Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jarro-Dophilus Probiotic {Review}

I've spent the last 5 years since finding out our oldest daughter is severely gluten intolerant, learning about the importance of gut health. I've read and researched, and researched and read some more. We've tried various ways to improve our overall health, but I knew I specifically wanted to focus on gut health. I remember as a kid my mom giving me probiotics, and then somewhere along the way I got out of the habit. Gut health became important to me again once I knew I wanted to do whatever it was to help my daughter.

Probiotics became my number one way to be proactive in our health.

A month ago I was given a chance to review Jarro-Dophilus Women probiotics. In all my research on probiotics, I knew that Jarrow was a good company, but I wanted to see for myself if I liked it. Jarro-Dophilus is the only women's multi-strain probiotic comprised solely of vaginally-derived strains vs. intestinally derived strains. As luck (or fate) would have it, I needed a probiotic specifically for this use. After a month of consistent use taking the suggested maintenance of one capsule per day, I can honestly say that these probiotics are wonderful, and they do work!

One of the things I liked best about this particular probiotic is that it contains four strains called the Astarte strains that are found in the vaginal track of women. Sorry for any men currently reading my blog, but as women let's be honest and talk about how at certain times in our lives, we need a probiotic that specifically targets a healthy vaginal environment (yes, I really just wrote those words on my blog post).

I also really appreciated the fact that no refrigeration is necessary. Another bonus was that the capsule they are encased in is EnteroGuard which is a food-grade, ph-sensitive coating that resists stomach acid and disintegrates in the less acidic pH of the upper intestines ensuring that nearly 100% of the probiotics pass through the stomach unharmed and are released into the intestines intact and read to act.

If you are looking for a good probiotic to use, I highly suggest using Jarro-Dophilus. In addition to the women probiotics, I also received Jarro-Dophilus infant drops, Yum-Yum Dophilus Chewables, and Fem-Dophilus.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet ( to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

In The Blink of an Eye {Happy 7th Birthday Xiomara}

Happy 7th birthday to our creative, energetic, loving, joyful, and amazing gymnast Xiomara Marie!

And just like that you are 7! It seems like yesterday we had our last phone call with your birthmama on July 5th, and she told me you were moving around a ton during fireworks on the 4th and that she woke up that morning thinking you had dropped. You weren't supposed to come until August 9th, our anniversary, but instead you came 5 weeks early. Our tiniest baby, and the sweetest gift we ever received. I can't explain it, and I probably never will be able to, but the moment your birthmama placed you in my arms, I fell so deeply in love with you. Your birthmama was brave, and strong, and I'll never forget or stop telling you about the love she had for you. If she were here today sweet girl, she would want you to know how loved you are.

That tiny preemie has grown into a strong, muscular, little girl. I have mixed feelings about measuring your height this year for your birthday, because I can tell you have grown. And if you've grown, that means you are getting further and further away from being my baby girl. As much as I would go back in an instant to those little sweet, gummy smiles, and snuggles while wrapped up close to me, I've really enjoyed watching you grow into the beautiful little girl you are.

This year you were a kindergartner. We didn't send you to school, but instead you stayed home to do school with mama while your sisters went to school. This was a huge change for you, and I'm not sure you liked it one bit. Ever the extrovert, you about died when your introvert mama just wanted to stay home day after day. It took us quite awhile to get into a rhythm where I felt like I got a little break during the day, and you figured out how to play by yourself when not doing school. As for school itself, you loved it! You are smart, and a quick learner. You hated working on your handwriting, but you may have the best handwriting of anyone in our family. You started reading just a bit and you were so proud of yourself for getting each word.

Your real love however, is gymnastics. We are quite certain that you live, breathe, and practically eat gymnastics. You are constantly asking me to watch, take a video, or a picture of your new gymnastics routine. You have a whole drawer full of leos, from play ones, to around the house only ones, to competition leos. You entered competitive gymnastics for the first time ever this year and you loved it. You also kept getting gold medals (along with a few silver and bronze). You went to state gymnastics meet, and while you didn't get a gold medal like you thought you would, you did learn a ton and you had fun. You are crazy talented and we are so proud of you. We've had two different coaches tell us that if you wanted to (and we had the time and money), you could work towards the Olympics. That is still your dream, and while daunting as your parents, we pray that if that is what God has for you, He will clear the path to get there.

