Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jumping Bean...not quite...

My Mr. Nielson and I had started to notice that the Little Diva enjoys standing in our laps and then trying to bob up and  down and up and down...we decided it was time to bring a gift to her when she was kind enough to take time to see us in her busy schedule between naps, chewing on her fists, bottles,  and singing to her friends on her mobiles that are on her crib and bouncer....

We thought that she'd think that a Jumperoo bouncer that goes in the doorway would be pretty neat...Well...she thought it was....something...

That's right, a $20 brilliant gift, instantly turned into a fancy chew toy...

She finally did realize that it was possible to sit up by herself...
Note the slobber stained chin glistening in the daylight...
Note the unbridled joy in her face as this new contraption allowed her to sway back and forth and twist around, giving her a lovely view of either the living room, or the guest bathroom toilet...
Of course...she'd look around to see...

and if no one was looking...this is what we were reduced to...yet again...
I suppose, after this, we will allow our diva in training to pick how she spends her day...
It's good to be the princess....

Hugs, loves, and jumping beans until next time darlings....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DIY Cheap Nursery Decorations: Burp Cloth Holder

Well, before stomach flu reared its ugly head, I managed to finish another craft for Faith's room. There really isn't a tutorial, as I felt that just looking at the finished craft was self explanatory.

When Jeff and I moved into my parent's house, we were using an old bookshelf I'd had since before college as storage for burp cloths and blankets.  When we were moving to Vegas, we opted to let the bookshelf head off to greener pastures as it was about to fall apart or fall on someone.  I didn't want that someone to be a crawling baby, and my husband wholeheartedly agreed.  So...since we've been in Vegas, our burp cloths and blankets have been in a jumbled pile on the floor of the little diva's nursery.  As I was finishing unpacking, I found a shoe box, and, as it would happen, the muses sang to me and I came up with this idea for a burp cloth holder.
The great thing about it, is that you can use the scraps of the scrapbook paper that you used to create the letters to cover the box.  Literally, all you need is a shoe box, scrapbook paper, and modge podge or glue. Just be certain that some of the pieces wrap around the edges of the box, as it will look funny to have a piece of paper on the outside, a visible edge, and then the other piece of paper that is on the inside.

 (See, I wrapped the yellow paper around the edge, and then covered the outside)

 Its super easy to hang, all I used were 2 clear thumb tacks.
And here is a sad looking picture of the finished product, filled to the brim with burp cloths! (sorry its either my comp, blogger,or my card- but I'm having a hard time getting the pictures to load the way they appear on my screen.)

Happy crafting darlings!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Healthier Me: Week 2 Roundup

Well...I didn't do so great last week with either of my goals. I only ended up working out 3 days of the week and I didn't do so hot at upping my water intake...In my defense, I haven't exactly been feeling the most amazing...

For those of you that don't happen to be my friends on Facebook, or have missed the status update I confirmed last week that I am indeed pregnant again...

For those of you keeping track my diva in training is 3 months old...She will be 11 months old when her new brother or sister arrives.

Don't think for one moment that this is going to sidetrack me from my goal to be a healthier me.  In fact, if you begin a pregnancy overweight, it is actually safe to continue losing weight into the middle of your second trimester.  As long as baby is getting the nutrition that he/she needs, baby will be healthy.

I will also say that I have noticed that exercise actually helps my morning sickness be less...there...for lacko of a better word...I'm still nauseous, but it doesn't knock me down on my rear like it did with my first pregnancy...with this in mind, I will continue my work out regemine at 4 times a week unless my doctor tells me otherwise at my first visit...which has yet to be scheduled.

My goal for this week is to really MEAN that I want to add more water to diet.  I have to backtrack and allow  myself to try again...

Well, in spite of taking a day off from exercise and not quite hitting my target with water intake- we didn't have any major slow down in the progress.

My new measurements are: 40- 34-42.5

If you're keeping track that is another inch from the bust (another surprise for sure), another half inch from the waist, and my hips finally decided to get in on the action and shed 1.5 inches. :)

Well, here's to matter how slow and steady...and no matter how much it will be thwarted in the weeks to come LOL.

Besides increasing water intake, I will add this mantra "Being pregnant doesn't give me an excuse to be a lump on a log."  Knowing that it helps with my morning sickness helps me to keep motivated, but there are days (like last week) when I just want to give in, lay in bed all day and be sick.

