The Day I had to Tell My Son NO

Have you ever had to tell your child no? I’m not talking about the “Mom, can I…” questions. I’m talking about with something BIG, something to do with their dreams. This is the single hardest thing I have ever had to do, and that was the moment I knew things had to change.

Anyone that knows my family, knows that HOCKEY plays a HUGE part of our lives. I’m a hockey mom and coach. My husband is a coach and referee. All in the name of love. My husband and I are not hockey people. Well, we weren’t. I am now that it is the love of my son’s life. My husband still doesn’t care for it but he makes mega sacrifices for this kid of his. Well, this summer my kiddo made the decision NOT to play summer ice hockey (He plays inline hockey as well, so that is the reason for this distinction. Games were on Wednesday nights and that’s when we go to church, so he decided that was not a sacrifice he was willing to make (his decision, not mine but it made me so proud). So, after talking to some more experienced hockey parents, one suggested letting him try out for one of the travel teams. It is really good experience and it would get him some ice time since he wasn’t able to play. This particular team didn’t charge to try out, so I talked it over with my crew and they both agreed that it could be a fun experience. Mind you, he has never played organized ICE hockey. He fell in love with hockey when he found out local inline team. He’s been playing since he was six. Loves it. And we go ice skating. But the closest ice rink that offers ice hockey is an hour drive one way. So, I had put off signing him up for ice. So this tryout would be his first official step towards his real dream: NHL.

So, I drove him to try-outs the first day. We were super late, and by late I mean he had exactly 7 minutes to get his gear on and get on the ice. No time for warm ups and no time to skate out the nerves. In the car, he looks at me and says, “Mom, I think I’m gonna hurl.” He was incredibly nervous and was having major doubts about going through with this adventure. I kept reassuring him and telling him that this is JUST for the experience. No pressure, no worries.

The first day, he did OK. As his coach, I have a hard time being objective because I KNOW what he is capable of. I knew he wasn’t playing his best. It was really hard for me to watch. He looked scared, and quite frankly a little lazy. One of his hockey friends was also trying out with us. He decided at the last minute that he wanted to go so he had ridden up with us. They were both struggling with confidence. On the way home, I made sure they both understood that these kids have been playing on ice for years. This was a new thing for us and as long as they went out and did their best, there is nothing to be upset about. The second day of try-outs wasn’t until the next week so that gave the boys plenty of time to “get over” this first day.

Driving up to the second day of try-outs, I had another talk with the boys. You know the one….It doesn’t matter if you make it or not. It was about getting out here and seeing what you need to work on. Do your best, blah blah blah. I did all of that and then I pulled my guy aside and told him….”How are you ever going to know if you are the best if you don’t get out here and DO YOUR BEST?” I don’t know if this is exclusive to my kid, if it’s a boy thing, or what but if my child even THINKS he is not the best, he refuses to give 100%. Why? Well, if he gives 100% and still loses, he has failed. If he doesn’t give 100% and loses, well he hasn’t failed because he didn’t try….so he LET you win. This is something we are working on but it is an every day battle.

So, this kid gets out there and he plays. 3 on 3. Coach Mom is still struggling but I can see major improvements. He did well. Not his best, but well. Both kids came off the ice super excited and happy. They wouldn’t know til the next day who made the team but they were both satisfied with the way things went. In the meantime, I have been handed a paper. It is the cost break down of joining the team. They wanted $400 in 5 five days. WHAT?! So, now I am going back and forth from “I hope he makes it” to “please, don’t make it cuz we can’t afford this”. I explain to both boys that the team would be posted some time the next day and left it at that.

The next morning, I woke up pretty early and just for kicks, decided to see if the team had been posted yet. It was up. I read the list probably 4 times before I could assure myself of what I saw. This is the team list. My kid’s name IS on it. Oh dear. Now what? I’m not gonna lie. I was so incredibly excited for this kid. Having never played ice before and making the team on his very first try….he continues to amaze me. And I just kept thinking…they haven’t even seen the REAL him either so they would be in for a huge treat. So, I went downstairs and woke him up. I sat on the side of the bed and told him I had to show him something (straight face). I handed him my phone. “Mom, I made it. I REALLY made it.”

