Friday, August 29, 2014

D-Day Is Coming...

I have two "fears" about Little Man's arrival - that he's going to be, like, 14 pounds, and how Evelyn's sleep pattern is going to affect us. Yep, they're silly fears, but there it is.

I look at pregnant women who are a week from their due date, and I know I have some growing to do. I don't think I look too huge (especially for a third baby), but I feel so tight and stretched already. 

Little Man is moving like crazy and he must do a lot of his acrobatics stretched out, because I'm usually feeling him on both sides of my stomach. Or he'll kick my ribs and bladder at the same time. Not sure how that happens. And he seems to sit soooo looowww (is that a boy thing?); I have constant pressure on the very lowest part of my stomach. I feel sometimes like I have to hold him up.

Yesterday, I had some Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day, and all I could think was, this kid is seriously going to kick a foot out early. Our midwife assures us that I'm measuring right on target, but I also got her to agree that I could have a C-section if we found out he was going to be 10 pounds or more. Let me just tell you, I don't are what women did a hundred years ago, I am NOT delivering a 10-lb. baby vaginally and without drugs. 

My other weird concern is Evelyn's sleep pattern and how it's going to kill us. ("Us" meaning Steve and I; we're so tired, we don't really care what happens to her.) I can't be certain if she did this before I was in Idaho, but she wakes up every single night between midnight and 2:00. Every. Single. Night. She's usually just crying because she can't find her lovey (we now throw all three in her bed at night), or she's calling out for Mommy, but I'm the only one that can go in and soothe her. Armageddon breaks out if Steve walks in that room. 

And speaking of the end of the world, she has also been waking up every morning around 4:00 or 5:00. At first I thought it was because she heard Steve getting ready in the morning (his alarm goes off at 4:45), but she did it this morning, too, and he had the day off. 

She wakes up for some simple reason, but her body thinks it's had its sleep allotment for the day and she keeps getting up. This morning, she was up SIX times between 4:30 and 6:00. Oh my word! She had to pee, then her tummy hurt, then she wanted a snack, and sometime around 5:30, she came in just to give me a hug. 

I try to be firm and take her back to bed each time, but I finally gave in around 6:00 and dragged her into bed with me. Which sucks just as equally as having to get up and walk her back, because she either violently kicks, or she thinks our foreheads should be touching.

How is she going to handle a newborn in bed with me?!? And, sweet baby Moses, wait until Steve has to be the one who takes her back to bed! She's going to wake Little Man and Bella in one fell swoop. She is normally our mild one, so having her sleep be so...disruptive is killing us. 

It makes me a little nervous for when a new baby is sharing or bed or our room, and she decides she needs Mommy's undivided attention at 2:00 AM. Not to mention how utterly exhausted you are during the baby's first week or so. That's just going to be good times right there.

So there they are. Weird irrational fears that sometimes literally keep me up at night. That and peeing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Weekend In Asheville

Steve and I packed a bag on Friday afternoon, and headed to Asheville, North Caroline to spend the weekend together! Evelyn's been waking up in the middle of the night since we got back from Idaho, so it's been awhile since I've slept through the night. (Not to mention, I wake up to pee a lot!)
I had to chuckle at how "romantic" weekends have changed in the last ten years when Steve and I are most excited about sleeping when we go away together! It was a quick trip - just a little over 24 hours - but it was wonderful and so relaxing! We got in late to our hotel on Friday night, so we went simple and just ate on the way there. On Saturday morning, we had plans to check out a little café for breakfast, but decided to peek at the hotel's breakfast options first. Wow! The hotel offered a fantastic, hot breakfast, and because of Steve's Hilton points, it was free for us - Score!
We ate breakfast and literally walked right back upstairs to get back in bed and watch TV. We are not "adventurers" when we go away for quick weekends; we are all about rest and relaxation. Around lunchtime, we decided to venture into town to see the farmer's market we had read about.
There were so many booths set up with gorgeous food! Don't those peaches look delicious!

My pictures came out a little fuzzy, but there were rows and rows of vegetables, preserves, fruit, nuts, etc. Even homemade, local wine and cider!

