Monday, March 31, 2014

Fracture Recovery

Recovery from Ryan's skull fracture has been going okay. On the day that we left the hospital Ryan and I were both really tired and we slept part of the afternoon. Here are Lucas and Ryan enjoying one last wheelchair ride out to the car.
Over the next few days Ryan wasn't complaining of any pain at all. He said his head felt fine. But his actions were telling me something was still bothering him. I don't know if it's actual pain or just recovering from the trauma of being frightened in the hospital. But Ryan has been super irritable, grumpy, and sensitive. Things that never used to bother him will not throw him into a fit of tears. I am trying to be extra patient with him. Yesterday was the first day that he didn't spend the entire morning whining and crying. (May have been because Adam was home). So I am hoping things are turning a corner for him!
But then yesterday Ryan told my his head was hurting on the top of his forehead. I started feeling his head and noticed a new soft spot. His skull is still soft and depressed where it fractured, but now there was a new larger soft spot towards the top of his head. When we finally got him in to the doctor's office, they assured us everything was okay. There is apparently a lot of blood on top of Ryan's skull, underneath his scalp. Some of it traveled to a different spot on his head, probably while he was laying down at night. It feels really soft and squishy to the touch. But because it is on top of his skull and not underneath, we don't need to worry about it.
Now my challenge is coming up with things to keep Ryan occupied for the next 6 weeks that keep both his feet on the ground. I am constantly reminding him to stop running, jumping, climbing. He understands why he can't do these things, but he still has a hard time remembering.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Skull Fracture

It started with a random accident on Wednesday just after noon. Ryan was running out into the backyard and he yelled to me "Watch how fast I can run!". So I turned around to watch and saw our dog slam right into him. The impact launched Ryan a few feet into the air and he came down on our tile patio. I heard the sound of his head hitting the tile and he immediately started screaming.

After I got him calmed down his only symptom he was complaining of was head pain on his left side. No nausea, vomiting, lethargy, confusion, etc. He did get tired enough for a nap, but I assumed all the crying had worn him out. I woke him up after he slept for an hour because I was starting to get worried. But he seemed totally normal so I didn't call the Dr. Of course now I am beating myself up for not taking his head injury more seriously, but at the time he wasn't displaying any of the symptoms I thought I should look for.

Around 8pm that night Adam noticed something alarming. There was a spot on Ryan's head that was sunken in. It was about the size of a quarter and it was very soft. I immediately panicked, but after talking to an advice nurse on the phone, who consulted with an ER doctor, they told us to monitor him during the night and bring him to pediatrics in the morning. But Adam and I decided to take Ryan to the ER that night because the sunken spot was really worrying us.

The ER Dr. told us they don't like to give cat scans to young children because of the high levels of radiation, but once she felt the soft spot on his head, she ordered the scan. Ryan did really well with lying still for the quick procedure. Waiting for the results afterwards was the worst. I sat there holding Ryan, trying not to imagine internal bleeding, brain surgery, and permanent damage. When they finally confirmed his skull had fractured, it was around 1am.

They made arrangements for Ryan to be transported to a Pediatrics Hospital in Santa Clara. But before we could go he had to have an IV in his arm. This was in case he had a seizure and needed immediate medication. For Ryan, this part was far worse than the actual fracture. We had to pin him down and watch him scream and cry while they attempted and failed to get the needle in. After blowing out one vein they were successful in his other arm. They told us to wait 45 minutes for the ambulance to come pick us up.

2.5 hours later the ambulance guys walked in and told me they had been in the parking lot with a flat tire for the past 2 hours. How frustrating. I got to ride in the ambulance with Ryan and I thought it was pretty scary. Incredibly bumpy and rough and extremely fast. It felt like we were flying! Once at the hospital we met Ryan's nurse, who was very nice. Ryan was shaking uncontrollably when we got there. Not once did Ryan ever talk to or make eye contact to any of the nurses or doctors throughout the whole experience. He was so scared.

The minute the nurse left our room, my silent Ryan looked at me and burst into tears. He told me they had hurt him when they put in the IV and it was causing him a lot of pain. My heart broke for him then because I knew he had been holding everything in until they left him alone to talk to me.

