Recovery Update: Hangry

Posted on Sep 13, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool

Recovery Update: Hangry 1

Hi, Friends. I’m nearly four weeks post-surgery and doing fairly well. Some minor discomfort, which is to be expected. And as I mentioned in my previous post, this recovery has been so much better than my last that I can’t complain. My bruising has diminished a lot, but I still look like a puffer fish. This swelling is stubborn, man. And my jaw will be rubber-banded shut for about two more weeks. Which means I’m still on a liquid diet. Which means… I’m officially hangry.

You guys – I would trade my children for a cheeseburger right now if I could actually eat it.

In some messed-up, masochistic form of torture, I can’t stop watching food videos. You know the ones that demonstrate an entire recipe in about 60 seconds? Literally, can’t stop watching them. Hey, it’s 11:43pm and I should be sleeping, but instead I’m going to watch “Oven-Baked Chicken Wings 4 Ways.” This is my life now. It’s sick, I know.

But it all looks so good. The trashier, more junked-up food, the better. A giant meatball filled with spaghetti? OMG I need. Oreo-stuffed donut holes? Get in my belly. Every possible variation on stir-fry you could possibly imagine? I want them all.



At first glance a Mac-N-Cheese Bun Burger looks disgusting. But after you haven’t eaten solid food in a month, it’s pure genius. I would so eat a Mac-N-Cheese bun burger. Speaking of Mac-N-Cheese, did you know there are 14,738 ways to make it? It’s true. I know because I’ve watched/read every single variation on how to do so. Quesadillas compete with Mac-N-Cheese in terms of sheer volume of recipes. Before I would’ve just thrown some cheese on a tortilla and stuck it in the microwave. Maybe a little guac if I was feeling feisty. But quesadillas can be so much more than that! They hold endless culinary potential! I would’ve never thought to make a quesadilla with flank steak fajitas or BBQ chicken and Gouda or sautéed mushrooms and spinach. So fancy! Thankfully my eyes have been opened.

I now realize what I’ve been missing out on. Why have I never eaten a chocolate cream cheese croissant bake? That sounds amazing! BBQ Bacon Onion Meatball Bomb? I’m intrigued. The only recipes I don’t get excited about involve cauliflower. I just can’t get behind the cauliflower craze. Anyway, I could go on about all the recipe amazingness I’ve discovered during my convalescence – like 50 variations of baked penne – but I’ll stop. In an effort to be productive during the past few weeks I decided to actually take all these newfound recipes and meal plan. I can’t wait to make (and eat) all these weird, delicious things.*

So what am I actually “eating”?

Protein shakes. You knew that was coming.

Everyone who recommended protein shakes to me and insisted they weren’t bad – tasty, even! – YOU ALL LIED.



Before my surgery I got a little over-enthusiastic about my recovery drinks and bought four different brands of protein powders. Four. Do you understand how large protein powder containers are? I am drowning in protein powder. So even though I think they all taste like sidewalk chalk, I persist. At one point I added coffee ice cream to my Shakeology in a misguided attempt to make it palatable. What a waste of good ice cream. No matter how creative I get with these powders, they just don’t taste good.



When I initially solicited my friends for their brand recommendations, I was asked for reviews. So here are my rankings, from best to worst:

  1. Vital Proteins: This is actually tasteless. So whoever recommended this, you’re not a liar. But everyone else still is. If you’re going to blow your money on protein powder, buy this kind.
  2. Orgain: No matter how much I doctor this up – almond or coconut milk, fruit, etc. – it still tastes like protein powder. Just not as much as the other brands. I did enjoy the pre-made shake more than anything I blended for myself, so if you still want to drink these things, go that route.
  3. Shakeology: I know a lot of people who swear by Shakeology. Um, okay. I add a few dates as a natural sweetener and a heaping spoonful of peanut butter to make this drinkable. I’m talking Skippy here, not the all-natural, healthy PB you buy for your kids.
  4. Vega Protein & Greens: Sorry friends who like this. You have obviously never enjoyed a mac-n-cheese bun burger (or anything remotely tasty) if you think this is enjoyable. Or even tolerable. The recipe on the top of jar was for, “Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie.” I made this recipe and IT TASTED NOTHING LIKE AN OATMEAL COOKIE.

Don’t make this.

After complaining enough my mom told me to just drink milkshakes. Indeed, even my doctor told me to drink milkshakes. He said, “I don’t care if you drink Oreo milkshakes all day, every day.” He did want me to add protein powder to the milkshakes, but, ew. At first I attempted to avoid the shakes, in an effort to be mindful of my recovery. But after a couple weeks of bone broth and smoothies, I caved. So now I drink the smoothies and the protein shakes and the bone broth, but I also drink a milkshake every day. I’m only human. I will shun these unhealthy sugar-bombs once I’m consuming more than a few hundred calories a day in protein powder.***  But until then, bring on the milkshakes. Want to know my milkshake rankings? This is important.

  1. Chick-Fil-A
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Five Guys

I should note usually my mom makes me milkshakes at home, but every now and then we splurge. Oh, did I mention my mom? Here she is!

