Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Allergic Reaction, Life lessons, and Happiness

So I have the MOST amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe that I made up myself. ( I know, bragging is rude, but seriously, these are made with PUDDING! Amazing!!!) The cookie gets cooked all the way through but stays super soft and the chocolate chips are mini, so each bite is loaded with flavor!! I used some new organic eggs we got.

 In Maine we had our own chickens, and organic eggs are amazing! Although I HATED cleaning out the chicken coop, they just smell sooooo yucky! Also, our llama would back be into the feed room and shove her face in the feed bin and she was crazy strong, so not the fondest of farm chores.

Organic eggs or fresh eggs have an almost orange yolk, the white is a bit thicker, and you can practically see the delicious yummy protein goodness, so that is a plus. And they have a slightly different and stronger flavor, I highly recommend them!

So I also am in love with Cupcake Wars, and would love to have a bakery someday called the Pink Stiletto ( I have the shop, uniforms and menu already planned out ;) ) I've been trying to learn how to make my own cupcake batters that are original, so after I made some cookies I decided to try to turn the batter into cake batter by adding whipping cream. It worked very well, the cake is very moist and fluffy, but the middles fell, they didn't puff up. Surprisingly they didn't turn out dense or weird, they just didn't have much volume.

Does anyone know how much baking soda I should use in ratio to the flour? I think that will make them puff up instead of sink down.

But here's where things get exciting! So after eating 1 cookie, I see these weird spots on my thumb. It kind of looked like I had left my hand on something with a pattern that caused an indentation, but it wouldn't go away, and then I started to get worried!

I called Ken who was 20 minutes away donating platelets and plasma which takes FOREVER but saves lives so it's amazing that he dos that, but if he leaves before they are done, they can't use his blood. Then I got this rash.
I am so grateful to have an amazing and thoughtful husband, for his prayers for me, and for all the other prayers from friends and family on my behalf! I'm doing great!

It's a little hard to see in this picture but my skin started turning pink all over and these little red bumps started to appear. Then, my fingers, hands and wrists started swelling right in front of me, and fast! So I called Ken and as I was talking to him he said " Rachel, go unlock the door and sit down, you are sounding really confused, I'm calling 911". So I did, and the fire truck came! ( In less than 3 minutes too, we have an awesome fire station)

My chest started to get tight, I had a little fever, the rash spread and the itchiness got worse. Then my ankles started to swell and all these nice firemen and paramedics were there, calm as cucumbers telling me it was ok since I was still able to talk. I had taken Benadryl but it hadn't set in yet so they took me to the hospital.

Ken had to go get the kids so he came to the hospital for like 5 minutes then went to get the kids from school. My friend who is a PA was on shift so that was cool to say hi! They gave me some more antihistamine medicine and some nausea medicine, and just watched to see if the reaction would calm down. It did so I got to go home! exciting huh?! I told Ken not to eat the cookies or cupcakes and what does he do? Eats some!
But he didn't have a reaction so the doctor said that our bodies change about every 7 years and you can develop food allergies, so I just have to o one of those skin allergy tests and stay away from eggs!
So life lesson: don't be afraid of paramedics and firemen, they are very helpful, call 911 if you get a strange rash and have chest pain, and let your mom come get you and take you home. It just makes everything less stressful!!
So yesterday was exciting! I'm very happy to be fine and that the reaction was not worse. I'm also very happy to be using Thrive, because I had plenty of energy, had no discomfort besides the itching, and was able to think clearly about what I was allergic too, even though I was a bit confused from the reaction. Thrive isn't a magical cure, but it provides your body the necessary nutrients for it to function at it's best. I can only imagine what would have happened had I not been using my Thrive!
And Ken liked the cupcakes and is probably going to eat them all. If you have any egg free yummy recipes I'd love to try making them!! oh, and Benadryl is an excellent thing to have on hand, especially if you don't know you might be allergic to eggs!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Thrive Week 1 Results!!! Miracles, total Miracles!

