What to do About Stomach Flu: Advice from Trainer Mel

The past few days have been pretty rough at The Ethel Homestead.

The 3 year old woke up very early one morning throwing up. His older brother (4 years old) woke up a couple of hours later, same thing.

When it comes to mothering and taking care my kids, I become “Amy 2.0.” Everything else stops. In between washing bed sheets and sanitizing EVERYTHING, I started to feel queasy myself. Then my husband started to get sick. The Ethels were dropping like flies.

I hopped on Facebook and went to my friend (and trainer) Mel’s page, to send her a message. I needed advice quick! Let me back up for a second….

I met Mel at our local gym back in May and we connected immediately. We met at Panera for smoothies the very next week. I told her about my journey so far,  my health/fitness goals, and the bad habits (ahem, Alcohol just to name one) that I have overcome by participating in Celebrate Recovery and the 12 steps. As I told her my story, she had tears in her eyes and I knew I had met a fellow soul sister.

Mel is my GO-TO for all things health, nutrition and fitness. (If you don’t have someone like this in your life, I suggest you get one,  ASAP!)

Mel is one of the most positive, energetic people I have ever met. Not only does she live and breathe health, wellness, and exercise in her own life, she has the desire for others to have it as well.

Back to the current situation at hand…..

Sickness was in our house..and I wanted it gone NOW!  I always love the way that God works and how He knows what we need, WHEN we need it. When I went to Mel’s page, I ended up not even having to send her a message, because her current Facebook status was about (you guessed it) the stomach flu. I asked her permission to share this advice and she said “OF COURSE!” I love this gal! I wish I had known this information BEFORE we all came down with the bug, but now I will be prepared in the future. Thank you Mel!!!!!

Stomach flu graphic

 

Are there ways to keep yourself from getting the stomach flu?

Other than washing your hands until they bleed???

…the answer is YES!

1. Eat your probiotics.

Yogurt is full of bacteria but it’s “the good kind” that your stomach needs to combat the “bad” kind that makes it want to turn itself inside out in your toilet. The latest research shows that not only can probiotics help stop vomiting and diarrhea 1-3 days earlier but that they can also help prevent colds and improve the body’s response to the flu vaccine. Children given probiotics missed fewer days from daycare due to stomach flu than children who got a placebo (although the AAP notes that more research needs to be done and hence official recommendations can’t be made yet). To reap maximum benefits, avoid yogurts with a lot of added flavoring, colors and sugars as all of those things can exacerbate an irritated gut. Personally I like eating plain, whole yogurt.

2. Stay hydrated inside and out.

One of the reasons people get sick more in the winter is because dehydrated skin means more tiny cracks which means your body’s largest organ and best immune system defense is compromised. While you can’t change the weather you can drink extra fluids, protect your skin from cold weather and use extra lotion. Also, sadly, long, hot showers are not your friend as they dry out your skin too. On the inside, upping your fluid intake makes sure your body has all the H2o it needs to run properly.

3. Stress less.

Cortisol, the “stress hormone”, works partially by suppressing your immune system. When you’re in a true crisis that’s a good thing, but constant stress over time just hangs a “vacancy!” sign over the germ motel of your body. Meditate, take a walk outside, surf for craft ideas on Pinterest that you love or whatever you do to relax.

4. Colon cleansing.

Your body needs a certain balance of minerals and electrolytes to work properly. When you’re healthy, this balance is maintained partly through the colon as it absorbs what your body needs. If you upset the balance in the colon or irritate the walls too much, eat processed foods often, not passing or clearing the colon holds onto these chemicals. Thus affecting the colon to properly absorb the electrolytes and minerals your body needs.

Wow! Thanks again to Mel for this awesome advice!

It was too good not to share.

Until next time,  BE BLESSED!!!!

Amy

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Burdens: Hand ‘Em Over

The last couple of days have been kind of rough. 

