Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finding The Good

(A photo of my cute bunny, just because.)

Today has been one of those days when it's more challenging to find the good. After dealing with my infection, I had to take two different antibiotics, one of which gave me a horrible reaction and now I have a gross rash covering my face and neck. The irony of the whole thing is that I had a home birth free of drugs and intervention. P hasn't been vaccinated. I don't even take pain killers for a head ache. And for the past few weeks I've been popping pain meds, rubbing on steroid creams, and downing antibiotics (all monitored by my midwife, of course). I told my midwife about how upset I was over the whole thing and she just smiled and told me that was how the universe worked. She said that since I had such an easy pregnancy and amazing recovery after birth, I owed it to the universe somehow. Go figure.

In any case, I've been sitting around feeling sorry for myself all morning. We have plans with some dear friends this evening and I was crying to S about wanted to cancel because I felt so self conscious about this stupid rash. Lately, I've been feeling sorry for myself a lot. Annoyed that I still have a few pounds left to lose and no time to exercise. Worried that our living situation is so in flux right now. Unhappy that my roots are grown out and my toenail polish is still the same one that I had when P was born (seriously). Grouchy when I sit around in sweats all day.

The truth is I just have to get out of this funk. And so I'm holding myself accountable by posting this on my blog. I have NO reason to be throwing myself a pity party. I have an amazing healthy baby boy who lights up every time I sing silly made up songs to him. My wonderful husband lets me whine to him about my grown out roots and toenail polish and still tells my how pretty I look every day. In my sweats. And with a rash on my face. And so what that I still have a few pounds to lose. I'll lose them! I have a strong amazing body that created, birthed, and is nourishing a little person. I have to give myself a break. And the living situation? Well, we're figuring that out too.

I have to remind myself that everything is taken care of. This is all a part of my journey at the moment. The pain, the suffering, the sacrifice, and the lessons it is bringing.

I think that as women and moms, we tend to want to do it all and do it without messing our hair up or showing any weakness. My postpartum experience has been different than I imagined it would be. Even with my hesitations about breast feeding and the good fortune of having an easy recovery, I didn't  anticipate all these other challenges. It's tough. But I'm going to get through it.

For now, I have to find the good in this situation. I'm sharing my story. In a small way, I'm suffering. But life is pretty good right now. We are in a good place. And getting better every day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let's Talk About Boobs

Picasso Maternite, 1963

Since Baby P has come into the world I have had my breasts out far more and with many more people than I ever cared to share them with. I mean, a lot.
Firstly because breast feeding is so time consuming in the beginning. Baby P and I did not have a solid introduction unfortunately. He had trouble latching on, amongst other things. Those first couple of weeks were filled with him crying because he was hungry followed by me crying because it hurt so bad. It felt like razor blades stabbing my breasts. Uggghh. I shudder just remembering it. Every time he nursed, it took a long time so needless to say, those boobs were out!
Even though our nursing sessions are going much smoother now there is such a learning curve with the whole thing. Now, while I was pregnant I read every book under the sun, like a good first time mommy. I read blogs, forums, and talked to other moms. I was pumped and prepared for my birth. However, I was terrified of breast feeding. In retrospect, I wonder if my hesitation is what brought on this myriad of problems. But I digress.
The worst part was not the pain or insecurity. Oh no, that passed. It's the mastitis and abscess that developed in the past seven weeks. Yeah, that's the WORST part.
It began as a plugged duct and continued to morph into an infection until it basically looked like my breast was about to explode. Ew. I won't be posting any photos of THAT.
At seven weeks I had to get the abscess drained which was super painful and pretty gross. My midwife suggested we do some "self healing" as we called it. My other option was going to a breast surgeon or the ER and risk getting sliced open. No thanks.
In any case, all is getting better now as I am on my second round of antibiotics, healing and hopefully all this is behind us.
The challenge of breast feeding is not something most women talk about and I wish more would. Maybe new moms wouldn't be so discouraged if they knew, in the first place, how to prepare for this new experience.
Just know, if you can push past the first few painful weeks, it's a bond like no other. It's an amazing feeling knowing you can nourish your child. But just like many things in parenthood, it's a sacrifice, body and heart.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Phoenix Hudson: Month One

Well son, we've made it. One month! Actually, you are six weeks old as I write this but as you will learn one day, time is a fleeting thing. I have already caught myself on the verge of tears thinking about how quickly you are growing dear Phoenix. These past weeks you have filled our home with more laughter and our hearts with more joy than we've ever known.
You've already proven to live up to your name. You are so strong. Since your first week, you've been picking your head up and pushing off of us with your chubby legs. And every time your little head bobbles over or you can't quite grasp something and fall, you pick yourself up and keep trying. Over and over. Like a Phoenix.
These past few weeks you've also been spoiling us with your sweet coos and your delicious smile. You're even laughing! That little laugh makes my heart melt.
You're more alert every day and always observing what is going on around you. You love looking outside when it's too cold to actually go outside in the morning. After we nurse in the morning, you love to lay back down with us and sleepily gave out the window at the first rays of morning sun. Yes, you like to start your day early.
Recently you have been more interested in playing too! You love your playmat with your animal friends. Although you're not interested in sleeping by yourself during the day, we don't mind all that much since you're so snugly. At night you alternate snuggling up to mama and curling up next to papa. It's our favorite.
We are both so blown away with how much you've changed in just one month. Day by day you grow into an even more adventurous and inquisitive little boy. And while I hate to think about quickly this first month has passed we're looking forward to seeing what next month brings!

