Friday, May 20, 2016

FoodieFriday: Stuffed French Toast

Today I am bringing back an old but tasty blog series, FoodieFriday. I have been really trying to get back to eating clean, healthy meals, and am actually thinking about getting a little more serious and consistent with this recipe series (I even created a shiny new hashtag!).

That being said, today's recipe isn't exactly considered "clean eating", but it is vegan and there is no added sugar. That counts for something, right?!

I finally decided to experiment with the VeganEgg introduced by the team over at Follow Your Heart. I haven't seen it available at any stores near me, so I made my purchase from Amazon. I originally wanted the VeganEgg so I could try my hand at omelet-making. I had never made an omelet before, vegan or otherwise. Miraculously, it was a complete success on my first go!

After seeing the omelet photos, my sister asked if the VeganEgg would be any good for French toast. Naturally, I had to try that dish next. But I didn't opt to make ordinary French toast. No, I wanted to go all out and style a brand new irresistible creation: Blueberry Creme Stuffed French Toast drizzled with Strawberry Sauce and Cocoa Sauce. There's only one way to react to that.. "GET IN MY BELLY!".

Not only did I come up with a fantastic sounding recipe, but a mighty tasty one if I do say so myself! It is actually quite simple to follow, and the sauces are also delicious as toppings for other foods (my two year old loved the strawberry sauce layered into her vanilla yogurt, but I imagine they'd both make fantastic natural sugar toppings for ice cream too!).

Blueberry Creme Stuffed Vegan French Toast

Single serving. 224 calories.

2 slices 100% whole wheat bread
1 "egg" (2 tbsp VeganEgg whisked with 1/2 cup ice cold water)

Blueberry Creme
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/8 cup vegan vanilla yogurt (I used Almond Dream)
1/4 tsp guar gum

Cocoa Sauce
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp unsweetened almond milk, or other non-dairy milk beverage
zero-calorie sweetener to taste

Strawberry Sauce
1 cup frozen strawberries

1. First, make the blueberry creme. Mix all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
2. Next, make the cocoa sauce. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork.
3. And for the strawberry sauce, puree the frozen strawberries in a high-speed blender until smooth.
4. Slather the blueberry creme onto one of the slices of bread. Be sure to get a good amount on there (I used all of it).
5. Place the other slice of bread on top and push down gently, as if you are making a really thick jelly sandwich.
6. Make the "egg". Combine 2 tbsp of the VeganEgg powder with 1/2 cup of ice cold water. Whisk until all clumps disappear. Pour into a shallow bowl that the bread will lie flat it.
7. Thoroughly coat the 'blueberry creme sandwich' in the egg mixture. I recommend laying it down and giving it a little wiggle, then flipping it over and repeating. Make sure all edges are covered as well to seal up the cracks.
8. Place the egg-soaked sandwich in a small skillet (lightly sprayed with cooking oil) over medium-high heat and cook until golden brown on both sides.
9. Move the stuffed french toast to a plate, cut in half diagonally, and drizzle with the strawberry and cocoa sauces.
10. Enjoy! (After snapping a few photos to post to your social media account with the hashtag #peasproutfoodie).

Vegan. No added sugar.

If you enjoyed the recipe, feel free to pin it for later. Also check out the other recipes in this series by using the link in the menu bar above, or by following my FoodieFriday board on Pinterest.

Let me know in the comments if you plan to try this recipe or have tried a similar one! Don't forget to snap a photo and use the NEW hashtag #PeaSproutFoodie on social media so I can see what you come up with!

Also, do let me know if you'd be interested in seeing this series develop further and if you'd come back for weekly recipes!

Monday, May 9, 2016

This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things-

A Tribute to Mamas Everywhere.

I knew I wanted to make a post for Mother's Day, as being a Mum is one of my absolute favorite things, but I was really struggling to come up with the right words to describe how I feel about motherhood. For a while I sat with a blank screen staring back at me, but then I remembered something I stumbled upon recently and the decision about my post was made for me. I will write about vacuum lines. Don't leave now, it's going to get good, I promise.

