Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from me to you!

My list of things I am thankful for is long and so today I focus on giving thanks and rejoicing for all that God has done and has given us this past year. Most of all I give thanks for Lucy as well as my family and friends. I give thanks for all of those who are such a gift and a blessing to my life. I give thanks for the ways in which God continues to work and move in the world around us and am blessed to be a part of it.

"Give thanks:
  • for each new morning with its light
  • for rest and shelter of the night
  • for health and food
  • for love and friends
  • for everything thy goodness sends"
                              -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Plans

One of the challenges of where Marc & I live (with really no great solution of where to move to lessen this problem) is that Marc and I live in the middle of our families (which is great), except that it makes the drive six hours to the east or six hours to the west to get to our families. So we started the tradition that we go to Wisconsin and South Dakota for Thanksgiving every other year. This year is our Wisconsin year.

The new challenge of course is traveling with Lucy.
In years past Marc and I have each taken our sleeping bags and a backpack with everything we need. This year, however, we have a lot more pack.
PLUS we have one JUMBO box of cutout cookies and one printer box of cutout cookies.
        Took Marc 11 HOURS to bake these things - now to not break them.

Dakota is spending the holiday at one of the pet boarding places here in town.

I have to help with the Thanksgiving Eve service here in town at 7:00pm tonight, soooooo we aren't leaving tonight since it wouldn't be until after 8:00pm. We are planning on leaving tonight to head down to the Twin Cities to stay with my brother - we probably won't arrive till 10:30ish or so but it will be massively helpful in the morning - I would MUCH rather drive late night than have to get up and leave by 4:00 or 4:30 tomorrow morning. Lucy is a wildcard. She HATES riding in her carseat and six hours is a long ways for her to ride. We figure we will have to stop about every two hours to feed Lucy and to let her stretch - stopping at my brothers will definitely help some. I wish we weren't going so late but with work I don't really have many other options.

I am going to have to use disposable diapers on Lucy which I am not thrilled about - they just don't hold everything in as well as her cloth diapers. However, we don't own enough diapers to make it through the trip and won't have any access to washers and dryers.

We will be returning home on Saturday because I have to work Sunday morning - which while I am a little sad the trip will be ridiculously fast I am glad that we shouldn't be in the madness of fighting a ton of people who are returning from other places on Sunday. Plus this should give me Sunday to get caught up on everything: laundry, clean out the car, and get prepped for the next week without having to run around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Random fact that you don't care about:
I have discovered that (when possible) it is easiest to pack for Lucy, Marc, and I all in one Rubbermaid tote rather than having three separate bags. It makes it easier for us to only have to carry one bucket that fits everything we need: diapers, bottles, and clothes for the three of us. Since we know we will be sleeping on the floor we also are taking our sleeping bags and airbed as well as a pack n' play for Lucy.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?
Are you traveling for the holiday?
How do you feel about traveling during the holidays?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Cutout Cookies

 I know I mentioned it yesterday in my weekend recap that Marc made a ton of Christmas cookies, but when I started looking at my pictures I decided this needed it's own post due to its massiveness. Sooo many stinkin cookies. I really can take minimal credit for what happened in terms of the Christmas cutout cookies for the day after Thanksgiving. Marc gets about 90% of the credit minus that while he was focused and working I was on baby entertainment duty. I did make the dough for Marc last weekend - while it would have been nice to make it last week but due to the nature of the recipe and it's requirements to have the dough chill for 72 hours before using it as well as needing a bajillion cups of flour and soften butter and and and and and and and and blah blah blah I needed to get it done last weekend due to our nutso schedule this past week. As noted in a few of these pictures Lucy is currently our photo prop for sizing purposes (yes, she is small, but still works well for size comparisons). Lucy really didn't sit on the island and watch Marc roll out cookies for more than about two minutes and then she was over it - plus a part of me was slightly nervous she'd babble and spit all over the dough or for the first time in her life projectile vomit all over the dough.
Marc worked for ELEVEN HOURS baking all of these cookies between Saturday and Sunday. I cannot imagine working on cookies for that long. Hanging out with Lucy was a MUCCCHHHH better deal. All of the cookies the Marshall's use are one of two shapes (I am not 100% certain why the lack of diversity in shape of cutout cookies for Christmas, but according to Marc this is the way they have ALWAYS done it - so I just quit asking questions) they use a Santa head and a full Santa carrying his bag shape. The Santa heads get cut out WAY faster than the full Santa shape - it is a fine balance to get them both cut out semi-evenly when the desire is to just cut Santa heads.

