Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Date Night

I like the idea of a date night in theory, but in reality it just doesn't happen very often. Last Saturday night Adam and I attended a wedding of a good friend of mine. It was an opportunity for us to go somewhere together without Ryan, and thus, it was a date night!

Since Ryan was born we have been fortunate enough to go out together a few times, just Adam and I. We went out to lunch last September for our anniverary, Adam's work party in January, dinner for Valentine's Day, attended a wedding in March, and then this one on Saturday. There are probably one or two other occcasions that I am forgetting. I have heard how important it is to maintain a healthy marriage once you have kids, and I think planning regular time together, such as a monthly date night, is a great idea. It's just hard to actually execute, with budget limitations and a little boy who can be difficult to watch. So tell me, how often do you get out with your spouse, without your children tagging along? What do you think about having a designated "date night?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Friends

We have been having a lot of fun lately having friends over and going on playdates. I'm trying to take advantage of every opportunity for Ryan to interact with other kids. I have noticed it tires him out more, and I am also hoping he will pick up some good habits from them (like talking and eating!). Hopefully no bad habits!

Here are Ryan and Carly. They wouldn't sit near each other long enough for a joint picture.
Then yesterday we had 2 playdates in one day. Ryan clung to me during the first one. But the second was at our house, so he felt more comfortable running around with his friends. I am so blessed to have so many Mommy friends in my life!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's Working Right Now

If someone said "Raise your hand if your toddler is a picky eater" I would not only raise my hand, but also my other hand and both my legs. I don't know if Ryan's eating habits are normal toddler behavior, but he's definitely very particular about what he will put in his mouth. So I've had to be creative about feeding him. Fortunately I have found a few things lately that work. Here are my top 3.

1) Semi Self-Feeding/Distraction - Ryan wants to be in control of his utensils, but this can become really messy really quickly. When I let him feed himself, about 90% of his food ends up on his head, ears, highchair......So now I use 2 spoons with every bowl of food. One for him to hold and "feed" himself with, and the other for me to feed him with. This works pretty well because he is so distracted by his own spoon that he just opens his mouth when I bring the spoon to his mouth. I have a feeling this one won't last, but it's working for now!

2) Costco! - Seriously, this is really strange. I think it's the novelty of eating in a shopping cart at a store where there's lots to look at. But for some reason, Ryan really chows down when we go to Costco. I went yesterday and offered Ryan all of the samples. Here is what he ate: 1/2 Pizza Bagel Bite, 2 Pita Chips w/ white bean hummus, 1 slice Havarti cheese, 1/4 Chicken Burger, 1/2 Madeline cookie, 1/2 GoGurt yogurt. That is easily the amount of food he eats in an entire day! And most of those are foods he would never even try if I offered them to him at home in his highchair.

3) Squeezable Fruit Pouches - A few months ago I thought these were just a new overpriced way to package baby food. What I now know is that yes, they are overpriced, but they serve a purpose. Ryan loves eating these because they give him all the control. I love them because they don't make a mess! (Unless he turns them upside down and squeezes out the contents. But shhhh he hasn't figured that out yet!) Most that I have seen are just a combination of fruits, but there are a few that also contain vegetables. I will pay the $1-$1.50 per pouch for these because they guarantee Ryan eats some fruits and veggies!

So that's what works for me right now. Any other tips I should know about?

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I've gotten a lot of comments lately about Ryan's hair.Adam wants to get it cut soon, before Ryan starts looking like a girl. That got me thinking.....what would a daughter of ours look like?

****Insert photo of Ryan with his hair in a ponytail****

It was a really cute picture but Adam wouldn't let me post it because he thought it was too embarrassing for Ryan! You'll just have to use your imagination.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

To the Glory

I hear it when I'm in the trenches of motherhood. The times when I'm wrestling Ryan to the floor in order to clean his bottom. Those hours in the middle of the night when we're crying together because he just won't sleep. That is when I have the thought, the whisper. That little whine inside my head. It sounds something like this:

"Does any of this really matter? Nobody can even see me right now. My job as a mother feels so unimportant at times. I don't get a paycheck and I don't accrue vacation hours. My role as tummy-tickler and block-stacker doesn't make a difference in the world. Motherhood is so frustrating at times because I don't see many results for the work I am doing. What is the purpose of all this?"

