Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Surgery... And Stuff...

Nick's knee surgery yesterday went well. I meant to write a quick blog post once we were home, but you know how it goes. We didn't get home from the surgery center until after 6:00 and then the boys came home from Al & Teri's shortly after. By the time everyone was fed and bathed and iced down and given their medicine,  it was after 11:00 and I was completely spent.

I was thinking, this is the fourth surgery Nick has had in the eight years we've been married! Isn't that crazy? The first three were all cancer related (the biopsy and then the chemotherapy port insertion and removal), but still! By now I am an old pro at being a post op caretaker. One thing I've learned is sitting in the waiting room passively reading doesn't cut it for me. I need to do something to channel my nervous energy. Yesterday, I took a stack of cards and wrote thank you notes for Everett's birthday while I waited. I also always take this book with me, The Power of A Praying Wife. It is broken up into short chapters about different topics with a specific prayer and bible verses at the end of each one. I have worn that book out over the years. I love having it to read while Nick's surgeries are going on and having specific words to pray over and over again. I believe it does something for him, but I also know it helps me. (There is also The Power of A Praying Parent and The Power of A Praying Woman. I actually have THIS book which is all three combined. I have pulled it out a ton over the years.)

So we got home last night and Nick was feeling pretty good. By the time we went to bed he was starting to get uncomfortable, and then we were up off and on all night long, trying to get him situated and more medicine and keep his ice machine filled up. Today he has felt pretty lousy and been in quite a bit of pain. 

As it turns out, caring for three humans plus a fury human is a ton of work! I don't mind it because my people need me, but WOW! Thankfully, Al and Teri had the boys all day yesterday and helped me get them to bed last night. They came over again this morning and took them to the aquarium for a couple of hours and helped with lunch. Then tonight, my mom brought dinner and helped me get the boys to bed. It seriously makes me question if I could handle having three kids. There are just a lot of needs to fill and things to remember and people to keep your eyes on when it's three to one. 
My charge for the next several days. Luckily, they're cute!!

I am really, really praying that Nick will start to feel a little better tomorrow and his pain will subside. I hate seeing him feel so lousy.

Here are a few other non- surgery related pictures from the last few days:
Such a big boy riding in his new car seat! I was really planning to wait longer before turning him around, but it was an absolute beating to go anywhere in the car with him in the infant seat. We found a really safe carseat online with good reviews for small kids that makes me feel a little better about it. 

I tried to keep the boys outside most of the day today since it was pretty and it would give Nick some peace and quiet. 

The brothers love the sandbox. I think we are going to have such a fun summer!

On Sunday they went for a ride together in a neighbor's Power Wheels. This was Everett's first time to ride in anything like this. He loved it after a few minutes, and Logan was so sweet with him. I think it is adorable how he's holding onto the side of the car with one hand and Logan's arm with the other.

Logan drew what I would consider to be his first real picture the other day on his white board. I was so proud of him, I think it looks great!! It is a big, bad wolf.
 Andddd... we're still not napping. Which means about 5:00 every day, something like this happens:
That is going to have to be another post for another day, because I need some serious advice. Right now I'm not pushing him napping and just letting him play quietly in his room, but that doesn't seem to be working so well either. He's so exhausted and just a bear in the evenings. Helllllpppp! Where is freaking Jo Jo the SuperNanny when you need her?!?!

Also on Monday, when I said it was Everett's birthday, I failed to mention it was *ALSO* my Aunt D'Lynn's birthday and JG's birthday, and I love them very much and I felt bad about that later. 
Forever, the birthday twins!
I mean what are the odds that my grandmother, my mom and I all three gave birth on the same day of the year?? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Everett's First Birthday!

Today was Everett's first birthday. I've been sentimental and emotional, all the stuff you feel as you watch your babies circle the sun one more time. I keep thinking this was the longest, fastest year of my life. It was such a joyful, wonderful year, but also challenging and exhausting. I feel grateful and overflowing with love, but let's be honest, a little worse for the wear as well. I didn't have quite this many wrinkles and dark circles under my eyes a year ago. My nerves were a little less frayed. Having done this twice, I can now say- the first year is sweet, but it's HARD! The best is yet to come!

