Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It Is Okay! (What Us Women Need to Hear)

*This is not a post to bash on my children or to just complain for no reason and cry "woe is me." No, this is a post to let Women out their know that I, too, have bad, horrible days just like they have and that they are not alone. A post to make people more aware of how one-sided Facebook is and that we can't compare our failures to people's successes, because I know many women who do that, Moms and Wives. This is a post of honesty and one day, maybe even tonight, I might be able to laugh at how comical this horrendous day was. Please do not judge me as I promise not to judge you.
I haven't written in a while because I have been going through some rough times being a Mom and being a Wife and the only reason I have allowed these times to be so rough is because I look at Facebook at judge all the things people POST to what my whole life IS. They don't post their whole lives and yet I compare my whole life to their infrequent posts.

Nobody is perfect but that is so hard to understand when all you see is how "perfect" their life is and how sweet their kids are. I am guilty of posting such things, too, because when those miraculous moments happen I feel the need to share stand on the rooftop and shout it at the top of my lungs that I FINALLY succeeded in having a tender moment with my 2.5 year old. That she finally said something sweet instead of sushing me when she knows she is about to get in trouble.

This all came about today because I was at my wit's end and it was barely Noon. It started with Tatum asking for a sandwich for breakfast, so I made her a sandwich. After 2 bites she decided she didn't want a sandwich, she wanted Cheerios. I don't usually like to make separate things and let her think she gets to change her mind all the time but I was desperate for her to eat so she would have a full tummy and be good while shopping. So I made a bowl of Cheerios and she ate two bites and decided she didn't want that but that she wanted a cup of milk. I explained that she needed to eat some more bites before I could give her the  milk. This led to a tantrum and I explained if she didn't calm down that she would have to go lay down until she could be happy. So she decided she wanted to lay down. As I pulled her away from the table to get her out of her seat she screamed that she wanted to eat her Cheerios instead. So I pushed her up to her bowl of Cheerios when all of a sudden she wants to go lay down after all. I pull her back from the table, again, and she screams that she wants Cheerios. I stuck to my guns and said "sorry, you picked to lay down so you are going to lay down until you can decide to be happy." She laid in her bed and screamed for 20 minutes until I went in to talk to her. She decided to be happy and to eat her Cheerios. At the table she ate about half of her Cheerios and then decided to throw the rest on the floor. Trying to have her pick them up was even more difficult because she is 2.5 and has her own attitude and personality and she decides if she wants to behave, just like the rest of us do at all times throughout the day.

After that, we go into my room to finish combing our hair and brushing our teeth. I get Tatum ready and set her down and start brushing my teeth only to see her poking Aubry's eyes. I walk over and tell her to stop and that that isn't nice and go back to my bathroom sink. I look over again and she is poking Aubry's eyes out AGAIN and so I send her to timeout. Well, in timeout she doesn't want to behave and sit as she should (cuz heck, why not, she's two and a half and is learning how to exert her own independence) and so she gets even more time in timeout to think about what she is doing. It was just a mess. I finally finish brushing my teeth and then I go talk to Tatum about how this whole situation isn't okay, that you can't poke people's eyes and you can't leave timeout just because you don't want to be there. We both say our apologies and then head off to the car to go grocery shopping.

We go to Costco because they have 2-seater shopping carts and that is about all I can handle when I go alone. During our trip to Costco Tatum decides it would be fun to whack her head against Aubry's head even though I have told her three times now that that is not acceptable. She then decides to pull Aubry's hair and then dump out my whole diaper bag and then bite Aubry's finger so hard she left deep indents. Poor Aubry did nothing wrong this whole time...she just sat their looking cute and acted as the punching bag for Tatum. I reached my limit when I was standing in line to order some easy hotdogs for lunch and I started bawling. Everyone kept looking at my two cute girls and just couldn't stop complimenting me for how cute they were and how perfect their hair was and how well behaved they were...but they didn't see them 5 minutes ago when my littlest one was screaming bloody murder because I turned my head to look at something and Tatum decided to bite her finger. They didn't see me telling my oldest NO time and time again for reaching around to the basket of the cart and pulling things out and throwing them on the ground. I was exhausted and just didn't want to be there. I cried. I walked out of the line for food and just left. I went out to the car sobbing, with tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling as though I had failed. What the heck did I do wrong?? Everyone saw these beautiful girls and loved them but I was frustrated. My littlest one got picked on and my oldest wouldn't listen to me. She wouldn't. She would SHUSH me when I would give her "the look" right before I would tell her to stop...she would shush me. WHAT THE HECK!?!

After loading everything into the car I sat in my seat with my eyes closed and cried. What did I do wrong? Do I not parent correctly? Have I let my children run all over me? Have I failed? So-and-so on Facebook always talks about how she had these Love and Logic experiences with her kids and they GOT IT. They understood the lesson and behaved. What did I do wrong? I can't do this alone? I am a horrible Mom and Wife if I have to always ask family to watch my girls so I can run errands. I shouldn't need help if I am a successful Mom and Wife because everyone else doesn't need help (or so I think).

All this goes through my head and I then realize it is because of Facebook. Facebook is where we brag about the good times...heck, I'm guilty of it too. I feel the need to brag about the good times because they don't happen near as often as I would like and I am too ashamed to write about all my difficult days for all of Facebook to see....for all my friends with their perfect 2 year olds and their perfect marriages and all their perfectness to see how today was just not one of my days.

Guess what! Shame on me for feeling that way and shame on you if you have felt that way too. I swallowed my pride and called my friend, who uses Love and Logic to teach her kids, and asked her how the heck she does it. Her two boys are 15 months apart and I just don't see her fail because on Facebook she, too, boasts about the good times because that is all she has to live She talked me through my day and helped me realize that she, too, has HORRIBLE days where she cries and feels overwhelmed and feels as though she has failed. She helped me see that THIS IS NORMAL. My oldest is just learning and although she needs to learn I can't just let her walk all over me or she will never respect me as a Mom. She helped me realize that it is okay to have these days and that tomorrow is a new day. Even better is that I helped this friend of mine realize that SHE isn't alone either. She thought that I was the sweetest Mother who had a sweet daughter that obeyed. Yes, my daughter is sweet at times but she also likes to disobey at times. My friend thanked me for opening up to her and asking for her help when really I felt like saying thank you to her (which I did do) and now we both know we are not alone and that we both don't suck at being Moms.

