Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Starting with Essential Oils

Building on my previous post, I feel like I owe you all an update on how things are going over here. The end of school has been stressful for both girls, and that has made for an excellent trial period!

I started with the starter kit from Young Living, became a member to enjoy wholesale prices, and then bought more oils based on suggestions by other oil users in a Facebook group I joined. Holy moly, that Facebook page taught me one important lesson: you can use the oils in many ways and their effect on people vary.

I have spoken to many friends who are laughing at my oil usage...that's OK - I don't mind. I like what I am seeing and experiencing. I have never cared about other people's opinion and I certainly won't start now.

We have had some up and downs with the oils. E2 is a terrible sleeper (if you don't know that, read other blog posts). There are oils that have helped her drift to sleep quickly and others didn't help at all. What I did find is she is sleeping more soundly. Even if the oil didn't help falling asleep, it gave her a deep sleep. After a little over a month, I have found what works for her. E2 even expresses which ones smell nicely to her and requests some oils in the diffuser. It is super cute.

The biggest change has been E1. She is still herself. She is still 8. (Lord help me when she is a teenager). The best way I can describe it is to say the oils take off the edge like if I had a glass of wine. I am still myself, but just a little chill. This is E1. Again, some oils did not do much, but others were great. A few weeks ago she trusted me to put whatever on her....just this week E1 told me which ones she thought were best. Interestingly enough, her perception matched mine. How she felt, was what I saw. She is biting her nail beds less, she is handling stress better, she has better time management. Her emotional roller coaster has changed from a ride requiring someone to be 52'' tall to ride to a roller coaster suitable for a person of 38''. Like I said, she is the same...just a more relaxed version of herself.

Do the oils work for other things besides emotions? Yes.
Have I seen that too? Yes.
Are the oils the only thing I am using for my health and for my family's health? No.
Are the oils my go to parenting strategy? No.

You still have to parent. You still have to use consequences and face consequences of poor choices. You still have to go to the doctor if you're sick. You still have to face the world you live in.

Oils don't fix a problem.
Oils, like anything else, can be PART of a solution.

(E1's oils for her school days)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Taking The Last Step

It is no secret that I am not perfect. My husband is not perfect. My girls are not perfect. We all have triggers that elicit a negative response from us. Adults can figure out those triggers and hopefully avoid them or learn how to react. Unfortunately children do not have the same capabilities. We, as their parents, need to help them identify their triggers.

What I had no experience in and quickly learned about was food sensitivity. I was so far from healthy, crunchy, earthy, clean eating, etc as you can get. I am not exaggerating when I tell you one of my favorite memories is introducing Ding- Dongs to E1. I love smoothing out the foil, eating the chocolate cake goodness, and licking out the filling with my tongue. Damn, I love ding-dongs.  Our pantry was stocked with Doritos, Cheetos, this chip, that chip, this candy, that was fun! I always believed if I limited what the girls could eat, they would gorge themselves as soon as they were out of my sight and then we would have a bigger issue.

Unfortunately, we learned that Red Dye #40 and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFC) had a terrible affect on E1's personality and E2's sleep. We also realized that processed foods in general were not the greatest choice for the girls. All the chemicals and sugar would send E1 into a tail spin if she was upset. Her reaction to normal annoying things were blown way out of proportion. The spikes in her blood sugar would causes such highs and lows and watching her response to things was like watching a bomb explode. E2 would get so hyped up she could not fall asleep. She was like the energizer bunny on crack...just kept going and going and going.

Lucky for me I talk to my friends, family, and pediatrician pretty candidly. While I don't follow advice immediately I will research and then come to my own conclusion. After listening to advice and doing my own research, the hubs and I decided to do a food overhaul. This realization SUCKED. Do you know how hard it is to clean out your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and change the diet of two girls?


We started with the dyes, then the HFC, then the processed foods. In true transparency this overhaul took almost an entire school year. We would slip up, get lazy, say fuck it, and then a kid would meltdown and we would kick ourselves for giving in. I so wanted to be the house with the fun pantry, but a hyped up little sister and a ticking time bomb big sister was not worth all the ding dongs in the world.

We also bought E2 fish oil supplements for children. We learned from the many people in her village that fish oil, Omega 3, helps with brain development and it could greatly impact E2's speech and motor planning.

Fast forward to March-ish, clean eating for the majority plus fish oil. The girls' behaviors were so much better. We could literally count on one hand the extreme meltdowns. But, we were still having difficulties with E2's sleeping and E1's worries, time management, and frustrations. School mornings around here were quite annoying. E1 felt rushed and frustrated and often gave out eye rolls, grumbles, snarky comments, and that was when we were not staring at her resting bitch face. Homework time was not much better.
I had had enough.

