Monday, October 31, 2011

A fun wedding weekend!

My cousin got married this weekend and we had so much fun! Unfortunately, we were too busy to take many pictures, but I'll share what I have.

On Friday night, some friends from church watched the girls for us so that we could go to a wonderful rehearsal dinner. Such delicious food!!!! I ate an unbelievable amount, even for me! And the girls had a blast with Mr. Alan, Miranda, and Jared. They told us all about it the next day :)

On Saturday, we took the girls and their cousins to a family lunch. I forgot my camera, so you won't see any pics til I get a few from my dad. But we had a lot of fun seeing everyone and once again, eating a ridiculous amount of utterly delicious food! Karis was utterly obsessed with seeing the bride and bridesmaids. She talked about them all weekend, pretended she and Karlie were going over to their houses to play, and now has imaginary friends named Whitney, Lindsey, and Natalie :)

After naps, the girls wanted me to curl their hair (They had seen the fancy hair-do's of they bridal party at the luncheon). They were so excited about the curlers -- Karis said that she wanted to wear them to the wedding and Karlie wanted me to take a picture of her with them on:
We had a crazy time getting to the wedding (one of those "lock-yourself-out-of-the-car-when-you-need-to-go-home-and-change" kind of adventures) so we didn't get a single family picture of us all together dressed up fancy. I was pretty sad about that because my parents had gotten the girls some adorable fancy dresses that matched but we will just have to wear them again another time for a family photo. That shouldn't be too hard because Karis wants to wear her dress every waking moment. She begged to wear it to church the next day, would not take it off for naptime, and cried big tears when we made her take it off before going to an outdoors fall party that evening. And then she wanted to wear it again this morning!!

We were pretty disappointed that we rushed to the wedding a little late, but it was ok because we watched from right outside the doors and Karis got her own special preview of the wedding party as they walked out. They all smiled and said hi to her as they walked by and she felt so special and proud!

The reception was at a really cool science museum downtown and the girls had a blast looking at everything! Their favorite sightings included dinosaur bones and live snakes, turtles, and frogs. I was too busy trying to get Abbi to sleep to a take any pics, but Mark snagged just a few as he walked around with the big girls. We had to leave early because it was well past the girls' bedtime and I was hoping that the big girls wouldn't realize that they were missing the cake. But sure enough, as soon as we got in the car, Karis said, "Mama! No one cut the wedding cake!!! I think it was because it was just too pretty to eat!"

Karlie walking with Papa, looking at the exhibits:
Excited about a big dinosaur skeleton!
Watching some dancing going on behind a huge dinosaur replica:
This picture is of me trying to get Abbi to sleep (pretty much what I did the entire reception :) And I was totally unsuccessful. It was all so bright and loud and exciting and she just couldn't shut down. I normally have her in bed between 5:30 and 6:00 and my crazy baby stayed awake until 9:30!!! I was amazed and incredibly thankful, however, that she stayed happy pretty much the entire time.
My dad with his siblings: They were all so excited to be together!

Friday, October 28, 2011

more fun from our VA weekend!

We squeezed in lots of fun on our quick trip back home....

We were planning to meet some friends at a park about 30 min away but Abbi desperately needed a longer nap. So we drove the beautiful parkway for a while and then ended up at the "star" for which our city is so famous.

Enjoying the view of the city (I'm glad I stayed in the car with Abbi because my heart would have stopped if I had seen the girls so close to the edge! You can't tell from the pic, but it is a LONG way down!)
The girls were so excited to finally be able to see the star up close because they had seen it many times in the distance driving around the city. It looks really cool at night when it is lit up.

But I think they were most excited about the leaves! We regretfully don't have any big trees in our yard so whenever we go to VA they go crazy playing with all the leaves!

