Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birthday Celebrations - part 1

I am doing some catching up.  The start of the school year and Little Man's and Little Diva's birthday have kept me REALLY busy!  It's a good busy, though!

August 1st marked a pretty special day... The twins turned 7!  Really, now... how is that even possible???  It seems like just yesterday that they looked like this:

But, alas... they are not babies any more.  They are these tiny adults with big personalities!! 

We made the day as special as we could.  It started off with a very special breakfast.  I found a recipe not too long ago on Pinterest for birthday cake batter pancakes.  I know, right?!?  How could I NOT make them??  They were super easy to make and the kids were in pancake bliss heading out the door to school.

 It wasn't long before we were heading to the school too... we promised to have lunch with our birthday kiddos in the school cafeteria.  They requested Chipotle, and Daddy and I threw in some surprise gluten free chocolate cupcakes for dessert.  They were the envy of all their classmates with that yummy lunch!

That night we celebrated with a birthday dinner (attended by grandma and grandpa as well...) and PRESENTS! 

It was a perfect day!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Celebrating: 10 Years & Being "Fog Free"

Friday was mine and Brian's 10th anniversary.  I can't believe its been 10 years!!  In some ways it feels so much shorter... in some ways, so much longer.  :-)
Because I have had some very honest talks with him regarding my expectations of certain holidays and events, and how I want & need to be treated on those occasions, he was especially mindful to make this anniversary celebration particularly special.  It has been important to my recovery to share these things with him.  Otherwise I am setting myself up for disappointment and hurt.  So, Brian hit it out of the park this time.  Almost literally  :-)
We began the day together because he took the entire day off from work.  We had a nice morning, and then packed up our stuff and the kids' stuff.  We dropped off the kids stuff at his moms house and ensured she was still ok to pick them up from school.  Then we set off on our anniversary stay-cation.  He drove us into downtown Phoenix where we arrived at our hotel... the Westin Phoenix Downtown.  I have never stayed in a 4 star hotel before.  It was AMAZING.  Our room... a corner suite in all its 743sq ft wonderfulness was an oasis for us to escape to.
 I was a little hungry since we had not had anything since breakfast... but I didn't want to eat too much because I knew we had plans to go to the baseball game later, and I knew I wanted to be able to eat and enjoy dinner there.  So, we ordered up a cheese plate from room service.  It was perfect.  Just the right amount of food to take the edge off, and delectably delicious!!  Honestly, I have never had bleu cheese THAT creamy!!  After, we hung out in the room and simply admired the view out the floor to ceiling glass wall that offered a stunning view of downtown.
Pretty soon it was time to leave for the Diamondbacks game.  We went downstairs, crossed the street and caught the light rail to the ballpark.  It was both mine and Brian's first time riding the light rail.  It was fun!
When we got to the stadium we went to the TeamShop.  I was disappointed that I couldn't find anything that would fit me.  I promised myself that when we come back again for the 2014 season I would be able to pick out one of the cute ladies t-shirts.  I know its not healthy to my recovery to make such promises.  My recovery is one day at a time and my weight loss will happen in God's time.  But it made me feel better in that moment to say the words, so I did.
We got some sodas (mine was diet, of course) and headed to our seats.  I cant really explain what happened next.  When we sat down in our seats I was pretty comfortable.  It was a tight fit, but I was excited to note that 60lbs ago I would not have been able to manage the seat at all.  The ballpark started to fill up, and pretty soon our row was mostly full.  I had a guy sitting next to me, and Brian had an empty seat next to him.  After we stood up for the national anthem, I asked Brian to move over one, so I could have the empty seat next to me, instead.  I went to sit down and suddenly I didn't fit anymore.  I can't explain it, I just know it hurt.  The arms on the seat were digging in to my sides and I have the bruises today to prove it.  We waited through an inning or so and decided we were hungry.  