Saturday, December 31, 2011

Word for 2012

Earlier this month, we wrote about our one word to describe 2011. Today, let's write about our one word for 2012. What word do you want to use to describe how you will approach 2012?

Will it be awesome? Will it be frugal? Will it be open? Will it be the year of yes? What is your 2012?

My word as I approach 2012 is Calm. Truly, there are a lot of things going on and to look forward to in 2012, but I feel really calm and happy about what this year holds for our family. Eli will celebrate his first birthday in a few short weeks and we will get to celebrate Malachi's 2nd birthday this year! Of course I can't wait to meet my newest little bundle in a few months - I know that will be the highlight of my year! We are going to work hard to get our finances in order and it sounds like some good things are in order for Peter's career this year (and Thank You God that we left the CPA exam in 2011!!!!). As with every year, there will be hard things we face but I enter 2012 with a peace that most everything is going to be wonderful for us in 2012!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

A letter

Today, write a letter to yourself to read on 12/30/12. Write about what you have accomplished. Write about who you are and who you have become. Write a wishlist.

Is writing a letter to yourself too cheesy? Write about how you would like your life to be different than it is now at this time next year. Or write about what you would like to have stay the same.

What do I want to see different in my life one year from today. Of course my top priority is having healthy children. I want this new little bundle to arrive full term and healthy in 2012, where we can all leave the hospital as a family of 3! I want continued health for Malachi and Eli!

Some personal goals I have for myself would be to not only be back to pre-pregnancy weight, but to also be back at my goal weight. I think that is very doable, especially if I am chasing 3 kiddo's around :) I also want to continue to stay on top of my housework like I've done the last few months and stay on top of scrapbooks. It is so nice to not be behind in those areas!

Another goal I have for 2012 is to stay on top of our finances. We have set up an awesome budgeting system through and it has really helped us to see exactly where we are overspending. So in 2012, I want to stay in my budgets and see us complete our goal of stashing 3-6 months expenses into savings.

With my marriage, I would love to see us continue to get out on date nights at least once every few months. Hopefully we can also continue our Thursday Family Date Nights too. I want to continue to keep our marriage a priority as we have done a very good job of that this year! Another part of helping my husband will be keeping on top of the cooking and cleaning and also not overspending which will greatly reduce his stress :) I would also love to go on 1 or 2 weekend getaways with him in 2012, but we will have to see how that works out with 3 kids!

With Malachi I want to continue to meet his needs and keep him challenged. He needs me to spend 1 on 1 time with him doing big boy activities. I also need to find a way to challenge his mind, he loves to learn. He knows all his ABC's now and his numbers up to 12 so I need to figure out something else for him that will keep his brain challenged! My hopes are that he will be fully potty trained by the end of 2012!

Elias is a little more of a challenge. I am not sure of what his areas of interest will be! I also want to be sure and get one on one time with him and do special activities together. I really think with how close all of our kids will be in age that giving them one on one attention is very important. My hope is that we will be on the road to potty training by this time next year, hopefully at least having some successes! I also assume he will be in a toddler bed by this time next year too, but we will wait and see how that goes.

And the little bun in the oven. I just want to love him or her to pieces and enjoy every second of babyhood before s/he grows up too fast!

Letting Go

Letting go can be hard. We get comfortable in our current situation. We have a tendency to repeat the same behaviors and patterns even when we know they are not in our best interest. Sometimes we hold on to relationships, dreams, feelings, or stuff just because we can't let go.

But letting go sometimes is what we need to do.

What did you let go of in 2011? What was the experience like? How is your life different today? Do you ever regret it?

If not, is there something that you need to let go of in 2012? What scares you about that possibility? What situation do you need to create for that to happen?

In 2009 I had to give up control of what I thought I needed in my life. In 2010, I had to give up that same control, and again in 2011 I have had to give up control AGAIN. Things don't always go the way that I think they will go, but in the end everything turns out better.

I had to let go of my dream of how I saw my birth experience going. Everything was so perfect about it - labor was about as perfect as I could expect, the delivery went great - all until Eli came out struggling to breath. I didn't get to hold him on my chest right away. I didn't get to have family and friends come in and ooh and ahh over our new little bundle. I didn't get to rest and recover. I was full of worry and had to get out of the hospital ASAP so I could go be with my son. No family got to meet him for a week, and even then we kept it very limited to keep him away from germs. It just was never the joy filled experience that it should have been and I still struggle with disappointment at how it all turned out.

With that being said though, I am so sooo grateful that he turned around as quickly as he did. He was home in 7 days and has been very healthy ever since! It is a blessing that it only took a couple days of respiratory help to get him on the right track, but I still have a hard time with how it all turned out. Giving up control is hard!

5 Things

Take today to jot down five memories that you would like to never forget about 2011. Try to write about five things you haven't shared yet, but if you need to repeat, that's OK!

