Thursday, January 30, 2014

In My Head

A few random thoughts floating around in my head this morning:

I knew it was too good to be true. Our household was sickness-free for over two weeks! We all have mild colds, but luckily they don't seem to be getting worse. I hope this cold doesn't result in a round of antibiotics for the boys like the last one. (Or maybe I do....one more ear infection and I bet Lucas will get tubes put in his ears).
We've been having beautiful weather so last week the boys and I went to the local farm, ate a picnic at the park twice, and went on a few late afternoon walks. I sure love California weather.

I am getting my hair cut this weekend (first time since August) and I am really really really looking forward to it. An hour to sit and be pampered while not having to think about diaper changes and time-outs......glorious!
I am already thinking about the boys' birthday party. I have a couple ideas and I'm pretty sure the boys will love it. Now I just have to start planning it!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Sweet Phase

If there's one thing I know for sure about children, it's that they go through phases. Lots and lots of phases. If your child is being particularly difficult, you can be pretty certain things will get better at some point. And vice versa. Ryan just ended a particularly challenging phase that lasted about a month. He was really whiny and clingy, as well as disobedient and aggressive towards his brother. But then something changed about a week or two ago....and now he is the sweetest boy ever! I want to document this past week so that I can go back and read this the next time he is challenging me.
-Ryan has been so happy! I have caught him singing to himself every day this week, usually while he's playing with his cars. I love love love hearing him sing in his sweet little innocent voice.
-He has been kind to his brother. When Lucas is crying, Ryan has been giving him a hug and asking him what's wrong, instead of stealing his toy and smacking him in the head.
-Ryan has been so goofy this week! He's been laughing a lot and being just plain silly. This makes me laugh and makes me a happier Mom.
-Ryan has been incredibly affectionate with me. Giving me lots of hugs and kisses, and telling me he loves me.
-He has also been very obedient and has done really well this week during quiet time. The other day he stayed in his room for almost 45 minutes playing with his train tracks! I hope this sweet phase lasts a very long time. I love when my big boy is happy. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Head-Banging Continues

I mentioned a while ago that Lucas has been banging his head in his crib. I put him in his crib for naptime, he immediately starts hitting his head against the side of the crib. Bedtime, same thing. He wakes up in the middle of the night? Same thing. Wakes up from nap? Head-banging. It's obviously become a big problem, but we have taken a few steps to try and stop this behavior. I'm hoping something works soon!

Our pediatrician referred us to a child psychologist. I was hesitant to talk to her, because I knew they were going to start throwing around scary words like "autism". (Head-banging in toddlers can be an early sign of various conditions, one being autism). However, I was desperate to help Lucas to stop, so I went to see her. They had me fill out an evaluation of Lucas' behavior and skills. I knew he wasn't showing any other signs of autism, so I wasn't worried about the test results. Surprise surprise, he is within the normal range for all categories!

Once we ruled out any serious conditions, the psychologist and I started brainstorming how to stop Lucas' head-banging behavior. It has gotten so bad that he's up all hours of the night, slamming his head against the side of his crib. It worries me and keeps the entire house from getting decent rest.

For whatever reason, Lucas has come to associate being in his crib with rocking back and forth and hitting his head. It's almost like a habit he can't stop. It doesn't even seem like he's doing it to get attention because he's usually not crying for me. So the psychologist recommended we teach Lucas to associate his crib with other things by distracting him with things to look at. She suggested I put some of his favorite toys in the crib with him. I tried this, even though I knew it wouldn't work. Lucas threw out every single toy, book, and blanket I lovingly placed beside him. (See how well we have padded his crib? And it's still LOUD when he slams his head.)
Her next idea was to move Lucas' crib to another wall in his room and change everything around. Perhaps a different environment would result in different behavior. So the next day the boys and I set to work moving everything around.
The result? No change. Lucas couldn't care less about his crib being moved. He's still hitting his head all hours of the night. (Last night he was up from 12-3 doing it). Adam thinks we should try moving Lucas into a toddler bed, although I think this is a bad idea. Lucas would NOT stay in a toddler bed at this age. He's crazy! So my next plan is to move Lucas' crib into Ryan's room and see if that helps. At this point, I don't see how it can make things any worse. Neither boy is sleeping well. Maybe they will somehow sleep well together!

Please pray for us that this works. I am out of ideas after this.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Homemade Hamburger Helper

I've got another ground beef recipe for you! It's the only protein all 4 of us will eat, so there's a lot of ground beef cooking going on in this house. This one is comfort food at it's best.....Homemade Hamburger Helper! Are you excited? I was pretty sure Adam would love this meal as soon as I found the recipe. And I was right. It's even pretty healthy if you use whole grain pasta and add a green vegetable on the side.

