Carver John turns 6 YEARS OLD!

Today is the day Carver has been waiting for! He turns 6 years old today!

I was 21 years old when I had him. I was just about 38 weeks pregnant and SUPER over being pregnant. I started getting some swelling and my blood pressure started to go up. They diagnosed me with gestational hypertension and decided it was time for baby to come and induce me before I progressed to pre-eclampsia.

I went into the hospital on the 15th, progress was SLOW. They hooked up the pitocin, still nothing. They inserted a foley catheter into my cervix (which was VERY uncomfortable for the first 10 minutes or so) and that wasn’t doing much for me either. The nurse even mentioned maybe they’d have to send me home for the night. I was resting, fell asleep for 20 minutes and woke up to to my water breaking and the foley came out. Then it was SHOW TIME. The contractions were HARD and FAST and I had 100% back labor. It was awful, my tailbone felt like it was going to explode. I got my epidural and things went great from there.

I fell asleep around 10 pm. The nurse woke me up at around 12 am for a cervical check. Lo and behold I was 10 cm dilated and didn’t even know. They let me labor down for a bit while they got things set up. I had NO PAIN whatsoever, I had a great epidural. I pushed for about 30 minutes and Carver was born! I had to watch the monitor to even see when I was contracting because I had no idea. Towards the end I remember the nurse pushing on my pubic bone, but nothing was EVER said about a shoulder dystocia. Apparently, Carver’s shoulders had gotten stuck which I didn’t find out until developing a birth plan with my doctor for Gannon. This would complicate things for my next two pregnancies.

Carver was named after my Grandpa Johnson – Carl Ivan Johnson (at the time I thought he was Carl Iver Johnson) hence Car-Ver John. He was going to be named Leo until I was 32 weeks pregnant and I had a little breakdown and knew that was not the right name for him!

Carver is extremely bright. He has an unbelievable memory and can recall events from when he was just 2 years old. He loves learning new things and he absorbs new information like a sponge. Carver was initially a very VERY wild toddler, he was a biter, a hitter, and very very difficult. After he started preschool, Carver has totally changed into a very loving, kind, and sensitive kiddo.

He’s an amazing big brother, he LOVES his little cousins. He’s going to be such a big help when this next baby comes! It is very easy to have grown up conversations with him. Even when my Dad died and he was just 2.5 years old, he was very aware of what was going on, could understand and empathize with us. He loves to play board games, he’s very competitive.

Carver’s favorite things to do include playing cards and board games, especially Ticket to Ride. He loves to play Minecraft and play Farming Simulator on the XBOX. He loves to go mountain biking with Craig.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our Carver Johnny Jumper boy! We love you to the moon and back!

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Odds and Ends Sale! + Sneak Peek at New Designs!

WOWZA! What a week already! I’ve shipped out well over 100 packages in the last two days as the cross stitching shirts were completed ahead of schedule (thanks to my awesome pal Stacy!) and it’s got me ready to do some more purging! If you ordered a cross stitch shirt, it is making its way towards you!

I’ve got some odds and ends designs from last year I’m hoping to clearance out and I need your help! The sizing is a little sparse in these few shirts I have left but I do think they are still worthy of love and a new home in someone’s closet! They are all 30% off which is the most I’ve discounted ever. Some are just $10.50!

All items can be found, ALREADY discounted on my etsy shop here:

Blessed are the Piecemakers – Crew Neck – 2 Medium -$14.00

Blessed are the Piecemakers – V Neck – 1 Small – $14.00

Be Kind to Your Mind – Long Sleeve – 1 Small, 1 Medium – $21.00

Be Kind to Your Mind – Short Sleeve – 1 XL, 2 2XL – $19.60

America Needs Farmers – Adult Baseball Tee – 1 2XL – $21.00

America Needs Farmers – Youth Baseball Tee – 1 4T – $14.00

America Needs Farmers – Youth Crew Neck – 1 Large – $14.00

Sew Happy – Maroon Crew Neck – 5 Small – $14.00

Sew Happy – Maroon Crew Neck – 1 Small – $14.00

Bloom Where You’re Planted – Crew Neck – 1 Small – $10.50

Sunshine State of Mind – 3 Small, 2 Large – $10.50

All items can be found, ALREADY discounted on my etsy shop here:

Boy, now that’s a walk down memory lane! Does anyone want to see any of these designs reimagined? Maybe on a new color? Or a new style? I’m sad to see them go but glad to make room for new inventory! I’ve got a sneak peek as promised if you’re still reading!

NONE of these are finalized, in fact as I’m typing this, my mom hasn’t even seen these designs! You’re getting a first glance at three of the many designs I’ll be releasing this Fall/Winter!

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My Favorite Local Small Businesses + A Day with Mom

I love supporting local small businesses. Mom and I went to a local market last week and I got some goodies! I want to share my “haul” with you.

Wonder Joy Candles!

First of all, I’ve shared about Wonder Joy candles before. She ended up getting orders from all over the country when I blogged about her candles last time. Here’s a fun back story, the lady who screen prints my shirts, (hey Stacy!) her sister Jodi owns this business selling non-toxic soy candles. I can confidently walk by ANY other candle vendor because I will only buy these candles. My favorite scent is Fresh Lilac but she has a few new Summer/Fall scents, I had to buy three new scents.

