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A Look Back at 2016

January 8, 2017

I have never written a “family newsletter” but they say there’s a first time for everything! I did not send out Christmas cards this year and I really didn’t even have a sentimental facebook moment about all that the past year has been for our family. A year in our life always seems so filled that it is hard to fit it into one sentence, this past year especially.

2016 was a year filled with ups and downs, waiting and a lot of adjustments for all of us. The biggest news for me personally was a new job! In January I was hired at Spartanburg Regional on the Labor and Delivery floor. I began my orientation in February and by March I realized that the job wasn’t really fitting well for me. I went to my manager with my concerns and she was kind enough to offer me a position on the postpartum floor which I was relieved to accept. I finished up my orientation there in June and have been working as an RN independently since then. I work mostly with moms and babies after delivery. Occasionally I will have an antepartum patient (still pregnant) or a post hysterectomy patient. We are a very busy floor and I have been getting a lot of good experience. I work with a wonderful team of ladies who have been very helpful during this transitional time and I have amazing management! There are good days and bad days just like anywhere but for the most part it is a very rewarding job. I especially love that our hospital is going baby friendly which means we are promoting breastfeeding and I get to do a lot of education with mom’s in the area of breastfeeding, which can be more intensive than you might realize! This part of my job is especially satisfying to me. We have an incredible team of lactation consultants and I feel like I learn something new from them everyday, they are kind of my hero!

Of course part of mom getting a new job has also been an adjustment for the rest of the family. Giles has really stepped in and taken over my role when I am away. He makes dinner and puts Scarlett to bed (Audrey usually waits up for me). He usually has the house cleaned up too. He’s pretty amazing and the girls have really bonded with him. I know it is not always easy for him to do all of this, especially on the days he works and comes home to do it, but he rarely complains, he just does it and loves his girls. We usually try to work it out to where we have a babysitter one day a week and he and I switch off the rest of the week so that the girls have at least one parent with them the majority of the time. Childcare was an issue at first but things have settled down as we found a great in home babysitter and are in somewhat of a routine now. I’m really thankful that the park Giles is at is more laid back and he gets the major holiday’s off which counterbalances the randomness of my job.

Audrey turned 4 in March. She got a scooter and Anna dress! We had a pink princess themed birthday at a nearby playground. She had sparkly pink cupcakes in honor of her favorite book (at the time) “Pink Cupcake Magic.” Several of her friends came and Grandma and Grandpa Kay drove up and joined in the fun. They are only about and hour in a half away now and we try to see them at least once a month. My mom was very helpful in filling in the gaps with childcare for us when we needed it until we got everything figured out.

In April we went on a random 4 day trip to Boone and Blowing Rock, NC. We explored the quaint towns, did some shopping and eating and hiked several waterfall’s along the Blue Ridge Parkway (some were easier than others). Scarlett was about 10 months old and rode in the hiking backpack  most of the time and Audrey led the way with her “leaf map” for one of the hikes! She did great.

May was our anniversary and Giles and I had a city date for the day in Charlotte. We had oysters and got a couples massage, it was a nice to time to reconnect and relax. It was probably one of the most low key months of May we have had in the history of our marriage with no school to compete with our anniversary.

June was Scarlett’s 1st Birthday! We did a much smaller party than we did for Audrey’s first ( I learned my lesson). It was a strawberry theme and Scarlett loved her cake. We got her a water table, since she loves the water so much. However, her favorite present was probably her stuffed frog from Grandma and Grandpa, she sleeps with it almost every night now. She has developed so much this year. She is a beautiful, spunky little thing with the will of a lion. She never stops moving and she knows what she wants. She is fairly outgoing, although her sister is hard to beat in that arena, but she does love people and does her best to keep up with her big sister on all levels. She started walking around 11 months and is always on the go! She has a sweet but serious disposition and can be very temperamental if she doesn’t get her way. It is so true that every child is different and she has been so much fun to get to know and a wonderful addition to our family.

