Sunday, November 8, 2015

In the past year...

My birthday was this weekend (by the way, birthdays are not as exciting as a grown up as they were when I was little!).  As the number for my age increases, I took some time to reflect on the past year.
November 5, 2014- The first time we saw Little Sister on an ultrasound.  Now, anyone who has had a pregnancy loss, or maybe even anyone pregnant, can understand how I was feeling.  By the time of our appointment and we were walking to the ultrasound room, I was already in tears.  I was so worried that I had already lost this baby.  The ultrasound tech was great.  She found the baby quickly and we saw the most amazing thing- the beating heart!  My tears of fear and worry quickly changed to tears of joy that this baby was doing well and growing!

December 31, 2014- My dad and stepmom both retire!  This meant that they can travel to see us more often!

March 10, 2015- Little Guy began preschool.  This was sooner than we anticipated, but we decided it was a good time due to the upcoming changes to our family.

May 31, 2015- Two years since I became a stay at home mom!  Although I miss teaching, my heart is still at home with Little Guy and now Little Sister!  I feel so blessed that I am able to do this!

June 11, 2015- The day we met Little Sister!

June 25, 2015- Little Guy turned 4! and learned how to ride a pedal bike (with no training wheels)!

Life is so different now than it was a year ago.  Little Sister came into our lives and now everyday seems like an adventure with two little ones.  I have to remember to allow myself some grace as I have not figured out how do everything I used to do.

I love where my life has brought me.  A loving husband who works hard and two beautiful children that I am blessed to be at home with.  This past year had some wonderful moments.  I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Healthy Mama Challenge Week 2

Last week, I wrote about the mama slump.  Those times when you just feel out of sorts with being a mom, even though you love your kids.  Those times when you need to spend a little bit of time focusing on yourself.  To help me get out of the slump I was in, I joined the Healthy Mama Challenge through the mom's group I belong to.  This continues to be a great choice!

One area of focus is Body.  During week two, I was able to keep up with working out.  I actually worked out six days last week!  Yay!  Most of these were again early morning workouts (I think one was at 5:00), but this time of day is great for me.  One morning the workout was a little later, and so Little Guy was up and joined me!  He is pretty cute when he works out.

My sweaty post workout selfie!
Another aspect of the Body challenge is to think about what I am eating.  I get points for eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day.  While eating the fruit is pretty easy, I have had to focus on the veggies a little bit more.  But the encouragement to do this has been great, and I don't think I've missed a day of fruit or veggies.  We are also encouraged to keep a food journal.  This can be however we want; I have been using My Fitness Pal.  It helps me to think about what I am eating and how much.  However, I sometimes struggle with eating enough.  On days that I do cardio and weights, in addition to breastfeeding, I burn a lot of calories.  I am not trying to lose any weight right now, and so want to be eating close to the amount of calories MFP suggests.

This is what MFP looks like on my phone.
One area of the challenge I struggle with is Spirit.  This category includes time alone with spouse, time spent focusing on kids, time with friends with no kids, and doing things specifically for me including taking a bath, keeping a personal journal, and praying or meditating.  Although I love to take baths, I find it hard to do at the end of the day.  Same with keeping a journal or praying.  One of my goals, going into week 3, is to start doing at least one of these each day.

The last area is Mind.  This area has 3 options: reading a book, doing a hobby, or taking a college course.  This is one area that is easy for me!  I love to read, and read every night before I go to bed.  Currently I am reading The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory.  This is the sixth book in the Cousins' War series, with this book focusing on the reign of King Henry VIII of England.  I have also been working on my hobby- digital scrapbooking.  I used to do paper scrapbooking (you should see my wedding scrapbook!), but no longer have the time or space to do it.  So I have started digital scrapbooking and have really been enjoying it!  I am currently working on a scrapbook of Little Guy's first year.  (Side note- it is really fun to look at pictures of him when he was a baby!  And it is amazing to me how much my two kids look alike!)

