Hippy Mama

Nov_11-01Nov_12There’s been a bit of a hippy vibe going on at our house lately (minus the flowing armpit hair that is). Ever since these pregnancy hormones have upped the ante on my blood hound sense of smell, any kind of synthetic perfume/scent has felt too intense, bringing on headaches and nausea. This reaction made me start to question what synthetic chemicals in beauty products or cleaning supplies can do to our bodies. Surely they can’t be great if just the smell alone was making me feel sick right? So I was thinking, if I’m super careful about what I put INTO my body e.g. no cold cuts, alcohol, caffeine…etc, then shouldn’t I be conscious of what I’m putting ON my body? Our skin is our largest organ, it absorbs whatever the heck we smear or lather onto it and that makes me fear that some of those chemicals that get absorbed into my body could be harmful to my baby. Maybe I’m being a tad over dramatic but it has startled me enough to make some natural product choices when it comes to the beauty and cleaning supplies we use at home.

My midwife gave me a handful of Doterra essential oil samples and I mentioned in my last pregnancy update that I believe the blended oils truly work for mood enhancement. I’ve been using the single oils quite a lot as well, for cleaning, adding to drinks, and massages – to mention a few uses. I’m discovering so many handy ways to utilize them, so I went ahead and bought bigger bottles of lavender, lemon and peppermint (as seen in the first picture). I’m on such a hype with these oils! I can’t wait to share the ways I’ve been using them and what I plan to do with them too!

Another natural product I’ve been crazy about is coconut oil. It’s great for your body, inside and out! I’ve been substituting it for butter in baking, using it to moisturize this big ol’ preggo bump, and using it as makeup remover! I have a lot to say about this amazing stuff and so I really need to dedicate a future post to it as well.

Stay tuned for future posts on Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint and Coconut oil! 🙂

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The Day After

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Nov_06Nov_07Nov_08Nov_10Nov_09The day after Thanksgiving we went out to the prairie to take some pictures of the crazy tumbleweeds we had heard all about. See how high they’re piled up against that tree!?

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We hosted a little gathering at our house with Danny’s side of the family and when we weren’t talking about what we were thankful for, we were indubitably stuffing ourselves with delicious food! A day surrounded by family and food, two of my favorite things! I did wish that my side of the family could’ve teleported from New Zealand to be with us though.

Although I said out loud on Thanksgiving day what I am thankful for, I feel like I’ve been particularly thankful this year for so many things and haven’t forgotten to thank God for those blessings almost every day. If you’ve read my older posts you’ll know that we waited an excruciatingly long time for my U.S visa to go through. It wasn’t until early this year that things started falling into place and I could finally move to the U.S with Danny. We’re now living in a cute little house in town. It’s the first house we’ve had to ourselves since getting married almost 2 years ago! We have our 2 cats with us, who traveled all the way from New Zealand. And after waiting years, we’re finally able to start our own family with the anticipated arrival our first child in March! All through this major transition to our new life in America we’ve had my loving and generous parents and Danny’s parents who are always close by to lend a helping hand. But most importantly I am thankful for my incredibly supportive husband, whom without I would be a complete mess this year!

There is always something to be thankful for, every day.

Nursery Project – Part I

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While Danny and I were dating, he wrote a little love story for me about two squirrels who make their way back to each other, amidst a bundle of challenging obstacles. I had been keeping an eye out for nursery mobiles and since none of them felt quite right, I decided to craft my own, featuring the characters from the “Tale of Two Squirrels”, with the intention of sharing the story with our little one at bed time.

This was my first time using felt and attempting embroidery, but I think the mobile turned out nicely, maybe a bit lop-sided on the stringing together part. I used this pattern from Nuno Runo (people who share free patterns online are awesome) for the squirrels and as you can probably tell, I made up my own pattern for the awkward looking tree and deformed acorns!

