Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I know I haven't posted in a while. Adjusting to motherhood has definitely been a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. I have learned so much and know there is so much more to learn in the future. But all that aside I wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone who takes the time to read my blog. I write mostly for myself but I always hope that someone out there is reading and enjoying the time they spend here with me.

I hope that your Christmas is full of fun, family and friends while remembering the true reason for the season. I hope that the New Year brings new opportunities, more joy in your life and many more memories made of a wonderful life.

Take care of yourself, tell the ones you love how much they mean to you and never take a moment for granted. Life is too short to be anything but awesome. There will always be bad days, hard times and trials but hopefully the better days, good times and wins will outnumber the negative.

So, Merry Christmas and best to everyone in the New Year!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Will feed friends...

30 year old stay at home mom of one almost 4 month old son seeks other moms (or couples) to share our adventures in parenting. Would enjoy meeting other first time moms, moms with similar birth experiences or moms who started their parenting journey in their 30's or later. Other mom's (or couples) should be drama free, kind, compassionate and easy going. Not afraid to be honest and open in sharing parenting ups and downs without judgement. Open to volunteering to set a good example for our kids and to help others in need.

Ideally would enjoy someone interested in crafting (scrapbooking, card making, cross stitch, sewing, etc.), gardening, cooking and learning new things. (If you're a couple my husband also enjoys football, baseball, poker and camping/hunting.) Prefer those with values (honesty, sharing, positive attitude, hard working, integrity, open minded, etc.). Must enjoy walks with baby, healthy eating/lifestyle and fun girl time/couple time. No drama queens, flakes or fakes need apply. (I like to make plans but completely understand the need to cancel if you're overwhelmed or if you or your kid(s) are sick. Please don't share germs.)

I promise to share baked goods, tasty treats and homemade meals with new friends. I will email/text/call you back within a reasonable amount of time (I understand we can't all answer right away with a new baby/kids in the house). I will not judge your parenting style if you don't judge mine. If our parenting styles don't mesh we can make a clean break without the drama of ignoring each other and hoping the other will just go away. I will follow your house rules and expect my child to do the same when we are at your home if you do the same for me. We can be email buddies, text pals or actually meet in person for play dates with our kids or a good girls night out/date night. We can visit the children's museum, the park, take a class together or just chill at home. We have cats so if you or your child is allergic please consider before replying. 

I think that's about what my ad would be if I created a personal ad to find some mom friends. I have tons of mom friends from high school but sadly they are mostly back in Utah where I went to high school. I moved to Las Vegas back in 2005 so I have few ties to this community other than the few friends I have met at work and my husband's family. Most of those friends are either unmarried/no kids or their kids are my age now. I don't attend church, go to school (yet), or work right now so I don't have many opportunities to meet other mom's or really make friends. I also am not the type to just hit the park and talk up other moms or sign up for a class. I can be quite outgoing and social but lately I am more of a homebody. Plus parenting our first child is tiring and is an adjustment so I'm not always interested in packing all the stuff for the baby and going out. Sometimes I'd rather just stay at home and sleep or lounge in my sweats all day. HA!

Keys, sunglasses, pacifier, blanket... Even Russell is like 'do we really need all this stuff mom?'.

I have decided there needs to be something like eHarmony or Match for mom's. I did find True Blue Match where you can somewhat create a profile and meet other mom's and dad's in your area. It seems pretty new though so who knows how that kind of thing would pan out. I have also heard of Mommy and Me as an option to find playgroups and activities so I'll have to check that out. Of course there's also Meetup where you can find groups of people doing stuff. I might check that out too. I know these are probably good options and some days I really wish I had more mom friends and other days I'm content just being at home alone. Perhaps that's why I've resisted going out and meeting other mom's. I don't want to make friends then end up just sitting around at home disappointing them. *Sigh... (Has anyone out there used Meetup and had success? Even using it for something other than meeting moms.)

Ready to rock and roll!
I think the reason I really need to make other friends is because I LOVE making treats and baking yummy goodies and if I keep eating everything I bake myself then I will end up weighing a ton and looking like I'm prego again. HA HA HA. Seriously I just need friends to share the calories with. :P So if you're a mom, enjoy crafting and want to be friends I'll share food with you. HE HE HE...

