Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good Reads

We love to read and want to share some of recent good read with you!

I just got done reading book one of the Hunger Game Series. It was such a quick and capturing read. I read it in 2 days pretty much. I couldn't put it down. So right now I am recommending this book to people to read. I love to read though, I am one of those people that get lost in the book. Sometimes I catch myself getting caught up in the drama of the book. I pick sides, root for, smile and get mad for the my favorite characters. We go to the library weekly and I love it. Our little library is small but you can put things on hold from other library and get them transferred. It is great. The girls also attend story hour on Thursdays. They have a lot of fun doing that. They don't get into the story as much as they do the dancing and craft. It is a great outlet to get some of their energy out. We also utilize the movie rack as well! Back to the books. . . another couple of great reads are Rescue by Anita Shreve and Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. All of these books were ones I had a hard time putting down. If you have any great titles you think a lady would like, pass them my way please! 

I actually just finished the whole Hunger Game Series at the beginning of January. So, I can confirm what Mallorie said, it's a quick read that you won't want to put down.

Is within the last year recent? I hope so, because I want to recommend, Little Bee written by Chris Cleave. This book is fantastic! While reading it I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to keep reading. The plot took a couple twists and got me thinking. I really liked the way the booked ended. Usually, I'm left wanting more or I'm disappointed at the end of a book. But not when finishing Little Bee, although I was sad the story had came to an end, I felt closure. 

Also, if you like educational books and/or mythology, you might enjoy the book I'm currently reading, Don't Know Much About Mythology written by Kenneth Davis (he actually has a whole series of "don't know much about" books). It's really interesting, but definitely nothing like a non-fiction novel. I've been intrigued by mythology since college, when I studied Art History, and my trip to Greece and Italy peaked my interest even more. I've really enjoyed reading this book on my commute.

Monday, January 30, 2012

4 years strong

This past week held a couple of big events for the Schrock's. One being that it was our 4 year anniversary. I am going to take some time to describe our time together. Jess and I got engaged when we were 18. Although we were dating less than a year we knew what we had was different, different than the past. I was still 18 when we got married and Jess had just turned 19. And of course we had our little Jo on the way. It is crazy how things change and how much we have grown. We went from being carefree together to having a baby girl only after being married 3 months. We have experienced a lot of firsts together and the occasional last. And through that time we obviously have had a rough moments/patches but I wouldn't change any of it. It all has prepared of for what we have been going through the last six months. We have laughed a lot together, fought our fair share and shed a tear hear and there. I love the fact that he can make me smile everyday. It is funny how we have learned when it is necessary to argue when it is not. I love how big his heart is, how much he wants to help. How sensitive he can be too. I also don't mind the fact that he is pretty good lookin.

This is the gift I started in the hospital for him and finally got the chance to finish. It is even more special because it is made with a deck of cards from our wedding. As a favor we had our name printed on them and the date of our wedding. And of course I had to put some fun ones on there too!

But the one thing that brings me more joy than ever is seeing him be a dad. He is awesome. I don't know how to explain it. He would do anything for any of our kids. It brings a smile to my face when people tell me what a good dad he is.

I feel very fortunate to have him as mine. I love him more everyday that is for sure. 

Second big event was my best childhood friend's wedding! I was so honored to be a part of it. She married her high school sweetheart. 8 years!!! Holy cow, right? Even more honored she chose Jo to be the flower girl. It was a busy day filled with a lot of love and tears. It was nice to see some friends that we haven't seen in awhile as well. The night was full of dancing, drinks and laughter. And of course Jo was the life of the party dancing like a crazy lady as usual. Yah another one of my friends in the married world now! They are lucky enough to be on a cruise, while we get more snow. Lucky Lucky.

Gatlyn has been doing pretty well. He is up to 12 mL/hour on a feeding drip. That is around a just under 2.5 teaspoons of milk a hour. They called in the GI doctors to evaluate Gatlyn. They are worried about his digestive track. He is pooping but it is just basically running through him. It looking basically like pee. So they consulted on that and are trying him on formula to see if that will be easier on him. When they ran test on his stools they found trace amounts of blood in his stool. Which means that it is starting to affect his digestive track. These things are just more setbacks so please pray for the doctors to  have the knowledge to understand what Gatlyn needs. Needless to say he won't be coming home anytime soon. He also is having trouble with a bottle. He can't get the hang of it. But, his alarms have decreased a lot. We are very thankful for that. Thanks for all of your prayers and support!


Friday, January 27, 2012

The most for your buck and baby

I am learning that babies, or well I guess kids, grow FAST. Today I was putting on a dress that the princess has only wore once before and  couldn't get her arm through the sleeve. I was like come on Ruth we just got this! It seems like I just let her wear everything she has in that size once and then I go to have her wear it again and it doesn't fit!

Buying new clothes every time can be hard on the wallet. We are lucky enough to have two older nieces ahead of Ruthie so we get tons of hand-me downs which helps a lot. But  of course there are things we need that we don't get from  Mal or our crazy Nanner and sometimes there are times that we just want to buy Ruth something ourselves. But how that usually ends is we go to the store look at the price tag and walk away saying "Why spend that, when she is going to be out of it in a week?"

I have a feeling I am not the only one thinking this. So I thought I'd share some ways I save on clothes expenses and some MUST GO places to shop.

1. It is pretty obvious,but GARAGE SALES. Hit those things up, if you get to the right ones you can score BIG!! Think ahead too, what size will he/she be in this season? Buy ahead.
2. The LilHearts consignment shop is GREAT. It is located in Grand Ledge and they have so much stuff from clothes, car seats, strollers, and cribs. And it is all in great condition, some still with tags! I bought Ruth a brand new pea coat from there from Children's Place for like 5 bucks.  Check out there Facebook page here.
3. Although I have never been here, I have heard of Village kids. located in Ada.

Second hand clothing is just has good and is easy on the pocket. Save the moolah for special outfits!! :)

 Any second hand shops that are MUSTS. Please Share!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Roast a Chicken

One thing that we have in common is that we all roast a chicken and make as many meals possible from it. So, we are going to share the different things we do with our chicken after the initial meal!

