Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kayla's Birth Story

Let's be honest, this blog is only for big life events now. I don't even know if writing birth stories is a thing anymore, but oh well!

First, I would just like to write a follow-up to my slightly over emotional Facebook post just a few days before I gave birth. I was not in a good place for a few days after my due date. Since I went into labor on my due date with Ellie, and my mom delivered (almost) all of us on our due dates, I honestly expected to at least start labor by then. I felt like my body was broken, or that I had done something differently this pregnancy that was going to prevent me from going into labor. I was really scared. And every time someone asked me if I had had the baby yet, I truly just felt this crushing blow that again I was broken, and the fear set in again, and I would get REALLY emotional. It just wasn't good, and I needed it to not keep happening. I feel like kind of a brat for posting what I did, and part of me regrets it, because I know everyone who asked was just excited too! I know in my head that it shouldn't have been a big deal, but at the time it was. So anyways, sorry to anyone who was hurt or annoyed by it. Just try to understand the state of mind of an over-due pregnant lady. :)

NOW here is the birth story.

I had really wanted to go into labor on my own. There is something really exciting about feeling those first contractions, wondering if they are the real deal, and then feel them getting closer and stronger and getting more and more excited that baby is coming! I also wanted to have her without an epidural and I basically felt like if I was induced, that would be impossible. It's pretty hard to find positive induction experiences. Every day and night that went without contractions, I got more discouraged, until Sunday evening. By that time I basically accepted that I was most likely going to be induced. At that point I kind of wished I would have kept my Saturday induction date since I figured I was getting induced anyways-but I knew that for whatever reason, I felt strongly that she needed a few more days, which helped me not dwell on it. Once I accepted my fate, I really just tried to enjoy my last few days being pregnant. I really tried to enjoy every moment I had with just Ellie. I knew her world was about to change big time. I am SO SO SO grateful now that I had those extra few days to just be with her without worrying about going into labor and doing any last minute prep for the baby. Those days were a huge blessing.

Tuesday night, we put Ellie to bed at my parents' house, and Mathew and I went home and just relaxed and watched a movie. We woke up at 5 a.m. the next day to make sure the hospital had an open room for me, and got the go ahead to show up at 6 a.m. for the induction. We got all checked in and got to our room, and in came my nurse-a girl from my ward!! I was so happy and relieved. Now some might think that would be weird and awkward to have your nurse be someone you know, but I knew it was an answer to my prayers. I wanted a nurse I could be comfortable with and talk to openly. It could not have been more perfect. She answered a lot of my questions and calmed some fears I had and at about 7:30 the pitocin started. The contractions were super easy to bear for a while. I was just excited to be feeling them. I sat and watched HGTV and the nurse came and turned up the pitocin every 30 minutes. I was totally loving life to be honest.

About 12:45, my midwife came in to check on me. Up to this point, I hadn't been checked. I didn't really want to know if I had made progress since the contractions weren't too bad. She checked and I was only 2-3 centimeters-BOO! She broke my water-which felt disgusting-and then not too long after, the contractions really started picking up in intensity. Luckily, they didn't confine me to the bed. I knew if I was stuck in bed, I would never be able to make it through without an epidural. Both of my girls gave my terrible back labor-apparently because they are most likely face up and are turning during the contractions. Back labor is the woooorst! I labored for a bit sitting on the ball, but then the pressure got really intense and it was getting really painful to sit on it. So we moved the ball up on the bed and I got on my knees and was leaning over it.

I stayed in this position for basically the rest of the labor. An amazing nurse came in at one point and helped push on pressure points in my back to help with the back pain. It worked for a while but I started getting nauseous and shaky and really wondering why in the heck I decided to do this without an epidural. Since I was having all the signs of transitioning, she wanted to check me, and I kept crying if I was only at a 5 I was getting an epidural-no way was I going to go through another 4-5 hours with the contractions that strong. (I had been checked about 30 minutes before and was at a 4). Well, she checked me, didn't say anything, and then my regular nurse (which had changed somewhere in the story to a fabulous nurse who I had been told is amazing with natural labor-they were right) came back in and I knew I was only a 5-she said it didn't matter where I was. She helped me get out of bed and the contractions were so bad I was yelling and crying and didn't have much control at that point. I told Mathew it wasn't worth it and the nurse told me I didn't have to do it without the epidural. I told her I wanted it and she went off to find the anesthesiologist. Little did I know, she had called my midwife to let her know I was really close and to be ready.

