walking next to me
18. 08. 2016

Baby stuff.  There is so much baby stuff out there!  It can be really overwhelming and I wanted to give my little review on the products we’ve used.  I feel like the stuff you need for babies from birth-6 months is a lot different than 6 months+ so I wanted to take a minute to write about the baby products I loved and those that I thought I would love, but didn’t before I move on to completely different things and forget it all.

First, a few thoughts on the registry in general:

– I used BabyList for my registry rather than registering at an actual store.  I was essentially stalked by BabyList ads every time I looked at anything baby related on Pinterest, so I thought I would give it a try.  I was overall, pretty happy with this decision.  Two positives and two negatives:

I loved the “Products” section where you can see what items other moms have included in their registry and I found it super helpful for items that I didn’t want to waste my time researching to find the best one – like a humidifier and baby toys.

I also loved that you could add babysitting, meals, and hand-me-downs to your registry so that people didn’t feel obligated to actually buy you something if they didn’t want to but still wanted to do something nice.

This is all set up for online shopping.  Most people, myself included, are not this organized when they attend a baby shower.  If I am really on top of things, I have stopped by Target a week before and picked up a few of my baby essentials to give to the new mama.  So really, with the exception of a few allstars, this served as more of an inspiration for people if they even looked at it all.  I suppose this speaks more to human nature than as a demerit for BabyList :)

They don’t offer the percent off your completion purchases after you have the baby like some sites do (Amazon does this).  It would have been nice for sure because there are always things you still need to buy once you have your shower.  But I do love that you can add anything from anywhere and it lets you give more support to small business.

– I also sent this list before it went public to a few of my other new mama friends to see if they thought I should add or didn’t need anything on the list.  I thought this was super helpful because the “must-have” lists that are floating around are way too extravagant if you ask me.  Abel has survived just fine without a wipe warmer but the soft-sided cooler I got because my friend Katy told me I would need one for pumping at work has been a necessity! Use the wisdom around you and only ask for what you will really need!

– Register for gender neutral items!  This was really easy for us because we weren’t finding out the gender ahead of time.  But it always kills me when I see parents who get a pink car seat for their first baby because she’s a girl because they either won’t use or will hate using it for their next baby – which will for sure be a boy since that’s how the world works.  :)  as Abel gets older, I am still trying to buy gender neutral items when I can – even a simple footie pajama can work for both if you keep it basic enough!

 

Now on to the real reason you are here.  What I would tell me best friend to put on her baby registry.  (PS best friend, this is not a way to tell you to start having babies!  ;))

PSS – I’ve now decided to break this into two posts because I apparently had a lot to say about BabyList and this going to be a long post!  Part 2 coming soon where I will discuss baby products that I ended up not loving.

1. A baby carrier.  We have both an Ergo Carrier and Solly Baby Wrap and I have loved having both.

The Ergo was one I found used on Craigslist and it has been great.  We mostly use it for hiking or when Ben wants to carry Abel, because the Solly Wrap is way too girlie for him.  I will say that I really wish we had spent the little bit of extra money and got the 360 carrier that gives the option for them to look out.  At the time, I didn’t think this would be a big deal but I really think that Abel would like to see where we are exploring.  All in all though, very happy with this purchase.

I have loved having the Solly Wrap too.  It is a lot easier to get into for someone who is by themselves.  (How you are to snap yourself into the Ergo without getting a serious workout is beyond me).  I even used this around the house in the first few weeks for skin-to-skin time when I still wanted to be productive.  I also love how cute they are.  That alone should make you register for one ;)

Really, the best part of these are how much Abel loves being in them.  If we’re needing to just get things done, these have been a life saver.  I’ve vacuumed, planted seeds in my garden, prepped for dinner (you aren’t supposed to actually cook while baby wearing so you don’t accidentally burn a little toe) all with baby in tow.  It’s been great and I imagine as we add kiddos to the mix down the road, it will be even more useful!  Here’s the Solly Wrap in action at the Tulip Festival and the Ergo on a hike.

