Friday, July 12, 2013


Riah boy,
You haven’t been mine for long, but I want to know you more than words can express.  The moment you started to grow inside me, I knew you… I wanted nothing more than to care for you.  I gladly provide you with whatever you need.  I even give you things that you things you want, but don’t need, all because I love you more than you know.
I made sacrifices to have you.  I endured pain. I chose to care for you over monetarily providing for our family.  I often feel like your life consumes mine…but I have no regrets.  Your well-being and upbringing is my purpose. I want to teach you all that I can and show you unconditional love.
  I sit here watching you, amazed…speechless.  Every move you make intrigues me.  You live in a state of curiosity.  Everything in your world is new and exciting! I watch you explore your surroundings, always moving from one thing to another. 
Something catches your eye.  You move towards it only to be scorned by my gentle voice telling you “no”.  You hear me, but you continue on your path…eager, excited.  I watch as the forbidden object hurts you.  You fall to the ground, tears in your eyes.  You see me in the distance and come crawling towards the one who gives you security.  I, feeling overwhelmed with sadness by your pain, comfort and love you, wishing you would have listened and obeyed to avoid this moment.  I press on, hoping you have learned from your mistake and will choose to listen to me in future circumstances.
You, my child, will always be loved by me.  You may hurt me sometimes, or even turn your back on me, but my love for you will not change.  You bring be so much joy! When you come to me with open arms, my heart is overwhelmed with gladness! I want to be your shoulder to cry on, your voice of reason in times of trouble, and your cheerleader in moments of victory!

My mom wrote me a journal when she was diagnosed with cancer, and it has now become a precious keepsake.  I wanted to start something similar for Riah that told his birth story and certain lessons I have learned through raising him.  I was watching him play a few days ago and decided to write him my thought in this letter to show him how much I enjoy being his mother.  As I was writing, I realized how much little Riah and I have in common.  I too am much like an infant with God as my Father.  I am always learning, sometimes hurting myself along the way.  I can never truly understand the level of love God has for me, but every time a little bit is uncovered, I want to run to him and feel His security. 

Being a mom is not always easy, but it has certainly taught me a lot about my God.  There are so many similarities, it’s often mind blowing! I know I love Riah so much and would do anything for him—but it just scratches the surface of how selflessly God loves us!  I have become much more thankful for Him over the last 10 months.  I’m certainly looking forward to Him guiding me to be the best mother I can be over the life of all my children. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Vegan Experiment

Vegan.  The word sparks up so many visuals in my mind.  I can’t help but picture a hemp-covered hippie with dirty hair, sporting edible, biodegradable Crocs and protesting outside of a chicken farm.  Well, maybe that’s overdoing it, but still, the word has a negative connotation.  I have come to discover that the word “vegan” means different things to different people.  I know there are many die-hard vegans out there that would go berserk if they ate bread because, “yeast has feelings”.  For the sake of this blog, when I say “vegan”, I strictly mean, “no meat, no dairy, no eggs”.  

A week or so before Christmas I went to my doctor to get a normal check-up.  My blood pressure read was 143/100, which, unfortunately, has been a very normal number for me since I’ve had Zechariah.  My doctor has been very concerned and referred me to a cardiologist.  I was so devastated and embarrassed.  I’m 24, I work out occasionally, and I thought I was healthier than the average American.  I knew that if I went to a cardiologist, they would put me on medication.  I understand that medication can often times be necessary, especially with hereditary issues such as HBP, however, I wanted to try other things before making that decision.  I did some research and found that by reducing foods high in cholesterol, fat, and salt, that blood pressure would lower naturally.  I believe it was Hippocretes that said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.  After a gluttonous Christmas season, I was truly up for anything!

Let’s go back to 4th grade and set this up in a Science Fair format (If only I had a 3-sided board to present my findings!).

Problem: Will switching to a plant-based diet lower my blood pressure in 6 weeks?

Hypothesis: I believe that by eliminating animal-based foods from my diet, and incorporating exercise, that my blood pressure with stabilize without the help of western medicine. 