As I mentioned this year continued to be a a year of waiting. We did not make a lot of big plans because we were waiting for the building to be finished on our house and to make the big move. We lived in a rental most of the year which was a house we arranged to live in through our builder. It was not an ideal setup for our family and most of our belongings were in storage. It was difficult to live in for nearly a year when we had planned to be there only 4-6 months. Our house took 16 months to be built and it isn’t anything out of the ordinary or extremely large which is what most people ask, just some difficulties with the builder keeping his word unfortunately. So, we did not move until the end of August, but boy were we grateful when we did!! Despite the frustrations we love our house and the location. As we knew it would be, it was worth the wait. We are in a more rural area, although we do have neighbors, but we are not in a subdivision and have a little over an acre to play with. We hope to bring out goats to our property (they are living with my parents right now ha ha! ) and hope to get some chickens in the spring.

Audrey started school (pre-k) only a few days after we moved. She absolutely loves it as we knew she would . It is a full day (7:30 -2:10) which is a lot for her age. We have had some adjustments and have had to work on making sure she gets enough sleep and eats enough, otherwise melt downs are imminent. She has learned a lot this year and is working on sounding out words and trying to write them. I got a note one day that said “I Luf u.” She loves to play restaurant with me and try to take my order. She has always been a wordy girl and seems to really love language and letters. I expect that she will be reading or at least starting to by the end of the year. It is really amazing to watch her mind grow and expand. Her favorite part of the day is still recess of course. She has made a lot of new friends and even informed us the first week of school that she had a husband, but by the next week she had given him away to her “sister” at school. (apparently they had created a pseudo family ha ha ha. ) Her teacher tells us she is a leader and the “mother hen” in her group of friends. We are proud of her and only pray that we can lead her into what God means for her to be.

I think it was a week after we moved (it’s all a little blurry now) that Giles got called out to a fire in California. He was out there for about 2 weeks doing security. We missed him and Audrey had a hard time adjusting to a new school with her daddy gone, but thankfully it wasn’t too long and we had help from Giles’ sister who came down and helped us for a while. In September when Giles got back, we were all ready for a vacation. Instead of continuing to unpack like we probably should have, we went to the beach in Oak Island, NC for a week. It was wonderful and the girls really had a blast playing in the sand and water. The weather was perfect and Oak Island was just the right pace for us!

The rest of the year continued to fly by. For Halloween the girls were a pumpkin (Scarlett) and a Unicorn Princess (guess who!?). November was Giles birthday. He turned 32 and I made him a pumpkins spice pound cake. It was yummy. He got a deer stand for his birthday (requested by him) and shot his first buck of the season shortly afterward.

My parents came over a day early for Thanksgiving as I had to work my first holiday for the  real thing. It didn’t really matter what day it was celebrated on though, we enjoyed spending it with family. Giles and I did something crazy and took on the Whole30 challenge on the day of Thanksgiving (ending update on the blog pending). You can read more about that on my last post.

December was an incredibly busy and somewhat stressful month as we were busy making Christmas preparations and trying to finish our bonus room (which we left unfinished intentionally so that we could make it what we wanted for less money). We were hoping to have the room finished in time for my in-laws stay, but with two children and two jobs that was a pretty unattainable goal. We (well mostly Giles) are still working on it though and getting close. It is going to be awesome! Giles sister came in early December and his parents came in mid December. We got a surprise visit from his Grandmother shortly after his parents arrived. After about a week visiting with her, Giles and I made a quick trip to help her back up to WV with out the kiddos. We made a detour to drive through Shenandoah on the way back. It was beautiful but we didn’t do much sightseeing/hiking as it was a very blustery and cold day with a snowstorm headed in. Just after we got back Giles Aunt, who is also a midwife, came to celebrate the New Year with us. I really enjoyed getting to talk to her and hear some of her birth stories. Whew even writing all of that makes me tired. It was a crazy way to end the year!

Last year was very full and we made some wonderful memories and our family grew stronger together. We all had a lot of changes to adjust to and challenges to work through. I am so thankful for the growth we have had, but I am really looking forward to the new year and hopefully being a little more settled in and able to just experience a bit more peace.

May your year be filled with blessings and peace as well! We welcome 2017 with open arms!

