Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday wrap-up

So, I fried fish tonight. Yep, the day after the maids came, I totally trashed my kitchen with flour, beaten egg, splattered oil and fish stench, because I'm just so smart.

Ugh, at least there's wine. GOOD wine. Chateau Grand Traverse Late Harvest Riesling. Mmmmm....

And it's Friday, so I get Hubby at home for two whole days. Yay! Tried to talk him into taking Monday off so we could take the kids to a hotel Sunday night but no can do. Oh well.

If you get a sec., head over to the Ladybugs & Tonka Trucks blog. They featured me on their blog today. Kinda neat.

Oh, and if you have a spare prayer, please send it on over to little Layla Grace, who is a beautiful, sweet little 2-year-old angel in her last hours or days here on Earth. She's battling a super-aggressive cancer. It's heart-wrenching and has weighed heavily on my mind the last couple days. Hug your kids and be thankful for their health, even if they're driving you nuts.

OK, well, I'm off to enjoy a shower and get this grease off me! Have a great weekend!

Mid-Michigan Children's Museum visit

Logan had President's Day off from school, so we made plans with my friend to take our kids to the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum in Saginaw that day. Sadly, they were unable to go because one of the kids got sick, but I decided to take Logan and Jordan anyway.

Boy, am I glad I did! We had a great time.

The museum is in Saginaw, a little over an hour from my house. I packed a lunch and we headed out. I wasn't sure what to expect, since we've been to a number of different museums. This one was all on one level, and mainly in one big room that was divided up into areas. That made it easier to let the kids explore and keep an eye on them. If I had to chase Jordan in one direction, I knew Logan wasn't far away.

There was sooooo much to see! The boys spent several hours playing and exploring and touching and learning. That's why I love children's museums. So, here you go, take a photo tour of the place. I took dozens of photos and didn't even upload them all here. There was just so much to see and do.

We played a lot with these soft blocks. Logan loved building them up and crashing them down.

The ball crank thing (not sure the proper name) was Logan's favorite by far. THIS is a clear example of how NOT to play with the exhibit.

But he had fun cranking the balls up the conveyor.

And Jordan had fun in the ball pit area.

This is what it looks like when the balls are falling toward you.

Jordan got to touch a lot of things he'd be pulled away from at home.

He also got to play with a (cloth-diapered!) baby doll in the pediatrician's office exhibit. Logan gave me lots of shots there, too.

There was a big mouth and the kids played in it and rearranged all the teeth.

The water play area was a lot of fun for the boys

This is an example of how NOT to milk a cow.

The boys had fun with this bubble window thing

Logan got to see the inner workings of a human heart, right up close

Jordan was mesmerized by this neat bubbly mirrored bead maze

We also spent a lot of time trying on glasses at the ophthalmologist office exhibit. You can see that in this post.

All in all, it was a really good day for this mom and her boys!

We've already planned our next trip to the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum. If you live in Michigan, go check it out!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do you read to your kids?

When Logan was a baby, I read to him a LOT. I vividly remember sitting on his bedroom floor. He was only a couple days old, dressed in a diaper and strapped into his infant seat. He was jaundiced, so I had him sunbathing near the window, and I was reading--well, TRYING to read--"Guess How Much I Love You?" to him. I was a tired, hormonal mess and I was sobbing my eyes out trying to get through that story. That was, I think, the first time I read to him.

I continued reading to him every day, and he grew to love it. He would sit quietly on my lap, his hand tangled in my hair, and listen to book after book. Other moms were amazed at how long he would just sit there reading with me.

Even when we weren't reading, I had books on a shelf he could reach, and he spent a lot of time looking through them.

Logan was a really early reader, and I'm certain all the reading I did helped with that. Now, at almost five years old, HE reads books to ME more often than I read to him. I love that so much.

Along came Jordan. Poor Jordan. I was overwhelmed trying to deal with a jealous Logan and a new baby at the same time. I did NOT read to him a lot in the beginning. As a matter of fact, I just recently started reading to him on a regular basis.

