Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's a... GIRL!

I'm so happy we are having another girl! Girls are just plain awesome. And Lola will have a sister, and sisters are THE BEST. Besides that, everything looked great at the ultrasound. She is growing to be the cutest, most perfect little baby. I just know it :) Oh gosh, this post is all kinds of mushy. I am currently 22 weeks and getting a very round bump. Longer or maternity shirts are the only way to go now. Feeling good and sleeping well still- a am enjoying this while it lasts! I have been going to an exercise group at my church and hoping to stay more active this time around. Lola has no clue what is about to hit her. She says baby and then points to my belly button :) 

Monday, September 29, 2014

20 weeks, it's a...??

Here I am at 20 weeks! I'm feeling really good this pregnancy. I'm so happy to experience this blessing of carrying another child and looking forward to the birth and having a newborn around again. We don't know the gender yet. Any guesses? I don't have a feeling either way. We would be SO excited to have another girl but would love to have a boy too. I think I would be blown away if it's a boy though. Coming from a family of five girls and already having one girl it just seems really foreign! Plus we have no boy clothes or names picked out.
Here I was at 20 weeks with Lola. We had just found out it was a girl, and I was so excited! I actually think I looked a little bigger- more round. But maybe I had just eaten a big dinner before these photos (although I had just come from a progressive dinner in the above photos! Haha) I was also a little heavier back then to begin with.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hello from Moses Lake, Washington!

It's been so long since I made a post.... oops. So much has happened- Phil got a job offer to start his very first Engineering job, we found out we were expecting baby #2, Phil graduated, and we moved to Moses Lake, Washington. Just to name a few haha. It's been a good year and I've failed to document it. Here's a few pictures to catch up! (Sorta)

Graduation! Something that seemed like it would never happen... finally did! I was SO incredibly proud of this guy. He had been in college nearly every semester year round since I met him. What he accomplished was HUGE. In high school he didn't do very well in math and didn't take calculus or higher level classes. He never would have guessed he would be an engineer someday! We are all so happy that it's behind us now and he is able to put his degree to good use.
We will miss the farm! It was good to us. This is where we had our first little home, and the only home Lola had ever known. We enjoyed living near my family.

Boat ride and fishing with dad on Ririe resevoir. She loves holding the pole, we're really going to have to get her one for next year. We will miss living in Idaho, we have so many good memories there.

But we are excited to explore a new state! We moved into our new place in Moses Lake on August 1st. Phil remembered coming to the Grand Coulee Dam as a kid so we made the trip up one Saturday. It is the largest electric power producing dam in the US and these pictures don't do it justice. It was kind of terrifying looking down off the top. It is almost 1 mile long and 550 ft tall! 

We got invited by friends to go up to their cabin for Labor day weekend. We had fun exploring a big cave and going on some pretty hikes near Mt. St. Helens. There was even a place where you could climb in the space left by logs that were covered in lava flow. As the lava cooled the logs burned leaving these tunnels. Please note the picture of Lola Fern in the ferns :)

Phil took me on a tour of his work recently. The sheer size of this place blows you away. There are approxamately 1,400 employees at Genie. They build these machines in four airplane hangers! I wanted to take more pictures but I wasn't really supposed to. Phil has really enjoyed his job and the people he works with. He has even found that there are many Russian speaking Ukrainians that work here so he gets to speak Russian often which makes him happy. We are feeling really blessed to be here as a little family. We have been so welcomed by our ward and are making friends already. The Lord has been good to us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dear Lola- 18 Months

Dear Lola,

I think this might be the most fun age yet. You have been busy busy learning and growing and running and playing. You are walking up and down stairs with help from a rail or a hand. I am trying to teach you how to jump and it's funny. Dad recently bought you a soccer ball and you love chasing after it in the yard. In the afternoons I often take you out for a bike ride. We "feed" the cows and you play in the dirt and throw rocks. Farm living is the life for you. When inside your favorite thing to do is reading. If I sit on the couch you throw a book at me, say "book, book," and climb in my lap for a story. When i'm done you climb down and repeat 10 plus times... and if I don't comply it isn't pretty haha. Sometimes I can convince you to read to yourself in your chair. Even though it can be exhausting I love that you love reading. I hope you always do.

