Wednesday, December 5, 2012

oh yeah...

Oh yeah, I have a blog.
Kinda forgot.

Well, let's catch y'all up.

I'm pregnant, (Yes, again), with baby #3.
We'll find out if this little mango-sized darling is team blue or team pink on December 20th.  I am currently 18 weeks.  Time is flying this time around.  Probably because I have a been-there-done-that attitude about it.  Not that I'm not excited, but I'm pretty much an expert.  

At first I'm pregnant but feel normal, then I'm sickened by anything and throw up approximately 1.5 times a day, then it's like my body is trying to play catch-up and I could eat two breakfasts, lunches, and dinners every day, followed by feeling pretty dang good, followed by feeling pretty dang huge, followed by feeling pretty dang impatient, followed by popping out a baby, followed by sniffing/kissing a newborn's sweet head for the rest of his or her life. 

We've almost lived in our house for a year now.  WOW!

It's almost Christmas and the excitement is building.  But I wish it would just stay cold instead of fluctuating each day between 70 and 30.  And I want some snow.  We've been watching Christmas movies almost daily, but I won't feel truly Christmasey until we get some dang snow.

Haven has her first Christmas concert tomorrow night.  Tear.  She practices all of her Christmas songs using vibrato.  I should try and get a video of that because it's HILARIOUS.

Parker is a salty-sweet princess stinker.  Possibly bi-polar.  (I kid, but seriously.  The girl goes from naughty to nice in .06 seconds flat.  Santa's going to be confused.  She'll probably get chocolate covered coal for Christmas to cover all the bases.)

Lukey is still a super hero police officer.  He went to rifle school and made RIFLE SQUAD! (As I like to call it, and he hates for me to call it.  I think it embarrasses him...  and I like it.  Wink wink.)

I'll try to get back to my blogging.  Pregnancy does something weird to my brain.  I forget about practically everything except for my kids - lucky for them!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I always have a lot on my mind.
And I'm a big facebooker so I'm always updating.
And sometimes I'm scared people are thinking, "Will you shut up?!"
So I made a tumblr for my mind vomit.
Here it is, enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

summer time warp

      Summer is really an odd thing once you're an adult.  It's like a time warp.  There's no set schedule.  TV programs are hit or miss.  Especially as a stay-at-home mom I face this daily.  I have the freedom to decide to go swimming at my mom's pool at the drop of a hat, but a lot of times it will mess up nap times and I have a couple of grumpy girls on my hands at the end of the day.

      Now don't get me wrong - I really LOVE summer.  It is the best and I kind of wish it would never end.  The thought of the pools closing and school starting still makes me feel sick to my stomach.  Leftover childhood trauma I guess.  The only real problem is that life without structure is chaos.  Chaos is fun, but it gets tiring.  We're just going to have to fit in as much swimming as we can before the pool closes.

      There is a lot about to happen in our lives.  Haven is turning 4 years old on Monday, August 20th, so of course we're having a birthday party.  I waited a really long time to plan it and luckily it has come together pretty easily.  Then on August 22nd, she starts preschool.  She'll be attending my husband and my alma mater, 5 days a week in the afternoons.  I can't believe she is old enough for that, but she is so ready.  She will absolutely thrive on being around other kids and coloring, reading, and writing every single day.  I am really excited for her.  And then, on August 29th she is starting gymnastics at Chow's - the gym where both Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas train, and where my sister happens to work.  
      Now I have to defend myself on this one.  After the Olympics there was a news story about how there was a HUGE boom of kids registering to go to Chow's.  Ever since before I had kids I always said if I had a girl I would get them into gymnastics at an early age so that they had an easier time with tumbling if they ever wanted to do cheerleading.  (Back story.  My sister and I were both competitive cheerleaders.  My mom was a cheerleader.  It's in our blood.  And my sister and I didn't learn to tumble until we were older and had a really hard time with it.  I always wished I had done gymnastics at a young age, because the girls that had done it were always on the best squads and it came so naturally to them.)  Plus, gymnastics is just one of the coolest sports.  Anyway, all that to say, my girls are both starting gymnastics at 4 years old, whether or not there is an Olympian training there.  I think 4 is a good age to start, young enough that they have plenty of time to get really good at it, and not too young so they won't pay attention.  (Haven did dance for two years, starting at the age of 2, and she just could not stay focused.  It was good socially, but my daughter is just not a dancer.  She doesn't like it.)  She is so excited to get started.  She has been wearing her new leotards around the house and performing "tricks" for us.  She will do somersaults, walk along the back of the couch, jump off the bottom stair, etc.  It's really cute.  I just hope she really loves it and wants to keep at it. 