We went and got dinner, and when we came back we grabbed an empty seat on the end instead of going back to the seats we were assigned.  The end seat that we grabbed is handicapped accessible, so didn't have an arm on the outside.  I was able to sit comfortably here and totally enjoyed the rest of the game.  I had made the decision in a very conscious and mindful manner to allow myself to have some sort of treat after dinner.  I had seen the caramel apples that the ballpark sells when we came in and decided that was the treat I wanted.  Brian went and got it, and when I saw how HUGE the thing was I asked him if he would share it with me.  I had three of the pieces.  It was rich and yummy and totally satisfying.  I didn't compulsively overeat even with faced with sugar... I was feeling pretty good about myself despite the TeamShop and seat issues which highlighted the fact that I am still oh-so-very overweight.  The second half of the game was really exiting and we were pretty happy when the Diamondbacks won.  The Friday night games close with fireworks and as I watched them with my love, I decided that they were for us.  10 years is nothing to sneeze at, and we have totally rocked those 10 years!
We caught the light rail back to the hotel where the most heavenly soaking tub was waiting for me.  It was calling my name.  I settled in with a book on my iPad and a glass of wine.  We turned off the lights and the stunning view was my only distraction.  Brian took advantage of the tub the next morning.  Seriously, someday I will have a house with that tub.  I'm going to make it my mission!! :-)
We slept in till 9:30 the next morning.  Waking up to that stunning view was amazing.  We went down to breakfast that morning to the restaurant that is downstairs.  They have a weekend brunch menu and so Brian and I both ordered the short rib hash with poached egg and chimichurri hollandaise sauce.  It was stunningly good.
And also, WAY too much food.  I couldn't finish it, but was fine with that as I was so very satisfied.  
It was over breakfast, as we were reflecting the on the time we had spent that I had an epiphany.  I mentioned to Brian that I couldn't recall ever having had a nicer time... even when we spent our 7 year anniversary in San Diego.  And thats when it hit me.  This was the first time I have ever spent any vacation time without the "food fog".  I knew that one of the miracles of abstinence from compulsive overeating was the fact that in time, the fog lifts.  I knew that I had already experienced that to some degree.  But in that moment in that restaurant I had a clarity that was so stunning to me.  I realized that anytime we had ever done something like this vacation, I had always - constantly - had food on the brain.  I was always thinking about where we were going to eat next and what I was going to have... I remember being in SanDiego, laying on the beach and instead of totally and completely enjoying that moment I was worrying about where were going to have our next meal.  Vacations had always been a series of going from one food experience to the next.  The last time we had been to a ball game, I didn't remember the game... what I remember was eating my way through it.  Instead of one meal I had three... and just as many desserts after that.  I didn't fully experience and enjoy things like the roof opening in the ballpark... the way the light changed on the field and the way the air moved differently after the park was opened up.  I didn't notice the way the pitcher stood and the concentration of his next move.  I didn't catch the excitement of a really good play because all my focus was on the food.  The disease was completely and totally my master and I was nothing but a slave to the food.  I am so relieved that the bonds have been loosened.  Its a daily struggle to make sure that they stay that way.  But with God as my guide... my higher power... I know that I can not fail.  He will keep me safe and show me the way.  One day at a time.  
I can't wait until next month.  I can't wait to go on vacation to Disneyland and to visit family in California.  I now know that i am going to experience that vacation like nothing ever before.  I know that I will see the beauty and wonder of my children's faces and truly feel my husbands hand in mine as we take in Disney, the beach and a national park.  All of my senses have been awakened.  The fog has been lifted and I can truly see.... What an amazing life we are living!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More Than A D-Mom

"A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, 
but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong."

