5.29.2014

WE EAT | Weekly Toddler Menu Plan


Whole Wheat Orzo Salad with Buttermilk Dressing HERE
French Toast Bites HERE
Mexican Macaroni with Grilled Corn HERE
3 Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake HERE
Bacon & Corn Griddle Cakes HERE
{I used the leftover grilled corn from the macaroni recipe}
Black Bean & Quinoa Salad HERE
Summer Vegetable Rigatoni with Chicken HERE

Peaches & Cream Smoothie {serves 2}
1 cup whole milk, 1 cup frozen peaches, 1/4 cup whole milk vanilla greek yogurt
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Blend until smooth!

Chicken Sausage & Black Bean Soup
tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1/2 pound chicken sausage, casing removed
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 - 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
tablespoon chili powder 
teaspoons ground cumin
teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans no salt added black beans
cups 99% fat free, lower sodium chicken broth

Optional toppings: tortilla chips, crumbled queso fresco or other mild cheese, sliced scallions, pickled jalapeños, diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro
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In a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin and coriander; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, to toast the spices for a couple of minutes.
In a food processor or blender, puree 1 can beans and 1 cup chicken broth. Add to the dutch oven along with the remaining 1 can beans and 2 cups stock. Simmer over medium-high heat for a few minutes to thicken.
To serve, line the edges of soup bowls with a few tortilla chips. Add the soup, and any of the toppings 

Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
1 (16 ounce) bottle Zesty Italian dressing
2 cups BBQ sauce (I love Sweet Baby Ray's Original)
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  
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LOW for 6-7 hours. Shred and serve warm. 
Strain the "juice" off of the chicken and use it for additional- as SO yummy - sauce.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Hash
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
Drizzle of olive oils
Salt & pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
4 whole eggs, slightly beaten with a splash of milk
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 ripe avocado, cubed
Shredded cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges
Salsa or hot sauce (for the adult tastebuds)
--
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sweet potato cubes on a large baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and tender. Stir a couple of times while they are roasting.
In a non-stick skillet, heat the onion and black beans over medium-high heat. When the onions are fragrant, stir in the eggs and gently scramble. add in the roasted potatoes ad chopped cilantro.  Serve with cubed avocado and shredded cheese.  (Squeeze of lime and a spoonful of salsa for non-toddlers)

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5.28.2014

Memorial Day 2014 + A Little Addition

This weekend had me wiped. Wiped to the point that  needed an extra day to share the re-cap.  I spent yesterday's entirety locked in my office playing catch up after nearly a week of 'hosting' my firm's clients at a rather large golf tournament.  Wednesday and Thursday looked a lot like this.. but I didn't have this guy on my arm until Friday.

Friday was the most fun.  Bring your sexy piece (read: spouse) to 'work' day.  
The after party and kick off to the freakin' weekend was hosted by my boss.. If you knew my boss, you would know he carries some heavy weights in the name dropping business.  Casey Donahew, Wade Bowen, & Pat Green, just to name a few, were on the list and in attendance that night.

Any Texas Country Music lovers out there?  {and yes.. I'll take it upon myself to name drop.}
After all day in the sun, unlimited food and drink, and way too many fake smiles to count.. I was feeling sheepishly sick on Saturday.  Sleeping in until 7:30am never felt so good and a day with my divas was only the agenda.  Daddy was at the station, and on a whim (and because he shattered his deodorant.. and the burly man that he is needs his Dove ) we decided to take an impromptu trip to visit.  It had been WAY too long since we did that.
First trip HERE | Second trip HERE
This image of them in their daddy's fire coat just puts my heart and mind at ease. 
They are still little.  
Stay.  Stay little.
Parker would have nothing to do with sitting her daddy's driver seat.  Oh.  But Jolie, she was all about it.  I'm telling you. Joy in everything with that girl.
 Then came Sunday (yes..still going..)
If you all could only see the random, hilarious, serious, heart-felt, encouraging, and occasionally inappropriate text feed I have with some of my favorite mommas. We are always trying to finagle a way into seeing one another- and the Smiles for Charity Concert Event in McKinney over the weekend was THE place to be.