Halfway to Whole30

December 11, 2016

I’m getting to this post a little later than I had hoped and part of that is because a lot of my free time these days seems to be spent prepping the next meal. Yes, Whole30 takes a lot of effort, but anything worth doing usually does . We are now on day 18 of the Whole30. Apparently we are in what is called the “Tiger Blood” phase where your cravings start to subside and you feel on top of the world. I have to say I am feeling pretty good! I am for the most part experiencing everything I had hoped for. My thoughts seem clearer, I am functioning at a higher level, I generally have no afternoon slump (unless I just haven’t gotten around to eating soon enough), and my mood seems more stable. ‘

My biggest challenge has been eating out. I have gone out 3 times since day 1 and 2/3 of those times I have “slipped.” For me it wasn’t a big enough ‘slip’ or concern to start all over as the program guide suggests, I am pretty hard core but there are some places I draw the line. For the most part I still stayed in the lines, the first time I went out (dinner with a friend) I really messed up and ordered edamame forgetting that they are soy beans (duh!). My stomach did actually feel a little funny after that dinner. The second time I went out (lunch at Christmasville with the girls and a friend) I was lucky enough to find a place still serving brunch and had a delicious sweet potato hash with eggs on top, perfect! The third time which was actually just a couple of  nights ago (we took Audrey to see the Transiberian Orchestra), I ordered a chicken salad. They didn’t have basalmic dressing or any dressing with out sugar and so the chef made a basalmic vinaigrette especially for me. Our server told me that because of my request they would now be putting that on the menu! Wow, I helped a restaurant place a healthy option on their menu – I felt pretty cool ha! Anyway, my chicken salad was like tuna salad, you know the kind of mushy chicken they put in a ball on top of your lettuce. I assumed it would be chopped bbq chicken as we were at a bbq restaurant, but I am always confused by chicken salad on the menu (not my first time for this mistake.) Am I alone on this one? Well, you know what they usually put in chicken salad right? Mayo and depending on the ingredients it is usually not Whole30 approved. I ate it anyway, I do not like to be the picky person at a restaurant and send things back (it is hard not to be that person on Whole30), so that was that.

Other challenges have been not snacking, time for meal prep, and not eating Audrey’s leftover pretzel at the concert the other night. My cravings for the most part are non existent except for when something is right in front of me. Also I am underweight already so I haven’t really been following the no snacking rule, I eat almonds with organic apple chips and sometimes I’ll have a boiled egg or almond butter with apple slices midday. Snacks especially occur when I’m at work and I know I will be getting a late dinner,  but it’s been great to have healthy snacks prepared for the times I know I will be getting a late meal instead of eating something I know will make me crash. Ok, I feel like this is becoming confession time or something, let’s get on to what my meals have looked like at home and how we as a family have been approaching this.

First of all the kids are not doing Whole30 with us, they still have milk and some bread for lunch and treats now and then. Maybe next time. We do not however cook separate meals for them, so at dinner time they usually eat Whole30 approved meals with us. I have the Whole30 book which I think has helped me tremendously in food prepping and planning. I love to have something tactile in front of me I can flip through with beautiful pictures of food, plus they have so many tips and tricks to make things easier! I am using some helpful meal templates which have been very helpful to keep me on track (If I ever take the time to learn how to link things in my blog I will update this post with that link, for now if you need a meal template google is your friend) . I almost always double my recipes like this chili I made – img_0073This way I will have leftovers for the next day for either breakfast or lunch. It is helpful to prep at least one thing ahead for the week incase there are days the leftovers are not enough. This week I made a bunch of boiled eggs and roasted a chicken to make chicken salad with.

Here are some meals from last week that we enjoyed –

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Chili in an acorn squash bowl, this is one of my favorites and great for company!

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To be quite honest, this steak was a bit over done, but the rest was good and at least it looks delicious!

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A typical Whole30 breakfast, I haven’t gone without my eggs since day 1.

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Thai coconut soup, this was yummy!

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The girls enjoying a Whole30 breakfast made by grandma who decided to play along for a half day to help us stay on track.

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Don’t forget all of the water we drink!

