The One Year Difference

I decided it was time, I finally feel sure enough to share a journey that I have taken over the last year of my life.  It has been a game changer around here so it seems a shame that I have left all of it out of my blog.  Strap in and I will share.

Last March my life began to feel a little exhausting.  I am not talking about the I don’t want to take my kids to soccer or scramble them eggs kind of exhausting, I am not talking about feeling bored or stressed or frustrated with life.  I am talking about being drop dead exhausted.  Just getting through the day seemed a huge feat.

I decided this was something that I needed to seek medical attention for (it really was that bad).  I went and had a full spectrum of tests done.  All of them came back normal except for my vitamins.  I was dangerously low in Vitamin D and B12.  It seemed a simple enough fix and the doctor told me to take some vitamin supplements and he would check again in a month.  I went back for another blood test and guess what?  Those vitamin levels were even lower!

I am bravely sharing a picture of myself from last March, 2014.  This is over a year ago.  Here I was plugging away in the garden.  Little did I know that my life would quickly be changing.  Looking at this picture now, I can see how tired I was.  I can visibly see the inflammation in my body.


My doc was a bit baffled and told me to buy higher end vitamins and try again, this time after three more months.  Certainly it was the brand of vitamin I was taking and that should fix it. Meanwhile, I was still exhausted and trudging through life.

I went back and all of the vitamins were still extremely low.  He couldn’t figure out why they weren’t coming up. He suggested maybe we talk about injecting vitamins.

I didn’t feel comfortable with this idea.  My body was not absorbing them for a reason.  I put off making a decision and kept started taking a B12 that went under your tongue.  At least that went directly to your body rather than through your gut.  It got me thinking.  Maybe my gut was the problem?

After our Boston vacation I felt worse than ever.  I had begun Crossfit and my energy level was rising because of the exercise but honestly even getting through some of my workouts was a huge feat.

After some discussion with a few friends I decided to look into a Functional Medicine Doctor in our area.  He listened to my story, and asked plenty of questions about other parts of my health like hormonal and nutrition things.  He didn’t seem at all confused by the state of my vitamins and health problems.  It made perfect sense to him.

He explained that when someone eats in a way that causes damage to their intestines (more specifically the microvilli that are on the walls of your intestines) they begin to have enough damage that the vitamins of your food cannot absorb.  Additionally it also creates gaps in which tons of inflammatory items CAN leak in and cause many other symptoms.

Some of the things that I had been battling for years seemed to make sense.  I didn’t have regular periods.  I had a ton of tendonitis on and off for years.  I struggled with a  fair amount of anxiety.  My digestion was all over the place.  I had times when I struggled with acne.

He ran a blood test called ALCAT that is sent off.  Here is a quick video on how the ALCAT works.

I was given a list of items I was not to eat under any circumstance.  That list was:





These were all items that reacted in my body.

I went off of all of these items.  I am proud to say in the last 9 months none of these items have passed my lips.

The results?  I started feeling better about 6 weeks in!  My digestion started balancing.

After about 3 months my periods came back regularly.  (not sure if I am super happy about that one…lol)

At 6 months I had another vitamin blood test and ALL of my vitamins were increased!  All of them were at normal levels.  I am now absorbing vitamins from my food.

I feel great!  I have a ton of energy.  I am able to handle Crossfit workouts without feeling exhausted everytime.  Sometimes I can even handle two a day!

This was not all from food removal.  I added somethings to my diet as well.  Part of the doctors prescription was to eat one large salad everyday.  He also had me remove coffee from my diet for awhile just to help with hydration levels.  He put me on a high power probiotic along with a digestive enzyme and a liver support drink.

I have had such success with this process, I will never look back.  I know my body cannot handle eating gluten and soy.  I know it was slowly killing me.

Here is a current picture of me  (I MUST add this is an unedited picture, you can visibly see the health difference)… I am healthy, happy and have plenty of energy to keep up with these boys!

ez and mommy

It has been such a journey, and it has not always been easy.  Friends and family have questioned my choices more than once,  going to dinner parties has been a pain and traveling is much more work.

I can say with 100% assurity that it was worth it!

Crossfit Level 1 Training

A few weeks ago I took a little trip to Denver.  I attended my first Crossfit Level 1 training course.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Pinterest (or know me personanally) , you may not know that I have been going to Crossfit since September of last year.  I truly love it and it has been a bit life changing, but that is another post.  I suppose I will get to that soon.

I decided I wanted to go through the Level 1 trainer course, which you have to sign up for and travel to a location where Crossfit HQ is holding the course.  I was so excited that the course was in Denver so I could stay in state and visit friends while there.