A couple of months ago you decided on your very favorite blanket. It's a blue fuzzy one that I've had for a long time. It was given to me by Grandma Hall as a Christmas present when I was a teenager. Another fun thing is that you are now officially going to nursery at church. It took a few weeks of going with you till you felt comfortable, but now you love it!

At your 18 month doctor's appointment you weighed in at 23 lbs 10 oz (40%) and measure 34 in tall (97%.) You are so tall you probably look more like a 2 year old. You are wearing mostly 2T clothes. You look very strong and athletic I think!

Love you lots baby girl,


Monday, February 24, 2014

What I wish I had known about breastfeeding

(I wrote this post because I want to remember my experience breastfeeding and I hope another mom will find encouragement from it. Please understand that this isn't meant to hurt anyone who has had a different experience or who feels differently.) 

nursing strike

My daughter quit breastfeeding at 11 months and 1 week old. If someone had told me how far we would make it on the day she was born I probably would have been overjoyed. What I wish I had known was that when she gave it up I wouldn't be ready. I would cry and spend weeks hoping she would continue; I would look back at all those nursing sessions with fondness. You see, when you do something every day, many times a day, it starts out as hard work. But after months of investing your time in it it's an accomplishment you feel proud of.

When I actually started planning to breastfeed it seemed kind of strange. I read books and even watched how-to videos. I thought, wow, can I really do that? I knew formula would be hard to afford and I really wanted to be successful so I did everything I could to be prepared. Right after birth Lola was ready to nurse. It took a few tries but she latched on and nursed off and on for an hour. I'm glad that I delayed finding out her weight and a bath because she just seemed so hungry. That night she slept in my arms and continued to nurse often. I will always cherish that memory.We didn't encounter too many problems and I feel very blessed for that. Of course it was painful at first. The first few weeks and when my milk first came in it was extremely uncomfortable. I remember crying when I would be woken up (again!!) in the night to nurse because of exhaustion and the pain of nursing. Not to mention the weight of knowing it was only me who could feed our baby felt like a heavy blanket. It was hard and I remember thinking that 12 months seemed like an eternity.

But at the same time, I was glad that I could feed her. For nine months she had grown inside me, and now I was still able to help her grow. It was so gratifying to find out that she had gained nearly 2.5 pounds in the first month all because of my milk. It didn't take long before her little legs got oh so cute and chunky. Soon breastfeeding turned from hard work to something I enjoyed. After breastfeeding every day for about 8 months, I realized that I could honestly say that I loved it. Nursing just a few times a day was easy and didn't take much time at all. It was our special snuggle time. As Lola learned to crawl and then walk at just 10 months old, those snuggles were precious. I loved having that closeness, knowing that she still needed me. I also felt a huge sense of accomplishment and realized that I didn't want to quit at a year just because we made it to a year. I decided I would continue until we were both ready to stop.

I had no idea that for her that day would come much sooner then I expected. 11 months and 1 week old. I still remember the afternoon after I nursed her for the last time. I noticed a new tooth coming through, with several more on the way. She wasn't being especially grouchy, but she refused to nurse before I put her to bed, although she fell asleep just fine. That was the start of many sad days for me, as I tried to convince her to continue nursing. I figured her teeth were the problem so I tried every teething remedy I thought might work. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Orajel, a homeopathic medicine. Teething rings, frozen wash clothes, mesh teether bag with frozen fruit. I tried feeding her less solid food, only gave her my milk in a cup so she wouldn't get attached to a bottle, and made time for lots of skin to skin. I took her to the doctor. There was nothing wrong with her ears or throat. I took suggestions from two very helpful and sympathetic lactation consultants. I read online everything I could about nursing strikes. I tried things that I'm too embarrassed to admit. All the while I was pumping milk and giving it to Lola in a cup who seemed just fine with that (how could she!?). I was most sad at night when she would fall asleep after refusing to nurse. I missed it so much and felt incredibly rejected. I wanted to continue nursing, but as the days went by, weeks went by, I started losing hope. After 3 weeks, on her 1st birthday I figured that I had done my best and I quit pumping.

Now looking back I'm just glad that I have such a happy and healthy little girl. While it's not what I was hoping for at the time, I'm proud of her for making the transition to whole milk in a cup and more solids so easy. We had a great run at breastfeeding, we made it to 12 months! I'm so proud of both of us! The feeling of accomplishment that I have now makes it all worth it.

