December 31, 2015

Whole 30 Day 7 Meal Plan

Make sure to refer to Day 1 post for helpful tips! 

Day 7 Meal Plan
Bfast: you know what to do by now!
Lunch: protein salad and leftovers!
Dinner: Seared Salmon Benedict (p. 210)
with Pan roasted Brussel sprouts & squash (p.286)

Seared Salmon Benedict
2 salmon fillets - 5 oz
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp cooking fat
2 large eggs, poached (p. 150)
1/2 hollandaise 
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsps white vinegar (for poached eggs)

Hollandaise (p. 314)
1 1/2 c. clarified butter (unsalted)
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/8 cayenne pepper (opt)

Brussels & Squash
3 tbsp evoo
1/2 of the brussel sprounds, cut in half
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 c. diced and peeled butternut squash
1/2 red onion, cut into 1 in ribbons

Let me know what you think! 

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Whole30 Meal Plan Day 6

Remember to check out the helpful hints from Day 1 post

Day 6 Meal Plan

Bfast: on your own, you know the drill!
Lunch: protein salad and leftover from days 4 or 5
Dinner: Chicken Chowder (p.336)
with Roasted Beet, Orange, & Avocado Salad (p.290)

Chicken Chowder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb boneless chicken thighs
1 qt chicken & veggie broth
2 medium sweet potatoes, 1 inch cubed
1 head broccoli cut into 1 in pieces (save stems)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeno, finely diced (opt)
14.5 oz canned coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Roasted Beet, Orange, & Avocado Salad
2 medium beets
 2 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp balsamic vinegrette
1 orange - half zested & juiced
1/2 peeled and cut into segments
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 avocado diced

Enjoy! Let me know how you like them

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Whole30 Meal Plan Day 5

Remember to look over the helpful tips on the Day 1 meal plan post!

Day 5 Meal Plan
bfast: on your own, eggs and fruit are easy options!
Lunch: protein salad and leftovers from days 3,4
Dinner: No Fuss Salmon cakes (p. 346)
with Grilled Asparagus & Lemon (p.284)

No Fuss Salmon Cakes
3 6 oz cas wild caught salmon
1 c. canned sweet potatoes
1 egg
1/2 c. almond flour
2 scallions sliced
2 tbsp parsley minced (2 tsp if using dried)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp clarified butter
lemon wedges

Grilled Asparagus
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 tbsp clarified butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced and zest

I'm hesitantly excited to try these out, these are new to us!

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Whole30 Meal Plan Day 4

Make sure to take a quick look at the helpful tips I posted on the Day 1 Meal Plan

Day 4 meal Plan
bfast: on your own, eggs and fruit are easy options!
Lunch: protein salad or leftovers from Days 2 or 3
Dinner: Citrus Ginger Halibut (p. 24)
with Sweet Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts (p. 262)

Citrus Ginger Halibut
1/2 c. apple cider
zest & juice of 2 lemons (after trial and error I would take this down to 1 lemon)
juice of 1 orange (i would up this to 2)
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp cooking fat
2 halibut fillets (5 ozs each)
12 tsp black pepper

Sweet Potatoes & Brussel Sprouts
1 c. balsalmic vinegar
1 sweet potatoe, peeled and diced large
3 tbsp clarified butter or eevo
1/2 lb brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper

Let me know what you think! the Halibut is one of my favorites!

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Whole30 Meal Plan Day 3

Make sure to check the top portion of Day 1 post for some helpful tips and guidelines

Bfast: on your own, eggs and fruit are easy options!
Lunch: Protein salad or Day 1/Day 2 Leftovers
Dinner: Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Butternut squash soup

1 lb tenderloin
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
3 cups greens
1/2 c. balsalmic vinegrette (p. 328)

Butternut Squash Soup
3 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
1/2 c. diced onion
3 c. diced butternut squash, peeled
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Balsalmic Vinegrette
1/4 c. balsalmic vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp mustard powder
3/4 c. evoo
1 tsp minced cilantro (1/4 tsp if using dried)
salt and pepper to taste

Let me know how you like them!

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December 30, 2015

Whole 30 Meal Plan Day 2

Meal Plan Day 2
Make sure to read the top portion of Day 1 in case you missed it

Bfast: on your own, eggs and fruit are easy options!
Lunch: Protein Salad or Leftovers from Day 1
Dinner Coconut Curry Chicken and Butternut Squash with kale and swiss chard

Coconut Curry Chicken
3 tbsp cooking fat (coconut oil, evoo, ghee, clarified butter)
1/2 onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp yelloy curry powder
1 c. can crushed tomatoes (make sure to read label!)
1/2 c. coconut cream (p. 178)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 lbs bone in, skin on split chicken breasts (2 pieces)
1 lime quartered

Butternut Squash with Kale & Swiss Chard
2 c. large diced and peeled butternut squash
1 tsp evoo
1 bunch kale cut into 1 in ribbons
1 bunch swiss chard cut into 1 in ribbons
3 tbsp clarified butter
1 clove garlic minced
1/4 c. sliced almonds
1/4 tsp chili powder (if you dont like spicy, cut it down to 1/8 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you liked it!

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December 29, 2015

Whole30 Meal Plan Day 1

I have had so many people interested in this meal plan that I decided to put it on the blog for easy sharing. There are a few guidelines you will need to remember for this mealplan to work for your family so here we go!

1. This meal plan covers lunches and dinners only. Breakfast is for you to decide on your own. Easy options are eggs, fruit, and our family drinks Shakeology. There are some great breakfast recipes out there. Check Pinterest for "whole30 compliant" breakfast meals, freezer meals and crockpot meals.

