Ulcerative Colitis Flare Up

I believe I am experiencing my first ulcerative colitis flare up.   Needless to say, it is not a fun thing to go through.  I have been feeling really tired, not my usual self and I have had wicked waves of nausea for the last 4 days.   Add diarrhea, losing 4 pounds in one week, loss of appetite and night sweats to the mix, to come to the grand conclusion that I am flaring up.  When I saw the doctor in January, he warned me that flare ups would be a part of my future.   For some reason,  I thought the flare up would be more severe, kind of like what I experienced when I was initially diagnosed in the emergency department.  I have not been bleeding but I do believe if it is left untreated, the bleeding will start.   Time to take action.

Make sure to use whatever resources are available to you.  I may be a nurse but I am no expert in managing colitis.  I called the clinic and was so happy (read sarcastic) to restart the dreaded suppositories.  So not fun, especially when you have angry hemorhoids standing in its way.  Sorry if this is too much information but I'm guessing if you're reading this, you're probably somebody who's interested in learning about colitis or managing a flare up.  No use in trying to sugar coat anything.

I am still amazed that I have lost 4 pounds in only 7 days.  Usually this amount of weight loss would make me giddy with excitement.  Unfortunately, I find this quite concerning.   The waves of nausea prevent me from really wanting to eat.  When I force myself to eat something, I get diarrhea.  No wonder I have lost so much weight.  I really need to be eating nutrient dense food that is easy on the system but full of good nutrients.  I have been making sure to drink my Shakeology and really believe this is one of those foods my body really needs.  So far, it has been very gentle on my body.  

One major concern for me is dehydration.  I actually feel dry in terms of thirst.  I am making sure to drink lots of water and avoid drinks like coffee, which tends to dehydrate us.  Usually, I have no problem drinking fluids but it is a bit of a struggle when you do feel nauseated.   Thank goodness for Gingerale!  Another option is making tea and adding real ginger to it for the anti-nausea properties.  I also love slurpees.  Yeah, sugar!

I am still working out however I'm really listening to my body and only doing what it can do.  Thank goodness for Body Body Beast.  It doesn't have a lot of cardio in it.  This way I can focus on the weight lifting and maximizing my form.  Being able to still workout is one of my sanity savers.  I may not have control over the flare up but I do have total control over working out.  The key is to not overdo it.  Resting is a must as it allows the body to heal.  Speaking of rest, time for me to do just that.  Perfect time for me to catch up on some missed TV episodes.  Game of Thrones anyone?

Fear of Swallowing Pills for Teens

My daughter has been unable to swallow pills for the past few years.  This is due to the fact that she ended up chocking on one in the past.  Since then, she has been paralyzed with fear that she will choke again if she takes another one.  Using the word paralyzed may seem extreme but in her eyes she just could not do it.  As she said to me once,  if she had the choice to die or take a pill, she would chose death.  No joke.

She would go on the internet and was amazed that this was not an uncommon issue for many teens.  She tried all the suggestions that were offered but to no avail.  She would even watch You Tube videos and still no progress.  She felt that at this age (14), she should be able to swallow pills but something was holding her back.

As a parent,  I tried everything I could think of to help her get over her fear but it was not working.  She finally asked if she could see someone to help her get over this fear.  My employer has an employee's assistance program so I decided to take advantage of it and made her an appointment.  She was happy that the appointment was finally made but also was scared and unsure since she did not know what counseling was all about.  I was permitted to stay with her for the first session. She actually wanted me to be with her for all 3 sessions.  Yes, just 3 sessions is all it took for her to finally be able to swallow pills.  This is not to say she is totally over her fear but she has learned some techniques for her to manage her fear to enable her to swallow pills. 

She has so graciously allowed me to share her story since she really hopes to help someone else who is in this same situation.  Having the counselor talk to her, examine the root of her fear, make her see her issue from a totally objective viewpoint and allowing her to to come up with her own suggestions, really worked for her.  We will share the top suggestions that made the most impact for her.

1.  Visualizing how she would feel once she took the pill.  For my daughter, she has been suffering through massive menstrual cramping for the past few years.  Since she could not take pills, there was really nothing I could offer her that she wanted to do.  Having her visualize herself as being pain free was one thing that helped.  Amazingly, when she did swallow Midol and the pain disappeared, this helped to reinforce this point for her.

