I generally don't eat very well during my first trimester. I have been blessed with minimal vomiting, but the nausea remains that constant, nagging companion you wish you could just shove over some precipice. I know that if I eat more vegetables I’ll probably feel better. The only problem is that even if they’re just sitting in the fridge, nowhere near my plate, salad greens make me gag 95% of the time. I overcame this difficulty in my last pregnancies by simply eating (mostly) rice and beans and toast for the first trimester (We won't mention the Top Ramen, or those gross frozen pizzas that only cost $1.50, right?) As you can see, I was really counting on my prenatal vitamins to supply whatever I wasn’t getting in my diet. This time around, though, I’ve found a great way to combat my greens-aversion. Breakfast smoothies!
I do love a good smoothie. And, thank God, so does my moody, preggo-appetite. Here is the smoothie I make almost every day of the week. It started out just my husband and me drinking it, but now I make 2.5 servings because my one-year-old can down almost a half a pint of green smoothie himself!
The smoothie mixes up to be so creamy and nutty with the peanut butter in there. You could definitely swap almond butter in for peanut, or kale in for spinach: just whatever suits your fancy (and doesn’t make you sick). So, for anyone who’s interested, here is my recipe for breakfast smoothies:
Makes about 1 pint of smoothie:
1 Frozen Banana
1/3 Cup Frozen Spinach
½ Cup Plain, Full-Fat Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
1-2 Tablespoons Unflavored Beef Gelatin*
2 Tablespoons of Hemp Seeds (shelled)
Honey to Taste
¾ - 1 Cup of Water
Blend all ingredients together, adding more or less water depending on the consistency you like.
*I use Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin, Kosher. I get it from Amazon and it lasts us about 1 month if we eat 2-3 smoothies per day (for all of us).
Here is some nutritional info on Hemp Seeds that I got from: http://www.purehealingfoods.com/hempHeartsAnalysis.php
((Everything I read here seems to line up with everything else I’ve read about these seeds. I’m not a nutritionist, though, so definitely do your own research and talk to your healthcare provider if you’re expecting.))
“A 42 gram (4 heaping tablespoons) serving of Shelled Hemp Seed contains 240 calorie energy from:
For being tiny seeds, I feel like that’s pretty incredible. Add to that all the protein from the yogurt and the beef gelatin, and I am left feeling full and have plenty of long-lasting energy. Hope you enjoy it!
Y’all. I vacuumed and my baby took a nap. It was a total mommy-win in my book. Both needed to happen and neither would have if it weren’t for my wrap.
When I had my first son, almost eleven years ago, I did not have much of an idea about babywearing: a tradition that’s been around for centuries. I envisioned people hiking with babies strapped to their backs, but I didn’t know it would be helpful in my everyday life. After having two spinal fusions, I also didn’t know it would help my body physically to wrap and wear my baby close to my body, and I certainly didn’t know it could help my baby!
If you consider that a baby’s gestation is 18 months, 9 months in the womb and another 9 months out, a womb-type environment will help a baby adjust to the outside world. Babies who are worn fuss less, make better cognitive connections, are sheltered from being overly stimulated, are touched more, and feel safer. They enjoy the familiar motion they experienced in the womb as they are worn. Their temperature is better regulated close to mom or dad, and breastfed babies nurse more often, stimulate mother’s body to make milk by being close or skin to skin, and mom can truly see feeding cues right away.
The benefits to mom and dad are numerous as well: being hands-free, support for your back and body, and not having to carry large strollers or car seats around. For moms, wearing your baby can mean a release of oxytocin for both you and baby, and can aid in decreasing post-partum depression.
Moms and dads are not the only ones who can wear baby! Other loving caregivers can wear baby, too! What better way to bond than by cuddling with a precious baby.
There are many ways to wear your baby and you may even be able to join a local babywearing group in your area where you can learn tips, try different wraps and carriers, and sometimes even rent or borrow them!
There’s actually a considerable amount of research into the benefits of babywearing, most of which cannot be given due diligence in one short blog post. I encourage you to check these findings out when you can.
It is always important to learn the proper way to wear your baby in the wrap/carrier/sling you have. Here are my three favorite carrier types.
This wrap is truly wonderful. Stretchy, soft material that supports infants through toddlers! Easy to pack in your diaper bag as there are not a lot of bulky rings or buckles. And a bonus is that SnuggBugg gives a portion of their proceeds to Camp Firefly- a summer camp for terminally ill children and their families.
Being a student, I thought that life would slow down in the summer. I imagined long, wandering walks with my children, climbing adventures, and more zzz’s than I needed. Wrong. I currently have a chalkboard sign up on my wall with “My grace is sufficient for you” written on it. I’m thankful for the daily reminder because starting in CO, our lives got a whole lot crazier.
