Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekly Weight and Workouts - Week 4

Week of October 21

Height 5'10"
Weight 160 (oh phew! Back on track. Was getting nervous there with my bad workout week.)
Jackson and Bones just "hanging" out on our walk

I quickly learned that I need to start these fitness blog posts as a new week begins and journal as I go or else I forget what I did and I'm not as excited to go work out because I've lost track and I think I've already failed. Where is that positive attitude, Christie?

Blogging as I go helps me stay on track and motivated. I'm working really hard at getting one morning workout in on our elliptical downstairs, just haven't totally gotten there just yet. I'm usually already up, so it shouldn't be THAT hard, right? *cough*

It's just I can feel my body catching up on the 6 months of lost sleep.... Excuse. Excuse.

One other thing that helps, is if I take a picture of myself doing one of the workouts. I tell myself I have to workout to get a photo for the week! 

Sunday - 35 minute Run/Walk with BOB stroller. Weather was awesome. Jackson slept 12 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!! STRAIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. Couldn't work out when I first woke up because my chest was engorged to the max. Like Pamela Anderson chest. OUCH! Needed relief ASAP and wanted Jackson to get up but refused to wake him. I learned that I would never be able to survive implants. EVER.

Monday - None

Tuesday - Stair Stepper at Life Time Fitness - 25 minutes. Steam 5 minutes (slice of heaven here!!!).

Wednesday - None

Thursday - None

Friday - None

Saturday - 25 minute elliptical and 30 minute stroller walk with Jackson

Spent Sunday making two healthy snacks that would last us all week: energy balls and Quinoa Egg BLTs (good way to get veggies and protein). These are great to have between breakfast and lunch! Also, tried out a new overnight steel cut oats recipe! Cherry. Yum.

Cherry Overnight Steel Cut Oats

My goal is to continue eating really healthy. Breakfast for me is and has been since Jackson was conceived either overnight steel cut oats with some kind of fruit and flax or old fashion oats with flax, peanut butter and raisins. I continue to eat oatmeal because I read it helps with milk supply and I really do love it...and it's healthy. Plus, I can't stand sugary cereal anymore. Ick. Eggs seem to take too long to cook up in the morning before work. Who knows if the whole milk supply thing is true, but I'm remaining steady pumping 16-21 ounces of milk at work every day. *knock on wood*

In an older post I wrote about my daily snacks. Those quinoa egg BLTs worked out really great this week. I'll be making these again for sure.

I pack both lunches for me and Karl in the morning and it's usually leftovers from dinner the night before. There is maybe one day a week where I will go grab lunch quick out of the office. I give Karl the one extra lunch left for the week just because he doesn't really get a lunch break, ever...and I don't want him going to Super America for a nasty tall energy drink and salty sandwich. Yes, babe....I'm watching you!!!!

Currently I'm spending about $100 - $150 on groceries a week between the three of us.

Most of our dinners come from healthy recipes I've found on Pinterest while I pump or are ripped from pages of my health magazines. I always try to make sure there is veggies or fruit in all that we eat throughout the day. And protein because that keeps me feeling full longer.

Sleep is also a HUGE contributing factor to my overall health and I have been getting more sleep. Ahhhhh! I love you sleep! Granted I'm crawling into bed around 8:30 every night (feels soooooo good and it's already dark out) but Jackson is more times than not, sleeping past 4:30 a.m.!!! As long as I get more than six hours in a row, I'm good!!!

That's all for this week. More next week!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Do I Have So Much Trouble Saying No?

Ever have those days where your brain is on FIRE? I’m not talking raging headache here. I’m talking… you have a million thoughts running through your head and you can’t focus on one of them? You don’t know where to start? You write out lists but never get through them? Then your brain feels foggy and this vicious cycle of getting nothing done progresses? Yep. There right now.
OKAY, Dove! Sounds good to me!!!

We finally made it to church last Sunday (Jackson made it through a solid 30 minutes before fussing) and it was Mental Health Awareness Sunday. I loved what the Parish Nurse reminded us because I could resonate with it. Most of us focus SO much on doing things for others or we put all our attention in one area of our life that we forget about ourselves and we become unhealthy. We’re too busy to eat healthy. We have no time to work out. We’re sleeping less. But we keep going and going and going. And things get messy.

We need to find balance.