Just the other day I was trying to figure out what to do for dinner. I remembered, "Oh yah, mom gave me some left over chicken from the family meal on Sunday!" Then I had to decide what I was going to do...I looked around and noticed i still had some hoagie buns that should be used up. Plus as usual dinner was going to be a little rushed. AND, I got to go pick up my dress for the wedding I am in Saturday! (best friend Lacey is getting married to her high school sweetheart. Jo- flowergirl Me- bridesmaid.) So I broke out my little white crock pot shredded up a couple chunks of the chicken meat and tossed in some BBQ sauce. I had a huge bottle left from Jess's bday dinner (Ribs!). I mixed it up and put it on low. I would have added some onion and peppers but I don't like them and the girls don't either. Therefore Jess suffers again:( For a side I tossed some yellow flesh potatoes in olive oil with a little lot of seasoning salt and through them in the oven at 250. I then went to get my dress which only took 30 min. Came home turned each of them up and then toasted my buns in the oven. Great, simple, easy meal! btw, my mom always put the oven on low to cook things and left the house. So I hope that isn't too bad. If it is . . . blame my mother!

How do you roast your chicken? When it's done, is the skin perfectly golden brown and crispy? Mine is every time. I'm not perfect though, somehow I always end up roasting it upside down. When Mal told me this was going to be our topic for tonight, I immediately thought of the sandwiches (this one and this one) I like to make with ours after a few days, but Mal covered sandwiches, so what else can you do with your left over chicken? 

SOUP! This recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup is perfect for spicing up that last little bit, after you've ate if for 3 days...
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced (I use red onion)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, diced (tip, strip the seeds out if you don't like a lot of heat)
6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
Cooked shredded chicken breast (about 3 breast worth)
2 limes (juiced)
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped FRESH cilantro
1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese

In a large sauce pan heat the vegetable oil, add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, jalapenos and cook for another couple of minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, and beans, bring to a boil. Once at a boil add chicken and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Then add lime juice and cilantro. Serve with a mound a cheese and tortilla chips.
Trust me, this soup is awesome! It's one of my favorites.

The prince loves it when I cook a whole chicken at the beginning of the week, but I think by day 4 he's taking that back. We have so many recipes we love to make with left over chicken. One of the all time quick and easy ones in BBQ chicken pizza. So simple, and most stuff on hand!

Crust (I'll either make a dough or grab a pre-made crust found in the pizza section in Meijer)
BBQ (Any kind will do, we love Sweet Baby Rays Sweet & Spicy)
Shredded Chicken
Green Pepper
Cheese ( we use whatever kind we have in the fridge)

Lettuce (after is cooked)

Make like a pizza and cook!! and enjoy!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Love Bean is 4 Months Old!

My little Love Bean turned four months old last Friday. I've been taking pictures of her in our orange chair every month since she was one month old, and plan on continuing that until she's 12 months old. She weighs 14 lbs. and is 24 inches long, and is just now growing out of her 0-3 months clothes. These days she's rolling over (back to belly), growling, giggling, and trying to sit-up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Show & Tell: Tunage

We all like to listen to music and listen to it in a lot of different places throughout our day. Whether that may be in the car on the way to the hospital, on our ipods at work or on the subway, or blaring in the house while we clean. Anyways we thought we'd share a tune or two that we each are currently diggin' Perhaps they'll become a hit for you

I am currently lovin' Foster the Peoples entire CD. Particularly I find myself putting their song "I would do anything for you" on repeat. Its the kind of song that's upbeat but calm if ya know what I mean. Great to blast while your cleaning the house or cooking dinner. At work I enjoy their whole CD along with some Ellie Goulding.

Foster The People - I Would Do Anything For You .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

I personally like a little bit of everything. Right now I don't have any one song that I am into. But whenever I want to get moving I put in my Black Eyed Peas; The Beginning. It makes me clean a little more efficiently. And the lyrics aren't too bad for the girls. It is pretty funny to watch them dance to it though! But if I am in need of a pick me up, I put on 91.3 WCSG. That usually will lift my spirits and get my head in the right place. 

I'm gonna go ahead and take this opportunity to give our good friend Brad a shout out! He performs under the name, Hello Rainey. If you like pop/pop rock you will definitely enjoy his catchy music. You can buy his album on iTunes or Amazon. Seriously, I find myself singing it at random times, even if I haven't listened to it that day. 

Not only do I enjoy his music, but so does the Love Bean! How do I know my little Love Bean likes his music? One day while I was trying to cook dinner, she was super fussy and just wouldn't settle down, I had a my iTunes on shuffle and as soon as one of his songs came on she calmed right down. Recently he asked me to design a logo for his production company, High Score Productions, and I gladly agreed. In returned he recorded a couple of lullabies for Stella! I'm so excited she has her own special songs! If you still don't believe me, last week Brad and his wife came over to hang out, and every time he would talk, Love Bean would just stare at him. I imagine she wondering, "how the heck did you get out of the computer?"

Monday, January 23, 2012

oh to be young

I thought I would share a little bit of the daily things my kids say. I laugh a lot at them. And at times I leave the room because I shouldn't be laughing. These are the things that make me smile.

Jo comes sliding down the stairs saying, "Oh mom, I is drunk. I is so drunk."
Me, "What?"
Jo, "I'm drunk."
Me, "Where did you learn that?"
Jo, "I learnid it myself. Nobodies told me that."

In a really excited voice Jo yells, "Mom I'm so frustrated!"
"Oh what's wrong?"
"Nuting I just frustrated."
"Oh, you mean excited..."
Then I went onto to explain what each word meant.

