Friday, March 20, 2015

The New New Normal

When people have babies, lose a loved one, or make major life changes, they describe their altered existence as their "new normal". I feel like our family has had to embrace so many "new normals" in the past couple of years that I can't actually remember what life was like before I started counting normals! I suspect it wasn't very normal then, either.

Adjusting to life with a second baby boy was one new normal. 

 I can get behind this normal one hundred percent, even when he's sick all the time, or crying, or sleeping only in his car seat, or you know, just acting like a friggin' baby. He's so darn cute. Cloth diapering is becoming yet another normal, too, but that's maybe an entirely different post.

One year into life as the senior pastor's family, and me a working mom with two kids, well, that's becoming more normal too.

The newest normal we have had to come to grips with is another health hiccup where my husband is concerned. After a few months of a barrage of tests and a lot of uncertainty, he was finally diagnosed with cardiac sarcoidosis. We were so thankful it wasn't cancer again, but what the heck is sarcoid? Basically an auto-immune condition attacking his heart, leaving scar tissue which in turn affects the proper beating of his heart, which, as you can imagine, can be the cause of all sorts of problems.

Coming to grips with that meant also accepting the treatment, which is a large dose of steroids and then a long step-down process after that. We are talking years. And with that, we recently decided that Chris would attempt the Auto-Immune Protocol diet, to see if that could positively affect his health, too. Check out the list of foods to avoid:
 Yep, all grains, all dairy, all nuts (including COFFEE?!?), all beans, legumes and seeds are verboten, no eggs, and also nothing from the nightshade family, which includes  potatoes and tomatoes. Wow. So basically meat, poultry, fish and produce. Nothing pre-packaged, no food additives, emulsifiers, and (GULP) no alcohol.

We are trying this for a month. We went to Whole Foods last night and spent over $200 on food for the first half of the week. (BRB, fainting...) There is another grocery trip in a couple of days. 

I'll say that I am SO grateful we found a book of recipes that include meal plans and shopping lists. I don't think I would have had the energy to attempt this protocol without them!!

Anyone else attempting or have attempted this protocol? Any tips and tricks out there? We are just starting out and have little idea what we are in for. We honestly barely have money left over for the rest of the family to have planned meals...believe it or not, that $200 was for food for one person. There were some startup costs for pantry items that we don't usually have lying around, like coconut aminos, coconut cream, coconut flour...basically all kinds of coconut.

So that's that. I could spend time looking back and being overwhelmed by the whirlwind of our lives, or I can choose to be grateful we are all still here together, put my head down and keep going in grace. (Sometimes I choose both!)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Sound of One Hand Typing

OK, so hopefully no one is surprised that it has been a month since I've had the wherewithal to sit down and type coherent sentences? I've got a 3.5 year old who is transitioning (very roughly) out of a regular nap and a newborn who seems permattached (totally a word) to my chest. I will not comment as to if he is there right now or if that has anything to do with the title of this post, because that would be TMI, right??

Ahem, moving on.

I had written down on a scrap of paper somewhere a few things I wanted to write about and report on...great Pinterest ideas that I tried and that worked, products that are proving so useful with this new baby, things like that. Who wants to guess where that scrap of paper is? No really, any guesses would be helpful, because I have no idea.

A couple of things I CAN report on:

Project: Decluttering!

Perhaps all well-intentioned mothers start their year off with a huge commitment to de-cluttering their lives and homes. And perhaps in light of the lost scrap of paper mentioned above, this seems comical where I am concerned. But I really, truly have been going systematically through my whole house and gathering up stuff that I know we can live without: books I will never read but just liked having on my shelves (guilty), stacks and stacks of paper in the filing cabinet that were completely useless and outdated (tax stuff from 2003...back when my husband was single and made engineer-type one wants to see that now!), magazines, crappy plastic toys...all recycled or given away. I have made many trips to Savers to donate to Hope Services... getting a great start to some tax deductions for 2015.

I was gleaning this idea from multiple sources: Pinterest, the Buy Nothing movement (not a chance that I will buy nothing, but certainly living with less!), and Kathi Lipp's challenge for living clutter-free. I knew nothing would work for me except something I created for myself at this stage of life, so I made a list of 30 spaces in my house that need to be de-cluttered and I set about using the month of January for the job. I won't feasibly get it all done in January because I've been taking weekends off, but I have done maybe half my house, and big spaces of it, too. The list is on my desk, staring me in the face, so hopefully I will stick with it until I'm done!

