the blah’s.

it is mostly dark and grey outside, with spurts of warm sun here and there. the temperature is dropping outside and we are down to single digit temps now. fall has wrapped it’s soggy, wet arms around us tightly and will not let go.
fall is here to stay.

this time of year is a time for transitions. we are shifting seasons up here in canada, and at home we are shifting gears. my kids are slowing down, sleeping a little longer, wanting to play inside more and i’m just waiting for the sickness to kick in. i have brought out extra sweaters and layers to help keep the chill away. we turned on the furnace, as +16c seemed a little cold as an inside temperature!

and, me? well, i too am slowing down, wanting to cozy up inside and i too am feeling lethargic. actually, i have felt tired and not quite myself for a couple of weeks now. i have started to take an iron supplement, a multi-vitamin, i exercise somewhat regularly, eat pretty well, but something is making me super exhausted. there are days where i feel like i am a narcoleptic, doing everything in my power not to pass out.
sounds funny, especially since i’m only 34 years young!
but, quite honestly, it feels unsettling.



my friends are suggesting i go see my family doctor, just to find out exactly what is going on. but, when will i find the time? between school drop-off’s, grocery runs, vacuuming at home, nap time, it’s really hard to squeeze in an appointment for me. also quite frankly, i am a little reluctant. the last time i felt crappy for a long period of time and talked to my doctor we discovered my pituitary gland tumour. now, i don’t want to sound dramatic, but i am a little nervous about what she might tell me. is it better to know, of course it is, because knowledge is empowering, but i feel like we are finally finding some kind of peace and calm at our house. i don’t want to stir the pot.
i don’t want to go looking for a problem or issue.
and, i don’t want to seem like i’m wanting attention or sickness…

maybe it’s just the fall blah’s.
yeah… it probably just is.





xo, mama lola

this moment.

as inspired by souleMama; one photo from our week, no words, only an image to sum up our time as a family. one that captures a moment in time and is a visual reminder of where we were at this time in our lives. 

(these terrible pictures were taken with my phone. the terry fox run happened at our school and i had to share these stickers on the kids backs. the students decided what they wanted written on their sticker. breaks my heart; but so proud of all of the kids for taking part.)

i would love it if you left a link to your { this moment }. 

xo, mama lola

how to prevent lice, naturally!


here are some quick tips ‘n tricks to preventing lice! september and january are the two times of year when the kids are coming back to school after being away for a while, and also the two most common times of year lice make their rounds at schools. now, that’s not to say you or your child can’t get them whenever!

here are some tips i have collected from the internet and from my friends, on how to best prevent lice. again, nothing is 100% and maintaining regular checks and routines is the best way to ensure you remain lice free.

source



QUICK FACTS:

  • lice are parasites found on human heads.
  • lice is the plural for the word louse.
  • according to some 1 in 10 kids are being treated for lice at all times. YIKES!
  • head lice do not affect pets
(from source)

source

PREVENTION TIPS!

  • first, you the parent have to educate yourself. know what lice look like, how they multiply and their life cycle, how they travel from one head of hair to another, how to rid them properly and know not to panic!
source
  • do not wash your kids hair often. their hair doesn’t even get that dirty after a day at school. but, lice prefer clean(er) hair, so the more days you let the natural greases and oils build up, the better.
  • for kids with long hair, tie it back, use kerchiefs, clips, barrettes etc.
source
  • get some tea tree oil and put 10 drops (or so) into your shampoo bottle. 
  • before heading out to school spritz your kids’ hair with some natural hair spray, or rub some essential oils in between your fingers and then rub your fingers through the hair.
  • remind kids NOT to share hats, combs, brushes or any other hair accessories or products with their friends. sharing all clothing should also be avoided.
  • clean and wash bedding, combs, brushes and clothes regularly. i know this is kinda obvious, but proper hygiene is so key!
  • be vigilant. check your kids (and your own) hair regularly and talk to other parents to see if anyone has heard of someone who has had lice.
  • teach others how to prevent the spread of lice and if necessary the removal of an infestation.

