Saturday, April 30, 2011

"I see why you get stressed out sometimes."

This title is a quote from my dear Nolan.  This was said after a particularly fussy day with Luke :)  I don't know what Luke's deal was today, but it was not the most fun day in our household!!  We went on a walk with a friend and her baby.  That went well for the most part, although Luke ended up in the Moby for the second part of the walk, due to fussiness.  It was all downhill from there.  We haven't had a day like this in a long time....and I sure hope it was just a fluke.  Tomorrow needs to be back to normal.  I have gotten used to my smiley, cooing baby!

On an unrelated note, WW is still going really well.  I was excited because last week I lost another 2 lbs.  I've now lost 10.2 lbs in four weeks.  I was proud of myself because I had to contend with my birthday, a birthday celebration for Mark's dad, and Easter - all in one week.  I used up my banked points for my birthday, which meant I had to stay completely on plan for the other two special events (Easter involved an overnight stay at my parent's house - which made staying on plan even more difficult).  I did some major planning, and it paid off with a great loss.  It took a lot of willpower to resist all the yummy temptations, but I did it!

I've discovered two super recipes this week.  One is a strawberry-rhubarb sauce.  It's to die for, and only 1 point.  It's unbelievably good drizzled over bananas.  The other one is South African pumpkin fritters.  Sooooooo good (if you love pumpkin).  Those are also 1 point.  Very filling and a great source of Vitamin A.  I'm making them for breakfast tomorrow.  Luckily Mark and Nolan love the new foods I'm serving.  I'm having fun stepping out of my cooking comfort zone.  <3 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last chance

Last week Mark and I went to a granite place that sells memorial stones.  We needed to pick out Adam's stone so it can be installed this spring.  It makes me sad for many reasons, but probably the hardest part is knowing this is the final official task we have regarding Adam.  Once the stone is designed and ordered, that is it.  From here on out, there will just be things we do as a family to remember and honor Adam.  Those things are important too, but something about ordering his memorial stone feels so final.  Maybe it's because we got the images back from the designer today.  We loved the design and think it's beautiful.  However, it seemed to scream:  Adam's lifetime is over. 

We wanted to put something on the stone to represent the fact that Adam was a twin.  We looked through the image book for two of something.  We found two baby lambs that were laying down, facing each other.  When we saw that image, we knew it was perfect.  We also picked out a cross, since Adam was baptized.  I think his stone will be a beautiful tribute to his life. 

Life is hard.  We all encounter struggles - I don't think anyone escapes without going through at least one painful experience.  I know we are not alone in our suffering.  I also know that it could be worse.  So we stay thankful for what we have, and lean on our faith, friends, and family when it's hard to feel thankful.  One day at a time....  <3

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rollie Pollie

Well Luke accomplished another major milestone - he can now roll from his back to his belly!  Yay Luke!  It's really cute to watch.  We've made a game out of rolling him back and forth, and he loves the game.  He'll smile and laugh.  Once he got the motion down, he started trying to do it himself.  He would always get stuck on his side.  He'd grunt and fart, and ultimately scream out of frustration.....so we would come to his rescue.  Yesterday I was playing with him on the floor, and every time I'd lay him on his back, he would immediately try to roll over.  He was so determined!  After a few tries, he did it :-)  So proud of our big boy!  The other cool thing he learned yesterday, is how to turn a mirror toy on his activity tray.  He normally just hits at his toys, but yesterday he learned how to make it turn back and forth.  He sat and played with it for quite awhile.  We are having so much fun watching him grow and learn.  Here is a picture of him in his chair with the activity tray:

 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Happy Birthday

I had a great 33rd birthday!  Luke kicked off the day right around midnight.....he was hungry, and then decided he wanted to up hanging out until 3am!  There was a severe thunderstorm going on, so it's possible that he was awake due to all the loud thunder claps.  Or maybe he just wanted to party with the birthday girl ;)  Luckily we did go back to sleep.  Then it was time for "cake for breakfast".