The greatest challenge this month was breast feeding. It was much harder than I anticipated and we both had trouble for the first couple of weeks. I was so determined to get through it and get better and we did! But not without several plugged ducts which turned into mastitis, and now, a round of antibiotics. Exhausting, but worth it. I can proudly say that you nurse like a champ now! Without any pain or frustration for either of us.

We are lucky that you are a pretty good sleeper at the moment. I say "at the moment" because I have learned in these short six weeks that as soon as you feel like you have something figured out (breast feeding, sleeping, etc.) it can change very quickly! A reoccurring theme as a parent, I'm sure. Anyway, you usually wake up only once a night if we're lucky, twice max. Pretty good buddy!

Other than that we are just head over heels crazy in love with you and so happy you chose to let us be your parents. We love you little fuzzball :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Phoenix Hudson: Week 3

Every week that goes by, I can't believe we've been parents for another seven days. That we've learned another new way to soothe this little guy, to meet his needs, and also find time to shower. There have been a lot of questions and frustrating moments, but mostly we are feeling like real parents now.
Baby P is such a sweet little guy. We can't say much for sleepiness. Luckily...
Not that he is sleeping through the night. Ha! Hardly. But he does wake me up by tugging on the top of my tank top and whimpering a little. He then nurses for a bit until he falls asleep for 2-3 more blissful hours. We're not as alert as ever but it's definitely not as bad as I thought it would be. I know it's different for everyone and bless his little heart, our boy seems to be an okay sleeper for the most part, but I thought I would be a zombie for sure. 
We usually get up after our 8 am feeding or if P decides to go back to sleep then we sleep in until 10. Luxury, I know. After that he eats again and we play for a little while. By play I mean stare at each other and I talk to him as he coos and makes sweet baby sounds at me. Usually I kiss him a million times until he makes a face that says, "Enough mom." Point taken.
This routine goes on for the rest of the day: nurse, nap, play, eat (me), maybe bathe...
The last few weeks have been a hazy blur of diapers, first smiles, and family naps. And in the midst of this, we are moving. Out of New York. For good.
We are not moving to California until after the holidays so this is kind of a transition move. We are moving out of our apartment and in with my parents in the burbs. We are close enough to the city to see our friends on the weekends until we move bit it's till surreal. For the next several weeks, we will be soaking up as much time with our families and friends as we can, enjoying our beloved city, and planning our new life in our NEW city. All with a newborn...Phew.
With that, we still have to pack up our whole apartment by Monday. Yikes. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Phoenix Hudson: Week 2

Our second week with our sweet boy has been just as deliriously lovely as the first. Sometimes I find myself just staring into those wise blue eyes and wondering what he's thinking. If he's absorbing all the ways we tell him that he makes our world go round every day.
And so begins the fleeting journey of a newborn. All day I daydream what it will be like to hear his first giggles and hold hands walking down the street. How excited he will be to kick a soccer ball. If he will like dinosaurs or spaceships. And the larger part of me is trying to soak in this delicious itty baby with all my heart. I know he won't be a dreamy tiny newborn for very long. So I don't mind the night feedings and mountains of diapers. I embrace it. I miss him when he is sleeping. Each night I snuggle him to my chest as close as I can because I know one day he won't let me. He wakes me up with his coos and by grabbing on to the top of my shirt with his tiny hands. My heart melts every time. 2 am, 4 am, whenever.

He's already gained weight from his birth and I can't imagine what he will be like in 3 months or more. I'm not ready to yet.
I know a lot of new parents can't wait to move out of the newborn phase but I feel like I'm holding on for every last moment. 
My tiny boy.
There is no greater feeling than the weight of my child's body resting on my chest. Slowly rising up and down with every small breath. 
Breathing in his pure scent and nuzzling the soft spot on the top of his head gently with my lips. Bliss.
I'll never forget it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Phoenix Hudson: Week 1

I'm back. Sort of.
I'm back as a new mom.
A busy mom.
A mom too busy to blog because I'm more interested in snuggling, kissing, holding, and falling in love with my sweet newborn boy. And napping. Sort of...

Life with this sweet boy has been a whirlwind so far. We are about a week in and S and I have laughed, cried, worried, and grown more in this week then ever before. We have grown not only as partners but as parents to this beautiful creature.

I have been attempting to write my birth story for a few days now. As any new parent knows, you master the one handed typing pretty quickly. But every time I try to find the words to describe that day, I am at a loss. It was so powerful. So raw. So surreal. But I will get there...I will find the words. Hoping to finish soon so I don't get too far away from that feeling. Not lose the emotion that came with that moment.

Here's our first week in photos:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Water Broke Last Night

And since then I have been on a one way train to baby town, making every slooooow stop along the way.

By this I mean, there hasn't been much action. Other than eating, resting, and hot showers.

My midwife came by this morning to check in and make sure baby and I were okay. We are. But other than that I have been having not more than some mild contractions, no where near the REAL DEAL.

And so we wait.

Having your water break is different than the movies. I thought it was going to happen and we would be rushing around getting ready. Nope. Just cleaned up and tried to go back to sleep, unsuccessfully. Not too excited.