 

The biggest thing I have learned so far is that there is really sugar in everything! I did read labels before but I wasn’t consistent. When I thought there might be a lot of sugar in something I would turn the box over and decide whether it was too much for my liking or not. Now, I have to check everything, even breakfast sausage, to make sure there is no sugar in it. I found a good looking package of chicken sausage that I thought for sure would be approved by Whole30 and I didn’t think anything of it until after I ate  it and checked the packaging (don’t ask me why I thought of it afterwards maybe it was a subconscious thing) 5 grams of sugar – oops! I just chalked it up to a learning experience and knew better for the next time. We also really miss bacon – yes that’s cured in sugar too unless you special order it and I just haven’t taken the time or money to do that.

I have also learned that cravings really can be controlled and I don’t miss as much as I thought I would. There are the special times I would like to have a treat, but this has definitely been worth it. I have learned to recognize the times when I was mindlessly eating treats that really were not associated with a special moment or time with family that could have definitely been skipped over.

My goal is to update you at the end of this journey which will be December 23rd. Good timing right ? Part of the program is to do a “reintroduction” phase to see how your body reacts to individual food groups, such as dairy, after you are done. I’m not sure how this will look for us since there will be some celebratory moments shortly after we are done but I definitely plan to update you with some after effects. Stay tuned!

What is The Whole30?

November 30, 2016

I sat down to write about what I’ve been doing for the last 7 days and then I realized I actually needed to write an entire post about what The Whole30 is because if I didn’t this post would be waaaay to long, so here you go.

I am still perfecting a short description of the program as it is a question  I am asked a lot lately since everywhere I go it becomes obvious I am doing something different, maybe even radical or extreme! As you can probably tell by now I’m not good with short, I am rather wordy, but here goes my attempt. Whole30 is very similar to Paleo which we have done before as well, but wait you might not know what that means either. Ok, Whole30 is really pretty simple. You eat whole foods. Eggs, Meat (yes even red meat), vegetables, fruit, annnnd that’s mostly it. None of these foods can be processed and it’s ideal but not required (because lets face it’s just not realistic for a lot of people out there) that you do organic for 30 whole days.

The idea behind the program as I have gathered is to help you quit bad habits in 30 days that you may have aquired over a life time. Like, having a coke to keep you awake during a 12 hour night shift, or grabbing a latte every time you go to target, or grabbing a piece of candy from the “candy lady” at work because it’s 2 pm and you haven’t eaten yet and you just need something to get your blood sugar back up (which will send you crashing and burning soon after and even though you know it you don’t know what else to do because you didn’t have a PLAN which is essential on Whole30). Can you tell I might have had a few bad habits?

Another reason for Whole30 is to help you identify food allergies or intolerances you might have. For those with skin problems, digestive issues, or even arthritis or anything related to inflammation this can be very helpful and I have read many testimonials from people stating that they reversed many problems with Whole30 including diabetes, and high cholesterol. There is a 10 day reintroduction phase at the end in which you are guided on how to slowly reintroduce all of the foods you have not allowed in your diet for the last 30 days, a few days at a time to figure out what’s causing said problems or may be even making you feel bad and you didn’t even realize it!

Did you notice I didn’t mention weight loss or positive body changes!!! That’s because that is not the main reason behind the program, but it is a benefit!

So, why am I doing Whole30? Well, most people look at me and the first thing they say is you don’t need to lose weight, why on earth are you doing this? (I’m nearly 5’6 and 102 pounds. Your right, I don’t need to lose weight, I actually need to gain weight, it’s a genetic thing). Remember, this isn’t about losing weight. Did you know that a thin person can actually be very unhealthy? Sugar and I have had a very close relationship for years. I mean, I was raised in the south, Sweet Tea anyone? Since I’ve had kids and started working it’s probably only gotten worse. It’s nap time, why not have some chocolate? I have some seriously bad habits. I also started drinking coke more frequently this year which is a habit I broke a long time ago, but when your stressed and you have a lot of changes going on, bad habits start to pop up again. So, for me I am looking for Whole 30 to be a health reset. I am also looking for my blood sugar to stabilize, to minimize my mood swings, and just be at my highest quality of functioning (no more brain fog). Who wouldn’t want that!?

