Weekly Menu Plan

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

It has certainly been a while since I posted one of these, so I decided since I have actually been cooking lately, I might as well.  My mom was here for 6 weeks (bless her!), and I did almost no cooking while she was here.  But now she is gone, so it is up to me.  I have done a lot of simple meals, and so far, I haven't felt too overwhelmed.

Honestly, it has been nice to be back in the kitchen, and making food for my family.  Well, until one or both of the twins starts crying.  So some days are better than others (and some days I want to call Adam to pick up food on his way home), but overall, the cooking is going okay!

Butternut Squash Soup - This had great reviews, but I was actually not a huge fan.  I have mixed feelings about butternut squash (I used to love it, and the last few years, my love has tapered off).  Overall, I didn't love it and will try a different recipe next time.  If you have a recipe you love, let me know.  I would love to try it.
Spring Pea and Quinoa Salad - This is one of my favorite salads.  We have been cutting back on meat again (after a pregnancy where meat seemed necessary to get the iron/protein for twins, plus having a freezer full of my in-laws meat to finish), so I splurged and bought some high quality bacon for us to put in it.  It was terrific.
Southwest Quinoa and Grilled Corn Salad - This was really good.  I would totally make this again.  Also, we really love bowls like this one, so it was right up our alley.  I also used frozen corn and cooked it in a skillet with cumin.
Lentil and French Onion Soup - I like the idea of onion soup, but it just had too many... onions... but really (Don't ask... mom brain/post pregnancy problems) Not sure if I will make this again. The flavor was great, but I just didn't love the texture and onions.  Lame, I know.
Black Bean Bowls - Fox requested these for his birthday this week.  I love that I can mix it all together for Adam and me, and Fox can eat all the things in little piles and dip them in ranch as he likes.  It is the perfect meal for us.  Cheap, vegetarian, delicious, customizable, and great for kids.
Leek, Bacon and Potato Quiche - I love quiche, and this one was delicious!  Good flavors, and somewhat easy. It was a liberal adaptation from this Smitten Kitchen tart.

Goals for 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

If you know anything about my family, you know we are big goal-setters.  Most years, you can see Janssen and Merrick's posts about their goals for the New Year, and I am no different. I love setting goals.  My dad is a huge goal setter, and we would always have a family night before the New Year to make and talk about our goals and our game plan for making them happen.  

My mom was here for many weeks (thanks, Mom!) when the twins were born, and she and I talked a lot about goals and goal setting, because of the upcoming year.  She had sorted hers into some categories (family, personal development, spiritual, etc), and while I was putting mine together, I did that, too.  

Then a few nights ago, I was thinking about typing up a final version of my goals, when I realized that sorting my goals with this method wasn't the right fit for this year. I just couldn't get them to look and sound the way I wanted.  Almost immediately, I had a stroke of inspiration.  I quickly wrote down the categories that I wanted to use instead: names.  

Using names to associate with my goals suddenly made my goals feel much more personal and important.  I also put the names in order of importance to remind me what my priorities need to be.  

Not completing a goal that has specific person in mind seems like a significantly bigger failure, and thus should help me actually complete my goals for this year.  I am hopeful that it will also help me remember my goals (I usually print out a copy and put it somewhere where I will see it everyday.  It helps to put it somewhere like the bathroom mirror where I look at it while I am brushing my teeth). 

I also have a few focus words picked out to give direction to some of these goals.  

So here are my categories:

Badger and Bear

Here is a little explanation about how these goals will work for me: 

I am very religious (I am Christian/Mormon, if you didn't know), and I want God to be the center of my life, so those goals are focused on how to strengthen my faith and to help me come to know God better.  I believe that knowing and loving God makes me a better person and will help me accomplish all my other goals.  

Then, I need to take care of me, so I have some goals about getting ready every day, and getting my hair cut regularly. Potentially superficial sounding, but I am a total procrastinator, and typically get it cut only when it is getting ridiculously long, and I despise it. 

Next, I want to strengthen my relationship with Adam, and make sure that we are taking time for us together.  We are planning on scheduling a date night in once a week (more on this later), and a special dinner in every week (because we are probably not ready for a babysitter for a while).  

Then I have my boys.  I have some goals related to helping Fox particularly grow and develop this year, despite my having two infant babies. I also have a goal or two about getting the babies on a regular sleep schedule so that I can still make dinner, blog occasionally, clean the house and spend quality time with Fox.   

Next we have some family goals for making some traditions, getting outside, and doing a few things in Utah, like hiking, going to the park regularly, etc.  

I have some things that I want to do around our house (make a lumbar pillow for my bed, clean out a few cabinets, techniques for keeping the house tidy, etc).  Those are lower priority, but I would still like them to be done.  

Traveling is my last category, because we are planning on doing a few trips this year.  We have a family reunion, would like to visit both of our parents, and take a trip into the Utah Mountains (NOT camping, although, I would like to do that eventually).  

How do you structure your goals?  What are some of your goals for the New Year?  

And, if you would like to try this kind of goal setting yourself, click here for a printable version.

A Last Look at 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

This year has been a big one.  This time last year, Adam was still in grad school, didn't have a job, we were in an apartment, we were still in Texas, and only had one kid. Fast forward one year, and this is a snapshot of our lives now: 

- Adam received a shiny graduate diploma
- We now live in the lovely Salt Lake Valley in Utah
- We live in a house with room to run, a backyard and a clothesline
- Adam has a good job (glory be! This is SUCH a blessing!)
- We have three beautiful children (did I mention THREE children?!?)

