Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today, it was spring


The sun was so bright, it actually hurt my eyes, even with my shades on. It shone so warmly through my window on the way into town that I had to take off my navy sweater. That navy sweater was over a daffodil yellow blouse, paired with baby pink skinnys, because the sun insisted I wear Spring colors. I wore my beloved Toms for only the second time this year.
On our drive, the ponds behind town had shed their icy tops and the surface shimmered happily with remembered fluidity. The geese were back. The horses waggled their heads, working out the winter stiffness. When Drake and I got back home, we ran around in the grass and explored the edges of our yard for tiny green sprouts pushing through the grey earth.
Oh, it was lovely.
Tomorrow it's supposed to snow. And for three days, it's supposed to snow. Freezing temperatures and white accumulation. Just in time for my birthday. This happens nearly every year. Montana thinks snow is an appropriate birthday gift for this Spring baby. I love you, Montana, but you got the wrong message. I want blue birds and green buds for my birthday. Sandals and light cardigans. Sundresses and drinks on the patio.
It's ok. You can try again next year.

The counter balance

This is my own response to myself in my last post.

Waking up to this face every day - to his smile and his bright eyes and his hugs and his giggles and his kisses and his Drakeness - is the sweetest way I can imagine starting a day. My heart is big and I'm starting this day feeling grateful and bright.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The great, and the not-so-great

I struggle.

I struggle with my promise to be real with you guys, and my fear of being a whiner. I know my life is good. It's blessed - so blessed. And I'm so, so grateful. But it's also hard. Being a stay-at-home Mom is hard. And I get tired of it sometimes. We didn't go to church today because I am tired of the solo Mom gig. I am tired of driving the 40 minutes each way to show up alone with a baby who has missed his morning nap because it falls at exactly the same time as church. And I want to complain. My husband is never here. He works all the time and when he's not at work, he's at school. And when he's not at school, he's flying. And I miss him. And I want to beg him to find a different job so that we can have Sundays as a family and go to church together. But then I remember that he is tired, too. And it's hard on him, too. And that these sacrifices are just for a season and it's a way of investing in our family's future and creating the kind of life we want in the long run.
And then I remember my sister, whose husband works in the oil fields eight hours away from her for 6 weeks at a time. She stays home alone with three girls. She packs them all up every Sunday and always makes it to church. And, oh yeah, she's pregnant with number four.
And I remember my best friend who really is doing the single mom gig. She has three girls and she runs her own business.
I really can't complain. My life is beautiful. But sometimes.....
Sometimes I want to cry. I want to cry when I feel so, so tired and the baby wakes up in the middle of the night and I have to drag my butt out of bed and sometimes I get angry that my husband doesn't even hear the baby and never, ever gets up with him.
But then I remember. He did get up with him the entire bad week. And he drags his own butt out of bed four days a week at 4:30 in the morning to go to work and provide for us.
Ugh. And then I feel like a selfish brat.
So you can see my struggle. I don't want to be a liar, but I don't want to be a whiner.
I don't want to get on this blog every week (how I wish I could say every day, but let's face it - I'm not even close to that regular) and tell you other mothers out there that my life is soooo perfect. That I skip around all day and pick daisies and sing songs. I mean, we do some of that, but it's not all that. Not even close. But I don't want you to think that I don't see it either. That I don't see that, truly, I have it good. That I have been blessed and should be grateful for what I have. Because so many people have it so much harder. I know these things, and I'm going to try my darndest to remember them when writing here.

