Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Potty Training 2.0

It's potty training 2.0 time! I've been potty training Lucas for about a week now and I thought I'd give a little update on how things are going.

My approach to potty training my boys has been pretty casual. I've had my fair share of struggles with both Ryan and Lucas, and I didn't want to make potty training one more struggle. I started training Ryan before he was 3 but it turned into such a big fight that I realized it was too soon for him. I wanted him to be ready but he just wasn't. So I finally potty trained him when he was 3 years and 3 months.....just in time for him to join Awana.

This time around I was in no hurry to start struggling with Lucas over using the potty. Because honestly? I struggle with Lucas over everything else. Everything.

BUT alas, Lucas has to learn how to use the toilet before he starts preschool in just two months! I knew that with Lucas things could either go really really right or really really wrong. That's just how he is....extreme.
So I started training Lucas last week. And he is doing SO well!!

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I definitely see Lucas being fully potty trained by the end of the summer.

Lucas absolutely loves wearing underwear and hates wearing diapers, so that was a good start. We went out and bought new underpants for him, and he adores choosing which ones to wear each day. He goes through each one and tells me a story about what Lightning McQueen is doing in each scene on the underpants. Hey if it helps him, I'm all ears!

He has had some accidents so far, but he has done amazingly well at knowing when to use the potty.  The thing about Lucas is that you can't make him do something he doesn't want to do. You just can't. We've been butting heads as I tell him to sit on the potty and he doesn't want to. The few times I have really stood my ground with him haven't ended well. So I am learning to trust him. The other day after a particularly tough battle over the potty, I was feeling so fed up with this whole potty training business. But then an hour later Lucas ran up to me and exclaimed "I have to go potty Mommy!" And sure enough, his underpants were still dry and he proudly sat on the potty and did his business.

And then tonight I was fixing dinner and I called out to the boys to use the bathroom and wash their hands for dinner. Ryan absolutely ignored me, but Lucas used the toilet, flushed, and washed his hands all by himself! Lucas has always been very independent, and potty training is no different.

One thing I have learned through this process is how much Lucas likes verbal praise. Ryan is funny because I can tell he gets uncomfortable when I am too over-the-top with my compliments and words of praise. I get it because I can be the same way. But Lucas absolutely eats it up. When I tell him how good he is doing his eyes light up and he jumps up and down and hugs me. He loves hearing how amazing he is!
I'm so proud of my little 3-year old!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

House Tour: Dining Room

Before we even moved into our new house, I had a vision of what I wanted our new dining room to look like. I went onto Pinterest and found two pictures that closely resembled what I had in mind. These are the two pictures I pinned to help me decorate our future dining room:
As you can see, I wanted something that gave off the "farmhouse" vibe that we like, while still looking light and airy. It should be noted that I have never before used Pinterest to design a room, but I had a very strong vision of what I wanted this particular room to look like.
Fast forward 9 months and our dining room is almost done! Here is what it looks like today. I apologize for the weird lighting. The flash on my phone makes the walls look lime green but they are more of a muted tannish green.
See that dining room table? It is Adam's latest piece of furniture that he built for us!

He built it in our garage and then the boys and I painted the bottom part white.
Adam stained the top until we were happy with the color. We were going for a darker brown with a slight greyish color, and I think it turned out pretty well! The floors Adam installed definitely have a grey hue to them, so we wanted to carry that look throughout the room. Our curtains are also grey and white.
As far as the rest of the room goes, it's a mix of items I have been given or have found at local discount stores. This cabinet was a hand-me-down from my Mom, and I placed the whitewashed mirror above it. 
I found this chalkboard cabinet at Ross, and I'm waiting for someone to come over and write something clever on it. Any ideas?
On top of the table I found an inexpensive table runner and little birdhouse thing that we put an LED candle inside of. On either side is a blue mason jar. I was recently visiting my Grandma, and I commented to my Aunt about liking their blue mason ball jars. She kindly gave me two that belonged to my Grandma (who is 96 years old!). I immediately brought them home and placed them on our new table and put flowers inside. I love the look of them and the fact that they belonged to my Grandma for many years makes them more special.
You may have noticed something missing from our dining room.....chairs! I am donating our old table and chairs so I am now on the hunt for the perfect chairs for this room. At first we wanted to build a bench for one side of the table, but then we thought white wooden chairs might look better. (And I was afraid a bench would make it look more like a picnic table.) Then we were out the other day and we saw some brown leather chairs that we loved. I'm just not sure what is right for this room!
The other thing I still want to change out in this room is the overhead lighting. I'm not really a fan of the fake candlestick look.
So there you have it....our new dining room! Let it be known that this room will likely never be this clean again!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Family Dinner