So, I started a log to see if this Thive Le-vel stuff really works. You be the judge. I dare you to try it for 5 days, and I guarantee you will be on it 5 years, or most likely the rest of your life!

weight= 170 lbs
inches around the most swollen part of my belly (making me look pregnant)= 43"
Inches around largest part of thigh= 24"

Yes, this is a maternity shirt, because my chronic inflammation makes me look pregnant, and no, I cannot have children so you can imagine how difficult this is.
Normal discomfort level including stiff joints, muscle cramping, headaches before Thrive= 8 (on over the counter anti inflammatory)
Normal swelling of belly ( as seen above), hands, knees, ankles, feet and the discomfort level of that before Thrive- 8
Now my normal discomfort level taking Thrive Le-vel of the above swelling and general discomfort- between a 2-4 daily. That's down 4-6 whole points on the number scale!!!!
Ken and I decided before we tried Thrive that if it took either my discomfort levels or swelling down 2 points on the number scale we would consider it a success. We both feel these results after just one week are not only a success, but a miracle.

Weight= 167lbs unwavering. ( throughout the day it will dip lower, so I chose the highest number that it never goes above)
Waist at most swollen part right under belly button= 41"
Thigh= 23"

General improvements noticed within the first 3 days that have just kept getting better!
1.  Sleeping through the night, falling asleep quickly, and if woken by the baby fall back to sleep quickly. (Before Thrive I wouldn't be able to fall asleep until 3-4 am, which makes for a grouchy mama bear).
2. Energy at a high 8-10 daily compared to my previous 2-4. Now I can give my foster kids a run for their money, no tired mama here!
3. Mental clarity- my eyes do not tire easily anymore while reading. I can plan meals, organize ideas and think through chapters for the book I'm writing, keep paperwork organized and stay on top of what needs to get done when ( This is especially critical as we have started our ADOPTION paperwork!!)
4. Confidence! I can't tell you how much more confident I feel when I get up in the morning. I feel like superwoman again, like back in my high school days! Today I'm going to change the world! And I'm doing just that, service that I've wanted to do for friends, teach my foster kids important lessons, plan ways to participate in my community, run errands, make healthy dinners- there is life changing power in healthy dinners!
5. Not grumpy! I have so much more patience with my kids, I get less annoyed over little things and take moments that can be annoying and turn them into teaching opportunities. I think a lot of that has to do with actually resting well!
6. Not needing a nap when my kids go down for a nap. THIS IS HUGE! This started on day one taking Thrive and it threw me for a loop, I got so much done in those 2 hours where I normally need to nap to keep up with my family!
7. Fit into smaller clothes. I don't need my maternity shirts anymore, I wear a size Large now at Target! Awesome!!
8. Able to stand, walk, run multiple errands and still keep my discomfort levels below a 4!!
9. My stomach works! I'm not craving carbs and sugars, but healthy foods, and I'm not going back for seconds and thirds. I'm getting the right kinds of foods and nutrition needed and don't need to snack all day long or find carbs to feel full.
10. My body is reacting less severely to things. It's difficult to explain, but I feel amped and ready for any challenge, and my body feels calm and ready to face stressful things that may come up during the day.
I love Thrive, it's changed my life, and I can't wait to see the results Ken has after his gets here!! This is life changing and I'm so grateful to my friends Denise and Dexter who weren't afraid to help me find it!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Life of Miracles

Ken and I have had many trials in our short little lives, but we have also had amazing miracles. They are very special to us, so I keep them recorded in a miracle journal, but I wanted to share a few simple ones that mean the world to us. And add some happiness to your Sunday!!

Today I was called to be Primary Chorister in our ward. In our religion no one gets paid, it's all volunteer and we are asked by our Bishop if we would like to serve in a specific calling or capacity. Like leading the music in Primary. Primary is where the children 3-11 come and learn about our Savior and I get the privilege to teach them amazing and beautiful songs!

