Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's a New Dawn, It's a New Day!

Over the last three weeks, our family has begun the dramatic transition to a more plant-based diet. Why you ask? Because I (Brooke) would really like to lose some weight before graduation in December and before we have another baby, and David's blood pressure is creeping up there (despite his 33 inch waistline :/)

Our family has decided that we cannot entirely eliminate meat, and have thus decided to become pescetarians (vegetarians + fish) with a major focus on organic/natural foods. Our weaknesses are cheese and sour cream. I also forsee it being difficult to avoid milk and eggs that are mixed into products. But, we are going to take it one step at a time.

Some of our inspirations for our new lifestyle were a couple documentaries found on Netflix (recommended by a some friends)

Here is the website to "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" (based on an Australian man who travels all over the US while he is juicing only fruits and veggies for 60 days)

Here is the website to "Forks over Knives" (based on physician studies over 40+ years of the correlations of heart disease and cancer with animal product consumption)

I challenge each and every one of you out there to educate yourselves on what you put in your mouths.

I lost 11 pounds in the first 2 weeks of my new lifestyle change, without any exercise!

I'm looking forward to seeing what results both hubby and I will see as time progresses with our new lifestyle :)

What are your favorite veggie recipes!? Please share!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful ABCs

Got this idea from a sweet girl I've known for 14+ years (maybe longer - how long have we known each other Chrissi!?)... You can see her original post here

A: Avocados. Proof that God loves us. I hope they serve guacamole in heaven.
B: Blake. I never realized how much love you could have for someone in such a short amount of time. I LOVE being Blake's mother. I cannot wait for our family to grow more when I'm done with school.
C: Car. I have been driving my favorite car I've ever had in my short life since August. Has every bell and whistle a mom could imagine (and, it's still not a minivan - WOOP!). Love my Honda Pilot :)
D: David. My amazing husband. What a wonderful man of God that he is to put up with me. He is such an amazing father. Every moment I see him share with our son, I fall even deeper in love with this man. On a side note, he decided to be baptized on a spur of the moment decision last weekend (you can see the video here - he starts at 12:54). I'm so proud of my husband for making the decision to make his faith public with Baptism (he's a super shy guy, so doing anything in public is a HUGE deal for him). I'm so excited to see what else God has in store for us :)
E: Electricity. Things like this - we take advantage of daily. I'm so thankful to have air conditioning when I need it, a hot meal at the push of a button or twist of a knob on the stove, etc. Enough said.
F: Friends. You know who you are. Love my friends that embrace my genuinely bold and goofy personality - and forgive me when I'm being a little too bold or too geniuine. Love friends that I might not see for years, and can pick right back up and not skip a beat. Love friends that keep in touch (and don't hold it against me) in my busy season of life.
G: Grad school. I know this sounds silly to be thankful for when I complain about it soo much. But, I'm thankful I have the privilege to get an education that will support my family far beyond our basic needs. Also, for my classmates. I have better classmates than any girl could ask for. I see lifetime friendships in our futures! Wouldn't have rather gone through this with anyone else I know :)
H: Health. I'm so thankful for everyone in my family's health. My grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings, husband, son, and myself. Although, a few of them are dealing with some of their own issues currently (I'm praying for you - and you know who you are!) - overall, we are great and most importantly ... ALIVE.
I: Insurance. I'm thankful that I have health insurance through my employer that includes a maternity policy and covers my entire family for less than $500 a month - and government cannot dictate how we use our policy yet.
J: Jesus. Thankful that my Jesus Christ is so forgiving of all my sins.
K: Kiwi, my first dog. My precious 4 lb chihuahaua.
L: Love. Where would we be without LOVE. So thankful that I'm blessed with a God who Loves me, a family who loves me, and friends who love me.
M: Mango (my other chihuahua) and Molly (our golden retriever). Don't judge me for having a mini zoo at my house with our three dogs, ha!
N: Nurses. Us nurses are a special breed of people. Extra thankful for all the crazy nurse friends I have.
O: Occupation. I'm so thankful to have an occupation that has soo many opportunities. I can teach, or practice in the hospital, a doctor's office, an insurance office, you name it.
P: Parents. I think I have the most giving parents on the earth, and I'm so undeserving of their generosity. Love you mom and dad :)
Q: Quietness. If you spend any length of time with me at work or on a social basis, I'm hardly ever quiet. However, the times that I actually shut my yapper - I'm rather productive. I can just imagine how much I could get done if I'd be quiet like my husband tells me I should ... lol!
R: So very proud to vote Republican. Not going to get political on you people, but if you read my FB status on the evening of November 6th ... you will see why I believe what I believe.
S: My Sister. She's so inspiring. A wonderful woman of God with astounding self control and patience.
T: Time management. I'm actually pretty bad at managing my time, but when I buckle down - I can really rock it out.
U: Umbrellas. Come on now, I couldn't think of another U. Wouldn't it be horrible if we didn't have umbrellas!?
V: Vacations. Can't wait to go to Disney World in 3 weeks with my mother, sister, and nieces. Thankful we each have the financial opportunity to get away from our jobs to enjoy some down time a couple times a year:)
W: Running Water. I think I covered that above.
X: Xylophones. Blake loves his little xylophone, soo cute :)
Y: You, all 3 of YOU readers out there. Thanks for pretending to be interested in my bored jibber jabber.
Z: Zebra print. Part of me wants to decorate an entire room in Zebra print, love it!