Speaking of this… I also read that doctors are actually prescribing blog therapy to patients with crazy lives, depression and internal issues (especially to new moms!!!). I LOVE THIS. I can’t tell you how much blogging has helped me through everything. I never knew how controlling I am (and you kind of have to give up the control part when you become a mom). Well throw thirty-three years of being controlling into the mix, of course it’s going to be hard!!! Some of you are probably like…DUH!!! We *knew* you were overly controlling, Christie. HA! More to come on that in a later post.

I just don’t know how people mentally survive when they keep everything inside and to themselves and pretend everything is fabulous. I also realize I kind of stay away from those people. They make me nervous…

With that said, I’m in need of a random post so I can get it all out. Here we go…

A friend I grew up with in Roscoe, Illinois, passed away last week. From ALS. He was 34. 34. 34. 34. What is wrong with this picture??? That is WAY too young, especially to be faced with ALS. The news shook me to my core. I couldn’t think of anything but that. What were his final days like? What was going through his head? Did he do everything he wanted to? What did he wish he did differently? Did the small things that seem so big to someone like me even cross his mind anymore?

It’s not like we were close friends. Yet, I knew him fairly well. My high school days were very sacred to me (yep, one of those!) and my friend who passed away was part of those sweet memories. PLUS, we both ended up in Minneapolis and reconnected via email and our blogs. I would invite him to dodgeball and finally he wrote me, “CHRISTIE…my hand isn’t capable of throwing a dodgeball these days. I’m not like I used to be.”

Huh? How is that possible? I didn’t get it. What did he mean??? He was Mr. Soccer Man. Mr. Energy. Mr. Sarcastic. How could he not throw a ball??? Then I finally sat back and listened to him. OH…

LIFE IS SO NOT FAIR. Colin was SUCH a wonderful person. Breaks my heart to see him go. BUT…I have this feeling he’s kicking a soccer ball AND throwing that dodgeball in heaven now.

Is it weird that Boyz II Men, End of the Road just came on the radio as I’m writing about Colin??? This makes me think of my high school days SOOO much!!!!!!!!!!!! WEIRD!!!!!!!! They never play that song on the radio anymore.

I will say he had one of the coolest obituaries I’ve ever read….


I’ve ALWAYS been someone who juggles a million things at once. I’m a “YES” gal. And I think a lot of people know that about me. I don’t like telling people “no”. A lot of us have this problem, don’t we? BUT…after becoming a mom and heading back to work full time, my time means everything to me right now. So I HAVE to say “no”. There is no way around it, and that is hard.

My mom keeps reminding me: “Focus on Christie, Karl and Jackson right now.” But it’s HARD when so many people reach out and one of my favorite things in life is to make other people HAPPY.

There has to be another way!

I just read an article in Women’s Health about technology and how it has made saying “no” impossible for women. We are so easy to get ahold of these days and we (women) are people pleasers, so we keep agreeing to more and more to the point we forget about ourselves.

I can relate.

The article also states we need to be aware of those people who KNOW our weakness because they will suck the time right out of us. The advice was to say “NO” to everything first and if it comes back to us as a real interest in our minds, then maybe it’s worth looking into. I like that! I also took the test in the magazine and failed miserably. I really do have a problem.

I rambled on to Karl the other night of everything I’ve been asked to do:

1.      Attend a book study on Thursday nights

2.      Play volleyball on Monday nights

3.      Play volleyball on Thursday nights

4.      Sub for volleyball on Wednesday nights

5.      Help find a volunteer opportunity for a neighbor

6.      Get a training session in before my personal trainer leaves

7.      Send my revised manuscript off to two agents

8.      First revise my 300-page manuscript STAT

9.      Be a wedding set-up coordinator for a wedding in February

10.  Sell skin products, or at least find some people who might be interested in selling skin products

11.  Help a friend find a good woman

12.  Help a friend find a daycare for her infant son

13.  Help a friend with web stuff

14.  Figure out why my tailbone hurts SO bad and schedule physical therapy

15.  Call the billing department about Jackson’s screwed up hospital bill …

16.  Get high speed Internet so we can Skype with my parents without getting kicked off every ten seconds so they get to see Jackson more.

And that doesn’t include all the daily chores, or working full time, paying bills and running errands and cooking and all that stuff. Baaahhahaa. It’s no wonder I want to be left alone after work is over with and avoid my phone all together. I’m kind of jealous of my friend who told me her family has banned technology one night a week from their lives. I LOVE THAT IDEA!!!! I told Karl about it and he kind of laughed. He told me I wouldn’t be able to do it. Wanna bet?

But maybe this list of mine is normal for all women? And now that being a mom has become a priority, I simply can’t handle all that other stuff and those people will just have to understand. Must focus on us right now. Kind of like my mom says… Those moms sure do know best.

