Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetary

It's really hard to believe it's been 7 months since I wrote here. What a waste! When I lost all of my pictures from Azaria's birth and first two weeks of life I lost all of my motivation to write here too. I'll try to go back and catch up as I can.

A few weeks ago my brother called and asked if I wanted to help lay wreaths in Arlington Cemetery  Of course I said yes! That's just the kind of thing my patriotic heart enjoys. There's an organization called Wreaths Across America that puts wreaths on graves across all fifty states, but the most well known location is at Arlington. I encourage you to go to their website and read their story, it's very interesting. Ultimately their goal is to remember and honor our veterans. Unfortunately we got to the cemetery a little late for the welcome ceremony so we just went and found a truck. 

The grave of a Wilkins. Who knows if we're related, but it's the first one Jeremiah has seen and he works there most days. The smaller pictures to the right are all of volunteers unloading the truck we were at and laying wreaths.

The Freedom Guard have been escorting the wreaths to Arlington since at least 2006, and they do a lot of other great work as well. Jeremiah and Shane photobombed my Freedom Riders pictures!

We had to wait for about half an hour before the truck opened. It was neat to people watch while we waited. There was a large group of German soldiers, and I heard French and Spanish as well. 

Shane just loves his Uncle Jer! We each got one wreath to lay as there were a large number of volunteers and a limited number of wreaths. I think people in other sections got to lay more but we were in a pretty crowded section.  

We let Shane lay all of the wreaths since I want the kids to really learn to honor and respect our history and our vets. Jeremiah helped him lay the wreaths and then he told Shane about the person buried there, where they were from and where they fought if the stone said. I'm not sure why but I thought it was sweet that with each stone as we walked away Shane would touch it with just one finger.

Once we laid our wreaths we walked around for a little while. My brother is great to sight see with since he is there most days (he is in the USAF Honor Guard) and he knows a lot of DC history. 

While we were walking around we saw the stone of a two day old baby, the youngest Miah has seen yet. He said when they are standing in formation for long times one of the things they do to keep their minds busy is find the oldest and youngest people they can see, as well as who fought in the most wars or conflicts.  The baby's stone was in section one, the first section in Arlington. She was the youngest he's seen. Pictured above you can also see the original chapel and amphitheater. In the bottom left picture you can see the Pentagon, and in the one to the right of it you can see the Memorial Bridge and Kennedy's grave.  As my brother told it to me, the story of Kennedy's grave is this: One day President Kennedy was getting a tour of Arlington from a college student. As they stood on the lawn of Arlington House and looked across the Memorial Bridge, that link between the North and South, the President said he wanted to be buried there. Since they couldn't bury him on the lawn, they buried him down the hill.

Arlington House also has an interesting history, but I'm out of time to write so you can just click on the link and read about it. The tree trunk on the right illustrates the history of the house by the rings on the tree--it was planted when the house was built.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

39 weeks {4 Days}

Whoa, 39 weeks, nearly done and it's hard for me to believe. I know I've said it before, but time has really flown this pregnancy. Compared to a lot of people I have really easy pregnancies and that is such a blessing!

Last week I lost a lot of MP and started having my regular braxton hicks start earlier on the day. Then night before last I was up through the night "cleaning out" and had BH's regularly all day yesterday. I'm 85% effaced, +1 station, and 3 cm dilated at the external os as of my appointment Thursday. So who knows how close I am, but my body is definitely warming up for the big event.

I feel prepared as I can be. I spring cleaned my house and car this week, my mom flew in on Thursday, and Nathan got home yesterday. I've told Azaria for weeks that today would be a good day to start labor (as long as she waits until after Nathan and I have a date this afternoon). My mom votes for her birthday to be on Mother's Day. That would be pretty cool!

I am a little nervous about the birth but mostly excited. I'm so excited for my water birth! I'm excited that my husband and mom and son can all be there and participate as much as they want. The part I'm nervous about is knowing if I'm actually in labor, since I was induced last time.

I'm also dealing with what I'm sure are totally normal feelings about giving Shane a sibling. I feel sad/guilty, because he won't get my undivided attention anymore. He'll have to share snuggles and time and his mommy. I keep reminding myself that a sibling is a great gift.

