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Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's Cookin?

It's no secret that I'm a yo-yo dieter. My weight has fluctuated SO much in the last 5 years or so.........from marriage to pregnancy to post-partum and on to another pregnancy. I'm not disappointed with where I am today, even if I'm not at an ideal weight. To get myself back to a comfortable weight, I've always turned to cutting calories, cutting carbs, and/or exercise. Lately, though, I've had some different convictions. I haven't felt an urgency to drop a ton of weight or run a triathlon.......what I'm wanting is to just be healthier. I've done only a very small amount of research on the foods my family typically eats, and what I've found is scary to say the least.

I know that I have lots more research to do, but as it stands, I've got plenty of lifestyle changes to make now before I worry about more. I've been making some changes over the last couple months to transform my eating habits, re-direct my tastes and cravings, and hopefully soon have an impact on the things that Elliott and Scott (and eventually Liam) eat, as well.

As of today, my typical diet looks like this: fresh vegetables, meat (not necessarily lean or organic, but no overly processed lunch meats or canned meats), eggs, full-fat dairy products (greek yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, etc. No low-fat or fat-free items or flavored yogurts), fruit, berries, nuts and oils. I've personally cut out grains, wheat, pasta, bread, rice, processed sugars, and most importantly, artificial sweeteners. It hasn't always been easy, and I feel like I've still got a long ways to go until my diet is "ideal". Perhaps I'll never get there, but I like the path I'm on. Scott and Ellie are a little slower to be convinced, so most meals start off as one, and we alter their meals by adding a starch or carbohydrate.

I'm hesitant to do any more reading or research at this point, because I'm afraid of what I will discover. I've been horrified by some of the things I've learned.........I have no trust in the FDA, Monsanto scares the bejeezus out of me, and I have no words for how angry color dyes, high fructose corn syrup, and GMOs make me. I wonder if I continue this search, how will I possibly feed my family? I certainly don't want to poison us any longer, but it's a scary, expensive, slippery slope.

I will continue with the progress we've made, though. I've already learned that I cannot give myself "cheat days", and really even just a "cheat meal" can ruin my entire outlook and set me back more steps than you can imagine.

My goal is to eat real food, and soon I hope that my whole family will be eating real food. On this blog, I will occasionally share what I've been cooking (and eating, duh) to serve as an inspiration for myself. I'm not the best cook to begin with, so expanding beyond boxes of pasta and microwave meals has been a challenge. But this challenge has also been so rewarding! It's fun so far, and the food just tastes good!

Some of my favorite meals so far:

 Not a meal, but my go-to snack! It sounds plain and boring, but fresh veggies with some home-made ranch is a daily occurrence for me.

Turkey patty, broiled and topped with bacon and cheese! So yum! I like to eat mine with a large serving of baby spinach and tomatoes.

Egg whites with whatever else I can find in the fridge! This has become one of my favorite breakfasts, and I've tried a few different variations. I think one whole egg plus two egg whites is the perfect size, and I sometimes sautee some of the veggies before adding the egg to cook it all together. This is good with baby spinach too (I swear, I eat that stuff with everything now), and I've even topped it with pico de gallo and/or avocado. This is one area that I consider "adventurous" for me and I've been pleasantly surprised!

Zuppa Toscana a la Olive Garden. This has been one of Scott's favorite meals for a while now, and I realized that if I stop serving it with a huge hunk of white bread on the side, it's really not so bad for us! The soup consists of potatoes, sausage (the spicier, the better!), kale, heavy cream, chicken broth, and red pepper flakes. So easy and so delicious!

