A Little of This and a Little of That …

I’ve survived the Christmas season. Why is it that we make Christmas cray cray crazy? Seriously … why?

This year I tried really hard to make the whole Christmas experience magical and less crazy for our kids. In case you’ve forgotten, I already live that most ridiculous lifestyle … I’ve got four kids, and a husband who’s away half the month for work. Yes, coffee is my fuel most days. I survive on it. I used to be one of those people who only enjoyed coffee occasionally and never past 3 pm. If I drank it too late, I could most definitely count on being awake until the wee hours of the morning. Now, coffee is in my blood stream for most of the day and into the evening. When I do manage to hit the pillow at the end of the day, I am utterly exhausted. So, sure, I’ll have another cup. Anyway, I digress, back to the Christmas season talk….

So, hubby was away for work most of the Christmas break. He’s got the most glamorous lifestyle. He’s a commercial pilot and pretty much everyone I meet says … “oh you’re so lucky to be married to a pilot” and my all-time favourite stranger comment is “oh you must travel ALOT and get great deals!”  Ok, let’s just take a moment and think about those two statements. Yup, I’m lucky, blessed, fortunate … whatever you want to call it … to be married to my hubby, but not because he’s a pilot. I’m all those things because he’s an all around amazing guy (I could go on an on about him, but ya didn’t come here to hear all that sappy stuff!). Seriously people, give your head a shake. He’s a pilot … it’s his work. He flies you to your most amazing beach getaway and then turns right back around and comes back. He doesn’t stay and if he does, he stays in a hotel room, sleeps, eats, tries to recover from the 3+ time zones he’s been through in a day, all so he can get up and do it again. Oh yes, and let’s not forget to mention that he misses most holidays, if not all of them, because he’s busy working. And as for the second comment … We have four kids, hubby works full time and I also have a real job, so finding time to travel is unheard of.  Sorry, once I again I digress. Anyway, back to Christmas talk. Hubby worked. Santa had to make an early pit stop on the 22nd … the kids wrote a lovely letter at the beginnning of December explaining the situation and Santa once again came through with an early Christmas. Oh yeah, let’s not forget to mention he was gone over New Years as well. So, making our Christmas season less crazy was my ultimate goal. What I really try hard to teach my kids is that Christmas, and most other holidays, isn’t about gifts, it’s about being together with those you love. I think this year we did a great job of doing that. We spent our early Christmas together and then enjoyed extended family homes on the actual Christmas day. Christmas was lovely, but I’m glad to get back into routine. O and C thrive on routine. And really, so do the twins. Now that they are back to school and our routine is back, things are going a lot more smoothly. Christmas was as mellow as we could make it, and that made me happy.

Our kids keep us cray-cray most of the year. When strangers ask me if I have kids I just want to scream …. CAN’T YOU TELL FROM THE BLACK CIRCLES UNDER MY EYES! I can most definitely say having twins is one of the hardest, most exciting, fun (and mostly crazy) experiences of my life. You can’t even imagine my life … it would be easier if you just came to help out. You know, witness it first hand. Seriously, message me … I need all the help I can get! The next time you see a twin mom out and about, bite you tongue and resist saying all those comments that pop into your brain … I can guarantee they’re probably ridiculous (I’ll let you know in a different blog post all the stupid things strangers have said to me), she’s heard them before and she most certainly doesn’t have time to have idle chit chat with a stranger … instead buy her a coffee. That’s what she needs the most. Coffee ….

So, until next time ….

Sending you lots of gluten free love with a side of twin love,

Jenny

 

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Catching Up

Yup, I’m baaaaaack! So it’s taken me a while to get back in the saddle … so to speak. Its definitely been a wild ride.

I’ve left you all hanging for quite a while now, so I’ll spill the beans and let you know what’s been happening in my world.

So, I managed to carry my twins all the way to the end! Woot woot! (Applause!) Let me tell you that being pregnant with twins wasn’t a cake walk. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Those 6 months (we found out at 3 months in we were expecting twins) were filled with worry and anxiety and, well, exhaustion. Near the end, just getting out of bed was a chore. I was HUGE! It was a crazy feeling to always have someone moving, squirming and kicking. At 37.5 weeks my water broke and that’s when the real fun started. 12 hours later I was holding our little boy in my arms, waiting for the other babe to make it’s entrance. It took another 28 minutes for our second boy to make an appearance. They were born and our lives changed forever. Little L spent 5 days in NICU. He was just a little small at 4 pounds 12 ounces, but he was mighty. Mr. E was born 6 pounds 4.5 ounces. Yes, the .5 of an ounce does count! After having them, I felt like I could run a marathon. We had relief knowing that our boys were perfect in every way possible. I went home with Mr. E the next day and then spent the following four days running back and forth to the hospital. It was tough trying to juggle the other three kids around, all the while wanting to be there with Little L. We managed to take shifts at the hospital and waited ever so patiently for Little L to come home. I do not understand how parents who have babes in the NICU for months at a time manage. We were lucky it was less than a week and when he came home everything really changed

