Monday, August 20, 2018

Ina's First Week of Kindergarten

The week started out with Danielle and I doing the first gamma T25 workout. Woof, it was hard, and honestly, they haven't gotten any easier, which I suppose is a good thing, but I can't convince myself of that when I am struggling through push up jacks.

After work I put the finishing touches on the dinner that Danielle started and then took Ina up to her Back to School Night to drop off her school supplies and say hi to her teacher.


Her kindergarten teacher is the same one she had and absolutely loved for a few weeks in her pre-K summer school, which worked out quite nicely.


Ina wasn't even a little scared on her first day of kindergarten. She walked in and basically owned the place from the beginning by greeting people as they walked in the room, telling kids where to put their lunches, etc.  She already knows over half the kids in her class from previous classes and activities. She had an assignment from her teacher to help pass out papers before Granny and I even left the room.







I think she will do just fine.

The rest of the week was a blur of trying to iron out our new schedule with school in full swing. Once we have mastered that, in September we will throw swim lessons and dance class into the mix for both Ina and Cora.

I have my mini-van, mom shorts, a fully detailed planner, and my Yeti full of coffee. I am ready.

Friday Cora did have her three year check up that went great. She is long and lean and appropriately behaved for a three year old red head.

Dan was out of town for work all week - living the rough life eating gourmet breakfasts and dinners and sleeping in hotel beds, so Friday night Grandma Frankie took the older girls for a sleepover and I came home, put Mira to bed, and read my book and watched TV with a glass of wine.

It was everything and just what I needed after crying while trying to bread chicken (see below).

Saturday Danielle and I walked, I worked while my mom watched Mira, and then we did a little cleaning/prep for Gunner's birthday party.

I left to grab the older girls and came home to a party at my house. Entering my own house with a party mid-swing was a little funny feeling, but in a good way. Ina didn't miss a beat starting a girl's club with the few girls who attended the party, Cora cuddled with Papa Fred, and Mira was passed around by anyone who was willing to hold her.

Sunday we went to church (what an awesome sermon/worship!), celebrated my brother's birthday (a fun time to see a lot of the family and for the girls to play with their cousins!), watched movies (Shrek!), and food prepped/cooked (see below). Here's to another week in the books.

Meals from the week:

Monday: picadillo, roasted zucchini, brown rice, and a tomato, cucumber, and red onion salad.
Tuesday: paleo chicken fingers, roasted potato/corn/peppers, and cottage cheese salad. I may have cried in the middle of breading those chicken fingers with three different dunking stations and three kids who all wanted my attention at the same time. They were delicious, but only if you have plenty of time, attention, and patience.
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: meatloaf, roasted green beans, and roasted sweet potatoes. Danielle cooked the meatloaf on the smoker and it was everything I didn't know I needed in my life.
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Gunner's birthday party!
Sunday: burgers, kale salad, sweet potato fries, and smoked brussels sprouts with bacon. Pretty much my dream meal, but I had to inhale it because Mira needed some extra TLC.

Snacks/meal prep:
Superhero muffins: these are some of my favorites!
Paleo mayo: this stuff doesn't last long at our house!

Have a great week! <3

Monday, August 13, 2018

Double Fisting Sippy Cups

Heya!

I am starting from a week and a day ago...

We celebrated Grandma Beverly's 90th birthday on Sunday afternoon in her hometown church (a building that brings back so many wonderful childhood memories).


(I hope I inherited the "thriving in your 90's gene)

She had tons of friends and family visit and I loved hearing stories about her when she was younger. After the official party we went to the after party, which was at a nearby restaurant that served us some amazing fried chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes.


Mira, who hadn't eaten anything solid in over a week by this point, convinced me to let her break that record and did not stop eating for the next 45 minutes. Granny and Dan took turns shoving forkfuls of food in her mouth and she loudly protested if there was even the slightest lull in the fork-to-mouth progress.

Since her re-entrance into the food world, her eating game has been strong. I am so very thankful for this.

