March 27, 2014

the cure for morning sickness

Of my three pregnancies, this one has been the worst morning sickness by far.

I am grateful that I don't get "the pukes" like so many of my mommy pals, but I do get the all-day-nausea, nothing-sounds-good-to-eat, I'm-so-dizzy-I-have-to-lie-down kind of sickness. It is miserable.

I really wanted to combat the morning sickness this time around since I am also chasing after two young kiddos all day. The idea of lying on the couch moaning sounded much less appealing than being active with them. Here are the remedies that were suggested to me, all of which I tried:

1. Magnesium chloride spray  This was suggested to me in August by a friend who was pregnant with her third. She had started using it long before her pregnancy, and claimed that her nausea was practically nothing compared with her first two. I am usually not into strange remedies like this, but if you told me it could cure morning sickness and that I had to inject it between my fingers, I would do it. So, I ordered some and started using it daily months before my pregnancy. Who knows, maybe it did work and I would actually be puking my guts out right now if I hadn't started using it. But my guess is that, in reality, the spray did not work for me.

2. Coconut water   I read somewhere that the potassium in coconut water is supposed to help, and that the refreshing taste is comforting while you are feeling sick. So one morning, in the middle of the worst of the sickness, I woke up and poured myself a glass and took a swig. Unfortunately, the consistency (it seems like it should be watery, but is actually slightly thicker) made me instantly gag. The rest of the carton was added to smoothies.

3. Lemon   The smell and taste of lemon is supposed to help reduce nausea during pregnancy (or so I read somewhere online- maybe Baby Center?). I think it does help, and I am constantly squeezing them into my water and sniffing at them while in the kitchen. Lemons were especially helpful to have around when I was preparing food for my family that made me want to hurl. I could sniff a lemon and feel a sense of temporary relief.

4. Ginger tea and chews    My OB suggested that I use ginger to stave off the nausea. I think these products helped the most as I was coming out of the worst weeks of the sickness. During the time I was feeling the crummiest I don't think I could have stomached the chews and I couldn't handle anything hot like tea. They are helpful to have around now in case the nausea hits.

Truthfully, what has helped me the most, and continues to be the most helpful, is something I try to do daily anyway: to get outside. There is something about the fresh air and movement that gives me energy and makes me feel a bit healthier. It isn't always easy when you are exhausted and trying your darndest not to ralph. It is made more difficult when you have to convince two little people to pull themselves away from their toys and get all their rain gear on. But it is worth it.

The other thing that helps is to get sleep. This is a hard one for me because my kids are not big sleepers. Once they do go to bed, I have to tell myself to not clean the house or do dishes or ironing at night. Instead, I have to let it all go and just go to bed. This may also mean less blogging, but it must be done.

So, what has worked or not worked for you? Have you tried any crazy remedies to relieve your morning sickness? I am still not completely back to normal and would love to know what has worked for you!

Thanks for reading,

March 25, 2014

central oregon getaway

This past weekend Lane and I got away with a few other couples to vacation in Sunriver. It was such a fun time- full of good beer (although not for me), lots of laughter, plenty of board games, and outdoor adventures.

On Saturday half the group went cross-country skiing and a few of us went snowshoeing. The day was perfect- blue skies, white snow, and tree shadows that fell across the snow in ways that I could not stop photographing.

On the drive back to Portland we stopped at a look out point of a deep canyon and views of the mountains far beyond.

Although it was hard being away from the kiddos for two days and nights, I really needed a break (and some sleep!). I am so grateful for our little vacation.

How was your weekend?


March 24, 2014

one word check-in

In January, instead of the typical resolution, I decided to choose a single word to frame my 2014. I chose present: the idea of being all there in each moment, not dwelling on the mistakes of the past or the uncertainties of the future. I thought it might be time to check in on how it's going!

To be honest, it's sometimes a struggle. I can become lonely at home and grab the phone to check in with the outside world instead of playing with Pete. I get bored with the stay-at-home-mama routine and dream up big things to tackle (and then tackle them... because that's how I roll). I wish for the days when Peter can x, y, or z so life will be simpler (ha!). 

