Monday, December 10, 2012

Stationery card

Be Bright Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.
Our thank you card to the Tottie's Team Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run participants.  We are so thankful for our team!  They know how to jingle their bells and welcome the holiday season with healthy appreciation and love!

Friday, November 2, 2012

1st Grade Parent Teacher Conference

Dear Charlotte, 
Today your Daddy & I met with your teacher for your first grade parent teacher conference.  We saw samples of your writing, your penmanship & your math notebook.  Daddy & I were so impressed by your counting of twos, fives, and 10's and your ability to count backwards from 120!  We're going to keep practicing those numbers at home, since most of your homework has to do with sentence structure & reading, we think you like to work on numbers more & we are excited to help you do that.

Your teacher, Mrs. Little loves your leadership in her class.  She says you love to share, you love to be in front of the class leading mystery can or telling a story.  I have to admit, I was surprised.  Just last year you were still hiding behind my legs and didn't like the attention too much.  Now you are confident in front of your first grade class & love showing responsibility.

An example of your leadership was when you started showing Jackson how to have eye drops put in his eye.  You have been having to go to the nurses office to do your eye drops for the Uveitis flare up and finally taught yourself how to give your own eye drop because you were inconvenienced by having to go to the nurses office.  When Jackson started to do eye drops once a day, he cried, even screamed.  They had you come down to the office to show him that it was no big deal.  You took him down to the nurse's for the next week until he got the hang of it.  That was very sweet of you & showed great leadership & empathy!

When I asked you what your goals were for first grade you told me, "To get all 4's (the highest grade you can), to make a lot of friends & to earn more Penguin Pride tickets."  Those tickets are awarded to boys & girls that are showing good leadership & manners.  You have gotten at least 8 so far & its only November.  We are so proud of you!

And like your sisters before you and your Momma, I admit it, your teacher would like you to work on the amount of socializing.  Ahhh… the downfall of us outgoing girls.  Always criticized for our socializing.  Lucky for you, being the baby of the family, we are used to this plea by the teacher & instead of instantly thinking "UGH our child!! She's FAILING!" we now just smile when we hear this "concern."  If you are unable to manage your socializing at appropriate times, it will work itself out in the form of consequences at school.  You'll learn.  You will learn how to use your strength for good.  It will happen.  

It was a wonderful conference, Charlotte.  Your eagerness to learn is clear every day.  You would much rather sit at the kitchen table & have me challenge you with math problems than go play.  You love to play school with your friends & dolls and the joy of learning is FUN for you!  Your favorite subject to read about is animals & I'm sure you've brought home every issue of "Your Big Backyard" that the classroom has.  This hasn't gone unnoticed by your teacher.  She wants to switch up your reading a bit here soon, but has found humor in your love with these magazines.  I love how you share facts about animals after you're done reading them with great enthusiasm & big eyes!

When I ask you what you want to be when you grow up, you're telling me a "Horse Trainer."  
We are proud of you, first grader! And look forward to this being a FUN & growing year for you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hip Hip Humira!

Charlotte has started on Humira, a biologic drug home shot, given every 2 weeks and the eye appointment after the first injection, showed only 3-5 cells in her left eye.

Charlotte in the Columbia Gorge at an apple orchard field trip with first graders (#18 on the fruit loop)
Humira is working!  

Lets be real, its not a fun shot to give or to get.  It stings.  And we are doing a LOT of prep (thanks to the tips from mom's who have been doing this before me) with numbing cream & ice.  The nurse in the pediatric rheumatologists office gave the first shot & the second one was my first time.

Its a lot to inject (she takes the adult dose) so I had Charlotte do some deep breathing and on her exhale I would increase the give of the medicine.  Charlotte said that taking breaths and going slow worked for her & its nice to have her give feedback so she feels she's a part of this process.  She really does understand how important the medicines are and its not a choice.  What she does have control of is giving me advice in how to administer & I appreciate the feedback.
Last weekend at the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run kick-off party

Her front tooth is finally coming in after being out for 2 years.  It was bucked out & loosened up early in life - it was the first sign of her arthritis.  Routinely climbing into a chair, she slipped when her knee froze and bucked out her tooth.  She held it in for another two years.  But after missing it for two years, the new tooth is coming in & over the weekend I saw "something."  As the tooth came down more each day, I would send her upstairs to brush "harder! And with MORE toothpaste!"  Finally, I had to scratch this "thing" off.  It looked like a piece of popcorn.