2. Lunches are leftovers from dinner the night before or any of the Protein Salad recipes.

3. To be able to do this meal plan you WILL need the Whole30 cookbook (click to find on amazon or head to your nearest bookstore.) Im not sure if you can find the recipes online but if you do let me know and I will link them! The recipes are just too much for me to type out on here, sorry!

4. These recipes are automatically for two people. They give you dinner one night and at least one persons lunch the next day. This meal plan will likely give you way more food than you need for the 7 days so dont let the food go to waste in your fridge. Eat the leftovers before making a new meal. Invite a family member or friend over if you are a single person. Take a meal to someone who needs it. Good, whole food is more expensive than processed junk, dont throw your money in the trash!

5. If any of the recipes don't work for you or your family (not a fan of salmon?) then just follow these rules to make your own Whole30 approved meal

- EAT REAL FOOD - it has to come directly from an animal or a tree or a plant to qualify. You should basically only be shopping in the meat department and the produce section.

An easy way to break that down is to do this with your plate. Cook a meat in your favorite seasoning. Add a fresh vegetable. Add a fresh fruit. Thats it. Easy Peasy.

No Sugar. No additives. No preservatives. No Dairy. No wheat/Gluten. No beans or legumes except almonds and walnuts. Nothing processed or from a box. You can use spices, olive oil, coconut oil, clarified butter, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc.

6. Get over your food hangups. Before we did this last time, I would have never touched brussel sprouts. They are delicious. I constantly joke that I have the palete of a frat boy because I like cheeseburgers and pizza best, but now I really like butternut squash and brussel sprouts, even mixed together! So follow Daniel Tiger's advice. "youve got to try new foods cuz they might taste good!"
Try everything at least once before you decide you hate it.

CHECK YOUR LABELS ON EVERYTHING! sugar and gluten sneak in everywhere!

1 lb chicken (canned is fine)
1/4 c. cream base
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
add as desired:
sliced grapes and almonds, celery and onion
mandarin oranges for an asian zing
olives for a greek variety

Grilled Steaks with Avocado and Garlic (p.216)
2 5 oz Steaks
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 shallot, peeled
2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 avocado sliced
(look of gordan ramseys video on how to make a 5 minute pan fried steak, its amazing)

Sweet Potato Mash (p.249)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced large
4 tbsp ghee or clarified butter (make a large amount ahead and keep in jar in pantry)
1/2 c. coconut milk
1 onion sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

And there is day one! Hope you enjoy! Remember just because this is what I picked for day one doesnt mean you have to eat it on day one. If you have more time on day 1 to tackle a more in depth recipe then do it and save this one for a quicker night!

Look here for other days when they are ready!
Day 2    Day 3     Day 4     Day 5  Day 6    Day 7

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December 28, 2015

Whole30 Days 1-7 Grocery List

After about 4 mom hours* of work on Saturday night, I finally completed our first weeks meal plan and grocery list. If you are just jumping into meal planning, it can be overwhelming. Don't try to do a whole month. Just do a week. Or even 3-4 days. Pick easier meals to start so you can have some victories. Use Saturday or Sunday before the week starts to grocery shop, prep your food and portion some out if needed! Prep is key! It is the game changer.

This list will be all the ingredients you will need for one weeks worth of whole30 for lunches and dinners for two adults, using dinners leftovers as part of the next days lunches. The last time we did this, our kids weren't much into the new food so we made them something else after they tried it. We had plenty of food and I am guessing this 7 day plan will actually last us longer than that. This does not include any breakfast foods because we tend to do simple breakfasts of eggs, fruit and Shakeology, whatever gets the job done!

So here is the food list! If possible, buy locally grown, organic food but don't get caught up in that. The key is to eat unprocessed WHOLE foods for 30 days. Don't miss the forest for the trees. Also, I was leary of most of these foods when we started out. I'm not real adventurous with food, but every recipe we have done so far has been delicious! This meal plan is also tailored to my pallet, so it is not too spicy. My advice: try every vegetable dish listed here and you will probably like them. They are delicious!

7 Day Whole30 Grocery List

1 bunch kale
1 bunch swiss chard
1 lb asparagus
1 head broccoli
1 jalepeno (opt)
2 medium beets
3 onions
2 avocados
5 sweet potatoes
1 lb brussel sprouts
1 bunch celery
1 bunch grapes
2 red onions
2 oranges
3 butternut squash
8 lemons
2 limes

2 salmon fillets
8 eggs
(this is only for recipes, get extra eggs for breakfasts)
1 lb chicken thighs
2.5 lbs chicken breasts
2 halibut filets
1 lb pork tenderloin
3 - 6 oz cans wild caught salmon
2 - 5 oz steaks
2 scallions

1 qt chicken + veggie broth
3 cups balsalmic vinegrette
4 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. apple cider (not vinegar)
3 1/4 c. EVOO(extra virgin olive oil)
2  tbsp white vinegar
2 1/2 c. coconut milk (id just get a gallon if you can)

1 c. canned crushed tomatoes
1 c. canned sweet potatoes (ill probably just buy 1 more)
1/2 c. almond flour
1/4 c. sliced almonds (buy a bag and use extra in salads)
1/2 c. coconut cream (recipe book will tell you how to make it)
25 ozs coconut oil, ghee, or unsalted butter (to make clarified butter)

I realize this list can be overwhelming you are probably thinking "AND EXPENSIVE!" and you are right, eating healthier is generally more costly than eating junk and processed food. But shop smart and you will do okay. If you have al Aldi around, go there first. Then hit up your local mom and pop shop for meat and produce. Share spices and small amounts with friends. I'm going to see if I can find someone to sell me just a small amount of almond flour since I know I probably wont need a whole bag. Ill also add fruits and more eggs to list for our breakfasts.

