"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

2 Golden Years - Happy Birthday Augustine!

AUGUSTINE - "Great and Magnificent"
To My Dear Augustine,

You are two years old on your Golden Birthday and I thank God every day what a blessing you have been to me! I treasure your little person so much, your personality is sweet and uninhibited and you have incredible energy. You truly light up my day and have given me the most wonderful job I could ever desire or imagine. To be your mother is a phenomenal gift you have given to me and I truly love the honor of loving you with all my heart in the most selfless way a person can love.

Your birthday was special and very memorable as you woke up determined to use the potty. "Augus poopy in the potty" you said over and over and over and over as you rode on your new rocking horsey chair. Finally I set you on the toilet and you asked for books to read. Clearly expecting to be in it for the long haul. (You have asked to sit on the potty many times before but never with this much determination, effort, and resolve.) Sure enough, you went potty on the toilet for the first time ever... on your birthday. Nothing like punctuating the day!

I stayed up late the night before making these cupcakes of your favorite "dessert character" - Cookie Monster.

Just knowing your love for cookie monster, I knew you would freak out at the sight of them. Your reaction was more in awe as it was set before you and it made my every effort worth it! I melted white chocolate and shaped them into eyes using chocolate chips. You are your mother's son and was only interested in eating the cookie mouth and the chocolate eyes. You didn't show interest in the actual cupcake.

Your Grandma Risa and cousins Nathan and Andy came over to celebrate with you by sharing pizza, gifts and cake! You love your "Gamma Sisa, Na Na, and Annie." I spent more time just enjoying you and the day rather than taking pictures, but the images of your sweet smiling messy pizza face will be ingrained in my mind.

One of your favorite gifts was a bubble gun - YOU love bubbles and I have to hide it from your sight or you would want bubbles day and night! You were such a good boy and even said "Thank You" (when prompted) for your gifts.

The day finished with the grand finale...

The long awaited viewing of -- THE LION KING on the big screen and -- POPCORN! You were SO adorable and you jumped off the couch at all the songs so you could sing (quite well actually) and dance along. I hardly watched the movie as I couldn't take my eyes off of you.

Two years seem so long since I feel like I've had you to treasure for so long and yet... it seems so short when I remember bringing you home from the hospital. I was changed forever. I've heard it said that that a mother lives her life with her heart walking around outside her body. I know that feeling, oh, so well. I know the rest of my days my heart will be wrapped around your little preciousness and not inside my own body. I pray everyday for God's greatest protection and blessings on you. I offer your life and my love of your life to Him as you are truly gift. A gift I treasure so deeply and enjoy so thoroughly!

Happy Birthday my Golden Boy!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Healthy Eating - Meal Plan

So here is a quick post on our meal plans for the week:

  • Whole Wheat Pasta with sauteed FRESH broccoli, spinach, orange peppers, mushrooms and crock pot cooked chicken breast. (I found a recipe for the garlic chicken broth sauce and it turned out quite yummy!)
  • Chili with ground turkey, peppers, tomatoes, beans, and mushrooms
  • Asian Chicken Wraps: Whole wheat wraps with cooked chicken cubed, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, green peppers, spinach, and homemade Asian peanut sauce
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes/Waffles with homemade Rhubarb/Strawberry sauce (I had pre-made in the freezer)
  • Egg and Rice Skillet with veggies
  • Leftovers
My baked good/snack for the week is going to be a Whole Wheat Rhubarb and Almond Bread I've been wanting to try out for a while...

I've also discovered sweets are possibly making my pregnancy insomnia worse... so... Lent may not be over for me and this diet is a great benefit to the baby right now! BUT HAPPY EASTER none-the-less!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Health Kick!

One morning Jeremy proclaimed he was going to start snacking.


Healthy snacks like: nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and berries.

...ok... (I couldn't help but smirk.)

Jeremy loves his tater tots, mac n cheese, and "rice packets".

I'm also going to eat whole grains, beans and less meat. "We eat too much meat."

Ok. It's almost all I could say since he won't eat a meal unless it has some sort of meat. I actually don't use a lot of meat when I cook and when I do its Ground Turkey, Turkey Ham, and Chicken Breast. We almost never have beef or pork mostly because its too expensive.

So, what brought about this great healthy revelation??

