Sunday, January 6, 2013

Turning Two: Under the Sea

This weekend we celebrated as Lea turned two years old. As my fellow preemie parents know, the second birthday is an extra-special milestone for a preemie child. Two is the age that the doctors tell us our babies finally be caught up both developmentally and physically. At age two, we can finally begin to go by our child's actual age, and not the adjusted age.

Two is bittersweet. I am so thankful that I've been able to watch my once tiny baby grow into a happy, healthy toddler. At the same time, it seemed to have come too fast -- just as everyone said it would. As I sat in her room tonight and watched her play with her new truck, it brought tears to my eyes. Her imagination is so vivid. I watched her stack blocks and roll her school bus full of Disney Princesses, making a "vroom," sound as she rolled it. We read four of her new books, and she listened attentively to each one. Then we said our prayers as she held those two tiny hands together.

Its crazy to think that when she was first born, we didn't know if she'd be doing these things at two years old... she is such a miracle. I am so very thankful.

Below are some photos from Lea's "Under the Sea" birthday celebration. All the kids had a blast jumping in a Finding Nemo jump-house, blowing bubbles and decorating their own visors with sparkly foam stickers. Lea opened her gifts with more precision and speed than any two year old I've ever seen. (I guess Christmas gave her lots of practice.) Thanks to everyone who came out and celebrated her very special day!

On the Menu: Shark Teeth (triangle-shaped cheese), Peanut Butter & Jellyfish rolls, "Submarine" Sandwiches, Deviled Egg Boats, Seaweed Spread (Spinach Dip), Fish & Chips, Ocean Water (Blue Punch), Candy Sushi (Rice Crispy Treats, Fruit Roll-Up and Swedish Fish) and of course, cake!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday NICU Goodie Bags

Happy Holidays everyone!

Last Christmas, my mom and I created "goodie bags" for all the babies in the NICU where Lea stayed. This year, one of my preemie momma friends (who actually received one of my bags last year when her son was in the NICU) suggested her and I make more this Christmas for the babies currently in the NICU.

I wanted to share what we used to assemble our bags, in case anyone else was interested in doing the same this holiday season. So here it goes...

1. Hand sanitizer is a preemie parent's best friend. You can never EVER have enough of this stuff!

2. Hand lotion. All that hand washing and sanitizing can be harsh on your hands, so its important for parents to keep their hands moisturized.

3. Tissues... Because some days will be more overwhelming than others.

4. Chocolate. No explanation necessary.

 5. A swaddling blanket. Blankets are some of the best gifts you can get while in the NICU. They have quite a few uses. They can be rolled up and tucked under a preemie for support, or they can be draped over an isolette to block out noise, light or to just decorate the baby's space. Preemie parents don't get to start dressing their babies right away, so having a trendy blanket is a must!

6. Hand Washing Hang Tag. Reminding family and friends to wash their hands before touching a preemie baby can become a daunting task once he or she goes home. We included these hand-made hang tags that can be hung on a baby's stroller or car seat handle, that reminds visitors to wash their hands before touching the baby. If you'd like to make your own Hand Washing Hang Tags, please scroll down to find a free printable sheet, as well as directions on how to assemble them.

Click here for your free printable Preemie Hang Tag.

Assembly Instructions:
  1. Print your hang tags. It is best to print them on card stock, but regular copy paper will work just fine.
  2. Carefully cut out each octagon shape.
  3. Have your newly-cut shapes laminated. I brought mine to Office Depot. The cost was minimal.
  4. Using a hole puncher, punch a hole at the top of your laminated tag.
  5. Find a fun roll of ribbon, and cut strips measuring approximately 5 - 6 inches in length.
  6. Run the strips of ribbon through the hole at the top of the tags.
  7. Attach Velcro dots to each end of the ribbon, so that the hang tag can be easily removed and reattached. I found something similar to these at Michael's craft store:

And there you have it! Preemie Hand Washing Hang Tags!

For all my preemie parents out there in the NICU this holiday season, please know that there are two preemie momma's thinking of you and praying for you and your family! Godspeed to all my sweet little preemies! xoxo.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Three Little Birds...

Today I got the tattoo I've been wanting for a while! Three little birds -- yes, like the Bob Marley song. Specifically, me and Lea's song.

This is the song I'd sing to her when I held her in the NICU, and that I still sing to her now. It reminds me that no matter what, everything will be okay because I have my wonderful little family. The three of us...

It will be my reminder to not worry so much and to not sweat the small stuff. 

I wanted to write more, but as I sit miss muffin is sitting in my lap squeazing my face and trying to type, so I'll let her have her moment:

    njc j vb vvc hb      dg hybnnncccccccssh fyyuyy6rt667777776yuuuuyyyyyuuiiooooooooooooooooooooooooo]]]]]ppp       

Its me again. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure the above says "I love mommy."  

