Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

I really love Pinterest and find lots of ideas, but finding time to actually make ideas happen doesn't always well...happen.  This time I found a fab idea for Father's Day here and decided I really wanted to make it happen.  Friday was beautiful weather outside so I made the kids get dressed up and we took pictures.  Here is my spin on the idea!  I printed it out and put it in a frame I already had.  It turned out sooo cute!

I asked both kids why they love Daddy and they said:
Matthew loves daddy because he's my best pal (he really is!)
Isabelle loves daddy because he plays with me

They both love him because he's the BEST dad ever!  Jordan you ARE the best dad ever and we love you sooo much! Happy Father's Day!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Spring Break and Easter

Spring has sprung here in Oregon.  Well, at least the trees looked at the calendar and decided it was time to wake up, and of course Easter happened as it always does.  I'm not sure how the trees know it is time, because it is still pretty cold and rainy on most days, but somehow they do.  Granted, we have had a few nice days recently, and fortunately two of those nice days fell on Easter and the day before.  It was beautiful outside the last few days with the trees flowering and the sun shining a bit, and that helped it feel a bit more like Easter should.

Matthew's spring break fell in the last week of March and coincided with spring break for my brother Jay's kids down in Medford in southern Oregon, so we packed up the kids mid-week and spent about three days with them.  The kids love it because they are all kind of crazy together and play and fight like siblings, and we always have a good time hanging out, even if the rain kept us mostly inside (except for one afternoon at the park in Ashland).

Jay made play-doh and was a hero - hours of entertainment.

As for Easter weekend, our big event was moving Isabelle finally out of her crib and into a bed on Saturday - probably long overdue since she was climbing in and out like a little monkey anyway.  She's small for her age but stubborn and determined (and that's putting it lightly).  Before we did that though, we joined in a big Easter egg hunt with a bunch of people from church, and while the weather did cooperate, there must still be a bit of Arizona left in us because we took them in Crocs instead of boots (forgetting they'd be walking on semi-swampy grass still).  They loaded up on a bit of candy, although the highlight for Matthew was seeing a little snake and later a giant worm that he watched cross the sidewalk.

One of the best things about being a parent is how excited your kids get about stuff that you as an adult might not even notice.  (The other might be when they tell you that they love Easter because Jesus died for us and not because of the candy, which Matthew did on the way there, which in turn led to a lot of tears from him that night as he went to bed because he was so sad we would die someday and not be with him for a while).

For some reason Isabelle decided to start Easter proper before 6 a.m., so it was a bit of a tiring day and she was a bit grumpy and crazy, but all-in-all it was good.

Karin cooked some amazing food for dinner - I really try to not take that for granted, but I know I am pretty lucky there (as are the kids, even if they don't always know it - see below).  The kids dyed eggs, and we had about four egg hunts in the back yard, mostly fun because of how excited they got about finding eggs but also with the requisite drama since Isabelle would hide eggs and then show you where they were, which drove Matthew crazy.

Now we are turning our attention to Isabelle's birthday on Tuesday.  There has been a lot going on lately - both good and challenging - for a lot of people who mean a lot to us, and I came through General Conference last week and Easter this weekend with a lot of gratitude for the reality of my faith and how that impacts how I experience and approach life and for my amazing little family, which wouldn't be complete without that equally cute and feisty little girl.  And driving home from Portland the other day and looking out at the green farms and trees in bloom, I am grateful to live where we do right now, even if it means getting a little wet sometimes.

OK, as a side-note on the food thing, Matthew is a picky eater, and the other day he was struggling with some pasta Karin made because she had tried to slip in some leftover teriyaki meatballs into it - he didn't fall for that and had a hard time eating even after we took them out.  Karin decided to capture the face Matthew makes when he doesn't like something:

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

First let me apologize for not blogging very much this year.  This Kindergarten half-day business has been kicking my butt and killing my schedule.  By the time I find time in the afternoon to do anything it's the witching hour when Isabelle breaks down and/or Matthew wants time to play on the computer (if he's got green at school and is on green at home so I can't deny him time if he's earned it).  It seems after that havoc has ended then it's time to start dinner, eat, hang out for a bit with the kids and then it's bedtime.  I'm exhausted every night and need time to unwind and have had no desire to blog late at night.  My schedule is changing (more below), so I'll have more time to blog in the morning and will try and be more committed.

Ok, so with that out of the way...why back in the saddle?  Well to be honest, I've slipped weight wise a bit since my huge weight loss 2 years ago.  I've been trying to understand my state of mind lately and have been beating myself up about it for awhile.  I finally decided enough is enough.  What has happened has happened.  I've gained a little weight - OH WELL!!!   I have 12 weeks until our summer vacation.  It's coming whether I have gotten closer to my goal or not.  It can come and I'll be unhappy about where I'm at OR I can be committed and get back in the groove.  I decided to be committed and work as hard as I can to attain my goal.

