Monday, February 24, 2014

A Trip To The ACTUAL Zoo

I live in a zoo, there is an awful lot of poop, feedings, and animal games.  I cannot go a few hours much less an entire day without talking about poop.  I bring this up in conversations with other mom friends as well and feel guilty that I am always the one that turns a conversation from interesting to poop.  When you have 3 boys plus a husband though the topic just comes up quite often especially since Evan (2YO) is potty training.  So from time to time we like to visit the actual zoo!  This great place where I don't have to clean up the poop or feed the poor caged animals!

Side note - Isn't it sad to see these animals in tiny spaces??  The tigers and lions are use to so much space but they are stuck in a habitat the size of a studio apartment compared to the large amounts of space in Africa.  I am in no means an animal activist but it makes me sad from time to time to see them in there.

Darien works most Saturday's so we woke up at 6:30 am as usual because at 2 Evan doesn't understand sleeping in.  The day was already beautiful and would only get better so I decided we would take advantage and have some mommy and boy time at the zoo.  I thankfully packed extra pants and underwear because of course we aren't there 10 minutes before Evan wets his pants.  I blame myself a bit for this because he told me in the car but after the walk to the zoo (I was not the only one with this grand idea) standing in line for the zoo and then we went on the carousel since it was right in front of the entrance, he held it for a bit longer than he should have and my pregnancy brain forgot.

Trip to the bathroom later and we were back at wandering around the zoo.

Noah and I on the Carousel

Posing in front of the crocodile

Can you tell Conner refused the take pictures?  Evan and Noah however love to say CHEESE!

Finally forced him to take a picture!

Fun times on the train!

 After almost 3 hours at the zoo and closer to lunch time we decided to leave and pick up lunch on the way home since the crowd was getting crazy!  It was a really fun day with just me and the boys before #4 arrives!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pregnancy Craving Adventures!

Lets face it, we as pregnant mama's get cravings.  They tend to vary from pregnancy to pregnancy but we all get them.  Even if you are thinking, "No, I don't really have cravings", I bet you are wrong.  You may not have an attack of midnight pickle attack but there are different levels of cravings in my experience.  This pregnancy I have racked up the pregnancy craving adventures unlike any other pregnancy so far.

Do you see this little piece of Heaven?!?!?  This is my pregnancy craving...  It's my absolute downfall and yet makes the back pain fall to the back ground for the 10 minutes or so it takes to savor every bite.  It is also what caused me to cry, yes full out cry, in my car at 9:45 pm last night with my best friend.  My mission when leaving the house however was to run to the store for caffeine free Pepsi, also a serious craving, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.  On our way there Abby mentioned chocolate cake which immediately made me think of McAlister's Chocolate Lovin Spoon Cake.  Since we were already in the car I decided to change course and stop by McAlister's  before they closed at 10 in order to stock up on cake.  So we waltz in ready to put the employees at ease by telling them we were ordering to go and would not require the kitchen to make anything!  If you have ever worked in a restaurant this is wonderful news to hear.  

As I am placing my order for 4, yes 4, pieces of cake the poor unknowing employees apologizes and tells me that they are currently out of my beloved cake...

Dreams...  crushed.....

I am devastated and she feels terrible...  Abby buys her 2 cookies and we leave, sad pregnant woman holding back tears as she continues to apologize.  Once back in my car I am crying, literally tears pouring from my eyes because of cake.  I start the car and proceed to pull out while Abby tries to make me laugh as she watches the girl who gave us the devastating news to another employee when suddenly Abby tells me to stop!  Now, you cannot get a pregnant girls hopes up, it's just wrong!  However I turn to see the poor girl running to the door and to my car to tell me she was wrong that they actually DO have my cake!!!  NO JOKE PEOPLE!!!!  

5 minutes later I am back in my car with 4 pieces of yummy cake and $17 poorer which I knew was the only thing my husband was going to care about.  He didn't even chuckle at my crazy embarrassing pregnancy moment....  It was slightly heartbreaking but I am off subject again.  

These are not healthy options, they are my cravings that I really only have once a week as a splurge but like I have said many times before, sometimes it's ok to splurge.  Enjoy your pregnancy, embrace your crazy pregnant woman dying to get out, and try not to care too much what other people may think.  I say this last part mostly because showed up to McAlister's in sweatpants, glasses, my hair in a bun, ballet shoes and a tshirt.

Pregnancy can be awesome because you get away with things like this.  :)

Essentially Essential Oils - What you really need to know

I am fed up!  I have been using essential oils for several months now and I love them.  I love the stories that people have using them.  I love that not only do they smell good but they have been helping clear up colds in my kids.  These are all great things!  BUT, and yes that is a BIG BUT, what do you really know about essential oils?  Have you ever tried researching actual facts?  Essentially essential oils are the oils pressed from leaves or other parts of a plant.  There are several ways companies go about this but to get the best oil you want a cold pressed, cold steam.

So here are my frustrations, after extensive research for the best oils, how to figure out which ones really are the best, and what evidence supports they actually work, no one can really answer all of these questions.  If you go searching for them you will find tons of information and some of that information will be exactly what you are looking for but then they derail into a sales pitch for either Young Living or DoTERRA.  I do not want a sales pitch!  Just so you know this is not a sales pitch.  Even though I may prefer one brand over another I will never sales pitch you into anything.  I am just not that kind of gal.

I found this site that was helpful to give basic information.  Then after reading further more information on the actual process I knew more information on what to really look for.

For anything you are ingesting you want the purest oil you can find and it needs to be 100% therapeutic grade.  Side note to this - there are several oils like Tea Tree that you do NOT want to ingest.  Little known fact, the FDA only requires 5% of actual oil present to be considered 100% therapeutic grade which means you really need to be careful when buying oils.  So I found Whole New Mom, and I like her mostly because she reminds me of me and how much research I have done.  The only thing I do not like is that the differences she finds between DoTERRA and Young Living are how the companies are run but both products have their own positives and negatives depending on what you are looking for.