"Cake for breakfast" is something we started this year on Nolan's birthday.  He was bummed that he had to go to school on his special day, so I decided to let him have a piece of birthday cake in the morning before school to add an element of fun to the morning.  We decided it would be cool to make that a family tradition.  Nolan was totally into it - I enjoyed hearing his giggles/excitement over indulging in a sugary food for breakfast (I normally don't allow sugary things for breakfast).  I did, however, make him eat bacon and eggs before the cake in hopes to balance out the sugar.  I didn't want to send him to school all hopped up on pure sugar (his teacher would probably hate me for that!). 

Another fun tradition we are starting is getting a funny design on birthday cakes.  Last year I selected a Tinkerbell cake.  This year, I chose a pink princess cake :-)  Nolan thinks its hilarious.  He decided he is joining in next year.  He said he's either going to get a Wiggles or Teletubbies cake.  Here is a picture of my cake:


The princess even lit up - and the poodle was a ring to wear ;)  I think it's important to do little things like this.  Cake for breakfast and silly designs on cakes isn't that big of a deal, but it is a way to connect and have fun with your children.  I hope Nolan and Luke will grow up and smile when they think about birthday traditions we had in our family. 

Mark took us all out to my favorite Italian restaurant for dinner.  It was yummy, and I enjoyed having a break from cooking.  Here is a picture of me with Nolan and Luke at the restaurant:


All in all it was a great day.  I am very blessed!

On a different note - Luke had his 4 month well check today.  He weighs 15 lbs. 13 oz, and is 24 1/4 inches long.  He's getting so big!!!  It's hard to believe he was considered a preemie.  He's in the 75th percentile for weight, and the 50th percentile for height.  His head is also in the 50th percentile.  Very well proportioned, which is good!  I always feel so relieved when things look good at his well checks.  He did have to get 5 vaccinations, and he's been struggling with those.  Had a fever today, and felt generally miserable.  Poor guy :(  I dedicated my day to making him feel as comfortable as possible.  Before bed he seemed to be doing better - we got some smiles and coos. 

Must get some sleep.  Happy Easter a little early! 

   

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A surprise

I had a very pleasant surprise yesterday - I fit into the next size down in jeans!!  Wooooooo-Hooooooo!  For me, fitting into a pair of pants that I previously could not fit is such a great feeling.  It's cool because just a week ago I could not button them.  But now, they fit :-)  Today a tried another pair, same size, and they fit too.  So I think I can safely pack away my fatty jeans, and get out my not-quite-so-fat jeans ;)  I'm just thrilled the WW program is working.

On a related note, I tried a new recipe today that was super good.  I basically made my own chicken cordon bleu.  I sliced each boneless/skinless breast in half length wise (so I could use the two halves to make a "sandwich").  I tossed the halves in shake 'n bake.  Then I put a thin slice of lean turkey ham and one slice of provolone cheese between the two halves.  I wrapped each one in foil, and baked at 400 for about 40-45 minutes.  They were excellent!!  Nolan and Mark loved them too.  Score!  I served with brown rice and green beans.  The whole meal was only 11 points.  I'll definitely be making that again. 

Speaking of food, my quest to lower our grocery bill is somewhat of a success.  I can't change all my shopping habits overnight, so I've made some standards to start with:

1.  Always make a list, and stick to the list.  If it's not on the list, it doesn't make it into the cart.
2.  Buy the store brand for cheese, paper towels, toilet paper, and trash bags. 
3.  Always buy the sale item if possible.  So if I need whole wheat pasta, look to see if any brand is on sale, vs. being loyal to one brand even if it's not on sale. 
4.  Meal plan, and make the list from the week's meal plan.  This helps to prevent buying unnecessary items that will just sit on the shelf and expire! 
5.  Check out the Sunday ads for any amazing deals, so I can be sure to cash in on them.

We're definitely eating healthier, and we did cut costs some.  Not as much as we'd like, but it's better than nothing.  I'd eventually like to conquer coupons, but I first need to get more comfortable with the changes we've made so far.  It's a process.  <3
  

    

Friday, April 15, 2011

Perspective

The older I get, the more I realize how fast time goes by.  It's almost scary to me.  Lately I've been thinking about this a lot, and I don't know how to make it slow down.  I've made a conscious effort to live in the present and not think too far ahead.  It's like the days are long but the years are short, if that makes sense.  I wonder if my desire to soak in every moment is making time slip by even quicker? 

