Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ezra Connor's Birth Story


If I could only use 1 word to describe his birth that would be it. At the time it did not feel fast but after he was born and we realized what time it was.... we were shocked! But I am glad it was fast because I was ready to be done and just wanted to meet my baby boy. 

This pregnancy was a lot harder on me, physically and mentally. Taking care of two toddlers on top of being pregnant is quite difficult. My back pain started in the first trimester and I felt more nauseous this time than with the others, although I never actually threw up. And I was exhausted. But when you have a 3yr old who doesn't nap and doesn't like to be left alone, well, naps get forgotten. The second trimester went smoothly and quickly. But as I got closer to the third trimester I started to struggle with worry. How were we going to handle 3 kids, where was he going to sleep, would I ever get time to myself or with Eli? And of course worry about labor.... They say women forget the pain of labor after a while but not this time for me. I was really not looking forward to that part of birth. And then to top it all off, I got a lovely varicose vein. Which was actually kinda painful. The solution to that is to wear compression hose, which are the worst. Imagine laying in bed, 7 or more months pregnant and trying to put hose on..... it was like a mini workout! 

By the time I hit 36 weeks I was done. I was ready to have this baby, but yet at the same time I was not ready for labor. All I could think about was how much it hurt. Not a good mind set to have at this point in pregnancy. 

Both Aiden and Lydia were early (3 days and 8 days) so we all (me, the midwives, friends) thought Ezra would be too. But as the due date got closer and closer, and nothing was happening, not even braxton hicks, I started getting depressed. Every morning I would get up expecting something to happen, and every morning I would tell myself it could be today. But after almost 2 weeks of expecting something to happened and nothing happening I was about ready to scream. I really did not want to be overdue, as I have stated several times I was done with being pregnant!

2 days before my due date Eli and I went in for my appointment. We had decided beforehand that we were going to see if they would strip my membranes to possibly get labor started. My midwife didn't seem too enthusiastic about it (probably because I wasn't overdue) but she was nice to enough to check me (2 1/2cm), stretch the cervix, and give me some homeopathic pills (black and blue cohosh) that could start contractions. I started taking them immediately and within about an hour I had some contractions. Walking is also a good way to start labor so we went on a little mini date after my appointment and walked around several different stores for about 2 hours. The contractions ended up only last until that evening and then they petered off. 

I woke up the next morning, Friday the 23rd, one day before my due date and started taking the homeopathic pills again. Once again contractions started but then petered out by lunchtime. Eli came home around 3pm to find me laying on the couch, having a little pity party for myself. He talked me into taking a little walk, which then turned into a long walk and a stop by a new restaurant for dinner. Getting out of the house and having adult conversation helped take my mind off my worry and stress. On the way home I decided that I would try using my pump to see if that would start some contractions. I had heard of it working before, but was pretty skeptical. At this point though I was ready to try anything. We got home around 7 and I immediately started using it. At 7:30pm the contractions hit. And when I say hit, I mean hard contractions and 5-7 minutes apart. None of this gradual, 20 minutes apart nonsense like my other pregnancies. I waited half an hour before calling my midwife, then took a bath to see if the contractions stopped or continued. Well, they continued. At this point we called my sister-in-law who was going to be watching the kids and told her that she should probably think about coming over. I was concerned that this was false labor, just because it started so quickly and I had used methods to get it start instead of just letting my body do it naturally. So we kinda down played the urgency of it. But a little after 9pm I realized my contractions were super close and we still had to drive 25 minutes to get to the birthing center. Ended up calling my mom to come stay with the kids until Rachel got there. We loaded up our bags and left around 9:30pm. We arrived at the birthing center at about 10pm and found out I was already dilated to a 7! I kept feeling the need to push, which turned out to be the pressure from the amniotic fluid surrounding baby. My water has never broken on it's own so this was a weird feeling, especially when it did pop! I honestly thought I had pushed the baby out in 1 push! Unfortunately that was not the case and I still had to push him out. It felt like forever but inreality it was only about 6 pushes before our sweet little boy made his entrance into the world. And that's when we realized it was only a couple minutes after 11pm! It had only been about 1 hour that I had been there, yet it felt way longer than that. We all started joking around about having the baby in the car next time... hopefully that will not happen.

Ezra weighed 6lbs, 7 ounces and was 19in long, the smallest one yet. But he made up for that with all of his dark hair! It's ridiculous how much he had, and still has. 

