This past week has been a bit of a challenge to say the least. I keep reminding myself “ebb and flow Bridget, ebb and flow”. I’m starting to believe it.

Last Tuesday I had to take Grant to Brenner’s Children’s Hospital emergency room for respiratory problems. After four hours, two different drugs/treatments and steroids he was released under a strict watch. The doctor said that he had only ever released one other child to the parents. He said because I was a very attentive mother and since Grant responded so well to the drugs we could head home. The following day I took him to his doctor and he was diagnosed with reactive airway disease.

Never heard of it? Yeah, me either. It pretty much means asthma in children under three years of age. He experiences the same symptoms as asthma sufferers but may or may not grow out of it. For now he is on a daily steroid, allergy medicine, and albuterol until his cough goes away. He seems to be responding well so far to this “maintenance” treatment so we will continue it for the next 12 weeks and then we will reevaluate the situation with his doctor.

Friday came along pretty quickly and so did an ice storm which hit our area something awful. It took 200,000 homes of their power. We were so lucky to have ours until Saturday morning. After two hours of it being out I packed up our things and headed to my sister’s house. By the afternoon we had gotten word from the power company that it wouldn’t be on for five more days. So I headed back to our house and packed up what felt like our lives. If I was part of just a couple then the packing wouldn’t have been so extensive. However; when you bring a two year old, a three year old, a dog, three coolers, and five reusable grocery bags full of food to stay for a few days you are bordering somewhere between insane and overly prepared. That was not mentioning clothing for three of us, diapers, pillows, and of course all of this new medicine. My sister and her family shifted around their sleeping situations and the kids all had a blast having “sleepovers” for a few nights. By Monday around noon the power came back and I cried. Yes, I did. Tears of joy came down my face. We were getting to go home.

Of course the whole time I was feeling bad for myself I was also thinking of all of those families who lose their homes in tornadoes or hurricanes or other disasters. I can not even begin to fathom how they feel. I didn’t like being displaced for 72 hours so I couldn’t even imagine never getting to go home again.

The stress of all of this and maybe exposing myself to germs at a grocery store or somewhere else is what caused me to catch the dreaded noro virus! Yep, Monday afternoon not even 20 minutes after I walked in the door it hit me. I threw up for nine continuous hours and have been sick for three days in a row. I’m ready for this to be over with!!! All I can think about (besides for every food under the sun that I don’t dare put in my body) is cleaning my house. I know, I’m lame. You see a lot when you’re laying on the floor and then in your bed for hours and hours at a time. Maybe tomorrow will bring some new health my way and Grant will be more receptive to his nebulizer. A girl can dream, right?!

Ebb and flow, ebb and flow…

20140312-190134.jpg

I was three the first time I was labeled a “worry wart”. My grandmother was driving me to ballet class and she had a digital speedometer in what could only be considered the coolest car ever to any three year old. I was standing behind the driver’s seat (don’t get your panties in a bunch, the laws were different in 1980) and I was saying her speed out loud. “Gram, you’re going 4-5, Gram are we going to be late? Gram you’re going 5-0, better slow down unless we are going to be late! Are we going to be late?”. My family found this amusing and I’m sure a bit annoying although they never said that to me. They just said that Biddy was a worry wart and left it at that.

Even when I was a preschooler I was overly concerned with punctuality. This has been a blessing and a curse for the past 30 something years. I think of being late as a sign of disrespect. Plain and simple, if you choose to not care about being on time you are choosing to show that you don’t care about who you’re meeting, the class you’re attending, or the job you’re going to. My past employers have loved the fact that I was normally the first to show up for a shift (minus a few hungover days-oops).

When it was both of the boys and myself while Dave was overseas I would set a timer in the morning and make it a point to get us into the car by the time it beeped. Over time things got a bit less hectic and a little smoother. Not every day runs smooth however and sometimes time just slips away. Those days sometimes also include a bit of road rage, anger, and unfortunately some curse words from yours truly. We normally get to where we are heading on time (or a few short minutes late) but the act of getting there is something out of an action film. Good thing I’m an awesome driver!! 😉

I started therapy this week and had a few “aha” moments. The first one being that he said, “in therapy you learn things and also unlearn things”. I’ve never thought about this before but it does make sense. He went on to explain that some things are imbedded in us as we grow up as “the right things” for us but in reality as we grow we really find out what the right things for us are. I think I’ve lost sight of some of these things. Maybe being super punctual isn’t what makes me happy. Maybe I need to unlearn some of my control issues. The problem with “aha” moments are that when you open your eyes to the possibility of change you also open your eyes to what is really laying before you; whether that’s good or bad.

