Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2,200 and counting

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Randy and I attended a fundraiser banquet last Thursday to support a local organization. I really dragged my feet when it came time to RSVP...I really didn't want to spend my birthday dinner at a banquet for an organization that I knew nothing about, I really didn't want to get dressed up, and I really didn't want to spend $$ on a sitter. But since the Residency Program supports this organization, I really wanted our Program to be well represented, even if it was just by 2 more seats.

Very little did I know that the Lord was about to bless me (and Randy) by attending this banquet. The banquet was organized to raise funds for our local Pregnancy Testing Centers (PTC), an organization created 20 years ago whose mission it is to reduce the number of out of wedlock births. Not only does the PTC provide abstinence education and community presentations, the Center offers free pregnancy testing, counseling, new mother services (diapers, infant wear, cribs), parental mediation, post-abortion support, and adoption referrals....all done while loving each woman who walks through their doors and sharing the love of Christ. I want to be clear, while this Center offers post-abortion support...they do NOT conduct abortions and do NOT refer women to a center that does. Part of the Center's mission is to save babies, and a lot of times that means praying with these women and inviting them to accept Christ into their hearts. Since opening their doors in 1989, close to 2,200 babies have been saved. That's enough to populate a small city. AMAZING!

During the dinner, we heard from a girl, who couldn't have been more than 16 years old. She shared with us that as soon as she found out that she was pregnant, the only thought she had was to abort the baby. She thought that she had no other option. Hearing that brought me to tears. I can't imagine having murdered either Josiah or Laney. How sad to feel that the only option is to kill your innocent child. Thankfully, she found PTC, accepted Christ, and gave birth to a beautiful little girl, Victoria, only 4 short weeks ago. We also heard from a woman who had an abortion 30 years ago. She shared how "broken" she had been since the procedure, how an abortion is NOT the easy way out, and how she finally accepted that she is still worthy of Christ's love. She now leads the PTC post-abortion support group/Bible study, the group she found so many years ago that helped her find peace again.

No doubt, this was one of the most amazing banquets I've ever been to. Up until Thursday, I had wondered about how I could use my education and experience to contribute to the health of the community where we now call home. I wonder no more...I signed up immediately to volunteer. Additionally, Randy and I have wondered where we should send our tithe since we don't yet have a "home church"--to the church back in VA or to an international mission? Our answer became clear on Thursday...none of the above.....the best ministry/mission field to receive our tithe is right in our back yard.

I was inspired by a personal story of trial and triumph, and I was energized to know just how to "give" to our community. It was a great birthday present.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday~Sept 29

It's another week already. Boy, where does the time go? Last week, we were really busy just about every evening, so the menu plan was put in "File 13". Therefore, a couple of our meals this week were transferred over. However, I am also trying two new recipes: Chicken Broccoli pasta and Bruschetta Chicken. I'll post an update regarding whether or not we'll be planning them again.

Monday--Beef Stroganoff
Tuesday--Chicken Broccoli pasta
Wednesday--Leftover Stroganoff
Thursday--Leftover Chicken Broccoli pasta
Friday--Bruschetta Chicken (this is a family favorite of Laura's that she posted last week)
Saturday--Leftover Bruschetta Chicken
Sunday--Grilled Chicken with Pesto

For more menu planning ideas, visit Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Friday, September 26, 2008

HFH: Fat Ticker Friday--Week #1

I finally decided that I am tired of looking 4 months pregnant (when I'm not)...it's time to do something about it! So, I've joined a gym, found a race, and dusted off my running shoes. Ready or not, here I go!

Since I had to leave my accountability/running partner in VA (I miss you, Donna), I found a blogosphere weight loss challenge, Hot For The Holidays (HFH), that I thought could help me stay on track. As soon as I saw the logo, I was "in". It's exactly what I needed to get going. Part of the "commitment" is to publish a Fat Ticker Friday post each week so that Christie, our awesome hostess, can track how many pounds have been shed collectively as a group....a goal of 500 lbs. to NEVER come back again!

