Monday, June 19, 2017

Baby #4 Week 18

I haven't done a maternity countdown in a while! I guess I better start again!

How far along? 18 weeks
Weight Gain: I weighed yesterday, and I have lost a half a pound. (I had lost 5 lbs since I got pregnant, so I am almost to pre-pregnancy weight...)
Maternity clothes? I bought a bunch of maternity shirts and a few pair of jeans a size too large, so I should be good for a little while. :-)
Stretch marks? A couple this time. I haven't had any on my stomach with any of the others, so this is new...and not welcome!
Best moment this week: Going on a family date and taking my oldest shopping. <3
Miss Anything? Being able to run without stopping. I can make it about a mile without needing to walk. But I make it work, and I lift a little still. I want to be fit, and not gain 100lbs with this pregnancy!
Movement: A little at night, and when I drink a (rare) coke or eat a (not so rare) mini chocolate bar.
Food cravings: Salt & Vinegar chips with caramel m&m's.
Have you started to show yet: A little, yes! But it's mostly looking pudgy, not preggo. :-(
Gender: We aren't finding out!!!
Wedding rings on or off? On some days, Off because of swelling other days.
Belly Button in or out? Still in...for now!
Happy or Moody most of the time: I've been moody for a few years, now.

I cannot believe this pregnancy is already at 18 weeks!!! Not that I'm disappointed at all! I was so very sick my first trimester...even until 13 or 14 weeks. I couldn't eat hardly anything without throwing it all up. And you could forget about cooking! I also was extremely motion sick. Even to the point I couldn't get on my phone or computer. I would get so dizzy and nauseous. But now, I have enough energy to workout again, chase kids, and not be on the couch the whole day. Plus, I can start blogging and get back to doing facebook parties for Trades of Hope.

Friday, June 16, 2017

My first running watch...

A Mom's Review of the Samsung Gear Fit 2

Does anyone else love eBay??? I have bought so many electronics and toys with boxes that have been opened or have been returned to stores, and I have saved so much money buying this way!

This Mother's Day was no different. I really wanted a GPS watch that can give me message notifications. Simple, right? AND, I didn't want to spend more than $75. Should be easy to find in this age of technology. Ha! I researched and looked at reviews. Did I mention I also wanted it to be feminine and pink/purple/teal? It shouldn't be impossible to find! But it almost was. I saw a couple that I liked, but I would have to sacrifice phone notifications. Which I was totally ready to do. I tried one more search, and I found one!

It was the Samsung Gear Fit 2.



Now, this watch is in no way perfect. But for what I want it to do, it works.

Although I love new tech, I am in no way a Techie. If you want to read a technical review, go to cnet or wareable. This review is just of my opinions, which I couldn't find many mommy reviews out there.

The Good
Let me preface by saying that I am not an avid runner. I love running! But right now, I am not getting in more than a couple of miles at a time. I still wanted a GPS, though. While my last pedometer was pretty accurate, I really like seeing where I run. 
I usually run with Nike+ Run Club. But I hate running with my phone. It is really bulky, and it throws off my stride. I have run a few times with the Gear Fit 2, and it is pretty spot on for me. Others have stated it is off by 0.01 to 0.10 miles. But, for a novice runner like myself who is really only running a mile or two, it works well. The GPS was definitely the selling point for me. 

The music player. Who runs well without music??? Certainly not me! I love how I can stack a ton of music on the watch, pair it with a Bluetooth headset and go! (I got a great pair on ebay for $12.) Again, no need to drain my phone's battery during a workout!

The 
style. I really like the look of the watch. It is sporty, yet still feminine. Did I mention it is PINK??? And there are so many watch faces to choose from! I chose a pink one. Imagine that. Mine just has the time and your steps, but you can have so much more information on the face. (Time, date, steps, HR, calories, floors, battery life...you get the idea.) And, yes, I am old school, and still like to wear an actual watch on my wrist!
One review I read said it was too bulky for her, since she has a small wrist. Maybe I am weird, but I've always loved sporty watches. To me, though, the Gear Fit 2 is not bulky or boxy like other watches. It is curved, which makes it fit on my wrist so well. I have a fairly small wrist, this watch goes up until it only has three holes left. Even so, it doesn't feel clunky or bulky. I would wear it to church, as well as all the football functions...but maybe not to a formal event. (Not that I go to any of those!) Nowadays, though, EVERYONE is wearing fit-watches. So, you would really just be fitting in. <3