Top big tooth. Looks like popcorn.
But it wasnt moving.  The yellow stain is  IN her tooth.  I took a picture, emailed the dentist who said it was the result of injury to the baby tooth.  Darn arthritis.  And not to panic, it can be hidden cosmetically when the entire tooth comes down.  Ugh.  But yay :)  It can be taken care of.

And the best news is that the medicine works! YAY!  And cosmetics can hide the tooth!  So all good things :)
Charlotte turned 7 & got her 1st Humira shot on her 7th birthday! 

This week I am "Living One Day for CARRA" Its a shopping I party with 7 vendors at the house all giving proceeeds to CARRA!  So fun!  With all the treats being gluten free & vegan! (no dairy,  no egg), I'm hoping that we surprise people with how tasty these healthy foods can be!  It will be fun!! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

And Remicade works no more... no more...

And so after this summer of ups and downs with Charlotte's eyes... she has developed HACA's (Human antichimeric antibody) towards the Remicade.  Her body got smart, realized it was a rat protein & has rejected it.  Its working, no more, no more.  

What does that look like?  Her eye blew up.  "So many cells we cant count."  Wow.  She hasnt had that kind of eye appt since the initial diagnosis (age 2).

So after 4 years, we say so long to remicade.  You worked when you worked, but now you work no longer.  

Now there are discussions with the pediatric rheumatologist & the uveitis specialist as to what's next.  There are other drugs related to Remicade (called TNF Blockers) and some you may have heard of (PGA Pro Phil Mickelson uses Enbrel): such as Enbrel, Humira & Orencia.

The  next drug she jumps to, we want it to have a great track record of conquering uveitis (arthritis in the eyes).  Problem is... there arent a lot of studies out there.  

The good news is, they are all SHOTS.  Administered at home.  No more mini hospital in our house, nurse half days, being grumpy & missing school....
Scary side is, will her body accept this new route, how long till it kicks in and now its up to US! (was a tad reassuring to have a nurse at the house to talk things over with).  

We have a growing list of questions for both doctors & are contemplating going to Boston to discuss.  

Charlotte has been on HOURLY eye drops since the 2nd day of school (GET TO KNOW US!) and the staff has been nothing short of angelic!!  Her teacher, the nurse, the healthroom assistant, the secretaries, the principal... we couldn't ask for a more cohesive village helping our Tot when she's away from us.  So much love for our elementary school educators....

 And besides all this CRAZY'VILLE the 1st three weeks of school, Charlotte LOVES, loves, LOVES 1st grade!  She loves her teacher, she loves her new friends she's making, she loves seeing her friends from kinder & she LOVES reading!  So we are thankful for the Remicade when it worked.  And now.. on to a new time...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Day in The Life

Happy Summer!  Seems that uveitis doesn't know that we are are trying to have a summer vacation.  Charlotte still has eye appointments & gets her weekly shots Methotrexate & her "every 6 weeks" of Remicade.

So if you have wondered what these days look like for Charlotte or what these drugs do that she has to take so frequently, then let me take you on a "day in the life" journey of "Remicade Days."

Remicade is a biological drug that is a TNF inhibitor.  

A wha?!  TNF is a protein in our bloodstream that carries the messages to the brain saying we are sick, "send in the white blood cell troops!"

But she isn't sick.  That's the problem, she isnt sick and she doesnt need those messages sent!  So those white blood cells start hanging out in her eyes where they arent needed.  If we left the white blood cells and didnt treat this, she could get glaucoma, cataracts or the worse of the worse.

Remicade kills the messengers that want to send in more white blood cell troops.  Coupled with Methotrexate which is a chemo drug, an immune suppressant that kills the white blood cell troops, these two drugs are working for Charlotte in keeping her uveitis in check.  And every few weeks we go back to the eye doctor so she can look through the slit lamp and determine if there are cells (she will count them) or not.

So these two medicines kill the messengers and the troops.  BUT!  What if a REAL virus comes along?  Or a REAL bacteria?  It takes Charlotte at least twice as long to get rid of it as a healthy child.  The common cold isnt so common for Charlotte & I've talked about that at the beginning of every school year here.  She just doesnt have the core in place to handle it, we're continuely trying to kill it all to keep the arthritis (uveitis in the eyes) quiet.
200mg's of Remicade.  Have never changed the dosage amount since she started at age 2.
The day starts out like this:
Before the nurse comes, I put lidocaine (numbing cream) on her vein & get her hydrated with a smoothie.
Its a half day process because Remicade is an iv infusion given by a nurse.  When she comes, she also gives the methotrexate so we dont have to give that shot to Charlotte that week.

