Tag Archives: Baby

Weekly Recap: Surprise Party, Dream Job, & Baby Turns 9 Months Old

Welcome back, everyone! Glad you have you on my little corner of the internet again. Last week, it felt like nothing interesting happened. However, this week was a WHOLE other experience! I had a lot of fun and had some wonderful things happen to me!

Where to start? How about here: I GOT MY DREAM JOB!

I am now working as a professional blogger! I get to work from home and take care of my son while working part time…WRITING FOR A LIVING! I mean, come on! That’s the dream! I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity. My boss is a very kind person and I think we’re going to work well together. It’s really one of those moments where you can’t believe that something is happening to you. I’m just so grateful- I can’t stop saying that over and over again to myself. I almost didn’t apply for this job because there were so many applicants, but something inside me said I should go for it. And I’m so glad that I did!

In other news, my baby turned 9 MONTHS OLD THIS WEEK! Can you believe it? I certainly can’t! So far, getting these monthly pictures has been a breeze. This month, well…it was a different story. These were the best one we could get (still love them!)

Isn’t he just the cutest? I could just eat that little nugget up!

Also, I love how he’s like, “Holy crap, mom! It’s a bear!”

Not only did he turn nine months old, he also got his first tooth! It’s bothering him so much but we’ve found a product that really works for him. I’ll share that with you in my nine month update post for baby Flynn!

One of my favorite things that happened this week was that my husband had his 29th birthday! He says he feels old now. 😛

My husband, Zack, is a professor at a college where we live and his students and I planned a little surprise for him AT 5:00 right outside his office. We had a secret Facebook group and everything, you guys! STEALTHY!!!

Everyone dressed just like Zack, backward baseball caps and flannel shirts. It was adorable and it meant so much to Zack! You can just see it on his face!

27938898_10159898892850257_848489648_n27935268_10159898894675257_133183325_n-127849679_10159898893080257_1960067939_n

It was a really great moment when he realized just how many of his students were there to celebrate with him! I brought cake but I didn’t get a picture of it because I’m a bad blogger and all I could think was, “CAKE IN BELLY!!!”

The kids also made him a “Dr. Pepper Cake” since it basically runs in his veins.

27848922_10159898892545257_1900528736_n

I surprised him by giving him the game “Horizon Zero Dawn” that everyone’s been talking about lately. He was really excited…in fact…guess what he’s doing right now as I type this blog…

Flynn saw him playing it earlier and wanted in the action.

27994459_10159898888065257_590545161_n

Is that not the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen?! I love my boys.

That night, I made garlic butter and herb spaghetti, brown sugar brussel sprouts, and roasted veggies. The pasta is his favorite and we always have it on his birthday!

27848690_10159898892445257_1204093849_n

YUUUUM! And, honestly, so so so so so bad for you. 😛 But it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, right?

Here are some other yummy/healthier foods we had to eat this week:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I loved that skinny caramel macchiato. It was the perfect pick me up!

This week I also had a girl’s craft time with one of my besties, Morgan! She’s that adorable little redhead in the birthday pictures above! We’re in the progress of paining our Disney shoes! I’m doing snow white shoes and she’s making her shoes look like Belle! I’ll post the final picture when I finish them and link you to my Etsy store if you’re interested in purchasing some!

Morgan is such a sincere person and I’m so glad that we have become friends. She had a rough day yesterday and I’m glad that we could do some crafting to de-stress a little. Everyone send her some love! She’s such a sweetheart! ❤

I also did a little early Valentine’s day craft for Zack to put in his office.

I had a seriously wonderful week. Everything went so well and was so lovely. Like I said, I’m just so grateful!

I even got some fresh flowers this week! They make everything better, don’t they?

27939744_10159898891535257_42430807_n

Thanks for visiting my blog today! I hope you enjoyed reading this recap post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I’ll see you all on Wednesday. Oh! Make sure to follow me on social media and let me know you came from the blog! I’d love to hear from you!