I love you all for listening to my rambling.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Taking Care of Momma: Some Wins, Some Losses

The past week of trying to focus just a little bit more energy on myself has gone... well - depending on how you look at it. I had about a 50% success rate when it came to getting the whole workout in. A couple of days I missed it altogether; a couple days I ran out of time or motivation for the stretching portion. The good news is that, despite the misses, I still feel motivated and - dare I say it?  - positive about the whole endeavor. I'm still looking forward to my runs (although sometimes my early morning brain forgets that fact) and am doing better about getting past old mental hang ups. "I didn't get my workout in before breakfast so now it's not even worth it because you're supposed to do aerobics on an empty stomach." "I have so much to do - there's no way I'm getting that workout in today." I'm catching myself in my own excuses and shutting myself up.
 I'm also feeling pretty damn proud of my eating habits this week. I've stayed below my calorie count every day (except for today, actually) and I've done it by making a lot of fresh, veggie heavy foods. This was a tuna wrap I made with greek yogurt instead of mayo (surprisingly yummy), a little curry powder, dried cranberries, chopped apple, and mixed greens on a multi grain tortilla. It's been a lot of time in the kitchen, but I've always enjoyed that anyway and it makes me feel good.

Speaking of which... my self esteem has been given a little boost. Even in just the past week, I've noticed the hateful messages in my head getting a little bit quieter. I even threw myself a little "Not bad" in the mirror the other day. Feels good. I'm certainly not "there" yet, but I can feel that I'm on the right road. Thank you, everyone, for the kind and encouraging words.

Taking Care of Momma, Week 3 (I'm keeping it the same as week 2, since I missed several days):
Running plan: same as last week
Calisthenics plan: same as last week
Weight: 136 lbs - down 3 pounds from last week!!
Self Esteem: better

Running: Run more than I walk.
Calisthenics: Get through a more intense workout without feeling like I'm going to pass out or fall over. I'm contemplating joining a fitness challenge group in April for the support aspect. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Weight: 130
Self Esteem: healthy.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Not My Momma's Morning Glory Muffins

I must open by saying that the title is in no way a reflection of the value of my Mother's Morning Glory Muffins. Hers are very tasty, in fact. I simply thought the name rolled off the tongue quite nicely, and since I did use my Mom's recipe as a jumping off point, I went with it. I took her recipe, Emily-a-fied it a bit - using up items I always have on hand- and pumped up the whole grains. The result of a twice-adjusted recipe is a moist and flavorful muffin that makes a great breakfast and, here's the point: my whole family loves it. Justin liked them enough that when he took one for lunch, he still remembered to compliment me on it when he got home late that evening. That made me feel pretty darn good.
My original goal when I started messing with this recipe was to use up the pulp I get when I make fresh juice in the morning. I hate throwing away all that good fiber and flavor. I thought a muffin like this fit the bill. I was right. ;) That being said, if you are not a juicer and therefore do not have fruit and veggie pulp, just shred the carrots and apples - that's what my Momma used to do!

Not My Momma's Morning Glory Muffins

1/2 C brown sugar, packed
2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 C oat flour (I grind my own from good ol' Quakers Old Fashioned Oats with my Baby Bullet)
1/4 C ground flax seed
1 T cinnamon
1 T baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C fruit and vegetable pulp (I use the pulp I get from juicing 1 medium sized apple, 2 large carrots, and one orange. Again, if you don't want to juice them - or don't have a juicer - just shred the carrots and apple and omit the orange altogether. You will get plenty of orange flavor from the juice added later.)

1/2 C coconut oil, melted for easier mixing
1/2 C orange juice (make sure to use a brand that is 100% with no sugar added)
1 C plain, low-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add brown sugar to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a whisk to break it up now - I promise it's easier than doing it later. Add flours, flax, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk. Add vegetable pulp (or shredded veg) and whisk a final time so that all ingredients are well incorporated. Add all wet ingredients, plus dried cranberries. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Use a 1/4 C measuring cup to scoop muffin batter into a lightly sprayed muffin pan (or use paper liners). The muffin cups will look pretty full - don't worry, these don't rise very much. Makes 15 muffins.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Transfer immediately to a cooling rack before storing. But don't miss out on enjoying one right out of the oven with just the tinsiest bit of butter. Yum!

I hope you like them! If you try them, let me know what you think.

