Nutrition & Good Eats

Sometimes, I am that mom who will use a bribe or be sneaky about finding ways for just a few moments of peace. Today, I had one of those moments.

Twice. So far.

My daughter (2 years old) has decided to go through a phase where it either takes her two hours to eat a meal, or she doesn’t eat really at all at times. In order to convince her into eating what was left of both her breakfast, and lunch, I told her I would make cookies.

Then, once I started baking both big kids were literally in my face and yelling for me every 30 seconds to tattle on the other.

Oh boy.

I am not proud to admit that once again I used an unfair form of convincing when I used the cookies against the children by telling them mama needed a few minutes of time in the kitchen without them if they wanted to enjoy cookies.

I sure fooled them.

I have had this banana flour in the pantry now for quite a while and I’ve been waiting to give it a try. I knew I wanted to make something along the lines of chocolate chip cookies bars but I am notorious for just throwing things together and praying it turns out edible. Since I’ve never used this flour before I did write all my steps as I went, just in case the cookies were either really bad or really good…that way I could remember what I did.

Step one: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt about 1/4 cup of coconut oil. honestly, I just scooped some out, and that’s about the amount it seemed to me.

Step two: Add 1/4 cup coconut sugar, and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and mix well with the oil.

Step three: Add two eggs, 1 tsp (ish) vanilla, 1 tsp (ish) baking soda, 2 cups almond flour, 1/4 cup banana flour, and mix well.

Step four: Add chocolate chips.

Step five: Once you’ve mixed the ingredients well and can form somewhat of a ball with the dough, drop it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step six: Use your hand to press the cookie dough into a large cookie that is about half an inch thick. I made mine into a rectangle, only because that was the shape of the sheet I used. You could press into a circle or square, as long as the dough is even so it’ll bake evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes.

So not only are these cookies a little healthier than your usual cookies, they taste great, and were pretty easy and quick (once the kids let me get them done).

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My Fat-Loss Pyramid Plan

Nutrition & Good Eats, Workin' Out

Fat-loss is a highly searched topic, where you will find endless opinions and a variety of “foolproof” methods that your head might literally spin with confusion on where to start.

I can’t make any promises, because there are bright sides to every method, depending on each person, their health, and their bodies. However, I can share what I have seen work, and what I believe in.

Losing fat isn’t rocket science, you just have to be persistent, and honest about your goals and the amount of effort you are willing to put forth in meeting them. That’s without a doubt the most important factor, and quite frankly, a big part of why I decided to give up on personal training. The majority of people want results, but aren’t willing to do the work, put in the time, and trust the process.

I think, for me personally, besides the lack of patience people have in their weight-loss goals, my biggest pet peeve is when people assume going for a run is the best route to achieving their abs, or lean thighs, and better butt.


Though, it is true that running can assist in weight-loss, the type of running matters big time. In addition to the lack of promise steady-state running shows for fat-loss, it happens to have a negative effect on muscle mass.

If you’ve done your research you will know by now that muscle helps burn fat!

Also, you NEVER need to assume you have to supplement or take an additional pill or shake in order to achieve your goals. In my opinion, the majority of supplement companies are frauds, or are full of products I could never trust. It is a waste of money to invest hundreds, if not thousands for products that are in many cases, not needed.

So what is one to do?

Here’s my take.



Most importantly, and at the base of any healthy and fit body is nutrition. Creating a clean diet, full of foods that nurture, heal, and replenish your body after and during exercise. Our family chooses to eat organic, mostly gluten-free (I am 100% gluten-free and have been for over five years), non-gmo, real foods. Sugar isn’t an issue for myself, however my husband has a sweet tooth, so we still have it in the house. Coconut sugar and raw stevia are substitutions we also have available. We do enjoy eating out once in a while, but opt for places who offer grass-fed meats, local vegetables and even then, we tend to order on the safe side…no fatty, or deep-friend platters.

Second, we come to sleep. Rest and sleep are CRUCIAL for not only recovery from exercise, but in general, your health depends on making sure you get enough sleep. Women should be getting 7-9 hours a night, no less. Some men can handle 6-8 and not have any negative side-effects. Some people might say they are “fine” with their routine of very little sleep, and swear it has no impact on their weight gain, health problems, or other areas of their life. Don’t let them fool you.

