The Last Bit’s of Summer

We’ve spent the last few weeks keeping busy with a lot of little things before August wrapped up and Skyler headed back to school and routine set in again.

Great Oregon Steam Up, park splash pads, play dates with friends, OMSI, Oregon State Fair, bowling, midwife appointment, dates with girl friends that I haven’t seen in a couple years, MOPS meetings, clamming in the rain, tearing apart the boys’ room and redoing it, and getting to spend time with my brother and sister in law who were here visiting from Texas.

I haven’t hardly picked my camera up this month, but I did snap a few photos of our fun:

Great Oregon Steam Up:

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Lunch with some girlfriends:

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Popsicles on the Porch:

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Dinner & Dessert Date with a Long Time BFF, Amy:

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Canning Peaches, Plum Jam and Pickles:

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Clamming and my first adventure making homemade clam chowder:

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Eating lunch at our favorite “baby burrito” joint:

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And getting nasty burns on my arm from splashing boiling clam chowder on it:

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OMSI:

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Family & Cousin Time:

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Bowling:

 

 

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Yes, fun has been had this summer.  But I’m ready for the cooler days, Skyler to be plugging away at school (and finishing his BSN this May!  Whoop!), and the routine of MOPS and Bible studies again. 

Happy start of school to all you mama’s out there enjoying a bit of quiet time today.  :)

5 Years

2009

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2010

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2011

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2012

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2013

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2014

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5 years, homeslice.

Marriage.  2 insanely cute little men.  A 3rd monkey on the way.  A lovely home.  2 years of pre-req’s, 2 years of nursing school and finally a graduation.  More school now.  But a good and wonderful job meanwhile.  A paintball business.  Countless dates, adventures and trips.  A wonderful and joyful family we’ve created.

The last 5 years have not always been easy.  You know that.  But those times where I wanted to throw up my hands and just crawl away, you (lovingly) reminded me, “Hey dummy.  We’re married.  Sorry, but you’re stuck with me.”  Thanks for never unsticking from me either.

Love you.

Homemade Clam Chowder

Last week, Zeek had one request for us: “Let’s go clamming!”  We looked at the tide tables and the following morning was actually a great time to go.  (You want to go when the tides are at or below zero, which is only ~7-10 days a month.)

We packed up and headed out bright and early.  The boys (and us too!) are loving our clamming adventures!  This was our third time out and we were starting to feel a little more comfortable and knowledgeable. 

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This time, we had better researched how to care for these clams (we dug cockle clams) and took them home in a cooler filled with sea water.  Once home, we dumped in about 2 cups of cornmeal and let them sit overnight so that the clams could sift through the cornmeal and sift the sand out of their systems (a mistake we made the first time, which left us with gritty clams!).  

The next day, with our new oyster knife in hand, we pried open the clams, cut cut out the meat and sliced it up.  And when I say “we”, I definitely mean “Skyler”…. because this process had to happen when the clams are alive and I didn’t want any of them sticking their tongue out at me! haha.  While Skyler did that – I prepped for clam chowder!  After looking at a handful of recipes, I decided to just wing it with my own. 

And the result, my friends, was some pretty tasty clam chowder!

Clam Chowder

Homemade Clam Chowder

Ingredients

  • 5 pieces Bacon (diced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (diced)
  • 32oz Chicken Broth
  • 3 Celery (diced)
  • 4 Carrots (peeled or not, and diced)
  • 6 Russet Potatoes (peeled or not, and diced)
  • 1 pint Heavy Cream
  • Garlic Salt (to taste)
  • Parsley or Dill (optional)
  • 20+ Clams (Cockle)

