Friday, December 6, 2013

Blake's Freak Accident

The injury happened on Thursday night, November 14th, around 5 pm. Blake and I were in the kitchen and he had a little, soft plastic, almost soccer ball sized ball, he was playing with and kicking around. I turned my back to turn on the oven and start dinner, and he somehow stepped on the ball and fell. I didn't see what happened, but based on the research I've done and how the ball was placed, I believe he went to kick it (or move it out from under the dishwasher edge with his foot), ended up stepping on it, and then his foot slid off. While his foot stayed stationary on the ground, his knee to his hip kept moving and the tension snapped the bone.

When he fell and cried, and I saw him, my first thought was "oh my gosh, he just broke his leg!" But then I quickly shot that thought down, thinking it was ridiculous and probably just dislocated. Little did I know that I was wrong.     I moved his leg around, trying to get a feel for the injury, and I quickly realized that something was disconnected. I still thought maybe it was dislocated at the hip. I even tried to have him stand up, but he wouldn't put any weight on it at all. His leg was totally floppy and when he laid down with his legs tucked near his tummy, the injured side went a weird direction. I could also feel something moving around abnormally.
Waiting to be admitted to the E.R.
Waiting to be admitted to the E.R.
My husband, Scott was gone at work, so I called our friend down the street who is in his class at Chiropractic school. They are both graduating in a couple weeks. I told his wife to send him over immediately to check and see if I should take Blake to the doctor. When he got here, he moved Blake's leg around for a second and said something was weird with his knee and that I ought to take him to the ER. Since Scott was thirty minutes away, he met us at the hospital. It's truly amazing how calm Blake was for the injury he sustained!! He calmed down a bit in the car and then snuggled up in Scott's lap while we were waiting at the ER. He didn't like being poked and moved, for obvious reasons, when they checked vitals, but then he changed into a new person after getting some Motrin. He became totally happy, cheerful, and was waving at and talking to all the nurses walking by (we were on a bed in the hall of the ER since there were no rooms open). I told Scott I felt silly and probably should have just given him pain meds and put him to bed.
Snuggling with his bears the next morning.
Snuggling with his bears the next morning.

After waiting for an hour or two, they finally took some X-rays and read the results. When the doctor came by with the results, she said "I have something to show you" and the nurse passing by gave a terrible face. I told her it was a bad face and she said "I'm so sorry, we're getting a room ready for you guys." The second the image popped on the screen, 5 or 6 feet away from us, both Scott and I gasped and were instantly in shock. I was literally speechless and couldn't pick my jaw up off the ground. The break in his femur was that clear. The pediatric orthopedic surgeon was called in immediately and came to talk to us. She asked some tough questions and was pretty cold with us. They said they had to cast it immediately and it would be from his tummy to ankle on the affected side, and tummy to knee on the unaffected side. For 5 weeks.
A wagon ride to find some toys in the hospital.
A wagon ride to find some toys in the hospital.

Since Blake hadn't eaten since lunch, they decided to hurry him to Surgery to do the procedure. He could tell something was wrong because he started freaking out and crying, and because we made him lay down on the bed and it was probably very painful. Once we were in a room, they had to put an IV in his hand. The casting process is considered surgery because they had to put him under General Anesthesia, though they did not make any incisions. Getting an IV in his hand was particularly difficult for me and I did my best to snuggle him, hold him down, and sing primary songs while they did it. It was all I could do to not cry too. He didn't calm down at all from the time they laid him down on the bed (just after giving us the news) until he was under drugs (an hour later), aside from the brief moments that Scott had his hands on his head, giving him a Priesthood blessing. During the blessing he was completely still and quiet. Then when the blessing was over, he started crying again.
The first smile we got out of him, just before lunch time at the hospital.
The first smile we got out of him, just before lunch time at the hospital.
Wheeling him to the O.R. was like walking in a doctor show. All the hallways, all the big signs saying "only surgery scrubs past this point", and then a team of doctors waiting in the hall just in front of the double swinging doors. The doctors were really nice and instantly made me feel at ease. They talked us through what would happen and gave Blake some drugs that calmed him down and made him really drowsy. Then they took him in. The procedure was non invasive with no incisions. However, to set the bone they had to pull the hip and knee in the opposite direction to set it correctly and then cast it. He was under anesthesia and they had to give him heavy pain medicine. A little over an hour later we were able to see him in the recovery room.

Once he was awake and functioning well, holding down liquid, and good vitals, he was transferred to his main room for the night. He was a trooper and the nurses thought he was the coolest kid ever. They loved him. Thankfully, I had remembered to grab the blanket his Grandma had made him and his bear before leaving the house so he had those when he woke up. He was pretty sad and scared during the night and woke up several times. Nobody got much sleep. The next morning he was doing a little better. We had to wait all day at the hospital to get a special car seat for him before we could leave.
Trying to play with trains before lunch at the hospital.
Trying to play with trains before lunch at the hospital.