I think back on this time last year, how at 4:16 in the morning after 29 hours of labor, he came barreling into the world with a full head of dark hair. He was so skinny and long! Though it lasted forever, his delivery and birth was an absolute gift. He was perfect! He healed something inside of me that was broken and sad, both after having a miscarriage and the difficult delivery with Logan.

Everett came ten days early and entered the world completely on his terms. He hasn't slowed down a bit since then! I love his fiery spirit, and I am so excited to see the big things he's going to do in this world. I thought my heart was full to the brim before I met my second son, my sunshine. Turns out, it was only half way to the top. Happy, happy birthday my precious angel. You light up my world!

On Saturday we had a small family party to celebrate. Although the word "small" is a relative term when it comes to my family. (So is the word "quiet" but that's another story for another day.) The theme was Where The Wild Things Are, like the book, which is absolutely perfect for my Everett. We grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and our wonderful cake lady Ruth made the most amazing cakes. It was a great day!

I truly could not have made it through the past year without the love, help and advice of these two! They are THE BEST!!!

 Andrea & Chris and Nick's Anut Sue and Uncle Steve were all in town, which made it extra special!

 Before the cake, we attempted a family picture…

Our sweet, sweet boys!! Their expressions crack me up. They look a lot alike to me in this picture!

"And they named him KING OF ALL THE WILD THINGS!" <--- Yes, that exactly!

He is totally giving Logan the stink eye in this picture. And you know what, I don't blame him!

 He crossed his feet and dug right in!
"HEY! WHAT?? You're taking that thing away from me??"

Then it was time for presents, which was Logan's personal favorite portion of the evening. He has been scavenging through and lording over Everett's presents ever since. We have to keep a close inventory on things, as Logan has a habit of taking them and hiding them from Everett in the media room and in closets. 

 I've learned there's always a lot of assembling required after little boys' birthday parties.

Today I made pancakes for breakfast and we went to the park to play. Logan was very specific about how "Everett" wanted to spend the day.
The birthday boy fell asleep in his new carseat on the way to the park. Being one is tough! We are in the process of switching from two naps a day to one, and so morning car rides usually end like this.

Logan pretended to put out fires on the fire ladder, Everett enjoyed swinging and watching Logan and trying to sneak wood chips in his mouth. Life will be so much easier for everyone once he decides to walk.

For lunch we went to Chic Fila, Logan told me that's what Everett really wanted. Suspicious...

He stood in the playground at CFA and laughed and squealed and made funny faces at the bigger kids. For dinner we met my mom and Al & Teri at Armends for Italian food, another suggestion by Logan, for Everett of course. 

We didn't get Everett a big gift. He got so many great things from friends and family though! I did get him some summer clothes and swimsuits when Gap was having their 40% off sale a couple of weeks ago and a new wall frame for his bedroom, and called that all a birthday present. We also bought him a new baby swing for the backyard. 

He is clearly a huge fan!

We have had a lot of fun celebrating our wonderful one year old!

**Also, tomorrow morning Nick is having his knee surgery. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and especially for a smooth and speedy recovery. I will try and post tomorrow once everything is over tomorrow rather than doing a big mass text.**

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I'm Learning Also

I messed up.

Yesterday everything with Logan and the napping (or lack there of) finally came to a head. We spent all of nap time in a power struggle. It ended with Logan not napping, and Logan and I both frustrated and exhausted. The issue at hand had very little to do with naps now that I think about it, and everything to do with the need for control escalating between the two of us. For sure, it was not one of my finer days in parenting.

Last night after he went to bed I had some time to decompress and really think things through. I thought about how I watched the monitor like a hawk yesterday, and the second he started sliding out of bed I was all over him. Nip this problem in the bud, I told myself. I thought about his defiance and how angry it made me feel. And in the end, it was just ugly for us both. The beautiful and the infuriating part of parenting I've found, is the way it is like looking in a mirror. It has a way of bringing your shortcomings to the surface and forcing you to reckon with them head on. 

His clock finally came in the mail. Last night while he was sleeping Nick and I figured out how it worked. It's similar to a regular alarm clock, only instead of making noise, when it's time to wake up, the whole clock glows light green. This morning we explained how it worked and that his job was to stay in his room until it was green. No ultimatums, no rules about staying in his bed, no child locks on the door, none of it.