2.  Not over thinking the swallowing part at all.  If she did not take the time to think about it and just drank a big glass of water with the pill, the pill would naturally be swallowed.

3.  Understanding that drug companies would not make pills that would lodge in the throat or get stuck.  This was a huge eye opener for my daughter.  Knowing this made her then believe that the pill was designed to be swallowed, not stuck.

4.  Visualizing that the throat is big and the pill is small.  This is one that she really wanted to emphasize as being very helpful.

5.  Coughing is a natural reflex when something goes down the wrong tube.  My daughter did not realize that this is the body's natural mechanism to prevent us from having something stuck in our throats.

6.  Having me physically present.  She just needed me there "just in case".  I did not watch her since I did not want her feeling pressured to succeed.  I was just doing whatever I would normally be doing in her presence but giving her the assurance if anything went wrong that she was not alone.  We could manage it together.

She is really lucky that 3 sessions was all she needed to help her manage her fear.  So far, things have been going really well but she could relapse again.  The counselor instructed her to remember the above techniques to help her manage her fear if it resurfaced and to come back for more counselling if needed.  I think having the option to go back to counseling is an amazing one.  She could do it for this issue or for something else she may be struggling with in her life.  Having someone listen to you and help you work through your problems with no judgement, is extremely valuable.  Just know that if your child is also struggling with swallowing pills, counseling is one option that you should consider.  You are not alone.  As parents, we just need to support one another and share our successes and failures and keep trying to find what works for our children.

Recharging, Celebrating and Spicy Honey-Garlic Boneless Wings

I am happy to report that I truly did listen to what my body needed.  After fighting this cold that never seemed to get better,  I decided to take a break and let my body rest and heal itself.  I have been completing program after program with no rest between.  Taking a break from the workouts is very important.  It helps to prevent burning out mentally, physically and emotionally.  My cold has gotten better even though I still feel a bit congested. I can finally go to sleep and breathe through my nose with no issue. Having to depend on Dristan nasal spray is no fun at all.

During this time off from the workouts, I did end up celebrating my birthday.  I decided to really treat myself.  I always take time off from work.  I do not believe in working on my birthday and this I have managed to do all these years successfully.  I ended up sleeping in and enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee with some Baileys.  

I then went out to Denny's to get my free Grand Slam meal.  Mine was a combo of eggs, bacon, toast and pancakes (yum)!  Did I mention it was free?  I then went to the spa and got 3 treatments.  Nothing better than getting a massage, then facial and to end the day with a pedicure.  I felt so spoiled but shouldn't you feel this way?  It is your special day.  Ended the day with a wonderful meal at the Keg with my hubby and kids.  Best birthday yet.  

There was no disappointment since the day was totally planned out by myself.  This way, I got what I wanted and spent the time with the ones I loved.  Make sure to spoil yourself because you are so worth it.  We often regret what we don't do more than what we have done.  Now just do it!

Not having worked out for a few days has really allowed me to get fired up mentally to get active again. I miss that euphoric high after a workout.  I love the energy, mental alertness and the general feeling of happiness that comes from knowing I am treating my body right. I also find I tend to sleep much better with a workout routine in place.  As much as the break from the workouts has been really good for me, I need them back to get me feeling even better.  I miss them.

I have created a hybrid schedule of 3 workout programs.  I am going to continue with P90X3 since I haven't completed the last phase or tried the complex upper/lower and ab ripper exercises.  I really want some greater definition in my upper and lower body.  To really focus on my abs and use some weights,  I am also going to add RevAbs.  It is great for establishing a 6 pack.  To cover my fun cardio needs, I am going to use Combat.  Punching, kicking and giving it my all with amazing music and routines is really what I need to also fire me up.  My goals are to continue toning my body and have my current size 10 clothes feel looser. It is all about looking lean and healthy.  I know I can totally do this and will use the lessons learned during the 21 Day Fix  program to watch my portion sizes, up my veggie portions and continue to eat in moderation. 

Speaking of eating, I did try a new recipe and everyone loved it.  My son said I could make that recipe again anytime.  Looks like I found another keeper.  It is called Spicy Honey-Garlic Boneless Wings courtesy of Canadian Living.  

