Friday, September 26, 2014

Managing KP

Shortly after Isaac had his first birthday, he finally started hands & knees crawling. Aside from obviously being slow to get moving, he also started developing some dry skin on his legs. I brushed it off as being rug burn, put a little extra lotion on and didn't think twice about it. Fast forward a few months and Isaac is walking, but the mystery rug burn doesn't get better. In fact, it looks a little less like dry skin and a little more rashy. At Isaac's 18 month well-child check up, our pediatrician gave the rash a name and brushed it off as being completely benign.

Keratosis Pilaris

Chances are good that if you don't have KP yourself, you know a few people who do. It's often described as "chicken skin" and typically can be found on the upper arms and upper thighs. It's usually dry, red, bumpy skin that doesn't itch or burn. It's not contagious, but it is genetic and according to some sources I've looked into, 40% of the population (and up to 80% of teenagers!) has keratosis pilaris... including my husband.

Which is why initially, I wasn't too concerned with Isaac's rash. It never bothered him, but I noticed as he got older, the rash was spreading much further. Not only did it grow to cover both legs from hip to ankle, but he also has smaller areas on the backs of both arms. It totally became a cosmetic issue. When other kids (and adults too!) started making comments about his arms and legs, my protective momma bear side kicked into high gear. Living in coastal Texas doesn't afford us the ability to wear pants year round, and life is hard enough without having to field some negative comments from onlookers, so I was ready to find something that would improve the condition of Isaac's skin.
This is the best photo I could get of my little wiggler... strapped in the car seat! You can see the bumps above and below both knees and even a little on both forearms.
After lots of trial and error, here are a few of my tips & tricks for dealing with keratosis pilaris, because I can do the math and am assuming that almost every other person reading this blog has some patchy areas of keratosis pilaris.  My hope is that this post will answer some questions and give some encouragement to other people or moms who are trying to manage KP. (And as a side note: I'm not a medical doctor and must recommend checking in with your primary care provider for any suspicious rashes.)

1. A GOOD moisturizer. I use coconut oil on Isaac's legs usually once per day, sometimes twice. Keratosis pilaris can worsen as skin gets drier, so keeping the areas well moisturized is really important. Other great moisturizers that we've tried: Aquaphor and Aveeno body cream. I got many recommendations for Cetaphil, and while it's not irritating, it's also not great for long term moisturization. My favorite so far has been the coconut oil, and it's not just because it makes my little buddy smell good enough to gobble!

As a side note, I have yet to try adding an essential oil to his coconut oil, but am curious to know if there are any good options for skin care/condition. Any of you EO girls have an input?

2. Routine exfoliation. Isaac has his own loofah, go figure. Getting that dry, dead skin off is important, so about once per week, he gets a good scrub down. It's also important to change the washcloth with each bath, so you're not rubbing old dead skin cells and bacteria over already irritated skin.

3. Lactic Acid/Glycolic Acid/AHA creams. This has by far made the biggest difference in Isaac's break outs. The photo above was taken earlier today and we've been using this for about 2 weeks now... if only I had taken a "before" photo! There are several OTC creams out there with small amounts of lactic acid, which really help to slough away those dead skin cells. We are currently using Amlactin and because of Isaac's age, we only use it once per day. It can burn or sting people with more sensitive skin, but doesn't phase Isaac one bit (nor does it bother my hands after I put it on him). Remember, anytime you use an AHA cream, it is important to wear plenty of sunscreen, as your chances of getting sunburned are higher.

My hope is that as Isaac grows older, it'll be less noticeable and easier to contend with. This 3-pronged combination of "treatments," has really started to make a substantial improvement. Of course, that didn't stop a curious 5 year old from asking, "What's he allergic to?!? (nothing.) Why are his legs so bumpy?! (it's just his skin.) It looks weird. (you look weird.) Does he have mosquito bites?? (no.) Why are his legs so red??? (go away kid.)"

Kids can be real turds sometimes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What's on my side table? Episode 4

So it's been months since I last updated my reading list and that's only because I've been in a bad reading slump. Getting several hours in an airport and on an airplane by myself has allowed me to finally finish enough books to write something spectacular. Or at least something.

