© 2013 Hannah Mayo Photography

© 2013 Hannah Mayo Photography

I know I said I was back, and then I left you hanging ;)

I’ve been a bit preoccupied with photographing awesome peeps in love and raising babies, and also for a while it felt like I’d hit a dead end on the path to ridding myself of headaches.

Then I heard about food sensitivity testing, which led me to a local natural health practice that offers such a test. After meeting with a practitioner there, I had a lot of blood drawn (like, I nearly passed out), and today I met with her for the results. Which led me back here, to this blog, because I’m just starting to process everything and it’s simply too complicated for an Instagram or Facebook post. I know it will be of no interest whatsoever to many out there, but writing always helps me process things.

The tests that were done were basically a full workup and hormone panel- vitamins, thyroid, and on and on- and a food sensitivity test called LEAP-MRT.

Much of my regular health labs came back good, but it’s been determined that I have Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland as if it were a foreign entity, eventually resulting in severe hypothyroidism. It can progress over the course of years and even decades, and often in the beginning it isn’t detected because thyroid levels themselves will remain in normal range. The true test for the presence of the condition is a thyroid antibody test, which isn’t included in routine bloodwork. In all my years of seeing doctor after doctor for my headaches, most of them ordered blood tests, but this practitioner is the first who’s ever checked my thyroid antibodies. Even before true hypothyroidism occurs, symptoms can begin to show up and are often written off as unrelated and without apparent cause. It tends to be genetic, and my mom had it before finally having her thyroid removed last year. Mine is in very early stages still and does not require any thyroid replacement medicine. My nurse practitioner is optimistic that following the diet they’ve outlined for me will do a lot to keep my levels in check.

Hashimoto’s and food sensitivities often go hand-in-hand, so it turns out that the MRT results could help with it and my headaches (it’s likely the two are closely connected anyway). The foods I’m reactive to are broken into high and moderate reaction levels. For the next three months, I need to avoid all the food from both categories, and then I can challenge by moderately reactive foods one at a time. I wont bore you with the entire list, but suffice to say that for the next three months I have to avoid dairy, gluten, soy, rice, quinoa, oranges, onions, shrimp, walnuts, and several other foods.

The nutritionist I met with suggested I learn about the Paleo diet and the recipes that go along with it, and loosely follow that since there are so many grains on my “no” list. So here I go into entirely new food territory, re-learning how to eat (and shop, and cook). I’ve been pretty overwhelmed thinking about it today- knowing that I have to find alternatives for so many things I’m used to eating, and wondering how I’m going to organize our meals when I have to eat so much differently from my family. But I know I’ll find a groove with it, and if it leads to feeling well and being pain-free it will certainly be worth the effort.

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Hello there! Life has been so full lately. Isaac turned one (whaat?! I know!), and we threw a party for him and Seth, whose birthday was a few weeks ago. I’m preparing to shoot my first wedding of the year- actually my first since Isaac was born, this coming Saturday. I’m so excited to get back to weddings, and this one is going to be amazing!

Something interesting happened concerning my headaches. A friend of mine told me about her acupunnturist, and strongly encouraged me to give him a try. I’ve had acupuncture before, with mixed results, and I ended up deciding that it wasn’t working for me. She explained that different acupuncturists can work differently though (makes sense), and this guy had worked wonders for her and her husband. So I made an appointment, and went last week. Dr. M seemed to know exactly what my problem is, and was totally confident that I would feel completely better with as little as one treatment and an herbal supplement he prescribed. He also told me to avoid caffeine, but was confident that gluten sensitivty isn’t an issue for me. I left feeling so hopeful and encouraged by his confidence. It’s been one week, and I’ve still had headaches every day, but he did say it could take a little while and that I may need more treatments. So I’m still hopeful (though I’ll admit I was hoping for an immediate change), and I’ll be booking another appointment soon. I’ll keep you updated as I continue with it.

Even though I’d only been off gluten for a bit over a month, I decided to try eating it again after what Dr. M said. The verdict is still out. I’m not sure if it is a cooincidence or not, but a day after I intruduced it back into my diet, I had the most awful, painful bloating (tmi? I’m sorry). My digestive system is so sensitive, and it’s always been pretty hard me to figure out what ticks it off. So I may remove gluten again after all.