Directions

Step 1
In a large stockpot, toss your diced bacon in the bottom and let cook for a few minutes. Remove them while they are still soft and put aside in a bowl. Leave the bacon grease at the bottom of the pot.
Step 2
Throw your diced onions in the pot and let them saute in the bacon grease for a few minutes until they start getting soft.
Step 3
Add the chicken broth, celery, carrots and potatoes. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until everything is soft and you can poke easily with a fork.
Step 4
Add the pint of heavy cream, and more garlic salt than you think.
Step 5
Use an immersion blender (or pour into a regular blender if you don't have an immersion one) to mostly blend the food. You'll want to leave enough chunks so that it's not completely liquid. (I tend to like mine pretty chunky, but it's all on preference!)
Step 6
Add the bacon back in and add your diced clams to the pot.
Step 7
Let it all simmer for another 15-20 minutes on medium heat to let the clams cook.
Step 8
Dish up, top with a dash of parsley or dill (and maybe a little more garlice salt! ;)) and ENJOY!

If you aren’t up for your own clamming – you can substitute 1-2 cans of clams from the store.  :)

Gettin’ the List Done

Last night, at about 8 pm after the boys were in bed and quiet, I finally sat down on the couch – paint on my hands, my knees and legs.  My hair disheveled and my body odor up a notch from my lack of shower.  I was so tired, I resigned myself to a late dinner of a bowl of granola cereal and some Naked juice (that maybe helps with some nutrients, right?! ;)). 

It’s been two full days of hard work. 

Skyler has had Weds-Fri off this week, and for the first week this summer, he hasn’t had school work, vacation/trips, a week long series of online tests for work, etc.  He had nothing.  I had quietly been reserving my “Honey-Do” list for just this moment.  :)

Thankfully, he was on board and we decided to hit it hard and just get it done.

So Weds morning, we started this:

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We disassembled the crib-turned-toddler-bed that Zeek has slept in since he was born… but not after a good 10+ minute sob-fest from our eldest who, despite being extremely pumped about the promise of a new bunk bed and being able to sleep on the top bunk, was quite beside himself with the prospect of change. 

We removed the rest of the furniture from the room, filled nail holes and prepped the room for painting.

In all this, when I say “we”, I really mean “Skyler”.

In addition to painting (and the sole reason why I was able to convince Skyler that it was the optimal time to paint over that ugly green), we were going to be shampooing the carpets in the 3 bedrooms.  So everything in all the rooms went into other parts of the house (aside from our giant bed.  That thing ain’t moving till we’re moving. ha.) 

So for the last 2 days, my house has looked like this:

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Isn’t that lovely? 

While Skyler has been working hard painting and shampooing, I’ve been painting Zeek’s new dresser, AND maintaining the children.  Hence the paint.  ALL the freak all over.  Kids are messy.  Paint is messy.  The two together is an obscene amount of mess.

Today is day three.  Then Skyler goes back to work for 2 days. 

Today’s main goal is to put things back in place, now that the room is painted and the carpets are dry.

Here’s to hopefully cranking out more of the list today!  I’m pooped, but ready to get this list shortened.

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And happy Friday to you all!

Xoxo.

Camp #2: Washington Family Ranch (YoungLife)

A few days after we returned from Camp Tadmor, we headed out on the road again to the YoungLife camp, Washington Family Ranch, out in the middle of no-where in Antelope, Ore.  Heard of this place before?  It’s the old “Rancho Rajneesh” where the Rajneeshee community built and lived.  (Utterly fascinating!)  I’d heard some of the history before and been out to the camp once before for a short weekend for a leadership training with Skyler, just a couple months after we started dating.  After spending a week out there this time and really exploring, I had to really dive in and research it when I got home.  SO interesting… and weird. :)

Ok, back to the point!  Skyler came out to be a part of the Medical Team at camp and the boys and I were lucky enough to just tag along again.  While we enjoyed our time at Camp Tadmor, WFR felt like a true family vacation at a resort!

