& It Continues…

I HATE this disease. Absolutely HATE it.

Not only does it interfere with my life, but now it’s interfering with Gabriella’s life. I feel like it is taking me away from being the best Mom I can be.

I thought things were looking up there for a minute, and then today happened. It has been AWFUL to say the least.

I down MORE weight. At this point it’s scary. With past eating issues, I would have been like ‘oh yay! I’m down even more weight.’ Not now. Not at this point in the disease. It keeps going down down down. It. Is. Scary.

The other thing is that it is HARD to eat, and now I need to eat even more to get in the calories. But the LAST thing a person dealing with a flare up wants to do is eat. About five minutes after you eat anything (I mean ANYTHING) you are in the bathroom. And in pain. So in the back of your mind, it’s like WHY am I even eating if it’s just going straight through me AND leaving me in pain?! But of course you have to eat, ESPECIALLY during a flare, it’s just HARD. Really hard. I have been drinking protein shakes, but the protein is causing stomach pain, so I may have to switch to something else, like Ensure or Boost. (They just don’t have a lot of protein, which is key, but hey they are additional calories.)

I’m not going to describe what happened this morning, but it was NOT pretty. It just VERY clearly made me remember HOW bad a flare is…and that I probably should NOT leave the house. AT ALL. Thankfully I have Craig, who was able to run a few errands that I had to get done. (like dropping off things for the tests I am having done to find out if it is more than a flare- like a possible infection)

Anyways, I’m sorry, yet another vent about this da*n disease. I just needed to get it out. I feel bad for always telling Craig about it, but to be quite honest I don’t think many people really want to hear all of the details because well…the disease is disgusting & embarrassing.

I’m just happy I have this girl to make me smile:
IMG_5117-1IMG_5111

She Makes Me Laugh & NEW Workout!

Good Morning & Happy Friday to you!!

Thank you all SO very much for all of the comments about my Crohn’s disease dilemma. I am looking into a few of the books recommended to me, and for now I am just taking it day by day. I started my new medication on Wednesday morning…6 horse pills.

pills

Yesterday I started actually feeling a bit better, still a LOT of trips to the bathroom, but not as many as Wednesday. So a little progress, I hope that it continues. The weird thing, well, I don’t know if it’s all that ‘weird’ but my Crohn’s is EXTRA bad at night. I mean I barely sleep at night. I may go 45 minutes, if I’m lucky, and then I’m in the bathroom (or up with Gabriella for a feeding). That part kind of sucks. Another hard part is that I’m trying to stay away from coffee because it irritates my stomach even more. Yesterday though I did have to have a bit in the morning, I just NEEDED it! 🙂

Another good thing was that I was able to run and not have to stop for a bathroom break- WOOHOO! So I’m crossing my fingers & toes that it continues to get better & that yesterday wasn’t just a fluke.

Enough Crohn’s talk for now. I have to tell you something funny about Gabriella. Well, you all know that she won’t take a bottle, that’s old news. BUT this girl will take ANYTHING else that’s not a bottle. I mean look at this:

G cup2

G cup1

Girlfriend takes my cup from my hand & then proceeds to drink straight from the mouth piece. I just have to help her hold it & tilt it up for her, but she drinks it like a pro. She makes me laugh! As much as we tried & tried with the bottle, she refused, but give her a sippy cup or just a regular cup & she’s ALL about it! I think part of it is seeing me drink from it & she is very much into the ‘copy cat’ routine right now. Monkey see, monkey do. 😉

Now as for that promised workout, I have it for you below! I did this on Monday & I was sore for THREE days after it- my hamstrings & tush were on fire! So don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😉 Oh, and I did use heavy weight for all of the exercises- which is part of the long term soreness…but so worth it!

Full Body Workout, With Emphasis on Glute (Butt) Muscles

1. Single Leg Squat (Using Smith Machine): 4 x 12 (each leg)
2. Dumbbell Bicep Curl: 4 x 10 (each- & heavy)

3. Single Leg Step Up with Knee Drive holding Dumbbells (Just like a step up, but at the top push your knee in the air) Here’s an example, but don’t go that high with your knee, just 90 degrees: 4 x 12 (each)
4. Incline Bench Sit ups holding plate : 4 x 15

5. Alternating Jump Lunges : 4 x 20 (each leg)
6. Tricep Dips : 4 x 15

7. Bulgarian Lunge holding dumbbells (or a plate) : 3 x 12 (each leg)
8. Lat Pulldown: 3 x 12-15

9. Box Squat (or use a bench):
10. Calf Raises on Machine: 3 x 20

I actually started this workout with a 20 minute HIIT run (30 seconds at 9.5mph, 30 seconds at 6.5mph), but I would suggest either starting with some form of cardio, or ending with it. I just wanted to get it done before I started with the weights, and I’m glad I did because I was WIPED after this one.

Happy Friday!! & enjoy your weekend!