We finally made it home late that afternoon. I felt completely overwhelmed and emotionally on edge. Once the boys were asleep for the night, I cried and cried. I wasn't sure how I was going to manage everything with Blake in a cast, packing up to move, and taking care of normal life things as well. The first week was really rough. Blake has always been an amazing sleeper and has always gone to bed so easily. But after the traumatic events, he digressed in sleep. Lots. He woke up every night almost every half hour for over a week. He also didn't take good naps, if he even got a nap. I think he was scared, anxious, in pain, and had some bad dreams.
One of his best friend's, Julianna, right before they moved away.
One of his best friend's, Julianna, right before they moved away.

Now we are almost 3 weeks in, and things are much better! He is finally sleeping the entire night, taking good naps, and is mobile. We had to have his leg re-cast after about 10 days because the swelling went down, the cast loosened up, and the bone shifted slightly. Now he is doing great. He crawls all over the place, is starting to climb a little, and is much happier. I think he can feel that his leg is more stable and doesn't hurt anymore. We had it x-rayed again on December 3, and the doctor was very pleased with the healing. She had us schedule an appointment to remove the cast on December 20! We are thrilled and excited for many reasons, but especially since we will be moving on the 23rd and Scott's graduation is the 21st. I anticipate many more hard days ahead, especially after the cast is off, with rehabbing, learning to walk again, and building up his muscles. We can get through it though!

The prayers, support, and outpouring of love and service has truly overwhelmed me. I am so grateful for many wonderful friends who have stopped by to bring toys, coloring books, movies, treats, visits, and dinners. It has made all the difference in the world! I am so grateful to be a member of a church congregation that is so service oriented and willing to take care of each other.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Graduation Party

Today is the start of the last week of classes for Scott. 
On Thursday he is done. Complete. Fini. No more school!!!!
He still has to go to clinic until December though. But that's okay.

A couple weeks ago, Logan University had a fun little graduation party for his class. I was pretty excited to get all dressed up and have a night out. The party turned out being really cool! It was downtown at this neat reception building. There was a huge open floor, tables, dance floor, huge bar, and an industrial type feel with exposed piping and pillars. There were also a couple lounges with windows open that were off of the main floor. If we were to have a wedding reception again, that'd most definitely be a cool place to have it!

They served us a really nice meal and the food was actually surprisingly good. Especially the apple pie for dessert. I'm not really a straight up apple pie girl, I like struesel topping, but this one was yummy. They also served it with butter pecan ice cream. Hello, duh, what a genius idea.

Of course they had an open bar and of course we participated....with our diet cokes, non-alcoholic. The bartender looked at us weird and said "coke, diet, and sprite" when we asked for non-alch. Lotta choices, not. 

I didn't get a picture of the people at our table, but we had some fun couples. Us, the Banks, Abby and Aaron, and Vince and his wife. We had a great time chatting during the meal! Afterwards we grabbed a couple pictures with some good friends.

Kris and Jenna lived about 100 yards away from us in a different building at our apartment complex before they bought a house. We really enjoyed having neighbors close by! They're pretty much awesome.

Jaron and Meagan are some of our other favorite people. We shared a table with them at dinner. They were some of the first people we met here because they're Mormon. Jaron introduced himself on the first day of class, since Scott was wearing a BYU shirt, and they came over for Scott's birthday party a few weeks later. We sure love them!

During the evening, the DJ kept turning the music up louder and louder in an attempt to get people on the dance floor. Eventually a small group of people kinda got out and started moving a little bit. Apparently people in Scott's class know he danced, and they kept telling us to get out there. Finally we caved and whipped out a cha-cha to some techno-rap song. It was so much fun! I'm sure everyone was gawking at us, but within a minute or two, the dance floor was filled! 

Some people partnered up and tried to sort of dance ballroom-y, but most of them just moved and grooved. We were pretty excited that we got the dancing started. The DJ played a couple good songs to dance to at first, but then once people were out there, he changed the music to bumping and grinding junk. I was pretty bummed. A little while later he started playing more classics stuff, so it wasn't completely bad. 

We had such a blast dancing together. We don't get to do that very often anymore, and we've certainly lost tons of skill and talent, but we still enjoy it. Even though my feet were killing me (yes, I was ballrooming in 4.5 inch heels), I didn't want to stop. We also had a fun time giggling at with a married couple that was seriously enjoying each other on the dance floor. The husband was very handsy. I think they were also a little tipsy.

They also had a photo booth set up, so we took a couple reels. It was my first time in a photo booth! I didn't really know what to do, but the pictures we got turned out super cute. We had such a fun night, though we really missed some of our other friends in Scott's class that couldn't be there.

I can't believe this journey is almost over. When I think about leaving I start getting a little choked up. I have loved every second of this adventure, especially the amazing people we have met. I'm excited to move on to the next chapter, but I will always have a big piece of my heart in St. Louis.

