twice baked southwest sweet potatoes

 up and at it eeeearly this morning again gettin’ sweaty with the stair master. i thought it was pretty cool to see my own sweat on the machine but when you really think about just how GERMY gyms are it’s pretty disgusting! wiping your machine down before you use it eases your mind a little..but far from a truly effective germ blocker.  also, if you’re like me you’ve got your phone, ipod, headphones, etc. with you that you’re constantly touching in between sets. wash your hands and wipe those items down before you leave! if you use weight gloves, wash them often and don’t even think about driving home in them. eeeeewwww.

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i told Sonny if i start going hard with the snooze button to simply push me out of bed.  for real. 9 times outta 10 i severely regret not getting up to get my workout in.  it jump starts my mood, my productivity, my drive to accomplish some goals on my to-do list… i need my early am workouts. my day depends on them. when i skip, it’s like i never wake up and really get going until the day is pretty much over. which means getting to bed is a must but sometimes difficult with these unpredictable little people.

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 fighting through some soreness from all the lifting i’ve been doing, but it’s nothing some consistency won’t fix.  ‘starting over’ physically after being quite active is always a humbling experience for me. it gives me a bit more mercy on the first timers that take my classes for sure lol.  anyhow, 8 weeks postpartum today,

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and 8 weeks old for this little guy <3 .  the back of his onesie says ‘focus on me’. loves it!

i was inspired to whip up this sweet potato recipe via Instagram earlier today.

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Twice Baked Southwest Sweet Potatoes

the stuff:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted
  • 1/4 cup sweet summer corn
  • 1/4 cup low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar almond cheese
  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast, chopped into chunks
  • 1 heaping tbsp Mrs. Dash Southwest seasoning blend
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste and avocado for presentation

do this:

  1. set your oven broiler to high and coat a square 8 x 8 pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. halve both sweet potatoes and scoop out the insides (but leave some around the edges so the halve can stand on its own) and add it to a large mixing bowl.
  3. add all seasonings, corn, half of the green onions, black beans, 2 oz of chopped chicken, and half of the shredded cheese; mix well.
  4. spoon mixture back into the 4 sweet potato shells evenly and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, green onion, and chicken chunks and arrange them in your prepared pan.
  5. place pan in oven (not too close to the broiler flame though!) and let it go  for 12-15  min or until the cheese is melted and the tops are browned/crisped.

20140812_151336_1once done, top with tomato and avocado. make it pretty.

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hey these can even be vegan if you nix the chicken!

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 makes 4 servings. for 1:

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 yall enjoy!

le

H-town’s very first 24 hour donut cafe

 a former colleague of mine and fellow UH Cougar, Ose Ohen, opened up Glazed last week!  we headed to stuff our faces immediately after church as planned.

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transparency is a wonderful thing.  i appreciate and enjoy being able to watch my food being prepared and just the entire process in general.  maybe that’s why i’m such a big fan of Unwrapped on Food Network.  seeing how things i’ve been eating for YEARS are made is just really interesting and cool.  anyway, kitchen windows build trust.  it can also change the way an employee works if you know what i mean, lol.

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 they had 3 flavors ready to go for the soft opening: lemon poppy, glazed, and maple bacon (with a turkey bacon version as well).

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more glass windows, awesome.

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we all sat down and got comfy while Sonny went to order our sweets.  i didn’t even have to tell him what to get either.

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*just before pulling the deliciousness out of the bag*

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i know. and it tasted as incredible as it looked.  perfect balance of sweet/salty/doughy/chewy/fluffy. WHAT a donut. i am crazy excited about this gigantic list of flavors they’ll be selling in the near future and i’m not even a donut person!

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Chiso eats his donuts just like his pizza, plain.  i’d say he enjoyed it.

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 well you knew this was happening later.  sweaty stair master intervals and some core work completed my sunday.  5 weeks postpartum and i still work my kegal muscles (when i think about it randomly at home) to strengthen my pelvic floor again.  it’s a process, ladies!  be patient, work them daily if you can, and make sure you do them on an empty bladder.

