Friday Ramblings {vol. 2}

Hello Friday! How has your week been? I have to say I have had a pretty good week - I don't want to jinks myself but you guys...Greta has been napping really well this week! We were having a little issue with her morning nap, I think maybe I was trying to put her down too early (around 9ish) but as soon as I decided to bump it to around 10 or slightly after she has been great (nearly 2 hrs!), that's ALOT of time. I've gotten dishes, laundry AND a workout in twice already this week! I feel so re-energized it's amazing. We are still working on the afternoon nap - Wednesday it was brutal and she ended up sleeping in my arms, but Tuesday and Thursday she slept over an hour. Fingers crossed it keeps up...and then we will head to Germany, oh I think that might mess with it! Oh well, I've learned it's on ongoing journey of nailing the right time.

If you follow on Insta the you have seen this pic, but seriously have to post it..she's just too cute!

Few random things:

one | Today, I'm taking Greta swimming for the first time! We are meeting up with two of my girlfriends and their little ones! I'm really excited, she's going to be so cute in her little bathing suit! I really hope she likes it and we can make it a more regular thing.

two | I'm so obsessed with coconut oil these days. Using it instead of butter in recipes. Toasting my oatmeal in it in the mornings. Using it to remove make-up. There so many posts about it's benefits, lately, I'm sold on the food aspect, but am coming around to it as a moisturizer too my skin is so dry this winter, if anything I'll smell great!

three | Excited to go see my niece again this weekend! Oh, just can't wait for some more newborn cuddles.

four | I'm super excited for February.  I swear I might spend the first 14 days cooking anything chocolate, red, and heart-shaped - I might start with this quinoa chocolate cake. Oh, ya and dress Greta in everything hearts! Ya, Valentine's is such a commercial "holiday" but I kinda love it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Raising a Bilingual Baby

With our trip to Germany approaching (!), I have been thinking a lot about the need for Greta to be exposed to the German language and our plan/approach to raising her bilingually.

The problem is we don't really have a plan.

Sure we have talked about her being bilingual. We talked about it before getting married and we discussed it when we found out we were pregnant but we have never actually sat down and thoroughly mapped out a plan.  (Does that make us bad parents?) I (we) just assumed Matt would talk to her in German and she'd learn it, expose her growing brain to the language and we will be good, right? Well, we are 7 months in and I have to repeatedly remind Matt to talk to her in German. It's really hard. I think mainly because I don't speak German well, so he never speaks it in the house (unless he's extremely mad ie: putting together ikea furniture lol, drunk, or just finished having an in depth German conversation with someone). He speaks German when we Skype with his parents but not as much as he used to as his parents converse with me in English and try to include me in all aspects of the conversation.

I've concluded lately, that raising her bilingually is going to take a lot more time and work than I first expected and it's going to take me working at it as well too!  Over the past 6 years, I have made attempts at learning German, when I realized that Matt was 'the one'.  I took night German classes for 3 - 3 month sessions, my best friend speaks German so she tried to help, I bought German language CD's and listened to them on my way to school and work. I tried a lot!  I had some success - I know the basics. Alphabet, numbers, colors, basic travel questions, foods, etc. My problem is sentence structure, phonetics, and just the overall speed people speak. It's funny, at our wedding I did the thank-you speech to his parents in German - they were so impressed (!) but do you know how long it took me to learn how to say that 5 minute speech? Months. I had what I wanted to say translated by my teacher and then I practiced, practiced, and practiced some more! Then unfortunately, I let what I learned slide. I got busy with life, with school, and all my work felt like it never happened. Matt and I had discussed that we would set aside one day a week where he would only speak German to me and I had to respond in German only as well, but that only lasted a few weeks. His parents are repeatedly on our case to work at it -- and I really do want to learn, visiting would be soooo much nicer if I knew more than 15% of what was going on! 

I don't want Greta to be in the same situation as me. She needs to speak German fluently to have a good relationship with her grandparents, to preserve her roots, and to potentially use this gift of a second language and citizenship to her advantage for future endeavors. So as parents we have a lot to do!