Here's to motivation and mantras!

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Darling Diva's Kitchen- Crock Pot Curry Chicken

Some of you may know about my recipe can find it here.  However, I have decided that any more recipes I post will post to this blog (favoring the idea of having this blog be more of a beat all, end all kind of thing for simplicity for me).  I will see if I can figure out how to archive or link recipes on the recipe blog to here so you can find them more easily.  If I can't figure it out, I will make sure to find ways to post a link in each of the recipes I post here.  Today I announced on Facebook that I was making crock pot chicken curry for dinner and I got some responses asking for the recipe.  Since its one that I made up with the help of friends who know Indian cuisine, I decided I would post it here for ease and simplicity for me as well.

My love affair with Indian food is one that started too late in my life as far as I'm concerned. I love it! Its simple, yet complex, healthy (for the most part, or its easy to make healthy substitutions for unhealthy stuff) and is rich in flavor that doesn't come from salt and pepper but unique spice blends.  I didn't discover Indian food until college last year.  I went to Nepal night with my husband on a date (and partially because I had to go to a cultural evening for one of my education classes.) Needless to say, I. was. hooked! I spent the next two weeks researching authentic Indian cuisine and found a website that has not only authentic Indian recipes, but also shows you how to make your own Garam Masala, curry powder,and other Indian spice blends that are used for cooking.  I don't cook Indian food enough to make my own spice blends (I wish I did...but you can only handle too much curry I'm afraid...) but I did learn a lot from the website.

I happened to meet an Indian friend on campus who showed me some shortcuts...confessing that you didn't have to add as many spice blends to the food to get it to taste "authentic"...but I had been too afraid to try as my first experience cooking Indian at home had landed us with food so spicy that we almost couldn't eat it (Jeff could...but he LOVES curry...)

While searching the net, I stumbled upon a recipe (I wish I remembered where) that substituted a jar of salsa for diced tomatoes and cilantro- stating that because salsa already contains cilantro, pepper spices and tomatoes that you could skip several steps in the whole "curry making" process.  I got brave and decided to try it...

and curry heaven was born on our table...and it was rebirthed tonight...

Here is the recipe for Crock Pot Curry Chicken:

2 lbs bonelesss skinless chicken breasts uncooked diced ( the dicing is simply to help the chicken get equal parts of spice, it will shred and fall apart anyway since it cooks for so long.)

1 small onion, quartered and sliced thin

1 jar mild/medium salsa . (I prefer the Herdez brand salsa as its has more tomato and smaller chunks of peppers making the dish seem more traditional.) If you want to go the traditional route, substitute 1 large can diced tomatoes and 1/4 cup cilantro chopped fine. Just know you will likely be adding more curry powder and cayenne pepper to spice it up. It can be very bland if you're too light handed with the spices.

1 TBS cumin

1-2 TBS curry powder( yellow curry is mild spiced, red curry is medium spiced, and green curry is very hot. We use medium salsa with yellow curry. I usually err on the side of 2 TBS, but, as I said,  my husband LOVES curry! )

1 tsp salt

Cayenne pepper to taste (Usually about halfway through the cooking time I stir the chicken and sauce and add the cayenne. This way you can taste the sauce and add more curry as well if you desire. Just remember that if you're using red curry it already has loads of cayenne pepper and you may be able to skip this step.)

Cook on low for 5-8 hours

Just before serving add 1 c sour cream or plain yogurt and stir in. This will down the spice a little. You can also serve it with extra yogurt or sour cream on top or the side for children (or members of the peanut gallery) who may not appreciate too much spice (unless they are my little sister's children who loved it as is the last time I made it. LOL)

Enjoy! This usually serves 4-6 people depending on how much they take. I usually serve it with Naan bread, rice, and some type of steamed veggie. You scoop it up and put it on the bread,this also kills a little heat. If you can't find Naan bread, or if its "hello expensive!" as it sometimes can be, you can substitute pitas or even tortilla shells cut into triangles ( a little trick I learned when researching Naan to make it at home because I refused to pay what they wanted for it in the store. Naan is basically an unleavened bread so tortillas and pitas will serve the same purpose and, in my opinion, taste just about the same.)

Happy eatings darlings! Hugs and loves until next time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An afternoon snack...

Apparently, when mom is sick I have to fend for myself...

