sexual health, women's health, women's bodies

Sometimes as a busy wife and mom, my life can get pretty hectic. Probably a lot like yours. It’s not easy when you have to be 100 places at the same time and you have little people depending on you for survival. That’s a lot of pressure, in and of itself, add to that work, errands, husband time and the fact that I am not as young as I once was and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed pretty quickly.

The thing is that this happens quite frequently and when it does, I don’t feel like myself. Does that happen to you? I’ve noticed that whenever my life gets busy and I’m experiencing a lot of emotional stress, there are always accompanying physical ramifications. For example, when you’re stressing out over why the baby isn’t sleeping through the night and the next thing you know you get a monster pimple between your eyes or you remember in the middle of the night that you have to bake 50 cupcakes for the PTO bake sale and then you fall victim to a migraine.

I’ve had an extremely stressful few months recently. I broke my leg last fall which created a host of other issues, as you can imagine mostly because when you are confined to one place and can’t bear weight, you start to feel like a ghost in your own life. You can’t imagine the emotional stress that feeling irrelevant can put on someone. Makes you appreciate what it must feel like to be elderly.

Then this spring I started having gallbladder attacks which led to a surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder. If you’ve never had a gallbladder attack, I don’t recommend them. They feel like an induced labor with no epidural. This caused more emotional stress that manifested itself by physically wiping me out. On top of all of this, I’m pretty sure that I’ve entered perimenopause land. They say it can start anywhere from your thirties through your forties (or even earlier for some) and can last anywhere from 10 months to 10 years, so that makes it a definite possibility.

I haven’t noticed any major symptoms like hot flashes, irregular periods or lower sex drive but others like urine leakage (hello, giving birth to two babies with huge heads), fatigue (a mom’s work is never done), mood swings and trouble sleeping (well, I’m a mom and a diagnosed insomniac so this has been part of my reality since having kids) but other than that I feel like I’m 25-years-old. Well, except for the occasional vaginal dryness but I blame that on the stress. Not to be too graphic but sometimes it’s like a slip and slide down there and sometimes it’s like the Sahara. I adjust. I’m not giving up my sex life because my vagina is being bipolar. Hey, 2 pregnancies, a broken leg and wonky gallbladder didn’t stop me. I’m not about to let aging win the war. I’m not dead yet.

The thing is life slows down for no woman so we have to make time to take care of ourselves. Sometimes that means getting some extra sleep, sometimes that means taking vitamins and exercising, sometimes that means sneaking away to pee in silence and sometimes that means giving yourself a little help in the lubricant area. Hey, my mama always told me, “God helps those who help themselves.” I have no shame in helping myself to the sex life I want. If that means picking up some Vagisil ProHydrate then I will. Vagisil ProHydrate Natural Feel helps make my love life feel natural again without the dryness that comes with perimenopause.


Unfortunately, it quite literally, took me falling and breaking my leg and being completely bed ridden for 4 months to learn that lesson. So when your body is telling you to slow down or take care of it, do it. You only have one body and one life. Enjoy

What do you do to relieve stress that’s just for you and nobody else?

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bigger women, beautiful women, all women, women, happy in your own skin, body acceptance, self-love, dating a bigger woman

Yesterday, I read an article about what men think about dating bigger women. It was called 15 Thoughts Every Guy Has When Dating A Bigger Woman and kept waiting to read that it was a joke; a satirical piece written about society’s treatment of overweight women. Unfortunately, it was not. It was just one douchey guy’s opinion about men who date women who are not “hot” and rocking the unattainable, bullshit body stereotype that media would have you believe is real. It’s not. Even the skitches you see with those bodies in magazine spreads, don’t have those body types. They have photoshop. There may be 1% of 18 –year-olds who are rocking that body without medical assistance.

As a rule, women have been fighting men’s traditional stereotype of “hot” since the dawn of time. In fact, many a woman has developed eating disorders and poor self body-image to adhere to society’s standard of beauty. Let’s face it, in the United States, skinny still is the determining factor of whether or not a woman is considered hot. If you doubt my assessment, just read the article written in The Richest.  This guy is everything that is wrong with the world. He is the oppressor of women and should be called out as such.

Jim Hogue’s bullet points about why dating bigger women is settling for less than:

“Lots of times you see a guy, he could be normal sized or he could be overweight himself, with a woman that is a bit overweight. When that happens a bunch of things go through a guy’s mind. On the one hand you might feel a little bad for the guy, but on the other hand you might think that he was really in love, or at least was with someone he really liked. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.”

Apparently, men who date bigger women are to be pitied.

His List of 15 thoughts every guy has when dating bigger women.

Your Date is Tough

Well, a guy that dates a plus-sized girl is usually not one of those guys. This guy wants a girl to hang out with that is tough, and can take care of herself. This is the kind of woman that mowed the lawn when she was growing up and went fishing with her dad. Maybe that is not the kind of girl that you imagine hanging out with, but hey, to each his own.


My Girl Can Cook

So maybe this goes without saying, I don’t know, but I am going to say it anyway. Big girls usually get big for a reason, and usually that reason has something to do with food. While it might be fun to be out clubbing with some hot woman, it is just as fun, and maybe more fun to the right guy, to stay at home and have a woman cook for him and take care of him.


Calorie Counting is Out

So we have all been there. You get out of work and have had a long day, and you are totally starving. You want to order a large Pepperoni pizza from the pizza joint, the kind they say feeds 4 people and you want to eat all of it all by yourself. Well, this is no problem at all with the plus-sized girlfriend; just give her a ring and tell her that you are on your way home and are picking up a large pie. The only problem is you are going to have to buy two.


