Updating the blog

Howdy! I’m in the middle of moving my blog from Blogger to my own host using WordPress. It will be a little while before everything is up to date…so please bear with me and I promise you’ll be happy!

Spring is for beginnings


 Photo credit: http://insaneinflatable5k.com/northern-colorado/
In some ways, spring is a better time to for resolutions than the beginning of the year.  Spring is when everything is starting over, like a rebirth.  If you think about it, it’s the perfect time to make changes.  For me, the changes include training to run a 5k.  It’s been years since I’ve been serious about running, but it’s time to start again.  The 5k that I’m planning to run is the Insane Inflatable 5k in Denver.  It’s a race that includes ten inflatable obstacles, along the course.  How fun is that?  Check out the website and see if there is one near you!  Plus, if I spend the money to sign up for the race, it’s my motivation to actually get off my butt and get it shape!  Wish me luck, and if you want to join me in Denver, leave a comment and let me know.  It’ll be fun!

Yay For Spring!


 Actual green grass!
Can you feel it?  The temperatures are getting warm, the air smells fresh, and green plants are peeking up through the brown!  Spring is coming and it’s coming fast!  After a seemingly endless winter, just as the cabin fever was about to be too much to bear, spring is arriving and bringing with it hope.  Winter has always been one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the cold weather, bright snow and crisp air.  Even so, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started seeing the value of a little bit of warmer weather.  NOT hot weather, mind you, but warmer is not so bad.  Especially this year, I’ve been antsy and wanting to do more warm weather activities, like biking, hiking, swimming, playing in the park, etc.
A really great friend of mine (you know who you are!) gave my hubby and me a pair of super sweet cruiser bikes, this winter.  They are so nice with big, fat tires and cushy seats; the perfect kind of bike for a little wicker basket.  With all the snow and wet, we haven’t had a chance to get out and give them a try.  I’m so excited to hop on and head to Old Town for a cruise.  The nice thing (bad thing?) about these bikes is that they are not meant to have a baby trailer hooked onto the back.  Bummer!  ;)  Well, it will be fun to have our date bikes…sorry kids!!  We might even be able to ride the Tour de Fat this year.  
Are you looking forward to the warmer weather?  What activities are you looking forward to?

Is 2nd Winter 2013 Over?

April 22, 2013

Honestly, I love winter.  It used to be maybe my favorite season of the year, especially before I had kids.  I love snuggling up in a cozy blanket and reading a book or watching a movie, but I also love wearing sweaters and sweatshirts and jeans and socks and…well, you get the picture.  It’s not that I particularly love being cold, but I find it much easier to get to a comfortable temperature in the winter by adding layers, than I do in the summer, when you can only really take off so much clothing before it gets awkward or you get arrested!  To me, being hot sucks.  I get sweaty and I’ve been known to feel faint or even black out from being overly heated.  Spring and Fall are probably my favorite seasons, now.  If I could live somewhere that had an average temperature of around 65-70 degrees F, I would be in heaven!  Even if it got up to 75 degrees, I could still hang out outside and not feel like I have to find shade or somewhere with air conditioning. 

Even though I really do like the weather to be on the cooler side, as opposed to the warmer side, I am so ready for this winter weather to be done.  We really didn’t have too much snow and cold this year, but when our two biggest snow storms are in the middle of April, you tend to want it to be over.  Now that all of that super heavy snow has melted, our lawn is beautifully green and the trees are starting to show some signs of life.  The kids were able to ride their bikes and play in the yard all day, yesterday.  It is a wonderful time of year!

I’m already preparing myself for the three hottest months of the year, which I’m really not looking forward to, too much.  The plans are in place for trips to the pool, night time activities, and playing outside in the morning…we’ll leave the afternoons free for playing in the basement and cat naps!

But for now, I’ll enjoy the weather and spending time with my family outside, connecting with the earth and soaking up the vitamin D!

Halfway through 2012

Wow, where has 2012 gone?  It’s already August, and the summer just seems to have slipped by so quickly!  School will be starting in two weeks and the kids will be gone for half the day.  It’s hard to believe that they are already in first, third and fourth grades!  It seems like yesterday that I was bringing each to preschool, but my first “baby” is going to turn 10 years old on the very first day of school.  Yikes!

Old Town trollley

Meanwhile, my youngest baby is about to turn one year old, and is going to keep me plenty busy while the others are at school.  Actually, the older ones have been helping out with the baby while I get other things done, so I’m going to miss the help. 

