Friday, April 27, 2018

Raising Your Love Language

By now you all probably know I've been reading and focusing on Raising Your Spirited Child. Not long into Ellie's toddler months did we start to notice a shift in her behavior and stamina.  Her cries were more. Her happiness was more. Her emotions were more. And not just due to her age. I remember thinking "just get by until she's four. Things do get easier by then. You've worked with so many kids, you know the switch. It's a huge transition. Soon you will be able to breathe."

Four came and went. And I still had a child back peddling. Even with potty training. I was so helpless. I had given up. Until I joined every Facebook group I could to get some sort of understanding and advice on what was going on. A mom mentioned the book.  Showed me snapshot pics of some of the stuff inside. There wasn't one sentence that I thought "nope this isn't it." I knew my life was about to become more understanding.  I went ahead and purchased the book on Amazon.

And not only am I, but Ellie is benefiting.

I still go to bed exhausted, way past the time I should be (heck I'm writing this post after 1am). And I wake up still confused on what to do differently.  Being consistent, doing things everyday, staying active and busy, or staying chill ALL do not change the outcome of our spirited daughter.  It's like asking Iowa weather to stay predictive. It just doesn't happen.

Never in my dreams did I ever picture questioning everything. Do I just send her off due to her extrovert personality and get a full or part-time job? Do I send her to get some sort of sensory therapy to help us both? Will doing nothing different help or harm us?  Will I ever stop wondering if I'm doing the right or wrong thing?

Nope. #MomProblems

When you need a boost in your relationship, say marriage, people tend to offer the 5 Love Languages book as a reference to help out. There's also a book for kids.

I had a thought cross my mind today as I had to be consistent and thorough with my parenting thanks to my spirited five year old. Most people have one way of feeling loved (based off the 5 options).  I thought today, Spirited Children prefer ALL 5 love languages. The five are: quality time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation.  (The book talks about how if you do the opposite it backfires if that is the persons #1 love language.  Well, here are my thoughts on that with my spirited.) Just a small glimpse of my day.....

Quality time: I can't do anything unless you are right here with me to do it. I also am going to tell you how and when I need your presence to make me happy with you. If you leave me and I didn't want that hell will break loose.  How dare you. I'll scream forever long I choose thanks to your inability to know and do as I want.

Physical touch: I need your hugs, however do not touch me at this particular moment whenever I decide that is. It changes in the moment.

Gifts: I love having things. I can't leave a store without that thing. When you buy me something I'm filled with gratitude. You make my favorite food I'm happily engaged. When you don't, that means you don't like me.  How dare you even have that in our house?

Acts of Service: help me with my socks today, not that way, you're doing it wrong. Do that for me cus I don't wanna do do it. You'll know if you did it exactly how I was thinking.

Words of Affirmation: when you say things I didn't want you to say it made me boil up inside, I can't handle it if you say something like that, or even look at me. When you applaud my work or how I do something I jump for joy and get excited. I need you to tell me how good I am.


"You just made that all up." Nope. Unfortunately I didn't. Yesterday my Spirited told me not to look at her ONCE while she put away her puzzles or else that meant I didn't believe she could be truthful. Long story.....

Today she had a 10 minute screaming fit due to the fact I had her clean up the socks and underwear she threw on her floor to hide so she didn't have to put them away.

The other day she was upset with me cus I wasn't sitting the right way while we worked on a puzzle together.

I have it tucked in my memory that she showed her little brother how to do something so he could do it all by himself the next time.

I remember she got her brother to laugh so he wouldn't be so cranky. She also helped him find his favorite toys to keep him occupied due to the fact he couldn't understand in thirty minutes we would be eating.

I also remember the days she spends so much time making the house look nice so Daddy will come home to a home that looks relaxing.

Moments where she's her sweet, joyful self that I know is always there...some days hidden more than others....really helps the moments I have to step back and reanalyze a new approach.  Not only has she made me question everything I once knew or thought about parenting, she has also been a part of strengthening and nurturing them too.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Quick Meal Recipes

Some of my quick meal had recipes easily found online. The others are not.  I've made a separate post for their instructions.

