Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 3 of Xmas Break: Kitchen Helpers

 In response to my last post about Jaden helping me in the kitchen, a friend who's out of town for the week offered to let us borrow their Learning Tower. Has anyone else used this before? (I wasn't even aware of such a device!) It's basically like a safe step stool for kids to be higher up. 
I realized I have company coming tomorrow for the week, and I have no Christmas goodies in the house. (Which is very unlike me as A. sweets are my favorite, B. you'd expect tons of sweets at a pregnant lady's house!) So we started this morning by making some bars. 
Yes, this is Jaden trying to ask before just licking the spoon!
In the evening we (attempted) to make chocolate filled pretzels - first gluten free ones for Grandma Linda, then regular ones. Well---this is how that adventure started: Evan dipped all of his fingers right into the bowl of chocolate. 
We went through a LOT of spoons in this process. They actually did better than I anticipated with focusing on filling the 'O's with chocolate......but broke many ServSafe rules in the process:)

Sprinkles are great on everything....rationing them out is difficult!
 No, mom, we really didn't eat any of the chocolate, see!

Day 2 of Xmas Break

Sunday morning the boys started their day with gymnastics. I am excited for them to begin their first parks-and-rec gymnastic classes in January.
And yes, this is how a lot of activities end with the boys.....tackling and wrestling!
 In the afternoon, their imaginations got the best of them and they created a new game: Campfire. You start sitting at the table with a golf club and 2 little balls. Then it becomes like hockey and you chase the balls around the house with the golf club. Everyone's a winner in the end!
 We made gift tags in the evening. Evan appeared to enjoy this as he concentrated very hard with the foam stickers- often stacking the stickers 3 high on a tag. Jaden lined up the gift tags and sorted them by color.

We all slept well:)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The 18 Days of Christmas!

Today was Day #1 of 18 that I will be at home with Evan and Jaden for Christmas break.

Here are some things I have learned:

1. I am going to need a daily list of things to-do. I am used to a schedule, and I think it will help all of us!

2. I need to sharpen my puzzle skills to keep up with Evan.
3. Jaden is quite the sous chef. He really was helpful as he sorted my k-cups, ‘hid’ the green beans with tater tots for the tater tot casserole (AKA tater tot hotdish for those from SD/MN), and helped clean up.
4. Evan will need to be trained to help in the kitchen. He came in 15 minutes later and asked, “is it done yet?!”

5. Their fingers need to grow before we think about piano lessons. Do people really start Suzuki piano lessons at age 4?  Really?

6. Do people really have time for all of the Pinterest crafts they pin? I did pin a lot today and would like to have ‘craft time’ with the boys each day….even if it’s just coloring. No pressure.
7. However, I will need to let go of some perfectionism with the kids’ crafts! I will admit the boys did not originally get the snowman’s eyes or nose centered……How do people deal with this when kids are working on projects in grade school?!

8. Saturdays are great….tag-team parenting!  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Peanut Allergy: It's a real thing

This post isn’t filled with cute pictures (just one I snuck in at the very end) or a funny story. It’s my candid writing about something I have not shared on this blog. It’s about Jaden’s peanut allergy.
As a Registered Dietitian, I understand the science and the practical application of food allergies. But it wasn’t until today that I really was shown the severity of such allergies. When the boys first started trying new foods their first year, Jaden was one whose skin was a bit sensitive to some foods like high acidic garden tomatoes. He was once given one small peanut butter captain crunch ball, and I noticed his skin get blotchy right around his mouth, but quickly went away. Right before his 2nd birthday I mentioned some various foods to his doctor that I was suspicious about and had Jaden tested for allergies. All of the tests came back negative, except peanuts. A peanut allergy is measured on a 6-point scale…..Jaden was a 0.6. A ‘very mild’ case. I mean in terms of grades, I’d give his allergy an ‘F’…10%. Weak.
And that is the attitude many of us around him took. Don’t get me wrong, I always read labels and made sure to never give him anything with peanuts. But I didn’t want to get that reputation as an overprotective ‘helicopter’ parent. I deal with enough of them at the college level (seriously, even parents of grad students!) that I didn’t want to become one.
Fast forward to today. Nathan had his yearly big juijitsu event, so when I found out about a community fundraiser where I could have my kids entertained (at a legitimate facility for kids) while I got some Christmas shopping finalized, I signed up immediately. When I signed up, I was happy to see there was a box to type any food allergies. I clearly typed peanuts, even though I read that kids would be served popcorn or gold fish while watching Frozen- one of the boys’ favorite movies. Saving the details, there was a mix-up in the snacks and Jaden ingested full peanuts. I was notified that one of my boys had thrown-up. Knowing the stomach flu had been around our house a month ago, I ran to my car to pick up the boys, but thought nothing of a possible allergic reaction. That is until I walked in and saw Jaden. He didn’t look like he had the stomach flu. His skin was red, swollen eyes, he was itching all over. As I got more pieces of the story, I knew I just wanted to get him home.
Driving home he threw up again and started falling asleep. It was one of the more terrifying moments of motherhood as I looked back at him in the rear-view mirror to watch his puffy eyes not staying open. At that point, I backtracked deciding Benadryl alone would not be enough and took him to the ER. The ER staff was great and got me in right away. Evan was amazing and even got a popsicle from the staff for being so well behaved. Since Jaden had two symptoms- the very itchy skin and had thrown up- he received an epi shot along with steroids and a dose of Benadryl. After finally getting the not-so-tasty steroids in him, he got a popsicle too. Within minutes of getting the meds, his itchiness improved. Thanks to a wonderful friend for coming and picking up Evan after making sure Jaden was okay. We had to stay for a couple hours to be observed and thankfully had just enough cell phone service to stay entertained with Jaden’s apps.
He took a long nap when we got home and amazingly seems just fine now. After waking from his nap, Evan ran up to him and gave him a hug and said, “I missed you Jay-Jay!” It was so adorable. I couldn’t imagine anything happening to either of them. This was definitely one of those experiences that makes me reprioritize the importance of an epi pen and become more confident to educate others who are responsible for him about his allergy and the epi pen. There really is no such thing as a ‘mild’ allergy. No one else in our families has a food allergy. Why Jaden? Of the research I have read….there is no reason. But it is real. 
Jaden enjoying his 2nd popsicle of the day! This may have been a bribe to get him to follow through with the discharge nurse's requests:)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Splish-Splash Halloween!

