Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Therapy. Warning: LONGEST POST EVER!!

I have always loved to write. A gift I believe God gave me knowing I would need an outlet during this mortal journey. My mind is constantly in story mode which is probably one of the reasons I can never sleep at night. It can be exhausting at times especially when all those thoughts are forced to stay jammed up in my limited brain space. So I made a resolution to start writing things down more. Whether it flows or not. I need to vacate my brain so that maybe just maybe I can stop losing everything and get my life back under control! Ha. If only.

Yesterday was a big day for me. And as weird as it sounds I was overcome with emotion at just how far I have come in life. I ran around frantically all morning trying to get the kids dressed and bundled to go out in the bitter cold (yes we live in Georgia but its currently colder than Anchorage Alaska. Seriously) to arrive at the gym in time for the yoga class I was dying to attend. It was mayhemic and I was barking orders (something I really hate doing) and I felt all scrunched up inside by the time we finally got there. And as I was walking in the bitter freezing wind, yelling at my kids to stay out of the road and trying to man handle Carter who couldn't even breathe it was so frigid a man came right up to me and said " it is CHILD ABUSE to be dragging your kids out in this weather so you can go to the gym." It took all my strength not to burst into tears. First of all...it may be cold buddy but I grew up in UTAH. This aint nothin. And secondly do you even KNOW what I have gone through to get to this place. And I am not just talking about running around like a chicken with its head cut off this morning either.

As I sat meditating in my yoga class I replayed what the man had said and tried to figure out why it had effected me so deeply. He probably wasn't intending to break my spirit so why was I so hurt by his comment? As I allowed myself to reflect and ponder I realized I was so effected because for as long as I can remember I have been unwell. I don't mean lying in bed with the flu unwell but definitely not healthy. It started back in junior high. I thought everyone felt sick after they ate. Looking back at HOW I ate it is NO wonder why I always felt so crappy. A steady diet of pizza and soda are a deadly combo for anyone. But it only escalated and by my first year in college I began to have severe reactions to food. The first real kicker was in 2004 at our family cabin in Idaho. I ate a hot dog on a bun and blew up like a hot air balloon. I literally was so sick and bloated my parents nearly drove me to the hospital. The pain was unbearable. And that was the beginning of what felt like the never ending story. For months I was poked and prodded my countless doctors as we searched aimlessly for answers. After getting very broad and vague conclusions we finally went to what we loving refer to as a "witch doctor" aka Alternative Medicine. She did her witchery and felt very strongly that my problem was food intolerances. Most specifically wheat. My first thought was "HA. RIGHT." If anyone knows me they know I LOVED my bread. I mean really LOVED. I used to eat full loaves in just a couple days on top of every other kind of starchy carbohydrate out there. I was a fiend for wheat and the very thought of it being my "problem" was absurd. But as I sat in my apartment eating a bowl of Wheat Chex I had this very strong impression that what she had said was right and that I need to stop eating wheat for good.

Of course being my stubborn self and being in TOTAl denial I rejected such promptings and instead went all crazy like and ate as much as I could. In fact I went out with friends and got a bottomless plate of french toast and ate three or four plates before my lymph nodes in my neck swelled up to the size of golf balls and I could barely breathe. That didn't stop me and I kept on indulging despite feeling absolutely horrible. It wasn't until I ended up in the hospital after being carried out of my apartment on a stretcher (by gorgeous fireman I might add) and rushed in an ambulance to the ER for a possible bowel obstruction that I finally decided that the witch dr was maybe right. I lay there highly medicated to help dull the pain in my abdomen (which was so engorged I looked 9 months pregnant) and I realized I had two choices. I could go on being in denial and be miserable or I could educate myself and accept this as reality.

Well I wish I could say the journey was over there and all was hunky dory but of course God loved me too much to allow that to happen. It took nearly two years to completely go wheat free. I had to go through the entire "grieving" process (a very real thing even for something like this) and once I reached acceptance, with the help of my mom, I began to learn all I could about my new lifestyle.

