Monday, February 29, 2016

Grant's Birth Story

The contractions started around 12:30am Tuesday, January 19th.  By 2:00am they were about 5-6 minutes apart.  I called my mom and dad to tell them we were heading to the hospital, so they began the three hour trip down to Columbus.  We got to the hospital only to be told that it wasn't time yet.  Disappointment.  The doctor said it's getting close, and I could come back in a few hours.  So, we headed back home.  Mom and Dad got to our house around 5:30am and Josh and I went back to the hospital.  By the time we got there the contractions had almost stopped.  We walked around for about an hour.  Still nothing...back home.  I had contractions all day Tuesday, but only about every 40 minutes to an hour.  I walked and walked, did laundry, walked some more.  I went to bed very discouraged that night.  Then, around 2:00am the contractions started coming quicker again, so we started getting ready to go back to the hospital.  By the time we were ready to go, guess what...they slowed down again.  Back to every 30-40 minutes or so.  So, Wednesday morning Josh went to work and we took the boys to daycare.  I told Mom I was tired of moping around and being miserable, so we decided to go to Starbucks and Target.  We left the house at 10:00 and headed to Starbucks...we were there about 30 minutes and I had 4 contractions, but I was feeling OK so I decided to go ahead and go to Target.  As we were walking around I had to stop every now and then to breathe through the contractions...eventually Mom asked if I was timing them because we were having to stop pretty often.  I wasn't, but started to as we headed to the checkout line.  They were about 7 minutes apart.  I said let's just go back home, drop off our stuff, pick up Dad and then we can go to the hospital.  Well, we got about a mile from my house and I felt the baby drop...I said, " need to turn around."  So, around 12:20 I sent Dad and Josh a text to meet us at the hospital (I also told Josh to tell the nurses to page my doctor because he was on the night shift and I knew he wouldn't be there).  I knew Baby Grant would be here soon...I just didn't know how soon!  It took probably 25 minutes to get to the hospital.  Mom dropped me off and I went to the front desk to ask the lady for a wheelchair up to the labor and delivery floor.  She said, "Do you think you're in labor?"  I said, "YES! I need a wheelchair!!" While trying to get up to the 5th floor, I'm pretty sure we stopped on every floor, and at one floor, there was no one there!  Typical.  By this time contractions were probably 1-2 minutes apart, and I had to suffer through people's silly comments while I was trying to get through them.  One man said, "I bet I know why you're heading to the 5th floor!"  I told him I had heard the view was nice up there.  I know he meant well, but seriously...  We finally made it all the way up and Josh was waiting for me there.  He told me they weren't able to page my doctor until I had been admitted, and they wouldn't admit me until they had checked my progress.  I panicked and started yelling, "I don't have time to get checked!!  I need a bed right now!!"  But, they had to follow the protocol and made me go to a triage room anyway.  7 centimeters...apparently that was enough for them to let me go to a labor room (that or my loud, uncontrollable sobbing).  When I got to the bed they tried 3 times to get an IV going, but they were out of time.  And I knew that I was out of time for an epidural!!  Yikes!  That thought made me have another quick panic attack, but I made it through!  Nine minutes after I got to the labor room, and with the help of an on-call midwife* (and my super awesome husband who caught the baby!), Baby Grant made his appearance on January 20th, his original due date, at 1:14pm!!  33 hours of latent labor plus three hours of active labor equals one healthy baby boy, two elated parents, and two extremely proud big brothers.  This little guy has already brought our family so much joy and we love him dearly!!

*The midwife who delivered Grant spent some time working at the hospital at Fort Bliss where Cameron was born.  I had even seen her for a couple of my OB checkups!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014 Girl's Trip: Austin, Texas

Second Annual Girl's Trip: Complete.  My good friend Jessica and I have gone, seen, and conquered Austin, Texas! So much fun.  So much food.  I'm full just thinking about it!  I believe I heard that it has the second highest restaurant to people ratio in the country...a foodie's paradise, if you will.  And what's really cool is that Austin is very eco-conscious.  There are about 15 different farmer's markets located around the city where you can find meats, produce, honey, and countless other locally sourced goodies!  Anyway, here are a few highlights:

On our first night, we went a few miles out of town to go to a place called Salt Lick BBQ.  I had seen it featured a couple of times on the Food Network, and it was recommended by a few friends.  The locals said it was a major tourist trap (and honestly, I think there was better BBQ around town), but the atmosphere was so fun!  They have a winery on site that you can visit while you wait for your table.  So Jessica and I enjoyed a nice wine tasting and cheese platter while we waited.  There was a band playing outside and a very nice garden with a fountain.  I would definitely suggest checking it out!  The photo below is one I found on Google Images...we were silly and didn't take a picture of the really cool BBQ pit on our way in, and they had already closed it down by the time we left :{

Our second day began with a food tour (Austin Eats).  The tour began at one of the farmer's markets...we got there early so we could look around.  We met our tour guide and he gave us a delicious donut-type pastry to sample.  It was from a local shop called Walton's, which is owned by Sandra Bullock's sister!

Then we went to one of the booths at the market.  We tasted a triple chocolate coated cacao bean.  Oh had dark, milk, and white chocolate on it!  Then we headed to a BBQ joint called La BBQ where we tried ribs and brisket. I'm not a huge fan of brisket because it's usually tough, but this was so good!  It was so tender it just fell apart.

Then we went a place called Lucky's Puccias.  Jessica and I agree; it was our favorite stop on the tour.  Puccia is a certain type of bread only found in a small town in Italy...yep, the same small town Lucky's from!  He makes all of his sandwiches with this type of bread.  Yeah, it's just a sandwich, but the ingredients were fresh, and the bread was crispy, not too doughy, and warm (because it comes right out of the oven after being baked!).

Next, we stopped by a food truck park where we ate a Monte Cristo (a deep fried ham and cheese sandwich!) at a truck called Hey...You Gonna Eat or What?  Then, we went to Burro Cheese Kitchen and had a sandwich with fresh sourdough bread, melty Gruyere cheese, and a little bit of dulce de was an interesting combo of crunchy and soft, sweet and salty.  I really enjoyed it, but at this point we could only take about one and a half bites of our food!  

The final stop was a dessert place called Sugar Mama's, which was featured on Food Network's Cupcake Wars.  I got a cupcake called Hipity was lemon and coconut.  It was seriously yummy, but we had to take our cupcakes to-go and eat them later because we were so full!

After the tour, we decided to go exploring around town to try to walk off a few calories.  We headed to one of my favorite cosmetic companies, LUSH.  Love their products, and love the company's mission statement (no animal testing, using mostly natural and organic ingredients, giving back to communities all over the world...seriously, you should check them out!).  Then we went back to the hotel to relax before going out to dinner at a trendy little place called 219 West where we had a slider sampler platter...whew, how were we able to eat another bite?!   

And the next morning, we headed back to our respective cities.  It was a whirlwind tour, but so worth it!  Now, where shall we go next year?

Oh, and as always: Keep Austin Weird.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Learning to Love the Freezer

I finally decided to try out a cook-all-day-and-freeze meal plan, and I'm super excited about it!  When I open my freezer, I hear angels singing!

Several people asked about how I did it and if I saved money, so I thought I'd go through the whole process.

The blog post I found is called Make 50 Freezer Meals in One Day; I chose 6 of the recipes she listed and got 16 meals...50 sounded a little overwhelming to try for my first time!  All 16 meals took about 4 hours to prepare (however, my two beautiful, energetic, destructive, needy boys were present, so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have taken that long if they were perhaps at time!)

I picked the following recipes (the numbers in parentheses are how many meals I got by either doubling or tripling the recipes):

Slow Cooker Broccoli Chicken Alfredo (3)
Chicken Parmesan Pesto Shells (3)
Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew (3)
Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos (2)
Lasagna (3)
Pulled BBQ Pork (2)

The first thing I did when I got home from the store (after putting away the groceries and beginning with a clean kitchen) was put the pork shoulder in the crock pot...I cooked 3ish pounds on low for about 6.5 hours...then Josh and I got to work on everything else. The slow cooker meals were a breeze to put together (we tried the beef and barley stew tonight and it was really good!  I made some Jiffy muffins to go with it).  The rest took a little more effort, but none were too taxing.  When the pork was finished cooking, I shredded it, added BBQ sauce, and portioned it into two bags.