1) The birth of Elias
2) Malachi's First Birthday
3) Malachi's One Year Gotcha Day
4) Finding out we were pregnant again in early August
5) Our 5 year anniversary trip to Disneyland

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Well another very busy Christmas is now behind us! It was so fun to have two little boys to celebrate with this year. Malachi, in his toddlerhood and all its excitement and Elias celebrating his very first Christmas! We kept things really simple for our at home Christmas but that didn't stop everyone else from going a little nuts for the boys!

Our Christmas started on Friday with the Fair side of the family:

Elias got his first taste of gift opening with his cousins:

Malachi got into the spirit quickly!

On Saturday, we attended our church Christmas Eve service and then had a late night at Great-Grandma Fair's House:

Malachi was showing off for everyone:
Malachi was the official gift opener and Eli was the one who would check out what the new stuff was all about!

Eli's First Christmas morning - such a sweetie!
Assuming their roles that I mentioned earlier:
And on Sunday evening we celebrated Christmas with the Keyser side of the family:

Eli eating Lefsa for the first time:

Malachi eating Lefsa, along with a few other things.

It was a really fun time, and Christmas is definitely more joyful having children. Peter and I were thoroughly exhausted after the busy weekend, but fortunately we have had two days to rest and recover. We've spend out weekend getting everything organized and getting back into the swing of things.

I can't believe Christmas has already come and gone. The New Year is on the way!


What is one thing, a sign if you will, that has shown you that things will be just fine in 2012?

The constant movement of my little one inside me! Nothing in my life has been quite as spectacular as the two times I became a mom, and I know becoming a mom for the 3rd time in 2012 will not disappoint me. There is something very reassuring about this baby being super active. I worry often about how I am going to handle parenting 3 young children or the health of this little one and making it to term, but every time this baby kicks I reminded that everything will be okay in the end! I have a little fighter of a baby on my hands and if s/he decides to come a little early, I am confident everything will be okay. Parenting 3 children is going to be rough at first, but that newborn phase goes by so fast and I know that 3 children will bring us a lot of joy!

2012 is going to be an incredible year - I know it!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Exit Song

Earlier this month we revealed our theme song. Today, share with us the song you would like to be remembered by. Share with us your exit song.

Is that a little too personal or deep for you? Why not share with us the song that helps you leave 2011 behind and ring in the new

I can be morbid here a little bit :) I don't really have a "going out" song per say, but I can think of one song I would want played at my funeral and it is my favorite Christian Hymn - In Christ Alone and I want THAT to be my "going out" song! This song moves me every time I hear it! I hope you enjoy it!


Who do you love unconditionally? Who loves you unconditionally? Who do you love despite their flaws? All is love.

In the short time I have been a mother, I have learned something incredibly valuable from my children. I have learned what unconditional love is. There is nothing that my children could do or say to make it possible for me to stop loving them. I think there are very few relationships we have on this earth that truly hold unconditional love. Even the deep love I have for my husband, has conditions to it. Our love for one another could be broken if those conditions are not met or a commitment is broken.

With my children I can't imagine a single thing they could do to make me stop loving them. They could steal, hurt, murder and I would still love them even if I had extreme disappointment in their actions. Of course I could never imagine one of my little angels doing anything like that, but they will disappoint me from time to time and that will not affect my love for them one little bit!

Having children has given me a completely new understanding of how God's love for us works. I can understand it now! We are His children and there is nothing we can do to make him stop loving us. I never got that before. I never understood how he could love me enough to let His pride and joy die for me. I continually disappoint Him, but He still loves! That does not mean, He is never disappointed in the things I do or that there are not consequences for my actions - but He loves me just the same. It is pretty incredible to think about, and amazing how much I have learned about my own salvation through my little ones.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wishing all my friends a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Trying Something New

What is one thing (activity, food, career, event, travel, etc.) that you'd like to try in 2012? Why haven't you tried it yet? What makes 2012 the year to try it?

Well, honestly 2012 will probably not be the year I try much of anything new since I am going to be really busy adjusting to mothering 3 little ones. But, I do have a short list of things I am interested in doing and at the very top of the list (since this will probably be the easiest to accomplish) is taking cake decorating classes. I have always really enjoyed baking and part of my interest in baking includes learning how to decorate cakes. When I was little I spent lots of time in my grandma's kitchen baking. We would talk about how when I got older we would open a bakery together. Of course as a child I never realized that my getting older would mean her getting older too, but that was what I wanted to do as a child. I don't have any desire to actually open a bakery now, but I would really enjoy being able to decorate cakes and maybe even passing on my love of baking to my grandchildren someday!

Only Day

It's true, today is all you have, so why not make the most of it? Describe your perfect day, one that you've had this year or one that you'd like to have next year. What makes it perfect for you?

