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Beautifully Organic

adventures on any given day

Our Very First Home Renovation: UPDATE! 

Ok, so we’ve been living in our new home for 3 months now, and it has been project after project for us. My previous blog about our new home, I showed you the inside renovations (which we are now jokingly calling phase one), now we have outside ones, and a few more inside. We’re hoping someday soon the craziness will stop and we can just enjoy our new home! We thought we were done with house projects after our initial inside changes. But our insurance company did not approve of the outside paint wear and tear, as well as the broken windows, and of course, the pre existing hail damage. The siding top to bottom was a mess, as the house is made of wood mostly and was in major need of some TLC. Needless to say, our insurance company was going to cancel our policy if we didn’t address their concerns. Which brings us to phase 2: prime, scrape, caulk and replace damaged siding, and repaint entire exterior of the house; and phase 3, replacing all of the upper level windows (where the bedrooms are). As I mentioned in my previous blog, we were going to do the windows in phases, as they are so expensive! Well, that plan went out the window…..(I’ll pause for chuckles!) We are fairly certain that the windows we replaced were the originals from when it was built in 1980. They were metal and had absolutely no insulation. They sure did last a long time but boy were they shot!  

Any who, here are the before and after pics for phase 2 and phase 3 of our very first home renovation: 

Exterior of house before:


Exterior of house after:



We also replaced the 2 back doors to the deck and back yard. The old ones were so annoying. They didn’t close properly, or lock. They were super drafty as well. The trim was also rotting out around the doors so all of that was replaced. 

Back exterior doors before:


Back exterior doors after: 


I’m sure you don’t want to see a picture of every window we had replaced, so here’s just a few. With the exception of the 5 floor to ceiling windows on the west side of the house we had replaced, that I had mentioned in my previous blog (which were done by Renewal by Anderson), our new windows are simple, white vinyl Pella windows. They look so much better than old, black metal! And it’s sure nice to be able to open the windows at night now that it’s summertime! Again, all the trim was rotted around the windows, so it was replaced. I’m not sure how the previous owners made it without being able to open ANY of windows in the house. The upper level windows did not have screens, and the floor to ceiling windows on the main level were not able to open, so there was no air flow coming through. It’s so much nicer now! 

Windows after:



Master bedroom sink update!! 
After what seems like forever, we finally got our master sink vanity and have working sinks in our bathroom! No more using the kids’ bathroom to brush teeth and straighten my hair 😂

Master sink before (just a refresher)


Master sink after: 

Now on to phase 4….ummmm what??? Yep, phase 4 came up while the paint crew was prepping the house to be primed. The front 6 windows of the home, above the garage, (you can see them in the picture of the house above) are so bad that they’re sinking into the window frame. So, add 6 more floor to ceiling windows to this loooonnnggggg project! Again, our intent was to wait on replacing these as long as we could… 😩 They won’t be in for another two weeks or so, but once they are in, every frame will be torn out and replaced, as well as the rotted siding the painters are certain is under the current window trim. After all that we’ve had done to our home over the past three months, it’s starting to feel like we have a brand new house! Well, almost….the master bath and basement bath are next on the list of renovations, and eventually new drywall. But I hope that’s a few years into the future…our bank account needs us to slow down! 

If our bank account could make expressions….
Until next time….

Have a fabulous day!!

My New Blog is Officially Under Way! 


Hi Everyone!! My new blog, Diary of a Vegan Foodie, went Live this past Wednesday June 7th. Please check it out! I would appreciate your follow and any feedback you might have. Thanks again for the read and for your support! 
http://www.diaryofaveganfoodie.com

~Aubrey 

Big News! 


Soooooo it’s been in the making for a while now, but thanks to my amazing man, I am starting a new blog, one that’s exclusive to food, travel and recipes. It’s totally in a raw state right now, but I’m hoping to catch on quick to real food blogging and food pics! 

The blog will launch on June 7th, 2017. The website is up as of today (May 18) but is still a work in progress. I have a few kinks to work out, but I anticipate them being worked out by the launch date. I’m hoping that my followers of this blog will venture over to my new site and follow that blog as well! 