In analyzing my state of mind and why the weight gain I've discovered a few things.  I think part of my failure was not adjusting quickly enough to staying home full-time.  It's the HARDEST job ever.  Food is always around, little kids are yelling at you, being defiant, pushing boundaries like kids do.  I love my kids, I love being with them, I love having my own schedule and not having to be up by 6 am to start getting ready for work.  The downfall is less adult interaction, the little people pushing my buttons and trying to order me around.  I get ZERO satisfaction from a super clean house, doing laundry, etc.  It doesn't satisfy me like working outside the house did, figuring out to solve hard issues, working closely with amazing people to put on great events.  Honestly I don't think I'm built for this long term, but I want to be at home with my kids until Isabelle is in 1st grade and then we'll re-evaluate. 

I feel like it's been way harder to keep everything under control now that I'm at home all the time.  I kept limited food at my desk and only healthy snacks when I was working and here at the house there is so much food.  I don't really keep a lot of junk food/candy around, but the kids do need crackers, etc. and it's so easy to get sucked in.  It's hard to be vigilant all the time and I do love to cook and make new foods.  I have let the bad weather or kids get under my skin and give me excuses for not going to the gym some days.  Matthew's Kindergarten schedule has been killing my workout schedule.  I don't really know what I weigh right now as our scale is broken, but I have probably gained back about 15-20 pounds.  It doesn't sound like a lot, but it is when my clothes don't fit like they should or how I like.  It's easy to want to give up and say oh well, it's too hard to work it off again and give into failure thoughts and feelings.

I made up my mind about 4 weeks ago that it doesn't matter anymore what I did in the past and to stop feeling sorry for myself for sliding back a bit.  I needed to focus on the now!!!!  I needed to recommit myself to me and my health goals.  For me it's also a mental thing - if I'm not entirely committed I can talk myself out of anything.  It was a switch that needed to be pushed to the ON button and baby it's ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am ready to get it back!

I have been at an ok gym for the last year and all of my friends go there which has been way fun.  The downpart is that their equipment isn't new or varied and I haven't been feeling very inspired there lately.  My sister-in-law told me about this other gym that is further away in November when she was here visiting her family that she went to.  I have been rolling around the idea for awhile about switching, but hated to give up the connection to my friends every morning.  The last 4 weeks they haven't been coming regularly and it seemed most mornings I was there by myself (which is fine I am totally fine being at the gym by myself doing my own thing). 

We went to Medford this past weekend for Spring Break to visit family and instead of letting the usual excuse of I don't have my gym so I can't exercise set in, I found a gym and went there the 3 days we were in town.  Their equipment rocked and really helped solidify my newfound motivation.  It clicked into place that a good gym is VERY important to me AND for me is what I need to be successful. 

We went and toured the gym my sister-in-law told me about on Tuesday night - BLOWN AWAY!!!!  We signed up that night.  I have been mourning my Arizona gym a lot lately and now I don't have to.  The kids LOVE the kids center which is a huge importance for us since I have 2 kids to take with me most days.  The kids center is open all day which my other gym wasn't and it was becoming a problem lately too.  If I couldn't make it in the morning to the gym because of other commitments then I was hosed.  The old gym's kid center was only open from 8-12:30 and then 4-8.   I can't go at 4, get back and get dinner going and have our night end smoothly.  Our kindergartner needs to be in bed by 7:30 or it's a horrible fight the next morning.

The new gym has my favorite piece of equipment and some other ones I really liked at my Arizona gym AND they have these cool new weight lifting machines that keeps your whole body in line when you lift, they move with you.  I can't explain it, but they rock.  The sad part is that I feel like I've worked myself more in the last week (between my new gym and the one in Medford) using my favorite equipment then I have the past few months at my old gym.

So in essence what I've realized lately about myself:

1-I need to be committed entirely!!!!
I have been what I thought was committed in the past, but if a morning didn't work out exercise wise then it wasn't a big deal, missing a few days a week was ok.  If I ate a little bad, no big deal, I would eat better tomorrow. NO LONGER!!!  I am committing for the next 12 weeks (until we leave for vacation) to work out 6 days a week and eat super healthy.  Like the Biggest Loser theme this season, NO MORE EXCUSES!

I have been really good the past month.  More aware of calories I'm eating and I have gone to the gym 6 days a week for the past 2 weeks and 5 days a week the 2 weeks before that.  I am not quitting during/after vacation but just zeroing in on my 12 week goal for now.  Little goals work for me instead of huge ones that seem impossible to attain.

