Friday, March 29, 2013

Blessing #197 - Whole 30 (week 4)

Tonight, Shad and I went out on a date!  When we went to Chillis, I was a little stressed about exactly what to order. I didn't want to feel deprived as I knew I was going to be watching Shad have bacon and ranch quesadillas which I couldn't eat if I wanted to because of the cheese.

My feelings of deprivation went away when I realized that steak was on the 2 for $20 menu! Happily, I ordered a steak with broccoli, and didn't feel deprived at all. Well, except for this....

Oh! Chips and salsa we meet again.  I ate a few, but then ended up dipping my broccoli in salsa. Which is not nearly as gross as it sounds.

Sundays are very busy days for us, but I still managed to eat good today.  Shad and the boys asked me to make them spinach smoothies this morning. I don't know if they will ask again, but at least they tried them.  I need to find some sweeter versions for them.

Since starting Whole 30, I have become a big fan of Aldi.  Going to that grocery store has made this experiment stay in budget.  I don't have to base my whole week's menu by what fruit and veggie is on sale. Aldi's produce price are usually pretty low.

I love how bright and colorful the inside of my fridge looks on grocery day.

I realize I probably should keep all my produce in the vegetable and fruit drawers, but I like being able to see what I have.  Also, I've been eating things up so produce going bad hasn't really been a problem.

Today, I tried spaghetti squash and I really liked it.  However, the sauce I put on it was gross so it ruined it, but the squash itself was great.  I am going to have to try it again with a better sauce!

I am still not feeling the amazing energy that many other people claim to get on the whole 30! As frustrated as that makes me, I'm trying to be patient.  I have to remember Collin's accident and all the stress that came with it.  I think that totally threw the energy part off.

One thing I have noticed is that although I don't have amazing energy, I don't have highs and lows in my energy.  It stays the same through out the day.  I like not having the sugar crashes.

Today was a rough day emotionally.  After reading the not so nice comments about me, my heart just felt heavy all day.  What bothered me was not so much that the words were about me, but the realization that people could be so mean.  I felt like my world is all gum drop and rainbows, and it just surprised me that people could even say those things.

Anyway, the good news is that as heavy as my heart was, I didn't emotionally eat all day! Normally, bad days called for a trip to Rite Aid for my go to bad day food, a bag of gummy worms followed by a giant Diet Dr. Pepper. After all I deserved it, right?

Shad was so sweet, and tried to cheer me up by offering a trip to Sweet Frog.  I held off yesterday, but we will probably go this weekend.  As much as I love Sweet Frog, I am really trying not to run to food when I'm stressed or down, and this month with the accident, I have had lots of practice!

I am trying to get into my brain that just because I had a bad day does not entitle me to a load of sugar which will just make me feel worse in the end.

I am coming into the home stretch.  It really has gone by so fast! The weight loss part of this experiment is such a nice perk. I don't think I have lost a dramatic amount of weight, but my clothes are fitting better, and that is very encouraging.

Next week, I share some things I have learned through this experience and some advice if you decide you want to try it yourself.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Curse #52 - Reading the Comments

When we become mothers, we somehow find a way to make all our children's problems our fault.

When a child falls and splits her lip on the coffee table (like I did), the mother thinks, "If only I didn't have a coffee table."  (30 years later, and my mom still has not gotten another coffee table.)

When a kid gets a cold, the mother thinks, "If only I had wiped down the buggy at the grocery store."

When a teenager fails a test, the mother thinks, "If only I had breast fed one year instead of six months."

Guilt is just a part of motherhood.

Ever since Collin' accident, I have been working through a mother load of guilt.  As I watched him on the ventilator in the hospital, the "if onlys" screamed in my mind.

If only I didn't go to work that morning.

If only I didn't use the laundry organizer between my washer and dryer.

If only I didn't switch detergent.

If only I had seen the news report about the danger of the pods.

