Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Preschool Planning September 19-24

Hey friends! I know I am behind on tutorials from last week, and will have a few to post from this week. Be patient with me. We are digging out from the lovely beginning of the Autumn Yucks (colds, tummy bugs). Doesn't it always seem to go that if mom is down, the house isn't far behind? Here are the lesson plans that I've started for this week. You will notice I decided to spend a few more days with last week's number, letter and shape. I really felt like Phillie needed it. If you are following and find that your kiddo seems ready to move on, don't be afraid to comment here or contact me and I will help you figure out how to get the first two lesson plans for this week to work for a different letter, number, shape, etc.

Day 1: Practice sorting colors and counting to 3 as you make paper bead necklaces. If your child is ready, you can throw in a pattern as well. This one does take a little bit of prep time to make the beads. I made them myself as I found that them curling construction paper for our bugs' antennae was difficult for them. However, it goes fast, and I promise, I will make sure to post a tutorial for how to make the beads. All you need is some glue and construction paper.

Have a #3 hunt outside (I went outside and had the kids bring me objects. I asked for things like 3 leaves, 3 sticks, 3 berries, etc.) We also took some time to write #3 on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk and have a bear hunt. The song is above. Have them sit in a circle and pat their legs as they sing. You can add actions like putting your hands up to your eyes for binoculars, swishing arms or rubbing hands together for swish, etc. My kids had a blast and decided to spend some more time outside hunting bears and singing the song together.

Kid Science: Make Lava Lamps! This one is easy and has big effect. You can talk about how some things have more density than others, teach them the definition for density (ie how heavy it is) . It also make s a huge impact. You just need an empty water bottle, fill it about a third of the way with cooking oil and then pour water mixed with food coloring over the top and Shake, shake shake... You don't need the alka seltzer unless you want it to move on its own. it works fine just shaking it. Glitter is also optional. Find instructions HERE

Day 2:
Make Handprint Birds (start by asking them to remember the sound B makes and letting them try to think of things that start with B)  I made homemade fingerpaints for this project. That recipe can be found HERE or watercolors will also work.

We made Butterflies again out of the #3 (since my kids love butterflies) They were made kind of like stained glass and hang on the windows. I used the same paint from our previous activity and some wax Paper. I traced their Number 3 with a sharpie and let them paint inside it however they wanted. You can always do traditional mosaic/stained glass material by using tissue paper glued to some sort of base, but I was trying to be thrifty, and while this doesn't have the same effect, its easier than helping kids glue a thousand pieces of tissue paper. LOL Tutorial to come.

Three little Kittens poem. Make kitten face masks using string, paper plates, construction paper and glue. Help your child see how they can make a mouth for their kitten mask using the number 3 on its side. Once the masks are made, have the child act the nursery rhyme out with you.

Day 3: Beginning the Letter D, shape Continued study of the Circle addition of the Triangle, Number 1

Read I'm a Dirty Dinosaur , introduce the Letter D. Let kids be "dirty dinosaurs" and write the letter D in some flour on a plate.
Have pre-prepped Letter D's and necessary attachments cut out. Help them glue and make a Dirty Dinosaur of their very own. If they want to , let them decorate the body of the dinosaur using markers, paints, etc. tutotial HERE

Trace #1 on paper with playdough.

Day 4: read Dirty Dinosaur again. Let the kids pick a piece of construction paper and help them make a dinosaur tail out of a large triangle. Help them cut out circles of another color to glue onto their tail and let them put some glue down and sprinkle things like flour or dirt and other items to make it dirty. Attach it to some string so they can tie it around their waists and wear it.

Start science project for next week. Cover some raw eggs in vinegar. Talk about how fertilized eggs have ONE baby. that these eggs are not fertilized, and you will get to see what babies that  live in eggs eat so they can grow later on. Add some food coloring to the vinegar if you would like the egg to be colored. More on this next week. Be sure to put them in a place they won't be disturbed.
Have precut eggs waiting. Help them glue it onto another piece of paper. Have them write a #1 and then Let them draw any kind of animal that they think grows in an egg. Remind them that there is only ONE baby in the egg.

Happy learning. darlings.

Monday, September 12, 2016

I'm Baaaack...Or Homeschool Preschool Week 1

Hey friends! So I am adding the plan for this week to the blog. I haven't had a chance to sit down and finish an overview for the month, once I do, I will add that along with Week 2 and Week 3. In the meantime, hopefully this will be enough to get you started on your homeschool preschool adventure.

The week of September 12-15:

Letter: B  Number: 3   Shape: Circle   Color: Yellow and Black

Sept 12: Introduce your alphabet chart

Obviously, mine isn't complete yet, but I did get it started and its enough for them to get the gist. I will finish this week and take a picture of the completed chart. 

