Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Today and tomorrow


Everyone handles grief in their own way. Some deny it, remembering their loss only when the moon is awake and the house is asleep; their tears join with the whispering of the wind. Others dress themselves with imaginary sackcloth; the weight on their shoulders is anything but invisible. Some busy themselves. Others merely reflect, and continue to move habitually throughout their day. Others become codependent, relying on the needs of those hurting the deepest to fill an ever-increasing void in their own hearts. I can’t explain why people die young. This is the second person I’ve known to die from pancreatic cancer. The second father, far from his year of becoming a grandfather. The second husband, still maneuvering their way through their first decade of marriage. The second person that was taken too soon, as if there is ever a time that isn’t. I often put myself in the shoes of the widowed. I try to be what I would want, all the while knowing there is nothing that could fix the now broken heart.

My daughter is going through a phase in her development where she is constantly asking what’s next. What’s second, then third Mom? Yesterday I found myself saying, “YumYum, why don’t we spend time in the present enjoying what we’re doing right now. Then later, we can enjoy what we’re doing then?”

I’ve spent my entire life preparing emotionally, physically, and spiritually for not just tomorrow, but for a decade from now, two decades from now. The one thing that death continues to teach me is that there is no day like the present. YumYum has been singing a familiar hymn incessantly since starting a new preschool last month. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”


I close my thoughts today with this famous hymn, that maybe for at least today, I will live the tune of its melody.

This is the day
This is the day that the Lord has made
That the Lord has made
Let us rejoice
Let us rejoice and be glad in it, 
and be glad in it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

a (controversial?) labor of love

ScoobyDoo and I have recently been looking into the idea of me becoming a surrogate. There are so many families in the world that would love to conceive a child, but for one reason or another, can’t do so without risk to the mom or baby. The first time surrogacy came up was in my early twenties. A friend of mine at a restaurant that I worked at had mentioned that they were thinking about surrogacy. They had already endured several painful years of infertility, and they knew that her physically carrying  baby was not an option. I had offered to carry her baby for her of course, but because I was not married and didn’t have any of my own children – my friend said although she was appreciative, she wouldn’t recommend me being a surrogate since I had never been pregnant before. After my sister’s battle with infertility became more and more hard on her, I considered the idea of being her surrogate. Thankfully though, she became pregnant with their son, my nephew. He is just a few months younger than Smiles. Which brings us to today. I’m a healthy, active mom of two beautiful children. I am young, and willing and desiring to give that gift of life to another family, but I feel like even though it’s only the start of what I thought could become our journey, doors are closing.

As many know, I’ve had depression since I was young (13 or so). I’ve been to counselors on and off, and decided (albeit reluctantly) to start medication when I was in high school. I remember my counselor saying, and my brother-in-law advising me later on, that if I had a diabetic friend, wouldn’t I encourage them to take insulin? The counselor had confirmed that even though I was eating great, exercising above what was expected, sleeping a full eight hours- I still had depression. She said it was a chemical imbalance, which was highly likely since depression ran in my family. Depression wasn’t something I needed to fight every day, and I didn’t want to. Nevertheless, regardless of how hard I willed myself through journaling, exercising, and self-care, I would still wake up sad. Until I started taking medicine. I remember the first time Randi (my childhood counselor) asked me how I was feeling, and I could say – I feel like my old self again, and better.

