Thursday, December 1, 2016

little d at just over 6 and 1/4 years

He is finally a true reader! He is getting so good at sounding things out, mastering his spelling tests and overall enjoying and understanding what he reads. He has an incredible and entertaining teacher that teaches just about everything through song. Mr. L is silly and super smart and basically little d's hero at this point. I'm so glad we decided to finish out the school year with him.

Little d:
excels at math, always, like his dad
learns quickly
knows just about all the songs by heart (just like he did in primary)
has a growing love of all things Harry Potter, which of course I will encourage
loves minecraft even though we do not own it
plays, without fail, with the twins in their cribs every morning until I come to get them around 7
is beloved by his baby brothers and loves the big hugs he gets from them when coming home
has a fan club that waves to him as he leaves for school in the morning
has 3 best friends at the moment (ryan, eli, travis)
was elated he got to go to the movies with (us and) his little friend who is a girl that he really likes
enjoys reading anything he can get his hands on, especially the scriptures and cereal boxes
still kisses me goodbye before school every morning
will still snuggle with me at night before bed if we get one on one time
is so much like me in his struggle to be the perfect eldest child (and that struggle is HARD!)
sets a wonderful example for his little siblings
also sets some pretty awful examples of screaming at his mom (but always apologizes later)
is easily frustrated when things don't go his way. we are working on that.
is very much still into Legos... but we currently have no place for him to put them out of babies' way!
loves playing with his friends
still loves sports
loves throwing a football around with anyone who will do it (but he is forbidden to play the real deal)
is into everything his friends are into, even if he has no idea what it's about (like ninjago)
loves watching PBS after breakfast with the littlests before school (nature cat and curious george)
is always the first to patrol the babies at the table
is also always the first to try to keep everyone happy, no matter where we are

is going through a bit of a rough patch with me. And it stinks. We have been through hard times before, but it has always been easier to fix because he was at home most of the time, or we had way less other kids to worry about. The blessing of having neighbors around nearby to play with while the babies were little and I couldn't do much by way of playdates has turned into him not wanting to be around the house at all... it ceratainly doesn't help that his friends find the babies adorable and want to play with them, or that the babies will get into anything he and his friends do here, or that most of the stuff in this house is baby friendly, or that we don't have a basement like all the other kids where he and his friends can play and be rowdy and crazy and its NBD because also none of them have any babies at their house so noise control isn't an issue. We also don't have minecraft and the handful of times a friend has been over to do the Wii or tablets, the babies....swarm and takeoever.

So, it's hard and I am working hard to figure out a way to battle it without alienating him from his family or his friends, which is tricky. I love him more than I can say, but I feel like I know him the least of all my children because he is not around me hardly at all. On my birthday yesterday, he yelled at me in the morning about not having something ready for school the day before (which is his responsibility in the first place but I do usually remind him). That was really hard. Then as we walked home from school he asked if he could go to ryan's house. I told him I wanted to spend time with him and his siblings outside since the weather was nice but I would let him choose. He came back 90 minutes later to ask me if he could play at Eli's. I told him no, it was my birthday and I hadn't seem him hardly at all and he completely flipped out at me, screaming that I NEVER let him do anything, and that I was ruining his day all because it was my birthday. I couldn't take it so I told him to get in the house till he calmed down. He went in for a second then came out, obviously still mad. I told him it made me upset that he didn't want to spend time with me but I would let him go. He stayed there till 6pm, at which point he got sent home...but he interpreted that as he was allowed to go back to ryan's house. So we had dinner and cupcakes without him and finally after 7 I asked ryan's mom if he was there and she said he was so I had him come home. I told him how sad and disappointed I was in the situation, and he seemed to feel bad, but I am sure that was just guilt at doing something that made me upset, I don't think he really cared that he was playing with friends instead of us.

So I grounded him (from friends) for the next day. And I kindly reminded him that in 6 months, chances were he would never see those friends again. But that his family was here forever and was a part of him for eternity, so he needed to learn to play with, love and be kind to his family. And once I could see that I could do that (and not just first thing in the morning), I would be fine with his playing with friends, but we needed a balance.