Instagram & Twitter: ellenvandever

Facebook: Millennial Mama Bird

Etsy: Quirky Girl Giftshop

Ellen 🙂

27848774_10159898894805257_1728027965_n

Advertisements

Weekly Recap: Homemade Hibachi & Family Hike

Welcome back, friends! I’m glad you’re back to hear what’s happening at my little cabin in the woods.

27496453_10159834873940257_1114134808_n

I love these weekly recaps! I was literally just thinking about how awesome these are going to be to look back on when baby Flynn is all grown up and I get nostalgic. I wonder if that’s the reason a lot of people start blogs. It seems like these days, I’m seeing a lot of “10 ways to be happier”, and while that’s totally fine and dandy, those blog posts are very frequently information that it’s all but too obvious to the reader already.

Communicate with my partner? No kidding.

Take time to do the things I like? Done.

Wake up early? I have an 8th month old.

I just feel like I’d love to read more stories and fun things that people are doing than some boring list of stuff that’s really not helpful to me or is obvious to everyone in the world.

Someone should start a blog called “Captain obvious” that’s just those lists and nothing else.

I digress…

This week was awesome! It’s really fun taking more pictures and documenting what we’re doing. It makes me more present and I am likely to do more things now that I’m blogging about them!

On Sunday, we went on a family hike in the woods around our house. We are currently renting a little cabin in the woods and close by are some old stone chimneys from a home that used to sit there. It’s really amazing, and my husband has taken the medal detector down there a few times.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This time, he found an old cast iron pot lid buried in the dirt. We’re planning to take some lawn chairs or a blanket down there and have a picnic one day. What a cool and secluded location for some good old fashion family time!

Baby Flynn also enjoyed his ride! Speaking of Flynn, I made him some yummy baby food this week!

Green beans (his favorite), sweet corn, and peas and carrots!

Let me know if you’d like to see a blog post of how I make all of Flynn’s baby food. I’m even experimenting with some yogurt making for his breakfasts!

I also made a very conscious effort to eat better this week (notice I said better, not less) and did some meal prepping as well. I made:

Vegan chocolate muffins, healthy apple crisp, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, vegan mac and cheese, veggie burgers, asparagus…and many other delicious things!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of those delicious things was homemade hibachi!

My husband and I started to make our own hibachi style food at home in an effort to save money. We love Japanese Steak Houses and our cooking it all only serves to save money and bring us closer together as we work to prepare a meal. That’s something we really enjoy doing together- cooking.

27497178_10159834875215257_498215567_n

Anyone interested in a healthy yum yum sauce recipe? Let me know!

My good friend Sam came to stay for a few days, as well! We had such a lovely time (we always do with Sam), and Flynn had the time of his life! Lots of board games were played, tea was made, and delicious food was consumed.

We also had a little photo shoot! Check out the pictures!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Has anyone else seen the movie “Definitely Maybe”? It’s a blast from my past and we watched it while I did some bullet journaling and drank a little tension tamer tea.

27395066_10159834875330257_1699610551_n

#InOmniaParatus

I love bullet journaling. I’m not great yet at making it look all fancy- frankly, I don’t have the patience. But I’m working on it and really enjoy my own style of bullet journaling too.

And that was my week! Tomorrow we’re going to my sister in law’s birthday party and we have a lot of fun things planned for this week!

As always, I’ll also be posting this Wednesday so check back then and subscribe if your not! I’d love to see your beautiful faces back here again!

Thanks for visiting and have an awesome week!

Ellen 🙂

 

 

Weekly Recap: Healthy changes & Hubby haircut

This was a great week! A long week…but a great one. My mom was visiting for a good portion of it and helped a lot with baby Flynn. I was really grateful for that.

I decided that since I post on Sundays and Wednesdays, that I would make Sunday my weekly recap post day. So, here it is! I’m excited to share all the pictures I took with you! I really had a lot of fun documenting my week and now I have a lot of fun memories to look back on! Also, I’ve been getting so hyped up to publish blog posts! I’m so happy that I found a hobby that gets me this enthused!

