Category Archives: collab

Things I’m Thankful For

For our November write up we’ve been posting what we are thankful for to correspond with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Admittedly this is one of the more difficult posts for me to make all year. I am not predisposed to positive, grateful thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am blessed and have many blessings, gifts and privileges many people in the world will never see. I am simply not an “OMG thank you so much!” type of person. Again, I know I have much and thus much is expected at times. Just know this is not an easy off the cuff list/post for me to make.

A good friend of mine encouraged me a few months ago to sit down at the end of each day, think about my day, and write down at least one thing or event from that particular day I am thankful for. It was a great idea and I did make the effort, for a day or two. The idea is to bring positivity into your life by acknowledging and realizing what you have, instead of pondering the things you feel you are lacking.

I also wanted to make this post different from last year’s post. I posted 30 things for 30 days of gratitude last year. This year I figure why not use the alphabet? It’s a great helper to keep me on track.

A: Acts of kindness. Performing or receiving, there is blessing for all.
B: Books. As nice as technology is and helpful to finish listening to a book, there is still something comforting about curling up on the couch (winter) or sitting out in the sun (summer) with a good book physically in hand.
C: Christmas Carols.
Yep I’ve been listening to Pandora’s Christmas channel for a few weeks now. 
D: Democracy.
Yes our governments are a mess but life could definitely be A LOT worse. 
E: Electricity.
I know this one sounds silly but with the experiences we’ve had living in the north east, electricity is definitely an invention I’m thankful to have in my life.
F: Family.
As dysfunctional as we may be at times, my family is mine. 
G: Grass.
Remember when you were a kid and running around the front yard with no shoes on feeling the fresh grass on your feet? My kids don’t either… we have no grass here in the rocky, weed growing woods.
H: Home-based businesses.
I am part of Younique but I also LOVE supporting and being able to purchase from my friends who also are working from home. Direct sales companies or crafty people. 
I: Indoor plumbing.
Oh Em Gee Becky. The privacy of my bathroom and ability to turn a faucet on to get water in my house.
J: Jesus Christ.
My savior and redeemer. 
K: Kid kisses.
The pure love from a child’s kiss to mom is so healing!
L: Love languages
M: Mothers.
Especially my own mom and Grandma. 
N: Nature.
I have not appreciated nature in the beginning of my life as I do now living in the woods. 
O:  (adult time) The big O (not Oprah).
Please don’t ask me to go into further detail.
P: Pregnancy.
It isn’t an easy 10 months, but I am blessed with the ability to carry and birth my children.
Q: Quiet moments.
With 3 kids, a dog and a cat; quiet time is few and far between. When those moments do come I cherish the quiet.
R: Ring.
More specifically my wedding ring. (sappy alert) It is my constant reminder of how lucky and loved I am.
S: Snuggles!
When I don’t feel good, (physically or mentally) a nice snuggle on the couch sure helps me. ok the kids too when they aren’t feeling well.
T: Tribes.
I’ve written a few posts about my different tribes (such as this one), we all have them and all need them. 
U: Underwear!
Yes more laundry but man what a blessing it is to have undies for everyone in my family, and multiple pairs! 
V: Vocal Cords.
Talking, singing, even yelling at the kids. 
W:  World wide web.
I am able to find so many answers, reach out to friends and family across the country and pretend I know the latest kid craze thanks to www!
X: (ya I’ve got nothing here)
Y: Younique.
I’ve been able to meet a lot of fabulous women and learn more about my own inner beauty by being a part of this company.
Z: Zumba!!
Great music + friends + dancing = a fat burning workout! Doesn’t get much better than that.

 

What are you thankful for? Do you have a daily gratitude journal? Share your blog post with us and link up below or put a few things you’re thankful for in the comments.

Next month join us for the last link up of the year and share a holiday recipe.

Pie Night 2017

Our biggest tradition each year, outside of the holidays, is our annual pie night. Each November the Friday before Thanksgiving we have what others may also call Friendsgiving. We call it Pie Night.