2-Finding a place of exercise that works!
I didn't have a gym suitable for MY needs.  I needed more flexible child care times, I needed machines that I want to go and visit and workout hard on EVERY DAY.  I needed a place that inspires me to push myself the hardest I can.  Other people have other needs and that's ok, but I can't revolve my needs around theirs.  I just became aware of this the past week and found a solution that is going to help me attain my goal!

3-Being accountable for what I eat
I am back on the calorie counting bandwagon.  I think moving, being at home, rainy weather, etc. affected me in more ways that I realized.  I am definitely an emotional eater and have let what was going on affect my eating.  I know this for sure that losing weight is way easier than maintaining it, but I have a better plan of what to do next time I'm at my goal weight to keep myself in check. 

I feel good about what I'm doing and I have a goal to strive for which always helps me!!!  If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading an epic post.  I'm thinking of doing an online 8 week weight-loss support group and if you are in my area of Oregon-one that meets weekly.  Let me know if you are interested in either.  I'll be announcing it on Facebook soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Unlikely Friends

A month or so ago a great deal for Blazers tickets/arena food popped up on Groupon, so I jumped at it.  I wasn't sure who I'd take in the middle of the week, but in the end, Karin and I decided that I should take Matthew despite being on a school night.  He is just getting into sports, and it was a great chance to have some bonding time, which I know means a ton to him (and is one of my favorite ways to spend my time).

I am sure everyone (or at least most people) think their kids are special and that they are fortunate to be their parents, so what I'm about to say may go without saying, but I spent the whole night feeling very blessed to have been entrusted with being the father of such a great kid.  He does things every day that make me smile and laugh, and tonight was filled with those moments.

I decided we would take the train to the game to avoid having to park and walk a long way to the arena with him.  We weren't the only ones with that idea, because the train was fairly packed, and we ended up standing.  Matthew sandwiched himself between a blue-haired girl with a bike (stay weird, Portland!) and two older ladies (sitting, and therefore right at his eye level).  One of them asked him a question (I think if he was going to the game), and he spent the next 30 minutes or so in a prolonged conversation with the two of them about everything from basketball to riding the train to Christmas trees/presents to sibling relationships.  The highlight for me was probably when he found out they were sisters (who go to every Trailblazers game, apparently) and told them that they kind of looked similar in their faces and that their voices sounded kind of similar.  Then he said, "So you are sisters, and also kind of like friends!  A brother or sister can also be a friend." (He had already told them that he had a sister named Isabelle and that they fought sometimes).  As we walked away toward the arena, he told them, "Now that we met, we are friends!"

We picked up our tickets at will call, and as we walked into the arena and grabbed programs, the lady passing them out asked Matthew hold old he is.  When he said "5," she said, "I think you just met my sisters - I am the third one."  They obviously had told her something, and it was funny that we walked through her door.  He also saw one of the other ladies during halftime and started talking to her again.

I'm amazed at how at ease he is in talking to people and in asking questions.  A little before Christmas we went to a party at my boss's house attended mostly by people from her husband's church (he is a pastor).  As we put on our coats and got ready to leave, one older gentlemen there said, "Bye Matthew, it was nice to meet you" and talked a bit about the conversation they had.

Of course, this could be a little scary if Matthew is too comfortable with strangers, so we've had to talk to him about how to deal with them when we are not around.  But there is something about the way Matthew relates to people that tends to endear him to them (although not always kids his own age), and sometimes I love just sitting back and watching.  As he fell asleep on me on the train ride back, I again felt pretty fortunate, and I hope he never loses that piece of his personality.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Potty Training

I have been dreading this day for awhile and have been procrastinating.  Matthew was SO HARD to train!  He knew he should be going pee in the potty and got the concept of the potty super quick, but could have cared less if he pooped or peed his pants.  I had to constantly remind him to go to the bathroom and he had poop accidents quite a few times for about a month. 

I knew that Isabelle was either going to be stubborn as a mule or act like a big girl and catch on quickly.  I should have started potty training her a few months ago, but we were all sick and then I had sinus surgery and then we were all sick again and I didn't want to deal with all the messes when I wasn't feeling well.  Out of the blue on Saturday without discussing it with Jordan, I decided it was the day to start training.  Here was my thinking:  Isabelle's diapers were running out (I mean like less than 10 left), Isabelle was liking her diaper less and less when it was wet or poopy, we had pull-ups ready to go, and Jordan was going to be around more the next couple of weeks to help out with the messes.

