Monthly Archives: March 2015

Friday Funnies.

I don’t know, do you need a laugh today? I know I do. Or a bottle of Tequila. Leah’s been battling with what we learned today is a sinus infection all week which means… crazy high fevers, no sleeping, crying, etc. I’m drained. But laughing is a good remedy for all things, right? Let’s just start at the doctor’s office today. That seems most appropriate.

Doctor: What was the fever?

Me: 104.6.

Doctor: Ok, where was that?

Me: In her bedroom?

Doctor: (Laughs) I mean, under her arm, tongue, ear…

Me: Oh, ear.

You guys, I’m tired.

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Me: Quinnie! If you don’t stop making that noise, I’m gonna blow a casket!

Kyle: A gasket?

Me: Whatever.

Don’t correct me when I’m threatening the children.

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Leah: “mommy, mommy, can I have an idea?!”

Me: Nope. Sorry. No one gets any ideas today.

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While Quinn is growing up, we talk a lot with Leah about, “when you were a baby you couldn’t say many words…” Or whatever the situation demands. Or sometimes, “when daddy was a little boy… when mommy was little… when Dunkie was little…” The results of those small history lessons are proving to be very effective.

“Mommy, did you know when I was a little boy, I liked to play soccer.”

I don’t even know what to say sometimes.

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My sister. God love her. After reading my blog yesterday, I get this text…

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Man, it made me laugh.

However, please do not feel required to send me your grocery shopping lists. I care what we eat, I do not care what you eat.

The end.

Here’s to a weekend filled with sleeeeeeeep!

 

 

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Still Chugging.

Oh boy, oh boy.

Remember when we dove head first into real food? Or at least I shoved my family off a diving board and then dove in after them. 🙂 Well, my friends, we are still at it! Can we get a sticker or something over here!? We are 73 days in (I had to go back and count) and chugging right along.

Now, the official name of the game we set out to do was 100 Days of Real Food. But I have tampered with it some along the way, and we are settling nicely into a Lifestyle of 98% Real Food. And I kinda like the name better. Some of you have probably already stopped reading, I know. I promise you I will not turn into a food blogger, a food hater, or a food judger. But this is kind of a turning point in our family, and I’d like to have these little blogs along the way so that I can yell at myself in 5 years if we have somehow reverted, or if I can look back with pride and say, hey, that’s when we changed our lives.

When we started this, you’ll recall, it was mainly for this beach body competition we’re doing with family. But I also mentioned that I wanted it to stick around. I think everyone knows that some foods are just better than others, that’s not some hidden secret. Figuring out just what exactly is better is the tricky part, and the part we’re still learning. But I had some main goals I wanted to see if we could put a dent in. 73 days ago, I wanted Leah to stop gagging so much. I wanted my own diet to not consist of 79% sugar (or something). I wanted Quinn to only expand her already darling little tastebuds. I wanted to see Kyle get the amount of protein he constantly told me he wanted (he’s a carnivore for sure). I wanted to cook lots of new things. I wanted to cook only one dinner for all four of us. I wanted to go really hard for a while and just see what would happen.

And only good things have happened! I can’t brag on us enough as a family. We have been at this for 73 days and have been to a restaurant ONCE as a family. (Once the girls got a pizza with their cousins, and once Kyle and I went out). That means I have cooked 71 times in 73 days! Can I have the biggest sticker, PLEASE? We actually have had maybe 3 leftover nights, as well, but still… that’s eating food I cooked previously, so it totally counts as cooking. It is so bad that now Leah comes down in the mornings and says, “what’s in the oven for me?” There is almost always some sort of bread, muffins, or oatmeal dish that is stuffed with all kinds of hidden treasures to be absorbed by her little body. I think I have become a better cook in 73 days, Lord knows I have had enough practice.

So how are the rest of my goals? Well, I am the most proud of a certain three year old who is just blowing my mind. Remember when I was so happy that she ate a carrot – well the other day she told me she LIKED carrots. And usually, as Kyle is my witness, she will eat a carrot FIRST at dinner. And she is SO proud of herself. For a while, it was, “Leah, eat one bite of your carrot, please.” Then it was, “Leah, eat your carrot. Leah eat your carrot. Leah, eat your carrot.” Now, it’s, “Mommy, don’t see!” And she wants to eat her carrot and then surprise me that it’s all gone. And the gagging? Well, it’s pretty much non existent. I certainly haven’t seen it in a while. We had some rough patches along the way, but now, she can eat her meat like it’s no big deal. And I realize for a lot of you, eating a piece of chicken is no big deal, but it WAS a big deal for Leah. And now it’s not. We just talk and eat dinner, the same dinner- and it’s pretty amazing. She has said to me, “you know, mom, I like this chicken.” And I die.

