Back at it….

I’ve run almost 12 miles in the last few weeks.  It would have been more, but I had to take 4 days off due to my ingrown toenail fun.  They are still not feeling the best, but thanks to a new pair of wide running shoes my hubby got me, I am at least able to run in spite of them.

A couple of things on my running radar.  I’m going to attempt a one mile race coming up in about 2 1/2 weeks.  My one goal for that is to not be last.  The other thing is that I realized I made a new accidental goal.  I really want to run a 7 minute mile eventually.  At the moment that sounds not only painful, but slightly impossible.  I guess time will tell!

One small goal I’ve accomplished so far is not walking.  That might sound funny when I’m going such short distances, but let me tell you… I have certainly wanted to cave and start walking multiple different times.  I refuse to let myself do that, but there have been some rough moments!  It helps when I see people as I’m running.  I instantly think, “I can’t stop right in front of them!!  Pick up the pace!”  It also helps to try and think about anything else other than actually running and how dead my legs and feet feel.

Something interesting I’ve noticed is that I switch my pace ALL the time.  It’s really hard for me to run consistently.  I’ll sometimes settle into this pretty slow jog run, but if I think, “I can go faster,” I usually really can.  There have also been runs where I’m super tired and then I suddenly get past the dead feeling and get some kind of second wind and feel like I can keep (slowly) going for awhile.  Weird.  I’ll actually start feeling better, breathing more steady, and am able to push myself more.

Although they haven’t bothered me every time, the runs where my shins are hurting are pretty miserable.  It’s no fun to run through that.  It had faded and now I noticed it again petty badly on my run tonight.  I’m hoping it’s the new shoes and they calm down as I break them in.

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A Tribute to Five Years

We sort of grew up together, same small town, same small church, his mom was my first grade teacher…. for quite a while there I was winning in the height department too!  I think I’m one of the only kids smiling about this play we were forced to participate in.

church

But the real fun started about nine years ago, on a missions trip to New Orleans.  It really is one of my favorite memories for a lot of reasons, but I loved getting to know this guy better!!  We had such a great time together, although we were both too self-deprecating to truly think the other was interested at this point.  We found out later it was indeed when we both started liking each other.

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New Orleans

It was the following summer, and a lot of nightly conversations, tennis, and euchre games later, that we became an official couple.  Unfortunately, this was quickly followed by me heading back to college 5 hours away.

x country

We made the most of every opportunity we had together for the next 3 years (mostly holidays and summer vacations), but it was really hard.  We went into dating with the intention of pursuing marriage together, quickly realized that’s exactly what we wanted, and then had to wait an incredibly long time before that could happen.  When you have someone you love so much, you just want to be with them every second!  Although we called each other as often as possible each day and spent hours on webcam together while doing homework, it just wasn’t the same as being together.  If you’ve been in a long distance relationship for years, you know how hard it can be!!  So many tears and difficult days, but every bit worth it on both ends!  ❤

besties

christmas

The summer before I graduated, we were engaged and that was hands down the hardest year to keep waiting.  Every time we saw each other and had to say goodbye (again and again and again) became more difficult.  It’s a good thing Cabz has always been Mr. Logical and Self-Controlled because I begged him (in absolute seriousness) about a thousand times to just do a quick courthouse marriage with me instead of waaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiting ten bajillion more days.  I am constantly amazed at his crazy ability to be self-controlled in every area of life.  I am so NOT most of the time.

engagies

together

forever

Finally, FINALLY, we were married.  I can only describe that day as completely happy and joyful!

happy

I like these pictures because they just show how overwhelmingly happy I was.  We were married.  Together forever….

so happy

married

reception

happy happy

….Well, until that one summer I was pregnant with Abby and we decided after much debate and tears that I should stay in Ames and work while he took an internship near Chicago.  About half a day into that, we realized it was the worst decision we had ever made. haha  At least we were able to see each other almost every weekend and had an end date on the calendar.  It was definitely reliving the separation nightmare again, only kinda worse since we were now married and knew how awesome it was to be together constantly.  Oh, and I was pregnant.  And after growing up in a big family with a sister sharing my bed, and then having roommates in college to share a bedroom with, it was officially terrifying to be in an apartment all by myself every night.  Not really a fan of that.  This too ended, however, and other than a couple random nights for work, we have been together ever since.

Cabz 2

Cabz 1

I love this man so very much.  He really is the best.  He’s the smartest, most loving, kindest, hardest worker around.  He loves me in the midst of my failures.  He is the most honest and selfless person I know.  He loves the Lord and works to instill that same beauty in his children.  He is extremely loyal and faithful to me and I feel like I can never appreciate him enough.  This is my best friend and I don’t deserve him, but I surely love him and am beyond thankful to have him as my husband.  Here’s to many more years to share together!!