Nothing major or catastrophic has happened, just your regular, run of the mill, grown-up/first world/parenting problems.

If you are a grown up with small children living in the United States and (taking your job as a parent seriously) breathing actual air, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Silly little annoyances over the last few days have brought me DOWN:

-Waiting in long lines.

-Vending machines that WON’T work.

-Little children that WON’T obey.

-Slow internet.

-Computer crash. (A special kind of frustration when you are a WORK AT HOME mom.)

-Missing your husband because he works 6 days a week.

-Forgetting to pay the water bill/waiting til the last minute, then the website you need to pay it on will NOT load.

-Laundry that WON’T do itself.

Neverending messes.

-Child with food allergy runs out of non-dairy milk at pre-school, so husband rushes to the store to get it while you sit and imagine worst-case scenarios of your 3-year-old grabbing other kids’ drinks and a trip to the ER in your future.

Graduation looming. (What in the world and I gonna do next?)

Stuck by trains in Kenova. Enough said.

-Running late for EVERYTHING.

 

I could go on, but I won’t.

 

Why are these things bothering me so much?

I asked myself this question.

Then I asked God this question.

I opened up my Bible.

Here’s what it said:

 

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22 (NASB)

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Wow. I wasn’t giving my concerns to Jesus. THAT is why I was feeling so yucky. It’s not the same as just telling your friend about your day and venting your frustrations. The Word says to CAST them. In other words hand ‘em over.

 I needed an attitude check.

So I had a long heart-to-heart with Jesus. I handed it all over. It’s amazing the freedom that comes with that!!!!

At Camp Cowen, we always used to sing this song that went along with 1 Peter 5:7…..

Imagine these words to a cheesy Reggae sounding beat. And with the words ending in –ER, pronounce them with –AH (Instead of Higher, we said High-AH, Instead of super, we said SUP-AH… and so on)…

 

Here it is:

 

“Cast your burdens

Upon Jesus

‘Cause He cares for you.

 

Cast your burdens

Upon Jesus

‘Cause He cares for you

 

Higher, Higher

Higher Higher Higher Higher Higher Higher

Lift Jesus Higher

 

Lower, Lower

Lower Lower Lower Lower Lower Lower

Stomp satan Lower

 

Super, Super

Super Super Super Super Super Super

Supernatural Power

 

Fire, Fire

Fire Fire Fire Fire Fire Fire

Holy Ghost Fire!!!!

 

Shout out to Camp Cowen Peeps: You can thank me later for putting this song into your brain that will surely be there ALL DAY LONG.

(P.S. I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for being part of the foundation that God laid down in my life. It’s the foundation that brought me back to Him after a long time of going astray). *HUGS

 

Just a couple of my Cowen People (Not sure about the year, Maybe 2000? or 2001?)..Help me out peeps. :)  From Left to Right: Lee Boso, LeeAnn (Jordan) Woda, and ME!

Just a couple of my Cowen People..
From Left to Right:
Lee Boso, LeeAnn (Jordan) Woda, and ME!

 

I’m giving Him my burdens today. Even the little ones.

 

Will you?

 

Because of Him,

Amy

The Story Behind the Mess

This past week, I posted a video on YouTube of a huge mess that my 3-year-old made. Here it is:

Here’s the story behind the mess…

My 3-year-old loves the snow. We live here in the Tri-state area of Huntington, West Virginia/Ohio/Kentucky and we really haven’t had a great deal of snow. At least not enough to go outside and make snow angels and snowmen with. (Which is really the best part of the snow, right?) The shoveling and barreling through part, we can just do without.

Due to this lack-of-snow situation, my creative boy decided to come up with his own solution. He made “snow” with BABY POWDER!

I am a full-time college student, and also doing an internship (from home). I was catching up on some work while my 2-year-old was napping and while (I thought) the 3-year-old was busy playing! Unbeknownst to me, he was creating his own “snow” in his bedroom.