2008 was an interesting year.  My husband and I had been married for five years.  We were still fairly new to parenting as the twins were just two years old.  We bought our first home in the spring of that year.  Little Diva broke her leg chasing Little man around the house, so we dealt with our first (and hopefully last!!) broken bone.  We were a very normal, very settled American family.  I was happy as a mother & wife.  I worked as an administrative assistant at a software company and had a few hobbies that I enjoyed: cake decorating, scrapbooking & general crafting.
Over the summer as we settled into our new home I noticed that Little Man was drinking a lot of water.  He was thirsty ALL the time.  He was also urinating A LOT.  He would blow out an overnight diaper most every night.  On November 11, 2008 I made a Dr's appointment to have these concerns addressed.  Our lives were forever changed that day when Little Man was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  On that day, he gained the title of "Child With Diabetes" and I gained the title of "D-Mom".  Diabetes is a 7 days a week, 24 hours a day job.  It never sleeps, and as a D-Parent, neither do you.  Constant vigilance is required to keep your child alive.  Your life becomes a series of numbers: Blood glucose readings, carb counts, units of insulin, ratios, basal rates, sensitivity factors and A1C results.  A toddler with diabetes is even harder as they  are unable to articulate what they are feeling... highs and lows become educated guess work on your part.  And the entire time you constantly question if you are doing things right.... if the care you are giving is good enough... if YOU are good enough.
Before diabetes came crashing through our door I was so much more... I was a wife and mom.  I was also co-provider for our family.  I was artistic and vibrant.  I was enjoying exploring motherhood and what made me tick as a mom.  I'm not claiming life was perfect... far from it.  We had challenges, but they were the challenges that you find in most households, I think:  We had some financial stress... and my weight and my own health have been a constant battle for years.  Before that day in November I focused quite a bit of attention on myself.  I made an effort to lose weight, eat right, and get fit.  I cared about myself.  In the years after diagnosis I lost that.
Since November of 2008 I gained 100lbs.  Compulsive overeating was out of control.  I would consistently use food to temper the emotions that diabetes inflicted.  Compulsive overeating has been a part of my life for years and years but this was the first time that I didn't even make an attempt at controlling it.  When I would try, I would do so knowing I was going to fail before I even started.  In January of this year I made the decision to get my life back.  Diabetes is in our lives.  Until a cure is found, that is not going to change. I feel as though I have been swimming in the deep end of the pool since that November in 2008, just treading water... hoping to keep my head above the water and not drown.  I have gone under a few times, but have always managed to come back up for air.  Well, at the beginning of this year I started swimming instead of just treading water.  And while I am still very much in the pool, I think I have found shallower waters.  I can stand on my own two feet again.  I have come to learn a lot about food addiction and compulsive overeating through Overeaters Anonymous.  I am working the 12 steps that so many addicts before me have found peace and healing through.  I am down 60lbs and I am beginning to incorporate exercise back into my life.  I have come out of the fog and I can clearly see again the AMAZING family I have.  My incredibly loving and endlessly patient husband.  My two beautiful kids who are now six years old.  A gift that diabetes has given me is that it took me out of the work place and allowed me to become a stay-at-home mom.  It is a testimony to my recovery that I can recognize that Diabetes gave me that gift... that can can call ANYTHING from that horrid disease a GIFT.   Another gift from Diabetes: The DOC (Diabetes Online Community).  I have found kindred spirits in other D-Moms.  They are the only ones that can truly and totally GET ME.  I treasure these friendships!
This is not my first blog... I used to have an entirely Diabetes centered blog. I have missed blogging, but I made the decision to re-enter the blogging world with a blog that is a more about me and my family and less about Diabetes.  That is not to say that I won't write about Diabetes now and then.  I certainly will because it is a part of our lives.
I tell Little Man all the time that Diabetes does not define him.  I finally took that advice, too.  It will not define me any more either.
YES! I AM so much more than D-Mom.  I am MOM... WIFE... WOMAN!  A domestic diva who is beautiful, STRONG, resilient.  My journey is a work in progress... but for the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to every step.


"More Than A D-Mom" is a blog series that was inspired by one of those kindred spirits I was talking about.  Hallie came up with the idea and invited me, Meri, Lora, Wendy, Tracy and several others to participate.  Tomorrow Misty will share with you what makes her more than a D-Mom.  Enjoy!  :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Keepin It Clean

I swear I didn't fall off the face of the earth! :-)

Easter and the weeks leading up to Easter are a very busy time for our family. So, as much as I wanted to come and visit my blog, there just wasn't any time! But, things are starting to slow down a bit and return back to normal… Which means that I have a little bit more "me" time! And, that is always a good thing! Because, as everyone knows… When mommy is happy, everyone is happy! :-)

Part of getting back to our normal routine has been getting back to a normal cleaning schedule as well. As a stay-at-home mom, I often find it hard to find the focus for housework and not fill my day with more fun things.... You know, like sleeping till noon! :-)

Alas, there is always work to be done… And if I don't do it, who will? After all… It is my job!

