Tuesday, January 27, 2015


There isn't a point to this particular blog post, just random pictures from moments that I don't want to forget.

On this particular morning Logan decided to put himself to bed. We came home from gymnastics and he started having a little bit of a meltdown and the next thing we knew he was asleep in his bed.  I grabbed my camera and snapped a few pictures so that I could remember his sweet little hands and fingers. How he had to have his hood pulled up and his Batman ears showing. His lovies, tucked closely next to him for comfort. 

and while Logan slept, Kaden dug into a Cutie. He thought it was pretty cool to be able to peel his own orange & if that is all it takes to get him to choose an Orange over fruit snacks or cookies, then so be it. 

Sunday snuggles. Everyday should be Sunday. 

Since I had MLK day off we decided to hit up the movies. Logan and Kaden both received a gift card from Adam and Becky for Christmas and they both were so excited to get to spend it on their own. All Logan wanted was Twizzlers. & he got them.

And then we skipped naps and headed to the park. There's really nothing I love more than spending a day that I don't typically get off, off with the boys. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

21 Day Fix

I'm writing this for two reasons:

1. To hold myself accountable. If I keep talking about it, then I'll keep doing it.

2. I know a few friends that are wondering about this program and possibly jumping on board and I figured I give a one week recap so they have a better idea of what they would be signing up for.

First thing, first. Why the 21 Day Fix? I wasn't and still am not looking for a quick fix, but the idea of this program interested me. Last summer I was doing Bar Method, which I loved but honestly, I don't have the time. It's at a studio, I was only able to do it over lunch breaks--if I wasn't traveling & that only allowed me to get 2-3 times in a week. As much as I loved it, that lunch hour was often used for errands & once I missed one, I missed another and so on. I stopped going in August. Over the holidays, I realized how much I really needed to do something, I felt so much better when I was working out. It was time.

A friend from high school is a Beachbody coach and is pretty darn successful at it. Andy not only has his own personal story but is helping others achieve their goals as well. He had been posting more and more information on the 21 day fix challenge and I finally just reached out and asked a lot of questions. Next thing I knew, I was signing up. I was excited to start something new & it was for 21 days, I could do 21 days even if I didn't like it. If I did, I could repeat each month or just keep rolling with it. A few days after signing up, my package arrived in the mail.

The 21 Day Fix is a workout + healthy eating + portion control program. These very colorful food containers arrived right alongside the workout DVDs--and let me just say, I about died when I saw their size, I thought NO WAY could I fill up on something that would fit in these little things. They were so much smaller than I thought they would be...

The first thing that I learned about this 21 Day Fix plan was that if you want to be successful, you have to plan & prep.

I received my shipment on a Wednesday, I didn't start the program until the following Monday for that reason alone--I needed to read the booklets and plan my meals. Pinterest was a huge help, if you search 21 Day Fix, you will come up with loads of ideas when it comes to food planning. Here is the gist:

If the food fits in the container you can eat it. With that being said, it needs to follow the following guidelines:

Green Container = Veggies
Purple Container = Fruit
Red Container = Protein
Yellow Container = Grains/Carbs
Blue Container = Healthy Fats
Orange Container = dressings, some nuts

The first thing you have to do is find out your caloric intake and by doing so, you determine how many of each colored container you can have each day. For me, I get 3 greens, 2 purples, 4 reds, 2 yellows, 1 blue and 1 orange a day.

The eating plan book has a list of foods you can choose from for each container. The choices are plentiful and my head was actually spinning so I chose to simplify it for myself to hopefully increase my chances of success.

I chose 3-4 items from each section and Justin headed to the store to get it all---he does 99% of the grocery shopping so what would take me an hour or more only takes him 15 minutes. I also picked up some colored ziplock bags & snack size bags from Target---another Pinterest suggestion. After Justing got home I got to work on prepping the food. I cut, washed and portioned out veggies, fruit, chicken, eggs & salad. I placed my veggies in a green ziplock since they are green, my chicken and eggs in red since they're protein and that goes with red. I start the week off with it looking a little like this…

Each night before bed I take a moment to plan out the next days meals and pack my lunch for work, which I have never been one to take my lunch to work--can you say Chipotle or Jalapenos? I plan it all out in my daily calendar that I carry pretty much everywhere with me & here's a little glimpse at week 2…

Don't get me wrong, I was a little worried about how I was going to figure it out but with some help from my hubby we came up with some great meals that not only met the criteria but were super yummy too.

