Hold on

It has been almost 3 months to the day that I have written anything.  I didn’t realize that in two days time of writing my last notes I was going to be having my son Miles.  I didn’t realize that for the next 3 months I would be dealing with Colic.  As I write this I am at one of my worst moments.  I have good days and bad days and I try not to look ahead too much.  George MacDonald said something about not looking ahead to the future too much.  If I look ahead with hope that Miles will get better soon I may be severely disappointed and deal with this until he’s 6 months instead of the typical 3 months that everyone says is how long Colic lasts.

The worst part about dealing with Colic is that it makes you feel all alone.  I don’t know if there is anything you can really do about this.  Nobody really knows what it is and the theories out there are abundant.  I can honestly say I have tried everything at this point and have realized that I must just endure this.  There are a few tricks to making life a bit easier.  I couldn’t just leave him and let him cry, it seemed that just because I couldn’t calm him, this wasn’t the solution.  Swaddling worked wonders in the beginning.  Mylicon sometimes works.  I resorted to making my own Gripe Water because I didn’t like the ingredients in what was commercially available.  It’s essentially a tea with chamomile, peppermint, fennel, anise, dill seed, and lavender.  I drink it and give it to Miles as well, however that hasn’t done much for him either.  I’ve ruled out most foods, though I believe there are times he hasn’t enjoyed the garlic I’ve had.  Wearing Miles is a sanity saver, but the downside is backaches and the pain from wearing an increasingly heavy baby.  The reality is my baby is just an angry baby, sensitive to most every change in his life.  When my husband sneezes or blows his nose Miles jumps and will start crying 50% of the time.

There are times I find my resolve and my typical good nature slipping.  Feeling like I’m sliding down in a dangerous spiral that I can’t control.  I have to walk away at times when I feel I may be a danger to Miles.  I know what that feels like and as the months go by it comes to the surface quicker then it did in the beginning.  I have good days, where I actually get a quick shower in and may have a few moments without having to wear a baby on me.  The rare occasion where if we go out to eat he actually happily stays in his car seat (which he hates with a passion heard in high pitch screams).  Then when you see me on the bad days my hair is dirty, unstyled, I am still wearing the same clothes for 3 days straight.  I wish this was an exaggeration.  I literally have no time to myself and I consider it a small victory if I can finish one meal all the way through, it’s a huge victory if I get to have that meal without holding a baby.

I love my child, however I do not enjoy him at this time.  I learned a valuable lesosn from my midwife though.  It’s not my job to make my baby happy.  Something we’re told differently and if our babies always crying he’s clearly not happy and we’re doing something wrong.  However even at this early age I am not in control of Miles’ emotions and if he’s not happy it’s not my fault or resonsibility.  At least there’s some freedom in that.

When this is all said and done I can only hope I have had an endurance built up in me that nothing can shake.  Please let these tear-filled moments stand for something.  Whatever lesson I am to take from this, whatever pain gathered be considered worthy.  Let none of this be in vain, because I feel in these days I have nothing left.  That fills me with utter sadness that I have so little left to give to my husband and daughter.  So if I endure this, what joy awaits me?

My Gift

I am in my last days of pregnancy.  Certain signs have cropped up that it will be sooner rather then later.  Midwife has told me I am 2cm dilated.  Which could mean nothing, though she does not think it likely I will make it to 40 weeks.  If I do this will be better for the child and I will have the house more prepared.  However it leaves us completely homebound and staying put until the baby comes.  I had a frenetic beginning of my week when I had these “signs” crop up and from experience with Sloane I was fearful that I would go any day.  However since these signs things have changed a bit.  Maybe it’s just my attitude, but I don’t think so.