So many great colors; it was hard to know what to choose!
Right next to the farmer's market was the Moose Café.

Their food is all fresh and homemade, and it was delicious!
I ordered chicken and dumplings, corn on the cobb, and fresh watermelon!
After lunch, we (yep!) headed back to the hotel and got back in bed (so glorious!).
For dinner, we decided to explore downtown Asheville a little bit. The only thing I knew about the area was that The Biltmore was there, but the rest of the town is really funky and eclectic!

There were street performers everywhere, and lots of people walking around.
My favorite thing about the weekend was being able to sleep completely interrupted, and being able to leisurely walk around, holding Steve's hand. We got to talk about ministry, parenting, our marriage, and just relax. I also got to take the longest shower ever!
(I forgot a brush and razor, though, so that was tricky.)

We had to take this picture for Bella - a massive cow in the lobby of our hotel.
We only get to do a weekend away about once a year, and it's always a pretty awesome time! We decided that we probably wouldn't drive all the way to Asheville again if we only have a quick weekend, but it was fun to check out a new place.

Lily's Birth Anniversary

Last Friday marked one year since Lily was born. It's been a year that Steve and I never could have predicted! Last Summer, moving wasn't even on our radar; neither was Bella's schooling - we had already decided to keep Bella home for preschool since we thought we'd have a new baby in January.
After miscarrying early in March, and then losing Lily in August, we definitely had babies on our mind. We never expected to get pregnant so quickly (it didn't seem quick at the time!), but after getting the okay from our midwife, and figuring out ovulation and cycles, we ended up getting pregnant the first month.
Some of our "scars" are still lingering. We've never looked at the pictures of Lily that the nurse took at the hospital - they're in a box in the attic with the rest of the...memorabilia that you get when you lose a baby. I seemed to struggle earlier in this new pregnancy with constant reminders of Lily, but Steve seems to be more emotional towards the end. I think he's just holding his breath until Little Man is safely out of the womb.
I'm learning that our "Lily" moments will come and go. I'm sure they will be like that for a long time. For me, I think she's a sadness that's hidden pretty deep on most days; for Steve, I think it's much closer to the surface. At least for now.
As stupid as I think it is to tell grieving parents "at least you have other kids", there is definitely truth in that. (Once you squelch the desire to punch that person.) We have had a wonderful, beautiful year that has been filled with some amazing moments!
I think her birth date will always be a "pause day" for me, but we are so thankful for our many blessings!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Evelyn's First Day Of Preschool

Today is so exciting! This morning is Evelyn's first day of preschool. We have been prepping her for awhile, and she did so well!
She had a little bit of PTSD about Mommy leaving her after I got home from Idaho, so whenever we leave her somewhere, like church or with a babysitter, she always asks, "Back?" and I always tell her, "Yes, Mommy will come back. Mommy will always come back for you." She reasons surprisingly well, so reassuring her that we will always come back for her pretty much calms any of her fears.
Yesterday was "Meet and Greet", where she got to go in to her classroom and meet her teachers. We are so thankful for her teachers this year! We have Miss Betty, who taught Bella and is basically a cupcake and hug in human form, and Miss Tracy, who is the mom of one of Bella's friends. I found pictures of both of the ladies on Facebook to show Evelyn ahead of time and use their names, and I think that helped, too!
When we woke up this morning, I told her, "Evelyn, it's your first day of school!" and she jumped up and down (as only an uncoordinated two-year old can), and cheered, "YAY! MOMMY!"
She had watched Bella take so many school pictures during that first week of school that she was really excited about this. She is our camera-lovin' baby, and she says "Cheeeeeeese!" like a boss!
This was my stereotypical, heart-stopping, Mommy moment of "How did they get so big?" I can't believe how independent they look in this picture!
The one picture I remember taking of Bella on her first day of preschool was her walking into the building, so I had to recreate that with Evelyn this morning.
Getting to her class and she's still smiling! We did hugs, and I reminded her that I would be working just upstairs and that I would come back for her when she was done playing. She was a little timid walking towards all of the other kids playing (there are 12 in her class!), but Betty and Tracy were right there and had big smiles on!
Hanging up her bag in her cubby. Swoon!
I know Evelyn will love this experience, so I haven't been too emotional about it; I feel like I've been more excited than either of them through all of this!
Steve asked me last night what I was going to do to enjoy my first day "off", and I said, "I'm going to work!" I'm actually weirdly excited to be able to go to the church and get some solid work done without being constantly distracted. Evelyn is only going two mornings a week, so it will be some nice "adult" time and a chance for me to focus on missions work. Big changes in our little house!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Our First Week Of K-5!

