Gut Issues

I haven’t talked about this much on here.

In fact, I haven’t said anything about it at all. I’ve mentioned my mastitis, talked a tiny bit about how hard recovery was for me, and kept most of my posts happy and geared toward finishing our new house and expanding our homestead.

But this is the other thing that has been dominating my life lately, and frankly, part of the reason I haven’t talked about it much is that I really, really don’t know what’s going on.

So, I’ll give you my best guess.

Right after I gave birth, I got mastitis. Which happens to be life threatening, if it gets bad enough.

And I was bad. When I finally got in to see the doctor, she immediately got me scheduled for x-rays to make sure I didn’t need surgery.

Thankfully, the surgery didn’t happen, but what DID happen was antibiotics. Three rounds of them. Nearly a month of pills. Which killed the infection… and quite a lot of the good bacteria in my gut. And Adam’s gut too.

A very short time after the last round, Adam’s skin started breaking out on his head and face. Sores, weeping pus, crusty, flaky skin… everything you can imagine.

That was back at the end of January. It’s still going on. Sometimes worse and sometimes better. We’re fighting it with every possible strategy you can imagine. Prebiotics. Probiotics. Antihistamines. Vitamin D. Anti-fungal meds. I’ve become the person I dread seeing at restaurants. I’m gluten free, dairy free, nut free, sugar free, peanut free, and corn free.

Oh, and I can’t have avocados either. We found that out after his face started swelling.

Suffice to say, we don’t sleep much. And my stress levels are not where they should be.

To be quite honest, it’s been driving me up the wall. Seeing my baby in distress, not being able to eat almost anything, and trying a million things with no improvement has made the last few months… difficult.

I told my family I’m ready to go on a pilgrimage to see if that will fix it. You know, the kind where you walk a hundred miles in sackcloth and stop every ten steps to kiss the ground and beg God to forgive you for being stupid enough to inflict three rounds of antibiotics on a new baby, even though they probably kept you from dying.

Yeah, that kind.

We’re taking him out in public tomorrow. Going to church for the first time since I gave birth. I’m… a little nervous. His poor skin looks so bad that I want to reassure everyone who looks at him—and myself—that I really do take care of my child. I am a good mother. I know to give him baths, but not too many. I’ve switched his shampoo. I’ve checked his laundry detergent. Believe me, if you can suggest it, we’ve tried it, and I’ve cried over my inability to change enough things and tweak enough things to just fix this.

Because I’m his mom. I’m supposed to fix it. I’m supposed to be the one who knows what he needs and how to take care of him. And right now, I can’t fix everything. Not right away. We’re slowly making progress, healing my gut and his, and I can tweak and tweak and tweak until I go insane, or…

I can leave it alone. I can let Jesus hold him for a while, and trust that time and His grace will be the true healers.

Making Progress

These days, I plan my life around nap times.

Lots of life happens during nap times. I clean the house, write my books, meet deadlines for my business, and, lately, frame walls and clean up a job site, all while my baby naps.

As you can imagine, we make progress by inches.

Or, I do. Thankfully my husband is also out there framing walls, and when the baby wakes up and I go back to nursing, cooing, counting tiny toes, teaching the smallest boy how to stick out his tongue, and reading books, he is able to keep building our house.

I love him. He’s a treasure.

Getting life done during nap time is a little stressful, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. Because while I’m fitting in my chores, business, and house building into the naps, Adam and I are fitting a whole world of discoveries into his wake times.

He’s been discovering his fingers lately. And toys. And rolling over. And he’s recently discovered that we have a dog in the house with us, which he found endlessly fascinating.

As much as I desperately need to do laundry, I am loving this chance to discover the world all over again through his eyes.

So I can wait for the nap times.

Working Hard

That’s my little brother.

He’s more comfortable with heights than I am.

In other news, we’re making progress on our house! The second floor joists are all in, the back wall of the ground floor is framed, and I have a window in my bedroom.

There is no bedroom yet, but by golly, there’s a window, and we’re counting that as progress.

