Hi Baby, I love you

Hey there my sweet baby girl,

It's been a while since I've written anything to you. I really love to write, but I usually write when life is hard. When I'm sad or confused. When I'm depressed or feeling alone. When you first joined our family I had all of those emotions so I wrote non stop. It helped me clear my mind and feel a little more sane. None of those adjectives describe my life right now, so I haven't felt the need to write as much. I am so happy! Being your mom has changed my life and brought me more happiness and joy than anything I could ever imagine.

Watching you learn and grow right before my eyes has been amazing! You are learning new "tricks" every day and it's so fun to play around with you. You now know how to "come and get me" and chase me around the room with a grin and a squeal. You just learned how to wave "bye bye" and laugh and yelp at everything. I really could just be with you all day when you're in a good mood and never get bored.

Your personality is shining through more and more and you're such a goofball. You love people and new environments and attention. When you're mad you make sure we all know it and you're already starting to throw temper tantrums. I know you just get frustrated and overwhelmed sometimes, and they are pretty funny to watch.

Thank you for being such a sweet baby and my best buddy. I love spending every day with you and I'm excited to see where our life takes us. I love you Kenners.


Bowen-Miller Family Reunion

Call me crazy, but I love family reunions. Even when we pulled onto a dirt road with a ghetto sign that signified we had made it to Downata Idaho. Bart and I laughed, wondering how it was going to go. It was our first camping trip with Mckenzie and I really didn't know what to expect.

We got to the campsite on Thursday evening. The shade was in the perfect place and all the little babies were able to crawl and explore and Mckenzie was in heaven! You get that girl in a new setting, without restrictions, and she is the happiest she could be. We hung out, ate dinner and set up camp. 

Bart has 8 other siblings. 6 step/siblings and 2 brothers. Everyone but 1 bother and wife was able to make it. We played sand volleyball Thursday night and even though I've never played a real game before- I totally rocked it! Bart was impressed and bitter when my team beat his. I think we both under estimate my skills sometimes. It was really fun though- I love being in a new setting and getting to know family better! It was the perfect night to do it. 

Bedtime was pretty easy, and Mckenzie went right to sleep. I really had no idea how she was going to handle it. Let's just say it was the worst night I've had in a long time. Not to be dramatic- but it was horrible. Bart and I probably didn't get to sleep until close to 11 and she woke up around 1am because she was really cold. Normally I don't go get her during the night, but everyone was in tents around us and I didn't want to wake everyone up. So she joined me in my sleeping bag and it was straight up hell for the rest of the night. She went right back to sleep, but I was half in half out of my sleeping bag, freezing and trying to make sure she wasn't suffocating. I went in and out of sleep for the next several hours until she woke up screaming mad at 5am. She cries loudly for a while because she was awake, but wanted to be sleeping. Once we calmed her down she was wide awake and I was going to cry if we were going to have to start our day already. I said a little prayer that she would go back to sleep so I could get a nap in before the day started. Around 5:45 she went back to sleep until 8am. Never under estimate a tired mom's prayer! 

Mckenzie is the 3rd of 6 new babies to join the family in the space of a year, so needless to say Mckenzie wasn't the only baby crying and we all woke up really tired Friday morning. 

We spent the day hanging out, playing at the pool that's attached to the camp ground and keeping the babies happy. Napping is almost impossible. It's too hot in the tent to keep the baby in there, but taking the pack and play outside in the shade is too distracting for them to relax. Eventually Mckenzie figured it out and got a couple good naps in. 

She was so much fun!! She loved playing with her cousins and all her aunts and uncles. I like just letting her be free and crawl and explore on her own as I watch in the distance. She is such a curious and mischievous baby- it's one of my favorite personality traits she has.

To end the reunion we all met back up at Bart's dad's house for family pictures. Almost 40 people- I was impressed it happened! At some point or another most babies were crying. I'm sure it was quite a scene to the outsider. I love being part of such a great family. Family is the greatest blessing of my life, and my in-laws are no exception to that blessing.


Goofy giggles

Today was a good day

 Mckenzie and I danced and sang along with Aladdin 

 And then we goofed off and played around on the floor for an hour. I would chase her and she would chase me. We laughed and yelled and had so much fun just playing around. 

Bath time consisted of more giggles and games and this cheesy smile. And bedtime we sang songs and laughed some more. I throughly enjoyed being Mckenzie's mom today. Letting loose, ignoring my phone and chores and just playing around with my goofy baby was the b.e.s.t. best. 

New Recipe: Quinoa Enchilada Bake

A few weeks ago I was browsing my mom's cooking magazines and came across a very helpful table on how to cook different grains in the slow cooker. I hate waiting around for my brown rice to cook on the stove and I avoid quinoa because I just don't like it. But but but! I tried cooking both in my slow cooker last week and it worked out awesome. My brown rice was a little over cooked, so I will know to adjust accordingly next time.

What's that? You want me to share my vast cooking knowledge with you? OKAY!

