Archives for category: Life in General
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 cup frozen kale
  • 1 cup sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons cod liver oil
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • water to cover majority of ingredients
  • 2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1 cup frozen kale
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet potato
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen coconut
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 heaping tablespoons almond butter
  • honey to taste (I squeeze for 30 seconds)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4 teaspoons cod liver oil (1 for each of us)
  • 4 teaspoons collagen peptides
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • Fill the rest of the container with water until the ingredients are mostly covered

 

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About 8 months ago I decided to buy a Vitamix on a whim and try my hand at smoothie making.  Making smoothies has been amazing for my family and I for lots of reasons.

  1. No more breakfast – we each get a smoothie every morning
  2. No more worrying about whether the kids are getting their fruits and veggies daily
  3. Boosted immunity – we went a whole winter season with a preschooler and a 1st grader with no major colds and no flu
  4. Better Vitamin D levels
  5. Less joint pain

One thing that has made smoothies fun and easy for our family is buying everything frozen.  The only fruit/veggie ingredient that I don’t keep frozen is the bananas which we always make sure to have on the counter.  You really can’t make a decent smoothie without a banana so don’t even bother.  Sweet potato makes a decent substitute but really, its that banana that will give your smoothie a creamy texture.

freezer

I keep spinach, kale and frozen sweet potato on the left.  I haven’t found a great source of frozen sweet potatoes so I boil mine, chop them and then freeze them on a cookie sheet overnight before storing in a Ziploc.  The fruits I typically have on hand are blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, coconut and sometimes mango.

In the pantry, I keep chia seeds, cacao powder, organic raw honey, some sort of a whey protein and collagen peptides.  I like to keep my honey in a squeeze bottle which is a lot neater than dealing with a sticky spoon.

pantry

fridge

Additionally, I like to have some sort of almond milk, organic unsalted almond butter, peanut butter and I refrigerate my cod liver oil.  I buy the oil, cacao, protein and collagen at Amazon.

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I think the Expedit from IKEA turned on its side and placed under the breakfast bar provides a great, spacious amount of toy storage in our play room!

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Thursday October 29 started out like any other day.  Ryder and I had a nice walk around Batitiquos Lagoon with another mom and baby team and we headed in to the office.  Mom had taken dad into the ER at Pomerado Hospital because he was complaining of chest pains.  I was worried but after speaking with her, she let me know that he was doing better and they were going to keep him overnight for observation.  She was worried sick – literally and nauseous.  Ibuprofin wasn’t working.

We were planning on meeting some friends out for pizza that night when we got another call from Mom.  She was really sick and didn’t think she should drive home.  Gus was all set to leave for the hospital to pick her up when she called and said, “you’ll never believe this.  Now I’m at the Emergency Room.  They want to do a CAT Scan.”

An hour later, we got the shocking news.  There was blood on her brain.  Sub arachnoid hemorrhaging.  It was suspected, and then later confirmed, that she had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.  After doing some research, I was floored by the statistics.  40-50% of people who have this happen die within 24 hours before they even reach the hospital.  Another 25% die within 3 months.  Of those that survive, there is a high likelihood of moderate to severe brain damage.

aneurysm.jpgMy world fell apart. 

After a grueling wait at the ER, waiting for a bed in an ICU at a facility with in-house neurology, she was finally transferred to Scripps Memorial in La Jolla – the same hospital Rydee was born in just 4 months ago.  By 1:30am, we were at the MICU ward and she was admitted.

The diagnostics followed by the procedure to stop the bleeding was an all day event Friday.  She survived the procedure.  A coil of platinum wire was injected by catheter into the aneurysm.  Clotted blood stopped the bleed.  The procedure was completely non-invasive – the catheter is inserted through a groin artery and threaded all the way into her brain.

coil.gifMy dad was released from Pomerado on Friday afternoon.  He came over to Scripps right away to see mom.  My wonderful in-laws parked their motorhome in the parking lot Friday and Saturday so that we could leave the baby in between feedings and I could nurse him every three hours while still attending to my mom and speaking with the nurses and doctors.

Saturday morning, my dad experience the second round of angina – chest pains – and was walked by the ICU nurses to the ER.  He was released again that afternoon. 

