I just briefly glanced at a headline of an online news article that was entitled, “Ways the World Got Better in 2017.” How refreshing! News is important. It is important to be informed, but I have a belief that it is also just as important to be optimistic and hopeful. There are good people in this world doing extraordinary things and changing countless lives for the better! Why can’t that be the big news? I wish those were the viral articles that drown my social media feeds.
The headline itself inspired me as well. How did my world get better in 2017? I’ll tell you. I initially planned an entire 2017 reflection post but then realized that to do it the way I wanted would be more work than I have the ability to do currently so I give you the readers digest version.
Living the Fit Life / Pregnancy #2
In January we decided to get serious about having a second baby. For me this task is easier said than done. I have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which basically is a hormone disorder that can wreak havoc on your endocrine and reproductive systems. For a lot of its victims, me included, getting pregnant is no easy task because we often do not have consistent monthly cycles, let alone ovulate without a little push from ovulation inducing drugs.
Thanks to my “hormone disorder” I had a really rough time getting the extra baby weight from Bennett off and I knew we wanted to have another baby but at the start of the year my body was not considered fertility friendly. I say this because what state of overall healthy I am in has a enormous affect on my ability to conceive. I’m talking gut health, physical fitness, and nutritional health all have a huge impact on my ability to have a monthly cycle.
I spent January prayerfully deciding where to start and was prompted to begin with a massive cleanse. I hit the books (well in this case, the scientific articles and studies) of how to do a thorough gut cleanse and got to work. It was brutal, but incredibly effective since I began having a monthly cycle beginning the very next month. However, I still wasn’t ovulating on my own so there was still work to do. I started going to a fertility specialist who supported and encouraged my overall health efforts and provided some additional education and had me take vitamin D like it was going out of style. Eventually I will write a post about this…
Trevor was very incredibly supportive and did everything with me. We were at the gym three evenings week and running outdoors for two. Bennett loved “going fast” so he was a good sport in the stroller. We followed a gluten/processed sugar free diet, and pumped ourselves full of vitamins and minerals. By April I was feeling and looking good and was optimistic about conceiving without medical intervention. I obviously had a huge incentive to work so hard, but I still have not forgotten how good it felt to be in such great shape. When you take care of yourself physically your mental health benefits as well.
I skipped a period in March but I didn’t let that deter me, and good thing because later that month I randomly ovulated all on my own! By the beginning of May I have having random headaches and my mind began dancing around the thought that maybe we had done it. I refused to take a test for a few days because anyone who is trying to get pregnant will tell you that you can only see so many negative tests before you want to pull all your hair out and give up. Mother’s Day came around and I really needed to take a test to put my mind at ease but I waited until the day after so bad news wouldn’t ruin my Mother’s Day. The joke was on me because Monday morning when I peeked at the urine test there was a big fat positive on the strip.
God is so good but I also have a firm belief, especially after having to work so hard for both my babies, that when we have a righteous desire he still expects us to do our part to achieve it. “After all we can do,” and then he follows up with what we cannot and the blessings pour in.
We loved living in California for the time we were there. We had good friends and great adventures. Just to name a few in 2017: tagged along with Trevor to Georgia and Florida and spent time with my parents in their mission, explored more of San Fransisco with Trevor’s brother and his wife, went beaching in Santa Cruz, explored old gold rush towns, did and ate all the things in Carmel By the Sea, went home for visits to Utah, wandered around Old Sacramento, tried all the cheese at the Oakdale Cheese Factory, and swam basically every other day because that is how you survive a California Summer.
The Grind and the Pay Off
We initially moved to Cali for Trevor to participate in an 18 month sales training program for a Steel Manufacturing company. Basically it was the job to get the job you really want…the one he has now. After a brutal interview and testing process Trevor graduated from the program and began to interview for open territories. I still remember the day he called to tell me that Minnesota was open and my immediate response was, “I am not going to live in Minnesota they have to wear pants under their pants.” He applied anyway because beggars can’t be choosers and our options were limited. Good thing he did or we would have really missed out. When Trevor called to tell me he’d been offered the Minnesota position I felt nothing but relief. It was the right move. We accepted and it was a whirlwind from there.
The transition period from July-September was brutal and I was in my miserable first trimester for a good amount of it. Trevor had to leave for additional training at the end of July which left me alone to close up shop in Cali. Thankfully I have a mother in law who flew in (literally) to save me and my sanity. Then my in laws let us live with them for the remainder of the Summer and it was glorious to have help with Bennett and support in general while my other half was on the other side of the country for six weeks.