It is okay to open up and ask for help and to say that today was rough and how you look forward to bedtime. It is okay to cry and sometimes crying helps you to get over the situation. It is okay. All of this is okay. It is okay to admit that you may not have acted the best way and that your kids "won" sometimes. We are all human and imperfect and we are all learning still and we just need to take our lives one day at a time. We need to band together and help one another out so that we don't suffer in silence and feel so alone.

Today was not my best day. It just wasn't. I cried at Costco in front of a whole ton of people. I let it out and I didn't care what they thought because I knew I would never see them again. But at the same time I was afraid to cry on Facebook because I didn't want my "friends" to judge me when maybe someone else having a rough day needed to see that I wasn't perfect either. I am, crying on my blog, for the whole world to see... but that is OKAY! (I think that will go on my mirror..."IT IS OKAY") Not every day will be like this. Tomorrow will be a new day.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eating Clean

I've heard of people going on a "Clean Diet" and "Eating Clean" but I never understood what that was. In fact, I think anything with a DIET in the title is silly because the way you eat should be your lifestyle, not just a few months of changing your ways only to go back and ruin any progress you have made. Even so much as people passing up drinking Soda made no sense to me. When at restaurants I only ever got water to save $5 or to save room for food...but at home or at parties I never understood why people wanted bottled water over a can of soda....UNTIL NOW! Now I completely understand and will be joining them with a bottle of water for myself!

Up until I had my first child I could pretty much eat anything I wanted and it wouldn't bother me. I never gained unwanted weight, I never gained inches, really food and drinks never bothered me. After my first child my body changed a little and I could see a difference in how my clothes fit me. I blamed most of it on having a child but I was still within 10 pounds of my high school weight.
After having my second child, things CHANGED! But many things changed in our family. Let's start from when I was pregnant with Aubry (my second child).

While pregnant with Aubry I came across some wonderful Essential Oils from a company called doTERRA. Wonderful, wonderful products. I was using them while I was pregnant to help me sleep and to help fight off Colds and just to protect our little family. I loved them.  
 A combination of these oils actually kicked my cold! I fell in love.

Shortly after having Aubry I started using them more and more. I have used some oils to help with tummy problems, Colds, runny noses, headaches, depression and PPD, as well as weight loss. In fact, our family, my husband included, has not used any over-the-counter medication in months! 

Now let's talk about this weight loss. No, I have not lost 60 pounds in 30 days or any of those crazy numbers that other companies tell you they can do. I have simply been drinking water with Grapefruit oil (appetite suppressant) and Lemon oil (good for cleaning out our body). I lost 5 pounds in the first 10 days and then it has been a little slower after that. But! The weight isn't the only thing that has changed. Because I have decided to look into what medications I put in my body, I have also thought a lot more about what foods I put in my body.

Nik has been Soda-free for over a month now and I am right behind him. The thought of putting weird stuff in my body with wasted calories just doesn't make sense any more and it is not appealing anymore either. Plus, the carbonation hurts both of our stomachs. Along with cutting soda I have some friends that are on this same journey of Eating Clean and their posts on Facebook and Instagram have really inspired me! I now shop differently. Majority of my groceries are fruits and veggies. I now read the label of anything that is packaged and I try to steer clear of words I don't know and can't pronounce. I had no idea that "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" was so so so bad for you! It doesn't melt that easily because of the chemicals and nasty preservatives that are in it. No wonder the fat isn't shedding off my hips....because it is fill with that "butter." Same with Peanut Butter. WHO KNEW?!?! I didn't. Nik was the one that pointed that out. So, we have switched some products in our house. We still drink milk and eat cheese and eat yogurts (greek, though) but for now that is fine with us. I'm I'll do more research and change those habits....but it's a slow process I will talk about next. I'm going to try Almond Milk again and maybe even make my own at home...but again, slowly!!!

This wasn't an over-night has been a slow change over the last 6 weeks because I didn't want to overwhelm myself and then quit. I wanted to keep putting healthy and clean things in my body...things my body knows how to digest properly.

So far we eat lots of Avocados, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Squash, Carrots, Broccoli, Sprouts, Pecans, Peaches, Blueberries, Nectarines, Strawberries, Spinach, Celery, Eggs, Chicken, Salmon, Tuna, and other clean (meaning no preservatives) foods. I'm not a fanatic and definitely not a do some research for yourself and do what you feel is best for your body.

Yes, when we go out on dates (once a week, if that!) I will eat at a restaurant and not beat myself up about it but I try to pick good things off the menu. This is all new to me and my little family but we love it! We shop at Sprouts because their selection of fruits and veggies just amazes me and I'm not bombarded with Oreos and Rice Krispies on the end aisles. haha. It is hard to pass those treats up at times.

I want to thank my friends Stevy F., Leanna W., and Ang G. for their inspiring posts. Eating this way is easy and so delicious! If you have any questions about oils or how I eat clean, please ask! I would love to help anyone out.

Again, I am still learning and changing a lot of what we do in our family.
I do not claim to know everything and I do not intend to hurt feelings about how others eat...
This is just how I see food and how I want to live.
I have lived the complete opposite of this before and I like where I am today a lot more.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Success with Shots

I have been taking a shot, once a week, full of a Synthetic Hormone - Progesterone. I was skeptical and never wanted to take it because it is completely synthetic, but after being sent to the hospital to stop my contractions when I was only 20 weeks (exactly half way through the pregnancy and far too early to be contracting) Nik and I decided it was what we needed to do to keep this baby baking inside as long as possible.

Let me tell you...these shots are amazing! Before I started taking them, I was not able to go grocery shopping without the scooter or even clean my house. I was not able to get off the couch or walk down the hallway without having contractions. Life was pretty boring and difficult and scary...but now that I have been on them for a month, my life has been AMAZING! I can do all those things without issues. Last week I walked a mile without any issues, other than minor hip pain. Yesterday I went grocery shopping with Nik, for over an hour, and didn't have one single contraction. I am so glad I am taking them! Yes, the one bad side effect I have had, so far, is the injection site becomes very itchy...but that is totally worth the confidence and calmness I feel. Let's all hope and pray this baby stays in full term so I don't have to leave her in the NICU like I did with Tatum.