I'm grateful I am able to volunteer in his class once a month, because that certainly helps me understand what his days are like. I know how much he loves his friends but I cannot wrap my brain around it being okay for a 6 year old to be away from his family essentially for 10 hours in a day (of the 13 or so that he was awake). I love him and I feel like when we have the littlests around Drew and I, the 5 of us have a wonderful family dynamic and for the most part everyone is happy because they are always around each other anyway. Now we need to learn how to/teach little d to be more integrated into that family dynamic that he has slowly distanced himself from since I got pregnant with the twins two years ago.
 not a day goes by lately that I don't miss these times as a family of three...
 It certainly felt like it would last forever but obviously it was very short lived!

I love my kids but sometimes parenting is the worst.
can we all just agree that parenting kids younger than schoolage is so much easier??

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

turning 31 today

my 30th birthday last year was pretty epic and this year did not disappoint because:

1) Drew was in town. Not traveling (even if he did have to work)

2) Sushi for dinner (second year in a row!)

3) I wasn't breastfeeding (or pregnant!! not too many birthdays in the last decade that I can say that), so my mom watch the 3 littles from 12-3:30 and I even got to go to Target BY MYSELF!

4) It has taken me a solid year (go me!) to lose 5 pounds. And while that feels ridiculous, I am so much stronger and happier (and more sleeping at night!!!) than I was last year. I still have 9 to go but still... closer!

5) My babies are no longer babies. Which is good and bad: BAD: little d abandoned me for school and then playdates till bedtime. That about broke my heart but we had a good talk about it. I'm certainly struggling with parenting him the most, because it is easier to parent the younger 3 together, and he sticks out as the anomaly because he is not independent and needs constant entertainment (the littests are the opposite) and is rarely interested in anything these days that does not involve electronic stimulation. I hate that. BUT. GOOD: The twins are loving on me and those littlests still think I am fun and cool to play with even if big brother does not, and going to the park today with the 3 of them in 60 degree weather was everything. My kids are amazing little people and while they still pitch fits like crazy, for the most part they are so fun and entertaining with little brainpower effort on my part which after my experience raising little d basically as an only child for 3 years, is absolutely a breath of fresh air. Even if juggling 3 small kids for singing time at the library is crazy and involves a lot of running, they were happy and we all enjoyed playing there.

6) Pre-8pm bedtimes for every little!!!

7) The holy trifecta of I MADE IT TO THE GYM, I GOT A SHOWER, and I GOT ALONE TIME.

8) Texts and phone calls from friends and family!

9) Did I mention a long lunch alone with Drew in a cute new bistro uptown? Followed by Graeter's, obviously.  I didn't have to make lunch OR dinner (that never happens!). I haven't touched anything in the kitchen all day and that is awesome. (and still relatively clean!)

10) I got to hang out with my mom. It wasn't as long as I would have liked because she was a bit under the weather but just being able to have her there in my house (and a few weeks earlier she took me on an epic post-partum shopping spree!) and have her be with my kids was awesome. They love her so much and I love her so much and I did miss my dad, but thankfully he will be back form his work trip tomorrow.

and BONUS-- I get to see my siblings next month!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

PANDA is 19 months old!