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2.  A Covered Goods nursing cover.

I truly feel like this product has been the key to me being so successful with nursing.  Abel can be a squirmy guy and I never have worry about accidentally putting on a show because he and I both contained by 360 degrees of fabric.  Such a great idea.  And this confidence has let me nurse all kinds of random places and not be worried about it all.  And the fabric is great and stylish.  This might be a trend for all of my favorite products…. :)

3. A Brest Friend nursing pillow.

Real talk – unless you are like the most blessed person on the planet, breastfeeding is hard.  There’s so much more technique to it than I had ever imagined.  This pillow basically creates a platform so you can lay the babes on it and worry about more important things than your arm falling asleep because you’ve been trying for 45 minutes to feed them and it just isn’t happening.  It’s also great that is fastens around you so it’s secure.  I never bought a Boppy pillow because two friends told me to buy this instead and I haven’t looked back.  And you totally can’t beat the name ;)

4. A diaper pail.

We got this one because you can use regular trash bags rather than buying the ones specifically made for the Diaper Genie.  It achieves the same thing as the Diaper Genie – ie trapping the nastiness in the bottom of the pail so you never have to smell it.  We empty this once it’s full – about once a week – and have never had to deal with smells.  I hear that baby poop really takes it up a notch once you introduce solids so I can’t vouch for it working through all of that, but so far so good!

I also think it kind of looks like R2D2 for some reason??  It’s to the right of the dresser in the picture below.

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5.  Swaddling blankets

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We received a three pack of the ever beautiful Aden + Anais muslin swaddles (pictured above) and really loved them.  They are so very soft and light enough to use even when it is warm.  I will say that we had a little Houdini on our hands and he could get out of even our best swaddle attempts.  So we developed a system of using these blankets for nap time and then bought this sleep sack swaddle at night time.  The velcro is a life saver!  All that to say, I haven’t swaddled a baby in months – ever since the little man could roll over, he’s wanted to sleep on his stomach and swaddling went by the wayside.  But these really are great for just covering up with a light blanket when needed too.

6.  The Snot Sucker!

Unless you are a trained pediatric nurse, don’t even waste your time with the bulb suction thing that they give you when you leave the hospital and go buy the NoseFrida Snotsucker.  You really need this on hand for the first cold so get it before your baby is even born!

A few other honorable mentions that I have purchased recently and really like!  They may not be necessities but they are awesome!

– Mushybooks baby books – these are incredibly beautiful, well made, and non-traditional.  I love mine and it has been so fun to fill out so far!

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– Gathre Mat – I was surprised by the idea of leather for a blanket but it is so great for the outdoors.  We just got this so it’s been kind of limited to backyard use but we also took it with us to the lake and it was awesome.  Just wiped it down with a wet towel when we got home and it was good as new.  And it’s waterproof so you can sit on wet grass or sand and stay dry!  Win!

05. 05. 2016

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and it’s my very first Mother’s Day.  I’m sure Abel has something really sweet planned.  Maybe he will sleep through the night.  That would be incredibly thoughtful of him, but I won’t hold my breath.  :)

While I am incredibly excited about being in the mama club and getting to be celebrated, today I can’t help but think back on previous Mother’s Days.  Until now, I used to view it as a day a lot like Valentine’s Day.  Just basically a made up holiday that you have to buy yet another gift for and Hallmark wins yet again.  But now I see it as so much more.  Mothers should be celebrated!  (yes, yes, please celebrate me, I’m incredible and deserve it.  That’s not the point I’m trying to make here.)  When done as it was designed, motherhood is the most selfless and demanding job out there.  There are days when it seems like I could be feeding Abel all. day. long.  It’s unreal.  And exhausting.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The thing that scares me is I know will only get crazier as he continues to grow.  This is the slow and quiet time.  And there is only one of him.  The weariness that moms feel is by itself enough to celebrate on Sunday.