Now comes the hard part. I would do ANYTHING for my kid. Anything. But…coming up with that much money that fast…I couldn’t do it. And that wasn’t even half of what the team fees would be. And then discussing travel with the team and expenses. Nope. We can’t afford travel hockey. Not yet. And that is when I knew. Something has to change. This is my child’s DREAM and I have had to crush it because we can’t afford it. And I have a GOOD job. Amazing benefits. But the reality is, a dollar does not go as far as it used to. It just doesn’t.

So, that is where we are. And how I ended up here. Blogging. Because….hopefully, with God’s grace I can start bringing in some extra income for my family. Because we all have dreams and I want to see every one of them come true.

Mommy Survivor’s Guide to the NICU

Whether this was a planned stay in the NICU or a complete shock, you will find that the stay in the NICU is a very difficult and emotional one. It is not a place a mother ever desires to be. Ever. However, how blessed are we that our wee ones are so well taken care of these days?

My son’s arrival was a total shock. He made his debut at 25 weeks and I was terrified. I went in to the hospital with bleeding and severe pain. As this was my first child, I had no idea that pain was, in fact, labor. My son was born within an hour of arriving at the hospital. There was no stopping labor or slowing it down. He was ready to come. NOW. And he did.

So, now what? Whether it is a lengthy stay or just a couple of days there are some things you need to know. From one mom to another, this is not an easy journey, but it is a worthwhile one.

Get this book. Do it. It helps so much. A former NICU mom gave me her copy to borrow and I loved it so much I got my own copy to keep. It explains so many things. The nurses will talk to you and rattle off so many things. You will ask questions, but you will still not quite understand because well, mommy brain at full force. This book is a lifesaver. Get it.

  • Keep a journal. Write down everything. Everything. People that visit, people that call, things the nurses tell you, milestones baby meets…because again, mommy brain is a real thing. And so is stress. This will help you with your baby book when you get baby home but it will also help you be an advocate for your child. Write down all meds they are on, how much they are eating and pooping, and all other vital information. That way you are able to speak up if something is off, or if a tired nurse gets ready to administer the wrong meds to your child.
  • Take care of yourself. This should be an easy, no brainer but it isn’t. You will want to be right there with baby the entire time. However, your body just went through an incredibly traumatic experience and it needs to heal. Allow it. Eat. Drink. Rest. The nurse will call you if anything changes. I promise.
  • Breast feed. At least try it. No, I am not a hard core “you must breast feed” kinda momma. In fact, before my son was born, I had no plans to breast feed. BUT it is so good for them and it will be good for your mommy heart. You are going to feel helpless because there is nothing you can do for your baby while they are in the NICU. But there is. Breast feed. The milk is so good for their little bodies, even if you can only manage a tiny little bit. My son was so early that my milk had not come in yet. I was dry pumping. And it hurt like crazy. But the first time I pumped and got milk, tears came to my eyes. Finally. I could give him SOMETHING.
  • Talk to the patient’s advocate. She will help you so much when it comes to bills. And there will be lots and lots of bills. She needs to become your very best friend.
  • Find a support group. Many hospitals have support groups but you can also find some online. Some of my very best mommy friends came from a Facebook NICU support group. It will be comforting to talk to people that understand your journey.

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy. And it will be joyous. I promise. I know this is not what you had planned but this is a journey for strong mamas and you are just that. A strong Mama. You will get through this and you will be amazing!

Weight Loss Update

It has been a little less than a week since I began this weight loss journey, so it is time for an update. No frills, no tis is so easy. Just a brutally honest, “this is how my week went” update.

Starting weight: 216

Weight today:210

The good. I haven’t cheated. At all. I’ve made bacon, rootbeer floats, and many amazing things for my guys and I haven’t cheated. There is chocolate ice cream in the freezer, Dove chocolate on the counter, and potatoes in the produce basket. And I haven’t touched any of it.