Of course, my darling baby girl, we are all so very excited to meet you! Your big brother gives you kisses (and pokes too of course), and he just loves babies so I know he will love you. We have everything all ready for you so you just come when you feel like you are ready.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Um, yeah, so I've gotten really bad at this whole blogging thing haven't I?!

How Far Along: 35 Weeks, with 35 days left to go until my due date.
Total Weight Gain: 20 lbs
Sleep: Ok. I was getting to the point where I really couldn't sleep because my hips hurt so bad but I mostly solved the problem with an extra pillow. Sleep is always a welcome friend!
Best Moment of the Week: Hitting 35/35, I think. There's something cool about the symmetry of the numbers. 
Worst Moment of the Week: Shane didn't take a nap ONCE this week. I have cried every day this week. There is a direct correlation. I don't know why he is suddenly refusing to nap, but I don't like it and I hope it is a very brief phase!
Movement: Well, she's getting pretty big in there so it's not so much a dance party now but more big powerful thumps and rib-cracking kicks. She still hangs out on my right side. She's also very dropping for me this time, she's just already down there.
Food Cravings: I HAD to have chinese this week.
Gender: Girl! Azaria Natalie.
Labor Signs: Yes.  At 32 weeks I was sick, I had the flu and then I was just sick for like two weeks. I had contractions a couple nights that week, nothing too worrisome as I was able to get them to stop but at my visit we decided to go ahead and do an internal to check where things were so we would have a better idea what was going on. At 32 weeks I was at a 0 station, 40% effaced, and 1.5 cm dilated at the external os. I wasn't dilated at all at the internal os, so Emily wasn't concerned. I had more contractions between 32 and 34 weeks, so I asked for another internal. (I know, terrible. I am so curious) Anyways, at that appointment I was 60% effaced and 3 cm dilated, but still closed at the internal os. I haven't decided yet if I will have any more internals since I'm in the "safe" zone next week. (36 weeks is the earliest you can deliver at the birth center) Knowing myself though, I probably will. I am so curious, I like to know what is happening and I know better than to get excited by any "signs". I know the argument against internals is that they can introduce infection, but a gloved hand seems cleaner than you know what else.
Belly Button: It finally turned into an outie, after weeks of popping in and out. I didn't realize, but it's kind of painful when your belly button pops out!
Wedding Rings on or Off: On. Well, my engagement ring is in the shop because one of the prongs was worn down too much. But it will be back on my finger when it's fixed.
What I miss: This week, Nathan. He started going out of town again finally. I say finally because his season usually starts a lot earlier and that's when he gets good paychecks. But Shane and I are really missing him!
What am I looking forward to: Meeting baby girl!
Weekly Wisdom: Staying up late is overrated when your kids stops taking naps. Sleep when you can, as much as you can! 
Milestones: 35/35
Weekly Verse: Who of you by worrying can ad an hour to his life? Luke somewhere.

Friday, March 9, 2012


 I am 26 very responsible years old. I am declaring bankruptcy. And it seems so, so wrong.

Back in 2007 I was dating someone, we'll call him Fred, whose car was having problems and rather than having it fixed he decided to trade it in on a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500. He walked off the lot with the truck, no problems. Two weeks later, the dealership called and said there was a problem with his credit, and he either needed to get a co-signer or bring the truck back and take his old car. (Years later that sounds sketchy, does it to you?) He asked me if I would co-sign for him and after consulting with my parents and the couple I worked for, both couples I highly respect, I told him I would NOT co-sign for him. But I did tell him I would go back to the dealership with him to talk to them. I was advised not to go, but I felt really bad for him so I went anyway.

When we got to the dealership the salesperson meeting with us pulled out the big guns on me. "He's already got the truck, you don't want him to have to give it back do you?" "He's a veteran (he'd recently come back from Afghanistan) don't you want to help him out for serving our country?" And on, and on. At one point I stood up, told the person I needed a break, and went outside for some air. A manager came out and asked if I was alright, and I said I felt that the salesperson was manipulating me. The manager came into the meeting with us "to help me" and ended up being just as manipulative. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed and selfish for not helping out. My hands and insides were quivering. I'd quit smoking when I moved to Colorado and I bummed a cigarette off someone outside. I was naive, and kindhearted, and ganged up on. This was why I was advised not to go to this meeting, and how I wish I'd listened!

