Family Vacation!

I’ve been a little MIA from the blog, we are taking one last vacation as a family of four to Northern MN! If you want to follow along, I’ll be updating my stories on Instagram – @kalissageorgia ❤️

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My Farewell Letter to Jenna Kutcher…

If the title sounds familiar to you, you may recall my popular My Farewell Letter to Rachel Hollis post. Today I’m featuring another self help cringe-fluencer.

I’ve debated on and off whether to write this post or not. Mostly because my readers probably don’t know who Jenna Kutcher is but also because I don’t really write negative reviews.

I feel compelled to write a review of this book because I’m certain that Jenna’s PR team has scoured the internet trying to remove negative reviews because there literally are none.

Jenna Kutcher’s claim to fame is that she is a “small town mama who bought a $300 camera, grew a successful photo biz, and now runs a 7 figure online business from home.” She’s pretty “high up” in the self help world – especially in the business sector. I’ve listened to her podcast for years, I’ve bought some of her digital items/courses, I was really excited for her first book to be released. But now, I’m totally turned off, not only by the book but the entire brand. I’ll just dive right in because I have a lot of thoughts.

The repetitive theme of Jenna Kutcher is “I tried something new, I was so great at it, everything worked out perfect for me so it should work out perfectly for you!” For example:

One year she just “decided” to save all of the money she would need to retire so she could feel financially secure. So within the year, she did!

Another year she just blocked off an entire 2 months of her calendar and had no work and no plans or commitments.

She tried gymnastics as a kid and was just so good she graduated to another gym!

She did cartwheels off a diving board when she was a kid on vacation and she realized she should be a diver so she went on to be a collegiate athlete!

She was just so good at her corporate job she kept getting promoted and promoted!

She was such a great photographer with her $300 dollar Craig’s list camera, she was named wedding photographer of the year for 3 years in a row!

She tried a podcast and now it has 500+ episodes with millions of downloads!

She had two miscarriages and removed all the toxins from her life, moved to Minnesota and got pregnant!

They loved their vacations to Hawaii so they bought a house and now run a successful Air BNB!

She just happened to be selected to become an Aerie #REAL model!

She has multiple streams of income and talks incessantly about her 7 figure business!

She just decided to write a book and it happened to hit the New York Times bestseller list!

The entire book is filled with stories and examples like this. I’m not saying she needs to create some kind of adversity or struggle if it isn’t there, but it comes with an air of “I did it! You should too! What are you waiting for?” After awhile, it just gets repetitive and old and comes off as so tone deaf and privileged. There is little to no adversity, struggle, or mistakes whatsoever shared in this book. It’s entirely unrelatable in my opinion. This is a bit of what turned me off about Rachel Hollis, they both preach the underlying message of “If it is not working for you like it is working for me, you aren’t trying hard enough” without acknowledging any privileges or advantages they hold.

She refers to her husband repeatedly as “Mr. Six Pack.” It totally rubs me the wrong way. I hate the narrative of “Wow, my husband is such a good man because he loves my body even if I’m ‘curvy’.” One example of “adversity” she faces and shares in the book is that people might “judge them” because her husband is a stay at home Dad. That’s not adversity Jenna, that’s privilege.

Another form of “adversity” she faces, she continuously refers to throughout the book. While she was working as an executive human resource manager for corporate Target, a job that she continuously reminds us of how successful she was at, she worked in a “windowless office.” She keeps repeating and emphasizing her “windowless office” as if she’s working in the grueling heat 60 hours a week. I can understand the pain of working in a job that doesn’t “feed your soul” but to use a “windowless office” as a means to gain sympathy from an audience doesn’t fly for me.

One form of ACTUAL adversity that Jenna faced was almost getting entirely cancelled in 2020 following the Black Lives Matter movement. Of all the guests she’s hosted on her extremely popular business podcast, she never once featured a woman of color as if they don’t have any insight to offer to her audience. Jenna responded to the criticism with a picture of her holding black children in an orphanage she met when she wandered away from her 5 star resort in the Dominican Republic with the hint of “See? I love black people! I can’t be racist!” After the white savior card didn’t pan out for her, she defended herself (very loosely paraphrased) with “Well I live in Minnesota, there aren’t black people here so how can I make black friends?” I could write an entire blog post on how poorly she handled this PR crisis, but I’ll leave that to you if you’d like to check into it. Here’s a YouTube link that will fill you in:

At the end of every chapter when you finally feel like maybe she’s working towards some kind of tangible and applicable advice, she says “Go to my website for more information!” Well, I bought the book for a reason, I paid for it, not to be told to keep going to your website.