Mexican Tator Tot Casserole
-Cook ground beef, drain and rinse, return to heat and add taco seasoning
-Thaw peas and Tator tots
-Layer: meat, cream of mushroom soup, peas, shredded cheese, and Tator tots
350 for 30-45mins (one hour if full)

Date Night Lasagna
*This is the simplest recipe I have found that still tastes delicious*
-Brown 1lb ground beef, drain, return to skillet and add jar of spaghetti sauce
-Large bowl mix 32 oz cottage cheese, 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, 2 tsp parsley, salt and pepper
-In 9x13 pan layer half of meat sauce, lasagna noodles, 1/2 cheese mixture, rest of meat sauce, noodles, rest of cheese mixture, sprinkle extra shredded mozzarella cheese
-about 1/4 cup of water pour on outer sides of pan for baking
-Bake covered 350 45mins, uncovered 10mins more

*I got this recipe from my mom and it's so good. Growing up we had creamed corn, baked potatoes, and fruit with it.*
-Mix together about 1.5lb uncooked ground beef, 8oz tomato sauce, one egg, 2tsp minced onion, 1/2 cup milk, and about 26 club crackers (one roll of Ritz tastes the same) crushed
-Put mixture in loaf pan (I use a small oval pyrex dish because dishwasher safe)
-Sauce: estimate 1/4 cup ketchup, 3Tb brown sugar, 1tsp dry mustard, stir together and pour over top
-Bake 350 one hour

Sloppy Joes
-skillet brown ground beef, chopped onion, green pepper, and drain liquids. Stir in 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1tsp mustard, 3/4 cup ketchup, 3tsp brown sugar, mix well

Tacos (homemade seasoning)
*I make a large batch and use recycled glass seasoning container relabeled*
1Tb chili powder
1/4tsp garlic powder
1/4tsp onion powder
1/4tsp dried oregano
1/2tsp paprika
1 1/2 Tb cumin
Salt and pepper

Beef and Noodles
*Given to me by our neighbors
Great way to use up random items in fridge,add/change to what your preferences are
-optional: onion, mushrooms, garlic/other seasonings
-ground beef or leftover steak
-beef broth
-Saute chopped onions, add garlic/seasonings, brown hamburger, drain. Add beef broth and noodles.  Cook until noodles fully cooked.

BBQ Nachos
*Recipe given to me by a friend
-Cook how much ground beef you need to feed your family, drain, add chopped onion, stir while adding garlic powder, Italian seasoning, ground mustard. Then add BBQ sauce. Serve with chips. Top with bacon bits or relish if you want.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
-cut up raw chicken
-mix in small bowl 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese, salt, 1tsp thyme, 1Tb basil
-melt butter, dip chicken, then add seasonings
-bake 400 20mins

Homemade Mac&Cheese
-Cook pasta
-In saucepan melt 2T butter, 2T flour, stir to make roux, add 1cup milk, 5mins, add shredded cheese
-Combine noodles with cheese in one pan and add shredded chicken if you want, add milk if not creamy enough

BBQ Bacon Chicken
-place chicken in baking dish
-sprinkle oil, salt, onion powder over top
-pour on BBQ sauce, put bacon over chicken
-Bake 30mins 375 or until chicken and bacon are done

Chicken Tetrazzini
-Cook noodles and drain
-in large bowl combine 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 2 cups sour cream, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1 stivkof soft butter, mix well (butter lumps are fine), add noodles.
-spray 9x13 pan, pour in mixtute, sprinkle 2TB parm cheese (shredded) and 2 cups mozzarella cheese on top
-bake 350 40-45mins

Poppyseed Chicken
-spray 9x13, place shredded chicken in pan (I use roughly 3 cups but differs each time)
-stir together 1 can cream of chicken soup and 1 cup sour cream. Pour over chicken.
-Crush one roll of Ritz crackers and stir in 1 stick melted butter. Pour over top.
-bake 350 for 30mins, serves well with potatoes and green veggies

