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The Natural Verve Has Moved!

I’ve had so much fun getting to know you all on this blog. Alas, all good things must come to an end…thankfully, The Natural Verve is not one of them!

I hope you’ll all follow me to my new blog home which can be found here!

There’s lots of exciting things to come on our brand new website. Make sure to enter your email and subscribe so you don’t miss a beat!

You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter! Be sure to follow me: @naturalverve

I can’t wait to start this new chapter with you all.

Lots of love,

Kristen

Roasted Stuffed Pepper Casserole

So the plan for dinner tonight was stuffed peppers. Then I remembered my sweet husband is not a huge fan of them…crap. Luckily for me, however, he is a big fan of mixing random ingredients together in one pan and then smothering them with cheese. I started concocting and came up with my own version of a stuffed pepper casserole.

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Inspired by my deep adoration for roasted red peppers (I mean really, is there anything better?) I started to mentally piece together this dish. The result was quite fabulous. The husband and child were quite pleased and are looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. This feels like a total mom win!

Interested in this cheesy, red pepper goodness? Check out the recipe below!

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12 Months, 52 Weeks, 365 Days

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Today is a day that I’ve been anxiously awaiting and dreading all at the same time. Today is the day that our little girl turns one! While watching her grow, learn and change has become the greatest thrill in my life, it breaks my heart to see her moving further and further away from that little baby we brought into the world a year ago. It really does happen in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, however, all sadness is erased when I realize how extraordinary that daughter of ours really is.

I know all parents think their child is perfect and wonderful and brilliant, but I swear Haddie is spectacular. She has the brightest smile and sweetest personality. She is incredibly smart and amazes me day to day with the things she’s capable of.

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While I was pregnant, I can remember thinking – what if I don’t like this kid? Yes, that’s a terrible thing to even consider and I should have known better, but it was a serious concern. Everyone tells you what you’re supposed to feel, and I had an overwhelming fear that something would be missing. From the moment she came into the world, high pitched screams and all, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Within seconds of seeing that gorgeous face, gravity had shifted. Everything before that moment was the gone with the past and this incredible creature was all that mattered for the future.

Hadley Sutton, you are my life, my love, and my unwavering happiness. I vow to do everything in my power to protect your dreams and give you the most beautiful life possible. Things will not always be easy. There will be scrapes and bruises, bullies, and break-ups, but I will use every ounce of my strength to build you up and help you through…kissing away your tears and reminding you of the possibilities. I want you to live the life that brings you joy, and I promise to always be your biggest fan and cheerleader.

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Each day, you remind your daddy and I just how blessed we really are. You truly are our miracle.

Happy First Birthday, Haddie Girl.

Infertility Awareness Week

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For so many of us women, we start to dream about our fairy tale lives at a very young age. There will be Prince Charming, a beautiful wedding, and the arrival of a gorgeous, bouncing baby girl or boy to make our family whole. Unfortunately for a large majority of us, that sweet little baby will not come easy.

The National Institutes of Health has discovered that 1 in 6 couples will struggle with infertility. If you have never dealt with the uncertainty and heartbreak that comes with this disease, I will tell you this…There are simply no words to describe it. Whether you have dealt with miscarriage, stillbirth, or simply the inability to conceive, there is no way to explain to someone how you feel. In honor of Resolve.Org’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I offer this post as an ode to all of my fellow warriors in this journey.

You are all beautiful, courageous men and women. I stand beside you and rejoice in your strength. For those of you who have achieved your dreams of a little one after a long and strenuous journey, I have so much gratitude and joy.  If you haven’t yet found your happily ever after, I offer you sweet dreams, lots of luck, and more baby dust that you can imagine.

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Our little girl is truly a miracle that I never thought possible. All of the cards were stacked up against us, but yet here you are. Our lives are so much brighter and more fulfilled because of you, little Hadley. I thank God for you every day.

Frozen: A Temptress Extraordinaire

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I did something terrible yesterday; something that there’s just no coming back from. I watched Frozen…twice…in a four hour period. I bow my head in shame.

You see this damn movie has been out for almost three years now, and despite the constant flutter of songs, quotes, and merchandise, I’d managed to escape its grasp. No two ways about it, this movie pissed me off. Who did these little Elsa and Anna idiots think they were? Being compared to the Disney greats like Belle and Ariel; it’s blasphemy I say. So strictly out of principle, I stood my ground and vowed never to see it. In fact, one of the first parental decisions I made upon finding out we were having a girl is that she would never fall victim to this godforsaken movie’s wicked claws.

I’d seen what was happening around me. There was a never-ending flow of Frozen themed birthday parties and Halloween costumes. The toy aisles were overrun with strangely misshapen snowmen and reindeer. And don’t even get me started on the song…I was convinced my ears would bleed the next time someone uttered those three little words (I won’t even write them..there will be no sing-along happening here!)

But alas, it seemed as though the odds were stacking up against me. When my friend Katie (a fellow Anti-Frozen team member) called to say she’d watched it, I realized there was a chance I may be the last person on Earth who was missing out on some extraordinary secret. So I did it…I set up the DVR and recorded the stupid movie.