Contractions have become less severe and calmed down.  Pain in my hip has lessened as well.  I feel very peaceful and slept better last night then I have in a long time.  I have energy I haven’t had in quite awhile and I am actually getting things done I have put off forever.  There is still a lot to do, but I don’t really feel that worried about it.  There are things I have urges to do.  Silly things, like hang my copper wreath up on my front door to celebrate Fall being here.  Decorating the house with Fall items to welcome baby.  Decorate in general.

I find myself staring outside at the beautiful sunshine and clouds and feeling an overwhelming joy and peace at the beauty.  Hot apple cider has been on the stove all day and it smells wonderful.  Chicken stock just finished and it mingles with the cider and smells like the liquid gold it is.  I love being a homemaker, I love Fall, I love making my house a Home.  I feel so at ease and peaceful and ready to bring this baby into our world.  I am confidant that my daughter is ready for a sibling, she talks every day about baby being born.

I am amazed at the way my Father made my body to do this miracle work and the way everything is working together towards good, even when it feels like pain.  I can rest in the knowledge that this pain brings good.  Bearing babies is no longer a curse, is it?  Even in His curses He provides rest, blessings and joy.  He provides Love abundant.  I await eagerly and anticipate even the labor and birth of my second baby.  I don’t dread it and when people ask me if I am afraid.  I calmly tell them “no, I am more confidant then ever.”  I know it will bring things I do not expect, but it will bring so much joy.  I want to fight for this glorious thing.  I want to give in to this glorious thing.  I want to trust that God made me sufficient and quite good enough to birth a baby into this world.  I want to trust that He will see me through this no matter what may happen on the day of our next child’s birthday.  I am surrendered to this experience completely and the peace that has settled over me these last days has been a wonderful, wonderful gift.

Home James

Time to move home.  Our month so quickly is up.  Sloane is with the grandparents and we had a nice day of slowly packing yesterday and will finish this morning.  Half the stuff we brought is in the truck.  So breakfast, showers, last bit of loading and cleaning and we’ll head towards home.  Pick up the daughter and a matress (I am taking an old one from my parents to labor on and possibly sleep on the first days with baby).  Then home.

I am a bit sad…

Funny to say that, I mean really isn’t it?  Who wouldn’t be ready to go home.  Eager even.  Our family has enjoyed this time in Omaha together.  I have done little with anyone but spent time with my family.  I have kind of kept to myself and not wanted to do much.  This was my time of rest before baby.  So is it any wonder I am sad to give it up?  There are things I won’t miss, like the bed, I want my nice bed.  I won’t miss the noisy neighbors (wait we have that at home too!).  I won’t miss the kitchen with it’s horrible electrical stove and without the vast array of things to make my cooking life fun and interesting.  I won’t miss toilets that run all the time or only occasionally work, or showers that run hot and aren’t filtered so they smell like chlorine.  But before I get overboard with what I’m leaving behind, there are a few things I will miss about this month in “Omanha” (Sloane’s word).

  1. Whole Foods:  I will miss this store.  We don’t really have much like it in Des Moines.  What we do have is overpriced with less to chose from.  At least the Hy-vee’s have a better health food section then here in Omaha
  2. The Henry Doorly Zoo:  With a zoo pass we’ve been able to go almost every week and Sloane has gotten so used to it then when we pass the big dome she gets excited.  I guess we’ll have to make a few day trips before it gets too cold…and maybe after baby!
  3. Food Network:  Yes I admit, to this channel I am addicted.  I have always always loved this channel.  It helped me along early on in my teens with loving food.  It gave me courage to explore and experiment.  We don’t have cable at home, and I won’t get it just for this, but I will miss it.  Adam said he would too!
  4. Family Time:  It was just the 3 of us, all the time.  Forced to have more time together then normal.  We had breakfast together (something that does not happen with Adam’s job back in Des Moines).  Sometimes we even had lunch together.  It was a real bonding time.
  5. No stairs:  Funny thing to miss?  Not when you’re almost 8 months pregnant!  Every single pregnant mama knows what I mean!
  6. Quiet:  Few phones ringing, few outside distractions pulling me this way and that, very little obligations or appointments or “need-to-do” moments.  This…is priceless.

