Sunday, February 15, 2015

Will You Challenge Yourself With Me?

This week, I'm issuing a challenge to myself and I'm inviting you to join me. 

This week, I'm challenging myself to PUT.THE.PHONE.DOWN.

I say all the time how technology and social media have become the downfall of society, yet I don't live it. 

This week, I make that effort, and I encourage you to do the same. 

When your kids talk to you, look them in the eye and listen immediately, rather than when you're done reading that article or status. 

Instead of checking Facebook 29 times a day, put that effort into your work, your home, your goals, whatever needs your attention. 

With that, I'm peacing out for the evening, because there are 2 boys that I chose to bring into this world, who are playing, using their imaginations, and giggling hysterically, yet I sit here glued to this stupid 4-inch screen. Later. 

Who's with me? 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hiking....In the Backyard.

Hi! Remember me? My hiatus from the blog world has not been intentional, though I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately as to why I blog and what my future with blogging is.
Anyway, in true Metz fashion, a lot has been going on. We moved. Long story made short – the owner of the house we were renting passed away, and finding an heir/next of kin was proving to be difficult, so instead of being faced with having to be out of the house in a matter of days, we started a search and found a rental at the mouth of a canyon. The house is unique, but it functions well for us and it’s in a really pretty setting. We like it.
I went from working my office job last summer to working part time for a local entrepreneur, to working two jobs, to now only working one, but it’s a full time office job that I’m really enjoying so far. The company is Terracon Consultants, Inc. It’s a geological and environmental engineering firm that also does construction materials testing. I am the office coordinator/admin assistant, and I really enjoy it. Matt’s still buying and selling produce, and there’s a lot going on in that industry, as usual! We’re keeping quite busy.
These kids of mine are just growing up right before my eyes. We’re thinking ahead to kindergarten round up here in a few weeks – yikes! Hendrix is reading and writing and Jameson is learning his letters and numbers also. They’re so much fun to converse and giggle with.
My grandpa (my dad’s dad) passed away in November, so I was back in Illinois and Indiana for a few short, but crazy busy days, in early December. It was so nice to spend some much needed time with loved ones. I’ll miss my grandpa, but he lived a full and happy life, and he’s doing much better now than he was previously. We take comfort in that. J
Matt’s mom got married and moved back to Indiana from South Dakota! I’m super happy for her, and she’s doing much better back near her other two boys, and with her new husband. Matt’s middle brother and his wife are expecting baby number 2 in August! We are working on a fund to travel home in either November or December this year to celebrate the holidays with our immediate family and meet this new niece or nephew of ours.
We have plans to do a whole lot of camping and being outdoors this summer, and I just cannot wait for more hours of sunshine, warm temps, campfires, star gazing, swimming, and grilling. It can’t get here quickly enough!
We’ve been having a super mild winter here in Rapid City (I hope we don’t pay for this in the next couple of months). A few weekends ago, we were having one of our mild days, so we decided to get out and explore our new yard, which is basically a hill straight up into the air. We hiked that thing.

 

Hendrix thought the burrs were hilarious.

 

The view from the top.

 

Not a great picture, but this is our house.
 
It was fun to get out and get some fresh January air while not freezing our tails off!
 
I'll be back again soon with another post. I'll do my best not to make it three months between posts this time, deal?
 
Have an awesome day!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Two Years...

Today marks the two year anniversary of Jameson's Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis.  There are times where it still feels new and scary.  But more often than not now, we sit in disbelief that it's only been two years ago, because it feels like forever.  

Once you have children, you forget what it was like before you had them.  Being a Type 1 Family works in much the same way.  I forget what it was like to just give Jameson something to eat and be done with it - not that I was able to do that for long anyway, with diagnosis coming at 16 months old.

It's hard for me to remember what it was like to go somewhere without making sure we had something sugary with us, as well as the glucagon, the meter, test strips, alcohol swabs, etc. I suppose that's similar to the diaper bag situation. :)

Anyway, I'm so proud of this boy.  He just takes it all in stride, and recently, he has really shown interest in wanting to take control of his disease.  

He checks his own blood sugar now.  How awesome is that?  Check it out. (The blood sugar in this particular video is VERY high.  This happens.  It's not worth freaking out about, and never worth blaming Jameson for.  As always, you just treat the number and move on.)

A couple of weeks ago, I had given him his breakfast, and he called to me from the table, "Mom, did you bolus me for my cereal?" I stood in the kitchen and just chuckled.  Never hurts to have another set of eyes on diabetes!

Yesterday, I watched this video on YouTube. ((Please watch it if you have 12 minutes to spare.)) Might have been a mistake to watch, seeing as how the first few days of November make me an emotional time bomb as it is.  :) Anyway, I was obviously in tears very shortly into it.  It got me thinking about Jameson's diagnosis.


Trick-or-Treating 2012.  On the way home, I thought he was just tired.  I had no idea what was really going on inside his little body.