We got to Estes Park, CO on Friday around noon after 16 long hours in the car. My kids did great. Evie jumped out of the car, kissed Grandma and Grandpa and then almost bounded up the four flights of stairs that led to the Mexican restaurant they had picked out for lunch. James followed with the baby and I felt like I limped behind. I felt so sick. I had talked to a friend just days before about the altitude sickness she experienced in Denver. I thought, Gee, this must be what she was talking about. I felt dizzy, nauseated, and ready to fall over asleep on the table. I guzzled down water thinking I could curb the altitude sickness if I kept really hydrated. That seemed to help. I got part way done with my food and had to push it back, gagging. I couldn’t decide if it was the assumed altitude sickness or the mushy mass of soggy tortilla, shredded beef, and wilted lettuce that made my stomach start somersaulting.
Fast forward a few days to the old family cabin in Cuchara. It’s this quaint little town comprised of one main street dotted about with cabins. One night we had a fire outside. We all sat around talking. The guys drank single malt whisky while Aunt S and I split a bottle of red wine. A (neighborhood) little yellow lab had wandered into our yard and played fetch with us for about 45 minutes. Long before the fire was out I made my way blearily to bed. All in all, an ideal summer evening. … until 2am. My eyes snapped open and I grimaced. I was going to be sick. I groaned, rolled out of bed, trying to avoid stepping on my daughter who was on a pallet on the floor, and made it to the bathroom. I knelt there on the emerald green carpet (We do not own the cabin, so we’re not responsible for that grossness.) Oh, man. I thought. I’m pregnant.
The next morning James and I set out on a quest to find a pregnancy test in the slightly bigger town of La Veta, which has a population of about 800. Turns out there were no pregnancy tests. We looked several places and no one seemed to carry them. We got back to the cabin, laughingly telling our family that we might be pregnant but couldn't be sure since stores in La Veta apparently didn’t feel the need to stock EPTs.
As you can imagine, the first place I went when we got home was the dollar store to get some pregnancy tests. And can you guess who I ran into while I was there? MY MIDWIFE. We both laughed. She made me promise I would text her right away with the
results. I drove home, three tests tucked in my purse and dashed to the bathroom as soon as I could. I waited about 30 seconds before those two pink lines popped up! Baby’s estimated due date is early March but we’ll go for a confirmation ultrasound in about a week. According to our best guess, little munchkin is about the size of a wild strawberry and is currently making my morning coffee smell terrible (I may or may not have almost cried the first morning I couldn’t drink it.). Three kids three and under, here we come!
Baby-proofing for the second child should be no problem, right? When baby James started crawling I set up the baby gates, ensured that all the chords were tucked away, and started sweeping about six times a day. I spent a few blissful weeks ignorantly thinking that I had covered all my baby-proofing bases. James soon proved me wrong. We have only one “no” cabinet in the kitchen: the one under the sink. That is where I keep extra sponges, vinegar, and trash bags. Oh, and discarded bacon grease. We love our bacon around here and so I always have a can of excess grease tucked under the sink. Once it fills up I chuck it. Evelyn always respects the “no” cabinet. She contentedly plays with the plastic storage containers or muffin tins and pans that I kept in the other cabinets. My son hasn’t quite got that lesson down. Lately, his biggest delight is opening that cabinet under the sink. While I’m in the kitchen, he will play with the plastic things. But as soon as I walk into the other room or even turn my back, he’s opening that cabinet under the sink. Every time he does I give him the stern reminder and move him across to a safer play area.
After one such move, I went into our dining space to wipe down the table after lunch, telling Evie to call for me if brother opened the cabinet. I swiftly wiped up the yogurt smears and cracker crumbs. Suddenly Evie called, warning me that James had opened the cabinet. I sighed, left the rag on the table, and walked back into the kitchen. My jaw dropped. I stood rooted to the spot soaking in the scene before me. Bacon grease. Everywhere.
My son sat in the middle of the floor, one greasy fist in his grinning mouth. The can lay tipped over and globs of the slimy, greasy, goo lay plopped on the floor surrounding him. I let out a little shriek and snatched my son’s fist out of his mouth (and snapped a quick picture to send daddy). Thankfully I had done dishes, so I popped him in the kitchen sink and soaped off his arms, hands, and legs. I eventually managed to degrease the tile floor, but for awhile it still turned deadly slick when water touched it.
That was the episode that convinced me that I needed something to ensure the “no” cabinet stayed safely secured. After taking 20 seconds to install the SnuggBugg Drawer & Cabinet Locks, I no longer have to worry about a homemade kitchen ice rink (much to my son’s disappointment).
I’m finally sitting down to write after spending over an hour (read that again, and then again, and then again for over an hour and that’s how long it took) getting my daughter to sleep! Can I get a witness?
I spend a lot of time with my kids, as I should, but what I want to tell you, what I want you to hear today, is this: dating your spouse is SO important. It's important to carve out time to reconnect, plan, dream, vent, share, etc. with each other. Oh and it's a good refresher on their beautiful face you hardly get time to look at any more after having kids.
