LEAPS & BOUNDS

As many of you know, Finley is in therapy 3 days a week -- and has been for FOREVER. She LOVES her therapists and riding the horses, and IT IS EXPENSIVE! We would LOVE YOUR help in supporting Friends of Leaps & Bounds Pediatric Therapy by making a donation team "FIFI & AUSTIN" fundraising page. Even a small donation will help US achieve OUR goal! 

Leaps & Bounds Pediatric Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for children of all ages

At Leaps & Bounds, they provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services for children of all ages in the Inland Empire and Orange County who are at risk for, or who have difficulty participating in typical, age appropriate activities. Their therapists are highly skilled and have dedicated their practice to the specialty area of pediatrics. They strive to implement the most current and best practices to help your child grow by Leaps & Bounds! Therapy services include evaluation, consultation, treatment, home and school program activities that promote typical development and functional mobility. They offer a comprehensive family-centered approach to mulit-disciplinary care… everyone works together with and for you and your child! They are excited to offer the highly evidence-based treatment strategy- hippotherapy- as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, in addition to our recreational therapeutic riding program.

Hippotherapy

  • What is it? Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy used by physical, occupational, and, or speech therapists that utilizes equine movement as part of an integrated intervention program to achieve functional outcomes (Helps children sit, stand, walk, balance, and MOVE more independently!).
  • Who is it for? Children (and adults) with mild to severe neuromuscular and other medical conditions, who have abnormal muscle tone, impaired balance, impaired coordination, impaired communication, impaired sensorimotor function, postural asymmetry, poor postural control, decreased mobility, and limbic system dysfunction related to arousal and attentional skills.
  • Why the horse? The horse’s walk provides sensory input through movement, which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resultant movement responses in the patient are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The variability of the horse’s gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of sensory input to the patient, and then utilize this movement in combination with other treatment strategies to achieved desired results.
  • Patients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable experience in a natural setting! Therapy is FUN!
  • We offer hippotherapy services with a physical or occupational therapist, depending on your child’s goals and needs.
  • Hippotherapy is billed NO DIFFERENTLY than a clinic-based therapy session.

My BASIC GIRL guide to going KETO

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This is an unusual blogpost for me.  I NEVER write about DIETS, but I find that as a hairstylist I am ALWAYS talking about them, so here it goes.

I've been watching from the sidelines as many of friends (both real life & social media) transform their lives and get HEALTHY. I was inspired by one post where my gf said: "Just start." Simple words, but hit me at the right time. 

As a Mama to a daughter that requires physical assistance, I have felt more back aches + hip pains the last few months.  As a hairstylist I have joint aches in my wrists and fingers.  It's like it just hit me that I am NOT getting any younger and Finley isn't getting any lighter.  I HAVE TO be healthy & STRONG for her and her future younger brother. (If you didn't already know, we are in the adoption process again!)

My husband, Josh, is a pretty heathy guy.  He has always strayed away from Carbs and Sugar and works out at the gym regularly (insert eye roll, I know).  I came home talking about this Keto diet I kept hearing about and he was all, "THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN TELLING YOU!" Let me preface this by saying- I listen to and value my husband's words 100%, BUT I do, in-fact, need to hear things LIKE 3 TIMES in order for it to absorb into my crazy-mama brain.  He then had me watch this.

Josh is a regular viewer of the Joe Rogan Podcast, if you're an avid reader of our blog then you might have deja vu- because Joe is also how we first came to research stem cells for Fin.

 What peaked my interest most was, ALL OF THE PROVEN health benefits of this "diet" and interimittent fasting.  I would love to get Fin on this one day- I believe it could be beneficial to her Cerebral Palsy, but Lord knows homegirl can't quit the cheese crackers cold turkey.  (They are the Annie's ones though, so that makes me feel better. LOL.)

I wanna be transparent about this, because I have tried ALL THE "DIETS" & yoyo'd with the best of them. I got up to 160 pounds when I was grieving both my Dad and the news of our infertility. It was about a 30-pound gain. Food became my comfort (and wine, there was lots of wine.) 

My wedding weight was 127lb. (I bet I got down to 124 on the honeymoon my in-laws gifted to us, lots of hiking and not so much eating- Hawaii is expensive and we were broke).  I lost 20 pounds using the very unhealthy HCG regimen- I cried myself to sleep many nights from hunger + truly tortured myself. All that, and I remember STILL not being happy with my weight then. Don't we all struggle with this though?! I see these pictures and I would kill to look like that "pudgy", size-4 girl again! 