The bad

It has been a stressful past three days, with the flood, cancelled school, and a death in the family. I’ve wanted to eat a bowl of ice cream. I’ve wanted to eat my stress away. It has been a struggle these past three days. The directions for this health plan I am on is to make sure you eat everything listed and don’t leave anything out. I’ve gotten busy and lazy and haven’t played EXACTLY by the rules. But I am pressing forward and doing MY best. I’m still on track and I’m still losing weight.

I’ve also been tempted to try another health plan. A friend is also on a mission to get healthy and she has lost 15 pounds in three weeks. I looked up what she was doing last night. It was very appealing and every single meal is laid out for you, which means I wouldn’t have to use my brain. It would be easy. BUT…I know this plan works for my body, so I am sticking with it.

The facts

I’ve lost 6 pounds in 6 days. That is a pound a day. I am happy with that. I know what I was eating was killing me and that is why I am ok with changing my habits. I am drinking only water these days as opposed to 4-5 20 ounce Dr. Peppers. That alone will help me drop about 10 pounds. I’ve stayed away from processed sugar and all I have eaten is the natural sugars in foods, which is probably why that apple I had yesterday was sooooo good.

I haven’t had any butter or unhealthy oil. I’ve cut out bread and starchy foods. I’ve upped my leafy veggie intake and have had a salad twice a day. I’ve replaced my heavenly amazing Ranch dressing with a healthier version. I found {this recipe} a few years ago, and I actually like it pretty well. It does still have a slight cottage cheese taste to it so if you don’t care for cottage cheese, you might not like it that well.

I have more energy. I don’t feel the need to be in bed at 9 every night because I am not so run down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still totally brain exhausted from working in an office all day, but I don’t feel like I have to crash as soon as I get home from work.

If you have been struggling with the thought of getting healthy, there’s no better time than now. It really is worth the sacrifice. I’m 32 years old and my cholesterol is not looking good. My BP is borderline. If you don’t know your numbers, I’d highly suggest getting a physical. That was the push I needed to get things started. If you are ready to make that step, shoot me an email and I will be happy to point you in the right direction.

 

Mom’s Amazing Meatloaf

As you get older, do you ever find yourself falling in love with a dish that you never would have touched when you were a kid? There were many things I wouldn’t touch as a kid as I was a very picky child. Of course, by not touch I mean ate every bite but hated every minute of it, because when I was younger we didn’t have a choice as to what we did and did not eat. I STILL cannot stand the smell of green peas because I HAD to eat them as a kid and I HATED them.

Here lately I’ve found myself making meatloaf on a regular basis. Most people turn their noses up at the thought of this timeless dish and I used to be that person too. Until I found this recipe. My stepmom made it this way when I was in high school and I LOVED it. Now I make it for my guys and they can’t get enough! I think the reason this appealed to me so much as a kid is because it is chunk free! No onions, no tomatoes, no peppers……you know. The things kids hate. And for this reason, this dish makes it in to my 10 year old son’s top 5 favorite dishes. So….if you have picky eaters, THIS is the recipe for you!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb of ground beef
  • 1 sm can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pkg onion soup mix**

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Combine beef, oatmeal, egg, and soup mix (dry) in to large bowl and fold together with hands. Ensure all ingredients are mixed throughhout and egg is soaked up completely.
  • Form mixture in to loaf shape and place in casserole dis. I use these dishes and absolutely adore them!
  • Pour tomato sauce over loaf.
  • Place in oven and cook for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cut into middle to ensure middle is completely cooked. If not done, return to oven for 15 additional minutes.

We like it with ketchup on top but it is just as good without anything!

Since I am on a healthy kick, the one on the right doesn’t have any sauce on top.

**For the really picky eaters that can detect even the tiniest of onion (I was that kid), you can strain out the minced onion in the soup mix and it is just as wonderful. I have also created my own soup mix when I have forgotten to pick some up. This also takes care of the onion problem as I use onion power rather than minced onion.

As you can see he LOVES it and can’t even wait for it to get out of the oven. I might have even gotten a “You are the best mom” tonight.             