See, I told you my "cooking" skills aren't much to brag about. But I'm proud of myself for branching out, trying new things, and just making it all work. I've had some really terrible days, and I've had other days that I stick to my guns even if I want so badly to give in..........I want this to be a real, lasting, lifestyle change, and I know that this won't happen overnight. Stick around and see what else we feed ourselves! What are some of your favorite healthy meals?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Liam is 5 Months Old

I know, I know. Every mom (new or seasoned) will tell you that time really is unfair. How can a matter of months go by so incredibly fast?? And how can a sweet tiny baby feel as if they've been a part of your life for all eternity, but still be so fresh and new and innocent? That's where I'm at right now. Okay, so I've been there for a while! I want to stop time and keep Liam this little........but then I can't help but think about what he will be like when he's Ellie's age. Gosh, it's so bittersweet being a part of this precious dude's life!
In his first five months of life, Liam has grown and changed so much! This last month in particular seems to have brought so many milestones and cool new things. Liam is so very interactive these days. I can actually have Elliott sit and "play" with him to keep him happy at times. He's pretty easy to please as long as someone is paying attention to him. 
He's also becoming so very attached to his momma. I really don't mind at all, but Ellie was so independent that it feels totally weird to be the one and only person that can console and comfort him sometimes. There's really nothing like it!

Liam has also become a lot more "active" in the past few weeks. Moving toys to his mouth, reaching for things, rolling over and sitting up! The last couple days he's been pulling his knees up under himself when he's on his tummy.......ummmmm let's slow down now dude, alright?

We've given food a chance, but I think Liam needs a little more time to learn to love it. His appetite has always been very up and down, fluctuating with what I assume are growth spurts. I think with his next growth spurt, he'll probably start eating more solids. For now, we've tried pureed squash and green beans, as well as some large pieces of banana and avocado to sort of play with. He didn't really consume much of anything, but we will keep at it little by little.

Liam is, I think, a more "needy" baby than Elliott was, but at the same time much happier. He giggles and smiles all the time, he now "talks" often, and is just all around very passionate. I cherish our quiet time when he just needs his momma to rock him to sleep, and I also love watching him be passed around an entire room of people, bringing a smile to everyone's faces. If these last five months are any indication of how awesome Liam is going to be, I can't wait to see what next month brings!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PBS Kids: It All Adds Up

This last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Seattle Science Center hosted by PBS Kids. The idea behind this event was to promote some of PBS Kids' newest apps, but PBS Kids also had some important and exciting information to share about things they're doing in our local communities. I was floored at the amount of help they have provided to a community in need, so close the place that I call home!
PBS Kids was already one of Elliott's favorite apps (she loves to watch almost every show/episode on that app.......over and over and over again), but after hearing about some new games, features, and local charity work by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, I couldn't wait to sit down and really check all of it out with Ellie. That's kind of the big picture behind their efforts.........getting parents involved in early learning. I love that they tout parents as a child's first and best teacher, and I'm eager to dig into some new online games and start learning with Ellie!
Check out the PBS Kids Lab, where you can explore games and activities based on certain criteria such as child's age, subject area, skill level, etc.

The event itself was super fun and very relaxed. Kids were free to play, explore, and later test-drive many of the new games. Parents got to eat, chit-chat, listen to a few speakers, and then explore the new games and apps with their kids. The best part of our day? Meeting Cat in the Hat. Obviously.

A big thanks to PBS Kids for this event, and also for the hard work in our communities. I've never felt so connected to a "big" corporation like this! They've got my support.......and Ellie's!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Do You "Babe in a Mug"?

What happens when you combine a love for photography, coffee, kids, and Instagram (or let's just say social media in general)? Well, if you're clever enough, it could result in Babe in a Mug.

Ilana of Mommy Shorts is much more clever than I. She coined Baby Mugging and I just couldn't help myself! If you want to play along, get creative and snap a picture of your babe (or toddler or preschooler or hamster) in a mug. On Instagram, tag @mommyshorts and #babeinamug. 
Cause it's fun!



Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Mama Memoirs: On Having Two Kids

Today I'm linking up with Mandy for her new bi-weekly feature on all things motherhood. I feel as if I talk about motherhood 24/7, so a link-up like this shouldn't be a problem for me!
Today I thought I would hash out my feelings about being a mom of two. I've had almost 5 months to settle into this new role of mine, and I've gotta say......I think I'm doin' alright!
I'm sure that I had certain expectations of what life would be like going from one child to two. In fact, I think I was pretty intimidated. I had heard so many stories of moms just losing it (or feeling like they were losing it) when they brought their second child home, or that the family dynamic would change drastically and some moms I talked to just sounded genuinely overwhelmed. I guess you could say that in my mental and emotional preparation before bringing home my son, I prepared for the worst.
I fully expected Elliott to become a tiny terror and end up hating me and Scott and her brand new brother. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I fully expected me to not be able to "deal" with a new baby, housework, caring for my family, and eventually going back to work. Again, this wasn't the case. I fully expected to spin out of control into an ugly case of post-partum depression and miss out on so many joyous family memories. I'm ever so grateful that this, too, was not the case.
In the end, I'm glad that I may have over-thought things and perhaps psyched myself out a little bit. Because reality has turned out to be so much better than what I pictured it was going to be like! Don't get me wrong, last weekend I spent the entire weekend holed up in the house, cleaning up vomit and poop from my poor sick three-year old and 4-month-old and I didn't get to shower once or even prepare a nutritious meal for myself or my family. You can imagine how my house and social calendar looked after a weekend like that, too. But on the whole, this life is amazing! Adding a second child is definitely more work, but I don't have any scary stories to tell or any moments of wishing we could go back to a family of three. I am so blessed that I get to raise these two children. Each day, even if I'm tired from a long day at work or I'm exhausted from dealing with tantrums or teething babies, I think how wonderful it is that I get to be a part of these two precious lives! 
I think my favorite part of being a mom of two (so far) is seeing their similarities and differences. I pull out Elliott's baby book almost once a week and compare weights or milestones or even their bedtime routines. I cherish the differences and make note of the cute similarities. I don't want to forget a single moment!

Whether you have one child or five, or you're a dedicated mama to a precious pup, I'm sure you can understand the feeling of absolute gratitude when you look at the one(s) you love so much. There's really nothing like it in the world!


Monday, April 15, 2013

It's official.
We have a roller-overer.

Just in the last few days, Liam has started rolling over. He rolls from front to back, and back to front. He's definitely enjoying tummy time a little bit more now that he's got more control of his movements.

I'm amazed that during tummy time Liam can now grab toys and bring them to his mouth. Of course everything goes in the mouth now! I've realized that this little guy just loves to play and be entertained, and rolling just adds to some activities that can keep him occupied throughout the day!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Marching for Babies

It's no secret that I've been pre-occupied with all things baby for the past year (or three). I love babies, I feel like my truest calling in life is to be a mom, and I think having children is one of the greatest experiences in life. Ever. To put it lightly, I am incredibly blessed and forever grateful for the two beautiful children that God has given me.

This past year has been one of growth and change for our family. I love every minute of being a mom, and adding a second baby to love and to raise has been amazing. This year, however, I have also seen far too much heartache. Friends and loved ones have come up against difficulties having children of their own, or carrying their babies to full term. Sometimes the result is stress, anxiety, and eventually a healthy baby, but sadly, other times the result is loss, medical bills, and heart-breaking sadness. These are not my stories to tell. But, they still weigh heavily on my heart.

So, while I've never experienced this type of loss or struggle, I have many good reasons for participating in raising funds for The March of Dimes. I've been involved in the March for Babies before, and I love supporting this worthy cause. With my two healthy children, I will raise money and march for those babies whose lives were all too short or those whose beginnings were rough and scary. We will march to raise awareness of premature birth and to support efforts in research and new treatments. We march to keep pregnant women healthy and to give every baby a fighting chance.

I'm not usually one to ask for money, but I think it's important to share what's on my heart, to tell others why I do the things I do, and to live passionately for the things I believe in. If you are passionate as well, you are more than welcome to join in! There are walks all over the country, and giving is easy. Here's a link where you can donate money, find out more about the March of Dimes, or find a walk in your area:

Thanks friends!