Homemade pizza!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Russell Laughs

Today we took Russell to the gastroenterologist. He's still doing well and we're working with his speech therapist Tracy on getting him down to thinner liquids. So far he's tolerating the feeding changes well. He weighed 15 pounds 7 ounces and was 26.5 inches long today. WOO. He's my big little man. HE HE HE.

Coming home from the doctors office.
After we came home we were sitting with Russell and he decided Daddy was really funny so I had to share this...

The video looks like it's shaking because he was on my lap and I was rocking him on his Boppy. I didn't want to stop because whenever he realizes he's being video taped or photographed he tends to stop what he's doing. We were very sneaky but it was worth it to capture his fun laughs.

Another thing we did recently was get Russell's picture taken with Santa. I got an invite from my friend Rachel that said she had a Santa coming over and that we could get pictures taken with him. It was inexpensive, fun and she did a great job! I didn't even know she was a photographer so it was fun to see her work and get a great keepsake of Russell's first Christmas.

He's SOOOO happy!!! It's his Santa booties and new outfit.

If you're in the Las Vegas area and looking for a great photographer at very reasonable prices you MUST contact her. Just let me know and I can get you her phone number or email address. She's even got special family Christmas sessions available on Saturday, December 10th and Sunday December 11th. You also get your pictures on a CD which is awesome because you can get them printed anywhere, share them by email or whatever you want to do with them. Some places make you buy the pictures direct from the photographer or you only get to pick a limited number of poses. I love that we got plenty of pictures and they were ours to do what we wanted with them. Hooray!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Noodle Soup

I shared this picture on Facebook of homemade turkey noodle soup that I made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I've made it with chicken before and it's just as good. I also made homemade rolls and bread sticks to go with the soup which was yummy. I did get a request for the recipe so I'm sharing it below.

Please know I'm the type of person who cooks with whatever I have on hand and I don't measure anything. I put in everything in the amounts that look good to me adding a dash of this or a pinch of that using up whatever leftovers I have or things that I know I need to use. The amounts below are not exact so you may have to adjust adding more or less of items depending on your personal preferences. If you try the recipe let me know what you think. :)

Moto Joe's Chicken Noodle Soup

1-2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (you can substitute already cooked chicken, chicken pieces, or another type of meat if you want, turkey after Thanksgiving works great!)
2-3 carrots
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 stalks of celery
3 cups of chicken broth (you can use a large can of chicken broth or make some from bouillon cubes. I have also done a mix of 1 cup vegetable broth and 2 cups chicken broth)
1 can of corn (low or no sodium works great in this. I don't bother to drain it, just dump it all in.)
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried marjoram
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
Olive Oil (or other oil) just to sauté chicken and some veggies
1 cup of dried noodles (any size/shape works. I used angel hair pasta that I broke into small pieces by hand this time around.)

Dice chicken into bite sized pieces, salt and pepper to taste and brown in a pan over medium/high heat with a little olive oil.  (Alternatively you could just cook whole chicken breasts and shred them after.)  Set aside.

Dice all veggies into equal sized pieces.  In a large pot combine onions, carrots, celery, and garlic with some olive oil and cook over medium heat until onions are transparent.  Add corn, chicken broth, cooked chicken, noodles and stir to combine.  Add herbs/spices to taste.  Let simmer over low heat until veggies are cooked to your liking and noodles are soft.

* You could add other veggies or more meat depending on what you have on hand.

* If you want to crock pot the recipe brown chicken and add to crock pot.  Sauté onions, carrots, celery and garlic and add to crock pot with other ingredients.  Cook in crock pot on low for 2-4 hours until warmed through and veggies are cooked to your liking.

* I have also used a package of dried soup mix that had noodles, veggies and the soup base instead of using broth. I cooked according to the directions and added the package of soup mix with the amount of water on the package instead of broth. It turned out just as good though I did add an extra cup of water because the broth tasted salty to me. 

* This recipe would be great with leftover chicken/turkey or cooked rotisserie chicken or turkey that you could pick up at your grocery store deli. You could also use a combination of fresh and frozen/canned veggies depending on what you enjoy. Add herbs/spices to taste using more or less depending on what you prefer. Instead of noodles you could add rice instead.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. It has been a year of firsts for us and a lot of new adventures for sure.

We saw my best friend get married to a wonderful man.

We had our first baby.

We brought our baby home.