So here is my first Fat Ticker Friday report: no change

*GASP* I really shouldn't be surprised since I was only able to make it to the gym 1 day this week (before I weighed in this morning). And that wasn't because I didn't want to, we just had a lot of stuff going on. Allow me to recap: Tuesday I did manage to complete 10 minutes on the stair climber and 12 minutes on the bike (definitely not my first choice, but there was not a single treadmill available) before heading to dinner with a 4th year medical student interested in our program. Randy was on-call on Wednesday and didn't make it home until 10PM and therefore, no one was available to watch the kiddos. And last night, we attended a fundraising banquet for a local organization (I want to write more about this organization and the banquet we attended, but I will save it for another post). But tonight, folks, I pushed myself to run 2 miles (consecutively) on the treadmill. I realize that this might not sound all that impressive, but considering that it has been 13 months since I'd done any running, I'm pretty excited and proud of myself. I really thought that I'd be starting back at "square one" again, barely able to run a full mile. I'm so excited to think that I'll be more than ready to compete participate in the South Texas Sizzler 5K on October 25.

And here are my answers to this week's photo essay....just something for fun.

1. Someone or something that inspires you--my wonderful husband and precious children.

(Definitely not the best picture taken of us...but, sadly, we don't have many to choose from)

2. Something that you love to do--cake decorating.

3. Something that makes you crazy--junk mail (in both my mailbox and email inbox)

4. Something healthy in your life--my BOB Duallie Ironman Jogging Stroller (sorry no real picture)

(I've gotten the kids out in it a couple of times since our move. I can't wait to use it more once it starts cooling off and the mosquitos fly South for the winter.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I remember that when I was a kid my mom used to watch a show called Thirtysomething. It was about a group of 7 friends (2 married couples), all in their 30's, trying to figure out life...parenthood, life balance, careers, marriage, and dreams. I feel like I'm living what this show was all about. Am I good Mom? Am I a good wife? Is the role I was made for to care for my children at home or by working? Am I happy? And how can I be better? What is it about the 30's that cause us to suddenly reflect on who we are?

I used to think that thirty-something was sooooo far away...where did the time go? But now that I'm officially a thirty-something--not just plain ol' 30, I've found myself thinking about what I hope to accomplish before I hit the big 4-0. I didn't really think too much about turning 30 last year...just another number. But, weirdly, turning 31 has me really thinking.

So what all happened during my 20's (including what happened when I was 30)? Just for fun, let's take a trip down memory lane....

  • At 21, I graduated from AU with a BS in Microbiology; started my first, real job.
  • At 22, I moved to Ft. Worth, TX to begin graduate school at UNT HSC.
  • At 24, I graduated with a MPH; started my first, real job as an Epidemiologist.
  • At 25, I married Randy, my downstairs neighbor; travelled to San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico (my first trip outside of the US)
  • At 26, I moved to VA to support Randy's dream/God's will for him to become a doctor; started yet another job--staying in Public Health.
  • At 27, I travelled to Kenya, Africa (by far my furthest travel) on a medical mission. One word: AMAZING!
  • At 28, I gave birth to my first child--a son, Josiah.
  • At 29, I completed my first Half Marathon at the RNR Event at VA Beach--and I even beat my goal time.
  • And at 30, I gave birth to my second child--a daughter, Alayna; moved to South Texas to continue to support Randy's medical education; learned how to crochet; and expanded by cooking/baking abilities.

Ahh, not too impressive (I'm sure there's more, but my memory has simply disintegrated since having children), but I'm not really worried about what I have done....it's about what I want to do in the future. I, of course, have some physical fitness goals to achieve in the next year. I hope to complete another Half Marathon in Dallas in April, losing all-and then some-of the baby fat, reaching a clothing size I haven't been in since, since....I can't even remember when. And just so that my goals are a little bit more well-rounded, I hope to learn how to become content....content with my circumstances, content with my role--designed especially for me by God, and content with my frame--both body and personality. Additionally, I hope to grow my relationships....my relationship with Randy, with friends and family, and most importantly with God. So these more well-rounded goals don't seem too lofty, right? (I think I hear chuckling).

Well, here's to another year! Giving thanks to my health and all that I have accomplished and all that I will accomplish in the next year.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Can you hear me now?

