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We're Walking Pregnant

One thing that I appreciate about my own version of motherhood is my ability to be sufficiently humbled and admit when I don't know things, or I don't have the answers. I tend to plow full force and give my all in one direction, and then when I get the screeching halt from Heavenly Father, I'm able to direct course and turn the other way. I sometimes feel like that's the typical way that I receive direction and inspiration for our family, and it's worked well for us for quite some time. Pick a direction, and when the door gets slammed, go the other way and keep going. 

Without going into too much detail, Derek and I were recently presented with an option to do something and we were so torn on it. I was dead set and determined with what I wanted to do, and Derek could not meet me there with any enthusiasm. We talked, and talked, and talked, and ultimately landed ourselves in a meeting with our Bishop to talk about our options some more. Again, without going into too much detail, we said our sides of the "argument, debate, whatever..." I argued that what I wanted to do seemed to me like such a righteous desire, and that  I would never have an opportunity to do something as selfless as that for the rest of my life. 

Our Bishop thought differently, and explained to me that my most important role right now is raising and nurturing our children, and that I'll never do a more selfless thing than that in my entire life. Fast forward a few days later, we go to the temple and pray some more about this thing that I want to do, and finally both come to the mutual decision that I shouldn't do what it is that I wanted to do, and leave it at that. (This couldn't be anymore cryptic and vague I know, hang with me guys). So then this week we tell the people that we were going to be doing this thing with that we can't do the thing, and then all over again, I'm heck bent back to square one, throwing everything to the wind and wanting to do this thing again. 

Switching gears to the non-cryptic things where all of this ties together now... this afternoon Em's occupational therapist came over for a session when we started talking. I've had this idea for months that if we just gave Em performance enhancing drugs (steroids... the ones body builder meat heads use), in addition to therapy, that she would be up and walking and that everything would be fine. He explained to me that "low tone" isn't about having weak muscles, as much as it is about having weak muscle memory. Guys. How in the world have we been dealing with this for two and a half years and I'm just now realizing we're battling weak muscle memory, and not just weak muscles?! How has this never clicked in my head before?! (This is also where the connection to me being humble and being able to admit when I don't know things comes into play.) 

I'd been stirring with this new found information all night, and then when I got in the tub,  I decided to finish reading my friend Kelsey's new book, "One Day At A Time: 100 Days in the Life of A Mother". It's admittedly hard for me to feel like motherhood is the most glorious work that I can ever be a part of. It's not something that comes natural and easy to me, and I really have to work at it. And if we're being so, so terribly honest, I often feel a little bitter when I see people who are doing an amazing job at being a mom and think, "yeah, but all of their kids walk..." And while we do feel at peace with Em, and her situation, and whatever it amounts to, it does feel harder for me to feel all the feels of motherhood and parenting, and its divine and glorious everything, when in a lot of ways it's still really hard for us to do things. But as I was finishing Kelsey's book the one take away that I got from it is that she feels the most joy in her life when she's all in with her kids and she's able to set aside everything else in the world and just be all in. 

And then it made me reflect on all the things in motherhood that I'm not "all in" on. Or the things that would at least be helping my kids thrive. One of those areas has definitely been getting Em walking. I've been so focused on this idea of just getting her stronger that the things we've been working on at home haven't really been what she needs most. Sure we've been working on sitting, and that's so important, she definitely needs to be working on that core foundational strength, and she belly crawls like a champ, and she can stand and play with toys... but working on movement patterns, like getting her up and walking, and getting her crawling up on her hands and knees... we've been hardcore lacking in those areas. 

The words of our Bishop re-echoed in my mind. The most selfless gift that I could ever give would be the work that I do in our own home. The most selfless gift isn't what I can give to someone outside our house, but to someone in our house, to Em. The most selfless gift I could give to Em are the tools and knowledge that she needs to get walking. We've been told so many times that Em will walk, and that it's going to be based off a lot of what we do in the home. And guys, to be honest, doing PT and trying to get a two and a half year old to walk who screams her face off the second she even looks at her gait trainer? It sucks. Which is why we haven't been doing it, and keep putting it off. But I feel so jazzed, and so spiritually recommitted to this mission that Derek and I are officially announcing that we are walking pregnant. 