Can I just say that combining my naturally Type-A, control freak personality with being a tired, hormonal, pregnant woman, who also has her first-born in school for the first time has been a bad combination.

Bella did great this week! She is learning how to follow the rules and what the new expectations are. It has definitely been an adjustment (more on that later), but I've noticed an improvement just throughout this first week, and her teacher agreed.

I, on the other hand...Steve may have looked at me today and said, "Sometimes your crazy comes shooting out like a fire hose." 

I think I can honestly say, though, that I've turned the corner and started breathing again. Which is good, because I don't have Whitney here to lovingly agree with everything I say while showing me her best-friend-smile that says, "Girl, you need to caaaaaaaaaalm doooooown."

Some great memories and learning experiences (for both of us) from Bella's first week...

Carpool was a hilarious and traumatic moment for us! Preschool carpool is much simpler, and by the time the kids reach the "regular school", parents and staff have carpool down to a well-oiled machine. Unless it's your first time. On Thursday morning, we pulled up to the doors to drop Bella off only to realize that the school uses the 8th grade boys as helpers in the morning. The one adult happened to be standing about four cars away and was on his cell phone; when Bella realized a "big" boy would be opening the car door, she lost her mind. Meanwhile, I have a line of about eight cars stopped behind me, just waiting. I had to throw the car in park, run around to her side (while barefoot and wearing a too-short-to-cover-my-belly-the-whole-way tank top), grab her out of the car with her backpack, quickly plop her on the sidewalk, yell at the one adult (who, thankfully, we know) to get his attention and ask him to wave so that Bella would stop crying and realize she knew somebody (he did beautifully!), and then run back to my side and drive on! As I'm getting back into the driver's side, I hear one of our friends, Eric Baker, about four cars back, yell, "Hey lady! Get in your car!" To which I demurely responded, "Shut up, Baker!" Needless to say, he and I were a beautiful witness to any new parents that morning!

Bella's brought papers home each day, and most of them are clearly about following instructions. "Color the third ball green, the last flower yellow, etc." On Monday and Tuesday, I noticed that her papers were only about 70% accurate - she was coloring everything, but not the way the directions said. On one of her papers, Miss Thornton even commented that Bella had understood the instructions, but had chosen to be "creative". It also happened to be the one day that Bella's conduct report came home, stating she had gotten a warning that day for not following instructions. [This has been a major challenge at home, as well, and we've really been working on obeying, even when she doesn't agree. Sometimes you just have to obey because Daddy/teacher/grown-up says to.] So when the note on her paper came home, we talked about following Miss Thornton's instructions no matter what. Even if she wanted to choose different colors. Her conduct report got all stickers for the rest of the week and every one of her papers came home showing that she had followed the directions perfectly! We made sure to praise her a lot for this!!!

We also had a couple of chuckles...

Our friend, Jess, just started at Eastside as the PE teacher. She was in the hospital room when Bella was born, so she's known Bella's personality for a long time. She told us that when Bella's class can to her this week, the first thing she asked all of the kids was, "Who loves kindergarten?!" All of the kids raised their hands, except for Bella. When Jess looked at her and asked if she liked K-5, Bella tossed her ponytail and said, "No. I'd just rather be riding unicorns." Bella also pointed at Jess, and then looked at her classmates and said, "SHE knows my name is Bella Cole Wires, and SHE has known me since I was a baby." I'm telling you, this kid is going to be the death of us.

It's been nice to have some friends in the building who spy for us! Our friend, Ashleigh, sent me this picture this week...