I wish I would have known about this with Tatum, but I had no idea what contractions felt like until my water broke and I was in labor at the hospital...I just chalked it all up to pregnancy discomfort. I hope no other pregnant woman has to go through the trouble. The shot is saving my sanity and probably even my unborn child's life. I will definitely be getting the shots with future doubt.

Before I started the shot, I had asked on Facebook if anyone had gotten them or heard of someone who got them. There were a few that knew someone or did it personally...but the one friend that really made it clear was Catharine. She said "It is too scary to not take them." I realized she was right. Yes, the hormone in the shot is synthetic, and I am not the biggest fan of that, but am I willing to lose my baby or have to deal with the NICU again? No, I don't want to do that! I want a nice, healthy, full term baby girl in February....and I want to not have to get there on bed rest. Apparently my body needs a little more Progesterone and I am so thankful for modern medicine that allows me to get what I need.

Baby Girl Berry...I can't wait to meet you!
And I will try to lay off the Caffeine.
You were acting a bit crazy last night from the soda.
I love you!

Uterine Math

Let me start this off with a conversation Nik and I had back in March (I posted it on Rebecca's Facebook so we could forever remember it)...
Rebecca was pregnant with our soon-to-be-Niece at the time and he wanted to know how far along she was....
So here you go...

Nik: "How far along is Rebecca?"
Me: "I think she is 24 Weeks."
Nik: <death stare> (he HATES how we count in weeks) "So she is 6 months along?"
Me: <laughs> "Actually, she is only 5 months."
Nik: <steam coming out ears> "HOW?! HOW does THAT make ANY SENSE?! You count in Weeks and then take one month away when we ask how many months?!?!"
I then explained it to him and laughed. He hates counting in Weeks but us women, especially those that have been pregnant, know how each week counts. Lol.
Just had to share this story with you. 
 This is pretty much the jist of it. We were talking about this just the other day, but about me and our baby, and he was getting so frustrated that it made me laugh. Here are a few things he said during that conversation...

"So, no matter what kind of calculation I do with the number of weeks you give me, I will always be wrong? This is what I call Uterine Math. There should be a course just on this! You pregnant women and your calculations never make any sense."

He said some other pretty funny things but with this Pregnancy Brain (it IS real!) I have forgotten most of them. It just cracks me up...I never count in months but I can tell you any day, in the blink of an eye, how far along I am in weeks. I CAN tell you in months but it will take me some time to think it through.

I guess I just needed to make this post to remember this funny moments. I'm sure both sides can relate...those that are/have been pregnant and those that have not/never will be (i.e. men). 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Can't Craft...But I Can Cook

Sometimes I get down on myself. I look at all these other stay-at-home mom's who make cute things for their kids and their home and to sell on their little websites...and I get down. I am not a creative thinker. I don't have that side of the brain in full use. I am a logical thinker. I think in numbers. Ask anyone close to me...I am a Numbers Girl.

The other day at the gas station,
I pulled up to a pump that had the amount of $30.20 paid from the previous car.
I thought that was kinda cool
but thought taking a picture would be silly.
Little did I know that my own total would come out to be $40.30
and that taking a picture would have been AWESOME!
I didn't pump extra to get it there,
it just landed there,
and it was cool.
I told Nik about this and he chuckled
because he knows how I am with numbers.

The other (a different) day
I was telling Nik
how I only had to go make such-and-such bill payment 3,
maybe 4,
more times before the baby gets here..
depending on if she comes early like Tatum,
or on time like a good girl.
He laughed about how I count down to a big event with
Fast Sundays (The first Sunday of each month)
or how I count Paychecks
or weekends
or many other things
and how that makes me happy.
He just loves me
and laughs FOR me.
But that is how I am.
That is how I do things.

When out driving...
I point out cool license plates
that have cool number sequences,
like, 366 ZMM (for example. just made that up). 

I just like numbers.
I am a logical person,
not a crafty person.
I liked Math more than Art class.
I like to balance our checkbook.
It makes me feel good
when the numbers add up right.

WOAAHHH.... long sidenotes there. But you get the picture.

I have longed to be a person that loves sewing. I do it and SOMETIMES have fun with it. Most times I am fretting over making it perfect and the line not going crooked. That is why I love numbers. Numbers are perfect (except for Uterine Math - and I will make another post about that for it. Nik is the one that made this Math up) . They make sense to me. I can make them work. Sewing is very stressful for me. Maybe I just need to do it more and learn to be better and learn to let go and like it.

Anywho....what I am getting at, is I like to cook (when I have a recipe that has numbers I can follow. haha). I am not a cook that can "throw stuff together" and have it be good. No. Not me. I don't guesstimate on how much 1/5 Cup Milk is and 1 Cup Flour. I measure. When I have those numbers, I like to cook.

I have been doing Freezer meals for almost a whole year now (although not consistently) and I LOVE THEM! I guess I should clarify one thing....I don't like to cook dinner when it is time for dinner. It is too stressful for me. Either I start too late and then we have a late late dinner, or Tatum won't leave the kitchen and begs to be picked up when I am working on the hot stove, or the meal will have to cook in the oven and I didn't read that far down the recipe to plan accordingly. I do not like to cook at dinner time. If I have to, it is usually spaghetti or sandwiches. haha. All my other nice meals are freezer meals.

Over the last 4 days Nik and I have:
-cubed/cut/packaged 60lbs of chicken breast that we ordered from Zaycon Foods
-completed a 3 hour shopping trip to multiple stores
-prepared over 10 Freezer Meals (and have more to do over the next few days)

I have had to take things extra slow this time around because this pregnancy has already been rough and I am only 22 weeks along, just over the halfway mark.

But I love this. I have enjoyed putting these meals together, knowing that dinners will be ready when I need them and that all I will have to do is throw them in the oven to heat up or in the crockpot to cook. With the weather getting colder, it will be nice to use my oven as a heat source.

I have a blog that is just for the recipes I have tried and loved...Dawna Dinners...and I will be posting up the latest recipes as soon as I try them. But for now, I will list the recipes so you can check them out for yourself. If you try them before I do and you find that a change needs to be made, let me know. I am open to suggestions.

