It’s been almost 4 months since my last post! Wow, does time fly when you have a newborn, a toddler, a job, two weddings and a 5k race to plan. I almost forgot I had a blog. Forgive me, please! :p

My son was born in July. He came two weeks early and super fast. My contractions started at 6:30 pm Saturday evening, and he was born at 1:28 am Sunday morning. I barely made it to the hospital. I wasn’t there eight minutes before he was born. Needless to say, it was a medication-free birth! It was wonderful! He was born at 5 pounds and 15 ounces. My little peanut! This is him now.

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I look back and I am in awe of how awesome God is. Before Baby C was born, I was praying daily for a healthy, medication free birth and that he would not need to stay in the NICU like his sister did.

I knew that the only way I would be able to decline meds was if I didn’t have an option (I am a world class wuss). So,  I prayed for that too. I prayed labor would come on so fast that there would be no time for me to receive meds, even if I wanted them.

God sure answered my prayers! When I got to the hospital,  I was so far progressed in labor that I didn’t even think of medication— I just wanted to PUSH. THAT. BABY. OUT.

And that’s exactly what I did!
When he was born he was breathing funny, so they took him to the nursery to monitor him. They said it was probably just a side effect of the quick delivery. He just needed time to adapt. My heart sank as a couple hours ticked passed.  They said they would give him till 7 am to start breathing right or they would have to take him to the NICU.

I had peace as I prayed for my little boy. I knew he was in God’s hands. If he needed to go to the NICU, it would be ok. I would be ok. As 7 am rolled around the nurse popped her head in and said, “I have a baby for you!” There was a huge sigh of relief and a silent, “Thank You, God!”

How is life as a mom of two you ask? It’s wonderful! It was definitely hard at first. It took a while for me too figure out how to meet two young children’s needs at the same time. But now, fifteen weeks in, we are getting in the swing of things. I’m learning that it’s ok if Baby C is crying for a little while I fix E’s lunch. It’s ok if E is bored out of her mind while I nurse her little brother. It’s ok if E is bored and C gets hungry while I take a shower. They will live and their needs will be met— even if it’s not on their preferred schedule!

This is now my fourth week back at my part time job, and you know, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be! Yes, it’s hard to leave the kids some days, but I am still going strong— getting housework done, cooking dinner most nights and spending quality time with my kids and hubby. “Mommy Time”, on the other hand,- does not happen nearly as often as I would like, but I think that just comes with the territory!

I surprisingly have energy left over (most days). This is likely due to C’s current habit of sleeping through the night. ***Crossing my fingers and holding my breath*** This habit may not last, but I am so thankful to feel more human than Zombie! (The first month was rough; I have never been so tired in my life!)

God came through, as he always does. All my worries and fears for this pregnancy/delivery/two kid thing were unfounded. I am re-learning the power of prayer.  It is so great to know I can come to God with all of my fears and anxieties and leave them in His capable hands. I am slowly getting better at this. I believe it’s a life long process, but with God’s grace and prayer I believe I can break free of the chains of fear and anxiety. This was one huge step in the right direction.

God is good and worthy of our praise.

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It’s been a while, I know! Summer has been very busy for us. Events galore! Add in some serious nesting and some serious fun in the sun and you get no motivation to do anything else! Haha!

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Two things.

One. I am 36 weeks pregnant now. I am so close to meeting my little man! I am hoping I go into labor a week early like I did with my daughter (crossing fingers!).

This pregnancy is a lot different in the aspect of preparedness. I have been researching some things and have come to the decision that I am going to do my very best to have a natural birth. What I mean by this is a birth that progresses naturally without any medical interventions and a birth that occurs without pain medication (eek!).

I have a good friend that is going to act as my doula and support me through my labor and delivery – in addition to my loving hubby! I am both excited and nervous! I would appreciate your prayers.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord , the Maker of heaven and earth ~ Psalm 121:1-2

If anyone has any great pain management advice please let me know! My doula will be using essential oils and I plan on using a birthing ball.

Thing number two. I was bored today and was thinking how I’d like to participate in another Instagram challenge. I’d like to get to know more people and gather more followers. As I searched online, I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I decided to make my own photo challenge! I am doing it for the month of July. Crazy Katie. You are going to have a baby in there somewhere. Exactly! That’s what will make it a challenge! I’d love for you all to join me so I may get to know a little more about your lives and so we can share the joys of summer with each other!

See below for the prompts!
Starts tomorrow!