They had to do a new IV, this time on his hand. More tears and lots of crying. They finally let Ryan and I lay down in bed together at 5am. I slept for 30 minutes before they woke us up for his next vitals check. After that we couldn't really sleep. At some point that morning Ryan looked at his IVs and told me "Mommy I'm not good at this anymore". He just wanted to go home.

Ryan's second cat scan was at 9am. The results showed no changes to Ryan's fracture (no internal bleeding), so he was finally allowed to eat and drink! After they were sure he was feeling okay and keeping his food down, they told us we would be discharged in a few hours.

The pediatric neurosurgeon came in to talk to us. There was a small amount of blood underneath Ryan's skull, but he said it was likely a bruise and not internal bleeding. Per my request, he showed us the scan of Ryan's skull and showed us where it had broken. He said Ryan's skull would fully heal and he would likely never have any side effects. Praise God!

We were discharged early afternoon yesterday with instructions to keep Ryan from running, jumping and climbing for the next 6 weeks. I think this will be the hardest part of this whole thing. Ryan has been doing ok since we got home. He has been shaking a little bit, but I think that's a side effect of all the trauma. He isn't complaining of much head pain but is extremely irritable. I am trying to be extra patient with him because I know he has been through a lot. Thank you God that his injury wasn't worse!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recipe: Maple Coconut Granola

We are big granola eaters in our house. Adam and I both love it. I know it isn't the healthiest thing to eat, due to the high calorie content and added sugar. So when Lucas recently started enjoying granola, I decided to try making a healthier version at home.

I have made granola many times before, but I've added various nuts and spices to it. This time, I was determined to make a very basic granola that tasted as similar to the store-bought version as possible. It took a lot of testing (and eating!), but I am happy with this version I came up with. It could be changed in a million different ways depending on your tastes. But 3 out of 4 of us love this granola, so I'm calling it a successful recipe.

Maple Coconut Granola

2.5 Cups Oats
1 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Egg Whites

1) Preheat oven to 300. Prepare large baking sheet by spraying with nonstick spray.
2) Combine oats and coconut in a large bowl.
3) In a medium bowl melt coconut oil completely in microwave. Mix in the maple syrup, vanilla, and egg whites.
4) Pour liquid into oat mixture and stir to combine.
5) Spread granola onto prepared baking sheet. *Do not spread too thin. Bake for 25 minutes.
6) Being careful not to break up the clumps, flip the granola over with a large spatula.
7) Bake for 25 more minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and let cool and harden completely before eating.

* I love big clumps in my granola, which is why I don't spread mine too thin on the baking sheet. Big clumps are also easier for little hands to pick up and eat!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cursing in Public

I was at the park this week with my boys when something interesting happened. There was a group of older teenagers there (high school age) sitting and talking. They were cursing up a storm. Every word you could imagine, they were saying it. Loudly. It really irritated me for two reasons. One, I find it incredibly disrespectful when someone is cursing like a sailor in public, especially around little kids. Two, I don't want my boys hearing those words.
Now I know this was a public place and they have free speech to say whatever they want. But I really didn't want to pack up my boys and leave two minutes after we had arrived. So I very politely asked them to either stop using that language or to go somewhere else. I told them there were little kids around listening and I didn't want my children hearing those words. 
Their response? They said sorry and said they would stop. Great!
Then about ten minutes later the teenagers were playing on the playground near my boys and one of them shouted the F word really loudly. I immediately turned around and gave him my meanest glare (unfortunately it's not that mean) and he backtracked by saying "Sorry! I meant to say Poop!".
Ryan looked at me with wide eyes and said "Mommy! That big boy said poop!!".
When I told this story to Adam later that night he said he would never have said anything and would have just left. I'm still glad I said something because maybe, just maybe, it will teach one of them to watch his mouth next time he's around kids.
So what would you have done in this situation? Stayed and said something? Ignored them and let your kids hear the bad words? Or left and gone to a different park?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #7

