i want to be better at remembering specific things to pray for/people to pray for. today i am praying for two people: pauly and my friend amy.

paul has a super super important meeting today for his work. he is in north carolina right now working on it. the meeting is today (wed) at 10am..and he has been very stressed about it. paul is very capable and works really hard. he never lets anything bother him and is very rarely really stressed out by when i saw how much this meeting was stressing him out, i knew this was a big deal. i am praying for peace him today, that he will know that this job or any earthly success is not where hope is found…and i’m praying that he does a killer job today, and it all goes better than he could have hoped. walk in weakness pauly, i love you so so much.

amy has a big interview with for a graduate school program today….she is ridiculously smart and capable and talented, but understandably nervous about this interview. if anyone deserves this though, it’s her…and i am praying that the interview committee will see that. praying that she will be calm and confident and know all the right things to say. love you lucy!


i just want to be able to look back in my posts someday when i am old and gray and remember what was happening in our life at the time, and what we were praying about. also, extra prayers today about these things are appreciated! thank you!

detox day 5

i’m tired of having the detox be my title, but it’s almost over!! whoop! tomorrow (thursday) is my last full day! i have to say though, i am feeling really good, overall.

yesterday (day 5, tuesday) was long and tiring…. i worked early again in the littlest kiddo classroom at school. it was so fun and cute, but man! i am not used to working so early! okay…it’s not that early, (8:30…don’t laugh..okay you can..) but it’s early for me! i felt really good until about 2:30, then i hit a little tired bump…you know, it was so so much better than my usual caffeine lows that hit during that time, and i felt so much better at the end of the day because i didn’t give in to sugar or caffeine. Lord knows i wanted to, though!

funny kid moment of my day yesterday: a little girl dressed in a firefighters outfit dragging/pushing/pulling a GIANT bin of baby dolls across the floor..

me: what are you doing??

little girl: (giant sigh while shaking her head) well..all these babies died in the fire.. had to yank them out. it was too late.

i know it’s totally morbid, but i found it hilarious. who thinks like this?? i was thinking to myself..oh man you are going to be one of those kids to lights fires just to watch stuff burn someday…

okay on to day 6! almost done!

detox days 3 & 4

so i was going to blog yesterday but too much of nothing happened…and you know how when you are really busy you seem to get more stuff done, but when you do nothing and have tons of free time nothing seems to get done? the latter was me yesterday. we were supposed to serve dinner at the union gospel mission and go out to a birthday dinner with friends, but due to inclement weather we just stayed in and i got nothing done. well not nothing. we watched cocoon, dirty dancing, the wedding date, and knight and day. okay judge judy, we did not watch all of each of these! but most. let’s be honest. most. i had never seen coccon…it was hilarious to me. old people and aliens. nothing better.

okay so the last two days of detox have been really good. today i had to work an extra long day at work (11.5 hours!) and i was expecting to feel pretty exhausted…but guess what? i felt really good all day! i couldn’t believe how good i felt, and then i realized that it has been 6 days of no caffeine (even now i can’t believe i can say 6 days! spoken like a true addict i guess..). i think that has really made a difference. that and no sugar. i am not having the caffeine and sugar highs, but also not suffering those crashes either. i think that helped me tremendously today. so i have decided to continue to go without diet coke for lent too. i mean i do work at a catholic preschool after all :) so that means no diet coke until easter! God willing….

also, i am getting more and more used to the taste of these detox shakes. thank God! thursday is my last day of this, and i know i can do it!

last night paul and i made an amazing salad. here’s the link. it was so so good. we, of course, tweaked it a little bit and that will, of course, be going on my food blog, but this link has the original. seriously, this is a great alternative to coleslaw or similar salads, but without all the heavy dressings. i also whipped together some AMAZING pancakes. i don’t think i can eat them any other way now! oatmeal flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and coconut oil…oh man….i’ll post that sometime here too. and real maple syrup? umm. where have you been all my life??! aunt jemima has been lying to me…

school was fun today, too. i worked up stairs in the “tweety bird” room (ages 3-4). they are so cute. it was fun to see them play and interact with each other. i think little girls playing ‘mom’ is so funny. one little girl (3.5 yrs old) yelling across the room to her “daughter”: “Oh honey bunny, sweetie pie! mama needs to talk to you!” it was precious and hilarious.