For those of you who are interested, you can read on for
this weeks pregnancy update…

How far along?
25 weeks. That means only 3 and a half short months to go!
Total weight gain?
I can’t remember what I weighed at last weeks midwife appointment but I recall I had gained A LOT since my last weigh in.
Maternity clothes?
Bought some longer tops that I’ve been layering with cardigans and leggings are my new best friend!
Stretch marks?
None, yippee!
Sleep?
I’ve been sleeping with a pillow wedged under my belly which has alleviated the pressure on my rib cage which means, happy ribs in the morning!
Best moment this week?
Sitting on the rug in the nursery with Danny, talking for hours about kids and being parents. I feel so lucky to be his wife and unbelievably blessed to be doing this with my best friend.
Worst moment this week?
No emo days this week.
Movement?
I’ve been feeling kicks higher up in my rib cage. Baby is getting bigger!
Food cravings?
I had a craving for rice crispies, so whipped some up for desert. Baby was kicking all night, so probably not a good idea to have that much sugar :s
Anything making you feel sick or queezy?
Still anything that I ate during my first trimester – omelettes!
Gender?
Still waiting for the surprise. We’ve chosen names if we have a girl or a boy.
Belly button in or out? 
Still on the verge of being an outie.
Happy or moody?
I’ve been really content and happy and I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I’ve been using these dōTERRA essential oils or whether it’s all in my mind? I went to a dōTERRA class and was given a maternity essential oils gift pack which included single bottles of lavender, peppermint, and lemon oil, and bottles of their specialty blends. I’ve been using a blend called “Solace”, which helps to ease cramps, nausea, hot flashes and emotional swings caused by an imbalance of  hormones in women and one called “Citrus Bliss” which is a motivator and improves your mood. I swear that my sense of happiness and peace has improved since I’ve been using these that it’s almost like they’re too good to be true! Whether they work or not, they smell REALLY good!
Looking forward to?
Adding more things to the nursery 🙂

Who’s hiding in there?