Hope you enjoyed my ABCs! Now it's your turn!
Love, Brooke

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blake Turns One

Here are some pictures from Blake's birthday party at our neighborhood clubhouse! We all had a blast :)
Some Decorations
I took the pictures I'd taken of him every month and made this banner for behind his highchair :)
Sweet little Smash Cake
With Cousin Ivy Thank you all for bearing with me (I mean his birthday post was only almost 2 months late!). I promise I will catch up on blogging during my month off in December. Say a prayer that I make it through this last month of school with a BANG! I need all the prayers I can get :) Love, Brooke

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Our Baby is ONE!

Here are a few pictures from his party at our neighborhood clubhouse - more to come!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sweet Friends

Do any of you have friends that you haven't seen in YEARS, but when you meet up in person again - it's like things never changed!? David and I had the privilege to spend the weekend up just outside of Knoxville with a good friend of mine from college. Tracey and I took Pathophysiology and Microbiology together at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After Tracey moved back home to Tennessee in 2004ish, we naturally lost touch because of the distance factor.

Because of Facebook, we connected again a couple of years ago and have kept in touch rather frequently through texts and FB chat. After multiple failed attempts to get together, even though we only live 3.5 hours apart, we finally scheduled a quick weekend to run up to visit (despite our insanely busy calendars). What a beautiful home they have, and an even more beautiful family! Emma is 4 and Branson is only 10 days older than our little Blake. What a joy it was to see them interact :) Love the feeling of forever friends! Cannot wait to watch each others families grow up together!

This is the view off their back porch. It was so serene! Felt like I was on vacation in a cabin up in the mountains :)

Right after our delicious lunch at Calhoun's in downtown Knoxville, Tracey took some amazing photographs of our little family. If you know anyone in the Knoxville area, please send them to her website! She is seriously one of the most talented photographers I know :) Below is a link to her blog of all the pictures - ENJOY!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

9 and 10 Months

I figure since Blake is going to be 11 months in 2 weeks that I might as well catch up with what I've missed on here! (School + work + baby = kicking my tail)

At his check up, he was almost 23 1/2 pounds (80%), 30 inches tall (90%), and head circumference of almost 18 1/2 inches (80%)!

For the last few months, we have stayed on a fairly regular schedule. He usually wakes up between 7-8 (unless it's a day that I have to be at work at 7), nurses in the morning and night, drinks four 8 ounce bottles, and has table/finger foods for breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. He takes 2 pretty long naps (2 hours) during the day and sleeps about 10 hours a night.