Today at nap time we did the usual two book routine then I reminded him about the clock. "You have to stay in your room until it's green, then you can come out whenever you'd like." I walked out and shut the door. I didn't dash straight for the monitor this time. A few minutes later I heard him clanging around in his bathroom, but as hard as it was, I didn't go upstairs. As long as he's staying within the boundaries I set, there is nothing more I should do. 

And sure enough, he played in his bathroom doing who knows what and half an hour later when I checked the monitor again, he was sound asleep in his bed. Fifteen minutes after the green light came on, he was happily downstairs. Simple as that. If I can learn to be okay with stepping back and completely letting go more, I might be surprised by the results.  

I also don't think this is the end of the story. I know Logan, and I know my own shortcomings well enough to realize this control thing is going to be a dance he and I do for much of the next fifteen years. I've just got to find a better way to lead us going forward. Yesterday I micromanaged and bossed and bullied us both in a corner. I am determined to humbly and prayerfully do better. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunglasses and Stripes For The Win

The last few days have been mayhem at our house. 
First of all, Nick has been "laid up" awaiting his knee surgery. Poor guy! He tries to hobble around a little bit here and there, but it is just not a good situation. He can't get comfortable at night so neither of us are sleeping well, and there's just not a lot you can do when you have a bum knee. He's helping me as much as he possibly can, but I've pretty much been single mom-ing it for the past several days. I am a terrible single mom.

Our house was looking like a bomb went off. And I don't just mean by my standards. Anyone would have winced if they walked in out house. There were toys and clothes and overflowing laundry baskets and dirty dishes as far as the eye could see. All we needed were a bunch of beer cans and between the mess and the boys, it would have been the same as a real, actual frat house. Everett is getting a new tooth/possibly has an ear infection-- as long as he takes Motrin he's fine, but he's drooling buckets and not sleeping well either. Then, yesterday for about three hours Logan decided he was only going to wear diapers. He absolutely refused to wear his underwear.

It got to the point where Nick and I pretty much just cashed it in and gave up trying to regain any sort of order and control. When the boys were sleeping and we had a fighting chance of getting our life back in order, we just shrugged our shoulders and pressed play on another episode of House of Cards. That's responsibility at its finest right there. 

Finally last night, I could take it no more. I was absolutely exhausted after everybody went to bed, but I decided to stay up and get our life back in order. I had been cleaning for about an hour when who came moseying down the stairs with a sheepish grin but Logan himself? I took him back to his room, he came back out again. He needed water. He was having trouble falling asleep, he was pulling out every trick in the book. He's had full freedom with coming and going in his room for about a month now, and this was really the first time he decided to push the envelope. 

The third time he came creeping down the stairs, I got really stern. I told him if he came out of his room one more time I was putting the lock back on his door. He came back out, so I walked upstairs, put him in bed and put the child lock on his doorknob. What ensued next… it was a scene straight out of Super Nanny. Gah!! I didn't even think Logan had it in him! He screamed and yelled and beat on the door and tried to kick it down. It was insane!! I went up there once, and he was totally out of control. Nick was doped up on Hydrocodine in our room, but at that point, I went in for reinforcements. It was probably the first time in Logan's life I have felt totally and completely like I had no idea what to do. Nick hobbled upstairs and was really stern with Logan. He ended up laying in bed with him for a couple of minutes (which I had tried at one point earlier), and Logan passed right out…. until 5:00 this morning when he came into our room. We tried putting him in bed with us, but he just would not go back to sleep. Needless to say, I've ordered one of those stoplight clocks for his room on Amazon that tells him when it's okay to wake up and we are about to institute bedtime bootcamp around here. 

Logan has been doing surprisingly well taking a nap in the last few weeks, but this afternoon about an hour into nap time I heard noises coming from his room. I couldn't see him on the monitor so I went in his room- I still couldn't find him. Finally, I opened the door to his bathroom and there he was, standing at his sink brushing his teeth. He had no shirt on, but he had put his jeans back on, as well as his socks and shoes on the wrong feet! His expression when I walked in was so nonchalant, like it was the most normal thing in the entire world he was doing. "I'm not going to sleep today, so I'm getting ready," he said. I couldn't help but die laughing!

