Life Starts Now.

Living each day to the fullest, because we know first-hand just how fragile life can be.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lord, Humble me.

So often I am reluctant to post about myself.  I started this blog as means update our family about my sick son, and he's better now.....but I still like to write.  If you want to stop following me because things get too personal, or not up your alley, I understand.

I'd like to talk about being humbled.

This has been on my heart for over a year now.  And there are times when I want to take back that thought.  That prayer, where I asked God to humble me.  It was April.  Joel had just gotten his trach out and things were finally looking up.  We were living in a big house.  It wasn't ours, we were renting it....but suddenly, it seemed too big.  Too much.  Not us.  Our in home nursing was coming to a close, and something clicked inside of me.  I just wanted to get rid of the crap.  All of it.  My husband's job wasn't what we came to Washington for, and we were far away from our family.  We dreamed of living smaller.  Downsizing.  And pursuing our dreams, whatever they were. 

I knew that was going to take some getting used to....I'm not exactly one for budgets, or roughing it.  Adam and I sat down and prayed together (which was uncomfortable for us at the time...but we did it anyway.)  We asked to be humbled.  The thought of downsizing in a matter of just a few days became engulfing.  It's all I could think about.  I went through closets full of blankets, closets full of clothes, garages full of was just STUPID.  Why did we need all of this stuff?  I don't know what hit me.....when Joel got better, and we were able to breathe again, I looked back at everything that used to be important, and it just WASN'T.  It had to go.

We were ready.  And we decided that we would hope for Medford.  If God was going to provide Adam an opportunity to go back to school, or take another job, we would be ready for it.  Where was He going to lead us?  We were stirring with excitement.

And two days later, my husband is let-go from his job.

Seeing as I'm not so logical, and my husband is, it took some convincing to show him that this was from the Lord.  He doesn't always work in ways that are logical.  Sure, we'd like to have a job in place before a move, but we didn't.  And my parents were happy to take us Medford, Oregon.

Living with my parents at age 28?  Not what I meant when I said 'Lord, humble me.'  Did it work?  Yes.  We were able to fit into two bedrooms of my parents' home.  SHARE the kitchen.  Share cleaning duties.  Get rid of 2,000 sq. feet of furniture.  (OUCH.)  Live on next-to-no money.  Give up salon appointments and shopping trips.

We aren't living with them anymore, and a lot has happened since then...but this has been an extremely humbling experience for my family; myself in particular.  It's comfortable for me to follow God in the comfort of my squishy, well decorated home in a nice neighborhood.  It is.  But I'm tired of it.  I want to follow him in ruins.  In storms.  In good times and bad.....and I don't want that, "I have to have a new suburban and a fatty house and new boots and MAC makeup" mentality anymore.  I haven't completely let it go, no...I struggle with it.  But I don't want those things standing in the way of my pursuit for Jesus.  I want to follow him freely. And I really feel like I'm on the path to do that.  Letting go of idols is a tough pill to swallow. 

This needed to happen so we can be who He created us to be.  In Him.

What are your idols?  What do you struggle with?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recipes from my arsenal. (Tubie-kid meal stuff)

When we started feeding Joel by mouth, we were told to experiment.....which to me, meant shop.  Shop I did.  I bought everything in the dang grocery store, and it added up quick.  Everytime I went in for one item, I left with $40-$60 less in my bank account.....which quickly became $200/month in experimental foods that Joel really didn't like anyway. 

This is what worked better for us....we used basic foods that we already had, and boosted them in calories.  Sure, we still go for the occasional $5 cupcake, but for the most part, I don't have the budget for half most of the meals on pinterest.

Here are a few examples of some of Joel's meals that we make for him:

Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs- 1T. butter, melted in the pan. 
                                              Beat 1 egg + 1 yolk. 
                                              Add 1.5T of heavy whipping cream. 
                                              Add 1/2 of a sausage patty, finely chopped. 
                                              Top with shredded cheese.

Regular calorie count of 1.5 scrambled eggs: 120 cals (w/o butter)
Joel's scrambled eggs: 420 calories

Is Joel getting 420 calories for breakfast?  No. Not usually.....typically he'll eat half of what I put in front of him.  However....half of 420 is bigger than half of 120.  (See how smart I am??? ;)

Another easy way to boost breakfasts: buy high calorie bread.  Joel loves Costco's Innkeeper's bread.  Normal loaves of bread are typically 80 calories/slice....Innkeeper's bread is 160 cals/slice.  How many calories are in the bread in your kitchen?  Find out.  If Joel has toast for breakfast, we can easily boost it to a 300 calorie piece of toast by adding a tablespoon of butter, and a smear of peanut butter.