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I’ve recently come across a couple of pregnancy blogs, written by first time mamas-to-be and I’ve got to say, they’ve been a Godsend! I wish I’d discovered them sooner because they’ve been super helpful in making me feel less anxious about this pregnancy. I love reading about the experiences these first time “Preggo’s” are going through and thinking excitedly, “Oh, me too!”. I haven’t really blogged about my pregnancy (even though I’ve really wanted to) because I didn’t want to come across as bragging about it. But after reading these wonderful blogs it has made me realize that this is a super exciting time in my life that I SHOULD share, if not for my own record then perhaps for someone out there who’d like to know more about the journey of a first time pregnancy. So I’d like to follow a similar diary style that these bloggers have been using to update readers each week. It seems like fun, so I’ll give it a go!
How far along?
24 weeks. I can’t believe it 4 short months we will have a son or daughter. I still find it hard to believe!
Total weight gain?
I’ve gained about 20 pounds so far and really feeling it! My midwife is pretty pleased about my weight gain. She recommends that I eat loads of protein as it’s safer to gain more than not enough so that the baby will have a healthy birth weight.
Maternity clothes?
I’ve been trying to avoid buying new maternity clothes. I just don’t see the point in spending all that money on clothes I’d wear for just a short while. Usually it’s slim pickings in the thrift store maternity section, but one fine day I won the thrift store lottery and found a pair of Old Navy maternity jeans in my size! Now, for normal people they’re capris, but for midgets like me they were just the right full-length! It was an awesome day. I wore these lucky jeans last week and they felt really tight when I sat down in them. This bump is just growing so quickly! I guess I might just have to give in and invest in a new pair of maternity jeans since I definitely can’t be wearing maxi skirts all winter!
Stretch marks?
None yet. I’ve heard it’s hereditary and my mum and sister didn’t get any so I’m hoping I won’t either. I’ve been using Bio oil on the bump after I shower. I brought a bottle with me from NZ so I’m not even sure if they sell it here. Once it runs out I’ll probably try Burt’s Bees Mama bee oil which I’ve heard good things about.
Sleep?
I’m supposed to sleep on my side and avoid laying on my back, which is so hard since I’ve always been a back sleeper! I get a pretty sound sleep, though I wake up in the morning with ultra sore ribs! Oh and I feel like Humpty Dumpty when I’m trying to climb out of bed!
Best moment this week?
We found the perfect vintage dresser to use as a changing table. It is the perfect size and colour, just everything I’d been looking for. Danny assembled the cot in the nursery and it all suddenly felt very real that we are going to be parents very soon!
Worst moment this week?
I have been so emotional and sensitive lately. It’s quite bizarre because I’m usually not like this. I think a combination of exhaustion and not having time to take care of myself led to my little (quiet) break down at Poor Richard’s. We both had a tiresome day and decided to head to our local cafe and just talk over hot drinks to end our night. I was telling Danny about how I’ve been feeling so fat and ugly, how my clothes don’t fit, my hair is a mess etc …then tears came dribbling down my face. He reassured me that I always look nice and he’d pay for me to get an entire new wardrobe, and to get my hair done if it would make me feel better and then that made me cry even more! He is such a sweet husband! Since then I’ve been to get my hair cut and I already feel so much fresher and better about myself 🙂 It’s the little things huh?
Movement?
So many kicks! Feeling some right now and loving those cute little jolts. Probably won’t be so happy about them when baby gets bigger though!
Food cravings?
Yogurt, of all things! Especially loving those Chobani cups! I was never one for dairy before but I guess baby likes it or something.
Anything making you feel sick or queezy?
Food that made me feel ill during my first trimester – omelet and smothered burritos. Gag!
Gender?
We’re waiting until the birth to find out but I have a feeling we’re having a boy. I don’t know why? Maybe its all the karate kicks I get throughout the day and night but my midwife cheekily said the heartbeat sounded like a girl at todays appointment, so I have no idea! 50/50!
Belly button in or out? 
On the verge of being and outie. Weird.
Happy or moody?
Happy 90 % of the time but there are moments I’ll be angry or frustrated for reasons unknown and that makes me even more confused and moody. Hormones eh?
Looking forward to?
Finally holding our son or daughter and seeing whose features he or she has.

The Gigantic Zucchinis

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So, what the heck are you supposed to do when your husband brings home a bundle of hulk sized zucchinis!? I was stumped, so naturally I asked Google for some help. This recipe showed up and it looked super simple so I tried it out. It turned out delicious! I’d never had zuchinni soup before but it was like tasting something I imagine angels would eat on cold days. It has no dairy in it yet it is heavenly creamy! The recipe called for a little bit of powdered ginger but I used fresh ginger instead. That little extra gingery zing makes all the difference. I suggest you try this recipe if you ever find yourself with a bundle of freakishly big zuchinnis or normal sized ones. This is one great soup recipe I’m going to keep up my sleeve.

A Date in Denver

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This post is way delayed. I’ve been wanting to blog regularly but I don’t know HOW to. Keeping my nose above water with my work load has been a real struggle. It feels like it keeps piling on top of me and I have to keep putting this blog on the back burner. If that sentence were literal, my blog would be blackened and burnt by now, ashes most probably. But I’ve found a little pocket of time this morning to finally get this post up.

We drove up to Denver last Monday to see Jake Bugg’s concert. Only realizing that afternoon that there was a Broncos game happening in town that same evening. The bumper to bumper traffic all the way there was a bummer but we some how managed to entertain ourselves with snacks (when are we ever NOT snacking?) and listened to and criticized (not maliciously, just for fun) the people on public radio.

