Tag Archives: POLP

Marvelous Monday

I survived! I know there is a celebration of single motherhood, but it is not for me. I do not know how women do it alone- I need Dave. Maybe it’s not sleeping alone, or someone to help out so I can pee alone. Whatever it is. I need it. I need him. I am SO glad he is home! Ten days is far too long to be without such an amazing Daddy- Addie was THRILLED to see him! We missed this face, both with and without glasses…

(If you're ever wondering where Addie gets her eyebrows from!)

(If you’re ever wondering where Addie gets her eyebrows from!)

 

This week (and every week, really) I am thankful for my District One family.

d1family
Which brings me to my dwarfism fact of the week… As I’ve mentioned before, there are 30,000 (approximately) people in the US with dwarfism. This means that of the minorities, my friend Kate says it best: dwarfism is a rare minority.

We are in District One, which encompasses a LARGE amount of space. There are people from the tippy top of Maine all the way to Connecticut. It is hard (both to travel and afford) to go to all of the events, but when I heard we had a Southwick’s Zoo trip planned, I KNEW we needed to be there. It wasn’t until I was walking to the car, reflecting on the day, that I knew how badly I needed to be there.

Time and time again I’ve told myself different affirmations about life, parenthood, being a POLP… but when I am with the moms and dads who have walked my path before, I feel immediately drawn to them. One mom that I’ve met before feels like my sister, and a woman I’ve only ever emailed a few times listened to my life story. A family new to the community, but not to parenting made an immediate bond in my heart, and one dad (of the many awesome ones there!) showed me that to love a child with a “disability” is no different than to love one without. Parents I met last year saying the words, “Addie, you’ve gotten so big!” meant more to me than I can put into words. She HAS gotten big! …but not big. If you know what I mean. When you hear things like “her head is so big”, “she looks different”, “look how tiny” (the list goes on)- hearing how big she’s gotten, how beautiful- seeing other LP children watching a babe just like them. It was an experience I needed.

Watching children a few years older, 10 years her senior and adults with dwarfism, I truly learned the meaning of the words: Everything is going to be OK. Addie might have surgeries in her youth. We will be OK. Friends will be bigger, but there will be friends. Husbands and wives will find each other. Maybe there will be babies. Whatever happens, everything will be OK.

Addie at Southwick

YES WE FED DEER!!!!

As I focus on the now, I see that Addie has friends who love her and I do, too:

LPA D1 Friends Finally, when I look at our extended family, I recall memories we made before and ones that are new. Times that we will spend that will mark each Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. I will remember these times- the first time a shy babe came over to me and dropped her chin to my shoulder, seeing Addie as a new young member, sitting with the kids who didn’t quite make the height requirements for the Sky Ride, loving how gentle a lanky 8 year old can be with my sweet girl and how flirtatious he is the next moment with a 10 year old, beautiful girl with achon. Watching children revel in summer play, explore new friendships and not one person mention being small- except for the silly “who rides in the wagon next based on the most recent surgery” competition (all in fun!) or making sure anyone in a brace is nice and cool in the sun- these children are all just kids. There are so many days when this will, quite frankly, not be the case. There are days that will be hard, but these are the times and the people who will provide some of the best days of all. This is my family. I may not have consciously chosen them, but I am so thankful to have them in my life and will continue to make the effort to keep them close.

My family

If you wondering where you can get local support, please look into the LPA district sites and contact your local chapter. I promise, you will find a group that you can learn from, laugh and cry with, and feel normal (my n-word) with. Interestingly, Peter Dinklage says his parents had these groups where he grew up (in North Jersey) and he sort of mocks them as support groups for parents (although I love this interview). Although that may have been his experience- as he did not keep in touch with the other children he’d met, I have to say, watching our babies run around and play with each other- getting to see friends that they live far from but have such great memories with, I know that staying involved in the community will be more than just for me, but for Addie as well. Just like I like to be around other hockey fans, I’m in groups for just new moms, Dave has his computer-tech-savvy groups, Addie will have her groups. Some may consist of other swimmers, pianists or princesses, ballerinas or t-ball players- and one group will be of other children who, like her, have a form of dwarfism.

My random of the week is silly, but when you’re in Rhode Island and your husband is traveling abroad, you get jealous. By “you” I mean ME! THIS hotel is somewhere I need to stay! Dave sent me a bunch of pictures, and these were from his hotel- The Bellezza. Taipei IS VERY HOT during this time of year, and in an eco-friendly manner, many businesses use the air conditioning sparingly. In all the heat and sweat, Dave loved his hotel room as his place of rest and rejuvenation and I did too… at least in theory. The rooms are HUGE and super convenient to get places, including public transportation and their World Trade Center (where he was working for most of the week).