The goal isn't far fetched, and in fact, it gives us a month longer then what was actually projected. But in nine months, it is our goal to try our hardest to get Em walking. That means that by January 20th 2018, we will have a walking, almost three-and-a-half-year-old. Derek and I have committed together as a team to do at least one thing each day that is beneficial to Em to get her walking. Whether it's holding her hands and walking her around the house for a few laps with her leg braces on, or buying obscure contraptions to strap her in and make her walk... we're both committed to the new goal, and we're both excited about it. It also means that we're going to have to watch some youtube videos, figure out how to teach her to crawl, and get that going too.

And because I'm totally the type of person who needs the internet to hold me accountable to things,  I'm going to try and post once a day on Instagram, what we did each day to help her out, and use the hastag #GetEmWalking275 for the 275 days that we have to make our goal. And like all things, if we put in this effort and still fall short, and she doesn't walk, then we can still say that we put in more effort, and tried a lot harder than we would have otherwise. So here's to feeling empowered and recommitted... And to hoping that a clinic gets a PT opening soon. 

Kitchen Progress Update + A Dream Kitchen $12,000 Giveaway

In a little over a month, Derek and I will be celebrating our first anniversary in our house. In the time that we've lived here we've accomplished way more in terms of home renovations than I ever thought we would. We started small with painting Jay's bedroom, and then moved onto painting the play room. After that we added some industrial shelves to our powder bathroom, and then moved on to tackling the kitchen. 

It still feels so unreal to me that we are almost finished with our kitchen renovation. What started off as a dream when we first purchased the home, will be our reality in just two more weeks. Two weeks until I have my dream kitchen. I never would have imagined being able to get it done, but the first major ticket item fell into our laps for free, and then everything else happened around it.

During the winter, we had friends up the street from us who had a leak in their home. The water went from their upstairs bathroom, through the ceiling, and into their kitchen, ruining about 4 square feet of the laminate hardwood floors in their home. The homeowners insurance came, and wound up giving them all new floors on the entire first floor of their house, and when they took out the rest of the floors that were untouched from the water damage, they gave them to us for our house for free. This turned what would have been a $3,000 job in our kitchen into a $60 run to the hardware store to get the tools needed for install.

I wanted to get a new light fixture to go above our dinning room table, and reached out to a company who actually sent us one for free in exchange for a blog post that will be going up next month. Taking down the old light fixture and adding the new one completely changed the entire look of our dinning room, and I can't wait for the entire space to be completed!

Next we got some cheap granite we found on Craigslist and had 38 square feet installed for $1,200. Derek was convinced that I'd handed a con-artist an upfront check that he was going to run away with, and that we were never going to be getting real counters, so I was really happy when everyone came on install day and I didn't actually get ripped off. Because we got new counters, this meant we also had to invest in a new sink, and faucet, so we upgraded all those items at once. 

Now here we are, waiting for our painter to come in two weeks to paint our kitchen cabinets and the walls in our dinning space and down our stairs. What started off as a huge task that we thought would never get done, has turned into a relatively fun and easy process that we've actually really enjoyed. 

While new cabinets weren't in the picture for us and this home, we've teamed up with Wellborn Cabinets today to share with you their dream kitchen giveaway. They're going to be giving one lucky reader the chance to win a $12,000 check for them to get the kitchen of their dreams. You can find Wellborn Kitchen dealers all throughout the South East States, where they can help you design your own dream kitchen, and have their licensed contractors come and install the entire thing for you. They have a large selection of cabinets from shaker, arched, and raised panels! Whatever you're looking for, they have it!

To enter their dream kitchen giveaway, head on over to the Wellborn Cabinet Site, and fill out the form for you to be entered to win a check for $12,000 to go toward your own dream kitchen remodel! And don't forget to come back here in a few weeks to see how our entire remodel turned out!

