International Women’s Day

Since Estelle’s birth I have been writing a few blog posts to get my thoughts out. My fingers can type faster than they can write with a pen. Plus, when my tears hit the keyboard it won’t erase anything like tears can do with ink. I haven’t published any of the posts I have written yet, which I likely will someday, but for now they are just for me.

I was just texting a friend about some support my family has recently received and I thought, I really need to share this with more people. I thought about a Facebook post but figured that would get too long. Same with Instagram. So, here it is. My first blog post in years.

Today is International Women’s Day. I often think about the strong women who surround me each day, but I have especially been thinking about them today. As a Mom of two girls, one here and one not, I’ve thought hard about how I can be an example they are proud of. How can I live a life that impacts those around me, especially my children, in a positive way? I don’t have all the answers, and I know I never will, but I continue to try to remain open each day to learn new things and to better myself.

Part of that journey includes being a member of a Mom group on Facebook. I’ve been in a few before that ended very badly. They lived up to the idea that moms judge other moms, and women don’t support other women. Then I stumbled upon a private group only for Skimm’bassadors. If you aren’t familiar with theSkimm, read more here.

The #MomLife group has always been supportive. I’ve never seen threads get out of hand and they are always respectful even when someone disagrees with certain parenting philosophies. It has always felt like a safe place to ask questions or just vent about the journey of being a Mom.

Shortly after Estelle’s birth I reached out to the group. I asked if anyone in the group had experienced something similar or had ideas for her memorial service. Some people had indirect experience with infant loss and offered up ideas for her service, but all offered their condolences, love, and virtual support. It was nice to read those comments and know so many strangers were praying for me and my family.

About a week later, a local Mom reached out to me and said the group had a care package she wanted to deliver to my family. The group is made up of people from all over the country and only a small amount are from the Twin Cities. When she arrived I was nervous. Would I hysterically cry in front of this woman I hadn’t met before or would I not cry at all and appear cold? Turns out, I didn’t cry, but I didn’t feel judged either. She was just another Mom wanting to support us and meet me where ever I was on this journey.

The care package included: candles, bath bombs, books for me, books for Piper, a gift for Justin, toys for Piper, a spa gift card, lotions, cozy socks, a Target gift card, and more. What came next was an even a bigger surprise. They had collected a generous amount of money and we received a check that will pay for over half of the memorial we want to get for Estelle this spring. We’d like to put in a Little Free Library in the park closest to our home where Estelle would have grown up playing with her big sister.

Shocked, and frankly still a bit numb from everyone’s generosity, I emailed the headquarters of theSkimm. I wanted to share how this group formed off of the community they are building and how supportive they are. SkimmHQ emailed back within 24 hours. They were kind and offered to send a box of books to get our library started.

Since receiving the care package from my #MomLife friends, we have received an Angel Bear that was coordinated by another Mom in the group, I’ve received cards from women saying they were still thinking about me, Estelle, and the rest of our family, and we’ve helped support other Moms who are going through a tough time, regardless of the circumstance.

So why do I share this long story? It isn’t to brag about the gifts we’ve received, and let me tell you, there has been a TON of love thrown our way from hundreds of people. I hope to share some of those unique stories later. But on this International Women’s Day, I wanted to share how a group of women, all Moms or women trying to become Moms, came together to support a woman they have never met in person. Though they couldn’t tell me that they knew what I was going through, I knew as women and as Moms, they knew how intense the depth of my pain must be.

We’ve received tremendous support from hundreds of women (and men!) since the birth of our second daughter. I often get overwhelmed by the sadness and fear in our world, but I am going to hold on to this hope and kindness for as long as possible. And I will continue to pay it forward in whatever way I can until I am holding Estelle again.



I think it is time to break my blogging silence. I was just reading my last post and it was on my due date. Ten…yes TEN days after I wrote that post we finally met our baby girl. Today she is a fast growing, good sleeping (don’t hate me for it!), beautiful two month old.

The adjustment the past two months have kept me from blogging, but I have so many ideas to write about in my head that I hope I can get them out there soon. We are developing a somewhat predictable routine but between housework, homework, and catching the occasional nap and shower, it has been hard to sit down and just write. Especially since I tend to be long-winded and need a little more time to flush out some thoughts.

I want to keep this one short so I don’t end up going in 400 different directions and just say, Welcome! Welcome to the world my beautiful baby girl, Piper!

Piper_Newborn (27)

French Silk Pie

I’ve been burning through projects lately but none of them having anything to do with my 3o Before 30 list. The baby prep has really started to take over and she wasn’t even on the 3o Before 30! Thanksgiving presented the perfect opportunity for me to complete #16 – Bake a Pie From Scratch.

