How Our World Has Been Turned Upside Down by Lyme and PANS/PANDAS

Childhood lyme, PANS/PANDAS, and OCD

This is a tough post to write, but one I feel compelled to share (with my son Charlie’s permission) due to the extreme struggles we’ve been through and the lack of answers and experienced physicians out there treating kids like Charlie. I’ve alluded to some health issues going on at our house, but it really didn’t begin to touch on the hell we’ve been going through for a few months. Charlie is a smart, kind, sensitive, and creative kid. He’s funny and enjoys life. Or he did before this August.

Charlie has never been what you’d call laid back (he comes by it honestly 🙋🏼‍♀️) and has definitely shown signs of social and performance anxiety since he was 4 or 5. But a few months ago — almost overnight — he started to show some new behaviors. Extreme anxiety about things that might have bothered him only a little before. He became very irritable, controlling and often didn’t want to go do anything outside of the home. Then he started to fight us on leaving the house at all. By August we realized he had developed full blown Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When we would push him to leave the house to go to a doctor’s appointment or swim class he started flying into rages, screaming, calling me names, and getting physically aggressive. With guidance from his pediatrician and therapist we started treating his OCD with an SSRI and Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, which is the gold standard treatment for OCD. At first he could participate in therapy, and then in school when we started the next week. By the following week he was showing a lot of hyperactivity and impulsivity at school (also a new behavior we had never seen before), and even more aggression and rage at home. His dose was increased. No improvement. Dose was increased again. Rage went through the roof. Things got really scary. We ended up at the ER and then admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where they clinically diagnosed him with SSRI activation syndrome and discontinued his Prozac, switching to a new SSRI. They didn’t run any tests or labs. He had to wear a special color hospital gown which indicated mental issues and we had to have an aide in the room with us at all times. For two days and two nights. But while in the hospital his extreme hyperactivity continued. He was not himself at all. We started seeing a psychiatrist who took over his medication protocol and his therapist for ERP and behavior management. Things continued to steadily decline. I knew in my gut that something else was wrong. I could tell the meds weren’t helping and I was losing my sweet boy. I didn’t recognize him 80% of the time. His eyes were dead; he wasn’t there. I took on sorting him out as my full-time job. I listened to every podcast, read every article and text I could find, joined and searched posts in every OCD parent support group on Facebook. OCD consumed Charlie’s life and that of our whole family. But it was more than OCD — we just didn’t understand that yet. Read More

How I Ensure My Family Drinks Safer Water While Also Being Friendly To The Planet

Tracking PixelThis post is sponsored by Primo® but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

How I Ensure My Family Gets Clean Drinking Water While Still being friendly to the environment with Primo Water | Oh Lovely Day

The last few weeks, my family has been easing into our back to school routine. After a very busy summer where our overall wellness took a back seat to unstructured summer fun and making memories, we’re getting used to going to bed earlier and sticking to a schedule. In addition to our usual routine, I’ve been looking for ways to implement healthier lifestyle habits, such as drinking more water and swapping out the water we used to drink, which for us was tap or filtered water from our refrigerator, with water I couldn’t ensure had gone through a purification process to remove anything harmful. I just don’t trust that our tap water is as safe as I want it to be. And while we have a refrigerator with a water filter, the water quality depends on the age of the filter (and those things are expensive!) and it is only being filtered, not purified. Also, ours is soooooo slooooooow, and I have frequently caught my kids and my husband using the tap rather than investing a solid minute to fill their cups at the fridge. After much research on the best water choice that is also environmentally-friendly, I put a Primo water dispenser in our kitchen.

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My Go-To Fall Outfit That Checks Both the Stylish and Mom-Friendly Buttons

Fall and Winter Wardrobe Staples (that are also mom-friendly!)