The day before, we get a big box in the mail with the medication & any extra tools the nurse needs.  
I feel like we are a little hospital at times.  This machine stays at our home 24/7 with the stand.  It holds the remicade & goes with Charlotte where she wants to go.

Besides drawing blood, Charlotte has to submit urine to be examined.  They are watching her liver because the weekly methotrexate shot (chemo drug) can really wreak some havoc on the liver. 

The nurse is here so after she gets it all set up & everything ready to go, off comes the lidocaine & in goes the 'pokey.'
Charlotte plugs her nose because she hates the smell of the rubbing alcohol.  Forever she will have memories of that smell, I'm sure.
 Charlotte does AMAZING with this.  And I get to say that NOW because when she was two, she used to throw such an amazing fit, I really thought we would have to get a straight jacket.  I wanted her on horse tranquilizers :) Or give them to me.  She was the strongest preschooler in the world.  Now she sits there like a champ.
 Pulling blood out for samples and then flushing it out with saline.  Getting ready to give Methotrexate & then onto the Remicade.
 Charlotte is patient and so is our Nurse!  Nurse Trish is the sweetest nurse we could ask for!
 Now its time to hang out for a few hours while Remicade slowlllllyyyyy drips & Charlotte gets sleeeeepy....
 And Grumpy too.... something about Remicade days, sleepy & grumpy... some day she will just sit back and put her feet up and take a nap right!?!?  Maybe...

That's a "day in the life" of a Remicade treatment for Charlotte.  This usually takes place on Fridays and is between 830am-1230pm.  And after the nurse leaves, Charlotte is usually off playing, renewed energy & happy to be done!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My 11th Mother's Day

These 3 girls teach me so much about being a mom, every day!
 Like patience.  Really?  You're going to wipe your dirty hands on your shirt?!  But I will let it go because there's a creative mind at work there...
 Like positive encouragement.  Letting go of the "BE CAREFUL!" & saying more of "THAT's AMAZING!"
 Like sharing myself with them.  "Girls... Momma has a thing about nail polish colors!  These are my faves, so pick one out!  Let's paint!" 
 Like running into each day not knowing what it will hold & being fine with that!  Adventures usually are around the corner when we have time to just hold on & go for it!
I learn from these girls EVERY. DAY.  Just when I think I have it figured out, I dont.  Ever.  Not even close.  I love it.  I love them!  
Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's, all the mothering women in our village & especially to my amazing Mom who continues to help guide me through MY journey!

Monday, April 2, 2012

What's Normal!?

Today the sun came out!! In the NW that's a TREASURED thing & you IMMEDIATELY drop what you are doing & get outside to do ANYTHING!!!  Lucky for me, I didnt spend that time picking weeds, instead I went on a 3+ mile walk/jog with Charlotte.  
She complained only once, but there was nothing we could do, we had to get back to the car :)  Here we are with the cherry trees in bloom & the Steel Bridge behind us.  Portland - Bridge City (Willamette River cuts through the city).  Afterwards, she fell asleep in the car.  Too much exercise for a child with arthritis?  Is that her normal!?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gluten Free HEINZ products

Heinz recently replied to an email my friend sent them, asking for a list of their products that are gluten free.  I have listed their GF products here along w/ a recipe for a GF bbq sauce:

Gluten Free

Heinz BBQ Sauces  (Original, Chicken & Rib, Garlic, Honey Garlic Only)
Heinz Chili Sauce (All Varieties)
Heinz Cocktail Sauce (All Varieties)
Heinz Horseradish Sauce
Heinz Ketchup
Simply Heinz Ketchup
Heinz Organic Ketchup
Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
Heinz No-Sodium Added Ketchup
Heinz Hot Ketchup 
Heinz Mustard   (All Varieties) 
Heinz Pickles  (All Varieties)
Heinz Peppers  (All Varieties) 
Heinz Relish  (All Varieties) 
Heinz Sloppy Joe Sauce
Heinz Tartar Sauce
Heinz Traditional Steak Sauce 
Heinz Worcestershire Sauce
Heinz Vegetarian Beans 
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar 
Heinz Red Wine Vinegar
Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar 
Heinz Apple Cider Flavored Vinegar
Heinz Red Wine Vinegar 
Heinz Garlic Wine Vinegar
Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauces  (Original #7, Honey Smokehouse, Hickory Brown
Sugar, Spicy BBQ Only)
Jack Daniel's EZ Marinader -- Teriyaki, Garlic & Herb, Steakhouse
Jack Daniel's Steak Sauce (Both Varieties)
Lea & Perrins White Wine Marinade
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (All Varieties)
Lea & Perrins Traditional Steak Sauce
TGI Fridays Salsa  (All Varieties)

