Wednesday, August 8, 2012

new adventure

embarking on a new adventure

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Great video

Here's a video that is a little hokey but she hits all the right points...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's part of my story

Surrounding me on this October 4th, as I think about baby Liliana we may have had on this day 2 years ago, are others in my life who are grappling with very difficult challenges.  Cancer. Threatened pregnancy. And all kinds of other chaos.  I sit here thinking about how calm my life is at this moment.  How many pieces of my life (our life) are actually going in the direction we've intended.  By no means am I saying the days are easy... just that in perspective, I have a whole lot to be thankful for and I realize how important it is to take a moment and just say 'thank you' for getting me here. To this place where in this moment, things are as I hoped and wished they would be.  I am fully aware that there are ebbs and flows - and while so often the challenging times take precedence, right now - this moment needs to be celebrated.

I am listening to a podcast on cancer - in hopes of finding help for my friend, and this woman is talking about coming to terms with the diagnosis of cancer.  Finding a way to make it a part of your identity.  When I lost Maya and Liliana, I compared my pain to what it must be like to be a cancer patient.  The alone-ness of it.  The isolation and need to help yourself when no one else can.  Being isolated in pain.  And as I came through my losses, I had to realize that I was now that person - the one who had a miscarriage, then two.  I was the mother of a dead baby.  My paperwork will always say 4 pregnancies, 2 children.   Just as someone with cancer has to deal with being "that person" - the one with cancer. The one who's paper work will always say "in remission."

And as I got farther away from the losses,  all the efforts we made to make sense of those times,  all the food changes, all the education, it all changed our life.  And now, our little lost babies are forever a part of our story.  Not painful anymore.  Although I'm still in awe of what I went through.  But I've come to accept it.  And I'm actually happy that I will have two children holding two little pumpkins in honor of their sisters (when I get to take the picture after the rain stops!).  I'm at peace and I'm blessed. And I'm so thankful that I have the perspective of whole food and nutrition, integrative and holistic medicine, and the recognition that we can find answers and cures to what ails us, in raising two kiddos who are going to need these options more than any other generation.  Thank you Maya and Liliana for providing the hope of a long, long life to your sister and brother.

So on this October 4th, I say a big giant prayer, for my friends who are struggling to deal with and accept a new reality.  Who still have a chance at writing their own story and who need a little help in getting there.  My commitment is to be the researcher. Cuz that's what I've to get information on how to heal our bodies.  And to give the message that you will come to terms with your new reality. And someday, in the distant future, you will have a chance to look at how your story unfolded, how it changed you, and how it's become part of your identity.

Happy Birthday Liliana.  I thought of you all day today.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quinoa for Breakfast?

So busy - I've really neglected this site.  But I have a ton of great recipes I'm dying to post.
News:  Andrew is growing incredibly fast.  And doing great.
Diet:  Just finally got off the drugs again (sugar, grains, dairy, etc.).  Andrew has a little indigestion and spits up a lot.  Lately he's been showing some signs of reflux and seems to be in pain while eating sometimes. So I made the big cut and went cold turkey. It's been so hard to give up coffee but I did it.  Green tea is helping.  Because I love lattes I was drinking milk.  I also was eating more meat than usual since I had craved protein so much while I was prego. I haven't given up meat completely but we rarely eat it.  And sugar.  Ah sugar. You realize the significance of sugar as a drug when you give it up and then have JUST ONE PIECE OF CANDY.  You want MORE MORE MORE.  My first piece was last thanksgiving (I was pregnant and no one knew it).  I couldn't stop and haven't been able to give it up since.  But alas, I'm done.  So...  back on the saddle again and I already feel great.  Two green smoothies a day, lots of alkaline food, emphasis on protein...  and best of all... WE'RE GETTING A VITAMIX BLENDER!

Here is my favorite and easies recipe of late:

1 cup quinoa
1 cup milk (any kind - I use almond milk)
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean split in half (or just a teaspoon of vanilla)
dash of cinnamon if you like

Bring to boil then simmer for about 15 mins.

Dress with fruit, nuts, maple syrup or honey.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Recommendation: Organic Manifesto

Just wanted to post a new book recommendation.  Have finally been finding time to read it while feeding Andrew.  Mike read it and really got a lot out of it - kept telling me to read it and he plans to read it again.
Anyway - for anyone who has ever thought twice about the benefits, cost of, justification for, importance of, or questionable practices of organic food, READ THIS BOOK.

