Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday babble

We had a nice weekend filled with some relaxing, and some time with friends.  I'm always a little sad to see Sunday come to a close, as that is the only day Mark is home with us.  But, it's back to business now.  And Sunday will come again :)

Luke had a chance to play with some kids this weekend.  One little girl is a few weeks younger, and the other little girl is a couple months older.  At 13 months old, Luke's playing style is like a bull in a china shop!  He just plows through, takes what he wants, and is just generally rough and tumble.  He is "all boy", and then some!  It doesn't help that he has an older brother who likes to wrestle around with him.  One can't expect too much from a child Luke's age....but I can see I have my work cut out for me in the months and years to come to teach him to be gentle and to share.  And I'm pretty sure I won't have to spend too much time teaching him to stand up for himself, or encouraging him to take risks/try new things.  There are pros and cons to all personality types :)

On an unrelated note, my food find of the week is a really yummy meatloaf recipe.  I of course found it on Pintrest.  I am not a fan of meatloaf normally, but this was good.  Even Luke loved it.  Try it! 

And on one final unrelated note, I have big news: I am going to try the Couch to 5K running program!  I found a 5K race I want to run in May.  They also have a 1K for kids that Nolan is going to do too :)  I used to run cross country when I was younger (middle school), and I never liked it too much.  I also used to run to stay in shape in between swim seasons, and I ran a few 5K races when I was in high school/college.  I swore I would never run again.  Partly because I hate it, but mostly because I get terrible shin splints.  However, I have been reading countless weight loss success stories lately about people doing the Couch to 5K program with great success.  People who weigh a lot more than me, and who have never been an athlete.  So I figured I'd give it a try.  I'm taking it slow and will have no problem repeating a week if I need to.  I don't want to get shin splints again, they are so painful.  My plan is to see how it goes.  Worst case scenario is that I end up walking during some of the 5K race, which would be no big deal.  Fingers crossed that it works for me!

I think that is enough rambling for a Monday.  Peace <3


Friday, January 27, 2012

A quick update

So remember when I said one of the things I'm doing differently this time around with WW is taking my measurements?  Well, I am so glad I decided to do that!

I took my baseline measurements a week ago.  I decided I would retake my measurements every few weeks...and always on weeks I didn't see the scale move.  One thing women have to battle with is hormone fluctuations that result in water retention -- which can make a huge difference in what the scale says.  

Last week I stuck to the plan, so I was hoping for a good loss.  After all that hard work, I stayed the same.  So, even though it had only been a week, I decided to record my measurements.  Much to my surprise, I lost a little under 4 inches! 

I am now an official believer in taking measurements.  That totally turned around my feelings about my weigh in today.  Even though the scale didn't move, I am getting smaller.  Yay me!


It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised.  My history with cell phone companies is not a happy one.  I never seem to get good reception, and they never have a solution for me.  I think it's a combination of bad phones and living places that don't get good service.  At any rate, I usually groan whenever I have to have dealings with a cell phone company. 

Last night was no different.

I upgraded my phone at the beginning of the week.  We did the transaction through the internet because the phone was free that way.  However, the downside is, I didn't get to see the phone in action prior to purchasing it.  Big mistake!  I'm not a phone connoisseur or anything, but even I could tell the phone was not a good one.  I basically hated the phone.  There is a 14 day trial period, so we decided to go to an actual Sprint store last night to turn in the phone and choose something else.

They were wonderful to work with!  I couldn't believe it.  We found out that there is a box we can get (for free)  that ensures optimal service in our home.  It's for people who live in outlying areas with unstable coverage.  We also found out that since we have a business account, we get special deals on phones.  I ended up getting an awesome phone for only $24!  We were thrilled.  It's amazing how different the experience is at a Sprint retail store vs. a Sprint corporate store.  No one ever bothered to tell us before about the business line discounts or the box you can get to optimize service!  Sprint retail stores are the way to go.  When my phone comes in next week, they will help me get it all set up...transfer contacts, etc., and they will teach me how to use the phone.  It's some crazy 3D touchscreen technology that I don't understand yet :)

I am happy to say that my faith has been restored in cell phone companies.