Sing the alphabet song. If you have an iPad/tablet/computer near your homeschool "corner" use this handy dandy video to sing along to. We sang about 3-5 times until everyone was at least TRYING to sing (that includes my 2 year old. She wasn't even close to making the right letter sounds, but she was trying to bark out sounds in rhythm and on pitch, which means it was getting through)  

Yes...I am aware this is Barney... but the truth is the fact that there was a visual accompanying the letter (ie they were pointing at the blocks as they sing) makes this a great video. It reaches out to aural learners and those that are visual. If I'd had my own alphabet blocks with all 26 letters, you had better bet we would have set our own out to reach out to the kinesthetic sphere so they could take turns pointing. If you believe your child is a kinesthetic learner, you can TRY to do the alphabet in sign language along with it. This recording goes slow enough it **COULD** be possible with enough practice.

Next: Introduce your letter of the week. B! First I asked if any of the kids knew which letter was letter B. Then we talked about the formation poem:

Mr. B is tall with a great straight back
and TWO big bellies 'cuz he just ate a snack.

We chanted the poem and clapped a few times until they got it and THEN I distributed the Moon Sand on plates. I made my own:

4 c flour
1/2 c baby oil. 

I put it on individual plates for each kid rather than in a bin to avoid fights over personal space. 

Notes: Make sure your floor is swept BEFORE the moon sand comes out. It will save you time and money if you can just sweep it up and put it back into your container after the kids are done.

Also, make sure you put a cover on your table, even if its just an old sheet. You can use a plastic spatula to scrape off any residual dust from the moon sand and then shake it out.

Your kids should only need to rinse their hands with water. As a side note, you will notice their hands are smooth, soft and silky thanks to the baby oil. 

You can use mineral oil instead of baby oil in case you're worried your kiddos will ingest it, my littlest one did take a small bite and realized it was not yummy and moved on with her playing in it and making a mess. 

Once the moon sand is out, repeat the poem and demonstrate drawing a B in the sand and building one as you chant it. Then encourage them to do the same. Once they have built or drawn a couple of B's let them play for a while and turn on a playlist of educational music to listen to while they work. (You will probably find a Barney song playlist in the other videos list of the Barney alphabet video if you used that. That is what I did.)

When things seem to be wearing down and they start getting a little bored with the moon sand, Introduce Suzie Circle (you can see her in the corner of my picture up top but here is the link for a better visual) 

Then, we practiced drawing and building circles in our moon sand. I then turned on THIS song about circles: 

and then, after singing it once or twice,I turned on the playlist that appeared to the left on my computer screen. and allowed them with renewed vigor to play with their moon sand.

Once that was wearing down, we went on a circle hunt in our front yard. 

We took a break after that for lunch, to take Faith to her SPED preschool, live life...

and then we read Bug in a Rug

We then made our Bug part of our art project for the next few days. We counted to 3, then traced 3 circles on construction paper and glued them together. We then glued on 6 legs, and 2 antennae made from the same piece of construction paper (we curled the antennae with a pencil), and then added eyes, a nose, and a mouth. ( I will add a picture when my phone is charged) 

Plans for the rest of the week:

Sept 13: Count to 3. Introduce letter. Formation poem found HERE. Make number 3 out of playdough. Recipe found in Entertaining and Educating Young Children or, I'm sure you can find one on Pinterest. ;) 

Play with playdough for a while, then, 

Art project: use construction paper to make rugs for your bugs. I will do a blog post about ours if you don't have any ideas for how to do it on your own. We will continue our study of the number three by counting out sets of 3 of different shapes to glue onto our rugs (CIRCLES (make a BIG deal about the circles), stars, triangles, and squares) I would strongly encourage you to let the kids count out three for themselves and only let them start gluing after they have their own pile of shapes so they don't get antsy and try to grab from the pile in the middle if they glue faster than another kid. 

Play with Kindergarten learning palette cards #6 and #5
Read Lift the Flap Numbers, focus on the "At the Zoo" spread today and get them to count all the animals. Be sure to stop when you get to #3 and recall the formation poem. Encourage them to draw it in the air. 

Read Bug in a Rug again and let them ask you to read other stories in the collected volume as well! Time reading is time well spent.

Sept 14: 
Recall Letter B, the phonemic sound it makes, and the poem. Then read or sing along to (or both)
Baa Baa Black Sheep 

 (point out that Baa Baa and Black all start with the letter B) Then have them all try to draw a BIG letter B on white paper.

Have them turn it on its side. Ask them if they believe you can turn that sideways B into a sheep. Then show them how. Draw a face and ears on one half of the B, have them do the same,  and then make a big deal that he must be freezing without any wool. Then say you're all going to make wool. 

Hold up a few pieces of construction paper. Ask them which color is black? Have them cut out a piece of black paper to glue over the second half of the sheep to keep him warm and draw a tail. Then let them use markers, crayons, paint, whatever you have to create a field for Baa Baa to live in. Play nursery rhymes or other educational songs while they work.