...especially if the Cards win the World Series again this year....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gluten free update, Labor Day, and NEWS!

We've made it over a week without gluten!

It's been tough, but also easier than I expected. I've realized that far more foods than I thought don't have wheat. It's pretty exciting. Now if only I would not overcompensate by eating the entire XXL bag of peanut m&m's or the whole carton of chocolate ice cream, I might lose those 15 pounds that lady talked about...

The hardest day was Saturday. I made these amazing S'mores bars for a BBQ with some friends. I did not eat one. single. bite. Not one lick of dough. Not one corner on a spoon (that's my way of "tasting"...with the biggest spoon possible). Not even a taste test to make sure they turned out alright. Proud of myself is a bit of an understatement...

Then on Labor Day our ward did a 5k fun run and breakfast. Of course we have connections to St. Louis Bread Co. and they brought in 200 fresh bagels. Cinnamon sugar bagel? My favorite. Did I have one? No. Instead, I filled my plate with fresh fruit and a gogurt after I killed it in the race. I ran with my running bud Leia and we finished in 28:06! Woot woot.

Speaking of Leia, I wanted to announce that I'm joining her food blog! We are so excited about this new endeavor and have lots of delicious posts planned. Jump over to: to see what's up! I'll be posting all my favorite recipes, new and old, there, and keep this blog as more of a family update and ramble blog.

Happy Wednesday, friends! Eat some chocolate chip cookies for me!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wheat free for 2 weeks!

Last week my hubby came home from school and dropped a bombshell:

"I think we should try eating a wheat-free diet for two weeks."

Say, what!? After further conversation and investigation, I found that his nutrition teacher at school shared some interesting information about wheat and gluten in general. She commented that when people came to her with problems and issues, one of the first things she would do was recommend was a wheat-free diet for two weeks. Typically, if the people followed the diet, they saw a weight loss of around 15 pounds and came back happier, healthier, and with more energy. Not too mention every person said how great they felt.

Both Scott and I agreed those perks sounded pretty good and that two weeks really isn't very long, so we should try it. What do we have to lose?

I knew that in order for this to be successful, I would have to make a meal plan far in advance that included breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, in addition to the normal dinner meal plan I usually make.

Today, August 26, is day 1 of two weeks. I'm hoping everything goes successfully and that we are able to really stick to this! Once I started thinking and meal planning, I realized there are tons of things I can make that are not weird, foreign, or difficult, but are wheat-free. If I focus on the things I CAN have, versus what I cannot, I'll be much better off.

One of the hardest things will be to include Blake on this. It's so easy for me to give him a piece of toast or cook a tortilla if he isn't happy with what we're eating. But, he can benefit just as much as us, and it will be good for him to have to try new things. He does love nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and several veggies, so I'm hoping he won't be too difficult!

To really illustrate the way we plan to eat, here is a lovely shot of my meal plan for this week!

Next week I'm going to try making zucchini lasagna and I'm including some brown rice spaghetti as well. Ever had those noodles from Trader Joe's? So good!

I also want to decrease my sugar and chocolate intake as much as possible, so I'm trying to do that as well. However, we are definitely not to the point of eliminating cheese, dairy, grains, etc etc and going all out Paleo. We like to keep it simple here and try one thing at a time. 

If you have a favorite wheat/gluten-free recipe you love, feel free to share!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dog Attack and Sideways Blessings

First of all, I cannot get over this weather we are having. In AUGUST! I have lived in the Midwest most of my life and I don't ever, ever, ever, remember a summer that was too COLD to go swimming, in the middle of August. Not too mention sleeping with windows open? It is truly bizarre to me. But nevertheless, I am loving it!!!

So recently, our sweet little shihapoo dog, Kaiya, was attacked at a school playground. Fortunately, no kids were involved. Unfortunately she sustained at least three wounds. Basically it went down like this:

Van pulls up. Lady and four huge dogs get out. I ask my friend "will your son be able to hold Kaiya back from trying to bolt for the dogs?" we agreed that he could. We shouldn't have worried about that scenario. As soon as the big dogs heard and saw my little one, they bolted across the parking lot and attacked her. Biting, tackling, claws, etc. There was lots of yipping, screeching, barking, and growling.

Luckily, my friend and I were not too far away. We bolted over to the dogs as fast as possible. However, I felt very much in slow motion despite the fact I was running full speed. We were able to pull the dogs apart very quickly and I held them back until their owner made it over to us.

In that moment, all I could think about was "get my dog off the ground and to safety!" I didn't even think about the possibility of myself or my friend getting bit. When it was over, the owner asked if Kaiya was alright. Of course I had absolutely no idea, so I sort of nodded and said I thought so. She said her leash had broken and she was sorry. Then she left and we left.

My poor dog did not want to walk so I set her in the stroller. It took awhile for both my friend and I to stop shaking and calm down. We replayed the experience over several times as we walked around the track. Then we watched as the van left. Shortly later we realized we had not bothered to ask her name, phone number, license plate or anything. Dumb.

