Thursday, March 8, 2018

Birth Story of Luca Douglas | Redeeming VBAC Birth

The Backstory

In 2015, I had my sweet little bundle of love, Jackson, via cesarean after 40 hard hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing without any medication. He was sunny side up and shifted into my right hip which made it nearly impossible for me to move him down into my birth canal. I fought long and hard for a natural birth, but my body was tired and I couldn’t go on. I was beyond grateful to have that beautiful sweet baby in my arms and I was heartbroken that I wasn’t able to see him take his first breath or watch as he entered into the world. I experienced great pain, I felt as if my body was broken, and I struggled with postpartum depression due to birth trauma.

I found out I was pregnant with Luca at the beginning of summer and what a surprise that was. He wasn’t planned, but he was such a welcomed blessing. We were so excited that our Jackson would soon become a big brother. We always wanted to grow our family, but had planned on waiting until Jackson was 3…God’s plan for us was better than our own. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to try to have a natural birth with Luca, but I also knew that due to my previous cesarean, I would most likely run into obstacles for a VBAC. I continued to eat healthy, run a few miles a week, practice yoga almost daily, and walk a few miles a day. I was training for my marathon—my birth marathon. I wanted to give my body the best chance that I could.

I spent 34 long weeks being seen by a nurse practitioner before I was finally able to meet with the midwives. I cried in my first appointment because of how wonderful Sharon was. She listened to me; she stayed with me for an hour so she could hear my story and learn more about my desire for a redeeming birth experience. I saw the soft loving human side of the medical field that day and I felt encouraged and empowered for this birth.

I also found out at this point that Luca was laying transverse. I spent 2 weeks trying to get him to turn into position. I met with Leticia who encouraged me and made me believe it was possible. She also made sure that I knew that if he didn’t turn that they would be by my side every step of the way making sure that my C-section experience would be much different than my first.
I was finally able to get him to turn at 37 weeks and he stayed in position and engaged for the remainder of the pregnancy.

The Incredible Midwives

I had the incredible opportunity to have two amazing midwives help me through my birth—Sharon and Leticia. They never gave up their faith in me. They believed in me and helped me believe in myself. They showed me that I was strong, that my body wasn’t broken, and that I just needed to keep fighting. I experienced their compassion and love for me and Luca. They would get onto my level and speak tenderly to me as they gently held my hand. They were just as much of the experience as me and they made sure that I knew that. I needed their tenderness given the sterile and terrifying memories of my cesarean; I needed their compassion as I felt I couldn’t go on any longer; and most of all I needed their belief in me and the strength they spoke over me to truly see and believe it too.

My Birth Helpers

I simply could not have managed to go through the birth without my husband,my mom, and mother-in-love. Even though I alone had to find the power and strength to bring Luca earth side, if it wasn’t for their belief in me, encouragement to keep fighting, their gentle and sturdy grip of my hand, nurturing touches, and their constant presence by my side I couldn’t have made it through the battle. My mom and husband switched back and forth between holding my hands and making sure I was hydrated. They sacrificed their own comfort to make sure that I was well cared for. My incredible mother-in-love so graciously stayed up taking care of Jackson as we were in the hospital. It was my deepest desire to have her in the room also, but because of my delayed labor our original plan fell through. I was able to say goodbye to Jackson and feel confident in the process of my birth because I knew that he was safe and deeply loved. My incredibly talented friend, Kaitlynn, spent countless hours and sacrificed sleep to capture this very special day and I feel indebted to her. Her passion and love for photographing these life moments brings such joy to my heart. I can't forget the incredible nurses that worked tirelessly to care for me during the long grueling birth process. It's so wonderful knowing that there are so many selfless people working very hard to give such great care to birthing mothers.

The Birth

On Friday, February 23rd I was 40 weeks and 5 days. I never anticipated that I would go over my due date. I spent the days leading up to that Friday appointment walking a mile every morning, going to the chiropractor 3 times that week, and anxiously squatting and bouncing on my birth ball. My mother-in-love, mom and sister had been visiting all that week eagerly waiting to meet our boy and here I was unable to make that happen. My sister had to leave to go back home and our moms only had a few days left before they had to return home too. I had built up anxiety, cried often, and felt frustrated that things were not in my control.