Hang up your creations and then watch Barney and Friends: A Little Mother Goose 

Sept 15: 

Play with Pre-K Finger Match cards  Call out colors, let them take turns finding the initial color while the other finds the match, or let them find both. Go through 4-5 cards. Then ask them to flip back and find the color yellow in the cards again. 

Tell them that today you want to do something special with yellow and the letter B. Ask them again what sound B makes. Then say "We are going to sing a song about THREE yellow buh-buh-Butterflies"  

(to the tune of 5 little monkeys swinging in the tree)

Three yellow butterflies sitting on a tree
Teasing Mister Bluebird you can't catch me
Along comes Mister Bluebird as swift as can be 
Snaps that butterfly out of that tree. 

Have them hold up 3 fingers to sing it and take down fingers as you count down. Then say you're missing something. You need butterflies for your fingers! 

Make butterfly finger puppets (instructions to come) Sing it again and gently take the puppets off their fingers as you sing.  

When you're done and cleaning up, recall what Butterfly starts with, ask them what color their butterflies are and have them count the shapes on their bug rugs again.

Reread Lift the Flap Numbers and focus on the zoo page again. See if they have mastered cards #6 and 5 in the learning palette. Help them work through it if they still need assistance. 

Sept 16: We only have a 4 day school week here. Take today to make preparation for the next week (you may even find you take our 4 day week and turn it into 2, two day weeks. Do what works for your family. ) Let your kids be your guide, if they want to play with their butterflies, allow them to do so, if they want to read, take time to do so. 

If all else fails, I LOVE! Its similar to abcMouse, but moves at a slightly slower pace and you have much more access to material without a membership than you have with abcMouse. Have them go through the letter B, Number 3, and Yellow activities. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why weight loss shouldn't be your resolution...

It's New Years Eve, and the time of resolutions is upon us.

I know many of my friends will be making resolutions to lose weight in 2016... to you may I make a suggestion? DON'T.

Hang with me here.

A resolution to lose weight is all wrong because you're not wording it right...and the way you word a goal says everything about how you will approach it.

When you say you want to lose weight, you imply that a magic number on a scale is your end goal...and that my friends isn't a good goal to have because fitness and good health are NOT determined by a magic number on the scale

Why do Yo-yo dieters yo-yo? Because they buy into the lie that many marketers have told us: when you reach your magic number, you're done. You're perfect. You don't need to do anything else.

I am as guilty as anyone for believing this lie...but throughout this year, as I have been on my own journey for health, I have learned that using a number on a scale as a barometer of your health is a slippery slope.

Because of poor treatment from a doctor that specialized in insulin resistance 13 years ago, I began a very dangerous and unhealthy path to "health"...

The numbers on the BMI chart ruled my life and I was given no assistance to figuring out how to properly exercise. I honestly feel I was cheated in so many ways and my parents (who were paying for treatment for my condition) were duped out of thousands of dollars by a doctor who was basically doing the bare minimum. I did receive ONE consultation on nutrition as part of my treatment and was given a vague guide of how I should be eating to reverse my condition, but when my first month of work didn't yield the results the doctor wanted to see his exact words were "I hope in 3 months when you come back, we will be seeing ALOT less of you, if you catch my drift." (ie lose weight fatty) it was crushing and began a very unhealthy relationship with food and exercise that I continued up until I married Jeff... that was the point I decided I was done trying and I was sick and tired of being miserable and sick and tired.

In my journey this year, I have met many trainers and nutritionists who have all said the same things:
1) they wish that doctors and the average layman alike would stop relying so heavily on the BMI chart, as it doesn't take into account several key factors such as body type, existing muscle mass, and how and where fat is being stored on the body.


2) there is no "magic number" on the scale. You need to make LIFESTYLE CHANGES that will be sustainable until the day you die regardless of the number on the scale.

So- what do I say if my goal isn't to lose weight?

Your goal could be simply to become more healthy, or physically fit... the biggest thing about these goals is they are attainable. There are subgoals you can work on so you don't have to change everything all at once and, by having a sublist of little things you will work on slowly but surely, you make the goal more reachable. You can't fail at your resolution if you have made small steps and those small steps will and should result in some weight loss, without there being a major focus on a magic number.

So- how can you get more healthy and physically fit for 2016? Let me give you a few sub goals to get you started.

1) weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% physical exertion. You need to get a good nutrition plan NOT a diet. Diets aren't sustainable. If you look at a nutrition plan and you don't think you could eat like that for the rest of your life, then you need to find something else. Diets don't work. You always feel you're depriving yourself and you always end up feeling guilty when you "cheat", and then give up. I strongly suggest looking into Portion Fix by Beach Body or 21 Day Fix (they are the same nutrition plan) It will change the way you view food in relation to exercise and in general. Best of all, you don't have to deprive yourself of anything on the plan. It is sustainable for the rest of your life. If you don't have the funds to buy Portion Fix or 21 Day Fix, then utilize free resources like the government website Myplate. Doctors aren't just blowing smoke when they suggest 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day or 3 a day of dairy...maybe make it a goal to add these elements to your diet and stop buying junk food like chips to snack on and I promise you will feel so much may even drop a few pounds...