The notifications. Who else feels like their phone is attached to your hand...and you HATE it? It can't be just me! I feel like I am missing something if I don't have it near me at all times. Checking Facebook, texting friends...Yes, I have an addiction. This is actually one way I am trying to remove the temptation and not neglect my kids. I get alerted when I have a text message, facebook message, what'sapp message, or call. You can choose to get other alerts from any other app on your phone, but these are the ones I wanted. (I really don't care who "likes" my posts. Haha!) It is also a good way for me to screen my calls without getting up. I also get notifications when I am not active enough or when I have reached a goal! This was not a deal breaker for me, but it does make me feel like one of the cool kids without actually having a smart watch (and forking over $$$!) You do have to have your phone in the vicinity (mine reaches across my house!) So, I can't get notifications on my run if I leave my phone at home or in the car. Which is great for unplugging. It is also nifty to have on during church or during a date. I can leave my phone on silent and still see if the nursery or babysitter needs me. 

Water Tracker. I LOVE that I can track my water intake from my watch. I am trying to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Now that I am pregnant, I can tell when I don't, especially when I work out! I can just press a button, and enter how many glasses I've just finished. It is something so simple, but such a great motivation for me to drink more water. You can do the same thing with caffeine, but I hardly drink any...maybe a can at the most. 

The Blah

The battery life. I am not familiar with other smart watches or other similar devices, so I don't know how the battery compares to them. With the Gear Fit 2 I can go a couple of days without charging it if I don't use the GPS or music player. When I go on a run and/or workout, I can get a day. This really isn't terrible considering it only takes about an hour to charge all the way. 

The screen.  The screen is supposed to activate when you turn your wrist to your face. Sometimes, I have to shake my wrist a few times to get it to turn on. This is pretty inconvenient when running, and you can't get the screen to come on. Also, while running, it only displays one thing at a time. You have to manually swipe the screen to see the difference of how far you've run vs how fast you're running vs your heart rate.

The voice coach. Unlike some other running apps (like the Nike app that I prefer), the voice coach for the Gear Fit 2 is monotone and robotic. I like my coaches with a little more personality. Annoying, but not a big deal, really.

The Ugly

The pedometer. If you are looking for a device to measure your steps, and you count the steps while shopping or pushing a stroller, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU! I noticed the other night while pushing the stroller on our family walk that although I had walked a mile, my steps had not changed. (I had started the "Walking" activity, so it recorded that I had gone a mile on the GPS, though.) I also noticed it when I went shopping for a couple of hours pushing a buggy, it didn't record my steps. This is really disappointing to me. My last no-name pedometer watch counted every step, even those where I pushed the buggy or stroller. So, I would think that a Samsung would have mastered that technology, also. BUT, I really don't count steps. I figure as long as I get in three or four workouts a week doing weights and running, I am doing pretty good. But for those mommies who are avid step counters, don't count on this watch to fulfill that requirement with littles. (I don't even know if it counts steps if you are holding your baby!)

Waterproof. It is not. I am afraid of wearing the watch in the shower, and I definitely wouldn't wear it swimming. (You can read more about that in one of the tech reviews listed above...)

Conclusion  

If you are looking for a watch that will count your steps while walking with a stroller, this is not for you! If you want a GPS watch that tells time and holds music, you might want to give it a try. It isn't a smartwatch with tons of apps. It is more a hybrid fitness watch that sends you notifications via Bluetooth. You have to use Samsung Health, which I really don't mind. It does sync with the myfitnessapp, which I think is pretty cool. (Please, add a Nike app soon!) 
For the price, it is fantastic (I got a like new one on eBay for $60, and I think they are on Amazon Marketplace for $90). And I can overlook a lot of its faults because of this. AND it matched all of my qualifications: Under $75 (even with the headphones), has a GPS, PINK! and feminine, holds music, and sends my phone's notifications. 
This watch isn't for everyone. But it is for me!

Do you have a smartwatch or fitness watch you just LOVE???

Saturday, June 10, 2017

...And baby makes SIX!

SURPRISE!


Coach and I have always wanted a big family. From the very beginning of our relationship (like, first date), we said we wanted 5-6 kids. So, it should be no surprise to anyone that we are pregnant again!!! 

It is funny, though, how this pregnancy happened. I had just weaned Amos at 13 months. Coach and I went to a coach's clinic together. Alone. Together. The first time we had been alone without kids in almost 5 years. So, ever! It was kind of a big deal. It was the first time in almost 6 years that I had my body to myself. I wasn't pregnant. I wasn't nursing. I was free! 

