Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thoughts on Pregnancy

We are slowly inching closer to the finish line. Every day, when I look at the calendar, I am slightly shocked by the amount of time left before this little one is here. In 3-ish weeks we will have a child to actually parent, not just a belly bump to talk and sing to, and rub on.

That last sentence scares me a bit. While I feel more than ready, I also feel completely unprepared. Does that make sense? 

Maybe it is the amount of change happening all at once. Or the fact that we don't really have anything set up. Maybe it is just me being hormonal. Which is entirely possible. Maybe this is what becoming a mother means. Worrying about silly things even when you know it is all going to be okay. 

I think some of these feelings and thoughts come from pregnancy not being what I had expected it to be. While I have been blessed to have a "smooth" pregnancy, it definitely is not as easy and beautiful as often depicted. I think like most, I was expecting stereotypical horrible morning sickness throughout the first trimester and then a redeeming burst of energy and feeling good during the second. Not here. 

For me, second trimester was marked by malaise, apathy, and a ton of aches and pains. I felt good for maybe 6 weeks. At the 25 week mark I developed severe pelvic girdle pain and pubic symphysis dysfunction. I never imagined that it could be considered "normal" to feel like my pelvis would shatter into a million pieces just by trying to roll over at night. So knowing that my expectations of how pregnancy was going to be were inaccurate makes me nervous about how labor and parenting are going to be. 

With all that complaining out of the way, I have to say that despite feeling "not myself" I am extremely thankful and amazed by all that my body is doing. Going into pregnancy, my blood pressure and heart rate had always been all over the place. My blood sugar was questionable and I was considered obese. Throughout my pregnancy, I am the healthiest I have been in years. My vitals have stabilized, my blood sugars are normal. That is so mindboggling to me but I remain overall incredibly thankful for this whole experience that is only just beginning. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March | Currently


reaching the beginning of the eighth month! 
wondering where the time has gone.
crying at all the things including (but not limited to) cute animals, radio songs, and not knowing what to eat. 
recuperating after a much needed trip to California last week. 
missing being surrounded by my huge extended family and our friends that are like family.
thankful for our ever growing Fire Family all across the country.
overwhelmed by the unending love and support from all of them. 
bringing all the baby things into the house.
installing our own baby seat into the car.
turning our spare/craft room into a temporary guest/baby stuff storage room. 
embracing the upcoming changes. 
leaning into the unknown. 
reading consent forms and handouts and informational pamphlets.
putting a pause on any other reading as I can't focus.
packing lesser used items here and there. 
tossing the unneeded things
watching the temperatures bounce all over the place. 
loving (secretly) the random blizzards we've been getting this month.
resting as much as this little one will let me. 
counting down the remaining days. Just about 50 left.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Big News!


Do you want to know what is equally nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time? Finding out, at 28 weeks pregnant, that your husband got a permanent position that requires you to move 4 hours from where you have spent the last 10 years! Wanna know what is even more crazy? Realizing that your husband will have to move 6 weeks before your due date! 

We have been waiting for Berkeley to get a permanent position with the US Forest Service for over 6 years now. Hiring for Federal Wildland Firefighting is unique and the first two weeks of February is a crucial time where it seems like the rules are made up and things move in the blink of an eye. For us, Berkeley had a telephone interview on a Friday around 3pm and was offered the position Saturday morning by 9am. And he accepted by 10am! Yes, we made a huge life decision in less than hour with a single face to face conversation and single text that read "If you think this is the right job, Take It! And we'll figure out the rest later."

We are currently in that "figure the rest out later" stage. What we do know is that in roughly a month Berkeley will be moving to start his new position while I spend the last 6 or so weeks of pregnancy in Flagstaff. Insert a million crazy feelings here. Berkeley will be back and forth as May nears and will hopefully spend two weeks here once the baby arrives. The current plan has the baby and I joining Berkeley by June! 

Since all hell broke loose late in 2013, we had somewhat joked that May 2015 would be our New Year. After so many losses and set backs and now we are thisclose to two of our biggest goals/dreams becoming reality! We used that benchmark as a year since someone close to us passed away. Then we found out that was when Baby is due. Now, by the end of May we'll be a family of 3 in a new home with a permanent Federal position. This really is turning out to be our New Year!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Curried Lentils and Chicken

For some reason, pregnancy has left me completely apathetic to cooking and food. I have little desire to spend any time thinking about what I want for dinner, let alone actually being in kitchen. I haven't even really had cravings! It is pretty sad, really. Every now and then, I get a small wisp of something that could be craving and I find the easiest way to satiate the need. That is how I whipped up these curried lentils.

