Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Music

Music is something my soul requires.  It is almost a basic need for me.  I have various sets of songs I listen to when times are tough, when times are fun or just when I need to unwind.  I love that music has this magical quality to transport you back to a place in time with images so vivid you can't believe it's been years since the moment actually occurred.  Music is powerful that way.

As you will see I have a distinct love for melancholy music.  There's just something about their haunting lyrics and sound that touch my soul.

Recently I have become mildly obsessed with several different songs that I thought I would share.  You may have heard of them already, but I love it when I run across a new and great song and so maybe some of my favorites will in turn become some of yours.  And even more important, hopefully they can serve as a reminder to a time in your life!

First up...one of my absolute favorites, The Bahamas- Lost in the Light.  I heard this on a blog a few months back.  She has this ongoing series on Dating Her Husband and she decided to film one evening of making dinner and getting ready for their date.  I probably watched the video 10 times and then downloaded the song and practically lived on it for a week straight.  Plus I love the quote at the top of her blog post. "Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired" It's beautiful song.

Next up, The Lumineers.  I love them!  My favorites are the now mainstreamed Ho Hey and also the lesser know (I think) Stubborn Love.

I am also jumping on the Mumford and Sons bandwagon.  My new fav, I Will Wait.  I almost cry every time I hear it because I love it so much.

There was a movie made a few years ago called Shall We Dance and it quickly became one of my favorite movies.  There is a beautiful scene at the end and the whole time Peter Gabrial's song The Book of Love is playing.  I cry every single time. The movie with the music moves me in such a way every single time.

Another soundtrack fav is Give Into Me from the movie Country Strong.  I just picture slow dancing in the kitchen lit only with candles every time I hear it.

I of course have many more favorites...but these are at the top of my list for right now.  Perfect for cold, wintery nights and soaking in a bubble bath!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Less thinking, more doing

I am an chronic overthinker.  I overthink everything.  And in my thinking I have great ideas of what I want to do.  I have lists of blog post ideas (complete with pictures I have already taken).  I have great plans to sponsor a precious little kid in Africa.  I want to go on a missions trip (although scared out of my mind).  I think about what I can be doing better here at work.  I think about health coaching ideas for school.

I think and think and think....and then suddenly do nothing.  What the heck is that about?  Why can't I put my ideas into motion?  Thinking and having great ideas does no good unless I act.  That sweet kid in Africa isn't being helped anymore by my thinking.  I need to do.  I need to act.

As the year comes to a close I have been thinking about my goals for next year.  I have never been one for goals because...I don't follow through on them.  Big surprise right?!  But I am learning about being intentional and how important goal setting is at Integrative Nutrition.  I am learning how the most successful have a plan and that they business wasn't just a result of haphazard events. 

My guess is that my fear is bigger than my motivation at times (most times).  I am really very skilled at talking myself out of just about anything.  Convincing myself that if I wait until tomorrow, or next week or just later I'll be better prepared.  But all that thinking just makes me a thinker.  And I want to be a doer.  I want to act.  I want to help.  I want to make a difference.

So in the spirit of full disclosure and in keeping myself accountable here are a list of things I want to DO.  My hope is that I actually manage to check a few of these items off my list in the next year.

*Do yoga 2 times a week
*Try to run 1 time a week
*Set aside 15 minutes each day for prayer/meditation
*Find a legit organization and sponsor a child
*Obtain 5 paying clients by the end of 2013
*Blog at least 1 time a week
*Finish that dang pinterest Christmas wreath before Christmas is actually over
*Take more pictures of my family
*Work on my business plan 2 times a week
*Love more

I am sure there are more things I am thinking of doing...but that is a good start for now.  Maybe now that you know, you can help keep me accountable and encourage me on my path of doing!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Lovely Lunch

This past Sunday Pat took Lucy with him up to his parents for the day so she could visit and he could hunt.  Yes, I had the whole house to myself for the whole day.  And yes, it was lovely!  I cooked, I baked, I cleaned, I had some coffee, I caught up on my shows, I read, and I listened to music.  And in the midst of the day I made myself the most perfect little lunch.  It was one of those simple little lunches that I would never make if everyone was home, but it was just right for me.  I had the most scrumptious avocado toast with smoked salmon and poached eggs on sourdough bread.  It was delightful.  Well....ok, so the first one was delightful.  The second one felt less delightful and more like I was gorging myself, which I was.  But who cares.....it was a day just for me and I loved every second of it :)




Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon and Poached Eggs
Inspiration: Pinterest

Ingredients

1 (or 2) slices of sourdough bread
Pat of butter (I use Earth Balance)
Garlic Salt
1 Avocado
Small package of smoked salmon, flaked
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

Directions

This recipe is really a non-recipe.  There is no specific technique.  I toasted my bread and then slathered a tiny pat of butter onto it and sprinkled with some garlic salt.  I smashed up my avocado and layered that onto the toast.  Then I flaked off a bit of smoked salmon and added that to the top.  For egg poaching, try whatever technique works best for you.  Deb at Smitten Kitchen has a very good tutorial I have used before that can be found here. Once your eggs are poached rest gently atop your toast and sprinkle with just a bit of salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be Still......


 

For me, there is just something about that cup of coffee each morning.  Usually I sneak my first cup in (leftover from the day before and nuked in the microwave) while I am making breakfast each morning. I move quietly but quickly around the kitchen scrambling the eggs, packing lunches and taking care of dishes.  A new pot of coffee is gurgling in the background and the inviting smell of coffee beans fills the air.  Some days I remember my coffee and get to enjoy it nice and hot, while others I am in too much of a hurried state and am startled when the cold coffee hits my lips.