*Mom hours definition: the time it takes you to do a task when you are getting up every 10 minutes to get someone something they want or need. Take the amount of time it should have taken, and times by 4.

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December 27, 2015

Whole30 Recipe List & 7 Day Meal plan

Most of you know that I've been a Beachbody health coach for a few years now. And I love their workout programs (hammer and chisel just arrived today!) and their Shakeology shakes (serious gamechanger)! But.... I have been wanting to really dial down on my nutrition and a few friends pointed me toward Whole30. I was wanting to go gluten free to see if it would help clear up some arthritis and inflammation issues ive struggled with for years and Whole30 seemed to be the most recommended.

So back in October Justin and I jumped in. And for two weeks, I felt great (after a few bad "kill all the things" days). Then I got sick and off the plan I went. But Justin stuck it out hoping to resolve a few recent health problems for himself too. And he did the whole 30 days with zero cheats. He rocked it. And lost 27 pounds for his hard work and dedication. That was zero added exercise besides the walking he does at his job daily. All of that was lost with nutrition only. By cutting out some food groups all together and vowing to not eat anything processed for 30 days.

 So January we are starting again!

Actually a large part of our extended family is doing it too. My mom and dad, my sister, and a few cousins are wanting to try it out. So I thought I would share the Meal Plan and grocery list here that I created in case any of you are looking for a change in the new year too. You would still need to buy the recipe book (found at amazon or your local bookstore) for the full recipes, unless you can find them online. I haven't looked so I cant tell you if they are available online or not. is the website. 

Look back tomorrow for the Recipe List and then I will work on getting the Meal Plan posted. We plan on starting Sunday January 3rd so we can grocery shop and prep on the 2nd to get ready, but you can start on whatever day works for you. 

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December 9, 2015

Dear Graham at 2 years old

To my Dear Graham,

In a few short minutes, the clock will strike 12:01 and it will be December 9th 2015 and you will be 2. 2 years old. My how two years can fly. As I type this, you are lying in bed beside me gently sleeping. You have your ba (paci) and your worn out white knit "bankie" covering you. It is your trusted friend, always by your side, dragged along beside, wrapped around your shoulders, woven through your fingers as you soothe yourself to sleep. You just recently started trying to say blankie. Before you just called it a "bank." You are growing and changing and learning so quickly each day and I find it hard to keep up. I try to catch the little moments throughout the day. Ive tried to just enjoy you more over these last two years, in ways I didnt with your older siblings because i was an inexperienced mom who thought the years would last forever. By the time you came around, I knew they would be short and sweet and I wanted to soak up your baby years and just let you be a baby. Because you are the third, you've been given permission to keep your babyhood as long as possible. I havent expected as much out of you as I did of your older brother, who lost his baby status just 15 months in. Rylin pretty much demanded to not be a baby anymore at the ripe age of 12 months.

But you, you are different. You are quieter, observant. I think you will be more like me and only really want to talk when you have something to say.  You love to sit and snuggle. You love to wrestle. You are smart. So smart. You love to sit and flip through books. Believe me, you have attitude too. And can be super awnry. And your feelings get hurt so easily. You do not like anyone to be cross with you and it breaks your heart when your siblings dont include you or take something from you. Your big siblings are your best friends and heros though too. You constantly copy them. You fight slugs with Ian and push babies down the hallway in strollers with Ry. You are such a joy to us. Just pure joy. And laughter. I vividly remember the day we found out we were going to have you, just as much as the day we actually did have you. You were such a surprise. The best surprise. God knew we would need you in our lives and I cannot imagine our family without you.

You havent gotten as many entries on this blog. You're babybook has few pages filled out (okay so your brother and sister dont have many either). But you do have a few things. You have almost daily pictures of your antics. You have so many more "mama hold" where i dropped what i was doing to hold you. You have gotten many more rockings. You were nursed for 18 months. It was a mutual arrangement to stop and we didnt have any issues. And i can say i cherished those moments with you. A chance to sit down and just soak you up and love on you. You've never once been scolded harshly. Thats a bonus for being a later child. You have endless hours of play play play. Youve slept beside us pretty much every night since youve been born. If you arent snuggling us, youre brother and sister do the job just fine too.

Here are some things you love.
Mickey Mouse. You call him "mouse mouse" and you love all things mickey. You love his show and talk back when he talks to you. If you see a mickey stuffed animal you must hug it. If you see mickey ears anywhere, you point them out.

Minions. Im not sure where you first learned of minions but you have liked them for a long time. You kind of remind us of a minion. Most of what you say is not understandable yet we understand. You kind of like to wreck things like minions. And all things are funny to you. You love bananas just like a minon. And youve been able to sing the "ba ba banana" song from minions for a solid 6 months. Its hysterical.

You say some funny stuff. Like "scallywag" from Jake and the pirates. You love burpee the firebat almost as much as your brother. You like to have a baby to carry around sometimes or push in a shopping cart. You really really love trains (choo choos) right now. You played with a Thomas set for over an hour at the toystore one day. You love dipping your food in whatever we will let you. We found out a bit ago you are allergic to milk. You loved JJ the puppy and chasing him around. You can say all of your family members names. You really like to say "chad" when you mean aunt cici, chad and collins (or coco as you call her). And you find it so funny that you tease Cici with it. You are also a little rough with Collins sometimes. Shes not much into wrestling yet.

You love tractors and machinery. We have had lots of big trucks at our house this year fixing this thing or that and youve delighted in watching them. You like riding in the gator with Ian and swinging on the swingset when Ry will push you. You thankfully, dont climb as much as you were last year.  You constantly want to go "outside" even if its cold or rainy. You love your daddy fiercely now and are so excited to greet him when he gets home. You still love to snuggle and rock with me, which I adore. You like watching movies with the whole family and snuggling up with us.