Fortunately, I have some really good friends and a really patient husband that have helped me as I work through this.

After the accident, I contacted our local news in an attempt to get the word out about the pods just to make other mothers aware because I wasn't.  I've been talking with them about doing a story, but to be honest, I'm terrified.

It's one thing to open yourself up to your friends, but it's another thing to open yourself and your mother load of guilt up to the world.

My mom contacted her local news in Georgia, and they ran a quick follow up story as they had done a few of the Tide Pods stories.  I have only watched the story once because it is just too painful for me right now.  You can see the story here.

Once the story was done, I thought that was that, but yesterday someone brought this article to my attention on The Stir which had a link on it to the news story that was picked up by USA Today. 

Look at those stories, but more importantly read the comments.  Today, I made a big mistake and read the comments on both stories.

It's like a train wreck that you just can not not look at.  (I realize that's a double negative.)

With each, "How could she?" and "What was that mother thinking?" my mother load of guilt grew exponentially.  (Note to self: Never, ever read the comments again.)

Often as mothers we are quick to judge.  Maybe by pointing out and judging the faults of other mothers, we feel like a better mother ourselves.

My son had an accident, and I could be eaten alive by the the guilt and the if onlys running through my head, but where does that get me? Guilt accomplishes nothing, and stops me from being the great mother I know I am.

However, there is one "if only" I am listening to.  "If only I had known," and that is why I talk about the accident.  My purpose is not to get Tide to stop making the pods, but to make a mother aware.

I know if I had seen a story about the danger, I would not have bought the pods or brought them into my house. As hard as it is, to open up about the accident and as ugly as the comments can get, I know there are mothers that still don't know about the danger to their children.

Dear fellow mothers, next time you start to judge another mom, please stop and think before you do. Raising children is not a contest.  Let's show each other a little grace. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blessing #196 - Spring on the Inside

Spring is here, and I am so excited.! I know it's spring, the calendar knows it's spring, but mother nature must not have gotten the memo.

Here is the view from my window this morning...

As much as I dislike the snow, I can't really complain because this winter we haven't gotten a lot of it.

Since it doesn't look like spring outside of my house, I've tried to add some spring to the inside of my house.

Last week, I updated my pyrex cabinet.

I also added an awesome daffodil arrangement to my kitchen table.  Over the past few weeks, I haven't really done too many projects, but this was quick and easy and brought spring into my kitchen.

When I saw this pin from Martha Stewart on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to use the method on my pyrex bowls.

I started with one of my favorite butterprint pyrex bowls and made a grid pattern with tape across it.

Then I cut some daffodils from my yard and just stuck the daffodils in the grid holes working from the outside inwards.

Here is the finished product...

I just love it, and I love the contrast of the blue and yellow.

So until spring decides to show up outside my door, I'll just be enjoying on the inside!

I'm sharing this project with A Bowl Full of Lemons. 


Monday, March 25, 2013

Blessing #195 - Lessons from the Accident


Over the past two weeks, I have sat down to write a post about your accident many times, but I just couldn't get my words.  My heart is still a little sensitive and raw. Finally, I just decided to write a letter to you.

Someday, you will be older, and you will forget all about your accident and your time in the hospital (or so they tell me).  Someday, this will just be a story that we tell to you like how you always hold your gator tail side up, or like the time you hit the complete stranger in JoAnne's fabric. (Yes, you did that just last week, and I had to apologize for you.)

But for now, while it is fresh on my mind and my heart, I thought I would share a few lessons you could learn from your accident.....other than the fact that all doctors are now evil in your eyes.

1. Let people into your heart and life.

Now, I don't know what your personality will be when you grow up, but right now, you don't really like people.  That's okay! I was the same way when I was your age.  I didn't like anybody besides my mom.

As much as you may want to keep people at arms length, you really need them.  In a difficult time, you need people to come around you, love you, and help you through it.

