The Thinking Mom has moved!

I’m very excited to announce that we’ve moved to a new site!  After several months of working on it with my wonderful husband, we have made the switch over to private hosting, & updated the look of The Thinking Mom too  🙂

So from now on, all new posts will be found at

Once you’re there, you can subscribe to e-mail updates from that site, as anyone who is currently subscribed to this one will no longer receive updates.

I’m really looking forward to sharing this new site with you as we become healthier together, & so appreciate all of your encouragement & support.

Thank you so much!

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You’ll get used to it (Change is Possible)

Kaden shopping at Whole Foods

I was sitting having some almond milk & homemade cookies with my sister this afternoon when I realized that I was drinking unsweetened almond milk. Beyond that, I realized it tasted good! Which reminded me of the truth about making healthy changes: you get used to it.

A month or two ago I started buying unsweetened almond milk even though I hated it. I was used to the taste of my Almond Breeze Original & the unsweetened option was just gross to me. But I decided that in a few years Kaden will be using it & I want him to just start out with the healthiest stuff because then it will be normal for him. So I started buying Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened & cut out the 7 grams of sugar each time I have it. At first it sucked. I had to gag down my cereal in the mornings & didn’t even bother having a glass when eating a baked treat. But as the days turned into weeks and into months, my taste buds have adjusted, which is exactly what I wanted them to do.

As a child I remember my mom buying whole wheat bread every once in a while, and I even more clearly remember the fit my brother & I would throw when she did. “Mom, that’s disgusting! We are NOT going to eat that!” Because at the time, our taste buds were used to the less-than-wholesome goodness of your average white bread. As I got older & learned more about the effects of white bread on your health, I began to switch to only whole grain products, & am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoy them now.

And America, we’ve got to make changes to the way we eat. I was urgently reminded of this fact this morning when I read that 20 years ago, there wasn’t a single state with an obesity level over 15%. Now EVERY state is above that. All 50. Most are WAY above that. And it’s not gonna get any better until we start making changes.

The bottom line is, you will get used to anything when you make the switch. What seems like impossible now can become completely normal & even enjoyable. Give up the Coke or Dew & drink water. Switch from coffee to green tea. Eat a handful of almonds instead of potato chips. Just do it & before you know it you’ll be living a healthier life by habit not by effort.

You can do it. You really can.


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Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb pie is one of my favorite summer treats.  Our backyard in Minnesota had a rhubarb patch, so eating it brings back sweet childhood memories, and this pie is seriously the easiest I’ve ever made.  My family will be enjoying it tomorrow for the 4th of July  🙂

  • 1 pie crust
  • 3 cups cut up rhubarb (fresh tastes the best, but frozen works if it’s all you can find)
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Put crust in pie pan. Put cut rhubarb in crust. Mix honey, flour, & nutmeg.  Add eggs.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and 350 for 40 minutes, or until set.

Happy Independence Day!

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How to Blog (or not)

I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately- topics, ideas, elements, & other pieces that make it all come together.  I used to write for the Examiner, which was a nice way to get some published writing experience, but to be completely honest I don’t especially like people telling me how to write.  The enjoyable part of creative writing for me is being creative.  I think what I’m really trying to do in my mind is establish a niche, & get into a groove with The Thinking Mom.  Thus far I’ve mostly written in a personal, but informational style, which is one of my primary goals, to share information.  But sometimes I feel like sharing random, personal stuff just for fun.  Is that ok?  Or does that make me off topic?  Would it be fun for readers, or confusing as to what the purpose of my blog really is?  I don’t know, & that’s what I’ve been mentally debating with myself for the past few weeks.

I don’t want to waste people’s time writing stuff no one’s interested in.  But I want to write.  I suppose if people don’t like it there’s no one forcing them to read.  But I also want to be relevant….

Well those are my thoughts lately.

What do you think?  Would you rather read straight health information, or is the whole purpose of a blog to share your life too?  Does that add or subtract from the mission of a blog?  Would love to hear your thoughts.