Sigh. Come on baby! Let's do this!

image via

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

39 Weeks

Still pregnant.
Yes. Stiiiiiiill pregnant.
However, tonight is a full moon and I just ordered some spicy Thai. Let's see how that goes. Hopefully both of these things will kickstart baby boy's arrival.
If you are interested at all about when I go into labor - check my twitter. I'm sure I'll be posting something ridiculous and excited.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Emotional Overload

I keep watching this video and crying. Why? Who knows. But it is a perfect example of how crazy I feel. 

Reflections & Challenges

Pregnancy is challenging. It challenges, of course, your body. First off, you have no idea if you can even become pregnant. Every woman is hoping not to get pregnant for so long that until you finally decide to try, you have no clue if it's even in the cards for you.
Then, for months, you wait in agony until you're in the "clear" for the rest of your pregnancy. You're waiting to hear that you're "safe." I use these words loosely because although there is less of a chance that you'll have a miscarriage, it's entirely possible, as it was for me. Bummer.
By the time you're halfway through you feel those first few incredible flutters. That's when you feel that first magical connection. The first time you feel life. It's amazing.

At this point, you're being challenged emotionally. You're responsible. For making a life. For about 20 more weeks. Here we go...
And so begins the fun journey that is:

  • "Is this really happening?"
  • "Can we do this?"
  • "How much bigger am I going to get?" (Spoiler: A lot.)
  • "Um...I actually have to get this baby out of me?"
Now this pregnancy is challenging your every day. At 38 weeks, everything feels a little more difficult. Half of the time I am starving no matter how much I eat. Equally, I can take three bites and feel like I'm going to explode due to baby pressing down on my stomach.

My yoga pants and leggings are in HEAVY rotation. Yesterday I wore my maternity jeggings to lunch and whined about it all day. Great idea.

I'm sleepy. Like really sleepy. More sleepy than first trimester, when I slept for 12-15 hours. It may have something to do with waking up a million times a night, ridden with anxiety, and baby deciding he is ready to begin his day at six. I know, I know. Prepping, right? Ugh.

My emotions are all over the place. If the bank teller asks me one more time if I'm still pregnant, I'm going to have a meltdown. OBVIOUSLY. Do you think I just gave birth and decided I liked the way it looked to be 9 months pregnant? 

Another challenge is finding time for friends. I know this seems like a no brainer. I have nothing to do but wait at this point right? Theoretically yes...But I have to find time AND energy to put on my leggings, brush my hair, decide if I'm hungry first, did I nap enough, figure out a place to meet within walking distance, sit down and take a break after all that, pee, cry because I'm so tired and not sure it was a good idea to make plans, lay down, have a snack, pee again, brush my hair again, cry because none of my clothes fit, decide if I have to pee again, and finally waddle down the street to meet you, friend. Exhausting, yes? I'm not kidding. This is an every day sequence of events at this point. Combined with contractions at inopportune moments and all around discomfort. 

To round out the whiny whining for the afternoon I will tell you that this has been a difficult year. Pregnancy has been very different than what I expected. But isn't that life? You have no idea how it will be until you're there. I remember feeling that way in college. Thinking, wow, I'm in the middle of this whole thing and this was not what I thought it was going to be. Or starting a new job, getting married, moving to a new get the idea. It always turns out amazing, just somehow different than how you imagined. 

It may seem like it's been a miserable experience but in honestly, I really can't complain. For most of the past nine months I have experienced little more than some initial nausea, sleepiness, and about two weeks of sciatica midway through. I have felt energetic, excited, in love, blessed, beautiful, and honored to be a mama to this little being growing inside me. I have felt closer to S, the universe, other women, my own mom, my body, and God than ever before in my life. 

As much as I am being a whiney pants lately, I am so grateful to be here. At the end of one journey, and almost the beginning of a (much longer) new one. Hopefully baby boy will want to meet us soon. I know I still have the most important part (birth) to look forward to but now that I'm almost there, I can honestly say that it is an incredible experience. To go from peeing on a stick, to feeling your baby move for the first time, seeing your body change, surrender to the process, and trust in your own know that your little person is going to be here soon. It's surreal. 

So, with that said, I am planning on taking the next however long (please come soon!), to reflect on this journey. My first pregnancy, my first child. A year I will never forget. I'm sure the next time will be different and just as special. But I'm in this moment right now, and I'm going to make sure I enjoy it.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Book Review

My super talented friend, Suzanne, wrote a book! And, in fact, it is a very important book.

From Amazon:

"This book is the go-to place for cancer thrivers who want to begin their journey to healthy living with easy recommendations from a cancer physician and a wellness writer. The After Cancer Diet addresses what to eat, drink and do to remain cancer free for life. You will learn how to eat real food, find more sweetness in life (and less in your food), develop a regular exercise routine, detox your body and lead a happier life with more creativity and joy."

I encourage everyone to read The After Cancer Diet and use it as a tool to build a healthier and more vibrant body and life. Empower yourself in making choices that will keep you and your family cancer and disease free. Also, I was lucky enough to contribute my veggie burger recipe for this book! 

Way to go Suzanne! Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge and help people on the road to true wellness. Pick up a copy for your e-reader here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

38 Weeks & Waiting for Baby

38 week belly

I can't shave my legs. I can't reach them while sitting in the bath. And when I'm showering, I have to do some serious maneuvering to get there. Fun.

There are too many times in the day that I find myself saying, "Can you please give me a few more inches? I can't clear that space..." Grumpy face. (Belly too big.)

I can wiggle into my maternity jeggings but let's face it, not necessary. 

So I spend my days and nights pottering around in my yoga pants. Finishing up the last of my to do list, trying to cook all the food remaining in our pantry, packing up the apartment, and basically just waiting.