IMG_4752

Love, my little lizard tongued girl 😉

The Beast Is Back…

Good Morning to you!

This post is going to be a bit of a ‘Debbie downer’ type of post, and for that I apologize, but I just want to be as real as I can be with you regarding my Crohn’s disease.

I had planned on writing this a few weeks ago, right when Gabriella turned 6 months old, but I kept putting it off and it’s kind of ironic that I did because boy did it change in a matter of a couple of weeks.

I was living the life before this past week. It was almost like I didn’t have the disease. I had a few rough days here & there, mainly with the urgency to go to the bathroom immediately, but nothing too crazy.

Before I got pregnant with Gabriella I couldn’t remember the last time that I was able to run outside. I always ran on the treadmill so that I was near a bathroom at all times.

Then I got pregnant & life changed. My Crohn’s pretty much went into ‘remission.’ I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what it was like to live life Crohn’s free.

preg

I was able to run outside, eat ‘normal’ foods when I wanted & not have to know where every bathroom was within a two foot radius…well, other than the normal pregnant woman’s need to pee every five seconds. Haha!

During my pregnancy I always wondered how my Crohn’s would do once I gave birth. Would it flare up, like some women experience? Would it stay the way it has been during my pregnancy, which was pretty much remission? Or would I experience a ‘milder’ form of the disease?

November 5th, 2012 I got my answer. My little bundle of love arrived.

IMG_0334

The best day of my life.

I honestly was on pins & needles regarding my Crohn’s after giving birth. I really felt like at ANY second it would flare back up. But as time went on, and I didn’t have any symptoms (other than a few here & there), I figured I may be in the clear.

Well, you know what assuming does…

Last week it took a turn for the worse. The VERY worst. One night it just hit me. I could NOT stay out of the bathroom. I was either up feeding Gabriella, or in the bathroom…ALL NIGHT LONG. It was awful. Completely draining.

I was hoping it might have been something that I ate, and that the issues would go away. Not the case. For the past week I have been in the bathroom more than I ever want to talk about.

I have been completely exhausted. My body is not absorbing ANY food. The second I eat anything, even something as plain as a piece of toast, I end up in the bathroom about five minutes after I finish. Gross.

The other thing that is worrisome is my weight. It keeps going down…it’s getting BAD. I know, you are probably thinking, ‘Cry me a freaking river Holly. You poor thing.’ But it IS a HUGE issue now. I lost three pounds in two days. I look like I need to eat. It’s NOT the look I’m going for.

This is me (& Lea 🙂 ) right before I got pregnant:

012-1

I actually liked my weight at the point in life….which for me had NEVER happened before. I always had issues with body image (I thought stick thin was the way to go), so to actually be content with my weight was a shock.

Now I am smaller than the picture above, which was ok, but now I am quite a bit smaller. Seeing bones is never attractive. This is not by choice, but just because my body isn’t absorbing any nutrients…or any food at all.

The other thing is the exhaustion. Never have I ever really ‘needed’ help with Gabriella since she has been born. Of course I appreciate any help, but right now I am almost to where I NEED the help. Another reason I wish we had family close by. Taking care of a 6.5 month old while being in the bathroom half of the day is not ideal.

IMG_4959

I feel bad for G. I don’t want her to feel like I’m not paying her enough attention.

Another thing is the running. I LOVE running. It is my sanity, and MY time. Yes I go with Gabriella daily, but she plays with toys in the BOB while I run & typically takes her morning nap in the stroller. It gives us a chance to get out of the house, and I am able to get my exercise in. I usually run anywhere between 6 & 10 miles each day. But yesterday I ran three miles & thought I was going to die. I couldn’t believe how DONE I felt when I finished. I felt like I just ran a marathon. Then it hit me ‘DUH!!! You have no fuel in your body to get you through your run. HELLO!’

It’s amazing how much better you feel with some food in your body! And it was scary after that run, to see how much my body was suffering from the symptoms from my Crohn’s.

Once I got home, I called the doctor to see if they had any appointments available. Thankfully they were able to squeeze me in for an ‘emergency appointment’ yesterday afternoon, specifically for patients dealing with a sudden flare up. Like any other doctor appointment, the first thing they do is weigh you & take your blood pressure. Well, the FIRST thing the doctor says when he walks in is ‘You can’t lose anymore weight.’ Which I knew. So we made a plan.

Since I am breastfeeding, my options on the medications that I can take are limited. But he did change my medication from Delzicol to Apriso, which is another form of Mesalamine and it is safe for breastfeeding.

Next up the plan for not losing anymore weight: add protein shakes, or nutrition shakes to my diet. He said 2-3 a day. Eek! But it’s manageable and NEEDS to happen. I immediately went out and bought some shakes as soon as I left the office.

And finally they sent me to a lab to pick up some things so that they can run a bunch of tests to find out if there is some sort of another infection going on, or if it is just my Crohn’s flaring.

