Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pictures from Christmas

More up on my picasa: http://picasaweb.google.com/Jennifer.M.Vawter

Christmas Eve, getting ready for Church at Grandma & Grandpa's

First Christmas morning

Santa brought me an orange!

So excited it is finally Christmas!

The whirlwind that is our life!

Whew! We are busy! Here is a little snippet of what has been going on:

24th: Christmas at my parents house! We all made out like bandits! Lots of fun, especially our "minute to win it" competition. The whole family made it to the Christmas Eve service at mom and dad's church, very awesome. I also walked over to my parents neighbor's house to be interviewed and then hired (for free, she will be my first client) as her doula!!! She is due in a month!

25th: We had Christmas morning with our own little family. Keanan loved his duplo train set from Santa =) Zac's family joined us in the late morning for presents and lunch. Later we went over to Jess and Casey's for dinner.

26th: Relaxing morning. Headed to Ann and Brian's for our first annual Lathrop Cousin Reunion Party. Good times, half of the cousins were able to come (there are 12 of us) on pretty short notice.

27th: Amanda came over to watch the kids and I made my way in to town (Yelm) to meet up with another doula! I also stopped at the store and bought much of the items that I needed for my doula bag (thank you Christmas money!)

28th: (Today) Planning to take down the tree and get the house ready for our small group game night tonight (here)!

29th: The kids and I are going to Graham to meet up with Auntie Ann, the girls, and Grandma for some after Christmas shopping. In the evening Grandma is watching the kids while I have my first prenatal appointment with my first client!

30th: Ladies bible study in the morning here. Dinner with friends in the evening.

31st: Prenatal appointment with my second client in the morning. Party at firends house in the evening.

1st: Max and Kylene's wedding!

2nd: Church in the morning. Friends here for dinner in the evening.

3rd: NOTHING!

Next month also holds some doula meetings, belly dancing class (!!), my 40 hour doula training, a trip to Mossyrock, and the start of teaching the toddler class at our church. Whew! Lots of stuff, but lots of fun!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A week of Baby Jesus!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!!This wonderful week of Christmas we have been learning about Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus! Keanan colored a picture of the nativity with Miss Amanda, we checked about books from the library about Baby Jesus, and we made a stand-up version of Mary holding Baby Jesus. We have been reading a kids version of Luke 2 every day and Keanan can answer questions about it. We have also been singing our Advent song and Keanan can sing all 4 verses (hope, peace, joy, and love) almost all by himself!

Today we made reindeer out of a foot print and hand prints. They are super cute! Kyla did one too!House is clean, food is ready. My agenda for this evening is to wrap presents and make cookies for Santa! Bring on Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent Services - Complete!

We have had so much fun the last 4 weeks helping with the Advent services at our church. These were completely planned and put on by our amazing small group. (picture to come)

Last night was our last service. We focused on Mary and Joseph this week, complete with "Mary" singing Breath of Heaven (super awesome job Jamie!). We also lit all the advent candles and shared in communion. Just the thing to really prepare our hearts for Christmas day.

Thank you to all of our wonderful friends that made each week come together so beautifully. Next up...Lent?? =)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A week of Wise Men

This week we had fun learning about the wise men! Keanan colored a picture of them, made a cool 3D star, and checked out books at the library about the three kings. We read the bible story of the wise men almost everyday. Yesterday Keanan took some play money and told me "this is my gift." I asked him what gift? He responded, "For baby Jesus." So we put it next to baby Jesus in our nativity. He is listening! It really touched my heart =)

Yesterday we hosted a Christmas playgroup for our friends. There were 7 little ones all over the place, and poor Kyla was the only girl! We had lots of fun and everyone made Christmas trees! This was Kyla's first craft! I will definitely be keeping this one =)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peace!

We have had a very busy week, and a very busy week to come. But in the midst of it all, I am not stressed, not even a little bit! This is quite strange for me, I tend to err on the side of the perfectionist, especially when it is people coming to my house. During the Christmas season there are so many extra things to do, to buy, to make... many find themselves weary instead of cheery. But not this year. What is different?

This year we have put much, if not all, of our focus on the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus. We have been very intentional in telling the Christmas story to Keanan almost every day. Talking about angels, shepherds, wise man, and next week Joseph and Mary. Lighting the advent candles and singing about hope, peace, joy and next week love. Attending advent services each week put on by our small group. We are only buying gifts for the kids on both sides of our family, and very meaningful ones for our parents. Our kids only get one present from Santa, and one from us. We are making Christmas all about Jesus.

The result? Peace! I am almost in tears right now just thinking about the great flood of peace that has come over my life. Among all the parties, dinners, and activities of the season. I praise God for his peace. Peace that came into this world with the birth of a very special baby. Peace that surpasses all understanding.

I pray that this focus continues every year. I pray that you and your family experience God's amazing peace. Here is a quote from a devotional that I get my email that sums it up:

"If we are intentional we can suspend the season for a flickering moment; discovering Christ in the chaos and experiencing a holy hush among the hustle. Then, when the last strand of lights is taken down and the fruitcake is finished, we can look back on a Christmas season that was blessed, not stressed!"

Monday, December 13, 2010

A week of Shepherds

We spent last week talking about shepherds! Keanan colored a picture of shepherds, made a shepherd out of a toilet paper roll, and we read books about shepherds from the library. We also had fun making a hand print wreath with Lucy.

The week was a little crazy with Zac being gone in Chicago, but we made it. It helped that we spent 4 days and 2 night at my parents house! I am very glad he is home now.