Tapei hotel room

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Listen to Me: Marvelous Monday

I’ve grown up, bought a house, married, gotten a puppy, had a baby, cooked a few thousand meals, given up part of my identity to be known as Mom or, more accurately, Addie’s Mom, I decided to stay home (at least for now), and I have a handful of friends I could not get through life without… then I met my fellow Rhody Bloggers and that changed. I met people that I didn’t want to live without. Women with stories that made me cry til I was dry, laugh til I was crying, buy products I never knew existed and teach me how to be a better Mom, wife, friend and human. This week, and every week going forth, I will be thankful that I was able to be a part of Listen to Your Mother. I didn’t make the show (you can read about that HERE), but I got to see it, live the moments each woman bravely shared- whether it’s a life lesson about grocery shopping with kids, how we struggle to overcome our insecurities, having emotions we wish we could control, about our mothers shaping us just by believing in what we could do- I lived it. I sat between two new friends of mine, as we each shed tears, shared laughs and then drinks after the show- it was an experience I will treasure always. Thank you to Carla and Laura for producing the best first LTYM: Providence!

Me, cast member Jackie Hennessy of Venting Sessions, Carina and Tera of Girl Gone Healthy

Me, cast member Jackie Hennessy of Venting Sessions, Carina and Tera of Girl Gone Healthy

We are doing very important work with our pens... like math.

We are doing very important work with our pens… like math.

New friends and snuggle buddies <3

New friends and snuggle buddies <3

 

My random of the week is… GET IT DONE NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE! If you’re not following me anywhere but here, maybe you haven’t been as inundated as you should be with my Girl Gone Healthy posts. Well, that sucks for you! Tera is an inspiration as a woman, wife and mother- not to mention a warrior. This lady gets it done, no matter what. I’ll keep it brief, but the next time you say you can’t get your workout in because you have to get the food shopping done, you darn well better park FAR away from the front door. This is Tera this weekend, in heels, walking the 4 flights of stairs (she did it 3 times) to get a little workout in. And stairs? They’re no joke.

In heels, 4 flights, 3 times. Get it done.

In heels, 4 flights, 3 times. Get it done.

Lastly… dwarfism! Lots of people have pointed out Addie’s belly, so much so, that I began to get concerned. As I have done many times before, I turned to my POLP (parents of little people) friends and asked: is that normal? I kind of loathe the word, but truthfully… we all have our own normals in life. But I digress… here is some information about why there is a belly on the little beauty (besides the fact that she eats very healthfully… and completely). Children with achondroplasia often have lordosis, or sway back. This makes the belly look like it’s sticking out more. A smaller chest also gives the appearance of a large tummy. Other factors: smaller space leaves the belly the place where many achondroplastic children show weight and it’s super common that after eating the belly is visibly more full!

As I wiped my forehead of worry-lines, I looked over at my sweet girl. That belly so many like to point out: it’s beautiful. It’s ticklish, it holds many kisses, it flattens out against my body as we snuggle in the morning, it rounds to my hand when I carry her facing out, and fits right underneath my chest when I carry her to me. I love that belly.

Belly I Love

**AND WE HAD A FIRST THIS WEEK… JUST WANTED TO SHARE: Addie climbed up a step!!!!

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Marvelous Monday!

Hello, Reader! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and did not imbibe too much! If so: Advil + Tylenol and have a pint of slightly salty water and lots of plain water… at least that’s what my college taught me ;) I spent my Sunday celebrating my little beauty’s 11 month birthday… where does the time go?!

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This week I am thankful for wine stoppers! You know when you open a bottle, and you know you won’t finish it (at least you hope you won’t), but you tore the cork to an unrecognizable heap of flakes-that-once-were? That is where stoppers come in handy. I got a nifty owl-topped stopper as a gift (post-baby gifts are pretty amazing) and I am SO glad. It’s cute in the kitchen and makes me feel a bit fancy. For those times when you’re trying to open the bottle of wine with one hand, while you stir dinner, soothe the baby, finish the dishes and feed the dog with the other- my wine stopper has saved me! I no longer have to look to where the cork went to, pry it off the corkscrew, or figure out how to slam it back in there after I let it breathe and pour myself a glass… thanks to this awesome invention. Cheers to you Monday warriors- may your evening [glass] be filled once tonight, and the remainder saved, nice and fresh for tomorrow!

