Allen

My cousin recently posted this video of her younger brother, Allen.

I hadn’t seen it since his funeral back in November of 2010 and it really resonated with me.

Allen had more life and spunk in two fingers than most people have in their whole body.
It is utterly moving to see a person who can barely lift his own hand talk about his life with no animosity to the cards he was dealt.

And when I think of Allen I am reminded just how lucky I was to know him.

I cannot imagine being given the kind of diagnosis Allen was at age 6.
I cannot fathom the anger, pain, and fear my uncle and aunt felt upon receiving the news.
I cannot pretend to know the devastation it brought to his older sister.

But what I saw growing up was nothing short of breathtaking.

Allen was funny and full of spirit.
And together with his siblings and parents he lived a joyous life.

They faced many hardships.
But they faced everything together, as a family.

I admire his older sister, for being her brother’s best friend.
I admire his parents, for being pillars of strength.
And I admire Allen, for making the choice to live his life to the fullest.

I’ve struggled with writing this blog post since last week because I have this weird thing where I feel like I have to have a moral or point to my posts.
I wanted to talk about Allen but I didn’t know what message to send out.

But then I realized that I don’t have to dot all the lines all the time.
The moral of Allen’s story will be different for everyone, which is sort of beautiful.

One thing I know for certain is that if you take the time to watch the 6 minute and 43 second video I posted all the way through, you will be changed whether you expected to be or not.

If that prompts you to go out and support Duchenne research, then awesome.
If it encourages you to start living your life with more gratitude, then that’s incredible.
The part of your heart it touches is personal and I can’t create a moral for that.
But I can say for me, remembering Allen makes me hug my family a little tighter.
He reminds me to be thankful for things that we take for granted; like being able to walk or scratch my nose with ease.
And most of all his life shows me that we as people are capable of extraordinary things if we choose to embrace our weaknesses rather than allow them to hinder us.

20140422-091728.jpg

Happiest Birthday To You, My Love

I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter Sunday.
We went to church, watched Frozen, and I made a roast beef dinner for my family so It was a nice and relaxing day for us.
Today is also a very special day in my household because it is Derek’s birthday!

20140421-112042.jpg

(These are his past five birthdays that we have spent together)

I like to make a big deal out of birthdays because I think it’s special celebrating the birth of someone you love.
Next weekend we will be hitting the town and spending our first night together without Declan (gasp) to celebrate Derek with all our friends but I still wanted to do something special today.

So for something a little different as a mini present this year I made a video.

Well that was super awkward and embarrassing.
But I know Derek is smiling after watching and that’s all that matters.

Shout out to Declan for improving the video and even mumbling along with me as I sang.

Anyway, happiest birthday to the greatest husband, father, and man I know.
I love you Derek and I am so glad you were born!

Clean Eating Peanut Butter Blondies

Oh Friday, we meet again!
I’m going to make it short and sweet today because tonight we are cooking steak and scallops, having a drink or two, and celebrating my husband being a BAMF.

 photo TommyFishPump_zps21d93b6d.gif

Seriously, this guy blows my mind.
He puts so much of himself into his company and still finds time to be an awesome husband and father.

So here is a quick recipe for you guys!

20140411-183042.jpg

CLEAN EATING PEANUT BUTTER BLONDIES

Ingredients:

Dry:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Wet:
1/4 cup melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup pure maple syrup (no added ingredients)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup peeled, cooked, mashed sweet potato
2/3 cup natural peanut butter (I highly recommend Peanut Butter & Co’s Bees Knees)
2 tbsp pure vanilla

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 dish with olive oil and set aside.
2. Combine all of the wet ingredients into a bowl.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix with a mixer until well combined.
4. Top with chopped walnuts if desired (I did)
5. Bake for 25 minutes and that’s that!

I ate four of these the day I made them…
Four.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Happy weekend!

