Updates

Sometimes it’s been so long between posts that it’s awkward to just dive back into posting.  So, here’s a random update post to get everyone up to speed:

Thomas started Pre-K three weeks ago. He’s at the same preschool he went to last year, but up from two mornings a week to three mornings a week this year. So many people in our area are putting their 4 year olds in 4 or 5 day a week Pre-K, and I just…can’t. I would send him only two mornings a week if that were an option. I’m not the least bit worried that my kid is missing out on something academic in Pre-K, but I am worried that my time with this boy is dwindling. Next year is Kindergarten – B and I are constantly debating the merits of redshirting our June babies for Kindergarten (a decision we’ll make for each child individually and based on the whole child), but even if Thomas goes to our local elementary school for kindergarten at 6 instead of 5, he’ll be in Kindergarten at his preschool next year. Which means I have 11 months left to cram in as much library, zoo, and play time as I possibly can before he’s in school 5 days a week. It goes too fast. Tooo fast.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.21.07 PM On that note, Nell is not in preschool. So many people in our area are putting their two year olds in preschool and I just…can’t. Noticing a theme here? Ha. I joke that Nell needs as much home influence as she can get before we send her out into the big wide world (true), but really I just like having my kids here with me (I will be the first to say I don’t know if I would look at this differently if we hadn’t been through what we’d been through with daycare when Thomas was an infant. But I have deep trust issues, now. Deep. And I don’t want my kids out of my eyesight until they can speak to me in full, clear sentences with details about everything that goes on wherever they are). However, because she is in her big brother’s shadow for so many things, I signed her up for a mom-tot gymnastics class at our local rec center. I don’t do generally do classes with toddlers because they’re…toddlers. Thomas took private swim lessons this summer and Nell signed herself up. Truly, Tom’s lesson was over, and Nell went over to the teacher and said, “I ready for my yesson, Miss Megan. I practicing my foats.” So she signed herself up basically, but normally, I wouldn’t put my 2 year old in swim lessons – she’ll learn to swim, she doesn’t have to learn at 2. However, gymanstics was something I thought Nell would enjoy, it was cheap, gave us something to do together but also something to do that’s just hers, and it only lasts for a month. And this girl? Thinks she invented gymnastics. Or “Mastics”, as she calls it. Day one, Nell was strutting her stuff. And the little boys in her class were following her around and Nell? Was. Not. Having. It. She wanted them out of her space. “I no want you follow me,” she would say to them. Oh that girl of mine. We talk to her a lot about having a kind and inclusive heart. But also? Totally okay with her doing her own thing, and not wanting people in her space. Keep it up Nell. Especially when you’re 16. Mmkay?
Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.21.19 PM Peter is 6 months old. Those 6 months flew by, but dragged on all the same. A colicky baby until well after 3 months, combined with severe reflux, weight gain issues, and general avoidance of sleep. It hasn’t been the easiest 6 months of my life. But he’s turning a corner. He’s sitting up, which I forgot until he started what a game changer sitting is. He’s seeing a chiropractor for his reflux, and showing improvement (he’s also just getting older). He’s eating solid foods – that kid loves himself some solids. He screams if you are not constantly providing him with food (we’ve always done a hybrid purees/solids thing for food with our babies…we introduce solids between 4-5 months due to both B’s and my allergies and skin issues and research that indicates earlier introduction might be better, so soft foods and purees at that point, but now that Peter’s 6 months, he’s doing well with regular food – potato wedges, avocado slices, chicken, etc). He’s just now at the point where he can pick something up off his tray and get it to his mouth himself, and when he’s more consistent with that, I think this baby is going to be hilarious to watch eat. Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.21.13 PM B started a new job on Monday. The new job is such a great opportunity for him – gets him using some of the business skills he gleaned in his Master’s program and just gives him a new group of people to work with daily. Sometimes, you just need a change. But, with this new job comes a less cushy schedule than before (he used to get home by 3:30 every day) and a decent amount of travel. So, we’re figuring it out. We know it will all work out, but it’s definitely an adjustment. An adjustment we always knew would come someday, but an adjustment nonetheless. Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.22.57 PM And finally, at the end of August, Shannon of Bottle Pop Party (the artist formerly known as Shannanigans) came to visit me. We had a blast drinking lots of wine, touring the state of Colorado and talking about how we were really good (and by good I only mean regular) bloggers when we had 8-5 desk jobs. Ha. It was a great week with my friend and my kids adored her. Next time we’re doing family vacays though, because Thomas and Nell really want to see “Gauge” again.
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Tongue Ties, Milk Supply, and Frenectomies…Oh My.