We tried a few things with Matthew that didn't work and then did the straight to underwear method that worked better than anything else.  You just put them in underwear and set the timer for 15 min. and have them go to the potty every 15 min. until they have success and reward them for that success.  If they have an accident then I set the timer for 45 min - 1 hr. to give them ample time to build up more fluids.  Matthew's first day, I swear there were a million accidents and I don't even know if he went to the bathroom on his own once for the first week or so, but would go when I asked him to.  Isabelle is a super potty trainer.  She had 3 accidents on Saturday, none on Sunday and had a dry pull-up after church, and had just a couple of accidents yesterday and today when she couldn't get to the bathroom in time-BUT WAS trying to get there.  She has gone on her own so many times and after Saturday I haven't even set the timer once.

We do use a little potty that you can dump and she even dumps it herself and flushes the toilet and I have never asked her to.  She is running around in Matthew's old white underwear until we think she's really ready for sure and then we'll move her into her new princess underwear.  She's been dry after her naps and nighttime the last few days and then will take herself to the bathroom once she wakes up.  We've found that it has to be her decision though.  She doesn't like to go to the potty right after she wakes up, so we just change her out of her pull-up into underwear and once she's ready she'll go use the bathroom.  What a smart girl and we keep looking at ourselves in disbelief as this time around is a million times easier than last time.  It holds true in our household that the boy was way harder to train than the girl.

Isn't her white boy underwear cute and hilarious!

...and she loves to do puzzles and can do 24 piece puzzles by herself.  Not that it has anything to do with potty training, but her little brain is so smart!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Crafts

I was so NOT in the Halloween mood this year until WAY LATE!  I made my costume at the last minute, when I was inspired by devil horns I found.  A super easy RED tutu later and I'm a she devil.  I realized I didn't have a ton of Halloween decorations so this was thrown together SUPER last minute, but here are a few fun things I made this weekend.

Trick or Treat Banner
I cut out 4 different pumpkins from my pumpkin carving Cricut Cartridge and my Cricut Expression.  I used my mini monograms cartridge to cut out the letters and xyroned those onto the pumpkins.  I attached eyelets and tied the pumpkins together on the back with ribbons and then attached cute polka ribbons to the end pumpkins.  I should have aged the pumpkins and monograms with paint and maybe added some glitter.  Maybe I'll do that this week before it goes into the box for next year.

Halloween Frame 

I had this wooden frame with broken glass inside sitting on my craft shelf and decided to make a quick Halloween frame.  I painted the edges and inside of the frame purple and then modge podged a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper onto that, let dry and then modge podged the front.  I cut out the beware and the bats on my pumpkin carving cartridge and adhered the Beware onto white cardstock.  I found some velvet stickers I've had for awhile and put those on and then tied leftover tulle and ribbons onto my frame.

Super easy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Day of School

I can't believe our baby is in school.  Well, really I can because he was so ready to go.  School begins after labor day here and his school starts so early in the morning - the AM class starts at 7:45.  Geez that's early!!!  Matthew has a lot of friends in the afternoon, but I wanted him in the morning for 2 reasons.

1-We live too close for him to ride a bus, so I would have to take AND pick him up.  By sending him in the morning Jordan takes him to school on his way to work. 
2-Isabelle takes her nap in the afternoon.  I would have to wait until we picked him up to get her to bed and that is stretching nap time late every day which I didn't want to do.

It was in the 90's which is unheard of in September during the first week of school so Matthew got to wear shorts for a few days.  It has already started cooling down, but I'm hoping to squeeze in a few more shorts days before we run into full-blown yucky weather.

So handsome!

Like usual he wanted a silly pose.

We all went to school with him and of course Isabelle wanted in on the picture action.

Matthew has a hard time not talking and he is a wiggle worm, but for the most part I think he's doing really well.  They get either green, yellow or red smiley faces everyday.  He had a job chart at home and every day he gets a green sticker at school he gets to add a sticker to his job chart at home.  If he gets all 5 green smileys for the week then he gets a bonus sticker too.  He got all green last week except for yellow on Friday (for poking someone with a pencil) so we'll be working towards a bonus sticker this week.

We started the job chart as a way to reward behavior and get him to choose good choices, help out easier around the house without fighting, going to the bathroom without us reminding him and to earn money.  Every chart is worth $ (we still have to decide how much) so he'll also be learning about saving money and paying tithing.  The first chart he finished was used towards a plants/zombies game he wanted so that was a good incentive and worked really well.

He's so cute everyday when I pick him up after school.  It takes a little prodding some days, but then he blabs like crazy about everything they did at school.  He has a gym teacher named Mr. Twig - cool!  He also went to music time and LOVED it.  It's so cute hearing about everything and about all the things he doing and loving.  I will experience brief freedom next year when he's in school all day and Isabelle goes to Preschool 2 days a week.  I'm on the cusp of freedom!  I really think another baby is NOT in the works for us.