He also reminded me that if I am feeling exhausted, it’s probably not the best idea to go out for a long run. (I know, DUH!) He said sometimes a little rest does the body good. And obviously my body is telling me to rest with the feelings of constantly being tired.

I go for a follow up appointment in two weeks. At that appointment we can make our next plan. But we are hoping that the medication starts to work wonders.

If you don’t mind, please say a little prayer that we can find something that works to get this disease back in ‘remission.’ Also anyone want to come & help me take care of a 6.5 month old for a few days?!

IMG_4314

She’s REALLY cute & I promise to pay you in baked goods.

If you made it through this entire post, THANK YOU! I hope it didn’t bore you too much.

Anyone else out there experiencing issues with Crohn’s? What medication or supplements, if any, are you on? Do you have certain things that trigger your disease?

Weekend Wrap Up

Good Morning!! I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend. (& if you didn’t get a long weekend, I am sorry, but hopefully your day was still nice)

Craig & I celebrated our two year anniversary yesterday! It was VERY low key- we didn’t do anything for it. We just enjoyed our time off from work and played with Gabriella. She was enjoying some extra Daddy time this weekend. 🙂

IMG_4909-1

Does it get any cuter?! I mean really.

We actually ‘celebrated’ earlier. I gave Craig his gift on Wednesday only because he was having a really rough week and I knew he could use some cheering up.

This is what he came home to:

IMG_5011

I got him the ‘new’ Ray Ban Wayfarer

RB2132-37

and a HUGE cookie, recipe courtesy of Sally, of course. 😉

IMG_5012

As big as a PLATE! All I did was use a 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips total, instead of the 1/4 cup of Reese’s pieces. Look at how THICK this thing was:

IMG_5014

Insane, right?!? He LOVED it though. I had a ‘hunk’ of it too & it was DELICIOUS! That Sally, she sure does know how to make amazing recipes, can’t wait to order her cookbook!!

My hubby got me pretty good too. Friday afternoon I got a text around 5:30pm telling me that he would be late, he was super busy at work because he was catching up on stuff for the long weekend. So I went ahead & fed Gabriella dinner (we feed her solids at night before bath time and then I nurse her before bed) and gave her a bath- both of which Craig normally does when he gets home from work so that I can make dinner. We planned on having leftovers, so it actually worked out perfectly, since I didn’t need to try to entertain Gabriella as I got dinner together.

Craig got home right as I finished giving Gabriella a bath, so he got to say goodnight to her, which she LOVED. Then I fed her & rocked to to sleep. As soon as I walked out of her room, I looked down & saw a post it that said ‘I Love you H Dub.’ <—what Craig calls me because my maiden name is Williams. As I continued down the stairs there was a little path of them leading to the dining room table, with the final one saying, ‘I made dinner.’ I looked up & saw a big plate of sushi from my favorite sushi restaurant, Shari.

IMG_5015

And three of our favorite rolls. From the left, my VERY favorite Chiquita (topped with bananas, I PROMISE it’s so good- Craig doesn’t even like bananas & he likes this roll), Drama Queen (tuna tartare) & Ceviche. (just like the appetizer, and topped with cilantro & lime juice- perfect combination of flavors) Just looking at this picture makes me want to go to Shari right this minute!

He also had some wine for us and a candle in the middle of the table- a ‘Sugar cookie’ candle- haha! I thought he was baking cookies when I walked down, totally threw me off- sneaky guy. 😉

It was such a perfect night! Since we couldn’t go out, he got it for us at home!

Saturday we spent looks of time with Gabriella, since the little lady is against sleep (she still gets up 3-4 times a night- I typically only sleep in 2 hour chunks, if that) she was up bright & early at 5am to hang out.

IMG_5031

Shirt says it all. 😉 Craig and I also watched Django Unchained- SO GOOD!!!!

Sunday was spent at Craig’s co-worker’s house- he was having a birthday & memorial day pool party. It was a fun time, and Gabriella enjoyed the pool (she is SUCH a water baby!)- sadly we couldn’t stay for the actual cook out because the little lady was ready for bed time. But it was still nice to see everyone & socialize for a bit.

As you know, yesterday was our two year anniversary & Memorial Day!! Thanks again to all of those who serve & have served in our military- you guys ROCK! We didn’t have any plans and just hung out with our favorite girl. Best part of the day?

Watching her spend about 20 minutes trying to crawl FORWARD, not just backwards.

IMG_5064

And we got to see her move one of her knees forward! I know, I know, you are probably like ‘really Holly, you two were excited over ONE KNEE moving forward?!’ Well, yes, yes we were. 😉 It’s a big step in Gabriella’s world. 😀

For dinner I made Shrimp Scampi, some sea scallops sprinkled with Old Bay & summer squash and zucchini.

IMG_5068

The shrimp scampi recipe I followed is found HERE, I just halved everything- actually only cooked 3 servings of pasta, instead of four- and we probably only ate HALF of that. The recipe was really good, I think I would just add a bit more lemon to it, but overall a nice light scampi sauce, instead of some of the recipes I saw that were LOADED with butter & oil, which would kill my stomach.