At the time food intolerances were NOT common. I felt like an alien and was certain there was NO way ANYONE would ever want to marry me. It was a very hard and lonely road. No one understood and because I was not visibly ill people often felt it was "all in my head". Only my sweet mother who is my dearest friend remained positive and supportive.  She educated herself and did everything to help me pave my way on this new path. Her love and constant support has been the biggest blessing of my life.

Dates were awkward and uncomfortable as I started having to explain to people that asked me out that there wasn't much I could eat at restaurants. They all treated me very differently for whatever reason after that. I felt socially outcasted. I tried to keep my chin up but decided to instead move home and work for my dad for a time. After coming home from Romania where I worked with friends in a childrens hospital and orphanage for a summer, I decided to move back to Provo. I moved in with my lifelong best friend and it was during that time that I really began to see the Lords hand working in my life. The time leading up to meeting Ty is a story for another day but there is no denying that it was part of "my plan". The one God intended for me to have. And there have been so many blessings that have followed since marrying him.

I am just now seeing how each piece of my past has been like a piece to my "puzzle of life". Seriously and it has been amazing to finally understand WHY certain things happened the way they did and how what felt like a HUGE trial turned out to be a GRAND blessing. Let me explain.

I had NO problem getting pregnant with Kaysia and Ryder. My nickname has been fertile myrtle for quite some time and so in 2011 after moving to Virginia and having an Ovarian cyst rupture I found out that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. WHAT?!? The ultrasound showed that my ovaries were barely visible there were so many cysts. I hardly knew how to respond when the dr told me the results. I wondered how on earth no one ever caught this. Especially since he suggested that I have probably had it my whole life. It sure explained a lot since as I have come to learn people with PCOS have major insulin problems and most fight obesity and infertility as a result of not being able to manage their intake of carbs and sugar. Something I definitely struggled with before my whole "wheat intolerance" issue arose. My first visit with the GYNO he told me I was an absolute anomaly in the PCOS world. Not only was I the mother of two children who were conceived naturally and with ease but I was at a very healthy weight and didn't have a five o'clock shadow on my upper lip. He was dumbfounded at the severity of my PCOS and my lack of symptoms. I had light periods that were for the most part regular, I had very little bodily hair growth and no history of infertility. The only symptom I had experienced was extremely painful periods as a teen.

I told him how I was wheat, corn, and soy free in my diet and that I exercised for more than an hour every single day. At the time i was running 30+ miles a week and biking daily with the kids in the bike trailer. None of it made sense. He put me on meds anyway to help with my blood sugar and to suppress my testosterone levels since with PCOS the more carbs and sugar you eat the more MALE hormones you produce thus effecting your weight and your ability to get pregnant. Its a horrible disease for so many and I kept wondering how on earth I had managed to escape that awfulness.

Again I wish I could say the story ends there but in May of 2012 I suddenly hit a wall. Whether it was the stress of being a single mom during "busy season" or over doing it working out I fell into a dark place and I fell hard. I was so exhausted the thought of going up the stairs made me weep. Literally. I felt like my body weighed a thousand pounds and all the daily tasks that were required of me were beyond overwhelming. I gave up on everything. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, playing with my kids, eating, everything. All I could do each morning was drag myself down to the couch and stick a movie on for the kids. Ty started picking up the house and doing the laundry and was completely baffled. I wondered every single day if that day would be the day I would just go over the edge of sanity to insanity. I pictured myself lifeless in a white padded room. I am totally serious. I really was that bad. It was a VERY dark time. I had a miscarriage and was struggling to get pregnant for the first time EVER.

I finally saw a dr in Utah that I will forever be indebted to. She found many nutritional deficiencies and easier to fix problems that other drs had overlooked. Her philosophy was to achieve a state of wellness and not just to be within the normal range. Every body is different and what might be good enough for one isn't for another. She really helped me be in tune with my body. Our first visit in August of 2012 she told me to hold off getting pregnant until I healed my body. But the weekend before Ty had come to Utah for a days for his sisters wedding and we hadn't seen each other in three weeks and well you know how that story goes. And miraculously I had gotten pregnant.