My new blog is http://www.diaryofaveganfoodie.com

Come check it out! 

One Year of Meals: Meal 8

Oh man…Life is crazy right now! It’s May, so school is winding down. But I’ve signed up to provide the gifts for Teacher Appreciation week at school, and that’s time consuming. Soccer is also ending for my daughter, and that means that soon baseball will start for my oldest son. We have the director’s retreat in Vail again this year (2 night get away for the hubby and I so excited!), as well as various things needing our time and attention: staff meetings, care group, BBQ’s, birthday parties and house projects. All the craziness comes to an end with a trip to California at the end of the month, which is hopefully when life will slow down a bit. I cannot wait for summer in our new home. I also cannot wait for all the projects to be done to our home. Ugh 

I provided the 8th meal for the family at church in the midst of all of life’s craziness, and it was well received. I came across this recipe last year, when I was in school and needed a yummy crockpot meal. I make it from time to time, especially when I have meat-a-tarians over for dinner. 

Meal 8 Menu: 

  • Kale Salad with a Citrus Vinegarette
  • Mexican Chili with Corn Bread Topping 
  • Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

Can I just say that I cannot get enough Kale Salad?? I try to make a variation of this salad everyday to eat through out the day, and it really hits the spot. And we all know how I feel about kale! 


The really neat thing about this Chili is that it cooks all day in your crockpot (what busy mom doesn’t love that!) and when it’s almost done cooking, you pour Jiffy muffin mix on top and then cover it and let it cook for an hour more. Once done, you have corn bread cooked on top of your chili….it’s so cool!!! And it’s really, really good! Seriously, you have to try this recipe. Side note: I make a vegetarian version of this by subbing the chicken for black beans. Tastes just as good. And a Jiffy now has a vegetarian corn muffin mix also, using nut milk and a flax egg option. 


The Nutella Cookies I made just to have an excuse to buy Nutella. I’m not kidding. That stuff is such an indulgence for me! Good thing the recipe used most the jar, so there was only minimal amount of spoonfuls that I consumed. 🤗 the recipe calls for peanut butter, but I used almond butter because of a peanut allergy in the family. I do NOT recommend that substitute, as it made the cookies more runny and they didn’t set well. But they were still super yummy! I mean it’s Nutella….how could they not be??!!

(My pictures are awful this meal I’m so sorry!! Better ones next time 😝)

I am hoping to have some BIG news to share with you soon…I’ll keep ya posted! 

Until next time…

Have a fabulous day! 

One Year of Meals: Meal 7

Oh this adventure is more than half over!! I must say I’ve had a lot of fun doing this, cooking meals for this family and their family and friends. Trying new recipes for them, and discovering old favorites. This meal, I made while living out of boxes….we were still living in our old home and I was working that weekend. But I still made time to cook my seventh meal for this family at church. I chose to make beef enchiladas….I had never made beef enchiladas before! I make veggie enchiladas all of the time, yes, but beef….I’ve never dabbled! So it was an experiment for sure! Here’s the menu for meal seven out of one Year of Meals: 

Menu:

-Spinach Salad

-Ground Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Salsa, Guacamole and Sour Cream

-Chocolate Cream Pie (my secret vault recipe!)

I made this meal on a Sunday in February, after working the night before. I made the chocolate cream pie before taking a nap, to ensure it had time to set. This pie, is super simple to make. The crust is gluten free, just a mixture of nuts and dates (and maybe a secret ingredient or two 🤗) and the pie itself is just chocolate…with another secret ingredient or two…! 


 I made my salsa before I slept as well, though that I was not as happy with it, because I packed up a lot of my spices already. Oops!!! It was still good, but I may have went a little overboard on the cumin….


The beef enchiladas were also simple…ish. I ground the beef with what spices I did have, then wrapped them into corn tortillas. I also have my own enchilada sauce that I just covered them in, because who likes a dry enchilada?? I sure don’t! I then topped them with a generous amount of peperjack cheese, a little spice is wonderful! I baked them at 375 until the cheese was nice and bubbly and the corn tortillas had a little crips to them. It’s different for every oven and every enchilada in my opinion. 



