Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Four Month Update

I can't believe that our little Thatch is already four months old! Where did the time go?! He's getting his own little personality and it's so fun to watch him grow into it. So here's Thatchers stats at four months:


Weight: Almost 16 pounds
Height: About 26-27 inches
Loves: Playing with his tongue, Eating, Rolling around, Talking (even in his sleep), Grabbing faces and hair, Peek-a-boo, Sneeze sounds and his exersaucer. 

We've just gotten too lucky with this little man. He's happy and laughing most of the time, and we haven't had any issues with feeding (thank goodness!). It's just amazing to watch him learning and growing. Even the simplest things like him discovering the water faucet during bath time or how he's learned to lift his legs to his chest during bum changes just amaze me. I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that he was the same little thing kicking and hiccuping inside of me! 

This month he's starting to roll over a bit more. He still only does it on his terms though. Stubborn boy. He's working his hands a lot more, he grabs literally anything we're holding, along with our faces and hair. He thinks that's pretty hilarious. Other than the usual developmental milestones at four months not much happening. I think he's just right where he should be. We decided not to start him on rice cereal or anything this month. Since he still needs all of his calories from milk and food would just be for fun at this age, we're holding off until he's 6 months or so. I'm so grateful to have doctors in my family who help us make those choices! Plus, it's a little selfish, but I don't want him to have "real" food until it's more of a need because I don't want anything to come between our feeds. I love that time and I'm just not going to be ready to give it up anytime soon! 

He had a patch of like a week where he had SERIOUS stranger danger. Luckily, that seems to be fading out. I think it was a growth spurt but he was super freaked out by anyone. He's gotten to meet so much family in the last few days with our Oklahoma family coming in and for the most part he's done awesome getting passed around. Minus a giant freak-out due to sleeplessness and constipation.. who wouldn't cry about those?! 

His 4 month sleep regression seems to be over, too, knock on wood! He's slept more normally the last few nights only waking up twice at the most so that's fantastic. Mama needs her sleep! 

I'm so beyond thankful that Jeff sees the importance of me getting to stay home with him and raise him and works so hard to make that possible. And I just love the adoration that man has for our Little Thatch. It's so nice to be a team and to get to play and love on this boy all the time together. We still haven't left him with anyone, and we probably won't for a long time. We just feel like he's a total part of us and really don't want to do anything he can't do with us. He's the best third wheel! I'm so excited to bendone with school next summer I can just focus on Thatcher and Jeff. I'm a little sad it's taken me so long to realize I don't need my degree; I really just want to be a mom. I can't wait to see how much more Thatch grows and learns! 





Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thatcher's Birth Story

When I started this blog I felt silly writing about Jeff and me. Let's face it, we're pretty boring people. BUT the one regret I have from my pregnancy is that I didn't write much down. I just couldn't imagine forgetting all of the unforgettable things happening inside my body.

Fast forward four months and I'm fighting trying to remember little details like what it felt like when Thatcher had the hiccups, or how his feet felt tangled in my ribs. I don't want to make that mistake again. I want to be able to look back on my life as a young mom and be able to tell Thatcher all of the adorable and mundane details. So, I'll blog. 

I've been meaning to post Thatcher's birth story for a while now. (Again, not because it was spectacular--but because I don't want to forget). So, here's the short version. 

I was scheduled to be induced on May 28th because that's when my mom was scheduled to fly in. After my appointment on May 21st I was still only at a 2 and about 70 percent effaced. I had no hopes of Thatcher coming early. 

Then, on May 22 I woke up from a nap at around 2:30 ready to start deep cleaning the house (nesting FINALLY kicked in!)...only to stand up and have fluid gushing out of me. At first I thought I peed myself. I was pretty mortified. I ran to stand in the bathtub (because we had new carpet, of course) and call my cousin. I'm not sure why but I called the cousin who's not a doctor. So we immediately called her sister who is a doctor and said my water most likely broke. I was FREAKING OUT. I wasn't having any contractions different from my braxton hicks i'd been having, so I planned on waiting until Jeff got home from work in a few hours. Luckily they told me to get to the hospital asap, so I called Jeff who came home from work and we rushed to the hospital. 

And I mean rushed. Little did we know water breaking isn't like in the movies. You don't have the baby minutes later much to our disbelief. You even have time to sit in the waiting room for thirty minutes or so re-filling out the paperwork you filled out a week before. (Ugh!) So finally after what seemed like forever they took me into a teeny tiny room and hooked me up to monitors so they could watch the baby. After they decided it was indeed amniotic fluid that broke, they called Dr. Bierer who asked if I wanted to have a baby today.. uh, duh! So we got moved into our nice big birthing room to wait.