The following morning I made about 15 breakfast burritos to freeze.  I cooked 1 lb. of breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean Natural), 2 lbs. frozen southern-style hash browns (just diced potatoes basically), 8 scrambled eggs, and some shredded cheddar cheese.  I assembled my burritos, individually wrapped them in tinfoil, and put them in a freezer bag.  I ran out of sausage and eggs, but I have several tortillas and a good amount of hash browns left, so I'm going to make some bacon and some more eggs and make a few more to throw in the freezer :} I haven't reheated one yet, so I'm not sure about microwave time, but a friend (check out her blog, Me and My Soldier Man) recommended wrapping a burrito in a paper towel, heating 1 minute on one side, then 30 seconds on the other.

I spent an estimated $200 on the items for the freezer meals, including foil, freezer bags, and aluminum pans.  That comes out to roughly $12 per meal.  I bought a few other food items not related to freezer meals, such as cereal and snacks, a few frozen veggies and packages of different rices to use on non-freezer meal nights, so that added approximately $80 to the total.  I was going to the store once a week and spending $100-150 on groceries , so I can see the savings already!  I figure I'll still go grocery shopping once a week, but only to pick up perishable things like milk, eggs, and fruit, and a few things to add to my meals for that week like hamburger buns and fresh veggies.

I am definitely going to do this next month, too.  The time I will save trying to think of what to make for dinner, preparing it, and cleaning up afterward is pretty invaluable!  And I had fun in the kitchen with the husband :}

The recipes I used can be found at Happy Money Saver.  If you decided to try this, don't forget to take doubling and/or tripling the recipe into consideration when planning out your shopping list...and let me know how it goes, and if you discover any new recipes or food storage tips and tricks :}

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls Review and Giveaway!

When I started using cloth diapers I stopped using dryer sheets, and ever since I've been looking for an alternative.  Well, I think I finally found it...Woolzies Dryer Balls!

I stopped using dryer sheets because I found out that the chemicals in them can leave a film on the surface of the dryer and transfer to the cloth diapers, causing a build up that could make the diapers leak.  First of all, I didn't want my diapers to leak!  Second, I try to avoid using chemicals when I can.  So, for the past year or so, I just haven't used anything besides laundry detergent, and I've noticed a lot of static in our clothing (and I kind of miss the smelly-goodness of the dryer sheets...even if it is produced by chemicals!).  I started looking for a solution and I saw that a lot of people have started using wool dryer balls, so I decided to give them a try...success!

I received a box of 6 wool dryer balls from Woolzies.  I've been using them for about a week on various loads of laundry.  They work great for my diapers; the liners come out very soft and fluffy.  I dried a pretty large load of sheets and towels and they were dry within an hour, where it usually takes about an hour and a half.  I did a load of regular clothes, including my husband's PT uniforms, which are notoriously full of static, and we both noticed a reduction in the amount of static in our clothes.  So, I've found an easy, all-natural alternative to fabric softeners and static reducers, and I get to use less electricity by cutting down drying time.  AND I saw that you can add a few drops of essential oil to the dryer balls to leave your laundry lightly scented!  I haven't tried that yet, but I'll get to have my yummy scented laundry again :}

I would highly recommend giving these a try, and take a step towards going green in 2014!  Happy New Year!

For more information, check out Woolzies' website here.  And don't forget to enter to win a 6 pack of dryer balls...a $34.95 value!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Esthetician- part make up artist, part skin care specialist.  Around next August, I'm going to be one!   That's right...I'm going back to school!!  In January I'm beginning classes at Milan Institute of Cosmetology here in El Paso, and I'm so excited!

I've wanted to do this since high school.  In fact, I started college as a theatre major thinking that I would get experience doing stage makeup.  I didn't really, but by then I figured I'm already two years into this whole college thing, I might as well just keep going and get my bachelor's degree.  I'm not saying I think my college experience was a waste.  The education I got was invaluable (and that's where I met the husband!), but being a makeup artist has always been in the back of my mind.

Lately I've been thinking about getting a job.  Not sure why exactly...I've been very happy to be a stay-at-home mom.  But I started thinking about the types of jobs I could get (besides teaching), and I'd pretty much be limited to waiting tables or maybe doing office work...blah.  Then a few weeks ago I had to go to the PX on post and they happened to be doing an education fair that day.  I said to myself, if I pass by a table handing out info about one of the local cosmetology schools, I'll start to consider going.  And there they were!  At first I thought I might wait until the boys started school before I went to school myself, but I've been thinking and praying about this a lot, and I really feel like now is the time for me to go.  So yesterday I enrolled!  I'm really looking forward to the new challenge and finally doing something I've wanted to do for years!  Wish me luck!

