Blessings and lessons.

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Everyone says the second pregnancy can be totally different than your first. Mine has been an emotional roller coaster of a ride! My first pregnancy with Sofia was so physically extreme with morning sickness around the clock until 31+ weeks.

Of course, I imagined the gender would be different since my morning sickness went away as I entered into the second trimester. We were so happy and surprised to hear we are having another girl! This baby is chill and relaxed most of the time, but definitely kicks up a storm (soccer player??)!

I know I am very blessed. I work on staying in a gratitude vibration — simply being grateful for experiences as they unfold, trusting in them, and being thankful for the lessons. My journey with yoga and spirituality has given me a strong foundation to walk on.

This baby saved me. Without her, I would not have tested abnormal for my thyroid levels. I have hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid). This is genetic. Luckily, I have been able to keep the symptoms down by leading an anti inflammatory lifestyle (as witnessed by this blog!)…however, this can cause many issues if left untreated. I was sent to an endocrinologist to test further and be treated. Unfortunately, he found a “nodule” or mass on my thyroid and I was sent for a biopsy.

A pathologist used an ultrasound to guide a needle into the nodule and extract cells to look closer at under a microscope. We were hoping to be in the 90% of cases where these are benign, however, mine ended up being malignant. I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer.

This is, luckily, a slow growing and mostly isolated cancer. Fortunately, after another ultrasound assessing lymph nodes in my neck, the cancer has not spread. This means that I can wait till after I have baby girl #2 and then schedule a surgery for a full thyroidectomy.

There is a lot of darkness surrounding the word “Cancer.” It’s never an easy or non-scary diagnosis no matter the kind. My goal is to take away the stigma and discuss the disease for what it is. Dis-Ease in my body. The word healthy is derived from HEAL – THY(thyself). Cancer, unfortunately, is a multi billion (or trillion?) dollar industry. Follow the paper trail and you will see it’s an entwined web of big pharma and corporations — yuck. I do believe there are good companies and people out there fighting for the greater good, so I don’t want to discount their efforts at all. I just like to bring awareness to an issue that means a lot to me.

I wanted to start blogging about this because as I researched there is little to nothing on women in pregnancy battling disease and it’s an isolating place to be. I want to take the fear away of talking about health and illness especially during a time you are trying to be the most fertile womb and safest space for your little one.

I plan to discuss ways I am healing myself holistically — things I have control over in the here and now.

If you have been through a similar experience or know someone who has had PTC I would love to connect. I am still in the process of researching and always wanting to learn more.

If you have taken the time to read this, thank you! It means a lot to me and I hope you know that a scary diagnosis does not mean the end at all or that you are left helpless to care for yourself. My main lesson has been to listen to my body and to slow down. Let go of the things that do not serve me and try to stay in a relaxed state — where my body stays in the parasympathetic nervous system and allows healing to occur.

Relax and be stress free.

Deep gratitude to the people I know who have talked openly about their health and ways they have been battling their own diseases. I am inspired each and everyday with the warriors that walk amongst us. Many people are dealing with things that we could never imagine, I’m reminded of the saying, “never judge someone until you walk a day in their shoes.” I respect and look up to you all fighting your silent battles and want you to know I am here to talk to if you ever need a friendly ear to listen.

In health and happiness,

Jessica xoxo

Photo Credit: Altamira Film Co – Cory Hammons

What my guru taught me…goals for 2017!

 

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Happy new year!!! You may have noticed I have spent a few weeks away from the blogging world. The idea of new years resolutions has never really excited me. This year I decided I wanted to set GOALS. My main goal for 2017 is something my daughter taught me…BE PRESENT. Scroll down for my list of goals for the year!

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In a world where there is constant hustle and bustle, social media, instant gratification–it is SO easy to get caught up in it. We are addicted to our phones, and constantly staying connected to whatever is happening in the world. Studies suggest that technology dependency along with social media sets off dopamine signals in the brain, similar to drugs. Growing up in the social media frenzy, you can actually get addicted to getting likes on your photos and posts. Seems unreal, right?

There’s a number of articles circulating about the negative affects of the selfie world, Keeping up with the Kardashians or having as many followers as possible. Check out, “How real is a social media addiction,” By CBS News here. Although, a simple google search of social media dependency will find several articles worth reading.

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Sofia, my little guru, has taught me so much in just the 28 months she has been here. Our children are constantly living in the present, and joyfully so. They barely think about what they are going to be doing in the next 30 minutes. They allow themselves to be 100% immersed and consumed by whatever task they are doing. I used to find myself getting frustrated if I couldn’t breastfeed, type emails, blog, talk on the phone and plan what I would be making for dinner that night all at the same time. Sofia loves to say, “look at me mama…” and she would put her hand on my face and make me look in her direction and then everything around me would just stop. I was living in the beautiful moment, gazing into her eyes, feeling that deep, deep love that comes from lifetimes of knowing another soul.

And so I began meditating more often, thanks in part to a daily group I participate in. I found myself joyfully living in the moment and finding the child within. We never completely lose the child within us, but we allow our “adulting” to take over and transform our life.

I made several goals for 2017 that I know will be helpful to me, so hopefully they will help you too. Let’s have a great year together!

Hello There 2017, let’s do this:

  1. Be Present, meditate more often. Have you checked out the app: Insight Timer? It’s free and awesome.

  2. Love yourself. We all need to be less hard on ourselves, stop comparing and start loving. Wear less makeup. Buy the bikini!

