Pieces of Me

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dealing with Trauma

You never think that your life will be affect by trauma.  You see it happen around you.  You pray for those involved, but you never think that one day, you will be the one asking for prayers.  You never think that you could watch one of the most amazing people in your life lay in the ICU fighting for his life.  You never think.  Until it happens.
My sweet father-in-law was in a serious motorcycle accident last Saturday.  Hard to believe a week has gone by and in a moment, our lives have changed dramatically for the time being.  He sustained some serious injuries, including a contusion.  The contusion is causing some major confusion.  His short term memory is pretty much nonexistent.  And although it’s hard to see him in this condition, the progress he’s made since Saturday has been amazing.
Ernie has been moved to Texas NeuroRehab Center.  He has been approved for 1 week of therapy, although the doctors seem to think that once he’s reevaluated at week’s end, he’ll be able to stay an additional week.  He is recognizing faces, remembering specifics about people.  When we went to see him on Tuesday, he asked for me specifically, addressed my children by name, and had a short conversation with Stephen. 
I’ve heard this is happening with all who have visited.  And it’s good.  Cayden is just happy to see Grandpa.  Hannah, on the other hand, would rather not be there.  That or she really just misses the Grandpa she saw on Saturday before the accident. 
But I have faith in our god, Jehovah-Rophe – the great healer.  I know that He will continue to place his healing hands on Ernie and we will see continued progress to his condition. 
Lord God, Jehovah-Rophe, I pray for your healing touch on Ernie.  Make every part of his body function in the way you designed it to.  Wherever there is anything out of balance, set it in perfect working order.  Heal him of his injuries.  Strengthen his body to successfully endure this workload of rebuilding, and when he sleeps, may he wake up completely rested, rejuvenated, and refreshed.  Give him a strong heart that doesn’t fail. 
I pray You will sustain him and heal him.  Fill him with your joy to give him strength.  Specifically, I pray for his brain injury, and broken bones.  Give him the faith to say, “ ‘O LORD my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me’ [Psalm 30:2].  Thank You, Lord, that You are my Healer.”
Lord, You alone know the depth of the burden Ernie carries. We may understand the specifics, but You have measured the weight of it on his shoulders.  We've not come to minimize what You are doing in his life, for we know You work great things in the midst of trials.  Nor are we trying to protect him from what he must face.  We only want to support him so that he will get through this battle as the winner.
God, You are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  You have invited us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  I come before Your throne and ask grace for Ernie.  Strengthen his heart for this battle and give him patience to wait on You (Psalm 27:1-4).  Build him up so that no matter what happens he will be able to stand strong through it.  Help us to always be “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12).  Give him endurance to run the race and not give up, for You have said that “a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again” (Proverbs 24:16).  Help him to remember that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:23, 24).
I pray that we will look to You to be our “refuge until these calamities have passed by” (Psalm 57:1).  May we learn to wait on You because “those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  I pray that Ernie will find his strength in You and as he cries out to You, You will hear him and save him out of all his troubles (Psalm 34:6).

(Prayers by Stormie OMartian)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Racecars Meet the Dollies

Racecars meet the dollies is something my children play quite often.  Hannah wants to play dollies (Barbies and Princesses), and Cayden wants to play with his cars.  They both want to play together, so they gather up the cars and head to Hannah’s room to play this time consuming activity.  They will play together for a couple hours with no fighting.  It’s too cute for words and great for the mommy who is busy cooking dinner or cleaning, laundry, etc.
This Spring, Mammaw won tickets to Disney on Ice from our “Positive Listening” Radio Station, The River – it used to be 102.3 but is moving to 105.9.  Anyway, mom signed up and within a few hours had received a phone call regarding the tickets.  I went to pick them up – a family four pack – It was decided that Mammaw, myself, Hannah, and Cayden would attend.  The themes?  CARS, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and the Tinker Bell Fairies.  The racecars and the dollies came to life on ice and both of my children were in complete awe of the show.  It was a fun afternoon spent, and great time with Mammaw.

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Just 5 Days

In just 5 days, my body has adjusted quite well to this clean eating.  Remember, when I say clean, I mean mostly organic foods, no refined flour, limited sugar, and no processed foods.  I still have my decaf coffee with milk (although I’ve also been drinking caffeine free tea).  I’ve actually been doing really well, which surprises me.  I’ve packed my lunch and snacks for the week, and stayed away from the sweets and junk at school.

