Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vegan Eating

Ever since we started eating vegan we have recieved all types of feedback, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Most people ask me "What do you even eat?" I can definetly see where they are coming from being a non-vegan most of my life, it's hard to imagine such a change in lifestyle! To those people who ask, I tell them "Everything!" In fact it has opened up a whole new variety of food and ideas to me.
     The recipe I'm going to show today isn't anything new or unheard of. But it is a great way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet as well as use the leftover rice sitting in your fridge if you have that problem. Of course it's freakin delicious and something familiar! It's simply Vegetable Fried Rice.
Chop up half an onion and sautee in olive oil with garlic and basil and shown below. I add in these little dried chiles called chile de arbols. My husband loves these because everything I make must be spicy! I add the onions in before the oil is hot to give them a more savory flavor instead of a sweet caramelized flavor.
I found these wonderful creations at Walmart. They are in the frozen section. I put one cube of garlic and basil in with the onions. They are just freshly chopped and then frozen into cubes. This really helps save time and money which is a must for me.

Once again to save time and money I just buy a bag of frozen stir fry and add it to the wok. If you are a purist and have the extra time go ahead and buy all the vegetables and chop them up. This one had baby corns, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, red bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli. Then I add the following sauces and seasonings.

These are my main staple sauces for a lot of the Asian food I make. Yes I know nothing too fancy but trust me, it's really good! Sautee the vegetables with these ingredients for 5 to 10 minutes. You can just eyeball the amount you want. Then add the rice. This time I had some leftover coconut lime cilantro rice in the fridge that I added.
I always use jasmine rice. To make the coconut lime cilantro rice I do one cup coconut milk, one cup vegetable broth or stock, and one cup water in a pot. Also the juice of one lime and bring to a boil with 2 cups jasmine rice. Cook according to rice directions and when done add in some chopped cilantro. Anywho, sautee the veggie and rice mixture and medium high heat. I like to char the rice a little to get that fried rice flavor.
Serve with a lime wedge and bon appetite! Or I guess Gè bǎo in Chinese! I normally serve it with fried tofu and sometimes egg rolls for extra protein but did not have any this time. I know it's not any new break through in cooking and something we have all seen before but it is really delicious!
     I will be posting, hopefully, more vegan dishes that are more exciting and different soon! I realize that some of you may not agree with the "vegan lifestyle" and that's totally fine. I'm not in anyway trying to force our way of eating on anyone else, just sharing some delicious, healthy recipes!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Long time no see

     Well needless to say I'm not very good at keeping up with a blog. My life is a little on the insane side right now and a lot of days I'm lucky if I get a shower in. When this kind of mess happens in a matter of minutes....
You get the idea.

     It's really strange going out with all three of my girls. As I take my 3 year old Jade to the mall (not for shopping) to play or going to the grocery store or just anywhere I really notice the other girls my age and how different our lives are. I think about how they are most likely living with room mates or are newly married. They wake up to go to work getting a nice long shower in, getting their hair dried, and even get makeup on. They probably get to sleep in on the weekends and get to hang out with friends multiple times a week. Eating out, going to parties, movies, clubbing, vacationing! etc. Working out is no problem, they have plenty of time and energy for that. As they look back at me what do they see?
   A person who wakes up next to their husband of almost 6 years. A person who clearly has no makeup and possibly not taken a shower that day. A girl with her hair up in a pony tail, baggy eyes and not wearing the latest style. Or any style. A person who is trying to keep two babies entertained and keep a three year old happy and in sight. To them it might be like a horse seeing a zebra for the first time. What is this strange creature who should be like me but is nothing of the kind.
   Sometimes I catch myself feeling envious I must admit. Seeing their freshly curled hair and perfect makeup. Tight fit bodies and stylish clothing carefully picked out. Their carefree spirit and laughing faces. Newly manicured nails and probably fresh pedicures. Then, what do I do? What does every woman do so naturally and without thinking? I compare myself of course. I look at myself. With my unstyled hair and clothes. With my exhausted frame and mind. Never able to rest with the ceaseless crying, tantrums, dishes, laundry, messes, cooking, teaching, cleaning etc.
     How do we get out of this mind set? It is almost impossible for me not to compare myself to other women, it is truly a weakness of mine.
     This is what I'm trying to do instead. I say to myself "Wow I'm 24 years old. I have three beautiful healthy daughters. Yes I am very different from other women my age but victory has made them weak." My life is literally a constant challenge and difficult and stressful. I am going through a seeming never ending refiners fire but when I come out I will be like a brilliant diamond. Strong, capable, and freaking beautiful! I'm learning how to truly be selfless and push myself harder than I thought possible. I have and will continue to suffer through depression, physical pain, anxiety, headaches (literally everyday) and more. But if everything was easy we as humans would not enjoy life. We would grow soft, weak, and break easily. We would be like a marshmallow easily consumed by life's sharp jaws. We would be entitled, ungrateful, and selfish. And we are that way. Look at how the new generations are becoming more and more that way. But I digress. Probably because my 3 year old and one of my babies are going nuts right now.