Jack decided to come to my appointment with me because we knew that the talk of induction would be on the table and we knew that I would be getting my membrane stripped for the sixth time. Lucky for us, our wonderful midwife, Sharon, was on call and was also the person that my appointment was with that day. We arrived at the appointment; she checked my progress and I was at 3cm and 70% effaced; she stripped my membranes; had me go for an NST to monitor baby; and met back with us to talk about the options moving forward.

Sharon asked me how I was feeling about everything and I was able to openly tell her about my anxiety of family having to leave before baby, my fear about ending up with another C-section, and my frustration with my body not being in labor. I began to cry. She told me that she truly believes that labor is the process of letting go. That maybe all of the anxiety, fear and frustration that I was feeling was part of the reason that my labor wasn’t beginning. She encouraged me to look forward and trust the process. She told me that she had faith in me and believed that it all would fall into place. She shared her story with me and the reason why she became a midwife in the first place. She understood my deep desire for this experience because she had felt those same feelings in her own experience. We planned for an induction for the next Wednesday at 10 am and for the first time I felt peace about everything. That appointment brought healing to my anxious heart. I began to envision what the induction process would like and what it would be like if our family had left before it was time. It began to not feel as scary.

My labor began slowly an hour after my appointment around 11:30 am. I went shopping with my mom and mother-in-love and was able to fully enjoy a day with just them. My contractions started increasing in strength as we walked around Hobby Lobby. I had to stop to work through them every other aisle, but they were still very inconsistent. We decided to pick up dinner at McAllister’s Deli and take it home. By the time we made it home, it was close to 6:30pm. I was getting teary eyed as I worked through the contractions and sat on my birth ball. They suggested that I take a shower and try to relax. A switch flipped in the shower. From going 8 minutes apart to 4 minutes, the contractions were getting harder to work through. I had to moan through them and actually felt the most comfort in chanting “Ohm”.  They knew that it was time for me to go to the hospital. By the time I got out of the shower, they had packed Jack a bag of food, loaded up all of our hospital bags, and made me some hot ginger tea. I refused to leave the house until after I blow dried my hair. Priorities people… I laugh now thinking back on that because it was nearly impossible to blow dry my hair and work through a contraction at the same time.

As I left my front door and walked down the brick path towards the car, I looked up to see the silhouette of the trees dancing against the darkened sky and I felt joy. “This would be the night that I would meet my son.” We called my midwife and let her know that we were on our way. We walked into the emergency room, stood in line, and I pulled myself into Jack as I worked through a contraction. A nurse met us in the hall and, as I waddled to the elevator, I thought that my water may have broken, but actually I had just peed my pants. They were able to get us into a room and they hooked me up so they could monitor my contractions and his heart rate. Luca had a drop in his heart rate due to me being on back so they had me roll over to my side with the peanut ball for an hour just to make sure. At this point I was measuring at 4cm and 90 % effaced. My contractions were beginning to fizzle out and it looked like I might get sent home.

An hour later, my contractions had picked back up and Sharon encouraged me to walk the halls with the wireless monitor. Jack and I kept telling my mom we were going on a date to walk the halls and she stayed behind to get some rest. Every contraction I would pull Jack in, hug him, and sway to work through it. He was my saving grace in those halls. There was no better comfort than pulling myself into his chest. I felt safe there and I felt as if I could make it through. The monitor kept going out so my nurse had me come back to the bed to lay down for a bit. At this point, I was moving between sitting on a birth ball, laying in the bed with the peanut ball between my legs, and walking the halls. I knew that if I were to stay bed bound, my VBAC would be nearly impossible.

