The Fat Hydrangea

Sara Michelle - Columbus, Ohio


Lifestyle Goal: Unstructured Time for the Kids

Lifestyle Goals, Personal, FamilySara Michelle B.Comment

As Evan and I have talked about our goals/visions/dreams for our family over the years, one of the major themes we always keep coming back to is that we want to give our kids an abundance of unstructured time. Most of it comes from fond memories of our own childhoods. Evan grew up in the country with three brothers, and his favorite memories were playing in the woods from sun up to sun down, riding dirt bikes, making forts, climbing trees. For me, I loved spending my days catching frogs at the creek, making playhouses and playing dolls in the basement for hours on end, meeting up with the neighborhood kids and riding bikes, making up dance/gymnastic routines, and playing until our hearts were content. All of these things are pretty much activities that come from having a lot of unstructured play time at home and numerous opportunities to seize our imaginations. We both strongly agree, as a kid there was just something about waking up in the mornings with little to no formal plans (other than a soccer practice here and there) and feeling like we had the world at our fingertips! It is incredibly important to us to give our kids that same flexibility and freedom that meant so much to us, and to encourage their creativity.

While it may sound like an obvious goal or come very naturally to some families, for us, it was a very conscious decision that we had to make to change our current lifestyle in order to give our kids this lifestyle that we consider ideal. We really had to make big changes to our daily life (see here) and many of our other life goals to make this happen.  There are definitely trade-offs, but we feel like this goal is just about at the top of the list, so we made it the priority. 

I read this quote yesterday that totally spoke to me. It said "We are so caught up in trying to give our children 'advantages' that we're giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood." Boom. This totally struck a cord with with me as one of the hardest parts of leaving my job was feeling guilty that I was walking away from an income that could help enrich my kids lives. However, I think at this point in life the best thing Evan and I can give our kids is quality time, more peaceful schedules, and our undivided attention. It's only been a month, and I already see the changes. Although we were originally totally focused on doing this for the kids, it is surprising me how much we are ALL benefiting from this lifestyle change.  We are all sleeping a lot better and are eating so much healthier. Our house is cleaner and feels like a lot less work to manage. We feel like our quality family time has increased 100x over. Our TV is on significantly less. We spend sooo much more time outside. The most amazing benefit, our "difficult" child suddenly isn't so difficult anymore and is a lot happier, more easy going, and calm. We are all just HAPPIER and it feels like time is moving so much more slowly. It feels so good. 

Here are some cherished pictures of my tribe <3


I look forward to sharing more on this topic in the future! 

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 10.26.29 PM.png

All About Baby #3!

Personal, FamilySara Michelle B.2 Comments

Since I'm officially just FIFTY days away from my due date with baby #3, I thought I'd share a little bit about this pregnancy and how we are preparing for this baby! 


When is the baby due?

October 20th! I'm 33 weeks along :)

Do you know what you are having? 

Amazingly, we decided to be surprised! With Miles and Leo, I could not WAIT to find out the sex of the baby! Shortly after we found out we were expecting this baby,  Evan told me he wanted to be surprised with this one and on a whim I agreed! Fast forward about 14-weeks, the doctor is asking us if we wanted to know the sex of the baby during one of my appointments. It took EVERYTHING in my power to say no - but Evan held me to my earlier word! At this point, I'm really glad we decided not to find out and I'm super excited to be surprised. It feels like it is the icing on the cake for the glorious day we get to meet this little one! 

Do you have a guess? 

If I had to guess, I would say another boy. Evan is one of four boys and his mom has six brothers (She is the only girl!) so I just kind of feel like boys are in the cards for us! My three year old Miles INSISTS it is a girl though.... we'll see! I'm SO EXCITED and can picture our life either way! I love the idea of having a sweet little girl and guiding her through life, but I also totally love the idea of having three brothers. Can't lose! 

Do you have names picked out? 

We definitely have a girl name, but not 100% sure on a boy name yet! Regardless, we are keeping it a surprise until the baby is born! 

Any food cravings/aversions? 

So many! My number one weird craving has been Diary Queen ice cream. We typically never get it, there isn't even one very close to us, but with this pregnancy I've wanted it constantly so I've made the family load up in the car many, many nights to drive across town so I can satisfy this craving (plain vanilla soft serve, to be exact!) Also bagels, blueberries, pickles, cheese and crackers, Cheerios, and though I'm embarrassed to even admit this - Taco Bell Mexican Pizza! (Again, something we never eat, but when I'm pregnant, there are times when nothing sounds better! I craved Taco Bell with all three pregnancies!)  In terms of food aversions, meat, peppers, and chocolate would make me feel super sick during my first trimester, but at this stage in my pregnancy all my aversions have pretty much gone away. At this point, this baby is so big that I'm at the point where I always feel full, so I pretty much avoid big meals and just snack on fruits/veggies/crackers throughout the day. 