This is Bella during her Music class. Ashleigh texted me to say that Bella was doing great and following along with all of the Music teacher's instructions! I had to chuckle at her socks, because she hated wearing the knee socks, and it's obvious that she shoved them down as soon as she left me on Wednesday morning!

She was definitely the most excited this afternoon as she got in the car, and I think it's because they went to the library today! She brought home a book about ponies, and she was thrilled! 

Miss Thornton has given us little updates each day, and has told us how Bella has been improving and trying each day! We are so proud of her and have been praising her as much as possible! I've had to admit to myself that Bella's behavior in school has been a big source of apprehension and pride for me, so I've had to work on letting that go and focus on what's best for Bella.

Bella's behavior report for her first week of school. The day she makes it to the third row will be epic!

One of Bella's final coloring pages this week. She was really happy, because, after following all of the instructions correctly, Miss Thornton had allowed her to color the blue flower however she wanted! And she was very proud of the smiley stamp at the bottom of the page.

They worked on the letter "I" this week. Bella really liked the "I" song that she said Miss Thornton played on her computer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Up, Third Trimester.

We are officially seven months today! I'm excited to be that far along, and also pretty certain the doctors got my due date wrong! (If only, right?) I know this is normal after multiple pregnancies, but man, I feel huge! I am so that woman who people look at with pity once they find out when I'm due.

These pictures look like I tried to be artsy, but really, the lights were just dim in the bathroom. I'll take it either way. The good news about having a tummy for so long is that I'm a girl who likes to show off my pregnant belly! I'd walk around with my stomach hanging out all day if it was socially acceptable. (Plus, it would be SO much better than wearing clothes!)
Little Man is crazy active! I've never had a baby move like this. I waited so long to feel him kick, and now, I'm pretty sure his foot slips our every once in awhile. He especially loves to move at night, which gives Steve a chance to really feel him, even if it does make it harder to fall asleep!

Okay, now for a little bit of whining: heartburn is still the death of me; I pretty much wake up with it. My lower back has also been really painful. Not just aching, but it feels like I've got something pinched when I lay down at night. I know that can easily happen, I'm just not used to it happening so soon (and so strong!). Steve and I have talked about me going to a chiropractor at some point to see if that relieves the pressure. If I could, I'd sleep completely diagonal on the bed, but that makes it difficult for Steve to fit. :) 
I think back pain and heartburn is it. Steve has been amazing! (Duh!) He's been so great about encouraging me to eat healthier munchies when I'm having cravings (last night I ate apple slices and crunchy, all-natural peanut butter instead of a double-chocolate brownie from Zaxby's), and he has been tireless with rubbing my back, pushing on sore muscles, and listening to me groan!
We're pretty set on the first name, Henry. I love the classic sound of it! Although, we've told our dads that "Hank" is not acceptable. Seriously. My dad got really excited about Hank Aaron (baseball player) and buying Henry little NY Yankees outfits, but Steve and I were all like, No. Nope. Not even a little.
[Bella is absolutely a "Bella" and it fits her perfectly, but once we got to know Evelyn, we definitely loved her original name and realized that "Evie" just didn't fit her. This time around, we wanted to pick a name that we loved in its original form.]
We're still not sure about middle names. On the funkier side, we like Cash (for Johnny Cash). Not only has my wonderful husband opened my eyes to his incredible music, but I love his story and how he's such a wonderful example of a redeemed Christian.  On the traditional side, we like Caleb, Alexander, and Isaiah. We're still talking, debating, and figuring it out. Luckily, we have three months to decide!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Parade Of Uniforms

This is really only a post that Grandma and Mimi would care about, but I think Bella looks so cute in all of her little uniforms that I had to post some pictures of this week.

You already saw her first day of school. I was a little disappointed the first day was so casual, even if it was a Friday. (Just for picture purposes.)
On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, she'll wear a polo (yellow, red, or navy blue) with a skort and her little Keds. This was Monday...

  I'm kind of loving that she thinks she's a big deal in all of these uniforms. 

Here's Tuesday...

As you can see, she's been very committed to the "clasped hands" pose. Not sure where she picked that up, but when I'm assuming it was a Tinker Bell movie. 