As a side note, I used ingredients that were more in line with my dietary restrictions and what I had at home. Culturally, coconut milk is used in curry dishes, instead I used almond milk as I am allergic to coconut. I also cut out the white potatoes I would normally used and subbed in carrots and kale which I had on hand. Lastly, Berkeley and I like spice so we use a lot of curry powder.

ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 1 lbs carrots, washed and sliced into pieces 
  • 3 stalks kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp yellow curry powder plus more
  • 1 tsp ginger 
  • kosher salt and black pepper 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • Approx. 1 3/4 lbs chicken (I used breasts and thighs)
  • sour cream or plain yogurt
directions:
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the lentils, carrots, kale, onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the broth and almond milk. 
  2. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and curry powder. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. 
  3. Fifteen minutes before serving, shred the meat; return it to the slow cooker.  Stir to combine, adding more water if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Serve topped with the sour cream or yogurt.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

String Art Craft for Kids

Since leaving that hourly craft job back in 2012, one of the things I have been doing has been devoting my free time to our church congregation. For the longest time that was just me helping with our Events Ministry. At the start of the year, I was promoted to the Chairperson. As a result, the last few months have been dedicated to coming up with some events for various age groups.

In November, I briefly mentioned a craft day for kids I had hosted with one kid and a paper craft. Well that idea has become a more regular event for 2015. My goal is to be cost effective and fun for kids ranging from 3 to 5th grade. This past Saturday, we had 10 kids and we did string art for less than $2 per participant!

The secret here was using fence pickets from Home Depot. We got two pickets that were 5.5" by 6ft for $2.30 per piece. We don't have a table saw or anything like that for clean saw cuts at home so we had the guys at Home Depot cut the wood into 12" lengths. As a side note, they will do two cuts for free and it is 50 cents per cut after that. That added to our overall cost but we still left Home Depot spending just a touch over $10 with the additional cuts and a box of 1in panel board nails. Last on my list of supplies was the string. For us, it was a mix of yarn I had at home and an assortment of craft string I got with a 50% coupon at JoAnn's.

As for the directions here, they are pretty straight forward. I traced heart and cross shapes on the boards with pencil. Then I hammered the nails in so that they were securely in the wood. From there just wrap the string around each nail in whichever design you'd like starting with the end knotted around one nail. Since this was a church event, we finished each piece with a saying from our lesson's scripture with paint pen. And that's it. Super easy and super fun!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Five: 2nd Trimester Essentials

Yay for hitting 26 weeks on Tuesday! Not so yay that some of the things that were bugging me during the first trimester have been still bothering me throughout the second. For today's Friday Five, I wanted to share some of the things that have been helping me through the physical discomforts as our baby has gone from avocado size back in November to butternut squash size currently.

Friday Five: 2nd Trimester Essentials


Maternity Tees from Old Navy // As the bump gets bigger, I have had to move away from my go to Target v-necks and start wearing something meant for pregnancy. I grabbed a handful of these jersey knit tees for a great price. They are soft and comfy and are great for layering. The length and side ruching will continue to accommodate the impending expansion. 

Merrell Mix Master Trail Shoes // These shoes have made several appearances on my Friday Fives. I love them. They are minimalist trail running shoe that I got at the end of 2013. The current style from Merrell is the Bare Access Trail. I love how light and comfy they are while providing plenty of traction on slippery sidewalks. The mesh upper is also great for my slightly increasing shoe size.

Body Pillow // Yay for widening hips and the hormone relaxin. Not! A body pillow has been a real relief with all the aches and pains I have at the end of the day. Most people have upgraded to Snoogles or Boppy body pillows, but for us a standard body pillow from Target with a cover has been working wonderfully.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter // Growing belly = stretching skin = extreme itchiness. Throw in the dry environment here and I was miserable for a few weeks. My regular lotions weren't cutting it. I got a free sample of the Palmer's lotion for stretch marks that has Vitamin E and it has been awesome.

Emergen-C Vitamin C // These little packs have been helping me fend off any cold/flu nastiness thus far. One of my main concerns about working with winter was being about coughing, sniffling little ones. Thankfully, I have been able to thwart the germs thus far. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Around Here


January has been mostly about the quiet moments and the special memories. January has been filled with mornings spent above the clouds. January has been about cherishing this year that we will start as two and end as three. January has been about spending time with friends and celebrating their lives and milestones. January has been about capturing those things. January has been for learning how to work my new camera. January has been about spreading love and support. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Book Report | December