I used to be a runner. Long-distance. I would rack up 50+ miles a week most weeks. I was also very tiny. I was thin, had no definition, had no butt, had no abs. I was just small. Once I started a more serious weight lifting routine I realized I could have curves, and feel sexy, more womanly. Not only that, I felt strong! Now, weights are my go-to. During pregnancy, weights were my go to. They never let me down. I have seen time and time again the benefit from weight-lifting and strength training, not only personally, but with clients as well as others, and I can honestly say, I’ll never go back to the long-distance running gig.

The best form of “cardio” when it comes to burning fat, without jeopardizing your muscle gains, is interval training. You can use just about any set-up, which benefits both beginners as well as athletes. If you’re just starting out, you can adjust the intervals so that your “rest” period is much longer than your “intense” period. And vice versa for those who may be more advanced. Tabatas are a good example of interval training that you are certainly able to get creative with. Hill sprints, or any other high intensity burst of action can bring you benefits as well.

And at the top of that pyramid, is that darn steady-state cardio. You know, that go out and run comfortably at the same pace for an hour cardio. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll say it again, I have nothing against running. I believe it has it’s place. Just as I believe running is therapeutic, and it can be fun for a challenge now and then. But unless you use it properly, you may be doing your body, and fat-loss goals more harm than good.

And there ya have it.

I’ve just had my third baby, and this is a plan I am sticking to for getting back into shape. It’s a plan I trust, and it’s a plan I feel comfortable with. That’s why I’m sharing it with you. 


Mama’s Got Her Hands Full

Mama Mama

It’s been a little over five weeks since our journey into parenting three tiny humans has began. To say our world has needed adjusting is an understatement. Though I found myself very fortunate to have my husband home for the first two weeks after having our third baby, what followed was chaos, uncontrollable emotions, stress beyond management and doubt.

You see, raising two munchkins with our crazy, eventful lives, was already a challenge. We knew bringing a third into the mix would be tough, and we expected changes and challenges. What I didn’t want to dwell on was the fact that I’d be doing a lot of the hardest, most time-consuming, and exhausting parenting on my own.

My husband is an extremely hard worker. There are times I’d actually say he’s a work-a-holic. It actually takes convincing to get him to just relax and snuggle, and be low-key and just present a lot of the time. In his defense, we have a never-ending list of projects to tackle and money is always an issue, so the overtime work is a blessing even when it doesn’t feel like it. And every single day it feels like the exact opposite for me.

I am a stay-at-home mom, and I am very hands on. I have always wanted to be the one who raises my kids, as well as be the one who helps build them up in education and schooling. I have controlling qualities, which enables me to provide healthy meals every day, produce creative school worksheets, and be the monitor to manners and attitudes. Those qualities also make it nearly impossible for me to ask for help until I’m already in full-blown fall-apart mode. And when that time finally comes, the guilt and doubt sets in, which makes it even more impossible for me.

In any normal week, my husband works 5 days, but in addition to that, there are three nights a week I have the kids to myself while their daddy works call and stays out of town, or works late; until bedtime. That’s three full days of cooking and preparing breakfasts, snacks, lunches, dinners and food thrown, spilled, and played in over hours of repeating “just eat”! That’s three full days of potty struggles, accidents, wiping butts, and wet pants. That’s three full days of fighting nap times, and bedtime routines that exhaust mommy more than anything. That’s two full nights of breastfeeding alone in a king sized bed, and unlatching when necessary in order to get out of bed and comfort the big kids in their room when they wake and cry, only to then have a screaming newborn as well. That’s two full nights of no sleep at all

So today, I decided the exhaustion had built up long enough. It was time to begin a pumping routine in order to hopefully build a small stock-pile enough so that mommy can find a time in the near future to get away.

Take a break. 


The plan was supposed to be that I pumped first thing, and allow Eason to be fed by daddy via a bottle using breastmilk I had pumped (as strictly a release for comfort) a couple weeks ago. It was supposed to be done simultaneously so that my re-fill schedule was consistent with Eason’s belly getting hungry again. I got out the pump, heated the frozen breastmilk, and got all hooked up.

And then we got a call from an electrician saying he was on his way over.

Frustrated, and almost in tears because of the fact that literally NOTHING seems to go as planned or in my favor when it comes to the house progress, and there is constantly someone in our personal space, I told Javin to hand me to the baby while he went and dealt with yet another project.

So I bottle fed while I pumped.

I kept telling myself that I should just remove the pump and allow Eason to attach to me, and make things a little easier, but I was also desperate to be able to sneak away at some point in time. Which meant I had to follow through with the plan.






Motherhood is hard.

It is messy.

It is chaotic.

It is unpredictable, and at times overly predictable.

It is exhausting.

It is precious. 

And it is busy.