So, I have recently applied a new tech technique to help keep me focused. This may sound silly, but I have found a little mind trick that seems to work! It all stated with a speaker that I heard not too long ago. It was a church function and the speaker was talking about what would our mind set be if Jesus were to show up on our door step and ask to be let into our house? Would we let Him in, but only into certain rooms? Would we close off the rooms that were messy and we didn't want Him to see? Or would our entire "house" be open to Him... every room be ready for His visit with nothing to hide from Him? Of course the speaker was talking about an internal visit from our Lord. But, later I got to thinking what would REALLY happen if Jesus were to show up on my ACTUAL door step? I can tell you that I most likely would NOT have let him into every room!! So now, every day, I wake up and pretend that I have a very important house guest (it doesn't have to be Jesus... it could be... *gasp*... your mother in law!!) coming at the end of the day. The house needs to look clean & tidy (notice I didn't say perfect…) for when they arrive. It is my driving motivation each day to keep the house looking clean and tidy for my imaginary house guest. The upside of this technique, is that if I ever have a surprise visit from a friend or relative, and Lord knows it has happened, the house is ready to go!

Hope this helps!

Happy Cleaning!!

Oh! And for more cleaning tips… Check out my "Keepin It Clean" board on Pinterest! There are some really great ideas on there… Some of them I have tried, some of them I have not yet tried but plan to! If you try something and it works for you, drop me a note and let me know! :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vicks Vapor Rub... ON FEET??

I grew up a Vicks kid.  I think most of us did.  My mom swore by the stuff.  If I had a cough and a stuffy nose, it was pretty well guaranteed that it was going on my chest that night.

I HATED it!  It felt weird.  It was sticky... it made my jammies stick to me.  It was just... Ewww.

Now I'm all grown up and have kids of my own.  When they have a cough and a stuffy nose... Yep... out comes the Vicks.  Especially for Little Man who cannot take a decongestant for medical reasons.  But, just like me, he and Little Diva despise the Vicks.  They want NOTHING to do with it.

A couple of years ago I took Little Man into Urgent Care for a horrible cough.  He was SO sick.  The nurse told me that the sure fire way to ease his cough was to put Vicks on his feet with a nice warm pair of socks.

Wait... What??  On his FEET??  What good was THAT going to do??

I totally blew her off.

Then, not too long ago I saw it on Pinterest.  Vicks on the feet.  Guaranteed to relieve a cough 100% of the time.  Really now.  Well, it was on Pinterest, so it HAS to be real, right?  ;o)

It got me to thinking, though.  I discovered a while ago the wonder of a ionic foot detox session.  By doing that, I learned just how much toxins and pollutants come out of the 4000 or so large pores on the bottom of your feet.  So, maybe... just maybe those same pores can absorb the vapor created by the Vicks and distribute its healing power through your body??

Well, Monday night I was getting ready for bed and had a HORRIBLE cough.  I decided to give it a go.  I mean, really... what could it hurt??


Within 10 minutes of applying the Vicks to my feet and putting on a nice warm pair of socks I was done coughing.  I am a believer... try it... you will be too!!  And it sure beats an icky sticky chest!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Diva Dish of the Week!

Every once in awhile a recipe bumps around in my head and I just have to get it out on paper & then cook it up!  :) 

I hope you love this Italian take on Chicken Cordon Bleu.  This recipe also boasts only 6 carbs per serving, so if you are on a low carb diet, this is a great dish for you to add to your list of low-carb friendly recipes.  I made it with Italian Roasted Asparagus (another Diva recipe - inspired from some of the recipes I have seen on Pinterest here and there...).  I went ahead and included that one for you too.  If you create this dish in your own kitchen, let me know how it turned out! 

Diva-lish Italian Stuffed Chicken with Parmesan Cream Sauce

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T olive oil
3 T butter, divided
½ c sun dried tomatoes
4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into half circles
8 slices thin cut prosciutto in large strips
½ T minced garlic
1T flour
1 c chicken broth
2 T italian dressing mix
¼ c parmesan cheese
¼ c heavy cream
Chopped parsley to garnish each chicken breast
Preheat Oven to 350.  If you are preparing the asparagus recipe listed with this one as a side dish, go ahead and prepare it first, and set it aside.  You can then put it in the oven to cook with the chicken at the same temperature for the same amount of time.  If you are preparing the chicken alone, disregard this step.