Give this boy a box of some kind (to climb in) and a phone, and he's happy for hours minutes.
Check out 5 Minutes for Mom for other Wordless Wednesday submissions.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finally~Part 1

A couple of things happened this past week that were definitely blogworthy.

  • Josiah FINALLY started using the pedals on his tricycle (aka scooter or motorcycle). I took him out to the street last night, and he used his pedals the whole way up and down the street. I'm so proud of you, Mijo!

  • I FINALLY finished crocheting a blanket (my 3rd one since learning how in January) for a friend who delivered a healthy and beautiful little girl on Thursday. This has definitely been a labor of love. I started this blanket in March (uh, only 6 months ago) so it would be something to work on and relax me while I was in labor with Baby M#2...too bad I was so exhausted from being up the night before laboring that I chose drugs instead so that I could sleep until "push" time.
  • I FINALLY transferred my old iTunes Library (all 603 songs) to our new computer. It only took me 2 hours to figure it out. Thanks, Windows Vista!
  • And most importantly....I FINALLY joined a gym. It's been about a year since I last "hit the pavement". I'm ready to get back into a regular exercise/running routine, and I'm MORE than ready to shed these last 20 pounds of baby fat. To help me be a little bit more accountable, I also joined a blogosphere weight loss challenge "Hot For The Holidays". I'm starting two weeks late, but it's better late than NEVER. My goal is to lose 10-15 lbs. by Christmas. And each Friday, I'll be posting regarding my loss (or gain--grrrr).

There are a few more items on my "to-do" list. So once I finish a couple more, I'll be back with another FINALLY installment.

Menu Plan Monday--Sept 22

I'm really excited about this week's MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie. This week, everyone who participates, is encouraged to include at least one link/recipe for a family favorite. I just LOVE a new recipe, especially one that is tried and true and has received "two thumbs up". So here is our plan for the week....including a dinner out in celebration of my birthday.
Monday-- **Family Favorite** Bourbon Chicken (I made this last night, so we're having the leftovers)
Tuesday--Dinner out
Wednesday--**Family Favorite** Sesame Beef Stir Fry (see recipe below)
Thursday--Chicken Broccoli Fettuccine
Friday--leftover Chicken Fettuccine
Sunday--Breakfast (or whatever else is leftover from the week)

Sesame Beef Stir Fry
(pulled from the Eating For Life Cookbook)

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1 pound ground beef (we use ground turkey only)
1 T. toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced
1 c. broccoli slaw (found in the bagged salads section)
1 c. napa cabbage, shredded
1 T. lite soy sauce

Prepare brown rice according to directions.
In a medium skillet or wok, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Remove from skillet, drain and set aside. Heat sesame oil over Medium-High heat. Add garlic and green onions; stir fry for 2 minutes. Add broccoli slaw and cabbage; stir fry for 2 minutes. Add rice and soy sauce; stir fry for 2 more minutes. Return the cooked ground beef to the skillet with the rice and vegetable mixture. Stir ingredients until well combined and heated through, about 2 minutes.

Makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday--Reflection

Visit 5 Minutes For Mom for more Wordless Wednesday pics.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From Atop A Stepstool

Before we moved from VA, my good friend Gina gifted to us one of their extra stepstools. I had been thinking about buying one for Josiah so that we could use it in the bathroom-to help him wash his hands without having to be hoisted up on our knee. Well, it sounded like a good idea at the time. This small blue stepstool is dragged ALL.OVER.THE.HOUSE. In fact, it's rarely ever in the bathroom.

Josiah has discovered multiple uses for his stepstool.....

  • stands on top of it while playing his guitar--I guess he feels like he's "on stage".
  • works as a seat, just his size, in the living room.
  • helps him access the water/ice dispenser from the fridge.
  • enables him to reach items in the pantry that are one more shelf up.
  • crawling up into Laney's crib.
  • crawling up into Mommy's bed.
  • reaching for Mommy's toothpaste--he does go one step further by opening the tube and helping himself to a cinnamon-mint flavored snack.
  • and it allows him to reach various items on the countertops. Last night, I found pepper in my cup of water. UGH!