Brett Michael's was the headliner.

I know. 

And then it rained.  Rained and rained and poured.  We decided it was still a good idea to take a chance once the rain subsided.  A little flooding never hurt no-body.

We totally missed Meredith and Ashley, but still walked in carrying a zoo of children.  We had a couple (seven) people convinced that we were sisters.  AND all of us had twinnsssss. 

"sooo crayyyyzie"
 Make note that our shoes did not make it through the mud.  
 okayyy kids.  Everyone sit on this ridiculously tiny blanket and we will give you cookies!  Cookies always work.  Thats the twin mom secret. Our kids ate lunchables, pizza, corn dogs.. a few sips of sugary caffeine and rounded it all out with Nilla wafers.

In any consolation there were a few craisins there in the mix (thank you, Erika).  Which makes the meal entirely healthy.  Probably not my proudest 'dietitian-mom' moment, but it was all in fun.  And I ate from that entire list mentioned before.. so.. 
 The fam-bam 3.7 seconds before it started raining again.  The cloudy weather must have made my teeth glow.  Where can I get one of those to carry around in my back pocket?  Minus the humidity and wet stuff.
We never saw Brett take the stage (the before rain flooded the stage and they spent the entire time figuring out a way to dry it all out before he planned to go on.)  The 'kid' area was NOT age 1 1/2 year old friendly.  All there was to do at that moment was eat.  So, basically we needed to leave before we all ate our weight in dip'n dots.

The moms thought it best to grab the truck and head to the house while the guys took the babes and walked the mile home. We made circles around the block approximately two times to get this shot.
 Always good (and way crayyyzie) times with my twin mom friends.

Memorial Day Monday makes my husband obsessive about the sale ads.  
Thanksgiving doesn't do it for him.  
Last year we bought (and then returned) a refrigerator.  
This year he had washer/dryer set on his radar.  

Did you know its tax free on this weekend every year with the purchase of an 'energy-saver' appliance?  So.. the washer technically is 'energy-saving', but not the dryer.  Something about the heat of the dryer not being efficient.  

Can I get a dryer without the heat?
kidding.
I thought a quick snap of Parks and Jo would be so cute and we could get away without being those parents.  Well- Jordan wouldn't ever own it.. but he fully endorses the amount of photos I take of these two.  So we actually ARE those parents that choose to document every waking moment.

We are now on the Lowe's Facebook page.   Or some kind of page.  She was wearing a Lowe's employee vest, and then announced something like 'feature on our **** page.'  I can only assume she was speaking of Facebook.
sparkle bow / bub & bug studio // tanks / babGap // bubble shorts / babyGap // moccs / freshly picked
After 4 appliance stores, naps in the car, lunch on the Sonic patio, and a stop at SAMs for dog food and diaper genie refills, we were ready for home.

Clouds could never put a damper on these two and their love for their water table.  The remaining 4 hours of the afternoon were spent like this.
 poolside headwrap / shelby chic boutique // red.white.& blue bathing suit / target

A trip around the back yard in their Radio Flyer is their favorite thing to do right now.  Daddy does it best (according to mom) - but the looks on their faces tell the whole truth.
 Such sweetness to look back on and remember on that afternoon spent with my family. 

..and then this happened.
This is Ginny (like Jenny, but with a 'g').  She is our new adopt-a-dog as of yesterday afternoon.  A brief email and one picture was sent out in my office about this little girl needing a home.

I took the bait.  Jordan was at the station and we face-time'd their fist meeting in the parking lot before he gave the 'go-ahead'. He kept asking "how's Ginny" after I brought her home..and every time I had to ask myself "who the heck is Ginny?"

and then I would remember.  I brought a dog home today.

and she's been in my lap ever since.

