If you were around my Instagram last Friday, you got to listen to an incoherent, exhausted mom rant about food quality in America. To summarize it, I believe the majority of the food in America is overprocessed and over preserved.
As someone who grew up on a conventional row crop farm, as well as raised livestock a large portion of my life, I am a firm believer and strong supporter of conventional agriculture and GMO crops. Genetic modification can come from inserting an isolated gene that research shows an increased resistance to certain diseases or pests, reducing in the amount of pesticides or herbicides applies to the crop OR through selective breeding.
To me a “verified NON-GMO” label on a loaf of bread means nothing, besides marketing. There is currently no GMO wheat grown in the United States. Vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli and even kale are defined as genetically modified through selective breeding for the traits that allow them to be more palatable.
“Antibiotic-free” doesn’t mean that the animal received zero antibiotics, just that when the animal entered the food chain, no antibiotics remained in its system. Livestock growers all know the “withdrawal” date on any antibiotic for their animal. Reputable breeders, including all of the ones I know personally, will not knowingly allow their animal to enter the system within the withdrawal period.
Likewise, “Hormone-Free” chicken doesn’t mean anything either, as it is illegal in the United State to raise chicken (and pork) with added growth hormones. You will still have the naturally occurring hormones that are in every living species.
Organic products must be grown, handled and processed without the use of pesticides or other synthetic chemicals, irradiation, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or bioengineering. Boiled down, organic does not mean chemical free.
So with that being said, I reevaluated the amount of sugar and other processed junk foods my daughters were eating on a daily basis. Almost every day last week, Charley and Frankie at chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. As I am the one around them the majority of the time, I notice a marked change in their attitudes and behaviors, directly correlating with the amount of sugar they consume.
So with that in mind – I made a trip to my favorite store (ALDI) and purchased items to make them a breakfast smoothie.
Breakfast Smoothie (makes 5 16 oz freezer containers)
2 c spinach
1 c pineapple
1 c strawberries
various frozen fruits
Portion into freezer containers, then in the morning add in a scoop of protein powder, some plain whole milk Greek yogurt, and ice. Blend and rest assured your children are getting alllll the goodies their growing bodies need.
Other meal ideas I am working on for their breakfasts: Kodiak protein blueberry pancake muffins, freezer breakfast burritos, and egg and bacon ‘cupcakes.’
Last week our normal sitter was on vacation, so as we refer to them “the big girls” aka Charley and Frankie went off on a grand adventure with Poppy, Grammy, and 3 of their cousins for the first part of the week. I told Luke that I didn’t realize how easy it was just having one kid until we got rid of two of them for a week. 😂 Kori was definitely lost without her big sisters. That quickly changed when she realized she could walk everywhere without them hanging on her!
They were looking forward to this trip for MONTHS! In fact, in March, Charley asked me how soon until it was time to go camping with Grammy?! From going to Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, to camping and swimming all day, Poppy jumping with them on a huge trampoline, to spending time in the barns at the county fair, a grand time was had by all.
I never envisioned myself living almost 4 hours away from my family. Working full time, living close to the in laws, and just being busy and my family running a farm and other businesses – I’m lucky to exchange a few Snapchats or text messages with them a week.
I was so happy I got to sneak away from work last Thursday and spend a long weekend with them. My girls experienced the 2019 Decatur County Fair – the place where I was bitten by the show stock bug and received my first champion ribbon.
But now it’s back to the grindstone, our daily routine, and life in general. Thank you to all of our family who helped out with our kids last week! It takes a village and we couldn’t do it with out you!
I slowly piecemeal
out bits of myself throughout the day. I wake up at 5:30am after sleeping 4 ½ hours
in between the nighttime nursies, cries for a sippy, or snuggles to
chase away the bad dreams. I rush to get ready and attempt to make my girls a
good breakfast to keep them healthy and growing. Then it’s out the door to
daycare, fly into work and quickly log in, grab my cup of coffee and check out
my latest AdWord campaigns and catch up on inventory reporting.
I work through lunch most days, eating at my desk to “make
up” for the lost few minutes of me arriving to work late or needing to leave
early. If I’m not working on my lunch, I run our household errands, so I can
have the weekend to do whatever cleaning or family activity we have planned.
Before I know it, it’s out the door off to the sitters to
grab the girls and hurry home to finish supper, then its bath and bedtime where
each of the girls wants just one more snuggle or kiss from Mommy. I spend the
next hour talking with Luke about his work while preparing for the next
morning. After he’s in bed or off watching TV, it’s finally my time. Lately it’s
been either running or a HIIT exercise only to shower and collapse into bed.