Grilled Chicken Salad & a side of grapes.

Quinoa Chicken Tacos---we had never even tried quinoa but had heard wonderful things and thanks again to Pinterest this recipe was AMAZING! I could seriously eat this every night!

Now, the food is just half of the program, the other half is getting your butt in gear and finding/making the time to work out.

I figured I would have the best chance of making it through a workout if I did it first thing in the morning. Before the boys woke up. I also read a tip that if you slept in your workout clothes that you were already halfway through the battle. I could use any help I could get, so I did. & then 6 am rolled around and it just wasn't happening--it had been a rough night for Logan.

Even though the morning workout didn't go as planned I still had time to fit it in when I got home & the boys were begging me to do it while they were awake, so I gave it a go. & you know what, they were the best cheerleaders EVER. They kept repeating all the encouraging words they heard on the DVD and there were a couple times that I wanted to stop but I couldn't, not with them there. So I found the perfect time for my workouts, after dinner and before their bedtime. They have the warmup down & it is oh so cute!

So what do these workouts look like, they are about 30 minutes long & each day of the week is something different, which I love. I have done the 30 day shred before and although it was good, I got bored quickly. It was so nice to change things up every day. We started with cardio on day one and flew through an upper and lower fix, a pilates fix, another cardio session, my favorite--the dirty thirty & then we ended up with a day of yoga. The workouts were challenging and I was totally sore most of the week but no pain, no gain.

Now, don't get me wrong, I miss my junk food--I went to two movies in the past four days and had not one single kernel of popcorn or piece of candy. I went to Jalapenos, my favorite mexican restaurant and didn't have a single chip or cheese dip or cheese dip on my rice. I thought it was going to be so incredibly hard but it wasn't, it hasn't---there's been a mind shift & I have a goal to hit and I am going to hit it.

Bonus, my kids are learning about working out and we are all eating a little healthier. So far so good, 13 days left, that's almost the halfway mark.

I am sure I have missed a few things about the program that are VERY important so if you have questions, let me know or better yet, I can give you Andy's information & he can get you squared away.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seeing Twenty-Twenty

At Kaden's 5 year old check up they suggested that we go and see an optometrist, it wasn't as though he failed his eye exam but there were certainly some questionable answers that were given. Our doctor that day just figured Kaden wasn't in the mood to answer the Can you read me line 3 questions but to be on the safe side gave me a referral. I took it and when I looked at it I noticed a familiar name--was pretty sure that I had her and her family in front of my camera before so I reached out and told her my concerns. Since Kaden wasn't covered by vision yet she saw no issues with waiting until the first of the year. So we did & we got it in just before my crazy travel schedule kicks into high gear.

Kaden was a little hesitant to go today and was really quiet on the ride to the office and when I asked him what was up, he told me I don't want any shots Mom. I assured him that he would not be getting any shots and that this was not that type of doctor and that Mommy's friend would be the one we would get to see. He seemed to perk up a little more after that.

We got called right back & Kaden took a seat in the big chair. His eyes were filled with curiosity as there were lots of new gadgets surrounding him. The first person we met administered the pre-test and brought out some tape to cover one of his eyes. As he worked through the letters and pictures I got more and more worried---he didn't seem to hardly get any right and I noticed that he was guessing a lot. She did a few more test with him, put on some really cool glasses and had him look at a light and then some other glasses and tap certain pictures and he seemed to breeze through those. But who am I kidding, I'm no doctor and could have been completely wrong with my assessment. And as much as I wanted to help him and give him the answers or at least clues, I didn't. I sat there quietly as he did the tests.