Reading: All Joy and No Fun

In my (snort) spare time, I am reading a fascinating book called All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox o of Modern Parenting by Jennifer Senior. You can go to the Amazon link to read an actual synopsis, but all I can say is that while I've been trying to read fewer secular parenting books (so many styles, so much advice!), I'm glad I made an exception for this one. It helps me step back from the day-to-day of parenting and how overwhelming it can be, and look at it from a cultural and sociological lens. Somehow viewing it in a macro sense helps me deal with the minutia, especially as I have been off work and home with the kiddos a lot more often. So far, I highly recommend it!

Also checking out Baby Led Weaning, which we will be doing with our new little one when the time comes. I realize this will only be in a couple months. Excited for no more purees!

Trip: Converge PacWest Pastor's and Wives Retreat, Pismo Beach (and surrounds), CA

I won't bore you with details but we did get a chance to have a little break, leave the big boy with my grandparents and go with the baby to a retreat with a bunch of fellow pastor's and their wives down on the beautiful central coast!
Here's the view from our room.

A photo posted by @dreamweaver2040 on

That is all. =)

Coming Up: Back to Work

Soon and very soon, I will be heading back to work, baby in tow. The logistics of this and having the big boy go to school for more days when it is already a battle to get him to go two days a week...and then having a baby with me while I try to work? Yikes, I must be crazy.

But the thought of staying home all day instead of getting paid for three or four hours of work a day doesn't really appeal to me either, so I guess I will have to try! I don't hate being a stay-at-home-mom, but I suffer from a little bit of anxiety which can turn into a little bit of agoraphobia if I am cooped up too long. I start to freak out that I can't leave my house because...I don't know, schedules will be messed up, the world will end? As much as I can think rationally about it now, in the throes of the everyday it rears its ugly head and I think my boys would suffer from becoming little baby recluses. Therefore, I will try this work thing. I'm so grateful that my workplace is so small and accommodating, and that I have an office with a door I can close to nurse or whatever.

So that's me. A crazy de-cluttering, reading, working mama. 

Wouldn't trade a thing. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Survivor: Newborn Edition

Tomorrow my little baby turns 7 weeks. Seven weeks since his harrowing arrival and the start of our new normal.

We've survived these weeks, sometimes by the skin of our teeth.

We've had a visit from grandma that didn't go quite as expected, the loss of a very dear friend, and our first "Wonder Week".

Lemme 'splain:

We Lose Moriah

On Monday December 1st, the world at large and certainly our church family and dear friends the Nelsons lost their daughter Moriah due to several complications of an infection in her heart. This little girl was special not only to her family (of course!) but to her church family and to a wider sphere of folks who had been personally touched by her life and joy and infectious smile, whether in person or through their family blog - Moments with Moriah.

There are a thousand eloquent ways I could eulogize Moriah, but shock, grief and sleep deprivation combine to render me simply heart-sick and not eloquent at all. I share a mother's horror with my friend Victoria at losing a child, empathy with her son Jadon who is only 10 days older than my own son, and simply sadness at the loss of a beautiful little friend.

Pastor's kids and Nelson kids
We will miss you, Moriah. I had a dream the other night that this beautiful seven year old with a dark curly mop of hair walked up to me and started to talk to me. I knew it was you in your heavenly form and even in my dream I burst into happy tears. Until we meet again, dear girl!

My first time holding our friend Moriah. xoxo
Our family was very grief-stricken and also stressed as my husband attempted to plan a fitting memorial for Moriah, we lost much sleep with newborn Archer, and my mother-in-law came to visit, all at the same time.

Grandma Judy Comes to Visit

In my heart-sickness, I could not summon the courage to try and explain to my three year old what had happened and why everyone was so sad. This is a mistake I keep making. My son is quite sensitive and can tell when something is wrong. So when we don't tell him what it is, he concludes that it could be ANYTHING or EVERYTHING and acts out accordingly. My poor mother-in-law got to see his very worst behavior as he attempted to find his way through the week with a new little brother, a mysterious event, and a strange visitor all vied for his parent's attention. 

Eventually, they had some bonding time, making sugar cookies and sewing a Christmas stocking for the baby.

She's an amazing, loving and creative grandma and I'm glad there were some good moments in amidst the chaos before she had to go back home to Colorado.