As I said before, it was fast, a little chaotic, but it's over now and our family has grown because of this sweet blessing! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review of 2014

I was just reading over my post from last year, Review of 2013, and realized how much has changed! The kids are much bigger, Eli has a new job, we've done some projects around the house, and I kinda went back to work. Sometimes a year feels so long but when I look back, time just flew by!

One thing that definitely hit me this year and made me think was that God's plan was (and still is) way better than mine. Owning a duplex was never in my plan, Eli switching jobs wasn't in my plans, but it has blessed us so much! Thanks be to an almighty Creator! 

Now, I want to show you some pictures of the house projects.

I saw this mantle for sale on a Facebook page and knew it would look awesome in our living room! It really helps to define that space, before it was just a big wall. I especially love decorating it for the different seasons. 

 Our second project was adding some more can lights in the living room. There were originally 2, so we added 4 more. There are only 3 pictured but I think you get the idea! We love how much lighter it is in the living room and were able to get rid of a lamp, freeing up some space. 

 The 3rd (and biggest) project was the bathroom. Here you see the before pictures (along with my paint sample swatches!). It was all white and no storage, besides under the sink and the one shelf. Pretty bland.

 We also decided to replace the mirror and light. They looked pretty 80's to us....

 But we ran into an issue after taking them down, a nice hole in the wall. We think that there use to be a medicine cabinet set into the wall and when it was replaced they just covered up the hole with the new mirror. So this definitely threw our remodel plans into a disarray. We were not planning on having to sheetrock, mud and tape, and texture the wall. 

 For some unfortunate reason I do not have a picture of the new mirror on my computer, but rest assured, it looks wonderful! It is a dark brown medicine cabinet with a mirror on the front. 

Here are the after pictures! We painted the walls a light grey and added dark brown cabinets. It is so nice having some much storage now! 

Now onto the family. 

This is our Christmas Eve picture. The kiddos were excited about their new jammies! 

Baby L
She's not much of a baby now! Almost 18 months old, she is walking like crazy, trying to keep up with her brother! She is such a girly girl, too. Loves clothing, shoes, and her new necklace and bracelets. You should of seen her face when she got a baby doll for christmas! Her face lit up, it was perfect. I really wish we had gotten a picture. She loves to eat whatever everyone else is eating, somedays I think she eats more than her brother. The red hair is slowly but surely growing it. I can't wait to do pigtails! She is following in the footsteps of her daddy and brother in the love for LEGOs. We are teaching her words, at the moments she says dada, mama, Aiden, nana, papa, Abby, and Emma. We're still working on the other aunt and uncles. We love her silliness and sweetness! She loves to snuggle. And she loves her pacifier..... 

Easy A

Why do they have to grown up! He has become such a big boy! His current love is super heroes. Seriously, any kind of super hero and he is happy. Buzz light, ninja turtles, Justice League, etc. This summer he got a little 4-wheeler, and now loves to ride on them, and snow machines! He is such an awesome big brother. Just the other day He was trying to comfort his crying sister on the car ride home. It was so sweet! He loves his Daddy, almost every morning he asks where Daddy is. They play LEGOs together, and he likes to "help" daddy work with his tools. :) But the big news is, he's potty trained! The week of his 3rd birthday was when it clicked and he has done so well! He stays dry through the night and hardly ever has an accident! 


As stated above, Eli got a new job! He started as an apprentice electrician in May and has really enjoyed it! He does have to do some schoolwork, which is not his favorite, but he's done well so far. Still does ebay, you should see his office! It is full of stuff to sell. He had some interesting finds this year, like a Caterpillar tractor (the old school metal ones), a gps, parts to a Keurig coffee machine. They were more but that's all I can think of at the moment. He's very proud of his house projects! His next dream is to tear down our old barn and put up a real garage. How nice would that be?!? He also went on his first hunt in August and got a caribou! It has been so nice to have fresh meat all winter, although we are almost out.... Eli is also excited that his team, the Packers, beat the cowboys and are still in the playoffs! :) 

This is always the hardest part, what did I do this past year? Well, I took care of the kids, did tons of laundry, washed hundreds of dishes, made lots of yummy dinners, and attempted to clean the house. One new thing this past year was that I started working every other saturday at Oopsie Daisy. I have enjoyed getting the chance to work with flowers again and make a little extra money. Right now I am saving up for a trip to Ireland, just me and Eli. :) I did some work on my yard this year, mainly weeding the flower bed, which was desperately needed! I always enjoy getting to pick out some new plants each spring and watch them bloom. 

