Musings of First time Parents – 2 Months

It feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote my musings for the first month! Nothing makes you realise how fast time goes by like a baby, before having Arren a month didn’t feel like such a big deal, but now when I see all the milestones we go through on a monthly bases as humans I feel more grateful for the time I have in this earthly life.

A lot has happened this month;  The best thing that happened this month is definitely the fact that Arren finally likes his dad! I think we finally wore him down with all our intense ” You will like your father” techniques! Hey, it worked! Everyday just keeps getting better with this guy!

MUSINGS OF FIRST TIME PARENTS – 2 MONTHS

  • We’ve figured out how to bounce Arren to sleep in a shorter amount of time.  It might look weird to people, but hey! It works! It also  causes slight cramping instead of one long cramp from an hour of  “normal” bouncing.
  • You wont know how to stand still without your baby in public.  I start bounce standing when talking to people now.
  • Going out with a baby means taking everything you own ,because you don’t know if you will need it or not.
  • Being late will just become the norm.  Even if you get up really early, have everything ready a poopslosion can turn into an impromptu bath time.
  • Making it to church at 9am is a distant memory.  Things just take longer and its okay, soon we will figure out how  to leave the house before 11:30.
  • Arren can go from a happy smiling baby to a sad baby within a minute.  Babies are bipolar.
  • Everything is worth it, because of that amazing little person in your arms.  The cute baby smiles, giggles and coos will make your heart melt.
  • Why is there vomit on everything???
  • Arren is more engaged now and loves to play.
  • A more wakeful baby also means more time to figure out why he’s crying.
  • Arren went to his first funeral this month and I saw first hand the comfort a baby can bring to everyone around them.
  • You wont believe how many photos you take.

 

Slow Cooker Moroccan Vegetable Stew

These days trying to get dinner on the table at an appropriate time is a near impossible task, most of the time we just eat  salads and stir fried veggies.  Its still tasty, but sometimes I just want something a little fancier.  When I do get time I can make some gourmet tasting meals, but why waste that energy when I just want to play with my cute little baby.

In comes the trusty slow – cooker.

This Moroccan stew is the perfect dump and forget meal.  I mean you can saute the onions and garlic before dumping it in the slow cooker, but I don’t bother and it comes out great.  The amazing flavours of Moroccan cooking makes this stew something really special and so easy to prepare.

Serve it with wholewheat couscous, cauliflower rice or a delicious crusty bread.  The possibilities are endless!  You don’t even have to use the same vegetables.  Use whatever you have on hand or your favourite vegetable combinations, this is a very versatile recipe so experiment!

SLOW COOKER MOROCCAN VEGETABLE STEW – serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 small butternut, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 tsp  ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water – optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add all ingredients except the cornflour and 2 tbsp water.  Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours.

If you want a thicker stew add the cornflour mix and stir until it thickens.  Taste and season to taste.

Serve with couscous, quinoa or anything you like.  This tastes even better the next day.

No Bake Chocolate Balls / Nut Free

I’ve been spreading myself really thin lately, due to my own stubbornness and the fact that most of the food here contains msg.  Why? I don’t know.  Even the simplest of food contains msg or you just can’t find it here, not the msg, just some food, like a really nice sunflower butter or apple butter.  Occasionally I would love a little bit of convenience just to make things a bit easier  even amazon is against me and refuse to ship some of their items here. Why amazon? Why? I love you and want to buy everything from you, why do you play me like this?

Sometimes life throws you curve balls and makes you zen it out in the kitchen, while creating a whole bunch of yummies!

It all starts with the most amazing sourdough rye bread I make for Carl’s work week, this bread is just the best and the more the sourdough starter ages the better it gets.  After that I make gluten free protein brownies that’s sugar free and just amazing, sunflower butter, occasionally peanut butter, popcorn trail mix and of course my favourite snack during the week these amazing no bake chocolate balls.

