Yes, I know that it’s spelled “sunflowers”, but I wanted to incorporate my sons into it as well. I have the most beautiful sunflowers starting to bloom in my garden. At the same time, I have the two most wonderful sons a mother could ask for. Little Elam is now 6 days old, which is hard to believe. He’s the best baby – nurses and sleeps like a charm. He’s starting to wake up a little more each day and it’s nice to see his little eyes taking in the world. Here are some recent shots of my first week off from work on maternity leave…

he’s here!


The newest addition to our family arrived at 6:50 this morning, Sunday, July 20! Our little Elam was 20 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Thankfully, I went into labor at home around 1:15 am and it progressed quickly. No epidural this time, either. God and my dear husband were with me all the way through. We are all doing well and I’m very thankful for that.

Little E is doing well and his big brother likes him. Hopefully we get to go home tomorrow and spend some quality time as a family. Oh, and this little fella has a head full of dark hair! Ezra was blonde and hardly had any hair and is still “tow headed” to this day. 

More updates and pictures to come soon, I’m sure. 

(about ready) to kill a mockingbird

I didn’t know what a mockingbird sounded like until a few years ago. At that point, I decided I love them. Right now, I’m very annoyed with the one outside my window at night. For the past three nights, it (he, I think) has decided to sing from about 1 until 4 am. It’s driving me batty (pun intended)! It’s cool enough right now that we’ve been sleeping with the windows open, but last night, I had to get up, close all of the windows, and turn on the air conditioning. I couldn’t take it any longer!

My husband heard me up and about and asked me what I was doing. When I told him the bird was driving me nuts, he said, “It’s a sound of nature. You should be able to sleep through it.” I said “Snoring is also natural, but I can’t sleep through your snores, either!” He found that amusing.

I started looking for ways to make it be quiet (besides killing it or screaming at it), and I found this interesting article dated 1987 – “Why the Mockingbird Sings”. You should check it out.

Of course, I’m not going to kill this precious bird. I guess it’s just getting me ready for the newborn and the lack of sleep it will bring. 

Speaking of which, my due date was yesterday and still no baby. Doc says all looks well with both of us, so we’ll go back to the doc on Monday and see what goes. They said they’ll let me go up to 42 weeks before they induce me if all looks well. I really hope it doesn’t come down to that. I want this to be as natural as possible. So, say a little prayer that little baby decides to arrive this weekend or early next week!

nesting? perhaps.

I left work at 1:30 today to come home and take a nap, which I did…for 2 hours! My mom has my son today, so I thought I would take advantage of a little “me” time before this baby gets here. It’s decided to incubate at least till its due date (tomorrow) and I’d been wanting to bake up some zucchini bread since the garden is being generous.

First, I made a blackberry peach cobbler that I’d made last year. Then, I made a double batch of zucchini bread. Next, I cleaned up the house and lastly, finished packing my hospital bag. I’m getting ready to light into dinner for my husband and me. I hope he’s as tickled as I am when he gets home to a clean house and the smell of fresh baked goodies! I think this might be my sudden burst of energy that folks talk about before you go into labor. Who the heck knows? I thought I’d have this baby by now! 🙂

I had forgotten about something my son said this morning. He got up early (around 5:45 am) and came to get in bed with me (his daddy was already gone to work). He had been laying there a few minutes when he took out his paci (still trying to kick that habit) and said “I like you.” Now, doesn’t that mean the world to a mommy? It sure did to me.

Enjoy some photos of what I was up to this evening and a visit to a friend’s house the other day.

preventing type 2 diabetes in kids

My little fella picking raspberries...he LOVES picking and eating them.

My little fella picking raspberries…he LOVES picking and eating them.

As a mom, I worry about what my son eats and about his future with diabetes. Not only did I have gestational diabetes while pregnant with him (which increases his risk of getting diabetes by about 60%, I think), but his grandpa and great grandpa both suffer from diabetes. I know it’s not the end of the world to be affected by this condition, but if it can be avoided, then so be it!

I have read up on this enough to know it mostly boils down to diet and exercise. I found a good article on the American Diabetes Association website that I wanted to share with you. The two points I like best from this article are:

  1. Set a good example by eating a healthful diet yourself

  2. Set a good example by being active yourself.

Please read on to learn how you can help prevent diabetes in your children or the children in your life. Not to mention how you can help prevent the disease in your own body!

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Teens

Type 2 diabetes once hit mainly adults. But today, children and teens weigh more and are less active. As a result, people of all ages now get type 2 diabetes.

Types of Diabetes in Children

Type 1 diabetes was once called juvenile diabetes. It usually starts suddenly with weight loss, great thirst, and frequent urination. It tends to occur in thin or normal-weight people. Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin shots.

