Thursday, July 31, 2014

Screaming and Fighting

If someone were to walk by our house when the windows were open, they would probably hear a lot of screaming and fighting. I wish I could say our house is calm and quiet most of the time, but that's just not the case.

Ryan and Lucas seem to be in this perfect storm of the right ages and personalities to fight all the time. They can be very sweet towards each other, especially when we are out in public and they are a little more timid about showing their true feelings.
But when we are home and they are playing together with no other distractions, things get pretty bad.
The fighting has really escalated over the past few months. It has gotten to the point where I cannot leave them alone longer than a minute or two before a fight will break out. For example, this is what happens when I go into my room to get dressed in the morning: I brush my teeth and hear screaming. Go out and break up a fight. Go back to my room to get dressed. I am half dressed when I hear a thud. One boy has knocked the other off of furniture and hurt him. I make sure one is okay and discipline the other, then run back to finish getting dressed. I'm tying my shoes when the boys run into the room, screaming and fighting over a toy they both want. I take it away which results in more screaming and more timeouts. Things may calm down for a little while until they are left alone again, when more screaming and fighting starts. I let them play in the backyard for some fresh air, and also so that I can get some dishes done. But they are only outside for a minute before they get in a tug-of-war over the tricycle. One boy gets shoved off the tricycle onto the patio and once again the screaming starts.
I'm really not exaggerating here. For example, I just broke up 3 fights while typing that last paragraph. Fighting will usually include a lot of screaming, shoving, hitting and scratching. I am trying my absolute best to keep an eye on them to prevent them from hurting each other, but they still end up with a lot of scratches by the end of the day. I also feel like I am doing a really good job of consistently disciplining them. I can't ignore their aggressive behavior or their constant screaming. So discipline is happening constantly around here. But it often feels like by the end of the day, all I have done is referee and discipline. It feels like I don't get the opportunity to create fun, calm, sweet memories with them because I am so exhausted from breaking up all the fights.

This level of unhappiness between my boys has honestly taken me off guard. I knew having two boys close together in age would most certainly result in fighting, but I didn't expect it to be this constant at such a young age. I would love to think it will get better as they mature, but many friends have warned me it will only get worse!
And that's my honest post about what I've been struggling with lately.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Loving Lately

I have a few things I want to share that I've really been loving lately. I blogged about this once before here: Fun New Finds. Here are the latest and greatest things I've been using.

First up is my Kolder Salad Dressing Bottle.  I have had it for quite a few months now, and I use it constantly. It lists 8 different salad dressing recipes along the sides of the bottle. You simply fill the liquids to the lines on the bottle, add a few spices, and shake! Every recipe I have tried has been really simple and delicious. It keeps really well in the fridge and I almost always have homemade healthy salad dressing on hand. No excuses not to eat my greens! Plus, it is dishwasher safe, which is a huge bonus for me.

Next are these Cleansing Facial Wipes by Simple. I found them on sale at Target and bought them on a whim. I am admittedly lazy when it comes to my nighttime skin routine. (Don't worry Mom, I have gotten much better about applying my daily moisturizer!). These wipes are perfect for me. I remove my makeup and wipe one of these all over my face. It cleanses my skin and leaves it feeling and smelling incredibly clean. Simple!
Next on my list is a recipe. Savory Pan-Fried Chicken. After making this recipe a couple weeks ago, I was shocked when Lucas ate multiple pieces of the chicken. Why? Because this was the very first time Lucas has ever eaten chicken that I cooked for him. So obviously I love this recipe so much that I had to include it on this list. I have made it twice in the past two weeks, which says a lot because I rarely repeat recipes around here. The chicken tastes crispy and salty and slightly spicy, almost like something you would get at a fast food chicken place, but a little bit healthier. (I follow the recipe exactly, except I don't top it with hot sauce).
My last item on the list are these Loveable Animal Pillowcases for the boys. I actually bought them off of a while back, but they are on sale again today! I wanted to share these because I think they are so cute for kids! (And I love finding unique items on this website). I bought the sheep pillowcase for Lucas, and Ryan chose the horse for himself. I have washed them many times already and they are still in great condition. 