I'll be 33 years old in less than a week.  While I know 33 is nowhere near being "old", it just makes me a little sad when I think about how quickly this past year went.  So much happened during my 32nd year: I found out we were pregnant, weathered a very difficult/stressful pregnancy, welcomed two baby boys, said goodbye to Adam, resigned from my job, and have been raising Luke for almost 4 months.  Nolan is close to finishing 3rd grade, completed a baseball, football, and basketball season and is working on a soccer season.  I said goodbye to my fun car and am totally rocking a minivan.  My grandpa died.  Our dog died.  My marriage has become deeply meaningful and strong as we walk a very difficult journey together.  I've realized that even though I do not have any biological sisters, I've been blessed with friends that fulfill the role of sisters.  My faith is stronger than ever.  I've learned how to accept help from others.  I've developed an intense appreciation for all the blessings in my life, especially Mark, Nolan, Luke, and Adam. 

When I write it all out, my 32nd year doesn't seem like such a blur afterall.  Maybe that is why I enjoy writing this blog so much.  It is my way to savor and pay tribute to all the moments I do not want to forget.  <3

        

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Three things

1.  I'm happy to report that I lost 1.6 lbs this week!  I'm down about 6.5 lbs in two weeks :-)  I feel great, and am very glad I started the plan. 

2.  I'm also happy to report that our alarm system is up and running.  Fingers crossed that there won't be any more unnecessary escapes out the window!!  LOL  We went with an independent system.  It's not hooked up to any certain service...basically an alarm sounds if a door is opened.  My main issue is the fear that someone has slipped in the house without me knowing.  The system solves that problem, so I feel much better.

3.  We think we have some sort of rodent in our living room wall.  Awesome!  Every now and then I'll hear sort of a rustling sound.  I've never been able to find the source, so I blame it on the wind.  This afternoon there was no mistake - I heard something.  I contained my fear (proud of myself for that!), and simply turned the TV up so I didn't have to hear the sound.  I told Mark about it this evening and soon thereafter, the noise started.  He searched all around, but found nothing.  So we concluded it must be in the wall.  He doesn't seem concerned.  I, on the other hand, am trying very hard to not completely freak out.  I don't even want to think about what might be lurking!!!  Stay tuned....

And that is all for now.  This tired mama must get some sleep while I can!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It really is a wonderful life!

This week has been amazing.  I have loved every minute of having Nolan here with us during his spring break.  Having an infant and a school aged child, I really notice how little time I get with Nolan (since I'm with Luke every minute of every day!).  Between school hours, sports practices/games, and shared custody, there isn't much time left where it's just us hanging out together.  Mark surprised us by being able to get away from work for a few days - we were so excited!  We spent a day at the science center, and a day at a metropark.  It was great!  Here are a few picture highlights:

Fun with water!

Me and my boys :)

Being an airplane in a wind tunnel


Poor Luke, Mommy tends to over bundle!!

Luke's first time on a slide!

Nolan is as long as the baby slide :)

Luke letting us know the trip to the park was not fun!  LOL

We hiked for about 2 1/2 miles at the park, and Luke did great.  However, once we went to the playground he flipped out.  We have discovered that he HATES wind.  When we were in the woods there wasn't much wind.  But when we hit an open area, the wind hit.  So my hope for some happy, smiley pictures from his first park trip were crushed, and instead I have many angry pictures :) 

Having fun times with my family this week has left me feeling so blessed.  I don't know how I would handle my grief over Adam if I didn't have Mark, Luke, and Nolan.  They bring me more joy than I've ever felt in my life.  I know that someday I will see Adam again, and that also brings me comfort.  Losing Adam helped me actually understand how precious life is, and I definitely don't take time with my family for granted.    

On an unrelated note, I have to say Luke has turned into quite a little trooper.  One day we were gone from 10am-5pm solid, and I don't think Luke cried even one time!  During that time we shopped for furniture, went out to lunch, and went to the science center.  Just a few weeks ago I never would have attempted such a long day with him.  Today we took him to Nolan's soccer game and grocery shopping afterwards....again, no problems whatsoever.  I think that he's simply getting used to be toted around to various places and is becoming a pretty flexible baby.  I love it!  