here’s a pick from one of my 1st graders as well, just in case we needed a reminder of the importance of dogs in our lives. :)

happy monday!


i love that she writes like she talks, "you know...there is a puppy in every heart." so simple. so true.

i love that she writes like she talks, “you know…there is a puppy in every heart.” so simple. so true.

ugh best pancakes ever. be jealous.

ugh best pancakes ever. be jealous.

never going back.

never going back…and yes… this is taken from my couch…where i was eating…all day…(meaning: all day i was eating. and all day i was eating on my couch. yes to both.) 



detox day two, and other fun things

okay day two was not bad at all! it’s starting to feel really good to be off caffeine and sugar…who knew?! i’m sleeping a lot better at night–more soundly and deeper. the shake taste is….well i’m getting used to it. it’s fine. (said quickly and sharply).

yesterday was a really fun day. i walked at the mall with my friend (ms.) eleanor from school. still no baby but we tried our best to walk it out yesterday! then i came home, snuggled/napped with pauly on the couch while watching the food network. my favorite shows are: the barefoot contessa, the pioneer woman, and paula deen. my friends/family always ask me why i watch these shows, especially these three shows, where everything is coated in butter and bacon. i know full well there is nothing i can/will make. my answer: food porn. i know i will never have it, and i know it’s all terrible for me, but i can’t help myself. :) also, i am bummed that there aren’t any truly healthy cooking shows on the food network. and secretly i would love to host one…shhhh…so i watch these to see how they cook on camera….lol it’s like my version of singing in front of the mirror with a curling iron i guess…

anyway, after that we headed over to our friends cory and summer’s place to hang out, play settlers of catan (pauly won!), and eat amazing food. summer is amazing and made unbelievable quinoa/sauteed veggie stuffed mushrooms on a bed of kale, with a balsamic glaze…o.m.g. the picture is below and that recipe will be going on our food blog. it was so so good! the boys also played chess for hours…it’s so funny to me that boys can have a deep and meaningful friendship and really not speak to each other the entire time they are together…. ashur and i had some fun with my bubble gum..i’ll try to get a video of that posted.. and baby tyson was sleeping pretty much the whole time so, sorry pics of him…

it was a really great night, and now we are battening down the hatches for the supposed winter storm we are in for. i am earnestly and fervently praying for a snow day tomorrow… hopefully we can get out today.. we have fun stuff planned! serving dinner at the union gospel mission, and a birthday dinner out with our dear friends caleb and libby! happy birthday libb!!


our friend hayley gave us these sweatshirts from where she works, SAP. they are the most comfortable things ever and we live in them!

our friend hayley gave us these sweatshirts from where she works, SAP. they are the most comfortable things ever and we live in them!

the boys, bonding silently, over chess..

the boys, bonding silently, over chess..

big guy found his nose...and loved it!

big guy found his nose…and loved it!

we played this game for hours last night! ugh. he melts me.

we played this game for hours last night! ugh. he melts me.

ashur says to me "yaya look! i sleep!" it was so funny...all curled up in his toy drawer.

ashur says to me “yaya look! i sleep!” it was so funny…all curled up in his toy drawer.

this i could honestly eat every day. stuffed mushrooms? yes please.

this i could honestly eat every day. stuffed mushrooms? yes please.

i saw this on pinterest, and thought it was hilarious!!

i saw this on pinterest, and thought it was hilarious!!

over dramatic: the end of detox day 1

so after my little rant about the horrible-ness of my detox shake, i made my second one tonight…i made pauly try it to evoke some sympathy for what i was going through…and his response? “Meh. it’s not that bad, leah.” then i tried it again, and you know? it really wasn’t. i mean i won’t be missing it when it’s over, but it’s totally do able. so..once again…i was a tad bit over dramatic….so unlike me….

detox day one was okay…i was a little more tired than usual…but otherwise just fine. it says to fast the first two days, but i get really shaky when i don’t eat, so i munched on some sunflower seeds and strawberries mid afternoon to curb my cravings. i am making a couple more recipes for the upcoming week too, hopefully they will turn out.