No bedside table is complete without some dust and matchbox cars.
Here's what you'll currently find on my side table:
To Be :
  1. Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford (currently reading)
  2. Love Does by Bob Goff
  3. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
  4. Passion: The Bright Light of Glory by Louie Giglio & others
  5. How Your Church Family Works by Peter L. Steinke
  6. A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
  7. A Billion Reasons Why by Kristen Billerbeck
On the iPad (to be read also)
  1. Believing God by Beth Moore
  2. Jesus: the One and Only by Beth Moore
  3. When Godly People do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore
  4. Praying God's Word by Beth Moore
  5. The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
  6. What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp
  7. Crazy People by Jennifer Cruse
So a while back, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and contrary to popular opinion, I just wasn't a huge fan of it. I realize I may be the only person in the United States of America to think this way. I felt it was hard to get into, that the real page-turning didn't come about until I was over one-third of the way through the book and then the last two-thirds were far-fetched and vulgar. It seemed to get increasingly more vulgar as the book progressed and I'm just not a fan of mindless and overused expletives. The narrator changes with every chapter, which sometimes was more confusing than helpful (maybe that's just my easily confused preggo-brain). All in all, I just found this book hard to get through and as I finished the last paragraph, I found myself wondering why I endured the previous 431 pages. Despite not loving the book, I'm interested in how the movie will turn out. Final Grade: C

Next, I read Jesus > Religion by Jeff Bethke. It was FANTASTIC. I seriously cannot recommend it highly enough. Jordan and I were lucky enough to see Bethke at a leadership conference back in April and enjoyed him way more than we both expected to. He's the guy with the youTube video, "Why I hate religion but love Jesus."  Originally, I was looking for a book to read with my Sunday school class during our summer break from the typical curriculum. It proved to be challenging and broke down so many walls and barriers in our class. Between reading it for myself and reading it to prepare for sunday school, I've probably gone through this book at least 4 times. The concepts are not difficult and Bethke tells many humorous stories from his own life making this book a quick and easy (but awesome) read. Final Grade: A

Most recently, I've read Grace Filled Marriage by Tim Kimmel. Just like I really enjoyed Grace-Based Parenting, I also really enjoyed this book. It wasn't as easy or light hearted as Jesus > Religion, so between feeling burned out on reading and having a little drier material, it took me a while to get through this book. This doesn't mean, however, that it wasn't a great read. I'd totally recommend it to all married couples and especially engaged couples. Kimmel does a fantastic job breaking down the needs of relationships into practical and easily explained concepts. And in the end, he brings it all back to Jesus, the author of marriage and our primary example to follow. I hope I can convince my hubby to read it also! Final Grade: A-

Currently, I'm reading Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. I think I can go ahead and write a basic review of the book without even finishing it. Mostly because there's a chance I won't finish it all the way. I think it's a great concept that could be a blog post (and I think it was... I'm sure at least a few of you have read her über popular Huffpost blog, "The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up"), but maybe not a full-fledged, 230pg book. It's an encouragement to parents (or anyone who has some sort of meaningful relationship with another human being) to put away the phones, lap tops, to-do lists, etc. and make a genuine effort to be present in your child's life. Or spouse's life. Or {insert meaningful relationship here}'s life. Each chapter looks at another small way to "unplug" from the unnecessary and engage the people around you. Mostly, the author presents her point, tells a charming little story about her own life and how she lives out her own concepts and then includes a few questions and talking points before moving on to the next chapter. It's certainly some food for thought and I hope plan to curb my own phone, laptop, and other unnecessary distractions in favor of quality time with my son & husband. Midterm Grade: B

What great books have you read recently???

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nashville Recap

This past weekend, I was able to sneak away for a few days to Nashville to visit my sister, her husband, and their dog, Meah. It was KID FREE! My sweet sweet hubby agreed to let me have a sister weekend and he stayed home with Isaac. It was both awesome to get away and be refreshed.... and heartbreaking to miss my little buddy. (But mostly awesome!)

Before I go any further, I want to apologize to those who also catch up with me on instagram. You'll see lots of repeat pics. We had tons of fun, but I didn't take pics of much. Well, the important stuff. Like Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

You know your mouth is watering.
Casey's hubby was kind enough to go get us breakfast the first morning I was there and I had specifically requested some Krispy Kreme doughnuts (which they conveniently have a location one exit further down the interstate they live off of). Growing up in the deep south, there's just no doughnut that compares to a hot Krispy, and ever since the location in Corpus Christi closed a few years ago, I've not had any access to them! So I may or may not have eaten a few... and the baby ate a few also. No shame.