I am excited about this week, because I have some information about dwarfism that is both interesting to learn about, and crucial to new POLP (parents of little people). This weekend, new parents asked me about getting an MRI for their child who is not suffering from pain or sleepless nights. This child is just a few weeks old and also has achondroplasia. Addie just had a sleep study, and I think that’s what prompted this email to me.

Background information: Spinal cord compression is very common in people with dwarfism. Compression is the narrowing of the foramen magnum (at the base of the skull) causing the spine to become pinched. In many cases this narrowing causes pinching on the nerves and can cause pain, as well as central sleep apnea, which is when the brain tells the body to stop breathing. Without the presence of pain, it is hard to diagnose compression without an MRI or a sleep study. Due to the American Pediatric Guidelines on what tests should be performed for a child with achondroplasia, many doctors automatically prescribe an MRI. Because you have to be perfectly still for an MRI, many children are put to sleep for the process. Anytime someone is put under, there is a risk. For very young children, there is a higher risk. For someone with different spinal complications than an average height patient, there are more concerns and risks. With that, people with dwarfism often go through many x-rays in their lives, and the more you are radiated, the more you become susceptible to diseases that stem from radiation. With that being said: specialists in the genetic study of skeletal dysplasias suggest a sleep study (or multiple sleep studies) to rule out compression long before they suggest an MRI. Again, this is without the presence of pain. If there is pain involved, there are other factors that will be discussed in terms of necessary imaging and testing.

So… I wanted to share some of my responses with you. I think it is both educating and enlightening. While there are so many questions as to what is right or wrong for your child, I find myself, with other parents, wrestling with some heavy decisions about excess imaging (Addie is x-rayed every 6 months for the first 6 years of her life as a standard procedure with her geneticist), surgeries, testing and the big decision Dave and I made to spend time and money driving Addie to Delaware twice a year (305 miles each way) to meet with the top geneticist and leading orthopedic doctor specializing in skeletal dysplasia. We seek information about who is the best neurologist, ENT, pediatric dentist who has seen dwarfism, EI specialists who understand the physical limitations of younger children with achondroplasia… the list goes on. But, here, I’d like to focus on the idea of the MRI. I feel it is not necessary without presentation of pain AND/OR a negative sleep study showing an excess of central sleep apnea occurrences, with or without a severe loss in oxygen efficiency in sleep.

I am not a doctor. What I say below are my opinions as a mother. The stated opinions below should not be taken as medical fact or used as your final decision without consulting a medical professional. Here is our back and forth. I edited some information so that this family would not be recognized.

Our child is currently only 6 weeks old and the doctor wants to schedule an MRI, in which he will have to be sedated. It just scares me to have someone so little sedated, especially with all of the complications associated with sedation

Why an MRI? Is he feeling pain, in your mind? Addie has sleep studies instead of MRIs because I won’t put her under for imaging.
Is it a geneticist or pedi? Do they have experience with achons?

Currently it is the Pediatrician. He is not feeling any pain, as far as I’m concerned. She says that she is following the American Pediatric guidelines associated with Achondroplasia. She wants to consult with his geneticist first and then we are to go on from there. I don’t think she may have much experience with Achons but I am told that is the case with many. I’ve had many moms on POLP tell me that their children underwent MRI’s in infancy because it’s standard and they encourage it. I’m very much against it.

YES- she is right. The American Pedi guidelines suggest it, but that is for doctors who have patients with dwarfism, but who are not familiar with the condition, as they need guidelines.
Find a geneticist who works with LP and go from there. Dr. Bober in Delaware (we drive 300+ miles twice a year) was so glad we didn’t get an MRI. It’s ridiculous to image any child unnecessarily. They’re looking for compression in the foramen magnum, which will appear as pain and/or central sleep apnea. Apnea can also be caused by obstructions like the tonsils or adenoids. This is obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep study is the best place to start, especially if you’re not noticing pain cues. A sleep study will give results about if apnea is occurring and what kinds are, if at all. With this information you can see a neurologist, for central/foramen concerns, or an ENT for obstructive concerns.
If pain were an issue, I would go for the MRI, but with all the imaging our babies need to get in life, I, personally, want to limit unnecessary exposure.