This post was sponsored on behalf of Wellborn Cabinets inc, on behalf of Blog Meets Brand, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Easter M&M Thumbprint Cookies

I used to be really good at making holiday themed treats. For a while, I lived and breathed for that kind of thing. But the life got a little crazy and I swore off being a pinterest mom 99% of the time, and here I am, making a holiday themed treat for the first time in over a year. To be fair, I didn't even really intend to make these cookies, but I recently got called to serve in the children's organization at church and our first order of business was apparently to make these cookies for the entire congregation. So I may or may not have made 150 of these last Saturday, no biggie. They are super easy and yummy though, so if you're looking for a quick Easter treat, look no further!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
48 peanut M&Ms or 96 regular ones

Preheat your oven to 350. In a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing in between, then mix in the vanilla. Add in your dry ingredients, and then mix until just combined, don't over mix.

Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Using a tablespoon size scoop, scoop the dough, and then roll it into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they just barely start to turn golden brown. Immediately place your m&m on top as soon as it comes out of the oven, and then transfer to a cooling rack. 

4 Ways I'm Adding More Protein to My Diet

Over the last several years I've made efforts here and there to get healthy. I've tried training for half marathons, had a few different gym memberships, and even got a treadmill for our house, but nothing really seemed to stick Since having kids I've felt like my body has been pretty drained physically and I've honestly been wanting to put on a few pounds to fill out a little more, and just simply be healthier.

Last week I started waking up a few days a week at five in the morning to attend a local Cross Fit class. I was really hesitant about starting Cross Fit since I'd heard a lot of things from several people about it being kind of awful, and to avoid the sport like the plague. I've been pleasantly surprised by the gym that I've been going to, and find that they don't fall into the typical Cross Fit pit holes that I'd been told to steer clear from.

One thing about Cross Fit is that it's definitely high intensity workout, and if I don't fuel my body with the right foods, I'm not going to be able to keep going long term. I've been making it a point to drink lots more water, eat a few more snacks each day, and add lots more protein into my diet to help maintain the muscles that I'm working so hard each morning to grow. If you're looking to add a little more protein to your diet, here are somethings that I'm doing that may help!

VitaTops: These are my go-to morning breakfast for when I'm heading into the gym! I love that they have 5-8 grams a protein depending on the flavor, and 8g of fiber to keep things moving in the right direction. They're super yummy and come in lots of different flavors. My current favorites are Deep Chocolate and Wild Blueberry. You can snag them from Publix in the frozen breakfast section, and you won't be sorry that you did. 

Protein Shakes: I've been making sure to drink one of these each day that I work out. I'm not incredibly picky when it comes to protein powder, as long as it has 30g of protein per serving, I'm good to go. I make sure to drink this within 30 minutes of finishing my workout and it helps replenish my muscles, and keep me full until breakfast time.

Breakfast Casserole: I've been making this recipe a lot lately on Sundays, and then eating the leftovers throughout the week for breakfast each morning. It's an awesome blend of eggs, potatoes, sausage, and red peppers, so it really hits all the major food groups in one meal and tastes amazing. It's quickly become a family favorite recipe.

Protein Bars: Lets be real for a moment here. Not all protein bars are created equally. Most of the ones I've tried recently are awful. I think they almost might be worthy of their  own blog post at this point, but my favorites right now are these cookie dough ones from Aldi. Do you have protein bars that you love? Let me know in the comments below! 

My Favorite Spot in The House with Organic Aromas

When we first moved into our house the first room that I was anxious to get complete was our master bedroom, and our master bathroom. I don't regret that one bit because having a finished space in our home that can be a retreat for me at the end of the day is such a joy. I love having a relaxing and quiet area where I can just relax and unwind. 

Over the last couple years I've really gotten into taking baths. I love using bath bombs, Epsom Salts, and even just a few drops of essential oils. It's the perfect way for me to be able to unwind at the end of the day, and listen to an audio book without any interruptions. 