That is until yesterday.  Wednesday evening was a rough night for us.  Cayden woke up around 2 am with a fever of over 101.  He doesn’t tolerate fever well – cries, thrashes, and just wants to be held.  Making for a very long night.  Thursday was the last day of school for Noah’s Ark.  When I woke up, I put on my clothes, brushed my teeth, gathered up Hannah and my stuff, and headed out the door.  I did remember to grab breakfast and some fruit, but I completely forgot about lunch.

When I arrived at school, I decided that I would partake in our final Pizza Day on campus.  No more Pizza Day next year as the rules for food change with the licensing of the facility.  I got myself 2 pieces of cheese pizza. 

It was Splash Day – so fun and yet so crazy – we took the kids outside, with their water stuff and their lunches – we were going to have a picnic.

Somehow, I lost my fruit.  So I ate the two pieces of pizza and then had a tiny piece (and I mean tiny) of cake leftover from the PreK Celebration.

Within 30 minutes, I felt like I was going to die.  My body reacted in a way to the food I ate like it has never before.  It was so angry at me.  Let me tell you – lesson learned.  No more junk for me.  I don’t ever want to feel like that again.  EVER.

Which takes me to my case in point – I’ve felt amazing this week.  I’ve had more energy, I’m sleeping better, and I have less anxiety and just a better mood.  Coincidence?  I think not.  I really do believe in what I’ve been reading.  If I hadn’t, yesterday convinced me.

So without further ado, I am going to make myself share these recipes with you.  Of course, only the ones we’ve tried.  I’ve got a couple more to make this week, but a few involve one more trip to the grocery store for a few items.

Lunches -

baby spinach with avocado, pomegranate, and sunflower seeds (serves 6-8 as a side salad) – okay, I have to admit with this one, we didn’t have the pomegranate.  I just couldn’t find this fruit anywhere.  Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, or maybe it’s not in season.  Regardless, the pomegranate was omitted from my ingredients.

  • 1/2 t grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 t grated lime zest
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 large shallot, quartered
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 t chili powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 10 ounces baby spinach lives, cleaned and patted dry
  • 2 T sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 avocado
  1. In a blender, combine the orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, shallot, olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water.  Cut the pomegranate in half through the tem.  Hold on pomegranate half under the water and remove the seeds with your hands.  Drain the seeds well, discarding the membrane.  Set aside 3/4 cup.  Reserve the rest for another use.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, all but 2 T of the pomegranate seeds, the sunflower seed, and about 1/4 cup of the dressing.  Toss gently to coat.  Transfer the salad to a platter or individual plates.
  4. Pit and Peel the avocado and slice it thinly.  Arrange the avocado slices on top of the salad.  Sprinkle the reserved pomegranate seeds on top.  Drizzle with the reserved dressing and serve.

Calories: 136.7, Fat: 8.6 g, Protein: 2.9 g, Carbs: 15.5 g, Sodium: 159.2 mg

Health Benefits: Anti-Cancer, Heart Healthy, Boosts Immunity, Improves Digestion, Healthy Skin, Boosts Metabolism, Anti-Inflammatory

tomato, avocado, and cheddar burrito (serves 4) – We didn’t have any tortillas so I improvised with this one and just ate a salad.  Instead of the tortilla, I had 2 cups of romaine lettuce and spinach.

  • 4 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 T thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 ounce low-fat Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 firm, ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • 4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  1. Position a rack 4 inches below the broiler and heat the broiler to high.  Alternatively, have ready a cast-iron griddle or other heavy bottomed pan and when ready to cook, heat it over medium-high heat.
  2. Lay the tortillas on the work surface.  Arrange the tomatoes in a straight light down the center of each tortilla, slightly overlapping them and dividing them equally among the 4 tortillas.  Diver the onion among the tortillas, evenly spreading it down each row of tomatoes.  Sprinkle the cheese on top of each.
  3. Carefully slide one tortilla onto a rimless baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 1 minute.  Or transfer 1-2 tortillas to the griddle and heat until the cheese is melted a bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  4. Slide the warmed tortilla onto a plate.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  5. Meanwhile, top the warmed cheese with 1/4 of the avocado slices.  Grind a little black pepper on top, if desired.  Tear 2 basil leaves into small pieces and sprinkle over the vegetables.  Tops with 1 cup of lettuce and roll up the burrito into a tight cylinder.  Repeat with remaining burritos.
  6. Slice each burrito in half and serve.