Control: eliminate meat, eggs, dairy, and as much refined sugar and processed foods as possible from my current diet.

Method/recipes: I started out really frightened by the thought of not cooking with meat or dairy.  The first week was definitely the hardest! I spent a lot of time planning what food I would eat for the following day.  Nick decided to be supportive and just did the “no meat” portion of the experiment—this was really helpful for me!  I found Pinterest to be my biggest ally in this adventure. 
Here are some of my favorite recipes (I am not great at food photography, so please don't let that discourage you from trying the recipe): 

3. Lentil Soup  (Nick was not so much a fan of this one-but I thought it was delicious!)

5. Kale Salad *pictured>:  (no link…Amber, my health-food cheerleader, told me about this one…and this recipe makes me LOVE salads!)
3-4 C kale, chopped
1 avocado
juice of ½ lemon
2 tsp of LOW SODIUM soy sauce (optional)
1 T sesame seeds (optional)

mash the avocado all throughout the kale (use your hands…really saturate it), squeeze the lemon on top.  Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds according to your taste.  I’m telling you—this salad will blow your mind. 

I use a lot of quinoa, barley, and brown rice for our whole grains, as well.  When I’m in a pinch for time, my “go-to” recipes are stir-fried veggies, and whole wheat pasta with organic tomato sauce.   I basically purged our fridge and pantry of all junk food.  I kept fruits and veggies cut up so I had easy access when I had the munchies.  In order to get optimum nutritional value, I tried to keep my fruits and veggies at their most raw state for most meals.  When I needed an energy-boosting snack, I would eat seeds and nuts (raw, unsalted) or I’d make some juice! 

Disclaimer: I figured I might ruffle some feathers with this post, so I want to do a little disclaimer section.  I believe God gave us dominion over the animals on the earth, so I don't think that its wrong to eat meat, nor do I judge those around me for not taking this approach-it was a simple 6-week experiment and there are plenty of other ways to live a healthy lifestyle.  I’m still nursing, so I was adamant that I keep a log of all my nutrients to make sure there were no gaps being passed down to my little Riah Boy.  A lot of people have urged me to eat meat because I need protein.  I agree that protein is essential in a diet.  daily protein requirement chartI need to be taking in between 50-70 grams, especially on days I work out.  I have found that there are plenty of foods outside of meat that are high in protein: lentils (and other beans, whole grains, nuts, spinach, and soy. I input everything I eat into an app on my phone, which then charts my nutrition for the day. I also add walnuts and a tablespoon of flax seeds to my oatmeal each morning to get all those good Omega-3 fatty acids.  In addition to nutritious foods, I take a daily multivitamin to help with iron, zinc, and b12, which are common deficiencies among plant-based dieters.  So, before you go blowing up my comment section, know that I am very mindful of supplying my body and my baby with the best nutrients possible! 

Conclusion: after 6 weeks of staying loyal to this program, my blood pressure has lowered significantly!!!! I have successfully lost all of my baby weight (yes, I still had a couple of lingering pounds).  On top of it all, I feel fantastic.  I also feel like I have more energy when I run.  

Will I continue with this program? Yes-but I will adopt a modified version.  I really don’t miss meat that much, but I certainly miss my cheese! However, cheese is a huge source of saturated fat and sodium, so I want to really keep an eye on my intake.  I have decided that I will remain “plant-based” 80% of the time.  The extra 20% will give me more freedom when we have visitors (or when we ARE visitors), go out with friends, or have special occasions.  I want to have more leniencies with myself, but also do my best to maintain a healthy blood pressure through diet and exercise.  Although Nick has been extremely supportive, I have decided that my man needs his meat! I will be continuing to cook meals with meat and dairy for him to keep our marriage strong. :-) 

There are always ways to become more healthy in life.  This was a big step for me because I have gone through stages of my life where I really didn't care what I put in my body. I was pretty proud of myself when I hit the 6 week mark, because I have no been known for self-discipline.  I've always lost motivation half way through and  given up, so to accomplish this was a big victory for me.  We can always learn more about nourishing our bodies to the fullest! Please feel free to share any accomplishments or changes you've made in your life that have boosted your health! I'd love to be encouraged by your stories, as well. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Juice Diaries

