Monday, January 27, 2014

"You've got to be kidding me!

My guest host for this post is one of my very best friends. She is a an amazing mommy, wife and friend. Her struggle to become a mommy was tough but in the end she has 3 beautiful children. My husband and I are lucky to be godparents to one of her beautiful twins. Her family is very important to us and we love them. Missy is one of those working moms who makes everything look so easy. I constantly say to my husband " I don't know how she does it". She was nervous to host and for putting herself out there I am so proud and grateful. She is a support system for me and constantly makes me laugh.
My friend Missy! 


"You've got to be kidding me!" 

     It's amazing how many times I have used that statement in the last 2 and 1/2 years. The first time was 6 weeks after I had an IUI at my fertility doctor. I knew I was pregnant and that something felt different from my first go around. During my ultrasound, the doctor asked me to tell him what I saw on the screen to make sure we were on the same page. I said something to the effect that I saw two things. He agreed with me and congratulated me on being pregnant with twins. That one statement was the only thing that I could get out of my mouth. 

     They tell you when you take fertility drugs that there is a 10% chance that you will have multiples. I thought "huh, 10% is nothing". Boy was I wrong! That is enormous when you think about how OB/GYN's still aren't happy when birth control is 99.9% effective and ladies can get pregnant .1% of the time. 

    So here I was...pregnant with twins while I had a 15 month old at home (You've got to be kidding me!). Time to prepare myself mentally and physically! My pregnancy was as amazing and easy as the first (sorry to anyone that offends!). No issues what so ever. At 37 weeks and 3 days, I gave birth to two beautiful babies. We didn't find out what we were going to have, but I was so sure that they were both going to be girls. The first was a girl, and then 5 minutes later they told us we had a boy (you've got to be kidding me!). Amazing! 

    Even when you have a baby already, you have no idea what to expect with twins. It is hard to set up a plan of attack for all that you have to do because as soon as they come home they want to change the script. Your focus is feeding, changing, and having them sleep. You HAVE to try from day one to have a schedule, the SAME schedule! Feeding them together, changing one right after the other, and putting them down at the same time. If not, you will go crazy. CRAZY!! To this day, almost 2 years later, we are still on a schedule, and I am not ashamed at how rigid we are with it. It keeps everyone on the same page and happy. 

    When you brave a public outing with twins, let alone all 3 kids, people look at you as if to say sorry. They make comments about how it is better you and not them or about how you have your hands full. No joke, Sherlock! Every article you look up written by a mother of twins gets into this subject, so I won't. It is a little annoying, though. 

    There are some things that I had to come to grips with having twins, and that is what I want to talk about. The first is that I will never be alone again. Even when I am out of the house with no kids, my brain is thinking about them and my guilt is telling me I need to get back. It's a weird feeling. 

    The next is that I will never sit still again. When I play with the kids I am on the floor with them, running around the house with them, getting on a sit and spin, going down a slide, chasing them, tickling them, and on and on. Even when the kids are quietly playing, there is always an ungodly amount of laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. to do. I need to get better at letting some stuff go for a while. 

    The most important thing I had to realize was that someone in my house would be crying at all times (even the grown-ups!). I can't remember who bestowed that little jewel on me or if I thought it up on my own. If it was a book or a person, thank you for telling me! I feel like things have been easier due to having that mindset. If you learn how to make yourself realize that it is okay if someone is crying and that it is going to happen, then your sanity sticks around a little longer. 

    Two years have gone by. We are all still alive...thank the good Lord! It has been a blur and super fast, but something I wouldn't give back for anything. All of the pain, work, tears, sleepless nights, money, and loss of sanity have been worth it. I have three beautiful kids, a great husband/father, and a life that I never pictured myself having. Perfection! And then my husband asks me if I want to have another kid one day....you've got to be kidding me!    

   Missy





250 Titus 2 Tuesday  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Crock pot Ribs

                


    We love ribs so I thought I would try to do them in the crock pot. Sometimes it is nice to toss something in the crock pot and not have to do much prep or involvement. I looked at many an idea or post about the time to cook in the crock pot and decided to see how it went with our ribs. 