  3. Stop trying to buy happiness-consume less. Check out the Minimalism Documentary on Netflix!

  4. Speak your TRUTH!!! Stop holding it in and just say it. Release it. It will be okay.

  5. Read more. Watch less TV, get a library membership!

  6. No new friends! Ha just kidding, but seriously- spend more time with the people that mean the most in your life. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

  7. Educate yourself…don’t just listen to the media. Pay attention, ask questions.

  8. Stop caring what others think. Seriously, f em’.

  9. Eat less processed foods and less meat. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!

  10. MOVE! Dance, run, shake it when you brush your teeth, blast the radio in the car and jam in your seat at the red light and smile when you see people staring, and BELT out that song in the shower. Do what makes your body feel good!! Moving and exercise releases those beautiful things called endorphins.

Thanks in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

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I am so sad to be writing this post just days after we left with the news of Fires ravaging this area. We stayed in a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN with my husband’s family over the Thanksgiving Holiday and we had a great time! We visited Gatlinburg (notice the tourist traffic above), cooked all day on Thursday which followed with a bountiful feast and went to a Trampoline jumping place on Friday for Sofia. The views were incredible and we had a blast with all the kids and parents. I made sooooo much food — I’m not sure why I didn’t capture many photos of it unless you follow me on instagram stories (@missjessashley) — I made: Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, 2 chocolate pies, 1 Maple Pecan and Chocolate Pie and my Butternut Squash and Spinach Stuffed Shells with Browned Butter Sage. I feel like I am still full!

Although the history about Thanksgiving is one that is quite horrible and painful especially for the native people of this country, I feel that it is important to remember to be grateful for our abundance. I’m not sure if it is ironic what is happening in Standing Rock at North Dakota right now with (once again) the Native people being victimized by the agenda of big business and US politics…namely the Oil industry. If you do not know much about this story please message me so I can help inform you! Water is life.

I hope you all had a healthy and happy thanksgiving – more recipes will be coming soon!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Maui Helicopter Adventure

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I am having major Maui withdrawal today!! I wanted to share the AirMaui helicopter experience with you. It was by far the most incredible adventure we have done together. If you haven’t been in a helicopter before – Don’t be scared! I was surprised with how smooth the ride was. When you are ascending it feels almost like going up in an elevator. We were required to watch a mini safety video and to wear life jackets (pictured above). Our pilot, Richie, was awesome! He provided so much knowledge of the land as we flew above it — from pointing out Maui’s waterfalls which are home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, to learning about the Hawaiian heritage and history…we can see now why Maui is consistently rated a top island in the world.

I know this blog is mostly based on health — it’s important to do things that invigorate and excite you. Traveling and experiencing new things definitely fuels my spirit. Hope you guys enjoy the photos and let me know if you end up taking a helicopter ride sometime! I am deeply, deeply grateful for this experience and being able to share it with Kiril.

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Mount Haleakala Sunrise

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You probably noticed I haven’t been posting the past few weeks — we were on vacation in Hawaii! I am so excited to share some photos with you over the next few days. One of our excursions was with Temptations Tours in Maui to visit Mount Haleakala for the sunrise. Haleakala translates to “house of the sun” and that is exactly how I would describe this dormant volcano that forms 75% of Maui. It is the world’s largest dormant volcano. This is one of the most epic/spiritual/incredible experiences I have ever witnessed. We woke up at 1:30 am and were picked up at 2:30 am to drive all the way up the mountain. I have NEVER seen the stars as bright as they were that night/early morning. I wish my camera could capture what we saw– the Orionid Meteor Shower was still occurring so we saw over 12 shooting stars, 5+ satellites traveling quickly in the sky, the International Space station, several constellations, the milky way and the BRIGHT star-looking thing as the top of the sunrise in these photos is JUPITER!

When the sun began to rise, a native Hawaiian woman sang a traditional song that still gives me goose bumps to this day. In the light of this election, no matter what political front you support, we must be incredibly grateful that we wake up in the morning and the sun shines.

If you ever get a chance to go to Maui, I totally recommend this experience. It was cold and windy at the top of the mountain, but it is 100% worth the memories you will make up there.

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Sofia turns two!

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Bulgarian Grilled Veggie Salad!

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Sofia turned two this Sunday and we had a super small and relaxed party for her. She loves all things Mickey Mouse so we did a Minnie and Mickey themed party. The kids all had ears to wear and we grilled lots of yummy food. I made the fruit and veggie platters pictured above using all organic fruits and veggies and it was a hit. Our Cake was from Wegman’s and it was yummy but I forgot to take a photo of my cute Mickey Mouse cupcakes I made — I used Simple Mills Chocolate Cake mix which is organic and gluten free (buy it here)– instead of adding cane sugar I sweetened with Agave Nectar and for the icing I just mixed cream cheese and maple syrup in my kitchen aid mixer, funneled it into a ziploc bag and cut the corner to squeeze the icing out.

All in all, we had a really great long weekend–we are so grateful for our family and friends and everyone who wished the Sof a happy birthday!

Hope you guys had a great Labor Day weekend!

xo

Family trip to Mexico!

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We had a wonderful time in Mexico, staying at the Barcelo Colonial south of Cancun in Riviera Maya. It was a great family resort, however, our stay was cut short because Sofia got sick and we rushed home 😦

The resort was beautiful and the food was yummy. All of the staff on site were absolutely warm and lovely to interact with. The SPA– OMG. It was amazing. Kiril’s mom, Daniela and I had a wonderful aqua therapy and massage there. I want to live there.

Hope you enjoy the pics!

xo

 

p.s My clothes:

Black Romper: Target

Lime Green and flowers dress: Target

White and blue maxi: Lulu’s

White and green off the shoulder dress: Lord &Taylor

Meet my family!

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My husband Kiril and I met at James Madison University in 2010. We adopted our dog, Finley Jack in 2012 and had our daughter Sofia in 2014. We eloped in 2016 and are excited to have our ceremony next May! We work and live in Northern Virginia.

xo