Monday, December 20, 2010

2 Days Later (eczema)

Wow! Just look at this!
I promise they are the same legs.
I did a little happy dance when I saw her legs this morning.

Yesterday morning we saw an improvement in Munchkin's legs. They were still red a scaly, but the inflammation had almost disappeared. These are both picture of her right leg (the worst one) taken yesterday morning after a night of nothing but the hazelwood necklace wrapped twice around her right ankle and the usual Eucerin (but we do that every night).









Now, don't rush out and buy a necklace yet. Save some money first and try this:



or something similar. It's pure soap. Nothing but lye and oils.
We've been using Dove on our kids at our doctors advice for 6 years. We've had the most success with it and it was the only soap that didn't aggravate my kid's skin. It wasn't until last week I looked at the ingredients. Holy cow!
I've wanted to try soap making and knew all you really needed was oils and lye. When I saw how much junk was in Dove I got out the castile soap (just oils and lye) I had off the shelf (I make a face wash for myself with it) and used it on my daughter yesterday before church. When she got out of the tub I put Eucerin on as usual and we also kept the necklace on her ankle (wrapped twice) so it was closer to the breakout.


Something worked. This is dramatic! I just don't know why it wasn't this dramatic before, which is why I'm hesitant to give all the credit to hazel wood. Maybe it's the combination of the two.

But here are three days in a row of pictures to really show the improvement. Saturday 24 hours after prescription steroid (small improvement); Sunday after a night (about 14 hours) with hazel wood necklace; Monday 24 hours after pure soap and 36 hours with hazel wood.

Sorry these are posting weird. The middle one is Sunday.

I bought my castile soap at Good Earth a few years ago. It seems expensive, but a little goes a long way. I used about a tablespoon to wash her hair and body. I'd try a small bottle and see if it works (be sure to follow up with Eucerin or another lotion good for eczema). I have also bought some pure bar soap from makers on Etsy. I plan on trying a goats milk soap at some point.
We bought our hazel wood necklace from hazelaid.com. Amazon sells them too, but even with shipping hazelaid was cheaper. We bought the one with hematite beads (maybe it was the magnetism...I have no idea).

So now you have all the info. Caveat Emptor, I am unaffiliated and will make no money from these companies, blah,blah, blah. But if your kids (or you) suffer like mine, please, at least try pure soap if you haven't already. If that hasn't worked, try a necklace. I hope it will work for you too!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hazelwood Necklace for Eczema

A few weeks ago a friend told me about using hazelwood to help with eczema. Her sister had had great results with it. So I ordered one. I'm desperate!! :)
When the necklace arrived no one had any rashes because I had used to prescription steroid. We originally bought it for Jack, but since his was under control we switched it to Munchkin. (I have nicknames! Check the top bar for who is who.) Hers is usually the worst because it covers more area and flares up more easily. So I bathed her with regular soap and got this:
so I put the necklace on her, wrapped twice around the ankle.
There wasn't much improvement the next day.

She wore it for a week and after a week it looked like this. Still red, but not terrible.
So we took it off Monday to let Jack wear it again. On Thursday her legs looked like this:
These were Munchkin's legs this morning:
I could cry, they look so awful. The pictures really don't do justice. But if you think this is bad you should see her after swimming!

So did it help?

I'm not sure. It certainly didn't cure it. But they have definitely gotten worse since we took it off. So I put it back on her today. On their website some people said they noticed improvement after two weeks. So I'm leaving it on 2 weeks this time. I mean, we already bought it and it certainly isn't hurting her.

Verdict: inconclusive.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Small Kitchens

I love these colors! Anyone else think this is a big kitchen?
Usually I'm not a fan of HGTV and BHG's idea of a "small kitchen". They look cute, but not livable. But I did like this article called Hidden Spaces in Your Small Kitchen. It actually has useful stuff.
My favorite idea was getting cabinet depth appliances. I didn't even know they made those!

The best advice I ever got with kitchen items is if you haven't used it in a year, toss it. Now, I think exceptions should be made for canning equipment and such, but if you have it and don't ever can, what are the odds you're going to start? After years of it taking up space I recently sold my breadmaker on craigslist. Bottom line is I never really used it and now I make bread the old fashioned way: in an electric oven. So that was easy to ditch. The beautiful glass pitcher I got as a wedding gift that I never use...that one is harder for me. Because I might use it when my kids are older right? (probably not)
Now here is an actual small kitchen. Monocromatic really seems to be the way to go.
I have oak cabinets and I am struggling to decide how to paint my kitchen. I found an orange I love that blends in well, but then I wonder if I should just go with a light color and paint the cabinets or something. I hate major decisions like this.
I plan to paint next month so I better decide soon.
Do you have a small kitchen that you made look/feel bigger? What did you do?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Furniture for the Small House

