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A Reminder for me to be Thankful

What a crazy few weeks it has been.  Three weeks ago  Jason got a pain behind his eye. We thought it was a migraine coming on. Over the next couple days it developed into many more symptoms. We thought it might be a cold, but then there were signs that something else might be wrong. He went to the Doctor on Monday and he thought it was a virus or cold. Monday night he had cold sweats, a fever and was in pain. All of his muscles and joints were killing him. He ended up going to the ER. They thought he may have liver issues, but let him go and told him to follow up with his normal dr.

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He had to wear sunglasses because of his headache

On Wednesday he started showing more concerning symptoms and we called the Dr and he said to go to the ER right away (again)! By the time we got settled into his ER room he was so sick. He had no energy, had a terrible headache and his joints and muscles hurt so bad. They ran test after test, ultrasounds on his organs, Xrays and more blood tests then I have ever seen. They came in with actual bottles to collect his blood. He became weaker and more tired with each hour that passed. They ended up getting him admitted to a room about 1:30AM. There were still no answers. His liver was showing signs of hepatitis and many other concerning issues. He was so tired that when the doctors and nurses came in he could not even open his eyes to speak to them. By the time I left, they said that they were not sure what was making him so sick, but that they would be running more tests about 4AM and the Drs would be back around about 10AM.

I went home to be with the kids (who my mom so graciously watched for me all night). By the next morning there were no more answers. He still had a terrible headache, but was starting to feel better. Once he was given medicine for his head and was able to actually think- he decided he wanted to go home. He had to walk around to prove he was ok to go home. We left the hospital with no clear answers- the doctors20160804_144545 thought it may be Mono or another virus, but the tests would not be in for a few days at least. The next couple days were pretty rough, Jason did nothing but sleep. I had to beg him to drink and he only ate jello and popsicles. I have never been so excited to see him eat a normal meal (pizza) like 5 days later.

On Saturday, he got a call saying that he tested positive for Mono and that all the other test were negative. I have never been so relived in my life. I knew that Mono had a long recovery period, but to know that he was starting to show signs of improvement and it was not something life threatening was amazing. Our God is so wonderful and perfect. I am so thankful to know that he is always on my side. What would I have to hope in without Jesus Christ? I have used this as a life lesson to appreciate my wonderful husband. I have been a lazy wife, not giving as much attention to Jason as I should. This has taught me to be thankful and give thanks to God everyday for the things He has given me. There I a reason that all of this happened. Maybe that is why- I am not sure. All I know is that each day  for the past two weeks I have been so thankful for the bles20160804_155809sings God has given me in my life.

 

 

Some quick tips for Meal Replacment Shakes

So I have recently really been getting into doing a “shake diet”.  About a year ago I really wanted to get motivated to start losing weight. Well, it took until this Spring for me to really buckle down and decide that I needed this! And, surprisingly to-even me- I have already lost 15 pounds- 20 from where I was 6 months ago!  My mom and I decided to do it together- it’s always nice to have a friend to help encourage you!

So, I chose to go with the Isagenix program, because I had some friends that I trust, that were seeing really exciting results, but most importantly were getting really healthy! Here is the products I use: http://www.isagenix.com/  The weight Loss shakes. I think everyone needs to find what works for them- so choose a protein powder that works for you! For the weight loss program, Isagenix suggests that you replace 2 meals a day (preferably breakfast and dinner) with a shake. We replace breakfast and then eat a really light lunch (something  like string cheese and a handful nuts) or a shake. Then have a really healthy dinner. For dinner we eat A LOT of salad and typically a lean protein (tuna, fish sticks or chicken).

I wanted to mostly focus on how I make the shake. So I really don’t like drinking protein shakes- they are typically all clumpy and powdery- ewww! So I decided I was going to add ice to my shakes to make them a more enjoyable texture. I also was thinking how hungry I was going to be… after all I am replacing my meals (and I LOVE to eat)! So, I thought it may be good to mix some fruit or vegetables in there too. So I could get a little extra “food” add even more nutrition.