I used to drink my coffee full of sugar and cream.  And then for awhile I just drank it black.  But there was just something so lovely and inviting about the way a cup of coffee looked with just a splash of cream, that I just couldn't resist it anymore.  It's warm and cozy and it soothes my soul.

The mornings are dark here now and I have been feeling the nudge to rise earlier which is such a bizarre notion for me as I usually long to sleep in.  But I feel like my days are so rushed and busy and full of noise that I need to find time for quiet.  Time for me.  Time to just be still.

Pat and I are part of a Lifegroup at our church and last year we talked about how the world is now so full of noise that it's hard to listen.  And that most of the time our prayers to God include requests or probably more accuratly, just telling Him how we would like our lives to play out.  "God, we are ready for that baby so if you could just make that happen that would be great!"  "God, I'm gonna go ahead and take that new job ok?  Just make sure it all works out for us."  "God, we really want this new house so if you have a sec, could you make sure we get it?"  We are always  talking, talking, talking.  But when do we ever just listen?  When are we ever still?

God tells us "Be still and know that I am God".  He wants us to listen.  He wants a connection.  He wants that closeness with us.

So I think this girl who loves to sleep is going to attempt to be an early riser. To have that warm cup of coffee in a quiet and sleepy house.   To be still.  And to listen. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Messy: An Influence Recap

Sooo....first of all, this is probably not the last you will hear me chat about Influence.  And quite honestly, I feel like this is only a tiny piece of everything that the conference was.  At any rate, you should all be at the conference next year....life changing!

Messy.  My daughter HATES to be messy.  She completely will freak out if her hands get messy while she is eating or if she accidentally spills some of her food and it lands on her tray creating a mess.  Truthfully, she comes by this honestly.  I was the exact same way as a kid.  And while I have mellowed out on the cleanliness factor through the years, my husband very much prefers things nice and tidy....and not messy.

Yesterday at breakfast I was watching her eat her cereal when she ripped off her bib to hand to me.  "Wet" She said.  "Messy.  New one"  She wanted a new bib because her old one was messy and wet.  So I hurriedly (when are mornings not a hurry at our house?!?!) handed her a new bib and she was immediately joyful.  "New one!  Pretty!"  Yes baby girl, the new one is pretty.

It wasn't until later in the day when I was thinking back to my time at the Influence Conference that her messy bib weaved into my mind.  Messy.  It was a word I heard a lot at the conference.  I have never been to a blogging conference before, but I LOVED this one.  Not only because there were incredible speakers who were motivational, educational and, dare I say, influential.  But because most of them were so brave to share their messy lives.  From affairs, to depression, to lost babies to the way a mama can feel so overwhelmed by her babies.  They shared it all and proved God's grace.  And redemption.  And love.

My very favorite blogger, Casey Wiegand spoke at the conference and said, 'Our mess is our ministry'.  This really resonated with me.  I often ponder what I can possibly offer others when I can barely make it through the day myself.  How can I be influential to other moms when some days parenting is just so hard and I feel like I am doing a terrible job?  How can I be an encouragement to eat healthy and nourish your bodies when I am still learning?

But then one by one, the speakers started pulling the pieces together for me. Barrett Ward told his story and in it, he stressed one thing.  He said to Be Bold.  Something I am terrified of.  Then he told the story of their miracle baby who they thought they had lost, but because of his wife's boldness were they able to find her and bring her home.

Jami Nato exposed raw and private parts of her marriage that only God could redeem.

Jessi Connolly talked about almost losing her forth baby and the realization that without God, we will literally, spiritually and emotionally bleed out.  And God has no use for our blood.  He only wants our hearts.

It was heavy.  And messy.

So I start to think that maybe Casey is right.  Our mess IS our ministry. And that it's OK that I don't have it all together.  They reminded me that I am created in the image of God and so if I tend me be emotional or fearful or weak.....it's ok because He made me that way and God doesn't make mistakes.

I learned about grace and the power of forgiveness.  I learned about redemption and that even the biggest messes we face can be redeemed by God.

I was so nervous to go to this conference, especially since I was going alone.  But I truly believe that is exactly where I was supposed to be.  God made sure he kept putting the right people in my path and making sure I chose the right speakers to listen to.  On the final day of the conference I was chatting with a new friend and finally told her, "You know, I came to this conference ready to learn how to be a better blogger,  but the truth is, I am learning how to be a better person."  And that right there is worth far more than any number of readers or sponsors or ads.  Thank you Influence for the most amazing and life-changing weekend!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Checking in!

I feel like there is so much I want to share with you but I am still processing everything from the Influence Conference.  It was amazing, inspiring and a wonderful reminder of grace.  I will be back soon after I get caught back up on life, but wanted to leave you with an image that sort of sums up the weekend!  Hope you are all having a fantastic week :)

.
Source: Pinterest




Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm doing it!

A few years ago, shortly after Pat and I got married there was a 5K in our town to raise money for our local community foundation.  Pat had just completed the Indy mini a few months prior and I had been running on and off so we decided to run in this little 5K.  I talked two of my girlfriends into running with me since I was nowhere near fast enough to run with Pat the whole time.  My friend Brooke had just started running and this was her first 5K.  She was slow but steady and every time I would fall back to check on her she would smile and say, "I'm doing it!"


That phrase keeps running through my head lately.  I feel like I am doing things that are new to me.  Things that I may not be the best or the greatest or the fastest at....but look(!) I'm doing it!  And not only am I doing it...I'm smiling!  There have been times in my life where I have let fear completely cripple me.  Or there are times where things seems so impossible that I just don't even attempt them.  But now, here, I'm doing it!