Right now we are working on a song that talks about how we know our Savior lives and loves us. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I love music, and love being able to work with these amazing and sweet children. I pray about how I want to teach the songs, and I work with an amazing pianist and other primary leader to make sure things go great. We sing fun songs, songs that are peaceful, do activities, and most importantly I try to help the Children know how much Heavenly Father loves them.

I say this calling is a miracle because it is. It takes a lot of prep work during the week, and is very tiring to do each Sunday. But I feel so wonderful and at peace while I'm teaching, and feel the Spirit so strongly, which is wonderful. Also Heavenly Father has made it so my body doesn't poop out in the middle of my time teaching. We have been very blessed.

And the new supplements I'm taking from Thrive have been helping calm my inflammation and discomfort levels at an amazing rate, and I'm able to think and focus much better not being so uncomfortable in my own body, which is also a miracle!

Another miracle is that things with the adoption agency and paper work and timing of the progress of our current foster children are all falling into place. We are so blessed and know that Heavenly Father is watching over us and helping us. The children are reaching their milestones and doing very well. Ken and I are so happy with our decision to foster and adopt.

And another miracle, it will be a year in a few weeks that I lost my first baby. And I'm ok. I am ok knowing that I can't have children, and I am looking forward to adoption, and not fearing it. I know and have seen the Lord guide us to people, place friends in our path, get us on the right track of information to be ready, and the fear of the unknown with adoption is all but a little flicker of nervousness. I know our children that are meant for us will come to us at the right time, the Lord's time.

I have been so blessed with an amazing and supportive husband who believes in me. I have been blessed with Friends Denise and Dexter who have changed my health and wellness forever, and I have been so blessed by our Heavenly Father to have so many miracles, tender mercies and incredible experiences. I love knowing that Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer. I love the opportunity I now have to teach beautiful special children just how special they really are and how much Heavenly Father loves them. I can't wait to see and experience the miracles that are sure to come this year as Ken and I try our best to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and make the best choices we can.

Don't be afraid to recognize and live a life of miracles!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Holy Cow THRIVE!!!

So I'm conducting an experiment to see if I can get my body feeling at it's best. I started the Thrive 8 week challenge TODAY. It's a nutraceutical product full of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and all natural ingredients. I wanted to try it to help mainly with my overall inflammation and immune support. And boy am I HAPPY with it!

 My friends Denise Dexter introduced it to me because they know about the different health and wellness issues I've struggled with. My body has constant inflammation which causes severe discomfort and swelling. I have trouble focusing when reading for long periods of time which gives me headaches, I don't sleep well at night and I have busy days trying to take care of foster kids so I can't afford not to feel my best.

I called to say thank you to Denise and Dexter, told them about how amazing I'm feeling already, and was asked to share the incredible change in my body in just this first day! I'm going to share how Thrive has made a difference on a thrive experience call.

I would really love it if you would listen in and support me as I offer support and my experience to others! It's Wednesday the 18th at 7:30pm MST. The phone number is 605-562-3140 with access code 559464#  you will be on mute and get to hear me! ahh I'm so excited and nervous!!

Here's me Thriving! It's so easy and I can't even begin to tell you how great I feel. I'm going to take detailed notes on the amazing changes I see in my body. It works differently for everyone and is for anyone at any health level. I'm so excited to see "The Places I'll Go!"

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Greif, Adoption and Gratitude

Sorry it's been a month since I've posted!!! January has been very eventful! I have lots of pictures and videos of our foster kids being adorable that I wish I could show you! I decided to fill you in on our process, where we are for adoption, what our goals are, and what's been happening!

First, Grief. It will be a year next month that I lost the first baby. Christmas and basically all of December was extremely difficult for me. I love our foster children but they will be going home, which is always a great thing, but I felt so empty on Christmas day. We were supposed to have our own baby in our arms to celebrate the holidays and be happy and enjoy every aspect. Christmas day was very difficult for me. I just wanted the present of our very own baby, the one who should have been born by then. So the holidays were very difficult.