It is Good for His Confidence

Some guys just lack confidence. They don’t feel ready to ask out the women that they truly desire. They need to work their way up so to speak. I know that may sound cruel, but this is about what guys think when they date plus-sized women.


He Might Like Them Better

While so many people look at a guy with a plus-sized woman and feel kind of bad for him, very few actually seem to understand that a lot of guys actually really like women that look this way. To each his own, people like what they like and there are a lot odder things that people are into than that.


They Are Easy to Talk To

One of the main things a guy dating a bigger chick is often thinking is how easy his girl is to talk to. This may seem like something that is not important to many guys, but after hanging out with a lot of uptight women, a girl that can relax and talk is a breath of fresh air. Let’s face it, so many women that look traditionally hot have never really learned the art of conversation, and most of them are not that funny. A plus-sized woman is the exact opposite. They are used to working their personality to make up for what many guys perceive to be flaws.  Most girls that are overweight tend to be really fun, and easy to talk to about pretty much anything. A guy that dates a normal-sized girl is not used to that at all.


**Oh look, this asshole managed to completely insult ALL women in one single paragraph! ***


Picking a Place to Eat is Easy

You want to go get some wings and some fries and watch the game at a sports bar and she wants to go to that new hip place and get Thai food. Or it could be that you go to order pizza and you want sausage and onion and she wants feta and greek olives?  Sometimes that whole scene can turn into an enormous fight when you are dating a chick that is average-sized. Well, if you are dating someone that is plus-sized, then you don’t have to worry about this a whole lot. She is going to probably be willing to go pretty much anywhere you want her to, at any time.


The Cuddling is the Best

There are some things that are simply not as fun when you are hanging out with a skinny woman. Like what you ask?  Cuddling a skinny woman is no fun at all. It feels like you are snuggling with your 12-year-old brother.  Not so if you are dating a plus- sized woman. In fact, once you start to cuddle her, you might not want to stop. It really is that good. Overweight women should hire themselves out as professional cuddlers. Oh, and also they are willing. A plus-sized girl is going to tend to be happy for that sort of attention, no doubt about that at all. All you have to do is lay down on the couch and look at her in a sweet way, and you will get your cuddle going before you know it.


She is a Built in Work-Out Buddy

A thin chick probably has a pretty stingy workout set routine; and not only that, she might be in better shape than you are. Not so if you are dating an overweight chick. She is probably going to be up for trying pretty much anything that you are into when it comes to training or working out. Sure, she might lag a little bit at first, but all that does is take a lot of pressure off your shoulders, and that is never a bad thing.


There is Less Pressure on How You Look

if you are dating a plus-sized woman. This is a whole new world: all of sudden kicking around the house all Sunday watching football and eating a whole bag of Cheese Doodles is more than fine. The woman you are dating is not going to care even a little bit about how much you weigh or what you eat, and that in itself can be priceless.


Jealousy is a Thing of the Past

Being jealous is a way of life for a lot of guys. It is one of the problems of having a super hot girlfriend. It is not like you are the only one that notices; everywhere you go people are going to be checking her out and sometimes, if you are a certain type of guy, that kind of thing can drive you crazy. And truth be told, this is why a lot of guys like dating a woman that they don’t have to worry about unwanted eyes.


They Tend to be Funny

Plus-sized girls tend to be funny, or at the very least they often have a really good sense of humor. This goes a bit hand in hand with the fact that they are easy to talk to. So many times girls that grew up being told they were hot all the time tend to stifle their sense of humor- why do they need to be funny?

A big chick is very often a really funny one, it happens all the time. It is no coincidence that so many female comedians tend to be a bit on the big side.


They Tend to Be Eager to Please

While so many women want a guy to put her up on a pedestal, when you are dating a plus-sized girl it is often the exact opposite. They are often not used to being with a guy and are insecure about it. They want you to be happy. Whether it is going out or staying in, what movie to see, or what you do in the bedroom, most of these women are eager to please. In their minds you have looked past their physical issues and are into them for who they are. Which in turn often makes them very willing, in all sorts of ways. A guy with a plus-sized girl can soon feel like a king, which can be really appealing to the guy that was getting pushed around in another relationship.


You Can Take Her Anywhere

She will go pretty much anywhere you want to go, and do whatever you want to do. Want to spend the day at the beach? She will go and rub lotion on your back in those hard to reach places. Want to spend the day doing yard work? She will probably be up for doing that as well, and may even outwork you while doing it. A typical guy that dates a plus-sized woman really gets used to hanging with someone agreeable for a change, and who quite often is up for anything. This is not to say that most hot women are not agreeable of course. Actually, who am I kidding, that is exactly what I mean.


They are Easy to Ask Out

Guys don’t like getting stressed out, so they go with something that they consider more of a sure thing. It is hard to ask out a woman, so sometimes a guy ends up asking someone he is pretty sure that he will not get rejected by, which is why he asks out a plus-sized woman in the first place.


Firstly, who is defining what’s considered “bigger”? Is it a size 8, 10, 14, 20, 26? Is it anything above a sample size. That may be “Normal” in places where looks are all that matter and eating disorders and plastic surgery are the norm (I’m looking at you California) but it’s not in the rest of the world. And who defines beauty anyways? The media which is controlled, predominantly, by men.


There are plenty of fat, bald and old guys out there with wives, girlfriends and partners and no one flinches. No one feels sorry for their spouses. The assumption is that their partner loves them, not that their partner settled for them so why is it that society assumes that in order for a man to love a woman who is not anorexic, he must be settling and it could not possibly be a physical attraction? Besides, when choosing a partner, initially we are attracted to the way a person looks (that’s human nature) and then we fall in love with who they are and all their qualities that we find endearing and that is different for every single person.