The Road To Napping

Declan has begun the dance.
The snake-in-a-woven-basket dance where he appears boneless as he wiggles his sleepy limbs around.
I try my best snake charming moves but somehow he defeats me.
So I decide to take him to the store, knowing that by the time we get back in the car for the drive home he will knock out.
My plan is successful and I delicately remove his car seat and begin to creep to the front door.
Suddenly, our neighbor pulls his car up next to me and rolls down his window.

I turn the car seat so he can see the baby sleeping and gesture frantically.

 photo SteveCarrelStop_zpsfe15d1ef.gif

He then shouts,

“He’s asleep, eh?!”

Annnd Declan wakes up.

“Oh look! He’s awake!”

Do you want to sit here and talk to me for ten minutes now?

Once the neighbor leaves I notice that Declan’s eyes are starting to droop closed again.

Yessssssssss.

Put the keys in the door, open slowly, and creeeeeeaaaaakkkk!

He moves but his eyes remain closed.
I’ve got to remember to get some WD40 for that damn thing.

Oh. Shit.
I forgot to put the dogs outside before I left.

20140407-132534.jpg

These two lugs come running into the living room screaming at the top of their lungs.
I try to quiet them.

 photo pipethefuckdown_zpscfe3e127.gif

Try explain to them that the baby is sleepy and they need to calm down and silence themselves.
But in unison they both reply,

photo IDontCare_zps8cb9bdcd.gif

By now Declan’s eyes are wide open and he’s watching the whole thing.
I’ve got to act quick so I pull him out of his car seat to cuddle him and kick the dogs outside.

His head nestles into my shoulder and he starts to doze off again as I rock him back and fourth.

But suddenly, there is a violent knock on the door.

He pops up and I swing the creaky door open in a rage.

The UPS driver is already back in his truck.
My package did not require a signature but he ding-dong ditched anyway.

At this point I know it’s going to take more than some swaying and a lullaby so I plop down on the couch and breastfeed.

After about 10 minutes of eating Declan is back to dreamland.
I prop up my feet, lean my head back, and close my eyes.
Maybe I’ll take one too, Lord knows I need it.

I feel my body relaxing more and more with each breath.
The weight of the day lifts off my eyes and I begin to drift.

American Psycho (2000)

We both jump from the terrifying noise.
I then realize that it’s not a masked murderer in my front yard with a chainsaw but rather the gardeners.

Declan looks me in the eyes and deviously smirks as he decides whether or not we will be going back to sleep.

 photo GladiatorNope_zps82ce90d4.gif

Just like that he’s declared that his 10 minute nap gave him the energy of one hundred men and daytime sleep becomes a dream of the past for me.

I cry a little on the inside, make myself an iced coffee, and pull it together.

 

Naps are overrated anyway.
We’ll try again tomorrow.

TGIF

It’s been a long week.

1.

I started P90x3 on Monday and discovered just how out of shape I’ve become after not having consistent work outs for the past two months.
I thought the older Declan got the easier it would be to get a work out in but turns out it’s actually the opposite.
Thankfully P90x3 is only 30 minutes long which is totally doable but wow am I feeling sore this week!

2.

Derek had a quick work trip Tuesday-Wednesday this week.
While it may have flown by for him I was horrifically awoken on Tuesday morning to find a giant spider in our bedroom.
It scaled our crown molding just out of my reach and once I finally mustered up the courage to kill it the damn thing quantum leaped off the ceiling and onto the floor where it then disappeared from me, no doubt waiting to strike until nightfall when I would least expect it.
So yeah, short trip for Derek but longest ever for me dealing with the Godzilla of spiders all by my lonesome.

3.

Little Walker Texas Ranger is on the move and there is no stopping him!
No literally, I can not stop him. He jams around the house all day long and now that he’s officially walking it’s hit a whole new level of crazy.
I’m pretty sure that my child is one of Chuck Norris’s horcruxes because there seems to be nothing he can’t do and he also doesn’t let anyone tell him what to do.

20140404-125104.jpg

Like nap, or slow down, or hey! Don’t put that shoe in your mouth.

So excuse me while I throw my hands up in the air and celebrate it being Friday.

And I know what you’re thinking:

Why do you care that it’s Friday? You’re a mom which means you don’t get “weekends”.