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 as i got meal prep going for the next few days, i channeled my inner Fish City Grill with these tacos for dinner.  if you’ve been there and ordered them they should look pretty familiar to ya ;) .  i used La Tortilla Factory 70 calorie tortillas as usual (which i saw at HEB recently!!!!) and filled them with baked swai fish, bagged cabbage and Annie’s all natural Lite Goddess dressing.  this is super similar to the Crunchy Ginger Rotisserie Chicken Wrap from a few days ago.  then i grilled them up on our griddle for a few minutes until they browned.   heating the tortilla first makes a huge difference vs a cold, flimsy tortilla.  try it!  someone from Instagram suggested i taste that flavor of Annie’s next and i’m glad i did.

Q: kolaches or donuts?

i’m a cheese lover so that’s an easy one. 

le

crunchy ginger rotisseri chicken wrap + stay fuller longer

having the same thing i had for breakfast yesterday while there are a few La Tortilla Factory Tortillas left in this house. they go so fast cause we all like them! Chiso eats them as pb & j rollups, Sonny makes tacos, and quesadillas are my fave. the exact kind i get are only at the Sprouts Farmers Market closest to where i live.

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 since i always make them for lunch or dinner,  i tried a breakfast quesadilla this time with egg whites, red bell pepper, green onion, low fat turkey sausage, and 2% pepper jack cheese.  i cooked it on the griddle for 4-5 min on each side and threw in some tomatoes, bluebs, and homemade guacamole. excellent!

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 my day gets going after some good fuel, and this thing makes it so much easier to get stuff done around the house when baby boy is fussy or i just don’t want to put him down.  i received this Baby Bjorn as a gift while preggo with Chiso and i love it for home use and outings.  Dego is a thumb sucker and puts his whole hand over his face while he does it! so funny.

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so with breastfeeding and getting back to my random, sweaty workouts as of this week, i am double HOONGRY. this is ridiculous.  i just want to eat the entire fridge and pantry when i get home.  coincidently i got an email from Spark People titled ‘Tips to Stay Full Longer’ and i could not click the link fast enough.  these are some awesome tips to follow and i’ve already been doing some of them such as:

  • eat protein and fiber rich foods every 3-4 hours with healthy snacks in between (like fresh fruit and mixed nuts)
  • fill up on the non-starchy veggies and fibrous foods (leafy greens, cucumbers, red bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, sugar snap peas) with every meal
  • reach for natural fruit first to lessen/knock out those sugar cravings. remember, white sugar only makes you crave it MORE! it’s a dangerous cycle.
  • drink a full glass or bottle of water before every meal
  • take your time and eat!!! when i’m super hungry i rush and stuff myself (which is why eating every couple of hours is still the best option for me). it takes about 20 minutes for your tummy to tell your brain you are even full, but by that time it’s too late and you’re on your way to a food coma. take your time to chew and swallow every bite.

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today was my first day back on the stair master since i was like 6 or 7 months preggo!  my heart rate always shot up and being up so high with my belly made Sonny uncomfy so i just stopped using it. i didn’t miss it. lol. hurts so good though!  i did some intervals for about 30 minutes for my cardio and headed to a core class.  how about i modified everythang. my postpartum core is way stronger now than in my first pregnancy, but i still have a crap ton of work to do. but first….. :D

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afterwards, i picked up some of nature’s candy from Sprouts.  i love their 3 for 5 bucks sale! i got 2 strawberries and one pint of bluebs. and those sweet, crunchy nectaries of course.

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i also picked up another one of Annie’s all natural dressings– Gingerly.  winner!

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i wanted to use it right away, so for dinner, i threw some shredded rotisserie chicken, raw red bell pepper, bagged cabbage mix, cilantro, green onion, and crushed almonds into a bowl, poured in the dressing, and coated the chicken mixture in it.