Early Sunday at 2:00 am, I get a call from Dad that he is having severe chest pains.  I tell him to hang up with me and call 911 which he does.  I arrive in a sleepless stupor right as they are wheeling him downstairs to the waiting ambulance.  He is taken to the third hospital of the weekend – Palomar Medical Center.

Dad is kept overnight at Palomar and has his own angiogram procedure on Sunday.  The culprit artery is found to be 99% blocked.  Basically, he almost died.  I’m still not sure why he didn’t but he got lucky and they saved his life.He was released Monday and is feeling a lot better now.

Meanwhile, Mom continues to recover at Scripps MICU.  She is doing incredibly well.  She can now sit up and watch TV.  I can call her cell phone when I want to hear her voice.  I am starting to relax.  I spoke with her neurosurgeon today – who incidentally is the same age as me – and if she can somehow manage to stay well for the next 5 days or so, she may very well escape the jaws of death this time around.  What’s more, she may also walk away with any brain impairment which is just wonderful.  She can come back to work whenever she feels up to it. 

There is a danger of vasospasm which is caused by the fluid on her brain and hydrocephalus which is fluid surrounding your brain.  Both are very dangerous so she must be constantly monitored.

We aren’t out of the woods yet but the doctor is very encouraged by her condition and I am feeling a lot better.  I haven’t had much sleep in the last 4 months anyway but the last few days have been just torture on me.  I am still sitting upright to write this blog but after I get the news that she is in the clear, I may just pass out for a week.

I always imagined how painful losing my mother would be but I was always able to put the thought out of my head for the time being.  After all, she is so healthy and I figured I would deal with it way in the future.  This brush with death has made me realize just how much I take my mom for granted.  What hurt the most was imagining Ryder growing up without her.  She loves him just as much as me and the thought of him losing her was too much to bare.

I hope you read this soon, Mom.  I love you more than you will ever know and I will thank God for every day I have you in my life.

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About a week before Ryder was born, I was at a party and another mom asked me if I planned to return to work after the baby was born. I told her that I had no choice – if I wanted to be able to afford diapers for baby, I needed to keep working.  Then she asked how long I would take for maternity leave.

“Oh, yeah, I don’t have maternity leave.  I’ll have to be back at work as soon as physically possible.” 

She looked at me like I was crazy.  “You won’t be able to go back to work the day after you give birth!  You need at least six weeks off.”

I tried to explain that as a small business owner, and wearer of many hats, I don’t have the luxury of taking time off.  There are far too many tasks here at the boutique that require my handiwork.  I agonized over this for months before the baby came – how is this going to work?  How am I going to be able to take care of an infant while keeping things at work running smoothly? 

But, things have been working out well.  Ryder was born on a Wednesday and I was back at the office on Monday.  He has a pack-n-play crib to take naps in and play in and when he’s not so happy, my mom and I take turns rocking him.  Dad’s here too for guest appearances when only Dad’s funny faces will do the trick.

Twice a day, I feed the baby in my office.  Gus brought in a super comfy lazy boy and I have a boppy pillow just for work.  I put on a program on Hulu and the baby nurses.

He’s a happy baby and we’re lucky that he rarely cries for anything other than his next meal. 

DSC_0878.JPGYou don’t have to be a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.  You can be a working mom with a kidlet attached to you all day.  It is possible to be a mommy and run a business – you just need a very supportive staff.  Oh – and having your mom there really helps!  (Thanks, Mom!)

chair_sm.jpgYears ago, I attended a baby shower.  Between eating tiny sandwiches, making guesses at the circumference of the guest of honor’s belly and cooing over the baby clothes, the other ladies in attendance talked about their war stories.  I remember thinking, “wow, all they talk about is their boobs.”  At the time, I didn’t have any babies, plans for babies, pets and just one house plant that was hanging on for dear life.  In order to participate in the conversation, I could only think back and muse about myself as an infant.  It was a lame party.

But, here I am.  I’m one of them now.  Last weekend, we went to our dear friends’ house and I found myself talking about my boobs.  How the left boob is an under-producer and how “Righty” was like a geyser.   I even breastfed the little guy right on the family couch with every one coming in and out – something I never thought I would be able to do.