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5.22.2014

WE EAT | Pesto Turkey Meatballs & Polenta

When Jordan and I finally sat down for dinner last night, I started to think to myself in attempt to remember the last time we had a 'real' meal like the one I'm about to share with you.  

The past month or so have been so busy for both of us, and we've been relying on quick dinners to make due and fill our bellies well enough.  By quick dinners, I mean chicken panini's, egg tacos, and cereal.  

Mostly cereal.  But we get crazy sometimes.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Turkey Meatballs & Parmesan Polenta
Meatballs
1 pound 93/7 lean ground turkey or chicken
3 links Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
(6 oz) jar prepared sun dried tomato pesto
2 cups store-bought marinara
Polenta
1 cup quick cooking corn grits (polenta)
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)


Meatballs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a foil lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine turkey, sausage, egg, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Stir in the pesto, combining well with your hands. Mixture will be very wet. Add in breadcrumbs, more as needed to form 15 1.5-inch meatballs. Arrange formed balls on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 30-38 minutes (I baked mine for about 35 minutes). The meatballs can be prepared to this point up to 2 days in advance.

In a large skillet warm your favorite marinara sauce. Arrange meatballs, nestling into the sauce. Cover and allow to cook on medium low until meatballs are warmed through and the sauce is bubbly- about 15 minutes.

Polenta
Bring broth or water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add the salt, and then add the polenta in a slow stream while whisking constantly. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring with the whisk, until the polenta thickens and slow bubbles "erupt", about 5-15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the Parmesan until melted and smooth.
If you wanted to go out on a limb and make your very own pesto (it is SO easy and I do this often) Cooking Light has about a million (healthy) recipes for pesto, including a sun dried tomato HERE
I cut the meatballs into bite sized pieces and realized it was basically turkey meatloaf.. but they'll never know.  
The girls, much to my surprise, really loved the polenta.  Its sort of like oatmeal, so it was a familiar texture,  And, they are all about the sauce.
Red sauce is their jam.
Can I mention that ‘homemade’ doesn’t have to be completely intimidating.  Really, it doesn’t.  Trust this momma of 17 month old babies- I take the easy route more often than not (see the list of our regular dinner rotation above.. cereal is on the menu 3 out of 5 nights)- especially during the work week.  I prepped and baked these meatballs over the weekend while the girls napped and then reheated them in my favorite tomato sauce on the stove last night for dinner. 
While the adults are eating breakfast for every meal, these little birds have been on a 'food strike' and  living on smoothies for the past 2 weeks - until last night.  They finally finally finally ate a decent meal that didn't end in fruit and yogurt..err, basically a smoothie of the solid form.

More on smoothies next week.. because we bought a Ninja, and that itself is worth a blog post alone.
 Back to the meatballs.
Our first favorites are the Original Turkey Meatballs (HERE), but I think we've found another one we love.


This meatball (meatloaf) was a hit in our house.  When I first developed and tested this recipe the girls were just 15 weeks old (where has the time gone) and still we are loving it.  I have made it with all kinds of pesto, and mixed up the meat options from chicken to beef, and back to turkey.  All these times I have made it for Jordan and myself, I had yet to offer it to Parker and Jolie.
What took me so long?


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5.21.2014

Breast Feeding, Pumping, & Being a Working Mom

I wrote a similar post when the girls were about 4 months old and I had just gone back to work:

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"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" 

Parker and Jolie | 10 days old

When I was going through school, internship, and finding a job as a dietitian, I was always asked this question.  Never did I ever say or admit that I would eventually be a stay-at-home mom.  Everyone around me was geared to work, and work for what seemed like forever.  Becoming a dietitian is no easy task and it is my proudest accomplishment after becoming a mother to Parker and Jolie. My job isn't something I could decide to walk away from and expect to go back to in five years after the girls were in school- there are too many new, determined, and up and coming dietitians that could take my place.  I had only been licensed and registered for about three years when we got pregnant and I wasn't ready to hang my hat just yet.  I am so blessed to have help and (free) childcare from the twins' grandparents, and a hubby that is home a lot during the days I work.  