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GM Foods

Genetically modified (GM) food is a big deal. Scientists can alter seeds to change the outcome of a crop, making it bigger, more pest resilient, etc. Sounds okay at first, but there are a lot of people concerned about it, for good reasons.

No long term studies have been done on the effects of GM foods on people. Some experts feel that the genetic modification of the foods we eat may cause damage to our own genes resulting in things like cancer. Animals fed GM crops have experienced problems with infertility & miscarriages. And in my personal opinion, if God wanted us to eat genetically modified foods, they would have been made that way to begin with. I just have more trust in food made by God than a scientist.

So what can you do to avoid genetically modified foods? Well they’re not required to be labeled as genetically modified, so that makes it a bit harder. But there are still ways to keep these little nasties out of your family’s diet.

  1. Buy organic. Organic food can not be genetically modified. Period.
  2. Avoid the most commonly genetically modified foods when not eating organic. Corn & soy are at the top of the list, and almost all corn & soy products that aren’t organic ARE genetically modified (beware!)
  3. Read the labels of packaged foods carefully (or avoid eating processed foods altogether.) Corn & soy are in almost all packaged foods (in forms such as corn syrup, soy protein isolate, soybean oil, & many others) and as mentioned above, they are almost certainly genetically modified.
  4. Look for a “certified non-GMO” label at health food stores like Whole Foods – if you need help finding it, just ask a worker.

These few steps will go a long way in keeping GM foods out of your body.

If you’d like to learn more about genetically modified foods & their impact on our bodies & food supply, I highly recommend watching Food, Inc. It explains some of the issues concerning GMO’s really well (& it’s even “on demand” on Netflix), and/or you can check out

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I feel like we hear about the consequences of a stressful lifestyle a lot; it raises your risk of heart disease, lowers your immune system, & really does nothing good for you. But knowing that, at least for me, doesn’t diminish my stress level (if anything, it may raise it!)

For most of my life, I feel like I’ve been a pretty high-stress person. Not because there’s necessarily anything terribly stressful going on, but I guess I just don’t handle the every day stress of life very well or something. Little things I need to get done or remember just bounce around my head nagging at me not to forget them. And ultimately I just feel stressed out – I feel on edge, my body is usually tense, & it sucks.

For years I’ve been trying to “relax” but I just feel like I can’t, that being a little on the edge is just part of my personality or something. But at the same time I know that the Holy Spirit fills us with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness & self control.” So I wasn’t content to just settle in my old way of life when I know Jesus died to give me this abundant life!

Three weeks ago Pastor Greg talked about a certain verse at church:

“Rejoice in the Lord always… Again Rejoice… Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Phillipians 4:4-7

I’ve heard this verse so many times & it’s always meant something to me, like “that’s nice, that’s how I should be, how I need to be.” but this time it was like I finally got it! I had a breakthrough, seriously! This verse is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. I don’t want to be anxious or stressed, & I want the peace of God, which is beautifully illogical, guarding my heart & mind, everyday! And I found the key to living in His peace & presence – by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, & rejoicing in the Lord. Literally.

Since then, I’ve been specifically thankful. I thank God for things all the time (God thank You for our beautiful home. Thank You that we have plenty of healthy food. Thank You for all of Landon’s jobs & that I get to stay home with Kaden. Thank you for our car. Thank You for my camera. Thank you that I have shoes. Thank you that I can read & write. Thank you for my family…) And I ask Him to take care of my concerns. And it’s made a HUGE difference! I feel so happy & relaxed. I’m not worried, I don’t feel tense, & I’m not stressed, & I feel so close to God. And it’s AWESOME!!!

Not only have I been way happier, but my health has gotten better too. The past couple of months I’ve been feeling a tightness in my chest, like I couldn’t take a deep breath, maybe like 25% of the time. That went away completely. And for the past 8 months or so I’ve had really dry, itchy, flaky skin on my right hand. I don’t know why, but it would itch so much I would wake up scratching it on the middle of the night & it would crack & bleed. I just realized yesterday that it’s completely better! I was shocked. And I have not changed anything except my outlook on life.

