Saturday, May 31, 2014

On the Move

video

That balloon provided hours of entertainment this week before it popped.

Though the video doesn't show it, James is a master crawler on his hands and knees. Amelia is very efficient doing the worm with her belly flops. The two are so funny doing laps around the hallway and competing to get to a certain object first.

Hallway races

Amelia loves crawling under tables and chairs.

James prefers to plow over toys and people.

James is starting to show interest in pulling up now.

Meanwhile, Maddie can scoot backwards on her stomach or rotate and slide around while sitting. I do worry about her missing out on the already inseparable bond James and Amelia have. Hopefully she'll join in the fun soon.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Baby Jail

We go outside every morning to play and enjoy some sunshine before it gets too hot. (Un)fortunately James and Amelia can NOT stay still. Yesterday I put the baby gate up to block off the grill and steps. I laid the blankets down and stepped inside to get toys.


Of course, James and Amelia were crawling all over the deck within seconds.



Today I enclosed the gate so the babies were trapped in a confined space. They were content playing with their toys and checking out their new living quarters.



A queen size sheet draped over the play yard created the perfect shade.


I still want to get a second gate to connect and create a larger space. The babies were crawling over and on top of one another . Jackson desperately wanted to play with them, too.


After I carried the babies upstairs for their naps, Jackson played in "his tent" for at least 30 more minutes. Breaking out the baby gate was a pretty good solution, at least temporarily.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sprayground

We had an exceptionally fun morning at a nearby sprayground. I met up with some other mommy friends for a playdate at the park. Having never been to a sprayground, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was very happy with the amount of shade produced by the canopy, as well as the shaded seating around the circumference. 

We have a couple of nearby water parks and pools that I would love to take Jackson to, but I cannot manage four children in the water by myself. The sprayground was a perfect alternative. Jack still got to wear his bathing suit and get soaked without me having to dive in after anyone.


There was a school group there at the same time. The crowds did not interfere with our positive experience.


Next time we go I will be sure to bring small buckets and other water toys. The only thing I had was soft frisbees that I let the babys gnaw on. Jackson happily made do.



I brought the blanket and baby toys for the trio to play with. They each started out like this:


It didn't take long at all for curious James to crawl towards the fountains. I should have dressed the babies in bathing suits, too.


Thankfully my mom friends helped watch the babies while I gave each kid individual attention. I let each baby take a turn splashing in the water and grabbing the streams of water. James and Amelia enjoyed it. Maddie was unpleasantly startled. 



Jackson wore himself out after over an hour of play. We never made it to the actual playground side of the park. He requested lunch, which I would have brought with us had I known how much fun we would have. Jack wrapped himself up in a towel and watched others play while I loaded the babies into the stroller and made last minute small talk.


We will definitely be returning soon!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Most of the events of Saturday blurred together. Amelia and I unintentionally tried to starve to death by spending two hours at Urgent Care to confirm an ear infection, taking an hour to deliver a cake, and waiting for yet another hour in race traffic and getting Amelia's prescription filled at WalMart. Thankfully Jesse cleaned the house while we were gone because we were expecting company just 15 minutes after I came home.

A few former coworkers and 3 month old came over for an overdue visit. I think the kids were a bit jealous curious of this baby intruder on their Daddy's lap.


I made taco dip and chicken quesadillas. For dessert I had purchased a chocolate pie and saved some strawberry cupcakes from the cake delivery. Jesse and I were full and content from the taco dip (without chips, of course). I always thought I enjoyed baking and cooking because I get to eat it. It turns out I truly just enjoy cooking and feeding people.


I miss having these women in my daily life!


Saturday evening was slower-paced. We spent hours on the deck eating watermelon and roasting marshmallows over our fire pit.


Jackson's marshmallow roasting strategy was to either dangle a stick five feet from the fire or to place the marshmallow directly in the center of the fire. He proudly came waving his flaming marshmallow to James and I. I swear, the boy can unintentionally turn anything into a weapon.


Sunday morning the girls and I went to church while the boys worked in the yard. A tree had fallen on our fence a few weeks ago. Jesse chopped it up for more firewood.


I had invited Jesse's family over for dinner on Sunday evening. Jesse cooked a pork butt all day and collard greens. I boiled corn on the cob and stewed apples.


The weather was gorgeous. Jackson and his cousin ran around the yard, chased one another with sticks, and climbed the fence. With my sister-in-law expecting another boy, we're going to have four boys under five soon. It's a good thing we've got a big fence. ;)


We enjoyed the unofficial welcome of summer by eating more watermelon, 



and making s'mores. Jesse and I didn't eat any, of course. I still struggle with the idea that I'm refraining from grains and refined sugar because there are no health benefits, yet I'm feeding those foods to my children. Yet, there is something about roasting marshmallows over a fire and sandwiching it between chocolate and graham crackers that seems critical to childhood.


