"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of an Unhealthy Eater

Before we had Ryley, Ryan and I were terrible at eating. We skipped breakfast and sometimes lunch, so by dinner time, we’d be so starved that we’d pig out on fast food.

Honestly, when I got pregnant, my biggest fear about being a mom was whether or not I could be trusted and faithful enough to make the time to feed my baby at regular intervals.  We’ve done ok, I think. I’ve always been pretty vigilant about making sure Ryley eats three meals, but all along we’ve struggled with making her breakfast a nutritious one. It’s so much easier when you’re in a rush (which we always are) to throw some pop tarts (which I now consider to be the equivalent of cardboard) in a toaster, slap them on a paper plate, and off we go. Years of this. Seriously.

No wonder she’s starving and moody when I pick her up from school! If she’s famished all through the morning, then her lunch is not going to be enough. So she’ll continue to be hungry in the afternoon, and by the time I pick her up, her blood sugar is so low that she’s crabby as all get out. I’m just beginning to make the connection (yes, I’m a little slow, apparently) between moodiness/behavior and having a good breakfast. I have to stop thinking that, well, having a light breakfast (or no breakfast) has never bothered me, and what’s good enough for me is good enough for her.

As I’m quickly learning, it was good enough for me because my body had slowly become numb to my choices. It was learning to function out of habit, in some kind of deprivation mode -- not from nutrition. And it was declining more than I realized or understood.

So these days, poor Ryley sits at the kitchen table at 7:15 with a bowl of oatmeal and a side of yogurt, while I run back and forth to the fridge, piling apple slices and grapes in front of her, then pouring a glass of milk and handing her a stick of cheese. I’d rather her be late to school than go on an empty tummy. She likes it too, and she says she’s noticed a difference as to when her tummy starts growling in the mornings.

Also, I like it because her behavior is better, and she’s the picture of CHEERFULNESS when I pick her up. :-) Yay!

On another note, since September, I have been trying to drink 150 ounces of water a day. That’s my tall Starbucks water bottle x 6. I figure that if  I drink four of them at work and then two of them at home, I space out my water intake pretty well throughout the day. Some days I’m successful, and other days I’m not.  But on the days I don’t do as well, especially on the weekends, I literally feel like my body starts shutting down. I feel anxious and moody and thirsty. My insides ache. Weird, I know. It’s almost as if I can feel my organs crying out for water!  As soon as I drink it, the aching subsides, and it’s like my body wakes up and comes to life. I love it.

One of these days I will get around to compiling all the great recipes I’m collecting into a binder of some sort. There are so many good things, like parmesan green beans (thanks, Pinterest!) and baked kale chips (thanks, Melanie!). How wonderful would it be to be organized?


I feel like I am becoming like the health nuts I made fun of for all those years. I’d never bought kale before last week. No worries, though, really. I would never actually choose carob chips over chocolate. I’m still fat, and I will always be a fat girl at heart. ;-)

In closing, I wanted to share another fave recipe. We have a place called Yolanda’s Tacos near my work, and my co-worker Leahh and I eat their delicious, cheap tacos two or three times a week. I know. But you would too. In fact, I told my friend Jenny about Yolanda’s, and she tried it and fell in love with it too. It really is the shredded, chipotle-marinated chicken that I crave the most. So Jenny gave me this recipe so we could recreate the goodness at home:

Shredded Tinga Tacos

2-3 chicken breasts

1 jar of chipotle salsa

2-3 tsp minced garlic

1 can of green chiles

Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot. Sprinkle minced garlic over them. Pour salsa over the chicken to cover them. Put the green chiles in on top. Cook all day on low or half a day on high. When done, shred it up!


So you must know, I started with five frozen chicken breasts, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. But when we got home, after nine hours of cooking on low, I could smell it outside our house. I think it may have been a little soupy because we started frozen, but it was still perfect. The chicken fell apart when we touched it, so shredding was no problem at all.

We served it in corn tortillas with sour cream, cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and cilantro. Yum!!!  And we had tons of leftovers for the rest of the week!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Glimpses of Spring

This morning was perfect…drizzly and overcast and wet -- but not snowy -- which is the first sign that we are crossing the bridge from winter into spring. Almost overnight, the grass in our front lawn (or what’s left of it!) became bright green in spots. We still have a ways to go; March is Denver’s snowiest month, and we are forecasted to get a little bit of snow tonight. So we built a fire and had soup for dinner and are hunkering down in the warmth of our family room for one of the last times this season.