So, it is for all these reasons I decided that I would continue to work after the girls were born.  I'm not justifying my reasons for working, just explaining why I work, as it is a question that I get asked on a near daily basis.  I have twins, so I MUST stay home.  It's just not for me at this stage in my life.  What is for me?  Being on bed rest for nearly five months and still getting paid.  I could totally do that.. but that's for another post.

Make a commitment.

My first day back to work | February 20th 2013

Juggling working and breastfeeding is not easy. There will be days when you wonder if it’s all worth it. Working and caring for a couple of babies is a juggling act. Knowing I would be returning to work just 10 short weeks after the girls were born, I needed to get in the mindset of a transition from breastfeeding the girls full-time to pumping part-time and nursing whenever I could.  

You may be on the receiving end of less than supportive comments from ignorant co-workers - I was.   There will be days when you’re ready to toss in the pump and reach for the formula - I had them. But in the end, I made a commitment to continue to breastfeed, and I found a way to do it.  Forget the “what ifs.” “What if he won’t take a bottle?” “What if she won’t take a nap without nursing?” “When I pump milk at home I can pump only a little bit. What if I can’t pump enough milk when I’m back at work?” Don’t let these worries intrude on your decision to make the commitment. 

Get breastfeeding off to a good start.

This is number one.  Getting off on the right foot with your littles will encourage ample milk supply and  fall in sync with your baby’s needs. I found that Parker and Jolie needed a lot of practice nursing.  They had small mouths, and worked really hard at the breast for the first couple of weeks, but eventually they figured it out and they were 'sucking' pros! Babies with effective sucking skills aren't often affected by artificial nipples. The more you and your babies can learn about breastfeeding at this early stage, the easier you will be able to solve any problems that might occur later on.  Once I became confident in my supply, my ability to nourish, and Parker and Jolie's satiety, I was more confident in facing any issue (low supply, supplementing with formula, or a nursing strike) I would have had later on.


Increasing & Maintaining Milk Production
Some things I've tried that didn't do much for me:
·         Mothers Tea- To me it tastes and smells horrible.  I didn't seem much change at all in my milk supply.
·         Fenugreek- smells of maple syrup (it is the additive that is actually added to pancake syrup) and I didn't see too much of a change in my milk supply. I was taking 4+ pills a day and decided after finishing a bottle that it wasn't worth it to purchase again.
What worked for me:
·         Multi-grain Cheerios. No joke! I ate a bowl of Cheerios every night before bed and notice a huge change in my milk supply for the next day. There are studies that say oatmeal is helpful and since Cheerios are and oat based cereal I can see why it works for me.
·         Stay hydrated. I could tell in my milk supply when I didn't drink enough throughout the day. I drank at least 100mL/day of water alone. Not counting the water I get from fruits, vegetables and other food sources. 
·         Eating a balanced diet.  Occasionally, a mother’s calorie or fluid intake can affect milk production.  Excessive dieting can reduce milk supply, but sensible dieting is generally not a problem.  I have read that it’s best not to do anything consciously to lose weight until after the second month. This gives your body enough time to successfully establish a healthy milk supply that is less likely to be adversely affected if your caloric intake is restricted. I had no problem dropping the baby weight, but I wasn’t doing so with effort. 
o   Breast feeding a singleton baby you need an additional 300-500 calories/day.  Breastfeeding twins  you need upwards of an additional 1,000 calories/day  
o   There are no foods that you should avoid simply because you are breastfeeding. It is generally recommended that a nursing mother eat whatever she likes, whenever she likes, in the amounts that she likes and continue to do this unless baby has an obvious reaction to a particular food.
The main thing that I personally needed to maintain an ample milk supply is simple –The more often and effectively my babies nursed, the more milk I had.
Be the time the girls were 4 months old,  I needed to pump almost 40 ounces for my 8 hour work day.  I couldn't help but have a twinge of anxiety every time I would increase each feeding amount.  The fear of not being able to keep up with them is real.

