Thursday, November 29, 2012

encouraging independence

Sometimes it's hard to encourage independence in little ones. I can't remember when I handed over the spoon at mealtime with Malakai for the first time, but last week I decided to give it a go with Desmond. It was some sort of fluke, he was a total natural and didn't make much of a mess. So daily I'll let him feed himself his yogurt, applesauce, etc. and he's done pretty good. It has gotten messy but yesterday morning took the cake.

His cereal was everywhere. I tried to take the spoon at one point when I realized he wasn't eating so much as playing and the kiddo swung it so hard and fast that the food starting flying all over the place. I felt like I was in some sort of cheesy sitcom, it was so dramatic. Des even growled...which is actually really normal for him. 

Anyway, I finally got the spoon back and I think I got all the food off the walls. Unfortunately he was so wild in the bath last night that I didn't end up washing his hair. Worse things have happened. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

taking more "real" photos

Since joining the world of smart-phone users last spring the amount I use an actual camera has been rapidly decreasing. Oddly enough, it's also a factor in my blogging less. Here's why...

It's obviously more convenient to capture the candid moments with my phone because it's always close by and easier to grab off the kitchen countertop or table. We keep the DSLR in a much safer place, which means it's not quickly accessible.

Another factor is that since Desmond was born I've had far less time to "play dress-up" and take photos like I did when Kai was a baby. Less time, and the fact that Kai prefers to be mostly naked unless we are leaving the house (and even then it's a struggle).

I don't have the greatest camera on my phone, it's far better than what I used to have, but still not great for sharing photos on my blog. Since my phone is primarily how I take photos these days, I have less photos that are good enough to share here. Plus, with instagram, most of my photos are already going out to all my family and friends that would read here anyway.

I really would love to take more "real" photos, not only to blog but to have better quality photos now and down the road to look back on, print, or send.

So, here it is- I'm vowing to take more photos with an actual camera and hopefully I'll get around to sharing them too!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Holidays are upon us

It's that time of year again. I love it. It's easy to get cynical about the commercialism of the season and how stores are putting out their Christmas decor earlier and earlier each year. This year, I choose to soak it up and enjoy it.

Part of how I do this is I don't go shopping. I avoid going to the store in the months of November + December at all costs. Some of our Christmas shopping has been done for a few months, and the rest will be done online. I know there are a lot more shoppers like me out there, avoid the crowds and the stress and just shop from the comfort of your own home. So, when my mom told me about Ebates, I was pretty excited about the added benefits to doing something I do all the time anyway!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Many of you have probably heard of Ebates, but if not, it's too good a secret to keep. After signing up (and there are often great bonuses for doing so- I got a $10 Target card), you just click through Ebates to your favorite stores and when you make purchases you get a percentage in cash back. Simple, and not strings attached. You don't have to sign up for obnoxious email newsletters (but you can if you want the daily double notices), you don't have to pay any fees, you just shop through their site and the send you money back. The percentage varies from store to store and right now many of them are upping their cash back for the holiday season, so check it out!

What's more is that after you've made your 1st purchase you start getting incentives to share Ebates with friends. I shared on Facebook and because a friend bought through my link I'll get $25 cash. Super easy, what's not to love?

Let me know if you check it out and if you have any questions.
Happy shopping!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

brothers and playmates

Over the past couple weeks Desmond has made leaps and bounds developmentally. It's like he morphed into a toddler overnight. Not only does he act bigger, but he looks bigger. Walking around with confidence, doing big boy stuff. It is killing Ben + I that he's not a baby anymore (and no, that doesn't mean it's time for another one!).

Desmond has now mastered climbing on the couch and in the same day he walked across the couch and straight onto the end table. YIKES!

One of the best parts of watching Desmond grow up is his ability to play with Malakai. Until very recently they could play near each other, but rarely with each other. When Kai did try to play with Des, it didn't usually turn out so well for the little guy.

On Sundays after church services we feed the boys lunch in the nursery so that when they fall asleep on the drive home we don't have to wake them to feed them. We've done this since Kai was a baby. This past weekend it was just the boys and I as Ben had a meeting. Once they finished eating they played
while I cleaned up.

Kai climbed onto a rocking horse and then said he had to find one for Desmond. He grabbed the other from an adjoining room and pulled it next to his. For the next 10 minutes they were singing "ride, ride, ride, riiiiiiide!" while giggling and rocking on the horses side-by-side:

 {killer smiles}

Later that evening Kai asked to play with his spider-man car. When I brought it in I expected to have to put it away within a few minutes because he tends to get too rowdy with big toys. Instead, while he was sitting on it Desmond came up behind him and started pushing. They were both laughing so hard and spent quite some time going back and forth in the living room.

I love watching them create a bond as playmates. Malakai has finally grasped the concept of taking care of (rather than destroying) his little brother. On Monday when Des was fussing in his crib (because I was moving laundry and he's obsessed with following me into the garage), Kai sat next to him and said "It's okay, I'm here." Melt.My.Heart.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

Years ago a good friend of mine (Jamie, who I've referenced several times here, and many of you know) made us a teriyaki chicken and rice dinner that was to DIE for. When she offered to make a meal after Malakai was born Ben requested it specifically- same for when we had Desmond.

I don't have her recipe, and I don't think I could make it quite like hers anyhow, but I went searching for my own slowcooker recipe. I found this one on Pinterest and usually just change it to use what I have on hand. For example, I NEVER have red wine vinegar or ground ginger so I just leave those out and it still turns out delicious.

Here is my adaptation of this recipe, which is currently in my crockpot for tonight's dinner.