I have to admit I was a bit intimidated by the prospect of getting my Level 1 certification.  I mean the reasons are good ones.

I have only been doing Crossfit for about 7 months.

I am still not good at a lot of things.

I am still a bit “fluffy” so to speak.  I don’t mean that in a self deprecating way, just that compared to many people who are taking Crossfit classes, I still have a little bit of “extra weight” LOL.

I had a really good reason to take the class (I will get into that in another post) so I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and signed up.

Here are a few tips for anyone considering taking the test:

Study.  I signed up three weeks prior to the course.  On the day I signed up I printed out the Participant Handbook, which just outlined what is expected of you in class, and also the literature for the class.

First, I read through it once, front to back.

Then, section by section I went through and made flashcards.  You can find printable flashcards online but I went the old fashioned route with the logic that writing them out might help commit some of it to memory.

Then I reread the book.  Then with the help of my son and my husband I studied my cards.

When the day came I walked nervously into Crossfit Verve in downtown Denver.  Man, that was an intimidating experience.   I met some great people though and had a great weekend.

crossfit verve

I felt fairly confident with the material on the cards but that was not all I needed to know.  during the class I paid attention and took notes.  I made sure I understood what they were saying and asked questions when I didn’t.

 Honestly, most of the questions on the test were not from my flashcards.  90% of the questions were from the lectures.  However, I think having the knowledge in my head from the literature made it much easier to absorb the material from the lecture.  There were a ton of pictures with questions asking what was wrong with the movement of the person in the picture or how to correct it and those were things that were completely learned during the in class lecture.  It also helps to have Crossfit history.  I could imagine if you have never been in a Crossfit class before that it would be hard to understand the terminology and what they are explaining.  We are bombarded with proper movement every time we go to a Crossfit class.  They give you an hour to take the test and honestly I was surprised that I finished in under 20 min.  I spent a few more minutes going back through the questions just to make sure I didn’t miss anything obvious.  There didn’t feel like there were any trick questions (something I had read in level 1 forums), so that was a comfort.

I met some fun people in the class and the instructors were very very inspiring.

The workout was pretty straightforward as far as Crossfit goes, it wasn’t anything crazy.  Thrusters and Burpees happen to be in my wheelhouse.  (I think those are things most people can do relatively well)


I was very excited to meet Camille Leblanc Bazinet, the fittest woman on the planet.  (don’t judge this picture, it was right after a horrible workout when she walked in).  I have enjoyed watching her during the Crossfit Regionals over the last few weeks.  She is truly an inspiring athlete!

 FullSizeRender (2)

So here it is!  This came in the mail a few days ago and I am so excited to get started on my next adventure!

 crossfit level 1 cert experience

More to come!


Sports, sports and more sports

The ages 10-11 seem to be such a fun age for boys.  Ezra seems to be blossoming athletically which is exciting to watch.

He has been continuing karate which is getting more complicated and more challenging as his belt ranks get higher.  He seems to really enjoy it, however he has decided to take a break from it for awhile.  This was a hard thing for me to wrap my head around.  He is so good at it and he is so so close to being a black belt.  However, I see that he doesn’t practice as much in his free time or seem to get as excited about it.

This year he decided to go out for Lacrosse for the second season in a row.  He really really enjoys it.  It does make me a bit nervous with all the pads and the hitting.  Oh the joys of watching boys grow.


At his private school this year they have been training hard for the annual private school track meet that takes place each spring.  Ezra seems to have a knack for making goals (sometimes lofty ones) and adhering to them.  One day he came home from school proclaiming that he had made a goal of running as many laps as he could.  At recess he ran 30 laps which is about 2 and half miles!  AT RECESS!  I couldn’t believe it.  Needless to say he enjoyed the track meet.


Last week the flyer for the local swim team came out and he decided he would like to try out.  I gently reminded him that the swim team was a big commitment with four practices a week and meets throughout the summer. We received the call that he did in fact make the team and that they were impressed with his technical skill in the strokes.  (must have been all those years of swimming lessons!)  He is excited to take on swimming once Lacrosse ends this week.

We are so excited that he is so interested in trying new sports.  Watching his body awareness and his confidence in himself grow has been so exciting.

Lucas, being 5 still has not participated in many sports.  He is taking regular swimming lessons, which we feel is important.  This year he says he wants to try the Crossfit Kids classes that a few of his friends take so we will probably get him started in that over the summer.

During all of the sports Ezra has been doing this spring he has been such a supportive spectator.  Here he is watching Lacrosse in the rain.  Such a sweetie!