Another noteworthy party incident was that somehow Cora was convinced she was staying the night at Aunt Jessie and Uncle Cody's house and was less than thrilled when she was forced into her own vehicle. The entire drive home she tried different tactics to convince us she could go there from asking nicely, "Please oh please can I go..." to forcefully yelling, "I am going to Uncle Cody's house!" to playing mind tricks, "Mom, what do you think about going to Uncle Cody's house?"

We remedied the situation quickly by setting up a date and Tuesday after dinner I met Jess at the fire station to deliver the older girls for a sleepover.


I think it is safe to conclude that they enjoyed themselves.



The night they came home we ate leftovers and had full intention for a family swim. Somehow a family swim morphed into a family dance party with "Let's Dance" YouTube videos that may have raised my heart rate more than the morning's workout.

The next evening Dan had to switch out the pool filter, which was an all night affair. I won the exciting job of putting all the kids to bed and Dan came upstairs just in time to sneak a picture of me backwards army crawling out of their room. He was hysterically laughing. He said that all of a sudden my legs came out of the door, just like Beetle Juice.

Yep, I am all the way winning at life right now.

We are reading Because of Winn-Dixie before bed and I have bawled my eyes out every single night. The thought of a girl without her momma while I am surrounded by my girls is just more than I can take sometimes.

The next day was Mira's follow up appointment with her pediatrician where it was confirmed that she has healed from swallowing a piece of confetti but had developed hand-foot-mouth in the process.

She then proceeded to share it with her sisters. I think Ina was mostly immune, but poor Cora just can't handle the pain from the sores in her mouth. She has been inconsolable unless you turn on a TV show, so needless to say, she has had a lot of screen time this weekend.



All of our plans for the weekend were scratched and we stayed home, swam, and watched movies. Dan and I did manage to tag-team church, with Danielle's help of driving one of us there and the other home.

One last thing that is only a big deal if you are a mother of an almost one year old - Mira started drinking cow's milk and absolutely loves it.


You can see she loved it so much she commandeered Cora's cup as well and was double fisting her milk a good portion of Sunday evening. Most of me is very happy the transition was so easy and I can now fully start the weening process. A small part of me was a little jealous of the sippy cup. Just a little.

ICYMI: I posted a few things I have been loving lately.

Meals from the week:

Monday: BLT lettuce wraps with Parmesan sweet potatoes and roasted (ok, burnt) green beans

Tuesday: Bourbon Chicken with corn on the cob and roasted broccoli

Wednesday: leftovers (spaghetti with zoodles; I am way late to the zoodle train, but dang they are good), but I did make this fantastic broccoli tuna salad for lunch

Thursday: spiced shrimp with yogurt with brown rice, roasted (not burnt, thankyouverymuch) green beans, and a cucumber tomato salad (this is one of my favorite meals of all time - the flavor is just out of this world. BUT - full disclosure - neither one of the girls touched the shrimp, which didn't hurt my feelings one bit. More for me.)

Friday: nachos - literally the best Friday night meal I can think of - customizable, easy, uses up leftovers/random things in the fridge, etc.

Saturday: pizza - we tried a cauliflower pizza crust recipe that was delicious!

Sunday: sloppy joe's sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, and my fave kale salad using this recipe for the dressing

Some snack prep: these egg "wraps", paleo blender muffins, and bruschetta lentils.

Have a fantastic week! <3

Friday, August 10, 2018

Things I have Been Loving Lately

Hello there and Happy Friday!

We are in recovery mode over here. Just when Mira started acting normally again from swallowing a piece of confetti, she developed hand-foot-mouth and has nicely shared it with her sisters.

A weekend at home with nothing to do is just what the doctor ordered. I should be back soon with a recap of our week, but until then here are a few things I have been loving:



My main goal for the rest of 2018 is to make every single salad on Mark Bittman's list of 101 simple salads. My mouth watered more and more with each number.



- Anastasia Brow Wiz. I know zero things about cosmetics, but this pencil helps me. Or at least I think it does...


- Jen Hatmaker's Podcast, For the Love. She is just so loveable. I listened to The Modern Mrs. Darcy's episode, and now my library hold list is completely out of control. My "to-read" stack is at least 9 deep at all times. Also, I am continuing to absolutely adore The Best of Both Worlds podcast.