So what have I really found?  I still haven't made up my mind.  I go back and forth between DoTERRA and Young Living.  I have friends that promote both and like them both for very similar reasons.  I also have several Eden's Garden that are sold on Amazon for a much cheaper price.  I have lemon oil from Spark, Eden's Garden, and Young Living.  They all have a strong lemon smell and I can't tell much of a difference between all three however I have peppermint from the same three companies and the Eden's Garden has a very candy like smell which I have read is a bad sign.  I tend to enjoy the smell of DoTERRA blends much more than Young Living so ultimately I feel like between the two it's a toss up to which you enjoy more.  Both of these companies are very reputable with very pure essential oils.

Ultimately, do your research as best you can with the information you can find.  Don't get sucked into one company over the other just because of the stories you hear from friends.  Just like with many things, something that works for others may not work for you.  All of these companies have samples that they give to their MLM (multi-level marketing) consultants so ask for the samples and try them out for yourself.

Essential oils do work and can make a big difference in your life!  I will be making a final choice soon so check back for more information!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

31 Weeks - 9 Weeks To Go?!?!

(Ignore the blue tape - hubby was painting behind me)

There are days I truly feel like I am racing to the finish line and then others days where I am the turtle in the "Tortoise and the Hare".  Either way I know I will make it to the finish line but now I am 31 weeks pregnant I some days I am the hare, running pretty fast, taking a nap, and getting side track by the random snacks along the way and then days like today where I am the tortoise, slowly but surely taking my time keeping my eye on the finish line watching everyone else rush by me.

Maybe I have derailed and you are completely lost and can't figure out how my analogy compares to pregnancy but this is also why I can be the Hare in this story because I hop off track to little rabbit trails full of random stories or side notes.

Side note - I am a Pinterest Addict

Double side note - I get side tracked quite often...

Now that I am 31 weeks pregnant not much has changed since last week.  Friday was a prime example of how most of this week went.  My back was especially painful, the kids were making me want to pull every hair off of my head, and by 7 pm while we were all piled in my bed watching The Little Mermaid (I kid you not!), I was ready to just go to sleep and wake up with the new baby here already.  The baby leggings and more cloth diapers that I got in the mail probably didn't help in this either.  I guess we all have those days right?

Ok back to the point, 31 weeks pregnant!  That week flew by!  I haven't mentioned this before but my brother closest to me (2 and a half years younger) and his wife are expecting their first baby boy a week before me so we like to remind each other how far along we are.  Anyways at 31 weeks I have gained 10 lbs!  Yea I know right, doesn't seem like much but I was 10 lbs heavier than I should have been prior to getting pregnant, lost 10 lbs in the first trimester from being sick so technically I have gained 20 lbs but I don't really like to think of it that way.

Baby is a little over 16 inches long from head to heel, and weighs a little more than 3 lbs!  My little pregnancy app compares him to asparagus currently.  Cabbage last week and now asparagus?!?!  Does this make any sense to you?  Back pain also maybe more intense...  Yes, thank you, I knew that but I just really didn't realize it truly until I read it in your little app!  Sarcasm is my specialty if you haven't noticed this before.

If you haven't noticed this already you may have a little bit of nipple leakage, aka colostrum.  This is normal and could have been happening for weeks now as it has for me.  If they are leaking more than you are comfortable with you can purchase breast pads to protect your clothes.  Make sure you change them often if you are leaking to avoid yeast.  Also if you want to know more about nursing check out my previous post here!

As always, try and enjoy every moment of the last 9 weeks or so!  I promise I am trying most days not to rush this last pregnancy.  Please enjoy the random outtakes from asking my darling husband to take a picture for the blog.  (He was painting and wasn't thrilled that I made him stop, TOO BAD SO SAD!)  Love you darlin :)

Last side note - he never reads the blog unless I force him to so let him know that I don't talk bad about him on here.  :)


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

5 Breastfeeding Tips For New Moms

Are you thinking about breastfeeding your new baby?  Are you worried, confused by everything you hear, or just plain overwhelmed?  You are NOT alone.  If you have read any of my blog so far or just read the title I am pregnant with my fourth boy.  I have breast fed for various lengths of time with all three of my boys and have learned through each one new things.  Through the years my family has grown and so has my extended family and each time the subject of breastfeeding comes up.  Inevitably there are questions, concerns, fears, and general confusion.  So I decided to come up with the 5 best tips for breastfeeding.  These aren't all from me, some are from friends and other blogs but I have tried all of them and wish I had known them when I first had Conner.

1.  You are BOTH new at this.

     If there is one thing I can tell all new moms starting to breastfeed it's reminding them that you are a new mom learning to do things as you go and guess what?!  So is your newborn.  He or she is new to everything and learning as he goes along.  He will get frustrated as will you because lets face it, the first few weeks everything is a huge learning curve.  Can you imagine what he is feeling going from a safe warm place right next to your heart to a big LOUD world being shoved into clothes, diapers and having to learn to eat instead of being fed through his umbilical cord?  The world scares me now as an almost 31 year old so I can't imagine what a huge shift it would be from comfy and safe to hearing, seeing, experiencing new things as a newborn.  Good thing we don't remember any of that!

2.  The first two weeks you will nurse way more than you think you should and wonder if baby is          getting enough.

     At first you will nurse and only colostrum will come out.  This is a magical yellowish substance that is full of nutrients for your baby.  It is often referred to as liquid gold and you don't produce much because your baby's stomach is the size of a shooter marble in the first 1 to 2 days and day 3 to 4 just the size of a ping pong ball.  After 4 to 8 days your milk will come in and then WATCH OUT!  Your breasts will possibly become engorged, this is normal and will even out once your body has adjusted to how much your baby needs.  Your body is an amazing thing, it takes a couple days to a week for it to adjust but he will get as much as he needs.  In the meantime you will nurse often and your baby may seem hungry but keep going.  He is getting enough but is also having to get use to actually feeding himself since for 9 long months he was being fed through the umbilical cord and not having to do any work for it which brings me to my third point.