Sour Cream and Onion Pork Chops
-Heat oil in large skillet
-add 4 pork chops, don't cook all the way
-Cook chopped onion with chops
-in a bowl mix 1Tb parsley, 1tsp mustard, 1tsp paprika, and one cup beef broth, stir with whisk, pour over chops. Boil. Simmer. Stir occassionally. Add some sour cream. Mix well. Let cream melt. Serves well with rice

Beef Stroganoff
*I use leftover roast that I cut up into bite size pieces
-in crock pot add roast pieces, add chopped onion, garlic powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper, mushrooms, 1/2 cup sour cream, low for 6-8hrs
-add cooked egg noodles and stir

Slow Cooker Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin (from Paula Deen)
-line bottom of cooker with carrots and onions (thickly sliced)
-2lb pork tenderloin (or beef), season with cinnamon, onion powder, garlic salt and pepper
-bowl: whisk 1cup chicken broth, 18oz jar of apricot perserves, 2Tb mustard, 1Tb thyme; pour mixture over meat
-cook low 6hrs

Omelette Casserole
*I just take about a dozen eggs, whisk with half cup milk, then add whatever you like in your eggs. (Peppers, onions or onion powder, mushrooms, spinach, sausage links cut up, bacon bits, cheese, etc)
-Bake at 350 for 40mins covered, add cheese on top and bake uncovered 10mins

Quick Meals

One place for all my go-to meals.  I'll probably continue to add as I remember them.  The ones with links will hopefully send you to their recipes. Otherwise I made a separate post for those without links.

1. One Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac
2. Mexican Tator Tot Casserole
3. Date Night Lasagna
4. Meatloaf
5. Crockpot Baked Ziti
6. Sloppy Joe's
7. Tacos
8. Beef & Noodles
9. BBQ Nachos
10. Italian Chicken Meal
11. Slow Cooker Enchilada Stack
12. Homemade Chicken Nuggets
13. Homemade Mac & Cheese (add shredded chicken) or Annie's Mac&Cheese
14. BBQ Bacon Chicken
15. Crockpot Chicken and Noodles
16. 30 minute Chicken and Noodle Soup
17. Chicken Tetrazzini
18. Poppyseed Chicken
19. Chicken Noodle Casserole
20. Sour Cream and Onion Pork Chops
21. Cream of Mushroom Pork Chops
22. Beef Stroganoff
23. Slow Cooker Apricot Glazed Pork Tenderloin
24. Omelette Casserole

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Unexpected Kind of Parenting

Before you become a parent you have visions and dreams of what you want to be as a parent, what you will do with your kids to make special moments memorable, and lots of other things. Or maybe that's just me.  When I was three, I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom (SAHM), so I guess I had plenty of years to vision my life.

Now I'm here, been a mom for about six years (I include pregnancy because once you lose babies, you realize you're a mom as soon as you see a positive.). I visioned 2-4 kids (I know, I always debated the amount, I wanted to wait until I found out gender order and decide before I got pregnant with each one. As you can see I had lots of planning into this.)

October 4, 2012 we welcomed our firstborn Ellie. I loved being a new mom. It took some time to recover from giving birth (search my blog for all those posts).

And before she turned one we got pregnant, miscarried, bought a house, got pregnant, and miscarried again.  2013 was a blur...I remember particular specifics (like laboring at home and still a D&C awake in the office). Thankful back then I blogged to remember things. Like today, November 21st. Today our second baby's due date. He/she would be turning 4. I can't imagine having a 5&4 year old, and not sure if we would of had anymore.

See, that's the thing. 2013 brought me to the realization my plans changed. I'm done at two kids. But I had four pregnancies. When people ask me how many kids I have, I reply "two." In the back of my mind I always want to say "two, but four pregnancies." However, I don't think the grocery clerk needs to hear every detail in my life in the few minutes they see me.

When life throws curve balls at us it's really easy to give up and hide. Or maybe that's just me? #introvertproblems
It was so easy to tell myself I'm done. No more. Ellie is going to be our only child. I can't go through another pregnancy, extreme sickness, and end in another loss.