At this point I was still at a two and it still hadn't hit me that I was going to have my baby. Honestly, I still thought I'd peed myself. It was surreal. Then, my contractions REALLY kicked in. They were about 2 minutes apart when we got to the hospital and Dr. Bierer started me on pitocin since I was still only at a two. Once the pitocin kicked in my contractions got A LOT stronger. I could have sworn that I only waited an hour or two before begging for my epidural, but according to various text messages to family members I got my epidural about four and a half hours later, around 8. Which I'm kind of impressed at myself for being in pain that long, ha ha! The epidural was SO much easier than I thought it would be. The anesthesiologist came in, had me hunch over a pillow and in a couple minutes he was gone--and so was my pain. COMPLETE HEAVEN. I love epidurals, let me tell ya! Which was a huge relief. I imagined child birth being this screaming in pain thing and I really just wanted to look back at that day and remember how great it was, not how much pain I was in. 

After the epidural Dr. Bierer came in. I think around 9 or so. He broke the rest of my water since it was leaking rather slowly and said to not expect to start pushing until seven or so the next morning, which was a huge bummer. Eventually Jeff's dad came up and Paige and we just kind of talked and joked for a while. 

Next thing I know I'm looking up to Jeff yelling something out the door and Paige holding my hand, which isn't totally characteristic of our friendship. I guess the epidural did something to my blood pressure and made me pass out while I was talking. My face was ghost white and the nurses made me take some oxygen for a while. The nurse checked me again around 9:20 and said I was at a four, which was exciting. She said I still wouldn't have him until the morning so around 11 Jeff and I decided to try to sleep. 

They came back in to check me around 11:08 and the nurse made a funny face. Assuming I was still at a 4 I made a comment about never having the baby and she laughed and said I was at a 10. In two hours I'd gone from a 4 to a 10! This is when it really kicked in that I was having a baby. The nurses came in with a bunch of equipment and put my legs up and said that they wanted me to get a few pushes in to get him crowning before they called Dr. Bierer. 

Pushing with an epidural is the weirdest thing ever. I would push and the nurse would say that's perfect, keep doing that! But I didn't know what I was doing.. I was just making a face and grunting haha. So we pushed for about 30 minutes until he was crowing and then they called Dr. Bierer. He got there at about 11:45, looking like he'd just woken up which scared me a bit, and we started pushing more. 

I pushed through two contractions, for about 15 minutes and at midnight on May 23rd he was out. Dr. Bierer handled him so wonderfully and asked Jeff (against his will completely) to cut the cord. I asked to do instant skin to skin, so they next thing I know this gooey, crying baby with so much black hair was laying on my chest. At first I was just in shock. I kept saying over and over that I had to take care of him and I was scared. Then they took him to the weigh station to weigh him and clean him up. Jeff put on his first diaper and while Dr. Bierer gave me a couple stitches he told me he weighed 6 pounds 13 ounces was 18.9 inches long and perfectly healthy. When Jeff brought him back to me and laid him in my arms I broke down. It just hit me how absolutely perfect he was and I could feel the spirit so strongly. I couldn't believe he was mine. I was in utter love. 

We instantly started getting him latched on to feed, which took about two hours, and then they took him to the nursery to let us sleep. Every time they brought him back I was just in awe that he was mine. It didn't feel real. 

I got so lucky, and I've never felt more blessed. I had a fantastic delivery nurse who totally knew how to keep me calm and focused and Jeff was just amazing through the whole thing. After nine months of worrying so much that something would go wrong I had a blissful delivery which I can honestly say I really enjoyed, and a perfect healthy baby boy who continues to bless our lives every single day. 












Monday, January 21, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan

After reading my journal the other day, and realized that this month is my eight year anniversary of being a vegetarian. Looking back, I realize I didn't have the healthiest first couple of years of vegetarianism. I think I started out strong in 2005, but then with factors such as me not knowing how to cook/living with meat eaters/and being busy, I found myself basically just eating whatever my family made minus meat. And to be honest, I wasn't a HUGE fan of veggies! (Gasp!) 