4670408701 - 57th Street Grille Potato Skins - Cheddar & Bacon 32 oz 

Classico Red Sauces  (All Varieties)
Classico Alfredo Sauces (All Varieties)
Classico Pesto Sauces  (All Varieties)
Classico Bruschetta (All Varieties) 
Classico Pizza Sauce

13120XXXXX-        ALL VARIETIES of Ore-Ida® Tater Tots®
1312001879         Ore-Ida® ABC Tater Tots®
1312000080         Ore-Ida Golden Patties® (9 ct.)  
1312000258         Ore-Ida® Golden Fries® (32 oz.) 
1312000278         Ore-Ida® Golden Fries®  (5 lb.)   
1312000286         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (32 oz.) 
1312000291         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (5 lb.)   
1312000296         Ore-Ida® Pixie Crinkles (26 oz.) 
1312000377         Ore-Ida® Cottage Fries (32 oz.)  
1312000392         Ore-Ida® Southern Style Hash Browns (32 oz.) 
1312000428         Ore-Ida® Country Style Steak Fries (28 oz.)
1312000469         Ore-Ida® Potatoes O'Brien (28 oz.) 
1312000473         Ore-Ida® Chopped Onions
1312000483         Ore-Ida® Golden Twirls (28 oz)
1312000647         Ore-Ida® French Fries (8 lb.)    
1312000784         Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Cut Russets® 
1312000785         Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Cut Sweet Potatoes® 
1312000787         Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Garlic Seasoned Potatoes® 
1312000788         Ore-Ida® Steam N' Mash Red Skin Potatoes
1312000800         Ore-Ida® Steak Fries® (28 oz.)
1312000809         Crunch Time Classics Straight Cut (24 oz)
1312000828         Ore-Ida® Shoestrings® (28 oz.)
1312000833         Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (30 oz.)
1312000862         Ore-Ida® Country Style Hashbrowns (6 lb.)
1312001036         Ore-Ida® Crispers® (20 oz.)  
1312001176         Ore-Ida® Waffle Fries® (22 oz.) 
1312001251         Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Easy Golden Crinkles 
1312001260         Ore-Ida® Extra Crispy Crinkle Cut (26 oz.)
1312001348         Ore-Ida® Roasted Original
1322001349         Ore-Ida® Roasted Garlic & Parmesan
1312001461         Ore-Ida® Country Fries  (30 oz.)  
1312001492         Ore-Ida® Fast Food Fries (4 lb.)  
1312001884         Country Inn Classics Hash Browns, Peppers, Onions
1312001885         Country Inn Classics Hash Browns, Sour Cream, Chives
1312001886         Country Inn Classics Hash Browns, Savory Seasoned
1312008564         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.)  
1312008565         Ore-Ida® Golden Fries (8 lb.)
1312008572         Ore-Ida® Golden Crinkles® (8 lb.)  CLUB
1312001320         Ore-Ida® Sweet Potato Fries
1312001330         Ore-Ida® Sweet Potato Fries

All Delimex Tamales
All Delimex CORN Taquitos
1769604640        Delimex Chipotle Beef Rice Bowl
1769604630        Delimex Santa Fe Style Chicken Rice Bowl

2580002011         Smart Ones Broccoli & Cheddar Potatoes
2580002247         Smart Ones Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata
2580002360         Smart Ones Santa Fe Rice & Beans
2580002918         Smart Ones Chicken Santa Fe
2580002931         Smart Ones Cranberry Turkey Medallions

Again, we appreciate you taking the time to contact us.   If you need
further information, feel free to call us at this toll-free number
(1-800-255-5750).  Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM
until 6:00 PM, Eastern Time.