If I could give a new mom advice about breastfeeding this is what I would say

-Support is HUGE when it comes to breastfeeding. Please PLEASE read this article: http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2013/07/05/community-support-and-breastfeeding-make-a-difference/. It really gave me encouragement. It says that women will rate social support as more important than anything else in how long they breastfed. This article pushed me to write about my positive experience because other moms need to hear it. I remember wondering, are other moms breastfeeding?? I rarely saw anyone nursing, even in rooms dedicated to that.

-Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before the baby is born. There are tons of great     resources. Books, classes, videos. The truth is, breastfeeding is simple. But there is a lot to it if you encounter problems, and people will give you terrible advice. Have the number to a lactation consultant. Those ladies were so wonderful in helping me through. The first few weeks as a new mother can be overwhelming as it is, don't find yourself in the dark when it comes to solving breastfeeding problems.

-Realize that those first few hours and days can really affect breastfeeding. Do your research. Ask questions. Write "I want to exclusively breastfeed" in your birth plan.

-Request skin to skin immediately after birth. It doesn't matter what kind of birth you have, if baby is doing well you should be able to hold them. There are many benefits to immediate skin to skin with baby. Other things can wait, like weighing and bathing. This may be the time when your baby is most alert and ready to breastfeed.

-The first few weeks, even few months will be hard. Some women will experience pain at first even when the latch is right. For me I remember the pain lasting for about 2 weeks. And then there is the exhaustion. It's so incredibly hard to wake up every few hours in the middle of the night to feed your baby. I promise there will be times when you want to give up. Don't. You can do it! It might take a lot of practice and perseverance, but YOU CAN DO IT.

-I really think it's best to delay using bottles and pacifiers. Those first few days and weeks are so critical in establishing your milk supply. The more you breastfeed before your milk comes in, the more milk you will have! It took 5 days for me, but when it came I had an oversupply. Don't think you have to give formula just because your milk hasn't come in. Colostrum is super calorie dense and perfect for the tiny tummy of a newborn. Some babies like to suck all the time so using a pacifier might be best for your sanity, but delaying those first few days could mean your baby nurses more and you will produce more milk. I decided to wait about 3 weeks before trying a pacifier and 6 weeks before a bottle. Lola never took to a pacifier and I'm actually glad.

-If you do give a bottle, don't forget to pump. It's supply and demand when it comes to making milk! The best way to keep up your supply is to breastfeed.

-Don't forget to enjoy it! This is such a unique time in your life as a mother. You are providing the perfect food for your baby. Maybe even take a picture of your sweet baby nursing, because someday you just might miss it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Russian Borscht Recipe

Beets soup, cabbage

Not long after we were married Phil asked me when I was going to make Borscht. He served his mission in St. Petersburg so I said "When are YOU going to make Borscht??" Well it turns out he isn't much of a cook and couldn't even remember how to make it. Finally I decided to find a recipe and try it even though I had never tasted it. It was delicious! At the time I thought I hated beets but this soup changed my mind. My first attempts took me the better part of the afternoon. It involved cooking a roast ahead of time and slicing all the vegetables into julienne strips. I like to make things simple, so this recipe can be done in under an hour. Especially if you have help dicing the vegetables. It's a combination of a few different recipes that I've tried. The great thing about this soup is that it's inexpensive to make, but looks and tastes really special. Make sure you eat it with a slice of yummy dark rye bread.

Lydia's Borscht 

4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
3 medium beets, peeled and chopped 
2-3 potatoes, peeled and chopped 
2 large carrots, chopped
About 3 cups shredded cabbage, red or green 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 onion, chopped 
1 pound lean hamburger (or a small roast cooked and shredded)  
2 teaspoons caraway seed (optional) 
3 teaspoons dill weed 
1/4 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar 
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional) 
Sour cream for topping  

Put beef broth, water, salt, and pepper in a large pot to boil. Meanwhile chop the beets, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, and add to pot along with garlic. Simmer until vegetables are nearly tender. 

Meanwhile add chopped onion, hamburger, and caraway seeds to a skillet and cook until hamburger is no longer pink. Add to pot along with dill weed, vinegar, and brown sugar. Simmer for about 10 more minutes. 

This soup tastes even better the next day, so hopefully you have lots of leftovers. And don't forget to serve with sour cream on the top. Enjoy, and if you try it let me know how you like it :)