My perfect day would entail getting the opportunity to sleep in as late as I wanted. I would of course be waking up at the Grand Californian with Disneyland just steps away from me. I would have a very fun day with my kids and my husband in the happiest place on earth. None of us would get tired, so we could spend the entire day playing! There would, of course be no lines and we could do whatever we wanted! we would eat all my favorite Disneyland foods and never get too full - say breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen and a special date with my hubby at The Blue Bayou. We would be able to see both of our favorite shows at night and have the perfect seats - Fantasmic and World of Color! After the shows, we would tuck our little guys into bed and our evening would end with special treats - Mickey Rice Krispy Treats and Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

If I could go back in time to a perfect day, I would go back with my hubby while we were in Jamaica! A total stress free, relaxing place! Eating like a glutton, spending hours in the pool, and the incredibly romantic private beach dinner we had! It was so perfect and something I would love to do again someday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Identify the Problem

Identify the problem. That is, when you’re annoyed, angered, or frustrated, ask yourself, “What exactly is the problem here?”

Today, take a few minutes to ponder that one little, nagging issue that, if solved or eliminated, would make your life better. Perhaps, getting up five minutes earlier would make your life easier. Maybe smiling at that one coworker that drives you crazy would ease the tension. What small change in your life would or could make a big difference?

How will you resound?

Lately I have been in a huge cleaning fit! I am very satisfied to say that I am doing a pretty good job of staying right on top of the housework. For being 5 1/2 months pregnant and having a 20 month old and 10 month old - that is pretty darn good!!! My biggest issue though, is that these children make a mess just as fast as I can clean it. I want Peter to walk in the door at night and be able to see all that I have accomplished in his absence. Unfortunately, I don't think he can usually see the difference.

The problem is, I vacuum the living room, mop the floors, dust the surfaces, wash the windows - but right behind me comes this tornado! Snack crumbs in the carpet, mashed banana on the hardwood floors, fingerprints on every surface. It feels like I am fighting the impossible battle. So, do I just go with it and embrace the fact that it is impossible to keep the house clean with 2 baby boys? I kind of feel like that is my only option. My children will make messes and it is okay. My children will make messes and it is okay - repeat, repeat, repeat.


We all have guilty pleasures - long baths, Shakira, Pabst, the Kardashians - and we can spend time and energy fighting and hiding them. Until we get tired of fighting them. And then we either stop endulging or we embrace them.

What guilty pleasure have you embraced this year? What have you just accepted as something you enjoy and stopped denying it? What do you enjoy that would surprise people that know you?

If you're still fighting your guilty pleasure, tell us what it is. Come clean. You'll feel a lot better.

I promise, I am a pretty innocent person :P So there isn't much to hide! I think my biggest guilty pleasure is indulging in sweets while pregnant. I know that sounds really innocent, but with my last pregnancy and having Gestational Diabetes with it I am supposed to be more careful this time. My doctor typically does a GD test at 12 weeks for the repeat offenders but she felt that my risk factors were so low last time that she felt it could be a fluke and told me not to worry about testing, but to cut out the garbage in my diet. So for the most part, I have been very careful about what I eat - that is until December hit!

With my pregnancy with Elias, I really wasn't in to sweet things. I LOVED fruit and Peter spent a fortune picking up pineapples and strawberries at the store on his way home - yum! This pregnancy has been totally different. With the exception of banana's and orange juice, fruit has not been able to satisfy me. I have craved french fries and sweets, not quite what I should be eating with GD (although fruit isn't great for GD either).

For example: this morning, I had a plate of brownies and a banana both sitting in front of me. I wanted the brownies for my breakfast. I seriously had to stand there for a second debating what would be better for my baby and eventually grabbed the banana. This little one LOVES the sugary foods (another reason I think girl!) As soon as my aforementioned brownies came out of the oven a couple nights ago, I made myself a brownie sundae and this baby was instantly hopping!

So there you have my guilty pleasure. I have embraced the fact that sweets are satisfying (in moderation) and I do my best to throw a couple of fruits and veggies in my diet! I really do a pretty good job of eating healthy most of the time. I figure if my GD test that I am due for in a couple weeks shows that I do in fact have it, then I can worry about it then and I promise, at that point I will give up the sweets for my little love! But man, am I (and baby too) hoping I don't have it this time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Elevator Interview

If you had 30-90 seconds to describe yourself (give anelevator speech), how would you sum up who you are?

I am a follower of Christ. He has forgiven me and I strive to live my life to His will. I often fail miserably, but I continue to try and be a better person everyday. As long as I follow Him, I can't go wrong! At this point in my life I feel like my life calling is to raise my children to know God personally and follow His will. That is quite a responsibility and I pray everyday as I hold my boys that God will protect them and guide them throughout their entire lives!

My second "calling" in life is a wife. Since the day I was married 5 1/2 years ago, I have striven to better myself as a wife to my husband. I don't believe any marriage cannot be broken so I am committed to strengthening the ties of my marriage everyday. My husband and I have never been closer than we are today, and I hope that everyday for the rest of our lives I can say that very same thing! I love my husband very very much!

My third role in life is as a mother. This role I take very seriously. Forming humans is no easy task. I now have 3 little ones that are my responsibility to care for, love unconditionally, and someday release into the world as their own capable adults. Sometimes this task seems daunting. I love my children so much that it hurts!