Sleep studies aren’t “fun”, but they aren’t dangerous- putting a baby under always has risks.
Lots of kids still get them, but it’s not something that the leading specialists in skeletal dysplasia find necessary unless they see issues elsewhere first.

And so… there is a bit of what happens in our lives. It’s not tragic, but it’s a lot to think about just a few weeks after your baby is born, especially when it’s not something (like vaccines or schooling) that most parents think about long before their child arrives. Thank you for being more aware with me!

Lastly, my random of the week is a review! I was not paid, so don’t worry about advertising here!

As many of you know, Dave and I don’t go out. Not like “oh we never go out, but we get take out”… we don’t go out, we don’t get food out, we don’t grab a quick bite places, or the like. We simply do not have the funds for that… so, when we decide to have an afternoon date, we hope it’s out of this world. Let’s just say the Kitchen Bar in Providence was not that.

I chose to stop here because there is a restaurant with the same name in Willow Grove, PA and I love it- they are in no way connected, but I figured we’d give it a whirl. As we entered with Addie (and her booster seat cover), we were greeted by a customer with Alzheimer’s who shook Dave’s hand and told us how beautiful Addie was. I already liked this place from the name, and this older gentleman really brought a softness to me. Now… where was someone to seat us in the small, nearly empty place? Ahh… there she is. She’s the one who seemingly doesn’t have a smile and the reached past Dave without so much as a grunt to grab some menus and ask us if we needed a highchair. It was a rough start, but we figured: no big deal.

SittingatKitchenBar

Our waitress (also the hostess) came to take our order: Dave the poached pear and sweet potato salad to which he added grilled chicken and the Reuben for myself. She walked away before I could ask for a cider. Dave caught her attention on the way back from another table and ordered one for me. She asked if I wanted a glass, to which I replied “No”. She walked over, pouring the cider into a glass. Hmmmm…

As I sipped my cider, Dave took Addie to the men’s room to change Addie. There were no changing tables/stations in either bathroom, but they were really clean (bonus). Dave changed Addie in his lap- he’s such a resourceful Daddy!

When our food came, Dave was so glad he had added chicken, as there was barely any sweet potato (small bits) and just a few thin slices of pear. He made a note that when you have small bits in salads, a vinaigrette tends to lose those pieces, but a creamy dressing picks them up. This salad just wasn’t exciting, the elements were lost and without the chicken (which was delicious and Addie ate half of), he would have been left a hungry man. Then there was my sandwich. I LOVE Reubens (call it my Jewish heritage), so I should have read better. There was no Russian dressing… but there was SO much salt, I’m not sure that dressing would have saved it for me. Thankfully, the fries were amazing. Crispy, not salty or greasy- just delightful… and plentiful! I think there were enough fries for an army!

FoodKitchenBar

As we cleared our plates (except for the fries and the bread of 1/2 of my sandwich), we waited; Addie slowly growing impatient. Dave and I downed our water, and waited. Our waitress bussed and reset a table, refilled a customer’s beer at the bar and checked on another table all while we both attempted eye contact. From the moment she’d set our plates down, she had not returned to check on us once. With Addie in her coat and finally showing that she was done and ready to nap, Dave got up and went to the opening of the kitchen (it’s an open kitchen and he just popped his head in and said “if we could have the check, that would be great!”- in the sweet way only Dave’s patience allowed. She plopped it down gently next to him a minute later, took his debit card and returned the black folder to Dave to sign. She quickly returned for it less than 30 seconds later. I have to admit, I was miffed. Not once during our meal did you check on us, but you came back for your signed receipt faster than a speeding bullet? I’m confused by the service, or lack-there-of and the food was less than wow-ing. Personally, I would not come back here unless it was to watch a game on one of their smaller TVs on a day when there were few people there again. The bar was well stocked, and people friendly enough, but when you spend money eating out less than 6 times a year (this includes take-out, dates and sandwich stops), knowing that you’ll have good food and a good experience means a lot. You want to spend those few precious moments that someone else is waiting on you in a comfortable and welcoming environment. For us, that was not the Kitchen Bar.

The aesthetic design of the pub-style restaurant was beautiful- simple and clean, and the location on Hope Street keeps you right in the hustle and bustle of the famous East Side. Stop in for a drink and some fries… but leave the kids and true appetite at home.

My favorites <3

My favorites <3

Have a marvelous week!!!

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Marvelous Monday

For the first official Marvelous Monday post, let’s jump right in!

