Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday! 
Daughtry concert on Mother's Day 2010

On her birthday last year, telling her we were going to the Daughtry concert.

With Mom at the "Mattanda" wedding March 20, 2009.

Right before my jaw surgery in 2007.

Mother's Day 2009

"My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you"
- Proverbs 6:20-22 (ESV) -
 
Happy Birthday to a mom that never stopped leading me,
watching over me, and never stopped believing in me. 
 
Thank you for always telling me I could do anything.
 
Thank you for trusting in God's plan for my life.
 
Thank you for continuously praying for me
during the "questionable" years.
 
Thank you for proving those doctors wrong; the doctors who
said the cancer was too far along and to "give up". 
Thank you for finding the doctors who did believe.
 
Thank you for never giving up,
even when the pain was incredibly unbearable.
 
Thank you for being there to see me walk down the aisle
and become Mrs. B.
 
Thank you for being you. 
Honest, passionate, reliable, strong, and loving.
 
This song holds special meaning for me and my mom. 
I love you Mom, Happy Birthday!
We'll celebrate together in a couple weeks :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Protein Peanut Butter Balls


Today is glorious!  The sun is shining creating a crisp winterish day with a touch of warmth.  This morning I went to yoga for the first time in what feels like eternity...with an emphasis on feel, because I sure felt it!  I paid a visit to my local Goodwill to start stocking up on tea cups, saucers, and other items I'll need for the tea party baby shower I'm planning for my sister.  I am amazed at the goodies I found and am so excited to see it come together! 

As I write this, I'm snacking on a couple Protein Peanut Butter Balls (aka "Butter Balls" in our house, which sound extremely less healthy) before I head out to Vision House to do some filing.  Our gym had these out on the counter a couple months ago, along with the recipe, and I finally got around to making them.  These Butter Balls are yummy! Perfect for a quick protein snack before/after the gym, to satisfy that "sweet tooth" snack craving before bed, or like in my case when I'm starving when I get home from work but still have to make dinner.

Protein Peanut Butter Balls
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder (THIS is we what we had on hand in caramel latte flavor, and it worked great)
  • 1/2 cup raw oats
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and form into small 1" balls.  Refrigerate a few hours and enjoy.

I just used my (clean) hands to form the balls; much easier than trying to do so with spoons.  I put the balls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Oh My Omnivore!

I'm eating meat again.  I know, I know; I need to make up my mind!  Allow me to explain...

This is my story of how a birth control quandary prompted me to chart my menstrual cycles, which eventually led to acupuncture and finally eating meat once again.  Just warning you. 

It ALL started in the Summer of 2009 when I decided (for various reasons) to try a 30-day Veg Pledge (to read how the Veg Pledge came to be, you can read my Meet Your Meat post).  I ended up continuing my vegetarian diet (technically pescatarian, because I did still eat fish) for almost a year and a half.  So why did I start eating meat again, you ask? 

THAT story takes us back to April 2010 when I stopped taking birth control pills. No, we are not currently in the market for a Mini Mattanda, but after educating myself a bit more on oral contraceptives, I decided the potential risks of taking "the pill" were just not worth it to me. In addition, many women report having issues conceiving after they discontinue birth control.  THIS is a good website that explains how birth control pills work, as well as common and potential side effects.  THIS is an excellent article as well that describes in more detail some scientific research in the area of oral contraceptive side effects.  There is a TON of information out there, but these two links can give you an idea of where my logic came from.  Needless to say, I wish I never started taking birth control pills in the first place. 

Through my own research, I decided the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) would be my new route to keeping the bun OUT of the oven.  I take my temperature first thing in the morning and through a charting process (I use Fertility Friend to do all my charting) and other fertility signs I am able to determine ovulation patterns and my "fertile window".  (THIS website can give you some more information about FAM).  I believe most women use FAM when they are trying to conceive, but it is also used as a means of contraception; such as I am using.  I've had friends ask me "Aren't you afraid you'll get pregnant?"  First, Matt and I got married for a reason, and having children is not something we are "afraid" of.  If it were to happen sooner than we are planning, we will be excited and thankful just the same.  Second, FAM is just as effective as oral contraceptives if done properly. I know women who have conceived while taking birth control of various types, so I'll take my chances with the method that has NO side effects.

Through using FAM I have learned so much about myself as a woman I should have already known, but I also discovered my menstrual cycles may not be ideal.  A "normal" menstrual cycle is 21-35 days, and I was having cycles lasting up to 43 days.  Were my cycles like this before taking birth control pills?  I have no idea, because I never paid attention.  Also, through charting, I discovered that I may not be ovulating every cycle.  Feeling the tick-tock of my female baby clock getting louder, this worried me; when we're ready for a bun in the oven, we want it to happen, and a bun in the oven requires ovulation.  After I stopped taking birth control pills, my skin progressively got worse.  Each month, I was greeted with more and more breakouts that were not going away. This for sure was new after stopping the pill.  I would have hormonal breakouts before, but never before had I experienced breakouts like I was now experiencing.  After becoming frustrated with my cycle and my skin, I decided to seek some help from an acupuncturist.

So what does all of this have to do with eating meat?  I'm getting there.

I read a lot of information on how acupuncture can help regulate hormones, which would help with my cycles as well as my skin.  I started seeing an acupuncturist around October 2010, and after I tried an elimination diet to see if I was allergic to gluten (pretty sure I'm not), she suggested I start eating "animal protein" again.  I also have a patient who is an acupuncturist (I think I'm going to start going to her instead) and through conversation about the various concerns I had, she agreed that eating meat was a good idea because of my "weak blood".  I am not anemic, I was tested for that; but in terms of anemia, there are differences in the definition between Western and Chinese medicine...which would require another post.