All in all...I feel accomplished with making these Freezer Meals. I am not the best at being creative...but I can follow a recipe. Nik constantly reminds me that all women are different and do different things better than others and that I just need to look at what I CAN do and LOVE to do instead of what I lack in...or feel I lack in.

When I was researching how to do all this last year, it just made sense. When making these meals I dirty everything in my kitchen at once. I don't dirty all the utensils each and every night to have to wash them again and repeat the next night. I dirty them once and then I am done. It made sense.
I hate meal planning...but if I can plan my meals ONCE and be done...I'm happy.
Now, I can spend more time with Tatum each day instead of spending my afternoon/evenings in the kitchen.
It just made sense for me to do it this way. It definitely isn't for everyone, but it works for our family.
If ever anyone wants to make meals with me, let me know. I take it nice and slow. It is at least a 3 day process, for me, but you can do it faster if you would like. I HAVE done it ALL in one day but that was rough.
Day One: Shop
Day Two: Prepare Meats
Day Three+: Put it all together.


This first one is the only one that does not tell you how to freeze it. I just undercooked the pasta and made it like they said and then froze it with a lid. I have added chicken, asparagus, and spinach. yuuummmm!

These shells are my mom's favorite. I am not the fondest of them....but try them out and you might love them or need to tweak the recipe. I want to continue to make them, I just need to figure out what I need to fix, first.

This is yummy! We eat it with rice and steamed veggies. Again, with every recipe, make sure to watch how your food cooks. With this one, I do not have to cook it as long. And with this one I freeze it and thaw it in a bag and then when I am ready to bake it, I place it in a spare baking dish. Less freezer space and then it doesn't use up all my dishes.

One of my favorites. It is soooo juicy!

Another one of my favorites. LOVE IT!

I made these and they were good. For some reason my tortillas came out soggy. Maybe because I didn't freeze mine immediately. Not sure. I just need to keep trying it and perfecting my skills.

So yummy. I doubled the meat and just did 1.5 on the noodles because the first time I made it, the ratio was a little off for me. I wanted it more filling and less on just eating carbs.

I make a couple of these as my back ups. It only takes about 3 hours or less on high in the crockpot. We eat this over rice.

NEW RECIPES (i have yet to try)

I have been putting these together but haven't tasted them for myself, so if you do try them and have a suggestion on something else to add to them or to cook them for less time or anything else, let me know, please. I would love any help I can get.

Casseroles/Oven required meals:

Crockpot Meals:
(did make this on Sunday...DELICIOUS when served just over rice or with rice in tortilla)



Monday, October 8, 2012

Family of Four

I can't believe I haven't been on here to update since February. 

This is what Tatum looked like back in February.

And here is what she looks like 8 months later.

It blows my mind how much our family has changed over 16.5 months (since Tatum was born), let alone the last 8 months. So, here is a little update on our family of Four.

He works Full Time with
He loves it there! The owner sure does know how to treat his employees right.
Nik is also Full Time at ASU.
I believe he is taking 13 credit hours.
Nik loves his daughter and is so cute with her. I love watching them play together.
He has been learning how to build websites and is having lots of fun.
I don't see him all that much because he really just comes home to sleep and do work/school all over again the next day.
Oh, and to top it off,  Nik's calling in our ward is to be the Ward Missionary's Assistant.

I am 20.4 weeks pregnant with another little girl.
I am so blessed to be able to stay home with Tatum and I love it!
I have a calling in the ward - Activity Days Leader.
I have started baking more, which is good and bad.
Good because it is yummy.
Bad because standing too long in one spot makes my hips hurt real bad
Because the baby is already making me gain weight, I don't need the unhealthy calories to do that too.
My body has reached that awkward stage where my shirts are too small, so I like to wear Nik's shirts, but then that is weird if I leave the house in I have like 2 shirts I feel comfortable enough to wear outside of the house. If you often see me in those two shirts...don't worry, I wash them daily.
I ride the scooters at Walmart and anywhere else we go...Nik's orders.
I have really bad hip problems (yes, I am pregnant, but they are really bad...but I am not going to sit here and complain) so that is why I ride the scooters. This pain didn't start until much later while pregnant with Tatum, but this time around the hormone/chemical/whatever-you-want-to-call-it Relaxin released itself far too early for comfort.
I have already had to go to the Triage to have them stop my contractions.
Honestly, I am so happy to be pregnant and to be bringing another sweet child into our family...and all this pain and trouble is completely worth it! I cannot wait to meet her in February.

16.5 months old
24lbs (79%tile)
33inches (97%tile)
She has been walking for 2 months.
She was the Flower Girl at Caren and John's wedding back in August.
She signs "please" and sometimes will sign "more"
She waves, blows kisses, gives kisses, claps, and plays Peek-A-Boo (sometimes by herself). 
She says Yes, Dada, Mama, Gamma, Papa, Nana, Hi, Hello, and Diddy (Mickey).
She shakes and nods her head to communicate.
She is a Parrot...mimicking everything we do.
She loves brushing her teeth.
She tries to run and it makes us laugh everytime...because it is like a Hopping Run. 
She can feed herself with a fork and spoon...not all that well, but she understands how it works.
She drinks out of a cup and has been bottle-free since she turned 1, back in May
And she has been sippy cup-free for almost 3 months.
She has been pacifier-free for over 3 months.
She has 12 teeth and 2 more are coming in as we speak.
It is so crazy that she understands what we when I tell her "It is time to change your diaper" or "Time to brush your teeth/hair" or "Let's go read a book" or "Time for bed" "Would you like some water/milk?"...she knows where to go for these things. 
She knows that she is not allowed to touch the working TV remotes and that those are Mommy's and Daddy's and that Tatum has her own non-working remote. Well, sometimes she finds Mommy's remote and will play with it when I am not looking/in the other room...but as soon as I see her with it, she hands it right over, without question. Same with our phones, most of the time.
She is now tall enough to climb on the she does that most of the day. Climb on. Slide off. Climb on. Slide off. 
When she wants me to have something she is holding, she will grab my hand, turn it so it's palm-up, and put the object in my hand. It will be a book, a toy, the TV remote, a Pop Tart, Fruit snack, her shoes, and sometimes my watch. That has been it so far.