Formula Supplementation
At birth, my little girls were pretty petite at just 4 pounds, 8 ounces and 5 pounds 14 ounces.  The main focus became making sure they were getting enough and gaining weight.  The smaller baby, Jolie Grace, missed the NICU for her weight by just 49 grams (a just about a tablespoons worth), so I became determined to keep her weight up so that they both could come home with me when I was discharged.  In the beginning while I was attempting to build up my supply and weight was of major concern I supplemented with about 1-2 ounces of formula.  I would nurse for just 15 minutes at a time so that they wouldn’t burn too many calories working to get the milk.  The bottle was much easier of an effort and after 15 minutes at the breast, I would offer the bottle and they would eat just a little more. After the first month the girls improved at feeding, my milk supply became efficient to feed them both, and my life got so much easier.  It was tough feeding them once, and then feeding them both all over again.

To some breast feeding mothers, formula isn't ideal, but unless you are producing enough milk for your baby or babies, it might just be the only option. That was hard for me to accept, but finally I came to grips that it wasn’t about me at all- it was all about making sure my babies had enough to eat and grow. With this realization my confidence increased and my anxiety levels dropped and I knew they were getting enough and that's all that matters.  Formula is OKAY, great, actually.  If you choose not to, or circumstances prevent you from being able to breast feed, formula is perfectly fine and will produce healthy and happy babies.

Get to know your breast pump.

One thing I can promise is you’ll develop a love-hate relationship with your pump.  I was hooked to that machine 8-10 times every day during the first six weeks or so. Because the girls’ mouth were small and were not successful in emptying my breasts during a feeding, I had to make my body think that they were so that the supply and demand theory would kick in and increase production.  Pumping while I was still at home not only helped with my supply, but it also helped to build a small stockpile of milk in the freezer. This helped my confidence during the early months after returning on the days that I didn't quite get enough milk to fill the bottles for the next day. 
Don’t panic if you get only a small amount of milk the first few times you pump. There were several times when I would pump at home and I could hardly get a half-ounce (or even less) in 20 minutes of pumping. 
For peace of mind:
  • Don’t worry that your baby is not getting enough to eat. Your body does not respond to a pump the way it responds to your baby. Plus, your baby is more efficient at getting milk out of your breasts than the pump.  
  • With more practice, your milk ejection reflex will become responsive to the pump. Normally, your milk lets down after your baby sucks for a little while, or maybe in anticipation of your baby sucking. Your body will learn to react in a similar way to the pump and the routine that surrounds pumping.  I have a close girlfriend that exclusively pumped for her twin daughters and she recently told me that she couldn't even be in the same room with her pump without the let down sensation occurring.  I can officially say that never happened to me, but it just goes to show that your body will get to that point of acceptance.
There are a ton of theories and ideas out there for how long you are supposed to pump.  I've heard to pump five minutes after you notice the 'last drop', some say to pump at least 20-25 minutes and no less, others say just 10-15 minutes is enough. Personally, I would make sure to pump until your breasts feel soft and empty. For me, it was at least a 30 minute pump session every three hours during my eight-hour work day.  
There are several options when choosing a pump.  I would recommend the Medela Pump-in-Style breast pump.  I carried that thing everywhere, or so it felt like.  Your pump will come with one set of pump accessories, but I would suggest getting a second set (membranes, valves, shields, and 5-ounce bottles with lids).  I have six (5oz) Medela bottles that I pumped into and occasionally used as storage in the fridge.  I would also highly recommend getting 6-8 of the pumping bottles. I often didn't have time to pump and immediately wash the bottles so I'd have them for use next pump session.  Going back to work and pumping multiple times a day, I found that the larger 8oz Medela storage bottles are helpful.  

