Thursday, May 26, 2011

A thing called LIFE

There seems to be a lot of negative things going on right now. It seems like as soon as we jump past one hurdle, another one pops up. God is testing my faith, or something! It started a while ago. Remember T's bruises? Yep, I think that's where it began. Or maybe even before that with L's reflux. I felt prepared for the reflux, though. I didn't think it'd be this bad or last this long though. It did for T, but I was optimistic that T was the exception and L would be more like the "norm." No such luck in our family. In the past month, we've dealt with reflux, changing our diet because the meds just aren't working enough, constant sicknesses, recurrent pink eye (he's up to 5 times...), an upcoming procedure where L will probably be put under, more bruises, nursing problems, and now my grandma has both feet in casts. God is good, though. Even in all the stress we've been going through, God has been good. L's reflux is actually starting to get better. He still has it, but we are definitely seeing changes. We're also seeing changes in his skin. He used to have eczema on his legs but that seems to be gone. And as if that's not wonderful enough, I have actually been feeling better too! I did not expect that! As a child, I was diagnosed with IBS because of stomac issues that the doctor couldn't find any other reason. I have a daily stomach ache and I've had it for years. I also have a constant head ache. All day, every day. Strange I know! But since going gluten free, both of those issues seem to have cleared up. Amazing, isn't it? As far as the sicknesses, pink eye/procedure, and bruises are concerned...well, my kids could be a lot sicker. There are kids out there battling lift threatening illnesses. The dr ran a test to check T for Leukemia and it came back normal. Yes those things are annoying, but that's about it. Annoying. They are not going to change our entire lives. We'll be past these soon. We'll be past the nursing problems soon too. My goal is to make it a year, but nursing has never been something that I love. I have friends who loved nursing their babies. I hate it. Always have hated it, even with T (especially with T). My time spent nursing L seems to be like my life right challenge after another. First I had to go off dairy, then it started hurting again (worse than when I first started nursing either baby), and the wheat issue, he refuses a bottle and paci, more pain and cracked nipples (TMI, I know... lol, sorry...), a little biting, and now, 9 months in, more cracks and bleeding. OUCH!!! I cannot tell you how frustrating this whole experience has been. And the mommy guilt, I just can't quite. It wont let me. I HAVE to keep going because I believe it's the best thing for my baby. And even if I wanted to quit, it wouldn't be easy. Like I said, L refuses a bottle. He loves nursing. We recently found out that his upper lip is tied (similar to a baby who is tongue tied, but with his lip instead). So at least we have a reason for the pain. There's not much we can do about it right now, but I feel better knowing why it still hurts :) Be in prayer for my grandma. Like I said earlier, she has both feet in casts. She was supposed to fly across country on Saturday to come with us to the beach. We were going to celebrater her 70th birthday while we're there. But now she obviously can't fly here and go with us :( I'm so sad. I love my grandma and we don't get to see her enough!!! THIS STINKS! I know my thoughts have been really mushed together lately. I just haven't been thinking clearly. I'll get back to writing in an understandable way soon, promise ;)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Random thoughts

First off, I realized that I haven't written about L's eyes recently. You may recall that he's had pink eye quite a bit. Turns out that clogged tear duct that usually goes away, hasn't. We have tried massaging it and everything. It's just as stubborn as that little boy ;) Because of the recurring pink eye, we have to take him to get a procedure done. We are praying it clears up on it's own before then.

Secondly, this weekend, J and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary! Yay!!! Happy Anniversary, Sweet hubby! We didn't do anything to celebrate because he's on call. Stupid on call! We are hoping to go out to the Melting Pot sometime this week, though. We will just do dessert, but I am OH SO EXCITED!!!! That's the best part anyway! (see picture of our wedding day :) Yes, we were so young!)

Third, the GF diet is going ok. I still feel like crying some days (like when my boys eat delicious Chick fil a, and then get ice cream/milk shakes), but it's better. I'm finding recipes that I like and finding more snack foods.

Fourth, I ran two whole miles without stopping! Yahoo!!! I need to go about 3.2 before the 4th....