Then we met up with our friends at the park:
The girls loved the different kind of see-saw!
And the swing that they could ride together
The BIG kids had fun on the see-saw also -- HA!
Gavin is Mark's best friend from high school. Isn't his daughter a cutie?
Then we went to Grandma and Papa's house for the night
I love seeing Abbi grin at her Papa!
The girls were so excited about their little pumpkins!
What a fun trip!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pregnancy books and tips

A dear friend of mine recently found out she was pregnant and e-mailed me with some questions about books to read, natural remedies, stretch marks, and maternity clothes. I thought I'd share my response in case it would be helpful to anyone...

I unfortunately didn't find out about this until after the 1st trimester (because I'm sure it would have helped with my horrible morning sickness), but Papaya enzymes are an awesome natural way to settle an upset stomach or to help with heartburn and acid reflux.

My holistic doctor told me that colic in babies is caused by yeast overgrowth and digestive issues in the Mama, so I took tons of probiotics and cut out most all sugar and white flour the last trimester, especially that last month. I don't know if it worked or if I just have a very easy baby, but Abbi had the least tummy trouble of the three :) And Karlie had the most, which makes complete sense because I had the antibiotic during labor with her and that would definitely cause digestive issues. So I'm a believer. I recently read this article that confirmed her advice and gave tips for preventing colic in babies.

I've also read that GER (bad reflux in babies) is caused by a deficiency in B12 so I made sure I ate lots of beef, cheese, and eggs so I would get plenty of that vitamin.

I've read that olive oil can help colicky babies -- I had a friend who let her baby suck on her finger dipped in olive oil after each feeding and it helped.

I recently read that you get morning sickness because increased hormone production uses up cholesterol and the body is unable to produce sufficient bile. One researcher suggested that you eat as many good quality cholesterol rich foods as you can (and it is even better to prepare before conception if possible with at least 3 months of a traditional diet rich in high quality animal fats!) Sip whole raw milk throughout the day to ward off sickness and acupuncture can help a lot as well! Another blogger said that eating legumes helps because the bile binds to soluble fiber and cannot pass pass the intestinal barrier and make you sick. She suggests eating 1/4 cup of beans any time you feel nauseous. I'm thinking that I will be eating a whole lot of hummus next pregnancy! And it is a good thing that I love my raw milk and cheese!

Another cause for morning sickness is magnesium deficiency.  The best idea is to stock up on magnesium before you get pregnant because it is harder to absorb once you area already pregnant.  The best way to absorb magnesium is topically, through a body spray or by soaking in epsom salts.  Please read THIS article and THIS one to get a better idea of magnesium and real food solutions for morning sickness.

I did all my normal natural solutions when pregnant, but I saved oregano oil as a last resort because it is so strong and I could never find any info that definitively said it was ok during pregnancy. I think I only used it for a day if if I got really sick and stopped when I felt better. It is probably fine, but I always err on the side of caution. Plus, oregano oil kills the good bacteria as well and I didn't want to do that unless absolutely necessary. Garlic and Apple Cider Vinegar are perfectly fine and ever so good for you, so they were my stand-by pregnancy remedies :) I don't know as much about Grapefruit Seed Extract, so I saved it for when I was really sick as well. It is probably fine, but I just didn't know for sure.
I've never gotten stretch marks (but don't think I've gotten off easy; varicose veins are much worse because they are very painful!); I think whether or not you get stretch marks depends a lot on how you carry your baby and I have a long torso so my babies don't stick out that far. But I have been pretty careful to put lotion on my belly throughout my pregnancies regardless. I used Palmer's Cocoa Butter stretch mark cream with my first two pregnancies and made my own belly butter with my last pregnancy. I don't have a real recipe... I just melted coconut oil, shea butter, and almond oil on low on the stove and mixed them up and poured it in a jar. If I had to guess, I'd say that I used them respectively in a 3:2:1 ratio. And you really don't have to have the almond oil; the main thing is that you need shea butter to make it more like lotion than just oil. I added some cocoa butter to one batch and it was great, even more thick, but it was a horrible pain to scrape off into the pan and to melt because it was so hard.

Target has absolutely the best nursing tanks ever! And their nursing bras are pretty reasonably priced as well. My favorite place to buy maternity clothes was Old Navy -- they always had stuff in the clearance section. And I got some stuff at Kohl's and Target. Maternity is very expensive, so the best thing is to buy it off season.