Baby boy, You have brought us so much joy the two years you've been here. You love all your grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins and extended family and you love fiercely. There isnt anything that makes my heart swell more than a kiss and a hug from you and a "wuv you."

You are such a blessing to us, we are lucky to have you.
Love always and forever, mama

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July 4, 2015

and here we go!!!!

Tomorrow, we set foot into our first Little People of America convention. It is in St. Louis this year and being so close, we could not pass up the opportunity to be able to see Ian's specialists, learn and expand on our resources and of course meet lots of new friends!

We go into this convention with great expectations and a bit of nervousness. We mainly wanted to go to see Ian's dwarfism specialist. Dr. Mack (Mackenzie) is from Delaware and we flew out to see him in 2013. He gave us a great report on Ian then and said he'd like to see him yearly if possible but at least every two. Last year was too busy with a newborn, moving, and a new job so that didnt happen. And Ian wasn't having any problems last year and was probably at his strongest following his surgeries. This year its perfect timing as Ian has been having some troubles as of late. More on that in a minute.

We also wanted to go this year because we need to learn how to broach the subject of his condition with him. Ian knows nothing of his diagnosis. We don't discuss his needs and medical issues in front of him. We use very general terms about his feet or size. He's probably never heard the word dwarfism from us or anyone. We did this partly on purpose and partly just by chance. It started with "hes too young to understand it" and "we'll cross that bridge when it comes."

We also don't want him to feel like his diagnosis defines him and of course we will encourage him his whole life to do what he wants to do in his way and safely. But he is almost five and we feel he is getting close to an age and a level intellectually and emotionally where he could process and understand it better. And a few situations have come up recently that make us think it might be close to time. Another little boy kept calling him a baby at a playground not that long ago and it was really upsetting Ian. Rightly so as this little boy was no taller or older than Ian. So Ian came over upset and crying and I asked him "are you a baby?" He said "no! im a big boy, im 4!" So I told him to go tell the boy that and then find someone else to play with. It worked and the little bully went on his way. Another time he was wrestling with some other boys from our church and they were both a bit bigger than him and frankly, they could have probably picked him up and done a pile driver on him. Because he has a cervical spine issue that is a risk to his health, that kind of rough play is just not in Ian's future. We told him he could really hurt his neck by playing that way and would have to go to the hospital but obviously, he didn't like feeling left out. Those two situations Im sure have hurt our hearts as much as his.

Its been really hard for me to think about this because, other than the medical side of it, I don't really think of Ian's diagnosis. Neither does Justin. Yes, his medical issues do take up a substantial part of our time and mind energy but thats just our normal. Its been that way since before his birth. And truly, most of his care for the past 5 years has centered around his feet. His dwarfism diagnosis has mainly been in the background. It hasn't really affected him much. To us, he is just Ian. Wonderful, gentle, happy Ian. Funny, bright spirited, I can do anything Ian. And we don't want his diagnosis to affect his spirit. I don't know if it would. It might be one of those things where he goes "oh okay" and moves on. Ian is not a dwarf to us. Ian has dwarfism. Its a medical condition to us. And later in life, he might want to embrace the Little People community as his culture. That part will be up to him. And should he choose to do that, being a part of these conventions will play a large role in that. It's all new to us and we are hoping to navigate it with grace. And hope others will give us grace too!

Onto whats been up with Ian lately. We saw Dr Dobbs for his clubfeet a few weeks ago. Dobb's felt he was doing well and moved him to a new barless boot as his braces. Ian's issues lately have mostly centered around his left knee. It has become increasingly weak and unstable. He is severely "knock kneed" in that leg. I should have taken a picture of it to post. I dont know how he is walking on it but like always, he just adapts to what his body needs. He has been falling and tripping a lot, especially if he tries to run. His knee has been giving out on him frequently, especially coming down stairs. He's had quite a few scary tumbles, one yesterday down a flight of 3 steps and onto a concrete pad. Thankfully he is an expert at tucking and rolling and was fine. We celebrated in PT this year that he could FINALLY!!! walk up and down flights of steps interchanging feet without using a handrail. We've been working on the strength to do that since April 2014 after his last heel cord tenotomy. In the last 4-6 weeks he has lost that ability and cannot even do 3 steps up or down. He is constantly telling me and his PT "my leg just isnt working!" Its so frustrating for him and a little scary for us.

We are pretty certain surgery will be in our near future. We didnt expect it so soon and Im optimistic that perhaps Mack has a better solution for us. Either way, we need to figure out a way to get our boys knee back to whatever its best is. Ian wants to play soccer again this fall and his current knee is just not going to allow that. Please pray for us as we navigate all of this and seek wisdom regarding his care.

Im hoping to blog my way through the week so stay tuned!

I think my instagram acct isnt linking properly and I dont have the energy to fix it tonight so find me here! @stephsmithfit_buttonsandbows on instagram to follow this weeks picture overload!

June 16, 2015

Well its been a long time...

i shouldnt have left you, without a dope beat to step to. step to, step to.

hope you enjoyed that musical interlude courtesy of growing up in the 90s/2000 and miss Aaliyah.

Thought id do a little blog post. I miss this blog. I miss the friends I made blogging. I miss reading blogs. But alas, where is the time. I doubt there's many people sitting around going "what shall i do with all this time?" if you happen to be someone doing that, please contact me. I have plenty I could have you do. I can offer food and company and sticky kisses from 3 adorable little children as payment.

So hopefully this week I will get a couple of blog posts done. Here is what I hope to accomplish
Update on Ians feet
Grahams 18 month post
The new house.
A review.
Rylin's new tumbling class

Today's topic will just be a general overview.