Sweater weather is here! It is definitely my favorite time of year as far as style is concerned — not only because the fall and winter clothes and accessories are so cute but also because they are more forgiving of the momma bodies many of us have. Give me boots and sweaters over tanks and sandals any day. Since I moved and am experiencing a true fall and winter this year I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite style finds and how and when I wear them. First up, my favorite outfit for a day date, which also works for a date night.

Fall and Winter Wardrobe Staples (that are also mom-friendly!)Fall and Winter Wardrobe Staples (that are also mom-friendly!)

Pretty much the second the weather cools I throw on a scarf. Remember when pashminas were a thing? I still have a million. Pretty much anything that you can wrap around your neck works and there are so many ways to tie them. This black and white one is the Wanderlust Shawl from Sseko Designs and is my current favorite this season. It is super versatile and goes with everything. I also love that their products give back (I’m a big fan of this brand, and you can read more about them here.)

When it comes to sweaters, I tend to go cardi or cowl neck. I also like them looong. I love the look of those cropped sweaters that are on trend right now, but they do not look good on me. I think those are best on long-legged ladies, which I am definitely not. Plus, if I’m wearing leggings or skinny jeans (which pretty much is every day) I like a top with length to hide the things that need hidden 😉 My favorite sweaters this season are from the A New Day line at Target. I’ve worn this cardi in both colors it comes in almost daily (it is so soft and has pockets!) and also have this cowl neck sweater (pictured) in rust and camel and love them.

Fall and Winter Wardrobe Staples (that are also mom-friendly!) Fall and Winter Wardrobe Staples (that are also mom-friendly!)A few more staple pieces: booties, black vegan leather leggings, and a black carry-all. I love that all three pieces can be worn day or night, can be dressed up or down, and instantly make an outfit look chic and pulled together. I’ve had those Rag and Bone booties for seven years. They were an investment, but I haven’t bought a pair of booties since, so I think they were well worth it — and they were on sale. I do love them and think they are classic and comfortable. You can find them here (this is the cheapest I’ve found them!) if you are looking for an investment piece.

Another investment piece I can’t speak high enough about are these black vegan leather leggings. They are comfortable, stylish, sexy, and make your booty look SO good. Basically they are magic leggings. I have worn them to lunch with a sweater or for a night out with a cute top and jacket. I have them in black but want them in more colors! They are also really flattering. My husband (who took these photos) asked me if I photoshopped myself. I swear I didn’t — it’s the leggings!

There are a few great leather totes out there, but mine (which happens to be my favorite) is the Aida Tote in Black, also from Sseko Designs. It holds my laptop, wallet, a little zipper bag with a couple of diapers and travel wipes just in case, and anything else I need for any outing. There is a zippered inside pocket, an open outside pocket, and a zipper to close the bag itself. It is really good quality, and as I mentioned before, all Sseko Design purchases give back. It is also reasonably priced for the genuine leather and high quality.

Fall and Winter Wardrobe Staples (that are also mom-friendly!)

I realize a few of these are investment pieces but I don’t buy multiple pairs of boots or leggings/pants (aside from jeans) or bags each season. These go with me from year to year and then I add tops, sweaters, and accessories that are cheaper and on trend (I never spend much money for anything that I won’t be able to wear from year to year). These posts are meant to give you a good base for a fall/winter capsule wardrobe and doing more with less rather than buying a bunch of cheap pieces you’ll barely wear.

What are your favorite wardrobe pieces for fall and winter? Do you tend to stick with a capsule wardrobe, investing in a few classic pieces? Or do you like to change it up each year and buy more on-trend pieces? You can find each item pictured in this post sourced below, as well as a few other favorite staples. And those Target sweaters are currently 20% off, so get to shopping!

Source list: Sweater: Target / Leggings: Spanx / Booties: Rag & Bone / Scarf and Tote Bag; Sseko Designs / Bracelet: Made By Mary

Photos taken by my husband in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and buy the product, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you.) Thanks for supporting the content I share with you here on Oh Lovely Day.