      As you can see, we have a lot to look forward to.  I wish we lived in a climate where I didn't have to give up my pool time for the structure of fall, but I guess living in a place like Iowa makes the summer feel a little more special.


Monday, July 9, 2012

shrimp pad thai recipe

Shrimp Pad Thai Recipe

1/4 lb. rice-stick noodles
1 tsp. canola oil
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. hot chili sauce (sriracha)
1 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 cups bean sprouts
3 tbsp. dry roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1. Place the noodles in a large bowl and add enough hot water to cover; let stand until the noodles are soft, about 10 minutes.  Drain, transfer the noodles to a large bowl of cold water to cool, and drain again.  Set aside.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Swirl in the oil, then add the shrimp.  Cook until the shrimp are just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.  Add the scallions and garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Add the egg whites, stirring gently, until they begin to set, about 30 seconds.  Add the fish sauce, sugar, chili sauce, and soy sauce; cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds.  Add the drained noodles and the bean sprouts; cook, tossing gently, until mixed and heated through, 2-3 minutes longer.  Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.  

Serving Size: (1 cup) 243 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g Sat Fat, 67 mg Chol, 36 g Carb, 3 g Fib, 15 g Prot, 56 Mg Calc.

Weight Watcher Points - 5 pts/serving

This recipe is a favorite of mine.  It is so good.  When I make it for the family I usually leave out the sriracha, take a portion out big enough for the girls, and then add the sriracha to the remaining food.  
It is a little too spicy for little girls. 

Try it out and tell me what you think!!

Friday, July 6, 2012


Hey guys!  It's almost 4 a.m. and I'm having a little breakfast before I head to the radio station this morning.  I will be on the Van and Bonnie show this morning as a "designated Bonnie" along with my sister-in-law Melissa, to fill in for Bonnie while she's on vacation.  Be sure to tune into WHO 1040 from 4:59-9am.  

I'm sure you'll all be up right at 4:59, right?!?

If you're not in the Des Moines area, you can listen at

Now...what should I talk about?...

Monday, July 2, 2012


My whole life I have been a salesperson.
I remember being a very young girl, probably about 5 years old, and getting a box of chocolate bars from my school for a fundraiser.  I went door-to-door with them after school that day and came home with an empty box.  My parents were pretty impressed, but honestly, who could say "No" to a 5-year-old cutie with a box of chocolates?  I think I was just fearless.  I didn't think about people rejecting me.  I just wanted to sell my chocolates.

I kind of loved selling those candy bars.  I remember looking forward to the time every year when we got to take as many boxes as we thought we could sell home with us.  There were really cool prizes you could win based on how many you sold.  One year I sold a lot of bars and won lunch in a limo.  They picked us up some McDonald's cheeseburgers and drove us around town.  I still remember how cool it was to get out of school for an hour with something besides a school lunch and just revel in my accomplishment.  When you're in elementary school, it's the small things that make an impact.

Really, I think, sales are in my blood.  My grandma was part of a direct selling business called Home Interiors.  Some of you may have heard of it, although recently they changed their name to "Celebrating Home".  It is a home decorating business that sells framed art, candles, anything you might find in a home decor store.  She was a part of the business from the early years and was very successful.  

A few years ago I attempted a business with a skin care company and really worked my tail off for a few months without a lot of success and making almost no money.  The products were excellent, but the compensation was poor unless you had many downlines (people you personally sponsor).  A lot of money was put in, and little was gained.  It really left me disheartened, because sales were something I normally succeed in.  I felt like a mooch rather than a salesperson, constantly trying to get people to sell the product as this was the only way to succeed.  I ultimately decided this wasn't the place for me, and moved on.