As much as the therapist respects my confidentiality for our sessions I will also and not blab away about what we talked about for that first hour. What I will say is that I feel like the first piece has been put back into my broken puzzle. I’ve been trying to play the game by myself but this guy seems to be holding those edge pieces and we all know how vital they are to the whole picture.

As I start this process I’m hoping that I can ditch the label of being a worry wart and maybe finally become a bit more easy going and laid back. No more warts!!!!

20140302-184245.jpg

You may have heard the saying “secrets secrets are no fun, secrets secrets hurt someone” and recently I can’t stop thinking about it in regards to my last post. The response from it has been completely overwhelming in such a positive way. I have received emails, texts, and calls from my friends who have either experienced anxiety (and/or panic attacks) or are currently having them.

Through their words I realized that if maybe we all actually talked about our anxieties they may lessen. Why is it that we all feel like we have to keep them a secret? I have started on a mission to be as vocal I can about what makes me have anxiety and what helps. I am not a person to keep things to myself obviously; after all I started this blog to talk about my son’s clubbed feet. I am not ashamed. I have anxiety. I suffer from panic attacks and I WILL change this.

My plan of attack has been making some minor changes thus far. I used to make a “to do” list everyday that always had at least 10-15 items on it. By the time dinner rolled around I would only have at most five of the items done and then my guilt of just not being able to do it would kick in. Eventually making me tired, cranky, and just angry. I would feel angry at myself for “failing”. This guilty anger would roll into the next morning and then my list would be 18 deep. After months of never seeing my whole list completed I would break down. Now, I have started making my lists only six or seven items and one of those is making dinner, which is a chore in itself let’s admit it. I have found that not only am I completing these lists I am getting more done and I am receiving a feeling of accomplishment.

We also started a sticker reward chart with our older son Nolan. He responds much better to positive reinforcement then he does to punishment. On the chart we included “clearing the table”, “going to the potty alone”, “eat your meals without mommy or daddy nagging” (no joke), and “feeding the dog”. He has done remarkably well with these tasks. We are still working on a few of the other ones but overall I have appreciated the extra help and he is full of self pride; it’s a win win.

I talked to my husband. I asked for help. This was a huge deal for me, I have a hard time letting go of the reigns and humbling myself into the position of being “needy”. We agreed on a few different things he could do around the house, with the kids, or just in general to take some of the day to day stress off of me. It’s not surprising that he has stepped up to the plate and in doing so I have gained some freedom.

I have been realizing that for years I’ve been comparing myself to some women that I know that are “super moms” in my opinion. They always seem to have their houses clean (ours never seems that way, ever), they decorate for the holidays (we got our tree early last year and that was still two weeks before Christmas), they get professional photos of their children taken (my iPhone photos are the ones framed). Sure, our house isn’t filthy by any stretch of the imagination but it’s cluttered with toys, clothing, and the floors always seem to need to be vacuumed even after vacuuming and this has been a constant struggle within me. I have anxiety because I have this vision of how to be the perfect woman. She has spotless floors. She has no dishes in her sink. Every piece of clothing is folded and put away. She has patience while potty training and doing crafts with children. She never caves in and feeds her children chicken nuggets and fries for dinner. That woman is a form of bullshit. I can say that now. She is made up. No one’s homes look like that ALL the time. Even if you have help, they have to have a day off right?! I need to break away from always trying to be better than this imaginary superwoman and just be the best Bridget I can be. I know, super cheesy but you get the idea right?? This may be one of my biggest hurdles to climb over. Accepting this and acting on it. I am willing to try.