Calories: 260.5, Fat: 11.8 g, Protein: 8.3 g, Carbs: 31.3 g, Sodium: 223.7 mg

Health Benefits: Anti-Cancer, Heart Healthy, Boosts Metabolism, Healthy Skin

Dinners – we had to vary from our original menu.  Halibut is $19.99/lb and I just wasn’t paying that much.  I’ll check Central Market next time.  I’ve also been told I can substitute Pacific Cod for Halibut and it will be just as good.

almond-crusted chicken breasts (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, toasted
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 t grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 t dried rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 4 (4-5 ouce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place the almonds, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, garlic, and salt.  Process until coarsely chopped; the mixture will be a thick paste.
  3. Arrange the chicken breast halves in a baking dish.  Divide the almond paste and spread on the breasts; pat down to cover each breast completely.
  4. Roast in the oven until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer reads 165-170, about 10 minutes.  Loosely tent with foil and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Calories: 293.3, Fat: 17.4 g, Protein: 30 g, Carbs: 4.2 g, Sodium: 194.2 mg

Health Benefits: Anti-Cancer, Heart Healthy, Boosts Immunity, Improves Digestion, Boosts Metabolism, Improves Mood

grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce (serves 4) – This is the one dish my children asked for more of.  Soooo good!  Sooo easy!

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 T packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 lb. skirt steak
  • Olive oil spray, for the grill
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add the parsley and oregano leaves, and pulse until the herbs are coarsely chopped.  Add the olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  2. Place the skirt steak in a shallow pan and pour 1/3 cup of the chimichurri sauce over it.  Turn to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate, preferably for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.  Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce.
  3. If using a gas or charcoal grill, spray the grill with olive oil and prepare a medium-hot grill.  If using a grill pan, spray it will olive oil and heave over medium-high heat.
  4. Grill the steak for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare (yuck – we cook medium here).  Let stand on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes.  Thinly slice the stead and divide among four plates.  Top each serving with 1 generous teaspoon of chimichurri sauce and serve.

Calories: 339.2, Fat: 25.1 g, Protein: 24.3 g, Carbs: 2.9 g, Sodium: 193.2 mg

Health Benefits: Anti-Cancer Heart Healthy, Boosts Immunity, Boosts Metabolism, Improves Digestion

I know I’m missing a few and I’ll get them posted soon.  That’s just a lot of typing which equals a lot of time I could be doing something else.  LOL

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Master Your Metabolism Week 1

It’s been nearly a week since my family started eating meals from the Master Your Metabolism Cookbook by Jillian Michaels.  Okay, I must admit that I have been cooking our dinners from this book, and my breakfasts and lunches.  Lunches have been salads.  Hannah has been sick so she’s not eating much and Cayden prefers to eat healthy chicken nuggets then sit down and eat a salad.  Add into the mix that we inherited a bunch of food from a friend who was moving away, and it’s just been small changes that have been made.

And I would be lying to say that I haven’t cheated here and there.  I know, not exactly the best thing for my body.  I’m sure I’m confusing the heck out of it, but as long as there is ice cream in the house (and that won’t be for much longer), it is very difficult for me to say no.  On the plus side, coffee and sodas have been close to eliminated from my diet and caffeine has been completely removed! 

Now, on to the meals.  I said that I would post the recipes after we tried them.  One has been a total hit.  I’m pretty sure that tonight’s will be as well.  The breakfast muffins are a hit with the adults.  The kids don’t really care for them – more because they are crumbly, that the fact that they don’t taste good.  I think they are so good, and Stephen agrees.  And one meal was a hit with myself, Stephen thought it was okay, and the kids didn’t care for it at all.  But, they ate it because that’s the rule.

I’m still learning how to food fresh veggies.  I completely got the asparagus right but the green beans wrong.  And no one liked them (the green beans).  We love asparagus in this household.