I served them with potatoes that I cut in strips, had oil drizzled on them with shredded cheese and bacon bits sprinkled on top, baked at 350 degrees F until tender.  Both complimented the other.  Best part, it took about 40 mins from start to finish so this would be a really easy meal to throw together on a weeknight.  Enjoy!

7 Pounds Lost in 21 Days

I am at the end of my 21 Day Fix program, 7 pounds lighter and feeling leaner.  

I had to stop working out on day 18 because I was (and am still) feeling sick and I started thinking that was hindering my ability to get better.  That and the fact that I have not taken any rest between programs over the last few months.  Guess I need to listen to my body.  The extra sleep is probably very much needed.

One of the biggest things I have learned from doing 21 Day Fix is portion control and how to eat with more vegetables on my plate.  We had dinner at my mom's house and while I did aim for a smaller portion of chicken cordon bleu (my fave), I also noticed I subconsciously added a smaller portion of potatoes than I normally would have had and really loaded up on salad and brussel sprouts.  Bread never made it near my plate.  Now birthday cake, I have to admit I wasn't even thinking about portion control.  How could I when it was homemade black forest cake?  Sometimes you just need to indulge.   Having said that, the dinner choice really opened my eyes to the obvious impact 21 Day Fix has had on me.

One thing that has happened quite a bit this last week is that people have noticed that I have lost weight.  I was actually able to fit in size 30 jeans.  That hasn't happened in like forever!  I also indulged in buying some new clothes and got myself a brand new suede jacket that is fitted.  Love when I can be proud of how far I have come and feel really good about how I not only look but also feel.

This week is my birthday and I am giving myself a few gifts.  One gift will be a mini vacation where I will have 5 days off.  On that first day, my birthday, I will be enjoying some time at the spa getting a facial, pedicure and massage.  If you have never done this, you really must.  We give so much of ourselves to others and you really need to rejuvenate yourself with things that you love.

I am going to use the next week to also get a workout schedule created that will combine 3 programs together.  I still need to complete the last phase of P90X3 but want to add some Combat and RevAbs in as well.  I love the challenge of P90X3 but need some cardio and targeted ab work.  The variety should keep me engaged and my body challenged.  I want this to be the year that I can feel confident wearing a bikini in public.  

Now I am also hoping that I will be cooking more and sharing more new recipes with you.  Eating clean, unprocessed and healthy food during a challenge can be a bit boring at times.  Now it is time to spice things up!  I will endeavor to find, try and then share some good healthy (and maybe not so healthy) recipes with you that not only you will love but your family as well.

Lessons Learned With a 2 Pound Weight Gain

Last week I lost 4 pounds with the 21 Day Fix.  I followed the program as was written.  I guess I started to become confident and started to play around with the rules of the program.  Specifically, the moderation and portion size component.  When will I ever learn?

I just started training a new group of staff which means for the next 5 weeks, I will be up and moving a lot more than usual.  Have to say that I was feeling a bit hungrier too so I decided to increase my protein and carbohydrate containers by one each.  Never mind that I was not eating all my vegetable containers which could be part of the "hunger" part.  This week, I will make myself eat all the allotted containers and really assess if I need that extra protein or carbohydrate or both.  

I also have been failing on the moderation component of the program.  Treats are allowed 3 times a week but then they do take up a carbohydrate container.  Guess what?  I was eating the treat and still eating another carbohydrate portion as if the treat did not happen.  I am my own worst enemy when it comes to food.  Also, I have been eating carbs past 6 pm which is not recommended.  Having said that, my treats have been pretty decent compared to what I have had in the past.  Biggest indulgence was Kettlecorn popcorn (and an over sized portion at that), 2 chocolate chip breakfast cookies, a strawberry mini strudel and a large portion of nuts.  What I haven't had is potato chips, a slice of lemon meringue pie (though I did have 2 bites of it) nor chocolate bars that my hubby and kids have been bringing home so that is a definite bonus.  I think the key to long term nutritional success is focusing on having a diet that is clean and unprocessed 80% of the time and enjoying indulgences the other 20%.  It is about finding a balance.  

