10.29.2014

Scary Hill

Last weekend we had a girls activity with my mom and went to Scary Hill. I was highly impressed. The cost wasn't too bad, there was tons to do, and it wasn't crowded. Kennedy had tons of fun. Next time though, we'll try and go with more kids. We were too big to do a lot of the things so it would have been more fun for Kennedy to have someone to play with.
We took a tractor ride through a campground full of skeletons... (and took a picture with the sun blaring in our eyes...)
 Played in the bounce house...


 Took a couple turns on the bumper boats (which she learned how to drive on her own pretty quickly)


 And played on the playground and completed the maze with Kennedy as our leader.
As we were leaving, it was windy, so when I opened the car door, the balloon that Kennedy got at preschool and has been OBSESSED with (it's gone everywhere with us) flew right out of the car. I tried to catch it and just as I was about to grab it the wind picked it up and shot it in the sky, out of reach. Kennedy started crying and then the balloon raced across the parking lot and got stuck on a fence. I decided looking like an idiot sounded fun, so I went off chasing her stupid balloon across Cherry Hill. Long story short, I got the balloon back. Mom power.

10.24.2014

Family Updates

Cory

Cory is doing well. He's either been hard at work while at work, or he's been hard at work trying to get our basement finished. We decided to finish it about a month or so ago. The drywall is almost up, which is amazing considering he's done it all; single handed. There's still so much work to be done down there, it's unreal. But we're plucking along. I'm hoping once he has some Saturday's off that we can get some help and knock out some more work quicker.

Megan

I'm living the dream as a stay-at-home mother of two very busy children. Well, one busy one and one needy one. So I see a lot of this...

...and this...
But also a lot of this
I seriously question every single day why I even bother to vacuum or clean our floors or wipe off the couch. There's always a mess somewhere that needs to be cleaned up. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm doing well and feeling well. I had a very strong long run this week (long for me) that set my spirits soaring. I was on cloud 9 all day long. I feel like I'm starting to leave this ligament crap in the dust. Time to rebuild! Side note, I also started watching Revenge a couple weeks ago. It's amazing. I need to find someone who's as hooked on it as I am so we can text each other about it. Any takers?

Kennedy

Kennedy is her usual spunky self. She is LOVING preschool. She gets so excited when we're approaching the building and it comes into her view. She yells and points and kicks her legs. Her teachers are wonderful and I think she's making some friends. It's also helped her speech. She's still pretty hard to understand a lot of the time, but she's at least trying to say things and will repeat words when I correct her. We've kind of given up on speech therapy because it was a terrible fit for her. It was nothing but a fight and I couldn't stand going and wasting our time while I fought Kennedy to listen and sit still. They weren't doing anything that we can't do at home. Although she is still significantly behind most kids her age, I believe she will get it eventually. It has to be on her terms, like everything.

Brynlie

Little Monster turned 5 months old this week. Yay!

She's rolling over all the time now and we finally got her sleeping through the night again. She's eating 6 oz every 3-4 hours, is in size 2 diapers, and graduated to 6 month size clothes. She naps pretty good in her crib but we're gone a lot, so she also sleeps a lot in her car seat. She's started showing a sensitive side to her personality. She's been scared easily by loud noises and people getting in her face too abruptly. The face she pulls is the cutest and saddest thing you've ever seen. Her eyes get big and she sticks out her bottom lip and.... *sigh*..... her face just crumples into adorable/sad cries. She's sure a little spitfire.

We tried solids this past week as well. It was meh. I remember being so excited to try it with Kennedy. Now it's just another thing I have to do haha... so I'm not too consistent with it yet.





And in other news...

We've done a couple fun, Halloween related things lately to try and keep ourselves entertained. We attempted Gardner Village last week but we went on the worst day possible and it was nothing but swarms of people. I hate swarms of people. I don't even like clusters of people, much less swarms.
So we didn't get to do or see much, but that's ok.

On Sunday we took some of our pumpkins up to the Hunter's house and painted them. Kennedy had a blast!


This girl sure loves to paint.

And of course, I've gotten in as much cuddle time with my babies as I can get.

Who else is ready for some cooler fall temperatures? I sure am!

10.21.2014

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe and A First Field Trip

Kennedy had her first field trip today. I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of her boarding the bus from our hiding spot that my mom and I were hunkered down in... but it's alright. She was gone 5 hours and apparently had a great time because she's really tired and grumpy. She keeps telling me she wants to ride on the bus again. 

I didn't expect a field trip to be such an emotional thing for me. I was sad because I knew she was off to have fun and I would miss it, and I was anxious to trust someone else with her safety. But, I also tried to enjoy the free time with just Brynlie. We hit the gym, showered, and I got to watch a couple episodes of Revenge. It's my new obsession. 