- Girl, Wash Your Face. After recommendations from no less that 20 people, and waiting a few months on a library hold, I finally read Rachel Hollis's new book. Talk about motivating! I am writing down all the things, working on the art of embracing chaos, and doing a little better each day at completely releasing that mom guilt.

I also just finished An American Marriage (pretty good) and started reading Because of Winn-Dixie with the girls (absolutely love, love, love so far).


- Chicken Biryani with Cucumber Raita: biryani is one of Dan's favorite Indian dishes and this recipe did not disappoint. The kids and adults both loved the burst of flavor in this recipe - give it a try.


- Ina starts kindergartenTuesday. School supplies are purchased, along with a new pair of crocs (rose gold!) and a cold shoulder dress, because apparently these are required on the first day of school.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Cora's Birthday + Texas Trip + Mira in the Hospital

Hello there!


There are so many things I need to tell you/document for my kids to read in 20 years. In a perfect world in which I have unlimited time and attention to blog, I would write a separate and detailed post for each, but we all know that isn't going to happen. 


(They stopped on the side of the road to pick me flowers!)

Since we talked last and as the title suggests, Cora turned three years old, the girls and I went to Texas to visit family, and Mira was in the hospital for three days. I am sure there are lot of other things I am missing, but those are the big three, so let's get to it. 

We celebrated Cora's birthday with a small brunch at our house. The menu was 100% worth sharing, so here you go:



  • Cinnamon rolls (I made, baked, iced, and froze the week before, and warmed back up in our neighbor's oven. Thanks so so much Kim!)
  • French toast casserole
  • Nana's Egg Dish
  • Meatball sliders (all Dan, I don't have a recipe. I wouldn't have included these, but Dan was insistent that "brunch" should include something from the "lunch" category, even though I have always considered brunch to be defined as "late breakfast." Regardless, they were popular and all 9 pounds were gone because Dan makes amazing meatballs.
  • Fruit
I totally planned on doing most of the prep work on Friday after work, but I returned home to Danielle having done practically all of it, along with cleaning my house and caring for my children. I am telling you right here and now, every single woman needs a live-in friend/wife/cook/babysitter/awesomeness.



I don't think Cora really understood the birthday concept until she saw the balloons and presents, and then she was very excited. She woke up every morning saying, "tomorrow's my birthday!" for days after her party and then subsequently her actual birthday. 

She spent a lot of her party cuddling with various family members, which was so sweet.

At three Cora is a funny little firecracker. She can be incredibly sweet and loving and compliant. She can also be the complete opposite of that, and you never know when that is going to change back and forth. She absolutely loves to laugh or make others laugh, even at her expense. She enjoys dressing up in costumes and wearing fancy shoes. She prefers that her hair always be in piggie tails. Her favorite food is pizza. She likes to dance and sing. She currently tolerates both her older and younger sisters, but would likely prefer to be an only child.

I love her to absolute pieces and I am fairly certain that there is no one on this earth that loves me as much as she does. Each day when I get home from work she screams, "Mom, you're back!!" and runs to me with the tightest hug. She is just fantastic.


The morning after the party we woke up bright and early to catch a plane to Houston for a week with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. The girls absolutely adore them and they were spoiled beyond belief with lots of great food (Pop Tarts and donuts for breakfast!), swimming (my uncle seems to have unlimited energy to play in the pool), and games (we learned a new card game called Trash - it is a good one!). 

A perfect example of Cora's finicky personality: weeks before Cora told me she did not want to get on a plane because she didn't want to have to hold on tight and she didn't want to fall off. I tried to explain that neither of those things would happen, but even as we were boarding the plane she insisted she did not want to fly. The insistence was worse as I buckled her seat belt and she started to cry and slightly yell, "I don't want to fly in an airplane!"


I was concerned I was about to enter the longest two hours of my life when the plane started backing out of the gate. As soon as Cora's felt the plane moving her frown turned to a smile, she threw her hands up above her head and shouted, "Wheee! I love flying!" and was a perfect angel the rest of the flight, along with her other two sisters.

The highlight of our trip was Cora's second birthday party my aunt threw for her on her actual birthday. Everyone dressed up as a princess, including your's truly.





