Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Boaz!!

Well, my little man is 3!! Sorry this post is belated, but the birthday party was Dino-riffic! Our family came over for dinner and cake to celebrate the third year of our adventure raising a son. He got lots of good "boy" presents including swords, a gun, cars, and a robot. Christmas always comes a little early to the Wright House....15 days to be exact! Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Palatial Pumpkin

Like just about everyone else north of the equator, this is by far my favorite time of the year. I love the weather, the anticipation, and especially the food! I thought I'd share my favorite pumpkin recipes I'm enjoying right now. And if anyone has one for a fabulous pumpkin pie, I'd love to try my hand at it.

Pumpkin Pancakes

In a large bowl mix:

2c flour (unbromated of course :)
1 tbsp backing powder
1/2 tsp ginger
12 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon

In a small bowl mix:

2 slightly beaten egg whites
1 1/2 c milk
2 tbsp oil
1/2 c canned pumpkin

Add small bowl mixture to large bowl. Stir until just moistened. Heat griddle, brush lightly with oil. Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto hot griddle. Makes about 16 small pancakes.

Pumpkin Soup (this is a Jamie Oliver recipe and it is AMAZING!)

2 large butternur squash
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 dried chilies (unless you are a wimp, b/c they really do make it spicy)
olive oil
10 slices pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
a bunch of fresh sage
11 oz of chestnuts (could not find these ANYWHERE, so I used pine nuts)
1 onion, finely chopped
about 1 1/2 liters chicken stock
4 tbsps sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, reserving these for later. Grind the chilis until fine and sprinkle over the squash. Drizzle with some olive oil and roast in hot oven until soft (about 30 minutes).
Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the pancetta with half the sage leaves. Add the nuts and the oinion and fry gently for about 15 minutes. Spoon the squash out into the pan, leaving the skin behind. Cover with the stock and bring to a boil. Remove half the mixture and blend until smooth, then pour back into the pan.
Take the rest of the sage leaves and the reserved squash seeds and fry them in a little oil until crisp. Serve hot* with some sour cream spooned on top and sprinkle with a little of the crisp sage and seeds.

*it makes a lot, so we had some for the next few days heated up. I think it was even better after a few days.

Pumpkin Cobbler

3 eggs, beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
1 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 yellow cake mix
2 cups melted butter*
1 c chopped nuts

In a bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Melt 1 cup* of the butter and drizzle over the top of the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the nuts over the top and drizzle with remaining cup* of butter. Bake 15 more minutes.

*Okay, I do NOT use this much butter, but its totally up to you. I half what the recipe calls for and only use 1 cup. It's SO good...and don't even ask how many calories!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall is a Blast!

Okay, I am prefacing this post by telling you that my husband is a lousy picture taker. He thinks he's good, but he tries to do like all candid shots with no flash and they turn out blurry and stupid. So, he's fired.

These are the TWO decent shots he got after taking the girls to the pumpkin farm. Do you see any pumpkins??? Yeah, me neither. Boaz had a fever that day so I stayed home and took care of him. I guess daddy should get some points for just attempting an outing.

These are from Halloween. Our church has a little party they call Jesus Jam. Here's my little alien nephew....so cute!

And a little fairy who had already consumed 3 rice crispy treats by 7 o'clock.

Bobbing for apples. Never really thought about how UNsanitary this is!

And that is IT from Halloween. BOO Kevin!

These, however, were taken by my cousin. This is from a gas line EXPLOSION that occured at 1am Thursday morning about a half a mile from our house. We woke up STUNNED to see a literal wall of fire out our bedroom windows. Shortly after, we had woken up our sleepy babies and evacuated along with the rest of our neighborhood. FREAKY! Fortunately, no one was killed and miraculously only one house was destroyed. The flames shown in these pics were 700 feet high! YIKES!

Needless to say, we are feeling very thankful and blessed for the safety of our family and home as we rapidly approach Thanksgiving! Please pray for the the family who is recovering from such devastation right now.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nutrition Info

I haven't blogged about this at all because, frankly, it's boring. But I'm realizing more and more that it would be helpful if more people knew about this, so here goes.