This last picture is purely for size comparison - look at how many stinkin cookies this is! I really have a couple concerns:
  • How to transport them to ensure they don't break during our seven hour drive?
  • How long is it going to take everyone to frost these? Don't get me wrong I like frosting cookies as much as the next person but uffdah!
  • How are we going to manage to get these frosted with 2 toddlers running around and 2 babies?

There will be a frosting post coming after Thanksgiving - I am sure I will have tons of pictures from that ordeal.

Does your family have any traditions around Thanksgiving every year?
Do you like frosting cookies?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Recap

Ahhh I can't believe how quickly I am already forced to write this - I would like to request extra days for the weekend (wait wouldn't we all?!) - as well as extra days that I plan absolutely nothing. I want days that we aren't allowed to schedule anything. Is that possible?

Friday night we had a dinner with a group of friends from church - can't go wrong with friends, taco bar, and ice cream bar :) - let me not forget to mention that Lucy was loved on the entire time and she soaked up all the love. Which go figure I didn't manage to get a single picture of - apparently I actually was into whatever we were going on an didn't even bother to take out my phone to grab a picture.

Saturday was wonderful: laundry, snuggling on the couch, a good run for me, a walk with Dakota (it is pretty cold and a bit slippery here, so no running outside for me), some packing for middle school gathering, and Marc began the great cookie baking process for the day after Thanksgiving frosting party at his Grandparents house.
Saturday night I spent out at a local resort with 597 of my favorite middle schoolers (28 from my own church) and we had a marvelous little retreat. Lucy spent her first night alone with dad. Word on the street was there was much snuggling at home and Marc realized he can't bake cookies and entertain Lucy - so they snuggled the night away. Lucy slept in our room in her rock and play because Marc was a little worried about not hearing Lucy when she woke up in the middle of the night - but they both did fine and I heard Dakota got promoted to sleeping on my spot on our bed. It is rough to be the beloved golden retriever at our house. 

Sunday Lucy came out to the Middle School Gathering so that Marc could continue baking cookies as soon as he got home from church. Lucy was in heaven - EVERYONE wanted to hold her and snuggle her. The kids were fascinated by her and she had a great time. Thankfully I brought our Beco babycarrier along so that she could curl up and get in a good nap without being ridiculously over stimulated. So in the midst of LOUD worship she slept peacefully (thankful for the baby carrier and for a baby who can and will sleep just about anywhere without even blinking an eye). Welcome to the world of two working parents Lucy, you get to come on all sorts of retreats, lock-ins, meetings, and who knows where else you will be toted around due to my crazy work. She loved it so that helps. She really is a great baby as long as she is being held.

After the kids all left, a few of my good friends, who also are local went swimming at the resort before we left. (The Packer vs Viking game on was on as well in the pool area - that game was a BIT too close for comfort - we drove home during half time so we could finish watching the game at home) It was great to have the pool to ourselves and to enjoy a little swimming after everyone left. Lucy LOVES the pool and loves kicking around and splashing. She thought it was great. The only major tears of the pool came when it was time to get out of the pool and go home. We get the same response when we take her out of the tub too, so I am not surprised.

When we got home, we finished watching the Packer game while helping Marc finish the cutout cookies - note the HUGE box full of cookies (I put Lucy in the picture for size comparison) as well as the printer paper box mostly full of cookies. UGGGG sooooo many cookies. Now to keep them from breaking while we drive to Wisconsin on Thursday morning. Here's hoping and praying we can get them padded well enough and they survive the journey. I wish it was our job to bring the frosting so that I wouldn't have to worry about this.

After the Packers game and cookies were done I had a wild hair idea to call up on of my high school kids to see if she'd watch Lucy so Marc and I could go see Mockingjay. Thankfully she said her homework was done and she'd love to. Tarin was officially Lucy's first babysitter.
Mockingjay was good, but I do love the book more than the movie. They took quite a few artistic liberties and some were not for the better. I had hoped since they broke Mockingjay into two parts they would be able to keep some of the details, but alas they weren't able to keep many that I had hoped for. Still worth watching though.

How was your weekend?
Have you seen Mocking jay?
How do you feel about cutout cookies?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NovemberTraining Log

I am going to attempt to put up some training updates each month rather than a week by week update - mostly because I find training updates boring to write about (and I don't have fun pictures to go with it) - however, I do need to be accountable for what I am doing.

