Monday, May 30, 2016

This Post is Contagious

It's beginning to feel like my kids have been sick forever. I guess that's being dramatic....this round of germs have only been here about 12 days.

Ryan got a stomach virus almost 2 weeks ago that lasted over a week. When he was in the middle of that, Lucas contracted Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Poor guy. He didn't open his mouth for 4 solid days. Our house was so quiet! Lucas had big sores in his mouth that seemed quite painful. He would start crying if he even breathed through his mouth. By day 4 he wasn't drinking or going to the bathroom at all, so I took him to the ER for dehydration. As I was carrying him in, I realized it was our 5th ER trip since we moved here 18 months ago. What is wrong with us???

Oh and while all this was going on, Adam sliced the palm of hand open at work (his dominant hand!) and had to get stitches.

Lucas got some magic mouthwash to numb his mouth and that stuff truly was magic.

Once Lucas got a little ice cream in him on Friday he began to feel better....just as Jenna was breaking out in the HFM rash. Her rash seems much worse than Lucas', although her mouth doesn't seem to be bothering her much. Her diaper area looks awful. She has had a few sleepless nights and clingy fussy days, but today she seem to be in a better mood.

Just in time for Lucas to be sick again. His tummy started bothering him last night and he started throwing up this morning. He also has a cough. I am just baffled. Is this the stomach virus Ryan had almost two weeks ago, or something totally different? Jenna's tummy is also bothering her, so maybe it is an awful side effect of the Hand Foot and Mouth virus?

My head is spinning from trying to remember who has had what, who is contagious, who can eat, who needs to stick to Gatorade, which set of sheets haven't been sprayed with Lysol yet......speaking of which, good thing I stocked up on Gatorade and Lysol at the store last week. I feel germy just writing all of this. When will we all be healthy for more than 2 weeks at a time?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jenna: 18 Months

Jenna Mae, you have so much personality these days! You've gone from this sweet quiet little baby:
To a little girl with a bit of attitude and a lot of sugary sweetness!

At 18 months of age you LIKE: being outside, rough-housing with your brothers, sweet foods, jumping in the trampoline, putting on shoes, climbing on everything, sippy cups

You DISLIKE: Your highchair, diaper changes, getting dressed
You are an incredibly sweet and fun little girl! You give kisses and I just taught you to hug. You stretch out your arms really wide and run into my arms. You also just started saying "sorry" anytime someone gets hurt or if you hear me telling the boys to say sorry.
Like your brother Lucas, you love attention. You demand my attention constantly, and you grab my face and shriek "MAMA!" if I am not paying attention to you. You even seek out attention from others. I see you watching people's faces, trying to get them to notice you and interact with you. You seem to have a little bit of Ryan's shyness and a little bit of Lucas' outgoing nature. You're perfectly in the middle!
You are throwing more and more food on the floor and you've begun to reject your highchair. Sometimes you scream and kick so I can't put you in. You would rather be on the move playing. When you do eat, some of your favorite foods are: scrambled eggs, salted sunflower seeds, yogurt, blueberries, rice and any sort of dessert.
You continue to impress me with how aware you are of everything. It's like you're listening to and understanding everything I say! Your comprehension and communication are lightyears beyond your brothers' at this age. You can complete most 1-step commands, such as going to retrieve items, putting items away, or helping me clean. (you love sweeping and wiping things) The other day I called to Ryan to get his cleats on  because it was time to go. You walked over to the shoe basket, brought Ryan his shoes, and then sat down to put on yours. What a smarty pants!
Daddy calls you stinker shing or little shing. I call you embarrassing names like honeybuns, sweet cheeks, and goo-goo.
You love playing with balls, and you're getting pretty good at kicking and throwing. You do have a baby doll that we got you for Easter, who you call "dolly". Unfortunately your naughty brothers got ahold of her one day and she hasn't been the same since. You still love her though!
 Your hair reminds me a lot of Ryan's at this age. Kind of thin and whispy, with wavy wings on the side.
Unfortunately you have a mullet, and I'm not quite sure what to do about it!