Another thing I feel very strongly about is orphan care. I will spend the rest of my life advocating for, financially supporting, covering in prayer, and adopting (as God leads). Another area God is growing my heart is for the widows of this world. I know God has big plans for these passions in my life and I pray that I have the courage to do whatever He asks of me!

I am a homebody through and through, which works out really well with the fact that it is hard to get out of the house with little ones so close in age! I consider myself pretty boring actually - I cook, I clean, I take care of my family and that is enough to satisfy me most days!

Monday, December 19, 2011


Yesterday I was so ezcited for our church service as I knew we would be having some very special guests. We got to host the Asante Children's Choir from Rwanda! I honestly don't think the average person had any idea what they were going to experience!

These little kids were awesome! They danced and had the moves and it was so fun to get to watch. But the incredible and impacting thing with these kids is that this choir is composed of orphans. These children come to America as Ambassadors from Rwanda to help bring awareness and get sponsors for other orphaned children in Rwanda.

I could see so many people truly touched by these children. After all, seeing the pictures of orphaned children in magazines and on TV is a very different thing than having them physically standing in front of you. I think the average Christian would have a totally different reaction to orphans if they had one on one encounters with them. I think David Platt has said it best in his book Radical, "We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes."

We were met with a lot of resistance from our church as far as being supportive of our adoption. Yesterday, I saw hearts moved as the orphans were given real faces in front of members of our church family. I saw our pastor who was moved to tears and could not utter a single word. I could feel hearts in our church being changed and I truly hope that this is the start of something incredible and that families will be moved to give more and do more for the orphans in this world.

The most touching moment by far was when the children sang this song posted below. To hear these older orphaned children, who stand a very very slim chance of ever having an earthly Father or Mother sing the words "I have a Father, He calls me his own" was really powerful.

Then and Now

What was your life like a decade ago? How has your life changed since then? If you're not feeling wordy today, why not show us some then and now portraits of yourself?

My life has changed drastically in the last 10 years! 10 years ago I was 15 years old, and just a sophomore in high school :) My life consisted of pretty boring stuff! I would have been playing basketball around this time in 2001 which I really enjoyed doing even if I wasn't very good at it. The highlight of 2001 for me was DEFINITELY the birth of my very first niece! I was so thrilled at getting to become an aunt and I got to spend a lot of time with my little niece. Now I just cannot see how it is possible that she is already 10 years old!

So, a lot can definitely change in a decade! Now here I am, married for 5 years having my 3rd child. Wow!!!


This is the time of year when families are upholding decades old traditions and working to create new ones. It doesn't matter what you celebrate (or don't) ... please share with us your December traditions: how they got started, why you continue them, and why they are special to you.

When Peter and I got married 5 years ago, we started a few small traditions for Christmas. We always deck the halls the day after Thanksgiving (after Black Friday shopping). We also have always made a yearly batch of marshmallow fudge! Another December tradition has been to get away for a couple nights as a couple over a weekend! December seems to be a perfect time for this as it is usually easy to get into places to stay!

With the addition of children in the family, we have started a few new traditions. Last year we packed 8 month old Malachi into his car seat, with a sippy cup of chocolate milk (kind of like hot chocolate) and drive around looking at Christmas lights. This year, we had both boys to pack up and take out to look at lights!

Another few Christmas traditions I started - The year we were "paper pregnant" I bought Malachi a book for Christmas that was somewhat pertinent to our journey of waiting for him and wrote him a special little note in the front. Last year, I bought him another book and Elias a book and wrote in them. This year, I bought books for all 3 of the kids that I felt were kind of fitting for where they are right now and am going to write in them. It is just a little something for them and a way for me to write and show them my love for them year after year!

Another thing we started last year was opening up Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve to wear to bed so that they have cute jammies to wear for Christmas morning pictures!

All of our "traditions" are quite young as we are still in the early stages of establishing our family!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year?

Definitely that would be my husband! There is no way that I could make it through this busy and crazy life without him. By the end of the day, my brain is pretty much fried and he walks in the door after a full day at work and is ready to get to work! He helps me feed the kids dinner, then plays with them so I can get a little escape. He does bath time since that is getting more and more difficult for me and my growing belly. He does jammies and the nighttime bottle - all so that I can get a little break. On the weekends he gets up in the morning with the boys so that I can sleep in and pitches in with the housework.

I couldn't have asked for a better husband or father for my kids! I remember how nervous he was when we got to Ethiopia because he had such limited experience with babies. He was worried about having to take care of a baby. I told him within a day he would have it all figured it out - that babies are pretty easy to take care of. And within 24 hours he was a pro at it! He was definitely a natural at the Father thing! I am so thrilled that I married someone like minded to me! He has a passion for orphans like I do and is totally okay with the big family I want! When we set our minds to completing a goal, we are unstoppable! I know he will always be in my corner!

Another thing I appreciate so much is the health of my children. Signing up for adoption, you sign up for lots of unknowns. We had a lot of people praying for the health of our little man while we waited. Those prayers have certainly paid off! Besides a double ear infection when we brought him home, he has had a perfectly clean bill of health! He didn't even have a single parasite, which is very common with Internationally adopted children. He was a huge baby and didn't really battle any of the malnourishment that is common either. We prayed so hard for his emotional health and he came home and bonded and attached to us beautifully. I know that meeting his emotional needs will be a lifelong process but I truly feel like we have had the storybook adoption with that little guy.