The fact that this guy assumes that because a woman is “bigger” she is being settled for and that if is guy is dating a “bigger” girl it is out of desperation or some sort of willful act of giving up makes me sick. I also find it kind of alarming that he manages to insult all women in his piece. He basically calls skinny women unapproachable bitches that he is not up for the challenge of even attempting to date and he infers that bigger women are so needy and willing to please that he’ll settle for less than “perfect” in order to not face rejection.

As a woman who has been the thin hot woman and I know the burden of being a “bigger” woman and everything in between, I can assure you that there are plenty of men out there who want all women. Good, decent respectable men who are attracted to all types and don’t consider it settling or giving up on life to date a woman who crosses the threshold of a size 6. Only men with small minds judge women on the size of their asses.

This article is more telling about Jim Hogue’s, the author, shortcomings than anything else. Let me tell you one last thing Mr. Hogue on behalf of women everywhere of every size, none of us wants you because you are ugly to the core and that is worse than fat any day of the week. You sir deserve this week’s Throat Punch Thursday!

Throat Punch Thursday,dating bigger women

If you’d like to read the article 15 Thoughts Every Guy Has When Dating A Bigger Woman in its entirety it is here.

What are your thoughts on his take on dating bigger women?

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cochlear, living with hearing loss, hearing loss, disabilities,mom myth, my kids perfect

Disclosure: This post made possible through the support of Cochlear. All opinions are my own.

Can you imagine a world with no sound? Never hearing your husband say, “I love you” or your baby’s  first giggle? Can you imagine never hearing birds singing, wind blowing or waves crashing into the shore? Imagine never being able to hear the voice of your mother or your toddler whisper, “I love you, Mommy.” I can and the thought terrifies me.

You see, for years when I was a little girl, I suffered from chronic ear infections which led to permanent hearing loss in my right ear. It’s only considered mild hearing loss but it made things challenging for me, as a small child and, to some degree, even now.

For instance, it’s hard for me to hear people when they are not looking directly at me when they’re speaking. It sounds like mumbling to me. It’s a little like hearing through a window or listening under water. Of course, as time has gone on, I’ve acclimated to my deficit. Most of the time I don’t even think about the fact that I’ve lost some of my hearing.

But I notice that I feel the need to concentrate when I listen, so sometimes when people are talking to me it seems like I’m staring at them when all I’m really doing is listening. If you’ve met me in person, you’ve probably noticed this. My hearing loss happened over time but we found out the loss was permanent when I was 6-years- old. This led to 5 years of speech therapy in which I was taught to slow down, enunciate and listen.

I hated having to go to speech therapy when I was in elementary school because it made me feel like an outsider but honestly, it taught me valuable lessons about communication that I’ve carried with me for my whole life; valuable lessons that I’ve used in parenting my own daughters; the true value of not only listening but hearing what others are saying.

I learned the importance of slowing down to tune in to my children, talking more with my daughters and taking turns to make sure that not only are my children heard but understood. I make it a point not to speak at my children but with them.

My experience also made me sensitive to my children’s speech when they were young. As a result of my hearing loss and years in speech therapy, I made it a point to be aware of my children’s social cues while communicating because some things were beyond their vocabulary. If I ever felt the need for concern, I would simply bring it up to their pediatrician in private.

All of this has built a foundation for trust and open dialogue with my daughters that I hope continues to grow throughout their lives. I don’t think I would be as attentive of a mother or informed about hearing and speech issues had I not experienced them myself and, for that, I’m grateful.

In the end, I may have some mild hearing loss but I didn’t have any learning disabilities or speech delays because of it but some children are not so lucky. Thankfully, technology has made it possible to help some children and adults.

Cochlear, in operation for over 30 years, is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, providing products (cochlear implants, bone conduction, and acoustic implants) that are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss. They’ve helped over 450,000 people worldwide have access to sound.

The amazing thing about Cochlear is their passion to connect with parents who want their kids to have access to hearing to help with language and development so they can live their lives without limits.

Cochlear knows communication is the crux of everything in parenting and an essential step in every parent’s journey is working on speech, language, and developmental milestones and they want to make that journey as successful as possible.

What would you do if the impossible were possible?

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anything more than one child is like ten children, Qiagen, tuberculosis, tuberculosis testing

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with DiMe Media to share this important information about tuberculosis testing.

Health has been at the forefront of my mind recently, mine especially thanks to the year of medical issues that just keep coming but it’s also reminded me that my family is not bulletproof; none of us are safe from the effects of not taking care of ourselves.

Health is something most of us take for granted until we find ourselves sick and unhealthy but by then, it’s too late. All this has made me make health a priority in our house again. As my mom says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and boy, was she right.

As a mom, my children come first. When it comes to their health, I don’t want any surprises. I want simplicity so I can focus on what’s most important. That’s why I make sure that they get their immunizations and go to every well-visit. Everyone in our family gets yearly physicals. If any of us gets sick, we go to the doctor because I won’t chance our lives and health for the sake of saving a co-pay. That’s why the morning I thought I was having chest pains, even though I was pretty sure it was stomach related, I went to the Emergency room because I couldn’t chance it. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, better to be broke than dead.