We spent an afternoon in downtown Franklin, TN, which was really delightful. They have a fun little area with lots of cute shops and yummy restaurants. The weather was perrrrrrrrrrfect. I don't think it ever got warmer than about 77 degrees and only sprinkled for a few hours Monday afternoon (the day I left). So it was totally ideal for walking and shopping and eating and chatting. You'll quickly find that much of my trip recap centers around food. After we left Franklin, Duane took us on a scenic drive around Nashville. It is such a beautiful area, and since I live at 11ft above sea level, the "foothills" around Nashville were seriously like mountains. Basically, my sister lives on a mountain.

More food.

On Friday, we drove over to Opry Mills and did some more shopping and eating.  Nobody can turn down Chuy's creamy jalapeño dip, so that's where we did lunch.

And I bought baby M a little outfit! (and maybe a few things for myself also...) Isaac loves pointing out the letters on the little pants! Cant wait to put my little munchkin in them!

Of course, I'd be an idiot to go all the way to Nashville and not hear some live music. Especially with a musician brother in law! Friday night, Casey and I went to one of Duane's gigs, which was a ton of fun. I was really impressed by the quality of music, but Casey reassured me that Nashville is packed with super talented musicians! Duh, Mims. We'd talked several times about hitting up a concert while I was in town, but that never materialized. I may or may not have fallen asleep on the couch at like 8:30 one night, so there's that.

During some of our down time (we couldn't shop every minute of the trip! I'd never get the "okay" to leave again! hahaha!), we played games and I somehow ended up with the worst Dutch Blitz deal EVER. I'm pretty sure Casey ended up winning that game. We also went on lots of walks with Meah, cooked a few of our own meals, and I was introduced to Sherlock on Netflix. On Sunday, I went to church with them ( Hendersonville campus), had some Zaxby's for lunch, and went hiking that afternoon! Casey and Duane love spending time outdoors and took me over to a park/trail and I huffed and puffed my way through over 3 miles of mountain terrain. Again, Casey reminded me that they're technically just "foothills." I reminded her again that I'm used to living at 11ft above sea level. Regardless, it was a lot more fun than I ever anticipated. Maybe I even worked off one of those doughnuts?

I had a fantastic weekend with these two kids. Flying without a toddler??? Peaceful to the point of almost being boring. It was awesome to get a break from diapers, dishes, toys, and the constant mama? mama? mama? mama? mama? I got a chance to sleep in every morning (still woke up at the same typical time of course) and I never once made my bed. It took me a while to get off of "toddler time," meaning I kept thinking we needed to be home for naps, normal meals, and bedtimes. I am so appreciative to my sister and her hubby for accommodating me for several days!

And of course, being reunited with my little boy (and husband too) after several days and lots of miles between us was really sweet. It was a perfect little refreshing getaway that this mama needed!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Influenster VoxBox #DoMore

A short time ago, I signed up with Influenster, which is a community of consumers who love to give opinions on products or services. They send samples of new products to selected members for review on various forms of social media. I thought it'd be a fun way to try out some great new products... and for my first VoxBox, I got a product that I will use the stink out of!


Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am a sweaty girl. I battle sweat 24/7. I'm that girl who is sweating randomly during the day (even if it isn't hot). After a workout, I can nearly wring puddles of sweat out of my shirt and shorts. It's not uncommon for me to reapply deodorant and change my scrub top at least once, sometimes twice per shift. It's gross. Reeeally gross. If I can be really transparent, I'll tell you that I'm very self-conscious of it. 

My first voxbox contained a full-size sample of Degree MotionSense Deodorant. Score!! It's a sweaty girl's dream to get free deo for the B.O.! Surprisingly enough, I have already gone through 2 sticks of this deodorant prior to receiving my sample, so not only am I thrilled to have extra deodorant, but it's what I'd pick out of a lineup at the grocery store! I was won over by the 48hr odor protection promise.  It smells great and keeps me from being stinky.

I give it two pits up.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

20 Week Update!

20 Weeks! Halfway to fully cooked! With Isaac's birthdays and the holidays taking place during the second half of this pregnancy, I'm going to say that things are only going to move faster and faster and faster. And then I'll have a baby. Yikes.

Check out this growing bump!!! (and my sad-looking rained-on, ponytail hair) If you need a reference, this is what it looked like just 3 short weeks ago. Talk about popping out!