After a rough start with Elias, he has stayed pretty healthy too! I worried that he would have on going health issues with his immature lungs but besides a few minor illnesses he has been so strong and healthy since he left the NICU! A major blessing for sure! He has caught up for his prematurity and while he is still a little peanut, he has grown considerably big and strong. Healthy children is definitely something that I do not take for granted!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Details

Have you ever heard the expression "God is in the details?" Or, perhaps, "the devil is in the details?"
Sometimes the most ordinary, mundane things can turn into extraordinary moments. What was one of your most extraordinary ordinary moments this year? Our story is in the details ... How will you resound?

Okay so I tried really hard to think of something really ordinary to write about, but I couldn't come up with anything. So instead I will talk about how God really is in the details! So lets backpedal a few years okay -

In 2008, Peter and I thought we were ready to expand our family. For so many reasons, I am grateful that it didn't quite work out like that. Those extra 2 years without kids, I am very grateful for now! But anyway, at the time we thought it would work out great!

So enter summer of 2009, no baby yet. In fact after meeting with my doctor it sounded like it could be a lot of work to get me pregnant. Over the course of that summer, God was really working on our hearts and in early July 2009 we made the decision to adopt. Now this is how clearly God is in the details - the day we decided to adopt - July 12th, 2009 calculates up to being just about the exact moment in time that Malachi was coming into existence. He was conceived around the same time that God was making it so clear to us that we needed to proceed with adoption NOW! I can go more and more into detail about how things worked out perfectly through the adoption process to get us to Malachi, but I won't.

So enter Summer of 2010, we are just finishing up our adoption process and were really feeling a desire for another child. I had come to peace with the idea that I would never get to experience pregnancy (which is something I had always dreamed about!) and was okay with adopting all of our children. We were jumping head first into adopting again as soon as Malachi was safely home, but then we began to feel like God was not actually leading us in that direction so we decided to sit tight and just pray about our next move. About a month after we decided to sit tight, I found out I was pregnant! It was totally unexpected and such a God thing! I was not only getting one baby but two and God was granting my wish that I tried to let die of getting to experience pregnancy!

Now that brings us to 2011. I felt completely blessed to have my two boys. We decided we were going to try our best to hold off for awhile on adding any new additions to our family. But boy is it hard to get emails about all these waiting children and not be drawn to adopting again! Around the time that Eli turned 3 months old, I was really starting to feel like we were missing someone in our family. I spent hours upon hours researching different adoption options. I was learning about different options for countries or potentially adopting domestically. I was emailing with agencies and learning about the specific programs. Peter seemed okay with the idea of another baby in the family. We figured we would be starting the adoption process towards the end of this year. Society was saying we were totally nuts for even thinking of a 3rd child, but I really didn't care about that, I could only follow that my heart was telling me we were missing someone. Through it all I WANTED to be adopting again so badly, but my heart just didn't feel it was the right timing. No path felt like it was where we should be going. So we decided to kind of back off and just pray that God would show us the way.

Well, then summer approached and low and behold we were pregnant again! I know everyone thinks we are totally nuts and that is fine. I believe God was clearly preparing my heart when Eli was 3 months old that something, or rather someone was missing from our family. My heart feels so full right now and I am so in love with my three little ones! I have thought I knew what was best every step of the way, but every time God has surprised us and revealed his ultimate plan for our family! God has been in the details and I couldn't have written our story any better!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


We learn new things every day. Processes change at work. We meet new people. We cook new recipes. We are constantly learning and growing.

But sometimes we learn something that qualifies as a discovery. A piece of new information - a feeling, a song, a place, an event, a book, a random fact - can sometimes change our view on the world and our place in it. Discovery can bring on positive change, but sometimes discovery is hard. Sometimes it causes conflict. But after a discovery, something about you just isn't quite the same.

What discovery did you make in 2011? What kind of impact did it have on how you view the world today?

How will you resound?

I made a few new discoveries this year! Two websites stick out in my mind:

Pinterest - Yes, I have a slight obsession with all the great ideas on Pinterest! I have actually tried quite a few pinterest ideas. I have tried numerous recipe ideas and have implemented a few fun ideas for Malachi! I have so many great ideas that I just need a little bit of time to implement more!

Crowdtap - This has been the easiest of all of my survey type sites to toy around on! I have made over $80 in the 6 months I have been on there, and I have earned that money in super easy ways - just answering really simple multiple choice questions. I have also been given a $90 jacket from Old Navy through Crowdtap. So it has been very fun and very beneficial!