 So, that's how I'm doing!  Some days are still hard, but I find that doing these things really does help.  What suggestions do you have?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Some days...

Many days we get out of the house.  Swim lessons, zoo class, preschool, playgroup, playdates, so many reasons to leave the house.  But some days, we stay home.  We stay in our pajamas, read books, and don't worry about getting out.  I like these days.

Sugar cookies fresh from the oven, waiting for decorating.  Dinner already cooking in the crockpot.

A door decorated with pumpkin and leaf faces, the product of our morning.

 The books we read, waiting for another reading.

 The fireplace keeping us warm and cozy, matching the feeling in our hearts.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Getting past the "Mama slump"

Do you even get into that "mama slump?"  You know, when you love your kids immensely but are tired and grumpy and maybe not just yourself?  I get that way sometimes, and a little more often after having Little Sister.  I feel like I give so much of myself to my two little ones, that there is not always a lot left over for me.

So it was time for a change.  A positive change.  The mom's group that I am a part of started a "Healthy Mama Challenge."  This is a four week competition (although competition is used loosely here) that encourages us moms to take care of our body (through exercise and eating well), our mind (through reading and hobbies) and our spirit (by praying or meditating, spending time with our spouse, focused time with our kids, and time alone).

Yesterday wrapped up week one of the challenge.  Guess what?  I feel good!  For the first time since Little Sister was born, I worked out more than one time during a week.  I actually got in five workouts last week, and one yoga session!  Although I love group fitness classes (remember, I was a Stroller Strides instructor), that type of workout just does not fit with my life right now.  So I have been doing workout videos off of YouTube.  PopSugar Fitness has been great!  For me, working out is something that I do for me, a time to focus on my body and my needs.  For now, it means I am getting up early in the morning to have enough time, but I feel better about myself when I do this!

Daddy and I spent some quality time together this week.  In the busy-ness of life with little kids, sometimes it is easy to overlook our partners.  Even though our children go to bed pretty early (they are both in bed by 7:30), there always seems to be so much to do- dishes to be washed, laundry to be folded, dogs to take care of, plus many more.  So it was nice to be "encouraged" to spend time focused on Daddy.

The time focused on the kids may have been the easiest, but oh so needed.  I spend all day with Little Guy and Little Sister, but I know I am not always 100% focused on them.  Last week we were having some beautiful weather, so four afternoons we walked to the local elementary school so Little Guy could play on the playground or ride his bike on the blacktop.  It takes us about 10 minutes to walk there, but we had fun singing songs on the way, telling stories, or just talking.  Little Sister either rode in the stroller, which she seemed to enjoy, or I wore her in my Boba carrier.  I think it was great for all of us to get out into the fresh air, spend that time together, and great for Little Guy to run around and play outside!  I really hope the nice weather sticks around so we can do this more this week!

I am excited to begin week two of this challenge!  I hope that I can continue to be encouraged to do things to take care of me, while taking care of my family!

What do you do to get out of the "mama slump?"

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Almost two weeks ago, Little Guy started preschool!  And not home school preschool- preschool at a school!

Little Guy actually started at the school last March, then was off for the summer.  They recently began the new school year.

For Little Guy's first formal school experience, we decided to go with a cooperative preschool.  That means that we have to volunteer in the classroom periodically (once about every two or three weeks), help on a school committee, and just generally support the school.  This is just perfect for me, because I want to be a part of his school experience, getting to know his teachers and fellow students.

It is also a play based preschool.  When he arrives each day, the students play on the playground.  They move inside and do an opening circle, then the students have time to play, explore, and learn.  There is nothing that the students have to do.  There are at most 16 students in his class with two teachers and one or two parent helpers.  At the end of the exploration time, they clean up, then have closing circle.  They invite the parents in to recap the day, then off we go!