Weve been good. Busy as always. Who isnt busy? General life duties keep me hopping most days. Laundry, food, cleaning up and chasing after these kiddos. More laundry. Gah, all the laundry. Getting them and us where we need to be. Im back at health coaching after an extended absence.  I missed it. Shameless plug, you should join my next group. We are down almost 30 lbs in one weeks time. It rocks. Justin's job is going superbly. The kids are growing way too fast. Seriously, can i just stop time? Summer has started and I am enjoying not driving all over God's green earth to take them to school. Weve mostly been hanging at home doing nothing amazing. I need to get swim lessons scheduled. We have a busy summer planned with a couple trips. I need to get homeschool curriculums down and ordered. Have I mentioned before that we are partially homeschooling? That can be another post for another time.

Thats all I can think of for now. Nothing mind blowing :) Hope everyone else's summer is off to a fantastic start

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June 10, 2015

Beachbody Summer Sale!

The summer sale is here! This is the time to take advantage of great prices on select programs and gear! I have a few specials of my own too if you are interested in a different program not featured on the sale or are interested in trying Shakeology! 

the sale officially goes live at 2pm cst. but they have already added a few items to it. you can find it here

click on "shop" on the upper right hand corner and then "summer sale" on the left. Leave me a comment if you order, there just might be something extra in it for you! 

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May 10, 2015

Mothering messy

I'm sick this Mother's Day. I have mucus pouring out of my face. My head feels like it's 5x heavier than it normally is. I'm hacking and coughing like a 50 year smoker and my voice sounds like a mans. It's not pretty. There will be no pretty picture today. 

But isn't this what motherhood is? Motherhood is rarely the pretty pictures we see with the smiling clean faces all dressed up in their best. It's rarely the flowers and gifts and breakfast in bed. 

Motherhood is  usually "doing it messy." The baby clinging to you and the toddler trying to climb your leg and the preschoolers fighting over who gets to sit where at the table, while you try to just put some food on the table for lunch. It's the house a mess even though you feel like you've been cleaning all day. It's the massive pile of laundry that has successfully made it from the washer to the dryer but you ran out of gusto when it came time to fold it and put it away. It's the little people who have more needs than you have of you to give. It's the constantly trying to balance mothering with wifeing with just being. It's trying to find the joy in the chaos and not lose your sanity all in the same moment. It's trying to find that last ounce of energy to rock the babies to sleep, read the books and say the prayers. 

But motherhood is beautiful too in the midst of the mess. It's the first moments after having a baby. There's a lot of messy involved in childbirth. Oh but what great joy. There's the baby with food smeared all over his face but the huge teethy grin that shows he's enjoying every moment of it. There's the toddler running up to you to tell you she's drawing a picture for you and then you realize it's on your favorite (insert object that shouldn't be drawn on here) and you don't wipe it off because it's still a precious picture. There's the preschooler outside who is creating a giant mess of himself in the dirt and the mud but watching the sheer joy in his face as he discovers his world is enough for you to not say "get out of the mud!" 

There is so much mess in motherhood. But there's so much joy. Motherhood can bring great pain. But it brings SO. And Compassion, and finding the rainbow after the storm, and patience.

 Even relationships seem to become better after motherhood. Something about moms coming together in their frazzledness and sharing life is beautiful. For many, their relationship with their own mother becomes better after they also experience motherhood. 

We see the moms who are hurting. Those that have lost a child or a mom this year. The moms who are struggling with their children through disease, disability or mental Illness. We see the moms who never stop praying for a child who has disowned Their faith. And we see the kids who maybe for the first time this year, have to celebrate and mourn at the same time their mothers that passed away. 

Today is a day to celebrate all women, no matter their mothering status. Remember those who have lost their mother. Remember the ladies that long to be mothers but aren't yet. Remember the single mamas just trying to get through. Remember the frazzled mom whose praying she just doesn't screw these children up. And remember the mamas out there who have lost a child and the ache in their hearts and arms hurt extra on this day. 

Thank you out there to all those mamas. And to every lady that has ever "mothered" someone else. Keep doing what you do. Even if it's messy. 

March 3, 2015


It's time. It has to be done. I can't hold my tongue any longer. I can't be calm about the issue. I can't sit by and watch people I know using a word that can bring so much hurt. 

Recently I've seen several people in my news feed use the term "midget." One person used it to my face when speaking in general terms. 

None were using it in a malicious way towards my son. But still, it was used. 

So let me bring you some education in 2015. "Midget" is never an appropriate term for anything. Not for a joke. Not when talking about a person. Not in reference to something small. Not when discussing a scene from a movie. 

Remove it from your vocabulary now along with nigger and retard if you still dare to use those terms. Those three words actually make me cringe as I type them. If you ever use any of those three words around me or my family and especially around my children,  I WILL call you out on it and explain to you why they are not appropriate for use. If you continue to use it despite knowing that you shouldn't, I have no problem cutting you from my life. 

If you need reasons as to why these terms are inappropriate, please comment and I will gladly give you more resources. 

Said with as much love as I can muster,

And while we are at it, please don't refer to my son as a dwarf or a little person either. His name is Ian. That's the only label he needs. 

March 2, 2015

Happenings around here

Well, we are two months into the New Year and I have pretty much thrown every goal I made to the wayside. Blogging, Beachbody, exercise, clean eating, time management and on and on and on. Im kind of using today as my start over day. There has been lots going on though!!

