May 28, 2010

Allow Me To Introduce You...

To a couple of my family members!  These are more pictures from our trip to Indiana. Can you tell how much fun we had??

First, a little background.  My Grandma (Mom's Mom) is Shirley, or Granny, or Grandma O. My Mom's Dad is Grandpa Jack.  They have 4 daughters - Pam, Cheryl, Judy (my Mom), and Lucy.  Aunt Pam has 2 daughters, Stacy and Joy.  Aunt Cheryl has Kaelan and Ben (and 2 step-son's), and Aunt Lucy has 2 kids, Rachel and Isaac.

My Mom and her sisters - (from left to right) Pam, Lucy, Judy, Cheryl

and my beautiful Granny

My Mom, Aunt Cheryl and Aunt Lucy were all pregnant and had babies in 1983.  Cheryl had Ben on February 6th, then I was born June 6th and then Lucy had Rachel on August 26th. Needless to say, we have taken a gazillion pictures together growing up. I'm pretty sure we could do the pose in our sleep.

and 2 from when we were little:

Next up, my little cousin, Ziva Marie who is Isaac (Lucy's son) and Karyn's adorable little girl!

Rachel and Chad's son is Oliver, who Clover calls "Olllaah".  He's a very smart, sweet, goofy little boy and Clover loved playing with him.

Would you like to know where Clover gets her red hair from?  Everyone, and I mean everyone, kept saying that Clover could be Rachel's daughter.

Here are some handsome boys: Isaac, Kaelan, Jon, and Ben

My cousin Ben is engaged to Natalia, or as my Dad thinks I say every time I say her name "an Italian", which she's not, she's Russian! Here's a picture of Ben and "an Italian":

And last, but not least, (can you tell I like pictures?? and showing them off??) a group shot from the day.
By now you've "met" everyone but the two boys on the left, Matt and Nick (my Aunt Cheryl's step-sons), and the guy behind me holding Oliver. We're not sure who he is and why he's holding Oliver...
Okay, I joke, that's Chad, Rachel's husband. Also, Isaac's wife, Karyn is in between Rachel (the other red head) and "an italian" (Natalia).

May 23, 2010

A Special Little Visit

When we were in Indiana, Jon and I went to visit the cemetery where some of our family members are buried. We specifically went to pay our respects to our late Nana and Papaw, my Dad’s parents. I know some people aren’t close to their grandparents and extended families, but we are. It was really hard on our whole family when my Nana and Papaw died, and I still long to see them one more time. Spend one more Christmas in their old house. Have just one more family dinner with my Dad’s four siblings, their kids, and my grandparents. Most of my fondest childhood memories are of visits to Indiana. If you ever pass by my house at Christmas time and see the big huge lights that we use, it is because those are the ones my Papaw used.

This was Clover’s first real trip to visit Nana and Papaw. (The first time she went she was about six months old and was sound asleep in the car, so it didn’t count.) It was so strange and neat how at peace she was when we were there. She stood in front of their graves and I told her to say “Hi Papaw” and she said “Papaw” clear as day, then I told her to say “Hi Nana” and she said “Nana” as well. As we were getting ready to leave, I told her to tell them bye and that she loved them, and she leaned over and kissed the grave, and I was fortunate enough to capture the precious moment in a picture.

Clover's New Smile

Clover loves cameras and having her picture taken!  Here are a few pictures of her "new smile" that she does when I say "Clover, can you smile for the camera?"

And here is another fun face she makes!  My friend Meg (from the other megan photography) got a GREAT shot (as always) on our trip to the zoo the other day!

May 21, 2010

Well life on the farm is kinda laid back...

Something that has become very near to my heart lately is healthy living; both for our bodies and for the Earth. Yes, I know, I sound like a tree hugger - and I'll be honest, I think I might be...

One of my biggest inspirations for healthy living is my cousin, Rachel. Growing up we always joked that I was the "city girl" and she was the "country girl", and it's true. She lives in the middle of the country, on a farm, with her brother and wife as her neighbors on the farm next to her, and her parents on a farm just down the street.

Rachel’s parents own a butcher shop called Moody Meats. The difference in their product is that it's "free-range chicken, eggs, beef and pork, using land that had once been dedicated to corn and soybeans". No hormones, no antibiotics, no pesticides...pure, meat. If you saw the Jamie Oliver episode where he demonstrated what a processed chicken nugget is made out of, you would never eat one again. The biggest argument against eating organic is that it's more expensive. Processed food is cheap. Frozen processed food is cheap and it lasts a long time. Seems like a no-brainer... go for the cheap stuff.

But, here's the thing:

Cheap, processed food equals unhealthy eating habits. Unhealthy eating habits lead to unhealthy people. Unhealthy people lead to more medicine and doctor's visits. More medicine and doctor's visits lead to higher insurance costs. Higher insurance costs equals millions of people without health insurance. (I know, you're thinking "Wow! Jill is a genius! But, I didn't think of this myself...just another seed dear ol' Rachel planted in my head.)