3.  Your baby is getting enough milk.

     Most new moms are concerned with how much your baby is getting and if it's enough.  I cannot say this enough to new moms, he is getting enough.  There are a few exceptions to this and I want to be very clear with what they are; If your milk never comes in and if you are not exclusively breastfeeding.

My mom tried with me and her milk never came in.  Her pediatrician urged her to nurse and then give me a bottle but that is exhausting and she decided to skip it and just switch to formula.  When she had my brothers she skipped breastfeeding and went straight to a bottle.  This does NOT mean you are a failure, please do not put that kind of pressure on yourselves.  We have enough as moms to feel bad about without adding one more thing.  It happens and you never know if it will happen to you but if your baby is not making wet diapers and not gaining weight these will be your signs to call your pediatrician or lactation nurse but you will be at the pediatrician a lot in the first few months so don't be afraid to ask your pediatrician or stop in and talk to the lactation nurse.

If you stop on demand feeding and start supplementing with formula you are telling your body that your baby doesn't need as much so it will stop making enough which is counter productive and will be very frustrating for you and your baby if you want to move back to exclusively breastfeeding.  The easiest way to solve this is to skip the formula and nurse on demand.  Your baby will eat more frequently until your body starts making more milk.

If you are on demand feeding are still worried about if you are feeding your baby enough keep in mind that the first day your baby's stomach is the size of a shooter marble, day 3 a ping pong ball, and by day 10 a large egg.  The first two weeks your body and  your baby are adjusting to each other as well as the world so keep that in mind and relax as much as you can.

4.  Find someone to talk to about breastfeeding.

     This was the biggest downfall for me with my first.  I didn't really have anyone to talk to.  I was 24 and most of my friends were just getting married and didn't have kids yet.  I was on a very helpful board of mommies who were all due in May that I became really close to and we are still friends today but I was afraid to ask at the time.  I felt pressured by family and friends to stop because it was too hard and giving him a bottle was easier.  I can't do things over again but if I could I wish I had asked or found someone to support me through it.  If you are like me learn from my experience and don't be afraid to ask questions!  Find someone, anyone that will help you through the first through weeks and months because you will need it.  Maybe not for actual questions but sometimes we just need to vent, cry, or be heard.  With my second I was determined to breastfeed for a year but when Noah was 2 months old he developed yeast which is a beast to get rid of and its painful for both you and your baby.  My nipples were cracked and bleeding which made nursing torture.  My wonderful OB nurse at the time helped me through and encouraged me not to stop but to take steps to heal my nipples and keep going.  I did and made it to 6 months when we both got it again for the 3rd time and I cried to my husband who supported my desire to quit.  It may have not been the best option but I was tired, in pain and had made it 6 months and felt accomplished.  With Evan I made it 1 year!  I was so proud and didn't have one issue which was a huge blessing but he was my third!  I had gone through 2 previous children learning new things with each.

My family will call me the breastfeeding guru but that didn't happen over night.  It was hard!  I made mistakes as will you but I kept going and found support in the breastfeeding community.  Which brings me to my last tip.

5.  Ignore the negativity surrounding breastfeeding.

     This may not be the most important tip for everyone but it's one that I want everyone to know.  There is so much negativity surrounding breastfeeding and what is truly sad is that the US is the only country where breastfeeding is the exception and not the norm.  We have slowly drawn away from it as being the natural way to feed your baby because formula is so easy.  Formula brings its own sets of problems and is manufactured.  Why would you not want to at least try and give your baby exactly what your body was made to feed him?  Your baby benefits from any amount of breast milk so even if you have to go back to work and can only nurse for 6 weeks, go for it!  Pumps are expensive and can be difficult but it is still possible to pump.

If you have seen anything in the news recently there is a big issue on breastfeeding in public.  This infuriates me!  Why is it unacceptable to breastfeed in public but Sports Illustrated can sell magazines with women in barely there bathing suits or half naked women all over TV.  Now don't get me wrong I use a cover while in public.  I just don't want my breasts hanging out for everyone to see and they are not small by any means but even covered up there is a stigma.  Oh and let us not forget that if you choose to breastfeed for longer than a year you will be considered a hippy or just plain odd.  Again this isn't for everyone, I choose to stop at a year but more power to you for breastfeeding longer!  Oh and NO nursing your child for longer than a year will not mentally scar them no matter what society tells you.

Just like most things in life you can Google and find numerous articles supporting your decision to stop or not to breastfeed but just because someone else says jumping off a bridge was safe for them doesn't mean it's going to be safe for you.

With all of that said, you can only do what's right for you and your baby.  My beautiful niece is on formula and my lovely SIL tried to nurse but her milk never came in and she made the choice to stop.  I don't blame her nor do I look down on her for it.  Just like it bothers me when people are negative about breastfeeding moms it also bothers me when people are negative to formula feeding moms, we are all moms and shouldn't judge each other for making our own choices about how we raise our kids.  As moms we all learn that the best we can do is try our best and find what works for us and our kids.  What's right for me or works for one mom and baby may not work for another.  I raise my children much differently than a mom that lives down the street but that doesn't make one person right or wrong.

So for all new moms, remember there is a learning curve for you and baby.  Get help and don't be afraid to ask questions!  Relax and don't be too hard on yourself no matter what choice you choose.  All babies are different but one thing remains the same; they each need love, clothing, and food.  You are going to be a wonderful mom and if you are worried if you will be a good mom then remember that if you are worried now then you are going to be a great mom!  I am on number 4 and I still worry if I am doing things right.


Slight Interruption of Regularly Scheduled Events

Going on a play date with two toddlers in tow and being 30 weeks pregnant is exhausting...