Pumping only adds ONE MORE THING to our already busy days. I’m not exactly sure when or if it’ll get done most days, to be honest. It’s going to really just be one more inconvenience. All I know is there’s not another way for this mama to be able to get out of the house 100% kid free, until we have a milk supply on hand. Until then, all the grocery trips, library adventures, and all other errands will always include at least one baby. It’s now been a little over five weeks since I’ve had any time to myself. It’s been a little over five weeks now that we’ve been raising our growing Fleshman clan. Three of those five weeks, the challenge has felt almost that of my own. The exhaustion I’ve been feeling will back that up.

But when it comes to self-care, the biggest challenge of all is convincing myself I need it more than my kids need me. Every once in a while, it would be nice to feel like instead of needing more hands, that maybe my hands weren’t so needed. But they are needed. And they are full.




Having Our Baby at Home

Mama Mama

Almost five years ago, when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child, having a home birth was something that crossed my mind, but my husband was NEVER on board with the idea, so I never pushed or researched the concept. At that time, we decided we wanted a fully natural, hospital birth. Our son had other plans, however, and was born 10 weeks early, which drastically changed our birth plan.

After that experience, I decided there was no reason to make a birth plan for any future children, but just be prepared and know what we want.

We had our second child, our daughter, in the birth center of my home town, where she was born in the tub. I labored in the shower, and was able to move freely which was a big change from my first birth experience. My labor was so fast with my second that I didn’t really have much time for anything but a few pushes and there she was.

This baby, our third, and our last (unless God has other plans) we knew we wanted to have at home. Despite a lot of questions and doubt or worry from others. The thing is, we were finally not living with family, or far away from family like the previous pregnancies. We were in our OWN HOME for once, while still close enough to family, that both our moms were able to join us as soon as we asked them to. We worked hard to get our house construction under control enough to have the third floor be move in ready, just in time, I might add. Though still a mess, I felt comfortable enough knowing we would be bringing a baby into the world in our home.

I almost get emotional when thinking about this birth. My husband and I followed our guts and hearts and did so much research when it came to doing what we thought was best during this pregnancy. From making medical decisions about not taking progesterone, and listening to my body closer than before, and talking about every little change I felt, all to be certain we did everything in our power to have a healthy term baby without a hospital or medical intervention.

I was told at 35+ weeks to take it extra easy, because I was starting to notice changes in my body. At 36 weeks I began losing bits of my mucus plug, and I got nervous at this time. I truly did NOT want to go into labor before 37 weeks, I knew I had to make it to that magic number in order to be able to birth at home with my midwife. So I did. I somehow managed to do as little as I possibly could, with help from my mother-in-law especially, she spent extra time with the big kids so that I could rest more frequently, as difficult as it was for me.

The next Monday, I made that 37 weeks, and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew, I just had a feeling, it would be any day that our little man would be joining us.

Come Wednesday, I had been having contractions the previous few days, but they were incredibly inconsistent. Very mild contractions as well, some were 30 seconds, some were longer, but they varied between 7-13 minutes apart, so I went to bed.

There was a huge storm that night, and I woke from the ferocious wind, and worry for my chickens and goats. At least I think that’s why I woke, it’s how I remember it, but I began contractions instantly, so there’s that as well. The contractions were a little more intense than they were earlier that day, so I decided to time them right away.


Four to five minutes apart. 

Shoot! My midwife had wanted to know when they were consistently 10 minutes apart because she wanted time to prepare and make the drive to my house from hers. I went to the bathroom, and noticed I was spotting, so I called and updated her.

My mother-in-law lives less than a five minute drive from our house, so we called her, to see if she wanted to come over and be here with the big kids in case they woke up, and also share the birth with us. She didn’t waste any time, and arrived a few minutes later. 

Over the next hour, my contractions only grew with intensity, and became shorter together. They got to every 2-3 minutes apart, but I could still distract myself from the pain when they came, by talking, or concentrating on something else. My second delivery went so fast that I was hoping my midwife made it to before the baby, but I also know that even if she didn’t, I was in good hands, I trusted my husband and myself to get the job done need be.

Fortunately, our midwife arrived shortly after. As well as did my mom, and a second midwife, some extra hands.

I was checked, to see how things were progressing, and at this time I was 7 cm dilated. I was so hopeful things would move right along, but I was also nervous because my water hadn’t broke yet, so I was worried that might hold me back. I had in my head that my water breaking was what kicked my second labor into gear, so I was waiting for that. we had towels everywhere just in case.

