May 31, 2023

We use to drive down to Mankato every year to see the bison herd but now the animals are much closer. Spring Lake Park Reserve has a small herd right now but there are plans to increase that number up to 500. This year a few babies were born so they are slowly working on that goal. It was wonderful to see them out there basking in the sun with their babies. 

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May 29, 2023

A few years ago my daughter kept begging me to make a batch of soap for Pride month so I finally did it. I was surprised at what a hit it was with all of her friends so I've made a batch every year since.  This year I'll have my rainbow soaps available at the Riverwalk Market Fair on June 24th. I used one of my favorite summer fragrances for the scent; pineapple papaya. 

Hope to see you there! 🌈

Note: the proceeds will be donated to OutFront Minnesota

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May 28, 2023

After our really sad fawning season last spring I wasn't looking forward to babies this year. It's hard not to worry knowing how many people continue to let their dogs run off leash and chase the deer, but deer fawns warm my heart each time I see them. Yesterday after we got home from Northfield I sat on the deck to eat my lunch and I heard that familiar cry reverberate across my back yard. My heart instantly went into my stomach until I looked up and saw a doe on the other side of the fence. She clearly had parked her baby, as they usually do, in my yard when she went out to eat and just returned home but from the wrong direction. She was panicking to get onto our side so she could feed her baby but my neighbor attached several feet of chicken wire to the top of my fence, extending the height to about 7-8 feet. Mom was desperately pacing back and forth trying to figure out how to get over it so she did what any devoted mother would do, she tore right through it. It was quite the sight. It almost looked like she was going to lose her back legs but she made it. That had to hurt!! She went to feed baby and then suddenly there were more cries from the complete opposite side of the fence. Mom parked second fawn in another yard so she made that one wait while she fed fawn #1 and then once done she made her way over to fawn #2. 

So here is my first fawn photo of spring 2023. It's a little blurry because I rushed to take the shot before they ran out. 

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May 27, 2023

The weather couldn't have been better for selling at the Riverwalk Market today. It was a sunny 80 degree day with a light breeze and lots of people walking about. 

To stay on brand my daughter Maya chose to dress as a fairy this time. As a professional artist she loves to get into costume every once in a while and this seemed to be the perfect venue for it. She's my little assistant soap pixie 😁

It was great chatting with customers and their children. We had a lot of kids visit our booth this time which was fun. They are always a joy to interact with and it makes me happy to see how much they love my uniquely designed soaps. 

We won't be back at the market next Saturday but we'll be there again on June 10th and every other Saturday after that. Next time I'll have Pride month soaps and some really cute cupcake soaps so come out and see us if you get a chance! 

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May 22, 2023

Come see us at the Northfield Riverwalk Market every other weekend starting May 27th. We'll be there selling our soaps and some other goodies. You shouldn't be able to miss us, our table is bright pink and my daughter will be dressed as a fairy. We hope to see you there!

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The only sign that I’ve not been well to most people is how thin I am. Some have even questioned whether my weight loss is deliberate, that maybe I mask it by claiming I have a chronic undiagnosed health condition but in reality I am choosing to starve myself. One time someone even questioned why I was counting the number of grapes I was allowing myself to eat. When I explained that eating more than 10 caused me to bloat and suffer severe abdominal pain and reflux she raised her eyebrows and rolled her eyes. That was insulting, especially because it took me months to figure out how many grapes I could actually have without harming myself.

I thought my health problems started in 2018 but for the doctor I am seeing tomorrow I’ve had to examine my entire life going back to birth. It’s clear to me now that something has been wrong with my body since childhood. I reacted to foods as far back as I can remember. First it was tomatoes. I’d develop welts any time the juice would touch my skin. Then peas made me vomit, pineapple gave me hives. The pediatrician pulled red dye from my diet because it too made me ill. Then came the swollen spleen when I was 8 yrs old. Doctors struggled to figure out why my spleen was enlarged. I had to endure multiple tests to see if I had leukemia or some other disease and stay out of contact sports, then as quickly as the problem appeared it was gone by the time I reached junior high school, only to reappear in 2018.