i will say, i came home from work today and was really crabby…my body wanted to celebrate friday night with candy and starbucks…it was a little crazy to think how much my mood is affected by the food i eat…i wasn’t hungry, no headache…just a little tired and wanting a treat. i’m glad to be breaking that habit in my life, even if just for  a week :) i really am hoping this is the end of my diet coke addiction though….it needs to end…sigh….tear…

and tonight was really great. paul and i went to the grocery store to stock up on food for this weekend…we watched our favorite shows, suits and modern family, and i drank some yummy chai tea. so who knew, even without treats i still can have a good time.

alright! so i live to detox another day! whoop!

detox, day 1

okay…so today is the day. detox day one. i am doing this detox through my doctor at Partners in Healing i really didn’t think it would be that hard. basically i drink a protein shake in the morning, one at night, and in between i can eat whatever whole foods i want. beans, nuts, veggies, fruits… honestly very similar to how we eat normally, just cutting out all the caffeine, sugar, and processed foods.

so.  i felt like i was ready…i made some healthy food, got lots of good snacks, pauly is on board….and then i made my first shake. let me be clear: i will finish this g-d cleanse if it kills me, but let me be clearer: it might kill me. the shake is like the initial flavor of gross cherries but with the aftertaste of how a skunk smells….so…yeah.

listen. i have gotten used to a lot of bad tasting things in my life with uc. a lot. and this is no different. i know i can do it, but oy vey. that first sip was a doozy. sorry to anyone else who may be doing this cleanse/my doctor who may be reading this. i am committed to this! don’t you worry! :) i can do it!

on a brighter note, i have found some good alternatives to ease my caffeine/diet coke withdrawals. la croix water is a good substitute.. also chai tea with almond milk.. so i think i will be fine diet wise. we’ll see though… it’s only been 2 hours of awake time on this detox.

yesterday i made an awesome red quinoa and black bean soup to eat during the detox. it was really good!  i’ll put up the recipe on my food blog soon… the original recipe i got from here, and i basically followed it but made some minor tweaks. this woman’s blog “ohsheglows” is really quite fabulous. even if you aren’t doing a detox.

so, i’m sure i will be posting lots more in the coming week. stayed tuned… this is bound to be entertaining!

also, today is our sweet cousin Madison’s 2nd birthday! happy birthday big girl! we love you!

you will not defeat me core cleanse!

you will not defeat me core cleanse!

me and madison in our fort. :) taken when we visited them last november! love you!

me and madison in our fort. :) taken when we visited them last november! love you!

hopefully this will help me through the tough times...

hopefully this will help me through the tough times…

birthday dinner

last night was my dear dear friend Libby’s birthday! (well it’s really on sunday but we celebrated last night). we are also in the same small group, so we decided instead of having traditional small group we would leave the kiddos with the boys and have ourselves a good-old-fashioned-girls-night! (just as a clarification: our small group is pauly and me, libby and her husband caleb, our friends dave and erica, and their 3 kiddos junia, noah, and new baby isaac!)

we went to the northeast social club….it was amazing! great food, great atmosphere, and best of all, amazing company! it was so nice to catch up, talk just us ladies, and to get to know each other better and better. girlfriends are so important in life, and i am so thankful to have these two in mine.

…….i realize these are not the food pictures i should be posting given my recent entries, but whatever. we were celebrating. also i am starting the detox today, so it was a nice “last supper” if you will. :)

happy birthday libb! we love you!  *i realized i don’t have any pictures yet of noah…so i will post those soon! sorry bud!! :(


sweet junia all strapped in with her american girls dolls all strapped in too. safety first.

sweet junia all strapped in with her american girls dolls all strapped in too. safety first.

ha-mazing dessert! peanut butter dulce de leche, and rosemary and honey panna cotta.

ha-mazing dessert! peanut butter dulce de leche, and rosemary and honey panna cotta.

mussels and calamari...delightful.

mussels and calamari…delightful.

the three of us: me, libby, and erica. love love.

the three of us: me, libby, and erica. love love.

baby isaac! how cute is he?!

baby isaac! how cute is he?!

birthday girl and me :)

birthday girl and me :)

we left the boys making pizzas and watching the wild hockey game. it was a great night for us all.

we left the boys making pizzas and watching the wild hockey game. it was a great night for us all.

birthday girl and baby isaac. not a bad night :)

birthday girl and baby isaac. not a bad night :)

ugh! look at that face.....