These balls are my favourite little snack,  its the fastest thing to grab while taking care of Arren.  They taste like a decadent chocolate cookie,but way healthier and you don’t even have to switch on your oven!  They’re nut free and made with simple ingredients, well I guess simple for me.  I have all these ingredients on hand all the time.  You can make these gluten free, by using gluten free oats.

Now, prepare your mouth for the best treat ever.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE BALLS27 Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 – 5 tbsp cocoa powder or chocolate protein powder (  I usually add protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp water – optional

Directions

Add the oats to the food processor and ground until course.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a firm ball forms.  If its having trouble blending add a tbsp water.

When done start forming balls.  I come out with 27 balls, but  I start of small and end up getting bored and have bigger ones at the end. Refrigerate.

Sit back and enjoy these little treats.

Musings Of First Time Parents – The First Month with a Newborn

The first month with little Arren has been a complete whirlwind.  It’s somehow been the shortest yet longest time of my life.  I personally didn’t know my body could run on such little sleep and still be able to care for someone else so well, even be slightly entertaining.  I mean the songs you start to sing once you have a baby will have you think maybe you should go into a music career? but we all know that’s just lack of sleep talking.

Carl and I just can’t believe how such a little person can dislike him so much.  Little Arren has claimed his mommy and just shows his dislike for Carl the whole time.  Arren will also not be fooled into being held by his dad when he’s wearing a mommy milk covered shirt or blanky.  He’s too smart for that!  We’ve decided to stockholm syndrome our son into liking Carl.  Every time I nurse Arren, Carl creepily lurks and forces Arren to make eye contact with him,  believe me Arren hates it! Soon this little guy will be forced to love his dad….

It doesn’t help that Carl gave Arren the biggest fright of his little life so far!  By laughing!  We were watching SNL and Carl laughed so hard that, little Arren went into purple screaming and wouldn’t stop for so long!  I finally managed to calm him down, but we decided that Alec Baldwin is way to funny to watch around Arren.

So here are some of our musings of new parents.  Please note these are honest musings, meant to be amusing.  We love Arren a lot, and he made our lives better and complete, but man is it hard!

MUSINGS OF NEW PARENTS

 

  1. Do not throw away any ugly blankets or outfits that you get from colleagues, family or friends. You can use these to wipe up pee or poop or use as a changing mat cover; just because you are busy changing the diaper doesn’t mean that baby has finished peeing.
  1. You as a new parent know better than any parent before you. The internet is your friend.
  1. Everything can be made into a song.
  1. An exercise ball is a lifesaver for bouncing. Babies love to bounce, don’t you dare stop bouncing.
  1. You will get pee and poo on you. Boys are gross.  I’ve turned my back for a second only to have had pee on my back and hair.
  1. You will talk about poo a lot. Like all the time.  This is your new life.
  1. You wouldn’t have guessed that such a little person can go through so much laundry and that your laundry has quadrupled.  Drowning in laundry everyday.
  1. Sometimes white noise is too white and your baby just want’s some rap music to console him.
  1. There will be a moment when you think you have finally gotten the hang of it and then your baby will wake up, scream in your face, like he has never seen you before, and be inconsolable.
  1. There will be a moment when you feel like giving up and that everything is too much and then your baby will give you a fleeting smile( around one month) and then it makes everything worth it.  Your baby is a sadist.
  1. You will do everything possible to get that smile again. You will be silly, you will beg, you will negotiate.
  1. After dancing with your baby and bouncing for two hours, you think he is finally asleep, so you put him down, only for him to wake up and to start the process again.
  1. You will lie and tell people your baby sleeps great, not mentioning that it happens about two nights a week.
  1. Babies want constant entertainment, even when they aren’t able to show appreciation, they want to walked around and have everything explained to them.
  1. You will get to know every corner of your house.
  1. Your baby is now your exercise equipment, and only gets heavier with time.
  1. When you air dry your baby, you will probably end up getting pee or poo on you.
  1. The first bath time, is one of the scariest moments of your life.  You have no idea what to expect.
  1. The first month is all about surviving, you will be sleep deprived, you will turn on each other.
  1. Sleep when they sleep, we haven’t, but you should.
  1. Colic is a real thing and sometimes it just happens, regardless of what you eat and don’t eat.
  1. You will google everything to find out if it is normal, and then be terrified of IDS.
  1. Your baby’s first outing will be nerve racking, a car trip can get your baby to sleep, but a noise in a mall can wake him up super quickly.