I have set my mind to hit my goal weight of 125 lbs. Using good ol' "diet & exercise."  I am 5'5 so I think it's realistic, but it SOUNDS NUTS to me. Let's be real, I would like to just step on the scale and SEE a 1 followed by a 2 again.


We started the oh-so trendy ketogenic diet on March 4th and I am LOVING IT. I wanted to FEEL better, the last few years I have struggled with acid in my stomach after meals & headaches every few days. I didn't realize this was a problem really, until the symptoms stopped.  Now I feel great and am down 9 pounds.  It's been 18 days and I have found a groove! 

Since I started posting about the diet on my @prive_christina Instagram account, I have received so many of the same questions. I wanted to formulate a little "start up" checklist for those lost on where to begin.  Hope this kicks you off so you can start ASAP!

SOME TIPS FOR STARTING KETO:

1. WATCH THIS: 

2. GET YO BUTT TO THE GROCERY STORE.

Let google be your guide if you are questioning something.  I use it every day. NOTE: the REALER the food, the better. HERE is a "BASIC FOOD RULES" list.  OBVIOUSLY all the foods in existence are not listed, this is JUST A GUIDE.  It's great for beginners.  As you get to know your body and you dive more into keto- you'll find what works for you and what doesn't. 

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Here are some of my Typical WEEKLY Grocery LIST staples:

  • Raw nuts
  • avocados
  • eggs
  • bacon
  • grass fed butter
  • heavy whipping cream
  • TONS of veggies. The greener the better.
  • coconut oil
  • ground beef/meat
  • cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese
  • cinnamon
  • pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 less fat cream cheese

3.  BUY KETO TEST STRIPS. 

Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead.

4. DOWNLOAD A KETO APP.

If you've watched the videos- you heard about MACROS.   

Macronutrients are molecules that our bodies use to create energy for themselves – primarily fat, protein and carbs. They are found in all foods in varying amounts, measured in grams (g) on the nutrition labels.

  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram
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This will help keep your MACROS on track.

and calories for weight loss.

5. BUY MCT Oil for your COFFEE.

We add two tablespoons to our coffee daily- it helps give you energy!  My cousin even swears its helped her hair & skin!  “MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. ... We now know that ideally MCT oils like coconut oil should actually be consumed every day.  

Medium-chain fatty acids are capable of helping you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight — since they both make you feel full
  • Specifically reduce stored body fat — since they also raise your metabolic function
  • Have more energy
  • Think more clearly
  • Experience better digestion
  • Balance hormone levels
  • Improve your mood
  • Fight bacterial infection and viruses
  • Absorb fat-soluble nutrients from various foods

WE LIKE THIS ONE:

 

6. GET READY TO FAST.

Part of what makes this process work is the fact that your body is now producing KETONES and burning your body fat as fuel.  Intermittent fasting is crucial for experiencing all the benefits of a ketogenic diet. 14-16 hours in a fasting state is ideal.  SO KETO COFFEE will keep you going!  Once you're in ketosis, you will notice you're not as hungry.  We try not to eat after 7pm and then we try not to eat our first meal until Noon.

 

7. Take Before Pics and Weigh Yourself. 

I know this is hard, trust me.  Let it motivate you though!  TIP: Do It NAKED and the same time every morning after you pee :). If you have health conditions, consult with your doctor about beginning this lifestyle.

8. FOLLOW INSPIRATION ACCOUNTS.

 

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MY FAVE

TRY THE CHEESECAKE!

 

Honestly, the best thing to do is, JUST START!  You'll learn a lot as you go and figure out what your tolerance levels are.  If you watch all of the videos in this post you won't have too many unanswered questions.  I will definitely keep y'all updated on this HEALTH JOURNEY. 