We have watched Russell grow and develop overcoming every obstacle that's been in his way.

We have enjoyed good times with friends and family.

We have so much to be thankful for and hope that everyone else is enjoying the things you are thankful for. We are so blessed to be able to share our ups and downs, the good and bad, all the fun and new adventures we have embarked upon this year. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read about and comment on what we share. Special thanks to all the men and women who are serving and who have served in the military to protect our freedoms so we can enjoy the many things we are thankful for each day. It is a special person who puts their life on the line to protect the freedoms of others. It is also a special person who stays behind as a wife, husband, mother, father, friend and more who supports those who serving our country. Enjoy Thanksgiving and I hope everyone will be thankful for all the many blessings we have each day through the year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Babies First Snow

Today was a great day for baby Russell. My Mom's friends threw us an amazing baby shower for Russell which was a lot of fun. We got to see some great friends and Russell got some wonderful things. We definitely have diapers and wipes for quite some time which is AWESOME. Seriously aside from someone gifting me sleep I <3 diapers, wipes and formula. Those things get so expensive and receiving them is fabulous! We also have some talented ladies who made some great blankets and other fun things for baby. We received some cute clothes as well and I'll share pictures of his stuff once we're home. One of our friends took pictures so once we get those we should have some more pictures to share anyway.

So... Another fun thing for baby Russell today was the snow. It snowed a bit last night so we took Russell out to see his first snow. My aunt got him a super cute snow suit outfit which was funny in itself. He seemed mildly annoyed that we were dressing him up in so much stuff and then dragging him outside where it was cold and bright.

Mom and Dad made him a quick snowman to stand by which was kind of hard considering the snow was so powdery. It definitely would have been perfect to ski/snowboard on though.

Baby's first snowman.

We also let him stand in the snow for a minute but he didn't seem to care about any of it. He does seem to enjoy being outside though and once he adjusted to the light he was ok being out for a bit. I wonder what he thinks about the snow and how cold it was since Vegas is definitely not anywhere near that cold yet.

Baby's first steps in the snow.
Here are some more pictures of us in the snow we wanted to share. Enjoy baby Russell's first experience with the snow. :)

Grandma Motogawa and Russell checking out the snow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude - Happy Veterans Day

Since it is Veterans Day I wanted to express my gratitude for all the men and women who have or are currently serving in the military. It is a choice that takes courage and strength and ultimately can cost the person their life. These men and women are amazing and deserve to be recognized for all they do so that we can have the freedoms we enjoy.

My husband. My hero!

I did see this list of deals available to veterans and active duty military folks. Lots of freebies and discounts. I have also seen commercials for Applebee's giving free meals and Outback giving free Bloomin' Onions and a beverage.

He's a good shot too.

I also want to give a shout out to all the military spouses. Since getting married and having Russell I know just how much effort it takes to maintain a relationship and raise a child and to add to that the stress and burden of having your spouse gone for months to years at a time would be completely overwhelming. I am so amazed by the strength military spouses have to maintain their households and raise children all while supporting their spouse. I can't imagine the stress you would have knowing your spouse may not come back.

If you can survive these kind of temps you are definitely my hero!

If you're looking for a way to give back to those who are currently serving, a great organization is Soldiers' Angels. It's super easy to adopt a soldier and all you have to do is write a letter a week and send a package a month. It's simple and works well for those who want to volunteer but aren't able to commit to showing up somewhere to volunteer since you can do it all from home when it's convenient for you. I did see on the Soldiers' Angels Facebook page that all soldiers are currently adopted so if you know a soldier who could use this type of support you can also submit them to Soldiers' Angels and then someone can adopt them and send them support. If you do want to adopt just keep checking back though because at times there are hundreds or thousands of soldiers that could use the support.

During our honeymoon on the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor.

Big thanks to all those who have served and are serving in the military. It's an incredible commitment taken on by those who are truly heroes. I appreciate all they do so that I can live the life I do. I feel truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Baby Mac Update - Russell Brains

MMM Russell Brains... *Cue zombie walk... HA HA HA. Ok so we're not eating Russell brains but Russell did have his brains checked out today. We went to Dr. Raja, his neurologist, to have an EEG and follow up on his blood work. The EEG was quite an ordeal but Russell at first but he finally fell asleep so they were able to get the readings they needed. Dr. Raja said his EEG looked totally normal which was great to hear. Also his blood work showed that there wasn't much of the Phenobarbital in his system so it likely wasn't playing any part in preventing seizures for him so he recommended we discontinue that medication. Hooray! One less medication for Russell and it was the one medication I was concerned with keeping him on long term. Of course my hope is he can be off both medications but only time will tell. For now we were very pleased with his appointment today.