 

Banoffee Pie Overnight Oats

I’m all for anything that tastes like dessert for breakfast.  Who isn’t? Am I right?  Well back in the day I didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, actually I wasn’t much of a breakfast eater.  You would think I would have been super skinny, but no! I wasn’t feeling my best back then ; skipping breakfast made me overeat during the day and because your body is in starvation mode from the lack of food during your sleep, your body clings on to any food and tries to fatten you up!

Now that I’ve embraced breakfast and started making an effort to eat it, I feel better than ever.  Eating a healthy breakfast sets me up for a healthy day, I wont over eat as easily and I will want to put better fuel into my body and now that I have little Arren around, having energy is even more important.  This little guy is like a workout that never stops! He only wants to be held by me, he loves his squat bounces a little bit too much and boy, is he getting heavy!

Having a dessert breakfast makes for a glorious start to the day! It makes eating with one hand a joy! Because if you could just pour it into your mouth you would, but I need to teach my son not to be a complete slob!  So with a spoon it is.

Banoffee pie is a British classic.  Usually filled with a lot of unhealthy ingredients, but this delicious treat is filled with a lot of good for you yummies!  The delicious combination of banana,  salted caramel and chia seeds will leave you wanting more, but keep you satisfied for a long time!  Now that’s my kind of breakfast.

BANOFFE PIE OVERNIGHT OATS –  Serves  2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut milk – or non dairy milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup water or more milk
  • 2 tbsp liquid sweetener – or less the caramel sauce makes it sweet enough.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds or yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder – optional but a great added extra for protein
  • Salted caramel Sauce
  • 1 Banana sliced

Directions

Combine the oats, milk, water, sweetener, vanilla, chia seeds and vanilla protein powder in a jar.  Cover and shake until well combined.  Place in the fridge overnight.

The next morning combine the oats into two bowls ( if its a little bit too firm, add more milk, I like a creamier oats),  Add salted caramel sauce to the oats.  Be generous.  Cover with sliced banana.  If you want it to be even fancier top with grated chocolate.   Serve immediately!

 

 

an unexpected Lotus Birth

One thing that was not in my birth plan or after birth plan was a lotus birth.  The idea of carting around a placenta was just a little too much for me, but its strange how things change as soon as that baby is out of you.  How I thought things were going to be and how they actually turned out in reality is way different.  I didn’t think our baby would hate a bassinet so much, or scratch his dad right in the face,  while screaming bloody murder just because he’s not mommy.  Apparently Arren doesn’t care about Carl’s feelings.

After I birthed the placenta our midwife convinced us to do a lotus birth, at that point of time I was just so grateful that they were there that I would have done anything they said.   Our midwife explained the whole process of caring for the placenta to us and off we set to an unplanned lotus birth.

I’m not going to lie the first day with the placenta was rough, we had to figure out how to manoeuvre with the placenta and being the typical new parents we were completely paranoid and didn’t know what to do.  At one point I felt like crying because I didn’t feel like I could console Arren fast enough, but at the end I was completely happy we did it and gave it a try.

 

“We need to relearn what a birth can be like when it is not disturbed by the cultural milieu. We need a reference point from which we should try not to deviate too much. Lotus Birth is such a reference point.” Michel Odent

When I was speaking to my sister about our lotus birth I was quite shocked to find out that she didn’t even know what the placenta looked like, it was strange to me that during her birth it was taken away like it was something dirty and that shouldn’t be seen.  This was your baby’s lifeline for so many months, when my midwife showed me all the healthy veins, the sack where Arren called home for so long, I was completely mesmerised.  It was such an amazing thing to see and I was so happy my midwife showed me everything and explained it to me.