For one, we are in the process of buying a house! We are very excited to get settled again PERMANENTLY for at least a few years. We never really have plans to move so we dont foresee any moving in the our near future but we didnt plan the last two moves either... so you just never know! We are buying a cute little 3 bedroom house that has... wait for it. 2 bathrooms and a dishwasher! Im so excited! Being without those things since July has really made me appreciate how "spoiled" we can easily be. I hate washing dishes and 5 people sharing one bathroom is getting trickier. Im aware that these are most definitely first world problems :) The kids will still have to share rooms but Justin and I are excited to get into our own house again. Our landlords here are great people and we have greatly enjoyed this house but Justin is itching to do some home upgrades and Im anxious to get settled where I know we will be for quite some time.

Secondly, Im a new aunt!! My sister had her baby 12 weeks early in the middle of February and we have been going back and forth with her and trying to help her and her husband navigate the world of being Preemie parents. They are doing so well and little Collins is doing amazingly! She still has a couple months left in the hospital and we covet your prayers that she will continue to grow well like she has been and that she will be complication free!! Ciara and Chad have been doing a great job trying to juggle and balance all that preemie life involves and while it is very stressful for them, they know it is all toward an end of bringing their baby girl home. Rylin thinks Collins is her sister and both her and Ian are anxious to get to meet her. The NICU is very strict (and should be) on who is allowed in and that does not include cousins.

Lets see what else. Homeschooling is going pretty well. The kids are learning their sight letters and have pretty much all the sounds down. We are working on numbers and handwriting and they both know how to recite the verse of Genesis 1:1 ! They both love books and have also been enjoying some leapfrog videos and an app I downloaded from Hooked on Phonics. Ian is showing signs of reading readiness and we are hoping to work more on that this summer.

And oh! How we cant wait for summer! We got over 6 inches of snow this weekend and we want sun!

I hope all of you are well. I am working towards blogging more as our family grows and we find a new rhythm in our new place. Ive wrote so many blog posts in my head over the past several months and they just need to come out!

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December 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Graham!

Dear Sweet Graham,
Happy first birthday my dear sweet baby. Today has come all too quickly! You had the fastest first year I think in the record of years. It seems this year flew by. It seems like last month that we were headed to the hospital to meet you!

Big days get me sentimental. I have so enjoyed you this past year. And its easy to enjoy you. You are the sweetest little boy. Almost always happy. Love to snuggle and hug and love on people. You love to cuddle and rock. You rub my back when I pick you up and occasionally you will give me kisses when I say "Graham? kiss?"  Your smile lights up your face and your little toothless gums stick out and you squint your eyes when you do it and it just lights up the room.

Everyone that has had the pleasure of taking care of you (family & church nursery) says that you are such a sweet baby. You fall asleep on the ladies that get the pleasure to rock you and you have fun playing with the older gentlemen that help too. You love watching all the bigger kids. You just sit and watch quietly and take in all the ruckus they create.

You are so smart. For the past month, anytime you see a hat or headband (your sisters), you try to put it on your head. You try to put socks and shoes on your feet. The other day you tried to put a lid on jar for a solid 5 minutes. Of course, this means you are a genius. This past month, you've started shaking your head "no" when you dont want something. Usually food you've decided you dont want. Its adorably anwry. You do quite a few other awnry things as well. You like to get into your siblings things when they are playing. You love emptying anything you can. Bookshelves, baskets of toys cars, clothes drawers, cabinets. You love to climb the shoe cabinet and the stepstool in the bathroom.

When you dont want to rock to sleep but want to nurse, you will contort your body in all kinds of ways and turn and flip and stick your behind in the air while trying to stand on my stomach. There is no changing your mind from that mood. :) There is no end in sight to our nursing relationship which I am okay with, tho I would appreciate if you would start sleeping through the night, at least a few times a week.

You love your brother and sister so much. You play with them, follow them around, watch them do all they do and tag along to all their things. You love them. You love all your grandparents.

Everynight when Daddy walks in the door, you smile real big and reach and grunt for him until he picks you up. Once, he bypassed you to go to the bathroom and you cried so hard! Your little baby heart was broken. No worries, he picked you up right after. You love him so much and his tickles and playing monster. He rocks you to sleep very often and you snuggle.

You love pretty much all of your family. All the grandparents and aunts and uncles. Papaw Meyers rocks you when you are at their house and MiMi is always giving you fun new foods to try. When she picks you up you point to the kitchen.

You have been the sweetest baby this past year. Ive enjoyed all of our cuddles and rockings and snuggles. You love to cuddle almost always and you like to sleep near us if we allow. You love when we carry you around and you laugh when we play hide and seek with you or tickle you.

You love tractors and cars. You drive them and make vroom vroom noises. You dance anytime you hear any music and have this huge smile on your face. You play ball with your brother or Aunt CiCi or cousins. You love to hide in your tunnel. Strangely, you also love to eat toilet paper.

You LOVE your blankie. Like really love it. You are very possessive of it and wont share it. Not even with me. If i try to snuggle it, you grunt and whine and pull on it til i give it ALL back. You wont even share a corner. It is YOURS.

You think you are much bigger than you are. In your eyes, you are a big kid too. And you will be all too soon. Im desperate to keep you the baby for longer.

Stats wise you are 18.1 lbs and 29.5 inches

Graham, you are loved. So loved. You fit so perfectly with us and we cherish you.

Happy 1st Birthday sweet precious boy. We love you so much and are so thankful that God gave you to us. We can't imagine our lives any other way.


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November 23, 2014

Florida vacation day 1!

Well we arrived!! We started our travel last night at about 1230am after I got about 2 hours sleep and justin got 4. We travelled to Indy and arrived about 345 am. I'd been frantically searchin for Graham's birth certificate and realized I never ordered one. I had asked Facebook if I would really need it and the concensus was that they never ask! as soon as I stepped foot out of the car an the baggage guy came out, it was the first thing he asked me for! Of course. 

We got it all worked out thanks to a picture on my phone and a footprint copy from the hospital I grabbed just in case. 