I decided to wait until my family’s Thanksgiving which is celebrated the Saturday after. I haven’t subjected my in-laws to my random baking experiments yet. I am sure they would be more than willing, but I know I will get very honest feedback from my parents, brothers, and sibling-in-laws.

With that said, I set out to make a gluten-free pie from scratch yesterday and settled on a French Silk Pie. I have never been a huge pie person, mainly because I am not a fan of the crust or baked fruit, so I figured as long as the filling turned out it should taste decent, right?

I did my research, and by research I mean I pinned a few recipes for gluten-free pie crust and then Googled French Silk Pie in the grocery store on a whim to make sure I had all the necessary ingredients. Then I just went for it and here is how it turned out.

I followed this recipe and this recipe for the crust. I used the Namaste All Purpose Gluten Free Flour, a stick of butter, five tablespoons of ice water and a small spoonful of sugar.

Butter, Flour, and Sugar


I mixed everything by hand which made quite the mess, but I don’t think it would work very well otherwise. Especially since you are using cold butter. Most of the recipes I checked out recommended that I refrigerate the crust for at least an hour and many did it overnight. I didn’t have the overnight option (hello, procrastinator) so I refrigerated for just over an hour. Most recipes also recommended you take it out for about 10-15 minutes before rolling.



Roll Out!

The rolling out was a little difficult and required a little more effort since the dough wanted to fall apart. I rolled it out more than once and then re-balled with my hands to make it feel like a more consistent product. Eventually, I made it look semi normal.



Not Very Professional

I sprayed my glass pie pan with coconut oil just to ensure the crust didn’t bake directly to the pan. I wasn’t sure if I should have but did anyway. I also didn’t have a pie weight or any other fancy pie baking tools many of the recipes called for. I just rolled the crust on a counter top full of gluten-free flour.

Once it was baking at 350 degrees I watched it closely. I first set my timer for 10 minutes and then an additional 10 minutes. Once it appeared to be done (it wasn’t very golden brown but when I poked with a tooth pick it seemed done) I took it out and let it cool. Then I started the pie filling.

Following a Taste of Home recipe things came together quite well. Heating up the eggs and sugar turned out to be a longer process than expected, especially since I became nervous that it actually reached the recommended 160 degrees. Luckily I do have some  food thermometers and was able to confirm that it did reach 160, but I also don’t know if it exceeded it and was overdone. It probably was, but I get nervous about foodborne illnesses. 😉

In the end, it actually looked like French Silk Pie filling. I had Justin test it and he said the filling tasted great!

Ready to Refrigerate
Ready to Refrigerate


I put it in the fridge until we were ready to go to my parents and then left it outside (yay for MN becoming an outdoor fridge/freezer) until we were ready to eat it. I topped with Cool Whip and shaved some frozen Dove Chocolates over the top before serving.

Ready to Eat
Ready to Eat

Everyone who consumed it said it tasted great. I totally agreed with them too. Even my picky little brother who is also gluten-free liked it! And I think I saw my husband having one of the few leftover pieces for breakfast this morning!

If you are interested in trying a pie from scratch for the first time I would highly recommend you start here. Most of the ingredients I already had and it really didn’t take that much time to make but be sure to plan a little ahead. It will help. 🙂

Did anyone else try some fun recipes for the first time for Thanksgiving?


Operation Don’t Ruin The Nursery

I’ve often heard that parents want their children to have the best, and many will do whatever it takes, within reason, to make sure that happens. There were many times this weekend I stopped and thought, “Hmm, that must come after the baby is born, because if I really wanted Baby B to have the best I would have hired someone to do this.” In all seriousness, this weekend was a major nursery weekend. Since Justin was out-of-town deer hunting I decided to enlist the help of my parents and gets some stuff done.

I had originally set a goal to have the spare bedroom, which was to become the nursery, all cleaned out by our 20 week ultrasound. I missed that goal by weeks, but had the motivation to finish it before we had our carpets cleaned last weekend. This is what it looked liked before.

Catch-all Room


I seriously went through about 15 years worth of stuff and donated about 10 bags full of clothes from my late teens and early twenties. Whoa, I wore a ton of halter tops.

I’ve been scouring Pinterest to find ideas for our nursery and came across a project I wanted to attempt that required me painting something on a wall. I am not all that creative or artistic so I went in to this project with the wall paint re-shook just in case it turned out to be a disaster. My parents came over to assist with moving furniture, painting it and hanging up shelving. Selby also tried to help but wasn’t very effective.

The Happy Helpers.

We decided to use my old bedroom set for the nursery furniture to not only save money, but I have had the set since I was a kid, and it was my Mom’s grandmothers so it has been around a long time and was still in fairly good condition. We sanded it, repainted it white and then I repainted the trim. When I was growing up the trim was pink. Since pink has always been a favorite color of mine, but I figure we will be gifted lots of it, I decided to accent Baby B’s room with purple.