 

But now that I am a mother, I’ve also realized something else.  That’s not why we all take a day to celebrate the women in our lives.  It’s really to celebrate the love that is shared between a mom and her babies.  The love that I feel when I look at this boy is unlike anything I have ever encountered.  It’s pure and unrelenting.  He was sick a few weeks ago and was coughing in my face all day.  You guys sometimes my mouth was open.  I literally cannot think of another person on this planet that I would let do that to me.  Not even Ben.  And I truly didn’t care one bit.  Every time I look at him, my heart swells with pride and happiness.  It makes me want to work every day so that he, and any future siblings he has, will be my greatest accomplishment in life.  The best part is, I know that he loves me back.  He will be three months old on Monday and he loves me.  The kid still has to practice holding his head up at times, but he is already living out what he was created to do.  I feel special just knowing that no one in this whole wide world gets to have the relationship with him that I do.  Not his dad (though it is equally special, just not the same), not his future wife, no one.  I know he loves me when I am the only one who can make him stop crying and he snuggles into my chest like he’s been waiting all day to do so.  Or when he has just woken up from a nap and he smiles as soon as he sees my face.  Being a mom is the coolest thing I’ve ever done.  And that’s what we celebrate.  The love and the relationship between a mama and her sweet babes.

 

I also think back to last years’ Mother’s Day and getting a text from my friend Katy wishing me a happy Mother’s Day.  Not many know this, but the Christmas before, Ben and I lost a beautiful baby just eight weeks into the pregnancy.  She wanted to let me know that I was still a mother and I still deserved to be recognized as such on that day.  I was so grateful for that because I had been thinking all day about how pregnant I would have been at that point and how excited I would have been.  Just knowing that someone remembered me on that day was so beautiful.  I think of my sweet baby often and wonder what he or she would have been like.  Sometimes I think that that baby got  a pretty okay deal because they get to be hanging out with Jesus all the time, which is so much better than anything I could have ever given them.  I can’t wait to meet him or her some day.  It will be a great day indeed.  So for all of the mamas of angel babies, I love you and your babies love you and Happy Mother’s Day.  All the love that you poured into your little baby for the short time that you could deserves to be celebrated too.

 

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, especially to all three of my moms, and thank you for all that you do!

11. 03. 2016

Hello everyone!  I fully intended to take pictures and post this before Abel was born – because I promise, it really was finished ahead of time!  This was one of the many things that didn’t happen, including:  cleaning my house (the whole “nesting” thing never happened like I thought it was supposed to??), getting a haircut and pedicure, picking a pediatrician and daycare provider, and I’m sure a few other really important things that are long forgotten.  I apparently had really big plans for my last two weeks of pregnancy!

But without further ado, here’s a little photo tour of Abel’s nursery!

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Just a regular nursery guard dog :)

 

 

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This is our dresser and changing station. We’ve definitely gotten to know this area well ;) Artwork “tutorial” here

 

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This rocking chair was used in both mine and my sister’s nurseries. I’m sure Abel and I will spend many late nights in this chair!

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These books are all either mine from childhood or gifts from friends and family. Little guy is getting smarter already!

 

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“All good things are wild and free”. Just like little boys :)

 

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This mountain print is kind of what inspired the whole nursery. I ordered all four of these prints off of etsy. You can find them here, here, here, and here. And the tutorial for the mobile here.

 

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I really love how the crib came together and that it is nice and simple. The crib itself is from IKEA. In case anyone is in the market for a crib mattress, I got this one. Very good price and great reviews. Ben’s mom made the square quilt and the crib sheet and our dear friend Jessica made the hexagon quilt. They both add the perfect touch and were a total surprise! The pillows are homemade with fabric from fabric.com.

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Just in case there weren’t enough books in the bookcase, I thought I would display some too. They are on the IKEA picture ledges. Pretty simple and a fun effect. The chest below is one we had laying around and plan to use it for toys. Ben refinished the top and it turned out great!

 

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I hope they take naps together in here someday :) I say someday because Abel is still working on the nap thing.