As I said, I recently came across a facebook post about vacuum lines. The post was about how a woman noticed vacuum lines on the carpet belonging to family she was visiting. She was envious of the vacuum lines because her carpet hadn't maintained them in nearly ten years and wouldn't any time in the near future (she has five kids, her oldest was ten years old and youngest was six months at the time). She longed for her dream home and those vacuum lines were a part of it. She wanted her home to maintain its cleanliness for longer than an afternoon. Eventually, later in life, she got exactly what she desired. Her children were grown and no longer living in her house, and she was free to clean her home without interruption. But then she saw the trade off.. Maintaining those vacuum lines meant that her home was quiet, and a lot less lively. She missed her children running wild all those years, and finally realized that, although nice to look at, vacuum lines are actually quite lonely.

I was nearly brought to tears reading her thoughts and realizations. It really hit home for me because I often find myself wishing I could have things in the house that clearly don't make sense right now with two very young children. On the top of my list is a nice fluffy white comforter for my bed (See what I mean? Anything white or fluffy is unrealistic with sticky and dirty fingers on the loose!). I think about how much I would love candles burning in every room, decor that's not limited to the highest shelves, cleaning a whole lot less often, or even wearing one outfit the entire day through without getting one of the kids' bodily fluids on me.

But there is no way I would give up my kids, wish I never had them, or wish time to go by faster. As far as I am concerned, time is already going by too fast as it is! Just yesterday I was giving birth to my daughter and now she's two years old and has a little brother. Since the day Liana was born, I've been savoring many memorable moments with her. For instance, she loves to blow bubbles. Her face lights up with joy and I can hear the genuine happiness radiate from her infectious giggle as she watches her rainbow bubble floating up toward the sky. This magical, always cut-too-short, bubble blowing session usually gives way to sticky fingers. Those fingers will inevitably become covered in dirt from being outside. And my sweet little girl loves to give hugs and kisses, especially when she is enjoying herself, so now I'm covered in the bubble fun too. Two new outfits (one for each of us) and a bath later and we are good as new! Until the next fun activity--which is probably ten minutes from now.

Clearly my days can become quite hectic, dirty, and a lot of work. And days become even harder when the kids are misbehaving or being cranky. They typically require patience, understanding, and a good old fashioned scrub down. And, oh, what I would give to not have to change little outfits several times a day and be left with a mound of dirty laundry at the end of each week. But the wonderous look on Liana's wildly giddy face while jumping as high as she can to pop a bubble, is not one of them. I wouldn't trade a single magical moment for the cleanliness of my home. As difficult as it may be, and as much as I would just like to relax once in a while, I will always want my kids to be kids for as long as possible. My kids have brought vibrance and spontaneity back into my life. They woke me up from my 9-5 slumber and reminded me what it means to really live; to capture and savor each passing moment, and to never wish any of it away.

At some point I will have vacuum lines that may last all week. And I will look at those lines and miss my home being dirty and loud and full of life. And I will miss my children, who truly made my house a home. The love will linger warmly in our hearts, and years of laughter and secrets may be forever ingrained in the walls, but those vacuum lines... they will be lonely.

So to mamas everywhere, take the time today to hug your children a little tighter, laugh a little louder, and let that bubble blowing session get just a little bit crazier. Before you know it, your children will be grown and move on and you'll be left with lonely vacuum lines.

And to myself and my boyfriend who constantly think, "this is why we can't have nice things", our children are so much more important, and they will bring us infinitely more joy and memories than having nice things ever will.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Two Under Two

While 'two under two' was short lived for me--lasting only two months--I feel it is still important to talk about life with two littles and to finish up this mini series. As you can probably guess, life with two has been quite hectic, leaving me with little time even to sit down and write this post. Actually I have had very little time to sit down and do much of anything, as I am constantly protecting Ayrton from Liana's loving, but deadly, grasp. (Okay, not literally 'deadly', but there was a point that she managed to pick him up out of his bouncer and as his head became too heavy for her, she dropped him on our hardwood floor!). Without further ado, let's dive into the diaries of a second time mum!