Before & After
Before & After.

We painted a tall dresser, a desk and a nightstand. The trim was absolutely dreadful to do and will require some touching up. For now, don’t get too close or you will see I do not have a future in furniture painting. The desk will be turned into a changing table once we get all the needed accessories for it, but we should have plenty of storage for diapers, wipes, and all the other necessary baby changing items.

And now you are probably wondering how my Pinterest project turned out. Well, I have to be honest, I am super excited and happy with how it turned out. And if I am being really honest, I am pretty proud of myself!!! 🙂

Pinterest Photo...Not Mine.
Pinterest Photo…Not Mine.
My Finished Product!
My Finished Product!

The Pinterest one looks way more professional and more like a tree than mine does but that is ok. It is better Baby B learn now that her mother isn’t perfect. 😉 Overall, I’d still say I nailed it.

It has been a labor of love this weekend trying to get the nursery started and I am definitely feeling it today. Getting out of bed required a lot of limping as my lower back feels like it fused together. Oy! Where did my core strength go? So on that note, I am relaxing for the rest of the night with some laundry and plan to do some stretching before bed. This Mama is exhausted!





Any guesses?

This is the week Justin and I have our 20 week ultrasound. First, are we for real halfway there? And second, I really hope the kid cooperates and shows us their goods, but of course what I am really hoping for is a child who checks out as healthy as can be! I definitely have some anxiety going in to this appointment instead of all excitement. What else is new though?

With that said, are you leaning one way? Here are some things to help make your guess a little more educated.


1. Justin thinks it is a girl. I think boy.
2. I have no idea if I am carrying high or low because the belly isn’t that big yet and frankly I don’t entirely know what that means, but I feel like I am carrying a little more out than expanding horizontally (or is that just wishful thinking?). I think that means boy.
3. My skin has not gotten worse, except right now it ain’t so good, so that could mean boy.
4. The baby’s heartbeat has always been 160+ so that means girl.
5. Per the Chinese birth calendar, it is a girl!





18 Weeks and Counting!

It is hard to believe we are almost halfway there! In fact, it is kind of scary as well! I feel like there is a lot left to be done, and I just hope we are doing enough now so we aren’t incredibly overwhelmed the last few months of pregnancy. But, instead of dwelling over my lack of productivity, I will fill you in on some things I have found interesting about being pregnant.

Everyone cares way more about your wellbeing than they ever did before.
How are you feeling? This is definitely the most frequent question received to date. Sometimes it throws me off when it is asked and I have for a brief moment forgotten I am pregnant. Sometimes I respond with, “Gooood?” Like it is almost a question back. Why wouldn’t I be feeling good? Then I am reminded that they are inquiring about the pregnancy. People typically seem really genuine when asking which is nice.

Napping is the best thing in the world.
I’ve always been a pro-napper, but seriously, the exhaustion felt during pregnancy, especially the first trimester, is incredible. There were quite a few weeks that I would get home and have to lay down for at least 20-30 minutes if I expected to get anything done that evening.

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I desperately need this shirt.

Simply rolling over could leave you breathless. 
Walking and talking? I am trying to focus on walking and breathing! Justin and I have tried to remain active by taking our dog on a 1.5-2 mile walk each night. Sounds simple right? Well, I have found that I become winded a lot quicker than usual. Today for instance I was hiking up a flight of stairs, carrying food (of course), talking to a coworker and chewing on a mint. No joke, I almost choked. The poor girl, who probably doesn’t know I am pregnant, was probably thinking, “You should probably consider less Thai takeout and more stairs.”

Eat, and eat often! 
I do find myself getting fuller quicker, but when hunger strikes I better be prepared otherwise I might get real hangry. The hunger is intense!

Drink, and drink often!
Unfortunately, I am referring to water here. There is a good chance I will be giving birth to a water baby because I drink water ALL day and still feel thirsty a lot of the time. That reminds me, I am outta water and I have to pee.

Maternity clothes are kind of scary.
When you realize that your pants are so uncomfortable that the only way you will survive your commute home is by unbuttoning them, then you know it is time for maternity clothes. When this happened to me I thought I’d first check out the selection at Target. Looking at the weird waistbands and the full panel of extra fabric had me realizing what was to come and I sort of panicked. So, leggings and tight pants it is for a little longer! I did order some online from the GAP (because online is less scary) and they are expected to arrive this week. I will let you know when they arrive.

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Sexy? I will be the judge of that!

I could continue to go on, but it is after 9pm which means it is past my bedtime. Good night!