I am also sick so my willpower dives and I simply crave comfort foods.  I am proud to say that I haven't given in to my Dairy Queen Peanut Buster craving splurge (yet).  So with this last week of 21 Day Fix upon me, I am refocusing and getting serious again.  I did take one day off from the workouts since my cold was seeming to get worse.  My body really felt like it needed the rest.  Glad I did because I even stayed home from work that day, slept 12 hours and laid low.  I started up with the workouts but have been modifying the moves since anything more than that causes me to become quite short of breath.  So far so good.  I don't feel like I am depleting myself and have to say that I am feeling mentally and emotionally better even as I sneeze and curse my runny nose during the workouts.  Just need to keep listening to my body and adjusting the workouts accordingly.

So, does that mean I failed this part of the 21 Day Fix?  Absolutely not!  It is all about learning and growing.  I really was not happy to have gained 2 pounds but can see the reason why I did.  It is all under my control.  I know what did not work and how to make it work again.  I can totally do this.  I have the right tools.  I just need to make it work for me, realizing that weight is only one component of the getting healthy and fit puzzle.  There are even greater indicators of progress which include clothes getting looser (they are), feeling stronger and seeing muscle definition (my shoulders are amazing), feeling mentally and emotionally strong (totally) and being a role model to my kids and those around me.  Getting fit and healthy is not a 21 day event, it is a life long journey.  I don't know about you but all these lessons learned will help me lead a better life as I age.  I intend to be sharp as a whip and still kicking butt long past my 80's.

Lost 4 Pounds in 7 Days with 21 Day Fix

I started a new program called 21 Day Fix.  What attracted me were the claims that you can lose up to 15 lbs in 3 weeks.  This is without feeling hungry.  It comes with a 30 minute daily workout and a solid nutrition plan, which focused on moderation and portion control.  It even allows you to have chocolate and wine.  Count me in!  

The base program comes with 7 different workouts that are 30 minutes in length.  You do one workout every day for 30 mins.  So far I have tried all the workouts.  I have done some pretty extreme programs and still found these workouts to be challenging, as long as I challenged myself.  What I love is that there is a modifier you can follow.  For example, my back does not tolerate some moves like high knees.  The key is listening to your body and modifying a move if you need to versus if you want to.  As you get progressively stronger, you can start to increase your weights or do the regular moves.  I can see anyone starting with these workouts and progressing through them at your own pace.

The workouts follow the same premise of either 4-5 rounds of 2 exercises repeated twice.  Each exercise lasts about 60 seconds with a rest of 15-20 seconds between each set of 2 workouts.  There have been times I have had to pause the dvd to catch my breath and allow for my heart rate to come down.  Total Body Cardio Fix is a cardio workout focusing on the entire body.  Upper Fix works out the upper body with 2 sets of weights or bands.  Lower Fix focuses on the lower half and all I can say is wow, my glutes felt that one.  Pilates is a great workout and Autumn (the trainer) does a very good job explaining when and how to breathe during these routines.  Cardio Fix  again works out the entire body.  Dirty 30 has you using 2 different weights or bands.  The week ends with Yoga Fix which is a great yoga stretch your body is more than ready for.  There is also 10 Minute Ab Fix which totally focuses on the core in an efficient manner.

The best part of this program is the education surrounding portion control.  There is a formula based on your weight that you calculate that designates a calorie bracket that you fall into.  The best part is that you do not need to count calories.  What you do need to do is measure out your food based on the amount of daily containers you are allowed to eat while still having a calorie deficit of 750 calories.  I did find the planning of the meals to be the most time consuming aspect but losing 4 pounds this week has been more than worth that effort.  

Since I am actually doing another workout with 21 Day Fix called P90X3, my total workout time is 60 minutes per day.  I fall in a calorie bracket that allows me a specific number of food containers.  Each colored container is a different size.  I am allowed every day 4 green (vegetables), 3 purple (fruit), 4 red (protein), 3 yellow (carbs), 1 blue (mostly cheeses), 1 orange containers  (oils/dressings) and 4 teaspoons of nut butters/oil.  What it is has really taught me is what actual portion sizes are supposed to look like.  My eating can be very clean but the portion sizes were too large.  No wonder my weight loss has been so slow.  I can see me using this program later on to maintain my weight once I achieve my goal weight of 150 pounds.  At the rate I am going, I may reach that by the end of these 3 weeks.