Finally, our friend came through the door and I introduced Kaden to her. He was instantly at ease and ready for more tests. She assured me that even if he didn't speak a word, they would still be able to complete the test & tell if anything was wrong or if corrected lenses were needed. She tested a few of the same things using the eye chart but instead of multiple letters on the screen in front of him, she only put one letter at a time on the screen so he couldn't get confused as to what order. He seemed to do better with this approach, or that is what I was at least thinking.

Then she brought out the big guns.

Kaden was more than eager to look through this really cool pair of glasses and to watch Ice Age as she looked at his eyes.

She pulled out another contraption and he once again followed each of her instructions.

After this part of the exam she explained to me that his eyes looked good and that although he looks to have a touch of farsightedness, she doesn't think it is anything he won't outgrow and that it is totally normal for his age. She also mentioned that there was a slight astigmatism but that again, nothing to be alarmed of and he would again, probably grow out of it. She did want to dilate his eyes so she could have another look and kind of look behind his eyes at the backside, gross, but okay.

He wasn't too keen on getting the drops put in and so when we had to do the left eye a second time, I asked if I could do it. They had no issue with that and in 5 minutes both eyes were dilated and he was back on the chair.

In the end, she came to the same conclusion. His eyes looked very healthy and she said she didn't have many concerns. That we can watch out for him showing signs of fatigue when doing close up work but outside of that, see you next year.

& she was going to write a letter to our pediatrician to let them know that we did in fact have an eye exam and things checked out fine. I don't think I would have even thought twice about his eyesight at 5 years old had the pediatrician not done what they did and although it seems like the eye appointment wasn't quite necessary, I'm glad we went. One more thing that we can check off and not have to worry about when he enters Kindergarten--should have NO trouble seeing the board!

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Visit from Maddie

I guess Uncle Zack and Aunt Lindsey came too.

Since they were coming up here to attend a party already they decided to make a night of it. The boys spent all day on Saturday asking when Maddie was going to be over and the answer was always the same---after rest time. Well, rest time didn't happen at our house on Saturday but Maddie did show up a little after 4.

& the kids pretty much took off to play as soon as she walked through the door. While they started to dig out every. single. toy. in the play room we figured out dinner. My brother is what one might call a PICKY person when it comes to food, he likes to say that He just knows what he likes. I say picky, I used to be the same way so it's cool, I can say that. We threw out Joe's Kansas City, knowing he would at least be okay with this option, Buca Di Beppo since it would be kid friendly, Strouds or even Texas Roadhouse. In the end we all agreed that we could do Joe's Kansas City BBQ and just bring it back to the house and let the kids play-that's all they really wanted to do anyways.

After we finished eating I knew it would only be a matter of time before Kaden would get his Uncle Zack to help him in Super Mario Bros and I was right. & then I was sucked in. With all the room that we have in our house, we had three adults and three children huddled up in the toy room around the Wii.

We would start out with Kaden being Mario, me with Luigi and Zack with Toad but as soon as one of us would get a special power Kaden would instantly want to be that person and we would do a switch-a-roo with the remotes. & if you want to give your patience a test, play Super Mario Bros. with a 5 year old. It was really just best if he kept in his bubble and floated along side us! In all fairness, he is getting better it's just taking a little more time than Mario Kart did.

The boys bunked together in the bunk beds as Maddie slept in Logan's bed---in a big bed for the first time & besides for a couple of times losing her pacifier she did great! Around 7 my boys got up and Justin went downstairs with them and I laid in bed waiting to hear Maddie's tiny footsteps but nothing. Zack got up, checked on her and then instantly looked at me like where is Maddie? We checked both of the boys' rooms and nothing, I walked down the steps and there she was with Justin and her eyes being half matted down--poor girl. We cleaned them up and off the kiddos went to playing again.

& when the kids are together we of course had to bring the camera out and snap a few pics…

A typical outtake...