#JoysofSummer715
@katie10211

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I laid in bed the other night and cried to my husband about my insecurities as a mom. I want to do my best. I am trying very hard to discipline in love. I am trying to make E my focus when I am not working. I try hard to find us fun things to do. I am trying not to beat myself up about my shortcomings.  But, almost daily, I am left with a feeling of failure and inadequacy. I dwell on what I could have done better and how I can fix it tomorrow.

Hubby says that I am not looking at the big picture. I am looking at (and obsessing with) little snippets of my day. He said I have to remember what’s important. What’s important is that I show her God’s love, take care of her needs, apologize for my mistakes and give both of us grace!

Solid advice. This is something that I need to be reminded about on a regular basis. I get so focused on my daily mistakes. It’s hard for me to look at the big picture. I will continue to fail. But God will continue to give me grace. That is something that I need to teach my daughter – and what better way than to use my own mistakes as an example!

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Family Picture taken by my church as a Mother's Day present. What a good idea!

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As I was walking along my favorite trail today I was thinking about how much has changed in five years. Five years ago, I was running along that same trail – brand new Nike’s on my feet, camel pack on my back, energy gels tucked in my shorts pockets and determination and dedication flowing through my body. I would regularly run the entire trail – 12 miles.

Today, I was walking along, pushing a jogging stroller with a 30 pound two-year-old up front and a big hefty mama-purse below; filled with drinks and snacks for both of us. In addition, I had a basketball sized belly protruding out front of my body. Twenty-nine weeks pregnant. Two miles was enough for today.

The funny thing is, in each of these scenarios I ended up feeling extremely accomplished. For where I am and was at – these accomplishments are and were equally huge! Five years ago I would treat myself to a coffee drink at Dunkin’ Donuts afterwards. I did the same today, plus a munchkin for the munchkin!

I honestly don’t know where I am going with this. I am just marveling at how life changes, how God is good and how I wouldn’t change a thing!

Yesterday, she told me, “Mommy, I love you…all the time.” My life is complete.
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The decision has been made for me to continue working part-time after our little boy is born. It’s a bittersweet thing. I had my heart set on being a stay-at-home mom. After many prayers and seeking God’s will, I found that I wanted this mostly for selfish reasons. I found that I would be following God’s plan for my life if I simply trust Him and continue where He has placed me.

My initial reason for wanting to stay at home with my kids stemmed from my struggle with mommy guilt. I felt guilty (and still do at times) that I could not always be with E. I felt that if I could be at home all the time this guilt would lessen and I could be at peace with myself as a mom. But, I have come to realize that that probably wouldn’t be the case. I would probably find something else to feel guilty about – like I am not teaching them enough, I am not fun enough, I can’t keep up with this housework, I have no patience, I am a bad mom for yelling all the time. Yada, yada, yada. The possible guilt trips are endless. Becoming a stay-at-home mom would not get rid of my insecurities or solve my spiritual issues.

Just as I was coming to terms with going back to work, my mind went in over-drive trying to figure out how I am going to do it all. How am I going to successfully work part-time, have a clean house, make 3 meals a day, be an attentive mom to two kids and a loving wife? How will I squeeze in time for exercise and reading my bible? How will I stay sane? How is it physically and emotionally possible?

God calmed my fears once again with this thought: It will never work out on paper, it will never work out in my head – it will only work out with God’s grace and help. I believe it’s His will for me to be in this position and I know He will show me how to do it. I don’t need to know now. He will show me in due time. I just need to go forward each day and trust that He will provide!

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“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Psalm 143:8

 

<3 Katie

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This month was an exciting one.

First, we found out the gender of our baby! It’s a BOY! I didn’t realize how much I wanted a boy until the doctor pointed out his boy parts! Hubby and I almost cried. So big YAY for our family. E is excited to have a little brother. 🙂

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Second, I am now able to say that we have a fully potty trained two-year-old! She is officially diaper less. She rocked the whole potty training thing. I never thought I could be this excited about having a potty-trained kid. The joys of motherhood!

“Think of all the money we will save,” says my husband.
“Yea,” I chime in. “Enjoy it for the four until we have to start all over again!” 😉

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Next on the excitement list—I gave up social media for the month of March. I have definitely been feeling convicted about my social media addiction. It is a big time waster for me. I realize how much time I have spent browsing Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. It’s sickening. I’m worried that I am rotting my brain. I believe that my spare time will be better spent if I use it to catch up with friends, read my bible, write or clean.