But then Ellie showed her personality beyond cute facial expressions and good nap taker.  We were Raising a Spirited Child.  We promised to give my body a full year to recover. Then I ran errands and walked by onesies and didn't think uncomfortable thoughts or night time morning sickness and labor pains. I didn't hear a newborn cry and think of the babies I lost, I started picturing the next baby we COULD have.

I gifted a pregnancy test to Jon, showing him I was ready to try again. Nine months later, meet Jayden. 😄 His sickness was by the far the most intense right away. ER at 6 weeks for dehydration and having lost 25 pounds.  But all that time I spent focused on making sure I was 100% ready, helped me get through it. Plus my mom reminding me we were done after this pregnancy so I would never have to do this day of a pregnancy again.

Jon and I constantly ponder (more like I ponder and discuss out loud with Jon), what life would be like if we had not lost one of those pregnancies? What gender? The different age gap between kids? How would that of changed our processing of Ellie? Or how many kids would we have had? Would we of ever had Jayden? Would Ellie still be a good older sister like she is to Jayden, or would the smaller age gap cause problems to help her work through expressing herself? (I love our kid's age gap at 3.5 years. Ellie is really understanding of Jayden's toddlerisms.)

I never pictured losing babies. I don't think any mom does. But it has made me stronger, more grateful, more present, and more understanding. My visions and dreams of parenting changed greatly. But in the end I'm so thankful for what God crafted instead. Yes, I'm not always loving the fact it took loss to get here. However, I know what comes out of heartache. So many blessings. Countless blessings.

Happy birthday, Taylor. I continue to dream about who you are and what you would bring to our family. 💗💗

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jayden {18 months}

This past month has been a blur, with getting Ellie ready for Preschool and Jayden deciding his usual 12hour night sleeps are no longer a good thing. 🙄 { This week starting to do better.}

He has changed a bit since 16 months (my last post), so I thought I would record everything before I forgot.

What he's up to now:
He can climb up on the couch himself, which has helped a ton in his happiness while awake. He can also climb back down which has also been beneficial for us all. Climbing on the edge though has not been helpful and so we rearranged the couch from the window to the wall so he doesn't hurt himself trying to touch the window.  He just loves being as close to us as possible.  One of his favorite toys is a ball. He's gotten really good at tossing it, so lots of games are playing catch. I also toss balls around the room and he fetches them. (I've told Ellie countless times we don't need a dog.).
He's also starting to stand up on his own without needing to hold onto anything.

Pointing at me to come sit with him

Likes: sitting in our laps, "talking" (I love this stage of baby chatter and no talking back yet), baths, going outside/leaving the house, push toys, balls, ride on toys, playing catch, building with Legos, drums, music, climbing, eating

He can actually build with Legos

Dislikes: getting out of the bath (hates being covered by towel), covers/blankets, being told no, yells when needs "help" & gets frustrated, not being around us, grass, swimming pool (surprised us cus he loves baths!)

Favorite foods: new thing is liking more fruits! Banana, Mandarin oranges, grapes, watermelon, apples, oranges, peaches
Pizza, bread, taco meat, sloppy joe meat, pasta, corn, cooked veggies, potatoes, food pouches, baby granola bars, pb crackers

*Foods he doesn't like are due to texture. Still refuses most Mac&cheese except Annie's.

He screams a lot now to get his point across. Ugh. I have to make sure I know what's going on before I decide what actually needs to happen to make things better. (Jayden yelling at Ellie doesn't necessarily mean Ellie is doing something wrong.)