The biggest change that has happened in our lives in the past couple of months is that we have changed our caregiver to a wonderful in-home daycare about 2 miles from my work. I couldn't afford my precious neighbor anymore ($10/hr). She was soo convenient and great for Blake, but you cannot beat $35/day - including food and diapers!

Our family has already shared a cold and a stomach bug since starting in daycare, but other than that ... things have been great! I have a few friends and a co-worker that uses the same lady that we do, as well. Love hearing updates on Blake from them when they pick up their kids, too :)

Here are a few more pictures to enjoy.

Cannot keep his hands off that sticker - always moving!

Finally, a picture with the Chick Fil A cow that uncle Stephen (manager at CFA) got him for Christmas! (No, this picture was not to promote CFA, despite all the current hooplah going on)

I cannot believe that this baby is almost a year old.

He is standing up unassisted, grabbing everything, crawling super fast, climbing up onto things (blanket covered mantel, not couches or chairs - yet!), saying mama/dada/baba or squealing with delight (such a chatter box, definitely gets that from me), smacking the table, and already selective listening (I didn't know men started this early!). He will be playing with the blinds (which he knows he's not supposed to do) and I will call his name, and he will completely blow me off as if he heard nothing ... I truly thought I needed to get his hearing checked at one point! Ha ha :)

So very thankful for such a happy boy who eats and sleeps well. God certainly has blessed us with an amazing gift. Don't remember what my life was before this, but I fall more and more in love with my husband every time we sit on the floor together and watch our son develop into the amazing little creation he is. Life is wonderful. Definitely giving thanks DAILY.

If I wasn't in school, I'd love to consider adding another little one to our family now ... but it isn't the season for us - yet. Looking forward to adding to our family in a couple years. We love being parents. Such a blessing :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vote for my Blog!

You may have noticed a few new "buttons" on the blog :) I've recently registered with Top Mommy Blogs so I can network with other blogging mamas. I'd love if you can take a moment and vote/rate my blog on the below link ... Currently I'm #31 in the Working Mom category. Thanks for your time! Or you can click So, go ahead and VOTE! Brooke Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Saturday, June 9, 2012

8 Months

Man, I'm behind! Blake turned 9 months old yesterday, but I just realized I never posted his 8 month pictures or milestones ... Whoops! I plan on catching up with his 9 month update after his check-up in a couple weeks :)

Blake wasn't even crawling on his 8 month birthday. The most memorable, but worst part of his life was when he spiked a horrible fever on Mother's Day (5/13/2012) while my family was up visiting my grandmother in St. Louis. After a trip to the Emergency Room the night before (which revealed nothing - no pneumonia, ear infection, etc.), his temperature spiked at 104.7 Mother's Day afternoon despite the Motrin/Tylenol treatment. You would think as a nurse that I would be accustomed to health related issues and not freak out, but when it's your child ... it's a whole new ballgame. I don't think I have ever taken a higher temperature on any human being in my life. I remembered just holding his naked body in my arms, covered with cool washcloths, weeping because I felt so out of control (and it made matters even worse because my husband wasn't with me to keep me sane - I allowed him to stay at home since it wasn't his family, and he had started a new job and didn't want to miss a day of work). I really and truly thought something horrible was going to happen to my baby boy :( I was watching him like a time bomb ... Waiting for a febrile seizure or for him to stop breathing. In hindsight, I know that I overreacted a bit a LOT (and snapped on a few family members up in St. Louis - SORRY!). However, I have learned that if there are no other symptoms, and baby is acting "normal" in appetite and activity that their temperatures can safely go up to 105 without having to seek medical care. Since babies' temperature control systems are so immature, they really can spike huge temperatures. (Would have been nice to know that before my $125 ER copay, but whatever!)

Back to the happy stuff! Here are a few pictures of Blake meeting his Great Grandma Betty Ryckman ...

This was about 2 hours before his temperature was 104.7 - so he wasn't feeling soo hot :(

My brother in law captured this without me knowing ... pretty much a perfect portrayal of my weekend


This is what Blake does when he gets excited :) He shakes and straightens his little legs out like this!

