This Decision & That Thankfulness

A couple weeks ago I had a pretty tough decision to make. 

Can you believe it's been almost 3 and half months since having baby Copeland!? Me neither!

This: Tough Decision 
I got a little letter in the mail from my company saying my extended 6 weeks were coming to an end, which meant I had to make a decision. Josh and I have been going over this for the past 6 weeks.

Let me just say, I love working!
It's something I've always done and have always enjoyed. I especially loved this job. I loved the girls I worked with and the managers and the company in general is just a great company! But I called the sweet HR lady and gave them the news that I have decided to stay home with our baby. I'll admit, I'm scared. With Josh still in school, money is going to be a little tight these next few months. But I know we will get through it together. I'm extremely grateful to be home with my little guy. I love waking up to him and seeing his sweet little smile and listen to him babble away and "tell" me all about his dreams :) but I think I will also miss working too.
I had been planning on going back to work ever since I found out I was pregnant.
There wasn't a question in my mind about it.

But when it came time to actually go back, I really had to pray about this decision.
Part of me really wanted to go back to work but a lot of me really wanted to stay home.
I feel guilty for my decision, but I know I'd feel guilty if I went back to work as well.
Josh has reassured me a hundred times over that he prefers me home with Copeland.
I am so grateful for him and his reassurance that this is right for our family.

He only has a year left until he is officially out of the engineering program.
Hallelujah! It cannot come fast enough.
Especially now with Copeland here, we are ready for daddy to not be cooped up in the office all night studying :)



That: Thankfulness
I cannot tell you how grateful I am to our Heavenly Father for watching over our family.
I have felt so blessed this past year being pregnant, bringing Copeland into the world and now 3 months later. Little things that may go unnoticed have been so greatly appreciated.

A year ago in December, Utah County welcomed the UTA FrontRunner train.
This has been such a blessing for us.
Josh attends the University that is 40 ish minutes from our home and having to pay for gas for the drive back and forth 5 times a week is so ridiculous. We were talking just today about how lucky we are that they put the train in at the same time I got pregnant.
We are so thankful for that!
Without it, I definitely would have had to go back to work to be able to afford the gas for Josh's car.

I am so thankful that I was able to bring Copeland into this world.
I cannot even imagine how big of trial it must be for families who are unable to have children or
have struggles with fertility. My heart goes out to them and I want them to know God hears their prayers. Everything happens for a reason. Although we may not ever know the reasons, he does have a plan.

I am so thankful that I have a husband who is obsessed with our baby.
Every morning he kisses him goodbye and everyday he comes home to cuddle with him.
He changes diapers without me asking, he rocks him and sings him to sleep, he is just such a great daddy.
I'm thankful that he has so much love for this tiny spirit.

Josh tells me all the time how happy he is when he comes home from work to me and Copeland.
He says it makes his whole day to come home to Cope's smiling face.

I'm thankful that Josh works so hard to provide for our family, and although I may not get to have everything I want ;) I have everything I need. And that will always be and is more than enough. How thankful I am that we have diapers and wipes for Copeland, that we can go grocery shopping for food to fill our tummies and that we have a warm home to sleep in every night. 
These are all blessings to be thankful for.

I'm so thankful that I live so close to my mom and sister and for the relationship
we have with each other. They are my best friends. I can talk to them about anything and everything.
 I'm with them almost everyday while Josh is at work and It's going to be extremely hard when my sister moves in January.

I am so grateful for my dad, and although he lives far away he is a huge part of my life.

I'm very grateful that I have such amazing in-laws.
I love them so much and love spending time with them!
They are always so supportive and willing to help with anything that we may need.

And lastly I am so grateful for God.
He answers prayers.
He listens.
And he is always there for me when I need him.
Our families have experienced some hard things in the past year but you always have to remember that God is good. He wants you to be happy. He is there for you and wants to help you get past the hard times. 
To have faith in God is one of the most important things that I have learned in this past year. It is the thing that has helped me overcome the negative in my mind and has helped me see more positively. When you have faith, you have peace in your life. Everyone has hardships, everyone has trials. But to have faith in his plan is to have love and peace in your heart and mind. 
I am thankful for the faith I have in him. 