I love listening to K-Love because I get so much encouragement from the messages in the music. I love the new song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Do Everything". Here are the lyrics to the first verse:

"You're picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today. Matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away. You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door. And while I may not know you I bet I know you. Wonder sometimes does it matter at all. Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you....Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you. Cause He made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His Face. And tell the story of grace. With every move that you make and every little thing you do"

It reminds me of Colossians 3:23. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men"

I hope that encourages you somehow, no matter that your "job" is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Boy and His Dog

Back when Ryan was just crawling I noticed Riley showing a little bit of aggression towards him. He tried to snap at him a couple times, which really made me nervous. Since then, I have put a lot of effort into keeping my two boys separated. I use the baby gate every single day to ensure they aren't in the room together. Honestly, it kind of stresses me out to not be able to just put Ryan down anywhere in the house. I am constantly shutting doors, holding Ryan, and ignoring Riley for a good part of the day. I have even thought about what it would be like to give Riley away, and not have to worry about this issue.
But just recently, after much urging from Adam, I have been allowing Ryan and Riley to interact a bit more. It still makes me incredibly nervous, and I watch the two of them together like a hawk. But I have noticed a few things. First, Riley mostly just runs away from Ryan. As long as Ryan is throwing a toy for him, the dog is happy to keep his distance. Secondly, Ryan absolutely positively adores dogs. He really seems to come alive when he is around a dog. He squeals and shrieks with joy.....something he rarely does otherwise! Riley, or as Ryan calls him, "Daw!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Toddler Torture Device

I took Ryan to the Dr. on Thursday because I was hearing a slight wheeze when he breathed in and breathed out. I was concerned about asthma, since I had it as a child and a young adult. Ryan was pretty miserable while we waited, with his glassy eyes, flushed cheeks, and bad cough. The nurse checked his oxygen levels and they came back at 95%. Because they prefer them to be between 97% and 100%, they decided to give Ryan a chest x-ray to rule out pnemonia. Little did I know it would involve a toddler torture device!In order to get Ryan to keep his chest still, they had to place him on a little seat sitting upright, and then enclose him in a giant clear plastic tube. His feet were dangling in the air and his arms were up above his head. I got to stand next to him, but I could do nothing to comfort him. He screamed the entire time.I know it traumatized him a little bit, because just a few minutes afterwards he fell asleep in my arms, which never happens. It kind of traumatized me too, and I commented to his Dr. that I, too, felt like laying down and taking a nap. Fortunately the x-ray looked good and Ryan was only prescribed an inhaler to help with his cough. He is still very congested, but definitely on the road to recovery.I know Ryan is feeling better because he's been outside doing lots of mowing this weekend.
PS: Ryan LOVES his inhaler. It's comical just how much he enjoys using it!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Snot and Peepee

My poor Ryan is sick. I'm pretty sure he's on the 2-month cycle. A cold seems to hit him exactly every two months. This time it's a fever, persistent cough, and lots of congestion and snot. He had a lot of energy yesterday, but last night was horrible. He was up all night either coughing or crying, and he was really hot from a fever. I hope this goes away soon!

I do have some fun news to report.....I bought Ryan his first potty yesterday and he peepeed in it 5 times yesterday! I just took off his diaper, sat him down on it, and told him to put his peepee in the potty. I am so proud of my little guy! I realize that what he is doing is a long way from him being able to tell me he has to go before it happens. But it's a great first step, right? And maybe just maybe he will be a great potty-trainer and make up for all the lost sleep he has caused us. A mommy can hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Potty Time

Call me crazy, but I want to buy Ryan a potty. I realize he is a bit young to start potty-training, especially for a boy. And he doesn't yet have the verbal skills to be able to tell me when he needs to "go". And having a wet diaper never seems to bother him. And he doesn't have the patience to listen to me read him a book about using a potty. But still, I want to get him one. I know a few toddlers his age who have started the process of potty-training and are having lots of success. My idea is that I will put it in the bathroom and Ryan will get used to seeing it. Maybe I will let him sit on it when I use the bathroom. Hopefully it will be the start of something good.Or, you know. Maybe he'll put the potty on his head and run down the hallway. It's worth a try, right? (I will try anything to get out of changing his diapers! It's a wrestling nightmare.)