I know you are all shocked to hear thay right?!

Cups are dropped, potty breaks every 10 minutes, toys are thrown, and general chaos is constant and yet I attempt this every week to squeeze in a few minutes of adult talk with other mommies. 

Today I am channeling the little engine that could!  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....

That is all...

Chicken Enchiladas

I love to cook but some nights I would much rather just have the husband pick something up, especially being 30 weeks pregnant.  So to avoid this I make a weekly meal plan and pull from my freezer stock on a couple days in order to make those nights easier.  Tonight on the menu was chicken enchiladas!
These are super easy!  No seriously, fool proof meal here all the way!  If you have gluten or dairy issues there are easy substitutions for certain ingredients so don't turn back now.

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cans enchilada sauce or home made
Quesadilla cheese (any cheese can be substituted here)
Soft taco shells

Preheat your oven to 375.  Grab a baking dish, pour a small a small amount of sauce on the bottom of your dish, just enough to cover the bottom.  If you need to, shred your cheese and chicken, and line them next to your tortillas for easy assembly.   Take one taco,  add chicken down the middle, add cheese down the middle and roll.  Place rolled taco seam down in pan and repeat.  Once all enchiladas are rolled pour remaining sauce over the top making sure to cover all enchiladas.   Add more cheese to the top and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browned and  your chicken enchiladas are complete!  (total nerd talk there, please excuse)

Assembled and ready to cook!

Out of the oven and ready to eat!
Side notes:

*Chicken - If you do not have precooked chicken on hand that's very easy to do before.  You can accomplish this one of two easy ways.  Grab a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred.  You will have leftovers so place it in a freezer bag and freeze for your next meal.  The second way is to buy chicken breasts and saute them, boil them, or bake them.  My favorite way is to simply saute them with a little bit of oil and season the chicken with salt and pepper.  This adds about 10 to 15 minutes to your cooking time
*Cheese - I like to use a Mexican quesadilla cheese that comes in a round block.  It's creamy and melts really well but pre-shredded Mexican cheese or really any cheese of your choice would work.

*Taco shells - I use flour tortillas because they hold up well and would never use store bought corn tortillas because they fall apart insanely fast.  They are relatively easy to make however if you choose to do so but let's be honest I am all about quick and efficient.

Enjoy cooking dinner tonight and stay tuned for tonight's Tomato Goat Cheese Pie and Crock Pot Creamed Corn - Pinterest Recipe Project!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Reasons Why Raising Boys Is Awesome

Have you ever heard someone ask a mom of boys the incredibly annoying question of "will you try again for a girl?"  This is the hardest question to keep my actual thoughts to myself.  I want to yell "What exactly do you mean??"  Are boys not good enough?  Are girls the end all, be all of children?  Don't get me wrong I wanted a girl, but not because I wanted equal amounts of each sex.  I wanted a girl because I was the only girl growing up in a house full of boys.  I have three brothers and I love them all but I always wanted a sister.  So a girl to me was the sister I never got but I was wrong to want that.  Not wrong per say just misguided in my thinking.

I always wanted a boy first because along with a sister I always wanted a big brother to protect me growing up.  I am not really sure why but I did.  So when Conner came along I was thrilled!  When we got the pleasant surprise that we would be having another boy 15 months after Conner again I was thrilled!  #3 was a little more difficult to handle.  I was crushed that we were having another boy and my dreams of a little girl were gone.  I loved Evan and felt terrible during my pregnancy when I would cry while watching a little girl with butterfly wings walk by.  When I got pregnant with #4 I told everyone who asked that after having 3 boys you can't decide to have a 4th expecting it to be a girl.  However I was still crushed when I found out it was another boy and not because I hated raising boys.  I LOVE LOVE raising boys!  After taking a few weeks to cry, be angry, and generally mope around I finally had that light bulb moment.

The light bulb moment when you realize all of those things you have been dreaming, worrying, and toiling over were not worth the time.  

So I sat down and wrote the 5 top reasons why I loved raising boys.

1.  Boys are dirty!  Not just muddy but they don't care when they fall down in the mud, they treasure it.  Do you know how incredibly easy going this makes boys?!  They aren't concerned when they rip their jeans, muddy their shoes or generally find every way possible to get covered head to toe in dirt.  If you don't like dirt, sorry.  I love that they are so easy going.  I love that the jeans that they rip holes in are just basic jeans and have no expensive details.  I will never forget my uncles story of spilling pizza on my beautiful flower girl dress when I was little.  This is NOT something we have to worry about.

2.  Boys don't bring drama.  I should know, I coach high school cheerleaders.  The most dramatic my boys have been is figuring out who hit whom with the plastic sword.  This happens quite often and they end up on top of the fridge in time out, the swords not the boys.  I watch my friends with their daughters and listen to the stories they tell and think, thank goodness I have BOYS!

3.  Boys have awesome toys!  I guess this depends on what you consider awesome but I love sports and we have a so many soccer balls, footballs, baseballs, tennis balls, and unfortunately golf balls in the garage than I can keep up with.  They love trucks and cars which you can find everywhere!  I could take them to a construction site and they would be happy.  This makes free outings very easy.

4.  Clothes are NOT fussy.  The boys could be dressed in a paper bag and not care.  This is the one thing I was sad about when I didn't get to buy the cute girly stuff and the headbands with the pretty flowers but that adds up and its just and accessory!  The boys need socks, one pair of shoes, pants and shirts.  That's it! ONE PAIR OF SHOES!!!  Actually they have 3 pairs, sandals, tennis shoes, and cleats.  This is compared to the 10 or more pairs that I own.  I do get frustrated buying 20 pairs of jeans because a couple months after use they get holes in the knees but this doesn't seem so bad when I add up the costs of what I would spend on one girl.