This year AJ will be traveling and gone a lot this fall. Instead of cancelling this fabulous event we decided to simply move it up a few months. A lot of prep and planning goes into Pie Night. For months I look thru online recipes and cookbooks I have on hand. The process sounds easy enough but do you know how many different versions of a pecan pie are out there? It’s a bit mind blowing.

My final list of pies was about 23 pies. Slightly ambitious? Yes. Part of the fun for me is challenging myself to see how many will actually make the time cut after making the “sounds tasty” by the family cut.

Tradition requires a chicken pot pie and a cherry pie. I’m not a cherry fan, but AJ loves them so I figure once a year it would be ok to let him have what he wants.

Traditionally, my friend Tara would come up in the morning and help out during the day while the kids are at school. She’s a self-proclaimed “not a pie maker” but her help is absolutely invaluable. I realized just how much this year when she wasn’t here to help prep and wash dishes. I missed you this year Tara!! I hope you decide to do your own version of pie night in your new home out west.

Sigh. Ok back to pies. Here’s this year’s final pie list:

Tomato Pie
Gingerbread Cream Pie
Chicken Pot Pie
Peaches and Cream
Cherry
Chocolate Mint Cream
Strawberry
Caramel Pear
Watermelon Chiffon
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Coconut-Pecan German Chocolate
Coconut Cream
French Silk


These are the pies on the list but didn’t make the time cut.
Almond Joy
Salted Chocolate Caramel Pecan
Dreamy Apple
Lemon Meringue
Buttermilk
Berry Pie
Sweet Potatoe
Pumpkin
Harvest
PB Silk

A friend also brought a store made pumpkin pie. The kids loved that one. AJ grilled up some burgers and dogs for dinner. This helped the chicken pot pie not go so quickly.  Despite AJ’s many “ick” faces regarding the pear pie, he thought it was delicious and wanted me to make a second one a few days later. Guess that one is a keeper. The watermelon chiffon was mostly eaten, however the family said don’t make it again as it wasn’t a favorite. I’m ok with that since it was basically a watermelon Jell-O pie. ugh

Over the last few weeks I have been making the pies which didn’t make the time cut since we had the ingredients. The salted chocolate caramel pecan pie was DE-LISH-OUS! Definitely making that again, and I might not wait until next year. This is a pretty delicious tradition and we have a lot of fun having our house full of friends.
What are some of your traditions for fall? We plan on going to the pumpkin patch soon, and maybe pick some apples.

Link up your fall traditions post below.

Join us every third Wednesday.

I’ll Show You My… Back to School

Can you believe it’s been a month already? Can you believe it’s fall?! 🍂 Where did the Summer go?

For our little brood school started almost a month ago. Our kids don’t need a lot of back to school supplies fortunately. The schools are pretty good about not requiring a bag of supplies brought in the first day. So most of our back to school is a new backpack and some clothes.

Let’s be real here, my kids aren’t the most gentle on their possessions. So most of the shopping we do is clearance and sometimes from second hand shops. There are great deals to be found. So we don’t spend a lot of money on back to school shopping.

I don’t think it really registered with my kids they were going back to school. Dawn didn’t even let me do the obligatory first day of school photo! Luckily Little Red let me snap a few of her before we headed off to the bus stop.

Little Red and Little Man first day of school
Little Red’s first day of 2nd grade

 

First day of 2nd grade is a success!

How was the first day of school at your house? Link up below.

 

Join us next month for fall fun activities.

I’ll Show You My Vacation

This summer has been a busy one around here. While we haven’t been out or travelling much with three kids from toddler to teenager, everyone has their own schedules and ideas of summer fun. On top of the kid schedules and summer ideals AJ has been keeping himself busy with travel for work and the National Guard. The poor guy needs some down time to unwind and relax. It seems even family vacations can be not as much fun for him, or me for that matter.