We also had a busy and fun weekend: a party at the Johnson's on Saturday, church and my parents over for dinner on Sunday. I feel like I am getting caught up, and now we have a REALLY busy week this week (but lots of fun)! Tis the season...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Zac in Chicago

If you don't follow Zac's blog, One Leg Man, One Leg Machine, you should this week. He is doing some really neat stuff in prosthetic research. Here is his post from today: Hi-tech leg fun

Friday, December 3, 2010

A week of Angels

We are taking a break from the letters of the week this season to focus on Christmas! In keeping with the Advent services that our small group is hosting (each Tuesday 7pm at Crossroads Central in Yelm), this week we focused on Angels. Keanan colored a picture of an angel, we made an angel out of a toilet paper roll, and checked out some really cute angel books from the library. Each day we are also reading a version of the Christmas story that focuses on the angels. For good measure we also made a snowflake snowman =)

The kids and I have been suffering from colds this week, however they seem much better this morning. Even with the plugged up noses everyone has been sleeping well, even Kyla! It only took close to 10 months, yikes!

Zac leaves for Chicago tomorrow morning for a week. He is going to help the research team that is developing a leg that uses the amputees re-intervated nerves. He is super excited! I am excited for him too, but not that he will be gone for a week. Off to Grandma's house we will go =)

Happy first week of Advent!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Birth House - a review

This evening I had the opportunity to tour the Birth House in Olympia with my first doula client. If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional hospital birth setting, this may be the place for you!

The Birth House is the only freestanding birth center in the Olympia area, the closest being the Birthing Inn in Tacoma. It is also the office of Around the Circle Midwifery whose two midwives are currently the only ones practicing at the Birth House, however other midwives from the area are in the process of getting the needed licenses to use the center. The Birth House has been operational since the spring of 2010 and has been used for about 50 births.

The front of the building is a beautiful 100 year old house and the office space for the midwifery practice. The birth center is actual housed in an addition to the original building, joined by a kitchen. The woodwork is very beautiful and the atmosphere calm and cozy. There are 2 birthing rooms, both the same size, but with different decor to make them unique. The rooms have vaulted ceilings with recessed lighting, a large bed, a large jacuzzi tub, a changing table, a bassinet, a little balcony for fresh air, and an attached private bathroom. They are very beautiful, relaxing, clean, and inviting.

While in labor, one of the midwives is in the building at all times. Moms can have as many or as few support persons as she wishes. During the actual birth the midwife is accompanied by an assistant. The midwife I was talking to this evening told me that about 90% of their births are water births. After the birth the new family is able to stay in the room for up to 6 hours. The midwife will then visit them in their home the next day.

The Birth House is just 2 miles from St. Peter's hospital, just in case a transfer is needed. However, I asked the midwife this evening how many transfers they have had so far and in the 50 births at the center there have been no maternal transfers. The US rate for birth center transfers is 8-12%, so they are doing pretty good so far. They have had 2 infant transfers, just for some minor concerns that needed observation.

There are currently only 3 licensed midwives (not certified nurse midwives that deliver at the hospital) servicing the Olympia area at this time, so if you are thinking about delivering at the Birth House you need to contact them as soon as possible. Each midwife only takes about 5 clients a month, so they book up fast.

Overall, I was very impressed. If I was going to have another baby, I would go here. They are very pro-doula as well, which is a bonus in my book! =)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Letter of the week(s) - T

T is for tree, train, turtle & turkey! We checked out some neat books about a turkey, a train, a turtle, and a truck driver. It was neat that we got to T right in time for Thanksgiving! Keanan made some pictures for everyone we were going to see on Thanksgiving telling them what he was thankful for.

We had a very nice turkey day at my parents house. Way to much good food! Zac and I even got to take Keanan and Lucy in the hot tub. I also registered for the Professional Birth Doula class at Bates (thanks dad!!) Here are some pics from the day:Today we put up all our Christmas stuff (sans the tree - to come tomorrow) and danced to Christmas music all day long. It was very nice and relaxing. Here are some pics from a little photo shoot we did today (outfits courtesy of Great Grandma Grist):

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Snow

We woke up with about 6 inches. Zac had to take the truck to work (so thankful for our free truck!) Too cold for Kyla and I to go out, but Keanan made it for about 30 minutes:Hoping we can make it into town for our annual small group Thanksgiving dinner tonight. We will see. I am ready to get out of my house!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My dad rocks!!

Yesterday I was talking to my mom about the doula training class at Bates that I want to go to. My dad walks into the room and says "I'll pay for it." I was shocked! I told him "You don't even know what we are talking about." To which he responded "Your doula thingy. If you want to go, don't let the money stop you." I was almost speechless! I asked him "Why would you do that." And he said "Why not?" :Insert pink fluffy heart here!:

And now there is a beautiful blanket of snow outside our house. I love my life! God is sooooo good!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yay and Nay

Yay!
I found a doula training class closer than Seattle! It's in Tacoma at Bates Technical College the last weekend in Jan. and the first weekend in Feb. And it is about 1/2 the cost of the classes in Seattle! They also match you up with moms in the childbrith classes so you can get more hands on experience and use those births to count toward certification.

Nay!
It still costs $382. =( Hoping I can come up with it by January.

I also updated my website with some awesome quotes and more info in the "Dads and Doulas" page. Check it out (link on the left - Beautiful Miracles)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Instructions

These were my instructions from Keanan this morning while we were eating breakfast:

Keanan: Mommy, if you hear a roar you need to go over to the front door and open it over there (pointing to the front door). If you hear a roar it is a lion. And then you need a boy to roar at it because when boys roar it scares the lion back into the bushes.
Me: Well good thing we have a boy to roar and scare the lion away!
Keanan: Yep.

I love this kid!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Letter of the week(s) - S

The last two weeks we made a snake S, some shooting stars, a submarine, and a scarecrow! We checked out some fun books about stars and snakes at the library as well.

Kyla just started standing on her own last night! She was really proud of herself (and happy about us cheering for her).

