Friday, February 26, 2016

Love and Logic

Life with these three crazy kids can get a little, well, crazy. It seems like every day new behavioral issues pop up, and I am constantly nagging, threatening, disciplining, etc. When I heard about a Love and Logic workshop being offered through our school district, I jumped at the chance to join.
Love and Logic is all about teaching your children through natural consequences, along with a strong dose of love and empathy. Once they get out in to the real world, they will learn from their bad choices, and the natural consequences that come as a result of those choices. I'd rather they learn those lessons now, when the consequences are not so serious. I am 4 weeks in to the course and so far I am learning a lot. I decided to begin tackling one problem area with Ryan this week.....the mornings.

Our mornings go something like this: Ryan wakes up grumpy. I have to remind him a million times to eat his breakfast and get dressed, or we will be late to school. I am nagging and threatening and using my mean Mommy voice. I end up doing almost everything for him, including even helping him get his clothes on. By the time we rush out the door we are running late and Ryan complains the whole way to school that I am going too fast. Getting up earlier doesn't seem to help. I want to start teaching Ryan more responsibility, and I figured the best way to do that is through natural consequences.

Let's take this morning for example. Ryan came downstairs with his pants and shirt (a big step for him! usually I have to pick out his clothes). But he forgot socks. I kindly asked him to go back upstairs for his socks. He refused and started whining about being too tired to walk up the stairs. I was too busy fixing everyone breakfast, so I told him I could not get the socks for him. After asking him 1 more time, I told him he would have to just go to school with no socks. And he did. And halfway to school he was complaining about his feet being uncomfortable.

This morning I also put a little treat from Valentine's Day in Ryan's lunch. He was really excited about it. After he ate breakfast he started playing. I told him to go brush his teeth. He kept saying " in a minute, in a minute". So I finally said "Only boys who brush their teeth and take care of them get to eat treats". I said this twice and he ignored me, so the treat got removed from his lunch.

Last month Ryan told me one morning he was too sick to go to school. After calling the school and telling them he was sick, I suddenly noticed he had miraculously recovered. Turns out he had been lying to me. So I made him get dressed and walked him down to the school office. I explained to the secretary that he had been mistaken about being sick, and he was then given a tardy and sent to class. He was pretty upset and embarrassed, but that type of thing hasn't happened again.

These are pretty simple examples, but I hope they are effective. Have you taken the Love and Logic course or read the book?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ryan's Art Projects

I shared on Facebook recently a drawing that Ryan had done.

He had never shown an interest in drawing or coloring before, but being in Kindergarten has brought out his inner artist.

He loves drawing and creating little presents for people. He'll get out his construction paper and start asking me how to spell things. I've probably told him how to write "Happy Valentine's Day" about 200 times this month! He loves making envelopes and stapling and cutting the papers into shapes
Ryan tends to get really frustrated when his drawings aren't just right. He is constantly asking me to help him draw things, and he gets mad when I don't draw it perfectly. Sorry Ryan, Mommy isn't an artist!
He makes art projects for his friends at school, for Daddy, and for his grandparents. He recently had a friend over and the next day he made him an envelope that said "Thank you for coming over. Love Ryan".

I love seeing this new side of him!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Day In The Life 2/19/16

Time for another "Day In The Life" post! I try to write one of these every few months because I love going back to read them and remember what life was like at each stage of motherhood. Today is a Friday, which means it has got to be a great day!

12midnight- Jenna is awake and crying I try unsuccessfully for an hour to get her back to sleep.

1am- I bring Jenna into our bed and ask Adam to take Ryan back to his room. (When did he even climb into our bed??)

2am- Jenna is finally back to sleep (in our bed), but she is restless most of the night and keeps me up.

5:30am-I can't take it any more. I take Jenna back to her room and nurse to back to sleep in her crib by 6. I decide to just get up for the day. Adam is already up, so I make our bed and actually turn on the lights to get ready! This is nice because usually there is a sleeping Ryan in our bed so we have to get ready in the dark.

The bottom half of me today: My distressed jeans that I don't really love because they are a little too distressed, and my white converse.

I use this BB Cream, which I got in my Birchbox. I love this stuff! It is basically a moisturizer and foundation in one.

The top half of me:

6:30- Ryan wakes up! He always wants to be held and carried around when he first wakes up.

I fix breakfast for Adam and I. He gets 2 scrambled eggs with toast, and I eat my eggs with some yams I roasted yesterday in coconut oil. (Yesterday I loved not so much) Lucas wakes up and comes downstairs with his stuffed doggy. Adam leaves for work.