Our most recent family vacation was this summer just this month. I had a work convention in New Orleans with Younique and since none of our family had ever been there before we opted to make it a family trip. I think this sounded easier and better in theory. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good time but traveling with all the kids and exploring a city is not easy for one parent alone. Like I said, the man needs a vacation.

Our vacation started with our flight down to NoLa (New Orleans, Louisiana), read all about there here.  Once we arrived it was late at night and the 5 of us needed transportation. We hailed our first Uber! More on our Uber experiences later. Let’s get to why you’re here… our vacation!

We did a lot of walking around the city, our hotel was close to where I needed to be and downtown. My personal to do list while we were there frankly consisted mostly of trying the local food. Hey I know my priorities! Besides I was in classes most of the time during the day or had events at night.

AJ and the kids explored more than I did and they had a great time doing so. They walked around the city, visited the French Quarter, an insectarium and aquarium. (AJ has those photos on his phone, I forgot to snag them from him. I will edit the post with his photos later.)  The kids weren’t terribly interested in trying the local cuisine. They preferred McDs to local fried southern chicken. I still don’t understand that one, but hey no money or food wasted there I suppose.

There was a lot of rain, one day there was even a flash flood! We tried to keep inside during the downpour. We stayed safe but not dry. Later that night the power went out in our hotel, while we were trying to pack up for our flight home. No power, no water and no AC. I can officially check that off my list of things I want to do… ever.

Delicious food was what we had the most time for as a family and walking around Riverwalk near the convention center. I would definitely enjoy visiting NoLa again with AJ to explore the city more.  Enjoy some photos I have.

Brunch time at Ruby Slipper
Eating his yummy shrimp and grits for brunch.
Dawn hanging out
Art in an elevator
Jester statue
Dinner out with this guy (an a bunch of my gal pals).
Had to try fried green tomatoes with shrimp and grits
Delicious Beignets from Café du Monde
Waiting out the flash flood
Off to a ball
Homeward bound

Usually our vacations are near or with extended family, this was a nice getaway, even tho it was mostly a work trip for me. Where did you go this summer? Do you have a normal vacation spot each year?

What are your plans next year?  I’d like to go camping next summer and explore more of the woods and area where we live. A vacation doesn’t always need to be somewhere away from home. Post about your vacation? Link up with us below!

Join us next month for our Back to School post!

I’ll Show You My Fellow Blogger!

This month we wanted to mix it up a bit and introduce you to some other bloggers out there.  There are a lot of blogs out there in the far reaches of the internet. How do you find someone you can relate with? How do you know if a blog is a good one to follow? How do you choose to start a blog, let alone what you write about? Hopefully our fellow bloggers will be able to give you a guide in the right direction. At the least you’ll find a new blog to follow and expand your own blogger friend universe. Without further ado let me introduce you to my fellow blogger, Ashley Meir from The Rad Mommy (head on over and give her a like or follow on these other social media platforms:

Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest


Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?

My name is Ashley Meier and I am a blogger at The Rad Mommy as well as a wedding and portrait photographer. My blog is essentially a mommy blog that focused on empowering and inspiring entrepreneur and working moms.

Describe how did you first get into blogging.
I really like to write and was looking for a creative outlet. I love business and I love being a parent, so why not combine the two :0).

Can you tell me some of your strengths that really helped you in blogging?
I have experience with website design and maintenance, and also do a lot of blogging with my photography stuff so I think that helped. Also, just knowing how to find a following on social media has been huge, although I am still growing and finding my exact niche.

How would you describe your blogging style?
I am a conversational and informative blogger. I want my readers to get something out of what I am writing and delivering. I am also exploring podcasts and videos to help with that.

What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?
I think Facebook Groups are huge, and then just connecting with like-minded people who do what you do, and want what you have to offer.

What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
I think it depends. Whether that’s light reading, education, products or services; it really depends on what the blog is trying to achieve. There is a need for it all.

