Thursday, December 31, 2015

As 2015 Comes to a Close...


I'm laying in bed with Asher taking a little time to reflect on this year. It has been a year of struggles with a bright, shining light at the end of the tunnel. Even though I hated strongly disliked so much about this year, I'd repeat it over and over just for the moments I've shared with my babies (and Will, sometimes).

2015 was a hard year for Will and I but in the midst of our struggle, I was reminded of our three rays of light even on our darkest days. A reminder to slow down, to savor life. A reminder to figure my shit out and be the parent I needed growing up. A reminder that I'm not only here to teach my kids but to learn from them as well. A reminder that in order for me to be present and mindful, I must take care of myself first.

Over the last year, I've had visions of the woman I want to be. The woman that I know I am deep within and I plan to spend 2016 working on releasing that woman inner goddess. That doesn't mean that I'm not focusing on my family next year, it's quite the opposite actually. My family deserves that woman just like I deserve to be her. My family needs me and I am going to make damn sure that the me they get is the best version I can give. 

2016 is going to be a great year of adventure, abundance and most importantly, love. I wish you all a wonderful and prosperous new year!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Plant-based Family // Weeks 1 & 2

We are currently in our second week of eating completely plant-based! Even though we were vegetarian at home for a few months before I became pregnant, Will was still eating meat outside the house. Well, this time, he decided to be completely meat free as well (the boys have eaten meat a couple of times though). 

The transition was pretty much nonexistent. We didn't slowly cut out meat or anything. I just only meal planned meat free meals and when it was time to get groceries, I didn't buy any meat. It's really easy for us at home since we don't have a choice but to eat plant based but I must say that I'm really surprised that Will hasn't eaten meat. He has access to meat while at work but he's staying with this change and I think he's starting to see the benefits already. 

I thought it would be neat to share a few of our meals just so people can see what a plant based family eats. I hope you enjoy the pictures like we enjoyed the meals!

Vegan pizza! I added the sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers.
Vegan banana crumb muffins
Vegan cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning
Our vegan Christmas dinner: Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls

Friday, December 18, 2015

Pregnancy Notes // 34 weeks


We're a few days into our 34th week! I'm excited, nervous and a little anxious. I went into labor (naturally) with Asher at 37.5 weeks and I think this little baby will make an early appearance as well. We had our doctor's appointment early this week and everything looked great. I didn't have any contractions during the 20 minutes of monitoring but my doctor said that's completely fine. We scheduled my next appointment but due to the holidays and my doctor's office vacation, I won't see him again until mid January. I have a feeling I won't make it that far but we'll see. Either way, I'm ready for this baby's arrival...sort of...okay, not really but I'm anxiously awaiting the moment I see this baby for the first time. It'll be magically, just like it was the last two times. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dear Liam...


Five years ago, we met for the first time. I held you in my arms and for a moment we stared at each other. Little did I know that tiny little baby would turn into the amazing little man you are now.

You have this energy, this spunk that I never had the chance to experience as a child. You're the kid I wish I could have been and even though I constantly try to tame you, I never want to break your spirit.

Today I wanted you to have the perfect birthday. Even though we weren't planning a birthday party, I wanted to make the day an extra special day, just for you. Well, it turns out that your birthday was a special day for me. Everything wasn't turning out the way I planned, the way I envisioned. You never complained because in your eyes, everything was perfect. You had the perfect, imperfect fifth birthday and gave me the best present of all: your happiness.

Happy birthday lovebug!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pregnancy Notes // 32 weeks



Last week, baby and I had our 32 week appointment. At the beginning of our appointment, I spent 20 minutes hooked up to the heart rate/contraction monitor. Once I met with my doctor, he noticed that baby's heart rate was low for a couple minutes at the beginning. Even though everything went back to normal afterwards, he wanted to be on the safe side. He had me schedule an appointment for two days later to come in and get monitored again but this time he wanted me to sit up instead of lay down. 


So baby and I came in for a special Saturday visit. I realized how uncomfortable laying down was compared to sitting up. It usually takes the nurse a minute or so to find the baby's heartbeat but this time, she was able to get it right away. Afterwards, our doctor looked over the results and everything looked perfect. I'll definitely be asking to sit up from now on. I think that will make both of us a lot happier.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Currently



Reading: I just finished reading "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho and I loved it! I don't know why I hadn't read it before. I started "Warrior of the Light" (also by Coelho) yesterday and hope to finish it soon since I'm next in line for both "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling and "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. 