I feel so blessed and lucky right now.
Although motherhood can be challenging and exhausting, it is so joyous and beautiful.

I never knew all the time and energy that goes into having and raising a child. But it is such a beautiful gift.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We ware headed to Idaho in the morning to spend time with
Josh's dad and we are sooo excited for some turkey and pumpkin pie!








Spotlight Post: Chicken Scratch'd Designs

Today's spotlight post is Valerie over at Chicken Scratch Blog & Shop

She is such a cute mama and a very talented one too! 

She owns Chicken Scratch'd Designs where she hand creates the funnest 
headbands, necklaces and infinity scarves! 

I seriously need to get my hands on this olive green scarf!
One of my favorite colors right now!


And here is just a peek at some of her baby clips & headbands


Too cute!

Make sure to stop by her lifestyle blog to see this mama in action with her little kiddos & get a little holiday shopping done at her shop! :)

ALSO!
She is having a fun little giveaway! 
All you have to do is like her Facebook page and follow her blog and Instagram! 

Each like/follow is an additional entry!! 

Giveaway ends on December 4 at midnight!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Blogger: Sia from Diary of a Fit Mommy



Hello there! My name is Sia Cooper and I own Diary of a Fit Mommy. I created this blog to not only help pregnant women stay fit during their pregnancy, but to also help postpartum women get back to their pre-baby shape. My blog is also for women wanting to get pregnant who would like to get in the best shape of their lives before doing so. I lost 45lbs in 2010 when I changed my lifestyle from eating junk food to eating clean and getting active. I became pregnant 7 months ago, and have stayed true to my goals! Now that winter is approaching, I would love to share some tips on how to stay fit during the holidays!



Well, it’s that time of the year again! 
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s usually equals FOOD, FOOD, and MORE FOOD for the average person! Did you know that the number one New Year resolution is to start a diet…  right after the holidays? Why not start now?
How? Well, it’s all a matter of a mind game! You must have the willpower to tell yourself what your goals are and how you will achieve them. I have done this for the last 3 years of holidays and, as hard as it was during the process, my body thanked me once summer came rolling around. Studies show that women (sorry, girls!) can lose up to 20 percent of their cardiovascular fitness if they quit exercise between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Crazy, right?
But, sometimes, it just seems that winter SCREAMS weight gain. Here are some reasons why it happens:
*It is cold so we tend to cook dense meals and shy away from fruits and veggies. We crave something warm and filling.
*Since it is cold so we don’t get outside to exercise as often as we should. Thus, making our metabolism slow down, holding onto the fat that is already there. Think of it as survival mode almost.
*Pastas, cereals, breads and other high carb foods seem more appealing in the winter.
*The days are shorter (daylight) and thus we feel there is less time to devote to exercise.
*We wear jackets and sweaters every day and so don’t notice weight gain as much.
*Holiday meals, potlucks, and parties. Need I say more?

It is important for you to identify yourself with these common pitfalls and reasons why people slip up, so you will be aware and won’t do the same!
Here are my winter/holiday tips to set you up for success. Use this time wisely to create your new body for summer and reap the benefits!

#1: Make a plan. Write down your goals on a sheet of paper and then write down your weaknesses, whether it be a certain food that your Aunt Mary cooks or your knack for sleeping in late. Now, write down beside the weakness how you can turn it into a strength or positive. For example, “I will just have one bite of Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie” or “I will set my alarm at 5:30am every day for the gym.” Writing your goals down are easy, but finding motivation is key.”

#2: Find your motivation. Whenever I made the choice to lose those 45lbs, I actually started in November! Can you imagine changing your whole entire lifestyle right before the holidays?  I did it and succeeded, but I had to find my motivation to get me through. I turned to various documentaries such as Food Inc. and Food Matters to help me get started and understand clean eating. I suggest these to anyone! I also would make my desktop background a photo of what I wanted to look like or become. I always chose a photo of fitness model Jamie Eason. Looking at that photo each day, helped remind me why I was turning away the sweets and why I was doing what I was doing. Find what motivates you! Whether it be a person, your new skinny jeans, or a health condition-use it and go with it!