I told myself that I wasn’t doing it or me. After all, I’m a mature adult that is capable of not watching some silly, little Disney movie. I was simply being a kind and responsible mother. How would it look if my poor child showed up somewhere and was completely out of the loop? At ten months old, that would clearly be devastating to her social standing.

So during playtime today, I put it on…just as background noise, you know? Very quickly I realized that my young child had no interest in watching this thing. Thank goodness…she wasn’t getting sucked in. I had dodged a bullet. Except what did that character just say? Where were they going? How’d the damn snowman get there again? Suddenly it was nap time and I graciously hit stop on the DVR, turning instead to some high-quality adult television.

But wait…what was that nagging? I began to realize I was anxious to continue watching. I mean, I had to find out if she chose Kristoff or Hans, right!?! So I did it. I finished the stupid movie and then, within a couple of hours, I’d restarted it for a second viewing.

So there you have it, folks. My life is officially over and I am just another weak-minded statistic. I don’t know how I fell so far, so fast, but the answer is yes: I want to build a damned snowman!

Now leave me to my Frozen-filled misery…it’s about time for me to watch it again.

 

An Afternoon Snooze

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Yesterday afternoon, my daughter let me rock her to sleep. You’re probably sitting there thinking, good for you…what’s the big deal? The big deal is that she hasn’t done this in months! When she was first born, and for many months after, she loved to be rocked and cuddled like most babies at that age do. I remember long, blissful naps on the couch where I lie cuddling her and looking down at her sweet, little face. Despite the ache in my neck, and the cramp in my legs from holding an awkward position for quite some time, I didn’t dare move a muscle. There was no scenario that would cause me to disrupt her slumber and ruin such a precious moment.

Then she got big (or, at least, she thinks she is!) And in recent months, she’s decided that she no longer wants to be rocked. During the fussy period before she falls to sleep, all we can do is lay her down. Forget the cuddling, the cooing, the rubbing of her back…the best thing  to do is just lay her down and let her do her thing. How quickly they stop needing us for certain things.

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And then yesterday happened. She’s been in a funny mood the past few days where, despite being completely exhausted, she refuses to take a nap. It’s frustrating periods of fighting with her to go to sleep, only to realize that somehow your child suddenly has the upper hand. After several rounds of this delightful game, I decided to try out the rocking chair (masochist that I am.) Within a few short rocks I realized that, miraculously, it was working! She was getting sleepier and had started snuggling into me. In a few moments ,she was out, and there I sat once again cuddling my sleeping babe. It was perfection.

I have to wonder if we’ll have any more moments like that. It may seem so simple, but it’s something I miss more than words. I can’t believe my little girl is already almost a year old. She’s changed so much and is learning something new every day. People talk about how quickly time will go by, but I never realized just how serious they were. Lesson learned. It’s easy to get wrapped up in cleaning the house, cooking the meals, doing our jobs. But we’ll never get these little moments back with our kids. So hold them tight and take advantage of every opportunity you have to just sit quietly and curl up with your babies. Just like people always say…they’re only little once!

What’s in a Name?

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You know what I think is funny? The way people react when I tell them my daughter’s name. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that her name might be slightly unconventional, but in a world full of North West’s and Spurgeon’s, I really didn’t think Hadley Sutton was that strange.

And yet somehow, whenever people hear her unique moniker for the first time they tend to look at us like we have three heads. We get questions like:

  • How did you come up with a name like that?
  • That’s kind of different isn’t it?

And my favorite…

  • So that must be a family name, right?

Because apparently, my husband and I would only choose a name so ridiculous because we have some sort of familial attachment to it. And of course, there’s always the people who simply respond, “Huh?” I guess they think it’s so weird we must have been mistaken when we spoke it. Now I’m not saying that the people who ask these questions are trying to be outright rude or hurtful, but we need to consider how statements and questions like these might come across.

Choosing a name is not an easy task. I reached a point in my pregnancy where I legitimately thought we’d just wait until she turned 18 and let her choose for herself. She could have just been kid or girl until then! What a daunting undertaking it is to determine what a person will be called for the rest of their life. The name on their report cards, driver’s license, and job applications. A person’s name is often the very first thing that we learn about them…the very first impression we have. As parents, we want to make it a good one.

Hadley’s name is inspired from a few different sources. When Ryan and I first started watching the show Parenthood, we fell in love with the name Haddie…somehow though it sounded too much like a nickname to make it official, though. When I read a book about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, I fell in love. After mentioning the name to Ryan, we thought on it for awhile before finally deciding it was perfect. After seeing Sutton a few different places, we both felt like it was such a uniquely, beautiful name.

When I hear the name Hadley Sutton, I think of elegance. It feels like such a strong, feminine name that will stand the test of time. To our ears, our daughter’s name is something beautiful.

While we might not always agree with the names that people choose, goodness knows I’ve heard some doozies, we should try to remember that a mom and dad worked hard to choose that name. A lot of painstaking thought and emotion went into the decision and who are we to pass judgment? And if we feel like we there’s no way around being slightly judgmental…maybe let’s not do it to their faces?