When Holland was about 6 months old I noticed an enlargement in my throat. I asked Kev if he could feel it, but he thought I was nuts. Also at that time, I took Holland for her well visit. I was still exclusively breastfeeding her, and at the appointment I learned that she had not gained ANY weight from her 4 month visit. So, I changed my diet, added a lot more good fats and started her on solids. It wasn't until a couple of months later that I put the two things, my throat issue and her lack of weight gain, together.

Memorial Day weekend I told Kevin it felt like I had something stuck in my throat. This time I asked him to feel my neck and he pulled his hand back in horror (okay a bit exaggerated). He said, "I think you should have that looked at." Tuesday morning I called an internal medicine doctor who is a family friend. I was told he was out of the country, so I called my OB. He got me in almost immediately on Thursday. When I went for the appointment and his nurse took my vitals my resting heart rate was 130. He walked in, took one look at me and said, "You have Post Partum Thyrioditis and you are in a hyper thyroid state. I'm going to refer you to an endocrinologist and they will most likely take your thyroid out within a year."

Now, I love my OB doc. But I'm only 30 years old, and I kinda think I should probably try to hold onto all my major organs for as long as possible. Long story short, I saw the endocrinologist the next week. He confirmed the PPT diagnoses but basically said the only treatment available to me was a beta blocker to control my heart rate. Blindly, I agreed and started taking Labetalol. Not only did it not help control my heart rate, the insomnia I had experienced for months worsened. Yet another drug was prescribed to help with that. To be fair, the endo doc did want to run a specific test on me to confirm I was in a "hyper" state (apparently the ridiculously out of whack lab work I had already gotten wasn't quite enough). But the test makes you radioactive, that's right radioactive, and you can't do it while you are breastfeeding.

So, here I am bawling my eyes out pretty much daily because I felt like total crap. I couldn't sleep, I could barely write or do anything fine motor because the tremors in my hand were so bad, and emotionally I was on a roller coaster from hell. Then, a light at the end of a dark tunnel. My sis has been having health issues of her own. Her search led her in the direction of a Natropath here in Amarillo. I decided to give this lady a shot (by the way, she's also a Nurse Practitioner and a Physical Therapist and operates under her father, a well respected pediatrician).

The Natropath, Marian, looked at my lab work and talked with me about all my symptoms for almost an hour. Her clinic takes no insurance, and her fee is $90 an hour, but since I was with her only 45 minutes I was only charged $60. The endo doc spent like 5 minutes with me and I got a bill for $165! Compared with him, she seems like a bargain.

Anyway, she ordered a slew of other lab work. She said in her experience it's rarely just the thyroid hormone levels that are off. One of the tests was a 24 hour urine collection that would measure the amount of iodine my body would consume if given a loading dose of iodine. It was the same principle as the radioactive test the endo doc wanted to do, except obviously a lot safer.

The results of the test showed that I was extremely iodine deficient...most likely from the fact that I've been pregnant or nursing for 3 and a half years. And this brings me to the point: we think that we get the nutrients we need from our food, but we don't. In the case of iodine, since we are a developed country and it is added to much of the foods we eat, you'd think we'd have plenty. And we probably do. But iodine has a competitor that is also added to a lot of the foods we eat...specifically breads and cokes. The competitor is called "potassium bromide", and is also found in hot tubs and car interiors. It looks a lot like iodine to our cells, so they gobble it up instead of the real deal. If you are not iodine deficient, then your body can recognize the difference and detox the bromides naturally. But if you get a little wiped out of this essential nutrient like I did, then the bromides can take over and pretty much get rid of any iodine you do manage to consume. And potassium bromides are toxic, carcinogenic little boogers.

Sooo....Marian's plan for me was to first take an iodine supplement. I am currently taking 20,000% of the recommended daily allowance by the FDA. I know that sounds like a lot, but our RDA is only like 150mg whereas Japan's is like 15,000mg a day. Incidentally, Japan also has one of the lowest rates of cancer in the world.

