Sunday, December 30, 2012

To Daddy, Love Katie (a video)

Katie made this video for her wonderful daddy! He is such a wonderful pappa to her. My heart melts when he cuddles and loves her! I am grateful for a wonderful husband and father to our sweet baby.

(click on the title to enjoy.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

“Healthier” Chocolate Chip Cookies: a new twist on an old favorite

I love cookies! They are my favorite treat by far! But they have to be homemade, chocolate chip cookies. Store-bought cookies - blah! Bakery cookies - so-so. Homemade - YUM!

So you can imagine I was very happy to figure out how to make a healthier version! I say healthi-er and not health-y because it's still a sweet treat and should be eaten in moderation. A green smoothie is healthy, an egg is healthy, but I just can't quite call a cookie healthy, but that's not to say I don't eat one or two with a cup of raw milk for a quick breakfast before heading to Crossfit!

My dad was actually the one who started this healthier version recipe. He's is a cookie master! Just about every Sunday growing up he would whip up a batch of tasty homemade cookies made with white sugar, white flour - the works. But we've all changed our ways and now enjoy seeing what healthier variations we can come up with. Oh, and he loves to see how many fillings he can mix into the dough. It's not unusual to see walnuts, coconut, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips and oats all appear in the same cookie! We prefer a textured cookie - needless to say.

I took what he had and made a few alterations myself and now we have my version.

In this recipe we are replacing butter, refined sugar and all-purpose flour, and table salt with whole food options - coconut oil, coconut or unrefined cane sugar, whole wheat or sprouted flour and REAL salt. Also, you can add some whole nutritious fillers (unsweetened shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, and nuts) to make this cookie more textured and flavorful.

“Healthier” Chocolate Chip Cookies
Modified from original recipe: Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup plus 6 TBL Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Coconut Sugar
1/2 cup Sucanat, or more Coconut Sugar
2 Eggs (farm fresh, cage free, local source is best)
1  teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2  cups soft-white wheat or sprouted wheat or spelt flour
1  teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2  teaspoon REAL salt
2 Cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat coconut oil and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add fillers; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

Please refer to my must-have ingredients post to see where to find the ingredients in these recipes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Building a Healthy Kitchen: Must-Have Ingredients

As you start to build your healthy kitchen there are some essentials that must make their way into your cupboards. Below I have listed some of my favorite staples, why it is a better option, where to find it, and a brand I like. I am constantly expanding my staple ingredient list, if you have a favorite ingredient that you always have in your kitchen please share!

Below are just little snippets of why these foods are a great addition to any kitchen  I don't claim to be an expert, like I mentioned, I just like to share what I know and have read. If you are interested in learning in more depth about each item listed below, you can find pages and pages of research and data on a number of other healthy food blogs. Some of my favorite healthy food blogs include:

Coconut Oil: any brand that is extra-virgin, organic and possibly raw. Coconut Oil is a fabulous replacement for butter and vegetable oil. Unlike many other oils, coconut oil can stand high temperatures without becoming damaged. It is great for cooking, baking and I use it as a moisturizer as well.

Young Coconut: Not the brown coconuts, these are picked earlier and have a higher coconut water content. They are highly nutritious, young coconuts have also been exceedingly revered as having medicinal qualities for heart, liver and kidney disorders. In fact, the coconut has recently been reported to reduce the viral load of HIV.

Natural Sweeteners:

Natural sweeteners are a wonderful alternative to white and brown sugar, corn syrup, and Karo syrups. Natural sweeteners are in their whole and unrefined state and therefore can be accepted by your body more readily. And since they are not processed they are not stripped of their minerals and nutrients. They are still sugars, so use in moderation. I usually half or use a 1/3 less than the sugars that are recommended in the recipe.

Coconut Sugar: Can be found in bins at Good Earth (or your local health food store).

Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar): “Wholesome Sweeteners” Sucuanat -10 lb bag at Costco. SUgar CAne NATural - if you’re curious where the names come from.