Hugs+Loves, 

Christina

 

 

 

 

The Pursuit of Intensive Therapy

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Physical Therapy + exercise will forever be part of Finley’s routine.  It’s a way of life.  She has been in weekly therapies since she was 3 months old.  I believe a lot of her progress is due to this diligence and focus.  It would 1,000% have been easier to just hear her diagnosis and accept it instead of choosing the path to FIGHT it.  Our hope was always to somehow "overcome" Cerebral Palsy.  Through the last few years we have been able to conquer huge hurdles- Finley surely didn't allow CP to hold her back. I will admit though, those early days watching her struggle to sit, watching her drool excessively while trying to maintain control of her fine motor skills, it was really hard.  Our biggest infancy triumph was getting her to suck the pacifier while play with a toy.  (I'm pretty sure thats why I let her keep the pacifier until she was 3.5 years old. Hey! Don't Judge me, lol. That Pacifier was GLORIOUS!  I miss it. #RIPPACI). This seemingly simple task of 'sucking a pacifier' took MONTHS of hard work and focus.  As a special needs parent, your mind is constantly battling two mentalities: “don’t push her too hard, she’s frustrated” vs. “She CAN and she WILL!”  These two contradicting themes run strong in my mind to this very day.  I try to mute the little voice in my head that mutters the word “can’t.” While we maintain a household that doesn’t allow that in the vocabulary, I’m human.  I always default to wanting things to be easy for my daughter. I do see the beauty in the struggle and I KNOW that it makes her stronger.  BUT I also see the tears, the frustration, and the defeat.  It’s heart braking. 

 

Finley got to the point where she would take a few independent steps in a row.  I have always believed that Intensive Therapies are great for someone that is close to a overcoming a hurdle.  Finley just needed a push to get over the hump.  I took my search to GOOGLE & Support groups to find some well-known places and only found a few within the US.  After traveling across the country for the SDR surgery in 2016, it only made sense that we would have to travel again for something this monumental.  Meaning, when it’s expensive (upwards of $800) you travel for the BEST- because, its WORTH IT.

 

We planned a visit to “Walk this Way” in Texas, on account of them being loosely affiliated with Dr. Park and the SDR.  Sadly, the week we were supposed to be there was a few weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit, I cancelled because we didn’t know if the airport would be open or not- we rescheduled for a few months later.  My heart still goes out to all that were effected by this tragedy - it’s absolutely horrible.  I’m not going to get into too many details because 'bashing' a business is not in my character;  I will briefly say this: The few correspondence we had with them made me feel as though it was totally worth forgoing the “paid in full” week of Intensive therapy.  

Then we were going to attend Napa Center in LA a few months later, and that week Finley came down with croup AND pneumonia (yeah, REAL fun week in our house).  We are currently working out a reschedule with them.  I really want to see their equipment and have Fin experience their methods.  I’ve heard great things! 

I was telling her therapists at Leaps & bounds about our pursuit of Intensive Therapy and candidly trying to be positive about how it must just NOT be in our cards.  Finley has been a patient at L&B since she was 18 months old, so naturally I’ve developed a good relationship with them and am comfortable voicing my grievances and concerns.   They told me they would be happy to customize an intensive plan for Finley and assured me that although thats not what their clinic is “known for” they very much offer it.  I was floored!  We set up a week long session right away.  I chose to only focus on PT for this, since independent walking is our current goal.  

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The sessions were three hours each day.  2 hours in clinic, 1 hour on the Horse in Equine Assisted Therapy a.k.a. Hippotherapy.  We had such a great experience that I feel compelled to write about it!  THE VIDEO SPEAKS FOR ITSLEF YOU GUYS!!!!!  HIGHLY recommend!!

At the end of the week, Finley was able to walk 40 INDEPENDENT STEPS! We are sooooooooooo beyond glad we chose to do therapy with her trusted therapists!  Seeing Finley’s JOY and how proud she was of herself was enough to make my heart burst.  I still CRY thinking about it. Can't wait for our next Intensive Session there.

Two CP MAMA BEARS walk into a Recording Studio....

Brandi and I met early on in my journey.  I was drawn to her realness.  She showed me that life goes on, and it's up to YOU whether you enjoy it or not.  She's likely not aware of the impact she's made on me. It is her that paved the way for me to be so open and to share Finley's Story.  My favorite quote of hers from this podcast, "If you share your story in an empowering way it will not only heal you but it'll heal other's as well." 

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My mom and I often discuss topic ideas for her show "Real Life" that she co-hosts with David James and airs on Saturday evening's on 99.5 FM KKLA- here in so cal.  I KNEW she had to have my sweet friend on! What better time than MARCH for CP awareness month?!

 

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We piled into the Studio and it was truly special. David James led the session with a prayer and it was a miracle all the kids behaved for a few hours! Praise the Lord, LOL!            

Precious Young Austin fell asleep on me, and it was the most precious moment. 

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I always love hearing Brandi share, its also because of her that I feel like I could handle adoption again! lol- I just don't know where we would be without Brandi! Thank You so much for coming out, MAMA. Love you!