Oh, toddlers, they're so resourceful.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday-Sept 15

Since it's been a while since I shared our family meal plan (I always have one, but I've not been very good about posting it), and things have been pretty uneventful in our home, I thought I would post our very uneventful menu for the week....I guess "uneventful" has been the theme of our house for the past couple of days. :-)

Monday--Rosemary Chicken w/couscous and steamed broccoli
Tuesday--Sesame Beef Stir-Fry
Wednesday--Potstickers (does it impress you that I'll be making them from scratch?)
Thursday--Bourbon Chicken w/jasmine rice and edemame (this has become a favorite of ours)
Friday--Leftover Bourbon Chicken
Saturday--Leftover Potstickers
Sunday--"whatever you can find in the fridge"

For more menu planning ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kiss My Baby--Vote For Laney

One of our local radio stations is hosting a "Kiss My Baby" photo contest, so naturally, I entered Alayna since I think she is soooo very kissable. And I would have entered Josiah, too, but his age made him "ineligible"....can you believe it, an old man already. :-)

While I don't normally enter baby photo contests due to the outrageously high number of submissions (okay, I did enter Josiah once in a BabyGap contest), I thought we stood a chance if we entered a local contest. And why not? The Grand Prize is a $1000 shopping spree at Babies R Us, a trip for 2 to South Padre Island, and a photo package at a local photography studio.

And it wouldn't be a contest if it didn't matter how many votes each photo received...so I'm asking for a little bit of help here. If you're comfortable with it, I'd really appreciate your voting for my little princess. Please vote here, Laney is Baby 137. And to make sure that the voting is fair, only one vote per computer is allowed.

Monday, September 8, 2008

6 Needles

I took BOTH kids to the clinic this morning: Josiah, for his 2 year check up and Laney, for her 4 month well-baby visit. I am pleased to report that our children are growing like weeds.

Here are the kids' stats:

Height: 36.5"--between 75-90th percentile, which is where he's been since birth
If we follow the general rule of thumb (to multiply the height at 2 YO by 2), Josiah will be around 6' tall...no short Mexican here, folks!
Weight: 31 pounds--90th percentile, again-consisent since birth

Length: 25"--75th percentile
Weight: 16 lbs 15 oz--95th percentile
Head Circumference: 16.5"--75th percentile

This is just proof that "the secret is in the sauce"/breastmilk-it does a body good. :-) For the last 3.75 months, Laney's diet has consisted of nothing more than breastmilk; however, this past week I started supplementing with formula (I had run out of frozen milk to supplement with). I also introduced a couple of teaspoons of rice cereal once a day for a couple of days last week, just to see if that wouldn't hold her over longer than her usual "every two hour" feedings. Nope. It doesn't seem to matter if I give her more formula, whether she eats more than 2 teaspoons of cereal or has 6-7 oz breastmilk during one feeding.....this girl wants to eat EVERY two hours.

While Laney really hasn't exhibited any interest in rolling over (in either direction), she has successfully reached a couple of other 4 month developmental milestones:
  • when her hands on propped on her feet, she is able to sit for a few seconds--ALONE.
  • she grabs/reaches for toys when dangled in front of her
  • she grabs her feet
  • she tries to hold her bottle
  • when on her tummy, she's able to complete a full push-up (however, not for very long--she HATES tummy-time) and is able to rock on her chest
  • she smiles socially

During this morning's appointments, BOTH kiddos received shots. Josiah is now all caught up on his immunizations. At his 18 month appointment, we waited to give him his MMR shot due to my being pregnant. Even though I had been vaccinated against Rubella as a child, we didn't want to risk it. If a mother contracts Rubella while pregnant, there is a significant possibility that the baby would die in utero or be still born....not a risk I was willing to take. Josiah also received the Heptitis A (contracted through food and water) vaccination (the first of 2) since we are so close to the border. And poor Laney, she was tortured with 4 shots. But they both did well.....Josiah got a sucker to keep the tears at bay while Laney received a feeding directly from the dairy. :-)

Alayna is sleeping now, and Josiah is watching VeggieTales.