"I need candy!!" A common phrase that is now heard at our house thanks to Halloween!

The weekend before Halloween, our zoo had a 'spooktacular' event where Evan and Jaden got to dress up in their Spiderman costumes. Evan (of course) was a little frightened of some of the costumes......especially the guy dressed as Ronald McDonald! Ha--fine with me!
On Halloween day we drove with friends to the Dells to stay at a waterpark. The resort had a trick-or-treating trail (inside) for the kids. By the end, Evan and Jaden were getting the hang of saying 'Trick-or-Treat!'  
Too much to look at for them to actually all look at the camera at the same time:)
 The Frantz's! 
 The fruits of his labor!
 The boys all had a blast swimming, going down the water slides, floating in the wave pool, and just splashing!

 Clearly this is a tunnel that must be walked through......every time the boys walked by!
Thanks, Brooke, for the fun shirt!!
 The boys loved to climb up....but then always wanted down right away!
 Finally off of their sugar rush, the boys slept the whole way home!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Evan and Jaden Announce.......

Jaden is going to be a Big Brother!!
Yup! It's true! 

 Blue or Pink.....what do you think?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wet 'n' Wild Weekend in the Dells!

The boys were spoiled with attention this weekend as Aunt Laurie met us in the Wisconsin Dells to play at the waterpark. The boys have been talking about this all week, and the weekend did not disappoint! The boys received 'wolf ears' when they got to the Great Wolf Lodge....and proceeded to hop around like Easter bunnies for the next hour!

Each morning Auntie and I needed to get steps on our fitbit, so we walked to Starbucks. That also meant we had to walk by the dinosaur that is attached to a convenience store. The boys made sure we stopped each time to say 'cheese' to the dino. 
 At Starbucks, they immediately went up to the pumpkin latte sign and insisted a picture be taken. Hmmmm. Wonder how they learned about photo ops?! Clearly trained. Yes- they got to wear their PJ's on the morning fieldtrip. And yes, my children may have had a cake pop for breakfast this morning!

The boys loved the water slides. It is fun to watch how much more they can do and want to do this time compared to a year ago. 

 The boys took lots of selfies this weekend!
 Last night we ate at Buffalo Phil's and a train delivered their food. Such fun entertainment for a 3-year-old boy!! And hey, I enjoyed getting to eat my food and not entertaining them while doing so!
 Each night ended with story time by the big clock and a photo op with Violet the Wolf!
Thanks Auntie for the fun-filled weekend! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Birthday Weekend in Des Moines!

On Labor Day weekend, we met our families in Des Moines for some birthday celebrations! We met first at one of our favorite restaurants, Red Robin! The waiters sang to the boys with some birthday treats for dessert!

 Then we went to the zoo! Evan and Jaden got a zoo pass from Auntie, so we were able to use the pass at the Des Moines zoo too! It was a big zoo, and we were all hot and tired by the end!

 Since Nathan had not ridden a camel.....he took the opportunity to go with Evan for a ride!

 Back at the hotel, we spent a lot of time walking around the pond area, feeding the ducks and geese, and riding bikes. 

 The 'younger adults' all went out Sunday eve to celebrate Nathan's birthday at the Cheesecake Factory. Not sure how we had room for this white chocolate and caramel macadamia nut cheesecake!
 Thanks Cousin Elliot for celebrating Evan and Jaden's birthdays with them!!