Yesterday, I bragged to my family that I was able to keep my infant alive for over a month now with nothing but my own mammary glands to thank.  No one was as impressed as I am.  Since having to give up most of everything I used to identify myself with – work, hobbies, exercise, etc. – having this accomplishment under my belt has become my new source of self confidence.  If Ryder and I had been left in the woods instead of here in San Elijo Hills, he would have made it this far.   I guess I would have to hunt for rabbits or something to keep myself alive.

I am a researcher.  Whenever I am about to embark on a new journey, I arm myself with as much internet fodder on the subject as possible.  This parenthood thing is no exception.  One thing I read over and over again was that seemingly well meaning family members will attempt to thwart a new mother’s efforts to feed her baby as she chooses.  In my prenatal days, I couldn’t fathom how this could be or where it would even come up in conversation.  I had no idea that my own mother would be the culprit (sorry, Mom.  The truth has to be told.)

You see, one of the hallmarks of a breastfeeding mother is complaining about it.  I mean, come on.  You have a tiny little person constantly sucking on your bits – and not just any bits.  Bits that have never so much as seen the sun up until recently.  Delicate bits.  So, it comes with the territory to whine about it.  My mom only wants me to be happy and not whining.  “You know, you could supplement with formula.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  I fed you with formula and you think you turned out pretty well.”

After a couple of weeks of this, I had to ask her to stop mentioning the formula.  I told her that breastfeeding was a choice that I made for the soul benefit of my baby and it’s way too easy to give it up.  I needed to have everyone’s support in my decision.  She admitted that she was suggesting formula so that she could spend more alone time with the baby. Noble enough.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that it is getting easier.  Ryder and I are both getting the hang of this and losing my modesty has definitely helped.  I am proud of myself for sticking with something that hurts and is time consuming  that doesn’t benefit me at all – just my baby.  I think this is maturity. 

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As of last Wednesday, we have officially survived our first month of parenthood.  Here’s what I have learned so far:

1) Caring for human babies is quite different than caring for puppies.  The most notable difference is that human babies need milk and puppies can eat Puppy Chow.  You can buy the human equivalent of Puppy Chow for your baby (formula) but all modern medical literature will make you feel like an utter failure as a mother if you succumb to using it to feed your infant. 

The second most notable difference – human babies have no teeth.

2) You can leave the house with a newborn baby and have a somewhat normal life.  You just have to bring a lot of stuff with you to do so.  The one thing you forget to bring that day (wipes, change of outfit, blanket, etc.) will be the one thing that you need more than anything.

3) While it is pretty much accepted that breast milk is the best possible food for babies, it is almost impossible to find a public place where you can comfortably feed your baby.  So far, Nordstroms and Babies R Us are the only two places I have found that have a nice set-up.  Macy’s had a little converted storage closet for the job.  Most places don’t so much as have a chair let alone a nice, quite comfortable place.

So, you need to get real used to breastfeeding in public if you plan on feeding your little one that way.  And yes, people stare.

4) Human babies come out of the womb very hungry (well, at least mine did.) When Ryder cries, it’s because he’s hungry.  When Ryder wakes up, he’s hungry.  He eats all the time.  Luckily, he’s really cute when he’s hungry.  He does this little baby bird face where he waves his head around with his mouth open looking for something to stick in it.  It’s adorable! 

So basically, as his mom, my primary job for the last month has been feeding him.  Everyone else in the family, runs back-up and supporting roles to feeding him.  I went the whole first week without changing a single diaper.  I think everyone sort of feels sorry for me because I spend so much time in bed feeding this little guy.

5) We have drawers and drawers full of baby clothes but we only dress Ryder in outfits that are easy to get on.  Why do they make so many baby clothes that piss babies off when you attempt to put them on?  Baby pants are just silly – they’re hard to get on, fall off way too easily and when you need to change a diaper, they need to be pulled off every time.  Dumb.

6) Swaddling isn’t just a nice thing to do and a cute word.  It is a necessity so it’s a good idea to practice it a lot and get good at it.  It’s the baby equivalent to a straight jacket for the mentally ill.  Babies have no control over their extremities and when they get worked up, they wave them in the air like crazy – which just works them up even more.  If you can get a good swaddle going, you can lock everything down and he will go to sleep.  A bad swaddle is like no swaddle – baby will fight his way out of it in no time.

Ok… I have learned more than this but Milky is hungry so I got to go.  More later.

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