And yes, you would be correct.
But on weekends I have morning and daytime help with Declan from my husband which means I get to do things like shower before 4 pm and brush my hair.
It’s awesome.
I’m also cashing in on a massage today!

image

But enough about me, let’s talk food.
Today’s recipe is for mini eggplant pizzas.
I’ve always been intimidated by eggplant but I’ve been experimenting with it recently and I actually really like it.
This recipe is so easy to put together and it’s super yummy.
I served it with a Chicken Cesar salad because Derek requires meat in his meals.

MINI EGGPLANT PIZZAS

20140404-130508.jpg

Ingredients:

One large eggplant
2 tsp. Olive oil
4 oz. Reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2-3 tbsp. Pizza sauce (I make my own with this simple, clean recipe here)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut eggplant in slices about 1/4″ thick and place on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
3. Use 1 tsp. of olive oil to coat the tops of the slices and place in the oven for 5 minutes.
4. Flip the slices over, coat with remaining tsp. of olive oil and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
5. Top with sauce and cheese, then put them back in the oven and bake until the cheese is golden brown.
6. Remove, serve, and enjoy!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Sharing is Caring

20140401-215710.jpg

People used to sit around the fire and tell stories.
They would talk of their lives in great detail and even pen them to preserve their life and legacy.
It was believed that there was something to be learned and gained from hearing about one another’s experiences.
It’s funny that now, in a day where we have such advanced tools to do such, the whole idea is looked down upon.

I am what many would consider to be an “over-sharer”.
After all, I write a blog about my life.
But what is so wrong with that?

I’m not writing about the different stages of my son’s poop, or that one time I had uncontrollable vomiting, or any “TMI” moments like those.

I write about the love I have for my family, the hilariously random things that always seem to happen, and the hardships that mold me into a better person.

Social media gives us the opportunity to display our lives however we want and be whomever we please.
But I want to be me.

And my life is messy.
And joyful.
And I really do still get butterflies when I see my husband every day.
And I have absolutely sat in a puddle of my own tears on the kitchen floor wondering how in the hell I am going to get through the rest of the day.

I post pictures of the food I make, the crafts we do, my adorable son, and the sweet things Derek does.

I talk candidly about my mom’s cancer, losing my daughter, and the trials of parenthood.

I love this little blog of mine and even if only one person in the entire cyber world got something out of it I would be happy.

There is nothing wrong with showing public love for your spouse.
Or posting photos of the things that inspire you.
Or letting people know that you don’t have it together all the time.

Don’t be ashamed of who you are, where you come from, or where you’re going.
Take advantage of technology to tell your stories and share your experiences.
It’s time to stop scrolling through the feeds of weather updates, zimbo quizzes, and tv show spoilers¬†and start actually engaging with one another.

20140401-221530.jpg

Clean Eating Coconut Popcorn Shrimp

Hey oh!
I’ve been on a new recipe kick this week but tonight I decided to go with one of my all time favs.
I LOVE coconut shrimp.
If you have it as an appetizer at your wedding you best believe I will be following that waiter around the entire cocktail hour.
But other than weddings I had never really had it anywhere else until I came across this recipe.
This will make both your mouth and feet do a happy dance.
And best of all, it’s clean so you don’t have to feel shameful after you shovel half the batch down your throat the second it gets out of the oven!

20140328-192847.jpg

CLEAN EATING COCONUT POPCORN SHRIMP

(recipe from The Gracious Pantry)

Ingredients:

1 lb. Large Peeled, deveined shrimp (tail off)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 egg whites
2 tsp. coconut oil

strong>Directions:

1. You want the shrimp to be pretty dry so that the coating will stick, so pat it down with some paper towels and then set it aside.
2. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 10 sec and then combine it with the egg whites in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining dry ingredients.
4. Put shrimp one by one into the egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumb mixture and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Or you could do foil lightly sprayed with cooking oil).
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and enjoy!

Hope everyone has an excellent weekend.
Get your butts outside and do something different!