Tuesday, March 29, 2016

If It's Not a, "Hell Yes!"

I saw this picture a couple of years ago and I've kept it on my phone ever since. I need this reminder. I think we all do. I love, love, love being out and about with my kids. I love going to all the parks, all the zoos, splash pads, and events. I adore the people in my life that will drop their errands for the day and say, "Yeah, we'll go to the pool with you guys!"

The reason I enjoy it so much is because, one, it's great for the kids and two, I swear I'm a better mom when we're out doing "stuff." But here's the thing: I don't want to glorify being busy. I don't want "busy" to be a priority. We've all done it. I've called friends I haven't seen in months and say I miss them and their response, "I know, me too. We've just been so busy." I've done it too - "Has it really been a month since we talked? Wow. Life got busy."

People have babies and kids start school and soccer and t-ball and it's true, life does get busy. But are we allowing it to get so busy we forget what's important or fun? Are we letting "busy" be our occupation?

I've adopted a new motto this year. If it's not a "hell yes," then it's a no. I snagged this motto from the Jen Hatmaker (she's pretty near and dear to my heart if you haven't noticed). Three months into the year and it has been the greatest thing, I tell ya.

For example, we just switched churches. Being newly pregnant and based on the departure of our last church, Darren and I just wanted to lay low. We immediately loved our new church and pastor and it just so happens to be a very large church so we thought we'd have no problem hiding for a while. Nope. In less than a month the music pastor and lead pastor called us out after service to meet us. Awesome. I was impressed. Two months in and our pastor was asking us to join his community group at his house. At first I was like, "Let's go! How fun! I mean, how can we say no? He's the PASTOR!" Then I realized I didn't really want to go, it wasn't a hell yes. I was still puking, exhausted by nighttime and already feeling like I said 'yes' to too many other things. It wasn't a "hell yes" so it became a no. And that's okay. I told his wife why we couldn't come and guess what? It wasn't a big deal. Their community group didn't fall to pieces because we decided not to go. They handled it with the grace I sometimes forget to give myself.

With leaving our old church I stopped leading my bible study. Many of the women in the group asked me to keep leading one and I felt so-so about it. I love bible studies. I love leading them and praying with other women and creating such a fun place for fellowship. Growing in Christ with other women is so. my. thing. But [see above] I didn't feel good. I puked until 18 weeks pregnant and I STILL have the occasional meeting with my toilet in the morning. I couldn't give it what I wanted and I certainly didn't want it to turn into a chore or a resentment. It was a no.

Out of that, you know what became a 'hell yes?' A breakfast club. Once a month, my old small group (plus a few others) get together for breakfast. We hang out and catch up and eat a lot of food. We continue to have fellowship and community and we get to do it in a relaxed way that doesn't make me feel like a have "one more thing" to do. It's a hell yes.

Another thing? Isaiah and Maci's preschool teacher asked me to be the sub for the class if either one of them are out. I'm all about partnering with teachers, volunteering in classrooms and taking a part of my children's and their peer's education. Not only was I flattered, I was excited. It was a 'hell yes.'

Book club? Hell yes. I'm an avid reader/borderline book nerd. My idea of a fabulous day is sitting in the sunshine/by the fire/in the bath/on the couch with a good book. I read on the regular anyway. One night a month (with no pressure on prep or attendance) I get together with a group of women to discuss a book we all read. There is food, laughter and time to catch up with girls I love but don't see all the time. And also, we've had some great book suggestions. It's a hell yes.

This moves across the board. Dinners, play dates, birthday parties, showers for friends. All of the things that make us busy.

I am somewhat of a people pleaser. I like to be liked. I like to feel helpful and appreciated. I like to say yes. But as a mom, I've gotten really good at cancelling things. (Because double ear infections and pink eye do not need to be shared.) And if I've said yes to too many things, I tend to feel guilty. But since I've only placed "hell yeses" on my to-do list, my cancellations are few and far between, which means I'm dealing with less guilt. And just as a bonus the people I cancel on understand more than anyone because they are my priorities and my people.

Stop the glorification of busy. Prioritize and balance your life. Because if it's not a hell yes then it's probably a no.