Recently I was invited to a Premier Jewelry party.  I've always loved jewelry parties, whether they be at somebody's house or just a catalog party.  They're easy.  There's usually something for everybody, from young to old.  And I just love jewelry.  After attending my grandma's party, I saw how much free jewelry she earned by hostessing, and decided to have my own party.  I had an average to below-average turnout, but my sales were great and I got about $350 worth of jewelry for free.  It was really exciting.  I couldn't believe the benefits of hostessing, and how easy it was to do. 
Sarah, the jeweler who did my party, let me know that she gets 50% of her parties sales.  So my party's total was about $650, and she made around $325 that night, in 3 hours!!  That's an awesome hourly rate.  The opportunity to make a little extra money for my family had definitely presented itself to me in a big way.  I had been wanting to do something to help out financially recently, and I thought this could be a good way to do it.  It is important for me to stay home with my girls, and I could choose my hours this way.  

After a few days of thinking it over, my sister and I both decided to pursue the business together.  We have received our big kit of jewelry and have been wearing it and playing with it.  It's been very exciting, and we are pumped to do our first party soon.  Let me know if any of you would like to hostess a party.  I'd love to get my fall parties booked early.  

This is an amazing opportunity that I wanted to share with you all.  I will let you know how my first parties go!!  Wish me luck. :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

i'm gone, but then, i'm not gone*

When somebody dies, it is really tough.  Suddenly they have just been extinguished from your life.  Especially if it was an unexpected death, it is really hard to swallow that they aren't coming back.  

My Papa (my mom's dad) passed away September 4th, 2009 from a heart attack.  He was my hero.  He was always there for me.  When Luke and I got married in January of 2008 we lived in my grandparent's basement for about 5 months until we got a house of our own.  I am so thankful for that small window that we got to spend a lot of time with him before he passed.  Looking back that time is so precious.  I'd give up my house to go back to that time and just live with him again.

My Papa was a funny man.  He was in the military for 20 or 30 years, so he was extremely regimented.  Everything in his days was on a schedule, even though he was retired and could have done what he wanted, when he wanted.  I mean, he wasn't extreme, but the little things mattered to him.  He got up every morning at 6 and went to have breakfast at the Baker's Square at 7.  He had oatmeal every morning, until his doctor told him he should have something different due to the carbs, so he switched to bacon and eggs.  Then he went over to our family's bookstore and had a cookie and a cup of coffee.  Then he went home for just a little bit, probably to "use the library."  And after that he would turn back around and go to the bookstore again, where I would oftentimes meet him for lunch.  In the afternoon he may run to the grocery store, or Walmart, or Lowe's, whatever he needed to get done.  But he'd always be back at his house just before 4, because that's when Dr. Phil started.  And every day he would say to us, "You shoulda seen Dr. Phil today!"  He always told us the whole plot in detail.  And in the evening, almost every night, he went out to dinner, and a lot of the time he would take Luke and I, and Haven too when she was born.  He loved to go out to eat - it was one of his favorite things.  I think that's because he was such a talker.  He was very social.  He would talk to anybody.   He loved to talk to us and he loved to flirt with the waitresses.  It was just what he did.  He was harmless though.  Nobody ever minded.  At night, after dinner, he would stay up for the 10 o clock news, and then he'd be off to bed.  It's nice to remember the details about him.  Sometimes I just daydream about him a little and it's like a happy place for me, a comfort.

This morning I was looking for something to give Parker for her breakfast, and I decided on a banana.  It was an easy decision because she is obsessed with them lately.  The other day she ate about 8 bananas in two days.  Whatever.  If she wants to eat bananas, I'm going to keep feeding them to her.  Better than being obsessed with fruit snacks like Haven is.   As I was peeling the banana and handing it to her, I had a flashback to a time when we lived with Grammy and Papa.  Near the end of his life, he had quite a few health struggles.  He had heart problems and diabetes for as long as I was alive, and had to take daily insulin shots in the stomach.  You could see him struggling to walk because the circulation in his legs was so bad.  But he refused any help.  The doctor told him to get a walker, and he wouldn't have it.  They had the motorized carts at the grocery store, and I don't think he used them until the last few months of his life.  Honestly, he probably should have been in a wheelchair, but he wouldn't allow it.  Probably had something to do with his ego.  So, when we lived with them, and we saw his struggle, we offered to do some things for him to make his life easier, like buy the groceries.  He always had a list anyway, so we thought we'd utilize our young legs, and do him a favor.  One day, he consented, and we went and shopped for him.  One item on the list was bananas.  We found the biggest, most beautiful bananas in the store, and thought we had done a great job.  We brought all the groceries home and put them away.  The next day he said to us, "The bananas you bought are too big!  I like small ones that I can eat in a couple bites with my medicine."  I think we may have bought the wrong milk too on that trip.  After that we realized, it may be hard for him, but he likes to do it.  The grocery store is part of his schedule, and he thrives on his schedule.  That was the last time we bought groceries.  He told us to just put things on the list if we needed anything.