When I got home, I bathed my dog and checked her over the best I could. I found a small puncture wound on her chest and thought that was it. The rest of the day she barely moved and acted completely scared of everything. I kept thinking there was something else wrong, but we couldn't see anything. After our date that night, we found a small matted bit of hair on her back. When we cut it off and brushed through it, we realized there was a sizable gash wound that looked pretty yucky. I called the vet at 10:30 pm and was able to get a 6 am appointment the next morning. Luckily they just washed the wounds, gave her a shot for pain, and prescribed some medicine. Unluckily it cost over $100.

Then a small miracle occurred.

On Monday morning, my friend and I went back to the location to walk again. Despite my anger, frustration, and annoyance, I had decided to let the incident go and come to terms with the fact that we had to shell out some cash to help our pup. Just as we finished our walk, the van drove up. I was shocked. I knew I needed to talk to the lady, but I wasn't sure what to say. I ran up and mumble jumbled for a minute before I asked the backgrounds of her dogs and if they'd been vaccinated. She then asked how my dog was and I told her the injuries sustained and the trip to the vet. She asked how much it cost and then immediately offered to pay the bill. In fact, she was very direct in saying "here is my address, mail me the bill and I'll mail you a check." 

In our conversation she expressed her gratitude that my friend and I were able to pull the dogs apart so quickly. She had a knee replacement and was unable to run, much less walk quickly. She couldn't believe her dog had attacked as she had never shown that aggression before. She told me some more information about her dog and expressed her sadness that nobody would ever adopt her because she was difficult and had too much energy. She was very kind and very apologetic. Completely different than the person I had created in my mind for her to be.

As I drove home I became completely absorbed in the lessons I had just learned:

-I had harshly judged this lady for doing "nothing" when I had no idea she couldn't move because of her knee. Boy, was I humbled.
-There is a God watching over us who is very keenly aware of our needs.
-When approaching a confrontation calmly and without hostility, good things typically happen
-Sometimes God gives us what my mom calls "sideways blessings", or events that transpire to teach important lessons and lead to decisions that need to be adapted.

We had already decided to give up our dog so we could move, but I never felt settled about it. The Sunday before this event happened, a family met her and offered to adopt her. I asked some tough questions to be sure they were the right fit. That Friday the attack happened. Both my husband and I agreed that she was part of our family and that despite how necessary it looks on paper for her to leave, we would do everything in our power to keep her.

I believe that oftentimes God wants us to make decisions and move forward with those decisions before He decides to intervene if what we've decided is incorrect. I believe everything happens for a reason and that nothing is coincidental. I have certainly seen a great presence of God's hand in our lives these past few weeks. We are in the middle of making life changing decisions and I know, without a doubt, that He is helping us along, even if we might not notice until we look back in hindsight.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

5 years ago...

5 years.

-Two bachelor degrees from BYU
-One bachelors from Logan Chiropratic
-One almost Doctorate from Logan Chiropratic
-Two states
-Two baby boys
-One crazy dog
-4 cars
-4 apartments
-2 states
-A roller coaster of trials and tribulations
-An abundance of the most incredible blessings we could ever have imagined
-A few arguments and a whole lot of LOVE

I can't believe we've been married for 5 years! It seems like just yesterday that we had our first kiss and were engaged a few months later. It has been the most incredible, beautiful, at times difficult, but most rewarding 5 years I've ever experienced. I love him more today than ever before. He is my best friend. My soul mate. My eternal companion. I couldn't be happier!!!

Happy Anniversary Babe!

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Running Quirks

I went on my first real run post-baby two days ago.
Despite being on a treadmill, it was glorious.
The day before that, I ran a 1/4 mile lap on a track outside. It restored my confidence in being able to run again.
When I stepped on the treadmill and punched the button up to 5.0 mph, a surge of joy bolted through my body. "Back in the saddle. Just like riding a bike." I thought. I was able to keep that pace for 5 straight minutes before taking a walking break. Then I ran again. Then walked. For 30 minutes. I loved every last second.

One reason I was on a treadmill was to test out my new kicks.
My current shoes are well broken in and very beloved, so it was a tough comparison to run with something foreign. I was very aware and cognizant of the 8 oz. of rubber and fabric attached to my feet while trying to maintain a 6.0 mph pace for 60 seconds. Not easy. I'll get there.

The second reason I was on a treadmill was the heat and humidity at 2 pm. I'm definitely a 70 degrees and below runner. 85, humid, and sunny is just not a good combination for me.

In celebration of completing my first official run, and after reading a fun article in Runner's World, I thought I'd share some of my personal running quirks. These stem from my training last summer for my first half marathon.