ummm, yes please!
Some time in the next 2 years I am buying a new living room set. I'm going to have a grown up living room!
Home Reserve not only has cute, relatively affordable sofas (think $375 shipped) and chairs ($200), but they also come with built-in storage! If one piece gets damaged by, say, young children, you can just replace that one part without having to replace the entire set. I like things that are good for the environment and my wallet!
Right now we have a second hand sleeper sofa which has been wonderful, but I am ready for something else. And I seriously dream of built in storage.
I also dream of my own yurt, but that's for another post.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In case you didn't know, God loves you.

Yesterday was a Bad Day.
First thing in the morning my daughter broke her dresser. The only pieces of nice furniture we own are this dresser and my piano. Truth be told, it's a bit of an albatross. We have 2nd hand dressers we got for the kids and this one doesn't really fit in our room so we gave it to her. Now each girl has her own dresser. So it is useful, but sometimes it's hard to own things that kids will eventually break and that will upset you when they do. It's just too nice to get rid of it. Do you have stuff like that?
The previous night the baby didn't go to sleep until 2am. Yes. TWO ante meridiem. So I wasn't exactly well rested. I was like a robot going through my chores that day.
I cried twice.
I tried for the twentieth time in the last 2 weeks to call the building scheduler for our church
Christmas party (Saturday) to make sure we weren't double booked and to arrange key pick up. And for the twentieth time she didn't answer (no answering machine either).
Then I went to pick up my son from school; I missed him. I also looked like a homeless person when I went to get him, but I didn't care. Obviously.
After giving him a hug I realized he wasn't wearing his necklace. You know, the $20 eczema necklace I bought last week for the great Eczema experiment. It had fallen off on his second day of wearing it.
I had about 32 million thoughts go through my head at that moment. I wanted to yell at him, I wanted to cry, I wanted to put him on a guilt trip. But instead I said I was really disappointed and let's try to look for it. We couldn't find it. So we went home and I told him all we could do was pray. I wasn't going to replace it without knowing if they work yet, they're too expensive.
When we got home I knew I needed to leave the house before doing permanent emotional damage to my family. So I went to buy groceries and thought about everything in my life that was stressing me out: my son's first "red day" at school, the upcoming church party, money, asthma medicine that costs $50 (with insurance) and has bad side effects -so I didn't get it and feel like a bad parent, feeling like a bad parent, my unruly 2 year old, and a lost $20 necklace and the hope I had with it, and other small things.
And then I missed my dad. I missed him so much and I just cried and cried. And I'm crying again as I type this because I just knew that he could make me feel better. That if he told me none of this mattered and he was proud of me I could pick myself up and tackle life head on.
But he's not here. And I hate that life isn't fair!
But I composed myself and went in and bought my groceries.
As I exited the store I was greeted by a breathtaking sunset. I stopped in my tracks and just stared. And I teared up (are we keeping a tally?) because I just knew that was God's way of telling me, "I'm so sorry you've had such a bad day. I love you."
No judgement. No criticism. No "go home and pray/read your scriptures/do your visiting teaching". Just love.
I wish I could say a magical sunset made everything better, but I can't. I had a hard time falling asleep from worrying over everything from the kind of shampoo I use to Sudanese politics.
This morning I got up as soon as my alarm went off and did some yoga. It helped. My kids did it with me which also helped.
I get to volunteer in first grade a Thursdays and when I got there I was greeted by my son who held up his hazelwood necklace! One of his classmates had found it.
And the best part was when my son whispered into my ear that God answered his prayers again.
Moments like that are precious. And I'm grateful for it. I don't want to blog too much about feeling depressed because it's, well, depressing. But if I don't write for a while or comment on your blog or facebook be rest assured I'm simply wallowing in undeserved self-pity. :) Love you guys and thanks to all for the kind words earlier. I know so many of us feel this way (heck, it's my second go around) and it's comforting to know we aren't alone.

When Life Gives You Lemons...


Then you stick it life's exhaust pipe! hahahaha!

Okay, seriously though, when life hands you lemons then you think of someone else. Here's someone to think about.
His name is JD, but most know him as Deeds. Deeds has Autism, Periventricular Leukomalacia (google it), and mild Cerebral Palsy. His parents are hoping to get a service dog for him. Please visit the link above to learn more about how a service dog can help JD.
I first met his mom on the internet and we saw each other at local parties and such. Then we both became pregnant at the same time and really became friends. She developed cardiomyopathy and preeclampsia and shortly thereafter I developed a pericardial effusion (again, you can google those). We ended up having the same cardiologist and even though their due dates were a week apart, little Deeds came 1 month before my oldest daughter (I really need to get some nicknames). I've watched him grow as I've watched her.