I took the above video in the aftermath. It was a MESS! I had a minor “panic attack” I believe! However, he was just so cute, I couldn’t stay mad. He just wanted snow!

At one point he even asks me “Are you mad?” Bless his heart.

I praised him for his creativity, but made SURE to tell him we CANNOT do this everyday.

(For the record, there was baby powder ALL through the drawers of clean clothes. Which I had to wash all over again!)

So yes he had fun. Yes he was/is cute. But this is not a very practical means of creative fun! Maybe we’ll try it in the bathroom next time… Maybe. 😉

Time Goes By Too Fast

When I was pregnant with Nathan, a friend of mine told me, “Time will fly by, because you will be so busy!”

Oh my goodness, how true that has been.

I wish I had more time to write, blog, create, etc. I know there are times when I am not an incredibly reliable/available person.

99% of the time I am TERRIBLY behind in my school work. But you wanna know the truth? If I were given any more than the 24 hours already allotted to me, I would probably STILL be spending it with these two precious boys. They are irresistible and delicious!

The ONLY reason I’m able to write this post at this moment: It’s early on a Saturday morning, they are still asleep, and I was able to drink an entire cup of coffee all by myself. Trust me, that is something. I rarely even get to go to the bathroom by myself. True story.

So since it’s been a little long while since my last post, I thought I’d take 10 and write out this quick post.

While I’m at it, I’ll share a cute/funny video with you. (Just in case you didn’t see it on Facebook!)

Thanks for visiting my friends!

Gotta go, Nathan is up and ready to start wallowing me. 

 

Love, Love, Love,

Amy

The Pearl

Right now, I have approximately 5 or 6 unfinished blog posts sitting in my drafts. I have at least two reasons for this: My 20 month old, and my 2 month old.

My sweet baby boys: Aidan and Nathan

My sweet baby boys: Aidan and Nathan

I am a little ( a lot) overwhelmed right now.

I have so many things I need to share, but right now is not the time I guess. I need to share about being on bed rest while trying to take care of my toddler. I need to tell the story of my little Nathan’s birth and what a miracle it is that he survived it and made his way into the world. I need to share about how I cried my heart out when I had to come home from the hospital without him when he stayed in the NICU for 7 days, and how I survived it by cuddling with my toddler CONSTANTLY when I was not at the hospital. I need to talk about pumping breastmilk. LOTS of pumping. See there? I’ve already worn myself out, and I haven’t even mentioned my postpartum issues yet.

There is so much to share, but to do it justice, I’m going to have to wait until life calms down a bit.

I read something today that I just had to share. I can’t begin to tell you how much I needed this today and how much it ministered to me. I hope it will to you as well!

The Story of The Pearl

“Most people know that a pearl comes from an oyster. It isn’t just luck of the draw or random chance- in fact, that little oyster has to do a lot of work and endure quite a bit of hardship during the making of that pearl. And the most amazing part of the process is that the oyster’s goal isn’t even to make a pearl. The oyster’s goal is to insulate itself from the offending irritant.

A pearl is formed when a single grain of sand or tiny foreign particle is lodged inside an oyster. If left alone, that tiny particle will cause damage to the tender mollusk. The particle is an irritant, causing the oyster to produce a lacquer-like substance called nacre. The oyster secretes the nacre to cover that irritant as a means of protecting itself. It constantly works to shield itself from the irritant. Those layers of nacre coat the sand granule, eventually sealing away the irritation and forming a gorgeous pearl.  Offenses are just like that grain of sand-when someone says or does something to us that offends us, it is as if they put sand in our oyster. While the oyster always knows how to deal with its grain of sand, we too need to learn how to deal with the offenses that irritate us.