Remember when I promised you guys a kitchen update, but also mentioned I’d had some sudden milk supply issues? Well, kitchen update is on hold because I threw out the need to finish up the cabinets to focus on feeding Peter and figuring out why he wasn’t gaining as much weight as he needed to. And it was a stressful week, but one I learned a lot from. Then we went on a family vacation to the Oregon coast, and so now I’m back…with an update on the breastfeeding sitch, a couple posts in the hopper, and hopefully cabinet hardware arriving this week so I can finish up this kitchen project and show you pictures.

Okay, let’s back up. Since birth Peter’s spit up a good amount and was fussy and colicky, but he was growing beautifully, so I wasn’t too concerned about the reflux and figured that I would attempt to eliminate the triggers of his colic and reflux before medicating him. I went off every food that could possibly have irritated him, without much improvement. A few days before his 2 month appointment, my mom was over and I was at my breaking point: Peter had been screaming for days on end, it seemed. So I called our pediatrician and asked what our options were. They prescribed baby Zantac, and he was, I thought, a happier baby. He still spit up a ton, but he wasn’t arching as much while eating.  His colic was improving with age and the use of a daily probiotic drop, so the fussiness was less – but I knew reflux was still at play. Somewhere around 3 1/2 months, I felt like he was spitting up more and more. Everyone always says that it looks like more than it is, but I felt like he was spitting up significant portions of each feeding. He was also a fussy eater again – he ate quickly and then screamed, and then spit-up. Classic reflux baby, but we were treating it. Anyway, I expected his weight gain to have slowed, but since he was packing it on in his first two months of life, it didn’t cross my mind he’d be dropping growth channels.

So, at his 4 month appointment three weeks ago, I was expecting him to be around 13.5 pounds when his previous chunking would have indicated he’d be about 14 pounds – and he clocked in at 12lb 3 oz. I was horrified. I immediately blamed myself and my milk supply – it was my fault because I’d been working out and eating clean. Our pediatrician was out of town, so we were seeing our practice’s very thorough PA. Before I continue, let me say I totally understand where our PA was coming from in this story – she’s a medical professional and she wants to see babies growing. I tend to be pretty calm about medical stuff – I rarely take my kids to the doctor when they’re sick because I know that a virus is a virus. I don’t call for every fever, we use a lot of natural home remedies for comfort and let fevers and viruses run their course. But, I usually choose appointments with this PA when we’re trying to diagnose something outside of a well check – Nell’s GI issues, for example, because I know she won’t say, “Let’s wait and see what happens in a week.” When I get to the point  with an illness or dilemma where I decide we need a doctor’s visit, I want to know we’re going to examine every option. But for well-checks, I tend to prefer to see our pediatrician since she’s a little more on my level in terms of  remaining calm. But anyway, we saw the PA, and she was very concerned about Peter’s very slow weight gain (he did gain, just slowly). And I was a hot mess. Now, having seen our PA with all three of my kids, I think I can say at this point that she’s not the most pro-breastfeeding – the practice itself is, but this particular individual wants hard numbers, which breastfeeding doesn’t readily supply. At every single appointment during the year I nurse my babies, her first question is “How many ounces are you pumping?” – even when my one month old is growing beautifully and gaining growth channels. When I tell her I’m not pumping, she asks me to start pumping once a day so she has a number to go off of. I always say, “I pump when I need a bottle”. Her recommendation was to exclusively pump for every feeding so that I knew exactly how much milk he was getting and to supplement him with formula to fatten him up.

Now, I firmly believe that asking a mom to exclusively pump to see if she’s providing enough milk to her child is a sure fire way to get the mom to stop breastfeeding. I know that one of the ways moms – especially first time moms – are told to help bring their milk in is by pumping. I was told the exact same thing with Thomas, and I spent the first month of his life obsessing over how many drops of milk drip-drop-drip-drop-drip-dropped into those damn Medela vials.  Because breast pumps suck. And pumping is stressful. And I know for a fact that if I had to exclusively pump, I’d struggle to provide my children with breastmilk for the first year of their life. I’d try, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t go well. When I was working when Thomas was a baby, I had to pump three times during the day and twice after he went to bed in order to make enough milk for his bottles at daycare the next day – if I’d had to pump for all his feedings, I would have been pumping all day. I have many friends who have determined their milk supply by how much they pump, and quit before their babies are a month old because they aren’t producing enough milk. I also know there are circumstances where moms don’t produce enough milk, but generally speaking, I think that the United States is a little broken in how they approach breastfeeding and babies and weight gain.