My favorite kind of mail showed up on my porch the other day...two days earlier than it was scheduled to arrive! This is my 7th fix and it is still just as exciting as the first. Here are my previous Stitch Fix reviews Fix 1 Fix 2 Fix 3 Fix 4 Fix 5 Fix 6
I initially liked what I saw when I pulled out my clothes, although nothing stood out as that one special piece that I had to have. (Like the blouse I kept from last month. Love at first sight!)
This month I requested a chevron blouse, colored skinny jeans, and a casual summer dress. Here is the note from my stylist:
Hi Stephanie - I hope your spring is off to a good start and that we can get some fun pieces into your closet to begin the great transition to spring wear. :) We didn't have any colored skinnies that were close to your budget this time around, but please keep requesting them as I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the right pair for your style and budget. Today I'm really excited for you to try the Moon Collection embroidered dress; this is such an easy piece to style as it's almost like chambray, but with the feel of cotton - it doesn't cling to the body, but should outline you in a very feminine way. Enjoy! xo, Jenni B.
I appreciate her honesty about not having any jeans in my price range. Maybe next month! (You can specify your price range for each type of clothing item, and I have always set mine to the lowest level possible.) Ok, on to the clothes!
Loveappella Karissa Chevron Print Henley Tank
This chevron top (Aka the "earthquake shirt" according to Adam) is not quite what I had in mind when requesting a chevron print. I think what I am picturing is a larger print. I liked this one but my Mom ended up liking it even more so she kept it for herself.
41Hawthorn Miandra Embroidery Detailed Tank
This top was a pretty color and I like the embroidery detail. However, the cut of it made it wider at the bottom and I couldn't help but feel like I was wearing a maternity shirt! I think this could have been cute paired with a pair of skinny jeans to balance out the wideness of the shirt.
Under Skies Pierson Lace Detailed Short Sleeve Shirt
I love lace detail and I love the color mint! The fit of this top is great and the material is so soft and lightweight. The only drawback is that it is so thin it is a little bit see-through. Particularly on top where the lace actually is see-through. I may need to wear a camisole underneath this top but I'm okay with that. I think this is a perfect top for the Spring!

Tea N Rose Maisie 3/4 Sleeve Front Gathered Top
The only thing I like about this shirt is the color. And even that seems more appropriate for the Fall instead of now, as we enter Spring. This shirt is made out of a super clingy fabric that shows every little lump and bump and love handle on me. I'm sending this one back as quickly as possible!

Moon Collection Frany Cap Sleeve Cotton Embroidered Hemline Dress
This dress is cute. Perhaps a little too cute. I felt like I was 12 years old wearing this dress. I thought the shape was nice but when I sat down the back hiked up and became too short. I'm going to request a casual dress again next month and see if they can come up with something better for me.

So once again I am only keeping one item this month (the white shirt with mint lace), but that is okay! In fact, I prefer it this way because I probably couldn't afford to buy more than 1 or 2 pieces per month. As long as I find one cute piece in each box, I am a happy girl. Are you ready to try Stitch Fix for yourself? I would be so happy if you used my referral link here. Let me know if you try it!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oakland Zoo

I bought a family membership to the Oakland Zoo this year. We have gone 2 or 3 times so far and it has already paid for itself! My boys love going there with friends and seeing the animals. (Although I am almost positive that their favorite part is the rides at the end). We went this week and although I didn't get many pictures of animals, I took a lot of pictures of the back of my boys' heads, looking at animals. I'm such a wonderful photographer. I would have taken more pictures of Lucas but he was too busy trying to climb in with the animals.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Signs of Spring

We are so excited about our recent warm weather! Spring means more time outside at the park to burn off energy.
 More time at our local farm, visiting with the new baby sheep.
 (Lucas wanted to get a little too friendly with the big Daddy sheep)
 And more time to eat cold treats like popsicles!
What is your favorite season? I think Fall is actually my favorite, but there is something nice about Spring when everything is beautiful and warm and fresh outside (and not too hot!).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


As Ryan quickly approaches his fourth birthday, I have been thinking about giving him more responsibility within our home. I'm talking specifically about chores. For a while now he has been putting his dirty clothes in the hamper (with lots of reminders) and putting his dirty dishes in the sink after each meal. Just this last week I added one more chore to his list: making his bed each morning.

