Friday, April 29, 2016

Ryan: Six

Happy 6th Birthday Ryan! My dear sweet hold such a special place in my heart. Exactly 6 years ago today you made me a Mommy.

I had no idea what I was doing then.....

And I still don't!

The biggest change for you this past year was starting Kindergarten! You come home and say the silliest and cutest things sometimes. The other day you had to bring a stuffed animal to school. You chose your San Jose Sharks "Sharkie". But then you got a worried look on your face and said "But I can't bring him, he's not an animal!" I assured you that Sharkie was a shark. You replied "No he's a predator!"

You've always been a shy little guy, taking a long time to warm up to new people. While you are still very reserved in front of adults, I have noticed you making friends pretty easily in Kindergarten. You have a few buddies who you play with every day and they are turning you into such a goofy boy! You never used to be so silly, but now you are making up for all those years of being so serious. It has gotten you into a little bit of trouble at school, but I believe you are still a very sweet little boy.

You showed absolutely no interest in drawing or coloring during your first 5.5 years of life.....but Kindergarten has brought out your inner artist! You love sitting down and making cards (and envelopes) for people. You draw little pictures and try to spell out sentences. You love cutting, taping and stapling your creations, and you can become quite absorbed in what you are doing.

You lost your first two teeth last month. Every day I see you wiggling your other front teeth, hoping to find one that is loose. You are anxiously waiting to get more money from the tooth fairy. You are fascinated by money lately, so I guess it's good timing that we bought you your very first piggy bank for your birthday. You will soon be earning your very first allowance!
You are such a good big brother to Jenna! You are her protector. If Lucas is bothering her you are often the first to jump in and grab her. You talk to her in such a sweet little voice and she seems very content with you, as if she trusts you.

Favorite color: Turquoise
Favorite food: Burgers
Favorite drink: Spicy Water (mineral water)
Favorite place to go: Chuck E Cheese
Favorite toy: Hotwheels
Best friend: Jenna (aww!)
What you want to be when grow up: Policeman
Favorite subject in school: Nothing

We let you chew gum for the very first time last month. I don't know if 6 years was a long time to wait to let you chew gum, but that's just how it worked out! I could tell you felt so grown up with gum in your mouth. Sometimes we let you chew a piece on the weekends if we have some.

You still crawl into our bed every single night and sleep with Mommy and Daddy. Sometimes I don't even notice when you come in. Surely some day you will stop doing this, and it honestly doesn't really bother me. I rarely get time with just you, so it's nice waking up and seeing your little body snuggled up next to me.
Tonight you requested burgers and ice cream for dinner, so that's what we had!

When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday you said "one of those ipad things?". Sorry buddy, you're not getting an iPad!

The play structure that Adam built (more on that soon!) is the boys' main birthday present this year.

Tonight you opened up your very own pack of birthday cake flavored gum:

A Star Wars art set:

And your very first piggy bank, complete with $6 inside.

You were SO excited when you found money inside!!
Ryan you are such a perfect combination of silly big kid and sweet naïve little boy. I wish I could keep you like this forever. I love you so much birthday boy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On Weaning and Mastitis

Weaning Jenna has been on my mind for a little while was right around this age of 17 months when I weaned both my boys. I haven't been in too much of a hurry to wean Jenna. Partly because I'm aware of all the great physical and emotional benefits of breastfeeding. And partly because she may very well be my last baby.
But then I got mastitis last weekend and weaning suddenly sounded like a great idea! I had gone out for an evening with my sister and missed nursing Jenna to sleep. By the next afternoon I had the first signs of mastitis. It was also likely caused by what the internet refers to as "maternal fatigue". Due to middle of the night feeding and early wakeups for exercise, I had been averaging 4-5 hours of sleep per night. Being overly tired makes you more vulnerable to infection.This was the worst case of mastitis I've been hit with so far. I had the fever, fatigue, chills and obvious breast pain. But the rest of my body also ached really badly. It got so bad that just hearing my kids yelling would send shivers of pain through my body. At one point I broke down crying because I just felt so crummy and unfortunately when you're a Mom, you can never really be "off".