I barely have enough time to eat breakfast,  let alone prep for breakfast! So I found a few things that work to make a great shake quickly:

I use a hand held blender to make my daily shakes- This helps me cut out the time I spend disassembling the real blender to wash it- not to mention the less space it takes up on the counter.

Similar to this one: https://www.amazon.com/Paksh-Cuisinart-Powerful-Smartstick-Immersion/dp/B013J38TPC/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1467261803&sr=8-17&keywords=handheld+blender

I pre blend my “extra” veggies and fruits in bulk so they are ready for my daily use. I use ice cube trays that I had for freezing baby food (although any kind of ice tray should work). I typically use Spinach and whatever20160310_133332 fruit I have that is getting ripe; sometimes strawberries, blueberries or bananas. Lately, I have just been blending Spinach20160628_185920 and water. I sometimes use a regular blender if I am blending in bulk. I try to fill about 6 trays at a time. This will last me and my mom about 3-4 weeks.

You can pretty much use anything you want in your fruit and veggie cubes. I have a friend that adds carrots and celery (just go light on the celery).

I like blending in bulk, so each day I just pop out the fruit and veggie cubes without having to get out all of the ingredients each time, plus this way they are frozen.

When making my shakes: I add my fruit and veggie cubes (I usually do 3, but add as many as you want based on the texture you want your shake to be). I blend this with water and my protein powder- as recommended.  And Ta-Da- a super easy and delicious shake!

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My kid’s even love thier Spinach shakes espcially when they help make them

Not only is it a great way to get leaner, but it is, most importantly very nutritious! If you do not want to lose weight, I suggest having a shake in addition to a light breakfast, or as a shack!

To make a shake at work I suggest using a single serving blender: You can just toss in your protein, veggie ice cubes and water. Blend and you can drink it straight from the cup! I break up some of the f&v cubes and put enough in a baggie for all week- then just store it in the freezer.

I got my mom one like this for her office: https://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-51101BA-Personal-Blender/dp/B00KVZ27UA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1467262301&sr=8-2&keywords=cup+blender

Last tip: Use a thick straw. It’s so much easier to drink it with a straw!

I got mine from IKEA (that place really does have everything!): http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20311242/

Enjoy!

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Cheers!

 



More then Numbers…

Ah, I absolutely love the time of year. The weather is starting to warm up and the sunshine- oh I love the sun! I am so addicted to those beautiful warm rays. We spend a lot of time outside this time of year. The kids love to play on their bikes and in the water. They will get to have a sand table this year – thank you hand- me- downs! I slather the kids in sunscreen and put on their hats! I do try to keep them in the shade too- they are very pale! Not me, give me the sun- I know- so bad!

Usually about March I get crazy Spring Fever and start to prepare for the summer. This year, I wanted to achieve my goal that I set for my 30th birthday- http://cameoirons.com/?s=30th to lose my baby weight. This is not typically something that I would share so openly, but I wanted to be honest. When I got married, I felt like I was at my  ideal weight. I was about 126- the skinniest I have ever been throughout my adulthood (which was really exciting because I my weight had fluctuated about 20 pounds in the 5 years prior).

As typical with married couples, I slowly started gaining weight and was about 145 pounds when Aimlee was born. I only lost about 8 pounds or so before getting pregnant with Evan. When Evan was born, I weighed almost 160. It took me over a year to get down to the high 140s (which is where I was when Aimlee was born).

I had wanted to lose weight, but never really had the motivation- in fact sometimes, did not care at all, and liked the way comfort food made me feel. J When we decided to move in with my mom, I knew I wanted to focus on achieving some goals- http://cameoirons.com/2016/05/21/a-look-at-progress/ and losing weight was something that my mom and I both needed to do.

So, in March I started a program called Isagenix- http://www.isagenix.com/?sc_lang=en-US . We do alter it as we see fit (typically just one shake a day instead of two), but have seen such amazing progress in just 2 ½ months. I started in the mid 140s and weighed in at 133 yesterday. My 30th goal was to get down to 135. The funny this is, my body is so different then it was when I was at that weight before- I of course have- what I call my “Kanga pouch” from my lovely babies, and my boobs seem to be smaller (ugh, really?). Best of all, I feel super healthy. I feel like I want to put great food in my body and keep out the bad.