Maple Syrup: Choose Grade B or Grade A (Grade B has less sugar content than Grade A). Say goodbye to Mrs. Butterworth’s which is an industrialized version of maple syrup made with corn syrup and artificial flavors.

Agave Nectar: This mild sweetener is made from the Blue Agave plant. It has a distinct flavor that you may or may not prefer. It is heated and lightly processed so it’s not a raw sugar.

Honey: Always choose raw honey from local sources for best quality.

Farm-fresh eggs: Cage free, farm fresh eggs are full of more nutrients and hormone free than the thin-shell white eggs that are usually purchased at Walmart. Look at your local health food store or a nearby farmer’s market. Good Earth sells some from a local farm in Lehi for about $3.50

Whole Wheat Flour: Whole wheat flour is a much better option than all-purpose white flour which is just one part of the wheat grain (basically the middle “glue” part). The danger in white flour is that it is no longer a WHOLE food and your body has a difficult time assimilating anything that is processed or refined from it’s natural state. White flour is digested the same as sugar, and can cause weight gain and increase in blood sugar.

You can buy the whole grains and blend them yourself or by the ground flour in bulk at any health food store. Soft white wheat is best for baked good. 

*Spelt flour is another great alternative to wheat that is has fewer calories and 10 to 20 percent more protein than wheat flour. Also, many people with wheat allergy find themselves able to tolerate wheat. In terms of taste, spelt has a distinct chewy consistency with a strong nutty flavor. Wheat flour, however, has more fiber than spelt, which many people find easier to digest. You can also buy spelt grains and grind them yourself.

Sprouted Flour: Sprouted flour is a fabulous alternative to just ground wheat. Anything that is sprouted has been soaked in water and in a way “has come to life.” It’s like planting a seed, you add water to make it grow. Sprouting soaks wheat berries just long enough to open up vital nutrients and pre-digest the gluten. Many people who have gluten sensitivities can tolerate sprouted grain. 
You can sprout your own flour, but it’s very labor intensive. I like to buy mine at REAL Foods in Orem or you can buy it online

Almond Meal/Flour: A wonderful gluten-free flour to bake with. You can buy it in the bins at the local health food store or grind your own almonds to create a flour.

REAL Salt: Basic table salt (what is in the salt containers on the tables of restaurants) has been stripped of many of its nutrients and can be harmful to the body because it can’t break it down. Redmond Farms sells a fabulous real salt that is harvested from a mine in Redmond, Utah.

Unsweetened Shredded Coconut: can be found in bins at health food stores or online and makes a great addition to any baked good. Sweetened shredded coconut has been coated with refined sugar.

The Healthy Kitchen Club: Quick Cookies

I recently hosted my first Healthy Kitchen Club meeting in my neighborhood. I commented about it on Facebook and you asked for the recipes and notes. So here they are! I am contemplating creating another blog with the sole purpose of sharing my healthy living tips!

As you know, I love learning about healthy eating/living and I feel I have a lot of great things to share. I read a lot of healthy blogs which are all great, but I find myself asking, "What do they eat on a regular basis?" "How do they prepare their food and where do they get their stuff." And, "Do they ever 'slip-up' and eat a little junk food?" I want more day-to-day real-life tips. I don't claim to be an expert, I don't run tests and studies but I have read a lot from the experts and I know what makes my body feel good!

That was why I decided to start these little classes - share simple tips with a little bit of the background info to help you make healthy changes in your kitchen. And I think there's a bigger audience wanting this information... so... what do you think? Let me know if you would enjoy reading my tips and advice and what it is you are looking for in a healthy lifestyle blog (please tell me in the comments).

So... here we are... it's the Holidays and, as I mentioned in my Halloween post, treats and sugar are a plenty! And you don't want to miss out on the fun. But if you indulge too much you'll end up feeling like Jolly Old Saint Nick himself (with the belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly) come New Year's Day. So here are some sweet treats that are much healthier than what you might find at the dessert table at the church Christmas Party!