Although I’m not going to go into details, those of you who know me, know that the last few years have been really hard.  We’ve gone through some things that no person or family should ever have to, but we’ve survived.  Things are starting to really look up, and I can only believe that they will only get better.  We found a house in our old neighborhood, close to the kids school.  Now we won’t have to drive in all that traffic every morning, but will get to ride our bikes or walk.  We’re also close to Old Town, so it’s easier to ride bikes or walk there, too.  We love being in this part of town!

Welcome to South Dakota!

Some of my goals have changed priorities since the last time I posted on my blog, but that doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared altogether.  I’m still making a lot of my own buns and rolls and making lots of broth.  I’ve also been making and drinking water kefir.  Also, most of our meals are ones that we cook from home, so I know they are healthier than eating out.

Festivals in Old Town

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been in a major funk for the last seven years…some of you know why.  But, although I still miss some family members and friends, it’s time to wake up and smell the roses (or something like that).  It’s ok to live your life and be happy, even if you feel like you’ve been through the wringer.  It’s easy to blame circumstance for your emotional state, but really, you are in charge of your happiness and no one else can be.

I know this has been a long post, but it’s been a while and I had a few things I needed to get off my chest.  So, now that I’ve done that…Welcome both new and returning readers!  Here are some of our summer pictures.  Enjoy!

Waiting for the fireworks!

 

Date night – Watching The Violet Burning

Baby’s first time at the pool.

Resolutions – Step Two – Make My Own Baked Goods

The first resolution that I made, drinking broth daily, is off to a pretty good start.  For the last week, I have had at least one or more cups of broth most days.  We had a bit of a family emergency, so I wasn’t able to keep up with the broth that was in the slow cooker.  I need to get another chicken and start again. 

Even with that slight set back, I am starting my next step.  Step two is to make my own baked goods.  I’ve started by making hamburger rolls and hotdog buns.  Today, I made my fifth batch, and I have to say, they are so freaking good!  Brian asked me to never buy buns at the store, again!  I’ve gotten the hamburger roll shape down, but I’m still working on getting a good size/shape hotdog bun.

 

Although the rolls and buns are a huge hit, they are nothing compared to the my Gram’s cinnamon rolls that I made the other day!  When my Gram passed away, she left boxes upon boxes of recipes.  She was the best cook EVER!!  We are so lucky to have these wonderful recipes of hers.  Right now, the recipes are split between my mom, my brother and me.  So, when I was craving some cinnamon rolls, I knew right where to turn.  I instant messaged my brother (yeah, that’s how we usually “talk”) and asked for the recipe.  The kids raved and raved about how great they were, and once they were getting stale, we made cinnamon roll toast.  Um. yum!  We ate them up before I could snap a pic, but I’ll be sure to get the pic next time.  :)

So far, I have two steps to being successful with my resolutions, this year.

1.  Drink broth daily
2.  Make my own baked goods

Do you do your own baking?  What do you make and what do you not like to make?

Stay tuned for Step Three!

How I Plan on Keeping My New Years Resolutions

I made some resolutions for the new year; of course, I’ve made resolutions for previous years, too.  But, I plan on keeping my resolutions this time.  I need to keep them. They are the difference of doing things the same way and getting the same results or changing things now and living healthier and happier.  Like a lot of people, if I make too many drastic changes at once, I’ll get overwhelmed and go back to my old ways.  I’ve heard it takes anywhere from 21 to 28 days to form a new habit, so that is what I am committing to with my resolutions.

My plan for tackling all of the things on my list is to start one change at a time.  I think one to two changes per week is fairly doable.  First up on my list is to drink a cup of 24 hour broth every day.  Good broth has tons of minerals, plus gelatin and collagen.  Since most people are deficient in at least one mineral, due to depleted soils and other reasons, broth can provide an easily assimilated mineral source.  The gelatin in the broth helps out joints and is said to reduce wrinkles!  I’m all about my skin looking better, so that’s a benefit I’m looking forward to.

If you’ve done your math, you can see how I’ll be easily going through at least a half gallon of broth BY MYSELF each week!  That doesn’t even take into consideration all the broth that my family will be drinking, plus the broth that I cook with.  I can see us going through at least a gallon or more of broth each and every week!  Constantly making that much broth each week seems like a daunting task, but let me tell you how to make that much (or more) without much work.