Monday, August 15, 2011


OK So I can't get my son to eat watermelon. But the rind? He's all over it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Playing With Cars

I must admit, when I found out at just 13 weeks pregnant that I was growing a little boy inside of me.......I was slightly disappointed. I felt like I wouldn't know what to do with a boy. I've never been good at sports, or interested in "boy" things like cars and tools. I knew I would love my baby regardless of their gender, but I also felt a little uneducated in terms of how to raise a boy. How would I play with him?It's amazing how quickly God can change a heart. I can't imagine having a little girl right now. I mean, what would I do with her?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Case You Thought I Had It All Together

Oh yes, the dirty laundry is practically stacked to the ceiling and Ryan's toy box has exploded all over the family room. Just another day in mommyhood!


This just happened:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Self Feeding

It's a tough (and messy) job.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

15-Month Checkup

Ryan has his 15-month Dr. checkup this week, and here are his growth stats:

Weight: 22 lbs, 12 oz (24%)

Height: 30.75 inches (37%)

Head: 18.75 inches (62%)

We talked about a lot of things during the visit, including Ryan's continued problems with sleep. Because of this issue and a few others, Ryan's pediatrician has referred him to a behavior specialist. While he said he doesn't think Ryan necessarily has a problem, some of his behaviors are so far on one end of the spectrum, that it couldn't hurt to talk to an expert. One of Ryan's other "issues" is his picky eating habits. He still only has a few foods he will eat. His Dr. decided to have his iron levels checked, and I was not surprised to discover that they are low. So I need to work extra hard to get some iron-rich foods into Ryan's tummy.Ryan's Dr. said that an average 15-month old has a vocabulary of 10 words. Ryan still only says "Dada", "Mama", and "Baba". He makes other sounds but nothing that I would consider a word. I hope the specialist can give me some tips on how to increase Ryan's language skills. I'm not terribly worried about this, because I know it can take a bit longer for boys to develop their speech. (One of these days I'm sure he's going to open his mouth and just start blabbing).Ryan's Dr. appt was pretty rough for him. The night before he had fallen and hit his head on a rock, so he had a big bruise on his forehead when we went in. Then, right after the Dr. left the exam room, Ryan picked up and dropped a little chair on his toes. I have never heard him scream so loudly in pain! Then the nurse came in and gave him 3 vaccination shots. And finally after that, we went to the lab to get Ryan's blood drawn. All I'm going to say is that it took 3 nurses plus myself to hold him down and draw the blood. Poor Ryan.The good news is that Ryan's Dr. said his gross motor skills are excellent. (I obviously knew that already!). Now I just need to work on getting him to sleep, eat and talk!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Foodie Friday: Pot Roast

Pot roast is one of those meals that makes me think of my Mom, so I guess it's only fitting that this is technically her recipe. It's actually more of a technique than an actual recipe. I'm sharing it because I think people my age probably don't make pot roast very often because they don't know how. Also, everyone makes it differently. Maybe you'll try this method and like it! (Ryan likes the video at the end!)

Mom's Pot Roast

Chuck Roast or Tri-Tip, about 2 lbs

3 Russet Potatoes, chopped

4 Carrots, chopped (Or a bunch of baby carrots)

1 onion, chopped

1/2 Bottle BBQ Sauce

Here's what I do. (Based loosely on my Mom's recipe) I put a bunch of aluminum foil in a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Enough so that you can fold it over and wrap up the entire roast. Place half the potatoes, carrots and onion in the bottom of the dish. Cover with 1/4 bottle BBQ Sauce. Place roast on top, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Tuck the remaining vegetables around the edge of the meat. Pour remaining BBQ sauce on top. You might want to add about 1/2 cup water or broth if you want more sauce. Bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours. At this point I let it cool a few minutes, and then trim any fat off of the meat. Then I shred or chop the meat and place it back into the baking dish and mix it around with the sauce and vegetables. I like to serve it in a bowl so that I can easily eat the delicious sauce.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monkey Business

Now that Ryan is a full-fledged monkey, we have to do things like this:
He loves to climb onto the dining room chairs and then up onto the table. He fell twice yesterday and cut his lip in the process, so this is what I have resorted to. I'm having a hard time finding things to keep him occupied while I'm in the kitchen. And I'm in the kitchen a LOT, between preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner, and doing about 10 million dishes a day. Ryan is constantly pulling on my legs and whining/crying. He no longer enjoys his toys, and he is tired of playing with kitchen utensils. I just read that a child his age should be able to play by themselves for up to 45 minutes at a time. I'm lucky if Ryan focuses on one thing longer than 45 seconds. So I have 2 questions for the moms out there: First, how do you keep a 15-month old entertained for more than a few seconds? And how do I prevent him from climbing on everything?