Last year I set a small goal to read 10 books but soon I updated it to 20 books. By June I had read 12 books. In the next 6 months, reading was a lot harder. I got distracted easier and couldn't sit still long enough to get into a reading groove without falling asleep. However, I found a way to get the last 8 read.
image made using Goodreads
Harry Potter Years 1-3 // In December, I joined the Harry Potter Re-Read Along. I read these three using the borrow option with Kindle. I am not going to recap the stories since everyone knows the premise unless you have been living under a rock for the last 15 years. However, it has been fun reading the book and immediately watching the corresponding movie and remembering just how many little things they purposefully left out to strengthen the overarching series plot.
The Big, Not-So-Small, Curvy Girls Dating Agency // I was hoping this would be a fun cute read. I was sorely disappointed. The characters were undeveloped and the premise was predictable. A bigger girl full of insecurities just happens meets the dashing hunk and they realize their love is one in a million and nothing will stop them, not even his fiancé. I am not a fan of it. Above all else, the grammar was horrendous.
The Marriage Plot // If I did this based on stars, this book would get 4/5 compared to works by authors but only 3/5 compared to Eugenides' other works. It is a detail heavy weaving of the same few years told by three young adults that are semi-involved in a love triangle. My disappointment only comes to the writing itself. While the details are there, the writing is missing some of Eugenides' magical imagery and beautiful prose. There are glimpses of it but it is hidden under lots of tedious writing.
Husband Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth // I started reading this soon after we found out we were expecting as The Bradley Method is something I am interested in. Originally, I went into this book thinking it was a simple overview of the method. It is not. Instead it is a more of a background of Dr. Bradley's journey to developing his method of childbirth. It is much more scientific and I love that. One more caveat. This book was originally published in 1974, so it contains some antiquated beliefs about religion and different gender roles. I will also add that if you just want a book to supplement your Bradley Method classes, shoot for reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way as it is more practical.
I Don't Know Where You Know Me From // I tend to need something light and airy after heavy books. Judy Greer's compilation of biographical essays was just that after the total mind meld that was Gone Girl. I love that it wasn't full of juicy details about fellow actors or filled with hearsay about other people in Hollywood. It was just an easy to read account of her life. As a fan of Judy Greer, I enjoyed it.
Three Girls and a Baby // As much as I hated the other ChickLit title on this list, I loved this one. In the beginning, I really disliked Ginny, but as pregnancy evolved her character, I started to love her. The author wrote about serious topics in a way that easy to read but wasn't predictable, or cheesy.

Currently reading: Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of my Appetites, The Potluck Club, and Dorothy Must Die, which I started at various points this fall and couldn't finish. Also on my list is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Great with Child.

My previous book reviews can be found here and my list of books read can be found on my Goodreads account.

Monday, January 12, 2015

So This is the New Year

The last few weeks have been a weird mixture of why I call the quiet storm. Our lives have been filled with doctor appointments, work, long car rides, and visitors. There have been crazy busy days and then really slow days. Easy days and challenging days. I am thinking this will be the pace for the year ahead. 

Every January, I pick a word to be like a guiding compass for the year ahead. In previous years, I have varied about how open I am with my word and how it is working in my life. For 2014 I picked GROW and my journey with it was a lot more private than past years. While I may not have accomplished all my intentions from last year, I did grow. I grew in more ways than I ever expected and I am really proud of that. I am especially glad of the most literal growth that has been taking place since August.

This year my word is NOURISH. Instead of writing a list of tasks to complete in the next 356 days, I have a few very specific things I want to work on throughout the whole year. First, I want to continue to nourish my body in a way that properly supports the next 16 or so weeks of my pregnancy so that I can have the healthiest labor and birth possible for us. I want to continue that well being throughout the coming year as a mother. I want to nourish our child, not only as an infant, but to instill healthy habits that are lasting.

Secondly, I am hoping to nourish my husband/wife relationship with Berkeley. While becoming parents is a huge deal and one of the best blessings, it is important to me that we don't let our identities as mama and daddy overshadow us as husband and wife. My goal is to nourish that relationship while also growing as parents. These are some pretty big goals but these are things I really want to make happen. I am hoping that making it public will make it happen due to accountability.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Project Life 2014 | May to July

The end of the year is quickly approaching and I wanted to share the pages from my Project Life album before they come really irrelevant. I am bulk posting a few months at a time for the next couple of weeks. Most of these pages have been finished in the last few weeks with "getting it documented" being the name of the game. At the beginning of the year, my plan for 2014 changed from a monthly approach instead of weekly. The goal was one spread a month, if not more, and inserts as needed. This plan really helped me stay as up to date as possible. You can see my title page here and all 2014 Project Life posts here