-is still my chunkiest twin, and the biggest cuddler of my bunch
-loves music and dancing! especially to KOO KOO
-is finally getting in most of his teeth (and we are paying the price!!)
-requires less sleep than Lo
-started grunting and now says UPPIE when he wants me to hold him (anytime I am in the kitchen)
-anytime he thinks I am taking a picture (or about to!) he says TEES! (cheese)
-has a chipped front (bottom) tooth I only noticed this last month. probably from all the falling
-can walk and run better but still falls/trips often
-LOVES that trampoline! and jumping very high without it with both feet! little bunny.
-still obsesses over construction vehicles and makes their emergency sounds
-tries to eat just about anything, especially if it is on my plate
-CANNOT be given a phone or tablet, because while his brother will happily watch whatever is on or speak with whoever is facetiming, Lan likes to SWIPE and press and otherwise ruin my phone/tablet/computer. And when you take it away from him.. END OF THE WORLD
-...has officially given up on jeans for him. and so have I. The few we can get to fit him (2t) restrict his mobility making him even clumsier than usual (not to mention they are all soooo long for his short little kron legs!). So back to sweatpants we go. I need to get some more.
-can parrot just about anything we ask him to. Calls Lo "GOGO" and himself "NAH NAH" and sister "A BELLE" (both babies do that) and of course me MAMA and Drew DADA and dust DAH DUH (not to be confused with DADA!). also on his regular rotation: EAT, MORE, GIGGER (digger), KUCK(truck), GIR (tiger, both can say), DAN-DAH (panda, in reference to the giant stuffed panda we own), AH KIN (pumpkin), KEH! (skeleton), WAWA (water), but still mostly signs for dog and cat.
-for being the bigger and older twin, he sure does take a lot of flack from Lo, who is constantly found to be sitting on his face (poor panda!) although at first he always thinks its funny.
-Loves the library singing time. In fact, he is the #1 reason why we go. It lights up his LIFE!
-is still a fan of the slide but with the help of older sibs has figured out going down facefirst and also how to swing on the connector underneath it
-LOVES baths (both boys do), so we have them almost every night. And he started the tradition of while I am running the bath, running as many toys as possible from the playroom to the bathtub, including two (battery powered) phones we will never use again.
-finally learned to give proper kisses!
-is ALWAYS happy when he wakes up. so much laughter!!!! Lo is another story...
-loves sitting and riding on the fire truck or digger that Cristin gave us.
-can put together train tracks!! I have found that at the gym he is also managing to put together those big building blocks that are like giant legos.
-still greets me everytime he sees me with MAMAAAAAAAAA and running, open armed into my open arms. I hope that phase NEVER ends. MOMMAS BOY FOREVER!!!
-sleeps with a little stuffed cat my grandma gave him (Lo has a bird)
-Favorite book is DADA by Jimmy Fallon (I gave it to Drew last year for father's day) and he knows about half the animal sounds...if he doesn't know one, he just moo's!
He's chubby and darling and SO SQUISHY as his sister always calls him. He's a flirt and a sweetheart and we love him to bits! Happy 19 months with this boy!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Littlest Lo at 19 months

How was this nearly a year ago?
In some ways the babies haven't changed a bit in a year...mostly in the way they look. It is hard to believe that last year at this time they weren't even mobile and now they are running and climbing all over the place and talking!

at 19 months old, Lo
-has an affection for animals, specifically for birds and fish.
-Loves MOANA things
-Also "reading" his Marvel superhero book.
-climbs everywhere
-is always seeking out ipads, phones, and especially mt computer for "koo koo"
-is very opinionated and will show you his delight or dissapproval of anything
-says HI!  and waves to anyone and anything (trucks, diggers, etc)
-Has nearly all his teeth (getting in the last two, but he already has all his molars!)
-shares very well with his brothers
-loves small things to hold: bouncy balls especially
-always holds ggma joanne's hand when we walk from her place to the playroom
-will only hold my hand (and not D or A's) when we are out and about
-says MAMA DADA WAWA APPLE BALL BIRD DOG CAAAT EAT WOW and just about any word that starts with "h" HELP HOLD HOUSE HOME HI
-is very astute. when he wakes up he asks DADDY HOME? and points to the bedroom or says DADA WORK! and pretends to be talking on the phone
-pretends to talk on the phone with just about any object and says HELLO very accurately
-finally started CHEESING for me this month!!!
-is so skinny he can fit into 12 month pants but hes so long and tall that the pants that should fit him are too wide (and constantly falling off of his nonexistent hips!)
-cares very much for his twin
-says SHHH when Lan is asleep
-gives hugs freely
-sits (and will stay!) on my lap for longer than 2 seconds
-can eat well with utensils
-loves brushing teeth and going for walks!
-still throws screaming banshee tantrums when he doesn't get his way
-LOVES books
-gives me kisses without any prompting whatsoever.
-sings I AM A CHILD OF GOD along with me in his own "toddlerease"
-says I WANT TWO for just about anything you give him!
-is still madly enamoured with Kevs. anytime he walks into a room, Lo says (as if shocked by this news)... A CAT!!! and then goes about hugging him and nuzzling face to face. It's the best.
-is trying to speak in sentences. I WANT SHOES, I HUG CAT, I HOLD HIM, I EAT SPOON, etc but always sounds so pathetic in his requests (it's hard to describe, you just have to witness it, I think) and it's darling.