How I’m Using Back to School Season To a Return to Self-Care

I was compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Nature Made® for this post. All opinions are mine alone. #NewLookOfNatureMade​ #NatureMadeAtWalmart #CollectiveBias

How Back to School Season means back to self-care season
Another summer is coming to a close and when I reflect on those months I see a lot of memories made and time spent together. I also see a complete unraveling of my own self-care routine. A lack of structure and having three kids home with me all day every day resulted in a pause of the wellness routines I’ve put into place for my physical and mental health. I stopped following my intermittent fasting and FWTFL eating. I stopped going to bed at a reasonable hour. I had no time for exercise, and no walks to school in the morning meant I no longer took my peaceful walks alone after. I stopped meal planning, started eating junk again, and forgot my supplements in the morning. Sometimes I even forgot to take my thyroid medicine! I learned a lot of lessons this summer, but the biggest of all was that we needed to maintain some semblance of structure and routine in the summers so that I could continue to be my best self. Now that school has started back, I’m taking the opportunity to take “Back to School Season” and turn it into a return to self-care for me. Here are some ways I’m doing that — adding structure for myself and getting back to my self-care routine — because I know I’m not the only mama out there who has let herself crumble over the summer. Time to build ourselves back up even stronger, friends!

Using our back to school routine to return to regular self-care

RE-ESTABLISHING MY SELF-CARE ROUTINE

morning

  • Getting to bed at a reasonable hour (by 10:00 pm!)
  • Listening to meditation to fall asleep rather than listening to an audiobook or watching tv
  • Setting my alarm for 30 minutes before I need to wake up anyone else, to allow for a quiet cup of coffee alone each morning while I check in on the schedule and needs for the day.
  • Get back into the habit of taking my medication every single morning.
  • Take a morning walk after I do school drop-off.

afternoon

more on my Nature Made® supplements

Two of the most important supplements for me are Omega-3s and Vitamin D. I have been Vitamin D deficient in the past and after we moved to Ohio and left that LA sunshine I needed to find an additional source. Back-to-school signals the end of summer and a long stretch where sunshine is lacking, so that’s when I start back to making vitamin supplements part of my routine.

Hover over the photo above to be able to click through and purchase the products I use!

Some Nature Made® Vitamins at Walmart have a new look — be sure to look for the new modern label, which will be easier to spot in the vitamin aisle at Walmart where it has always been. Though the look has changed, the product and trusted quality of Nature Made® supplements have not.

Fresh + Healthy Fish Taco Bowls: paleo-friendly and FWTFL compliantevening

  • get outside with the kids either before or after dinner
  • prepare a healthy dinner or have leftovers from the healthy dinner the evening before
  • get a shower or relaxing bath after the kids are in bed to wind down
  • share an hour of tv time with my husband
  • go to bed by 10 pm!
  • fall asleep to a meditation

Each of these things helps keep me focused on both my mental and physical health. They are little things that are totally manageable and that, once established into my routine, will keep me feeling my best.

Using our back to school routine to return to regular self-careUsing our back to school routine to return to regular self-careUsing our back to school routine to return to regular self-care

Be sure to stock up on your Nature Made® supplements at Walmart and start prioritizing your self-care routine now that the kids are headed back to school! You can find them in-store or at walmart.com.

how I cope with dental anxietyHow are you returning to your self-care routine now that school is back in session?

What To Stock Up On For Your Postpartum Survival Kit

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FindReliefWithPrepH #CollectiveBias