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I believe God will bless the time that I use intentionally much more than the time I use to catch up on the latest gossip. Social Media is a great tool, and I am not giving it up; I just need to learn how to use it wisely! (Yes, you will see this post on Facebook, but all I did was post it—no browsing or checking notifications—I promise!)

Finally, I’ve found a great new pancake recipe—that’s always a legitimate reason to be excited!

I adjusted it slightly to fit my preferences, as always!

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup cottage cheese (or ricotta—thats all I had when I first tried it and it still came out great!)
4 eggs (originally calls for 6 egg whites—but I am all for using the whole egg!)
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp of sugar

Put all ingredients in blender. Pour batter on hot griddle. You know the drill. Makes about three servings. Yum! Top with REAL maple syrup and some strawberries! Lots protein and yumminess! (link for original recipe: http://www.isthisreallymylife.com/2012/10/biggest-loser-pancakes/ )

P.S. I also started the Whole 30. But that’s a for another post!!!

Happy March!

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I have been somewhat discouraged lately. I feel like I am not doing anything to better myself. I see people around me receiving promotions, writing successful blogs, running marathons and going back to school. Me, on the other hand, I can hardly write one blog post a month. I am certainly not looking for a promotion. Forget going back to school. I’ve done my time. I am failing to read all these books that I’ve been wanting to get through. Read about health food or take a nap? Naps win on most days.

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I had a minor epiphany today that led to this post. I am enough. I need to stop comparing myself. I am a wife, a mom, and a homemaker (not to mention a part time bank teller). That is enough. I need to lower my ridiculous expectations of myself. I am growing a baby in my belly for goodness sake. I need to make sure that I am simply being the best I can be exactly where God put me, and that is right here—on my couch, staring at unfolded laundry and piles of stuffed animals. It’s here—being a mom, loving my daughter completely, and doing my best to raise a child whose heart belongs to God. My place is here—trying my hardest to be a loving and supportive wife, and always putting forth an effort to keep my marriage alive and nourished. My place is here—feeding and taking care of my family, cleaning my house and making it a place we always want to return to. That is enough!

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I can’t take what I do for granted; I can never think that what I do is not important. It might not be glamorous and exciting, but what would we do without our moms who took care of us, took time to teach us and sacrificed hobbies and sleep to be there by our sides? What would my house look like if I didn’t take care of it? Who else would do the laundry, cook, clean and organize? All these things—though seemingly small in the scheme of everyday life—are huge! I could not do any of these things effectively if I put too much on my plate—constantly desiring to do more and have more. I want to be content where I am and simply desire to be all I can be right here in this place. What a difference I can make in the lives of those around me if I simply do wholeheartedly what God has led me to do!

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)

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Have confidence and pride in what you do! God sees the love and effort you pour out—no matter what you do!

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I feel like I am jumping on the bandwagon with this whole meal-planning thing. But I am okay with it! Most of the bloggers that I follow talk about it regularly—even post their weekly meal plans. There is a reason it is so popular in the homemaking blogosphere! It is so effective!

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How I meal plan

I like to keep things fresh, healthy and organized (somewhat!) in my kitchen. Meal planning is a means by which I accomplish this. It helps me make sure that I am inserting fresh recipes into my menu every month and am making enough “normal” meals for my meat and potatoes hubby. It also keeps me accountable to the type of meals I am making. I can look at the meals for a whole month and say, “Wow, too many meals with pasta and cheese. I need to switch it up and add more veggies and protein!” Not to mention that I love to save money!

I believe that meal planning is a tool that can help you with your grocery budget. If you know exactly what you are going to make and eat this week, you know exactly what you need to shop for. This brings us to THE LIST. You must make one—and stick to it! Every time that I don’t make a list a whole bunch of random things get thrown in my cart… cherry tomatoes, almond milk, kefir, frozen fruit, ice cream for hubby, cottage cheese… all good things, but stuff I don’t buy every week because it makes my grocery bill climb sky high! If I stick to a list—a simple list—of all the food that I need for this week’s meals and a couple snacks, I will spend much less than if I run to the grocery store on a daily basis, throwing random things in as I frantically decide what to make for dinner that night! It works. Trust me!