There is now a blood test that can help diagnose tuberculosis infection that is a major scientific advance over the 110-year- old skin test. So, if there is a recommended test for tuberculosis for school-age children between the ages of 5-18-years-old that could prevent the onset of the illness, why would I not have my children take this simple blood test. Granted, I know taking drawing blood on a small child is traumatizing and quite horrifying to watch, for me anyways, if I’m being honest but so is the alternative.

Qiagen, tuberculosis, tuberculosis testing

Tuberculosis is not some obscure disease that no one contracts; it’s not like “cooties.”

It’s real and it can affect anyone sometimes there are no symptoms and you don’t even know that you contracted it and other times it can kill you. TB infection, also referred to as latent TB, occurs when a person has the bacteria that causes Tuberculosis in his or her body, but the bacteria are not causing any disease or symptoms. If you are diagnosed with latent TB there is a chance that the bacteria may cause disease in the future, so you are likely to be offered treatment to prevent this from happening. This is most likely what my grandmother had as a child.

TB infection is usually chronic and silent before it becomes active. This inactive carrier state can persist for weeks, months or years before developing into active contagious disease. The disease is an airborne, highly contagious, infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most frequently, TB affects the lungs, however, it can also cause diseases in any part of the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones, brain, organs and eyes. It is an equal opportunity illness.

This is not some obscure disease of the past as many might think. It is a serious disease that kills about 1.5 million people each year worldwide. The key purpose of diagnosing latent tuberculosis infection is to identify who is at risk of progressing to active TB disease.

TB is a major health problem worldwide. Here are some staggering facts to consider:


  • 30% of humans are infected


  • A new infection happens every 3 seconds


  • Every 21 seconds, someone dies of TB


  • Primary care physicians can and do make a huge difference in identifying and treating TB infection before it blossoms into active disease. 37 million lives have been saved between 2000 and 2013 through identification of infection and treatment.

My grandmother had tuberculosis when she was a child, only no one even knew about it until she developed lung cancer as an adult and then they saw the scarring. That’s scary. I don’t want to run that risk with my own children’s health.

The TB blood test is the only available method of testing for TB with completely objective results. Other tests, such as the skin test, are subjective and open to visual interpretation. In contrast to the TB skin test, the TB blood test allows you to get accurate results in just one visit leading to meaningful benefits – more ease, more time, more certainty.

This new tuberculosis blood test is an easy and simple process that gives accurate results, so why wouldn’t we do it for our children?


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life without butter, gallbladder attacks, health

Life without butter is not something I ever thought I’d agree to. Those are words that I never thought I’d be saying of course I never expected gallbladder issues either. I’ve always been the kind of person who would much rather workout for 3 hours or simply deprive myself of all other foods, so that I could eat what I wanted. I was cool with 400 calories a day, as long as those 400 calories could be foods of my choice; usually something deep fried, consisting of carbs and usually of the white flour or potato variety. Somehow grease and fat had become it’s own food group. However, that has changed.

Luckily, it didn’t take a heart attack or stroke to stop me. Then again, obesity wasn’t enough for me to stop either. I’ve realized that I care about my health but only so much as the threat is imminent. It’s that f*cking procrastinator that lives within me. I’m a hard head and have to learn everything the hard way.

You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult for someone who thrived at anorexia and was a vegetarian for 10 years to live a life without butter.

You’d think I knew how to be healthy and maybe I did but I just didn’t act on it. That is until I found myself in the ER twice last month in excruciating pain. THAT’S what motivates me to stop unhealthy behaviors. If it hurts me physically, I want no part of it. I’m a giant p*ssy in that way.

The thing is once you find yourself in that kind of pain, you know for certain that you never want to feel it again and when you experience it again, 1000x worse, you know that you need to get your shit together so I stopped hurting myself because I was the only one who could.

I think I’ve always felt like I’ve deserved punishment for being weak, where food was concerned. It’s leftover brain malfunction from the years of disordered eating. Since having anorexia, I’ve always looked at those who are overweight as weak. I know, it sounds so awful when you say it out loud but I felt like, if I could restrict myself and work out to such a degree….well, why couldn’t these people get control of their eating habits? It was a sense of superiority. Even though I knew that I was starving myself and completely unhealthy and unhappy but it didn’t matter because I had control, not like those out of control losers.

But when I started having the gallbladder attacks, I knew what I had to do. I didn’t want to have another one, so I had to be strong and eliminate all of those foods that could cause me to have another attack. Of course those foods were everything I love; cholesterol, full fat, greasy, red meat, white flour and refined sugars. It was everything that tasted good. My body had enough of my bad behavior and it mutinied. Let me tell you, when your body starts to attack you, you can’t win. You have to concede and admit defeat or you will kill yourself. I don’t know about you but French fries and butter are not worth dying to me.

So began my 6 weeks, so far, of no red meat, no butter, no full fat dairy, low cholesterol, low fat and low carb eating. It’s been a hard adjustment. I’ve been eating a lot of vegan foods, switched to coconut milk and almond milk and have had to read every label on all food that goes into my mouth. You’d think such a change would be nearly impossible but turns out, not so much when the alternative is excruciating pain. Yep, turns out that I’m fearless in the face of abstract death but imminent pain scares the shit out of me.

The gallbladder has come out and many people are telling me this is reason for celebration because now I can eat without the worry of a gallbladder attack. However, I’m concerned that if my eating habits were so terrible that it caused my body to rebel and now the gallbladder is gone, what happens with all that bad stuff. Gallbladder stones are made of cholesterol and I had such a huge one in my gallbladder that the surgeon had to destroy my belly button to remove it from my body.  That was the bad stuff depository so where the hell is it going now? Personally, I don’t want to find out.