I'm blogging more.  I'm opening up more.  I'm working on being more creative.  I'm attending a Christian women's blogging conference this weekend that I am beyond excited and beyond terrified about.  I started classes at the nutrition school I have been dying to attend.  And I have been trying to be more joyful.

I remember a line from the Sex in the City movie (the first one...the good one!) where Carrie is talking about how she changed when planning her wedding to Big and she became a different person.  At one point she is referring to her past self and says, "If I met me now, I wouldn't even know me."

Sometimes I feel that way about myself which is so surprising.  I got all the things I had always wanted.  A husband, a baby girl, a beautiful house, close friends and a great family.  But something changed after I had Lucy and to this day I'm not entirely sure what the exact shift was.  Maybe it was losing myself to another person who depended on me for everything.  Maybe it was the fact that marriage is Hard with a capital H after having kids and no one prepares you for that.  Maybe it was exhaustion and never taking just 5 minutes to remember who I used to be.  At any rate, I became very serious.  Kids bring lots of joy with them into this world, but they bring a lot of worries as well.  And I am pretty sure I lost sight of the joy and only saw the worries.  I could play the "what-if" game like a boss!

But that's really no way to live life.  And so I'm trying to grow.  I'm doing new things and I'm not letting fear have a hold on my life.  I am working on being more loving and more joyful and finding the good in situations where I only saw bad before.  And honestly, it's so refreshing.  It's like I woke up.  Now granted, even with my new view there are still tricky days and moments where I would love a do-over.  But for the most part, I'm putting myself out there and learning to grow.

Who would have known on that cold October day three years ago that my friend would have given me the mantra to chant to get my life back on track?  I'm doing it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Things are lookin' up!

I feel like the sun is starting to shine again and the air is beginning to clear.  I am ready to move forward and feel so at peace with that.  I will never forget our lost babies....but it's time to move on.  And God has provided the most amazing reasons to move forward.  First up is the awesome Influence Conference, just days away!  I can't even believe it's coming up so fast!  Sure I'm nervous, but the closer I get, the more excited I am!  I can't wait to meet all these amazing women and join together!  I am going to miss my little family like none other...but truth be told...I am so looking forward to sleeping through the night!  Lucy was doing so good with her sleeping and then she flipped the switch on us and is up multiple times again.  We tried bringing her to our room to sleep on the floor and she is hysterical and the only place she calms down is our bed.  So I've been sleeping with a head buried in my back and Pat has been kicked all week long.  Awesome-sauce!  And yes...I am fully aware she shouldn't be in our bed and we are aggravating the problem....but alas, I am terrible at the whole "cry-it-out" thing and when she is sobbing to the point of almost not breathing and has red blotches on her face, yeah, I'm gonna let the poor kid sleep with her mama and daddy.  And at 2am...I'm in no mood to battle a toddler :)

The second awesome thing I mention in the last post is that I have received my materials and started early classes at IIN!  It's fantastic!  And amazing!  And revolutionary!  And just what I needed.  I can't stop thinking about what I am learning and am so excited to share all this info with others and help others.  I feel like this is my own little personal miracle that it worked out for me to attend the school right at this time.  Once again...God is in the details.

I have so much to be thankful for and grateful for!  I am opening my eyes and looking at my life differently with new appreciation.  It's easy to say those things...but sometimes it can be hard to feel them.  And right now...I truly do feel them!

Something I have been thinking about for the past few weeks is this little blog of mine.  It started out as a food blog because I LOVE food, and always will.  But then, I had a baby, and things changed.  It sort of became a baby blog.  And then it sort of became neglected because working full-time and being a mommy and a wife leave a person pretty drained.  Thankfully that season passed and I am feeling more like blogging again.  But I am struggling with my name.....I'm not really a food blog all the time and I love sharing baby and family and life stories.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but I am thinking in a few months this little blog could/should be getting a facelift of sorts.  And I bet I get LOTS of ideas this coming weekend :)

I don't have any recipes to share today, but I do have a recent favorite picture to share.  My mom snapped this a few weekends ago because Lucy needed a family photo for daycare and we didn't have any recent ones of all three of us.  It was pretty exhausting getting her to sit and smile, but we finally (amazingly!) managed a pretty great one.  Oh, how I will miss those two this weekend....but I am so looking forward to this conference!  See all you Influencers soon!!!!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Aftermath

I feel a little guilty.  I am gearing up to attend the Influence Conference next weekend and I am SURE it will be amazing.  All of the girls have been connecting and blogging about how excited they are and I just can't make myself do it.  I am excited, I really am deep down.  But I am dealing with the aftermath right now and I just can't seem to focus on anything else.

Here's the thing, and I realized this earlier while emailing my cousin almost the same thing I'm going to put here, I am a rock in a storm.  I am strong and tough and determined to make it through the crisis at hand. In the weeks leading up to ultimately losing the pregnancy I was really fine.  I was trusting God and focusing on the blessings in my life.  I was busy being a mom and a wife and working full-time and while I was worried, I mostly let myself get lost in the busyness of life.  I enjoyed Lucy's wonderful distraction kept repeating, 'I trust God. He has a plan.  I trust God.  He has a plan".  I honestly didn't even pray for him to save the baby as I just wanted to fully commit to trusting Him and I didn't know if that was in His plans or not.

And then we lost the baby.  Even then I was ok.  I was a bit emotional sure, but after the procedure I went home and helped Pat make dinner and played with Lucy.  I was surprised at how well I was coping.  Right up until I couldn't cope at all anymore.

It was a day or so after the procedure and suddenly I couldn't stop crying and everything made me sad.  I felt like a constant cloud of sadness had wrapped it's arms around me.  I prayed for peace.  I prayed for comfort.  I prayed for acceptance.

