Grandpa’s Farm: Children’s Book

 

In one of my previous blog posts I had written of adventures that I wanted to embark on this year of 2017. This year has brought many challenges and surprises.

I finally finished writing my book, Grandpa’s Farm. This is a self-published children’s book that was inspired by my eldest son’s love for his grandma and grandpa’s farm. Over the course of this past spring and summer my son has spent numerous hours on the farm, playing with the animals and working right alongside grandpa completing projects (well he might have been making more messes than helping).

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I sent my completed words to labeled. ak, a graphic designer who lives in the state of Alaska. I had hired the owner, Mara Parks on a previous occasion to create a logo. We were both excited to collaborate on this project together. She did an amazing job, brought everything I had envisioned into the illustrations of this book. Together we worked through completing the book and getting it uploaded for printing. I would recommend her again and again for any of your graphic designer needs including, illustrations and logos for your business.

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She has an Etsy page.

As well as an Instagram page.

After we completed the book I decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund a larger volume of book printings as well as the ability to buy ISBN numbers that are unique to my book. The campaign is currently underway, with 27 days left. If you donate $15 you have given the minimum amount to attain the bronze level. This means you will receive a softcover copy of the book. The next level or silver requires that you donate $30, giving you a hardcover copy. The top level or gold gives you a signed hardcover copy with a requirement of $50. You can access the campaign here.

This has been such a fun project for me to work on, and it is so extremely exciting to see it through to the end and to be able to print it. Check out the book and let me know what you think. Also please share this with anyone you think that may have an interest in it.

Our Twins have arrived!

I was so extremely blessed to carry our sweet wonderful twins till 36 weeks and 6 days. They were born on Friday, June 16th 2017 at 9:04 and 9:05 in the morning. They are two beautiful boys who we named Ira John and Orr Philip (middle names are their grandpas).

The pregnancy had been healthy and the birth went well, both boys came out screaming and were pink. However, we were not prepared for the seven day NICU stay that followed.

After they were born they were put on CPAP machines to help clear the fluid out of their lungs. They were able to breathe on their own but needed that little bit of extra help. That Friday the nurses focused on them getting their breathing more regulated. I was extremely nauseous and dizzy after the C-section but they were able to wheel me down in my bed so that I could do skin to skin with them for one whole hour.

The next day, Saturday they got off the CPAP machine and we started working on feeding. We got them on a schedule of eating every three hours, they mostly took my breastmilk from bottle, but we did try some nursing.

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It was hard and sad to not be able to have them in my room during my hospital stay. But, that hardest part was being discharged from the hospital and not being able to bring my babies home. I was discharged Monday and they stayed till Friday.

I spent most of the days at the hospital and the nights at home. My hubby was there a few days, my mother came a day and also my sister. I was so happy that I didn’t have to do it by myself.

Each day the boys seems to learn a little more and get stronger. They did need feeding tubes because they were getting so tired eating all on their own. They also had to go under the lights because of jaundice.

The days seems to slowly pass as we waited in anticipation for their discharge date. One week after they were born that day finally came! They are now home and we are enjoying them to the fullest!

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36 weeks

We have hit week 36! YAY! In these past few weeks I have been torn between getting as much ready for the arrival of the twins and spending the last fleeting moments with our little love. My mom has been awesome, sewing up matching outfits for the twins as well as hats and blankets. We also have been stocking up on diapers and wipes as well as food in the freezer.

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I have been having a lot of Braxton Hicks, weird for me because with the first pregnancy I had none. Each time one hits I think “is this it?” Last Monday babies weighed in at A: 5lbs and 7oz and Baby B at 6 lbs, so we are talking 11 lbs and 7 oz, THATS ALOT OF BABY! Our little man weighed 7 lbs 7 oz at birth, so have about one and a half of him! Sleeping has become really uncomfortable, sometimes I have to go out to the couch in the living room.

Our little man is excited for babies to come, often kissing my belly and inquiring after them. He will be going to stay up at Grandma and Grandpas farm for two weeks after they arrive. I know I will miss him so much already, but am excited for them to arrive too. I am craving holding a newborn, napping with them and their yummy smell.

We have four sets of names picked out, two boys and two girls. I think we are having boys, but hubby thinks they are girls, our little man doesn’t think they are either ;)! They have a corner of our room for now, may eventually move to their own room around 6 months or so.

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This past Sunday we enjoyed a lazy day at home. The rain brought big puddles, which Gil found to his amusement. It is so amazing to watch him, completely absorbed in tramping through the puddles, running from one end of the driveway to another, so innocent and fun. I know he is going to be an amazing big brother. My sweet hubby has been awesome, cooking dinner and doing the dishes, knowing that I am often too tired to get dinner on the table on my own.