One thing that I was wanting were some ideas on meal plans and when people would eat.  For those who are interested, here are the meal plans I have been using the last 7 days.  Heads up, I am a creature of habit.

Monday, Day 1
3:30 am (yes I get up this early on weekdays to do my workouts)= E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 3 water
5:00 am = 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 1 water
6:00 am = 2 oz milk (1/4 yellow)
9:00 am = red pepper (1 green) + 2 eggs (1 red) + babybel (1 blue) + plain tea
11:00 am = apple (1 purple) + 2 peanut butter + plain tea
1:00 pm = spagetti with meat sauce (1 1/2 yellow + 1/2 red) + cucumber (1 green) + 2 water
4:00 pm = homemade latte (1 oz milk)
6:00 pm = salad (2 green) + fish (1 red) + pasta (1/2 yellow) + water
8:00 pm = plain tea, 10 cheese puffs and doughnut hole (cheat)

The key is drinking enough water as indicated in the nutrition book.  Weekdays, my meal times are all the same as is the amount of water I drink so I will only share the actual meals.

Tuesday, Day 2
(snack) E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 2 oz milk (1/2 yellow) for coffee
(breakfast) carrots (1 green) + strawberry (1 purple) + oatmeal (1 yellow) + plain tea
(snack) asian pear (1 purple) + 2 peanut butter + plain tea
(lunch) salad (2 green) + steak (1 red) + drsg (1 orange) + 2 water
(snack) homemade latte (1 oz milk)
(dinner) asparagus (1 green) + chicken (1 red) + potato (1 yellow) + water
(snack) 1 egg (1/2 red) + babybel (1 blue) + plain tea

Wednesday, Day 3
(snack) E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 2 oz milk (1/2 yellow) for coffee
(breakfast) red pepper (1 green) + 2 eggs (1 red) + babybel (1 blue) 
(snack) apple (1 purple) + 2 peanut butte
(lunch) spagetti with meat sauce (1 1/2 yellow + 1/2 red) + cucumber (1 green)
(snack) homemade latte (1 oz milk)
(dinner) salad (2 green) + fish (1 red) + pasta (1/2 yellow)

Thursday, Day 4
(snack) E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 2 oz milk (1/2 yellow) for coffee
(breakfast) oatmeal (1 yellow) + greek yogurt (1 red) + raspberry (1 purple)
(snack) apple (1 purple) + 2 peanut butte
(lunch) chicken (1 red) + salad (2 green) + avocado (1 blue) + drsg (1 orange)
(snack) homemade latte (1 oz milk)
(dinner) salad (2 green) + pork (1 red) + potato (1 yellow)
(snack) bagel + cream cheese (cheat)

Friday, Day 5
(snack) E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 2 oz milk (1/2 yellow) for coffee
(breakfast) nothing, slept in, day off
(snack) nothing
(lunch) orange pepper (1 green) + 1/2 bagel (1 yellow) + laughing cow cheese (1 blue)
(snack) strawberry (1 purple) + greek yogurt (1 red)
steak (2 red) + mixed veggies (2 green) + wine (1 yellow) 

Saturday, Day 6
(snack) E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 2 oz milk (1/2 yellow) for coffee
(breakfast) nothing, slept in, day off
(snack) nothing
(lunch) mixed veggies (1 green) + 2 eggs (1 red) + babybel (1 blue)
(snack) apple (1 purple) + 2 PB
stew (1 green, red, orange) + bun (1 yellow)
(snack) sushi (1 red, yellow) + mixed veggie (1 purple)

Sunday, Day 7
(snack) E&E (free points) + 0.5 scoop Fuel Shot (1/2 yellow) + 1/2 banana (1 purple) + shakeology (1 red) + 2 peanut butter + 2 oz milk (1/2 yellow) for coffee
(breakfast) nothing, slept in, day off
(snack) nothing
(lunch) mixed veggies (1 green) + 2 eggs (1 red) + 1 bun (1 yellow)
(snack) apple (1 purple) + 2 PB
(dinner) mixed veggies (2 green) + chicken (1 red) + rice (1 yellow) + sauce (1 orange)
(snack) carrot (1 green) + yogurt (1 red) + nuts (1 blue)

Guess what?  I lost 4 pounds and am finally in the 150's!  It has been such a long time since I was in this weight range.  I am so happy and I can tell I am looking leaner.  Is this program extra work?  Yes, you need to meal plan, prep and measure your portions.  Does it work?  Absolutely.  I have never lost this much weight in one week without feeling hungry.  I even had 2 cheats and I still lost.  Can you imagine if I did not cheat at all?  Maybe 6 pound weight loss?  The key is to workout and eat clean.  It is worth the effort.  I can do anything for 21 days and so can you.  Need some support?  Comment below and I can help you have success too.  You can click on 21 Day Fix to order as well.