And I am still praying for all those things.  I am still in the aftermath, trying to find my way back into the world again.  Sometimes I get frustrated with myself and don't know why I can't just "buck up!" and be fine.  People suffer far worse losses in their lives and are ok so why can't I be ok?

A lot of what sets me off is other people and they don't even know they are doing it.  Lucy is almost 2 which means to the world that we need to have another baby.  I can't tell you how often lately I have been asked when we are going to give Lucy a baby brother or sister.  I usually just laugh and tell them we'll get there.  But inside....inside I want to scream and cry.  I want to tell them that giving her a sibling is ALL we want to do, only we can't.  We keep having babies taken away.  But I don't say any of that as I don't want to make anyone feel bad for asking an innocent seeming question.

After the first miscarriage I was so eager to try again.  To move forward and feel like we were working on growing our family once more.  But this time, I'm not sure when I'll be ready for that.  I want another baby in such a bad way I don't even know how to explain it.  I want to feel that baby swim around in my belly and hold a tiny newborn in all their perfection.  I want to smell that new baby and rock that sweet baby to sleep, and yes, stay up all night feeding and changing and singing to that baby.  But-I am just so scared right now. 

But, God in all His glory knew I was at the end of my rope and in the midst of my sadness He opened a door and threw this girl a bone.  I have been dreaming about attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in order to receive training to become a Health Coach and now that dream is coming true. My husband and I had talked and talked about it, but we decided to put it off for the time being as it's a bit expensive and we wanted to focus our efforts on starting a family.  Last Friday, just days after losing our baby I received an email from the school with a limited offer on a tuition discount and now I am signed up to start classes at the end of this month.

So maybe the plan isn't to have a baby right now.  Maybe the plan is to count my current blessings and expand my knowledge in nutrition so that I can help others feel healthy and good about themselves.  And even in my sadness, I am grateful and know that while the plan right now might not include a baby, it's still a pretty great plan.  And I have a lot to be thankful for.  So if you see me around and I look a little sad...just know I'm dealing with the aftermath.  But also know that I will rise above this because I am strong and I am tough and I believe in a God who loves to love.

Shrimp and Lemon Skewers with Feta-Dill Sauce

Ok I know that grilling season is basically over, and I'm sorry I didn't get these to you before now.  But the fact of the matter is, this meal is too awesome to not to share!  So toss on a coat, throw a scarf around your neck and get grilling!  Or, you know, use an indoor grill pan.  Way less of an adventure...but you will be sure to stay warm. 



Shrimp and Lemon Skewers with Feta-Dill Sauce
Source:  Food & Wine

Ingredients

1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used Fage yogurt)
1 scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 lemons, cut into 12 wedges each
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Start your grill.  In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, scallions, 1/4 of the garlic and 1/2 tbs of the dill.  Stir in feta, mashing it slightly.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining garlic, 2 tbs of dill and olive oil.  Add the shrimp and lemons, salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Thread 4-5 shrimp and 2 lemon wedges onto a skewer.  Season with salt and pepper and grill over medium-hot grill, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the skewers to a platter and serve immediately with feta sauce.


I served this with a side of Angel Hair Pasta with Chile Lemon & Arugula but cut way back on the spices as a certain little girl of ours does NOT like the spicy!  Hope you enjoy this super simple and yummy meal!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Snake goes in the potty

So I know it's coming.  And I know I should be happy about it and proud or something.  But truthfully.....I want to just lie down and take a nap even thinking about it.  Yes, yes, I'm talking about potty training.  Ugh...makes me tired even typing about it.

I'm sure you get what is happening here....Lucy has become VERY interested in the potty and I know that is a good sign.  However, she only seems to be interested when we are running late and trying to get out the door on time.  She can go hours without even remembering we have a potty in the house and then suddenly its time to put on our shoes and coat and go bye-bye and she starts running around 'Potty!  Potty!  I do it!  Potty!' all while pulling her pants off and attempting to climb right into the toilet.

Ahhh the toilet. Along with potty training and all that entails, the toilet itself brings it's own set of problems.  So here's the thing and I'm going to be completely honest here--I am not a great housewife.  And when I say that, what I really mean is I hate to clean.  Totally not a fan.  There are way more fun things to do in the world besides scrubbing toilets and showers. But now that my daughter is trying to get all waist-deep in our toilet, not only do I need to make time to supervise, I better get my butt in gear and actually clean the sucker because apparently one year olds aren't aware that toilets are yucky places and she probably doesn't want to be touching it all over the place.

Lucy's potty preference really consists of taking off pants and diaper (which she insists on doing herself) and then me sitting her on the potty.  She will sit there for about 1.5 seconds and declare "All done!".  Then we battle for one full minute on how much toilet paper she can use when she didn't potty at all.  She normally wins and 3 yards of toilet paper end up in the potty.  Then she likes to flush, by herself again.  And spray.  And then wash hands for 10 minutes straight.  Don't even think about cutting hand washing time short either.....she is prepared to throw a full on tantrum.








We did buy her a small training potty which occasionally she shows some interest in, but like any strong-willed toddler, she wants to do everything how the big people do them.  But keep in mind that while we may spend lots of time talking about the potty, we are yet to actually "potty" on the potty.  And really, I'm not pushing it or working with her on it yet because she is still only 1 and conceptually, I'm not sure she "gets" it all yet when it comes to the potty.  We are making some progress however as she will notify us (only sometimes) when she has a poopy diaper.  She will run up to us and point to her bottom and say "Poop.  Butt.  Stinky" and then demand she take the diaper off herself so she can help.  Yes, that totally "helps" when she takes off her own poopy diaper :)


One day I decided to show her where the poopy goes so that she might make the potty connection.  So we took the diaper into the bathroom and as I was shaking her poopy into the toilet I thought, "wow....that's a LOT of poopy".  And I was right.  We had to get Pat to use the plunger and unclog the toilet.  So ya, basically my daughter clogged up the toilet.  And we have refrained from putting anymore diaper poopys in the potty since then.