Doing: I've been trying to wake up earlier than the boys to get in a little me time. I would like to get back into the habit of a daily meditation and yoga ritual before the baby gets here. Both will help tremendously while we figure out our new version of chaos. 


Thinking about: The thought of community has been on my mind a lot recently. With our upcoming move just a few months away, I am hoping to avoid the isolation I experience here. I know this means stepping out of my comfort zone and seeking friendships but it's easier said than done. I just need to remember that having a village makes life so much more lively. It'll be worth it in the end. 


Looking forward to: My lovebug, Liam, will be five next week. FIVE!! How did that even happen? Where did the time go?? We're keeping everything simple this year so we're not throwing him a party. Instead, we're going to do a special celebration at home then take the train to the Nรผrnberg Christmas market the following weekend. Liam's best friend, RaShad, and his mom will be going us so it should be an exciting trip. 


Loving: I am loving everything about this pregnancy (and little baby). If history repeats itself, we only have about six more weeks before we meet face to face. I'm trying not to think about it too much because I don't want this time right now to pass by. I want to savor this. 


This new series was inspired by Danielle of Sometimes Sweet who was inspired by her friend Megan.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Motherhood || Becoming the Parent I Needed


Motherhood is something I rarely thought about before becoming pregnant with Liam. I don't remember fantasizing about becoming a mother or thinking about baby names. As the oldest child in an unstable home, I spent so much time helping with my siblings that I figured I would be prepared for motherhood. It would just be something that happened and I would handle it and that would be it. 

This mentality stuck around for quite awhile until I started working on healing from my traumatic past (writing those words is hard for me because even though I know my childhood sucked in so many ways, I feel that there are so many people that had it worse). As a kid, both of my parents were absent in different ways. My dad was completely absent from our lives. No phone calls, no visits, no relationship (even to this day). My mom was physically present yet mentally absent at the same time.

It took me a long time to realize that I am repeating this cycle with my children. I am becoming a present yet absent parent. I am surviving motherhood rather than embracing this amazing experience in my life. And that's exactly what I don't want for my kids. I don't want to look back on all the ways I could have been there for them, on all the ways I could have been present. I want to look back and know that I am lucky to share my life with these little ones and know that I did my very best. And I hope that if parenthood is in the future for my kids, they want to be like the mother they have. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Life Lately


This year has been full of forward and backwards movement. It has truly been one of the most difficult years of our marriage. I feel like the worst is behind us now and I'm ready for a fresh start.
I hate to put so much pressure on our move to Hawaii but I honestly feel like it's the change we need right now. Even with the chaotic and most likely stressful move ahead of us, I see so much promise in Hawaii. 
But before we even start packing for our move, we still have the holidays (as well as Liam's birthday and this tiny baby's arrival) to get through. We're keeping things simple this year. I am letting go of the need for control and perfection with our decorations, mostly because I'm on a no-buying mission. There are so many things I wanted to add this year (a new garland, more decor) but in reality, they were all unnecessary. I want to focus on experiences rather than things so I put away our expensive glass ornaments and decided to let the boys do most of the tree trimming. I think that's a better memory anyways. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!



The holiday season always makes me miss my family in the states but I'm a very lucky lady to get to spend time with my boys (husband included) and tiny baby. I'm so thankful for this life, this time, this love and yes, even this chaos. We hope your Thanksgiving is full of smiles as well. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Natural Hair Journey Update



It has been 10 months since I shared a hair update (after I cut off quite a bit of hair) and my hair has grown quite a bit. I'm still wearing wash and go's (I'll share that routine soon, I promise) about 99.8% of the time. Partly because I'm lazy but mostly because I hate the way other styles look on me. I experimented with twist outs and noticed that I touched my hair way more than when I just wear a wash and go.

For awhile I felt like my hair wasn't growing. It wasn't until I looked at the pictures from January that I realized its not only growing but I've been able to retain length as well.


Although a lot of people feel you can't retain length and grow long natural hair on a wash and go regimen, it seems to work for me and my kinks and curls. 

I'll be updating regularly especially once the baby gets here since I'll likely experience postpartum shedding (bye-bye edges).

If you have any questions about my hair journey so far, feel free to leave them below!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dear Tiny Baby...


As I feel you move within my body, I realize that life wouldn't be the same without you in it. With every kick and stretch, I fall more and more in love with you. This is a feeling that only you and I share and maybe I'm a little selfish but I like it that way. Even though I share the magic of your movements with your dad and brothers, I know that it's not the same. It's almost as if we share a secret world that others get to visit. As much as I want to hold you in my arms, to finally see your face, I'm not ready for this secret world to end. So I'll keep cherishing this time we have together before I have to share you with everyone else. 