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This was the old Ranch House that the Medical Team stays in:

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 What gorgeous views:

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Communication Hill:

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Funny side story about this hill:

When we went to WFR the first time, newly dating, we had agreed to meet outside the dorm buildings at a brisk 5 am to climb up the hill together and watch the sunrise.  I was so excited for our morning date.   I set my alarm, jumped out of bed, put on my cutest pair of running shorts and sweatshirt and eagerly ran to the meeting spot.  … And there I waited.  It was quite cold out at that dark hour, so I decided to run a few laps on their paved paths as I waited.  I still waited.  After nearly 45 minutes of waiting, I decided me beloved must not have woken up to his alarm, and I set out to climb that hill by myself.  It’s quite the trek, but also quite the view!  And that moment should have made it known to me just how precious sleep is for my main man.  :)  I still give him a hard time about standing me up.  ;)

I opted NOT to wake up that early and do that climb this visit, being pregnant and nauseous and all.  I don’t regret that decision.

The boys spent a LOT of time in this handy sucker – WFR is very spread out!

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One day, we took a little family walk around the camp and took some photos of the camp and view. 

This is the back side of the huge cafeteria and the pool and the giant swing:

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The obstacle course and a couple buildings left over from the Rajneeshee’s that are now part of the obstacle course:

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We also noticed these houses nestled up on the hill.  The property is like 60 some acres, if I remember correctly, and about 12 miles from the main road back to the tiny tiny town of Antelope.  I heard about some people living at the camp that kind of keep to themselves and don’t venture down to camp much.  Guessing these might be their quarters??

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The ropes course:

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A couple pretty sightings. :)

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We spent a LOT of time in the pool!  My goal was to have Zeek comfortable swimming in his life jacket alone by the time we left camp.  He only needed till the second day to lose the fear.  :)

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We also were able to take 2 afternoons to spend at the next door camp, WildLyfe (middle school camp), which was a fairly new addition and had a killer water park!  The boys loved it!

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They went down the water slides like champs (on mom and dad’s laps of course)! :)

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We were also able to spend an afternoon on the main camp’s go-carts, which was so fun!  New experience for the boys.

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I LOVE Asher’s face!!  Zeek chose wisely by driving with the safe mom.  Asher (aka Kamikaze), was even unsure about driving with dad, haha!

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One night, they had a carnival, which was super fun to take the boys too – despite being a super late night for them.

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The next night?  Western night, complete with a hoe-down!

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Love these boys!

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P.S. Skyler asked me “jeans tucked into boots or no?”  I quickly answered (thinking of how I would dress), “tucked in, duh”.  He has too much faith in me.  Now looking at these photos, I can’t help but think Napoleon and just laugh and laugh.  Sorry for steering you wrong, honey! HAH! 

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After a super hot week, we spend the last full day with cooler weather, some rain, and the most incredible thunderstorms I’ve ever seen.

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We had a FAB time!  Until next year, WFR.  Until next year.

Family Photoshoot

I recently got back the photos from our family photoshoot that we had in June (where we got some pics to announce Baby #3!) and I just had to share some of my favorites!  These photos are taken by Katie Guaschino Photography and I love how they turned out!  (She also took our family photos last year.)

I just had to share some of my favorite photos from the shoot!  (And now comes the hard part of picking which ones to print and put on the wall!!  Eek!  I’m terrible at narrowing it down.)

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Had to share this one – it captures the boys so well!  Zeek, being sweet and lovin’ on his mama, and Asher being a cheese ball.

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{Summer Fun} Camp Tadmor

HIIII!!  I’m back.  I feel live we’ve been gone all of July!  We’ve been back from 2 different camps for almost a week now, and life is getting back into it’s groove.  Early bedtimes for the boys, clean house, regular story times at the library and other routine things that make life feel a little more normal.

We’ve had a great time the last few weeks, but it’s always good to be home (and back to blogging!).

I’ll start out from the beginning…  Right after the 4th, we headed to Camp Tadmor (where we spent 2 weeks last summer) for Skyler to be the nurse again.  It was really fun going back this 2nd year, already knowing the groove of camp, many of the staff and especially to go visit our friends who live at camp – Adam, Angie, Julia & Kate.  Julia & Kate are the same ages as the boys, so it has been fun to keep in relationship with them over the past year because the kids love playing together!

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The boys enjoyed the water much more this year and got braver with how deep they’d go in (which made mama terrified. ;)).