After watching this TEDTalk (guys! are any of you TEDtalk nerds like me? I could seriously spend the day watching them) it seems we are at a critical time for Greta to at least hear the German language, and it really works out well that out trip to Germany is during this time! The following are some of the plans that we have leading up to her 1 year birthday:
  • Matt will primarily speak to Greta in German when playing, reading, and spending time with her. The past week he's been very diligent with this, and if he does say something in English he usually repeats the German version after when playing with her.
  • I will read 1 simple German book to Greta everyday. This is primarily for my benefit, I plan to learn Germany at her level as she grows and hopefully we will both come out fluent in a few year. 
  • Oma & Opa will speak German to her throughout our visit and during weekly Skype visits. This should help to to better distinguish German sounds from English sounds she has primarily heard. 
I plan to do a little more research and planning leading up to her first birthday to decide what method we will use to teach her the language but right now exposure is all we can really do. In the future, I hope to utilize Skype visits with her cousin (who is 7 months older), my friends daughter (who is 2 months older), and Oma & Opa will facilitate in her language development. I feel finding daycare and schooling which offers German would be extremely beneficial as well, but I have yet to find anything in our area, my friends who have bilingual children (French) really benefit from a French daycare but that is easier to come by in Canada than German.

In the meantime, I'll be working on my German! Wish me luck, bitte!

Do you have experience with raising a bilingual child? I'd love to hear about it!

Let's Talk

Let's have a little talk about mental health shall we?

Does that question terrify you, or does it make you feel safe to share. I want it to be the latter, it needs to be safe to talk about!

One of the things that drew my into the field of Occupational Therapy (OT) was how it encompassed the whole person when assessing and treating an individual.  Prior to getting into OT, I was focused on Physical Therapy because I wanted to help make people better physically, but as I worked in the field as an assistant I began to realize that among many clients we were treating many not only had physical health issues but there was a lot going on in the aspect of their mental health.  Then I realized that no matter how hard you worked on the physical, if they weren't mentally healthy the treatment was not complete. I'm not saying that every person who had a sprained ankle or torn shoulder, also had a mental disorder - but individuals with chronic pain, multiple traumas, or head injury potentially did.

So, I decided to pursue OT, as I felt it encompassed more of a holistic approach to care that I think is needed and that I would be good at.  Plus, you can strictly work in the area of Mental Health as an OT if that is what is where your interest lies. I still have one more year of school left after my mat leave and in the 2nd year a lot of focus is on OT and Mental Health.  From working with individuals living with depression, anxiety or an eating disorder to working with the homeless by doing outreach work - the possibilities are endless!

Why am I talking about this today? Because today in Canada is Bell's #LetsTalk Day, which is an initiative to bring attention to mental health, end the stigma, and raise money for community resources.

It's important to remember that our mental health is just as important as our physical health and people should feel alright to talk their mental health without the fear of ridicule or being told "deal with it" or "get over it".  These are real issues, that need real attention, and that really matter! I could write a longer post about mental health, the spectrum of mental illness, and how we all need need to focus on our mental well-being; but instead I'm going to leave you with that I think is a powerful video  about how feeling it's OK to talk about it can help:

And please tweet #BellLetsTalk, where 5 cents for every tweet will be donated to mental health initiatives!


"a portrait of Greta, once a week, every week in 2014"

| cousin cuddles |

      Could you please leave a comment below letting me know how the portions of my blog that are     suppose to be yellow (ie: pretty in the title, the circle around the date of post, all the brush strokes on the side bar) look to you? I was working on my husband's computer the other day and realized it looks like a very pale yellow, nearly green on his screen yet on my computer it is more of a buttercup yellow (as I want it to be). Just interested on what you readers are seeing and how to change it if need be! Thanks a bunch.}

