Speeding through the summer

IMG_20140627_082614I cannot believe how quickly the summer months are flying by, here we are at the end of June already. Where did the month go? I suppose things have just been too busy and fun to notice so many days had passed.

We have been spending a lot of time outdoors, mostly the mornings and evenings when the heat is bearable for my poor pregnant self. Our stumbling upon a used wooden play set for an affordable price has been a life saver for me because there are no parks within walking distance of our house and loading a car seat hating 2-year-old into the car for a trip to the park (which probably has a water feature turned on) is less than fun for me at this point.

IMG_20140603_112732We have also been to the library a lot these last few weeks and weekends. Our local branches are doing a summer reading program for multiple age groups, including birth to school age! Once Imogen completes 15 tasks (mostly related to reading, learning activities, or playing with us!) we get 2 free passes to the zoo for her and a free board book. Pretty neat. There are also a variety of activities put on by each branch, our favorite so far is the art cart on Saturday mornings.

While we have always tried to read to her on a daily basis it has only been this summer that she has really begun to show an interest in listening. It melts my heart when she brings me books to ‘pease bok’ (please book), even if we do have to read it 5 times in a row. And it is always adorable to hear her repeating word and phrases after us when we read to her. And I may or may not read her sentences word-by-word out of Game of Thrones just to hear her repeat them. All in all it is a lot of fun (as an avid reader myself) to see her eyes light up over certain books and get excited about reading about certain topics.

We have been taking a LOT of walks. My goal for June was to get 50 miles in and I surpassed that a few days ago. I am not sure why I had so much trouble hitting 60 in May, 60 is DEFINITELY something I will be shooting for in July.june27totals
I cannot believe (or stop counting down the days until) we leave for our Colorado vacation on the 4th. I cannot deny that I am just a bit worried about how well I will handle hiking the trails at 7 months pregnant! But more excited than anything. The husband and I have not been on a longer vacation since our cruise several years ago before Imogen was known about! We have had a few get away days here and there with family and friends, like trips to the zoo or down to Tennessee, but there is just something about getting away for at least a week that makes you feel much more refreshed when you get home.

I have a good number of things to get completed on my to-do list before vacation time rolls around, like clean the house up and put away our towers of clean laundry so I can pack successfully. And it looks like we are set up for several days of rain so hopefully I make it through the weekend with my sanity in tact. :)

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simple update

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Life has been busy. Mushroom hunting was a lovely break from the whirlwind and we plan to do more this weekend. Nearly 22 weeks into pregnancy number two and awaiting our ultrasound on Monday (at 8am, ew) and excited to see baby for the first time. Catching up on household upkeep after 2 1/2 months of nausea. Getting a late start to the garden with lots of weather flip flopping and late spring frosts.
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Lots going on with swimming lessons, transcription, cleaning, yard projects, house projects, organizing, cooking, running around town and playing at the park. But all awesome. :)

Hello 2014

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Imy looks thrilled for the new year right?

2013 was a great year. There were a lot of ups and downs, a lot of bad and good. The holidays were a wonderful, exhausting, and super fun buzz of activity. We are seriously blessed to have such great family and friends.

I am glad to see 2014 has rolled around and I am excited to gets started on some goals this year.

Goal 1: Yoga. I have been practicing yoga off and on for the last few years, never getting beyond the basics and beginner status. I plan to change that this year and deepen my practice.

Goal 2: Declutter. I want to simplify. Our already small house has gained 2 new residents in the past year and there is simply not enough room for everything. We have excess and I want to really work on cutting back on excess items and focus only on the items that are related to things I want to focus on here and now. Yoga is one of those, but also reading and writing, music (my violin and guitar), healthy eating, medical transcription, drawing, and photography. I also plan on working through Imy’s stash of items as well, streamlining what we have because there is a lot she has just outgrown.

Goal 3: Paleo-ish diet. I need to get back to this diet, it is what really worked best for me and had me feeling great. Not totally Paleo, but limited breads, dairy and grains. I still like to have oatmeal, toast and cheese. :)Over the holidays I completely fell off the train and I need to detox from all that sugar and get back into better, whole-foods, no simple carbs eating.

Goal 4: Medical transcription. This is pretty much a must-do. I want to finish my course finally and start getting paid for all that typing.