I don’t even want to know what it’s going to be like with more kids and sports and clubs and activities and all the other stuff in between.  Yikes! I get it now why you really MUST marry your best friend, lover, cheerleader and the best person possible for you because that is the one person you will be leaning on and seeing the most. You want to be sure to love them but also make sure you will LIKE them for….well…EVER.  SO be SMART choosing the right one!!!

Getting back to things, Karl didn’t really say much when I listed off everything, other than look at me like good luck with that and kind of softly said, “screw all that!” So to me, that was his way of telling me I needed to decide what is MOST important to me right now.  So I’m going to write it out:
  1. Obviously my time with Jackson and Karl is most important. That will always come first. I get about 1-2 hours with Jackson after work and maybe an hour with Karl. He is working INSANE hours (and every weekend). I want to do FUN stuff together. I want TIME together. This makes me HAPPY just thinking about it.
  2. WE NEED to get back into the rhythm of going to church on Sunday. I know there are all these great activities going on at church right now but my first step is to go to church as a family. Church is important to me and I want it to be a priority in our lives. A staple. I know what it did to my life. Baby steps. Church first, activities to come.
  3. I really want to revise my book and send it off. That is one of my dreams and it’s not going anywhere if I keep putting it off. I need to make time for it. I need to KNOW if there is hope for my dream and that means trying one more time. It’s impossible to find time for this when I start getting involved in all this other stuff…. I must use my time wisely. And right now my mind is on fire and I’m going in circles because it’s full of clutter.
  4. I’m going to get back to volleyball AFTER the first of the year. Right now, it’s not possible with Karl working as much as he does. He gets home well past 7 p.m. So I’m working on finding time to get a quick run in or a work out in the best I can. Physical activity makes me feel GOOD. Holding myself accountable through this blog too!

I’m JUST getting about 15-30 minutes back in my night where I can maybe Skype my parents (if it works), upload and organize pictures of Jackson and go through mail. Stuff like that. So the only real time I have to do anything is on the weekends. And I pretty much want to enjoy family time, do laundry and cook up some healthy meals for the week. That’s where I’m at right now. My head spins throughout the week, so the last thing I was to do is add more!


Ever have a great friend who you’ve lost touch with? You know it was your fault and there isn’t really an explanation? That’s just a random thing that’s been on my mind.


My Dove chocolate I’m savoring right now says, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” I like that!


So I went in to get my tailbone looked at because I can’t stand how bad it hurts when I sit (especially when I’m driving!!!). I have no idea what is going on. Basically it feels like there is a 10 pound rock sitting on my tailbone and anytime I shift, that ball pulls everything around my tailbone with it (and my bone) and it hurts like crazy. Kind of feels like it’s curling under too. Like a real tail!!! And it doesn’t help that I SIT all day at work. I wake up and it feels great, but I sit down to eat my oatmeal and it feels like it’s stretching beyond belief. Sometimes it feels like the bone is growing longer… Does that make sense??? All I know is I can barely sit! So I went in to the doctor last week. Had an X-Ray and found out everything is fine. Karl freaked me out and said the X-Ray probably killed my eggs. Thank you for that. All I know is my tailbone doesn’t FEEL fine. So I sucked it up and called for physical therapy. That starts next week. But I also went in to see a woman chiropractor this morning who totally understood my body. She gave me a GREAT adjustment and POOF. RELIEF!!!!!!!!!! As of this morning, so far, so good…but I want to make sure it sticks.  Problem is when does one find time for something like physical therapy and appointments between working full time and pumping three times during the work day, and immediately going to daycare after work to pick up??

Also got the flu shot. For the second time in my life. Ugh. Didn’t want to but they kind of made me. Karl also got the flu shot and Tetanus so he could be protected against Whooping Cough. His arm totally blew up for a few days. YIKES!!!

BUT…here is the kicker. As I was leaving my appointment, the nurse gave me a sheet saying I was overweight. It was a BMI sheet. SAY WHAT!?!?!? She said she knew I just had a baby but she had to give it to me. SAY WHAT!?!??! I’m 7 pounds away from where I was at before I became pregnant. I mean, I know there is cellulite now and I am soft around the edges, but OVERWEIGHT????

After I gained my composure and waited for my X-Ray, I looked at the sheet and connected my height and weight and I was spot on in the healthy range. What was the nurse talking about!?!??! Not sure. Kind of annoyed by it. So I hopped on Medica’s website and did a health assessment test. TOTALLY HEALTHY!! Take that nurse lady.