So, by 2007-2010, I know that's a ridiculously long time, I wasn't exactly the best vegetarianism. BUT, moving out to Utah and living on my own, I learned a lot. When I got married, I learned how to cook and I gave veggies a chance, and I actually love them! So, the last three years I've been trying to eat healthier, and when I find a recipe I just LOVE I can't help but share it! 

So, I've had a lot of vegetarian friends and non vegetarian friends ask about this recipe, so this is my slightly changed version of Eggplant Parmesan! 
(Super step by step, with pictures!) 

Start with a Large Eggplant.

        
    This is totally a large eggplant!
    Peel and cut the eggplant (eggplants have FREAKISHLY thick skin!)  into 1/3 size slices
    (***After you let the eggplant sit for just a few minutes, it will start to discolor like so. It's just oxidation, and totally normal.***)
    Once you've cut the eggplant, layer it in a strainer and salt generously.  Let it sit like this for thirty minutes.

    After the eggplant has soaked in the salt for thirty minutes,  run cold water over it and pat dry.


    Next, fill two dishes with 2 beaten eggs and the other with bread crumbs. We used progresso italian because the seasoning is delicious! (we have these random Tupperware dishes that are PERFECT for dredging and french toast haha.)
    Next, dredge the eggplant slices in the egg first, then the bread crumbs
    Fry the eggplant on medium high, for about three minutes per side until golden brown.
    BUT, be careful! I started it on medium high and it was a grease popping massacre! Start it on low, and work your way up to medium high!

    They'll look about like this. Drain them on an absorbent paper towel.
    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Lay half of the eggplant in a dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray (or use shortening)

    Cover the eggplant in half of the pasta sauce (About 1.5 cups) 
                          
    Cover the sauce layer with half of the mozzarella cheese (about 1/4 cup) Also cover it with half the Parmesan cheese (about 1/6 cup)

    Repeat this step again using the rest of the eggplant and sauce and cheese until you have two layers.

    Cook the dish for about 25-30 minutes.


    Viola! Eggplant Parmesan!



    We dished it with asparagus and it was pretty yummy! My only advice is double triple check the consistancy of the eggplant before you take it out. It should be softer and not crunchy.


    So, basically it's pretty simple but mega delicious and you'll feel like a chef afterward!

    Happy 8 years to me! :) 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking back at 2012

With just a few days left of 2012 and a serious lack of blogging on my part, I'd like to just highlight the last month or so for us.

We survived finals week! This was honestly my hardest finals week ever, but maybe that just means I'm getting closer to being done! (Even though I feel so far away!)
Jeffrey and I survived, unscathed and did super well, if I do say so myself.

We saw the lights at temple square with a couple of our best friends, Paige and Wally and their adorable adorable little girl Bell, which was too much fun. It was only my 2nd time seeing the lights, and there was snow, and it was perfect. :)

We had a great Christmas Eve with family and a great Christmas with each other. My husband spoils me WAY too much and he knows me far too well. :)

Christmas was also noteworthy this year as we spent it, and most of Christmas Eve, in bed SICK. First came Jeff, then came Taylor. And now, days later we're both puny, weak, coughing, aching messes.
BUT we're lovely messes who take care of each other super well!
It's been horrible being sick though,. I hate seeing Jeff so uncomfortable and NO medicine works for him! I had to miss 3.5 days of work, too and it's been hard.

BUT my headache is gone and I don't feel quite so death-like as of two hours ago, that's a start right?

Oh! And Caity got her mission call- Provo Utah, baby! I'm so excited for her! Utah is the best. Maybe she can save Provo, too. ;)


So, for the next few days we're going to rest up for the Spring Semester.
Have I mentioned how it feels like school is NEVER going to end?

Cause, it feels like school is never going to end.

Love,
The Venable Family.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Brigham City Temple Open House/Dedication

  One thing I do love about living in Utah, is that you're at the hub of all the fun Mormon events. Two Sunday's ago, we got to attend a Temple Dedication, and about a week before that we got to go to a Temple Open House.
Lemme Explain.

  So in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we build temples, just like King Solomon did. These are houses of the Lord in which we can enter and make very sacred covenants with God. Because we revere making covenants with God as such a solemn affair, one cannot enter the temple to make these covenants until we have been worthy members of the church and have fully prepared ourselves for at least a year. (For example, when I was baptized at 16, I had to wait one year to enter the temple to do youth ordinances, then before I got married I received my endowments in the temple, and was later sealed in the temple to my husband for time and all eternity.) I'll post some links at the bottom of the post to better explain the Temple. In short, it's the most sacred place we can go while on Earth. Jeff and I visit the temple to do certain ordinances every month, and it's def. the highlight of our month!