I like to set a few large goals for each new year and focus on making those things a bigger part of my life. Last year my goals were:

  • Keep on running! I didn’t really do this because I had a bunch of trouble with my knee. I have been running off and on but really focusing on strength training instead.
  • Do at least five 5ks this year. I did one. :p I plan to do at least one this year as well.
  • Stop using plastic bags! Some months I did great and other months I failed. We really have stopped shopping at most stores with plastic bags recently (we get most food from Bountiful Baskets, Costco, etc. and otherwise decline plastic bags at stores) so overall I would say this goal has been a success. I will continue to cut down on the plastic this year.
  • Keep eating healthy. - Overall I did well with this. Holidays mean a lot of eating other places though and not having much control over what other people make. That is okay, I am no crazy healthy-food tyrant. I will eat that oreo. Or that cinnamon roll. Or that nacho burger. But I don’t do that daily. As mentioned above I need to get back to eating healthy because I really started feeling yucky after the holiday celebrations were over.
  • Potty train Imogen before the end of the year. AHAHAHAHAHA. No. We’ll just carry this over to 2014 and see what happens. Not in any rush, but I hate poop. :)
  • Practice the violin! - did really well at the beginning of the year but I have been so busy since the beginning of fall I haven’t gotten to touch my violin. Hoping after we get settled into this new year I can pull it back out.
  • More yoga. Once I began working at the Y I was able to really get more yoga in my daily life.
  • Spend more time outside. Yes, did this. :)
  • Read 15 books. Accomplished.

I had some lofty goals for 2013, and I would say I did pretty well overall. Definitely didn’t get to where I really wanted to with several, but I don’t feel discouraged in any way.

So, here is to 2014!

Finding some down time.

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I have been insanely busy between keeping the house together, playing with my baby turned toddler, moving my sister into our house (yay student loans!), getting my wisdom teeth plus one molar out and then dealing with dry socket (ugh!), typing like mad for my medical transcription course, and just this last weekend flying down to Tennessee to see my best friend.

If you know me then you know that I have issues with flying. I’m afraid of heights. So being super high in the sky in a tin can? Not my kind of thing. Add in the stress of keeping an 18 month old happy and not annoying the other passengers? Wheee!

But it turned out to not be so bad. I am very thankful that Imogen is a very calm and easy-going kiddo. She had no issues with flying other than our first takeoff when she could clearly see that I was not happy with leaving the ground behind. I forced a big fake smile and began to excitedly point at the scenery out the window and she very quickly relaxed and had no more nervousness during any of our other flights.

The trip there was considerably shorter than the trip back. I probably overprepared for our flights and carried 10,000 toys and snacks on board in my carry-on. The entire trip there her biggest source of entertainment was eating the ice out of our complimentary drinks. We pulled out one toy, and we didn’t even touch the DVD player.

So we survived, made it to Tennessee, I hugged my redhead, and we ate good food, visited the wonderful aquarium in Chattanooga, went swimming during a downpour, watched movies, had waffles and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (we almost never eat this stuff at home), and had lots of fun. Chattanooga is a place I would be very comfortable living, it was absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed the lovely thunderstorms that rolled through almost daily. I could also get behind a winter where it doesn’t drop to -20. It was humid, but it wasn’t much different from Iowa in that matter.

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Our flights home were much longer. We were first flown to Charlotte (what? why? 1 1/2 hours in the wrong direction), and then onwards to Des Moines on a 2 1/2 hour flight. The first flight was during nap time, Imogen insisted on milk before we even took off (we ended up sitting on the tarmac for about 20 minutes before we made it into the air) and so she was out.

On a side note, there are times when nursing gets tiresome, like on days when she asks for it more frequently than usual and I need to get 10 million things done. However, it is well worth it because it is also amazingly helpful. I wasn’t worried about her being asleep for takeoff or landing pressure changes because she was latched on during those times even though she was fast asleep. It was a great way to soothe her when she would get at all fussy during our trip.

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During our second (and longest) flight home we finally pulled out the DVD player after she lost interest in other activities. She went back and forth between asking for milk, looking out the window, and watching Monsters Inc. I learned my lesson from our flights to TN and took my Lortabs (really glad I took those with me) to keep my sinuses and sockets from hurting, bonus I was pretty relaxed on the way home and I actually pulled out my book and read a few pages instead of clinging to the seat and my husband (picture a cat trying to scramble out of a tub when given a bath, that was me).

So, flying with a toddler? Not so scary. Our best tools for keeping her happy were:
1. Lots of snacks (Annie’s fruit snacks, Annie’s mixed crackers and pretzels, Yummy Earth suckers, were most of what we used).
2. Camelback water bottle. We took it through security empty and people at the cafe’s on the other side were always more than happy to fill it up for us.
3. Ice, our second flight to TN we asked for just a cup of ice, it literally kept Imogen happy for most of both flights.
4. Snap beads, similar to these.
5. Pipe cleaners.
6. Crayola double-sided dry erase board and dry erase crayons.
7. A blank notebook and stickers.
8. A portable DVD player with a few of her favorite DVDs.

