Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My First Vlog!

Ok, so I know I have a lot to catch up on but humor me for a day and check out my first ever vlog. I am linking up with Erin over at Living in Yellow (who is totally adorable by the way!) for The Girl Behind the Blog- Show and Tell Link Up. I must have been living under a rock for a while because this is the first I have heard of it.

Anyway, today the girls are talking about what three things they can't go through their day without. In all fairness I cut off the cable and deleted my Facebook account, so I have fewer distractions while studying my trainer certification material, so that is why my phone is no longer on the list.

Please pardon my crazy flu voice and wild hair... I also say ummm a lot. There is no real excuse for that, it is just a bad habit intensified by my nervousness. I hope it gets better with practice but I can't promise it will ever totally go away. Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taking the Plunge!

You know the term "never a dull moment"? Well, never has a term rung more true for the Ham family than that one. As if welcoming our third child, Elliot Grace, into the world wasn't enough, God has been working other things into our family. You see, back in August when Matt was off to help me with the kids, he and his best friend were approached about their interest in buying a gym. Both of the families started praying hard as to what God would have us do. Matt and I felt like this opportunity was an answer to a long line of prayers for Matt to be able to spend more time with the family, the other family felt like it may be more than they are able to take on at this time. Then the current owners decided that they weren't as ready to let the gym go as they thought, so the deal was pulled before it even really got going.

When Matt and I heard this, instead of being disappointed or upset, we felt peace about it... but we also felt that desire to continue pursuing the idea of opening our own gym. We continued praying that if it was God's will, that He would keep us both in agreement about the next steps forward and that he would open doors to make it possible. We both decided that the first step would be for us to get certified as personal trainers and take a nutrition course. After much research we decided to go with the school that has been around for the longest and has the best reputation, ACE fitness (American Council on Exercise). This is a non-profit organization that offers many continuing education courses after we become certified. One program I am looking forward to most is the group fitness and Matt is really excited about the Sports Performance Training, so he can open the gym up to high school boys during summer.

Next, we started thinking about names. We had a few ideas that had been tossed around several years back, when the dream of owning a gym was "when we retire". They were clever plays on our last name and Matt's profession, such as Hamstrings and Outlaw fitness, but they just didn't feel right. I spent all night talking with my SIL (who has a marketing degree) and she had some great ideas too. That night before I went to bed, I prayed "God, I know this may sound trivial in the grand scheme of things but can you help us find a name that portrays the image we want to set forth." We already know that we want to make it clear to anyone who sees us to know that our focus is God first, family second. The next morning, as I was waking up the word iron popped into my head. It fit seeing how they call working out "pumping iron". I got on Facebook, as I do most mornings, and a friend of mine had posted a verse on her news feed. It read "Just as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17", I knew this wasn't coincidence. This is just what we want to say to our clients, we want a place where people develop new relationships and encourage one another to be the best that they can be, not just with fitness but in all aspects of life. A quick google search showed that the name had not been taken and so it is with much eagerness that we are going to file our DBA as "Iron Fitness Training Center".

Our next step will require a lot of FAITH on our parts and PRAYERS from friends and family. This dream all hangs in the balance of finding a small business loan. We have to trust that if we cant find someone to invest in us, then it just isn't part of God's plan, and if we do find the money then we have to believe that God will allow us to be profitable enough to pay back the loan. Both scenarios are scary to think of but I know that God knows better than we do! Our hope is that no matter what happens, God will receive all the glory.

So next week we begin studying for our personal trainer license and apply for our name. If you find yourself thinking about us, please say a quick prayer for us and our journey. We still have so far to go, but we are trying to take it one step at a time... right behind God.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Trip to the Library!

We went to the library for the first time yesterday and boy did the kids love it! I have not been feeling well at all lately so I figured it would be good for all of us to get out of the house. It was a nice distraction for the kids to enjoy Toddler Time. They had stories and songs and crafts... oh my! We also got our first library card which was the highlight of Brooke's day. She really is a girl after my mom's own heart. When we were driving home I asked what her favorite part of the day was, she replied "The part when we first walked in and I saw all those books, it was just perfect." Each of them picked out a book and as we made our way to check out we noticed these backpacks that had a book and coordinating puppet, so we couldn't pass those up. I only got a few pictures with my phone because I couldn't carry my big camera and Elliot at the same time.

Maddux listening to the story at toddler time.

Brooke found a nice spot to preview her book before we brought it home.