Even though things went smoothly, we were there forever.  It was funny because another family came in at the same time with an 18 month old little boy.  He was super cute and he and Luke became fast friends.  I loved watching them.  Luke gets so excited when he's around other children.  He was following the other little boy around, and they "played trucks" in their little toddler way.  (which is mostly just playing next to each other)  Fun stuff.

And that's all.  Happy Friday!  Oh, wait - I do have one picture to share of Luke on his ride on toy.  He just looks so big and grown up.  *sigh*  And the wet spot on his shirt is drool from the lovely teething :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Update: The Milk/Sippy Saga

You probably think that I'm going to say that everything is all worked out with the milk and sippy cup drama.  Well, not so much.  However, we have come to a resolution. 

The dairy farmer in my husband kicks into high gear when anything about nutrition comes up.  Much care, thought, research, and science goes into planning the food rations for his cows.  He knows that a good diet is key to optimal milk production. 

Because of this, he takes great care to provide the optimal nutrition for Luke.  He did extensive research to figure out alternatives to milk and iron supplements.  I bring up the iron because he discovered that Luke's iron level is in fact within the normal range.  It's on the low end of normal, but still normal.  After one dose of the horrific iron supplement, Mark came up with a food plan that gave Luke 100% of his iron needs naturally (it's an easy plan - two servings of fortified baby cereal each day).  We will see what Luke's levels are at his 15 month check, but as long as his number has stayed the same or improved, we can avoid the dreaded iron supplement. 

Back to the milk.  Mark felt confident that yogurt could take the place of milk.  Since Luke decided to accept us feeding him, as well as him feeding himself, eating yogurt is possible.  The problem with yogurt is, it's hard to find a brand that is truly healthy.  We didn't want to be filling him with a bunch of unhealthy fillers, sugars, etc.  Plus I was concerned about the fact that Vitamin D is added to milk but not yogurt.  I am thrilled to say we found "the yogurt": Chobani Champions.  All it has Vitamin D added!  I smile when I read the ingredient list.  He loves it too, which is an added bonus. 

The best news in all of this is, I feel like I can completely wean him now.  He's drinking some water from his sippy again, so I am confident that he'll stay hydrated.  He has come to accept two styles of cups: One is a traditional sippy, and one has a straw.  We can relax if he doesn't drink milk because we have a good alternative.  My hope is that in time, he will accept milk.  We plan to keep offering it to him in hopes that someday he'll like it. 

For now, the pressure is off.  We have officially made it over the latest parental hurdle.  Now the question is, what will the next hurdle be?  ;) 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blog re-design: Take Two!

I knew I wanted to update the look of my blog, but my first attempt wasn't quite right.  I discovered a way to choose from possibly hundreds of backgrounds/configurations, so I changed every last detail.  I think I like it now.  When I write, I print, so the font reminded me of my own handwriting.  I wanted my blog to reflect my personality a little more, and I think I succeeded.  We will see.

I have a lot of extra time on my hands today, because my parent's visit to our house had to be canceled due to weather and illness :(  I have a perfectly cleaned home and a fridge full of food.  While Luke naps, I took the liberty of propping my feet up and wasting time on the internet.  I can't think of a better way to spend a cold, snowy Saturday.  Well, other than visiting with my parents!

In closing, I'll share a few cute pics of Luke.  The first two are of him in his Ergo carrier.  I was cleaning out his room, and deciding what clothing/baby items need to be packed away in the basement.  I came across his Ergo carrier.  They are rated to carry children up to 40 lbs. I believe?!  We had never tried Luke in the backpack position, so we thought we'd see if he liked it.  He loved it!  He was laughing and enjoyed grabbing our hair :)  So, the carrier will stay upstairs.  It could come in handy during basketball games that are not stroller friendly, and any hiking we want to do this spring/summer that is not stroller friendly (we should have thought to use it at Hocking Hills!). 