Alright...maybe my hand isn't as tasty as I thought...hopefully mom is better soon,  I'm running out of options!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Healthier Me: Week 1 Roundup

Well, I measured this morning. I didn't expect to see much change but there was a little.  I've lost an inch in my bust, about a 1/2 an inch in the waist, but nothing yet to report in the hips.  I was surprised to say the least, as I really didn't expect to see the measuring tape "go down".

I decided that the easiest and best way to make this journey to a healthier me is to have small, obtainable goals for each week.  Last week my goal was to work out at least 4 days out of the week. I succeeded...yay me!  During the week, I made a smaller goal...I decided to make it a goal to make it all the way through my 45 minute work out video without stopping. Even if I wasn't going full bore, movement is movement, and I figured it would still help.

I was successful the day I made the goal...but had an asthma attack right after, and I can guarantee you that I wasn't smiling, or feeling sexy like the women in the video.  However, the next 2 exercise attempts seemed to get a little easier. I was able to put full effort into it a little longer each time...the progress was definitely very fulfilling.

I didn't exercise yesterday...mostly because Jeff was home and we had errands to run, but husband home or not I decided I had to exercise today.  Jeff's new work schedule has him working Tuesday thru Friday with Saturday, Sunday and Monday now is the time to get my work out schedule on board with his schedule...

Jeff happened to be home today. They got a 5 day weekend instead of a 3 day weekend so they could all have a chance to observe Martin Luther King Day during their workweek ...I guess fair is fair. However, Jeff was nice enough to sit with Faith while I exercised.  I popped in my Cardio Go Go Dancing video and went to town.  Here are some comments from the peanut gallery as my husband watched me get all sweaty and gross...:

"We really need to get you a Kinect." (apparently he isn't too thrilled with my Cardio Go Go Dancing video...hey it kicks my butt....that meets my demands for work out videos for now...but I won't cry if he decides to buy me a Kinect with dance games and Zumba...)

"Your butt is really sexy...just sayin...thought you should know." (The video calls for lots of booty wiggling and hip shaking...its nice to know my hubby likes my curves...LOL)

and last but certainly not least:

Trainer on the video: "Wooo its gettin' hot in here? Are you hot yet ladies?"
Jeff: " (in sexy voice) It certainly is getting hot in here...really hot"

My dear husband...I'm glad he likes me because I sure do love him a lot.

Well, here is to progress darlings. Slow and steady wins the race. There is no quick fix for weight loss. You have to start small and be willing to work your way up. Even if all you can manage is 5 minutes of a work out video- do that five minutes and then promise yourself you'll make it 7 or 10 minutes next time.  Allow yourself to be accountable to yourself.  You can't cheat when you are making the goals attainable and easy and working your way up in difficulty.

What is my goal for this week... I am going to work out 4 times a week (like last week) but adding drinking more water.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings! I hope you're finding success as well!

Monday, January 16, 2012

DIY Decorative Letter Panels, since I seem to have some spare time on my hands these days as I'm not teaching any voice lessons and only have a 3 month old to talk to, I've decided to start adding some tutorials to my blog. You'll get to see my crafty side, and my vain side as I've decided to start doing hair and makeup tutorials here as well (keep an eye out for them!). I don't really have any intention of starting a youtube account, so, provided my videos can be short enough, its likely that here at my blog will be the only place to access may change, but for now, that is what I have planned. That being said...this tutorial isn't a video tutorial, its a picture tutorial.

Preface: Since we've moved into our new place in Vegas at the beginning of the month, and the diva in training has her own room, I decided I wanted to decorate. Well...problem #1- We're renting so I can't really do anything dramatic or drastic and problem #2- babies grow up! They start having their own likes and dislikes... it would be tragic to spend a ton of money on decorations only to have to throw them away or send them to D.I.or Goodwill when they've been outgrown.

I've seen lots of pictures of wooden letter blocks that can be hung on walls, and some DIY tutorials. I looked into it and it would have cost $25-$30 for the letters alone as I already have the other necessary crafting tools...but to me,that is still pretty pricey for a decoration that will likely be outgrown (have I mentioned I am super cheap...?)

So, as we just moved and had tons of boxes laying around I was struck with an idea.