Until next time...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Isagenix Weight Loss Update

It has been ten weeks since I began using Isagenix products to tackle my weight loss goals, and wanted to give a little update on my results!

Here are the highlights:
  • I have lost a total of fifteen pounds, and my body fat percentage has gone from 23% - 17%. 
  • My energy level has never been higher.
  • I have JUST begun to moderately exercise, but all of the weight loss so far has been strictly from my diet. 
  • Shopping is fun again because clothes look good on me!
  • I feel so accomplished, both physically and mentally.
  • I have not only beaten my addiction to sweets, but also my need for artificial sweeteners.
  • I'm just happier in general!

Never once over the past ten weeks have I felt like I'm on a "diet." This for me has been a lifestyle change. The Isagenix shakes for breakfast and dinner are a no-brainer, and the cleanse days get easier each time I do them. I have also started eating "cleaner," and paying much more attention to food labels and ingredients.

I still cheat here and there. I have a diet coke every once and a while, and desserts aren't totally off limits. I do, however, try to hold out for the desserts that are truly worth the calories.

I am so glad that ten weeks ago I took a risk and decided to give Isagenix a try, despite being very skeptical. Isagenix has changed my life for the better, and I plan to continue to use the shakes as a staple in my diet, and occasionally do more nutritional cleanses.

I also have to update you on my mom who has been sharing this journey with me. She's done even better than me, losing a total of twenty pounds! So proud of you mom, you look amazing. Thanks for always giving me encouragement when I needed it!

If you are interested in learning more about Isagenix, and what it can do for you, you can message me at, or visit the Isagenix site by clicking here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Isagenix 9-Day Cleanse: Day 9

Today is my final cleanse day! I jumped out of bed this morning and ran straight to the scale. I've lost a total of 8 pounds, and I still have today to go! I am so excited!!!

Emily re-took my measurements, and I have definitely gotten smaller. I've lost 1.5 inches in my waist, 1 inch in my abs, .75 inches in my calves and about .25 inches everywhere else. Plus, I've gone from 23.3% body fat to 20%! And just to remind you, this is all without an ounce of exercise (aside from chasing a 1 1/2 year old around.)

So as a reward to myself for losing the poundage, I will be spending the majority of Saturday in our new blow up pool for the backyard. In a bikini thank you very much.

This cleanse has not only helped me lose weight, but its changed my outlook on food and my health. It has given me the desire to eat cleaner, and to be aware of ingredients -- especially artificial sweeteners. It has given me the knowledge to know that food choices shouldn't be made based on cravings or for the pure enjoyment of consuming, but for how the food will nourish your body. That's not to say you shouldn't enjoy your food, of course. In fact, I think this cleanse is only going to make me savor my food even more than I did. The difference between then and now is going to be the foods I choose to fuel my body with. While my addictions were once diet coke and sweets, I'm now hooked on getting to my goal weight, and maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit.

I can also say that I've seen my energy level sky-rocket. This whole time, I've been bogged down by artificial sweeteners, sugars and fats. Not anymore! I even see a difference in my mood. I feel happier, less stressed and much more alert. Who knew a 9-day cleanse was going to do so much for me? I sure didn't...

If I had one major complaint about the Isagenix 9-Day Cleanse, its that they are very skimpy on the cleanse powder. I did not have enough of it to do my final cleanse drink on day two, which really annoys me considering how much money I spent on all of this. However, I can't hate too hard, I did lose exactly what I hoped to and more. In the future, I'm only going to get the individual bottled shots of cleanse juice to avoid this problem.

I am more than happy to continue with the Isagenix meal-replacement shakes. They truly nourish my body and leave me feeling satisfied. Plus its easy, and I make less trips to the grocery. Win-win.

To anyone who is considering doing the 9-day cleanse, I encourage you to go for it. It sounds much worse than it is. Here I am, nearing on the end of day two, and I'm smiling, not starving and feeling very accomplished. If I can do it, anyone can... that I assure you! And if you're a cynic like I was, see the proof below:

My final weight loss after my last day came to 10 pounds! Better than I expected!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Isagenix 9-Day Cleanse: Day 8

Woo-hoo! We're into the home stretch now... just two days to go.

Unlike my original plan, I ended up just starting my cleanse this morning instead of yesterday evening. I didn't realize that the process was a little more involved if you're starting it at night.

I've had an epiphany if you will... I have decided that I no longer want to consume any artificial sweeteners. The funny thing is, if you'd have talked to me last week, I couldn't get enough of them. I was a self-professed diet coke-aholic. And like I've mentioned before, I cheated a few times on this cleanse already by having a diet soda. Now don't get me wrong, I still think diet coke is the best tasting thing ever, and it will take lots of will-power to not consume one (or two) every day. BUT, after careful research and consideration, I feel its best for me and my weight loss efforts that I leave the artificial sweeteners from now on. I'm not going to bore you with the scientific details, but if you want to know more about it, just google it.