The spinach salad 🥗 is just a simple salad anyone can throw together!! I just used whatever ingredients I normally have on hand for salads: spinach, bell peppers, rainbow carrots, cucumbers, nuts and seeds! And top it with your favorite dressing or oil and vinegar works well too. What ever suites your pallet! 


Last but certainly not least…a good cook always has wine 🍷 while they’re cooking!! 😝


I’m pretty sure that we are doubling up meals this month or next, as I didn’t make any in March because of the move!

Until next time…

Have a fabulous day! 

My Very First Home Renovation

The hubby just did something crazy…we sold our house, which was practically perfect for our family, and bought a “fixer-upper” in the neighborhood one stop light to the north of our old house. We made an offer on the house before ours was even on the market. The house is in a more established, well known neighborhood to the city of Parker, CO. We were able to buy low in a high neighborhood, in hopes that some initial sweat equity would add tremendous value to our home right away. And the driving force to us moving was that we needed (wanted) a bigger back yard for our kiddos. And we accomplished that! We went from having a house with a 5000 sqft lot to a home with a lot over 16000 sqft! There’s a little bit of a difference there…

Well, we’ve never remodeled a home before, so this experience was truly organic for us. Our old home was only 13 years old, and our new house is over 30 years old, and it showed throughout the house! The family who owned it before us lived there for 17 years and raised two kids. We gutted or re did every room in the house except for 2 bathrooms, in which we only painted. We slept on the floor, using air mattresses and sleeping bags, while the remodel was taking place. We had no chairs to sit on or tables to eat at. We lived out of suitcases and ate out for almost every dinner. One night, I made dinner in my crockpot while it was plugged in on the floor in our sun room. And I drank coffee from my hidden coffee pot behind a fire place. Memories were made for us that’s for sure!!! But, now 7 days out from the conclusion of our renovation, I am happy to say that our new house is coming along beautifully. And I’d love to share the transformation with you! 

Ok, lets start from when you first enter the front door. The house is a traditional colonial two-story home, so when you enter the house the stairs to take you up to four bedrooms and 2 baths, are right in front of you, as is the hallway taking you to the powder room and kitchen. To the left is the dining room which wraps around to the play room and kitchen. To the right, is the library connecting to the sunroom which wraps around to the family room, and the kitchen. The main level is one big circle. We chose to paint the house all one color, just to keep it looking simple and clean. No accent walls, and all of the trim was painted the same color as well. The people who lived here before us had all kinds of different colors going on! The fresh coat of paint on the walls and trim make the house feel clean and renewed.

Stairs going up from main level BEFORE…

AFTER…

To the right of the stairs, the hallway to the kitchen and powder room.

BEFORE 


AFTER 


To the left of the stairs, the dining room that loops to the play room and kitchen 

BEFORE 

AFTER


To the right of the stairs, past the hallway to the kitchen, the library. 

BEFORE 



AFTER 

Right next to the library, the sun room, where Liam slept during the remodel! I don’t have a before pic, but here’s the AFTER….


Through the doors of the sunroom, the family room, where we camped out for most of the remodel…

BEFORE…


AFTER…


That brings us to the kitchen…the kitchen was pretty much half way remodeled when we bought it, new granite countertops, but it still had old, and most likely the original cabinets. So we had them refurbished and I ordered my own knobs from World Market. Yes, they are just randomly put on there, no rhyme or reason. 

BEFORE…




AFTER…


Next, is my amazing walk in pantry, which still doesn’t fit everything I have….how is that possible??!!!! There were shelves to the left as you walk with with a desk and drawers….ya I got rid of those…and am hopefully gonna build a wine wrack in its place….priorities people.  We also got rid of the mega huge microwave. Who puts a microwave in their pantry?? 

BEFORE…



AFTER…


And here’s a picture of the main level powder room 


Let’s head up stairs, shall we! 

The bedrooms and the basement (ok and the kitchen) had the biggest transformation. We took out all of the carpet in the bedrooms and replaced it with laminate. There was also a huge, white shelf in one of the bedrooms that was screwed to the wall that we demoed. And man, was it heavy! 