Jo walks into kitchen and says, "Hey mom, can I have a cookie?"
Me, "No."
Jo, "Aww, Raelin has a cookie."
Me, "Ok, but you still can't have one."
Rae walks into the room and Jo asks in a really nice baby voice, "Raelin, you wanna share dat cookie wit me?"
Rae leaves room.
(nope she didn't get a cookie and I also should add she had already had one while rae was napping)

Jo stayed the night at Nanner's so we took Rae out to eat and to see Gatlyn.
We were waiting for our food and Rae was walking around. She walked over to the tall gumball machine and says this. "Maa, iwaneedaollar."
Me laughing, "You need a dollar?"

Cowboy is making steady improvements. He is not getting the opportunity to bottle feed much and when he does he is struggling. So they are trying to get him to use a controlled flow bottle. We get to hold him, give him sponge baths, dress him, change diapers we are just waiting until we can finally feed him:) Today is the first day he got to go up on his food by 1mL and down on his TPN(total parenteral nutrition). The TPN can have negative effects if he is on it too long. He was almost off it until he had to go back down on his feedings. So we are just praying that feedings can move along so he can get off of it.

is the reason why
even in pain, i smile;
in confusion, i understand;
in betrayal, i trust;
and in fear, i continue to fight.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Girls Got a Right to Brag

I'm gonna take my solo post as an opportunity to brag a little. Everyone likes to brag every now and then right? I think it's obvious I'm going to brag about my prince and princess. I always enjoy the nights I come home from work when Joshua and Ruth have been together because it always results in a funny video. Thought I'd share a few on this delightful friday. (and yes I know I have an odd family :))

Okay I'm done now. Your turn to brag to us about anything going on in your life. Everyone's got something to brag about so post it either here on the blog or on our facebook page. Pictures, videos, whatever! Git it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dr. Jekylle and Mr. Hyde

Let me preface this post with, I'm a little nervous about publishing it, but I've prayed about it, thought about it, and days later it's still on my heart.

Being a twenty-something mom can be lonely. As a young mom, you are in a totally different place in your life than the majority of your peers. When you become a young mom you lose some friends, keep some friends, and hopefully make some new friends. The friends that you used to go out to the bar and stay out until 2am with—yeah, you don't really have much in common anymore. But some friends, will be so excited for you, and seamlessly transition into their new role in your life. And hopefully you will be lucky enough to create new bonds with other moms (young or old). Sure you hear that, or think that, but once your Love Bean arrives, you realize it. At least we did.

Nothing made the gap more clear than when I started my new job. Almost all of my co-workers are within 3 years (+/-) of age me. But only a handful are married, and even less than that have a child. After work drinks? Sorry, I have to get home to the nanny. Being at such a different place in my life than them, is a little bit of a struggle for me. Part of me really misses the freedom I had before Love Bean, staying out late, not worrying about getting right home after work, sleeping in, or indulging in a night of what I now refer to as "College Jamie".

The other part of me, has absolute no desire to do those things anymore. That part of me is 100% content with getting up an hour earlier to have time to play with Love Bean before I leave for work, rushing home after work to see that beautiful smiling face, going to bed at 10pm so I can be up and ready to do it all over again at 6am the next day.

I guess, I'm a bit of a Dr. Jekylle and Mr. Hyde. But I think most moms are, regardless of age, regardless of where they live, regardless of their economic status. I just think that the gap is a little more obvious for young moms. I hope this is relate-able. I think the key to juggling these two sides is, in fact NOT juggling them. It's finding a balance. You can't completely lose who you were before baby. That's how moms (and dads) end up resenting their children.

Honestly, I'm still working on trying to find that balance. Meeting up for dinner and drinks with my friend Rachel last week, was just what I needed. I think nights like that will be key for me. I also attend a women's Bible study every other Monday, but next week will be the first week I don't have to take Love Bean with me.

By no means do I want that to sound like I resent my child or regret having her, or anything like that. I DON'T!! It actually makes me a little upset that I even feel like I need to say that. Being a mom is hard, and I think that I'm expressing what most moms feel, but are too afraid to say, because the fear people will think they're a terrible mother. I love my little bean to pieces, and coming home to her smile everyday is the best. I just need some me time every now and then.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Our Mom Means To Us

Today is our Mama's birthday! So we are going to take a second to tell you just how wonderful she is.

I call our mama, Mother a lot. I honestly don't know how I would do it without having her so close. It is a funny story though because we didn't always get along. Growing up I was CONSTANTLY banging heads with her. It is so cliche to say, but, now I understand why we did. She is a wonderful Nanner to my girls and fella too! She will drop what ever she is doing to help out in any way. Although sometimes she acts like she is crazy busy, you know she is waiting to help out someway. Or maybe it is because she knows we will need something. My mother is a crocheting maniac lately and I love that I can sit and do that with her. I can't completely wrap my head around it of how much she cares. I mean I know I care for my children but she cares for everyone. She will go out and do anything she can to make somebody's life a little easier, family or not. I hope that someday I can be like her in that way. She also has a huge heart. She cries when I cry and laughs when I laugh. Sometimes she even does some crying or being mad for me too! I am so thankful that God has given me a mom and my kids a Nanner like her. 
I said it once mom, but I will say it again. You are hotter and look younger than ever! It's 30 now, right?

I call our Mamma, Mamma :). Along with my sisters my mamma is my best friend. I cannot even put into words how much she has done, does, and will do for me. Through every bad and good "seasons," as she would say, of my life she was right their by my side. Although I have my own home now there is nothing I like better then going back to the home she created and hangin out with the whole fam. Some may not know, and probably she even doesn't, my mamma is hilarious. The four of us get a kick out of making fun her ;) I can always count on my mom and that is a good feeling to have. I can  only hope that my kids and I will have the relationship that I have with her and I hope that I can be for them what she is for me. Now that she has an empty nest my mamma is the greatest Nanner around. She loves each of her little grand babies and they know it! One day I get a text, "Can I swing by?" I say of course. Later I hear a knock on my door and in walks mom with a huge bag from Gymboree and says "Ruth...Nanners been SOOO busy all morning!." yeahhhhh that's our crazy Mom and Nanner that we love and are so thankful for! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMMA!!!!