Although truthfully, it's kinda like Food,Inc.... makes you never really want to eat again.
And for me, it makes me want to run away and move to Italy ;-)

Organic Manifesto by Maria Rodale - buy it now!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Recipes for Foodie Followers!

I've come to find out that many who still look at this blog come here for recipe ideas.  I can now proudly say that at just 6 weeks post partum, I COOKED!!! Two times this weekend.  Mike is supposed to cook on the weekends but I found some recipes I wanted to try in a couple magazines and I just couldn't help it.  They were so yummy I have to share.

Let me first show off our garden gifts - we are officially in tomato heaven.  And we also just found out that we have probably had the most success in our whole neighborhood (based on our few gardeners that surround us). That's gotta make Mike feel good.  It's been a rough year with our extreme lack of sun - so the fact that ours are actually turning red (or whatever other fun color they are supposed to turn) is a near miracle!!!

And that's not even all of them!!!

So for recipe #1

Eggplant Sandwiches
Slice eggplant into 4 (we substituted zucchini since that's what we had - equally yum)
Rub both sides of each slice with olive oil and dust with salt/pepper
Layer slices of tomato, mozzarella cheese and basil between two slices of eggplant
Grill for about 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your desire (and cheese is slightly melted)

Recipe #2

Grilled Peaches
I always thought grilling fruit was weird but I think they are actually on to something. Now I'm going to go back and find the recipes I passed up on other grilled fruit and see how they are. This one was to die for. 

Slice peaches in half (however many you want to eat!)  I used regular peaches but you can use white, yellow, and even nectarines.
Simmer the following:
3 T Butter
1/3 Cup Honey
1/4 t Vanilla
Brush the sauce onto the top of the peach (I poured it on it and in the pit hole and let it sit for an hour before grilling - that definitely added some magic!)
Grill cut-side down for about 4 minutes
Put a dollop of vanilla ice cream (we used greek yogurt and it was delish) and pour the rest of the sauce on top of each peach. 
Go to heaven.

Recipe #3

Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Plum Relish
Make a marinade of the following:
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 T olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t ginger

(sounds iffy but is so perfect with the salmon you won't regret it!)
Dice one cucumber and one plum
Add 1 T Rice Vinegar
Toss and let sit until salmon is done
Let salmon soak in marinade for as long as you can before grilling, then grill to your liking.  Top the salmon with the relish and serve.

Recipe #4

Smokey Ratatouille
Use the following vegetables but use as many as appropriate for your number of guests.
Yellow Squash 
Red Bell Pepper
Yellow Onion
(I also added Okra for fun)

Slice the vegetables and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
 Grill all veggies (except tomato and bell pepper) for 3 minutes on each side to char/get grill marks.  Then put on top rack of grill to finish cooking till soft.
Grill whole tomato and whole pepper 3-4 minutes to char, then bring in and remove skins.
Slice all veggies to smaller bite-size chunks.
Toss in the following sauce and serve immediately (warm):
2 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t thyme (fresh is best)
15 leaves of basil chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe #5
Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate-Chip Cookies

1/3 unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 plus 2 T whole wheat flour (I use pastry)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 t vanilla
3/4 cup unrefined brown sugar (such as rapadura)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350.  
Combine oats, choc chips, and coconut.  Separately, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat oil, vanilla, and sugar on low speed. Add egg and beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until smooth.  Stir in oat mixture just until combined.
Use slightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 11-14 minutes - rotate pan 1/2 way through,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Abundance

Here is daddy celebrating the abundance of our summer - Baby Andrew and our gigantoid Tomatoes!

It's been a long time since my last post, I know!  I had a baby, what can I say!  A recent reach-out from another mom who lost a baby inspired me to finally post an update here.  Her story was very touching as she lost her baby girl at 36 weeks.  They found some clotting in the cord and after she refused to take the doctor's word, she pushed for more testing and found gene mutations for MTHFR - similar to me.  The reason I share this here is because I just got done living 9 months of worrying that Andrew would face a similar fate.  I only felt a little relief when they finally laid me on the c-section table - my body had gotten us through and he would finally be here.
No one has asked me "how does it feel now that he's here" or whether I am now "over" my losses.  I don't expect I'll ever get that question.  But I know I had it myself so I'm going to answer it.  The minute I heard Andrew's cry, I was in disbelief that he was my baby. I still feel that way.  I look at him and I can NOT believe he is here and he is ours.  I feel like I am in a dream.  I don't feel like I've even experienced the true euphoria of it yet b/c there's a little part of me that is still waiting to wake up.  But whenever I get the chance (hard to have a moment with your baby when you also have a toddler!), I have little conversations with him and it becomes more real.  I was looking at a couple toddler boys today at the park and trying to imagine that being him in a year! I guess I'm still getting used to the idea of actually having arrived at this point.  I have a second child. I have a son.  Kaelyn has a little brother.
That said,  I'm amazed that I still have the same sadness for the girls I didn't have.  None of that has changed.  I just have something additional.  As any mom who's lost a child will tell you, you can't replace them.  But you sure are in love with the children you have with you.  And mainly, I'm just so relieved to be done "trying" to have another child.  It's been 2 years in August that we started this journey to number 2.  I'm exhausted and so ready to just enjoy this part and all we have in our life right now (including our yummy food and our prolific garden!).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My heart is still broken but it's also still beating