Looking back this season of just us three was 19 months long, but it seemed to have passed so much shorter than that. I am so grateful for all of the trips we took, memories we had and the little moments that tug at my heart and cause tears in my eyes. I am ready for this next chapter, to welcome two more beautiful babies into this world, to feel my heart swell with more love and be reminded how simply miraculous life is.

 

9 Adventures of 2017

As I sit here I cannot believe that it already is June, or rather that half the year is gone! I wanted to take a look back on the first six months and think more about the six that will shortly follow. I have a list of nine adventures I wanted to embark on in 2017. 

Sometimes I really need to push myself to try new experiences and seek learning to stimulate my brain. I try to make goals from all different aspects, health & wellness, knowledge, creativity, financial and hobbies/personal interests.

Here are the nine on my list:

1.) Have healthy twins. Alright, so this one is kind of a cheat one since we found out in December we were expecting twins, but they are coming this year and chances are we won’t have them again. (Although you never know).

2.) Write a children’s book and self-publish it. I love writing and up until recently I had thought that I would rather write a novel than a children’s book. My son has changed this. Children really are the best teachers, and so I began to write a children’s book from my sons perspective. The text is currently being illustrated and hopefully will be going to be printed within the next month. To say I’m excited is an understatement!

3.) Graduate with a Bachelors. I finished this in May. I began my college degree in my third year of high school, so by high school graduation I was half way done. I took a year off because I did not know which degree I wanted to pursue. I ended up choosing Business Administration. I miss college, I really enjoy the challenge and stress of it. I am hoping to go back at some point to get my MBA.

4.) Run a half marathon. This has been on my list for a number of years and each time I have managed to find an excuse not to do it. This year is gonna be the year I do it.

5.) Find a good recipe and make delicious doughnuts. I have made them once before but they didn’t turn out to be anything amazing. If anyone has a recommendation for a recipe, I would LOVE to hear it.

6.) Grow fresh herbs. Early this year my mother had given me four rosemary plants that were nearly dead. I babied them for awhile but they never came back, so I ended up drying them and using them for cooking. They are the BEST thing that ever happened to potato fries and breakfast potatoes. So, this spring I bought four starts, peppermint, sweet mint, parsley and cilantro and they are growing out on my balcony. My favorite is the peppermint, it smells SO delicious. 

7.) Blog at least once a week. Although I love to write, I have not been the best about getting on here and writing a post. So, here’s to the rest of the year, and publishing at least one post per week.

8.) Go on a bike ride with my hubby. My husband just bought an older motorcycle. I have only been on one motorcycle ride in my life and it was a lot of fun. I am hoping we will go for our anniversary in August.

 

9.) Get a goat. I love goats, I think they are cute and they are fun to milk. I am hoping that towards the end of the year we move to a place where we could have a goat.

31.3 Weeks and Counting

We are nearing the finish line of pregnancy and the starting line of plus three! These two sweet peanuts have become increasingly more active, and getting unsettled with the womb life. Big brother G has started paying more attention to the belly, patting it when he is standing near and lifting up my shirt to give kisses and hugs. He will often say baby and point to the belly, holding out his hands to touch it.

 

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Spring is finally here to stay (I hope). The early morning sunshine is a blessed change to all of those cloudy, moody days winter brought this year. Dandelions blanket the grass while birds chirp and hop tree to tree.

We made it to the flower farm the other day, I was so excited to bring our little man there. He was most interested in running the aisles and pulling the flower petals off the flowers. Isn’t his bonnet darling? It is an Emmifaye bonnet, check her out! This mustard yellow color is my FAVORITE, and I wish I looked this good in a floppy, linen bonnet. We finally found him a pair of cowboy boots, $5 at a garage sale, I sure was pumped. He loves them too, wears them everywhere. Often he even wears them in the house and marches around with them on for hours.

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Throughout our days here at home together, my little man so often takes my breath away. How could I be so lucky to be his momma? Although I have been a mom for almost two years the fierce, protective love that blossoms in my heart still knocks the wind out of me. So many days it seems like the challenges are many and the patience is thin, yet when he lifts those hands up the sky and says “mamma” or comes over for a hug and pat on the back, there is nothing more precious in the world or more exhilarating. And this makes me even more excited for these twins to arrive, thinking of all the future moments of sweetness, fierce love and that longing in your heart to bottle every blessed minute.