The other thing she said to do is limit bromides in my diet. Which basically meant avoiding all breads unless made with unbromated flour or spouted grains like the Ezekial bread products. And that's been a lot harder than you might think. I LOVE grains and have always tried to eat whole wheat breads and pastas. Eliminating them has been hard, especially when you go out to eat. So, I've been making my own baked goods with unbromated flour. There is a brand called King Arthur that I've been using. But I got some good news today! I found an article that says that organic flour, by law, cannot contain potassium bromides! I feel like this opens up a whole new world of bread, cereals, and cookies to me and I am SO excited!

I hope that writing all this will help somebody out there who stumbles across it. I know that researching with the web can be overwhelming and intimidating, and it's nice to hear about people who have dealt with thyroid issues first had.

I'm about to retake the iodine test to see if my body is responding to this course of treatment. It's been a long road, and I'm ready to open a new chapter. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Photo Study

I know this is a bit late, but I wanted to post the pics from Holland's post helmet appointment. She has now been helmet free for 3 months! And we continue to see improvement in her head shape. I wish we could go back and have these pics done again just so we could see how much her ear alignment has straightened and the left side of her head has filled in simply from growth.
Also, the torticollis in her neck is almost completely resolved. We had a consultation around the first of July with a wonderful doctor here in town that does Botox for tort. We seriously considered going that route because it seemed that even though we were taking her to PT every week and doing neck stretched daily at home, the tightness had just plataued and we were seeing no improvement. It was like one step forward, two steps back. But around that same time, we switched chiropractors. The Botox doctor encouraged us to pursue that non-invasive route first, and if after a month we did not see any results we could revisit doing Botox. Our new chiropractor started doing what he called B.E.S.T on Holland. That stands for Body Energy Sychronization Therapy. Within a month our physical therapist said we could drop down our appointments with her to every other week! She still has just a "touch" of the tort left. We are planning to do some kinesio-taping on her neck next week to hopefully help completely resolve the tightness.
Anyway, the pics on the left are the "before" that were taken of Holland's head in March. The ones on the right are her "after" 5 months of wearing her helmet. The last series is the most dramatic. By the way, her head went from being 18mm assymetrical to only 6mm!

You can still see a bit of head "tilt" in this one.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Milestones In Progress

Big things have been going on at our house. Reading, pottying, and weaning to name a few. Bronwyn is making huge strides in the book department. She has a brilliant mind and is creative beyond measure...thinking outside the box is her specialty, and she's now in classes to further develope those gifts and talents. Thinking inside the box, however, not so much. While she hasn't been at the bottom of the barrel as far as reading goes, she's been pretty darn close. But I am totally blessed that she has not one but TWO aunts whose area of expertise is reading. They are keeping an eye on her and giving her some extra attention in this department and she is going to be reading Harry Potter before I know it (just kidding...maybe Junie B though).

And Boaz is an EXCELLENT little pottier! We had a rough start at the first of last week. Lots of poop in the garage and daddy's studio (don't ask), but he's doing awesome now! Yesterday he wore the same pair of jeans AND undies ALL day long! I was so proud. He even got up in the middle of the night last night, took off his jammies and diaper (still sleeping in one) and went potty all by himself! Of course, he got back in bed naked and woke up with damp sheets this morning, but hey it's a great start.

The only one really backsliding is Miss Holland. At the first of this week, I had her down to 2 feedings a day...once in the morning and once at night. That lasted all of 2 days. By Wednesday at noon I had already nursed her 4 times. I blame the emerging 4 teeth and the insidious ear infection that her ped found at her well visit yesterday. Oh, thats why she's been waking up in the middle of the night screaming! Good to know! Well, maybe next week will be better.

And I can't post without including some pics. Here's some from our Fall Festival at B's school last weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy 1st Holland!

On Thursday we celebrated our family's last first birthday. What a year! Oh how I love this little girl! You can't be around Holland for long before you have either caught her infectious grin or been slobbered on by a sloppy wet kiss. She is quite simply the world's happiest baby. Here are some pics from her big day!

Me and my Hazelnut Crunch

That funny little smile.

Truly the yummiest cake ever!

Holland agrees.

See Boaz eying her present.
All in all a great end to a great year. And do you realize that I will now have two toddlers? This should be interesting!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mourn with those who mourn...