This story makes me laugh.  I love that an everyday activity like picking up a "too big" banana can flood me with memories about my favorite man.  My Papa filled the room with his energy and his big, loud voice.  It's impossible not to miss him.  I have a hollow feeling in my chest when I think too much about him.  In September, it will have been three years since he passed.  It's hard to believe it's been that long without him, but the pain is much more tolerable now.  He's not here anymore, and that's just a way of life now.  But he's forever in my heart, and even in some of my daily activities.  That's how I know he's still with me, and he's looking down on us.  
I can't wait to see him again.  

Love you, Papa.

*Anybody know what movie this is from?
Please, somebody, guess right!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

texts from chloe

I just wanted to give a quick heads up to everybody.
My sister started posting pictures of her conversations with our youngest sister, Chloe, who is 17 and has autism.  Some of them are pretty hilarious and people kept asking us to start a blog with all of the conversations.

So here is the link to the blog.  Check it out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

the real me

It is really easy to care too much about what others think.

I have realized over the years just how much I really care about what people think of the things I do, the clothes I wear, the books/movies I like, the people I do and don't hang out with, etc.  For me it was way worse in high school, if I thought there was the slightest chance somebody might think what I was wearing was stupid, or if they thought my hair looked bad, or if maybe my friend didn't like something (but I really did), I would just pass on those things.  That is a lot of individuality I missed out on.  I have always been somebody that needed advice (or maybe approval?) on what to wear, how to wear it, and what accessories to put with it.  And up until recently, when asked to sum up my style, I couldn't really tell you.  I used to walk into the stores I liked and would see something I liked on a mannequin and just buy everything on it.  I was playing right into those advertisers hands!

Becoming an adult and getting married does something to your self-esteem.  "Oh, I could wear that shirt I like and it doesn't matter what anybody thinks!"  I won't be a total loser if I don't have those shoes that everybody has - as a matter of fact, I don't even like them!  And now that I have bills to pay, and I know how much clothes cost, I know that it doesn't matter if all of my clothes come from Target  - I can do that!  All that matters, is that I like it, and that what I am wearing is glorifying to God - remember, Modest is Hottest! ;)  haha, had to slip that in there.

It's not just about clothes though.  I've always been a book nerd.  I love to read a few chapters of a good book before I fall asleep.  It helps me wind down from the day.  

I LOVE Harry Potter and I LOOOOOVE Twilight.
Those are two things you should know about me.
Here's me on the outside.  
Nice, normal, mother of two beautiful girls.

And here's me on the inside - dressing up as Professor Trelawney to go see the H.Po movies, and who knows maybe sometimes at home too.

 And thinking it might be a good idea to get a Twilight tattoo that covers my entire back.

Like I said, that's me on the inside.  I won't get a giant Twilight tattoo.  But if someday I have a nervous breakdown and do that, don't be judgey, because I'll revert back to my high school days and cry myself to sleep. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Yesterday I turned 25 years old. 
A quarter century.

Birthdays and age don't really get to me, but man, only 5 years til 30.  
That's really hard to believe.

I already had a small birthday party at the beginning of this week, but my mom and grandma were out of town.  So I spent most of yesterday with my husband, my girls, my sister, and them.  We got up early and had breakfast at the Machine Shed.  It has the BEST breakfast buffet on Saturday mornings, and my birthday just so happened to be on a Saturday this year - Lucky me!  :)

I received some birthday money, so after breakfast, Luke, the girls, and I went to the mall.  I found a cute shirt on sale at J.Crew, which was my first purchase.  

I got this in a peach color, which I can't find online.

Then we went upstairs and Luke bought me a new pair of Toms that I have been wanting forever.  

We also purchased a pair of shoes for Haven, which are hilarious.

She looks like a little skater punk when she wears them.  Actually she wore them to church today with a dress...which looked awful, but that's a battle I chose not to fight on the way out the door.  Oh well, ya win some, ya lose some.