I took comfort in my exercise ball during contractions, though when the intensity stepped it up a notch, I got into the bath tub where I knew I would be a little more soothed.


*Note: We didn’t use the birth tub, for a couple reasons. First of all, there wasn’t an easy way to fill it being as we were on the third floor and didn’t want to run a hose throughout the house. Second, our bath tub was big enough to fit me, and my belly, and a baby, so I didn’t see the need in adding an extra challenge. 

Javin was sitting on the toilet, lending his hand, as I squatted, leaning over the edge of the tub. I was feeling so tired between contractions that I was almost able to doze off for those couple minutes of relief. I must have relaxed too much, because my contractions stopped progressing, and the midwives suggested I get out of the tub for a little movement.

Movement. Not exactly comforting when after a step or two you find yourself hunched over breathing through another contraction, but I took to the stairs. I needed my husband for support, and was a slow moover, but I also was anxious for our baby boy to join us. I was only able to make it down the the main level, and back up before returning to the ball.


After only a handful of contractions on the floor and ball, a slight urge to push with each wave hit me, and I wanted back in the bath. I felt like I needed in the bath…ASAP! 

Once in the bath again, I checked myself and with the next contraction felt my water break. I was still squatting at this time. My midwife began monitoring the baby’s heart rate, and into the next contraction. Just after that I checked myself again and felt his head. Being my third baby, I knew what to expect, but that didn’t make the pain any easier.

I rolled onto my back, not only for more comfort, but so I was in a better position for delivery. Our bathroom is small, but somehow we fit myself, my husband, my midwife, a second midwife, and my mom at the doorway. I pushed him down in a couple contractions and I knew he was almost ready, but my mind told my body to temporarily halt. I cried out “I can’t! I can’t…” as I felt pain like never before. My scream woke the kids, and made my dog go crazy. I caught my breath, and gave two more big pushes, and our baby boy was delivered directly onto my chest. My big kids got to come into the bathroom to see Mommy, and their new baby brother first thing which made the whole experience more heart-warming.


As it turns out, Eason’s arm came through with his head, so maybe that’s where the extra pain came from. I did end up tearing, and was offered stitches, but I declined. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, and I was assured the tear was actually in an ideal location, I just would need to take it extra easy.


I went straight to bed…my bed, not a hospital bed…and watched as my oldest got to assist Daddy in cutting the umbilical cord. And while I snuggled and nursed right away, the kids got to take a look at the placenta while it was examined. 


It made for a long night, and early morning, but everything went perfectly. I knew I shouldn’t complain since the whole event took only five hours, but it felt much longer than that this round.

Looking back now, a month later, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I only wish more women trusted their God given ability to birth naturally, and in the comforts of their own home at that! It’s truly such a blessing being able to bring a beautiful life into the world. It’s also incredibly empowering. 

The healing process…now that’s another story. 






(important) Things I do With my Kids EVERY Day.

Homeschooling, Mama Mama

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about curriculum, and where I get my ideas for home school activities. I’ve been asked about how our typical day goes here in our household-schoolhouse, so I am here to put all other Mommy’s minds to rest…

We don’t follow a strict curriculum. 

We don’t have a strict schedule. 

We just wing it. Every single day.

The way I see it, the more you are out and about doing things and taking in your surroundings, the more ideas can come together. So we try to do just that.

However, each day there are certain things I make sure to accomplish with my children, not just because my kids enjoy these activities, but I feel they are the most important for their growth, learning, and over-all maturing as tiny humans.

#1: We read. Some days, especially rainy days, my eyes grow sleepy with the amount of books we read together. Some days, after I have read my max, I suggest Parker “reads” to his sister. There are certain books he has memorized and it’s good practice for him as well. Ava enjoys the time with big brother too.

#2: We do chores. Allowing the kids to “help” with miscellaneous projects and chores around the house may mean that things get done in three times the amount of time it should take, but it’s so important for the kids to feel involved, needed, and doing chores gives them a very basic work ethic. The majority of our chores involve the animals, so that adds to the excitement for all of us. The chickens, bunny, goats, and dogs all need fed and cared for daily so Mama’s helpers are never empty-handed. When it comes to indoor chores, both my kids have found areas inside the house that they prefer. Ava loves helping in the kitchen; putting away groceries, and organizing cabinets are her specialty. Parker enjoys real organization, usually with his toys, or Daddy’s tools.

#3: We eat together. Frequently. Sharing meals is especially important to me. It’s that time during the day when you can all sit and actually be present together. I am, and always have been one of those women who eat all day long, and I am raising my children to have the same good habits with food as well. I enjoy making healthy family meals, so I hope all our kids grow to not only have appreciation for that, but will take my love for healthy food and apply it to their lives as they grow as well.