Out of the three of us, I think I'm most like our mama. And I'm 100% okay with that. She has so much love and generosity in her heart, especially for children. She's one of those women who was put on the this Earth to be a mother, to anyone who needs it. This is clear when you look at how involved she was in school activities, as a foster parent and as a mentor for other young mothers. She's touched the life of so many, and has always maintained her home as a safe, fun, warm and loving place for anyone. I remember often when we were younger she would make extra food because it wasn't uncommon for someone to pop in conveniently at dinner time :) I think it's safe to say, many of our friends, think of her as a second mom. I hope one day, my daughter's friends will think of me the same way. 

I think as a mom you always hope that your daughter(s) will think of you as a best friend. But I know I didn't always think of her that way, I hid a lot from her and didn't always think she knew best (of course I was wrong ;). When I was younger, she was always my mother first and my friend second. So if that met saying no, or making ridiculous restrictions of phone usage, then so be it. Out of that grew a respect and admiration for her. And the older and more responsible I got, the more of a friend she became. Now, I can honestly say she is one of my closest, bestest friends, I share almost everything with her, and she's always there to laugh with, cry with, complain with, or just be with. 

If someday, my daughter thinks of me in even half the way I think of my mom, I'll be happy. Love you mom! Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A dolla make me holla honey boo booo

Sometimes in life you just need a good laugh. And today was one of those days. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Facts

Somedays it all feels a little crazy. Like I am kinda living a dream or something. We were in a family conference with Gat's doctor and he said if he could go home in 2-3 weeks that being if there is no set backs. That scared me-it was like all this time I knew he was ours but it has never felt like we were going to be able to take him home with us. Although there is pretty much no way we could have him home in 2-3 weeks anymore. The doc said it would be closer to 2-3 months.

That's the facts.

We will be driving back and forth to GR for another 2 months. I will be waking up each morning trying to figure out when I will get to see Gatlyn, where will the girls go. I don't want to ask the grandparents again. I just want a day where we can all be together the WHOLE day. The only way that will happen is when Gatlyn is home. I know to make progress you have to take a step back every now and then. I understand that he had to go back on oxygen again because he needed it. It just sucks. Nobody wants their baby in the NICU for a day let alone 3 months.

I just feel kinda angry. I am ready for the season to be over. I am ready to be done spending $200/week in gas. All of it is worth it when we get there, no doubt. It just sucks. I don't think anybody needs to do this to go see their baby. Their baby who sometimes you feel like his nurses know better than you. You just wish you could spend another hour, but, you have other kids that need you. The roads are getting bad. I want to just lay in bed and have all my kids under 1 roof. I wanna feel like a mother of 3. I want to go out in public and not have to say, "well, we don't really know when he'll be home." I am sick of acting like it is fine. I try to stay busy so I don't have to think about it. I hate having to call to check on my son, at least I can check on him. I am disappointed that I won't even get to try nursing him. I am upset that I couldn't keep that up. I wanted to be able to do one thing for him. I am ready for things to turn around. I don't want to hear the word surgery anymore. Not for Gat, not for me. I am ready for things to start going my way (although I know my way is not HIS way always). I want Jo to know that Gat will be coming home, not when he is old like mommy, but as a baby. He will be with us forever. I want Rae to understand that he is our baby. Not one that we just go and see. I want Gatlyn to know that I love him, WE love him, WE want him home. I want to cry again. I can't even cry again. That feeling in my throat but I just can't cry anymore.

It isn't just about me, it's about Jess, Jo, Rae and Gat. Our family.

We are ready for break.

As of last night Gatlyn is back off oxygen again:) But we are going to have to start backing off on the feedings:(

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's The Little Things

It's the little things that make us happy . . . 

Probably one of the most simplest things in life made me so happy this week. That would be Ruth being able to hold her own bottle. I was so happy when I handed it to her and she actually grabbed it, held it, and fed herself. We use glass bottles so because they are a little heavier then most bottles it took awhile longer for her to gain the strength, but she does it now! Let me tell ya I can get a lot done in that time I used to spend feeding her, so that rocks! ... but the sad side of the story is it means she is growing up and becoming less and less of my little baby. So I will force her to let me rock her and feed her before bed ;)

A picture is worth a thousand words. This photo of Jo Jo, Rae and Gat all together, made my week.
photo credit to Emily Goodemoot Photography
Dinner and drinks with my friend Rachel was a highlight of my week! We laughed, ate some delish Italian food at Club Lago, shared stories, and drank Stella Artois in honor of my Love Bean. A little girls' night out was just what I needed. She's a friend from college and even though we live in the same city, we don't see each other that often. But that's going to change...we vowed to get-together once a month from now on!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Full Plate

I guess you could call me sort of a mix between Jamie and Mallorie. Im not a working mom like J or a stay at home mom like Mal, I'm a working/stay at home/school mom...now thats a mouthful. I really can't complain though because my schedule kind of rocks with having all of that on my plate. I work part time which involves Monday-Thursday (5:30-9:30), so I get to stay home with Ruth for most of the day plus  long weekends. However also during that time I have to get my schooling in. I take online classes through Davenport University which has been a God send. I am doubling up on classes so hopefully (cross your fingers) I will be graduated by winter of next year.

Anyways, I have been wanting to do a post on this topic because as I scroll through my news feed on a daily basis I see a lot of woman, mostly young woman in my same shoes. Although I hate to see it and admit it and be somewhat part of that statistic, teen/young pregnancy seems to be occurring more and more. I am sure we (meaning all young moms) can all say the same thing. "It sucks my life is different now, it sucks I can't do the same things my friends do, it sucks that I can change diapers in my sleep (okay maybe thats just impressive!),  it sucks I have to be in bed by 9 so I can wake up in the morning, BUT I WOULDN'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD." I've said it once and I'll say it again, it is crazy how much a baby changes your life. The moment they are placed into your arms all immaturity and selfishness gets swept away, and at that moment that tiny thing becomes your life goal.