Let me tell you, he LOVES it!  It has been great for him to interact with other children his age, and not just because his mommy knows their mommy.  It has also been great for him to interact with other adults, listening when adults give him directions, and learning how to do the basics of school.  This is what works for us, and we are all happy with our choice in preschools and how well he seems to be doing!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Buttercup Bag

This was a project I completed back in February!  Since my sewing machine was out, I just had to use it to sew something.  What better to sew than a new purse!   I had found the pattern for a Buttercup Bag on Made by Rae about a year ago, printed the pattern, and even bought the fabric, then let it sit in a drawer.  So it was time to bust it out and make it!

I used regular cotton fabric, so I lined it with fusible fleece to make it a little more sturdy.  The bag was pretty easy to put together and I am really pleased with how it came out!  It even has a magnetic snap to keep it closed (the first time I put one it) and a little pocket on the inside!

Its not a large purse, but it has enough room for the essentials!  I just grab my stuff from the diaper bag, toss it in this bag, and go!  (As if I ever leave the house without the diaper bag and baby!)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cooking with Little Guy- Veggie Dip

For Little Guy's birthday back in June, Grandpa and Grandma B. gave him a cookbook called Mom and Me Cookbook: Have fun in the kitchen! by Annabel Karmel.  In this cookbook are some really fun recipes.  We finally had a chance to try them out.

The first one we tried was called "Avocado Frog Dip."  We made a trip to the grocery store specifically to get the ingredients we needed, such as an avocado, lemon, chives, a cucumber, and olives.  While I helped with the hard parts (including chopping up the tomato), Little Guy put most of it together on his own.
Mashing the avocado.
Stirring in the tomato and other ingredients.
The finished dip!
I think it turned out really cute!  He put the face together himself! And the verdict?

First taste!
He liked it!  He even tried cucumber sticks dipped in it, as well as a sugar snap pea, two vegetables that I cannot normally get him to eat!  This is definitely a make again recipe!

What have you made with your little one lately?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My pregnancies (and losses)

Since Little Guy was an only child for almost four years, you may think that I was only pregnant twice.  Well, that's not the case.  It was not even the third time I've been pregnant.  No, this is the fourth time that I have been pregnant in the past four years.

This is one of those things that is really hard to talk about when you it is happening to you.  Back in September of 2012 we decided it was time to try expanding our family.  After  a few months, I got a  positive pregnancy test!  We were so excited.  It was early December so we decided to wait until Christmas to tell our parents.  My first prenatal appointment was scheduled for December 28 when I would be 8 weeks along.

At that appointment, the doctor did an ultrasound to date the pregnancy.  We saw a heartbeat, but the baby was only measuring 5 weeks 5 days.  The doctor ordered blood work and scheduled me to return in one week for another ultrasound to make sure the baby was growing.  The blood work came out fine.  The ultrasound, 8 days after the first, showed the baby measuring 6 weeks 1 day with no heartbeat.  I was so sad.  I opted to have a D&C the next day, which was one of the hardest days of my life.  That was my first angel baby.

Fast forward to the next December.  After months of trying, I got another positive pregnancy test. I was trying hard to be optimistic about this pregnancy. We were traveling home for December, so we wanted to tell our families in person.  On the drive (18 hours), I started spotting.  We arrived at our destination and held off sharing the news.  The day after Christmas, I started bleeding.  That was my second angel baby.

August 26.  That was the due date of both pregnancies that I lost.

When I found out I was pregnant with this little girl, I had such mixed emotions.  I was so glad to be pregnant after months of trying.  However, I was petrified that I would lose this pregnancy.  I think that I held my breath until my first ultrasound at 8 weeks.  I walked into the office, already crying because I had convinced myself that this was not a viable pregnancy.  However, the tears quickly turned to tears of joy as we saw a beautiful heartbeat!

I continued to exercise and was thankful (mostly) every day that I had morning sickness, as that meant that I still had pregnancy hormones going through my body.  As we approached our 19 week ultrasound, I was worried that something would be wrong with the baby.  But that ultrasound showed us a healthy baby girl!