Bedrooms BEFORE…(some of the pics below and above that are the BEFORE pics, are from when we initially looked at the house and it still has the previous owners belongings…)


AFTER…


The vanity in the master bedroom is actually in the bedroom. It had a single vanity, though it has plumbing for a double. It also had blue and white tiles, and again, most likely original brown cabinets. So we demoed the vanity top (and have yet to replace it!) and refurbished the cabinets. 

BEFORE…


AFTER….
Our walk in closet had a lot of character and home made built ins. We took some of those out and completely painted it, including the shelves and added the proper shelf supports. 

BEFORE 


AFTER…


Here’s a picture of the toilet and shower in our bedroom we will remodel someday!!! But right now, it’s works just fine for us😊 


We have a private balcony off our master bedroom, with a wonderful view of our backyard!


And a pic of the kids’ bathroom, or AKA the upstairs bath. 


Ok, down to the basement! 

The basement is well, awkward. You walk downstairs and to the left is a hallway with a 3/4 bath and the door to the garage. To the right is a door to a 5th bedroom, which has another door to a second non bedroom, laundry and storage. But it works! Again, we got rid of the carpet, and laid our own in the two rooms. We also laid laminate squares in the laundry room and demoed some shelving that was in storage. And who can forget a fresh coat of paint! The 5th bedroom we’ll use as a guest room, and the second room is the kids’ play room. 

BEFORE 

AFTER


The lovely laundry room😂

 BEFORE 


AFTER


The hallway from in the basement at the bottom of the stairs, that leads to the garage, was lined with stone tile. The tile looked like it had not been done professionally and had about an inch or so of grout between the stone and the wall. And it also was broken in several places. So we decided to gut that floor and lay it with laminate. I cannot tell you how much nicer it looks and feels!!

BEFORE


AFTER

Last, but not least, pics of the yard, the entire reason we did this crazy move!! 

Front (see our new friends??)


BACK YARD….(see our new friends again??)


We have gotten a lot done since we bought the house mid March! My father and brother in law came over for a handy man day and knocked out about half of our 3 page list of things that need to be fixed in the house (which we have since added to!). We also have 28 windows in the house, and 16 of them are 76 inches long, and every one of those 28 need to be replaced! So far, we’ve bought 5 and are having the entire wood frame of those windows replaced. We are gonna replace the windows in phases, so we don’t get into debt. So hard to do only 5!!! But so far, we are loving our new home!! 

Until Next Time…

Have a fabulous day!!! 

One Year of Meals: Meals 4 and 5

Whoa what a crazy holiday weekend! I don’t know about yours but my home is filled with dragons, turtles, princesses, Mickey Mouse and everyone shouting to someone named Alexa every other minute, commanding that they do something for them. Crazy!! I decided on my down time between Christmas and New Years, to catch up on my blogs. I have like 4 of them waiting to be written/edited in my drafts folder. Let’s hope I can remember what I wanted to write about when I started them! Teehee ☺️


Any who, the family I have been making meals for decided to double up their meals in December, in lieu of making a meal for them in November. I was totally fine with that. I made them 2 meals in the span of one week. And please forgive me, as I forgot to take pics!! Given the time of year it is and how much I’ve been running, planning, cooking, working, shopping, parenting, cleaning, and kinda sleeping, pics of the food I made just kinda slipped my mind. But I can provide recipes!! Does that make up for it?? 

The first of the two meals I made in my cockpot as I was sleeping….don’t you just love crockpots? I had just gotten off of a shift, came home and stuffed the ingredients into a crockpot and let it cook all day long, while I was sleeping (not all day long 😂). 

The menu for this meal was pretty simple, but I would like to think it had a little bit of holiday feel to it, as the family was having their neighbors over to share a meal for the holidays. 

Menu: Homecooked Meal #4

  • Citrus Kale Salad
  • Balsamic and Dijon Chuck Roast with Baby Potatoes and Carrots
  • Chocolate Banana Applesauce Cake 

The meal, from what the family told me, was delicious and inviting for their get together. The Applesauce Cake can be found on my recipe page, it’s become a staple in my house and one I always keep in my freezer for company, social events or for the “just in case ” moments in life.