Presenting my DIY Nursery Letters Tutorial! If you already have a cardboard box the size you want, scrapbook paper,and modge podge (most serious crafters will...) this will be essentially free to do...if you don't have modge podge a bottle can be purchased for $2-3 and if you don't have scrapbook paper you can buy a pretty big book of it for about $5 at most craft stores, if you don't have ribbon you can easily get a skein for $1...essentially this craft would cost you anywhere from $2- 8...I think its a deal!

So... let's get started...

Here is a picture of what you'll need...but I will write a list:
You will need: A cardboard box, modge podge, scissors, scrapbook paper, sharpie (or similar black marker- optional), pencil, white out (optional), something sharp to poke holes in your panels (I used a knitting needle), a craft needle like a yarn darning needle, ribbon and the chosen art that you will be using to add to the letter, and the letters in the font that you have chosen. In my case I am using Precious Moments (Faith's room will be Precious Moments Noah's Ark themed). You can (if you have a fancy enough printer, or live close to a copy center) copy + print everything out and cut it out, but since I'm artsy fartsy and like to show off (and don't own a printer that is capable of making copies) I am hand drawing everything.

Step 1:
Choose how you are cutting your panels. The side panels on my box were the perfect size for what I wanted, so I didn't even have to do any measuring. I also used a thinner type of cardboard, so I didn't even use these scissors to cut them (the picture was taken later. I couldn't find my good crafting scissors so I used child sized scissors to cut the panels...LOL)

Step 2:
Trace your panel on the scrapbook paper of your choice and cut it out.

Step 3:
Go crazy with the modge podge! Squirt some down, and spread it out. I used cotton balls because I couldn't find my paint brush that I normally use (note for later: if you use cotton balls, know that they will leave some white "fluff" be prepared to pick it off of the top of the finished project BEFORE it dries.) After modge podge is spread, put your scrapbook paper down and push out the air bubbles between the cardboard and paper.

Step 4:
Continue your love affair with modge podge as you put your letter on the panel. Spread some out underneath, put your letter down and then put modge podge over the top. Allow it to dry. and voila!
You can either be done here and move on to the ribbon steps at the end...or you can do what I did, trace the letter with a sharpie once its dried and then add some characters or art work to it.

Step 5:

Cut out your animals...for added flair you can trace parts of their bodies that could be other colors, cut out the piece you're replacing and tape or glue the new piece in its place. This is where the white out comes in...if you want an area to be white you can color it in with white out, or markers as you can see I've done. When placing the animal (or artwork of your choice), do the same as you did to place the letter. Put an initial coat of modge podge where you're placing the artwork and then cover it in a thin layer of modge podge once its set where you'd like it!
You can also place artwork before you place the letters...see!

Once you're happy with the amount of art on your panels, you add the ribbon. You will need to cut lengths of ribbon for each panel. Mine ended up being about 18 inches long.

Poke 2 wholes in your panel atleast an inch away from the closest end with your sharp poking object (see my fancy purple knitting needle!!! LOL) If you look close you can see my holes. I did them about 2 inches apart, 2 inches from the side,and 1 inch from the top.

Take your yarn darning needle and thread the ribbon through. Poke the ribbon through one of the holes from the front and come out the other side

Your ribbon should sit like this.

Even out the ends and tie bows, leaving a loop of ribbon free to be the hanger (like so)

For extra hold you can run a needle through the middle loop of the bow...just know that I didn't, but if you'd like it to last a little longer- go for it!

Happy crafting! (Did I mention that I think this is a great idea for a project to do WITH your child. Its a way to get older kids involved in decorating their own rooms! I would have loved to do a project like this with my mom when I was growing up...)

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Lap of Luxury...

This would be the only way to describe things in the Nielson house...especially since yesterday.... because...IT'S HERE!IT'S HERE!IT'S HERE!IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To what am I referring????

vvvv Only to THIS! vvvv

vvvvvvv O wait...maybe you want to see it from another angle???? vvvvvvvv
I say without shame that this is the nicest, fanciest bed I've ever slept on. Even when I was a kid, we never purchased new beds...we always got stuff from the D.I...or if we did get new beds, we always used the mattresses we already had or got bargain mattresses from the D.I. for $25-30...

This bed is a European Pillow even comes equipped with those fancy springs that make it so your partner doesn't feel it when you get up out of the bed. The bed itself has an upholstered headboard that is super comfy to lean up against...and there are drawers for extra storage at the about Fabulous with a capital F!