Jordan would rather eat a book than read it, quite literally. He doesn't just taste them or chew on the board a little, he tears huge chunks out of it with his teeth and chews it up and swallows it. I am constantly saying "No no, Jordan. Books are for reading, not for eating."

But this week, I've been excited to see Jordan is starting to cultivate a love for books. He won't sit still nearly as long as Logan would at this age, but he does have some favorites he'll sit through, and like Logan did, he loves to turn the pages for me.

What I really love is that the one book that is his absolute favorite was also Logan's favorite. It's Eric Carle's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?"

It's a book that Logan loved so much, I had to tape the spine together. Now Jordan is completely trashing it, but he is doing it by carrying it around, paging through it and, yes, taking the occasional nibble.

I read this book to Logan so many times, I memorized it when he was little and I'd recite it to him when he got fussy in the car, or when we were backpacking.

This will be one of the few books that I will never, ever be able to get rid of. This tattered copy of Brown Bear will likely be one of the things I look back upon with the fondest memories, and I'm thrilled that it will give me memories from both boys loving it so much.

What about you? Do you read to your kids?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wed- Jordan vs mac n cheese

Aw, FORGET this learning-to-use-a-fork business!

What? Do I have something on my face?

Bye-bye boobies!?

Warning, this is going to be kind of long, and it's all about breastfeeding. If that bores you, skip this post!

When I first had Logan back in April of 2005, we had trouble getting started breastfeeding. It took us about a week to get the hang of it--a tearful, frustrating week for both of us. I had a stupid nurse at the hospital telling me (the very night I had him!) that he was crying because I was starving him and I should let her give him formula. He was NOT starving. I stuck to my guns about breastfeeding only, and requested the lactation consultant come in to help. She gave me some good tips and several days later, after begging the baby every 15 minutes, day and night, to nurse, he did, like a pro.

Nursing Logan at home

At the Sleeping Bear sand dunes

In the ghost town at Fayette State Park

One year later, on his first birthday, I nursed him before his nap. It was the last time. We had weaned so gradually that I am still not sure if it was led by me or by him. It just happened, with no effort at all. Neither of us missed it. We were just done.

So, when I had Jordan last February, I planned to do things the same way. Nurse for a year, and call it good.

Jordan, as second children tend to be, was completely different right out of the starting gate. He took to nursing immediately in the hospital. When we came home, I found myself in the middle of a two-hour nursing session in the middle of the night. This kid liked to nurse! I broke my own vow and gave him a pacifier, just to give myself a rest.

Logan used to fall asleep every time he nursed. It was like his comfort thing. He'd wrap his little hand up in my hair and fall into dreamland.

Jordan was all business about nursing. He would eat quickly. So quickly I wasn't even sure he was getting enough. He never fell asleep from nursing, though it would relax him.

Lunchtime at the bowling alley

Just the other day, trying to get him to nap on a tough teething day

As soon as Jordan discovered solid food, he got a lot less interested in nursing. He'd still do it, but was much more interested in FOOD food.

As the months ticked away closer to his first birthday, he was only nursing in the middle of the night. Like, two or three times every night. No, my baby didn't sleep through the night. He was in some sort of reverse cycle that made him think he needed to nurse all night even if he didn't want to during the day.

Because the pediatrician told me he was "in danger of falling off the charts" due to his size, I kept allowing him to nurse at night, because he was getting extra calories. Plus, it was the easiest way to get him back to sleep. Nurse for five minutes and back to bed, easy peasy.

But getting up all night started getting old for me, and Jordan started waking up more and more. I decided I wanted to night wean him so he wouldn't expect to nurse in the night, and maybe he'd actually sleep through.

I enlisted Hubby's help. So, a couple weeks ago, he started getting up in the night with Jordan, because if the baby saw me he wanted to nurse. We had a small battle because Hubby thought if we were trying to get the baby to sleep in his bed, we shouldn't pick him up. I, of course, wanted to snuggle and comfort my crying son. But, I could see Hubby's point and he WAS the one getting up so I let him try it his way, and my goodness it worked.