I not so secretly would bug my sorority sister who I think is a guru in all things natural for advice. I would visit Facebook pages, internet sites, anything I could get my hands on about natural ways to help your children. I literally spent almost an entire year removing chemicals from their diet, I was not about to start putting them back in. All roads led to essential oils.
Each and every time.
And each time I laughed, rolled my eyes, and walked away. I am the biggest cynic, well second biggest to my husband. Essential oils were not going to help. What a joke. I am not sure what changed my thinking, but it was probably the realization that I was being a hypocritical asshole. If removing dyes and HFC had that big of an impact on my kids then why wouldn't a natural substance help them?

So, I took the plunge. I bought essential oils, diffusers, and went to experimenting.

This cynical asshole typing this blog is telling you with as much shock as anyone can muster up, they are working for my family. Certain oils are helping to relax E2 and she is able to fall asleep. E1 is experiencing a calmness to her that I have never seen. I diffuse oils in their room at night and diffuse during the morning routine and homework time. If seeing that change was not enough to get me believing, I tried some oils on a pain in my husband's foot he got from exercising. The next morning I asked him if his foot was feeling better and he looked at me and said, "I am embarrassed to say it does feel better." OH MY. We have become THOSE PEOPLE. We are oil people. Still, I didn't believe. All of this was luck. Coincidence. And then I used the oils on myself. DAMN IT. THEY WORK.

I am not surprised we ended up here, but at the same time I am. If you know me and even if you only know me through my blog, you KNOW I am not a bull shit type person. You make your own life. You make your own choices. No excuses.

Oils do not prevent you from making dumb choices but they can help you feel better in many ways. I am still going to doctors, I am still using western medicine - apparently this is a "fear" when you start telling people you use oils. Relax people, I am still me. I am just becoming a better me.

And the girls? The oils have completed our health transformation and were their missing link to being their best selves too.

Want to learn more about essential oils?
learn more

Want to buy essential oils? (Start with the starter kit/membership - you can buy oils wholesale afterward)
buy oils

Have questions? Email me at 

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Missing Earring

Shabbat dinner. A weekly celebration of G-d's creation of the world, a week's worth of trials and errors, and a time to reflect and start anew.

Tonight the four of us gathered around our dining table, said the prayers over the candles, wine, and matzah (it is also Passover), and then began to eat our meal.

E2 is extremely tired from a full "Cousin Day" of fun and is begging to go to sleep. She brings me her pajamas and changes for bed. I take out her ponytail, her earrings, etc.

E1, the hubs, and I continue to eat dinner and chat away about our days.

A few moments later I notice E2's earrings. I actually notice an earring. As in one. Shit. Where is the other earring? They are pink hearts and her favorite! Crap. Where is the other earring?

Eat, eat,, chat, chat.....Fuck. Did I just eat the earring?

E1 goes to the restroom and I tell the hubs, "I think I ate E2's earring." He literally is like what the fuck. Now, I am feeling it in my throat. It won't budge. I ask him if I need to go to the emergency room. I ask him if it will perforate my intestines. I ask him if I need to throw up, get an x-ray, OH MY G-D, my throat really hurts!!!

E1 is now back from the bathroom and is dying to know what we are talking about and why is daddy laughing, and what am I Googling......I'll tell you what I Googled "Eating an earring." FUCK. I am reading about eating an earring and now I am laughing because OF COURSE it is all about KIDS eating things.
WHY would a FORTY year old eat an EARRING?!? How does this even happen? ONLY ME.

I tell the hubs I can feel it moving in my chest. I tell him it hurts. I tell him this cannot be good and even though Google says it will be in my shit in three days, I still think I should see a doctor. For G-d's sake I ATE AN EARRING. I am making sounds with my throat trying to cough it up, I am rubbing my neck, my chest, making more sounds....It is like I am my own symphony telling the story of an earring caught in an esophagus.

All of a sudden the hubs says, "Are you serious?!?" I look at him and he is holding the missing earring. It was apparently hiding at the other end of the table.


I cannot stop laughing.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

40 Friends

Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating my 40th birthday with friends. In 2005, my husband and I moved from our childhood area to the suburbs. Thirty minutes away seemed like an across country move. We lost some "city" friends, but gained an entire community. Last night proved to me once again that moving was one of the best decisions we ever made.

At (almost) 40, friends are hard to come by and I know that I am beyond blessed to have so many girlfriends standing by my side. Women get a bad rap for being gossipy and bitchy and overall, mean. I can tell you one thing, my friends are amazing and I truly believe in each and every one of them. Words will never be able to describe the joy that overcame me last night to have them all gathered in one place.