Even more lately, as our future after this summer is completely up in the air and it is beginning to weigh on me, I wish for the next thing; for the apartment with two bedrooms, being close to family, or in a far away new place. I dream of a dishwasher or a ground level front door so I don't have to lug the car seat up one. more. stair. I spend hours on the iPad finding a job for Nate, or a place to live in a city we don't even know we are moving to. I become emotionally and spiritually in the future instead of right here, enjoying this day as the Lord has made it- tiny apartment, frustrated pre-crawling baby, tight budgets and all. 

Some days, though, are better and I do remember that these baby days with Peter, and our lovely life in Vancouver, are fleeting. I remember to take advantage of our proximity to the amazing sights of Vancouver and go for a long walk to soak it in with my precious boy. I call up my girl friends and arrange a coffee date, or even just a tandem grocery shopping trip.  I get on the floor and stack cups with a giggling boy instead of tending to the laundry. I hope these days outnumber the others, but I am a work in progress as always. 

Did you choose one word for 2014? How is it going? 

Here's to being in the moment,

March 21, 2014

a lime-sized announcement

I need to start out this post by saying: Lane and I are so sorry to our friends who we should have told in person, but didn't get the chance. These last couple months have been crazy, especially with me not feeling well. Even my dad had to find out over the phone and most of the rest of my family via email. Nonetheless, we are thrilled to announce:
Baby number three is on the way!!!

Here are the usual questions, answered before you even had to ask them:
Q: Was this one planned? 
A: Here's about how that went:
     Me: "Well, what do you think?"     Lane: "Hmm, three would be fun."     Me: "Yeah, I like two. But three would be fun."     Lane: "So, what do you think?"     Me: "Well, maybe..."     God: "Boom. Done."     Lane and I: "Well, okay then..." 
Q: When are you due?
A: The beginning of October. The exact due date is the fourth, which in baby time means between the first and the tenth... ish.
Q: What is it?
A: I'm guessing girl, but we won't find out until late May. I will keep you posted!
Q: How are you feeling?
A: Better. Mostly. I still get queasy just thinking about coffee in the morning, which is sad because it is my best friend. The smell even makes me nauseous. From the beginning of week five until about week ten the thought of just about all foods made me want to hurl (hence zero recipe posts), but, ironically, eating was the only thing that would make the nausea subside for a few moments. Happily, I am starting to feel better, but definitely not back to normal. This pregnancy has been the worst and longest lasting morning sickness by far, but I now know from experience that I will be back to normal at some point.
Q: Are you having any cravings?
A: Nope. For a while it was survival mode, anything I could stomach. This translated to mostly bland, white bread, and I had major aversions to vegetables, fruit, diary, meat, or really anything that had any flavor. Lately I have been eating lots of salads, fruit, nuts, and yogurt.

Q: Are you showing yet?
A: Yeah, about that.... It seems that any ab structure I had left just up and quit on the spot when it heard about baby #3. Oh well, that's what postpartum workouts are for, right?
Q: How do James and Eleanor feel about all of it?
A: James is excited, but I don't think the reality has quite hit yet. He keeps asking "Is there still a new baby in your tummy?" Eleanor has no idea what is going on, but I'm hoping as she starts talking and understanding more and more we can explain it to her. 
Q: So, how far apart will they be?
A: James will be four in July, and Eleanor will be two in late November. So, James and the baby will be four years apart, and Elle and the baby will be about 22 months. Yes, we realize that is close and that it means we will have three children four-years-old and under. Here, let me say it for you: I will have my hands full.
Overall, we are a little surprised, but completely delighted about the addition of baby number three. We know it means more sleepless nights, more expenses, more tears, more juggling- but it also means more cuddles, more laughter, more siblings to play with, and more joy. I don't love being pregnant and, honestly, the newborn stage is the hardest for me, but (spoiler alert!), number three will be the last, so I want to embrace it and enjoy it. 

