Monday, March 30, 2015

A Million Beautifuls

I feel like Ryan is changing so much as he approaches his fifth birthday. One minute he will be sweet as sugar, and the next he'll be yelling at me and slamming doors like a teenager. Sometimes he'll say the smartest things, and other times he acts more immature than his little brother. 5 year old boys are complicated little people! Here are a few smart/sweet things he has said to me recently. I just want him to stay young and innocent forever! (And I don't care what anyone says. I'm not correcting him when he says fridgelator instead of refrigerator.)
"Oh Mommy I love Jenna's new dress! It's a million beautifuls!"

"You only gave me 2 vitamins. I'm 4 years old so I should get 4. That means I need 2 more vitamins, because 2 +2=4!"

 Ryan: "Did you know that some big kids say 'Mom' instead of 'Mommy'?"
Me: "Yes, but I like Mommy better."
Ryan: "Me too. 'Mom' is badder."

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Weekend In The Sun

We had such a great weekend! Adam's Mom came up for a visit and joined in on the fun with us. We spent a lot of time outside because the weather was just gorgeous.

We started Friday off with an Easter egg hunt at the local park with Ryan's preschool class. Lucas got to join in too!
Ryan met the Easter bunny for the first time. Lucas wouldn't get anywhere near him. Oh well, maybe next year!
Friday afternoon we pulled out the boys' wading pool and filled it up. Action shot! They stripped down naked shortly after this shot, but I'll spare you the pictures.
On Saturday we went to a beautiful local nursery and bought some plants for our backyard. We still have so many more to buy, but it was a good start!
I planted some flowers in a pot. They look so nice on our back porch!
That afternoon Ryan went to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese's. He had a blast!
Sunday morning we all went to church. Here is Jenna praying during the service.
Happy girl!! (Can't even tell she is sick with a yucky cold, can you?)
We went out for milkshakes after church at a local place called Taylor's. They have an entire wall listing their milkshake flavors! Sunday afternoon we spent more time in the backyard planting. Adam's Mom got the chain for our little swing that I've had for years. We finally live in a house with a tree out back so we put it up and Lucas tested it out.
Here he is about ten minutes later.
Twins! I guess we've been together so long we're starting to look like each other. Wrinkles and all.
We ended the weekend with tacos on the back porch. It was such a nice weekend. Beautiful weather and lots of time spent in our backyard. Did you do anything fun?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New End Table

Back in October I blogged about our family room. I felt like it needed something to warm it up a little, or maybe a few pops of color. Here it is 5 months ago.
We've made a few changes in this room since then and I wanted to share them with you all.

Adam installed laminate hardwood flooring, which really helped to warm up the room. I also added a few coral colored decorations to bring some contrasting color into the room, as well as curtains.

 Did you notice our new end table?
Can you guess where it's from?
Adam made it for me! He's been wanting to build some furniture for us for quite some time now. He finally decided to make an end table since we didn't have one in the family room. Isn't it awesome? I can't believe how talented Adam is with these types of things. He is very confident when it comes to building or fixing things, even when it's something he's never done before. He gets an idea in his head and runs with it, and it always turns out great. 
He even added the L brackets on the corners to give the table more visual interest. Doesn't it look like something you could buy at Pottery Barn? It was the perfect addition to our family room!
 Can you guess what Adam's next project is??

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Weighty Wednesday: Weeks 11 and 12

It was a good thing the internet didn't work on my laptop last week. It prevented me from blogging and complaining about what a tough week it was. Everyone in our house has been sick the entire month of March, with Lucas feeling and acting the worst. It was a stressful week for me and I really put taking care of myself on the back burner. I ate for comfort and ended up gaining 2 lbs during week 11.

Even though Jenna is sick once again, Lucas finally seems to be feeling better. So I vowed to get back on track during week 12, and I think I succeeded. I starting cooking more instead of relying on eating whatever was fast and easy. I focused on drinking more water and not sneaking snacks after dinner. I also cut out desserts, with the exception of a small piece of dark chocolate after dinner each night. And I lost 3 pounds!