He is truly the most delightful little boy and we are so happy to have him in our family and cannot wait for the delight that will be christmas in a few weeks!

Friday, November 25, 2016

turkey day 2016

my last run (indefinitely) and joining the barefoot movement

I have a confession to make. Back in May when Drew and I took a much needed 10 year anniversary trip to Costa Rica, I ran. Every day. Up to an hour each day because it had been AGES since I had been able to run and I had the time to do it outside and the weather was amazing and the sun woke me up between 5-6am and... why not?

Prior to this trip I could probably count on one hand how many miles I have run in TOTAL since giving birth to the twins last year. It was a terrible idea, and one that messed me up for the next month, forcing me to be within reasonable distance from a bathroom at ALL times. It was terrible, It felt like I had JUST given birth (and was a good reminder why I cannot have more children), I felt betrayed by my body, a body I had willingly sacrificed for growing and breastfeeding 4 beautiful children and while I could handle the deflation and loss of my most feminine parts, not being able to run again, was it worth it? I struggled with this for what felt like an eternity (although it was only a few weeks) but thankfully after that time I returned to "normal" and haven't dared to go for a run. Until today.

I've been Mutu-ing like I should for the last two weeks pretty solidly, so I figured, ONE easy mile should be fine, right?


And it should be noted (in case my sisters read this), I had NO problems running after little d or after little a. It has only been since the twins. I don't want to say I will NEVER run again, because I really truly cannot wrap my brain around never getting to run a 5k, much less a half marathon again. But 2017 will not, in fact be the year I focus on running. I will continue to focus on rebuilding my core, which again turns us back to Mutu.

In the Mutu program (which I purchased last year, and no they don't pay me to endorse them. yet!), one of the things they encourage you to do is to go completely barefoot...walking, shoes, etc. No more heels. And to that, I initially said, sure, I only wear high heeled shoes on sundays, no big deal. But the more time I spent on my feet barefoot at home and then would wear heels for even just those three hours a week... I would be in so much pain for the rest of the day that over the course of the last few months and especially the last few weeks my amazing collection of beautiful shoes has been whittled down to a single pair of church shoes (the closest and most comfortable pair of black flats I could ever find, on their last legs but I will wear them into the ground!), a pair of running shoes I may as well give to one of my sisters at this point, and also these new guys:
the Vivos definitely took some getting used to... the first few days of using them I was sore in places of my legs that I have never really been in my life but the longer I have been wearing them (two weeks today!) the less of a difference I feel between when I do and do not have shoes on.

Just over two weeks ago I started to feel some pretty serious pain, which after a visit to a podiatrist he attributed to my bunions and a toe that would need to be shortened surgically someday (both of which I plan to hold off indefinitely on, since they are expensive surgeries that would require a long time off my feet) and he felt my only option was to purchase expensive orthotics that would essentially do the same to my feet as a belly binder/corset would to my stomach at this point in life... it would not just be putting a band-aid on the problem, it would also weaken what is already a weak area (I have very little arches in my feet and very little abdominal muscle in my belly). So I figured if I felt like Mutu has been the best option, I would continue to do what made sense to me. I purchased these shoes the next day, gave away my remaining heeled shoes (keeping one pair of rainboots until I can find some that are barefoot) and haven't looked back. And my feet have not since hurt in the way it did so frequently while I was pregnant with the twins, or more recently before my foot doctor visit.

It isn't easy to feel like you are working so hard to attain something that seems so unattainable. Maybe the only way my stomach will be flat or my feet will never feel pain will be with surgery. But until I reach that point where I feel like I have exhausted every believable option that I can do on my own, I won't quit trying.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

quoteables from little d at 6 years 3 months and little a at 3.5 years

Little d:
"Why don't you just make us food that we actually like instead of this gross stuff?" (just about EVERY. MEAL.)

"Can I watch/play 'you know what'?" (usually referring to minecraft, clash royale or watching a superhero movie that would be too scary for his sister)

"Can I read that?" (to everything! he loves reading anything and everything he can these days, even if he is still a little slow spelling stuff out... I am trying to be more patient about it, especially while reading him Harry Potter)

"Oh, come ON!"