Now, though, ONLY DADDY can get Jordan to go to sleep at night. He still wakes up once or twice or sometimes more during the night (especially when these new teeth that are trying to break through are bugging him) but now ONLY DADDY can get him back to sleep. If I go in there, he just screams. I don't know if it's that he wants to nurse when he sees me, or if Daddy's become his "lovey" or what. I do know, though, that Daddy gets REALLY crabby when his sleep is interrupted!

He is really good at getting Jordan to go back to sleep, though. I witnessed it this morning. Hubby was about to leave for work and Jordan woke up. It was 2 hours before his normal wake time so I went in there to get him to go back to sleep. He just screamed. After a few minutes, Hubby came in, said "Go night-night, Joe Bugs," laid him down, covered him up and the kid just quieted right down!

Unfortunately I was still in the room, sitting in the rocker, and after Hubby left I tried to sneak out. We have REALLY creaky hardwood floors in our house and there's no sneaking out of Jordan's room. He popped up and started throwing pacis at me (His signature move. He stands in his crib and pelts me with pacis.)

So, I nursed him. He nursed happily through a song on his Rainforest Lullaby CD and then I put him in his crib and he went right back to sleep.

Which brings me to now.

What is the next step?

We were discussing it at dinner last night, and Hubby thinks I should stop nursing altogether. He thinks once it's gone completely, Jordan will stop expecting it. That makes sense. Lately, I have been nursing him at bedtime, occasionally--like today--when he wakes up and it's an hour or two too early for him to get up, and once in a while during the day if I'm trying to get him to nap.

And Hubby's idea makes sense. I can see where it would work.

I don't even think Jordan is really that attached to nursing as much as he is to the idea of it. I say that because when I nurse him before bed, for example, he usually will nurse for literally two or three seconds and then pop in his paci. Then 15 seconds later, he'll nurse for two or three seconds and then pop his paci in. Repeat, repeat, repeat. He's not even GETTING anything, it's like he's just making sure it's still there. It's a comfort thing.

And I have to admit, I am sad to stop, too. I'm not having any more kids. This is my last child to nurse. However, the stop-and-start nursing isn't really that pleasant anymore and I am kind of ready to get my body back. (Even though I know from past experience that means I'm going to go from a 38C-D down to a 36A again!)

Bye-bye boobies!

In a way, it kind of hurts that Daddy has become his comfort person at night, because that's been MY job. It stings when I go in there and he just screams, and then Daddy walks in and he calms right down. I guess it lets me see what Hubby has been going through all these months when I was the comfort person. I guess he's just getting his turn.

So, anyway, if anyone has any tips to help us complete this weaning/teaching to sleep process, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

They'll be great husbands one day

Seriously, how beautiful is THAT?! The best part? He ASKED to do it!

Getting Jordan used to the idea, too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Recap of sugarless week

I wrote a recap of my "sugarless" week as my column for the newspaper this week. Just thought I'd share.


Our kids are sweet enough without adding sugar

Two weeks ago, I was a real mess. All week, I was tired, lethargic, headachey and just kind of felt like I had a foggy brain. I kept waiting for whatever I was coming down with to strike, but it didn’t. In the meantime, I was constantly rummaging about in the cupboard, stuffing sugary things into my face for energy. After a while, I’d find myself in the cupboard again, looking for more.

Then, one afternoon I was driving with the boys and I was literally slapping myself in the face to stay awake. I felt like I was moving through warm water, I was so drowsy. I got us home and, guess what… rummaged through the cupboard for a pick-me-up.

That’s when it hit me. I was so obviously addicted to sugar, and I was in a downward spiral of sugar rushes and the subsequent crashes that got worse each time.

I knew what I needed to do, and it wasn’t going to be fun. I needed to kick sugar.

So, I kind of tried to cut down a little over the weekend, but I still had plenty of sugar. First thing Monday morning, though, it was ON.