We Enter the Wonder Week

After grandma left we went to visit the Nelson family and sweet Victoria, in the midst of her grief, was asking me about life with Archer. She asked how often I was feeding him, inquiring, "Every hour? Hour and a half?" 

I, appalled, shook my head and said, "Oh no, every three hours and even longer sometimes in the night!" 

I should have covered my infant's ears or found some wood on which to knock, because it seems at that very moment, Archer embarked upon his first Wonder Week!

If you don't know about Wonder Weeks, and you have a baby of a year or less, drop whatever you are doing (presumably reading this blog), and click on the link above. Insight into the mental and developmental leaps your child makes in their first year will help you become significantly less bewildered the next time your sweet kiddo turns into a screamy, whiny mess for a whole week or two for seemingly no reason.

So, after a week of non-stop feeding, fussing or sleeping anytime but nighttime, we now have a new and improved Archer. He is beginning to smile and be much more alert for longer periods between little baby snoozes. He definitely looks bigger, too, as we moved him into his 0-3 month clothes from the newborn stuff.

We survived and even found time to have a little fun. I'll leave you with our first series of mama/baby happy snaps and an idea for spiced cider made with essential oils, courtesy of doTERRA!

Technically NOT a selfie, as there is another person in the shot. Right?

Essential Oil Spiced Cider
Single serving: 
8oz high quality apple juice, warmed
2 drops doTERRA Cassia oil
1 drop doTERRA Clove oil
*You might even get crazy and add a little Wild Orange but be careful with the oils, respecting that they have a strong flavor, as well as therapeutic benefit, and shouldn't be ingested without proper consideration. 

May that warm, sweet treat get you through any wonder week you may be experiencing. Until next time!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The New Normal?

Well, I've got a lot to say but not much time to say it in, since I have a sleeping sickie 3 year old and a ready-to-wake-up-and-eat newborn waiting in the wings. Not to mention packing for my new family of four for a trip out to the mountains for Thanksgiving. (Talk about intimidation, but I'll get to that in a second!)

Family Transitions

My delightful custom designed birth announcement, courtesy of PIY Invites 
Nobody ever told me that the hardest part of transitioning from a family of three to a family of four might not be the newborn or the sleepless nights or even wrangling two kids into the car to go anywhere... In our case, it is my dear, sweet, emotional three year old that is having a bit of a time adjusting. He loves the baby and is sweet with him and kisses him and asks questions about everything. But you can tell that he feels precarious a lot of the time and needs extra love.

I knew it was normal and tried to head it off with all kinds of big brother talk, "enough love for everyone" talk, extra hugs and snuggles and one on one time and verbal affirmations and the whole enchilada. But my big boy is a sensitive creature who is easily thrown off and takes awhile to get back on track. So I feel that much of the first three weeks of the baby's life have been putting out fires with the big one. The baby pretty much sleeps, poops and eats just like he's supposed to, so that's been fairly easy!

At least someone in this house is calm...

Then Illness Strikes...
I feel like a lot of this year from spring on has been dealing with illness of some kind or another. I call it the "preschool tax", since my son started preschool this year and obviously then started getting sick a lot more often!

Last night was a special brand because I came home to the 3 yo screaming in pain because his ear hurt, working himself up into a snotting, coughing, panicking mess. My husband in desperation used Children's Tylenol, which I am always secretly disappointed to have to resort to, since I'm such a hippie mama with my essential oils and such.

But last night the Tylenol was administered in my absence and there was still screaming and panicking going on. So I grabbed my oils and got to work. Oregano for the ear ache (I put one drop in my hand and smeared it behind his ears since he wouldn't let me stick a cotton ball in his ear). Eucalyptus for the cough and snot (diluted in coconut oil and smeared on back and chest and neck). A bath in the middle of the night with three drops of a Calming Blend (Serenity) for the panicking. After much panicking and many tears, we all finally slept in some fashion or another.

This morning we woke up and he says his ear doesn't hurt. At all. We went from screaming pain and panic to nothing. Praise Jesus! Still some coughing and a little snot. Fever developed sometime in the night which probably helped to kill whatever was causing the earache. So I let the fever go for a bit but then decided to do a drop each of Peppermint and Lavender in coconut oil for the fever. He fell promptly to sleep on the couch and is currently sleeping off whatever remains of this illness, hopefully just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving. Yay for oils!