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My hubby just started his new job, still working overnight shifts. This will be quite an adjustment once the babies coming, for with our little man he was home at night. But we are ever so thankful for this new position, which gives him a better schedule and higher pay as well as better benefits.

In this season I often need to remind myself to take time for gratitude. For new opportunities, for all of our current blessings, for all that we have, for all of those we hold dear and all the gifts and dreams we have been blessed with.

 

 

 

Blessed

I’m not one for cliche sayings and quotes, in fact I avoid them. I instead look for naturally, flowing words that come from individuals. Ones that speak of hardships and struggles just beneath the surface.

But, (you knew this was coming) one I do like is “the best in life is the unexpected, because there were no expectations.”

I find this to be true in so many different facets of life, vacation, relationships and even a trip to the local library. By definition I am a planner. I love lists, love writing them, reading them, re-reading them and the best part, crossing off the items when I have accomplished them. What I am trying to get it is I love to plan, analyze, reconsider, plan some more, second guess myself and finally (sometimes) make a decision, and of course post-analyze the decision.

The only issue with this is that frankly, life just gets in my way! All to often I find myself staring a decision in the face and I cannot complete my process. Does this bug me? You bet it does! Does it mess with my head? You bet it does!

I have also found it to be very good for me, to experience spontaneous events, pointing me back into a whole new direction, with a chance to learn new knowledge, meet up with a new experience and in essence altering the course of my existence.

This was a good thought to keep in mind when my hubby, son and I went in for a prenatal visit at the end of December. At that point we were almost twelve weeks pregnant. And when I state that we were surprised and ecstatic to learn that we were having twins, it is quite the understatement.

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When I think back to the arrival of our son, much of the memories seem hazy, foggy, with little recollection of all events that took place. The part that I remember the most is this fierce love that claimed my whole being and this need to protect this tiny angel that suddenly became the most beautiful and important part of me.

I expect that this time it will be no different, but the mind-blowing part is that the love and protection will multiply enough for two sweet new babies. But, with the twins comes an increased risk for nearly everything, pre-term labor, gestational diabetes and complications during delivery. Despite all of this I am trying to take it easy and not worry.

For today, I am feeling blessed beyond what I deserve. With an amazing hubby who has taken on a second job, a sweet little toddler who reminds me to laugh at him moment after moment and two babies nestled in, growing bigger each day, with no complications for now, I honestly can say that I am beyond blessed. And for that, I am so grateful for.

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The Bigger Plan

A few years back, which some days feels like a lifetime ago, and others as though I could close my eyes and feel the day, I met your poppa. It was a hot summer day, with a cool breeze from the lake scattering the pine needles across the ground, catching in the blades of green grass that blanketed the earth. There are few simplicity’s that I remember about the day, I was attending a pre-confirmation camp, I was fifteen years old and I was more concerned with hanging out with my best friends than searching for a boyfriend.

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From sitting here writing this there is no profound happening nor bizarre coincidence about the day or even weekend. It was another ordinary weekend, yet one that started into another chapter in my life, one I had not written myself.

When I was fifteen I already knew (thought I did), where I was going with life. I had some interest in joining the Military, knew I would attend a four year college, enter into a career that would make me proud to work in as well as fulfilling and live in place I never had before.

Its sorta funny how I thought I knew everything that I wanted, and had a plan of how I was going to get from A to B to C, while making stops along the way. And looking back on relationships and the coming of you sweet baby, there are no truer words than: the best things that happen in life are the unexpected.

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Let me tell you little one, often throughout the course of your life you will have a plan, to do the dishes, scrub the floor, put off your chores till right before bed, get your homework done, go to college, marry your first love, build your own house or start up a business. However, there is a plan, Gods plan that is bigger than your plan.

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He knows, when you need an extra hug, when you need someone to accompany you on the journey, when you need a break, when you need a trail, which trial you need and at what point in your life you need blessings and which ones you do need.And so many times baby boy he gives us blessings for voids that we did not even know existed in our life.

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The bigger plan for you is truly miraculous and reassures your poppa and I that you will experience so many blessings in your life, just as we both have. As I look back just this afternoon when poppa was playing with you and chasing you around and you were squealing with delight, I sat poised watching the two of you play and all of the sudden was engulfed by your poppas sweet arms into a big hug and a kiss placed on top my head, I am so thankful, that he has a bigger plan for me.

 

Take Time

It still amazes me when certain aspects of our lives are suddenly revealed to us through events, people and small moments. It was not until I met my husband that I realized and began to value the meaning of time.