I am so thankful and feel so blessed to now be able to hold our baby girl in my arms.  It was a long journey to get here.  I hope by sharing our struggles and finally our joy, others can have hope and realize they are not alone.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Little Sister's Birth Story

This story begins a few days before Little Sister arrived.  Being the planner that I am, I had planned for several things to get done about a week and a half before little sister was due (her due date was June 19).  Monday our dog got groomed.  Tuesday she had a teeth cleaning and house cleaners were supposed to come to clean the house.  Well, the house cleaners never showed, and after talking to their office, they were rescheduled to come the next day.  So Wednesday the house cleaners came.  I decided that Little Sister could come any time now, because I had everything done that I wanted completed before she arrived.  We were all ready for her, my parents were here, and Daddy was ready for the time off work.

Little Guy and I went to the zoo a week before Little Sister arrived.
Here I am at 37 weeks pregnant, 1 week before Little Sister was born. 
About 1:00am on Thursday morning I got up to pee.  As soon as I lay back down in bed, my water broke!  I woke Daddy up, who had only come to bed shortly before.  I wasn’t feeling any contractions, so I wasn’t sure if we needed to head to the hospital yet.  Daddy stripped the sheets off the bed (wish we had a waterproof cover!), and I called the maternity center at the hospital.  When I told them my water had broken, they said I needed to come right in.  I called Grandpa and Grandma B. first, as they were closest to us, and we needed someone to come stay with Little Guy.  Then I called Grandma and Granddaddy.  They said they would head over, too. 

My hospital bag was packed and so I got dressed.  Since we had to wait for someone to get to our house, Daddy took a quick shower.  Once Grandpa and Grandma B. arrived, Daddy and I left for the hospital, arriving there at about 2:00am. We were shown to a room, and I changed into the cute hospital gown Grandma had bought me.  Once they confirmed that my water had indeed broken, I was officially admitted to the hospital.  After hooking me up to the various machines, Daddy and I actually had time to rest.  My contractions were not very strong yet, so we napped off and on.  Around 7:00am my contractions started getting stronger.  We called the grandparents and told them to come to the hospital soon, as Baby Sister might be on her way. 

My contractions were now pretty intense and I was dilated to about 8 cm, so we decided to try sitting in the big tub to relax.  I made it through 1 or 2 contractions, but then decided it was time for an epidural.  Unfortunately, that meant that I had to stay in bed from then on.  The other bummer was that it slowed down my contractions.  My doctor had come to the hospital to check on me, and had called a few times to get updates.

About 11:00am I was ready to begin pushing.  My doctor had arrived, ready for the delivery.  Baby Sister’s heartbeat was remaining strong.  The epidural had worn off slightly (earlier I could not feel my legs at all), so I had some sensation and could feel what I was doing.  My contractions were about 10 minutes apart, so I was given Pictocin to help bring the contractions closer together.  After a little more than an hour of pushing, Little Sister was born at 12:17pm! 

They placed her right on my chest and I got to hold her, with Daddy right next to me.  It was love at first sight!  She was beautiful!  When we were ready, the nurse took her and cleaned her up, weighed her (7 pounds 1 ounce), and measured her length (19 inches, but Daddy says that was being generous).  Then Daddy went to get the rest of the family.
Little Guy waiting to meet his sister (I love this picture!)

The first meeting!

Little Guy and the grandparents came into the room.  Little Guy was so excited to meet his sister.  He came and sat on the bed with me and looked at her, already anxious to hold her. Snuggles were had all around, as everyone had a chance to hold the beautiful new addition to our family.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hello again!


Oh my, I  know its been a while, so we have a lot to catch up on!  I guess the biggest thing is that we are now a family of 4!

We welcomed Little Sister into our family on Thursday, June 11, 2015.  I will share her birth story soon!  Here is a picture from that wonderful day!

As you can imagine (or know), our lives have changed with this wonderful new addition.  I am learning to balance a 4 year old (yup, Little Guy turned 4!) and a newborn.  While it has amazing moments, it also has difficult ones.  I look forward to sharing more soon!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tucson- A 3 year old's perspective

On a recent trip to Tucson, Little Guy used his camera when we did some sightseeing!  One morning, Little Guy and Daddy visited the University of Arizona campus (Daddy and I are both alumnae).  Check out his perspective!