It's pretty fun watching the three of these kiddos grow up together, can't wait to hear all about their slumber parties at Papa Tom's and Grandma Sara's over the coming summers--I think they'll be in for a treat!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

His First Job

We have some of the best neighbors & one particular neighbor has really fallen in love with the boys and tends to spoil them on every holiday occasion. She will buy them bags full of goodies for Halloween, will fill giant Easter Eggs with goodies for Easter &  will drop off more goodies around Valentine's Day. She really goes above and beyond for the boys so when she asked for Kaden's help with picking up their newspapers and pulling their trashcans back to the garage while they were out of town a few months back we didn't hesitate one bit in saying he would do it.

She made sure to put an emphasis on the hiring part and I tried to put an emphasis on the neighborly duty party but in the end, she trumped me.

The first time she hired Kaden they were only gone for a few days & he only had to pick up a couple newspapers. We decided to store them at our house vs. leaving them on the porch like she mentioned we could do and when we noticed they had returned he walked over and handed them their papers. She thanked him for his hard work & he said, you're welcome. any time. & then she said she had something for him, all while I am in the background shaking my head and telling her that it's not necessary, she acted as though she didn't see me and handed over $5.00. The kid thought he had just won the lottery and raced back home to show his dad.

A few weeks later I received another text asking if she could hire Kaden again since he did such a wonderful job the time before and I of course said yes, it was his neighborly duty. This time around they were gone for a few more days and not only needed their trashcans pulled back to the garage and their newspapers picked up but they also needed any packages delivered to their house picked up too.

Kaden had his work cut out for him this time. Each day there was at least one package and sometimes two or three. We found a little spot in our garage to store their packages and newspapers and once they returned he walked them back over to them. When she opened the door Kaden declared You got a lot of packages this time and handed them over one by one helping her carry them inside (not that she needed any help). This time she had something extra special for him---a new Royals wallet. His eyes got so big & he got so excited. She then told him there was something else inside and when he opened it he saw 10 bucks. He was beaming. He thanked her & we walked back home. 

On the way home we talked about saving money and how he could use his money to buy something---Like a Nerf gun, Mom? He had been over at his cousin's house the night before and had played with his Nerf guns and wanted one of his own and we thought this would be a great teaching tool. So we came home, pulled up the computer and he picked out a Nerf gun & talked a little about how saving your money works. He pulled together money left over from his birthday and from Halloween and stuck it in his wallet. The first few days he didn't want to let go of his wallet so we removed the money incase he lost it but since he has put it in his special spot for it and it hasn't moved. He still talks about it but the needing to hold and sleep with his wallet every second has passed.

With the help of his new job he has plenty to buy his own Nerf gun but he said he didn't want to get just one, he wanted two, one for his brother also. I swear, the kid has a heart of gold.

So if you are in the neighborhood, literally, & looking for someone to pick up your mail, pull in your trashcans, feed/walk your dog, you know who to ask.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year, A Few New Rooms

For awhile now I have been wanting to really pull the boys' rooms together. They have never really had a finished room and although we aren't 100% there, I would say we are about 90% there in Kaden's and about 80% in Logan's. We only lack curtains in each and wall decor--mostly in Logan's but I do need one more for Kaden's room and I actually have it all picked out, I just need the shop owners to return from holiday break!

The first item on the list was to pick out a few more pieces of furniture for Kaden's room. After having painted the bunk beds I watched the sales at World Market because they had the perfect nightstand and shelving unit. Finally they went on sale and I snatched them up but they sat pretty empty for a few more weeks, okay, maybe two whole months.

Next up on the list was paint & I just couldn't decide what direction I wanted to go. I wanted something grey but with the trim in our house being more of an off-white or beige I knew it had to be the right grey. So I sat on it & then one day brought it up to my co-worker and she pretty much dropped it in my lap. I mentioned I wanted to go a darker grey and she walked over to her office and came back with a tester can of Peppercorn by Sherwin Williams. I went straight home, painted a large spot behind the door in Kaden's room and just stared at it over the next few weeks. In the end, it was just paint and there was nothing to lose. Worst case, I'd have to paint over.

