34 years and counting

It’s hard to believe it’s been 34 years already, Sunday Oct 12th I celebrated my 34th birthday. So much has happened, so much has changed and yet I still feel there is so much more to do, to see and looking forward to my new journey as a mom. Sunday also marked my 34th week in my pregnancy, really cool. Baby Oakley and I are sharing a milestone in our journey together. My beautiful talented step daughter, Hannah, turned 13, we share the same birthday. It was a very special day and a good day to reflect on our future as a family.

So, moving on with my blog, I just wanted to take some time out to share some of the things I did during my pregnancy and how I got through some of the transitions into each trimester. I even did a Disney trip at 6 months and some how survived all day at Magic Kingdom, though at the end of the day I was done, physically and emotionally done.

To start I have to say my doctor is amazing, he is so positive and very caring. You can see it in his eyes when you are not feeling well or worried or just not comfortable that he wants to build you back up and give you peace. He has a lot of sympathy for women, especially during pregnancy. He is well known here in Atlanta, probably delivered half the babies in GA over the past century and every nurse I have spoke to or ran into knows him. They just go Oh you have Doctor Graham, Oh you are in such good hands, every nurse loves him and doctor respects him. Of course my hubby is so amazing, so supportive and helping out so much, I feel so blessed.

Here are some of my must haves that I’m using during my pregnancy. I found this amazing prenatal liquid vitamin with DHA called Prenatal Plus by Buried Treasure. After a while it did not taste bad anymore and I could take it alone. I found it at my local health food store and have been very pleased with it.  I also continued using green vibrance as well, specially during my first and second trimester. I was having some acid reflux during my second trimester after drinking green vibrance so I backed it off to every other day.

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Also found huge relief with my acid reflux during my second and now into my third trimester by drinking aloe vera juice every day. Not only does it reduce my acid reflux, my hair, skin and nails started to glow and look more even. The only place I could find the aloe vera close by is our local Publix. It’s by Fruit of The Earth and I believe you can find it at Wal-Mart as well, it runs about 6 to 7 dollars. It truly is amazing if you have not tried aloe vera juice. Just hang in there for a couple of weeks on the taste and I promise you will see results quickly.  Ginger tea of course has been a life saver for morning and night with nausea and digestive issues. I like the traditional medicines version verses the Yogi version. The Yogi ginger tea is a little to strong for me.

Aloe Vera Juice

Now on to how I survived Magic Kingdom, 6 months pregnant in September. I honestly prepped myself weeks in advance, walking at least 20 minutes a day or every other day depending on how work went that day. I kept hydrated with coconut water and bought these most comfortable sandals I have ever put on my feet. I did my research and went to my local foot wear store in downtown Woodstock called Natural Strides. They are a minimalist shoes store and the owners are great, not to mention it’s a local business and I’m always up for supporting our locals. I tried on two different types of sandals and completely feel in love with the Luna Sandals. The owner actually runs in them on a daily basis and does all kinds of races in them as well. They saved my feet walking around Disney all day, even my husband was impressed with them and now wants a pair for himself. They run about 75.00 put so worth the price.

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These are just a few things that helped me get through some of the milestones in my pregnancy. I was not able to keep the vegan diet up half way through and did added fish and chicken to my diet. With working full time I found it hard to keep my blood sugar up and running. However all my meat has been organic and very little. I still do meatless Monday’s and most of my meals are vegan and vegetarian friendly, especially at home. After Oakley gets here the only meat I may keep is fish. I do find it helpful in my diet and it’s a nice break from my standard diet. Oh I also keep gluten out as much as I can and mainly focused on a high protein, low carb diet through out my pregnancy. I found that very helpful especially when I had to do the glucose testing the second time, ick, that 4 hour test was not fun.

And Yes, after my first and half way through my second trimester I started back my yummy teas. Of course it’s teas I can have during my pregnancy and I do have a chia tea soy latte once in a while. They are just so good. Oh I found a recipe for making your own homemade chia tea mix so you can make it anytime you want. I will share that in my next blog.