currently. {3}

thinking about | Green grass and spring. Seriously, winter is so brutal this year! I know it's I shouldn't really complain as we choose to live here, normally I don't finds winters this bad, but with this "polar vortex", our bitter cold temperatures started in early December and have not let up.  I cannot wait to get to Germany in February. I plan to take Greta on daily walks along the lake near my in-laws, stroll the cobblestone streets in the center of town, and breathe in the fresh air! In the meantime, I hope the wind decides not to blow so fiercely every other day and the temperatures rise to a manageable degree so we can enjoy some direct sunlight and a nice walk in the cool air. My husband, on the other hand, will remind me daily that the Gold Coast of Australia would be a great place to move - you know once I'm done school, where he believes I'll work and he'll surf and raise Greta all-day long while I bring home the big buck$ (because apparently Occupational Therapists make really good money in is tempting right now!)
listening to | Grammy performances. Is Lorde not amazing?! And only 17! Greta sat on my lap and watched her quietly this evening, it was so cute. P!nk was great too as well as Sara Bareilles and Carol King, plus many others.
watching | Homeland. Finally a show that my husband and I could agree on, which is usually rare. We flew through the first season, only to sadly find out that season 2 is not yet available on Netflix. So disappointing. Have you watched it? I've always loved Claire Danes and she is excellent in the lead role.  
thankful for | Heat. A few communities not too far from us are dealing with no heat due to a natural gas explosion over the weekend, in these cold temperatures I can not imagine how they are dealing, running space heaters. We forget how much depend on the essentials until just like that they are gone in the middle of the freezing winter.

Greta starting to sit up independently.

Winter. Cold, snow, and wind,

my sweet niece Brenna {2 days old}

Linking up with a mama collective on this post today:

A Mama Collective

Friday Ramblings {vol. 1}

Happy Friday!  Here are just a few little things on my mind:

one | I became an auntie for the second time on Wednesday morning! My sister and her husband welcomed a sweet little girl, Brenna Evelyn, to their family! She is so precious, I spent the last day and a half with them and getting some newborn cuddles. My nephew, who is four, is so excited and loves his little sister - it's so sweet to witness the adoration of an older sibling to a new baby. Although I he is seeking a bit of attention for himself at times which is totally understandable, he is going to be a great big brother!

two | I'm so done with this winter already. Seriously, it's either frigid minus forty celsius or warmer temps with snow and high winds causing blizzard conditions. I just want some nice weather! Today on the way home from my sisters, Greta and I were nearly in an accident due to the whiteout and icy conditions. Before having a baby, heading out in stormy conditions didn't bother me as much, but now I'm so much more scared when out, more so worried about other drivers. That little one in the back seat is very precious cargo!

three | We are going through phase where Greta is refusing to nap and in turn becoming so overtired. I guess change in routine of staying at Grandma and Grandpa's overnight hasn't help out situation either. It's exhausting - especially when it has started to trickle over into her nighttime sleep too.  Sticking to my guns, sticking to routine and hope she falls back into her regular schedule but the other day she "played' in her crib for over and hour rather than napping so hope that isn't going to happen everyday.

four | I hate cold sores! Do you get cold sores? I've gotten them since high school, so they just seem to be part of my life but I still hate when they decide to show up, like on my wedding day! Luckily it started just after dinner during the reception and waited to get to the "ugly" phase the following day.  Currently dealing with one now, probably due to decreased sleep over the last week.  With a good prescription medication they are gone pretty quickly but still even after years of dealing with them they drive me crazy.

five | Lastly, just wanting to say a warm Hello! to some new readers/followers who found the blog through the my Birth Diaries guest post & the Mom Lovin' Blog Hop.  Looking forward to connecting with you all and checking out your blogs too, love this blog community and meeting other bloggers!

Have a great weekend all!

Mom Lovin' Blog Hop

I'm so excited to be guest co-hosting the Mom Lovin' Blog Hop this week. Thanks to Hannah, Lena, and Andrea for having me! I'm so happy that I found these ladies blogs as they are all inspirational supermamas and am so happy to follow along as they write about the journey of motherhood as well as their expanding families.

Our Guest Co-Host this week is Kelli at A Pretty Prairie Life

Kelli was our featured mama a couple weeks ago so great to have her as a Guest Co-Host this week! If you don't remember Kelli a prairie girl married to a German boy and they have a sweet little lady name Greta! Kelli recently linked up to Andrea's Birth Diaries series

Our featured mama this week is Jenna @ A Mama Collective 

First off I am totally in love with this family photo, aren't you?! Jenna is the founding mama behind the blog- there are 5 other contributers. The Mama Collective is a platform to voice the truths of marriage, motherhood, parenting, and everything in between. I know a blog shouldn't be about the look but this blog is absolutely gorgeous!