A few new product discoveries this year:

Downy Unstoppables - I love these things. I got to first try them through another one of my survey sites as a sample. I expected a typical sample size, but instead they sent me an entire container and I am hooked! They offer no real benefit to cleaning your laundry but you pour a few into the laundry when you wash it and it makes everything smell SUPER good! I love having fresh smelling towels!!! Unfortunately they are pretty expensive for not really doing anything to help with the laundry so I hope some really good coupon deals come out so I can keep buying them :)

The Tangle Teezer - By far the best thing we have ever bought for Malachi's hair! Figuring out how to take good care of his hair has been a bit of a challenge. We are still messing around with different hair products but the one piece of the hair bucket that will always have a place is the tangle teezer. It is an awesome brush that doesn't hurt his head while using it. I don't know how it works, but I love that thing!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


When did you feel most at home this year: in your life, in your space, in your career, in your skin? What factors make that situation feel like home? Do certain comforts make your space feel like home? Does being with certain people make you feel complete? Is there an activity in which you excel that makes you feel like you're doing what you were meant to do?

This is your life. Where do you live? Where is home?

How will you resound?

Home is Home for me! I truly settled into being a stay-at-home mom this year! For years leading up to this time, I have always felt like something was missing in my life, and now I know what it was! I know that our society does not think that caring for a home is enough of a contribution, but for me, that is exactly where I need to be. I feel complete when I am taking care of my home. Cooking meals, cleaning the house, and caring for my boys makes me feel complete! I guess I belong in another era :) Barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen pretty much describes me :P

I am very much a housewife by design! God made me this way for a reason! For me, there is nothing more important than taking care of the ones I love. Me being there for my boys every time they need me is the most important job I have. It is also the most challenging and difficult job I have ever taken on. Being mommy 24/7 is hard! Some nights I go to bed completely worn down. But every morning, I get up and am ready to face the new day! And I love my life!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Best Gift

The holiday season is typically a time we focus on others, sometimes at the expense of ourselves. I can get so caught up in the expectations of the season that I have a hard time remembering to enjoy the peace and wonder of the season. I can forget to take time to care for myself. So lets look back on how we cared for ourselves. Maybe we'll inspire each other to take a few minutes for ourselves today.

What was the best gift you gave yourself this year? Did you buy big, fluffy towels? Did you have a massage on a day when you really needed it? Did you forgive someone and give yourself the freedom from that grudge?

The best gift I gave myself this year was my baby boy! Seriously, what could be better than that!

Another gift I gave myself, is the freedom to get away with just my husband. I sometimes feel this mommy guilt about leaving my boys for a couple days. I really had a hard time leaving them when we got away to Disneyland, but just because I became a mommy, does not mean I am not a wife first. My boys are perfectly happy the two times we have left them, in fact I think they have more fun when we are gone! It has been so important to get away and spend focused time on just being a married couple! With two very young children, we can spend an entire day so wrapped up in meeting their needs that we hardly even talk at all to each other until the boys get to bed. I want to make a point of getting away once or twice a year with just my husband so we can continue to grow and develop our relationship and give it the care it needs!

Monday, December 12, 2011

12 Goals for 2012

Take today to talk about 12 things you would like to accomplish in 2012. These 12 things can be 12 resolutions, 12 changes in your life, 12 wines you'd like to drink, 12 cities you'd like to visit, or 12 monthly goals. The decision is yours

These are more of 12 Family Goals for 2012

1) Get this baby on the way to full term - 37 weeks or beyond!

2) *Slight TMI Warning* Successfully nurse! After Eli's hospital trip and his prematurity, we could just not get it to work out, even after a few trips to lactation at the hospital. After 5 months of exclusive pumping (which is A LOT of work!) my supply tanked and nothing I tried could get it back up so I had to stop. Hopefully Goal #1 will make this goal easier to obtain!

3) Get Malachi into a toddler bed and Eli into Malachi's room, where they will hopefully not wake each other up. We can hopefully accomplish all of this before the end of the summer.

4) Along the same line, have Malachi 100% potty trained by the end of the year, and be working on it with Eli.

5) Get our budget under control. With kid after kid arriving in the family,and unexpected medical bills, etc. our budgeting has not been pretty. A new year, with a new start (thanks to - awesome budgeting site!) we are on track to fix that in 2012. So in 2012 I hope to STICK with our budget! Again, reaching goals #1, #2, and #4 would go along ways in helping us with our budget!

6) Along the same lines of budgeting, I have an aggressive goal of seeing our Emergency Fund (roughly 5 to 6 months expenses in savings) fully funded by the end of the year. If things go as planned this year, I do believe it is possible!

7) See Peter get promoted. This one is mostly out of our hands, but there is a good chance it will happen!

8) Get our backyard in nice enough condition the boys will be able to play out there this summer. That means getting rid of the weeds so that the bees will buzz off and watering it through the summer (there's a budget killer!)

9) Peter's Goal - make a list of all of the things in our house with serial numbers, just in case the house burns down.

10) Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and hopefully be working towards my goal weight by the end of the year. I am trying to be realistic with this one, knowing that with a second pregnancy the weight may be harder to lose. But with Jillian Michael's and Weight Watcher's on my side, I hope I can make it happen.