Baby Girl Berry:
She has been moving around a lot and I love it!
She doesn't like Red Salsa, just like how Tatum didn't like it either, but loves Green Salsa.
She doesn't like Dr Pepper. More of a Coke girl.
I love her so much already!
Our next appointment is this coming Thursday and I can't wait to see her on the screen and take some pictures home with us.

Hopefully this wasn't too scattered for you to follow. This Pregnancy Brain thing is real and it makes it really hard for me to put logical sentences together. 
We have been in our house for 3.5 months and I just barely got around to completely unpacking our room and Tatum's room last month. Yes, I had a good excuse, but am much happier now that it is done.
We love our home and our neighborhood. There are so many good people on our street, and we know almost all of the neighbors that surround us.
Our ward is so so so nice and we finally feel like we are a part of a ward that accepts us and welcomes us with open arms.
We have two Tortoises, Slice and Hugo Jr, and we hope to add a dog to our family sometime next year...but we will see how things go with a newborn before adding a puppy to the mix. 
That is all for now. 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Updates - Cloth Diapers, Freezer Cooking, and Life

Let me share some of the new things in my life that bring a smile to my face. I love cloth diapers and freezer cooking. I love couponing and I love being a mom.

Cloth Diapers
After much research I discovered Cloth Diapers and all the benefits that come along with such an old technique. I always pictured Cloth Diapers (CD) as those white towel-thingy's that you fold with a safety pin and then cover with some plastic bloomers...but that is not what they are anymore. They are these adorable fabric prints with snaps or Velcro. Even though they look so cute and accentuate the bummie...I was still very hesitant to try them. A friend of mine made this post Going With Cloth and she made me think "maybe this isn't such a difficult and gross thing after all" and that was really the beginning. I searched for good deals because Cloth Diapers are quite the investment. I found this company - Just Simply Baby - and decided it was time to give it a try. They have the best prices around and their prints are so much cuter than the boring basic colors that some big name companies are doing and they are very similar to the brand BumGenius that I was looking into getting. This company also gives you a 30day Money Back Guarantee JUST IN CASE the CD stuff is not for everyone...although, from what I have read and who I know that uses CD's, if you have tried them, you love them and it then becomes really hard to go back to Disposable Diapers.

For our little family, it isn't much work and doesn't take much time. I will say that I was having a rough time a couple weeks ago with not being able to get all the smell out, but after switching up the Laundry Day Routine I have finally found what works and they no longer stink!! YAY!!!! I was about ready to give up but just the thought of having to go buy disposables at Walmart or Target, or wherever, and spending that extra money made me sick to my stomach. I am NOT doing CD's as a "way to go green" or any of that stuff...I am doing it because of the money saver.

I feel like I just dumped all my thoughts on you about Cloth if you have any questions...message me on FB or at

Freezer Cooking
Back in December I found a Pin on Pinterest that gave some recipes to make up and put in your freezer for later use. I talked my cousin, Arianna, into doing this with me and we had fun. The recipes were a flop but the concept was something we both loved. So, I hunted down some websites and found two awesome places...Once a Month Mom and What's Cooking, Chicago?

They have some amazing recipes and they are so simple. Arianna and I have been doing this for just over a month now and we see the benefits. Go check out my other blog DawnaDinners and you can read the full story and get some of the recipes that I have tried and loved.

Over the weekend Nik bought me my Valentines Gift/Tax Return Celebration/Smart Chest Freezer. We got it at Costco because that was the best deal in town. I am so excited to fill it with frugal finds....i.e. Milk when it is on sale, bread when on sale, Home Cooked Freezer Dinners, Tatum's home made baby food, and so much more. It just made sense to get it and savet that money in the long run.

Nik got a new job with GoDaddy and was able to quit his old job at QBE/BofA and Domino's. GoDaddy is a company he has wanted to work with for a while. He got the job 4 weeks ago and it is so nice to have him come home happy instead of grumpy. Nik does so much for our family because he loves us and he has always wanted me to be able to stay home with our children. He was working 3 jobs at one point for a few weeks and then dropped down to 2 jobs until last week and now just has 1 job and school.

I have picked up the new hobby/talent of Freezer Cooking. It sure is a lot of work for one day buy definitely pays off in the days that follow. I enjoy staying home with Tatum and I have many friends that come visit us. I have picked back up Couponing and love the savings! Arianna comes over and coupons with me and then we shop together and find the best deals. We are such a good team!

Tatum is 8.5 months old and has 6 pearly whites. She just barely started Army Crawling this last week and I'm sure she will be up on her knees in no time. She loves all her Veggies and her Fruits. She loves to play with other babies but sometimes she scares them because she gets so excited and shrieks. hahaha. She gives kisses on command and we are trying to teach her how to wave. She definitely lights up our world. I can't believe where I was 1 year ago and where I am now. Nik and I are so happy with our little family.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life As We Know It... better than any dream!

Tatum is now 5 months and is growing so fast! I love it!

I feel like my life is finally beginning to settle down. I get more sleep and I am understanding more of what she wants. My house is cleaner and I don't need as many naps anymore. She is happier and I am happier and Nik is just as happy as ever!

Here are some pictures of the last few months.

June 2011
Few Weeks Old
 -Still had to wake up every 3 hours to nurse her.
-Aunt Amy made the blue flower headband
-The I <3 DAD shirt was what I gave him to tell him I was pregnant.

July 2011
1 Month Old
 -Finally allowed to let her sleep through the night...and she did just that!
-Went swimming for the first time. Wasn't a fan when she was not holding onto someone.
-She loved dancing with her Daddy...inside Walgreens. haha
-Her and her Daddy are twins. The bottom right picture is them having fun at Red Robin.

August 2011
2 Months Old
 -She loves taking naps with her cuddly.

September 2011
3 Months Old
 -She didn't gain a single ounce all month so we switched to formula.
-Still napping with Daddy every chance she got.
-She started smiling for things other than the passing of gas :)
-She loved to nap on Nonnie (right there in the center) every time the family got together.
-She started using her Bumbo and that little chair has been AWESOME!
-She rolled over on my birthday!! That's all I wanted from her. haha

 September 2011
Labor Day Swim Party
 -I didn't get swim diapers for this one she wore a regular one 
and it was funny to see her big behind! haha
-She had so much fun and we all were loving it.