"You never let me do what I want to do!"

(to the twins)"You are so cute! How did you get so cute! Aren't my brother's cute?"

(at the twins, after jumping in their cribs) "mommy is coming at SEVEN. not before. SEVEN! So we have to wait until then... okayyyy?"

"You NEVER share! You're always eating chocolate and not hiding it from us!" ( I didn't deny it!)

"Why can't we just do Wendy's for every meal?"

"You KNOW I don't like that."

"WHAT?!?!?!" (to anything I say that he disagrees with. Ever.)

(slaps palm into face) "you have GOT to be kidding me" (again ^^^^^^^^)

Little A
"Hold my hand!" (ALL THE TIME...I am  always stepping on her because she is my shadow)

"Look in 'hind of you" (behind)

"Look mom, Kevs is not even biting me!" (As she is laying next to him, petting him)

"Can I have Elsa braid/Merida hair" (the latter is messy, undone hair)

"You never do what I want to do!" (guess where she got that one from?)

(while smushing Lan's face) "you are soooo smushy!"

"Lan, we noooo go in the street okay? That would make a big owie!" (while holding Lan's hand)

"BUT ITS WINDY OUTSIDE!!!!" (in a panic, all the time)

"BUT IT MIGHT RAIN!!!!" (biggest fear, not the big storms but the pitter patter of raindrops)


"But I won't hurt myself, I'm a ginnastics guwl!" (trying to do any sort of dangerous feat)

"Can you text miss cwistin so the guwls can come on my twampoline?"

Friday, November 18, 2016

happy birthday, "aunt cass"!

After watching "Big Hero 6" a few years ago, my kids were convinced we needed to call Cassie "Aunt Cass" just like the "mom" in BH6. Cassie was my first sister in law (!!) and sometimes it is hard to remember what I did during all those long years with all those boys, 
being the only sister in law (then again, you know, my memory pre-kids is...gone?)

But seriously. We love Miss Cassandra. She's the perfect fit for "first dowling auntie"

 she got little a this little faux fur vest for her first christmas (When she was 8 months old)... I promise I have pictures of it but I can't find it so you'll just have to enjoy her wearing it all the time when she was almost 2 years old (and, as she says, "no hair ah-bellie!")
 Christmas present from 2014 was a purse with girly things in it that is still one of the most coveted toys among my littlest 3!
 then there was the week leading up to cinco de mayo, 2015. I had barely given birth to the boys and she offered to come out to help me for the week. How could I say no!? She was amazing and that time was so fun to get to know her better.

 the first time little A was allowed to paint someone's nails! she was THRILED
 I have a lot of favorite pics of cassie and my kids but this one takes the cake! You can see how much they adore her!
 so have a happy birthday, miss cassie! Who is never without a good manicure, lipstick and a smile on her face... can't wait to hopefully see more of you when we get to be on the same coast! We love you!

WARNING: this post is not what you think it is.

Nope, not a pregnancy announcement. NOT.
 Just me, heartily in the midst of my diastasis and 17 months postpartum with twins with a "relaxed" belly. Something I don't do often enough (because I am vain) so I usually spend most of my day tucking everything in like so: (second picture taken about 3 seconds after the first)
That was a month ago. And honestly, it was also a year ago (although I will admit I AM much stronger and well rested than I was a year ago!) and it's also how I look and feel now.

a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine offered a deal where you sent her some information about yourself and could get a Macro count. Every time I try to "eat better" I end up counting calories, which I hate. Because I am short and I am not massively overweight, most formulas have me eating 1200 calories a day (which is the minimal most people are ever supposed to eat. depressing right? also I eat way more than that and while I have not lost weight, I also have not gained weight either, so, for whatever that's worth). So I got interested in Macro counting, where you keep track instead of calories, of the grams of protein, carbs, and fats in your diet. Which sounds like a lot of work but once she gave me my count, it turned into a game (sort of like the fitbit was for me, and still is, a year ago). I got the premium version of MFP for a month, and every night I would plug in what I would eat the next day, playing with amounts and different foods until I tweaked it just right to hit my macros. Because I am not awesome at the nutrition aspect of my life (and because it's usually a lot easier to shovel down a handful of crackers when I am hungry instead of searching for something with more nutritional value), there's been a lot I have had to adjust from what I had planned the day before. Sometimes I hit my goals, but more often than not, for the last 3 weeks, I have not.