May
 My last Project Life post covering my trip to Southern California ended with a 6x12 insert. So this post is starting with the backside of that insert. It has a photo grid and journaling about our tiny houseguests.
 The right hand side of the spread covers life at home in May and how it varies with the start of Fire Season as well as how we were adjusting the little ones. The center inserts from left to right are Smash pad, two 4x6s from the Seafoam Core Kit cut down to 3x4 and a calendar card.
 The next part of the month's documentation was a full spread with two 12x12 pages.
 Left hand side holds photos and a small spot of journaling in the flap on the edge about the Slide Fire during the second half of May. That flap was just made from using a 3x4 pocket and washi tape.
The right hand side features a few smaller stories from the month. The center insert cards from left to right are a Smash Pad quote card documenting some of the kids' random questions and statements, an Elise Joy quote card, and two journaling cards from the Seafoam Core Kit. The card furthest to the right was originally a 4x6. 

June
 Back to the more normal for this album having a full spread with smaller inserts "sandwiched" in between.
 I used the whole left hand side to share about celebrating our six years together. Despite it being one of the busier months of Fire Season, June is our month. In the center the cards are, from left to right, an Elise Joy quote card, a card from the Seafoam core kit, a notebook lined card, and a filler card from WRMK. This month I also switched up my calendar card.

 The backside of the 6x12 has first time on SkyRide at Arizona Snowbowl and the right side has our trip to Bearizona. We did these both during our anniversary weekend but they were also items on our Flagstaff Bucket List.
 A closer look at the journaling for the 6x12. I placed the smaller photo on a 4x6 gridded journaling card and layered a tag and some other embellishments.
 For the Bearizona page, I had way more photos than I knew what to do with. I put in my five favorite photos and used a large journaling card. Before handwriting the details, I ran it through my printer to add the Bearizona logo.
 Here is the backside of that 10x12 insert and the right hand side 12x12. I used the 12x12 to wrap up the second half of June.
 For the journaling on the insert, I ran the 4x6 through the printer with the text from this blog post. I added the title afterwards. In the pocket above holds the map from the course. In this photo, you can also see the journaling card sticking out from behind the maps from the May spread.
We end with the right hand side 12x12. From left to right, the center journal cards are Seafoam Core Kit, WRMK Simply Happy Pad, and two Studio Calico cards, one layered and one with a "pocket". The "Notes" card has bullet points with the major happenings of the last two weeks of the month. The furthest pocket to the right holds some personal journaling. To give it more privacy, I slipped the journaling card into a glassine baggie that some embellishments from an old Studio Calico kit came in. Done and done. 

July
 Another set of 12x12's with a 10x12 in the middle. I really like pattern and consistency. Again, another things that helps me get the stories documented and keep the project up to date.
 A closer look at the left hand side. I went back to using the Oh The Lovely Things card for the month. Next two it are two cards from the Seafoam Core Kit. One of my favorite ways, as seen in months past, is adding journaling around the curve of a photo or shape. Here it did it on both the plate in the top left photo as well as around the circle on the journaling card. I also followed the chevron pattern with my journaling on the other card as well.
 This side of the insert was about the 4th of July. It was a fairly relaxed day despite being all over Flagstaff and Williams throughout the day. The journaling card is from a Smash Pad. I love that all those bubbles and lines feel like how I felt driving all day.
Here is a look at the backside of the insert and the right hand side. Pretty straight forward. 
 I did another insert about another disc golfing day. I used more text from this post. Again, I added the map of the course layout. Also, I went back and noted, in the rim of the can, that this was my last beer of the year.
Finally, I ended July with this photo of the monsoons. The photo was too awesome to do as a plain old 4x6 so I did 8x12. Underneath, I added my Currently post from July. Again, I just copied the text and printed right onto the journaling cards. And that's that. 

Looking back now, I almost feel like July is a little bare. I have a few more photos and stories I could tell to round it out. I may go back and add a 6x12 if I do end up wanting a little bit more. 

Project Life supplies:
Binders, plastics, and 3x4 and 4x6 gridded journaling cards via the Becky Higgins Amazon StorefrontSeafoam Project Life Kit. Zig Dual Tipped Pen Black. Assorted Elise Joy stamps and printable quote cards. EK Success Metallic Writer Gold. StazOn Black Ink. Smash blank and quote pads. Freckled Fawn Colorful Dots and Woodgrain Tape. Martha Stewart and Avery Labels. Staples Date Stamp. WRMK Simply Happy Journaling Cards. Oh The Lovely Things Calendar CardsAmerican Crafts Getty letter Stickers. Various past Studio Calico Project Life Kits

Disclaimer: Project Life® is a memory keeping system creating by Becky Higgins. To see all my posts deatiling how I use her system to document our life story click here.

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