Throughout our lives, unfair things will happen. People will let us down, they’ll say things that hurt our feelings, and they won’t always treat us the way we think they should. If we allow those offenses to take root in our heart, they will cause us to become bitter and lose our joy and enthusiasm for life. We must learn to insulate ourselves from offenses and to keep our hearts pure. One of the keys to loving your life is learning how to take those negative things, give them to God, and allow Him to produce the priceless pearls our lives are meant to be.”  – Victoria Osteen

Baby Nathan Update!

Happy Wednesday!  I thought I would take the time this morning to give a little update on the progress of our pregnancy and what has been going on in our life as of lately! As I was looking back over my previous posts, I realized that my baby updates have been kind of brief and I have a few gaps to fill in. 🙂

When we first found out about this pregnancy, I think my husband and I were both in shock. When I showed him the little blue plus sign on the pregnancy test, he just looked at me in silence for what seemed like forever, then very timidly said, “Honey, <insert long pause here> I just don’t know what to say…..” Bless his heart. I didn’t know what to say either. It was so unexpected, yet such happy news. We were both speechless. And trust me, I am NOT speechless very often. (I think I just heard an amen from someone/anyone who knows me!) Ha.

In all this excitement, I was having a hard time recalling exactly where I was at in my cycle. I was pretty sure that my cycle had started the first week I had classes, which would put my LMP around January 9. When I went to my first doctor’s appointment, they told me my estimated due date was October 16. Then later on, we went for our first ultrasound and (after hearing the baby’s heart beat for the first time!) our due date got moved to November 6. So for the majority of this pregnancy, that is what we’ve gone by, anytime someone asked when we were due and also how many weeks along I am.

So, when we went to our doctor’s appointment on September 6,  I was 31 weeks pregnant. I was feeling good for the most part, but I was having moments and days where I was just SO very tired and sometimes just feeling downright BAD. I just assumed it was because I was saying goodbye to the 2nd trimester energy and saying hello to 3rd trimester aches, pains and TOBP (Tired of Being Pregnant) syndrome. I was having a harder time keeping up with my little boy, who is a very energetic 17 month old, and I expressed this whining and complaining concern to my doctor. He said he would like to do an ultrasound anyway to check on the baby’s growth. I was diagnosed with HG (Hyperemesis gravidarum ) and had lost 15 pounds through the course of my first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Even though I have gained back most of the weight I had lost, he still wanted to check on our little guy’s progress. So we go in for the ultrasound. I looked on the screen and saw a much bigger baby than what I expected to see.

Our little Nathan

He was legs and arms all over the place. He has a head full of fuzzy hair. He was sucking his thumb. He weighed in at 5 pounds 3 ounces. But the most surprising part? He measured at 34 WEEKS. I was an entire THREE weeks further along than what we thought! Our due date got moved back to October 17.

So, here I am today, at 36 weeks pregnant. It makes my head spin to think that at this point in our journey with Aidan, he was already born! He was born at 35 weeks, 5 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia/toxemia. I am so thankful for all that God has given me. It was very scary when Aidan came early, and I was SO VERY SICK due to the pre-eclampsia that I felt like I didn’t get to enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy with him. God is merciful and we both ended up okay. I have hoped and prayed for a different experience with this pregnancy, than the labor and delivery I had with Aidan. I got some disappointing news at my doctor’s appointment this week, that I am starting to show some symptoms of pre-eclampsia, that is requiring further testing. Please pray for us, that the test results show NO TOXEMIA and that our little boy will be born safe and healthy, when he is READY! I am feeling good for the most part (just tired mostly!) I don’t feel even a FRACTION as bad as what I did when I was getting ready to give birth to Aidan, so hopefully the tests we are doing will come back okay.  Thanks so much for your prayers!

Because of HIM,

Amy

I appreciate each and every one of you for reading my post and for your love and kindness! This week I was so excited to get started with an 8 week Bible Study on the book of Colossians with Good Morning Girls and Women Living Well ministries. I am so thankful to have this online study during a season of my life when I am spending so much time at home! It’s only the third day into the study and I already feel like I’ve learned so much. I’m so excited to see what God is going to do next!