Amaze your friends with these tasteful treats - or save them for yourself (that's what I like to do!!). 

(I have decided to share these recipes in 3-4 posts, so it doesn't get too lengthy. So if you haven't please follow by email so you'll get the next recipes.) 

The goal with these treats is whole, non-processed sugar. Also using  about 1/3 less of what the recipe original recipe calls for. And rather than using white flour we are choosing gluten free flours, no flour or sprouted flours. 

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, No Bake Cookies

No Bake Cookies
Original recipe from: Raw Melissa

4 cups oats
6 TB cocoa powder
1/2-3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter
3/4 cup agave or honey
1 TB vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients.  Incorporate wet and mix with hands.  Place on a cookie sheet with wax paper, freeze or refrigerate for a bit.  Place them in a ziploc bag in refrigerator and enjoy!

Coconut Macaroons
Originally from Diet Rebel's Cookbook. I have made a few adjustments.

Lightly textured and full of healthy fats, this cookie will satisfy a sweet tooth, but not too sweet to have a few for a great addition to a snack or after meal treat. Great for pregnant or nursing mothers.

1/2 - 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/4 c almond meal or flour
1/4 tsp. real salt
1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup (Grade A or B)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Optional: 2-3 TBS ground flax seed

Optional Topping
1/3 semi-sweet chocolate chips
2-3 TBS cup milk source (cow’s, almond, coconut, etc.) or coconut oil

1. in a bowl, whisk together the coconut flakes, almond flour, and salt
2. in another bowl, blend coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla
3. blend dry with wet
4. spoon onto cookie sheet
5. melt chocolate chips and milk on low
6. drizzle chocolate on macaroons
7. Freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour then move to fridge and enjoy! (Will get gooey if stored at room temperature.)

Please refer to my must-have ingredients post to see where to find the ingredients in these recipes.

Stay tuned for the next recipe: "Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Favorite Workout (psst... it's easy and fast!)

I love being active. With a new baby the key for me to get my workout in is for it to be quick, enjoyable; and I have to get it done first thing in the morning. Today I want to share my favorite workout with you. It's called T-Tapp. Some of you may already be T-Tappers, but if not let me tell you why I love it.

It's a very different workout. There are no weights involved, you can easily do it in your living room, and it's quick - about 15 minutes.

It triggers all your muscles (and then some you didn't even know you have) and helps put your body into proper alignment and makes you feel GOOD!

Here is a definition of what is is taken from the T-Tapp website:

T-Tapp is a series of copyrighted, sequential movements designed to put the body in proper functional alignment. Its special sequence of comprehensive, compound muscle movement helps establish better alignment as well as increased strength and flexibility of the spine, better neuro-kinetic flow, lymphatic function, and increased metabolic rate. Its physical therapy approach to fitness makes it safe for those with shoulder, hip, knee, neck, and back concerns. Yet, it delivers a challenging workout for all fitness levels!

I was introduced to T-Tapp about 2 years ago and have done it on and off again. But got more serious with it last month when I was determined to get my post-baby tummy flat again.

I only gained 16 pounds during my pregnancy, so the weight was gone pretty quickly. But my tummy was loose and poked out, so I knew T-Tapp could help!

I did the T-Tapp Basic Workout Instructional DVD Monday-Friday for 2 weeks straight and noticed great improvements. Not only did my tummy tighten and flatten, but my posture improved, I felt taller, my shoulders sit back (less back pain), my muslces are stronger and I have less muscle and joint aches. Wow!

The first week I was actually sore - from a 20 minute workout! It gets your heart rate up too! And like I said, it triggers a variety of muscles. And it really stretches your muscles. I am more flexible too!

After the 2 weeks straight of instructional, I switched to the non-instructional T-Tapp Basic Plus Workout every other day and that's I am continuing to do.

When I started, I was curious to see if only doing T-Tapp would be enough to keep me in shape and feeling good. I thought I might want to supplement with cardio, weight lifting, yoga, running, etc. But I have felt really good just doing T-Tapp.