In the end, we came home with a Toy Story and Tinkerbell comic book and Author Gets a New Puppy.
As I am sure you can guess, we plan on going back next week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101

When people hear about our recent choice to cloth diaper we get a LOT of questions! Everyone wants to know why we are doing it, how it works and if I am happy with my choice. So I decided to write a quick post answering all of those questions a little better. Let me just say that I could have never gotten to this point without the help of my friends Eden and Kim, and my friend Sal's wife, Cassie. They have answered so many questions for me and offered an encouraging word when I got confused during the research phase! Thanks ladies!

This is all but two of Elliot's diapers. She goes through about 7 or 8 diapers a day, so I don't have to do laundry everyday!

Why do we cloth diaper? This answer is simple, to save money!!! Some do it for the environment and that is all good and well but for me it is "a penny saved is a penny earned". There are a few different types of cloths diapers out there and MANY different brands, each with their own price tag. I picked "pocket" diapers for our family because they are very close to disposables, so it is easy for anyone willing to help out with diaper duty, and they are some of the least expensive. I currently have about $300 invested in my stash. This includes 2 days worth of diapers, plenty of wipes, prefold diapers ( I will explain these later) and gear. Given that our family can easily spend $75 to $100 a month on diapers and wipes, it pays for itself fairly quickly.

How does it work? Like I said earlier, the pocket diapers are very similar to disposable diapers. Their name pretty much tells it all, there is a pocket in the diaper that you stuff an insert into. All of my diapers came with a microfiber insert in them. Unfortunately, Elliot is a very heavy wetter so the microfiber does hold as much as we need it to. I remedied this with Maddux by double stuffing but this makes the diaper extremely large on Elliot, so I started using a regular prefold diaper from Babies R Us as the insert. A prefold is generally what you think of when you hear "cloth diapers", many people use them as burp cloths as well. We use the really thin, cheapo baby washcloths as our wipes. I keep them in a wipe warmer with a solution of 2 tablespoons of Johnson and Johnson baby wash, 2 tablespoons essential oil (right now I am using tea tree oil) and 2 cups warm water. When she has a wet/dirty diaper I simply take out the insert and put both in a wet bag until it is time to wash them. As she is breast fed, she doesn't have solid waste yet (sorry TMI), but when she does I will get a sprayer attachment for the toilette to rinse the diaper before washing. At laundry time, I dump the wet bag in the washer and run a rinse cycle with white vinegar, followed by a wash cycle with blue Dawn dish soap, and end it with an extra rinse cycle. This takes about an hour using my HE front loading washer. From there I hang dry the outer part and tumble dry the inserts. When everything has finished drying, I try to stuff the diapers and have them ready to go (we don't always get to this stage).

Am I glad I did it? I can say without a doubt 100%, I am happy with it! I feel like I spend such a small amount of time every other day doing laundry, it is totally worth not having to step foot in the baby section at the grocery store. And that is saying a lot coming from the woman who despises laundry! I never have to worry about running out of diapers because even if I realize I only have one clean one left, I have enough time between then and the next change to wash more. Even when I am out and about it is easy. I have two small wet bags that fit perfectly in my purse, so the only change is that instead of throwing the diaper in the trash I throw it in the wet bag and deal with it when I get home. The biggest inconvenience is that not all the workers in the nursery at church feel comfortable changing a cloth diaper. But I just make sure she is fresh when we go in and change her when we get out. I have only been called out of service once to change a diaper. Even my great aunt was able to figure it out when she was in town a few weekends ago. There is no crazy folding or anything, just snap and go!

My current stash is made up of 4 different brands ( all but one brand was purchased on sale at They are Sunbaby, Royal Fluff (they also made my small wet bags), Lotus Bumz and Jungle Roo. I am a sucker for new cute diapers so I will probably add a few more as we go along, but I have enough now that I don't HAVE to have more. I will give a review of the different brands in another post, but for now I have to get some sleep... Dr's orders!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bad Momma!

So, I just realized that Elliot has been here for 8 weeks and I still have not posted any pictures of her! Poor third child! Don't worry, I slapped my wrist and pulled out the camera for pictures of everyone last night. Enjoy!!!
My baby is holding her head up!
Watching her puppy and smiling.
The big kids playing ball with daddy.
We have lift off!
My big boy! ( He got a haircut after these pictures were snapped)
Our oldest, Jessie Poo!

Daddy's Girls!

Silly faces!
I realized last night, one of the most attractive things about my husband is seeing how good of a father he is to our children. I am sure there are many women out there who can relate.