As soon as she left, I calmed down a lot and was just holding on to Mathew doing the "slow dance" during the contractions. I was able to handle them a lot better. Knowing that relief was coming helped me relax. She came back and told me the anesthesiologist was looking at my chart and would be in soon. I could not find a comfortable labor position at this point and she said she needed to check me. I whined and told her I didn't want to get back in the bed, but she was insistent saying she needed to know if she needed to get the midwife here. She checked me, said I was a 7, pushed the call button and very firmly told the nurse station (I'd say yelled, but it wasn't angry haha, just very intense) "someone get Natalie here now!" A few minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and they were asking me if I thought I could hold still and I was so confused and didn't know what to do, so he just left haha. Then another couple of minutes later, the midwife showed up and I was somewhat aware of a bunch of other nurses in the room setting up all the delivery stuff. I was doing everything I could to just survive the contractions at this point. The nurse got up on the bed, grabbed my knees and looked me straight in the eye and just said, "Candace, you can do this, you have to do this." In that moment I got *most* of my control back and knew what I needed to do. The midwife was only there for a couple of minutes before I just yelled, "I want to PUSH!" They all just said, "DO IT!" So I did, and then pushed through my next contraction and out came baby! They didn't even check to make sure I was fully dilated haha. Last I had heard I was only at a 7.

So to recap-water broken at 12:45 ish-2-3 cm, 4 cm at 2:15 ish, 5 cm at 2:45 ish, then somehow went from 5-10 and pushed out baby by 3:13.

After pushing for 3 hours with Ellie, it was super cool to be able to REALLY feel where to push and get her out so fast!

Then I was just in shock and shaking saying "I did it, I did it!" Then it was time to get stitched up-well of all the cool parts of delivering without an epidural, the downside is you aren't numbed for the stitches! She tried numbing me, but I guess it's hard to get everywhere so I felt the needle going in and out. It was TERRIBLE!!!!! One of my worst nightmares come true.

Moving on. I was shaking like crazy for a long time. They got me some warm blankets and I just sat and snuggled my beautiful little baby. She latched so well which was a HUGE relief after Ellie. Let's not forget the absolute nursing nightmare I was in with Ellie. We pulled through in the end though :)

All in all, I actually had a very positive induction experience. I got to do my hair and makeup before going to the hospital, I got to watch tv for a few hours and the contractions were no worse than they were with Ellie! Kayla is such a sweet and gentle baby. We seriously could not be happier!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Drama Queen

Okay okay okay. Let's all take a moment to roll our eyes one last time at my previous post. I was in a really bad place that night and blew things out of proportion. Not the first time. I still think I have a minor food addiction but it's not too late to fix it. I'm just surrounded by a bunch of crap and not wanting to resist it because it's too hard. We have two short weeks until we close on our house. I'm going to chill out and just do my best but not beat myself up if I don't eat very well these next two weeks.

In two weeks I will be in control of our food. I know what to eat to be healthy. I've done it before and I can do it again. Mathew is 100% on board with me this time which really helps too. We are going to do P90X3 and finish it. I'm so so so excited. We will have to workout super early in the morning but I feel so good whenever I do that. His job also has him take a one hour lunch so I'll have his help during that time.

At the advice of my sister, I decided to not publicly shame myself by posting food journals. There was no need for it. However, writing that post really really helped me chill out so I'm still glad I wrote it, despite the drama queen in me that came out. ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hi, my name is Candace and I'm...

Addicted to food. Seriously. I have a legitimate food addiction. I see it come out every single time I stay at my parent's house. Suddenly I am surrounded by so much sugar that I don't normally buy that I literally can't control myself. My money is not tied to any of the food here and so it is extra hard to have discipline. When we are in our own house, I don't buy ice cream, cookies, candy, and I don't have a crepe machine with bottles of Nutella everywhere. Now, I don't mean to be rude towards my parents. I totally understand why they have what they do. They have grandkids and love to have a freezer with ice cream and a full cookie jar for when the kids come over. And the candy wall in the basement is supposed to just be for movie nights. And the crepe machine and Nutella is for a business. I get it. All the sugar has its purpose, but I can't handle it!!!!!