Before we ate, I gave a short toast to my friends....they deserved a night out, they put up with me!
(Thanks for celebrating with me, friends! Love ya!)

I just want to take a minute and thank you all for coming. I'm still in disbelief that in 5 days I'll be 40. 

I'm not even sad about turning 40. I'm honored and grateful. As you all know, there was a time I thought I'd never see this day - so to not only reach this milestone birthday, but to do it with all of you by my side is pretty amazing. 

My mom told me a long time ago to consider myself lucky if I could count my friends on one hand - by the looks of this room, I'm more than lucky. I'm truly blessed. 

There are literally friends in this room that have known me for more than 38 years and others I met within the last year and had an immediate bond. 

Whether you're my every day phone friend, my texting friend, my loud friend, my moral compass friend, my funny friend, my "rock" friend, my let me complain to you about my husband friend, my fellow f bomb dropper friend, my childhood friend, my bad influence friend, my give me all your advice friend, my get drunk friend, my good friend, my best friend, my mom friend, my walking friend, my sushi and wine friend,  know how much I care for you and how much I appreciate your friendship because at the end of the day - you're my FRIEND. 

Everyone in this room has a purpose in my life and I promise not only do I see what each of you has brought me, I feel honored that our paths have crossed and continue to be intertwined.  

All of you are important to me and if for some reason I've never thanked you- I'm doing it now. 

Thank you for putting up with me. I'm an emotional, annoying, loud, obnoxious, loyal, funny person and as you all know with every cuss word that comes flying out of my mouth, my heart of gold is following right behind. I thank you for taking the time to get to know me, to let me grow and change, and most importantly, I thank each of you for being you. 

You are all amazing and at 39 and 360 days, I'm proud to call each of you my friend. 

And because no speech would be complete without it, FUCK!  I'm 40!!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Growing up sucks

Today we went to a I realized more than any other day I have an 8 year old and a 5 year old. Or as they like to say "almost 9" and "almost 6."

E1 has been tall enough to ride all the rides for quite some time and today, at 42" short, E2 was able to ride numerous rides. E1 was bored on baby rides when just last year she was all smiles. E2 loved the independence of being able to ride without a companion. Today, we did not bring our stroller. And tonight, I cry. I am sad that our stroller days are over. I actually told the hubs, "We need to adopt a third. I need a baby. Now."

They are growing up and I love all the new adventures we can experience because they are older, but I hate that cartoons are being replaced by "real" TV. I hate that bedtime is getting later because a full day of activities no longer exhausts them by 7:00 pm. And I really hate all the damn opinions that come with more mature girls.

8 year olds suck. I am saying it and I am mean it. What a crappy age. 8 is young, but old enough to know better. 8 is immature, but mature enough to understand peer pressure. 8 needs help, but only wants independence. 8 is a daily struggle. My beautiful, bright, brown eyed girl struggles each day with wanting to be older, but still needing her mom. She goes from sweet and kind to a pre-hormonal raging bitch in 30 seconds or less. I hate 8. Every single day I wonder if my little girl and I are going to hang out or if my "pre" pre-teen is going to come down the stairs with the best resting bitch face I have ever seen. I hate 8. Playing with toys is fleeting and the board games she chooses makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork. 8 is tough. She is not ready for the pre-teen topics and pre-teen life, but she is outgrowing her little girl life quickly. 8 makes me cry on the regular. E1 is putting together her world, her family, and my glossing over responses no longer cut it. She needs details. She wants to understand her new world, but her heart is still so young. I really hate 8.

On the other end of the spectrum, 5 is still a favorite age of mine. E2 is happy, young, naive, and it is blissful. It is the great age of complete sentences, the ability to do small tasks on her own, but the age when a hug and a kiss from mom cures everything. E2 getting older has thrown me off my game this year. It is hard to admit, but when you're kid starts therapies at 22 months it is hard to imagine a time when they are all caught up or a time when what needs to be accomplished will have to come in its own time. E2's to do list was extensive and for the past 3, almost 4 years we have slowly checked off milestones. Somehow I have nothing left to check off. At 5, she speaks beautifully, rides a two wheel bike, socializes with friends, makes her opinions known, eats typical food, wears the right size clothing for her age, recalls her days and retells the stories, and now she swims. E2 argues with E1, reminds me when I forget something, cries when she is frustrated. A year ago, the world around her had no meaning and now - she is a part of her world. I love watching her get older, but to know she starts kindergarten has me crying like a newborn baby. I don't even know how we got here. I don't know how I will log on to the district website in a few weeks and register my baby for kindergarten. Homeschooling is looking like a great idea (again). I cannot "lose my baby." I know I must. She is ready and if you don't believe me, my almost 6 year old will tell you she is ready.