You have been sleeping really well lately. Falling asleep being nursed by 8pm, then sleeping until about 7am, usually with only 1 wakeup. You take a daily 1.5-2 hour nap.
As sweet as you are, you are developing a little naughty streak. One of your favorite words is "NAH!" (no). You shriek it with your cute little cartoon voice, so it's hard to take you seriously. But you do get your point across. Just the other day I told you it was time to get out of the trampoline. You pushed out your lips, crossed your arms over your chest and said NAH! Where on earth did you learn to do that?? I then asked you to stick out your lips for the camera and here is what I got......
I thank God every day for giving me a little girl to raise. You are so much fun and we adore having you in our family. I am anxious to see what you are like at 2! (But please slow are growing too fast!) Love you!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our New Play Structure!

It's finally time to reveal Adam's latest woodworking project!

One of the things we love about this house is the large "bonus" room upstairs that we currently use as a playroom. It is big and wide open and has a large window. We spend a lot of time playing up there when it is too hot or raining outside. A while ago Adam got the idea to build a play structure in this room, but I said no. I loved all the open space in the playroom, and I didn't want to lose it.

Well he eventually wore me down and convinced me that there would still be plenty of space in the room for toys and playing. Once I gave Adam the OK, he got to work and the structure started to come together really quickly!

Our initial idea was a two-story structure with a slide and a ladder. After looking online our plans started to evolve.....

It isn't quite finished, but here is our play structure today!

 We bought the yellow slide online and installed it. Then a few weeks later Adam got one for free from a job he was working on! So now we have two.

There is still plenty of play area in the room:
 Adam ended up building a little attachment so the kids could climb up on the side. Our original idea was to buy rock wall rocks and attach so the boys could climb up on those. But who would have guessed they were so expensive and difficult to find? We ended up buying a rope and attaching it on the top. (don't worry, we plan on anchoring it to the bottom. I can just envision all sorts of accidents with a loose rope) On the actual structure are temporary pieces of wood for them to climb up and grip with their feet. A rock wall would have been so fun though!

Underneath this side structure is a little hiding spot for the kids.
 Inside the main structure we painted a piece of plywood with chalkboard paint.
One neat thing about this is that Adam built it to fit twin size mattresses. So if the boys wanted to use this as a bunk bed someday, they could do that!

Our next plans are to add color to the play structure. In addition to painting it, we are enlisting my artistic nephew to paint some sort of mural on the wall behind it. We are open to ideas! We are thinking some sort of tree house or jungle feel, but we haven't decided yet.
 So there you go....our new play structure! Want to come over and play?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Day In The Life 5/16/16

I apologize that this post doesn't contain photos. The camera on my phone stopped working!! This day was a bit busier than usual. I felt like we were running around all day.

5:30 - My alarm goes off (I was planning on doing a 21 Day Fix workout) but I was up most of the night with a pounding headache. It also doesn't help that Ryan was sleeping in our bed, I could hear Lucas coughing a lot during the night, and I was up at 4am with Jenna. So I sleep in another 45 minutes instead.

6:15 - I throw on some workout clothes. I've started picking out my weekday outfits in advance, on Sunday nights. This makes getting dressed in the morning so quick and easy. Today's outfit is supposed to be my mint skinny jeans and a cute black tank top.

6:30 - I hurry to pack Adam's food in his lunchbox for him. He's working in the Bay Area today so he needs to get on the road. I also fix my breakfast of a boiled egg and a smoothie. (banana, almond milk, fresh mango, plain yogurt, ground flaxseed) I eat it while reading the daily Proverbs 31 Ministries devotional on my computer.

6:50 - Both boys are up! I fix their breakfast and pack up Ryan's backpack. He doesn't want to go to school (as usual), so I have to think of something exciting to encourage him to go. Today they have baby chicks that just hatched in his classroom, so that cheers him up.

7:15 - Jenna is up. I get Ryan dressed and feed Jenna and myself. We're out the door in 20 minutes to walk to school.

7:50 - Ryan goes into school and I push the two littles in the double stroller on a walk. We end up walking to the "sand park", which is a good 15 minute walk. Neither child is wearing shoes and both are still in their jammies, but I let them out to play for a while because the entire park is covered in sand. The weather is beautiful!