It is tough, somedays worse then others, to juggle all of what I do. I even have the prince to help out, so I can't even imagine doing it alone!! But the thing that keeps me grounded are my goals. I have set goals for myself, for Ruthie, as well as the goals Joshua and I have set for our family. 1. Graduate from College (both Joshua and I) 2. Get promoted to full-time 3. A full-time job for Joshua 4. A house by summer of 2013 5. Create a safe loving home that Ruth will want to always be at. These are my major goals and are what keep my chuggin' along and telling myself I am almost there don't give up. So I guess that is my advice to all of you struggling along with me. As corny as it sounds take a minute and set your goals. (I write them down because I love to check things off of lists :))

For the young moms: GO TO SCHOOL NOW. The best advice I was ever given was to not quit school and do it now while the princess is little (she won't remember it). Someday they'll look up to you for it :) I highly recommend Davenport, their classes and schedules work so well with work and baby schedules. The online is a major plus because I can stay home with Ruth and do it during her nap, rather then paying for a baby-sitter. Your not alone and I see you all working so hard to be the best for your babies.

For the young girls reading this who aren't moms: A BABY CHANGES YOUR LIFE. Think, before you make your life 10 times harder then it has to be. Think, before you just do anything with anyone because not every girl will get as lucky as I did. Because loser guys make loser dads.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Show & Tell: Recipes

Right now I'm on a black beans and rice kick. This quick little concoction is cheap, easy and pretty much my go to lately. 
  • White rice (I use Minute Rice because I don't have a fancy rice cooker like Alexis) when cooking the rice replace half of the water with salsa
  • After rice is cooked stir in 1 can of black beans rinsed and drained and some frozen corn
  • Cover and and put on low heat, stirring frequently
That's it, told you it was easy! Our favorite ways to eat it are in a tortilla shell (either by itself or with chicken), scooped up with tortilla chips, or just a big bowl of it by itself with a little bit of shredded monterey jack cheese on top.

I am going to share a recipe that is used over and over at our house. For breakfast mainly but also can be used for lunch and dinner. It is homemade pancakes!

First mix all dry ingredients then add wet.

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t. salt 
  • 3 T Sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1 C Milk
We add food coloring to make them fun! And also you have to add sprinkles, right? Unless you are a sweet freak like me...mini chocolate chips are a must! Oh yah, the mini pancakes are better for a finger meal-Jo dips in syrup and for Rae I spread a little syrup over the top. Just enough for the flavor and less of a mess! Let me know what you do for your kids that make them excited about eating!

I debated which recipe I would choose over and over. I LOVE to cook so I have SO many favorites! I was torn between something quick, something easy, something cheap, dessert, appetizer, or side?? I decided to go with something different. By something different I mean something most of you haven't had and something I learned through the prince's family. For those who don't know the prince is filipino so I always enjoy going to his place to get different types of food, sooooo yummy! Anyways I am going to share with you the first filipino dish I learned to make, and I would have to say it is quite tasty! Do not be afraid to try it!!!

Chicken Adobo (also can be pork adobo w/pork spare ribs)

Ingredients Needed: Chicken (with bone, I use either drumsticks or wings/4-5lbs), 1/2 vinegar (I have used both apple cider and white), 1/2 cup soy sauce, 3 cloves garlic, about a tsp black peppercorn, 3 bay leaves. 

Very simple combine all the ingredients in a deep pan. Your supposed to let it marinade for an hour or two but I never do because it is usually last minute I decide to make it. Anyways after you combine or marinate it bring it to a simmer and cover it. Let it simmer for about 30 min. After that uncover it and cook (stirring occasionally) until the sauce is reduced and thickens, and chicken is cooked through. And there ya have it. Serve it on a bed of white rice. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Extreme Couponing

Have you ever watched the show Extreme Couponing? No? Me either, but I've read quite a bit about couponing (all my info came from here) and I'm taking a stab at it! There are many degrees of couponing, by no means am I a fanatic about it (I don't have that much extra time), but I do hope to become a savvy enough couponer to save our family a substantial amount of cash-ola.

Tonight is meant to be more of an introduction to my coupon system. I've only gone grocery shopping using this system once, but I have my list ready for my next trip. Was planning on going last night, but yeah obviously that didn't happen, season 2 of Vampire Diaries on Netflix was calling my name.

I shop 4 stores, Dominick's (my local grocery store), Walgreens, CVS, and Target. Some of my resources recommended starting with 2 stores, but I dove in head first. Below are the cliff notes version of my system. I'll go into more depth when I'm closer to having it perfected.

  • Sign up for the rewards program if the store offers it. In my case this meant getting a CVS rewards card, since I already had a Dominick's one and Walgreens and Target don't offer them
  • (photo 1)Every Sunday I go through the Sunday paper and clip the coupons from every store ad, the SmartSource insert, Red Plumb insert, and any others. (Opinions on what you should clip vary, but I clip all the coupons for products we eat, will use, or that I want to try. I don't clip coupons for things I know I will never buy.)
  • (photo 2) Next, I write my menu for the week and my comprehensive grocery list. I like to make my menu after clipping coupons because then I can kind of plan around what's on sale
  • Then I get out my accordion organizer that stores all my coupons alphabetically by category (i.e cosmetics, cereal, shaving, batteries, cheese, snack bars, etc.)  
  • (photo 3) On a sheet of paper I make four columns, one for each store, and put it next to my comprehensive list.
  • Starting with the first item on my comprehensive list I pull any coupons I have for that product, and go through each sale add matching up coupons with what's already on sale. (The CVS ad is great for this because they note right in their ad if there is likely to be a coupon in your Sunday paper!)
  • Once I've determined where it's the cheapest, I add that item to the store's column, start a pile of coupons for that store, and cross it off the comprehensive list.
  • (photo 4) When I'm finished, I attached the coupon groups to my list, and file all the extra coupons away
  • Day of the shopping trip, I make sure I have my lists, coupon groups, the sale ads and I always take my accordion organizer, just in case I missed something. 
The first time I did it, it was SUPER overwhelming, it was a major shopping trip because I hadn't gone grocery shopping since before Christmas! I almost didn't go through with it, but I'm glad I did! Preparing my list the second time was a little bit easier, and I'm sure I'll just get better at it, so I'm going to keep it up.