Kyle has also shocked me with some of his quotes. “Why don’t you ever give me many peas and corn?” “Uhhh, cause I didn’t think you wanted many?” “I do, I like them.” You guys, he likes peas and corn! I took that quote and ran with it. Now, it’s not uncommon to find more than one vegetable side on a plate. He also frequently compliments my salmon and chicken nuggets.

Salmon.

Something NONE of us had eaten. But when you have to cook every single night rain or shine, you have to get creative. I didn’t even know how to buy it at first. I’m learning. And I’m learning that it tastes pretty good! That has been the most fun part for me. Finding new things, and learning how to cook with new ingredients. My shopping list has transitioned a little over the past three months. I’m now buying brown eggs that are from cage free, antibiotic free, happy chickens. Because, if you watch a documentary on chickens and eggs… it will terrify you. So I pay a little more for my happy eggs, and spend a little less by buying Folgers coffee instead of Starbucks. We have also learned to LOVE Friday nights around here… for that is PIZZA NIGHT. And goodness knows… Leah is ready and waiting at the table at 5 sharp. In the beginning Pizza night was a saving grace from a hard week of gagging through dinner. Now it is a celebration of a weeks worth of healthy eating… with more healthy eating. This is a tradition that will stick for as long as I can keep girls home on a Friday night. One of our (Quinn’s) favorite treats around here is popcorn! This was a fun experiment we had early on. They both thought it was the funniest thing to watch the popcorn jump out of the pan. Microwaved popcorn is one of the biggest sins as far as real food goes, but I’m pretty glad we tried the alternative, because it is always a fun night when it’s popcorn night. Homemade ice cream, popsicles, granola bars, and pop tarts have all been such delightful, fun little treats to keep us on the course. I’m still not buying all organic, but things are evolving in one way or another as we go. I have added pretzels (made with simple ingredients, but yes, white flour) back into my list, but have also started paying more for peanut butter that’s only made with peanuts. It’s been a lot of give and take, finding what works for the long haul.

We’re kind of at a crossroads of sorts right now. We went 100% to get us out of the gagging phase. We tried really hard to get vegetables onto the nightly routine. We fought through some serious battles, but I believe we’ve transitioned over to the bright side. Now we’re at a point where I have to keep us from going back, but also let us live a little. We went to a restaurant for the first time two nights ago… and then followed up with frozen yogurt because I REALLY wanted it. And it was a good decision, but the day after Leah was a MESS. And I’m not exaggerating, Kyle was speechless. And I do believe it has a direct correlation to the amount of sugar/crazy ingredients she enjoyed the night before. So yes, we will live a little… but not much. Cause no one cares to repeat the grand meltdown of 2015.

So from here we will keep chugging. We will keep making choices that we believe are good for our family. I will keep finding ways to shove a carrot in Leah’s mouth because I don’t want her to ever forget that she likes them. We will keep popping popcorn to make Quinn the happiest little goof on the planet. I will stand firm and unashamed of my no artificial colors stance, but I will let some white flour slip here and there. I will continue to cook… and cook and cook. Night after night after night. But I will enjoy the family dinner conversation that is evolving just like our taste buds. I have lost 13lbs and 6in and Kyle has lost 20(something)lbs and 5in, and we just feel good. We are working out, and have both gained abs! I don’t even know what to do with mine, but I certainly keep checking on them. 🙂

I am proud of us for sticking with it for 73 days, and I’m excited to keep chugging.

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Kyle: “So, what are these, whole wheat eggs?”

It’s been a journey, guys.

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When Mom Skipped Town.

Did you hear the news? This mama decided to skip town for a while! And what a wonderful idea it was.

It all started when I made a pretty cool friend in junior high. And then somehow kept her until now. And then she flew all the way here to meet both my kiddos. So naturally, I’ve been waiting for her to get on with the baby making process so I could return the favor. And she did. And he’s cute. So I bought myself a plane ticket!

