Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Kids This Week

Ryan has been singing the music from the Greatest Showman a lot lately. This week he was singing the version of "A Milion Dreams" that the little boy sings in the movie. And all of a sudden I realized how good Ryan sounded. Like I stopped what I was doing and turned to listen because he was perfectly in tune with every note. We've got a singer on our hands here!
Speaking of Ryan, I shared this on Facebook but I wanted to have it documented on here. He was home sick from school earlier this week so we were playing hangman. This is the sentence he came up with for me to guess. How sweet is this!?
Andrew is basically a little monkey these days, climbing on all our furniture. This stage is exhausting!
Jenna likes to be his little Mommy, pushing him in his stroller. Daddy was working on the next street over this week, so we walked his breakfast over to him!
Our local firehouse put on a pancake breakfast last Saturday. Can you believe my girl was the only one who would come with me? Next year you're going boys!
And finally, look at this adorable picture of Lucas. He's had a rough week. On Saturday he told me he was "signing out" of baseball. He refused to play his game, and his mood this week has been less than great. (Understatement!) I think he's just tired and done with baseball and school. Can you really blame him? He did have a great Open House last week at school, and I captured this great shot of him with his teacher. He has had a wonderful year of Kindergarten, but we are ready for the summer!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Whole30ish Dinners

This past week I attempted to eat a mostly Whole30 diet. That means no grains, sugar, alcohol, dairy, or legumes. That can be very limiting, so I thought I'd document the 5 dinners we ate. If any of you do the Whole30 diet or just want to cut some carbs from your diet, maybe this will give you some ideas. We don't eat this way all the time. (Anyone else addicted to a bowl of cereal before bed?) But every once in a while I just feel like my diet needs a little reset. So this week I probably ate Whole30 90% of the time. Here are our dinners.

Tequila Lime Chicken, Raw Veggies, Guacamole, Spanish Cauliflower Rice
 I used this recipe for the chicken, and right off the bat I know it isn't Whole30 compliant because of the alcohol. But I figure it burns off when you cook it so ehhh it doesn't count. I wasn't super impressed with the taste of this chicken. I used this recipe for the Cauliflower Spanish Rice and it was delicious! Trader Joe's sells frozen riced cauliflower that is perfect for recipes like this. On the side I made our favorite guacamole and dipped raw bell peppers and cucumber in it.

Bacon Meatballs, Zoodles, Broccoli
 Oh my gosh these meatballs were fabulous. I used this recipe. Originally I planned on leaving out the breadcrumbs and cheese from some of the meatballs, and serving those to myself in order to keep it Whole30 compliant. But it ended up being too much work so I ate the meatballs, cheese and all. And it was worth it! 5 out of 6 of us loved these meatballs! Oh, I should mention that the recipe didn't instruct me to cook the bacon beforehand, but I still did. Rather than use wheat noodles I wanted to try zoodles. I don't own a spiralizer, so I simply sliced a zucchini really thinly and then cut into thin strips. I sautéed the zoodles in olive oil and garlic and the result was really tasty. (Kids had regular pasta with parmesan) On the side we had steamed broccoli.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
 I used this recipe for chicken pot pie soup and it turned out delicious! I ate it for lunch the following two days and it only got better. I think using my freezer stash of homemade chicken broth really took it over the top. I wouldn't say it necessarily tasted like chicken pot pie, but very tasty nonetheless!

Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Apple, Side Salad
I needed a simple dinner, so I tried this recipe for Oven Roasted Chicken Sausage, Sweet Potatoes, and Apples. It was very easy to make...I just diced up the sausage, apple, one sweet potato and one white potato, tossed it in some seasonings and then roasted. Overall I didn't love the dish, but that may be because I just don't love sweet potatoes. I'm trying to make myself like them! I also made a quick salad of iceburg, cucumber, radish, and tomatoes.

Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Citrus Slaw, Guacamole, Pineapple
I tried this recipe for fish tacos with citrus slaw and I really liked it. Adam isn't a fan of fish tacos, but Ryan ate 4 of them! (He had his in soft corn tortillas with cheese). I ate my spiced fish sans tortilla, and instead ate it with a big serving of the citrus slaw. On the side I made our favorite guacamole again, and served it all with fresh pineapple.