I recently read a blog post about how to make “perpetual” broth using a slow cooker.  It’s so simple, it seems almost too good to be true!  Really, it is!  What I do is put a whole chicken in the slow cooker and fill with water.  Add a little apple cider vinegar to the water and let it set for about an hour before turning the slow cooker on.  You can add some chopped onion, celery and carrots for flavor.  I also like to add a palmful of dried Italian seasoning.  After the initial hour, turn the slow cooker to high for about 3-4 hours.  The chicken should be completely cooked after this time and it is a good time to take the meat off the bones to use for another time.  Put the bones back in the slow cooker and turn down to low.  The broth is now ready to use as much as you want, for the next week.  When you take some broth from the slow cooker, simply replace that amount of water back in the cooker.  Voila!  It’s as easy as that.  At the end of the week, compost or toss the bones and cooked veggies and start all over.

Two other resolutions that I’ve already begun to tackle are quitting drinking soda (again) and cutting back on sweets.  I started those on January 1st.

Have you made resolutions for the new year?  Tell me what they are!

p.s.  When I find the link to the original post for the perpetual broth, I will post the credits here, and link to it.

Laid-back Breastfeeding – A Lifesaver!

As I posted previously in Eli’s birth story, Eli and I were having problems with breastfeeding.  It wasn’t working out very well and I was in excruciating pain with cracked and bleeding nipples.  Ouch!  There were many times that I felt like giving up.  I didn’t think I could handle the pain I was going through.  The turning point came one night when I was breastfeeding Eli and the pain became more than I could handle.  By the time he was finished eating, I was crying out in pain and continued to cry for over 45 minutes.  My wonderful husband couldn’t bear to watch me go through so much pain He told me that he would like it if we could feed Eli bottles for the rest of the night until we could get to our lactation consultant meeting, which was the next night.  I reluctantly agreed to feed Eli formula, since I didn’t have a breast pump.  I felt like such a failure.  I had successfully breastfed two other babies, but it was just not working out this time.

The next day was our lactation consultation.  It was so nice to have someone to talk to who could help.   She suggested pumping exclusively for at least 5 days, until I was healed enough that I wasn’t screaming in pain.  By the end of the 5 days, I was to start trying to nurse for a little while, then pump and do that until I was back to exclusively breast feeding.   With her help and suggestions, along with using a nipple shield, I was able to breast feed again.  The only problem was that it still hurt every time I nursed, but at least I wasn’t bleeding any longer.  I so wanted to be able to nurse and have it be an enjoyable experience.
It wasn’t until I visited a La Leche League meeting that I finally had a break through.  The wonderful leaders sympathized with me and presented a technique I hadn’t thought of.  They called it laid-back breastfeeding.  In laid-back breastfeeding, the baby finds the nipple on his own and latches on.  Mom lies back in a relaxed position, either in bed or in a chair.  The baby is laid on the mom’s chest, but not straight to the nipple.  Babies have an instinct that allows them to find the nipple, and then latch on.  You can read more about laid-back breastfeeding, or Biological Nurturing, here.
Long story short, that day was the beginning of a new nursing experience for both Eli and me.  It changed everything.  It didn’t automatically quit hurting, but since Eli was finding the latch that worked for us, it started hurting less and less.  Within a week, I was no longer in pain and was much more confident with breastfeeding and mothering this new little baby, in general.  I wish that more women knew about this technique.  I’m sure it would make a difference for so many that are having troubles with breastfeeding.
Today, Eli and I share a wonderful breastfeeding experience.  We are comfortable with each other and enjoy nursing anywhere he’s hungry.  Before going to the La Leche League meeting, I was ready to give up and feed him formula.  It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but having a relaxed and happy mommy is more important than whether I nurse him or feed him formula.  He would be healthier and happier if I wasn’t stressed and in pain every time he needed fed.  If you know of anyone that is having troubles with pain while breastfeeding, let them know about laid-back breastfeeding and refer them to the La Leche League.  It made a world of difference for me and I know it can make a difference for a lot of women.

Baby Boy’s Birth Story

I’m catching up on posting, so there are a couple of posts for today.  I actually wrote this on 8/30/11, so there is even more to add to this later.

As you all know, the last couple/few months have been fairly stressful for me.  Moving while 9 months pregnant is no fun!  Baby’s due date came and went and still no baby. I was again getting stressed out, because the 21st is Monster’s birthday, the 22nd is our anniversary, school started for Monster and Princess on the 22nd and my “baby” Bean was starting kindergarten on the 23rd. I really wanted to be there for his first day of K, but it didn’t happen.

So, there I was trying to sleep in a bit on 8/20 and my water broke in bed. I quickly woke up hubby  (who was momentarily confused) and called my OB. My last pregnancy went very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that Ian almost didn’t survive the contractions. The midwife called me back and said to give them another call when the contractions were regular and less than 10 minutes apart. Within 30-45 minutes, my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and it was time to go. My mom made it to the house and hubby and I left quickly.