I read the Proverbs31 Ministries devotion for the day.

It is "career day" at school, and Ryan is supposed to dress up as what he wants to be in the future. He chooses to be a hockey player. He eats a waffle with almond butter (he thought it was peanut butter, but I told him afterwards, and he just shrugged. Yay, another food I can add to his list!)
 7:40- Me and the 3 kids (and a stuffed doggy) head out the door to walk to school.

Once we're back home Jenna goes in the highchair for breakfast. She has milk, scrambled eggs and yams, plus 2 cottage cheese pancakes from the freezer. She is always hungry in the morning! I blog while Jenna eats. Lucas tries a pancake but doesn't like it. He decides on a smoothie and wants to help me make it. It is his usual concoction of milk, yogurt, spinach, banana, and today he gets almond butter because we are out of peanut butter. I drop the yogurt tub and it shoots out all over the floor. Oh well, I really need to clean the floors today anyways.

8:30 - Lucas takes his smoothie to the couch to watch Paw Patrol. He relays every single moment to me as he watches it. Jenna and I unload and reload the dishwasher. I get Lucas and Jenna dressed, then tell Jenna to sit down and put her shoes on. She actually sits down and tries!

9:30 - We head out the door to run a couple errands. Lately I have been using the single stroller when I'm out with Lucas and Jenna, so that I can intentionally work on Lucas' behavior when he isn't strapped down. I'm trying to teach him to walk by me and not run away. This week he has been remarkably well-behaved! Oh my goodness, my days are SO much better when Lucas isn't throwing nonstop tantrums over everything. He is actually a joy to be around! We go to Kaiser to pick up an antibiotic for me since my ears are still plugged. Then we head to Old Navy to return something and I can't resist picking up this light-weight plaid shirt for the Spring weather we're having.

I'm feeling nauseous and light-headed and I know my blood sugar is getting low, so I buy Lucas some crackers for his good behavior and snag a few for myself.

11:00am - We are back home and Lucas plays with his stuffed doggy and giraffe while I put Jenna down for a nap and start another load of laundry.

11:30am - I get to work sweeping and swiffering the floors. Lucas is chattering nonstop, and he doesn't believe I'm listening to him unless I'm staring into his eyes. "Mommy?" "Yes Lucas" "Mommy?" "Yes Lucas" "Mommy"......he has a lot to tell me. After I clean the floors Lucas and I build block beds for his animals.

12:30- Time for lunch! I sit down to eat some chicken meatballs, carrots with hummus, and 2 cuties. While I eat I fill out Ryan's baseball raffle tickets. It looks like it's about to rain, and I wonder if Ryan's baseball practice will be cancelled today. I make a mug of hot tea because my hands are freezing. I also do a little dinner prep while I'm in the kitchen.

1:00 - Jenna is up from her nap. We walk to school to pick up Ryan. Its getting really cold!

1:30 - We're home and the boys immediately start fighting. Ryan is tired and grumpy, and I bet it's because he brought his entire lunch and snack home uneaten. After lots of begging for a treat, he settles on a bowl of granola for a snack. I feed Jenna lunch while I do more dishes and do a toy pickup around the house. Lucas drinks another smoothie while the boys watch a cartoon.

2:30 - Ryan's baseball practice has been cancelled due to "unstable weather".

My sister stops by with her 3 youngest girls and they stay and play for a couple hours. The rest of our evening consisted of tacos for dinner (taco salads for Adam and I), and a bath for all 3 kids. We miraculously got all 3 kids to sleep by 8pm and then watched the latest episode of Top Chef. Overall it was a great day!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Keeping Up With Her Brothers

Jenna thinks she is such a big girl these days. Her life is all about keeping up with her brothers and doing big girl things.
 She insists on spoon feeding herself.....
 Going on walks unassisted.....

 Trying to ride her brothers' big wheels......
 Sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed on the fluffy pillows.....

 Watching Ryan practice baseball......
 And doing laundry!
 Jenna's favorite activity is being chased around the house by her brothers. She thinks she is one of them and it is so fun to watch!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

21 Day Fix Grocery Haul and Meal Plan

Today Adam and I are beginning our second round of the 21 Day Fix. We have attempted to do this a few times since our first round in September but each time our kids ended up getting really sick so we wimped out. This time we are committed! We went shopping yesterday at our local Savemart for all the healthy food we need for the week, and I made a loose meal plan. I thought I would show you all what we eat while doing the 21 Day Fix. It really isn't too different than our normal meals, although it is a bit heavier on vegetables and proteins, and lighter on carbs and dairy. Here is what we bought for the week.....I lost the receipt but our total was right around $125.