Thinking about my baby - not even a year and a half old, un-responsive in his carseat as I drove him to the ER, I got angry. The tears were streaming down my face, not going to lie.  I fail to understand how this disease continues to go un-diagnosed and children continue to die from it in America, in 2014.

His blood sugar was only 382 (that's actually low for typical diagnosis BG's), but he was in severe DKA. Approximately 28 hours before I drove him to the ER, I had taken him to the pediatrician.  I presented this doctor with the classic symptoms: soaked diapers, extreme thirst, lethargy, vomiting.  She sent us home.  She sent us home!!!!! We got our diagnosis the next night.




I'm not one to get dramatic, so I hate to even say this.  But I'm not stretching the story or exaggerating in any way - we are lucky we didn't lose Jameson 2 years ago. We're also extremely lucky he didn't suffer any brain damage from the severe state of DKA and dehydration he was in. I remember listening to the doctor tell us that brain damage is not uncommon after such a blow to that little body and developing brain.


In the emergency room in Bowling Green, OH.  Not long after this was taken, we were life-flighted to Toledo, OH.

BUT, as the story goes, and as you all know, we have our sweet, silly goofball with us today and I could not be more thankful. I know God gave him his goofy and sarcastic personality for a reason, and that he's going to take every challenge and set-back in stride and continue to be the little superhero that he is.





Burnout is very real with this disease, since it permeates every second of every day of your life.  But giving up is never an option. I'll never give up, and I'll never lose hope for a cure.

You're so awesome, little man.  Never stop being my hero.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five!

Happy 5th Birthday Hendrix!

His defiant attitude makes me want to scream some days. 

But look at that kid. Is he not the most handsome thing you've ever seen??

He's become fluent in my favorite language: sarcasm. 

He's into magic, hunting, and rooting for whatever team is playing my Cowboys. :)



I love you, kiddo. I hope your birthday is awesome, and your 5th year holds amazing things for you. 



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exploring the Bike Trail

Hendrix learned to ride his bike without training wheels in August, and we have ventured out a little bit on the bike path in Rapid City. But not far. 

This afternoon, I had planned to take Hendrix to the park on a special date for just him and I, but he decided to whine, be ungrateful, and throw a tantrum like a two-year-old, so needless to say - I didn't take him to the park.

And that left me so frustrated.  Not only did I want him to be able to play, but I also wanted to sit in the sunshine and enjoy this beautiful 75 degree end-of-October day.  To work off my frustration, I hopped on my bike and took off.

I didn't wear my Garmin watch. I wish I would have, but oh well.  I'd imagine I rode between 5 and 6 miles.  Not a lot for serious bikers, but it was just such a beautiful day, I was simply enjoying the sunshine and breeze.

I'd be lying if I said I fell in love with Rapid City and the Black Hills the moment we moved here.  It took me a good 6 to 9 months to adapt.  But now, having lived here almost two years, I'm so in love with the sheer beauty of the hills and surrounding area.

Last October, fall was robbed from us by the Blizzard Atlas, as trees were stripped of their leaves while they were as green as could be.  This year, the brilliant fall colors were amazing, and the photos I took today are at the tail end of the color explosion, so you can imagine the way everything looked a few weeks ago.

Here are some photos from my bike ride today.





Rapid Creek.

"Near "M Hill."

Also near "M Hill."

Rapid Creek.

It's "Selfie Sunday." :)


I finished my day with a glass of wine on the patio.  The highs for the week to come are in the lower-50's.  It's looking to be nice again next weekend, but you just never know when winter will come to stay.  

What adventures did you have this weekend?

Do you have any amazing bike or hiking trails where you live?

Just for fun - where do you live?

Make it a great week, friends!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breaking the Menu Monotony: Banana Bread

On a very rare occasion recently, we had some bananas over-ripen on us.  Bananas don't usually last long in our house, but they did this week.

So, banana bread - obviously.

I remember my mom making banana bread regularly when we were kids. Oh, it was so good. I won't even pretend that the version I made this week even comes close to rivaling hers, because
1) I made it and
2) it's gluten free.
While gluten free foods are tasty, they just seem to lack something, let's face it.
(Probably the gluten.  Eh?)

But anyway, I wanted to make a banana bread that all four of us could enjoy together, so gluten free was the only option.  I used this recipe.

I had a couple of very handsome helpers.

Alrighty, so the recipe I used called for a store-bought GF flour blend.  Well, you know me.  No can do.  So here's the blend I used. 

3/4 c. brown rice flour (ground myself)
1/2 c. white rice flour (ground myself)
1/4 c. corn starch
1/4 c. potato starch
1 1/2 tbsp xanthan gum

- TOTAL of 1 3/4 c. GF flour blend - 


So my kitchen assistants poured in the flour.  We only spilled about 50 cents worth of xanthan gum.  Geesh, that stuff is expensive.