We have had some pretty humorous potty moments however. This past Saturday morning I was heading to take a shower and when I walked by Lucy I spelled the familiar aroma in the air and told Pat she would need a new diaper soon!  I was in the middle of my shower when Pat came racing in to tell me he looked over at Lucy and saw her naked from the waist down, walking around holding her poopy diaper.  He was freaking out, but I'm pretty sure I have never laughed so hard!
 
While I feel we are getting close on understand poop goes in the potty, I often wonder how to explain that tinkle goes in the potty too.  We have made "ssssss" noises while she has been on the potty before and run water at various times to sort of encourage the process but so far nothing has really clicked.  Until a few weeks ago when she kept pointing to her little potty and shouting "Snake! Snake! Snake!"  Honestly I just through she was making stuff up and sort of ignored her and walked out of the bathroom so I could continue getting ready.  But as I heard her continue to shout I figured I better check out the situation again.  As I walked back into the bathroom she shouted "Snake" one more time and then lifted the lid, sat down and said "sssssssss".  Hmm....making we are making progress after all :)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quiet....but ok



Well, I debated even bringing this up (again) but it seems like I should explain where the heck I've been.  It turns out we lost another sweet baby.  And this one hit me a lot harder.  I found out I was pregnant about a month ago and I  was cautiously excited.  We had some preliminary blood work done and the numbers looked great.  We went in for an early ultrasound to see if the baby was developing as it should and all we saw was an empty sac.  To be honest, I knew in my heart, right then and there, that things wouldn't end up in our favor.  But the dr. said maybe we had our dates off and to come back in a week.  If I started miscarrying, then we would know, and if not, then maybe we had a chance. Awesome.

So we went back the following week and again the ultrasound showed an empty sac.  But then suddenly the lab tech saw a tiny yolk sac starting to form.  Again, the dr. didn't want to be overly optimistic...but we indeed did have growth and some positive changes.  So we waited one more week.  Our dr. told us if there was no heartbeat by the next ultrasound, then we would have to consider the pregnancy a loss.  And unfortunately that is exactly what happened.  I had a procedure done earlier this week to remove the pregnancy and honestly, at this point I almost feel relieved.  It was stressful not knowing what was going on week after week, and the fact that now we finally know, and that it is finally over....well, it's like a bit of fresh air.

That doesn't mean I don't find myself crying out of nowhere or completely terrified to ever try again (which I know we will), but it is nice to be out of limbo.

Oddly enough, I have a cousin who shared the whole experience with me.  She is actually the same one who gave birth to her son John just hours before we had Lucy, at the same hospital.  And now, she had ultrasound after ultrasound that ended with no baby.  And as sad as I am for both of us, I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have each other to lean on.  To share freely and openly because we both "got it".  Miscarriage can be a terribly isolating event.  No one really knows what to say to you.  But she got it.  I could tell her how angry I was and it was ok.  I could tell her I just wanted it to be over and it was ok.  She could tell me how relieved she felt after she had her D&C and it was ok.  No judging, just honest acceptance.  And now of course we will be scheduling a day of pampering massages complete with cocktails...as we have earned it!

Through the whole process I was reminded again how grateful we are to have Lucy.  She was a wonderful distraction through the whole process and kept me sane when I might have been losing my mind.  She made me laugh every day.  She reminded me that there is love and light and laughter in this world and that even though things might be confusing and sad and scary....it would be ok.

I also kept going back to the same Winnie the Pooh quote over and over in my head. 

"Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think"

So, although we are sad, and it's been quiet....we are doing ok.  It's time to start brushing myself off, picking myself back up again and moving forward.  But the nice thing...is I have some really wonderful friends and family who have been here to help pick me back up.  And while I don't know what the future holds, I do know that if I hold on tight to love and joy and faith....it will all turn out alright. 



         

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Influence Meet and Greet!




So back in May or early June I started seeing information pop up about this Influence blogging conference everywhere.  Now, I may not be the best blogger, but oh do I love to read blogs!  And a good majority of the blogs I read were talking about this christian blogging conference and I couldn't get it out of my head.  And then I found out it was being held in Indy which is only a few hours from where I live.  Then I REALLY couldn't get it out of my head.

So I chatted with my husband and thought about it and prayed about and and decided that as much as I would LOVE to go, I was just too chicken.  I wouldn't know a single person there and I am kind of a homebody.  I would miss my baby girl and my husband and the whole thought of leaving for THREE nights just made me all kinds of nervous.  So I put it out of my head and moved on.

And then something funny happened.  I just couldn't get it out of my head.  Hmmm....maybe God was trying to tell me something.  So once again I thought and prayed and talked to my husband and then next thing I knew I was taking a deep breathe and buying a ticket.  At first I was elated!  I was actually going to do this!  But to be honest...I'm feeling those nerves much more strongly than excitement right now.  So this whole meet and greet couldn't have come at a better time! :)

I'm actually going to be staying with a friend who lives in Indy to save some cash, but she is close to the hotel so I will be able to just drive back and forth.  Yet another thought that makes me nervous.  Which is sort of frustrating because I can be fairly outgoing...but new situations???  Nervous!

Anyways here is a little info about me and I can't wait to "meet" more girls online and then in person in a few weeks!!!