Aside from the nap time fiasco, today has been a much, much better day. I ended up staying up late last night and getting the house all cleaned up. I was exhausted when Logan came trolling in at 5:00 a.m., but it was still worth it to wake up to a clean house this morning. It has been a gorgeous Spring day, so the boys and I went to Trader Joe's to grocery shop (And I died of happiness! Not only the best store ever, but our weekly grocery bill was almost half price.) and then we went to the park for a little bit. 
Stripes and sunglasses are where it's at. 

I can't even handle the cuteness. 

Daylight savings time and a new tooth has been causing Everett to wake up extra early the past few days as well. I've been playing with him in his bedroom so he doesn't wake up Logan and Nick. I love my sleep, but I've also loved this bonus time with my littlest boy as well. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tools For 2015: Tool #3- Kids & Food

Last night Jenna and Jarriet had us over for dinner.
They made pan seared filets, roasted red potatoes, and asparagus with prosciutto. For dessert we had warm cookies with vanilla bean ice cream. It was amazing, and they made us feel so comfortable and relaxed in their home! (It also helped the boys were at our house with Mimi.)

One of the best things about food is the ways it can bring people together. 

^^ Precious Luca Nell

A love for good food is something I hope to pass down to our kids. I want them to enjoy and appreciate all different kinds of food and have a healthy relationship with the things they put in their bodies.

So far, both of our boys are good eaters and pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I think to a certain extent, they may be that way naturally, but I also think a big part of it has to do with habits and exposure to different things.

Now, don't get me wrong. We probably eat the same kinds of things as most everyone else, and it's not like we're whipping up Thai food in the kitchen once a week or anything. We just really, really like food a lot in our house. 

Logan has gotten a lot more particular about what he eats lately. He requests to have "kid food" (PB&J, chicken nuggets, etc.) wayyy more than I wish he would these days, but he will still pretty much give every food a try. I can't think of many things he refuses to eat, and I think that's about all you can ask. 

One thing Nick and I try to do is have the boys eat the same thing or at least a version of whatever we're eating every night at dinner. Mostly, they don't mind foods that are a little spicy or might have an unusual texture. I try and give them healthy snacks during the day, too. Logan would prefer Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks just like any other kid, but I do really try and save those things as treats. And instead, he's happy to snack on yogurt with honey, nuts, celery and peanut butter, veggies with hummus and whole wheat crackers, too. 

Recently, I've read two good books on this very topic and I wanted to pass them along. 
I found out about the first one, It's Not About the Broccoli, from my sorority sister Brooke. If your kids are picky eaters or big snackers and you want to change that, I would say you this book is a must read. Even if your kids are pretty good eaters and you just want some tips to help them become lifelong healthy eaters, I would say this is a must read. 

The thing I like about this book is it's realistic for most of us. She's not trying to say the only things you should ever feed your kids are kale chips and salmon. It's all very simple and doable, no matter how far gone you might think your kids are. She breaks it down step by step. It seems to me like a very healthy and balanced approach to teaching kids about food. I really like and recommend this book.

There were so many things I took away, but a huge thing was why you should never let food become a bargaining chip and beg your kids to take "just one more bite." She also has a very interesting philosophy on snacking, that I totally agreed with. 

The second book is 100 Days of Real Food.
Casey told me about this book, and ever since it came in the mail I have been hooked. Now, I have to admit, I haven't read the whole thing cover to cover. This one is definitely more rigid in terms of what she suggests that kids should eat. The first book talks about chips and candy and junk food and their place, but the second book is strictly about wholesome, nourishing foods.

The thing I like about this second one is, it's so informative. The author talks in depth about food labels and what to look for, and all of that gets very confusing for me. The best part is the pages and pages of recipes with pictures. Simple stuff that you could definitely fix, maybe you're like me and get in a rut and just don't think to do so. There's even a section devoted specifically to lunch boxes.

One idea I got from this book was a remake of the classic grilled cheese sandwich for Logan. He loves apples and bacon, so one night I added those things to his sandwich. Since he loves those foods it was an easy sell.
And also just to keep it real, I served homemade chicken noodle soup with his apple + bacon grilled cheese. Well, that night he decided he didn't like "that kind" of noodles and chicken that looked "that way" in his soup, so he refused to touch it. It was still a win in my book. 

If food is a struggle at your house, or you need some new ideas, or you want to teach your kids how to love food the way you do, I would highly recommend both of these books!