I'm sure you're all dying to know how much I saved my first time out, but I'm going to save that for next week's post...JUST KIDDING! All together I spent $219.47 and saved $108.60! If you're already an extreme couponer, that probably isn't that impressive, especially since I spent more than I saved. But I feel really proud for saving that much moola on my first try, and I haven't even started clipping online coupons yet!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Woman's Must Haves

There are some things every woman should have in her closet. What's great about the staples we picked out is that you can find cute options at every price point! We're all pretty frugal when it comes to buying ourselves clothes. One of our favorite places to shop is Target. 
all items from Target.com

I say every woman should have a cardigan or two ... or three ;) Color is your preference but I highly suggest a gray one, but confession I have like 5 different colors! Cardigans can be dressy or casual. They are the perfect addition to a dressy top or a plain t. They are my go to clothing item when I don
t know what to wear, just a grab a T and a cardigan. Also temp wise they are perfect. Great for when its chilly or when its that odd temp between hot cold, because you can always shed it easily. You can get em' pretty cheap to I got most of mine at either Walmart or Target. Cardigans are a must!

The must have for my closet is a great pair of jeans! I don't buy a lot of clothes for myself, but I have to have a good pair of jeans. I have never been stylish-I am the sister that text the other sister a pic of a shirt/outfit to see if it looks ok. Recently I have bought my favorite pair of jeans from Gap. I did pay more money for them but it was well worth it. At the time when I was looking for jeans you couldn't find a pair of jeans that didn't have holes/tears in them. Im not a high schooler anymore-no holes needed here! But then last week I was looking at Target and found a few pairs that didn't have holes. I found a pair that fit and snagged them for $30. Great buy with that Christmas gift card to Target (Thanks Ladean and Cathy
---Pictures went great today! Gatlyn was awake almost the whole time. He is doing good lately!---

I'm so indecisive that I couldn't pick just ONE must have! I had to with two. It's my opinion that every woman needs a pair of black knee high boots. They look great over skinny jeans, or with a dress.They're perfect for Fall, Winter and early Spring. If you live in the mid west like me, that's pretty much 9 months out of the year. Why black? Black goes with everything. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I don't believe in this don't wear black with brown nonsense ;) Since I live in the city and walk a ton, I always buy flat boots, but go with whatever heel height you're comfortable with!

My second must have is a sun dress. If you don't get one that has a super summery pattern you can wear them all year round. In the Spring and Summer bare legged with sandals or ballet flats, and in the Winter add tights, a cardigan and boots (Alexis' must have!) and you're good to go.  

What about all of you? What do you think every woman should have in her close? We'd love to hear from you!

Monday, January 9, 2012

not a post for the weary

So this post has been on my mind lately. I have been struggling to get it down in the right way though. So I hope that it translates the way I want it to. I have just been thinking about my friends. A lot of this came from my best childhood friend's bachelorette party. It is amazing how when friends that haven't seen each other in 2-3 months and can pick up right where they left off. I am so glad I have a handful of friends like that. The friends that you like to run into...if you don't want to run into them are you friends really?haha. Either way, I love reconnecting and catching up on friends lives. I am thankful for them. And am glad I got to have some fun with them. I am glad that I allowed myself to have fun.

Then I have my sisters who are my best friends as well. Best friends not because we are sisters but because they make me a better person. I feel like my sisters are my rocks. (Obviously Jess is my main squeeze) Whenever I am just fed up with stuff, or wanna laugh, share a funny thing with they are who I call. Or if I hear something I think they would appreciate, I call them. I like to talk to them about what is going on in their lives and mine. We talk about our husbands...haha...don't worry guys nothing too bad;) Our relationship goes a little like this. I go in the hospital and my sisters were there within 5 hours. Let this be known that Al lived in Albion  still has ruth and joshua and school. And J came up from Chicago and she had just went back down the day before, was pregnant and missed work. My sisters are my ROCKS. They are unbelievable-I only hope they would know I would do the same for them. I have no idea how I would manage without being able to laugh with them. When we get together it is pure fun, sometimes disagreeing but mostly fun.

As I am typing I am realizing why I wanted to write about my best friends. I am so thankful I have them. I  love that I can call them on the way home from the hospital and they will talk to me about whatever I want. Or what they want. I am struggling when I drive back and forth now-it just sucks. I am getting tired, Jess is exhausted and gas sucks. haha- I am just annoyed with my luck.

So after everything has happened we know we don't want anymore kids, so I got a IUD put in. When because this is just how things go, it worked its way out of my uterus and is just floating in my pelvis region. How do they remove you ask...why surgery of course! So yes people I have to have surgery on Friday. SUCKY! Just my luck right. And we will be just getting a tubal ligation done why we are at. We are 100% sure our family is complete.

I know I have went in a couple different directions but I am all over the place right now anyway. Here I am just on cruise control ready for this "season" to be over.

On a wonderful note we are having a photographer come to take our pictures tomorrow at the hospital. First family photos! I will post them as soon as I can I am very stoked about this!!

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. 
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:3

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekend In Photos

Our weekends were full of laundry, errands, treats, and sweet faces. Enjoy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

For all the Baby Mammas out there!

One of the things that I have found most enjoyable with the Princess, especially now that she is older, is making her baby food. I love to buy different produce, mix different things, and see how Ruthie reacts to them. I have yet to make one she spits out . . . knock on wood.

My favorite site to look at and make sure the food I want give her is okay for her to have is Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food. There is a lot of great information about the different foods an suggestions of how to prepare it or what to mix it with.

I'm not sure how many moms out there make their own baby food now days, I think it is getting to be a lot more popular. For the moms who don't I'm not saying it's a bad thing, because I have a few boughten products on hand for emergencies, but I encourage you to! It is super easy, a lot of fun, and cheaper!