If you are hoping for a natural birth,  my other two posts on the topic should be helpful:
My Experience: Medicated v. Natural Childbirth
My Thought On Making It Through Labor Naturally

My top 5 fav pregnancy/baby books are:
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg -- I don't agree with everything she says, but she does have good ideas for soothing baby and getting baby on a good sleep/wake/eat schedule, etc. I'm more of a "feed on demand" kind of Mama, but a loose schedule is very helpful in knowing whether a baby is fussing because she is hungry or simply tired. Some good nursing tips are found HERE.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth -- very "crunchy," but a must-read during your last month of pregnancy if you decide to give birth without meds :) I re-read it with every baby during that last month to inspire me to know that I can do it!

Other good reads:
Happiest Baby On the Block by Karp -- I don't agree with the whole "missing 4th trimester concept" but it does have other great info on having a happy baby
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth -- fabulous book on how babies/children sleep and how much/when they need it. Good resource to have on hand
How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Mendelsohn -- small, fat book -- good resource to have on hand to diagnose and treat ailments naturally rather than going to the doctor at the first sign of a fever

A quick trip back home!

Last weekend, we made a super-quick trip back home for a very important reason:

My grandmother turned 85 years old! how special! I am very close to my grandmother because I actually lived with her for a while before meeting and marrying Mark (and it was because of her that I got the job that led me to Mark!)

My Mom made an awesome pumpkin cake and my dad made the most amazing maple icing that was just perfect (I will be getting the recipe from him this weekend!). And my girls had a blast decorating it :)
My Dad created an awesome slideshow with pictures from her entire life and everyone really enjoyed watching it.
Karlie and Grandma Connie were both really excited about the cake :)
4 generations of girls!

After the cake, we went outside to run off some energy :)

A daddy's girl through and through :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Daddy love and other funny conversations :)

Karis: Mama, I'm tired of seeing you all the time... I want you to work and Daddy to stay at home with us! (Sorry, hon, I'm pretty sure neither Mama nor Daddy would be happy with that arrangement - ha! :)

Karis, happily painting away: "I'm going to be an artist when I grow up.... no, actually, I am going to be a coach because I want to see Daddy a lot when I grow up!"

Karis: Karlie, I want you to obey me like you obey Mama! (Good luck with that one, missy :)

Karis: Karlie if you poop in the potty tomorrow we can have banilla ice cream again!
Karlie: Oh, yes! I have lots of poops!

Me: Karlie! You have scratches on your arm! Why did kitty scratch you?
Karlie: Because I was trying to put a pony tail on his tail!

Karis, talking about a house on our road: "Oh, Nina, I LOVE that house! It means we are almost home!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Random things I love about my husband... (7 Years Today!!)

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary! So hard to believe! I still sometimes think back to my wedding day and can hardly believe such a magical day occurred and all my dreams came true :) They have undoubtedly been the best 7 years of my life. Our marriage has definitely not been perfect, containing many ups and and some downs as well, but there has never been a single moment when I questioned marrying my man. There is no doubt in my mind that God brought us together! Since I already wrote this post about why I initially married my awesome fella, I thought today I would share why I am still ever so thankful that God brought us together. This list is completely random, in no particular order, and definitely not conclusive. It is simply what is popping into my head at this very moment:

If he mistakenly offends me, all I have to do is tell him what he did and he apologizes. He is never defensive and doesn't try to justify his words/ actions. He simply admits if he is wrong and apologizes. (I'm trying to learn that from him; my tendency is to get defensive.)

He rolls his eyes and teases me about my health-nuttiness, but does listen and try crazy things that I cook and is even willing to give up some favorites for healthier options. (ex. giving up sodas for water keifer lemonade)

He can still make me melt when he holds my hand or puts his arm around me in public (and believe me, it is hard to get that chance when you have 3 little ones to hold onto when you go out!)