Letting a Sick Pet Go

This last week has been a bit of a stressful one.  We have 3 cats and our eldest one, Maddy,  is a long haired cat who was 15 years old.  

Over the last few weeks, she has lost a lot of weight, been throwing up and not being able to eat hard food since she lost her back teeth.  We bought her soft food and she began to eat, just less as time passed.  I even bought baby food and "mature" cat milk for her.  She went to eating once a day to not eating at all.  Thank goodness I started to talk to the kids about Maddy's declining health.  Both were very upset initially with me bringing up the topic but they could even see that she was getting worse.  Even my daughter commented that it was her time to go.

As hard as a topic this is, it is a necessary one to have with your kids.  One thing we talked about was how it was unfair for us to let Maddy suffer.  She wasn't settled anymore, seemed really uncomfortable and was pacing too.  Once she couldn't eat any more, the kids did realize that it was the best for her to let her go.  Being there for the kids to vent and grieve is important.  Having them see you grieving as well helps them see that no matter how old one is, it is okay to cry.

I went alone with Maddy to the vet.  Euthanizing a pet is not easy to go through at all.  This is my 4th time doing it.  The first cat, Thomas had renal failure and was peeing blood.  My second cat, Clea who was my favorite, had a brain tumor.  My first dog ended up having severe eczema and I did not stick around for him and I regret it to this day.  I felt like I abandoned him.  That is why I always stay with the pets now.

I know that Maddy is in a better place.  Hopefully she has found Clea and Thomas and they are happy, healthy and and doing whatever cats do in "cat heaven".  I really do miss her.  Memories are important but this just illustrates the circle of life.  Take the opportunities to talk to your kids about it so that when they have someone really close to them pass away, they have been already exposed and can start to gain the tools to help them grieve, remember and move on.  Isn't that what we would want our kids to do when we pass on?  Our job as parents is to give them the tools and model how to use them so that they can get through that moment in their lives.

Bonding, Disrespect & One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake

This weekend I planned a trip for my kids and I.  My son backed out since it involved Valentine's day and he could not bear to be apart from his girlfriend.  Unfortunately, my husband could not get time off work so I took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time alone with my daughter.

We drove to Edmonton which is about a 3 hour drive away from our city. We rented a room across from West Edmonton Mall which is the largest mall in North America and the 10th largest in the world.  

There is a ton of activities to do there. They have an indoor amusement and swimming park as well as seals, miniature golf, skating rink, theaters, casino and shops galore. It had been a long time since I went on any rides and I am proud to say I survived them all.  I think going on as many rides as I did so quickly was a downfall for me.  I ended up getting sick at the end but I did manage to make it to the bathroom in time. How is it that I could ride all the crazy amusement rides when I was younger with no side effects but as I get older, I can't seem to handle it?  Wow, is this part of getting older?  You become more prone to motion sickness? 

We shopped everyday and enjoyed ourselves. Loved spending time with her.  We even shared in our first pedicure together.  Guess which foot belongs to me?

The one thing that really brought us together was the evening events that happened in our hotel. The second night of our stay we returned from the mall, walk out of the elevator to a group of kids on our floor playing hockey and being so loud and noisy.  Guess where the parents were? Standing there watching them.  3 mom's condoning this behavior. Total disregard for others.  There was a woman at the end of our hall who just put her baby down and was so frustrated with the antics of this group of kids and their parents. My daughter could not stand it any more. She went (remember she is only 14) up to them and the mom was so confrontational to her.  This mom couldn't understand what the problem was. Really. How about respecting the right of others to some peace and quiet?  The mother did not appreciate either of us saying this to her in front of the kids. I finally got through to the front desk and it was quiet shortly thereafter.