Please feel free to leave a comment or any suggestions you may have. Would love to hear from some of you on what worked during your pregnancy, post pregnancy or if you have tried any of these products as well.

So from my cup of tea to yours, Cheers!

 

 

It’s been a minute or two

Hello Everyone, sorry it’s been a very long time since my last post, very long time.
As you can see I am still alive and doing lovely. However my journey took me on a very rough and trying emotional path.

Let’s see…where do I begin…

We will start with the hardest part of my journey, June 5, 2013, the day my whole world changed. On June 5th I lost my Nana, my strong, amazing, beautiful Nana. She raised me,she was not just my grandmother, she was my mother, my everything. I would not be who I am today if she hadn’t stepped in and gave me all she had. I was with her the whole week she was in hospice. I was by her side, holding her hand as she took her final breath. My amazing Hubby standing right by me along with her children, Cheryl, Greg and Ricky. The only one missing was my real dad, her son David, who had taken his path a long time ago. He did call 3 days before she passed, only Ricky spoke to him. I don’t know what was said and I really don’t care to know. Her passing with the people that were around her was exactly they way it was supposed to be. Even her ex-husband, my Papa, and his wife drove up from Florida to be there, more for us I’m sure but he did go in to see her the day before she passed. We left them in the room alone, gave him the time to say what he needed to say. Me and my entire family feel she was waiting for him, waiting to hear his voice one last time. Of course we had tons of other family members, friends and the pastor come by every day that week. I believe it speaks volumes about someone when you are in your final days, when everyone you know and love come to spend time with you, even when you can’t open your eyes. She was an AMAZING woman and I am forever changed.

September 14, 2013…my world would be rocked again. My mother calls, I answer to her crying, my Grandfather had passed away. This was something I was not ready for, I knew he had been very sick, but was not ready to say goodbye. I spoke to him the week prior and we talked for a long time, laughing and enjoying telling stories. I am glad that my last words to him and from him was I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH! I felt very empty and must have sounded cold to my mother on the phone, because I didn’t bust out crying. Clearly I was still mourning the loss of Nana, I didn’t feel much. It was probably for the best that it happened that way, it kept me from completely shutting down. Again my wonderful Hubby by my side, we made the trip to Florida and spent a week there helping my mom. Unfortunately, my mom’s journey would get even worse in less than six months. Her sweet pup Kiki, passed away a month later, her step brother Ricky, not to be confused with my Uncle Ricky my Nana’s son, passed away unexpectedly AND my step Dad had to make the final decision to sale their house and move here. The job market in Florida was not doing well and my Dad was just not making enough to keep them above water. So, they sold their house and are now living with us until they can get on their feet again. Can you say FULL HOUSE, 4 adults, 2 kids part-time, 4 dogs and 1 HUGE cat! But it is what it is and this house has never been so full of life! Even the plants seem happier.

Work, everything there is going great and I’m finally starting to feel like I’m making some progress. The Diet, is still rocking OUT!! Oh, did I mention I beat skin cancer? not the yucky bad bad kind, melanoma, but it was still yucky. They took a HUGE chuck right off of my chest and 2 days later I got a call from the surgeon coordinator. I was like, ok really, it’s going to be skin cancer after all the good stuff I’ve been putting into my body, even changing all my body and face washes to natural homemade products, skin cancer, UGH. So I spoke to the surgeon and she said it was (a word i could never spell or say) english please, it was skin cancer, however the biopsy shows a massive section around the cancer cells where my immune system fought off the cells and kept them in place. She said they were freezing it and keeping it for research on how the immune system, when healthy, can fight off certain types of cancers. She said whatever you are doing, keep doing it, it’s working!

So that is what has happened, for the most part, since my last post. Trust me there is so much more to come, sorry no pictures this time. I just really wanted to get back on and post something.