The second meal of the month had a Chinese food theme to it. The family was hosting two Chinese friends that they have done missionary work with over the years and asked if I could make Chinese food for them. My initial reaction was “yeah! Chinese food!” And then  I realized I have never made Chinese food before….in my life! I remember growing up my dad tried to make homemade sesame chicken using peach or apricot preserves, I can’t remember which one. It was not appetizing at all. No thank you. Well, guess what I chose to make for this family? Yep, sesame chicken!!! But I left the peach preserves at the store. I followed this recipe that I found on Pinterest, again in my crock pot and it came out lovely!! I know that Chinese restaurants, they fry their sesame chicken, but I just didn’t want to do that. It’s not healthy and it’s just gosh darn messy!! I felt the same about a Chinese dessert. The only ideas I could find was Chinese donuts…yep not doing it. So I chose a non Chinese dessert, still yummy and no complaints!! The Asian Noodle Salad is a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, gosh I just love her!! I feel like her personality and mine are so much alike! 

Menu: Homecooked Meal #5

  • Honey Sesame Chicken with Jasmine Rice
  • Asian Noodle Salad
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Raw Chocolate Hemp Bars

I am not sure what the native people thought of my food (I’m not even sure sesame chicken is actually Chinese food!) but the family had good reviews for me. The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are what my husband calls a “vault recipe”, meaning I don’t divulge the secret to the yumminess. That cookie recipe belonged to my great Aunt, and it will be passed down to my kids when they grow up. I love those kinds of things. The chocolate hemp bars, however, were kind of an experiment based on a recipe I found online. I asked the family to try them out for me as I wanted to make them for the kids at Christmas. Their response was “delicious but messy!” Hahaha I’ll take it! 

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a Happy New Year! Check out these knuckleheads 🙂 


Until next time….

Have a fabulous day! 

First (of hopefully many!) Family Road Trip: 9 Days, 4 States

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to travel. I day dream pretty often about places I want to see, and experiences I want my family and I to have. We haven’t been anywhere as a family (other than our family cabin), because I have been nervous to travel with 3 little guys. Can they withstand a long car ride? How will we keep 3 kids quiet on an airplane? Will we all be able to sleep in the same hotel room? What if we forget….(fill in the blank)?? I’ve seen people do it, and I’ve heard success stories and tips for traveling with young ones, but I wasn’t sure how my kids would travel. 

Traveling can be very stressful for an adult, add in 3 kids under 5 and you might as well forget it! Well this year, we had motivation to try out the traveling with kids thing. My husband’s brother and his family are living in Pittsburgh for the next 6 months while he finishes up seminary ( I may have mentioned this before), and well seeing as how they are also some our best friends, we couldn’t go that long without seeing them. So we drove out to spend thanksgiving with them. And hey, might as well make a few extra stops along the way, right? Our first vacation as a family had us making stops in 4 states to visit with friends and family, as well as sneaking in some sights. My husband clocked our traveling at 9 days, 47 1/2 hours in the car and just over 3000 miles driven. Holy moly!!! Oh and I also took a little over 400 pictures. Yes, we had a great vacation. 

One thing that worked amazing for us was doing most of our driving thru the night, so the kids were asleep most of the car ride. Can I tell you how often I’m in the car with 3 kids and it is quiet?? Yes, we were tired after driving all night, but nothing a nap couldn’t cure once we reached our destination. We cut our drive to Pittsburgh into 2-11 hour car rides, making our first stop to see a dear friend of mine that I met in treatment and her beautiful family in Macon, MO.

 


My friend has a boy Noah’s age (5) and a sweet baby girl Liam’s age (1) so the kids got along great. They live on a farm, very different from Parker, CO! The kids played on farm equipment, pet cows and Noah even rode in a combine…he was reluctant at first, but in the end he was glad he rode it. He will tell you that he saw the combine pick up soy beans. We went out for pizza one night and they cooked steaks for us the next night, before we had to leave. I also stopped off at the winery in Macon, West Winery (amazing, amazing wine) for my first souvenir of the trip. 




