October 20, 2014

Dogs & a New Baby

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now and honestly feel like this baby could come any day. Is that normal? Of course I want it to stay in and continue developing as long as possible but I can't stop thinking that it might come early. So I'm slowing down and trying to rest more. Over the weekend I asked if my husband would get some maternity photos with me and my first babies. I often wonder how this is all going to work. Two active dogs with lots of personality and a new baby. Do you have any advice regarding dogs and a new baby?

My husband may have captured just perfectly what will happen with the baby comes. 
Just like they fight for their momma's attention I have a feeling they will fight over the baby. They will think the baby belongs to them and them only. This could be very interesting.

As the pregnancy gets further along the dogs seem to be more and more attentive. I am checked on regularly through the night with a wet snout which never happened before. When I wake up to go to the bathroom multiple times in the middle of the night I hear a click clack on the hardwood behind me and find a dog right at my feet. When I leave them outside they cry at the door because they want to come in and make sure I'm okay which never used to happen, they would live outside if they could. I can only imagine what kind of zoo our home will be once the baby arrives. I can only hope it calms down after a while. 

October 16, 2014

Book Review Giveaway

In the last post I shared my review of Expectant Parents. The company that gave me the book is now promoting a giveaway. You have a chance to win an iPad Mini or your own copy of the book. Click below for more details on how to enter the giveaway. Good Luck! 

Expectant Parents Focus on the Family Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

October 13, 2014

Expectant Parents book review

Since I've been pregnant with my first baby I've read and soaked up all the information I can get. There are so many different methods and options of doing things it can be overwhelming. Some people even say why bother reading anything at all you'll never be prepared. I read because I do find it fascinating and I suppose it's like a security blanket. When I was given the opportunity by litfuse to review a book called Expectant Parents by: Suzanne Hadley Gosselin I jumped at the opportunity. I was fresh out of reading material, I think I've read or at least skimmed everything on being a new parent from my local library.

The book Expectant Parents is a fast read. It has a lot of similarities to many other parenting books I've already read. Although it does have a few of it's own unique features. One thing that sets this book apart is that it is a Christian book. There is a common theme of being Christ centered and the importance of praying for your new baby and family. One unique feature I enjoyed about this book was the variety of personal stories that were intersperesed throughout. These were stories that the author compiled from different people with their own unique set of circumstnaces.

I could see this book being a great jumping off point for conversation between couples. Each chapter has a section of questions titled "time to talk." Some of these questions really got me thinking and were sometimes things I'd never thought of before. This book offers lots of helpful tips for new parents such as how to use scripture to specifically pray for your baby, what are the important items that you need for your baby and what is essential to pack in your hospital bag.

Expectant Parents is definitely geared toward new parents and would make a great first book to read. The author's positive and encouraging tone is uplifting. I'm sure it's true that nothing can really prepare you for being a parent. Although it doesn't hurt you to educate yourself as much as possible while you have some time.

I received a copy of this book from litfuse to review. If you are interested in getting your own copy click the link below.


October 9, 2014

Birch Bark Wall Art

When we were in the Boundary Waters (check out the last post) we noticed many beautiful Birch trees that had either fallen down or had peeling bark. I never knew how amazing this bark was. We have Aspen trees in Colorado but I'm not sure the Aspen's bark is as versatile as the Birch's. Birch tree bark can be used for all sorts of things and can be harvested without permanently damaging the trees. We found some bark to take with us and I knew that I wanted to incorporate it into our nursery somehow. We have a nature/woodland theme going on and I thought the bark would be perfect.

I decided to cut the bark into strips and weave them to make a piece of wall art. Then I remembered that I had the perfect frame. It actually came from our 1st house and was part of a light fixture. It's a rustic metal piece that I couldn't part with and knew that I would find the right use for it someday.

I love the way this piece of art turned out! If you want to do something similar you just need a few things:
You could use any type and shape of frame for your weaving. It's always fun to hunt for those at the thrift store.

Here's what the back looks like. I basically just put a big blob of hot glue down then attached the bark in a pattern.
It fits in perfectly with the collage of critter pictures we hung above the changing dresser.
Birch tree bark is so much fun to have on hand. Do you have any Birch trees near you? Next time you have the opportunity make sure you collect some of the bark for creative projects.