Yesterday we got to spend the day with Uncle Brian, Lucy and Kate while Auntie Ann and Grandma are visiting Great Grandpa and Great Grandma in Arkansas. My papa (grandpa) has some pretty serious cancer, please keep him in your prayers. We had lots of fun playing and hanging out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kyla's 9 month stats

Kyla had her 9 months appointment today. Here are the stats:

Weight: 17lb 8oz (25th percentile)
Height: 27.5" (48th percentile)
Head Circumference: 43cm (21st percentile)

She was also in the 25th percentile for weight at her 6 month check-up, so she is gaining consistently, which is good. She is a tall, skinny, healthy baby! She got 2 shots, but was a trooper.

This is our first time seeing our new doctor after changing insurance. I REALLY liked her! She is super pro-cloth diapering and all for our delayed vax schedule. She got down and played with Kyla and kissed her little hands. Our last doctor was an older gentleman that always seemed afraid of babies, so this was a nice change.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

9 months!

As of yesterday, Kyla is 9 months old! Time is flying by! She is such a sweet, silly little girl. She loves her big brother and our kitty and will squeal loudly whenever she can touch either of them. She loves crawling up the stairs (we have to work on the down now) and climbing up mommy's leg (especially when I am in the kitchen). She loves when daddy comes home in the evening and bath time at night; she will flail all extremities with excitement in either case. She can easily walk along all the furniture to get what she wants, with great speed if it is something treasured by Keanan. She shakes her head no if we tell her no to something and raises her hands up to say "all done" (I haven't been consistent on other signs with her). She enjoys emptying anything she can and making a silly smiley face. She is our little princess, and knows it! We are blessed to have her in our lives. =)

I will try to get some pictures up tomorrow, in my "spare time" (ha!).

I didn't have a chance to post yesterday because we were off to dinner with our entire small group to La Creme Brulee! Everyone got dressed up (I wore my completed wedding/cocktail dress!) and had a blast! The food was great and conversations fun; we were there for 3 hours! I will post a picture as soon as I can steal one from somebody (we forgot our camera).

I also finished my first doula "textbook" yesterday! On to the next one!

I have been feeling a bit of burnout with my cloth diapers as of late. I would not change it for anything, but it's been a long 2 1/2 years! So we are doing disposable for night. Night time diapers is one of the biggest hurdles in cloth diapering. It is a challenge to find the right absorbency to get you through 12 hours without making them so huge that no pj's fit. They are also the first to get really stinky. So I can handle one disposable a day. It has really freed me up and I feel like I enjoy the cloth during the day even more. Whatever works!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Awesome quote of the day

The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be both terrific and torturous. - Anna Quindlen

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The pirate family!

Letter of the week(s) - R

Over the last two weeks we have had some fun with the letter R! We made a rabbit R, painted some rocks (to look like pumpkins!), and made a rocket! Keanan has been really into rockets lately. Every night when Zac gets home from work he asks him to watch the rocket on the computer (space shuttle launch on You Tube). We find a really neat rocket book at the library and also one about a robot.

Kyla has been lucky enough to be able to borrow some cute clothes from her friend Addisyn. Since Addy's mom is pretty much a fashion guru, Kyla is styling now! She even gave Kyla some more flower hair/headband clips that she made. In addition to that, Kyla is now sporting a new baltic amber teething necklace! She's pretty dang cute!

In other news: I have official launched my doula business with a website! It's called "Beautiful Miracles" (click for link) Check it out and spread the word to any pregnant friends!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A day at Grandma's house

Keanan and Lucy in their Halloween jammies from GrandmaKyla and Kate

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why?

I have been asked a few times why we are moving. (That is, IF our house sells)

  1. Zac doesn't like the length of his commute everyday.
  2. We don't need this big of a house. Lots of space = lots of room for "stuff". I hate "stuff". Note: if you are one of the lucky people that are buying us Christmas presents this year, please do not give us more "stuff". We would much rather have experiences (tickets to a play, gift cards for dinner), or better yet - buy something from the World Vision Global Gift Guide in our name.
  3. Having a smaller/cheaper place means we can afford to go do more with our kids, like traveling.
I'm excited! We will see what God has planned!

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Official

Last night we signed all the papers and our house is now on the market! Here is the link to the listing: http://www.matrix.nwmls.com/Matrix/Public/Portal.aspx?k=1647762X8G8S&p=DE-2246611-890

Last night I also cut Keanan and Zac's hair! We ordered some professional clippers online and they came yesterday. For it being my first time, it wasn't that bad! They were both LONG overdue for haircuts.

I am also going to be a labor support person for a teen mom friend in May! I am super excited and have been reading tons of doula info to help me get ready. =)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letter of the week(s) - Q

We took two weeks to explore Q since we didn't make it to the library the first week.
We made a queen Q, a quail and did some Q-tip painting. The library had some fun books about a queen, being quiet, and Quack - a book about ducks written in the international language of ducks (every word is pretty much quack!) We even saw a flock of quail in our backyard and had quiche for dinner one night.

To celebrate the time of year we also made a fluffy ghost and a leaf sprial.

As I posted on facebook, Keanan has spent the last two nights sleeping in undies! And keeping them dry!! So excited that he is completely done with diapers. One down, one to go!

Kyla is walking all over the place by hanging on to stuff. She is everywhere! She also loves to jabber at us. She can correctly identify mama and dada! We are waiting to see what she will say for Keanan!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Becoming a Doula.... in the future.

Over the last few weeks I have been pondering what I should do when the kids go back to school. I have no desire to go back to teaching math. I loved it while I was doing it, but that chapter of my life is done. The thought hit me last weekend to become a Doula and then maybe later a Midwife!

What is a Doula?
The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.