Before every run longer than 5 miles:
-Eat a piece of whole wheat toast covered in peanut butter, and a banana.
-Do 50 jumping jacks, 50 crunches, 10 push ups.
-Lightly stretch my hammies, quads, calfs
-Leg swings front and back, side to side
-Stash my key in my shorts pocket. Double check for key. Check again before running. Check again during workout. Check again during water break. (Can you tell I lost a key once on a run in very large city park?)

During the run:
-I always wear my hair in a pony tail with a rubber headband. If it's below 55 degrees, I cover my ears with a cotton headband.
-Wave, nod, smile or "good morning" when passing other runners
-Motivate myself by obsessively thinking about what I'm going to eat when I get home (waffles, pancakes, eggs, pizza, chocolate milk)
-When I'm tired I set goals to reach: "make it to that tree. Make it to that bench. Make it to that house. Make it to the stop light." After every landmark I reach, I make a new one.
-Uphills I run 100% on my toes. Downhill I try to just lightly hit my heels.

Post run:
-Gatorade if it's longer than 8 miles
-Lots and lots and lots of water.
-Stretch and roll my IT bands
-Eat. And eat. And eat some more (after long runs).
-Obsess over my lap times, overall time, average speed, and fastest mile on MapMyRun

I know I'm just a beginner runner. I still have yet to experience many of the real highs and lows of running. But I know I love it. It hurts so good and makes me feel like I accomplished something. I'm thrilled to start running consistently in the mornings and get into the nitty gritty of race training again!!

The best part? After 11 weeks post baby, I finally feel like myself again. Thank goodness!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An update in 13 dashes or less.

I never anticipated that blogging would take an all-the-way-in-the-way-back-trunk-space seat part of my life.
But I had a baby. So it did.

Here's what's happening lately in 13 dashes or less:

my cute "twins" 

-Kyson is 2 months, weighs 13.8 pounds (ch-ch-ch-chunky!), eats like crazy, sleeps like wonderful, is super chill, way happy, and uber snuggly.
-Blake is 2.5, weighs 26 pounds, and is 3 feet tall. He's super talkative, overly friendly, not scared of anyone, and carries on conversations like an adult. He also is very good at convincing: "Just one more, Mom, okay? Okay? One more. Okay." Or "Kyson isn't crying anymore. He is happy now! I helped him and now he is happy and not crying."
-Kaiya is better adjusted but as much as we love her, want to keep her, and will cry when she leaves, we have to give her up. It's just not going to work out to keep her with everything else that is happening. Enough on this or I'll cry.
-Scott is almost done with tri 9. We are working on the possibility of a preceptor-ship in Idaho that would move our family back in October instead of December. Everything is happening so quickly and is very exciting and overwhelming.
-I am busy. Tired. And happy.

-the end.

yes, he was pulling him around in the cart

-Just kidding.
-Me and the hubs finally decided we needed some major lifestyle changes. Not sure how or when it happened, probably somewhere between pushing a 7 pound cantaloupe out of my body and only getting 4 hours of sleep a night, but we got in the habit of eating. Eating much and eating junk. Without exercise.

-Once I realized I was actually gaining weight back, while nursing!, after dropping the initial quick post-baby pounds, and he realized he was teetering at a very precarious weight, we settled on some changes.
-Once again, the myfitnesspal app has been a lifesaver! We set our goals and we input our food. Very quickly we realized we would much rather eat a filling 160 calories of pistachios than a fluffy, airy, 100 calorie granola bar. We've transformed into bunny rabbits and squirrels and eat many a salad, wrap, fruit, and nut at our home.
-He's already lost 5 pounds and I've lost 4! We are also exercising consistently again and feeling very happy.

8 lbs until pre-preg, 13 til goal weight. my jeans fit again!

-I'm telling you, both he and I thrive off of exercise. We are a much happier family when we're active and moving!

-So now comes the moment that I stop writing because I've completely forgotten all the clever, funny, inspiring, controversial, confessional, and interesting blog posts I've composed in my head over the past three weeks. I now slink away and leave you with a simple, uninteresting, generic update on our family.

love, hugs, and cheesecake (that I wish I was currently eating)

happy, sleepy, baby
wanna squish those cheeks? me too

Monday, July 15, 2013

What I might have put as a FB status this week

Things I might put as Facebook status's this week if I were annoying:

1. My dog is watching TV. Whaaa?
2. Going to the pool is way more fun and way easier than I thought it'd be!
3. Ever had your child fall and have blood gush out their nose inside Toys R Us? We have.
4. Strollers, strollers, strollers. Ugh. Why didn't I buy the BOB for $275?
5. Anyone want a cute, energetic, soft, cuddly, black dog?
6. Dude, this baby likes to eaaaaat!
7. I need my hair done. Rockin' the unprofessional ombre.
8. This weather makes me excited to move back to Idaho!
9. I didn't really follow the Zimmerman trial, but I do know that only God knows what really happened and only He can make an accurate and fair judgement.
10. No Texas Fudge Cake should ever be nearly entirely consumed by just two people. Oops.
11. Watermelons should never, ever, ever, taste like pumpkins.

