Friday, March 31, 2017

Coping with Crohn's: And All That You don't See:

{Though that's the one thing about this disease, you actually don't see any of it}

There are times that I can't stress it enough that this disease is so misunderstood, yes I am very well aware that I look healthy and completely normal on the outside {which is why you technically don't "see" anything}.  I am not looking for sympathy, nor have I ever, in any way, shape or form; I just want to share an understanding of what this disease does. And when I let you in as a part of my circle, you do actually see the affect this disease has on our life. That it truly takes a village to raise our two small children {I can't thank the people in my life enough who are always there stepping in to watch our babies when I need it}, you can see the toll it takes on my body, the exhaustion, etc. 

As I not only cope with my Crohn's Disease, I cope with much much more... 

I have severe Arthritis... And it can be really quite awful at times. The past 4 months it has been flaring like you wouldn't believe, to the point where I will have zero mobility in an arm, I can't sit because of my hip, I am limping around because of my knee. Our kids see this the most, poor Charli has to help me so much {grab things, do things for her brother, etc}, there are days I just cry I'm in so much pain, but other days are truly great, so there's a positive!

I suffer with Migraines... They come and go, but my active disease causes them and they can be so painful causing me to be so sick and not able to leave the bathroom floor. But thankfully it is not every day, so again, a positive! 

I have Anemia... I am not only Iron Deficient but also B12 Deficient and go in for injections {que why I am always exhausted}

I have Hormonal Imbalance... {this is new} There is a lot of stuff going on right now causing this and this is one thing they are trying to get to the bottom of. I am losing my hair because of this, I have mood swings {poor Steven and the kids}, and I can and do lose upwards to 10lbs in any given week due to so many of these things {weight fluctuation is something they have to monitor because I can lose so much so quickly}. 

And you could imagine the stress I feel from dealing with all of these things on top of everything else, especially with a husband who has such a big job and works endless hours.

So why am I sharing this with you now, you might ask? Well, because the past several months have been a sea of tests, procedures, doctors visits, you name it. They are trying to get to the bottom of some things. It has taken a hit to my system and because of a lot of these {little} things going on inside my body my hair has been falling out in clumps... I have been used to hair loss here and there since I was diagnosed, but nothing like I have experienced recently. It was starting to become noticeable on the outside. So a big change had to happen, one I honestly did not want, but I had to cut my hair in hopes to get it "healthier". It is still extremely thin and I am still adjusting to this whole new look. We don't know how much more will fall out, if any, but this is just another thing I have to deal with. 

But as I always say, I feel incredibly lucky because no matter what I am going through there is always going to be someone in this world who is going through something much worst. So I am thankful for a team of Doctors who work diligently on me, getting me into the right treatment to help me feel better. I am thankful for two wonderful children and an amazing husband who supports me, and for the incredible network of family & friends that are always there to lend a helping hand!
Here's to praying for some good results soon! 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Catching Moments: {11/52}:

*Boys play house too...
Every so often I will catch Crew sneak into sissy's room when she isn't looking and I follow to see what he is up to. He will sit so quietly and play with her doll house and log cabin {because it is clearly forbidden property by sisters standards}. I of course allow it because I find it so sweet. Just look at him starring at those little critters!! swoon! Buuuuuuuut, it usually only last for about 5-10 minutes before he starts stomping around pretending to be a dinosaur, monster, or destroyer toddler. Eh, cute while it lasts! 

*Stop & Smell the roses {ehhh, jasmine}...
A busy Gardener always finds time to stop & smell the flowers... I find Charli every single day smelling the Jasmine while we are outside playing. She truly is an old sole and possibly flower child! haha!  

But that crop top tho... It deserves a second feature!!! 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Charli's Chapter: I'm a Little Gardener Momma:

from charli's chair:

I'm a little gardener momma
It's where I love to be
Watering the flowers
Just feels right to me 

I love to see the new growth form
And all the life within
Bumblebees & Caterpillars
 Where Butterflies begin

Now springtime's here
New blooms will grow
With water, sun & shade
Just give a little extra love
Your garden will be made

I'm a little gardener momma
Just a girl and watering can
Because of that medal thing
A real true love began

 xo charli

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Refresh: Arhaus Project:

Happy Monday & Happy First Day of Spring!! 

I think it is safe to say we are all ready for warmer days and Spring like weather & to officially put winter behind us. From family & friends out West who dealt with a lot of snow and frigid temps to family & friends along the East Coast who got dumped with snow last week from the Nor'easter and more below average temperatures coming this week {that was us 2 years ago, and snow lingering in April is no bueno}. I think we would all just like to thaw out!

So when Arhaus mentioned they were gearing up for National Spring Refresh Day and a "Spring Refresh Project" they had in mind, there was no hesitation on my end to join right in! Spring is definitely on the brain and it has me day dreaming of being beach side or pool side as I type {because yes, even in Florida this morning it is chilly! ;)} 

There are some key staples that you will always find in and around our home every year at Springtime... Tulips, soft blue's, greenery, and anything fresh! For this project I focused on the Kitchen as it can be an area a lot of people tend to not focus on "decorating", especially for seasons. So I thought a few fun tips might have you sprucing up your kitchen on this first day of Spring! 