I made the mistake of only making 1/2 the recipe. Don't make that same mistake. Make the whole thing. It will be eaten. Unless of course you don't like cheesy comfort food. In that case you're just weird*.

HOMEMADE HAMBURGER HELPER

Ingredients:
1lb ground beef
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup hot water
2 cups skim milk
1-1/2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:
  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet or pot. Drain and return to pan.
  2. Add in cornstarch, seasonings, hot water, skim milk and pasta. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, place a lid on top, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente, stirring a couple of times.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened.
Enjoy!


*Apparently my children are weird. Lucas wouldn't touch this. When we tried to get Ryan to take a bite, he almost threw up from crying so hard. Sheesh. But if you can get your kids to try this, I bet they will love it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Peas in a Pod

I used to think Ryan and Lucas were opposites.
Lately they have been proving me wrong. Lucas copies everything his big brother does. They are two peas in a pod!
I've decided I'm going to start dressing them alike and just start telling everyone they are twins. It certainly feels like they are!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #5

It's that time again....time for my Stitch Fix box!! I took a break from it last month because I didn't "need" anything new so close to Christmas. I can't believe this is already my 5th box. I have to say, I think this may be my best fix yet! Previous fixes: Fix 1, Fix 2, Fix 3, Fix 4.

I was actually out walking with my boys today when our mailwoman spotted me and handed me my Stitch Fix box. Of course I couldn't wait until I got home to rip into it.

I immediately spotted some fun colors and patterns. I couldn't wait to get home and try everything on! For this month's box I requested a few things. A military jacket, some cute feminine blouses, and skinny corduroy pants. I also requested no stripes, because I feel like they have been sending me a lot of those. I know my stylist really listened to my requests this time. Here is the paper Stitch Fix sent me with styling suggestions for each item, as well as a personalized note from my stylist.
It reads:

"Hi Stephanie and Happy New Year! I absolutely loved looking through your Pinterest and getting to know your style.  :) We didn't have the studded blouse available, but I did include a blouse with a similar silhouette which I think you'll love even more. The colibri heart print blouse is darling and should fit you perfectly - it would look great paired with the Sweet Rain surplus vest. :) Please do continue to request corduroys and a military jacket - I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for you on those pieces. :) In the interim, please have a blast trying everything on and be sure to let me know what you think! xo, Jenni B."

Here is what I got.

Kut From The Kloth Peony Floral Print Cross-Front Blouse
First off, I apologize for the horrible lighting. The first picture of the shirt alone was taken during the day with natural sunlight. That is the true color, not the faded washed out version that you see me in. When I first saw this floral blouse I wasn't sure if I liked it. The cross-front style is very cute and unique, and it fit me pretty well. I want to add some more floral printed tops to my wardrobe for the spring. But I finally decided I didn't love the large print on this one. It felt a little bit like an old lady's couch print....pretty sure I'm sending this one back.

Kensie Rowena Metallic Cross-Back Peplum Top
This top has a fun metallic look to it that you can't really see in the photo. The idea of this sweater is nice. However, I was almost sure this peplum top wouldn't look good on my body shape. Unfortunately I was right. There's a reason I'm not showing you the front...I looked pretty bad in it. The cross-back is a fun detail though! Since people do have to see the front of me in real life, this sweater will be returned.

Just Black Tianna Skinny Jean
I was probably sent these pants because they weren't able to send me a pair of corduroys. I like the idea of a dark gray skinny jean, but these pants had two things working against them. First, I could barely squeeze into them. Second, I already own a pair of black skinny jeans so I don't really need these gray ones.

Sweet Rain Busacca Cotton Studded Detail Surplus Vest
I am so undecided about this vest! I requested a military jacket, and although this isn't quite what I was expecting, I still really like it. It fits perfectly and is a great length. It has wonderful details, including the studs on the lapels, and a drawstring to cinch in the waist. Once I saw the pictures of it I liked it even more. A bonus is that Adam really likes this one.

Fun2Fun Colibri Heart Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse
I was so excited to see this cute heart print blouse! I don't own much navy blue and I love the heart pattern. This top is super soft and has a cute fit to it. I love the tab-sleeve detail. One drawback is that it is really long. I thought I would for sure keep this shirt, until Adam told me it was kind of ugly. Then when I looked at myself in the first picture, I didn't like it as much. I tried tucking it in with different pants and liked that look much better. I'm still torn about this one though.