Produce: Red Grapes, raspberries, bananas, cuties, Fuji apples, granny smith apples, grapefruit, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, lettuce mix, garnet yams, bell peppers, carrots, onions, tomatoes.
 Proteins/Fats: 3 lbs chicken breast, pork tenderloin, turkey lunchmeat, hummus, grass fed ground beef (This was the ONLY ground beef they had at the store! I don't normally spend this much on beef, but I justified it because my friend's brother owns this company and I feel good supporting them)
 Dairy: Whole Milk (for kids), full fat plain yogurt, full fat cottage cheese (check ingredients....some cottage cheese had weird things added!), parmesan cheese, 18 eggs
Treats: Each of us chose a "treat" food, since this was the last night before our healthier eating. Ryan chose a pizza for dinner. Lucas chose snapea crisps. Adam and I chose ice cream to share. I also bought granola bars for the boys and iced tea and mints.

So here is what we will be eating this week on the 21 Day Fix plan. Any foods you see listed that are not shown above were foods I already had in my pantry or freezer. I may have to go back to the store for more produce at the end of the week.

Breakfasts: Adam and I will rotate between oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit, and scrambled eggs with sautéed veggies and fruit.

Lunches: Typically leftovers for Adam and whatever I can scrounge together for myself.

Snacks: Boiled eggs, apples and peanut butter, cottage cheese and fruit, raw veggies with hummus, yogurt.

Tuesday: Salmon, whole wheat couscous, cauliflower, salad

Wednesday: Unstuffed cabbage with ground turkey, yams

Thursday: Pork Tenderloin, Red Potatoes, Broccoli

Friday: Beef Tacos with corn tortillas and lettuce/tomatoes, bell peppers

Saturday: Baked chicken, brown rice, roasted carrots, salad

Sunday: Mahi Mahi, frozen green beans, quinoa

It's a pretty basic meal plan for me, but I find that sticking to simple meals makes things easier for me while doing the 21 Day Fix. It is easier to portion out our proteins, carbs, and veggies when they are all cooked separately. I will definitely use some fresh herbs and spices to make things tastier, because we certainly don't want to be eating bland boring foods. And a little parmesan goes a long way towards making things taste better!

So there is our 21 Day Fix Grocery Haul and Meal Plan. Hope you enjoyed reading about what we're eating for the week!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Mommy Burnout

I was waiting to pick up Lucas from preschool this week when a fellow mom of 3 little ones asked me how I was doing. My immediate response was "Good! How are you?". Then as I thought about it for a second, I let out a long sigh and said the exact same words out loud that the other Mom did. "Actually, I'm really tired". We had a good little chat about just how difficult the transition was from 2 to 3 kids, and how demanding and exhausting our days felt. We both agreed that have 3 kids aged 5 and under was a really tiring stage of life.

I haven't been feeling quite like myself for a little while now. I've been extremely tired, to the point of going to bed at 8pm. I have little patience for my kids. I've been getting daily headaches, which is usually an indication to me that I'm experiencing a lot of stress and not taking care of my body. I've lost motivation to keep up with the house, and all I want to do is just take a really long break from my responsibilities as a Mom. Someone recently told me about "burnout", which is actually a real thing. It is defined as emotional and physical exhaustion, and very common when you are a caregiver.

For me, I think my burnout is the result of a number of things. For one, my kids have been sick a lot lately, which puts a burden on me both mentally and physically. The cold dreary Winter weather also doesn't help matters.

Each of my children is also at a very demanding stage right now. Ryan has been having some behavioral and attitude problems lately that have left me baffled. He and Lucas still fight constantly, and I am unable to leave them alone because of how they will harm each other. Lucas is not only aggressive, but also extremely demanding of my attention every second of the day. I am working hard to teach him the importance of patience, but he literally doesn't leave me alone all day. I love him dearly but he is simply exhausting. And Jenna is a sweet little girl, but also very needy. She is at the stage where I can't take my eyes off of her, or she will get hurt or get in to something she shouldn't.

So at any given moment, Jenna could fall on her face, while at the same time Lucas could punch a hole through our wall, and Ryan could be screaming awful things at me because I can't help him RIGHT THIS SECOND. And if I choose to help Jenna first because she is hurt, Lucas and Ryan will find each other and start punching each other in the face. This scenario happens over and over again throughout the day. I just feel like I am constantly in a state of fight or flight. I can never just be "down" or "off". I always have to be "on".