I’m not saying that I’m completely free of stress now; I still start to feel that tense, stressed out feeling building at the bottom of my chest every once in a while, at the same things that have always stressed me out, but now the second I recognize it I just start telling God the things I’m thankful for that moment (clean drinking water, my iPhone, sunshine, a washing machine & dryer, air conditioning, make up, gDiapers, music, etc.) & the feeling goes away IMMEDIATELY. It is so awesome. I love it & I’m so happy, & grateful. And now that I’ve seen my life can be this way I’m never gonna stop  🙂

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Kaden’s Birth Story

One year ago today my beautiful baby boy was born! I wrote out his birth story a few months ago, & wanted to share it today in honor of his birthday  🙂

It’s more of a journal entry than anything informational, but I still thought I’d share.

(This is a birth story, so it’s about a birth; if you don’t want to hear birth details, you might not want to read.)

Kaden’s “due date” was May 9, 2010 (Mother’s Day.)

My contractions started Monday, May 17. I went to the Prime Outlet mall with mom to do some walking & for her to get clothes for her trip the next week, & then we went to Whole Foods for lunch. On the drive home I noticed some contractions, but they were so light I don’t think I would have even realized what they were if I’d been doing anything.

Tuesday May 18 I had a midwife appointment with Char Lynn & was 1 cm dilated. She said she could try to separate the membranes, I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but it ended up not working anyway. I got a herbal tincture to help start labor, & set up to make apt for Friday with an OB-GYN to be “approved” to have my baby at the birthing center, since I was more than a week overdue.

Noticeable contractions started Tuesday afternoon. I used an iPhone app to time them, which made it very easy.

I did LOTS of walking Tues-Thurs in Artisan Park with mom & dad. It was nice in the evenings but really hot during the day. We got one of those little spray bottles with a fan which helped some.

The whole time I really didn’t feel sick of being pregnant like I hear some people say, I just knew that I did NOT want to have him in a hospital, & if I went too far overdue Florida state laws require that, so I felt pressed for time in that sense.

I took the herbal tincture Tuesday & Wednesday, every hour for 6 hours or whatever the bottle said, until Wednesday I started to feel dizzy. Then I called Char Lynn & she said to stop them, that the alcohol in them was too much for me or something like that.

Mom & I went to Jenna’s to visit while walking on Tuesday at 8:40 pm & Thursday at 8 pm. Tuesday was fun, but Thursday I just felt uncomfortable, I was having such hard contractions. They stayed about 7-8 minutes apart when I wasn’t walking, 2-5 minutes when I was.

Thursday the midwife on call switched from Char Lynn to Marianne.

Thursday night/Friday morning at 2 am I woke up shaking, Landon called Marianne who said we should come to the birth center. The drive there was the only time I listened to music while in labor. There were police outside for the Ally Gator bar, which we thought was strange. I was 2 cm dilated but she wanted to keep me there to monitor me, so we went to sleep. It was a hard bed & I timed contractions all night, & was up for the bathroom a lot.

In the morning we drove to New Port Richie to see the OB-GYN, I was extremely uncomfortable in the car.

We got there, did paperwork, a non-stress test, ultrasound, & listened to scare tactics – risk of still birth, shoulder discotia, that I was too small for 9 lb baby, & might need C-section, etc.

She said I could try Castor Oil for induction. I was 3 cm dilated, & it was extremely uncomfortable when she checked my dilation. I realize now that she probably separated my membranes without bothering to ask or tell me, which ticks me off, but she gave me until Sunday May 23rd to have my baby out of a hospital, which accomplished why I went there.

I had a whole wheat bagel & black cherry smoothie from Panera for lunch on the drive back to the birth center. Once we got there we watched High School Musical 3, & then decided to go home to sleep in our own bed.

Mom, Dad, & Faith came over & brought us dinner, I don’t remember what because I didn’t eat it. I was having very hard contractions & was still shaking since that morning.