We’re so blessed to have plenty of friends and family to come out on work days to help us frame, and we are slowly making our way through an enormous list of projects that must be done before this house is anything like complete. It still feels like a hugely overwhelming task, but little bit by little bit we are chipping away at the Things To Be Done, and hopefully by the end of the year, we will have a house to live in!

I can’t wait!

Working Mum

I had a week of meetings this month.

Long meetings.

Hot coffee turning cold, conversations through lunch, white boards erased multiple times kind of meetings.

Creative meetings. The kind with lots of ideas, people laughing, and problems that take hours to fix and are so, so satisfying once they’re solved.

It’s always one of my favorite weeks out of the entire year.

This year, of course, was a little different. I had a baby at home, and that meant driving the hour commute every day instead of staying home so I could squeeze his tiny cheeks.

I was also sick this year, but we won’t talk about that, because I’m still working through my frustration at being sick the ONE week of the year I really needed not to be.


Anyway, my lovely husband (and my awesome sister) took time off work to watch our boy while I was away, and I called in whenever I slipped away to pump so I could coo at him and see his tiny cute face.

He was crying when I called y’all. And then he heard my voice. And started grinning. And laughing. And playing up for the camera.

What a little ham.

I love him.

Adjusting to life as a working mom is definitely a different experience, but we’re getting there! And judging by that grin, he’s not suffering terribly.

Getting Out

When I discovered I would be having a baby mid-November, I was terrified.

Don’t get me wrong. We’d been trying to get pregnant for months. More than a year, actually. But the thought of having a newborn in a tiny house that is solely heated by space heaters and a wood stove just at the beginning of a Colorado winter was a little scary.

A lot scary.

Terrifying, to reiterate my original statement.

Plus, I do not do well in winter. And combining seasonal depressive disorder with postpartum depression was… less than ideal.

It’s been a rough couple of months.

But! Things are warming up. And I got outside for the very first time today with Adam. We’ve been into town and we’ve walked over to my parents, but so far, we haven’t ventured far. So today, we braved the mud and slush and went for a mile walk down our road.

It was glorious.

Adam fell asleep immediately.

I’m not sure he even realized he’d been outside.

But! I enjoyed myself, and the sunshine, and even the mud. So it counts.

True Love

In honor of Valentine’s Day this year, I would like to let everyone know that, before we started dating, my husband used to come over to my house periodically to hang out and watch a movie with me.

The very first time he did this, I poisoned him with a questionable shrimp.


I accidentally poisoned him with a questionable shrimp.

This was not intentional, I swear.

Not only did he not complain, he also married me anyway and continues to eat my cooking every single night.

This, folks, is true love.

That is all.

Returning to Normal

Do you know something? I haven’t worn my wedding ring in three or four months now.

I took it off around the end of October, I think. Or maybe before. My hands were swelling, my Preeclampsia was progressing and soon would land me in the hospital for an unexpected and unwanted induction, and the eczema caused by all the pregnancy hormones was tearing my hands to shreds and making them bleed.

It just wasn’t the time to be wearing a ring of any sort.

But I slipped it on again this morning. It’s back, safe and sound. My swelling is gone. The eczema is still hanging around, but it’s manageable, and I don’t bleed as often as I used to.

Slowly, things are going back to ‘normal’.

Except they’re not. Because Adam is here, my body is different and probably will never be the same, and even my brain and my soul seem to have changed at their most fundamental, basic levels.

So maybe ‘back to normal’ isn’t the right way to say it. Maybe it’s just ‘finding a new normal’. One that I can embrace and find myself in, despite the enormous changes.

At least my ring still fits. Some things—the most important things—have lasted through the crazy.

Story Time

I read aloud to my baby a lot.

Baby books? Yes. We do the silly voices and the bright colors and the black and white contrasts for his little eyes to develop.

But I’ve been reading him full chapter books since I was twenty weeks pregnant, and I don’t intend to stop now. This month, we’re reading one of my oldest and dearest favorites. (I’ll let you guess the title.) He may not understand the story yet, but it’s snuggle time and connection time and, one day, hopefully, he will be just as obsessed with the books as I am.