Educate

First up: sitting up!
If you had asked me last week if Addie could hold herself up, the answer would have been NO! But now:

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IMAG2012That’s a whole ‘lotta sitting! Her back is super straight, and I love giving her the opportunity to see the world from another vantage point. She does not pull herself into the position, so we don’t practice this too often.

Placing a child with dwarfism (specifically one with spinal issues like kyphosis) into the seated position often leads to “tripod sitting”. While this position is fine for most children, it is not for an achondroplastic because their vertebrae crunch in on themselves on the inner part of the spine. This leads to chipping away the bone, and can case severe back issues. Addie tries so hard to not fall forward, that she often falls out backwards (hence the pillow behind her).

Children with dwarfism can expect to sit up, on their own between the ages of 11 to 14 months. While Addie is only 8 1/2 months, she is not doing this on her own! We do not use seats (Bumbo, Mamas&Papas) that assist with propping because they allow for lower spine curvature, however, on Friday (1/11/13), I went to place Addie on her back, and she would not un-fold herself. I was bending over to put her down and I let her go to readjust my positioning, and she sat. Just like that. She wasn’t leaning on the sides, or against a toy. She was just sitting there! When she does fall back, she cannot hold her head up from falling like I’ve seen lots of other children do, so I do not leave her like this, but it’s been wonderful to see her sitting up for 30 seconds (or more!) at a time and laughing and smiling the whole time. Knowing that she is doing something new is not just exciting for us as parents, but for Addie, too!

While Addie’s milestones may be well behind those of average height (AH) children, her mental and emotional skills are not delayed. She mimics us and says funny things like “dada”, when she sees a man with a beard, she loves to brush her teeth, and when the music shuts off on her Baby Einstein player, she knows to slam her hand into it until it starts again (yes, she does this in the middle of the night when she wakes up). I have a baby who puts herself back to sleep with music. I feel like I might be WINNING… sorry Charlie.

Many times people have wondered when their child will sit, and being that Addie is my first, the wait is so hard. Watching other children sit up, crawl and walk, while my beautiful girl tries to squirm on her tummy or rolls into a toy isn’t always easy, but when she curls up into me, soft and warm, I know that when she is sitting up, walking and running, I will wish for these fleeting moments and never get them back.

I send you all my love POLP. It’s never easy to be a parent. Our babies are different. We don’t want to point it out, and as they mature they will do anything any other child does, but this early in the game, it can be daunting to watch other children do what our baby cannot. I still feel those things, knowing that Addie is “behind” her peers. As first time parents, all the things we prepared for are different. If you’ve already had a baby who is AH you’re starting all over again; learning new ways to parent and raising a child completely different from your others. And to all my friends out there who have no idea about dwarfism… be patient with me. I will move on and Addie will, too, but some days I just feel very alone. Thanks for sticking by me.

Thankful For

While I’m cooking dinner, a task we begin at 6:15 every evening after Addie eats, I put the babe in her exersaucer. Previously, she stayed in her highchair and demanded puffs. Shrieks and shrill cries told me none of my offerings of mixing bowls, wooden spoons or spinning toys would appease her desires. She wanted puffs.  While I don’t think any baby needs a diet, I don’t think my baby needs to eat puffs because she is bored. And so, most nights, dinner would be started, but not completed by the time Dave got home. There was simply no way to make food and stop the tears at the same time.

Addie wakes up from her 4:30-6pm nap, eats and then wants to play. She gets some puffs so I can begin dinner, plays with spoons and makes herself into a little drummer (just like mommy) and then, at the time when my hands are covered in raw chicken or beef, she lets out the first cry. I usually get the food prepped and my hands clean before WWIII starts, at which time I pick her up and put her in her new exersaucer.

Addie Playing

And so… what am I thankful for this week? Not the exersaucer, but for the best friend who knew what I needed before I did… even if that need is an exersaucer. I am thankful for my best friend. Sometimes you meet your soul mate on the playground of kindergarten. She’s the little girl who is similar to you, with the opposite hair color, but the same shoes. Or maybe she is in your dance class, or you swim together at the Y.