Feeding twins, I was typically pumping about 30 ounces while at work, and its easy to store my milk in three larger bottles rather than 6 smaller. For the most part, what I expressed the girls used up pretty quickly, so I never had a whole lot of extra to store, but I did have a stash of Medela Storage Bags in case I came to need them.  They are kind of expensive so unless you are putting milk in the freezer for storage, I'd stick with the Medela bottles.
   
For quick clean up while at work use the Medela Quick Clean Wipes.  Really easy and convenient for cleaning up post-pump session and there isn't a sink available.  Lastly, don't forget the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam bags for sterilizing once every day!  You can use these 20 times before you have to toss it.

An Employer Discussion.

Being a working mom is not only about you.  Its success is driven by your commitment, but is also determined by the support of your employer.  Before returning to work I had a serious phone discussion with my boss letting her know of my plans to breastfeed when I returned to work.   I explained what I would need, the time it would take, and respect that I expected. You don’t want to be desperately looking around for a place to pump on your first day back to work, when your breasts are full and you’ve just realized that the ladies lounge has no outlets for plugging in your electric pump.  Be sure to have a plan for when you will pump, where you will store milk, and most importantly where this will all take place. 
Some things to think about:
  • You will need to pump about as often as your baby nurses, every two to three hours. If you work an eight-hour day, this means pumping at mid-morning, at lunch, and at mid-afternoon. My lunch hour was typically spent pumping.
  • Ideally, the place where you pump will have an electrical outlet, so that you can use an electric pump, if that is your choice, and a sink to rinse off the parts of the pump that come in contact with your milk. You’ll need a comfortable chair and a table for your equipment, your lunch, or any light reading or work you might want to look at while you’re pumping.
  • Where will you store the milk? A refrigerator where you can store expressed milk is handy, though you can substitute ice packs and a cooler.  I always kept mine in a lunch bag and our office fridge.

Keeping Up Your Supply.

Squeeze in as many breastfeeding sessions as you can.

image credit: Google
Depending on your work hours, most working mothers can get in three to four breastfeeding sessions in the hours they are home with their babies.  I personally was able to get in three. I always started the day with and early feeding before work, a feeding right when I walked in the door around 4:30p, and a before- bed feeding around 7pm

In order to maintain and build-up your milk supply, you need to have days when you breastfeed more often to make up for the times when you and your babies are separated. My suggestion is to make sure your little ones are only given a bottle while you are at work or away.  This will not only help to maintain a good milk supply, but it will also keep the mother-baby connection strong.  Pumping does not stimulate your body to produce milk as well as a nursing baby does, so don't pass up the opportunity when you can. After nursing Parker and Jolie all weekend, I was always really 'full' on a Monday morning when I returned to work.  It 'refueled' my supply to nurse them for three days in a row. After the first few weeks of juggling breastfeeding and working schedules, you will be amazed at how your body adjusts to making just the right amount of milk for your babies.
One thing that I was told when I went back to work was that breastfed babies who are away from their mothers during the day often nurse more frequently at night. This happened to me and Jolie.  I went back to work when the girls were almost four months old, and around that time Jolie started waking through the night, and would not be soothed unless she nursed.  This lasted about a month- I would wake to feed her just once a night around 2am.  I had no idea my going back to work could have altered her sleep-eat habits, but surely it had.

One last tip: You can combine breastfeeding and formula feeding.  

Breastfeeding is not an all-or-nothing deal. While many of us who work and attempt to solely breastfeed find success, others resort to using formula as a back-up when they are unable to pump enough milk - and that it completely fine!
Parker and Jolie | 13 months

I successfully nursed my girls for 13 months (before Parker said NO MORE)- and carried my pump for 10 of those months to and from work.  If I had to count up the hours I spent connected to that machine, I would probably feel sick, but it was all worth it.  Every single minute.  

Bottom line:  It is 'do-able' to successfully breastfed while being a working mom!  Don't feel intimidated or self-conscious- give yourself a chance, and I think you will be surprised. 