It was a pride pill that I was taking, but it was called something else. Prozac. Over the years and with my two pregnancies, my medication level had to be adjusted. I learned that as we grow, our hormone levels change and fluctuate as well (go figure). I struggled with my desire to be “drug free” when I was pregnant with YumYum. I wanted so badly to be the healthy, pregnant, vibrant woman that I felt inside – and I didn’t want to need medicine to do that. I tried switching to Zoloft, which gave me terrible insomnia. This wasn’t helping me, the baby, or anything else. I tried to stop taking my prescriptions, but I tanked. I felt lower than low for no reason. I had every reason in the world to be happy, but I can’t will myself to be happy, and I struggled so badly with what affects going back on my prescriptions would have on my baby. In the end I realized that my baby would either (1) have no affect from my medications at all, and I would be healthy, (2) the baby would adverse effects from my medication, but I would be healthy and strong enough to care for her, or (3) the baby would be born healthy with no affects from any medication, but I would not be healthy or stable enough to mother or nurture her.  I decided that there was no point in bringing a baby to this world without a loving, stable, caring, and physically and emotionally present mom to be there. I went back on my recommended medications, but unfortunately, it took my body awhile to adjust back to my normal self.

YumYum was born healthy, despite an emergency caesarian (cord was wrapped around her twice). I wondered frequently after her birth if her apparent colic (which ended up being a food allergy and a slightly underdeveloped bottom) was my fault. If the caesarian was my fault. I know It WAS NOT. Satan will not have that hold on my life. And he didn’t have a hold on YumYum's life either. Despite a traumatic and painful laboring experience (all back labor, dilated to 7cm, feeling the surgeon cut me … (they didn’t wait till I was fully numb)  - none of it was my fault and none of it I could have done anything differently to change any of it. My husband was so supportive, my family was constant, and Christ’s love for me abounded in my weakness.

I decided to enroll in an outpatient therapy program at Kaiser. It was a class from 9-12 four days a week for five weeks. I learned healthy coping mechanisms, about the science of depression, and I learned that depression wasn’t something I could “get over”, undo, or ignore. But it was also something I didn’t have to fight every day.

I continued taking my same medication doses throughout our second pregnancy, which was also a surprise pregnancy (as much as a baby can be a surprise when you’re married). The nurse said I had a low-lying placenta, and that because YumYum was a cesarean birth, I was at risk for Placenta Previa. Thankfully, everything progressed just fine and Smiles too was born healthy and complete, even though, and maybe because of, the fact that that I decided to be consistent in my self-care. For me, staying on my medication was the best decision. I researched the high heavens for more information on the medications I was taking, its effects on our babies while I was pregnant and while nursing. The truth was there was just not enough information out there. I borrowed every book I could, and called and emailed my psychiatrist often. She was extremely supportive, but confirmed that there was just not enough information out there. Obviously, the less medication the better (for the baby), but like she said and I agreed, what is a healthy baby without a mom?

YumYum was still born with an Apgar score of 8 and then 9. There were no doctors present at Smiles’ birth (only THE doctor watching over us as always), and ScoobyDoo. Nevertheless, I’d give Smiles an Apgar of 10 out of 10. What a healing experience to birth Smiles at home, naturally, and into ScobbyDoo’s arms and onto my chest.

We know our family is complete, but I wanted to be a part of God giving someone else their family. There are millions of children around the world that need homes, and I praise the Lord for the families that are called and led to adopt them. But just because a family cannot physically carry a child shouldn’t mean that adoption is their only means of having a family. I would love to bless a family that way. To be a part of such a beautiful and holy (set apart, different) experience. I’ve had friends say, “But how could you give away your baby?”. It’s not my baby to give! I’m the oven, the warmer, the vessel. But God is the creator, the parents give the genes, I give the belly, and we all give the love so the baby can have a life.

If anyone is aware of a surrogacy organization in California that accepts surrogates with a history of partial placenta previa, ovarian cysts (none requiring surgery), post-partum, and currently on medication for management of depression, please let me know.