This was last week (I think- mommy brain is real, ya’ll), but I did want to share it with you! My husband got me Rosanna Pansino of “Nerdy Nummies” silicon poop brownie mold. I didn’t have any brownie mix and I needed something to make fast for Zack’s students so I used some chocolate cake mix that I had in my pantry. It worked perfectly and they were SO delicious. I could have eaten all of the ones that I made. Seriously…which leads me to my next point….

27156883_10159800443715257_631205519_n

Some things in my life need to change. I’m a very happy person and have less anxiety right now than I have ever had in my life before. It’s amazing considering my anxiety has always been an ever looming presence. My point being, even though I’m super happy right now, it doesn’t mean there still isn’t work to be done.

I’ve known for a while now that I’ve wanted to lose this baby weight so that I’d not only feel better in my own skin, but also be a healthier person and feel better all around. It’s something that’s REALLY important to me, but I have such trouble getting motivated…especially when there are poop cakes just sitting around my kitchen!

Note: I think it would be especially funny if you used sprinkles around Christmas time and made them “reindeer poops”! I might have to find another use for these bad boys…

Valentines poop?…hmmmm….back to the drawing board, I guess. ❤

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten off topic. The bottom line is: It’s time to get back on track, get in better shape for myself and my family, and feel better in my body overall.

Now, to do that, all I have to do is eat healthy and workout. Easy right? Ugh…easier said than done is more like it!

However, I’ve really been working to find the “right” workout routine for myself and I’m striving to eat better. This is actually a big goal that myself and my therapist are working on.

Here are some of the healthy meals/things that I ate this week:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I’m documenting even more on my Instagram! Follow me @ellenvandever for more fun pics and inspirational fun!

It’s been really hard to diet, and getting my exercise routine going has been a pain, but I’m doing a pretty good job so far. I just have to keep reminding myself that little moments in time add up to big results. I’m not a very patient person, so this is something that can be really difficult for me.

It really does sound so cheesy but I’m actually enjoying pushing myself sometimes. I like the feeling I get when I say “no” to myself when I want to eat more calories than I really should be eating in a day- it feels empowering. I can’t control everything in my life, but I can control what I put in my body and how I take care of myself. That’s freeing to me in a way.

27156950_10159800444220257_257052772_n

This is my grocery list. I have to say, it’s usually better looking than this but I was in a bit of a rush. I looked on Pinterest at the best healthy grocery lists for vegetarians and got a lot of great information. I ended up spending $150 on 2 weeks of groceries for myself, my husband, and baby food for our little one. Let me know if you’re interested in hearing more about how I make my grocery lists and meal plan for less.

I love grocery shopping and meal planning- I could color code everything and be in heaven!

For dinners, we’re making:

  • Mexican Mush: Zucchini, leftover rice and black beans, low cal cheese, a dollop of greek yogurt, and some salsa all mixed together and baked until the veggie is tender
  • Spaghetti and Salad: Whole wheat Spaghetti with homemade  marinara sauce and a iceberg lettuce wedge salad with low cal vinaigrette dressing
  • Loaded Baked Potatoes: Sweet Potatoes with low cal fixin’s
  • Tacos: Black beans, brown rice, a dollop of greek yogurt, low cal cheese, lettuce, salsa
  • Stir Fry: Zucchini, baby corn, and broccoli cooked with brown rice
  • Pizza and Salad: Small portion of Totino’s party pizza (my splurge for the week) and a large salad with a light vinaigrette

Flynn wasn’t too sure about the new contraption we put him in at the Grocery store…

but he sure looked cute!

26904239_10159795872755257_6172073807435332985_n

Side note: we went to Walmart this week and while I was shopping for new sports bras, I saw this underwear…

26995148_10159800444485257_1518069308_n

Team Quidditch? Not…team Gryffindor? Ravenclaw? Hufflepuff? Slytherin?

YAY SPORTS BALL! GO SPORTS TEAM! GET THE BALL INTO THE GOAL BASKET!

I mean…you had one job, Walmart.

We also got another dusting of snow this week! Thank goodness it wasn’t another Snowpocalypse, but they did close down school one day. I insisted we go take a family picture in our winter wonderland!