Here is the rub recipe: 

1 cup dark brown sugar
3 tbsp of salt
1 1/2 tbsp of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp of pepper
Mix together with a fork and then cover the ribs with the rub.

                (this amount is good for one rack of ribs, double for a second rack)


Cut the ribs into individual pieces and place in the crock pot on high 4-6 hours. My crock pot is very old and I found that 5 hours worked and then I added our favorite BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays) and cooked one additional hour on low. I think this would all depend as well on how thick your ribs are. This was so easy and just very delicious.


I can't say enough how good this was, if you do two racks then you would adjust your time by an hour or so. Just toss them around about half way threw and they will be perfect! 



Crock Pot and Enjoy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The potty bag - my own creation.

                      Potty Training a 2 year old..the saga continues.


           I figured out how to bribe my daughter into using the potty..HOORAY!  I was feeling so frustrated for both her and I about the potty training. I knew she could do it, she is so smart. I was having a much needed pedicure when inspiration hit. I was across the street from 5 below.  5 Below is much like the Dollar Store but with items up to $5. I was surprised at how many cute things I was able to purchase. I spent $22 and walked to my car with renewed faith. I stopped and purchased a gift bag with all the Disney princesses and worked my way home. I couldn't find one with only Ariel on it so I chose the bag with the group of princesses.

When she was up from her nap, I sat her down and told her about the potty bag. I showed her the toys and then put the bag on the top of the refrigerator.  I told her that she can pick a toy if she can go pee-pee in the potty. 

My husband and I were on the same page so I ran to the store- I was gone 30 minutes and when I walked in my husband said. "okay, mommy. do you want to see her new toy?". I was overjoyed and so relieved and my baby looked so proud of herself. Since Saturday we have had no accidents and she is even asking to go to the potty. I sent the potty bag to my mom and it has worked wonders.

I know there will be accidents and wet undies but I know that she is proud of herself. Yes, I bribed her into using the potty and when it is time to poop on the potty I will refill the gift bag for motivation. This worked so much better than candy or treats.  The only thing is that I haven't actually seen her go to the bathroom, if I leave and come back she has already gone.  I am her constant cheerleader and when I am at work and she goes I talk to her on the phone..my husband and I give a lot of high fives, kisses and we dance around with pride.

Here is a list of what I purchased-
1. Minnie Mouse coloring book
2. 4 bracelets
3. 1 Hello kitty necklace
4.  5 different kind of race cars
5. One really cool princess wand
6. One of those pin things that you can put your hand in and it holds the shape? 

So for now we pee on the potty and in the near future I am going to tackle having to pee while out in public. Did I mention that my sweet girl doesn't like public bathrooms because the flushing is so loud..

The Saga shall continue... AGAIN

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hi everyone!  My name is Bria and I (infrequently and informally) blog over at Wiggle Life.  I am a mom to the greatest most gorgeous baby girl alive, Adelynn and a wife to my handsome husband, Jim.

Stephanie asked me to be a guest blogger and share about my experience with BRCA testing.  This is the first time I have shared my story with an extended audience and I am excited- thanks Stephanie!

My mom passed away from breast cancer at 39, I was eight years old.  She was initially diagnosed at 32 with stage 3 or 4 when I was just a year old.  This is the clinician report that I am constantly giving my "team" of doctors and specialists.  At 26, I get regular MRI's, I see a breast specialist in addition to my obgyn and in general take a lot of extra precautions.  I say this only to give you my background and what my history looks like.  I firmly believe in the benefits of genetic testing but everyones history and background is different and it definitely plays a role when you are looking at genetics.

My experience with BRCA testing was a kinda fly by the seat of your pants one. My obgyn had found a lump in my left breast and referred me to a breast specialist.  After a needle biopsy was inconclusive, she recommended that I have it removed because of my moms history.  There was a lot of fear surrounding this for me and I could not help but imagine the worst.  In my mind, I felt destined to get cancer and was just waiting for it to happen.  Thankfully it was just necrotic tissue and I have been healthy since.  At that time, the BRCA testing starting to gain notoriety and with my history in mind, my breast specialist recommended I take the test.  My general theory is knowledge is power so I did a quick oral test and sent the sample away.  My test came back negative and I generally put it out of my mind.  I did not seek genetic counseling or really look into my results since they were negative. 