Oh one last thing, on November 16, 2013, we added a new member to our pack. If some of you didn’t know November 16th was national pet adoption day/weekend and we so did. We went to 2 different adoption expos, even visited the shelters, until we found the perfect dog. I never thought I would want a small dog and a boy of all things, but our hearts filled with so much joy when we found Ruger our forever puppy, UGH that face! He is a 2 year old, Lab mix, about 34lbs and is the BIGGEST softy and snuggler EVER! Layla is so in love with him. They clicked right away and now sleep right on top of each other. It’s even helped Layla with her anxiety, hopefully we can take her off of her meds soon. I will post pictures of the pack on my next post.

Until next time, remember 3 O’clock is TEA TIME!!

Cheers!

My Secret…wait for it…wait for it

Ok so I’ve been getting asked these questions a lot lately. What’s my diet secret for staying skinny? And how do I have so much energy throughout the day?
Here’s the big secret I’ve been hiding, I eat and drink healthy! I exercise and enjoy life more, because I’m worth saving! gasp noooo! YES!
I would love to say, it’s just a pill I take once a day and I eat whatever I want and my body still loves me. Well some of that is true, I do eat whatever I want, but what I want is all good for me.
I’m not on a weight loss diet or starving myself, I love food way to much. I’m on a healthier way of life, from what I put in my body to what I do to it physically and emotionally.
I’ve turned the food pyramid upside down and took out meat and dairy products because I had a hard time digesting them and removed gluten from my diet. I enjoy amazing foods I never even knew were around, ice cream (dairy free), chips, wine, beer, etc. I just make better choices.
I lowered my stress physically by taking time out for myself even if its just 15 minutes before bed. I do yoga and focus on being aware of my body.
I have also lowered my stress by remembering to give it to God. When I give my troubles to God and put my faith in Him there is nothing for me to fear or worry about.
So by doing all of these things eating right, giving it to God, my stress level is way down giving me way more energy and happiness. I have found what works for me.

So from my cup of hot tea to yours, Cheers my friend!

I would love to hear what works for you. Feel free to leave a comment and always feel free to share your 3 O’clock Tea Time photos with me at #3oclockteatimeblog

Work Life Balance

Wow where did the time go and yes, clearly I’m still alive.
It has been a very busy month for the Helm family, between activities with the kiddos, work and home life this month has gotten away from me.

Work has been a roller coaster ride the past 3 weeks. We were acquired and merged with another small company into one office, only to find out 3 months into our merge we needed a lot more employees for the work load. And what’s crazy is it’s taken us almost 8 months just to find 1 person that qualified. However through all of this I am trying to remain stress free and focus on what my goals are. Find a way to do more work without having to actually do a lot of work 🙂 So far I’ve done pretty good, I come into work at 6:50 am and leave between 3:30 and 4. I’m a morning person, big time, so this work schedule works great for me and my work load.

Health wise still kicking major butt in that department. I’m enjoying my meditation/relaxation room, even Hannah has enjoyed it and my Hubby Dave has joined me for yoga. I had my doctors appointment and sure enough, with the new diet I have lost 10 lbs, my blood pressure is perfect and my iron is great! My Doctor is so impressed with my new diet and even suggested a couple of places to buy a lot more vegetables for half the price and local farmers market. Totally turning the American Food Pyramid upside down has completely turned our lives upside down for the better. My skin is looking so much better, little under the skin bumps that I had on my face, which of course look HUGE to me and no one else are going away. My hair doesn’t fall out as much as it was, I started noticing my blonde hair wasn’t all over the sink and floor after I would brush it out.
Energy level is way WAY up and brain fog, what brain fog? where? yeah don’t have it anymore.