Love,
Mama


Monday, November 16, 2015

Pregnancy Notes // 29 Weeks



It's been awhile. I've mostly been away because my phone (which had already had its screen replaced once) broke. I also lost my Nikon charger so I haven't taken any pictures over the last couple weeks.
But on to this little baby! We had our last appointment last week (at 29 weeks exactly) and everything is looking great. The baby is measuring a week ahead (which doesn't bother me since I usually give birth around 37 weeks). My doctor (who I adore) said that the baby has already engaged so I shouldn't have to worry about a breech birth (although it is possible, just unlikely). All in all, everything looked great except for my iron levels. He gave me a prescription (which I still need to fill).
I am hoping to be far more prepared this time around so I have started obsessing over the things I need to do. I'm so ready to hold this little baby in my arms but for now, I'm going to enjoy our last few weeks of pregnancy. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Currently...



Doing: Trying to get a schedule down which is hard for our family. We seem to live in a constant state of chaos. I'm hoping we find a balance soon since my energy and patience levels have started to drop. 


Watching: We have been watching a ton of kids movies on the German Netflix. Our favorites, okay, my favorites are Megamind and Brave. 


Reading: I recently started checking out library books on my Kindle. It's super convenient since I don't have to leave the house or remember to return books. There's a waiting list for the books I want to read so until one frees up (or I think of a different book to read), I'm just patiently waiting. 


Thinking about: All the preparing I still have to do before the baby gets here. I randomly started freaking out about packing the hospital bag and had to snap myself out of it. We still have a lot to get but most of the necessities are taken care of. 


Looking forward to: Christmas! This will be our last Christmas in Germany and most likely our last snowy winter for a couple years. Snows on the forecast this weekend ❄️๐ŸŒจ☃


Loving: Having this sweet little baby in my belly. It really is a miracle and when I see my belly twitching, I can't help but smile. 


This new series was inspired by Danielle of Sometimes Sweet who was inspired by her friend Megan

Friday, October 23, 2015

Craving the Friendship of Women

Lately I've found myself craving more friendships. Not just any friendship but almost a village of other like-minded women. It's so weird because I've never felt this need for friends before. When we lived in Kansas, I was surrounded by my family (most importantly my mom) that I didn't feel the need to make friends. During college I lived with lots of different women and although I love so many of them to death, I never fully opened up enough to create long lasting friendships relationships.

It's so weird to crave something I never felt the need for before. It's also weird to think about making friends in my thirties. I talked to a few friends about it and one of my friends said that she felt it was harder to make friends as an adult because she's so jaded now. I can relate to that. I don't want to be friends with someone just because our husbands work together or because we live in the same neighborhood. I want to be friends because we genuinely enjoy each other's company. We can share things and learn from each other, even if we don't have a lot of the same interests.

For some reason, I think I'll find that in Hawaii. I guess if I keep putting out positive vibes, eventually I'll find a woman village of my own.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pregnancy Notes // 24 Weeks


Today I got to see this little baby again and I fell even more in love. Everything is right on track although I am measuring a week early. That's pretty normal for me though. I'm pretty short so the baby doesn't seem to have anywhere to go but outwards. My doctor estimated that the baby will be between seven and eight pounds at birth which matches with the boys.

This pregnancy has me a bit more stressed about my postpartum body. I didn't really think about it at all with Liam and only a bit with Asher but for some reason, I feel like this time I won't be able to "bounce back". I have all these fears about stretch marks and loose skin and while I try to remind myself that there is little I can do about either, they still weigh on my mind often. I haven't been as active as I hoped with this pregnancy but I was in great shape beforehand. I hope that counts for something.

Other than that, this baby is awesome and I can't wait to continue our bond for the next 16ish weeks.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Currently.



Doing: Trying to savor my last moments as a mama of two. I'm making an effort to be mindful and grateful for this experience. I'm constantly reminding myself that being a mama is something that to cherish and enjoy, not something to survive. Yesterday, Will treated me to a spa day. It felt so good to indulge in a bit of selfishness self-care. When I was done, he had the above flowers waiting for me in the car. This has become a bit of a weekly treat and I am loving it.


Watching: I hate to admit it but right now my guilty pleasure is Love and Hip Hop on VH1. It's so bad and yet so good. I'm currently watching the Hollywood season.