2) Strength training is essential. As a society we have become obsessed with cardio. Yes- you want a healthy heart (which is what cardio does) but you also need your metabolism firing faster. That is accomplished by strengthening muscles. The stronger your muscles are, the more calories your cardio will burn and the more calories every day activities will burn. Most trainers I have talked to have said you need to be doing strength training 3 days a week and cardio 2 days a week with 2 active rest days (using exercise like yoga, walking or Pilates on rest days) Take the time to go to Amazon and invest in a variety of sizes of weights. You may only be able to lift a max of 3-5 lbs at first as you exercise, and that is okay. You will get stronger. Remember, your end goal is to be healthier and sustain your lifestyle- you don't need to be superman/woman right away.

3) STOP USING SHOWS LIKE BIGGEST LOSER AS A BAROMETER FOR YOUR SUCCESS! These people eat very little and exercise 8 hours a day. Even Jillian Michaels ended her association with the show over her concern for the long term health of the participants. I'm sorry.. losing12-20 lbs in two weeks is NOT reasonable, healthy or viable. Maybe think of avoiding the scale as you begin this journey. Focus on how you feel. I promise that once you realize how much better you're feeling, this will become addictive. Your progress may be slower than you like, but if you focus on how much better youre feeling, and how much stronger youre getting, you will have the motivation to keep working. The tortoise taught us a valuable lesson as children- slow and steady wins the race...and that is how weight loss should be.

Now, someone significantly overweight may lose 10 lbs in 2 weeks at first- but don't become discouraged if your numbers are like that at first and then you only lose 1 or 2 lbs. You have your whole life to live in your body. You can't realistically lose 10 lbs every 2 weeks until the day you metabolism will equalize but see the section above on strength training for how you keep it revved...

4) Do what feels good and right for you. You know what- it's totally okay to eat that burger! Seriously- I'm not even lying. But remember that 80/20 rule above in regards to nutrition and exercise? It applies here too. If you're eating well 80% of the time you can enjoy things that are "bad" for you here and there. There are also ways to make the "bad" stuff less bad. Use half a bun instead of the whole, ask for extra lettuce and tomato, opt for a side salad instead of fries or no side at all...there are always healthy substitutes. Embrace them.

5) Drink water! Seriously, if you make 1 change at the beginning of the new year, make that change be drinking enough water. Take your weight, divide it by 2. Ideally, you should be drinking AT LEAST that much in ounces of water each day to keep your own body hydrated. I aim for a gallon each day...and many of my trainer friends do too.

Cut down the soda- seriously, most people that drink 1-2 sodas a day and cut it down to 1 a week lose about 10 lbs in their first month. I, personally, make it a game. I can't have a soda unless I have had x number of ounces of water. It works. I promise.

6) Love your body- seriously, even the most unhealthy individual has a body that does so much for them every day. Honor that. If you can only make it through 5 minutes of cardio one day and 10 minutes of a strength training video the next, don't be discouraged! Thank your body for that 5 minutes. Notice how much better you feel and how much more energized you are and be grateful. Make it a goal for 1 more rep or 1 more minute next time! Push yourself and then honor what your body did. You are a beautiful wonderful machine. You are capable of amazing things. If youre doing something you've never done, its going to take time to build up stamina and muscle memory- and that is okay. Find joy in the journey by loving what you are able to do and rejoicing as little by little you can do more.

7) Stop chasing the quick fix. How many years did it take for you to put that weight on? It didn't come on in a few weeks or a month...don't expect it all to come off in that time. Anyone who tells you that they can help you lose weight without changing your nutrition or adding some physical activity is selling something that won't work. Don't waste your money. Instead of $50 on that bottle of miracle pills,  spend $50 on a new set of weights for your house. You'll get a lot more out of those weights than you will the pills. I promise.

Oh, my friends. How I wish we could change the world. I wish we didn't live in a society so hyperfocused on weight because there is so much more going on. You can be skinny and wholly un healthy and miserable  (I've been there ) and you CAN be overweight and feel better than you ever have in your life (I'm there now). Yes- I want to lose more weight, but I know a magic number cannot and should not be my goal. My goal is to continue my quest to health and fitness.

This year I have effectively "cured" my insulin resistance/pre diabetes. I haven't lost a ton of weight (granted for 7 months of this year I was pregnant) but I made lifestyle changes and nutritional changes that reversed the negative process going on in my body. I am looking forward to continuing that process.

Make a goal that can become a habit. Fitness and health are results of good habits that sustain you for your whole life- not just until you hit a number.