Can I just give a shout out to this guy I’m married to for a minute? Not only did he encourage me to go, he didn’t balk at buying the plane ticket, and he took off two days of work to hang with the kids! It was a completely guilt free vacation for me, and one I so appreciated!

We had a little trouble getting out of here, though. And by “we,” I mean the kids and I. Last week was supposed to be pretty flawless. The kids and I would play and carry on as usual. I would soak up the short week with them, and prepare everything ahead of time for when I left. It would be perfect. Except it wasn’t. Every time I turned around Quinn was gushing blood, no one napped, and oh yes, we had to have some blood work drawn for Leah the day before I left to make sure she didn’t have a number of diseases, including leukemia (praise Jesus, she doesn’t). I mean, it just did not go as planned. My stress level was through the roof. At one point I believe I said, “I’m just not even gonna go.” But Kyle made me. And thank God he did.

The second I got through airport security, I got really excited. If you follow this blog, you know that I don’t leave much. Or ever. Maybe it’s a fault, but I’m kind of a homebody as it is. Then you throw in kids whom I actually enjoy putting to bed every night, it gets a little tricky to get me out of the house. But I honestly shocked myself with how much I was ready to leave them. Maybe it was the terrible three days we had had before I left, maybe it was such a strong desire to see my best friend in person, or maybe it was the confidence I had in knowing the girls were home with Kyle, but something switched in my brain… and I was so excited to leave them! (Is that bad)?

I could go on and on about the fun time that I had. Adult conversations for three days straight. Really, really good food that was always eaten warm. An adorable, cozy house with a really great bed. Extracurricular activities, which included horses and goats. And of course, lounging all day with a baby on my chest! But the best part was that I truly got to enjoy every second that I was there because I knew that Kyle was in charge at home, and that made me feel really, really good. A lot of times I forgot about the kids all together… in a good way. I knew there wasn’t a scenario in the world that he couldn’t get them through, and even though I got a few frantic texts, I was able to smile through them and feel grateful that he was there.

Can I show you some examples? And these are not to demean his job, but simply to make you smile like they made me smile. I loved every single one of them, not because he was struggling in those moments, but because he was trying.

I didn't just leave him with instructions to run through Wendy's. Oh, no. We are a real food family whether mom's home or not. So he got a crash course in smoothies before I left. Perhaps I should've been more in depth.

I didn’t just leave him with instructions to run through Wendy’s. Oh, no. We are a real food family whether mom’s home or not. So he got a crash course in smoothies before I left. Perhaps I should’ve been more in depth.

Naturally, the three year old can be trusted to tell the truth when it comes to TV watching privileges :)

Naturally, the three year old can be trusted to tell the truth when it comes to TV watching privileges 🙂

Friday night Pizza night also goes on rain or shine :)

Friday night Pizza night also goes on rain or shine 🙂

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And my favorite text, maybe ever, was from my mom who came up to stay the night Thursday night so she could go to grandparents day at Leah’s school Friday morning.

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I am lucky.

Lucky to have such a wonderful friend to visit, and lucky to have such a great partner in all things, but especially parenting. Thanks to you BOTH for a fantastic weekend! Same time next year? 🙂

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Just So.

“Mommy, mommy, I cweaned da bafroom!” She runs to me as I’m putting clothes away in Quinn’s room.

“Oh, honey, that’s wonder……. ful.” I stop myself from getting excited as my brain begins to process her statement and put it into reality.

Wait a minute, she’s three. She can’t reach the clorox wipes. The bleach is hidden. What did she clean… and how?!

“You cleaned the bathroom?” “Ya!” “What did you clean the bathroom with?”

“I don’t wanna tell you.” 

There it was. There was reality. I reassured her that I wouldn’t get upset as I slowly got up from stuffing drawers with folded pants. I took some deep breaths. We walked to their bathroom. Their new bathroom. The one I just painted and redecorated. The one I didn’t even want to let them use.

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“Oh. Look at that. You cleaned the bathroom with toothpaste. Neat.”

It was in that moment that my frustration turned from Leah to the lovely people at CrestKids. Why in the WORLD was their princess toothpaste SO PINK? Had it always been this color and I had never noticed? Was it the crisp grey towels that made it even more of a blinding pink? I mean, really. Hot pink?? That’s the necessary color to achieve cavity free teeth and fresh breath? They couldn’t come up with something a little more… grey?