  BUT living in Utah gave us the opportunity to be around during the building of the Brigham City Temple in Northern Utah. This was an exciting time because after a temple is built there is a period of time where it isn't dedicated (dedicated to the Lord for sacred ordinances) and the public is invited to come and see the inside (yes, every nook and cranny) of the new Temple! It's truly a great time because it allows members and non-LDS people alike to come and enjoy the beauty and peace found within the un-dedicated temple. People can walk through sealing rooms, instruction rooms, the celestial rooms, every room you'd ever wondered about is open! Then, a few weeks later the temple is dedicated to the Lord as His house, and talks are given by general authorities, hymns are sung, and the church rejoices to have another temple of the Lord on the Earth.

  Jeff and I were very excited because neither of us had been to a temple open house or dedication! We seriously debated going since we were so busy but then Jeff decided that we'd go for a date night, and I'm so so glad we did! The Brigham City Temple is GORGEOUS! The artwork inside the temple, the various paintings, were all spanking new. I'd never seen most of them, and since Brigham City apparently has a thing with peaches, much of the decor inside the temple was peach-themed. So beautiful!

  The dedication was neat too, because President Packer, who was born in 1924 and is sadly in declining health, was the "key note speaker" I guess you could say at the dedication because he was born and raised in Brigham City, and was overjoyed that the town he'd grown up in finally had a temple. It was a beautiful ceremony with lots of tears, singing, and rejoicing. The saints around the world could feel the spirit and were pleased with the newest temple in Utah.

  It was a great experience being able to see the temple before it was dedicated and to be able to witness it's dedication. I'm glad we live so close to the hub of events like this, and I can't wait for us to visit the Brigham city temple to do some temple work!

  Here are some pictures of the open house for the Brigham City Temple, and some links about the Temples.

The Brigham City Temple Sign

Me touching the "dedication stone" It's the last stone put into the temple at the time of dedication to finish the temple, and the Prophet touched it like a week later, NBD. 

Me and my oh so cute husband at the Temple. What a beautiful day!

http://www.lds.org/topics/temples?lang=eng
https://www.lds.org/church/temples/why-we-build-temples/entering-the-temple?lang=eng

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've Fallen in Love with Seattle

This summer was probably the best for Jeffrey and I. Since Jeff wasn't tied to a desk all summer, we actually got to go on a couple of vacations. As much as I loved loved loved the Narrows, hands down without a doubt my favorite aspect of this summer was Seattle. We went for a week to see our great friends Clyde and Destiny, and it was nothing short of heavenly. 

I could write for days about Washington. It's without a doubt the BEST place I've been and that's including the US and Europe. It's the happiest place on Earth! SO, instead of writing for days about Seattle, I'm just going to highlight some reasons why it was epic. 


                                       Reason #1: The Art Surgeon
This is Joesph, the Art Surgeon. He does spray paintings in downtown Seattle. He is completely amazing. I'll have to post a picture when I get them off of my phone.

Reason #2: The Seattle Zoo
This is the bird room at the Zoo. It was so fun playing with them! This guy was hurt so I kept letting people take him to feed. 
This was also at the Zoo. Not only does Jeff love penguins, but some little girl threw her dad's sunglasses in the penguin pin...and the penguins kept diving for them. SO CUTE.
                                                 Reason #3: The EMP Museum
The EMP (Experience Music Project) was AMAZING. We spent probably four and a half hours wandering around listening to Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and they had a SUPER COOL horror film exhibit all about Horror and Eli Roth. Jeff was in heaven.

Reason #4: This Entire Day.
This was THE ABSOLUTE BEST DAY. I wish we'd gotten a picture of all of us, but we went downtown with Clyde and Destiny, and Sam and Dave. We went to Pike Place Market, took a ferry to Bremerton, saw the Navy Museum, and ate LOTS of seafood. It was the best day of the entire summer.

This is the cool fountain thing in Bremerton, where Jeff played  with the little kids. :)
                                                Reason #5: The Frankfurter
One of the best things about Seattle is that they have amazing vegetarian food and lots of tofu. This place was right by pier 56 and had the BEST veggie dogs and hand squeezed lemonade of my LIFE.
                                                Reason #6: Pike Place Market 
I could go here everyday and die happy. Amazing food, luscious fruit, cheap gorgeous flowers, live music and flying fish. It is HEAVEN. 
                                                Reason #7: Starbucks
There was a Starbucks on every corner. This is the oldest Starbucks. I LOVE Starbucks.