    All you moms out there probably can relate to a lot of what I've said. If we can stop comparing ourselves are realized we are amazing because we are doing the hardest and most rewarding job in the universe it will change our lives. 

     Well this post wasn't what I intended it to be. I was gonna be about how we became vegan last August and about the Muse concert we recently went to in Las Vegas (our first getaway in 4 years) but that will be for another time! I really cannot concentrate well or think straight anymore so this might just be ramblings of a mad woman. Below are some pictures of what my life's all about right now and maybe you can relate.

                                                           My twins are almost one!
                                                                Never ending right?

                                                  Cookin some vegan grub, lentil soup :)
                                     Catherine just makes messes for the sake of making messes.


Friday, September 28, 2012

"Oh my, are they twins?"

     "Are these both your babies?" "Are they twins?" Are the first things people usually say to me in public.  Other people usually give me the sympathy eye, or the how old are you to have 3 kids already eye. To be honest, I like the attention.  Is that bad for me to say? I don't know. But I am in the house 24/7 so when I do get out I like a little attention. Hey, it was a lot of hard work cookin those babies for 9 months and getting them ripped out of me and then 0 sleep for at least 2 months so I say hey, I deserve a little attention. ;) The next question thing people say is usually one of two things. "I always wanted twins!" Or on the other end of the spectrum, "How do you do it? I don't know what I would do if I had twins." I usually respond with "Once you find out your having twins you just do it, there is no other option." But to be honest it is a little crazy thinking your body is capable of growing two babies inside of you and then you have to figure out on your own how to care for 2 babies at the same time.  Trying to balance your attention equally and teach them both equally and dealing with two very different personalities is crazy, but I love it. You get to have two happy faces looking at you, four hands and feet all jumbled together and twice the chub. Well maybe triple the chub with Emery.
     Now I am at a great age with them. 6 months old. They can't crawl yet, they are happy, and they sleep, well, better than they use to.  They sleep from 7 or 8 pm till about 4 or 5 am. Which is really amazing.  I'm just still like "Why can't you sleep in till 7 or 8 am?" I really love my sleep. Now I'm just acting spoiled.  If I remember back to that fuzzy newborn stage it went something, roughly, like this.
     They would fall asleep at whatever time they felt like at night, sometimes 6, or 7, or 8. Then they would wake up at maybe 11 to eat.  Then we would try and get them both to fall asleep.  They needed to be next to me or rocked in a swing.  Usually I would just pull them both in bed with me, one on each side, just to maybe get a tiny bit of sleep. And it was sooo hot with them both next to me. If their binkys fell out they were wide awake again.  Then they would wake up at 2ish am to eat.  Then one would fall asleep and sometimes the other would not fall asleep until 5 am and by that time the first one, who was sleeping, would wake up.  And I knew I was going on 2 - 3 hours of broken up sleep every night and still would somehow have to take care of my toddler Jade who would be waking up soon. Sometimes I would just lay there trying to get one of them to sleep, holding the binky in their mouths and they just squirmed and fussed and would not go to sleep and I would just be too tired to even cry. Just thinking about it again is nightmareish.  Also, I was still recovering from my C-section so getting up and down in the night all the time really hurt and really slowed down my healing process.
     So just writing that all out just made me be really really really grateful for how things are now with them being on a night time schedule!
     Well I better end this short once again.  The only way I was able to really get this done is because a friend has been watching Jade and she is home now, throwing her shoes against the wall as hard as she can. Here comes the tornado.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's hard to dance with the Devil on your back so shake him off...