October 6, 2014

I survived the BWCA 24 Weeks Pregnant

BWCA commonly referred to as the Boundary Waters is a wilderness area between the Canada and United States boarder. We didn't get into Canada on our trip. Instead we drove from the Denver, Colorado area to Wisconsin, to pick up our friends, then through my favorite parts of Minnesota which included Duluth then ended up at Sawbill Outfitters where we began our Boundry Waters Adventure. You might be able to imagine that the over 16 hour car ride alone was a challenge for this pregnant lady.
What's unique about this place is the vast network of waterways, bogs and islands. Which is very different from our experiences camping and backpacking in the mountains of Colorado. We've taken many trips with the same core group of friends. One of the couples from this group is originally from Wisconsin and moved back a few years ago. They grew up going to the Boundary Waters area and we all thought it might be something fun and different to experience together.  There are many challenges that come with a trip like this especially when it's a new experience to you.
For example instead of hiking everywhere you paddle everywhere. Getting started at an Outfitter is the perfect way to go when don't have your own gear for this type of trip. It sounded so luxurious to think of not having to carry weight on my back and to just sit there and paddle. It ended up being a lot of paddling and it definitely gets challenging when your muscles aren't used to working that way. It doesn't help when your husband takes frequent breaks.
Another obvious challenge is that there is Water Water Everywhere. This should be obvious right? You really can't get away from it. This is actually a shock to the system when you're not used to be surrounded by water at all times. It's a very wet area that can get rain for days. When you finally reach a portage, this is where you've got to cross over an island with all your belongings to get to water again, you may experience copious amounts of mud. I can remember one portage in particular where I sunk down in mud up to the top of my thighs. Yes I screamed and no I couldn't get myself out. I needed help big time.
As a result of the very wet environment this area is a heaven for bugs. When I say bugs I mean the biting kind. There are tons of mosquitoes! Which apparently weren't as bad as usual when we were there but I'm super sensitive to their bites. If it's possible to imagine anything worse then tons of mosquitoes think of biting flies. Those flies were really bad at times. They tended to bite our ankles and feet with relentless gusto.
One of the main challenges to being around water at all times and using it as your mode of transportation is keeping what's important dry. We all had dry bags that sealed our packs off from possible rain or capsizing. Using my camera was challenging since I had to keep pulling it out of it's protective dry bag usually while balancing in the canoe and hoping with everything inside me that I didn't drop it in the water.

Food was another challenge of this trip. People make it sound like you can take anything because you just put all the weight in your canoe, it's not like you have to carry it on your back. It was different for my husband and I because we knew that whatever we brought would have to be carried when we got to portages and me being pregnant meant I couldn't carry as much weight. Not to mention I've had absolutely no food aversions and have LOVED to eat during this pregnancy. Especially during this time in pregnancy I was always hungry and I did need a few more calories with the extra activity I was doing. We decided that freeze dried meals for dinners was the way to go since they are so light weight. I briefly read the nutritional ingredients but mainly focused on the protein and was happy to see that it had plenty. For breakfast we ate oatmeal, dried fruit and Bay Bread. For lunch we had peanut butter or tuna wraps. Snacks consisted of cuties, dried fruit and trail mix. I think we had cheese on the first day or so too.

Here's a little warning to pregnant chicks planning to do outdoor activities for days at a time. DON'T eat freeze dried meals for days in a row! When we got home from the trip I started experiencing very severe pain in my foot in particular the big toe. I thought it was the strangest thing. I would just be laying in bed and the pain was unbearable. I went to the doctor, they took blood work and nothing came back. So then I went to a foot specialist where they said I had Gout. They took an x-ray to rule anything else out.  The foot specialist said that because I'm pregnant I process foods at a slower rate and I went from a very healthy balanced diet to suddenly eating high sodium rich foods for 5 days in a row. This caused a rare Gout attack. It was the craziest thing! Do you know those freeze dried meals average around 800 grams of sodium? I wish I had thought about this before the trip.

Even though this trip had it's challenges which I could probably keep going on an on about. It was a great experience! I'm sure many of the challenges were magnified because of lack of experience with canoe camping and the fact that I was 24 weeks pregnant. I will say that if you are in your 2nd trimester that's the best time to do activities like this and I know in my case it makes my body and soul feel so good to be active and outdoors.
Some of the best parts of the trip were the breathtaking sunsets,
the foggy mornings,
enjoying the unique plant life,
hearing the sounds of wolves in the night and the frequent eerie call of the loons,
swimming, relaxing and basking in the sun,
seeing bald eagles so close
and of course spending time with friends.
If you haven't been to the Boundary Waters before you should go. It's such a unique experience!