I’ve been feeling a small sense of relief with just these changes made and after some troubles with insurance I have an appointment with a therapist which I couldn’t be more excited about. Yes, I’ll be talking about my anxiety to someone new! If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety I encourage you to not be ashamed of it or keep it hidden, talk about it! Tell a friend, a sibling, a spouse, parent, or even your children (age appropriate ones preferably).

Look for an update after my first therapy session!! Stay well my friends and chat it up!!

20140219-190803.jpg

I am Bridget. I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I am by no means a superwoman. I may post photos of my colorful meals on Facebook and Instagram, I may post the funny things my kids say or do, I may sometimes (not that annoying poster) post about my workouts but I am NOT better than any other woman out there (unless they beat their children). I try my best. I do what is best for myself, my kids, my husband, my house, and my friendships.

Last week I had a panic attack. I lost my sh*t. It was in my kitchen, in front of my kids at first. I thought I was having a heart attack because it was so unfamiliar to me. I’ve had maybe three panic attacks in my life, the last one was at least two years ago when Dave was overseas and I was left with two children under two years. NONE of my previous experiences with these horrendous attacks have compared to what happened on Friday. I lost it. I was scared. I needed some help.

After calling my BFF who has dealt with these for a long time and having her coach me through it I started to feel better. She sent me a hypnosis cd from her MIL and I have been religiously listening to this since. I haven’t slept this well in a long time but I know in my heart that this is just the first step on my road to “recovery”. I need to readjust some things in my life.

That’s a shocking revelation for someone like me. I am type A. I feel the need for control. I feel the need to constantly do things with my hands. I feel the need to stay busy throughout the day. This has obviously not been the best way for me to live the best life for myself or for those around me. So what have I decided to do to help myself get “healthier”? I have decided to do what has been the “selfish” thing in my eyes and focus more of my own time and attention on myself. Yes, I workout at the gym where I leave one or both boys in the nursery. This is my “anti-depressant medication”. However, it’s not enough. I need to actually focus on who I am and what makes ME happy in those other 23 hours a day. I’ve forgotten what that is in my attempts of being the best mom, wife, sister, friend.

So, after a year of writing blog posts but not actually posting them I’m going to share them again. It seems to help me get things out and feel better about my world around me. I’m going to not only share my thoughts with those around me but I’ll be making an appointment with a therapist. Yep, I need a professional to listen to me. Am I embarrassed to admit this? Nope, I couldn’t be more excited! Why? Because there is a problem when this self proclaimed “positive Polly” is continuously down in the dumps and having some really dark thoughts. Something is wrong. I’m willing to admit that. So, this is the beginning of my journey towards a healthy mental attitude. A climb up my metaphorical mountain of better outlooks and inside well being.

Let the healing begin…

20140209-183721.jpg

I love food. I love fruit, rye bread, vegetables, cereal, chocolate, pasta, pumpernickel bread, ice cream, fish, sourdough bread, yogurt, pancakes, pretzels, cheese, whole wheat bread, and yes, bread. I freaking love carbs. They do not love me. I love bread, it does not love me. I do not have celiac disease, I don’t even have a gluten intolerance. I have a metabolism that doesn’t break down carbs quickly. It turns all of those doughy delicious sugars into fat. Fat that doesn’t just sneak up, it attacks my body like a leach in a dirty pond. I can literally gain multiple pounds in a week if I don’t watch the amount of carbs I take in. Too many sandwiches, too many pretzels, pieces of toast, plates of pasta, even bowls of cereal, BAM I’m up five plus pounds. Don’t get me wrong I still eat some carbs, they are after all okay for your body as they create energy. I tend to eat carbs in the form of vegetables, grains, and oats.

However, it is horrible when you count your calories and exercise and try your best only to reach a goal and then “reward” yourself with a few extras here and there, those extras happen to be in the form of carbs for me. Unfortunately those extras and rewards are only considered to be described as such if you happen to struggle with food. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I have a food addiction but I am without a doubt an emotional eater. I have a bad relationship with food, I love to eat but I need to watch what I consume. I never believed that a metabolism could change after a certain age or after having kids but mine sure has! I used to be able to eat crap food, drink a ton of beer and booze and keep a nice figure. Not these days, I have to bust my ass working out and eating clean to maintain my weight and hopefully lose a few pounds.