Waiting for baby.

I've resorted to having daily conversations with baby boy. I've been telling him how much more fun life is on the outside of my belly. I've told him all about his new friends that are being born across the country and all the people excited to meet him. I've even tried to bribe him with the promise of a thousand kisses a day, maybe more. 

He's pretty set, that boy of ours. I don't blame him. It's chilly out here. And you have to do things like laundry and pay your phone bill.

midwife appt

At my midwife appointment the other day, we found out baby was in position and ready to go. I've been having a lot of contractions and showing a lot of early labor signs. Some of which prompted a late night visit from my midwife on Saturday night. Turns out my electrolyte levels were low. But all is good. She just told me to take it easy since baby could be coming at ANY MOMENT. How crazy is that?

So we wait...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Green Smoothie

In light of my last post, I wanted to offer a nice cleansing smoothie to jump start your clean eating and your week, if you choose to do so. Now, don't be discouraged. A lot of people are scared of anything green. Especially a green smoothie. I assure you, this smoothie is the cat's pajamas.

I don't have green smoothies every day. But drink a LOT of smoothies at any time of the day, especially while pregnant. In the beginning of my pregnancy, it was challenging to eat anything. Smoothies were the perfect meal to get me through those first few weeks of constant nausea and an easy way to eat the fruits and vegetables that I couldn't look at otherwise. Ugh.

And then, during the heat of summer, smoothies are always a quick way to have a substantial "meal" without any cooking!

Anyway, I do love them. And here is my current smoothie in rotation. It has spinach. It has pumpkin. It has tons of vitamins and is a tasty way to start your day with a lot of energy.

Pumpkin Green Smoothie

Into blender toss:

  • a handful of spinach or kale
  • 1/4 c of pumpkin puree
  • half of a banana
  • 1 c of milk or non dairy milk
  • 1 T ground flax
  • 2 T almond or peanut butter
  • 2 t pumpkin spice mix
  • 1 date
Blend, Drink, Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Film Review

Last night S and I watched a great documentary called "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead." The film is about a man, Joe Cross, who is 100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease. This is the description from the official site:

"With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long- term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body's ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle."

You can guess what happens along the way. He saves his own life and the lives of several others. It's a pretty incredible story and truly inspirational as well. 

I have done many fasts including juice fasts and always highly recommend them, to everyone! It's so important for your body to detox and be able to relax and recharge every once in a while. I try to cleanse every three months. Usually it involves eliminating sugar, wheat, dairy, meat, alcohol, and caffeine but I have also done more intense cleanses that involve just juice or various other plans. I've never had a poor experience. 

Sure, it's not super fun but I always feel amazing after a few days. And I know it's crucial for my well being. Otherwise I wouldn't feel so much better afterwards.

It's like not exercising for a long time and then getting back on track. For the first few days you feel sore. But after that, you begin kicking yourself for waiting so long to start back up again! You're body let's you know that it appreciates you.

If you watch this film and feel inspired, do a cleanse! You don't need to drink only juice like they did. But try just cutting one thing out of your diet. I bet if you didn't eat meat for a week you'd find that you'd be eating a lot more vegetables and fruits after you were done. If you cut out sugar and soda for ten days you wouldn't crave it so much on the 11th day. I guarantee it. It's just a way of training your body and taste buds to appreciate whole, natural foods. 

Here are some links to one of my favorite cooking blogs, Shutterbean, and Tracy's experience with juicing. These are a great introduction for some one who has never drank fresh juices before. 

Green Lemonade

Kale Apple Ginger

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkins & Things

Well, I'm officially one month from my due date. What does this mean? I'm freaking out. And when I'm freaking out, I cook. A lot.

So that's what I've been doing. Cooking a lot. Specifically with pumpkin, squash, and the like. Is this too obvious? Sorry, I like pumpkin things. They are delicious.

So among some of the other delights I have dreamed up during my marathon freak out cooking sessions, a few are Pumpkin Mac & Cheese (Whoa! What?!!), Pumpkin Protein Pancakes (NOM NOM), and Pumpkin Green Smoothies (Yes!).

I'll start with the obvious. Pumpkin + Cheese. Yes, I went there. And it rocked! I dreamed up this little number last night after (ahem) we had a perfectly healthy dinner. Oops. Mama needed more than kale, fish, and rice. I have some pumpkin puree in the fridge and have been adding it to everything all week. So when I saw a quick glimpse of mac and cheese on my Pinterest, I knew what needed to be done.

Now, on a side note, I have a love/hate relationship with brown rice pasta. Do you like it? I don't really care for it so much from a textural and flavor stand point. But I do appreciate that it's wheat free and more nutritious than regular pasta. Which leads me to be extremely picky about when I will actually use it. When the pasta is the shining star of the dish, I definitely go with fresh pasta or a great dried (regular) pasta. But I've discovered that if it's a baked pasta dish, such as lasagna, or if the pasta is secondary to cheese or sauce, such as mac and cheese, I'm usually okay with a brown rice or gluten free pasta because the structural (texture) integrity of the pasta isn't compromised. In fact, it's generally okay if it's on the mushier side in these cases.

Anyway, I digress.