“Honey, thank you for cleaning the sink. We don’t normally use toothpaste to clean the sink, though. Toothpaste is for our teeth.” “Ok, mommy.” And she runs away to play, clueless.

God bless.

You hear these stories from “empty-nesters” where they miss these little moments. And I’m sure someday I will miss the littleness, the helpfulness. But I don’t know, I mean, I just bought those pretty grey towels. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even let the kids use them. They would just adorn the towel rack, stacked and folded on top of each other just so. They wouldn’t even have a wrinkle.

And now they sit in a ball, covered in hot pink toothpaste goodness. And I shake my head and add it to the list.

The list of things that have succumbed to the, ‘Ruiners of All Good and Clean Things.’ My children.

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All four of them. Well, the three of them. Duncan is my favorite most every day. They may look cute enough, but don’t be fooled. They can rip a house apart at the seams. And that yellow one has taken his talents to the backyard. Hole after hole after hole he digs. I don’t know where he thinks he’s trying to go, but he’s certainly trying to get there fast.

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But, believe it or not, he is the least of my worries most of the time.

Warm coffee time is a luxury, am I right or am I right? Sitting down on the floor (to feel like a better mom) with a hot cup of coffee while the four of them dance circles around me at 7:00am is not the same as sitting in Starbucks with a newspaper and a hot cup of coffee, but it’s still kinda nice. I still consider it special to have a warm mug in my hand. Whatdoyaknow, the little one toddles over to me and gets the standard, “ah ah ah, Quinnie, no no, it’s  hot.” And because she’s smart, she knows that when something is hot… you blow on it. And what happens when a 16 month old blows? Spit happens. She blows. I watch the drool fall into my hot cup of coffee and stare blankly. She smiles. I get up and dump it. Cold coffee waiting for me on the counter it is. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.

Our (my) current recurring argument is my make-up drawer. For the rare times I feel like looking like a woman who has a clue, I like to wear make-up. It’s not much, and it’s not top of the line, but it gets the job done. Only now, I share with Quinn. She gets in my drawer every chance she gets and digs her grimy little fingers into my eyeshadow and picks… and picks… and picks until it’s crumbled all over my sink. She comes running to me with dark and shimmery little finger prints that look as if she’s just posted bail.

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Not that a lid would stop her, but she broke them all off anyways. My argument isn’t with her (although, I do shout QUINNNNNNNN when I see her coming at me with black paws), but with… her father.  

“Why can’t I ever just HAVE NICE THINGS!?” I toss him some of my frustration as I find Quinn painting my sink with mascara. And his reply? “Why don’t you put the child proof things on the drawer?”

OHHHHHH. Riiiiiight. I’ll just locate the nearest power drill (because I know exactly where it is) and I’ll just start drilling these bad boys into all the cabinets. Because that’s what I have time for in a day. And I certainly have been educated properly in drilling holes into cabinets. And that wouldn’t be a safety hazard at all with 7000 feet underneath me at.all.times. Thank you so much for your suggestion. Come on, kids, let’s go have some fun! And yes, my response was every bit as rude and snarky as that one. He babbled something back about “reminding him to do it,” but we all know how that goes.

So, no. That problem isn’t going away any time soon. Nor are any of the others, I suppose. Because it looks like these kids are sticking around. Samson is a digger. Leah is a cleaning lady in training. Quinn is a make up destroyer. (Duncan is an angel). That’s just who they are. They are little. And those who are older and wiser that me tell me I’m supposed to let them be little and that I will miss this someday, so we will carry on. I will grin and bear it. We can fill holes with new soil, and see if we can get some new grass to grow. We will wash towels covered in pink toothpaste… and then start buying natural toothpaste. And I will keep replenishing my stash of destroyed makeup, and keep wiping the face of my coal miner one year old.

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And I will forget about hot coffee all together.

Because I suppose someday everything will be just so. We will have towels hanging just for decor. I know that someday I will have the nice things I always dream about. My make up will not always be in crumbles. Someday there won’t be little wet nose and sticky finger reminders left on the doors and windows. Someday I will wipe the crayon marks off the walls and the marker off the carpet. I will spend time picking playdoh out of the rug. Because someday it will stay clean longer than 5 minutes. Someday there will be a yard full of lush, green, hole-less grass. Someday there won’t be crumbs caked into every crevice of our leather couches. Kyle and I will have to find something new to fight about, because it certainly won’t be child proofing cabinets. They won’t be little someday. Someday I will sit in my kitchen – in silence – with a cup of hot coffee sans drool and stare at my manicured yard… and hate it. 