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Breastfeeding While Traveling HERE


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5.19.2014

Jesus Saves, Bro {and then some}

Before this post.. there was this post.  The amount of fun I've had with these little birds and their wardrobe is off the charts.  Before babies I never would have wrapped my brain around the fact that dressing little girl(s) was more fun than dressing and shopping for myself.  

There was awhile there that I didn't have any desire to buy anything new for myself.  No one is looking at me, anyway.  They all wanna look at 'the twinnssss!!', so it only fits that they are look' fly.

Right?

Until I realized there was potential to coordinate.  I'm already feeling terrible for baby number 3 (..and 4) because they will be coordinated as best I can.  You could have asked me while I was pregnant "are you going to dress the girls the same?" 

"Meh.."

Yea..I said that.  The lady that feels total guilt for purchasing just one outfit/dress/shirt/headbow.  How would I ever figure out who got to actually wear the new goodies.  

So I always buy two.  

Until {the-no-yet-conceived) bebe number three (and four) make their debut I'll go ahead and take one the role of coordination with Parker and Jolie.

 Jesus Saves, Bro Tee c/o Riley Clay  // print shorts: Old Navy {similar} // moccs c/o Freshly Picked
ikat print pants: Loft // {similar}

If this doesn't make you want to go out and buy something to match your kid..
I was totally impressed with my little divas.  The hour leading up to meeting to take these pictures consisted of approximately 42 tantrums (throw yourself on the floor, dump your dinner plate over your head, pour out an entire cup of bath water to the floor, and murderous screams because mom wanted to brush your hair kinda tantrums) and we spent more minutes IN time-out than out.

I was nervous on how this was going to go.

..and then they did this. This picture now stands at 63 feet and is on display in my living room.  Maybe a little much, but if I had 63 foot ceilings I would totally.

 Wait..theres a wardrobe change?
Bring on the cuteness!  And..can we talk about this color from Freshly Picked?  I am obsessed.  Birch is an 'off' white/cream/grey - a fabulous neutral.  Another check box next to 'perfection' for these moccasins.  Can we also talk about the Rose Gold?  I NEED these in my life and cannot wait for them to finally be restocked.  Because they don't have these in momma size, I'll just have to live vicariously through Parker and Jolie's little feets.
 leopard wrap c/o Ruby Blue Inc // Tee c/o Riley Clay  // print skinnies: Old Navy // moccs c/o Freshly Picked
I about died when we arranged them in this way and they actually obliged to my request!  This doesn't happen often.. or ever, actually.

I was squealing.  I'll own it.
So very thankful for these two sweet girls.

Special thanks to Brittany of BFaith Photography for this 10 minute impromptu shoot!

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5.16.2014

Moms' Night Out

The madness that is after the girls fill their bellies and right before bath.  Full on dance parties have become a regular thing in this house.  Please excuse the (twirling) blur.

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A handful of girlfriends and I grabbed a bite to eat and saw a movie on a whim this last Wednesday night.  I share life with these girls and each one of us can be called mom.. Our kiddos age range from 4 years to 4 weeks, and there are a couple gals with babes on the way.  
7 boys, 7 girls, a set of triplets, and my baby twins.  
We are MOM. 

So it was only fitting that we opt to see "Moms' Night Out".  
It starts with the intro of Allyson, a momma of three whose hubby is usually away on business.  Allyson struggles to find the time and inspiration to be a mommy blogger (holla), but she’s caught up in the insanity that is chasing after her kids, cleaning up their messes and keeping them alive on a daily basis.  
She also happens to be a control freak who’s obsessive about cleanliness, which, to me, is a difficult thing to be when you’re a parent. Amen, girlfriend.