Sharon came and checked me, and to my surprise, I was now at 6cm! She said that she would start setting up the birth tub and I could get in and start laboring in the water as soon as I hit 7cm, which she knew would come pretty quickly. I was shocked that my body had made it to a 6 so quickly. I knew that my body was working hard through every contraction, but I was just so worried that the progress was happening slower than I could have hoped. The water was so warm and made me feel weightless. Every time a rush would come it felt good to rest my head on the side, grip the handle bars, and sway my hips as I was on my knees. It was a game changer. The contractions were becoming fiercer and Sharon told me to start bearing down as I felt the urge. I felt a giant pop and I assumed that my water had broken. She had me move to the bed to check my progress and I was at 9.5cm with a bulging bag. She broke my water, and as the warm water rushed out, I entered into transition.

It was 4:30am when I began pushing. I moved back into the tub, tried to push on my knees and then gradually made my way into a yogi squat so I could have more control of opening up my pelvis. I had Jack turn on my worship music play list and I pushed in the tub for what felt like eternity. I would push, fall into a dream like state and rest, ask for water, rest, would yell, “It’s starting!” Jack would grab my hand; I would push, and repeat the cycle. My mom, Jack and Sharon would gently rub my arms and whisper encouraging words to me. The pain was so fierce, but I was tackling it one rush at a time.

Sharon encouraged me to move back to the bed to try a few other birthing positions to help me progress. I had a cervical lip and she was helping by pushing it back as I felt the urge to push. I tried being on my elbows and knees,  then my right side with my leg pulled up alongside my rib cage, but the position that gave me the most power was being on my back with my legs pulled into my chest in a butterfly pose.

After pushing on the bed, I made my way back into the tub to push. I cried out to God begging him for His help to guide me through the pain. It was becoming unbearable. I sang worship songs, thought about Jackson and played his sweet words, “but I miss you, mommy!” over and over in my head, but there were times when all became still and quiet. I would sway; I would drift off for a few moments with my face resting into the inflated tub; I would tightly grip the hands of my mom and Jack; and I longed for the end to be near. At this point, Sharon needed to head home and our other wonderful midwife, Leticia was now by my side. Before Sharon left, she got down, pulled her forehead into mine, rubbed my arm, and told me how proud she was of me and said that I was going to do this. She told me how sad she was to leave, but she needed to rest because she was on call the next day. She told me that she would be back to visit me soon. I felt so loved by her. I wanted to squeeze her and beg her not to go, but I felt so much peace as Leticia transitioned in. The water became too cold for the baby and I had to move to the bed for the remainder of my pushing.

Funny side note: Jack is notorious for almost passing out at my births. He gets so wrapped up into caring of me that he doesn’t care of himself and his blood sugar drops out. At one point, I noticed that I was alone as I was pushing. Jack had become faint and was on the verge of passing out. Everyone ran to his side to make sure he was okay. I was worried about him and thankful people were there to care for him, but I was not letting anything stop for trying to push this baby out. Before I knew it, everyone was back at my side and things were taking a major turn. I was beginning to feel Luca move into my birth canal with every push, but after three big pushes, my contractions would fizzle out and I’d lose power. I was entering into three hours of pushing and I was beginning to lose steam. I felt like I was going to die; I felt like I was going to be ripped in half with every contraction; and I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t do it anymore, but even still I persisted.

There came a point where I wasn’t making any progress. My midwife decided that it was time to get a consult from the OB on call and possibly use the vacuum to help me progress. I wanted to beg and plead for a C-section at this point, but I continued to fight. The mood changed when OB entered the room. She meant business and she made sure that I didn’t give up. As I cried she told me to stop wasting my energy on crying. After assessing me, pushed down in order to open my birth canal and started telling me to push as hard as I could. Jack joked that even he felt like pushing when she told me to push. She snapped me out of my desire to give up and helped me refocus on my goal. Leticia encouraged me to keep fighting and told me I was so close to being done. I gave everything I had with each contraction that came. I would bear down, grunt and scream -- even screamed some curse words -- and grit my teeth as I gave every push all I had. I could feel his head start to push through, and then lose power and I would feel it go back in. Everyone cheered and counted with each push. Leticia said, “That’s it! Right there, Brittany! You’re almost there!” With Joy and hope in his voice, Jack said, “Brittany, I see his head! Keep pushing! You can do it!” I didn’t know how much longer, but I was bound to cross the finish line. Then I felt everything change, my pushing brought on the burning ring of fire that everyone tells you about, and as quickly as that feeling came I felt immediate relief as his body slid out and was put into my arms. It was over, oh it was over. What a relief that it was over and I now held the reward of all that I fought for. He was here and he was beautiful, just like his brother.