I caved.

I signed.

Things have never been the same.

50 pages of paperwork, plus dozens of copies of financial records. Can you say time consuming and frustrating?

I can't blame anyone else though. No one put a gun to my head and forced me to sign, however much it might've felt like it at the time! It was my poor decision, and I'm still paying for it. The deal was that since I co-signed, Fred would go in six months when his credit was improved and had the truck refinanced. He swore he would never miss a payment and his parents in their gratitude even called me and thanked me and said that they would even make payments rather than let him be late or miss one. Haha. Ha. Haha.

Eventually I came to my senses and broke up with Fred. I met my now husband and moved to Texas and got married. Throughout the years since then I have been plagued with calls about missing payments, late payments, when will you be making a payment. I called Fred many times and begged and pleaded with him to refinance and get the truck out of my name.  Finally in January I got the call I've been expecting for years. The truck had been repossessed. Fred couldn't (or wouldn't) get it out of hock, and he was going to declare bankruptcy.  Legally, that left me responsible for the balance of the debt, a five hundred dollar plus monthly payment.  A free consult with a lawyer determined that if I couldn't assume payments, I'd have to declare bankruptcy as well. There's no way we could assume payments, so that left me with bankruptcy. I called my mom, crying with guilt about being a Christian and having to declare bankruptcy. Fred assured me that since me having to declare bankruptcy was his fault that he would pay my lawyer. (Ask me if I believed that!)

Thank God I keep important paperwork. I needed it.

So here I am in March. I have filled out hours and hours worth of paperwork. I have made dozens of copies. We had to use tax money earmarked for other things to pay my lawyer, and while I'm grateful that we had that available and that Nathan was fine with using it, I'm still REALLY angry that Fred bought a camaro and then texted me that he couldn't pay for my lawyer. I have waited impatiently for three weeks for Nathan's incompetent company to provide me with ONE document that has been holding me up. Nathan was finally able to get the document last night so I finished up the paperwork this morning and have an appointment with my lawyer on Monday. 

At least I have someone cute to keep me company in my paperwork misery.

From here we will go over my paperwork and then the lawyer will file for me. I have to meet with my creditors (may be via phone) and then I'm not sure what happens after that.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shane Nurturing

*We took these pictures today to re-create the event. It actually happened a few weeks ago.*

The other day Shane came to me with his duplo man and a baby washcloth. He wanted me to swaddle duplo man like I do his baby. In the below picture he was shushing and patting.

I swaddled duplo man and gave him back to Shane, and he took off down the hall. (He was mid-blink, oops!)

He put duplo man in his crib, making sure he was on the pillow. Well, the first time he stuffed him through the slats. This time I had to help him because he wanted duplo man to go over the rails.

Then he jabbered at me until I realized he wanted duplo man covered with his blankie. Once duplo man was put to bed to Shane's satisfaction he took off and left duplo man there to sleep.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


You know that smell right after a good rainstorm when it hasn't rained in a while, when the earth smells fresh and clean and like living things? I love that smell. It's such a happy, "fresh start" smell, and it smells a little different in different places that I've lived. But no matter where I live, I love that smell.

Well, get ready to get your socks pulled down. That smell? It has a name. Petrichor. Cool, right?!

According to, Petrichor, pronounced PET-ri-kuhr, means "The pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a dry spell". I also liked this little blurb about why this spell occurs, found on the same website. "Petrichor, the name for the smell of rain on dry ground, is from oils given off by vegetation, absorbed onto neighboring surfaces, and released into the air after a first rain." Matthew Bettelheim; Nature's Laboratory; Shasta Parent (Mt Shasta, California); Jan 2002.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Terrible Twos or an Ear Infection?

Two weeks ago, I had a screaming, crying, clingy child on my hands for a few days. The first day, I though he was just having a bad day. The second day, I thought we had just hit the terrible twos. The third day, my mom and dad said he was probably sick somehow, but I had no running vehicle at my disposal. The fourth day, I took Shane to the Dr. and found out he had an ear infection, the poor kid!

Those were really difficult days. It was like a continual tantrum, and nothing I did made it better. I wished during those days that I was still nursing him because I know that would've comforted him, but I seriously wanted to pull out my hair. And naps and sleep went way downhill. I naively thought that we had hit the terrible twos and this was just something I was going to have to deal with. Silly me, I know. I don't know what I was thinking...he was a completely different child!