Please wait to give your criticism (of any kind), ask inappropriate questions (like how much do you get paid), or give the "but there are so many kids that need to be adopted" argument (I agree- adoption is a great opportunity that ALL couples have the option of pursuing. But I don't think that couples who are unable to carry a child should be exempt from seeing a child that is born of them. I strongly believe in adoption for those who it has been placed on their heart. I have a friend that's adopting a little girl right now, and the little girl might as well be her flesh and blood! I’m adopted myself. Although my Mom is my biological Mom, my Dad is what most people would consider my step-Dad. Except for after my Mom remarried, my would-be step-Dad adopted my sister and I. In his heart, and legally. His name is on my birth certificate, and we've called him Dad since I can remember. It is surprising to me that there are a lot of great people out there who don't think surrogacy is the right thing to do. Please realize that there are differences in opinions, but this is something that ScobbyDoo and I are prayerfully considering, whether it be for now in our lives or in the future. But because many of our family and friends follow this blog, we'd love for you to prepare your hearts ahead of time. We will need your support if this is a journey we embark on. It takes a village to raise a child, and sometimes, it takes a village to carry one too.

Not every family who is looking for a surrogate would want to use me to carry their child, and that is completely understandable. That is their utmost right and the decision I made is not necessarily every woman’s choice. But I’m not in their shoes. I’m in mine. And my husband and I’s stance is this- we would love to bless a family by carrying their child. We have no desire to contribute to the creation of this child (via sperm or egg), but we are willing and eager to be a part of their experience and welcoming into the world of parenthood-isim. :-)

God's timing may not be right now. Maybe it will be us meeting someone a few years down the road and that family will be who God was preparing us for now. God works in mysterious ways. I think it's just good to put it out there now that this is a thought/process/possibility that's been on our hearts.

Thanks for reading, and again – if you know of an organization that would be accepting of what we would like to give, or a family in need, please let us know.




Our Family.




Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear YumYum



My daughter is the most perfect and precious of children. Scooby Doo and I didn't want to call any daughter of ours "princess" as we thought it held an association with a high level of entitlement. But how can you not call Her princess? She walks around the house with her pink and blue plastic dress-up necklaces, her treasured plastic Cinderella purple shoes and jeweled crown. She approaches me with all of the grace and tenderness in the world, as if I were a baby born early. She asks, concerned, "What happened?" and points out a nickel-sized scrape, an injury probably half as severe as your most mildest of paper-cuts. She apologizes with the most sincere of apologies, and gently caresses the surface of the "owied" skin with her butter smooth (and often food-covered) fingertips. She bends down low to the ground, not wanting to move my perfectly mobile limb, and blesses me with a kiss. Her kisses are not ordinary kisses. They are not "as if" they are from The Angel; they really are from Her. Her gaze lifts and she blesses my undeserving self with the sweetest kiss I have ever received. She says in the voice of a young child, but with the heart of a wise Grandmother, "Is your owie all better now Mommy?" Maybe someday she will know that a single kiss from her, a single touch, a glance --- any one of these from here forever healed any owie from my past, and my future. Thank you My Angel; our Princess. What would I do without your kisses? I thank the Lord, and your father, for you every day.

Love,
Your Mommy




 -----

Conversations with my YumYum......

1. Mommy the moon is following me (while driving).



2. YumYum: the phone is broken mom. Fix it. YumYum, I can't fix it tight now. Can you count the trees? Okay, ill count the trees. 12233 20.

 3. You insisted on brushing your teeth while you were on the toilet. Naked. You proceeded to sit quite contently.
Belle came to your 3rd Birthday party!


4. See you later crocodile.
You loved chatting with the sheep when they visited town.


5. It's okay Smiles, I'm coming. Here Smiles, pronounced using only the first and last letter of his name. Here is your paci/water/book.
Big Sister.

6. Snuggling quietly in bed, "I love you too Mommy" (I didn't say anything first :))
You love wearing your "Turkey Day" shirt... even in June.

7. Snuggling before bed, sing my beautiful song. (Which goes something like "YumYum" you are so beautiful, very beautiful, why?, because Jesus made you. Beautiful oh beautiful... ... it's different every time.)
You pick out your clothes. You CONSTANTLY talk about things "matching".