Growing up sucks for the mommies.

Stupid 8 and 5 - soon to be 9 and 6.
Stupid preschool graduation soon to be kindergarten
Stupid second grade soon to be third grade
Stupid no more strollers

Mama wants her babies back.
Well, babies that sleep through night because I am in no mood to be awake at 3 in the morning.

And...pray for my husband. Three women under one roof is no easy feat.

Friday, March 3, 2017


Two days ago I gave blood as part of my bi-annual check up. I sat in a chair and stuck out my arm so the phlebotomist could take my blood. The phlebotomists for the most part are nice, but holy hell they are chatty. The people that work at a cancer hospital try so hard to make the patients happy. They are as nice as Disney employees. So Chatty Cathy over here with a damn needle in her hand, aimed for my vein, proceeds to tell me I need a type and screen for my procedure and they are going to take extra blood. Um, hey lady - I don't have a procedure. She says that I do. We go round and round like 3 year olds with "Yes you do" and "No I don't." While we are arguing, I email my nurse (whom I love) and ask her what the hell. As I am typing the email, Chatty Cathy says, "Well - the only other reason we do a type and screen is for someone who has been here a long time. Have you been a patient a long time?"

Have you been a patient a long time?

Yesterday, I went for my follow up appointment with my oncologist. I was not nervous because Nurse A had already called me to tell me I was fine. My doctor's other amazing nurse came out to get me. We chatted while my vitals were being taken. As I verified my date of birth, Nurse C says, "GIRL!! YOU'RE ABOUT TO BE 40!" I laughed and she then said, "Wow, I have known you a long time."

Wow, I have known you a long time.

I am healthy. I am alive. My remission status is stable.

I left the hospital, called my mom so she would stop freaking out, and then cried. I cried for the very reason I smile. It has been THIRTEEN years and while I am so thankful, I am terrified at the same time. Thirteen years ago, a different doctor told me I would be dead within five years. I was 27 at the time. And now thirteen years later, it is that memory I hold onto. The memory of being told I had five years to live, max.

Turning 40 means the world to me. I never thought I would see 40. I never thought I would be a mom. I never thought I would have a life. To face your own mortality gives you a perspective you cannot undo.

For thirteen years, I've woken every morning thankful.
For thirteen years, I have prayed nightly for another day.

Nothing good comes from fear except for my desire to live and then to make the most of each day.

When I let my preschooler miss a day of school because she wants to stay home.
When I take my girls for frozen yogurt.
When I play Candy Land.
When I decorate like crazy for birthdays.
When I go over and beyond.
When I travel.
When I laugh.
When I smile.
When I am truthful.

I do all these things because at one point in my life I thought I would never get to and because I never know if it will be the last time. From an outsider's perspective, this is morbid. I understand this. From my perspective, it allows me to really think and consider is this really how I want to spend my day.

When I discipline my child for being sassy.
When I limit her screens and social media.
When I make the girls learn life lessons even though they are throwing temper tantrums.
When I say no.
When I get aggravated.
When I let my emotions get the best of me.
When I stand up for what I believe in.

I do all these things because at one point in my life I thought I would never get to and because I never know if it will be the last time. I do all these things because I am true to myself. I am honest with myself. I live each day for myself and for those that are important to me.

I have one chance to make sure my girls become phenomenal women.
I have one chance to teach them independence, self worth, and kindness.
I have one chance to be a parent.
I have one chance to be a wife.
I have one chance to be a friend.
I have one chance to be a sister, a cousin, a niece, an aunt.
And I don't know when that one chance will end.

There are days that I make a fuck ton (in case you're wondering that's more than a shit ton) of mistakes.
There are days I take risks with my own life and then think to myself you're an idiot.
There are days I think too much and act too little.
There are days I act without thinking.

To hear the words "long time" from people at a cancer hospital is both exhilarating and startling.
To hear the words "long time" let's you know you are beating the odds. In fact, you are kicking the shit out of the odds.
To hear the words "long time" makes you realize the last thirteen years went by so quickly.
To hear the words "long time" gives you the realization that each day, each week, each month, each year is a gift.

I made a promise to myself, my family, my friends, my children to give it my all and in this house we don't break promises. Not ever.