What would be your ideal working environment? On the beach in Costa Rica 🙂 . I just love working on a computer with a big monitor and a cup of coffee or glass of wine close by.

How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Scheduling posts and not biting off more than I can chew. I am still getting in my rhythm but those two things have helped tremendously. Also just staying focused!

What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Writing about viral topics has yielded the biggest results for me thus far. And then having other people become my cheerleaders and share my content.

How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I want to truly define my niche, whether that will be working on getting high amounts of traffic or developing resources like webinars and courses for readers.

What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
Not sure yet 🙂 . I think blogging can just get tedious and discouraging because it doesn’t happen overnight. But, I do see the reward in sticking with it, like anything in life.

Tell me about your proudest achievement.
When I had a post go viral! It was SO fun to see my numbers go up while looking at my “live” analytics.

Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Everyone and everything. Being a parent and being a business owner.

What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
I am a mom to two little girls and I run a super successful wedding and portrait business. I am on to my next dream of creating the life I want by working my way into the blogging worlds.

How do you think I rate your blog as an interviewer?
I think you will like it and hopefully find some good resources from it.

What do you do in your spare time?
I drink wine, travel, ride my bike to breweries, exercise and hang out with friends – all while mommin’ of course.

Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?
I would like to have bloggers blog for me, so I can sip cocktails on the beach and focus my efforts on the content, instead of the marketing aspect.

What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
Just seeing how slow growth is, and working really hard on content that doesn’t always get high traffic.

Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
My favorite right now is Melyssa Griffin. That girl is on her game and I learn something from her every time I read her stuff. There is no fluff there.

What inspired you to start your blog?
I wanted an outlet and wanted to start designing even more freedom into my life.

How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I am still pretty new to the blogging life, but I think just focusing on consistency and then letting myself rest if I am not feeling it. Having expectations but not ones that make me feel like I am chained to it.

Can you tell me about few sources from where you get products for review on your site?
Just things I use. This is not really my blogging focus but might be at some point.

What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
The tedious work of formatting posts, designing graphics, scheduling social media posts, etc.

In the future where do you hope your blog will take you?
I really hope it can turn into my full-time job so I can officially step away from photography. I love photography, but long term I see more of myself in the inspiration realm of things.

Have you met anyone interesting/famous on your blogging journey?
Not yet :0). But I did run into David Spade one time at the Cheesecake Factory (but that was like 12 years ago, lol).

Do you have any specific goals for the rest of this year?
Create some content, define my niche and start making more money on the blogging side of things.

What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
I have a lot more to do!

Did you have any professional help or did you created the blog yourself?
I created everything myself. I am into this DIY thing.

How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
I have about two posts a week, and am constantly posting on social media several times a day usually. Most of it is scheduled though.

How much time do you spend blogging?
Yikes! Not sure yet. Probably about 10 hours a week right now.

What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
I think it depends on where you want to focus your time. Long term I am thinking Pinterest might be the way to go though, because Facebook and Instagram are limiting the audience reach.

Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
Absolutely! It is a great outlet. But know a direction you want to head before investing too much time, and don’t expect to be an overnight success.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
It is both my profession and my hobby. I am building a business here 🙂 .

A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
It is NOT easy, but it is doable. I think you just have to be focused on what you want to do, and head there. You will constantly be evolving though, so don’t expect to have all the answers right away.

 

Thanks so much Ashley for letting me interview you. It is a pleasure getting to know you behind the scenes of your blog.
I have learned a few things from this interview and hope all of you have as well. Do you have a fellow blogger you’d like to introduce us to? Link up with us below!

 

Monthly link up every third Wednesday!