Poor buddy. 
Packing for Thanksgiving
So in the midst of all this chaos, I started to get really intimidated about packing for our three night stay up in Amador County for Thanksgiving. Newborns require a lot of stuff. So do three-year-olds. And then there's the grown ups! I started to think up brilliant ways to procrastinate until I remembered this wondrous little app that I discovered a few months back called PackPoint

As advertised, it practically packs your bags for you: it dials in your location (for weather), number of nights staying, whether you have a baby or kids, what activities you might be doing (hiking? fancy dinner? beach?) and pumps out a rather intuitive packing list for you! It's AMAZING. They're not even paying me to say that.

So I'm going to go and do my packing now that I've got the list done for me and still two kids sleeping! =) Looking forward to many beautiful vineyard vistas like this one:


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Imperfect 10

My little buddy is 10 days old today!

His onesie describes the kind of night he gave us/me last night...eating every hour or two and grunting and kvetching in between:

Gobble gobble gobble - need it to chub you up, baby!
Gobble, gobble, gobble, indeed! Mommy is rather exhausted, but that's par for the course with a newborn. Then the big boy had a bad dream in there somewhere and you can now imagine the coffee fantasies that I will be fulfilling for myself today!

Life with two kiddos is so far fairly chill, since one of them sleeps most of the day. I'm trying to enjoy the relative downtime because I know, as one friend eloquently put it, "it's about to get loud!"

So I'm spending my time cleaning the house (which was in dire need!), doing laundry, playing games with my big boy, trying to remember where I was in my knitting chart, staring at the sleeping newborn, and generally NOT following the wisdom of sleeping when he sleeps. I'd be sleeping like 20 hours a day! 

I don't know why I can't turn off and wind down in order to nap like I did when I was pregnant. I only do it when the whole family takes a nap together in our bed (well, Little A is in the co-sleeper, but close enough!), which are glorious times of joy and relaxation. I get all grateful and teary laying there amongst my guys.

I was crazy enough to think to myself yesterday, "Gee, I feel like I could almost just go back to work! Bring the baby in my office since he never cries anyway and get some work done!" Don't think the lovely gal temporarily taking over for me would appreciate having her job for barely a week or two, for one. And for two...I'm obviously crazy, and the baby reminded me last night what having a newborn is all about: HIM. 

Getting to know him, getting to know all about him...and feeding and feeding and feeding him! Introducing him to music worth listening to (Elton John's Honky Chateau, Ray LaMontagne...real autumnal stuff for the season!), exposing him to sunlight to help him figure out the difference between day and night, snuggling him so he knows he's loved and who his mama is. =)

So it has been an imperfect 10 days since that fateful morning of delivery. But imperfect in the best way...the messy, beautiful, agony and ecstasy kind of way that defines any life worth living. I have been grateful for the reminder.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Archer's Arrival

Now that I have a minute or two to type away while nursing, I'd better get all this out before the details are relegated to the foggy mists of my post-partum brain!

Our little adorable one, Archer Fox, has arrived in his own signature way. Hello, world! 

Here's the skinny: On Halloween, I began to get more of an inkling that this guy was on his way. People were commenting on my belly and not just because of my hilarious 8-Ball costume: 

It looked different and I felt different and a few other little bodily details to give me hints. After warning my husband, I made it through that evening and even the next one (my little baby shower celebration) without a hitch. 

However, at about 4am on November 2, I got up to pee (per usual) and got a weird cramp. It wasn't a huge deal, but it was a little more uncomfortable than anything I'd had thus far. 

I took a second to pray, because at my previous week's appointment, I had found out that baby was breech and I had an External Cephalic Version (or just "version") scheduled for November 4th, one day short of turning 38 weeks along. It was early Sunday morning and no sign of him flipping on his own and I really did not want to have to do the version!

So I prayed, "Lord, please help this baby come out the way he's supposed to, and when he's supposed to. Help me get through it and have a healthy, whole baby when I'm done. Amen."

No sooner did I utter that "Amen" than my little baby gave a huge lurch in my belly. I had enough time to think, "What in the wor--" before my water broke in diluvian fashion. I reached over to smack my husband and tell him, "It's happening now! My water just broke." 

Now, a little backstory to give perspective on my frame of mind here. My labor and delivery with my first son was long and difficult and for a few days after,  incapacitating. It involved forceps and when I left the hospital I still needed to use a walker to get around and was limping for weeks. I'll spare you any more gory details, but imagine all the things running through my mind about what might be in store for me in the coming hours!!