A lot of lotus birth posts talks about baby’s being friends with their placenta, but to us it seemed like Arren hated his placenta.  He acted like the only reason he came out of the womb was to escape from his evil placenta girlfriend, and like he just couldn’t figure out why were keeping it around.

REASONS I LOVED OUR LOTUS BIRTH

  1. It reminded me to take things slower and be more aware of my surroundings.
  2. It was a perfect uninterrupted bonding time with our new little family without having to deal with guests.
  3. It gave us time to get to know each other and figure out breastfeeding without having the stress of having to entertain people.
  4. It made Carl feel more involved.  He helped me move Arren around or helped move the placenta.
  5. It forced me to take it easy and let my body heal.
  6. The placenta and cord fell off after 3 days and he was left with the cutest little belly button.
  7. Being connected with his lifeline for so many months, until it was ready to fall off was amazing.
  8. Delays cord clamping letting baby get all the last bits of blood

HOW WE CARED FOR THE CORD AND PLACENTA

It wasn’t that difficult caring for the placenta or cord.  Carl made a little placenta bag to make the placenta look a bit festive and easier to transport.   We dropped a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on the placenta every day and we used wecesin powder to dry up the cord.  Wecesin powder is just the best thing to use for the cord, its all natural and helped speed up healing.  Once the placenta fell off we used a drop of lavender oil and a cotton bud to clean and disinfected the belly button and that’s it!  We buried the placenta under a tree in our garden in hopes that the nutrients would help give the tree some life in this drought filled times we’re having in Cape Town.

 

39 weeks Pregnancy Update

39 Weeks! I can’t believe I can go into labour at any time now!  I have to admit knowing the baby can come so soon is hella boring! I mean the wait is just so boring, the not knowing and wondering if this braxton hicks contraction will be the start of labour! We had our midwife appointment yesterday, and everything is still all set for the home-birth.  I’ve started moving all the home birth supplies into the room, where we all decided it would be best to labour in and of course have the baby in.  I’ve started having all the little food items I want around for snacks for the midwife and Carl, so we wont be too frantic when its go time.  I froze some fruit for myself and have coconut water ready just for me!

I’ve really started feeling insanely worried about the education system in this country, I’m not the biggest pregnant lady I’ve ever seen, but I am pregnant…The looks grown ups give you as they rubber neck to just stare at you is insane.  A man actually kept telling me shame, on my pregnancy the other day, and I was just so shocked.  What’s so horrible about being pregnant? why is it worth telling somebody you don’t know shame the whole time?  People look at you like you’re suppose to be locked inside your home for 9 months so they don’t have to see your face.  When you go for a walk all of a sudden you’re endangering your unborn child? We need to get educated on pregnancy, breastfeeding and especially home-births.  I’ve actually stopped telling people I’m having a home-birth, because of the ridiculous comments I keep getting.  Soon I will have my little baby in my arms and will probably deal with a million more comments from people that’s just not welcomed!  Having a baby is not just physically tough, its an emotional roller coaster! and a whole lot of strange comments.

39 WEEKS PREGNANCY UPDATE

Sleep : I’m actually still sleeping pretty well.  I never got one of those weird pregnancy pillow snakes? because Carl looked at it with shock and asked where is he supposed to sleep? I’ve done pretty amazingly without it and have gotten great sleep, I just prop a pillow in between my legs and I’m good to go or I use Carl as my cuddling snake pillow ( Yes, I don’t know what those pillows are called?)  Lately I’ve been getting up more to use the loo, but I fall back to sleep really fast.  I figured out pretty early on the key to good sleep in pregnancy is exercise  and not eating anywhere close to time you want to go to sleep.

Mood: Impatient, yet peaceful. Baby can come when every baby wants to come.

