20 April 2014

Joyeuse Påques

Little Olly (Oliver) dying his egg yellow

I was not sure how to make cool designs on the eggs so I just wowed them by mixing colors. Wow, Jess!

Bunny masks.
Non-cursive and cursive. Edgy.

John and I spent an entire evening making these homemade baskets out of recycled bottles because ... s.t.r.i.c.t. budget
Philine, Elise, Renske & Emily

Philine & Elise, les jumelles 

Today is Easter, but we had an early celebration last Friday for the little ones. I and my friend, Tereza, planned a party for the whole neighborhood. We made bunny masks, dyed eggs, and had an Easter egg hunt. It was eggcellent! The moms in the neighborhood really loved it and were glad their kids could play together. I am really glad John helped out by drawing the bunny masks for me to cut out, cutting the bottles for me to fill with grass and tie a handle to, and buying/retrieving all the materials we needed to have a party. Needless to say, I am really excited for the day we get to host Easter parties for our own kids, because I know together we can make it magical for them.

06 April 2014


UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection (or Cystitis, if you want to sound more dramatic and hopeless)
A "Frequent UTI" is classified as at least three times per year
I get them as much as once per week, but usually it is once per month.
I got them as a child, as well.
I hate them.
I hate them more than I hate cantaloupe, hair stuck in the shower drain, Swiss cops, and cold weather.
They ruin my day.
My body has fallen into a weird physical and psychological pattern where a UTI attacks weekly on a Sunday. I think my immune system fights it as much as possible during the week until finally, on Sunday, when I have no obligations at work or home, my mind and body take a break and then it hits. My UTI's are wretched opportunists.
Sometimes, like this morning at 4 a.m., I wake up with a burning sensation in my bladder with the urge to pee. When I pee, it stings and then I know for sure I have one.
Other times, like last Sunday, it hit me more powerfully and the pain was almost unbearable.
I am writing this post because it is something that I deal with almost weekly in my life. I know other women deal with it as much as I do, and I want to share some of the natural remedies and preventive measures I have learned over the past year.

That is if anyone is reading this.


  • Dehydration
  • Not peeing as soon as I feel the need
  • Sex
  • Wearing the same underwear for too long
  • Shorter urinary tracts can harbor more bacteria and make it harder to excrete them


  • Take two AZO Fast-Relief from Urinary Pain pills ASAP
  • Drink 2-3 bottles of water
  • Drink a shot or two of pure cranberry juice NO SUGAR ADDED
  • Drink a bottle of diluted cranberry water
  • Drink a hot tea with URELL powder
  • Sit or lay with a hot water bladder between legs/on lower stomach/on lower back to apply pressure and relieve stinging pain
  • Take a HOT shower
  • Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda in a glass of water to relieve stinging and burning
  • Drink, Drink, Drink, Don't stop Drinking Water
  • Relax and don't do anything stressful

Preventative Measures:

  • Take cranberry supplements like AZO or CranActin daily
  • Drink a glass of pure cranberry juice several times a week
  • Stay hydrated and pee regularly
  • Drink a glass of water with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to kill bacteria
  • Use natural lubes like coconut oil or Intimate Organics (coconut oil is naturally antibacterial)
  • Pee immediately before and after sex
  • Shower before and after sex
  • Clean often and stay dry
  • Avoid long baths or swims
  • Personally, I stopped wearing thongs just to free space up down there

I have taken prescribed antibiotics before and, of course, they kill the bacteria and cure the UTI, but in my case it would be a serious long-term health issue if I took antibiotics every time I had a UTI. Eventually, my body would develop a resistance and further down the road a lack of bacteria paired with a resistance can wreak havoc anywhere in your body from your digestive track to your nervous system. For me, antibiotics are out of the question, unless the pain is physically and mentally unsurmountable. Furthermore, taking antibiotics is out of the question in this country. As France has still yet to send us our medical insurance cards, we cannot see a doctor without paying full price each time, which is impossible. Even if I see a doctor, no pharmacies are open 24/7 so if it hits me in the middle of the night I cannot be treated until the next day. The only way to see a doctor for me is by emergency room and the emergency rooms in this Universal Healthcare country are sad and daunting. Fighting it naturally is the only way I can treat this.

After more than a year of battling this, I have equipped my mind to mentally deal as well: I don't panic. I take deep breaths. I keep my hands busy, i.e. writing, painting, scrolling through Instagram, blogging, in order to take my mind off the discomfort. For a long time, I would get so depressed every time I had one because it is debilitating and most often the result of sex. The worst thing you can do during a UTI is cause more stress on your body through negative thoughts. John and I have had to figure out together how to best handle this situation so that things stay positive and productive.

One time we were driving in the car and it was so bad that I was laying down in the backseat howling in pain, bawling and yelling at John to hurry up and get to the doctor's office. It was so unbelievably dramatic and outrageous that John did not know how to react. We were both in shock. Especially since it was only a month or two after we were married. I have developed a lot since then and can keep it together and know that my body will get through this if I treat it right.

In all my research, a common statement is UTI's will eventually outgrow themselves and fade away. Some women suffer with frequent ones for years, others experience only one in their whole life. I have had doctors tell me that I will outgrow them eventually, but for now I have to deal with them. I am not completely satisfied with that answer, but I have learned how to handle it better.