Planning: I have been planning our move to O'ahu over and over in my head. We're still months away from moving but there is so much to think about when you're overseas. Our biggest concern is our dogs (Hawaii is very strict when it comes to importing animals). 


Thinking about: Baby names! Picking a name is so hard. We've thrown around a few names but nothing has stuck so far. Liam has added "Chick Hicks" (the not-so-nice race car from the movie "Cars") and "Bunball" to the list. 


Looking forward to: Buying all the baby things!! We kept a few things from Asher but I did sell a lot of stuff. We'll definitely be on the hunt for a new car seat (and possibly new ones for the boys since we'll be fitting three in our back seat), a baby carrier, and maybe a bassinet. 


Loving: ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿƒ Autumn has hit Germany and I'm soaking it all in. This will be our last time experiencing all four seasons so I'm enjoying this cool weather while I can.


This new series was inspired by Danielle of Sometimes Sweet who was inspired by her friend Megan

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pregnancy Notes // 21 Weeks


Already past the halfway mark and it still feels like I saw those two lines yesterday. I'm starting to slow down and enjoy all the joys of being pregnant. I am feeling better than in the beginning even though I am still battling a bit of nausea and heartburn.
When I first became pregnant, things were so rough that I added meat back into my diet. I felt horrible doing so but it was the best decision for me at the time. I plan to return to a mostly vegetarian diet after this little baby is born. I think I'll add fresh fish into our diet once we hit O'ahu next year. 
As of right now, I'm just enjoying life, enjoying my boys and trying to stay active when I feel good. These past 21 weeks really haven't been that bad. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pregnancy Notes // 18 Weeks

As I'm writing this, baby #3 is thumping away as I try to wrap my head around the fact that I'm already 18 weeks along in this pregnancy. It seems to have gone by so fast, yet the beginning seemed to go on forever.
This pregnancy has been different than the last two. For the first 12 weeks, I was so sick. I had morning sickness with the boys but this was on a completely different level. My days consisted of surviving until Will got home, then laying in bed for the rest of the night. I started to get a little depressed and now I realize that it was mostly due to being homesick. I've always done things on my own but I've never ventured too far from my mom (I'll admit that I'm a mama's girl).  This has been the longest I've gone without seeing her as well as my first pregnancy without her (we left Kansas during my second trimester with Asher). It took quite a bit of adjustment to realize that I needed to rely on Will as much as I did. 
I'm hoping that as I start to feel better and better, I take the time to really embrace this pregnancy. It's going by so fast that I fear the experience will become an afterthought. After all, this will likely be my last time growing a little baby. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

We've been keeping a secret


So, I've been MIA for awhile and most of it had to do with life (I'm completely off schedule/routine and for a type-A personality like myself, that spells disaster) but a little of it had to do with our tiny secret: We're pregnant!

I found out really early. I was feeling a bit off (I had heartburn which I've only had while pregnant) so I decided to test, just to be sure.

I took the test and wait a minute before picking it up to take a peek. The two lines were already visible and I knew we were expecting. I had Will take a look, just to be sure I wasn't crazy. Nope, I was sane and there were two lines!

We decided to wait until my first appointment to announce it. I actually didn't see my doctor until I was 12 weeks along but after seeing that everything is going great, it was a huge relief. 

I'll try to do weekly updates during this pregnancy. It'll be neat for the boys to see. We've been looking at baby pictures of both boys and they're both excited for a new baby to arrive. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Am I Officially a Vegetarian??!!

I can't remember the last time I ate meat. I know it's been months (maybe six or so) since I have cooked meat at home. I think that might make me an official vegetarian.

If you would have told me when Liam was born that I would be a vegetarian, I would have laughed while I ate some really bad, processed food. Our diet a few years ago was horrible. I mean, it's not perfect now but back then, it was a lot of processed, nutrient deficient foods. Once I got pregnant with Asher, I started slowly making changes to our diet. I started adding more fruits and vegetables while cutting out a lot of the processed foods and GMOs. Now, we eat a lot of organic foods and I try to limit the amount of GMOs we consume.

Now I know that vegetarianism isn't for everyone. I'm not here to preach to anyone. I made the choice to stop eating meat when I started watching a lot of food documentaries on NetFlix (like Food, Inc. and Vegucated). It actually wasn't hard to stop eating meat at home...I just stopped buying it and cooking it. Now, going out to eat or getting takeout is a different story. Will still eats meat when we order food and so do the boys. When I first stopped cooking meat, I would eat the meat that we ordered. Well, that changed somewhere down the road and I started looking for vegetarian options and making sure that Will ordered those for me as well. I'll have to do a post soon showing the different vegetarian options I've found at local restaurants (they have all been delicious).