8. Snuggling before bed, "You're beautiful Mommy"
Playing Lions.
 9. "I love that butterfly on your privates Mommy." "YumYum that butterfly is not on my privates, its on my hip." "Ok Mom, I love that butterfly on your hip."
Daddy's Girl
10. You lay everything out in the mornings. Everything. It takes you 15 minutes to get dressed, 14 minutes of which is laying out your clothes. You put everything in a perfectly straight line, each sock, each bracelet, each shoe - all lined up. You do it with your toys too.
A little bit too much like me.

 11. Can you kiss it all better Mom? Thanks Mom.
Owies.

12. I like to snuggle you Mom. Here, I keep you safe.
I love your silly side.

13. We're driving through the forest Mom! (in a residential neighborhood that happened to have more greenery than usual.)

Dressing up like Poppee.

14. I'm really hungry for candy.


You're always hungry. :)

15. I'm sorry little guy (patting Smiles' back). *walks away, immediately turns back towards Smiles* its really okay my little little guy.

The way you care for your brother....

melts my heart.

16. Your hair is really crazy Mom. And my hair is really crazy. Our hair is really crazy together.

Your response to me asking you if I can put pigtails in your hair... "Look Mom! I'm so silly."

17. In the middle of the night, in her sleep, "Ice cream!"

Our 3-year old!

We love you little one!!! THIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS MUCH!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seek Justice, Love Mercy

"...and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8 (NLV)


Hi. My name is 007, and I usually follow that up with a credential or title. I have two kids, I work full time as a case manager, I've had several jobs, I've lived and grown up in the same area most of my life, ... etc. Nothing remarkable right? A long time ago at camp, I wrote down the best introduction of myself, and wanted to go by nothing else. I'm not sure when I stopped using it, but tonight I remember how much I love it.

Hi. My name is 007, and I am a child of God. I am a precious daughter of Christ; the One who made and sculpted the Universe in all of its infinity, detail, mystery- created me. Plain Jane? I think not! Created in His image I am creative, funny (yes I think God has a great sense of humor), and smart.

Who are you? What do you identify by? Your career, marital status? So and so's somebody? Or a child, preciously, intently, specifically made by Christ?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Plan.


The Plan.

Disclaimer: See above.

Also: note that a variety of career paths have been decided. You think it. I've looked into it. Seriously.

And: there may or may not be other things that I want to do more, but I think this plan offers the most benefit to my family. Additional school debt, hours on the job, potential salary, potential career growth, etc. all were considered.

Duh: It may change, but I'm going to try and stick with it. So I can have some peace, and my husband can breathe.

Objective:
Work in a Christian environment where I can help at-risk children, specifically minors and young adults who are victims of sex-trafficking. Be one of the key influencers in their life through consistency, accountability, and longevity, as well as place other key people in their life to restore, nurture, protect, and help these girls succeed.

Mode: Social Worker (most likely in Agency Services)

Alternatives w/ same education: Social Services Administrator, Adoption Counselor, Forensic Social Worker, Child & Family Counselor

Education Required: Masters in Social Work, possibly a Masters in Psychology would be helpful?
  • Mode: the local State University, online/distance education (so far much more expensive than local CSU)
  • Cost: About $4,000/semester (2 year program = $16k; 3 year weekend program = $24k)
  • Means: savings, grants, scholarships, state and federally funded programs, title 4e?
Logistics:
  • Time: The local CSU only starts MSW students in the Fall.
  • Options: They have an intensive weekend-only, 3 year program that is offered once every three years as well as a FT 2 year program. The full time MSW Program is four semesters. The three year and weekend intensive programs are six semesters. The website says the next chohort available for the 3 year program is in 2015.
  • Extremely Competitive: GPA, work experience, SW community involvement, SW volunteer involvement.
Un-met Pre-Reqs:
  • Stats class (may have met already??)
Average Salary:
According to Salary.com (which is probably unreliable), it is on average, $59,833. Normally what I've seen is considerably less than that, however, it depends in what venue. State workers vs. private agency vs. healthcare, etc. It looks like it varies a lot. Maybe other people would have some insight into this??