And it is extremely convenient. Planning for a 20 minute workout every other day is easy! I get up and do it right after I feed Katie in the morning. On the off days I like to go on walks, do some yoga, or enjoy an extra 20 minutes in my morning.

If you are looking to loose pounds and inches and flatten your tummy (and other areas), or just looking for a good workout, I highly recommend T-Tapp. Start with the Basic Workout Plus (it includes the instructional DVD as well). And then read this article written by a T-Tapp Coach to help you get started. (The lady who wrote this article went from a size 22 to a size 6!) It really is an amazing program.

You can try before you buy here.

Have you tried T-Tapp? What are your favorite go-to workouts?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trick No Treat: A Spook-tacular Challenge

I like challenges - especially food challenges. I have to be careful to not do too many, because sometimes it's actually a negative more than a positive. Just last night I was telling Tanner I was thinking of doing a Raw Milk Fast as seen here. He said "Please don't!" He knows how I can get a little crazy with it all. And this morning when I drank a big glass of raw milk and thought of drinking only that for 10 days I decided I would postpone that challenge.... and come up with another one!

It's October and that means... Falling leaves, cozy sweaters, changing weather and SUGAR! October is when the Holiday sugar rush begins. And with Halloween it means lots and lots of candy. This is the time of year I have to brace myself to choose healthy options and say no to all the sugar and treats - because they just seem to be everywhere. We all know sugar in large quantities is unhealthy. I explain why here.

So... my challenge to you is one of the following through the end of October (or as long as you can!):

Option 1 - No Candy - This would include candy bars, candy corn, taffy, caramels, Skittles, etc. Anything that you would consider candy. You can make your own rules around what exactly you consider candy. You can still eat cookies, donuts, oreos, ice cream, etc.

What's the point of avoiding just candy then, you ask? Well, this time of year candy is readily available and in your face, so even just avoiding candy could decrease your sugar intake quite a bit. I'm not a candy fan, so this one is easy for me. I would much rather have a delicious chocolate chip cookie over a pack of M&M's.

Option 2 - No Packaged Sweets - This would include all the candy listed above as well as packaged cookies, store bought ice cream, store bought cakes, pastries, etc. You could still eat any treats that are made at home or at a friend's house.

Packaged/store bought treats usually contain a lot of processed and filler ingredients. Look at the back of a Granny B's Pink Sugar Cookie and you will find a list of about 40 ingredients - half of which you can't pronounce. By saying "no" to packaged treats you are avoiding a lot of bad-for-you ingredients. Treats that you or your friends make - even if they have white flour and white sugar - will most likely not include more than 10 ingredients and are a better choice.

Store Bought Granny B's Sugar Cookie: (they claim they use all natural ingredients... I don't think Yellow 5 is a natural ingredient... but that's just me.)
Sugar, Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Margarine (Palm Oil, Water, Soybean Oil, Salt, Whey Solids, Vegetable Mono & Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, BHA & BHT (Protect Flavor), Vitamin A Palmitate And Vitamin D3, Natural & Artificial), Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Tbhq And Citric Acid (Protect Flavor), Eggs, Decorettes, (Sugar, Cornstarch, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed And/Or Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Dextrin, Confectioner's Glaze, Yellow 5 & 6 Lake, Red 3 & 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Carnuba Wax), Water, Milk, Contains Less Than 2% of Each of The Following: Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cornstarch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Salt, Cornstarch, Color (Yellow 6 Lake, Sorbitol), Artificial And Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Modified Food Starch, Cellulose Gum, Cellulose Gel, Modified Gum Acacia, Methylcellulose.

Homemade Sugar Cookie Ingredients:
White flour, butter, white sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt, sour cream, powdered sugar, milk

White flour and white sugar are still highly processed and there are better options, which takes me to...