Ok, the rest of the story pretty much needs to be told in time stamps!

4:20am - Water breaks, I wake husband. We both freak out for a minute because this is happening about 2.5 weeks before we were expecting it! I half-heartedly throw things into a hospital bag (aka cloth shopping bag) while breathing through some pretty strong contractions. I struggle to find the number for the hospital to warn them we're coming and pass that task off to my husband.

4:50am - We hang up the phone with the advice nurse whose famous last words were, "If you feel like you have time, you could take a quick shower before heading over, but if contractions are coming too hard and too fast, you can just head over now." Without a moment's hesitation, I knew the latter to be true. I told my husband we needed to just throw the 3 year old in the car and GO. I've never felt the urge to push before but I'm pretty sure that this is what I'm feeling now. My body seems to have taken over completely and these contractions seem that they will very soon do the job of pushing my baby right out!

We hurry down to the car with a sleepy preschooler, with me breathing through contractions, beginning to pray we will get there in time. I have enough of a space between pains to explain to my son where we are going and why mommy looks like something hurts. "Don't be afraid, it just means we get to meet your brother very soon!" He responds, rather airily, that he is not afraid while his dad literally throws an uninstalled infant seat in the car, and off we go.

5:05am - After a mercifully quick drive to the hospital, me biting the seatbelt straps to keep from yelling and scaring the kiddo, we arrive at the ER. My husband rushes in to grab someone and I'm whisked into a wheelchair. We're still wondering where the heck our preschooler is supposed to be during all this, while the orderly is asking some triage questions. It quickly becomes apparent to them, as I gasp about the urge to push and tell them last I knew this baby was breech, that it is about to get real in the ER! They surmise there is no time to get me all the way across the hospital and up to the 3rd floor for labor and delivery. The ER Doc is calm but I can tell he's concerned and when he checks me I hear the words I already knew were coming, "Oh yeah, that's a foot!" He tries to push the foot back in and hold it there, which was one more clue that this wasn't going to be your normal delivery.

5:09am - The Labor and Delivery docs receive the call to get down to the ER for a footling breech extraction. I find myself on a gurney getting my clothes literally cut away from my body. I know this baby is coming very soon and briefly and distractedly wonder how they will possibly have time to get me prepped for what I assume will be an emergency C-section. I also wonder what I'm going to do with the one bra that still fit me lying in pieces! 

Two doctors appear and an RN grabs my hand and tells me to push, and I am shocked. PUSH the baby out feet first?! I have no time to think further as that's pretty much when the pain came and I could hear myself howling and hollering without any permission from my brain. There was no breathing between pushes, just push, push, push, (scream, howl, holler), push, "this is the most important push" (giant yell) and then that was it. I hear somebody say, "Cry?" and I ask frantically if he's crying. I hear a voice float back,"It's a boy! He's crying, he's fine!" I finally open my eyes and see my RN for the first time as she calls out, "Time?!" and I hear somebody say...

5:17am I dazedly sit up to see my husband rush in and he's crying and telling me how well I did and then my tiny son is in my arms and then seemingly from nowhere my older son is there and gazing at his brother for the first time. 

I look up from my baby's face to see the rather large crowd of gobsmacked hospital personnel that have materialized outside my room, suddenly realizing what a crazy event this was, not just for me but for anyone within ten yards of my bed. People begin to congratulate me, then my very own OBGYN appears at  my side and I'm so happy to see her because she understands all that led up to this point! She happened to be on rounds at the hospital that morning. She says, "I missed it!", to which I reply, "Almost everyone did!" She looks delighted and awestruck and says cheerily, "Well, at least I get to deliver the placenta!"

At this point I've got a baby in my arms and they begin to wheel me up to my proper place in Labor & Delivery. At different points in the coming hours I get shocked visits from the advice nurse from the phone and the two L&D docs who rushed down to help deliver a footling breech baby, and an email from the nice young doctor who tried to push my baby's foot back into the birth canal. I decide not to mention that to him but thank everyone profusely for getting my baby into the world safely.

I got to have some of the gaps filled in and the timeline filled out from the aforementioned visits from doctors and nurses who were involved. 