Me? I met mine at a new mom’s group. I won’t get too involved, but when I heard she was a transplant (from the south, HA!), her husband works too much, she had encountered similar loss in life, and had a high-risk pregnancy, it was like we were meant to be. We are not the same person on the outside. She is blond to my brunette. I have blue eyes to her brown. My muscular, though under-toned, body is covered in tattoos and a few piercings where hers is beautiful and lean with some freckles on her otherwise bare skin (when I was little I used my mom’s eyebrow pencil to give myself freckles- I love them!). I wear flats, she wears heels… and then we’re the same height. But, what we are the same in is our adoration of our baby girls (Addie and Hadley, known as Adley or Hadelaide), born just 4 days apart. Where I thought I wanted Addie to be born on April 21st to help heal the wounds of losing my father, I am glad she was born on the 17th (my lucky number). Hadley’s birthday gives me something to celebrate, but not a party to plan, which is something I don’t think I could handle. We are the same because we don’t fit in, but we do. We love red wine and champagne with cheese and guacamole. We love our SUVs and the men who provide for us, even if we never see them. We’ve known each other for about 8 months. Almost since the girls were born. There are no pictures of us in middle school laughing on the field hockey bus, but she didn’t play field hockey and I was never a cheerleader. High school dances? Nope, we didn’t know each other. College parties… I prefer those pictures never be released, anyway. But there are memories being made now. The loneliness of my pre-mom friends being too busy to ask me if I want to come out after the baby is asleep… it doesn’t hurt anymore. I have met someone who fills all the gaps and spaces. I love all of my friends, including (of course!) my Nick, who is my rock in Philadelphia. There are lots of ladies who fill my heart with love, and a few special men who have always protected me like a sister and fought with me like brothers. I am a blessed woman to have all of the love and support a person needs. Not from numbers, but from strength in the few I’ve let in, and who locked the door behind them.

I am thankful for all of my friends, but today I am specifically thankful for my best friend because she somehow always knows what I need. Yes, even if that need is an exersaucer so I can make some darn dinner!

Random?

Dinner is never random here. We eat around 7:30 8:00 9:15. Let it be known, we eat every night. I always have dinner ready… well, since 2013 began, and I wanted to share 3 super easy dinners you can get done in less than 15 minutes… as long as your children are amused. Can’t get them to calm down? Ask your friend for an exersaucer!
Quotes like: I can’t eat this fast enough and This has been an amazing month for dinners and Are you trying to out-do your dinner from last night are what keep me going. I wanted to have dinner ready when Dave got home as a personal resolution. No more asking him to come in the door and let me drop everything for him to take care of Addie and finish dinner while I come up to the office and Facebook. And so, I’ve rearranged my schedule to ensure we are home by 4pm everyday. Addie takes her nap 4:30-6 and then we head down to the kitchen to eat (her last meal of solids for the day) and make dinner. I make sure that I am prepared for what we need ahead of time, placing all the dry, canned and jarred goods out on the counter and putting all the refrigerated goods together on the bottom shelf in the fridge- ready for grabbing. I make sure that any recipe is loaded into my phone and the oven is pre-heating while Addie eats. And so, I’ve had dinner ready every night- including wine poured!

A few faves, each serves 2-3 adults… or 2 adults, 2 kids. Dave and I eat dinner and he takes leftovers for work!

Chicken Cesar Salad
I was never a fan of prepackaged salad kits, until they were on sale and I decided to get a few.

Cesar Salad Kit
Amazing.
Add sliced black olives, 3 minutes.
Grill chicken on the Foreman, 6 minutes.
Slice chicken, throw onto salad kit in bowl.
Call yourself a chef.
Pour wine and pat yourself on the back.

Garlic Kale with Sausage and Mushrooms
Take the casing off three sweet Italian sausages, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, throw into pan with oil until brown. No casing is crucial… I think it tastes SO much better.
Meanwhile, wash and dry one bunch of kale. Cut leaves off stem. Put into wok with 1T olive oil.  Add 8oz. sliced mushrooms. Cook on medium heat.
Dice fresh garlic… as much or as little as you want. I LOVE garlic. And toss with kale after 5 minutes.
Add salt to taste. Cook until leaves are tender but still crisp and bright green, lower heat and add sausage. Mix. Let sit for 1-2 minutes.
EAT!
You can use whatever meat you want… but YUM!!!!

Lastly… I got some pork tenderloin, already seasoned.
Follow the instructions on the package, but plan on about 40 minutes of bake time (I LOVE long cook times… set and forget… without having to unload the crockpot).
Make some couscous, which is super fast and simple, and season with S&P, paprika and turmeric for some smoky flavor and color.
Steam up veggies (I used broccoli) and dinner!
Pork is super easy because you let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice the whole tenderloin and divide it for dinner and lunch the next day. Couscous and steaming veggies are super fast, and great sides.

Happy eating… and HAPPY MONDAY… to all!

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