Option 3 -  No Processed Sugars - This means you would only use whole or raw sugars to sweeten treats. I would also throw in avoiding white flour. White flour acts like a sugar when consumed - wheat or sprouted wheat flour (or a gluten-free flour) are a better options.

The whole and/or raw sugars that I will include (I am doing this option) are Maple Syrup (Grade B in the raw is the most pure, Grade A is good - just don't use Mrs. Butterworth's), Coconut Sugar and Raw Honey.

Why did I choose these? They are all whole foods - not processed or refined, you don't need a lot of it to sweeten your treat and Coconut Sugar is the sugar lowest on the Glycemic Index. That means it doesn't spike your blood sugar, which means it doesn't turn into fat as quickly. Read more about Coconut Sugar here. You can find it at a health food store in the bins or online. You could also include Agave Nectar (I don't really like the taste of it). Bananas and dates are good sweeteners too.  I wouldn't include Sucanat or unrefined Dehydrated Cane Sugar on this list as it is higher on the Glycemic Index. I use coconut sugar where I used to use Sucanat and you don't need to use as much (3/4 C = 1 C). There may be other sugars you could add to this list  - it's up to you what you want to include.

But sugar is sugar and by nature is addicting. If you eat fructose you naturally want more fructose. That's why the no sugar-ites opt for sweeteners of glucose or dextrose - there's no side affect of wanting more. I am still working on getting there. If you want to stop the addiction then I suggest you choose...

Option 4. No Sugar at all - fruit not included-  Pretty basic - nothing with sugar in it or if you don't want to get super picky looking at all labels (ketchup, jam, sauces can have sugar in them) - then just do no sweets - not even sweetened by natural sugars.

I did an 8-week no-sugar challenge at the beginning of the year. That was a serious NO sugar challenge. I even did 3 weeks of no fruit. (Told you I could be a little crazy!) It was hard - read my experience here. And the results didn't really last. Because let's face it, I just have a sweet tooth! But I did gain more education of other options and I am making healthier long lasting choices now.

I did Option 3 last month and it gave me an opportunity to still have some treats and find new recipes, while at the same time choosing to pass on the other sugary items. It was a perfect balance. I have also realized that more than satisfying a sweet tooth the TEXTURE of foods can be just as important. I love biting into a crispy, chewy cookie. Even if it doesn't have sugar in it the texture does something for me. (Once I made a cookie with no sugar and unsweetened baker's chocolate. I don't think I'll make it again, but it did satisfy for a moment.)

Identifying what you love in a treat can help you choose those options rather than crashing for quick candy bar that really isn't satisfying. I find value in the quality and simplicity of the ingredients - and it's an extra plus that it's a treat.

I invite you to join in on this challenge - if it sounds Fun! Don't torture yourself. I have tortured myself with food challenges enough and, trust me, it's not fun. This is meant to be something that will add health and enjoyment to your life. It's a challenge so I'm not going to say it will be totally easy. Choose an option that stretches you, but don't go too extreme. Do it through the end of October or until you want to! Make up your own rules if you want!

You can do it! So, who's with me? Comment below and tell me which option you are choosing? I am doing Option 3 - - ready? GO!

To get you started - here are some recipes using the whole/raw sugars mentioned:

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (my favorite right now!)
Replace the sugars with 3/4 cup Coconut Sugar


No Bake Cookies

Apple Crisp

(Okay, disclaimer... I do eat Chocolate Chips sweetened with unrefined Dehydrated Cane Juice - it's hard to find them sweetened with the sugar mentioned in Option 3, but better than Corn Syrup!)

Just posted this in Fright Back Friday at the Check out all the fun related posts there.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

got {raw} milk?

That's right, RAW milk - straight from the udder! Yum. What's the difference between Raw Milk and "regular" (pasteurized) milk? Raw milk is neither pasteurized (heated up) nor homogenized (shaken up really fast to mix the cream in with the less fat milk) and therefore is a live, whole, real food and healthier option.

They don't sell it in the grocery stores because there are health concerns. That is why they started pasteurizing milk in the first place - to kill germs. But the same process kills the live enzymes, which in my opinion is a bigger health concern.