I think I've mentioned before that he is not impressed with TV.  Music?  A whole different story.  I have a Baby Einstein "playdate" CD that I play pretty much most of the day.  When I turn it on he stops playing and smiles and sometimes even dances a little.  I am so happy that he enjoys music, as that is one of my loves.  Here he is playing with his xylophone.  He loves to slam the entire xylophone on the floor, vs. playing it the "right" way :)  

Friday, January 20, 2012


Today was weigh-in day, and I am ecstatic with my results!  I lost more than I expected, which is always a good thing.  I am especially proud of myself for carefully planning out my week so that I could enjoy birthday cake and a dinner out, without wrecking my diet plan. 

I decided to start taking my measurements this time around.  I've never done that before, but I think it might be helpful.  It will be interesting to see where I lose inches first, and where the weight takes the longest to come off.  I am guessing my butt and thighs will be the last to get smaller, but we'll see!

The other thing I'm doing differently is using a digital food scale.  It's not much extra work.  I basically use it to measure out my portions of meat.  I used to always guess, but I decided it's probably smart to know for sure how much I'm eating.   

I must thank Mark for being so supportive.  If I feel like eating something I know I shouldn't, he's great about listening to me and encouraging me to stay on track.  This morning he said he could already tell I have lost weight.  Woo-Hoo, talk about major "husband brownie points" :) 

I've become completely obsessed with Pintrest.  I have a board dedicated to my weight loss.  I love quotes and words of wisdom, so anything I find that makes me feel inspired, I pin it.  I found a very inspiring weight loss story on there, and she has a blog titled Runs for Cookies.  One of her recent posts was about determination vs. motivation.  I couldn't have said it better myself if I tried.  I could completely relate to her.  I too feel like I'm just done with all the ups and downs of weight.  I want the weight off, and I want it to stay off so I can just live my life. 

My food find of the week is a yogurt salad dressing.  I found it in the produce department.  I'm not sure how long they have carried that line of salad dressings, but I'm glad I found it.  The ingredients are all natural and it tastes great.

And that's it!  I hope I can report good results again next week. 

A Happy Day

Nolan's birthday was a success.  As I mentioned before, I did not get to see him the morning of his birthday.  I was anxiously awaiting his arrival after school so I could give my "baby" a Happy Birthday hug!  And, I was excited to see his reaction when he saw that I found Notre Dame decorations (his favorite team).  He was very surprised, and loved it!  He of course wanted to have cake BEFORE we went out to eat.  Anything goes at our house when it's your birthday, so we all got nice and sugared up and headed to a Japanese steakhouse. 

The chef at our hibachi table was awesome and very entertaining.  The food was great, and Luke handled himself well.  Mark and I took turns letting him walk around the lobby while we were waiting on the chef.  Once the cooking started, Luke was mesmerized.  We paid extra for the restaurant's birthday package, which seemed like a waste to us, but Nolan loved it.  It was a very good day.  As I tucked Nolan in bed for the night, I felt very blessed. 

Here are some pictures of the day.  Nolan is old enough to protest my picture-taking insanity, so I didn't get to take too many ;)

Posing with his Notre Dame decorations

Make a wish!

Gotta pose with Mom :)

Luke was HYPER at the restaurant.  He was laughing and trying to squirm away.  This was the best picture I got!

Nolan's birthday special

I got the cool guy pose when I asked if I could take just one more picture :)

Cheers to another great year! <3

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A decade

A big thing happens in our house this week: Nolan turns 10 years old!!  I have been a mom for a decade - wow!!  I feel a mix of emotions about this.  I realize he's heading full steam ahead into his tween years, which quickly lead to the teen years.  Just like any age and stage, there will be pros and cons. 

I am a little sad to say goodbye to the simplicity of the early years.  Having a 9 year age gap between my boys gives me a unique perspective.  The things that drove me crazy when Nolan was a baby don't bother me as much with Luke.  Mostly because I know that when kids get into school, sport activities, etc., I'll look back and realize those early years weren't so challenging.  I suppose that is a matter of perspective, and what types of challenges are easier for people to handle.  Life really becomes a whirlwind when kids get into school...there isn't nearly as much "free time" as I'd like to have on the evenings and weekends.  Plus you've got social issues that crop up, which can be scary/stressful.  I have been extremely and abundantly blessed in this department with Nolan, and I pray that continues.  He does well in school academically, is well liked by his peers and teachers, is athletic, and has a strong Catholic faith.  But we are only just beginning with social pressures and all that comes along with life as a tween.