Recently I have reached a goal and become a bit too comfortable being this new size and weight. I have lost sight of my healthy living goal and now it’s up to me to take a step in the right direction and start counting my calories again. I have set a new goal for myself.

My “M.O.” has been for many years to grow my hair long and then chop it off. It’s a cycle that repeats every few years and it just works for me since I embrace constant change. My new goal for myself is to lose another 10 pounds and when I do, I will chop my locks. I will not only be closer to my goal weight but since I’ve been changing my insides I can bring my outside up to speed as well.

Oh bread I will miss you but after all, I know we can never be lifelong friends. I will put you into my list of acquaintances and for the time being I’ll just say, “I’ll see you around”.

20130401-143526.jpg

When your child is born with two clubbed feet the possibility of him walking “normally” is not very high without the medical attention that our son was fortunate enough to receive. Even with his legs in nine sets of casts over an eleven week period, one tendon surgery, and braces that have spent thousands of hours on his feet the percentage jumps all the way up to 85- 90%. Yes, there have been doubts for the past 14 months whether it would all pay off. Well, today is a fantastic day in our lives, today our son can officially be called a walker! He has been on the side of cautious for a couple of months with every step achieved and Grant sure knows how to take a fall but today he has shown us just how much being persistent pays off! He is determined and he is walking from one side of the room to the other with his shoulders back and his heart full of confidence!

In the almost three years of being a mother I can honestly say I have never been prouder. My heart swells with love when I see the way his smile comes to his face and of course a smile always follows on my face. Today, I can take an extra few breaths and say a few extra thank yous to the team who have helped our sweetheart walk “normally”. Today Grant is putting one almost normal foot in front of the other and proving that a “birth defect” may just be a small bump in the road.

This photo was taken after a full day of walking and then after I put his “magic shoes” on he lost his balance and fell into a bookcase. It’s all in the learning process!

20130315-135105.jpg

I have been venturing into the depths of the vegetarian recipe land of Pinterest almost on a daily basis since I seriously love to cook. I made a New Years resolution to make at least one new recipe a week which is pretty much the silliest and yes, laziest resolution I could’ve made. Lazy because I already do this not because of the time it takes to plan, shop, chop, sauté, and cook these new foods. I am not one for repeating a lot of recipes on a regular basis but I made one tonight that I will definitely be making again!!

I saw this recipe on Eating Well and my belly started rumbling! I took some major liberties with this and I thought I’d share it with you.

Gluten Free Black Bean Nacho Pizza

The original recipe isn’t gluten free but since I had recently picked up a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust from Christmas Tree Shops I decided to use that. The instructions were pretty straight forward and being the culinary genius that I am, I followed them.

In addition to the delicious pizza crust I also used:

1 15oz can black beans
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers
3 scallions (green and white parts)
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
Tablespoon of lime juice
1/2 cup salsa

While the dough was rising I opened a can of black beans, drained and rinsed them. I finely chopped up the roasted red pepper, three scallions, cilantro, the Kalamata olives, and threw everything into a bowl and squirted those suckers with some lime juice. Then I grabbed a fork and mashed it all up, seriously no need to be precise here. After releasing a little aggression on the bean mixture I tossed in the salsa and mixed it all up again.

The dough made two 12 inch pizza crusts which I had to pre bake for about seven minutes (at 425 degrees) and my little bean mixture covered those babies nicely. After putting a generous amount on the crusts I topped them with some shredded Mexican style cheese mixed with some shredded Mozzarella cheese. Popped those pizzas back into the oven for about 15 more minutes and viola some seriously delicious pizza! I was able to get our two year old to eat it with some low fat sour cream (that’s the answer to everything).

I hope y’all enjoy this as much as we all did!!

20130221-222759.jpg

My head is pounding from lack of sleep, my stomach is rumbling from a late night snack that was not on my diet plan, and the baby is crying. It is 5:45 am and I am less than amused.

Are you thinking, “damn girl, maybe you shouldn’t stay up drinking?!“. If you are, then you are wrong.

