Pumpkin Cake – with Cream Cheese Icing!!

It’s that time of year where everything is pumpkin! Although I have my limits on how much pumpkin I can take, I just love this pumpkin cake! AND it’s made with homemade cream cheese icing! My wife absolutely loves it so I know you will too!

pumpkin-cake

Time: Prep: 20 minutes, Bake: 35 min, Cooling: about an hour
Servings: 24 Calories: 238 (per serving)

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 can (15oz) Pumpkin
1 cup Oil (we use canola)
1 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Icing:
2 cups sugar
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

Directions:
Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a bowl, mix pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs until well blended.
3. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
4. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
5. Pour into non greased 9×13 pan.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.
7. Cool Completely (about an hour)

Icing:
1. In a small bowl, beat sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.
2. Add milk and mix.
3. Spread over cake.
4. Store in the refrigerator.

 

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I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do, I promise you it is worth every bite and calorie!!

Thinking Slimmer – Slimpod Gold 12 Week Program – The Journey Begins

Happy Monday!! (i know, it’s such an oxymoron)

I was recently introduced to the 12 week Slimpod Gold Program by Thinking Slimmer so I decided to give it a go and see what happens. This is the very start of my weight loss journey so I’m pretty excited to see what this program can do! The premise of the program is to listen to these podcasts (so 10 minutes a day) every single day in order to change your way of thinking when it comes to food, exercise and stress in a more positive manner.

Well before we get this thing a going, let me give you some background information. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my weight has always been a HUGE struggle. I’ve always been a bigger girl. Always. I don’t ever remember a time where I was skinny or was in a healthy weight range. Maybe in elementary school? I honestly don’t ever remember a time. My biggest issue is food. Hands down. I’m an emotional and mindless eater. A HORRIBLE combination. I also have this weird thing that I absolutely have to finish my plate. I think it has something to do with the fact my parents would never let us get up from the table until our plate was finished. And it doesn’t help the fact that I’m incredibly picky. Vegetables are soooo not my thing. I’m hoping Slimpod can really help me fix these huge issues!

Here is a rough time line of my up and down weight journey:
February 2007 – I was 16 years old and 260lbs. My dad actually bought me a personal trainer for my birthday, I finally decided to make a life change.
August 2009 – I was 18 and with 70lbs down and 3 half marathons under my belt, I was at my lowest weight to date at 190lbs. I felt soooo incredibly good. But this was a time in my life where I was truly all alone for the very first time, I had moved several hours away from my family and my weight loss was no longer a priority. Paying the bills and school were all of a sudden a new priority and weight loss got put on the back burner. Cue in the mindless and emotional eating.
August 2012 – 21 years old and back up 50 lbs. So that put me at 240. This is when I was truly heartbroken for the first time but it this is also when I met my wife, who is a fantastic cook and for some reason thinks I’m always going hungry. So between my heart being cut in half and then a brand new relationship. Sooo much emotional eating.
November 2015 – 24 years old and I gained another 70. Putting me allllllll the way up at 333lbs. This is when I get pregnant.
July 2016 – 25 and I was exactly 350lbs the day I delivered my son. My heaviest weight to date.

Which brings us to today’s stats and the starting numbers for this program!
Weight: 333.9 lbs
Neck: 16 1/4 in.
Bust: 57 3/4 in.
Waist: 54 in.
Hips: 64 1/4 in.
Arms: Right: 18 7/8 in Left: 17 1/4in
Thighs: Right: 34 1/4 in Left: 30 1/4 in (yay for lopsidedness I guess!
Shirt Size: 2X/3X
Pants: 26/3x (I honestly haven’t put on a pair of regular jeans since getting pregnant with my son, before I was pregnant I was in a size 24 and they were a bit tight so I know I’m at least a 26)

The first thing the program wants you to do is set realistic goals for myself. So these are my 3 goals I would like to achieve in the next 12 weeks.
– I would like to lose 24lbs
-I would like to be in solely a 2x
– I would like to be in a size 22 pant/jean

I don’t know if you guys will truly understand how much it took for me to write that out and to post this. This is something I am so ashamed of. I want to make a change. I NEED to make a change. I refuse to have my son grow up with a fat mommy who can’t ride rides with him at parks. But this is why I am so excited to start to this program. I can’t wait to listen to my first slimpod tonight! And I will for sure be keeping you all updated a long the way!

thinking-slimmer

-Amanda

This is what PostPartum Depression Can Look Like. It Looks Like Me.