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Obviously there was a weight gain issue for Peter – his reflux was part of it, he was spitting up a good portion of feedings, and luckily, he performed his spit-up routine in the office so the PA could see just how much he does spit-up. We switched his reflux medication from Zantac to Prevacid which made a difference in his spitting up and demeanor. But, we did pre- and post- feeding weights at that appointment, and he was only taking about an ounce during each feeding. Which brought milk supply issues to the forefront. So I panicked. I posted here and you guys were awesome. I posted on instagram and you guys were awesome. And then, when my friend who’s working towards her IBCLC certification got back from her family vacation, I called her and she came running over to my house.  Where she told me everything I needed to hear:  That this is not my fault. That eating a healthy diet and exercising do not affect milk supply – that my body would starve itself before it stopped producing milk and to not stop taking care of myself as a result of this. Then she told me that I have successfully breastfed two babies, plus Peter for 4 months, and I can get my milk supply back up. It will take work, but I can do it. She watched Peter eat, she witnessed his fussiness and agreed he wasn’t taking a full feeding, checked his latch (which looked fine) and told me to go to a breastfeeding group lead by a lactation consultant she really respects for pre- and post- feeding weights, and more ideas, because she wanted me armed with numbers information when we went back to Peter’s weight check the next week.

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So, the breastfeeding group was great, and the lactation consultant was amazing – encouraging and logical, which not all are. She spent a lot of time with Peter and me – at this point I’d been pumping after every feeding for a week, so my milk supply was much better than it was a week before, but Peter was still not taking a full feeding, and still screaming afterwards. She watched him eat and thought his latch looked fine, but because of his screaming and the fact that he wasn’t taking a full feeding, she checked him for a tongue tie: and he was indeed tongue tied. I was shocked. Peter was my best nurser from birth, and I couldn’t believe it would take 4 months for the signs to show up. She explained lots of possible scenarios to me, but the long story short was: get the tongue tie clipped, get my milk supply back up, and feed the hungry baby. She sent me off with a plan for continuing to improve my milk supply by pumping 2 – 3 times a day – such a relief after pumping after every feeding – and a baby weight gain plan which included supplementing Peter with 2-4 ounces of the pumped milk (or formula if necessary) 2-3 times a day until his tongue tie was clipped so he could nurse more efficiently. The next day, thanks to my milk supply rebounding due to all the pumping, and the bottle supplementation of the pumped milk, Peter was up 8 ounces, up a growth channel, and we had an appointment for his frenectomy the following day.

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The frenectomy was simple and done with a laser in a pediatric dentist’s office. It took a couple of days for him to start using his tongue, and we were on our way off to Oregon for vacation, but a few days into vacation I noticed that he was eating much longer and I could actually see his tongue when he was eating.   This whole ordeal also took place during a huge developmental period for most babies, and his fussiness has been better over the last few days since that  developmental period has past, as well. And that’s where we’re at: Feeding Pete’s still a priority, but he’s continuing to catch up on weight gain – gaining just under an ounce a day (Pediatrician wants to see 1/2 an ounce a day so he’s currently over achieving), and is generally happier. And I’ve got a few gray hairs, now.

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Updates

It’s been so long since I posted last that I figured I might as well throw a smorgasbord post at you so that I can get caught up and move on :) . So, here’s what’s happening at the McKevitt house these days:

 

1. We’re painting the kitchen cabinets. I will share a post with all the photos and my method and products when it’s done. We’re hoping to have the kitchen all put back together for Peter’s Baptism on Saturday, so hopefully I’ll have afters for you next week. But here are couple in progress shots I shared on instagram:

2. We went to my aunt’s lake house in the mountains for the Fourth of July. It was about 10 degrees cooler there than in Denver, which was awesome. We kayaked, lounged, read and relaxed as much as you can when you have three children 4 & under around.

 

3. I’ve been dealing with a sudden milk supply issue – I’ve barely pumped since Peter was born because I didn’t need to – he was a great eater in the beginning, and I’ve always offered him full feeds. But at his 4 month appointment the numbers showed that he’d gained very slowly over the last month. I’m frustrated – Peter’s reflux has him not taking full feedings – he often pulls off when I know there’s still milk available, which I’m sure has affected my milk supply. I’ve been eating really clean and working out, which I’m sure has also had an impact, but I also am not willing to throw the hard work I’ve done to get back to feeling like me out the window. Shouldn’t I be able to eat healthfully and still breastfeed my baby for a year? But, I’m committed to figuring it out. If you have any (semi-clean) milk supply boosters, send them my way, I need to fatten my baby boy up.

That’s all I can come up with for now! I’ll be back next week hopefully with a kitchen post!