One of my favorite things to do while soaking in the tub is putting a few drops of Organic Aroma's essential oils into my new Radiance Light Diffuser. You all know by now how much our family loves essential oils, and diffusing them throughout our home, but one thing I really love about this diffuser is that there is no water involved! If  I had a dollar for every time one of my children knocked over a diffuser full of water onto our carpet (I'm looking at you Jay), I would be a very wealthy lady... who could also afford to re-carpet her entire home. I also really love that since it's just the oils and pressurized air working together in the system, you don't have to worry about the scent being diluted. 

I've had a few people over the last month or so, reach out to me and ask which essential oils I love and what I use them for, so below is a little list of my favorite oils, and how we use them in our own home. 

Tea Tree Oil: We've used this for a lot of skin irritants in our house. Jay came down with muloscum when he was two years old and it lasted for months. Finally we started rubbing tea tree oil on it every day for a few weeks, and the rash finally went away. We've also used it to help discolored toe nails, and recently my friend told me that it can help with splinters. It's a really great go-to oil to have!

Lavender: I love using this oil both topically and aromactically. Mostly for when my kids are having a hard time sleeping when they're sick. I'll rub it on their feet, and diffuse it to help calm them down. 

Sweet Orange and Grapefruit: I love diffusing these oils in the house to help motivate me and keep me energized throughout the day. They also make the house smell fresh and clean, so bonus for that. 

Peppermint: This is the first oil that I ever had any expirience with. I had a five week head cold that wasn't letting up, and a friend told me to press a drop of this to the roof of my mouth, and all of a sudden I could breath through my nose for the first time in weeks. I've used it since for cold and things and it works wonders. 

Thank you to Organic Aromas for sponsoring this post.

6 Toys From the 90s I'd Buy My Five-Year-Old

Tonight I found myself stuck in the spiral of reading Buzzfeed articles way past bedtime as I waited for Em to finally give in and go to bed, and I stumbled across a 90s toy list. A lot of the toys on there were things that I didn't really remember all that much from my childhood, but it made be think of the toys that I did have, and what I would be excited for Jay and Em to play with if we had them in our house today. Jay's fifth birthday is coming up in a few months, and there is now a large part of me that wants to do a 90s throw back theme for his gifts this year. 

1. Fisher Price Great Adventures Castle: I remember my brother having this in his bedroom for years and playing it all the time. It's one of those staple toys that I vividly remember from my childhood, and I know Jay would love it just as much as my brother did. 

2. Playskool Color Changing Flashlight: This toy was so old! I had two older siblings who were born in the early 80s, and I'm pretty sure this flashlight originally belonged to one of them. It made it's way down to me eventually and I remember using it all the time. The best part was the knob on the side that let you change the flash light color to red and green!

3. Fisher Price Adjustable Roller Skates: If you were born in the 90s and your childhood did not involve these, then I just don't even know what to say. 

4. Tupperware Tuppertoys Stencils: I had honestly forgotten all about these until I'd seen them on one of Ellie and Jared's youtube videos a few weeks ago, and then remembered that we had TONS of these growing up. I definitely want to order some off of Ebay for Jay's birthday because I know he will totally be obsessed with them. 

5. Playskool Sit n Spin: I don't think we actually had one of these in our house growing up (my mom was the cautious, didn't want us to break a bone type... and actually out of four kids, I'm the only one who even came close with a sprained finger, that's good parenting luck right there), but I remember playing on them at school, or in gym class and they were so fun! For some reason I picture Em having the time of her life on this. 

6. Vtech Little Talking Scholar: I almost lost my poop when I found this. My brother and I had this at my grandma's house and played on it all the time for years. There was a bottom compartment that held these 25 game cards, and you inserted a car into the computer screen, and then you could play different reading, math, color, shapes, and even "piano" games on there. Please tell me someone else had this too so we can bask in 90s nostalgia together? 

What toys do you remember from your childhood? I'd love for you to tell me in the comments below!