My new way of life is actually spreading throughout my family, friends and at work. I now have coworkers coming up asking Ok, what do I need to do to get started? I always tell them to get mentally there first, do your research, watch Hungry for Change and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. When you’re ready start with small baby steps, start with the basics. My mom is even trying to give up coffee and add more fruit and veggies into her diet. She became a meat and potatoes eater a couple of years ago after being a vegetarian for a long time. Though she is very picking about her food and doesn’t buy cheap stuff, it’s starting to bring her down physically. Also where my parents live they don’t have the Whole Foods or Farmer Markets close by. So I shipped her a couple of things to get her started. Organic green tea, Yerba Mate Dark Roast, this tea is awesome for those coffee drinkers that like strong coffee, soba and quinoa noodles. So far she loves them all. I’m such a rockstar daughter.

Over the next couple of weeks the Helm Family will be rocking out and living the dream. This weekend Hubby and I are taking a small road trip for some major R & R. We have it all planned out and even found local restaurants that are vegan and vegetarian friendly. The next weekend we have the 5k Color Run with the kids, we even have a team theme, Superheroes and of course awesome tube socks. Got Hannah Batman tube socks that have capes on the back. Max got Captain America with wings, Hubby and I Superman and Supergirl (but of course) tube socks. Got all of these fun shenanigans from http://www.superherostuff.com.
After all of this Hubby and I will start our process in volunteering at our church. We are so looking forward to donating our time and continuing our spiritual journey. Our Starting Point classes have been wonderful and really made us want that relationship with God even more.

So with all of that said I leave you with these words. The human spirit is a beautiful gift, you are loved more than you know and you are worth saving.

From my cup of tea to yours, Cheers!

Feel free share your pictures with me on Instagram of your journey, favorite cup of tea or your happy smiling face, Oh and of Unicorns! #3oclockteatimeblog

Do Work…

So this week flew by, seriously where did it go?

Well I can say it has been a very busy week. I started my new schedule at work, working from 7:00am to 3:30pm and getting up at 5am is rough. Trying to do my normal routine on the new hours has been a challenge. Hopefully after another week my mind, body and spirit will naturalize and find comfort in this new schedule.

Speaking of spirit, we fished the meditation / relaxation room. I am so excited. The rule is the room is to find serenity, not Joss Whedon’s Serenity though I do love me some Joss, but true serenity. Quiet the mind, body and soul. Find that peace with yourself, nature and God. You are not allowed to raise your voice in this room, we speak softly to each other. I can’t wait to start doing yoga more and having a room to do it in makes things so much easier. Having Hubby Dave join makes it even more exciting, YAY!!! Oh I mean yay! 🙂

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Meditation Room passes River’s inspection, silly kitty

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I love Yoga. Yoga is an ancient practice that helps create a sense of union in body, mind, and spirit. It brings balance. Completely clearing your mind, focusing on your breathing and poses you are in is so powerful. Your body grows stronger, more toned and more flexible as you move from one pose to another.
I love what it teaches you without saying a word. Discipline, awareness, handling stress and anxiety. Most importantly it teaches you how to quiet the mind so you can focus on your energy, encourages positive thinking and self acceptance. Oneness.

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On my new journey I look forward to expanding my yoga practice and focus on more poses, aka harder ones ;). I hope to be standing on my head by the end of the year. Due to my practice, not because I went crazy. Just making sure that’s clear.

From my cup of hot tea to yours. Namaste my friend!

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The weekends the week begins…

Ah, enjoy my play on words? No? Maybe so?

So this weekend flew by and we were super busy. Trying to catch up from the week of work and spending much needed down time with Max and Hannah as we wrapped up their winter break. It was awesome having them here and when we returned from dropping them off the house was quiet. Immediately Hubby Dave and I filled the house with as much noise as possible. Music Please!! and an episode of Doctor Who, Thank you AppleTV.

I will now catch you up on what’s going on. Meditation room unfortunately has not been touched, hopefully this weekend Hubby and I can find the time, well I will have the time, Hubby is working 3 12 hour shifts this weekend. If I have not mention it before my Hubby is a Police Officer and he is really good at his job. I come from a family of Police Officers and Military. My youngest half brother Stacen went to Afghanistan for 4 years and came home about 2 years ago. Unfortunately he has been struggling with his return. He is wonderful and loves his country, enough to lay his life down for it, but he came back to nothing. No job, No college and barely a place to live. Stacen and I didn’t meet until 2008 when he graduated from boot camp. He was a baby when I left Florida with my Nana. More on Stacen and I’s relationship later.