Heinz Consumer Resource Center

When contacting us, please refer to the following reference number:


P.S. - For your convenience, here's a recipe for a barbecue sauce without
gluten-containing ingredients:

Heinz Ketchup Basic Barbecue Sauce

½ cup Heinz Tomato Ketchup
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

In saucepan, combine all ingredients.  
Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Brush ribs or chicken with sauce during last 10 minutes of grilling or

Makes about ¾ cup of sauce.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anti-Inflammatory Recipe: Sweet Potato & Chorizo Soup (Jamie Oliver)

On this day after St. Patrick's day, a day full of March Madness & by madness I mean basketball AND snow falling in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to make a homey soup from one of my favorite cookbooks.
Actually this cookbook is Ellie's, she got it for Christmas and has made some dinners for us.  She loves it because there are numerous pictures for EACH recipe (one per page) & its all pretty simple but the flavors are complex & amazing!

This is a picture from the start of today's soup:  Sweet Potato & Chorizo Soup.
carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsley & sweet potatoes tossed in a heaping teaspoon of curry powder & sauteed in EVOO.

I just googled JAMIE OLIVER & SWEET POTATO CHORIZO SOUP & it looks like a ton of folks have blogged about it or its been in newspapers.  So yay, you dont have to take my word for it, you can take theirs too!  My change up was that I used bulk chicken chorizo sausage handmade in my local grocery store & cooked that before adding to the soup. I put it all in the VitaMix for a super smooth consistency & it was a tad spicy, but not too much.  DELISH!!

Now back to the spring cleaning of vacuuming, cleaning out all kitchen shelves & cupboards & putting in new, fresh contact paper.  And now the snow has stopped, the sun is out with black clouds on the horizon.  Tis Spring!

PS:  Here's the recipe, too easy for a weekend meal, but just right for today!  Try it!
1 ¾ quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled
2 celery stalks, sliced evenly
2 medium onions, peeled and rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 ¾ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and rough chopped
7 ounces chorizo sausage, sliced
small bunch fresh parsley, fine chopped
1 heaped teaspoon Madras curry powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh red chile, fine diced
Bring the stock to boil in a saucepan. Let it simmer on the back burner.
Bring a large pot to medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil. Put all the chopped and sliced foods (including the chorizo) into the hot oil.  Add the curry powder and mix it all up.
Cook until the carrots have softened but are not falling apart and the onions have turned a little golden, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the hot stock. Give the soup a stir and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the sweet potato is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir. Taste. Season it to your taste.
Blend the soup with an immersion blender (easiest) or by pouring it into a large blender or food processor.
*My alterations:  
I used bulk chorizo CHICKEN sausage & cooked it up separately.
I used "Bombay Curry" from the Bay Cafe (Lopez Island Washington) which isnt straight up curry, its a mixture of yumminess!  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lotsa Love

Sending lots of love out every day!  Valentines Day gets extra loves (and lots of hearts & red & pink & giggles).  
And appreciating that Methotrexate (one of Charlotte's drugs that she takes weekly at home via shot) will not be in short supply.  FDA talked the drug companies to RAMP up production of the preservative free version of MTX.  YAY!!!

AND!  Great news today!  The few cells that have been lingering in her left eye for a few months, have left the building!  Without going back on drops, they left on their own!  YAY!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Scenes from the weekend

When the sun shines in the Pacific Northwest, we jump outside before the moment is gone!  Whilst we love the beauty & the greenery that the rain brings to us, we do appreciate a reprieve from the grey skies & drizzle, especially on a February day!

In the Winter, Emma has extra ballet practices for an upcoming performance, on Saturdays in Portland.  So during that hour, I easily talk Ellie into joining me while I run & she rollerblades along the Willamette river.

We are on the Eastside of Portland (the Willamette River divides the Eastside from the Westside) on the 40 mile loop.  Its a beautiful view of  downtown with the Ross Island bridge in the background.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Roasted Carrots with Cumin - Anti.Inflammatory Recipe

Mark Bittman shares in his book "How to Cook Everything," a recipe for roasted carrots tossed in olive oil & cumin (Yum!  Here's the recipe).
After these carrots are roasted, you can enjoy them just as they are, or blend them with some chicken stock for an amazing carrot soup!

Cumin is a greatly beneficial anti-inflammatory spice.  I have talked about Tumeric & Curry, but Cumin as well has amazing anti-inflammatory benefits as well as support for the digestive system.  
Its all pretty scientific HOW cumin is beneficial & you can read it here or read more here, or you can roast these amazing carrots & just enjoy them for their awesome flavor!!! :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not two...

My daughter Ellie on the monkey bars with
Addison, Ainsley & their older brother Connor.
One of my besties became my bestie because her daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis within a month of Charlotte.  Charlotte became besties with her daughter Addison & their bond would be forever.  Addison's family would become family because that's what happens with the community of arthritis parents.  I care for Addison like she's Charlotte's sister & I know what her mom is feeling through the ups & downs of bad lab work numbers, swelling in the knee, painful absences from school, like no one else would.