While you were in the hospital, I felt scared, frustrated, guilty, and many other emotions, but one thing I never felt was lonely thanks to all of the kind words my friends sent me.

2. Your brother loves you very much.

As tough as he tries to be, and as cranky as he can be, Brandon really loves you.  He's the one that found you and ran and got Shad.  I saw the look on his face when I came home, he was so protective of you.  On Sunday, someone asked Brandon at church how he was doing and he said, "I'm just keeping a really close eye on my little brother."

There may be days when he doesn't act like it, but I can guarantee you, your brother loves you very much and you a very lucky boy to have him.

3. Your daddy loves you very much.

The second night we were in the hospital, I tried to get some sleep because I hadn't slept in two days.  Your dad, kept vigil over you all night with the nurse even though you were under anesthesia.

Everyone that walked in the room would tell him.  "You don't have to do this. No one does this." Shad told them that I wouldn't rest unless I knew you were taken care of, and that was true, but the real reason was he just loves you that much.

The very next night in the hospital, your dad went to the Ronald McDonald house to try to get some rest.  As soon as he left, you started screaming, "I want my Daddy!" Well you didn't really scream more like a loud whisper, it was just a few hours after you came off the ventilator and out of sedation, but you started to panic as soon as he left.

After twenty minutes, of "I want my daddy," I called Shad and told him what was happening.  Before I knew it and without me even asking, your dad came right back and spent the rest of the night with you and I.  He never complained and never acted like it was a big deal.  He figured you had been through enough, and if you needed him, he was there.

During your time in the hospital, I watched him stroke your hair and tell you he loved you.  In your worst episodes, when I was pacing at the end of the bed, your dad stood right beside you, holding your hand.

4. I love you very much. 

Oh Collin, I can hardly type those words without tearing up.  I always knew I was crazy about you, and I always knew I loved you, but I never really knew how deep my love was until your first night in the hospital.

On that first night, you had a few scary episodes making it the worst night of my life, by far.  If you had just stayed sedated, everything would have been fine.  However, you are such a fighter, and suddenly you would come out of sedation and try to get the breathing tube out.

During one of those episodes, I stood and watched helplessly as you turned purple.   It seemed like the world went in slow motion as the nurse tried to help you.  I turned around only to see the room flooded with doctors and nurses there to help.  In that moment, I think I forgot to breathe myself.

A few hours later, you did the same thing, but this time your heart rate dropped really low.  Again, the room flooded with doctors and nurses.  As I sat staring at the heart monitor praying for your heart rate to go back up, my own heart ached with in me.

The morning after that terrible night, I felt pain like I had never felt before. I felt nauseous. My whole body ached. I couldn't eat. Seeing you in so much pain and distress killed me.

Collin, that night I realized just how much my heart is tied to yours.

Since that night, I keep catching myself just staring at you and Brandon smiling, and whispering a prayer of thanks.  Even though your wild, rowdy, and loud, you are perfect just for me.  What a gift God gave me when he gave you boys to me.

Someday, you will grow up, and I might get on your nerves.  You might even think I am "uncool" (I know that sounds crazy doesn't it).  No matter what you may think about me someday, please never forget there is no one on this earth that loves you as much and as fiercely as I do.

5. God loves you.

This is what I hope you see the most through your accident, that God loves you.

As I sat on the ambulance taking you to the children's hospital, I was overwhelmed by God's love for me. I know that sounds like an odd time to feel God's love, but I really did.

In that moment, I realized that God was preparing me for this accident three months ago.  I've never had poison control's number, but the doctor made me put it in my phone in December.  In that ambulance, God seemed to whisper in my heart, "I was with you in December and I am with you now."

There are so many other little things where I believe God was preparing the way for me even before I knew what was going to happen.

Colls, someday, when you are ready, I pray that you will come to know God.  Not that you would just ask God to save you, but that you would seek to have a relationship with Him too.  I want you to have more than just church, religion, and rules, I want you to have God and His love.