I almost forgot a major event! My little brother got married in October in Kansas, so we made a big family trip! It was such a good time seeing my sisters, nieces, extended family, and good friends. We got to road trip from Dallas, TX, to Wichita, KS, and back, go to the Dallas Zoo, drive to places in TX I've never been, and stay at a beautiful ranch (Thanks Cornett's & Sheet's!) All in all, a wonderful trip.

That's about all I can think of for the moment! We are in the process of redoing the kid's closet so once we're done I'll update you on that. Thanks for reading and I hope your year was as blessed as mine! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Whole 30: Week 3 Recap and Week 4 Menu

I had ever intention of blogging last week...... but it obviously never happened. Just one of those weeks where the days flew by and I felt like I had tons to do. But, it is a new week and hopefully not a crazy one!

One of our favorite recipes from last week was Salmon with Coconut Cream Sauce. It was delicious! I am always looking for new ways to cook salmon, so I am glad to have tried this one and that we all liked it. Plus, it was very simple. :)

I have also discovered that I love sweet potatoes! Of course I already knew they were yummy, but for some reason I never thought to buy them. But since starting this challenge we have eaten them several times a week, in all kinds of forms. Fries, hash browns, in meat dishes, with eggs for breakfast. So good! And Costco carries a 10lb bag so I think we're set for a little while! 

As we enter week 4 I am surprised at how fast this has flown by! This first week felt like forever and I was wondering how in the world I was going to do this for 30 days! But now we're on Day 22, only 8 days left! I am feeling great! More energy, my skin feels awesome, I feel full after a meal but not bloated, and I am pretty sure I lost an inch or 2 off my waist. It's truly amazing how eating clean and healthy can make you feel (and look!) so good. I always knew food played a major part in losing/gaining weight, but never quite realized how much. We normally ate pretty well, but I feel like I have learned so much more about what foods affect my body, for good or not. 

Alright, Week 4 Menu.

Breakfast: Apple Bumpkin Bake (seriously, love this too!)
Lunch: Leftover Roasted Throw Together
Dinner: Bacon Wrapped Chicken & Citrus Glazed Carrots

Breakfast: Probably Apple Bumpkin Bake again. :)
Lunch: Leftover Butternut Squash Lasagne
Dinner: Bunless Caribou Burgers & Sweet Potato Coins

Breakfast: Eggs or Apple Bumpkin Bake
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Curry Chicken

Breakfast: Eggs and meat
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Sausage Gumbo

Breakfast: Eggs
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Dinner w/ friends. :)

Breakfast: More Eggs
Lunch: Shrimp & Avocado Salad
Dinner: Salmon Cakes & Tropical Cabbage Salad

Breakfast: Eggs w/ sweet potato hash browns
Lunch: Spicy Coconut Shrimp
Dinner: Caribou Shish Kabobs

I am really excited for the shrimp and avocado salad. Two of my favorite things!
Have you tried any good Whole30 or Paleo recipes lately? Let me know! I am always looking for new and yummy recipes. 

It's a good thing I like leftovers! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Whole 30: Week 1 Recap & Week 2 Menu

We survived the 1st week!

Okay, okay, it really wasn't that bad. :) 

It was definitely interesting to see how our bodies dealt with the change. Not that we were junky eaters in the first place, but we definitely liked our dairy and grains. :) And who knew that there is sugar in pretty much everything, including bacon?!?! 

Day 2 was rough. I woke up and thought I was coming down with the flu. At 5am I woke up all sweaty and my stomach feeling off, so I got up, drank some water, ate a handful of almonds, took my fuzzy socks off and layer back down, without any blankets. Finally fell back asleep, but when I woke up for the second time my stomach still wasn't feeling to well. At first I thought I was just hungry so I ate my yummy Apple Bumbkin Breakfast Bake (recipe on my pinterest board, Whole 30, if you're interested!) and then laid on the couch. After a little while I took some ibuprofen and put doTerra's flu bomb oil on my feet. A few hours later I started to feel better and was even able to go to work, but I could still tell that my stomach just felt "off", something wasn't right. And then it finally hit me that it probably had something to do with Whole 30! I went to their website and found this helpful post! Whew! What I was experiencing was normal! Eli also didn't feel the greatest this day, and said he felt very lethargic. 

But now that we are on Day 9 and my body has finally adjusted, I am feeling great! Eli told me the other day that he felt more energetic in the mornings. It is still a struggle to resist my cravings for sweets, but I have discovered that apples and almond butter hit the spot in those moments. And homemade cinnamon applesauce. :) 

We enjoyed all the meals from the 1st week, some more than others, but nothing was gross. I think our favorites were the sausage and cabbage delight, pan fried salmon, and the baked butternut squash. All the side dishes were delicious! I loved finding new ways to cook them, because sometimes salad and cut, raw veggies get boring. 