Typical Day for Jay:
Wake up multiple times in the night OR just once but for a long time.
(One night was 4am-7am)
(One night was 9-10pm and 1:45am, and 7am)

Up around 6/7am
Breakfast & playtime
Sometimes needs morning nap now that he's up more in the night
11/11:30 lunch
12:00 (M/Tu/Th/F take sis to school)
12:15-3:15 ^ on those days sis at school
12:30 Nap (usually lasts 1hr10min, longer if I'm lucky)
4:30 kids play/pick up the house while I make supper
5/5:30 Supper
7 Ellie bedtime
7/7:30 Jay bedtime

*Jay goes down after Ellie, due to his inability to sleep if he hears other stuff going on. Helps keep the constant night wakings from reoccurring.*

*When he's able to put himself back to sleep at night, he wakes around 7*

Jay likes it as much as Mommy when we order pizza
Gets on/off push toys all by himself 💙

Nothing is safe anymore. He climbs up on chairs to get on top of tables. End table, kid table, kitchen table.... yesterday he fell off's hard to keep up on his whereabouts. This stage Ellie got a lot of mouth injuries. I'm sure Jay is just beginning to get lots of falls.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jayden {16 months}

Two weeks ago Jayden turned 16 months old.  My kids take longer to be more mobile/independent, so when that finally occurs i like to remind myself of how it all happened. His personality is starting to show, and I also don't want to forget all these new things he is up to.  My parents have Ellie for a few days so this is my chance.

He loves: baths, "talking", push toys, food, pacifier and lovey to sleep, sitting on the couch next to us, the toilet 🙄, kitchen toys, playing with Big Sis, electronic devices, remote controls, being outside, looking out the window (gets upset if you walk away), when Daddy comes home, pointing at everything, listening to music is soothing for him (compared to Big Sis where it energizes her)!

He dislikes: if we're on the couch and he's not, most fruits, picky about texture of food, getting out of the bath, diaper changes, being set down, getting nails clipped, being placed in highchair, grass, gets upset if he doesn't have something on his tray that we have on our plate, blankets or covers over him

What he can do: say something that sounds like Da-da, Ma-Ma very clearly, sign language for more and all done, walk furniture, prefers climbing over walking, push toys around the house, hit two toys together, play his drums, climb up onto Big Sis table, use objects to stand up, drink out of a water bottle, "look" at books, tries using a fork, throws a ball, helps put away toys

His personality: laughs a lot, needs lots of attention, rarely plays on his own but when he does it's super adorable, dances to music, screams for whatever he wants--hard sometimes to know what that thing is, likes to snuggle against you on your lap as if you're a recliner, wants his own seat on the couch, "talks" on the phone, cries if you shut off an area that is not safe for him to go (pocket door to stairs, dishwasher closed, bathroom door, electronic door), gets super happy when you step outside or get him loaded in car, has this hyperventilating happy thing he does when super excited, lays down on a pillow in living room when tired, loves silly games with Big Sis, surpringly okay with most of her crazy antics, Mommy use to be his favorite but he's really starting to like Daddy (cried today when he had to leave and snuggled him making it hard for Daddy to go).  Outings are not as stressful because he loves going along and isn't uptight about nursing constantly and still okay in the shopping cart or stroller.

He's in size 4 diapers.
Snug short-sleeve 12month onesies
9month pants are nice, cover knees for crawling
12 month shorts
I haven't even looked into shoe size yet
Poops 2-4x a day!
12month PJs without feet fit, with footies no longer fit

That belly! 😍

Favorite foods: pasta, breads, potatoes, fries, sweet potatoes of course, ice cream, cooked carrots, yogurt, watermelon, dried blueberries, grapes, baby granola bars, meatloaf, BBQ meat, pizza, chicken

Dislike foods: milk, eggs, cheese sticks (hit or miss), raw veggies
*It's all about texture. He might love Mac&cheese but certain restaurants or different recipes he won't eat it.

Wakes around 7/7:15am
Nurses/snuggles with Mom&Dad
7:30/8 Breakfast
11:00 lunch
12:30 nurse/nap (usually around 2hrs)
Playtime in his room for awhile
(Just moved kitchen toys to his room. It helps him wake up and not cry to be held.)
5/6 supper time
Family time
7:30 Nurse/bed

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Could your Child be Spirited?