Now I started Ruth out on avocados because they are super easy and the it the produce with the most "good" fats and highest nutrition. It is a great first food for them because of the creamy texture and what not. But then both of us (by both I mean the princess and I) got a little board with just avocado and bananas so we started gettin a little crazy trying new tastes and textures.

Here is an example of my typical baby food makin night. All of the recipes are pretty much what they sound like unless they are a delight, then I have added some extra flavoring such as cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg.

I'll keep at least three of these in my fridge and then put the other three in the freezer until needed. But I'd love to hear if others had some success with certain recipes or if there are any Q's out there!  Basically if you can steam and puree you can make it.

Mango & Banana Delight (Ruthies Ultimate Fav!)

1 Mango
1 Bannana
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon 

Dice the mango into cubes, along with the bananas. Place in the steamer and let steam until a fork can easily slide through the fruit. Once steamed transfer to blender (food processor/or whatever pureeing method you prefer), add your cinnamon now and then puree until it reaches the consistency your baby likes. Ruth likes her thicker. 

I'd love to hear  if any other of you mammas make your babies food and some of the flavors they love! Let me know :) Have a great weekend. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Show & Tell

Show & Tell will be one of our weekly posts. It could be a favorite product, a recipe, a craft we've done, a cool website, or anything else we may want to show you!

This week we will be showing & telling about our must have item for our babies.

For the Schrock's it is a great stroller. When Jo was born we received two different strollers, a jogger and a travel system. I really loved each of the strollers and they have worked great. Then Al's princess was born and she received an awesome stroller! Then Stelly was born and she got a SWEET stroller too! Now, I am a little jealous they didn't have that cool of stroller when Jo was born. But since each stroller has been camping, to the beach, malls, dirt roads, off roading, and around town we are getting a new one! We are trading both in for a new one for our Cowboy. Well of course the girls will get a little out of it too. Jo and Rae are 26 months apart, therefore Jo has always rather walked than ride in the stroller with Rae. But now due to Cowboy's early arrival him and Rae are only 16 months apart. I know. . . I am going to be BUSY!! Ok now onto what we are going to get. It is called the City Select. You can do so many things with this it is crazy! There are many different seating combinations that can happen!  Jess and I have done the research and are excited that Gat's Nanner wanted to get him a new stroller for Christmas! Thanks Nanner:)

Isn't this great!?!

My go to product currently is the Bumbo. I had never heard of them before Ruth came along and when I saw them for the first time I thought they looked kind of goofy and uncomfortable. But that thing has been a godsend. I use the Bumbo on a daily basis. The princess has been using it ever since she was a little over 3 months. I really think it helped develop her back muscles and helped her to learn to sit up. We use that thing for so many things. We don't have a highchair so we use that instead, they even come with a handy little tray. Ruthie also uses it for watching TV (she's a TV bug, her uncles are not impressed with this), she often chills in it on the counter while I am cooking dinner, and it is even great to put in the bath tub (great suggestion by Mal!)

Here at the Krenz household we love love love Love Bean's (wow that's a lot of loves) activity mat. She has the Skip Hop Farmyard Activity Mat. How else is my little city girl going to get a taste of where mama and daddy are from? 

When she was a newborn she like to lay under the mirror and just stare at herself. Then she started kicking the pig, which rattles. Now that she's a little over 3 months old, she kicks and swats at all the little farm animals that hang over her and rolls to get to the ones on the other side. She also pulls at the carrot that's attached to the mat. There is so much for her to look at and play with, that she'll lay on it for a quite awhile before getting bored. It's a great place to put her when I want to get something done around the apartment. It even has multiple hooks to hang the animals from. So you can have things hanging at different heights, or add other rattles like we have.

Gatlyn is doing great. His feedings were bumped up to 6mL over a hours time. Although we know the road is long from here I feel like we can breath. Please pray for infection to stay away and for him to keep tolerating his feeds:)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Working Mom

I tossed a couple of ideas around for my first solo post, before settling on sharing about my new job. I'm doing things a little differently than working moms normally do. I'm working while Love Bean is a baby and hope to be a stay at home mom once she goes to school. That way I can attend field trips and other extra curriculars. This decision has came with a boat load of emotions, both good and bad.

My new job started with the new year. Actually it's a 5 month long internship at Red Frog Events (RFE), but it's paid and I'll be doing all that same work as if I were a full time employee. I'm super excited to have gotten the job. RFE gets over 2,000 resumes a month from people hoping to land an internship there, I can have free fountain pop everyday, and they have a tree house in the office, so yeah, it's pretty awesome to be working there!!! The opportunity was too good to turn down, will look great on my resume. I've worked 3 days, and already feel like I'll love it there.

When I compartmentalize and think only about the job, there isn't a sad/negative thought that runs through my mind. Only happy thoughts! But there is the Love Bean Factor. Leaving her all day, makes me sad. Thinking about her spending more time with her nanny than with her mommy, makes me feel guilty. I miss her smiling face all day, and you can bet my desk will be plastered with pics of her. I don't really feel like I need to explain why. If you're a parent you know. If you're not a parent, well I can't really describe it so you'll fully understand anyway. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

I comfort myself with knowing, she really won't remember that I wasn't here with her everyday. And our nanny is so wonderful with her. I know Love Bean gets lots of love while I'm at work. Love Bean smiles every morning when she sees her, and is always happy when I get home. I'm so thankful we are able to have a nanny come to our home, instead of hauling Love Bean out to daycare. In February, Love Bean will be getting a playmate, who is just a  month younger than her. Setting up the nanny share makes the financial burden of a nanny A LOT more manageable!

How about all of you working mamas out there? How do you balance work and family?Any advice on dealing with the guilt/sadness ect.? One of my hubs' aunts told me, "You just have to let it suck the first week, and then it will get better. But just let it suck, don't try to pretend it doesn't."

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Wives Are Thinkin'

Uh oh, we are thinkin'. . . are you nervous yet?? Don't worry it is just about date nights!