I hate salad. There. I said it. I’m sure I’ve stirred a few gasps of horror based on this confession. I love the idea of salads, but I can’t get passed the bitterness of leafy greens. I would always force myself to eat one every once in a while because I know the veggies are good for you, but I would find myself overusing dressing (that’s a big no, no!).  I’ve recently been enthralled with health-food related research and decided to try juicing a couple times a week.  Before I get into my favorite recipes, I want to kind of lay out some of pros and cons of juicing lifestyle.


-When you juice, you separate the sugars from the fiber in the fruit.  The roughage bin on the back of the juicer will fill up with all of that fiber-goodness.  If you juice that day, make sure you are getting your 25-35 grams of fiber in other foods, because it won’t be in the juice! Some people opt for using a blender instead of a juicer so they reap all the benefits of their produce!
-For this reason, along with others, I also do not recommend an exclusive juice-based diet.
-It can get a little pricey in the produce department! (Sam’s club is a blessing!)
-Cleaning the juicer is a pain!  Some juicers may be better than others, but ours has tiny crevices where all the fibery-pulp likes to hide.

Pros (yay! The pros!):

-It’s delicious and filling!
-Our body is very smart and “detoxifies” a lot on its own, but let’s face it, we live in a culture of HIGHLY processed, chemically-enhanced foods (even in unsuspecting grocery items!), and our precious body could use all the extra help we can give it.  “Jesus-foods”, as I like to call them (plants, plants, plants!), are great at detoxifying a lot of chemicals we ingest other places.
-The nutritional benefits are stellar! When we cook veggies, they lose most of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need, so juicing allows us to JAM PACK all these nutrients into one delicious glass.
-You can get your greens without the dreaded salad (and dressing-free, too!)
-You also digest juice a lot more quickly than if you just ate the fruit or veggie itself.  Your body absorbs the liquid instead of having to break it down first.
-When you get all the nutrients from your fruits and veggies, your hair, skin, bones, etc. will all be in great shape! I’m kind of a hair snob and pregnancy took its toll on my locks-so I drink juice for vanity!
-When Ri starts drinking juice, I plan to make it for him instead of buying sugar-filled juice at the grocery store. I want a healthy, healthy boy!

There are plenty more pros and cons, those are just the big ones for me.  When I juice, I always try to add as many “detox” items as possible (kale, spinach, lemons, parsley, cucumber, cilantro, etc) I love trying new juicing recipes, but here are a few of my favorites!

Green juice

2 stalks celery
1/2 cucumber
1/2 apple
1/2 lemon
small piece ginger
1/2 green chard leaf
bunch cilantro
5 kale leaves
handful spinach

carrot and apple juice:

4-5 Carrots
2 Apples
2 Cups Spinach

The above recipes I found online.  When I make my juice, I generally just throw whatever produce is in the fridge into the juicer (crazy style!). A rough recipe for my favorite concoction is as follows:

1 bunch parsley
½ bunch cilantro (its quite over-powering)
1 lemon (1.5 if you like it more tart… I do!)
4-5 stalks of kale
½ cucumber
3-4 carrots
1 apple (usually fuji)
5 strawberries
2-3 stalks of celery
2-3 cups baby spring salad mix

viola! Delicious juice.  It makes about 4 cups, and I omit certain ingredients depending on if we have it in the fridge or not.  Take that, boring salad!
Do you have any favorite juice recipes? I’d love to try them!! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lessons of Motherhood

Yikes… it’s been over 4 months since I've blogged-I’m going to have to blame Zechariah on this one.  My mother-in-law told me some words of wisdom shortly after Ri was born: “it will take about 3 months to get used to having a baby and establish routine”.  I’m such a crazy-clean, organized lady, that I thought I’d have normalcy in a matter of weeks.  Turns out I was wrong. I am now a firm believer of the “three-month” rule.
I truly believe that at all times God is trying to teach us something.  I’m not always listening, or willing to learn, but the lesson is there regardless.  A whole WORLD of lessons has opened up since having a baby!!