And finally, Jenna has been waking up constantly at night, and not easily going back to sleep. I think this is perhaps the biggest contributor to how I am feeling. On an average night I could be up at 10pm, midnight, and then from 2am-4am, trying to get her back to sleep. The lack of sleep over time has really started to take a toll on me. My brain feels foggy and I just feel so unmotivated during the day. It's like my energy has been zapped out of me. I typically have a lot more energy and motivation, and I hate feeling so tired.

Writing about how I've been feeling helps a lot. Just recognizing that I haven't been feeling well and that something needs to change, is a great starting point. One goal of mine is to implement "quiet time" again. I used to do this before Jenna was born, and I need to figure out a way to get a break in the middle of the day again. I know Lucas and Ryan could benefit from this. I just need to figure out the logistics of separating them and keeping them quiet! Physically, I know I need to get back to proper eating, along with some outside time in the sun. Adam and I are planning on doing another 21 Day Fix beginning next week, and I am looking forward to how my body will feel when fueled with healthy whole foods.

Have you experienced burnout as a Mom? What do you do when you feel unmotivated, tired, or in need of a break? Can you identify with any of this?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stitch Fix Review #22

I'm back with yet another Stitch Fix review! I was planning on taking a break for a few months until it was time to start requesting warmer weather clothes. But then I got a referral credit (thank you to whoever used my referral link!!), and the weather abruptly turned warm here. (Is Winter really over??). So I justified ordering another fix.

Unfortunately, I have been too busy taking care of sick kids lately to update my Pinterest board. And for the first time ever, I told my stylist to just surprise me. I gave her no direction whatsoever, which I realize is probably very frustrating for a stylist. I imagine it is incredibly difficult to pick out clothes for a stranger who you have never met. And then when they give you no hint of what they'd like.....well that makes it nearly impossible. So I shouldn't be surprised that I'm really torn over this month's fix. Please help me decide what to keep, if anything!

Owena Split Neck Tunic by Fun2Fun

This is a purple paisley print tunic made out of a silky soft material. I love the colors and I do like paisley. I'm just not sure I'm a tunic kind of girl. I like the idea of leggings, flats and a tunic in theory.....but do you think it makes me look pregnant? I'm also afraid I wouldn't wear the tunic very often because all I have to wear it with are my black leggings and black skinny jeans. I don't own denim skinny jeans that are slim enough to look right under a tunic. Verdict: UNDECIDED

Demi Pullover Sweater by 41Hawthorn

I wasn't in love with this sweater when I first saw it. It just looked too geometric, or too preppy, or too something. But once I tried it on I realized I loved the colors on me. Red is a color I don't own. And the other color is a brownish charcoal grey, which I ended up really loving. However, this sweater feels more appropriate for Fall then late Winter/Early Spring. I'm not sure I should be buying more sweaters right now when the high for today is 73 degrees. Also, this sweater is ever so slightly itchy. I checked the tag and it is 7% angora! There is no way my stylist could have known that rabbit hair irritates my skin. Verdict: UNDECIDED

Alyzander Split Back Knit Top by Papermoon

This is a really unique top with an open back. I would have to wear a white tank top underneath because as you can see, the back opens up to reveal my skin. I like the idea of this unique feature. However, the front of the top was just too wide and boxy. It did nothing for my figure, so this is an easy no. Verdict: RETURN

Renesme Graphic Print Faux Wrap Dress by 41 Hawthorn

This dress fits perfectly! It provides great coverage on top, and it narrows right where my natural waist is. It is such a flattering cut. However......I'm just not in love with the pattern! The colors are nice but they don't excite me. Now if this was a beautiful floral pattern or included some lighter colors, I'd be in love. But unfortunately the pattern just looks a little dated to me, like it is something I saw a few years ago. I know I'm being picky.....what do you all think? Verdict: UNDECIDED

Jina Back Slit Knit Top by Loveappella

Oh boy I saved the best, errr worst for last! This top is just all wrong. The don't like the pattern and I hate the fit. Because my chest is large, I need a lower neckline on tops, especially when they are fitted like this one. Just no. Verdict: RETURN

Alright, help a girl out please! Should I send everything back this month? Or should I keep the sweater, dress, or tunic?

As always, here is my referral link for you to try Stitch Fix for yourself!