So a chapter in our life has come to a close and when we go home we will be getting ready for a new strange one to open up.  One we have no clue what it will bring us.  Another baby and a toddler.  Adam no longer being his own boss (which he dearly loved).  I am not really scared, there is some anxiety, but maybe that’s normal?  I’m not really supposed to know what this next chapter will bring, I’m just supposed to sit back and go along for the ride.  I can’t force something to happen in my book.  If I have learned anything in my short life, it’s that nothing has gone the way I had planned it.  After all, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

I think if I can remember that these next few months, I’ll be golden…

Shrimp, Coconut, Mango, & Chocolate Pudding?!

We had my cousin and his girlfriend over a few nights ago for dinner.  I love to entertain, I love an excuse to cook for people, I love to love through my cooking…did that make sense?  So without further ado let me show you what I made with love!

Shrimp in a Coconut-Mango Sauce (pictures to be added when I get back to my normal computer)

The inspiration for this meal comes from the Flying Mango in Des Moines.  An amazing local restaurant that is literally down the street from us.  They call it the Mango Shrimp Rundown.  It’s a base of coconut milk with mango nectar cooked with Shrimp.  It had some wonderful spice and they then spooned that over rice and cabbage.  I didn’t obviously have the recipe, so I had to get creative.  The flavor combination’s are out of this world, slightly sweet, creamy, and spicy.

Ingredient List (Sarah style*)

  • Shrimp (or Mahi-Mahi)
  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Head of Cabbage
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Mango
  • Lime
  • Stevia
  • Cayenne pepper
  • White pepper
  • Sea salt

To start off cook yourself up some brown rice.  To be honest this is the part that takes the longest.  At a minimum brown rice takes 45 minutes.  I typically cook mine closer to 2 hours if I am able.  Brown rice has the least amount of phytic acid compared to other grains, so it isn’t necessary to soak it the length you do others.  However it’s a wonderful texture if you cook it longer then most packages would suggest.  Put some coconut oil in the bottom of a decent sized pot and then if you so desire a few cardamom seeds for extra spice and flavor.  Let them sizzle a bit and then add either a cup or 2 cups of brown rice (depending on how many you’re serving).  Cook up the rice until milky and then add double the amount of water or chicken stock (it’s richer with the stock and healthier!).  Let come to full boil then reduce heat and cover lid.  Leave the lid in place for 1 1/2-2 hours.

The next component of this dish is the slightly steamed cabbage.  Cut it nice and thin, think Angel Hair pasta, then steam in a small amount of water.  Don’t let it overcook, you want it crispy still!  I’d go ahead and salt it while it’s in there too and maybe some nice white pepper as well.

Finally I mixed up in my VitaMix a combination of full fat coconut milk, 1 whole mango, a splash of lime juice, a dash of cayenne, a bit of stevia to bring out the sweetness (unless your mango is super sweet in which case you may not need it), salt and white pepper.  Give it a nice whirl so it’s smooth and creamy.  Poor into a baking dish and add your uncooked shrimp.  Now shrimp takes hardly any time to cook, most take 2-5 minutes.  You certainly don’t want it overcooked.  In this sauce I have averaged up to 10 minutes for a nice pink color.  I have also made this recipe with Mahi-Mahi with equal success and tastebud pleasure.

So to plate this, brown rice first, a generous helping of steamed cabbage, and finally the shrimp and sauce spooned over the top.  Beautiful, praise-worthy, something to make your mouth sing with delight!