While searching for the elusive answer, I’ve switched from listening to audiobooks to listening to motherhood, lifestyle, and marriage podcasts. On Sunday, one of the podcasts hit home. As moms, we constantly juggle many different balls. We have to stop and ask ourselves if our priorities are on our fragile, breakable, glass balls or on the sturdy, rubber balls that bounce if we drop them.
The same podcast reminded me that it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. That is not to say that I should go out every day or week for a manicure or massage or I should spend lots of money on a new wardrobe. But it is a good reminder that as a mom, it is ok and necessary to be selfish occasionally. To let all the little details of a birthday party go so you can enjoy the moments. To ask for help instead of trying to be SuperMom. To let your husband handle the meals for one week, even if he feeds your kids McDonalds every night. To let your older kids go to “Grammy Camp.”
So Momma – what are you juggling? Where are your priorities? Let that rubber ball drop. You have all the time in the world to do ______. You only have 18 years of your children. You are enough for them. Always.
Anxiety comes in waves for me. I can be fine for weeks, even months at times. Then a trigger happens and I find myself paralyzed. Unable to breathe, think, or cope with life. Ever since Kori’s failed attempt at the dairy ladder, I’m bombarded with random anxiety attacks.
Reaching into my coping methods basket, grounding and “J”breathing help the most when I am overwhelmed.
Inhale 4 beats
Hold 7 beats
Exhale 8 beats
Look around you. Identify and name
5 things you see
4 things you feel
3 things you hear
2 things you smell
1 thing you taste
Most of all, remember anxiety is a liar. Speak truth to yourself when the intrusive thoughts start racing. You are worthy. You are loved. You are enough.
Start by stopping your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what items need to be utilized. Then I break down the days of the week by either protein or cuisine.
Our typical week
Mondays: beef days.
Taco Tuesdays: tacos, nachos, or fajitas.
Wednesday: breakfast for dinner
Thursday: lov’n leftovers – use leftover protein from Monday to create a new meal.
Saturday: grill out
Sundays: Luke cooks
You can plan your meals like this or by protein. If chicken was on sale and you stocked up make one night chicken night.
My sister does something similar
Wednesdays breakfast for dinner
A couple other ideas that you utilize when you plan, Meatless Mondays, “Souper” Sundays. It makes menu planning by the month a lot easier when you only have to plan 4 days of a theme rather than thinking you have to come up with 31 different meal ideas.
Some things to consider as you contemplate menu options:
Calendar check. Determine what nights you’ll have time to cook and what nights you’ll only have time to reheat leftovers.
Look for sales. What’s on sale this week at the supermarket?
Shop your pantry. That can of beans at the back of the cabinet could be the starting point for any number of healthy meals.
Think seasonal. What fresh produce is available this time of year? Is it salad season or soup weather?
Mix things up. Keep the menu interesting by planning some meatless meals or substituting a breakfast for a dinner. Alternate new recipes and old favorites.
Picture the plate. As you plan each meal, keep in mind that vegetables and fruits should cover half your plate, lean protein should cover a quarter, and the rest of your plate should be grains, preferably whole grains.
Don’t forget 31 one days is a long time and if your family enjoys a meal, it is ok to rotate that every other week! My husband would eat “cheese-y chips” and my daughters would eat tacos every night of the week if I would let them. Taco Tuesdays are the one constant in my monthly meal plans year round.
May 5, 2018 – Kori’s official due date. I had an appointment with my midwife on May 1st and due to Kori’s predicted size and my history with fast labors, she wasn’t comfortable letting me go past 41 weeks. We scheduled an induction for May 12. Now, I had an induced labor with my oldest and I did NOT want another one.
May 8 – had another appt with my midwife, begged for a membrane strip and stretch. Was dilated to a tight 2 cm. Noticed no change. This was the day the whole pregnancy I said Kori would be born.
May 10th – called and begged for another stretch and sweep. I was dilated to a loose 2 and Amy, the midwife told me, I would be having this baby in the next 24-48 hrs, but told me if not to be at the hospital at 5 am on Saturday morning.
We had plans to meet up with Luke’s mom and dad at the local carnival that evening. I told Luke jokingly on the way there to hit every pothole he could to try and bounce the baby out – which he did, causing me to have uncomfortable cramps every time. At the carnival, I made sure to stay moving wanting to keep whatever could possibly be going on continuing. We enjoyed watching the girls go on rides, had some pizza, and came home (where Luke enjoyed hitting every.single.pothole on the ride home.)