To give you a clear picture here we need to back up all the way to the beginning. I have wanted to be a mom since before I can even remember. I wasn’t one of those girls that one day dreamed of being a doctor or even a president. I wanted to be a mom. In high school I leaned toward going into education or nursing and if those two aren’t the most mom-ish professions out there, I don’t know what is. And heck, do you want to know what my favorite TV show was? “A Baby Story” on TLC. Yup. No doubt in my mind, a mom is what I wanted to be. So every pregnancy, baby, and parenting thing I could get my hands on I would read and/or watch. So I was pretty well versed in the very good, the very bad, and the quite ugly of all three before I even got pregnant.

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So now fast forward to the day those two pink lines showed up. I was beyond elated and then at the same exact time terrified out of my mind. Why? Because I knew exactly how this could all go very wrong. Then I got diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes so I then even had both of my doctors reminding me of everything that could go so very wrong. And this is where I think the depression/anxiety started to sneak it’s way into my being. I was constantly worried and convinced something bad was going to happen. I cannot tell you the amount of times I ran to the bathroom to make sure I wasn’t bleeding. Or how many times i chugged a fizzy drink or quickly ate something to get my baby to move, to get reassurance that everything was still ok. And because of this I don’t think I got to quite enjoy my pregnancy like I was really hoping to. Like I had been dreaming about my whole life.

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Now to my labor, I was adamant since I was a little girl that I wanted a natural birth. No inductions, no c sections, and no pain medications (so no epidural). My mom had done it this way and so had my grandma and they each had 3 kids. So surely I could do it as well. Well with the GD diagnosis I knew I couldn’t go past 39 weeks. So I hoped and prayed every day that baby would make their appearance before then. (but not too early, of course). Well Mr. Stinker decided he did not want to come on his own. Mind you I had been having contractions (real ones! Not just Braxton hicks!) since 30 weeks. I was dilated to 2cm at my 36 week appointment and 90% effaced. My doctor even said i wouldn’t make it to 39 weeks but ha! Lil man wanted to prove her wrong. So at 39 weeks I was induced via Pitocin, a thing i did not want to happen but accepted it because i knew it was putting my baby’s life in danger if i continued to keep him on the inside. Because of the pitocin, it made the contractions that much more unbearable so I did end up getting an epidural. I was REALLY disappointed in my self. I mean, my body was made to handle this and I couldn’t. (queue in the depression and anxiety again here too).

The following days after my sons birth were overwhelming and not how I pictured going at all. My in laws came in from 1000 miles away to surprise us. We had a million and one people in my hospital room with us at one point. Being an introvert, this was a majorly stressful situation for me. My in laws expected to stay at our house but then we had house issues so they couldn’t and then we had to go stay at my parents. With all 3 of our dogs. One of our dogs ended up killing my parents cat while we were there. So ya, not how I wanted my son’s first week of life to go. And to add to the depression cocktail, my body completely failed my son and I was unable to breastfeed. My milk just never came in and I hadn’t even realized it until he wasn’t getting any food for 3 days straight. I’m still upset with myself for not realizing it sooner.

So we switch over to formula, we finally get to our own home and things are going great, we are in a routine and my son is thriving! I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. We are just moving right a long and it’s time to get to my 6 week PostPartum Check Up. They give me a little questionnaire that I know is about PPD and I answer it truthfully, thinking I have passed with flying colors. I hand it to the nurse and the doctor brings it in and she says “let’s talk about this”. And i’m just like “ok…”. She then informs me that I failed the questionnaire and that i DO have PPD and we need to talk about medication to make sure and get it in check. I just sit there completely shocked. Me? I have PPD? This can’t be! I’m not sad, by any means. I’m eager to take care of my son, I change his diapers when needed, I feed him when needed, I play with him (as much as you can with a newborn) and I certainly don’t want to harm him or myself!