9:00 - We arrive back home. I start a load of laundry, empty all the trash cans, get the kids dressed, make my bed and clean up the bedrooms. I vacuum downstairs and then start on the kitchen. While I do dishes Jenna sits in her highchair eating apple slices dipped in peanut butter. She ends up COVERED in peanut butter but she sure loved this snack! I share a little of her snack. Meanwhile Lucas jabbers nonstop about bad guys and light sabers. I decide to stay in my workout clothes for the day because there's no time to shower.

10:30 - We are headed out again. We swing by the USPS mailbox to return my Stitch Fix package. Next we go to a nearby store to look for a few presents. It is called Deer Creek Farm and they sell an assortment of antique looking decorations, as well as baby items, kitchen items and outdoor things. We find a gift for 1 of the 3 people on our list. Lucas has a hard time not touching everything but overall he behaves pretty well! On the way home the AC in my car is acting strange and not working properly. Great.

11:30 - I turn on The Lion Guard for Lucas to watch while I put Jenna down for her nap. She resists and I end up leaving her in her crib crying, hoping she will fall asleep soon. I have to pick up Ryan from school at 1:20 so I always have to put her down early enough to get a decent nap before then. She finally falls asleep right at noon.

12:00 - Lucas eats an applesauce pouch and then pees all over the bathroom floor. He has been having a TON of accidents lately. I run upstairs to get him new clothes and remember I need to wash Ryan's baseball uniform for today's game. I start a load of the boys' laundry and get the pee cleaned up.

12:15 - I'm starving. I throw our last piece of cod into the oven with some spices on top. On the side I fix a quick salad of shredded cabbage, tomatoes and avocado. Lucas goes outside with his squirt gun. I put dinner in the crockpot. It's a smoked sausage soup that I assembled last month and put in the freezer. One of my friends made this a couple years ago for our freezer swap group (I miss that so much!!) and Adam and I really enjoyed it then. I'm hoping it's as good this time!

12:30 - I sit down to eat and crack open my book. This one is SO good and I'm hoping for 10 minutes of quiet to eat and read. I manage to read a few pages but then Lucas sees a fly in the house and decides he is deathly afraid of it. I get it out of the house but Lucas insists on practically sitting on my lap while I eat lunch. It's pretty cute. The bonus is snagging a few of his potato chips!

12:45 - I head out front to quickly clean out my car. Lucas changes into his rain boots to help me. (makes perfect sense, right?) I find 6 old sippy cups and lots of other forgotten "treasures" in the car. How do parents keep their car clean? Or do they?? We also water our hibiscus.....the driveway...the cars....and Lucas. Hey I guess he knew what he was doing when he put on his rainboots!

1:15 - I wake up Jenna and we walk over to school to get Ryan. At home he eats a granola bar while I quiz him on his sight words. Then we're out the door again to take Ryan to his friend's house! I can't believe we're at the stage where I drop my child off at someone's house and just leave him. He's getting so big!

2:00 - Since we're already out, I swing by the grocery store with Lucas and Jenna. I feel like we've been spending a fortune lately on groceries. I guess that's what happens when you go to WinCo, Costco and Safeway all in one week! We're pretty well stocked up but we need a few basics to get through the week. We buy cheese, strawberries, bananas, eggs and salami. We also sample some Aidell's meatballs (carmelized onion) and purchase those as well. Jenna LOVED the sample! The sample lady commented that Lucas seemed like he was made of vinegar. Ahhh I guess? He was actually pretty well behaved!

3:00 - I pull up in our driveway and quickly put away the perishables. My headache is starting to come back so I grab some iced tea and a peanut butter chocolate Larabar. (delicious!) before driving to pick up Ryan.

3:30 - Back at home I realize that Ryan's baseball clothes are still in the washing machine so I switch them and hope they dry in time! I let the boys relax and watch some TV. All 3 kids eat bowls of cereal while I make a quick batch of cornbread to have later with dinner. I use this recipe:

Lucas starts telling me his throat hurts, but he says it only hurts when he doesn't swallow. Hmmm I really hope he's not getting sick.