Chocolate Pudding, with Avocado & Banana

This is not a new recipe, this is not a creation of mine, I’m not really sure anyone can lay claim to it on the internet to begin with.  I first heard about it through my Chiropractor/Doula.  A simple google search will yield many many variations of this dessert.  They all center around the idea of a fresh, raw, and fairly low-sugar (or unrefined if you prefer) dessert.  Avocado’s are a great fat and most everyone knows this, so that’s the base of this dessert.  Though I had leftover bananas and added those, there are plenty of recipes without bananas in them as well.  I am NOT going to share my ingredient list or proportions, I am NOT going to lay claim to anything for this dessert either.  I am just going to direct you to look it up yourself and get creative with your own needs and desires for this.   I will say that instead of all honey or agave I used a combination of Stevia, honey and coconut sugar.  I need to be a bit more careful with my sugar intake and bananas are high enough carb/sugar speaking for a diabetic.  However fat is a wonderful way to keep your sugars low (did you know they used to prescribe a high fat diet for diabetics before insulin?).

So try this dessert today and see if your family likes it!  It doesn’t take much time and isn’t unhealthy for you!  It was absolutely delicious and surprising in it’s consistency and flavor!  Who doesn’t like chocolate pudding?

* This is not my recipe, so I will not take credit for it.  So Sarah style is loose and with the idea that you will use your own creativity and skills in the kitchen to shape your own meal-time destiny.

32 Weeks

It feels like forever since I have written, I’ve started drafts and just as quickly let them go or forgotten them. I’ve started rants in my head only to never sit down in front of a computer to type anything, hardly even a quick email. I haven’t really been busy, but I haven’t been slow either. I am enjoying my life now at 32 weeks along and not feeling pressure to do anything.

We have enjoyed the company of friends and some family while in Omaha and back home for our brief visits as well.  It takes a lot out of me to travel back home for a few days and have to pack a few things and turn around and repack to come back to the apartment.  My stamina is waning as is my momentum.  My daughter now walks faster then I can in most cases.  I have two months left if I am lucky.  My body feels it and is rebelling at most movements and bends.  I am feeling like a beached whale who cannot hardly even roll over.

I had my midwife appointment finally after missing for two weeks.  Most of my concern had to do with the diabetes and the issue with my blood sugars being at least 10 points too high.  She wasn’t happy that they were higher, but she wasn’t upset either.  I was told they weren’t high enough to warrant the risk of medication.  Good thing I guess as I don’t really want to be on medication anyway.  However it’s hard to be 100% good while in Omaha when I am not cooking all the time.  Let’s face it I do crave something sweet for me every once in awhile.  But Baby is measuring at exactly 32 weeks, I’ve only gained 2 more pounds since my last appointment, putting me at 127, I weighed 105 before pregnancy.  Blood pressure continues to fall.  Baby is no longer head up but head down all ready to be born.  I’m still having issues with hips being completely out of place, but we’re working on that.  Swelling is staying at bay for the most part, unlike last time.

Nori_SloaneThe weather is beautiful and I am enjoying my time for the most part.  I can’t begin to explain the peace I have felt as I step outside in the cool low 70 degree weather.  Just how light I feel and free from cares.  Sloane and I sat down the other night on the couch before she went to bed and snuggled.  Priceless memories.  She wanted to feel baby and she kept her hand on my belly the entire time.  Watched it with wonder.  Looked at me with smiles.  She would put her head on my shoulder and shared her “babies” and Chickie blanket.  The blanket she has inherited from me, mine when I was a child given to me by my aunt.  These are moments I will cherish and remember forever.  Our 3 year old daughter completely recognizing that there was a life inside of me to cherish and be excited about.  These are days that make my heart glad and are praise-worthy.

Until next time…which will be to share a yummy dish I have created with coconut milk, mango, shrimp, cabbage and brown rice.  Sound yummy?  Oh yes, it is to die for!

Sarah

Ahhh…Tempur-Pedic

Back home for two days and one night. Naptime in the Tempur-Pedic and I am reminded why we bought this thing. Why it’s one of the few pieces of furniture we have actually splurged on and made payments on. Yes it is that good. Sleep tonight should be better. Definitely a nap tomorrow too. I will get my time’s worth in it while I can before going back to Omaha.