A month later, after a marvelous trip to Boston to see my bestie (by myself with two kids!), I was feeling queezy. I chalked it up to the plane ride. I got horribly motion sick during the plane trip, which I attributed to the stress of being stuck in the blizzard and traveling with two littles by myself. But then I realized that I was over a week late! Apparently, my body wasn't my own.

I was really content with my three littles. This has probably been the first time where I haven't craved another child. But now that I'm pregnant, I am overjoyed! A little nervous about adding another to our mix. And a little terrified of the actual birth (which is also a first for me. You'd think I'd be a pro by now!)

We decided not to find out the gender!!! I would be so happy with either, obviously. And we already have names picked out. Priscilla Lynn for a girl. Jonah Charles for a boy. 

We announced on Facebook on May 4: StarWars Day! I couldn't resist! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My First LLR Outfit!



I recently had an online co-party with a LaLaRoe consultant. I paired Trades of Hope accessories to match her LLR outfits. It was a blast learning about each other's companies, while matching fun patterns with TOH jewelry and bags. <3
I love all the different LuLaRoe options. Plain colors and wild patterns, they have something for every style. I love how modest they are and how many options you have! They have everything from skirts, leggings, shirts, dresses, and even kimonos. And multiple styles of each. The patterns are limited, so if you see something you like, you better buy it before it's gone! (Also great because you know nobody else will be rocking your style!)

What do you think your style is??? I love them all, and can see myself wearing all of these outfits!

















I ended up receiving a free pair of leggings and buying an Irma. I liked the combo so much, I bought the TC leggings (I have to roll down the top of them and scrunch up the leggings part, but it is really comfortable, and I don't notice!) and I bought the xs in the Irma. I still need to loose a few pounds a year after my third child, so next time I will probably get the small. But the xs works. (It is a little tight in the arms...)

I was a little worried about buyer's remorse, but I fell in love with them as soon as I opened the package! And if you hear your friends tell you that LLR leggings are like Buttah, they are so right! They are seriously the softest leggings I have ever felt.



I paired it with Trades of Hope Tri-Leaf Earrings, Kenyan Necklace, and Honeybee wrap bracelet. The earrings might look heavy, but they are the lightest pair I have, I think! I don't remember that I have them on unless they hit my neck. <3


I love pairing up with friends for business!

Go check out my Facebook Page and check out the amazing Fair Trade jewelry and accessories that Trades of Hope has for their Spring Line.



For the month of March, handbags (including the leather wallet!) are 20% off! And for every bag purchased, a chick will be donated in your name to a family overseas. <3

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Year In Review

A lot of people have lamented that 2016 was the worst year, yet. And although there were difficult moments, it was a year of joy for our little family.

Last January we welcomed home a little boy. He is a precious, smiley baby who has stolen our hearts. He did have to spend almost a week in the hospital last February for RSV. That was a very difficult time for all of us. He was so sick. It was heartbreaking to see him hooked to so many machines and to see him struggling for every breath. But he is all better, now!

Last April Coach accepted a job in a small town in Eastern Oklahoma. He is now Head Football Coach of the Bulldogs! (And head baseball coach. Lol.) It is a slow process trying to rebuild a program and a culture, but we are giving it our best shot. ;-)

The oldest started school in August. He loves it! He is learning his ABCs and how to interact with other kids his age. He gets to ride the bus in the morning and on his way home. Sister had a hard time with him being gone at first, but we get to snuggle more and play more. And big brother is home when she gets up from her nap. We've adjusted nicely.

We bought our own house in September! Our very first house. I feel almost grown up. I absolutely LOVE it! We also welcomed in a kitten into our house. What were we thinking? It has definitely been an adjustment, but she caught a mouse yesterday, so I guess we will keep her.

I have started a venture with a company called Trades of Hope. It is an awesome company that sells all handmade items from 16 countries around the world. The mission is to empower women out of poverty. I am in LOVE with this mission AND with the products! I will post more about it soon! (Especially since our new line just came out!)

This Christmas was an adventure, to put in lightly. We went to see my parents and coach's parents. I got to drive the whole way because Coach was sick with a virus/flu turned ulcer. It was horrible. He stayed in bed almost the whole time, not able to eat or drink anything for over a week. BUT, we went to see the doctor and got good medicines. He is almost all better, now.