Luke and the girls went to bed but I stayed up pacing the house, walking around in the yard, bouncing on the yoga ball, even running our basement steps a few times for good measure. I finally decided nothing was going to happen and fell asleep on the couch around 1 am. Just like Frankie’s labor, I woke up around 3:45 am in the middle of a hard contraction. Because Frankie came so fast (3 hrs from first contraction to delivery), I knew we had to get going to the hospital. I went upstairs and told Luke to call his mom to come stay with the girls while I got things loaded into the van.
4:15 am – Luke learned from the last time that things would go fast, so he got up right away and called Kim. She arrived shortly after and we were off to the hospital. Due to road construction, we went the long way taking almost an hour to get to the hospital. In the mean time I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes and was totally in the zone. I don’t remember much of the drive to the hospital.
5:15 am – We got checked into the hospital and were told they were full – I wouldn’t get my room with a birthing tub. I was pretty disappointed because I loved my water birth with Frankie. The nurse who checked me in attempted to get an hep lock started and blew 4 veins. I finally had enough and told her to stop, I declined the HEP lock. The stress of everyone bugging me caused my contractions to slow down and I was starting to get annoyed.
5:25 am – Amy, the midwife, came in after attending another birth and checked me – I was at a loose 4 cm and “officially in labor.” I had the option of continuing to labor as is or she could break my water. I asked to have my water broken and to get in the shower.
5:45 am – From the time I actually got in the shower to the time they made me get out of the shower is a blur of contractions, cuss words, and me pounding on the shower wall. The shower never got quite warm enough, the pressure sucked, and the shower head didn’t adjust so it was pretty much useless as far as pain management goes. I had my Amazon Prime music list going and was attempting to distract myself by singing. Luke was making sure to stay out of arms reach from me as I was threatening to castrate him with a dull knife – probably having some PTSD from our oldest’s birth where I bit him so hard I left teeth marks for 3 days. Amy would come in every so often and check Kori’s heart rate and watch my contractions. When I started begging for a c-section, Amy decided to get me out of the shower. I distinctly remember telling Luke, “This natural labor is BULL$#!T. I’m done – I want a c-section!”
7:08 am- (I remember asking Luke what time it was when I was walking to the bed.) They got me onto the bed on my back and I promptly started yelling at everyone to help me get up because the contractions were horrific – it was like my pelvis was being squeezed in a vice and there was so much pressure. Amy checked me and I was *almost* completely dilated and could start pushing whenever I felt like it. I was still on my back and they finally helped me roll over to all fours and a hot pack for my back – what an intense relief! I labored down for a little bit and started getting the urge to push. I fought it terribly because I was terrified of how big Kori was going to be and of tearing (literally nothing is burned in my mind more than the memory of the sensation of tearing with my oldest.) I remember telling Amy(yelling it probably) that I knew I needed to push, but I couldn’t stop fighting the urge. About this point is when “Elvira” by Home Free came on, and I started yelling at people to turn my music off. My baby was NOT being born to Elvira. Luke turned my phone off and Amy turned on some relaxation music which is just what I needed.
At this point they raised up the back of the bed and I drape myself over top of it. This helped me to relax and I finally gave into the urge to push. I did a couple tiny little pushes with the next contraction. I knew I was going to have to push harder to get Kori born. The next contraction I gave it my all pushing through dreaded ring of fire until I felt her head emerge. Seeing as Kori was my third baby, I expected her to just slide right out after her head was born (like my other 2 did.) Turns out – her shoulders were about 1/2 in bigger than her head and Amy called her “sticky.” Luke and Amy were yelling ‘Don’t stop pushing, you have to keep going.’ I was so annoyed that I had to push again but I gave it everything I had and then at 7:28 am, Kordella LouAnne was born! It took me about a minute to catch my breath and I finally rolled over, they laid her on my chest where she promptly decided to poop – the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
I loved how we did get to enjoy the “golden hour of bonding.” Our L&D team was amazing moving in and out of the room quietly cleaning up. Around 8:30 am, we finally texted family to know she had arrived. Luke took Kori off to the nursery to be measured – our big girl – all 9 lbs, 2 oz and 20 3/4 inches, head circumference of 14 inches, shoulders were 14 1/2 inches, while I showered and cleaned up. Around 10 am Luke’s parents brought the girls up to meet her and our family was complete – big sisters were in love!