We came out house hunting in July and the market here was hot so we had no luck being able to snag a home. We were outbid six different times! Luckily we had a terrific realtor and she Facetimed every house that was a viable option for the next month until we FINALLY had an offer accepted. This means I had never step foot into my first home until we arrived in September. Talk about a leap of faith! It was a completely remodeled home in the part of town we wanted, with an additional room for Trevor to have an office. It was too good to be true which is how you know this is where God wanted us to be. We have established ourselves rather quickly, we get better and better at that each time we move! We are fortunate enough to have good neighbors and great friends to make Rochester feel like home. This is where we are supposed to be and we already love it.
What I will miss about California: the friends we made from church and the gym, all the donut shops, cheap and authentic Mexican food, citrus and strawberry season, being able to run outside all year long, the walking path next to our house, the cheap produce, our gym and its daycare, and the vacationing potential. We lived less than two hours from everything awesome and we did as much as we could in the time we had there.
Obviously I could go on and on about our year but these were the highlights. Like every year we experienced good and bad this past year. The good made for happy times and great memories and the bad made us grow and remember to be grateful when things are good… Now that I have made you read my novel, go ahead and scroll down for your most recent meal plans. Just a heads up, I am having a baby next week so I cannot say when I will post again. Happy Eating!
Shelf Cooking – I thoroughly enjoy meal planning (duh read my blog) but I also believe in saving money and not wasting, so I think I’ve found the happy medium for my own family. My invitation, and what I will be doing with my own meal planning from now on is this, whatever time period you meal plan for (two weeks, a month, whatever,) IN ADDITION to your leftover/YoYo nights, plan at least one meal to be “Shelf Cooking” (phrase coined by blogger Jordan Page from Fun Cheap or Free) nights. Meaning, USE WHAT YA ALREADY GOT! Yes you will have to get creative, but that is TWO less meals you have to buy groceries for, or eat out for.
Sugar Substitutes – When a recipe calls for cane or brown sugar I almost ALWAYS use a stevia baking blend or just plain Stevia. I take comfort in knowing I am feeding my family that much less sugar… plus it means I can have seconds guilt free. Winning!
Snacks & Sweets – Below the dinners I hope you’ll be as thrilled as I to see a Snacks & Sweets section. Some of the recipes in this section I already absolutely love, and some I have yet to try. Some are guilt free and some are reserved for cheat days.
*-Tried and true family favorite.
B4D-Breakfast for Dinner (There isn’t lot of time in the mornings and we love breakfast food so we eat it for dinner instead)
YoYo- You’re on your own. (Because I don’t believe that someone should have to cook every day of the week)
Not sold on meal planning yet? Check out my crash course guide and I’ll have you convinced!
Shelf Cooking – see “Noted” Section for explanation
B4D- *Grain Free Almond Baked Donuts / Spinach and Cheese Omelettes
*Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef w/ Carrots and Potatoes
This recipe is good with a pork roast too. I just throw the carrots and potatoes into the Crockpot with the roast.
*20 Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup / Warm Corn Tortillas or Corn Chips
*Spicy Sausage Pasta / Roasted Green Beans
*Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats/ Buttered Noodles
I usually add some seasoning salt into Greek yogurt and mix into the casserole to add some creaminess
*Mamma’s Clam Chowder / *Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
I asked for this every birthday dinner growing up. I love my momma’s clam chowder. It makes a large quantity so we half the recipe. I also rinse the clams really well so there is less of a fishy taste. If you prefer even less of a fish taste only use 3 cans of clams.
GF note – ( subsitute GF all purpose flour or half it and add cornstarch instead)
1 1/2 c chopped carrots 1 carton chicken stock
1 c chopped onion 3 c chopped potatoes
2 c chopped celery 4 cans chopped clams
3/4 c butter 3/4 c flour
1 qt. half and half 1 1/2 tsp salt
salt to taste 1/2 tsp sugar (1/4 tsp Stevia)
Put clams and vegetables in a large sauce pan. Add enough chicken stock to cover and cook until tender. Melt butter and mix with cornstarch. Whisk together and cook 2 minutes, then stir into veggies and clams. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer 1-2 hours. You can always add milk if it gets too thick. Top with shredded cheese
Snacks & Sweets
DIY Trail Mix
I have begun making my own so I can have everything I want in it. I have been combining, raw almonds, cashews, dark chocolate chips, dark chocolate coated almonds, cranberries, and raisins. This time I think I will look for some coconut shavings to add in as well.