Slow Cooker Whole Grains

Brown Rice
1 cup rice
2 cups water
cook for 3 hours high heat (I would check after 2.5 hours. You don't want it to get too mushy)
Yields about 3 cups cooked

1 cup quinoa
2 cups broth (I used chicken)
any root veggies you want to add
cook for 2 hours low heat
Yields about 3 cups cooked

I searched for an edible recipe for the quinoa I just cooked up and found a yummy looking enchilada bake that used quinoa instead of tortillas. We love Mexican food around here, so as soon as I saw that it included green enchilada sauce I knew it would work for us. It was easy and pretty good! It only took a few minutes to throw together. The amounts below is what the recipe called for, but I more eyeballed the ratios and adjusted, adding more black beans and corn to our bake.

Quinoa Enchilada Bake

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
15oz can green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 can diced chilis
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Mix all ingredients together, saving half the cheese. Pour mixture in 8x8 baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through.

It really doesn't get easier than that! It was the perfect quick dinner that I was able to throw together right after church. I topped it with some tortilla chips to add an extra crunch. Enjoy!


The 7 Year Summer Itch

I realized the other day that this will be Bart and I's 7th summer together. SEVEN! That seems like a big number to me. We met the Summer of 2009, were engaged Summer 2010 and married Summer 2011. Bart had his first teacher summer in 2012 and I got my job. Summer 2013 was spent enjoying life. Summer 2014 I was super pregnant and here we are: Summer 2015. Crazy how much can happen over a 7 year time frame isn't it??

So here are a few (several) pics to take you down memory lane with me

Summer 2009
No photos. We had just met and he was still trying to win me over

Summer 2010
This summer was awesome. We were both students, but not taking any summer classes. Hanging out and enjoying Cache Valley. This was also the summer we got engaged (July 24) so we were pretty much inseparable

we took our first major road trip to Oregon together and learned we DID like each other enough to spend a week with no breaks

Summer 2011
This summer started off awesome because not only did Bart graduate from USU- but we got married! So we spent our honeymoon in San Diego and the rest of the summer was spent mostly indoors *cough cough*
this was technically Spring Break of 2011- but I couldn't resist sharing this cute pic
had to show this cute pic of Bart playing Uncle

on our honeymoon

Summer 2012
This was the year we started running so the summer was filled with some of our first races. We also took an amazing trip to Angel's Camp CA and San Fransisco. It's one of my favorite vacations we have taken

one of my all-time fav pics 

the race that started it all...
we also ate lots of fabulous food

and had LOTS of snowcones 

Summer 2013
This summer was filled with LOTS of running. We also went to Moab and Jackson Hole. This was the first summer I spent on my Hashimotos diet so I was secretly craving candy in every pic...

Moab hike

Jackson Hole: Typical Bart

our second Dirty Dash

Nebo Half!

Big Cottonwood Half

Summer 2014
I was 7-9 months pregnant and NOT interested in photos. We did start the summer off with my graduation from the University of Utah- so that was about the only photo op of the year

this pic right here sums up why I didn't take very many haha! yay for summer heat/bloating

Summer 2015
This summer has only just begun but I can't wait! Mckenzie is at such a fun stage right now we are already having a blast with her.

I hope you enjoyed a little blast from the past. I know I loved putting this together- it was so fun to look through old pics and remember all the fun we have had in the past 7 years. Summers look much different compared to our care-free college days- but I wouldn't trade them for anything.


And then there were muffins

Mckenzie is starting to reject her bottle more and more and just wants normal food! This is all just peachy (see what I did there?) except I have NO idea what I'm supposed to feed her. Multiple meals. Like EVERY DAY. Whaaaaa????? Mind blown. This is going to be harder than I thought.

Until I realized she can eat stuff. Like...food I CANT. All of a sudden our menu of sweet potatoes and beans expands to include noodles, muffins, pancakes, EVERYTHING! How fabulous is that? I also need to remember that just because Bart and I don't see tomatoes as a food people actually enjoy eating- Mckenzie loves them! So mix some Italian tomatoes with noodles and BAM. Lunch is enjoyed for several several minutes. 

I whipped up a batch of blueberry oatmeal muffins because she can eat food like that! It's so funny how after two years of not eating gluten makes me forget what kind of food is out there. I am NOT anti gluten for people who aren't affected by it. So my daughter is going to have a muffin- and ten bucks says she loves it!

Motherhood is like being in school every day. I learn new things and concepts that never even occurred to me before. Feeding a little human is just a whole new experience and I'm officially in that stage. My love-to-learn personality really likes this part of being a mom. Figuring out and learning small (even dumb) things every day keeps things interesting.


10 Months- Photo OVERLOAD

10 months! I love writing monthly updates because it makes me pause for a few minutes and think about all the fun new things Mckenzie has been learning and experiencing lately.

