Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ryan: Five and a Half

Ryan James Nullmeyer, you are 5 and a half today. Happy half birthday!
You are such a sweet little boy and I love you so much! You are at an age of transition where you are becoming more independent, yet you are still so young and innocent. You've been through some subtle changes since turning five. I remember blogging on your 5th birthday and I felt like we were really struggling with your behavior. Since you've started Kindergarten your behavior has improved at home (probably helps that you're separated from your little brother for half the day!).
You say the cutest things and I just can't correct you when you phrase things incorrectly. You still call the refrigerator the "frigelator". You call one of your favorite shows "Special Gadget" instead of Inspector Gadget. And you say "fremember" instead of remember. You have been learning a lot of songs in Kindergarten, and I will often hear you singing to yourself at home. It is so sweet and I wish I could record your cute little voice so I have the sound of it recorded forever. Your voice still sounds so young, even younger than most kids your age. I love it!
You are still quite reserved and shy. You definitely have your goofy/silly times, especially around your brother or friends. But you clam up around adults, even those you know pretty well. There is an adorable little girl in your class who loves saying hi to you every day. Every single day you just shake your head and frown at her. Ha! I think the girls will be chasing after you as you get older, but you're far too serious and shy to give them any attention right now. I can tell that you analyze and overthink things. Whether it's playing soccer, or doing a dance performance at school, I can see your little brain working and thinking before you act. You only talk or offer information when it's important. You don't talk just to talk. I think this will serve you well as you get older.
I think you often get lumped together with your brother, and get labeled as "the boys" instead of just "Ryan". I rarely get to spend time alone with you, but I recently went to Target one evening and you came along with me. It was amazing! You are such a different boy when you are separated from Lucas. You talked to me about all sorts of things and held my hand. I wish we could have more time like this together.
As sweet as you can be, you can still be really moody and whiny at times. If you're lacking sleep or aggravated by your brother, you start hitting or whining. A lot. I'm hoping you grow out of the whining phase soon!
You are such a GREAT big brother to your baby sister. You talk to her in a soft baby voice, and you "shush" her if she is upset. It just comes naturally to you! Your favorite thing to do with Jenna is to lay next to her and have a crawling race. She absolutely adores you, and I hope your bond continues to strengthen as she gets older.
The other day you were telling me about how a couple of kids at school really like their Mommies. I said, well I hope you like your Mommy too!! Your response was that you actually really like Daddy. Aw! It's true, love your Daddy and would almost always choose to spend time with him over me. You like watching hockey with him, playing soccer with him, driving RC cars with him....pretty much anything is more fun with Daddy!
Ryan you are such a sweet, special boy and I love you dearly. Happy half birthday big boy!

Ryan exactly 5 years ago, at 6 months:
And 5 years later!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

90 Percent Potty-Trained

I blogged about potty-training Lucas a few months ago, and I bragged about how well he was doing. And he was. But then he wasn't. We went through 1 or 2 months where he was in underwear, but having multiple accidents every single day. All over the place. It was gross and frustrating.
I am happy to report that things have improved dramatically! Lucas started preschool at the end of August and I was worried that I'd have to pull him out because he still wasn't potty-trained. But I think being in that setting around other kids who use the potty has really helped him. These days he is in underwear almost all day, with only occasional accidents!
Our next goal is to tackle nighttime. When Ryan potty-trained, he just magically stayed dry at night. We put him underwear and he pretty much never had an accident at night. I think we got really lucky with him. Right now we are putting Lucas in a diaper at night, and he is waking up with it wet. So how do I know when he is ready for underwear at night? How do I train him to hold it while he's asleep? This is new territory for me!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dinners Oct 19-23

Just some pictures of our dinners from last week to share with you! I always like seeing what other people eat because it gives me new ideas to try. What did you make for your family this week?

Monday: "Porcupines in a Skillet" I tried this new recipe that included ground beef, rice, cheese, onion soup mix, and tomatoes. Pretty tasty! My 100 Days of Real Food cookbook contains a great recipe for homemade onion soup mix. The packaged stuff usually contains bad ingredients.
Salad topped with cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes
Kale chips for the boys

Tuesday: Fried sole, baked potatoes. I just dip the fish in a mixture of flour and cornmeal seasoned with salt, and pan fry in avocado oil. Lucas loved this!
Frozen bag of seasoned green beans. When I make something time consuming like fried fish or chicken, I try to keep the side dishes really easy.

Wednesday: Scrambled eggs with nitrite-free breakfast sausage, leftover potatoes, green peppers, cheese. I know this is kind of an ugly picture but this breakfast scramble was really good!
Apple slices
Greek Yogurt Pancakes (Recipe in Pioneer Woman's new cookbook!!) I subbed in half whole wheat flour for these, and they were delicious.