the bottom line here is, lice suck so let’s work together to prevent the spread of them. if you have them, TELL PEOPLE, because then the people you have been in contact with can check to see if they have them. let’s break the stigma of head lice, especially since they are not an issue that affects any particular group of people. ANYONE CAN GET THEM!

leaving you with a little lice humour…


p.s. this has been the itchiest blog post to write. i have been scratching vigorously for hours!
xo, mama lola

fun vegetarian lunch ideas!

i know many kids have already returned back to school. my eldest goes back next week, and to prepare i have collected some healthy, fun lunch ideas! my bear gets easily distracted from eating, so i’m hoping if i change things up a little and create little fun surprises, then maybe he’ll be more inclined to eat. we’re vegetarian and his school is a nut-free, waste-free zone, so i want to make sure he’s getting everything he needs in a day with these restrictions in place!
i guess only time will tell!

how do you get your kids to eat their school lunches?

it’s so easy to always make the same thing for lunch. i love these ideas, because it shows that if you think a little out of the box you can really get creative!

here’s what to think about:

  • presentation is key; it’s not just about fun shapes, think brisght colours too
  • hitting the oh-so important food groups
  • cutting things into smaller, bite-sized portions
  • don’t forget about drinks too
  • investing in good BPA-free containers that are easy for kids to open and close
  • don’t forget to label all the pieces of the lunch sets


sooooooooooooooo…. here we go!

 
 

make your own sushi from bear & lion

(i think the bread actually has meat inside, but you could easily substitute with hummus or cream cheese.)
 

healthy choices from i pack lunch

vegan club sandwich from healthy. happy. life.

roasted tomato grilled cheese from the wimpy vegetarian

falafel & tzatziki from peas and thank-you

pizza pops from bear & lion

vegan sweet potato, coconut milk and sweet chili ravioli from  reclaiming provincial

christmas cactus from organized bites

coming up soon… hot vegetarian school lunch ideas!
perfect for cool fall or chilly winter days!
xo, mama lola

a wonderful post on breastfeeding!

i don’t often do this, but i wanted to share a very specific post by another blogger with you. it’s about breastfeeding. there is so much information out there, but as i remember my days as a nursing mama, i distinctly loved hearing about other women and their own experiences with breastfeeding. even the “easiest” of babes can have various problems or concerns when it comes to nursing and then there are babes who need extra care of attention and mama needs extra skills to get things flowing properly! (like the pun?) 


even though, i’ve been a non-nursing mama for almost a year now, i am still keen on spreading good information to new mama’s when i stumble upon it!


kritstin at one organic mama wrote a post about her experiences as a nursing mama. but, her post is so good one, as in REALLY GOOD… she shares her stories, she has a great list of resources that are totally my kind of resources (kelly mom, dr. sears etc)

this her post: BREASTFEEDING REFLECTION 

read it!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
just a little fun story to share: when bear about a year old, facebook was giving lots of mum’s i knew trouble for posting pictures of themselves nursing their cute babes. i too had picstures removed and received warnings. so one sunday afternoon, i decided to send emails to various news services and programs i thought should know about this. the local CTV station contacted me within hours, asked to come to our home and interview me. i was on that evening news report, ranting about facebook’s sexist policies!

anyhow…. here are a few of our family’s breastfeeding pics…

when i would nurse baby-lion, bear would often sit with me a nurse one of his babes or friends.

this was taken on bear’s first birthday. i was a sobbing mess. for some reason i thought because he was now one i would or should stop breastfeeding or that he would stop! boy was i wrong!

here’s lion nursing after a play crisis. he ate chalk and the barfed, but nothing a little of mama’s milk couldn’t soothe.

happy day to all!
xo, mama lola

a quick vent or release more like it…

it is 10:30pm on tuesday evening. i am sitting alone in my living room. lion is fast asleep upstairs in bed. but, bear and dear hubby are sitting in the waiting area at our local hospital’s emergency department.