5.  Bodily functions and noises are treasured and not frowned upon.  I will be honest, this can be smelly...  I am not always thrilled with this but you cannot imagine how funny they think this is.  They crack up just hearing a noise that sounds like a fart.  We use the word toot just so you know.  This doesn't happen in public because well they aren't animals, close to it but not officially animals.  Also I realize this may gross some of  you ladies out but can you imagine how much you enjoy life when silly things like that make them laugh?

Just 5 minutes ago the Conner, the oldest, laughed for what seemed like 10 minutes over his loose tooth that was bleeding and were attempting to pry out. 


Blood isn't something that bothers me so yet again perfect fit!   Maybe I should rename this post, "why I am the perfect mom to raise 4 boys".

All of this being said, if you're a mom of all girl's I am sure you can give me a million reasons why you rock at that and why they are so awesome and those of you who have both have pro's and con's for each.  I guess the whole point of this is that we are moms and God blessed us with the perfect kids for us.  If you are anything like me the people that make those comments will end up regretting it because I am sure to make a snap comment about how wrong they are for asking something so silly. 

So keep on rocking moms!!!  

30 Weeks Pregnant - Oh my aching back!

One of the worst things for my ego that my doctor just told me was "Oh it's not in your head it's just that you are getting older and you have had 3 babies already".  WHAT?!?!

Being 30 weeks pregnant I wanted to kick him right there on the table but I refrained and just said "Well that's not very reassuring..."  Just so you know I was asking about the hip pain and intense pressure going on in the pubic bone area and the fact that this baby boy is sitting extremely low.  The other 3 boys stayed high until around full term.

I am officially 30 weeks pregnant and my back hurts.  It hurts when I sit, stand, and lay down.  I cannot get comfortable and yet I have 10 more weeks left, give or take.  It's really exciting that by the end of this week I will be 31 weeks and down to single digits!  So what happens at 30 weeks?  Like haven't already read 3 different apps or websites telling you exactly whats happening right now.  Come on, be honest!

Shirt: Gap Jeans: A Pea In A Pod

So currently baby boy is about 16 inches long from crown to rump, or top of the head to his tiny little bottom.  (Insert huge grin here :)) He or she (if you are having a she) weighs about 3 lbs!  Basically your baby is perfect and at this point is just gaining fat and preparing for birth.  He or she is the size of a large cabbage, vegetable references yet again.  You won't look at that cabbage the same now when you walk down the produce isle.  Go to your local grocery store and hold a large cabbage next to your belly and if anyone gives you a strange look just smile and wave like the crazy pregnant lady you are.  We are all crazy lets face it.

Now that you know what your baby is doing let's talk about what's going on with your body.  At 30 weeks pregnant you are gaining more weight as your baby gains more weight.  Which means your bladder is being squished more if you didn't already notice that.  You will notice more back pain and that getting comfortable is much more difficult so when you find a nice comfy spot, REFUSE TO MOVE!  No, seriously...  This is easier said than done if you have kids, work, or generally have more to do than just sit down in one place but do yourself a favor and savor the moment when you find it.

Generally at this point everything is cumbersome and will just get increasingly so.  I recommend splurging for a maternity massage!  (rolling your eyes right now aren't you?)  My wonderful hubby arranged one for me for Valentine's Day and it was marvelous.  We have a new place specifically for pregnant mom's and they are so much better than the places that say they are maternity experts.  I left feeling rejuvenated and longed to win the lottery so that I could get one every day!  Big dreamer right here people!

Just remember, although your back hurts, you pee every 5 minutes, heartburn is rearing its ugly head, and you maybe forgetting things (pregnancy brain is real!) enjoy it!  You will be welcoming a new baby into your life soon and your lack of sleep now will turn into serious lack of sleep plus leaky boobs, dirty diapers, and baby cries.  It will be wonderful but there will be days you long for that sweet baby to be back in your safe tummy.  Find ways to really love and enjoy your pregnancy!

31 weeks here I come!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

To Poo Or Not To Poo - No Shampoo Trial

Just to be up front with you, no we are not talking about poop.  Although poop conversation is a recurring subject in our house with 4 males living in my house. When I say "no poo" I'm simply mean no shampoo.  There was a woman on the today recently who did this for a full year and loved it, I was a little more than  skeptical...

However, I am willing to try anything once or twice. 

So my trial period for "no poo" was two weeks.  I felt like this was sufficient time to figure out if this was for me or not but I love my shampoo and conditioner so it was going to be a long two weeks.  I want to point out though I spent a little more on shampoo and conditioner because I fell in love with a new brand that's about $18 per bottle.  I do not buy other products, I make my own toner and use water to wash my face so it's my little splurge.

I started this trial with a hair mask of avocado, mayo, banana, and egg.  I will skip the mayo next time because it was a bit too much oil for my hair but it did a great job and I loved it.  The next wash I used a paste of baking soda which is your shampoo and then a rinse of raw organic ACV (apple cider vinegar),  Bragg brand, diluted with water.  This will be your conditioner and don't worry if you get out of the shower and your hair smells a bit of ACV, it will go away after you dry your hair.

I then blow dried and straightened my hair as usual.  The end result was great!  I wasn't thrilled when I go out if the shower and my hair felt odd because I hadn't used conditioner which typically makes it super soft and thinned out.  Once it was dry and styled it was really soft and clean!  I was impressed to say the least.   My hair didn't need the extra product or chemicals that are in shampoo and conditioner.  The best part was 3 days later I didn't feel like I needed to wash it! 

OK skeptics,  I know what your thinking,  she's only tried it once and it was after the hair mask and you would be right which is why I was giving this 2 weeks so just calm down and keep reading.
3 days after the first no poo wash I tried again.  This time was the same but 2 days later my hair felt oily and needed another wash.  So I washed it again with the same results after it was dry but again 2 days later it was oily again.

Let me explain why this is unusual for me....

