Thursday, October 20, 2016

let it go update 1

A few months ago I wrote about my new years resolution to LET GO of all the things that were holding me back. This simple goal has affected dozens and dozens of different aspects of my life. Hopefully I'll be able to write about each of these as time passes (no promises), but today, for some reason I want to write about my homemaking skills, particularly meal times.

Ever since my pregnancy with Johnny got difficult, I put cooking on the back-burner. I actually enjoy cooking (somewhat...I'm no chef), but there just seemed to be more pressing things that I needed to do....laundry and cleaning and keeping Rae alive HAD to be done...we could get by with sub-par dinners. Actually, we bought a grill for this exact reason, and Garrett has become quite the grill master. Anyways, even after Johnboy was born, I still felt so overwhelmed with all my responsibilities, and I never quite picked cooking back up. We've had fine dinners for the past two years, but I wasn't making healthy, balanced, exciting meals on a regular basis like I used to.

So that was one aspect that I chose to focus on with this whole LET IT GO endeavor. Let go of the cravings for unhealthy, lazy meals, push past the desire to rest during nap time (and do dinner prep instead), make myself make up a weekly meal plan, and find ways to enjoy my time in the kitchen again.

Past that, I really wanted to revamp our meal times. We finally bought a big, gorgeous dining room table this year, but we seemed to keep some of our old habits from when we had a tiny table with hardly enough room to eat at. Somedays, for breakfast and lunch, the kids would eat at the table, and I'd eat the computer desk, getting stuff done. Or, if I did eat with them, I'd finish quickly and make my way to the couch to stare mindlessly at my phone. Also, because Rae can be so picky and sooooo slow while she eats, mealtimes were easily our biggest hurdles each day. So many battles. So pretty much, mealtimes were the worst over here. And then, a few weeks ago, I went to a girls night with a couple friends of mine, and one friend mentioned that with her last few children who aren't in school yet, she makes sure to sit at the table with them, and give them all her attention while she eats her meals. Ever since that, I've tried to do the same. No phones at the table, no eating at the computer desk, no finishing early and resigning to the couch. It has changed meal times for us. Things aren't perfect with Rae's eating habits (or Johnny's), but they are so much better. And I've found that I have way more patience to work through a tough meal with them. The table has become family time, three times a day, and I'll never go back to the way we used to do it.

Annnnyways, back to the actual meals! I've had tons of fun making some new meals. Some of them were not our favorites, but most of them have been really delicious!

A few favorite meals right now:

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken: So good you guys, so good! Add some oven roasted cauliflower as a side.

Chicken Enchiladas: Follow the recipe revisions/suggestions in the reviews....I followed the reviewer with the most likes.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (PF Changs): Very good! Although I'd go lighter on the water chestnuts next time.

Cajun Chicken Pasta: This is great with broccoli mixed in, or peas, or red pepper. Sometimes we just use salt to season the sauce, no cajun seasoning. Not the healthiest dinner, but probably the yummiest!!

Honey Chicken Kabobs: These are our favorites. So easy and so good! We grill up veggie kabobs with it of our favorite dinner party recipes!

THIS Steak Marinade: Just delicious!

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi: I'm a huge shrimp fan, and this definitely delivers. Don't forget those last touches of lemon and red pepper.

Zupa Toscana Soup: I always just wing this one....chicken broth, chopped red potatoes, kale, and ground sausage (1/2lb mild, 1/2lb hot....the perfect kick of spice!). Google it and I'm sure you'll find a great one. Such a good cold-weather treat!

White Chicken Chili: Another easy soup that warms the soul in chilly weather! You can do your own seasoning here, or just use the McCormick white chicken chili seasoning packet from walmart. Way easier, just as delicious! Throw chicken, beans, corn, etc in the crock pot and relax.

These meatballs: Whip them up with rice or mashed potatoes and then broccoli as sides. A fav of ours.

A few other things that have enhanced our meal times:
-Bountiful Baskets! Such a great day, and such an easy way to incorporate lots of freshness into every meal throughout our day. Plus, new veggies give me an excuse to try new recipes.
-Grocery Pickup- We go through our local fry's (same as smith's, kroger, and fred meyers). I meal plan on the weekend, and put everything in my online cart...then pick it up on Monday's. Really keeps me in budget, and also helps me remember everything I need to get, especially since I have the whole day to add to or edit my order. And with hips that hate being really makes my life easy.
-Blue Apron, or other meal delivery services (HelloFresh has a really yummy meal lineup for next coupon codes and you can get 3 meals for $20). We've really had a fun time cooking new meals together in the kitchen. I don't think it's worth $60 a week, but that first week is discounted so it was fun to try. Plus, we got some fun new recipes that we're sure to repeat! We're making our way through all the delivery services to get all the first week discounts.