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Random Pic : My chalkboard by my sink. I always keep encouraging verses written on it

I picked up this habit about a year and a half ago when E was around 6 months old and I was still getting into the swing of juggling my different hats: part-time employee, full time mommy and homemaker. I did indeed go to the grocery store almost every day before E was born. It was easy; nothing held me back. No baby to get ready and secure in the car. It was just me—in and out. But, this was not so easy anymore. I didn’t have the time or the patience to keep it up. Meal planning helped ease my stress a lot! I knew what we were having every night and I knew that I had everything I needed to make it at home. It was a great thing! Still is.

I am continually fine-tuning the way I do it. I usually start out by planning a whole month of meals at a time. Once I get my work schedule, I switch meals around so that the days that I work till 5 I have an easy meal to make or put into the crockpot that morning.

This is the schedule and rationale that I use while planning our meals:

Mondays are meatless. Not because I have anything against meat, but because meat is pricey.

Tuesdays are usually something with pasta that will create a lot of leftovers for the weekend.

Wednesdays there are no rules. Anything goes.
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Thursdays I like to make a meal that I know my husband will truly enjoy. I always hope he likes what I make, but I can be very adventurous in the kitchen at times and his simple taste buds can get overwhelmed! So, I have to make sure I insert Man Meals into the schedule.

Fridays are breakfast for dinner days. Usually this consists of Eggs & Toast. Simple, but we all enjoy it.

Saturday & Sundays I generally try to avoid cooking at all costs. If we don’t eat at one of our parents’ houses we will eat leftovers. If there are no leftovers I will make smoothies or waffles! Yum!

I don’t always follow that formula to a T. It depends on my mood and what my week looks like. It just helps me when I am stumped! Here is what my dinner menu looked like for this week, just to give you an idea:

Monday: French Bread Pizza & Smoothies
Tuesday: Steak Chili (in the crock pot because I worked till 5)
Wednesday: Taco Lasagna – New recipe! It was delish!
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie – Hubby’s favorite recipe
Friday: Eggs & Toast

That’s about it! I am sure that I will be writing more about this in the future. It’s a habit that I am still perfecting. I eventually hope to plan breakfasts and lunches as well. But, right now they are going smoothly enough. It’s usually yogurt, smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast. For lunch it’s leftovers, eggs or healthy snacks.

I hope that I have inspired some of you to start this great habit! Also, I want to add a disclaimer: I am not perfect at this. I still have bad weeks where I run to the store multiple times or stuff random extras into my cart. It’s not foolproof. It takes determination and willpower to achieve whatever goals you wish to obtain by meal planning. For me, I am really trying to save money. I need to get back into the habit of only shopping once a week. If I run out of something, I just need to suck it up and wait until Sunday. I need to learn self control too so that I don’t eat all my apples by Wednesday!

Must save money. Must save money. Boo Haa Haa.

How do you think Meal Planning could benefit you?

Katie =)

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Simplicity

I am on a mission, a mission to simplify my life. It is my goal for my home, my family and for myself. I believe God speaks to us in the simplicity—when there are less things crowding our hearts and minds.

In my home I am going to apply the phrase “less is more” to every room, closet and storage space. I hate junk and clutter—and when you live in a small house like we do, the junk and clutter pile up a lot faster. My husband and I have found that we really need to stay on top of our belongings if we want to live clutter free. I find that my stress levels are much lower when my house is neat and organized. It’s good for my sanity and for our living space!

In the beginning of the year I made a list of all the things that I want to accomplish before Baby Number Two arrives. I have a small goal set every week until July 25th. The list includes many things like deep cleaning closets, cleaning and organizing cabinets, going through my clothes and donating what I don’t need/wear, and going through our storage and tossing, returning and donating unnecessary items. Some might call this nesting—I call it preparedness! I want my home to be in its best state when we welcome Number Two!

I have been making good progress in the past couple weeks. I scheduled a Green Drop pick up and I can donate almost anything in my home; the proceeds benefit the Purple Heart veterans and their families. It is much easier for me to give up stuff if I know it will benefit others more than it is currently benefiting me!

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My advice to those that want to do something similar is make a long list filled with small tasks and assign those tasks to individual days or weeks. Whole house de-cluttering seems much more manageable when you give yourself time to accomplish even a small chore. Many smalls steps equal big results.

Here is a look at the first two months of my list:

Week One: De-clutter/clean hallway closet
Week Two: De-clutter/Organize Bathroom Closet
Week Three: De-clutter/Organize Bedroom Closet
Week Four: De-clutter/Organize E’s Closet
Week Five:Organize/Clean Kitchen Cabinets Part One
Week Six: Organize/Clean Kitchen Cabinets Part Two (This is a big project so it gets two weeks!)
Week Seven: Go Through My Clothes—Trash & Donate
Week Eight: De-clutter Living Room—magazine rack, bookshelves, DVDs, toys, etc.