Cabz

Cabz 3

Oh, and have I mentioned this guy is an amazing dad?!  Patient, gentle, kind, and a whole lot of fun – what more could these kids of ours ask for?

Daddy and Evs

Daddy and Evie

Daddy and Elly    Daddy and Eliana

He comes home tired from work and jumps right in to help anyway.  He loves to be outside playing with the kids and going for family walks together.

Daddy and Abby  Daddy and Abigail

Daddy and Elle Belle  Daddy and Evie Grace

What a handsome stud! ❤

Daddy and Evelyn

He tolerates my picture taking so well. heehee

Daddy and Girls  Daddy and Girlies

We have to laugh some days…..  Five years later we have moved 3 times together, brought 3 children into this world, and are currently raising our bonus baby too!  Living the life!  We love it! 🙂

Daddy Time

So glad you are the one I get to live life with every day.  You are my forever. ❤

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Ingrown Toenail Fun

Well…. this has been obnoxious.  Almost all of my toes got ingrown nails about 1 1/2 – 2 months after giving birth to Evelyn.  My feet always swell like balloons during the end of my third trimesters, which is what causes the issue.  I had to go in to a foot doctor for them and she clipped them all a bunch and drained puss out.  It was kind of nasty, but they healed up and I had no further problems.  Until now of course…. 😉

My feet did the same swelling trick while pregnant with Eliana and have been lightly bothering me for the last few weeks.  I knew they were probably ingrown, but hoped they would kind of heal up on their own.  It was just my two big toes this time.  The left foot really was never too bad, but the right one has been getting increasingly worse each day.  I have been soaking it in hot water (with Epsom salt sometimes too) whenever possible for as long as possible and that gave me some slight relief.  I would use various toe tools and clip at the nail and drain puss/blood as much as I could stand too because it was super gross and infected.

As you may know, I have been trying to run every evening.  My tennis shoes have been incredibly uncomfortable to wear with all of this.  I fought through it a few nights ago and after forcing myself to run about a block, the pain became more numb and I was able to run through it.  Upon getting home, it was a bloody mess though and probably hadn’t been the best idea I ever had.  Two nights ago, I attempted to run yet again, and I just couldn’t.  I went out and I couldn’t step on it.  I was really frustrated because I wanted to get my run done! haha  But, I really couldn’t do it, so I just did 240 jumping jacks, some push ups (from my knees haha), and some arm work outs while barefoot instead.  Yesterday, I did the same and today I attempted taking the girls out for a walk and I couldn’t even do that because of how much it hurt.  It was pretty annoying.  Of course my kids are just constantly stepping on it and smashing it all day every day too.  They aren’t trying to, but they are like magnets to it!!  I dodge them about 60-70% of the time and they smash it the rest.  It’s so fun.  While this isn’t the worst pain I’ve ever endured by any means, it is a really annoying pain because it interferes with everything I do during my normal life. (aka, take care of kids on my feet all day)

Not being able to go for a walk this morning was kind of my breaking point and I struggled to get a foot doctor appointment set up asap.  I finally found someone who agreed to see me this afternoon.  Cabz generously took a half day for me, because there was no way I was having the kids come and sit through whatever my appointment entailed. haha

So, my right foot’s big toe was pretty rough on the one side and he had to do a surgery on it.  It wasn’t that intense, but he did some shot to numb it all around the toe (that was the worst part – not fun to get poked for like 5 minutes straight, but MUCH better than the alternative which would have been feeling him clip stuff out in a tender, open wound haha).  He showed me the long sliver of dagger toenail that had somehow been growing into the toe afterwards and it looked nasty.  I was glad to have that thing out of there.  My whole foot was pretty numb and has been most of the day.  I took advantage of that and went for a long walk with Cabz and the kids tonight (again, might not have been my best idea) and now it’s finally starting to wear off.  It doesn’t feel the best, but I’m hoping it will be much better tomorrow.  I asked the doctor if I could run again tomorrow and he said I could if it felt okay.  I am really hoping (although, I doubt it at this point….), because I want to keep at it!  Hopefully the healing is really quick and I can move on.  It does make me temporarily appreciate walking without pain though.  That’s for sure!!

Eliana is Two Months Old!!

Where has the last month even gone?!  It just doesn’t seem possible that we’ve had sweet little Elly for 2 months already!

Loved Lots

Holdings

I can not get enough of this adorable face!!!!!!