Nolan has made my heart melt from day one.  He was such a sweet natured baby, and that trait has persisted.  He is very demonstrative with his affection, periodically writing me notes about what a great mom I am and how much he loves me.  He's kind and empathetic toward other's feelings.  The way he treats Luke has completely exceeded all expectations.  The sweetest moments of my life have definitely been watching the love between Luke and Nolan.  Sibling love is like no other!  I hope he never loses those qualities, as our world could use more good, strong men.

Nolan makes me laugh.  He was a very silly toddler, always doing crazy things.  I love his sense of humor.  It's fun to watch comedy movies with him, because he understands the jokes.  He used to amaze me with his jokes when he was younger - they were pretty sophisticated and truly funny!

Nolan made me a mom, and I am proud to be his mom.  I am really looking forward to celebrating his special day with him.  He's very concerned about our cake for breakfast tradition.  He won't be with us the morning of his birthday, so I assured him we'll have cake for breakfast the morning after his birthday.  :)  His celebrations will span a couple days.  We're taking him out to his favorite restaurant for his birthday dinner.  Then Saturday my parents are coming to celebrate with him.  Then he is having a sleepover, then going to a special pizza place, followed by a visit to our children's science museum.  Lots of fun stuff! 

Happy birthday Nolan.  You are so loved!  I have to post some pics from Mr. Nolan's baby/toddlerhood now, because that's just what mom's do :-D

Going home from the hospital!  My big 10 lb. boy!

Playing in the snow for the first time

Check out that hair!  There was no taming it - it stood straight up no matter what.  And it still does, that is why he has a buzz cut always :)


This was only about 3 years ago, but he looks so young to me <3

Watch for an explosion of birthday pictures next weekend ;)


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fresh Look!

As you can see, I gave our blog a facelift.  I felt like it was time for a change.  Hope you enjoy the new look!

A cold wintery Saturday

Today is one of those days when it's hard to get out of our warm cozy bed.  Luke's new habit is to start his day between 5-5:30am.  While that is much earlier than we'd like to wake up, we're not complaining.  He goes to bed at 8pm like clockwork, which leaves us with a nice chunk of our evening to relax.  So we simply bring him in our bed in the morning, where he plays until 6-ish when we're ready to emerge from our bed.  Also, due to his early wake-up, he takes a very early morning nap.  He usually goes down around 8:30 or 9am.  I can get my shower and clean up the breakfast dishes during that time.  So, it's not all bad. 

Yesterday Luke did what I've been dreading...he climbed.  Somehow I just knew he'd like to climb.  My parents got him a super cute armchair for his birthday.  It's a great size, comfy, and even has his name embroidered.  Surprisingly, he is very interested in the chair (I didn't think he'd do much with it until he was a bit older).  He'll randomly grab a book and go sit in his chair, quietly flipping through the pages.  Something about that is adorable to me.  I guess he just looks so grown up.

He has grown more and more comfortable with his chair, and decided to explore other uses for the chair.  It started with him standing on the chair.  Then sitting on the arms of the chair.  And then the discovery that it could be used to get up on a bench, which then leads to his toy shelf.  Needless to say, the chair has been relocated to a spot in the room that leads to nothing climbable :)

There is never a dull moment.  I am thankful for that!  (I think?)

On a completely different note, I have a few comments about my diet.  Week 1 produced a weight loss, so that is good!  I decided I'm not going to post how much I lose.  I will probably mention big milestone amounts, but not weekly.  Why?  Because I noticed that I compared myself to people on Facebook who have posted their weight loss.  And since they lost more than me, I felt  like a loser.  Which doesn't make sense, because every body is different, and my weight loss journey has nothing to do with their weight loss journey.  But still, I'm human and it left me feeling defeated.  I don't want to inadvertently do that to anyone else. 