Short synopsis: Whole30 is a plan to help you retrain your brain to eat healthy, whole foods. It is not a diet. It is a lifestyle change.

When it’s over:  When it’s over you can make your own big girl or big boy decisions about what your body reacts well to and what is not worth the pain or brain fog or mood swings, etc…

When it’s over you can still splurge once in a while and have that mug of hot chocolate with your 4 year old because you want to share a memory, or you can choose not to. But, hopefully when it is over the majority of the changes you have made in your food choices will remain . Hopefully, you will realize you don’t really need that extra piece of candy, your body was actually just thirsty so you grab some water instead!

If your interested in Whole30, just know that what I have written here is minimal information compared to the 2 books I’ve been scouring here at home and I’m not getting paid for any of this. I really just want to track my progress and maybe inspire someone along the way. I didn’t go through what is not allowed on the program because let’s face it, most of you would look at that and never would have read this far. So here are the 2 books I recommend if you want to look into it – “It Starts with Food” This is the book for the people who are like a 4 year old and ask Why ALL of the time. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that – that’s how you learn! And The second option is for those of you who just want the basics, some tips and tricks,the guidelines, some why, and mainly recipes! This is simply entitled “The Whole30”

I know this whole idea might sound crazy to some of you, but seriously, who doesn’t love a challenge? Well, I guess some people really don’t, but if you do this is for you! It can’t hurt anything. Maybe wait till the holiday’s are over unlike we did because let’s face it, that really is crazy. If you want to know what Whole30 looks like in the real life of a busy mom and dad stay tuned for an update on week 1.

Life With Two

December 13, 2015

I guess it’s true. I didn’t want it to be. The second child, no matter how hard you try, just doesn’t get the same type of attention as your first did. The proof is right here in the history of my writing. Scarlett, if you read this someday, I’m sorry but I want you to know that you are no less loved!

I can barely say it. 5 months have passed since Scarlett was born and I’ve hardly had time to record any of it. I’m proud to say I have still been taking monthly photos, so here I am playing catch up. Below you will see an overview of Scarlett’s growth for the last 5 months. Honestly, it’s been somewhat of a blur, but she has been such a joy to our family and none of us could imagine life with out her. In fact we were sitting on the couch last night watching a show on bizarre animals with Audrey (after Scarlett had gone to bed) and Audrey decided to suddenly proclaim her love to us as she does occasionally and then she added that she wished Scarlett was “with us on the couch watching this.” She is obviously smitten with her sister, although there are times you wouldn’t believe it.

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I’m not going to go into detail about each month. Honestly I probably don’t remember most of those details, and this is why it is so sad that I am just now recording these precious moments. But, better late than never so let’s start with 5 months and not look back! This past month we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. Scarlett tried some avocado and sweet potatoes although she is not officially eating solids yet, We are waiting for the 6 month mark to really get going. You wouldn’t be convinced by the picture below, but she seems to really enjoy food which is really exciting for me because Audrey was completely opposite.

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We have definitely been learning a lot about what it takes to raise two. It is more challenging than I expected, but worth it in so many ways. The first few months were difficult as Scarlett was a fussier baby than her sister. That combined with trying to balance two kids partially explains my writing absence. After 3 months (as you often hear) things have slowly gotten easier day by day. Just in the last month Scarlett has been regularly going to bed between 8 and 9 and waking about 2 times a night for feedings which has been very manageable (we won’t talk about the weeks that sickness hit). Naps are hit and miss between the trips to the park for the three year old to remain somewhat calm (can you even use both of those words in the same sentence?) and the gym for me to remain somewhat sane. Despite lacking the “perfect” schedule I used to have, we are still surviving and yes sometimes survive is all we do.

I in no way have this mothering role figured out, in fact I  may have it less figured out now than I did with just one. However, I am slowly starting to find ways to function well which include a quiet time daily for Audrey, even if she doesn’t sleep (although I do encourage it). If I can find a way to get the baby down at the same time I’d pretty much call that a perfect day! Also, making sure I get some gym time 2-3 days a week is a must. Thankfully we joined the Y and I’m able to leave the kids in childwatch. If all I do is walk on the treadmill that’s ok because that means I probably got to read a chapter of my book uninterrupted! When I can get up before the kids and read a devotional or pray (literally on my knees) for grace in my parenting for the day it helps tremendously! I can’t say I do this as often as I would like, but I notice a huge difference when I do. So, these are a few of the lessons I’ve learned, and I’m just now starting to feel like I have some time to write again so hopefully I will be updating more regularly and Scarlett will become more to you than just a picture on a page, because this active little one is definitely so much more than that!