 

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I can’t take any credit for this sign. Ben stained it and put it together and my dear friend Michelle painted on the letters for me. Although I did go to Home Depot and had them cut the boards to the length I wanted!

 

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These blocks were another project we did. I had Ben stain them (I was pregnant so I couldn’t do these things!) and then used rubber stamps to apply the letters. I sealed the letter-side of the blocks with Mod Podge. Yes I know, these are not baby friendly, they are just decorative :)

 

So there you have it!  A massive thank you to everyone who contributed – especially to my husband, who probably would have refused if I asked him to stain one more thing :)  I am sure that Abel is well aware of just how awesome his nursery is.

03. 03. 2016

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It has now been just over three weeks since Mr. Abel joined our little family and we are truly so amazed at what a perfect baby he is.  Today I wanted to share the story of Abel’s birth with you all.  It’s long and I tried really hard to leave out any of the gross details, but it’s probably more of something that the ladies will want to read anyway.

On the Saturday night before his birth day, about two and half weeks before his due date, I started to notice a change in the way I was feeling.  It is hard to explain this part, but I started to feel a shift in my body and I started to get very nervous about what felt like might be ahead.  This continued on Sunday and Monday.  Monday evening I started to feel kind of crampy but it was still very irregular and I figured they were Braxton Hicks, which I had never had during the pregnancy.  The cramps woke me up every hour or so throughout the night and around 5:00am I got up because they were too intense for me to be comfortable laying down.

Ben woke up around 6:00 and found me sitting in the dark living room on the exercise ball.  He stopped in his tracks and just said very seriously “are you in labor?”  At that point, I was convinced that there was no way this was real labor yet.  So I told him I was calling the midwife at 7:00 because I didn’t want to annoy them too early in the morning when it most likely wasn’t labor.  I spoke with the midwife on call and she seemed unsure whether it was labor too.  She suggested I take a shower and see whether that changed the frequency of contractions.  I had about six contractions in the shower and then went back to my spot on birth ball.  I sent Ben to work because I was still thinking it wasn’t really time even though he was beginning to feel it was time.

By about 10am, contractions were averaging about six minutes apart and lasting 45-60 seconds.  I decided to call the midwife again because I was pretty sure that it was the real thing at this point.  For some reason (apparently they were very busy), it took over an hour for the midwife to return my call.  During that time, I texted Ben that he needed to come home because things were picking up.  He got to the house around 11:00 and sprang into action getting all of the final pieces of our birth center bag put together.  I was finally able to connect with the midwife and agreed that we would meet her at the birth center at 2:00.  By around 12:30, Ben was having to help me work through contractions and applying pressure to my lower back.  At 1:30 we loaded up the car with our bags and our puppy dog and headed into town.  Contractions were lasting a solid minute long and were coming about every three minutes.

After we dropped the puppy off at my dad’s we arrived at the birth center a little bit after 2:00.  When we checked in, they instructed us to wait at the counter while they got a room ready so they could check my progress.  I was incredibly annoyed by this and had about six contractions while I was standing at the counter.  When the midwife checked me, she was very surprised that I was at 6 cm, which was great because it meant that I could stay at the birth center.

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Just a few hours before Abel was born.