Most importantly, I feel like I am able to make better and healthier choices that affect my whole family (minus my crazy picky husband) J. I honestly don’t care very much about numbers because I think what is important is how a person feels about their body and their health. Plus, I don’t feel like you can compare your weight to other people, as everyone has a different body style. I think it is most valuable to celebrate your little successes- no matter how small! So my journey will continue … we’ll see what happens. J

Siblings and Family Planning

After having our two beautiful babies, my husband and I have been starting to talk about the possibility for more children.  There are so many factors to consider when deciding how many children to have, but the most important to me is, the quality of life for my children and my family. Being an only child for most of my life (I have two half brothers that are 10 and 14 years younger than me, that live in another state), I don’t really know what it feels like to grow up with siblings. Growing up as only child was actually nice most of the time, but I knew I wanted more than one baby, but I had a lot of questions, as to how adults felt about their childhood, after growing up with siblings.

I asked about 20 people, from ages 20s-60s questions about their childhood, and here is what I learned:

Everyone I asked said they overall liked having siblings! It appears that everyone thought they had the right amount of siblings, whether they had one or five siblings. Only one person wished for another sibling of the opposite gender.  This is really encouraging to me, as it seems that everyone had a “perfect” family.  Most people enjoyed playing with their siblings. Some stated they had different interests then than their siblings, or say they were closer to one sibling then another, but “when they were together” it seems everyone enjoyed having brothers and sisters.  This showed me the importance of doing things as a family often, so my kids can spend quality time together. Everyone I asked said they feel at least somewhat close to their siblings still, as adults. I think the biggest factor, is similar lifestyles and taking time to spend together.

Jason and I have been watching the show Parenthood, a show about 4 siblings raising their families. They often have a family dinner at their parent’s house, and it seems like such a great way to keep families close. We talked about how great it would be to have a weekly dinner with our kids. Maybe call it “Family Night”. This could be fun when they are kids to spend family night watching movies, or going bowling or playing games at home, and as they grow continue to have Family Night once a week, even when they are adults. What a great way to spend time with your children, in laws and grandchildren every week! The kids would have to agree, once they are adults though…

Another portion of the questionnaire I sent out, was about how having siblings affected relationships with parents. I was wondering if the children got to spend enough time with their parents and got enough attention from them. The most common answer was yes- although there were a few answers that showed they did not spend enough time with their parents, because they were busy with other siblings. This was a big eye opener for me, as I will need to learn to give appropriate attention to each of my children, together and individually. I also had someone tell me, that one or more of their siblings seemed to “get away with a lot”. So I will need to learn to be fair- although obviously this is a difficult thing to always do! Overall, it was my understanding that even though some kids got more attention then others- it didn’t seem to affect the amount of love they felt from their parents.

Finally I asked, if they had less siblings, if they would have had more or better opportunities while growing up. Surprisingly, almost everyone seemed to think they would have lived the same lifestyle. I did however learn that some felt like finances played the biggest role and there was not always money for all of the siblings in a family to have new clothes or be a part of extracurricular activates or even go to college. Some even mentioned that they probably would have been able go on more trips or go out to eat more often. But overwhelmingly, it appears that they would have chosen their siblings over “better” opportunities.

So, what does all of this mean for me and our family situation? I am not sure yet. We are constantly talking about our family planning. It seems that most people I have talked to struggled more with deciding  when to stop having babies then when they decided to start. We are currently making pro con lists, trying to decide if our 2 sweet babies is enough, or if we need one (or even two) more. As a part of this questionnaire I also asked people who had more than one child what helped them in deciding when their family was complete. I will post a follow up, in regards to our decision making process, but for now we are still in the process. Thank you to everyone who sheared their stories. I would love anymore information anyone would like to contribute.

