Sunday, March 27, 2011

Busch Gardens Fun

Yesterday morning we decided to head to Busch Gardens for a couple of hours since we have two year passes & want to take advantage of them. Since it's Spring Break, we ended up leaving the park at noon which was right as it started to get really crowded.

Cam always has such a great time at Busch Gardens!

The bounce cloud was super empty so Cam could jump as he pleased. Although he never did stay in there for more than a couple of minutes at a time. Short attention span!

He'd hop out of the bounce cloud & hit the sand box. Back & forth, back & forth.

He rode a couple of rides...

Checked out some animals...

And climbed a few tree houses!

It was a fun, jam-packed Saturday morning!

We feel very lucky to live so close to Busch Gardens!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Very Merry Half Birthday to Cam!

I'll jump on any chance to celebrate a birthday, including my little guy's 1/2 birthday!

I can't believe that my munchkin is halfway to three! In honor of Cam's half birthday, I grabbed some balloons from the dollar store... who could beat 3 mylar balloons for under $3.50 with tax? My sister-in-law Melanie made me realize that the dollar store is the best place to pick up balloons. Thanks, Mel!

I also picked up cupcakes from a shop called Sugar Darlings that make THE absolute most delicious cupcakes I've ever had. Cupcakes never impress me, but these tasty bites definitely caught my attention when our friends Deborah & Josh introduced them to us.

This is the site that greets me every time Mike brings Cam home from daycare. I hear fumbling at the garage door, then Cam squealing, Mommy, Mommy! as he runs around the corner to say hello. Love this guy!

Mike usually gives Cam a job on his way into the house so that's why you can see him holding some junk mail. Such a helper! He was very excited when he caught site of his balloons!

Who knew balloons could be the cause of this much happiness?!

Cam was eager to open his present too!

He finally got The King from Cars & he couldn't have been more pleased!

Cam's two & a half birthday ended with a sweet treat! Happy 1/2 birthday, Cam!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Love this boy!!

The amount of love I have for this child amazes me sometimes!

Cam, thank you for making me laugh, smile & for filling my heart with happiness every single day! You are the best!!

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Renaissance Fair

Last Saturday was absolutely gorgeous so I was more than happy to spend the entire day outside enjoying the Tampa Renaissance Fair. We'd never been to this fair before so it was interesting to see the different characters that came dressed in garb from this era. It was fun to people watch, that's for sure!

Cam looks like a mad scientist in this picture! Ha! His eyes are so light so they're very sensitive to the sun.

We were happy that Matt & Kelly invited us since we wouldn't have thought to go otherwise. It's nice to check out local events & enjoy the weather before it gets unbearable.

We had a great time on the horse swing but Cam was happiest when the swing was pushed at a reasonable pace... he wasn't thrilled when it got too high. Leah looked unsure for the most part & I really thought she was going to lose her breakfast at first!

Blessed with wonderful friends!

And yes, Cam is wearing pearls in this picture! I'm not even sure how he got them since I turned away for a second & the next thing I know, he's wearing them. Mike tells me some woman put them on his neck. Ooookaaayyy!

We met up with Kelly's co-worker & her husband who just happened to be a fire blower! Don't see that everyday!

The kids were able to run & play & get plenty of fresh air!

And I left with the garden mushroom that I had my eye on the entire afternoon!

Sorry Cam, you'll have to walk, the mushroom needs a ride!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Registered Dietitian Day!

Today as an RD, I'm celebrating Registered Dietitian Day! Since we all eat food to survive & as a major source of enjoyment in our lives, many people falsely believe they're nutrition experts which can make my job challenging. Click here for 10 reasons why you or someone you might know can benefit from meeting with an RD.

In honor of RD Day, we had a really nice luncheon at work & got some presents, including a new lab coat with our names embroidered on them. It was nice to be appreciated & celebrated today! I've also included my interview from the St. Pete Times which was printed on January 29th. As a side note, the writer needed a picture of me at the very last second before we were heading to Chicago so Mike e-mailed her a picture. Lets just say it might not have been the picture I chose, but I appreciated his help!

Lick the salt habit for better health

By Charlotte Sutton, Times Health and Medicine Editor
In Print: Saturday, January 29, 2011

Up to 75 percent of the sodium we consume is from processed food, dietitian Allison Pernecky says.
Up to 75 percent of the sodium we consume is from processed food, dietitian Allison Pernecky says.

If you think a low-sodium diet is just for older people with high blood pressure, it's time to reconsider.

Medical experts say most of us — kids, elders, the healthy and the hypertensive — are getting way too much salt for good health. Excess sodium is directly linked with high blood pressure, a potential killer that eventually afflicts most Americans, but often gets started early in life. Sodium also is implicated in other serious conditions, such as osteoporosis and gastric cancer.

That's why the American Heart Association, the Institute of Medicine and other groups now are saying most Americans should aim for no more than 1,500mg a day, less than half what the average person takes in.

The federal government announced this month it's looking at cutting the salt in subsidized school meals. Next week it will be updating dietary recommendations, including those for sodium.

Even Walmart is getting into sodium reduction in a big way, announcing last week at a news conference with first lady Michelle Obama that it's going to reformulate some of its house brands to cut salt and sugar. Many other manufacturers have started this process, and you can expect others to join soon.

Why the push to reformulate processed food? Open your pantry, scan a few nutrition labels — even on products you might think are especially good for you — and you'll get the picture.

That Healthy Choice Hearty Chicken soup? It has 480mg of sodium in one cup; eat the whole can for lunch and you have nearly two-thirds of the new recommendation.