A year ago today, I made this blog public.  A year ago today, I should have been in the hospital delivering a new baby girl named Maya.  And today, I should have a one-year-old little girl.  Today should be all about her.  We would be receiving presents in the mail from everyone in the family.  We would be busy getting everything ready for the big party this weekend.  I’m sure we’d have some family in town.

There are a lot of things we wouldn’t have too.  An olive tree.  A garden.  A friend named Bree.  Awareness of the importance of food and our health.  A little boy on the way.  Sad memories that we will never forget.

Today is a day of mixed blessings.  Life does go on, no matter what happens to you along the way.  I’m generally a very “forward looking” person so I do mostly think of our future and all the great possibilities in front of us.  But today, I want to take the time to reflect on the past year (well, really the past year and a half) and all that has changed. 

Now that I know that miscarriage and baby loss is so common, and I know what it is like to go through it, I am so grateful that I can be a support to others who find themselves navigating through this life experience. I am happy that I can be a person who will remember their baby’s due dates and always know that those will be tough months for them.  I would rather be this person than the person I was – the one who would think of the whole experience as something to get over, and at the very least, something I just didn’t understand.  I know now, there is no “getting over it,” there is simply life before and life after.  And I know those who have lost will always appreciate someone who recognizes that yes, today (or even this month) you would have had X if things had been different.

I recently read back through this entire blog.  I am so glad that I recorded some of this experience and I’m so proud of all the things we accomplished during the most difficult and devastating year of our lives.  I will be honest, you did not get to see my darkest moments – or even glimpse them – through the blog posts I shared.  But what I did share connects me to my experience and helps me not to forget.  It’s also helps me to see the progress we’ve made and how solid we really are.

I am so excited for this new baby to come; for Kaelyn to finally have a sibling and for us to be a larger family.  But there is always this underlying thought of what could have been that I can never shake.  It all started with Maya.  Like all the experiences you have with a “first child,” Maya will always be my “first” miscarriage.  She will always be the “first” time I had to experience the shock of seeing no heartbeat. Seeing the shape of my baby but with no activity.  Feeling the despair of the bad dream you never wake from.  The extreme hurt and ache for something to change…for this not to really be the life you have to live now.  I acutely remember walking around wanting to shout that I had a dead baby in my belly, so people would know what I was enduring.  I remember the extreme emptiness that came when she was no longer with me.  And the sadness that I lived with all year from knowing Kaelyn had to experience a year with a mommy who was going through so much emotionally.

In the end, I am still so sad that we have had these experiences.  I’m still hurting that I am pregnant for the FOURTH time with only one live and walking child; that I wonder several times a day if my baby boy is still alive and if he’ll make it into our world with screams.  I want to hate these things about my life.  But the truth is, the whole reason we wanted another child in the first place is because we love the life we have and the family we are.  We still have that and we always will.

I don’t know what the future holds, but May 13 will always be Maya’s birthday for me, just as it is always my father’s birthday.  And I’ve grown comfortable living the “life after.”  My heart is still broken but it is still beating too.  Sadness has been replaced by memories.   But all the feelings of the moments after I lost Maya come rushing back to me when I hear this song (Song #2 on the playlist on the right):

Broken by Lifehouse
The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for a purpose, they're still looking for life

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain is there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm hangin' on another day
Just to see what you will throw my way
And I'm hangin' on to the words you say
You said that I will, will be ok

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, having forgot my way home

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain is there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on

Thank you for following my journey.  And thank you for all who have helped me along the way.  Including Bree who made this cute paper cupcake for Maya's birthday!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Growing and growing

Spring is truly a time for growth around here.  My belly is getting bigger by the day.  Bree got to come visit yesterday. She's on bedrest but was at the doctors and came over to hang out in the sun in the backyard for a bit.  It was great to see her (it's been a few weeks) and we finally got a prego picture together.  We are neck and neck, now sharing a due date.  