September 23-26, 2011
Oceanside, CA
(more pictures on the big camera will be uploaded soon)
-She had fun with her Berry family.
-The ocean was something she could watch all day.
-She was so exhausted from the day and after throwing a fit she fell asleep hardcore
(bottom right picture)
-Showing off her good looks with Auntie Amy's sunglasses
(bottom center picture)
-We walked all afternoon using the Moby Warp and it was AWESOME!
(bottom left picture. Thank you Gma Berry!)

October 2011
4 Months Old
-She keeps rolling over from her back to stomach. So fun!
-She makes raspberries with her lips and spits bubbles out while she's at it.
-She takes naps in her crib.
-She sleeps around 11 hours a night!
-She loves to grab anything and everything...and her favorites are my hair, my glasses, and my lips.
-She does little ab exercises in the bath and in her car seat and it is adorable!
-She can sit up a little better by herself when on your lap but not yet on her own. (if that makes sense)
-She jabbers all the time.
-She loves go to on walks in her stroller.
-She is smiling and laughing so much...and it just melts my heart.
-She has been wearing 6 months clothes for the last month and it makes me kinda sad.

Now that we are pretty much caught up, I hope to update this blog more often. 
Times have been hard being a new mom, I won't lie or try to deceive, but it has been so worth it! When she does something funny or learns something new or even smiles and laughs, that totally makes you forget the rough times when all she wanted to do was cry. She is getting so much better and more regular with her routines and I am so blessed. Being a mom is so fun! This is the best "job" I have ever had!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A message from Nik

Well, this is my first blog post.... ever. Seeing as how it's the berry family I felt I should probably give my two cents.

We are now living at Polytech campus, with a place to call our own finally
cockroaches and all.... (side tangent but i think i've killed like 50-100 in this place. it's like a genocide that won't stop)
But we get to enjoy our screaming baby all to ourselves! sure we take her out and share her but there is no joy quite like walking nose first into a door frame at 2 in the morning to go get your hungry hungry daughter.

I know everyone has there opinions but she is the cutest baby in the world.... when she's happy.

Well I take that back, even when she's not happy she's super cute. And even when she's screaming her head off! She tenses up and turns purple in the face and you can stand her up and she'll get even more pissed off. She looks like she's about to go Super-Sayan.

She's gotten to a stage where (according to Dawna... I've only seen it once) she'll be watching those Nick Toons where they ask the audience a question and blink twice like they're actually listening to you... and she'll giggle and dance and sing with them. The one time I was home in the morning to witness this, and it was super cute.

It's kinda sad that my little helpless bear cub that I could palm is now making my biceps hurt from holding her all day but I'm excited at the same time that my cute little girl that is passed out on my chest will someday be playing soccer and yelling out "Daddy!" when I get home.

It's been a hard few months where our alone time consists of passing out watching one and a half episodes of Lost after I get home from work and our date night has become "quick!, let's get something to eat while she's passed out!" but I can't describe how much more I love my wife Dawna and the love I have for my little Tayberry.

They are the loves of my life and I look forward to spending the rest of it making them happy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Best Two Years

This post is a little delayed, but as you might pick up from my previous post....
my life has been a little crazy lately

June 10th was our Anniversary but since Tatum was going to be home from the NICU by then, Nik and I decided to celebrate a little early.
So on June 3rd we went to The Melting Pot and had a wonderful time together.

Here are some pictures from that evening.
 I love him!
 I think the blurriness comes from all the heat in that little booth.
Cuz yes, we are hott!!! 
Ok, and maybe something to do with that melting pot and all the steam.
 Yeah, kinda forgot to take a 'before' picture here.
The food is too good to last long enough for a picture.
 One happy little wife and new mamma!
 Our waiter asked what we were celebrating so we told him our anniversary and new baby.
When it came time for dessert, he brought out this little dish.
So sweet!
 Gosh! Every part of the meal is amazing...and I made sure to capture this before it was gone!
Happy 2nd Anniversary!
Couldn't have asked for a better person to spend my life with.

Here is to many many MANY more celebrations!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tatum's Story

Let's get one thing clear:
Due Date: June 24, 2011
Birthday: May 25, 2011
Big Surprise

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It started on May 24th. I was getting ready to go grocery shopping and was just about to head out the door when I decided to check Facebook real quick. My friend, Nichole Q, said she needed a babysitter for the afternoon so she could run some errands. I decided it would be a good way to earn a few bucks and then I could go grocery shopping after. Funny thing is Nichole asked me how long I could stay and I responded with "All day. Heck, all I gotta do nowadays is bake this baby." (oh gosh, shouldn't have said that.) So I headed on over there at 11:45am. I needed to stop at our storage unit on my way to grab a few things. I got there at 12:15pm and grabbed my items. The manager came out to talk with me and made a comment about how big I was. I told him I wasn't due for another month. His eyes got big and he told me good luck. I finished lifting the boxes back into the unit and left for Nichole's house.

I got to Nichole's around 12:30pm and she gave me the low down on when the other kids were going to be home and what the little one was up to. She finally left the house around 12:40pm. I sat at the computer with the little one as she played some computer games. I decided I was thirsty so I got up to get a drink and...that's when it water broke!! I freaked out. Weird feeling! I ran softly to my purse to grab my phone and call Nichole. She wasn't even gone 10 minutes when I was crying and telling her to come get me. She rushed back home, took her daughter to the neighbor, and then took me to Banner Gateway. I called Nik but he didn't answer (I figured as much because he was at work) and then I called my mom.

I was so scared. She was only 35weeks and 4days along. She was not suppose to arrive for another month! I didn't have anything ready. No bags packed. No crib set up. No maternity pictures taken or labor/delivery classes attended. Nothing.

Nichole stayed with me while I was getting admitted until Nik showed up. I had sent him a few texts to let him know my water broke, that we were having this baby now, and that he needed to get down here as soon as possible. He got to the hospital faster than I thought and at that time Nichole left to go back home. My grandma and grandpa showed up, as they live half a mile from the hospital, and gave me words of encouragement as I was still kind of freaking out. They are awesome.