Lane and I are headed to Bend for the weekend without the kiddos. It is the first time I will leave Eleanor over night, and we will be gone for two nights. I am a little nervous, but I need this retreat so badly after the last couple months have been so rough (maybe more on that later, but it would be kind of a downer post).
Have a fabulous weekend everyone and thanks for reading our little blog!Love,Ashley

PS If you are interested, here are my answers to the same questions from my old blog, posted a little less than two years ago when I was twelve weeks along with Elle:

Q: Was this one planned?A: Um, yes. 
Q: When are you due?A: They say November 24th; but we all know how babies are, so probably more like December 1st. I am 12 weeks now.
Q: What is it?A: It's a baby! We won't find out the gender until around early July. And, yes, we are definitely finding out. 
Q: How are you feeling?A: Much better, thank you. I was miserably nauseous from about 5 to 9 weeks. And dizzy. And did I mention the nausea?
Q: Are you having any cravings?A: Oh yeah. Mostly salty. As in, buying cases of black olives from Costco. I've also craved some downright bizarre stuff that the thought of now makes me want to puke. For some reason or another, pregnancy has made me even more sensitive to dairy. Also, meat is totally unappealing. So, we have kind of gone vegan, which Lane loves, of course (cough, ha). I still can't give up butter, though. (side note: the other day I was feeling a little down about the semi-vegan-ness because I really like cheese, and then I realized vegans can eat peanut butter and jelly. Hooray!)
Q: Are you showing yet?A: Yes! So much earlier than I ever did with James. I even feel like I beginning the mom-waddle a little. Or maybe it's all the olives I've been eating.
Q: How does James feel about all of it?A: He is still trying to figure it out. He says things like "Baby, Mama tum!" Which means there is a baby in my stomach. He lifts up my shirt and looks for it sometimes. We have explained to him that the baby (and Mama's tum) is going to grow big, and then it will come out and live with us. He is a bit confused about this part. I don't blame him. It still baffles me.

March 20, 2014

inexpensive chocolate taste test

I am in the 99.9% of women who love chocolate.

But, I'm a little picky. Milk chocolate is a waste of sugar in my opinion, my true love is dark chocolate. However, I am not particular about brand. I love some good cheap chocolate. My favorites are Trader Joe's and Ikea (yep) chocolate.

I wasn't sure which I liked better, so I decided a side-by-side comparison was necessary.
The TJ's chocolate is creamier, with a slightly more mellow chocolate flavor. The cocoa flavor shines through even more in the Choklad Mork (the Ikea) chocolate, but it is less creamy. James said he liked the Ikea stuff better.

I can't decide. I suggest doing what I did: buy both and eat both.

Are you a chocolate lover? What is your favorite chocolate? Is there a brand of dark chocolate you know of that I should try?

Happy first day of Spring! Hooray!

PS stay tuned tomorrow for a VIP- very important post... Thanks for reading!

March 18, 2014

seven reasons to embrace the 'burbs

Disclaimer (because I'm into those): This post is in no way putting down the city. In fact, the reason I decided to write it is because I go into the big city every once in a while, and I think "Why do we not live here? Why do we live in the 'burbs?" And so, I must remind myself:

1. square-footage- Our year-long house hunt featured seven (yes, seven) offers. The majority of these offers were in the city (that is, the city of Portland), on what we referred to as "shoe-box houses". They averaged around 1400 square feet of actual finished living space, most boasting of two bedrooms, one small bath, and some sort of partially finished basement or sketchy attic room. All these miniature houses were adorable and would have made wonderful little starter homes, but we would have quickly outgrown them. When we found out about baby number two we began to look outside the city. We were shocked at what the same amount of money could buy: 2400 square feet?! On the water!? Next to a park?! In a safe neighborhood?! Mind-blowing.

2. small-town feel- Lane was gone last week, so I tried to keep the kids and I busy. One night after dinner, I surprised James by telling him we were heading into "downtown" Gresham for frozen yogurt. We parked about a block away and, as we walked toward the fro-yo shop, we saw some friends through the window of the local Italian restaurant. We waved and then met up with some other pals for our dessert. It is so fun that this is a common occurrence here in the 'burbs. I seem to run into people I know (which really isn't all that many since we moved here not even two years ago) everywhere we go- the grocery store, restaurants, the library. It isn't uncommon for me to meet a mom at a park and then see her again at library story time, another park, or even my hairdressers. I know Gresham has a large population, but it is feeling smaller and smaller to me.

3. easy (and free!) parking- You are always guaranteed a spot in "downtown" Gresham, no further than three blocks from your destination. Even on busy farmer's market days, or even sunny afternoons when everyone is out and about, there is always parking. And it's free! I am so used to this now, that I actually forgot I had to pay for parking until I arrived in the Pearl last time I went into Portland.