4:15 - I load up the car for baseball. 3 sippy cups, bat, helmet, glove, hat, stroller, change of clothes for Lucas, diapers and wipes. 3 kids and 1 mom. As we're getting in the car Ryan asks me why I washed his baseball uniform. He tells me "baseball clothes are supposed to stay dirty!"

5:00 - While I'm at baseball guess who walks up to me? My Stitch Fix stylist! We have never met in person, even though we both live in Rocklin. It is so nice to finally talk to her.

5:30 - Even though Adam had a 2-hour commute today, he managed to get back in time to see part of Ryan's game! He met us on the fields and helped me watch Jenna and Lucas. Lucas seems really tired and he keeps laying down on the grass in the shade. Jenna falls and scrapes up half her face. Ryan has a good game. He only has 1 game left this season!

6:15 - Ryan gets a ticket after his game to use at the snack bar. I try to convince him to use it on a hot dog, but he's got his heart set on an icee pop. I let him get it but we agree he will eat it after school tomorrow.

6:45 - We are finally home! I hurry to get dinner on the table since it is practically bedtime. We're having the crockpot sausage soup, which is full of delicious veggies, along with the cornbread I made earlier and some strawberries. Lucas eats 1 bite of strawberry, Jenna eats a little cornbread, and Ryan eats nothing.

7:00 - While I clean up from dinner Ryan does his online reading homework. Lucas is bothering him so Adam intervenes and gets attacked by Lucas. Lucas gets sent to his room but he won't calm down. I realize Lucas is overly tired by this point. I go up to relieve Adam, and I'm able to get Lucas calm. Adam gets Jenna ready for bed.

7:30 - I'm about to put Jenna down when I realize Ryan probably really needed a shower tonight. Oops. Adam is already getting the boys settled in bed, so the shower will have to wait until tomorrow. I rock and nurse Jenna but she doesn't fall asleep. I finally place her in her crib and she starts howling as I leave the room.

8:00 - I head downstairs and pick up all the random sippy cups, bowls, dirty laundry, and toys scattered everywhere. I sweep the floors, wash more dishes, wipe down the counters, and pack lunches for Adam and Ryan. I snack on a couple crackers and cheese while I'm preparing their food. I also crack some eggs and get out a few ingredients for breakfast in the morning. I'm hoping to actually feed Adam tomorrow before work, since I had to send him off hungry today. I'm planning on making scrambled eggs with black beans, salsa and avocado. It helps to do as much as possible the night before.

8:45 - I head back upstairs and find Adam sound asleep. He wakes up and helps me put away a couple loads of laundry. I finally take a shower, although Jenna wakes up halfway through. Adam is able to talk to her over the monitor and get her back to sleep.

9:30 - I'd love to paint my nails but I'm tired so I get in to bed to read my book. I'm hoping to get up early enough to workout tomorrow morning. I also plan on staying home tomorrow morning and doing some baking with Lucas. Today was busy so I feel like we need more downtime tomorrow. Good night!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Exercise: NOT All Or Nothing

I've realized something about myself. I tend to be all or nothing when it comes to exercise. To be honest, I really don't enjoy it. I'm not a super high energy person, and running around getting sweaty just doesn't feel pleasant. My lungs are weak and I'm slow. If I'm going to commit to exercising regularly, like I do when on the 21 Day Fix, then I'm ALL IN. But when I'm not on some sort of specific diet or plan? I'm ALL OUT. (I tend to be this way about sugar too!)

I don't feel like this yo-yoing is very healthy. I think a far better approach would be to try and get a little exercise on most days. And to eat mostly healthy foods in moderation most days. (Including sugar!) But for some reason I've developed this all or nothing mentality. If I can't do it perfectly or if I can't commit to exercising multiple days in a row, I just give up. It's like I'm waiting for the circumstances to be perfect. The problem with that is that things will never be perfect! I will always have interruptions, sickness, busyness, laziness, etc etc.