I think some people have the idea that Stitch Fix is too expensive for them. So here's a little bit of math for you to get an idea of how much Stitch Fix clothes cost. The total cost for all 5 items was $250. However, when you subtract the $20 styling fee I paid up front, you get $230. If you keep all 5 items you get a 25% discount, which ends up equaling $172. That comes out to just $34.50 per item of clothing if you keep them all. Not clearance rack prices, but definitely very reasonable for the quality of clothing you are receiving.

Interested in signing up for a "fix" of your own? Do it now, because I hear the wait list is quite long! (Stitch Fix has become incredibly popular). Here is my referral link for you to use! https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3168832

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

House Cleaning ADD

I have decided I have some form of ADD when it comes to cleaning my house. I do a lot of picking up and cleaning, but it doesn't feel like anything is ever really clean. Here is a realistic example of what I do:

I'm standing in the kitchen doing dishes, but I keep tripping over a random pair of shoes that were left in the kitchen. I carry them back into the bedroom and notice I haven't made the bed yet. So I quickly make the bed and realize the laundry hamper is overflowing. I carry a load out to the garage and toss it in the washing machine. The recyclables are piling up again so I carry them out to the bin. On my way back to the kitchen I step in something sticky and remember Ryan spilled his juice earlier. That reminds me that I haven't mopped in a while. So I pull out the broom to do a quick sweep before I mop. I pass by my wall calendar and remember that I need to reschedule my upcoming dentist appointment. Better make the call now while Lucas is sleeping. The sweeping, mopping, and dishes are put on hold until later.

It's like I can't focus on one thing because I am too distracted by the other messes around me. I do a little here, a little there, and at the end of the day guess how I feel? Like I didn't get anything done.

So I have decided to try something different. I received a planner for Christmas from my Mom. Along with using it for my grocery list and meal planning, I have also started a cleaning schedule. And trust me, it's nothing spectacular or overwhelming. I have simply decided to have one cleaning or organizing task each day. (Apart from the necessary cooking, dishes, and a little laundry). My planner looks like this:

So for example, I cleaned the guest bathroom on Monday. Tomorrow I'm going to organize our medicine cabinet. Nothing has taken me more than 10 minutes, but what a difference it has made! At the end of the day I know exactly what I accomplished, and I didn't spend all day doing it, at the expense of time with my boys. I realize that my entire house is never going to be clean all at the same time. At least not while I have young children. But there is great satisfaction from knowing at least one area is cleaned really well. (Even though it might only stay clean for about two minutes!)

How do you clean your house? Do you use a schedule? Do you have house cleaning ADD like me?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Grateful for Antibiotics

I'm feeling grateful today for the power of antibiotics. We have all been sick since mid-December and it feels good to be healthy again! Both boys are on antibiotics right now for various infections. A sinus infection for Ryan and a double ear infection for Lucas. Once the medicine kicked in my boys were back to their usual goofy selves.
I'm really looking forward to the warmer months when the boys get sick less and get to play outdoors more. Come on Spring, I'm ready for you!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fun New Finds

I have discovered a few new products lately that have been making my life easier and more enjoyable. So I thought I would share in case others have not yet discovered these things!
 
First up are these Ziploc Zip'n Steam bags. My Mom gave me a bag of these and it was instant love. I make steamed veggies quite often because Adam really likes them. But bringing the large pot of water to a boil, steaming the veggies, and then washing the pot and steamer takes some time. These Ziploc bags steamed my fresh broccoli in 3 minutes last night....and there were no dishes to wash! The veggies tasted exactly the same as they do steamed the old-fashioned way. The bag even gives directions for steaming potatoes, hot dogs, and other meats. I may try potatoes tonight!

This may not be a new product, but it's new to me. Roll-on mini perfume! I have been wanting to buy a new perfume for a long time now. I recently found a new scent I love, Versace Bright Crystal. The regular size bottle was quite expensive, but then I found this cute little tube for much less. It's the perfect size to keep in my purse.
 Jane.com A friend told me about this website a few weeks ago and I kind of wish she hadn't. Because I want to buy everything on there! It is a site that contains discounted items such as clothes, jewelry, home d├ęcor, and kids' items. The items on the site are new each morning and there is a very limited quantity, so items tend to sell out by the end of the day. I have purchased a few "necessities" off of jane.com and so far I love everything. I dare you to look and not find something you like.

Nalgene Grip-n-Gulp Water Bottles for my boys. I recently purchased two of these for Ryan and Lucas and they love them. They are pretty rough with their cups, and so far these seem to be durable enough to stand up to anything. They are easy to clean and easy for both boys to hold and drink from.