So my main comment about dieting is: Chobani fat free Greek yogurt has changed my life.  I prefaced that statement this morning to my husband with this is going to sound dramatic....but it's true.  He laughed - how does yogurt change one's life?  First, it changed my life because I used to HATE yogurt.  The smell alone could make me gag.  Not anymore.  I love love love Chobani!  Specifically, the peach and strawberry varieties.  It somehow manages to control my appetite the entire day.  I heard that from a nutritionist or doctor one time on TV and I didn't believe it.  Now I do.  I still get hungry throughout the day, but it's different somehow.  I don't feel the need to snack so much, and my hunger stays at a low level.  Also, after eating it for about a week, I feel a difference in my stomach. I had started to get an upset stomach easily, usually from eating meat.  That issue has totally been eliminated.  The Chobani brand is a bit more expensive, at $1.19 a cup.  However, all ingredients are by the time you add the cost of buying real fruit to put in your yogurt, it's about the same price.  I truly believe that eating yogurt is going to play a big role in my success this time.  Pretty cool!

And that's it.  Luke is sick so no big plans for us this weekend.  Happy Saturday! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This, that, and the other

It's random-blog-post-Thursday! 

  • Nolan has been entertaining us all with his wonderful recorder practicing lately.  Apparently my parents still remember being tortured enjoying our recorder music.  I wanted to share the joy, so I let him call them this morning before school and play a song. Aren't I a nice daughter? ;)

  • Luke has been doing the cutest thing lately when he plays with his trucks.  He makes a "vrooom-vrooom" sound as he drives them around.  I love being a mom to boys!

  • Nolan made runner-up for his class spelling bee.  If the winner is sick, he'll be able to compete in the all-school spelling bee.  Proud of him!

  • I found the best water cup.  For some reason, if I drink out of a cup with a straw, I end up drinking much more in a day.  I found this cup and it's awesome!  It keeps my water cold and doesn't sweat on the outside.  Plus it fits in my cup holders in our van, which is even better.  Small things like this make my day!

  • My husband rocks.  I really admire him.  I'm not going to go into details, but there has been plenty of "challenges" thrown his way lately and he just takes it all in stride.  He somehow carries the weight of his world on his shoulders, and still manages to be an amazing husband and father.  Love him to pieces <3  Marrying him was the best decision I ever made!

  • I love how Luke can follow me around the house now.  It's so cute, I just tell him to come with me, and he toddles along behind me.  We met a friend for lunch at Panera the other day, and he was even able to walk from the van into the restaurant!  (on the sidewalk)  It's a welcome break from lugging him around all the time.

  • More will come on this topic, but I've almost completed a week on Weight Watchers.  Yes I had fallen off the wagon AGAIN.  Yes I'm shamelessly admitting this on my public blog.  I'm doing some things differently this time that I think will help me be successful.  Stay tuned.

I'll end with a few of my favorite pictures from the photo session with had back in November.

3 smiles, 1 frown :)

I love the smile exchanged between the boys <3

Sweet <3

So grown up...

Love those baby blue eyes!

He hates this picture, but I think it's cute!

So tiny next to that big tire..

And that's all the randomness I have to share for now.  Happy almost weekend!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Straw please

Well, the final sippy cups arrived.  And Luke liked one of them!  Yay, right?  Well, yay for 5 minutes.  Then he figured out how to shove the nipple/spout down into the cup.  Leaving it wide open, able to spill all its contents out everywhere.  Awesome design!  I can tell the manufacturers of that sippy do not have children.

I think I might take up sippy cup collecting as a hobby, since I'm already off to a great start.  We've got lots of makes and models over here, and most are still in mint condition ;)

The good news is, he does enjoy drinking from a straw.  Specifically, Capri Sun juice pouches.  Now, Capri Sun juice would be one of my last choices of fluids for Luke.  Luckily I do buy the 100% no sugar added kind (for Nolan).  But we'll take it at this point.  I'm going to look for a sippy that has a straw.  Although, those straws are usually bigger - I think he likes the small capri sun straws because he isn't flooded with fluid when he takes a drink.  The quest continues.