26733485_10159786654155257_1969734261768756095_n

Flynn wasn’t too thrilled, but what can ya do?

Zack and I also got to go on a little date and he decided he was ready for the UNTHINKABLE!

He chopped off those long locks! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!!!! *gasps*

26994716_10159800443760257_403307656_n

All I have to say is…HUBBA HUBBA!

That’s right ladies, my husband’s a dream boat! *swoons*

While Zack was looking spiffy, my normal glasses broke and I had no choice but to wear my backups. They make me feel like Harry Potter and I’m really not so sure about them.

I was really feeling self conscious about them but then I thought, “Ya know what? I can be ashamed of these, or I can rock these…”

And you know what? They grew on me a little. Zack fixed my normal ones today though, so I definitely feel more at home now!

We also took part in the phenomenon sweeping the social media sites! We face matched using the Google Arts and Culture App! So much fun! We got a good chuckle out of these, and I have to say, I’m not mad about mine. 😛

Flynn was, of course, just like his Daddy all week. I love those boys. ❤

 

And finally, I added a few new things to my Etsy shop! Here’s a high chair banner I made for both of my niece’s birthday parties. I’d love for you guys to check it out and feel free to request any crafts you want or need made! I’m very into customization and I have very competitive pricing!

26903743_10159787559230257_2965548187667242255_n

So, that’s it! In the future, I think I’m going to get better about documenting my week. I will continue to update my Instagram and you here about my weight loss journey. Send good vibes my way (specifically the ones that keep my away from the doughnuts!).

I really appreciate all the support I’m getting from you all! It means the world to me!

Much love and see you on Wednesday,

Ellen 🙂

What I wish I had known: Anxiety chat

I don’t think anyone knew the real truth of the matter. There were so many people around me, and sometimes I felt like screaming at everyone to get away from me. Of course, I couldn’t though. How would people respond? I’d looking like a complete freak in public.

School was always a challenge for me. It seemed like everyone casually walked through the halls- laughing with their friends- pretending to search through their bag when their were really texting someone. But it was different for me.

There were the popular kids, band geeks, “weird kids”, the tough crowd- your basic cliques. I settled in with the theatre nerds though I like to think I was friendly with people of all groups. I even won “friendlist” two years in a row which was a real honor to me- even if it was just a middle school award.

When the popular kids would talk to me, I would stammer. I would be paralysed with fear that I’d say or do something stupid and I’d end up looking like a spaz because of it. Once, a boy told me I was ugly and I was so overwhelmed with embarrassment that I couldn’t move. In that moment, I felt so small. Kids can be so cruel for no reason…I suppose adults can too for that matter.

The point is, my anxiety was running the show for the first bit of my life, and no part of me had any kind of control. My fight or flight response was strong- it still is. What made it worse was that mental illness wasn’t as widely talked about as is it now. It’s crazy to think that seeing as it wasn’t even that long ago. Therapy never worked for me as a child- because no one ever really listened. Now that I’m older and have a really great therapist, I can say that with certainty.

My parents and siblings tried what they could to make me feel better, but I got really good at hiding how overwhelmed and on edge I was at every moment. I only got good at it because I didn’t know what it was myself- anxiety. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t even know that that word could mean what it means to me today. Looking back, I would have panic attacks all the time and I never knew what they were. That’s sad and scary to me. I don’t blame anyone for not knowing what to do with me. I never really voiced what was going on- just cried and said that I didn’t want to go to school (or dance, or baton, or to a sleepover, etc.).

When I think about the level of panic attacks I would have, it honestly blows my mind.

Now, let me be clear. My childhood was not unhappy and I wasn’t a constant anxious mess. However, anxiety is an intense emotion and if you’re feeling it at an unsafe level at all, its debilitating. There are and were such happy times that I can remember. Days where we’d stay at home on the weekends and play all day. I was a home body even then. Those are days I cherish.