After Luke went to work, I took the girls home for a nap and had some me time, which is my favorite time.  And once the girls woke up, we went to Samurai sushi for dinner.  My mom and I split a platter of sushi, and it was delicious.  My grandma and sister who are not sushi lovers had chicken teriyaki and fried rice and soup.  An Asian man that works on the teppanyaki side of the restaurant kept coming up behind Parker and tapping her on the shoulder and then hiding.  He even put his arms around her at one point in a "hug".  She was scared to death!  She started bawling.  And I would say at least five more times the man came by and either tapped her on the shoulder, waved at her, or just made eye contact with her and she would start bawling every time.  We tried to just laugh and comfort Parker, but I was starting to get irritated.  I was about to say, "STOP SCARING MY BABY!"  But luckily he had to start cooking for a table and seemed to leave us alone at the end of the meal.  
(Sub-story:  That is not the first time we've had people at that restaurant act strange around our kids.  When Haven was a baby, one of the waitresses picked her up out of her high chair and carried her away to show one of her coworkers how cute she was.  She probably kept her for around five minutes before she brought her back.  Any longer and I would have gone to get her.  I kept my eye on her the whole time the lady had her, but it still just bothered me.  Is that weird to anybody else?)

After dinner we headed to the mall where I spent my remaining money on some clothes at Tommy Hilfiger of all places.  I don't shop there very often, but they usually have some pretty classic outfits.  I think most anybody can shop there, regardless of if you dress really preppy or not.  I bought a pair of navy blue shorts, an embroidered navy blue shirt with white stitching, and a basic white jean jacket.  I wanted a blue denim jacket but they didn't have my size and I was being impatient.  

It was a great birthday overall.  I ended my trip at the mall with a trip to Starbucks where I got a free birthday drink.  Any size, any drink.  You bet I got their new largest size, the trenta, which is 31 ounces, of the Tazo Iced Tea Lemonade.  It was delicious.

Thank you all of my FB friends.  I got over 70 well wishes yesterday.  It was so fun to check my notifications all day and see your comments popping up.  Love you guys!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

mind dump

Recently I've had a whole lot to do, and blogging didn't make the list unfortunately.

I've recently become part of the stock team at Baby Gap.
My friend Jade and I unpack boxes, sip lattes, talk "50 Shades of Grey", and swoon over the cuteness of the incoming shipments.  Do you have any idea how tiny swimsuits for newborns are?!  I can honestly say that I've never had as much fun working as I have in the last few weeks.  I look forward to it.  I love the girls I work with.  I love the high-quality product we sell.  Going to work is like therapy for mommies.


We signed Haven up for preschool.  She will be going to the same school that Luke and I both attended.  I am so excited for her.  She really craves time with other kids her age, and as a stay-at-home-mom I can't always provide that.  She has dance class once a week, Sunday school, and I take her to the play-place at the mall, but it just doesn't seem like enough.  So preschool should be great for her.  I originally wanted to do 3 days a week half day, but it was full so she'll actually be going 5 days a week for half the day.  I have no doubt that she's ready for it however, except for the occasional potty accident which we are working on and she's almost got mastered.


It took me a few years to realize that I am a sensitive person.  I really care what people I love think about me.  I want peace in my life, and am unsettled until all conflicts are resolved.


I love this weather!!!!!!!!!  I love that we have porch furniture.  


My birthday is coming up on May 26 and I will be 25 years old.  
That is very weird.
I have been thinking about what I would like.  I have a bad habit of putting things I need on my list rather than things I want, because I don't like spending our paychecks on things like saran wrap and water hoses.

Here's my list for this year:
-Shelving above laundry and in garage
-Racquetball backpack with name embroidered
-Barnes and Noble GC
-Ohana Steakhouse GC
-Homemakers GC
-World Market GC

Shelving for above our laundry and in the garage is a stupid birthday present, but if I don't ask for it I'm scared we'll never get it and MAMA NEEDS IT!

Our cute house is so adorable, but is lacking some serious landscaping.  That request is a little more fun, I mean, gardening is bound to be a hobby of mine in the next 20 years or so.

My husband actually bought me the racquetball bag for Mother's day, and I am waiting for it to arrive in the mail.  I am so very excited about this.  I have had a hand-me-down bag that has a broken handle for a few years.  Did you guys know that we play racquetball?  We do.  Luke and I both played for the Iowa State racquetball club.  It was so much fun.  We met most of our best friends from college through club racquetball.  We went to lots of tournaments and had the time of our lives.  Racquetball tournaments sound ultimately nerdy, I know.  Before I went to my first one I was really hesitant.  They are a blast.  I encourage any husband/wife to get involved in racquetball and enter a tournament as a doubles team.  It is really fun!  We'll show you how to play if you want!  Email me if you're interested.  
Sorry, got a little carried away.