Amelia and PaPa enjoyed their s'mores, too. (Baby s'mores=graham crackers)


We're excited about meeting our new nephew in the fall.


James wasn't feeling well. I think this picture was the only time he smiled all evening.


Monday was a nice balance of lazy and productive. Jesse took James to the doctor first thing after a night of screaming. It turns out he just has a cold and is teething. We rarely took Jackson to the doctor when he was a baby, but I've become paranoid after completely missing the double ear infections a few months ago. We've taken all three babies to a separate sick visit this week. FYI, at 10.5 months old they weighed the following (with clothes):
James-19 lbs, 1 oz
Amelia-18 lbs, 13 oz
Maddie-15 lbs, 5 oz

I contemplated going to a nearby zoo park since Jesse had the day off, but Jesse wanted to stay home (surprise). I'm glad he did because I really enjoyed time to unwind after having company over. Jesse and I tackled the overwhelming task of updating the babies' wardrobe. Almost all of the bins were full of clothing that was too small or too hot. We had bins of footed pajamas and 3-6 month clothing. It took a few hours to sift through clothes and replace the bins with 12 month, summer clothing. The trio look so big now wearing clothes that actually fit.


I started and finished another book, The Bungalow by Sarah Jio, this weekend. This is the same author as The Violets of March. My problem with reading quickly is I cannot savor books. I won't sleep because I want to finish the book immediately. And even though I get completely engrossed in the book, by the following week all of the beloved characters are jumbled together and the details have faded.

Only three more weeks until school is out for the summer, aka, Jesse is home!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Maddie's Moving Out

After over 10 months, I've finally conceded to Maddie sleeping in her crib in the nursery. She's slept 12 uninterrupted hours in her crib for the past three nights. It still makes me a bit sad to know that my baby is a big girl. I've always been more protective over her and miss having her in our bedroom. Still, there's no reason why she shouldn't sleep in her room and she's clearly content there. 


After packing outgrown clothing into storage today, I stumbled upon Maddie's preemie sleeper that she wore her first night home. Comparing it to her 9 month pajama set that she wore tonight is shocking. Where did my tiny girl go?

Fun with Fondant

A friend requested a construction-themed cake for a baby shower. I knew the best medium for the construction signs would be fondant. Since I could get away with the signs all being one color, I cheated and purchased pre-made fondant. Creating the signs was tedious but easy. Here are the simple steps I took to make the main decoration:

Step 1: Roll fondant between two sheets of wax paper. It takes a bit of work to get the fondant to the same thickness.

Step 2: I happened to have a square cookie cutter and was able to use the bottom of my large icing tip (for sides of cake) to make a perfect circle. It took less than a minute to punch out my signs.


Step 3: I used an edible marker to outline the edges of each shape to make it resemble a road sign.


Step 4: I had fun coming up with cheesy baby-related "construction signs".


Step 5: I placed the completed signs on my iced cake.
(I had made a two tiered strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. I used black sugar sheet and very thinly rolled fondant to make the road. The "dirt" was made from chocolate cookies ground in the food processor. And my friend supplied the construction vehicles.)


I used the round signs for cupcakes.


I love making cakes that look more complex than they really were to decorate. Hopefully the guests enjoyed it, too.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wheat Belly: Two Weeks In

We have three more weeks until Jesse returns to the doctor for bloodwork. We'll reassess if this way of eating is permanent or not when we get his results back.

Jesse thought this week was easier. I thought this week was significantly harder. I've struggled a lot with emotional, boredom, habitual eating.

Quick notes from the week:

Exercise:
Jesse: bicycle twice, jogged once, weightlifted twice
Bonnie: Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout video 4x, neighborhood walk w/ stroller twice

Favorite Meal:
Jesse: hamburgers (sans bun) with sweet potato fries
Bonnie: maple-pecan chicken with salad

Favorite Food Modification:
Jesse: adding coconut oil to coffee (Bulletproof Coffee)
Bonnie: experimenting with Paleo desserts

Greatest Food Challenge This Week:
Jesse: a coworker brought cake and frappuccino specifically for Jesse
Bonnie: struggling to eat when hungry vs bored, stressed, or in social settings

Benefits:
Jesse: more energy this week, no cravings, lost 4 lbs
Bonnie: no longer craving sweets (unless it is directly in front of me), lost 4 lbs

Cheats:
Jesse: marshmallows roasted over fire pit
Bonnie: licked one dollop of cream cheese icing