      1. Time: When I was pregnant, everyone said “well, you better get stuff done now; you won’t have time when your little one comes along.” I would just smile and nod, and disagree with them in my mind.  I used to pride myself on accomplishing to-do lists…now I avoid them altogether.  This kid consumes my every waking moment…and I stay at home! (I would just like to take a brief moment and applaud the working mom---seriously…respect!) I try not to think about having more than one child running around. I may as well give up on cleaning my home (not likely). My favorite time during the day is when Ri takes his morning nap and I can drink a cup of coffee and have some Jesus time (even that get interrupted on occasion).

      2.   Humility: This is a big one for me. Sweet little Zechariah was born with a hemangioma (or “strawberry”) on his lip.  When the dermatologist told me it could stay up until Ri is 5, I really was okay with it.  He just has a little Steven Tyler thing going on. Nick and I hardly notice it anymore.  The real issue is when complete strangers make rude comments. Some of the following include: “what’s wrong with your baby?” “Are you going to fix his lip?” “Will that ever go away!?” “Why wouldn't you make him get surgery?”
I really love my child the way he is, and I’m not going to make him have permanent scarring because the public thinks it’s an eyesore. I've gotten to the place where I pull the little hood over him in his carrier so people won’t even look at him-thus saving me another conversation about his lip (which is not the right attitude to have...) I have a really hard time showing people Christ when they inquire about “what’s wrong with my child”.  This is a lesson I am still learning, and will continue to learn for years to come.

     3.     Marriage: Keeping your marriage strong through newborn times! This lesson was more challenging in the beginning. Your life changes SO dramatically after having a baby.  You have to learn to love your spouse as the father of your child in addition to all the other reasons. I believe that spouse should come before baby.  Babies are so fun, and it’s so easy to make your life revolve around their every move.  Ri has my heart, but Nick had it first. Nick and I have to make every effort to spend time together when he naps in the evenings.  We disagree on a lot of things, but we both recognize how important it is for Ri to know what love is through our love of one another.

     4. “Where did our money go?”  I’m a spender-Nick is a saver.  I’m so thankful for this balance! When you’re pregnant, you think you need everything.  You want your nursery to be as cute as everyone else’s and for your baby to have all the cool things as all the other babies.  If it was up to me, we would have had all the best of the best items and been thousands of dollars in debt. I’m glad Nick is my husband, because I look back and realize how unnecessary some things are! Ri doesn't care if his nursery isn't done, and I shouldn't either. God has taught me that my ONE role is not to surround Ri with things, but to surround him with Jesus.  Ri is my little sparrow—I know God will provide for him.

     5.    You don’t need a mom to be a good mom.  I was reading a baby book when I was pregnant and the author said something like this, “you won’t be able to do this without your mom around to answer all of your questions!” I put the book down and sobbed. I was so worried I wouldn't know how to be a good mom without my Mama cheering me on.  God fills in your gaps!  I've learned to call on him when I’m impatient or worried about making the right decision in motherhood.  This has not only helped me be a better mom, but it has drawn me closer to my God.  I hope to grow profusely in this area so that I can teach Ri how to do the same thing. 

I’ve learned more than five lessons, but the baby is calling! Baby comes before blogging. I know all you mom’s out there have a lot of lessons you've learned as well! Feel free to share them with me so I can keep an eye out.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Lord Remembers-A birth story

 “Where are you, God?”  is a question I’ve asked myself many times over the last two years.  "I thought you were going to heal my mom.  I thought you would keep my husband and me closer to home.  I thought you’d let me be married for at least a year before getting pregnant! I thought I could have this baby the way I wanted to."  I put so many expectations on God, that when things weren’t going my way, I surely thought he had forgotten about me.  He has continually changed the course (my course…) and humbled me down to my core.   With each new event that came, I would reference the last one to Him: “uh, God, do you remember what you just put me through? Why this? Why now? I’m still recovering from that last test of my faith.” I constantly questioned his Will. 