Joyful Life

Grab our button!!

Please, if you are new to the hop or have been here but haven't left a comment, please let us know on our own respected blogs that you are a new follower (be sure to say HOW you are following) so we can follow you back! 

Also, If you are interested in co-hosting FOR FREE shoot Hannah an email at hannahsjoyfullife (at) to get on the list, growing your followers couldn't be easier! 


"a portrait of Greta, once a week, every week in 2014"

| play time in the exersaucer |

currently. {2}

thinking about | how I really, really need to get back to working out an then I think out how I'll be really, really sore and exhausted. Haha. In all seriousness I really need to do something. Winter's are so hard, it's so cold and packing up Greta to head to the city for a class is so much work and the weather is so unpredicatable. So I guess it's time to stop thinking - start doing - and dust off the good old 30 Day Shred. Anyone have suggestions on good, quick, home work out video? 
reading | this post really loved this post, I think that I'm in a hurry for Greta to get to the toddler years but I have to remember to embrace each stage because we all true just grow up so fast! 
listening to | some German language CD's trying to brush up for our trip, but I have the hardest time with this language. I think the best learning process for me will to start out with Greta and learn as she learns.
watching | this video 
thankful for | my husband.  I don't know what I would do without him, This weekend we had a rough night with Greta being up every 2 hours on Saturday night,  Finally at 4 he took his turn, let me sleep in and I woke up to my favorite breakfast and fresh coffee. I truly am so lucky, and I need to remember to tell HIM that because I don't think I tell him enough.
I'm also thankful for this blogging community. Especially Andrea at Hand and the Heart, she asked me to share what was on my heart regarding Greta's unexpected arrival and I am very happy she did. I'm sharing those thoughts today in her Birth Diaries series.  I know it's a long post but I hope that you will head over and read it - spilling those thought and feelings into words truly helped me to be at peace with my birth experience and heal.
Hand and the Heart

Linking up with a mama collective on this post today:

A Mama Collective

In the Kitchen: Grandma's Quick Cinnamon Buns

Today started out blustery here on the prairies and with that type of weather I had the sudden urge to bake - as baking seems to always bring a coziness over the house (especially if it's bread).  Lately, I've been turning to pinterest or my favorite food bloggers for recipes but today I decided to pull out some old cookbooks. The first one I pulled out was one that had been given to by my grandmother and as I began to flip through I found many scrap papers of recipes in her handwriting scattered throughout.  I instantly got a rush of memories and my heart was filled with joy thinking of the many days I spent alongside my grandma in her kitchen.  Those are some of the best memories! I love when you unexpectedly find yourself taken over by a flood of great memories and this make my need to bake stronger.


The recipe I settled on was Cinnamon Buns (Quick) {as it was written in her book} and I decided I'd share the recipe with you guys.

Quick Cinnamon Buns
(makes approx 18 buns)

1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 margarine (I used butter)
1/2 sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp instant yeast
2 eggs
6 1/2 cup flour (approx)

1/2 cup better (softened)
3/4 cup brown sugar 
3 tbsp cinnamon

Combine milk, water, sugar, salt & butter (or margarine) in a pot over low heat until butter melted and milk is scalded, remove from heat  and let cool till lukewarm then mix in the yeast and eggs.  Gradually add flour stirring with a wooden spoon until a nice dough forms (add more flour as needed). Note: This could also be done in stand mixer fitted with a dough hook if so desired. Cover pot and let stand for 15 min.
Turn dough on to floured counter and roll out into an approx 18x12 rectangle. Spread with butter and top with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and cut into 1 inch slices. Place in a greased 9x13  Let rise in a warm space for 1 hour and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes.

(Oh, and I added pecans to the bottom of my pan)

Do you love to bake? Who do your baking memories involve? 