Alright, Week 2's Menu.

Breakfast: Eggs w/ leftover meat
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Poblano Stuffed Peppers & Cauliflower Rice (was suppose to be sunday's dinner, but we ended up eating lunch at my parent's so we pushed sunday's lunch to dinner, and dinner to monday night dinner!)

Breakfast: Eggs w/ leftover stuffed pepper's
Lunch: Cauliflower Rice w/ left over stuffing :)
Dinner: Macadamia Encrusted Halibut w/ Salad

Breakfast: Eggs
Lunch: Leftovers or Sweet Potato & Egg Salad
Dinner: Comfort Food (steak and veggies dish)

Breakfast: Eggs, again...
Lunch: Leftovers or Sausage & Cabbage Delight
Dinner: Carne Asada Lettuce Tacos

Lunch: probably leftovers
Dinner: Avocado BLT Egg Salad

Breakfast: and more eggs. Can you see a theme here?
Lunch: BBQ at Church after Impact Eagle River
Dinner: Whatever leftovers sound good

Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Sweet Beef Scramble

Monday, September 15, 2014

Whole 30:Week 1 Menu

As mentioned in my previous post, we are doing the Whole 30 Challenge this month. I am halfway through the first day and doing well! Haha. 

I wanted to post the menu here so that everyone can see how easy and yummy these recipes sound! Seriously, I am pretty excited to try them. And I was able to find almost everything at Fred Meyer's. The items I wasn't able to find were due to the store rearranging everything and I spent literally an hour in the store, walking in circles looking for 3 items or an employee in that section. I'll be so glad in a few weeks when I have re-memorized the layout. But, back to the Whole 30 Menu. 

I found this blog (whole family strong.com) through the Whole 30 website. It was one of their recommendations for recipes and said they were 100% compliant with Whole 30 and they have a 30 day menu already planned out! How handy is that? One thing I was worried about going into this challenge was finding recipes, but now I don't have to worry about that. I also followed a gal on Pinterest who had a Whole 30 board and have started my own board with recipes I want to try. 

Now the menu.....


Breakfast: Apple Bumbkin Breakfast Bake
Lunch: Chicken Salad on a bed of lettuce & spinach
Dinner: Meatloaf Cake w/ Lemon-herb Asparagus


Breakfast: Meatloaf & eggs OR leftover Apple Bake
Lunch: Chicken Salad
Dinner: Dinner w/ Emma & Mick (who are also doing Whole 30)


Breakfast: Eggs or Apple Bake
Lunch: Chicken Salad
Dinner: Cilantro Caribou Burgers w/ Sauteed Carrots


Breakfast: Eggs w/ diced Caribou Burger
Lunch: Chicken Salad OR Sausage & Cabbage Delight
Dinner: Crockpot Pulled Pork w/ Baked Butternut Squash


Breakfast: Pulled Pork & Scrambled Eggs
Lunch: Chicken Salad OR Sausage & Cabbage Delight
Dinner: Herb Crusted Salmon & Sauteed Kale


Breakfast: Eggs w/ Salmon
Lunch: Chicken Salad OR Sausage & Cabbage Delight
Dinner: Any Leftovers


Breakfast: Eggs w/ Sweet Potato Hash
Lunch: Crispy Chicken Legs
Dinner: Stuffed Poblano Peppers w/ Cauliflower Rice

So it looks like we'll be going through a lot of eggs! Maybe we do need chickens....

I made a big batch of the chicken salad yesterday and am planning on eating that for lunch until it's gone. Same thing with the Apple Bumbkin Bake for breakfast.

And, my mom gave me a big bag of local grown apples (from her friend) and some rhubarb so I made rhubarb applesauce (no sugar!) and I figure that it will be a good, healthy snack. 

Normally, I don't like meatloaf but I am looking forward to trying a new recipe. I'll let you know what we think. :)

Whole 30 Challenge!

What is Whole 30 you ask? 

I am hesitant to call it a diet, it's more of a life style. It's pretty close to a paleo diet, but a few more restrictions. You can go here to learn more about it. 