I sent Landon to Publix for sweet potatoes because I didn’t want to eat anything else, but he forgot to get them & came back with Silly Bandz instead (funny now, not then.) He also went to Walgreens to get Castor Oil for the next day.

I laid in a hot bath a lot that evening to keep from shaking, & I just felt better in there.

Landon called Marianne to see if she had any suggestions & she said I could try a little (4 oz.) wine to stop the shaking so I could hopefully sleep.  Landon went back out for wine, bought Strawberry Wine at Mobil, & ironically ran into youth kids while buying it.

I drank 4 oz wine, (my first drink ever, besides Communion at Grandma’s church) but threw it up immediately.

Tried again a little later, slept a little. I ended up awake most of night though, with just a little sleep in bathtub for about an hour or two.

Saturday May 22 I got up around 8 am, my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. At that point I felt like this couldn’t possibly last much longer.

After talking with Marianne that morning we decided to skip castor oil because she was concerned the effects on my body would be too exhausting when I was already so sleep deprived.

Initially I thought I just wanted Landon there when the baby was born, but I decided the night before that I wanted my parents to be at the birth center too, so Mom & Dad came over at 9 am, & we drove there in van.

Once we got to the birth center, I sat on birthing ball, & rocked against table & wall to help baby drop or something. Deep breathing really helped during contractions, & rubbing my own back did too. I had been having really bad back labor the whole time, & didn’t like anyone else rubbing it because they just couldn’t do it like I wanted at the time & it was too much work to try to tell them.

They kept forcing me to eat. I did not feel like it at all, but I had dry Cheerios out of a ziplock bag & some vitamin water.

My water broke around 11 am, mom heard a “pop” & asked, & I realized that it felt like I wet my pants so it must have broke. It was a pretty small amount of fluid. Marianne did some kind of test on it to confirm that it was my water that broke. I was 8 cm dilated then.

I got in bathtub after that, which helped a lot. Landon kept me company in there, because as usual I didn’t like to be alone.

(Mom & dad were in the living room watching a Star Wars marathon on Spike on a tv with no sound all day.)

I had one super long contraction (5-10 minutes) & called Marianne in. She said that a lot of times the final contraction is extra long, so I got out of tub & started to push – standing, birthing chair, hands & knees, etc. but nothing worked. When I started pushing (noon) I asked how long it would take & Marianne said usually a few minutes to an hour or two. I find that funny now.

Charlie had gotten there while I was in the tub. I was glad she was going to be my birth assistant because I felt like she would be on the same page as me for the most natural birth possible, and I knew her better than anyone else because she had taught all the labor & delivery classes.

I did lots & lots of pushing. I was almost falling asleep in between contractions, I was so exhausted from not sleeping the 2 nights before.

Marianne talked about having to transfer to a hospital if I didn’t make progress in the next hour around 4 pm, but I did not want that. After all I’d been through already there was no way I was going to get a C-section now.

Kaden was posterior, which I guess is why I was in labor for so long, had such bad back labor, & pushed for so long.

Marianne helped coach me a lot with the pushing. I think she wanted me to be more confident in myself & do what my body felt like but I just was not feeling that confident in myself. Next time I’ll know what it’s like so I think it would be easier to trust my instincts, but I’m glad she & Charlie & Landon were there to be confident for me. Their saying that I was doing it right and that I could do it really helped me get through everything.

I had to use catheter, which was not pleasant, but it was also not as bad as Charlie made it sound in Labor & Delivery classes.

They forced me to drink water, vitamin water, eat peanut butter, & honey. I didn’t especially want to at the time, but I needed it. I don’t think I was especially moody or anything, but I do remember getting mad at Landon for eating around me.

Hours later we were still pushing. When they got a mirror for me to be able to see the progress it made me push much more effectively. Once he was down far enough that I could feel top of his head, it felt much more real that he was really coming. The “Ring of Fire” thing when the baby crowns is real, but I didn’t really care at that point, and the hot compresses definitely helped.