#3: Cut back on carbs. During winter, our body loves to hold onto carbs, preserve them as fat, and store them until winter is over-just like in the cavemen days. I am not saying go carb-free, but stick with whole grains and unrefined carbs such as brown rice, whole grain or wheat, or quinoa. Stay away from sugar such as ice cream, doughnuts, cakes, cobblers, pastries, brownies, soft drinks, alcohol, etc. Get your sugars from fresh fruits instead! Last winter, I would bring a bag of Granny Smith apples to work with me as a snack! Apples have pectin in them which is a fiber that leaves you with the feeling of satiety.

#4: Eat in moderation. Whether you are at a work potluck or your family’s holiday gathering, or even in just your regular days, always eat in moderation. If you want a piece of Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie and do not have the willpower to say no, cut a small slice and have a few bites. However, I can share with you an example of what I did. I would bring either a fruit or veggie tray to every party or holiday gathering that I attended, and would simply snack from that. Or make a traditional holiday dish, but add a healthy twist so I knew exactly what I was putting into my body.  Another tip when eating at a party is to always make yourself a healthy snack or dinner beforehand so you will not be as hungry. Turkey is actually great for you! I urge you to eat turkey. However, go light on dishes such as dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and desserts. Avoid punch and alcohol if you can as these are empty calories that you may want to save for something tasty!

#5: Make smart choices or swaps. I am the biggest sweet tooth when it comes to pastries, pies, cakes, and ice cream! Over the years, I have learned that making smarter choices does not always have to be boring. If you want something sweet, make a healthier alternative to it! There are countless recipes on Pinterest and the web where you can Google substitutions for butter, sugar, and flour.
If you like fried chicken, find a recipe for oven “fried” chicken and batter it in healthier flour. If you love those high calorie Starbucks Frappuccinos, ask for a “skinny” version using soy or skim milk, sugar free syrup, and no whip. If you must eat at a fast food restaurant on a road trip, download the iPhone app called Fast Food and check the calories to see which option is healthiest or look online at the company’s nutritional information. Read the labels! This has been the one single handed tip I have received that has helped me the most. If you cannot pronounce most of the ingredients listed or know what they are, don’t eat it. Food is best in its rawest and unprocessed form!

Here is my recipe for my pumpkin pie:
Diary of a Fit Mommy’s Healthy Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients:
*1 15oz. can Libby’s Pumpkin Puree
*2 Eggs
*1 cup Almond Breeze Almond-Coconut Milk (My favorite milk ever)
*3/4 cup Splenda or Stevia
*1/2 cup Coconut Flour
*2 tbsp. Coconut Oil
*3 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Directions:
1. Mix ingredients together into a bowl until smooth.
2. Pour into a greased baking pan. I usually grease mine with coconut oil.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until you can place a knife down the center and it comes out clean.
4. Serve with homemade coconut whipped cream. This is so easy to make! Mix one can of Thai Kitchen full fat coconut milk (make sure it’s been refrigerated for a couple of hours!) with 1/3 cup of Splenda or Stevia. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and whip in a bowl with a mixer.

#6: Keep moving! During winter, we tend to stay in our beds longer. It’s warm and toasty-who wouldn’t want to get out of bed?  You must push through this mindset-remember, it’s all a mind game! Set 3 alarms. One for the time you absolutely want to get up. One for 5 minutes later, then one 5 minutes later from that time. This is to set you up for success (and to wake you up!). Set out your workout gear the night before. If the weather outside is too cold for you, do your workouts at home or in the gym. I usually aim for doing mine at the gym because then I have to drive and it helps wake me up even more. When it’s early in the morning and you are still at home, you are likely to change your mind! Start off with 30 minutes of cardio, then head to the weight room for 30 minutes of strength training. My favorite forms of cardio are High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), running at the local outside track, and the elliptical machine. For weights, I love the benchpress (pre-pregnancy), free weighted squats, the leg press machine, and CrossFit style exercises using a Kettlebell. Crossfit also counts for cardio-it’s the best exercise around in my opinion because it mixes cardio and weights to work every part of your body! If I am just simply exhausted or cannot make it to the gym, I will still wake up early to do yoga in my home. Find what routine works for you and do that for 4-5 times a week. After 21 days of continuous workouts, it will become a habit and the soreness will subside. If you cannot wake up early, try to fit in the gym or run during your lunch break. If that does not work, try before dinner when you get home from work. I always wake up first thing before breakfast because if I don’t, I am not as likely to work out for the rest of the day due to life’s duties. You must make it a priority. Also, if you have kids, invest in a jogging stroller or do some at-home workouts during their naps.