Our goal for Joel is 200 calories for meals, and 100 calories for snacks. Do you have goals?  If not, make some.

Lunch:  Mac-n-cheese:  Add more butter, use cream instead of 2%.  Or you can use olive oil and cheddar cheese...easily 400-500 calories for a 1cup serving.  Mac is an easy way to introduce veggies too....sneak some peas in and see what your child does? (Joel throws his to the dog. HAHA)

Dinner:  We eat a lot of pasta because I love leftovers.  Here's one of my favs, and Joel likes it.
              Whole wheat penne
              olive oil
              sun dried tomatoes
              LOTS OF PESTO
              pine nuts
              top with parm
             (sometimes I add a little butter to Joel's.)

Honestly, I don't know the calorie count on this, but I know it's high.  Olive oil is 120cals/T, pesto is high too, and nuts are generally high in fat....parm too.

We use dinner as a way to introduce veggies.

Snacks:  Peanut butter on apples. Peanut butter on cheez-its, nutella with graham crackers... Our snacks are usually fruit and crackers and dip....My dips are not usually nutritious.  They're good though, and I totally use them to bribe Joel into eating something he may not like.  Joel isn't a big chocolate fan....but if I smear Nutella on a graham cracker (LOVES grahams,) then he'll at least try it to get to the cracker.  With the amount of dairy Joel gets, fiber is a MUST in his we try to get him as much fruit/veg in his snacks as we can. Did you see the pinterest pin on making your own popscicles?  You can sneak a TON of stuff into popscicles.

Here is one of Joel's my favorite dips:    Mix homemade whipped cream (heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla) with berry flavored cream cheese.  Serve with fruit.  Heavy whipping cream (depends on the brand) can be 60cals/T.  100 calorie snack? Goal met.  {Side note:  This fruit dip will win you major points at any baby shower/MOPS meeting.}

And one last pointer:  Drink your calories!

Next post:  Exercise tips for mommies.  HAHAHA


Hooray for Fall!  As much of a gung-ho gardener I am in the Spring, by late August, I yearn for cool mornings and evenings.... because I just. don't. want. to water those plants anymore.  In fact, many of them just turn brown from neglect by the middle of September. 

I stopped working for Harry & David, (my favorite store,) in May.  And it near broke my heart.  I loved working there, but we literally had a signs too big to place was at home.  My job is the kids.  And Joel.  I needed to be there to feed him....(a task much bigger than it sounds.)  We worked on feeding therapy all day, everyday.  And worked on building those feeding habits into our everyday lives.  I'm going to be completely honest..... it was exhausting.  I feel like I run a one-man-show of a restaurant sometimes. 

But it worked.  Joel gained A POUND over the Summer.  His 'skills', moving food from side-to-side in his mouth, and getting food from his mouth to a swallow, improved dramatically.  Another giant factor in his summer's weight gain was drinking his calories.  Any dieting adult knows this is a big no-no, but for him, it's crucial.  I'm so glad he finally started loving pediasure. 

The result from this weight gain:  No more bolus feeds.  This last week, Joel ate his daily allotment of calories on his own FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE.  We couldn't be prouder of him.  Writing 'we couldn't be prouder' doesn't even seem to do it justice.  This is major.  Our previous feeding person told us it couldn't be done.....only 'somewhat' set goals for us for September to appease us.  If you know your child is ready to wean off something, stick to your guns.  It's only because of my instinct and persistence (and obviously Joel's hard work) that got us where we are.  They weren't thrilled about taking steps to his recovery on our timeline.  And I'm not trying to pat myself on the back here....because even if you don't have a child with feeding issues, if you have a 2 year old child, do you know how to feed him?  Do you know what he likes, dislikes, is capable of?  Of course you do.  Because you're his mother.  That's in our DNA to just KNOW this stuff.....and somewhere in the land of hospitals and feeding clinics, that knowledge gets lost, or forgotten, and insecurities set in.  Don't be that crazy mom that clinics hate.....I'm not saying to be aggressive....but mommies know how to feed their babies.  You know how to feed your babies, and I did too.

Ok, enough of my soapbox. 

So, the plan is for Joel to keep his feeding tube in until Spring.  Cold and flu season is rapidly approaching....(actually I think it's already here.)  When Joel gets a cold, he immediately gets dehydrated, and goes into his 'safe mode', refusing to eat.  It is our 'safe mode' to have access to his tummy to get him fluids/cals if need be.  Hoping it doesn't come to that, we're ready.  I can't wait for Spring. :)