I’ll Show You… What Makes Me Happy

Hey guys! Wow can you believe it’s the middle of April already? Last month we were talking about spring cleaning while there was still some frost on the ground. Before you know it summer will be upon us! Our topic for this month is what makes ME happy. I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on this topic. I had no clue what I’d write about that I haven’t already in our November posts. The truth of the matter for me is I suffer from depression. Not the having a bad day I need a good cry depression. The debilitating, psychiatrist prescribes meds kind of severe depression. It isn’t something I talk about, I simply cope and try to manage myself. Finding and talking about what makes me happy did not sound like a good idea, I must have been having a downward day.

As I write this post  I am reveling in all of the warm weather we have been having.  I hope you’ve been enjoying your spring thus far. The sunshine and warm weather always seem to perk me up. I find myself with more energy and enjoying life a bit more during spring time than the other seasons.

The warm weather and sunshine seem to shine a light on life a bit better. I find myself smiling more and in a better mood, for the most part.  So what makes ME happy? Not my kids, not my blessings, but what do I enjoy for myself?.


I absolutely miss my sunny SoCal beaches but the forest where I live is filled with wonder. There are trails, rivers, mountains (ok hills for the Rocky Mountain natives), forests and majestic waterfalls all around. Hiking to a spot like this, while sweaty and sometimes exhausting, fills my happy cup every time.  I look forward to more spring hikes before the tourists show up and crowd our lovely nature.

It took spending half the morning alone, outside of our house to realize I really am happy with him. It isn’t because he’s my husband and I am suppose to love him and always be happy (we are SO not always happy together). We were simply running some errands and spending time together, enjoying the beautiful weather and little town we live in.  Being silly with AJ totally falls on my personal happy list.

I found this image here and how appropriate and true it is! In my car, at home, in my head… I LOVE music. Dancing, singing (not always the written lyrics), and creating music make me happy. I have always been involved in music since I was about 10 years old. I can play a handful of instruments and have been in a few choirs. I am by no means a professional but I don’t have to be in order for music to be on my happy list!

This right here says it all! It must tie into my love of music because Zumba is a blast! I’m sure part of it is also the amazing support of my gym Tribe but man it’s great! I may walk out sore and sweaty but I will have a smile on my face (or Jen might give us extra burpees next class).

I know this isn’t about my family, but part of my happiness is my family. When I am down and feel alone, forgotten and wonder what is the point. I try to remember what I have learned and become as a daughter of God. Our family has been sealed together for time and all eternity. The peace I find inside this knowledge and inside the temple helps lift my mood every time.

These are a few of my happy moments and places. For mental health it is vital to not only be grateful but to mark those things which make us happy. Find time to do something you enjoy, something which makes YOU happy.  What are some things you do for yourself to find happiness in your day?

~Christina

 

Next month we are doing a blogger interview. Would you like to be interviewed and featured in my blog? Would you like to interview a fellow blogger (doesn’t have to be me) and join us? I have questions all ready for you too! Let me know!

I’ll Show You My… Spring Cleaning

You guys I’m so excited about this month’s collab post! Spring cleaning is something that happens about every season around my house! If you’ve been to my house in the winter it may look completely different in the spring. This year is no different.

Truth be told I hadn’t anticipated moving the furniture, I thought I was happy with my current arrangement. Everything changed when I brought out the carpet cleaner! We’ve been living without a carpet cleaner for longer than I care to admit. I finally found one at a decent price with great reviews. I moved all of the furniture out of my dirtiest living space, the front room, and went to work. 

These are photos of my carpet before cleaning but after moving the furniture out. Gross, I know. I won’t show you the gobs of hair and pet fur this beast grabbed out of the carpet. It isn’t brand new but dang this is a great looking room again!

It was while I was cleaning the carpet I decided I wanted a change. I wanted the furniture back in the living room with the piano and gas fireplace. The big picture window is nice for looking out but the room felt too separate from the rest of our living space. So AJ and Dawn helped me move the pool table into the front room. Voila!

Of course the pool table was fully cleaned off and I am loving the new arrangement. We rehung the tv on the wall in the living room and it feels more like home.