"a portrait of Greta, once a week, every week in 2014"

|post bath with daddy|


thinking about | traveling with a baby. I've been reading a lot to prepare us for our up coming trip, to Germany with Greta, although it is still a month away I want to be as prepared as possible for our first (of many) international trips. How to prepare her for the plane, what to pack, and many other things. If you got any tips to help a mama out - I'd appreciate it!

reading | The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. I started this book around the time Greta was in the NICU and didn't feel that is was a great book for me at that time, so I picked it up again recently and am really liking it. 

listening to | nothing in particular. During the day I have the music stations from our satellite playing while Greta and I go about our day, so some country, some adult alternative and a little folk music fill our days. 

watching | Sons of Anarchy.  Darn you netflix - been binge watching this show after Greta is in bed for the evening.  I didn't think I'd be into this show but I kinda have a love/hate crush on Jax Teller. Do you watch?

thankful for | warmer weather! We were in a deep freeze for the last month thanks to the "polar vortex" and I am so happy we can head outside without freezing our faces off.  Spent some time outside this weekend and hope it keeps up this week, the fresh prairie air is good for my mind and soul.

I'm linking up with A Mama Collective for this post today.

A Mama Collective

Starting Solids

So we are at the point where we have been given the go ahead by the pediatrician to start solids.  The big milestone! As I mentioned in my 7 month letter to Greta, we tried her out on cereal the other day but I'm still torn as whether this is the direction I want to go with solids.

I've read about and researched Baby Led Weaning (put simply, baby self-feeds) and it really appeals to me from a developmental standpoint; eating when they are physically ready to do so, as well from a sensory perspective; in allowing babies to be exposed to a multitude of textures and tastes from the very start.  I also love it because it is so much less work (yah, call me lazy that I don't want to make baby food) and can help to avoid Greta being a really picky eater in the future.  As much as it really appeals to me, I have to keep in mind that she is a preemie, and the fact that she did not go to term she does not have the nutrient stores that other babies do.  The pediatrician suggested we start solids sooner than later because her iron stores will begin to get low soon - although she has been getting vitamin supplements since coming home from the NICU.

I tried her on cereal to start in order to how she reacted, if it was a struggle and she refused I decided that we would wait a few weeks and go from there.  Her first experience was neither good nor bad, she didn't refuse the spoon, nor was she overly thrilled with in either.  We let her play with the spoon and bowl for a bit and she had some fun sucking her fingers and trying to put the spoon in her mouth.  This experience showed me that she is interested in food, which is what BLW principles indicate would be a good time to start. But, she is only gestationally 5 months - and they say to start at 6 or later.  We tried her for a second time on solids (spoon-feeding) and this time she was very interested mouth opening and happy - again another sign that she is potentially ready.

So I have decided to do a bit of both. I know if you read a lot of the BLW information they say that strictly BLW is better, but I have to do what is going to work for us - which I believe is a mixture of both.  I am going to start introducing her to finger foods to see how she does and interacts with the food, but I am also going to spoon-feed her (high iron foods), although I believe that I am going to do it only once a day while maintaining on demand breastfeeding.  If she seems to respond well to the finger food then I will hold off on increasing the number of spoon feed per day and try attempt BLW if she seems developmentally ready.  I'm hoping that mixing the two methods will work ok, and not be detrimental to the benefits I'm hoping to achieve from BLW.  As a parent you have to do what works for you and your baby right? and although I would love to strictly BLW it may not be the right move for Greta and her needs.

Here's to hoping it goes well!  How did you introduce solids? Anyone have experence with BLW or partial BLW ? Would love to hear from you!


I received a new camera lens (50mm F/1.8) for Christmas from my husband, so I plan to start taking a lot more photos with my big camera this year. In order to make sure that I am doing this I decided to do the 52 project : " a portrait of Greta, once a week, every week in 2014".

So here is the first:

| reading the paper with dad |

{I'm hoping to see my skills evolve with this project so you may notice changes in editing as the project goes on as I refine my style - feedback is welcomed! Thanks.}

Dear Greta: 7 Months

Dear Greta,

The months just keep on coming and going! It was a pretty exciting month for you as you celebrate your very first Christmas.  Of course, you were spoiled by everyone and looked so cute in your Christmas outfits.  Your changing so fast and everyday there something new that makes us laugh.  It's been so cold this last month that we have spent so much time inside and cuddled together on the couch.  I think these days will be some of the best memories I have with you, just us, snuggles and music playing all day long while we wait for Daddy to get home from work.

Your Stats:

We predict you are around 13 lbs - you get some immunizations later this week where we will see if that number is right.  Your 0-3 sleepers are getting short and so even though the 3-6 are big your in them for comfort.