     One morning you wake up and go through the usual morning routine like you always do. After the kids are all fed and changed you get to eat your breakfast.  You get on Facebook like usual to see whats going on in other peoples lives. Then you start to think about all the things you have to get done that day, which are the same things you did yesterday: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, feed children, play with children, cook, clean up toys, maybe get a shower...maybe. Some days you have motivation to get 3/4 of the things on your list done, sometimes only one thing. But all the while you realize something is missing and has been missing for a while, but what is it? What is it and where did it go? You start to look at pictures on the walls of a life you had before, a life that seems like it was just a dream; fuzzy images that play through your head.  A life that had less purpose but still had something that you are missing now.  And then you realize, what you have lost, what is making you feel and not feel.  Your Identity. Where did it go and how can you get it back?
     Once you realize this you need to act and not wallow in self pity.  You need to find yourself again. Don't get me wrong it's not as easy as snapping your fingers.  It will be a daily battle to find yourself and keep yourself.  Especially with all the crying, whining, demands, poop, hungry mouths, and young minds that need constant stimulation and learning. Ok I know this might be sounding horrible and that I'm just saying that your children are just a bother that get in the way of your life. This is not what I am talking about.  We all know that your children are the best parts of you, they are the best things that have ever happened to you and you love them more than life itself. We all know this. But what we don't know is how to take care of ourselves, and keep our Identity intact. I admit I am still trying to find myself, a little piece of what I was before. I am trying to find that person they call Vanessa.
     I started digging. I will need to dig quite a big pit but I've already started to find pieces of me. I've realized what I need, and that is change and things to look forward to.  It's hard with no money but even just playing music that I love everyday and trying to plan things to do out of the house a couple times a week helps me start to feel like a person again.  Not just a manufactured robot to keep other people alive and happy. Yes I am a mother, but you can't be a very good mother to your children if you don't really know who you are and don't do things that make you feel happy and full of life. I hate to rush this post but Jade really needs attention, she is throwing her underwear at me so I think it's time to go.  But I just want to say, this is all about being the best person and mother we can be.  I know that motherhood is the highest honor and most important position we can have in this life and in the next.  But in order to become a queen you must know your worth and know who you are.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

     It's been a long time since I've written last. Things get crazy around here.
     Jade just turned 3 and the twins are almost 5 months old! It seems like a lifetime ago I was laying on that hospital bed, barely able to move for 5 days.
     Catherine can now roll onto her tummy and Emery can roll from her tummy to her back.  They both still have trouble lifting up their huge noggins.  They are such happy babies though and I can't help but smile every time I see them.
     Their little spirits are really what help me keep going sometimes.

     Sometimes life just hits you with everything it has all at once and you just have to sit back and take the punches. Carlen (my husband) lost his job about 7 weeks ago. It was a couple months after we moved into a new house.  Then right after that all my girls got sick and have been getting sick consistently ever four weeks so I can't even leave the house.  Jade somehow is the carrier of sickness and brings it into the house on a regular basis.  She currently has been sick for 2 weeks now and luckily the babies are mostly over it.  But between trying to potty train a three year old who doesn't really care to learn about potty training and getting up in the night and taking care of boogers and poop and spit up all the time, and dealing with toddler defiance and tantrums, and trying to keep the house clean and having no money, I just want to explode or hide or something.  Carlen is working 2 temporary jobs right now. One of which he works graveyards. When he gets home he sleeps for as long as he can and then gets up to go to his other job and so on.  So not having any help is really tough.  Also not seeing my husband ever gets depressing.
     But before this all sounds like a big complain fest let me say I am so blessed to have 3 beautiful healthy daughters and and a nice home to live in. I have to focus on the positive or else it become a downward spiral of negative thoughts which I have done from time to time.  Let me tell you, that only leads to eating more treats and crying and having no energy.  I know that this is just one of those times in my life where things are really hard and I just have to grit my teeth and push through.  When you have these 3 angels looking up to you, you have a  responsibility to be happy.
     Even as I'm writing this post I'm trying to hold and comfort a grumpy baby and keep Jade away from her because she is coughing on everything, oh and yep she just spilled about 100 colored pencils all over the floor and she is throwing them now.  But hey, I'm a mom, and being a mom is the hardest job on the planet, but it is also the most rewarding one.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