Thankfully a course of antibiotics have done wonders to make me feel like myself again. But then a few days ago Jenna got pretty sick. Congestion, cough, fever and vomiting. For a couple days all she wanted to do was be held and be nursed. And I was reminded of what a good thing breastfeeding can be. For Jenna, it was exactly what she needed to feel comfortable.

So I'm still planning on weaning sometime in the near future, but I wouldn't say I'm in a huge rush. Before I begin the process, I will likely talk to my doctor to see what I can do to prevent mastitis. I do NOT want to go through that again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My Two Talkers

I've got two chatterboxes on my hands! Lucas is chatterbox #1. I don't think it's surprising to anyone that he loves to talk. But did you know he LOVES to talk? When I'm home alone with just him and his little sister, he pretty much talks to me nonstop. He has so much going on in his little brain and it just keeps spilling out. And if I do not give him my FULL attention with direct eye contact, he gets angry. And he keeps repeating himself over and over and grabs my face with his hands until he has my attention. Lucas has honestly had me on the verge of tears once or twice because I honestly couldn't get him to stop talking. I absolutely love him to pieces but sometimes my brain wants a moment of silence so that I can have a thought of my own.

And here is chatterbox #2!

Jenna's older brothers barely talked at this age (17 months). Ryan in particular only said two words at the age of two, and ended up in speech therapy. So to hear Jenna trying to say so many words just astounds me! Every single day she is saying new words and names. I can casually say a word once or twice, and next thing I know she is repeating the word. She is like a little sponge soaking up everything I am saying. Here is a list of some of the words she says, but there are so many more I am forgetting. Some of these words she does not say clearly, but she is very close. For example she can't say the "c" sound, so "cup" sounds more like "tup".

mama mommy dada daddy ryan ry-ry auntie lyla bella emma up yea more hat eye hair outside no (na!) vroom car cup doggy kitty hot ball shoes sock banana (nana) potty play

What impresses me even more is how much Jenna understands these days. I can give her a simple command and she will usually understand and do it. For example, if I say "Jenna go get your shoes and sit on the stairs", she will do it. The other day I asked her if she wanted to help me with the laundry. She said "YEA!" and went to find the laundry hamper, which she then dragged into the laundry room. She will throw trash away for me, and go searching for items that I ask her to look for. I can ask her questions and she will answer with Yea or Na.

I just love the age my newest little talker is at. Jenna is getting smarter and cuter each day. And the things Lucas says! He has the most creative imagination and is so good at recounting things to me, whether they be TV shows, books or real life. Between the two of them there is a lot of talking going on in this house!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pizza-Making Class!

On Friday night I attended a pizza-making class with my sister and my niece, Emma. It was held at the Napoli Culinary Academy in Sacramento. The 3 of us had a lot of fun!
For the first portion of the class, the chef demonstrated how to make pizza, calzones, and stromboli. He included lots of little tips and tricks, including how to make a really easy white sauce for pizza. We were literally salivating by the time the samples came out to try!

We finally got to have a little fun in the kitchen.

Emma and I both made a Stromboli. I texted Adam this picture and he asked if I was making a burrito.

My sister tried her hand at a calzone.
 Her finished product:
 And my stromboli. Yum!
It was a fun girls' night out and I brought home some fabulous recipes for pizza dough and sauce. Now I just need Adam to build me an outdoor pizza oven and I'll be all set!

Friday, April 15, 2016

What I've Been Reading

I have always loved reading. When I was sick as a child, my Mom would let me sit in her bed with a huge stack of books to keep me entertained. As a teenager I remember always having a stack of books on my nightstand lined up to read. If you look at my nightstand today, it looks exactly the same.

These days I have very little time to read, but I try to reserve 10 minutes every night before bed to crack open a book. Not a Kindle or other electronic device, but an actual book. Reading relaxes me and allows me to temporarily escape to another place. I almost always prefer fiction, although I will read non-fiction if it is about a topic I am really interested in. But when I only have a few minute to read a book, I want it to be something entertaining, rather than another book telling me how to be a parent.

I get most of my books from the library. I request them online and then every few weeks I take the kids to the library to pick up my books. (And play with the awesome train table in the kids' area!)

