About our blogger: Beth

I've been married to Chris since April of 2004. We have 3 young children and another on the way; Anthony Nathaniel who was born August 2004, Anastasia Fae who was born August 2006, David Cillian who was born July 2008, and Baby Charlie Vincent who is due May 2010. Chris is currently serving the United States Air Force and I'm a stay at home mom. Eventually I plan to go back to school and become an IBCLC. In October 2008 I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and have been battling that since. Every day is a struggle but with my family by my side, and my friends to lean on I make it through.

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Posts by Beth:

December 20th, 2012

…and then you grow up

I have a very blended family.  My Mom had me and my oldest sister Tanya from her first marriage, the man I have called Dad all my life (but was biologically speaking – not related to me) had two children from his first marriage.  I have always called Georgie and Jenny my brother and sister regardless of how many genes we share.  My Mom and Dad then had two additional children in their marriage – Jackie and Deanna. So there are six of us, divided up into three biological sets, but we are all siblings regardless.

All siblings squabble from time to time.  Some more than others, and some a bit less than others.  Compared to my own childhood, my children hardly ever have issues with each other except Charlie and David.  They are too rough and too close in age and this causes conflict, but I still have hope they’ll become friends as they age.

Growing up I was quite close to my sister Tanya, and my baby sister Deanna.  Due to distance I wasn’t as close to Georgie or Jenny, but both are people I consider to be on good terms with.  There was really only one sibling that I squabbled over and over with. We just didn’t get along.  We had our standard sibling squabble, but it went far past just your standard squabbling.  We genuinely did not like one another.  I felt slighted when it came to punishments, parental attention, ect.  Quite frequently, as I’ve heard from my other siblings as well, whenever a fight occurred with Jackie we knew that we would be the one punished.  This created feelings of jealousy in me, and in return my attitude towards her grew quite soured.

As we aged we did not, as our parents had hoped Read the rest of this entry »


June 25th, 2012

The life of a military child

I grew up as a military brat.  My dad was in the Air Force, and during Desert Storm he was gone quite a bit.  After that, he frequently TDY’d for long periods of time.  He was in the EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal), you know – the guys who get rid of bombs.  I was used to him being in and out of our house and knowing there were two types of normal – one when my dad was home, and one when he was gone.

When my husband enlisted, I was originally opposed to it.  I didn’t want to have to kiss him goodbye, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up while he came in and out of our lives.  We both knew this was the best road for our family, though.  We wanted a large family, we were young, we were already pregnant with Anthony, and we needed stability.  The military doesn’t provide home stability, but it does provide job security, a community, and benefits that make it easier to breathe at times. So he enlisted.  He left when Anthony was 3 months, and we reunited when Anthony was 8 months old.  He deployed off and on, or TDY’d off and on for the next year or so, but it was okay.  I had one child, I had a great group of friends, I was young and in shape, and I was determined to be a strong military wife.  After our daughter was born, he left for 6 out of her first 8 months.  I had severe PPD, I had a falling out with a friend, and my daughter was very high needs. Still, I conquered those deployments, and when my husband came home he transferred to the school house so he could further his career and stay home with us.  It was supposed to be a 2 year assignment, but it turned into 4 years.

During that time, we had 3 more kids, my health began to fade as my EDS became more painful and apparent, and my friends PCSed or separated from the military.  I was no longer a young nor new military spouse, and I found it harder to find people who were in the same stage of life as I was.

Now Chris is deployed again.  The longest deployment we’ve had yet – 6 months.  This isn’t like the other deployments, for me or my kids.   Read the rest of this entry »

March 26th, 2012

Alan Christopher Mizzell

So much has happened since I last posted. We bought a home! Our moms came out to visit (at the same time, and they finally met for the first time!), and we had our 5th child – Alan Christopher Mizzell. This is his birth story.

Alan was supposed to come on February 8th. Even though I wasn’t due until March 4th, my doctor wanted to induce me early because of the complications that can come with delivery and having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. He was leaving town on vacation on the 9th and wouldn’t be back until the 22nd. All of my kids, except Anastasia, were born prior to 38 weeks, and he wasn’t sure I’d make it until the 22nd, when I’d be 38 weeks 3 days. However, to induce in Nebraska prior to 39 weeks, you have to have an amnio that confirms lung maturity.

To prepare for the delivery, we had our moms come out and visit. They had never met each other before, and we thought this would be a great time to finally meet! The plan was for Chris’s mom to care for Anthony and David during delivery (we’d take Charlie and Anastasia with us), and for my mom to be in the delivery room since she’s never seen me give birth before. I began having a lot of bloody show around the 5th of February, and my husband and mom were both convinced I wasn’t even going to make it to my induction.