Wednesday is chapel day, so she'll always be in her plaid jumper with a white dress shirt and brown Mary Jane's. 

She did NOT care for her knee-high socks, but I complimented her hair enough to distract her. (We put her hair in  about eight "Snoop Dog" braids last night to get it nice and fluffy for this morning!)

Don't you love her gigantic hair bows? They seem pretty standard for little girls around here, and it's one of my favorite girly/East Cobb things, so Evelyn and I ran out to the store on Monday and splurged on five different bows for the two of them!

On Thursday morning, she decided to finish the series with a yellow polo! 

It will be interesting to see as the year goes on, if she still decides to wear a different color each day, or if she settleson a favorite. This morning she asked to wear her peach, unicorn t-shirt, so I don't think it's sunk in yet that her uniform is her only option. 

I'll add more pictures as the week goes on. (I'm preparing you in advance that I will definitely post a picture of her in every color polo if that's what she chooses to wear.) Mama be crazy!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Making Peace With A Hospital Birth

This may sound backwards, but I've been really nervous about going back to a hospital for Little Man's birth. 

It's not some residual fear from Lily's birth, and it's not because I've necessarily had a negative experience birthing at a hospital; it's simply because of the total freedom we had giving birth to Evelyn at home. 
No interventions, no separation from the baby, we didn't even have to think about it - it's just the way it was. I didn't have to worry about stating my preferences for having the baby placed on my chest immediately after delivery, or asking the doctors to wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before it was clamped. There were no nurses to wake us up in the middle of the night to check my blood pressure (Evelyn was doing that to nurse!), and no hoops to jump through while waiting to be discharged. 
When we first got pregnant with Little Man, Steve and I were both equally certain about wanting a hospital birth. As the pregnancy progressed, though, I've become calmer about the process that my body is going through, and remembering that my body was made to do this. If I had my choice, I would be having this baby at home again. After losing two babies in the last year, though, Steve is definitely more comfortable within the walls of a hospital for Little Man's birth. Our hearts were in different places, so we sat down to talk...
I told him that I completely understood why he wanted a hospital birth and that all of his reasons were right! (And I promised not to pull the "this is my body" card!) He wasn't the bad guy, and I wasn't just waiting for him to give in. But I needed him to understand that my heart wanted a homebirth. I needed us to have the same mindset, even if our ideal locations were different.  
To be comfortable with a hospital birth, I need to know that Steve and I both have a "homebirth mentality" in a hospital setting. Here are a couple of things I care about the most going into Little Man's birth. My two main...concerns...preferences...are birthing positions and the first few minutes after the baby is born.
When Bella was born, I labored and gave birth flat on my back with my legs pulled up to my chest. I had a labor nurse who instructed me to push for three hours because she was tired of waiting for the OBGYN to show up. I ended up with an episiotomy, crazy hemorrhoids, and a broken tailbone. At the time, I didn't know any better (my own fault), so I didn't even realize that I had different options. After a little more life experience, and a lot more reading, I'd really like to try and actually deliver (not just labor) in a squatting position. I know a doctor isn't going to order me on my back or anything, but I also know it's much more convenient for them if I'm on my back.
The other area where my preferences become much closer to "demands" (as long as Little Man's health allows) is the first 30 minutes or so immediately after his birth. I'd like him to be placed on my chest right away without being cleaned or messed with first. I'd like the medical team to wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing before they clamp the cord. I'd like the initial APGAR tests to be done while he's on my chest, and I'd like to start breastfeeding right away. I'd also like to decline the Vitamin K eye drops and Hep B vaccination. I would just like it to be as natural as possible; no heavy touching other than Steve and I, no interventions, just let it be...natural. (I use that word a lot in my head.)
Now, before it sounds like I'm going crazy or just getting way too intense over nothing, let me say that I know my apprehension is due to a lack of information about the hospital's policy, etc. It may be that Steve and I do the hospital tour and show our birth plan to the midwives/doctors, and end up thinking, "Oh! This will be a great experience." (You know, other than the horrible pain of pushing a human being out of your nether regions.) It's just hard not to view a hospital as a large institution, with policies, thousands of patients, and a "status quo" mentality.
One of the things that I'm really excited about is having the woman who taught our birth class when we were pregnant with Evelyn present at Little Man's birth as a doula. She offered her services as a gift to us, and I couldn't be more thrilled! She is our age and very down-to-earth. Steve and I sometimes find ourselves a little in-between, being "non-crunchy" people with slightly crunchy birth beliefs, so knowing that Lindsey is in a very "feel-good" profession without being that way herself is very reassuring. She will be able to not only offer suggestions for natural pain relief, etc., but also act as an advocate for us to the labor nurses and doctors who come into our room.
Beyond that, we're going to be prepared with our birth plan, keep breathing when people disagree, and pray we encounter like-minded nurses and doctors when we go in to deliver!  