While pregnant with Ayrton I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. I have an 8:00 AM-4:00 PM office job and every day by 3:00 PM I was completely wiped out. I'd be sitting for a good portion of the day and suddenly be in desperate need of a nap. And I mean desperate need. I even caught myself from nodding off a few times! (Oh boy, I apologize to anyone from my office if you're reading this!). The utter exhaustion came down to the little sprout growing inside my belly. I am not sure if he ever slept because from where I was sitting, all I could feel was a baby bean bouncing between zumba class and practicing self defense moves.

Not surprisingly, outside of the womb, our little man is still as busy as ever. I have several videos of him lying by himself just kicking around, cooing and smiling his big goofy grin. Of course this is completely entertaining to Liana, who can't keep her little paws off him when he's within reach--but we'll get to her in just a moment. Time has absolutely been flying by with him; I am going to blink once and he'll be sitting up, blink twice and he'll be crawling, and three times he'll be walking. It seems as though he is growing up so fast already and hitting his baby milestones like it is his job! He coos like a maniac, smiles like it's going out of style, reaches for objects he's been tracking, pushes down on his legs when his feet are on a hard surface, briefly calms himself by sucking on his hand, and is consistently rolling from tummy to back (I can count three times in the past two days as consistent, right?!).
(You can read Liana's two month update here).


Liana's biggest achievement and area of drastically noticeable growth has been in her speech. Hearing her talk now I am shocked that her pediatrician ever recommended early intervention speech therapy (click here to read my blog post on that). Of course, she was only fifteen months old at that time and was in the care of a wonderful and caring woman who only spoke Bulgarian while Liana was there, which made it hard for Liana to put sounds together when she was hearing so much of two different languages at the same time. By eighteen months old, after being moved to a day care program, she finally had ten distinct words. Presently, only six months later, Liana has well over 100 words in her vocabulary, uses several word phrases, correctly uses "manner words" (please, thank you, you're welcome and excuse me), uses the names of people appropriately (she has even been known to call me Danielle on occasion!), and repeats everything she hears.. literally everything. Yesterday I had the GPS on while driving and I hear her in the back seat repeating, "Mill Street" and "three miles."

Other developmental milestones she has reached include jumping with both feet off the ground, kicking a ball, throwing overhand, standing on her tip toes, running, walking up and down stairs on her own, climbing onto and down from furniture without help, mimicking behavior exactly how she sees it being done, impeccable ability to follow directions (example- telling her where something is when she can't see it and she walks right over to it as if she's known the whole time), recognizing songs and beginning to sing along (she loves her ABC's and Wheels on the Bus), imaginative play (especially if it involves her play kitchen or plethora of baby dolls), and naming objects when I point to them.

I don't mean to brag, but being a mum it's kind of inevitable that I say this... I have the smartest two year old in the world. I am not exaggerating. Since Liana has mastered all of her two year milestones, her pediatrician decided to test her on three year milestones. These are the ones that Liana is showing amazing progress on already: showing affection for people without prompting, showing concern for someone who is crying, understanding the idea of "mine", "his" or "hers" (thanks to her older brother, haha), dressing and undressing herself, understanding on/off and open/close, saying her own name and age, naming her friends without seeing them, screwing and unscrewing lids and turning door handles (she's been a pro at these last two for quite a while now).

Life With Two

Adjusting to being a second time mum has been wild, but also surprisingly easy. It's a bit crazy seeing my family grow together, introducing a little man into what used to be mummy/daughter time, and also knowing two other lives depend on me. To be honest, I don't think I quite felt like a real mother while caring for Liana. There were a few points with her that were definitely rough to get through, but overall, I feel like parenting her has been way easier than I had ever expected. She's fun to watch and play and interact with, and we genuinely enjoy learning from each other. I feel lucky to have her in my life as my little companion. Enter Ayrton to the scene and the whole dynamic changed. He is also a fairly 'chill' baby--he's not fussy about where he naps or who feeds him, he enjoys car rides and babywearing, and he actually likes a tiny bit of alone time on his play mat (unlike Liana at that age). Despite them both being easy to handle separately, when they are together it's a whole different story. Juggling the two of them makes me feel like a proper mum, in every sense of the job. Competitions for attention, necessity for discipline, and at times, utter chaos, is what real parenting is about. Not to say that anyone with only one child isn't a 'real parent', I just personally did not feel like I knew the ins and outs of parenthood until I had to do it with two. With only Liana, it always felt like I had a cute little sidekick along for the ride. Structure, discipline, and boundaries are the game changer for me.