Updates

  • We had a great Easter (a week and a half ago now)…busy, but good. Starting with the kids coming down Easter morning to their Easter baskets. Side note: Our stairs have this diagonal in them for the bottom four steps. I’ve never loved it, but it wasn’t a deal breaker…I’d just prefer a more traditional staircase. But, Easter morning, I realized it’s perfect for three Easter baskets. It would fit four…but B says our stairs accommodating an extra Easter basket are not a compelling reason to keep having more kids. So there, one holiday transformed the way I feel about that crazy staircase layout. IMG_9203 The Saturday before Easter, we dyed Easter eggs using Kool Aid. It was perfect, and I’ll never dye eggs with one of those kits again!

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Easter morning, we woke up for Easter baskets, then booked it to church to get there at least 30 minutes before Mass was slated to start. The great Catholic dilemma arose as we arrived in time to hear the Homily and watch the 7 am Mass receive Communion – if we’re there in time for the Homily and Communion, do we call it attending and leave with the early birds? Or wait for our normal 8:30 Mass.  We waited for 8:30…but the debate absolutely took place. We love the church we’ve found and the community we’ve established going to church there for the last three years, but they could use some work on their time management. After Mass, we rushed home and before hosting B’s parents for brunch, we grabbed a quick family photo: our first, I’m ashamed to say, of all five of us (bonus that Casco posed!) since Peter was born.

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  • So that was Easter…Next up. Peter. We are loving life as a family of five, but it’s been loud :) . Peter is colicky and has reflux, but we’re doing whatever we can to get to the bottom of it to make our little guy more comfortable. I’m back off dairy (as I was with Nell, but for different reasons) and eliminating other foods from my diet, and we’re gonna get to the bottom of it.
  • I’m working out daily and eating clean to get back in shape (well, the clean eating was dictated by Peter, but the getting back in shape is a bonus) after Peter’s birth. My go-to workout after every pregnancy is the 30 day shred…and I’m so sick of it. But I’ll see it through the 30 days and post results here similar to what I did 3 years ago when I’m done. I am so passionate about not dwelling on body image – we have a daughter, and sons, who we want to raise to be healthy and confident young people, so I’m focusing more on being healthy than being back at my exact pre-pregnancy weight.
  • I loved Sarah’s thoughts on technology and kids from Monday. I’ve shared before that we really try to limit screen time and technology with our kids, like, the TV is rarely on unless there is a hometown sporting event in the background, and even then we turn it off if we notice Thomas paying too much attention to it. We started letting T watch an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates, or similar, about once a week a few months ago so that he’d know what his preschool classmates were talking about, but otherwise we keep screen time to a minimum. I don’t say this to declare our way the only way…or even the right way. It’s just what works for us and what feels important to us.  But anyway, coming from a technology minimalist mindset for kids, I really enjoyed Sarah’s thoughts on technology for me to process as our kids get older, so thought I’d share if anyone else was interested.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Peter’s room is ready for me to take pictures of, so hopefully I’ll get to that in the next few days!

Peter Michael

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of Peter Michael McKevitt (initials coincidentally the same as Peyton Manning McKevitt – absolutely not intentional). Peter arrived on Ash Wednesday – March 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm after a quick and relatively easy second VBAC.

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We are all over the moon – Thomas especially. He spent 5 minutes this morning teaching Peter how to pass a football. I’ll be back with more details on Peter’s arrival soon, but right now, B and I are juggling and snuggling our three babies (plus Casco!) and feeling like the luckiest people in the world.

Random Updates

    • It’s probably pretty obvious, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time and know mine, Mr. B’s, Thomas, and even Nell’s affection for our Orange and Blue Broncos, that we’re psyched that the Broncos are headed to the Super Bowl. First time in 15 years!!! With our excitement noted, I do not get involved in trash talk, rivalries, etc…I think it’s bad luck. B and his best friend’s fiancee, who happens to be a Patriots fan, were dishing a lot of trash talk back and forth when we played the Patriots earlier in the season, and we all know how that ended up. I told Mr. B he was not allowed to text during the game on Sunday. Just doing my part. But yeah, we’re pumped. Broncos fans are very loyal fans and we’ll glean hope from just about anything – even Tebow’s crazy 4th quarter comebacks in 2011 – but being a Broncos fan is not always easy. We had our glory days in Elway’s final few seasons, but since his retirement, it’s been a revolving door of quarterbacks, coaches, and early playoff losses. So we’re psyched, and so excited to watch a really good game on February 2nd.  Go Broncos!!!

