“Mommy, if a friend comes to my house and brings M&M’s and shares them with me, I’ll just say, ‘no, thanks. I can’t have those.’”
Being different is tough. I’ve been paying a lot more attention to differences now that Finn is in school and his food allergies come into play more often. While I’m often glad he’s not eating chocolate teddy bears or goldfish or drinking chocolate milk at 10a, I’m also sad he’s different. He doesn’t seem to mind or care that he eats something different from the other kids. In fact, he’s incredibly self-aware, telling me what the others kids ate and letting me know it “had dairy and would make me scratchy and sick.” Even still, as all parents know, you never want your child to be different, to be left out, to be the exception to the rule.
My mom sent me an email when Finn first started school of which I’m often reminded. She is a retired school teacher and saw many children with food allergies. She reassured me that the other kids would start to understand his allergies, stand up for him and perhaps even become a little mother hen over him.
There are a few little girls Finn talks frequently about. Sometimes I wonder if these are the girls who have been or who will be that little food fairy to Finn.
Maybe it’s being a mom, maybe it’s food allergy awareness, maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but I pay more attention to people’s differences now. Differences I once would have thought to be strange, things I sadly would have judged, are now what I think is the best part about a person.
I think about my friend growing up with the birth mark on her cheek, the guy in my high school who used a walker, an old friend who was color blind, a former colleague who stuttered when nervous. Those differences don’t phase me now, they simply remind me how great it is to be different, how boring it would be if we all looked and talked the same, if we all believed the same.
I hope we can all embrace our differences and the differences of others like kids with food allergies do so well. I know not every day will be easy for Finn. I know there will come a day when some insensitive little one will say something to Finn about food that will make my head explode, but I already know how Finn will react. His character is far better than mine.
Finn’s food allergies are one of the best parts about him. Not because of the actual allergy, but because he knows what it’s like to be different. As a result, I hope, he’ll never let the “different” child in his class or at his school feel different in his presence.
I’m thankful for my incredible son, the one who teaches me it’s okay to be different and 100% normal all at the same time. I’m thankful for the kindness of our friends and family who keep Finn in mind when planning activities and meals. I’m thankful for this generation of food allergy kids, because I believe they just might change the world in ways we never expected!
Earlier this year I asked readers to submit their allergy and health story. Your stories are incredible. You have been on amazing journeys and I’m so thrilled to share them with other readers. I’m more convinced than ever that we are in this together and can gain incredible insight from others.
I’m really excited to share today’s health story with you all as we’re featuring my dear friend, April. April was one of my first true friends in Iowa. We met in 2003 and have been friends ever since. Here we are back in 2004. Don’t ask.
April is one of those infectious, lovable, laugh-out-loud friends. To give you a little feel for how joy-contagious she is, check out this video of her and me, just weeks before I had Finn (2009). We were watching the Beyonce clown video (please tell me you’ve seen it?) and secretly being recorded by good ol’ Justin! Needless to say, her laugh (scratch that, her cackle) just makes you want to laugh, too, right?!
She’s been on a journey that is so inspiring and incredible, it might just make you believe you can do anything, too. Follow her. Learn from her. Hire her, if you can! I’m so amazed by her hard work and commitment to her body and her health, her commitment to all that she is worth. Meet my sweet friend, April…
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I was 30 years old and 320 pounds. Pretty much any movement could get me out of breath. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t immobile or isolated. In fact, I was fully involved in life. I had great relationships. I could entertain the best of them with my loudness and humor. But one day working at the elementary school a kid said to me “I like you best because you remind me of my big fat teddy bear. He doesn’t do anything but he is the best to hug.” Was this it? Was this my destiny? Inactive but great to hug?
Everyone has weight – wounds, stress and worries that manifest themselves in all sorts of coping skills. Mine just happened to show on my body. Food was expression. It was happiness, sadness and all things in between. It wasn’t one specific thing for me. I was born heavy to a poor unwed mom who fed me almost as a declaration that I would never go without. Her guilt in leaving me for work each day was repaired by an exchange of a Hershey bar as I grew and grew.