Other than your love of gymnastics, two other things always stick out to me when I think of you. One, you love animals! You still tell me that after you are done with the Olympics, you will be a vet. I think that sounds like something you would do very well at. You are kind, gentle, and very good with every animal, but your favorite is Winter our cat. The second thing I've noticed this past year is your creativity. Oh, it can get you in trouble when you cut that skirt into a thousand pieces to make a bikini, or take a hamper lid to create a steering wheel for a car, or you dig in your sisters things to create something, but your creativity never ceases to amaze me. Seriously, daily I'm amazed at the things you create out of nothing (or you know something you aren't supposed to use). By the way, you don't know this yet, but daddy decided to buy you a big roll of tape for your birthday so you stop using ours. He thinks it will be your favorite gift, so you can just create and create some more.

This morning you caught me crying. You said, "Mama are you sad because I'm growing up?". When I told you I was, you came and gave me a big hug! That is the kind of girl you are. You are bursting with energy, and full of joy, but always you show empathy and love. It's a good trait to have baby girl. I pray you never lose that spark, but instead that you use it for good, and that your love shines bright wherever God may lead you in this next year.

In the blink of an eye you turned 7. I love you my sweet girl! As I watched you nap this afternoon, I marveled at your long eyelashes, and curly hair, and once again thanked God for you. You are such a treasure and gift from God. 7 years ago I had no idea how perfectly you would fit into my heart, and I into yours. That your joy was exactly what was missing from our family. That your passion for life was just what we all needed. You are so loved! Happy 7th birthday!

Friday, May 19, 2017

And Then You Were 8 {Happy 8th Birthday Meridian}

Happy 8th Birthday to our sweet with a bit of stubborn, quiet, dancer, love bug, and dreamer Meridian Piper!

I can hardly believe today you are 8! I just keep thinking back to three year old Meridian, with a head full of ringlet curls, always off doing your own thing. Dancing to your own beat even then, playing by yourself, a little dare devil that always kept me on my toes, and doing it all with your sweet little smile. Not much has changed since then, although you aren't much of a dare devil now. But man did you used to scare me as you climbed things you shouldn't, and got into more things than I ever thought possible!

Today those ringlet curls have grown longer, and your fine, curly hair tends to knot up if left alone for even a day. You like to have mama sometimes brush it, but mostly you love to have it braided, and in this house, we all know daddy is the best braider. You have the most unique not quite green, but not quite blue eyes, framed with gorgeous envy-inducing eye lashes. You are beautiful in that take-your-breath-away type of beautiful, and yet you seem to be clueless about how beautiful you are. While your beauty shines on the outside, it is your sweet, humble heart that outshines it all.

This year you went to school for the first time. For the first few weeks you would come home from school mad. You were tired, you were overwhelmed, and you missed your mama. But for you, mad never lasts long and while we see glimpses of stubborn, the sweetness always dominates. This year in school you learned to read. It has been perhaps your greatest challenge, but you are reading. You love math, and anything with art so you can design and dream.

After being in gymnastics last year you decided you maybe didn't want to do that anymore and instead you wanted to be a dancer. You make a beautiful dancer! While I still don't hear much about your dance classes, I catch you from time to time quietly working on your different dance positions. The sweetest is when you put on your little play tutu and dance your way around the house as if no one is watching. You once again were in choir and while you love to sing, I still think you like to be the director more as every concert your mouth barely moves, while your little hands direct at your sides. It makes us giggle every single time we watch you. While you hate practicing piano, you actually love to play and you are a very quick learner.

Everything you do just oozes sweetness. You are often busy in your own world, and I wish I could just get a glimpse of the thoughts going on in your mind. You are quiet, and the perfect balance that I needed between your two spunky sisters. You love to play with Legos and spend hours creating them, sometimes using the instructions, sometimes not, and most of that time we would hardly know you are here. When not playing Legos, you love to play outside with your sisters. It seems like both girls gravitate towards you because you are the calm. I smile every time I hear your little sister say, "Hey Rinnie, want to go play outside with me?". Swimming is a favorite of yours, and often you are the last one out of the pool in a day.

A little snuggler, you seek me out multiple times during the day just to get a hug or give me a kiss. You still love to crawl into our bed sometime in the middle of the night, and I don't have the heart to ever tell you no because this time with you is so short, and before I know it you will think it was weird you ever snuggled between us. Sweet Rinnie Roo, you may be your daddy's little girl, but man have you captivated my heart. We are pretty much different in every single way (except you look just like mama's side of the family just with blonde hair), but I can't help but just love you for who you are. Your little crinkle in your nose when you smile, the way you whisper to yourself as you play, how you always blow me a kiss from your bed every night as I'm leaving your room. Our whole family adores you Miss Meridian.