Total weight gain: Eleven pounds. Bleh.

Fetal Size: A Banana! Or, to make it easier to picture, here are a couple of pictures of my little love!!! 

Movement: Tons of movements all day long. It was especially fun to watch the baby kick and wiggle around during the ultrasound on Friday. Also, Jordan was able to feel some kicks last week! 

Symptoms: Heartburn, which is now being managed with some over the counter antacids. Tums wasn't cutting it anymore and when I started to feel miserable after drinking water, I knew it was time to start something stronger. 

Gender: A surprise!!! What do you think we are having????

Cravings: Nothing especially exciting

Aversions: Not much really

Next Up: Reaching Viability (24 weeks!), then later on, the glucose tolerance test and an additional ultrasound. On Friday during my anatomy scan, the sonographer was able to get great pictures of every organ except the brain (because of the baby's position). Just to be on the safe side, my doctor wants another scan to get those detailed pictures of the brain so we can be certain he or she is growing and developing appropriately. She told me not to worry (there's obviously a brain in that little noggin) and I think I'm doing a good job holding down the anxiety, but its still something that crosses my mind on a fairly routine basis. Otherwise, our stinker looks perfect and is growing right on track! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hi Friends!

Life never slows down, does it? Just when I think I'll get a little downtime, things always seem to come up. We've been ultra busy around here recently (big surprise), and I don't see that ending anytime soon. After spending a day catching up on housework and laundry, Isaac is finally in bed, Jordan is wrapping up his Wednesday night youth service and I've stolen away a few quiet minutes to ramble.

First, I'm thrilled to say I'm typing this from our NEW computer! She's a real beaut and thankfully all updated and working properly. Our previous Macbook served us very well for 7 years, but for the last few months has gotten increasingly more difficult to blog from. iPhoto had become corrupt, which meant any pictures that needed to go through iPhoto had to be loaded onto a different computer, then uploaded to blogger, where I could either save the post and work on it later, or sit at our computer desk and type it out. Either way, it wasn't convenient. The browsers were all out of date. The battery was dead, so I always had to have the computer plugged into the wall. Hurray for new computers! Fingers crossed for some more frequency and less unedited iPhone photos here on the blog!

Over the weekend, we had our first big yard sale at this house. Mostly, we needed to clean some old junk out to make room for this new baby. Our guest bedroom (which will soon by occupied by a toddler) was FULL of stuff. I love purging things. There's nothing more gratifying than starting with a completely overloaded closet and ending the day with a blank space and a bunch of trash bags ready to be taken out. There are very few things I am attached to. My husband, on the other hand, is attached to everything. He can get worked up over an empty box. In most circumstances, we balance each other out; He keeps me from throwing truly important things away and I keep him out of the hoarder zone. In the realm of yard sales, our differing opinions led to a few disagreements. Thankfully at the end of the day, we both compromised on a few things. And we sold a ton of junk! It was a lot of work, but we made a few hundred bucks AND created some space around the house. Win-Win.

Ive been working a good bit more here recently. At least it seems like a lot more coming off of a very sporadic work schedule in July. I don't talk about the Labor & Delivery world here on the blog much more, but it's not for lack of stories. I really do love my job. In the last couple of months, we've had large quantities of patients on a regularly occurring basis. As in, I don't quite understand how there can still be pregnant women in Corpus Christi. Because surely, we've delivered all of them by now. The summer has been CRAZY. Fall is typically our busiest season, which has me worried for September and October. In years past, I could hardly name a day here or there where we ran out of places to put patients. Now, it's a daily struggle to find an empty, clean bed for a patient. Bless your heart if you were scheduled for an elective induction anytime in the last 10 weeks, because you were probably pushed back, sometimes more than 24 hours later. Just a little shameless bragging here: I was orienting a new nurse yesterday and we were in a room with a physician. I introduced her to the doctor and jokingly reassured him that I'd teach her everything I knew. He turned to her and said, "Well, I've always thought that if I needed surgery, I'd want Hollie as my nurse." Now, I quickly told him that I didn't know much beyond delivering babies, but at the same time, I was totally honored to hear something from a doctor I respect greatly. I've always considered my job to be one of my greatest ministries and have put great effort into being a diligent, hard worker. Working hard and being honest doesn't always show immediate rewards, but that comment was certainly a morale boost! Hopefully I kept his good faith by delivering his patient in a safe and timely manner!!