So far Ryan is pretty enthusiastic about performing these tasks for me. He gets a "good job!" and a high-five and this makes him proud of himself. But after a while I know his enthusiasm will probably wane and it will be time to start teaching him about things like allowances , piggy banks, and consequences for not doing his chores. I think if used correctly, allowance can teach kids valuable lessons about earning, saving, giving, and spending.

At what age did you start assigning chores to your children? Do you use an allowance system to reward them for their work, or are chores just an expectation for being part of the family?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Copycat Communicator

When Ryan was 21 months old, (the exact age Lucas is now) I blogged here about his vocabulary of 4 words. 4 words! When I try to make a list of Lucas' words there are too many to write down.
I'm not comparing my two boys and saying one is more advanced than the other. But I really do see the advantage Lucas has in having an older brother to learn from. Lucas copies everything his older brother does. I guess this is what happens with siblings; they learn a lot from each other!
Lucas' newest words he has learned from Ryan include "peepee" and "poopoo". Other cute words he says are "Ry-Ry" for Ryan and "pleeeeease" when he wants a snack.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Day in Our Life

Here it is....A Day In the Life with me and my boys. I have done this a few times before and I decided to do it again because I love looking back on these posts and remembering what life was like with the boys at certain ages. I realize nobody else out there will be interested in this, and that's okay. This is written mostly for me to have on record.

6:30am - I am woken by Adam, telling me I need to get up and get Lucas so he can leave for work. Lucas is sitting in his toddler bed, banging his head against the wall. It was actually a really good night....Lucas slept through the night and I only had to get up with Ryan once to put him back to sleep in his bed around 1am. He climbed into our bed this morning around 6am.

6:45 - I am moving really slow this morning because I am still recovering from a flu/virus thing I had earlier this week. It was pretty bad. I am thankful to be feeling better today! Adam rushes out the door and I am stumbling around the kitchen trying to wake up. Lucas starts throwing a fit because he wants to be held while I make breakfast. I manage to distract the boys with some toys so I can run and put in my contacts.

 7:00 - I can see now! I decide to make a special breakfast using a new pancake mix. I also scramble a couple eggs and slice up bananas. Ryan surprises me and eats 3 mini pancakes and a few bites of a banana. Lucas eats yogurt.

8:00 - I start the dishwasher and defrost some chicken sausage for dinner. I get myself dressed while the boys watch part of a Clifford episode in Spanish. No, I'm not trying to teach them a new language. The TV in our room got switched to Spanish and I can't figure out how to fix it. I start a load of laundry.

8:30 - I check my email and suddenly remember my credit card was charged for something by mistake. I call the company and get put on hold. I finally give up and leave them a very frustrated voicemail. I have already emailed them about this matter and never heard back. Arggg bad customer service is really annoying. Meanwhile the boys have dumped out all the toys in Ryan's room and made a huge mess.

9:00 - I have the boys clean up their mess and then get them both dressed. I sit down and make a quick grocery list of items that will get us through till next week. I switch the laundry and start another load.

(At this point I decide to document my day for the blog, so I start taking pictures!)

9:45 - 2 timeouts later (Lucas) we head out for the grocery store.  I take a quick picture of our jasmine blooming in our front yard. It smells so sweet!

Adam actually took the boys to the grocery store on Tuesday while I was in bed dying. He stocked up on the essentials (chips, soda, cheezits....oh and milk). While this was somewhat helpful, my idea of "essentials" is a bit different than his. So off we go to get lots of produce.

10:00 - I brought along a bag of change we've been collecting for the past two months. When I get to the store I realize the entire bag spilled out in my purse. I put them back in the bag and realize how dirty my purse is. The boys help me put the coins in the coin machine at Safeway and we redeem our $30 in change for a gift card to Chili's. It feels like a free gift card! 