So. There's a plan. What do you think? ScoobyDoo - thoughts? You're probably used to your crazy wife throwing out ideas like this, but hey, this is actually an idea that you would be able to look down the road and see what's coming.

Advice from heaven?

Dear Ed,

I almost called you on my lunch break today. I must be out of if considering you've been gone for what- 3 years now? 4? And to think I only knew you for less than double that. weird. I wanted to give you an update. But I felt silly talking to you in my head, and I heard you tell me it was silly too. So I'm blogging it, to share with the living, and the dead? (weird.)

I do believe that people who have passed on before us are in our lives - intricately intertwined in our daily happenings. Maybe they choose who to be with, maybe they get to choose when, but I figure most of the time they're too happy in heaven. I wish I could smell my Great-Grandmother, feel her hugs. Get an awkward I'm-a-youth-pastor-so-I-can't-give-you-a-real-hug side hug from Ed, see his smile. Meet ScobbyDoo's Grandpa, and see him in his prime. Hear a story from him about their family, "the good ol' days", and get a peek into what he was like. See Tom. Tell him he's an idiot, and that I wish he was still here. See Uncle Harry- his wrinkly skin and weird smell. Feel his arms around me and thank him for working so long on that school project in junior high, where I had to build a model airplane. He was so patient. See Tasha. Sing her just one more song while laying next to her on the floor, petting her gently. Meet the little boy Evan who died on the playground about 2 years back and give him a hug for his mom. See my elementary school crush's dad who past away from brain cancer when I was in 5th grade. He always wanted me to marry his son, and Paula Dean (my sister) was supposed to marry his other son. And we were to have a double wedding. I remember sitting on the hammock with that boy, swinging and wondering and dreaming. We'd giggle and watch Paula Dean and his brother flirt- whispering sweet secrets to one another, but looking back they were probably just whispering about us. See Grandpa "Ugly", and let Grandma pretty hold his hand again. Sit with Bob. Reflect on his life and gain again from his wisdom. Play catch with Andrew. See what it's like for him to run and laugh and play like I always imagined he wanted to.

I wonder if you could talk from the grave what you would say. Probably the same thing you said when you were living. You had a crazy good perspective on life. You knew what your priorities were, and focused intently on keeping them in line. I'm wondering if I can tell my life where to go. Okay- so no, I can't. But I think I need to set a direction. Is that a bad thing? I think I could spend my whole life wondering and exploring, it's something God put in my heart, you say. Ya, but its causing me trouble. I can't hold a job for more than 2 years because I get too bored, and grass is always greener on the other side. Granted, it has continued to get better and better with each change. So that's a good thing. God was, and is, looking out for me. Plus ScoobyDoo- I want to be consistent and steady for him; for our family. Regardless of the fact I'm in my 20s, I'm a mom, and a wife, with a mortgage, and two little mouths to feed and two little minds to be an example for. I want to be consistent, focused, and present.

So how unrealistic is it just to make a choice? I made a list forever ago of all the careers I could pursue, hobbies I could pick up. The list keeps going in my head, and I think part of what makes me me, is having a heart that desires. That is an adjective that describes me. I desire. This does NOT mean that I am not content. God has blessed me with the most amazing husband in the world, and two stunning and beautiful kids with the most precious hearts. I don't deserve them in the slightest. But because God did give them to me, I want to treat them more precious than gold or silver, more rare than something extinct, more precious than something sacred, with more attention than something life-threatening.

So I think I want to make a plan. Let's brain storm. And we'll make it with the full disclosure and knowledge that God might move it, change it, trash it, etc etc - but we'll make it anyway because God gave me these desires in my heart, and I believe we're not supposed to wait around waiting for God to say take 2 steps left, 1 step right, now 1/2 a step back. God gave us free will to make decisions, be victorious, be sinners, be followers! I CHOOSE! I choose to FOLLOW God, but I also choose to be a key part in deciding what my future will entail.