I hate to admit it but this gallbladder situation may have been the best thing to ever happen to me. It may have saved my life. I’ll gladly read all the labels and limit my red meat, cholesterol and fat intake if I never have to hear the word’s, “Your biopsy” again. I didn’t even know that cancer was a consideration until I had to make an unexpected stop at the surgeon’s office when I realized my belly button did.not.look.right.

Anyways, onwards and upwards. Who needs butter anyways, right? On the plus side, all of my pants are getting too big.

What would it take to make you live your life without “butter”?

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Dreft, eczema, how to protect baby, caring for baby skin, sensitive skin, spring allergies, mom tips

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMe Media and Dreft about how to protect baby this spring.  All opinions are 100% mine.

This has been one of the craziest years of my life, everything’s been out of whack including the weather. Spring is finally here and as the weather is getting warmer, my family has been spending a lot more time outdoors. We live in the Midwest and it’s been cold and grey for far too long this winter so at the first sight of sunshine, we’re outside trying to get as much fresh air as our lungs can possibly hold. We’ve all got a perpetual case of cabin fever and the only cure is the great outdoors; riding bikes,hiking, roller skating, reading in the teepee in the back yard, jumping on the trampoline, zip-lining, slack lining; you name it these girls are outdoors doing it.

While all this warm sunshine on our faces is magnificent and the blossoming flowers and trees make the scenery that much more magical, the allergens in the air and rising temperatures can trigger some adverse reactions in many of us, especially in the little people. There’s nothing worse than to feel completely terrible when it’s so beautiful outside. It steals some of the joy of the occasion.

Dreft, eczema, how to protect baby, caring for baby skin, sensitive skin, spring allergies, mom tips

Unfortunately, both of my daughters have had sensitive skin since birth and as they’ve grown older have developed allergies. From before I even brought them home from the hospital, my first official act as a mom-to-be was to wash all of their tiny new clothes and linens in Dreft because it’s hypoallergenic and gentle on baby’s skin plus, it’s was the first recommendation I got on how to protect baby skin when interviewing pediatricians. Obviously, that made it bible in my book. For years, Dreft has been the only thing I’ve washed my children’s laundry with.

Laundry is probably my least favorite chore of motherhood. Honestly, with all the minutia of separating colors, washing, forgetting to put into the dryer and then throwing in a pile in the big chair in the living room, though it still is very much all of that, I find it to be quite frustrating and never ending. But in a weird way, it is also a way that I get to relish each milestone and amazing moment of my daughters’ childhood.

It’s one of those things where you might not appreciate it so much while you’re up to your eyeballs in unfolded laundry and crying babies but one day, in the not too far future, you will open up a storage tub of your “baby’s” clothes and the smell of the Dreft and nostalgia will come over you like a whisper from the past and a giant hug and almost knock you over with the realization that those babies are somewhere inside those 4 and 5-foot tall, walking, talking, amazing people that live with you currently.

As they grew older, I thought my girls might outgrow some of their sensitivities, as I did, but that day has not come, and may never come so I still wash their clothes with Dreft. It’s what works for us, so why should I change it? Obviously, I still love that new baby smell plus, bonus, it’s safe and hypoallergenic for my girls and allows them to play outside without worrying about their clothes being one more irritant. They are kids, their only job is to play and enjoy childhood; mine is to protect them and keep them safe. Their only limitations on a sunshiny day should be their imagination, not their skin sensitivities.

Dreft, eczema, how to protect baby, caring for baby skin, sensitive skin, spring allergies, mom tips

Dreft has partnered with Dr. Dyan Hes, mom and medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics, and here are her tips for how to protect baby this spring when allergens in the air and rising temps can trigger skin irritations for little ones.

Shade the sun: When heading outside, don’t forget to practice appropriate baby skin safety by dressing your baby in protective clothing, a hat with a brim and sunglasses. If your baby is 6 months or older, liberally use sunscreen and if they under 6 months, keep them out of direct sunlight.

Make bath-time beneficial: Over exposure to water can rob skin of natural moisture. Scaling back on tub time will help avoid itching — about 10 minutes in warm water with a mild cleanser is plenty of time for water play and a quick scrub. Gently pat skin dry and end with an after-bath moisturizer to seal in moisture and protect baby’s soft skin.

Load up on liquids: Staying hydrated is especially important as children get more active outdoor time and sun exposure. To ensure that children get enough to drink throughout the day; infants should nurse or take a bottle often; older kids should tote a sippy cup or reusable water bottle.

Choose the right fabrics and care for them properly: We find that natural breathable fabrics like cotton that are loose fitting are the best. It’s also important to seek out gentle and hypoallergenic cleansers like Dreft to care for the items that will touch baby’s sensitive skin.

Protect Problem Skin: Heat is a common trigger for eczema flare ups as the weather warms up, the sun is strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. so try to shield baby from direct sun exposure during those times. There are also apps available that can inform you of the hottest part of the day – which can be helpful for parents as they plan any outings with their little ones.

Dreft, eczema, how to protect baby, caring for baby skin, sensitive skin, spring allergies, mom tips

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 Dreft is an important tool in my mom arsenal of how to protect baby skin, what’s yours?


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gallbladder surgery, gallbladder attack, gallbladder, belly button, gallstones, how it feels to have gallbladder removal surgery, gallbladder removal

Ever wonder how it feels to have gallbladder removal surgery? Remember the night when macaroni and cheese almost killed me?  Well, this past Wednesday, I went to the surgeon and had gallbladder removal surgery. I thought, hallelujah, I will finally be out of pain. But maybe I was just naïve and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

We arrived at the hospital at 9 a.m. and I was scheduled for surgery at 10:30 a.m. Yes, I told them I needed an early appointment because I get hangry. They happily obliged. In fact, once I arrived, they took me straight back and prepped me for surgery. I was pretty excited to not feel like I was dying.