IMG_5073

A little bit of a ‘fancier’ meal for our anniversary.

We also topped off the night with some frozen yogurt and a milk shake for Craig. Can’t think of a better way to end our special day!

Anyone do anything special this past weekend??

This week I PROMISE a new workout coming your way, and I am also going to write about the status of my Crohn’s disease 6+ months after having Gabriella.

Enjoy your TUESDAY! Yay for not being Monday!!

Grandma’s Visit & Crock Pot Dessert Cake Recipe

Well hello there! Long time no talk.

Sorry this week has been a little crazy. (Sometimes I feel like I say that every week, maybe I should say crazy month instead. 😉 ) I thought Gabriella had a possible ear infection. Whenever she would nurse, she would tug on her ears. I figured it was just part of the teething process or maybe she was just discovering her ears…OR that it was an ear infection. She had no other symptoms, but I wanted to get her checked out just in case.

I took her to the doctor this morning, and everything went well. She is A-OK! Yay!

IMG_4959

…and right back to her old self. 😉

IMG_4975

I knew she was probably fine, but it makes this Momma feel better to know that she really is ok.

This past weekend Gabriella had a special visitor.

IMG_4876

Grandma!

We flew Craig’s Mom in for a long weekend for her mother’s day present. We knew it would be the perfect present, since I know she loves seeing Gabriella…and living in Maryland they don’t get to see her often, other than through Skype.

IMG_4623

We had a really fun time having her here, and Gabriella showed her all of the things that she has been up to lately. Like playing in her new kiddie pool…

pool

Swinging at the park (probably her very favorite thing right now)…

park2

Jumping in her Jumperoo, (<—LOVES that thing…and life saving for Mommy 😉 )

IMG_4927

Rooting for the Orioles, (in Craig’s Jim Palmer shirt from when he was a baby)

IMG_4787

& of course watching other kids at the pool.

IMG_4775

She LOVES watching other children. It’s the cutest thing. She will just stare at them, smile, laugh & coo. I have a feeling we have a little social butterfly on our hands.

On Saturday we watched the Preakness and we all picked our horses. Gabriella even chose one, Mylute, who ended up coming in third! Girl has gambling in her blood. 😀

IMG_4742

IMG_4744

I also attempted to make a ‘Black Eyed Susan’ drink, which is the drink of the Preakness.

IMG_4748

It wasn’t exact, I couldn’t find all of the ingredients, but it was a mixture of orange vodka, clear rum, orange juice & fresh pineapple juice. It was quite flavorful, and you couldn’t taste the alcohol, which is always a sign of a good drink. 😉

I figured we would top the weekend off with a recipe that I found on Pinterest for a crock pot recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Cake.

Below is my version of the recipe, the original recipe is linked above!

Crock Pot Peanut Butter Lava Cake

IMG_4918

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate topping:
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup Truvia baking blend
1 cup boiling water

Optional:
Vanilla Ice cream or frozen yogurt
Melted peanut butter

Directions:
1. Use a 4-quart slow cooker coated well with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup Truvia baking blend, baking powder and salt.
3. In the microwave, melt peanut butters for about 30 seconds, and then add to the mix along with milk, apple sauce and vanilla. Stir really well to combine. Spread this mixture into the bottom of your slow cooker.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa powder, the remaining 1/4 cup Truvia baking blend, and 1 cup boiling water (be careful!) Pour this evenly over the peanut butter batter in your cooker.
5. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or high for 2-4 hours), or until the top has set and an inserted toothpick (into the cake–underneath the cake is molten chocolate) comes out clean. Let the cake sit uncovered in an unplugged crockpot for about 20 minutes, then serve warm in dessert bowls, top with ice cream & melted peanut butter, if desired.

IMG_4920

I recommend the ice cream & peanut butter…it’s like the cherry on top. 😉

We all had a really good time, I wish our families were not so far away. I would LOVE for us all to get together more often. Gabriella does too.

IMG_4933

She would love to have someone else to stare at the grass with her.

NEW workout coming soon!! I just did it & I think you will really like it.

Any other Preakness watchers out there?? Did you pick a horse? How did you do?

I picked Departing…no idea how it did. Not too well I am guessing.

Favorite crock pot recipe? I need some more, crock pot cooking makes life SO MUCH easier! I have a ton on Pinterest, but would love some recommendations for recipes that you have tried & love.

Do It Yourself Tutorial: Ribbon Bow Holder

Happy Friday!!

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for all of the comments & emails about yesterday’s post. Honestly I didn’t intend to write about my BRCA results, but once I heard about Angelina’s story it really hit home & I felt the need to share my story.

I really hope that if you do have a history of breast cancer in your family that you really do consider getting the BRCA testing done. If you ever have any questions regarding it, you can email me. I may not have all the answers, but I will do my best to find out the answer for you.