I am a bit nervous about the upcoming triathlon, mostly because it is a bit out of my realm of reality at this point. I have been massively focusing on the biking aspect. If I am truly honest I am a bit nervous about the entire next season, I feel sooooo out of shape at this point. Uggggg.
  • Running
    • I am averaging about 3 runs a week
    • I am no where near the distance that I would like to be at, but slowly but surely I am building my mileage back up - while I have been able to log lots of miles outside - I am fearing these days are numbered and the treadmill and I are about to become bffs
      • I REFUSE to run on ice. I hate running on ice, I hate the fear of slipping and getting hurt, I hate how nervous I am when running on ice and don't enjoy my runs when on ice - so I just don't do it
    • I currently go the the local YMCA to run on the treadmill - Marc and I have discussed using some money we have been saving up to buy a treadmill and think we will probably bite the bullet and get one so that we can have one in our basement.
      • The YMCA isn't bad currently, however, at some point they start to become strict about the half hour per machine rule and that drives me nuts
  • Biking
    • I have been putting in a TON of time on the bike
      • my legs are feeling it too
    • I have been attending one or two cycling classes a week
      • my first few classes I am fairly certain I was about to die several times throughout class - that is a ridiculously good workout
    • We also have a bike trainer in our basement
      • we are able to hook our road bikes up to here and bike in the basement - it has been fun to be able to go downstairs while Lucy is napping and ride for an hour or so and get a good sweat happening
      • I think this will be super handy in the winter months
  • Swimming
    • Honestly, I haven't been focusing much on swimming - why, because it probably is the one aspect that comes most naturally to me, thanks mom and dad for putting me in swimming lessons before I could even walk, and the distance required is not that far for this triathlon - 600 meters
    • I also feel like this is not where I will gain that much time, yes, I have ways in which I can improve upon my swimming (I am no Michael Phelps), however, in terms of gaining time my best option for cutting time on race day really is on the bike. Yes, I can swim faster and run faster but due to their short natures, the amount of time I will cut is not at the same level as in the biking
    • Not to forget I am now back to teaching swimming lessons (this is bitter sweet and I have a love hate relationship with it) - which means that I am hauling around the pool 30 to 70 pound children for an hour and a half every Tuesday night and this is a RIDICULOUSLY good workout - if you doubt it you go tread water and semi swim while lugging around a child, particularly one who is afraid of the water.
  • Nutrition
    • I have been logging what I eat in the myfitnesspal app in hopes of getting a better look at what I am eating and where my calories are coming and that has been helpful to point to where my needs are
    • In the app I also have been able to log my water intake (which had been severely lacking) and I am finally coming back around to decent water intake (at least 100 ounces a day)

Getting back in shape is hard work, and results always seem so slow when at this point, however, I know the perseverance will pay off. I find myself jealous of my husband at times, he trains for a couple days and starts to see results and loses weight and what not. Ugggg boys. But slowly but surely I will get back at it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekend Shenanigans

Weekends FLY by - I can hardly fathom that it is already Monday and I have to wait several days before my next one. Being a pastor the idea of weekend is always a little bit of a weird one - I get Fridays off (in theory) and Sunday I have to work (now I may work just the morning or it may stretch into the afternoon, and some evenings I have to work as well. Being a pastor is a little strange in terms of work and when I have to work - however strange it is it is becoming a little bit normal and our family is adjusting and is making it work for us. Fridays for me are traditionally my get my mountain of laundry done type of day as well as clean everything that I didn't get to in my weekly rotation - I try to clean something/somewhere every day during the week, and some weeks this goes amazingly well and other weeks I can't seem to get any of them done. In theory it works well if I actually manage to get it done. I must admit that I love a clean house, I love a house without stuff stacked here and there, I love a house where everything has it's place and stuff isn't just laying around aimlessly. I am weird like that.
This weekend we also got to hang out with some friends of mine. Several years ago we would get together every couple of weeks and create things, craft things, and crochet things, now on the other hand between the three of us we have five kids all under the age of four. Oh how times have changed, now we get together, drink coffee, and let the kids play while we exchange conversations between interactions with the kids. The youngest three are all within a few months of each other (8 months, 4 months, & 2 months) - Lucy is still the peanut. It will be fun as these guys get a little older and can interact with one another a little bit more. 
Marc and I do spend a lot of time at the local YMCA working out, however, with Lucy it has gotten a little bit more complicated.  We do have a bike trainer set up in our basement and I feel like both of us have spent a ton of time downstairs on the bike trainer, Dakota usually protests and lays next to us, I imagine dreaming of warmer days when we could take her for long runs outside. 
If you follow me on instagram you know that I have been crocheting quite a bit lately in attempt to use up all of the little balls of yarn laying around my house. This weekend's project was a Zebra by Repeat Crafter Me. I have REALLY been trying to work on my ability to add things onto hats, my preference by FAR is to just put the design into the hat and not have to do much if anything afterwards. If I am truly honest I don't even really like doing ear flaps, however, I tolerate them as I need to because I think they are RIDICULOUSLY cute on little kids not to forget I find them practical. This was my Zebra, and the first time I have done stitching with yarn rather than with thread, it is a little tricky, but I think I like the way it turned out, and the mane made me a bit nervous as well, but I will take it for sure.
Of course there was lots of playing on the floor, Lucy continues to be fascinated by this super random hanging/dangling toy thingy by infantino that she got as a gift, we love it and we have even attached a few rings and some extra toys (note the square hanging in the background as well as the Minnie Mouse in the front). She loves to have the music going on the elephant which spins the butterflies, she actually will lay there for quite a while before she gets frustrated and wants something else or to be picked up. Dakota has learned that she can wiggle under the toys and get right up next to Lucy, naturally I have yet to capture a great picture of this happening, but trust me it is wicked cute.