Happy Summer, friends! We're off to the pool!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Past 6 Weeks

Well, I feel pretty lame for going oh, one day short of a month before updating my blog. Obviously, I've been a little busy. Wanna know what I've learned?

-Two kids is tough stuff. 

-Thrush is quite possibly the worst thing that could happen to a new mom!
-Sometimes natural remedies are really great, but when something goes unresolved for over 4 weeks, it may be time to get a prescription. Thus was the case with our Thrush infection. Oh, and it's still not completely gone.
-No new mom should ever be banned from chocolate (or any other treat) in the first few years weeks of motherhood.
-It is critical for me to get at least one 3-4 hour chunk of sleep every night. Crucial for me to get at least 6 hours total. Helpful for me to get 7 hours. Glorious if I get more than that. Thankfully, Kyson has been cooperative and sleeps like a rock from 10pm-around 2-4 am. It's lovely.

-Probably a good idea to give your newborn a bath more than one time in 4 weeks... Just sayin'
-Having an energetic dog in a third floor apartment with a new baby, a toddler, and a recovering mom, is enough to make anyone want to toss her off the balcony. Don't worry, it hasn't happened and won't happen.
-Sometimes the dishes don't get done, and it's okay.
-Sometimes the laundry doesn't get done, and it's okay.
-Sometimes the house is a disaster, and it's okay (for about 2 days).
-Taking a shower and putting makeup on now takes much longer and is reserved only for special occasion days. (jk...kinda)
-Sometimes we have experiences that force us to learn how to ask for help. Everyone is always willing to serve, but most people have a hard time asking...myself included.
-Breastfeeding and I do not get along well. Thankfully, someone invented pumps and formula.
-I am a much happier, less stressed, and more loving mother when I'm not freaking and stressing about trying to struggle through nursing my baby. I think emotional and mental stability for me is equally, if not more, important than exclusively breastfeeding.
-If I can drive 246 miles, ALONE, with a two year old and a newborn, I can pretty much do anything.

"Stop crying, Kyson!" 
(he got the binky himself and put it in)

-If I can survive 4 days and 4 nights by myself with those two boys, after driving 246 miles twice, I consider myself Wonder Woman and feel nearly invincible.
-I am so unbelievably grateful for my husband!!!!!
This is what a chunky Karissa-baby looks like.

-When it feels like all hell is breaking loose, the walls are crashing down, the kids are crying, the house is a mess, the dog keeps barking, and you haven't gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in the past 3 nights, remember, Heavenly Father takes care of his children and sends special angels in the form of friends to help out. I have never felt so blessed, loved, and taken care of by some of my very best friends. I don't know how I would've survived some of the days if I didn't have people that truly love and care for me help out!!

After a really, really, difficult day, I opened my scriptures and found this verse: 1 Nephi 1:20 (last half) "I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
This really struck me because I realized that my friends who had reached out and helped me the entire day, taking Blake, making us dinner, doing my dishes, were definitely tender mercies from the Lord. It was a blessing from God so that I could gain a little strength and feel closer to deliverance of the hard times. I can honestly say, after that day, I did feel a little stronger and like I could continue on for at least one more day. After that, things continued to improve and I have been doing better every day since then!

4th of July

Finally, one of the best things I've learned, or experienced really, is that it DOES get easier!!!!

Every day is easier than the last. I've figured out issues with myself, I've figured out routines for my kids, I've figured out how to multi-task better, I've figured out how to be more efficient. It's amazing how our capacity to love, serve, and work, expands with experience.

Re-purposing my maxi skirt into a dress. (6 weeks pp)

I love having my two boys! It has not been an easy 6 weeks, in fact, it's been terribly difficult, but I finally feel  like I'm getting the hang of things and I'm finally starting to feel like myself again! Now I just need to find a double stroller so I can start doing power walks and build up to running again...  No more excuses. 14.5 weeks until my Half Marathon. Better start training!

Love these guys!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

40 weeks, 4 days, and 27 hours later

He is here!
Kyson Wade Dodds.
7 lbs, 11 oz, 21.25 inches long
May 24, 2013 at 5:06 pm.

Sometimes things don't always go as planned, expected, or hoped for. 
Such was the case with this labor. 
As some of you know, I debated back and forth whether or not to be induced. This was not a decision I took lightly. In fact, for weeks I prayed, searched the scriptures, studied Conference talks, and received multiple Priesthood blessings from my husband. I really had no idea what to do.
It all came down to the night before. I had received an "urgent" call from my doctor's office with someone saying that I must be at my appointment the following morning or at my scheduled induction. I felt very unsettled because she gave me no indication as to whether or not something was wrong. 
That night I received one more blessing from my husband. As we discussed what was said, I understood clearly that I was not going to get some lightning bolt inspiration of what I should do. But rather, that this was MY choice. And that I needed to make the decision. The process wasn't completely about patience, faith, trust, but really about coming to a decision and knowing that I'd done the things necessary to know I made the right one. 
That night I decided if I wasn't in labor on my own by my induction time, I would go ahead and be induced. I felt confident and satisfied with my decision.