A day I don’t cherish? Easy…

There was this one day where I went to the office to call my mom because I was having a panic attack (although I didn’t actually know it). I went there a lot to do that, and the lady behind the desk knew that all too well. I walked in, asked to call my mother, and- I will never forget this- she looked at me and said, “You’re always trying to get out of class. No.”. I was dumbfounded. I wasn’t trying to get out of class. Hell, I would have loved nothing more to be in Earth Science with the rest of the class learning and happily getting along with others. I would have loved to have been normal.

This woman had just made an assumption about me that was wildly inaccurate but made me feel guilty. So, now I not only had this panic attack going on, but I also felt guilt pouring into my body and strangling me. And you know what? That wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t! I burst into tears in front of her and she rolled her eyes. I tore out of there, went to the bathroom and called my mother from my cell phone. I forgot to mention I was a goody goody and very rarely broke the rules. Luckily, mom understood that I needed to be out of there and came and got me.

I missed a lot of school due to panic attacks, and I got in trouble because of it. I think most of the teachers assumed that I was too lazy to come to class or just wanted to go home and lounge around. Let me say this again: I would have done ANYTHING to have been able to sit in class with my fellow students comfortably and have a normal school day. Sometimes I could, and then other days it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. And I never told anyone other than my family- and not even they knew the real extent of it.

I was ashamed. Why was a so weird? Why couldn’t I just have sucked it up? It just wasn’t a possibility for me. I was always so in my head, and by middle school I had really developed some OCD tendencies. I would repeat my name in my head over and over again to try and ground myself, but after a while it became more of a OCD twitch than anything else. There were more but I really don’t think I want to get too far into that. Maybe one day.

Here’s the point i’m trying to make with all of this: We need to LISTEN to people when they say they don’t feel right- that something is off. Many people don’t know that they are having panic attacks- just like I didn’t. This is especially true for Children and Teens. You never think these things will happen to you, but guess what? They are way more common than you think. I was shocked when I started to tell people that I take medicine for my anxiety- so many others told me that they have to take something for theirs too and even depression. It can happen to you and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

1929637_34906720256_7713_n

High school me was constantly in her head talking to herself about holding it together and not looking like an idiot. High school me thought she wasn’t worth the time because some people treated her like what was happening wasn’t important. When teachers would get onto me about missing school, I felt that guilt. Like I was doing something that was wrong when really I just wasn’t getting the help that I needed. As an adult now who’s looking back at the situation, I now know that it wasn’t my fault.

I was a good student, a nice person, and I tried hard. So, why did I feel like no one was noticing that something was up with me? Sometimes I’d legitimately lose my shit at school- I was crying out for help in my own way- and people would just look at me like I was a crazy person. I had to miss a show choir show once because of a panic attack. My dance partner came up to me and said, “You really let me down.”. All the while, I’m sitting there crying. Did he think I wanted to be acting hysterical in front of the entire group? That I wanted the attention? I wanted the complete opposite.

I was so self conscious about all of this, and it didn’t help that I was an absolute bean pole. I weighed less than 100 pounds until I got to college and I was often hearing gossip about me being anorexic. One of my teachers even brought it up almost every day saying that I needed to eat more. She legitimately thought I wasn’t eating on purpose when really I was just a very small person who had a fast metabolism.

NEWS FLASH, PEOPLE!!! SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST SMALL. JUST LIKE SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST HEAVIER SET! Everyone is beautiful in there own way, and picking out someone’s qualities and telling them they aren’t good enough…it’s just not right.

10398794_34175640256_4787_n

Me and my big brother 

To all those out there that are struggling with body image,

Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t beautiful at whatever size you are. Just focus on making yourself healthy and happy. I love the quote that says,

“We get so worried about being pretty. Let’s be pretty kind. Pretty funny. Pretty smart. Pretty strong.”

– Britt Nicole

It’s lovely, right?

So, to sum this all up, here’s what I wish I had known growing up.