I got into the bathtub right away.  From what we learned at the birthing classes, I had expected this to make me feel a lot better but it really just accelerated labor.  Things were progressing pretty quickly and the midwife asked if I wanted to give birth in the tub.  A water birth wasn’t something we had planned on so they had me get out of the tub.  At this point, my water still hadn’t broken so the midwife suggested we break my water so that baby could move further down and help me dilate further.  Once she did this, things got really intense.  I think this was the point that I moved into transition labor.  I know that for most women, this is the most intense and painful part of labor and this was definitely the case for me.  The contractions came in so strong and it was all I could do to just breathe through them.  The midwife stepped out of the room to let Ben and I work through contractions as a team.  I remember getting the infamous “urge to push” for several contractions but the midwife instructed me not to push because I wasn’t fully dilated.  Not pushing through these horrible urges was the hardest part of the whole labor.  I remember physically shaking from trying not to push.  At that point, Ben went to get the midwife to let her know that I was no longer able to not push.  She came in and determined that I still had about a half centimeter to go and said that with the next contraction, I should try pushing and she would try to push the final part out of the way.  Pushing was still painful, but definitely better than transition.  I pushed for about twenty minutes when I started to feel the ring of fire.  It was much more intense than I thought it would be but I also knew that it was a sign that things were getting close.  Our concept of time got pretty hazy at this point, but what seemed like about 10 minutes later, the midwife told me that in a few contractions, he was going to be here.  Talk about encouraging news!  She then asked Ben if he wanted to catch the baby.  He was a little hesitant, just wanting everything to go well and for a safe and healthy baby to arrive, but he decided to do it.  I kept on pushing through a few more contractions and then all of a sudden he was born.

His entrance into the world really fit the whole day – quick and unexpected.  With one final push, he was born and Ben put him immediately on my chest – despite being doused by a fair amount of amniotic fluid!  The midwives covered him up with a warm blanket and Ben was so focused on getting him to me, he forgot to check what the gender was.  He peaked under the blanket and said “It’s a boy!”  Our families in the waiting room started cheering.  He was incredibly calm and not moving or breathing when he was born and was really blue.  He didn’t cry right away and the midwives were rubbing him all over to get him to breathe.  He was up so high on my chest that I couldn’t see anything but the top of his head and had to ask Ben if he was cute or not.  Ben said that his eyes were wide open and he was just staring at him and looking around the room.  I am so happy that they were able to have that moment together.  We got home at 11:00 that night and I remember thinking that just with the timing of everything, in a way it felt like it was “all in a days’ work”.  I woke up at 5:00am, gave birth to our son Abel at 5:07pm, and came home the same day with a baby – and he really is the most incredible baby!

It was all such a blur at the end and it took a while for me to even grasp what had just happened.  I had just given birth to a real, live baby that was all ours!   What an incredible moment!  I feel proud that I was able to have the natural and unmedicated birth that I wanted.  But really every part of it was different from what I was expecting – from him coming two weeks before his due date, to the intensity of the pain, to how quick labor really went.  There really is nothing like the experience of birth and the love that fills our hearts now is so much stronger than I would have ever thought possible.  We are so, so in love with sweet Abel and can’t wait for the adventures ahead!

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26. 10. 2015

I completed another piece of the nursery about a week ago that is definitely more on the artsy side, but I also required swinging a hammer a few hundred times.  I really wish I was kidding on that part – I think I started to develop tennis elbow!  But I really like how it turned out and it definitely has a handmade quality to it, which is what I was going for.

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Albeit time consuming, this project was really easy.  I first went to Jerry’s and bought a 1×12 board and had them cut it to 4 1/2 feet for me.  (Seriously the cutting counter at the hardware stores is the best thing that’s ever happened to my crafting life!)  Then I had the husband stain it with a dark walnut stain for me so I wasn’t exposing baby to too many bad smells.  After a few days of it drying/airing out, I taped down paper the full length of the board and drew on the shape of the mountains and snow.  Then it was as simple as adding nails every 1/4″ or so along the mountain ridges and the perimeter of the “snow”.  I went with 1″ #7 wire nails and I went through almost four boxes.  You do need a little bit of a head on the nail to hold the string on.  Then I just added the white string (this kind) to create a defined pattern.  I doubled around both sides (top and bottom of the nails) on the mountain ridges so they were more defined.

With breaks (and not counting Ben’s labor), I probably spent around 6-7 hours on this one.  It is also one of those projects that didn’t turn out quite as good as the Pinterest inspiration, but I still really like it and I think it will be a cool statement-type piece in the nursery.  The tentative plan is to hang it above the dresser/changing table.

More wall decorations are in the works and hopefully I will make a crib sheet soon so stay tuned!