I’ve literally stopped and started this book for weeks. I would get annoyed, take a break, try again, get annoyed, and now I’m just done.

Jenna is associated and does a lot of collaboration with Tony Robbins, another popular self help guru who, has been accused of sexual harassment by over 10 women. Multiple reports have come out stating that Tony is NOT a good guy, yet she continues to associate herself with them so she can absorb some of his audience. There’s no amount of fame or fortune that would allow me to associate with that.

The book was also heavily marketed as “never before heard stories,” but as an avid podcast listener, I could literally predict the next story she was going to tell in the 19 chapters I actually listened to before I finally had to quit reading.

The one thing that REALLY bothers me about this book, and maybe I’m just a little bitter about it in general, there are NO negative reviews on the internet. The reviews that are on the internet are all 5 stars and very generic like “loved this book!” and “it’s a great read!” I’ve heard that publishing companies will gather up “book launch” teams who literally go and post these 5 star reviews the second the book is launched so that it will appear higher on recommendation lists. It’s not a “bad thing” necessarily but I also feel like the reviews that are out there are not representative of the book’s actual quality or content. I’ve also heard of PR teams that can make just about any negative review disappear.

So, similarly to Rachel Hollis, (the blog post that got me featured on buzz feed) I too must say good bye to Jenna Kutcher. I’ve never read a self help book that made me dislike the author even more. If I had to sum up my reasons, again, like Rachel Hollis would say, she’s just not relatable anymore despite her efforts to be #relatable. The entitlement and privilege is just too much. Maybe she thinks we would be inspired by her success stories but the way they are presented are tone deaf as to what struggles other women may be facing and why things may not come as easy to them as they have so magically come together for her. Her “rags to riches” story has no rags involved, at least she didn’t share any in the book.

I would say I started out the book as a fan, a weekly listener to her podcast, a member of her Facebook group, a customer of her digital courses/items and now here I am, unfollowing her pristine instagram grid (in which most of her photos are of her in her bra and underwear) and unsubscribing to her podcast.

With that, I’m also revoking my title as “self help junkie.” There was a time and place in my life where I really enjoyed the self help/self improvement industry, but time and time again between Rachel Hollis, Jenna Kutcher, Amy Porterfield, and Tony Robbins, I just feel slimy about it all. I feel like I’m being scammed. I feel they are eventually revealed to be inauthentic, unrelatable and money hungry.

In conclusion, I give this book 1/5 stars. If you haven’t been following Jenna’s career thus far, maybe you could glean some inspiration from her over told stories.

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Times Have Changed – Post Partum Edition

As I’m well into my third trimester of my third pregnancy, I can’t help but notice all the differences between the first two boys and this third baby boy.

Rock n Plays – I LOVE Rock n Plays. They were these portable bassinets/cribs. They folded up nicely, both of my boys slept in a rock and play for quite some time. It was especially handy after my c-section when I wasn’t comfortable going up and down stairs on my first few nights at home. This rock n play got hauled to grandma’s house, upstairs, downstairs, EVERYWHERE. They have now banned rock and plays since Gannon was born in 2019 because babies were dying in them. They again, for safe sleep purposes, only recommend a flat sleeping surface so I had to buy a new bassinet that is totally flat. I’ll miss my good old Rock n Play but safety first!

Hands Free Breast Pumps – FINALLY! I can remember in the hospital with Carver when they first wanted me to pump. They knew I was a nurse so they just kind of brought me the supplies to my Medela pump (because there really only was one option) and expected that I knew what to do with it! I was so confused – you have to HOLD these bottles on your boobs the whole time??? I can’t eat? Or hold the baby? Or scroll through my phone? Not only that but I had to do so within three feet of a plug in? Soon enough my sports bras all had holes in them so I could try the “hands free” pumping which really ended up just tanking my milk supply because I couldn’t fully let down.

Now there’s an entire market of hands free breast pumps – not only hands free but CHORD free! I ended up getting the Elvie Stride pump and I’m so looking forward to using it! Carver wasn’t great at breast feeding but I didn’t give it much of a try. Gannon was pretty good but once I went back to my 60 hour work week it wasn’t sustainable. Now with the formula shortage, our finances are much better, I’ll be able to take the time off to really work on nursing, I want to give breast feeding all I’ve got!