I typically only wash my hair once a week, not shower once a week so don't get the wrong idea.  When I shampoo it dries my hair out and if I washed it every day or twice a day my hair ends up brittle and dry so being oily after 2 days was a strange occurrence but makes sense and do you know why?!?!  Shampoo strips your hair and adds artifical oils and cleansers back in it.  When I was going without the natural oils were back in my hair!  It was healthy again!

I love the fact that my hair is recovering and I am not putting strange chemicals on my hair however I miss shampoo...  I am now at a cross roads and struggling with going back to my beloved $18 bottle.  So what's a girl to do?!?!  A friend suggested an all natural shampoo so I researched and settled on Kiss My Face.  It doesn't lather like you would see from your typical shampoo but is made of natural ingredients so I've decided to give it a try. 

Moral of the story, "no poo" isn't for everyone and if I can give you any advice, cold turkey isn't the way to go.  I still may go full "no poo" but for now I will taper off with the all natural shampoo and go no poo every other wash. 

Do you have any advice?  Or experience?  Let me know!  I'm always interested to hear other people's experiences!

**UPDATE**  I found a new all natural shampoo and conditioner at Trader Joe's called Tea Tree Tingle which you can purchase on Amazon but it's $8 and in the store it's only $3.99.  I have heard really great things and will update you once I have tried it more than once!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Day In the Life - It's A Case Of The Monday's

I have started writing this post 3 times and yet nothing seems right.  I am scattered this morning and I blame it on being a case of the Monday's.  We are back to our routine of wake up early, getting ready for school, toddlers playing, try to get things done during the day, lunch, dinner, homework, and bedtime routine.  Being a mom to boys means mess upon mess...

I avoid sweeping over the weekend because they are coming and going inside and out dragging in dead grass, dead leaves, and tons of dirt.  I typically sweep every morning and night which comes up with so much dirt you would think I hadn't swept in weeks.  So when the weekend comes I would be sweeping 4 to 5 times a day...  That is SOOOOO not going to happen.

Of course Monday comes and it's driving me nuts so I sweep, start laundry that has piled up over the weekend, and clean bathrooms because of course none of them can lift the seat much less aim in the actual toilet bowl.  I really miss real coffee on Monday mornings...

Just one cup of caffeine would be amazing!

Alas, I am avoiding too much caffeine and decaf although warm doesn't cut it.

Today is my 29 week check up at the OB!  Highlight of my morning because hubby is coming home to watch the kids so I can go alone.  Makes it so much nicer!

Speaking of my appointment, I need to get moving and finish some more laundry before I go.  I will leave you with these silly pictures that Noah and I took last night.  We are special, that pretty much sums it up.

Have a great Monday!

Noah likes to talk to the baby and tell me how big the belly is.

We also love silly faces :)

I like to munch on his hair...  Not really we are just goofy :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

29 Weeks Pregnant - Time Is A Tricky Thing

I am officially 29 weeks pregnant!  My mantra is enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!  4th baby, 4th pregnancy and probably my last, no matter how uncomfortable I get or how annoying the reflux is (yes, reflux...) I am determined to remember and enjoy every last moment of pregnancy. 

It is very hard to take a selfie of yourself and the bump....

I can still see my toe from this angle!!!

Did I mention relfux...  I've dealt with heartburn, it's terrible but reflux is a different beast altogether.

I'll leave it at that so I don't scare you off!

OK so at 29 weeks pregnant this baby is the size of a butternut squash.  I don't know about you but I've never been a fan of comparing my baby to a veggie or a fruit.  I guess it's nice to know how big he or she is and a general size but at the beginning when you go from a lime to a lemon or a kumquat I start to wonder how big of a lemon are we talking here?  And where do I buy a kumquat to compare??  Butternut squash are a very strange shape and I think "my baby looks like a squash?!?!"  Yes I realize he doesn't look like it just size wise is close to it but next week he's the size of a head of lettuce...  These are similar sizes people!   Some lettuce are smaller than butternut squash!

Clearly I over analyze this...

So at 29 weeks pregnant you've got your back pain, some hip pain, possible constipation,  heart burn,  Braxton hicks,  lots of bathroom runs, and maternity pant slippage!

It's a real thing people!   

Maternity pant slippage is a serious issue...  After all of these years of fashion and women getting pregnant you would think they could fix this issue.  Even the $200 pair of jeans I have the exact same issue!  I didn't pay $200 by the way I got them second hand on Ebay which is quite honestly the most amazing invention next to Amazon.

You maybe having your baby shower soon which is going to be so fun!  It will make you so excited to see your baby in the cute clothes, fancy blankets, and cool stroller but DO NOT get ahead of yourselves!!  Enjoy these last few months!  Forget about the body aches, heartburn and possible pee leaking when you sneeze.  Yes I went there!  You know it's happened to you!   Wait until your on pregnancy #2 or #3, it will happen more often and you will look around wondering if anyone noticed which of course they didn't but you will wonder none the less if they can sense that you have peed yourself a little bit. 

No seriously,  you know it's happened to you, be honest.  

So after dealing with all of these "issues" your still 3 months give or take to seeing your baby.  Get a piece of cake, sit in the bath, and relax.  Remember how special this time is and although there are some challenges it's all worth it!  It's not only worth it, it's magical because you are growing a person in there!  A sweet,  beautiful person that will take all of your time, energy, and sleep in a matter of months.  So enjoy this part because it goes by so fast and so will the next few years. 

From one experienced mom to another enjoy every moment and savor it because soon you will look back and say I can't believe it all happened so quickly!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is It Friday Yet?? - Mom's Don't Get A Day Off

No really, is it Friday yet??

We have all had those days, the ones that nothing seems to go right and ultimately you want to crawl back in your warm bed and close out the world.  Today is one of those days..  You know these days can creep up on you, you could be having an ok day but the week just hasn't gone that great and by the time you reach Thursday you're thinking "Can I skip this day and just get to the weekend already??"