Now on to a MUCH lighter topic.

I am a SUCKER for bows. I LOVE putting them in Gabriella’s hair.

IMG_4387

Her hair is finally long enough to get it into a bow. Of course it is a SUPER tiny amount of hair (she got her Momma’s super fine, thin hair), but I found bows that hold her hair up- the kind with velcro. They work perfectly!

g bow

^ just another trip to the grocery store…with Gabriella chewing my grocery list 😉

Once I found out that they made these velcro bows, I IMMEDIATELY went on Etsy to order some. Of course it is now an obsession, and I feel as though she must have a bow to wear with every outfit. Someone call for help, please. 😉

IMG_4695

Because she now has this extensive bow collection, I wanted to have some way to display them rather than just throwing them in a drawer somewhere. Of course I went on Etsy to see what I could find. WELL, I found a TON & most were $15- $20 PLUS shipping. But the more & more that I looked at them I thought, ‘I could just make my own.’ They looked VERY easy to make, so I gave it a try.

So here is a QUICK, EASY, CHEAP (everything cost around $5) do it yourself bow holder tutorial because I KNOW I’m not the only Mom addicted to dolling their daughter up with bows. 😉

Supplies:

IMG_4694

-Letter of your choice (Obviously I picked G for Gabriella), I got this pink glitter letter from JoAnn’s- it was like $2
-Grossgrain ribbon (I got 3/8” because her bows are really tiny, but you can get wider ribbon if making for larger bows)
-Ornament for letter, if you want it. I just thought the flamingo was too cute & it matched her letter perfectly
-Hot glue gun (plus glue sticks)
-Something to hang it on the way with (I used 3M photo stickers)

Directions:

1. If using an ornament or decoration on the front, hot glue it in the location of choice. Let dry for about a minute, then turn the letter over.

IMG_4707

2. Measure out how long you want your ribbon to hang, of course this will all be up to your discretion depending on where you want to hang it & how many bows you have to hang.

IMG_4708

3. Decide how many ‘rows’ of ribbon you want, making sure that you keep enough space in between each ribbon so that they bows do not overlap. I decided on three rows. Glue the first ribbon to the back of the letter.

IMG_4709

4. Evenly space out the ribbon, and glue the second ribbon to the back. I put the bows on the ribbon, just so I could make sure that there was enough space between each. Glue the second ribbon to the back.

IMG_4710

5. Continue gluing the remaining ribbons to the back of you letter.

IMG_4711

6. Once finished gluing the the ribbons, use a lighter and burn the ends of the ribbons. Just be careful, they burn QUICK. It’s literally like a one second & then blow out. This is to keep the ribbon from fraying.

IMG_4712

7. Wait a few minutes, until the hot glue has cooled & dried, then flip letter over & add the bows to your ribbon.

IMG_4718

8. And you have your bow holder!

IMG_4717

The whole process took MAYBE five minutes. I even did it while Gabriella was playing on the floor. She didn’t even notice I wasn’t there.

Of course I had to see what she thought.

This was her reaction:

IMG_4732

Not sure how I’m supposed to interpret that?! And LOOK AT HER TONGUE. It is SO LONG! Girl is part lizard 😉

And of course immediately it went into her mouth…as does EVERYTHING.

IMG_4729

Life of a teething baby!

BRCA Positive

It’s hard for me NOT to talk about what is going on with Angelina Jolie and how it affects me personally.

I am also BRCA positive.

Scary? Yes. Very. I am 87% likely to get breast cancer. EIGHTY SEVEN PERCENT. And 50% likely to get ovarian cancer. TERRIFYING to say the least.

brca-breast-cancer-graph1

I had the blood test done when I was 21. The reason I decided to do it was because my biological mother had breast cancer, she did survive, but does have constant scares with new lumps or tumors. Her mother also had breast cancer, but did NOT survive. She passed away pretty young, I believe she was in her 50’s. I did not know her, but I did find out she passed away from it.

The blood test does not give you the results right away, it takes about two weeks, from what I can remember.

Craig and I were dating at the time, and I remember the day I got the results. I was standing in the kitchen, and Craig had JUST walked into the house for lunch. (He comes home for lunch) The office called, and I immediately picked the phone up, and my doctor started out by saying, ‘Holly, your results are in, and it came back positive. You are BRCA1 positive. I am so sorry.’

I just looked up at Craig, and couldn’t help but start crying. My doctor was still on the phone and was very sweet, she kept telling me everything was ok and told me I could go in to see her for counseling if I wanted. I thanked her, hung up and just cried. I was SO thankful Craig was there (how random is it that my doctor called me RIGHT when he got home? I’d say some divine intervention happened, for sure), he just held me and said everything would in fact be ok.

N115

Seriously one of the reasons I married him. He is SO STRONG and SO SUPPORTIVE in EVERYTHING. He comforts me in times of need and really does put my mind at ease.