The boys behave really well today! I think this is my first shopping trip with Lucas where he doesn't try to climb out of the cart. And surprise...we run into my Mom at the store! Here is Lucas selecting his fruit. Both boys eat a banana at the store.

11:00 - We emerge from the store and I let the boys run around the nearby fountain for a few minutes. Lucas throws a big tantrum when it's time to go. I'm pretty sure people think I am kidnapping him as I wrestle to get him in the car as he kicks and screams. Oh well, stop staring.

11:15 - I unload groceries while the boys fight over my cell phone. I noticed the front lawn needs mowing so I decide to do this before fixing lunch. The boys play in the backyard while I carry in the garbage cans and do a quick lawn mowing.

I check on the boys every few minutes and they seem to be playing nicely. When I'm done Ryan runs inside and I find him washing his feet in the bathroom sink. Lucas got muddy outside, so it's outfit changes for both boys.

12:00 - Lunchtime! The boys get salami, crackers, cheese, and grapes. Ryan eats salami and 1 cracker. Lucas just eats crackers. I eat a taco salad using leftover taco meat with salsa, cheese and lettuce. Lucas feeds half his lunch to the dog and Ryan drops half his salami on the floor. When he's done he climbs into my lap to give me a hug and dumps his cup of water all over my lap. Thanks Ryan! Now I need to change my clothes.

12:30 - The boys are playing with their hotwheels so I call the annoying company again to get my refund.

I empty and reload the dishwasher while I am on hold. I sit down and start blogging, still on hold. I finally speak to a human and they assure me I will receive my refund. They better be right.

1:00pm - Naptime for Lucas! I turn on Tom & Jerry for Ryan to watch while I put Lucas down. He gets to watch this every day at this time. I read Lucas Jonah & the Whale and sing The Wheels on the Bus to him. I put him in his bed and hope for the best! I sit down and blog for a few more minutes.

1:10 - Ryan and I sit down together and practice writing letters. We have been working on the letters of his name.

After we are done I give Ryan a bowl with a few chocolate chips (his treat every day during quiet time) and close his door. I set his timer for 1 hour and tell him not to come out. We'll see how long he lasts today. I have been working hard to make quiet time fun for him and to encourage him to play independently. But ultimately he hates being by himself, so he has a hard time staying in his room alone.

1:30 - I check the monitor and see Lucas asleep....halfway hanging off his bed. Oh well, better than no nap!

Ryan is already out of his room, asking me to get his Lincoln Logs down from his closet. I agree, but make him clean up the other messes in his room first. I give him a warning about staying in his room and leave. I text Adam to see how late he will be today. His response? He is on his way to his second assignment of the day to install a water heater. I'm hoping this means he will be home in time to eat dinner with us!

1:45 - I pour myself a glass of iced tea, sneak some chocolate chips for myself and sit down to read my Bible. It's one that guides you through sections of the Bible each day so that you end up reading the entire book in one year. Today's topic was the source of our joy, and the difference between joy and happiness.
I follow up my Bible reading with a little Facebook time.

Ryan calls me into his room to see the cabin he built. I am really impressed since this is the first house he has built without my help! I tell him I will put a picture of it on the blog.

2:00 - 2:30 - Over the next thirty minutes I do the following: put away 1 load of laundry, defrost bell peppers for dinner (my friend gave me a ton of them a few months ago and I chopped and froze them. So handy for quick dinners!), schedule a dog grooming appointment, wash and trim asparagus for dinner, and wash and chop 2 bunches of kale (to keep on hand for my lunches or smoothies). I have to say, I love this time of day. Partly because I get to spend time in the kitchen alone, but also because I get to listen to Ryan sing over the monitor. He loves singing little songs during quiet time and it's adorable to hear. As long as he isn't coming out of his room a million times. Today he did really well and only opened his door 4 times.

2:30 - I build a Lincoln Log cabin with Ryan and then hear Lucas banging his head in his room. A 1 hour nap is a little short for him but he seems wide awake. I wait a few minutes and he goes back to sleep! Ryan cleans up his Lincoln logs while I start putting away toys in the family room.