He has a hard time stopping work and coming home at night because he wants to do his best at his job. But he knows that tendency and really, really tries to get home at a decent time. He even tells me to call and remind him if he gets late. (An excuse to nag.... what more could a wife want? HA!)

He takes out the trash for me and is usually the one to mop the kitchen floor.

He uses his day off to take the big girls out to do my errands (grocery store, library, post office, etc) because he knows I like to stay home with the girls during the week to do school and keep Abbi on a decent schedule. (And the girls look forward to their "Daddy-date" all week long!)

He can usually somehow get my 2-year old to get past her stubbornness better than me.

He is well-respected by everyone who knows him and I am always proud to be his wife.

He believes that it is important for me to be at home with our girls and is willing to go without my paycheck and live very simply/frugally to enable me to stay at home. (ex. he has never had internet on his phone or cable and we have an old 19-inch 11-year old TV that he has to stand in front of to be able to see his sports :)

By God's grace, he really tries to life a life that brings glory to God. He is a good example to my girls!

He is really hot, especially when playing sports :)

He loves and enjoys children, even after being exhausted by his own for the past 4.5 years.

My family and his are both important to him and he understands my need to be with them for every single holiday.

He does not spend money foolishly and totally researches and thinks out every large purchase that we make.

He allows me to spend a large portion of our budget on "real" food.

When I am consumed with morning sickness, a newborn, or a sick child, he completely picks up the slack and runs the house.

He makes breakfast like a pro!

He loves me even when I am too tired to shower or forget to put on make-up (Sorry honey -- that happens more often than I care to admit!)

He is not perfect, but he is perfect for me! I am so thankful for his sacrifices and love!

...And if you want to read any of my other anniversary posts, here they are:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Tomorrow marks our 7th anniversary! We totally forgot to take any pictures on our date so when we got home, Mark asked Papa to take a few. Don't you like this first one? HA!
It wasn't a problem with Papa's picture taking as much as a problem with my husband -- in 7 years, he still hasn't gotten over the perverse joy of tickling me!

"Now you better behave!"
And he responds by kissing me :) Gotta love him!

And gotta love this little sweetie... she woke up just before we got home to snuggle with Nina and watch baseball with Papa. I was so glad that she had been a happy baby while we were gone!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A grown-up conversation

Meg: I'm really, really excited about our date tomorrow night
Mark: Why?
Meg: Well, I'm excited to see our friends and I'm excited about eating good food, but I'm really excited about being able to take a bite right away (while it is still hot) and then take another one and then another one and eat my whole meal and not have to get up to get someone something (or fight a squirmy baby for my spoon)... please don't ask me to pass you anything because I'm not going to. I just want to eat my whole dinner without being interrupted.
Mark: I think I'm going to take someone else.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fun at Kid Fest

Last Saturday, Mark did a promo for his work at a local kidsfest. He got everything set up and then was free to play with the girls. They had a blast and did not want to leave even though we were utterly exhausted. The best thing about this festival was that everything was free! The girls were able to pick out pumpkins and decorate them with stickers and feathers and markers. Other favorites included the the blow-up jumping boat, playing with yellow duckies in a stream and getting prizes, and getting a tatoo. Karis chose a princess tatoo and Karlie chose a green dog (He looked like Blues Clues, but was green.. must have been a cousin or something?). We didn't take a lot of pictures, though, because there was so much going on.

When we later asked the girls what they liked the most, Karlie answered, "decorating pumpkins" and Karis simply said, "EVERYTHING!" But if you were watching their faces, you would have easily seen that meeting "Clifford" was the most absolutely amazing part of the day! I wish I had gotten a picture of Karlie's face when she saw him... it was priceless. She couldn't even speak -- she just pointed with her mouth wide open. And Karis kept giving him fives over and over. They love getting Clifford books from the library and never dreamed of meeting him in person :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Abbi Grace at 8 months!