I thought I was going to have a few minutes to myself in the bath while Jayden took his nap, Ellie had food and only naturally wouldn't you assume you have at least five minutes?  Nope.  So it led me to this post.  I've been reading "Raising your Spirited Child" and Ellie fits a lot of the personality traits it mentions.  There's also a quick questionnaire to find out if your child is an introvert or extrovert.  Out of 9 for each, Ellie was 8 Extrovert and 0 Introvert.
For parents out of 13 each, I am 11 Introvert and 3 Extrovert. (Jon is 50/50.)  They say the worse combo for Spirited Child with the parent they spend the most time with is Extrovert, Spirited Child with an Introvert Parent. Ya, think?

Ways to know if you have a Spirited First Born

--You wake up to hearing them talk or sing and they are NOT in your bedroom.
--They change their mind on what they want for breakfast multiple times, and then end up with the first option.
--They want to be offered more than two options for everything.  Even if they don't pick the third option.
--You are told you can't sit in any other seat than you normally pick. (couch, kitchen table or the car)
--You are not right.
--When you are right, they praise themselves (except on good days).
--You have to respond to them.  Even if you thought you already did.  You didn't do it the "right way."
--They wont go to the bathroom unless you promise them you will help wipe them.  They hate washing their hands, unless in public places.  They still want you to wipe, but love to wash their hands.  (Try holding the baby with one arm and helping keep the automatic water going.)
--They freak out over any temperature of food or drink that is warmer than room temp.  They cant touch it.
--Bath water is TOO hot. So you have them do the water themselves.
--They want you to not touch them as they help themselves into their car seat and buckle themselves.  But then five minutes later they DO want you to help.
--No one is a stranger to them.  You meet everyone around you.
--You apologize to strangers A LOT.  For all sorts of reasons.
--They don't understand personal space. "Please just sit NEXT to me." They hear "Sit on top of my lap, rub my arm and face, and snuggle your check into mine. Then start talking loudly into my ear."
--Their laugh can be heard across an entire store.  Which is helpful when one parent cant find the other....but of course when she is lost she is silent.
--Walking isn't an option.  There's only running.
--Holding hands in parking lots are for babies.
--It takes over an hour to go anywhere.  Not because of you or the baby.
--The cheeseburger has too much Ketchup on it.
--You gave them the wrong type of silverware for their food.  It has to be the one underneath that one. (They're both exactly the same.)
--You set the sippy cup in the wrong spot on the table.  It's supposed to be two more inches this way....
--You said something wrong.  Now there's screaming. For minutes.
--If it means it's time for a time out might as well tell them they never get ice cream again for the rest of their lives.
--If you constantly ask them to be quiet because the baby is a light sleeper.
--Baby nap time USE to be relaxing.
--Time to yourself means having them lay on top of you while you both watch My Little Pony until baby wakes up, realizing you haven't eaten anything.
--When they complain of hunger while they're on their fifth "meal" and you haven't had one bite.
--They run laps in an auditorium waiting for a recital to start.
--Meals at a restaurant usually means you didn't order them enough food or they want nothing to eat but ketchup.
--When you say something to them and they look at you like you're speaking another language.
--You repeat directions a million times and nothing happens.
--You say something they don't want to hear or do and they yell "DONT SAY THAT!"
--And when they finally follow through, they yell at you "I AM!!!"
--They start acting like a baby thinking they can get away with it, since the baby does.
--They're willing to get rid of most of their toys when you say "Go play or I'm getting rid of your toys!" or "Clean up or I'll give them to some kids who will take better care of them!"
--Being quiet means yelling in the hallway or jumping on their knees on the hardwood floor next to the sleeping baby's room.
--Every day you could add more to the list of things they do that fits with the Spirited Child personality traits.
--You can spot OTHER Spirited Children when you're in public places.
--"Please be quiet, brother is trying to sleep." gets a response of "I CANT!!"
Always ends in a baby awake.
--When the baby starts to play REALLY well when the first born is not in the house, because he feels more comfortable.
--When you have more blog posts about the Spirited Child over the baby because there's more parenting to process.  And when baby sleeps you don't usually get "that time" you need to post anything.

This list only scratches the surface, but maybe helps give you an idea to figure out if your child COULD be Spirited as well. :)