I tend to start my days with homemade café mochas made from half-caff coffee, some cocoa mix and skim milk. Right out of the gate, I’m flooding my body with sugar. It would continue with my bowl of oatmeal, to which I would add a heaping spoonful of sugar. By 10 a.m. daily, I am looking around in that pantry for more. I even have gone so far as to drink straight out of the maple syrup jug.

So, of course, I felt like something was missing on Monday morning. My coffee wasn’t nearly as enjoyable without the cocoa in it, but I was determined to see where the experiment took me. We planned a trip to a children’s museum that day, and I dutifully packed my lunch. The only added sugar I decided to allow myself was in one OIKOS honey- or fruit-on-the-bottom Greek yogurt daily (I can not STAND plain yogurt, and adding my own fruit or whatever just isn’t the same) and also the Skippy Natural peanut butter I buy has 3 grams per serving.

By 10 a.m. all I could think about was sugar. My body was screaming that it was hungry, even though it had been fed. It wanted the sweet stuff. I resisted.
Truth be told, it was a tough week. Particularly Tuesday, which started when I went for a morning run and smelled the donuts and Paczkis from Max’s Bakery. That day I was also bombarded by the return of the Shamrock Shake, Girl Scout Cookie peddlers and Easter candy. I LOVE Easter candy!

By Wednesday, though, I realized I hadn’t had a headache all week. I was still craving sugar, but the cravings were a lot easier to handle. I felt mentally a LOT sharper than I had the previous week. I knew I had done the right thing.

I made it from Monday morning to Friday night and aside from the yogurt and peanut butter, the only added sugar I consumed was a quarter of a graham cracker and one Pez candy, both of which I unintentionally popped into my mouth when giving them to the kids.

I ended my sugar experiment by enjoying a beer with my Friday night fish-fry carry-out meal from Bishop Kelley (YUM, by the way!) and a couple bites of dessert. I felt satisfied without going overboard.

So, it is obvious that I use sugar like a drug, and get addicted to it easily. Now my plan is to work on being able to enjoy occasional treats, like my café mocha, without going completely overboard on the sweet stuff.

And there’s another thing. TWO things, actually. Well, really THREE. My family.

I’ve heard countless women say they have trouble dieting because of the junk food they keep around for their kids (or husbands).
Well, you’re probably not going to like this, but I have to ask. WHY do they have to have junk food? It isn’t any better for them than it is for us!

My sugar experiment led me to realize how bad this stuff can be for us if we overdo it like I was. I read somewhere online that an average adult eats more than a half a cup of added sugar a day. 153 POUNDS a year. That’s a lot! Especially if it’s going to give us headaches and brain fog and obesity and hyperactivity, etc.

It will be an ongoing battle, but I plan to drastically reduce the amount of sugar we eat at our house. Hubby wants to tackle sodium, too.

Take a look at the labels on the foods you eat every day. Check to see how much sugar is added to your cereal, yogurt, ketchup and peanut butter. Now check the sodium amounts. Chances are, there’s plenty of room for improvement, and I urge you to give it a try, for your health and for that of your loved ones.

Anyway, your kids are sweet enough aren’t they? Why add sugar?


As I was reading my blogs this morning, I came across this post. I think Sheryl makes a lot of great points about eating real food vs. fake food. Check it out!

Monday again

Good morning!

Well, it appears we have no school today. Now if my stylist would just call me back to reschedule this morning's hair appointment, I can hunker down here at home with the boys and not go anywhere today. I have work to do anyway because tomorrow, THE MAIDS ARE COMING!

Yes, my darling Hubby has agreed to let me have the maids come do a one-time cleaning. My goal is to get everything not just picked up, but find a place for everything and really try to keep up with it this time. It really shouldn't be so hard. It's kind of nuts how all this stuff accumulates so quickly.

So, how was your weekend?

Mine? Well, it had its ups and downs. Jordan is working on some back teeth and has been SO crabby. You can tell his mouth hurts him so much because he just keeps jamming stuff in there and crying. At night, he wakes up screaming, and the only thing that calms him is Orajel. Poor thing. The Tylenol and Orajel have been working overtime this weekend.