I can't remember if I've posted this ultrasound yet, but really, is there such a thing as too many baby pictures?


Bella's First Day Of Kindergarten!

Well, we did it! Bella (and I) survived her first day of K-5!
We were so proud of her! Yesterday was her Sneak-a-Peek event where she got to meet her teacher and see her classroom, and it was very overwhelming for both of us! Actually meeting her teacher went just fine, but there were people everywhere in the building and a lot of information was being presented regarding carpool, procedures, and things parents needed to know for the first day of school.
With all of the chaos, Bella was refusing to get anywhere near a camera on Thursday. I gently told her that she didn't have to pose for anything that day, but I would definitely be taking pictures for her first day of school. I think giving her the day "off" prepared her a little for the "new mom going crazy"-amount of pictures she had to sit through on Friday. I was a little nervous, but she posed beautifully!
Here's our morning...
Backpacks all ready to go! (Evelyn's is actually just to hold diapers and wet wipes for church, but she loves being like her big sister!)

The most perfect picture ever. She posed sweetly. She smiled. She held her sign still. I was so thankful to get such a precious picture to document her first day of school!
Rocking her My Little Pony backpack from her Sappling friends! (Thanks, Whitney!) She got this as a present for her last birthday, and she still loves it. Bella pronounces it "pack-pack".

I know it's not about me, but how tired do I look in this picture?!? Evelyn climbed into bed with us last night, and didn't exactly fall back into a gentle slumber. With Steve and I traveling on different schedules lately, she's gotten into the habit of waking up and getting into bed with us for the rest of the night. Now that Steve and I are back in the same bed (and I'm feeling insanely huge!), it's a much tighter squeeze to try and go back to sleep with a squirming two-year old. Okay, back to Bella...yay for snuggling with Mommy!
Such a great picture with Daddy! Steve was so thankful that he was off work today and got to experience such a wonderful "first" with Bella.

She was very committed to the tilted head pose this morning!

Evelyn wanted to be in on the excitement!
Bella was really set on walking to school this morning, but it was crazy muggy, so we parked a little farther away and "walked" to school. She didn't seem to mind too badly that Mommy was a total wimp.

Showing Daddy her seat and new supplies.

Putting her backpack away (how cute is her little uniform?).

Bella's teacher, Miss Thornton. She seems like she'll be a really good match for Bella - she's kind, but she seems like she sets firm boundaries, which our beloved "free spirit" will definitely need this year!
Daddy was a softie and agreed to walk Bella home.

We do the "I love you" sign a lot in our house, so I drew on her snack bags for this coming week with little notes.

The coloring page that Bella brought home today from the story, The Kissing Hand. We read this book last night, so she loved hearing it in school today! Not sure why the colors don't line up, but Miss Thornton said Bella "has a mind of her own", so I'm not sure if her teacher changed the colors or if Bella just decided she liked her choices better.
And how did Evelyn survive today?
She looked at books in the teepee.

Got to have a Target date with Mommy and Daddy. (And chocolate milk!)

Experienced the drama of potty training.

And snacked on salad with Daddy. Basically, she survived! She kept asking us when Bella was coming back.