Justin and I both decided that we would take a little time off from work over the holidays. We would have from Christmas till after New Years off & this would be the perfect time to get a number of house projects done. The boys would go to Ms. Brenda's a few days that week and we would roll up our sleeves and get dirty. Luckily, the color was perfection--at least in my book.

It took about two days, two coats, lots of painters tape and my iPhone playing early 2000s rap to complete Kaden's room. & when it comes to paint drying, I am not the most patient. It's either I am ready to check it off my list or just eager to see it all come together that as soon as I believe the wall is dry, the outlet covers and anything that was hanging on the wall goes back up.

The whole goal of this room was to have a room that Kaden could continue to grow into. I didn't want anything that was focused too much on any one theme, I wanted a room that we could easily add/remove a few things here and there to change the "theme" of his room. Everything that ended up back in his room were all things we already had around the house that we weren't using.

So, what's in his room...

His growth chart from my Grandpa Earl's barn that sits on our farm on the corner of Country Rd 100 & K hwy. Superhero books with a metal Ninja Turtle lunchbox. 

His BIRTHday print, his piggy bank that was given to him at his first baby shower and then the Bunny. The bunny is probably the most treasured piece in his room right behind the growth chart, hell, probably tied with it. The Bunny is made from clothes and overalls that my Grandpa Earl wore. There wasn't a day that went by that he wasn't in overalls and had something plaid on. This Bunny is a daily reminder that Papa Bob is still with us and watching over all of us.

These bins were actually meant for something else but for one, I haven't found that something else yet and two, my mom had the great idea of putting them in here. I was already trying to find some bins that would fit nicely here and work the metal & wood theme we had going on and when she mentioned using these it was like a no brainer. 

And thanks to Command Strips---LOVE these---I was able to pull these 9 metal Superhero comic book tins from one wall and re-adhere them to this wall. By moving these over to this wall it left the space above the shelving unit open & I knew exactly what I wanted to go there--a couple canvases from Kaden's 5 year old Huck Finn shoot. & a few Superheroes. 

Finished it off with a basket full of his stuffed animal friends and we have a 90% finished room. He was so excited when he saw it all done. & Logan kept saying, Wow, this is AWESOME, Kaden. I wish my room was like this. And even though I was already planning on painting Logan's room, I wasn't going to do it for a few more weeks. You know, give myself a little break. 

But I couldn't disappoint my littlest guy, so I went back to work. 

I won't lie, I wasn't looking forward to painting another room but I knew that when I was done and Logan got to see it that his smile would be worth it. Oh, it was & then some. 

Unlike Kaden's room, Logan's doesn't really have a theme yet. I started to do a nautical theme but then I wasn't really digging it so basically it's evolving. We will get there, some day. What I do know is that this is one of my most favorite images of Logan. This is from when he was 10 months old and was taken in the front yard at our old house. I love his full, chubby cheeks. His cute little pout. & his BIG blue eyes. 

Like Kaden, Logan has his BIRTHday print and a piggy bank from one of his showers. He also has a picture of his Daddy and I in his room which is in a frame from their original nursery theme. His Dad and I were just pups in this picture--summer of 2007 maybe.  

As you can tell, I have a thing for rustic items. & I love mixing textures. The rustic frame, the rope wrapped helm, a little rustic red light house, a metal L & B. 

We also have a little reading nook in Logan's room. It's not new but the cart of animals is. Logan loves his stuffed animals and he has a number of them which mean a lot to us so we like to have them out in plain view. The green froggy was Logie's first stuffed animal, he use to carry it everywhere with him. The bear next to Froggy is Justin's bear from when he was little, Logan named him Daddy Bear. & then there is the Bunny with a pink vest. Yes, Logan has a pink vest wearing bunny in his room---and it has a similar story to the one in Kaden's room. This pink bunny happens to be made out of my Grandma Hartley's robes that she use to wear. So there it sits, watching over Logan and really, all of us.  

And then there is the growth chart. The one from Grandpa Earl's barn. Yup, Logie has his own too, although missing a few marks--I'm a tad behind. 

A New Year and two new rooms for the boys. Minus curtains and some wall decor. Now, what color to paint ours?!?!