Sunday, January 30, 2011


This past year I've become more aware of what I'm putting in my body. It started when we got a few chickens and I realized that the eggs in the store are nothing like fresh eggs that chickens lay. Then we started growing our own garden, and I realized how flavorful tomatoes are, and how good corn on the cob tastes when it's fresh off the stalk. When we went to Hawaii we ate a lot of fresh fish and fruits. The difference was surprising. We didn't eat any fast food while we were there, and I felt so much better. Right after that I saw the movie Food Inc.. (Several years ago, my college professor showed us the documentary The Future of Food*. I was younger at the time, and my eyes were not yet opened to the difference of fresh vs. store bought food.) It's been a gradual process, but over the past year or so I've really paid attention to the food my family and I are eating.

Let me start off by saying, I like to eat. I'm not a picky eater, and I enjoy food. Which, combined with some rampant PCOS has lead to some pretty significant weight gain. (I've talked about it before.) This past month I haven't eaten much fast food. It hasn't been a conscious decision, it's just that I haven't been working, therefore I'm home more and can make my own meals rather than grab something from a drive through. I really didn't notice a difference in how I felt, until I drove though and grabbed a burger with a friend. I couldn't even finish it. It was so disgusting. There wasn't anything wrong with it- it just didn't taste good anymore. We have been eating fresh grass fed beef from a local farmer, and the hamburger I just bought didn't even taste like hamburger. It tasted... fake? That's the only way I can describe it. The same thing happened the next week when I bought lunch from another fast food place. I couldn't even finish my meal. It didn't taste good at all. In fact, what used to be my favorite meal now tastes inedible to me.

We've been making changes to the way we eat. The biggest is the meat we eat. Like I said, we buy grass fed beef from a local farmer. It ends up costing us less then $2 a pound, including everything from ground beef to porterhouse steaks. We had to buy a freezer to keep the meat in, but it's an investment that is well worth it. (We picked ours up at an estate sale for $75!) The flavor and quality of the meat really is better. We also raised our own chickens for meat. I didn't buy the "meat birds" that are marketed to farmers. They are genetically altered birds that grow rapidly, and are made to have large breasts. It is not uncommon for them to grow so large their legs break because they can't hold up their weight. (It's a sad sight to see.) Instead, we use regular chickens. The flavor of a fresh chicken is nothing like what you buy at the store. Nothing. Most of us don't really know what chicken is supposed to taste like.

In the past few months I've noticed that my asthma, which used to be constant, has now lessened. I just feel better in general.

My husband has lost more than 20 pounds. I've lost 12.

My son's class had to keep track of their diet for a week. Their teacher had them use I started using it last week. It's a great tool for someone who wants to keep track of their food intake and make sure they are eating a balanced diet. There are many tools to use, including a menu planner so you can plan your menu for the whole week. You'd be surprised at how much less you eat when you know you have to account for it.

We are going to plant a garden again this year. We're also going to raise our own chickens for meat again, and possibly even a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'd like to hear your tips for eating better.

*You can watch the full length documentary for free on the website.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I love cooking. I think I'm a fairly good cook. I'm not Betty Crocker by any means, but what I do cook turns out well and everyone seems to enjoy it. I prefer simple recipes that don't call for a ton of ingredients. I also like cooking more than baking. I'm not much of a sweets person.

A few years ago my husband had a physical and his triglyceride level was more than 300. We knew we had to start eating healthier. He started eating oatmeal every morning (the real stuff) and at the doctors urging we decide to start eating salmon. I had no idea how to cook it. We found this recipe at the store next to the salmon. I tweeked it a little to make it my own (like the original recipe called for tomatoes, but I'm not big on cooked tomatoes). We've tried it cooked different way, but in our house nothing compares to this recipe. (FYI- Hubby's triglycerides are now down in the mid 150's.)

(I am not a strictly-by-the-book-measure kind of person. I usually just eyeball the ingredients. These measurements are my best guesstimate)

Sweet Basil Salmon

1- 1 & 1/2 pounds salmon*
Crushed red pepper flakes- 1 to 2 tbsp. depending on your preference
1 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, depending on your preference
2 tsp fresh sweet basil

Mix the oil, vinegar, garlic and basil in a bowl. Set aside to let the flavors mingle while you cook the salmon.

Brush plain olive oil lightly on top of the salmon and sprinkle with the crushed red pepper and a little salt. (If you don't have crushed red pepper you can use ground Cayenne pepper, but it's better with flakes). I use the back of a spatula to press the red pepper into the fish.

Cook starting skin side down until flaky turning once. Careful you don't overcook it- usually about 8 minutes or so. (I prefer to cook it on a grill, but we've also used the broiler and even our George Foreman Grill so it's up to you!)

Once the salmon is cooked immediately take it off the heat and set on a serving dish. Pour the oil mixture over the salmon. Let it marinate for no more than 10 minutes (the acid in the vinegar will make the skin mushy if it sits longer than this). Enjoy! I like to serve this with fresh grilled veggies.

*Make sure you use wild caught salmon.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


When my step-daughter gave birth to C. a few months ago, I know everyone was wondering how I felt about it. Secretly I worried I wouldn't love this baby the way I loved her older son (who I love). I won't lie- I breathed a sigh of relief when it was confirmed he was a boy. I didn't know if I could handle a girl.

I didn't buy things as early as I did with her first. I was cautious. I didn't push myself to feel something that I wasn't feeling. It was OK to be standoffish. I felt like once I saw him I would love him.

And I did.