So I've been trying really hard to make exercise more of a lifestyle and regular habit. I'm trying to remember that something is better than nothing! If all I can do is a 10 minute walk with the kids, then there's no reason I shouldn't do that. It's better than nothing. I've been recording my workouts this week. They may not seem like much to those of you who exercise consistently, but for me it's a lot.

5/9: 15 minute walk/run
5/10: 15 minute walk/run
5/11: 20 minute run
5/12: 30 minute walk w/ double stroller, 10 minute AB Fix
5/13: 21 Day Fix Dirty 30 Workout

Exercise for me needs to be either early in the morning or late in the evening. I hate the thought of stopping my work midday to change, get all sweaty, and then shower and change again.

I've been thinking ahead to next month when I'll have all 3 kids home with me all day. I'm determined to find a way to fit in regular exercise, but I haven't quite figured out the logistics. An early morning walk with the kids sounds fun, but I certainly can't fit all 3 into the double stroller. Ryan could ride his bike, but then Lucas would want to ride as well. And this could very likely lead to lots of stopping, throwing said bike into the street, and getting into fights over who is faster. Not that I know from experience or anything......

I'll have to experiment to see what works. Because I do want to make it work. Exercise always makes me feel better mentally and physically. And it gives me a boost of temporary energy! Do you exercise regularly? How do you make it a habit?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Saying I'm Sorry

We've been having a little trouble around here lately with the words "I'm sorry". Whenever my boys do something wrong or hurt someone, I ask them to say sorry. Ryan has a stubborn streak, but he will generally say sorry and then move on. Lucas, however, takes stubborn to a whole new level.

Now that Lucas is almost 4 I feel like he's mature enough to understand the general sense of being sorry. I don't think he can mentally put himself in someone else's shoes and ponder how they may feel. But I do think he can understand that saying sorry helps to make things better, and then prompts an "I forgive you". (We try to always offer forgiveness after one of our children has been in trouble, once they apologize).
So we've really been cracking down lately on getting Lucas to apologize after he has misbehaved. He generally gets a timeout after he has hurt someone or disobeyed. Once the timeout is over I ask him to apologize. And about half the time he refuses. At this point I do not let him come out and play with us until he can say the words "I'm sorry". Let me tell you, Lucas does not back down easily! This leads to more tantrums and screaming and destroying things.  I don't want to break his stubborn spirit, but I do want to teach him some important lessons here. Like sometimes you need to do things even when they are hard. And you always obey Mommy and Daddy, even when you don't want to.

As an example, Lucas and I had a faceoff yesterday for almost two hours. He had hurt Ryan and then hit me repeatedly when I went to put him in a timeout. After he had calmed down a little bit he refused to apologize. He knew that was all he needed to do to be forgiven and come out and play. But he kept shouting "NO NEVER! I WON'T SAY SORRY". I must admit, after an hour of this I wanted to give up. But I didn't....and finally just before the 2 hour mark of tantruming he ran up to me and gave me a hug and said sorry.

Ugh nobody ever said this parenting thing was easy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Stitch Fix Review #24

Stitch Fix number 24 was quite possibly my favorite fix ever! I absolutely loved the styles and colors and details of every piece in my box this month. I left an in-depth note to my stylist of what I was looking for this month, and she did a terrific job picking out items that she knew I'd love. I requested casual summer items such as tanks, shorts, a pair of shoes, and a maxi dress. I'm so sad that my stylist Heather is leaving Stitch Fix....she has been my stylist for over a year now! At least she went out with a bang. If not for a few fit issues, I'd be very tempted to keep this entire box.

This cute little bag contains my first ever pair of shoes from Stitch Fix!