I plan on spending a lot of time at home this Fall with the new babe and can’t wait to feel cozy with these new Fall scents, ESPECIALLY White Pumpkin which is the Fall candle to end all Fall candle competition. Gannon even loves the smell of it! The Blackberry Sage and Caramel Apple were clearly a close second. I also love her room sprays too! I have MANY of them! You can find her Etsy shop here:


As I mentioned, I’ll be spending a lot of time in my home this Fall. I literally have NEVER decorated for Fall or any season other than Christmas. I was at the market and couldn’t resist these ADORABLE little ghosts! This booth was hosted by Dawn who owns Skrapwork. She makes so many beautiful designs herself from reclaimed wood so every item is totally unique. She’s got a really cool story about starting this business with her Dad, I’ll link to her site here but definitely check out her about section!

I have many of her pieces on our home and I’ve gifted several of her designs too. Mom was eyeing those snow men in the corner while I’m still dreaming of that snowflake round! The pictures I have of her booth just aren’t doing her talent justice. Dawn also partners with a local gal, Coletta who owns Fernacopia. Coletta has the ultimate green thumb and sells beautiful house plants that pair beautifully with Dawn’s skrapwork. I’ll link to Coletta’s page here:

Cute Patootie by April

I would say just about every babe in Northeast Iowa has been cuddled by a blankie sewn by April at Cutie Patootie. Yes, I can sew (barely). Yes, my mom can sew but April has the CUTEST designs and softest Minky and Cuddle. Of course I had to stop at her booth and pick out a new blankie for the new babe, a Fall themed one! I also received a free onezie with my purchase, I picked the buffalo plaid one! If you’ve purchased a blankie from April (she has them in all sizes, including adult!) you know it is worth every penny and they make beautiful gifts! Here’s a link to her site:

Hawkeye Screen Printing

Every local tee shirt business has a favorite tee shirt business to buy their tees from! Mine is Hawkeye Screen Printing owned by Allison. If you’re a Hocus Pocus or Halloween fan, DEFINITELY check out her website. I’ve lost many a local Halloween costume contests to Allison, she’s your go to Halloween gal but ALSO she’s a boy mom (check out my new sweatshirt) and she’s got lots of cute local agriculture shirts too! I snagged the shirt on the left for Carver, she’s got sizes available all the way down to 2T. Here is a link to her site: and I would recommend seeing some her her newer designs/Halloween apparel on her Facebook page here: Hawkeye Screen Printing | Facebook


These pumpkins were EVERYWHERE! I collected some from a few different booths at the market to go with my ghosts. I now present to you my entire Fall decoration collection: no seriously, beyond what you see here this is all I’ve got so far! I’m just now warming up to seasonal decorations, it just hasn’t been a priority to us while we’ve been paying off debt the last three years. They weren’t even up for 15 minutes before Gannon started dinking with them. My FAVORITE color is that deep rust orange – like the smallest pumpkin so I’m excited to spread that color all over the house!

While the market was in town, there were tons of garage sales. We hit an AWESOME garage sale that had tons of boy clothes in Carver and Gannon’s exact sizes. I showed Carver all of my finds when I got home and he was thoroughly impressed. I also thought my quilting readers might like to see this coffee table I saw made from an old window – see how they stored the quilt in there? I loved that idea!

Grain and Thread

One last mention, Grain and Thread is also a boutique that was at the market. It’s literally my FAVORITE boutique of all time. She also does some screen printing, she’s got home decor, gifts, accessories, and a wide selection of clothes and shoes – including the best plus size collection. I didn’t get any pictures of her booth because honestly, I’m not in the condition to shop for clothes AND I go to her brick and mortar store pretty regularly. In fact, my sunglasses, my dress, and my necklace in the picture all happened to be from her store! Her store is a must see, it’s located in Sumner, Iowa just down the street from my OTHER favorite Sumner store Makers Market (I blogged about that here). It’s a perfect girls trip destination if you’re in Iowa!

Overall, my mom and I had a wonderful morning at the market. I of course purchased much more than she did but we had a great time with some great finds! I still think I’m most excited about my new White Pumpkin candle I’m smelling as I type this! Gotta love Fall ya’ll!

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The Before and After you weren’t Expecting…

Everyone loves a good transformation. I’m definitely guilty posting before and after photos after a recent weight loss. I don’t think I’m going to do that anymore and I wanted to explain why:

Back in 2020 I posted this as an update on my recent weight loss/health journey. I cringe now when I see this post. When people post a before and after photo, there’s a suggestion that the “before” is seen in a negative or a “bad” light. Let me tell you about that before girl.

That before girl just buried her Dad three weeks before this picture was taken. She had just given birth 3 months ago. The baby she had was going through some medical issues and had already had a few hospitalizations. She went back to work part time 3 weeks after her c-section to provide for her family. She gave up her maternity leave to keep her mom’s business running while her dad was losing his fight to lung cancer. Her family was barely making it paycheck to paycheck and deeply in debt. She had survived some of the most difficult months of her entire life and had just turned 23.

