Embracing Every Moment – My Kids are Growing Up

So, this blog was not supposed to be about my kids.  Oops.  Now it is.  I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot lately (because it’s brand new!).  I’ve decided that being a mom of three kids is pretty darn important and I think I’ve learned a thing or two about parenting in the past 6 1/2 years.  I also have an incredible amount of learning still to do.  I’ve decided that I’d like to share what I have learned and am learning about parenting with my readers.  These kids are a HUGE part of who I am and why I do the things I do.  They are why I want to change for the better.  I absolutely know that kids work best with schedules. Before I had kids, I used to be an ABA Therapist, working with children with Autism.  That is where I learned how much children thrive on schedules.  Not just children with disabilities, but ALL children.  I think that even I feel better when I have a schedule to follow.  It’s best to know what comes next.  My 5 year old son reminds me of this daily (or 50 times a day).  He asks me, “mom, what am I doing tomorrow/the day after tomorrow/in 1000 days?”.  I don’t always know how to answer these questions, but I try my best.  It makes him feel more secure when he knows what is to come.  He has summer preschool tomorrow, so when he wakes up he’ll already know what he has planned for the day (of course he’ll want to know what comes after school, when he come home).

School starts in two weeks (yay!).  B is going into Kindergarten this year.  He is super excited and  also very nervous about what is going to happen there.  As soon as I know his schedule, I will be making a calendar just for him so that he doesn’t have to ask me what he is doing the next day (although I think he still will-it’s a habit).  He will know he has Music/Art/Gym, etc. I will have a separate calendar for my first grader, E.  I am hoping this will ease some anxiety in the first few weeks (and it will help me to keep track of everything too).  In first grade, E will be having homework 3 days a week!  So that will be something special just for her calendar.  I’m so excited for both of them this year. I love back-to-school, always have and always will. Everything is so new and fresh.

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E and B are 18 months apart, so we had a very busy first few years.  I was definitely in Survival Mode for much of that time.  There was very little sleep.  I can still remember waking up to feed the baby, finally laying back down ready for sleep when the second “baby” would wake up crying with a night terror.  Whew.  Glad we made it through that!  Anyway, my third baby was a much better sleeper and has been sleeping through the night for at least a year now (you can’t get upset with me-I’ve been there too!).  I feel like this stage of my life is a turning point for my family.  We are done having babies.  We are sleeping.  We have energy.  We have two mostly self-sufficient children who dress themselves, feed themselves, use the bathroom themselves, get water for themselves, etc.  In a few weeks I will send my first two “babies” on the big bus to BIG SCHOOL (as B calls it).  Wow.  That’s huge.  It will be just little D and I all day long.

I am a proud Mama.  This morning I was smiling along-side my husband as we happily was watched our three beautiful children playing Legos together.  Well, not all together, but E and B were pretending together and little D was beside them playing his own pretend play.  All three playing quietly with the same toys.  No fighting, just peacefully together. It was one of those moments for me.  It has taken us a long time to get to this point (well if 6 1/2 years is a long time).  My kids are growing up and becoming their own little people.  For some reason it felt as if we’d always be making bottles, getting up in the middle of the night, and changing diaper after diaper.  Now I only have 1 in diapers!  Hooray!!!!!  I thought I would be sad (I only cried a few times) about leaving the “baby” phase.  I am a little sad, but I’m also really excited for this next chapter.  I have come to terms with it and I am embracing the change.  This feeling may change a little when I have to send my last “baby” off to BIG SCHOOL, but we’ll deal with that when it gets here.  For now, life is SO good.Image

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So there is it.  My life and my loves.

Do you ever just stop yourself and watch your kids in wonder?  Do you ever wonder how they grew up so fast?  Do you ever embrace these moments and welcome the changes?

I’m so glad I do.

~Katey (Ma, Mom, Mommy, or Mama)

Real Pancakes!

I am reposting this post from my old blog!  I haven’t bought my Bisquick mix since I ran out.  I am very proud of myself.  I’ve added a bit of whole wheat flour to make them healthier and they were still yummy.

Tonight I ran out of pancake mix and was stuck with what to have for dinner.  I wish I was more of a planner, but I find it hard to do.  It’s definitely something I would love to learn to do every Sunday.  We love having breakfast for dinner and cook it about once a week.  I had never made pancakes from scratch, so I got on the Internet and looked up a recipe.  How easy is this?  I had no idea it would be so easy!  It probably took me 10 minutes longer than using the boxed version.  And part of those 10 minutes was spent cooking bacon.  They turned out delicious and my family didn’t say anything about the pancakes tasting funny and they didn’t appear to notice any difference.  So goodbye boxed pancakes, I’ve moved on to a healthier and cheaper alternative.  Now if I could only bottle my own maple syrup!  I wish I had taken a picture of my beautiful pancakes to capture this moment in time.  I even had on an apron so I wouldn’t spill flour on my work outfit.  I am a little homemaker tonight!

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    Here is the recipe I followed.  I should mention that I am not a “directions” type of person.  I tend to “estimate” rather than follow exact measurements.  I did follow most of this exactly though. Instead of white sugar I used organic (which looks brown).  This seemed to work just fine.  I also used more milk in my pancake batter.  It called for 1 1/4 cups of milk.  I probably used 1 1/2-2 cups.  I like my pancakes thinner than these were.  The last thing I changed was the vanilla.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Hmm, now what should we eat tomorrow night?  I’ve been wanting to try making my own granola bars.  It seems so simple.  That will be next on my list.  I’d love to stop buying so much processed food.  As Americans, we actually do well in the real, whole foods department compared to how many other families eat.  I just know that if we can start making even just a few of the foods we tend to  snack on, like granola bars, we’d be much healthier.

