My Love Below

my journey through motherhood and other complex matters

The Diet Daniel Never Told You About

So here’s the rundown. We all have our reasons for starting a new diet, but never could I imagined that I would 1) complete this challenge 2) enjoy the journey 3) develop a love for vegan recipes and 4) grow spiritually while doing so.

Frankly, I just wanted to detox, but God saw fit that I got more out of this fast than I could ever imagine.

But, I digress.

The purpose of this post it to share with you some of my favorite recipes and help you complete the challenge. If you are thinking this is all about eating rabbit food (aka salads), you are sadly mistaken. You are also cheating yourself from expanding your pallet and creating some really tasty dishes that you will permanently add to your rotation of healthy meal options.

Here. Let me help you.





Grocery Pick Me Up


All hail Wal-Mart and it’s new grocery delivery option! Basically, it’s free same-day pickup.

Worked like a charm and the attendants were super friendly. All I did was place my order online, choose a time slot to pick up my groceries, park in the reserved spot and my order was brought directly to my car.

To learn, how you never have to step foot in Wal-Mart for groceries again, visit


Wishful Thinking . . .

Wishful Thinking . . .

Happy birthday to me. I blinked my eyes and wriggled my nose and the next thing you know, I was 34 with two healthy, beautiful children and a loving husband. Where did the time go? How did I get here? Well, I kind of know the answer to that. What I’m more interested in finding out is where I am going.

I could go on an on about what I am wishing for today, but if I told you, then by mere superstition my wishes wouldn’t come true. But, if you know me, you know I’m not superstitious. I do things my way, so I will share one of my wishes with you.

. . . to refresh this blog and keep it going. Now, that’s wishful thinking!

Hand, Foot and Mouth

We have finally returned to normalcy after 10 days. Miles caught the dreaded of all pre-school viruses, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. It is horrible and honestly, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy’s children, much less my worst enemy.

Miles came to our bedroom one morning very lethargic. He didn’t even attempt to hop on our bed like he usually does. I assumed he wasn’t feeling well, but I had no idea what was to come. At about 11 a.m. that morning he complained about an itchy rash on his feet. I thought he might have had an allergic reaction to something or got bitten by an insect. I rubbed his the rash with Benadryl cream and kept it moving. That evening, we were at my parents house and Miles was super uncomfortable. He kept complaining about his feet and how itchy they were. By this time he was in tears as we tried everything to console him. By this point I had called his Pedi’s after-hours care for the third time. The nurse told me that if he was experiencing the same symptoms in the morning I should make an appointment to see his doctor. After I hung up the phone, I thought . . . this is crap! She wants my child to suffer through the night before I bring him to see his doctor who probably does not have the equipment to treat my him should this be something worse? Mother’s instinct told me to take him to the emergency room.

In the meantime, we hopped on the internet an attempted to diagnose our son. We scanned pictures of rashes comparing them to the rash that was on Miles’ feet and skipped over Hand, Foot and Mouth, because the description indicated that the rash was mild and not itchy. However, I thought otherwise. In fact, I called it.

When we got to the emergency room and the nurse came in, she immediately diagnosed Miles as having the viral infection, which has no real cure, but time. The rash, which turned into water blisters,  spread like the description said from his feet, to his hands, to around his mouth. He even experienced mouth sores and blisters on his knees. The mouth sores and blisters around his mouth went away in two to three days. The blisters on his feet lasted seven to eight and right now, the skin on his feet is shedding – part of the heeling process.

As a parent, I never felt so helpless. Miles was in such discomfort and anything we tried to help sooth his pain and irritability was temporary. We tried Benadryl, Motrin, Calamine lotion and oatmeal baths. I’m pregnant, so I made sure that if I caught the virus, it would not affect the baby and it wouldn’t, which was a relief.  The virus has an incubation period of three to six days and  could be spread when Miles experienced a fever. His fevers were very mild – 99 to 101 F. However, some experts revealed that fevers could get as high as 103 F.

I’m so happy that today Miles went back to school and he was happy to be there. Poor boy had been indoors for one whole week. The most important thing that kept me sane, besides my faith in God, was knowing that we would all come out on the other side, that his pain and discomfort (and ours to add) was temporary. Miles would get better. We would return to normalcy. There was light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

I thought it was important to post this experience to my blog, because let’s face it parenting can be hard. As a parent, I believe that you are supposed to be your child’s strongest advocate. I also believe that as a mother, it’s my desire to share real life experiences to let others know that hey, while it’s tough now, you will survive. We did!

Be Kind

I had a rough start to the week. Lots of things going on that I could not handle at one time. While my situation is not nearly as bad as others, some I know and some I don’t,  I was reminded of the importance of being kind. We don’t know what people often go through or the difficulties they may encounter. However, I believe there is something powerful about being kind to others, even when you don’t feel like it.