Sweetest Smile Ever

Elly Hope has always been pretty alert and observant of everything and everyone around her.  She has plenty of daily excitement to keep her entertained around our place. haha  Her sisters definitely give her lots of love!  Abigail….

Abby Luvins

Abby loves

Abby Kisses

…. and Evelyn too!

Big Sis       Big Sis Kiss

Baby Sister

Sweet little one weighs 11 lb 5 oz and said goodbye to her newborn clothes a few weeks ago.  She’s been wearing a few 0-3 month, but mostly 3 month clothes.  This could partially be a result of me making the switch to cloth diapers.  Those things are pretty weighty.  I had Evie in cloth diapers by 3 weeks, but due to our current busy household I didn’t get it done for Elly until she was around 6 weeks.  It has finally happened though!  Between that and potty training Evelyn, we are down to buying diapers for just ONE child and that feels pretty awesome.  Diapers are expensive.  Especially when you’re buying them for 3 little butts. haha!

Diaper Baby

Eliana was 61% for weight and 50% for height.  She’s definitely not super skinny like Evie always was.  Evie weighed almost two pounds less at this age!!  Crazy!

Cute and Innocent

Cute and Chewing

Cute and Adorable

Cute and Sneaky

Most babies have their “go to expression” and we love that Elly’s is always her serious little frowny face!

Diaper Babe

Styling her cute dress from Great Grandpa D.  I’d say she pulls it off pretty well! 🙂

Dress

Eliana continues to squeak a lot when she’s sad and it sounds so tiny and helpless. haha!  We love it.  She has also been loving “talking” to me a ton which is my favorite.  She does the same thing Evie always did and has her “cute voice” she pulls out when she wants us to be especially fascinated with her.

Sweet Face

Lazy Grin

Since switching Baby Boy to eating every 3 hours and as Elly has aged a bit, there has actually been less crying at our place.  There are still stressful feeding times, but the babies have both been more content (for longer periods of time!) with activities other than being held.

Stretching Out

Stretchin

Sweet Cheeks is still full of smiles!

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Loved

Daddy’s study material on the computer is pretty exciting apparently.

Daddy's Computer

Elly usually crashes for the night around 8:30 p.m. which is nice and early.  You might wonder why I don’t go to bed at that point, but I like to stay up until she’ll eat again (around 10:30 or 11 p.m.).  I do this for two main reasons.  The evening is literally my only peaceful time and it’s kind of nice to just be awake and enjoy a bit of downtime before bed.  Also, I have always struggled with sleeping (my body just isn’t in to it unfortunately) and there is no point in going to bed crazy early and laying there awake for 3 hours.  I don’t lay Elly down until after her 10:30 p.m. feeding.  I actually prefer to enjoy holding her (again, in peace, folks!) in our rocking chair and just loving on my baby.

Sleepin' on Mama

She lays down in the rock ‘n’ play after that and gets snugged up all cute for the rest of the night.

Rock 'n Play

Rock 'n' Play Fisher Price

It’s pretty typical to get one five and a half hour stretch out of Elly overnight.  I’ll feed her around 10:30 or 11 p.m. and she’ll wake up around 4:30 a.m. to nurse again.  She usually goes right back to sleep after this and then doesn’t eat again until around 7 a.m.  During the day, she is still pretty consistently nursing every couple hours.

Sweet Baby

Sweet Baby Girl

Eliana is still in the kind of random napping stage, but she tends to take a longer, deeper sleep during the girls’ Quiet Time and I love it!  This is another chance I get to just hold her and breathe a little (although not quite as nice as bed time since the older girls take turns using the can the entire time – it’s like they poop in sync… how?).  She naps in her boppy pillow or with me holding her for now.  She’s totally doing the fake out “sleeping” in this first picture. haha!!

Fake Out

Sleepy Baby

Naps with Daddy are pretty great too!

Daddy and Elly Hope

just hanging out around the house!

Precious

Startled by my camera

Although this sweet little one is naturally a pretty happy camper, we all have our moments….

Sad Baby

These pictures crack me up!  It was so bright outside and Elly was very tired and it resulted in these foul looking faces.  She looks ready to take someone out in that last one!

Mama 1

Mama 2

Mama 3

I often just give Elly wash rag baths because it’s faster than getting her in and out of the tub.  She loves it when she does get a real bath though!!  I think it’s one of her favorites.

Bath Time 1

Someone has been working on her neck muscles!  I think my K’tan helps build those muscles as well, because I often get comments on how well she holds her head up.  I used to get that with Evie too (also a K’tan babe haha).