Why have a Doula?
Numerous studies have revealed the benefits of having a doula present during labor. A recent Cochrane Review, Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth, revealed a very high number of positive birth outcomes when a doula was present. When a doula was present, women were less likely to have pain relief medications administered, less likely to have a cesarean birth, and reported having a more positive childbirth experience.

Other studies have shown that having a doula as part of the birth team decreases the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40% and the request for an epidural by 60%.

I got really excited and did a bunch of research this week about what it would take to become a certified Doula. BUT, after talking with Zac last night and emailing with a 30 year veteran Doula in Tacoma, I don't think right now is the best time to start. The kids are a bit too little for me to be gone at a birth for 48+ hours. So I will wait for a few years and then see if this is what the Lord wants me to do.

Right now my job is to be the best wife I can be to Zac; the best mom I can be to Keanan and Kyla; and the best daughter I can be to the King! I am content with that. =)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cloth Diapers - What?

Last week I did a post about the "why" of cloth diapering. This week I want to talk about the what. Many people hear cloth diapers and think of prefolds with pins and rubber pants. Oh man are you in for a shock! Cloth diapering has changed sooo much in the last 10 years. These are not your Grandma's cloth diapers!

There are 4 different types of cloth diapering systems: the two part system, the All In Ones, the pockets, and the Hybrid's (or All In Twos)

The Two Part System:This type of system has... two parts. Whoa. The diaper is the absorbent part and the cover is the waterproof part. The old fashioned prefold fits in this category, and many people still use them. Fitted diapers are also part of this system. These diapers have snaps or velcro closure and usually elastic around the legs and back to contain messes. Fitteds are made of cotton, bamboo, hemp, or a mixture. We use them at night because they are the ONLY type of diaper that works well for a side-sleeping baby. Other types (including disposables) have no absorbency on the sides. Covers are usually made of PUL (laminated polyester), but some people like using wool or fleece because is breathes. This is the cheapest of the 4 systems and sometimes the easiest to get really clean. However, it is a little more work during the actual diaper change because there is 2 parts.

The All In One (AIO)This system has the absorbent diaper and the waterproof cover in 1 package. I call these the daddy and day-care diapers because they are so easy to use (pretty much the same as a disposable). Most of these diapers use a mico-fleece or micro-suede material next to the baby's skin to wick moisture away so they don't feel wet. The absorbent material may be microfiber, hemp, cotton or bamboo. The waterproof outer is almost always PUL. THe down side to this system is that it is the most expensive and hardest to get really good and clean on the inside.

The Pockets:This is the most popular system. Pretty much every cloth diaper maker has a pocket diaper. Pocket diapers take the absorbent material and stuff it into a pocket. Once this is done, the diaper resembles an AIO. It is very easy to use. After use the insert is removed so that everything gets really clean in the wash, like the two part system. Most pockets use micro-fiber as their absorbent material and PUL as the waterproof outer. There is also a layer of micro-fleece or micro-suede next to the baby's skin for the stay-dry affect. Pockets vary in price. This is the system that we started with and the only type of diapers Zac will use.

The Hybrid's / All in Two's (AI2):This is the newest type of system on the market. Some brands include Flip, GroVia, and G-diaper. The reason it is called a hybrid is because these diapers have options for the type of absorbent material you can use; a disposable soaker, a natural / organic soaker, and in some cases a stay-dry soaker. You pick what works best for your family. The soaker lies on the PUL cover and then the cover is fastened to the baby. After it is wet the soaker is removed and the cover is wiped off and reused (unless it has poop on it, then in the pail it goes). This type of system is gaining in popularity because they are cheaper than pockets and pretty easy to use. This is the type of system that we use the most right now.

Next week I will write about the "how" of cloth diapering.

A Sleep Miracle!

Kyla only woke up once in the night!!! And all I had to do was give her her plug (paci) and she went back to sleep. 8pm - 7am with only one wake-up, thank you Jesus! I pray that this is the start of awesome sleeping in our house! =)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Missing Felines Report

Names: Smokey and Grey Kitty

Age: about 5 months

Description: Smokey - smokey; Grey Kitty - grey

Last seen: at the end of the driveway following Zac and Keanan as they walked out to get the garbage cans last night

Notes: Tig (remaining kitty) is going crazy without them, it is really sad.

Reward: Umm, no. We did just pay to get them fixed, dang-nabit! Keanan, Tig, and I will be happy if they come home.

*Sigh* I was surprised they lasted this long. We will see if they come back...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cloth Diapers - Why?

I haven't written about the cloth diaper goodness in awhile, so here you go!

Why Use Cloth Diapers?
There are 3 main reasons: cloth is better for your budget, better for the environment, and better for your baby.

Better for your budget
Here are some facts for you. The average cost of diapering your baby from birth to potty training in disposables is $2,000! You can cloth diaper your baby from birth to potty training for as little as $100!!! Price varies depending on what type of diapers you use, but the savings are still HUGE! Also, your cloth diapers can be re-used for your other kids ans then sold to make some of your money back! Can't do that with disposables, ewww.

Better for the environment
More facts. Each baby that is disposable diapered from birth to potty training makes about 2 TONS of landfill waste! And it is estimated to take 500 YEARS for a single disposable diaper to decompose. Gross!! There was even a study done that found that the water it takes to wash your cloth diapers is less than the water it takes to make the disposable diapers. Now they are even creating cloth diapers in such a way that the entire thing (minus the snaps) will break down in 5 years!

Better for your baby
Disposable diapers contain toxins such as dioxin, tributyl-tin, and SAP (sodium polyacrylate) from production and for absorbancy. These things have been linked to cancer, hormonal problems, chemical burns (ehm, pampers dry-max), and allergic reactions. There are 4 materials used for the absorbancy of cloth diapers: cotton, bamboo, microfiber, and hemp. The waterproof layer is either a laminated polyester (PUL or TPU), wool, or fleece. They are super soft and comfy on your babies bum without the chemicals. Have you seen all the colors and prints? These things are sooo cute!