2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I toss them in straight from the freezer)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbs. oil (take it or leave it)

(Note: Jamie makes hers less spicy for us, but I'm pretty sure she usually includes sriracha sauce)

Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl, pour it over the chicken. Cook on low for 8 or high for 4 hours. I usually do the latter because often I forget that I want to do a crock pot dinner until around lunch time. Mornings are a bit nutty around here, I often don't get my coffee until we've been up for 3-4 hours.

Something random: I always run my crock pot in the garage. Once our entire house (all 900 square feet) smelled of this recipe for days and I couldn't stand it. So I prepare it in the kitchen and then set it on top of my washing machine to smell up the garage. It's much more pleasant than pulling on a garlicky shirt out of the closet the next day.

Anyway, once it's done and I bring it in I throw together some rice. While the rice is cooking I take two forks to shred the chicken, sometimes right in the crockpot, sometimes I take it out and then add it back to the sauce. I stir it and let it soak up some sauce. Once the rice is done just spoon the chicken and sauce over a bed of rice.

This usually makes enough for Ben + I, plus a small portion for Kai (Des will try it for the first time tonight), and there is plenty left over for Ben's lunch the following day. It is still very yummy as a leftover. It's also incredible with a side of roasted or stir fried green beans, which is how Jamie served it to us that first time.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kai's 1st ER trip...

A while back we had taken Kai in to urgent care for a sprained ankle, but we haven't had any issues since then. Saturday we had no obligations to do anything or be anywhere, so we decided to go watch the game at Ben's parents' place. When Kai got out of the car he tripped and fell onto the pavement, picked himself up and then fell again. He said he was okay and played pretty rough in the backyard afterward so we didn't worry about it.

Later the boys took a laundry basket ride through the house and almost tipped over, and Kai stretched out his arm. Then he yelled out in pain and we were frantically trying to figure out what was wrong. His arm was red and he had a small scratch so we thought maybe he scraped it on the basket. However, he was crying our periodically and he isn't usually that sensitive. We chalked it up to missing his nap earlier, but as I watched him he wasn't using his left arm at all.

{trying to cheer him up: Vanessa + David playing with glow bracelets}

I decided to call our pediatrician's office and speak with a triage nurse. She gave us some instructions to check for a dislocated shoulder or elbow but Kai wouldn't let us move him enough to really tell. When we touched him, he'd scream. So the nurse said to take him into the ER to get checked out.

Since we were away from home and it was bedtime for Desmond we decided that Ben would drop Des and I off at home and he would take Kai in. It killed me to not go and later when Kai was crying for me, I called Ben's brother David and his girlfriend Vanessa on their offer to stay with Des so I could go.

{in the waiting room with Daddy. in the exam room with Grandma}

By the time I got there I had missed the X-Ray they decided to do (because of where he claimed the pain was) and the repair of what ended up being "nursemaid's elbow" Something we didn't really expect because of where he was saying it hurt and that nobody had touched him. Apparently he had jolted it just right when on his laundry basket ride. It's amazing to me that something so small caused this issue after all the crazy falls he has had with no injury (boys!). The doctor set it before I got there and I came in to a different child. He was smiling, eating a popsicle, and using his left arm like nothing had happened. Although, he was very sleepy.

Ben and I traded places and as he headed home to Desmond, I waited with Kai and Grandma Debbie (who was visiting while on shift at the hospital) for our discharge papers. When they came the nurse joked for Kai to sign and he grabbed the pen and scribbled on the line. She was pretty surprised and it made her night. That's my funny boy!

As we were leaving the parking lot Malakai told me "That was a really nice doctor. We had a fun time." (for more quotes like this, follow @kaithoughts on instagram). He clearly wasn't traumatized by the experience, thankfully. He fell asleep about halfway home and snoozed peacefully all night.

{still wearing his glow sticks}

We are so thankful that it was a quick fix and that we don't have to deal with a 3 year old in a cast...not yet anyway!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Harvest Party 2012

Last year Des was only a few weeks old on Halloween and Malakai was sick, then they both got sick. Poor littles. So we stayed in. Thankfully this year they were well over their first colds of the season and ready to play!

That morning I tried Desmond's robot costume on him for the 2nd time. This was Kai's costume when he was 15 months old.

      Malakai enjoyed pushing the "buttons" and Desmond surprisingly tolerated it for quite some time.

On Halloween night we prefer to go to a local Harvest Party (we took Kai 2 years ago) and play the games to earn some candy. Then we don't feel like we have to check the candy afterwards, and we end up seeing a lot of people that we don't see often enough.

It was a miracle that Kai was wearing a costume. His Grandma Debbie made a "Jake and the Pirates" costume, just for play, but he refused to wear it that night- no surprise.

{trying it out a few days before Halloween}

When I brought out the fireman's hat he got at a safety event a while back he was suddenly interested in wearing a costume! I think it helped that the rest of us were dressed up at that point. I grabbed a rain coat and his fireman boots and we had a last minute costume! I showed him pictures on instagram all the way there of other kids dressed up and he got even more excited about the concept.

Mima and Aunt Nans met us at Camp Harlow, where the party was happening. We ran into friends and family while navigating our way through the activities. My cousin Angela got this cute picture of Desmond in his robot costume with her daughter Delia in her monkey outfit (upper left of collage); they don't look too sure of each other, but are so precious!

It was a bit overwhelming in the gym where they had games for older kids so we moved through that area quickly. After playing some games and visiting a bit, we headed over to the petting zoo. Both boys were really excited about the animals. Des loved watching the little pig and Kai was really interested in a bird and a hedgehog. He kept asking to hold them.

On our way to the parking lot Kai spotted a train ride about to take off  so we all piled in for a bumpy ride around the camp and then we headed home. It was such a fun little evening for our boys and we enjoyed ourselves as well!

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