Anyways, I'm only a couple months in on the whole mealtime revamp, but I am LOVING the results!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Last month we had our ward campout...and for 3 days leading up to it, I thought seriously about bailing. But we bought a tent and Garrett was in charge of the fireside. So, Friday afternoon, after G got home from work and we loaded up a million things in the car, we headed to the mountains!

One of the coolest things about Phoenix, is that while it may be 100+ degrees outside, you can always find cooler temperatures just a short drive away. We drove about an hour and a half and found ourselves in the prettiest little wooded meadow, complete with 70 degree temperatures and the most refreshing breeze.
We let the kids roam and explore and get all kinds of dirty while we set up camp and chatted with friends. We had chips and salsa, grilled up a delicious dinner, and took plenty of nature walks! That night we gathered round the fire with the rest of the ward for some spiritual enlightenment, followed by smores and more laughing and visiting.

Rae and Johnny were enthralled by every bit of it. The frogs croaking and the crickets chirping, the moonlight shining through the branches, casting the most curious shadows, and of course living out of a tent! It was all sorts of crazy from their point of view.
When they were both marshmallowed out, we went back to the tent to get settled for bed. Garrett was off helping someone with a little injury, but I so wish he had been there with us because it was literally one of my favorite moments (hours?) of my whole life. At first the kids bounced around on the air mattress and played all kind of flashlight games on the tent walls...and they laughed and laughed and laughed. But eventually, they both settled down and cuddled up to me, and I for real thought my heart might burst with happiness. It was some combination of all the cool, fresh air, being in nature, hearing the crickets sing, and cuddling up with my two littlest people.....I was literally ALLLLL THE HEART EYES for my family, including the tiny babe that I could feel kicking inside my belly. I'm not kidding, I could pretty much feel the endorphins being released in my brain. It was magical! I decided I had to document it, because it was just so great, and this is what we got. The flash did our eyes no favors, but I seriously love this picture so so much.
A short while later, Garrett came in and joined the slumber party. I woke up a few times that night to make sure everyone was warm, and every time I was just SO happy.'s worth all the work!

The next morning the kids slept in much later than I thought (I was worried they'd be up with the sun), and we quickly resumed our nature exploring. We ate a delicious breakfast with the ward, and then the primary provided some really fun games and activities.
^ Lucy & Johnboy! ^
^all bundled up for the chilly morning ^
^ little explorers ^
I was truly so sad when it was time to go home that afternoon. We were literally seconds away from getting in the car to head home when we realized that that the kids had accidentally locked the car doors...with the keys inside. Literally everything we owned was packed up, so we had nothing. Actually, we had some chips and salsa, which definitely helped! But Johnny decided that would be a good time to poop and we didn't have anything to change him with...yikes! With the help of some good friends, we were eventually able to jimmy our way into the car, and we had a good laugh about it all!
Moral of the story? I decided that I love camping! I grew up going OFTEN, but I haven't been in years because, well, kids! But Garrett and I made a pact to just do the hard work and get out there and have fun, because gosh dang, it's so worth it! For sure we'll be going again soon!
^these people of mine, and a 17 week baby bump!^
^bringing her little potty was a last minute golden idea!!^

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

my hips broke this week. and i'm going to complain about it.

Okay, my hips didn't really break, but it feels like it.

Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe it, you guys.

Basically, my body is just really not very good at being pregnant. I'm sick until 21 weeks. I get carpel tunnel so badly that either arm will become completely useless if I'm not super careful. And now, my hip condition is back with a vengeance and I'm literally terrified for what that might mean for the next 15 weeks.

With Johnny, I started having pretty intense pelvic pain and pressure around 24 weeks, and at 28 weeks, it was totally debilitating. I couldn't walk. Well, I could for a short period of time each day, but after that, not even if my life depended on it. My body would lock up and ignore any requests I made for movement. Try that with a toddler....? It was a rough 12 weeks. It's called SPD or PGP and there's not a whole lot that can be done about it. Research shows that mothers with this condition usually see it hit earlier, and more intensely, with each pregnancy.
So yeah, this pregnancy started out a little bit daunting. I did this awesome/intense exercise program to strengthen my core and hips as much as possible before I got many lunges and squats and all kinds of not-fun stuff. I've also been doing all kinds of stretches and exercises to keep everything in place since becoming pregnant. I've avoided inflammatory foods (like legumes), and been deliberate with every movement I make to make sure that I'm doing as much prevention as possible. I also have a couple braces that I wear to help keep my hips together and to keep the baby higher in my abdomen.

Up until 24 weeks and 6 days, I literally had no pain. A little bit of soreness around 16 weeks, but I quickly eliminated it with my exercises. I got my hopes waaaay up that maybe this pregnancy would be different! And then Monday hit, and wham-bam, I can't walk. Oh man, what am I going to do?