Seattle was amazing. I have WAY more pictures and things that I loved about it.. but this will just have to suffice. 
My advice? Go to Seattle!



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rewind: We hiked the NARROWS!

Okay, so I'm going to rewind a bit and blog about the Narrows, because I think it's probably the coolest thing I've ever done. And the hardest, it's def. the hardest thing I've ever done.

So, this summer Jeff and I had the chance to take three days and head down the southiest of southern Utah to a little place called Zion's National Park. Zion's is home to a lot of really fun vacation things; restaurants, historic trails, and most of all hikes. Zion's is pretty well known for two hikes. One of them is called Angel's Landing, and the other is the Narrows.

The Narrows is a 16 mile top-down hike that leads you off any beaten path down into what's apparently the "Grandfather" of slot canyons (meaning you have two canyon walls ranging about a couple hundred feet up on each side of you and the only way to go is forward or backward.) through the virgin river and into the park. This is not a hike for the inexperienced (aka ME, not sure WHY I let the hubs talk me into this!) and it's seriously a strenuous experience.

So, what you do is you pay some guy in a van fifty dollars per person to take you up to the top of the Narrows, which the only road is a ridiculously scary unpaved death trap that apparently shuttle vans lose wheels on and are sometimes forced to stop mid way and turn around, yikes! So he takes a group of you, in our case five, up to the top of the narrows and wishes you well as you begin your descent into the slot canyon. The first little bit is easy enough, just pasture and some light water trail... but around mile four or five things get tricky. The virgin river widens up and you're forced to walk in the river the majority of the time. It really makes you grateful for watershoes, walking sticks, and camelbaks. Seriously, the only way I can think to describe it is that it's like walking on slippery bowling balls. Without that walking stick we would have been toast. River hiking is a whole new brand of hiking, too. It's way more strenuous than I'd expected because you're always fighting the current, which can get really strong for a lot of the hike.

So by about nine miles in you're surrounded by stunning gorgeous canyon walls that go up as far as you can see, totally blocking the sky in some parts, and you're walking in the river. But it gets better. Most of the time you're hiking either in the middle of the river or on the small banks or shallow parts, but some lucky parts get so deep that you have NO bank on either side of you. That's right, you have to SWIM through the canyon until you hit a spot where you can walk again. The walls are so narrow that you can hold out your walking stick (which is roughly 4.5-5 feet long) and touch each side of the canyon with it. It's surreal how utterly secluded and engulfed you are in this canyon. The fun parts also come in the form of trying to figure out which way to hike around rock formations, ect and sometimes realizing the only way is to jump off of the rock you're on and swim down the river.

It's rigorous, it's tiring, it makes for a grumpy grumpy angry wife (by the time you hit mile 11 anyway) but man, is it gorgeous! At one point you're just hiking along, and BAM! You're standing on top of a huge waterfall. I mean standing on top of it, and then you have to climb through a rock and down to get to the bottom and it's breath taking. I won't lie, by mile 11 I was done. I was basically begging Jeff to leave me for the wolves (luckily he didn't!) and I'm sure by mile 12 he wanted to. He's a trooper for even putting up with me from mile 11-16. :)

And when you get to mile 16 you're so pumped you feel on top of the world. Then, after you drive home and realize every single muscle in your body is completely pulsating with pain, you're down and hour for a solid 24 hours. Let's just say I soon became addicted to Epsom salt. We started the hike at 8 am and finished at 9 pm, drove home (which is about five hours) and passed out until the next night. And when we woke up, we ate everything in sight. It took me a solid two weeks to walk normally again.

It's probably my proudest moment. I felt like when we got home everyone should just know that we made it through the narrows, which is silly of course, but I was.. is.. one proud lady! For someone who SUCKS at hiking, I hiked the narrows! Best experience of the summer, hands down.

I feel like that's legendary, so here are some pictures.

    
This is us at six am, totally exhausted from lack of sleep. About to hike 16 miles. Smart, right?
At the top of the Narrows, so pain free!
Things are starting to get Narrow.

Totally sideways, but it's getting very narrow.
The water is getting deeper!
Right after this picture, we had to take a swim for a bit..
Gorgeous spots like this all along the canyon.



The victory picture just before all of the pain sets in. It was victorious.



Like I said, very painful but totally worth it. :)