And there you go....5 tasty Whole30ish dinners! I tried SO many new recipes this week! That doesn't always happen. But I love experimenting in the kitchen when I have the time. Which recipe looks the best to you?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Intentional Simplicity

Does anyone else feel like life these days is just WAY too complicated?

When I think back to my childhood two words come to mind. Wholesome and Simple. Now I realize life always seems more simple when you are a child, but I really feel strongly that life is more complicated these days than it needs to be. When I was young I don't remember the TV being on a lot. Instead, my Mom would listen to the radio. I remember spending a lot of time outside, playing with the neighbors or climbing our tree in the backyard. Or running through the sprinkler attachment on the hose. I also remember reading a ton of books as a child. And not the kind you download onto your latest electronic device. A lot of my toys were simple and wooden, and they allowed me to use my imagination. They didn't try to do my thinking for me.
Fast forward to today, and life just feels crazy. I feel like I am overstimulated by life every single day. I get that probably 80% of that is because we have 4 little kids! That's just the nature of having young children, and lots of them. (And being a Mom and always trying to do a million things at once)But still....I often feel like we are making life harder than it needs to be. Technology is supposed to be this amazing thing that helps make life more efficient and faster and easier. And yet I kind of hate it. I hate that before I even get a chance to say good morning to my husband, I have 39 new emails and 16 facebook notifications waiting to be read. I hate that instead of having a family conversation at the dinner table, someone will inevitably ask Alexa to join in on our conversation. I hate that I am constantly trying to track down cell phone chargers and manage the apps on my phone and check the boys' video games for inappropriate ads.. I hate that the soundtrack to our life is the pinging of cell phones.

And the thing is, I KNOW how to live a more simple life. Intuitively, I know what is best for my kids. I think to achieve this simpler life I'm longing for requires a great deal of intentionality. It means I have to put down my phone more and know that it's OK to not check it for a while! It means removing my laptop from my kitchen so I am not always lured into the social media world. It means trusting that my kids will be satisfied with a ball and a bat, or a book and a hug, rather than some fancy toy. It means doing what comes naturally instead of looking to the crazy world around me for guidance.

But darnit, I feel like it's me against the world sometimes to achieve that kind of life. (This is the same way I feel about feeding my kids a healthy diet.) I know how to exercise and feed my body properly....I don't need a new app for that. I know how to sit down and read my kids a bedtime story. I don't need to let them watch YouTube before bed. But somewhere along the way I think we all stopped using our brains and started relying on gadgets to do our thinking for us. I don't know, does anyone else feel this way?

I'll leave you with kids trying to play baseball in our small backyard. And trying to get Jenna to hit the ball. Ha!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Baby and His Ball

Andrew's happy place is outside with a ball.
Andrew seems really coordinated to me. All I have to compare him with are his siblings, but to me, he seems just as coordinated, if not more so than his big brothers
I often see him with his bat and ball, holding the bat up and trying to hit the ball with it. Just like his brothers!
And he's got quite the arm for a 14-month old.
 Give him a ball or play catch with him and he will love you forever!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Head Updates