So there is the why. After learning these things I was sold!

I will do another post later about the "what" of cloth diapering and explain the 4 different systems. I love this stuff!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Friends

I am going to be really real right now.

It is very difficult for me to make friends. I am not mean or anything like that, I just have a very hard time opening up to people. I have an introvert personality and most days would be happy to just stay holed up in my house. If I am around others for any length of time I feel really drained. So when I meet someone or run in to an acquaintance, I don't know what to say and have to force myself to make eye-contact. I think I sometimes come off as rude or stuck-up because of this.

I also am afraid that if I really get to know someone and open up to them, they will leave. I am not sure where this comes from, but it has really been an issue for me. These past few weeks I have met some random people here and there, but then I find out they are in the military or something like that. I even told Zac "I don't want to be her friend because then she will move." He was shocked that I would say that. I told him I was joking, but he saw through it. I am glad that he knows me.

I have been praying about this. I really would like to make more real friends, I just don't know how. Reading over this sounds so sad to me, but I don't want to be fake. This is where I am at right now.

How do you make and keep real, deep friendships?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Letter of the week - P

This week we made a piano P, a pig and a peacock! We also picked up some fun books about pirates at the library. It worked out perfect since we got Keanan's Halloween costume this week as well, a pirate! We are actually going to be a pirate family, complete with a real peg leg and baby parrot (Kyla)! It will be awesome!

Slowly but surely Kyla is sleeping better. Very slowly. Someday, maybe in a year, I will get a full, uninterrupted night of sleep. Someday.

Right now the crazy girl is starting to cruise the furniture! I keep telling her to slow down, she is not even 8 months old yet! But, she still has no teeth!

Happy October!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A wonderful weekend!


We were sad it had to end, *sigh*, but I did miss the kids a bit. If you have never been to Steilacoom / Anderson Island, go there! We really enjoyed the 'forced relaxation' time on the ferry (it is a 20 min trip) and the amazing views. Here are two places to visit:

The Inn at Burg's Landing B&B Annie was such a wonderful hostess. We stayed in the master suite upstairs. It was an awesome room with a large skylight over the log bed and a huge jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. There was also a balcony area where we could sit and look out over the sound. We walked along the beach with some of Annie's wonderful cookies in hand. Breakfast was amazing! She made us cheese blitzs' which I have never had before, but hurt myself in eating too many because they were so good! We will definitely be going back here.

La Creme Brulee
You must go here for a date night! Or even just by yourself! SOOOO good! We had escargot as an appetizer, Zac was a little nervous about it but they were yummy! For the main course I had pasta rigate and Zac had roasted maple leaf duck breast. I have had a lot of pasta before, but this was by far the best ever. The duck was amazing! So tender and juicy. For desert, I had creme brulee and Zac had tarte citron (lemon tart). Both were so wonderful! All of that for only $66!! Chef Bertrand was born and raised in France and studied in Paris. He has worked in restruants all over the world. The waiter was French as well, with a very heavy accent. They only spoke French to each other - so cool! Seriously, you need to go here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Letter of the week - O

This week we made an owl O, an octopus, and a painting using an orange and an onion! We also had calamari for dinner on the day we made the octopus (yes, I know calamari is really squid, close enough). Keanan LOVED it! We checked out some fun books about owls and onions at the library as well.

Kyla is pulling herself up to standing on anything she can! She is pretty fearless! She is still not doing super great with sleeping at night, but we are working on it. She was having trouble nursing during the day, too distracted, but it seems we are getting over that. Yay, I do not like pumping all the time!

First sleepover for the two of them together at Grandma and Grandpa's tomorrow! Oh man am I excited!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Updates...

After about a month I ended my journey with "no poo". If you don't know what I am talking about, I went over a month without washing my hair with shampoo. Instead I used baking soda and an apple cider vinegar rinse about every other day. This worked great! My hair felt clean, soft and healthy. I liked that I wasn't using so may chemicals on my body. In fact, after starting this, I switched all my makeup, lotions, the kids wash/shampoo, and my body wash to natural products. The ONLY downside, and the reason I quite doing it, was the tangles. I have a SUPER sensitive head. I would cry when I was little when my hair was brushed (right mom?). I was almost crying every time I got out of the shower and had to brush my hair beacuse it was so tangled and hurt so bad. So I bought a nice organic coconut milk shampoo and conditioner (I am a sucker for anything coconut). Come to find out, there has been no salt in our water softener for who-knows-how-long and this is probably the cause of all the tangles. Grrrr. Oh well, I am really enjoying the coconut smell...

We are still going strong on my other internet ideas: green smoothies, crockpot cooking, un-paper towels, and letter of the week crafts. We will see what I stumble upon next...

Zac and I had been planning for some time to take a little cruise this coming weekend. There was a deal through our church that one of the cruise lines was moving their ship from Seattle to Vancouver, BC to dock for the winter or something. So for a cheap price we could take a mini cruise and enjoy all the stuff on the boat. Well, we procrastinated too long and the tickets for the date we wanted sold out. We also realized that I do not have a passport or whatever fancy drivers license thing you need to get back into the country and we didn't have enough time to get one. We had already asked my parents to watch the kids for the night so I hunted around on the internet and booked us a room at a B&B on Anderson Island! We are super excited!! I once again apologize in advance to my mom (and Mathew & Elizabeth since you guys will be staying there too!) for the lack of sleep she will be recieving on Saturday night (I don't think my dad will hear anything). I am trying to night wean Kyla, really I am, she is just not cooperating very well. Keanan is really excited to play with Uncle Mat, swim in the hot tub, and go to class with Grandma (she teaches 2-3 year old Sunday School at their church). Our room has a large jetted tub. I am going to live in it the entire time we are there. Seriously.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Letter of the week - N

This week we made a number N, a nature jar, and a noodle necklace! Keanan loved making the necklace. He sat on the floor for a good 20 minutes lacing the noodles onto the yarn! Awesome work for fine motor skills. He even made Zac a bracelet (that daddy wore all evening =) ). We also checked out some books at the library about numbers and noses.