What new items have you been loving lately?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pajama Run

Sometimes you just have to run off some energy before bed!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

22 Week Belly and Eats

I recently took pictures of everything I ate in a day. I wanted to see it in pictures in order to understand A: Why I am gaining weight so rapidly, and B: If there is anything I could change in my diet to boost my energy.
This week my belly seemed to really pop out. Adam has definitely noticed it, so I know it's not in my imagination. By the end of the day I look and feel so large. (I took this picture in the morning, so it really doesn't do my stomach justice).
So here is what I ate in one day. It ended up being a pretty healthy day, and I'd say most days I do eat a little more.
Breakfast: Whole Wheat toast with peanut butter, strawberries, and coffee.
Mid-morning snack: A few slices of dried mango. (no added sugar)
Lunch: Leftover homemade broccoli cheddar soup, plain iced tea, and a big salad made from kale, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
Afternoon snack: 2 plums. Looking back, I should have had a more substantial snack because I was nauseous and shaky by dinnertime.
Dinner: Beef spaghetti over whole wheat noodles with parmesan, roasted parmesan cauliflower, and ice water.
 Dessert: A mug of my favorite ice cream after the boys were asleep. Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Niles Train Ride

On Sunday my Mom treated us to a ride on the Niles train! The ride took 30 minutes to get to Sunol, stopped for about 30 minutes, and then rode back to Niles. The boys had so much fun looking (or hanging) out the windows watching everything go by. Every time the train whistle blew Lucas covered his ears and his in my neck. Ryan surprisingly didn't seem phased by it, and he's already asking to ride the train again!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Room Sharing Update

A little while ago I blogged about putting Ryan and Lucas together in one room at night. I am pleased to say that they are still sharing a room together a month later! Things are far from perfect at night, but I have been surprised with how well they adjusted to sleeping in the same room. So how exactly do we handle bedtime and middle of the night wakeups? Read on.

Bedtime Routine
Because the boys are so close in age we put them to bed together at the same time every night. I don't see any point in letting Ryan stay up a little later when he is only 2 years older than Lucas. The earlier the better is how I feel about their bedtime! Here is a breakdown of our routine, which starts around 7pm each night. My goal is for both boys to be asleep in their beds by 8pm, although they often have a hard time settling down by this time.

-Both boys are usually bouncing off the walls at this time in the evening. They are so wired that they have a hard time focusing on anything. Things can get quite frustrating with them at bedtime. I have wondered if this means they are overly tired by 7pm, but if I put them to bed even earlier they will either get up earlier in the morning, or lay in bed for hours without falling asleep.

-Give Lucas his "happy juice". Yes, we are giving him Melatonin, just like we did with Ryan here. Because of Lucas' excessive head-banging at night when he was trying to go to sleep, we started using Melatonin per the doctor's suggestion. It has made a huge difference for him.
-About 15 minutes later the boys change into pajamas and brush their teeth. Ryan goes potty one last time and gets his cup of water. He likes to chug a bunch of water right before bed. (Luckily he never ever wets his bed!) Both boys gets lavender oil rubbed on their feet.

-The fan is turned up to cool down the room and a sheet is hung over the curtains to darken the room as much as possible. I just ordered blackout curtains online yesterday so we can finally stop using the sheet. Their sound machine is turned on to "rain" and the lights are dimmed.

-If Adam is home we tag-team the book-reading and putting to sleep. Ryan prefers to have Daddy put him to sleep, so I usually sit on Lucas' car bed with a couple books, while Adam does the same on Ryan's bed. After about 5-10 minutes of reading the lights are turned out.