Waiting for his EEG with his super cute bear hat on. :) So glad it's cooler so he can wear his cute hats!

Today was also full of other fun things for Russell. Today Russell hit 3 months old. We are so happy to see he's doing so well and is still healthy. Dr. Raja was also pleased with his progress physically. He always checks to see that his reflexes are correct for his age and they all looked good today. He was also pleased to see that the tightness in his legs/hips was much improved. Since our first appointment I have been working with Russell every day to stretch his legs and it looks like it's paid off. Russell seems to enjoy our stretching anyway so it's easy to keep doing. We need to work on the tightness in his arms/shoulders and hands but it will be easy since Russell already likes our little "workouts".

Russell's started to hold on to things like his little puppy. :)

Little Russell also enjoyed a bath today. We had to wash him up because he had all the EEG goo on his head and it was rather sticky. Joe and I started out just trying to wash his head but he wasn't happy about that so we put him in his tub and Joe managed to scrub all the goo off with a little sponge brush thing his mom gave us. It worked great and his head is super soft and clean now. Since it took a while we didn't want him to get too cold so we put a nice big towel on him and kept it covered in warm water. Little Russell was definitely relaxed at that point and was enjoying his bath once again.

Wrapped up and enjoying his bath.

Russell and I managed our first walk around the neighborhood today. I've wanted to start walking with him for a while but I have always been worried if he'd like it or not, if he'd just cry the whole time or what other things could go poorly. I'm finally feeling a little more confident so out we went today. I fed him and popped him in his car seat which attaches to his stroller. He quickly fell asleep and I enjoyed a nice long walk. I walked very quickly and pushing the stroller definitely gave me more of a workout which was great. I am very invested in getting my health in order because I know I have to take care of myself so I can take care of Russell. I am working on eating better and exercising. So far I've been exercising every day doing weights and stretching, usually with Russell. He watches me do weights and then we both work on our stretches together. Now that I know he can enjoy a nice walk we'll be doing that much more often so I can get some cardio in.

So today I am very thankful for all the people who have and are praying for Russell. He's such a sweet boy and brings so much joy to our family. We thank God every day that he has come this far and we feel so much love from our friends and family who have supported us. We are very blessed to be surrounded by such great people.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude - Is there a doctor in the house?

In yesterdays post I mentioned a quick thanks to the doctors and other professionals that I have been blessed to work with through Russell's birth. Today I wanted to be a little more specific as this was a time of serious change, fear, excitement and so many other emotions that a tiny mention I felt was not enough.

The first team I want to mention includes my OB/GYN, Dr. Hartman. I actually have been seeing him since I moved to town back in 2005. I have always liked his office because the nurses there are always so nice. Some of them have been there as long as I can remember which definitely says something about a place. I have always been comfortable going to Dr. Hartman (well as comfortable as you can be considering... Ha!) which was important to me. We also found that other professionals think he's a good Dr. too. Our nurse that taught the childbirth class said he was one of the few doctors she would trust to do a forceps delivery with her grandchildren. That was a good boost of confidence considering at that point I was still planning on a natural child birth. I was also happy to learn that he lives practically across the street from the hospital where I would be delivering so I knew he could get there fast if things took a turn. I felt that he did a great job at my delivery and my scar has healed very well which surprised me since I typically take a really long time to heal. I was also happy that either him or the other doctor in his practice came to visit me and check on me after the birth. The nurses there have also been awesome with any questions I have had before and after I had Russell. I would definitely recommend them to anyone here in Vegas.

Future cheesehead in the making!

My next thanks goes out to Dr. Anter who was the anesthesiologist at my delivery. From what I heard from my sister in law (who happens to cut his hair) he happened to be sleeping at the hospital that night since he had a surgery the next morning. I was so grateful that he was already there and that he was able to work quickly to give me a spinal so that I could be awake for Russell's birth. Yes I didn't see him much at that point but at least I did get to see him and experience all that was going on. That meant the world to me. I was so terrified and he kept reassuring me and checking on how I was doing which helped me to calm down. I also found it funny that I could hear him singing to whatever music was playing in the room. It made me laugh. Anyway, I am so glad he was able to do what he does so well and so quickly. I can't imagine what would have happened if he hadn't been there or had taken any longer than he did.