In large skillet, pan sear chicken breasts on all sides in olive oil and 1 T of the butter.  Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board where you can work on the next step.  Set skillet aside.  Be sure to remove it from heat.

Cut slits in sides of the partially cooked chicken breasts so they can be stuffed.  Divide the sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese among the four breasts and generously stuff each one.  Using two slices per breast, tightly wrap the prosciutto around the stuffed chicken breasts.

Place a cooling rack inside of a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. (any shallow baking dish is fine, really as long as it can accommodate the cooling rack sitting inside of it.)  Put each wrapped breast on the cooling rack.  Bake for 30 minutes.

When the chicken has about 10 minutes remaining, return the skillet you seared the chicken in back to the stove on med-high heat and add the other 2 T of butter and the minced garlic.  Allow the butter to melt and get slightly brown, being careful to not scorch the garlic!

Add in flour and combine with the melted butter & garlic until the butter and flour forms a smooth thin paste.  Quickly add in the chicken broth and the italian dressing mix.  Let the sauce come to a boil while constantly stirring.  This won’t take but a minute or so.  Once boiling and slightly thick, remove from heat.  Stir the parmesan cheese and heavy cream into the sauce. 

At this point, the chicken (and asparagus, if you prepared it as well) should be about ready to come out.  Plate it up, top each breast with the sauce, garnish with chopped parsley to make it even prettier and serve! 

Italian Oven Roasted Asparagus

1 lb fresh asparagus*
1 c italian dressing
¼ c parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Clean and trim the asparagus. (To trim, take one of the asparagus stalks and holding it firmly at each end, bend until it snaps.  Where it naturally breaks off is where you want to trim the rest of the asparagus.  This is the woodier part of the stalk.  You can either discard that portion or you can keep it for up to a week to use in making your own homemade vegetable stock.)

In a large Ziploc bag, combine the asparagus and italian dressing.  Close the bag, and move the contents around to ensure the asparagus is completely coated in the dressing.  Allow the asparagus to marinate for at least 5 minutes, but this is a step you can do earlier in the day, and just store in the refrigerator if you would like for an even bolder flavor.

Once marinated, using tongs remove the asparagus from the bag and arrange in a single layer on a shallow baking dish. 

Bake for 25 minutes. 

Top the asparagus with the parmesan cheese and cook for 5 minutes more. 


 *You won’t want to use really thick asparagus for this recipe, as it won’t roast as nicely as a thinner or medium stalked asparagus.

Enjoy an absolutely diva-licious meal!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day 2013

Valentines Day preparation actually started the night before... at 10pm the night before, actually. 

I was tired.  Exhausted, actually.  It had been one of THOSE days. 

So, I got on Facebook.  It was time to unwind with a glass of wine.  And that is when I saw it.  My dear friend Laura from Houston We Have A Problem had posted their preparations for Valentines Day.  She and her S.O. had decked out the breakfast table for their littles with construction paper hearts.  She had hand-written valentines to each one of the kids and taped them to the back of their chairs.  Oh man.  That totally got my Diva up.  I'm suddenly inspired.  And shamed... into starting a project at 10pm.

I'm kind of thrilled that I did... It came out SO cute!!!  And I still got my glass of wine... I drank it while working on the project at the kitchen table.  ;o)

The kids LOVED waking up to their Valentines Day surprise.  I decided that something special was in order for breakfast.  Mornings around our house are super hectic... usually they just get cereal for breakfast and then we are out the door to school.  Not on Valentines Day, though... nope... mama pulled out all the stops with heart shaped and Mickey shaped pancakes!! :)

We got the kids off to school and then returned a few hours later to have lunch with them.  They had requested sandwiches from Subway.  We also surprised them with heart shaped donuts from Dunkin Donuts for dessert.

We no longer eat a lot of sweets in our house... so on this day, that was made for sweets, my kiddos thought they scored pretty big!  :)

We finished off the day with dinner... with special guests Grandma & Grandpa. 
I was so busy enjoying the evening I forgot to pull out my camera.  But rest assured... a GREAT time was had by all. :)

On a diva personal note... I am quite pleased with myself that I didn't touch a single sweet today.  My journey continues... One day at a time.  <3