My second dove chocolate says, “Your smile is your best accessory.”


My THIRD dove chocolate says, “You’re invited to relax today.”

I think I’ll do JUST that!

Any tricks to saying NO and not feeling guilty about it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekly Weight and Workouts - Week 3

Week of October 14

This week was a rough week. Lots going on. Little time. Tried my best. The weather was a bit nicer over the weekend!

Height 5'10"
Weight 161 (scale going the wrong way!)

Some quick 6 month photos!

Sunday - Long walk with Karl and Jackson - 45 minutes

Monday - Took Jackson's 6 month pictures (no workout). Thanks MEEGAN!!!

Tuesday - Had to get tailbone checked out at doctors. Couldn't go to gym. But ran 12 minutes outside before Karl and Jackson got home. At least I can still run....

Wednesday - None. (bad!)

Thursday - None. (naughty)

Friday - None. (just getting lazy...)

Saturday - 25 minute eliptical! 30 Minute walk with Jackson! Weather was awesome.

Pics by good friend, Meegan!

Weekly Weight and Workouts - Week 2

Week of October 7

Not the best workout week but better than nothing. Keeping at it...

Height 5'10"
Weight 160.5

Racing all over Minneapolis and St. Paul, trying to catch Jenna and Jill.

Sunday - Chased Jenna and friend Jill around as they ran the Twin Cities Marathon. Got in and out of our car with stroller and would run up and down streets and hills. My guess is 20 minutes total of good heart pumping (I'm counting this as a workout because I was huffing and puffing and sweaty!). Then we got home and I had to run around the house in order to make it to a shower (was an hour late). Had to pump in-between marathon and baby shower. Crazy life.

Monday - Nothing.

Tuesday - Didn't get to work out at Life Time:(. Karl had patients until late so I picked up Jackson.

Wednesday - 15 minute walk outside over lunch.

Thursday - 15 minute walk outside over lunch. 25 minute walk with Jackson after work.

Friday - Nothing

Saturday - 25 minutes elliptical (we have one in our house - need to start using more) and weight training with light weights (have these at home too).

Go, Christie, Go!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baby's First Tooth - Month 6

We have a tooth!!
Jackson's first tooth at 6 months old

For my own records (First tooth: Thursday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m.), I have to most definitely write a little post about Jackson's first tooth! We knew it was coming with him chewing on EVERYTHING (and standing on his own just to chew on things), but here are some other signs we noticed:

1. Last week Jackson had a cold (or at least was getting over a cold) but during the night I'd hear him let out a yelp here and there. Not sure if it was his tooth breaking through or sinus pressure? He was waking up around 2ish yelling, but eyes were closed. I'd scoop him up and nurse him and he'd go back to sleep.

2. Big time drooling. Always has been a drooler but kind of took it to another level... Almost puddles of drool on his play mat.

3. Anytime I'd hand him a teething ring, he's drop everything and lunge for it. He'd get so excited for it and chew down. And chew. And chew.

4. When I'd get him from daycare, I'd hug him and he'd open his mouth and start chewing on my shoulder.

5. Jenna said when she'd change him, he'd lean his mouth into her arm.

6. When I picked him up from daycare, he was all about getting everything and anything into his mouth. My coat strap, the car seat strap, the little toys hanging from his car seat. When I got him home, he'd try to lean into anything he could so he could teethe...the bottle warmer, pillows, our drinking glasses. ANYTHING. I'd hold him back but then he kept grabbing for my hands and sticking them into his mouth. And then he bit down before I could take my finger away... WHAT WAS THAT?? SOMETHING SHARP!! Granted he wouldn't let me peek in there, but I just knew!!! TOOTH!

7. He started sleeping 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. the past two nights. Something was up... He never does that. He had shorter naps at daycare yesterday. What was going on?

8. I noticed this week when I'd nurse him, he'd get a little rash under his eye all the way to his ear. After awhile it'd go away but thought that was interesting...

9. Karl took him up for a bath and I heard..."WE HAVE A TOOTH!" I ran upstairs and peeked in. SURE ENOUGH!! A TOOTH!!!

10. Just a titch nervous how nursing will go now...

Our little guy is growing up! *tear. tear*

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Six Month Birthday Jackson!

Jackson is 6 months old!!!

I can't even believe how fast time has gone. Really. I can only imagine how fast the next six months are going to go.

Jackson wearing "My First Birthday" Shirt...even though he's only 6 months! Hey... it was $.97!!