Charlie was checking Kaden’s heartbeat pretty frequently. They said they were impressed with how strong we both were.

At one point I think they had me not push for a contraction, & then Kaden turned the right direction (from posterior to anterior) on his own. After that he was born pretty quickly.

Once his head was out it just took another push.

Marianne said “now pick up your baby” so I did. That was the most incredible feeling in the world. I’ve never been so happy and so relieved in my life! He was so beautiful & perfect, not “ugly newborn” at all. His little eyes were so big & wondrous, & his hands were so tiny & sweet & just everything about him was completely precious. He was born at 9:01 pm. The second I held him everything we’d been through all week was completely worth it.

I was surprised how big he seemed, he wasn’t how I imagined a newborn. He had a lot of hair & it looked like a faux-hawk right away, which was funny, although they put a hat on him so you couldn’t see it anyway. Mom said he had a pretty pointy head at first, but I didn’t notice.

They gave me a shot of Pitocin in my leg after he was born, because they were concerned about me bleeding too much or something. I didn’t really care about that either then.

Dad went to get us Subway. I was glad that we ended up having mom & dad there in the living room because it was nice to have them keep everyone updated through texting, & run & get us food (& pray for us!) Also I just felt more comfortable since Landon was still not feeling 100% from being sick, that if he had needed to rest or something they would have been there. I think it was special for them too, to get to see Kaden right after he was born.

Sometime shortly after Kaden was born (maybe 15-30 minutes?) he stopped breathing. That was scary, but I didn’t really freak out or anything. I just didn’t think God wasn’t going to let anything happen to him. Marianne seemed a little shook up by it. That’s when they cut the umbilical cord, so she could rub his back & use the little tube sucker thing (later learned it was a De Lee suction) to get stuff out of his lungs.

They weighed him maybe an hour later & he was 8 lbs. 15 oz. He’d already pooped twice so they said he was definitely 9+ at birth.

I was able to nurse Kaden pretty soon after he was born. I had been a little nervous about breastfeeding, since it was obviously something I’d never done before, but it really felt very natural. Charlie helped with how to hold him & make sure he was latched on correctly, which helped me feel more confident too.

I ate my Subway but they made me have some chicken broth first. They also made me have juice & yogurt & take a shower. The shower was nice, but Charlie wouldn’t let me shave my legs. I couldn’t believe how swollen I was, no one warned me about that (but I guess 9 hours of pushing can do that to you.) And my stomach was all stretched out, which I didn’t really like, but didn’t especially care then either.

I made Landon video tape the birthing center before we went home, while I was holding Kaden on the couch.

I said goodbye to Charlie & told her I was glad she & Marianne were the team I got. She said any other midwife would have probably made me transfer to a hospital, so then I was even more glad!

We left for home around 1 am, and I was so tired. I could not believe I’d just done that. The Ally Gator bar next door was packed, police & all. Kinda creepy, but once again, I really didn’t care then. I was just so tired & so happy & so relieved.

My Thoughts afterwards:

I think I started pushing a couple hours too early. I didn’t know then, but I definitely wasn’t having pushing contractions when I started, for at least probably the first hour.

Next time I think less walking while in labor would be better, so I could save more energy. It was very draining. More walking during pregnancy, but less during labor.

Less rigid timing contractions would be okay too. Especially throughout the night.

The bath tub was a HUGE help. Will do again.

Anything to possibly help avoid a posterior labor would be worth trying.

For some reason, I think I’d gathered from somethings I read maybe, I thought that when I went into labor I wouldn’t be able to think clearly or remember what I wanted & didn’t want, but that was definitely not the case. I could think & remember fine, it was just like I was working really hard, like a really tough workout.

I wasn’t planning on “catching” my own baby, but I’m glad I got to. It was very special to be the first person ever to hold him

So there is Kaden’s birth story!  It’s pretty long, but I guess that’s appropriate for a 102 hour labor!

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