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Had to throw this picture in of sweet little Kate!

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I love this 3-picture series of Asher experiencing some good splashing, haha.

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Then daddy dropped off Asher at the shoreline and gave Zeek some swim time… which Asher hated.

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“There’s daddy….without me.”

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Asher learned how cool it is to wear your hoods on coats and sweatshirts and shrieks loudly if you remove the hood.

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The giant slip n’ slide!  Which clearly Asher hated.  Haha.  Way to ease him into it, dad.  (Sorry for the blurry picture, I had to zoom way in!)

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Zeek was also terrified of it (but understandably so, since he was standing at the very end of the slip n’ slide at one point and a big guy came sliding down and knocked Zeek off his feet, flipped him over backwards and he hit his head on the ground… so he had a healthy fear of it. hah.  Poor guy.).  This was him trying to carefully crawl off of it after daddy put him on it.  :)

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Camp WIPED the boys out.  A few days in, Asher woke up from his nap (which was an hr and half already), came out to the couch to cuddle and fell asleep for another hour and a half!

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There’s always a carnival-like night for the big kids, so we took our boys over to check out the activity.  They loved the helium balloons and glow sticks that were given to them.

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One of the carnival activities was to hit a lineup of balloons with a sling shot and pebbles.  Which Skyler was awesome at.  He grew up playing with a sling shot and he had a good aim.  :)

 

 

 

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It was so nice being at camp this year with the boys being bigger and able to play a little more independently.  I’d sit outside on the little deck in the morning with the sun streaming in through the trees, drink my coffee, read my book (Shepherding a Child’s Heart) and the boys played with sticks and rocks in the dirt.  Boys are great.  ;)

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Had to get a photo of all of us together, because I know someday down the road, we’ll really enjoy looking at these pics of where we were in life!  This is Angie, Julia (who is exactly a month younger than Zeek), and Kate (who is a day younger than Asher).  Angie is also pregnant with her 3rd right now.  :)  So fun!  We love having them as friends.

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Tadmor’s theme this year was superhero, so we had to get a couple shots of the kids in the photobooth.

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We had such a great time and are looking forward to our trip out there next year too!

{Diary of a Pregnant Girl} I’m still here.

Hi.

I’m still here.

And I promise not all my posts will be Diary of a Pregnant Girl from here on out.  But this one felt necessary since it’s been a while.

I’m currently 11+ weeks pregnant and still sick as a dog.  Been about 6 weeks of this now.  I’ve been awful quiet on this ol’ blog because with too much respect for those who wish they could just experience morning sickness because it means that they conceived, I just can’t sit here and complain about my morning sickness.  Which is probably what would happen if I allowed myself to blog more often recently.

I’ve definitely been more sick with this pregnancy than I have with the other two, and my “morning” sickness always hits between 3-4 pm and doesn’t let up until I go to bed… so I’m generally going to bed fairly early these days.

But instead of complaining about it – I’m going to tell you the good about it.

  • Learning to better manage my time.  I know when I get sick and I’ve got all morning feeling relatively great, so I gotta kick a** in my house and errands in the morning because if it ain’t done by 3 or 4 pm, it ain’t gettin’ done.  :)

 

  • Letting go of control.  I like my house clean.  I really really like my house clean.  But I don’t hardly have the energy for it for the last 6 weeks.  I can hardly stand going into my kitchen because of all the smells.  So the dishes stack up.  Dinner doesn’t get made.  I’ve been working on letting go and not stressing over a messy house (which is fairly inevitable with 2 boys and a daddy, unless I’m constantly walking behind them cleaning up).

 

  • Newfound appreciation for my family and friends. My mother-in-law has come over to clean up the dishes and kitchen a few times – without a word about it, just walked in and started cleaning up for me.  My parents have babysat the boys several times in the last 6 weeks so that Skyler and I can get out of the house together.  The boys’ “Auntie” Angela has come over and helped me fold laundry and taken the boys out for a walk so that I could just lay on the couch and rest.  My other mama Lois bought me a care package with Mac & Cheese and coconut chips – some of my comfort foods.  My BFF Jacki is always texting and calling me to see how I’m doing and she makes me feel so cared for and special.  I love these people and am so grateful for their care of me and my family.