I had to wait until I wasn't pregnant to take some of the vitamins and stuff she wanted me to take but most of it I started taking and saw a huge difference after a few months. In fact this was by far the best pregnancy I had had. I was energized and worked out every single day all the way to my due date. She had found with that first visit though that my iron was extremely low. Something I had known for years but was unwilling to do anything about mostly because I didn't think it was a big deal. I couldn't grasp the reality of what that meant and therefore it meant nothing to me. Nothing until after I had Carter and they retested me and found it had dropped even lower. Dangerously low. Which after having a baby is normal right but this was months after having him and by then things usually go back to normal. Well my normal was non existent. She called me while visiting my in laws in Canada in a bit of a panic and quite honestly scared me to death. She urged me to get care immediately but again I felt "fine" and decided to just wait until I got back to Virginia. I made an appointment with a hematologist who after getting my history and blood work tested was concerned that maybe I had internally bleeding in my colon or a cancerous polyp of some sort that was causing the severe anemia. This news was shocking and devastating. Especially considering we were about to move to Georgia in two weeks and I had three kids and no time for constant dr visits and thorough testing. But as I wrote in a previous post blessing after blessing allowed me to get tested and the results came back negative.

And now here I am after 6 iron infusions later and my levels are off the charts good. So good in fact that its 10:15 PM and Im still awake going strong. AND I even just worked out for the second time today. If you knew what a miracle that was you would understand why I have been so emotional lately.  What has been absolutely amazing to me has been my ability to see how each of these "health" obstacles I have faced in the last 10 years have been to my benefit.  And to see how Gods hands were in the details the ENTIRE time. Im blown away by that, as Im able to look back and see the whole picture.

I honestly believe that if I hadn't had to go off wheat then I would have either had a VERY difficult time getting pregnant or may have never been able to get pregnant at all. The fact that I had to stop eating carbs and sugar completely SAVED my life and allowed me to produce new life. Something SOOOOO many people in my position with PCOS CAN NOT DO. If you go on a PCOS forum and read it is heart wrenching to hear these women's struggles to get pregnant and their inability to do so. And I was spared that heart ache by miraculously being FORCED to switch my diet and eliminate those things that would cause me to be infertile just a couple of years before meeting Ty.  Many would pass that off as a coincidence but I assure you Gods hands were in the details.

And then the iron issue. Well I strongly believe that was just another trial connected to PCOS that if I had heeded all the promptings to get help I could have avoided. But instead of getting help i let it get out of hand. I didn't take the time and God knew the only way I would slow down and refocus was if I HAD to. And boy am I glad He allowed that to happen. It has completely changed my life. For the first time I feel IN SYNC with my body. I am no longer a slave to its weakness but through the atonement of Jesus Christ I feel at one with myself. I have drawn on His power and His promises that "if I have faith He will make weak things become strong". And in every way has He kept that promise. When I got my latest results of my iron levels I screamed in delight on the phone and then burst into tears. The nurse probably thought I was so weird. But this has been the longest journey EVER and I finally feel like I have reached the next turn and can move forward continuing in faith. And what a relief that is both physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The hematologist here in Georgia told me that she was dumbfounded that I had been able to not only carry three healthy kids, run long distance, but also keep up with the daily tasks required of a mother of three with my iron levels where they were. She said someone with my levels should be in a hospital bed on the brink of you know what. When she said that an overwhelming feeling of gratitude filled my entire being. I SAW in that moment the miracle that was ME. I was able to do all that because GOD had made me more than I was. He had lifted me up and strengthened me in ways that I didn't even recognize. Of course it was still challenging and I was exhausted and miserable and irritable non stop for the last several years but I got out of bed each day and I rocked it. And I did it only because He helped me to. There is NO other explanation. How can I NOT be different after finally understanding all that? How can I not live each day in gratitude to my Father in Heaven for not only allowing me to experience those trials but to carry me through them. I have never felt so close to Him and have never felt His love so abundantly in all my life.

THAT is why what that man said outside the gym yesterday affected me so deeply. Because it has taken me so long to feel well and the fact that I am finally able to work out after all these months is a miracle to me and the farthest thing from child abuse. A healthy mother is a blessing to her whole family.  And a healthy body inside and out is something I have longed for for most of my life. And for the first time I see that it is possible. So many lessons learned and so many blessings experienced. What an incredible being God is. And what an incredible and perfect plan He has for all of us. I look forward to the day when I can throw my arms around Him and my Savior Jesus Christ and thank them for loving me and guiding me along my path in life. What a glorious day that will be for me.

