Friday, December 20, 2013

For posterity

Today when I was getting the kids settled for nap time.... J crawled up onto bed with G and gave her the best snuggles and kisses. He, for once in his life, was not being rough at all, no hair pulling or anything. It was SO sweet. I just kept watching them be snuggley and wished I could get a photo if it but I knew if I left, the moment would be gone.

So I'm here writing it down so I can remember it always. J would give open mouth cheek kisses and then put his cheek against G's cheek; they would both look at me with angel eyes and I felt so much joy. 
They are so good for each other & I'm glad to be their mom. 

Best part? G said,  "j wants to sleep in my bed ! Take nap here!"

I melted, but then took him to his room lol
Maybe when he wouldn't fall out of her toddler bed, but doubtful because they'd be too rambunctious!

Moments like those make all the challenges worth it because you can't have the good without the bad.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Eat Clean Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

We had a lot of left over homemade rolls from our Christmas celebration with my in laws this past weekend. We don't eat much bread these days, so I looked around to see what we had that I could use them with.....we had a lot of sweet potatoes. I found a bread pudding recipe that incorporated sweet potatoes because that seemed like a delicious combo. It happened to be from the delicious Paula Deen. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, it wasn't really clean.
So I cleaned it up and am sharing it with you all because it is so delicious!! It grew better with every bite until I decided it was pretty much like pumpkin pie. If you want the sugar and butter loaded one, which I'm sure is as amazing, give Paula's recipe a whirl....but the one below is way less calories and way better for you.
Try using Kalona Supernatural dairy; we recently discovered it via their cream and it's the best grass fed dairy we've had. We also use their Farmers Hen House eggs. Check them out at a store near you, I use Hy-Vee. I really can't say enough good things about them....grass fed, batch pasteurized, not homogenized (their view is the very premise of eat clean; "...we believe in doing less—not more—when it comes to our food.")
Another note to make; the straining process took a LONG time for me because I think my custard was so thick due to using proportionally more sweet potatoes, just keeping smooshing the mixture through the strainer using a wooden spoon, add more liquid while cooking if it seems to dense. Mine was a thick custard but turned out wonderfully moist, springy, and smooth (so if you skip the straining, I'm sure the consistency would be affected).

Eat Clean Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

chill at least 8 hours before you want to bake it
prep takes about 1 hour
baking takes 40 minutes

grass fed butter for dish
a handful of sliced almonds for topping
1 cup of grass fed cream
3/4 cup of grass fed milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 1/2 large (but not HUGE) sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cage free egg yolks
~7 cups of whatever homemade whole grain bread you have on hand, torn into bite size pieces, it should be enough to have 2 layers in an 8 x 8 x 2 baking dish

In a medium sauce pan, boil the sweet potatoes to soften. While that happens, melt a bit of butter in an 8 x 8 dish, use a napkin or paper towel to spread it around (greasing the dish). Combine the dairy, agave, vanilla, spices in a bowl. Once the potatoes are soft, drain and mash. Put the dairy mixture and mashed sweet potatoes into the sauce pan. Bring to just a boil. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Put a bit of the sweet potato mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly (this is to warm the egg yolks up so they don't cook immediately when you dump them into the sauce pan), add another bit of sweet potato mixture into the eggs again while whisking constantly. Pour egg mixture into the sauce pan. Over medium-high heat, stir mixture constantly until it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the custard and reserve.

Put one layer of bread pieces in the greased dish, pour half of the custard over the bread. Put the rest of the pieces on top of that and cover with remaining custard. Jiggle dish to settle. Chill covered for 8 hours or overnight.

Top with sliced almonds, bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.

Monday, December 16, 2013

J is ONE! Chondradysplasia Punctata is mild.

I blogged way more through G's first year of life, but that is just the nature of being a new SAHM...you need to vent more, you are less certain, you have more time.

J hasn't been shorted in any way, shape, or form; aside from less face time on this blog...and I do not think that's a bad thing.

He's doing so amazingly well. He is super smart, super funny, and super sweet. He's a really happy and friendly boy. He wants to be the center of attention and is very investigative. He wants to be BIG really bad, and just the other day he climbed into the toy basket. I have no idea how! He's been known to get into the pantry and pull out cereal too. His latest mischief is climbing into G's bed and reaching onto her night stand to get whatever he can reach. (throws hands up, I can't win!)

As a one year old, J is;

  • about 21 pounds and a bit under 29" -- he's in 12 month clothes and size 3 diapers when he wears a disposable.
  • he has 4 top teeth and 3 bottom teeth (working on the other 1 for the past month now - boooo)
  • He sleeps from about 9 pm to 6 am ish, eats, and back to bed until around 9 am ish
  • He sleeps with a blanky, but doesn't really have a lovey, nor does he suck his thumb.
  • He is nursing before nap, before bed, once overnight, and 1-2 other times.
  • He eats BLD and a snack usually
  • His favorite foods are cheese (but we think he's sensitive to dairy), puffs/rice cakes, pears, shredded chicken, and peeled/sliced grapes.
  • His favorite toy is MY PHONE (that is a no no) or G's fan and music box and shoes (all no no's), so his favorite 'allowed' toy is the Elmo music thing, or stacking cups. That about sums him up--music and investigation. I wonder if he'll be "left brained" as he grows up. 
  • For early Christmas from my in laws, he got a baby "computer" and he LOVES IT.
  • No favorite show, he doesn't care about the TV, unless it's the remote, then he's totally into that.
  • His favorite person is momma :-) :-) but he loves almost anyone as long as he's in a good mood. He's started pushing G away if I am hugging/snuggling her, so that's developmental but still sad.
  • When daddy sings 'row row row your boat,' he tries to sing along. He has also tried to say "I love you," in baby speak, of course. Speaking of daddy, he's trying to teach J the parts of the body and sometimes J gets it right, but not all the time ;-)
  • He says "upp uppp uppp" and "nananana" and "dadadada" and a few other correct sound references. I'm counting dada as his first word and up as his first non family word.
  • He has hit all developmental milestones, including making 2-3 block towers! We are so blessed.
He vocalizes some, points all the time, creeps along walls/furniture, has taken a few steps, crawls really fast, can go up stairs if we let him, opens flaps in flap books, turns pages in real books, turns the light switch on/off if you hold him up, swipes up/around on my iPhone, climbs up into G's toddler bed, and he has the most mischievous grin. He is a handsome little boy and totally knows it.