And I will pick up the phone and call Leah and remind her of the time she cleaned the bathroom for me.

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The Sweet Spot.

A year ago Sunday.

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And today.

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It’s quite a punch to the gut to realize that I haven’t given her her own blog in quite some time. I don’t need to remind you of my excuse list, but nevertheless, I’ve been failing my little Quinn. I hate it. The truth is, she is such a doll and my most favorite second child ever. She keeps me on my toes and laughing all day long. She is needy and clingy and talkative. She is feisty and happy and curious. She is smart and clever and mischievous. She loves her big sister and her big brothers. She is outgrowing every piece of clothing she has, and if she doesn’t stop, we will enter the Spring season completely naked. She uses her potty frequently and always expects toilet paper to throw in it and a high five afterwards. She will stop and play in any droplet of water she sees. She eats… and eats and eats. She cannot be without her blankets. A stack of books will keep her occupied longer than most anything else. Mickey Mouse is her jam. This is the Day that the Lord has Made is her favorite song. Outside is the best. She knows her body parts from head to toe. She says: daddy, papa, nana, Samson, Duncan, bye-bye, shoes, ball, diaper, no, mmm hmm, and bubble. Leah is her hero. She is my happy place in a dreary day. She hates clothes and loves frog slippers. She has all of her teeth. She still needs me at night sometimes. She loves to throw trash away. She loves to be chased. Giggles are plenty in a day. She barks like a dog and sniffs like a bunny. She tells me bye and waves when I put her down for a nap. She always makes sure the dogs get a milk bone (or 10). She loves to color. She loves to jump on the bed(s). She loves peek-a-boo.

That’s the rundown for you. That’s our Quinn at 16 months and 2 days.

But what I really need to say isn’t as easy to put into words. I just kind of freaking love her. A lot. And life is really, really good with her here. And sometimes she makes me want to say no way to more babies because I think we have it too perfect and what if the next one sucked? And to watch her with Leah does something to my insides that no fancy words could describe. She gets away with more than she should and I don’t even care, because she’s my Quinnie. And my goodness have I learned that they grow up too fast. 

I think if I were to give advice to any new parent it would be to hurry up and have the second. Not taking away anything from Leah, because I also happen to freaking love her a lot, but there’s just something so very sweet about the second. I think it has to do with the calm that comes from ‘been there done that,’ but it’s just so much more rewarding. Or it has been for me.

It’s funny what I have done differently this time around. For instance, we put Leah in a toddler bed at 18m. I look at Quinn at 16m and think… no way, no how am I taking her crib apart. Maybe I rushed Leah, maybe she was ready, or maybe I just can’t let go of Quinn being a baby, but it’s just not going to happen in the next two months. Where I always thought Leah seemed older than she was, I now find myself constantly thinking Quinn is younger than what she is. To me, she still seems like that sweet little baby who had just turned 4 months old. I have no idea who that pretty little thing walking around wearing jeans is. The pictures just look so foreign to me when I see her looking so grown up, or when she talks, which is happening more and more. She can answer a question and speak for herself now, and it’s just not right. “Quinn, we need to put your clothes on,” and she shakes her head no and laughs. “Quinn, do you wanna jump on my bed,” “mmm hmmm” and she runs to the steps with her big sister and up they go. And I’m just left in the dust wondering what in the world is happening.

But as much as I complain about her baby-ness disappearing, we are kind of at a sweet spot right now. A really sweet spot. In a lot of ways. I mean, these girls really seem to enjoy each other for the most part, and it’s so awesome. Leah must learn to be more careful, but other than that, I have very few complaints. Right now, Leah is taking on a majority of the potty training and I’m certainly not complaining. She loves to ask her if she wants to go potty.. and then strip her down. She can get them both snacks, read books, fetch blankets, and turn on the TV (can I get an AMEN). I can get things done around the house and listen to giggles or sweet little conversations as I work – and it is music to my ears. I catch glimpses of them and see them when they’re in high school or even older and what a sweet picture it is.

I’m so thankful that Quinn was painted into our family. She just fills the spot I didn’t know we had. And try as I might, she will get the short end of the stick more often than not, but that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t sit back and marvel at everything that she does. She’s growing up so wonderfully and I love every inch of her to the moon and back.

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