#4: We snuggle, kiss, hug, and tell each-other we love each other. Sometimes Daddy gets a bit overwhelmed with how lovey his son is especially, but I don’t care. I adore the fact that our family is so loving towards each other. Sure, it may be a tad embarrassing when the kids insist on pulling up my shirt, and my maternity pants down so they can kiss baby brother in my belly while we are grocery shopping, but there’s no way I could ever stop them. Having lost loved ones, I feel it is necessary to never waste a moment to tell someone you love them. And I am thankful my children are learning to do the same.

#5: I scold or discipline. There’s no way around it. When you have an almost 2 year old, and an almost 4 year old, there will be chaos as well as tragedy and tears. I grew up with firm parents, yet they were not overly strict, there was a good balance. However, I was raised to know respect, and good manners, and I expect my children to learn the same. So when they do wrong, we discuss it. Sometimes I raise my voice more than I like, and sometimes I cry as well. However, I refuse to be the parent that lets their kids get away with anything and everything, because those children grow up to be teenagers as well as adults, and they are our future.

#6: We get outside time. This is the Oregon coast, so you never know what the weather will be, and though we’ve been lucky this winter, usually the rain is too atrocious to even think about spending time outside. Lately, we’ve been loving the sunshine, even when the air is brisk and cool, we can bundle and get fresh air. The kids and I have been the beach a few times the last week, and have been feeling overwhelmingly blessed by the lack of wind! Fresh air is needed for keeping their little, growing brains functioning. Fresh air is needed for Mama and clearing her mind. Fresh air is good for immune health, mood, and so much more. It’s a wonderful thing, being able to raise our children on our eight acres that also happens to be within minutes from a quiet beach and having space to explore.

#7: We have “school” time. Though each day the schedule may vary, we do sit down and work on school work. Every day we do something, some days we do much more than others. At the preschool stage, I let my son guide me a bit more than I lead him. It’s important he doesn’t lose interest so I let him tell me how long he wants to focus on school work. When we need a break, we take one. If we don’t accomplish much, we go back to that lesson again. I have a weekly theme each week, and we will do projects based on that theme. Most weeks, we also add in things we’ve learned in the past and do reviews as well. I had a full school-years worth of themes planned out, but have rearranged as needed.

#8: We have REAL conversations. We use REAL facts, and REAL (even sometimes slightly uncomfortable) words. In this day and age, there are nicknames and slang terms for everything. We are very realistic with our children. After all, this is real life. Both Mommy and Daddy are/have been involved in the health care and/or fitness fields and the human body is no joke to us. We use the correct terms, and its actually quite fascinating how fast our nearly four year old picks up things we talk about with him. He could tell you the longest muscle in the body and talk to you about what bones he saw in an x-ray. We don’t use funny cover-up names for private parts, and just the other day Parker drew a picture of him and Daddy, stick figures of course, but they both had penises. (Insert blushing cheeks here…but also very proud Mom for him being anatomically correct.) When we talk about plants, and animals around our house, we make sure we share the correct info with our kids so they learn as we explore. If Parker has a question we aren’t entirely sure of an answer, we look it up and find the right answer.

#9: I let the kids entertain themselves. Not only does this give me a small mental break, or chance to pee without them, but it’s important for the kids to use their imaginations and try to problem solve without supervision and being able to ask for help the second they need it. They learn to get creative. Sometimes they learn what failure feels like. All important things.

#10: We pray and talk about the bible. I cannot express how deeply my children have changed my life. My husband and I both were raised christian, but becoming a mom has only encouraged my heart to grow with the Lord, and for that, I am thankful every day. Ava’s favorite book for her Grandpa Stacy to read when we go visit, is a toddler bible. We pray at bedtime, and we try to throughout the day as well. Teaching the kids to have a relationship with God, helps me do the same.


Seems like such a long list, and after reading through all ten bullets, there’s no wonder I am tired by the end of the day. It’s 100% worth it. My babies deserve as much as I can possibly give them, and I want to be the Mama that gives them unlimited memories as well as work towards raising them to be the best tiny humans they can possibly be.

stay at home mom

Behind my fit Pregnancies

Mama Mama, Workin' Out

I have always been active. As a kid and teenager I played sports, was involved with horses, loved hiking and climbing trees, and just about anything that kept my body busy. Over the last ten years, I have dedicated my life to being healthy and active, and at the age of 20, I decided to make my love for fitness official when I went to school for personal training.