Trip Out West

I thought I’d spend a little more time this morning highlighting some of the other great aspects of our trip last week. In my previous post I shared our Bottle Feeding Experience at Yellowstone Bear World. It was awesome! That came early in our trip though and we spent three days in Montana afterward.

Our time spend in Idaho Falls was quick. We flew in to a fairly small airport, especially compared to MSP. The flight was just over two hours and was pretty easy. I was slightly nervous about flying, well, I am always nervous about flying, but this time around due to the fact that I still have a little nausea every now and then. It is very minor, but who wants that on an aeroplane? Not me!

Seriously, where is everyone?

Once we made it towards our hotel we decided to stop for lunch since it was about 11:30am and we were both pretty hungry. We stopped by a place called Snake Bite. They had amazing waffle fries (obviously! It is Idaho after all.) and I enjoyed shrimp tacos made with fresh corn tortillas. Yum. Justin started out vacation right with a flight of local beers. Lucky.

Snake Bite.
Snake Bite.

After lunch we strolled through a local farmers market and then went to check in at our hotel. We ended up using our points and stayed at Marriotts while on vacation so nothing too crazy to report there. We are always happy with Marriotts and know what to expect which is nice.

Before heading back for a quick nap before dinner we stopped by the Museum of Idaho. They were featuring, The Race to the End of the Earth exhibit. It was a nice exhibit and we learned about the first two groups to make it to the south pole, which has nothing to do with Idaho. 😉  We had dinner at a recommended spot, Jakers. They had a separate gluten-free menu which I was happy to see, and I had a massive baked Idaho potato and was happy as can be!

Before heading to Bear World the next morning, we stopped down to the falls that give Idaho Falls its name.

Really gloomy, but pretty falls.
First of many selfies.
Gimme all the potatoes.

Bear World is recapped here so after our eventful afternoon we drove to Bozeman. Unfortunately we did not stop for any pictures on the beautiful drive. Not even through Big Sky!!! That is our one regret, but both agreed we would be back and spend more time in Big Sky. The drive was amazing and took about 3.5 hours. We had dinner at Montana Ale Works. We shared a gluten-free spinach dip with tortilla chips, and I enjoyed some fish tacos and a pomegranate No’jioto! Our waitress also is also dating a guy from Afton, MN. I haven’t cracked open my yearbook to find him yet, but talk about a small world.

Cheers to Bozman!
Cheers to Bozman!

Waking up and seeing mountains out the window is by far one of my most blissful ways to wake. For our first full day in Montana we decided to head to Livingston. It had a nice and quaint downtime with a beautiful view. It was labor day so perhaps that is why it seemed like it was also an empty town. We did some walking around though and then enjoyed lunch at Rib and Chop House. They were donating part of the proceeds that day to the Wounded Warrior Project and we couldn’t pass that up. They also offered us 25% off since Justin is in the military. How awesome! They also had a separate gluten-free menu. Wins all around.

Downtown Livingston.
Can’t get enough bear time.
Sacajawea Park.
Paradise Valley.

Before heading back to Bozeman we drove through Paradise Valley which is on your way to an entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  It was amazing. Once we returned to Bozeman we took a nap (such a great vacation theme) and went to the Museum of the Rockies.

Museum of the Rockies.
Museum of the Rockies.

In an effort to wrap this post up before it gets way too long, I will end with our final full day in Montana. We decided to head into Gallatin National Forest and hike to the Palaside Falls. I researched it ahead of time and it was only about a half mile hike to the falls. Nice and easy for this newly pregnant lady.

Gallatin National Forest.
Palisade Falls.
We made friends with wildlife.
Top of the falls. 
Trees for miles and miles.

Hiking at that elevation while pregnant turned out to be slightly more difficult than I expected. It took me awhile to catch my breath, but it was a fairly easy pace and we brought plenty of water and snacks. Justin made a nice chipmunk friend and we really enjoyed the view. On our way back to Bozeman we stopped by a little river since we didn’t feel ready to leave the beauty of it all. While we were sitting there having a quick snack, Justin noticed some black animals coming out of the woods. His initial thought was black bears, but we were happy to see they were just friendly cows looking for a bite to eat.

Cows. Not bears. Phew.

As we left the forest and received cell service again, I messaged my parents to let them know we’d be in a tent by the river and they should start driving out with Selby. We LOVED it there. The Gallatin National Forest was about 25 minutes outside of Bozeman and offered other hiking trails as well. It was gorgeous.

For the rest of the afternoon we toodled through the shops in downtown Bozeman. The rest of the evening was spent just relaxing and taking in the last few hours of our vacation. We got a lot of reading done (I finally finished Wild and LOVED it!), took plenty of naps, enjoyed the company of each other and of course, enjoyed the beauty that is Montana. We are already talking about when we will go back and what we will do.