I am still tracking what I eat (which is hard and also a bit embarrassing), and owning up to it. My mindset of "I ate xyz now I just have to eat everything else I can find" has changed. I have a clearer picture of why I have looked much the same way for the last year despite being consistent with my workouts... but to be honest, that's because the workout is the easiest part. It's never been negotiable (unless I or the kids are sick), and it takes up such a small part of my day and then it's over. The food part is... MUCH harder, mostly due to the fact that as much as I would like to eat a few small meals over the course of the day, I usually go WAY too long without food and then eat everything the moment those kids are taking naps or in bed (have YOU ever had to try to eat when 4 small children are standing in their booster seats and throwing food and spilling drinks on purpose? It is CRAZY!). Like everything else in my life, I am obviously trying (although I need to be trying harder). I am a work in progress, and while I have no experience in nutrition education (other that what I read about), I am learning a lot along the way.

Like my whole post-workout protein powder debacle last year, where I begged my friends to tell me what was the best to try. One of our friends in Utah actually sent me some sort of Brownie flavored one and of the dozen or so that I tried, it was THE BEST. and I will have to remember what brand it was when we go out there.... Anyway, most protein powders are weird and smell and taste funny (aside from the one I mentioned, that I easily had with just water and it was like drinking a brownie, I kid you not!), so I have been searching for and trying alternatives for that post-workout time.

Obviously, my first choice goes to that Brownie protein powder, since I could put it in my blenderbottle and then add water right after a workout. Fast. Easy. The only other alternatives I found were making Lara-bar knockoffs (lots of nuts and dried fruit) or trail mixes but they never had enough protein for me (and I read that too much fat blocks absorption of protein post workout?). Since I ran out of that, I just focus on getting water after a workout and settle for grabbing something at home as soon as we get back from the gym. Which is usually close enough to my kids lunchtime (11) so I eat a lighter lunch. Then about two hours later (when I am starving again), my go-to has been this amazing combo of Okios Zero (15g of protein) and hemp hearts. I first heard about HH from michelle and figured I would give it a try since while it did have 10 grams of fat, it also had a whopping 10g of protein in 3 tablespoons! It gives me the crunchiness I need in my yogurt (I have never been a huge fan of granola but I have a hard time eating just straight up yogurt...texture issues residual from the last pregnancy I guess!) and while it doesn't have the best smell (it smells like grass to be honest), it doesn't mess up the flavor of the greek yogurt and even my kids like it.

I know I posted this earlier this week, but I feel like it's worth posting again (mostly to combat the pregnant-looking belly picture) because THIS is how I feel most of the time: strong. empowered. The other day little a asked me to move something I would not possibly be able to do on my own (new kitchen table) and when I told her I would need someone to help me, she replied with, "No you don't. You can do it! You're a big strong mommy with your big muscles like GRRR!" and proceeded to flex. I don't think I have ever felt more proud of myself or the example I am trying to set for my daughter, that being strong and capable is more important than trying to fit into your favorite pair of pre-baby jeans. But that doesn't mean I give up on the jeans dream!
 The thing is, I am CRAZY blessed and I know it. While I have not so awesome reminders of motherhood with the scars and extra skin and baby weight, I also have the overwhelming, every minute of the day reminders (4 of them actually) of what this body created, which I would have never imagined it could do. I gave life to 4 incredible children and it is my job as their mother to take care of myself so that I can live a long happy healthy life with them and continue to do all the active things that I love doing with them. I am still trying to learn moderation but I hope that in the next few years as my kids become more aware of their food choices they learn to love not just the yummy treats we have for movie night but also the delicious good for you foods that make you feel good and give you energy. That's what I want for my kids. To be a foodie like their mama, but be able to keep it balanced. And as in anything, as I teach it on a daily basis, I am learning far more about it (and myself) than they ever will.

Here's to getting on the road to finishing out 2016 happier and healthier than we started!