That was almost 9 years ago now, and as the time goes by I continue to adapt, adjust, and advocate my passion.

I’ve done one-on-one training, group bootcamp classes, trained and coached myself for a bikini competition, coached youth sports, and have learned to keep my body healthy as I go from a long-distance runner to a strong mama who isn’t afraid to lift more than her kids.

Long story short, fitness is a part of who I am. Fitness is a part of my past, as it is a huge part of the future I plan for myself and my children.

During the last five of those 10 years, I have been pregnant three times. Currently, I am 21+ weeks pregnant with my third, and have continued to not only maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, but that has kept me very consistent with my composition and athletic abilities between each pregnancy.

(When I say “athletic abilities” I also mean I am able to move my body as it’s MADE to be moved. Nothing heroic or olympian by any means.)

When I got pregnant with my first, I was mostly still a runner, but did plenty of light weight and body weight exercises to maintain balance. I was right around 110 pounds, and 14% body fat. I continued to walk/jog and do lighter workouts throughout the pregnancy. Parker was born 10 weeks early, and no one knows why to this day.

With my second pregnancy, I was actually pregnant while on stage at a bikini competition where I was 111 pounds, and 11% body fat. Obviously my body was nourished as it should be, or I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. I lifted heavy throughout this whole pregnancy as well as walked and hiked. I was the strongest and leanest I’ve ever been when I got pregnant with my second. I stopped lifting heavy (and continued to lift lighter weights) ONLY about a month before our daughter was born. She was 38+ weeks and a healthy baby. Labor was quick and as perfect as it gets.

I began this pregnancy at 111 pounds, and 13% body fat. This pregnancy has been the hardest on me physically, as I have had a million more stresses, adjustments in our personal lives, and with having the two kiddos at home full time…one in which I am home-schooling. My body aches more, and it begs me for more frequent workouts or at least more activity. Not only is my body feeling the changes, but my stress levels could use the workouts as well. I also know, if I were to get in even small, less intense workouts, I would have more energy to chase after my two kiddos, the two goats, the two dogs, and make sure the chicks, chickens and bunny all get the attention they deserve as well. Energy is very much needed. 

Regardless, I have still been able to get in 1, maybe 2 workouts a week, as well as a walk or so. With the weather changing, and me being the constantly cold woman I am, our Bob isn’t getting in as many outings as we would all like. Though I am very blessed and thankful for the ability to be even as active as I am now, there are days I have a hard time with either feeling like I need more so I don’t lash out and allow stress to win, or there are people who make it worse by telling me to “don’t over-do it”, “lifting weights isn’t safe during pregnancy” or “go eat a pizza, you are pregnant” and it makes me crazy.

The reality is, my body is used to exercise, and God made our bodies (yes…even as women) with the ability to move and be fit. And most importantly, I know my body.

Here’s the thing: Who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of exercise during pregnancy anyways?!

  1. Squats help prevent back and pelvic pain, as well as increase and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
  2. Walking, swimming, and/or light impact activities help keep yours and baby’s weight in check, while also helping to prevent gestational diabetes, regulating blood pressure, and kicking stress to the curb. Walking for me also helps loosen up any aches and discomforts pregnancy might be creating.
  3. According to Ina May Gaskins, you should squat 300 times a day for a quicker birth.
  4. More energy!
  5. Upper body weight/strength training helps improve posture that may be thrown off because of your already changing body and baby belly.
  6. And, once baby is born, you bounce back and heal so much faster! And then, the greatest benefit of all is allowing your littles to witness their mama in action living a fit lifestyle so that they too grow a passion for the same.

For me personally, I will always recommend an active lifestyle. Even during pregnancy. Obviously each woman and each pregnancy is different, so finding ways to adjust to fit your needs is important. Because of my background, I am confident that I can use my body appropriately and safely while exercising. Having good form, knowledge of lifts, and knowing my body’s limits is all crucial…but not something I worry about. No, it’s not a fad, or an attempt for attention. It’s a lifestyle, one that began ten years ago, and only continues to adapt, adjust and one I’ll continue to advocate.


A few weeks before my first was born, and 7 months post first pregnancy. 

8 months preg 8 months post

8 months pregnant with baby #2, and 8 months post baby #2



5 weeks pregnant with baby #2


Working out with lighter weights a couple weeks before Ava was born.




Message 2 my Kids #38

Mama Mama

Ava girl, you stink.

Your poopy diapers are the worst. Probably because your Daddy is who keeps pooping in them.