you see, this evening around 9pm, bear came downstairs and complained of a painful eye. earlier in the day he said they were dripping and watery, so i didn’t make him wear his glasses. i looked at his eyes when he came downstairs and the one was quite red and looked irritated. he was scared and whimpering about not wanting drops in his eyes!

we gave him advil. we gave him some polysporin eye drops. i put cortisone cream on the eczema that has flared up all over his body. but nothing seemed to help. in fact he seemed to getting worse. dear hubby called our doctor’s on-call service and once your call is registered you have to wait for them to call back. it usually takes about 20-40 minutes.
we waited, but bear was getting more agitated so we gave him benadryl. and like magic, his tension eased, he was able to open his eyes and the pain slowly diminished. we gave him a bowl of ice cream to distract him and started looking at maps online related to our up-coming road trip.

the nurse from the on-call service phoned back and after an extensive discussion recommended that bear be taken to the hospital to be checked out.

wait, WHAT???

it is now about 9:45pm, so we decide to listen to the advice. dear hubby packs up a backpack with a few dinosaur books, water and an apple, then out the door they go. we have no idea how long the wait is at the hospital, or how long this night may turn into!

the timing of this allergic reaction could not be worse. on wednesday mornings dear hubby gets up early and hops on a commuter bus to the big city. the bus leaves at 5:30am. and tomorrow, i have my annual appointment with my brain tumour team where i will receive results from my recent MRI and blood work. the appointment is in the big city and i have been a nervous wreck about it the last few days. and, we are leaving for a 2 week road trip on friday and shoudl be packing!

wait, WHAT???

when it rains it shits, right?

it is now 10:45pm and i am sitting alone in a messy living room with camping gear all over the place. i cannot focus on anything practical. dear hubby has sent me a few texts, but really they are just sitting and waiting at the hospital. i feel so completely confused and helpless. we have no idea what triggered this reaction and even though this particular reaction seems to have been quite slow to erupt  who knows what will happen next time. and since we don’t know what caused this reaction how can we possible prevent it from happening another time?!

ok… must stop brain from over thinking and distract myself with packing or something.will update once i receive more info.

***********************************************
july 17th, 2013.
wednesday AM now. 

bear seems fine. he still has is rash, and the doctor at the ER wasn’t sure if it was related to the allergic reaction or not. bear’s eyes seem pretty sensitive today and he’s super tired, but he’s not in pain or anything, so i’m relieved.

but, i have my BIG annual appointment with my tumour team today so i am a frazzled mess! wish me luck!!!
xo, mama lola

this is a vent : to all the hospital staff who have been rude…

today i tried to make an appointment for my annual MRI and was treated with blatant disrespect by two different staff members at my local hospital. i am still fighting back tears, because it’s not like i want to be there dealing with this. 
oh how happy i would be if i never had be inside a MRI machine again.

so i wrote this…

 to the hospital workers i have encountered who have been rude and disrespectful to me over the last few years this is for you…


  • i’m sorry i was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumour.
  • i’m sorry i had to make an appointment and called your department, and you answered.
  • i am deeply sorry my brain tumour inconvenienced your day.
  • i’m sorry when you repeatedly use words like “protocol” you assume that i know what you mean. i’m sorry that when i ask you to clarify, you keep using that word, with snark in your tone.
  • i’m sorry you i don’t understand or know your protocols.
  • i’m sorry my health issues and the health issues of others have created your job and many others in your hospital.
  • i’m sorry you chose me as target for your bad mood.


i am so fed up with being talked down to as though i am stupid, irrelevant and worthless. i had a serious health crisis and because of that crisis i will continue on going care and attention from the medical world for years and years to come. being made to feel stupid for simply trying to make an MRI appointment is wrong. i do not deserve to be spoken to in a tone that implies and drips with judgement. 