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  • A quick Thomas-ism. I loved this conversation between B and T last week. There’s been SO much college talk around our house between the bowl games wrapping up and CU’s basketball team being decent, and our neighbors who T idolizes talking about their college dreams (they’re 10 and 7, so, you know, dreams), that B was wondering if T had any opinions on colleges.

B: Hey buddy, do have any idea what college you might like to go to someday?

T: Yep! One with a tunnel slide!

 

  • Last week, while B was at a board meeting, I was starting the bath water, helping T get his shirt off, and digging out the soap from under the counter. I turned around and Miss Nell had climbed on in – clothes, shoes, and all. You might recall this picture I have hanging in their bathroom. Like mother, like daughter. I’m in for it. And yes, this photo will be framed and hung in their bathroom. Like, February 1st when I can spend money again :)

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  • Unexciting but necessary house projects. Someday, we intend to replace all of our contractor baseboards with thicker, craftsman style ones. That someday is pretty low on the priority list, so in the meantime, we just needed to touch up trim in some places. Starting with the baby’s room. Caroline came up on Monday and cranked out the trim and doors in that room since at 34 weeks pregnant, crouching down to paint trim wasn’t going to happen for me. I’ll share a trim update soon, but here’s the beastly before:
  • IMG_0774 And the last update, also not at all glamorous. Our powder room toilet has been fickle since we moved in – sometimes it just wouldn’t refill all the way so it wouldn’t flush, and in the last month it’s slowly started to run. I replaced the innards of two toilets at our old house one day while B was at work – we’d bought the kits, and he was dreading it and in the middle of finals for his MBA, so I just sat down and read the instructions and did it during naps one day. And I was pretty proud of myself – who says you have to have your husband fix the running toilet? So armed with a Home Depot gift card on Monday (technically not spending since it was a gift…but a little hazy on the no spending front. I’m calling the savings we’ll see from water waste with a running toilet worth it), I ran out and bought a $10 toilet tank replacement kit. At our last house we used the dual flush eco friendly ones and I really didn’t like them, so we went old school and saved $15. IMG_0776

 

So that’s what’s going on at our house. Glamorous projects, a big football game, and silly kids. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, friends! 2013 was a wonderful year for our family. It was a big year with our move, learning we were expecting McKiddle #3, house projects, Thomas starting preschool and our desire to keep up with life in general. We’re so excited for 2014 – we are so excited to meet this new baby, continue to make our house our home, and soak up every minute of our growing children.

 

Hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!

A Day In The Life: School Days

I wanted to capture our life as it is now. In just a few months we’ll throw another kiddo into the mix, and I want to cherish these moments with my growing babies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

5:45 AM: Mr. B wakes up for work and tells me Thomas is asleep outside our room in the hallway. He’s been waking up earlier and earlier and trying to climb into bed with us, and we’ve been taking him back to his room and hoping he falls back asleep (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). Apparently he decided outside our door was close enough to us without risking getting himself returned to his room. I get out of bed and scoop my baby boy up and bring him into bed to snuggle with me…hoping we’ll fall back asleep.

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6:30 AM: Despite my best efforts, T has just been talking at me for the last 45 minutes, so we get out of bed and I make the bed.

6:35 AM: I check the monitor and my happy morning girl is quietly playing with her baby and penguin in her crib. T and I pad down the hall to get Nell out of her crib, then head downstairs for breakfast.

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6:45 AM: We’re immediate morning eaters – my blood sugar tends to be low (especially when I’m pregnant) and if I’m not fed within 20 minutes of waking up, it’s not pretty. My kids seem to be following my suit. It’s a school morning, which means that even though the kids were up earlier than normal, we’re on a time crunch, so it’s just cereal and bananas and milk for breakfast today.

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7:15 AM: I clean up the kitchen, load the dishwasher and run it and cut up an apple and cheese for Thomas’s snack at school and fill his water bottle. Then I check the meal I had planned for tonight – Cobb Salads – and decide that the colds B and I both have combined with a gloomier than predicted day do not make a salad night sound good. I switch it out for BLTs with Tomato Soup. While I’m cleaning and getting the day organized, the kids play together in the family room. Thomas has found our old Wii Guitar Hero guitars and is pretending he’s Pete the Cat, and then T and Nell both resort to playing peek-a-boo with each other.

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7:45 AM: We head upstairs to get dressed for the day. It’s a school day, which normally means we need to be out the door by 8:15, but this morning T has a field trip that starts at 8:45, so we get an extra 10 minutes in our morning.

8:15 AM: We’re downstairs with time to spare, so we play for a few more minutes before we load into the car and head to the grocery store – for Thomas’s field trip.