I’m going to have to have a talk with that Daddy.

(Every time I ask Avaley if she’s pooped, she flat out says “no…Dada” which is both adorable, and hilarious, but still, no less stinky.)

Progesterone and Specialists

Mama Mama

My husband and I had just gotten to Gold Beach the night before our baby shower, Friday January 31st, 2014 when we ran into a friend at the store and I started feeling slightly crampy around my lower belly. Our friend noticed and asked in a joking manner, “Are you having your baby now!?”  We laughed, shrugged it off, and returned to my father-in-laws house for the remainder of the night.

Sometime shortly after Javin and I both fell asleep, I was in and out of the bathroom, uncomfortable, on my knees, curled in a ball…nothing made me feel better so I dozed when I could but spent the majority of the night in pain.

In the morning, my father-in-law saw my behavior and called the hospital to see if a doctor would be available to see me, he insisted we go get checked out. I mean, I was bending over the couch and could hardly move, but being as this was our first child, and we still had 10 more weeks until our due date, being in labor wasn’t even an option. Was it?!

At this time, the hospital in our tiny little home town wasn’t delivering babies, they were not staffed or prepared for it. But being as I came in and was already 6 cm dilated and progressing quickly, they made an exception. Yes we were ahead of schedule, and yes, I had a baby shower planned, but we were also having a baby.

Though the circumstances were not ideal, I remember feeling so calm, while I sensed everyone around me was a ball of nerves. My husband and both our moms were emotional, and there was nothing I could do at this point besides play things out.

Labor and delivery was tough for me. My body had began labor the night before (I know now) and when I got to the hospital they gave me I believe indomethacin to attempt to slow/stop labor. They would not fly me because I was already progressed further than they would have like, and so our only option was to wait for a team to fly in from Medford, to assist with the baby and take him to the NICU there once he was born. Because the doctors were trying to somewhat regulate and keep my labor on their schedule, my body was confused when they then broke my water to begin labor again.

Once I began to push, it wasn’t long at all until our son, Parker, was born. 10 weeks early, breathing on his own, and 3lb 12oz of all our love. After I delivered the placenta the doctors then saw there had been an abruption, and I had a large blood clot that worried them enough that they insisted I stay the night for monitoring. The most difficult night in my life was this night. My first born had just been flown 3 and a half hours away and I didn’t get to hold, admire, or nurture him. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect since this was NOT a part of our birth plan.


Long story short, we spent 6 weeks in the hospital, allowing Parker to mature. I lived in the hospital with him, while my husband continued schooling and working full time back home on the coast. I was his advocate, and I am so thankful I could be there to stand up for him and what I felt was appropriate. I saw many other babies have multiple set-backs during our stay, and we were so blessed to be able to bring our baby home even weeks before his original due date.

Once Parker turned one, we knew we would want to start trying for another baby soon. And when we got pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life. I actually was pregnant with our daughter while I attended a bikini competition and as lean and strong as I’ve ever been.

Our journey with Avaley’s pregnancy was much different than Parkers. I changed midwifes, and knew I wanted a more natural approach to birth this time around. My midwives suggested I go see a specialist and discuss progesterone shots to possibly help prevent preterm birth with this pregnancy since the placental abruption I had with Parker was from an unknown cause.

So I did, and we came to the conclusion that we would begin shots at 20 weeks, and continue them once a week for 17 weeks until I reached “full term”.

These shots sucked. They were a pain in the ass, literally.

Every Friday my husband would stick a large needle into my rear-end muscle, and have to slowly inject a thick, oily, hormone-filled shot over 60 seconds. For two days after each shot I could hardly sit, lay, or touch near the injection site. Down my leg ached, and felt as though I had been injected with cement. I grew moody and grouchy, partly because I was in pain, and partly because of the extra hormones I am sure. Because I was even more uncomfortable, and even more moody, I had less sex-drive. After each shot my stomach would turn, and I’d be in the bathroom the following day more frequently than I would have liked. I also remember having headaches frequently following the shots.

The truth of the matter was, I was scared to have another preemie. We were blessed with Parker, he had no significant issues from being born so early, where in many preterm births, that is not the case. I also felt obligated to follow the recommendations of my midwives because I didn’t want another hospital birth either, and I needed them happy with the choices I was making. So we toughed it out and took the shots.

In addition to taking these shots, I had multiple additional ultrasounds to determine if my cervix ever shortened, which it never did. And it never was short before beginning the shots as well.