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Stacen & Me

Hubby and I are gearing up for our year and planning our events and we are so excited.
We booked the 5k Color Run in Atlanta on 4/6/2013 with the Kiddos!! YAY GO TEAM HELM! I can’t wait to put together my outfit for the run. Wahoo! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EERSfHiqT8

We also just booked our weekend get-a-way, a little B&B in Savannah for the Music Festival in March. It is a much needed weekend away, just the two of us. Man are we taking this Work to Live to heart.

July we have Hubby Dave’s Birthday. Now my dream bday weekend for him, fly out to Colorado to see the Avett Brothers at Red Rocks http://www.redrocksonline.com I mean seriously who would not want to go there for a concert? Not a bad seat in the place. But I will have to come up with some other surprise. Hmmm what to do, what to do? think think think

Now to feed our geek side, Hubby Dave and I will be booking our tickets for Dragon Con and hopefully will have a snazzy get up to rock. Hmmmm I see Unicorn in my future, FINALLY!! or SUPERGIRL. Ok another secret of mine, not only do I want to be a Rockstar, I want to save the world and fly like SUPERGIRL!

SUPERGIRL

And that is all for tonight my friends. I hope you have a SUPER week!

From my cup of hot tea to yours! Cheers my friend and SUPERGIRLS!

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Learning my lesson

As I was preparing to write my blog tonight, I asked my step daughter Hannah, what should I write about and she answered ME! write about ME, it’s the best thing you can write about. She is right, she is one of the best things I could write about.

I don’t have children of my very own and don’t know what it’s like to physically give birth to a child, but I do know what it feels like to love a child like they are your very own. Now it did take some time for me to feel this way. I like kids, they are fun, give them a pinch of sugar and watch them bounce off the walls! WOW! but having kids of my very own, eh didn’t see it.

When I met my hubby I had to think about what I was about to jump into. I mean, I was getting my soul mate, but two children? Could I do it? Would I completely be a disaster with them? Would they think I was this evil step mother that Disney always put in their movies? Fortunately, I have not messed them up that much and loving them has come naturally due to how much their father they are extensions of him, just more to love. By the way we always do the Darth Vader voice when we say father in this house hold. You say father and someone will say Luke I am your father! We can’t help ourselves. Anyways back to the kiddos.

So over the past year my relationship with the kiddos has grown. Hannah and I are close, in Hannah’s words we are twinnies, brain twinnies meaning we think a lot alike. At first I was like Oh man I have the mind of a 11 year old? oh jeez! She can even keep up with my subtle humor, saying things like Ooooh I see what you did there. Did I mention we share the same birthday? yeah I know right. She is super intelligent, quick, clever and beautiful. A package deal that any parent would be super proud of and man are we ever!

What’s so amazing about Hannah is watching her grow up and become her own person. Making her own decisions, which is one of the things Hubby and I encourage Hannah and Max to do a lot. We want them to make their own decisions and we will guide them where needed. We feed their artistic talents with home art projects and take them to painting classes.

This week with the kiddos I noticed that Hannah was making new decisions, from choosing healthier foods to eat, taking her vitamins, she started writing a book and drawing more. I love it! It’s so inspiring to see her make these decisions. Like I tell my husband, we can only be who we are with the kiddos and hope that what ever they get from us is all good. I would love to say it’s all me, me that influences Hannah to make these choices and grow with so much passion, but the truth is she is teaching me how to be a better person. It is my lesson to learn and she is my teacher.

So I leave the blog tonight with this poem:

Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute;
You didn’t grow under my heart
but in it.

From my cup of hot tea to yours! Cheers my friends and to all the step mothers out there!

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