9-10 months was 100% better than 8-9 months. Her 2nd front tooth finally popped through so we didn't really deal with teething this month. She did get sick for the first time in her young little life and it was the saddest thing ever! She had a high fever for a few days and then woke up one morning with nothing. She is such a healthy little thing it was weird to see her sick. I didn't know what to do and it was definitely a first time experience for both me and Bart.

our days were spent just holding her all day long while she slept on and off. she usually isn't very cuddly so it was fun to be able to snuggle with her

So other than the two days she was sick this girl hasn't stopped moving! She cruises all over the house. She pulls herself up on everything and just the last week has started trying to stand on her own. It usually doesn't take her very long to master new skills so I predict she'll be standing solo by the end of next week. She LOVES the fridge. Whenever we open it you hear her grunt excitedly and head straight for it. It's pretty funny and I usually leave it open and let her hang out for a minute. The dishwasher comes in at a close second. She loves playing with it when the door is down. She even learned how to climb on top of the lid- she just isn't able to get back down

she also likes to crawl into the dirt when she is wearing a new outfit. go figure

this was my first "it's too quiet" moment. I go into check on her and this is what I find

hanging out at Grandpa Larry's house and kind of stuck...

She started saying mama and dada and it just melts my heart every time. She LOVES Bart. She get so happy when he gets home and follows him around if he is doing something cool. The last two weeks we have been playing in the pool a lot and she really seems to like it. I have no doubt we will be living there this summer.

some of my favorite pics- Mckenzie watching dad install baby proofing items

she LOVES animals (doesn't get that from me)

she also loves food- but we knew that already

sleepy smiles!

her face says it all (or it might be saying "mom just gave me some licorice and it was prettygood")

She still sleeps great and takes two naps a day and 12 hours at night. She is SO ticklish and loves balls, food and being outside. She is such a goofy kid and we really do love being around her every day. I can't say enough good things about my baby girl- she completes our family.


May Goal: No Spend

Ya know how most people fail at their new years resolutions by like week three? Well I am failing at my monthly goals on the regular here peeps. But goals make us better right? even when we don't follow through?? that's what I keep telling myself.

For May I wanted to do another No Spend month. L to O-L with that one. Definitely didn't happen. *sigh* my baby needed jammies and I needed jeans and just call me Miss Justify.

Also- my June goal is to run the Utah Valley Half Marathon. That changed to then running The Bear Lake Half Marathon and now I'm putting off my next race until July. I am just feeling a little burned out and don't want to ruin my love of running by always being in training mode. So for the next few weeks I am just going to run because I love to run and not worry about my pace or distance.

Health is such a weird thing. Our bodies are amazing but damn they are temperamental aren't they?? I've been dealing with Hashimotos flare ups lately and it's been really frustrating. I know I will always have my autoimmune disease, but it doesn't always make it easier to handle when things go wrong. My Dr. says I need to focus more on keeping my blood sugar level and eating regularly. So now I'm focusing more on fueling my body and making sure I am eating more consistently.My relationship with food has changed so much these last two years and I am doing my best to keep it on a dont-obsess-about-it level, but it's hard! So for now I will just stick to baby steps and the step I'm taking these days is eating regularly.

So back to my monthly goals: I am 3 for 5 in success rate...so not too shabby right?


New Recipe: Zucchini Boats

Hello? Hello?? Anyone there??
Sorry for the radio silence over here. I struggle sometimes.

That being said- I have a new goal! (I know I know- another one? You're welcome) I am going to start making one new recipe a week. I am getting really sick of our current menu options and don't really make dinner anymore because nothing sounds good. I also don't like cooking sooooo this seems to be a good compromise. Instead of coming up with a completely new menu, I am just going to add a new meal every week to test them out. Great (and original!) idea- I know

So yesterday I made Zucchini Boats and they were amazeballs. I didn't share. I shoved them down while my child was distracted so she wouldn't mooch off of mama. I really love zucchinis. I always have a few in my fridge and this time of year is fun because they get HUGE! Some of my favorite ways to eat them would be to just sautee them with seasonings and making zucchini pizza bites (pizza sauce, cheese, done).

This recipe is on my new favorite list. I aint no food blogger so I won't make you scroll through 2840948 pictures just to get to the good stuff. :) Check it out!

Zucchini ( how ever many your family needs. I used one large one for myself)
2T butter
1 clove garlic
shredded parmesean cheese
bread crumbs (optional)
seasonings of choice (I used oregano and thyme)

- cut your zucchini in half long ways. scoop out the middle to create a boat with thin edges and put "guts" in a medium bowl
- microwave the shells for a few minutes until soft
- melt butter in sauce pan, add chopped up garlic and seasonings. if you had larger chunks of zucchini that came off as you were scooping out the middle, add them in here
- cool slightly and add cheese
- mix butter/cheese mixture with the guts of zucchini into gooey yummyness
- put zucchini shells on a cookie sheet
- fill shells with mixture
- top with bread crumbs and cheese
- bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes



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