I was then taken into my delivery room where they checked me and I was only dilated to 1cm and 0% effaced. They gave me some medication to soften things up and get things going but no Pitocin to induce labor. The nurses wanted to me try on my own and then after 18 hours if nothing had progressed they would induce my labor.

Family stopped by to see me. All my family and Nik’s family were so supportive and loving. Amy played some Blokus with me to try and get my mind distracted from the pain. Other family watched my favorite movies on TV with me and Nik was a great husband rubbing my back when I was having contractions.

By 8pm I couldn’t take the pain any longer. The contractions were getting stronger but I didn’t want an epidural just yet. I was not ready to give up my mobility when sitting on the bouncy ball was the most comfortable position for me. I don’t remember what the nurses gave me…but it was a miracle worker for a while. I remember the nurse screwing the medicine tube onto my IV and injecting it but then I conked out right away. I don’t even remember her unscrewing the tube. I was asleep! It was marvelous! I no longer was thinking about the pain or my hunger. (Heck, I hadn’t eaten since 10am that morning! I was starving!)

At 10pm I had had enough with the contractions and that previous medication wasn’t working anymore. I had everyone go home and then I received my epidural. That thing was nice…for a little bit and then the pain was coming back even harder. I was still dilated to a 1cm and decided to get some sleep because she obviously wasn’t going to come for a while.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nik laid on the little sofa sleeper and I was curled up in a ball in my bed. Hours went by and I tried to tolerate the pain. The nurse came in at 1am to see if I had made any progress. I was dilated to 2cm at that point. I went back to sleep for a few more hours. Nik’s snoring wass comforting as I slept and then to hear my baby’s heartbeat on the monitor…that just made my night. It was so nice hearing both of them and knowing what a happy family we were about to become.

At 3am the nurse came in again to give me more medication and checked if I was progressing any more. I was then at a 4cm. The pain was getting worse and worse and I couldn’t lay there alone while Nik was across the room. I had him sit in the rocker next to me and hold my hand. That worked for a little bit and I got some more rest.

Two more hours had passed and 5am arrived. I called the nurse in for more medication because the pain became so intense I was in tears. She checked and said “It makes sense, you are at a 10. You are ready to push.” Nik popped straight up and was wide awake. I was freaking out because, well, I had never done this before. I was about to have our baby. Nik texted our immediate family to let them know so they could come down to the waiting room until she had arrived. The nurse called Dr. Beck and then I started pushing. Dr. Beck showed up about 20 minutes later for a brief second. He left the room as the nurse kept helping me. Nik was a trooper staying right there holding my hand and brushing my hair and giving me words of encouragement. He was great!

Around 5:40am Dr. Beck showed back up and helped with the last couple pushes.

She arrived at 5:48am on May 25th weighing in at 6lbs and 19.5inches long. Nik cut her cord and she was swept away to get cleaned up.

Now because she was a month early her little lungs were not up to par. They were still wet and she had a hard time keeping them inflated while grunting and trying to use her stomach muscles, which is not what she was suppose to be doing. They brought her over to me for some loving in hopes that would help her calm down but after 10 minutes there was still no change. The nurses took her to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and that was the last I saw of her until that evening. I was the only one that was able to hold her and because it was so brief, it all felt like a dream.

While I was laboring I kept thinking about names. I really really really liked the name Ayrika since I was in Jr High and always wanted to name my first daughter Ayrika Genette (Genette is my middle name), but for some reason Tatum just kept popping up. I couldn’t think about Ayrika long enough to even spell it in my head without the name Tatum creeping in. I would try to think of other names that Nik and I agreed on but Tatum was the only one that would linger. Once she was born I told Nik this and we agreed her name should be Tatum Genette Berry. It just felt so right and we were so happy. We know she will always have to spell her name because it is different, but Nikolas and I both had to our whole lives and you know what, it made for great conversations sometimes. So either way with Ayrika (Erika) or Tatum she would have to spell it. Makes life fun, right?!

That night I was able to walk down to the NICU and see her. She had machines on her and all I could do was touch her. It was difficult to see her in that state but I must say that we were blessed that all we had to worry about were her lungs developing and nothing worse.

Our families had come back that evening to see how we were doing. We were able to take them in to see Tatum just one at a time. Definitely not how I had imagined my hospital stay with our baby. I had always dreamed of having visitors and friends come by and see us. I had a few friends ask if they could but since all I wanted was sleep and they couldn’t even see Tatum, I declined the offers, as generous as they were.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dr. Beck came in to check on me and then I went to check on Tatum. She had made a little progress with her C-Pap machine but she still had to wear it to help her breathe and keep the right amount of oxygen in her blood. She also had an IV with antibiotics. In an x-ray they found a fuzzy spot in her right lung that looked like it could be pneumonia but they weren’t sure because all other signs that would point towards pneumonia were not present, but to be on the safe side they gave her the antibiotics anyways. I was fine with that, better safe than sorry. She was to be on the meds for 7 days…which meant she wouldn’t be coming home until after she finished the 7 days. That was a little hard for me to handle but the nurses were kind and made me feel more comfortable. Nobody plans on seeing the inside of a NICU. It was rough. I shed a few tears because that wasn’t how I wanted to see my baby. I wanted to see her in a cradle next to my bed. I wanted to see her pretty little face without the mask. But nevertheless, this is the hand we were dealt and I was glad it wasn’t worse.

Family stopped by here and there. My mom came over to keep me company because Nik went back to work that day. So when she wasn’t with me I was either sleeping or eating the wonderful feast from the cafeteria…and no, there is not sarcasm in that sentence. I loved the food and miss it dearly. Have you tried their carrot cake?! I’m not the biggest fan but theirs is the best I have ever had. Do you think they will do my birthday cake for me in September? I should start asking now and plant some catering seeds in their head, right?! I’d say so!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dr. Beck showed up first thing in the morning again to see how I was doing. I was actually doing very well…as long as I had my medication nearby. I went and checked on Tatum after I ate my breakfast feast. She was off the C-Pap machine and now just on the oxygen tubes that were connected to the wall. She made a great improvement over night and I was so happy! Tatum’s nurse, Denise, said that we could have some Kangaroo Time (skin-to-skin) at 2pm. I was so excited! Studies have shown that babies that have skin-to-skin time with their mothers have a shorter stay in the NICU. It helps out the baby and the mother.