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i grabbed a La Tortilla Factory tortilla, rolled the chicken mixture up really tight and made a Crunchy Ginger Rotisserie Chicken Wrap that had so much flavor!  please try this, guys!

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 for dessert i skipped the fruit and had some Arctic Zero with mini chocolate chips, fat-free Redi Whip, and sprinkles lol. have a fun friday night and a great weekend!

le

Q: what are your thoughts on Artic Zero? yay? nay? 

 i add a tbsp of Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate syrup to mine, stir until creamy, and add a few toppings first. hits the sweet spot.

Grovin’

i started saturday morning with a RUN!  yep, i stepped it on up and turned my power walk into a run. after a restful night i felt the urge and had the energy to do more for my workout.  and uhhh, my legs said GO but my boobs said NO.  ouch. so it definitely became more of a jog/walk kinda thing for about an hour or so. nice, early, humid workout nonetheless.

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 great support from both sports bras and regular bras is EVERYTHING when it comes to postpartum boobs.  all boobies are different but i am now back up to a D cup (k, double) after getting quite comfy and confident with my B’s post bikini comp last year.  my strongest, most supportive, ‘old faithful’ sports bra is so old actually that i can only find it used on eBay lol. it’s the Asics Athletic Seamless Racerback bra and has served me well, so i’m sticking with the Asics brand from here on out. it’s like a brand new bra after every wash- it tightens back up and provides maximum support.

*****

mama and papa stepped out for a hot date saturday night!  dates are good. dates are refreshing.  dates keep things going, exciting, and refreshing. dates give you something to look forward to.  we are going on 7 years of marriage this year!  i actually had something really cool planned that fell through….but i didn’t reveal it to Sonny yet cause i’m totally gonna try again.  so, we went to dinner anyway to just enjoy some kiddo-free time. and burgers.

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i chose the Grove downtown, and we got a nice big cozy booth to ourselves.

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repeat offender.  just one of those things Sonny has grown to ‘love’ about me.  even if we’re at a new spot- i always play it safe and order salmon, and then we argue on how to even say salmon correctly.

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excuse the disrespectful flash;  the lighting was super dim and sexy though so i needed it.  reminds me of my early IG pictures pics- i can’t stand looking at them!! uuuggggghhhh.

this was a spring mix salad with radish and tomatoes.  now that i think about it, our waiter didn’t ask me when kind of dressing i even wanted, so no idea there.  i was living life on the edge and didn’t get my dressing on the side this time.

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Sonny asked our waiter what the quickest appetizer to make was (kinda hungry, aye?) and he said the flash fried shrimp.

sweet, crunchy, and full of flavor.

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a tasty bacon burger and french fry combo for hubby,

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and a grilled salmon fillet paired with sautéed cauliflower, kale, and fennel for moi.

much needed!

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are they twinning or what?  Dego is much more social and aware these days which means more smiles :D

Q: what’s your favorite date nite with your S.O.?

Q: how often do you make time for them? weekly? monthly?

long as i’m eating good food i’m a happy camper; 2-3 times a month is ideal for us when going out. home movie/dinner/game dates are great ideas too!

le

zucchini pepperoni pizza poppers

Bey and J are performing in Houston tonight and guess who’s going!??!?! all of Houston!!!  except us. we’re at home eating zucchini pizzas and staring at each other.

IMG_20140718_174525these healthy, light snacks are bursting with Italian, cheesy goodness and make THE perfect party appetizers by the way! you just need to serve them immediately while they are hot and bubbling. else, the cheese hardens up. but i can eat cheese at any temperature. especially burnt cheese. yummy.