Anyway, since juicing is a huge part of my life now- I juice at least once, and sometimes twice, a day- I thought I’d start sharing some of my favorite concoctions here. We just upgraded our juicer, and I couldn’t be more excited about my Omega 8006. Seriously, I’m in love! It is a masticating juicer, where the one I had before was a centrifugal. (You can read about the different types here if you’re interested.)

So without further ado, here’s the juice of the week!

greensprouty

This is what I’m drinking at this very moment as I type, and it’s delicious! I keep the stems from all our broccoli for juice, because there are nutrients there too, and I try to use every part of the produce we purchase.

I bought my sunflower sprouts at Whole Foods yesterday, but I would really love to try growing them myself. I may need to wait until we move due to space constraints. Have any of you grown your own sprouts? Any tips? I think sunflower sprouts need a bed of dirt, but maybe I’ll try a different kind that I can do in a jar for now…

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Well hello there!

I haven’t written here on this blog in quite some time now. I used to post about motherhood and share some of my personal, everyday photography here, but as you can read in my last post, I made the decision that those things belong on my professional blog- that there wasn’t so much of separation between my daily life and my business, so it should just all be in one place.  So ever since May of last year I’ve been writing and posting over there, and also sharing lots of daily life tidbits on Instagram.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve begun a journey towards healing from years of almost daily migraines. I’ve shared a bit about the changes I’m making in my Instagram feed, but I was thinking maybe I should start a new blog to chronicle all of this. While I am definitely not an expert by any stretch, I’ve been passionate about health and nutrition topics for yeas, and have read a ton on the subject. I love creating new recipes and trying new things, and of course taking pictures of all of it, so why not share some of that? As I pondered a name for this hypothetical health/food/life-to-the-fullest blog, and began thinking of what the design would be like (because of course that is of utmost importance to design nerds like myself), it dawned on me to just start up again here.

Seeking Equipoise- seeking balance- is exactly what I am doing. When I named this blog, I was thinking balance in terms of life in general. Now I’m focusing on balance in my body through whole foods and healthy living. And it’s my hope and prayer that as I find that balance and bring my hormones and chemistry into harmony within my body, that the pain that plagues my days will be just a memory.

So welcome to Seeking Equipose, version 2.0!

A few months ago, my headaches had once again increased in frequency, so that I was in pain for at least part of nearly every day. Sometimes I’d go to bed with a migraine and wake up after a rest;ess night to find it still pounding away. I was tired, impatient, mentally foggy, and some days even depressed because of the constant pain.

My chronic headaches began when I was a teenager, and back then I had every test done, saw many different doctors and tried many different medications with various yucky side effects. Nothing was found to be specifically wrong with me, no apparent cause could be found, and nothing that was tried ever helped.

I turned 17 during my first year away at college (yes I was a just a baby), and a new doctor tried me on a strong, nasty medicine that made me feel drugged all the time but still didn’t help. After months of feeling that way, losing 12 pounds, and still having headaches, I decided that traditional western doctors and methods were not going to help me. I began seeing a chiropractor regularly, and ended up learning so much about health from her. Getting adjusted did decrease the frequency of my headaches, which I’ve been so grateful for, but it did not make them stop.

Over the eight years since then, I’ve lived with migraines. They’re an unwelcome part of my life. Sometimes they only come once or twice a week, but other times its every day. Late last year the frequency increased again, and I was busy being mom to my two boys and running a full time photography business. I pushed through the pain as best I could, as I couldn’t afford to succumb to it. But one day I just knew something had to give. There must be an answer; I simply can’t accept that all this pain has no cause. Both my chiropractor and my nutrition expert friend Liz advised that I keep a food journal and look for possible triggers. Then through Liz’s advice, I began an elimination diet. For at least the next three months I’m cutting dairy, gluten, and sugar out of my diet, to see if there is any difference once they’re fully out of my system. I’m also minimizing processed food, eating raw and juicing frequently, and following a routine of supplements that Liz recommended.

These are huge changes, made rather suddenly- especially after the crazy processed sugar fest of the holiday season! But it will we worth it, and I reached a point of desperation. One night after eating a piece of cake and just feeling terrible immediately, I realized how ridiculous it was for me to consume things that ruin my health and overall happiness, just because they taste good while I’m eating them. It’s simply not worth it. I decided then and there that I’ll give up whatever I need to in order to be free from this pain, because once I am I know that I’ll be a better mom, wife, and friend, a more focused business owner and artist, and just a much happier person.