Cindy_20090610_0354I had forgotten how well my hips do in my own bed. The pain I have been in the last few days has been sharp. Tomorrow I get another adjustment though and I just love Tammy. A massage would be one step closer to some relief, but I already have 3 appointments and a trip to Picket Fence Creamery to make it too. Too much in one day. Not to mention dinner with fabulous Cindy!

She makes cakes that are to die for. I literally mean to die for. She made the cake for my friends wedding and we are doing her website for her. I can’t post that yet as it’s not done.  Her business is Outside the Lines, because she is truly outside of Cindy_20090610_0218the ordinary when it comes to her creations.  She said she was going to make us a strawberry mouse cake Monday night, very similar to this raspberry one pictured.  Brownie crust, white chocolate mouse with a raspberry/strawberry floating center and then as you can see berries and chocolate ganache on top.  Who could ask for more?

Yesterday I made a Deep Dark Chocolate Tart courtesy of The Nourishing Gourmet.  I made a blackberry reduction to go with it, sweetened with some stevia and maple syrup.  It was rich and heavy but absolutely wonderful.  I have half of in the freezer and maybe at a later date I will take some pictures.  The only thing I would change is cut the crust recipe in half so there’s less crust.  I think it would be good with a ganache type layer on top or maybe a white chocolate layer or sour cream layer to cut the richness of the chocolate.  It’s a winner and super simple to make so try it out!

Stuck without a home

Well, we are currently in a temporary apartment until they finish our carpet in the apartment we actually rented.  Turns out the “pet odor” wasn’t treatable with a carpet cleaner.  Soo… they are redoing the carpet.  Yeahhh… I am trying to remember to be grateful they’re not just masking the odor with deodorizer.  We have dishes, but no soap to clean them with.  We have beds and towels, but no change of clothes.  We have one roll of toilet paper and at least some samples of shampoo and conditioner.  I ended up washing my underwear in a sink, I was desperate.  But hey, we have somewhere to wait and somewhere to sleep and somewhere to shower.  It could be worse.

Instead of Adam working on the building today (which is why we are here) we will be taking the day off and waiting to get into our apartment.  Probably heading over to the Union Pacific station for a little Nebraska history.  Tomorrow we’re supposed to have thunder storms and then the next two days after that sweltering heat.  What a week to start!!

Still, our family is together and Sloane is doing better now that the packing is done.  Yesterday she melted on us several times as there was so much change going on.  We brought her toddler bed for some added security, but last night she had to sleep in a big big big bed.  It helped that we ran into Mike & Jess last night at Hy-Vee and Sloane was in heaven.

So for now we are not settled and we still have a bunch of unpacking to do and setting up.  Hopefully by tonight that will be changed and our new home will be a reality.  What can I learn from this?  Gratefulness.

Moving Day

Well here I am, it’s 7:35 in the morning and nobody in my house is awake yet, except for myself and the cat.  We are realistically only halfway packed, but the last of what we are going to do won’t be too tough and today won’t be anything but unpacking when we do get to Omaha.  Settling in and taking stock of our new home for a month.  My biggest dilemma has really been that I would like to bring our cat, but my husband doesn’t want to.  Which leaves my brother to take care of her and I believe he’s reluctant at best.  My conscience bothers me with that one, but what can I do now?  I hate forcing anything on someone, especially as it was most recently done to me and I remember how I reacted to that feeling.

I am not looking forward to a 2 hour drive with a sore back.  I am thinking ice packs might be my saving grace today.  I just got my adjustment yesterday so I am still very sore.  Well today should be interesting and maybe a bit exciting, but I’m already tired from a bad night of sleep.  Perhaps I bit off more then I could chew, but we were going to keep the family together at all costs.

Ohh, I hear little feet running around upstairs…it’s time to get moving this morning.

See you in Omaha!