Within a couple days of being here, my pants were already tight. My stomach hurts because my pants are too tight. I don't have the courage to put on my size 8 shorts that I worked SO FREAKING HARD to fit into because I know I won't be able to button them anymore. I have always dreamed of being in a single digit size and it finally happened and I have thrown it all away within a week.

The more I read about food addiction, the more I'm convinced I have one. I never even considered it because I'm not incredibly overweight. Yes, I have weight to lose, but I felt okay. However, I have read the symptoms and I have all of them. I have a food addiction. My brain can not reason when surrounded by bad food. All I think about is food. When I'm eating a meal, I think about what I will eat at the next one. I'm about to go to an addiction recovery class because I feel so out of control.

I'm discouraged and beaten. I want to recover and go into "remission" but it seems impossible right now. I feel like a smoker who wants to quit but is in a room filled with cigarette smoke. There is just no hope for me right now. I have to be patient and wait until we close on our house and I can get back in my own routine and be in complete control of the groceries come in the house.

I have been trying to figure out the reasons BEHIND my addiction. These are what I have come up with:

1. I don't want to miss out on anything-I want to enjoy life and eat what I want.
2. It tastes really good and I will never have a toned body, so I might as well eat it and enjoy it.
3. I feel gross, so I'll eat this crap to make me feel better, then I feel gross from eating that so I'll eat more crap, and thus the cycle continues.
4. Boredom

That last one isn't really a reason behind an addiction, but I know it's affecting my ability to cope with the cravings and fight them off. I am so bored. All I think about is our house and that gets me excited so I eat, and then I can't do any projects for our house yet, which makes me sad, so I eat. It's awful and I can't believe I am admitting all of this on a blog but it is proving to be therapeutic for me.

I want to change. I really do, but it's hard to explain the struggle that goes on when I am around so much bad food.  So here is my plan. I need someone/something to be accountable to. I know that what would horrify me most is if people who read this blog were aware of what I eat. I plan to keep a daily journal for the next few weeks until we close on our house. I feel like if I know I have to write on my freaking blog what I eat everyday, then maybe I'll care a little more. I know I should want to change for my health, but I just can't find the motivation and strength right now. Not when I'm bombarded with my trigger foods. It's too much for my brain to handle. So please bear with me for the next few weeks while I post about food.

And don't judge too harshly.

This is really hard to post.

I would also like to clarify that I do NOT blame my parents for my weight gain and being out of control. I take full responsibility for my actions. It is not their fault.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life Changing Products/Ideas

I think it's obvious that I don't blog anymore. Ever. But there are several things I would like to blog about if I were a serious blogger. I'm going to cram them all into one post. This post is dedicated to things I have discovered that have made my life easier. I hope you enjoy. (Oh the spinach pancake recipe will be in here somewhere-wherever I decide to throw it in)

1. Mason Jar Salads

I had heard of these so-called "mason jar salads" before and seen pictures on Pinterest. I looked into one blog and saw a giant food saver contraption and knew I would never venture into the land of mason jar salads. But then when my sister and I started The Doctor's Diet, she mentioned it to me and sent this hilarious video of these two crazy girls in which I learned about a $4.00 Ziploc tool that makes mason jar salads totally doable. I now buy the six pack of romaine lettuce at Costco and chop it all up at once and put it in my mason jars, pump the air out, stick it in my fridge, and I have prepped lettuce for days-weeks even! It's amazing. Watch the video for more info (pretend it's funny and you won't get annoyed)

Ziploc Product - found in your local Wal-Mart hidden away with all the Ziploc bags. Look closely and you will find it

2. Better Life Cleaning Products

Okay I am a Shark Tank addict. I love watching it and try to buy any product I can from it. As soon as I saw these cleaning products I went straight to their website and bought some. I am addicted to them. I hated using regular anti-bacterial spray because I kept thinking about wiping my cooking surfaces and Ellie's high chair tray with a product you weren't supposed to ingest. It didn't make sense. The what-EVER! cleaner is my favorite. The citrus scent smells amazing and it cleans SO good and I don't worry about cleaning eating surfaces with it. The Even the Kitchen Sink is incredible. It cleaned our nasty rusted drain without breaking a sweat. And lastly, the Produce Wash. It stinks but does a heck of a good job getting waxes and crap off of produce.