Disney Travel while gluten free

In October, I had some food testing done and found out I was intolerant to gluten.  When we decided to go to Disneyland I was a little nervous about how I was going to survive eating there.

I was so pleasantly surprised!  I did a bit of research beforehand and I would love to share with you all some of what I found.  I am give Disney big props here!


First, I must say, it was a bit more expensive to commit to being GF while there.  But eating gluten free is always a bit more expensive anyways so I expected that.  We couldn’t just grab a quick sandwich or a burger.  There were a few options that were easy and inexpensive.

They boys love Rainforest Café, and we usually eat there on our first night before we are in the park.  It is located in Downtown Disney District so it was very convenient.  They did not have a gluten free menu but the chef actually came to our table to ensure that he could make my meal gluten free.  There were several options, mostly meat and veggie options like chicken or steak.  It did limit my choices but it was healthy and tasty.  It wasn’t my favorite meal by any means but the boys were able to go to their favorite place and I could still eat alongside them.


Also in downtown Disney we loved Catal. We opted for retreating to downtown Disney for dinner because it was easy to find gf options.  Paul had picked Catal off the list and although it was pretty pricey it was a great meal, probably my favorite the entire time we were there!   Seriously, the lamb with brussell sprouts…AMAZING!


We also tried the connected bar/grill called Uva Bar (if you have been to Downtown Disney you have seen it sitting in the middle of the big walkway) for a quick bite one night.  Ezra, my little foodie, was excited about the interesting things on the menu and it was a quick way to grab something before heading to the hotel.

Uva Bar

While in California Adventure, we tried the new Carthay Circle Restaurant which is shiny and opulent and right on the corner of the main drag near the entrance.  While it was delish and I was impressed with the attention to detail and service it did feel a little overpriced.  They did have gluten free options but not as many as I had hoped for the price.  The chef came to our table to ensure that my meal was gluten free, which was nice.

Also in California Adventure park, we ate lunch at the Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.  They made me a special gluten free pizza and they had wonderful salads.  It was affordable and quick which we realized was hard to find when eating gluten free at Disney.

Since we were staying on Disney property we decided to try breakfast on site on one of our slower moving mornings.  We loved the breakfast at Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel.  There were a plethora of gf options for me and the food was great!

I found a few resources helpful while figuring out where we could eat.  I downloaded a Disneyland app on my phone (I think it was $4 or $5).  The app had park maps, listed all the current wait times for both parks and had full menus for all restaurants in Disneyland, California Adventure and Downtown Disney.  This made it easy to have all the information I needed at my fingertips especially when making decisions on the fly.

This site called Disney Eats has a FULL list of what options are gluten free at many of the restuarants.  It was very helpful to reference while deciding as well.

I also poked around on Pinterest and was able to find this article and this article about Disney travel that I found helpful. Here is a great video by the author of Against All Grain about Disney gluten free also. I found the boys were able to eat at some of the places they wanted and I was able to find things I could eat.  As far as treats etc, I simply let the others have the churros and ice cream and obstained.  It was not a big deal.

Again, I was so pleasantly surprised about the great options, but also how seriously the restaurants took food allergies.  I have heard travelling to Disney with a nut allergy is also very easy.  They are on top of it and want to make sure everyone has a great experience.

Disneyland: Winter 2015

The boys were very excited to head to Disneyland after our surprise at Christmas for them.

disney donald duck

We had a great time.  It was a bit of a different trip for us this time.  Lucas is older and he was so excited to ride all of the roller coasters!  It was such a great experience to be able to ride the rides ALL together.  We were pleasantly surprised with Lucas, he is such a daredevil.

space mountain

Both boys were obsessed with Space Mountain.  Since it was off season the wait for Space Mountain was really short.  Additionally, we were staying in a Disneyland Hotel so we were able to enter the park eary which meant we were able to ride Space Mountain over and over without much of a wait.  (Seriously, it was insane.  A few times it was only 1o minutes!)



Neither of them have grown tired of the characters, especially Mickey Mouse.  I love that through Disney some of this playful innocence has been preserved.


mickey mouse

Ezra really enjoyed the trip also and definitely has not outgrown the Disneyland fun.  (I wonder if some people never outgrow it?)



I already feel ready to go back to Disneyland!



I will try to share some tips on Disney travel while being Gluten Free.  It was a challenge but we did well!





Disney Christmas Scavenger Hunt

On Christmas this year, we created a fun little scavenger hunt for the boys to find their final gift.