But the doctor starts talking about it and then I start to look back on things over the past 6 weeks. How I’ve stayed in one spot on the couch the majority of the time I have been on my maternity leave. I have not gotten up to do house work, to bathe, nothing. And I had no desire to do it. The only thing I want to do is tend to my baby’s needs. And that’s it. Literally. How I’ve also stayed awake at night playing worst case scenarios over and over in my head. There was one night, the night before i was going to take my son by to see my coworkers, that i stayed up replaying an image of myself walking him across the street, me tripping and falling, letting go of his carrier and then a car running over it. That played over and over and over again in my head. So I then accepted, that wow, I really do have PPD. Something I would have NEVER expected. I mean, I’ve wanted a baby my whole life, we planned this baby. How could this happen to me? So I think with all the combination of all the events listed above (not enjoying pregnancy, labor didn’t go as expected, or my son’s first few days, etc), dump an imbalance of hormones into the mix and bam, you have PPD.

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I think what I’m trying to get across in saying all this is that PPD is not always the suicidal thoughts, the harming of your children, or just even being sad all the time (though all of these things could very well be due to PPD as well). It can be a happy , first time mom like myself who struggles every. single. day. just getting into the shower. or changing clothes. or doing the dishes. or getting in my car and going to work in the morning. It is a choice that I have to make every day. For most, it’s an automatic thing, once i get the baby to sleep I will do this, this, and this. With PPD the this, this, and this all of a sudden becomes that much harder. The motivation to do those things are completely lost. It can also be that the anxiety of a being a new mom is that much higher. All moms experience anxiety in one way shape or form but when it starts debilitating your life, that’s when you know there’s an issue. Like PPD. When you’re a new mom every ounce of sleep you can get is cherished, but with this heightened anxiety I can’t even sleep when my son is sleeping because I’m replaying horrible images in my head of everything that could go wrong, though deep down i know will never truly happen.

This is what PPD can look like. To all you ladies out there who don’t experience the “typical” side effects of PPD or even new motherhood, know that you are not alone. I am here. There are so many other women who experience this also. We cannot be afraid to speak up. Awareness is key. We are not bad mothers because we experience these things. WE ARE HUMAN.

this-is-what-post-partum-depression-can-look-like

-Amanda

25 Days of Gratitude Challenge

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Happy Tuesday!

So I finished up doing the 25 Days of Gratitude Challenge last week but realized I never gave you all a full list of the questions! So here they are!

1. What is a special memory from childhood?
2. What do you like about your job?
3. What spiritual beliefs are you grateful for?
4. What freedoms are you grateful for?
5. What is a challenge or trial that you have overcame that has strengthened you?
6. What do you love about one or more of your friends?
7.  What was the best thing that happened today?
8. What is your favorite family tradition?
9. What kindness did someone show you today?
10. What do you like about where you live?
11. What do you love about your parents?
12. What is something you love in nature?
13. What gift did you love receiving this year?
14. What is something you are good at?
15. What made you laugh today?
16. What is something hard to do but you did it anyway?
17. What is your favorite family outing you went on this past year?
18. What is something beautiful that you saw today?
19. What is something one of your family members did to make you happy today?
20. What do you like most about the current season?
21. What is different today than a year ago that you are grateful for?
22. What accomplishments in your life have brought you the most happiness?
23. Who are you grateful for and what do you love about them?
24. What is the one thing you love about yourself?
25. What made you smile today?

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Now, will you take the challenge???

-Amanda

Well, how exactly did we become 2 moms and a baby?