Since coming home from the hospital life has been a blur. Seriously, what a crazy life we have now! It’s taken me a long time to be able to manage to come back here. I keep waiting for life to slow down, but it just doesn’t! I am enjoying every moment with all my kids. People always told me to “Savour every moment, because in a blink of an eye it’s gone.” And, it’s soooooo true. Oliver is now 8. He’s still gluten and dairy free and I’m not sure if that will ever change. He’s doing so well now … growing like a weed, smart as a whip and well, always on the go. Charlotte is 6. She’s still gluten free and we are now just doing a trial of dairy products on her. I’ll let you know how that goes in a future blog post! And, the littlest of the bunch … they are both gluten free. Mr. E is on full dairy and seems to be doing quite well now. Little L is dairy free. So, we’ve got quite the mix! E and L came home from the hospital on lactose free formula (Little L threw up every time he had regular formula in the hospital). They did well on the lactose free formula until about ten weeks old. Then everything came to a screeching halt. I mean EVERYTHING. A day apart, both of their GI systems, just shut down. I had to start giving them suppositories to poop! Ok, enough about that, but after 18 days of not having bowel movements on their own, my doctor finally put them on a hypoallergenic formula. They did quite well and continued on that until about a year old. That’s when we switched Mr. E to regular dairy. It was kinda scary to think about switching him over. We were doing so well and given this family’s track record, I wasn’t sure I wanted to even try. But, Mr. E did just fine and has continued to flourish. Little L on the other hand didn’t do so well. He had all sorts of issues. GI issues, constant runny nose, he stopped sleeping and well I don’t know what else. So, it was back to the drawing board. At that point in time I decided to put him on rice milk. And since September he’s been drinking rice milk without too many issues. I’ve been taking him to see our naturopath. She’s been helping to resolve some of his gut issues with probiotics. He’s doing quite well now. People always ask me if they are sleeping through the night. No they aren’t, but why is that always one of the first questions? As if it’s some kind of standard that all good parents have to achieve to be added to the good parent list. I always say, we’re working on it. And, truth be told, I probably will be until they leave home!

Life hasn’t been dull this past year and a half. I know how lucky and blessed I am to have four healthy children. It’s been a wild ride, like I said before, and I don’t think it’s going to get any less crazy as time goes on. I’ll continue to write as often as my life lets me and well, that’s that. Keep checking back for more recipes and more crazy life stories!

 

Much Love (and Exhaustion),

Jenny 

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And then there were SIX …..

Okay, so it’s been a while again …

I have been wanting to get on and post something for a while now, but finding the time to sit and have the energy has been difficult. I’ve got a secret you see … I’ve had a hard time getting on here, well, because life has thrown me for a loop. It’s a good loop, but a very big one … or two!

So, ready for it? My fun, frugal gluten free family of four is turning into SIX! If you must, take a moment and read that again…

Yes, we are having twins … TWINS! After a lot of repeating the word twins in my head, it has finally sunk in and become a reality. And, well, the exponential rate of growth I am experiencing also brings it into reality!

So, let’s start from the beginning. We found out in early January we were pregnant, but didn’t know there was more than one in there until our 12 week ultrasound when we saw it on the screen!  I have been feeling really excellent, but was so exhausted for the first 3 months, that I thought something was wrong. Well, I mean, I kept thinking, it has been five years since I last did this, so maybe my body is just getting old and tired! We were totally blown out of the water to see not one, but two on the ultrasound screen. Thinking back, that totally explains my complete and utter exhaustion during the first trimester. Now, at 20 weeks, I’m back to having a little pep in my step and feeling excellent. I know I am fortunate to not be one of those women who get sick with each pregnancy and are miserable the entire 9 months. I’ve never had that with either of my previous pregnancies and this twin pregnancy is no exception. I have to say that I feel even better with this pregnancy than with the other two. I’ve learned a lot about my own body in the last 5 years and staying healthy, fit and active is a priority in my life. I have come to realize that being gluten free isn’t a choice anymore for me, it’s a necessity. I feel better than I ever have in my entire adult life and I know that taking a step backwards and feeling crappy is not an option. Adding two more little people to our gluten free family is exciting, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s also terrifying. I mean, come on, having two babies at once is a huge challenge. When I think back to my other two and all the dietary issues we had with them, I wonder what these two will be like. Knowing what I know now, I’m pretty confident that things will be okay. But, there’s always that lingering what if in the back of my mind. What if they don’t sleep? What if they cry all the time like the boy did? What if they are up, wide awake all night, just like the girl was? You see the struggle going on in my little brain? But then I bring it back to … being gluten free, dairy free and soy free has changed my life and I’m pretty confident that all the issues I dealt with the boy and the girl would have been alleviated if I had suspected gluten intolerance/allergies/celiac disease sooner. All I can do is hope that things will be better this time around. And, it’s starting off pretty good. Like I said, this is by far the best pregnancy that I’ve had so far (and to be honest, the other two weren’t bad!). I have learned that taking care of my body physically, mentally and emotionally is key to living a life that is full of life.