Here's what's new with Jackson...

He's getting better and better at sitting. Yes, he needs to hold on to something to stay sitting for longer periods of time, but he can do it. Still a bit wobbly. For example, I let him sit by himself for awhile (as he held on to the jungle gym for support) and a few minutes later he fell forward into a bit of a gymnastic flip. He looked shocked, but soon was smiling. We'll get there!

Just hanging out here...sitting with my friend Gerry the giraffe. (Karl has names for all Jackson's toys! Super fun.)
Gerry and I are buds!

Jackson was born with super strong legs. When he came out of me, he was practically standing and could hold his neck really well. It's no surprise he'll stand if we hold his hands and walk behind him. Now, he's dead set on being walked over to the jungle gym where he can hang on to the bars and chew on the plastic top in the middle. He loves doing this. I can let go and he'll go to town...all on his own! Big boy.
Working on my leg muscles!!!
Tall man standing
Give me something to chew on!!

Oh, and one area I AM SUPER PROUD OF MYSELF in is NURSING!!!!!!! I DID IT FOR 6 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND WHILE WORKING FULL TIME 3 of those 6 months. HUGE accomplishment in my eyes because breastfeeding is a big time commitment. BIG. HUGE. I would not back down as much as I wanted to at times because I was so exhausted. I kept going. AND I DID IT!!! And I am damn proud of myself. I feel like we're getting a good system down too. I never know how much Jackson is getting from me, but after 10 minutes he seems satisfied and then I let him go play. He can go a few hours without wanting to eat again, so I assume he's getting enough. ??? No issues with production as of right now, so something must be working.

I noticed Jackson was squinting and blinking his eyes more, especially after he ate. I was super nervous there was a neurological issue or something going on so I went straight to Google. It sounds like this is common and we have nothing to worry about. Still...I plan to bring this up in his 6 month appointment.

Mr. Blinky

And then back to smiling!

And then right to hamming it up like usual!
Did I mention my dad is SO FUNNY??

Speaking of Jackson's 6-month appointment... His pediatrician cancelled so he'll be almost 7 months when he goes in for his third round of shots and weight check. Curious where he's at now that we introduced food. All I know is those size 2 diapers are getting tighter and tighter!

Speaking of food, Jackson has had whole grain organic oatmeal, barley, rice cereal and homemade sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados and apples. The face he made while eating apples was priceless!!! All these have been super easy to make and prepare. Now...wondering if I should introduce a second meal of the day? He seems pretty happy with eating once a day for now though.
Those apples were pretty tart! But I like!

Jackson is a huge fan of being on his belly. He doesn't stay on his back for long and before we know it, he's flipped over.
On my belly like always!

He kicks those legs of his and jumps with them a lot. I'll pick Jackson up to nurse and he's constantly pushing his legs against me so he's jumping off my lap or pillow. Then he'll keep bouncing. And he smiles and laughs when he does this. When Karl gives him a bath, he kicks like crazy!!! Non-stop kicking. Michael Phelps anyone? Oh, and his eyes are getting browner...
Me? Cute??? DUH!

Jackson is super observant right now. If I'm nursing him and he hears Karl come home from work, he's looking for him. If I'm nursing him in the family room and he hears the washer or dryer downstairs, he has to pause and look around. If I turn the TV on for even a second to DVR a show, he stops and tries to find where the voices are coming from. So I don't even bother. I guess it's good for all of us to watch very little TV, if any... Karl and I will catch up on a show or two over the weekend if we can after Jackson is in bed. Also, Jackson will sit in his stroller for hours and watch everything going on outside. We turned our fake fireplace on and he stared and stared at the lights.
These lights are NEAT! (Don't worry...I don't EVER leave him unattended!!!)

When I pick him up from daycare and am holding him, more often than not, he'll bury his face in my chest and push off with his legs while he's doing this. Trying to figure out if this is him wanting food or telling me he's tired. Or...maybe that he's just happy to see me:)

Jackson is still teething. Chewing on EVERYTHING! No teeth yet!

I chew on everything!

He's been saying "ba-ba" and just started saying "ca-ca" the other night. When I say it back, he smiles like crazy. Like he thinks I understand what he's trying to say. It's so cute.

He's starting to laugh more if I kiss his belly while changing him or his neck after I've fed him or pick him up to cuddle. He will start laughing. LOVE this sound. LOVE IT.