At 2pm I showed up for her feeding and for the Kangaroo Time. It was wonderful to hold her again! I laid in the chair with her on my chest and we both fell asleep until 5pm. I felt so much better about the whole situation because I knew it was benefiting the both of us.

I was discharged that night after her 8pm feeding. Nik was able to help with that, holding her for the first time since she was born. He changed her diaper, fed and burped her the best he could. I say the best he could because she kept falling asleep in his arms. Don’t blame her, he is one heck of a cuddler. Leaving the hospital that night without her was rough. I cried for a good portion of the night while Nik held me close. He was such a big help and comforted me through all my tears.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I went down to the hospital at 11am for that feeding. She had jaundice and needed a Bili-light but I still changed her diaper, fed and burped her and then I went to my grandparent’s house for my lunch. Grandma was nice and made me lunch every day that I showed up. At 2pm I went back for her feeding and Kangaroo Time. We napped together under the Bili-light until her 5pm feeding and after I helped with that feeding I left to go home. Man, being under that light was so hot, but I got a nice tan! NOT!

"My future is so bright I gotta wear my shades!"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

When I arrived at the hospital Tatum had shown some big signs of improvement but still needed a little bit of oxygen to help her out. Her nurse, Denise, was hoping that during Kangaroo Time that day we could wean her off the oxygen. At 2pm we did our Kangaroo Time and when I woke up at 5pm Denise had told me they cut off the oxygen at 3:45pm while we were asleep and that she has been breathing on her own ever since. Tears came from my eyes as I saw a light at the end of the tunnel! I was skipping for joy as I left the hospital because all that needed to happen now was for Tatum to finish off the 7 days of antibiotics and then she could be discharged Wednesday, June 1st. I was excited!



Monday, May 30, 2011

Nik and I headed down to the hospital at 11am for her feeding and then for my Kangaroo Time with Tatum. Nik dropped me off and he hung out at my grandparent’s house until 2pm when it was time to pick me up. We tried breastfeeding for the first time and she did great! We couldn’t do it before because of her oxygen tubes. Kangaroo Time was awesome and then it was time to go to lunch. Nik picked me up and we headed back to my grandparent’s house for lunch. At 5pm we were able to go back to the hospital for Nik to have some Kangaroo Time with Tatum. He sat in one chair while I sat in another chair. He loved it and I loved it too. It was so sweet to see him holding her and to see her so comfortable in his arms. My heart just melted.

Then after their Kangaroo Time was up the Doctor came in to give us an update on how Tatum was doing. Last night was her first night without the oxygen and she ended up having another little bump in the road. She had a little Apnea issue where her heart rate slowed way down and her oxygen level had dropped. Because a nurse had to go in and stimulate her heart back up to normal they had to count that and keep her for another 5 days. It broke my heart. If she had brought her heart rate back to normal on her own they wouldn’t have dinged her but because she didn’t and she needed the help of a nurse they wanted to keep her a little longer to make sure it didn’t happen again. Of course I was sad but I was also glad that it happened while she was there and being monitored instead of happening at home and not knowing what the outcome would have been. Again, so blessed for modern medicine and being able to catch this early. So now, instead of our wishful discharge day of Wednesday…it then became Saturday. Yes, more time to prepare for her at home but definitely not the pretty picture I had always dreamed of.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No big changes here because all that is left is finishing off the antibiotics and then waiting out the extra 5 days until she can come home.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tatum is now a week old and finally free of all machinery and tubes! I arrived at the hospital and was smiling from ear to ear. This was going to be a wonderful day. I stayed for her feeding and Kangaroo Time and then left for home. I was able to give her a bath while there and put her in some clothes. She still had monitors hooked up to her but no IV or breathing tubes.

Let's jump to
Saturday June 4, 2011

I only jump ahead because the previous 2 days were the same story. Because there is nothing to improve on and we just have to wait, there isn’t much of a story.

Anyways…Saturday morning rolled around I called the NICU as soon as I woke up at 6am. I needed to make sure that nothing happened over night to keep her any longer. They said she was good to go and that she would be sent home as soon as the Doctor made her rounds and cleared her. So I went back to be, although I couldn’t sleep that well, and got up at 8am to get ready. Nik and I left for the hospital around 11am to make her last feeding. Up to this point whenever I have been there for her feeding we have been able to breastfeed and she is a champ! People say that once they have a bottle nipple they have nipple confusion and can’t breastfeed. Not the case over with this Berry family! We are troopers!!

 This was her outfit to go home in.
Her Auntie Carrot made it for her.

So Nik and I sat around for another hour after her feeding waiting for the Doctor to arrive. As soon as we heard the Doctor we ripped open our curtains to make sure she knew we were there waiting! She came over and took off her monitors, gave us some advice, and then said we could take her home! Denise, her nurse that has been with her all but 2 days, gave us our discharge instructions, I signed some papers, and then we put her in her car seat and left the building! It was so wonderful to walk out of the door with Nik carrying Tatum in her car seat in one hand and my hand in the other! This is the way life is supposed to be. I couldn’t have been any happier in that moment.

 Grabbing a picture with her awesome nurse, Denise, before we left!

We took her to the families to visit and then we went home. It was quite the day and we were all exhausted.
Tatum did a pretty decent job at home in her cradle that first night…considering the fact her environment was completely different that was she was used to. In the NICU it was constant lights and noise and here in our room it was silence and darkness. She was up and fussy and crying for a good portion of the night but that was all to be expected. This is all new for us as we get into a better routine.

Monday, June 6, 2011 

Tatum saw her Pediatrician and she said that Tatum looks great for her being a preemie. Tatum is in the 10th percentile for her height and weight, but that was to be expected. We have another follow-up appointment for next Tuesday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tatum was given her first bath at home. She wasn't a happy camper but we had to do it anyways. Hopefully she will warm up to it and like it in the future. But goodness...she was awful cute wrapped up in that little towel.

The days that followed have been wonderful. I am trying to do better with Becoming Baby Wise. It sure is a difficult one but I’m trying to be confident it will pay off in a few short weeks. Nik is awesome at being supportive and helpful when I need it most. And Tatum is great at making us smile.