What people think about you- it doens’t matter. Ultimately, your happiness depends on you. Yes, people say that all the time and it seems cheesy, but it’s so true. You are beautiful- no matter your size. Your qualities make you the unique individual that you are. What you’re feeling is called a panic attack/anxiety. It can happen for no reason and it can spiral out of control if you don’t take proper care to make it better- make yourself better. You are weird- but in the best way possible. Your weirdness is what’s going to be badass about you when you grow up. Hell, it’s what’s badass about you now. 

It’s ok that you don’t have this all figured out now. Things and people will fall into your life at the exact right moments and one day you’ll be sitting on your couch writing a blog where you get to talk about how happy you are with your little family. 

I wish I had known all of that and really believed myself. I’m a much happier person now knowing all of this and having people who support me and help me to understand that anxiety is something that we all face and isn’t something shameful. It takes work and self care to get yourself to a place where you can take a step back, breathe, and know how to handle your anxiety.

I truly think we need to look out for the signs of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks in people- especially children. My main reason for writing this blog post is to make people aware of how debilitating and isolating anxiety can be when it gets out of control. Some people may just not know what it is or how to handle it.

Be a friend to someone in need. Be understanding of what they are going through and help them figure out what they need to make themselves feel better and in control. Because everyone deserves to feel good about and in their bodies.

I hope this blog wasn’t too much of a bummer. I think it’s a really important subject, and it’s something I’ve wanted to get off of my chest for a long time.

Please let me know in the comments if you suffer with anxiety and how you cope. Maybe we can inspire some people to get help or try something new to make themselves feel better.

We all deserve someone to walk with us through the hard times.

-Ellen 🙂

How We Survived The Snowpocalypse

Let’s be honest, everyone makes fun of us Georgians.

Down in the South we are ill prepared for when something like “Snowpocalypse” happens, and all the crazy that comes along with it.

The weather channel predicted a few inches of snow…maybe…boy were they wrong.

It recently snowed 10 and 1/2 inches here in the North Georgia mountains- literally more snow than i’ve ever seen in my life. I know what some of you are probably thinking, “That’s precious…10 and 1/2 inches”, but for people who don’t actively get snow, we might as well have been plopped down into the middle of Antarctica.

I’m EXTREMELY lucky because my husband (aka..daddy bird) was a boy scout and is always referred to as the person you’d want around if a zombie apocalypse happened. This one time, we thought someone was breaking into the house so I started to freak out. He calmly got up and pulled a sword out from under the bed. A SWORD PEOPLE! I’d like to see someone try and break in. The idea of my husband charging into the other room with a broad sword and scaring the bajesus out of the burglar makes me giggle.

Anyway…back to snowy adventure….

Soon after the snow started to fall, our power went out. Not only our power, but around 700 other people in our area. Those poor power companies were working their butts off to get everyone restored! I’m really grateful for them and how they came to everyone’s rescue.

Here’s the kicker though…we have an electric well pump which means…you guessed it…NO WATER! This was made even scarier considering the heat was gone and we have an infant. Our main priority at all times was to make sure he was as comfortable as possible. I think (hope) any parent in that situation would feel the same.

Without heat or water, we did our best. We were the Pioneer family for a few days! That’s right…days! 3 in total to be exact. And, you know what…aside from being concerned and a little nervous about how long this would last…it was actually kind of fun. I’m happy to say that we definitely made the best out of the situation.

Without water, we had to figure out another way to wash the bottles we have for sweet baby Flynn. My husband, without fail, is the smartest person I have ever met. I’m not saying others wouldn’t have done what he did, but he’s constantly taking care of us and showing me time and time again just how caring and intelligent he is. Enough gushing, Ellen…here’s what we did…

24993331_10159623048830257_1034722721098215848_n

My husband scooped up some of the snow from outside and sat it next to our fire. We basically had snow water boiling constantly for any need that we had. Mostly, it was for Flynn’s bottles. We were lucky enough to have some distilled water in jugs so we used that to fix with his formula.

Speaking of the fire, HUGE shoutout to my husband Zack for keeping it going for as long as he did…36 hours! He was literally up every 30 minutes to stoke the fire so that we’d stay warm. Poor thing barely slept at all.

