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Saturday, February 13, 2010


Grandpas are unique / fun personalities. You spend many an hour in their care. I remember the many hours spent with my Grandpa. Something I loved to do; watch my Grandpa get ready in the morning. I would sit on the sink watching him brush his teeth, shave....wow...for me, what fun! He always wanted to do fun stuff with me, so staying home to play cards for pennies with Grandma, was not a popular option for him. I often got the "Party Pooper" song sung to me. I remember back in the day when it was appropriate to leave a sleeping child lie...in the car when they were asleep. How times have changed... I remember all of our great biking adventures, and believe me, Grandpa was ready to do the 50 miler, even if no one else was. He bought me my first Trek bike outfit...how cool, purple and neon green with a padded seat....thank you Grandpa!

I watch Elia with her Grandpas, and she couldn't be more in love with them. She loves their silliness and just can't wait to go to them and give them kisses.

Grandpa, as you lie quietly in the ICU at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, know that I love you, that I love every moment I've spent with you, even if you've repeated your stories several times to me. Sometimes I still feel like the little girl who sat watching you shave... As life has gone by I see we've both matured quite a bit. Now I'm talking about Great Grandpa as Elia says, "Hi" in the ICU, and tries to adjust the settings on your PCA. Dilaudid is such a good friend! What a strong man you are, lying peacefully after what could have been your life, in your accident. I wish you all the comfort in the world, and hope you know how much you have meant to me and my family. We are all unique individuals, but I hope you know how you've touched our lives.

We love our Grandpas! What would the world be like without them?

Love You!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Driving Away...Your Input Appreciated

DJ and I have been sharing a car for the last 2-3 years. While we lived in Milwaukee, it was easy for DJ to walk to the bus stop to take the freeway flyer downtown to work. Although it wasn't always the most convenient, it was great saving the extra money we would have been paying on car registration and insurance. Now that we live in Waukesha, we are still making our 1 car work, but we are thinking that we will probably need to purchase a second car in the next couple of months. So here's our dilemma: I am very used to the Toyota, but would not be opposed to a different make. We agree that we are not ready for a minivan, so that would not work, but we would like a good family car. We were hoping for more of a hatchback / small SUV type car. We would like to buy a pre-owned car, but we want to know it will last us for years to come.

If you have any suggestions, let us know. Thanks!

An Extra Special Delivery

I was thinking about Elia's birth yesterday and was laughing to myself at how she was wrapped up in the umbilical cord. She had it wrapped around her neck twice. Luckily, we did not have any heart rate decelerations or complications, but knowing the little girl she is, I'm not at all surprised. She loves to spin around in circles and also loves to put stuff around her head and neck. What a silly girl!

It was an early Friday morning when we checked in at Elmbrook Memorial Hospital. It felt so peaceful, and yet so weird for me that I was going to be having a baby later that day. By 7:30 am I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and was getting ready to have my IV of Pitocin started. Surprisingly I was having pretty strong contractions about 5-7 minutes apart, and I didn't even know it. I thought I would try to deliver Elia without pain medicine, but thought I could always get an epidural placed later if I couldn't take it.

With Elia being the squirmy worm she is, she was completely twisted and needed to rotate in order to be born. So...needless to say I spent many of painful contrtactions on my knees trying to get her to turn. What a good girl, she turned just as she was supposed to.

By 8.5 cm I was ready to die. I remember being told to relax, but I thought if I let go my insides would fall out. At that time I couldn't manage the pain any longer, and by about 1:30 we had the anesthesiologist, who came out of surgery to place my epidural, up in the room working his magic. Who knew that an anesthesiologist could be your best friend? He was mine!

Within an hour of getting my epidural, Elia was born. I remember giving her a kiss, and it was in that moment that I was a Mom. All of my fears about whether or not I was ready, whether I would be a good Mom, were gone. I was a Mom, and I knew I was going to do everything possible to be the best Mom I could for her.