I stayed up late to try and organize my coupons into my new organizer. Don’t judge, (It’s the little things in life that make me giddy.). The term “late”used to mean 4am but these days it means 11pm or maybe if I’m feeling particularly young I may make it till midnight. Oooohhhhh what a party animal. Welcome to parenthood.

This is my life and I am consumed by children and the day to day life that is filled to the brim with brightly colored noise making toys and snacks in the shape of fruit or fish.

There is no need to express my unconditional love for my kids because that is clearly evident. What may not be vivid enough is my volcano eruptions that happen from time to time because I don’t have any time for ME. Who am I anymore?! I don’t get to go to a 9 to 5 job and talk about adult topics. I talk about my favorite kind of diaper rash paste, the most educational TV shows and the best tasting string cheese. Today, I’m worn out. Today, I need a break from them. Today, I feel like running away and staying away until after they go to bed tonight. That way I can sneak into their rooms, plant a kiss on their cheeks and then curl up in my bed and go to sleep. I won’t have to coax them to eat their veggies, bathe them, play cars again, sing songs, read books that I’ve memorized months ago, and then clean up the house after I’ve put them to bed. No, in my perfect vision of my grand escape I will go and spend a little time in a fabric store or better yet, a shoe store, have a glass of wine with lunch, okay maybe two, then of course I will be able to nap on my very own couch. Yes, I actually imagine running away to my own house, it is empty in this daydream and is located right next to said shoe store and restaurant. I’m willing to admit to being a touch on the stressed out, overly tired, sick of peeing with company side of motherhood. But what mom isn’t?!

Sometimes I just have to let my volcano erupt, imagine the new peep toe platforms on my feet and get back to reality because I love being a mom, even if I am dodging Legos all day.

20130123-192032.jpg

There are many things that people don’t know about me despite my life being something of an open book and the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve. For instance, I can not stand it when someone touches me whilst I’m eating. Seriously, that may be my biggest pet peeve. When I sit down to consume food, that is what I plan to do not hold hands, not play footsie, and let me be clear about one thing, you may lose an arm if you decide to rub my back. I know what you’re thinking, “her husband is one lucky man!“. He IS regardless of my “quirks“!!! 😊

On a larger scale you may not know that I never knew my biological father. He left my mother when I was a year and a half and my sister was only three years old. A few decades later my sister sparked up some curiosity about his medical history and researched him finding out that he had passed away many years earlier. He died from heart disease at the age of 43. So knowing this I am pretty terrified to not repeat history and get myself in shape and healthy, despite years of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and perhaps experimenting with some other things. I like to pride myself in having this knowledge as my main motivator of losing this stubborn weight and getting heart healthy but to be completely honest it’s not. My very best friend Courtney is getting married in less than seven weeks and I am the maid of honor. Yep, me making a speech in front of 200 people. Sounds wonderful if you have enough confidence in yourself and I will!! Getting off topic…

Back to the heart disease that is a bit too close for comfort in my life. I was flipping through Netflix the other night and came across a movie titled “Vegucated“. It was a documentary about three people embracing a vegan lifestyle for six weeks and seeing how it helped their health and any other aspect of their lives. Let me tell you that I am not easily swayed when it comes to dropping my meat. I have been toying with the idea of doing the paleo diet recently. Yes, I loved meat that much. Not so much anymore. The statistics were overwhelming of the power of vegetarianism (veganism also but I’m just not willing to give up my coffee creamer). Instead, I have decided to incorporate a lot more vegetarian meals into the majority of our diet. We are eating probably three times the amount of vegetables that we were before and as for protein, the beans are where it’s at people!! The weight is dropping off, I feel fuller for longer, I don’t have as many cravings, and I really don’t miss the meat all that much. I had my one cheat day this week and ate turkey burger sliders with a side of buffalo cauliflower. I used to think that incorporating vegetarian meals would be boring and difficult to do but I am loving them! The movie also did show the treatment of the animals that are raised to be eaten and yes, that was HIGHLY disturbing to watch but I’m not going to preach about it. This is a lifestyle choice for everyone to make on their own. I can back up all of the recipes I’ve tried so far as delicious and I’m including one here with my own ideas and twists from the original. I may continue to add more recipes as time passes since I will continue to make these meals for myself and my family to enjoy so in the meantime let me introduce you to:

Mexican Style “Meat”loaf

Original recipe from skinnyms.com

ingredients

•1 tablespoon olive oil
•1 small red onion diced (I used 1/2 yellow onion since that’s what I had on hand
•1 (15 ounce) can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
•1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed well (I didn’t have any so I doubled up on kidney beans)
•1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers, hot or mild, drained
•1 cup whole kernel corn, unsweetened (I used one whole can sweetened corn because that is what I had and didn’t want a small amount of corn left in my fridge)
•2 teaspoons dried oregano
•1 teaspoon chili powder (I used 1/2)
•1 teaspoon cumin
•1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•sea or kosher salt to taste
•1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•1 1/4 cups Panko bread crumbs or any breadcrumbs of your choice
•1/2 cup shredded cheese
•1/3 cup no sugar added BBQ sauce (I used what I had in the fridge and eyeballed the amount)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large skillet add oil, turn to medium-low heat and sauté onions until tender, about 4 minutes. Add kidney beans, black beans, green chili peppers and corn, continue to sauté until beans soften up, about 3 minutes. Add oregano, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper, stir to combine.

At this point I used my potato masher and gave the bean mixture a quick mash.

Combine in a large mixing bowl bean mixture, bread crumbs and cheese. Lightly spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, add bean mixture, shape into a loaf. Bake for 30 minutes, add barbecue sauce and bake 1 additional minute. Remove from oven and allow to set 5 minutes. Cut into 8 slices and carefully remove each slice with a spatula.

If you have kids that are going to eat this I would recommend omitting the green chili peppers!

I know this blog wasn’t always about me and my lifestyle but since this is a big lifestyle change I wanted to share in my excitement and also share some of my new favorite recipes. I hope you enjoy and maybe you’ll end up having one meat free meal this week?!

20130120-080633.jpg

If someone was to ask me to describe our second son, Grant in one word it would be determined. He came into our lives one year ago and he has been without a doubt the most determined and focused child I have ever seen. If he wants something he will get it. He wanted to climb the stairs so badly, so before he could even crawl he flung himself up the stairs and pulled and pulled until he reached the top. He yearned to eat regular pieces of food so after staring us down at the table like a lion hunting it’s prey I gave in and at six months old he was eating pancakes. At eleven months he was eating everything and anything he is handed.

In exchange for his focus and determination he also gives us smiles, small noises, large hugs, and sloppy kisses. He rarely cries and has been that way since birth unless he is hungry or tired and he may or may not have gotten that trait from me. 😉

Every day that Grant wakes up from his afternoon nap before his big brother, Nolan he happily plays with toys until he gets tired of just playing by himself or with me. He makes his way up the stairs (like a boss) and heads straight for Nolan’s room. He then pounds on the door as if he’s calling him out to play. He gets upset when we move him away from the door like we’re crushing his dreams. This hasn’t just happened once or twice this occurs Every. Single. Day. He knows what he wants and he will find a way to get it.

He is a very large child weighing in at a whopping 28 pounds and towering over other children his age but he is calm and peaceful. Grant is for lack of a better word, content. He is happy whether he is playing “cabinet inspector” or out for a walk around the neighborhood. Our big boy is incredibly strong and has earned his nickname given to him by his daddy, “Doctor Banner”, as in The Incredible Hulk.

He has a favorite pastime of trying to tear apart books, particularly Nolan’s books which might as well be in a shrine (if you asked Nolan at least). This hobby continues at the Y nursery where he watches the child care worker until she turns her head and then shoots for the bookcase at lightning speed (crawling) and attempts to pull them down. They are constantly telling me stories of his failed missions. This doesn’t surprise me at all, we are in trouble when he starts walking!

Grant is an absolute pleasure to have as a child and despite his hunger for adventure (think, trying to go down the stairs head first) he is our sweet Buddah baby. He brings peace and happiness to all that know and love him and I have a feeling that he will continue this for many years to come. Happy First Birthday Grant-a-saurous! Mommy, Daddy, and Nolan love you!

20130108-220012.jpg