So I took him to the Dr. and she could only see part of an eardrum in one ear, the rest was too covered by wax. But what she could see was inflamed and red so she decided on ear infection (he also had terrible breath, which was one of his few symptoms). In retrospect I wish I'd asked her to do something about the wax buildup but at the time she told me to try to flush it with warm water during bath time. As far as I can tell, that hasn't done anything! And he HATES it. I usually can't even get any water in.

We were prescribed amoxicillin, a teaspoon twice a day, and I'm also using colloidal silver. He is so good about taking his medicine and letting me put drops in his ears! He also quickly went back to himself; happy, smiley, easygoing. Thank God! This (at 20 months) is also the first time he's ever had to take medicine for anything. Well, other than Tylenol occasionally for his teeth.

I wonder if this will become a pattern though. Nathan has a massive overproduction of earwax (seriously, it's nasty) and he had a lot of ear infections as a kid. I'm guessing he probably should've had tubes. So I'm really hoping that Shane hasn't inherited his daddy's ears!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweet Shane

Generally when it's time for Shane to go to sleep I lay down, cuddle him up tight, sing and rock, and pat him and say "shh" if he starts talking. Ideally he goes to sleep pretty quickly. I generally sing him a mix of hymns and Sunday school songs, and he sings too, or sings alone if I don't sing to him. It's precious.

Last night though, he turned the tables on me. He scooted up the pillow until my head was at his chest and wrapped his blankie around between us. Then he wrapped his little arms around my head and neck and shooshed me while he patted me with his chunky little man hands  and sang me a song. I just about died of the sweetness!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

Saturday, February 11, 2012

26 Weeks {4 Days}

Hey, check out the countdown ticker.  We're under 100 days left until due day! Not that I expect to have her by then, but it's still exciting.
You can see a picture of me at 26 weeks with Shane here. I think it looks like I'm about the same size, surprisingly.

We had a checkup this week, and everything looks good. Azaria is measuring on track and her heartbeat was 140 bpm. Emily confirmed what I already knew, she hangs out on my right side.  I've been taking my sugars and Emily said they are really good and she would be surprised if I have diabetes.  We are still going to test at 28 weeks though. I've gained 12 pounds which is more than I'm really happy with but it's not that much. My BP is still low, although higher than other weeks at 103/67

How Far Along: 26 Weeks, 4 days.
Total Weight Gain: 12 lbs
Maternity Clothes: Always. Maternity clothes are expensive, invariable cut too low, and are not made to last. I'm finding that a lot of my shirts are getting holes in them. Um...why?
Stretch Marks: A bazillion. But no new ones.
Sleep: Not great. Shane has been waking up screaming inconsolably at night, so between that and getting up to go to the bathroom I'm pretty tired. I don't seem to have a lot of energy lately! I am SO not looking forward to the work of this move, whenever it happens.
Best Moment of the Week: We had an appointment this week, and went to Central Market. Love that place! Something that is really neat is that Azaria responds to Shane's voice. It's so sweet!
Worst Moment of the Week: Shane has spent the last few days screaming. It's been VERY difficult, and it's so hard and stressful to keep your cool when your kid is just angrily screaming at you for hours on end! Nothing I did was right, not playing, books, puzzles, nothing. I took him to the Dr. yesterday and found out he has an ear infection, so hopefully the behavior improves as well!
Movement: What, you didn't get the dance party in my womb memo? Haha. She is very active and she likes to hang out on my right side. It's really neat that she is big enough that I can palpate exactly where she is now.
Food Cravings: I like sweets, unfortunately.
Gender: Girl! Azaria Natalie.
Labor Signs: I started having Braxton Hicks around 14 weeks. They are getting a lot more frequent now, and stronger, especially when I'm doing a lot.
Belly Button: Getting shallower. Sometimes it pokes out when I cough. I never had an outie with Shane, but I'm wondering if I might with this one!
Wedding Rings on or Off: On.
What I miss: Well, I miss being able to sit on the floor for long periods of time and playing and wrestling Shane. I also feel like it's been a very very long time since I was well rested! I doubt that's going to change anytime soon, with two under two!
What am I looking forward to: Finding out when we move--c'mon Navy, I need some answers!
Weekly Wisdom: Not having a vehicle? It's the pits. Also, if your kid has a dramatic personality change, there might be something wrong with them. 
Milestones: Under 100 days now!
Weekly Verse: Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pudding Painting

Pudding painting is a fun activity, and easy to clean up. We did it in the bathroom so I could just rinse it all down when we were done, but if it were warmer outside you could also do this in the yard on an old shower curtain. I mixed my pudding with water so as not to waste milk.