This morning, I woke up early and at exactly 5:56 a.m., the time of your birth, I looked at the clock and whispered, "And then you were 8, Happy Birthday Rinnie Roo." it's gone faster than I ever thought possible, and so many of my memories are fuzzy from parenting three girls under three. Even many of my pictures of you have one or both of your sisters in it. I pray you never feel like you didn't matter as Meridian in the middle, but instead, I pray you realize how precious you are to us and your sisters. You are the sticky, sweet honey that this whole family needed before we ever realized we needed you, and I thank God every single day that He gave me the privilege of calling you daughter.

I pray as you go into your 8th year you realize what a treasure you are. That you would never feel less than because you are quieter than those around you, but instead that you would know how treasured you are and that being the listener and peacemaker is a gift that draws people to you. Happy 8th birthday!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

10 Years Of Loving You {Happy 10th Birthday Zoelle}

Happy 10th birthday to our ever inquisitive, always talking, piano playing, gymnastics loving, and heart of gold Zoelle Grace.

I've spent 10 years loving you! 10! Today you are double digits. I can hardly believe the girl whose doctor's once told me weren't sure what was going to happen with her heart (with the 3 holes as you like to remind me), is now 10. The girl who could talk in complete sentences at 9 months old, and read fluently at age 3. The one who would go on walks with me everyday and we would watch the scary snort (bulldozer) work on construction sites. The one who couldn't wait to do school with me at home. The one who cried to leave me on her first day of school, and cried on her last saying goodbye to her teacher. Now on the brink of teenage years, but still a little girl.

Sometimes I stare at you with that blonde hair that much to your chagrin just keeps getting curlier (which much to my chagrin you comb those curls out), and those blue eyes the color of the sky, with that sprinkling of freckles placed perfectly across your nose, and I'm in awe. You, perfect you, came from me. You are stunning! As beautiful as you are on the outside, your inside is where your heart of gold is. You care for those who are hurting. Your teachers all tell me if only they had 25 Zoelle's in their classroom, their classrooms would be full of polite, smart, well-behaved, and kind children. Maybe they tell this to all the parents, but I'll just go on believing you are special. Mainly because I know you really are.

You are smart! I'm amazed at everything you know, and how you have a constant thirst to know more. Reading is a love, and I can't seem to ever find a book you haven't read. Probably because most times I look at you, you are reading. When you aren't reading you are playing piano. Always working ahead in your piano books, practically teaching yourself your lessons from week to week. You love to sing and you have a beautiful crystal clear voice. Every once in awhile I catch you practicing violin. It's not that you don't like it, it's just that you took a few years of lessons before joining orchestra and so orchestra seems pretty easy right now. And if there is anything I know about you, it's that you like things that challenge you.

You are athletic! Your love of gymnastics has grown over the year as you entered into a new season of competitive gymnastics. To watch you pour your entire heart, and all your energy into gymnastics was a beautiful thing. I know it's hard sometimes having a younger sister who has a talent in something you love, but Z, I was proud of you! You got over your fears, and you worked amazingly hard at something that didn't come naturally to you.

Everything you do has to be done with your whole heart. It's where your intensity for life is used for good. I know you can't see it yet, but He really does have the best plans for you. I watched it play out 10 years ago when He provided the best doctor to give oxygen to your broken heart right after you were born. You are a complete miracle. Try telling me God won't use your intensity for good, and I will never believe it. He has great plans for you!

You gave me the name Mama, and these past 10 years watching you grow has been the greatest honor of my life. I love you more than you could possibly understand. I know both of us with our intense personalities challenge one another and get on each other's nerves, but I adore you ZoZo. I can already tell that when you are grown, you will be one of my closest friends.

My sweet girl please keep snuggling your mama from time to time. Keep laughing because you have the best laugh of anyone I know. Keep knowing your value comes not in what you accomplish, but who you are in Him.

As you go to sleep today on the eve of your 10th birthday, I'll do what I've done since you were a baby, play with your hair. I can picture you in my arms rocking you to sleep as a baby. I would take my hand and rub it over and over your almost non-existent hair. Over the years, your little hand would reach up, and play with mine. And now it's become our nightly ritual, you come to me and say, "Can I play with your hair before I go to sleep?" and I say, "Only if I can play with yours." and without fail it brings a smile to your face every single time. I hope you never stop asking to play with my hair, and that you never stop letting me play with yours.

I love you girlie! I've spent 10 years loving you, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life loving you. You are a delight and a joy to me every single day. I pray this birthday is a beautiful one, and that you live this next year realizing how very precious you are! Happy 10th birthday!