 

  • Marveling in the kindhearted boy that is my oldest son.  I love that Zeek is 3 1/2 years old during this pregnancy.  When I was pregnant with Asher, he was how old Asher is now and didn’t understand much other than he could point to my belly if you asked where the baby was.  He loves his mama dearly and is always looking out for how I feel.  I can tell him that I’m feeling sick and need to just lay down for a while and he’ll say “ok mama.  Ash, let’s go play in the playroom for a while.”  Or in the car, the sweet boy of a million questions is very understanding when I have to tell him, “ok, mama’s feeling nauseous, I just need to be quiet and not talk for a while now.”  If I’m laying on the couch, he’ll grab me a blanket and ask if he can bring me any medicine to make me feel better.  But my most favorite are times when he curls up on the couch beside me and kisses my belly gently, following suit of what he’s seen daddy do by telling the baby, “I love you baby!  I can’t wait to see you!”  Usually following that is, “Mom, when the baby comes out, will it know the sound of my voice?”  I love my kindhearted monkey-man and how involved and understanding he is this pregnancy.  Though patience is something we’re working on.  “Mom, can you go buy another pool so you can push the baby out today?!”  This is asked almost on a daily basis… Oh, boy.  I’m afraid it’s still a long wait for that!

So that’s me.  And what I’ve been up to for the last few weeks.

Still very sick, but surviving.  And crossing my fingers that this nausea flees quickly!

I’ll be back with real posts soon.  :) 

P.S. This photo is completely unrelated, but it was too cute not to share. 
Zeek was having a grand phone conversation with his Bopa!

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{Diary of a Pregnant Girl} Quesadilla Quest, 3 AM

This was originally written on June 9, before I announced we were pregnant…

I woke up, per usual, at 3:15 am to use the restroom.  I noticed the the fan in our bedroom that we usually have running all night was not and that it was stuffy in the room.  I stooped to plug it in and turn it on.  Then I noticed there was a light in the living room left on.  I went out to turn it off.

Upon returning to my bed, I was already getting hungry from being awake for 5 minutes and started thinking about a Quesadilla.

4:45 AM.  Still laying awake in bed.  Thinking of a Quesadilla.

Muchas Gracias is open 24 hours, I thought.  At the very least, Taco Bell should probably be open too.

I grabbed some yoga pants and a coat, snatched up my purse and keys and headed out the door. 

Neither the Keizer Taco Bell nor Muchas Gracias were open.  Shucks.  Probably just because it’s Keizer and Keizer is small.  I headed into Salem.

FOUR Muchas Gracias’ and THREE Taco Bell’s later – NOTHING WAS OPEN.

I was beginning to get to the point of wanting to pass out, I was so hungry.  And beginning to get a little bit angry.

Hey Muchas!  DON’T ADVERTISE FOR BEING OPEN 24 HOURS WHEN YOU’RE NOT!

I was starting to turn a little Gap Girls

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Do you see the sign?  Open 24 hours!  And do they look open?  NO.

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I pulled up to the last shot at a Quesadilla.  The FIFTH Muchas.

The angels were singing:

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Drive Thru, Open.  Drive Thru, Open.  Praise Jesus, I’m gonna get me a Quesadilla!!

I sat in the order line for about 5 minutes pondering, Just a Quesadilla or a Quesadilla AND a Fish Burrito too?  Then I realized it’d been 5 minutes and no one had greeted me.  I crept forward.  Forward… Nothing.  There was someone inside – I could see them working in the kitchen.  I drove to the Drive Thru window to see if maybe they just didn’t see me or expect me that early.

A little sign on the Drive Thru window…

CLOSED UNTIL 6?!?!  It was only 5:30.  Again, WHY SAY YOU’RE OPEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT?!?!?!

A very very irritated and hungry pregnant lady was sitting in my car by this point. 