3 get to know me things:

1.  I have a hilarious daughter  Lucy who will be 2 in December and a pretty great husband Pat.  We will be celebrating our 3 year anniversary in just a few weeks!

2.  I LOVE to cook!  Although working full time and having a kid make it a lot more difficult.  I am pretty passionate about whole, clean, organic foods and am a mostly vegetarian :)  Sometimes I have chicken.  But mostly not.  But seafood?  Mmmm....yummy goodness! :)

3. I am fairly new to blogging and pretty uneducated.  My big dream would be to blog and run a health coaching business.  I am looking into going to school for this early next year.

2 things I am looking forward to:

1.  I am really looking forward to meeting so many amazing ladies!
2.  I can't wait to learn from the best and then apply all that knowledge once I get home.

1 thing I can't leave home without:

My iPhone.  FaceTime does this mama wonders when I missing my sweet girl! 


Friday, August 31, 2012

Toddler Brain

For anyone who has ever had their own toddler, or been around one for more than a second....you will know this is 100% true!



  Hilarious right?!?!  I only wish I remember where I found this so I could site it properly.  Sorry!

Yay it's Friday!  I hope you have lots of fun things planned for this Labor Day weekend!

We are going to hang out with friends and watch the Notre Dame game tomorrow morning.  Not because we are Notre Dame fans, but because we really like our friends.  And secretly, we hope Notre Dame gets stomped!  Ha!  And then Saturday night we are ready for the BIG game!  Michigan's first game of the season.  I hate to get too cocky though as they will be playing Alabama so it could be a rough game....but we will be routing on Blue the whole way through!

I also have discovered the most perfect and easy snack for football season!  Trail mix baked brie!  Oh yum!  Of course, you might be a little disgusted with yourself when you realize how much cheese you managed to shovel into your face....but man, it's soooo good! 



Trail Mix Baked Brie
Source: Eat Live Run

Ingredients

1 small wheel of brie cheese (preferably triple cream)
honey
handful of almonds
handful of craisins

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the brie on top.  Bake cheese for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully transfer to serving plate.  Drizzle with honey and top with almonds and craisins.  Serve with crackers or pita chips.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BBQ Spiced Salmon and Sock Gloves

Weird title?  Yes!  Weird food?  No Way!

About a month or so ago, Lucy's Papa taught her how to put her socks on her hands.  And ever since then the trend has grown stronger and stronger (and stranger).  Now this kid will freak out if she sees socks lying on the floor and they aren't on her hands.  She will quickly put them on and then just walk around the house.  She likes to try to eat with them (gross!), and wear her necklace with them.  It always reminds me of those fancy long white gloves that girls used to wear when they got all dressed up.  It makes me laugh every time.

One sock on...
Another sock on...
Perfect!

Usually before we head out the door each morning Lucy's job is to get Roxy's toy to put in her kennel.  Yesterday Lucy had the toy but was searching and searching the house until she found her socks.  She quickly put the toy down, put the socks on her hands and then she was ready to put the toy in the kennel.  What a funny kid!

And last night was no exception to her trying to eat with her socks on.  Only this time she was sitting on my lap trying to paw at my food with her dirty socks. Needless to say I convinced her to ditch the socks.  And what is it about the food on a mommy's plate?  According to Lucy it tastes a million times better than her own.  She will race through her own dinner and start shouting, "All done!  All done!" and the second we get her out of her highchair she hightails it over to me and starts begging, "Up? Up?" until I pull her on my lap where she proceeds to ask for bite after bite.  She wouldn't touch the salmon with a ten foot pole on her tray, but suddenly when it's from mommy's plate the little girl couldn't get enough!  In her defense, it was pretty darn good salmon.

This BBQ Spiced Salmon was delicious and a cinch to make.  Just mix up a few spices, rub onto your salmon and broil for less than 10 minutes and voila!  Delicious and healthy dinner that your kids will be begging for....but only from your plate.


BBQ Spiced Salmon
Adapted (barely) from: How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

1.5 lbs fresh salmon
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 Tbs smoked paprika
1/2 Tbs onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Set your broiler to high.  Mix the sugar and spices together in a small bowl.  Place fish on an oil lined baking sheet or pan.  Rub spice mixture on the fish to evenly coat.  Broil for 6-8 minutes, rotating once. Check to make sure fish is cooked completely, but be careful not to overcook as it will dry out.  Enjoy!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

The shirt off her back....

Lucy loves babies.  Like, LOVES them.  When we get to daycare each morning she can usually hear a baby crying down the hall and gets all upset and starting saying, "Baby! Baby!".  And she notices babies everyone...at the store, on tv, on the side of the Pampers box, everywhere.  She even still calls herself a baby.  Anytime I have my camera out she immediatly wants to see the "baby" in the camera.  My iPhone has this feature where you can reverse the camera so you can watch yourself while you record yourself.  Lucy loves this.  She points to Mama and Baby, waves and says Hi and blows the baby (her) a kiss.  It's pretty adorable!

So because she has been so interested I decided to drag out one of MY old baby dolls.  It's a pretty realistic looking baby with the perk of looking real, but being able to take all the abuse my toddler inflicts.  Not that Lucy tries to be mean.  Just the opposite really.  She will pick Baby up (very creative name, I know) and sqeeeeeeeze and hug and kiss her.  She will even pat her little butt.  But then as soon as she sees the dog laying on her blankie or wants a drink of water or just simply gets bored -THUMP the baby is tossed on the floor. 