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Zucchini Pepperoni Pizza Poppers

the stuff:

  • 2 raw zucchini, coined 1/2 in thick
  • 1/3 cup homemade marinara
  • 1/4 cup turkey pepperoni rounds, chopped
  • no stick cooking spray
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (vegan, dairy-free, cheddar, monterey  jack, pepperjack, mozzarella, etc.)

do this:

  1. wrap a large flat baking plan with foil and coat with no-stick cooking spray and set your oven broiler to high
  2. heat a large griddle to med-high heat  (i made pancakes for breakfast and the griddle was already out but you can use a very large skillet too) and coat it with no-stick cooking spray
  3. place as many zucchini coins flat on the griddle as possible and cook for 1 minute (you may have to work in batches)
  4. flip the coins over and cook for an additional minute
  5. transfer the cooked coins to the baking sheet lined with foil
  6. dab some marinara sauce on the top of each coin and using the back of a small spoon, spread mixture out
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  8.  sprinkle a few shreds of cheese on top of the sauce
  9.  sprinkle some chopped turkey pepperoni on top of the cheese
  10. place entire pan in your oven as close to the broiler flames as you can get and cook for approx. 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and bubbly
  11. sprinkle with Italian seasoning. done.

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s/n: if you have more zucchini to use up, see if you can stretch your ingredients even further as you might have sauce/cheese, etc. left over.

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 i upgraded my fry cutter!  this is the Deluxe Fry Cutter from Bed Bath & Beyond and i got it for 13 bucks after using the 5 bucks off coupon that comes in the snail mail flyer.  great, affordable investment.  the only thing i did have to do first is peel the potato, then slice it in half.  the device only opens so wide, so you might have to cut the ends off to make it fit.  other than that, no microwaving needed before cutting!  sign up for their ads directly on their website to get their coupons.

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what a big helper! not just in the kitchen with me but with his little brother as well which is a huge answered prayer. many have asked how the transition with the boys has been and i can honestly say smooth.  putting Dego’s dirty diapers in the diaper genie for me is exciting to him. yeah, i’m milking that for as long as he lets me.

also, these are the delish, Spicy Smoky Sweet Potato Fries from my ebook!

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WHY didn’t i think of this sooner… Quest Bars help out big time with my sweet toof.  i really i only get them when i go to my gym, so now that i’m going almost regularly the bars are making appearances again. THIS time though, i’m going to GNC and buying an entire box. can’t keep buying them for 3 bucks at a time, pretty stupid and not cost-effective.  20g protein, 17g fiber, 170-180 cals. coconut cashew is one of my fave flavors! .

didn’t get to have my early gym rendezvous this morning so i went power walking this evening.

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 i strapped down the girls with two sports bras and hit the bricks.  let me tell you how much i appreciate working my back 2 or more times a week when i was preggo! the weight of these boobs right now….. whew.

le

4 weeks pp + Dego’s 1 month mark

last night i said i was going to get up at the crack of dawn this morning and not just get my treadmill interval workout in, but to pop up on my 5:30am class to say hi while i was at it! i made me some hot coffee and headed out, Beats and ipod in tow.

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i kinda forgot to factor in feeding my newborn before leaving though so i arrived way after class started.  it was SO good to see old and new faces all across the studio when i peeked my head in the door!  i caught up with some of my regulars after class finished and they only made me more anxious to put that mic on again.

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cardio killaaaaa. i was hoping to be cleared to lift this week, but my OB’s schedule is jam packed!!! huge bummer. still crossing my fingers to be worked in somehow. else i’ll just wait ’til next week.

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Chiso woke up and requested pancakes, so he got’em.  i made him a stack of my WW Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Birthday Cakes complete with dolphin sprinkles and he almost finished the stack by himself!  i gladly killed the rest. remember, you can also sub blueberries for the chocolate chips.