Hence the plan

I believe this deserves its own blog post - so that will be separate.

007


The Beauty of Babies

I love remembering giving birth to Smiles. I feel like I can remember everything (that was important anyway) - I don't remember what other people said after, or anything like that. I remember ScoobyDoo's voice, pushing my son out in one push, and feeling the weight of his body on my chest. It was the most beautiful thing in the world. Definitely a healing experience. I cherish my daughter, however her birth was fairly traumatic for me.

After seeing a video on yahoo today, I did a little bit of poking around. Here are some other amazing birth videos (none graphic) for your enjoyment.

This was the first one that made me cry. Such a beautiful video, and I love the new Daddy's reaction to his son being born.



I'm thankful for my babies... each and every day.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February - The Month of Love (oh brother)

It's natural to get that warm fuzzy feeling when someone talks about the birth of their child, or their son's wedding, or best friend's farewell party. I'm not super ooey-gooey, but I get it.

But when someone talks about their spouse and you get a glimpse of genuine love... that's what gets me emotional. Now there's so many different kinds of love: being in love, lust, the first two years kinda love, 60 years of marriage love, the love of growing a family, and everything in between.

I'm pretty blessed to have a story that I hope upcoming generations can look up to, and seek advice from someday. With a 50% divorce rate, it makes me wonder what happens. But I think that I'd like to focus on the other 50%, that have made their marriages, work, thrive, and grow. A friend and I were talking about deal breakers, and somehow I ended up saying "Yep- there are no deal breakers in marriage."

He said really? I said ya, when you make that promise it's forever. That's what we had in mind.


Dealbreakers are for dating. When you date someone, the intention is to get to know each other. To have FUN! To be spontaneous. To be adventurous. To watch a movie, to go out for ice cream, to stay up late talking, to sneak away, to have moments where you remember how in awe you are of him, to say a prayer of thankfulness. OR- realize that he's not the one, despite your first thought, and know God has someone else for both of you that's exponentially a better fit.

I remember walking away from our first date. He was walking me to my car and I was grinning ear to ear, trying not to look rediculously goofy and smitten. I got home and I wrote in my journal, that I'm going to marry that man.

I remember when he proposed, I hate absolutely NO CLUE. I wanted to be married to him so bad. Before I met him, I had "planned" (haha) on getting married in my 30's. I always had heard that your 20s were for "self discovery" (I always thought that was Junior High. I guess it's both.). I hadn't planned on meeting my husband when I was 19. But like my girlfriend told me at work yesterday, some of the best things that happen in life are the things we don't plan. And I'm so glad he happened.


DATING!


We did fake tattoos...
that we bought from a yogurt shop's toy machine....






 












He bought be flowers...

We'd cook dinner together once in a while.
I knew I loved him when he volunteered to do the dishes!


Road trips!
Day trip to the Lake
Kayaking - I'm glad we both wanted singles! 




He makes me smile :)








Church Weekend Away





















He bought us dancing lessons for Christmas... I loved our weekly fox trot date.





Kings Game





























And then....







 There's no deal breakers in marriage. It's not always easy. It's not always fun. You may have times where you aren't best friends, or you just aren't clicking. But there are no deal breakers in marriage. So work it out. Talk with friends that love and support your marriage and your spouse. Go to marriage counseling. Get in the Word. And never give up.  Because someday, you could be like my grandparents, renewing their vows on their 60th wedding anniversary.



I love you Poppee & Meemee! xoxo

And in honor of Valentine's Day coming up.....

If you want something to make you go run to your sweetheart, make you cry, or make you say a prayer of thankfullness, watch the below videos....  IN ORDER!


Video #1


Video #2:



Video #3:


Video #4:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Still Juicing?

