Featured Blogger: Trina of Kiernan and McKenzie

This weeks featured blogger is Trina of Kiernan and McKenzie! Trina is the proud MoM of almost two year old boy/girl twins born on Christmas Eve (how cool!). Trina also recently became a vegetarian and has a few recipes to share with us! Let’s get to know more about this busy West coast MoM!

 

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What was your initial reaction when you discovered you were pregnant with twins?

Eric and I were thrilled! Honestly, we knew our chances of having multiples were higher because of taking Clomid- we were on our fourth round and my doctor had just bumped me up to 150mg. So we were of course surprised (I mean we were just surprised that we were finally pregnant) but we weren’t really shocked.

What was your delivery like?

Excellent! My entire pregnancy was great and the delivery experience was just a continuation of the last 9 months. I was induced on December 23rd (36 weeks 6 days). The pitocin drip did nothing for 8 hours! They wanted to send us home but we pleaded to stay until midnight and if nothing else happened, we would go home. At 9pm my water broke and I labored pretty hard from about 10-2. I got an epidural at 2am then my husband and I ‘napped’ until 4am. I started to push at 4:30 and Kiernan was born at 5:01am on Christmas Eve morning. My doctor gave me a quick ultrasound to make sure McKenzie had not flipped from head down and then she literally popped out at 5:09am with one push! We all went home the next day…it was a very merry Christmas for our family.

You exclusively breastfed your children, and I know a lot of us MoMs are apprehensive because it can seem overwhelming. Do you have any advice for MoMs that are struggling with that decision?

I nursed my babies from day 1 at the hospital to just shy of 14 months. My first thought for expecting moms would be to try not to stress about it now, before their babies are even here. I have seen so many moms beat themselves up for not being able to nurse and it really takes away from the enjoyment of parenthood in those early days/weeks/months. If I have learned anything about nursing in the last two years it is that babies can thrive on breast milk or formula or a mix of the two. The wonderful toddlers in my Mommy groups are a mixed bag of formula fed from day one to exclusively nursed for the first year and they are all thriving!
I feel that I had an interesting nursing experience because I had one amazing nurser and one terribly difficult nurser. My daughter was an expert from the first latch. My son didn’t ‘catch on’ to the whole thing for 6 weeks. It was very difficult and frustrating during that time, but since my daughter could latch like a champion I really wanted to continue to try. It also helped that my supply wasn’t an issue (I swear by milk, oatmeal and pasta), it was just his latch and that was something that we could work on. I saw the Lactation Consultant at the hospital weekly for those first two months and I am so thrilled that she was so knowledgeable and understanding. Also, my husband rocked and did everything he could to support me.
Exclusively nursing was very time consuming in the beginning when they were nursing 8-12 times a day and it took about an hour each time but eventually I think it saved me time once we all got the hang of it. And the convenience of merely lifting up your shirt to feed your children is unparalleled. Tandem nursing was a life saver and I can attest that it takes a village. My mom took a picture when the kids were 3 days old and it is me in the middle of the couch and my husband and a nurse each holding a baby and helping me position them so we could try tandem feeding (that’s 3 adults, just to nurse..who knew?).
I wrote a more detailed account of breastfeeding the first year at http://www.totsites.com/tot/andersontwins/journald/346636.html

Can you tell us about Mothers’ Milk Bank?

Mothers’ Milk Bank is a wonderful organization that I found out about through my local hospital. I wanted to donate milk to the Womens’ Center (at my hospital in WA) and they directed me to MMB (in CA). The company, and others like it, collect milk from women who wish to donate and it is then distributed to many recipients. Recipients include NICU infants, infants in multiple births, babies who are failing to thrive, babies who have been adopted, babies with failing immune systems, and babies whose mother’s milk isn’t suitable for consumption. There is a strict screening process for donors and it took me almost 6 weeks to complete the paperwork including getting blood tests and tracking down old immunization records, but the donation was well worth it. I donated 100oz and MMB sent a cooler and pre-paid UPS slip to return it to their offices. My family received the quarterly newsletter about a month later and I cried when I saw mine and my children’s names on the list of donors and read the miraculous and truly appreciative letters from some of the recipients.

I know that you are a vegetarian, do you have plans for your whole family to follow that diet as well?

I am a newbie vegetarian (really, this is still my first year) and don’t have plans for my whole family to adopt the lifestyle. I believe in the nutritional value of animal sources but I choose to not consume products due to the means necessary of getting it to the table. I am happy to introduce my children to the value of a vegetarian diet and I feel that by being aware and educated on the subject they will be able to make their own decisions when the time comes.

What are some of your favorite vegetarian recipes?

Again, I am new at this and I am just starting to experiment with soy protein and vegetarian meal starters. Here are 3 of my new faves.

1. My mom’s famous 6 Can Chili (vegetarian style)
INGREDIENTS
1 can chili beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 package veggie crumbles (Yves, Morning Star, Boca)
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 packet taco sauce

DIRECTIONS
Easy way-Put all ingredients in a crock pot and turn it on (I said it was easy:)
Labor intensive way ;)- follow directions on taco seasoning and season veggie crumbles in a skillet. Then, put all ingredients in a crock pot and turn it on.
Serve with chips and taco toppings.
This chili was one of my favorite comfort foods growing up and I just replaced the ground beef with veggie crumbles and ta-da. Sometimes just making one switch is all it takes I love watching my little ones pick out the beans one at a time.