Type 2 diabetes tends to occur in overweight people. It is also more common in people of African, Hispanic, Asian, or American-Indian ancestry. Type 2 diabetes often starts slowly. People may have vague symptoms or none at all. Some people can control their type 2 diabetes with a healthy diet and exercise. But others must take diabetes pills or insulin.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are by far the most common forms of diabetes. But in rare cases, children get other kinds of diabetes.

Before Type 2 Diabetes Starts

Some children and teens have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Traits that are often found in people before they get type 2 diabetes are:

  1. Non-European ancestors

  2. Close relatives with type 2 diabetes

  3. High cholesterol levels

  4. Dark patches of skin, often on the back of the neck

  5. Overweight

  6. High blood pressure

  7. High triglyceride (a kind of fat) levels

  8. High blood glucose levels

  9. Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels

The risks for heart disease and diabetes increase for those who have high triglycerides, high blood glucose, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure and who are overweight.

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is partly genetic. Even so, it can be prevented or delayed in most cases. The key is a healthy lifestyle.

Food choices. The healthiest diet is one high in plant foods and low in salt and saturated fats (which are found in meat and also in dairy products that aren’t nonfat). To improve your child’s diet:

  1. Don’t buy junk food, such as soft drinks, chips, cookies, doughnuts, and candy.

  2. Have healthful foods on hand for snacks and lunch bags. More healthy choices might include nonfat milk, nuts, fresh fruit, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, low-fat cheese, and whole-grain low-sugar breakfast cereals.

  3. Buy whole grains (such as oatmeal, barley, whole-wheat bread and pasta, and brown rice) instead of refined grains (such as white bread, white pasta, and white rice).

  4. Limit visits to fast-food restaurants or don’t go at all.

  5. Have your child eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

  6. Serve meals at the same times each day.

  7. Serve small portions.

  8. Serve fruit for dessert instead of cake, pie, or other foods high in fat and sugar.

  9. Instead of frying foods, cook them in low-fat ways. These include baking, broiling, roasting, grilling, steaming, and boiling.

  10. Set a good example by eating a healthful diet yourself.

Activity choices. The more active people are, the more calories they burn. Children and teens should be physically active for at least 60 minutes most or all days of the week. To help your children be more active:

  1. Limit time in front of the TV and computer to less than 2 hours a day.

  2. Assign them active chores such as raking leaves and vacuuming rugs.

  3. Have children walk or ride their bikes to school if it is close.

  4. Be active as a family. Go for walks, ride bikes, jump rope, or play basketball together.

  5. Encourage brisk play.

  6. Set a good example by being active yourself.

Other actions. There are other ways you can help your children avoid diabetes:

  1. Take them for regular medical checkups.

  2. If you think a child may be too heavy, don’t put him or her on a weight-loss diet by yourself. Overweight children still need nutrients and calories to grow. Ask your doctor how to help your child lose weight.

If Your Child Gets Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes treatment has three goals:

  1. Get blood glucose levels as close to normal as you can.

  2. Get A1C levels as close to normal as you can. A1C reflects long-term blood glucose control.

  3. Prevent damage to the eyes, kidney, nerves, and heart.

Being overweight makes it harder to control diabetes. For this reason, striving for a healthy weight may also be part of type 2 diabetes treatment.

A child or teen who gets type 2 diabetes needs expert advice on diet and exercise. A dietitian can help both the child and the family learn to eat in a healthy way. A pediatric exercise counselor can help the child and family start an exercise program. In all cases, it’s a good idea for the whole family to change its habits.

Type 2 diabetes tends to get worse over time. After a while, people with type 2 diabetes may need drugs to keep their blood glucose levels under control, even if they’ve taken good care of themselves. Drugs include insulin and many types of diabetes medicines.

why whole wheat?

Years ago, my younger sister talked me into trying whole wheat pasta instead of just white. Ever since, I typically buy whole wheat unless the type of noodle is not available. I would by whole wheat bread, but my husband hates it and we waste bread if I buy two loaves. However, anytime I can buy whole wheat products over white flour products, I do.

For the past 6 months or so, I’ve only been buying wheat flour to bake with and no one in my house is complaining. I’ve used it in waffles, pancakes, muffins, zucchini bread, and more.

