgy one... some day. Anyone want this light? We paid $150 (around there), make an offer. Kidding, but not really...
I'd like to find a washable rug for under the table.
 Tim made the floating shelves.
 He made the range hood cover, another Pinterest desire.
Tim also installed all of the cabinets.
Stools and black handles; Amazon. Tim poured the concrete counter tops on his own. Sink is from Costco. Most of the faucets in the house came from Lowes. The pot filler faucet was from a specialty plumbing website.

If you've stuck with me this long, thanks! I'm waiting on our bed frame to arrive and a few more things to be decided on in the girls rooms. Once they are in, part 2 will feature the bedrooms and the living room.

If you see anything you like or have questions on be sure to ask!

If you would like to request a consultation to discuss building your dream custom home, please email timothyreedconstruction@gmail.com.

Five is Still Little

Lately my sweet joyful Alexandra has been struggling. She has wanted to be right near us, doesn’t want us to leave and struggles going to bed on her own. 

Since moving into our home she has had her ups and downs. Her whole life, up until six months ago, she has always shared a room with her sister. 

I attributed her need for having me around to this transition. We really have only been in our house for a short time (even though it feels longer). 

Last week my mom took Thursday off to go hold her newest grand baby. My mom is also the librarian at the girls’ school. When I picked Alexandra up from school her teacher informed me that Alex was extra clingy. She said she hoped Alex wasn’t getting sick, but maybe it was because her Nana wasn’t at school. 

Saturday night I went to go and see the new baby and have some time with him as well. Alex cried when I left and struggled going to bed without me. At midnight she was crying and saying, “I just miss you.” I brought her to bed with us. The next day we made the plan that she could sleep in mama and dads room on Friday nights, after a week in her bed. This plan pleased Alexandra and I thought this was the end to the interesting evenings.

Sunday night, after reading Frosty the Snowman, Alexandra began to cry. 

She asked, “What if you die while I’m still little?” 

This (I think because Tim’s mom passed while I was pregnant) is one of my biggest fears. Trying to hold myself together, I asked, “What had made you ask this question?” 

Her response, “Like my friend who’s daddy died.” 

Recently our community lost a husband, and daddy to three, in a terrible accident. 

I responded to Alex by reminding her that because our family loves Jesus we will always be in each other’s hearts and that we will meet again in Heaven. Needing help I took Alex to Tim, he told her to pray for her friend and to pray for comfort for all (including herself) who may be sad, missing someone or scared. 

She is asleep in our room... she may sleep in here for a while. 

I’m not mad that she knows what happened. However, I’m sad that her childlike innocence and joy has been replaced with a real weight of the fallen world style of fear. 

She is not too little to learn to turn to God for comfort, she’s not too little to know that her emotions are real, but she is still little. She still needs me. For that reason she is sleeping sound right beside me. 

Lord, I pray for this little angel, for all who miss someone and for babies who have to grow up fast in this fallen world. I pray you give them guidance, grace and love. I pray to know how to help my baby girl. 

Together We Can

A little “Jamie” fun fact: I was born in San Diego. My dad was in the Navy and my mom worked for NASSCO. With both parents working full time I had a live in nanny, who I lovingly called my Nana. My Nana is a Filipina woman. I have several memories of my Nana, even though we left California when I was five. 

When I turned seven my mom shared with me that in my Nana’s culture the age of seven was a celebrated milestone. At seven you have all the traits you have for life. 

Today, our sweet Karoline is seven and a half. Two days ago I looked up to see this written on my board...
“Together we all can be possible of many things, and all things, because we can help create something amazing in the whole wide world! 

And we can do anything, no matter how hard it may be.
We can do many things, no matter how many disabilities we have!

A love for writing has begun to emerge in our girl. Her poems and thoughts are flowing and seeing her share her heart through words is beautiful and makes me SO proud.

May we all have the heart and faith of a child to see obstacles as something we can always over come, especially if we work together.

Happy half birthday, Karoline. Thank you for showing me inside your heart and for this beautiful reminder.