People have asked me if I will keep these two gluten free, dairy free and soy free as well. And, my answer is yes, absolutely. It’s just our way of life and seeing my kids happy, healthy and full of life, makes it all worth it. But, I’m keeping my options open and who knows what the future will bring for these two.

So, there you go. Secret’s out. How will this change my blogging life? I hope not too much, but reality is, it just might. I still hope to share my recipes with you and my stories as well. I believe knowledge is key and like I’ve said from the beginning, if I can help just one little person unlock their door, like my two little beans have, then this is all worth it.

Sending lots of gluten free love,

Jenny

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Here’s to 2015

Happy New Year!

Wow … what a year 2014 was! Is it just me, but does a year seem to fly by for everyone out there? Now that I have two very busy kids, and well, a very busy life, I realize that a year is not a long time at all. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time. Instead, I have learned to live each moment of each day. I have learned to appreciate what I’ve got in front of me right now and not to always want something more. That’s a tough one … the wanting part. But, I try to keep my life in perspective each day and I realize that always wanting something more or different teaches you to not appreciate … life. Everyday when I tuck my kiddies in at night, I look at them and I tell them I love you. Sometimes I’m that creepy Mom who sneaks into their rooms after they’re asleep and I sit there on the edge of the bed and just watch them sleep. Taking this time reminds me of how blessed I am to have them as my children. Even though there are times during the day, when the screaming is happening, or the arguing is intense between them, I am so thankful that we have them. I am blessed to have this super tight family. We love each other and hubby and I do our best to teach our children to love and respect each other. Yes, somedays the lesson is harder to teach than others, but we do our best! So, watching them sleep at night is my moment where I can just appreciate what I’ve got, right in front of me. I love being that creepy Mom.

2014 was a big year for me. It’s been almost a year that I decided to commit to this blog. I decided that, perhaps, I had something to share with the world. My thought was if I could just help one family, one little boy or little girl to unlock their door, like we did with our boy, then I had something I needed to say. You see, our journey to being gluten free, dairy free and soy free wasn’t an easy one. It took a long time to get here and over the years I think I’ve come up with a few tricks to make our life easier and better that have allowed us to become so incredibly happy. Looking back on our pre-allergen free life I realized that I lived day to day, barely having enough energy to make it through each one. I was exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. Until one day I met this incredible woman, my naturopath. She actually looked at me when I talked about our troubles with the boy and she actually listened. Yes, she actually listened to what I was saying and she helped. And, for the first time I felt like I wasn’t crazy. There was something wrong with my beautiful boy. And, so our journey began. After committing to sharing our story through this blog, I feel like I’m finally giving back. (If you want to read more about how we came to be gluten free, dairy free and soy free, take a peek at the Our Story section of our blog)

I also committed to being a better me. You see, it’s taken me a long time, but I realize that if I’m not 100% feeling good, then it really affects every part of my life. Like I said, several years ago I committed to being gluten free. That was one the best decisions that I have ever made for me. I can’t explain the difference in how I feel, in my body, in my attitude. etc. I guess you could say I’m still me, just a much better version of me. In 2014, I also committed to working out everyday. I wanted to push my body and really, really feel good. I’ve tried all kinds of different routines. I’ve used those DVD workouts, started running, and well, just about everything else. I would like to say I’ve tried getting a gym membership, but lets be real, I have two kids under 6 and a hubby who’s away 18 days a month. That’s not gonna happen. But, in the fall I discovered this amazing duo of women. Yes, women who are both Moms, just like me! They’ve developed this insanely amazing workout plan that is 12 minutes of high intensity workout. It is simply incredible! Who doesn’t have 12 minutes to spare each day? But, a fair warning for you, those 12 minutes are killer. They are a really, really great killer though. When I’m done, I feel like I’ve just run a marathon. I’m exhausted. But, I feel so incredible for doing it. These 12 minute workouts have really changed how I look at working out. What I love the most about these workouts is that I’m not bored and I’m always challenging myself. Also, I’m at home, with my kiddies playing beside me and I’ve gotten a better workout than if I had called a sitter to watch my kids, driven 20 minutes to the gym and spent most of my time hopping from one machine to the next. I look forward to my email each day with a link to the daily workout. I love the fact that these two amazing women are there right there with me, huffing and puffing alongside me. I can see so many changes in my body. After each workout I feel like I could kick butt. And, that’s what I want to teach my kids, especially the girl. Well, not the kicking butt part, but I want to teach her that taking care of your body, being the best you, is an incredible feeling. I want to teach her that being strong, healthy and fit is beautiful. There are so many negative body images out there for girls and I want to teach my girl that it doesn’t matter what size you are. What matters is how you feel, how you treat your body and that being healthy is so incredibly important. Just today, while I was doing my 12 minutes, she was sitting beside me singing along to her Frozen soundtrack (yes, I too have one of those Frozen obsessed little girls!), watching me and giving me a high five after each interval. She even tried a few moves with me, but lets be real, Frozen trumps pretty much every thing else in the life of a 4 year old. I can’t say enough good things about these 12 minute high intensity workouts. I simply love them. Check them out for yourselves …. HIIT It Kelowna. These two women are truly an inspiration of what you can do if you commit to something and then follow through. Come on, I dare you, take the challenge with me and let’s see what we can do with 12 minutes a day!