How Far Apart Are Your Kids in Age? 

Miles and Leo are 23 months apart, and if Baby #3 comes on schedule, Leo and Baby #3 will be 21.5 months apart! This is almost the exact same distancing apart as I am with my siblings, and I love it! Not too close, but not too far apart in age. Still, I know having three kids age three and under is going to be CRAZY for awhile!

Was this baby planned or a surprise?

Definitely planned. This baby was conceived after 7-months of cycle tracking, fertility drugs, and meetings with my RE/OB-GYN at the Cleveland Clinic. Definitely a baby we have prayed and prayed for! 

How did you find out you were pregnant? 

As I mentioned, I had been tracking and I knew I wanted to take a pregnancy test first thing in the morning 12 DPO (Days post ovulation). On this particular day, however, I woke up at 2:00 in the morning because Leo was crying and needed a bottle. Half asleep, I decided to take the test once I got him back to bed. I didn't have very high expectations because with my last pregnancy I didn't get a positive test until 14 DPO and I wasn't feeling any pregnancy symptoms (plus I've probably had about 1000 negative tests in my life so I know not to get my hopes up, sadly) but sure enough - two lines quickly appeared! THAT woke me up! I was so excited I couldn't sleep the rest of the night. It took everything in me not to wake up Evan, but he is the heaviest sleeper in the world and I knew I would get a major zombie response so I anxiously awaited until the morning to tell him. I showed him the test as soon as he woke up, and we have pretty much been on cloud 9 and super excited every since!


Epidural or natural labor? 

If I have a choice, I will definitely get an epidural! With Miles I did and it was wonderful. With Leo I didn't (there wasn't enough time) and holy cow I was seeing stars I was in so much pain! Miles' labor was so much more enjoyable and calm. I'll definitely choose to get one if I can!

How are you feeling? 

Blessed, excited, miserable, and nervous? So so thankful for this baby and that we are both healthy! So excited to meet him/her and have them as part of our family. We are already so in love. However, this has also been a much harder pregnancy than my last two. I was SO incredibly nauseous until about 20-weeks along. It would hit me out of nowhere and I would just turn green!  There were so many days I'd be at work, feeling great, and then basically just have to run out the door because the sickness would come on so strong and so quickly. NOT fun! I tried several different medicines but either they didn't work or they gave me really bad side effects. I used up all of my sick time very quickly, which totally sucked (until I decided to quit my job anyway!)  I've also had terrible heartburn, restless leg syndrome, a constantly aching back, and crazy Braxton Hicks contractions. It is also extremely tiring chasing after two VERY active toddlers all day while basically having a basketball in my belly and not feeling very well. Still, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is worth it a billion times over, but it has been hard. 

I'm also very nervous about labor this time around! With Leo, my labor from the first symptom until the time he was born was just 36 minutes. We barely made it to the hospital! I basically just had one contraction at exactly 10:00 at night and JUST KNEW we needed to go to the hospital immediately.  Evan had fallen asleep in Miles' bed while putting him to sleep, and I went and woke him up and said we needed to go. He was in zombie sleep mode and I remember having to very quietly but very fiercely yell at him "EVAN! NOW!" He got up but I don't think it registered at all! The original plan was for Evan to call his parents to come over, who live 10-minutes away, but I knew we didn't have time so I called my next door neighbor to come stay with Miles until Evan's mom could get here. We loaded right into the car and drove straight to the hospital! Evan dropped me off at the entrance while he parked and as soon as I made it to the doors of Labor & Delivery I pretty much collapsed and said I needed to push. They didn't even have my name in the system yet, no IV, no monitors - and little Leo made his entrance into the world at 10:36pm! No one could believe it! It just happened so fast. Amazing labor, amazing recovery, but I literally had panic attacks for days afterwards wondering what would have happened if we would have made a split second decision differently! So glad I just listened to my gut and went full speed ahead to the hospital... I just don't want to go through that again! I've since learned it is called "precipitous labor." This pregnancy, we are taking every precaution to avoid a super fast delivery, including bed rest starting in October and strict instructions to come to the hospital at any sign of labor. Thankfully we have lots of family and friends helping us out the last month. Just trying to have faith and pray for a healthy delivery and healthy baby! 

Will you have more kids or is this your last? 

I'm 99% sure this will be our last! That being said, we've often said we wanted four kids, so I'm not quite ready to say that we are definitely, totally, for sure done. We decided we'll see how we feel in a couple of years and make our final decision then. (But still, 99% sure we're done unless God decides to surprise us!)  

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 10.26.29 PM.png