No Visitors Policy – This is one I’m so excited about. There’s a lot of education floating around the instagram and tik tok world about how insane it is that there are SO MANY visitors and people in the first week, heck even the first DAY after the baby is born. I can remember with BOTH deliveries having to entertain guests in the hospital when I was totally wiped out, totally not photo ready, totally not ready to socialize. At the time, it was NORMAL and expected to host family and friends to meet the new baby.

Now, there’s a huge shift of giving the mother some dang time to recover! It’s not all about the baby! We will be adopting a little to NO visitor policy in the hospital and the first week(s) at home until I feel totally ready to welcome guests, especially if my delivery results in a c-section. I’m prioritizing my needs and baby’s needs first, everyone else can wait, baby isn’t going anywhere. Both times I was in the hospital, I felt totally overwhelmed with visitors and the pressure to be “on” and can remember crying in my room after everyone left.

Please also note, there’s a HUGE difference between VISITORS and SUPPORT. A visitor comes with the sole purpose of meeting the baby and getting their picture. Support comes with food, they clean the house, they take Carver and Gannon for a few hours, they watch the baby while I nap and take a bath and I’m comfortable doing so around them.

Finances – I mentioned earlier that our finances were in very poor shape after Gannon was born. We were drowning in debt, I went back to work part time 3 WEEKS after my C-section because we just needed the money. We are in MUCH better shape financially this time around and have a great deal of savings. I plan on taking my longest uninterrupted maternity leave, the length is still TBD. Hopefully once I go back to work and get things lined up, we will take that savings account and throw it towards our remaining debt! It’s comforting for all of us to know that we’ve got a great big safety net to take care of whatever may come up in the next few months.

Carver and Gannon – This is an obvious difference, but Carver will be 6 and Gannon will be 3.5 years old when the baby comes. That’s SO MUCH more manageable than when Carver was 2.5 years old and we had a new born. Carver has chores, he can run and grab something for me, and BOTH BOYS WILL BE IN SCHOOL while I’m at home with the baby which will be GREAT! This will make the biggest difference in those first few weeks!

We are so excited for little man to join our crew! We are mostly ready, I placed my last big amazon order to finish off my list of things that needed an upgrade. Time is flying by and the end of September will be here so soon!

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A Week in the Life with Hyper-mobility Spectrum Disorder….

People often ask about Gannon. He’s my 3 year old son who has a diagnosis of hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD), pending a diagnosis of hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a defect in the connective tissue/collagen that effects the skin, ligaments and joints, blood vessels and internal organs. From the day Gannon was born, I could argue even before he was born, there’s always been some kind of medical issue we’ve been dealing with Gannon.

It started with undescended testicles at birth, followed by a big swollen belly, followed by a few misdiagnosis, then started the painful defication, then came the vomiting, then it was difficulty swallowing/choking, then it was swallowing too much air, then it was delayed mile stones, the list goes on.

While Gannon has seen more specialists, had more surgeries and procedures than most adults, Gannon leads a fairly normal life with a few exceptions. I wanted to share how HSD effects our daily lives.

Here’s a glimpse into a week with Gannon:

Day 1: Down to Cedar Rapids to the Hangar Clinic to get Gannon fitted for SMOs. These will help stabilize Gannon’s ankles and knees. Gannon’s ankles often collapse in on themselves and is very knock kneed. Hopefully these will help stabilize his legs and he won’t trip and fall as often as he does. Gannon got to pick out the colors and designs of his braces. We have always had such a wonderful experience with Hangar clinic.

Day 2: We hear back from Hangar clinic and we will end up paying $1,200 out of pocket for Gannon’s braces. They are only covered after we meet our $4,000 family deductible. I research shoes that will best fit SMOs, all pretty expensive and not super cute starting at $50 per pair.

Day 3: Gannon gets bloody noses pretty easily. Carver hits him in the face during rough play at bedtime and soon enough the sheets, carpet, pillows, and blankets are covered before we can get it under control. Easy bruising and bleeding are a very common symptoms of EDS. This follows an incident he had at the park last week with my mom where she almost considered taking him to the ER because of how badly his nose was bleeding.

Day 4: More appointment coordination, this time with a specialty we haven’t seen yet who can hopefully give us some insight on Gannon’s joint stability, Gannon’s torticollis (crooked neck), and his frequent falls. They can fit us in the closer outreach clinic next week! This NEVER happens, I’ll take it as a win. Over nap time Gannon snores and coughs and keeps me awake during my pre-night shift nap. He’s going to have a sleep study here before the year is over to see if he needs to get his tonsils out to help with his breathing at night.