He really is our hero.

Luckily, we have a ton of firewood available to us!

Next up was how we could eat. It’s amazing the things we take for granted- ya know…like stoves. I dug in the pantry for something…anything. We hadn’t gone to the grocery store for a while and we didn’t have a whole lot available to us. That was really scary to me.

Here’s what I came up with and lovingly titled, “Snowpocalypse Stew”:

Ingredients:

  • One can of diced tomatoes
  • any frozen veg you have (because it was just going to melt away in the freezer anyway)
  • any fresh veg (ours was Zucchini, Broccoli, Onions, and Potatoes
  • A little vegetable broth (I’m a vegetarian if you guys didn’t know!)
  • Salt and Pepper (although we eliminated the pepper this time because my mom is allergic)
  • Water

Directions:

Mix all that stuff together and heat of the fire (or a stove if you’re so lucky and not going through a Snowpocalypse)

Easy as Pie! Ohhh…I wish we had some pie! 😛

We were also lucky enough to find a stove top stuffing box in the back of the pantry…don’t worry…it wasn’t expired, so we made that along with the Stew.

IT. WAS. DELICIOUS!!! Such a hearty meal with things just laying around in the pantry and we truly used what we had to make something so fantastic. My mom even said it was the best veggie soup she’s ever tasted- and SO easy! I recommend making it on a night where you want to feel all warm and cozy inside…which is every night for me. 🙂

The next day, Zack and I needed to make an emergency run to the store for a few things. It was still snowy so we were a little nervous…and what happened next made our fears very valid. But we had no choice…we really needed to go…

So, we’re on our way to the store, driving peacefully and remarking on how beautiful everything is. I even took some pictures moments before our next great adventure began…

25152385_10159632393190257_5167285581685974389_n

A beautiful view right? Well, not when you’re sliding down a huge hill and into a ditch. Yep, that’s right…

We hit a patch of ice and the car spun around and started to slide. We are SO lucky that our son wasn’t with us. My mom had come up a few days before and was stuck with us so she was watching him.

We felt the car tip back and started to go down the hill and towards the big creek. My husband exclaimed, “Hold on! We’re going down!” and held onto my arm as I braced myself for what I was sure was going to be the car flipping.

The next second we were stopped and breathing hard. Zack asked if I was ok and I nodded. We got out of the car to assess the situation. We were inches away from the creek. Now, I won’t lie, I’ve struggled with my faith for my whole life, but in that moment, it really seemed as though someone or something was looking out for us.

See that behind the car…that’s the creek!

We tried our best to get the car back up the hill but it was too steep and the wheels just kept turning in place. Of course, we immediately called AAA but it would take the at least 3 hours to even let us know when they would be able to come. Which meant one thing…we were walking home.

We ended up getting the car out after the snow had melted away…3 days later.

Luckily, we were only .7 miles away from the house. Still a very long walk while you’re more than ankle deep in snow and wearing converse. I called my mom to let her know we were ok and we headed back.

It was cold and quiet, white and sparkly. Magical. And seemed like a real gift to see after what we had just experienced.

Even though we were shaken up, my husband was making jokes like he always does (dad jokes what what!!!). In retrospect, he was probably just trying to calm my nerves. He put his arm around me and we walked back to the house laughing, talking, and singing to keep ourselves warm. If anyone had described this situation to me, I would guess that it would be a horrible experience. But, you know what? It was romantic. A little mini date in the snow. I love my husband…and moments like this only serve to make our relationship stronger.

Once we got home, we warmed up by the fire and under blankets. I kissed my sweet boy and thanked God he wasn’t with us for that. I can’t imagine trying to hike back in that cold with Flynn. Seriously…I am SO grateful he was safe at home with my mom.

One of the bright moments during this was that Flynn turned 7 months old. So, of course, we HAD to take advantage of the snow!

Look at that face. Kills me everytime! ❤

Also, our snowman was a Hufflepuff…HUFFLEPUFF FOR LIFE!!! 😛

As night fell, it obviously got very dark and cold. We had to plug up the back rooms with towels so the warmth would stay in the living room. We pulled Flynn’s pack and play close enough to the fire that he could be warm but not too close, of course.