Ready to roll down and get this labor thing going.

I am very grateful to the nurses Brooke and Carol who were my labor and delivery nurses. When Russell's heartbeat wasn't registering well on the monitors they came in to try and brake my water and hook up an internal fetal monitor. When that wasn't working they quickly called the charge nurse who tried too. They quickly made the decision to call Dr. Hartman and I was wheeled away for surgery. I am so glad they didn't hesitate or continue to keep trying when it wasn't working. Little Russell was already deprived of oxygen when he was born and every second meant the difference between the sweet and wonderful baby he is today and a totally different outcome.

My nurses hooked me up! To all the monitors that is...

From all my experiences in the hospital I have so much gratitude and respect for the nurses that cared for me. All the ladies out there who have given birth know what it's like to have to be cared for after giving birth. It's not the funnest thing and definitely painful. I was so lucky to have great nurses who made me feel comfortable and cared for. It made so much of a difference to have nurses who were friendly and compassionate. It's what has made me decide I want to go back to school to finish my degree in nursing. I've always loved medicine (I actually started college to be a Radiologist) so it seems like a great opportunity for me to do something I like that I can also make a difference in peoples lives.

After Russell's birth complete with flowers, Hello Kitty and hospital food.

One particular nurse I am really grateful for is Tom. He was one of Russell's nurses during the night shift when Russell first came over to Summerlin Hospital. He was always so nice to us making sure we knew everything that was going on with Russell. He was also very concerned about us as his parents too. I was having issues with my blood pressure (though I didn't know how bad yet) and he was willing to get a bp cuff to test my bp and wheeled me downstairs to the car when he saw my bp was elevated. He made sure to tell me that I needed to take care of myself so I could take care of Russell. I was so impressed that he somehow knew I was in the hospital when I was admitted for my bp issues. I had barely gotten upstairs out of the ER and there he was checking in on us and asking me how I was doing. He even had Russell's neurologist, Dr. Raja, come to see us after visiting Russell so we could ask questions and get an update on what was going on. To me that was so above and beyond what he had to do that I know he is a person I will never forget. On top of all of that when I was in the hospital and could get wheeled over to see Russell he wrapped up Russell and I was finally able to hold him for the first time. I think he's just that nice and thoughtful all the time but to me it made so much of a difference.

First time holding Russel. The best thing ever!

Many of Russell's other nurses were wonderful too. D'Marsha was one of his nurses during the day time that was there with him from the very beginning helping to get him transferred to Summerlin. Joe saw her more than I did but he told me that she was very nice and that she would skip breaks and delay her lunch while he was getting tests run and needing the extra care in the beginning. She even worked quite a few days straight to be there with him which was so wonderful. Since I wasn't able to be there with Russell until I was released from Spring Valley it was a blessing to know that the people taking care of Russell were so nice. So many of his nurses were friendly and made me very comfortable since we couldn't be there 24-7 with him.

First family photo in his room in the NICU.

I also love Russell's therapists. He saw Mary Beth and Ariel in the NICU and now sees Tracy since he's out of the hospital. They are all so friendly and have taught us so many great things that we can do with Russell to help his development. I love doing my "workout" with Russell which includes various stretches for him and tummy time.

First bath with Mom and Dad. Ariel was there to help us and give us tips.
 There were also many other doctors that we worked with while Russell was in the NICU. They were totally awesome and so friendly. They never made you feel rushed, answered every question you could think of and always let us know what was going on with Russell and his treatments. Some of the best doctors and nurses I've worked with were there in the NICU.

I love this picture. Tiny little bundle of Russell with his daddy.

I mentioned Dr. Raja, his neurologist, and he is another wonderful doctor. When I first met him while I was hospitalized for the bp he was so kind and didn't make us feel stupid. I never felt like he was rushing us or that he was bothered to be there. He explained everything that was going on and answered any questions we had. Nothing was too basic or stupid. He has continued to be great when we have brought Russell to see him in his office.

Daddy loves our little man.