We also went to the dog park for a bit in hopes of letting Dakota run and play and get out her crazy. I feel bad for Dakota in the winter on several reasons:
  • It is cold, so we can't be outside as much 
  • Her paws get cold eventually
  • Her walks are shorter due to the ice that laces the ground
  • we don't just hang out outside like we do in the summer
  • currently it is hunting season, which means we have to be extra careful on where we walk and what time we walk and we have to leave her on her leash a little bit more than we normally would when we are in certain areas that she would usually get to run free 
  • she misses summer and swimming in the lake but does love rolling in the snow
On Saturday Marc went to Dumb and Dumber 2 with a couple of his friends (he had offered to find a babysitter so I could go, however I had ZERO interest in going - I would rather save that money and go to another movie or just netflix it when it comes out - I have no need to see it right now), so Lucy and I worked on making the cutout cookie dough for the day after Thanksgiving frosting party at Marc's grandparents. I didn't think I would have time to actually get the dough made with enough time for it to chill for 72 hours before baking, sooooo it is chilling now in our fridge and we will bake it next Sunday after I get home from work.

Sunday we also watched the Vikings lose (whoop whoop) and the Packers win. We are die hard Packers fan. Lucy was surprisingly delightful all game and spent most of the game drooling and blowing spit bubbles and smiling at us. It was a good ending to the weekend. Sunday night we also prep everything so Monday morning isn't such madness.

How was your weekend?
Did you do anything fun?
  • I am a little jealous of everyone who got to run races this weekend, especially those who got to run the RunDisney Avengers run. I am so ready to get back into the race seasons.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

We went for it.
We made the plunge, we are cloth diapering this baby.
I was a little nervous.
I have some amazing friends who cloth diaper who are showing us the ropes.

We are using Best Bottoms diapers as well as a few BumGenius Freetimes (for night time), and a couple work at home mom diapers. So far..... we love it. Seriously.
We ordered from Nicki's Diapers and they have been marvelous to work with, we have been ordering a few a month since January to build up our stash so that we could spread out our cost so that it wasn't one lump sum all at one time (thanks for the tip Lindy).
I also have a small collection of cloth wipes that we use, I figure if I am doing all the laundry anyways, what is a few wipes in the mix.

We didn't use cloth diapers while Lucy was in the NICU or the first couple days at home, we used up the ones that they gave us and as those were running out we use a newborn cloth diaper rental for the early days when she was still a bit too small for the ones that we owned. Not only are they ridiculously cute but we have other reasons as well......

My reasoning for wanting to do it:
  • primarily it is environmentally - I just can't stand the idea of millions of diapers going in the waste when I have beautiful alternatives 
    • I don't think I would be doing it if the cloth diapers were still the old school ones like my grandparents used (heck I doubt my grandparents used cloth but that were available when they were diapering my parents and aunts and uncles) - something about a squirming child and having to properly fold a diaper AND then stick pins into said diaper without poking a baby/toddler scares the daylights out of me - so we are going with the snap version of Best Bottoms
    • Yes, I know some people still use the prefolds or flat diapers and use the safety pins/diaper pins, but it just isn't for me 
    • Yes, I know the Best Bottoms are a little more expensive than the flats or prefolds, but frankly I don't care
  • other reasons:
    • I hear there are many health benefits for babies who use cloth (I am not anti disposable and we use disposable for sure when we are on vacation most likely because I can't quite fathom how I would make cloth diapers work on vacation - but who knows we'll see how it goes)
    • financially - I can't lie the financial side of it did play a slight role in our decision making but wasn't the main reason
    • low low reason - seriously how cute are babies in cloth diapers

I am sure as Lucy gets a bit bigger and starts eating real food the challenges to cloth diapering will change, but so far, we love it. The extra laundry really doesn't phase me and the amount of money we are saving as well as the amount of diapers we are keeping out of the landfill warms my heart.