Here’s the thing about eating “clean.”  Jillian Michaels wants you to eat all organic.  We just cannot afford that in this house, but I am making it a rule that our meat, milk, and eggs must be organic.  And then when the organic stuff is on sale, we buy organic.  We’re going to hit the farmer’s market next grocery day.  I’ve never been.  Looking forward to that trip.

The nice thing about these meals is that they only take 30 minutes to prepare.  Sure, some of them involve marinade, but other than that, it takes minutes to get them one the table.  A must for my household.  With two school age children, I do not have the time or energy to spend hours in the kitchen.

Okay, like I said, on to the meals.  So far I’ve only made one muffin recipe.  It makes 12 and since I’m the only one eating them (the kids are eating eggs for breakfast), they are lasting longer than I anticipated.  For breakfast, I have two muffins – mainly to help me get through the morning.  But the energy they give me is wonderful. 

I don’t have time to type up every recipe at the moment, but I wanted to share the muffin recipe.  Enjoy!

oatmeal chocolate chip muffins

  • Olive oil spray for the tin
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (this is whole wheat pastry flour – took me a while to figure that one out)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 TBS aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (toasted by you)
  • 1/2 cup 70% cocoa chocolate chips.
  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil or line it with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, honey, olive oil, egg, and orange zest.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tin.  Place the tin in the oven and reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before unmolding onto a cooling rack.  Serve warm.  (For longer storage, let cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Makes 12 servings.  Calories: 280.9, Fat: 16.5 g, Protein: 5.7 g, Carbs: 31.3 g, Sodium 279.0 mg

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mastering My Metabolism – Menu for the Week

I’m a huge fan of Jillian Michaels.  I know that Bob is the “sweet” trainer on the Biggest Loser, but Jillian fascinates me.  6 months ago, I read her book, Master Your Metabolism.  I checked it out from the library, but I hadn’t purchased it because it’s $30 ($25 on Amazon and that’s because of shipping).  The other day while at Costco, I noticed that they had not only this book, but also the cookbook.  Both for $14 each.  I grabbed them.  And I read through the entire cookbook yesterday (including the refresher regarding the science behind the book and hormones we all have/produce).  The gist of the book/theory is that our bodies all produce 12 different hormones and because of the environment or the foods we eat, many of our hormones are out of balance, causing us to gain weight and be miserable.  The key is to find a way to rebalance the hormones naturally so our bodies can become “energetic, thriving, fat-burning machines.”
Her cookbook includes recipes that are clean, whole and balanced that are not only appealing to the eyes but also quick and easy to make.  Here is what we are having this week (recipes not included – once we’ve tried them, I will share them, but until then, you must wait).
Breakfasts – These are always quick for us – The kids and I usually eat the same thing.  I have no idea what Stephen eats.  We are gone before he has breakfast.  I think it’s cereal, but I could be wrong.  As for the children and myself, I’ve been making muffins (not from scratch), but I’m so excited that she has three different recipes that I can make and we can eat!  Gotta love something you can bake ahead of time and freeze for later consumption. 
  • Blueberry Banana Muffins
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
  • Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
Lunches are usually fairly simple.  Hannah eats at school (AISD has a great lunch menu), Cayden (2 days a week, the other two we eat at home) takes a Hebrew National hot dog, oranges, and cheese to school with him, and I usually make (two days a week) a turkey and cheese sandwich, carrots, and fruit.  Sometimes I have iced tea, sometimes a soda (I know) and sometimes water.  This week, I am planning on eating some of Jillian’s recipes for lunch or take leftovers.
  • Tomato, Avocado, and Cheddar Burrito
Dinners will be something from her book each day.  We might have leftovers one day, but it will be from what I’ve cooked previously (hence leftovers LOL).  What I LOVE is that many of her recipes are something my children will eat (they are great eaters) but also do not contain tomatoes.  You’d think after 4 years, I’d be used to cooking without them, but many of my favorite recipes have tomato in them.  Here’s to trying something new and liking it!!
  • Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Asparagus
  • Thai Green Curry Halibut and Green Beans
  • Almond-Crusted Chicken Breasts and No-Cream Creamed Spinach
  • Broiled Tilapia with Fresh Herbs, Mushrooms (and Tomatoes) and Baby Spinach with Avocado, Pomegranate, and Sunflower Seeds
  • Pecan Crusted Catfish with Cranberry Maple Compote
I’m also going to make a few snacks from the book (which can be saved for all week)
  • Cheddar and Apple Slices with Cinnamon
  • Trail Mix
  • Roasted Russet Fries
  • Spiced Roasted Almonds
  • Almond-Chocolate Blondie
I’m a little nervous about my grocery list and price, but I’m sure we’ll be fine.  I checked prices already at a few stores, and I’m pretty sure we’ll be within budget.  We’ll probably also throw some things together from the pantry and freezer and try to make it through two weeks.  But if we don’t, we’ll be fine.  Remember, no eating out so our dollar goes further!
I’m also praying that these changes will help me with the sleeping issues and anxiety issues I’ve been having.  It’s been a tough week for me and I can’t figure out why.  I think I’m burned out.  And as much as I’m going to miss those little honeys, my last week of school has finally arrived!!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hannah’s dance recital is Saturday.  Excited about that.  She auditions for the talent show on Monday.  She’s going to do part of her recital dance.  She’s so cute!
Cayden and I , along with Ryan, Chase, Aunt Stephie, and Uncle Daniel, had the opportunity to see a sneak peek of Shrek Forever After.  The look on Ryan’s face when he realized we were really going to see Shrek before it comes out on May 21st was worth the wait in the line and sitting in the third row.  It was really cute – as good as the 1st one – and Cayden’s 3rd movie (not counting the summer ones that are jam packed with kids and talked through the entire time).  He did really well, especially since he sat in the middle of Chase and Ryan and nowhere near me.  It was almost like I went to the movie as a grown up, only having to lean over and tell him to not talk a couple times.  He was so excited and interacted with the movie the whole time.  Cracked me up.
We are home from IKEA on a Saturday.  Very stressful for me, but worth the trip.  We are inheriting a 36” TV from Daniel and Stephanie (worked out a trade) and our current entertainment center only holds a 27”.  So for a little bit of $$ we were able to get a nice replacement.  I think Stephen is just as excited about replacing the old 25” we have currently as he would be if we had bought a flat-screen (okay, not really, but at least he’s not chopping at the bit to go and buy something we can’t afford).  We are still living in the dark ages, but we’re going to do so at with a bigger screen.
That’s life as we know it and a few more piences of me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Move Over Miley Cyrus, YOU are a terrible influence