Some of my favorite types of books to read are:

ANYTHING by Francine Rivers
Anything by Sophie Kinsella
Murder Mysteries (Mary Higgins Clark, James Patterson)
Fiction set during World War II
Amish mysteries and love stories
Cookbooks! (Do they count?)

I thought it would be fun to share what I've been reading lately. I'm hoping you can suggest new books for me to read because I'm always looking for good suggestions! Here's what I've been reading over the last couple months:

The Rumor is the first book I have read by Elin Hilderband, and I really enjoyed it! The main topic (infidelity) wasn't necessarily something I love to read about, but the storyline was so entertaining that I couldn't put it down. I'd like to read another book by this author to compare.

It's Not About the Broccoli. I absolutely devoured this book (haha get it?). It made so much sense, and I found myself wanting to use a highlighter to underline sections so I could remember them. It is all about the importance of teaching your kids healthy eating habits for life, even if this means making nutrition less of the immediate focus. While it hasn't solved my problems of how to feed my picky children, it has given me some new ideas to try. I'd definitely recommend this one!

14th Deadly Sin is the latest in James Patterson's women's murder mystery series. And it did not disappoint! I love a good murder mystery, and James Patterson's books are such quick reads because the chapters are so short. There is no extra "fluff"....they just get straight to the point, and I appreciate that. I love this series because it is set in San Francisco. Be warned though, there is some language in Patterson's books.

Ok please don't laugh at me. I'm a hopeless Bachelor and Bachelorette fan. It's my one guilty pleasure on TV! For the Right Reasons is written by the famous bachelor Sean Lowe. I was interested to read how he navigated the dating show as a Christian, and I loved reading about all the "behind the scenes" tidbits. If you are a Bachelor fan definitely pick this one up!

I mentioned this book in my previous post here. How to Live in Fear is written by the Pastor of our church! He takes us through his journey of fear, anxiety, and severe panic. It was fascinating to read. Not only because I know the author in real life, but also because I could relate to SO much of what he wrote. The book also includes a really practical section for dealing with anxiety in your life and how it relates to God. Great book!

Shopaholic to the Rescue is Sophie Kinsella's latest book in the Becky Bloomwood series. Her books make me laugh so much! While I wouldn't say this was my favorite in the series, it was very entertaining and easy to read. I can easily see this book becoming a movie.

All Dressed in White is the last book on my list and I literally finished it today. I've been reading books by Mary Higgins Clark for many many years. I would categorize them as very tame murder mysteries. Her books are starting to become pretty predictable for me, but I always like reading them.

I've already got a few books lined up to read next, but I would love to hear your suggestions! What should I read next? What is your favorite book?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ryan's 6-Year Checkup

Ryan had his 6-year checkup last week with his pediatrician. HOW is he almost 6?
Surprise surprise, Ryan is still pretty small! He was wearing heavy clothes and had just eaten a huge snack before being weighed.....but hey, he hit the 40 pound mark! Poor guy is the shortest in his class by far. I hope he rises above the 10th percentile at some point in his life. It sure makes him easy to carry around though! Here are his stats:

Weight: 40 lbs, 9 oz (20%)
Height: 42.7 inches (10%)
BMI: 58%

I asked the doctor if Ryan's small size could at all be attributed to his poor appetite. He said it's actually the reverse....Ryan's growth will drive his hunger level. I guess since he doesn't grow quickly he therefore doesn't get hungry very much. We discussed his continued pickiness when it comes to food, and the doctor said it sounds like a behavior issue, and nothing physically wrong.

Speaking of behavior, I addressed some concerns I have about Ryan's recent behavior. We agreed that something at school is probably bothering him and making him even more moody than usual. We also agreed that his little brother's behavior is affecting Ryan's behavior, so we will be following up on things with Lucas.

In true Ryan fashion, he refused to answer most of the doctor's questions. When the nurse came in to check his hearing he refused to make a sound to let her know when he was hearing something in his ears. It was frustrating but we finally decided his hearing is fine!

Thankfully Ryan didn't get any shots on this visit. The doctor prescribed him daily Zyrtec as well as a nasal spray for his awful allergies. They are already SO much better!