Hello Harvey!!!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this message. Harvey has arrived and he is quite the diva. He wanted everyone to know he was in town and he was NOT to be ignored. We are flooding. And here’s the funny part. We are NOT a coastal state. We live in Kentucky. This is NOT something I was prepared for, at all. I knew it was supposed to rain, but never imagined this.

This is our shed. It is a good 3 ft off the ground.

I woke up this morning to half a dozen flash flood warnings on my phone, but…..I just did what I usually do and brushed it off. It never floods when they say it is going to. I got up, showered, and got ready for work. Then I receive multiple text from my son’s school saying school has been cancelled due to flooding and power outages. So, I went and turned the kiddo’s alarm off and called my husband. He told me that the entire downtown was flooded out and he had been worried his truck wasn’t going to make it through and he KNEW my car wouldn’t. So, I called in to work. I’ve NEVER called in for flooding before. That was strange.

It is up past his knees…

Then the text came from my husband. “You might want to move your car to the top of the hill. The yard is flooded.” At this point, I had not been outside. I’d let the dog out to go to the bathroom but we live on a pretty good sized hill so the water flows out of the front yard really well. I hadn’t really thought anything of it. So I grab my keys and head to the car. My front tires were under water. I was worried I would be stuck but I back out with no problem. At this point I am kind of in shock. I’ve NEVER seen so much water. Everything was under water.

I run inside and wake my son up. He gets dressed and we make the trek outside to save the stuff under the porch and in the sed. His bike was almost completely under water. We made the journey out to the shed and the water is knee deep. The porch to the shed is now a floating dock. There are pieces of wood floating throughout the yard. We rescue the important stuff and head back in the house, where we find a leak in the living room. Woohoo! We have moved furniture, put down blankets, and covered the carpet. It is only 9 am and I am exhausted!

This sweet little creek is responsible for flooding the entire town….
A road….just down from the house

On a brighter note, it is supposed to be a gorgeous holiday weekend! What do you have planned this weekend?

Pizza Night Part 2

Pizza Night ReDo

As I said last Pizza night, we love pizza and we love creating new toppings all the time. I’m a HUGE fan of chicken so when I do my creating that is usually my main ingredient. I always have chicken on hand and that is really how this recipe came about. The guys wanted pizza but it takes two pizzas to feed us. I needed a second kind of pizza so my chicken alfredo was created.  After searching the fridge for some type of topping to go with the chicken, I came across a fourth of a jar of alfredo sauce. Ten I saw the Parmesan cheese. Perfect.

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

Ingredients

  • Pizza crust (I use the ones in the cold section at the store, usually found with the biscuits)
  • Alfredo sauce, about a fourth of a can
  • 2 chicken breasts (shredded or chunked, depending on your preference)
  • Finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/8 cup of water
  • Oregano

Directions:

  • Preheat oven as directed by instructions on pizza crust package, usually 425 degrees.
  • Unroll dough and place on pizza pan. Stretch dough to desired thickness, making sure there are no holes were the dough is stretched. You don’t want your sauce leaking out everywhere.
  • Once you have the dough at its desired thickness, open your alfredo sauce. I prefer to thin my sauce out a bit. It makes it easier to spread and doesn’t make the crust soggy. To thin out sauce, pour a fourth of the jar into a bowl. Add about an eighth of a cup of water to sauce. Wisk until combined well.
  • Spread sauce over crust until you have a thin layer covering. Don’t make it too tick. If you have sauce left over, set it to the side. We will use it in a minute.
  • Sprinkle oregano evenly over sauce. 
  • Spread chicken evenly over the crust.
  • Top with Mozzarella cheese. Now add Parmesan cheese. (this is a more “to taste” measurement)
  • If you had any sauce left, add it now.
  • Place pizza in oven for about 10 minutes or as directed by crust directions.

Remove from oven when crust is desired crispiness. Slice and enjoy!

What do you think? Does your family make any “specialty” pizzas? Please share in the comments!

 

When Your Child has Bigger Plans….