So here I am, writing this to document my journey to a better, healthier life. I’m only weeks into this, and making new little changes all the time still. I’m still getting headaches of varying intensity daily, but I can already tell that my body feels healthier. On those rare headache-free days, I have so much more life and energy than I used to, and I’m tons more productive. Last week, as I was dancing with Seth in the living room, my husband commented that I’m a different person when I’m not hurting. It’s so true. I hope that those days are a preview of what every day will be like in the future!
I have no idea who out there will be interested in all of this, but I’m writing it for myself and for anyone who might be helped or inspired by it. If you decide to follow along or even join in a bit- welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!

 

I started blogging when I was sixteen. I had just started college, and I met a few people who had Xanga sites. I liked the idea, and started one for myself. I wrote about my life, my spiritual journey, some poetry of sorts. I enjoyed sharing bits and pieces of my life with whoever might be interested. Eventually I stopped posting there. Soon after Manny and I got married, I started a little Blogger blog, which later became Seeking Equipoise. I blogged about my first pregnancy and my journey into motherhood, my reflections on balancing family and business… and now there is what you see before you.

During the last few years, I’ve also had a separate blog for my business. I didn’t necessarily keep them separate on purpose. I knew I should have one connected to my work, and I just continued to post here as I’d always done. But somewhere along the way, the lines began to blur. My work is my life is my work, and so on. It all gets photographed. But what gets posted where? Just because it of my own children rather than someone else’s doesn’t necessarily make it less professional. My hope is that there will be no difference in quality between my personal images and my client ones. They are all my work. And why shouldn’t my clients get to know me, and see my everyday life and read my random thoughts, if they wish to? In fact, I want to my clients to see all that, because I am my business. This is a one-woman operation, and as much as I am hired for my work and my style, I am hired for me. The personal connection with each person I photograph is so incredibly important. The personal aspect isn’t a lack of professionalism- it’s an acknowledgment that the only thing that makes my business unique from any other photographer is me. The way I see things, my vision and voice, and my personality. Who I am as person and how I see the world are inseparable from who I am as a photographer and how I run my business, tell peoples stories, and interact with my clients.

In short, it no longer feels right to separate ”personal” and “business” on my blogs when there is no true separation in reality. So this week I migrated all of this year’s Seeking Equipoise posts to my photoblog, and from now on all new posts will be there. I’ll admit that I feel a bit of nostalgia about leaving Seeking Equipoise. It’s been like a comfortable old friend for so long. (Silly? I know.) Anywhere I’m posting will undoubtedly be mine in the same way this has been. I’m planning to keep this site up for archive’s sake. If you’re a regular reader I do you hope you’ll follow me over to the HMP blog (and add it to your feedreader, etc.) Much love, and see you over there!

(Obviously the above photo, from a recent beach visit, is unrelated to this post. I just can’t stand to blog without at least one image in the post.)

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We love music around here. For the most part, we haven’t sought out albums that are specifically for kids. Seth has always listened to the things we like- from my soulful indie tunes to my husband’s electronic instrumentals. When he was a baby there was a period of time when the only way I could get him to sleep at night was to wear him in the Ergo while playing “his”, which consisted of Bob Marley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Coldplay, and finished off with his favorite: Hey Oh by the Chili Peppers. I’ve played a few kid-specific things for him, like some Raffi faves from my own childhood (Baby Beluga, anyone?) and Jack Johnson’s kid album. But usually he enjoys our “grown-up” tunes.

One day, though, I heard a sample of kids music by Renee and Jeremy, and I loved what I heard. I ended up purchasing both of their albums- C’Mon, which is full of upbeat dance-worthy tunes, and It’s a Big World, which is softer and lullaby-esque. We have enjoyed these two so, so much around here. They are not the least bit annoying like some kids music could be. I actually very much enjoy listening to the sweet tunes and beautiful harmony of their voices. I don’t mind getting these sings stuck in my head for the rest of the day : ) And Seth adores them- they are perfect for impromptu living room dance parties and chilling out on long car rides. The lyrics are so great, too- full of really positive messages about things like love and sharing.

They just came out with a brand new album, A Little Love, which I happily added to our collection. It features Renee & Jeremy-style covers of songs by Coldplay, REM, Supertramp, John Lennon, and Yael Naim. It’s really fun.

This is Seth and I dancing to C’Mon, the day before I went into labor with Isaac at 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I think I was trying to dance the baby out- maybe it worked?!