Scarlett Jane’s Birthday

July 6, 2015

We had another little late Blumer, but she has finally arrived and we are all so in love ! As with Audrey, I planned to have another natural birth and I am happy to say that my desire for this experience was fullfilled. If that’s all you wanted to know then you can stop reading here as birth stories can be somewhat graphic and lengthy and if you are anything like my husband you just don’t want to know. 😉

I had some concerns as I neared the 42 week mark that I would not be able to have Scarlett naturally as I was yet again being told that my risks increased if I went past this mark and it would be safer to induce. I was with a great group of midwives here in Greenville that were very laid back up until the 42 week mark. The midwives I was with in Arizona for Audrey’s birth started the induction process at 41 so I was thankful to have a little extra time. For some reason my babies just seem to need a little extra time to grow and I prayed that having a membrane sweep would put me into labor as it did with Audrey, so we tried that at my 41 week appointment and sure enough, she arrived within less than 48 hours. I had tried many other things to naturally induce labor, but somehow the membrane sweep is the only thing that has worked twice now. I had been having contractions and several 2-3 hour long episodes of “false labor” for about 3 weeks before I had Scarlett, so on Friday when I began having contractions that were somewhat uncomfortable I really didn’t think anything of them and didn’t start timing them until that afternoon because I was tired of getting everyone’s hopes up. I had finally just accepted the fact that Scarlett was going to be late and she would come when she was ready. After having contractions all day and as they got increasingly stronger I decided to time them for a while but they were only coming about 7-8 minutes apart, sometimes less, sometimes more, but still irregular so I knew it wasn’t time to call. At this point in the day I knew something was happening and I had a feeling she would be coming the following day. I thought it would be a good idea for Giles and I to try to go on a date since I knew it would be a difficult thing to do in the coming weeks. We went downtown for some Mexican food (spicy things are supposed to help ) and I even had a glass of pineapple juice (which is full of enzymes that are supposed to help too, at this point I had already eaten at least 4 pineapples though, so it was a last ditch effort). We walked up and down Main street and took a couple flights of stairs. I was having to stop and breath through some contractions at dinner, but they still were not coming faster so I wasn’t concerned. We headed home. Once we got home that’s when things got interesting. Giles had to go return a movie and so he left. Audrey was still up with my parents and she was being her wild self entertaining a guest they had over. I sat down in the chair and watched her play when all of a sudden I felt something pop. But, instead of fluid, I had a lot of bleeding and I had a serious freak out moment because this was unexpected. I frantically called the midwife and Giles who came rushing back. Of course I was told to come in and so Giles rushed me to the hospital. I can be a very anxious person, especially when it is related to my children, and so all the way to the hospital I had convinced myself something was horribly wrong and I was losing the baby. It was not exactly the way I envisioned my birth experience starting out, but things never really go as planned do they?