We had the most amazing weekend. We had NO PLANS or commitments for once. None. And I had forgotten how wonderful that could be.  I can’t put into words how genuinely peaceful and restful it was. Everything we did, besides church, was extremely spur-of-the-moment. I took two (yes!) – two – naps!  Never underestimate the value of a restful weekend. I’m actually a little concerned because they can only get worse from here. This one will be hard to top. ;-)

So we woke up early on Saturday and decided to go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as well as the planetarium. The museum is Ryan and Ryley’s favorite thing to do together, but she had not been to the planetarium before, and that has been on my list of long-term activities to do as a family. What a hit! Though, I remember it being different and better when I was little. It may have been a different one.

Ryan and Ryley found our house on the interactive GoogleEarth.


Ryley has taken a real interest in space recently. The other night she called upstairs to us: “Oh, guys, you have to see this! I’m watching ‘This Week at NASA’ on TV!” I think working at NASA is her current profession of choice. It changes every two minutes, but it’s almost always science-related. :-)

We also spent some time rearranging Ryley’s room. How can you resist it when your daughter comes to you with a drawing of how she wants it rearranged??







All we really did was move the bed and take a bunch of stuff down from her walls; unfortunately, the new layout leaves little room to play. But she likes it! I like that she is starting to take some pride in her room. She’s a bit of a packrat, and there is more work that needs to be done in there, but this is a start. :-)


The other day Ryley was asking me about marriage. “Do you think that if I don’t find a husband when I grow up that I could go on Christiansingles.com?”

I think I laughed out loud.

“Where did you even hear about that??”

“On TV.”

Thus began a several-day-long discussion about not worrying about finding the right guy; first of all, you’re way too young to worry about it. But focus on Jesus and on being who He made you to be, and everything else will work out, etc., etc. Don’t focus on outer beauty; focus on your inner beauty.

You know, all that good mother-daughter talk. :-)

And suddenly she was interested in my stories from high school…how I used to pray that my first date would be my husband, and how when Ryan asked me out in 10th grade, I didn’t know him very well at all, but I said yes anyway. After the date, which Ryan and I both considered a disaster, I told God, “Never mind about my first date being my husband.” But He didn’t forget. And over the next two years, Ryan and I developed the deepest, most meaningful friendship that was beyond what we could even understand. And it just grew from there.

I told her how a certain boy (we’ll call him J) had a crush on me, and how the guys in our class sent him a carnation on Valentine’s Day with a note supposedly from me, saying how much I wanted to be his girlfriend. J sent me a carnation and note in response saying that he too wanted to be together. When I found out, I was upset that the guys could be so mean! After school, I was finishing up a piano lesson when Ryan came in (good friend that he is) and told me that J was waiting in the school lobby for me to have “the talk.”  I had to go out and tell J that the guys had played a mean trick on us. The look of disappointment in his eyes was awful.

Ryley was horrified!  She felt soooo bad for him. “Did he ever get married?” she asked. Because to her, at this moment in her life, being married is the ultimate happiness. :-)

“Yes, he’s happily married with two kids,” I answered.

“Oh, good!”


Here are some pictures of Ryley’s Odyssey of the Mind presentation at school. The entire project is student-driven -- from the inception of the idea, to the writing of the script, to the set creation, to the presentation itself. They’re proud of it, and Ryley’s team’s presentation was the best of the eight that we saw. But just think pure chaos.

Thanks to my Uncle Paul for capturing the photos!

Ryley and her friend Harry are waiting for their group’s turn.


Here’s their team right before their performance. Ryley is the narrator, which is why she insisted on dressing up. I won’t try to explain the play to you because, honestly, it makes little sense. :-) But it looks to me like the control panel of the rocket ship (to the right) had some adult assistance (gasp!).


Getting the set ready:



Fun, fun.

After we spend a Saturday in rural Longmont for the all-day regional competition next week, I am looking forward to reserving more weekends for doing absolutely nothing at all.

The end is in sight. :-)