On the 8th, we all went to my MFM doctor for my amnio. Oh my goodness, that was painful! My MFM rocked it out, and it went very quickly, but as soon as the needle was inserted in my uterus I slightly shifted and ended up contracting around the needle. It burned after that. Afterwards, they have to monitor you for an hour to make sure you aren’t going into labor and that the baby isn’t in distress. Alan was not happy. His heart rate was in the 200′s and stayed there for about half an hour before it finally came down and stayed down. The results came back that his lungs were not mature. We found out at my OB appointment that afternoon that his numbers were only 19, and they need 40′s to 50′s to be considered mature. He was REALLY not ready. I was upset, but I didn’t want him to come if he wasn’t ready.

I felt really bad for Chris’s mom. She had wanted to come out at the end of February, but I convinced her to come out earlier so she could meet my mom. Read the rest of this entry »

January 17th, 2012

My Nana’s fudge

Growing up, my Nana used to send us massive care packages full of the most delicious treats – cookies, fudge, candied walnuts. I looked forward to these packages every year, and now as a parent to my own brood, I’ve been wanting more and more to pass on recipes to MY kids. This year has really made me realize that I am going to really be the Matriarch of my family. I’m not close to my sisters, except one. I haven’t talked to or seen my brother in years, unfortunately. We can’t afford to see our family in California, or our parents very often, and they can’t afford to come visit us. This was one of my main reasons for wanting a large family. I knew that my kids were only, really, going to have each other when they grew up. They aren’t going to be close to their cousins (except perhaps Deanna’s kids), if they know their cousins at all, and I really want them to have a strong sense of family. So for the past few months, I’ve really concentrated on establishing traditions to pass down to them, that they can pass down to their own kids. My Nana’s recipes were some of the things I wanted to pass down to them.

My dad’s ex wife has been so kind to send me some of her recipes, and I’ve been trying them out over the past few weeks. The sugar cookies turned out okay, but the pregnancy does not let me enjoy them, because they use a lot of lard and this baby does not like the taste or smell of it. I haven’t tried the candied walnuts yet, but I will attempt them in the next few days!  Today, I tried my hand at fudge.

My Nana’s fudge is not the ooey gooey kind people think when they think fudge. It’s not marshmellowy or any of that nonsense. That’s not “real” fudge in my opinion, that’s a new type of fudge that is more like a gooey brownie than a candy. My Nana’s fudge is old fashioned, sugary, crumbly, and absolutely heavenly. I should admit that my Nana got her recipe from the old Hershey can, so technically it’s Hersheys fudge, but it will always be my Nana’s fudge to me.

I attempted making this about 10 years ago with my sister Jenny (and I think my brother was present too). It turned out awful. Of course, we didn’t follow directions very well, or use a candy thermometer, but it made me absolutely terrified to attempt to make it. I don’t take failure well, especially in the kitchen.

I’m not an expert cook or baker, but I do like to think I know a little about both. Baking and bread making are definitely a passion of mine, and I’ve been wanting to try my hand at candy making, but I’ve been too afraid. I think I have found some confidence in it! I expect I’ll be making a few tutorials about different candy goodies!

So now on to what you really care about – the tutorial.

Ingredients: Read the rest of this entry »


November 2nd, 2011

Party Pizza

I’ve made this a few times now. All the kids love it, Chris and I enjoy it, and any meal that isn’t met with even one child complaining is a major win in our house!

You can use premade pizza dough if you want, I prefer to make my own. It makes me feel better about feeding my kids party pizza for dinner! Pizza dough is pretty simple to make. I’ve seen this recipe, or similar ones, all over the internet – this is my take.

You’ll need:
1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour

Mix the first three ingredients together and let the yeast rise until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Mix the salt in, and then start adding flour. Of course I make this in Betsy. Read the rest of this entry »

October 14th, 2011

I haven’t forgotten, just processing

I was asked a few times if I’m disappointed that the baby is a boy. Of course I’m not! I don’t understand going through the excitement of becoming pregnant, maintaining that excitement for nearly 20 weeks, only to become disappointed that the baby has the wrong anatomy between their legs. Yes, we wanted a girl, because we already have three boys and wanted to give Anastasia a sister, but we aren’t upset at all. On the contrary, we are quite happy and thrilled to be having another boy. When we first got together, I thought I’d never have any boys. My family seems to only produce girls – so each boy is just an added blessing and surprise.

The ONLY disappointment was the tough decision this created. We always wanted 6 kids and had agreed that if we got our second girl, we’d cut it early. I had mixed emotions about this, but agreed because Chris really feels finished (although he’s said this after each child and then changed his mind and bugged me to get pregnant again). Once we discovered it’s another boy, it became more difficult. I had started to come to terms that this may be the last baby. I was trying to mentally prepare myself for it, and I had hoped if it was a girl I wouldn’t really have to make the hard decision, but I do.