Nothing screams Refresh like a crisp, clean, clutter free area am I right. I don't like the feel of a cluttered kitchen so I tend to not have a lot of things on my countertops. So you will see that you can freshen up this space with very little. 

Fresh flowers is always my first go-to item. Having fresh flowers in our home year around is something I tend to do but nothing has a hold on fresh flowers during the Spring Time... And Tulips... They are my all time favorite flower and probably the only flower you would ever see in our home during this time of year! But don't think you can't use faux flowers as well. I am all for a mixture of using fresh and faux in your home {mainly because I can't keep anything alive, well besides my humans that is!}

Tying your breakfast nook or dining room into your kitchen always makes for a great statement as well. You will see here that I continued with a simple white pitcher and tulips that really brings the rooms together. I love how fresh and beautiful a simple touch can be to a room. Adding simple chargers, napkins, and napkin rings to finish off the look of a set table is a detail I will always do. I love how elegant a set table looks and how it truly finishes off a space. Even our four year old gets it honest... She will freak out if there are no chargers on the table haha! She is in charge of setting the table for dinner each night and she told her daddy "tables are supposed to look fancy, we need chargers for our plates daddy"... haha. 

If you are in the market for a new dining table or kitchen table to spruce up your space, then head on over and check out Arhaus Dining & Kitchen Tables page. 

Using fresh {or faux} fruit is also one of my favorite design elements. Fruit is something we always have in our home and it is something I always have on display so it is ready for the kids to snack on whenever they please. Adding those pops of color for Spring just feels good too! Not only is it a nutritious element but it is aesthetically pleasing! So throw some lemons or apples in a bowl and call it a day! ;)

Adding succulents is another great way to bring the outdoors in and such a simple way to spruce up a tiny space! I love the pop of green it adds in the kitchen with the apples, limes, and flower stems. 

 My last quick tip for a Spring Refresh is a simple change out of your hand soap. It is such a small change but something so inviting. Mrs. Meyers is one of my favorite products thanks to my mom and adding a fresh scent like this Lemon Verbena will just make you feel good. It is so fresh and clean and I even love the little pop of color the green label gives! 

I hope you enjoyed this little Spring Refresh and these simple tips to refresh your home!
Lets say goodbye to Winter and Hello to Spring!

*Disclosure: all opinions & styling tips are my own

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Recipe: Gluten Free Lasagna Soup:

Happy Thursday Friends! 

It has been rather chilly here in Florida this week {30s in March... no bueno}, but warmer days are on the horizon! While the chillier weather is still lurking, I've got just thing to warm you up! This Lasagna Soup that I make is so incredibly simple and can be made Gluten Free or not {depending on your lasagna noodles and choice of sauce} and it is a favorite in our house. Our kids love it and it is a fun way to change up "lasagna" {which to be honest I don't ever make, haha!}. 

So if you are looking to add a fun soup to your recipe book for those chillier days, then grab a pen because this one is for you! 

Gluten Free Lasagna Soup

1 box Gluten Free Lasagna noodles {or regular}, broken into small pieces.
1 32oz jar pasta or marinara sauce {whatever you have on hand or usually buy will work, for example I used Prego meat flavored}
2TBSP unsalted butter
1 Quart Chicken Broth
Fresh Ricotta Cheese {for serving}
optional: 1 lb ground hamburger or ground  turkey {something I randomly started adding to this recipe was meat. You don't have to but it is delicious}.

In large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook noodles, drain.
In same saucepan, combine pasta/marinara sauce & chicken broth, bring to boil.
Stir in pasta & butter, cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally {this is when I add my already browned/cooked meat}.
Top with a little ricotta cheese.
Serve hot.

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Catching Moments: {10/52}:

*Milk... It does the body good...
Walked around the corner and caught this kid chugging milk from the carton... Both Charli & Crew have always been huge milk drinkers but Crew can put any kid {or adult} to shame. We go through 4 gallons a week minimum. Little dude has now been getting sneaky when you tell him no more milk... He opens the fridge, picks up the gallon by himself {ok little hulk}, opens the lid, and starts drinking it right there! haha! 

*Naps... They also do the body good...
Charli rarely sleeps during nap time {quiet time for her} anymore but every so often I find her in the most random spots around the house snoozing away! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Crew's Corner: Potty Superhero:

from crew's crib:

I've been sitting on the pot
For 4 months to be exact
But it hasn't been till recent
That I've had no accident

But now it's been a month
Almost to the day
That I've been wearing big boy pants
Hip Hip Hooray!

Mommy is so proud of me
So is Daddy too
They knew that I would catch on
To this potty thing soon

Now it's very easy
And I know the time to go
I am just like him
A Potty Superhero!

xo crew

{Potty Post from mommy coming soon!}

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Fort & Friends:

You know those friends who you immediatley form a connection with, and not just you and her, but the husbands too? Well these for those kind of friends, and we met them almost five years ago while we were all stationed in Monterey.