Once I got into triage they immediately put the monitor on and we all heard a very reassuring heart beat which was the best sound I have ever heard in my life. They checked my cervix since all other signs were reassuring. I was 8 cm dilated. So all those contractions had been doing something after all!  It is still unclear as to why I bled they way I did, one midwife suggested that I dilated very fast and that could have caused it and another suggested that because I had an anterior placenta it could have moved down close to the cervix, but whatever the reason I was able to continue with my birth plan once everything was confirmed to be safe and progressing normally.I don’t think I really calmed down from it all until the next day.  From triage I went to a labor room with a birthing tub. I didn’t necessarily plan to have a waterbirth, but I wanted to have the option to labor in the tub and see what happened from there. Giles introduced himself as my doula, ha. They gave him a care partner tag and he played his role very well once again. We did not have a doula this time and I was nervous because if it was up to him, Giles would be out in the hall smoking a cigar  (ok maybe that’s taking it a little too far), waiting for a birth announcement. Once again my fears were relieved because he was the best birth partner I could have asked for.  I started out bouncing on the birthing ball for a while, but I started to feel like the baby was moving down so I felt like it would be best to stand up and move around. Giles and I took a walk through the halls and did some slow dancing. I wasn’t keeping track of the time but I think we did this for about two hours. I progressed about 1 cm and the midwife had me do some side squats with one leg up on the bed to try to encourage the baby to move down. I finally decided to try the birthing tub. I had been avoiding it because I was so afraid it would slow my contractions down, but we decided to try it out and if they slowed I would get out. I am pretty sure the tub had the opposite effect and this is where I felt I really went into transition. Although it did speed things along I just could not get comfortable in the tub which is probably due to the fact that I was in transition, and I decided to get out. I just needed to feel more grounded. I stood holding onto Giles hands. I don’t know what made him do this, maybe he was trying to find something to hide behind, but he put the ball up on the bed and sat behind it and that’s where we spent the rest of the time – holding hands across the ball through contractions and resting on it during the breaks.  I started feeling the need to push soon after I got to this steady place. The midwife asked if I wanted to try a different position for birth, but I was not about to move. I had Scarlett about 5 pushes later. She came so much more quickly than Audrey! Total I labored in the hospital for about 4 hours and pushed for about 15 minutes. Scarlett Jane came loudly into the world at 2:20 AM and the wonder of parenthood began all over again.

Overall, it was not the experience I was expecting.There was a lot going on in the recovery period because I lost a lot of blood and I was still kind of traumatized from how it all started, but I wouldn’t change any of it because that is our story and that is how Scarlett decided to enter the world. Once again it was one of the best days of my life and such an empowering experience to give birth uninhibited. Scarlett is a wonderful additon to the family and it has been so fun watching her big sister bond with her already! We are really looking forward to getting to know her sweet little personality in the coming months and watching her grow. There is nothing more satisfying than bringing life into this world. I pray we can raise her to love Jesus and share His love with the world.

The Great Journey of the Little Pumpkin

June 10, 2015

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In October we found out we would be adding a little pumpkin to our patch. It has been quite the (almost) 10 month journey.

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The first trimester brought the expected morning sickness but somehow I continued with nursing school and the chaotic joy of mothering a toddler. I probably didn’t study as much as I should have and I may have spent way to much time on the couch, but somehow ( I don’t really remember how) we made it through!

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Feeling better and better every day!

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The anatomy scan is always so fun and we both giggled a little when we found out we were having another girl. Giles let out more of a nervous giggle… Audrey will be a wonderful big sister and I am so excited to see these two grow up together. I hope they will be the best of friends!

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That face.

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The second trimester was bliss compared to the first, although still low on energy, for me it truly is the best time of pregnancy.

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We had to get a few ultrasounds of the baby because she decided to be difficult (already) and position herself at the wrong angle. I was ok with that though because I got an unexpected 3D ultrasound! I never thought I would want one but when I saw the picture come up on the screen I was so glad for this opportunity and was falling in love all over again. She’s going to be so sweet!

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I was still feeling pretty good here, although nursing school was wearing me out and by this time Giles was long gone working at his new park. We faced some difficulties throughout this pregnancy, not because of the pregnancy, but mostly due to choices we made concerning work and school. After Giles accident this past spring we are just beyond blessed to be in the place we are in life and cannot wait to see what this little one will bring to the family.

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Third trimester fatigue has hit and you can see it in my face. I was working 12 hour shifts at the hopsital for my preceptorship in OB at this point. I loved it, and felt so connected with the women I was working with, but yes, it left me exhausted.

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Natural birthing is kind of my thing. I love all things about helping bring not only babies, but mothers into the world. It is the most empowering thing about being a woman to me and to experience it is beyond words. All of this to say that I chose to use a midwife for my care again this time and I developed a wonderful reltationship with my lovely midwife, Misty. It was so wonderful to have her full care through my entire pregnancy. I could even text her whenever I had a concern, (yep even that night at 3 am when I had a horrible stomach bug) , she was that involved. I was so sad to leave her hands at 34 weeks, but am pleased that I have found another group of midwives here in the South very supportive of my wishes as well.