There are going to be days when life gets dark, and you will need to know God's love.  God will not be some kind of magic genie that makes all of the dark days better, but He will be your lifeline and friend that will walk with you through those dark days.

Colls, I love you more than I even thought was possible, but amazingly God loves you even more than I do.  Better yet, somehow he loves me that much too!

 Collin, I am so glad you are doing better, and if you need me to make the lessons from your accident even simpler, please never ever forget how much you are loved.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Blessing #194 - Whole 30 {week 3}

I have become obsessed.....wait I have to make sure you read that right.  You have to say obsessed like Nicki Minaj does on American Idol.  You say it kind of nasal and kind of valley girlish.

Anyway, I am obsessed with fruit and herb infused water.  In the hospital, a really kind nurse made lemon and time infuse water for the ICU floor.  That is what kept me hydrated in the hospital.

When I came home I decided to try it for myself! At first I made lemon and thyme water, then orange and basil, and right now just orange water.  All you do is slice up some fruit and throw fresh herbs in your water, and the flavor infuses into the water and just makes water awesome.

When the water runs low, just fill the pitcher up again.  I keep the fruit in there for a couple of days and then change it out to something new.

Next, I am trying grapefruit.

My entire family ate chips and salsa from Chilli's in front of me tonight. It was torture, and I don't feel like talking about it.

Today, I felt terrible.  Not sick or anything, just really tired.  I think all the stress of the week has caught up with me.  I wasn't quite ready for Collin to be around a bunch of people (and germs) so I kept him home from church.

All the amazing energy people say they feel on this, I'm not feeling.  I think my "experiment" will be a little off with such a traumatic event happening right in the middle of it.

My go to lunch during the whole 30 has been lemon pepper chicken and a sweet potato.  For days when there are no left overs, this lunch is great.

Just put some lemon juice and lemon pepper on a chicken breast, and then saute it in a skillet.  Sweet potatoes can be cooked in the microwave for five minutes (after poke a few holes in them with a fork).

It's quick and easy and one of my favorites.  Today for lunch, I made Shad some frozen chicken because he's not a big fan of lemon pepper chicken, and I don't think he likes sweet potatoes that much.  When he saw my lunch compared to his, he was a little mad.

I am also obsessed (again Nicki Minaj voice) green smoothies. I put one strawberry, a half a banana, a splash of almond milk, and a lot of spinach into a blender and mix it all together.  

Okay! I know it looks nasty, but I promise it does not taste like it looks.  Sometimes, I put in carrots or coconut oil.  Today, I bought some celery to try in the smoothies.

When I had to go dairy free, I really missed drinking milk in the morning.  These smoothies give me something creamy in the morning with no added sugar and a ton of spinach.

Today, I tried on some pants that I haven't been able to wear since November. And they fit! Sure, I had to use a pony tail holder through the button hole around the button to make a little more breathing room, but let's not get technical.  They fit!

The focus of whole 30 is not weight loss, it's wellness. You are not even supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days.  You can weigh before and after, but not during that way your focus is on how you feel and not the scale.

That's one of the things that drew me to whole 30, looking at food as more than calories, but the fact that my clothes fit better is a nice perk.

Today, I lost the bet. I haven't even told Shad yet. I just can't bring myself to say the words, "I lost," to him. I don't want to see him gloat. Maybe I'll e-mail him a copy of this blogpost.

Yes, I lost. Today, the boys and I had a special day together, and I bought Shad some caramel corn to make up for him having to work. I ate some of the caramel corn. Then later, there were some reese's pieces the boys had and I ate a few.

What was I thinking! I am devastated I lost to him, but I am not giving up on whole 30! There's always bumps in the road, and maybe I can work a deal out with him.  It has to count for something that I stayed on it in the hospital...extra credit maybe.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Blessing #193 - Whole 30 {week 2}

I survived week one! One of the main reasons Whole 30 appealed to me is because I am a recovering picky eater.  The Lord knows my mama tried.  Most meals ended with me gagging as I had to eat my "one bite." (Even though my definition of one bite was very different than my mom's definition of one bite)

Over the past ten years though, I've really been try to eat more foods.