She made it back safe and sound like I expected her to, and I am thankful to the ladies who are brave enough to take preschoolers out on field trips. 1st graders were hard enough for me, I can't imagine kids half their age. 


In other news, we had spaghetti on the menu for dinner tonight and I've been busting my butt to find a canned spaghetti sauce that doesn't have sugar or other additives in it. Try as I may, it hasn't happened yet. I guess I haven't "busted my butt", but Smith's hasn't had any that I've seen. So I decided to be brave and come up with a recipe of my own...

I have to say, I am highly impressed with myself. It turned out amazing!!
So I decided to share the recipe with you! I like my spaghetti sauce chunky, so that's exactly how this is.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:
2 small onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
2 14.5oz tomato paste
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
couple shakes of red pepper flakes
1 lb ground turkey (or beef or sausage, whatever you like. Or no meat if you're vegetarian)

Directions:
In a large soup pot, sautee the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the olive oil until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients (except meat) and cook until hot. I cooked the meat in a separate frying pan so I could drain the grease and then I added it to the sauce and simmered it for about 15 minutes. 

Use with spaghetti or spaghetti squash! Cory had it with noodles and I had it with spaghetti squash and we both loved it. Very tangy and delicious. 

10.17.2014

Vegan and Grain-Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This fall, for some odd reason, I have been majorly craving pumpkin. I'm not generally a huge pumpkin lover, except for pumpkin cookies, so this craving has been foreign to me. Our eating habits have changed drastically in our household. I used to make fun of people who ate like me, but here I am, embracing the lifestyle. I wont even get into all the diseases and health problems that I believe are associated with processed crap on the market. We avoid processed foods as much as possible. Which has made satisfying my pumpkin cravings a little more difficult.

I've been browsing the internet for healthier versions of fall favorites and stumbled upon THIS recipe from Popsugar. I vowed to try it sometime.

Last night though, my craving became really intense and just before it was time to put the kiddies to bed, I decided I had to make some pumpkin cookies, NOW!

I made a few adaptations because of lack of ingredients. You can try the Popsugar recipe, but I figured I would share my own version, too. Just in case.


I have to say, although they're not true pumpkin cookies, they are still pretty good. I was impressed. 

Ingredients:
1 cup creamy almond butter (my almond butter is a little crunchy, which I actually found to be a neat addition to the cookies...)
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I just realized I skipped this step on accident and they still turned out fine...I wonder how much better they would have been with it? oops...)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Don't skip this step, they're sticky. 
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add the chocolate chips last.
spoon onto cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until set. 

The recipe said it would make 2 dozen cookies and I only got 13 out of the recipe.... so I don't know if I made mine too large (they're small in my opinion, the Popsugar ones must be bite size) or what, but I also had to bake them for almost 20 minutes. Mine also turned out prettier than the original recipe. Theirs looks like baby poop. But, to each their own. 

Enjoy! 

10.16.2014

This Thing Called Running and Such

When I was pregnant with Kennedy my body yearned to run. I would start crying at the sight of someone running on the side of the street and I could not wait to get back into the sport.

Pregnancy with Brynlie was a different story. I've already mentioned about 1,000 times that the pregnancy was awful and that I'm still struggling with pelvic pain after doing certain activities. Running has been one of those activities, and as a result, I hadn't had the desire to run much.

That is, until about a month ago...

All of the sudden the running desire is burning strong within me once again. But I've been scared of what my body is actually capable of.

I've been really learning to push past my comfort zone in the gym. It's paid off. I'm developing strength and stamina and I know it's helping the ligament problem. Slowly. The other week we were doing renegade rows (the kind with the opposite leg lift, which really requires core stabilization). Those have always been agony for me and really kill my pelvis. I've always tried to do them anyway, so I got down and started doing them and after a few reps, realized it didn't hurt. I had finally gotten strong enough that my ligaments weren't bothered!! I instantly started crying and could not stop. I was so happy to finally win one.

Anyway, the strength work I've been doing at the gym has been helping. But, I can feel my hips are either still out of alignment or so poorly imbalanced, with my right side being much, much weaker. As a result, running has been a little odd. I feel discombobulated and pumping my legs actually takes some concentration. It's hard to explain. Not to mention, I am painfully slow. But we all have to start somewhere, right?

The last couple weeks I've tried to go on some solo runs and start building my running endurance again. In a month, I've gone from only being able to run a mile and a half without having to stop (and being dead after) to running 4 hilly miles without stopping. To me, that's a big improvement. I feel mentally stronger more than anything, and I feel like I know where my limits are and how to push towards them and not past them. It has really helped my confidence in what my body is capable of because, lets be honest, I was having a very hard time with the limitations all this crap has caused. It's also been a little weird to rejoice over running 4 miles when I used to be able to go so much farther.