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We did something crazy again. We moved across the country at 35 weeks, just like last time . This time though I was not only very pregnant, but toting a toddler and a cat in the back seat! We enjoyed the journey though and made it across without difficulties.

Now here we are in South Carolina, waiting for our little pumpkin to arrive. It seemed like this time would never come and now that it’s here I hardly know what to do with myself! I am almost 39 weeks pregnant and am trying to be patient and enjoy these last moments I have alone with Audrey before her little sister comes along. We have been playing in green grass, discovering leaves and lightning bugs, listening to summer rain, feeding the chickens, drinking sweet tea, and picking lots of beautiful vegetables from my dad’s garden – just enjoying all things southern. I have things on my list to do, like taking the NCLEX, but for now I am just trying to enjoy my family and prepare myself for a wonderful delivery. Hopefully we will soon be able to share with you  what will be my greatest accomplishment this year, above and beyond nursing school, and that is bringing another life to this world. We pray she will be used for great things!

We can’t wait to meet you little pumpkin, you have been through so much with us already and you will be so strong!

My Audrey is Three

April 24, 2015

First of all I cannot believe how much I have neglected this blog. For those who think that I’ve moved past the blogging phase, it’s not true. I don’t think I will ever completely give it up. I love keeping a record of life and looking back at the memories. Its just that this past year has been a whirlwind and not only have I not had a lot of time, but there has just been so much going on that I haven’t had a lot of energy or motivation to reflect. I know this is a sad statement, but it is true.

It has been over a month since Audrey turned 3 and I figure it is time that I say something about it, because it is of course a very important milestone. Every one of her birthdays is! I have a lot of updates, but I won’t take the time to fill you in on everything, except one that may become obvious in the pictures I’m about to share. For those of you who do not know, I am pregnant with our second girl, due mid June!

So, Audrey, my three year old. She is wild and wacky, mischevious and challenging, and yet full of love and sweetness.
She is so smart and one month before she turned three she mastered all of her colors. For this reason I thought it would be appropriate to have a rainbow party for her and all of her friends! I could have easily thrilled her with a Frozen party, but we decided just to go with an Elsa doll and Olaf pillow for presents instead. I’m about “Frozen Out.”

We had a simple photo booth that Audrey is posing in front of here for her first picture of the day. All of the kids wore their favorite color of the rainbow. Audrey’s favorite is very obviously purple and as you can tell she has become quite the girly girl, she wears dresses all of the time and loves trying on different shoes and jewelry. I never pushed her in any particular direction, but it is obviously just a natural choice for her to like pretty things and so we are embracing it!

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The party turned out to be on a beautiful day and the kids had lots of fun painting, catching bubbles, making bracelets, and of course eating cake! The most important person was missing and that was daddy of course, but we made the most of it with the wonderful friends we have made here and grandma who is staying with us for a while all the way from SC!

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I have always wanted to make a rainbow cake and have now crossed that one off of my bucket list. If it were not for Audrey I probably would never have accomplished something so grand! 😉 This is a statement that is true in more ways than one.

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I just put this last photo in for a good laugh. I feel like it should be entered into awkward family photos or something. Audrey always looks exhausted in the last photos of her birthday, but that just means that she had a good time.

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We are so proud of our little three year, who already thinks she is five! She is growing up so fast and everyday she asks me, ” Am I big mommy?” She is my social butterfly and loves to talk and be around people more than anything. It certainly takes a lot of energy to wear her out! Audrey has a very independent spirit, which I hear is a typical three year old trait, and we are learning ever so slowly how to lead her beautiful little spirit with out breaking it. If your a parent, I’m sure you know what I mean. This year is going to be full of new experiences for Audrey and I know she will continue to grow and allow these changes to shape her into the woman she will become! I pray the Lord will help me to lead her in the way that he meant for me to when he chose her for me. I have three years under my belt as a mommy and I’m about to start again. Most days I still feel like a brand new mom. I have been so priveleged to have Audrey and I am looking forward to seeing what is in her future!