Falling Asleep
Adam lays on Ryan's bed and I just sit on the floor between their two beds. I really wish we could leave their room at this point and let them fall asleep by themselves. I do believe Lucas could do this with the help of Melatonin. Ryan, however, still doesn't know how to fall asleep by himself. He is still pretty wound up at this point and it takes a lot of reminding to lay back down, close his eyes, calm his body.....and repeat, and repeat. If we try to leave the room before Ryan is completely asleep, he will start crying and get out of bed, which wakes up Lucas. We have tried putting him back in bed every time he gets out, but the boy just does not give up. It only seems to make him more wound up which results in a bedtime hours past when he needs to be asleep. So for now we stay in the room until they are asleep and then sneak out.
I sit on the floor and first pray out loud for the boys. My prayers include a lot of requests to God to please help my boys stay in their beds all night. I then softly sing to them. I used to just sing whatever kid songs came to mind, but recently I have switched to only singing hymns or worship songs. I love the idea of those being the last words the boys hear before they fall asleep.

Night Wakings
I have been pleasantly surprised by a few nights where both boys stayed in the beds the entire night. I would say this has happened about 4 or 5 times in the last month. I gave them a lot of praise in the mornings and Ryan even got a new hotwheels car for his nighttime success. However, we can't get this to consistently happen, and lately things have gotten worse again.

Ryan is usually awake again by 12 or 1, when he wakes up crying and then comes into our room. He tells us he is afraid of the dark or something outside his window. In the beginning one of us would go into his room and lay down next to him until he fell back to sleep. I often wake up in his bed, disoriented and sore at 2 or 3am. However, this isn't working anymore. Ryan just will not go back to sleep in the middle of the night unless he is in our bed. I don't want to get back into that habit, but if I leave him in his room he will wake up Lucas.

Every night I tell Ryan to do 3 things if he wakes up scared. One, turn on his turtle. This is a turtle light that projects the moon and stars onto the ceiling and lights up the room just a little bit. Two, I tell him to ask God to take away his fears. And three, he should close his eyes and try to go back to sleep. So far it hasn't worked.

Lucas wakes up occasionally and cries or bangs his head against the door. I can usually go in and sit next to him for a few minutes until he falls back to sleep.

On average I would say I am up with the boys twice per night, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for an hour or more.

Morning Wakeup
After an average night of falling asleep around 8pm and waking up a few times during the night, both boys are up for the day between 6 and 6:30am. Whoever wakes up first will wake up the other one and they will hide in Ryan's bed together and giggle for a few minutes before running out of the room looking for me.
So there you go, a really long description of nighttime for us. I want to work on getting the boys to fall asleep on their own and ideally stay in their room together all night....before baby number 3 comes! I'm just not sure what approach to take at this point. Those few nights that it happened have given me hope that it is a realistic goal!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My 32nd Birthday In Photos

My birthday this year was a typical day at home with my boys, sprinkled with a few fun surprise and yummy food throughout the day. I am a very blessed 32-year-old!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

21-Week Appointment

I had a routine  checkup with a midwife today. I can't believe I am already over halfway through with this pregnancy! Here are my stats:

Weight Gain: 17 lbs
Blood Pressure: N/A (The nurse forgot to tell me this time)
My only issue I brought up this time was my severe lack of energy. I am generally okay in the mornings but by early to mid afternoon I completely crash. It isn't a sleepy feeling, but rather just a total lack of sufficient energy to move my body. I vividly remember feeling this way with my first two pregnancies, although not until closer to the end of the 9 months. I have to say, this is one of my least favorite side effects of pregnancy.

I spoke to the midwife about this, and how frustrating it is for me. I don't want to sit on the couch, (and most of the time I really can't!) but sometimes it's just all my body wants to do. She said that she isn't surprised I am feeling so drained, with the amount of energy it takes to keep up with two little boys. Her only real suggestion was to try and find a strategic time during the day when a little exercise, such as a walk, might energize me.

Other than that, the checkup was good! The baby has been kicking up a storm inside of me ever since my 17-week checkup, so that's really fun to feel. Ryan and Lucas got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time today. Ryan thought it was pretty neat and Lucas exclaimed that it was "loud!".

**Edited to add: I just went back and read my blog entry from this point in my pregnancy with Lucas. Here is what I wrote at 25 weeks pregnant:  My tiredness isn't really a sleepy tired (although I do have days where it gets hard to keep my eyes open). It's more of a fatigued feeling from having to move myself around all day. I just feel sluggish, like everything physical takes more effort than it should. I do remember feeling this way with the last pregnancy, just much closer to the end.