Not going to lie, I was a little terrified about gallbladder removal surgery.

But a few weird things happened 1) my great aunt who is almost 90 called me the night before practically in tears to tell me she was praying for me. This is the same woman who is just patiently waiting for her own heart to give out. 2) My neighbor, who is in her 60’s and falling apart before our very eyes asked, “Aren’t you nervous?” (Well, I wasn’t until she asked me.) 3) The Silkwood baths that I was demanded to take the night before and the morning of my surgery. I felt uncertain. I got spooked about the gallbladder removal surgery that I was honestly, looking forward to having.

As soon as I got into my gown, my surgeon and anesthesiologist showed up. They were ready early. Everything got fast-tracked. Cool, I thought, maybe I could be home by lunch. No such luck.

We went back to surgery and, for the first time ever, I went unconscious from the IV pain meds before they even got the chance to tell me to count backward from 10. When I woke up in recovery, I was in lots of pain, completely groggy and somehow had lost 3 hours. I was supposed to be home, but instead, I was still on a gurney and feeling completely out of sorts and in extreme pain.

The worst and most unexpected was the trapped air pain. Oh me, oh my! I knew that during gallbladder removal surgery they were going to pump my stomach full of air to make navigating the laparoscope easier but I had no expectation of the pain that would accompany that trapped air. I fell unconscious when I came home, only to be awoken by a searing pain in my shoulder so fierce that it made childbirth feel like a splinter. I was screaming and crying in pain. I frantically begged the Big Guy to call the surgeon, only to find out that it was normal and expected.

I didn’t sign up for that shit.

No one told me about that, so I’m warning you!

Another fun surprise, I found out my gallbladder was not located where it is supposed to be. Your gallbladder is supposed to be tucked up under your liver, mine somehow had migrated to the middle of my chest. Was I born deformed? Had it moved during one of my pregnancies? Was it twisted? All I know is that even the surgeon was grossed out by it. Things didn’t go as planned or expected.

Today, we are 5 days post op and it’s been a doozy of a weekend. The surgeon put a transdermal scop patch behind my ear to stop the projectile vomiting. That was nice of him since coughing, projectile barfing, sneezing and hiccupping after having your gallbladder removed, it’s a little excruciating. Only, one problem, I had to take it off after 72 hours. That was a good thing too because the damn thing was making me blind. Seriously, on top of being sore like I had done 1 million sit-ups and higher than a kite on pain pills, I couldn’t even read Facebook. My vision was so blurry that I couldn’t read my phone.

I removed the patch and then my nausea came back with a vengeance. I’m not sure if it’s from the anesthesia, the pain pills or just the change in my digestion from the removal of the gallbladder. All I know is that Zofran was powerless against it so I did what any desperately nauseated person would do, I sent the Big Guy to Walgreens for some motion sickness bands.

Thankfully, I’m feeling a little less nauseated and a little more normal. I’m hoping this means that my health is on the upswing and soon, I won’t have to worry about things like nausea and the label on every single piece of food that I put in my mouth.

Gallbladder Removal Surgery Changed my life

There is one other unexpected side effect, as the tape has begun to come apart from the incision on my belly button, I realized that I did not leave the hospital with the same belly button as I went in with. To be honest, I used to have this adorable little belly button and now, it’s hideous. It may be the swelling but as it stands, I may have to take this ugly thing and go into witness protection; at the very least, I certainly need to take my belly button and go into hiding.

It’s swollen, much larger than it was and, at the risk of being too graphic, it looks like a piece of exposed meat in there. I think some glue has come loose. I’m freaking out. All joking aside, I’m calling my surgeon tomorrow and asking him to take a look because I really don’t think this is what my belly button is supposed to look like after gallbladder removal surgery.

Have you had gallbladder removal surgery? If so, how did it change your life and eating habits?

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Gallbladder attack, gallstones, ER

It’s been a crazy few weeks, so crazy in fact, that I’ve been too busy to actually write about it and my gallbladder attack. Lots of life choices have come to a head and not in a good way. Not in the ticker tape parade, I just unlocked level 1000 in life success kind of way, but in the what the hell have I been doing to my body over the past 40 plus years sort of way. My body mutinied on me.

Two weeks ago, Easter Sunday or the night on Walking Dead that Daryl got shot and I should have been rioting, I was instead ignoring the hell out of The Walking Dead and the possibility of Daryl being shot because I felt like I myself was dying. I say that literally, not figuratively. My body was attacking me over either macaroni and cheese or my Mother-in-law’s amazing cheesecake; trying to kill me and I really wanted to give it the satisfaction of dying just to be out of my misery.

Remember a couple weeks prior, I thought I was having a heart attack and ended up in my local emergency room? That night I found out that I had gallstones and that was my first ever gallbladder attack brought on by a Mexican birthday celebration meal, I was in excruciating pain.

I was given some intravenous meds, including a nice morphine push and I felt great. The ER doctor didn’t seem to think I needed my gallbladder removed because we thought the whole thing was precipitated by my stomach that was irritated from the 1800 mgs of ibuprofen that I’ve been taking every day for the past 6 months thanks to my broken leg. I watched the “bad food” or so I thought for a couple days and then I went back to eating whatever I wanted, because that’s what I do. I’ve always said, I’d rather workout for 3 hours a day than give up French fries. I know better now.