Speaking of boundaries, let's talk about personal boundaries. Liana loves Ayrton. She loves him so much, that she cannot stand to be away from him for a single second. This means that Ayrton cannot nap without Liana squealing in his face or lifting his eyelids to make sure he is, in fact, napping. Ayrton cannot lay on his playmat alone; Liana will crawl under the little gym to lay next to him every time. Liana cannot enjoy a popsicle without offering some to Ayrton (and by 'offer' I mean shove into his mouth while exclaiming, "yummy!"). But on a sweeter note, she insists on hugging and kissing him every morning when she wakes up, every night before going to bed, and each day she leaves for school.

It has been quite the task to keep Liana entertained while feeding Ayrton, and keeping Ayrton calm while I'm playing tea time with Liana. Loving them is easy, but giving them both my attention is proving a bit more difficult. We are learning to remedy this challenge together, and so far we've come across a few activities we can all enjoy together, especially being outdoors. As difficult as certain points during the day are right now, I am excited for my family to be growing together and growing closer as the children get bigger and can interact more. When Ayrton was born, I was relieved by the thought of no longer being exhausted by 3:00 PM every day. Little did I know, exhaustion was about to be my entire life--at least in the beginning. We've come a long way in the past two months and I can already see that, together, our little family is growing as a unit. (Click here to read about how I dealt with exhaustion during the early months with Liana).

This is where my journey ends with two under two. Last week on the 20th, both of my babies celebrated their second birthday together; Liana turning two years old and Ayrton turning two months old. What a bittersweet day for me! The two of them are growing so fast, but I am happy that they are close enough in age to be growing together.

This is the third and final post in the mini series surrounding Ayrton's birth. You can catch up on the first two posts here... Life is Unpredictable and Meeting Ayrton

Also, keep an eye out for a post on Liana's woodland fairy themed birthday party!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Meeting Ayrton.

Before too much time passes, I'd really like to finally put my version of Ayrton's birth on paper (so to speak). I say "my version" because I have come to realize that while I was in labor, giving birth was the only thing I was focused on. My attention was like a tunnel straight to the outcome of the event--safely giving birth and holding our new baby in my arms. I nearly lost sight of everything else that was going on around me, especially as labor progressed. Not that I will ever forget these special moments, as I am sure all mothers know they are impossible to overlook, but I am eager to get this story into words so I can have something to look back on someday and relive how it all happened.

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birth story

As a reader, you may think that Ayrton's birth was anything but eventful, but for me it is one of the most important events of my life. It started as soon as I woke up on the morning of Saturday February 20th, 2016, at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I had gone to bed at a decent hour the night before due to a stomach ache that I wanted to sleep away. I was awoken bright and early at 5am to some mild cramps, or what came to be known as early contractions. I had my suspicions that something was happening, as I had not had any cramping previously and then lost my mucus plug as soon as I visited the bathroom.

I waited until 7:30am to start timing contractions, at which point I began harassing Ashton for guessing months in advance that we'd have the baby on the 20th, and then we both updated social media to give our friends and family a heads up that the baby would probably be arriving soon.

Our morning routine wasn't much different from any other morning; the three of us had breakfast and got dressed and Ashton and I entertained Liana with her toys in the living room before deciding to go grocery shopping around 10:30am. Contractions were picking up all morning, but I decided walking around the grocery store would speed up the process and really get things moving along (you can't go wrong with a bit of last minute prenatal exercise!). During our shopping trip is when the reality of the situation started to hit me and I knew for sure I'd be meeting my baby later that day. I found myself shuffling across crosswalks and around the store through the contractions. I felt like the slowest pedestrian on Earth!