Hannah Montana.  My sweet 6 year old has been infatuated with this TV personality since she was 4.  2 years of listening to her music, watching her TV show.  2 birthday parties, 2 movies, 2 CDs and tons of Hannah Montana paraphernalia. 
I admit it, Hannah Montana is cute.  Annoying, but cute.  I enjoyed watching the TV Show with Hannah and know all the words to all her songs (due to listening to her in the car). 
I am sad to see the Hannah Montana world come to a close.  Just like Lizzie McGuire, these TV Personalities must grow up and move on.  I get that.  What I don’t understand is these TV Stars who have millions of little Mini Me’s (the average age of a girl at a Hannah Montana concert is 8-9) running around imitating them who then turn around and become the exact opposite of who they have portrayed for the past 2-4 years. 
I’m so happy that Hannah only knows that Miley Cyrus plays the part of Hannah Montana.  She hasn’t realized that there are Miley Cyrus songs and CDs.  Ok, she knows the song, “Party in the USA,” because I like to sing it.  It’s a fun song. 
But I’m disappointed.  Really?  Has your life really come to this?  Your music?  Your personality?  First of all, you’re not the first.  You see, when I was in High School, there was this show called the New Mickey Mouse Club.  From this show came the Boy Band, NSync which Justin Timberlake was a part of, several pop artists, including Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears (BTDT, Miley), and the actress Keri Russell.  Of those names, I only have the upmost respect for Keri Russell.  She is one person who did not take her influence on little girls and turn into trash.  Sorry, I call it like I see it, and what Miley Cyrus (and the aforementioned artists) is doing is pure trash. 
And I’m angry.  Unfortunately, I will have to break my daughter’s heart and tell her that we won’t be buying any Miley Cyrus CDs or supporting her on Disney (after this summer).  And now, I will have to sit and watch every single episode shown with her in fear that they will play this smut during the commercial breaks.  
Here’s the trash