And last because I'm out of time, our VACATION is coming up!!!!!!!!!! I am so, so very excited!!!! Like, super excited!!! Several times throughout the day, someone in the M family (that's my little family) will say, "I can't WAIT to go to the beach!" and the rest of us will follow up with a "Woo Hoo!!!! I can't wait either!!! Only ___ more days!!!!!" We write little songs and everything. Super excited!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GF cookies!

Today I attempted some gluten free cookies. I decided this would be the best place for my to write down the recipe so that I have it in the future, along with my little side notes. If I write it down on paper, I'll lose it. So, ingredients:

3/4 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c brown rice flour
1 1/4 c c white rice flour
2 eggs
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
12 ounces chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla. In a larger bowl, sift the vornstarch, brown rice flour, white rice flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the butter mixture, then add chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes.

These were very good! Tasted great! BUT, they were as flat as paper (well, almost...) and got hard as they cooled. Next time I will try using a teaspoon of zantham gum, less butter, adding milk, or maybe add more of the flour mixture. Hopefully that will help them to turn out more like normal cookies :)

Tasty Tuesday: PF Changs Mongolian Beef

To start off my meal post for today (yesterday, technically), I thought I'd share a funny story. I don't share a lot of funny things in this blog, but this one I have to write down somewhere. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I can be quite careless. I have been known to run into things (walls, door frames,guard rails, dumpsters...). I trip, fall, basically, I could at times be described as a red headed blonde ;) I've tried very hard to overcome those characteristics but sometimes they sneak back into my life. Yesterday was one of those days. I was going to cook something in the crock pot and started getting it ready while talking to my mom on the phone. I have two crock pot recipes on the menu this week, the first is French Onion Pork Chops (pork chops, french onion soup, water, and parsley) and the second is Cola Roast (pot roast, onion soup mix, and coke). So I'm talking to my mom, the kids are both fussing about something or another, so I'm trying to get them something to snack on while I get dinner ready, and I just wasn't thinking things through completely. I put the pork chops in, talk some more, clean up a mess or two and then put the onion soup mix in. This is where I first went wrong, I put the onion soup mix in instead of the french onion soup. It's easy to confuse the two, but from there I completely switched recipes. Instead of adding the water and parsley, I added the coke. All day long I kept saying how good is smelled and how excited I was to eat dinner. J came home and I bragged to him that dinner was cooking and would be ready at exactly the right time. At dinner time, I realized my mistake. We had a very sweet Cola Chops dinner ;) It was nasty. Now onto this week's new recipe:

This is my first Gluten Free recipe (well, others might be gluten free too, I just haven't paid attention until now...) and I have to say that it was delish! I was actually very surprised! I thought going gluten free would mean "taste free" but nope, it's not tasteless. J gave this an 8.5, my sister and I agree that it's a 9, and Sweet T ate a few bites without any fuss whatsoever! Yum Yum! I can't wait to make it again! I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and I'm not positive where she got it, but she made a few adjustments to it. Here ya go:

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (changed to 1/2 cup)
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large green onions

1. Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of oil in medium saucepan over med/low heat.

Don't get the oil too hot or you'll get spatter hwen adding the other liquids.

Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.

Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Remove it from heat.

2. Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4 inch thick bite-size slices.

Tilt the blade of your knife at about a 45 degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts.

3. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch and apply a thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef.

Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.

4. As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok (or skillet).

Heat the oil over medium heat until it's nice and hot, but not smoking.

Add the beef to the oil and saute for 2 minutes or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges.

You don't need a thorough cooking here since the beef will go back on the heat later.

Stir the meat around a little so it cooks evenly.

After a couple of minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and place it on paper towels.

Then pour the oil out of the wok.

Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute.

Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions. cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate. (My MIL leaves the meat in the sauce)

Leave the excess sauce behind in the pan.

You can also substitute chicken for the beef, if you prefer it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Madness, 5/09

Update on the kids:

Sweet T: Oh my Sweet T... What can I say other than I love him. All his temper tantrums and disobedience could never change the way I love him. He's my baby and I KNOW God has big plans for this little boy with such a strong personality. God is going to use this stubborness and his problem solving abilities to do amazing things. I just wish he would learn that sometimes he cannot have his way, and that being sneaky is bad (that's where he's using his problem solving figure out how to get what he wants without getting into trouble). He has the sweetest heart, loves his family and especially his brother. He also isn't bothered by the way other people treat him...he will not be jumping off of that darn bridge just because the other kids are ;) Yup, I'm not sure what it is, but God has given my little boy a big personality because he has big plans :) A cute story from last night... He was scared to go to bed for the first time. What was he so afraid of? Pumas. Yep, that's right. Most kids are afraid of monsters, mine is afraid of pumas. Ha! So sweet.