You can't get Raw Milk in all states. Check here to see where they sell it near you:

(I get mine at REAL FOODS in Orem, Utah every Monday or Thursday from the cows in Richmond.)

And you have to sign a waiver when you buy it signing that you won't sue if you experience ill effects and you understand the "risk" you are taking.

It's unfortunate that they (USDA) scares you out of making a better health choice (but they're cluing in - see article below). The raw milk I get is tested over and over again before they sell it to check for any trace of bacteria that may cause harm. And they won't sell it if they find anything harmful.

I have gone on and off raw milk over the years and recently started drinking it daily after Katie was born. I found this article that talks about the benefits of raw milk for nursing mothers. Just like the lady writes in the article, my milk supply increased and became thicker and creamier!

I haven't always liked cow's milk. In fact, I really DON'T like the pasteurized cow's milk, but my body CRAVES raw milk. I can drink a 1/2 gallon in one day and I have never been the kind of person to just drink milk for the fun of it. I only used it for cereal growing up. I don't know if my body will need this much on a regular basis, but while nursing it sure does! I have to pace myself. I think I could drink a whole gallon in one day. (I especially love to eat it with these banana cookies.)

My Sister-in-law switched her girls (2 yr and 1 yr) from formula and pasteurized milk to raw milk and immediately noticed that their eczema disappeared and they were no longer constipated! She was scared to try it at first because of what they say, but she is so glad she made the switch. And she was a bit nervous about the price tag of $7 a gallon. But after she saw the benefits it was worth the price!

They don't sell skim raw milk - it's full fat! But remember, fat doesn't turn make you fat. Sugar turns creates fat. If you are still believing that low-fat products will make you skinnier you should read Why We Get Fat. Every body is different though - and some bodies don't respond well to full-fat products. Mine does. I love avocados, grapeseed and coconut oils, and full-fat raw milk. I even found myself chewing the fat off my (grass-fed) steak the other night. I guess Katie and I need a little more right now!

I like to scrape (use a turkey baster) the cream off the top and make raw milk ice cream for a yummy and healthy treat. I sweeten it with a little maple syrup or banana. Yummy.

Even children and adults with dairy allergies have responded well to raw milk. I am writing this post to inform you of this option. Many people don't know about it. If this is something that interests you I encourage you to give it a try it!  Let me know if you have questions. If you are already a raw milk-ite, what is your favorite way to drink it? What benefits have you experienced from using it?

Here are some more articles on raw milk benefits:

Just search Raw Milk at this website - she has a lot of info:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea! Part 2: DC & WV

After a couple months of getting the hang of the parenting thing, we flew out to see my sister Jenny and her new baby Neal who was born just 3 weeks after Katie. She also has a 5 and 3 year old boy. But before we drove out to West Virginia we spent 2 days in Washington D.C.

It was Tanner's first time in D.C., which is crazy because he has been all over the world! It was fun for Katie and him to have a "first" together. Our little Katie was a champion traveler - again. The last 20 minutes on the flight out there she got fussy because of her ears and everyone started to stare and give me the "Poor baby! Poor Mommy!" face. That can get annoying really fast... But I know they're just trying to be nice and I would have probably done the same thing.

We saw the main sights in D.C. - the National Mall (Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Monument, White House, Capitol), and went to a few museums (Air and Space, National History, National Archives and Holocaust.) We left the Holocaust museum pretty fast once Katie started to scream - not the best place for a loud fussy baby! But I've been there before - highly recommended if you haven't been - very emotional.

We ate at some great restaurants, enjoyed a walking tour, D.C. by night and stayed in a beautiful hotel. The weather was perfect and Katie slept great! It was perfect timing for us to go the Nation's Capitol with the election so close. Tanner (and I as a side effect) is very political. Next to sports that's his thing. So he especially loved being there! His favorite was the Jefferson Memorial. They built Jefferson's statue to look straight onto the White House as if he is looking over it to make sure the President doesn't get too much power. Without getting too political, let's just say Tanner and I think Jefferson would agree that it's time for a change.