The holidays can be a set back or a set up; it is ultimately up to you! You will certainly find what works best for you if you desire it!



You can follow me at:
 My blog Diary of a Fit Mommy: www.fitmommydiaries.blogspot.com

Also, if you would like more information on eating clean and clean eating recipes, I have a few eBooks that you can view on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Sia%20Alexis&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

Guest Blogger: Whitney @ The Married Me

I'm so excited to have Whitney over at The Married Me share a very fitting and lovely guest post today! 
I absolutely love what she talks about in this post all about showing appreciation and thankfulness! 
Enjoy!

November is here and we all know that it's the month of being thankful. The blogging world has already blown up with post series on what people are thankful for each day and stories that are to remind us that we have it good. However I think most of those posts are pretty shallow (not intentionally). I'm not immune to writing a post that tells my husband how thankful I am for him, but in all reality if he doesn't read that blog post he'd never really know. I also believe the the old adage that actions speak louder than words is true.
In our day to day lives we do nice things for others such as hold the door open or share a snack and gracious "thank you"s are exchanged from all. We recognize them and appreciate them but those are common courtesy type thank yous. Now think of how you feel when someone goes a step farther and hand writes you a thank you card in appreciation for something nice you have done. Warm fuzzies come to mind, right? How about when a thoughtful gift (no matter how small) is attached to said thank you note, showing that the person put even more thought and effort into their thank you. I can almost bet you will feel pretty darn special and have a grin on your face for the rest of the day.
I can also bet that if you are the person doing good deeds that you start to get fatigued when no appreciation is shown. It's just common knowledge that the more appreciation you are shown for what you do, the more likely you are to continue the cycle of good deeds. Appreciation and thankfulness multiply within the world and lets face it this world needs more good deeds and positivity!
The past month or so I've challenged myself to show more appreciation. I just graduated from college in May and started a career in nursing. I had a fantastic preceptor my last semester and as I was acclimating to my new job I heard her voice inside my head so many times, guiding me yet. I knew that I needed to let her know what an impact she had made on me so I reconnected with her over texting for her address and sent her a small gift and a letter of my appreciation. From her thank you in return I could really tell that act of appreciation had the desired effect. She wanted to make a difference in this world and I proved to her that she made a difference in mine!

I took another opportunity to be thankful on Boss' Day, by purchasing a small bouquet of flowers for a supervisor from work. All of the supervisors at my job work extremely hard and wear a variety of hats. In return they don't get near enough appreciation, instead they get pulled a million different directions, soothe the disgruntled patients and family and get called to fix all the problems. Their job is not to get brought into the best of situations, they fix the messes. After some tough shifts I thought it was only fitting that I show her I appreciated all the work that she did.


I think what surprised me most about this journey was that I ended up being on the receiving end. Just last week I received a thank you note from a (different) supervisor in the mail, thanking me for staying over at work one morning to help the understaffed day shift get started on the right foot. It was not a thank you note that I was expecting, but boy was it a pleasant surprise! It's nice to know that people appreciate the extra effort. The thankful spirit I sent out into the world already made its way back around to me!

My challenge to you is to take this month to put some action to your words. Has there been someone who has made your job easier lately? Is there someone who has impacted the way you live your life? Do they know that? I challenge you to purchase some thank you notes and start writing.  You can even send a heartfelt email. But lets get off the social media shout outs and nonchalant verbal spouts of appreciation and put some real action behind our words and spread some positivity in this world.