Homework Time

This is my mom helping Elisabeth with her homework. That seems fairly unremarkable, except that my mom is supposed to be on a cruise around the British Isles right now, not teaching her granddaughter sight words.

Say what?!

Yes, my saint of a mother ditched her cruise to stay and take care of the kids and me.

My mom collected my kids from California and brought them home Labor Day Weekend. It was great to see them after a month apart, but it was a setback for my recovery. Soon after they arrived my pain increased. At that point I couldn’t speak at all, and trying to communicate with Elisabeth and James was exhausting and frustrating. I didn’t (and still don’t) have the energy to care to them full time. Not to mention, they’re kind of hazardous. I have been headbutted in the face no less than five times. Not good for a jaw that has recently been operated on. Add to that that at the time my mom was supposed to leave, Damon was also leaving for several days and we still thought Irma might hit us and prompt an evacuation. It was all too much for me. (Which I did not like to admit. But the thought of evacuating by myself with two kids, unable to speak or eat, and still dealing with pain was overwhelming.)

So my mom stayed. Because that’s what she does – takes care of other people. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived the past couple of weeks without her, and I am eternally grateful. Thanks, Mom.


*Let’s be honest. I’m never actually going to make any of these things.

**This is obviously not a sponsored post.

***Hahaha. No I won’t. Milkshakes are delicious.














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Recovery Update

Posted on Aug 24, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Recovery Update 10

Hi, Friends. I’m one week post-surgery, and the hardest part is (or should be) over! First of all, thank you to everyone who sent prayers or positive thoughts or good vibes my way. Hearing from you all has been such an encouragement. Second of all, I hadn’t planned on writing about my surgery, but as it turns out I have a lot of time on my hands these days! If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that I’ve been slated to have jaw surgery for several months in order to close an open bite. This is the second time I’ve had this surgery; the first was when I was 19. Unfortunately, my bite gradually reopened over the past decade and a second surgery was the best option to permanently solve my problem. (And yes, we’ll be taking measures to prevent a relapse again. We’ve learned a few things in 13 years!) The first surgery was traumatic. Whereas this time I had a single jaw surgery on my upper jaw, the first time I had a triple surgery (upper jaw, lower jaw, and chin.) My surgeon-orthodontist team warned me that the two weeks following surgery would be hell. There was no getting around that. I was going to be in a lot of pain, I’d probably have nausea, I’d be bruised and swollen, and I would just generally feel shitty all the time. Okay. I mentally prepared myself for two weeks. I could get through two weeks. Actually, I would do better than that. I would face my surgery with optimism and humor!     At the time I had a sorority t-shirt that said, “Cute and Fun to Date.”* I knew I was going to look absolutely wrecked after the surgery, but I was going to wear that t-shirt out of the hospital. I had to maintain my sense of humor. The surgery may break my jaw, but it wouldn’t break my spirit! It broke my spirit. Immediately upon waking from anesthesia, I found a nurse hovering over me with suction telling me to cough up blood. What?...

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Is Everyone Drinking Protein Shakes Without Me?

Posted on Aug 15, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Is Everyone Drinking Protein Shakes Without Me? 0

In two days I head into corrective jaw surgery. I’m not going to get into all the medical technicalities of the surgery, but post-surgery my jaw will be wired or rubber banded shut for about six weeks. This means a liquid diet for six weeks. I’m not super stoked about that, but here’s the thing – I had this surgery 13 years ago*, and I managed to survive then. So I’ll survive now. Anyway, when you’re recovering from surgery you need a lot of protein and other nutrients to aid your body in healing. If I remember correctly, my former surgeon encouraged me to get 3000 calories/day during recovery. HAHAHA. Yeah, I don’t get 3000 calories/day when I’m actually eating solid food, so to try to consume that much on a liquid diet is nearly impossible. But hey, it’s good to have goals. At the time my mother – on the advice of the surgeon – went to Costco and stocked up on Ensure. I took one sip and decided that would be my last. So I subsisted on Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks (remember those?), Jamba Juice, and milkshakes. Eventually my mom started putting ice cream into the breakfast drinks and the smoothies because – CALORIES! After about a month I was ready for a change and asked my mom to blend me up some clam chowder – a weird request I know, not least because I don’t particularly like seafood. Not eating solid food for that long will lead to some weird cravings. For example, I also desperately wanted some  Taco Bell creation that I kept seeing advertised on TV (it looked like a quesadilla but was a hexagon, maybe) – but I couldn’t blend that, so clam chowder it was. Like the Ensure, I had one sip of the chowder and almost retched. Back to ice cream smoothies. It wasn’t exactly the healthiest post-surgery diet.     This time around, I vowed to be more mindful about my recovery diet. I definitely need more protein, and probably less ice cream. (Apparently sugar is bad for you?) Luckily...