Plus, I have an excuse to read all my old favorites all over again. What could be better than that?

A New Garden

Summer is here!


Every time winter comes to an end in Colorado, there’s always a chancy few weeks when I’m not quite sure if spring is here or if winter is just waiting for me to get my hopes up so it can crush all my dreams.
Case in point, we planted our garden at the very beginning of June this year, as you do. In fact, we planted both gardens—our huge, family garden down by the barn, and my own small flower garden next to our house.

Then, two days later, it snowed.

Like, six inches.

Thankfully, it was a wet, heavy snow without the freezing temperatures to freeze the ground, and we didn’t have any sprouts up yet to get murdered by the cold, but still. Colorado always has a trick up its sleeve.

I’ve learned not to trust its false springs or cheerful sunshine.

But, it’s the mid-July now, and snow is behind us, so I am starting to relax. Our enormous, three family, barnyard garden is full of zucchini and pumpkin plants that are, thankfully, winning their own battle against the weeds, and we should have an abundance of vegetables—and maybe even some watermelon and cantaloupe—in a month or so.

Gardening in Colorado is always a challenge. Besides the tricky spring snows, we have the altitude to battle (7,000 feet above sea level), and the desert climate, which makes rain an event worth celebrating. Deer jump over the fence and decimate our plants, our chickens do their share of damage while digging for bugs and possibly a few tender roots of baby plants, grasshoppers chew our leaves—and sometimes whole gourds—to bits, and July always greets us with at least one rainstorm that turns to hail.

Still, hope springs eternal, as they say, and every year we plow up our garden and plant our seeds and hope for something better than a whole garden of disappointments.

And yet, despite all the challenges and the very best resistance that Colorado has to offer, we almost always end up with more zucchini than we can feasibly eat, enough pumpkins to satisfy our Halloween cravings, and sometimes even a few surprises in the shape of cantaloupe or a watermelon that really, truly tried its best.

What more could you ask from a garden?

What are you planting this year, if anything? What kind of battles do you have for a good garden around your home? Tell me about it in the comments!

Mountain Hike

My husband and I have a greyhound.

I’ve mentioned that before, haven’t I? She’s crazy and energetic and HUGE and loving and not-the-brightest, which I blame more on being a puppy and having a puppy brain than an actual lack of intelligence. She’s the kind of dog who learned immediately to sit and go to her kennel when told and wait by the door when it was time to go out, but also periodically runs into walls or bites her own foot so hard she yelps.

We love her a lot.

She’s very exasperating.

Recently, we had the chance—since the weather is thawing and things are starting to get slightly warmer—to take her up into the mountains for a hike.

Since she’s still a puppy, she gets a little carsick.

We’re working on finding the right medicine.

It’s a little rough.

But we did actually make it up to the trail in one piece, and the moment she was out of the car, she was in puppy heaven. There were new trees to smell and other dogs on the trail and dog tracks in the mud and people she’d never met before. Her tail didn’t stop wagging the whole hike, and we had to forcibly restrain her to keep her from leaping on our fellow hikers.

She really, really likes to meet new people. It’s her favorite thing.

Halfway through our hike, we reached a snowy patch on the trail, and her excitement got a little—over the top—shall we say. Which means she yanked really hard just when my husband stepped on a slippery spot in the snow and knocked him over. He’s a sturdy guy, thankfully, and he managed to hang onto her and land in such a way so as not to break half his bones.

I was thankful for that.

Carrying him back down the trail would not have been my idea of a good time.

Unfortunately, we didn’t realize until we’d reached the end of our hike and gone all the way back to our car that, in the process of being knocked over, my husband’s keys had fallen out of his pocket. And were allllll the way back up the trail where he’d fallen.

Puppy was wildly excited that we got to start the walk all over again. My husband and I were less so.
Still, she slept all the way home and was drowsy the rest of the day, so I’d call it a win. Anything to tire out the dog, right?

Do you have any ‘crazy puppy’ stories? Tell me about them in the comments!