Our backyard desperately needs fenced in so that our girls can play back there without our constant supervision.  The yard backs up to an alleyway that cars drive through, and it's just too dangerous for the girls to be out there for one second without us.  

So if anybody needs an idea as to what I want for my birthday, there ya go.  Go crazy. ;)


Last thought.

Nap time is far too short.  

Gotta go, baby crying.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I wouldn't be a good mommy blogger if I didn't post this.
This is my life on a near daily basis.  No joke.

If you didn't laugh at this, we can't be friends.

Monday, April 16, 2012

it's about time

I just came off of a wonderfully busy wedding weekend.  My best friend, Betsy, got married to her boyfriend Michael, and I could NOT be happier for them!  Lots of pictures and stories to tell, but I'll get to that later.  

Being at the wedding (and all of the activities leading up to it) was incredibly surreal for me.  Not only because one of my best friends was getting married and I was so excited for her, but also because it was a landmark for me.  I have been working since January (20th, to be exact) to lose weight, using this wedding as extreme motivation.  My friend and all of her bridesmaids are beautiful and I really wanted to look good for these pictures and just the memories - it really meant a lot to me.  So I started Weight Watchers in January and almost four months later I am officially down 25 pounds!

I was thinking about it and I'm kind of embarrassed now that I haven't lost any weight sooner.  I mean, right after I had my girls I lost weight because you retain a lot of water and things like that when pregnant, but besides that I hadn't taken any of the necessary steps to shed the pounds.  I know that the ingredient to success for me was that I had something important I was aiming towards - I just really wanted to look good!  But man, I just wish I had done it sooner.  It wasn't even that bad.  On Weight Watchers you get to eat pretty much whatever you want as long as you count it towards the points you have.  You could still have Oreos if you really want, they're just 3 points for every two cookies you eat, so you gotta watch it.

I really need to put any shame or guilt away and just be proud of myself.  After all, I have two daughters.  That's 18 months of weight gain.
I lost 25 pounds!  I'm only 4 pounds away from my original goal weight, and I'm thinking about lowering it 5-10 pounds.  I did it, and I can't believe it, but I did.  I actually look pretty thin, which is hard for me to see still.  But I do.  I have people tell me a couple times a week that they notice at this point. (Not trying to stroke my own ego, just pointing out it is noticeable to the naked eye finally.  I have heard that people won't notice you've lost weight until you're down 12-20 lbs., depending on your height.)

Thank you for the kind words after my last post on weight loss.  They were really encouraging.

Here's to 10 more pounds!  Pretty soon you won't recognize me. ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

trip to the northwest

Holy wow,  does anybody else feel like they need a vacation when they get back from vacation?
That was a heck of a 10 days we just had.  One thing my family does fairly regularly is vacationing over spring break.  I know I'm not in school and am not really taking a break from anything except cold weather, but it is nice to have a time set aside for a little vaca.

We've been talking about going to Seattle for a couple years now.  We have family there that always seem to be visiting us but we never get a chance to go see them.  We finally made it happen and booked a trip for 10 days.  Luckily for us we were able to stay with our cousins, Brynn and Haley, so that made things much easier and less expensive than staying in a hotel.  

This was my first vacation flying with both girls.  And Luke wasn't able to come because of work, so that left things mostly up to me and the help of my mom and grandma.  My sisters came as well, and of course my sister Chelsea brought her baby Carter.  We were quite a bunch of estrogen and a tiny baby's worth of testosterone.  Poor Carter is growing up in a sorority.  

I'm not going to lie, the flights were difficult holding Parker on my lap (she's so busy at this stage!  Constantly moving), but two flights later we had made it.  We rented a really nice minivan, a Toyota Sienna.  I've never wanted to be a minivan owner, but this one was really nice.  If I ever own a minivan it will most likely be one of those. 