 

Icky cold days- How to help with the Winter Blues

Am I the only one who suffers from Cabin Fever or who gets the Winter Blues from the dreary, cold weather?  The cloudy, snowy (yuck!) and just plain cold days really get me down sometimes! I do think that snow can be beautiful, like 2 times a year. When we are home all day to watch movies and drink hot chocolate and not have to drive or shovel! After Christmas, it just seems so silly for the snow and cold to continue- the holidays are over! Time for the rest of winter to hurry up so that Spring can arrive! I would skip the months of January- March (except for my friends birthdays and Valentine’s day, of course)  If it were up to me, it would be 85 degrees all year long! But, where I live, it gets pretty cold in the winter!  Last week it was -13 degrees- that is just way too cold for me, not to mention expensive for my heating bill! So I am starting to get Cabin Fever and some major Winter Blues!

So here are some things I do to help:

Get Outside!

Any day that it is sunny and at least 45 degrees (or even less with sunshine)- Go for a walk. Even if just for a quick walk around the block or play ball with the kids for a while. Fresh air and sunshine can do amazing things for our minds and attitudes! If it is too cold outside, but there is still sun, chase the sun around your house! Open the blinds and sit in the sun! Sunshine is a wonderful pick me up.

 

Want something yummy to drink?

Sometimes all we need is a yummy drink to make us feel better and less gloomy. I make a summer-y mocktail, that gets me in a wonderful mood. I use 100% pineapple juice and add crushed up maraschino cherries in it. YUM! Or maybe just a nice cup of marshmallow-y hot chocolate would do the trick.

 

Celebrate the season:

Have a winter themed party. Invite over some friends over for a cookie exchange or a chili cook off. Drink hot apple cider. Make winter crafts or snacks!

 

Be productive:

Make a list of all the projects you have been putting. Cold snowy days that you are home, are a perfect time to catch up on cleaning, organizing, crafts or trying new recipes.  Over Christmas break my hubby and I worked in four rooms in our house. My husband organized one room from top to bottom- it was fantastic.

 

Whatever you do on a gloomy day, make sure to find the joy that each day holds!

The Homemade Flu Kit

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I get really nervous when it comes to puke and tummy bugs (or all sickness for that matter)! So having a toddler, I am constantly worried she will get a tummy ache and throw up, and there is not much a mommy can do to help. I know it is just part of life- but defiantly one of my least favorite parts of life.

I have come up with a way to help parents during that hard stage of your child’s life where they can’t tell you how they feel, or know what’s coming (if you know what I mean)…  😉 Plus, this way if they get sick in the middle of the night- you don’t have to scramble to find everything.

The Homemade Flu Kit for Home:

You need-

  • A container or box (big enough for everything)
  • Absorbent paper towels
  • Some old/absorbent bibs
  • A new bottle of Pediayte (with a long shelf life)
  • Chicken Soup
  • Saltine crackers
  • A few old towels
  • An extra thermometer (do not put your only one in here)
  • A couple hair ties for a girl
  • Grocery Bags (for the trash cans or for dirty paper towels)

 

The bibs are to help you not have to change clothes as much, so use old bibs that can be stained. The towels can be used to lay over our laps during snuggle time, over sheets in bed, over the floor or chairs. Paper towels are to help clean up messes.

This can easily be adjusted for adults by using Gatorade, soups, crackers and box of Jell-O)

Put all this in a box and store in your pantry or closet and you will be thankful next time you have a sick kiddo.

 

The On the Go Kit (for the car- since kids get sick at the worst times)20141120_140912

You need:

  • A small bucket (for puke) 😛
  • Grocery bags (for puke, and yucky bibs)
  • Open roll of paper towels
  • Bibs (to help keep clothes clean)
  • old towel (to keep lap and car seat clean)

Store under your car seat so you’re always prepared.

The first couple weeks with a newborn

I was reminiscing today about how much life is different with a baby. I think it takes a good month or so to get used to having a new member of the family. I was thinking back to how hard life can be with a newborn.  Or at least,  how hard it was for me. With both babies I experienced the baby blues, a stage of depression that occurs after child birth. Many things cause this to happen,  but it is mostly caused by crazy changing hormones and lack of sleep.  It took me about 3 weeks to get over this feeling of… “what have we done? We can’t take care of another person. This is so hard and I’m so tired! “. I love my sweet babies, but this is a rough time.