Nutritional Data: for 1 muffin: Calories - 209, Carbohydrates - 30, Fat - 9, Protein - 3, Sodium - 338, Sugar - 14

Monday, March 4, 2013

Praying It's Over

It got so bad last night, he couldn't sleep. We finally resorted to what will hopefully be his last enema. We just wanted to get him past it. He's a much  happier boy today. I'm praying he stays that way.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Not-So-Well Child Checkup

Drake and I had to make a {slightly} premature visit to the pediatrician on Friday. He was due for his 15 month well-child check this Thursday, but he hasn't been very "well" lately. It's nothing new to us - just a few bad battles with his anal stenosis. It was the fact that it seemed, both to Justin and I, to be getting worse over all instead of better, that finally prompted me to call the pediatrician and ask for the next available appointment. I just can't stand watching him cramp up and grunt and cry all the time anymore. I can't explain it any other way to you except to say that I feel like I coach my son through labor nearly every day. That is seriously the only other place I have heard sounds like the ones that come out of my son when he is trying to go to the bathroom. It's awful. So to the pediatrician we went.
Our original pediatrician in Helena is the one who made the anal stenosis diagnosis. He said there was a constriction about half an inch up in there. He told us to avoid certain foods like bananas and white rice to avoid him getting constipated on top of it, and that the act of pushing his stools out would, over time, help him to stretch and eventually grow out of the condition. When we first saw Drake's new pediatrician and filled him in on Drake's history, he seemed... skeptical. But Drake was not having trouble with it at that particular time so it wasn't much of a conversation. But now, with it seeming to suddenly get worse, he was forced to tell me what he thought. Basically, he told me it was a diagnosis he very rarely - if ever - makes and that he thought that Drake was, for whatever reason, just a child prone to constipation. He said all of this without ever having done a physical exam himself. So now it was my turn to be the skeptic. How can you tell me that my son is just constipated when I've done everything to avoid that? He gets all the right foods. Prunes, pineapples, whole grains... and nothing that can clog him up. It's honestly so disheartening to me. I'm a firm believer that food is healthcare and hesitate to medicate unless absolutely necessary. That being said, the pediatrician did go on to say that sometimes constipation can become a vicious cycle, getting big and hard on the inside and stretching out the rectum, and creating a pocket for future stools to get bigger and harder and stretch out... you get the idea. He said we needed to break the cycle. He recommended Miralax and assured me that it was a safe drug that never absorbs through the intestine wall into the bloodstream, but sits in the intestine, drawing in excess water to soften the stool. So that's what we're doing. Because he was certainly right about one thing: we have to break this cycle for my son. But I have my eye on you, doc. You better not act like I'm crazy if we encounter more problems in the future.
Drake still hasn't been able to go to the bathroom (it's now Sunday evening) though he tries every half hour or so. I'm praying the Miralax kicks in soon and we can put this all behind us. And you won't have to read the words "stool" and "rectum" so often. Sorry about that.
Other than that, Drake is doing very well. Developing normally (though he makes me abnormally proud). He's in the 50th percentile for height and weight but the 87th percentile for head circumference. Poor kid - he's got a big head just like his Momma's side of the family. I still maintain it's room for all those brains. He got caught up on his shots - two in each leg, which seemed awfully unfair to me - but he was a stud about it.
Afterward, we had to stop by the store to get the Miralax and a couple things for dinner. In the checkout line, a man in his fifties and dressed in a dirty, over sized coat started talking to Drake and I. He told us that he had four kids and NINETEEN grand kids. He was there to buy a toy for one of them. He was pretty taken with Drake, talking and smiling at him. Then he showed Drake something off the impulse-buy shelves: a blue rubber duck. Drake lit up. The man offered to buy it for him. Random kindness like that is so rare, I hardly know how to react to it. To be honest, I'm used to men that look like he did being slightly on the creepy side, leaning more towards inappropriate flirtation than anything else. I tried to politely decline, mentioning that we had some at home (we only have one). But when I tried to take the duck from Drake so that we could leave, he almost lost it. I didn't have the heart to just yank it from him after the day/week he had had. As I was trying to gently pry it from his hands and convince him that his lovie was enough, the man offered a second time. This time I smiled and said thank you. I think it made Drake's day. And the pleasant surprise was good for me, too. 

15 Month Stats:
Height: 31"
Weight: 22 lbs 11 oz
Head: 19"