ugh! look at that face…..

of course my girl scout cookies arrive the night before my detox starts...oy.

of course my girl scout cookies arrive the night before my detox starts…oy.

getting the y(uc)k out, part 2

i realized in my last post i didn’t put a link to the center where i go for my naturopathic uc care. you can learn more about the center and my doctor, Dr. Nate Champion (ps. how great is the name “Champion” for a doctor?!) here. they offer care for both physical and mental/emotional healing, with many incredible psychologists on staff. i swear this is not a sponsored post for them :) i just reeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaallllly believe in what they do.

so, i am having a hard time describing my treatment at Partners in Healing (my clinic), because it’s so unique from any other clinic i’ve visited….. because of the doctors ability to meet with patients for extended visits, each patient’s care plan is completely individualized, and tailored to meet patients’ specific individual needs. i will tell you a little about my plan, but it could be different for each person depending on their level of need. so, i am going to simplify this. if you would like to know exactly what i take and why i would love to personally email that to you ( but my guess is most people would like to know the basics, as well as my diet. so that’s what i am going to focus on.

my naturopathic medicine regime:

each day i take a high powered probiotic. this is recommended for everyone, with or without UC, as it is great at restoring the good bacteria to your gut. it keeps you regular, helps cut down on…what’s the nice way to say this…intestinal discomfort, and helps boost your immune system. i take one specifically ordered through my doctor, but you can find good ones at your health food stores i am sure.

i also take a few different digestive aids, helping my colon more easily break down the food i eat, and better process it as well.

i take a daily multi vitamin…if you are looking for one be sure to do your research. again i order mine through my doctor, but he warned me that a lot of the over the counter ones at walgreen etc are not really doing you that much good. as with most things in life, it’s better to spend a little more money to get a good quality product.

i take a fish oil pill as well twice a day. again, a really good, clean, organic one. you really need to be careful to buy quality..

on days (read: ALL WINTER) when there is less sunlight, and i am therefore getting much less vitamin D, i will also take a few drops of liquid form vitamin D.  it helps to boost the immune system as well as reduce inflammation in the body.

i also had a comprehensive food allergy test done, and try to avoid the foods listed as causing higher inflammation for my body. it has really really helped.

i know this seems like a lot of things, but it has worked for me. scouts honor i went from the worst flare to date, and starting seeing results with 2 days of starting my process. that’s not to say i was healed overnight. no. there were good days and bad days, and some tweaking of my meds, and days i wanted to quit. but i am thrilled (understatement of the CENTURY) to report that i have been completely symptom free since october of 2012!  thank you Jesus! really.

my diet:

here’s the thing…as you have seen from my recent posts, i am not perfect at this by any means….but i am trying…each day i want to try to make a healthy choice as often as i can (and want!). each time i visit with dr. champion i am renewed in my passion for clean eating and living. i am actually starting a detox/cleanse through him on friday so i will be blogging more about that as well.

as a vegetarian (occasionally we eat salmon, but really very rarely), we eat a lot of beans, nuts, soups, salads, gluten free whole grains…i try to post many of our go to recipes here as possible. it’s SUPER easy to make food, that is good and good for ya!

i am currently trying to cut diet coke and coffee out…..oy….say a prayer to the patron saint of crazy bi$#@es. this could get ugly. during my detox i will be eliminating sugar for a week too. yikes. sorry pauly. it’s going to get real up in here.

okay i don’t want to make these posts too long, so that’s all for now, but email if you have specific questions. also, if you are interested in natural healing for any sickness (i use Dr. Champion now for common colds, the flu, yeast infections, ear infections….) you can call his office. he does phone consults, as well as in person visits. or if you don’t live here he can recommend a naturopathic physician in your area. again, shameless plug for my doctor, but i wouldn’t be doing it if i hadn’t experienced the results for myself, and truly believe this method of healing works!! just trust me :)

lost dogs

today at school our kiddos decided to put on plays. they made a sign up sheet for all the play titles, but only two signed up: “two police dogs, and the brave tiger” and “the two lost dogs”. they were hilarious. it brightened my day.