I know this post is crazy and loaded and if anyone stuck through it i am impressed. This was for me though. To remember that our Father in Heaven has our happiness at the heart of His plans. And that He knows what we are capable of. And that no matter how dark the night the sun will always rise. It may be years of suffering or moments but things will ALWAYS be made right. And everything we go through in this life is for our eternal benefit. What a beautiful thing it is to know all of that. And to be able to teach my children that so that hopefully they won't get as discouraged by trials they will undoubtedly face in this life.

God truly is good. And I can honestly say my cup runneth over.

Until next time.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Halloween 2013 Pictures






We had a ward trunk or treat which was a fun event and then our neighborhood had a gathering the night of halloween. The kids were in heaven with all their candy and had a lot of fun running around to all the new houses in our area. The 4 giant zip locks of candy are still in the pantry untouched. Go figure.

Ryder's 4th Birthday

{November 15}

I am so grateful I finally have a quiet moment to myself. This month has been an absolute whirl wind of holidays and fun. I didn't want to get so far out and forget to do Ryders birthday though so while i have a second I am going to knock this post out. 

Ryder was so excited for his birthday. I started a tradition back when Ty and I were first married where we have birthday week which includes excessive amounts of adoration and praise...seriously...and they get to choose their favorite snacks and dinners to have all week. I never buy junk and so this is their chance to get it all in. They are also exempt from chores and cleaning (their favorite part of course). Basically they are King and/or Queen for a whole week. When I started it with just Ty and I it was okay but since having kids it has become something they each look forward to and enjoy SOOO much that its worth how exhausted it makes me! After seeing Kaysia experience birthday week it was all Ryder could talk about for months. You can imagine how thrilled he was to find out the week before his birthday that the time had come...AT LAST! 
Oh and how he milked it. He was VERY aware of what it meant to be King and he took full advantage. I was impressed. I wasn't sure he would grasp the full meaning at his age but I was totally wrong. 
We obviously didn't have a party since we are still so new to Georgia but we made sure he had a fun filled day! He had school and they made sure to make him feel extra special and I also brought cupcakes to his class. REAL cupcakes. Not the gluten free stuff. Another bonus.
Rather than getting a bunch of toys that will just go straight into the toy bucket without a second glance Ty and I focused on things that would help him develop his coordination and athletic skills. He got a soccer net, tee ball set, golf clubs, and a remote control car. He also got coloring stuff since he is a drawing junkie. And games.We LOVE games at our house and its something we can all do together.   Overall I would say his birthday was a success. He didn't feel well by the evening after loading up on a TON of homemade mini pizzas so he skipped out on the cupcake and blowing out candles bit. In fact he begged to go to bed. Classic Ryd. The kid knows when he is tired and isn't afraid to admit it.




 Ryder and Brin (his "girlfriend")
Ryds preschool class

Some things to remember about Ryd:

He LOVES anything superhero. Shirts, shows, books, toys, ANYTHING. 
He LOVES to sing. He is always singing something.
He is now eating foods that contain milk, soy, and wheat. We are still exploring the wheat and its effects but he seems to be gaining weight and looking much healthier.
He eats pretty much all day. I am sure boredom plays a roll as we don't have many friends yet but regardless he is hungry nearly every moment.
Ryder is content to just chill. Unlike Kaysia who goes 90 mph he is okay to relax on the couch and cuddle with mom.
He is really enjoying being in school. He has so many friends and absolutely loves his teachers. Its been very good for him to be with people other than his family.
He is very sweet and goofy at the same time. He loves to tease and torment but he also likes to be loved on and adored.
He really hates to get in trouble. He does not like thinking we are mad at him or he did something wrong and is very quick to say sorry and make things right.
Has an obsession with grabbing Carters hands. I do NOT like this one but its something Im sure I will want to remember (although at this point I wish I could forget!) Its one thing I will never understand.
Finally passed the 30 lbs mark at his latest well visit. This is HUGE progress for him. 
He has adopted Kaysia nomadic ways and carries all his favorite things all over the house in a back pack and/or plastic bags. He never really plays with anything in particular he just carries and looks and then packs up and goes somewhere else to do the same thing.
Is very good at picking up on games and at doing puzzles. 
Is also very good at things that require hand/eye coordination. It will be fun to see where that skill takes him.
Just started being able to put his own clothes on the right way. Still has a few hiccups occasionally (usually forgets undies go on first, etc.) but is doing much better
Still has the rag doll syndrome where if you are helping him with something he doesn't even attempt to help you or even look at whats happening. Trying to put his shoes on is a nightmare.
He makes us laugh all day long. He and Kaysias relationship is so diabolical and hilarious. I am hoping Carter will help lessen the drama when he gets old enough to join the mix.