When he was born I got to hold him right away, and he was precious. I did love him. But I wasn't in love with him like I was with his brother.

I didn't feel that deep connection that I felt with her other son. With M. it's as if he was my own child. I love him deeply. He fills my soul with joy. It was like that since the moment he was born. Probably before he was born, if I really think about it. I've always loved him. We may not share blood, but he is no less mine. I hoped to feel that with C., but it wasn't quite that. I loved him. That I knew. But I didn't fall in love with him the way I had fallen for his uncle and brother.

Jen had a c-section, so I took the week off from work to help her out. I looked forward to spending the time with them. Glad I had a chance to know C. better.

I was alone with him the first time when he was three days old.

It wasn't a conscious decision. I didn't think about it, it just happened. As I held him, and looked down at him and breathed in his sweet smell I could literally feel the internal wall I had built crumbling. I felt myself falling in love with him. My heart swelled at the thought of him. He snuggled into me, and I just melted. Any fears I had about not bonding with him were forgotten.

He was mine. He is mine.

I kissed him on the top of the head and told him I loved him. And I meant it with all my heart.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Imagine my extreme surprise when I came home to find this in my yard:
It had two friends with it also. Stray pigs? Really?

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Whenever I hear about another stillbirth, I think back to the beginning of my experience. I go back to that time. I remember how helpless I felt in those first few days. Days? I should say weeks and even months. I read back through this blog and it's like a diary of the journey I've been on. There are some things I would have forgotten, and I'm so happy I've written them down. No matter what, when I read theose words it takes me back to that time. I can remember it vividly.

When I first lost Brenna, I first wanted to know "why?", and secondly I wanted to talk with other people who had experienced loss. I wanted to know it was going to get better. I wanted to know there was hope. There was a time that I literally could not see a future. I would try to think of something to be look forward to, and I couldn't think of anything. Life seemed like a long dark tunnel.

If you are reading this and your loss is still fresh, please know that it does get better. It gets easier. You will be OK.

I think back to that time and I think a few things helped me:

I blogged. A lot. Not all of the posts were published, but I saved them as drafts so I could read them at a later time.

I cried. A lot. I never really cried in front of anyone. Almost always when I was alone.

I found an online support group. I suggest Baby Center's Second and Third Trimester Loss group. It was important to vent to other women who understood why seeing a baby made me want to die inside.

Most importantly, I allowed myself to be sad but I didn't allow the sadness to overtake me. I could very easily have stayed in bed all day. Instead, I allowed myself to have a crying fit in the morning, and then got out of bed after a half hour. Had I stayed in bed, the sadness would easily have overtaken me. But I knew that I needed to experience the feelings I had if I was ever going to get over it. I allowed myself to experience it, but I didn't let it overtake my life.

It's been almost three years since my daughter was stillborn. I used to hate when people would call baby loss a journey. But now I know why they do. Because it's just that- a journey. You have to get to the other side of it, and that can sometimes be a difficult struggle, but you will get there.

I recently heard something* that really hit home with me:

"It'll be OK when it's all over. And if it's not OK- then it's not over."

I think that especially applies to the grieving process. It will be OK in the end.

*Ok, I heard this on Giuliana & Bill. Don't judge me. Bill it hot.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Hey asshole. When I am pouring my heart out about the death of my daughter, don't leave me a comment telling me "great post" and then try to get me to buy some of your crap or visit your website selling who-knows-what. Stupid comments on all the other nonsense I write about doesn't really bother me, but this post? It's almost as if you stomped on her grave.

Comments are being moderated from now on.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Has it really been more than a month since I posted? I think that's a record.

A lot has happened in the last month. My brother moved in with us. He was laid off, and I actually asked him to come live with us. It's a win-win. He saves money and in return can help us out with getting the boy from school and to and from sports practice, etc. Things were working out pretty great this last month. Happy, happy, happy.

Then I got laid off.

I can't say it was a surprise. I could see it coming a mile away. I spent the week before Christmas looking for a new job. I've hinted on this blog as to what a nightmare work has been. It was actually a relief.

I've been reflecting a lot upon my life lately. Every time I go to church I think about the things I need to change in my life, and work seemed to be the one thing I didn't feel was making me a better person. I was stressed out, wasn't sleeping well, and just generally unhappy. My workload was getting increasingly larger, and in the end I was basically doing the job of two people. Everything in my personal life suffered. I could tell it was time to move on. I just hadn't found a place to move to.

I can already feel a difference. I feel lighter. Happier. My laugh has returned. I have no hard feelings toward my employer. I truly feel there is an underlying mental issue. At the same time, I'm not proud to admit that I get a ton of pleasure hearing how they are struggling in my absence. From what I hear, they will be closed by June.

My plans for now are to look for another job. In this crappy state that doesn't look likely, but I have hope. If I don't find anything in my field I'm going to go back to school. I'm only a few semesters away from my degree (quit for the job I had!) so at least I'll be accomplishing something.

In other news, my BFF is pregnant again. Four months after giving birth. She had a c-section and was told to wait about a year before having another, but apparently they couldn't wait. She asked me if she should be concerned and what were the risks. I was very blunt and told her that since my uterus rutptured for no reason, I'm probably not the person to talk to about risks. But knowing her, everything will be fine. I sometimes feel like she's one of those people who f's everyting up, but still comes out golden.

If you haven't done so, please go over and encourage one of my favorite bloggers, Jen. She has an infertility blog that had a lot of deadbabymama followers. I never imagined she would become a deadbabymama. My heart just breaks for her.

Happy New Year everyone.