This is probably the best kitchen appliance I have. I didn't realize I was buying such a magical thing when I bought it. It is a rice cooker that is also a slow cooker that is also a sauté/simmer pot, that is also a steamer. My favorite quick and incredibly easy meal, is to put brown rice in the main cooker with lots of water and chicken bouillon cubes, then put the steamer basket on top with a frozen (yes frozen) chicken breast in it and cover it with frozen stir-fry veggies, season them up a bit (actually a lot) and push the brown rice button and I have a complete meal in about an hour with basically zero work. The only bad part is you have to make at least two cups of rice (dry) so you end up with a ton of rice. I always plan 3-4 meals with rice if I know I'm going to use it but it is so worth it.

4. Spinach Pancakes

Ellie hates vegetables. I keep putting them in front of her at ever meal and she avoids them. Except green beans, sometimes she'll eat those. Sometimes she will eat corn too. We're working on it, but until then, I put spinach in basically everything. I saw a recipe for spinach pancakes in my Family Circle magazine. I tried it and didn't like them. So I used my mother-in-law's pancake recipe which is the best pancake recipe EVER! They turned out amazing and Ellie loves them. I added chocolate chips in case she got freaked out by the green color. She scarfed two pancakes down so I call that a win. Recipe:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tbsp oil
1 cup tightly packed spinach
3/4-1 cup milk or buttermilk (I used the last of my buttermilk and filled in the rest with whole milk)
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

In medium bowl, mix your flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a powerful blender, mix egg, spinach, and 1/2 cup milk. Blend it up really well. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Add more milk until it reaches a semi-runny consistency. I don't know how best to describe this. I add milk until when I lift my spoon out and let the mixture drip off my spoon, it flows quickly and smoothly, and is not super thick. The more batches you make, the more you will figure out what consistency you like best. I did discover it took more milk than usual to compensate for all the spinach, so you may use more than 1 cup. Add in your chocolate chips. Cook an a griddle over medium heat until bubbles appear all over and start to burst. Flip and cook until golden brown. After they cool down, I spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid, then put them in a freezer bag to store. In the morning just zap one in the microwave for 30 seconds, put it with a side of fruit and you have a complete meal for a picky eater. Yeah!!

These are just cool and I like having them. Not really life changing.

Okay this is a new discovery. I have seen these come across my feed and always ignored them. I HATE having done-up nails. As a pianist, I liked and needed clean short nails. I hate when they get past my fingertip and I hate having my nails painted because I'm constantly obsessing about the paint chipping. I got a sample of these from my sister-in-law and fell in LOVE. They are so awesome and after doing several loads of dishes and definitely being hard on my nails, they have stayed perfect. I ordered a lot and am throwing a party next month so get ready. I don't throw parties for any products but this had to be an exception because they are that awesome.

7. Finger painting with Greek yogurt

I saw this on Pinterest and thought about it but kept forgetting until a FB friend did it and posted a picture. It was AWESOME. I made homemade edible finger paints for Ellie out of mostly corn starch and I hated the texture. They tasted disgusting but Ellie kept wanting to eat them. I figured all that corn starch probably wasn't good for her system so I threw them out


Thursday, February 27, 2014

DIY Project

We have been desperately in need of a new tv stand for about a year and half. When we first got married, we got my grandma's old tv and stand that it was on. It was one of those old heavy box tvs. It was great to me! It worked! Well, Mathew wanted a big tv for so long. At last, we were very fortunate and were able to get a snazzy giant tv that I have always felt was too big for us, but he loves it so I'm okay with it. Just kidding. I love it too. But really, at first, it was just too big.

Since we were poor, we just put it on that tv stand we already had. It drove me crazy!! The tv stand was too small for the other things that go along with the tv. The stereo and speakers were always on the sides on the floor, and the xbox had to be on top of the stereo. The blu-ray player was the only thing was a "place." Then when we got to Oregon, we added a cable box and internet router to that and I simply could not take it anymore. Something had to be done!

The old tv stand...without all the junk surrounding it. We were already in the process of switching it out.