Last Sunday afternoon, Ashley and Kyle had just driven off from a lovely weekend visit! We had an exceptional time, but near the end of their time, I was feeling a bit “off”.  My stomach was very tight and I was having difficult time breathing.  I told Nick I was going to take my blood pressure out of curiosity.  It was a shocking 178/115! I was concerned, so I called Whitney, who just finished nursing school (oh, and did I mention she’s brilliant?).  She advised me to take it again in a half hour and call her back.  No change.  Whitney, knowing how “high-stress” I am, called me and used soothing tones! Haha. The conversation went a little something like this: “Adrienne, don’t be alarmed.  I want you to hold Nick’s hand...take deep breaths…and then pack a bag and drive to the ER immediately.”  I wasn’t stressed.  I felt fine.  I humored Whit by packing a bag, but I thought for sure I’d be unpacking it in a few hours. 

We arrived at the ER, and I calmly explained the situation to the front desk.  They got me a bracelet and shipped us off to a private room where they proceeded to hook me up to various machines.  They monitored by blood pressure and, sure enough, it was still high.  Nick and I were very relaxed and were reluctant to call any family members because we thought it was such a minor issue.  We had a dozen doctors and nurses come in and ask me various questions, and then they sent me next door to get a full ultrasound.  They spend 45 minutes documenting every inch of my sweet baby, while Nick and I chatted about his upcoming business trip.  We went back into our little room where they proceeded to hook me up to an IV and told us we’d be staying the night.  We were both kind of wondering if that was necessary… when the nurse casually said “oh yeah, you kids probably won’t be leaving here without a baby”…. WHAT?! Both of our jaws dropped!! I was speechless and Nick managed to mutter “but…we don’t have anything at our house for a baby….we don’t have a car seat!”… The nurse chuckled and said “oh, you’ll have plenty of time to get all of that stuff…don’t worry”. 

Finally, we were left alone for the first time in two hours.  We were so shocked! We didn’t realize the severity of the situation, and were NOT prepared to think about having a baby so soon! The doctor came back in and briefly explained preeclampsia.  He said they would have to do a 24 test to be sure, but he was quite certain I had it.  They hooked me up to magnesium so I wouldn’t get seizures from the said preeclampsia.  We were transferred to a different room where Nick “set up shop”.  He ran home and got us all the essentials (even his playstation…).  I look back at how terrifying the experience could have been, and I can only thank God that he prepared me for each step.  I was very relaxed and focused on getting those results! Even at that point, Nick and I were praying it wasn’t preeclampsia, and I could go home and keep the baby safe in my womb for a few more weeks. 

After 24 hours, the doctor came in and said that based on my protein levels I had severe preeclampsia and they would have to do a cesarean section as soon as possible.  A c-section? Really, God? We have discussed this! I want a natural birth—no meds—no magnesium—no steroids….where are you? I had done SO much research on natural birth, that I had no idea what to even expect with a c-section.  The magnesium is a muscle relaxer, so I am still slightly foggy on a lot of the details.  They prepared both Nick and me for the procedure, and wheeled me in.  They gave me a spinal anesthetic and minutes later, I was strapped down ready for surgery.  They let Nick back in at this point.  He looked just as scared as I was while he held my hand tightly.  The doctors were discussing the weather as they cut right into me.  I heard someone say they took the baby away (what? I didn’t hear anything… is he okay? Am I okay??).  I started to cry when a nurse came up and told me the baby was in good health.  I couldn’t shake my anxiety so they gave me even MORE pain meds in my IV line.  Awesome.  Even though I was upset, I felt God say “I’m here, I haven’t forgotten”. 

The doctors finished up and wheeled me into a recovery room for an hour before I could see my baby.  I had that time to mentally recover and hopefully gain some coherency before visiting the NICU.  I honestly protested when the nurse asked me if I wanted to go see him.  It wasn’t my fairy tale birth.  I still felt so light headed, and I wanted to mentally record every second of meeting my child.  They wheeled me in anyway, and Nick and I were awestruck at the sight of our perfect little baby.  He was so beautiful.  So small.  Such a beautiful representation of God’s faithfulness.  As I looked at his sweet face, God whispered “this is my Will…you have a son”. 