One of my main passions in life is my family. And even more specifically fertility, pregnancy, and child birth so watch out for several posts related to those topics. But first things first, let me tell you how my family came to be! Since it may not seem so obvious…😉

4 years now I met my now wife. We met online on not 1 but 2 dating websites! (I guess it was just meant to be). Meeting people in real life from the internet always made me insanely nervous so when my wife asked me on half a dozen dates, I always found some way to cancel. But she finally found a sure fire way to make sure I wouldn’t cancel and that was to pre purchase tickets to a Kansas City Royals game. 1. I love the Royals and 2. I would feel insanely guilty for her wasting her money on a ticket I wasn’t going to use. So I went, we finally met in person and had a fantastic time and before she even made it home I had asked her on a second date. We made it official a week later and as they say the rest is history.

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We moved in together 6 months later since she lived about an hour away and we were so over the somewhat long distance thing. And then about a year and a half after that I proposed! And of course, she said “yes!” All you men out there, mad props to you all because by golly that is unbelievably nerve wracking and scary!

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We got married on our 3 year anniversary in the most perfect wedding just for us! We felt so much love that day it is pretty unbelievable. I get the warm and fuzzies just thinking about it!

I always knew I wanted kids. Ever since I was a little girl, all i could dream about was one day being pregnant and having a baby. So let me tell you what a curve ball it was when I came to the realization that I was gay! Because of course that makes my dream of having my own family, that much harder.

My wife and I discussed having kids practically from day 1. She, at that time, had no desire to carry a baby but wanted one so she was definitely happy to find out I was so eager to be pregnant.

We started seriously discussing having kids, like doing legitimate research and deciding we would start trying immediately after we got married (but let me tell you, it’s sooo hard to find out good info on reproduction for gay couples out there! So hopefully I can be a good resource since I’ve spent countless hours doing so much of my own!) around the time we got engaged. I bought the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and started tracking my cycles to find out when I normally ovulate so we were as prepared as we could be for when the real work began!

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So after a year and a half of tracking and narrowing my window to about day 1-2 days a cycle that I knew we could get pregnant, we knew we were finally ready to do the “deed”. So we got in touch with a sperm bank. They shipped the necessary supplies to our house and we were able to do artificial insemination at home! And as luck would have it, I got pregnant on the first try, just 6 weeks after we were married! (being successful on try #1 is not very common at all, we got really lucky). We were beyond elated! And I just couldn’t believe it, my childhood dream was coming true!

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But just 2 weeks after getting that Big Fat Positive (BFP) I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. So we knew this was going to be a long hard road. There were a ton of worries that came along with this diagnosis but I did a pretty good job, I think, of managing my blood sugar levels. I did have to go on an oral medication but it was a really low dose and they only had to increase it once. Thank goodness I never had to go on Insulin. Besides the GD, my pregnancy was pretty much smooth sailing besides the normal aches and pains, of course.

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Since I did have GD, I was not allowed to go to full term because of all the risks so at 39 weeks and 2 days I was induced at 6am! My goal for my labor was to go naturally (including no pain meds!) but I knew the risks involved with holding out and I was not willing to take it so I did go ahead and induce with Pitocin. The contractions were pretty manageable for the first 6 hours or so, then my doctor broke my water and holy cow! It was like an immediate switch from being able to manage the pain with concentration and breathing to an all out panic because the pain was so intense. I was able to go another 2 hours without medication but considering I had only dilated 1cm in almost 8 hours, I just didn’t think I could handle that pain for an ungodly amount of time so I went ahead and got the Epidural. The epidural only slightly worked for a little while and then completely wore off. I dilated 5cm in the matter of an hour and felt every bit of it. Felt everything for the next hour as I was pushing as well.

At 6:58 pm our son was born and it was the most amazing experience. Way too many emotions to even put into words, almost like an out of body experience. Now we did wait to find out gender until that moment so it was so special to get to hear the “it’s a boy!” and to hear of my wife telling our family in the waiting room. An experience, I highly recommend!

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He’s 2 months old now and growing so fast. My wife and I are settling into our new roles as mommies and although it’s been hard, we wouldn’t change it for anything. That little boy completely lights up our lives!

So this was the condensed version of how we came about, I might go into more detail in parts later🙂

Thank you for taking the time to get to know us!

-Amanda