But for the most part, she really does try to take care of Baby.  I came out of our room one day to see her hovering over Baby and putting her paci in Baby's mouth.  This is a huge step in sharing for if you know my child you know that she basically loves her paci more than anything else.  Other times she will get her little picnic set out and set everything up and then start feeding Baby and giving her sips of water.  All complete with sound effects. 

Lately she has been very interested in taking Baby's (and her own) clothes off.  Last night after dinner she was struggling to take off Baby's clothes.  So I sat down and helped her.  Once Baby's clothes were off she went to work taking her shirt off.  At first I thought she just wanted to be naked like Baby.  But then, to my surprise, as soon as she got her own shirt off she started trying to put it on Baby.  I asked Lucy if she wanted Baby to wear her shirt and she nodded yes!  I laughed as I hugged and kissed my sweet girl who is learning to be the kind of kid who will literally give you the shirt off her own back. 

Of course, until she wants it back :)  She is only 1.

Feeding Baby while vising her Grandparents
Trying to get Baby's clothes off
There you go Baby!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

That's it...


I'm ready for fall!  This summer has been so hot and dry, but this weekend we finally got a patch of cold and rainy weather and I'm in love.  Sure it's only August, but summer...I've had my fill and I'm ready for fall.

I just love fall.  It's sweatshirt and jeans weather.  It's watching football and drinking hot tea on a lazy afternoon.  It's pumpkins and bonfires and s'mores!  Plus, its the time of year my all time favorite beer makes it's appearance....Sam Adams Octoberfest! 

I recently found this on Pinterest and LOVE it-

yes i am!

I am so excited to take Lucy to a pumpkin patch this fall and decorate pumpkins.  I am also looking forward to football season! Although this will most likely be another rough year for us Colts fans...but we just have to hang in there!

Another thing that will help make fall even more loverly is this new recipe we tried this week.  It was freaking awesome!  Perfect for those chilly fall days, or cold wintery ones.  It's healthy and  yummy and easy!  Well, it was healthy until we added ridiculous amounts of sour cream to the top.  What are ya gonna do?!?

Make the soup, get cozied up and settle in for fall!
 
Food styling credit: My hubby :)

Hearty Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
adapted from Shutterbean

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
1 32 oz container vegetable stock
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbs ground cumin
1 handful kale leaves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & chopped
2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
hot sauce, avocado, chopped green onions and sour cream for toppings
salt and pepper

Directions

In a large pot, heat olive oil with onions on medium heat and cook until onions are transparent.  Add the carrots, garlic and cumin to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the vegetable stock and canned tomatoes to the pot, raise the heat to medium high.  Add the kale, zucchini, red pepper, sweet potatoes and black beans and bring to a boil.  Add half of your chopped cilantro and stir.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.  

Ladle soup into bowls and top with hot sauce, avocado, green onions and a big ole dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Picnic in the Park

We finally had a week where the temps were in the normal "summer" range, as opposed to 115 degree weather we had been living with.  So we decided to celebrate by having a picnic at a nearby state park.  It was so lovely to be outside in the fresh air.  Since it's been so hot this summer, we have spent far too much time inside, so we were all a little happy to be outside, or "side" as Lucy calls it!

I had packed us a dinner the night before and once we were off work, we all headed to the park.  We played at a small playground for awhile and then set a huge sheet on the ground in a shady area.  We feasted on a Quinoa and Orzo Pesto Pasta Salad, olives, chips and dip, and some lovely Peach Tomato and Mozzarella Crostinis.  They were delish!  And other than the occasional ant, it was perfect!

Once our bellies were full we headed home and played outside some more.  Plus, since all the work had been done the night before there was minimal clean up.  Now, that's my kind of night!  We finally (finally!) got Lucy to sleep and then I relaxed on the couch with a crisp glass of wine.  Oh, how I love summertime.

Swinging like a big girl!
So pretty!
Our feast
Eating up

Peach Tomato Mozzarella Crostini
Source:  Joy the Baker

Ingredients

1 baguette, sliced and toasted with olive oil
Fresh ripe peaches, sliced thin
Fresh garden tomatoes, sliced thin
Fresh mozzarella, patted dry and sliced thin
Fresh basil, sliced into thin strands
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar

Directions

Top each toasted baguette with a slice of peach, tomato and mozzarella and then a second slice of peach.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with basil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peach, basil, and brie cheese french bread pizza

Recently I made some french bread pizzas which were to die for!  I had seen this recipe for Peach, Basil and Brie Cheese pizza and thought it looked amazing!  However, I wasn't sure how that would fly with the rest of my little family.  So I also made a more "regular" pizza as well.  Pat wasn't a huge fan of the peach pizza....but oh my, I certainly was!  It was amazing!  The fresh peaches offered a juicy bite that was combined with soft and melty brie.  I could seriously live off of brie cheese!  And don't skimp on the balsamic reduction.  It is what truly brings this whole pizza together!

For our regular pizza I just used some pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, red onions, olives and bell peppers and cooked it the same way I did the peach pizza.  It was also delicious!  And the possibilities are endless....you could certainly dress it up anyway you like!

Peach, basil and brie french bread pizza

Ingredients

1 french bread loaf (preferably whole grain), sliced in half, lengthwise
2-3 ripe peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
4 oz brie cheese, thinly sliced
2 tbs freshly chopped basil
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar


Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place bread on baking sheet and brush olive oil over each half.  Top each half with brie cheese slices and peaches.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Broil for 30 seconds until the cheese gets a tiny bit brown and bubbly.

Meanwhile, place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to about 2 tablespoons.  (takes roughly 5 minutes)

Drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over pizza and top with basil.  Enjoy!



Monday, August 6, 2012

Wedding fun!