Social Eating Survival Skills:
Church breakfast potluck-brought fruit salad, ate fruit and potato/egg/cheese casserole
Book Club: brought cantaloupe, easily avoided cookies, chips, beer, dips
Play Date: made and ate taco dip (beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, chicken) without chips, avoided quesadilla and chocolate pie

Total Weight Loss:
Jesse: down 14 lbs
Bonnie: down 14 lbs

Meals from the Week:

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Spaghetti (zucchini noodles with organic tomato sauce)

Bunless burger with sweet potato fries
Frozen banana, honey, almond butter smoothie

Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge
Not Pictured:

  • Taco Salad (lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream, shredded chicken, peppers)
  • Maple-pecan chicken with side salad 
  • Salmon, brussel sprouts, honey-glazed carrots
  • Egg salad in lettuce wraps
  • Omelet (eggs, peppers, cheese)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Fun Just Keeps Coming

A glimpse into the last 48 hours of my life:

Jackson's tantrums are going to be the death of me. Seriously, he just blatantly does not listen. The worst part is that my reaction feeds his behavior. I try so hard not to let things escalate, but sometimes I am just at a loss.


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This handy dandy picture might not seem like much, but it equates to $800 worth of parts and service we paid to repair our air conditioner. After an entire day of nearly unbearable heat, Jesse came home early and called a repairman. I'm so thankful we didn't buy a new dishwasher.


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This sweet girl has kept Jesse and I up for hours this week. After two consecutive nights of trying to soothe her screams (not cries or fussing, I mean screaming bloody murder), I took her to the pediatrician this morning. I thought it would be a quick, easy visit since Jesse was home with the kids and I had a 10:30 appointment. At 11:45, I had nearly lost my mind trying to entertain Amelia while we continued to wait. That is not a typo; we waited over an hour. When the doctor finally came in, she casually apologized for the wait and explained that the office was on lockdown due to a police chase. Final verdict: sweet baby girl has another ear infection. I was not the most polite or patient person and I believe the doctor took pity on us. She prescribed numbing drops for the ears to use on Amelia until the antibiotics kick in.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hot, Sick, and Bored

This is the second day in a row with scorching temperatures. Heat and I do not get along. 90° isn't exactly ideal for babies, either. The only good thing about hot weather is it takes very little time to dry clothes on the line. I managed to do four loads of laundry yesterday.


Jackson's last day of preschool was on Tuesday. (Technically, it was today but I wasn't going to sit with three babies and a toddler just so we could watch the four-year-olds graduate.) They had a water day. Jack was very serious about wearing his bathing suit and bringing a towel.


The babies have been a mess this week. Amelia randomly projectile vomited (A LOT) on Sunday. It took her three days to recover her energy. Maddie was up screaming every hour for two consecutive nights. I took her to the pediatrician to check for an ear infection. There was nothing visibly wrong. Still, physical therapy was a waste this week.


The next day, James had a 101.4 temp (with Tylenol) and cried unless he was being held. It's been quite a juggling act with the trio this week.


The only outing we've been on all week (besides the doctor) was to the library and to take Jackson for a haircut. The hairdresser was clearly not a fan of cutting children's hair. Jack did pretty well, but he always jerks and laughs when they get the clippers out to trim around his neck and ears. The hairdresser knelt down in his face and said, "You see this? It can hurt you. If you keep moving I'm going to cut you and make you bleed."  Eeek!

Our spirits lifted when we walked out and saw a firetruck parked in the parking lot. (Sidenote: Why are Great Clips always beside grocery stores?) Jackson confidently gave me a tour around the firetruck. I was amused that Jackson was the same size as the wheel.


I've made everyone go outside from 8-10 for some fresh air before morning naps. (Elizabeth, who do I sound like?) I was rocking Amelia on the deck and glanced up to see Jackson sweetly sitting like this:


Clifford, Toddler's Best Friend
The babies are challenging outdoors. James inevitably tries to eat grass or go down the stairs. When Maddie gets upset she'll bang her head down. Amelia is too curious for her own good. I love and hate this stage at the same time.




Thankfully, Jackson has been pretty easy to entertain. He spent an hour cleaning and vacuuming out the van for me.


He's also been really into play-doh this week. I only let him play while the babies are napping because it makes such a mess and Amelia and James put everything in their mouth. I'm still working on getting over my OCD tendencies about mixing colors.


In case you're wondering, Jack and I both broke out into "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"


I read The Violets of March over the past two days. I've never considered myself a reader, but now that I'm a stay at home mom I love getting lost in books. Reading and NPR are the only things keeping my brain from rotting.

I know this isn't an especially interesting update, but that's what our life has been like the past few days.