They had a series of clues that I hid all over the house leading them from area to area.  (I took these pictures before bed so the light wasn’t the best)

Disney scavenger hunt

Finally they landed on a golden box that was hidden.

disney christmas gift


Inside the box were two Disney Trading Pins.  We shared the news with them at that time that in January we were going to go to Disneyland for two days!

disney pins for christmas

We thought trading pins would be fun since they have loved pin trading at the parks.  You can read about that HERE.

They were excited, however, they spilled that they had overhead and already knew about the trip so we didn’t get the surprised reaction we had hoped for.  Oh well.

I will share some details about our trip soon!

December Happenings

I am just going to shove a whole lot of fun into one post here!  December is always a hard time for me to get on here and write because it is just so busy.  In fact I have been having a hard time for a number of months because the time just isn’t there.  In any case I wanted to share some of the fun we had this holiday season.

Our elf, Jingle, returned to have some holiday fun.

elf fun

The boys invited their cousins over for gingerbread house decorating.

ginger bread houses


We made some diy ornaments by dipping pinecones in diluted paint.  I am sure I got this idea from Pinterest, but I couldn’t find the pin to share.

diy ornaments

We visited Santa at his cabin downtown.

santa visit

Ezra made a pie for his wonderful teacher.  (Lucas gave his kindergarten teacher a owl dishtowel since that is her favorite animal and a bar of Moonstruck Chocolate.)

pie baking

I helped with Lucas’ kinder class party by bringing snowman themed goodies.  Lucas loved helping me cut the carrot noses and tie the scarves on the cheese sticks.

snowman themed treats

We took a day trip to Telluride (our favorite and most lovely nearby ski town).  We ice skated and shopped in the Mountain Village.

ice skating

The we headed down to town to check out the lights.  I love Telluride!  Only there would you see a light display like this!

telluride lights

We then hit the local rec rink to watch Dad play some hockey!  He is back on the ice after his injury last year and feeling great.

hockey night

While in Telluride we hit one of our favorite spots, Siam.  Ezra was brave and ordered Scallops with Duck Liver Pate.  Being an aspiring chef, he enjoys trying new things.  He doesn’t always like them but we try to support his ambition!  HAha!


I tried my hand at Gluten Free Sugar cookie dough.  They turned out great!  If I get a chance I will share my recipe.  It was awesome!

sugar cookies

The day after Christmas we took a family trip to the local sledding hill outside of town.  There I am, actually in a picture!  I am getting more comfortable being on this side of the lens.


Our final fun day was in Ouray (remember when I wrote about Ouray here), where we spent the afternoon ice skating on their free rink.  Lucas is a natural hockey player (which makes me nervous) and loved being on the ice.


We had a lovely December with many family activities!  You may have noticed that all of the pictures were iphone quality. I made a conscious decision to put my camera away for most of the season and simply enjoy the time with my kids.  I see them growing up so fast and I want to saver these last few years of childhood before they slip away.  I enjoyed this season so much and love looking back at the images to remember how fun it was!



We spent a wonderful Christmas together with both sets of in laws and my brother, niece and nephew.  It was a wonderful day.

Both boys received wonderful gifts and their wishes from Santa were fulfilled!

christmas morning

Lucas received many wooden toys, playsilks and animals.  He has been having a great time creating little worlds with his items.

wooden castle

Ezra trying out his built in mittens in his new Loki Coat!

loki coat

I hope your Christmas was Merry as well!


Chalkboard Christmas Wrap

I had a brilliant idea to wrap some of our Christmas presents in chalkboard wrapping paper this year.  I thought the idea of having the neutral lace and burlap printed paper I picked up at Hobby Lobby mixed in with the black would be pretty.  When I went online to try to find it, I was so disappointed.  The only place I could find it was Anthropologie and it was $15 (plus shipping) for a teeny tiny roll that would only cover 2 gifts.

I was so happy to finally find some on Etsy for much more affordable.!

chalkboard wrapping paper



Here are my gifts all wrapped up under the tree.  I love love love the chalkboard paper.  It is so pretty!

chalkboard wrap




Its the small things I tell ya!


Christmas Tree Hunting

We took our annual trip to the Christmas tree farm.  The boys continually insist that we get a real tree (part of me things a fake tree would just be easier).  I have to admit I am rather fond of our tradition.

tree farm

We picked a Blue Spruce this year.  It is gorgeous, but a little prickly.

christmas tree hunting

I love the quaint feel of the tree farm.

tree farm

The boys love the hay ride out to pick the tree and the hay bail tower.

hay ride

hay bail tower

The boys had so much fun decorating this year.

christmas tree

The family ornament we went and picked out today was a Patience Brewster Mouse King from a local boutique.  I love how whimsy he is!

mouse king ornament

mouse ornamnet


tree with pendant