**Note: I don't always have a saucy mouth, but when I do, I use H-E double hockey sticks 64 times in a blog post. Don't judge. ;)

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Weeks along: 22

Baby Size: Spaghetti Squash

Cravings: Meat and Donuts. I'm so fat right now.

Other symptoms: Well, I'm porking out a bit. My face and arms and back are thickening up like they do every pregnancy and let me just say, it doesn't get any easier for me. To put it plainly: I hate feeling fat and puffy. (I'm not saying this to get compliments or reassurance but just to be honest.) Do I feel self-conscious? A little. Do I think I'm gaining an unnecessary amount of weight? Not really. Am I intimidated about losing it after baby? No. There are just so many parts of pregnancy that make me feel like I'm not myself and this is one of them. Ah, well. Also, I'm really starting to believe that old wives tale about when mamas are pregnant with girls they steall all their beauty because seriously, I looked pretty dang good when I was pregnant with Isaiah. Granted it was my first baby, I was only 22 and super tan because we lived in San Diego but still. I'm just saying.

Kid funnies: So normally I'm small chested. Like itty-bitty committee small chested. But when I'm pregnant (and nursing) I grow a good 2-3 sizes. For realz. My kids are so confused. They don't have a memory of a mama with those things. I was snuggling with Maci the other day and she just started poking them and asked, "What are THOSE for?" Yep. Foreign objects to my kids.

Baby Movement: She is growing! I'm starting to feel more distinct movements and Darren can feel her kick all the way up at my belly button. She's still very low and loves to tap-dance on my bladder.

Nesting: I've painted her room and started a couple fun projects. It's always easier starting this early so I don't have to rush (or spend a lot of money) at the end. I've also been going through clothes, toys and linens to figure out exactly what we have and what we still need.

Monday, March 21, 2016

21 Weeks

It's official! We have another little girl headed our way this summer and we are so excited! The ultrasound last week ended up being kind of comical because of how the baby is positioned. I knew the baby was low but she is so low I had to lay on my side to get the proper measurements. I also had to empty my bladder three times because it was in the way. Yeah, she's that low. I hope she doesn't slip out too soon. ;)

Since finding out the baby is a girl, Maci has developed a whole new interest. She is obsessed with my belly and constantly wants to shop for things for the baby. She even will play with the baby toys that make music and tell me which songs we should play when the baby is crying. I think she's excited.

Isaiah was more confused than disappointed when we found out we're having another girl. "God messed up the pattern," he said (you know, because it should've gone: boy, girl, boy). That child is so left brain, I can't even. He then told me he still gets to have the baby sleep in his room sometimes. He's such a great big brother - he has a big heart and is kind and gentle and laid back beyond anything. I'm sure adding another girl to the mix will be a piece of cake. And can I just be honest? He is going to be the greatest husband one day. By the time he finds his bride he will already know how to navigate PMS and be so used to mood swings and hormonal women, it won't even phase him.

Darren and I are also thrilled, of course. Knowing is so fun. Now we can zero in on names and start decorating a nursery and day dreaming about this sweet little girl that is going to complete our family. God has blessed us beyond measure.

Here she is!

All the ultrasound pictures from each baby. (Top-Isaiah, Middle-Maci, Bottom-She Who Has No Name)

21 Weeks in all it's glory!

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Weeks along: 20

Baby Size: Banana

Cravings: Meat. Sweet Potatoes. Pita Pit.

Morning sickness: I think I'm done! WHEW! I still gag really easily. I've been super sick this past week and I've had to use my inhaler and it totally makes me gag.

Other symptoms: Bad asthma and compromised immune system. I asked my regular doc about this this past week. (I had to go in for my asthma/chest cold and pink eye. Gross.) I don't really get sick all that often and my asthma is really well maintained, BUT when I'm pregnant I get sick so easily and my asthma is way worse. What gives? Well, apparently since when you're pregnant your whole body is inflamed, it can affect people in so many ways. Many pregnant women get sinus infections, I get bad asthma. Laaaame. I'm feeling very thankful for inhalers at this point.

Baby Kicks: Lots and lots of wiggles! Baby is so low. I can feel the baby kick ON. MY. CROTCH. I asked the doc about this a couple of weeks ago and she laughed and said, "Third baby. It's gravity." Good heavens!