 Clean up is pretty grody!
 But then you get a clean, happy kiddo!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Glowstick Bathtime Fun

Sunday night when Daddy is home is typically the night Shane has the most fun in the bath. He just has so much fun when Nathan gives him his bath and I adore the giggles and screams of laughter I hear coming from the bathroom. This Sunday I decided to kick it up a notch by adding some glowsticks to his bath! I got the idea from one of my favorite activity blogs, Play at Home Mom. This blog has SO many great ideas!

FYI, you can freeze the glowsticks after the fun is over and it will keep them bright.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

24 Weeks {1 Day} Viability!

How Far Along: 24 Weeks, 1 day.
Total Weight Gain: 10 lbs
Maternity Clothes: Always, and I feel like I'm growing out of them faster than I did with Shane. 
Stretch Marks: A bazillion. But no new ones.
Sleep: Terrible this week. Between Shane waking up crying a dozen times, bad dreams, and a rib out of place, sleep  had been elusive!
Best Moment of the Week: Viability! At 24 weeks, Azaria were (God forbid) to come early the doctors at this point would make an effort to save her life. A friend also made me some super cute newborn size cloth diapers in fun girl fabrics. 
Worst Moment of the Week: My car broke down yesterday. The good news is, Nathan came and rescued me!
Movement: What, you didn't get the dance party in my womb memo? Haha. She is very active and she likes to hang out on my right side. It's really neat that she is big enough that I can palpate exactly where she is now.
Food Cravings: None
Gender: Girl!
Labor Signs: I started having Braxton Hicks around 14 weeks. They are getting a lot more frequent now, and stronger, especially when I'm doing a lot.
Belly Button: Getting shallower.
Wedding Rings on or Off: On.
What I miss: Well, I miss being able to sit on the floor for long periods of time and playing and wrestling Shane. I managed somehow to put a rib out of place so between that and the SPD/hip misalignment I'm moving pretty gingerly. But the good news is, a few trips to the chiropractor should put me right again!
What am I looking forward to: Finding out when we move--c'mon Navy, I need some answers!
Weekly Wisdom: Be careful how you are sitting when you sneeze when there is a lot of relaxin in your joints! lol. 
Milestones: Hitting Viability. Only three weeks until 3rd trimester! 
Weekly Verse: Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

Monday, January 23, 2012

23 Weeks {6 Days}

Baby girl is getting big. One day early this week I woke up and just felt like I had popped! One thing that is really neat about this pregnancy is that I'm better at palpating my uterus and baby girl as well.  She likes to hang out on my right side and I'm feeling her kicks from above my belly button to my cervix. Yeah, that's an awkward feeling. But cool too! Sometimes I feel her spin around, and sometimes it feels like she has her back facing out and is pressing out with her feet against my back, so she makes the right side where she is laying really hard. It's so fun to be able to interact with her by poking and feeling her kick me back.

Pregnancy has brought me vivid dreams both times, but this week I've had some humdingers. A few days ago I had a terrible terrible dream that was so bad I don't even want to think/talk about it. Then last night I dreamed all night about trying to escape and save myself from zombies. I woke up a bunch of times and tried to change the dream but went right back to it every time I went back to sleep. I hate zombies. I hate zombie movies. I hate anything zombie. But, Nathan insists on watching zombie movies occasionally and sometimes I've been around for them.  So I blame him for a horrible night's sleep!

Sometimes I tell Shane that baby sister is in Mommy's belly and he pulls my shirt up and gives her kisses. It melts my heart!

The strangest thing that happened this week was that I sneezed a rib out of position. For real! I was sitting kind of crooked on the couch and I sneezed really hard and felt something pop on my left side. It ranges from being uncomfortable to really hurting, depending on what I'm trying to do. When I told Nathan he got this horrified look on his face and wanted to know how that could even happen! I told him it's probably because of all the relaxin in your body while you are pregnant. I can't wait to go to the chiropractor!