It keeps on going!

I am going to apply simplicity to my family when it comes to commitments, holidays and our daily lives. I get overwhelmed easily and I am trying to avoid that feeling. Me overwhelmed equals me grumpy and irritable. I want my family to have quality time with each other without the stress of trying to do everything and be everything to everyone. We cannot stretch ourselves so thin that the quality of what what we do and what we wish to be diminishes. I believe we can be the most effective when we dial it down and really focus on a few quality commitments and activities. I know this is easier said than done. I find myself at times too busy and wishing I only had time to sit down on the floor and play with my two-year-old. I aim to have more down time this year!

In my personal life, simplicity looks like changing up my daily devotions. I have many daily devotionals that I read sporadically here and there . Sometimes I read through all of them quickly in hopes of gaining some insight and to hear what God has to say to me. I realize what I need to do is read my Bible. Read it slow and read it daily. God’s truth is written in every story and in every lesson. I will hear God’s voice through meditating on His word and reading it regularly.

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I think a simple life also requires a life full of consistency and grace. I have to learn to be consistent in these activities that I am trying to turn into habits. I also need to be able to give myself grace when I fail. God will teach me a long the way how to choose the most important things in my life, my house and my family; and he will help me learn which things are okay to discard or decline. It’s a journey.

How do you keep life simple?

Katie =)

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I know its been a while. I chalk it up to the Holidays… and the fact that I am 12 weeks pregnant! Yep. Needless to say, I have not been feeling very motivated and driven these past couple of weeks. I am blessed to not experience extreme pregnancy symptoms. I dealt with mild nausea, food aversions and moderate fatigue. That was enough to kick all my motivation to the curb. (Doesn’t take much!)

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I am so excited to share my pregnancy with you all. My hubby and I had decided to wait to share the news, especially after my miscarriage this summer. I feel it’s easier to heal if you have less people to track down and tell the bad news. I definitely deal with the fear of losing this baby too, but I just have to remind myself that there is nothing I can do to prevent it if it’s in God’s plan. I just have to relax and trust Him (and cuddle and kiss the baby that I have already been blessed with!).

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

Baby #2 is due July 25th, 2015. I am excited to have a summer pregnancy instead of a winter one. I will be able to do a lot more walking and outdoor exercise as I get bigger. I am not looking forward to the heat though. I am already sweating like a man at night! Stinking hormones!

Pregnancy is definitely a time to keep yourself in good health. It is also the time where a lot women give themselves a 9 month pass card to eat whatever they want—because they are pregnant. But, I believe that because I am pregnant, this is the time were I should take good care of my body and make healthy decisions daily. My body is growing and nourishing a very small, precious life. I need to feed myself well so my baby receives the nourishment he or she needs to grow strong and healthy!

Don’t get me wrong, I did eat my fair share of pizza in those first couple weeks when everything else made me want to gag. However, now that I am feeling better I am back to focusing on devouring a more balanced diet! I still treat myself, I just try to pick healthier treats that have some redeeming benefits. Like these energy bites and protein bars that I have links to below. I ate a lot of these treats in my first trimester, they are filling and yummy. With the constant gnawing hunger I was always snacking on almonds, cheese, protein bars, energy bites & avocados. I was also drinking tons of water. Still am! I am always thirsty! Check these out:

Energy Bites
These are a family fave. My picky husband even loves these! I usually cut back on the honey. They can get pretty sweet with the chocolate chips.

Dark Chocolate Protein Balls
I don’t have any protein powder so I just omitted it. I also used chocolate peanut butter instead of almond butter and added an extra Tbs. of maple syrup. Less healthy, more tasty! 😉

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Power Bars
These power bars are awesome!! No added sugar except the thin chocolate chip layer on top. Raisins or dates make them sweet. I follow this recipe exactly!

Coconut Oil Chocolates
These are yummy ways to get your daily fill of coconut oil, which helps fight and prevent sickness, aids digestion, and helps our bodies better absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are essential to keeping our bodies in optimum health!

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I hope everyone is having a good winter! I’m taking advantage of all the indoor time by baking and cooking. That is, when I am not napping and eating 😉

What are some of your favorite healthy treats?

Katie 🙂

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