Even as a mom you look forward to the weekend although it isn't the same as was before you had kids.  You don't get the luxury of sleeping in, which is what I miss the most.  Sadly my body is so use to my 6 am alarm clock that on the best day I can't sleep longer than 7.

Sad huh?

Ok back to the point, even though I don't sleep in I still look forward to the weekend.  No home work, if we are running late I don't get a call from the school saying my child was tardy.  I can stay in my pj's longer!  I mean I don't stay in my pj's that long during the week if I can help it... But when you have 3 kids to get ready for the day, clothes are the last thing on my agenda for myself.

I like clothes, but I'm pregnant, I enjoy being comfortable, my sweat pants are my friend, so are my flannel Victoria Secret flannel pants, and yoga pants.  Really you can't argue with that my friend, 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant here people!

See I derailed, off on my rabbit trail again...

So Friday, I wish it was Friday but alas its Thursday, the day BEFORE Friday.  This will be my motto today, THE DAY BEFORE FRIDAY!  WE WILL RIDE!

Just kidding..  Movie quotes tend to jump out at random times, you'll get use to it.  Bonus points if you guess the movie.  :)

So is it Friday yet??  No, not yet but shortly it will be and I will want that time back that I wished would hurry up so for now I will learn my lesson and enjoy the moment.  Have a great Thursday!  Now off to build with blocks and play cars!

One more quote for you today,
       "Remember when your mom would drop you off at the movies with a jar of jam and a spoon?"

  and the rabbit trail are OUT!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

28 Weeks Pregnant - Confession Time

Hi!  My name is Amanda and I am 28 weeks pregnant!  This is my 4th boy!  Yes 4th!  We are pretty good at making boys and really they are pretty darn cute so why not keep making them, right?!?
 This is all three boys about a week ago when we had a rare snow fall.
Conner 6, Noah, 5, Evan 2
All three boys around 4 months old!  Conner bottom left, Noah top left, Evan right

Ok, ok, enough bragging, but really they are adorable.  So now I am 28 weeks pregnant with #4 and I am trying really hard to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy since it's my last.  See, and now comes confession number 1...

I hate saying this is my last pregnancy...  I always wanted 4, never really saw myself with more and hubby had a hard enough time getting on board with #4 it seems impossible to get him on board with more.  So why is it so hard to to say this is the end??  My guess is because its final, the end, done and I get that no we are not making permanent changes to make sure there are no more and accidents happen but we all know that those are not a guarantee.  More than likely we are done...  I cannot seem to wrap my head around that yet.

Confession number 2!  

I am so scared to not be working at all after this baby comes.  For 7 years I have worked part time in some way and now that we will have two in school and 2 at home we can't afford the daycare and baby sitting costs.  As I mentioned in my post a couple of days ago I get bored and find crazy things to occupy my time with.  Work helps with that :)

I have a few things planned so I don't go crazy, like preschool at home for Evan, which I am planning via Pinterest!  BTW have I mentioned lately my insane obsession with Pinterest??  

Check out my page totally devoted to homeschooling Evan with Preschool! 

Confession number 3!

I am not coaching cheerleading and I hate it...  I have no way around it because even coaching part time isn't financially a possibility.  We always said it wasn't about the money and it really wasn't and still isn't but there comes a time when you have to put your family above your own dreams.  The reality was we would be pouring money into me coaching and not getting much back.  God gave me 7 wonderful seasons with so many girls that I have had the pleasure of getting to know and made memories that will last a lifetime so it's hard to let go but as they say when God closes a door he opens another so don't stand there banging on the closed door.  Being 28 weeks pregnant probably doesn't help the emotions of this...

Confession number 4!

I eat cream cheese icing on a daily basis...  No seriously!  I keep craving it...  It's really really bad...
I make it from scratch, it's yummy, and I eat it by the spoonful.  Calling all pregnant women!  It's OK to give in to your cravings from time to time!  No really, don't eat for 2, your really just eating for one and a half, but come on give in!  

Pregnant women are told over and over be fit, eat healthy, don't eat this, don't eat that and I totally stand by the eating healthy, eat small meals, and drink lots of water but don't be so hard on yourself when your body is craving something.  ENJOY BEING PREGNANT!  

Ok off the soap box!  :)  I think I am done with my confessions for now!  I love being pregnant even if I have a pinched nerve in my right hip, and I'm uncomfortable most of the time, and grouchy...  BUT there is a BABY growing inside of me and the boys love him already.  Evan kisses my belly and tells the baby to move then pulls my shirt back down and says, night night baby.  Conner and Noah come up with names like Diego Stanley, not sure where they get them from but they try.  Being 28 weeks pregnant knowing that the end is getting closer is so exciting and so scary at the same time but for now I will just keeping being in the moment and loving every  moment of it.

Amanda has left the building!

Natural Cleaning Solutions - Vinegar is DA BOMB!

Da BOMB!  Seriously I will be saying this all day now..  Yes I am an almost 31 year old goober!  I'm very proud of that fact, it makes me a silly mom for my silly boy's.  Ok, so back to the point!  Yesterday we talked about being a Crunchy Mom!  So today I thought I would let you know how to actually make these natural cleaning solutions on your own!

Natural cleaning solutions are NOT hard to make and they are most certainly comparable or better than your big product cleaners and just remember I have 3 boys potty trained and of course a hubby all using the bathrooms.  Four guys using the bathrooms means a lot of dirt and pee.  That smell lingers...   All of that said I have never once needed a back up to get anything "cleaner".  To just put this into perspective I was a huge fan of scrubbing bubbles color changing spray foam.  It went on easy, was easy to clean and left my shower and bathroom sparkling but the smell was overwhelming!  I hated having the boys in the bathroom with me when I was cleaning.  If I could barely stand the smell imagine what it did to their growing brains...

There are other options like green products but they are expensive and when I can make my own why would I spend that kind of money??

So I naturally started searching on Pinterest to find ideas!