P.S. Anyone who tells you to eat whatever you want because the chance of having another attack within a couple weeks is rare is not your friend. Ignore them because they are full of shit and obviously never survived an acute gallbladder attack.

So anyways, 2 weeks ago, the Sunday before the Thursday that I left for Spring Break at Disney World (the same trip I had to cancel in October because of the broken leg) I had my second attack. It was 10 times worse than the first one. It was transition labor with no medication terrible. I have a high pain threshold and I tried to wait it out for 4 hours, it never subsided. It only got worse. Finally, I had to call my brothers to come over to watch the kids while my husband took me to the ER at 1 am in the morning.

Aside from the body splitting pain in my gallbladder and stomach, I was vomiting pure bile and nauseous. My stomach was messed up and I could not get comfortable. I was in so much pain; I couldn’t get above a whisper. I tried everything; heating pads, drinking vinegar, drinking water, laying on the floor, on my back, on my stomach, upside down. I was trapped in my body being tortured. I sat on my bed and sobbed in desperation and excruciating pain.

After all was said and done, I spent the entire night in the hospital trying to get the pain manageable. After three rounds of Zofran, Dilaudanum and something else, I can’t remember (in my defense, I was pretty drugged), I was finally sedated enough to drift in and out of consciousness through the attack. It was agreed that I needed to have the gallbladder removed at my earliest convenience, which is now. Remember, I was going to Disney World or bust for spring break but changes were going to have to be made.

Immediately, I was told that I needed to go on a low-fat dairy, reduce my fat, cholesterol and carbohydrate intake diet. There would be no butter, cheese, red meat, pizza or Mexican food in my near future. It was fine with me because there is no food in the world worth a gallstone attack. Seriously people, watch your cholesterol and fat intake. So, I went to Disney World on a severely restricted diet and I made it work. You’d be surprised at how many options you find when you look. I’ll write another post about that later.

Anyways, it’s been 2 weeks since my last attack and I’ve lost 13 pounds. I’ve never eaten healthier in my entire life, my blood pressure is down and I am waiting for the call from surgery to schedule my removal.

In case you are wondering why I am still having my gallbladder removed even though I have the attacks under control with diet, I am removing it because both doctors told me that once you have a gallstone attack it’s not a matter of if you will have another attack, it’s a matter of when and I simply don’t want to go through that excruciating pain ever again if I can avoid it.

Needless to say, let me serve as a warning to you, watch your fat and cholesterol intake. Move around and work out because gallbladder removal surgery is the most performed surgery in the United States and I’m sure that has a lot to do with our super-sized, super fat, super sugary, high cholesterol diets. It’s rich food. Ironically, gallbladder issues don’t exist in poorer countries.

What would you be willing to give up to avoid this kind of pain? For me, I’d gladly give up all foods to avoid another attack.

Have you ever had a gallbladder attack?

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heart attack, symptoms of a heart attack, heart health women

Ever been afraid that maybe you were having a heart attack? Seriously. I’m not trying to be funny but I’m overweight and out of shape. A heart attack is a real possibility. I’m a fat woman. I have a BMI of 33 and I recently spent 4 months sitting on my butt. Honestly, you can look healthy and still have a heart attack. They don’t call it the silent killer in women for nothing.

I’ve seen the commercials citing that 1 out of 3 women will have a heart attack our symptoms are different than men. In fact, I know a friend who had a heart attack and didn’t even realize it until afterwards. I also have a great Aunt who spent the day with us touring the Biltmore Estate and had a heart attack. None of us knew until she told her doctor and he checked her, a week later. Ladies, that scares the ish out of me. I don’t want to die of a heart attack. I want to live to be 103. That’s my expiration date. It’s non-negotiable.

Anyways, last Friday morning; I woke up at 5 a.m. with a ridiculous pain in my actual stomach (not my intestines) and it would not go away. It woke me from my sleep and the little voice in my head, recited the commercial about the mom who thought she had indigestion but instead ended up dead because she was actually having a heart attack and TUMS ain’t got nothing on that.

I got up and took some Mylanta (because I always have it on hand since the first and only stomach ache I’ve ever had). It didn’t work. Then I took some TUMS. They didn’t work. Then I took a Xanax because I’m under a shiton of stress and maybe I was having a panic attack. Nothing. I waited half an hour. Still horrific pain. Now it was from my stomach to my right side of my rib cage.

Were these the symptoms of a heart attack?

You always hear of women thinking they had heartburn and it was something else; something more. I took my blood pressure with my portable Bluetooth QardioArm blood pressure monitor and checked it right there in the app on my phone and saved it to show the hospital. As moms, we are so focused on everyone else, we neglect ourselves. Don’t do that. It could mean the difference between life and death.

SHIT! I’m having a heart attack, so I took an aspirin because blood clots and strokes. At 6:30 a.m. when everyone else woke up, I texted my husband that I needed to go to the hospital. He assured me that it was heartburn from the Mexican food at Bella’s birthday dinner from the previous night.

Firstly, I’ve only had heartburn once in my life and this wasn’t it. Secondly, it felt like acid and a severe, prolonged heart cramp. I just knew I was dying but I kept it cool for my kids. We dropped them at school where I gave them extra long goodbye hugs and kisses, without divulging anything to them, and then we proceeded on to the Emergency room. I hate the emergency room.

Long story short, after 5 hours in the Emergency room, an EKG, an ultrasound (twice in one week, lucky me!), several blood tests and worrying myself into an absolute tizzy. We found out that no, I did not in fact have a heart attack but the doctor was glad that I had come in rather than ignore my symptoms. We found out that I have gallstones, 2 of them (they go perfectly with the 3 fibroids they found last Wednesday) and upon further questioning they found out that from the prolonged ibuprofen usage for the swelling in my broken leg, I have actually made the lining of my stomach sensitive.