No amount of words can truly describe the feelings that I felt that day. This birth is a story of redemption. It’s a story of light and love. I felt for so long that my body was broken, but I learned that day that it was never my body that was broken—it was a broken frame of mind that I had. With each birth there was an incredible gift that it ended with and the experience itself could never change that. What Luca’s birth helped me realize is that I am strong. I was strong as I fought to have Jackson naturally; I was strong as I was cut open to bring him into the world; and I was strong as I fought through 21 hours of labor and 3.5 intense hours of pushing to bring Luca into the world. It wasn’t redemptive because I did it all naturally. Rather what made it redemptive was that it helped me see the beauty of what my body was always capable of -- cesarean or not. God’s work of grace in the creation of my two beautiful children is what healed me.

Luca Douglas was born on Saturday, February 24Th at 8:52am weighing 8lbs 10 ounces and 21 inches long. Praise be to God for the work of His beauty in creating this sweet little soul.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Finding Freedom Within Motherhood

This week we’ve hunkered down and hidden ourselves away from the blistering cold weather and flu bugs that are so easily being passed around from family to family. We decided to use this time to potty train our two year old, which we quickly discovered that it’s not an easy feat. I’ve spent the last few days feeling anxious and feeling trapped, imprisoned if you will, at times in my role as a mother. How quickly I’ve found myself getting lost in all the mundane ordinary days of spending every 20 minutes rushing a toddler to the potty or staying home to tend to a sick toddler as the world around me keeps spinning. Feeling the sting of my discontent heart burn as I see the incredible travels and accomplishments of my friends as I sit here with 4 day unwashed hair, mismatched socks, and snot covered sweats.  When did motherhood begin to feel like a prison? How can it be the most joyous role in my life, but also one of the weightiest?

For the past few weeks, my husband and I have been reading morning devotions together out of “ The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas A Kempis. A few days ago, we entered into the book on self-sacrifice. In the chapter of “Self-Denial”, my heart was struck by this passage, “My friend, you cannot possess perfect freedom unless you completely deny yourself. Many are enslaved by riches, love for themselves, selfishness, curiosity, discontentedness, and by the search for creature comforts. These selfish things, which people continually plan, devise, and seek after are not my things and will pass away. Hold fast to this short but essential saying: “Give up all things and you will find all things; give up your lust and you will find rest.”

I realized that the imprisonment that I have been feeling isn’t necessarily motherhood in and of itself, but rather my desire to seek after a life of pleasure. Motherhood is a daily sacrifice of ones own comforts for the sake of another. Each day it requires of us to pour ourselves into providing safety, nourishment, love, and mental energy which often leaves us feeling mentally, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually drained, too drained to pour ourselves into much else.

The discontentedness that rises in my heart as I watch the friends and family travel the world, create successful photography/videography businesses, or enjoy the freedom of having no responsibilities is rooted in not seeing just how great and valuable my role is as a mother. I’m blinded by what the world holds as valuable and completely missing the great depth of meaning that my role is in this world.

Matthew 16:25 says, “If you try to hang onto your life you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” I’ve truly come to believe that the work that we do as mothers is a way in which we give our lives to the Lord. We are tending to his creation and being obedient to his will in our lives. The way in which our self-denial is liberating, is that it doesn’t take away our monotony. The routines and mundane days stay the same, but self-denial opens up a higher form of life, namely, an opportunity to participate in Christ.