We have a nice nighttime routine down. We have learned THE HARD WAY that we have a window of time to get Jackson in bed by. Jackson MUST be in his jammies and eating between 6-8 p.m. If I haven't started nursing him in his nursery before 8:00 hits, HOLY SCREAM FEST. And I stopping the SCREAM. Like...I had to bring him downstairs and put him in his swing just to settle him down...(yes, tried the whole crying it out for quite awhile but we're talking SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM). Right now his bedtime is between 7:00-8:00 p.m. and works great. Karl is reading to Jackson every night so they have more bonding time since Karl has been working so much. ONLY hard part is not everyone understands why I can't hang out at night... It's still hard for me to do this especially with nursing... I know. I know. Give Karl a bottle and call it a night. But I LOVE THIS TIME with Jackson. This is MY time. And with working all day. I MISS HIM!!! Hang tight!
Dad and Jackson enjoying story time!

With Jackson going down between 7-8:00 p.m. (sometimes he still nurses until 8:30 but he's in a dream feed), he gets up around 3/4 a.m. I can totally deal with this. Though 4/5 a.m. would be ideal. We're getting there! He will get up sometimes between 12:45-2:30 but we try and let him whimper it out some. He's not really full out screaming around this time. If he is, something is up and I go get him and nurse him. Usually we can go until 4 though and I'll feed him at this time and put him back down. Karl wakes him up at 7:00 and brings him to daycare.

I cleaned out his closet and said goodbye to most ALL his 0-3 month clothes. SAD. Tucked them away for the next one... Sad because some of the clothes he never even wore!!!!!! What if we have a girl next??? Maybe we'll have to have three kids:) :) :)

LOVE when he wraps his arms around me and presses his face to my cheek. I know he's really trying to chew my face off but I pretend it's him wanting to kiss me. The kiss and hug feel amazing.
A kiss??? Maybe... He loves chewing on my cheeks. HA!

I try my hardest to get Jackson outside for a minimum of 10 minutes (much longer if we can!). I bundle him up and off we go!!! He even had a bit of a cold in this picture but fresh air is GOOD!
On a quick walk after work! Little chilly but we bundle up!

Speaking of cold...Jackson had his second one of the year so far. They last about 10 days total...three days being pretty rough.

Being a mom is FUN STUFF!!!! It really does keeps getting better and better and better... And it has only begun! WooHOO!!!

Oh, and last, but not is a video of mom and dad waking Jackson up before daycare wishing him a HAPPY 6TH MONTH BIRTHDAY!!!

WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pumpkin Steel Cut Overnight Oats

To me, this recipe was AWESOME. Our house smelled crazy good at 4 a.m. when I got up to nurse Jackson! I felt like I was eating HEALTHY pumpkin pie for breakfast! I took a recipe I found on Pinterest and made it my own because I read all the comments underneath and people were saying it was too bland. Well...and it was a "no sugar added" recipe and I can't do those!!!
Delicious Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats!

This is what I did... 


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups milk (add an extra 1/2 cup of water or milk if you prefer a less thick oatmeal)
  • Half a can of REAL pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • * Top with chopped walnuts, brown sugar, milk and flaxseed!!!

Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Enjoy!
I even got a text from Karl, "Good Oats!!!"
Will be making this lots!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Being a Mom Means Learning to Let Go

When things don't always go the way you want...
They still seem to work out in the end.