12. 10. 2015

Decorating the nursery for this sweet babe is the most fun and intimidating thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve never started from scratch in a room and decorated it exactly how I want to (hence why I still use the dresser that was in my own nursery as a baby).  There are just so many options, but also not so many because there’s these little things like a relatively small room and an even smaller budget.  But I’ve got some fun ideas in the works and I plan to share them on here as projects get finished.

First of all, what’s the theme??  Good question.  I would describe it as a kind of adventurer theme with touches of tribal and geometric prints.  That’s the plan anyway.  And it’s gender neutral because we’re those weirdos who are waiting for the ultimate surprise :)  so there has been a lot of time spent on Pinterest scoping out ideas.  A lot of time.  I should probably stop.  But I can’t.

But Pinterest led me to this wonderful little mobile DIY that can be found at here.

I really followed the tutorial pretty closely but I thought I would share my cell phone pictures to try to compete with the professional ones you can find in the other tutorial :)

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It’s kind of tribal but also kind of cool and modern.  I love it.  And even with buying all the materials, it was way cheaper than buying a mobile.

I started out by painting the tips of the feathers gold on both sides.  Then I wrapped the gold ribbon around the ring in what was supposed to be a more random pattern but actually ended up pretty symmetrical.  I’m just an accidental perfectionist, what can I say ;)  I glued each point that I wrapped the ribbon because it was sliding all over the place when I pulled it tight.

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I really like it hanging in the window though.  And there’s a little sneak peak of the crib.  It’s actually white, not a natural wood finish like it kind of looks here.  Darn that cell phone camera!

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More nursery updates to come for sure.  I definitely picked the easiest craft to start with!

As a side note, growing a human is kicking my butt these days.  My whole body just aches, especially my lower back and stomach.  I am happy that I get to be experiencing it, but it’s tough.  And I’m only halfway!

21. 08. 2015

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Now that I’ve waited the appropriate amount of time of about a year between blog posts, I thought I would go ahead and throw one out there.  The thing about summer is I think we have had two free weekends.  Maybe.  And those were back in June!  We are busy on the weekends and busy getting ready for the weekends during the week.  ‘Tis life I suppose.  But the good news that I learned this week?  When life get’s crazy, there’s always potato chips.

This past weekend I went to the Willamette Country Music Festival and to be honest, it was not the most healthy weekend of my life.  And I felt horrible.  Literally felt like everything I ate was just weighing me down until at least Tuesday this week.  It was awful.  So I had a renewed passion for healthy and clean eating.  This week I made bagels for the first time.  I want to keep looking for recipes but I think it was wildly successful for a first attempt.  They were quite delicious.  And I also made… homemade potato chips!

They are shockingly easy.  You just slice potatoes really thin, fry them in coconut oil until they get beautiful and golden on both sides then sprinkle your seasoning on while they are cooling but still hot and slightly greasy.  I just went with a simple sea salt but you could really put whatever seasonings you wanted on them.  They were just amazing.  So much better than regular potato chips.  Makes me never want to buy them again.  Maybe that’s the point.  :)

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These pictures kind of look like dried apples, but I promise they aren’t!

Some day I will hopefully own a mandolin slicer so the slicing is easier and more consistent but honestly, the ones where you only cut half the potato because you are trying to cut it so thin and it just slips off (am I the only one who has these issues?) are the crispiest and tastiest.  And the slightly thicker ones are my favorite when they are fresh.  They get perfectly crispy on the outside, while still being a little soft in the middle.  Pure bliss I tell you.

Also, please promise me that if you make these, do not make the same mistake that I did!  If you somehow don’t demolish the whole batch of these when they are fresh (I am to blame for this.  Ben really wanted to) do not put them in the refrigerator.  They turn into the equivalent of left over french fries.  They look fine, but they never really return to their former glory.  So just don’t even think about it :)

08. 06. 2015

We have now been living in our house for 10 days and I am seriously in love.  I’m more in love than I actually thought I would be.  But our house is just so bright and happy and we still don’t have anything hung on the walls yet!