And then, I decided to do what any other rational and wise pregnant lady would do:

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I pulled up to DayNight Donuts.  Helped myself to two bars.

With a side of biscuit and gravy.

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Can’t say I was disappointed.

And that, my dear friends, is how you get over a craving that you just can’t satisfy: donuts.  Donuts always win.

{Diary of a Pregnant Girl} On Finding Out

Hi!  Did ya miss me??  Sorry I’ve been so quiet and MIA lately.  I have been SO sick the last 3ish weeks.  But I’m feeling better-ish so I’m gonna get back to writing...

I’m starting a series for this pregnancy.  Diary of a Pregnant Girl.  I wish I would’ve done this more for my pregnancies with the boys because people always ask when things happened or how I felt at certain stages, and I just can’t remember.  So I thought I’d just start this for this pregnancy and let my inner-pregnant-girl feelings and stories out!  (Be warned, you’ll probably see a lot of 4 am blog posts.  Apparently that’s my most awake hour when I’m pregnant.  Fun, huh?)

So.  Starting out right. 

Finding out we were pregnant with #3.  I am currently 9 weeks pregnant, as of Sunday.

Let me just go ahead and throw any TMI reserve out the window and let you know that I haven’t even had a period since birthing Asher so pregnancy was not even on my radar.  Not even a little bit.

It really started about 7 weeks ago now, when I went out and bought a bunch of new shorts of summer.  Only 2-3 weeks after that, I started noticing that my shorts I bought (especially the cute high-waisted ones) were already getting too snug.  I was getting SO annoyed at myself.

“AGH!  I just bought these!! HOW am I all the sudden getting so fat that I can’t wear them!?  WHAT is going on!?” 

I suspected I was just bloated and would be starting my period soon.

Then I started weaning Asher.  It was rough and he slept like a newborn at night, waking every hour to two, wanting to nurse, and then screaming for a while when I said no. 

I was getting exhausted and was taking consistent naps with the boys.

I thought I was just tired from Asher not sleeping well for about 2 weeks.

We had a garage sale.  I did it mostly all by myself since Skyler was working – hauling out the 4 pop up tents, setting them up, setting up tables, hauling all the junk out and setting it all up, tearing it all back down after the garage sale, etc.

My back was killing me.  I could hardly walk and was hobbling all around.  (This commonly happens around 8 weeks pregnant for me).

I thought I was just sore from all the hard work.

Then, a few days later, we went to Bend and rented a vacation house.  I went to Safeway to get some groceries for us for a couple days, and upon returning to the house with ice cream and Oreos (this never happens in our house), Skyler was adamant that I finally take a test… which he had been suspecting for more than a week at that point, but I kept brushing him off with my excuses of why I was tired and sore and fat.

So we went and picked up a pregnancy test that night.  I did it to get him off my back, but was certain it would be negative.  We didn’t even wait until morning to take it.  It was the fasted a pregnancy test has ever turned positive for me and I, wide-eyed, exclaimed, “WOAH!  SKYLER!  It’s actually positive!  No way!  Can you believe it?!”

Yes.  He could.

Something about mood changes every time I get pregnant… I don’t know.  ;)

He has now officially known before I have for all three pregnancies.  He was the one to tell me to take a test.  I guess he knows me better than I know myself!

So much for ever doing one of those “hey husband, guess what, we’re pregnant!” gags that look so fun.  Ha.

Probably 3 days after that, I started having the worst nausea ever.  Ever.  I was laying on the couch for up to 9 hours a day, almost for 2 weeks.  Poor boys have been oh so slightly neglected, but they’re surviving.  :)

I’m on the nausea-mends (though still having a hard time with certain foods), and my energy level is back up.  We went and got an ultrasound to find out when we might be due, since we had nothing to go by and no idea how far along I was.   We heard the precious little heartbeat (132) and the boys loved seeing the baby lump and hearing the heartbeat. 

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I wrote a couple diary entries before I had announced that I was pregnant, so I can finally post them now – whoo hoo! haha.