My sweet girl is 8 months old now! She is a bundle of energy and always on the go! She is a pro at army crawling -- I don't really remember my others doing it so well or for so long. She is getting up on her hands and knees regularly, and crawling just one or two steps at a time before resuming army crawling.
Abbi loves:

...putting anything and everything in her mouth (I may or may not often resort to giving her the paci when she is awake just so that she can play on the floor with her sisters without me having to worry about her putting little toys in her mouth :)

... her little lovey blanket -- if she is tired and fussy you can give her the paci and blankie and she will just snuggle up to you -- bliss!

... Food! She eats many things now, but apparently nothing is as exciting as avocado with chicken stock (cold), yogurt with probiotics, and cod liver oil.

... the cat -- he drives her absolutely crazy! If she so much as catches a glimpse of him, she starts hollering like crazy and army-crawling wildly in his direction. Even when she gets close enough to touch him, she is so excited that she can hardly sit up straight. She literally shakes and yells with excitement, trying to eat him and grab him at the same time. Blackie will generally let her attack him as long as I am petting him at the same time.

... paper, shoes, grass, bark, stickers -- they are like magnets to her and I will inevitably have to fish them out of her mouth :)

... Pup-pup -- she still likes to play with her whenever she sees her. But Pup-pup is not nearly as exciting as the cat since she is always around

Abbi does not love:
... her exersaucer -- she much prefers to be able to crawl around and does not want to be confined. Plus, if she is in the kitchen (where we keep it), she wants to be eating :)

... when I am reading to the big girls -- she wants our attention so badly and always comes over and fusses at us and tries to eat our books...

... to hear her sisters upset -- she will start crying as well

Abbi has finally resumed her nightly schedule of going to bed around 6pm and staying asleep through the evening until about 10:00! (most of the time :) Now Mama and Daddy can go on dates again! YAY! On a good night, she will only wake up once more during the night around 2:30 and then get up around 8am. I've decided that that extra feeding is a good thing and am not going to try to make her cry it out and get over it. She is the only baby I've had who wasn't sleeping 12 hours straight by this time, but she is also the chunkiest baby I have ever had and I like that. I think the extra feeding is really helping my milk supply and helping her make up for any feedings that she was too distracted to finish during the day.

I tried on a pair of 12 months jeans because I knew she would never fit into her 9-month ones. But I couldn't even get the 12 months ones past her adorably chunky thighs! These were the jeans that Karlie probably wore until she was 18 months! HA!

The big girls were ever so excited to find this pink bear jacket in our fall clothes bin and demanded that she wear it... so cute :)
Abbi Grace, we love you so much and just can't believe you are getting so big!

Friday, October 7, 2011

1 Corinthians 13 by Karis ( and a little help from Karlie)

We decided to learn 1 Corinthians 13 next because it would help the girls remember how to be loving to each other. They both know it, but because it is so long Karlie often gets distracted and forgets to finish saying it :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A joyful noise :)

My girls love to play and sing together. I thought I'd share a couple quick clips I took of them singing together this week. They will probably never win any awards for the their amazing voices, but it still brings me a smile and a chuckle every time I see this. And Karis has some interesting instructions for Karlie as well :) We have a Wee-Sing Bible Songs CD and songbook and they know which pictures go with which song so they are "reading" the music.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Patch!

Mark was off from work today so we took our traditional trip to the pumpkin patch! The girls were all so very excited!

Most of the pumpkins had been picked and taken to the fun pumpkin playground, but Karlie was determined to get hers from the patch:

So tickled that she picked her own!

Abbi was really excited to be out in the bright sunshine

Karlie loved the horsey tire swing:
Abbi just wanted to eat her pumpkin... I fished a big piece of pumpkin stalk out of her mouth a little bit later on :)

She took a break in the shade with her Daddy while the big girls played on the playground

Karis was utterly determined to carry her big pumpkin all the way to the wagon!

She dropped it once, but picked it up and got it into the wagon!

So proud of herself for carrying that heavy pumpkin!

Our attempt at a picture of the three of them -- HA!

Sweet Abbi
Karis loved the playground
Pumpkin peek-a-boo!