We searched for a good tv stand that would work for us, but couldn't find anything. Nothing could fit the speakers, which was my main motivation for getting a replacement. So, since I'm surrounded by talented and crafty people, I got inspired and decided to remake something! Initially we planned to find a dresser to redo, but my friend and I went to Goodwill and found a desk that was perfect! I did have my doubts about it several times after we bought it and I was nervous that it wasn't going to work. But Mathew and I worked hard on that thing. We sanded, painted, and mod podged and turned that old desk into a tv stand that we LOVE. It's perfect and we couldn't be happier with how it looks! And I couldn't be happier with having all the dang things in their own place and the speakers off the floor. So without any more rambling by me, I give you a before and after:

Totally spaced taking an actual before picture. This is the desk in Goodwill-ignore the black thing and white thing on top.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Sleep Strategy

I know I said in a recent post that it was my last post about sleep. I really meant that when I wrote it but then I had a request to post about our strategy. I thought that was a good idea, so here it is. :) Then for real I will be done with sleep posts-unless any other requests come along.

We started our sleep journey with Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It was terrible. I'm pretty sure it was the book that got her so out of whack. We didn't gradually introduce the schedule to her and instead of sleeping more, she slept less. Way less. I thought we would never get back on track.

I researched online and read so many sleep forums and articles. I would read for hours just trying to find one new piece of information that might do the trick. Nothing worked.

Then we moved. And things got out of control. She refused to sleep unless I was holding her. I was taking naps with her three times a day and then had her in bed with me at night. And she was still waking up a bunch.

I had tried laying her down awake a lot, but it never worked. I figured since my mom rocked all her kids to sleep and we all did fine, then it was probably okay to do it with Ellie. And I was desperate, so I would rock and bounce and force her to take a binky (which by the way, she hates now) and after a really long time, she would fall asleep, but not for long. I would lay her down as gently as possible but as soon as her body hit the mattress, she would wake up screaming. I thought I was never going to get our things unpacked. It was horrible.

I didn't want to start any sleep training too soon after moving because she was already adjusting to so much. She was having withdrawals from not having my parents around. I'm sure she could sense my depression about our house. The poor girl was so sleep deprived and exhausted, I felt terrible, but I was so tired and I felt like I couldn't do anything about it.

On the drive to Oregon, I read Sleeping Through the Night and loved it. I thought for sure it would work. Once I felt like she was settled enough we tried it. It was terrible too. We let her cry for an hour before Mathew couldn't take it anymore and went in and rocked her to sleep. So we fell back into our old habits of rocking and bouncing and nursing just to get her to sleep.

Some friends from our ward here invited us over to dinner soon after we moved in. Of course the topic of sleep came up because it was ALL I could think about.  They offered to let us borrow their book, The SleepEasy Solution, after it helped their son learn to sleep. I gladly took it and we began reading as soon as we got home. This time Mathew was fully on board too. I read chapters out loud to him this time and so he was much more supportive and proactive about getting started. However, when it came right down to applying the method, I was scared and put it off. I didn't want yet another method to fail.

One night, Ellie was up every hour. We tried everything and she would not sleep. Poor Mathew, he bounced her like crazy and tried to lay down with her in our bed and she still would not stay asleep. He tried I think for two hours one time. That was the night we knew that things had to change! So the next night we started.

Okay, now I'm finally to the actual strategy. Sorry that took so long!

The first night, we gave her a bath, then I fed her, then read a story and sang to her while rocking. We put her down awake and left. She of course cried and cried but we had a specific plan! We checked on her after five minutes and gave verbal encouragement. No touching! Then we waited another 10 minutes, and then every 15 minutes after that. I think it took about an hour and a half before she was out but she slept so much longer!

The next night we did the same thing, 5 minutes, 10, then 15 (to the minute, we had timers going each time) and it took her half the time to fall asleep this time, just 45 minutes! Then the third night it only took 5. For naps, we used the same plan and there were a few that she didn't even cry for, just rolled over and went right to sleep. The first day I let her cry for naps, she took two hour naps, it was glorious! For her nap schedule, I put her down two hours after she wakes up in the morning, then wait 2-2.5 hours between the next two, then she is in her crib by 7 every night.

It's not perfect. She still wakes up once, often twice at night. But last night she had an 8 hour stretch! It was so amazing. Some nights are still rough and she gets up quite a bit, but it's usually because of a specific reason-like going to bed too late, not enough naps during the day, etc.

Right now, she is phasing out the third nap, so that is creating some problems, but I now know that she can put herself to sleep. She still cries for every nap and when she goes to bed, but she is so much happier when she is awake. I was so against letting her cry it out. I was just sure that a no-cry method would work, but she is just not a self-soother. Some babies are naturally able to self-soothe but that's just not a gift Ellie was given. It's a struggle for her, but she is conquering it. I had to tell myself a lot that her sleeping problems were not because of anything I did or didn't do when she was a newborn. It's just her temperament.