There were a TON of different recipes but most were the same starter ingredient which was the ever clever, Vinegar!  Vinegar is the most amazing product for me, right up there with coconut oil which is also amazing!  We can talk about that amazing oil in the future.

The first one I used was a orange and cinnamon cleaner but I wasn't a fan of the cinnamon so I decided for the second try to skip the cinnamon but as I was making the second batch I got the mail and finally got my lemon essential oil!!!  This is a great natural disinfectant so I decided to add it to the orange to make a citrus cleaner.  So here is my adapted recipe:

Orange Lemon Vinegar Spray
Get a clean container either plastic or glass, I used a plastic soup freezer container.
-fill a container with orange peels - 5 or 6, more if you have a larger container(we are using the peels because you want the yummy oils and smells that are right there in the skin)
-Add 10 drops of lemon essential oil
-fill the rest of the container with plain ole white vinegar!

Put a lid on it and let it sit for 24 hours minimum but 2 weeks is preferable and then you are ready to use it!  I will transfer this mixture to a spray bottle and its good for up to 6 weeks!

My peels were determined to stay on the orange so excuse the small pieces.  After peeling 2, I gave more to the boys and just cut them up first then took the peels off.

If you need something abrasive for soap scum in the bath use a paste of water and baking soda first then use the vinegar solution and if you are wondering where to use this, anywhere is the answer!  I use this in my kitchen to the bathroom.  I even mop the floors with it mixed with water, baking soda, and a tbl of Dawn!  I still use Dawn just FYI.

Furniture Polish

Mix 1 Tbl of your vinegar solution and 3/4 cups of olive oil.  Dampen a rag then squeeze out excess water.  Dip your damp rag into your mixture and wipe onto furniture or stainless steel.  Use a clean dry rag to buff off.

There are so many more ways to use vinegar as a natural cleaning solution and I am just getting started using them all!  I will post more later when I am able to make them and give it a few weeks to test out!  Have a great day and have fun making your own natural cleaning solutions in your own home!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Not So Granola But Maybe Crunchy Mom

What is a not so granola maybe crunchy mom?  Me, of course!

Ok, ok, I can explain...

I am not a hippy by any means.  I like my leather boots and the gas mini van I have the pleasure of toting my boys around in.  So when I hear the word crunchy or granola I think hippy, green, tree hugger, or whatever other term you can think of.  I do drink organic milk and honestly if I could get raw milk I would drink that instead and I buy organic fruits, veggie and meat when I can but beyond that I haven't done much in my life to be considered a granola mom. So why am I now all of a sudden giving this a try?  Honestly, it could be another on of my feats of fancy that I try out and see if I can stick with but another part is that a big part of me is a crunchy mom.

I like giving my kids natural medicines instead of antibiotics. A friend introduced me to essential oils which I was very skeptical about so of course I got onto Google and researched them.  I ended up finding them cheaper on Amazon because really whats not cheaper on Amazon??  I've mainly used eucalyptus oil to treat colds and coughs so far but its worked!  I think I have even gotten hubby on board!  He always takes a bit more convincing.

I want to be able to use natural ingredients to clean my house and not only because its cheap but because I have 3 boys and oddly enough they want to help clean sometimes and if I can barely stay in the bathroom with all of the chemical smells why would I want them too?  Cleaning with orange infused vinegar and baking soda cleans just as well without all of the harsh chemicals and did I mention the orange smell!  It's AMAZING!

We are having another baby in April and although I have been tempted during the 3 previous pregnancies I never got on the cloth diaper train.  Thanks to a wonderful friend who has given me loads of information and turned me into a bit of a cloth diaper monster I am so ready to get started when this new baby boy is here!  Again I have done tons of research, asked my trusty cloth diapering friend advice on specific diapers, and channeled the wonder of Pinterest!

There are a couple things I am attempting to try but so far haven't totally gotten on board with the "No-Poo" idea but I am willing to try other ideas which is why I give myself the title of a not so granola but maybe crunchy mom. - Insert silly grin here-

Currently I am searching for new ways to be a not so granola but maybe crunchy mom on my Crunchy Mom board on Pinterest so if you get the urge to see what I am up to Follow Me!

28 Days Of Blogging

I am not good at keeping up with a blog...

I should just start with being honest and go from there.  I tend to start it, blog for a few weeks, and then forget or life gets in the way.  You know how it is, mom of 3 boys, under the age of 7,  we get busy.  So I have decided to start a new trend for this year prior to baby boy # 4 coming in 3 months!  28 days of blogging, which was suppose to start February 1st and unfortunately I have already started late being that its February 3rd....  first fail...

So, where do I start?

This is a new blog, one that I am starting for myself mostly to get out the random thoughts, ideas, and just other cobwebs floating around in my brain that need somewhere to go.  

Yes there are cobwebs in my head that start off as great ambitions or odd ideas and end up sitting there not being put to good use or just forgotten and gather dust never to be remembered again.  This is my life people...

For example,

Start sewing and using the wonderful art of smoking my grandma taught me.
     - Made it 3 weeks, gathered tons of materials, realized I didn't have a sewing machine, got a sewing        machine for Christmas, realized I didn't know how to use a sewing machine....

Learn how to crochet
      - Taught myself, spent $100 or more on yarn, crochet hooks, patterns, taught myself how to make several scarves, made infinity scarves for Christmas gifts, decided it wasn't cold enough anymore to make them, tried to make other things and failed, gave up

Ok those are just a sample of my tried and given up on crafting ideas but there are so many more things that I have done similarly with.

Stella and Dot and Thirty- One were also my business ventures that I realized I wasn't good at because although I loved the products I hate trying to get people to sign up for parties!

So now my goal is to maintain this blog and keep up with my ambitious goal to make it 28 days of blogging.
Ask me how I am doing in 10 though because I may have derailed and gone off on a rabbit trail of adventure only to have forgotten my half eaten carrot I left behind.