Happy New Year, darlings! Here's to new adventures!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Challenge

Faith has made amazing progress through her therapy at the ASSERT program at USU and through her time at the head start special needs preschool. As we are preparing for the start of a new school year I had been finding myself excited for what is to come and feeling hopeful.

Faith had an "end of year" celebration at ASSERT last week, which marks a 2 week break before the new school year begins. They made a slide show of all the kids with pictures of this last school year and this summer. Faith has begged to watch it daily since, eagerly shouting names of the kids she went to ASSERT with!

"Wook, Wook,  it's **insert names***" is heard with every. Single. Picture.

The therapy team had noted how far she had come this past year in playing social games and engaging other kids to play.

But then, you have days like today and your heart breaks and you are whipped back to the reality of how far we still have to go...

Today, my sweet twin nieces were given a name and a blessing. In the LDS Faith (Mormon) we don't believe in infant baptism. We believe babies are born without sin and we baptize our children later after they have reached the age of 8. Because of this, we mark the birth of a new child with a special priesthood blessing in church on Sunday in front of family, friends, and the ward (congregation) with whom we attend church in our sacrament.

After this meeting was held,  family and friends of my in laws left the rest of the regular block (we attend church for 3 hours on Sunday. We have sacrament, Sunday school,  and our priesthood/relief society meetings) to go to a park across the street from the church to further celebrate the event.

My girls, of course, ran to the toys. They were delighted to play with other kids. Phillie,  of course, being a charmer, had no trouble convincing others to play with her and joining their games. I watched Faith happily play with her and then decide she wanted to move on to something else.

She walked up to a group of girls playing on the merry go round. They probably spanned in ages from 5 to 7 or 8. She tried to join them and they immediately stopped the merry go round. They said to look out for the "baby"...  and my heart sunk.

I wasn't mad at these girls.  I understood immediately "why"... but I hurt for my sweet Faith. She was so confused why they wouldn't let her play. She shrugged it off quickly and went and sat on the swings, waiting and watching for anyone willing to join her.

She wasn't much younger than these girls. Cognitively,  she probably is on the same leveL as the youngest... but Autism and her speech delay have led to a HUGE communication gap.

I forget in all the strides we make that she still doesn't speak like an almost 4 year old girl. Of course they thought she was a "baby". She walked up, said "hi" and then proceeded to babble words and phrases they couldn't understand.

She has made improvement,  but her social sphere so far has only consisted of her sister and kids like her. It was like a shot to the heart to have to remember that at some point,  she will have to engage with kids that do not have the same struggles she does... and with that realization, the fear returned.

Fear of the questions. Fear of the unknown.

Will she be able to make friends in school?  Will the other kids be able to understand her once she starts kindergarten?  Will she date in high school?  Go to college?  Get married?


While I sat, surrounded once again by fears I had let myself forget...something happened.

My sweet nephew Max... a "tween"... a young man with a considerable age difference to Faith noticed her on those swings all by herself.  He walked over and sat next to her and started trying to show her how to swing... and when he realized she didn't get it, he got off his swing and pushed her. He helped her swing super high so she could gain momentum and then got on his swing next to her and started to swing with her. He talked to her...even though the conversation was painfully one sided... and he stayed with her until we had to leave to go home.

So this leaves me asking one thing:
As your kids go back to school this year, please encourage them to be the "Max" of their school or daycare. Please remember that there are mama's out there like me who have hearts breaking because they see how badly their child wants to be included and there are kids like Faith who are trying really hard to learn how to ask to be included but aren't quite there yet.

If there are more "Max"es in the world, mamas lIke me won't have to worry so much.

In the meantime,  I will do all I can to help my Faith learn and grow and be the best version of herself.  It has to be incredibly frustrating for her to know what she wants and not be able to express it...but I have faith that someday she will be able to. Please teach your kids to have patience with her and other kids like her until then.

Hugs and loves until next time, darlings.