Finally we have a great pediatrician too. Dr. Nishihara is most concerned with Russell's well being. He is always very careful with cleanliness and responds very quickly to any inquiries we have had. He has even called us after office hours on his own time to answer questions or return a phone call. His nurses are very nice too and we feel very comfortable working with him.

Little man looking as good as ever.

Wow that's a lot of folks but truly they have all played a huge part in getting Russell where he is now. I am so grateful that he is home and that he had such wonderful care. Though this whole experience was nothing like we ever imagined I wouldn't trade it for anything. I appreciate Russell so much more because of all we have gone through. I will always have a special place in my heart for all these people. They have made such a difference to me and I will always be grateful for everything they have done.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Baby Mac Update

Little Russell has had a busy week. He has an appointment with his neurologist next week so this week he had to have some blood work done. I can say it was totally just so sad. We went to one place to get his blood drawn and they hardly were able to get enough blood for one of the three tests the doctor needed to run. They poked both of his arms and he cried the whole time. As sad as that was we still had to get blood drawn for the other two tests so we went back today to get his blood drawn. This time we went to a different location that handles more pediatric patents and it went a lot better. He still cried and was not a happy camper but the ladies that drew his blood did a good job and got the blood they needed to run the tests. Russell will be getting an EEG to follow up on his seizures so hopefully things will be ok for him.

Russell with his gauze on after his blood draw.

This week Russell also saw his speech therapist who said he is still doing well. She wants to repeat the swallow study so we can see if he's making any improvements on swallowing thin liquids. Russell also saw his case worker for the Nevada Early Intervention program. Her job is to make sure he's receiving the help he needs to keep developing. She liked all the development he was already showing so we'll keep working with him on different exercises so he'll keep growing. Hooray!

Russell loves his Boppy.

I am very thankful that he has such a great team of doctors and professionals working to help give him the best chance at growing and developing. We have had the privilege to work with such kind and wonderful people through the pregnancy, his birth and now through his first months home with us. Our little man is doing so well and we are very hopeful that he'll develop like any other kid who had a normal birth experience. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and blessed our lives forever. I will never forget the people who have helped little Russell. We are so blessed.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude - Health

Today I am so grateful for good health. I have always been a very healthy person. I rarely would get sick and typically weathered most cold/flu seasons without so much as a sneeze. Since I have gotten older I have noticed that my health has been changing. I do get allergies and headaches every now and again and I am definitely not in as good of shape as I used to be. My biggest wake up call came after delivering Russell when I was hospitalized about a week later for high blood pressure. High blood pressure and diabetes run in my family so I've always been aware that I need to watch what I eat and the amount I exercise. Of course you always think oh I'll be fine, I'm in good shape, I don't have to worry that much... Well, I have found the time to get it together is now.

The evil IV medication I had to prevent seizures when my BP was too high. I'll eat better and exercise to never go through that again. The medicine burned going in and made me feel like dookie. Blah!

I am grateful that I have as good of health as I do because I know that I can change my eating habits and exercise routine so that I can continue to have good health. I am overall very healthy and that is a blessing. I know that I need to take care of myself so I can always take care of Russell. I am working on eating better and exercising at least some every day. The weather is finally cooling down so I think taking Russell for walks around the neighborhood will be a great way to get some fresh air and get some exercise in. I also have started to do yoga/weights in the living room while watching Russell. Sometimes he's very content to sit in his swing or just lie on the ground and I'll get down next to him and do some stretching and light weight lifting. I also will sit and stretch with him during the day so he can get his exercises in. Of course his exercises are more for physical therapy type reasons so don't think I'm trying to work out my baby to lose weight or get buff. HA HA HA!

The only perk of being hospitalized for high BP. I got to hold Russell for the first time.

Anyway, I feel blessed to have a healthy body that allows me to be there for Russell and Joe. I am committed to eating better and exercising. I am looking to cut out a lot more salt from my diet to help my blood pressure and watch the sugars I eat so I don't get diabetes. If anyone has any good low salt/low sugar recipes I'd love for you to share. Even just healthy and easy recipes would be great. I'm especially interested in things that are quick, can be done in a slow cooker or freeze well. I loved the freezer meals my Mom helped me make when she was in town. MMM. They make life easy for sure.

Loved having Mom in town to help with Russell and help me make yummy freezer meals.