Weight watchers is still going well for me.  I'm almost at the two week mark, and I can feel good habits being formed (and bad habits dying out!).  My favorite food discovery this week is the Light Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup.  Yum!  Low points and very filling.  

Life will return back to normal tomorrow.  I think we all feel a little refreshed and rejuvenated.  Now it's the final stretch of the school year....summer vacation will be here before we know it!  <3 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some pics

Life has been busy but good in our household lately.  Some highlights:

We made it through another 5th of the month (Adam, we love you so much!).   I officially lost 5 lbs. during my first week of Weight Watcher (yay me!).  Nolan is on spring break, and we are enjoying the time together.  He's so much fun.  Luke is as cute as ever, and growing more each day.  I packed away all his 6 month clothing, and got out all his 9 month things.  Crazy!  I think I have the most loving, caring, and amazing husband in the world.  I feel very fulfilled and blessed lately.

I've been taking a lot of photos (as usual), and here are some cute ones.


I was cooking, and Luke was in his highchair with books/toys.  I look over and he's smiling and cooing at the book!  So cute!  His favorite page had a cow and a panda :-)  He did it for so long that I was able to capture it.  He loves his books!!



Frog booty!  Love these new little pants :-)



Luke was surprised when he heard a voice coming through the phone!  



Another love of books picture.  I was cleaning our bedroom and he studied books for about a half hour or so without any complaints.  So cool!

And that's it for now.  I'm exhausted.  Must get sleep now before Luke wakes me up to eat in the middle of the night!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Good stuff

A couple of things...

1.  I'm on day 4 of Weight Watchers, and I already feel better.  With me being home with Luke, I need food boundaries.  If left to my own devices, I just snack and eat whatever sounds good at the time.  And usually what sounds good isn't good for me!  I sneaked a peek at the scale and I've already lost 5 lbs.  I know there is usually a big loss the first week or two, then things settle in to 1-2 lbs. a week, but still it's good to see the scale go down!  If I can stick with a plan for two weeks, then I'm golden.  So these first two weeks I really have to stay diligent and not fall off the wagon!  Here is an awesome recipe I found.  I tried it for lunch - yummy!!

Feta turkey burger

1 lb. extra lean ground turkey (Jennie-O is good)
7 tbs. crumbled feta cheese (I bought Mediterranean flavored by Alouette)
garlic salt - flavored to your taste

Simply mix those three ingredients together, and divide into 4 patties.  Cook however you want - I baked mine for 20 min. in the oven at 350.  I'm sure they are best grilled, but that's not an option today :-)  They are filling and have a really nice taste.  I ate one on an english muffin with sliced tomato.  I thought it was better than a regular burger - but this is coming from someone who doesn't really like red meat too much. 

2.  I got my hair cut last night in sort of a funky do, and I love it!  Short and shaggy :-)

3.  I've discovered how to grocery shop with Luke - go first thing in the morning.  He slept the whole time - I was even able to unload the van and put everything away before he woke up in his carseat.  Yay!

4.  I've been really trying to lower our grocery bill by being more organized when I go shopping.  Mark and I put a lot of time/effort into creating a master list of weekly needs, made a menu, etc.  One of my largest bills yet - $210.  Ugh!!!  So it's back to the drawing board for us.  I think coupon clipping is in our future. 

5.  Luke is a ball of joy lately.  He's a really happy baby - probably because we figured out what parenting style he responds well to.  It's a lot of work, but we're meeting his needs and it's fun to see him thriving and so happy.  He is very interested in what is going on around him.  Loves to see new people, go new places, and explore new things.  That is good, because with a big brother who is involved in a lot of activities, Mr. Luke will be experiencing a lot of new situations! 

6.  Nolan is on spring break!!!!  Woo-Hoo!!  I get to have my boys with me for a whole week :-)  We're hoping to fit in a trip to the zoo, the science center, and host a couple of play dates.  We also want some days to stay in our PJs and do nothing.  Can't wait!

Life is good <3