For the past few days, I had been trying to rationalize stopping, because rationally speaking there are a lot of good reasons to say our family is complete.
1. We have a large family
2. 4 teenage boys is already daunting (food bill wise), what if the next is a boy and we have 5 teenage boys to feed?
3. Pregnancy is HARD on my body and my EDS. I’ve become more high risk with each pregnancy, and it takes a while for me to recover afterwards.
4. Chris is ready to stop.
5. I have been pregnant, or breastfeeding, or both for the past 8 years with only a 12 month break total.
6. We are held back by having a newborn or me being pregnant and can’t do a lot of family activities because of it.
7. I’m tired.
8. I tried to reason that, miscarriage included, I’ve been pregnant 6 times.

BUT…. Read the rest of this entry »

October 3rd, 2011

Broken Glass Jello

I made this a few days ago and it’s been a HUGE hit with the kids. The recipe is super simple, easy to make, cheap, and looks and tastes amazing.
4 boxes of Jello (I used Raspberry, Lime, Orange, and Blue berry)
2 packets of unflavored gelatin (each box has 4 packets, I did NOT know this until after I bought the ingredients.)
1 can of Condensed sweetened milk (not the same as evaporated milk)

Start by taking 4 square containers, I used tupperware, and dumping the different packets of Jello in them. Ooooh pretty! Read the rest of this entry »


September 26th, 2011

Pillow Soft Dinner Rolls/Bread

I’ve made this recipe twice now, once a few weeks ago and again tonight. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite bread recipes.

4.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk (I heat this on the stove and warm until it’s hot to the touch, but not uncomfortably hot)
1/2 cup warm water (I use this from tap and just turn on my hottest setting. My water heater is set at 120 degrees. The first time I made this, I used 3/4s cup of water. No difference in final product, it just increased the amount of flour used.)
6 tablespoons shortening (I don’t measure this exact, just scoop and dump)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of sugar
1.5 teaspoons of salt
7 cups of all purpose flour (use good quality flour!)
A few weeks ago, I made tortillas and used cheap cheap store brand flour. They turned out terrible. They were hard and salty, and I quickly learned (and decided) to not use cheap flour ever again when making bread products. I prefer to use King Arthur, and I haven’t had any issues with it.
I decided to make two batches, one for dinner rolls and one for two loaves of sandwich bread.
The first thing I do is to proof my yeast by dissolving it in my warm water. I turn the mixer on slightly and just stir it to make sure it’s completely dissolve. It will puff up a bit, and that’s perfectly fine! It’s supposed to do that.

Read the rest of this entry »

July 18th, 2011

Attachment Parenting is not a tool for spoiling!

Earlier this week, I encountered a conversation with some friends of a friend that actually surprised me. I suppose I am so used to be surrounded by people who at least can admit that validity in Attachment style Parenting that I’m not used to people completely dismissing it as a form of spoiling.
I love Dr. Sears view on the subject: Spoiling happens when a child is put on the shelf, left alone, forgotten about – the way that food spoils.”

I’m not speaking ill of methods of parenting, but I do believe whole heartily in the logic with AP, and there are numerous studies and research to back it up.

Baby wearing is not “new age.” Wearing your children has been around since the dawn of time practically, and nearly every culture has their own ways to do it. Strollers are more new age. The first stroller was invented in the 1700′s. Babies were worn long before then. It’s not new, and it’s doesn’t spoil the baby. Studies actual show that a child who is attended to, a child raised in the AP style, tends to be more independent and well adjusted when they grow up. That’s not to say using a stroller will make your child dependent and maladjusted, it’s just more in favor for babywearing.

Not all baby wraps and slings are made equal. Snugglie, Baby Bjorn, etc are very bad for baby’s spine. The more primitive the carrier the better for baby. Slings, wraps (like Moby’s), and soft structured carriers are far better. The ERGO is a good compromise as the baby sits, rather than dangles. Plus, the baby is skin to skin with mama, where the Baby Bjorn and Snugglie are more in a pouch. Read the rest of this entry »

July 11th, 2011


The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.

-Richard Bach

The family you come from isn’t as important as the family you’re going to have.
- Ring Lardner

Even as a young child, I used to dream of the perfect family – the kind where you can confide in your mom and your dad scares all your boyfriends (out of love, not just because it’s fun), you borrow your sister’s clothes and gossip about your latest dates. Where, as adults, you visit each other frequently, and your kids and nieces/nephews are the best of friends; and every year at holiday time you gather around the same tree and it’s fun.

That’s not the family I have. I love my family, even with their faults; and I hope they love me despite mine, but we are not close. I have one sibling who I DO see myself growing old with while our children play together. One. Out of five.

Chris gets very frustrated with me, because I spend way to much time upset over things my family does that continues to hurt me. He’d rather I just move on and cut as many ties as I can. He doesn’t like to see me hurt, and I love him for that. He cut ties with his mother for nearly 5 years because of drama. They have a decent relationship now, and the drama is gone. He wants the same for me, but I have never been one who has been good at cutting someone out. They are FAMILY; it’s difficult to give up completely.

I have a great non-biological family, though. It’s not the same, at all, as one you are tied to – but it’s still nice. Everyone deserves someone who is happy for them, and who they can confide in.

Read the rest of this entry »