Connor Charles Neagle was born yesterday afternoon weighing in at 8 pounds 12 ounces. He died shortly after heroic attempts by the NICU staff to ventilate and revive him. His little brain went to sleep and his mommy and daddy made the heartbreaking decision that it was better to let his fragile body go than put it through any more. Please pray for this sweet family, Stacey and Matt and their almost 3 year old little girl Taylor. Matt is my brother in law Michael's brother. They are obviously shocked and devastated.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Grown Up Girl

Well as you can see, I have one very grown up little girl on my hands. I have to remind her pretty much daily, you're only six! I won't go into all the drama around our house these days and the attitude bigger than Texas. Here are some pics of the better moments over the past few weeks :)

The FIRST day of the FIRST grade! I feel like I have a "real" big kid now.

Apparently lost teeth are a status symbol amongst kindergarteners. Bronwyn has been practically devastated for the last several months that none of hers would even wiggle. And then voila, out of the blue one was loose. This pic is of me trying to pull it with dental floss after she had been messing with it non stop for about a week. She begged me to do this by the way. I got no pics of the tears that resulted from my failed attempt.

TA DA!!!!

And the tooth fairy disguised as Dada (Kev's dad) gave her 5 bucks. FIVE BUCKS! I used to get like a dime! She wrote a story about the whole thing complete with drawings and took it along with the tooth to school on Tuesday. When I picked her up that afternoon I asked if everyone was excited about her show and tell. She said, "Not really. Grayson brought a tarantula, so nobody cared." Oh the disappointment of youth!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back With a Vengence

Wow, summer is almost over! It has been very busy around here for the last month. Here's a recap: a miserable, miserable, miserable bout with strep throat (me); followed almost immediately by a trip with Kev's fam to OKC; a short jaunt to Dallas where we learned Holland is officially DONE with the helmet; another miserable, miserable bout with strep (Bronwyn); followed immediately by a party with our family to celebrate no helmet (did I mention we are DONE?); then a fabulous week in beautiful Angel Fire; a LONG drive home; hot/windy/rainy weather here; and trying to get ready for school to start while squeezing in our last few days at the pool. Whew!!! Pictures are worth a thousand words, right? Well, here's not quite a thousand pics :)

This is the picture we turned in at the clinic on our last day there. Hopefully it will make it into the Doc Band calender they do!

B, Boaz, and part of cousin Christian posing at the science museum in OKC (which is awesome by the way).

B riding the "Segue" at the museum.

I have always wanted to ride one too!

Bo playing the drums in the sound section.

About to race go carts!

Ahh, Angel Fire and the glorious lake by our cabin. Note the jacket I am wearing...love it!
And Holland spent most of the time there in this pack as you will see in the pics to follow.

Kev took B horseback riding because, of course, she's a little girl and horses are little girls most favorite things in the world. This one's name was Copper. I know that because she's been telling anyone who will listen that she got a horse named Copper.

Want to know what I was doing while they were on the ride? I was walking around the lake with Holland (on my back) and my mom when all of a sudden my mom grabbed my arm and said, "There's a BEAR!" Sure enough, a 300 pound brown bear was frolicking not 30 yards from us...yikes!!

On one of about a hundred hikes with my girls.

Say cheese Holland!

In Red River.

Boaz's most favorite thing about the entire week was throwing rocks the rivers and lakes.

B's first fish! And one of only 2 we caught all week I might add.

Hanging out with Darni on the deck.

Holland loves picnics!

River rats.

Wish you could see the pretty little waterfall behind us...or Holland behind me for that matter!

Again with the rock throwing. This time cousin Ephraim and Aunt Rae Rae are assisting.

All worn out.

Goofy girl.


This was the view from our deck. Amazing!

Lots of good hang out time spent out here.

The world's happiest baby.

This was in the courtyard of the most awesome little toy store in Taos.
I swear I think we spent like 2 hours here. And that's despite the fact that one of the first things we saw when we walked in was a woman sitting about where Boaz is in this pic, totally bare breasted feeding her 3 year old kid! The kid pulled off and was like, "I want to go play now mommy". Ever heard of a water bottle lady???
Finally back at home and all tuckered out :)