We had a really nice time staying with Brynn and Haley.  It was great to spend some time with them.  Parker and Carter were both not feeling well and we had them checked out by a family friend who is a doctor and Parker tested positive for RSV - which, in case you're unfamiliar, is a respiratory virus that mostly effects babies/children.  She was prescribed some antibiotics that she hated, but had her feeling well within a couple days.  And unfortunately, Haley's grandma wasn't expected to live much longer, and sure enough, within a couple days of being there she passed away and Haley had to go to Oregon to be with family and attend the funeral. 

The next day we headed to Portland, OR to visit Carter's grandparents and stay with them for a couple days.  The trip down was awful, because Parker was in the worst part of her RSV and screamed a good majority of the 4 hour trip.  It was really awful.  Another family friend was nice enough to check her out again because she just seemed to be in so much pain, and I guess her ears were really bothering her.  We then knew to alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen to keep her ears from hurting so much and also to lower her fever.  After about an hour of being at the grandparent's house, Carter's grandma Mary received a call and started sobbing.  Come to find out, her brother-in-law took a nap that afternoon and never woke up.  He was only 60.  We thought we might have to leave so Mary could fly to be with her sister, but she ended up deciding to wait and we were able to stay.  I was glad we were able to spend some time with them.  They live in the most beautiful home right on a gorgeous river in the woods.  It has an atrium almost completely made out of windows that you could sit in and just look out at the amazing view of the river rushing by.  I could sit there all day.

While in Portland we were able to eat at the Carver Cafe.  If you have seen the Twilight films, you will remember in the first movie, titled "Twilight", Bella has dinner with her father, Charlie, in a little diner.  That diner is the Carver Cafe.  We sat in the same place that they sat in the movie and had breakfast.  It was pretty cool to be there and we were able to sign a fan book that Catherine Hardwicke (the director of "Twilight") had signed as well.  

We also dared to head out to the midnight release of "The Hunger Games".  I am not much of a midnight premiere person anymore.  I am a tired mommy of two girls for goodness sake!  But we decided to do it anyway.  The crazy part is that in Oregon it is two hours earlier than it is in Iowa, so it was like seeing the movie from 2-4 a.m. Iowa time.  But we did it!  And it was awesome.  We loved it!

We made our way back to the Seattle area to spend the last few days of our trip with Brynn and Haley again.  It was nice to be back and have our babies feeling well this time around.  Haven's attitude didn't really improve however with her schedule so messed up, but we dealt with it the best we could, aka a lot of time-outs and melt downs.  Honestly, I was about to pull my hair out dealing with her.  Luckily for Haley, Chelsea and I, our family was willing to watch her while we took the three hour drive North to FORKS!  YESSSSSS!!!!!  I am a huge Twi-hard.  Yeah, I am kind of a freak about it.  But I wasn't going to be in the Pacific Northwest without heading to the "home" of my obsession.  In case you're not familiar, Forks, WA is where the Twilight movies are supposedly set (even though they aren't actually filmed there).  So we made the long drive northward.  We rode a ferry, drove through lush green forest, and around beautiful lakes.  It was a very scenic drive.  When we actually arrived in Forks, to be honest, it was a letdown.  Forks is the lamest town I have ever been to.  I have to give it a little grace however, because we did go on a Sunday afternoon during the off-season.  I am sure if we had gone on a weekday during the summer it would have seemed a little more hoppin'.  But yeah, the town was really small, and empty.  We stopped at a store devoted to "Twilight" and bought a couple souvenirs and learned that the town visitors center was up the road.  We went there and they gave us a map with different tourist destinations related to the movie.  They also had Bella's truck sitting out front so we were able to see those and get some pictures taken with them.  After driving around town a little bit, we ate at a diner simply called "Coffee Shop", where the ambiance was lacking (to say the least), but the food turned out to be pretty stinkin' good.  

Last but not least, we made our way to First Beach in La Push.  We figured we better give it a looksie before we started the long drive back.  Actually, Chels and Haley wanted to leave, but I begged them to make one last stop to hopefully make the drive worth it, and they gave in. Best decision ever.  La Push was beautiful!  It was cool out, just the way I expected it to be.  The beach was covered in driftwood and small round rocks and just off the beach there were rounded cliffs in the water.  We looked around for a while and took pictures.  There was a local surfer standing by his car filming something in the distance, and we kept accidentally walking into his shot, not realizing what he was filming.  After doing this a couple times, he said, "Do you guys see what I'm filming?" And he pointed out into the water, where there were a couple whales swimming around together.  It was amazing!  They were beautiful.  We looked to our right and there were more whales, and we think maybe some seals as well.  It was awesome.  