Oh boy has my head been hurting. I have had 4 migraines in the last two weeks. And on the days when I haven't had a migraine, I have had smaller annoying headaches that seem to come and go. Along with the pain in my head comes a weird stiff neck, nausea, and dizziness. When I'm having these headaches I have this overall sick tired feeling, like I just need to lay down. I can't figure out what is causing all my headaches. But I do know I have felt exactly this same way in the past, beginning when Ryan was maybe 8 months old. I even remember going to the doctor back then and having some bloodwork run. Everything was good, so I chalked it up to being stressed or tired. But here I am again, feeling sick and in pain almost every day. I talked to my sister and she diagnosed me with exhaustion. If only there was a guaranteed prescription for that!
Speaking of head pain, Andrew had a pretty bad fall a couple weeks ago. He was walking around in the kitchen with a sippy cup full of water that was leaking. He slipped in a puddle of water and fell flat on his back, hitting his head really hard on the floor. The back of his head swelled up with a goose egg bump, but he was acting normal. Then about a week later he did the same thing and conked his head again. Fast forward another week and the goose egg bump is gone. But in its place is a hard weirdly shaped lump on the back of his skull. It almost feels like a tiny piece of his bone broke off. After worrying about it for a couple days I took him in to the doctor today.
The doctor's initial thought was that it was a dermoid cyst. (That's what Jenna had removed.) Then I told him about Andrew's falls. The doctor drew me a picture of the layers of skin down to the skull and brain. He said what probably happened is the initial blood was absorbed back into Andrew's body, but that calcium deposits in the blood cells remained there, and that is the hard lump we are feeling. But then he felt it again and decided he needed an x-ray to rule out a skull fracture. And I was like NOPE, no more skull fractures!
The head x-ray was about as fun as you'd expect. Thankfully the doctor just let us know tonight that the results showed no fracture. Unfortunately, the bump on the back of his head may stay there for a very long time, because the calcium isn't absorbed back into his body. It is unfortunate, because Andrew has such a perfectly shaped head. That was the top comment we heard in the hospital when he was born....what a beautifully shaped head!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Busy Baseball Birthday Weekend

It was a weekend full of baseball, basketball and birthday parties!
We started our Friday evening with dinner and a game of Headbanz. This game is so fun! It's like 20 questions, except you are trying to guess what the thing, animal, or food is that is on your head.
 Here is a video of Jenna playing. I'm telling you, she gets so happy about the littlest things!
I cleaned up dinner and packed food for Saturday while the boys played basketball. (Ryan's big birthday present from us).
We were up early the next morning to get ready for baseball. Ryan helped me out by drying his little sister's hair.
 Dressed in our hats and ready for baseball by 8:15am!
 Ryan's game was first.
I took this video of him pitching. Right after I recorded this, the batter hit a line drive right at him and he got hit in the cheek. He started crying and the game stopped for a few minutes, but he decided to keep pitching. It was hard not to run out on the field and give him a big hug!
 Meanwhile, Jenna and Lucas ran around making trouble.
 Next up was Lucas' game at 11:30. Ryan sat in the outfield watching his brother.
 Nice swing Lucas!
We were home around 1:30. I put Ryan in charge of packing goodie bags for his party the next day.
Daddy helped.
And I immediately got to work baking Ryan's party cake. This is probably the 2nd time in my life that I have made a cake from a box mix. And guess what? I took a quick shower while it was baking and ended up burning it. That's what I get for trying to take the easy way out.
 I got Andrew dressed in his new outfit from Grandma Linda.
And got myself dressed in my newest Lularoe skirt. My childhood friend sells this brand of clothes and her group on Facebook is so fun!
I tried to get a picture of my crazy kids. Then we headed out to the 4pm service at our church.
Afterwards we grabbed a quick dinner and Ryan and I waited for the food. It's so nice to just sit with my 8 yr old.
Then we headed straight to my sister's house for Bella's 5th birthday party. Andrew immediately found his favorite person, Grandpa.
 The birthday girl!
We got home pretty late and told the kids to SLEEP IN the next morning. Ha! We were all up by 6:45. Jenna and I got to work on a new birthday cake.
Lucas was having a bad morning and Andrew wouldn't sleep, so I'm proud that I even got the cake made. I think it turned out pretty cute, especially since cake decorating is not my thing.
 Adam took Ryan to a 9am baseball practice while Jenna and I decorated for his party.
 At 1pm we met 7 of Ryan's friends at a local trampoline park.
 They jumped and jumped.
 And jumped.
 And even did some rock climbing.
 Jenna got to come along and she was so excited just to watch the boys.
 Back at our house we had pizza and baseball cake. Followed by presents!
We ended Ryan's birthday party with a game of basketball out front. I think he had a really fun party and I'm so glad he is finding a good group of friends up here.
Not going to lie....Adam and I fixed ourselves a margarita last night and high-fived each other. Weekends like this are so much fun but they require so much planning and energy.  Now today I get to clean up from our fun weekend!