Zechariah means “The Lord Remembers”.  Throughout each trial Nick and I have faced in our love story, God has always reminded us that He is there.  He hasn’t forgotten our needs, He fulfilled them.  We have chosen to forget God and ask for our own will, but He has remained faithful and shown us mercy when we haven’t deserved it.  This little baby boy will always be a reminder of God’s love and provision.

Zechariah Alan George,
We love you more than you will ever know.  We will strive to live godly lives so that you might see Him through us.  We can’t wait to watch you grow, and we will always remind you that God is there, even if it feels like He’s not.  You are our little miracle.  We praise Him for your life!
                                                                                                  Love,  Mom and Dad

update! Baby Z is back to his birth weight of 3 lbs 6 oz.  He if off oxygen and on breast milk every three hours! :) They just put a PICC line in his arm to replace the tube in his belly button.  This will reduce the chance of him getting infection, and is a better alternative for his fluids.  He's progressing very well, and the nurses say if he continues to do well, we can plan to take him home in about 2.5 weeks!!

Also- Nick changed his very first diaper (of his life....for shame!) yesterday.  He was absolutely terrified, but took it like a champ. :) I presume there will be many more to come. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baby Z

This is gonna be short and sweet people! Nick and I will blog later about the birth story and God's hand through our journey.  For now, we would love to introduce you to our little miracle!

Zechariah Alan George
3 lbs 6 oz
16.5 inches

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

32 weeks and Celica post 2.0

I haven’t updated the blog on Baby G in quite some time! I felt a little stifled after some comments from nameless individuals concerning “arrogant baby bloggers” , so I think that contributed to my lack of dedication.  I’m here to say, lighten up people! I’m really excited and proud of my growing boy and will continue to update anyone who wants to support me through this electronic venue.  I’ve had a hard time being in another state where I know no one, so the encouragement and love I receive through this sometimes gets me through tough days.  I appreciate everyone who chooses to support Nick and I through this silly little blog. On to the good stuff…

 How far along: 32 weeks—time is flying.
Total weight gain: 26 lbs and counting (yikes!) I have gained so much faster in the third trimester! Thankfully, I think I can keep a healthy hold on it and stay under the recommended 35 lbs before delivery.  I got the King family bird legs, so my resemblance to a pug is uncanny! I get a good kick out of it sometimes. 
Food cravings: strawberries, graham crackers, tomatoes, and Mexican food (its always been a weakness)
What I miss: shopping. I know, I know…vanity is a terrible trap…. But I’m already bored of my maternity clothes.
Best moments this week: I had my first of two baby showers! My Mother-in-law is really thoughtful and planned a shower for the George side of the family.  I really enjoyed connecting more with his family and feeling their support through such an amazing transition in both of our lives!  Also, Nick and I started a birthing class.  We are really busy from now until delivery, so I couldn’t get us into an actual community class (boo…I may have cried), BUT our hospital offers an online version of the class with a lot of great tools.  This is really convenient for us during this hectic time.  I'm praying that its just as beneficial as learning from a tangible instructor. 
Milestones: I’m already seeing my doctor every two weeks!! This makes me feel like nameless “Baby G” is coming very soon.

In other news, Nick and the Celica got into a car accident!! (Everyone is fine, thank the Lord).  Out of the four cars involved, Nick was one of the least beat up.  He called me that morning and said “well, the officer on sight said that since my car is so old, it’s considered totaled”.   I thought for sure this was the end of an era with that little black car.  Nope! Nick pulled into the garage and I looked at his car and was like “...why is there duct tape securing your back bumper?”  Apparently, his car IS totaled, and the insurance company will pay us a little extra if we turn it in to them-but Nick refuses. Haha!! He said that it’s still drivable and he will choose to keep it for a little while longer.  I sure do love that guy.  I have full confidence in that man’s loyalty. Thank the Lord he and the Celica are safe!