So I have now added mostly chicken and turkey back into my diet, but I usually don't order it when eating out.  I'll cook it at home, and I make sure to buy hormone-free, antibiotic-free, nitrate/nitrite-free, free-range, grain-fed, local, etc. 

Long story to say "I'm eating meat again".  Maybe I will continue to eat meat for some time to come, and maybe I'll return to my pescatarian ways.  I have finally started to see a promising change in my cycle,  and my skin has finally started to clear up, but that story will require another post, another day.  So stay tuned to read about what else I'm doing to clear my skin.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Facelift Friday

I just spent a ridiculous amount of time giving my blog a facelift. . . but YAY my bloggity blog has a new look!!! 

Yes, my subtitle is blurry; your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

Yes, there is also a typo in my subtitle.

Yes, I may be able to fix it; but I'm not messing with it any more tonight.

I would like to add a horizontal navigation bar under the header, but that consists of way too many complicated steps and super long codes for my brain to handle right now. 

Time to step away from the computer...if my legs still work!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Goals

This is the time of year for resolutions, but I am not a fan of resolutions.

New Years Resolution: 
The things you promise yourself you will do over the year, but quit after the first 2 weeks.
i.g.: Bob's New Years Resolution was to lose 30 pounds. But bob says a lot of things.

New Years Resolution Resolution:
What happens when you find that you New Years resolution is out of reach and you quickly change it to avoid disappointment and self loathing.
i.g. Jerry: I want to lose 50 pounds by Febuary.
      Kerry: You might want to consider a New Years resolution resolution

Instead of a "New Years Resolution", I like to set goals for each year.  I know what you may be thinking right now, "isn't a resolution the same as a goal?"  Not in my opinion, but it's all relative I guess.  Since I was a little girl on summer break from school, I've been writing goals down.  My goals back in those younger years were more short-term and consisted of riding my bike and making up dances to songs such as Paula Abdul's "Straight Up".  Although my goals have evolved throughout the years, I still find extreme significance in the power writing goals down.  Consider this:

"An earlier study in Yale University also had similar results. This time, only 3% of the 1953 graduating class made written goals. Twenty years after, in 1973, it was found out that this 3% of Yale graduates were able to accomplish more goals than the rest of the other 97% combined." 

Some goals I have wriiten down and accomplished include:
  • Become a Registered Dental Hygienist (completed 2008)
  • Volunteer on a regular basis (Started volunteering weekly before hygiene school, stopped for a while, and am now back at it)
  • Get a puppy when in a house (completed Nov 2009 with our Maltese)
  • Go on road trip through California (Drove from Thousand Oaks to Mexico - stopping at Disneyland- in 2003, and Seattle to San Francisco in 2006)
  • Get married at night and have guests light sparklers as we leave.  Take pictures of the guests for the guestbook.  (completed March 20, 2009 :)
  • Honeymoon (completed 2009) - I didn't care where when I made the goal, I just wanted to go on a honeymoon.
  • Travel every year (This one's going well)
As I am able to cross off goals from my list every year, I am also adding goals every year...and then there are goals that just get carried over to each new year.  Here are some of my goals for 2011:

Learn to play the guitar
This one has been on my list for about 8 years, and I have attempted once.  So far this year I have purchased a guitar, and have already starting learning chords using online resources.  I have done research and there is a reputable instructor in Maple Valley I will most likely be contacting.

Go to Italy (more specifically, eat Italian food in Italy)
This one has been on my list for as long as I can remember.  Matt and I are doing our research, saving money, and hoping to go this year.  If not, it will definitely carry over :)  But I really want to make it happen this year!

Learn to use my camera
Matt surprised me with a Nikon D5000 this year for my birthday/B.S. graduation present.  I want to learn how to use all of its many functions. I'm going to look into a photography class.

Journal
My Grandpa Wadsworth (my mom's dad, Forrest) journaled every day and it's such a treasure for my mom to have those journals.  I hope one day someone will be interested in reading the story of my life.  I used to journal, and for various reasons, I stopped.  I have this blog, but I'm afraid hand-written words are becoming obsolete.  In a world where everyone sends emails, facebook messages, text messages, blogs and sends pre-printed Christmas cards (I am guilty of them these), I want my hand-written thoughts organized and accesable for my grandchildren to read one day. 

 
Go on a mission trip
I'm making plans to go on a mission trip to Nicaragua in June with an fath-based organization called Corner of Love.  I've sent in my passport to (finally) change my name, and if all goes well I'll be cleaning teeth in Nicaragua in 5 months! 

Read the entire Bible in one year (roughly)
But you probably got that from the picture :)  From growing up in church (Sunday school, Missionettes, and Youth Group included) and going to a Christian school from 7th-10th grade, I've read much of the Bible.  Did I read it becasue I wanted to? Usually not.  Did I retain much of what I read?  Not really.  Am I drawn to the Word of God as an adult? You betcha!  I hunger and thirst for it.  The scripture in the above picture is Matthew 4:4 "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Finish our backyard
You may not be able to tell from this picture, but we've been working hard on our backyard.  Maybe I'll post more pictures to show the progress.  The plan is to have the deck, patio, top soil and grass in this summer.  Trees, bushes, new fence, shed, veggie garden, etc to follow.  This will be a work in progress for some time to come, but we are aiming for at least grass for this summer so we can have a big backyard party!

 Happy 2011!!! 
What are your goals for the year?  I encourage you to think BIG!

"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still."
- Chinese Proverb

I don't want to stand still.