It will likely take us the entire year to pay for it (we got a great deal with 0% interest for a year and 0 down!) But it will be so worth it to sleep in this bad boy for the next 15 or so years...until we upgrade the mattress atleast. Maybe next time we will be brave (and rich enough) to splurge on memory foam...ooooohhhh ahhhhhhh....

Enough about our new are probably reading because inquiring minds want to know how our diva in training spends her day.... while the lesser people make bottles and find ways to entertain her, she does a lot of this:

and this:

and of course, this...:

See what I mean???...Lap of Luxury here in the Nielson house!
(P.S. note that this is a picture of her in first piggy tail...she is already turning into a diva as it is becoming clear that she just may prefer this to headbands....)

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings!

P.S. Here is a bonus video of our little princess. She loves her mobiles. She looks up at the characters and smiles and coos for quite a bit of time before she loses interest. I caught her mid- playtime so this video doesn't quite catch all the glory...but you get the gist! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Pity Party is Over!


What are these? Numbers...(thank you Captain Obvious)

These three numbers are the bane of my existence...

These are my measurements.

Why are these numbers the bane of my existence...because I remember my old ones...42 (not much has changed there, don't suspect it will) 31- 42

I never thought I'd be one of THOSE women...the ones that mourn the loss of their pre-pregnancy body... I had waited so long to find Mr. Right (well, long in Idaho/Utah Mormon years) and to start my family I figured I would be so grateful that I wouldn't care when it came to changes with my body...

Oh I was so wrong.

I could tell we were going to have issues at the beginning of my second trimester. I was gaining weight, and nobody, I mean NOBODY, was asking that vital question "When are you due?" I started to fear that I looked fat and not pregnant...I became obsessed with looking pregnant because in the back of my head I started to wonder if this weight gain was all worth it if no one even noticed that I was pregnant...and then the fear started...I was gaining all this weight...would I be able to lose it?

I have had major struggles with my weight. I was a healthy 120 pounds at the beginning of my Freshman year (but still felt fat because my older, much more perfect modelesque sister was smaller than me) and then all of a sudden, I ballooned in one year to 160 pounds. It was seriously like I woke up one morning and my pants wouldn't fit.

I heard about Insulin Resistance from a friend who'd been diagnosed with it our Junior year, but getting my diagnosis took some time. I found out about my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and had surgery to remove 4 very large cysts from my ovaries, I had 2 knee always seemed I was recovering from something which made exercise difficult to say the least. I ate like a rabbit. My mom tried to be supportive. She herself exclaimed that she didn't understand how I could be so overweight.

I will be honest, I had no self confidence. I let people walk all over me because I was desperate to be liked and I didn't have a date until the end of my senior year when a friend asked me to Commencement. The only escape I had was music and theater.

Finally college started. I was attending exercise classes for free at the gym, but still ended the first semester of my Freshman year at almost 200 pounds. I finally went to my mom and begged for help. She made an appointment to take me to the doctor.

The doctor was a #$%^&*@ to say the very least. He suggested that I'd just gained the Freshman 15 and needed to work out. I was insistent about the fact that I had been working out. He made me mom went into lioness mode. "My daughter doesn't lie, and I know her habits. She barely eats, she works out and she can't lose weight. Either you're going to help her or I will continue to take her to doctors until I find someone who isn't too stupid to try." The doctor bedrudgingly wrote a scrip for me to see a specialist in metabolic problems and was eating his words when my tests came back positive.

I had my struggles still from there. The medication they put me on made it possible for me to lose weight, but I had to completely cut certain carbohydrates out of my diet. I gladly did it...but it took me 4 years to get down to my Freshman in high school size ( well 5 pounds bigger-125) but it took me working out 4-5 hours a day and eating only chicken and spinach to maintain that weight...I decided I liked having other food groups in my diet and that I liked having a life (I literally spent every spare minute in the gym).

I gained again when I went to work on my masters. I was at 155 (ish) and started feeling sick all the time...I had been off the metabolic drugs for about 4 years and my insulin resistance had flared up with a vengeance. After getting drugs again (and being told that I should never go off them again) I was able to even out at about 145. Would I have liked to lose more? Yes, but I was sick of worrying about my weight. I was just happy to be where I was and staying there. I even continued to lose pant sizes, but no weight (muscle weighs more than fat, right?)

When Jeff met me I was at the smallest I'd ever been in my life, a size 4. I was so proud of myself. It had been a long journey...