One of the sweetest things I've noticed lately is that sometimes when Azaria is sleeping in there and Shane comes near my belly and is talking loudly she'll wake up and kick at him. How cool is that, that she already knows his voice! She should, since he talks a lot. ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

22 Weeks {Belated}

Very belated, since I'm 23 weeks today! Haha.

I just wanted to note that on my 22 weeks email I was told that the baby is estimated to be 1 lb now. All of her eggs and ovaries are formed as well.

Isn't that a neat thought? She has all the eggs she will be born with! That means that not only am I carrying my daughter but I am also carrying my grandchildren. Just as my mom carried me, as well as Shane and Azaria. And my grandmother carried not only my mom and aunt, but my siblings and two cousins. How cool is that!

I also wanted to share this picture. I'm not sure how many weeks this fetus is but I learned in Anatomy and Physiology this past semester about how our bones actually begin as cartilage and then ossify. I found this neat picture of it happening! The purple is bone, and the pink is still cartilage. This is also a good way to visualize the bones of the skull that form into a cone as baby is born.

They Don't Even Know Her...

Last Friday, I went to a baby shower. It was held in our youth center, and it was for a girl who goes to our youth group. I didn't know her, because she doesn't go to church and I'm obviously too old for youth group, but I went to her shower because, well, I like baby showers and I was invited and she is having a girl too. And because a friend of mine gave me a GINORMOUS tote full of baby girl clothes in NB and 0-3 Months, and since there's no way Azaria would ever wear that many clothes I split them up and had several gift bags full of clothes and other things to give someone in need who was having a girl. Voila, a baby shower for a teen mom!

I got to the shower around 15 minutes late and I actually almost just drove on by because there was only one car in the parking lot and I thought maybe it had gotten moved to another date and I didn't get the memo. But I stopped and went in anyway, and my heart sank. There was no one there. Well, the youth pastor's wife, Cora was there. She was hostessing the shower. And then Ashley, the pregnant girl was there, and her mom. And her mom must've been babysitting because she had brought her two grandsons (older boys who spend the evening stealing Shane's toys) but they don't count.

That was it. The four of us ladies. We laughed and joked and tried our best to have a good time, but after they left I told Cora that if that had been my shower I would've gone home and bawled and felt like no one cared about me. She agreed, and told me that Ashley's relatives and friends, along with the youth group and church ladies had all been invited and no one went. In fact, the girl who was supposed to host the baby shower cancelled just a few hours before the shower.  I can sort of understand why church ladies didn't go; we were only told about the shower the Sunday before and nobody knew who she was. But why didn't her friends or family come?! It was heartbreaking.

So I went home and vented to a group of women that I only know virtually; women in a private Facebook group who are all due in May 2012 along with me. These women started by expressing sympathy for Ashley, and moved on to asking how they could help. These women, who don't know her and don't know me other than online bought Ashley gifts off of her registry or elsewhere online and had them shipped to her home. They did it out of the goodness out of their heart. I was incredibly touched--that these women would go to such lengths to help a total stranger! It restored some of my faith in humanity. I hope Ashley feels loved!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

We made homemade ornaments for our tree this year. This was actually by Nathan's request, but I'd seen something on a blog I follow that I wanted to try with Shane so we went for it! We made homemade puffy paint ornaments.

As you can see, I had glitter and construction paper as well but I decided to leave those for another, older year! The puffy paint is flour, salt, water, and food coloring. After it's painted on you microwave it for 30 seconds or so.

Shane really enjoyed his art project! I can't wait to do some more fun ones with him. After I let the papers dry overnight (or for a few days, ahem, slacker!) I cut them into circles and hot glued green ribbon onto them. Shane wasn't allowed to help with this step. 

Then is was up to Shane and Daddy to decorate the tree!

They did a great job. We gave each of his grandparents an ornament from him and kept one as well. If you make homemade ornaments with your kids, be sure to write their age and the year on them!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Homemade Yogurt

I made a batch of homemade yogurt a week or two ago, and it was a total flop. So I tried again, and it turned out great! I think the difference was that this time I used a thermometer so I know the temps were right. If you are interested, here's what I did. I made an entire gallon because we eat a LOT of yogurt, but if you only wanted to make a half gallon you would just halve everything.