Honestly the FIRST thing I thought of was my children. Of course I didn’t have children at the time, it was before we were married…it was actually not too long after we had started dating. (Poor guy has to deal with someone with Crohn’s disease AND BRCA 1+…at least he knew what he was getting himself into before he asked me to marry him. 😉 )

I IMMEDIATELY thought ‘Oh my gosh, what if I pass this gene to my future children?!’ Craig then reminded me that obviously I have no choice as to what genes would be passed to children, which I knew, but it still made me sad.

But NOW it is a whole new story. I DO have a child.

G023-001

A beautiful baby girl that I’m HEAD OVER HEELS in love with.

IMG_4629-1_thumb.jpg

Before I had Gabriella, and shortly after finding out that I was BRCA positive, I decided that I DID want to have the preventative mastectomy. I also want my ovaries out.

Once I decided this, I had another choice to make: Have the surgery NOW or wait until after I have children? I always wanted children, and I had a feeling that Craig was THE ONE (even though it was only a few months into our relationship), but I had no idea when I actually would have kids.

I decided to schedule a few appointments with various surgeons around town to discuss the preventative mastectomy. I knew I had a LOT to think about & consider. I explained my situation to the surgeons I met with, listened to their advice and opinions and ultimately made my decision.

For ME, the best decision was the wait until after having children. The main reason was that I wanted to be able to breast feed, and the surgeons told me that I was still pretty young to have the surgery. Of course breast cancer doesn’t wait to affect someone until a certain age, but with LOTS of monitoring & frequent mammograms and annual MRI’s, any suspicious tumors or cells would hopefully be caught quickly.

Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon

My plan is still DEFINITELY to get the preventative mastectomy & my ovaries removed once we have baby #2. Of course both of these are MAJOR surgeries, and they will be life changing…I will probably have to be on certain hormones for the rest of my life. But you know what?

If doing these surgeries means that I will get to see my baby girl (&baby #2) grow up and have children of their own…and maybe those children have children means EVERYTHING to me. EVERYTHING.

IMG_3467

ANYTHING for them is WORTH EVERY ounce of pain.

IMG_3686

My future is with my husband and my children. And that is one future I WILL NOT MISS out on.

One other thing I want to add is that I have heard of some women actually NOT getting the test done because they are scared of the possible outcome of being BRCA positive. I understand it is scary. I GET IT. But having this test could save your life. Please don’t be scared of it, it is MUCH better to be aware of it rather than just trying to block it out of your mind. It’s not like it will just ‘go away’ if you don’t think about it.

Here are some links that have more information about BRCA testing & about the gene mutation in case you are interested:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/brca-gene-test/MY00322
http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/15/health/brca-expert-qa/?hpt=hp_bn13 (<—7 questions answered about the gene and testing)

***Head’s up: BRCA testing is EXPENSIVE. BUT the good news is that if you can provide proof of someone related to you (usually close family member- mother/ father/ sister/ grandmother/ aunt) having breast cancer, insurance companies will typically cover the cost. Of course you should contact your insurance company regarding what they will cover. My insurance did cover the WHOLE test, since I could prove that my biological mother & maternal grandmother had the disease. I also found out that they will cover MOST of my surgeries as well, since it IS preventative.***

Stuffed Salmon & NEW Workout!

Good Morning!

Boy do I have a recipe for you today. But first, let me share the workout I have been promising to give you.

This is a workout for the gym, but many exercises can be done at home using dumbbells. It is a combination weight workout, along with cardio exercises (these exercises are in purple). It is designed to keep your heart rate up while doing weight exercises. – means more fat & calorie burn!

Arms/ Abs/ Calves

Bicep Cable Curls: 3 x 12
Super Set Overhead Triceps Press: 3 x 12

25 Jumping Jacks

Cable Rope Hammer Curls : 3 x 12
Super Set Triceps Pushdown with Straight Bar: 3 x 12

20 Squat Jumps

Bosu Ball Crunch, pulling weight behind your head using rope attachment on cable machine: 3 X 25
Super Set Weight Oblique Side Crunch (use plate): 3 x 15

15 (or as many as you can) burpees with jump at the end (I know, they suck 😉 )

Incline Sit ups holding a plate: 3 x 12
Super Set Incline Twisting Oblique Twists holding a plate: 3 x 10 (each side)

25 Plié Squat Jumps

Upright Rows using straight bar on cable machine: 3 x 12
Super Set Barbell Shoulder Press 3 x 12

20 Skaters (each leg)

Dumbbell Lat Raises 3 x 12
Super Set Front Raises (can use plate instead of dumbbells): 3 x 12

10 Tuck Jumps (tuck knees into chest while jumping)

Standing Calf Raises (I used a weighted bar on the squat machine): 3 x 15
Super Set Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 15

Sprint 1/4 of a mile on the treadmill– as fast as you can, which will probably not be too fast since it IS the very end of your workout- you are probably pretty tired by now.