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8:25 AM: We’re out the door and my little backseat driver – with a crazy memory – is chatting non-stop. “Mama, why are you driving so slow?” “The lights are flashing, it’s a school zone, Mama.” “Mama, the speed limit is 35 now.” “Mama, why did you not turn on Main Street?”

8:40 AM: We get to the grocery store where the 3 year old preschool classes are meeting and check-in with his teacher. Thomas gets $4 to spend on non-perishable food items to donate to the local food bank. The 3 year old class does this every year to kick of the preschool’s Thanksgiving Food Drive. We head to the non-perishable foods aisle, talking about what kinds of foods families that don’t have much might like. Then I teach him that buying brand name products sometimes means you pay more for the same thing…a little budgeting 101 while also learning about giving, we’ll take it.  He goes for generic Mac and Cheese, Ramen Noodles and Applesauce. We come in at $3.99.

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9:15 AM: We’re in the car headed back to school for the kids to get back to their regular programming. Nell and I sign T in and then head back to the grocery store – just to the one closer to our house to get a few necessities we’re out of.

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10:00 AM: We’re done with King Soopers and I really need to go to Costco, but I try not to pack T’s school days with errands just because it’s easier to run errands with only one kid. Nell gets so little one on one time with me, and that will only get smaller come March, and I committed to making T’s school mornings Nell play time, so I punt on the Costco run and we head home to play for an hour before we go pick T up.

10:10 AM: We’re home, the groceries are unloaded, and Nell and I settle on the floor of the playroom to do puzzles, shapes, read books, and play with ALL of the toys without anyone taking anything away from her. Then we head outside to ride her trike for a few minutes.

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11:00 AM: I realize Nell never had a morning snack, so we head to the kitchen for some cut-up fruit and water, and then we get back in the car to go pick Thomas up.

11:30 AM: We sign T out of school, load back into the car and head home for lunch.

12:00 PM: My punting on Costco means we have no Almond Butter (their lunch fave) in the house, so the kids eat leftover mac and cheese, carrots, fruit and yogurt for lunch.

12:30 PM: We settle onto the couch to read our Thanksgiving books before heading upstairs for rest time.

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12:45 PM: The kids are tucked in, and I head to my room to lay down for a few minutes. I wake up 30 minutes later to the sound of wind whipping around the house. Then head downstairs and clean up the toys that are all over the place before hunkering down with my book club book.

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3:40 PM: I don’t even realize that two hours have passed since I started reading when B walks in from work. Both kids are still asleep, so I give B a quick kiss, tell him I’m almost done with Part One and then Nell wakes up. B goes upstairs to get her while I quickly get to a good stopping point.

4:00 PM: Nell and B are playing together in the family room, I’m emptying the dishwasher. Nell asks for a snack, so I head to the pantry to get her favorite – graham crackers. A few minutes later B pulls out what’s remaining of a chocolate pumpkin pie my mom made to try-out before Thanksgiving, and he and his mini-me take turns sharing bites. Sister loves her daddy-o.

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4:15 PM: Thomas is awake and he is a bear. He’s hit or miss after his naps – if he wakes up suddenly from a noise or something, batten down the hatches. If he wakes up slowly, he just opens his door and comes downstairs ready to play.  Today’s wind wakes him up, so we prepare for a good solid 20 minutes of misery. He finally cools his jets looking at a Fisher Price toy catalog that came in the mail, but then Nell’s mad that she can’t look at the catalog.

4:45 PM: Everyone is calm as long as they’re in my arms. Rare since Mr. B is usually the only one that will do. It’s also a school night for B, which means Early Bird special for us on dinner. T loves to help cook, so I pull a bar stool over for him to help me make the bacon, and Nell throws a fit that she’s not included, so we put her in her booster seat and pull her over, too.

5:00 PM: We all sit down to eat. It’s more important to me that we eat as a family than the time we eat, so we always eat at 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays so we can have a family dinner before B leaves for class.

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5:25 PM: B’s out the door, we get the typical 30 seconds of, “I don’t want you to go to school, daddy”, but it’s routine enough by now that all is calm quickly. I clean up the kitchen, reload the dishwasher, and turn on Raffi Pandora station while the kids run laps around the house.

5:45 PM: Time to kill an hour and 15 minutes before we start the bedtime routine. It’s not bath night which I can always count on to kill at least 30 minutes (we do baths every other night due to Colorado’s dry climate and T’s dry skin, unless it was a particularly messy day). It’s dark since daylight savings and ridiculously windy, so our typical long walk and park stop is out. We pull out puzzles and favorite books and work on writing “tricky” letters (letters that curve) on the magna doodle and easily spend the rest of the evening just playing together. It’s been a really good day – aside from T waking up from his nap in a mood, there have been no sibling fights, no real big fits. It’s been downright blissful.