It's funny to me how unpredictable toddlers can be.  We see this so much with Luke when it comes to eating/drinking.  For awhile, he refused to let us feed him.  Then, the last few days he seems to prefer for us to feed him.  When we give him finger foods, he tosses them all off his tray.  I first attributed this to him loving to feed the dogs. But then I put the dogs out of the room, and he still did it.  What gives?

Yesterday, I took Luke to one of Nolan's basketball games by myself.  I won't lie, I was nervous.  Having Luke sit in the bleachers is out of the question.  He's way too active and it would never work.  Normally Mark is with me, so we can take turns with him out in the hall (he loves to walk around and explore).  Mark was working, so I had to go solo.  Luke typically likes to eat in his stroller, but I wasn't sure if that would work, given his recent finger food refusal.  I packed all his best snacks, and even filled a previously rejected sippy with water.  I even thought to myself, You are delusional.  He's going to throw all this food on the floor, and you'll have to pick it up.  He's not going to drink out of this sippy.  It will also be thrown.  Why are you even bothering?   But, like most moms, I had hope left.  Hope that his unpredictable behavior would work to my advantage just this one time.

And it did!

Luke was FAN-TAS-STIC.  He slept during our drive to the game.  It took 45 minutes to get there, so that gave him a nice refreshing nap.  I strapped him in his stroller and into the game we went.  I had to stand, because there was no place for a stroller near the bleachers.  I didn't care one bit.  Luke was happy, so I was happy.  Everything I put in his stroller tray got eaten.  Only one puff ended up on the floor, and I think it was just by accident.  He drank half a sippy cup of water.  He didn't fuss even once.  After the game, he rode happily home in his carseat.  He actually laughed at Nolan most of the ride.  It was a dream come true!

We got home, and dinner was thrown from his tray (or squashed by him - another fun thing he has discovered), and he would no longer drink from his sippy.  I just had to laugh.  Love that kid!!

Remembering Adam

I awakened to Luke's cries this morning around 6:30am.  For a brief moment, it was just any old day.  For most of you, January 5th is, and will most likely always will be, any old day.  But for me, after being awake for one second, I was hit with the crushing reality that Adam died one year ago today. 

I started this post January 5th.  It's now the 8th and I still can't find the words to describe how I felt on the one year anniversary of Adam's death.  I think it's because there are no words. It was an awful day.  I miss Adam.  I wish things could have been different. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unexpected puzzle

You'd think that after being a mom for nearly a decade, I'd know to expect the unexpected.  But somehow, I still find myself surprised in mommy land on a semi-regular basis.

The latest surprise in our household is: sippy cup drama.

Or maybe I should say cow's milk drama.  But really it's a little of both.

When we initially introduced a sippy cup to Luke, it was pretty much a seamless process.  We only gave him water, and he easily learned to hold the cup and drink from it.  He's never been a huge drinker, but he would drink a little whenever we offered him water.  I was pleased that we could skip over bottles and life was good.

About a month ago, I wanted to start working on weaning Luke from breastfeeding.  My goal was to be completely done by his 1st birthday.  Big. Fat. Fail.

Our lovely little boy hates cows milk.  In addition to that, he's stopped wanting to drink anything from a sippy cup.  He'll take a sip here and there, but not enough to amount to anything.  So he's still nursing until we can get this figured out.

We've tried 4 different kinds of sippy cups.  Two more styles are coming in the mail tomorrow.  We've tried warm milk and cold milk.  Whole milk, 2% milk, and vanilla soy milk.  We've tried adding vanilla and adding strawberry flavoring.  We've tried diluting the milk with water.  In desperation to get him in the habit of drinking more fluids from a sippy in general, we've even given him fruit punch and apple juice, full strength and diluted.  Nothing has worked.  You can't really force a child to drink, so we're stuck.  And we so didn't see this coming!

If he rejects the two styles of sippy cups we have on the way, then we will officially be out of ideas.  We're trying to be patient and not make a huge deal about it.  In these situations I remind myself that someday he'll embrace the sippy.  In the meantime, Luke is keeping us on our toes <3