Week 11 and 12
Lbs Lost So Far: 23
Lbs Left To Lose: 8

I'm so close to reaching my weight loss goal! 8 pounds is not a lot to lose, although each pound is getting harder and harder for me to lose. This week I'm going to focus on eating a lot of vegetables. 3 servings every day will be my goal. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, so I'm also going to aim for 3 good walks this week. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jenna's 4 Month Checkup

Jenna had her 4 month checkup with her doctor yesterday. I didn't have too many questions or concerns about her, since she is such a happy and easy-going baby! She was babbling away with the doctor, and he commented that she is certainly talking a lot for her age. So different from her brothers!

Here are her growth stats:

Weight: 12 lbs, 10 oz (17%)
Height: 24.5 inches (50%)
Head: 15.75 inches (31%)

At this age, Ryan weighed 1 lb more than Jenna, and Lucas weighed 2 lbs more than her. I didn't realize she is my smallest baby at this age! Her chubby cheeks have been deceiving us into thinking she's a big girl.

I asked the doctor about starting Jenna on solid foods. He said that while breastmilk should still be her main source of calories, introducing food at this age won't do any harm. I started both boys on rice cereal just after 4 months. Since then I've heard a lot of conflicting information on the subject. Some say you should wait until 6 months to start in order to decrease the risk of allergies and digestive issues. Some say rice cereal isn't a good food to start with. Some skip purees altogether and do the baby led weaning method. I asked my friends on Facebook when and what they first fed their babies, and I got a huge variety of responses! Apparently there is no one "right" way that everyone agrees on.

While I'm not entirely sure what my approach will be yet, I do know I want to try a few different things this time around. My boys are notoriously picky eaters. I have no idea if their first few months of eating solid foods is at all correlated to their pickiness. But I guess it's possible! So I'm going to do my best to feed Jenna the most nutritious foods possible, right from the start. I'll probably start her on some sort of solids within the next month, to start teaching her about food and getting used to a spoon. And also to have a little fun! I love the early baby feeding stage, when they are still open to trying new flavors!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kale Chips

I first made kale chips back when Ryan was a young toddler. Much to my surprise he loved them! Since then I have made kale chips countless times. And much to my surprise they are now Lucas' favorite vegetable. They also happen to be about the only vegetable Ryan and Lucas will eat, so I make them at least twice a week. If I had to choose one veggie for my boys to eat, I think kale is a great one!
Every time I mention kale chips, someone asks me for the recipe. I never followed a real recipe, so I've been testing out the temperatures and times in order to come up with a real recipe to share with you. Kale chips are basically just roasted kale. When you roast kale in the oven it becomes extremely crispy, almost like a potato chip, but lighter and crispier. Be warned that eating them can make a mess. (Especially if you've got a toddler at the table).
Here is my incredibly simple but delicious recipe for kale chips! Please let me know if you try them and what you think of them.
Kale Chips
1 bunch Kale
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
-Start with a large bunch of kale. Rinse well.
-Strip the kale from the thick inner stem. The easiest way to do this is to hold the stem with one hand and pull up on the leaves with your other hand. They should strip off easily. You want fairly large pieces; about two or three times the size of a bite size piece. (They will shrink)
-Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread out kale leaves. Drizzle with approximately 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Do not over-salt!
-Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The timing is very important here. Mine were perfect at 14 minutes. After 10 minutes you want to watch them very closely. A perfect kale chip is completely crispy but not brown or burnt. If burnt it will have a unpleasant bitter taste. 
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Jenna: 4 Months