My daughter didn't sleep well that night because she was angry that the parents behaved like that.  
When our kids were little, we did not tolerate behavior that was not respectful of others.  
Even when the kids played out in the backyard,  screaming and yelling were not allowed. We taught respect.  My daughter was floored due to the lack of respect for all the other guests.  Sure enough, the same antics repeated themselves the next night.  We just called the desk again since talking to these parents was useless. What is wrong with this picture?  If I was approached by the front desk for being loud, I would die of embarrassment.  But 2 nights in a row?  Totally disrespectful.  You cannot blame the kids, only the parents.  Now my daughter gets why we were always on them to be quiet and respectful of others around them.  

I am proud that she stood up to that mom.  I have to say I am embarrassed as a parent, that this mother tried to rationalize to a 14 year old that everything was under control.  Should we not know better as mothers? As much as we love our kids or have our own needs of some peace and quiet, allowing the kids to carry on is not appropriate.  Have them do it in your room versus subjecting all of us to it. All I can rely on its karma. It does come around. 

I am happy to report that I was able to keep up with my workouts on this trip. One more week and I will be done Chalean Extreme and T25. I will have completed 6 weeks of P90X3. I do have a new program that I will be starting called 21 Day Fix.  It is a program that focuses not only on workouts but also on nutrition, specifically moderation and portion control.  For me, the workouts have never been the problem but nutrition has always been my weakness.  This should open my eyes to how much and what I should be eating.

Speaking of food, I do want to share a super easy recipe for when you are too tired to cook.  For me, that is almost every night after work.  This one is called One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake.  

You can find it here:

As soon as I get home, I preheat the oven and throw everything together.  After that, it only takes about an hour to 75 mins until it is complete.  Steamed veggies or a salad completes the meal.  This is one that I have made many times.  The chicken is moist.  I always add 1 1/3 cup of water since we do like our rice to be a bit more creamier.  Enjoy!

Breakups, Intuition and Crispy Orange Beef

These last 2 weeks have been a very busy one for us.  My daughter's first real relationship is now over.  As sad and hard as it is for her to go through, I can't say that I am really upset.  Have to admit I had reservations about the guy and my sixth sense was screaming "obsessive" and "possessive".  It was a good thing that I did not share this with her since she would probably defend him and not come to that realization on her own.

I try to maintain regular date times with the kids, at least once every 2 weeks.  This is my way of trying to stay connected with them and listen to what is going on in their lives.  I took my daughter for some shopping for makeup and then we ended up at McDonalds for some coffee and a treat.  It was there that she confided in me.  He only wanted her to spend time with him and to stop hanging out with one of her best friends who is a boy.  My antenna went up but I stayed calm and really only listened to her and reinforced her thoughts and feelings.  She thought it was not right to give up her friends (girls or boys), she needed her own "me " time and she wanted the ability to choose what she wanted to do.  What really saddened me was that a relationship that was this young (2 weeks) got her thinking she needed to talk to him (already) to try to work things out.

The next day at school he dumps her, not face to face but via text.  Guess that is how it is done nowadays.  He wanted her to be more flirty with him.  Her comment was "if you want a slut, then I am not for you" (so proud of her for that one).  As sad as she is, she did feel a sense of relief and enjoys the ability to choose who she wants to spend time with and has time again for herself.  Have to say I am relieved that it is over.  Interestingly enough, both my daughter and husband watched the movie "Fear" where a boy starts dating a girl and becomes possessive and threatening to the whole family.  Perfect timing since she was starting to live in that reality.  She started to notice the similarities between the movie and her new relationship.  Key here is for us as parents, to use whatever you have to help relate things for them in their lives rather than telling them what to do.  She was able to relate and see the the not so good things about this relationship.

At first I thought I was over reacting when my intuition was alarming but this was not the case.  When she did talk to me about the relationship pre breakup, I just kept reinforcing the need for her to be true to herself and do what was right for her.  If someone truly loves you, they won't stop you from being who you want to be nor what you want to do.  After the breakup, she was able to state this on her own.  She even said that no one will be able to keep her from her own family.  Breakups are not easy, especially when you are the one being dumped, but each opportunity is a learning experience for them and us as parents.  Stay forever present and ready to listen.  Truly hear what they are saying and guide them to making the best decision for themselves versus what you think they should do.  