We checked out 2 suitcases and got a cart to haul the 3 car seats. I was babywearing graham in the moby and the two big kids were laying in the double stroller, tying to wake up since it was 4am (3am their time!) justin and I each had a backpack and the kids had their little rolling bags. 

We grabbed some breakfast and headed through security which is always an ordeal but thankfully was fine. We headed for the concourse where I grabbed coffee and then proceeded to take each child to the bathroom. 

Our flight was to leave at 640 and we were in the 3rd section to board. I will never understand the way they assign seats an load airplanes. Since we had to two kids in seats and graham was a lap baby, they assigned is to the very back of the plane. The lady at check on told is there was an empty seat in our row and we could put Graham's car seat there if we wanted to. 

Now logic would say that if you have a family with three small children and 2'e large car seats to put in the very back, then you Should board them first. But no, we had to walk past a half full plane and not try to give anyone a black eye with our carry on or car seats. Thankfully, our adorable children win hearts so easily that I didn't see one grouchy face . Dressing them in their cutest disney travel clothes was smart thinking because they were adorable! And pulling the own suitcases made everyone just love them more. 

That extra seat for graham was awesome because he slept the entire flight almost and was giggling at landing! The kids you could tell were more at home in their car seats and were well behaved too. Their suitcases were full of snacks and toys to keep them happy. 

Our plane had left late so by the time we arrive in Atlanta and deplaned we had 10 minutes until our next flight left. Of course it was in another concourse. Justin grabbed all the car seats, I mobyd graham and stick the bigs in the stroller with their cases and we took off. We half ran, got on the train, went up an escalator with the stroller and the kids hanging in for dear life while we dodged and weaved and hoped we'd make the connection. 

Of course the gate was at the very end of the concourse we were in (WHY is it need the first gate you are near? It's always the last gate!) but the check in lady there saw us coming and yelled "Orlando?" And I was like "yes yes it's us!" And she said said "we've been expecting you!" 

We got on and barely had time to get the seats strapped in when we pulled away from the gate. Justin and I high fived and kissed and celebrated our teamwork and that we made our connection!! 

When we got to Orlando we were able to upgrade our car to a minivan for free and we were on our way! 

We met nana and papaw for lunch and then went to the splash pad and beach. The kids loved it! Graham ate sand, Ian actually played with the water and Rylin only turned blue from cold for a short bit. We all got much needed naps and then played with cousins for the evening! 

And tomorrow it's disney!!! 

October 29, 2014

#Iam series - Harrison

On Sept 7th, the day before my oldest sons birthday I went in for a routine ultrasound.  An ultrasound tech did the first ultrasound, then a Neonatologist came in to do a second one.  When she was finished she said "Ok, short limbs could run way back in your family history,but one of three things is probably going on....some form of dysplasia, Dwarfism, but most likely your son has Downs Syndrome".   

Things got a little fuzzy at that point.  I told her my AFP & nuclear fold test were normal.  She said they were not normal they were 1 in 6000 which is low risk.  I asked how his heart looked & If I'd still be able to breast feed. She said they were not looking at his heart, only measuring the long bones and that Harrison’s head and torso where two weeks ahead, and his arms and legs were six weeks behind.  She said that If I hadn't refused extended testing they could probably tell me more and offered to do a Amnio test, which I declined.  This was our son so he could be furry, purple and have six eye balls and he would be just as loved, and cherished as the rest of our boys. There are also risk with amnio and I wasn't  willing to take those risk.  The Neonatologist was very stern and matter of fact.  I told her I refused testing because theres nothing I'd do differently.  I stayed calm, walked out, went to my car and sobbed.  Everything seemed pretty blurry and I was trying to wrap my head around what she had told me. I texted a few family members and told them I couldn't talk about it yet, and just asked for them to keep us in their prayers.  I waited till my husband came home from work to tell him and I could hardly get the words out "theres something wrong with the baby". 

 I told him what the Dr told me and that we wouldn't know what until he arrived.  After doing my own research, dwarfism seemed the most likely.  I'd googled a million different things and a lot of stories popped up that were similar...normal fetal ultrasounds until later in pregnancy.

 That was the longest three weeks of our lives.  I tried to keep things as normal as possible and not let the kids know anything was going on.  I was HUGE and carrying a lot of extra fluid, so my Dr. decided to induce me a week early.  That was a crazy morning, we were so excited to meet our son, and scared at the same time.  I wanted to wait on the epidural because if they had to take him, i wanted to be with him.  Once they started the pitocin I changed my mind and rung the buzzer like a mad women trying to get an epidural.  They ordered it and when the anesthesiologist came in I had completely dilated in forty five minutes and he was coming...I wouldn't be getting the epidural and there was no Dr to deliver him.  I wasn't even in a delivery room but this boy was ready to make his entrance!  They raced me down the hall to a room, and my nurse that was with me with my first son eight years earlier was leaving for the day.  She saw them taking me through the hall way,threw her purse down, grabbed my hand, and said " I was here for the first, and I'm here for the last".  I felt calm and ready.  I was surrounded with love.  My husband and some amazing nurses that had been with me the last few weeks for stress test and monitoring filled the room.  He came out and we were both scared to look at him.  When they tell you your child's head and torso are ahead and his limbs are behind you are not sure what to expect. Everyone kept saying he was beautiful and they were right!  He was beautiful and looked like any other baby and was perfect.  Besides measurements being off, his heart and other organs seemed fine. I tried VERY hard to name him Wesson, but after a family vote we named him Harrison Marx.  We did test for Downs Syndrome and it came back negative.  From there we saw a geneticist.  At first sight and measurements they thought Harrison had Achondroplasia, but after Xrays and blood work he was diagnosed with Hypochondroplasia.  His over all health is good.  Harrison has some compression and hydrocephalus we monitor threw MRIs.  