I started pondering why I think this is so good for me and I really didn’t have an answer, so I started researching the benefits of wheat over white and here are some good things I found:

  • It has more naturally occurring nutrients (instead of being taken out and placed back in by humans)
  • Women who eat whole grain products weigh less
  • They reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Lower type 2 diabetes risk
  • Lessens chronic inflammation
  • It’s good for your digestive system
  • Helps protect against cancers

Read more about it for yourself at these sources:

Try to substitute some of your white flour products with whole wheat and whole grain – for you and your family!

praise God flow

I sing a song for my son that I think is referred to as a doxology. I’ve known it since I was a little girl. He loves it and says “Again” each time I sing it.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

My garden is buzzing with bees this morning pollenating all of my vegetables. And the super full moon last night was something to behold when it was coming up. Too bad my camera doesn’t do them justice.

2014 goals – where am i?

So, it’s July 11 already. Isn’t that hard to believe?! That means we’re more than half through the year. I’d been thinking about blogging about my 2014 goals I set back in January when I ran across the print out I’d made. I’ve been cleaning my work desk all morning getting ready to be out on maternity leave. Here’s where I stand on what I had set for myself this year:

  1. Spend more quiet time with God – So far, so good. I’m still not where I want to be, but I do believe I’m doing better than I ever have. I do MAKE (not FIND) time to read my Bible, but there’s always room for improvement. I need to spend more time in prayer, but I’ve definitely improved on my Bible reading.
  2. Help lead at least one person to Christ – As of today, I can’t say anyone has been “saved” directly because of me, but I’m trying to be a better witness. I still have a LONG way to go with this, but I’m really trying.
  3. Be more positive toward my husband – For the most part, I feel I’ve improved. I try to give out more compliments and praise. The funny thing is, he seems to be doing the same to me. Is it reciprocal or coincidence?
  4. Gain no more than 30 pounds during this pregnancy – I’m less than 7 days away from my due date and I’m right at 30 pounds, so I feel like I have this one in the bag!
  5. Get back to 155 pounds by the end of the year – I think I will be able to obtain this since I didn’t go overboard during this pregnancy.
  6. Perform at least 1 pull up by the end of the year – I put that one on hold until I get back from maternity leave…
  7. Win the weight loss competition – I did win round one earlier this year – my ladies were fantastic! We didn’t win the second round, but it was so close and my gals were really happy with their results.
  8. Add 3 more regular personal training clients – I did pick up a new gal, but she’s fizzled out on me a bit. I think I can still pick up a couple when I come back from maternity leave.
  9. Continue to improve my diet – I have to admit, I’m kind of stuck in a rut on that one. I’ve been eating too much sugar, but I try to eat well for the most part. Thankfully, my garden is doing well so I’ve been eating lots of fresh squash and lettuce!
  10. Grow a small garden – Oh, boy! This has been the most fun for me. I’m so tickled with how it’s coming along. I have bunches of green tomatoes on which I’m waiting for. I’ve really enjoyed the garden and plan to expand it next year.
  11. Potty train our son – He’s coming along (recent blog post talked about this one). I think by the end of the year, we’ll have this one in the bag.

Well, that does it for now! I’m on track, but we’ll see how the year finishes up.

a few new recipes

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself cooking here and there. I figure I better do it while I have some energy before this baby arrives. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Whole Wheat Blackberry Muffins – I ended up using these giant blackberries I had and they turned out so good. I didn’t have any vanilla on hand that day, so I used vanilla yogurt and that worked fine.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread – I made this Saturday and it was so yummy! I told my son it was “cake” and let him eat some for breakfast. 🙂 My husband even liked it. This recipe made one regular loaf plus one mini loaf (I didn’t have 4 mini loaf pans). Oh, and I used wheat flour instead of white.

Spinach Stuff Chicken Breasts – These I made for dinner Monday night and the husband was thrilled! I used thighs because they are cheaper and I like them better. I also used cream cheese instead of feta and I added sun dried tomatoes as well. Very yummy.

Zucchini Gratin – This was a side dish I made Monday. I loved it. I didn’t measure my ingredients, so I went a little heavy on the bread crumb topping, but next time I’ll know better. Had a great flavor!

I’m so glad I’ve developed a love for cooking. The great thing about summer is that you don’t have to “cook” much. I think tonight, I might try these zucchini noodles if I have some ripe ones in the garden.

Thought I would share this photo my mom got yesterday. I’m pretty pregnant, huh? 🙂


heavenly sunrise

Just wanted to share this picture I snapped of my husband son yesterday around 6:30 am. Ezra had woken around 4:15 with a leaky diaper and I got him back to sleep for a bit. At 6 am, he was ready to go for a walk, so we all went for a Sunday morning stroll. My husband saw his dad driving the truck through the field and waved him down to pick us up. It was a great start to a Sunday! We got the boy back to bed for a nap before church, and I even got a short nap, too.