Head Ups

Elly really loves hanging out in my K’tan right now.  I’ve been facing her out when she’s more awake which she really enjoys and having her face in when I know she wants to sleep.  She loves being held and we love holding her!  Too much sun, Mama!!

K 'tan Walk

She doesn’t often get to ride in either of the strollers, but thinks it’s fun when she does get the chance.  She probably sits in it more as a hangout spot when the big girls are playing outside. 🙂

Stroller Fun

It  can be exhausting to watch the big girls at the spray park in the summer heat.  Good thing Daddy was up for holding me in the shade!

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We sometimes call Elly, “Little Round Head” because I mean… just look at that round lil’ face!  So cute!  I love it!

Silent Babe

Elly has been chewing on her fists a lot more than our older girls ever did.  It will be interesting to see if she becomes a thumb/finger sucker at all or not.

Cutest

Cutest Babe

Drool Baby

Poor Toots lost all the hair on top of her head and a patch on the back too!  She’s balding similarly to Abby’s baby days.  We still see similarities between her and Abby look-wise.  There’s a couple baby pictures of Abby that look identical to Elly, but Elle Bell definitely has her own look at times as well.  It will be exciting to watch her change as she grows!

Serious

So serious

We think all three of our little sweet peas are beautiful! ❤

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It’s the small things….

I am not very fast, but I have gone for a run every night (except once) for the past couple of weeks.  It’s kind of annoying, but I have such a competitive spirit that I always want to one up myself.  This will only be a good thing until I can’t get any faster. haha  Until tonight, I didn’t own a stopwatch and although my phone has one, it is so old school that I have to leave it flipped open to use it and if I accidentally press anything or let it shut it stops timing.  Cabz asked me why I timed myself and I told him it’s the only fun part about running.  I like to beat myself and get faster.

Last night I ran my first mile under 9 minutes (8:57) and tonight was exciting because I topped that with a mile in 8:34!  I know it sounds pretty slow and I definitely used to be able to bust out a faster mile, but it’s progress and wears me out at the moment!  On the last stretch, I knew I had to really move it to get a better time and I focused everything I had left and forced myself to “sprint” (it felt like it, but probably didn’t look much like it – ha!!) the rest of the way home.

I told Cabz I always feel bad when people say, “Hi” to me as I pass by.  I try really hard to smile pleasantly (no way can I respond verbally – I’m just trying not to pass out, guys!!), but I am sure it probably looks more like I’m snarling.  I pretty much pant breathe the entire time.  I’m not sure if that’s a thing, but picture someone gasping for air after being underwater for a few minutes, add in a bunch of sweat, a beat red face, flailing limbs, and that’s a pretty accurate picture of me while running.

Oh, and good news.  Our scale isn’t broken!  The numbers actually can change!  Flabs, you’re not here to stay.  I’m determined.

P Week

P Week has been our longest “week” yet as it started prior to Elly’s birth and didn’t end until quite a while afterwards! haha  It was a good letter to be stuck on though, as we found a lot of great activities to go along with it!  Get ready for a long post of fun. 🙂

One of the girls’ favorite “Pp” activities was our picnic on the deck.  They were looking forward to that for a long time – mostly because we never eat pb & j’s. haha

Picnic

Abby’s handwriting and tracer page practice:

P Handwriting

P Tracer

What begins with the letter “P”?

P Objects

We used our favorite play-doh recipe and attempted to make purple play-doh, but it turned out a bit more on the gray side.  Mixing food coloring to make purple is hard. haha

Making Playdough

Homemade Playdough

Stirring Playdough

I should have just bought the good stuff and it would have been prettier.  Oh well.  The off color didn’t seem to interrupt the girls’ fun!

Playdough

Purple PlaydoughPlaying Playdough

Evelyn hasn’t done a lot of painting in her life and thought painting pink pigs was the best!

Paint

Painting Pink Pigs

Can you tell who painted each one?

P is for Pig

We had a lunch that all started with “P”!  Pulled pork, peas, and peaches (or pears)!

P lunchP Lunch!

We had some unplanned “Pp” fun right after Elly arrived.  One of my wonderful aunts, Christy, sent us an awesome package!  The girls were loving it, because it was full of fun new books to read!  We love our books around here and something to occupy the older girls was just what we needed in that moment.  I could hardly pull them away for bed time.

Package of FunPackage Books

Package Reading

Speaking of bed time, the girls got to have a “Pajama Day” to celebrate our letter of the week.  Abby was thrilled about this because she has a Fancy Nancy book where Nancy has a pajama day too.  Of course we had to reread that one a few times.