It's been exactly 2 weeks since I started some serious juicing (January 16) , and let me tell ya - I'm feeling great. So great that exactly 1 week ago, I decided to focus on eating only fruits and vegetables. With a few exceptions (two occasions that come to mind), I've stuck to it! Now because I'm such an all or nothing person, and it normally doesn't end up well when I have that mentality, I tried to be a bit more reasonable with myself. I. Love. Food.

I have no desire to go on a juicing spree and sit on the toilet for a month strait and be the healthy kid at the lunch table nibbling on her kale and 2 slices of apple. But after I started juicing two weeks ago, I realized how easy it was, and how good I was feeling - the later being the more swaying deciding factor. I wasn't having to snack in-between meals because I was hungry. I didn't need that caffeine pick me up when I first started my day, or after lunch around that I-want-to-take-a-nap-now hour. I was feeling good. I didn't have the upset stomachs or guilt that normally accompany my latest trip to Carl's Jr. or McDonalds.

Probably the biggest thing was, I didn't feel deprived. I don't feel AT ALL like I'm on a diet. I just am choosing to eat better. And the automatic result (not many of those in life) is I'm feeling great and looking great!

The Juicy Details
- No alcohol - no exceptions.
- No caffeine - no exceptions.
- Adding a cup of milk, a single low-cal or fat-free yogurt, and a servings worth of Slimfast powder isn't going to kill my eating plan. On the contrary, adding a serving of the chocolate Slimfast powder has made my morning berry smoothie quite yummy. ("Recipe" below).
- My only snack, if I need or want something to munch on, are raw almonds.
- Attempt to use more greens that fruits. Fruit is easy for me to eat. I could eat Granny Smith apples and fresh, yummy, juicy oranges all day long. But kale, cucumber, red cabbage, leeks, spinach? Not so much.

Tactic
- Don't set a time limit. This added to the feeling that I felt like I wasn't on a diet. I didn't want to go on a juice fast, or say "10 days without..." or 60 days ... that just overwhelms me and sets me up for failure! One garlic roll - and what the heck- I already missed that mark! Just juice because you want to (even if you don't in the beginning). And then take each day as it comes (after the first four).

- Don't go through to fast food. Easy.

When you go out to eat, weigh your options. My family & I went to Chucky Cheese. We left on a weeknight a little after 6PM, and everyone was already hungry and tired. It ended up being a great little outing. We were there till 7:30, and the kids had a blast. I spent most of my evening taking Smiles between the miniature Merry-go-round and the Chucky Cheese car ride that takes your picture. But at one token a ride, and 40 tokens for $10 bucks, we had plenty tokens left over from our last outing. I digress.

The point being was it was late, and I didn't want to make it later and "all about me" by taking the time to juice. I had been home for half an hour, and juicing just wasn't one of the first things I did. So I decided to go out with my family, and have some pizza. We chose a great pizza, and I wasn't going to eat so much that I was going to leave miserable. The thing about juicing is once you start, you don't have a huge desire to have that piece of pizza or gino-hamburger. And trust me - I LOVE MEAT! I've always said I could never become a vegetarian. But when your system is used to easily digesting so many yummy healthy things, something greasy that could turn your stomach sour just isn't appealing. So I didn't have that desire to have another slice of pizza, even though there was one slice left after everyone was done eating. I didn't say "why not" when no one wanted to "kill the last slice".

So here's my "cheers" to juicing. DO IT! I promise you if you don't feel great in a week, come bash me with a cucumber or label me a "juice freak". But if you try it, and love it, you can't keep it a secret. Promise?

See you soon!

---

Morning Fruit Smoothie (2 Servings)
- 1/2 Bag frozen fruit (We buy Winco's bag. It's less than a buck a bag, and only has frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.)
- 1 Yogurt
- 1 Banana
- Milk (enough to thin it just a bit... 1-2 cups)
- 1 serving of Slimfast powder (optional... we didn't use this for the first few times we made it (ScoobyDoo has been juicing with me - and he is such a huge encourager!) and it still gave me plenty of energy to go till lunch without snacking or being hungry.