Jess and I go on more dates than my sisters. This is due to the fact my girls love to have a babysitter come to the house. I remember loving that too when I was young. And plus I live in a location that gives me TONS of sitter options. I am very thankful for that. Before the last 4 months we didn't go on dates as much though. Now anytime we go to the hospital together I consider it a date. We talk a lot on our dates and I love having the chance to catch up! A night for us usually includes dinner at Olga's or Applebees. Olga's because I love it and Applebees because there is usually a game on we want to watch:) We enjoy watching sports together. And then we will go shopping or my favorite thing to do is go ice skating. Jess played hockey-therefore he skates GREAT (a little turn-on)haha! I think dates are important. My mom has always said that many people's marriage are strained after the kids leave the house. After being a mama now for almost 4 years, I can totally understand it. We are trying our best to take time just for us as well and time with the kids! Therefore we talk a lot and do a lot together. Well. . . I talk a lot and we do a lot together;) What are your favorite dates or is there a different place you think we should try!? 

The hubs and I haven't been gone out on a "just the two of us" date in a little over 3 months. I'm really jonesing for one. We used to go out quite a bit before our little Love Bean arrived. In fact, the Friday/Saturday/Sunday before she was born (she was born on a Tuesday) I made the hubs take me out every night. I think subconsciously, I knew I needed to cram a few in because I wasn't gonna get one for awhile.

Since it's hard for us to go out now that Love Bean has arrived, and we both think it's important to get some couple time, we have stay-dates. After Love Bean goes down for the night (around 9ish) we'll play board games or catch up on our favorite TV shows together. Our current favorite is Quarto (thanks mom and dad!) but Scrabble and Farkle are in the rotation. Stay-dates are fun and FREE! They're a great option if you're like us a lining up childcare is a huge chore, or if money just a little tight and you're looking for something free and fun!

It is hard to believe but the prince and I have not been on a date alone together since the princess arrived, that is 6 months!! I would love one but that little girl seems to have her daddy wrapped around her finger. I have gotten stood up twice by him because he chose her over me :(. ( I'm embarrassed to admit that) Crazy I know, but like Jamie we get a lot of, well usually nightly, stay-dates. Ruth heads to bed early so we use that time to have some us time. This usually involves renting a movie on itunes, me making a late night dinner, and sharing a couple cans of Coke. I could not agree more that date nights are really important for a relationship and we really gotta take a night out on the town one night. So if your hubby's like mine (which there are probably not many of you ;)) don't worry your not alone!!!

Praise the LORD! Gatlyn is now breathing completely on his own! And his feedings have been going well. He is still getting his feeds on a drip but he is digesting and pooping:) 

great stuff.

So yet again I write a crazy depressing post and then things start to turn around. Well not JUST turn around. But COMPLETELY turn around. I am totally crediting it to the power of prayer. Because as soon as I let people know what we can pray for this happen. 



Saturday they switch from a jet vent to a conventional vent. I was pumped about that. THEN we get a call Sunday they were taking him off the vent and putting him on Nasal Cannula. Not only is he back on what he was prior to surgery but the level of help he is getting is lower too! As if this weekend couldn't get any better-he pooped too!! Not just a little either. I never thought I would be that happy to smell a stinky diaper! I can't stop smiling! Jess got to hold him today too!

These 2 fellas have my heart along with a couple ladies:)

On another note I pretty much have the best husband ever. I feel like you might be jealous after you hear what he did;) total joke, but for real! While the girls and I were at church he stayed home. Our furnace quit working so he was trying to fix it. (life of a homeowner....) He ended up having to call someone to look at it. Don't worry it's fixed now and I have got it CRANKED! Back to what he did- he cleaned the ENTIRE downstairs. Like GOOD, not just pick up and put some stuff away. Like all out cleaned everything, well except the bathroom, put all of the Christmas stuff away. His cleaning ways work for him but I don't work the way he does so it takes me FOREVER to clean.

Jesse's Cleaning Strategy
Pick one room to start in.
Take anything that doesn't belong in that room and toss it in the room it belongs.
Pick up trash or whatever random stuff that has filtered in.
Move on to next room.

He says he will take care of stuff if it goes in a room that he already cleaned. 

I cannot do that. I have to take something from one room to another, I have to put it away. Then that gets me distracted and I start cleaning that room. 

Anyway Jess is great-and I have to clean Andi's room today which is the one room he didn't get to. Guess whose stuff was laying aimlessly in other rooms and got tossed back into their room... yup Jo. So there is a HUGE pile of STUFF in her room to be taken care of. PLUS all the other random stuff. I will take cleaning her room over the whole house any day though. I have a great husband.... most of the time;)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January Love List

This is a monthly post that J used to do on her blog. It was Al and myself's favorite post each month of hers. So why not have a Love List for each of us? A Love List is simply a few things that you're excited about and/or loving about the upcoming month.

Mallorie's January Love List
-Best friend Lacey's wedding (Andi flower girl, myself bridesmaid)
-Jess and my FOURTH anniversary, I love him more each day
-A BUNCH of birthdays on my side and his.
-Gat will be 3 months.

January Love List for Alexis
-It's the Prince's birthday! :on the 31st Joshua will turn the big 22 hoping I can come up with a sweet gift :)
- Ruthie's belly laugh: before it used to be a cough type of thing, now its an all out chuckle
- The fresh start to a new year including this blog, cannot wait to see where it takes us 
- Bannanagrams: its a game that my mom has, that I love, and will be buying.
- MORE birthdays: I swear January is the month of birthdays for our fam

Jamie's January Love List
- My birthday! I'm turning 25. Crossing my fingers that hubs has a special date night planned (sans Love Bean)
- iPhone!! I finally have a smartphone, and I'm pretty pumped about it.
- My Kindle Fire, my 45 minute commute of the train will be so much more enjoyable
- More family birthdays (I think there are 5 in our family this month)
- My new job, I'm super excited/nervous. Also, a little sad about leaving Love Bean all day 5 days a week
- Mini road trip Midland w/the hubs and BFF for a friend's wedding