For many of our 13 years of marriage I assumed “dating” my husband should look like it did before we were married; movies at a movie theater, dinner out, etc. Since nothing else in our lives look the same way as before, I finally realized that our alone time could also look different. But for many years I struggled with envy and regret that I didn’t have a date night out with my husband every week. This lead to some hard feelings toward my sweet (unknowing) hubby!
If I really looked at our time together I would see that we really did date each other, all the time. We spend countless hours snuggled up together watching our favorite shows and sneaking in special drinks and desserts long after putting the kids in bed. We would grab a coffee from the church’s café, and sit and talk while the kids were in their church classes. And we would make time to celebrate our anniversary, special dates, and occasions together.
Depending on the season of your life you may not have the ability to “go out” each and every week, but take heart- you can still date your spouse. When talking to other couples about dating I hear two major reasons why dates don’t happen often: time and money. So here are some time and budget-friendly suggestions so you can start dating your spouse right away:
Date at Home
This is a simple, and even can be a free, way to get some quality time in with your spouse. We try to do these after putting the kids to bed.
-share a snack, dessert, drinks, or even a late dinner together
-watch a show on tv, Netflix, YouTube, or a movie together
-turn off electronics and read a book, play a board game, work a jigsaw puzzle, or plan an adventure together
-plan a fun, themed night in with your hubby based on a movie, dessert, destination, or topic
-turn the lights down, light a fire and some candles, and talk
-sit outside together and watch the sunset or take coffee out early in the morning and watch the sunrise
-make-out (hey, it's free AND fun)
Dates Outside the Home
-save money by only going out for a portion of a meal as in appetizers and drinks or dessert and coffee
-swap date nights with friends to save on babysitter costs
-use season passes you have for the family to museums, water or amusement parks, etc. to go alone with your spouse
-go camping or star gazing in the backyard
-get creative at your local dollar stores, with dollar menu items, and at the dollar movies
-take a walk, play at the park, go fishing or have a picnic at a nearby lake
Family or Group Dates
Who says you can’t have a date with your entire family and/or friends? Include them on your next adventure out! Find deals on group-buying sites, ask friends with season passes who can get guests in for free or at a discount, or use coupons to make it more cost effective.
I have hit the jackpot! Visit this site (www.thedatingdivas.com) to get simply wonderful ideas on creative dates, gifts, and more. They even have ways you can spice up and strengthen your marriage.
Whatever you and your spouse enjoy just be intentional about being together, and communicate your needs along the way, too.
What are some of your favorite ways to date your spouse?
Once upon a time I flew from Idaho to Florida for my little sister’s wedding. A redeye flight. With a two-year-old and a five month old. By myself. I’m sure everyone with more parenting years under their belts is laughing, but I really thought it was a good idea at the time. And though I didn’t get any sleep, we made it to our destination without me crying once. Win.
While we were in Florida we stayed with my twin sister and her family. They have two boys who are the same age as my kiddos. During our trip I got to experience some of the differences between boy and girl toddlers. Especially in how they quarrel. We didn’t even make it home from the airport before Evelyn learned the word “antagonize” (and that we don’t do it), and her cousin, Samuel, learned not to take food from girls. My sister had brought some yummy food pouches to keep the kids content on the long car ride back from the airport. We put the toddlers in the back of the minivan and I was squished between the two baby seats in the middle row. I handed each of the bigger kids a food pouch and turned to catch up with my sis. About one minute later I heard Evie’s voice from the back: “Oh, It’s all gone.” I knew my baby could suck down some food pouch, but I was surprised she was done that quickly. I turned and saw her trying to wring out the last few drops from her cousin’s puree. Samuel was innocently finishing off the last half of Evie’s pouch. I cocked an eyebrow him: “Samuel, did you take Evie’s food pouch?” “I did.” He matter-of-factly nodded his head once. His mother jumped in at that point and explained that it wasn’t polite to swap food pouches if his was empty.
After that was dealt with, the adults settled back into the ride and conversation as Samuel pulled out a couple toy cars to play with. I turned my attention back to the front of the van. Suddenly a howl issued from my young nephew. “NO EVIE! It’s my truck!” I snapped my head around again, expecting to find Evie with one of the toys. Instead, she was sitting quietly with her stuffed bunny. Perplexed, I turned back around but kept watch out of the corner of my eye. Soon enough I saw my little girl lean forward. I turned a bit more and listened. She craned her neck to look at Samuel and smiled mischievously at him. Then, so sweetly and quietly, said, “My truck Samuel.” Again, my nephew (this time with tears thrown in): “NOOOOOO! IT’S MY TRUCK!” I tried to stifle my laughter as I calmed down the little guy and then told Evie that the trucks were in fact his toys and that antagonizing her cousin was not loving or polite. I turned back around, shook my head, and wondered just how many shenanigans those two munchkins were going to get into.