After staying one night and 2 full days in MO, we were set for another 11 hour car ride to Pittsburgh, PA. The skyline after you get out of the tunnel as you arrive into the city of Pittsburgh is amazing!! So beautiful. And of course, we didn’t take pics. Oops. At that point, we were just anxious to get to Levi’s brother’s home. The neighborhood they live in is called Squirell Hill and is home to so many old homes, with so much history and character. And the parks…oh the parks! Lots of fun places for kids to roam, climb and play, while enjoying the views of so many historic homes and buildings. The kids played a lot at Frick Park, which was walking distance from the house. Another part of Pittsburgh I enjoyed was, being back on one way streets. Yes, I know, I need help 🙂 


My sister in law and I were able to sneak away, twice! For shopping, lunch and a “chocolate” break.  On our first outing, she took me to “downtown” Squirell Hill, where we tried French Pastries from a place called Gabi Et Jules, and then ventured to a coffee shop where we visited and caught up with each other’s lives. It was so nice!! I did buy a red coffee cup from the French Bakery, my second souvenir of the trip. From the bakery, I tried a vegan pumpkin pie tart-thingy, yes that was the official term for it, with candied ginger on top. It was phenomenal And we brought our husbands home some chocolate. Drooooooollllll.



On our second outing, we went to lunch at a little vegetarian cafe hugged between shops, and was hidden in the middle of the neighborhood. It really reminded me of the neighborhood behind our condo in Denver, CO. We each had grilled mushroom sandwiches with soup, and our special guest (her daughter, my niece) had a black bean and sweet potato quesadilla. Yum!! 



The kids played and played. Nerf gun wars, Christmas movies, Legos and doll play for 4 days straight. There was also a trip to the children’s museum in downtown Pittsburgh to celebrate a sweet little girl turning 5. 


Last, but not least, thanksgiving! My sister in law made the  juciest turkey and all the preparations were made for a dinner that lasted about 20 minutes….isn’t that how it always is!! This was one of my favorite Thanksgivings that I’ve ever had. Nothing fancy, just great company and tasty food. 


We were very sad to leave, but really enjoyed our time with these special people!! 


We left Pittsburgh the morning after Thanksgiving en route to see my cousin and his wife and children in Burlington, KY which was about 5 hours south west of Pittsburgh. More cousins to play with! It was a quick stop though, only a few hours with them, but we were able to share a meal together. My cousin is a pilot and stationed in Cincinnati, OH. He just made captain, so it was good to see him and catch up. 

The last stop on our road trip, was a stop we decided to make on a whim….Chicago, IL! I’ve never been to Chicago, neither had Levi, and being only 4 hours away from it while in KY, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least see the Windy City. And yes, it was windy…the whole time we were there! But we were able to “do” Chicago in one day, with three kids. We were so glad we stopped, as we didn’t know when we were ever going to be in that part of the country again. We got in to Chicago late Friday evening and stayed at the Marriot on Mag Mile. Super fancy!! We had a great view of the city from the 17th floor. The kids had never stayed in a hotel before, so this whole experience was new to them, and exciting! After grabbing yogurt, granola and coffee from the hotel coffee shop, we left the hotel a little before 9 am Saturday morning and never looked back.  


We walked all over Chicago, from Mag Mile, to Millenium park. The kids played at Maggie Daily Park and had a blast! We also saw the big Christmas tree in Millenium Park, as well as the huge marble. 




We tucked ourselves in the shops on State Street to keep warm while kids napped in strollers, and I even got my little brown bag from Bloomingdales, my last souvenir  of the trip. We also saw this crazy shop called Eataly, and it was just levels of gourmet foods and small cook ware shops. I could totally have spent hours in that place. Tables were set up in each part of the store and you could order food from that section, sit, chat and soak in all that’s around you! 