Thursday: Whole chicken cooked in the crockpot. After it cooked I added some carrots and water and seasonings to the leftover carcass and juices, and it cooked overnight. Now I have about 12 cups of homemade chicken broth! I used this recipe:

Some seasoned couscous
And steamed broccoli

 Friday: I used the leftover chicken to make chicken tacos. I shredded it and added taco seasoning and mexican tomato sauce.
Served on fresh corn tortillas (we've tried the flour version in this brand, and we liked both! I thought these corn tortillas were less dry than usual ones. Adam thought they were more dry. You'll have to try them and decide! I absolutely love homemade flour tortillas, but just don't have time to make them these days)
Topped with guacamole, tomatoes, cheese, and shredded cabbage.(we were out of lettuce....I loved the cabbage on the tacos!)
And more steamed broccoli
And Saturday night we bought dinner out because I was tired of cooking!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jenna: 11 Months

Jenna you are 11 months old today and looking so big!
You started jabbering a lot this month. Your new word is "Hi". I love walking into your room in the morning and hearing you say Hi to me. It's so cute! You also JUST started saying Mama today. I love it!
Now that you are standing up and moving around quickly, you are entering a new stage. The stage where you love the freedom to get into things and explore! Your absolute favorite thing is to be given free reign to crawl around the house. You squeal with delight! You still don't do the typical crawl....yours is more of a worm crawl. But you manage to move around pretty easily. When you stand up you are letting go sometimes, but no real steps yet. No rush baby girl!
You are still an amazing eater. The only food you don't like and throw on the floor is banana. I started giving you cow's milk this month, about once every other day. I still nurse you 4-5 times per day, but I like to introduce milk at this age to help with the transition once you wean. (No plans to wean anytime soon). You have mastered your sippy cup and you clap and squeal when you see me filling it up with water or milk.
Your hair looks more strawberry blond every day!
Your sleep was pretty bad this month. You were up a lot at night from being sick, and many days you only took one nap. I really can't complain though. You're such a happy girl, even when you won't sleep in the middle of the night.
Your brothers still absolutely adore you. And you still absolutely adore Ryan. He can make you laugh SO hard! You're still deciding how you feel about Lucas.
I love you so much Jenna Mae! You are just so soft and squishy (seriously, you have no muscle tone!), and sweet and happy. You are such a gift and a blessing to our family. Happy 11 Months!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Our Apple Hill Experience

We've been hearing about Apple Hill since we moved up here 1 year ago. It is apparently "the" place to go this time of year. It is a group of farms 1 hour away from us with pumpkin patches, apple picking, bakeries, and seasonal activities for kids. We heard from a few people that Abel's Acres in particular was a great farm to take our kids to. So we loaded up the car on Saturday morning and set out for Apple Hill.

I was picturing lots of beautiful photo ops. Bringing home a big bag of freshly picked apples. Picking out the perfect pumpkins to carve together. Hot apple cider. Wide open space for the kids to run. Perhaps a tractor or some hay for the boys to climb on.

3 long hours later we were carsick and really irritated.
Apparently every family in the greater Sacramento area had come to Apple Hill that day. It took us an hour just to drive about 1 mile from the freeway to the farm. The boys kept asking us where the pumpkins were. And we kept saying "I think they're just around this bend!" And then 20 minutes later we'd make it around the bend.....and we'd see another mile-long stretch of cars.

When we finally found Abel's Acres, we were MORE than ready to get out of the car and have some fun.
 First order of business was finding some lunch. Ryan was excited about his pizza.
 Adam and I shared the hog fries.
Once we looked around we realized there were no pumpkins or apples in sight. There were basically a few craft vendors, a bakery, and a couple kids activities. Where was the apple picking? The pumpkin patch? The hay?? And where did all these people come from?
This is Adam and I trying our best to smile and look excited, but we were honestly really frustrated and cold and disappointed.
Even Jenna was less than impressed.
 We found a maze. It wasn't even made out of corn or hay. It was a $3 wooden fence maze. It distracted the boys for about 20 minutes.
 Then we found a pile of rotting pumpkins next to the maze. Another 5 minutes of excitement!
 There were a few cute wooden cutouts that provided a cute photo opportunity.
And that was it. We drove over 3 hours to do a $3 maze and eat some greasy expensive food. I was pretty sad that there was no apple orchard or pumpkin patch. I started really missing Ardenwood, the local farm that was 5 minutes from our old house. I would rather have driven 2 hours to go there!

We considered driving up the road to check out another farm, but the bumper to bumper line of cars was still there. And the thought of sitting in the car on those windy roads again made me nauseous. So we decided to head inside and drown our sorrows in the baked apple goodies.

It was packed inside the bakery. We had a hard time maneuvering our kids and stroller around the small store. We were just picking out a couple things to buy when it started pouring rain outside. And everyone who had been outside rushed inside the tiny bakery, and just like that we were trapped in the corner. We literally couldn't move more than an inch. I pictured everyone rioting and ripping open the baked goods to survive on. 

After a little while the place started to clear out, and we were able to buy a couple pies for the freezer, and a really delicious apple fritter.
The ride home was a more reasonable hour and a half. The kids all fell asleep and I started thinking about our day. Adam and I were both frustrated because we felt like it was such a wasted day. But I realized that neither boy had once mentioned the lack of pumpkins and apple picking. I think they were young enough to just be excited about the maze and the adventure of going somewhere new. It was mostly Adam and I who were grumpy. If anything, this day was an opportunity for our kids to see how Mommy and Daddy handle frustrating situations. Because our children are always watching and listening to us, and looking to us to model good behavior.
If you come to our house anytime soon don't mention the words "Apple Hill". At least the pies were good!