     We woke up at 4:30 am on March 28, 2012.  The big day was finally here! I didn't feel nervous until we started driving to the hospital. I was the first person in my family to ever have a c-section so naturally I was very apprehensive. I tried to keep my cool. I didn't want to let my husband know I was nervous because that would just make him more nervous. We walk into the hospital room, get in our hospital gowns, the nurses put in my IV and then we wait.  Then the guy who I'm scared of most walks in, the anesthesiologist. I waddle down the hall with him, leaving my husband alone in the cold dim hospital room.  We walk into the operation room; it was freezing! And I mean ridiculously cold! I still don't know why.  So then the fun part begins. I have now learned that I have a weird spine and the discs in my back are really close together so it is really hard for anesthesiologists to find the right spot to put in a spinal or epidural. So it took him three times to get the right spot! Three times are you kidding me! Yeah I felt the first two punctures in full, the numbing didn't really work.  So when he finally got it I was like, ok is it the right spot? Am I going to feel them cut me open? I was a mess.  I was really really scared and shaking like a leaf. My doctors came in, they put the sheet up, and I'm like ok no backing out now; not that I had a choice anyway. Then my husband came in and I was sooo happy to see him. 
     They started cutting, and thank goodness I didn't feel pain.  A couple minutes later I heard the best sound in the world; my beautiful baby Emery crying at full volume! A huge wave of relief came over me and I wasn't nervous anymore.  It only took them another minute to get Catherine out and she was crying just as hard as Emery.
                                                           Emery Jane Smith 6lbs 4 oz
                                                      Catherine Marie Smith 6 lbs 5 oz
     After a very long 38 weeks I had my two beautiful healthy babies!

Monday, June 11, 2012

     Almost a year ago my husband and I were sitting in the ultrasound room waiting to hear the heartbeat of our second child. The doctor came in and started the internal ultrasound where we could see our little bean growing inside me.  It was so exciting to hear it's little heartbeat and see it on the monitor.  But what's this? The doctor says there is a second heart beat; this can't be right.  "Are you joking?" I ask the doctor about three times.  "Nope there's a second heartbeat, see the two sacks?"  I look at my husband with tears in my eyes; tears of joy, of fear, of confusion, of excitement.  We stare at each other with the same look on our faces then we look back to the monitor. It was true we were having twins!

     Month after month I watched them grow and still it was hard to believe.  With no fertility treatments or family history it was truly a miracle and meant to be.  There are a lot more things to worry about with a twin pregnancy but luckily I had no health problems.  Oh did I mention that I made it to 38 weeks which is considered full term for twins! I bet I could have made it to 40 but luckily they don't let you go that long because I was huge!
     This picture was taken at 37 weeks I believe, so....yeah. At about 33 weeks I was measuring as if I were full term with one baby.  And also at 33 weeks I was like "ok I'm done with this whole being pregnant thing!" I honestly didn't know how I could mentally and physically make it to 38 weeks. I got a lot of stretch marks from my first pregnancy so I thought "there's no way I could get more."  Oh boy was I wrong.  Somehow, I don't know how, but somehow your skin is able to create stretch marks on top of stretch marks.  My poor stomach will never be what it use to be but it was worth it in the end. This pregnancy was also a lot harder because I have a 2 year old. I know right? It was really hard to even get off the couch so I don't know how I even took care of her.  But hey she is still alive and thriving!

It's a girl and it's another girl! It was a shock that I was having two more girls, I thought for sure one was a boy but what do I know.  But I'm so happy that I have two more little princesses! I will write more about the day they were born in the next post.  I got two hungry babies to feed and a toddler who needs some attention!