My favorite quote, and the reason why I am doing this challenge, is, 

"Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.
So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you? Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health."
A reset button, just what I need! Lately I have had no energy, my skin (and hair!) is a mess, I always seem to be fighting a cold, and I cannot seem to get rid of a little bit of fat hanging around my midsection. I am hoping that by following Whole 30 for a month I can fix some of these issues, and learn some tips to eat and cook healthy meals for my family. 
Now that my reasons are stated, I would like to ask you to encourage me in this goal! Ask me how my week is going, what my favorite recipe is so far, or any questions you have about this Whole 30 thing. 
I was pretty nervous at first. No sugar (real or artificial), no alcohol in any form, no grains, no legumes, no processed food, and no dairy. How in the world do you survive without bread? without yogurt? without hummus? But I thankfully found a family blog that has a menu all planned out and the meals all look delicious! We already tested the Chicken Salad (made with homemade mayo) and it was great! 
My goal is to blog at least once a week (hopefully more) and give you an update on how it's going. Already today, Day 1, I found myself throwing a handful of Baby L's cereal in my mouth before I remembered I wasn't suppose to eat grains! Don't worry, I spit it out right away! 
I will post our menu for the week later today. I am really excited, these recipes all sound yummy and look easy to make. 
Thanks for reading, and please, remember to leave some encouragement! I have a terrible sweet tooth so this could be difficult. :/

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reading, reading, reading.

I absolutely love to read. Without a doubt my most favorite way to relax! Especially when it's a good book. :)

These past 6 months or so I have been trying to read new authors and genres. I've gotten suggestions from friends, my boss, and Pinterest. Some were good, some not so good, and others okay, but not very memorable. 

Below are the ones I've enjoyed the most!

Monuments Men by Robert Edsel.

I discovered this treasure via Pinterest in this Buzzfeed article. It is the story of a group of men who go to Europe during WWII to help save national monuments  and artifacts only to discover that the Nazis are stealing every single item of value. Their mission is to save and restore these stolen treasures. Now, I love history so this was right up my alley. It was a bit difficult to read at times cause it's very historically correct so there are a lot of dates, places and people to keep track of. The movie adaption came out in February and it did a decent job at telling the story, but if you want to know more details, read the book!

Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.

Also found this book in the above article. And absolutely loved it! Like, couldn't put it down, cried at the end, loved it! I have not seen the movie, though, so can't give you any comparisons there. I was a little leery of reading it at first cause it seemed to be a knock-off of The Hunger Games, but I was wrong. While it has similar settings, along with a strong female lead, to Hunger Games, the characters and storyline are very different. I won't tell you any more cause I don't want to spoil it for you!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.

A friend of mine is doing a online book club and this was the first book she picked to read and review/discuss on her blog (her review). It's the story of a lady who struggles with her past and behaviors which affects her present life. The story is told through emails, letters, notes, and journal entries. Very interesting and kept me guessing on how it would resolve until the end. 

Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton.

I was bored one day, at my parent's and looking for a book to read. Came across this one on the shelf and thought I would give it a try. It is actually a whole series (about 12 books so far). What I love about this series is how light hearted and fun it is, plus it inspires me to knit more! And it's a mystery, which is my favorite genre. The main character, Kelly, ends up in Colorado after the death of her only living relative. She ends up getting involved in solving mysteries and a local knitting group who become her new "family". As I said, it's a fun, light hearted read. Perfect for lazy summer days! 

The Circle Series by Ted Dekker.

I actually read this series a few years ago but had forgotten quite a bit, plus I discovered that I never read the 4th book, Green. The storyline is a bit complicated to explain so I'll just give you a few details. It follows the journey of Thomas, who one day wakes up in a dream world that is as realistic as his real life. He then discovers that the two realities are connected. The author, Ted Dekker, is a christian novelist who writes fiction stories dealing with spiritual warfare. In this series, stuff that is spiritual in the real world becomes physical in the alternate world, i.e. sin is a physical disease and the only way to be healed is to die by drowning in the savior's blood. I know, sounds kinda morbid, but it's really not. You have to read his descriptions of it to understand better! Highly recommend it!

Mark of a Lion Series by Francine Rivers.

So, so good! Could not put it down! This series is the story of 3 people in Ancient Rome, a christian Jewish girl, a roman man, and a german gladiator. I love how it follows their struggles and quests to find God. It all starts with Hadassah, a jewish christian sold into slavery after the fall of Jerusalem. She ends up in a household where she meets Marcus, a rich, proud roman. Her faith makes a huge impact on his life. She also briefly meets Atretes, the german gladiator. The 3rd book deals with his struggle and walk towards faith in God. It shows how 1 person's faith makes an impact on those you come in contact with. 


Which of these books have you read? What did you think?

I'm always looking for new recommendations so tell me what you've been reading!