Thursday, May 22, 2014

DSU Graduation

My little brother, Hunter, graduated from Dixie State a couple of weeks ago.  We went down to St George the night before, then had a great barbecue with family and friends the day of at my other brother Tony's house.  We attended the ceremony and watched Hunter walk and receive his diploma in Human Communications.  I'm so proud of him!  Even better, he moved up to Provo after graduating, so now we get to see more of him.  And hopefully he can find a rad girl up here.

Also, it was our first time in a hotel since Olivia switched to a toddler bed (which seems so weird for how much we travel, because she has been in one for several months!  But I guess Jack and I have made the past few trips without the girls, or just with Berlin).  We got a suite so we could put her in the living room on the pull-out bed.  We put pillows on the floor around the huge bed, Livi-proofed the room, which meant barricading the doors and making sure there was nothing she could climb on or break, did her bedtime routine, and went in to the bedroom area and shut the door.  We could hear her messing around for a little while, but then she climbed into the bed and fell right asleep!  It was a great experience!  We put Berlin in her pack n play in the big bathroom with a nightlight and sound machine, and then Jack and I ate take-out Pasta Factory and watched TV and were still able to have some quality time together on our little trip.  I was dying in the heat in Southern Utah though.  My blood must have thickened up here in the North, because I was so not used to it.  I remember it never being a big deal when I lived there (from age 6 to 20), but I am definitely not accustomed to it!  It felt good to get back to our cooler climate up here in Lehi.  

The drive down and back went smoothly also, we planned both the trip down and the trip back during Berlin's nap, so she was able to sleep for almost half of the drive each way.  I also have some baby noise-cancelling headphones that I threw in my car bag last minute and I think those really saved Berlin's naps, since she had to be near Olivia, who sometimes has a hard time being quiet.  I packed lots of books, toys, coloring stuff, etc. for both girls and when Ber started to get fussy, Jack climbed back between them and put a watched a movie on our Highlander's screen while entertaining the baby.  I was able to listen to music up front and drive, and it was so fantastic!  Definitely a good experience traveling with both girls. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Best Waffles

I thought I'd share my waffle recipe today.  I usually make these once every few weeks and then separate the segments and freeze them in freezer Ziplocks to take out and microwave for the girls for breakfasts or snacks.  They are great snacks for the car because they hold together well and I know what's in them (compared to store bought baby snacks or crackers with all of those preservatives and  unknown stuff).  These waffles are amazing because they are so easy, healthy, low-cal, and have this incredible lightness about them, instead of the dense heaviness of a lot of waffles.

My Whole Wheat Banana Waffles

Throw into a blender (we love our Blendtec):
1 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup applesauce
2 eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 overripe banana

Pulse until you think the banana chunks are blended

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Pulse again until all ingredients are combined.  Batter will be thin.

Spray or butter waffle iron, and cook batter according to normal instructions for your iron.  Sometimes I also love to sprinkle frozen blueberries into the batter before closing the iron!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms, future Moms, and Moms-at-heart!  Sunday is my usual day for sleeping in, so Jack gave me an extra day this week and I got to sleep in yesterday as well :)  He has basically been watching the girls for two days straight while I relax and recoup.  We took our annual Mother's Day trip to Kneaders yesterday with our good friends, the Watsons (for those of you who don't know, Kneaders gives out free french toast to Moms the Saturday morning before Mother's Day!), visited my mom and took her some goodies, and I bought some new sunglasses.  This morning I have done nothing but lounge about, watch The Pioneer Woman Cooks, read my book, and take a long bath.  Jack had to teach today in church, so he left with Olivia while I opted to stay here with Berlin instead of wrestling her by myself for the last two hours of church.  Yep, it's Mother's Day and I get to skip church.  You think you are judging me, but secretly you are jealous that you didn't think to skip church.  Maybe next year!

I really am just so grateful to have my two babies.  I try so hard never to take for granted the blessings of being able to carry, deliver, and raise my girls.  I am so grateful that Father in Heaven saw fit to bless me with the responsibility of the care of these two sweet spirits.  Not to mention an amazing partner to raise them with.  I take the job of raising and teaching them very seriously, to the point where it's almost ridiculous how much I stress about it.  But the truth is, they are the ones raising and teaching me.  I learn and grow so much every day while spending time with Olivia and Berlin.  Sometimes I feel on top of the world with successes, and sometimes I hurt because I feel like I am failing so miserably in my capacity as Mother, but all the while I can feel myself becoming more of what God would want me to be.  I have learned more about my own weaknesses in the past 3 years than the whole rest of my life.  I have improved upon my weaknesses more also.  I have grown so close to Christ that sometimes I feel like He has held my hand to help me through this process.  I know love like I never have before.  I know heartbreak and worry like I never have before.  I know joy like I never have before, and I have appreciated and loved Jack in a way that nothing else could have prepared me for, in watching him with our kids and relying on him as a co-parent and spouse.

On this day every year my heart goes out to those Mamas who haven't yet been able to have babies, but who want them.  I don't know what to say on a day like this, except that my heart and prayers are with you today.  My heart also goes out to those caring for babies that were not theirs in the beginning, but are taking on the role of Mom to give a child a better life.  Also, to those Moms who have to serve as a single parent to their kids.  I don't know how you do it.  My sister, Chandler, is one of my greatest heroes for the sacrifices she makes every day and hour for her little boy.  She has been putting herself through school while working full-time, and will be starting at the Police Academy soon!

Happy Mother's Day!  I hope your day is wonderful and that you feel the honor that is due to you.

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