I should mention that my husband has stopped drinking soda!!!!!!!  Whoohoo!  I sure have been rubbing off on him in the health department.  He is also taking vitamins now, which he hasn’t done since I have known him (16 years).  These two things are HUGE.  He had a physical and the only thing his doctor was concerned about were his sugars.  So he actually listened to her and cut out what was contributing to a big portion of his sugars.  Now, to work on the multiple cups coffee with 2 teaspoons of sugar in it.  Ewww.  One step at a time……

Here is one of my reasons for changing the way our family eats.  My 20 month old son, Drew.  Here is very focused on playing with his cars.  I love this kid!  And he loved my homemade pancakes!

Keeping it clean on vacation

My family and I just returned from a week-long vacation to Vermont.  We stayed in a beautiful house shared by 5 families (my in-laws and their families).  It really was breathtaking.  Almost every bedroom had a view of the lake.

 

My family as you know eats pretty well, meaning organic and as healthy as possible.  We knew that going on vacation meant that we’d be letting the rules slide a bit so that we could eat with the rest of the family.  It was harder than that though.  My kids are 6 1/2, almost 5 and 21 months.  Their “cousins” were 15, 13 and 10.  They had a few things in their diets that we don’t normally touch: Gatorade, Fruit Loops, Tootsie Pops and juice.  We do give the kids juice, but usually 1 a day and it’s organic.  It was soooo hard to say no to the kids while the other kids were eating these snacks in front of them.  It was even harder to explain answers to their “why” questions in front of these other kids and/or their parents.  I didn’t want to be rude or stuck up by saying something to the effect of, “we don’t eat that type of food because it isn’t good for our bodies” or “that has too much sugar in it” or ” that has dye in it”.  How awful does that sound?  It’s like saying they don’t have good parents!  Or that their parents feed them food that isn’t good for them.  It was interesting to say the least. 

 

I was able to stay away from the Fruit Loops because of the dyes.  I just said, “no but you can have….”.  They ended up having a few Tootsie Pops with the other kids.  I also let my son, who is 4 and 3/4 try a few sips of clear Gatorade.  He liked it of course!  Oh and I bought my own Nitrate-free hot dogs even though we bought a whole container of regular hot dogs for the rest of the family.  I felt guilty but I had to do it.

 

As for myself, I ate as well as I could.  I had greens at almost every meal and drank lots of water.  I bought a green smoothie at the store and drank a bit every day.  It made me feel better about the over-eating during meals.  My body definitely felt a little “off”, but since being home it’s getting closer to normal.

 

The kids had crazy bedtimes on vacation, again because the older kids didn’t go to bed until much later.  Sometimes it ended up being 10pm before we got them to bed (the baby stayed pretty consistent though with a 6:30/7pm bedtime).  We have been home two days and already are on a much better schedule. 

 

There is no place like home.  It’s so good to be back.

 

Do you feel as if vacations send you spiraling into unhealthy eating? 

What are they feeding us?

Good morning!  I picked up some new reading material yesterday and dove in to, “What’s Eating Your Child?” by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND last night.  I am loving it so far!  Eating “Real” is so easy and just makes so much sense.  Why would we eat all of that other crap (processed foods)?  I have been slowly getting rid of most processed foods, especially if they include dyes.  It is so amazing and disgusting that dyes are in most children’s foods!  We no longer eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because it includes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in it.  Dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children, allergies and even cancer!  Yet petroleum-derived artificial coloring is in most foods, from cereals, Popsicles, and even yogurt.  Why do we have to use dyes when there are foods that actually makes these colors.  They might not be as vibrant, but is it worth the risk?  Not in my opinion.  It’s hard to take my daughter to the grocery store because she just wants cereal that looks fun and yogurt that is neon blue.  I just can’t buy them for her.  I’ve been getting a lot of, “but my friends have those in their lunches”.  That one is so hard to answer.  I just say, “this one is healthier for you”.  I don’t want her going to schools saying, “my mom says that’s bad for you”.  Haha, I don’t want to go making enemies, but it’s just how I feel about food now.  The more I learn, the less I want them to eat.  Food needs to change!

 

I started a 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge from Unconventional Kitchen, one of the blogs I follow. Here is the face book page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unconventional-Kitchen/292893540764213?fref=ts .  Since I’ve already been drinking green smoothies daily, I am following the recipes as close as I can but I’ve already come to know what I like in my smoothies.   I’m excited to try some new ones though!

 

Since I have started drinking green smoothies in the morning, (which replaces breakfast) I have lost about 4 lbs. and my stomach is looking much better!  It’s only been a few weeks too.

 

Here is the smoothie I made this morning (pictured above):

 

I had to change the one in the challenge a bit.  It called for apple juice, but since I didn’t have any I used what I had.

 

2 handfuls of kale (no stalks)

3 ice cubes

1 1/2 frozen bananas

earth’s pride organics, orange, peach, mango juice (from BJ’s)

1 spoonful of Ground Fax Seed

1 spoonful of Chia Seed Protein Powder

A little honey for sweetness

 

I threw it all in together and it was very yummy and smooth.  My kids liked it (even though it wasn’t pink like they had wanted).  It tasted mostly like juice, but obviously so much better for you than juice.  I allow my kids one cup of juice a day.  The baby doesn’t drink any (unless it’s in a smoothie!).