Ayrton Nelson

We came home about an hour later and I was so relieved to sit down, that I plopped myself down on the couch to rest for a moment and I ended up not moving for a half an hour. It was around noon when I decided it was time I should try getting up, but as soon as I was on my feet I had to make an emergency trip to the toilet to get sick. I thought about leaving this part of the story out, but for me it was the real turning point. That is when I absolutely knew my baby would be here in only a few short hours. I was actually quite concerned, because after I got sick while in labor with Liana I was holding her in my arms within the hour. So I rushed to call the midwife at the hospital and expressed our need to hurry in because we had a 45 minute drive ahead of us. I remember being panicked and telling her the situation was urgent and I didn't want anything to happen during the car ride.

We arrived at the hospital just after 1pm and made arrangements for my mom to meet us there and look after Liana so that Ashton could be with me throughout the labor and delivery. The contractions had gotten much worse by the time we arrived and I was struggling to walk across the street and into the building. I was mildly annoyed that nobody was in the registration room and that when someone finally arrived, she went on to check in another patient before bringing me to the labor ward even though she could clearly tell I was in pain. Then I sat in triage for what seemed like ages--I was getting sick into a plastic bag while nurses walked right past me, carrying on as if I wasn't in need of emergent care. Finally a nurse brought me back to the exam room where she determined I was dilated eight centimeters and wrapped two bands around my belly to monitor contractions and the baby's heart rate.

Ayrton Nelson

We eventually gathered our belongings to officially head up to the labor and delivery room. I believe (and this is where my focus begins to tunnel) my mom arrived around 1:30pm and I had to say goodbye to Liana so she could be with my mom. It was a sad little moment where I had to put on my bravest face to hug and kiss her through a contraction. I watched Ashton and Liana disappear out of the doorway, and it was like watching our little family of three disappear as well. Very soon we'd be welcoming a new little bundle into our family of four.

I don't remember how long Ashton was truly gone for, but it felt like he was never coming back. I had an incredibly difficult time making it out of the wheelchair and into the bed. It must have taken at least ten minutes, as I stood bent over with my hands on the bed through several contractions and couldn't muster up the strength to pick my legs up to sit on the bed. This little movement was about to take a lot of effort and I had to work myself up for it. I was already fighting the urge to push (and failing), so the nurses weren't convinced that I would make it into the bed and began prepping the floor with blankets and towels and pillows to catch the baby! The next thing I remember is Ashton coming around to the opposite side of the bed and putting his hands on mine. I was so happy to see him (and was also wondering what had taken him so long!). After a few more contractions I took advantage of a sudden burst of energy and pulled myself up on the bed as quickly as I could.

Ayrton Nelson

I resumed pushing before the midwife had a chance to check if I was fully dilated or not. It didn't matter to me anyway because at that point there was no stopping my baby from coming! I felt much more present and "in the moment" during this birthing experience compared to the last time. I felt every bit of pain but knew how to remedy the pain (to an extent) in my mind. I was very aware of what was happening, what to expect, and what I should do. All of the pressure and discomfort was working toward a beautiful outcome--we were about to welcome a truly sweet surprise into our lives. After only a few more pushes, at 2:10pm, our baby was born. Holding my baby in my arms for the first time is like no other experience in the world. I was relieved.

In the midst of all the excitement and having finally made it through the tough part and being relieved to have my baby in my arms, I completely forgot that I didn't know whether my baby was a boy or a girl. This might sound completely silly to some, but it honestly didn't matter to me. I was happy that our family was growing and to feel my baby on my skin and to have Ashton by my side. The sex of my baby was not even a thought in my mind, as it had nothing to do with how I felt in that moment. I snapped back to reality when I heard the nurse say to Ashton, "go ahead, tell her what it is." I was initially confused, but Ashton said, "it's a boy." Wait, what? I was truly confused. I wish I could have seen my face because I have no idea how I physically reacted. In my head, I thought it was a mistake, because I had been sure for months that I was having a second daughter. But I had a son. A beautiful, squirmy, alert, brown haired, blue eyed, son.