When my friend announced JD had autism I was humbled. I often forget how lucky I am to have such healthy children. I can't imagine the fear and pain my friend goes through with her son, but I know her love for him is immeasurable. I also know that having an animal to help JD with his autism or when he has seizures would bring the peace of mind that all parents crave for their kids. I know most of us can't donate a lot, but if you can donate even a little, please consider it. If you look at the donation page you'll see that all the $5 & $10 donations have really helped add up.
Merry Christmas to Deeds and his family!!! I love you guys!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big D

Not divorce (thank heavens!) The other one. depression. (dun dun DUN!!!) Last week a friend asked how I as doing and if I had any baby blues and the tears began to well up.
I'm gonna take that as a yes.
How annoying! I think the worst part right now is that feeling of knowing what you need to do to get out of it, but feeling too down/tired/lazy to do it.
Do you know what I had for breakfast today? 2 brownies and a cookie leftover from last night's party. I did get laundry done (and folded and put away, thank you!), but the dishes remain. I don't want to talk about what my floors look like.
The thing is, I know that if would just get off my butt in the morning and make a green smoothie or oatmeal or something that my whole day would go better. I know it would. Not that I would be cured or anything, but it would help. If I would just do 15 minutes of yoga. And the baby is no longer an excuse. I have the time I just don't take it. Instead I sit in my home and stew over what a terrible mother I am and how many other people are thinking that I'm a terrible mother.
Why is that?
Is it a self discipline thing? Is it because every day feels the same and what's the point? Do I not love myself?
I can't figure it out.
Because all I really want to do right now is shut this computer and play sudoku. Ultimately I think I just don't want to care. Life is much easier and happier when we do the things we know we should. And yet.... and yet it's somehow just easier to let things fall apart a little each day, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis the Season for Eczema

Oh my poor children (and their poor mother)! I married an asthmatic with hay fever and I have food allergies. Not a good combination genetically speaking. My children all have eczema. I was hoping our baby girl would be spared, but she just got her first red patches.
My son was born with eczema. He's mostly outgrown it, but when winter comes his hands look like he's been dragging them on pavement for a mile. And they just keep getting worse. Since his 2 week checkup we've had to use special soap, laundry detergent, lotions.... and it's getting old fast! He was also diagnosed with mild asthma yesterday, a related condition.
My oldest daughter got it at 4 months and has it the worst. Hers is less severe in winter and is out of control in the spring. She absolutely cannot go swimming or she gets weeping sores. Her skin was the main reason I switched to cloth diapers. Her breakouts are mostly on her bum cheeks and backs of the legs.
I left the doctor's office yesterday with three prescriptions in hand feeling helpless. I'm always a fan of alternative medicines, but hadn't had much success in that department. I renewed my efforts earlier this month and I had my mom pick up some emu oil in California. It's sort of helping my daughter, but not so much my son.
It soothes the skin great, but it isn't getting rid of it. The only other thing my son can stand to have on his skin is Eucerin. So now I have a prescription. I'm loathe to use it and the doc really doesn't want me using it much either. He suggested lathering Eucerin on my sons hands last night then wrapping saran wrap around them and putting socks over them before trying the prescription. That only lasted 4 hours and helped about the same as the emu oil. Guess I'm off to the pharmacy.
But I have 2 more options: Food elimination and Hazelwood.
My niece has found that gluten triggers her eczema and has gone gluten free to control it. I'm suspecting dairy might be a sensitivity for my oldest daughter and also for my baby. She is so gassy you guys and I am exhausted! I'm starting to get depressed and I need to do something to fix her tummy so we can sleep!!!! So I'm gonna try switching to goat's milk. I really, really don't want to do food elimination again though (I had to while nursing my son-milk, wheat, and eggs. He ended up being allergic to eggs)
So that leaves hazelwood.
Have you heard about this? My neighbor sent me an email this morning after seeing my facebook post about eczema. Her SIL used hazelwood necklaces for her kid's eczema and it got rid of it! I know. It's just wood. But it worked for her. And if it means I can keep baking bread, it's worth it to me.
I'm skeptical. Because I hate the acid/alkaline diet stuff. I don't think it makes sense physiologically unless you have kidney disease. But I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm not sure who will be the guinea pig yet, so I ordered a gender neutral one. If nothing else, I just got a cute necklace, right? Too bad I hate wearing jewelry....