We also waited to be last in line to board the plane so we weren’t sitting in the seats any longer than we had to. We brought a number of other things: some plane books (we didn’t touch but they will be added to her little library anyway), a Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book (we used a lot while we were in TN, a shape sorter we already had (also used in TN), some Lots of Links (used in TN), some little animal figurines bought from a craft store, pompoms and an empty Play-doh container with an X cut in the top for pushing the pompoms into (used a little on the plane but most in TN) and her stuffed lamb that she sleeps with at night. I am very glad I packed everything I did because it all kept her happy either on the flight or in TN when we weren’t out and about doing things.

We had a lot of fun, but we are glad to be home. :)

A visit to the park

8769664571_4e47b9eeb8_hWe went an explored a new park in the Beaverdale area today. Witmer Park is a really cute little area with lovely pond surrounded by a trail. Up on the hill next to the pond is a playground area and a grass field. There isn’t a whole lot of Imy-sized play equipment, but we still managed to have fun and Imogen made friends with a little girl who was sharing gummy bears. :p
8774480508_03a6ef0237_hImogen really enjoyed herself, she’s a swing fiend. :p
And a few pictures from my cousin’s graduation/birthday party this past weekend. It was a lot of fun to visit with everybody there, AND Imogen (and maybe mom too) had a blast in the bounce-house they had!
8770292048_1528d435c8_h8770312902_118adfd229_hMy cousin (congrats again Carly!) is rocking it and thinking of going into law so it will be fun to hear of her college adventures in the coming years.

Today has been a nice and lazy kind of day. :)

 

Warm Days

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Spring is finally here to stay it seems. Of course now we’re in the 90s in Iowa. Snow one weeks and sweltering heat the next, welcome to the Midwest  Regardless of the temperature today we had a lovely past couple of days with some cool breezes and sunny weather. My friend came to visit from Tennessee so we went out and enjoyed a bit of Des Moines. Imogen had a blast at the downtown sculpture park even if she was only interested in running up and down the hills. We also enjoyed tasty iced coffee at Ritual Cafe, yummy dinner at Outback Steakhouse and some froyo at Lemon Tree.

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Thanks to all the rain and sunshine our garden is showing signs of life. A lot of signs. I snapped a few pictures with my phone before a bumblebee started buzzing around.

snappeasSugar Snap Peas

strawberriesStrawberries

kaleKale, mmmmm.

 

mixedMixed salad greens (and reds).
We may also have some signs of life from carrots, a few herbs, beets, and broccoli but some of these are pretty hard to distinguish from the plethora of mini weeds that have sprouted as well so I’ll wait a few days before snapping some more pictures. Tomatoes are doing wonderfully and our corn is just starting to come up. Our blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry plants all survived the snowy weather and seem to be thriving now. The only thing not doing so hot is our grapes but it seems like they’re slowly starting to put out new vines after the cold weather damaged the old ones. Our backyard has more or less turned into our future grocery store. :)

Still alive with natural remedies.

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After the hospital I was busy, busy, busy. No, they never really gave me a reason as to why I ended up in the emergency room. Possibly pancreatitis, but since it resolved so quickly maybe it was just gastritis? Here, here are some drugs you shouldn’t take while breastfeeding to treat symptoms and not solve problems. Awesome.

Needless to say, I took it upon myself to research about both conditions and also learn about various treatment options, leaning toward the natural-based remedies. I appreciate modern medicine and all for the wonderful and amazing things they can do but sometimes it just seems like a better idea to use a more traditional approach. Seeing as I wasn’t in any severe pain anymore and my condition was improving I began taking DGL, vitamin C and manuka honey.

I left the hospital still in a good deal of discomfort anytime I ate. As soon as I got home I grabbed a spoonful of raw honey, and it was instant relief. Seriously.  My doctor laughed at me during my follow-up appointment when I told him my plans and showed him what I was taking, but said that as long as it was helping I could continue to take the supplements instead.

I was also told to eat a low-fat diet. The diet plan handed to me insisted avocados were the enemy and bread, pasta and carbs were surely my savior. It was my turn to laugh. This makes no sense to me at all. If I indeed had pancreatitis how is eating tons of carbs going to help me heal, the pancreas secretes insulin after all. Since I was pregnant with Imogen I have stuck to a semi-Paleo diet. So I threw that low-fat ridiculousness in the recycling as soon as I got home. I have continued my diet of lots of veggies and fruit, mostly lean proteins and for the most part no dairy or processed carbs (like bread and pasta). I’m not going to lie, I eat some processed stuff occasionally, like a slice of cake (or two), and the occasional PB&J on bread. I definitely eat rice, quinoa, peanuts and peanut butter and sometimes white potatoes; hence the semi-Paleo. But the low-fat plan made me giggle.

So far so good. I have added several different supplements to my prior routine (turmeric, grape seed extract, and a few others), but otherwise life is back to normal.