IKEA hacked!

I have a few IKEA items in my home. My favorite being the EXPEDIT shelving unit, featured below. It holds all the trucks blocks, art supplies and odds and ends Miles holds dear.

Ikea EXPEDIT shelving unit

Ikea EXPEDIT shelving unit

I’ve seen a lot of creative IKEA hacks, but the cutest hack I have ever seen was created by Freckles Chick for her daughter Quinn. She transformed an IKEA Latt table and chairs into the perfect activity table.

I never thought of transforming the set we purchased for a whopping $20 into an art escape, since Miles loves to color and paint. We tried using it as a dinner table, but the pressed wood table top didn’t hold up. Quinn’s table even includes supply holders and a paper roll to create endless masterpieces. Genius!

This is what they started with:

Boring . . .

and the finished product complete with chair pads:


The hubby and I have our own transformation project that is set to commence soon. It’s sure to be loads of fun . . . and hard work. More to come soon.

Currently Grooving To

This new Justin Timberlake album is everything. No, I  mean it. I instantly get happy when I’m listening to it and I can’t keep still. It’s like something just grabs hold of me and suddenly my shoulders are pulsating, my head is bobbing and I’m mouthing the words (even if I’m fumbling through them) like I am seated front-row at his concert. Lord, let his inevitable tour make it to The H.


My favorite tracks, in no particular order: Let the Groove In, Mirrors, Pusher Love Girl, Spaceship Coupe and That Girl.

I think JT just brought music back. {snickers}

What are you favorites?

Scenes from Easter

We had a glorious Easter weekend in Burleson, TX. Miles participated “unsuccessfully” in his first Easter egg hunt and got the chance to ride his Papa’s lawn mower a few times. Most importantly, I got to rest. Got to love country living!

Miles' Easter basket. I made it myself.

Miles’ Easter basket. I made it myself.


Taking a ride with daddy.

Taking a ride with daddy.


Then PaPa (Paw-Paw)

Then PaPa (Paw-Paw)


The Easter egg hunt. Minor meltdown because he wanted to pick-up eggs before it was actually time.

The Easter egg hunt. Minor meltdown because he wanted to pick-up eggs before it was actually time.


Easter swag. I love those socks.

Easter swag. I love those socks.


Milesy, Mommy and Ju-Ju. I'm almost 23 weeks here.

Milesy, Mommy and Ju-Ju. I’m almost 23 weeks here.







Easter, the bunny and the eggs

I’m not casting judgement on any parent who promotes Easter as the day Little Bunny Foo-Foo prances through the house or yard, hiding eggs full of delicious treats for their kiddos to find, but this South Park clip really says it all.

Why do we as parents choose to subscribe to group think just to save face? My parents were always very honest with me about Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter bunny and it didn’t prevent me from having an imagination or limited my creativity.  Not to toot my own horn, but I’m one of the most creative people I know. (toot-toot)

I choose to teach my children that Easter pays homage to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For that, we should all be truly grateful.

Don’t worry, they’ll still get their Easter baskets full of goodies from mommy and daddy. No harm in that.

My thoughts on having a girl

I’ll be honest. When I confirmed what my body was screaming all along — that I was having a girl — it took me a moment to be excited. I immediately thought, wow . . . girls go through so much. (Mind you, I’m the  only girl and a middle child and some in my family would argue that having a girl made me nervous, because I don’t want any competition.) They deal with having to see overtly sexual images of women on a daily basis, which can lead to  body image issues and lack of confidence, mean girls/bullying, peer pressure, gender discrimination (this takes place much earlier than the day she ever takes a seat at the corporate table) and loads of other adverse hurdles that I’m not so enthused about her jumping over or scurrying under. Writing this blog has me stressing about it all over again.

Let’s face it, its scary to raise a child these days — boy or girl, but something about raising a girl had me petrified.

The latest news stories haven’t helped the situation either. The whole Steubenville Rape Case and reports of  increase of sexual assault in the  military which have both lead to numerous discussions on whether we live in a rape society is pretty daunting. Not to mention the discussions on gender equality in the workplace and whether or not women can or can not have a blossoming career and raise children successfully, something I often ask myself and continue to struggle with finding an answer to. Thank you, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Ursula Burns for being a catalyst for and pioneer of change, despite your views.  Ursula actually suggests that “we” marry a man 20 years our senior.   Thanks, but no thanks.

The more I think about it, having a daughter motivates me to take a hard look at all the decisions I’ve made as a working woman, because I now view myself as her prime example. Maybe that’s the thing that scares me the most.

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