Oh and we also bought a jumper to help her get out her energy during the day. I think that helped a lot too. Aaaand, she sleeps on her tummy. Never thought I'd let that one happen! But that's the way she likes it, so whatever.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jam Packed Week!

My parents came to visit us this past week and it has been so awesome! I have been looking forward to this week ever since we found out we were moving. My parents arrived Monday afternoon after a long drive split into two days. Thankfully, my sister lives in Boise so the 10 hours can be broken up without having to get a hotel room.

We have yet to experience a lot of Portland ourselves, but I wanted to try to do as many things as possible! Mathew had to work the first few days in the week, so I didn't want to do too much without him, but we still made the most of our time without him!

Tuesday we drove into Portland and stopped at some food carts. Those are crazy! There are so many different carts with exotic foods. I was really excited to try something new and out of my comfort zone...but then we walked around and looked at the carts and I officially did not want to try anything out of the ordinary. This may sound totally rude but some of those guys in their food carts were totally scary and I didn't really want them making my food. So I opted for a fancy grilled cheese. And it was DELICIOUS. Definitely the best grilled cheese I've ever had.

A nice comforting, clean cart.

My mom went a little exotic and got some weird French sausage hot dog thing. She didn't like it. She should have got a grilled cheese.

A view of a few more carts.

She wasn't so excited about the food carts.

After the food carts, we drove up to Washington Park and went to the Japanese Gardens. While there was some beautiful scenery, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bored. Still glad we went though!

Showing Ellie the cool water.

My dad loves Ellie like crazy. It is so much fun to watch him play with her.

We headed back home and I saw this Target. I thought it was so cool to see one in a city like that. Three floors of Target! Awesome! Someday I will get Mathew to go downtown with me so I can explore more.

On Wednesday, my mom and I did some pre-Black Friday shopping. I needed some clothes and I wanted to get some things for Ellie for Christmas, so we went to Old Navy for their pre-sale and so I could use a reward. It was so fun to go shopping with my mom like we used to! We also bought a Christmas tree that night and now our house smells like Christmas!

Thursday was (duh) Thanksgiving. I was a bit nervous to be the hostess this year but luckily it was just my parents and us so it really wasn't a big deal. I just felt like it was. My mom and I worked super hard in the morning and cooked a ton of food for just four people. I tried to talk her out of a few things but she would not have Thanksgiving without them. I decided to take on the mashed potatoes as one of my main responsibilities. I have wanted to make Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes ever since my aunt gave me her cookbook at my bridal shower. However, with 1.5 sticks of butter, half and half, and a block of cream cheese, I just couldn't justify it, until this Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, they are AMAZING. Totally worth the calories.

Moving on.

Since I didn't want to go Black Friday shopping alone, I convinced my parents to go with me while Mathew stayed home with Ellie. (I confess I went shopping at 8 p.m. Thursday, I feel kind of guilty but the day was over and there wasn't really much else to do, and I know as an associate, the more customers, the faster the shift goes, and that's all of my excuses)

Friday was my mom's birthday! Happy Birthday mom! We did some more shopping and then drove to Multnomah Falls then she chose Red Robin for her birthday dinner.

Bundled up after dinner.

Saturday was our biggest day. We had been wanting to go to the zoo all week but Ellie's afternoon nap always got in the way. Since it was our last chance to go, we just decided to skip the nap and head out. She was exhausted but was SO good the whole time. We have started facing her out in her stroller and she loves it. The zoo was so much fun. We got some amazing views of some animals. I'm a total kid at heart when it comes to zoos. We stayed after the zoo closed for the zoo lights. They were so amazing. Way better than the temple square lights. My dad commandeered my camera and took a whole bunch of pictures so I'll just share a few.

My mom has decided she loves birds, so she really liked the aviary.

After we saw the last animal, I put Ellie in the wrap and she passed out. She missed most of the lights, but I was just glad she got some sleep.

The Wizard of Oz characters!

She woke up at the end. This was a big long tunnel of lights.

I am going to be so sad when my parents leave in the morning. This has been one packed week and we are worn out for sure, but I am so so so grateful for the time I had with my parents this week! It has also given me some motivation to go out and do some more adventuring in Portland! We didn't even make a  dent in how many things there are to do.