I am strong in my faith to know I still have more time and I still have great things to accomplish.
But I'd be lying if I didn't say the thought of tomorrow never coming is what keeps me awake at night and what keeps me going each day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Just Complaining

February has been all around NUTS! It has been a roller coaster over here. This parenthood thing had me all worked up these past few weeks.

When we arrived home from Costa Rica, the girls were very excited and very clingy. E1 seemed to bounce back after a day, falling into her usual schedule. E2, well that kid is a different breed. She is back to crying when we leave her with a sitter, back to asking me to lay with her every single night, and back to crying out for me in the middle night. She has repeatedly told me never to leave her again. I am trying to maintain normalcy over here, but her sweet smile melts my heart and eventually my mommy heart breaks and I give in to her. We still go out on a Saturday night and I still tutor two afternoons a week, but her interactions with the babysitter are different. Not bad, just different. My heart breaks, but my mind knows E2 will eventually get her groove back....after she stops crying and saying, "Why are you leaving me again?"

E1 is having a "stressful" school year. On the surface things seem great, but deep down she is a stress case. She puts tons of pressure on herself and with second grade being the first time receiving numerical grades, the pressure got worse. Last week she cried when she made a 94 on a test. She wanted a 100. TEARS. And not tears for attention, actual tears of sadness and disappointment. As parents we had to rethink all our parenting strategies and expectations. There is no need for an ulcer at age 8. Yesterday, I sat down E1 and explained while school was important we are no longer focusing on her grades. We are going to focus on effort. If she does her best, that is all that matters. I do not care if her best is a B or an A or even another letter grade - as long as she tried. I told her second grade should still be "fun" and she needed to concentrate on having a good time with her friends at lunch and recess and simply relax and do the work during class. I have no idea if this pep talk will work. I have no idea if I will literally have to throw away her work without looking at the grades for her to believe me, but what I do know - an 8 year old should never be crying about grades in school. Second grade is too serious. I fucking hate school.

E2 and I faced our fears and E2 started swim lessons. Yes, OUR fears. E2 has been fearful of getting her face wet even though she has always loved the water. She has been in a floatie since her first summer which has kept me in a state of fear each and every time summer approached. Between speech, PT, and OT she was not ready to learn to swim. With PT and OT behind us, I finally had time to realize that E2 is now 5.5 and will literally drown if she fell into a pool. Cue major anxiety. Friends of mine suggested an intense swim program offered at a local swim club. Last week E2, the child who refused to get her face wet, started intense daily swim lessons. There have been emotions ranging from terror to excitement and E2 is learning to swim. Legit, swim. She is succeeding beyond my wildest dreams. Hallelujah for checking off another item on the E2 To Do List.

Adding to my crazy, the hubs is in Australia for two damn weeks. Do not feel too badly for me, I have a friend whose husband is gone for almost three months for work. She is the true superhero in my subdivision. Back to my annoying two weeks....I HATE waking E2 to take E1 to school. I HATE having nothing to do on the weekends. I HATE having no one to talk at night. And I HATE that the girls miss him and a certain 8 year old is acting like an asshat. The plus side: I have majorly cleaned out closets, caught up on so much laundry I am embarrassed I was ever that far behind, and am watching all the BRAVO I want without anyone saying my show is stupid.

Another thing taking up all my time? My 8 year old. Dude. This age SUCKS. I actually think it is worse than three. E1 is sweet, empathetic, kind, a great friend - for a real, a wonderful child. But recently, hot damn she is annoying. From being bitchy to snotty to snappy, I have started to wish for the nice dwarfs like Goofy and Happy. Nothing is good enough, always complaining UNLESS she is off on her bike playing with her friends. Truth: fine by me - get on your bike and go. You have been home from school for 30 minutes and I already want to yell at you for your attitude. I am starting to truly worry if I will survive her puberty. It is no coincidence I taught 2nd grade for two years before realizing, I prefer junior high. Second grade sucks! These kids are stuck between growing up and still needing a hug when they are crying and all worked up. Some days I wish I could scream, "Snap out of it, bitch!"

Another time suck? E1 and E2 are playing softball this semester. I did luck out and one night a week they both have practice, but we basically live at the ball fields. With practices and games, I am already praying for rain. They both have two practices a week, but E2 does not go to one of hers. Her second practice is Friday night 7-8 pm. First, we have Shabbat dinner. Second, my five year is not going to practice at 7 pm. It is tee-ball. Go fuck yourself.

This parenting thing is hard work. School, therapies, after school activities, homework, tests, projects, play dates.... I am exhausted.

Yes, I am bitching. Sometimes it is necessary.

I am now going to take some Imodium for my diarrhea of the mouth.