At the end of the day, it was a great experience! We prayed this morning with Bella that she would be brave and have a great day. She gave us a wonderful report and we got to pray again tonight and thank God for a good day!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back To The Plan

When life gets crazy, the first thing in my life to go is any sort of attempt at healthy eating. The girls and I start snacking on a ton of fast food, I still cook, but it's very carb-heavy and lots of processed foods, and our "healthy" food is basically just strawberries and bananas.
With all of our travels and crazy schedules this Summer, our attempts at healthy eating have taken a huge hit. I'm excited about the structure that comes with school starting next week, because I feel like it's a natural time to start fresh and take advantage of new schedules.
I've talked with a lot of people about the Whole 30 Plan, and it sounds incredible. But I also know that it's not for us right now. It's very restrictive (and they explain why!), and I just don't think we would stick with it right now.
Whenever I read this cookbook, I find it so inspiring. She doesn't just list recipes, every single one has a story or background with it. As the book goes on, you feel like you're on the farm with her - she doesn't focus on using just "real food" (unprocessed, etc.), but she really tries to make most of her food at home (even cheese!). I just fall in love with this book every time I come back to it. Whenever I realize how badly I've fallen off the healthy cooking train, this is the first book I open.

I've talked a lot about this book and also, my love for the website 100 Days Of Real Food. I use this website as my guide for cooking; it's my closest step to the Whole 30 Plan without feeling too restricted. The author of the website definitely has a larger grocery budget than we do, and she recommends buying all organic or local (something we're just not able to do right now). What I like about it, though, is all of the options that she provides - it's not like six or seven dinners - she has hundreds of different options and ideas.
This is her new cookbook that will definitely be on my Christmas list!

My other favorite thing about this website is the ideas she gives for kids' lunches. This is really an area where I get lazy, and I can easily see the potential for picking Bella up after her half-day kindergarten and running through a drive-thru. I'm excited for the ideas on the website to plan ahead and be prepared for good, healthy lunches that the girls will actually eat!
Last night, I worked on a menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for next week for all of us! I'm going to try and keep track of what we do, so the girls (and Steve) won't get bored. Let's be honest, as the pregnant woman, I'm definitely the most demanding one when it comes to food and being told what I can/can't eat. Hopefully, with some good inspiration and creative budgeting, we'll be able to be healthier with our eating!

Idaho...Where Do I Start?

Last week was my week in Idaho to see Whitney and participate in our church's mission trip. Eastside has been on this trip about five times now, but this is the first time they've tried to emphasize and draw a younger crowd. One of Trey and Whitney's goals out in Idaho has been (and will be) to start small groups among young families, so they wanted some younger ones out in Idaho to try and help with that goal.
There are so many pictures that I didn't take - mostly the action/ministry shots, because we had our hands very dirty and I just didn't remember to grab my phone. One of the ladies on our trip took pictures almost constantly of the work that was being done, so hopefully, I'll be able to follow up in the next month or so.
Here are more of my "fun" pictures that I took this week!

Flying into Idaho Falls, all I could think of was, "Where are all the mountains?" Apparently, Idaho Falls is pretty flat and then it gets more mountainous as you go.

Glenn was my travel buddy, bodyguard, and tour guide. He is like a tall, Southern cowboy, and I just loved traveling with him. This wasn't his first time in Idaho, so he did a great job of maneuvering airports and figuring out schedules.
One of our first was very brown (we were there in the dry season). I was told over and over that I would just fall in love with the area and immediately want to move out there. For me, I will say that it grew on me. At first, I thought, nope, I love Georgia, and I don't get the obsession with the endless, brown mountains. As the week went on, though, the 360-degree view of mountains definitely draws you in, and I learned that there were plenty of lush areas surrounding Salmon.

One of the cool spots Whitney took me; the "towers" (I think?).

The mountains just go on forever. It's very awe-inspiring!

One of the green spots where we stopped. I'm not sure if the is part of the Lemhi River (I'm so directionally-challenged), but the actual Lemhi River weaved throughout the entire area. That was one of my favorite parts!

Yes, a lot of my pictures involved mountains. You can tell I'm from Florida.
On Friday, Whitney and I took a road trip all around the area, and this is one of the towns we drove through. How fantastic is a population of only seven people?! Whitney and I were both like, "Why bother?"