Here are a few of our favorite vegetarian snacks:

Beet, carrot, apple and spinach juice

Beet, carrot, apple and pineapple juice

Organic yogurt topped with strawberries, chia seeds, cacao nibs and whole wheat berry flakes

Egg scramble with red peppers, potatoes, vegan Italian sausage and Sriracha and the best organic grapes ever

Asher's absolute favourite snack: Air popped popcorn, vegan butter, nutritional yeast and pink salt

From Garmisch to the Baltic Sea: Our Road Trip from Southern to Northern Germany

Before I dive into the details of this trip, I must admit that this was truly a "road trip". We didn't stop to see the sights. We spent most of the time in the car because we had a limited amount of time and hours of driving to do.
We had two main destinations for this trip: Garmisch and Rostock/Lichtenhagen.



We headed to Garmisch for a marriage retreat through Will's unit chaplain. We'd previously done a couple's activity through the chaplain's office (a rope course which was a blast) and were told that we would be put on the list for the next retreat but for some reason, we weren't selected.

I was the only wife to finish the course!

Thanks to my friend Ja'vail for the pictures!

Well, when the opportunity came around again, I put our names on the list and this time, we were one of the families selected to attend. We'd planned to take a free bus there but decided at the last minute to just drive. Garmisch was a couple hours away from home but we were able to get a late start since we weren't able to check in until 1400. We packed the car, gave the boys Will's laptop full of movies and headed out.





I'm going to take a moment to brag on my boys right now. They did great! Our Nissan Rogue is not the biggest vehicle and we had to improvise a bit to get the laptop in a good position. Even with the tighter space back there, they didn't complain much and were in good spirits (despite Asher's face in the picture above).

As I mentioned above, we didn't stop to see the sights. We didn't want to push our luck and honestly, I really wanted to get to Garmisch. Once we got closer, the boys were able to get their first glimpses of mountains.


Our stay at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort was awesome. The resort is lovely and surrounded by mountains. I wish I would have taken more pictures but we weren't really there on vacation. We decided that we definitely want to go again before we leave Germany. It would be a different experience to be there for leisure.



Once our marriage retreat was over (we were there for two nights), we hopped back in the car and headed home before starting the next part of our journey. We got home, relaxed and did the same routine over again the next morning.

So, our trip to Rostock/Lichtenhagen was not a leisure trip either. We drove over six hours to pick up our new family member: Ms. Betty White.

She looks small but she'll be HUGE!
We have wanted a Giant Schnauzer for awhile and since we're in Germany and they're German dogs, we figured it would be really neat to get one while we were here. I prefer rescuing dogs but when it came to getting a Giant Schnauzer, I knew we would end up going to a breeder. After researching and talking to a few locals, I found a breeder that I trusted. Betty comes from an amazing line and that was really important to us when picking a breeder.

We'd originally planned to drive to northern Germany and stay the night in a hotel. Well, things fell through with our hotel reservations so we ended up driving there, going to the Baltic Sea, picking up Betty and getting right back on the highway. I must give Will lots of credit here since he did all of the driving for this trip (and the one to and from Garmisch). We spent a lot of time in the car but getting to see mountains and the Baltic Sea alone were worth it (oh, and getting a new puppy too).

Liam was in rock throwing heaven.




Although it was super chilly and windy, I loved seeing the Baltic Sea. It's crazy to realise that we've seen places that many people have not. We're definitely lucky and another (warmer) trip to the Baltic Sea would be awesome as well.

I wish I would have taken more pictures but I'm glad that I got to experience this trip in the moment. It wasn't the ideal sight-seeing trip but it was a great experience for our little family.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nice to See You Again Dear Friend

It has been awhile. In my last post I mentioned lots of changes. Well, there have been even more things that have happened since that post almost a month ago.

Will is away for training until Thursday (thank goodness!) and while he has been gone, both Asher and I celebrated our birthdays. Well, we didn't really celebrate them at all. We're waiting until Will gets home to have a little party. It just didn't seem right to have a party while he was gone since we don't really know socialise too much. Asher doesn't seem to mind (he is only two after all) so it just works out.

I'll try to get up a couple post about trips we took and things we've done before the party. I'm hoping to catch up and post regularly but I say that all the time, so we'll see. Until then, enjoy a few pictures!!