Happy 4 month birthday Jenna! It was really hard getting a good picture of you this month. You kept trying to roll over, stand up, or eat the sticker off of your shirt. (You love sucking on your little hands all day long now!)
You started rolling over this month! So far you only do it from back to tummy. You roll on to your tummy and then get tired pretty quickly of that position and start crying until I roll you back over. So different from your active brothers!
You enjoyed your first ride in a shopping cart this month (my first time shopping without wearing you!).
You like sitting in your Bumbo seat now. You love sitting and watching me work in the kitchen. As long as you are well rested and fed, you're pretty content to just sit and "talk" to someone.
Speaking of talking, here is a video of you talking. You are a little chatterbox these days! You love when people smile and talk to you. Such a social little girl!
 You still won't take a pacifier....
But that's okay, because you generally don't need much soothing. The only time you really get fussy is when you are overly tired. You take 2-3 naps per day. They've been averaging around 45 minutes each, although just this last week you had a couple days where you took two 1.5 hr naps. I was pleasantly surprised! Nighttime is still great. I nurse and rock you to sleep around 7:30 or 8pm. You wake up somewhere between 1 and 3am to nurse, and then go back to sleep in your crib until about 7am. I honestly couldn't ask for better sleeping habits from you!
You still wear your pink hat on cold days and get tons of compliments.
Your cheeks are getting sooo chubby! You also have a cute double chin and one tiny roll on one of your thighs. I love watching my sweet girl get bigger and chubbier!
I love you so much Jenna Mae "Ah Goo"! (Daddy's nickname). I can't wait to see what you learn this next month.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Easy To Love

When my boys were babies (especially Ryan) I often found myself wishing the days would go by faster. I couldn't wait for them to grow out of the baby phase, and I feel really guilty admitting that.  I just didn't love the baby stage with my boys. I had pretty much decided I wasn't one of those moms who adores having an infant. I longed for a break to get away from the crying. I looked forward to nap time so I could finally have a hands-free moment. Now please don't misunderstand me...I love my boys to pieces! Their baby stage was just really hard for me.

But this baby? This little girl has stolen my heart.
I remember the day that I found out her gender. Discovering that I was going to have a girl felt like such a gift. I didn't know how much I wanted a daughter until I had one. Each day that passes I fall more in love with her.

I know this might sound kind of cheesy and overly emotional for me, but it's the truth. I want to write about how I'm feeling right now so I remember what a joy Jenna was as a baby. She is almost always happy and content. Jenna is just so easy to love. She wakes up with a big smile on her face. If I talk to her or even just smile at her, she melts my heart with her smile. (See photo above). I look forward to holding her and talking to her and taking care of her each day. Jenna is such a blessing!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Weighty Wednesday: Week 10

This week of weight loss was full of sickness again. Everyone in the house is sick this time. But that didn't stop me from trying my best to eat healthy foods. I definitely had my fair share of "cheats" this week, including a pizza night and more than a couple desserts. I was doing so well with having just a small square of chocolate at night, and then treating myself to one real dessert per week. But every time I bake cookies to put in Adam's lunch or make a treat for the boys, I end up eating more desserts than I should. So I'm going to try to get back to saving my dessert for something really special each week. It helps that I received a chocolate bar in the mail today from a special friend. It's a flavor I've never had, so it will be fun to eat a little bit each night as my treat!

I lost 1.5 pounds this week.

Week 10
Lbs Lost So Far: 22
Lbs Left To Lose: 9

It's kind of crazy to think that I've lost over 40 pounds since Jenna was born. That's a really significant amount of weight! I may try to photograph a few days' worth of meals again because that always helps to keep me accountable. This coming week should be a good one. Beautiful weather, some t-ball games, and hopefully a healthy family that isn't up all night coughing!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Little Baseball Player

My little baseball player had his first game yesterday!
Our morning was spent at the opening ceremonies for our city's Little League teams, followed by a game in the afternoon.
Jenna cheered her brother on from the sidelines.
Lucas did the same.
I was really proud of Ryan. It was unseasonably warm and he didn't complain once about it. He told me he had a lot of fun!
 He may be the smallest guy on his team, but he sure does run fast.
 Go Mets!