Day 5: I’m woken to a sharp barky cough – ah yes, our monthly bout of croup/stridor! It’s pretty bad this morning, I can hear the tightness when he breathes (stridor). The clinic doesn’t open for another 20 minutes or so, I ask him if it is hard to breathe and he says no. Whew, I scramble downstairs to see if I can find a dose of our PRN steroids and thankfully, there is ONE dose left! That saves us at least one clinic visit for the day. I get a video of the stridor to show them at our sleep study/ENT visit in Iowa City in October.

There’s a ton of videos and pictures on my phone to “prove” Gannon’s symptoms when we meet with specialists. I’ll share the clip here so you can see what I mean – this happens on a pretty regular basis. we’ve gone through 3 doses of steroids since May so it’s a pretty regular occurrence. This is common in kids with EDS/HSD because his upper airway is made of connective tissue. This is something we will explore more when he sees ENT at his sleep study in October.

Day 6: Driving in the car, I check on Gannon in the back seat and find his leg like this: A pretty classic sign of hyper-mobility are arms and legs that bend far beyond what they are supposed to as the defect in the collagen causes “extra stretchy” joints. Gannon seems extra clumsy today, he falls and trips several times a day usually but some days are worse than others.

So when people say “how is Gannon doing?” He’s doing GREAT! He is currently pain free, he is happy, healthy and HILARIOUS. He always has us cracking up! But hyper-mobility spectrum disorder does effect his life on a pretty regular basis.

That’s all I have for today! Thanks for reading!

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Baby BUMP-date! 30 WEEKS!

Wanted to make sure I documented our baby bump update! AS most of you know I’m pregnant with baby #3, our third BOY and we are counting down! I’m 30 weeks this week and so far smooth sailing with a few hiccups! Fist of all, check out this 23 weeks vs. 28 week comparison – WOWZA!

I’ve been open about the fact that I’ve tried not to gain as much weight this pregnancy, I was up close to 50 – 60 lbs with both of my boys and I believe that may have contributed to some of their birth complications. I’m proud to say I’m still within the recommended pregnancy weight gain range for the first time ever!

Despite my efforts, baby boy is STILL measuring a month ahead of schedule. If he’s still too far ahead, I’ll get a growth scan next week with my OB appointment. This may throw a wrench in things. Here’s a little background:

With Carver, he had a minor shoulder dystocia which means his shoulders got stuck while I was delivering him. I had no idea this had even happened, it didn’t turn out to be a big deal but it can absolutely get very dangerous very quickly and leave permanent damage for baby. He was 8 lbs 6 oz.

With Gannon, again, the MASSIVE weight gain, Gannon was measuring WAY ahead of schedule, I was measuring around 44 weeks pregnant at 36 weeks. They sent me for advanced growth scans and determined Gannon would be an 11+ lb baby! They said because Carver got stuck, they would not let me risk this much bigger baby getting stuck either and insisted I get a c-section, so I did. Gannon was only 8 lbs 11 oz – just a few ounces different than Carver. I was so bummed and my pain control after my c-section was TERRIBLE. I couldn’t even get out of bed the day after, it was plain old awful.

So I’m exploring what is called a VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean. Only certain hospitals perform this, I’ll have to drive at least an hour to the closest hospital who offers this care. It’s been a long process but I have my meeting with the new doctor on Friday to go over whether he/she would recommend a VBAC considering my history. BUT with baby already measuring big, I’m afraid they won’t let me try labor which would so bum me out.

My 28 week glucose screen went perfectly, passed with flying colors – the normal range was 90 – 110 and I was actually 86! The past month hasn’t been totally free of complications though, my feet and legs have been swelling like CRAZY – I had gained and lost just 9 lbs of fluid over a few days! Somedays it is better, some days it is worse. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as what causes the swelling or what makes it better.

I am slowing down a bit, going on walks is harder, I’ve been feeling a little more short of breath and out of shape lately. It’s getting down to the wire, I’ve had both my boys at 38 weeks so we will see if this one stays put longer or makes a sooner appearance! My contract at the hospital ends September 21st so HOPEFULLY after that we can get things moving! I’d love to have him on my dad’s birthday – September 27th <3

That’s the 30 week bump update! Hope you all are having a great week!

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