i am a person. i have worth and value. 
and, just because i don’t know or understand how these massive hospital systems work, does not make me stupid, ignorant or lesser than the person trying to do their job. i empathize that working in a hospital setting must be stressful and exhausting, but i do not think that gives permission for systemic rudeness. i have received treatment at three hospitals in the last four years, two being major centres of research and respected in their industry. all three hospitals have staff that have treated me and my family rudely and disrespectfully. clearly, this is a major issue in the field and not just one or two individuals. 

i have always been supporter of nurses and health care professionals in general, but something has to give. and, taking out frustrations on patients who are sick, vulnerable and already under enormous anxiety is just plain wrong. i no longer have a tumour in my head, but i require annual MRI’s and blood work to ensure nothing is growing back. i am 34 years old, with two small children and making these annual appointments is still a huge stressor for me. i feel anxious just trying to make these appointments, because i am terrified of what may be there. i have a 25% chance that the tumour will grow back and seeing as i was so young when the first tumour was found, in my gut i am sure i will be told one day again that i have a tumour.

and, even if i was stupid, ignorant and worthless i still don’t deserve to be treated disrespectfully. as members of a staff that are trained to deal with people, the public, it should be the norm to be polite and courteous to all. 

that is all.
xo, mama lola

my natural first aid kits.

  [DISCLAIMER: i am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice. 
please consult your own health care provider for specific advice. ]
 

we have two first aid kits.

the big white box that we purchased at the pharmacy that has a lot of the bigger supplies sits in our car. i have added some of our own more natural first aid remedies to it. sometimes arnica is a better choice over advil, and sometimes a few drops or sprays of rescue remedy can help cool nerves.

a first aid kit should include:
  • bandages of various sizes and ideally latex free as latex allergies are becoming more common.
  • gauze, small scissors, tape and bandage wrap.
  • cold pack that gets cold when you manipulate it is a great idea for bruises or swelling.
  • polysporin, insect bug ointment, antiseptic towelettes.
  • non-latex gloves, like vinyl ones.
  • CPR mask/ pocket mask.

our second first aid kit is a small pouch with only the bare minimum of essential “aids”. these are items that come in handy for us, especially if on a hike or even just out on the town. having tweezers are great when a sliver happens, then dabbing it with a little tea tree essential oil and depending on the size of the sliver and if happened in conjunction with a fall, some arnica may help (caplets or topical cream). lip balm is great for sunburn lips or a dehydrated person.

in the picture above i also included:

  • a hair tie and bobby pins for those windy day emergencies!
  • a tampon (great not just for surprise menstrual flow, but also severe nose bleeds… stop giggling!)
  • sting swabs and antiseptic towelettes, not super natural, but potentially very helpful.
  • i included the rescue remedy tincture and spray bottles just to show options. i prefer the spray, as do my kids.
  • i also included the arnica topical cream and caplets, but walk around with the caplets more, unless one of us is nursing a bruise or an ache of sorts.

* we are an allergy family and that is why i have included benadryl even on our natural first aid kit list. we have the kids liquid and adult capsules with us, just in case one of the boys gets hit by an allergic reaction. we understand the nature of our family’s allergies, so i am not suggesting everyone walk around with benadryl, this is just what works for us.

* make sure you check the quality of the products in your first aid kit regularly. ensure packages are still sealed, that items have not deteriorated, especially if they’ve been sitting in a car for a long period of time. and, double check expiry dates! medicines, creams and potions lose their effectiveness after a certain period of time.

* i carry a small amount of money in our small first aid pouch. a few coins and a small bill, enough to able to us make a phone call, buy water or a snack.

what do you carry with you in your first aid kit?
what did i miss and should include in ours?

STAY SAFE EVERYONE!

 

xo, mama lola

theme thursday :: useful household tips for keeping a clean(er) home!

for today’s THEME THURSDAY i’ve pulled together some handy household resources. tips and tricks that work well for all sorts of problems that may arise in your home, from pesky stains to frustrating houseflies to ridding odours. plus, all of these easy solutions are kid and pet friendly and won’t hurt your bank account! GOTTA LOVE THAT!


i organized the list by rooms in your home. 