There was a rainbow cake, make your own pizzas, musical chairs, and a dance party I am sure no one will forget anytime soon. Oh and confetti (this is important later).


While in Texas we also saw a magic show at the children's museum, went to the movies to see Incredibles 2, and had a blast at a kids' science experiment place called Little Beakers.




Little Beakers was absolutely fantastic and I almost died of the cuteness of my daughters in lab coats and safety glasses. Ina and Cora equally enjoyed themselves and loved experiment after experiment. I have since spent a fair amount of time researching this franchise and asking people to become investors for a KC location.

Something else to note from Texas, and a transition to the third and final topic of this post, was that Thursday after seeing the movie, Mira randomly started violently vomiting. I actually thought she was choking and did a few finger sweeps and went through the whole panic/freak out process.

Thankfully, the rest of my family remained calm and reminded me that she was screaming and therefore she could at least breathe. After a very long night of her being sick, she seemed to get a little better. The next day followed with her acting weak, but otherwise fine so I chalked it up to a GI virus.


On the drive home from Texas over the weekend she stopped eating and eventually stopped drinking anything other than breast milk. She developed a fever and started pulling at her ears, so as soon as we returned home I took her to urgent care, who determined (after checking her ears, a strep test, a catheter/urine test, and an abdominal x-ray) she had a virus.

The next day she was worse and stopped even swallowing her own saliva. I took her to our pediatrician, who ordered blood labs and a neck X-ray, which all came back clear. Our pediatrician also agreed that she had a nasty virus and her symptoms should improve in the next few days.


The next day she had a dry diaper when she woke up, so I took her to the ER. After an entire day of her being poked, prodded, scanned, and measured, an ENT scope showed that her epiglottis was damaged.

This gave them reason to believe she had swallowed something and at 11 PM Wednesday night they took my baby girl into surgery. I was holding strong most of the day but when the anesthesiologist told me, "Thank you for letting me take care of your girl" I lost it.

Dan and I prayed hard for the next thirty minutes and were so relieved to see the ENT and GI surgeons enter the otherwise empty waiting room to report that they found A PIECE OF CONFETTI lodged into her esophagus. The confetti was leftover from Cora's princess birthday party, and must have been on the floor when Mira was crawling around in the wrong place at the wrong time.


I can't explain the simultaneous relief/guilt that flooded me. I was so thankful the fix was so simple and she didn't have some rare disease. However, I also felt pretty bad for not preventing the confetti from being in her throat in the first place, for not knowing what the problem was sooner, and for forcing medicine down her throat for the last week to help with the pain from the "virus."


The next two days in the hospital were hard. We were all beyond exhausted and just as soon as we would get Mira to sleep, she would need her vitals checked again or another doctor would come check on her. I totally understand the need for this and was thankful they were taking such good care of my baby, but it was still hard.


Also, Mira wasn't allowed to eat for 36 hours after surgery and to keep a nursing baby around her momma for 36 hours without nursing is pure torture. They originally thought she would take days to heal and they would need to gradually advance her food until she would be able to eat something solid.

What they didn't know is that she comes from a family of eaters and once they finally allowed her to nurse everything about her dramatically improved. She could take medicine by mouth! Her IV was removed! She was playing on the ground by herself! She slept for a good three hour chunk!  On Friday morning they told us that she would need to stay until Monday or Tuesday, and by Friday afternoon the nurse was going over discharge paperwork with us and we were free to go home!


I can't finish this post without writing about how much amazing support we had when we were in the hospital. Both my boss and Dan's boss let us off work without question. Granny kept Ina and Cora. Danielle helped pack my clothes, kept up my house, and sent me the most stellar healthy snack bag in history (and probably did hundreds of other things). My mom came to visit and gave us moral support. So many other friends/family reached out and offered to help if we needed it and checked in on our baby.

Of course I don't like things going wrong, but anytime I need help I am reminded of my infinite tribe and support system and I know that they are strong and deep and amazing and I just could not be more thankful. I can literally see and feel and hear God's loving arms wrapped around my family.

I hope to soon return to our regularly scheduled blogging because I also have some good recipes to share and my Grandma Beverly's 90th birthday and some books I am reading and...

Have a good week! <3


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