We also have significant growth in the garden. Turns out our once weekly rain shower all through Feb,Mar, and April really helped out!  Here are our "shelling" peas - meaning we will be taking the peas out of the pod!

And my most exciting growth spurt this spring... we have an artichoke!!! Can you see it in the middle? I actually screamed out loud when I saw it - sooooo exciting!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Raw Food Birthday!

Okay, I started this year with a goal of eating 50% raw. Then I had a goal of not visiting a grocery store for the month of April.   I didn't come close to meeting either goal.  Pregnancy (okay having a toddler AND being pregnant) make it more difficult to plan anything, let alone learn new ways of cooking or doing things quickly!!!  We do have at least 2 vegetarian days per week.  And since we do so much shopping at the farmers market (or in our backyard) we do have 1-2 all-local meals a week.
The raw diet is so easy but it is a long learning curve and has so many new techniques for cooking.  I love eating the food tho - so it's hard for me not to have it in me to convert at least 50%.  So this week, I talked with my recently converted "raw" foodie friend who has taken it all on and done really well (is curbing her endometriosis, in fact) and have been re-inspired.  So go figure that on my birthday, a day usually filled with Betty Crocker cake mix, I find a "raw strawberry shortcake" at my favorite food place (I actually can go to the's not like they sell this online).  Anyway - I had to show this off because not only was it beautiful, it was absolutely scrumptious.  And now I am re-inspired.  With my birthday money, I'm buying the vitamix. I will have no more excuses not to go raw!! I hope to learn how to do nut milks and make a few basic recipes before baby comes so I can get back on the 100% healthy bandwagon once I no longer have the pregnancy excuse!  I can't tell you how many meatballs I've eaten in the last 8 months. Makes me sick thinking about it!

Basically, the "cake" is almonds, coconut oil, agave/honey, and dates.  The frosting is cashew nut paste with honey (OMG so yummy).

We started the day with an egg over avocado, goat cheese, and arugula on toast (see, your kids really do eat what you eat...or what you give them!).

And I splurged on a latte - only made with Teechino rather than coffee.  Again - super yum.

Okay, I thought it was funny that all my "birthday" pix were of Kaelyn so here is one she took of me with Kdogger.  Approaching 32 weeks - still praying this little guy holds on and all goes okay.  

Garden Update

My good friend Karen came to visit last week and really helped to reinvigorate me on this blog.  I kind of assumed no one was looking at it anymore so I was letting it go.  But I've been hearing of several lurkers who were wondering why my posts stopped.  So I promise to post here more often.

First, I'll make a garden update.  The winter garden is still chugging along. Lots of broccoli and lettuce and chard.  We are just now getting our plants into the garden for the summer and will finish this weekend. Here I was thinking I had a head start over last year (memory told me we planted in June) but after looking back, it was Karen who helped me start the garden and it was early April.  I still can't believe that a whole year has gone by since we lost Liliana - and that we planted this garden for the first time only 3 weeks after we lost her.
Anyway - here are some pix of the garden....

Here is Karen's visit...she's picking out her tomatoes to take home!

Broccoli doing well - funny that only a week later it is now big and ready to eat...yummy!

These are some shelling peas that are blooming (again, only a week later they are more than a foot taller) and promising lots of peas!

The last of the celery (top row) - we just removed this to prepare for the summer tomatoes!

This is an old photo of Mike and his baby tomatoes (out of 120 seeds planted, over 90 made it). They are all 6 inches or taller now!  We've been giving them away and planting them.  Mike even dug up 4 rows for 3 tomatoes each in the front yard!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Ella

In my previous post "A Different Child" my friend Bree posted a comment that she will always remember my girls with me (in response to me saying that everyone else will forget them).  I really appreciated that comment and it's fitting that I just now saw it there when I was about to post this for her daughter Ella.

Today would be Ella's 1 year birthday, had she lived.  Had she been a tiny miracle that made it - like the Duggars (you know - with the 18 other kids) are so lucky to have.  Ella was born at 23.3 weeks.  And she was born the day before I found out we lost Liliana.  Bree and I met in a support group and have very much been there for each other on this rough journey.  Coincidently, we are due with our rainbow babies only 2 days apart.  It is crazy how the world works sometimes.    I feel so blessed to have Bree in my life.  It feels so much less lonely when you have someone to count on through motherhood complications.