Motherhood doesn’t have to feel like imprisonment. There is freedom in the self-sacrifice. There is immense joy in giving your life up to another. As I enter into a new year with new intentions and resolutions set before me, I’m choosing to remove the chains that I so often feel in the mundane and ordinary days of motherhood and set my eyes upon the freedom and growth of obediently sacrificing myself up for another. This year, I seek after the richness of joy and love as my toddler reaches a new milestone, rather than focus on the efforts it took to get him there, I will be kind to myself and give myself grace when the days are long and hard, and I will acknowledge the value of my work as a mother.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Birth PTSD + How It's Affected This Pregnancy

Waking up with another night terror and my pillow is soaked in sweat--it's the same dream all over again. I'm being wheeled into an operating room, my arms are tied down, I'm cold, shaking uncontrollably and I'm worried Jack won't be able to be with me during the surgery. I can feel the tugging, hear the chatter of weekend plans, and in that moment I do not matter--my birth is another number and my skin is just another stitch that they have to make. 

This dream haunted me for months, almost a year even. The dust has settled and Jackson has been in our arms for almost 2 years. The dreams have faded, but the fear has not. 

I fought with every fiber in my being to birth naturally. 40 hours and 3 hours of pushing a child that was sunny-side up and tilted into my hip bone. I felt alone, abandoned, and weak (was that the reality of my birth? Was I truly abandoned and alone other than my sweet husband and hands-on nurse? I'm not sure, but that is how I felt and perceived my experience.) My doctor didn't shift me side to side nor try to assist the baby to turn. I lost strength, was tired, lifted my white flag, and was whisked away to the operating room.

I was terrified inside. So frightened that I refused to open my eyes as we pushed passed the door and I felt the cold sterile air hit my body. My contractions at this point had melted into one another. They sat me up, my tender nurse held my face into her hands, and the anesthesiologist resident took directions from the anesthesiologist on how to put in the spinal block. She poked three different parts of my spine asking me to let her know which one was the center. I finally felt a prick and then relief spread into my body. 

They laid me down, prepping my body for surgery. I was still alone listening to surgeons talk about weekend plans and Jack was still not by my side. I had yet to open my eyes and I felt the pressure of them cutting my skin before they allowed Jack in the room. I began to panic until finally he was by my side. 

I replay the scenes in my head often and the fear is like a loud bell clanging in my head. My body tense and palms sweaty. I suffer from birth PTSD. 

I never knew birth PTSD was a real condition. I had never once met someone that openly shared it. It is termed Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

An article from the Atlantic reads, 
"Many people, including doctors, confuse postpartum PTSD with postpartum depression, even though the two disorders are quite different: Mothers with postpartum depression generally don’t suffer from the intrusive memories and flashbacks that plague PTSD sufferers. Instead, they most commonly deal with things like sadness, trouble concentrating, difficulty finding joy in activities they once enjoyed, and difficulty bonding with their infants."
After reading this article (and searching out other experiences like mine) I realized that what I thought was postpartum depression was actually something much deeper. 

How common is postpartum post-traumatic stress syndrome? 

Studies have shown that 9 percent of women suffer from PTSD after a traumatic birth experience. (Birth Trauma: Definition and Statistics by Penny Simkin, PT, PATTCh Founder) 

What are the symptoms? 
"The diagnosis is based on the following criteria that have been paraphrased from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (9): at least nine symptoms, from the following categories, lasting for at least one month:
  • Intrusive recollections, such as:
  • Nightmares; flashbacks; feeling the traumatic event is recurring; intense psychological or physiological reactions when reminded of the event
  • Avoidance/numbing reactions, such as:
  • Avoiding thoughts feelings, location or people associated with the trauma; Avoiding situations in which it can recur; amnesia of parts of the event; diminished interest in significant activities; detachment from others; inability to feel loving feelings; sense of foreshortened future.
  • Hyperarousal, for example:
  • Difficulty sleeping; irritability or angry outbursts; difficulty concentrating; hyper-vigilance; exaggerated startle response; panic attacks or symptoms
  • Functional impairment, such as:
  • Significant distress in social, occupational or other areas of functioning"
After Jackson was born, I struggled internally with bonding. That huge rush of immediate love never came, although I did love my sweet newborn I struggled because it wasn't at all how I pictured that love would be. I felt broken and I felt as if I hadn't earned my Motherhood badge because he was pulled out of an incision instead of being birthed into the world. The next day, I was terrified of any little thing the nurses were doing--any IV being fed, the catheter being pulled out, and I couldn't dare look at the incision. It took two and a half weeks for me to look at my scar or even touch it. I couldn't bare the thought of it. 