Back to the good stuff. This pumpkin mac and cheese rocks because not only is it made with brown rice pasta, it is half the fat of the regular stuff. WHAT?! I know. You're mind is blown right now. Well, since you are adding enough pumpkin puree to the cheese sauce, you eliminate half the cheese and therefore fat. Yeaaaah!! And of course, it's super creamy, cheesy, and rich while providing you with plenty of fiber, anti-oxidants, mineral, vitamins, and virtually NO calories. Good stuff.

Lastly, you could make this dish vegan by replacing the milk with non dairy milk, butter with canola oil, and replacing the cheese with your favorite non dairy melting cheese (like Daiya) and nutritional yeast.

So here we go:

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese 

  1. Cook 2 cups of your desired pasta (brown rice or whole wheat, etc) to package specifications. Drain.
  2. Melt 1.5 T butter over low heat.
  3. Whisk in 1.5 T All Purpose Flour until it's incorporated. 
  4. Add 1 cup of your favorite milk (whole, skim, etc.) while whisking. This will turn into a base sauce for your mac and cheese or "roux."
  5. Mix in 1/2 cup of cheese (I used sharp cheddar) until melted.
  6. Mix in 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree. Yum!
  7. Let all the flavors come together over a few minutes. The sauce should be thickening up.
  8. Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg. You won't regret it. 
  9. Taste. WOW! Amazing right?
  10. If the sauce is too thick, add a little milk. If too thin, let it cook down for a few minutes. 
  11. *You can stop at this point, mix your pasta in and go to town. Or you can do as I did and put in a baking dish with bread crumbs, broil, and have an amazing crunch crust.
  12. If you're still here, you're looking for the real thing. Baked mac. You won't be sorry. After mixing in your pasta, spread your mac and cheese in a lightly creased baking dish, top with bread crumbs, (maybe a light spray of oil) and broil for a few minutes.
  13. After cooking for as long as you can possibly wait (let's be real) devour and let people praise you for being such an amazing cook.
I hope you enjoy this as much as S and I did last night. I'll be posting my other pumpkin recipes too. since I know you can't get enough. I obviously can't. I'm making pumpkin, goat cheese, and spinach "hot pockets" tonight for dinner. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Kashi

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday! A new feature that I'll have here to write about health, wellness, cooking, and anything else that inspires me to live well!

Full disclosure: Kashi sent me samples of their new product Kashi ® TLC® Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bars. I was super excited to try these out because I love peanutty anything and obviously dark chocolate, hello! I also wanted to say that I wouldn't review this product if I didn't feel comfortable recommending it.  

One thing I am always concerned about with any packaged product is the sugar content, among other ingredients. With only 7 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein, it's not too shabby! I have been munching on them any time I am on the run, need an in between snack, or just want a treat. Truth: They are tasty. AND they don't taste super sweet, even with the chocolate. While I prefer to make my own granola bars usually, I don't mind these as a store bought option! I would definitely buy them myself.

Besides my own opinion, I asked a group of my girlfriends their opinion and most importantly, their kiddos opinions. You know, the real decision makers in the family. I'm happy to report that they all said they would purchase this product for their own household and family. Go Kashi

I would also like to mention that when possible, we try to be picky with the companies we support and the products we bring into our home. I have bought Kashi products in the past and was happy to learn even more about the company. Here is a direct quote from the company that says it all:

  • For more than 25 years, Kashi has stood up for real food, offering a variety of naturally nutritious foods and educational resources for everyone to enjoy.  
  • Kashi’s products are natural, minimally processed, and free of highly refined sugars, artificial additives, and unnatural preservatives. 

So there you go folks, a little review about a tasty treat. It's the perfect size for a kid's snack or for a pregnant lady like me! They retail for $3.89 and are available nationwide. Woot woot!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Gratitude & Me Loves My Hubs

I started writing a completely different post hours ago and minimized it for a while. Then Scott got up from working and cleaned up after breakfast. And just like that I felt like an overwhelmed hormonal pregnant lady. Welcome to my life right now.

I know what you're thinking, um...that's great. He put the butter away. And I'm fortunate that Scott does a lot "around the house" but let's be real. Most of the time I have to, ahem, remind him (read: nag) to do certain things. Since I've been pregnant he has been much more proactive in helping with housework. Let's hope this trend continues.

Anyway, it's never a bad time to reflect on what you're grateful for. S and I try to practice this every night before bed. Some days our lists are shorter than others, i.e. "I'm grateful that I got dressed today." haha But I believe that it helps us keep things in perspective, especially when the day passed was less than amazing. Try it! It also helps me not have so many worried thoughts before bed that are so difficult to avoid. Everyone is always thinking about something before bed, usually something stressful like bills, projects, kids, etc. If you close out your days thinking about positive things, you will have much sweeter dreams. I promise.

Today I'm grateful for...
  • having roughly a month left until we meet baby boy. Obviously this is first.
  • celebrating hubs' birthday yesterday. Yay!
  • reconnecting with old friends recently.
  • "meeting" so many new people in this crazy blog world.
  • cooler autumn weather...although not today.
  • Scott putting our stroller together yesterday. Sweet boy.

  • feeling pretty okay these days. Other than a sore back and unlimited bathroom trips, I can't complain.
  • seeing a lot of my girlfriends lately.
  • finally starting to see a bit of space clearing up in our apartment after all this packing.
  • all the sweet and tasty birthday pastries we picked up on our way home from dinner last night. Yum!

If you feel like posting a gratitude list today, let me know! I would love to see what you're grateful for.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Institute for Integrative Nutrition

(I wanted to preface this by stating that the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is not reimbursing me in any way to write this blog post. This is my own opinion and story.)