For lunch, we ate a place called Burrito Beach, and we had gourmet burritos and the kids had rice and beans. Leave it to the Friedly’s to find rice and beans in Chicago! My burrito was so delicious, with black beans, goat cheese and grilled kale and squash (their idea of grilled veggies). They actually pressed your burrito in their burrito warmer after they made it. Soooooooo good! Their salsas were pretty unique too. Need to let chipotle know they need to add goat cheese and kale to their menus back home 😉🤗



We saw a lot of  old buildings and history, well as much as we could anyway!! We visited the fire station, and took a tour of a fire truck. The kids were a little shy with the firemen! 




On our way out of the city we stopped for pizza to go! We grabbed few slices for the car ride home. We couldn’t leave Chicago without trying some pizza. We left Chicago around 5:00 in the evening and drove through the night. The kids slept the whole night, as we made it back home to Colorado about 8:00 Sunday morning. 


I told levi I wanted to head back one day, to see more of the city and do more of the things you can’t do with 3 kids, like eat at a restaurant right on the river! Or see a show, and go dancing. I love love the city, and I called Noah my city kid because he did so well!! He helped push strollers and just really took it all in. I hope we make it back someday soon. 



Until next time…

Have a fabulous day! 

2 Working Parents: How This Family Is Adjusting To The New Way of Life 

It has been a while since I have posted a new blog. My life has done a 180 the past four weeks! I have been working now for four weeks and time has sure gone by quickly. I took a job as a Patient Care Tech (PCT) at a hospital in the same company that my husband works for. I work nights, 12 hour shifts, 3 nights a week. It’s not that bad if you look at it that I only work (on average) 12 days out of the month!


 My job, for the most part, requires me to be one on one with a patient my entire shift. Most of the time, as a tech, you can have up to 10 patients,  but my job is a little more unique. I am what you would call a “sitter” in the hospital. I sit with patients who are flight risks, in danger of hurting themselves, or are a major fall risk. The job has been amazing. The patients I have been with (I float to different departments and usually have a different patient each shift), have all been people who have attempted suicide. My job is to keep them safe, talk with them, helps with any ADL’s (activities of daily living), and at night, encourage them to sleep. It is tough some nights, trying to stay awake while my patient is sleeping, but I’m learning ways to combat my heavy eyes. The hospital I work for is a level one trauma center, so patients are being flown in from the surrounding states to be treated at our hospital. I have seen the good and the bad of humanity, in a small amount of time. I’ve seen gun shot wounds to the head, septic patients, marijuana induced psychosis, many people coming down from alcohol, and the list goes on. I’ve also seen families gather around patients, their loved ones, in support and in love. 


I am also never allowed to leave my patient, also a difference when working the floor as a tech. I would be lying if I said being around people who have made an attempt to end their life doesn’t get to me. The many different ways I have seen people try, the stories that I have heard, hearts that I’ve seen broken is real tough. But I’m doing it, working and trying to take care of patients and their families, and I’m loving every minute of it. And I have never been more tired in my life 🙂 

                                         
 Now, going back to work has been a huge adjustment for me and my family. My first night shift was probably the most difficult thus far, as I didn’t know what time I would actually be getting home the next morning and Levi was later to work than he was expecting. But we are figuring it out, and I really feel like we’ve got a handle on our new life….and it only took 4 weeks! My husband and I have worked together to make this transition as easy as possible for us, from chores, to taking care of the kids and sleep, all something we’ve had to navigate thru and find what works for us. My husband is a pretty important guy at the hospital he works for, as he oversees all the maintenance projects, security, biomed and safety for the hospital, not to mention he’s the director of plant operations. So interrupting his work schedule was not an option for us. Which is why working nights and weekends was the perfect solution. I would really love to share with you what adjustments we’ve made as a family, and what has and hasn’t worked for us as we navigate through this change in our lives. 