In my first week I ate zucchini, tomatoes, avocado, snow peas, onions, the rainbow of bell peppers, and eggs.  These were all foods I would not have eaten ten years ago.

Mom would be proud.

On Saturday, shortly after we made it to the hospital, all I wanted was a Diet Dr. Pepper and some candy, but then I remembered one of the reasons I wanted to do this experiment, emotional eating.

That moment, I decided to skip the vending machine, but I figured there was no way I could stick to the whole 30 in the hospital.

When we went down to the cafeteria for our first meal, I realized I was wrong.  Whole 30 was totally doable in the hospital.  There were so many options between a salad bar, and fresh fruit cups to go.

In the mornings, I would go down to the cafeteria and order an omelet.  For lunch and dinner I would eat some chicken, the vegetable of the day, and a salad.  I did use honey mustard dressing on my salad instead of oil and vinegar, but Shad said it was okay.

One of the ICU nurses would make water with lemon and thyme in it and put it in the snack room.  It was soOoOoOo good, and it definitely kept me hydrated.

For years, I have been through the same cycle.  If there is a stressful situation where I get little sleep....I always get sick.....ALWAYS. I knew with Collin in the ICU, I could not get sick.  I couldn't control my stress, and I couldn't control my lack of sleep, but I could control my food choices.

When I looked at it as staying well for Collin, that made it much easier to say no to certain foods.

Now that we are home, I am back to cooking my own meals.  I bought groceries right before we went to the hospital, and some of them were starting to go bad.  Today, we have been eating up zuccini and peppers.

Since starting this, I really do not like to waste.  Everything seems to get used.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blessing #192 - Two Favors

If you are friends with me on facebook, you know that we had a scary weekend.  Collin tried to eat a Tide Laundry pod, and ended up in the ICU on a ventilator. 

Writing really helps me process through things so I will probably write several posts about this (I apologize ahead of time, but writing helps me work through my feelings.)

Before I tell the story or say anything about the accident, I just wanted ask you two favors in this post.

First favor, if you have children DO NOT have the Tide Laundry Pods in your house.  I just switched over to the pods a month ago, and I wish...I WISH I had heard the warnings of how dangerous the are to children.

Maybe you are thinking, I should have realized how much the pods looked like candy, and known not to have it in my house.  You are probably right.  Maybe you are thinking that I should have had them up high and out of his reach.  You are definitely right.

I have no trouble saying that I made a mistake.  Normally, I am very cautious with medicines and cleaners.  Just last month, I bought new medicine containers and reorganized my cabinet to make it more safe for Collin.  I keep all my cleaners on a high shelf in my pantry and not under my sink.   However, the one thing I kept within his reach was the laundry supplies.  They stayed in a drawer in an organizer in between my washer and dryer.

Rather than judging me for my mistake, please learn from what happened to me.  Throw the pods out of your house.  Don't even bother putting them on a high shelf. Just throw them out.

Collin does not put things in his mouth.  He's just not mischievous like that....Oh, he's mischievous in other ways, but not like that.

I didn't see it before the accident, but look at these pods.

They look just like a gummy candy.  Look at the container they come in. 

The container has a flip lid kind of like the containers in my lunch station.

I really belief if a child got a hold of laundry detergent, they would realize it tasted bad and stop eating it.  I think Collin bit plastic gel exterior of the pod and it exploded in his mouth.  One day, I squeezed one as I threw it in the washing machine, and it popped and shot all over my face. I belief Collin bit it and it popped, and he really couldn't help ingesting the detergent.

Also, the detergent in the pods is very concentrate and stronger than normal detergent and is more dangerous when ingested. 

Please, if you have children do not use these pods. 