I know this won't be the last relationship or breakup.  The more I go through this with her, the more I learn to be a better parent, honing on my listening skills and guiding her on her path to becoming her own person.  I am so proud of her strength, conviction, sense of self and that she came out of this relationship relatively unharmed.  If it went on longer, who knows what the outcome could have been.

Time to share a recipe with you.  We love Crispy Orange Beef.  

Very similar to ginger beef and so easy to make.  This one you can find at by clicking on the link here: Crispy Orange Beef.  Enjoy!

Daughter's First Kiss,Date,Boyfriend and Ham,Cheese, Onion Muffin

This week was a lot of "firsts" for my daughter.  A new boy joined her classroom last week.  For both, it seemed love at first sight.  All the girls in the class vied for his attention but the only one he has had eyes for is my daughter.  He comes from Venezuela and it seems this boy has manners that none of the other boys have in her classroom.  A girl drops her books or stuff, he is there to help her out.  He also holds doors open for the girls and does not tolerate boys shoving girls in the hallways.  This makes him such a gentleman in all the girl's eyes.  

He has been so shy around my daughter but with the help of some friends (and some boldness on both their parts), they have been spending all their free time at school together.  He even switched one of his classes so he could be with her.  Soon holding hands and then the first kiss followed.  A movie date this weekend followed with the "will you be my girlfriend" question.  I am left sitting here, shaking my head asking what the heck is going on?  Doesn't it seem to be moving too fast?  Is this okay to let my 14 year old daughter date?

I have already had experience with my son dating but he started when he was 16 and it did not seem to be as intense.  Maybe boys just seem to give off that "aloof" look and really don't know what they are doing?  Now 18, he is in his first "real" romance and they both seem very well suited for one another.  I think the key with my son is that he is 18, not 14.  Am I am being too lax about the fact that she is only 14?  

When I was growing up, my parents were ultra strict.  No makeup, no boyfriends, no sleepovers, no after school extracurricular sports, no dances and no hanging out after school.  That lead me to be sneaky.  I would get to school early and apply makeup and then wash it off before I would go home.  I hid unacceptable clothes in my locker.  I still managed to kiss boys.  Everything else was pretty much unattainable but once I hit 19 and moved out to the nursing residence, I went crazy. I overdid everything to the point I am surprised I made it without any major lasting effects from some very dumb decisions on my part.

My mom and I were at the movies this weekend and I let her know what was going on with her grand daughter.  Does my mom approve?  Yes and no.  She knows that if I say no my daughter will still do it behind my back but my mom really encouraged to keep the lines of communication open with her.  I really want Jessica to feel safe to tell me anything.  No matter what, I will always love her.  Thinking back on all the stupid things I did, I am ever so grateful that there was no social media to capture it and share it with everyone.  I think this is what I am most afraid of, that and the usual things that come with having a boyfriend (think pressures).  When I asked her if she thought things were going too fast, she disagreed.  She is just so happy but again (love my daughter for this) if her now boyfriend did pressure her for anything (we are talking sex) that she would be so disappointed in him since she really does like him.  You go girl.

Is 14 too young to date?  Maybe however I want to be the one who has an opening into her life.  Doesn't mean I will say yes to every date and moment but I will hopefully be permitted to give her some guidance.  We think they do not care what we think but listening to my daughter and the way she talks, gives me hope that I have given her some tools and modeled what a strong independent woman can be.  That is what I really hope for her.  Now it is time to get ready for the roller coaster ride of dating with my daughter and I am so glad that I am on this journey with her.

This weekend I baked some ham, cheese and onion muffins.  

So good and an awesome snack to have.  These would be really good served with a soup.  I used a recipe from "The 250 Best Muffin Recipes" book by Ester Brody but adapted it a bit to meet our families preferences.  Enjoy!

Ham, Cheese & Onion Muffins

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup minced onions
1 minced garlic
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.  In a skillet, heat butter until melted.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring, for 5-7 mins until onions are translucent.
3.  Ina bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
4.  In another bowl combine milk and eggs; beat well.,  Add to flour mixture; mix well.  Add onion and garlic, ham, cheese; stir until just moistened.
5.  Spoon mixture into a greased muffin tin.  Bake for 25 to 30 mins.
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