Note: I find that it is also important to learn how to work the night shift, from how to stay awake to nourishment and these sites (along with tips from colleagues) have helped me figure out life on the night shift Surviving the night shift and How to eat clean while working nights 

Now, I’m very much a type-A personality, and really thrive in situations where I have to be organized and life is chaotic. And what I’m about to share with you about my life and how we are adjusting to a 2 working parent household may not work for everyone, but can act as a guideline or starting point for any busy family or a family who is looking for tips to balance a full schedule. These are just a few areas of our life we’ve adjusted to make the day flow more smoothly for us, and to help ease us from feeling overwhelmed by this new change: 

The Hubby: why would I list my marriage first? Because it is and always should be my number one priority. I learned a long time ago, while watching my parents, that a husband and wife who both work is hard on their relationship. Working opposite shifts, is even harder. I’m not sure how personal I’m ready to be with you yet, but you need to put your marriage first, over raising your kids, over your house work, over your job…and this transition has caused a few tiffs between Levi and me. Not because there is any resentment or that he wants me to not work, but because this is new for us, for our relationship. I’m gone 36+ hours a week, I sleep on the weekends, and I have missed out on Saturday library days. The best solution we’ve come up with is to keep the communication open about how this is working for us, and what each of us needs from the other. And if life is just too crazy, and you find you are not spending the time together that your relationship needs, then schedule nights during the week where you can have that uninterrupted time together. Make it a point to be together, romantically and intimately, even if your exhausted. I can’t stress enough the importance of putting your spouse first. 


Food: oh food…My arch nemesis! When I knew I was going to start working again, I began putting together freezer meals, and meal planning when to use them. I was able to put almost 30 meals in my freezer before I started my job! I love freezer meals, as they make my life so much easier. Most of the time, I pull them out for days I know are going to be the most chaotic, days like church or nights I’m working. Freezer meals not only take away the question of “what’s for dinner on this crazy night?” but it also provides me and my family a healthy meal option, instead of eating out. I also make a point to help out with school lunches and snacks on days the kids have school. It helps Levi out to already have the kids’ meals made, so he can only concentrate on getting them ready for school in the wee hours of the morning. I also take the time before my shift to prepare my “lunch” , which happens around 2 a.m. I cut veggies or cook some kale with quinoa, in hopes that I can avoid the inevitable junk food frenzy that is the staff lounge on the night shift. It’s on every floor, where I ever I float, goodies are there. 


Chores: I made a chore list and stuck it right on my fridge, where I look at it several times a day. Spreading the daily chores out throughout the week is extremely helpful! When we lived in our condo in Denver, oh so many years ago, cleaning happened all in one day….ya I can no longer do that. Every day I have one chore to do, and two days a week I have one chore and laundry. It’s less stress for me, and I manage to get all of my house chores done during the week, so when the weekend arrives and I have to work, Levi has a clean house and no chores responsibility. 


Lists have been my life saver lately. Planning ahead is my forte. My life is in my planner, which  is labeled “Perfectly Disorganized”, and it’s no coincidence. I have a list for almost everything in my life: groceries, meals, prepping for company, chores, my to do, Levi’s to do, kids to do, meal ideas, work deadlines…yes PCTs have deadlines. There is something calming about a list and personal accomplishment when an item is checked off. 

Sleep: this is last on the list, but it’s almost as important as marriage. This has taken some learning, some trial and error. When I first started working the night shift, I thought I could go to church on Sunday mornings after getting off of work, then grab some quick zzz’s, before heading back to work. As it turns out, that was a horrible idea!! Luckily, I have the luxury of picking my shifts, so I can stop working Sunday evenings once the current schedule is thru. My sleep routine, ROUTINE, is the one thing I cannot change. In order for me to be able to stay up 12 hours, be effective and stay healthy, I have to sleep, at least 6 hours before my shift. I cannot bend on that, and Levi knows and understands that. Not only does sleep matter for my job, it matters for the rest of the week. I can’t be tired and catching up on sleep during the week, when I’m supposed to be taking care of my kids, my house,  and my man. So I stay on my sleep schedule in between shifts, and that has actually turned into going to be a little bit earlier during the week. 

In a way, this job, working the night shift, has helped me be more mindful of my health, because I can’t be a wife, a mom, a homemaker, and now a working woman, who is exhausted. Making clean food choices, staying hydrated, exercising and getting enough sleep is crucial to surviving life when you work nights. I’m grateful for this incredible opportunity, and I’m extremely grateful to my husband, for supporting me through this next chapter of my life. 


Until next time…

Have a fabulous day! 

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