Kyla is pulling herself up on everything! I had to get the gates out to block the stairs today. If we hold her hands she will walk all over too! She is getting so big!!

It is a busy diaper party weekend for me. I have a party for a friend in Lacey tomorrow and then a party at my moms house in Graham on Sunday. I also got my first paycheck in the mail today! I am really enjoying it, even if I don't make much money. It makes me happy to know that more people are choosing to use cloth diapers!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

It is 4:10. Keanan is STILL not asleep for nap and the stupid, annoying stellar jays are having some kind of party in the backyard! If Kyla was not asleep I would be all over their blue butts with the shotgun!! Fly away you winged noise makers!! GO TO SLEEP KEANAN!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

From the study I am doing, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl"

"Maybe this is the true secret to being fulfilled and content. Not reaching back for what was lost in my yesterdays. And not reaching for what I hope will be in my tomorrow. But living fully with what is right in front of me. And truly seeing the gift of this moment." - Lysa Terkeurst

Really stuck with me today.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lazy Days and Lions

We enjoyed an awesome lazy Sunday today, I needed it. We had a good time at church (I had nursery duty) and then our friend Josh come over for lunch and a visit. The kids (and I!) took nice long naps while Zac cleaned up the tent trailer (want to buy it?)

Yesterday Zac went to help Brian work on the addition on their house. The kids and I headed over to my moms house to visit and take naps. After dinner Keanan and Lucy went in the hot tub for the first time! They were both very unsure at first, but after some splashing from Grandma they got in and turned into little fish! They both did so good - even in the deep part.

Evidently a pride of lions have moved into our house and yard. They are often found lurking in my bedroom or the tall grass around our house. Good thing we have super hunter Keanan armed with his net to protect us. However, he usually catches a lion and brings it to me so it can eat me! Don't worry, he told me he will put my leftovers in a tuperware!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A conversation

Dad: Keanan, why are you crying?
Keanan: I got an owwie. I need a sticky-bun to make it all better.

sticky-bun = doughy, sugary rolls of goodness that I made tonight for Zac.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dedication

This evening we dedicated our kids to the Lord. Our small group had the idea to do a mass baby dedication/baptism since so many of us have had babies lately. It was later opened up to our entire church. So about 7 families dedicated their kids and about 15 people were baptized! It was HUGE! Everything went great, despite the rain, and we even had enough food (our small group prepared a taco bar). Way to go Chris and Greg for getting the ball rolling and being in charge =)

Zac did the dedication for our kids a little different. He wanted to talk instead of the "read the lines out of the book" type deal (not that there is anything wrong with that). He did sooo great. He had all of our small group members come up front as well as our family and basically told them that he expects them all to share with our kids all that God is doing in their lives. Then is prayed for both Keanan and Kyla. I'm not sure how I didn't cry.

Other recent happenings:

On Sunday we spent the day in Mossyrock visiting Zac's parents. The kids were really good and even took decent naps. Zac's mom made a yummy strata for dinner. On the way up there Keanan randomly told us that the trees in Mossyrock were old and that Grandpa needed to cut them down. We told John this when we got there and do you know what he did? He, Zac, and Keanan went out and actually cut down a tree! Keanan was thrilled! What a good Grandpa =)

On Monday we went to the Pioneer Farm and museum in the Ohop Valley. It was so neat! We got to tour actual pioneer homes, ground corn to make corn flour, washed clothes on an scrubbing board thing, carded wool, milked a cow (it is harder than I thought!), found and weighed eggs, jumped in hay, caught chickens, pumped water with a hand pump, pounded horseshoes in the blacksmith shop (Zac did), and ate a picnic lunch!

That evening I had a diaper party in Lacey so Zac gave the kids baths and put them to bed all by himself! I am really enjoying the diaper parties! Even if I don't make that much money, I love talking about cloth diapers! I know, I am weird.

Good times, good times.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Letter of the week(s) - M

We have been working on M the last two weeks. We made a mountain M, a mouse, and a monster with Miss Amanda! We also checked out some books from the library about mice, a monster, and the moon. The verse was "My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me" John 10:27

Today we took a family trip to Lattin's Farm and Cider Mill in east Olympia. Keanan had tons of fun seeing the animals and feeding the goats. Zac and I enjoyed the freshly baked donuts and apple fritters...yummmm! On Monday we are planning to head out to the Pioneer Farm and Museum in the Ohop Valley. I am super excited to milk a cow!! It is one of the things on my bucket list (right next to 'spend the night at an Amish Bed n' Breakfast').

My latest internet find has been green smoothies! We (and most americans) don't get enough veggies, let alone leafy greens, in our diet. This is a yummy way to solve that. Basically it is 60% fruit, 40% leafy greens with an oj base. We have been doing banana, strawberry and a spinach mix. The fruit overpowers the veggie taste. Zac and I have been enjoying them at breakfast time. Here is a website with more info: http://www.greensmoothie.com/blend/green.html

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ahhh! (in a good way, like a sigh of contentment)

There is nothing quite like a newly cleaned house! Praise the Lord for Amanda-amazing-Carlson! She came over for 3 hours and played with the kids. I got SOOO much done! Whole house vacuumed, bathrooms cleaned, my shower cleaned (can't remember the last time this happened), whole house dusted, floors mopped, laundry done. Seriously, it would have taken me all week to do that if it was just me and the kids here.