*Helpful Hint - Find a buddy to juice with. They don't have to be gung-hoe. They can do it at whatever level they feel comfortable doing it. Juicing one meal a day, or three a day. But it's really encouraging to have that friend whose not just encouraging you "in spirit".

Have fun, and Happy Juicing! 




Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 4 - Red Cabbage, Really?

As I was home taking care of smiles, he's had the flu :(, ScoobyDoo pleasantly surprised me during his lunch break for a quick hello and a yummy juice for lunch. When he gets his mind on something, he runs with it. One of the reasons I love him. He's juiced 8 out of the last 10 meals! Way to go babe!

So Scooby Doo started throwing the below mixture together, and I must say, I am amazed. He is a master at making the weirdest combinations taste really, quite good.

Mode: Juicer

Supplies: We've added some unsalted butter and eggs to our kitchen, but these were for sugar cookies. (I've felt inspired lately by my Test Kitchen Cook Book! It rocks!) We haven't purchased anything new for juicing.

Day 4: Cabbage Say What? - 1 Apple, 1 Orange, 1 Pear, 1 Zucchini, 3 Stalks of Celery, 8 Carrots, 1/5 head of red cabbage

*None of the above ingredients were peeled or cored or de-seeded in any way. Check out this site to see how to prep stuff. He doesn't mention that whole apples are okay, but I've seen other TV juicers do it. (So it must be ok RIGHT?! It's on TV!!) :)

Servings: 4 Servings.

Rating: I give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Simply for the fact that it has red cabbage in it, and it doesn't taste absolutely disguising. It's actually quite tolerable. Well done hubby.

Inspiration of the Day: Common Juicing Mistakes



*Truth be told, the video is a bit long, (4 minutes... long for me I guess), but there's some good advice about the balance between vegetables and fruit.


Cheers! And Happy Juicing!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Juicing With KALE!!! - Day 3

Yum? YUM! Yumish.

Mode: Blender

Supplies:
Added greens to our inventory. ScoobyDoo went to Sprouts and got kale, cucumber, zucchini, cabbage, parsnip, and more beets.

Day 3: Kale, Orange, Banana Smoothie 1 Orange (Peeled), 1/2 Cup Water, 1 1/2 Leaves Kale (The recipe only called for 1 leaf of kale and I should have stuck with that), 2 Ripe Bananas.


1. Blend the orange in a blender until mostly juice.
2. Add the water and kale; blend again on High speed until kale is liquefied.
3. Break the bananas into chunks and add to the blender. Start blending on a lower speed until the banana is incorporated. Increase speed to blend the mixture into a pudding-like texture.
4. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or stick the glass in the freezer. MUCHHHH better.

Servings: The website said 1. I say 2.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars. I just wasn't feeling it, but it's better than most kale drinks I've tried. It really wasn't that bad, but it was really thick. Next time, I'll stick with just one leaf of kale, use only cold ingredients, add ice, and use more water. And split it with ScoobyDoo. Definitely work trying again though.

Inspiration of the Day: All Hail Kale!


Question of the Day: How do you eat your kale? Or do you at all?
Happy Juicing!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Juicing- An Experiment

DAY 1

Mode: Breville Juicer

Supplies:
Carrots, Apples, Beets, Oranges, Pears, Celery, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Lemon, Strawberries, Honeydew, Bell Peppers

Day 1: 4 Carrots, 1 Large Apple, 1/2 Beet
Servings: 1 Adult.
Rating: Unknown. ScoobyDoo drank it.

Day 2: 3 Apples, 1 Orange, 1 Pear, 1 Beet
Servings: 2 Adults + 1/2 Kid Serving
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Couldn't taste the beet as much as I expected. Not any greens, but a good breakfast juice.

Inspiration of the Day: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

Watch the trailer here:


Meander through various recipes, articles, and such through his blog here:
http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/category/blog/


Question of the Day: What's your idea of a great first juice for those juicer newbies out there?