So. That was our year in a nutshell. It had its ups and downs. It held some of best moments, and unfortunately some of our worst moments. I am excited to see what 2017 holds in store for us!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Birth Story #3: Amos William Barker

The day started like any other. I was very pregnant and wanting baby boy to come out! So, we went to KMart for something to do (and for me to walk around). Since I have had contractions since around week 20, I knew that they get worse with car rides and with walking. I was 38 weeks.

When we got home I cooked dinner, and I noticed my contractions hadn't lessened after we got home. So, I laid down and started timing the contractions. After an hour with contractions coming every 5 minutes (and texting my midwife), we pack up and head to the City. (I chose to give birth an hour and a half from home, so I wanted to leave in enough time to get there safely...considering my second birth lasted a little less than two hours!)

Although they were uncomfortable, the contractions weren't really painful. Yet.

We got to the hospital around eleven o'clock that night. When we got to the hospital, they checked me and told me I was at a 6. Going from experience, I figured an hour or two to meet the baby. Boy, was I wrong! This labor lasted around 12 hours from the time I got home from KMart to delivery! Throughout the night, I progressed pretty slowly. They broke my water around 1:30 or 2 am, and the contractions intensified. But unlike my previous two births, they stayed around 2-4 minutes apart. I was able to rest and relax a little between the pain. I could even joke with David...until a point.

My nurse was amazing! When I got around an 8, and the pain was really intense, I asked my nurse to stay with me. She lovingly agreed, and when I had contractions she danced with me and massaged my back. She was a really great help, and I don't know that I could have made it so easily without her! Around a 9, I felt like I was ready to push. Of course, I wasn't, but my nurse and midwife tried to get me ready. They were suggesting different positions for me to labor (and eventually push), but I was having such bad back labor that did not stop when contractions stopped, so I ended up pushing on my back with a labor bar up for my feet to push. Again, the nurse and midwife were amazing and tried to make me as comfortable as possible. And because of them, this was the first delivery that I have not needed stitches! (TMI, I know...)

Although I was in labor longer with Amos than the other two put together, this was the easiest labor and delivery. Because I was able to rest between contractions, I was able to concentrate and not freak out so much. I found spots on the bed or tv to stare at, and I also sang the ABCs to void the pain. (You know you're a toddler mom when...)

At 6:30 am Coach B and I welcomed our third born, Amos William. He is such an easy baby so far. He mainly cries when he is hungry or gassy. He is a great eater, seems to love his siblings, and loves cuddling with mommy! This brown eyed boy has stolen all of our hearts in the mere two weeks he's been here. I can't imagine our family without him.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Finding Joy in the Mundane

Why do we as women believe the lie that we are worthless? I struggle with this daily.



Two years ago, I posted a blog labeled "Here's My Cape...I am not Super Mom". This post is as relevant in my life (add one more kid) today as it was two years ago. I am not in Portugal anymore, but I still get overwhelmed with the everyday routine. Maybe not overwhelmed. Maybe more overqualified and discontent.



Not many people know this, but while I was in Portugal I was severely depressed. It was not the picture-perfect situation that I thought it would be. I had been dreaming of living overseas and being a missionary since I was a teenager, and the actual experience brought me to my knees. I fought with David constantly, and I ended up resenting the culture and the people. (The people and the culture are beautiful, but I had a heart issue that made me blind to that fact.) The only person I could rely on was God, and it is only by His grace that I survived that stage in my life.



Now that I am home, I still struggle with depression. I relate so much to the movie Mom's Night Out where she says, "This is it. This is my dream and I did it and why am I not happy?"

I cook and I clean and I change diapers. It is mundane. It is boring.









And Satan whispers, "You almost have your Master's degree. This is beneath you. What are you doing with your life?"



I heard over the radio a musician saying that he wants his kids to change the world, and while I want to see my kids change the world, it almost brought me to tears thinking that I was a failure to my parents. Why would they ever be proud of me? I will never change the world.



But, then, that still small voice tells me that I am doing what He has for me at this season of life. I do the dishes to be the helpmate my husband needs me to be. I change diapers and sing the ABCs and The Wheels on the Bus a million times a day because my children are important to me and my full time job. I am teaching them about Jesus and life, and that is what He has called me to do. He has also given me a chance to use my seminary training in teaching young women about Jesus and His Word. He has given me several roles to fill. And at this point, any other longing or discontentment is selfishness on my part.









So for now, as always, I have to rely on God, even to get me through the dishes.