However, this past summer, my breast surgeon recommended I see a genetic counselor and explore more genetic testing.  They had discovered a new gene mutation of BRCA since my original testing that she wanted me to look into.  These people were so helpful in helping me understand what information I was getting by testing and breaking it down for both my husband and I.  Jim is so understanding and such a positive force but he has expressed that one of his greatest fears is that cancer will play a role in my future.  Since he can't make it to every Doctor's appointment and definitely was not there when my mom was ill, it was so nice to have someone explain to both of us at the same time what the percentages of getting breast cancer were and what my family history could mean for us  We walked out of that appointment on the same page about my health for probably the first time ever.  This established such a positive foundation for us to discuss future testing and future precautions like a double mastectomy. 

Although my fears are still a daily struggle, I have been able to work through many issues and no longer feel "destined" to get cancer.  Finding out my genetic results was a big part of putting some of these issues to rest.  Of course I do not know what my health will look like in the future, but finding out information about my health as it becomes available will play the biggest role in any decisions made.

I still get nervous before every MRI and every check up- I am not sure that the fear will ever truly go away but working through that fear to make educated and conscientious decisions about my health is my goal every time.  If any of you have decisions about BRCA testing or breast cancer please feel free to contact me at mailto:wigglelife@gmail.com">wigglelife@gmail.com 

Thanks so much for the opportunity to share and thanks again Stephanie!!



250 Titus 2 Tuesday    Hit Me with Your Best Shot

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp

           

Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp



             Last night I made the most delicious recipe. I wasn't too sure I would like this and even while cooking it I had my doubts. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe but it turned out delicious. I even sent this to my mom who I was not sure would like it and she 
LOVED IT.  

  My husband who is not fond of any ground meat he didn't mind this and it is one of his favorites. This adds shrimp and I always get my frozen shrimp form Walmart. They have a good price and different sizes. This time we used a bag of medium, peeled, de-veined and tail off. It was a great product and I hope that Walmart continues to carry the brand. I received the biggest compliment when my Husband said how much he loved all the stuff I have been making lately. It is so nice not only to be able to make dinner but to actually make something delicious for dinner. 


Ingredients
  • 1 box of uncooked rice *(We used the uncooked long grain and wild rice from Zatarains) but you can choose your favorite
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube  
  • 1/8  cayenne
  • 1/8  paprika
  • 1/8  thyme
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced (we also use red pepper)
  • 1 clove of garlic minced or 1 tablespoon of the already prepared garlic
  • 1/2 lb of ground sirloin
  • a pinch salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 scallions, chopped
              


Directions:

Cook brown rice according to package directions in water along with a chicken bouillon cube.
When the rice is almost done cooking, heat a large heavy saucepan on medium-low heat.  
Add the oil, onions, green pepper, celery, bay leaf and garlic. Saut√© on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  
Add beef, salt, black pepper, remaining paprika, thyme and cayenne pepper.
 Saut√© until browned, about 10-15 minutes; add shrimp, cover and cook 5 more minutes. (You want the shrimp to turn pink)
 When the rice is done, toss with beef and shrimp and combine well.  
Top with scallions and serve.



I think by using the Zatarains rice it added extra flavor and we always up the cayenne because we like it hot! This was outstanding and the green onions on the top should not be skipped. I will be making some changes to this next time by using a spicy sausage. I like the texture of sausage more than the ground meat and of course the extra spice. 



(Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste)



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Potty training- My Epic Fail!

                  There is no such thing as a perfect parent so just be a real one. – Sue Atkins


My name is Stephanie and I feel like an epic mommy-failure at potty training. I tried potty training my 2 year old when I was on maternity leave. Every book and google I searched advised against potty training with a new baby. I waited 6 weeks and gave it a try. I thought by 6 weeks the baby is no longer "new". I had minor success and then found myself wrestling my child onto the Minnie Mouse potty.  After just one tear filled potty wrestling session with both of us crying. I realized the books were correct and I put a diaper on my daughter. I resolved to try again.