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I have always been a goal setter and worked hard to achieve things in life. Not really focusing on the accomplishment of a goal or moments of life in between nor the journey. I have learned that is has to be one of my greatest mistakes I have made over the course of my lifetime. What really is the journey if it is not enjoyed, cherished and marveled over? When did I let go of the thought that all these small things, big things and somewhere in between things are miraculous in themselves.

Sometimes in order to appreciate the journey, we as people should embark on a goal, a big out of reach goal just to appreciate the journey, because even if we know that we will not make it there, at least we made the journey and had the experience.

When my husband came along he really tried to teach me the importance of letting go of work and school and the rat race to take a minute to breathe and focus on the blessings. Sadly, this did not receive a proper time in my day until the arrival of my son. What an unbelievably humbling experience he has been for me. For all these moments would have been lost without my acknowledgement.dsc_0822dsc_0756dsc_0743

In those first few weeks that he was here nothing seemed as important as rocking him to sleep nor the curling of his fingers around mine. As he grows older and less dependent on me, I remind myself that it is still important to take the time to read to him, build him blocks, go outside and pick apples and push him in his car, do silly things to make him giggle,cuddle him when he is sad, ask him for a hug, teach him new words, crawl and chase him on the floor and watch him with his dad.

These moments mean so much to him, but they mean so much more to me. They seem to renew the world, give it a better outlook and humble my heart into happiness and bring tears to my eyes. So simple it is.dsc_0903dsc_0727dsc_0720

Take Time. Today. Right now. Right here. Take time.

Building Block Towers

The past week has flow by in a chaotic and busyness of moving from my parents house into our rental house. School has been so busy already; this is only the second week, mind you. I am so utterly glad and thankful that my dear family was able to help us move. I have been trying to get homework done ahead of time, meaning a lot of reading books and writing discussion posts and taking quizzes.

This rental we moved into was built in the 70s, we have the sweetest landlords. The house is HUGE, I mean probably not that large, but when you live in a one bedroom apartment for two years with a husband and later a baby it feels MASSIVE. That being said, there is a lot of space, space that things do not need to clutter (mental note to self). Today baby G and I were in his room, sorting through some more bags and putting his too small clothes (which makes me sad) into a box and setting blankets, winter clothes and diapers in his closet.  He wasn’t having a lot of fun with the unpacking, mainly just crawling up my knees begging to do something else. So we sat down and dug into the cardboard moving box that held a lot of wooden blocks.

When I was a little girl we had this set of wooden colored blocks. The set was kept in this denim drawstring bag that was labeled BLOCKS in varying colors. Those blocks had so many purposes, food for when we played with the kitchen set, furniture when we played Polly Pockets and blocks for when we had contest to see who could balance one on top the other, to build the tallest tower. As far as I know my mother still has the set, in the same denim bag. The set that my son received came from my husband’s grandma, who recently passed away. Not only is it wooden (YAY for a kids toy that isn’t plastic), but we get to tell our little buddy its from his Great-Grandma.

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When my son and I play blocks, I mostly spend the time building the blocks one on top the other and he comes around like a weed whipper and smacks it down with his hand or the block in his hand. Sometimes I will try to get his attention with one arm, while building a tower with the other arms in hopes of staying ahead. Let me tell you this does not last long.

Like so many instances of my day, my mind began to wonder while we were playing. I began to think of how we build our own block towers in life. We start a foundation, which begins the moment we are born and we continue to build. We are always building up, but not all of those blocks are steady and good for our tower. Sometimes it is hard to look at someone else’s tower because we are all unique, and no one builds their blocks the same way.

In order for the block tower to grow, two things have to happen. First, you must start with a strong foundation and second you must contribute to the pile. Your foundation in life begins with who you are. How do you treat and think of yourself?  What characteristics do you possess that make you, you?  What values are important to you? What do you cherish? What are you thankful for? What kind of an attitude on life do you have?

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The foundation is affected by family, faith, friends, health and education. Some aspects of these have a negative or positive affect on you, or perhaps both at different circumstances. The choices in life we make determine whether we add another block or take one off. And the result of the block tower is a reflection of these choices.

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The most amazing realization is that we get to build our own block tower. We can let someone into our hearts and help us build our block tower, but we can also let someone define who we are and knock our tower down. We can make poor decision, which can add a small block to the tower and weaker our frame, but we can also make a choice to build our foundation stronger, making the block tower tougher. We can add on as many blocks as we want, or we can stabilize and debate decisions.

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IT IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU.

What does your block tower look like?

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Do you like the way it looks? If not, what are you going to do about it?