After reading my article about my job, many of you have written to me asking about my experience at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and at the Natural Gourmet Institute. I love sharing my story about how each of these amazing schools shaped my career and life.

This past weekend I attended a conference in New York with 4000 other students and left feeling so inspired! So today I thought I would begin with Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I completed this program after already working as a natural foods chef. I had some friends who had gone through this program to become certified health counselors and really enjoyed working with their clients to help them achieve not only their dietary goals, but also help them focus on their lives, families, careers, and passions. This was out of my jurisdiction.

I love cooking for my clients and being able to provide them with nutritious food to fill their bellies. But there were so many occurrences when I could tell that there was more missing in someone's life than just more kale. I knew there was something else that could feed their soul.

So I decided to look more into IIN. Fast forward to me signing up for the distance learning program. I was able to continue my day-to-day work as usual while listening to lectures on an ipod (part of your tuition) and connecting with other students on a special online forum for our "class."

The reason I was so interested in this program over a traditional nutrition degree was a couple of reasons:

  • I didn't want to go back to school, I already spent a ton of money and time on a degree
  • It is much fast than a four year degree (It's about a year)
  • It's much more affordable than college classes
  • You can begin taking PAYING clients while you're in the program
  • You get assigned your own health coach!
  • I didn't want to become a clinician, I wanted to incorporate health coaching into my cooking business
  • And the part that was most interesting to me was their approach and curriculum...

This part I am going to take from their site because I couldn't describe it better :)

Nutrition Concepts
Click on the link to read more: Bio-individuality,Dietary TheoriesPrimary FoodDeconstructing CravingsCrowding OutFood EnergeticsFood/Mood ConnectionSuperfoods
Nutrition Science
Our online nutrition course reviews science and anatomy to provide you with an understanding of how our bodies function and why certain dietary habits work and don’t work for individuals. Specific topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Blood sugar & glucose
  • Digestive system
  • Toxins
  • Thyroid health
  • Genetic influence on diet
  • Metabolism

Modern Health Issues

Click on the link to read more: American Health CrisisFood/Mood ConnectionGovernment PoliciesHypoglycemiaOrganic vs. Non-Organic vs. Local FoodsEmotional EatingSchool Food
So there you have it. Just a bit of why I chose this program that led me to becoming a holistic health coach. I love that I can help guide people on their path to becoming their best selves. In the process, I believe I have become a better version of myself as well. My relationships have become stronger with my family, husband, friends, as well as myself. I have used the tools I've learned at IIN to foster my own dreams for my career and life, like becoming a momma! I also have a better relationship with my body and have an awareness of what it needs (and doesn't!). 
Lastly, if any of you are interested in attending IIN, contact me! They are giving away some limited scholarship money right now and I can put you in touch with someone to talk to!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Autumn, Again

We woke up in NYC to a chilly morning. The perfect morning to put on a sweater and have coffee. Yum.  Autumn is my most favorite time in New York. Crunching through the leaves in the park, everyone with scarves and boots on, and finally a break from the insane summer humidity. This is welcome news for a ninth month pregnant lady such as myself.

I wanted to say a big thank you again to the lovely Danielle for featuring me on her blog yesterday and a big hello to all of you who stopped by to check out PH&C! Welcome :) I hope you come around again.

This morning, in the midst of my autumn excitement, I decided to roast a butternut squash that I picked up at the market this week. I am planning on using half of it for a soup and half for savory, make ahead, breakfast muffins to freeze. I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out on Monday!

In the meantime, I hope you have a lovely weekend. And if it's chilly where you are, I hope you are enjoying pulling out your sweaters and cozying up with some soup.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Love: Sometimes Sweet

This is so exciting! Check out my little guest post over on Sometimes Sweet today. Danielle's blog is one of my most favorite daily reads and I have enjoyed following her journey from pregnancy and through her (almost!) first year with baby Henry. 

Thanks so much Danielle! I had so much fun writing about my job and why I'm so passionate about both cooking and health coaching. I'm grateful and honored to be featured on your little piece of our blog world. :)

If you aren't already (you're crazy!) check out Sometimes Sweet and read all about the lovely adventures of this adorable family. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Exhausted

My friend wrote a funny post last week about trying to catch up on her sleep in the weeks before baby comes while it's impossible. You see, in the weeks leading up to the big day there is, of course, the requisite stress and lists running through your head. However, the more painful reason you can not sleep is because you are actually in physical pain. Yes, your baby is beating you up from the inside. Fun times. And then there is waking up in the middle night because of heartburn, hip pains, back pains, anxiety, and freaky nightmares involving giving birth to everything but your own kid. And forget actually falling asleep. It could take hours to find a comfortable position.

Okay, I'm done whining.

Kind of.

For now.

Anyway, we had a really fun past few weeks house/cat sitting for my parents in the burbs. It was nice to get out of the city, watch cable, and relax. We also drove down to the boardwalk, played mini golf, and shared an ice cream. It was really nice. And last weekend, two of our lovely friends got married and we got to go to their beautiful wedding. It was super fun to do my hair, put on some make up, and make myself feel as fancy as I possibly can at this point. Meh. There's only so many dresses you can try on...