Come 37+ weeks, I had no more shots, and I lost my mucus plug. After this, I began very inconsistent contractions. I was so hopeful for a baby on my birthday, or even on Christmas, but that didn’t happen. December 29th, my water broke at about 11:00 at night. True, more consistent contractions began almost instantly and we grabbed our bag and headed to the birthing center. I was so thankful we were to term, I was free of any medical intervention, and I could do as I pleased while I labored. Shower, ball, and bath. Avaley was born in the water at just after 2:00 am and we had a healthy baby girl whom I carried for 38+ weeks. Her daddy got to cut the umbilical cord, and I got to hold her first thing. It was magical. Everything I had hoped for.

Now, here we are, 14 weeks pregnant with our third child, and we’ve arrived at the dreaded progesterone dilemma again.

This time around, I’ve done more research, asked more questions, and discussed more with my husband about what we should do as far as taking progesterone shots goes.

My midwives again are sending me to another specialist. My husband and I will see them in a couple days. I was adamant about Javin coming with me this time, because I didn’t want to forget anything, or feel pressured without him being there. Part of me also knows Javin doesn’t want me to take the shots, and has had strong opinions about that from the beginning. So it will be good for both of us to be a part of this meeting and doctors appointment. I don’t want to take the shots either, not just because they hurt, and are incredibly expensive, but as I said, I’ve done my research. 

During my second pregnancy I received 17 Makena hydroxyprogesterone caporate injections. I began my research at the source, the Makena website. The “negative side-affects” list is never-ending, and many quite severe. Blood clots, yellowing of skin and eyes (which indicated liver complications) etc. However, I already knew how my body reacted so I wasn’t going to spend my time there.

Ingredients: Man-made and chemical form of progresterone (which only makes up 25% of each injection), sesame oil, and preservatives.

Stress level officially through the roof! So, 75% of each injection is actually GMO sesame and preservative junk?!

Okay…moving on.

In a clinical study, certain complications or events associated with pregnancy occurred more often in women who received Makena. These included miscarriage (pregnancy loss before 20 weeks of pregnancy), stillbirth (fetal death occurring during or after the 20th week of pregnancy), hospital admission for preterm labor, preeclampsia (high blood pressure and too much protein in your urine), gestational hypertension (high blood pressure caused by pregnancy), gestational diabetes, and oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid levels).

This was taken directly from the Makena website. I re-read that paragraph multiple times, and even had Javin read it to make sure my mind wasn’t playing tricks on me.

“complications occurred MORE OFTEN in women who recieved Makena.”

I realize that clinical studies are very difficult to utilize for true results, because each individual is so different that there is no way to actually compare these women properly. So I began a full-on obsession with digging deeper into this. To spare you all the never-ending data, I’ll just say I came out of this feeling frustrated, and discouraged more than anything. I know my brain and my heart say these shots aren’t necessary, and there’s absolutely NO WAY of telling if they did or didn’t play a part in Avaley’s full-term pregnancy. Pharmaceuticals scare me for a lot of reasons, and I chose to use them as little as possible in our lives. (We don’t even take ibuprofen.) And where are the studies showing that these shots are not affecting the babies, and that down the road there wont be learning complications or some other negative side-effect because of the progesterone shots?!

There’s no way of truly knowing these things. The only thing we can do is pray for guidance, and trust God’s plan.

So we are meeting with a doctor at Maternal Fetal Medicine in just a few days, and after that appointment, I’m not going to trust a specialist or anyone else. I am going to follow my gut.

It has gotten me this far. 





Bless Our Home

Mama Mama, Our Homely Farm

This last week and a half the tension and chaos has been through the roof. We spent a full 7 nights away from our home, 3 being on a mandatory evacuation because of an out of control forest fire, the others because I didn’t want to return with the kids if my husband wasn’t going to be with us, just in case the fire grew our way more.

The Chetco Bar Fire, it’s growing daily and is still after all this time, 0% contained, and it is waaaayyy too close to home.

So, since Javin has this week off for hunting season, we came home to check on things and clean up a bit.

While we were home we got a call that the drywaller was going to be coming, so I felt it was time we do something to really make this home ours while we had studs opened up. It was time to do something that could help bless this house and those who live in it.

In almost every room there are walls opened up and no flooring. So I grabbed a sharpie and list of bible verses I’ve had stashed aways and went to work.

The kids’ bedroom, their playroom, our bedroom, the kitchen, the kids’ bathroom, the laundry room, and the living room all have verses within them. They will be covered up, yes, but they will always be a part of the house now.

It’s actually pretty amazing how good a small project like this can make you feel even in a mess of emotions.