So, cheers to health and happiness for everyone. Please share any recipes you have here, message me on Facebook or email me at hmotogawa at gmail dot com. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude - Fabulous Friends

So today I wanted to continue taking note of the things I am grateful for.

My favorite little man and his daddy. I'm always grateful for them both.

One thing that came to mind was Facebook. Yes I know... Facebook... Social media in general. It can be good and it can consume your whole life. I prefer to use it as a medium to stay in touch with friends, stay up to date on things that are going on and share things I find interesting.

There are definitely some days I feel I should peace out of Facebook and do all the other hundred things I need to do each day but then again Facebook hasn't been all that bad. I am very grateful that through Facebook I have gotten back in touch with people I knew back in elementary school. I am very sure I would never have had contact with these folks if I were just going about my daily life. It's neat to be able to see what my old friends are up to and how their lives have changed.

Another perk of Facebook is I have been able to learn more about peoples personality and passions. I want to share another great way you can participate in expressing gratitude this month. For those who are more artistically inclined you will definitely want to check out A Life in Bloom and take part in the November Photography Challenge. It's a great way to acknowledge the great things in your life by snapping a quick picture and sharing it.

I definitely know some truly talented and fun people. Facebook is also a simple way to share in peoples challenges and triumphs. When Russell and I were in the hospital I found out just how quickly you can have dozens and maybe hundreds of people coming together in support of what is going on in your life. I am so grateful for the prayers and positive thoughts of so many people who cared enough to take a moment to think of us in one of the scariest times in our life.

So, for right now I will not be leaving Facebook. Plus it gives me something to do when I'm rocking Russell to sleep or holding him up after he eats. Speaking of which Russell just ate again so it's time for me to go to bed if I want to get any sleep tonight. Good night friends!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

Welcome to November. Halloween was pretty low key here at the MacDonald house. Little Russell wore his special "My First Halloween" outfit that we got him. Next year we'll definitely dress him up.

Joe of course got "scary" to pass out candy to the kids. Seriously the kids in the neighborhood know that our house is the "one with the scary guy". I do tell him he's not allowed to scare the little kids though.

We did take time to carve pumpkins and take some pictures with little Russell. It's so funny because he tends to look so serious in his pictures but really he's often talking, smiling or making faces at us.

In addition to working on getting out and doing some good in the community this month I want to also focus on being grateful. I have so many wonderful things in my life and I know that no matter how crazy things get it could always be far worse. I am going to try and post as often as possible and share something I'm grateful for through the month of November. I would love it for everyone who reads this to leave a comment about something you're grateful for. It can be something big or small. I love reading about what wonderful things we all have to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the little things. A roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat, electricity, running water, indoor plumbing... You know those things you don't often think of but that make your life so much better or easier. As mentioned in a previous post I have been watching a lot of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It's so sad to see families living in houses that are falling apart, that don't have running water or heat or that are even so full of mold or vermin that it's making everyone sick. I am so grateful to have a house to live in that keeps me comfortable. I can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I can also keep little Russell safe and comfy in our house. There is plenty of space for the cats to play and we have space for all our things. I feel truly blessed.

Another thing I'm grateful for today was I finally got a hold of my nurse Brooke. She was one of my nurses at Spring Valley Hospital when Russell was born. She gave me her phone number to let her know how Russell was doing since she wasn't working again while I was in the hospital but I lost it somewhere between the hospital and coming home. At first I figured she might not even remember me since she's got to see a lot of patients but Dr. Hartman did tell me he'd talked to her and she asked about me at my postpartum check up. I figured if she still was thinking of me 6 weeks after I should probably make an effort to get a hold of her. I finally just decided I'd call the hospital and try to reach her that way. I called a few weeks ago and found she wasn't working until tonight so I called again and YAY she was there. I got her number again so we can stay in touch and she can come meet Russell. He definitely looks very different now than he did when she last saw him. Even though our conversation was brief tonight she did say that Russell's birth was the scariest thing she's been through as a nurse. WOW. I am so grateful that she kept her cool and made the quick decisions that needed to be made so that Russell could be here with us today. She and my other nurse Carol were so supportive through it all so I'm excited that I got back in touch with her.

So let's spread that attitude of gratitude. Share what you're grateful for here, on your Facebook or Twitter account or on your own blog. If you get out and volunteer let me know how that goes too. So excited for a great November full of things to be thankful for.