Creating a postpartum bathroom survival kitThere is something every woman who has had a baby knows and it is something that many pregnant women don’t (because we don’t talk about it openly enough): those first postpartum weeks can be physically tough and it isn’t just because you’re not getting enough sleep. When you get pregnant you do lots research and spend lots of time preparing your home, nursery, and body for your labor and delivery and for bringing your baby home. You register for all the stuff. You take a birthing class. You pack a hospital bag. But very little is dedicated to preparing you for what happens to your body as you deliver and afterwards or telling you how you can best help yourself to heal after you have a baby. There are a couple of things that can happen afterwards that you really should know and be prepared for and that no one really talks about. So I thought I would help some mommas out and tell you what I put in my postpartum bathroom survival kit, for all those issues that might come up, down there… I also gift a postpartum care bathroom basket for all of my new mama friends.You might think you should wait until after you have a baby to see what “issues” you have to deal with and then hit the drugstore to address those issues. But after having three babies I would say that there are definitely a few things you should have on hand ahead of time, and a couple of other things I would buy for the “just in case” situations, because when you’ve just had a baby and have a terrible case of post-labor hemorrhoids, you’d really rather just have the stuff to treat it rather than leave your house. Trust me.

Creating a postpartum bathroom survival kit

Creating a postpartum bathroom survival kit
So here’s my list of must-haves to put in your postpartum survival kit for all of your issues south of the border:

● Two types of sanitary pads: thicker heavy-duty ones, and thinner ones — both with wings. Even if you have a c-section, you’re still going to bleed after and you’ll need these for a while. And I use the really big pads with the mesh underwear the hospital gives you for the first few days. I’ve also had women suggest bladder leakage underwear. What you pick will be a personal preference but I personally preferred big pads with the mesh underwear, and then a smaller pad once bleeding is less heavy.

● Hemorrhoid aids: You might get hemorrhoids, and you might not. You might think you’re in the clear because you don’t get them while you’re in the hospital, but then they appear once you’re home. If you do get them, you’re gonna want some relief. Like immediately and without having to figure out how you’re going to leave the house to get it.

○ PREPARATION H® Totables® Hemorrhoida​l Wipes: These wipes are a MUST for postpartum bathroom visits because they provide soothing relief of hemorrhoids while also providing gentle cleansing. They are flushable and are packaged in a convenient travel size so you can use them at home but also on the go.

○ PREPARATION H® Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream: Hemorrhoids hurt, I’m not going to sugar coat it. So when you’re looking for products to help you heal you also want something that helps for the pain. This cream contains a powerful combination of maximum strength lidocaine (the highest strength available without a prescription), plus glycerin that provides a soothing protective layer, to offer relief of hemorrhoid symptoms.

*Pro Tip: Put some PREPARATION H® Totables® Hemorrhoida​l Wipes​ or Rapid Relief Cream in your hospital bag as well, because if you get hemorrhoids immediately the hospital only gives you hydrocortisone cream (or at least mine did). It is SO not enough. You need real relief.

● Cold Therapy Packs: For tearing, hemorrhoids, and soreness, ice packs can be a lifesaver. I like to have at least two on hand to rotate and have frozen ahead of time, and the kind made with the gel pearls are my favorite.

● Stool Softener: You’ll likely get some in the hospital (if they don’t automatically give it then be sure to ask for it, especially if you take any pain medication!) but you probably want to have a bottle at home for after. No one really tells you that sometimes going to the bathroom for the first time after baby can be as scary and painful as actually having the baby — and honestly, that doesn’t even cover how terrible it can be. Drink plenty of water, have stool softeners on hand, and if things get rough just remember you pushed out a baby so you can totally do this.

● Epsom salt for sitz baths: I use a small mason jar to store some by the tub so I can just pour it in and not take up a ton of space. Sitz baths were hard for me to keep up with so having some out where I could see it helped remind me to take one. They can be so soothing and healing, plus they force you to take 10-15 minutes for yourself. Start your self-care ritual as soon as you get home from the hospital.

A peri bottle (the hospital will usually give you one) for rinsing.

● An herbal perineal spray to help with healing: You can buy or DIY this one. If you want to DIY, combine witch hazel and water in a small aluminum spray bottle. Add a couple of drops of Frankincense and/or Lavender essential oils. Shake well and spray directly or on sanitary pads for added healing.

You can find PREPARATION H® Totables® Hemorrhoida​l Wipes and PREPARATION H® Rapid Relief with Lidocaine Cream at your local Walmart.

