Our Year and What’s Ahead


I have been stirring over this blog post for a little time. I anticipated it’s arrival. The last year has completely changed us.

There’s so much I want to say, but I will try to keep it short.

This past year.

Blindsided is the first word I thought described the year, but then growth came to mind. 

This time last year the journey was just getting started. July 3rd we found out we were expecting and by July 29th our whole world flipped upside down. We would go on to lose that pregnancy on August 9th. 

The medical term was “blighted ovum”. Human terms is the fertilized egg attached to the uterus, a sac formed, but the baby never did. My body never caught on and never naturally miscarried. In my own mind I thought my body had tricked me to thinking, feeling, living like I was pregnant. My heart totally broke when I had that first ultrasound. 

I don’t know, maybe I never properly grieved. I didn’t know how. We never really talk about these things. What’s normal? Was I crazy to feel hurt? I picked myself up and I moved through the next 6 months as best as I could.

Hope returns… I thought.

January 27th, we got those 2 pink lines again. Anxiety rushed through me like a hurricane, but I honestly thought God wouldn’t do that to me again.

This time at 6 weeks 4 days we had a heartbeat! We were told it was a little low, but nothing to worry about. So I did my best not to worry, but I worried. I worried I’d feel that heartbreak again.

9 days later, on Nick’s birthday it all fell apart… again. As tension filled the room, we were told there was no heartbeat. As I type this, I can feel that break in my heart like I am sitting in that Doctor’s office. We moved forward with a surgical D&C the day before my birthday. I was sent on my way with some pain pills, hormones that were about to plummet, and left to make sense of it all. I felt empty.

I turned to God because I really didn’t know what else to do. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own

Moving forward

Outside I tried to keep it together, but in these 4 walls I was a complete mess. Countless times Nick had to peel me off of the carpet just so I’d stop getting snot and tears on it. I traded the carpet for his shirt and eventually got it together.

I was confused and hurt. I had all the support around me, but felt so alone.

Did I hear God wrong? Maybe He intended for me to rescue all the puppies in the world and be a dog mom. I’m pretty good at that.

“Maybe we shouldn’t try again.” I’d tell Nick. I couldn’t do the HOPE then heartbreak thing again. 

Was something wrong with me? I read and read and read God’s word. I listened to worship music which totally changed my perspective. I KNEW, I just KNEW He intended more for me. There was no way He intended to break my heart without having a plan.

Between God, His word, my INCREDIBLE husband, our family, friends, and my work family, I was supported. I was loved. I was hurting, but I was supported and loved.

Life continues on

There’s a lot of in-between moments, but I really want to get to this next part. AND I know you have things to do and can’t be reading this ALL. DAY. LONG.

The last year has been a rollercoaster, but a beautiful transformation. While we are so grateful God has moved us in ways we never expected, we look forward to the year ahead.

I have to first tell you that my incredible Nick in the last month was accepted in to the store manager training program. A promotion he has worked so tirelessly at. A promotion we prayed and prayed for. I am inspired daily by my husband’s patience, hustle, and heart.

At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen. – Isaiah 60:22

We’ve learned a lesson in God’s timing and God’s blessings. He has fulfilled His promise to us.


After every storm comes the sunshine and we are so grateful to say our
SUNSHINE BABY IS DUE FEBRUARY 2, 2018!

Memorial Day we got our two pink lines for our sunshine coming in February! Almost 14 weeks in and our little one is growing as he or she should be. Twirling around in there and giving us first pumps on the ultrasound! A strong heartbeat and already SO loved!

We are so excited to welcome God’s gift… our littlest Panda… our Sunshine… Baby Bear early next year. God is so, so good and FAITHFUL.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
– 1 Samuel 1:27


 If you’ve made it this far, thank you! If you’ve prayed, hoped, or believed for us this past year… THANK YOU! Prayers are still welcome for a healthy delivery and for this Momma’s anxious heart. 🙂

A final thought.