I’m quickly realizing though that everyone was right.  Owning a house is a lot of work!  There are so many projects that we want to do and none of them are fast and easy.  Oh and they cost money, that’s the best part!

This weekend we:

– hit up a garage sale to shop for yard tools

– went to a farmer’s market for the necessities (raw honey and vegetable plants)

– Patched and painted (almost) all the holes in the walls left by the beloved previous owners.  There were tons!!

– Tried out three different shades of light grey paint on our living room walls, none of which I think are the right color.  Neither natural grey, graceful grey, or moth grey are quite right.  Back to Home Depot we go.  Luckily there are only about 80,000 shades of light grey, so I’m sure it should be easy enough to find something.  ;)

But to-do list just goes on.  I also have a secret to-do list that I tell Ben about in pieces so he doesn’t get too mad at me for trying to take up every free weekend we have for the next two years.  But I can’t help it that I come up with the ideas, not execute them!

– Once we decide on a paint color, we need to actually paint the living room.

– Ben is tackling a fun little project of building us a dining room table.  It will be beautiful and massive and something that I’m sure I will cherish forever.  But it will definitely be his biggest woodworking project to date.  I see it as a nice warm up for all the other projects I have planned for him :)

– We’re getting a dog.  At some point.  Relatively soon.  We’ve landed on a goldendoodle and I am just thrilled.  But we have to build a little doggie area both in the garage and outside.  There is a lot to get ready.  It’s like welcoming a baby.  Ok maybe not that extreme but still.  There’s lots of things!

There’s more on my secret to-do list, but we’ll talk about that later.  As much work as it is going to be, it’s such a fun adventure.  More than anything, I’m so happy I get to do it all with my best friend.  Ok that was the only corny thing for the whole post but I felt like I was due because he’s just so darn great.  Now that’s two.  I better just end this before things get crazy.

27. 05. 2015

Yes, I am failing again at blogging.  But, you guys, it’s been so crazy.  Good crazy.  Maybe even crazy awesome :)

A few noteworthy happenings:

1.  I am now 25 years old.  One quarter of a century.  Whoa.  In my mind, I still think of myself as a 22-year-old recent college graduate.  But no.  I’m almost 3 years out of school and very much have a big-girl job and I’m married.  It’s weird.  Maybe I’ll feel 22 forever…  Que the T-Swifty song now…

2.  Also part of being an adult, is being a home owner.  That’s right.  The Tompkins’ are joining the full blown suburban life in Junction City.  And this is our adorable house!

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We couldn’t be more excited.  Well, maybe if it came with some chickens in the backyard, that might tip the scales.  But seriously, we’re pumped.

3. In a random moment of courage, I signed up for the Hood to Coast relay.  As soon as I sent in my info, I wondered to myself what had just happened.  I’m not a runner.  The furthest I have ever ran is about 3 miles. Maybe.  I might be making that up.  That’s how long ago it was.  But, somehow in the next 13 weeks I have to train for this thing.  And I’m putting it out there on the internet so that I have another level of accountability.  So make sure you ask me how it’s going in a few weeks.

4.  We are puppy shopping.  If you know of anyone who will be having a golden retriever litter soon, please let me know :)  I would also settle for a goldendoodle.  They look like teddy bears!

That’s pretty much it.  Nothing too significant right???  Just kidding, life is crazy.  But it’s good.  So, so good :)

27. 01. 2015

Do you see what I did there?  Just a little Real World reference for ya!

A few months ago (ok, 9 months ago…) I wrote about my new quest to start eating more traditional, “real” foods.  Since I’ve now been at this for the better part of a year, I thought you could use an update.

This is what I’ve learned:

1)  It’s expensive.  I’m talking $11/gallon for raw milk expensive.  Holy cow! (pun intended)  Cage-free, grass-fed chicken, eggs, and butter cost a whole lot more than conventional options.  But there is also a very noticeable difference in quality.  There have been a few times that the grocery store was out of the good eggs so we had to get regular eggs and it was quite honestly gross to me.   They had no flavor and they were a funny color.  So maybe that’s another observation… I’ve become a food snob!  I’ll tell you what though, I have started to crave the raw milk, except for a time last week when I opened a new one and apparently didn’t shake it enough and it was like drinking straight cream.  Interesting to say the least!