Dear Michael Max (A Birth Story),

July 7 was a day that came with excitement and terror. The doctor had made it clear that he was concerned about baby being growth restricted,  and by how suddenly it seemed to manifest.  Early induction coupled with a very small baby tripled the risk of c-section,  but it was well known that it was better to take this risk and have a healthy baby, or relatively healthy one, as opposed to continuing the pregnancy much longer and running the risk of delivering a stillborn baby. One final ultrasound to confirm everything was fine and the date was set. The doctor said a specialist had said we could wait if we wanted, but he couldn't shake the feeling we needed to deliver ASAP. Mommy was feeling the same way, and the rapid decline in baby's movement continued to make her nervous. 
The big day arrived. Due to medical necessity,  mommy was the FIRST on the docket for induction. Mommy and daddy made their way to the hospital bright and early... Well, not so bright since the sun wasn't up. 
It wasn't the first time that mommy had been induced,  but it was the first time she had been induced when she wasn't dilated. 
The nurses explained how Cytotec worked, made the order at the pharmacy and more waiting ensued until the pharmacy sent the drugs up.
Mommy actually did really well with the pain and contractions. So well, in fact,  that she told daddy he could go home and be productive and she would call when she needed him.
Round 1 of Cytotec- 4 hours- barely dilated to a 1. The doc stretched it to 1 1/2 and broke mommy's water.  Contractions got worse,  but were still manageable. They decided to hold off on Pitocin because it looked like mommy's body was starting a good pattern of contractions. They thought we may get through without it...
Wishful thinking I guess...
4 hours later- no change.
Pitocin on...
4 hours later- still no change
4 hours after that... Daddy came back to stay (he had popped in and out all day). Still no change but mommy had finally had enough. Thanks to the Pitocin the contractions were completely unbearable.  As the nurses switched shifts, I asked for an epidural.  
The new nurse suggested a dose of Fentanyl before the epidural.  She said she found it helped her patients through it. I agreed to try it even though I HATE the loopy feeling.
I have to say it was the BEST epidural experience I have ever had. Contractions were manageable and I was able to arch my back and sit still.  It was smooth and easy. 
Mommy decided to file that trick away for when you (hopefully) have another brother or sister.
2 hours passed.... still no change but mommy was comfortable.  They put this giant peanut shaped ball between mommy's legs to hopefully convince you to move down. 
2 more hours... the doc was leaving to go home. No change. He advised nurses to advise me that if there was no progress by the time he came back at 6 AM, we may need to talk c-section.
Mommy prayed. 
They took the uncomfortable peanut away so she could sleep.
1 hour later,  the nurse came back to check vitals and to get you back on the monitor.  They kept losing your heart rate and they knew it made mommy nervous.
Mommy mentioned she felt pressure. Lots of pressure. The nurse laughed and said she would check again but the likelihood of mommy progressing from a 1 1/2- 2 to 10 cm dilated in an hour was slim.
Mommy's prayer worked. It was time to push. 
The doctor had just gotten into bed when the nurses called. He rushed back in.
10 minutes later we were ready to go.
Mommy still reigns as queen of pushing in spite of a very strong epidural,  I guess.
Mommy didn't even need to push a whole push before the doctor said to stop. 
There you were.
18 hours and 1/2 a push was all we needed. Just 3 minutes later and your birthday would have been July 8. 
You were so tiny,  and so pale that they didnt put you on my chest right away. They rushed you to a nurse.
The doctor got concerned because the placenta wouldn't deliver. He had the nurse turn the Pitocin back on.
Slowly it came, and the reason you were so small became painfully obvious.
The doctor did mention that night how abnormally small the placenta was, but it wasn't until discharge that he told mommy everything. 
He told mommy how he had felt uneasy about letting the pregnancy continue, even though a specialist said we could wait another week and monitor things more closely.  
The placenta that fed you was one of the smallest he had seen. Likely a side effect of gestational diabetes,  but lab work would have to tell the whole story. He said he had no clue how you were still alive. No clue how a nutritional source so small had sustained you.  No clue how growth restriction didn't manifest until 35 weeks instead of much sooner.
If he had waited 1 more week, he believes he would have been delivering a stillborn baby. 
We had a mostly uneventful hospital stay. For some reason you couldn't maintain your body temperature.  Most of the nurses that worked with you thought it was because you were so little. 
The last nurse we had, the one in charge of discharge,  couldn't help but worry it was an infection trying to manifest.
When we got ready to leave, you, again had issues keeping your body temperature up. She called the pediatrician and asked to order some panels.
He agreed.
You went to the NICU for a few hours. The preliminary panels came back clean. We were sent home with orders to keep a hat on your head,  socks on your feet, and to have you double wrapped until our doctor appointment the following Monday.  
Saturday morning came. At 4:30 AM, mommy's phone rang. She was not very nice after having been up all night with you and felt very bad when she realized who was on the other end of the line.
It was your pediatrician, Dr.Rogers. 
Your cultures had grown a bacteria.  You were sick. We needed to get you back to the NICU ASAP.
Mommy cried the whole way to the hospital,  she cried when a sweet nurse took us back to your NICU room, she cried as one nurse hugged her and another poked and prodded you.
You were limp like a noodle.
It didn't look good. 
You had lost a lot of weight in spite of mommy's best efforts to keep you eating. 
I was told to be prepared for the long haul. If it was the infection they thought it was, you may need to be there for 2 weeks to get better,  but there was hope they had caught it in time.
Your sweet daddy stayed home with your sisters, but found time and a friend to come to the hospital and pronounce a priesthood blessing later that day (bless your grandma Nielson who held down the fort so he could.)
Mommy spent the next 3 days driving back and forth and feeling horrible for leaving you at the hospital and horrible for leaving your sisters at home.
There was scary talk about feeding tubes since you weren't eating.  You were so dehydrated they couldn't draw blood.
But it's amazing what the priesthood and 25 hours on antibiotics and fluids can do. 
By day 2, you were pinking up and much more active.  They ran 1 more test to see how your white counts were and decided to see if you would keep your temperature up and could tolerate coming off the IV. 
You kept eating like a champ.
By Day 3, they were able to discharge you in the afternoon.  No orders to keep you double wrapped,  just to watch how you were eating.
You had gained back half of what you had lost. 