Ayrton Nelson
Ayrton Nelson. 7 lbs 6 oz. 18.75 inches. February 20, 2016. 2:10 PM. Brigham & Women's Hospital. Boston, MA.

From that moment on, my whole life changed. Again.

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I apologize for the length of time that had passed since part one, 'Life is Unpredictable', of this mini series, but please check back for the third and final post, 'Two Under Two', to wrap up Ayrton's birth.

Also, you can click {here} to read Liana's birth story and compare the details!

Ayrton Nelson

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Life is Unpredictable

I was planning on writing up Ayrton's birth story in a similar style to how I wrote Liana's birth story, but as my son is now two weeks old, I am feeling quite different this time around and believe that should be reflected on my blog. I have decided to write about Ayrton's birth in a three part series to cover a bit of the events before his birth, the actual labor and birth story, and life postpartum with two children. Without further ado, let's jump right in!

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My Diary of Ayrton's Birth

I wasn't expecting to feel nervous or apprehensive about giving birth to my second child; afterall, I'd done it before--and with flying colors.

Against all odds, my first birthing experience went perfectly according to plan: I labored for as long as possible in the comfort of my own home, I labored in a tub at the hospital for 2 1/2 hours until I was ready to push, I pushed for only 15 minutes before I met my beautiful daughter without any pain medication or need for stitches afterward, and my daughter and I spent the first two hours of her life cuddling and breastfeeding. It was absolutely perfect and I rode the high for several weeks afterward.

But I still grew more and more nervous as the due date of my second baby drew nearer. Although I had been through the experience before, the risks and potential complications were still real. I kept thinking I got lucky the first time and I was unsure of what to expect. I felt like it was my first time all over again.

Ashton and I had both made guesses on our little one's birthday fairly early on in my pregnancy. I was pretty adamant that she'd be born between the 24th-28th, because those are the dates of the waning gibbous moon phase--the same moon phase that Ashton, Liana, and I were all born under. As you may have noticed I just said "she." That was another aspect I was fairly certain of. I had been hoping for a boy for nearly half of my pregnancy and then at some point something clicked and I believed I was having a girl. From that moment on, I probably spent close to four months looking forward to Liana growing up with a little sister. I was often reminiscent of times I spent with my mom and sisters and was quite looking forward to remaking those memories with my daughters.

I was mentally and emotionally prepared for another little girl, and for a few hours on Friday when I was feeling quite uncomfortable with an upset stomach, I thought we might meet her that day and she'd share a birthday with my sister (February 19th). I let Ashton entertain company and I went to bed early feeling slightly better and looking forward to meeting our second daughter in the next week.

However, life is completely unpredictable, as are pregnancies and babies. I had been through a pregnancy and birth already and had been raising a child for nearly two years, but in retrospect, I actually had no idea what was in store for me.

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If you'd like to continue following our journey and find out what happened next as I went into labor, stay tuned for the rest of the posts in this series: 'Meeting Ayrton' and 'Two Under Two.'

Friday, February 26, 2016

Introducing our little man!

I have a son! I can't believe it! I was so sure I was having a girl and was very prepared for Liana to have a baby sister. Then my handsome son came into the world and surprised us all.

On Saturday afternoon we rushed to the hospital to meet our newest bundle of joy. And I mean rushed.... he was born just an hour after our arrival. They hadn't even admitted me as a patient yet!

Meet our tiny little man, Ayrton Nelson. Born on the 20th of February at 2:10 PM, at 38 weeks and 5 days gestation. He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces and measured 18 3/4 inches long.