My favorite was the Lincoln Memorial. It's so grandiose and beautiful and I loved reading the words on the walls.

Did amazing on the plane ride!

White House

Again - always in her car seat!

My favorite memorial

Lookin' good!

Taking it all in.

I was inspired and comforted by the words of Abraham Lincoln.

After DC we drove 4 hours to Morgantown, West Virginia to see my sister and her family. We spent 3 wonderful days with her, Tony and their 3 boys (Seth, 5, Joseph, 3 and Neal, 3 months). It was so great to be with her as a new moms.

Spending time with Jenny was just the boost I needed! I was being really hard on myself as a new mom and being with a mom of 3 helped to put things in perspective - sometimes life is just a little crazy, but we do our best and our kids turn out great. We loved doting over each other's babies and sitting in the family room with our nursing shields feeding our babies together. And of course I loved playing with the older boys too. It was such a great time! I love my sister so much and I am grateful we can now share this experience together.

We took a pit stop at the Washington D.C. Temple
and Tanner ran into a former BYU football player who
just had a baby too!
I love how white and chubby Katie looks in this picture!


Katie looks huge compared to Neal.
3 weeks can really give you a head start!

He is so sweet! Such a mild tempered (Type 2) baby.

Clever Joseph thought to bring his helmet.
Later on he was glad he did!

Big boy Seth!

Rock Climbing in the WV mountains

Helmet came in handy!

Loving the outdoors.

My dream of my baby falling asleep on me finally came true!

Neal can fall asleep anywhere!

I did it! I climbed all the way to the top.
I really don't enjoy rock climbing - it's hard!
But Tony & Tanner kept me going and I did it!!!

That's not Katie!
Neal pooped and had to borrow a spare onesie. 

Little buddies.

Neal's Blessing Day

The star of the show.

I love this! She owns that bed. We slept on the floor... just kidding.

Save the best for last. To die for!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea! Part 1: Hawaii

I'm back... I haven't blogged in a long time. Life has been crazy busy with a new baby and planning out huge Dressing Your Truth Be You Be Beautiful Event. But now that it's come and gone (and was amazing) I have a little more time on my hands.

And while at the event I met several women that mentioned they read my blog, which inspired me to write a little more frequently. If you are a reader of my blog, please subscribe to my blog list, that helps me know that I actually have people interested and encourages me to write more. Thanks!

So I thought I'd give a quick update starting with a recap of the Summer vacations we enjoyed as a family...

When Katie was just 6 weeks old we traveled to Hawaii. I have been to Hawaii about 25 times now! My first trip was when I was 10 years old and my parents love it so much we've been going to our little beach house ever since, usually twice a year. I love Hawaii and I am grateful that I have been able to spend so much time there.

Katie was a great traveler. She mostly stayed in her car seat wherever we went. She could have been on the moon and wouldn't have know it!

A trip to the beach is just what new, tired parents need. Tanner usually likes to be really active and find new stuff to do while over there, but this time I finally got him to just lay down on the beach and relax!

We pretty much just relaxed, ate good food and enjoyed the waves! My mom and little brother Mario came with us too.

I had visions of playing in the water with Katie in her cute little swimsuits I bought. But once I realized it would just be cold, uncomfortable water to her my visions crumbled... She hated her water experience! (Never by a newborn a swimsuit!) We'll have to go again - and I'm sure we will. We had such a great time.

First plane ride!
Mean Mommy - laughing at Katie's pain.

Not a big fan of the bright sun and cold water.

That's better!

All tuckered out.

Yum! Kahuku Grill.

Gotta love those Type 3's!

"Where am I?"

See the sea turtle in the back?

At Pounder's Beach
Huge waves - literally we got "pounded!"

What a cutie!
6 weeks old

Best seat in the plane! Slept all the way home.