How It's Affected This Pregnancy

I am 31 weeks pregnant with another little boy. I find myself facing flashbacks and being fearful of something terrible happening in the pregnancy or at birth. This pregnancy was a surprise, one of the best surprises, and from the moment we found out I feared we would lose the baby and worse I've feared that I will die in birth. It wasn't until a few months ago that I realized that I suffer from birth PTSD. 

This pregnancy has been beautiful and easy thus far. There has been very little morning sickness, only a handful of headaches, and I've been able to maintain a healthy diet and exercise through out it. There hasn't been any red flags from my doctors and I've been cleared for a VBAC and yet fear has me wound in its grip. I'm terrified I'll be wheeled into the operating room all over again. 

I've spent the last several months praying, seeking prayer from others, and reading many positive natural VBACs. Every day that passes, I'm reminded of that fear, but I'm also focused on my strength. God alone is my strength. Fear can't hold me down because I find my rest in Him. 

I have no grand solution on how to beat birth PTSD, nor do I think that it is something that I can recover from quickly, but everyday I choose to push through it and fight for a healthy mindset. This is a condition that so many women choose to not talk about or quite possibly don't even realize that what they're experiencing has a name. My goal in sharing my experience is that I can spread light into this darkness and help someone else understand their own experience. It's not something to be ashamed of, but rather something that can be shared in order to start the healing process. 

What's your story? Do you struggle with birth PTSD? How have you been able to overcome it? Did affect your other pregnancies? 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Best Sweet Potato Chili

I cringe at the thought of the dreary cold weather that is making it's way toward us, but one thing that has helped make the cold bearable is a delicious pot of homemade chili. After recipe testing several chili recipes, I have finally found one that puts all other chili recipes to shame. My sweet potato chili is bold in flavor, packed with protein and veggies, and hearty enough that you won't even miss the meat!

The Best Sweet Potato Chili


  • 2 Tbs Avocado Oil
  • 1 Red Onion, Diced
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 Sweet Potato, Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Can Green Chilies
  • 1 Can Original Rotel
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • 1 Can Pinto Beans
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tbs Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Onion, diced
  • Cilantro, Chopped


  1. In a pot over medium-high heat, pour oil and saute onion, orange pepper, sweet potato, and garlic.
  2. Pour all remaining ingredients into the pot, stir, and bring to a boil.
  3. Once chili begins to boil, lower the temperature to medium-low or low heat, cover, and let it cook for 35 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Top with cheese, avocado, plain greek yogurt, diced onion, and chopped cilantro.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Baking With Mama | Gluten-Free Caramelized Apple Crisp

I spent the afternoon with Jackson in one of our favorite places--the kitchen. He loves to climb up on the counter and help me cook. It has easily become one our favorite things to do together because I know that he is able to see my love for cooking and I am able to see his face light up when he discovers something new. I've had to learn patience and move at a much slower pace than I am use to, I've had to throw aside cleanliness and just embrace the sometimes chaotic nature of my kitchen, but most importantly I've had to learn how to acknowledge his interests and pour into those areas to continually build his interest. As long as he has a spatula, or two, he is perfectly content to sit.

In between, prepping ingredients and and caramelizing apples, Jackson discovered the left over bubbles in the sink. I watched as the sunlight danced through the window and kissed his sweet joyful little face. The joy those bubbles brought him, spread quickly over to me. 

We made a gluten-free caramelized apple crisp with a pecan, walnut, and date crust. It turned out being such a light and decadent afternoon treat, but the sweetest part of this treat was the experience that I was able to have with my curious little toddler. 