The pain sucks, but the knowledge that I may have 15 more weeks before I see relief is what really pushes me over the edge. I'm sure the pregnancy hormones aren't helping my mood much either....sorry family.

Anyways. That's that I guess. Pregnancy is tough. Really worth it, but super tough.

#sorrynotsorry to be a complainer.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Day 5

Skipping days left and right. I know.

Tomorrow we head to Utah.
Let's just look at this real quick, shall we?

The high temp today in AZ is 87.
The high temp in Utah is 51.

I'm not sure we know how to handle that these days?
Well, okay, I know we'll be fine.
But literally, I haven't started on winter clothes for the kids yet! I don't know if we've even worn pants in the last 6 months!! Seriously. I'm not sure I even have warm stuff that fits them! Yikes.

Truthfully, I'm actually super excited about the cool temps this weekend! I'm planning on soaking up as much FALL as I possibly can. We've got a farm on the docket, and temple square, as well as a few parks and playdates and just hanging out. I can't wait.

I started today with a massive to-do list, and (shockingly) I've made great progress so far. Gas station, grocery store, preschool, post office, car wash, etc, etc, etc! I've been go-go-going all day and now both kiddos are asleep and I've got no more juice to finish off. The house is nooooooot pretty. And have I started packing? No. No, I have not.

Topic change (because I don't want to talk about how I haven't packed yet): Today we had our first trampoline 'accident.' In case I haven't blogged it yet, Johnboy got a medium-sized, netted trampoline for his birthday last month. Seriously, best decision ever. Those kids loooooove it. So I use it as, not only a massive bargaining chip, but also, it wears them out so much and they've been sleeping so well.
Anyways, today was our first trampoline injury. Just some bonked heads.....we'll Rae's head and Johnny's nose. It started bleeding, and this might be horrible to say, but he just looked so cute with that little bloody nose. He cried a few tears, but then really was mostly just interested in "nose all dirty." We got him good and cleaned up, gave a couple kisses, and he was off.
That kid is a tough one. And seriously so so so much fun. We cannot get enough of him, truly.

Topic change, again.
Things I've done whilst writing this post:
- Paid 2 bills
- Looked something up on Amazon.
- Checked Instagram (kids are napping though, so it's my only insta time)
- Eaten a plate of strawberries (with a spoonful of speculos)
- Defrosted some chicken for dinner tonight
- Taken a potty break
- Laid down on my bed for maybe 20 seconds in an attempt to take a nap, but then realized there's not.enough.time.
- Scrolled through my pics/videos of baby Poppy.
- Looked out the front window a million times.....I'm expecting a package....holler!
- And now, okay, I'm eating a bowl of cheese squares.
I know, it's not pretty over here.
And I fully recognize that this has served more as a journal the past few days than a blog. But I'm eeeeasing back into this, you guys. It's been awhile. And writing is not like riding a bike. I'm a liiiiil rusty.

And now I need to go pack.

Life is good.
Life is beautiful.
And I am just so stinking glad that I get to share it with my people. My Garrett, my Rae, and my Johnny. It's happy, ya know? Like, so unbelievably happy.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Day 3

Today is Monday....which, I think I follow the general consensus on Mondays. And that is: Monday's are the worst.

Today hasn't been to bad though. We started our day off with a walk around the neighborhood to drop Rae off at a playdate. She rode her scooter and Johnny rode in the stroller. By the time we turned the last corner back to our house, I thought my baby miiiiight fall out of me, but it didn't, so we're good. Plus, fresh air and sunshine....I'm a fan!

The rest of our morning consisted of firetruck toys (J), and relief society assignments (me). And cookies (me). Too many cookies (me again)(and technically the baby too, that better? or worse?).

This weekend the kiddos and I are making the drive up to Utah to visit Leah for the weekend! Aside from the 20 hours in the car with the kids (by myself), I am SO pumped! First of all, Leah (and fam)! Second of all, old Utah friends! Third of all, fall in Utah is amazing. I have way too many things on my to-do&see list, there's no way I'll get it all done. But either way, I'm so excited! Wish us luck!

K, subject change.......
I don't know if I'm in a mom-rut or what, but I seriously have like the same 3 thoughts circulating through my brain at all times. Babies, upcoming events, and all the mom-things that I need to do around the house today. Is that so lame? That's for real a big part of the reason I'm even doing this daily post thing here on the blog...because I'm trying to get out of the typical mom brain thought process over here. But instead my posts might only consist of those three things. Yikes.

But for sure, if I keep going on this post, it's literally going to revolve around those three thoughts and for sure be sooo boring. So instead I'm going to end it here. See ya tomorrow!

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