A few questions people kept asking were, "Wait, you delivered him feet first?", to which I reply yes, and then they try and clarify, "You PUSHED him out feet first?!" This makes me smile because it is exactly the the thought I had when that RN told me to push! 

They just don't do breech deliveries anymore; I've even heard they only teach the theory in passing to incoming doctors since there's no one to practice on...hospitals simply will not deliver a baby breech unless, as in my case, there is no other recourse. So you can imagine that the poor ER doctor was only semi-prepared to deliver a baby that morning, and completely UNprepared to do a footling breech extraction!

The other question I get is where my husband and son were during all this. I realized later that my husband had to take my son down the hall somewhere to sit with a nurse, and by the time he got back to me, Archer was already born! I estimate that my older son was with that nurse for approximately three minutes before getting whisked to my bedside. So the answer is that he was with us for all but the moment of truth, as it were.

And there you have it! Less than one hour after my water breaking, with almost no warning at all, Archer Fox shot fast as an arrow into this world and into our hearts!

I'm so happy to not be pregnant anymore and to begin our lives as a happy family of four! Praise God for His provision and protection and complete answer to my middle of the night prayer and all the similar ones that came before it!

Psalm 139:13-14
"For you formed my inward parts; 
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
  Wonderful are your works; 
my soul knows it very well."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Final Countdown, Knitting Action, Quick Dinners

The Final Countdown
Here I have arrived nearly in week 37 of my second and probably last pregnancy.

Almost baby time!
I just found out at my 36 week appointment that this little stinker is head up! I don't know if he flipped or has just always been hanging out that way (honestly a little hard to tell what's a butt or a head or if what is jabbing you is a foot or a fist after a certain point). At any rate, it's not good at this late in the game! I have an External Cephalic Version set for one week from today, so he's got seven days to do it himself or some doctor in a hospital is going to try to MAKE him turn, which will make mommy quite uncomfortable and carries its own set of risks. Suffice to say, I'm not looking forward to it.

Knitting Action
So I'm trying a few weird baby spinning exercises and otherwise trying not to think about it too much. Part of my distraction has been in the form of a big knitting project that I've been hankering to do for a long time: The Melrose Peacoat. It's a chunky knit so it hasn't taken me too long, actually...about three weeks from start to finish. Well, almost finished, there's still buttons and snaps to be applied, but all the knitting is done. I had a sick day yesterday and applied myself to blocking, seaming and putting final touches on my pretty red coat.

And here she is! 
The coat turned out a little baggy, but it fits (as far as I can tell around the big ol' belly, of course!). I was proud of myself because I had to learn a few new techniques for this project and I'm just pretty chuffed at how it actually turned out. With buttons, it is supposed to look like this:

So it's not too bad, really! It's probably the last big knitting project I'll be able to accomplish on any sort of normal time line for a few YEARS, so I was happy to be able to finish it before this bebe makes his appearance.

Only problem with all this is that I spent my day hunched over on the floor in weird positions trying not to let the belly get in the way of my work, so today I feel like I just had leg day at the gym! My legs and butt are so sore...add onto that the late pregnancy "swag" (aka waddle) and I'm sure I'm a fairly comical sight to any onlookers. Ouch.

Quick Dinners
So for all intents and purposes, in a few weeks' time, my life will never be the same. How anyone manages two kids at a time is still a mystery to me in practice. In theory, I know I can do it, but I've never actually *tried*.

My drive for dinners that are quick and easy is at an all-time high. Usually, I don't mind a bit of prep for a delicious, healthy dinner. But nowadays...I'd love thirty minutes or less from start to finish. Besides good ol' Rachael Ray, I don't actually have a ton of ideas for this sort of thing.

Making dinners for a new mama is an age-old church tradition (or just community tradition), but God bless the ends up being a LOT of pasta and/or casseroles to fit in with people's schedules and budgets. I will definitely want something quick and easy to take a break from all the carbs and comfort-foodiness. So far, stir fry is my best idea. But I need more!

Do you have a tried-and-true healthy dinner that you go to in times of need? I'd love to hear it!

Tonight I'm varying from "healthy" in favor of "nostalgic" with what my mama called Haystacks. Fritos, canned chili, cheese, lettuce, tomato, some yogurt (in favor of sour cream) and black olives. In our house, we call them "Food Towers" so my child will eat them. =) Healthy, it is NOT. Delicious and family-friendly, it is!

Food Tower Time! 

Thanks for any help you can give!