2:45 - Ryan tells me he is too tired for our afternoon plans (library and park). So he lays down for a quick nap before we leave. It lasts about 2 seconds. Ryan snuggles on my lap while I blog and answer an email.

3:00 - Lucas is finally awake! I fix a cute snack for the boys in the hopes that they will eat something healthy. Neither boy will eat it. I snack on an orange.
Ryan and Lucas are comparing how tall they are before we head out the door.

3:30 - We arrive at the library. I am always a little nervous to take the boys here because it's a place to be quiet and calm. Not exactly my boys' strength. Ryan does great this time. Lucas manages to scream only once, hit only one child, and knock over only 2 chairs. Sigh. This little boy is crazy. He gets a stern talking to, which he promptly ignores. Here are the books we got.
The boys play at the park for a full hour. They swing, ride the airplane, go on the slides, and run around the perimeter of the park. They love watching the choo-choo train go by on the nearby tracks.
5:00 - We arrive home to 2 surprises. First, a new sweatshirt I ordered for myself last month. I have been wearing the same sweatshirt since college and it has definitely seen better days. So here's my new one!

My second surprise was that Riley ate the ants on a log snack I left on the table. While I'm cleaning up Lucas tries to bite Ryan, so he gets another time-out.

5:15 - Naked time! I strip the boys down for their bath and let them run races up and down the hallway. I'm pretty sure this is their favorite time of day. Nothing better than running around naked! Lucas smashes his fingers in my closet door while I'm starting their bath. I suddenly remember that the bathtub drain stopped working yesterday, so I have to give them a shower-style bath. They like it and it's faster than a usual bath. Maybe I'll make this a new thing? Here they are sitting down after being washed. A fight broke out right after I snapped this....can you see the evil eye Ryan is giving Lucas?
5:45 - The boys are watching Wild Kratts in their jammies on the couch, so I start on dinner. Ryan shoves his brother off the couch and gets his first timeout of the day.
I'm making a loose interpretation of Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta. It's basically leftover pasta from last night, chicken sausage, bell peppers, Cajun seasoning, cream and garlic. I roast the asparagus for Adam and I, and crack open some mandarin oranges for the boys. Lucas does this while I try to cook.

I get a tickle in my throat and start coughing uncontrollably. Ryan wanders into the kitchen and asks me "What are we eating today? What are we eating today?" over and over. Meanwhile I have tears streaming down my face and almost throw up from coughing. Ryan gets bored and wanders out of the kitchen. I wonder what he would do if I was actually choking?

6:15 - Dinner is ready! And Daddy is home! (We love when he gets home early!)

6:30 - Dinner is over and Adam heads into the shower. I start cleaning up the dishes while the boys snack on some cheerios. They end up eating their weight in cereal. I pack Adam's lunch for the next day and wipe down the countertops.

7:00pm - Adam plays with the boys for a few minutes before we start their bedtime routine. They end up doing some crazy jumping game in the living room. All of a sudden Ryan runs out of the room to use the bathroom. When Adam goes to check on him, we realize he had tried to wipe himself. Without getting too graphic, well, it was everywhere. Ryan has to take another shower. I take care of this while Adam puts Lucas to bed. (2nd time ever!) While I'm washing Ryan he starts giggling and tells me he loves me. I tell him I love him too and he responds with "But why do you love me still?"
7:30 - I put Ryan to bed tonight. Teeth are brushed, 2 books are read (usually 3!), lavender oil is rubbed on his feet (to hopefully help him sleep), and he falls asleep as soon as I finish telling him the story of the 3 little pigs. He fell asleep so easily tonight!

8:00pm - Ryan is asleep but Lucas is still wide awake playing in his bed. He is actually sitting on his bed with a blanket over his head and giggling.

I'm going to stop here because this is becoming the longest bog post in the history of blogs. If you read this far, you deserve a medal! Overall this was a great day. The boys were pretty well behaved, we got out of the house, we got some chores done.....most importantly I got to spend the day with my two adorable boys. For that I am truly blessed.

What are your days like with your kids?