Anyway - Kaelyn and I made cupcakes and celebrated Ella's birthday.  We are so sad that she is not here, but we also know that we would not know Bree and her future baby if she was.  So we will be thankful for that.  And think of Ella always.

Celery Abundance

We have officially had our first abundance of a crop!!  I planted celery seeds last June.  And let me just tell you, they are the tiniest seeds, so there were a LOT that went into the dirt! At first, I thought they were duds.  And then a long time later, they started looking like weeds.  I wasn't sure what to do so I left them.  They were in the middle of a tomato/snap pea/cucumber/cantaloupe patch so they were quite crowded.  Well, they grew up to be celery.  We were able to start harvesting last September.  It's been the one crop that I've been able to quantify our savings with.  We generally buy one bunch of celery per week or so (probably 3 per month).  From our farmer's market that's $3 per bunch or $9/month.  So we've been saving $9/month since September.
In December it seemed like the crop was waining.  We haven't studied up much on celery so we weren't sure what to expect.  Have actually been wanting to pull it out to get ready for the tomatoes for this upcoming season (it's the perfect tomato growing place in the garden!).  So Mike cut a bunch of it out, thinking that would be our last batch.  Wrong!!  It came back with a vengeance.  So I finally got around to thinning it out again and came up with 5 full bunches - way too much to eat at once (and by the way, $15 worth of celery!)   And believe me, there is PLENTY left in the ground!
So we decided to share with our gardening neighbors and gave two bunches away.  We spent two hours visiting with the two neighbors we shared with and came home feeling just wonderful.  It was really nice to share a bounty with others (for once) and it got us to randomly socialize...just like they used to!!

I got home and realized just how fitting this was.  The celery is the one crop (besides Parsley) that is still growing strong from my original plantings last June.  And this week marks the one year anniversary of losing Liliana.  So Liliana's garden fed other families this week.  It made me feel really good to know that although she is not here, she lives on.  She really does ;-)

A head start on the garden

Last year we started the gardens in June - mainly b/c that was when we got the gardens "made!"  So this time we get to have a better start on the season.  Mike has really take charge of the gardening this year.  And it's really taken over the kitchen!
Here are some pics of all the indoor seedlings we've been starting.  He did a bunch of lettuce, spinach, chard, and broccoli in January that is already in the garden and growing pretty strong.  The latest crop is over 120 heirloom tomato seedlings with probably about 100 starting off strong.

Mike designed his own egg-carton greenhouses...
A pic of the garden from February...

The kitchen window.  It gets great light for the seedlings.  This shot doesn't even show it at it's fullest ;-)

A cucumber start that is going really strong.  It even started flowering already.  The cuc's he transplanted in February to the outdoors didn't make it.  Hummm...

Master Gardner Mike (with a fourth of his tomato seedlings!

We did all organic, heirloom seeds this year and purchased them mostly from (including 10 varieties of tomatoes). We have HIGH hopes for having tomatoes overwhelm us this year!!

A "Local" Birthday Celebration

This post has been a long time in coming. For Mike's birthday this year (in January ;-) he decided he wanted to have a couple friends over and serve a dinner that was all "local" food.  So, it took some planning, but we really pulled it off. We are so lucky to live in a place where food grows year round.  But there still were a lot of lessons learned about just how difficult it is to find things that are grown locally and not flown in from around the world.  We know consciously do an "all local" meal once a week.

A delicious New Zealand Spinach and Strawberry salad (the spinach was grown locally) fresh from the farmer's market.
Mike's favorite Bruschetta (mine too!).  This was quite popular.  We are lucky both Strawberries and Tomatoes have a January season here.  The bread is an Artesian bread from our farmer's market.
Undoubtedly the favorite dish - dessert.  A persimmon pie.  Persimmon's are a fruit that I consider to be a cross between an apple and a peach.  We only stumbled upon them when they came into season last August.  We ate so many that we got a little tired of them.  Then I discovered they are wonderful dehydrated so I started buying them again.  For Mike's dinner I was so excited to think of adapting my yummy and healthy peach pie recipe with these persimmons.  I had no idea how wonderful the pie would be.  I think each of us would have eaten our own if there were enough.  Alas - the next week the farmer's market was out of persimmons.  We must wait to experience this pie again until next August.  Ugh!
And another of our favorites - Artichokes.  These have been just wonderful fresh from the farm since January and we have been enjoying them ever since this dinner - sometimes twice a week.  

I forgot to take photos of the fish but we also were able to grab some yummy fresh local caught halibut at the farmer's market.  Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.
Happy Birthday Mikey! Let's do it again next year ;-)