At least I still have Taylor Swift, right?  And Hannah knows the words to nearly every song! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Behind on Blogging, but Not on Life

Wow!  It’s been over a week since I blogged.  In fact, the last time I sat down to work on the computer has been for work or more work (photography).  I’m excited that I’m doing so well with the photography.  I’m learning what type of photographer I am.  I’m a relational photographer.  If you want a photographer who not only takes photos of you and your family, but also want someone you will continue to have a relationship with, then I’m your girl.  I am loving the friendships that I’ve made from continually photographing the same families.  In fact, just this weekend I was able to photograph a beautiful newborn and her family – one of my very first customers.  Mom was pregnant when I took their photos in November/December, and now, they have a newborn!  I’m honored they contacted me to shoot this darling little girl.  I will share more as I am given the go ahead.  So there’s my little plug – I’ve ventured out into the world of photography.  I’m continuing to build my skill.  I’m continuing to learn.  And I’m eager to begin taking classes at ACC towards an Associates of Arts in Photography.  I’m excited about this new journey.

Of course, this new journey will be one class at a time.  One semester at a time.  It will probably take me forever, but I will learn more and more along the way.  I’m stoked.

And along with this journey, I continue my personal weight loss journey.  How ironic that I’m watching the Biggest Loser right now as I type this.  What an inspirational show.  I have to admit it, I have a HUGE crush on Darius – don’t worry, Stephen, he’s a little young for me, but I hope takes it all.

Back to my personal journey.  It’s just that.  And it’s a long journey.  And in a few more weeks, my workout buddy will be ready to kick my butt.  But right now, I’m loving all the baby love I get from her little new born, Ella Mae.

What did we do last week?  I’m actually 2 weeks off. 


Hannah participated in her 1st Piano Recital, playing Silver Skates.  She did a fantastic job, stumbling in the beginning, but finding her place and making everyone who was there to see her play proud as can be.  Hannah’s 1st grade teacher made it out to the recital.  That made Hannah’s night!  I can tell you!

Hannah at the piano
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Hannah and Ms. Martha – the world’s best piano teacher

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Back in April, Hannah begged me to nominate her teacher, Mrs. Branch, for the Krispy Kreme Teacher of the Year Award.  And so I did.  I wrote a 250+ word essay explaining why I believe Mrs. Branch should receive this award.  We got the news that Mrs. Branch was awarded 2nd Runner Up in the contest of all teachers across the Austin Area.  We were pretty excited and proud about this moment.  And Mrs. Branch couldn’t have been more surprised!

She was the only elementary school teacher to receive the award and amongst two middle school teachers.  Mrs. Branch received a goody bag of items from Krispy Kreme as well as a cash prize. 


And of course, she was able to enjoy a Krispy Kreme Donut!


Thank you Mrs. Branch.  You have made 1st Grade an amazing year.  We are blessed!


Then I celebrated the upcoming birth of a sweet friend’s baby girl.  Jennifer and I gave Cindy a small Baby Shower on Friday.  It was lots of fun.  Cindy was able to relax and spend time with some ladies who love her very much.  I’m glad she enjoyed herself.  I love you Cindy!  And again, an AMAZING cake by our good friend and cake lady, Cindy Hunter!  Let me know if you want her contact information.


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There will be another blog coming soon. . . . one about Mommies, Carnivals, and Allergy Testing.

But for now, my head is saying, sleep.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Look, Mom! No cavities!! But I still have allergies.

My children had a visit to the dentist this afternoon.  Their appointments went well.  We’ve been working really hard on brushing and flossing twice at least once a day and using Smart Rinse regularly.  I think I’m actually going to schedule in to brush their teeth and set a reminder.  I don’t know what it’s so hard for me to remember to brush their teeth.  I remember to brush mine.  So frustrating!  Regardless, we will be focusing on brushing teeth and keeping them healthy.  It was so nice to go into the dentist office and leave knowing that my kiddos have healthy teeth and gums.

Hannah still has the cavities she had before, but we are working on not getting any new ones (and have finally scheduled the last of the treatment for the previous ones).

Cayden has “perfect teeth.”  He was such a big boy today.  Not just a cleaning, but also x-Rays.  3 out of 4 x-Rays isn’t bad for a little guy whose mouth is so small that at age 4 we have already been told to prepare for braces.