Preparing to write this was hard. I had no idea how, what, when I would share our news. All I could think about was the women who were in the exact same position I had been in months ago. 

Worried she would never get pregnant again. A woman still experiencing the loss of her own child. Worried something was wrong. Worried she heard God wrong.

1 in 4 pregnancies will end with the heartbreak of a miscarriage. 2% of women will experience 2 consecutive miscarriages.  1 in 8 couples will experience infertility struggles. 

In all the statistics I know there are real women.. real couples… real families navigating this journey. I also know that 100% of the time, God has a plan.
 I want just one person to see, even in the heartbreak He is there. I want one person to get hope back and to keep pushing forward.

If you are moving through a season of unknown, hurt, waiting… don’t lose courage. Gosh, waiting was the ultimate word God chose for us this past year. 

If you are in one of those seasons or maybe you just need reassurance, can I share some songs with you? These songs got me through the toughest days… 

On the Throne, Desperation Band “For the Lord is
He is able, He is faithful
Higher than the mountains that I face
Every season, I will press on
For God alone, is on the throne”

Still, Hillary Scott “You’re parting waters
Making a way for me
You’re moving mountains that I don’t even see
You’ve answered my prayer before I even speak
All You need for me to be is still”

Take Courage, Bethel “Do not forget
His great faithfulness
He’ll finish all He’s begun
So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul”

Do It Again, Elevation Worship Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed me yet

I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again”

THANK YOU FOR BELIEVING WITH US!

Ps… the pink dress is not a hint of any kind. 🙂
It’s just probably the last time I will get to wear that beautiful dress in the next year or two… or 3! 😉

 

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Living an Organic Lifestyle, On a Budget

What if I told you eating organic doesn’t have to cost you your life savings and 401k? Honestly, the expense of organic foods and misinformation is the reason why i never even researched the idea of living an organic lifestyle. I was so wrong about the expense.

I recently shared a blog post about GMOs and toxic diets. I shared how research is showing the negative impact of GMOs and non-organic produce and animal products on people’s health. More importantly, the last couple months I have been researching natural ways to improve fertility and just about every article talks about the negative effect of non-organic foods on our fertility. In addition, the negative effects on our children even long before conception.

For the last few months we have been purchasing only organic foods for our household. I knew organic foods were essential on our journey to making baby Panza. Yep, this girl on a budget has found away to eat all organic without breaking the bank.

Some of the reasons to go organic

  1. Buying organic produce that is in season not only is easier on your wallet, but it gives you the ability to incorporate all types of vitamins and nutrients throughout the year. This is how we were designed to eat. Studies have found that when produce is grown in season, it can have up to three times more nutrients than when out of season.
  2. Organic foods have more nutrients than their pesticide, GMO riddled friends. Findings from a review of 343 studies on organic nutrition showed organic foods, on average, contained more antioxidants. Organic foods are also grown in a better environment. onventional non-GMO crops can be treated with “biosolids”, which is literally the treated waste that’s flushed down the toilet, and waste from hospitals and industry. Biosolids, are not permitted in certified organic foods. Biosolids contain heavy metals, toxins, steroids, and more substances that can pose a threat to your health. Possible health risks from substances in biosolids include kidney damage, adverse effects to the immune system, hormone disruption, and even cancer.
  3. Organic doesn’t just apply to fruits and veggies. Did you know the meat and animal products you consume can easily contain antibiotics, GMOs, and hormones? 

    Antibiotics and hormones given to animals on conventional farms make their way into the foods those animals provide. The prevalence of antibiotic usage with livestock can lead to antibiotic resistance in humans.

    Hormones, such as rBGH, are injected into cows on non-organic farms to boost milk production. This can lead to various health problems with the cows, such as abnormal milk, fertility issues, and hoof disorders. In addition, rBGH milk has significantly higher levels of the IGF-1 hormone. This hormone has been shown to greatly increase the occurrence of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Okay, so now you are convinced, but you aren’t sure where to even start. Don’t let the idea of eating only organic overwhelm you and certainly do your best, but don’t kill yourself for perfection.