Tomorrow we are off on yet another adventure! Then, in 2 weeks, I go on my own little adventure! Kid Free!!! (Well, except for the one I tote around in my belly) More details on these things to come!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meal Planning For the Win!

So it's been a year since I posted this post, which continues to hold steady at #5 on the list of most-viewed blogs. However, over the course of a year, a lot has changed. For one, I can't tell you the last time I pulled weeds. Or dusted the fixtures. And then there are still several things I hold to: laundry on Sunday and Wednesday, groceries & meal planning for the week on Monday.  Although I would wholeheartedly still recommend a similar schedule to anyone feeling overwhelmed by their household to-dos, I really needed to accept some flexibility in my own schedule. Ever-changing work days, appointments, errands, and plain-old-I-want-to-spend-the-day-with-my-son kinda interruptions come along on an almost weekly basis.

There is one thing that hasn't changed in the year since I revolutionized the way I kept up with my house: meal planning. I can't tell you how much organization this has added to my week, knowing exactly what I need to get at the grocery store and having a set plan for each day's meals. Now, sitting down and planning out a week's worth of meals to satisfy the husband and toddler can be a frustrating process. I can't tell you how many times I've told my husband, "Do you have ANY input?! You are no help at all!!!!" Or I choose meals based on what protein is on sale and get home to upturned noses. Or even just the simple struggle to avoid the same meals over and over and over.

Last week, I was absolutely fed up with myself, unable to come up with a meal that didn't feel overdone and I set out to cook something new every day of the week. Finally I was going to try out all those Pinterest recipes I had pinned months and years ago. I wanted to try a few of the dishes i'd seen pinned over and over and over again. Mostly, I hoped to add some new life to our tired lineup.

Here are a few of my successes!
Chicken Lazone (Source & Recipe): This was SUPER easy, really quick to throw together and gobbled down by both my husband and son. You'll see cayenne pepper on the ingredient list, but it isn't spicy at all, in fact, I'll probably double the amount next time I make this to kick it up a little more. If you need an easy 30 minute meal, this is a winner. The recipe suggests pasta or mashed potatoes, so if you're pressed for even more time, pasta is much quicker than real mashed potatoes (no boxed potato flakes in my house). It could probably go from pot to table in 20 minutes. It's also good reheated as leftovers. I served this with a salad.
7-Up Biscuits (Source & Recipe): One of my coworkers actually brought a pan of these and I was blown away by how good they were. 4 ingredients plus 15 minutes equals delicious biscuits. I whipped these up over the weekend and between fielding a toddler, cleaning the kitchen and placenta-brain, I may have botched the first batch of these. (the same combination of distractors led to a few other new-recipe-failures I won't mention here until I can try them again) The second batch, however, was wonderful. My suggestion is to let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan to prevent them from getting too crumbly. I served them with sausage patties, butter & jelly. Yum!
Corn Casserole: Ok, so I'd never made a corn casserole before Sunday evening. Lame, I know. Always admired, never attempted, it came to mind when I was trying to think of a new side dish to serve with fried pork chops. After looking through lots of recipes, both fancy and super simple, I used what I had in the fridge and made my own pan. 1 Can Creamed corn, 1 can kernel corn, 1 box jiffy, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 stick melted butter all combined together and baked for nearly 1 hour at 350 degrees. This was also a huge hit with the husband and toddler.

Shredded Beef (Source & Recipe): I didn't get a pic of this one, even though we've had 2 meals from the one recipe. There were tons of recipes for crockpot shredded beef for tacos, but I especially liked this recipe because it didn't call for a packet of taco mix and a bottle of sauce. This means, you can customize the spices and chiles to suit your own tastes. I used this beef for tacos and quesadillas and it was fantastic- plus had I portioned out my leftovers appropriately, I could have easily gotten a third meal out of one recipe. It would also be fantastic as an enchilada filling. I can definitely see myself making this again. The recipe suggests you pour out all the cooking liquid once the meat is finished, but next time I plan on reserving the liquid and adding some or all of it back in to the shredded meat. Husband said it was a little on the dry side without the liquid.

So there you have it! Four easy, yummy, husband & toddler approved, new-to-us recipes complete with several random iPhone shots of my half eaten plates of food. I'm looking forward to working these dishes into our meal routine. Hope you can also try them and enjoy them!!!
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