This has been quite a year.  Because of this, my life will look very different in the New Year, when Adam goes back to work, and I am on my own with three little people every day.  This has made me pretty nervous (because sometimes they all end up screaming for me/at me at the same time.  So, I have a few different plans for this next year, to help me still feel like a human, for trying to keep my life in order, and for coping with everyday life.  I will share those in a few days, but today, I wanted to do a little review of 2017, just for fun.  

First our 'sugar-free month' in January 

My 'Curated Closet' posts where I worked on finding my perfect closet (still working, but feeling pretty good about where it is at. If... I can get back into my jeans).

Our move to Utah (sort of in two parts)

Finding out and announcing we were pregnant with twins and many subsequent twin pregnancy posts (I really do look enormous here, don't I?  You sort of lose sight of that in the day to day.  No wonder my jeans still don't fit!)

Having the Twins, who are healthy, lovely and are totally wonderful.  A healthy pregnancy and babies has been SUCH a blessing for us!

It has been a wild and crazy year, and really so so good.  We feel very blessed and look forward to this next year!  Thanks for sticking with me in my lack of posting!  I am so grateful for all of you!

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to you!  I hope it is a great one for you!  
Much love from our family of five!

Twin Baby Birth Story

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On Saturday morning, I packed up my last few items for my hospital bag and headed to the hospital for a scheduled c-section.

While we drove to the hospital, we continued our tradition of listening to "The Final Countdown," by Europe (we did this on the way to Fox's induction, too) and talking over baby names again.

I was feeling surprisingly calm when we got there and hardly had a jitter when I checked in. They got us to a prep room and I got changed into a hospital gown and they took my vitals and asked me lots of questions about my health history and such. Then my doctor came in to let me know she was on her was to another C-section before mine and that she would be in soon for mine, but that it had been pushed back an hour.

The anesthesiologist also came in to answer any questions, and told me a little bit about his part in my procedure. I was starting to get a little nervous, especially when they came in 5 minutes later and told me the procedure would be half an hour sooner than they had said.

Very soon, we were walking down the hall to the operating room, and I laid down on the very narrow operating table. They got me prepped and the anesthesiologist began to get me numbed with local anesthetic and then placed a spinal in my back. It was pretty uncomfortable, but in a moment it was placed and almost immediately my legs got very warm and within a minute or so, I couldn't feel a thing. They hung up the curtain, my doctor came in, and they got started.

She did an ultrasound one last time to make sure Baby A was still breech, and he was, so they carried on with the procedure.  

As they began cleaning my stomach to prepare for the incision, I started feeling nauseated, lightheaded and started seeing spots. Despite voicing my discomfort, they carried on, telling me that it was not abnormal. In retrospect, what were they going to do?  If I blacked out, it probably would have been easier to deliver, and it wasn't like they could stop at that point.

I was feeling pretty lousy, but within about 5 minutes, they pulled out Baby A.  He was the breech baby, and smaller of the two.  He came out screaming and bloody, and when they held him over the curtain so I could see him, some blood dripped onto my face. My arms weren't working very well because of the anesthetic, so Adam wiped it off for me.  

After some tugging, they got Baby B out, as well, and he also came out screaming.  The doctor said that he was a really big baby (at least by twin standards).  Adam said they held him up, too, but I couldn't see him.

As I laid on the table for the next 30 minutes or so, while they cleaned me back up and put me back together,  I watched them weigh and assess Baby A, but Baby B had been handed to a NICU team through a window in the operating room for assessment, and I couldn't see him at all.  Adam had brought in our camera, and took some photos of each of them, since my interaction with them had been so brief.  I wish that I could say that things got better for me as they stitched me up, but I started dry heaving about 10 minutes before they were done, and felt completely terrible.

Finally they finished up, and had me roll onto a hospital bed. I was feeling slightly better, but overall I was still feeling pretty terrible.  

Baby B was perfectly healthy, and could come with us, but Baby A had a low heart rate (or something... I can't remember exactly what), and they wanted to keep him in the NICU for assessment.  As long as he improved, they said he could join us in a few minutes.

We went back to the labor and delivery room, and I continued to feel terrible, all shaky and freezing.  I think it was shock?  Not sure, but they brought me warm blankets and half an hour or so later, I started feeling a little better, and was finally able to hold Baby B.  Baby A passed his assessment, so he got to join us a few minutes later.  It was so great to have them both with us.  We texted our families and sent some photos and just enjoyed the babies for a few minutes.  

I nursed both babies, and they were terrific at it from the get go, which was a huge relief.  After about two hours in the recovery room on the labor and delivery floor, they took us up to a room upstairs, and we were able to spend some time as a family, holding our babies, and enjoying them.

Later that afternoon, my parents and brother were able to come over and hold them as well, which was really wonderful.  My dad hasn't ever been able to come to the hospital the day any of his grandkids were born, so it was pretty special to have him there. 

Fox had been really sick on Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, so we opted to have him come and visit on Sunday instead, just in case he was still contagious.  His visit was terrific, and he ended up being so sweet and lovely with the babies, and I was so pleased.  I had been really worried about how he would do.

Overall, it was a pretty decent birth. Not the spiritual and magical entrance into life that I was secretly hoping for, but with two healthy babies and a good recovery, I couldn't ask for anything more. So many prayers were answered with this pregnancy and delivery and we feel very blessed and are loving our little boys so much. 

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