We had planned to have Dim Sum for dinner while in Denver. I had been looking forward to this maybe even more than the concert because there are no decent Chinese restaurants in Colorado Springs, and that isn’t an exaggeration. If you know of any good authentic Chinese restaurants in the Springs area please share this vital information! I will shower you with kisses and hugs! You see, I haven’t been getting typical pregnancy cravings of pickles and ice-cream, I think my cravings have more to do with missing home. I’ve been getting “nostalgic” cravings. Those cravings were more than satisfied at Superstar Asian Cuisine (ha! I love the name). I was going to take some photos of the food to relive the moment later, and cry about how good it was, but we couldn’t contain ourselves once the plates hit the table. No camera was going to get in the way of us and all that delicious food!  By the time dinner was over I was in a state of bliss, the evening could take any turn and I’d still be happy.

The finale of our date was of course the Jake Bugg concert. He had the whole audience hanging off every note. Listening to that kid play his guitar so effortlessly and hearing his voice made me feel like I was listening to a late great musician like Buddy Holly or Woody Guthrie. I didn’t want the music to stop. He was so humble and clearly overwhelmed by the cheering and hollering from the crowd, which made him even more lovable. These are just early days for this young gun but I feel like big things are coming his way and it felt really special watching him perform.

This date is definitely up in there in the top five dates of all time.

Chicken Soup (Jewish Penicillin)

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Do you know what goes perfectly with a cold rainy day? A steaming bowl of chicken soup. That’s what. It’s been pouring down with heavenly rain these few days, and I couldn’t ask for better weather. No, I haven’t gone mad. It’s just such a pleasant change from the scorching 90° heat we’ve had over the last weeks of summer. We don’t have air-conditioning in the house, so this cooler weather made it feel like we kind of did. As usual when the weather starts to change, I begin to feel the onset of a cold coming on. And I know one good ole’ household remedy for all kinds of ailments – chicken soup (also known as Jewish penicillin)! So I decided to simmer a big pot of this golden medicine.

I used this recipe here. We didn’t have a whole roasting chicken like the recipe called for, so I ended up using one third portions of the ingredients listed. The soup turned out beautifully and I could feel the nourishing broth working its magic.
It tasted even better the day after!

Good Morning, Second Trimester

CO_Aug_034This first week into the second trimester has been awesome and emotional, but mostly awesome. It’s been amazing not having morning sickness! I’m so happy to be feeling more like myself, the ever hungry lover of food. But there have been days where I haven’t felt like myself at all. I had a couple of meltdowns this week (thanks, hormones!), but I felt so much better after talking it out and releasing all that pent up anxiety and worry in a dramatic shower of tears. I needed that.

I was really anxious to get to my second prenatal visit yesterday. I had so many questions since I hadn’t been feeling nauseous (why did my baby quit his day job!?), my belly had gone down in size (baby or bloat?), and I haven’t felt any kicks or flutters yet (is it still alive!?). I was so relieved to find out that everything is ticking along as it should. We didn’t get to see the baby with an ultrasound this time but we did get to hear its heartbeat. It sounded strong and healthy, and that was the best feeling.

Two Fingers

For those of you who have to work on Labour Day (don’t worry I’m in the same boat), here’s a little ditty from Jake Bugg to keep you going.

We’re going to see him in Denver this month and I’m so excited to see this talented kid performing live!

Snippets

CO_Aug_028CO_Aug_029CO_Aug_030CO_Aug_031CO_Aug_032CO_Aug_033Did I tell you that my iPhone stopped working? Well, it did. About 4 months ago and I haven’t found a replacement yet. So there’s been no Instagramming here! Do I miss it? Not really. But I do miss the discreetness of having a little phone camera because using a clunky camera is more of a big deal. Pulling out a big flashy brick in some places can be embarrassing, but sometimes you just have to suck it up because documenting is important (to me anyway).

So, here’s a small glimpse into my week through these little snippets.
An ode to the food and feet photos of Instagram!

1. A hot afternoon stroll.
2. Dandelion hopping in our garden.
3. Salads are all I want to eat these days.
4. Looking through the booklet of Willy Mason’s new album, ‘Carry On’. It  had been such a long time since I bought a REAL CD!
5. Been using this free tote bag that came with the CD all week.
6. More salad!