They lived right up the street from us and Kate and I did basically everything together as well as our families... shopping, errands, playgroups, family winery trips, weekend trips like Yosemite, and every Saturday for "Bloody Mary Saturday". She is also the person who got me started with blogging! They were there before we got pregnant with Charli and Kate was actually the very first person to ever meet our Charli Adele {something we will always cherish}. 

Well, in this life, the military calls, the duty stations change, some friendships fade but some remain the same. I am thankful that we never lost touch and have always made an effort to check in on each other. Through the passing years our families have grown, we were able to visit them while they were stationed in Virginia, and now as fate will have it, they are stationed in Florida!! 

So a couple of weeks ago they made their first visit to see us! They made the drive from Tampa and we decided it would be fun to meet them in St. Augustine and have a fun filled day at the Fort, and that's exactly what we did!  

I loved seeing this little tribe together! It has definitely grown from back in our Monterey days but oh how I couldn't love it more! 

After exploring the Fort {and boy did it bring back memories of my childhood and all the field trips I took there}, we walked around Ft. George Street, rode the Trolley around town {of course sipping on to-go boxes of wine that we stashed in our purse... haha!!} and finished off at the park before heading back to our house!

The rest of the evening was filled with so much laughter, memories, stories, and wine... 
lots of wine! ;) And of course Kate and mine's talent is obviously making delectable cheese trays!

Though their trip was short, we couldn't have asked for a better little weekend. Thank you guys for coming to visit us and we can't wait to come to your place next!!

Happy Monday!  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Recipe: Quinoa Pizza Bites:

Happy Friday Friends! 

Friday Nights are always Pizza Night in our house... but during the Lenten Season, Fridays become Fish Fridays for us. So though we won't be enjoying these or any other pizzas tonight {we switch it up during the week for now} you can still enjoy these if you don't eat fish on Fridays during Lent too. 
So if you are feeling kind of crazy, here is a super simple & healthy Pizza Night option that has been kid approved...
Quinoa Pizza Bites

1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
1/3 Cup Pepperoni {cut into small pieces}
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray {you could use mini muffin tins as well}.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Transfer into muffin tins.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned.
Immediatley transfer to cooling rack.

We dipped the pizza bites into sauce and the kids devoured them! 

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chatting with Charli:

*So is Great Daddy like a big old, a medium old, or a little old... because I feel he is a medium old mom.
*I have something stuck in my voice {You mean throat}... I fink I know what I mean mommy, geesh
*{When wanting something} Mommy, I haven't had it in like 16 years... {honey, you haven't even been alive for 16 years... then rolls her eyes at me}
*Wash-a-ma-dryer {washing machine & dryer}
*Mommy, so how does Santa deliver ALL the toys to ALL the people, ALL in one night? {..... magic honey...} "Ok, but mommy, let's talk about this"... {aye aye aye... why does she have to be so logical already...}
*So mommy, how exactly does Santa fit down the chimney? {daddy? you got this one... Because mommy's "magic" answer didn't suffice}
*Santa Rule number 20 16, Do Not pull on his beard... Santa Rule number 21, Do Not ride his reindeer... Santa Rule number 20 19, Have a Merry Christmas... And that is all the Santa Rule's bubba. 
*Well, my daddy is magical, and he can do ANYTHING! 
*Bubba, use your manners... That's not polite... Oh bro-va
*Only when you have something wrong with you and you go to the doctor is when the doctor can give you a diagnoses. {nana: that is exactly right... so doctor charli do you have any diagnoses} I think mommy has a case of wine-syndrome.... And I think nana has a case of old-a-sitis. Bubba has a case of falling-sitis. {literally we couldn't stop laughing.... annnnnnnnd we were drinking wine. well ya nailed that one on the head Chuck! haha!}
*{yelling from outside} Mommy... Bubba pooped in the grass... {then yelling at Crew} Bubba you don't poop in the grass like a dog. You poop in the potty like a human... Oh bro-va.
*Mommy, when will I be an adult? At 10? {No honey}... At Eleven-teen? {No honey}... 16? {no sweetie}... At 21? {Yes, at 21 you will be an adult.}... gosh, thats in like forever... {well honey, you don't need to worry about being an adult for a very long time. You need to enjoy every bit of being a kid, ok sweetie}... Ok mommy, I love you!
*{telling someone about Crew} I know, he is just getting so big now. He is such a big boy. He is not even like a baby anymore. He is just our sweet big boy. He sleeps like a big boy in his big boy bed, he wears big boy underwear ALL the time and is just so good at using the potty {giggles} I just can't even believe it. {seriously, is our kid 4 or 40??}
*Mommy, today has been the best day, of all days. 

Oh sweet Charli Adele, your intelligence sure keeps us on our toes, but I hope you don't ever stop asking questions! Continue being the best you you can be!