I'll leave you with this little video clip that I thought was appropriate for the occasion:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Facebook November

So, does anyone remember the game Whac-a-Mole?  You know, the one where for every mole you whack into the ground, two or more pop back up?  Well, I feel like my life is just one big Whac-a-Mole game right now.

Confused?  Let me explain...I feel like for every area of my life I get control over, multiple other areas start to suffer.  So I'm constantly trying to whack all of those little moles on the head, but they just keep popping back out!  And it's frustrating and exhausting!  Lately, I've really gotten a hold on housework.  I've been keeping the house pretty clean, laundry done (and put away!), and I've started organizing problem areas.  This accomplishment makes me feel less stressed and really successful as a homemaker.  However, since I've been putting so much effort into the house, I've skipped the gym for about two weeks now.  My goal is to go 3 times a week...and I was doing that for a while and I was losing weight and felt so great and my confidence was really high, but my house was a disaster area and would really stress me out!  And then there's spending time with the boys.  When I go to the gym and try to keep the house clean, I'm too tired to play with them for any substantial length of time, which depresses me.  They're number one in my life, and I feel like I'm doing them an injustice by not spending as much quality time with them as I should.  And of course I want to spend as much time with the husband as I can (he ranks pretty high on the priority list, too :} ).  I'd also really like to do some of my hobbies like scrapbooking or sewing or reading, but I never seem to have time for that.  I guess I'm just struggling to find balance in my life right now.  Sheesh.  I've been married for three and a half years and have been a mom for over'd think I'd have things somewhat figured out by now!  

So, I say all of that to say that for the month of November I'm going to take a break from Facebook.  I've been trying to think of ways to simplify my life and I think staying off of Facebook will help.  It takes up more time than I mean for it to.  It's not that I'm not interested in my friends' and families' lives; I love that Facebook allows me to stay connected to people I'm far away from!  But I just want to take a step back and just focus on my life right now.  And I'll still have my phone if you'd like to send a text or give me a call  :}  So, so long for now.  I hope everyone has a fun Halloween and a wonderful, relaxing, indulgent Thanksgiving holiday!  See you in December!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

Has it really been two and a half months since I've been back in El Paso?!  Wow, crazy!  I miss GA and my family so much, and am so thankful for our time there, but I think we're finally beginning to feel settled back in here in Texas.  The boys are doing great, the hubby's finally home safely (yay!!), it's my favorite time of year...all is well :}

So, since we've been back in "The Pass," two things have come into my life that I feel the need to share: Skinny Mom and Norwex.

First, Skinny Mom.  This is a blog about a lot of different things relating to mommy-hood and woman-hood, but mainly, food!  Every recipe I've tried has been husband and two-year-old approved (Jude is picky about pretty much everything, so he's an unreliable source), and all of them are around 300 calories per serving!  Here's some of the deliciousness we've been experiencing lately:

Baked Burritos
Crockpot Sweet Potato Turkey Chili (sounds crazy, but trust me...)
Crockpot Salsa Chicken Tacos (only three ingredients!)
Un-fried Chicken Fingers (gluten free option)

I can't wait to try more and I highly suggest you check out this site and see if you can find something in the neatly categorized recipe index that strikes your fancy :}

Second, Norwex!

This is a cleaning system that uses only water to clean your home!  It is a collection of different microfiber cloths that have sliver fibers woven in.  The silver is naturally antibacterial and can destroy bacteria without using any chemicals.  Y'all, these things work!  I have never felt so motivated to clean in my life because I see excellent results with very little effort.  I've cleaned practically the whole apartment with 4 cloths and water.  I can't imagine how much money we'll save on not having to buy cleaning products, and I feel ridiculously good about not exposing the boys to all those chemicals.  I can't say enough good things about this just have to try it!

If you'd like to purchase anything, I'm having a party.  Go to my consultant's page here and make your purchase (I started off my collection with the Household Package and a kitchen cloth and plan on getting the mop soon).  Prepare to be amazed!!  My party ends October 31st.

P.S. Norwex is the reason I'm able to write this blog post!  Cleaning is so fast and easy, I actually have a few extra minutes to sit down!

These are my personal opinions; I was not compensated in any way to endorse Skinny Mom or Norwex products.