There was the most peaceful moment when I was lying in bed while Elia was being cleaned, weighed and measured with the nurses and DJ, and I knew my life was complete. I could not have been more content at that moment.

Little ones are so amazing! I'm so lucky to be Elia's Mom!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Healthy Lunch / Dinner Idea

So, I was watching Food Network one day and saw Giada de Laurentis making a pasta dish for her daughter, Jade. Here's my version:
  • 1 Box Whole Wheat Pasta or other Healthy Pasta
    • I try to use whole grain pastas as often as possible
      • If you have a wheat allergy, you can always try quinoa noodles
  • 1-8oz Package Cream Cheese (Your level of fat is fine - I use the Neuchatel Cheese)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Giada used Mascarpone)
  • Steamed Carrots
    • In my opinion, the more the merrier
    • Chop into bite size pieces for that cute little baby mouth
  • 1 Bag Frozen Peas
  • Pureed Greens
    • I've used a mixture of Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, and Rainbow Chard or Kale
      • You could also use Spinach, Zucchini, etc.
  • Reserved Pasta Water or Chicken Broth
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional
    • Chicken breast cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
    • 2 cloves garlic
      • I put one clove in the steamer with the greens and chop the other to mix with the carrots and peas
    • 1 small onion chopped fine
    • Parmesan Cheese
Start by boiling your pasta and steaming your veggies. I steam the green veggies first and get them into the Vita Mix to puree. I then steam the carrots and, once done, put into a fry pan, sprayed with olive oil, with the onion, chopped garlic, and peas. Once this mixture has cooked for a little while together, add the 8 ounces of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter. If you are adding chicken, you can add that at any time. I then add a large amount of pureed greens to the mixture, which gives the pasta a great color. Once mixed, you can add pasta water or chicken broth till you get the consistency you are looking for. I then add the cooked pasta, give it a stir, and then throw in a good handfull of parmesan cheese; about 1/4 cup. You can add salt and pepper at any time to taste.
Pasta can be served immediately and/or frozen. We found that Elia eats about 1/3 cup at a time, so we scoop 1/3 cup sizes onto a baking pan lined with parchment, place in the freezer till froze then put into a ziploc bag. Elia loves it, and I love that it's healthy for her. I enjoyed it so much myself that we're eating it too. : )

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pancakes for Elia (Mommy and Daddy Too)

Today's breakfast...PANCAKES!! We love pancakes in our house; especially with bananas, but let's see how we can make them healthier. I made 2 batches of these, which should give you about 24 pancakes. Elia eats about 1-2 depending on the size, and they're great to freeze and pull out when you need them, and are in the mood for a pancake.
  • 4 cups flour
    • I used 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup quinoa flour, and 1/2 cup soy flour
    • Please play with the combinations and try different flours that you see at the store
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) plain yogurt
    • Choose your level of fat - For Elia I used her Stonyfields whole milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 bananas - mashed
    • These could be eliminated, or you could even add more if you like
    • Other pureed fruits could work too; like mango, peaches, applesauce, etc.
    • I was also thinking that Avocados and Banana would be an awesome mix
  • Blueberries
    • I used 4 per pancake, but they could be eliminated if you're not a blueberry fan, or you could substitute another berry
    • If you're making for yourself and like chocolate, chocolate chips would be yummy too
    • Another neat thought...you could make them crunchy by adding granola to them while cooking
  • Serve
    • Plain, or with applesauce, maple syrup, peanut butter (or sun butter for non-nutties), etc.
Mix dry ingredients together. Whisk eggs, mash bananas, and blend wet ingredients. Mix wet into dry and stir just until ingredients are moistened. Scoop about 1/4 cup pancake mix onto 325 degree griddle, or preheated skillet/fry pan. I just used our olive oil mister to coat the griddle. Once the pancakes were down, I placed 4 blueberries on each. Once done, place on cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and layer. Then serve and/or freeze. Once frozen, place in ziploc bag. They can be kept frozen up to 2 months. I just heated the pancake in the microwave to thaw.