Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016

I'm finally sharing some pictures from our Christmas 2016.....better late than never, right?

On Christmas Eve Daddy taught the kids all about prepping a raw turkey. They were both fascinated and grossed out.
We tried to get a picture of all 3 kids before church but it proved impossible. I did get a really cute one of the boys!
 And a pouty one of Jenna, being a 2-year-old.
 After church we enjoyed a really yummy turkey dinner with our Grandma Jan. Then I got the kids in their Christmas jammies and we read about the birth of Jesus from the Bible.
This was a really fun Christmas because the boys were both old enough to be really excited about Santa. And Jenna just copies everything her brothers do, so she was just as excited. We put out milk and cookies for Santa, as well as a carrot for Rudolph.
 Christmas morning stockings!!
Santa came! Every year we worry that we don't have enough for the kids, and then somehow it always ends up feeling like too much. It's hard to strike a balance between creating a fun Christmas for our kids, and teaching them about being grateful.
Santa brought a box of 1500 legos! The boys also got their first nerf guns, a doctor's kit, RC boats, a couple board games, and some really nice jackets, among other things.
 Jenna was spoiled with a tricycle, a cute apron, and a new kitchen!

 We spent most of the day (and these past few days) playing with new toys.

My parents spent Christmas evening with us and we feasted on more yummy food.

We were very blessed this Christmas! It's hard to believe we will be a family of 6 next year!

Monday, December 19, 2016

30 Weeks Pregnant

Well here I am 30 weeks pregnant. 3/4 of the way there! In case you can't tell, I've kind of given up on my appearance. Between sick kids , freezing temps, and just feeling pregnant and tired, I've been looking rough lately!
Here are my latest symptoms for pregnancy #4:

These past few weeks my Braxton hicks contractions have really been picking up. Sometimes they are totally random and my belly gets rock hard out of nowhere. Other times I can bring them on by pushing the double stroller or chasing after the kids or doing anything physical.

I had my first experience with heartburn this pregnancy last week. I had had a Jamba Juice smoothie for dinner that had lots of orange juice in it. I woke up at midnight with horrible burning in my esophagus. After tossing and turning for a while I finally got up and sat on the couch for about an hour drinking a glass of milk, which helped. Since then I have noticed a little bit of heartburn if I let myself get too hungry.

Every night when I take off my socks they have left imprints on my lower legs. Gotta love the water retention. If I'm on my feet too long I get cankles. The other day it was pouring rain so I wore my rainboots to pick up Ryan from school. When we got home I couldn't get them off. They were completely stuck on my calves. I eventually had to lay down and have Ryan pull them off, which took forever. I thought I was going to have to cut them off!

I did my 1-hour glucose test last week and my results were fine. My blood sugar was 79 one hour after drinking the glucose. They also did a complete blood test, and a few of my numbers came back lower than the normal range, indicating low iron. Maybe that's why I've been so tired? I've had quite a few nights lately where I've gone to bed with the kids at 8pm and still been tired the next day. I'm going to start taking a low dose of iron and see if that helps. I don't think I've ever had low iron before in my life, but I know it's common during pregnancy.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Our December So Far

If I had to give the last few weeks a theme, it would be "Let It Go". I feel like I always have these expectations about the Christmas season, and then I'm reminded of what reality is like with young children.

I wanted to attend various Christmas events at church. I pictured us strolling the local streets to look at Christmas lights. I imagined myself being done with shopping by now. I thought maybe we'd even squeeze in a trip to the snow. And surely I'd find time to mail out beautiful Christmas cards.

I've had to let it all go.

We've all had a lingering cold for about a month now. It has started to go away for a few of us at various times, and then returned. Jenna even had to get a chest x-ray a few weeks ago to check for pneumonia. Earlier this week I noticed Lucas' cough was pretty persistent, so I took him to the doctor. He listened to one breath and said "Oh yea, that's all I need to hear. He's wheezing like crazy". I was surprised, since Lucas has been on two daily inhalers for the last few months. His doctor said if his asthma was being controlled by the inhalers, he wouldn't be wheezing so badly. So he is now on a daily pill called Singulair. And this week he has been on oral steroids. The doctor had us give him a double dose the first night. And let me tell you.....Lucas on steroids is NUTS. Like we're walking to school and all of a sudden he jumps out of the stroller and runs in to the middle of the street. Or he will randomly grab Jenna and start shaking her violently. Or he will rush at me and start slamming his head into my stomach. It's been an interesting week.

We tried to look at Christmas lights a couple weeks ago but Ryan started getting carsick after a few blocks so we had to cut that short. And Adam and I went out Christmas shopping today for the first time this month. I feel so behind!
Despite all the sickness we have managed to squeeze in a few fun things this month.

I need to remind myself that this month will feel magical for the kids despite a few setbacks. They don't care that I didn't send out Christmas cards. They aren't missing the Elf on the Shelf because they have no clue who he even is. They don't mind that the house was a disaster during the week that I baked Christmas cookies. They just love eating my frosted sugar cookies and singing along while I try to play Christmas songs on the piano without any sheet music.