Here is what Heather wrote to me this month: "Hi Stephanie! Happy spring! I saw the maxi dress you pinned (thank you for telling me you didn't like the pattern!), I was able to find you the same dress in a different pattern that I think will be a great addition to your summer wardrobe. Try it on with the chambray sandals by Toms for a classic warm weather look! I also found you a fun pair of shorts by Level 99. At first glance, they may be a bit out of your comfort zone but they have a high waist and no cuff that I know you will love. The pattern will also add some interest to your wardrobe without being too obvious. Try them on with your favorite t-shirt and the sandals while watching baseball. Or add some edge to the outfit with the mesh knit top by Loveappella. I also found you a lightweight tank with the embroidered details you love, pair it with your cutoffs! Enjoy! Heather"

Here are the goodies that were sent in this fix:

Zoe Chambray Sandals by Toms
In preparation for this fix, I dug out all my spring/summer shoes from my closet and snapped a photo. I shared it with my stylist and asked her to send me whatever pair of shoes she thought I might be missing. I'm a very practical girl, and I only buy things if I feel like they fill a void in my closet. When these Toms sandals arrived, I was a bit hesitant at first. Adam thought they looked a little old-ladyish, while I actually think they have a very youthful look to them. After wearing them around the house I discovered how comfortable they are! Here's the thing about my feet. They are big. (size 9.5 or 10). They are wide. And I have no arch so my feet are flat. Adam affectionately refers to them as my flippers. It's hard to find cute and comfortable shoes! But I think I'm a new fan of Toms shoes because these are so comfy! Status: KEEPING

Cindie Linen Printed Short by Level 99

Heather mentioned that these floral shorts might push me out of my comfort zone, but I actually love printed shorts! I just bought my first pair last week at TJ Maxx, although they look completely different than these. I was excited to try these on because I could definitely see myself wearing them. In hindsight I should have thrown on a black or grey t-shirt, because the outfit I'm wearing above just doesn't look right. I do love the style card outfit where they pair the shorts with a chambray shirt, but alas, I don't own one! Anyways, these shorts were cute but too large on me. I could pull them on and off without unbuttoning them. Status: RETURNING

Leisner Mesh Shoulder Knit Top by Loveappella

I pinned a ton of white shirts to my Pinterest Board that have interesting details, so it's no surprise that my stylist sent this to me. I love the way a bright white shirt looks with colored bottoms, so I tried it on with my orange shorts. I thought the Toms shoes also looked cute with the whole outfit. While I loved the style and versatility of this top, it just wasn't a flattering fit on me. It was a little too clingy around my midsection. I heard somewhere that the most flattering pose for taking pictures is to stand like a chicken, where you kind of stick out your behind and your chest and jut your chin forward. I was demonstrating this to Adam (see middle photo above), and he started making chicken noises. We ended up with a lot of really bad photos from this shoot! Status: RETURNING

Raimond Embroidered Detail Tank by THML
I love this top! I love anything with embroidered detail and I think Heather picked up on that from my Pinterest board. I can see myself wearing this shirt with white jeans, white shorts, or light denim shorts. It might even look cute with my orange shorts. In the Fall I think it would like nice underneath my mustard colored cardigan, with jeans and some brown boots. I love it and plan on wearing it often! Status: KEEPING

Shay Knit Maxi Dress by Gilli

Ok so here's the story on this beautiful dress. I have seen this dress in a variety of colors and patterns and always thought it would be a flattering cut on me. The top is supportive, it has the high waistband that I love. I was sure this would be a keeper, but once I tried it on it didn't look as perfect as I imagined. The first photo above looks cute. But if I stand face-on the material poofs out right at my hips, making me look more hippy. You can see what I mean in the last photo above. I tried covering this part up with my hands but obviously I'm not going to stand like that. This dress would look perfect with my denim jacket, but again, I'm not going to walk around covered up in a jacket all day. What do you think? I just can't decide if the hip area makes me look too wide. The dress itself is insanely comfortable and pretty. Status: UNDECIDED
One awesome incentive to keep everything in your Stitch Fix box is the 25% discount. I want to keep 2 items from this box (sandals and blue shirt). If I add on the maxi dress, those 3 items they end up being about the same price as keeping all 5 items and getting the discount. So I'm considering trying to sell the 2 items I do not want to keep. (The white shirt and the patterned shorts). I'm still undecided on the dress. There is a very active group on Facebook that buys and sells Stitch Fix items amongst each other, so I may see if anyone there wants to buy my unwanted items.

If you decide to try Stitch Fix for yourself would you please consider using my referral link?