At our doctor's appointment before the induction, he made me feel very calm and at ease about the whole process. He was confident things would be perfectly fine. He also made it clear that nothing was wrong, he just knew we had thought about induction and had us on the schedule just in case, but that he felt very comfortable with me waiting it out too. 

Around 1:00 pm, we were finally in our room and got things started. They started Pitocin about 2:00 pm on Thursday. Things progressed very, very slowly. Sometime overnight, my doctor decided it would be a good idea to break my water. I was a little wary, but Scott reminded me to trust his judgement, that he is a very skilled doctor and knew what was in our best interest. So we did. Labor continued to progress slowly, but I had an amazing nurse that was very patient, informative and helpful. She even unhooked me from all the monitors so I could take a shower and see what my body did on it's own. When the contractions dropped from 3-4 minutes apart to 15 minutes apart, she brought me a turkey sandwich, pudding, crackers, and peanut butter even though she wasn't supposed to. We hooked everything back up and went forward with renewed hope. 

Eventually, the contractions started to get very intense and I finally entered active labor. Unfortunately, our amazing nurse was off shift and a new, less than stellar, nurse took over. After 22 hours of Pitocin with no pain medicine, over 30 hours of awake time with no sleep, and very little food in my stomach, I decided something needed to change. The Pitocin wasn't doing anything but making my contractions very intense, then slightly less mild, and very intense again. I was not getting any break between the intense contractions and my body simply refused to relax. 
We all decided an epidural was needed in order for me to rest and relax so I would have enough energy to push when the time came. 
After getting the medicine, the room became much more calm. I felt much better and I knew I had once again made a right decision. I knew I had done all that I was capable of and I had learned what I needed to learn.

Once the epidural was in, baby Kyson was ready to come within about 4 hours. The delivery was wonderful! With Blake we had a NICU team, my doctor, a baby nurse, my two nurses, my parents, Scott, and a handful of residents/interns/students watching. 15 people at least. Bright lights and lots of eyes.
With Kyson, it was my doctor, my nurse, a baby nurse, Scott and my mom. Scott asked if the lights needed to be on, my doctor asked if I wanted them (of course I didn't!), and said we didn't need them. It was very calm, quiet, and intimate. I pushed for 30 minutes and he was out!
The best part of the experience was when I felt his head descending. I asked if they could see his head and they said it was partially out. My doctor asked if I wanted to touch it, so I did. I have never felt such joy, excitement, and energy surge through my body as I did when I felt the baby's head. After that it was about 2 more pushes and he was here.

They laid him on my stomach immediately and let me cuddle with him. Scott was able to cut the cord and I was able to try and start nursing right away. All things that did not happen with Blake. Kyson was really calm and looked around at everything with bright, wide eyes. He didn't peep when they took his measurements and wrapped him up. It was really so incredibly calm.    

Within a couple hours we moved to our recovery room. The rest of the hospital stay was very enjoyable and we had fabulous nurses. 

During the whole experience I learned so much. 
I learned that I am far stronger than I ever thought I was. I can honestly say I was shocked at my ability and strength when handling the intense contractions. I really had made up my mind that I was having this baby naturally and that I could do it. Unfortunately, things changed that prevented it, but I was also able to realize when I needed to change courses.

I learned that God is very aware of the details of our lives. He provides us with information when we ask, but then He also wants us to make the decision. He's a perfect example of a perfect parent. 

I learned that I can do hard things. I learned that having patience is essential. I learned that my body doesn't respond well to pictocin and trying to "force" a baby out. Now I know with our next baby that I really can wait and that all will be well. It's not a race to have a baby. 

Overall, the whole experience was wonderful. Yes, there were difficult moments, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am grateful for the things I experienced and the knowledge I gained.

I am also especially grateful to have a very healthy baby!!!

All my "kids" wanted to be near me.

Blake absolutely loves his brother.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cream filling and Malted Chocolate frosting and the end of a pregnancy

**My thoughts and prayers go out to Oklahoma. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live through what some have experienced. I have lots of family in OK, and they are all safe. Seeing the tragedy at the school breaks my heart. I pray those affected will find peace and comfort!**

First things first. Since everyone is asking and it seems to be everyone's business (am I making it that way?) Here is your official pregnancy update:

Yes. I'm still pregnant.
Yes. My due date was the 20th.
Yes. I'm miserable.
No. There's been no "change."
No. I am not planning to be induced.
Yes. It IS normal to go overdue (contrary to popular belief and comments I've received).
When is the baby coming? Heck if I know! If it was my choice, he would've been here last week. (though I also chose not to be induced)

There, now you know so I don't have to answer any more questions. Here is, hopefully, my last belly shot. Taken on my due date. I know, I look thrilled. But thank you, I also think I look pretty good too. I've worked really hard and done a great job of trying not to explode, though some days I feel huge. Generally speaking, I'm proud of myself. I know it's not all about pounds, but when I deliver this baby, I will officially be 18 pounds less than when I delivered Blake. This I know because I have not gained an ounce in the past almost 2 weeks, despite eating like crazy, and according to my Doctor's scale I actually lost almost 2 pounds. 