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7:00 PM: Our normal bedtime, but since T took a late nap, I’m pushing it back about 30 minutes, so we head upstairs to start getting ready for bed. This entails a good 10 minutes of Nell brushing her teeth (girl likes those 6 teeth to be clean), Thomas taking 5 minutes just to pick the 3 books he wants read, pajama-time, books, prayers and tuck-ins.

7:30 PM: I’m downstairs, but the kids are both still awake in their beds, so I clean up the toys (again) and sit down to start this post before heading downstairs to workout.

8:30 PM: I head to the basement to get on the Elliptical. I was running pretty consistently when I got pregnant, but pretty much stopped working out midway through my first trimester because it was causing me so much pain (word on the street is that 3 pregnancies in about 3 1/2 years = ligaments that are just loose and less supportive of things like running), but I’ve been feeling like a blimp, so I figure a short low level workout can’t do me much harm – I’m sore regardless of my activity level (please note, I’m definitely not complaining – I’m so so blessed by these babies of mine and healthy pregnancies, the least I can do is deal with some soreness for 40 weeks) so I might as well work out.

9:00 PM: I hear the door open upstairs, and not expecting B back for another 45 minutes  (but knowing that he can’t stand his Tuesday night class) cautiously call upstairs “B?”. His class ended early, so I cut my workout short and head upstairs to hang out with him. Love surprise extra time with my husband!

9:45 PM: I quickly finish this post before heading upstairs to check on the kiddos and go to bed. We’ve been fighting colds and need as much sleep as we can get before 5:45 rolls around tomorrow morning. It was a great day, mostly spent at home. Tomorrow’s busy – painters are coming and we have a playdate scheduled, not to mention I’ll try to squeeze in that Costco run, so sleep is good.

A Walrus Costume (and mini-tutorial)

My 3 year old decided last year on November 1st that he was going to be a walrus for Halloween 2013. His walrus obsession began when his Gigi took him to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a “Thomas Day” shortly after Nell was born, and continued into our trip to DC last November when we took the kids to the National History Museum. So, the walrus costume has been on my mind for a year, but I wasn’t going to get started until October since Rickie Fowler (I vetoed on account of no one in Colorado really following PGA golf outside of my dad, Mr. B and Thomas) and Peyton Manning (pretty sure he decided that he dresses like Peyton every day, so what’s the fun in being Peyton for Halloween?) were both thrown around as Halloween costume options for awhile.

  DIY Walrus Costume

Nell’s costume is a Carter’s Elephant (she loves elephants and we sometimes call her Nelephant, so it fit) and is basically a well padded sweatshirt with an elephant trunk on the hood, and her costume inspired me to create the walrus out of a brown hooded sweatshirt. We live in Colorado – chances are good there will be snow on Halloween, so Colorado moms know that costumes need to fit over a snowsuit (or just act like a snowsuit itself). When T was firmly decided on the Walrus on October 1st, I ordered a brown hooded sweatshirt from Amazon and found brown sweatpants at Walmart (of course they couldn’t sell a hoodie with their sweatpants, that would be too easy). Then, I googled around for my favorite walrus – the walrus costumes out there are kinda meh, so I just found a stuffed walrus whose face I liked and made the walrus face based on that.

Toddler Preschool Walrus Costume

First, I cut two bean shapes out of carmel covered felt to make up the walrus snout. Then, I cutout a quick heart shaped felt nose from black felt and hand stitched it onto one of the bean shapes at the top. I turned the bean shapes inside out and sewed the two sides together, turned them right side out and stuffed it to make a Walrus snout.  My mom was over while I was doing this and decided that a simple stitch around the snout would add detail and also that classic home-grown Halloween costume feel, so Caroline is responsible for the detailing. I also used the same colored felt for the walrus stomach – just to provide some variation in the costume. The tusks were the same idea – I cut four long curved tusks out of white felt, stitched two together twice to make two tusks, stuffed them, and sewed them to the snout. Then I attached the snout and tusks to the hood with a hand stitch, and cut two oval black walrus eyes to hand stitch on, too. Overall, it took me about an hour, and Thomas was giddy watching his long awaited walrus costume come together.

Walrus Costume

I love making Halloween costumes for the kids, but I’m also a reasonable person. Carter’s made a damn cute elephant and I bought it at Costco for $12.99. I spent more than $12.99 on T’s hoodie and sweatpants alone, though his costume didn’t total more than $20. Sometimes you have to make a costume (when your three year old decides he’s going to be a walrus, for example), and sometimes it’s okay to buy one (when your one year old’s only opinion is that every costume she passes in any given store is “MINE!”).