Movement: This baby likes to move and cat stretch all over my belly, sometimes it feels like the baby is stretching and kicking my heart, but its all good.  Carl thinks the baby and I are a comedy troop, baby does something silly and I make a comment back at the baby.  My favourite one of late has been telling the baby,  he/she is living in a person stop treating it like a crappy apartment!

Body: I haven’t gotten any stretch marks so I’m happy about that one.  I don’t know if its a genetics thing or not, but my sister didn’t get any stretchmarks on her stomach, where she applied pregnancy creams, but she did get on her legs and thighs where she didn’t think she needed to apply.  So I think religiously applying pregnancy creams and oil during pregnancy is a must!

Exercise: I’m really glad I exercised throughout this pregnancy, I feel like it kept me strong and helped me not get all the nagging pregnancy symptoms that everyone suffers from that and a good eating plan really made for a smooth pregnancy.  I really enjoy the what to expect when expecting (be fit) workout routines for pregnant ladies available on youtube.  I actually built muscle tone without ever feeling like I was overdoing anything, walking throughout pregnancy made me feel less stressed out and the prenatal yoga I found on youtube was just the best ever in helping me open my body up and help prevent a lot of cramping!

I hope this will be the last update and that soon I will have a cutesy little baby to post about!

 

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ We got lost trying to find the entrance to Noodhoek beach, but we stopped to take a look at this view.

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^^ walks on Noordhoek beach, on the hottest windiest day.  I’m getting really tired of having huge pores and sweating all the time.  Its way to hot here.

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^^ The previous photo Carl had a Trump hairstyle going on thanks to the wind.  It was obscene!  but you would never tell by this photo.

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^^ soooo windy.

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^^ Almost baby time!

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^^ I asked Carl for a jumping photo, I forgot he somehow hurt his back while getting into bed and have been suffering from old person symptoms.  Maybe he’s just absorbing all my pregnancy symptoms I’m suppose to be having.

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^^ We tried to have a picnic on Sunday, but the wind and heat was just too intense for us! We rushed home and tried to cool of by drinking a lot of iced water and regret making our outside fire for food grilling.

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^^ Feeding pillow! Can you believe Carl sewed this together for me, while I took a nap! Obviously I’ve got a great little seamstress on my hands here.  I found this fabric and just loved it! I also found another orange-y African print fabric that I turned into little zipper pouches for my diaper bag.  I’ve been getting really tired of all the cutesy, kitchy things that people gift you when they find out your having a baby.  I don’t know why everything has to look so cheap and crap? or plastic? I’m so tired of seeing pooh bear things.  Also trying to find anything that’s really gender neutral in this country is near impossible! I’m trying so hard to have a low impact child on the environment, but yet people seem to think that includes giving me bottles that actually still contains bpa, toys that were banned in all the first world countries and diapers that I wont be using. FRUSTRATING! Oh well! Our donations pile is just getting bigger and bigger, most of the stuff we can’t even donate to orphanages, because they don’t even accept it!

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^^ Pretty little gingerbread house in the nicest light.

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^^ Beach walks

Hi friends! How was your weekend?  I can’t believe how soon it is till baby time.  I’m so eager to get this labour over with! I’ve actually been having a great pregnancy, but the anticipation that any day now labour can start is killing me!  I’m ready for my little baby!  Did anyone else feel like this during the end of their pregnancy?

Birthdays and the season to give

On Wednesday I celebrated my Birthday! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. Carl made a pretty accurate statement the other day,  saying this has been the fastest, yet slowest year ever….and even if that doesn’t make much sense its completely true.  This year has been rough for us, I mean Ireland was amazing, but being back in South Africa has been exhausting and tough.  When we first got back we tried to rent the cheapest place we could find only to find out we were not even gonna be able to afford it, we were living pay check to pay check, and not getting anything out.  We could hardly feed ourselves, and with the news of baby we had to put money aside to get all the baby things we needed and prepare for all the medical costs.  If it wasn’t for Carl’s parents that assisted us we wouldn’t have been able to eat at all.    Our money situation has gotten better, but everything else is still crazy here, I have faith everything will work out, but its hard not to feel run down, from the constant bad luck we’ve had here.