Do you have any favorite essentials in your postpartum survival kit that you think other moms-to-be need to know about? Share your secrets! Also, check out this amazing offer from Preparation H®!

To qualify for Visa ® Rewards Virtual Account* from Fandango, purchase at least 2 participating Prep H or Wipe products in one transaction at participating Walmart stores between 09/11/2019 and 11/11/2019. Be sure to retain your receipt. For full offer terms visit http://www.activaterewards.com/PrepH

*Online purchase excluded. No manual reproductions will be accepted. One reward per receipt submission. Must be a resident of the U.S. Reward link is void if not activated by 11/30/2019 and Virtual Account is void if not used within 2 months from the date of online reward link activation. Virtual Account can be used online wherever Visa debit is accepted for purchase(s) up to $5. Use is go11verned by terms in Accountholder Agreement at http://www.activaterewards.com/virtualvisa/terms_and_conditionsIf lost or stolen cannot be replaced. No cash value, except as required by law. Not valid with any other offer. Not for resale; void if sold or exchanged. Offer valid only in the U.S. Limit 2 rewards per household. Virtual Account issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. This optional offer is not a MetaBank, nor Visa, product or service nor does MetaBank, nor Visa, endorse this offer. Fandango Loyalty Solutions, LLC is not a sponsor or co-sponsor of this program. See http://www.activaterewards.com/PrepH/Details for full details.

Disclaimer:  For children under 12 years of age, consult a doctor. Please read the package for product warnings and complete labeling information

How A Chipped Tooth Taught Me To Take Time For Myself

This post is sponsored by Merion Village Dental, but the experience and opinions are my own.

how a chipped tooth taught me to take time for myself

Sometimes it takes a big sign from the universe to remind you that you need to take care of yourself. I’ve gotten signs like this every once in a while since becoming a mother. Once, it was an autoimmune disease that wore me down so badly I couldn’t get out of bed. Another time it was stiff neck that made it hard for me to move for days. These were messages that I need to slow down, to rest, and to find time to take care of me. But recently I took a pretty hard head butt from my son (an accident) that chipped my front tooth to show me just how little time I was devoting to myself.

Because the damage was purely cosmetic and didn’t affect my ability to live my life or care for my family, there wasn’t an urgency to fix it. But I wanted to fix it. I was super self-conscious about the big chip on my front center tooth. I stopped smiling. It was affecting my self-confidence and mood. But I just kept putting it off because it was really hard to find the time. I felt guilty prioritizing myself for something that wasn’t “necessary.” And then I realized what I was doing — I was failing to priories myself! I told myself that even though the chipped tooth wasn’t a health concern, it was ok to take the time to fix it. And then I made an appointment at my Merion Village Dental.

how a chipped tooth taught me to take time for myself

My husband said he didn’t even notice the chip. But I knew it was there and it bothered me constantly. It became a constant reminder that my self-care was seriously lacking. Luckily my dentist’s office makes it easy to find the time to go in for a visit! They have extended hours, including evening and Saturday hours, which help accommodate busy parents or a work-from-home mom like me that might not have childcare during the day. And because I don’t get a lot of time to indulge in the relaxing type of self-care, I love that Merion Village Dental make the patient experience feel like you are a guest. They provide lunch if you are visiting during lunch hours (also super convenient for busy people), they have a comfort menu where you can request things like chapstick, to stream Netflix during a procedure, and even a hand paraffin wax! They make it easy to book appointments, have plenty of staff so you aren’t left waiting forever to be seen, and make every attempt to accommodate your needs.

Summer Family Fun Bucket List Activity: Zoombezi Bay & The Columbus Zoo

I finally got my chipped tooth fixed. I feel better about myself and I’m back to smiling. And next time, it won’t take a chipped tooth to remind me to take some time for myself.

This post is sponsored by Merion Village Dental, but the experience and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who help me to bring content to you here at Oh Lovely Day.