Admittedly this was my biggest spring cleaning project to date. It was nice and warm here for a little while but Mother Nature decided to knock us back after springing our clocks forward. So I’ve put a lot of my major spring cleaning on hold for now.

I have been cleaning out closets of games, toys, shoes and clothes no one uses anymore. Those items are being collected in the garage to be donated locally. Purging the house of items we no longer use has been on my to do list for awhile and what better time than spring cleaning to clear it all out?

I will be cleaning the carpets in each of the other rooms when the temperature rises again, no sense in having wet carpets with below freezing temps outside.

Some of my other spring cleaning chores will be done this month and others will need to wait for warmer weather. Here are some of my regular “spring cleaning” tasks:

  • Scrub inside of washing machine
  • Move washer and dryer to clean floors underneath
  • Hose down screens
  • Clean window wells
  • Pressure wash outside house
  • Turn over mattresses
  • Clean window sills, under glass
  • Clean curtains
  • Check sink traps
  • Clear outside AC unit
  • Wash windows in and out
  • Play outside with the kids

My lists are always adapting to our busy lives. I don’t have a list I use each year simply a task list of items as I notice they need to be addresssed.

What are some of your spring cleaning tasks? Have you started spring cleaning yet? Link up with us and share your spring cleaning ideas and tips. Also see below for our schedule for upcoming collab posts.

I’ll Show You My… Love Language

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day yesterday?  How did you celebrate? Did you do something special? Go out to eat? Have a nice evening at home together? Spend the night in each other’s arms? Did you get a gift? This month for our Mommy & Lifestyle blog collab we’re talking about love!

This month we are changing things up for our mommy and lifestyle blog collab. We are starting to use a LinkUp so you ALL can join us at any time and link to everyone’s post. For this month I’ll Show You My… Love Language!

AJ and I had read this book and taken the quiz years ago prior to being married.  Since then we have retaken it with new results. Imagine that, how we communicate changes over time!

Learning what makes you feel loved is vital for a healthy relationship. If you don’t know how your partner feels love how can you ever let them know they are loved? This works both ways.

There is no right or wrong answer for how you feel loved. No language is better than any of the others either. It is a simple matter of finding and knowing what works best for you and those you love.

Think about it, have you ever bought someone what you thought was the perfect gift only to have them react nonchalantly? He probably doesn’t speak love with gifts.  Receiving gifts is one of the five languages. The other four are physical touch, quality time, acts of service and words of affirmation.

As it has been a few years since I last assessed my love language I took the quiz here.  According to the site the maximum possible score for each category is 12 and it is common to have two high scores, meaning two languages are important. Although one does usually have a slightly higher advantage than the other.  Want to dissect my love language? Here are my results…

Acts of Service: Me-7  AJ-9
Being a mom is exhausting and while AJ and I have had the “my job is more difficult than yours” argument on a few occasions he has learned to appreciate the stay at home mom aspect of my life.  This is from the Love Languages site:  “Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.” Oh my goodness yes! This is me!
It was interesting to me that we were on the same page with this one. When we talk he seems to me more of a words of affirmation.

Quality Time: Me-7  AJ-6
It is rare for us to have alone time so when we do I cherish it, even if the time is only 5 minutes. Having little ones at home makes it difficult to find our time, let alone quality time. Maybe this will change as the kids grow up and move on, who knows. Again, from the quiz: “Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.”

Physical Touch: Me-6  AJ-5
Physical touch did come in a close 2nd place so I’m not a complete ice box haha. When he holds my hand in the car, puts his arm around my waist or we are simply snuggling on the couch I find comfort in his touch. Even when the jerk is tickling me so much I’m about to pee myself a little. “Physical touch fosters a sense of security and belonging in any relationship.” Notice it doesn’t say sex…

Words of Affirmation: Me-6  AJ-8
Words of affirmation came in a close 3rd… they are all so close to each other! Hearing I am appreciated and he notices what I do for him and our family is important to me. If I’m not appreciated I feel I’m not doing a good enough job and no one is happy.