“So how did you lose 150 pounds?” I’m asked by people who curiously lean in waiting for the magic formula. I tell them the truth: I wondered what would happen if I didn’t eat when I felt strong emotion. I stopped drinking soda and fast food. I began to walk, very slowly and in short distances at first, but consistently every single day like it was my job.
Eating right and moving my body were key but I will tell you the secret that has allowed me to maintain my weight loss as I now continue my 7th year on this journey. I dealt with my junk. You know, the junk that makes me want to eat. The binges when I’m lonely, the happy group gorging at the buffet, the candy shoveling when I feel abandoned, the fatty grease when my heart has been annihilated. For 30 years food controlled me, defined me, expressed what I could not say out loud nor even admit to myself. And sooner or later it had to be reckoned with or it would kill me.
In my opinion, all the sweat and pain in the body pales in comparison to the gut wrenching work of facing yourself. Having to look at my body and see what I had done to it with compassion, not disdain, was a huge challenge. Learning to nurture myself with love while also maintaining discipline to have a consistent workout and diet is perhaps the stuff miracles are made of. And a lack of this is why so many may be successful for a while, and then the weight creeps back on. It’s only very rare situations where someone can manage long-term diet and workouts without actually facing their hearts in the mirror.
Weight isn’t just physical. Losing isn’t just on the scale. Transformation isn’t without labor pains of rebirth.
As I work with my clients, this is where we begin. Food memories, attachments, secret habits, patterns, addictions. We dig through the stagnant places, the shame, the guilt and when those things stop being so heavy, most of the time they do, too. April Hauck is a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, 12 min mile runner, awkward yogi, loud cackler, voracious reader, life coach and fiercely loyal friend. She declares she has been ruined by Portland, Oregon, for any other city due to the rain, weirdness and her current passionate love affair with her gym. Her clients sometimes call her “El Diablo” but mostly speak of her with great affection. Good thing the love is mutual! Her training style mixes life coaching and physical workouts in a private small studio as she believes it is a mind, body and soul experience. She encourages pride and bragging in her clients because good self-esteem is always her goal. She also does long-distance life coaching and shares her positive encouragement on her facebook page “Finding Little Bits of Joy.“
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Inspired by April’s story or have a note to share with her? Leave it in the comments section.
Are you interested in sharing your story or learning more about being featured? Check out this post and email your information. Your story is important! I can’t wait to hear from you!
I used to always believe Finn and I had really sensitive skin… and we do, but I think it’s just sensitive to all the weird ingredients in many products. So, I’m reclaiming our skin as NORMAL Once I changed to cleaner products without all the crazy parabens and chemicals, my skin was this new wonderful being. The Honest Company and a few other products helped us reclaim Finn’s skin as “normal,” too!
I’d heard a lot of chatter about The Honest Company and decided to test their products. What I love about these products is the list of ingredients commonly found in conventional products that were simply non-existent. Why would I want to put these chemicals on my family in the first place? And (gulp) how long have I been putting God-knows-what on myself and my kids? It’s truly criminal what some companies claim of their products, especially ones marketed for children, that are simply not true. Many of those products contain the ingredients listed here:
While we have not tried every product from The Honest Company, we have tried a small handful. I want to share today what we loved, what we liked and what we were indifferent to:
Honest Hand Soap: If you could put the word LOVE into a smell, it would be this Lemongrass hand soap. I’m quite sure the Lavender and Mandarin are magnificent, but I didn’t try those so I can’t speak to them. What I can speak to is the fact that I would smell my son’s hands when he left the bathroom and smell my own hands after washing just to soak in the Lemongrass scent. It’s so pleasant and calming. That said, I’m not in love with the fact that there is no bulk refill available (I asked), but I am in love with the smell and the fact that neither the kids nor I had overly dry hands after using this soap, which is key in the winter.