Transitioning to an organic, natural lifestyle shouldn’t increase your stress. Small steps are key to making a big change. My suggestions, start with what is most important to you and slowly work your way to the next step. For me, what we were eating was crucial and needed to be priority. After that I started transitioning out of plastics, changing beauty products, and finding alternative household cleaners.

If you desire to start with your food and what you are eating, I can help you. Here are some of my secrets.

Shop Costco

Yes, Costco! The land of bulk processed foods is also a GREAT place to find reasonably priced organic foods. What I love about Costco is their price labeling system. Most, if not all of their organic foods have a green tag on the shelf. This makes it really easy when you are trying to transition your household.

I purchase their organic fruits and veggies. I also purchase their frozen organic fruits and veggies. As well as their wild caught and grass fed/organic meats. 

Phone a friend

Let people your neighbors, friends, family, and people you work with know you are on the hunt for organic fruits and veggies. A lot of times you can find people who have fruit trees in their backyards and they don’t use any pesticides or treatments. Usually they are willing to give the fruit away at no cost. Some people may ask you to come and pick it yourself, but what a cheap price tag for fruit! 

Stock up and save

When produce or organic meats are on sale, stock up. When grass fed ground beef is $3.99 a pound, I make sure to grab extra and freeze it for later. You can save quite a bit of money buying seasonal fruits and veggies and freezing them for later.

Start with the basics

The dirty dozen and the clean 15! Sounds like a nursery rhyme, but it really does apply to the foods we eat.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

For the Dirty Dozen list is produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues. On the clean 15, relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticide residues on them. However, this does not mean that if the food is listed in the clean 15 that it is free from GMOs. 

If you are starting to eat organic in an effort to reduce exposure to pesticides, this list is a great place to start.

Grow your own organic produce & herbs.

You do not need a ton of outdoor space to grow your own garden. I suggest starting with herbs. They are easy to grow and take up little room. You can even grow herbs on a windowsill or on your patio. These herbs are growing on my balcony window. 

Shop local & in season.

Shop the farmer’s market. Farmer’s Markets have locally grown produce and (usually) there are many organic options to choose from. Not only will you be supporting a local farm family, you will be able to buy in season organic produce. If you are not sure where a Farmer’s Market is near you, try this website to locate one! 

Shopping for foods that are in season usually means that organic produce is on sale. A lot of times organic produce is the same price as conventional produce, in peak seasons. Check out your local store ads or see if they have an app to browse.

The journey to organic living should not become stressful or overwhelming. Start small and do your research.

Do you currently enjoy organic foods? How did you transition to an organic lifestyle? Share your ideas below to help others!

 

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21 Healthy Holidays Recipes Ebook

Free 21 Healthy Holiday Ebook download

Free 21 Healthy Holiday Recipe Ebook download
It is here! Weeks of working on my free 21 Healthy Holiday Recipes Ebook and it is finally ready for you to enjoy!

The Holiday Season is a time for family, fun festive flavors, and appreciating all that we have been blessed with.

I created this recipe book out of complete necessity. Each year I find myself over indulging and over gaining. These recipes have been created to help us both enjoy holiday flavors without increasing our belt size.
Who doesn’t love the way that sounds?

Downloading this Ebook is simple and can be done from straight from your phone! Click the photo below or visit this link here! Just a few steps and your free 21 Healthy Holiday Recipe Ebook will be in your Inbox. My gift to you!Free 21 Healthy Holiday Ebook download
If you feel so moved, you can share this on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or via email with your friends and family! Finally, share your recipes using #APRecipes.

If you have any trouble, feedback, or questions you can email me at anna@panzaavenue.com! 

Always wishing you bliss, 
AP

Free 21 Healthy Holiday Ebook download

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You Had Me At Carrot Cake!