About You:

Your sleeping well, only up once in the night for a feeding around 4-5 and your naps are getting better.  Although it seems to vary as I believe you are teething, nothing poking through yet but your drooling and chewing like crazy.

You tried your first food! The doctor had given us the go ahead for solids at your last appointment but I have been hesitant. I have had my mind on letting you decide when you were ready for food (baby-led weaning concept) but after some discussion and hard thinking we thought giving cereal was worth a try.  You neither loved it nor hated it. Leaving me still questioning which way introduction of solids will end up.  The BLW really makes sense to me so I will sit with it for a bit more and maybe try you with some steamed carrots or some avocado next and see how it goes.  I'm in no rush to force solids into you - you growing beautiful with breastfeeding and your only 5 months by your adjusted age. It was fun taking photos of your first food experience though.

You Love:
  • giggling when I try to speak German to you - cracks me up everytime
  • smiling as I sing to you - makes me happy as I know it's not a pretty sound (lol)
  • Milka, although she has not yet warmed up to you yet!
  • Sophie the Giraffe which you got for Christmas
  • morning floor time with me
The next couple months will be exciting as I know we are going to see so many big changes and we will travel to Germany so you can meet your cousin and see Oma & Opa again - plus do some traveling with us!!


Mommy, Daddy & Milka


Yesterday, I turned 30.

Yikes! One of those big milestone birthdays, and as I got my birthday wishes I also got a lot of "how does it feel to be thirty?" questions.  Why do people ask that? Does it ever feel different on your actual birthday, like something just changes that day? It never does for me, I think the adjustment to thirty will come throughout the year as I inch closer to 31!  Although I don't feel different - I can definitely notice a difference in how life has changed through how I celebrate my birthday.

When I turned 18, 21, 25 and even 28 I threw a celebration.  At 18 it was a huge New Year's Bash that seemed to last a couple days, I think I went to the bar with my older sister as none of my friends could go yet (downside of being at the beginning of the year).  Then for 21 it was an epic bar adventure, 25 was a house party with great friends and 28 was a lovely just girls shindig at our place.  The celebrations seemed to get small and more intimate (only my real close friends) as I aged. A couple months ago, I thought I was going to throw a big epic 30th birthday party bash - full of food stations, specialty cocktails, photobooth, and lots of glitter to celebrate with a close group of couples - then I changed my mind! As a mom, it just didn't seem like it would work out. The planning, the babysitter, pumping - worrying about her taking a bottle...etc. So instead, our celebration ended up being a fancy dinner with my love. Three hours of great food, great conversation, and the very best company (oh and a few glasses of Pinot Noir!).   

Although, it may not feel different it is, at 30 I'm more mature, with more responsibility and I'm a mom.  Life changes us as the years pass, and for everyone it's different.  I don't feel old. I am happy where I am at 30. I accomplished most of what I wanted to by 30, in order to be a mom - my dream of having my Masters by thirty was pushed back, but I wouldn't change it because becoming a mother has taught me so much that will help me when I go back to school.

I'm happy being thirty, and it's crazy to think what will happen in the next 30 years! I think that epic birthday bash will happen at 40, cause I'll probably be craving a little bit of my youth then!

Word for 2014

Instead of making resolutions this year (because I never stick to them), I decided to approach 2014 with one word in mind to guide my years decisions and actions.  I toyed with a few words. (content | embrace) but in the end the word that I decided on was enough.

I want 2014 to be a year where I am completely happy with what I have.  Not that I'm not happy with it currently -- but in a world that is filled with social media outlets, like Instagram and Pinterest, I find that I'm comparing myself to others and always wanting more.  But the thing is we don't need more what we have is enough. We have so much stuff in our lives already (so much that I need to ride this house of lots!) and really the thing that I need is to be content and embrace what we have first  I chose the word enough instead of embrace or content because I think it is a word that can continually think about in all aspects of my daily life in order to make 2014 great!  Once I realize that I am enough, what we have is enough and what I do is enough then embracing and being content will naturally happen.  

How do you approach the new year? Do you make resolutions or choose a word to guide you? Or do you not really approach the new year any differently than any other day?