I cannot say enough good things about him, but he isn't perfect. I just have a grounded perspective when it comes to him being clingy sometimes, or screaming sometimes.... I'm so much more comfortable in my motherhood than I was with G, but she's benefiting from that now and we are all just chugging along :-)



Dear J,

You are so special and our lives are forever changed by your entrance into our family. You give the sweetest snuggles and brightest grins. I cannot wait to see what you become, I know it will be something amazing. Never forget how we are your biggest fans, and never stop loving your sister. She is the best friend you'll ever have. She gives you 'hugs, and kisses, and pats' every day. She lets you pull her hair, steal her toys, and sings you songs. She loves you beyond belief, and as your mom, I am so blessed to get to watch the two of you together. Happy Birthday Baby Boy, you have made me a better person.


Monday, December 09, 2013

The best year of my life. 27

I can now truly say I feel the age that I am. For about 5 years now I have "felt" 27. I don't know why, I just thought that seemed about how old I should be based on my life.

And here I am. Twenty Seven Years Young. I have, in fact, been on earth for a full 27 years. So crazy. Happy Day of Giving Birth to Me Mom!! (As a mom, I now feel birthdays should really be about celebrating the woman who did the birthing, and she's seen below with me and my crazy kiddos)

This was the best year of my life. Probably because it started off so anxiety filled and ended so peaceful, but really, I can't think of one year that has so much GOOD in it...and it's not like I've had a bad life.

I had great visits with family and did fun activities, I heard good news about J and his condition, I had a few wonderful date nights with my amazing husband who is perfect for me, we settled into our house and got a lot of major projects marked off, I trained and rocked my first half marathon with my husband, I started eating better than ever in my life and got back to my college weight (but without the eating disorder I had then soooooo that's awesome), I settled into my mommahood and continually worked on my parenting (some days are better than others), oh...and I got a JOB! So I mean....yeah, it's been a freaking awesome year.... especially because there was only a small bad patch at the beginning due to recovering from J's crazy birth. And I guess the night is darkest before the dawn. Here's to hoping year 28 is even better!!!

one picture per month

I share my birthday with Juan Diego's feast day

“Happy Juan Diego, true and faithful man!

We entrust to you our lay brothers and sisters so that, feeling the call to holiness, they may imbue every area of social life with the spirit of the Gospel.

Bless families, strengthen spouses in their marriage, and sustain the efforts of parents to give their children a Christian upbringing.

Look with favor upon the pain of those who are suffering in body or in spirit, on those afflicted by poverty, loneliness, marginalization or ignorance.

May all people, civic leaders and ordinary citizens, always act in accordance with the demands of justice and with respect for the dignity of each person, so that in this way peace may be reinforced.”

–Blessed John Paul II, July 31, 2002

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five years as ONE

2008; marry the man God created for me

2009; go to Vegas, spend the summer in two different locations but survive, try to train for a half marathon but get hurt, have fun in college but work & study a lot, buy some bikes for our anniversary, pass our big exams for our majors (praxis and FE), live the life!

2010; student teach, capstone project, graduation!; myrtle beach trip, move, new job, make a baby; settle in

2011; have a baby, all that brings, visit family; we've arrived!

2012; move twice, enjoy the best coast in so many ways, make a baby, buy a house, have a baby; survive

2013; manage a home and two babies, celebrate life, run a half marathon together, clean up our eating, lose weight; THRIVE

I have to say, every year brings new challenges but also new rewards. Our first five years have been incredibly full and I wouldn't change a thing. I married my better half and have been more full, more whole, more myself than I ever could have dreamed before meeting him.

I don't want to come off bragging; I'm simply so complete and I want that for OTHERS too. If I could figure out a way to help everyone with a marriage vocation achieve the peace that comes from a unified marriage, I would share it. Am I lucky, or something else? I think I'm probably like any other gal, but it's that husband of mine. I think he's the one that makes our marriage beyond the norm. He cares about me, cares about the marriage, cares about our success. He listens to me, he contributes in many ways, he knows how to handle my personality, and he is self-less. It encourages me to be the same. 

I married the right man for the job. He's the one that needs to teach other men how to fulfill the vocation of "husband." He can start with our son <3

 I know there are a ton of other great marriages out there & trust me, I AM so HAPPY for you all :):) I just am sharing about mine, on my personal blog, on our anniversary. Plus, I know there's a lot of bad marriages out there, and I want any one in one of those to know...marriage can and should be GOOD. Not always happy, but unified at least. If you are truly unified through GOD, you marriage will never fail. It is a Godly institution and with His help, all things are good.

Love you cjb
Happy anniversary!