CarrotCakeSmoothieBowlWho doesn’t love carrot cake?! If you have been following along on my blog, you know that I am OBSESSED with cake. Cupcakes mainly, but if you have cake you’re looking to give away, I am your girl! 🙂 Honestly though, if sugar and cake didn’t totally derail me from my fitness goals, I would eat it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!IMG_9936I found an amazing recipe for a carrot cake smoothie bowl in the latest (April 2016) issue of Clean Eating Magazine. I adapted the recipe just slightly to fit my personal goals and needs. By adapted, I basically cut the recipe in half, added a little nutmeg, and I am so pleased with how it turned out. Until now, I have never had a smoothie bowl and I am thinking I am hooked. There are several different recipes in this issue of Clean Eating Magazine that I want to try. So stay turned, because I will be sharing more with you soon!
ImageCarrotCakeSmoothieBowlThis carrot cake smoothie bowl is perfect along side 4 eggs in the morning. I hope you enjoy this recipe. I have added a new feature to my recipe posts to make it easier to share and save this recipe to your Pinterest board OR print for your recipe box! Thank you for stopping by!

Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl
Print Recipe
Cake for Breakfast? This no added sugar Carrot Cake Smoothie bowl is made with whole food ingredients, perfect for summer mornings, and is a great way to get in extra vegetables, without the bland taste! Pro-Tip- Prepare the carrots, oats, and frozen fruits the night before and throw everything in to a blender in the morning!
Servings Prep Time
1 1 bowl 5 minutes
Cook Time
0
Servings Prep Time
1 1 bowl 5 minutes
Cook Time
0
Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl
Print Recipe
Cake for Breakfast? This no added sugar Carrot Cake Smoothie bowl is made with whole food ingredients, perfect for summer mornings, and is a great way to get in extra vegetables, without the bland taste! Pro-Tip- Prepare the carrots, oats, and frozen fruits the night before and throw everything in to a blender in the morning!
Servings Prep Time
1 1 bowl 5 minutes
Cook Time
0
Servings Prep Time
1 1 bowl 5 minutes
Cook Time
0
Instructions
  1. Except the unsweetened coconut shreds, add all of the ingredients in to the blender. Blend the ingredients until smooth. Top with unsweetened coconut shreds and you are ready to enjoy! For a complete breakfast, enjoy your smoothie bowl along side 4 egg whites in the morning.
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Can We Talk About Cupcakes?

Can we talk about cupcakes really quick?!?! The girl that is passionate about health and fitness would like to talk about cupcakes? What!?
Suite106I cannot stop thinking about this Circus Animal Cookie Cupcake from Suite 106 Cupcakery! We stopped by Suite 106 on my Birthday at the beginning of March. Their cupcakes are delicious. Since visiting their SWEET suite a month ago, I have been thinking about this circus animal cookie cupcake. So much so, that I planned my 3 week goal around this cupcake… I added it to my 101 things in 1,001 days list… AND… I now Instagram and Facebook stalk Suite 106 Cupcakery!

Suite 106 has won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars 2x and lucky me… their cupcakery is just around the corner from home!

Pre-health junkie, Anna, I was OBSESSED with cupcakes. Eating them… making them… drawing them…eating them! I wanted my own sweets company that sold chocolate covered treats and cupcakes. Clearly, my life took an entirely different route when I discovered health and fitness. The great news is, the world didn’t eliminate Circus Animal Cookie cupcakes!

So here is the deal, I set my 3 week goal (I will do a post soon on goal setting) around this cupcake. They only have them on Saturdays and the perfect Saturday to have one, is on Nick’s day off. I am so excited, I even wrote a blog post about it! The great news is THIS Saturday is the day AND it is one more thing I can now cross off of my 101 things list! You bet your bottom dollar, Annie I will be blogging again about this cupcake!

Please tell me I am not the only one with a sweets obsession?!

xo, AP

Ps… Don’t forget to subscribe by email to my blog! It would mean the world to me!

 

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