We made the long trip home.  It didn't seem quite as bad this time.  When we got back we packed up our things since we had to catch an early flight back to Des Moines.  We chatted, hugged, said our goodbyes, and went to sleep.  The flights home were pretty easy.  Well, as easy as they can be holding an 11-month-old on your lap for four hours.  I was happy to get home, back to Lukey where I could have some help with the girls.  It was a great trip, despite the challenges we faced.  I can't wait to see them all again.

Flying over mountains on our way to Seattle

The weather while we were there.  Seattle-like.

girl cousins
coolest place!
fresh flowers everywhere

these shrimp were the size of my hand!

the produce was so beautiful


waiting for the movie to start

the sickie starting to feel better, looking out at the beautiful river

the river again

breakfast at the Carver Cafe
Catherine Hardwicke's signature

Carver Cafe

on the sky tram, eek!

the amazing atrium overlooking the river

Crescent Lake on the way to Forks, Breathtaking.

I got a little excited.
Haley, Chels, and I

liiiiittle place

the high school sign, as seen in the movies

La Push, baby, it's... La Push

hanging out on some driftwood

more driftwood
I've never been to a cold beach before.

Bella's truck

The only way I could get him to stop crying on the way home.  hahaha, sorry little guy.

So happy to not be sick anymore.
Haven throwing rocks into the Puget Sound.

Friday, February 24, 2012

girl on a mission

If you're friends with me on Facebook you're probably thinking, 
"Seriously, would you give it a rest?"
But no, I can't.  I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!

On January 20th, I began Weight Watchers.  I've really needed something to whip me into shape for the last few years.  When I was pregnant with Haven I gained 50+ pounds and that is so not easy on the body.  It's something I just never even thought about in my pre-pregnancy days.  I never would have known that pregnancy ravages your body.  I didn't know that stretch marks and loose skin were in my future.  I think if everybody knew that their body would be ruined they wouldn't be so excited to get pregnant and have their first child.  That sounds so bad, but I hear so many young girls talking about how excited they are to have kids and that they want to get married and have them right away.  As much as I love my children, I just want to scream to them, "ENJOY YOUR YOUTH AND THAT SKINNY, FLAWLESS BODY THAT YOU'RE NEVER GETTING BACK!"  Ok, that may be a little dramatic, but it seems true at times.  

Oops, sidetracked.

After almost 6 weeks of dieting and exercise I am down about 20 pounds!  I am so absolutely excited about it and never thought I could do it.  I mentioned before that I have one of my best friends weddings coming up, so that's some really good motivation.  Who wants to be immortalized in pictures as the fat bridesmaid?  Certainly not me.  

I've actually had quite a few people tell me that they can see a difference in me.  That's when I know I am actually doing something.  Somebody ELSE noticed without me mentioning my diet or anything.  There is no greater compliment.  Seriously, nothing.

Yesterday my (new) jeans were starting to get really baggy so I decided to wash them and a couple other pairs so they would hopefully shrink, and so I could hold off on buying MORE new pairs.  (This weight loss thing is a real burden on my wallet!  wink!)  In the meantime I needed to run to the store for a couple ingredients for dinner.  I had just started washing my pants when I realized I needed to leave the house, so I started digging through my drawers for something to throw on.  I came across my pre-pregnancy jeans, and wondered if they could possibly fit.  I knew I had lost weight, but I was a little skeptical as they haven't fit me in almost 4 years.  I tried on the bigger of the two pairs and wasn't entirely surprised that those fit because they were just a little bit tight before.  So I took another risk and tried on the smaller of the two pairs and those fit too!!!  I couldn't believe it.  And they weren't even skin tight - I might even say they were loose.  I am wearing them right now and am just reveling in my accomplishment.  I, Courtney, lost that much weight, and am still going strong and am going to lose even more.  If there's one thing that can make you stick to your diet, it's confidence boosters like the ones I've been receiving lately.  

If I have one piece of advice to people, it's TELL PEOPLE if you notice them losing weight.  I had one of my managers tell me she noticed that I'd lost weight but didn't want to say anything at first because it would be like saying that I used to be fat.  I don't think of it that way at all.  It's a big pat on the back, and great motivation to keep up the good work.  

P.S.  If I keep posting about weight loss, just bear with me.  I am excited.

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