Winter was here, the "new" baby was 6 months old and my daughter was trapped inside due to the weather. What a perfect time to start potty training..

1 week and 20 pairs of wet underwear, socks and pants later and I HATE potty training. I thought one good week home with mommy and daddy would equal potty success. 

It didn't, It doesn't, it sucks.

I am doing everything possible that I have ever read.
1. Make sure Child knows where potty is located.  

Middle of family room, so child can watch Little Mermaid and sit on potty - CHECK

2. Reminding child to frequently sit on potty- 

Only discuss things regarding potty- Even when child has gone to bed- discuss only potty related matters with husband- CHECK

3. Use real underwear and not training pants- buy something they would like.

Purchase 10 pairs of Minnie Mouse undies and hope they hold up after being washed 4 times in 2 days - CHECK

4. Be positive, patient and reward child for using potty. 

After twenty minutes of potty sitting and mermaid watching and no pee-pee in potty. Watch child walk away and then pee her freshly washed undies, socks and pants - Remain positive about potty training while wiping up pee on kitchen floor- AGAIN- CHECK

5. When child fills potty with her toys and then shuts lid- sending you a silent message on her thoughts about the potty- Refer back to # 4.

Remember to check potty for misc items before next Mermaid viewing- CHECK

6. When child goes to grandma's and has her first potty success - Call her and make a huge deal. Then cry with equal amounts of guilt because you missed it, sadness because you lost your patience that morning over the potty -AGAIN. And Relief that your mom is willing to help with the potty training.             

 CHECK

This post is dedicated to my wonderfully smart, stubborn and beautiful daughter. You are the very best thing in my life and you walking around in the Minnie undies is adorable. I am sorry for not being more patient and for laughing when you filled the potty with your toys, even though it sent the wrong message. You laughed with me and for that I love you every second of every minute of every day!




Saturday, January 4, 2014

Anatex- Six sided play cube- A Review!


  My husband and I debated over and over about what to get for our daughter that she would love for Christmas. The Kitchen and nursery were a hit but we had one more item that we really debated over.  We wanted a roller coaster table but when we saw the play cube we decided to purchase this. This company is the one that designs all the bead games that you may see in your local doctors office or library. We wanted something that would keep her attention and stand the test of time. We purchased...

The Anatex Six sided play cube

                                                                                                                                                                                                             The best thing about the cube
Multiple activities- Sliding beads, puzzle maze, alphabet, racing sliders and turning cogs.
Can sit to play
The bead roller coaster
Well made and sturdy
Can support multiple children
Fairly priced

The worse things about the cube
Didn't hold attention long
Puzzle maze was hard to use
Child has to lay flat on ground to play with some features
Wires were so close together making the bead navigation difficult to use.
The roller coaster beads didn't arrive as the picture above shows. The wires were all flat.
See picture- no up and down roller coasters..

 
I did contact Anatex to see if they would be willing to exchange our cube for one with the better roller coaster beads. They did respond quickly (pro) that they no longer make that and that the Amazon marketing pictures were old. While I did appreciate the response I didn't like the passing of the buck to Amazon. I feel if you sell your product online then you should be responsible for making sure your pictures are accurate. We have since returned the six sided cube and have purchased another Anatex item. I was very happy with the way the toy was structured and the quality so I had no reason to choose another manufacturer. Amazon had a simple return process and it only took two days to be received and for them to notify us of our refund. Coming via UPS on Tuesday is what we wanted originally. Our library has one and our daughter plays at it every time we are there.  This has the more fun options of rollercoasters going up and down and the legs have an added feature.

The Anatex Ultimate Fleur Rollercoaster Table

 
 
 
We look forward to getting this and getting it set-up for her to play with. While this was our first choice, we felt the cube had more activities but with kids you learn that sometimes simple is better. And of course, I shall review!