#WOFCelebrate : Never Let Go of the Dream

There are times in life, when you feel the need to just “get away.” Everyone needs to recharge their batteries every now and then. Even Jesus had to get away sometimes. To be alone with God, He went up on the mountain. And Jesus, was…well…. Ya know….. JESUS. He was perfect, y’all.

And me?

Well….. I’m far from it. Most of the time I feel pretty much the opposite of perfect.

Being pregnant while taking care of my 1 year old has been very challenging for me. My husband works about 60 hours a week, and his only day off is on Sunday. I am not complaining. I love my life and I am so very blessed. That being said, every Mommy needs some me time. It’s like we have a well on the inside of our hearts. We have to get our well filled up. If we don’t, we don’t have anything to offer to anyone else, especially our husbands and children.

Is anyone feeling me on that?

I was so excited to have the opportunity recently to go to a Women of Faith Conference.. It was an amazing, refreshing time. In my every day life, it’s easy for me to get discouraged. I look at the people around me, and they are so talented. I have so many friends with special talents. Friends with singing abilities, musical talents and friends with great intelligence. Some have beautiful artistic ability and others have so much charisma, that people just flock to them. Although I have come a long way in my negative “self-talk” and my inner dialogue has much improved, I still sometimes feel like I do not have much to offer. I mean, I like to talk. I talk A LOT. But most people would not consider that a very special talent now would they? Haha. 🙂

But here’s the thing….

I. Just. LOVE. God.

Not only that, I’m head over heels for Jesus.

I used to have a very VERY sad life you guys. Now, I have a very very wonderful life. It’s nothing short of a miracle what God has done in my life.  He has helped me overcome low-self esteem, depression, addiction, infertility, unforgiveness, unbelief….. (I could go on and on. ) So because God has brought me through so VERY much, I have such a strong desire to tell others about Him, and to teach (I really don’t care for the word “preach,” I never liked being “preached” at. Haha).  A few years ago, I heard a Pastor say, “Sometimes I don’t know what to say when people ask me what I do for a living…..So I just say that I teach people how to love God.” When I heard him say that, something stirred inside me. I thought, “Yes! That is what I’m supposed to do with my life. Soak up the Bible and teach people about how much God loves them and how to love Him back!” So here I was with this strong desire to let God use me, yet at the same time feeling so ordinary. So untalented. So ashamed about the bad decisions I’ve made and guilty about the addictions I allowed into my life. As a result, I was discouraged and just about to give up on the dream I had, that one day God was going to use me. Who knew how, I thought maybe through public speaking. Through teaching at my church, writing a book, speaking at conferences or small groups. But at times I get discouraged and almost ready to let go of that calling.

Then I went to Women of Faith.

It’s hard to put into words what I experienced there, but I’m really going to try. 🙂 I don’t want to write TOO much about the conference, just in case someone reading this is planning on going to Women of Faith near their city. I don’t want to give out any spoilers. (I HATE spoilers. Haha.) I can sum it up by saying that I left that conference feeling completely refreshed and renewed. I learned that weekend that God isn’t looking for smart people. He’s not looking for the beautiful, the talented, the educated, the charismatic or the exceptional. He is looking for people who are AVAILABLE. That’s it!!! At the WOF conference, a very funny man named Mark Lowry said, “The Bible is full of freaks, frauds, and failures…..”  He’s right! I left feeling so very encouraged. I know without a doubt now, that God is going to use me. Who knows, He may be already using me and I do not even realize it! So, in this current season of my life, I am just going to enjoy every moment. While my babies are small, I’m going to soak up every inch of the Bible that I possibly can. I’m going to pray pray pray. Not only am I going to read and pray, I’m going to APPLY it. I’m going to make myself available wherever and whenever I can. It is my promise to God to be faithful….

and to NEVER let go of the dream. 🙂

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones……” Luke 16:10

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