The sensitive stomach and high cholesterol, high fat, highly greasy Mexican food did not enjoy one another’s company. My stomach became irritated which in effect affected my gallbladder (with it’s two stones). I had a gallbladder attack. It was not pleasant and I don’t recommend it.

They intravenously administered an antacid for my stomach, some Zofran so I wouldn’t throw up and a dose of happy, I mean morphine, for the pain. They gave me strict instructions to take Zantac, especially if I planned on continuing on with the ibuprofen regimen (which I have not) and to stay away from high cholesterol meals. I quit Ibuprofen cold turkey and have been reading labels because 103-years-old, people. My expiration date is 2075, not 2016.

The moral of the story is that when you think you might have something seriously wrong with you; trust your gut (pun intended). Maybe I wasn’t having an actual heart attack (but I could have been) but I did have something wrong with me and it needed medical attention STAT. I’m not sure that would have happened if I suffered through it at home or went to a walk-in clinic. I needed tests, not a Band-Aid.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Bring on Disney World because mama needs a vacation. Do yourself a favor and know the symptoms of a heart attack in women.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Have you ever thought maybe you were experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or something serious and second guessed yourself?


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daylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

As someone who has a broken internal clock, I never understood what the big deal about surviving daylight savings time (DST) was all about. It had no effect on me. I function on 4 hours of sleep, doesn’t matter when I get that sleep. I had myself convinced that Daylight savings time was a myth and my husband was just being dramatic. Then, I tried to get healthy.

This year, I decided that I was going to get healthy. Sitting on your rump for 4 months with a broken leg will do that to a person. I did what everyone does on the first of the year, I promised to myself that this would be the year that I got “healthy” not skinny, just healthy; no longer obese with a BMI of 33 or something like that. I’d look it up for you but, honestly, I’m just too tired today. Daylight Savings Time, you are killing me Smalls!

See, part of my get healthy scheme included seeing my physician for a physical, to rule out any medical issues, moving more, making better food choices more often and eating in appropriate quantities for my size and stature. It wasn’t a scheme at all; it was a plan to live healthier. No more putting my faith and health in the hands of a diet. I need to do this for myself, the right way.Guess what happened? I lost some weight. Not a lot but enough to get out of my dreaded fat pants and into the regular size section.

But all that working out (I enjoyed it so much that I actually developed tendonitis from working out every day and had to pull back to every other day…that hasn’t happened to me in years) and eating more conscientiously had an added benefit of me actually falling to sleep…by 11 p.m. every night, without any sleep aid. I’ve been a diagnosed insomniac for all of my adult life so this was HUGE.

So there I was thinking I was hot shit with my lower BMI, smaller pants, working out to my CIZE dvd and eating healthier; feeling like a boss with almost 8-hours of sleep every single night. OMG…it changed my life, for real. Life just seemed easier and more palatable. The stressors were not as stressful and I found myself not being a super b*tch and hangry hasn’t hit in a couple months. Then DST came and jacked me all up.

Sunday morning, I slept in until 10 a.m. and I only woke up because my mom and sister were visiting and they wanted to head home and got tired of waiting for me to wake up, but at least I slept in. By the time Monday rolled around, after staying up until midnight because I wasn’t sleepy at my regular 11 p.m. (because it was only 10 p.m.) when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I could not move, exhaustion had set in. I literally could not wake up and neither could my kids. All bets were off and snooze was on full blast.

I had finally gotten my body to a healthy place of rest, eating and working out and now it was having none of this not enough sleep B.S.! This morning, it was even worse. I lay in bed until 7 a.m. and I still felt like I had been up drinking all night long with none of the great stories to accompany it. Is this what being a healthy grown up is all about? Because if it is, it kind of stinks.

Enough is enough already. I did some research and this is what I found.

Tips and tricks to surviving daylight savings time.

  •  Preparation is the ounce of prevention you need!

Make the time change incrementally beforehand. Set all alarm clocks in the house 15 minutes earlier and earlier for five days or so. This way by the time Monday rolls around, you and the kids can actually wake up and it avoids a lot of morning arguments because, really, who has time for that, especially during the DST transition. Not me.

Begin on Saturday:

  • Around midday, get some exercise. Exercise and sunshine helps advance the body clock, just as bright light exposure does so go outside and play with the kids, go for a walk or do some yard work. Your body will thank you on Monday.
  • Never exercise at night. Exercise raises your body temperature but people fall asleep as temperatures lower so be cool. No exercise at night.

Sunday morning:

  • Get up at your regularly scheduled time— whether you had a good night’s sleep or not. This is tough love for your body.
  • Spend some time outside, preferably in the sunshine to help advance your body clock.
  • Take a morning walk. After a short night, taking a family walk is an easy exercise to help advance your body clock. If your kids are anything like mine, they will jump at the chance because they no all walks lead to the neighborhood park.

Have a bedtime routine for everyone:

  • Don’t eat a heavy meal after 6 pm. Don’t eat more than 3 hours before your bedtime.
  • Don’t drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol.
  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Stop working on your laptop/computer/phone an hour before bedtime to turn your brain off.
  • Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable.
  • Don’t turn bright lights on at night.
  • Take a warm, not hot, shower.
  • Turn off all electronics and read a relaxing book, no Tom Clancy books at bedtime.

What’s your tricks and tips for surviving daylight savings time?

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