I guess I share this journey because I feel that in some way I should qualify my fears in a way. It took me many, many years to lose the weight and get to the maintenance phase. For starters, I don't even really remember how to lose weight in a way...and my other fear is that where I am almost as big as I was back at the beginning of my journey with insulin resistance (tipping the scales at 175/180) I am afraid I will never be healthy again...If I felt healthy it would be one thing, but I know my blood pressure is up again and I've already been advised that if I don't lose 15 pounds before March it will likely still be up and I will need to go back on blood pressure meds...I DON'T want to have to do that.

So...why divulge all this? It isn't to have a pity party! Its because I am trying to change my attitude. Its because I don't want to use the "I just had a baby" excuse anymore, because I have found that it just isn't working for me. I'm still worried about my health and I don't think you should use any excuses when it comes to your health. I'm sick of being down on myself! I am a pretty awesome person (at least my husband seems to think so) and I should be as kind to myself as I am to others. I read an interesting blog post recently where the following concept was introduced to me:

Fat is not a feeling...there is something else that you're fighting and you instantly dwell on your insecurities to avoid that. It could seriously be as simple as you're bored and you have nothing to do, so you decide to start beating yourself up to find something to do because in a sick, twisted way to you its a worthwhile way to spend your time...

I am also working on another concept I learned from this blog...I am eliminating the F-A-T word and all its derivatives from my vocabulary when it comes to referencing myself.

I'm starting a new journey. I want you to start it with me.

You- my friends and readers- will be my faithful companions. I will be accountable to you.

I vow that from here on out, I will post at least once a week about my journey. I will update you all on my status. As we don't own a scale, I choose to use my aforementioned numbers. They will not be the bane of my existence anymore! I am going to use them as motivation.

I know I will likely never be my size 4 pre-baby self again, but I would like to get to the point where I can finish a whole work out video (not just make it through 20-25 minutes and then stop because I'm on the verge of an asthma attack.) I want to be able to just love me for me. I want to learn ways to start liking what I see in the mirror again, because quite frankly, I have been throwing a pity party for myself for the last almost 3 months, and I want it to be over.

This is the point where I urge those of you that are joining to evaluate yourselves. If you believe that you are struggling in a similar way, if you don't like yourself- take the challenge!

I challenge you to stop being negative. I challenge you to be proactive and I challenge you to accentuate the things that you love about yourself!

I started my challenge this week. I had a rocky start. I did about 20 minutes of a Zumba video and had to stop because I was going to have an asthma attack if I didn't. I was seriously disappointed. I remembered a time when the 45 minute Zumba video would have barely phased me. I vowed to myself that I would make it! I thought that maybe the time of day had something to do with it (I may be a morning person, but that doesn't mean that I'm graceful...I probably almost twisted/broke my ankle 3 or 4 times.) I decided to try to work out in the afternoon or evening the next day and see which worked better...well it was an EPIC fail. I did run stairs 3 or 4 times yesterday, but I never had time to pop in a work out video and go to town. I went back to a morning schedule today, but this time I did it a little later in the morning and put Faith in her bouncer to watch. She was good , and I was good until about 25 minutes into my Cardio Go-Go Dancing video...I started to hack and cough and that prompted disgruntled coos from my cheering section that said, "Mom, I would like you to be functional today. Thanks."

However, small victory- I made it through 25 minutes...5 minutes more than Monday! W00t w00t for progress!

I think I've decided that morning sometime is best, even if it means putting Faith in her bouncer to cheer me on...she seemed quite content.

Hopefully, even if I don't have measurement changes to report next week, I can report more progress when it comes to doing a cardio video and making it all the way through.

So I have this to say...thank you Zumba and Cardio Go Go Dancing for kicking my butt now...but someday soon, I will defeat you!

Hugs and Health until next time darlings!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top 10 of 11

Well, 2011 has come and gone. It has been a year full of adventure. I'm sure there were some low points, but I choose not to dwell on the negative if I can help it, and I find that generally, even the low points have high qualities in retrospect. Here are 10 major changes that 2011 brought:

1) Jeff and I had a long, hard discussion about birth control. I was soooo sick on it after we got married and was dying to be off, but we also knew what coming off of it could mean. This led to a very frank discussion about promptings of the spirit and how we both had felt strongly that we should start thinking about starting our family. This was a scary discussion because neither of us were sure what we wanted to do about the promptings we had received individually. I had been told in high school that it would be difficult for me to conceive and confided this to Jeff. We opted to stop preventing, but not necessarily be trying. This brought #2

2) about 2 months after that, in March, (we'd been married 4 months for those of you keeping track), we found out that baby Faith was on her way to our family. We were shocked, thrilled and terrified all at once.