Honest Shampoo & Body Wash: I started using this on Evie when she was pretty young and now associate this scent with her. So to me, it smells like yummy baby! The other night Finn got some in his eyes. He didn’t panic, he didn’t scream. We washed it right out and he was fine. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of soaps where the same story would be told.
Honest Face & Body Lotion: This is a great medium-weight lotion. It’s not greasy or runny, and it’s not too thick. We only use this on Evie as I think the scent is a little more girly. It glides on easily and quickly absorbs. I use the remainder on my arms and love the feel and smell.
Honest Healing Balm: When I first purchased this balm, we were past the baby “red rash buns” stage, so I never had this during a major diaper rash (which I used coconut oil and tea tree oil to heal). I do use this now after Evie’s gone poop. It can be used for diaper rash, irritated skin, minor cuts and eczema. I’ve read of people using this to help heal new tattoos and to help irritated skin after surgeries. Lots of different uses and a little goes a long way!
Honest Kid’s Toothpaste: There is only one other natural toothpaste Finn will use. We’ve tried a variety of products and every time he scoffed, wrinkled his nose and turned his head. This is the only toothpaste Evie has used. She hands me the toothbrush back gesturing, “more sweet strawberry taste, please!” The fact that Finn didn’t even blink when I gave this to him instead of his usual paste is incredible.
Honest Bug Spray: I had good intentions last summer of making my own bug spray, but – low and behold – it just never happened. This is the first and only natural bug spray I’ve tried. I was looking for a spray that didn’t include DEET and formaldehyde, so this seemed like a win. We’ve only used it twice, but it worked like a charm both times AND Finn didn’t run from me when I started spraying. That’s big. If I ever get around to making my own, I won’t buy more, but let’s get real… once this spray is gone I will likely be purchasing more!
Honest Laundry Detergent: The scent is so subtle, but it’s there… and I love that! Since Finn was born I’ve been using a Free & Clear detergent for everyone in the family. That said, I really miss the smell of fresh laundry. When we get hand-me-downs, I usually want to bathe in the clothes and ingest that fresh laundered smell. The scent of this detergent isn’t overpowering, it’s quite light and lovely. However, it is more expensive than other brands I buy, so unless there’s a super sale (which I’ve been in on once), this isn’t something I’d re-order. (Note: If you’re purchasing a bundle, which I’ll mention later, this is worth including in the order.)
Honest Laundry Pods: I can’t decide what I think about these. I love them and I’m indifferent at the same time – is that even possible? I really liked that on a busy morning I was able to throw the pod into the washer basin and not worry about measuring liquid; however the water doesn’t get very sudsy. I know suds doesn’t mean it will clean well, but my brain still equates the two. If these could magically fold my laundry, I’d be in 100%!
Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner: I like this! It works. It doesn’t make my nose burn when using and it cleans nicely. I’ve made my own cleaner in the past and it works just as well. If you make your own and like it, keep making it. If you are looking for a ‘clean’ surface cleaner for purchase, this is a great option. There are an assortment of other cleaning products to choose from, as well.
One way to try the products and get a feel for what you like best is through the Honest Family Essentials Bundle. You can choose which 5 products to order (at a discount) and get a 25% discount on 3 additional items. These options also make great gift ideas. The shipment normally resends every 4-6 weeks, but after my last one arrived I realized we were just at capacity! I called and they happily moved it back almost 3 months for me without any hassle. So helpful!
You do need to register before you make a purchase. <<<< —– Use this link to register and receive $10 off your first order. (The $10 coupon can be used toward a $25 minimum purchase and can’t be used on the trial memberships.)
Have you tried any products from The Honest Company? What have you liked or loved? If you do purchase anything, please let me know what and your thoughts!
The world encourages a certain way of life for our kids. Lazy bodies, chemically laden nutrition, and poor manners. I'm a mom on a mission to teach my kids more. This is my journey in raising happy, healthy, organically-grown kids. Read more...