There has been quite of bit of strange digestive issues and allergic reactions in between my childhood and today that I always considered normal but realize now they weren’t. Like my allergy to Potbelly’s restaurant. I had no trouble eating there several times and then one day my eyes started to itch and my nose plugged up so I had to leave. Once I was away from the restaurant the symptoms resolved. It happened two more times but it was the third time I came very close to an anaphylactic reaction. Eyes swelled, nose plugged up, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Leaving didn’t improve things so I had to take multiple Benadryl to calm my system down. I couldn’t figure it out. Was it the food or the establishment? The first couple times just leaving helped relieve symptoms but the last time I needed medicine. I no longer go there and just tossed off the experience to Potbelly’s and I not being a good mix. 

My health decline in 2018 became something I couldn’t just “toss off” though because I could have died. This is something friends, family and doctors have never really understood. Only if you’ve experienced what it’s like to waste away, be in chronic pain, along with multiple other crazy symptoms and be told over and over again “we can’t find anything wrong with you” and no effort being made to find out what's wrong, could you ever understand how terrified I have felt existing in my own body over the years. At one point I was unable to get out of bed and I was just existing on sunflower seeds, cucumbers, bone broth, and the physicians elemental formula. Doctors weren’t helping, they were continually hurting me more with their blasΓ© attitude about my food sensitivities, rapid weight loss and pain. If the answer to what was wrong with me wasn’t right in front of them on a CT scan or blood test then it was all caused by anxiety according to them, except I couldn’t get a single psychiatrist to diagnose a mental health condition and treat me and I saw several hoping it was my mind that was responsible for the mess I was in.

Well… it has been exactly 4 years and 7 months since the first night I woke up with the initial symptoms that would leave me bed bound for months and struggling to find food my body wouldn’t reject. There have been many ups and downs in between that time and now but having lost another 12 lbs between January and April of this year leaving me at just 106 lbs I knew if I didn’t get help now I may not last much longer. The signs of malnutrition are here. I can’t even go for a 20 minute walk without shaking uncontrollably afterwards.

Tomorrow, thanks to my friend Terry Gips, I am seeing a doctor who deals specifically with complex cases like my own. Initially when I contacted the doctor her assistant said she wasn’t able to see me until October 2023 but would give her my email regardless. A day later I received a call that the doctor had squeezed me into her schedule and could see me in May. That alone tells me she is different than every doctor I’ve seen (18+ doctors). She clearly cares, and that will make a huge difference in getting the help I need.

Once again I am leaving the state to see a doctor. I had to leave to Michigan for kidney surgery back in 2019 because doctors here in Minnesota didn’t know how to diagnose or treat nephroptosis, or I should say they didn’t even care to try (long story not worth repeating at this time). This new doctor is in Wisconsin and from what I’ve learned she has a stellar reputation. My acupuncturist and physical therapist even know who she is and both say I’ve found the right person to help me. 

I’ve been counting down each day to see her as if my life depends on it because it does. To say I’m overwhelmed with emotion right now is an understatement. 

No more naturopaths, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, general practitioners, chiropractors… just one doctor that knows how to stop looking at my body in parts and instead will treat me as a whole. 
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May 13, 2023

We spent the day selling our soaps at the Shepherd's Harvest Festival today and had a great time as always. We really love this festival for the variety of people we get to talk to, all the amazing vendors, and the entertainment. The organizers always do a fantastic job of putting the event together in a very structured way and from a vendor and patron (which we use to be) standpoint it all runs smoothly. 

Of course, the very, very, very best part of the festival is always the sheep, alpacas, llamas and goats 😁

If you couldn't make it out today then we hope to see you tomorrow!


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May 1, 2023

Today is really good day. The first in a while. I had an endoscopy today that came with good news! I am so happy. Esophagitis is just one of several things I've been dealing with along my health journey. There is no explanation for why I ended up with esophagitis, no underlying cause to be found yet, but the endoscopy results are good. *fingers crossed it stays that way. 

Shout out to Dr. Levine at Minnesota Gastroenterology in Eagan for being an excellent gastroenterologist. He truly is a really nice guy and a great doctor. As far as my experience goes, there are very food doctors I can call good out in this world, but he is one of them. 

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