Receiving Gifts: Me-4  AJ-2
 Receiving gifts is on the bottom.  I do appreciate the little gifts he brings home from his frequent trips. It’s nice that he thinks of me. He’s made it clear I’m not easy to surprise or shop for, especially since I handle the finances.

All in all AJ and I speak relatively the same love languages. Having knowledge is power right? Use your love language to help improve your relationships today.

Share your love language with us and linkup below. We will have this option every month for you from now on.

Here’s what’s coming up for our I’ll Show You My… monthly posts.  Please join us and link up when we post every third Wednesday!

Real Talk Part 2… L&D

L&D also known as labor and delivery is what naturally comes next in this segment. There are some great tips and stories for you to learn from, or just laugh at while relating.

  • If you think you can do it ala natural… more power to you. I tried it and my 9lb+ babies made contractions horrific
  • When you deliver in a hospital you’ll have tubes, IVs and straps on almost every part of your body. When you’re attached to these machines on your bed, don’t plan on getting up.
  • Not getting up means you’ll need a catheter… yep a catheter
  • While you won’t be eating… they’ll still let your husband eat, even when you’re bearing down trying to push his spawn out!
  • Forget the big overnight bag full of stuff for you, just grab a few essentials in your bag. I brought a cross stitch blanket I had been working on thinking I’d have time to finish it. I did except I was being hooked up to monitors making it nearly impossible to sew.
  • Ice, ice, baby. Then lots of fluids. Get a good lip balm and have plenty of ice chips nearby.

ELIZABETH

1. Just get the epidural 😉
2. I didn’t know my water could just slowly leak out. It didn’t really “break” it just leaked…
3. Be nice to your nurse and she will be nice to you.
4. Know yourself. This is about YOU! No one else. Don’t feel obligated to have a mom in the room.
RENEE
 
I had no expectations for labor or delivery but I expected to be fully recovered in six weeks. Due to complication during and after delivery it took me 12+ weeks to be back to “normal.” During labor (the actual pushing portion) I felt pain that was only outmatched by the sensation to drop a deuce. I asked the doctor-while pushing-if I could please take a break to go to the bathroom. I only remember asking once or twice but according to Dane I asked about 30 times!
ELYSE (check out her blog and adventures too)

When I first got my period, my Mom wouldn’t let me use tampons, which was terribly embarrassing, obviously. She said they were dangerous and yet I just couldn’t let it go. About a year later, she finally allowed me to use one, and of course, I was terrified. I had waited for that moment and begged for it, and then when it came down to it, I had to stick that thing, where!? I finally got the courage and it got stuck. Terribly stuck. Don’t ask me how, and I can’t even begin to explain it without further embarrassing myself, but my Mom wasn’t home and I called her in hysteric tears. So then here I was, sitting in the bathroom with a stuck tampon, with my Mom racing home to save me. And even better than that, within the next few moments, I was on that same bathroom floor with my Mom trying to take the stupid tampon out of me. It’s ok, you can laugh. If it weren’t weird to put emojis in here, I would be crying laughing with you. Probablynot our best Mother-Daughter moment!

So what’s this have to do with labor? Well, that tampon ended up creating this really strange tear. Every Gynecologist I ever saw, said it wouldn’t be a future problem, which always weirded me out. I couldn’t use tampons much because of it, so how would it not be a future problem?

Then I got pregnant with my first baby and I was in labor, and I kept telling the Doctor about the tear. I had this fear that the baby’s hand would pull it on the way out and make everything worse, as crazy as that sounded. And trust me, they let me know how crazy it sounded.

Sure enough, it became a big problem. It was the worst experience of my life, and it all started because that little baby hand pulled at the small tear and made it so much worse.

Not only that, I was at a terrible hospital, with a Doctor who wasnt present, and the nurse helping me was even worse. I kept telling her that I could feel my legs still and I was panicked. She kept telling me I was wrong.