Such a sweet movie.  Rich, light-hearted, and good for the soul.  But..I couldn't help myself.  
I honestly couldn't feel like I could relate.    
Of course there has been a time or two that my house is a SHAMBLES, and I have been known to polish off a (small?) bag of candy.   But, in the 17 months that I have been a mother, I can honestly say that I've never been to that point of complete hopelessness that seems to be  a struggle many of my mom friends go through - and like Allyson of this movie played her life to be.  She desperately wanted to get away.  Even for just one moms' night out with a couple of friends.
Please do not misread or misunderstand what I'm saying. Being a mom is hard.  My hardest days of the week are my days spent at home with Parker and Jolie.  You have to be 'on'.  all.the.time.  We are currently in a stage of constant frustration due to their inability to communicate effectively and my inability to understand.  I want to pull my hair out when Parker lets out a shrilling scream when I incorrectly offer her water instead of milk.. because, mom, you should have read my mind.
As the movie went on, these friends of mine (that are all SAHM) were in tears as the movie came to a close.  I felt like the coldest, most empty hearted, mom in that theater.  WHY wasn't I crying at these sentiments?  Why wasn't I having these same struggles as some of these stay at home moms with one, two, FOUR kids like the gals in my life group.

Each one could relate.  They were DYING for some 'me' time.
GET me out of this house.  Get me a way from these kids.  
Last night I had a full 24 hours of 'me' time.  Jordan was working over time at the fire station, and BB picked up the girls before I went to work and took them for a sleep over at her house.  I was all alone.  I was halfway excited to be 'alone' for the evening - sans kids and sans husband. A 'girls night' of dinner and a movie seemed like perfection, and it totally was.. until I came home to an empty house.

WAY too quiet.  No sound machine coming over the monitor to lull me to sleep.  No hubby to snuggle into.   I became terribly lonely - almost depressed- like.  How does that happen in the 7 minutes I had been home alone?  

I was elated at the thought of a longggg shower of shaving my legs and washing my hair- letting the conditioner set for the full recommended 5 minutes as it instructs on the bottle.  I even bragged about it at dinner with the girls. .  

Wrong.  The sadness carried over to the morning.  I hit the snooze 13 times (because I didn't sleep well at all) and pulled my dirty hair into a ponytail before heading out to work - with no one to wave as I pulled out of the garage.  No kiss goodbye from my two favorite little ladies, no stinky diapers to change, no oatmeal to blow because it was too hot.. nothing.

Just me, my dirty hair, and my lonely Greek yogurt for breakfast.
 "I don't ever want to do this again.  Oh, and good morning, babe."

I never want to come home to an empty house after a Moms' Night Out.  

I am busy.  I do A LOT.  My days are full while I'm at work and playing the dietitian role, and then the moment I walk in the door, I kick off my heals, clip back my bangs, and throw on the momma hat.

I get asked on a daily basis: 'How do you do it all. I just don't have the time to even think about doing what you do.'

I think thats MY personal key to happiness and fulfillment in my life.  Firs of all, Jesus fills me up.  He also provides for me to do what I love the most.  Being a mom and being a dietitian.  He also blessed me with a husband that is very helpful - plays 'mom' just about as much as I do, does the laundry, yard work, cooks, and loves his wife to the moon and back.  Get yourself one of these, ladies.

The dietitian thing, the blogging thing, the 'girls night out' thing.. those are for me.  I keep those things close. I get to do those things in extra time.  Separate time.

Carved out just for me.    
What all of us women need.  Don't forget about yourself, girls.  Take care of you and don't be in a closet somewhere hiding from your dirty house and crazy brained kiddos  (like the gal in the movie). 

In all fairness to you SAHM, I think the character in the movie poorly represented the typical Stay-At-Home-Mom - but, with that being said,  we can all relate in someway to our own life as 'mom'. It is, in fact, crazy busy and some days we all need a break.

My life is rich. My life is full.  I am completely satisfied in my role as a mother, wife, friend, and employee.  I wish all of you momma's out there the same fullness - whether you work full-time, part-time, or stay at home.  Each of those roles are different and difficult in their own unique way.   

In that same token- As a mom of any and all types - the frustrations are real, the exhaustion is real, and stress is real.


..but oh-so incredibly worth every minute.

-mommy blogger out.

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