As it turns out TPT had a health guy on during fundraising week late at night and Jeremy got sucked in. Ive seen the guy myself and he is pretty convincing. The clincher was - ENERGY. Jeremy and I are both tired all the time it seems for different reasons but none-the-less its pretty annoying. Since Jeremy gave up energy drinks for lent he was especially feeling the lack of energy. The idea that healthy, good for you, foods will help give you energy is not a new revelation but it was just what Jeremy needed to hear.

I love the idea of cooking more healthy but since it often isn't the cheapest and certain things like carrots and spinach Jeremy wouldn't eat if I bought them. I've been cooking with only brown rice and whole wheat noodles for a while as well as only buying 100% whole wheat bread and Augustine and I eat fruit like its candy. Augustine LOVES healthy foods and begs for broccoli (one of my favorites too!), cooked carrots, hummus, beans, frozen peas, and most other veggies. He makes his mother proud when I actually have to say, "no more carrots, can you eat your rice?" The idea of cooking foods for our whole family that I also want Augustine eating sounds great to me!

In reality it has been a pretty big shift and I had some frustrating moments in the transition, but overall its been great and I'm finding my groove. I actually enjoy the challenge of making new foods and being creative with old favorites.

Most of our meals have some combination of meat, beans, and veggies and is often served on a bed of spinach. They are also, often, a sort of "hot" salad.

The "snacking" has been the hardest shift but now includes:

  • Healthy Cookies: peanut butter, flax seed, shredded carrot, applesauce, whole wheat and oatmeal included! (Yum!)
  • Whole Wheat/Lower Fat Banana Bread
  • Pre-bagged/Portioned Almonds
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Hummus
  • Grapes
  • Other fruits and veggies
My weekly cooking system has also changed a bit... in a good way:

Monday I cook up a HUGE pot of brown rice (and maybe wild rice) as well as a HUGE pot of black beans and/or garbanzo beans etc... My hope is for it to last throughout the week. Saturday or Sunday we usually finish off the rice with a yummy rice, egg and veggie skillet! The garbanzo beans make a fabulous Greek veggie salad or hummus that have been huge hits so far.

The black beans I pretty much add to everything I make throughout the week.

My shopping list now includes:

  • Dry Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Fresh/Frozen Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Almonds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Whole Wheat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Other fruits and veggies...
I still have blueberries I got WAY on sale at ALDI in the fall and froze but we are almost out and am really glad that veggies and fruit are becoming more affordable with the season change! (Good timing honey!)

So, that's our health kick... I'll start trying to post weekly menu plans and ideas to track our journey with all of this as well as health improvements we are noticing. Starting with this one...

Since Jeremy has been eating this way and I am now keeping more health foods around and accessible I have been eating better myself. With Augustine I was low in iron towards the end of my pregnancy and I know it was a result of slacking on my healthy pregnancy "diet". This time around I've been eating better/more vitamins in my foods and was not low on iron!

To happy healthy eating!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

9 Months with Baby Gianna!

Hello 9 MONTHS!

What a GREAT place to get to!

I am still feeling really great although I have felt like the baby has dropped. Should I say, "hello bathroom" since that seems to be my favorite room in the house? In the evenings I am feeling a little sore in my core muscles which are hard to identify at this point, although I know they are still there.

I went to the Dr for my 36 week appointment and I am 1 1/2cm dilated! Wooohooo! Doctor said I measured smaller this time even though baby seems "a good size", so she confirmed baby dropped. When I asked about the baby "being good sized" she also said she might be smaller than Augustine was but not much. Bummer. I mean I'm glad she is healthy--- but I was hoping she would be smaller. I've gained 20 lbs so far and my hemoglobin came out fine (last time I think I was low on iron).

What a wonderful time to have a baby! Spring! Oh, joy!

I keep going back and forth about when the baby should be born. Which is actually quite ridiculous since I have VERY little (if any) control on the issue (naturally speaking). I love to plan and since the thought of her coming early dawned on me I have been contemplating it.  I am so eager to meet this little sweetie pie! Although due to work schedules I finally feel (at the present moment) she should probably hang tight until April 28th (her due date). Jeremy has SO much work to do and is so stressed that once The Hobbit opens at the Theatre (April 27th) his deadlines will be up and thus a slight lifting of work stress. Notice how I used the word "slight".

Well, let the countdown begin!