A Powerful Lesson About Forgiveness| Jay's Expirience with Transient Synovitis

Last week our Monday morning started off like any other Monday. I got the kids breakfast, bathed them, and then we headed into town to run several errands. We stopped at the goodwill donation center, headed to Ross to get some new toys for Kinsley for another week of at home PT, and then we headed to Aldi to get our groceries for the week.

When we got home and got everything put away, Jay and I started playing a board game with one another. While playing the game he was sitting on his legs and then commented that his leg was hurting. I didn't think much of it and told him to stop sitting on his legs. After the game I fed the kids lunch, got them down for naps and quiet time, and then when I got my work done, we all went to run an errand at the post office. 

When we were walking into the post office I remember Jay mentioning that his leg was hurting again, and then realized he was limping on his right leg. The rest of the evening up until bedtime he limped around the house, but otherwise he was pretty happy. 

Tuesday morning when he woke up, he was screaming in his bed, saying that his leg hurt and that he could not walk. When asked where the pain was, he told me it was in his knee and when I tried and forced him to walk, he would just collapse on the floor and cry.

We took him to urgent care to get an x-ray and I was pretty unimpressed with the doctor that we saw. I told him that his knee is what was bothering him and he was super reluctant to do an x-ray at all, but then finally did one, and said that it showed nothing was wrong with him and that my next step would be to take him to another pediatric urgent care. 

I was livid because I wasn't going to leave one urgent care, just to go to another one. If I  was seeing another doctor I wanted to make the best decision and go to the one that was going to give us an exact answer. After talking to a friend on the phone and talking through all my thoughts and options with her, it struck me that I should call Em's former PT since she would likely know what to do. So I called, she told me he needed to get in to see a pediatric orthopedic as soon as possible, and emailed me a list of options. 

I called the doctor, and they got us an appointment for the following morning. Meanwhile I decided to reach out to friends on Facebook, Instagram, etc... to see if anyone had any experience with what this might be. A lot of people gave me ideas of what it could be... pinched nerves and growing pains were among the more common answers. Then a friend of mine from high school who is about to graduate medical school reached out to me and offered to help if I wanted. 

This is where the lesson in forgiveness comes in. I was horrible to this guy in high school. He was easily the nicest and smartest person in our graduating class... (I technically don't remember if he was actually valedictorian or anything... but definitely top 10). Anyways, I went through some rough patches in high school where I had really amazing friends and then through a series of events I would so something dumb like lie, or hurt someones feelings, or just be super immature, and by the end of high school I only had a small handful of people that would remotely tolerate me. I was kind of awful, and it's one of those things in adulthood that haunts me now. 

Anyways, so this guy that reached out to me, he and I were pretty good friends, and then I was horrible to him, and we basically haven't really spoken in about 10 years. And here he is messaging me at 10 o' clock a night trying to help me figure out what is wrong with my child to give me a little peace of mind over the situation. He helped give me a little list of things to talk to the doctor about in the morning when we went in, and was just so nice and helpful. It was such a great reminder to me to be kind. He had every right to just read my status about Jay and his problem, roll his eyes at me, and scroll on, but instead he decided to help me and look past the ways that I was rude to him so many years ago. I'm grateful that he reached out, and that I was able to also personally apologize for my high school behavior, and that it's a fresh slate again. It was a great reminder of the quote, "We will receive the joy of forgiveness in our own lives when we are willing to extend that joy freely to others."

The story ends with me taking Jay into the pediatric orthopedic the next morning where they did a hip x-ray because typically in children if they're complaining of knee pain, the pain is usually displaced from the hip. They saw nothing was anatomically wrong with his hip and that he had full range of motion. They said that a virus had settled into the hip joint causing the temporary immobility. Jay was been able to walk with a limp that entire day(Wednesday), and by Friday you would never have known anything was wrong. We were so worried about this entire thing, because when kids suddenly stop walking, it can be a sign of a much more serious illness, but luckily it was just a minor case of transient synovitis, and for that, we're grateful.