We just got home from our trip to Utah so we are super tired!
I thought that after enough time would pass the grief would lessen, but it's only changed. I think one of the most disappointing factors is knowing that since I was 14 I was told me endometriosis would be cured when I had a baby, and that I would have no trouble having a baby. So not only did we lose 2 babies right before 6 weeks, we also lost the hope of ever having a baby, and having my endometriosis cured.

Grief is weird. I have learned about the stages of grief, but didn't understand that you can go back and forth between stages!! And there are several friends I know who have recently experienced great loss. My friends, I love you and we have been praying for you! I am so grateful to know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who watches over us, and that families can be together forever.

On to adoption! This has been very scary for me, and a little sad because I really LOVE LOVE LOVE newborns, and we may not get one to adopt. But I am learning to accept that just because I don't get a child 2 minutes old doesn't mean it won't be our child. And I've realized what a blessing it is to have Heavenly Father plant the seeds of hope and wanting adoption in my and my husbands hearts. Maybe we wouldn't be thinking adoption if we could have our own children.

I love this painting, it reminds me of how our Savior loves each of us so dearly!
The other big thing that many people don't understand or have even been rude to me about is the child we are looking to adopt. One day I said to Ken, " I think Heavenly Father wants us to adopt a child with Down Syndrome" and he said, " that's what I've been thinking too"!!! It was wonderful to us because we both felt it was the right thing. We have been working with an amazing woman named Gina who runs Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona. She has been amazing and has been keeping us in her mind and heart, trying to find our child. Please check out the web page and see all of the amazing things this woman has done!!!

We don't know what other children we will adopt, or if even the first child we adopt will have Down Syndrome, but we have seen time and time again the Lord's hand guiding us, sending us to the right people, inspiring us to reach out to the right resources, and we have seen many blessings!!

Gratitude!!! We finally found a state agency that will let us continue fostering with our current agency and just do adoptions through them. We are so excited! We have begun to fill out the initial paper work, and they are going to help us get on a specific file at CPS where there is a list of children ready to be adopted, and if any children come through our home and are available for adoption they will help us there. We tried to contact so many agencies, but they all wanted us to switch to foster with them as well, and we absolutely love our foster agency. Everyone is so nice and treats us like family.

We only have to take 3 classes, all in march, to get our adoption license since we are already licensed foster parents for disabled children. And did I mention that this agency is actually able to help you adopt a child with disabilities?!!! Almost every single other agency would only do foster children not considered disabled. I was so amazed at how much harder is it to adopt a disabled child than one with no disabilities. But we are so grateful to have an agency, and hope they take us on. Based on the initial paperwork they still could say no to adding us to their adoptive families, so prayers would be much appreciated!!

We are so grateful to have such wonderful children in our home. We did close down the Sutton Station Depot, but I felt it was a great success. I am so grateful I had toe opportunity to run it, and that even though only 3 foster families showed up on the day I gave everything away, a church who is starting a charity was able to come and take and use all the left over donations, so thank you so much to those of you who came and those of you who donated.

I love being sealed to Ken for time and all eternity! I love that we will be together in heaven, and our adopted children will be sealed to us and we will be a forever family even after this life That knowledge takes away the sting of death and grief.
I am so grateful to know that there is life after death, that Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer, and that despite all the trials we have faced in this last year, Heavenly Father has blessed us immensely. We know that the Lord has a plan for each of us, and as I look back at the past I see how He has been preparing me for the trials I am facing now. I know life may seem so difficult or lonely, or maybe you are dealing with grief or other trials, but please know that the Lord is there to guide you. I love the poem footprints in the sand, where a man asks the Savior why are there one set of footprints along my path? Why did you leave me Lord? And the Savior responds "I did not leave you, there is only one set of prints because I carried you along through your trials".

At the Salt Lake Temple Visitor's center!