I spent every single day for nine months freaking out about daycare. Then all the worrying became a reality once Jackson was born. I spent three whole months hoping and wishing I’d find a way to spend every single day with Jackson once my maternity leave ran out. But every morning I inched just a little closer to the inevitable.
I was going back to work.
I remember telling my husband Karl I was totally OK if we lived in a cardboard box as long as I could be with Jackson all day.
*Please. Please.*
In all reality, one of us couldn’t stay home as hard as we tired. With him in school and only a resident and me the one bringing home the bacon, it didn’t make sense.
I wish I didn’t have to dwell on going back to work during my time off, but I did. I tried to stay positive. The whole three months I walked around in my sleepless coma I thought something miraculous would happen where I wouldn’t have to go back to work. Maybe this is why I needed to be tired, so I wouldn't have to focus on going back to work SO much. In my mind, I had us winning the lottery. Someone would offer me a book deal. I’d be able to work from home full time. Bottom line was, I never gave up hope. Something incredible was going to work out for us.
I mean, how could I give my baby to someone other than me and expect them to do my job and love my baby as much as me? Could it be possible??? I tried not to let it get the best of me, but it was hard.
Jackson getting his morning hug from Eleanor, Jenna's youngest.
I am here to tell you that it is possible to find great care for your baby – OTHER THAN YOU. There are some really great people out there in this world.
Jackson Happy at Daycare
This is ME saying this. The one who witnessed something bad. The unthinkable happened three years ago to my best friend. Just two days after going back to work, her homecare provider shook her six-month-old son unconscious.
Did you feel like someone just punched you in the stomach and throat when you read that? Because that’s what I felt when her husband called me at work to tell me the news. And I feel that EVERY TIME I start to think about it. My heart breaks. I don’t know exactly how many times I threw up during the six in a half hour drive down to Milwaukee, but it wasn’t a pleasant trip. I thought I caught the flu. I couldn’t stop shaking. Between sobbing my eyes out and getting sick, it was like driving closer and closer to the worst NIGHTMARE of my life and this wasn’t even my baby. Imagine how SHE felt!!!!!!!!
How was this even happening!??!?! This is stuff that’s on 48 Hours or Nightline - NOT something that should EVER happen to my best friend.
And all those emotions and feelings became VERY REAL after I had Jackson because I could begin to relate (just a little bit) to what my BFF must have felt. Once you become a mother, this crazy new deep unexplainable love is born. Nobody can mess with your baby. Nobody.
In my eyes, my BFF is one of the strongest people I know. How does one make it through something like that? I do not know.  But she did. And I feel like I don’t tell her how amazing she is enough just because the whole thing is not fun to think about and how does one approach such a subject in an everyday conversation?
Thankfully with a whole lot of prayer and today’s technology, her son is a happy, amazing miracle and is now three and a half years old!!! I thank God every day for helping them through this horrible tragedy.
But that horrid incident left a HUGE mark on me. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are bad people out there in this world, who do really ugly things. And as much as I’d like, I can’t hide or protect Jackson from all of them, or forever. UGH! And I can’t pretend they don’t exist. Double UGH! This is the part that scares me the most. With good, comes bad. And at some point Jackson will have to face some hard times and come across these people. All I can do is pray that God guides me in the right direction to give him the right tools and helps keep us safe. 
Speaking of God…I’ve always been involved in my church since moving to Minnesota and it truly has helped me through my darkest moments and even my happiest days (mission trips, giving of myself more, making new friends, opening up to others, our wedding, bridal and baby showers). So it was no surprise I met Jenna when I decided to join this young(er) adult bible/book group at our church. God is good like that. He has a way of planting people in our lives when we need them the most (when we don’t think we need them either). He really does know us the best. And the thing with us is… sometimes we try to hide. Why? I don’t know. If I had to guess, I think it’s because we like to keep to ourselves. Maybe we don't feel like people will accept us for who we really are. We don't want to be a burden. Or we pretend that everything is perfect (Newsflash: everyone is broken in some way.) Or we like to prove to ourselves we can do it all. We like to stay in. We like to keep up with our routine and stay away from change. I know I do. Yet, it’s always the times I put myself out there and venture out when the best moments in my life happen. When I feel like I did something really amazing. I GROW.
With that said. I had never seen Jenna at our church before but I liked her immediately and wanted to get to know her. I get that way with some people. Some people creep me out. Some I want to avoid all together. And some I’m totally drawn to. Jenna was one of the people I HAD to know. Later, we connected via Facebook and soon I was writing on her wall (jokingly) asking if she’d want to watch our baby when I went back to work. Why I felt the need to write that? I do not know. God, anyone?
I never expected her to write back saying she was interested.
We met for coffee and I let it all out – my fears, my BBF’s horrible story, EVERYTHING. Jenna never judged. She listened, offered support and let me know she was there for me NO MATTER WHAT. I felt like I had known her for years. Plus, she had her youngest baby on her hip the whole time and I saw her in action! She shared her own story and spoke about her kids a lot. I loved the way she talked about them. As weird as it sounds, she reminds me of my own mom even though Jenna and I are very close in age. I could tell she was a GREAT mom. She made sure I left knowing there was no pressure to go with her, but she would be there for us, especially when I went back to work. This was always in the back of my mind. I felt good after I left. That SHE WAS IT. I felt it in my bones and that's what I wanted - what I needed to feel in order to trust someone other than me. I needed to get that feeling. But there were still all these fears… Maybe a center would be better? She has three of her own kids. How would she give her kids attention and our little Jackson too?  Was there enough of her to go around? I could barely figure out how to care for Jackson myself and he was ONE baby. Or what if she got sick? What if her kids got sick? How would I balance it all? Would I find coverage in time?
Jackson with the crew (i.e. Jenna's sweet kids) at Daycare. Loving his new friends.
Karl and I visited a center – the only center I was comfortable with. It was a wonderful place. But the cost didn’t work into our budget. There was no way around it. What to do?