Now I feel so relaxed and able to just BE with my family. You know what is even better? She is probably going to come every week and watch the kids for a few hours!!! I am going to attack the pit-of despair known as our office, clean the windows, go though old clothes, all the stuff that needs to get done but I don't want to do. Maybe I'll even head into town for a me-date one of the times! Super excited!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Diapers!

I am making a bold move and selling all of my BumGenius pocket diapers to instead by some Flip Hybrid diapers with organic cotton inserts! Ahh! I am a little nervous. Pocket diapers have really been all we have used. I am getting tired of the microfiber inserts (they tend to hold stink a little easier than natural fibers) and the velcro (it doesn't hold up well to over the long haul). Any one want to buy some =) I have 11 left, $10 a piece (free shipping!) I just need to sell 7 more before I can order the Flips.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lathrop Family Photo!

We all look fabulous after camping at my parents river property, but here we are! All of us!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Possible Party Tonight!

So the Diaper Parties rep in Seattle (Shannon) has a party booked for tonight at 6:30 in Tacoma, but she emailed me last night to ask if I wanted to take it. She is 8 months pregnant and doesn't want to make the 1 1/2 hour drive each way. Just waiting to get the details to confirm! Hopefully some good sales for me! Woot! (can a 29 year old say "woot"?)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby Food

I just made some squash and peaches for Kyla. I also have green beans, peas, and sweet potatoes in the freezer; applesauce in the fridge; and bananas and avacado on the counter (these don't need to be cooked). I ground up some oatmeal in my mini-food processor for her cereal in the morning.

Baby food is so easy to make! It is way cheaper (and healthier) to make it yourself, but many don't know they can do it! Here is a great website all about it: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dress pics.


I will try to find a "before" pic later when Zac gets home (Kyla and I didn't make it to church due to a nasty cold she came down with yesterday), I am still figuring out the Ubuntu OS that Zac put on my netbook.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What have we been up to?

Been trying to lay low this week. Needed a little break from the norm.

Wednesday I had a Diaper Parties presentation for the Mom's Club of Dupont. It was fun and went really well (except for the part when Kyla puked on the ladies carpet and then Keanan stood up front by me and peed on the ladies floor). One of the gals that was there has already bought some diapers through me via the website that I get 15% commission from! ( www.everythingbirth.com use code JVW10 at checkout for 5% off your order! )

Wednesday evening my parents came for dinner and to see the kids.

Thursday we went into Olympia to pick up my wedding dress! It is now a knee length dress! It looks great! We took some pics that I will put up later. The girls are working on making a little jacket with the scraps that were left.

Today we trekked into Graham to spend the day with the Johnson's. Keanan and Lucy had fun playing in the dirt (they are remodeling their house) and taking a bath together. It was fun seeing fatso-watso Kate too!

Kyla is getting faster! She is all over the house and even tried pulling herself up on the stairs yesterday. Keanan is getting better about putting things up that he doesn't want her to get. They are getting so big!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Zac! Happy birthday to you! Wooo hooo! 29 today! Have a wonderful day honey. We love you!!

~Jen, Keanan, & Kyla

Friday, August 13, 2010

Letter of the week - L

Our letter of the week fun has been a little slow during this camping season. This week we made a ladder L, a ladybug, and did some lacing on a lion! The lacing was great work in fine motor skills and Keanan did way better than I thought he would. We also checked out some books about lions and ladders at the library. The verse for the week is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22: 37-38

We are packing up and heading out to the ocean this weekend with Zac's parents. Keanan is very excited. I think I will be more excited when we actually get there. We leave in approx. 8 hours and what have I packed? Zilch, zip, nada. Fun times.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kyla's 6 month checkup

Keanan and I took Kyla to the doctor yesterday. She was a silly, happy baby the whole time and didn't even cry when she got her shot! She weighs a little over 15 pounds and is about 27 inches long. So she is a long, lean little girl! Healthy as can be. Now if she will just start sleeping / napping good again...

And it's official, Kyla is on the move! She started scooting all over yesterday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come read with me!

So I just found this awesome site that has set up bible reading for a year in chronological order! It is about 15 mins. a day for a year. I am a little late in the game as it is August (they are on Jeremiah) but am going to give it a shot. You set which version you want to read (I am doing the Message) and can also sign up for daily or weekly emails. Here is the link: http://oneyearbibleonline.com/oneyearweeklychrono.php?version=51&startmmdd=0101 I am going to try to wake up before the rest of the house and do this. Come join me!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lemon Cheese

So yummy and so easy! I started some before lunch and it was ready to eat 2 1/2 hours later. It is a soft cheese, pretty bland, but with a hint of lemon. I like to add salt and rosemary from my flower bed. You don't need any special equipment (except for cheese cloth or a nylon or something like that) or ingredients, go ahead, give it a shot!

Ingredients:
1/2 gallon whole milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt (optional)
herbs (optional)

Steps:
- heat the milk in a large pot to about 200 degrees (just before boiling), stir gently on occasion so it doesn't scald.
- remove from heat and slowly stir in the lemon juice
- cover and let sit for 15 minutes
- pour into a colander lined with the cheesecloth (or clean nylon, something to let the whey pass through)
- tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and let it hang (over a bowl) for 1-2 hours (I hang mine from a hook in my kitchen)
- break up the curd mass with your fingers and toss with salt and herbs if desired. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks (you won't have any left by then! Ours doesn't last for 2 days, and I double the recipe!)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

6 months!! (and a few days)

Bad mommy. I forgot to post on Friday when Kyla turned 6 months old. I think she will forgive me...