Yes, eating healthy can be expensive. So is health insurance and medical bills. Dustin's job offers benefits, but for family health insurance through his company it would cost us $900 a month for insurance - so, we do without. Therefore, we have to learn to take care of ourselves in the first place, which means spending just a little bit more money each month on better food.  Want to know the secret to lowering medical bills and insurance premiums?  Take care of yourself to begin with! "Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." (Jim Rohn)

Anyway, my little rant about healthy eating was to tell you about our visit to the farm while we were in Indiana. When Jon and I were little we used to LOVE to stay on the farm. Truthfully, one of our favorite things to do was pee outside and run around naked – simply because we could! Don’t worry, I didn’t run around naked or pee outside this time. But we did get to see their sheep, baby lambs, chickens and cows, play in the big open fields, breathe in the sweet, fresh air and play in Oliver’s sandbox with the blissful sounds of nature surrounding us.

May 20, 2010

IU stinks!

Clover and I went on a little vaca to Indiana the beginning on May to visit family.  Majority of my family (Mom and Dad's side) lives in Indiana, so we LOVE going to visit.  This particular visit was to celebrate my cousin Kaelan's graduation from IU (plus, the big celebration party fell on his 22nd birthday, Mother's Day AND Clover's 18 month birthday)!

Kaelan's Mom, my Aunt Cheryl (my Mom's older sister and one of my favorite women in the world - She is also one of the two people Clover was named after - Cheryl Anne - Clover Anne. The other person Clover was named after is my Granny - Shirley Anne)  is a Purdue alumni.  In fact, she just won a Civil Engineering Alumni Achievement Award, which is a huge honor, and she is one of the school of engineering advisory council members.  So naturally her kids would want to follow in her steps and go to Purdue, right?

Wrong. Not, Kaelan. He decided he would go to one of Purdue's rival schools - IU! Still, she is extremely proud of him, as we all are, for graduating with a degree in telecommunications and a minor in music!


(on a little side note: Clover sat through the entire 3 hour long graduation with hardly a peep!! SO proud of my girl!)

May 19, 2010

The End of an Era

Okay, not quite an era, but a pretty significant amount of time…

While Clover and I were in Indiana, she decided to stop nursing. She’s been pretty great (and I’ve been pretty lucky, I might add) about weaning herself. When she didn’t need a particular afternoon feeding, she made it crystal clear. Then, when she only needed to nurse twice a day, she made that clear too. Well the second morning we were in Indiana, she also made it clear that she was done nursing; for good. Don’t worry, for all you nursing advocates out there, I didn’t give up right away. I asked her morning and night for about ten days if she wanted to nurse, and each time got a definite “NO”.

My goal was to breastfeed Clover until she was at least 18 months old and stop around two years, depending on what she wanted/needed. So, when she decided she was done a week before her 18 month birthday, I should have been happy. I made it to my 18 month goal and she decided, on her own, that she was done… but honestly, my heart was a little bit broken. Yes, nursing is hard sometimes and can be a great challenge. For instance, I was the only one who could nurse her to sleep at night. However, I was providing such an amazing thing for my daughter and I loved it. I loved that I could do that for her, and that I was the only person who could. We were happily in a breastfeeding pattern for almost 18 months and then all of a sudden, she slammed on the breaks. No warning, no yellow light, no huge sign that said “CAUTION! YOUR BABY IS NOT QUITE A BABY ANYMORE!”

Everyone says “they grow up so fast” and I know firsthand how true that is, but what no one tells you is that sometimes it can absolutely take your breath away. One day they are a helpless little baby thriving on only your breastmilk, and then the next day, they are an independent 18 month old who doesn’t need breastmilk anymore and has an opinion on everything.

So, to Clover:

Breastfeeding you was an amazing journey. At first, you struggled to latch on, but we figured it out. Sometimes it was painful and overwhelming. You never really took to a bottle, so I was pretty much on demand at all hours. Even when I was sick, there was no one else to “do my job” for me. There were nights when I was so tired I cried when you wanted to nurse every hour and half, but once you started eating, and I watched your satisfied little body mold into mine, I relaxed and became thankful that I was able and selfless enough to provide that for you. Sometimes you would nurse for ten minutes and sometimes an hour (especially when we were out and I really wanted you to eat fast). I diligently took my prenatal vitamin every day because I knew you needed those vitamins. I avoided caffeine and sugar because it had a negative effect on you. I took criticism from people close to me when I continued to nurse you past your 1st birthday; but I also found lots of encouragement too. I knew it was right for you. When your tired little eyes looked up at me at night and you made the sign for “milk”, I felt comforted that I could give you what you wanted. I would nurse you to sleep and then hold you, sometimes for hours, while you slept in my arms. And while it was sometimes hard, there was never a moment that I wished I wasn’t doing it, or that I doubted it was the right thing for you. I will never forget the time I spent nursing you, and I will always cherish it.

May 16, 2010


I know I've been MIA for the past 20 days, and I just wanted to let all my avid blog readers (aka my Granny) know that I have about 400 new pictures to edit and share and 5 new posts to write! Clover and I were in Indiana for 10 days and then Dustin's parents came to visit from Arkansa, so we've had a jam packed past couple of weeks! Stay tuned for stories and pictures!