I tend to beat myself up a little bit about my boys' poor eating habits. I am always focusing on what they eat at dinnertime. If they don't eat anything I cooked, I deem it an unsuccessful meal. But recently I read something about the "how, where, and with who" when it comes to eating family dinner, and how those things are just as important, if not more important, than what my kids are eating. While I still place a lot of importance on the types of foods my family eats, this article did make me feel better about our family dinnertime. And it made me realize that I am actually doing something right!

Every night we sit down at the table together as a family. TV is always turned off, unless I make a conscious decision to make it a "movie night" or something like that. Nobody is on the phone or playing a video game while we are eating. It is just the 5 of us and our food.

The food is almost always homemade. It may not be very gourmet these days, but I do my best to make it healthy and tasty.

While we are eating we share our favorite part of the day and our worst part of the day. We started this tradition about a year ago and I love it. The boys have come to expect the question from me "What was your favorite part of the day?" and they often fight over who gets to share first. Ryan typically answers the same thing...."Playing with Daddy!". Lucas, however, always stops to really think about his answer. And he always comes up with a really great part of his day!

The other night I posed the question to Lucas. He sat there thinking for a minute, and then shouted "Right now!". I loved his answer! My favorite time of the day is often dinnertime, and I love that we are forming a tradition as a family of sitting down together and sharing our day with each other.

Now if I could just get my boys to eat what I cook!

What does dinnertime look like at your house?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Jenna: 7 Months

You are 7 months old today Jenna!
You continue to be a very sweet, easy baby. You are still amazingly happy and content, although I do notice you getting frustrated more easily because of your lack of mobility. You will sit up with a little support but you aren't showing any signs of crawling. You do love to grab ahold of my hands and pull yourself up to stand.
You learned how to make a new sound this month and you are constantly yelling "NANANANA" at us. You also love to screech and growl.
You have the craziest smile. You scrunch up your nose so much that we call it your "stinky" face.
I wear you in the baby carrier whenever we are out with your two brothers. You love to see everything going on around you. Whenever someone smiles at you, you just smile right back. You love attention!
Speaking of those brothers.....they won't leave you alone! They are constantly putting toys on your head, talking baby talk to you, playing with your arms and legs, and just getting in your face.
Ryan continues to be your favorite, but Lucas does seem to be growing on you!
You tried some yummy new foods this month, including ground beef, ground turkey, carrots, eggs, yogurt, and raspberries. You absolutely loved the raspberry! You seem to enjoy soft pieces of table food more than purees. I also gave you a little sippy cup to try. You like holding it and chewing on the top.
You are still a great sleeper! You sleep from 8pm until around 6:30am, with just one wakeup, and even zero some nights! you nap twice a day, for around an hour each time. I do not take your sleep habit for granted....I am so blessed to have a baby who likes to sleep!
I love you sweet Jenna Mae!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our New Bed

Some of you may remember when I hinted at Adam's latest woodworking project last month. He built us something really special and I'm excited to finally share it with you.

Our new bed!
Back in August of 2010 Adam built us an upholstered headboard. I blogged about it here. Then in February 2013 he built a matching upholstered bedframe. I blogged about that here. Fast forward to May 2015, and our bedframe was kind of falling apart. We both decided we wanted a real wooden bed this time. And of course my handy husband decided he could built one himself.
We found the plans for a design online and tweaked them a bit to fit our style. We painted the finished bed white and then distressed it with sandpaper and an SOS pad to give it a slightly greyed look.
Now that we have this new bed our peachy tan walls need to be painted! We bought a new quilt to go along with our distressed "farmhouse chic" style. The quilt is a tealish blue color, along with grey and white and navy, with tiny yellow accents. We are considering painting our walls a mid to dark grey color, but I'm nervous! I don't want our room to be too dark and depressing, but I think a bolder color would look perfect behind the big white bed.
So there's a quick look at our new bed. I absolutely love how it turned out! This was a huge project but Adam finished it so quickly. And his craftsmanship is amazing. This bed is solid and will last us a lifetime.
Here is a big hint at Adam's next project. He actually finished it a couple weeks ago, but I am behind in sharing it with you all! Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Grandma P

My Grandma P passed away last month. She was a very special woman and I am really going to miss her.