11) Enjoy my little ones and be sure and take lots of pictures and video of them. They are growing way too fast. Also keep their scrapbooks up, which I have done a really good job of so far!

12) NOT get pregnant :) We definitely need a break in new additions to the family for awhile. I cherish each and every one of my little ones and would not change a thing in our story - each one of them is valued and wanted. But I am really looking forward to settling into life as a family of 5 and getting a chance to sit back and just enjoy life for awhile :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Best Meal

What is the best meal or best food that you have eaten all year? Did you make it? Did you get it at a restaurant?

Okay this one is tough for me, because no meal really sticks out in my mind. Honestly, the first thing I thought of was the hospital pudding! It was sooo good! And it wasn't just because I was starving, Peter agreed that there was something amazing about that pudding! A couple other foods that stick out were some Poppy Seed muffins we got at Fred Meyer every morning on our way to the NICU. Those still are the best poppy seed muffins I have ever had! Another meal that sticks out is the pizza we got on our way back from the NICU the night after I had Eli. It tasted soooo good to me, but that time I know it was because I was starving :)

But the nicest meals that stick out in my mind are our date to Cheesecake Factory on our anniversary. It was just a really nice time of peace and quiet where we could talk and enjoy our company. We haven't gotten out all that often without the boys this year and a lot of times when we have, we have had a specific purpose. So getting to sit down and have dinner, just us was really nice!

And our other nice dinner was at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. This is our date tradition every time we go to Disneyland. It is so much fun to request a seat by the water and enjoy our meal and conversation while watching the boats from Pirates of the Carribean float by. It is also fun because the restaurant is so dark and themed perfectly like you really are sitting by the Bayou in New Orleans, listening to the crickets and watching the lightening bugs! The food is just mediocre and very expensive, but my company every year is divine :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My High (and Low) of 2011

write (paint, draw, photograph, record, etc.) about your best experience this year. If that's not your cup of joe, write about your worst experience. Feeling chatty? Share both your best and worst moments.

How will you resound?

Today's is kind of my high and low all rolled into one. I know I have shared this all before, but this is my high/low so I'm going to share it all again :) This story is still hard for me to write without getting all emotional. I had been dreaming of this day and it turned out perfect and yet was also the most difficult time of my life all rolled into one.

So at 9:30 PM on Feb 3rd 2011 my water broke at 35 weeks 6 days. I immediately went into a state of shock. I had kind of expected to go into labor early, but I never anticipated it being quite this early. I kind of went into a panicked state and Peter and I just sort of stared at each other in shock for a second. When I say my water broke, I mean my water BROKE! We quickly went into a frenzy, called my mom to come get Malachi, ran around packing the last minute things (fortunately I had packed most of the stuff that very day!) and called my doctor who was already at the hospital waiting for another woman to deliver.

And away we went. As we drove to the hospital I couldn't believe that I would be expected to give birth this very day! I all of a sudden felt very not ready for what was to come! We got to the hospital, checked all in, they confirmed that my water had indeed broke, which I think the towel in my pants should have given that one away! I got asked a million questions by my nurse. I had to hang out in triage while they kicked a woman who had already delivered out of her room since the maternity ward was full. I still feel bad that this woman had to move rooms after 10:00 at night. My doctor came in and explained that there would be a 50/50 chance that the baby may need to be transported out of the hospital after delivery, but we would hope for the best. She checked me and I was 1cm with no contractions. It was going to be a long night!

We finally were able to get settled into a room. By this time I was having very mild contractions. My doctor decided it would be good to let me rest for the night and induce me in the morning if we needed to. So she set me up with some snacks and a sleeping pill and we settled in for the night. the nurses and my doctor came in throughout the night to see how things were going. I was making very slow progress, so at 5:00AM they brought in the pitocin. Things got rough, very fast after this. My contractions started lasting longer and coming within 20 seconds of each other, leaving me no time to recover. I was no longer having fun :) My doctor came back at 7:30 to see how things were going I was 3cm and 100% effaced. She decided I was progressing enough for an epidural and by 8:00 I was resting very comfortably! It was time to rest up for the grand finale! After my epidural, things started moving faster. They let me rest until 11:00 and found I had made it to 6cm! By 11;45, I had started feeling a different sensation and they checked me and I was complete. I couldn't believe it was time to start pushing! They quickly called my doctor and that news finally woke Peter up :)

By noon I was pushing and laughing so hard at my doctor! She had us laughing so hard. When we did the hospital tour I was told to expect 2 nurses and the doctor in the room, but do to the circumstances my room filled up rather fast! A pediatrician and a respiratory therapist came in and I also had several more nurses coming in and out. I barely noticed the full house though!

At 12:36 PM my precious baby boy #2 made his way into the world. The pediatrician said I could hold him on my chest right away, as long as he was crying. It all happened so fast though, and unfortunately he was not crying and had an awful looking purple/blue color to him. But I was instantly in love with him!

I still had such high hopes that he would be fine after a little help. Everything seemed to be happening so fast around me. Eventually they made the decision to take him down to another room to work on him further. I was still not thinking to clearly. I had told Peter before the birth, that if anything happened I wanted him to focus on the baby. That was not hard for him to do. Once that boy was born, Peter was glued to him!