At the beginning of this week I found a flavored water that was so amazingly delicious, I vowed to never have another diet coke if I could just drink this instead. I'll spare you the brand, because this story doesn't have a happy ending. The label said "naturally flavored," so I was sold. PLUS it was fizzy like a soda. Sadly, I knew it was too good to be true. Come to find out, these waters are packed with Splenda. UGH.

I set out to find a flavored water that was not artificially sweetened. That's pretty hard to do! I did end up finding a water called Hint at WholeFoods. Its naturally flavored, no additives and 100% healthy. I tried the watermelon flavor, and the flavor is extremely subtle. Almost disappointingly subtle, but from what I'm reading online now, the watermelon flavor is the lightest of them all. Hint does make a "fizzy" version of their water, but it seems pretty hard to come by. Even Amazon is sold out! I'm still on the hunt for the perfect flavored, even possibly sparkling, water. Don't get me wrong, I drink plain water all day long... but a little variety neva' hurt nobody.

Onto the cleanse...

 I have decided I hate the Isagenix Snacks. Over time they have gotten more and more unbearable. I asked Emily if I could just skip them altogether, but she said the sugars and calories in these little chalky discs are necessary on a cleanse day. However, she did say I could just replace them with a fourth of an apple or pear, which I plan to do now. I could grin and bear it, but I'd just rather not.

Other than that, so far this cleanse day is easier the second time around. I know what to expect now, and I am well aware of how my body will respond. With today and tomorrow to go, I can already say that aside from the weight loss, I think this cleanse has helped me to see the bigger picture when it comes to health. I'm ready to eat clean. I'm prepared to begin teaching Lea the importance of making healthy choices.

Now if only we could convert her Ramen Noodle eating, coke drinking father... lol. One day at a time!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Isagenix 9-Day Cleanse: Days 5, 6 and 7

This cleanse is so easy that I've completely forgotten to blog about it. The whole reason I chose to put my experience in writing was to keep myself on track and put it all out in the universe so I had no choice but to follow all the rules. Come to find out, this cleanse isn't hard to follow at all! This is my fourth shake day in a row, and this diet is a piece of cake. Ehh... okay, let's leave cake out of this.

I have come to love my shakes in the morning. They keep me full, they taste good (I'm still adding cocoa powder to my vanilla shake) and best of all I know I am getting the nutrients I need. My Mom (who loves the chocolate shakes) and I have decided to continue with the shakes for a while, then do another cleanse in the near future. I placed an order last night for a vanilla and chocolate canister of shake mix, and the 2 oz. bottles of Cleanse for Life so that I'll have them ready for a future cleanse.

These shake days have been pretty routine. A shake for breakfast, with an accelerator pill. Then, for a snack, I like to have 5 - 10 almonds. I've become less fond of the Isagenix Snacks, and reserve those for only cleanse days now. My lunches have consisted of homemade veggie lasagna and sliced chicken breast sandwich wraps. I must say it has been quite easy to find healthy, low-cal lunch options. I have my afternoon snack and of course a shake for dinner and lots and lots of water throughout the day. I can't lie... I have popped a couple goldfish while feeding Lea a snack, and we split a banana yesterday afternoon. Yes, I've had a diet coke here or there too. But I have been good for the most part. I never feel too hungry. I have a lot of energy. I really can't believe how much I love this product!

6 pounds down with 2 1/2 days to go!

On Tuesday (Cleanse day 6), I hopped on the scale and if it weren't for my broken foot, I'd have done a cartwheel right through my office. I had already lost six pounds! And that is without any exercise! I know what you might be thinking... that I'll gain it right back after the cleanse, right? Well, apparently this is not the case, because unlike other cleanses on the market, the Isagenix Cleanse is a nutritional cleanse. I will have to stick to my newly formed healthy habits however, but this 9-day cleanse is giving me the motivation to do just that.

The first question people have been asking is how much does this product cost. The 9-day system costs $132, and there is a first-time fee of $29 included for the Annual Associate Support System. With shipping included, my total came to $187. Did it kill me to pay that much for a 9-day cleanse that I wasn't even sure I could do? YES. Am I glad I did it? YES! I think it was worth every penny, because it has started me on the right foot to begin making healthier choices when it comes to eating and getting to my goal weight. I can't put a price on that. And, I didn't even much as blink when re-ordering my shakes and cleanse drinks, because I now know how beneficial these products are to my weight loss and overall health.

Tonight I am going to start my cleanse so that I can have a shake at the end of day two, which if you've done two cleanse days in a row, you know that is a sweet deal :)

If you are interested in learning more about the Isagenix 9-Day Cleanse, click here.