Smiley Boy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 Months

Wow, how time flies.
Blake seems to be constantly chattering away saying "dada" or moaning with delight when he's eating - soo cute! He's pushing up very well when he rolls onto his belly. He absolutely loves to roll on his belly and get his knees up under him to sleep. His play time consists of sitting on his little rubber mat with a few of his favorite toys ...
His typical schedule is ....
7:30 or 8:00 Wake Up
8:15 Nurse or have 8 oz bottle (if I'm at work), then a little baby food
10:15-12:15ish Nap
12:30 Nurse or have 8 oz bottle (if I'm at work), then a little baby food
1:30-3:30ish Nap
3:45 Nurse or have 4 oz bottle (if I'm at work), and maybe a tiny snack of puffs or similar
6:30 or 7:00 Nurse or have 8 oz bottle (if I'm at work), then a little baby food
9:00ish Nurse, then time for mommy to do homework bedtime
Anytime in between is play time :)

What I'm loving about Blake ...
How he stiffens up like a board when he sees someone who excites him!
How he giggles when we tickle under his arms
How he usually goes to sleep without a hitch - such a great baby!
How he is sleeping 10+ hours SOLID a night!

Onto the best part!

Here's Blake chatting it up :)

Here's Blake splashing in the tub :)

Happy Tuesday!!!

First Trip to the Beach

Blake had his first trip to the beach just after his seven month birthday ... here are some pictures from our trip to Seaside, Florida
First time those sweet baby toes touched the sand ...
Out with Ommie
Making something for Ommie and Poppy at "Fired Up" - Family tradition :)
The fam - minus my sister, brother in law, and nieces
Absolute fave ;) Love that face!

6 Months - A Month Late!

I'm so behind - Grad school is kicking my butt! This is going to be a quick photo update :) At his 6 months doctor's appointment, Blake was 19 pounds even. I think all of his rolling around is making him a lean little guy. Enjoy!

He is pushing up soooo well!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

To do the 'Do

This post is probably more important than anything I've ever put on here ... Well, maybe not :)

I'm bored with my hair. Again.

I know, I should be happy with it, since I know it damages you hair to continuously make drastic color changes - but I cannot help myself.


Let's take a tour of my hair through the years together ...

Highschool I hit up all kinds of colors, dark red, just some highlights, and my personal favorite (ha!) ...
Prom 2002 (all over color, not highlights)

This was 2004-ish, I think I stayed pretty much blonde or this color for my first few years out of college. (Three generations in this picture, pretty awesome, huh?)

2007 With my dear friend, Amanda :)

Spring 2008 for David's homecoming from Iraq, he prefers brunettes - so I decided to go "back to my roots" which turned out MUCH darker than I expected!

2008 with a few caramel highlights

2008, trying to lighten my color up even more before the wedding :)

Engagement pictures, Fall 2008 (Most natural-looking hair color - and favorite because it looks like it "fits" me the best)

May 2009 with my paternal grandmother, I think it shows a pretty good display of a few more highlights

Summer 2011, pardon my huge NAKED belly - but this shows my hair in all it's glory. Something about me ADORES the contrasting colors because it's different, but not like green streaks in your face trying to make a statement - ya feel me?


So, now ... I'm thinking that it's waaay too blonde on top. And my roots looks like trailer trash 3 weeks after I get it done, which is a little crazy and too much maintenance for me. However, when it's blonde my gray hairs blend in a lot better than when it's brown!

This is what I WISH I could do, but I have about 70 pounds to lose first ...
Minus the bangs if it's this short

Or this, but in brown with some highlights ...

However, this is realistically what I'm looking at now ...
Maybe touching my shoulders, though - in brown of course

Not a fan of her, but this captures the bang and length

Love these bangs!

So, am I crazy for considering side swept bangs - I know they can be a pain? What's the verdict on your favorite color for me?

Don't forget to comment below!

<3 Brooke