But I'm learning to let go of what I "used" to be. It doesn't matter what I used to look like. It doesn't matter what I used to lift, what I used to run, what I used to wear. All that matters is now and how badly I want to change what's happening now.

I know strength and progress take time. I'm learning to be lenient and very patient with myself as I try to take my body back. I've set some exciting and ambitious goals for 2015. I want this next year to be MY year. I want to overcome every obstacle I faced this last year. I want to work through all my emotional issues I've been battling and just crush all my fears and doubts. I want to prove to myself that it doesn't matter what my body has been through, I can regain its strength and power.

I hope this doesn't sound cocky or preachy in any way. I am certainly just at the beginning still. I'm still overweight (but losing weight), I'm still struggling with certain limitations, and I'm still a slow, turtle runner. But I know that can and will all be changed. I know I can overcome this all. My body may not be super strong yet, but I feel strong because of my new mind set and drive to take back what is mine.  I will have a normal, strong body again. Whatever it takes.

This sacrifice for Brynlie has been the hardest. I feel like I lost a part of me but that I'm on the path to retrieve it. In short, I'm starting to feel like me again.

10.15.2014

Goblin Valley

I guess one good thing came from the national attention those guys pushing over the rocks in Goblin Valley State Park received; no one used to have any idea where it was when I would say we were going there. Now they all know it as, "the place where those guys pushed that rock over."

Thanks, guys. You've really put it on the map. *wink*

Anyway, so we went camping in Goblin Valley last weekend. It was awesome. The weather was great for the most part, Brynlie was an angel, Kennedy had a blast, Cory got to tinker, and I got a s'more. Everyone was a winner.

We arrived Friday afternoon and just lazily sat around camp and marveled at the amount of children camped in the group spot next to us. It was like a swarm of bee's.

We'll skip over the first night and how horribly Brynlie slept; or didn't sleep for that matter...

Saturday morning I awoke before the sun to this scene outside the trailer:
 Totally looks like a sunset, except it's not.

I'm still trying out this whole running again thing (more on that in another post) so I decided to go for a run. Running is still somewhat challenging for me but it's getting better. And the view couldn't be beat
I made it 4 miles without stopping, which is pretty impressive considering the entire 2 miles back were uphill. I'm a major hill-wimp. It's something I'm hoping to overcome soon. I listened to Fall Out Boy the whole run which helped push me through it. I've really been practicing building my mental strength and not giving up when I still can give so much more. I've made big strides. Again, more on that later.

After the run we had breakfast and went and hiked Little Wild Horse Canyon. It was another 4 miles on my feet but oh so fun. It's one of my favorite hikes. Brynlie was super jazzed to go
Being able to hold your own head up sure has it's perks. She did awesome in the hiking pack. Like she had a choice...

We had a slight mix up which resulted in no hiking pack for Kennedy, so she walked the whole thing. She was a champion hiker and was obsessed with scaling every single rock on her own without help. She wore herself out towards the end though and just started bawling and Cory carried her on his shoulders the rest of the way. He's a pretty fantastic Dad.
Even the blind man made it through! Which is awesome because we led him the wrong way at the beginning and basically put him in mortal jeopardy. Have you ever seen a blind man and his dog scale a cliff? I have. It's pretty intense. Probably moreso for poor Tommy.
 My favorite part of this picture is Brynlie. So freaking cute.



 Can't you tell we're all having fun?
And now for your enjoyment, here's a random pictures-of-my-kids-sleeping montage. Just imagine "Chariots of Fire" playing in the background...



We had a blast on the hike but definitely exhausted ourselves. We were all moving a little slower the rest of the evening. It's not the easiest of hikes.

Sunday the ruthless wind that is almost always blowing in Goblin Valley showed up. We decided to try and head to the Valley of Goblins anyway. Brynlie wasn't having it and after a short trial run, was sentenced to sit in the car with my mom. I can't blame her, having sand blown in your eyes really isn't fun. Kennedy braved it a little while longer before she, too, had had enough. But the excitement and adventure that she had when we were running around was priceless.










 We spent the rest of the day doing "indoor activities" like watching a movie and going for a drive. Amazingly there weren't any photo opportunities during those exciting events. I know, I was shocked, too.

Oh wait, just kidding, there was one...
Riveting. She's sure pretty though. Scabs and all.

Monday we packed up, which wasn't entirely boring:
Then decided to have another go in the Valley of Goblins since the wind had stopped. It was much more fun this time. Cory, Kennedy, and I explored and climbed until we were sweaty and whiny. It was glorious. Also we had crows circling above us. I'm pretty sure they were waiting for us to die.

It was a fun trip and was so nice to get away and enjoy southern Utah. I really feel so grateful to live in such a gorgeous state with so much to see and do.

Oh, and there was a train at the rest stop on the way home, which may or may not have made Kennedy's brain explode with excitement. She's such a boy.