Most of the exercises can be found online, but if you do have any questions about the moves, let me know! I will get back to you ASAP!

Now, for that recipe. Lately I have been on a salmon kick. I LOVE it. I can’t get enough of it. My favorite FAST way to prepare it is to season it with salt & pepper, then top it with a couple of tablespoons of raspberry jam & top it with a few chopped pecans. I bake it at 425 degrees for 15- 20 minutes, depending on the size of the piece of fish.

Now because I had a little bit of extra time last night, I found a new salmon recipe on Pinterest. (thank goodness for Pinterest, right?!)

I ran across Stuffed Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce. My mouth started watering at just the NAME of the recipe.

IMG_4701

My pictures may not be as pretty as the original source, but I guarantee it tasted just as good! 🙂 The original recipe is found HERE– this is NOT my creation! I have copied the recipe below and have added in what I changed.

STUFFED SALMON with SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE

TERIYAKI MARINADE INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 cup water

5 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 tablespoons honey

TERIYAKI MARINADE DIRECTIONS

1. in a small bowl, combine cornstarch & 1/4 cup cold water. stir until cornstarch is dissolved; set aside

2. in a saucepan, combine 1 cup water, soy sauce, ground ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar & honey; bring to a simmer

3. When liquid is simmering & brown sugar has melted, add the cornstarch/water mixture & simmer until thick enough to coat a back of a spoon (do not over thicken!)

SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup Sriracha sauce

6 oz. Fat Free Greek Yogurt

3 tablespoons condensed milk

SRIRACHA CREAM DIRECTIONS

1. in a medium bowl, combine Sriracha & Greek yogurt & whisk well

2. add condensed milk & whisk until fully incorporated; add more condensed milk for a milder taste & more Sriracha for a spicier taste

STUFFED SALMON W/ SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS

2 salmon filets

teriyaki marinade (recipe above)

sriracha cream sauce (recipe above)

2 tbsp low fat cream cheese (room temperature)

green onions (thinly sliced)

sesame seeds

cooking spray

STUFFED SALMON W/ SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE DIRECTIONS

1. in a baking/marinating dish, place salmon filets & add  3/4 cup teriyaki marinade. let marinade reach about 1/2 of the sides of filets. marinade in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to overnight

2. preheat oven to 400 degrees. meanwhile, line a baking dish with aluminum foil & spray with cooking spray; set aside

3. on a cutting board, slit the sides of each salmon filets making a long pocket/envelope; do not pierce through the other side!

4. insert about a tablespoon of cream cheese into each pocket; do not overstuff or the cream cheese will seep out during baking

5. in the prepared baking dish, place stuffed salmons & sprinkle a nice amount of sesame seeds. cover the baking dish & salmon filets with another sheet of foil & bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until salmon is cooked all the way through

6. Take out fish & turn on broiler. Broil fish for about 3-5 minutes, or until fish is SLIGHTLY browned around edges.

6. Once fish is broiled, place in a serving dish & drizzle with sriracha cream sauce, some of the remaining teriyaki marinade & garnish with thinly sliced green onions

IMG_4703

Seriously my pictures do NOT do this dish justice. It was DELICIOUS! & SO WORTH the additional time is took to prepare. A lot of the recipe is based on personal taste, like if you want to add extra sriracha to the sauce and how much of the sauces to drizzle on the fish. I know it looks like a LOT of steps, but it really is pretty easy overall.

Well this post has been a TON of text and very few pictures, so with that I MUST include a picture of Gabriella that just makes me smile.

IMG_4637

Silly little girl. 😉

Do you have a favorite salmon recipe? Please feel free to link away!

Top 10 Things for a Six Month Old

I know it appears that this has turned into a Mommy blog. Sorry…well, I guess it’s one of those ‘Sorry, I’m not sorry’ kind of things! 🙂 My whole world right now is Gabriella and I really don’t see that changing much anytime soon. I know you Moms can relate 😀

Now with that said I do intend to have other things on here besides just baby stuff. I promise it WILL actually happen! I have a workout that I will share tomorrow, but today I wanted to do a follow up to my post ‘Top 10 Things for a Newborn.’

Since Gabriella is now a HALF of a year old (?!?!?!?!), I have a whole new list for you. Now, of course, please keep in mind that these are what work for US, all babies are different.

1. Jumperoo

jump a roo

Girl cannot get ENOUGH of this toy! Sometimes this really is my saving grace. I can clean the kitchen while she jumps all around. I have the CUTEST video of her jumping all around in it, but it was too big to send from my phone to my email…anyone have any ideas of how to do this?? It is hilarious! She was just cracking up! She really loves that hanging fly/insect on the side- (the one with the black & white dots) she just chews on it like crazy.

2. Seats

IMG_4672

Let me clarify. One a baby is starting to crawl (or trying with ALL of their might to crawl), sitting up alone, and showing more signs of independence the LAST thing they want to do is lay down. They constantly want to sit up & look at the world around them. I picked up the adirondack chair above from Bed, Bath & Beyond yesterday. G liked just sitting in it & looking around. I had it inside for a while, then we went outside.