Saturday we took the boys out for a nice walk and then Hubby and I traded gym time.

Saturday night I'd say Jordan was up every hour or so. Hubby and I kept trading night duty. He didn't sleep much at all, and was so cranky.

Sunday morning, Hubby took Logan to Sunday School and attended church alone, and I took Jordan to get the grocery shopping done instead of having him scream through church, so instead he screamed through the grocery store. Fun.

He fell asleep on the way home, and then in the afternoon we had my niece's seventh birthday party. OH MY GOODNESS! We got to see my nieces and nephew and got to see their new house, but there were too many loud people crammed into the house, and the kids were all going nutso because, well, they're kids! Add to that a very fussy Jordan and it was kind of chaos. I had a whopper of a headache by the time we left! We were there about 2 hours, but missed the cake part because Jordan, who had just fallen asleep in the car when we GOT there and then promptly woke up, was overtired and his mouth hurt and we just had to get him OUT of there! He fell asleep on the way home, which pushed his nap later than usual, which pushed his bedtime later than usual. We weren't able to get him to go to sleep until after 9!

Last night, however, he slept from 9-6:15 without waking up! I think he just really needed it! He just woke up and I went in there and nursed him and he went right back to bed. I figure it's the least I can do when he's in so much pain. If something as simple as nursing will soothe him, then fine. I'm not doing it in the middle of the night anymore, but 6 a.m.? yeah, I can handle that.

That reminds me. I never wrote my night weaning blog post! Well, maybe later.

Another interesting thing from this weekend: I fell down.

Since we had the birthday party yesterday, my plan was to get up early and go run, then go to church, then grocery shopping, then the party, then make dinner while Hubby was at the gym. I didn't figure there would be enough time for us both to go to the gym after the party. (This was before I knew I'd be skipping church due to Mr. Crankypants.)

So, I got up at 6 a.m. and went out to run. I had gone about two miles when I slipped on an ice slick while crossing the Burger King parking lot. I am not exactly sure how I flew or landed, but I bashed my right knee, elbow, palm, outside of my shin and butt all at the same time. I must have bounced or something. All I know is that it was really fast and I hit the pavement really hard. I laid there for a minute and then got up and it really hurt. I thought I messed up my knee. All I could think was OK, what's the shortest route back to the car?" and I started limping that way instead of running the direction I had planned. However, after a few minutes of limp walking, I heard a train coming, so I started running again so I wouldn't have to stand there and wait for it to pass. I beat the train by 20-30 seconds, and realized that I felt OK enough to continue running, so I altered my route again to take a longer way back to the car. I was kind of scared of the icy spots, though, and kept walking over the big ones. In all, I went about 3.5 miles. With the fall and the walking it took me 37 1/2 minutes.

As the day progressed yesterday, I kind of started feeling like an old lady! I have some bruises but not as bad as I thought they'd be. I knew, though, that I'd probably be sore today, and there ended up being enough time, so I actually went to the gym last night and did the weights workout I had planned to do today, and I am taking a total day off to recover today. Good thing because I'm kind of stiff this morning, especially my right knee and hip.

OK, so I hope you all have a fantastic week! If you have a snow day today, enjoy it and try not to leave your house. I wish Hubby hadn't had to go to work today.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sweet feet

So, now that Jordan has been walking for a few weeks and we take him places in public, it was time to get him his first pair of shoes.

I went to Payless and picked up this precious pair of white Champion sneakers. Came home and let him toddle around in them. He didn't seem to mind them, although he tripped a few times and had a hard time getting back up.

I'm glad he doesn't hate them, because it was a struggle getting Logan to wear shoes at first. He HATED them. He'd scream and cry and refuse to walk.

Anyway, after we went to Payless, we stopped by Wal-Mart for something and I spotted these Pooh shoes on clearance for $9. They were so stinking cute, I couldn't help myself and I bought them.