But what I can't relate to is todays news that my bestie, Laura & her husband Jim received today about their third child, Ainsley who is now diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.  I sigh on the phone when she rings with the news.  I can't imagine having two with the disease and having a different type of the disease to boot.  Especially when Addison isn't in remission & continues to battle her arthritis (getting on Enbrel soon to her mix of Methotrexate).

I know that Laura & Jim are different parents with Ainsley's diagnosis than they were with Addison's.  They can face this news with more courage & knowledge & aggressiveness than they did years prior being in a daze with Addison's diagnosis as a toddler when every piece of language is new & you have to look EVERYTHING up.  The scariness factor is gone, but I am sure its quickly replaced with anger & bitterness of "really!? why?!"

Laura & Jim... BLECH.  I love you & I love Ainsley so much & hate this for her.  But her journey will be different as this disease is with every child.  And I know you will tackle her diagnosis with strength, determination, mindfulness & she will not suffer because of it.  Lots of love & support from here to there.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

keeping active

2012 on Mt. Hood
The hubby is a snow skier & has made skiers out of the 10 & 9 year old too.  So when Charlotte BEGGED to go up to the mountain with them last year, I thought, "well she is either going to love it or hate it."  And if I were a betting woman, I would have laid down the Benjamin's on HATING IT.

Why?  Because she has arthritis!  And its cold!  And hard work!  And... well she has a little body that has arthritis!!

And I would have lost that money.

Because this girl LOVES downhill skiing!  Begs to go up, is giddy to head to the mountain & is excited for her lessons.  She's now going up on the chair lift & learning to control her swooshing down the mountain.

Amazing.  The fact that she loves downhill SNOW skiing, it just amazes me.  Each & every time I watch her.  Total trooper, total fanatic, and I totally forget that she has arthritis.  Until  the next day when she aches a little.  But then every skier in our house is hurting a little the next day :) :)  So we celebrate normal body aches in Charlotte after a long day of skiing!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Soaking in Salt Water

In the health & wellness section of my local grocery store, they had bulk of salts. The manager said he indulges in an entire tub (see picture) PER bath.  Its sooo soothing he said.  I had heard about salt bath benefits before from our local farmer Gary (best blueberries ever!) who said he turned his swimming pool into a saltwater pool for the family!  More on that another time (because that's what I would like to have here at our house!).

Back to the salts at the grocery store near the shampoo & lotion.  So he had me at baths & I bought a cottage cheese size tub of salts & added it to Charlotte's bath tonight & will look into buying a bigger size so we can all take salt baths.  Big sister Ellie who struggles with eczema in the winter got in with her & then they both rinsed off in the shower after.  They really enjoyed it!

The benefits!!  

Salt water baths can stimulate circulation, hydrates the skin, increases moisture retention, promotes cellular regeneration, detoxifies the skin, and helps heal dry, scaling, irritated skin. Salt water bathing reduces inflammation of the muscles and joints, relaxes muscles and relieves pain and soreness

Iodine regulates the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues, helps to repair and regenerate worn out tissues and nourishes the skeletal structure. It enters into the thyroid gland's secretion. The hormone uses the iodine to cleanse the internal toxins & restore internal balance.

There's more & more & more benefits, read them here:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


2012 will be the 5th year of Charlotte battling arthritis.  Diagnosed in the fall just after her 2nd birthday, we have learned many things in these 5 years & have much more to learn because Arthritis doesn't follow a simple road or the same road for every child.  Arthritis likes to veer off once in awhile, thinking its in control throwing us all off course & causing us to huddle, confer & ask "What would you do? What should we do?  What CAN we do?"
But in this 5th year, here's how we are going to help Charlotte control her arthritis:
1.  Swim.  As often as she can.  At the pool & taking more baths.  Whenever she wants to be in the water, we will oblige because we know it makes her feel good. (does she seem grouchy?  start a bath!)
2.  Practice GF!  We can always do better on keeping the gluten out of her diet which means me being more diligent about menu planning & creating yummy gf treats & snacks.
3. Joint health thru supplements.  Taking her fish oil supplements 2x a day would be a beneficial habit.
4. Eat anti-inflammatory foods.  Again that comes back to the Momma with the menu planning, stop yelling at me already!

Resolutions in the New Year, always learning... May you &your family have a VERY healthy 2012!