And most importantly, as Ryan keeps reminding all of us: "It's almost God's birthday!"

Monday, December 12, 2016

Our Crowded Bed

I've created a monster. She's 2, she's cute, and really smart. But she will no longer sleep in her crib!
It started a few weeks ago. Jenna started waking up soon after falling asleep, and she seemed really frightened. I would go into her room and she would be shaking and seemed genuinely afraid of something. When I couldn't calm her down, I ended up letting her sleep in our bed a couple times. I was tired, and it was just easier. She felt comfortable and fell right asleep.

Then Jenna got pretty sick a few weeks ago, and remained sick until now. She was flat out refusing to go to sleep in her crib, screaming and crying and making her cough worse. I can't let my sick child cry when I know they're feeling so crummy. So I continued to let her sleep in our bed. She would get a smile on her face as soon as I placed her on our pillows. I felt better knowing she was nearby so I could watch over her.

But then the boys got sick and once again I started allowing the sickest ones into our bed at night. I worry a lot about them at night when they're sick, and we're all able to sleep better when they're near me. This was fine, except Jenna still wouldn't go back in her bed, even as she got better. And even though we have a King size bed, it's just not big enough for 5 people!

At one point the other night it was Adam on the edge, Jenna next to him, then me, and then Lucas on the other side next to the humidifier. Ryan came into our bed around 11pm and slept at the foot of the bed under our quilt. So I was sandwiched between two kids with my big belly, and I wasn't even able to stretch out my legs because Ryan was there.

Parenting would be a lot easier if kids would sleep through the night in their own beds!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

28 Week Prenatal Checkup

It's official. This baby is growing! I had my 28-week prenatal checkup this week and the scale confirmed what I've been feeling. All of a sudden my belly (and whole body) feels really big.

Total Weight Gain: 23 pounds
Blood Pressure: 103/50

Yep, that's a 8-pound gain in 4 weeks. And here I was thinking this would be a low-gain pregnancy. Ha!

This morning I pulled out my rainboots and was really frustrated to realize they barely fit over my calves! They fit fine a few weeks ago. I asked my doctor if I could already be retaining water and she said it could be that, or just good old weight gain. But in her words, I'm "perfect".

This baby kicks a LOT. I'm pretty sure he's my strongest baby in-womb. The acrobatics he's been doing lately are crazy!

I got my whooping cough vaccine today. I also got scolded by my doctor because I am overdue for taking my 1-hour glucose test. I've been putting it off because hauling kids to the lab and then making them sit for an hour doesn't sound appealing at all. But I really need to do it this week.

Overall I'm feeling okay, but I have pretty low energy most of the time. It's just hard to do a lot and be really active. I get tired and want to just sit and rest. I've also been up at night a lot for the past month with sick kids, and as a result I feel really groggy during the day. Feeling so tired and lazy makes me feel guilty. Like I should be trying harder and pushing myself more. And maybe I should. But I distinctly remember feeling this way with my other pregnancies. Wondering what's wrong with me, and why I feel so unmotivated to move. And then a few months after giving birth I would suddenly realize I had my energy back, and I felt more normal. It was always this AHA moment of "Oh yea, this is what it feels like to feel normal and energized. No wonder pregnancy felt so hard. I really didn't have a lot of energy!" So I'm trying to just roll with it and give myself a break, and remember that after the baby is here I will eventually feel more like myself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jenna's 2-Year Checkup

Jenna had her 2-Year checkup with her doctor this week, now that she is finally getting better after being sick since her birthday! Everything went well at her appointment, and here are her growth stats:

Weight: 26 lbs, 3 oz (42%)
Height: 2' 11'' (84%)

Jenna weighs exactly the same as Lucas at 2 years, which is 2 pounds heavier than Ryan at the same age.

I asked the doctor about Jenna's cradle cap, which I assumed would have gone away by now. He said it is basically a pediatric form of dandruff, so I can use any dandruff shampoo on her head a couple times a week. I'm going to start trying that immediately, because her poor head is so flaky! Has anyone else used something to successfully get rid of cradle cap, once their child had hair?
Jenna is hitting all her milestones and right on track for every category. The only other thing I discussed with my doctor was how often my kids seem to get sick. He assured me that it sounds completely normal, especially since they are young and exposed to other kids at school. He said it is actually good to build their immune systems at this age with lots of viruses, because it usually leads to a healthier adulthood. Okay, so someone remind me of this next week when my kids are sick again!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week of Dinners #6

It was nice to get back to regular cooking after a week of Thanksgiving and birthday parties. Here is our latest roundup of dinners!

Saturday: Salmon, Quinoa/Brown Rice, Salad

Adam was gone this day so I tried to keep things simple. My go-to seasoning for salmon is seasoned salt and garlic powder with a little olive oil. Ryan will almost always eat it this way.
On the side I made this quick box of flavored quinoa/brown rice for Jenna and I. For the boys I made white rice.
Served with a salad of iceburg, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes. Topped with my homemade ranch dressing.