Now I'm having a dilemma. It's silly to have two pairs of shoes for him since he'll probably grow out of them in, what, a month? I really should take a pair back, but which ones? I feel so goofy, but I'm kind of attached to them both because they're so LITTLE and CUTE!

Sooo... would you keep them both and be frivolous or be frugal and take one back?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sunny winter days rock!

Really enjoying the sunny, warmish (30s) winter days around here!

Yesterday, Logan and I took the opportunity to make a blue snowman while Jordan was napping. Mega Bloks, by the way, make AWESOME face parts for snow men! We used blue food coloring and water in a spray bottle to color him blue. He looks kinda freaked out about it all.

Today Hubby and I took the boys out for a short hike to check on the geocache we hid way back on June 6. It was well hidden and still in great condition. It's called "Log of Lost Souls" because we hid it in a log in the woods near the cemetery at the old State Home (asylum) site. Kinda creepy out there sometimes, but it wasn't today. Too bright and sunny to feel eerie!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sugar fix: It's over!

Well, kids, I surprised myself this week and did really well. Honestly, I thought I'd cheat. Nope! From Monday morning to Friday evening, I had a quarter of a graham cracker and one pez. I think that's it. Oh, yeah, and a bite of a PB&J. Other than that, and my allowed one Greek yogurt a day and a white bun on my sausage the other night, my week was added-sugar-free.

I felt a lot better than I did last week. Yes, I had cravings, but amazingly they weren't quite as strong as the cravings I have for MORE sugar when I've already had it.

Tonight we got carry-out from the Catholic school's Firday night fish fry. We got one baked fish meal and one fried fish meal and that fed all four of us really well. We got a lot of fish (maybe 6-7 pieces per meal), a baked potato, a roll, a cup of cole slaw, corn, and then desserts: two small chocolate chip cookie things, three donut holes, a turnover, a brownie and a piece of chocolate cake. Hubby also brought home some beer.

So, I ate probably 4 pieces of fish (mix of baked and fried) and some cole slaw and corn and a roll, then one donut hole and one of the cookie things. I'm on my 2nd beer. I am pleasantly full and wasn't even tempted to go hog wild on the desserts. I just had a little of them and was satisfied. Cool!

So now the hard work begins, in my opinion... working SOME sugar back in, but not a lot. I don't NEED it and it makes me feel like crap. I'll allow treats when necessary, but I'll be more mindful of what I'm eating.

The eyes have it

My baby is a year old, and I have seen him every single day of his life, but if you asked me right now what color his eyes are, I'd have to say I don't know.

It's true! I don't know what color my baby's eyes are!

If I look at them straight-on, generally they look grayish blue, but if I look at them from the side, they look brown. Yesterday, when I was putting him in his car seat in the car, they looked quite green. It's really crazy!

This is him the other day. They appear to be the exact same color as his sweatshirt!

I, as always, Googled it and it seems babies' eyes can change even YEARS into their life. I think mine did at some point. I had chocolate-brown eyes when I was a baby but now they're hazel. There's definite green around the outside with light brown stars in the middle.

Hubby's eyes are a really pretty golden brown color, and Logan has his eyes. I LOVE Logan's brown eyes.

I just wonder what color Jordan's will turn out to be. And when.

And speaking of eyes, I'm really hoping both boys get Hubby's eyes as far as eyesight goes. I got glasses when I was in first grade because I was nearsighted, and Hubby has never needed them. I had LASIK a few years back to correct the problem (one of the best things I ever did!) I hope my boys don't end up with eyesight issues.

However, Logan kind of wants glasses, so if he ever has to get them, it won't be the end of the world. Plus, he looks REALLY SUPER CUTE in them. I kind of love little boys in glasses!

When we went to the Mid-Michigan Children's Museum on Monday, one of Logan's favorite exhibits was the wall of glasses frames that kids could try on. We spent a lot of time there trying on different frames (including the ones pictured on Logan above.) It was fun!

That's all. just a random post about eyes.