To be honest this age with him has been hard. But I think a lot of it stems from all the changes this past year. A new baby and then moving really rocked this kids world. He still begs every single day to  "Go home". Virginia was all he knew and trying to understand that we won't be going back has been really hard for him. Especially leaving all the people we loved so much. We really had a great life built up there and its taking time to get settle here. Hopefully this new year brings friendships and experiences that will help him overcome any troubles he is feeling. 
We love him so dang much. He is the worlds best snuggle buddy and his gentle hugs and kisses are to die for. He also has such a good heart. And loves his Heavenly Father and Jesus so very much. His prayers are sincere and his desire to do what is right astonishes me. I am so blessed to be his mother. 
The other day at Home Goods he begged me to come look at something. When I got to the isle he was on he said "Look mom these are the flowers I am going to give you when I marry you." 
If only he could stay little and all mine forever. I guess I just soak it up while I can.

 a total dork (thats a compliment in our house!)
 Thanksgiving feast at Lord of Life preschool
"Pilgrims dont smile mom" 
 chirstmas nails
 ward christmas party 2013
 superman 
 trying to get Kays to wrestle
 hes gotten so tall
 First case of strep throat

 Always asks if he can fall asleep in the car and if I say yes he is out within a millisecond!
 loves his dad
 When did my baby boy get so big
 the endless hand grabbing...
at the zoo the day before his bday with buds East and Luke

Monday, November 11, 2013

All I want for Christmas is...

My two front teeth



Such a fun milestone to watch as a parent. She was so excited the first time the tooth fairy came. She had left a little note that Kaysia frequently rereads it to me. Im sure we will be seeing a lot more of this in the weeks and months to come.

Here she is after the first one. Best.Day.EVER!!! 

Carter Stanley Pratt

Carter recently reached his 6 month mark and I am reminded each and every moment how much I absolutely LOVE this stage. Oh they are just so yummy at 6 months. With their chunky thighs and slobbery chins. He babbles and screeches and squeals all day long. He rolls all over the place and is even starting to figure out the army crawl.  He is all smiles and sleeps like a champ (most days).  The last few weeks he has gotten really busy.  Always moving around and gets bored quickly with our boring same old toys. So during the day I spend a lot of time moving him to "stations". Sitting up for a bit with toys, then into the jumper until that gets old. Last resort I turn on his favorite show "Mommy and Me" so I can get stuff done. He also loves to just lay on the ground and roll around playing with different toys he throws around.

One thing I have just relished this time around is rocking him to sleep. I know they say not to but he is good at putting himself to sleep so I see no harm in cherishing those quiet moments. After he finishes his bottle I lay him up on my shoulder and just rock as I listen to his soft breathing. I swear there is never a time I feel closer to heaven. He is like my calm in the storm. I realize how fragile and precious life is. And what an incredible gift we are given as parents to be entrusted with something so innocent and beautiful.

So often as a parent I get flustered and overwhelmed. I second guess myself constantly and wonder how in the world my kids are going to turn out even remotely normal. But in his room in the quiet calm I am reminded that I am not doing this alone. God truly is at my side. He knows these kids. I mean really knows them just like He knows us. And He is the ONLY one with the answers to how best to care for them. Books can give good advice but as I have slowly learned with time every child is so different. And if we hope to help them become who God intends for them to be then we have to trust that He will help us.