I loved how parts of the mountain just jutted to the sky.
We stopped for brunch at the Stanley Baking Company and they had epic bacon!

One of the many rivers we checked out!
I sent this picture to Steve, and I think it may have convinced him to buy a plane ticket.

This lake was simply gorgeous. Cold, crystal water, evergreen trees, and snow-capped mountains in the background. Whitney and I sat on this dock and just let our feet hang in the water. It was so peaceful. I don't know if I would have wanted to swim in water that cold, but I could've lived on a houseboat in the middle of that lake in a heartbeat!
The water was so clear!

I loved being able to catch up with Whitney and just do "real life" with them during the week. I was thankful to be able to stay with them all week, so I got to see the kids and crash, and just be with them.

The "in town" church is Salmon Valley Baptist, and about 20 minutes away, there's the Lemhi River Cowboy Church.

I don't know why my phone blacked out the corners, but this is Salmon Valley. It's a lot larger than I expected with a sanctuary, fellowship hall, a bunch of classrooms, and a few offices.
The cowboy church was much simpler; it was like a one-room, long fellowship hall. I didn't get a picture, but I actually liked the cowboy church better - it was so simple and very much "come as you are". (Both churches were, but there was just something about having all of the ranchers walk in from their work and sit down to sing.)

The bakery in town - Odd Fellow's Bakery - was delicious! On quite a few mornings, we stopped by for hot, ham and swiss croissants. Wow!
We tried to take a field trip to the Lemhi Pass with Glenn, but after running over a dog (seriously, but he was fine) and rescuing a college girl with a shredded tire (she was struggling), we decided just to call it a day and turn around. The area is well known for where Lewis and Clark did a lot of their exploring, and there's quite a few landmarks as you drive anywhere.

Hearing Trey preach on Sunday morning was an awesome treat! I miss sitting under his teaching, and he preached a great sermon.
This is the Tendoy School where we did most of our hands-on work throughout the week. Last year, the team from Eastside painted the entire outside of the building, so this year, we did a lot of organizing and painting on the inside. Not only are the Sapp kids probably attending this school in the Fall, but the teacher is not a believer, so it was an incredible opportunity to minister to her, as well as letting the community know that the local church is invested in this school.

The view from Tendoy; it was beautiful! [Fun historical fact: Tendoy was the chief of the Lemhi Indians. Hence, the "Tendoy" School and the "Lemhi" Pass, River, etc.]
Our team of guys did an amazing job working on landscaping at the school, and they laid the entire side yard with sod! You can see the difference between the gravel parking lot and the new side yard!

One of the days we were working at the school, Mike Palmer, the head Pastor of Salmon Valley, was cleaning some sort of wire cable off his truck, and accidentally flung it back as I was walking right behind him. It only resulted in this little mark on my forehead, but I told him I was going to make up an awesome story about getting hit by a metal chain while working on a ranch.

After prayer walking in town, Glenn bought our group strawberry milk shakes. I told you he was a great guy! (And for the record, the Miller Lite and Coors glasses just held water.)
I just liked this "artsy" window in town.
Wednesday night was my last night, and Trey was working late, so Whitney and I got to snuggle in bed and watch Pride and Prejudice. After working on different projects all week, it was nice to reconnect again at the end.
One more ride with these precious littles as we drove to the airport! They totally helped me survive a week away from the girls! (Evelyn and I may have cried a few times during FaceTime, but it got better as the week went on.)

There were horses and cows everywhere! I finally stopped to take a picture for Bella and got to pet some.
I really, really wanted to sit on a horse (just sit; I was told repeatedly that I was crazy to think I'd get to ride one at 6-months pregnant), but we literally didn't have the time. There was a "free day" on the last day, but I had already flown back to Georgia, so I wasn't able to do it.

Steve welcomed me at the airport with roses and an unsweet tea! After two weeks, this was longest time we've ever been away from each other, and it was a little rough by the end. He leaves again on Monday to head to Nashville for the week, but we've had a great weekend!
I loved my week in Idaho, from the chance to interact with other grown-ups, to seeing Whitney and Trey, to the incredible experiences with being the hands and feet of Christ!