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Braces: The New Botox

Posted on Feb 28, 2017 in Adulthood Stole My Cool

Braces: The New Botox 1

  “Do you think red wine will stain my clear braces?” This is an actual question that I texted my mom last night. Because I am now living simultaneously as a 13-year-old and 31-year-old. I got braces last week. This is my third round.* I would like to think now that I’m in my thirties I can accept these braces with confidence and grace. (All the magazines say you have more confidence in your thirties, right?!)   But let’s be real: getting braces at any age older than 12 sucks. In an effort to be positive I’ll admit that braces now suck decidedly less than braces when you’re 18 and heading off to college, which also happened to me. See – Positivity!     I was not so positive at my orthodontic appointment last week. Adult braces come with a host of questions and concerns you don’t have as a pre-teen. The aforementioned red wine conundrum, for instance. The reality of repeatedly being head-butted in the mouth by a rambunctious two-year-old. (Seriously. I need a mouth guard.) The fact that in my mature age, all this stuff hurts more and takes longer to recover from.** As I was contemplating all these not-positive things, one of the assistants approached me and asked, “Are you excited?” I furrowed my brow and looked into her soulless eyes. “Yes. I am STOKED. I am SO EXCITED to be a grown-ass woman walking around with a mouth full of metal. I’m going to look completely ridiculous but EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.“ (I realize that as a woman who hasn’t washed her hair in four days, perhaps I don’t have much credibility when it comes to concerns about my appearance, but alas. Vanity is a funny thing.)     I didn’t say any of this, partly because I gathered this person might not understand sarcasm. Instead I un-furrowed my brow and silently chastised myself for the brow-furrowing in the first place. Those forehead wrinkles aren’t getting any smoother. Then it hit me. The upside to all this – I’M GOING TO LOOK SO YOUNG! 31-year-olds don’t have...

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Back to School: The Happiest Time of Year

Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pinterest Stole My Cool

Back to School: The Happiest Time of Year 3

Most of you probably saw the title of this post and thought, “Why is she writing about Back to School now? My kids have been in school for weeks!” No need to rub it in. Yes, your kids have probably been in school for a week, or weeks, or since mid-August (I’m looking at you, Floridians), but my kids just started preschool this week. As in, the week after Labor Day. BUT IT’S FINALLY HERE. MY TIME HAS COME. For weeks I’ve watched (via social media, natch) my friends across the country ship their kids off to school in cute outfits after posing with a cute chalkboard sign while the moms (usually) lament their babies growing up. Now, the first day of school cute outfits? I can get behind cute outfits. The more my kids will hate them when they’re older, the better.       But once we get to the emotional outpourings surrounding the beginning of school, I start to disconnect. My heart must be made of stone because I was literally counting down the hours until I could drop my kids off at class. I only have love for those weepy parents – I promise you, I have my emotional mother moments, too. But back to school ain’t one of them. James, my two-year-old, is in “school” six hours a week. Six out of 168. If your child is like mine and spends not only most of his waking hours with you, but also most of his “sleeping” hours, those six hours of school are a godsend. Elisabeth, my five-year-old, is now in school five days a week, or 15 hours. My sweet girl is a lover. When she’s not at school, you can probably find her with her arms wrapped around me and her head buried in my chest. Her 15 hours at school are 15 glorious hours of me NOT BEING TOUCHED.   So unless my children are going to magically turn into teenagers during those few hours spent at preschool, I’m not going to get emotional about it.     But what I really...

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Battle of the Bad Guys: Hans vs. Gaston

Posted on Apr 3, 2016 in My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute

Battle of the Bad Guys: Hans vs. Gaston 0

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that Elisabeth was home sick a few weeks ago. During her quarantine we watched Frozen approximately 1,359 times. Eventually I convinced her to try a new film – one of my childhood favorites – Beauty and the Beast. A few hours after the viewing Elisabeth announced, “I think Hans is badder than Gaston.” “No way!” I immediately replied. “Gaston is way badder.” Then I paused. Was Gaston truly “badder” than Hans? With Gaston’s violent attack on the heartbroken Beast still fresh on my mind, he had seemed the obvious answer. Perhaps too obvious. I had to probe further. “Why do you think Hans is badder than Gaston?” I asked Elisabeth, opening up a deeply philosophical discussion on the nature of evil with my four-year-old. “BECAUSE THE DUNGEONS!” Ah, yes. The dungeons. That explained everything. Yet, the question still nagged me. Who is the viler of villains? Why did I automatically assume Gaston was worse? Clearly, I needed to dig into this. At the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is established as the antagonist. He’s a narcissistic brute; anyone who brags about his chest hair is a total bro, amiright? The arrogant clown assumes he will easily woo the bookwormish but beautiful Belle, whom he only wants because she’s the prettiest girl in town. He doesn’t even respect her! What a D-bag. So we get it. Gaston is a sleazy scumbag. Sleazy, but not evil. Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely Meanwhile Hans enters Frozen as the clumsily charming Prince of the Southern Isles. Anna falls for him right away. He’s handsome, kind, funny… What’s not to like? (Also, she hasn’t had any other human contact besides the castle staff for most of her life, so it kind of makes sense she would fall for the first guy she meets.) That he proposed within hours of meeting Anna is kind of a red flag, but Hans just gets her, you know? Giphy / GIPHY – via Iframely Back to Gaston. Rejected by Belle, he plots to blackmail her...

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