I'm working on his birth story and will have it posted in the next few days. For now I'm soaking up every sweet moment with my new mini. ♡

As a fun flashback, click {here} to read the blog post welcoming Liana's arrival. Their first mummy and baby photos are quite similar!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Word of the Year: Persevere

I have noticed that several fellow bloggers are following a "word of the year" trend either instead of or in addition to New Year's resolutions or goals. I've already well thought out goals for this year and posted about them (here), and there wasn't one word that seemed to jump out at me that I could use as inspiration for an entire year, so I thought I'd forgo participating this time around.

Life, however, had different plans for me. As you may know, I have been madly studying to achieve an insurance designation, the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). If you're not familiar with the insurance industry, the CPCU is the most prestigious designation and the most difficult to obtain. It is said to be equivalent to having a Master's degree in insurance. For the education component there are eight two-to-three hour exams to pass. After passing four exams, I scheduled my fifth at the end of January, on the 21st. I wasn't very confident this time and went in with a poor attitude. For the very first time, I walked out of the testing center with a piece of paper that read "non-pass."

I have been terribly upset for allowing myself to receive a "non-pass." The high of my previous passing streak suddenly wore off and I felt like a complete failure. I felt like I had wasted the $270 I paid for my exam slot and was kicking myself in the butt for all of those nights I spent on social media or going to sleep early instead of studying.

After letting my "non-pass" marinate for the past week and a half, I've come to realize that one of my biggest drawbacks is my attitude. I went into my exam with a poor attitude and I came out with a poor attitude, and that got me nowhere. It's been a struggle to come to terms with this, but I decided that I need to pick myself back up and use this experience as a positive building block on my way to achieving my long term goal of attaining the CPCU designation. I need to change my attitude completely and actually believe that I can achieve what I set my mind to. I need to persevere.

Not only with my studying and exams, but with all of my goals. I had to reminds myself of my 2016 goals (posted here) and reflect on the importance of perseverance for each one. Persevering in 2016 means I will be healthy, I will be happy with my blog, I will give birth naturally to my second child, I will be financially stable, I will make time to put my family first, and I will be content with myself. 

And so, my word of the year has been confirmed: Persevere.

My Little Pea Sprout

Friday, January 15, 2016

Happy Holidays: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Hello again! I was pretty excited to create a post full of fun and festive photos from the holidays, but a series of unfortunate events left our "happy holidays" slightly less than cheery. I almost abandoned this post completely, but even unfortunate moments are memories and maybe we'll get to laugh at these ones in the future. The far future. This is how the events of our holiday season unraveled.

  1. We got a pretty unexpected negative reaction when we made the decision to spend Christmas as a family in our own home instead of travelling to see family like we've done in the past. (Mind you, we live in a separate state and it is always us traveling several hundred miles with a toddler and five year old rather than anyone coming to see us).

  2. A few days before Christmas I got a call from my midwife saying that my last test showed a little bacteria, but she couldn't tell if I had an infection so I had to take antibiotics for the next week just in case. Ugh, my pill count just went up from four to six per day.

  3. On Christmas Eve, Liana fell on the hardwood floor and her top front teeth went through her bottom lip, leaving her gums purple and bruised, an open wound on the inside of her mouth, a fat lip, and a WHOLE LOT of blood and tears.

  4. On Christmas Day, Abel had a crying fit because he didn't want to come visit us for the weekend. He was extremely over tired and super grumpy until he finally fell asleep in the car.

  5. On New Year's Eve while visiting friends, Liana tried cranberry juice for the first time. She loved it! Then she vomited several times.

  6. Also on New Year's Eve at our friend's house, Liana got her head stuck in between the stair railings. This unleashed a lot of screaming, stomping, and many tears. Within minutes of being freed (Ashton and Chris practically had to pull iron bars a part), a giant egg appeared on the right side of her head above her ear because she panicked and was pulling so hard.

  7. On New Year's Day, Liana and I were sick all day. I spent half of the day in bed sleeping. Liana wanted to fight it so she spent the day on and off napping while Ashton dealt with the whiny inconsolable toddler tantrums.

  8. On the second day of the new year, it was Ashton’s turn. He spent the entire day in bed after spending most of the previous night sleepless and vomiting. Apparently Liana had passed on her misfortune.