also, one of our play writes’ mom came into the room during this sign up and she told us that her daughter had recently written a letter to a friend that went something like this, “Dear Gretchen, would you like to come to my house to put on a play called the egyptian mummified dog, and whatever you want your name to be. i mean you’re name wouldn’t be “whatever you want your name to be” you can pick whatever you want your name to be. i mean people wouldn’t call your house and ask for “whatever you want your name to be.” so, do you? ”

kids are so creative! i thought that was pretty great for a first grader

still no baby for ms eleanor. we have a pool going at work and i guessed for tomorrow at 2:43pm….so we’ll see!

on a different note, i started blogging about my progression with ulcerative colitis…it has been really cathartic to go back and remember what i have gone through and how far i have come. i am very thankful for that. i also told my doctor about this blog and am now regretting all my “no-no foods” pictures!! oops!  i guess this will now keep me honest! maybe… :) i will be posting more on that all soon-ish…..

i love that they originally going to have "puppies" but decided to go with the far more agressive "police dogs" haha!

i love that they were originally going to have “puppies” but decided to go with the far more agressive “police dogs” haha!

getting the y(uc)k out, part 1

so this cheesy title has double meaning: 1) getting rid of the junk foods in my life that are keeping my health less than what it could be and 2) what has helped me overcome my symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis. * Also i just realized that this title could seem like i am using yuck in place of the less than favorable “f” word.but i can assure you this is an unintentional, albeit, hilarious coincidence. :)

here’s the deal, i have been meaning to write about my UC since i started blogging, but it seemed like such an undertaking to document my life with it thus far. however, i realized i don’t need to do it all in one shot, so this may be broken up into many blogs, and i think i will always write about my current progress with it.

a little back story: i was diagnosed with UC when i was 8 years old. yuck. throughout my almost 20 year battle i have sought and accepted traditional pharmaceutical medicine to treat my symptoms. (if you would like to know more about symptoms of UC you can check it out here).  i was always told that i can only hope to ride out my flares, as they are called, and hope that the medicine i needed to take (12 pills a day) would keep my symptoms at bay for a while in between each flare. i would have a flare, feel really awful for a while (up to 2 years at a time..), then my symptoms would subside and i would have months or even years without any flares….and then the cycle would repeat. it was exhausting, and scary, and defeating, and hopeless…

Last year in december i was having another flare, but this time it was really affecting me emotionally. more than before. i was really tired mentally, emotionally, and physically. just tired of fighting it. tired of worrying about this turning into cancer someday, but most importantly, tired of not being able to enjoy or appreciate life like i wanted to because of my fear, worry, and symptoms.  it was a really low moment for me with my battle with UC. i don’t remember ever being that discouraged before. there were many nights that pauly would sit up with me as i would cry and process and struggle with all my anxiety and frustration around my disease.

i was praying and praying that God would just heal me, (as i have since i was little) but He works in mysterious ways :) i was on the internet one night trying to find natural remedies hoping that maybe that route would work to heal my colon. i liked the idea of trying to heal my colon, not just survive flare to flare.

i had become a vegetarian about 2 years prior and saw how much that lifestyle change helped ease my digestive issues. i was already moving in the way of natural medicine, i guess, but didn’t really realize fully what it meant. i knew that certain foods upset my symptoms, and that certain foods made me feel better but other than knowing that, i didn’t give it much thought.

so back to that night on the internet, i happened to stumble upon a section of a hospital here in the twin cities that also offered naturopathic doctor services. i called the next morning to a woman name dr. nita champion to see if she would have an opening to see me. after speaking with her for a few minutes, (longer than any doctor had ever spoken to me about my symptoms in my life!) she told me i would be a great fit for her husband, dr. nate champion. he has ulcerative colitis himself, healed his body completely through natural medicine, and now works for a clinic that offers support to others with UC, crohns, and other IBD conditions. it was unreal. i called him immediately and set the appointment.

on my first visit, dr. champion took 2 hours (2 hours!) with me to talk not only about my physical symptoms, but also how it was affecting me emotionally. he completely understood what i was going through, having gone through it himself. it was like nothing i have ever experienced before with my UC. i bawled on the way home, calling paul and telling him that i think this was really going to work, that i felt reassured that i was going to be okay for the first time in years.

in a few upcoming blogs i will talk about what specifically i did to get my symptoms under control, but i don’t want this to get too long. :) so that’s the beginning at least…..