Anyway, it was so much fun dancing all night with friends, taking photo booth photos, and stuffing ourselves with nom nom treats like mac and cheese balls and chocolate peanut butter pie. YUM. Best of all, my pregnant friend was also there and we had fun harassing the photographer to take photos of us and dancing with our bumps. haha

With baby boy "arriving" roughly a month-ish from now, I am trying to catch up on my never ending list. Even with all my free time right now, it seems like it takes forever to accomplish anything between being exhausted, hungry, having to pee a million times a day, and just getting overwhelmed. Told you I wasn't really done whining....

Cute image via

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Favorite Veggie Burgers

We are not full time vegetarians at the P house but we do eat a lot of vegetarian meals. We choose to eat less meat most of the time because:
- we are really picky about the quality of our meat and where it comes from
- it helps us get more vegetables in our daily diets
- it makes us feel better
- it saves money!

Now trust me when I tell you I can get down with some beef burgers, turkey burgers, and I have even been know to eat a tuna burger. But there is another patty in my life friends, and that patty is named Veggie. I make a huge batch of these burgers every few months and we keep them in the freezer for whenever the mood may strike us, or when the fridge is bare (oops). This recipe is adaptable for so many flavors! I have made it with basil pesto to make it more Italian, more curry to make it more Indian, and even added coconut to give it a Thai spin. Play around with the base to make wholesome, nutritious, home made veggie burgers that are vegan and gluten free too! You'll feel much better knowing they don't have any soy, preservatives, or artificial ingredients (as most commercial brands do). These burgers are full of protein, fiber, and vegetables. I have made anywhere from a dozen to two dozen patties with this recipe. The seasonings are, of course, interchangeable but I have found that these work nicely to balance the flavors. You can also switch the black beans for others, such as garbanzo or pinto. You can eat it on a whole grain bun, like a burger with all your favorite toppings. Or you can even use this mixture crumbled in a tortilla, like a burrito. I have even used it to make vegan sloppy joes!

1 can black beans
1 c rolled oats
1/4 c ground flax
1 c shredded carrots
1/2 c frozen peas
1 T crushed garlic
1/2 c chopped onion
2 t curry
2 t cayenne
 2 t cumin

Mash all of these ingredients together and form patties of your preferred size. Bake patties for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Or sautee in a medium hot pan for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Baby Shower, Hurricane, 33 Weeks


What a crazed past two weeks. Seriously. We just had an earthquake AND hurricane here in NYC. And our baby shower, which was just as exciting. (At least for me!)

My parents are out of town so S and I decided to head out of the city to their house to make sure everything was okay, and also to be with Lucy the cat. I'm so glad we did because there ended up being quite a bit of damage after the storm. There are huge trees surrounding my parents property which ended up falling (not on the house) and breaking off giant branches (er...directly INTO the house!) which was scary. S and I tried to get some sleep on Saturday night but ended up getting out of bed around 3ish and watching the news. I made some coffee and we sat with the kitten until the sun came up, all with the power flickering on and off for hours. After we surveyed the area, we went back to bed. And then it was clean up for the next two days. The basement flooded, trees were down all over. It was pretty crazy. Anyway, all is over and we are okay. Not the case for thousands of people still without power up and down the east coast.

Thank goodness that the weekend before was our baby shower! Yeah! It was amazing. Having so many people who love us and are all excited for baby boy there was an overwhelming amount of love. And since we are moving away, it made it all the more special. I can't say enough about how grateful we are. My mom, aunt, and I (and S!!) cooked all the food and I think it was a success. We had badminton set up, an ipod playlist, and plenty of afternoon drinks. My kind of baby shower. My friend Arielle made (and let me borrow) the amazing necklace I'm wearing. Isn't it so fun?

We asked everyone to write a message to baby that we can put in a book later. After the party, we read them all back and, of course, I was a mess of emotions thinking of not having all these amazing people be a part of baby's everyday life. But they still will be. In a different way. They will all be his cool New York/New Jersey aunts and uncles. Gah. I can't even think about it right now...

As the weeks are creeping up I am in full stress out mode. Have you ever tried to prepare a space for a baby? Fun, right? Have you ever tried to prepare that space in an apartment you are moving out of? Not fun. More like, "Why are you even doing this?". Ugh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Los Angeles

LA Light from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

This will be our new city. This is where we will be raising our baby. At least for a while...

It's difficult to express how we feel about it. Of course, we wouldn't be planning this move if we didn't want to or feel like we needed to. The truth is, we're not sure how we will feel once we are there.

Staying in New York is not an option at this point. I am planning on not working for at least a little while and for us to be able to stay here, we would both need to be working. And we also don't want to move to the suburbs. Why? We're not at that point yet. Maybe one day...

But for now, we still want to be in a city.

So when we found out I was pregnant in January we reevaluated our living situation and looked around at some neighborhoods here that we would be open to living in and feel comfortable raising baby in. As the story goes, we came up with nothing. At least nothing we could afford and also love. So we began thinking of other options. As not much else on the east coast appealed to us, we explored western cities. After narrowing down our choices, we settled on LA.

We've both spend quite a bit of time there, apart and together. We have some really great friends there as well as my lovely sister-in-law and her family.

On top of that, we genuinely like it there. Quite a bit.

Whenever we tell our New York friends, most are surprised at our decision because it's so different there. But I think that why we like it so much. An honestly, any city is different than NYC. It's the only city in the world like it. Truth.

And yes I know about the traffic, the smog, etc. Despite that, we're excited about the farmer's markets, beaches, and travel opportunities. (Hello, five hours to San Francisco!) And of course the weather, opportunity to live in a much bigger place for the same price as our tiny apt here, and growing as a family in California.