Here are a few of my commitments for this New Year. In 2015, I am committing to carrying on with this blog. I want to bring you recipes that are not only gluten free, dairy free and soy free, but incredibly delicious and affordable. I am going to continue to commit to getting me fit. I will treat my body with love and respect and I will continue to teach my children to do the same. I will commit to always being the best Mommy and wife I can be, my hubby and kids deserve that. And, on a side note, I am committing to growing out this super cute, super short pixie cut (I am feeling like a need a change!). That in itself will be a challenge, growing out your hair takes willpower people! So, come on, let’s get 2015 started!

What are you going to commit to in 2015? Come along with me on my gluten free, dairy free, soy free journey and see what 2015 can bring you!

 

Love,

Jenny

 

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What’s in a name?

Some of you out there may be asking … what’s with the name? I always find it interesting to know how someone picks a name for something that is so near and dear to them. I’m passionate about this blog. I love being able to share my story with people and to know that maybe, just maybe, I’ve helped someone who is struggling, just like I was. You see, I struggled for a long time when I was first told our family had to go gluten free, dairy free and soy free. I wanted to cry, and so I did. And, after I was done, I thought, I can do this. I’m intelligent, strong and depending on who you talk to, stubborn. I like a good challenge and so instead of seeing this as a set back, I saw it as a challenge. I always said, life gave me lemons and I need to figure out how to make my lemonade. So, for me, this blog has been my lemonade. I don’t claim to know everything about being gluten free, dairy free and soy free, but I have learned a lot in the past 4 years and I hope that sharing what I know will allow someone … a child, an adult, or an entire family to experience what it feels like to be healthy. To wake up everyday and feel great. I often say that I feel better now at 34 than I did when I was 24. I’ve learned a lot on this journey and picking the name of this blog, my lemonade, was no easy task. I thought about it for quite some time and when I thought I had come up with something good, I’d change it. But, I always came back to Happy Cakes. It was my initial gut feeling. But, it wasn’t me who came up with it. It was my beautiful daughter. You see, when we first found out about our allergies/intolerances, I picked one recipe and I modified it. And I modified it again and again and again. Until I was happy that in my mind I had created gluten free, dairy free, soy free perfection. And, do you know what that recipe was? It was a recipe for chocolate cake. Yup. Not really a healthy, first recipe to convert. But, that was mine. What was most important to me was to keep the boy and the girl from feeling different. And, since birthdays are so important in our family, I wanted to make sure that they had an amazing, scrumptious, gluten free, dairy free, soy free cake for their special day. And, so that’s what I did. I created a recipe that everyone loved. Not just us. And, what’s funny is that when the girl was less then 2 years old, and learning to talk, she could say “appy cake” for my gluten free, dairy free, soy free cupcakes that I thought were perfection. And, that’s what my cupcakes were known as in our family ... little happy cakes. I thought it was perfect. These little cupcakes and cakes that I had spent hours perfecting made her so happy. For both the boy and the girl, our little happy cakes made them feel special. And, so when I was deciding on a name for this blog, there were other choices, but I always came back to Jenny’s Happy Cakes. My little happy cakes made us happy. I took my lemons and made my lemonade and that made me so happy. And, now, I hope to help others take their lemons and make lemonade. You see, whatever you feel as you start your own gluten free, dairy free, or soy free journey, guaranteed I felt it at some point. It’s not easy, but I hope that by stopping by here you learn something that you can apply to your own life. So you can find, your own little Happy Cake, just as we have.

Love,

Jenny

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