Finally, you were home for good. We still had a looming threat of a feeding tube, but you surpassed all the doctor's expectations. You're still a little guy.  At one month old, you barely tip the scales at 5 1/2 lbs... you have horrible reflux so we struggle to keep you happy,  but you want to be happy. You're the best snuggler this side of the Mississippi and your older sisters adore you. We love you Michael Max. We are so glad you chose us to be your family.  It's been a rough start, but we wouldn't give you up for the world.   

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Return of Two Weeks of Meals

Alright, friends.  As life has slowed down,  I actually have time to post my meal plans again...and not a moment too soon,  as our little man is going to make his appearance in the next 7-8 weeks. Expect my next few meal plans to reflect that with some added freezer meals. I plan on making them to have on hand for 2 or 3 weeks after little man gets here.

I finally caved in and picked 7 themes to base meals around, however,  we have just been eating what sounds good and haven't necessarily had "themed" nights like Mexi Monday or Pizza Friday.

The themes are:
1. Sandwich/ wraps
2. Mexican Food
3. Pasta/Italian
4. Asian
5. Pizza
6. Salad/Soup/Grill
7. Slow cooker

Here are the meals we have brented having around my house:

1. Chicken Gyros - note that we eat ours with lettuce or spinach as well as the cucumbers and tomatoes in the wrap.

2. Baked Honey Lime Taquitos- I posted my Mashup for this recipe to a new Facebook group I started. If you would like to see it and want to join the group let me know.

3. Cajun Chicken Alfredo- this is a favorite in our house.  It's basically chicken Alfredo that we sprinkle diced tomatoes, green onions and Cajun seasoning on. I will be posting my recipe for Alfredo sauce in the next day or two. This one is great because if people don't like spice,  you can just serve them regular Alfredo.

4. Teriyaki Chicken Bowls- you can use the search bar on blogger to find my teriyaki sauce recipe and how we pull it together to a delicious bowl dinner.

5. Pizza Fondue- this one is awesome and can be carb free if you choose not to dip bread. I actually just make it with the cheese and pepperoni and slice up the veggies I would put on pizza to dip. I did have toasted bread available for my kids.

6. Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad Copycat - I like to bread my chicken in a lighter way. Simply let it soak in milk for 5 minutes,  toss it into flour seasoned to your liking and fry immediately until golden.  I also add mandarin oranges, as the recipe in the restaurant has mandarins if I remember correctly.  It's delicious no matter what.

7. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala - this one is easy and great served over rice with your leftover pitas from the gyros. You can control the spice by buying mild salsa and you can also add just 1 tbs of curry at first THEN when you add the sour cream or Greek yogurt in the last 30 minutes you can add more if you feel like it needs more punch.

8. Ham and Cheese Tailgate Sandwiches- I generally do not purchase the "fancy" cream cheese the recipe calls for. I simply spread regular 1/3 less fat cream cheese and sprinkle it with onion powder.  I also don't add the Worcestershire sauce. I simply melt 1/2 cube of butter (it doesn't take the whole cube like the recipe says) pour that over the top and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and onion powder.  These are DELICIOUS! They taste like Arby's ham and swiss melts.  You can also use any type of bread/rolls you want. I have tried it with regular rolls, bread, etc and it always comes out delicious.

9. Honey Chipotle chicken bowls- haven't tried this one yet, but it looks yummy and has enough elements my kids will like that I think they will eat it. I will keep you posted.

10. Grilled Hamburgers

11. General Tso Chicken and fried rice- search for my sweet and sour chicken recipe. Pull out what you need for your kids,  then add 1/2 to 1 tsp of chili paste (or more to taste) serve it over my fried rice recipe. HEAVEN!!!

12. Papa Murphy's Garlic Chicken  Pizza Copycat- I am making this tonight.  Hopefully,  I will have time to post it on the blog tomorrow!

13. Grilled Steak- if you want a steak that doesn't need sauce,  try sprinkling it with mesquite smoked sea salt, lemon pepper, and garlic powder. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before throwing it on the grill.  It's the only way we cook steak now.

14. Slow cooker chicken gumbo

Happy eating!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

So... About this Beach Body Thing...

So... I did it. In January,  I took the plunge and decided I was going to literally put my money where my mouth is and become a Beach Body Coach.


Not to make zillions of dollars, I can tell you that. Beach Body is definitely not a get rich quick scheme. To be honest,  I don't know if I will ever be good at making money at it...

My real motivation then?

I truly just want to help people.