{I just wanted to share this find with you. I am in no way affiliated with Renee & Jeremy, though I’d bet that they’re a couple of really cool people.}

You can listen to samples of- and purchase- their music on their website. They also have some fun little music videos.

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Yes, two months old.
already.

13.25 pounds. 23 inches.

50 smiles a day. at least.

i love him so.

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I changed the name of these posts from “This Week via Instagram”, to “This Was the Week”, just in case I end up feeling limited to only Instagram photos. Maybe I’ll share other photos and fun finds, etc. as well. Anyway… this was the week…

The first half looked pretty much like this:

So we cuddled at home a lot, sometimes getting a bit cabin-feverish.

We made yummy snacks- like smoothies, healthy cookies, and kettle corn.
The smoothie above is a recipe posted by my friend Bree. Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana. : ) It’s been a big hit around here.
Seth has been so eager to help me in the kitchen, and I’m finding that if he helps make something he’s a lot more likely to try it. (Usually he is a pretty picky eater but we’re working on it.)

One day we went to a park near the beach.
It was really windy and we got rained out, but just seeing the ocean briefly was exactly what I needed to get through that day.

And of course, the days are pretty much ruled by the littlest member of the family.
Sometimes I think I can hardly stand the cuteness- it’s overwhelming.

A few other things of note this week…

Simple Living Media has a great new blog, Simple Design, which I love already. Tomorrow they’re starting a “show us your thrift haul” linkup, which I think is an excellent excuse to browse a few thrift shops very soon.

25 Rules for Mothers of Sons by Tabitha Studer. I found this on Pinterest,  and I know I’ll be going back to it again and again.

Homemade Spring Cleaning Products on Design Sponge

On my mind:

Outdoor activities for Seth in our backyard- thinking about ways to create a better outdoor play space.

How to keep Seth from hurting the baby without saying “no” every three seconds. He has so much 3-year-old boy energy, which can quickly get out of hand.

I’m hoping to finally find time to start going through our closets, drawers, etc. and simplifying our lives. Too much stuff is toxic. I’m slowly making my way through Organized Simplicity, which is really helpful and definitely inspiring for a simpler existence.

What have you been doing and enjoying this week?
I hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

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Well, hello May. umm… what the heck happened? I was still getting used to it being April, and now it’s May… 4th? My baby was officially two months old yesterday. {Please let me stop time for just a while. Please?!?}

I keep trying to do a big post with a ton of photos from April. There are pictures from Easter, from a visit with cousins, from random everyday moments when I actually grabbed my big camera rather than my iPhone. But I have had to come to terms with the fact that that post simply isn’t going to happen right now. Every time I sit down thinking I might have a chance to edit them, the chance is gone before it has even started. Such is life with a 2 month old and a 3 year old. Nonstop, I tell you.

I don’t often turn my computer on until evening lately. If I do, I usually regret it, as it tends to it end in frustration for everyone. Right now my days are best spent immersed in real life with my family. They need my undivided attention. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So instead of waiting until I have time to show you all of April,
I figured a few is better than nothing.

More soon,
or eventually.

xo

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This week was full.
Full of growth, love, laughter, family.
We stayed busy. We played. We got things done.

There was heat and sunshine, rain and chilly days- all in the same week.
Spring in South Florida, indeed.

above:
cloth diaper cuteness | sweet silly big boy | bubbley smiley baby
morning coffee | morning kiddos | at the park
below:
evening sky | a fave magazine | new plants on my deck

We went to the beach late one afternoon. It was Isaac’s first time- I had so been looking forward to introducing him to the ocean.

small pleasures: bits of joy that made me so thankful this week…
mornings in the back yard | fresh carrot juice | drying diapers in the sun
stringy grilled cheese lunch | a new roll of film loaded
best.mocha.ever | sun tea | driving with the windows down

visiting daddy at work | sink bath
driving to visit my family | trying a new (to me) photo app | family walks

I feel like life is taking on a feel of some normalcy- a new normal.
Sometimes I feel like we’re doing so well, and other times I feel completely overwhelmed.
But that is life. And it’s always beautiful.
I’m learning more every day- about managing my time, about patience, and about just letting go.
Being organized, but not freaking out if things don’t go as planned.

How was last week for you?
I hope your Monday is bright!

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A few moments of playtime with Isaac.
This was already a few weeks ago. He’s growing fast.

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