When our kids are young, we have these plans, these thoughts as to what they will do when they get older, the things they will enjoy. I had NO doubt my son was going to like sports. He comes from a sports family and by the age of one, I could no longer and him anything in the shape of any kind of ball while in public because chances of him throwing it were 100%. So, I knew. He was going to be sporty.

Never in a million years did I think I would be here. Sitting on this bench, with my 10 year old son tying skates. And not just any skates. Inline skates. HOCKEY SKATES. No, never. No way this can be me. See, I’m a southern mom, raised in Alabama.  When my kiddo was young, i gave him a ball – a basketball, a baseball, a football, just like any sensible southern mama would do. After all, those are the sports WE play. There were no pucks in MY life. I was certain he’d take after mom and play baseball. Or he’d be tall like my dad and play basketball.

And then it happened…at age six all my sporting dreams for this kid flew out the window when he brought home that dreadful flyer, accompanied by the words, “Mommy, I want to do this.” Hockey. Inline Hockey. This flyer appeared just one week after we had embarked in an adventure to the local skating rink for the first time. EVER. He couldn’t even stand up. He eventually refused to even get out on the floor. He spent his entire night skating on the carpet. And now he wants to do WHAT?!?

Hmmm…..that’s nice, I guess. We can try it. He won’t like it because my child also goes by the name Mr. Perfection. Once he sees he’s terrible, he will give it up and pick a different sport. A normal sport, because he has the desire to be the BEST and he will NOT be the best at this.

As you can see, he did not follow my plan. He fell in love. And I’ll be dog-goned if the kid didn’t turn out to be pretty stinking good. So. Here I sit. Tying skates.

The Dos and Don’ts of Feeding Dogs

The Good, the Bad, and the Questionable

Here you will find a list of things recommended to feed your dog. You will also find a list of the forbidden food, as well as things that are questionable in the dog community. You are your dog’s voice. You are the one that makes these difficult decisions about what goes in his belly. If you see something questionable, please, please do more research to help the decision making process easier for you and for your peace of mind.

The Good – Do feed your pup these things

  • Pumpkin (canned in fine, just make sure it is the real thing and not filling) This helps with digestion issues and is good for clearing up loose stool.
  • Apple Cider vinegar – You can add a small amount to is water or mix it with his food. This helps balance the pH in his body and cuts back on the build up of yeast in the ears.
  • Egg shells – It took me a while before I was able to give this to my baby. I was worried it would cut his mouth or he wouldn’t like it. HA! I shouldn’t have worried. It is one of his favorite things to eat! Simple crush up an eggshell and either give it to him just like that or mix it with his food. He will like it. Trust me. For younger pups, you can bake the shells to make them a little softer, however I have never done this with mine.
  • Coconut oil – Just like with humans, tis as many nutritional benefits. You can simply cook up the meat using this oil or add it directly to the food mixture.
  • Oran meat – Preferably serve this raw but it can be fried if necessary. These meats have so much more nutrients than the muscle meat we serve our pup on a regular basis. It adds much needed vitamins to your dos diet.
  • Carrots – These can sometimes be difficult for dogs to digest so it is best to cook these pretty good before serving.

The Bad – Never Feed Your Pup These (this is NOT a complete list)

  • Onions (of any variety, including powder)
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Cooked bones
  • Caffeine
  • Yeast
  • Mushrooms

The Questionable (Do your own personal research and feel comfortable with your decision. Also consider speaking with your vet)

  • Raw eggs (many say no, I say yes)
  • Garlic – This is a complicated one and I feel the need to expand. Garlic is on almost every do food list as a toxic food for dogs. Why? Bad research. There was ONE major study that fed EXCESSIVE amounts of garlic to dogs. This study is what garlic makes almost every toxic list out there. However, garlic has some wonderful health benefits that are worth looking in to. My husband uses garlic to get rid of worms in his dogs. I’ve never personally given our pup garlic because he is too young, but this is definitely one you want to research before deeming it bad.
  • Peanut butter (most say yes, I say no) – Anything that is relatively bad for you, is four times harder on your pup. Peanut oil is hard on a dog’s heart and can clog arteries. That’s just something I do not want to put my pup through, no matter ow much of a treat it may be. Yes, I know. There are recipes galore that contain peanut butter. I avoid them ALL.