Second favor, I have been a parent for six years, and I never knew the number to my local poison control....until December.  In December, during the boys wellness check ups, the doctor spoke with me and asked me all the basic questions. 

When she asked me if I had the poison control number, I told her no.  She had a magnet, but she said, "Why don't you type it into your phone.  That way you have it right there in an emergency."

Saturday, I remembered I had the number in the contacts and quickly called poison control.  I really didn't know what poison control did, but the lady that answer knew right away all the affects of Tide Pods.

"He looks fine," I told her. "He just coughed a little." The poison control worker paused and said, "He coughed? You need to get him to the hospital right away. He is going to get much worse within the first hour. Do you need an ambulance?"

 I told her we were leaving right away, and by the time we got to the hospital, his breathing was much worse and I knew she was right. The poison control worker asked the hospital we were going to and she called ahead to let them know we were coming. When we got to the emergency room we went right through.

That poison control worker showed me the seriousness of the situation, and I will always be grateful to her and the doctor that made me save the number. 

Today, please do me two favors and get rid of the Tide Pods, and call your pediatrician, find out the number to poison control, and put it in your phone.

 My little guy came off the ventilator yesterday.  I think it's going to be a while, but I think he is on the mend.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Blessing #191 - Whole 30 Week One {part 2}

Today, I complete one week on Whole 30.  This week has definitely been a challenge, but I am so glad I survived.

Today, I finished my food challenge for the week and tried avocado. Yesterday, I tried one that was not ripe, and it was nasty.  Even after all the advice I got, I still got it wrong.  Last night, I went back to the grocery store, and found the idiot proof avocado.

I tried it sliced up with lemon and salt.  The flavor was a little much for this recovering picky eater, but I was determined.  I smashed the slices up and put it on top of the chicken I was eating.  That's the ticket! It was so creamy and good! Since going 100% dairy free in January, I don't get many creamy things.  I'm definitely eating this again!

My poor husband this has definitely been difficult for him.  Apparently, sugar was really important to my brain because I can't carry on a full conversation.  After struggling to have a conversation with cloudy brained me, Shad beat his head on the wall, "What is this? Whole 30 ways to torture your spouse?"

As hard as it has been with my sugar detox for Shad, he has been eating good.  This weekend he got eggs and bacon every morning.  When he comes home for lunch, I just make him extra of what I'm eating, and at night I give him what I'm eating and add a grain.  For example, tonight I made a steak and snow peas stir fry for myself.  I added some jasmine rice for Shad, and he was a happy camper.

If he had to choose between eating really good or having a wife that's out of it, I think he would choose food.

Over the course of this week, I ate a dozen eggs. That has never...ever happened before.  Remember, I said I was a recovering picky eater? Well, I don't eat least before whole 30.

I have an irrational fear of hard boiled egg.  To see someone bite into a whole hard boiled egg turns my stomach.  It's like finger nails down a chalkboard for my eyes. I have no idea where this fear started.  It could have been when I was little and put all my hard boiled Easter eggs in the refrigerator of my play kitchen.  A few days later, I learned the hard way that eggs need to be refrigerated.

For ten years, I have really struggled with my weight, and for ten years all that mattered about food was  the calories.  High calorie food was bad and low calorie food was good.  Whole 30 has really opened up my eyes made me realize that there's much more to food than that.

For example, because Diet Dr. Pepper have no calories, I thought all I had to worry about was the caffeine. I had resigned myself to the fact that caffeine is a way of life for me as long as I have a toddler.

However, I've learned now that even though Diet Dr. Pepper has no calories, the sweetness messes with your hormones (I think insulin).  Which makes you crave and just messes you up.

What? I feel like the blinders have been taken off.  Yes, I did start reading It All Starts with Food today! Why do you ask?

Thank you so much for all your help last week with the avocados! This week, I am trying asparagus. I think I may have had it twice in my life. This week's question, how do you cook it?