We live about 5-7 minutes from the hospital, so we arrived in no time, got in and went straight up to the birthing center. I was able to stand just enough to get weighed and got to my room, but I wasn’t able to get changed or do anything else. My contractions immediately started to “camel-back”, which is to say, they peaked, then barely backed off, then peaked again before they would go down for about 30-40 seconds. I literally had no break from them and no time to breathe. I had planned on doing everything naturally, but I since couldn’t breathe and I asked for an epidural. I refuse to be disappointed in myself for that. I feel strongly that I would have had another c-section if I hadn’t gotten the epidural. Anyway, my OB ended up giving me something to slow down the contractions, because baby’s heart rate was being affected by them and to give me a better chance of a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarian).

Things slowed down a bit, but not too much. I was still having contractions 3-4 minutes apart and was dilating quickly. Finally, it was time to push and that lasted for over 1 1/2 hours. Baby’s heart rate was still dipping with every contraction and I could tell that everyone was really nervous about it. My OB said that one part of my cervix was refusing to move away for baby’s head. She also made a decision that he needed to come out, and it couldn’t wait. So, I ended up with a fairly large episiotomy and they vacuum-suctioned Baby out, which all went really fast.

So, now I am a bit sore and can’t do much for a couple weeks and baby has a nice size cone on the top/side of his head. We are both doing well, for the most part. I definitely feel better than when I’ve had my c-sections, but am still in some pain. Plus, I’m not sure what happened, but I’ve breast fed both my other babies with little to no difficulty, but for some reason, I’m having a really hard time now. By day 2, I could tell that something wasn’t right and by day 5, I was so cracked and bleeding that I couldn’t do it any more. This is what I am having the most troubles with. I rented a pump from the pharmacy and am pumping every 2 1/2-3 hours, but I’m still having to supplement with a bit of formula. Baby and I had an appointment with a lactation consultant, who said that we should still be able to re-latch once everything is healed, which it almost is. We have another appointment with her tomorrow to give it another go. I’m really nervous about it, mostly because I was in so much pain before I started pumping. Being able to breast feed again would make things so much better. Pumping then feeding takes twice the time and work, but he’s worth it, so I’ll do what I have to, to make sure he is getting the best nutrition I can give him.

But, the most important thing is that baby is doing really well. He’s beautiful and perfect! I already can’t imagine life without him! It’s funny how things change so quickly. Someone enters your life and, BAM, everything is different forever.

So there you go…  some of it not so pretty, some of it absolutely beautiful!  I got the VBAC that I wanted so badly, even though it didn’t go as planned, I still was able to avoid a 3rd c-section.  (Does anything ever really go as planned?)

Deciding Where To Start

I’ve realized that the best way to get what I want out of life is to first figure out what it is I really want.  So, I spent some time envisioning where I wanted to be in 5 years, 10 years, 30 years…  I posted what my ideal life would look like a little while ago. 
After I figured out all of that, I had to come up with a good way to make it happen.  I came up with two lists, one of things that I could start changing now, and one that would take some more time or other resources.  After putting the second list aside for the time being, it was time to prioritize the first list. 
Originally, I had planned on starting with yogurt making (which is part of learning how to ferment foods).  Since I haven’t made yogurt before, I went online and started looking at the many ways that yogurt can be made.  One way that caught my eye was crock pot yogurt, which I found here.  Here’s where this plan got sidelined:  Our milk is delivered by a local dairy, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays.  I ordered an extra half gallon of milk to be delivered on Tuesday, but instead, they only delivered one half gallon…not the three I had ordered.  The milkman assured me that he would return later that evening with the rest of the milk, but alas, he did not.  Scrap yogurt making until the weekend.
Early in March, my mom called and told me about a class that our county’s extension office was offering.  It was all about making sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables.  This seemed like a perfect class for me to take, given one of my goals is to learn how to ferment foods.  I thought that this would be a good second change for me, since we went ahead and took the class.  With being shorted on our milk order, I decided that I would give sauerkraut a try.  It’s kind of a lazy change, since we got to take home a jar of sauerkraut that we made in class.  The sauerkraut is now finished and ready to eat.  I’m sure it’s good, but I’m kind of having a hard time convincing myself to eat it.  Silly, I know!
I’m hoping to finally get to the yogurt this weekend, but we’ll see.  I kind of fly by the seat of my pants, so I haven’t really figured out what I’ll change after that.  Maybe I’ll work on posting here more regularly, which is one of the changes on my list.
Do you have any changes that you are working on?  How are you going about making the changes?