We decided to go with Jenna.

The week before I went back to work, I really started to panic. I’d cry cooking dinner, showering, on our walks. I knew my day’s home with Jackson were ending and I’d have to go back to a place that would not compare to the awesomeness of being with him. And I knew I’d miss Jackson like crazy. Life did not seem fair one bit.
I continued to pray and pray and pray. And still nothing. What was God up to? Wasn’t he listening?? I brought Jackson over to Jenna’s for a second time (she met him a few short weeks after he was born too) because I wanted to see how things went with her kids. They went so well and I left knowing I was making the best decision I could for all of us.
Flirting with Jenna

My parents watched Jackson the first two days back. Yes, I cried. OK, I bawled. My parents watching him did help, but once Monday came, I would be facing the TRUE test. I bawled again that morning but when I dropped him off at Jenna’s, I felt at peace. I only had two hours of sleep in me but I knew in my heart, EVERYTHING would be OK. She made me feel like I was still a GOOD mom. I didn’t leave feeling like I had failed, but that I was doing something right.
I love Jenna! She is so good to me!
And with everything life altering, I reminded myself I had to give time time. I wanted to fast forward to the day I’d finally feel OK leaving Jackson, but I knew that would probably be when he was 70. And think of all the stuff I’d miss out on in-between…
Jenna is SOOO funny!
I allowed myself two weeks to feel anger. Resentment. To feel sad. Even jealousy toward whomever I wanted. Karl. All the mothers who got to stay at home. Myself. The lady in size zero pants, driving a BMW SUV with three kids. I let myself FEEL whatever I needed to feel to get through it. Who cares if I sounded crazy. I needed to FEEL.
Say what? Mom's gone working? Didn't even notice! Having too much fun here!
If I was still upset and feeling bad, I’d re-evaluate in two weeks. I shocked myself by being OK where things were even before the two weeks were up. I never thought I’d get there, but I did.

From that point on, I knew I could do it. For now. I never said forever. For now. "Day-by-day" is STILL my motto.
I get daily emails and reports from Jenna. And sometimes pictures. My heart MELTS when I see the pictures and see how HAPPY Jackson is. He's learning how to be around siblings and getting practice for when he actually gets a brother or sister! I like that a lot.
A coworker told me that as soon as we have our kids, we have to start to let go a little bit at a time. As crazy as it sounded at the time, he was right. The only time I had Jackson to myself was when he was growing inside me. It makes me wish I treasured being pregnant more. Every push during delivery was me letting Jackson go and I never realized the connection.
That’s what makes parenthood SO hard. We want the next stage to come. We have a hard time living in the moment and cherishing each milestone because we think tomorrow will be even better, we're exhausted, time goes SO FAST. And that LETTING GO stuff. HARD. This is what I’m talking about when I say THIS IS HARD. We fall head over heels in love and spend every second of our days as a parent trying to make the best decisions, the best choices, the BEST for our little ones. Sometimes that means lying awake at all hours of the night or giving up some of our hobbies and sacrificing friendships and big parts of our old lives. Realizing we can’t protect our little ones from everything. We push ourselves - mentally, physically, emotionally -  like we have never been pushed before. And the thing is – no shocker here - not everything works out the way we want them to. We’ve been dealt this hard lesson before, but this time we’re dealing with another life. A human being. The most precious thing in our life. Something we breathed life into. Someone we care more about than anything in the entire world. So when we can’t give them the world or if bad happens, life just seems a bit unfair and complicated… and we automatically blame ourselves. We have failed. And that is a hard pill to swallow and a lot to deal with. 
So what do we do when we things don’t always work out the way we had hoped or wanted?
Hope. Pray. Let go. Let God.
That hope that I hung on to brought me to Jenna. The next best thing in my eyes besides Karl or myself caring for Jackson. Because of her, we have a wonderful system down now where Karl’s parents watch Jackson on Tuesdays. They couldn’t be happier. We couldn't be happier. Jackson gets time with his grandparents and they get special time with him every week. My parents will come up every 4-6 weeks and watch Jackson for a few days too, so they get their special time in as well. There's a really good balance going on.
This didn’t come easy by any means - I had to coach myself to remain open to change and let go. And because of that, lots of joy has been spread to many people. And I think that’s truly what God wants from us. To spread his light so it shines so bright there is no room for darkness.