In a large pan, heat a gallon of milk to between 160 and 180 degrees.

Allow it to cool to 110. While it is cooling, whisk together 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of powdered milk. When the milk has cooled add some to the bowl and whisk, then add back to the pot of milk and whisk again. Pour into pre-warmed crockpot, cover and wrap in towels, and put in slightly warmed oven for 8-12 hours. Then refrigerate to set.

Ta-da! Yummy yogurt! For mine, I used 2% milk and plain yogurt. Make sure that your yogurt has active cultures in it or it won't work!

After I made the yogurt I thought I'd make some go-gurt treats for my little man and some frozen yogurt for me. I got the go-gurt idea off a blog somewhere a long time ago, but I can't remember where!

Some of the yogurt I mixed with chocolate pudding mix.

For the rest, I pureed strawberries.

The two blue lidded containers are my strawberry and chocolate frozen yogurt. The orange lidded container is 1 cup of plain yogurt for starter in the next batch. Plain yogurt is also a healthy substitute for sour cream in recipes!

Finally, a pan of chocolate and strawberry gogurts! Just measure about a half cup into little snack ziplocks, fold over, tape, and freeze. Shane really likes them but they start to hurt his teeth after a minute, so I might wait to do these again until he is older. Or until the summer!

Finally a big container of strawberry yogurt for us to eat for breakfast pretty much every day!

And here is the little dude who "helped" with a lot of it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

20 Weeks {Belated}

This past week was a week that we had been looking forward to for a long time--the week we got to have our ultrasound! We had it at 9AM on Thursday morning and the office was an hour from our house so we were up bright and early.  We got there a little bit early so Shane ran laps around the outer hallways.

The machine they used looked pretty old so while they were able to get the measurements they needed to tell us that Baby was healthy and a GIRL, it's pretty hard to see anything but blurs in the pictures they gave me. That's ok though, we saw that she is developed and healthy. She was also being stubborn and didn't want to give us a profile shot.

This is the only ultrasound I will be having, Lord willing. As much as the curious, technology loving part of me would love to go for an elective 3D/4D sono (Have you seen those things? They are creepy/cool.), the conservative, natural side of me won't allow it. Much as I'd love to see her pretty face again I don't care to subject her to another ultrasound.

After our ultrasound we stopped at Kid 2 Kid, which is a local kid stuff resale store where I had some store credit from selling a few things of Shane's. I used my store credit to buy a cute little outfit (right) and a stool for Shane's table.  The outfit on the left I bought months ago on a whim. It was only 2 bucks and both grandpas predicted girl so I got it just in case.

And, we decided on her name! Azaria Natalie V----! Azaria means "helped by God". Natalie is both my middle name and my mom's name. Originally I had wanted Jeanette for a middle name, after a beloved Great great Aunt, but Natalie won out.

How Far Along: This is my 20 week post, but I am actually 21 weeks today.
Total Weight Gain: 7 lbs
Maternity Clothes: Yup. 
Stretch Marks: A bazillion. But no new ones.
Sleep: Pretty good this week!
Best Moment of the Week: Seeing our baby and finding out that she is a GIRL!
Worst Moment of the Week: Almost leaving my wallet at Walmart--oops! And only getting three hours of sleep on New Years Eve. That was not fun.
Movement: She's really strong now, and I can feel her from the outside all the time! Nathan even got to feel her when we went on our date a few weeks ago.
Food Cravings: None
Gender: Girl!
Labor Signs: I started having Braxton Hicks around 14 weeks. They are getting a lot more frequent now, and stronger.
Belly Button: No change really.
Wedding Rings on or Off: On.
What I miss: A good night's sleep. But I've been missing that for a long time now, and I expect to continue to miss it for as long as I have little kids or am pregnant! It's a privilege of motherhood, right? If you'd like to wake up early to feed my eternally starving son so I can sleep in, let me know. I'll take you up on it.
What am I looking forward to: Finding out when we move--c'mon Navy, I need some answers!
Weekly Wisdom:I got a chance to talk to Emily about the trouble I've been having standing without passing out and she said it's because of low blood pressure. Huh.
Milestones: Seeing Baby and finding out her gender.
Weekly Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.