I felt really smart because I came up with this idea- an idea that my boy scout of a husband was thrilled by! That made me feel even more proud!

I took our old water jugs and put the flashlights in them to illuminate the room. It was perfect because we could hang them up for light but also take them with us to the bathrooms when we needed to go. That’s another thing- we had to boil water for the toilets- that’s all I’m going to say about that though.

24852074_10159621010865257_4066075292138804583_n

We quickly fell asleep (all of us besides my husband who was stoking the fire), and Flynn slept a little on me..and then my mother…and then in his pack and play. Poor little guy must have been so confused. My husband slept on the floor as much as he could and let myself and my mom take the couches. It was freezing in the bedrooms so we all had to stay around the fire.

Then…out next adventure began. See, when the power goes out, the back up alarm system comes into play. When the battery on that goes out…it goes off. So, at about three in the morning the LOUDEST and I mean LOOOOOUUUUUDDEEEST alarm went off saying…

“BURGLARY! BURGLARY! THE AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN CALLED!!!” over and over and over again. I woke up and stumbled around screaming to my mother, “What’s going on…what’s happening?!” while my husband ran to get it shut off. My mother was looking at me with one eye open and saying, “WHAT??!”. And, of course, Mr. Flynn was out cold. I mean, seriously you guys, it was the LOUDEST sound I have ever heard and my baby slept through it all. Again..someone was looking out for us. Because, in that moment, it was chaos!

Zack got the alarm to turn off and we all settled back down, nerves flying all over the place.

Now that I look back on that moment, I find it hilarious. I mean, it could have been a scene in a sitcom! I told my sisters and brother and they died laughing. It’s one of those times that isn’t funny when you’re experiencing it but make a great story later.

Craziness I tell ya…craziness.

So, while to snowpocalypse was VERY challenging, it was also a great opportunity to band together and see what we could accomplish. I felt so proud of that soup and the lighting jugs that I made, and it really solidified that I am an intelligent person (my therapist says I questions my intelligence a lot so I’m working on that).

Through good times and bad, be there for each other and work together. It’s a beautiful thing when people work together to keep each other safe and happy. I truly wish there was more of that in the world…especially right now.

So, there’s our crazy Snowpocalypse story! I hope you enjoyed reading and got a little chuckle out of our experience with the alarm system. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’d love to hear your favorite hearty recipes and what other things you might have done if you were in our situation.

Much love,

The Pioneer Family 😛

Baby Flynn’s 8 Month Update!

You guys…my baby is 8 MONTHS OLD!!! How and when did that happen?

When he was first born, he was so tiny.

18839061_10158750184935257_9027272131734064987_n.jpg

“What are these people doing to me?”

18951353_10158762787175257_5736245631661350281_n.jpg

“Ugh, not this again.”

19989297_10158938713585257_7487061137664705191_n.jpg

“Woah…shiny!”

20708369_10159102186035257_7114637642736981535_n.jpg

“Yeah…I know I’m a stud. Just like my dad.”

21557536_10159239826745257_8260133446491625069_n.jpg

“Did someone say Baba?”

IMG_1602.JPG

“Daddy is SOOOO funny!”

23316806_10159495213500257_5513446500009737496_n.jpg

“I don’t know if you guys realized but…IT’S COLD!”

24852412_10159624317855257_4330494146778358438_n.jpg

“I am a sweet angel…now change my diaper!”

26731365_10159753518375257_1060412406953869971_n.jpg

Flynn loves:

-Green beans

-Saying “Dada”

-Giving Mommy sloppy kisses

-Bath time!

-Playing with his Christmas presents

-Laughing at Willow

Flynn,

you are our heart and soul. We love you so much, little nugget. You’ve changed our lives. Really, you have. When I get to snuggle you in your rocking chair at night and at each naptime, I get to smell your sweet baby head and take you in. You’re the definition of perfect.

We love you sweet baby Flynn!

-Mommy