3) At the end of the 2010-2011 school year we decided to move in with my parents to be closer to my midwife and save money for our new bundle of joy on the way.

4) The 2011 school year started and Jeff was kind enough to be willing to make the commute so I could remain close to my midwife. I opted not to return to school to finish the classes for my Music Education degree because I was so pregnant. I also realized that I was okay with that because, when it came right down to it, I just wanted to have a chance to enjoy being a mom and I knew that I would have too much on my plate if I opted to try to complete it.
5) Jeff and I had to be apart for 3 whole days while he interviewed for a job in Las Vegas...we both agreed that we don't do well when we're apart. We know that it is a necessary evil when it comes to work (most working folk end up having to go on a business trip at one point or another) but it was nice to receive confirmation that we basically can't function without each other...

6) I was able to get a successful voice studio up and running. I had 9 of the most amazing brilliant students and found great joy and fulfillment. I know that THIS is what I was meant to do!

7) I had a baby! Not only did I have a baby, she was a month early and I was in labor for 3 whole days and had my water tear before I finally was forced into the hospital by my midwife. 22 hours after I was admitted to the hospital Faith McKynzie joined our family.

8) I had my testimony of the power of the Priesthood strengthened as baby Faith made huge, unexpected leaps in her recovery in the NICU and was able to come home with us only 1 day after I was discharged. I have no doubt in my mind that the power of God bestowed upon her by the laying on of hands after she was born is the reason she recovered so quickly. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you can learn more about the power of the priesthood here

9) We had an awesome time as we blessed our sweet baby and gave her a name on Dec. 4th. She was, and still is, a perfect angel. Sure, we have our fussy times- no baby is 100% perfect all the time, but I can't say enough how grateful I am that my baby tends to run in the middle of the spectrum...we've had a few moments where I just can't get her to stop crying and she has to cry herself to sleep, but for the most part she is so chill and relaxed about everything...I'm also convinced that she wants to grow up waaaayyy too fast. Here is the rundown:

a) at three days old she was already trying to hold her head up and succeeded at holding it up by herself by the time she was a week old.
b) she rolled over by herself at a week old
c) she already can hold herself up in the sitting position. You have to put her there first, but she holds it for a while after that.
d) I had THAT moment yesterday...the moment where you pick your baby up and realize you aren't worried about supporting the head because they are holding themselves up...I wanted to cry...
e) When I'm holding her, if she wants to be burped or have her back patted, she begins to pat my shoulder with her little melts my heart every time...

10) And last but not least- Jeff took a job with a company called JT3. We packed up all of our stuff into a UHaul truck, attached our car to the back on a dolly, and made the long journey from Idaho Falls, ID to Las Vegas, NV...which is where we are currently...waiting to hear when we can move into our condo. We were able to go to our new ward today. Its filled with lots of young families like ours. I have no doubt that God definitely has a purpose for us here- especially after meeting people in our ward. I can already see that we are going to grow so much and be strengthened by them, while at the same time receiving opportunities to use our talents to serve them and make them better.

2011 was so awesome, I really can't say what I believe 2012 will bring. Jeff is convinced that it will bring another baby...we will see about that one. I am enjoying the one that we have immensely and would like to have a little more time for her to have me all to herself; however, we've also had some more discussions about that and I think we've agreed that we will let the Lord decide when its time. We will be practicing natural birth control, which has been proven to work (the method I'm using actually has the same success rate as the birth control pills I was on).

I do know that 2012 will bring a newfound independence. I'm a little frightened by it. Its been a while since I've been so far away from my siblings and parents, but I will say that I am excited about all the new possibilities. With that independence comes a beautiful condo...for now...but here is hoping that 2012 also finds us looking for and purchasing our first home!

Needless to say, there are so many new possibilities for this new year...I make it a point never to make resolutions, but I can say that I have no doubt that 2012 will end with a stronger better me...Life is for learning. Every new day brings sweet surprises and gifts. I simply will continue to pray that I can see them and use them for good when they present themselves.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!