A few weeks ago Lucy and I were in my good friend Brooke's wedding.  The wedding was gorgeous and Lucy did great!! :)  She was a flower girl and I was a bit worried about her freaking out with all the unknown people around, but she and I walked down the aisle together and she was a champ!  Let me tell you though...it's hard work being in a wedding and having your daughter in the wedding too.  It took a LOT of coordination between Pat and I, but we pulled it off!  And Pat earned a well deserved beer that night for taking care of Lucy all day and carting her back and forth.  The only sad part is that I totally forgot to take any pictures.  All the pictures below are stolen from other people.  I really wish I would have taken a family picture, but oh well.

A rare pause in her racing around all evening!
Saying "Hi" to the other flower girl, Charli
Trying to get her to take a picture with Brooke...looks like Mommy will have to join!
The beautiful bride!  Great friends and cute babies
Bridal party!
Lucy dancing the night away :)

Hope everyone is having a GREAT Monday! :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Keepin' It Real Fridays

Yep.....you read that right.  We have a biter on our hands. Oh boy..........

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bedtime Prayers

Lucy is so sweet when we say our prayers each night.  She clasps her hands right away and tries so hard to keep her eyes closed.  As soon as we are done she loudly claps and shouts "A-mon!"  This little girl is the sweetest blessing we could have ever dreamed for!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What we've been up to...

So it's been a pretty quiet month here on the blog.  We've been busy and I just haven't had much time to catch up on here.  But here is a quick peak into what's been going on around these parts!

We tried out the sprinkler for the first time this summer....and while hesitant at first, Lucy ended up loving it!  Roxy loved it too :)
Slowing approaching...
Water!


The weather in our area has been VERY dry!  So dry that there has been a burn ban for most of the summer resulting in no bonfires or fireworks!  BUT--we recently received enough rain which lead the burn ban to be lifted!  So we had our very first bonfire of the summer this past weekend.  It was so much fun (and a little nerve-wracking to be honest....toddlers and fires make for nervous parents!).  We invited my dad over and had some s'mores!  Lucy really just wanted to snack on the graham crackers but it was so much fun!

A little wheelbarrow fun with Grandpa
Matching Marshmallows :)
Lucy had a little fun with some stickers this past weekend and Pat was a really good sport about it! :)

And here is a fun treat that Pat and I shared a few weekends ago.  We made little ice cream bombs together and they were oh so good!  It was really fun as the options are endless.  We choose Butter Pecan and Strawberry Ice Cream  Some of our topping choices included:  shredded coconut, coffee, cinnamon, sprinkles, lime zest and sea salt.  We LOVED the coffee topping!  You can find the recipe here.

Toppings!
Pouring melted chocolate over our ice cream
Finished product!  YUM!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

BBQ Salmon Burgers aka....yummy goodness!

Ok so the truth is, I was pretty skeptical about this recipe.  Sure, I love salmon.  Like, love it- love it.  But the thought of grinding it up and frying it like a burger, well, it made me a little uneasy.  But then I took my first bite and I got over that uneasiness real fast!  These suckers are awesome!  So awesome in fact that I might even recommend ditching the whole burger concept and just eating the little salmon patties straight!  Pat and I both found that it's awesome flavor was slightly lost in all the burger toppings.  However, that didn't stop us from chowing down on them anyways.  So the choice is up to you whether you treat them like a salmon cake or a salmon burger, but either way I beg you to make them!  You won't regret it.  And the bonus is, it's a pretty quick and easy meal that will totally knock your socks off!

BBQ Salmon Burgers
Adapted from How Sweet It is

Ingredients

2 lbs fresh, raw salmon (skin removed)
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tbs bbq sauce
2 tbs whole grain dejun mustard
2 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
Olive oil
whole grain buns for serving

Directions

Add skinless salmon to bowl of food processor and pulse until it's fairly ground.

Remove the salmon and add to a large mixing bowl.  Combine with panko breadcrumbs, bbq sauce, mustard, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, onion powder and smoked paprika.  Use hands or spoon to mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated.  Form into 7-8 equally sized patties.  

Heat skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat and cook burgers on each side until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Make sure not to over cook!

Serve with additional bbq sauce and burger toppings or eat on it's own as a salmon cake.

Enjoy!

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July tomorrow!!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Updates!

I'm going to skip our usual Keepin' it Real Fridays post as I have so many updates to share!  Last weekend we took our first little road trip as a family down to Indy for the weekend.  We spent the night at a hotel and the next day we visited the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  It was a great time!  And even better, my sister is doing her internship there for the summer so we got to hang with her for the day which was lots of fun!  Lucy was a trooper the whole weekend.  She had so much fun at the museum and was a riot to watch.  That kid would just take off like the owned the place.  We had the best time!  We came home on Monday and then Tuesday we headed to the local beach for the afternoon.  Lucy was a little unsure of the water at first, but soon enough she was a BIG fan!  She loved filling up her bucket with water and then dumping it everywhere!  Daddy was a good sport and got dirty in the sand with her too.  Here are a ton of pictures from our weekend :)

Trying on some shades while Mommy attempted some quick shopping!
Out to dinner.
She's saying "meow" here :)  Getting ready to try out the pool...which she hated!
But she loved corn hole :)
She's a pro!
Hanging with mom!
At the museum
Trains!
Racing with Daddy!
Tractor!
She loved the water tables
Taking Aunt Kendra on a walk :)
Thanks for such a great day Aunt Kendra! :)
Checking out the water...
Not so sure at first.
But she quickly fell in love :)
Dumping out her water with her cute ruffle butt :)
I'd say she had a pretty great weekend!

Hope you all are having a great week and are looking forward to an awesome weekend!  Happy Friday everyone!!!