Eventually I was all fixed up and they just needed me to get some feeling back in my legs before I could go down to see him. My nurses were sooo awesome. They were all so caring about the emotional state I was in. One of Eli's nurses made sure to come in every 15 minutes or so and give me an update on how things were going. It didn't seem to take long before the nurses decided it was time to get me down to him. One nurse got on each side of me and pretty much lifted me into a wheelchair since my legs were still completely worthless!

The wheeled me down to see him and as soon as I got in the room, they remember they hadn't played the lullaby yet that they do for all babies born in the hospital. So between seeing him in this state and hearing that stupid song, I pretty much lost it. I got to hold his hand for a little while, and this was about the time they decided he was not going to stabilize and would need to leave. They were having a very difficult time getting an IV in him, so after about 10 minutes with him they made me leave. They were going to try and place an IV in his belly button and I guess they didn't think I could handle it.

So I kept getting updates in my room, as far as when the transfer team arrived and stuff like that. I did my best to stay strong through it all. The nurses kept telling me I needed to eat, but I was not feeling like it. The nurses were so comforting to me! Peter was with Eli the whole time. I found out after all of this that his lung started bleeding out. The NICU doctors said that only happens in about 3% of cases, so that tells us how hard he was having to work to breath.

Finally the team had him stabilized and had a breathing tube down him. They brought him in to say goodbye to me and that was when things became very hard for me! I couldn't believe this was happening. I would not be bringing my son home with me. I said my goodbyes to Peter and my little boy and then was left all alone. Honestly, I just wanted to be left alone. I had chaplains stopping by and my nurses kept checking up on me, encouraging me to eat or offering to find me a movie to watch. I was holding it all together pretty good and finally got some food.

The most comforting thing for me was a lady from the church unexpectedly dropped by. She was so excited and in such high spirits that it really encouraged me and made me forget about the hard parts of the day. A little while after that, my parents brought Malachi in to see me and that made me feel all better.

Later that night Peter came back from the NICU. He brought me more pictures, which I was dying to see! He was all settled into the NICU for the night and looked so much pinker already. It still felt so unnatural to not get to be with him though.

That night, my doctor set me up with a really strong sleeping pill since she knew I would have trouble sleeping. I was all set for discharge in the morning! Once morning came, we got all packed up and headed home! We got quick showers at home and were on our way up to see our little guy.

It was hard to prepare myself to walk into the NICU. I was already in a really emotional state and didn't know what to expect. We found our little guy and I had to fight really hard to not cry when I first saw him in this state:

They had taken him off the breathing tube during the night and got him set up on C-Pap. He looked awful to me! Over the course of the next few days though, we got used to all the instruments on him and they didn't seem quite so scary anymore.

It didn't take long before the nurses decided he needed some mommy loving (which I really needed too) and I got to spend a couple hours Kangaroo cuddling him! 25 hours had passed since he was born, and I could finally hold him!

The next few days passed quickly! We got in the swing of how the NICU did things. Every night I had to choke back tears though, as I had to leave him. It just didn't feel right! But he was making progress!

After 4 days in the NICU, our awesome nurse Carmen let us know that she was feeling pretty confident that our boy would be off C-Pap by the time we saw him again. I was so thrilled to hear that news! We had to get one last picture of him on C-Pap. He was letting us know what he thought of C-Pap!
That night our nurse called us to let us know that he was indeed off C-Pap and that they had also moved him out of the Level 3 NICU and put him in the Level 2 NICU. All fantastic news!

The next day we went to the other NICU to see him. The whole atmosphere in Level 2 was so different and so much more relaxed! I walked in and was talking to him and the nurse informed me that I could pick him up! I was so excited! I could?!? In the other NICU, they required a respiratory therapist and a nurse to help maneuver the baby to be held.

It felt so wonderful to have him in my arms and to have him off the machines where I could see his face!

He spent 2 days in the Level 2 NICU. It almost felt more unnatural to leave him over there. He seemed like such a normal baby now and I hated having to put him down and leave every night.

Finally, it was the 11th! It had been one week since our little man was born and he finally had the okay to come home! We got up to the NICU as fast we could that morning (which wasn't very fast for me!) By the time we got there, he was discharged by the doctors and all the monitors were turned off of him and he was unplugged :) He was literally just sitting there waiting for us! We quickly got him dressed, filled out some paperwork and got some last minute instructions.

Then we were free and clear! We loaded all 5 1/2 lbs of him in his car seat and it was time to get him home and get all 4 of us back under one roof!

It was kind of emotional for me (love those postpartum hormones) to walk out of the NICU WITH my baby. It also felt a little bit terrifying!

Whew, okay I KNOW that was a super long story. But that week was filled with so many highs and lows for my year. I am so thankful it all worked out so well and that he only had to spend a week in the NICU and that he has been so strong ever since and not had any problems. He's gained weight and caught up developmentally and is just perfect in every way!