Now go ahead and tell that before girl she’s unworthy because of a number on the scale and the size of her dress. Tell her she doesn’t matter. Tell her she will just be some before picture some day and that’s all she’s worth.

The before and after photos don’t tell the whole story. They don’t define the person. You can’t see the changes I’ve made in just a snap shot. You can’t see the hard work and the sacrifices and the therapy sessions and the progress and the set backs. You can’t see me in this photo.

I had a moment a few weeks ago I was scrolling through my phone, I came across this picture on the left. It was taken in January of this year before I got pregnant. I sent it to my husband and my mom and my sisters, lamenting the body that pregnancy had taken from me and that I’d worked so hard for. I was certain when I snapped the picture on the left that would forever be my “after picture.” Boy was I wrong.

The picture on the right was taken last week, 9 months after the first one. The after picture has now become the before picture. Before I got pregnant, before my ankles swelled up to twice their size, before I got short of breath walking literally anywhere. I was mortified when I initially saw this picture of me with my mom, then I got to thinking.

This is such a small window of time in my life. This is possibly the last time I’ll carry a child. I can appreciate the body that has safely carried three babies thus far. I know now there really is no permanent before or after. My body will get bigger and smaller, my skin will clear up and break out again. My hair will be long and short. My C cups will surely return to A cups and back again. My stretch marks will fade and come back stronger with another pregnancy. There are so many more things to appreciate about my body and myself as a person than one single snapshot in time.

From here on out, I vow to never post “before and after photos.” I just am who I am. I just look how I look. I strive to nourish and take excellent care of my body. I strive to appreciate and respect my body. I know now that the before is never the before for too long and the after is also never the after for very long either. Neither is good, neither is bad. Both are worthy of love.

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Thoughts on Being a “Boy Mom…”

“Oh! Do you know what you’re having?”

I’m very obviously pregnant which means people ask about my family and pregnancy quite often. They always ask if I know what I’m having. I say I’m having my third boy.

More often than not, people react disappointed.

“Well I guess you’ll still have to try for a girl!”

“Maybe you’ll get daughters someday when your sons get married.”

“Oh, that’s too bad, I’ll bet you wanted a girl.”

I even had a strange encounter with a child who asked me what I’m having. I told her a boy. She responded DISGUSTED, “ANOTHER ONE? YUCK!” and then ran off. I thought to myself, she’s just a kid, she doesn’t know any better. Then I thought, that seems to be what everyone is thinking and not saying when I tell them I’m having another boy.

So let me set the record straight: I love my boys. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. When I found out I was having another boy, I was looking at the ultrasound screen and knew exactly what I was looking at. A boy. I didn’t have one shred of disappointment, I didn’t cry, I didn’t even take a minute to compose myself. I thought to myself, this is great, I KNOW how to raise boys. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

The whole ride home we were giddy with excitement for so many reasons! I have all the boy stuff! I don’t need to store 2 genders of clothes! All the toys and shoes and back packs will be handed down. I’ve got all the tractor books, construction books, and Blippi songs memorized. I imagine going mountain biking with the three of them. They can all agree on watching Ninja Turtles, Minecraft and Spongebob.

So if I’m not disappointed in having another boy, why is everyone else? Why does everyone expect me to be disappointed? Who are they to tell me I should be sad?

The comment that always gets me, “Maybe you’ll get daughters when your boys get married.” Yeah, or maybe they’ll marry a man. Or maybe they won’t get married. Should I be disappointed then too?

“You’ll have to try again for another girl!” Or maybe we will try again for another boy! Or maybe they’ll be a hermaphrodite! Or maybe my boys will change their gender! Or maybe I don’t want another child! Or maybe I want seven more with no regard to their genitalia!

The bottom line is this: Don’t force your disappointment with the gender of my children on me. Don’t assume I’m sad because I don’t have a daughter. Don’t assure me I’m going to “get a daughter” some day. Don’t tell me the things you assume I’m missing out on because of my child’s gender.

Here’s another thought, if a mother or father is struggling with gender disappointment, they probably don’t want to talk about it casually with acquaintances. It’s probably something they are struggling with and maybe they are carrying a lot of guilt about feeling that way. It’s not something to be hashed out in a casual conversation.

Here are some acceptable responses:

“Congratulations!” “That’s so exciting!” “You’ll have your hands full!” “That will be so fun!”

My personal favorite response, “There will be pee and nerf gun bullets everywhere!” (this is entirely accurate)

I was strolling through a local market and I saw this sweatshirt. I’ve never bought any “boy mom” stuff before, I’ve never really identified with being a “boy mom” but now that I’ve had to defend my stance so vehemently the past 5 months, I decided with three boys, I really am proud to be a “boy mom” and I bought this sweatshirt to let everyone know. Thanks to Alison at Hawkeye Screen Printing, I hope I can fit into it soon! HA!

All this to say, please be sensitive in your comments. There’s so much that weighs on parents as it is and I can’t carry your disappointment in my children’s gender too. There isn’t a day I wake up and wish that Carver and Gannon were a girl or anything other than who they are and I’m sure it will be the same with this next tiny human.

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