Little L: How in the world has my tiny baby grown up to be such a little boy so quickly??? It's like I fell asleep one night and woke up to this crawling, exploring, big boy! I miss the newborn stage, but this is so much fun too! When T was little, I was sometimes jealous of those mommas who had cuddly little boys who were so in love with their mommies. T is so independant, always has been. But now, my Little L makes up for it and more. He gets so excited when he sees his momma, he cuddles up on my shoulder, loves for me to hold him, rock him, and play with him. I am really enjoying this :) He is sitting up on his own, can even get into a sitting position from his tummy. He is crawling, mostly on his tummy still, but getting up onto all fours more and more. He loves to attack his brother and get into lots of trouble! I have to watch him very closely because he is constantly into something he shouldn't be... cords, trash, his brother's toys. He goes straight for outlets, glass, plants, anything that babies shouldn't be touching. T was busy, but L is all hands (well...and mouth too...that's where he puts everything). I can honestly say that I forgot how tiring it is to have a crawler, when everything is new and exciting and he just wants to learn about everything (but putting things into his mouth of course). It's fun though. I love this stage. He still isn't sleeping well. Hopefully that will change soon. We made T cry it out but I really don't think that's the best thing for babies anymore, at least not for my babies. He will sleep through the night some day, and some day, I will miss this. Oh, and one more thing (because I'm so proud of him) is that he's pulling up! The doctor said he wouldn't be pulling up on things by 9 months, but he is! He is! Take that, doctor! ;)

More crazy life: J is still waiting on a new job. He has had three offers, one from the new company that took over his old contract, one from his old company that's far away, and one from his old company that he really wants and would be amazing, but they don't offically have the contract yet. He turned down the one that's far away because he would rather spend time with is family than in the car commuting ( man is amazing!). He took the new company contract to make sure he has something, but really wants this other one. Please keep praying for God to work things out.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bloggin two days in a row! Woo Hoo!

Yesterday, I tried to write about my crock pot disaster, so today I'm going to start with that and see what I come up with. Maybe if I find the time to start blogging again, I'll get back into my daily topics. For now, I'm just happy to blog at all :)

So, yesterday. Yesterday was NRN (new recipe night) and I've been wanting to try a BBQ chicken and cornbread dish in the crock pot. Little L is still struggling with reflux, and after talking with three different moms, we've decided the best thing to do is try a gluten free diet. Thankfully, the place I got this recipe from cooks gluten free! Even lists the brands she uses which made shopping a lot easier! The problem I had was that she used a 4 qt crock pot and I have a 6 qt one. I figured it'd be ok, I could just add more water. Big time fail! I'm sure the chicken part of it would have been delicious, but the corn bread mixture just mixed in with the bbq/water mixture and was a mess. So right away I decided to just start over. Bummed from the meal and money I had just waisted, I prepared the meal again, this time according to directions. I'm not really sure what I was thinking. I was still using the wrong size crock pot. I completely, and I mean COMPLETELY burned the entire meal. It was far from edible. I still really want to try that recipe though. I guess I'll have to buy a small crock pot now ;) (for those interested, here's the blog:

Wow, both kids still sleeping! I guess I'll keep blogging :) As I mentioned in that last paragraph, J and I decided it's time to try a gluten free diet. J and Sweet T are still eating plenty of gluten, but I'm off it, or at least trying to get off of it, and Little L has never really had much to begin with...other than what's in my milk of course. I started my new diet on May first. Parts of it are easier than I expected and parts are much more difficult. My in-laws have been off gluten for years now, and they are amazing cooks. My mother-in-law loves trying new recipes and is not only willing to send me the recipes, but also sit down and teach me what to do. She even gave me tons of different types of flours and things to try out (and you would not believe all the different types of flours out there!!!). We have an amazing selection of gluten free products at our local Wegmans. It's pretty expensive, but easy to find which is very helpful too. The hardest part for me is giving up my sweets. I LOVE cookies, cakes, brownies, all things sugary. And while I can still eat some candy, some of my favorites are now a "no-no." The cookies and candies that I can't eat are now out of the house. When I get the craving for something sweet, I go for a couple chocolate chips or something. My mother in law sent me a recipe for gluten free oreos that I'm excited to try, and if I can find some cookie recipes, I'll be golden. The one thing that I have not been able to give up yet is my beloved chocolate milk. Yes, it's sad but true. Some of you may be thinking, "Wait, I thought L was lactose intolerant and you can't drink milk?" This is true, but I drink the lactose free stuff :) Every morning, Sweet T and I enjoy a morning glass of chocolate milk. I started craving Carnation Instant Breakfast (Dark Chocolate kind only) when I was pregnant with Little L, and I haven't been able to stop drinking it ever since. Sweet T realized that my morning milk was different than his morning (white) milk when he was around 20 months old, and has had chocolate milk (Ovaltine) ever since then too. What can I say? We're addicted. I'm sure there are other types of chocolate milk out there without gluten in them, but I don't want those! I only want the dark chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast :( I know I need to give it up. It's for L's health. Your body goes through a bit of withdraw similar to what an alcoholic goes through when you stop eating gluten, so for now I'm using that as an excuse. I should give it up slowly so that I don't go through that. But it's still going to be hard in a week or two when I can't use that as an excuse any more :( STUPID wheat starch :(

On a non-food related note, the diapers I bought yesterday are about to go into the dryer! YAY! Can't wait to get them on the bum! So, that's all for now, friends. Hopefully I can keep this blog up. I know I say that every time I get on here. Oh well...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Craiglist, running, and crock pot disaster!

I know this is kind of different from my usualy daily theme, but I figured at this point, any post is better than no post :) I've had a pretty exciting day and wanted to blog about it so here I am!

Craigslist: I have recently started looking at craigslist for a few things. Ok, actually I've been looking for these specific things for a while now but never actually bought anything. Call me paranoid, but I've always been a little afraid of going to some stranger's house, giving them money, and then hoping they give me what I came to get instead of taking advantage of me or killing me. But we needed a jogging stroller and they are super expensive new. I decided that J is a big guy and can take care of himself, so if I found one I loved at a good price, I'd go for it. After months of casually looking, and a month or so of searching obsessively (kind of joking...), I found one I wanted to buy. J picked it up yesterday and we've already gone on a walk and a run with the boys in it. I have to admit, I'm in love. I didn't think I would ever end up with a side by side doublt stroller (too difficult to navigate through narrow mall stores...), but this stroller is amazing! It is so light and moves so easily! The boys seem to like it too. Anyway, after buying the awesome stroller, I decided to go ahead and try to get some diapers too. For anyone wondering, I cloth diaper. I love it but have had problems with the brand I was using (gave my Sweet T bruises along his spine). I've slowly been trying different brands and trying to find something that works better for our family. I have three top brands, one for the length, one for the cute prints (and yes, it actually does fit my boys well too), and one that is good all around but not at the very top of my list. My third favorite, the one that is good all around, was listed for $6 a piece!!! And she had 15 of them!!! The first brand listed above sells for about $20 each, the second brand for about $18, and this brand is usually around $12. Is that not amazing? Half price!!! And to make this deal even better (yes, it's possible!) The diapers are BRAND SPANKIN NEW! And the seller lives about 10 minutes from my house! I am so excited about this deal! I can offically stop using the bruisers (haha) and use diapers that I feel confindent in. I almost didn't buy them because I have grown to LOVE LOVE LOVE the fun prints! My little L has a diaper with monkeys on it even! And there are so many cute prints I've been eyeing. But God has been working on my heart. He has used even this situation to show my how prideful and un-content (my blog, I can make up words!) I am. Why do I feel like I should buy expensive diapers just because they have monkeys on them when I can get them for a third of the price plain??? Anyway, I listened and learned (or, rather, am learning) and now have tons of diapers for my boys.