Maybe you like pancakes for breakfast? Just two made with Bisquick clock in at more than 400mg of sodium. You'll want syrup, too, and a quarter cup of Aunt Jemima Lite adds another 190mg to your meal. Swiss Miss No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa to wash it all down? Nothing salty about that . . . except the 170mg of sodium in each serving.

Allison Pernecky, a registered, licensed dietitian at Community Hospital in New Port Richey, says people are astonished at hidden sodium.

"The majority of people feel if they're not adding salt to their food, they're okay,'' she said. "They're surprised when I tell them as much as 75 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods.''

Sodium lurks in all kinds of places, such as sweet treats made with baking soda (1,000mg per teaspoon). Regular peanut butter packs 250mg in just 2 tablespoons. And boring old cottage cheese: 460mg in a half-cup.

Overwhelmed? Pernecky feels your pain.

"When you have a habit for a long time, it's hard to change. So I recommend people start gradually. Keep a food record for a few days just to see where you are, and what are your significant sources of sodium,'' she said. (www.Calorie is a good site to get free nutrition data.)

Be patient. It can take a week or more for your palate to adjust to lower-salt food. So start with small changes.

Busy parents who have to get a meal on the table fast might rely on preseasoned rice mixes. But even "lower sodium'' Rice-a-Roni has more than 600mg per serving, the equivalent of a quarter-teaspoon of table salt. Try plain rice seasoned with fresh herbs or a dry spice mix like a Mrs. Dash variety.

"If you're cooking at home, you can be in control,'' Pernecky said.

But even at the drive-through, there are options, she said. Get a plain burger without the bacon and cheese. Try a baked potato or apple slices instead of fries. Do what you can.

"I work full time, I'm the mom of a 2-year-old, so I know how hard it is,'' Pernecky said. "I'm a dietitian and I don't always do it perfectly. You're always going to have splurges. It's the overall average that counts.''

But why should a healthy person cut back on something as tasty and hard to avoid as salt?

"Ninety percent of people will eventually develop hypertension,'' she said. "Why wouldn't you want to prevent that?

"Also, you want to be a good example for your children.''

Above all, Pernecky notes, foods that are naturally low in sodium (think fresh fruits, veggies, unprocessed grains, proteins) tend to be healthier in all ways.

"My overall philosophy is eating as close to natural as you possibly can, which will help you consume healthier foods. Weight loss can result, but even if that's not your goal, you'll look better, feel better and have more energy.''

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What a Great Weekend!

This Friday our friends Julie & Steve from Chicago flew in to visit us for the weekend before they headed down to Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of the week. Mike & I took a half day at work & met them for lunch & drinks on the water & the weather was absolutely spectacular!

Saturday was equally gorgeous & after relaxing over coffee & a delicious breakfast that Mike whipped up, we headed to the Yankees spring training game. It also happened to be Cam's first MLB game which was super exciting to me since I adore baseball! I'm not exactly a fan of the Yankees but it'll do! Hop over to Cam's blog to check out more pictures from the game.

We had such a great visit & spent our evenings eating, talking, having some drinks & playing board games. It was perfect!

I love me some Julie!

And, drum roll... Me, Steve & Julie went to get tattoos on Sunday afternoon as Mike stayed home with a napping Cam! Totally unexpected until we began discussing tattoos on Saturday evening. Like me, Julie & Steve are super spontaneous about this sort of thing & it was so much fun!

Cam loves my new tattoo as much as I do!

Julie & Steve got matching fleur-de-lis; Julie chose her ankle & Steve chose his calf.

We ended Sunday by lounging on the patio, catching up & grilling. I was so sad to see them go but I'm thankful that we had such a wonderful visit!

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Complexity of Motherhood

I'm reading a couple of books on my Kindle right now about motherhood & just how many emotions are involved when you're a mom. The books are I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids & I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper. Like it says in the book, motherhood is one of those things that is impossible to picture until it happens to you. Since I unexpectedly struggled so much with postpartum anxiety when Cam was an infant, I can totally relate to this. And even if I wouldn't have struggled with the anxiety, motherhood is straight up hard. You can never prepare yourself with just how all consuming a newborn is. We had everything ready when Cam was born; his room was complete, his diapers were in place & ready to go, the bouncy seat, swing & everything else was put together & in its place. But, that doesn't prepare you for the sheer exhaustion you feel after consoling a wailing infant through the day, constantly being on call & ready to be a human milking device, being pooped on, puked on & then sleeping no more than two hours straight at night. I also think you don't prepare yourself for just how lonely motherhood can be. I went from working full-time & being surrounded at my hospital with patients & co-workers to being confined to my house by myself with no real conversation all day long as Mike worked. And I dreaded the nights, unable to sleep well in the short spans of time Cam would sleep & praying he would fall back to sleep quickly because I was so exhausted I could barely take it.

The book questions, who would have kids if they really knew? Because studies show that it's impossible for the human mind to remember pain or have the ability to convey to our friends what the early weeks of parenthood are truly like. But much of the challenges moms face are because of the impossible standards we give ourselves. We expect to keep ourselves in tip-top shape, have the house looking wonderful, have a well-balanced dinner on the table... and then we feel like a failure when don't meet our nutty expectations. Add the pressures of working outside the home & transitioning from Mom Mode to Work Mode & it can add up to far more than is healthy to handle.

It's refreshing for me to read books like this & be able to identify with other moms in the world so I don't feel like I'm alone in the way I occasionally feel. Being real with what you feel doesn't make you a bad mom.; it's okay to admit if you're struggling or not always feeling the complete fulfillment you expected. But with as many ups & downs that go along with being a parent, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. There are hard parts but there are also so many wonderful parts. And the all-encompassing love you feel for your child is like nothing else you'll ever know in the world.

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