Gluten-Free Caramelized Apple Crisp 

  • 7 Dates, Softened
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts
  • Handful Of Pepitas
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil (Or Butter)
  • Handful Of Purely Elizabeth Granola
  • 2 Apples, Peeled and Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Purely Elizabeth Granola
1. Soak the pitted dates in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and pour into a blender.
2. Add nuts and olive oil into the blender/food processor and blend until everything begins sticking together.
3. Move to a bowl, add a handful of granola, and press into a baking dish. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and set your crust aside.
4. In a skillet, pour olive oil over medium-heat. In a bowl, toss sliced apples, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. Pour the apples into the skillet and stir for 2 minutes. Cover and lower the temperature to medium-low so that they can caramelize.
5. Once your apples are caramelized, pour them over the crust, top with granola, and bake for 10 minutes.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

One thing that I've come to learn about being a mom is that with all of the many hats I have to wear, one is bound to drop sometime. Usually the hat that starts to drop for me is the one that comes at the end of the day--dinner. After chasing around a toddler with my six-month pregnant belly, doing laundry, cleaning the house, running errands, and just trying to keep our house in working order, I'm  exhausted. That's why that I've learned to lean on my crockpot a little more and save myself some time to just rest and eat at the end of the day.

Ever since my husband and I first got married, nachos have been a huge staple in our weekly meals. Let's face it, nachos are the perfect "poor man's" meal. It doesn't take a lot to make nachos delicious, but this crockpot chicken nacho recipe takes nachos to the next level. Make your own homemade pico de gallo and you've easily created a meal that will be a winner with your family.

In a crockpot, place 3 frozen chicken breasts, cover with 2 cans of original rotel, and 3 Tbs of homemade taco seasoning. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. When your chicken has about 30 minutes left, shred chicken, and add a can of black beans.

Chop 1 onion, 3-4 roma tomatoes, a handful of cilantro, and pour into a bowl. Juice 1 lime, mince 1 large garlic clove, crack fresh pepper, add a pinch of salt, and mix together.

Crockpot Chicken Nachos


  • 3 Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cans Original Rotel
  • 3 Tbs Homemade Taco Seasoning (Recipe Below)
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  • Greek Yogurt (Or Sour Cream)
  • Homemade Pico De Gallo
  • Shredded cheese
  • Avocado


  1. In a crockpot, place 3 frozen chicken breasts, cover with 2 cans of original rotel, and 3 Tbs of homemade taco seasoning. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. When your chicken has about 30 minutes left, shred chicken, and add a can of black beans.
  2. Chop 1 onion, 3-4 roma tomatoes, a handful of cilantro, and pour into a bowl. Juice 1 lime, mince 1 large garlic clove, crack fresh pepper, add a pinch of salt, and mix together.
  3. Now it's time to assemble your nachos! Over a bead of crispy tortilla chips, top with crockpot chicken, a handful of shredded cheese, a spoonful of greek yogurt, a scoop of pico de gallo, and sliced avocado.

Homemade Taco Seasoning


  • 1 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tbs Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Pepper


  1. Mix in a bowl and store in an air tight container.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Finding Gratitude In The Not Yet

I spent the better part of my Wednesday bitter, angry about our circumstances, and wishing we'd be past this and into the place in life where we want to be. My attitude was terrible. I cried, I grumbled, and I felt very ungrateful. I spent the day dreading writing this blog because "Finding Gratitude In The Not Yet" just wasn't possible for me to muster up.

I just needed fresh air, to go outside and just be surrounded by people. I needed to go out and be a person, not just a mommy, wife or care taker. I just needed to be. My toddler just finished the biggest meltdown in public, I spent money on an over-priced coffee that was so bitter I couldn't enjoy it, and I felt like running from responsibility. 

While I was on my walk, I looked around, listened to my toddler point out the many things I wouldn't have noticed otherwise, and I was brought back to that place of joy. It wasn't that I needed to step out and be a person, I just needed to find comfort in living in all of the roles that I've been carrying. I needed to see the beauty of the right now--even in the muck. My toddler opened my eyes to that on Wednesday. I wasn't truly living. I was going forth, eyes blurred, just trying to survive. 

God used my toddler to show the areas that I lacked gratitude by showing me all of the little things that brought him gratitude. I may not be where I long to be in terms of location and finances, but this in between space is still life that needs to be well lived. There are plenty of things to be grateful for. Life isn't paused until we get to our end goals--it's moving forward. Time is passing, my babies are growing, and good things are still happening. I'm better because of my walk on Wednesday with Jackson. I feel free to be thankful in this place.