He is just like all my other boys...extra loving, silly and spunky.  He is absolutely adored and I cant wait to see whats in store for his future.  We joined the LPA and have met so many amazing families that we will share this journey with. 

  Our hope for Harrison is that he knows that the sky is the limit, that he'll dream big & do something amazing.  But most importantly, we hope that the world is kind to him, and that he can change perceptions, and be seen for who he everyone else...just smaller.

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October 28, 2014

#iam series - Owen

This is Owen.  He was born January 13 2014.  He was born with club feet,  cleft palate, and a short jaw.  He was admitted to Arkansas Childrens Hospital when he was 3 days old because of the cleft palate and his jaw.  He was losing weight.  He would stop breathing because his jaw would shut off his air way.  His CO2 and O2 levels were so high they worries about brain damage if they didnt admit him.   He had jaw distraction surgery when he was 13 days old.  It wasnt until he was about 3 weeks old that a doctor said he had bone dysplasia.   But it wasn't until he was about 3 months old and was having his feet cast that he developed the bubble ears and his orthopedic doctor told us he thought it was Diastrophic Dwarfism.   We went and saw a genetics dr and he said it wasnt because Owen didnt have the hitch hiker thumb.  When he was about 9 months old we did genetics testing and they confirmed Owen had Diastrophic Dwarfism.   They said it was a mispelling in his genes.  Where he was suppose to have and S he had a T.  We dont know which one of us carry the gene.  The doctors dont seem to know much about it. Owen is such a mild case compared to the other children ive seen.  He doesnt have to wear braces or special shoes for his feet.  The casting is all he had.  He wouldn't wear the brace at night.  He started walking at 13 months.   He hasnt had any issues yet.  He is alot smaller then other kids his age.  He will be 3 in January.  We had no idea about any of his defects until after he was born.  When Owen was born the hospital didnt know what to do with a cleft palate baby.  They sent us home with no information.   Owen should have gone straight to Arkansas Childrens Hospital after he was born.  If it wasn't for a nurse calling and scheduling an appointment with ACH when she did I dont know what would have happened to him. Owen had all the symptoms of DD except the hitch hiker thumb and spinal issues.  Owen has the biggest personality.  He does what he wants when he wants and if you tell him he cant he'll prove you wrong.  Everyone gravitates to him.  Hes a blessing from God a miracle that completed our family and taught us how precious life is. 
Heather Geater

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October 27, 2014

#iam series - Vivian

Hi there, my name is Vivian and I am 17 months old and I have achondroplasia! I live with my Mommy, Daddy, two older brothers, and an older sister who are all average height.
Before I was born my Mommy, Daddy and sister got to go see me on the big screen because at 38 weeks my Mommy's tummy was measuring four weeks too small. Now if you know my Mommy, you know that she is a very thin person so she wasn't worried at all!
After the ultrasound, they where told that the doctor needed to talk to them about some concerns on the ultrasound, now Mama was scared!
The doctor sat then down and told them that my arms and legs were measuring 24 weeks while my head was measuring at 41.
The doctor told them that I would have dwarfism but my parents didn't mind, they would love me no matter what! The doctor went on to tell them that my chest was too small for my lungs to work so I would pass away moments after birth. My Mommy's heart sank! She didn't care that I was going to be a little one but, but she was devastated knowing that she would never know me. Thedoctor recommended a c-section since my head was so large, it was scheduled for 41 weeks and we headed home where we posted, HARD!
fast forward to my birthday, April 22! 
Everyone was so excited to meet me and nervous to know how long they would be able to keep me. In honor of me and dwarfism awareness everyone wore green to come celebrate me! 

About an hour after Mommy and Daddy arrived at the hospital, I was born! Kicking, screaming, and breathing all on my own! Mommy and Daddy where feeling so blessed and ecstatic to know that I was going to be ok!
My first day was spent snuggling my Mommy but the second was full of xrays and a cat scan, normal for a little person like me but very overwhelming for my parents!
I have gone through a lot of surgeries, tests and doctors appointments in my short life so far, I have kyphosis of my spine, hydrocephalus, sleep apnea, and low muscle tone. I also have tubes in my ears and a shunt that drains the fluid off of my brain. I see a neurosurgeon, ENT, GI, orthopedist, geneticist, and a physical therapist.

Achondroplasia is the most common type of dwarfism and its a rare new mutation of a gene which means no one in my family passed my condition down to me. I am the first person in my family to have it!
Achondroplasia means that my torso is average and my limbs are shorter, I have a very prominent forehead, the cutest little fingers, a flattened nasal bridge and the cutest little buddah belly! 
The average female with achondroplasia will grow to be 48 inches while a boy will grow to be 52 inches!
I may have been through a lot and my family's lives may have changed with all the appointments and special care but we are still just like your family! We love going for walks, playing at the park, church, birthday parties, family dinners and reading books!
And I may be small but I am just like every other one year old, I love to play with other kids, snuggle my Mommy, talk, play peek-a-boo, and scoot all over! Oh and I love to eat, mommy says I'm her little piggy! 

It has been a long hard road but I don't think my parents would change any of it for the world! We have met so many new friends and have added close to fifty people to our family, we are so happy and so blessed and to my parents I am perfect!

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Comment Policy

i welcome and cherish comments from my readers. they make happy to know you are enjoying what you are reading and help this blog be more of a conversation. if you are here to promote a business or be ugly...well this is not the place for you and your comment will be deleted. This is my personal blog and life is hard enough without the mean words of others. differing opinions are always welcome, lets just do it with kindness and respect. love, stephanie
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