I can't believe we're halfway. I've had such little time to think about being pregnant this time that it has already flown by. I feel far less anxious and way more at peace this pregnancy. I have no feeling whether or not this baby is a boy or a girl (I've only been right half the time) and I honestly don't have a preference. Boys are a blast but girls are so fun too. I'm just thankful God hand picked another kid for this family. I know God knows what He's doing...whoever you are, sweet baby, you will be the perfect fit!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Let Them Cook & Let Them Eat

I am not a saint when it comes to food. I believe in kid food just as much as I believe in healthy, adult food. My kids get Cheetos and chicken nuggets sometimes, but they also get grilled chicken and quinoa. These kids love pizza and French fries (so do I) but they also love hardy and healthy vegetables too (so do I). At Isaiah's doctor's appointment, his doctor asked him what his favorite foods are. Isaiah said, "Broccoli, salmon, and sweet potatoes." SAY WHAT? I sure looked like parent of the year. Don't get me wrong, he loves those things but I definitely expected him to say cheeseburgers or something. It's about balance, right?

I think teaching our kids healthy habits and relationships with food is important and starts when they are very young. I get asked frequently how I get my kids to eat (both healthy and in general because sometimes dinnertime is a struggle, amIright?). I don't feel like I've completely cracked the code and the kids are always throwing me more taste bud curve balls but there a few things that have really worked for us as a family.

1. What you see is what you get. There are no options for meal time (dinner time specifically). This is what mama cooked so this is what we all get to eat tonight.

2. Phrasing. Our last pediatrician was fabulous and taught me how to phrase "trying" food as "practicing." Also, use "not used to it" instead of "don't like it." So, for example, you might say, "I know you aren't used to salad, but I want you to practice eating it a little bit."

3. Make it fun. Dinner time is not a punishment. Even if I know my kids aren't very hungry, they need to sit with us and talk. Being that they're only 3 and 5...this means a lot of jokes and being silly. No timeouts or spankings for not eating - dinner and food is not punishment. No need to give your kids a complex about food.

4. Portions. My mom taught me this one. If you give your kids only a little at a time (2 bites of chicken as opposed to 8), they won't look at the mound of food you just served and feel like they've already failed (which means they probably won't even try).

5. Make it familiar. Make sure there is at least one thing on the plate that is familiar and one thing that they like (our pediatrician taught me this one too). For me I always add fruit that they like. Bread used to be the answer for this until Maci recently informed me she doesn't like bread. (!?!?!) We're thinking of getting a DNA test. ;)

6. They don't have to love it. Do you like every type of vegetable, fruit, meat, or dish you've ever eaten? Probably not so don't expect them to love everything. Let them have an opinion about food but teach them to communicate it to you politely. And remind them to "practice" so one day they might like it. If it's something I know my kids don't love, they've "practiced" enough, then I let them know they don't have to finish it. Teaching your kids a clean plate is being "done" isn't good for portion control later on in life anyway.

7. Let them help. Obviously I do a lot of crock pot/meal planning so I don't always have a ton of cooking to do. I do let the kids help me chop vegetables for salads or fruit, butter bread, or pour milk. They also love to season things. When they get to help they see the work that goes into cooking and are pretty proud of what they created - which means they'll eat it.

These pictures are from the other day. The kids helped me chop the veggies for roasting, measure and dump the quinoa, and season the chicken.

This is what we had for dinner (on their plates everything was separated out though). They love quinoa, butternut squash, and chicken - the asparagus isn't their favorite and that's ok, they practiced.

Here's a picture of a typical dinner for us (salmon, rice, broccoli and strawberries). Isaiah ate everything. Maci practiced two bites of rice and asked for some ceasar salad I made for Darren and I. They don't love everything all the time but I find when I consistently use the tips listed above, more often than not dinner is easy.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Weeks along: 19

Baby Size: 6 inches

Cravings: meat and squash/sweet potatoes

Reading: Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

Morning sickness: I haven't thrown up in 10 days!!!

Other symptoms: Tired. The kids shared their sickness this week so I'm praying to get over this awful head and chest cold quickly.

Baby kicks: baby is very active and Darren felt the baby move a few times last week. I can't believe how early he felt it! The baby is sitting very low so there's less belly fat there and little babes has no trouble karate chopping though it.