I can't believe it has been 6 months since little miss was born!!! Only 6 more months until she turns one! 6 more months to get her "big girl" room painted and decorated. And just 6 more months of breastfeeding! Ever! Woo hoo! (Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it, and I want to do what is best for my kids. I am just looking forward to having my body back to myself after sharing it with someone else since September 2007!)

Kyla is almost crawling! It will be any day now. She is also getting much better at sitting up. She loves to "talk" to us! There is a constant stream of "ga ga ga ga da da da da ba ba ba ba" when she is in a good mood. If she is mad she says "ma ma ma ma" quite intensely.

In other news:
My booth at the consignment sale went well. There was a pretty constant stream of people coming in and out, and everyone got one of my cards in their bags at checkout. I had a couple of people asking questions and taking flyers, so we will see. Kyla did AMAZING all day! She was such a happy, good baby! I was really nervous about us being there from 9-5, but she took it like a champ!

While we were gone Keanan and Zac did some work around the house. In the process they discovered a HUGE (like bigger than a watermelon huge) wasp nest under the eves of the house, on the side that we never go on. It is pretty cool. Zac will kill it soon.

Off to bed in anticipation of another very busy week (bible studies, doctor appointment, company picnic, and another camping trip!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our Week...

has been crazy! Crazy good and crazy bad. Monday started with a very sleep deprived mommy (Kyla has not been doing well at night or nap time) which resulted in nothing getting done and Zac taking Tuesday off work to help me out. My unhealthy obsession to finish everything on my impossibly long list was making me lose my mind. The list is now much shorter and I feel better.

On Tuesday our 3 kitties made the trip in to see the vet. They are now neutered and never have to go to the vet again. I think they are happy about that part.

Yesterday the kids and I drove in to Olympia with my wedding dress to meet with the seamstress girls. They will have it done within 2 weeks for SUPER cheap! I am sooo excited. We also made it over to the Ireland's new house for desert (Zac was helping them move stuff). I think that Kyla had her eye on Jadon crawling around because today she is up on her hands and knees rocking back and forth!! Ahhh! Not ready for that!

My monday mini-meltdown kept us from doing a "letter of the week" this week, but we did make a cool cactus out of sandpaper yesterday. Keanan told me he wants to make a raspberry for craft today, so I need to figure that out before nap time is over. I get to be kid free tonight and go help Chris clean their old house (which is the Peterson's house, Blake is almost back from Iraq!). Is it weird that I am looking forward to cleaning toilets?

My latest internet find is this site: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/ Over 400 crockpot recipes! They are also gluten free, which I don't care too much about, but that keeps them from using a bunch of processed junk. I have chicken and dumplings cooking right now! I also made mac n' cheese from scratch today! I LOVE mac n' cheese, but am trying to not make stuff out of a box (lots of processed nasty stuff in there). Keanan and I both loved it.

I have been "no poo" for over a week now. My hair feels really healthy! I am also trying to shower at night and not wake up earlier in the morning (precious sleep), so every other day I wash with the baking soda and rinse with the apple cider vinegar. On the off days I just rinse with organic coconut conditioner. So far so good!

Tomorrow is a long, big day for Kyla and I. I have a booth at "Kidsignment" in Centraila for my diaper parties. This is a HUGE sale of anything related to kids and about 1000 people are expected to come through. I am hoping for some good leads. I am a little nervous about Kyla being there with me all day (9-6), I hope she naps okay in the pack n play. If you are in the area, come say hi!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"No Poo", the language of Sudden, a cocktail dress, and other goings on...

My "No Poo" experiment!
I have not shampooed my hair since Thursday morning! Sound gross? It's not! In my quest to become a little more "crunchy" or "green" (Zac says hippy) I stumbled across "no poo" in a forum I frequent. Basically, shampoo contains lots of nasty chemicals that are not really good for your body. It is also not great for your hair to shampoo it everyday. So going "no poo" means to ditch the shampoo and instead wash your hair with baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar. I have done it twice and am LOVING it! My hair is so soft and healthy. Many have said there is a transaction phase where your scalp has to learn to stop producing so much oil to cope with all the shampoo - so hopefully I won't become a nasty grease ball - but it is supposed to get better after that. So we shall see! Here is an article that describes it better: http://www.naturemoms.com/no-shampoo-alternative.html

The Language of Sudden
Keanan has started talking gibberish at times. He really gets into it. I asked him yesterday what language it was and he said "Sudden". Zac asked him this morning how to say "cheese" in Sudden and he said some weird word that I can't remember. Such a silly kid!

Cocktail Dress
I found someone to turn my wedding dress into a cocktail dress! I can't remember where I heard this, but I love the idea! Then on our anniversary I can wear it out to dinner! I will have a couple handkerchiefs made out of the left over fabric so that Kyla can carry one with her on her wedding day. Just waiting to set up an appointment with the seamstress (it is actually 2 19 year old twins that have been sewing since they were 6!). Here is their website: http://www.bellajeanboutique.com/

Kyla has not been sleeping well. She had a slight fever today, poor baby. I am hoping it is just teeth coming in. I am soooooo wanting a full night of sleep!

I had my first actual party for www.diaperparties.com last Thursday. It was sooo fun. And I made enough money to keep going another month =)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Year

One year ago today Zac crashed his motorcycle which resulted in the amputation of his right leg at the knee. This time last year we were at Harborview. What a crazy year.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

God is good to me!

Because:

- Kyla is napping her normal 2 hour naps in the afternoon again!
- Zac fixed his car for WAY cheaper than we thought!
- Both my kiddos slept until 8:30 this morning!
- I finished the camping laundry!
- My sunburn is starting to hurt less!

Yay God!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pics on the lake (and a few around the house)

Chillaxin' on the boatDiaper change timeCaptain KeananHe climbed up and then dove off!Daddy was fixing his car in the garage, so this is what Keanan did:First fawn of the year in our yard