Pajama Day 4

And yes, Evie has Thomas jammies.  She thinks Thomas is cool because Abby does.  Go figure.

Pajama Day 2Pajama Day 1

P is for pudding!!  Yummy!

Puddin'!Pudding

P is for pink and purple!

Pink and Purple

The girlies both enjoyed making princess hats.  We went with the colors pink and purple for the cone part.  The girlies loved sorting through my ribbon bag and choosing which ones they wanted for their hats.

Princess Hats Preschool

They each had sparkly “princess” stickers to decorate their hats with as well.  I just used plain old yarn for the string part, which didn’t work the best, but the fun was in making them!

Pretty Princess 3Pretty Princess

Preschool Princess Hats

We gathered some good looking pine cones on one of our walks and used them for this fun experiment.  We tried putting one pine cone in a glass of cold water, one in a glass of hot water, and one in an empty glass.  Some people online had said their pine cones reacted pretty instantly, but ours took so long, we found something else to do and came back to check later.

PineconesPinecone Experiment

The pine cone in the empty glass stayed the same, all opened up.  The one in the hot water closed just a little.  The real exciting pine cone was the one we placed in the cold water.  It had closed all up very tightly.  This is because the pine cones open up to release their seeds in nice weather and in cold, damp weather they close tightly to keep them inside.  Pretty cool.

Pinecones!Pinecone Changed!

Pinecone Folded in

The next day, we used a couple of our leftover pine cones to make bird feeders!  (Or annoying squirrel feeders as it turned out)  We tied a piece of twine to each end, spread peanut butter around them, and then sprinkled bird seed all over.

Pinecone Peanut Butter Feeder

Pinecone Feeder

The girls were all business hanging them up in our tiny pine tree.

Pinecone Bird FeederPeanut Butter Bird Feeder

Homemade Bird Feeder

P is for personal pita pizzas with pepperoni!  We just made these and ate them cold and they were pretty tasty.  I pack something similar to this as our “lunchables” when we go somewhere over lunch time.  Evie had a hard time actually getting the cheese ON her pizza.  Every time she took out a big handful, it went straight to her mouth.  Oh dear…

Pizza Time!

Pita PizzasPersonal Pita Pizzas

Penguins and pom poms helped Evelyn work on her colors.  Abby enjoyed “helping” her too, although this looked more like Abby completing a color and telling Evie about it.

PomPom Penguin Color Sorting

Penguin Colors

I’ve been wanting to try out the decorate and bake idea with glass plates/mugs/whatever, and this was a great opportunity to try out plates!  We found white, glass plates at the dollar store and used sharpies (this was a little scary with Evie, but we survived) to color them.  (yes, I made one too, although I guess I didn’t take a picture of it)  After the marker had dried overnight I stuck them in the oven and turned it to 400 degrees for 40 minutes.  Once they were done, I turned off the oven and let the plates completely cool inside.  As I had read elsewhere, the sharpie color does change somewhat in the process.  It definitely becomes less vibrant, but it did stay on.  I haven’t tried washing them yet, but I did read you should hand wash only as the dishwasher can take off the color.  That shouldn’t be a problem for us, since we haven’t yet used a dish washer in our married life. haha  We even own one now and don’t use it!

Plate Baking

Coloring Plates

Evelyn wasn’t very excited about this picture.  She thought we were going to fill her new plate with snacks and was way more about that idea.

Plates

Plates Baked

Our final fun was a trip to a new park!  Evelyn was all over the place, going crazy and loving every minute.

Park 1

Park 2

Park 3

Park 4

Abby enjoyed it as well, but was much more excited about all of the flowers she could pick.

Park 6

Park 5

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Ham, Taters, and Beans

Wow!  I haven’t done a food blog in a while now!  I have definitely still been cooking, but blogging about those meals has kind of been on the back burner (wah, wah, wah).

Super fast prep/cook time meals have been my best friends these days.  This is one I threw together a few weeks ago and it turned out to be a winner!

Ham, Taters, and BeansHam, Taters, and Beans

  • about 2 cups of diced turkey ham
  • one 1 pound bag of frozen green beans
  • 5 – 7 potatoes diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or a couple teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • olive oil*
  • grated parmesan cheese

* I start small and add a little more if the food starts sticking to the bottom of the pan

Throw everything (except for the parmesan) into a pot on the stove and cook over medium low heat until the potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle servings with parmesan cheese.  If you’re in a super hurry, you can leave out the potatoes.  I’ve done that before, but the potatoes help it go further.  This is tasty with cooked chicken as well, although you might need to add salt without the ham.

Ham, Potatoes, and Green Beans