I struggled for so long and so hard to be met with defeat as far as my health was concerned time and time again, but with Beach Body,  I found something that I had never found in any other program or "get skinny" technique I had ever tried before, I found a list of programs that not only offer the variety you need to have a physically fit body according to physicians and trainers, but also a nutrition plan that made sense and also could be utilized for my whole life. There was no and is no "what if?" accompanying meeting any health goal I may have. I know what I need to do to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. Beach Body also didn't try to sell me on the idea that meeting a "goal weight" means my work is done.  Fitness is a lifestyle choice. it is a choice to love yourself and make time for yourself, and by extension, in making that time for me and getting healthier,  I will and am more available to love and take care of those that love me.

I have more energy.  I am happier.  I am not starving and I know that I don't have to.

Here is the best part, you don't have to drink a shake, or take a pill or wear a patch or put on a wrap to feel great and meet your goals! Through making an effort to make that 30 minutes happen and by doing the work in the kitchen to learn HOW you should be feeding your body, you will make it.

Does Beach Body sell Shakeology?  You bet. (And here is why I don't know if I will ever make a ton of money being a coach...) However,  the great thing about Shakeology is that while it WILL improve your health, while it will help your progress,  it isnt something that you need to rely on like a crutch. If you drink it and stop you won't experience withdrawal symptoms or gain weight back because its meant to be a boost. The programs speak and work for themselves, the Shakeology just helps to fill in nutritional holes you may have if you're eating seasonally, you happen to have an allergy,  or you don't have constant access to super food sources.

When I first started my own journey I thought,  "No way! We could never afford it."  But now, I drink it, I LOVE it, and I have seen some awesome changes for the better in my health.

Once I had lost 20 lbs, my weight loss plateaued,  and being pregnant,  I was content to just maintain.  I started Shakeology and lost 3 pounds that week. I haven't lost any since,  but I am growing a tiny human so I am okay with that, but I have also maintained that weight loss in spite of growing bigger around my belly area. I have been sticking to my nutrition and workouts,  so maybe I can't credit Shakeology with maintenance of weight but I can credit it for the extra 3 pounds.

My blood sugars were scattered. I was again diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes very early in my pregnancy.  My doc was concerned I needed to go to insulin full time. Since starting Shakeology, my blood sugars are more regulated, and while I still need my Metformin and insulin, my insulin in dose at night has decreased.

My doc was also concerned about my blood pressure. He was concerned my kidneys were being effected by the diabetes because it was still slightly elevated in spite of the healthy changes I had made.  Since starting Shakeology,  it too has gone down to normal ranges.

The biggest victory?  He referred me to a high risk obstetrician for a closer look. In the time between that referral and the actual appointment is when I started Shakeology.  The high risk OB was somewhat flabbergasted after reading my past charts and my chart from the office visit that day and said I didn't need to come back. She was confident my doc could handle it now that the scary symptoms had gone away. "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."

The best part about Shakeology?  It's all natural. There are no cheap fillers like soy to trick your body with empty calories, no artificial sweeteners,  no caffeine (yet the energy boost I have felt has been amazing and I thought I had gained energy from just working out and good nutrition in the kitchen) plus a long list of super food nutrito on that all serves a purpose to lower cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure,  energize, and regulate the tummy and colon...and tons more.

Shakeology is great... but (back to the reason I don't think I will ever make much noney as a coach) No matter how awesome I know it is, there is so much value in the exercise and nutrition programs alone that, while I will offer Shakeology and say how much I love it, I won't force it because Beach Body isn't just about the supplements and shakes and making a buck off of that, its about changing lives and showing people that losing weight,  increasing health, and living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean you have to be miserable, starve and spend hours and hours in the gym. It's about making simple choices every day that will lead you down a healthier path and they lay it out in easily obtainable steps by saying "Within x number of days you should be able to lose x number of pounds". Those promises are NOT gimmicks.  They are a teaching tool.

Shows like The Biggest Loser have Americans believing that if they aren't losing 6-12 pounds in a week they are failing, but you should look up the experiences of people who have left the show and realize now how unhealthy what they were doing was.

If you need to lose weight,  you should know it's okay to take it 1 day and 1 pound at a time. You need to give yourself time and, most importantly,  you need to fuel your body correctly- not starve yourself.

Beach Body teaches you how to do that.

So...why did I do it when I make maybe $12 a month but have to spend $16 for my website fees?  I do it because I believe with my whole heart that if I can help just one person learn to love themselves and see there is a better way to be healthy, just like I did, then it will be worth it.

I honestly don't know where I am taking this coaching thing, but I am taking it one day at a time. Excuse me and forgive me if you get sick of reading about it on Facebook or here every so often. I HAVE to share because someone is reading that needs my help and maybe, one day, a post will catch their attention and make them brave enough to want to take a chance on themselves.

Hugs and loves until next time, darlings.