 Sunday: "Lucas" Chicken, Spaghetti with Alfredo sauce, steamed broccoli

I haven't made this chicken in a long time. Recipe here. We nicknamed it Lucas Chicken because it is the only way I could get Lucas to eat chicken for the longest time. Unfortunately he refused to touch it this time! Oh well, the rest of us devoured it. I only make this chicken when Adam is home to watch the kids because the breading and pan-frying process can be a little time-consuming (and messy!). I cooked a partial box of spaghetti noodles on the side and made a quick alfredo sauce. Recipe here. Plus steamed broccoli.

 Monday: Beef and Bean Burritos, fruit salad

Jenna was pretty sick this day so I'm glad I had an easy dinner planned. I cooked some ground beef with my homemade taco seasoning and we all assembled our own burritos. This burrito totally hit the spot. Maybe I was just really hungry, but it tasted SO good! Mine had a whole wheat tortilla, a little ground beef, refried beans, cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, iceburg lettuce, and this new Avocado Verde dip. I had heard how good it was, so I was happy to finally find it at Walmart last week.

I also made a little fruit salad of cutie oranges and strawberries. (Ryan finally decided he likes cuties! Praise God for another fruit he will eat. haha. He actually ate 2 yesterday!)

Tuesday: Crispy Pork cutlets, Parmesan and Garlic roasted potatoes, canned green beans

This was a recipe from my new 100 Days of Real Food cookbook. The breading on the pork is actually a combination of ground up triscuit crackers and some spices. It was easy and tasty! I also made these potatoes for the first time (a recipe from How Jen Does It on YouTube) and they were awesome. Adam has already requested I make them again. We also had some canned green beans.

Wednesday: Baked Chicken Sausage Pasta, Steamed veggies

I diced and browned 4 links of chicken sausage from Costco. Then I combined with about 10 oz of cooked Wacky Mac pasta, a jar of spaghetti sauce, 3/4 lb mozzarella and a handful of parmesan. I baked for about 20 minutes and voila! It was cheesy and yummy. On the side we had steamed broccoli and carrots.

I knew the kids wouldn't love the pasta (although Jenna loved the sausage). So when Ryan found these mini pizza bagels in the freezer and asked me to fix them with dinner, I agreed.
 I also made kale chips. (unpictured)
Thursday: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Fruit, Homemade Bread, Hash Browns

This was a straightforward dinner. Eggs, bacon (cooked in the oven), hash browns (from Trader Joe's), and some cuties/green apples. I was testing out some bread in my bread machine that afternoon to give to a neighbor. It didn't turn out that great, so I kept it for us. Butter helped it, but it still wasn't very good.

Friday: Turkey Chili, Quesadillas, Cucumbers

By the end of the week I had the kids' cold and I was feeling pretty run-down. A big bowl of something warm sounded good so I made a pot of turkey chili. I used this recipe which is called "The Best Turkey Chili". Well I wouldn't call it the best, but it was easy, basic, and tasty. I had a few whole wheat tortillas leftover from burrito night, so I made a few quick quesadillas to dip in the chili. I also served cucumbers for Jenna and I.

And Saturday we ordered pizza because Mommy was sick. And ready for a cooking break! What did you eat this week? I always love getting new ideas!

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Keeping my kids innocent for as long as possible has always been important to me. I feel like they are going to grow up really fast and be exposed to so many things in this world all too quickly. So I try really hard to shelter them and preserve their innocence. However, this is SO much harder to do after child #1!
Ryan has been slow to experience a lot of things. One memory in particular stands out to me. When we first moved here 2 years ago, Ryan was 4 years old. The boy behind us (who was probably 7 at the time) asked Ryan through the fence what kind of games he had. Ryan's answer? "Candyland and Chutes and Ladders". I thought that was SO sweet and I just loved his innocent little answer, since the boy was actually referring to video games.

There are so many other things we do to keep our kids innocent. We try not to say words like butt, but instead say bottom or tooty. We say toot instead of fart. We are very strict about the types of shows they can watch. Anything with crude or gross humor is off limits. Even SpongeBob!

When Lucas came along I could immediately tell it was going to be harder to shelter him. Just by nature of having an older sibling, he was exposed to things sooner. And now with Jenna, I already see her growing up way too quickly! At the age of 2 Ryan was watching Thomas the Train or Caillou. Jenna watches whatever her brothers are watching, and even sings the Star Wars theme song. And the other day she fell down and said "Mommy I fell on my butt!"

I realize I can't keep my kids innocent forever. But it still makes me a little sad to see Jenna doing all these things and saying things that Ryan didn't even do until this year. It's impossible to shelter her the way I did with Ryan. And baby #4? Well he's probably going to come out of the womb playing video games and telling butt jokes.