4. proximity to the Gorge- Oh, the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge. It is amazing- full of waterfalls, hikes, views, and tourists. However, you can avoid the tourists if you go on weekdays, which is exactly what we do since we live so close. When the weather warms up, I go out there with mom friends and our kiddos for day hikes, or Lane can get off work early and we head up there for an evening hike. It is so beautiful and refreshing.

5. local places that the big city folk haven't discovered (or don't bother to come out here for)- I went out to lunch at a local burger place with a couple mom friends the other day. As we were sitting at a rustic wooden picnic table chowing down on fries made with truffle oil, rosemary, garlic, and parmesan, I couldn't help but think "This place would totally make it in Portland". As would the home brew supply/ bar that shares a courtyard with the burger joint. Come to think of it, the Lebanese restaurant down the street, the authentic Mexican joint in Gresham, the hip coffee shop and delicious Italian place would all make it in Portland as well. But they aren't in Portland. They're here.

6. thrift stores- Thrift stores here are not nearly as picked over or as pricey as the ones I have gone to in Portland. I'm actually a little nervous to admit this, because I don't want all you big city folk to realize how great even our Salvation Army is and come out here on half price day and steal all the good stuff. I have found so many awesome treasures there, ranging from leather boots to gaudy jewelry to black-and-white photos of the Schnitz. 

7. nearby farm land- Every summer we drive about three minutes once or twice a week and go blueberry picking at a nearby farm. James watches the horses that live next door, the sweet owners remember our names, and we have buckets of fresh, inexpensive, non-sprayed blueberries. At Christmas time we drive about two minutes and cut down our tree at a nearby farm while Christmas carols belt out through a loud speaker and the smiling owners pass out hot apple cider. There are also roadside farm stands with fresh produce practically year-round. So many perks to living near the farmland.

Do you live in the city or the suburbs? What do you love about where you live?

Happy Tuesday!

March 13, 2014

adventure day in the pearl

Last Friday, my mom, the kiddos, and I had an adventure day in the Pearl

Our first stop was the children's section of Powell's, where we sat at the tiny tables and read new and used books for at least an hour. I love kids' books and could have stayed there all day. But we continued on our adventure with a stack of new books, including a couple of Robert McCloskey's which have the sweetest illustrations.

We meandered down the streets (stopping to view a construction sight and to peek in shop windows), and played around at Jamison Square.

Then we headed down to The Fields Neighborhood park, where we discovered a huge sandbox that we were not prepared for (no shovels or buckets, blast!) and a fun climbing structure with a slide.

We also had fun just running around and exploring.

All that adventuring famished us, so we re-fueled at Lovejoy Bakers, which I have been dying to try for over a year.It did not fail my expectations.
The kids and I split a bran muffin and the egg salad tartine.

For dessert, my mom ordered a carrot cake, which everyone seemed to want. This worked in my favor because I pretty much had the vanilla bean cheese danish all to myself. Heaven.

Here are few pictures that my mom snapped on her phone. (Proof that I was there!)

It was such a fun day, definitely one that we will have to repeat in the future. As the weather gets nicer (thankfully!) I am going to try to do more adventure days in and around Portland. I already have so many places and activities in mind...

Any suggestions?
Any places that you would like to go for an adventure day with your kids but are not sure what to do?
I would love to know, so leave it in the comments please!

Thanks for reading, and happy adventures!

March 10, 2014

march ten on ten :: ashley

1. early morning PDX drop-off (taken on my phone)
2. out on the back porch 
3. spring will be budding soon
4. chubby legs in leggings, chubby feet in muk-luks
5. Grandma and James reading time
6. a rare sun break
7. Sadie
8. in bed, taking a "resty" because he is sick, again
9. baby all tucked in
10. ginger tea to end the evening

March 07, 2014

simple spring centerpice: a kid craft

For the times you need a floral, springy centerpiece for your table, but no one has brought you fresh flowers...

This little centerpiece used only simple materials (as all my kid crafts do).
First, James filled a piece of white paper with watercolors (is this sounding a bit familiar?) and then he cut flower bud shapes out of the paper. Next, he cut leaf shapes out of a piece of green paper. Then, we simply taped them to a branch that we was free of charge from our back yard (sounding familiar again?)

VoilĂ : a bright and cheery work of art for your table on a gray day.

Wouldn't this make a fun Easter centerpiece if you created several branches, or even mixed them together with real budding branches?

Happy thirteen-days-'til-spring,