And I felt wrong. I felt like since it was my first baby, I must not know anything; that since they were Doctors, they must know everything.

But here’s the thing; they don’t know me, and they don’t know my body.

You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to know yourself and know your inner voice. You need to trust your instincts. And that goes with being a Mother as well. With my second and third, I was extremely picky with my Doctors and did tons of research. With my third, I even switched Doctors when I was 30 weeks along because I didn’t feel right about going through the labor experience with the office I had been seeing. And I was incredibly grateful I did that.

No one told me how much I needed to trust my instincts.

There’s a lot no one tells you about labor, and I have stories for days of terrible experiences I had with my first. However, there is one thing I wish I would’ve been told that first time, and that is how important and vital and necessary a good nurse is. The Doctor? I’ve had a rainbow of them, and that doesn’t matter as much. But a bad nurse!? That could literally make or break the entire experience.

Some might disagree with me, but you have to think about the time they spend with you. In labor, you are with the nurse longer than you are with a Doctor. That nurse is tending to your needs, she is coaching you through contractions, and she even coaches you through pushing correctly if she is a good one. Because yes, there is a wrong way to push! If you need more epidural (that was me), she is the one that gets the right people, and she is the one who needs to be listening to you. The nurse makes ALL the difference. I honestly cannot stress that enough.

So then you are probably wondering how the heck you choose a good nurse.

With my third, I had thought I researched the Doctor heavily, but then there were many things within the office that were unorganized and appointments of mine were rearranged without notice. It made me uneasy, and even though I enjoyed the Doctor, I was not confident going into labor with that office. So at 30 weeks, after a lot of research, I switched Doctors. The first thing I did was ask to meet the nurses that had the potential of being with me through labor. It sounds so crazy, but I even had to go to the hospital at a random time to meet one of them. But this was my body! This was my baby! I needed to make sure I would be taken care of.

So meet those nurses. Make sure you know your team. And trust yourself and your instincts. Don’t feel bad if you have to tell someone they can’t work on you because you don’t feel comfortable.

Focus on getting a good team, not just a good Doctor.

LESLIE

I had a legitimate fear of pooping during delivery. Thankfully, I had a c-section and didn’t have to worry about that. It’s silly to even worry about something like that — the doc is up “in your business”, a little poop shouldn’t be a big deal!

During delivery I wish I would have been calm enough to appreciate that first view of my babies. I was so worried about their well-being, it was hard to be calm and appreciate that first look into their eyes. My babies went to the NICU, so I really feel like I missed out on that initial bonding time.
Get yourself a special robe and hard soled slippers for the hospital stay. Something just for YOU!
Hopefully you have found some helpful hints here. What are some of your L&D experiences? Want to share your experiences? Let me know!

Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap

Happy holidays!! I love this time of year for baking. In a few weeks my counters will be covered by various cookies for gifts and cookie exchanges.

Wait, why keep it all in person? This year I am joining an online cookie exchange and sharing with you one of my favorite recipes.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ~1/2 c powdered sugar
  1. In a medium bowl mix together the first three ingredients. Add in eggs and vanilla. Continue mixing until smooth and shiny.
  2. In another bowl combine next three ingredients. Stir flour mix into cocoa mix with a wooden spoon only until smooth.
  3. Cover the door with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll spoon of dough into ball. Cover ball in powdered sugar.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes for smaller cookies and 12-14 minutes for larger cookies. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.


My family loves these cookies and I end up making a double batch so I have enough for gift boxes.

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These are the cookies I saved from the cookie monsters in order to take a picture for you. Seriously they were about half gone!
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Don’t they look delicious? Please don’t try to eat your screen, these are only an image.

What are your favorite cookies to whip up for the holidays? I love trying new recipes, and you really can’t go wrong with cookies. For another delicious recipe, head on over to Katie’s blog and check out the recipe she’s sharing as well!