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Our birthdays last year - lovin' us some raw milk!

2)  It’s time consuming.  I have successfully made sourdough bread, English muffins, waffles, and pancakes.  I’ve started making my own coffee creamer because the Coffee Mate decidedly freaks me out.  I made elk bone broth a few weeks ago.  I’ve got my very first batch of kefir (it’s kind of like yogurt) in the works at home as I type.  With the exception of a few failed attempts at the bread, these things have been amazing and I will definitely keep making them.  But I literally feel like I could quit my job and spend my days souring and fermenting.  Real food takes time, I know, but this has probably been the biggest limitation on this journey.  We are so busy.  And I know we will just get busier as life goes on.  Maybe if I just stop sleeping, I’ll really have this thing figured out…  :)

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The best sourdough bread I've made to date!

3) There is so much to learn.  There are so many books and blogs and diet plans to read about.  It’s overwhelming.  And it seems like everyone that writes these things has it all figured out.  (That’s probably a good thing.  I wouldn’t want to be taking advice from someone, well, like me!)  For example, as I said, I’m making kefir right now.  I have no idea what it is, except that it’s good for you and it has probiotics.  And it’s kind of like yogurt.  So I won’t even know if it turned out right or not.  We’ll just have to see.  But there’s essential oils.  And fermented cod liver oil (see item #1 about things being expensive…).  And the GAPS diet.  And kombucha.  Honestly the list goes on and on.  It’s a slow process, this whole eating real thing.  That’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for.  I really thought that by now, Ben and I would be practically ready to move out into the country and live off the grid.  But we’re not even close.  Maybe in 5 years, I’ll post an article that I wrote while sitting on my front porch watching my chickens wander around the yard and listening to my cows moo in the distance.  A girl can dream right??

4)  It’s hard.  It’s hard to be good and diligent.  I suppose this the same for every diet.  But I really tried to look at this as a lifestyle change, and not a diet plan.  But sometimes a sister needs Nacho Cheese Doritos and there is no getting past it.  So while I’m not calorie counting or even necessarily trying to lose weight, I still have at times fierce cravings for processed foods.  I don’t know if that will ever go away.

5)  It’s worth it.  There was a week a few weeks ago when we ate awesome.  Everything we ate was something that I had prepared and all of our meats were really quality.  It was our best, natural-foods week so far.  I also went for a run.  But that’s a side story :)  And the truth is, I felt awesome.  I really, truly felt a difference.  I was more awake.  I didn’t have any cravings.  Overall, there was an extra pep in my step.  Since that glorious week, we’ve had not so good weeks.  They haven’t been horrible, but they weren’t on that same level and feeling that good, has shown me how I really feel pretty mediocre the rest of the time.  It’s motivating the say the least!

So what are my steps now that I’ve played in the real foods kiddy pool for a while?

1)  I want to make a real conscious effort with meats.  No more lunch meat.  Only uncured bacon. Et cetera.

2)  Explore the world of probiotics and fermented foods.

3)  Look into essential oils.  Not saying I’m giving up modern medicine, but it’s definitely an intriguing topic!

4)  Outfitting our home with more natural cleaning and beauty supplies.  I just placed my first order with The Honest Company and I’m pumped!  I also plan to continue going “no-poo” for washing my hair.  For those who have never heard of this, you wash your hair with baking soda and condition with vinegar.  I only have to wash my hair every 4 days (which is by far the best part) and it really is so much softer than when I used shampoo and conditioner.  I’ve been at it for about a year and it’s been great!  Highly recommend it!

5) Just keep trying my best.  That’s all you can do right?  I only have so much time, so much money, and so much energy, so I’m just going to try to make the most of it!

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any tips! :)