So this year for my Birthday, because there is nothing I wanted to do in Cape Town and even though things have been extremely hard for us all I wanted to do was help the incredible amount of homeless people in Cape Town. Sometimes you just have to pay it forward.   I got all the ingredients together and decided to make food packs and have ice cold water ready to give to anyone in need.  I have to admit that during our long car ride stuck in the most insane African heat, I really wanted to crack open all those bottles of water and just go to town!  I showed some restraint and just suffered through the heat.  As we were driving trying to find the usual beggars that knock on your window asking for money, we realised as soon as you want to give people stuff they are nowhere in sight!  I couldn’t believe what an easy drive we had!

We finally decided to go to this one park that we know a lot of the homeless sleep at, and off we set to try and give people food.  It was really strange for me to try and get out of my comfort zone and actually go up to people to ask them if they were hungry, the guy that gave me the confidence I needed was a young man that was looking through all the trash cans for something to eat. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look of complete gratitude on this mans face as he said yes, and scurried off so fast, to go eat his food.  After that we felt confident and walked up to all the people sleeping on the grass with all their worldly belongings in a grocery bags, and offered them the sandwiches.  They all seemed so eager and happy, as they said God bless and thank you.  I was sad when we ran out of our care packages, but Carl and I both decided we want to do this more often.  My heart felt so full as I almost waddled along in the heat of the day at 9 months pregnant, giving people a meal that was specially  prepared for them.

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^^ Pre-Birthday sunflowers and a card.  I felt so loved! I got three cards from Carl for my Birthday.  Usually he gets me no cards, I started feeling like I was in a cardless marriage.

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^^ I made a raw carrot cake for my birthday! It was sooooo good.  Who needs sugar or gluten! Seriously! This is sooo much better.

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^^ Would you like a bite.

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^^ We collected some pine cones for our little mantel to add a bit of holiday cheer.

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^^ Birthday selfie!

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^^ The food packages contained.  A fresh sandwich, banana, a Christmas cookie, crisps and a some small candies.

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^^ Baby’s first food drive. img_5201new

^^ My belly looks all wonky here, but what you gonna do! I’m growing a human!

Soon I will have another member in my December birthday gang!

an instant of life captured for eternity

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^^ Went for a hike on the hottest day….It kind of felt like I was walking around in hell, maybe its just because I’m 9 months pregnant and heat is just a no go.

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^^ Praying on the mountain.  After the terrible year we’ve been having, praying on the mountain seems like the only logical thing to do.

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^^ The view was nice.

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^^all you need on a hot day is some home made sushi…YUM.

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^^ Testing out lactation cookies.  These ones are definitely my favourite!  Sugar free and gluten free.  It reminds me of a seed cake.

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^^ Teff flour gingerbread men.  Sooooo good.

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^^ Christmas cookies!

Hi guys! How was your weekend?  We’ve been busy! We’ve had to open our house up to people interesting in buying and man! is it a nightmare.  People constantly walking in your rental while I’m just trying to relax before the birth, can kind of start driving you insane. Not to mention that you have to keep changing your plans to accommodate the realtor, but oh, well.  I’ve been preparing a lot of freezer friendly confinement meals, as well as little work treats for Carl.  You don’t realise how exhausting a whole day of cooking is until you’re covered in flour, have weird substances all over your clothes and you just wonder if you should just burn the house down instead of trying to clean it!  But I’m nearly done with my list, just finishing up a couple of my last recipes today and we are set!

I’ve been feeling so glum and excited these last couple of days.  Excited for the baby to finally be here, baby has been the best thing to happen to us this year and just glum about how this year really has kicked us down and brought me so low.  Sometimes it feels hard to smile through it and have faith that things will work out, but I do believe things will get better soon.  Sometimes we need these hardships just so we can see what we are made of.