I'm so glad my big boy is healthy and strong!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Trunk Club Review #1

Okay, I know a few friends have been asking me about this so I'm excited to share this review today! I cheated on Stitch Fix and tried out a new styling service called Trunk Club. It is a personal styling service owned by Nordstrom.  It is similar to Stitch Fix in that you are sent clothes to try on, and you only pay for what you keep. However, there are some big differences between the two services!

-Trunk Club has NO styling fee. You literally pay nothing to have a trunk of surprise clothing sent to you. That right there was what sold me on trying it out. There's absolutely no risk.

-You receive anywhere between 5 and 20 items of clothing, from what I've read online. I only received 8 items this time, but I am hoping my next trunk includes more.

-You have a full 10 days to try on the clothes and decide what to keep and what to send back.

-Your trunk comes with a pre-paid UPS shipping label. So you schedule a pickup online and literally place your items to be returned on your front porch. Yep, doesn't get much easier than that!
Once you sign up for Trunk Club, you are matched with a stylist who will reach out to you via phone or email. You answer some questions about your style, body, and lifestyle. Then your stylist selects some items for you to preview online. If you don't want to receive some of the items you can "reject" them. Your stylist will then choose additional items to put in your trunk based on your feedback, but you won't be able to see these new items online. The element of surprise makes these styling services so fun!  Throughout this whole process you can send your stylist a message on the Trunk Club website anytime, and they will do their best to get back to you.

Because Trunk Club is owned by Nordstrom, they do carry more expensive brands. When I initially spoke with my stylist I let her know I have a lower budget, and that I wasn't sure Trunk Club carried brands I could afford. She assured me she would be able to find some affordable options for me, and I was pleased to see some lower-priced items in my trunk.
 Here is what I received in my first trunk!

Transcend-Verdugo Crop Jeans Nadeen by Paige Denim
I had told my stylist that I have a hard time finding jeans that don't sag off of me, so she told me she would send a premium pair of jeans for me to try. She said I could literally wear them for a few weeks before needing to wash them, and they would NOT sag or stretch. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to prove this theory wrong,  These jeans were sent in my correct size but were a bit snug and also too low-waisted for my body type. So they just didn't fit properly. However, I must note that these jeans were $179!! I think that's a typical price for "premium denim". It was fun to try them on but my budget just can't afford jeans at that price.

Neta Leather Wedge Sandal by Hinge
I had asked my stylist to send me some low-heeled strappy wedges, and the did a great job finding some. I just wasn't crazy about the color of these. I also found some very similar wedges at Payless the day before these arrived. I'm not sure if I'm keeping those either. You can see the Payless shoes below:
I don't know, they kind of remind me of hiking boots. Not a good look for wedges. They will probably be returned.

Clarissa Wedge Sandal by TOMS

These are the other pair of wedges I was sent. I've never owned a pair of TOMS but I've heard they are extremely comfy. And these were definitely comfortable! However, they just felt too high. Having little kids means I need to be ready to sprint at a moment's notice. I realize wedges aren't meant to run in, but I really think I can find a comfortable and practical pair. My beloved pair of blue peep-toe wedges literally fell apart the other day, so I'm on the hunt!

Heleen Floral Print Fit and Flare Midi Dress by BB Dakota
I'm looking for some casual dresses to wear to church or just to wear on a regular summer day. This was pretty but just just too formal for me.
 Sleeveless Drawstring Waist Dress by Caslon

This dress was better because it was more casual. However, I own a light denim romper that looks very similar to this. Also, I'm not a fan of the drawstring waistline because it just makes me look baggy.

Print Cotton Tunic Dress by Caslon
 Hmmm is it a dress or a nightgown? I love plaid but apparently not on dresses. Another fail.

I was also sent two pairs of leggings, per my request. Neither of them were quite right. So in the end I sent everything back to Trunk Club. (Without even leaving my house!) I'm hopeful that with a little feedback, my stylist can find some items more in line with my style. I'm going to give it one more try before giving up. There's really nothing to lose!

Let me know if you decide to try Trunk Club! I'm still figuring out how their referral system works, but I would sure appreciate it if you used my code when you sign up.