Put the lime in the coconut

limecoconutHave you ever tried coconut juice?  I have tried a couple of varities and I have to say my favorite is Amy & Brian‘s brand.  They have a coconut juice with lime added that is to die for.  I have been getting various items ready for when I go into labor as I will be at home and so allowed to eat and drink.  An electrolyte drink was suggested for the last stages of my labor as it will be so intense it’s like running a marathon.  So I of course looked into something natural and still mild enough that I wouldn’t have any nausea.  I personally hate gatorade anyway so that was a no-go in my book.  So I ordered a couple of cans through Azure Standard and decided I would actually try one early.  Wow can I just say this is the best of the coconut juices I have tried so far.  I will have to order more for labor because these aren’t going to last.  Coconut juice is water from young coconuts and it’s naturally isotonic with potassium and electrolytes and it absorbs quickly into the body because it resembles plasma in it’s salt concentration.  Pretty neat?

I just love coconut, it has so many health benefits.  I have expanded my pantry to coconut flour (high in fiber low in carbs, perfect for the diabetic mother), coconut sugar (low glycemic index), coconut milk, dried coconut, coconut vinegar, coconut oil, and now coconut juice.  I use it in so much of my cooking in some form or another.  The Coconut Research Center website has some really interesting information about “the Tree of Life.”  You really need to look at the website and read the list of problems that coconut helps.  It’s why I have started to increase my coconut because of the diabetes.  In case you didn’t read the website link, here’s a few quotes to give the next paragraph some background.

“Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.”

“Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.”

I have to share a trick with you.  Even eating well, low-carb, 2-3 eggs and good grains I was having some issues with my blood sugars being over 120 for my breakfast and lunch meals.  This is not good.  This means big baby.  So I began to add cod liver oil and coconut oil in a small (think shot size) glass of warm water and shooting up to half an hour before I eat.  Breakfast I have to have it with food or I get sick.  The result?  Amazingly low blood sugars.  I mean amazingly low.  Granted I have still been eating carefully and low, but I will have them under 100 easily when I do this.  I could have a half a pita pocket in the past with salad and salmon and cheese and that one half pita (whole grain Ezekial mind you) would send me at least to 120 or more.  Well after that I was 68.  Unheard of.  I use about a teaspoon of coconut oil before each meal and then make sure that eating my meal I use it liberally in my cooking or on my food.

So that’s my tip for you, control your blood sugars with coconut oil, add the cod liver oil for a synergistic effect because you can’t go wrong with those two healthy oils!

Now sing it with me, “put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better!”

Fountain

I just finished up my most recent batch of beet kvass.  This is mostly a medicinal tonic, rather then a tasty beverage.  Beets have many many good qualities and beetschopping them up, adding some good quality sea salt and whey, fill with filtered water then let it sit out for 2 days to begin the lacto-fermenting that brings out the nutrients to the forefront.  It’s great for digestion, for the blood, and for the liver.  Beets are used in Europe for the treatment of cancer.  The Romans used it as a treatment for fever and constipation and they considered it an aphrodisiac.  Beetroot juice is also supposed to help lower blood pressure.  If you don’t much like the taste of beets, you probably won’t much like the taste of kvass.  It’s salty and earthy and I love it.

kvass

Kvass is a Russian beverage, originally made with sourdough rye bread and fermented, though not alcoholic like you might be thinking.  It has a short shelf life as it can quickly become TOO fermented!  Beer anyone?  Beet kvass is often used in Borscht.  Kombucha is also from Russia, but that is a post for another day.

So mine is still sitting out finishing up it’s fermenting process before I transfer it to the refrigerator and start drinking it.  I am eager to start because I’ve been out for a few weeks and I miss the taste.  I try to drink it morning and night, but usually only make it to 4 ounces or so in the morning.  Once I’m done with all the liquid in the bottle I fill it up with more filtered water and start drinking it all over again.