 

This is in no way an exclusive list for any of these topics. These are just the ones I chose to include, because they were important to me personally. It is imperative that you do your own research before embarking on this journey with your pup. Size and breed plays a big part in the making of their food so please take tis in to consideration. There are many many many great benefits to making your own dogfood, however, doing your homework on it is even more important.

Pizza Night

Pizza night is a huge hit at our house. My guys LOVE pizza, but they especially love the variety we get out of making our own homemade pizza. It is fairly cheap to make and can be super versatile in topping. Some of our favorites include: Chili cheese tot, BBQ chicken, alfredo chicken, and meatlovers. To be perfectly honest, you can make just about anything in to a pizza topping. Below is a very simple recipe to our family favorite.

This was my husband’s brainchild. I would have never come up with this one. But amazingly, we all love it!

 

Chili Cheese Tater Tot Pizza

Ingredients

1 Can chili

½ bag of tater tots

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more if you desire)

1 pizza crust

Directions:

Preheat oven as directed by instructions on the tater tot bag. We need to cook these partially first, otherwise either the tots will be undercooked or the pizza crust will be burnt. The tots I buy say preheat to 450 degrees.

Place half the bag of tots on an oven safe pan. Put remaining tots in the freezer to use with a later meal.  Once the oven is ready, place the tots in to cook. *Please note: You will only be cooking the tots half way. The brand I buy states cook tots for 12 minutes, flip and cook an additional 10-12 minutes. We will only be cooking them for the first 12 minutes.

While tots are cooking, prepare your pizza crust. I use the refrigerated kind that is in the biscuit section at the grocery store. Unroll, dough and place on pizza pan. Stretch dough to desired thickness, making sure there are no holes were the dough is stretched.

Once you have the dough at its desired thickness, open your can of chili. (For easier spreading, heat chili in microwave for 1 minute) Form a thin layer of chili over the pizza dough. This will be your sauce. You don’t want your chili too thick as you run the risk of having soggy crust after cooking. It takes about half a can to cover my dough.

Once tots have baked for half their time, remove from oven. Turn oven to desired temperature for baking crust (usually 425). Place tots on pizza, taking care to flip them as directed by their original packaging.

Once tots are in place, add remaining contents of chili. Top with cheese.

Place pizza in oven for about 10 minutes or as directed by crust directions.

Remove from oven wen crust is desired crispiness. Slice and enjoy!

Join me in my next post and I will show you how to make Alfredo chicken pizza!

My Weight Loss Journey Begins NOW!

I stepped on the scale last week while I was getting blood work done for insurance purposes, and it was worse than I had feared. 216, the most I have ever weighed in my entire life. I knew I had gained. My clothes didn’t fit nearly as well as they had last summer, but I had no idea I had gained THAT much. We don’t own a scale so weighing in isn’t something I ever do. But I knew. Despite my husband reiterating how much he adores the way I look, I was starting to get down on myself about my weight. A co-worker and I talk regularly about starting a diet. But we never start.

Until now. I am ready. I will do this.

Weight has always been an issue for me. In high school, I was a three sport athlete. Despite that, I was still on the curvy side. I was never smaller than a size 8, and having friends that were super skinny always made it worse. I felt fat MOST of the time, even though now I find that totally idiotic. Once I graduated high school and was no longer playing ball, I gained the typical freshman fifteen. Then I had a baby and gained a little more. And it kept adding and adding until I’ve reached this terribly high number. Did I mention I’m only 5’4”? In addition to weighing too much, my cholesterol numbers are teetering on the high side. Woohoo!

So, it is time. It is time to fix my problem in the kitchen. It is time to get active again. It is time to get to where I NEED to be.

This journey will not be a highlight of this site, but I will post occational updates in order to be held accountable. If you would like to join me on this journey and need an accountability partner, please feel free to email me.

I already have a health program picked out. It is one I have had great success with in the past. It is called HealthPointe and if you would like more information on this program, I will be more than happy to set you up with my program provider.