KITCHEN:




BATHROOM:




BEDROOM:




LAUNDRY AND STAINS:




OUTSIDE SPACES/ GARDEN/ BUGS: 




SMELLS & STINKS & SPILLS:




let me know if you have any tips or tricks i can add to this list.
i’m also working on an organizational post!


xo, mama lola

i am conflicted and torn.

i’ve been having a really hard few days. the internal dialogue in my head is confusing and i feel as though my will power and determination is being tested. and, i hate it.

so, i started a liver cleanse last week. it means i am on a strict diet of whole foods, avoiding coffee, sugar, all flours, anything refined or processed, with limited fruit intake but, i’m allowed to eat all the veggies in the world (there are other diet guidelines but i’m not going to get into all of it). i do the cleanse, because it clearly demonstrates to me the bad habits i develop with food. ya know, having that extra cheese slice, finishing off all of the kids left overs, nibbling on various treats at the end of the day and sometimes drinking too much coffee and not enough water. 

i did the cleanse last year at this time and was totally pure. 
this year, i’ve been thrown a curve ball and it has really challenged me.

on wednesday i went (hula) hooping with a group in town and threw my back out. on thursday i was in so much pain i could hardly walk at times. i cried and cried on thursday evening as dear hubby tried to figure out how to help me. luckily, i had booked an appointment with my chiropractor for the next morning, for my chronic neck issues. so, on friday morning i limped in to the office with lion in tow (because this almost immobile mama, still doesn’t get the day off) and my chiro twisted, adjusted and stretched me in ways that felt so good! she explained that i have shifted a disk or disks in my lower back, an area where i already have some issues with badly positioned disks, and i am to take it easy, but not too easy. i am to include many rounds of stretching and icing, and to keep walking ensuring i don’t become lazy with all of this pain.

the curve ball is this… during a liver cleanse one is not supposed to take anything for pain management either, because your liver is the organ that processes all those drugs and medicines. but, for survival i have been popping advil gel caps as though they are tic-tacs. not sure how much they are helping, but i feel like i need them.

because the cleanse food is all made from fresh ingredients there is a lot prep that takes place for the meals and snacks. just standing in the kitchen chopping veggies is brutal on my back and knees. yesterday evening i started losing my focus and my willpower for the cleanse. i cried about the pain to dear hubby and shared my concerns about continuing because of the demands placed by the cleanse. all i had wanted to do for days was overindulge on some “poor me” chocolate! i texted my beautiful friend and she reminded me that the cleanse ultimately was about habits and that maybe i could bend the rules and allow myself to have a little something like coffee or a boozy drink or cheese to help me get through my painful days.

this has become one of those internal fights in ones head. i know if i cheat with food during the cleanse i will feel terrible and that i will beat myself up over it for a long time. my negative self talk is a very loud and powerful force inside of me. it is another bad habit i am trying to improve upon. i also know that i have very high expectations of myself with certain things and this cleanse appears to be one of them; it’s a way i can prove to myself that i can control my eating habits, my caffeine intake and my overall relationship with food. we eat fairly well at our house, but it’s all about who you compare yourself to, right? and, i guess i just want to tweak our habits a bit as a family, but a lot for myself. 

do i stick with this cleanse, while in immense pain? do i relax the rules for myself a little giving myself permission to not complete the cleanse as purely as i initially wished, and in doing so hate myself? or what?

blargh.

we went to the sugar bush yesterday. it’s a place where they have tapped the maple trees to make maple syrup. it was a bright, sunny day and perfect for being outside. i walked slowly with dear hubby as the kids ran and played. it was nice to be outside, even if i limped around.


i hate feeling like a failure, even though i suppose i feel like that a lot of the time. i think most people do.

i will end here, as i could keep going on and on about this subject matter.

hope you had a wonderful weekend! 
here’s to a pain free week!

xo, mama lola
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