Running: As I mentioned in the craigslist section, we bought a jogging stroller! Why did we buy a jogging stroller? Because I've started running! Yes, it's true, the girl who hates running is running. For the first time in my life, I ran an entire mile without stopping! Yahoo!!! I'm so excited! My goal is to be able to run 5K by June 4th, because I am signed up for my first race that day! Shocked? I don't blame you! But I'm really excited about it. J loves to run and has always wished I could go with him. Plus, you don't see many fat runners out there, do you? I really hope this helps me shed the last of my baby weight. I did something stupid while running the other day, it was quite funny! J and I were jogging together while my sister watched the boys. I like to talk while I run to keep my mind off of how terrible I feel, so I was busy talking away. Next thing I know, I'm running into the gaurd rail!!! Ha! Yep, I was THAT girl.

Crock Pot: Ok, baby L is crying for mommy. Kiddo is ready to eat. So, until next time, you'll have to be happy with those first two topics :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coming out of hiding... hopefully

I'm just going to write a little about the past two weeks, and then you will understand why I haven't been on here much.

Wed, April 20- Take both boys to the pedi for pink eye... both boys, in both eyes. Dr also sees T's ear getting irritated and tells me to watch out for ear infection. We are stuck at home until the eyes clear up. We also talk about L's reflux, which is still a problem. He switched L's meds around a little and said if it doesn't clear up, we may have to look into testing.

Thurs, April 21- T gets his very first ear infection. Stops taking eye drops and starts on Amoxicillin.

Sat, April 23- Fun day out with friends, but L is starting to cough a lot, has more gunk in his eyes, and a runny nose. Red flags are up, but we enjoy our day anyway.

Sun, April 24- Easter Sunday! L is SICK! Miserable! CRANKY! We skip church and try to calm this screaming baby. Little did we know what the next week would be like.... Also, I decided officially to go off Gluten (wheat) to see if it helps L's reflux.

Tues, April 26- Call nurse line to ask for advice for screaming, miserable, sick baby. She said it sounds like a nasty cold and give it another day or two before going in. This is the day L's fever peaked. He has been up 3 times, if not more, a night since Sunday and would be up for an hour or so. It was honestly a nightmare and I dreaded night time. I hate to hear him scream like that! His reflux continues to act up as well.

Wed, April 27- L's fever is down, but the screaming continues, gets worse even, so in we go to see the pedi. Again. He has an ear infection. Off eye drops, onto antibiotics. I go to fill his prescription during a nasty storm, don't check it before I leave, get home during tornado watches and warnings, and find that they filled his prevacid but didn't give me his antibiotic :/ Once the storm clears a little and all tornadoes pass (thankfully none hit our immediate area), J goes back out to get the antibiotics.

Fri, April 29- L is doing better, still screams during bed/nap time, but overall seems pleasant again. I have a cake order to fill, but seem to have caught L's nasty cold. On top of that, I get a migraine. First one in years and it's a doozie! Thankfully my mom was there to save the day. J gave me some medicine and I soon felt good enough to work on the cake a little too.

Sat, April 30- Finish the cake, T finishes his antibiotic, I take the kids on a hike with my parents.

Sunday, May 1- We decide to skip church again. I felt terrible and L is still pulling his ears and crying. A LOT. at bed time, naps, and diaper changes.

Mon, May 2- Back to the pedi we go! We went in because I was concerned about L's ears since he was pulling on them and so cranky. I thought maybe he was screaming every time I laid him down because something was going on in there. Turns out he's doing much better! Still has fluid, but it looks good otherwise. Dr thinks it's from teething pain. Later that day, we noticed lots of pokadots on T's tummy. Upon further inspection, we noticed he also had them in his arm pits and other places. We didn't think it looked like bug bites, or a reaction to anything he ate since we was covered in them. Early chicken pox? He didn't have blisters, though. So off we go again. I think the entire pediatrician's office knows us by name :/ The doctor *thinks* it's a delayed reaction to the antibiotics that he STOPPED taking two days ago. He said to keep an eye on T to make sure he doesn't get a fever or other symptoms of chicken pox. While I'm bummed that T has hives, I cannot tell you how relieved I am that it isn't chicken pox! We NEED a healthy house! I'm so tired of the sicknesses! I'm tired of going to the pedi.

That brings us to today, T's hives look better, L only woke up twice (although he still screamed like crazy), and I still have the nasty cold. It's not as nasty as when L had it, thankfully. Its more just annoying. I'm hoping, PRAYING, things get back to normal soon :) If you don't see any updates from me in a while, though, you know why!