Walrus and Elephant costumes

Our walrus and Nelephant are pretty happy with their Halloween gettups – and Thomas is already scheming for Halloween 2014. Let’s hope it’s something I can make out of a sweatsuit. So, Happy Halloween from our zoo! Hope you all have fun and safe trick-or-treat adventures!

Updates

I have so many house projects going on at once – and all sitting around unfinished, that I’ve been in blogstall mode. I feel like I get on a house roll and forget that I can blog about things other than the house. So, here are some pictureless updates on all things: life and house and blog:

Blog Business:

  • Last day to enter the Britax carseat giveaway. The comments reset for some reason on the platform running the contest, but all the entries are safe if you already did comment. I’m working with the platform to get the comments reposted, but it sounds like it might have been a capacity issue (Thanks to the 250+ who commented!!!)

House Business:

  • I’m giving Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint a try for an antique piece I bought for our living room. I can’t wait to get it finished and so that I can share it with you, I think it’s going to be awesome. The Milk Paint I’m undecided about – but I still have half the piece to finish, and I’ll give you a full update when it’s done.
  • We ordered this chandelier for our dining room after going back and forth between it and a much pricier, similar but not the same fixture from another store. Finally I decided I’m just not the kid of girl who wants to spend $500 on a dining room light fixture, and went with the overstock light. And I’m so happy with it.  I love it so much, but two of the shades were shipped in sharp little pieces. Overstock’s customer service was awesome (emailed me an update twice a day while they tried to track down extra shades at the manufacturer), but we’re in waiting mode for that.
  • My mom and dad are upgrading their dining room for their 40th Anniversary present to each other. My mom has a really cool antique pie safe in her dining room right now, and when she told me she and my dad were getting tired of it and wanted a buffet for serving in the dining room instead I said, “NO! I love that pie safe. It’s so perfect.” To which she said, “You’re more than welcome to store it in your dining room, but this dining room is upgrading. I’ve always wanted a place to serve food in the dining room.” Happy 40th my parent’s anniversary to me. I’ll have lots of dining room updates for you in a few weeks!
  • I bought beadboard wallpaper for Nell’s room. I haven’t put it up yet, but am thinking that one afternoon this week the opportunity might present itself to get started. I’m anxious to give this product a try, and also thrilled that if it works, I don’t have to schedule time out of Mr. B’s crazy schedule to do house projects with me. When he gets home from work, he wants to hang out with us, and I love that, so I try not to load up his list with things I can’t (or haven’t learned how to but someday will) do.

Life Business:

  • I took a pretty hard fall last week – I woke up and our garage door was open. Mr. B always leaves before the rest of us are awake during the week, but he always locks the house and closes the door, so I thought it was out of his character. I went out and shut the door, only to be going up the stairs a few minutes later and realize it didn’t go down. So, I called B, he talked me through pulling the emergency release so the door would close so I could take T to preschool and have our garage door locked up. Our release was apparently jammed too, and wouldn’t pull, so I pulled as hard as I could and the string – which was apparently frayed – snapped in half and I went falling backwards, feet above my head onto the cement floor. I landed on my back, and was immediately sore, but took Thomas to preschool and then came home (to Mr. B fixing the garage door) and called my doc. I’ve had two checkups since the fall and baby and I are both fine which we’re so grateful for. But it was scary. My doctor told me yesterday, “Next time, just leave the garage door open until you get back.” Sounds like a good plan.
  • We held strong and did not find out McKiddle #3′s sex at our 20 week ultrasound last week. B thinks girl, I’m still undecided but I’ll take boy just to represent the other side (my original inkling was boy but the heart rate is girly, so I truly don’t have a feeling one way or the other), and Thomas still thinks the baby is Peyton Manning. So, you know, someone will be right. That someone is probably not Thomas.
  • Thanks for all the fun name suggestions – you guys definitely know our style with old-timey but not overly used choices. We have lists, they’re just not totally narrowed down (though we’re closer to agreeing on a girl name than a boy name at the moment).
  • Thomas and Nell are all set for Halloween. Thomas is going to be a Walrus, and Nell is going to be an elephant. Nell’s costume was purchased, Thomas’s was handmade (by me with some finishing help from Caroline). I’m so freaking proud of it – and love that a walrus isn’t your typical 3 year old boy Halloween costume, but isn’t unrecognizable. I’ll post pictures next week with a mini tutorial.

Hope you’re all having a great start to your week! Here’s to finishing a project to share sometime in the near future.