2. I love this book, Vegan Planet (thanks E). http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9781558322110
Gemelli with Artichoke and Yellow Pepper Rouille
INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 slice firm white bread
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound gemelli pasta
2 garlic cloves, pressed
One 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS
-Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bell peppers, cover, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
-Trim the crust from the bread and soak in water to cover for 5 minutes. Squeeze out the water and place the bread in a food processor along with the bell peppers, salt, and cayenne. Process until smooth, then set the rouille aside.
-Cook the gemelli in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
-While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichoke hearts and cook, stirring to coat with the garlic and oil, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
-Drain the pasta and place in a large, shallow serving bowl. Add the artichokes and toss to combine. Top with the rouille, sprinkle with the basil, and serve immediate

3. This blog http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/search/label/vegetarian has a ton (ok, 71 exactly) of vegetarian slow cooker recipes. Nothing like a little planning in the morning and coming home to having dinner already made.

End of Summer Harvest Soup
INGREDIENTS
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup prepared pasta sauce
1 cup water
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 zucchini, washed well and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 yellow summer squash, washed well and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/3 cup dry white Cannellini beans (this doesn’t sound like a lot, but they swell!)
1/2 cup pasta (to add 20 minutes before serving)
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with Parmesan and Romano cheeses

DIRECTIONS

-Wash squashes well, and slice in rounds. Place into slow cooker, with diced onion and tomato wedges. Rinse your beans in hot water, and add to cooker. Add broth, pasta sauce, and water. Stir in Italian seasoning.
-Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until beans have reached desired tenderness. 20 minutes before serving, stir in raw pasta. Serve with grated Parmesan and Romano cheese.

What is your favorite thing to do as a family?

Since my husband is working full time and going to school for his MBA (so proud of you babe!), family time has been scarce lately. My favorite thing to do as a family is to have breakfast in bed on Saturdays. Every morning the kids and I have breakfast in bed (it is really just their milk sippy cup, not some lavish Belgium waffle buffet) and read stories. With my husband home on the weekends, he gets in on the fun and we read stories with silly voices, make the sheets into a fort, sing songs, or have an all around crazy jumping on the bed contest (the kids, not me and and hubby:). It is just so laid back and fun and I love Saturday mornings! Also, Eric will usually make us waffles when we finally get up…yummy.

Here’s Trina’s question for all of you:

What are some of your favorite indoor activities with your kiddos? The weather has picked up in the Pacific Northwest and I have a feeling we are going to be inside quite a bit this winter.

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A big thank you to Trina for being our featured blogger this week! Be sure to stop by Kiernan and McKenzie to say hi, and leave your answer to her question in the comments section!

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10 comments

  1. The soup sounds delicious. I'll have to give it a try. During the colder months we do a lot of coloring and craft projects. My favorite site for projects is mamasmiles.com She's got some great ideas and they're all kid friendly (and tested out by her own young children).

  2. I had no idea about the milk bank – that is such a great concept! The babies are adorable!

    The great indoors are not always our favorite place to be, but we've done things like finger paint the whole bath tub – make forts under the dining room table – oh wait – I have all boys.

  3. Indoor activities around here are nothing crazy, just keep the kids from hurting each other. I have 3 that are 2.5 and under.

    Some things we all enjoy are simply listening, singing, and dancing crazy to music.

    With the age of your two my daughter likes to play with play doh, color, play with puzzles, and run through the house yelling, Boo!

  4. That is a beautiful interview! Her babies are so cute!

  5. Great interview! As for things to do, I like to look at a blog called No Time for Flashcards (I'm sure you could google it) and get a few easy ideas from there. Honestly, we're all about getting out at least once a day. Snow, rain, wind, whatever. The kids love bundling up and running around for a minute then coming into hot chocolate and warm blankets. It's one of my favorite things too. We're also big fans of jumping on the bed, chasing the dog, building box cities, and dancing.

  6. We live in the Pacific NW as well. And was glad it was warm out today…an over due walk outside. Some of our multiple friends were talking about this and here's a little of what we've come up with.
    A blow up swimming pool with plastic balls (walmart sells them).
    Changing up the toys to different rooms or swapping with a friend. I change up where they play 3 times a day or more.(I think I have ADD)
    Turning your garage into a playzone. Bundle up the kiddos and let them ride a small bike or wagon ride. My girlfriend hung 3 baby swings in her garage complete with carpet remnants to keep them safe.
    We also got invited to her "indoor soccer center" That is like the world's largest playpen EVER! I was in heaven!!!!! So I called one closer to where we live to ask if they'd let us and other multiple mom's come hang out..we'll see! It was awesome!!
    And our community center offers a drop-in playtime which we'll go try out.
    Walking the mall or Walmart for exercise.
    Hope that helps. We're in the same boat!

  7. That was a wonderful interview and thank you for the recipes. A couple of ideas for cold times and staying indoors.
    -Attach balloons upside down from the ceiling and then get a water noodle cut it in two and let the kids bat at the balloons.
    -Take a large container and fill it with sand, cornstarch or whatever you like and then put scoops and little containers in it, place it on a blanket and you have your own indoor sand box.
    That is all I can think of at the moment!!

  8. What a beautiful post! Trina, you have inspired so many people on so many levels (breastfeeding twins, milk banking, potty training, and so much more)! WAY TO GO!!!

  9. Thanks for all the great ideas! I am loving te balloons from the ceiling one Lane Fam…too fun!

  10. Hey, This s a nice interview and I your baby looking so cute thank you

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