I thought I would share some thought and ideas as well as my experience and struugles, in hopes to help new mommies.

Before the baby comes be as prepared as possible, my goal is a month before baby is due.  With both kiddos,  I had their rooms almost completely done (I have curtins for my boy’s room still to do), clothes were washed and away (I have 0-9 months of clothes out, but we dont have a ton of clothes). I have  box ready for clothes to go in as they become too small. The carseat and hospital bag are ready and waiting.  The crib is ready with a towel over the sheet to help it from getting dusty. The changing table is set up, the play pen is ready to be used as a changer downstairs and the bassinet is ready (with a small lift under the matress,  as most babies have a little bit of reflux when born- I use a tiny blanket folded up under it).  if your situation is at all like mine, I packed a little basket to help me get through the nights with a newborn.  This is full of lots of diapers because newborns go potty about every feeding (2-3 hours around the clock). I read somewhere that the average newborn goes through 70 diapers a week. Also in the basket is a small pack of wipes, a swaddle and hat for baby, a pacifier a burp cloth. This helped me not have to go around the house looking for things in the middle of the night.  I found I spent most of the night downstairs while my family slept upstairs.  This was helpful to me so I wouldn’t wake up my toddler or hard working husband with baby cries or feeding alarms.

I found that it was a good idea to have some newborn formula and a bottle on hand and ready, even though I planned to exclusively breastfeed. Also, the micro steam bags are wonderful to have to sterilize bottles, pacifiers or anything else. I use the madella micro steam bags they can be used 20 times a piece, so each box has 100 uses for like $6.00. Totally worth it in my head, since I hate doing dishes.

On the topic of feeding,  I think this is the hardest part of having a newborn.  I had one kiddo that I has to wake to eat by setting alarms in my phone, and one newborn that always woke up on his own to eat. I use an app on my phone to help me know how long it’s been since the baby ate. It also times me, so I know how long they ate for. It took about a week for my milk to fully come in and during that time the nurse advised us to do triple feeding. This is nursing as long as the baby will, then feeding a little bit of formula while pumping.  It’s of course helpful to have someone help during this time. It was hard when Jason went back to work. The only way to boost your mill supply is by extracting lots of milk, so I was pumping even though nothing came out. Within the first month and a half I struggled with engorgment (an over supply often happens to mom’s while their body is adjusting to how much milk is needed), I got mastitis (a blocked milk duct that got infected – makes you feel really sick). I also had to adjust my diet because both my kids had/have milk protein allergies (that make them really fussy and my oldest even had blood in her stool) so I can’t have milk. With my daughter,  her latch was so bad I would cry adjust every feeding and had bleeding nipples for 2 months (tmi, but true). I found even through the hardships it was totally worth it!

I think the first 2 weeks are the hardest, with the baby blues,  the constant diaper changes, the umbelical cord consideration,  your own body healing, but I found by week 3-4 I was starting to get the hang of it and starting to feel good about it. It is so wonderful to add a member to the family, just have to make it through the first couple weeks. I can’t imagine life without my sweeties!

Dinner menu

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My first “good ideas” blog will be a quick way to make life a little easier. Dinner time for our family has always been a struggle, when it comes to deciding on what to have. My husband and I got so sick of the conversation,  “what do you want for dinner?”, “I don’t care, what do you want?”, “what do we have?”- so I decided to do something about it.

 

I made a menu for two week planning. This is something we do before putting in the order for our groceries (we do Walmart delivery). We see what we already have,  what we need to make meals (bread, or meat or whatever), then fill in the other days with what we want to have. Then shop accordingly. We go over our calendar and mark if we are going out or are having company. This has helped us make better shopping choices,  helped us use the food we have, and save us the drama of dinner deciding.

 

I just used a piece of scrapbook paper, printed off some labels of food choices. Make sure to make as many as you will need for 2 weeks or however long you are making your menu for.  For example,  we eat bacon and eggs 2 times a week, so I need 4 labels for that. I used clothes pins and wrote the days of the week × 2. Then used another piece of paper to make a pocket for the extra food labels.

 

This has helped us so much, but most importantly we don’t have the food conversation anymore 😉