Once our GF flour blend was mxed up, we added:

1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda



Once all the dry ingredients were mixed well, we transferred the mixture to another bowl so we could mix the wet ingredients.


Take a fork and mash your bananas.
The recipe called for 1 banana, but I added 1 and 1/2.
In the future, I'll add 2 whole bananas.




I followed the recipe and creamed together the following:
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter
2 eggs
the bananas

Turns out, the recipe calls for 2/3 c. sugar, but we spaced and only added half of that.  It works.  I think it would taste better to add the whole 2/3 cups, but if you're looking to lower the sugar content a bit, 1/3 will get you by just fine.

Also, in the future, I would first cream the sugar and butter together, then add in the eggs and bananas.  The way the recipe called to do it leaves the butter kind of chunky throughout.  Didn't ruin it by any means, just think I'd do it differently next time.



Once the wet ingredients were mixed thoroughly, I added about half the flour mixture, and once that was incorporated, I added the other half to create this sticky glob of dough.

If you've worked with GF dough much, you know that this is common.  I just scraped it off the whisk attachment, no worries.


That leg belongs to the KitchenAid switch operator and that hand belongs to the butter-adder.


My assistants and I scraped the dough into our loaf pan and it did this - another common thing when working with GF dough.  A sticky mound that doesn't spread.


Easiest way to get around this is to wet your fingers and smooth the dough out with wet fingers.  Works like a charm.  It leaves the top of the loaf wet and a little slimy, but that all disappears while it bakes.


350 degrees for 30 minutes equalled this beautiful brown loaf of banana bread - and a wonderful smelling house!



Then......it shrivelled up as it cooled.  This happens to me constantly when baking GF.  Does anyone know the remedy to this, or is there one?


Regardless, it looked find once it was sliced.

And it tasted fine too!  Again, I'd add the full 2/3 cups of sugar next time, but this is a recipe I'll stick to in the future - yum!


Popped in the toaster, then buttered.  Divine.

Side note, I remember my father-in-law giving me a hard time because I toast and butter my banana bread.  Am I odd in doing this, or do others do this to?


If you eat gluten free, I recommend trying this recipe, and share your experience!


Next up on the blog - I finally found an awesome gluten-free pizza crust that tastes just like the real deal.  Stay tuned!

Banana Bread - love it or hate it?

What's the last thing you baked?

Really though - how to I stop my GF baked goods from shriveling up when they cool??

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cool Happenings at the Local Park

I currently work part-time, and I try to take the kiddos somewhere to do something fun on my 2 days off each week. On Thursday, I took them to our favorite park. Some really cool things happened that I feel compelled to share.

Since everyone seems to get so bent out of shape about every single opinion in existence, I'll preface by stating that everyone parents differently and I am sharing my own thoughts and opinions.  You don't have to agree with me.  I won't be hurt.

Anyway, helicopter parents.....ahh, helicopter parents.  That must be exhausting.  That's all I'll say about that.

I pushed each of my boys on the swings for about 10 minutes, and then sat on a bench to watch them play.  I wasn't on my cell phone, though it's no one's business if I would have been.  I was enjoying the late-summer breeze and watching my kids, along with a group of 8-10 year old boys, play while enjoying the sunshine on my legs.

The helicopter parents were abound.  Heck, there was even a helicopter grandpa there.  I was quite astonished at his energy level!  It even wore his grandson out, as he finally asked, "Can we not play the monster game anymore, grandpa? I want to climb on the ladder."  That made me chuckle.

While I was sitting on the bench observing, I felt the eyes of a couple heli-moms on me.  I'm sure they were aghast at my level of laziness and my utter disregard for what my boys were doing.  I was probably disgusting them with my self-centered presence at the park that morning.

But a few things happened Thursday morning at Vickie Powers Park.

Jameson - who has forever been quite un-graceful and hesitant to do anything daring - climbed up the steps of the jungle-gym, and proceeded to go right down the slide all by himself. Then, beaming with pride, he did it again.  After the small slide became super lame, he moved on to the bigger slides.

A few minutes later, he started hopping across the tires that are half-buried in the ground, whereas he wouldn't even get up on them the previous times we'd been to that park.

He also climbed up onto a ride-on horse toy, with no help from me, though he'd requested it - something else he's never done on his own before.

Hendrix saw another boy standing on top of one of those tubes designed to crawl through.  He asked me how to get up on top of it, and I answered that I wasn't sure, but I knew he could figure it out.  And you know what?

He did.

He got frustrated a few times, and he failed a few times.  But the other young boy ended up giving him a few pointers, and the next thing I knew, Hendrix was King of the Playground Jungle and he had figured it out without my help.

Again - everyone parents differently, but letting kids figure things out themselves really does them quite a bit of good.  And from the heli-grandpa paragraph above, sometimes I think they really do want adults to butt out and let them be kids. :)