Another morning, we went to the zoo.  We especially enjoyed looking at the elephants, as we do not have any elephants at our local zoo!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day from our growing family!

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you have a wonderful day, filled with joy and love (and maybe even some flowers or chocolates!)!

There are pretty big happenings around here right now.  I am happy to share that I am five months pregnant!  Come this June (right around Little Guy's fourth birthday), we are expecting to welcome a little girl into our family!

Remember all that time from November and December that I went MIA from the blog?  That was due to morning sickness, or, more appropriately, all day sickness.  Due to that fun pregnancy symptom, taking care of Little Guy and Daddy was about all I could handle, so the blog had to take a break.

We are all so excited!  Little Guy will tell you that he has always wanted a little sister, and keeps telling us all the ways that he is going to help with the baby and the things that he is going to teach her!

We are so happy to being adding another member to our family!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

iPad and Surface Pro Sleeves

Last week, my sewing machine came back out!  It was so nice to have it back out, like greeting an old friend.  I spent the first weekend sewing an iPad sleeve and a Surface Pro sleeve.

The first project on my list was to make a (belated) Christmas present- an iPad sleeve.  I found a great tutorial at Crazy Little Projects.  I found some cute green and blue fabric at JoAnns and got to work.  It came together pretty easily.  I did make one change, putting a button hole and and button instead of a velcro closure.  I was pretty happy with how it came out!  I tried out Daddy's iPad in it, and it fit!  Quite nicely, too!

The next project was to sew a sleeve for my (new) Surface Pro that Daddy gave me for Christmas!  It is a little bigger than an iPad, so I used the same tutorial and made it a little bigger.  Unfortunately, I did not make it as wide as I should have.  While my Surface Pro fits, it is a tight fit.  Oh well!

I used this cute purple chevron print that I also found at JoAnns, and lined it with the cute floral print.  Even though it is not the best fit, it still makes me happy!

More sewing projects coming soon!

What have you made lately?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Preschool- Pirates Week 2

The pirate fun continued for a second week in our homeschool preschool!  Little Guy had a lot of fun with many of the activities from last week.  He completed many of them again this week, so most of those activities are not in today's post.  Here are some new activities for this week.  Little Guy is 42 months old.

This first activity was syllable clapping and sorting from Homeschool Creations.  We have not really worked on syllables before (although he has been exposed to this concept at story time at the library).  We had a stack of one- and two-syllable pictures and a card with a 1 and a card with a 2.  Little Guy would name the picture, we would clap the syllable together, then he would put it with the correct number.  He did great!  It was a fun way to practice syllabication with easy words!

This roll and graph activity came from 123 Homeschool4Me.  We used some glass beads to show which object we had rolled.  This is great because Little Guy can play on his own or we can take turns.

To practice some fine motor skills, Little Guy did some lacing.  I pulled out a fish and a parrot for him to lace.  Every time he does this, it gets a little easier for him, although he still likes mommy to hold it for him (as you can see).

This puzzle came from The Relaxed Homeschool.  It was originally a four piece puzzle, but I cut each piece in half to make it an eight piece puzzle.  Little Guy got frustrated doing this puzzle, since the pieces can slide around.

I put a few worksheets into a binder for him to practice.  We used sheets from Homeschool Creations and 123 Homeschool4Me.  I put them in sheet protectors and then he used a dry erase crayon to complete the work.

Since we had this treasure chest, we used it to help practice spooning.  Little Guy had a dozen doubloons in a bowl, which he had to scoop out with a spoon and put in his treasure chest.

Little Guy really seemed to enjoy our pirate themed preschool!  In addition to these activities, we checked out several pirate story books from the library to read as part of our preschool time.  Some of his favorites were Riff Raff the Mouse Pirate by Susan Schade, Pirate Pete by Kim Kennedy, and How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long.

More pirate activities can be found on my Pinterest board!