The most difficult thing being that our families are on the east coast. I can't even begin to think about baby boy not being able to see his grandparents whenever we can or not having all his aunts and uncles around. This is, by far and obviously, the most heart breaking part of deciding to leave. Gah. Enough. Not time to think about it yet!

Anyway, I love this video. And I'm looking forward to exploring our new city.

Anyone from LA?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 weeks!

I can not believe that in just two months S and I are going to be parents.

I had an appointment with my midwife today and when I asked her if I should be doing anything special, she just replied with, "Relax."

Seriously? Great. Well in a sense I can find myself doing a whole lot of nothing these days while also having a million things to do. The thing is, we are moving.

That's right. We're moving out of NYC. Out of our sweet little apartment where baby boy will be born. Away from the city that we met and fell in love in. Where we planned our wedding and shared our dreams while walking around this neighborhood that we love. We'll be leaving behind our friends and most of our family. We'll be leaving behind our favorite coffee shops, bike paths, and brunch spots. And all this is happening just a few short weeks after baby makes his appearance. It is our choice, albeit a difficult one, but ours alone. And so we are trying to soak up our last New York summer with all that we have...

This weekend is our baby shower and I am super excited! Family and friends coming together for a summer afternoon to share our excitement - I couldn't be more grateful for the amazing support we have around us.

Oh, and I'm a red head now. There isn't much a seven month pregnant girl can do to jazz up her look. So I went big! I like it. It's sassy, no?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baby Style: Cute Shoes

Are these a cute alternative to the popular kids crocs? (ew.)
Or am I delusional?

I might go for and get a pair of these for bebe.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Day In Flushing, Queens

S grew up in Queens, which is a borough of New York City. For ages we have been planning on spending the day in Flushing, which was his neighborhood. Last weekend we finally made it out there for the day and had a great time.

We started by driving past the house he grew up in and around the area. He was so happy to see that a lot of places like his elementary school still looked the same. Although that was not case for the rest of Flushing. Sometime around the late 80's, there was a huge number of Korean and Chinese immigrants who moved to the area. Since then, most of downtown Flushing has transformed with whole malls dedicated to the new thriving population of young Chinese and Koreans. Lucky for us, this includes some delicious food!

We found ourselves at one of the many famous Flushing mall food courts, which are similar to the food courts so popular across Asia. This particular food court was in the basement of a sort of dilapidated mall. The mall was almost deserted but the food court was packed as expected! Most of the signs and menus were not in English so we just ordered based on the photos and we were not disappointed. Dumplings, the best scallion pancake I have ever had, a cold sour broth soup, and a scallion bun were all so fresh and surprisingly light.

Next, we headed over to Flushing Meadows Park. The World's Fair was held here in 1964 and included amazing structures built to showcase the different pavilions. Sadly, since then, the structures have been vandalized and mostly ruined but it was still amazing to see what remains and imagine what it looked like at the time.

We finished off the day by bowling a game at the bowling alley that S grew up going to. He was excited that it hadn't changed much! He won. I am a decent bowler but he has some kind of hidden bowling super power.

Anyway, for those of you living in the NYC area, I recommend heading out to Flushing for the day. Great food, interesting shops, and a beautiful park.

Also, note my giant belly at 29 weeks. Hi, I'm officially in my third trimester and it shows!

If you have a second, don't forget to click on our little link! Thanks :)
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hi, I'm here.

I know you're on the edge of your seat waiting to hear about me.
Brace yourself.

I've been doing a whole lot of nothing.
Well, that's not entirely true.

I've been cooking. A LOT.
And now that I've officially stopped working (YES!), I am finding I have even less time to get everything done. It's one of those things when, the less time you have, the more you accomplish. And the more free time you have, the more you dilly-dally. Does that ever happen to you?


Anyway, I digress. Cooking - up - a - STORM.
Those photos are just a few that I managed to take before inhaling said meal. These last few weeks have consisted of pizza making, veggie burgers, baking english muffins, and tons of gazpacho, among other things. Oh yeah, and did I mention home made HOT POCKETS?! NO BIG DEAL!
This was meant to be a freezer item that we sampled for dinner that evening. Sadly, none of the pockets made it to the freezer before lunch the next day. Oops.

Other than cooking, I have been trying to really enjoy the remainder of the summer. Our last summer before baby. Our last summer of us two. While we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little guy, we are spending lot's of time just being together in the quiet of this last summer.

New York has been going through a heat wave, much like the rest of the country. Luckily, we have been able to go to the beach every week, which has been my saving grace. Every Sunday morning I bounce out of bed, as if it were Christmas morning, and we head out. I then proceed to spend the entirety of the day floating. It is absolute bliss. Ahhhhhh...

And how is baby?
Magical. Amazing.
I'm now officially in my third trimester. I can barely believe how quickly it is flying by. I'm in my 27th week, which means that baby boy could technically come in 10 weeks (when I'm considered full term). Is that crazy? I feel like I was just announcing my pregnancy on here.

Anyway, we are getting ready little by little. Our shower is in a few weeks and I am so excited to celebrate with all our friends and family and then begin preparing. I told Scott last night that after the shower, it was really go time. Eek!

Other than that, there has been a lot of picnicking, movie watching by the AC, and general loveliness.

Oh yeah, and here's my updated photo. I think this is 25/26 weeks...
It's just a crappy phone photo and the sun was shining in my eyes but you can see how much my belly has grown since my last photo update.

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