She also really likes her Bebe Pod. (which is the same thing as the Bumbo)

IMG_4080

^the red seat.

I bring it EVERY WHERE. I put her on the counter while I cook, or I put it on the floor while we read books.

She also just enjoys sitting UP in general.

IMG_4125-1

^my little sass

3. Sippy Cups

IMG_4679

But not just any sippy cup, the kind with the rubber mouth piece. There are two types that we have- the kind with the hard mouth piece, and the kind with the rubber mouthpiece. The rubber one is more like a bottle nipple. Gabriella actually started drinking water out of these around 4 and 1/2 months. Of course she refuses pumped breast milk in them (little stinker!), but she will chug water in it! I always put ice in the water for her because I think she likes it really cold- it feels good on her gums- with all of the teething going on!

4. BOB Stroller

IMG_4661

Seriously, this is a LIFE saver. I use this stroller NON stop. Once in the morning, for my run-  usually 6-10 miles- which is where she takes her morning nap & then we use it in the afternoon for our walk- which is usually around 30 minutes. Thankfully Gabriella loves it.

We started playing this new game a couple of weeks ago on our afternoon walk. There is a little window on the top of the stroller that I can see in. I put one of her toys on the top of the window & she looks up at it & starts CRACKING up. It is the BEST!

IMG_4662

^ you can see the window above, and one of her crinkly toys in the window- a monkey.

IMG_4665

^she tries to get it, and when she can’t she starts laughing 🙂

I know these strollers are expensive, but if you are a runner & plan to run with your baby, this stroller is WORTH EVERY PENNY!

5. Walker

IMG_3275

^that picture is almost two months old…she can now touch the floor in it.

I know a lot of pediatricians will tell you NOT to get a walker because it causes irregular bone & muscle development. But this walker is actually designed NOT to do that, which is why I bought it. Gabriella loves being in it, for a brief time. This isn’t like the jumperoo, where she will spend a TON of time in, but it is good for a little bit of entertainment. I think once she can really move, it will be more entertaining. But I love that this one has a place on the side to attach additional toys.

6. Soft Cushioning for Floor

IMG_4314

Girl is ON THE MOVE! We have hard wood floors, and the thought of Gabriella potentially falling on them is not a pretty picture. We always have her on blankets, but are going to get some foam blocks to cover an area of the floor as well.

7. Spatulas

IMG_4579

I know I JUST talked about this, but these spatulas have really helped us with all of the teething. Her little two bottom teeth are JUST about to break through & she is gnawing on EVERYTHING she possibly can. A cold spatula, which she can hold on to herself, is the BEST! She gets all excited when I pull it out of the freezer, it’s adorable.

8. LOTS of Towels/ Wipes

IMG_4685

In case you didn’t know, babies are MESSY! They like to feed themselves and it gets EVERYWHERE. Places you would never think you would find baby food, you WILL! Gabriella’s favorite food is sweet potatoes, and heads up…they stain if you don’t wash them out right way. Dreft makes a great stain remover. Once I get G to bed, I end up having to shower again because show how her food ends up all over me as well. It’s lovely 😉

We have towels and wipes EVERYWHERE. Car, diaper bag, strollers, downstairs, upstairs, you get the idea!

9. Books

love you forever

You already know my experience with the book above! 🙂 One of my favorite things to do is reading books with G. I put her on my lap & hope I can keep her attention at least for a few minutes. I love the books that are the ‘touch and feel’ ones. She is just now ‘getting’ it- like how she can feel the pages, but mainly she enjoys just chewing on them. (again, the teething monster has arrived in FULL FORCE) I have read that even if they are sort of paying attention to you, babies understand what you are saying. Like they get that you are reading them a book and they ARE actually listening even if it appears they aren’t. (I would love to know who does these studies- haha!)

10. Stuff for Outdoors (Sunscreen, hats, etc)

IMG_3966

Babies skin is EXTREMELY sensitive and living in Florida makes it SUPER important to make sure baby is always dressed appropriately. I started using sunscreen on Gabriella right around 4 months. I called the doctor’s office to make sure it was ok, since most sunscreens say wait until 6 months, but they said it was ok to put it on at 4 months.

Another key accessory are hats. Her doctor reminded me at our last appointment how important hats are, especially for babies with light and fine or thin hair like Gabriella has. (she got that from me) She has blonde hair & it’s very fine, so the sun can go right through it.

IMG_3756

Hats are very important, not just because she looks adorable in them (if I do say so myself 😉 ) but because we have to protect that little head.

Of course I have to end with a funny picture…

IMG_4691

A face only a mother could love! And you better believe I went in for a big ol’ kiss! …and then proceeded to clean BOTH of us up. 😉

Hopefully my favorite ten things will help someone else out! If you have anything to add to the list, please feel free!!