My Grandma was a talented artist. She painted beautiful watercolor paintings, a few of which are hanging in my house. I always wished I had inherited some of her artistic skills. She loved color, and every room of her house was a different (bold) color. Sometimes when I look around at the different colored walls in our house I think of my Grandma.

I have many memories of my grandparents from my childhood. We used to spend every Christmas Eve at my Grandma P's house to celebrate my brother's birthday. I remember eating lamb at her house and developing an appreciation for the taste of it. My Grandma loved shortbread and one of these days I plan on making some for the first time.

Grandma P gave very quirky gifts. This year we received a little birdhouse that she had painted for us. My Grandma loved to collect things and her house was filled with her "treasures".

I took Jenna to meet my Grandma a couple months ago, and I'm so glad they got to meet each other.
You will be dearly missed Grandma.

Friday, June 12, 2015

What We Ate For Dinner

So after complaining the other day about being bored with my cooking lately, I decided it would be fun to take pictures of what we ate for dinner this past week. Documenting what we ate each night also inspired me to try a couple new things in the kitchen. And the bonus is that the boys even tried a new food or two this week! Here's what we've been eating lately:

Thursday - Turkey and quinoa stuffed peppers, homemade bread (YUM), and cherries. Both boys tried cherries for the first time tonight! I left some plain ground turkey out of the peppers to serve to the boys.

Friday - Homemade pizza and salad. The pizzas were half cheese, half pepperoni and red bell peppers. You'll see a lot of red peppers in our meals this week because I bought a 6-pack from Costco.
Saturday: BBQ'd chicken thighs, rice pilaf, kale chips and BBQ'd veggies (squash, zucchini and bell pepper). We ate dinner on the back patio this night, until it started pouring rain on us!
Sunday: We were at my sister's house during the dinner hour and the boys just snacked on some random foods for dinner. Adam and I picked up some food late once the kids were asleep but I didn't take a picture. I did have a milkshake with my food!
Monday: Taco bowls! I tried a new method of cooking the tortillas in the oven in the shape of crispy little bowls. To go in the bowls I cooked ground meat seasoned with homemade taco seasoning (I make a big batch and keep it in the pantry), roasted corn (frozen section of Trader Joe's), cheese, tomatoes, pinto beans, salsa, lettuce, and guacamole. We also had watermelon. Ryan ate a quesadilla for the very first time this night!
Tuesday: Salmon baked and seasoned with Cajun seasoning, corn on the cob (for Adam and I), waffle fries (for the boys), and pan fried broccoli (AKA "kale broccoli"). Did you know you can cook corn on the cob in the microwave? Wrap in a damp paper towel and cook 5 minutes. So easy! Kale broccoli is something I make pretty often because Lucas likes it. I defrost frozen broccoli florets and pan fry them in a little olive oil until crispy and slightly charred. Tastes like a cross between kale chips and roasted broccoli.
Wednesday: Homemade baked chicken tenders, pasta with marinara (me) or parmesan cheese (Ryan), canned green beans, and strawberries. Ryan tried a green bean tonight for the first time! For the chicken I was feeling lazy since Adam was working really late in the bay area. Instead of pan frying it I just breaded and baked in the oven. It was a bit drier than fried chicken but both boys ate it.
Thursday: Pork stir fry with bell peppers, onions and carrots, served with white rice and kale chips. This was another night when Adam was working late and I was having a really difficult time with the boys. I had sliced up a pork tenderloin earlier in the day, so I threw it into a pan with the veggies. I had intended to add celery and broccoli to the stir fry but they were both bad and had to be thrown away. I mixed together some Asian ingredients (soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic) and then topped everything with fresh basil at the end. It turned out great! I wanted to make brown rice but like I said, things were stressful and I just needed to get dinner on the table fast.
So there you go, our dinners for the past week. I love getting new ideas....what have you been cooking lately?