I have enjoyed being a "new" mom a thousand times more this time around than I did with my first two. Of course Carter is a thousand times easier but I also know that I am different. Less overwhelmed with the little things and more concerned about enjoying the moments that most assuredly will not last forever. Indeed they will NEVER be experienced again. A thought that leaves me torn with sadness and regret. Its so challenging to live in the moment. To enjoy this time when life seems so hectic. But just as all the old ladies at grocery stores consistently continue to remind me "it goes by so fast." And now that Kaysia is 6 years old I see that they are right. Just a moment ago I was holding her for the first time wondering what in the world I was supposed to do. How I was supposed to help this little tiny bean turn into a beautifully pure and confident woman.

But I'm trying. Trying to enjoy this time. Maybe not every minute. Lets face it there are a lot of moments I want to completely forget. But the good ones I am taking time to relish. Like rocking Carter. I kiss all over his face and tell him I love him and he sleeps on. And I try NOT to think about all the sweet children that will never know what its like to be loved so much by another human being.    And of course I pray for them. Pray that someday every person can someday experience the overwhelming love I feel for my kids.

Carter has brought so much goodness into our lives. He is like a breath of fresh air. After two really hard babies he has been such a blessing. And even more so the older he gets. So many fun milestones on the horizon.

A few little quirks I want to remember...he rubs his eyes and pulls on his left ear when he is getting tired. He will produce a smile no matter how tired or sick if you smile and talk to him. He has the loudest most forceful burps ever.  He loves his feet and hands and spends most of his time slobbering all over them. He is so loud. I mean he can scream louder than the other kids. Its a happy scream too. I think he just wants to be heard above the mayhem. He makes a sing song sound when he is falling asleep. He sucks his tongue when sleeping. He loves the bath. If he is fussy in the evening all you have to do is say "Carter you want to take a bath?" and he gets so excited and kicks his legs and squeals. He loves to be naked. He loves faces and especially loves to hit them and pull on lips, ears, and nose. When I go to soothe him in the night and rub his back he always puts his arm up around my neck and squeezes me close. Then he is okay to stop crying and goes back to sleep. Its like he just needs to know I'm there and then he's fine. I should stop going in but I love that so much that I don't mind waking up for it. Oh and no matter what the situation he will laugh hysterically during a diaper change. Especially if you have to wipe his little bum. For whatever reason he thinks that it is hilarious!

We love this kid so dang much. And I thank my Heavenly Father I got lucky enough to be his mom. 

Happy 6 months little Goose.
















Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Georgia

Amazing. With life in full motion I am scrambling just to get the basics taken care of. Forget about all the want-to-get-dones...a category that this blog definitely falls under. But alas here i have a moment while i ice my entire left leg. A story for another day perhaps. For now I would like to focus on whats been happening since moving to Georgia. Thankfully we are coming at the absolute best time of year. Fall. So many fun things happening and the weather is just perfect.

After getting both kids enrolled in school (a much more grueling process than i had envisioned) and unpacking the house we were able to spend more free time exploring. Our first stop. The Cumming Country Fair.  Pretty large considering and full of endless amounts of screaming, laughter, and fun. The kids got a pass to ride all the rides as many time as they wanted and they were in festival heaven.












Next stop was the Ellijay Apple Festival. We drove two hours in the hopes that we would get to pick apples from one of the 26 orchards in this beautiful mountain town but came to find that we had missed the picking season and had arrived at yet another Fair-ish type ordeal. After muttering quite a few less than happy words we decided to make the most of it. Or rather I did and forced Ty to do the same. For the sake of our children of course. :) They played on blow up toys and we walked around the different tents set up. They had their first zip-line experience as well. Which I was HUGELY surprised with Ryder. He is usually so cautious but he didn't hesitate for a moment jumping off that thing. Of course his face relayed absolutely NO emotion but he claims it was "SO MUCH FUN" so I guess he enjoyed it. We also got a nice big bag of Fuji apples from one of the local orchards and to say they were heavenly is an understatement. Lets just say we all spent the next few days fighting over who got how much apple and when. Fair is fair when it comes to delicious produce.




 


more to come on our latest happenings.