Of course, braces are something that are inevitable for both my children.  Stephen and I both not only had braces, but also had teeth pulled in the process.  And they both have inherited our small mouths.  And Hannah’s treatment will start this summer.  Now I just need to find an orthodontist and new general dentist (for everyone but Cayden) since she has reached the age limit that our insurance covers for a pediatric dentist.  I’m super sad about this because Dr. Raymond has been amazing, but he will continue to see Cayden so hopefully at least one of my children will be cavity free for their childhood.

And although we are losing a dentist, we have incredible insurance so treatment and braces are not going to break our bank.  This is wonderful news since to this day I can hear my mom tell me about how much my beautiful teeth cost her. 

Now that I know my children have healthy teeth, I can start to focus on what caused Cayden to have a terrible allergic reaction last week.

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We visited the allergist this afternoon.  Dr. G. has narrowed his reaction down to a few possibilities:

  1. Grass
  2. Trees (Pecan)
  3. Strawberries

I am really shocked at the strawberry suggestion, but since Cayden was allergic to strawberries until he was 2, Dr. G seems to think that they have resurfaced.  And the only reason she thinks that is because 30 minutes prior to his reaction, he had eaten some strawberries.  And we haven’t had any in our house (because I haven’t made it to the store to buy them) since.  I don’t know how much I believe in this theory but next week, we shall find out.  My sweet boy will be tested for 19 environmental, 7 foods, and 2 fresh foods (strawberries and tomato).  Of course, as we entered the doctor’s office, he had this request for the nurse today, “No shots, please!  I got two and two (two in each arm) for my birthday.”  They thought he was darling and informed him that this time no shots, but next time, there will be some pricks (and stickers to go along with them).  He seemed okay.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

So much for commitment

Well, my commitment for not eating out ended yesterday.  And has restarted today.  I’m angry with myself for giving in to temptation, but I’m cutting myself some slack because I’ve been sick.  Yesterday was a busy end to a busy week.  I made it all week without picking up fast food.  I’m angry that I allowed myself to be talked into eating out, but what’s done is done.  I haven’t even gotten on the scale this week at home.  I went to the doctor yesterday morning and I had stayed the same.  I may check tomorrow, but today I’m just trying to get through the day.

This week we had the church picnic on Sunday.  Pretty easy to stick with the program and commitment.  We eat yummy homemade fried catfish, fruit, veggies, and a little dessert.  I didn’t over eat; I made good choices.  All while my sweet boy was having a horrible allergic reaction to something in the air.  After lunch, we headed home, bathed him, and gave him Zyrtec (generic).  He responded well and has been fine every since.

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Monday was Hannah’s field trip to the Dinosaur Park.  Fun place.  We packed our lunches and water and headed to explore the brave unknown world of dinosaurs.  Fun day.  We also got our A/C fixed and shopped for Cayden’s birthday party.  Hot Dogs for dinner.  Hebrew National, of course, the only kind of hot dogs, I eat.  LOL

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Tuesday was a long day for us.  Cayden’s 4th Birthday, the Noah’s Ark Spring Program and Carnival (which I am the director of), and then Cayden’s Birthday Party.  Not going to go into the crazy insane time we had at the party as far as preparation and things at the location, but the kids had a great time and the party was a success.  Hot dogs, again, chips, veggies, and hummus as well as cake.  Did I mention that there was no cake left after the party?  Hallelujah!!

Carnival Train

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Cayden’s Birthday Party

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Wednesday was a bit slower for us.  Thursday, too.  Hannah and I came down with a cold of some sort and stayed home.  Mine turned into bronchitis.  After a trip to the doctor yesterday morning, I am on meds and the road to recovery.  Of course, yesterday was also the Popcorn Party for Box Tops at Hannah’s School, Dance Recital Photos, and Hannah’s Piano Recital.  Photos of those events to come, but with my not feeling well, and having to run from place to place, we had dinner at Red Lobster.  Hannah and I split shrimp and crab legs, asparagus, and salad.  So at least it was healthy, right?

My recommitment starts today.  Menus to be planned and groceries to be bought – of course, that’s after celebrating Grandma’s birthday this afternoon at her house.