Enough pregnant talk. I'm done with it. Let's chat CUPCAKES!!!!

A couple weeks ago one of my amazing and talented baker friend's stopped by with a surprise slice of cake she made for herself for Mother's Day. I thought the picture she took looked delicious, but I was completely floored when I tasted it! Best. Cake. Ever! Aside from maybe my wedding cake, although my wedding cake was not chocolate, so this one may actually have won. 

Anyway, she passed along a link for the recipe and I decided it was too much work to make a full six layer cake. So she informed me there was in fact a cupcake adaptation on the same website. Thank heavens! After my due date came and went, I decided it was time for cupcakes. 

What part of Dark Chocolate, Toasted Marshmallow Filling, and Malted Chocolate Frosting does NOT sound good? None of it. 
Toss in 3 cubes of butter, some heavy whipping cream, a splash of buttermilk, more sugar than flour, even more sugar in the icing, a few toasted marshmallows, a bar of Ghirardelli chocolate, and you have near cupcake perfection. 
My little man helped sample all along the way. Don't worry, he had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and cupcake filling and icing for his 9:30 am snack.

Although the recipe looks slightly intimidating and labor intensive, it is worth every second of time you will spend. And it really is not that hard if you take it one step at a time. 

For the link to the original pictures, recipe, and blog: Click here
Here is a copy and paste of her recipe for easy access (my changes at the bottom). Please, check out her blog. Her cakes are beautiful and amazing!

Campfire Delight Cupcakes
Yield: 12 standard cupcakes
    For the Cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (110 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) dark cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) brewed coffee or espresso, hot
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling:
  • 8 large white marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 1/2 cup butter (113 g)(1 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 jar (107 g) marshmallow cream (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
  • For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g), at room temperature
  • 2 cups (250 g) icing sugar (confectioners' or powdered), sifted
  • 1/3 cup (38 g) Ovaltine Classic (brown in colour)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz (125 g) quality Belgian chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping (35% fat) cream
  • Note Frosting will become a slightly richer brown tone a short while after making. If you are using a malt powder or Ovaltine that is not brown in colour, you can add an extra 3 oz, or so, of melted chocolate.
    For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a muffin/cupcake pan with your favourite cupcake liners.
  2. In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (you may need the plastic splashguard that comes with mixer), Divide batter among (2/3 full or just less) liners. Batter will be liquidy, and cupcakes will rise.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Try not to over-bake. Carefully remove cupcakes from the pan immediately (it's hot!), and place them on a wire rack until completely cool.
  6. For the Toasted Marshmallow Filling:
  7. Place marshmallows on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on lower rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, between 30-60 seconds. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until they are golden brown. (Be sure to keep an eye on them--they burn very quickly.)
  8. In an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and icing sugar on low until blended, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and mix on med-high for about 3 minutes.
  9. Add marshmallow cream and toasted marshmallows, and mix on lowest setting for about 1 minute.
  10. For the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting:
  11. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
  12. Add malt powder, vanilla and salt, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  13. Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute.
  14. Best used right away.
  15. Assembly of the Campfire Delight Cupcakes:
  16. Once cupcakes are cool, cut a cone shape hole from the top center of the cupcake downward, using a sharp paring knife or small spoon.
  17. Using a small spoon, or piping bag fitted with plain round piping tip, fill the cupcake hole with Toasted Marshmallow Filling until it's level with the top of the cupcake.
  18. Fill a large pastry bag (18") fitted with Ateco #887 (or the decorative tip of your choice) about 2/3 full and swirl the Malted Belgian Chocolate Frosting in a circular motion, beginning on the outside rim of the cupcake and moving inward. Gently release pressure when you reach the top of your swirl.
  19. Top with real chocolate sprinkles and chocolate malt candy, such as Whoppers or Maltesers.
  20. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but these keep particularly well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (however, I've been known to eat them up to a week later, and they taste great!). If you do refrigerate, serve at room temperature.

***Karissa's changes: I don't drink coffee, so I used hot water per my friend's recommendation. Also, I used 2 oz. of 60% cacao and 2 oz. of milk chocolate Ghirardelli bar. Yes, I bought Hershey's special dark cocoa powder as well. The Ovaltine I used was "chocolate malt" flavor since I didn't see an "ovaltine classic" flavor. The chocolate icing made enough frosting for probably another dozen cupcakes, in addition to the 15 I was able to get.