Haha! I wrote almost the exact same words over two years ago on this blog. Even my weight gain is the same as it was with the first two pregnancies at this point. I guess this just shows that how I'm feeling is completely normal for me when I'm pregnant. This blog sure comes in handy!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Too Cute To Correct

Do your kids ever say words incorrectly, but you don't correct them because their version is just so gosh darn cute? Mine definitely do!

Here are a few examples:

Ryan says refrigerator as "fridgelator". It is so cute that I have never corrected him!

Computer is pronounced "pewter".

Ryan calls his butt his "tootie". Every once in a while he will call it his "bootie" but that's about as PG as it gets so far. I love this innocent stage.
One of my favorite things that Lucas says is "Ry-Ry" for Ryan. He says it with such affection for his big brother.
Lucas also calls muffins "muff-muffs" and French fries are "fry-frys". Are you sensing a theme here with his speech?
There are so many other cute words I could list. What cute mispronunciations do your kids make?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gender Ultrasound

We finally found out the gender of our baby today!
I think everyone knows what I was hoping and praying for. It wasn't necessarily that I didn't want another boy, but that I really really wanted a daughter. And because this may be our last child, it felt like this was our only chance to have a girl. I was trying really hard not to get my hopes up at the ultrasound.

Are you ready for the results?


My initial reaction was total excitement and relief. Then I asked the technician not once but twice if she was really certain about the gender. She said she is 100% sure it is a girl. Looks like Ryan and Lucas will have a little baby sister to protect! (And hopefully not torture). Ryan was so cute when I told him. He immediately got a big smile on his face and gave me a hug. He has been calling the baby a girl all along, so I'm glad he got what he wanted. Adam is also really excited because he has always wanted to have a daughter.

Oh and the 2nd best part of the ultrasound? The technician told us the baby was very relaxed and cooperative. That's my girl!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Muffin Mania

My boys have become really bad breakfast eaters. Ryan is especially picky in the morning and lacks a big appetite when he wakes up. This is bad, because I think he gets low blood sugar overnight and really needs to eat upon waking up. Most mornings he will eat a few cheerios and sips of water for breakfast.

However, both boys love eating muffins. Especially Lucas! That boy can pack away muffins like they are candy. So when I find healthy muffin recipes that I know Ryan and Lucas like, I go crazy and make a ton to keep in the freezer.
When I'm considering a muffin recipe to feed to my boys I look for a few things. First, I like to use mostly whole wheat flour. Second, little or no sugar. I look for muffins sweetened with honey and applesauce. Third, some sort of ingredient that boosts the nutritional value of the muffin.

Today I made Ryan's favorite Banana Wheat Germ Muffins. I use half whole wheat flour for these. They are sweetened with honey and banana, and they have the secret but powerful ingredient of wheat germ! Pretty healthy right? I do add chocolate chips in order to convince Ryan to eat them, but I have decided a few chocolate chips are harmless if they are being eaten with something like wheat germ. It's called Mom math.
Today I also made Lucas' favorite muffins: Whole Wheat Carrot Applesauce Muffins. Oh man, these are like eating dessert. And yet they are made from whole wheat flour, sweetened with applesauce and honey, and they contain a lot of grated carrot. I feel great about feeding these to him.
Lastly, I made muffins for myself! I don't usually eat muffins, but I had an abundance of fresh blueberries to use up. So I made these Lightened Up Lemon Blueberry Muffins. I forgot how much I love blueberry muffins! I used all whole wheat flour to make these and cut back on the amount of sugar in the recipe. Such an easy snack to grab for a busy pregnant Mom.
Knowing that my boys will eat healthy muffins, I go out of my way to avoid letting them eat the white flour, white sugar versions. Because I know once they get a taste of the sugary "dessert" muffins that are out there, they will turn up their little noses at my homemade healthy versions.

Now I just need to find a healthy homemade muffin that Adam will happily eat, and we'll be all set! For breakfast at least.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Ryan on his first 4th of July......

Lucas on his first 4th of July......
Fast forward a few years and I still have a couple of noisy little firecrackers!

May your 4th of July be quieter than ours.