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who’s 1 month today? that guy! i asked Sonny does 4 weeks make it one month, or will July 17th make it one month… idk and too lazy to Google. close enough.  also up until today, smiles from Dego were only reserved for Chiso. i finally got mine :)

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our God is an awesome God.  i make an effort to praise Him for all things, both great and especially small.  after receiving and reviewing Dego’s newborn screening results in the mail a few days ago i began to thank Him repeatedly.  i was instantly reminded of the time in my life when my thoughts consumed me and convinced me that i was unable to bear any children, ever.  God has blessed us with healthy baby boy #2, and for that we give Him all the glory.

they willl find you

this is so funny because i actually remember doing this to my mom.  putting my face on the floor to see her feet while calling her name over and over again and everything.  well it’s payback time!  who am i kidding… once Chiso doesn’t give a flying hoot about my whereabouts i’m gonna have a mommy moment…

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grilled sirloin steak and taters for dinner tonight.  we’ve been outta sweet taters and they are exactly what i need to keep me feeling fuller longer between meals.  the steak was marinated in some Annie’s balsamic vinaigrette, pinch of sea salt and black pepper before i tossed it in my grill pan.  that delicious sauce is just Grey Poupon mild and creamy mustard (which is calorie free, sugar free, and fat free) sauteed with white mushrooms. it’s bananas!

Q: how do you like your steak cooked?  

blood = no bueno. can’t do it. well done, please.

le

 

40 weeks preggo + Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti Squash

 glory to God! we made it! 40 weeks in the bag.
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wednesday i had (what i hope to be) my very last routine check up with my OB before meeting Odego.

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did some reading to pass the time in the waiting area and my eyes were immediately drawn to “why it’s OK to get an epidural” after picking up this magazine, lol.  this birth plan is the same as my first… to give it my best shot  naturally, and call for the epi if i need it. God has already gone before me and everything is in His hands. everything.

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i love that my OB involves Chiso somehow at every visit.  especially when i forget to bring his ipad!  i just love her to pieces and thank God for connecting us.  according to Chi’s calculations, my belly is currently measuring at 39.7 cms (the number your belly measures in cms usually corresponds with your current week, fyi).  pretty happy to have progressed to 2 cms dilated without feeling a thing at that.  well, what i HAVE felt has not been painful at all, rather.

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so i left my appointment with JUST enough time to hit the gym for one last TKB (turbo kickboxing) class!!! i also just wanted to tell the best kickboxing instructor i know that i’d be seeing her in a few weeks, or whenever i’m cleared to come back.

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i started that day with lean turkey sausage, 1 whole egg, 3 egg whites, the last of a ripe avocado, all over  a sweet potato hash i could have sworn i had already added  to my blog, sorry guys!! here are the ingredients i sautéed in my no stick skillet with 1 tbsp coconut oil:

  • 1 small peeled/cubed sweet potato (microwave for 1 min first to make it easier to chop)
  • 1 yelllow oinion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cubed zucchini
  • 1/4 cup cubed yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup  cubed red bell pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt (i used liquid aminos) & pepper
  • fresh chopped cilantro

and i scarfed down those rotisserie chicken breast deli sammiches on Sara Lee whole wheat 45 calories & delightful bread and raw carrots after the TKB class.

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here’s dinner from tonight with the recipe as promised:

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti Squash

the stuff:

  • 1 lb raw, de-veined, shelled shrimp
  • 1 roasted small – medium spaghetti squash  ( i throw the whole thing in my oven on 375 for 45 min)
  • 1/2 cup whole grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp or more lemon pepper seasoning
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon

do this:

  1. heat a large wok to med-high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  2. add 2 tbsp garlic and stir constantly so it doesn’t burn for about 2 minutes; add shrimp.
  3. season shrimp with 1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning and black pepper; remove from wok and set aside.
  4. add in another tbsp olive oil and the remaining 2 tbsp of garlic; cook for about 1 minute.
  5. add bell pepper if wanted at this point and let it cook/soften for 2 minutes. if no bell pepper, just add cooked spaghetti squash into wok along with another tbsp or two of lemon pepper seasoning and black pepper. mix well.
  6. halve the grape tomatoes then add them to your wok along with the cooked shrimp and cilantro; mix very well.
  7. squeeze the fresh lemon over the top of everything and serve!

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nutritional stats coming right up, asap. as for now, the baby waiting game continues!  have a safe, fun, friday night :)

le