  9. To top it all off, Liana has been a bit crankier than normal anyway because, oh guess what, she's teething again! Can she fit any more teeth in her mouth? Well her back molars on the bottom are almost all the way through now. She just has the top two left and teething will finally be over!

Of course we were still able to get a few cute moments out of our time. Liana helped me bake the cookies in the top picture, which I brought into work to share with my coworkers. Ashton squeezed her into her Christmas pajamas from last year which is why they say 'my first Christmas'. They are size 9-12 months and last year they were way too big on her (she was eight months old) and this year they were too small (she was twenty months old), but they are super cute and have her name embroidered on them! One of Liana's favorite Christmas gifts is her toy kitchen. She has played with it every day since Christmas morning and, as you can see, she likes to stick her head in the microwave! Finally, in the bottom picture Liana is rinsing her toothbrush after brushing her teeth. She slides her potty over to the sink and brushes her teeth all by herself. She loves it! Also, how cute are her little slippers that I got her for Christmas?

How did you and your family fare this holiday season? I hope your family had better luck than mine! x

Monday, January 4, 2016

7 Months Pregnant - 32 Weeks

Hello again! I figured it's about time for another little bump update, or "bumpdate", if you will.

I feel like a completely different person from my last update. To get right down to it, I have a few complaints. Like, when does this baby sleep? I am getting pummeled and drop kicked 24/7 and it's completely exhausting! My little darling also had a major growth spurt fairly quickly, leaving me with a new stretch mark, an aching pelvis, and several extra pounds. Today I weigh the same as the day I gave birth to Liana.... and I still potentially have eight weeks left! Ugh! At my 30 week appointment I was measuring at 32 weeks, which is a big deal for me because I have always measured small. I'm also popping iron pills like candy; I am up to three pills per day this time around. I absolutely cannot wait to be rid of them.

I still don't think Liana knows what to make of it when I tell her there is a baby in my belly. She just stares at my belly or pulls up my shirt and "boops" my belly button. Abel recently found out he will have a new brother or sister next month. He desperately wants a brother; he said, "no more girls." He'll only be six in a few weeks, but I am surprised he didn't figure it out sooner. We've talked about "the baby" in front of him and he sees my belly getting bigger but had no idea. I told him that when mommies and daddies decide to have a baby the mommy gets to carry the baby in her belly for a long time until it is ready to come out and ours will be ready next month. Thankfully his only question was if only the mommies get to have the baby in their belly!

Also, I have 100% decided to keep my baby's sex a surprise until birth. I know I've already talked about it in previous posts, but I think I was more trying to convince myself than other people. I think I had assumed I would cave in at some point and peek in the envelope out of impatience and curiosity. But I have absolutely made up my mind. I no longer have the burning desire to know, as I have already spent seven months bonding with my little surprise. That being said, I still am so excited to find out in the delivery room and cannot wait to meet our tiny new edition at the end of next month! xx

Ps. If you're also expecting a new little bundle, please leave your latest update in the comments; I'd love to read them! x

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Snapshot Saturday - Week #1

Today Liana, Abel, and I ventured out to the mall to see if the open bounce play area was open (and were super relieved that it was!). We ran around climbing, bouncing, sliding, and falling for two hours and were completely wiped out after. I say "we" because there were a few things that Liana desperately wanted to follow her brother on but was too small to climb or make it through on her own so I went in after her to help. She was so happy bouncing around and LOVED the slides. Liana made a friend, a girl probably about six or seven years old, who eventually took over helping her around so I didn't have to flop my nearly 32 week pregnant belly down all the slides to make sure she was okay. Abel also made his own friends, a group of three other boys his age, and completely ditched us! On the way home we stopped at Target for diapers and when Abel saw the #targetdog he begged for a photo. Liana clearly was not nearly as excited, however she was very tired from the two hour bounce session and it was slightly past her usual nap time. I quite enjoyed the bouncing myself and probably would have done quite a bit more had it not been for my belly. I am definitely such a kid at heart!

Come back next week for another Snapshot Saturday!

Super Busy Mum