Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beck goes Paleo; the forget that edition.

Remember how last week I was all gung-ho about Beckett switching to a paleo diet for a week (at least)? And remember how the first day went so awesome I was super duper stoked about the rest of the week?  

Well, that was the only awesome day.  

He woke up ridiculously grumpy the next day (sugar detox I'm assuming), but I kept up the paleo foods until Brandon came home from work and told me he's going to be working for pretty much two-thirds of the month of May.  After dealing with this face all day:


and then finding out I'd be dealing with this face by myself for most of next month, I was done. Capital D O N E done.  

Thankfully, Brandon has learned the signs of an emotional breakdown, and swooped us all out of the house. We ended up going to Space Aliens (a pizza and bbq restaurant that has a small-ish arcade) for dinner, and even though Beck freaked out whenever we tried to have him sit at the table like a normal person, it was exactly what I needed.  



Good food (I had the bbq brisket wrap and fries with three different kinds of ranch),


and quality time with my three favorite people in the world.  


Saturday we were supposed to go to Piper's Girl Scout end-of-the-year BBQ, but it was freezing, so we moved it to Sunday.  We kind of lounged around all day, and then at the last minute I decided to take Piper to see Chimpanzee.  


We stuffed our faces with overly-buttered popcorn (seriously, the chick working the concession stand was butter-happy. so.much.butter.), cherry coke and taffy from the candy store in the mall.  The movie was great; Piper got a little scared at some parts, but it was really interesting and there were quite a few funny bits. I definitely learned a lot...did you know chimpanzees eat monkeys?  


I'm SO GLAD Piper's BBQ was moved to Sunday, because it was absolutely gorgeous.  The kids both wore shorts, and I got to wear a new tank-top (that is a size large, thank you very much.  No more xl for Sophie!).  It was such a nice day.  Oh, and I'm going to be Piper's co-leader next year, so that'll be fun!  



And then this was yesterday. I spent pretty much the whole day in bed, hating life.  Worst stomach ache ever.  Body aches and chills.  Pounding temples.  So miserable.  I woke up this morning feeling better, but my stomach still isn't completely happy with me so I'm sticking to bland foods and lots of water.  I don't know if I came down with something or if all the gluten/junk food I'd eaten the last few days caught up with me or what.  


I still plan on switching the whole family to a paleo diet, but I think I'm going to go for a more gradual approach.  As we run out of the non-paleo foods, I'll try to replace them with a paleo version (ie, when the goldfish crackers are gone, I'll make my own crackers with almond flour).  I think it'll be less of a shock to the kids if I just replace things one-by-one, and definitely will help me ease into the routine of making things like crackers and fruit leather.  I'll be sure to post when I substitute things, and let you know my favorite recipes!  


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beck Goes Paleo, Day One.

A friend on Instagram suggested I post each night what I fed to Beckett, and I thought it was a great idea!  It can be so hard to feed toddlers in general, and when you throw dietary restrictions in there it becomes pretty overwhelming.  Today went pretty smoothly, however, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the week.  

I already shared what he ate for breakfast in my post this morning, but here it is again anyway:


One egg, some diced ham, and a little cheddar cheese.  He also had some blueberries and raspberries.  Like I said earlier, this was the first meal in a long time that he actually sat and ate until he was full.  He ended up eating about half of what was on his plate, and didn't want anything else to eat until noon (we ate at 9am).


I had to run to town for diapers and a few other little things for my re-opening of my etsy shop (envelopes, labels, etc), so I packed Beck a little snack/lunch.  I originally meant it to be a snack, but like I said, he wasn't hungry until noon so it just ended up being his lunch.  He had a handful of dried dates, some almonds, and a pouch of unsweetened, all natural strawberry applesauce.  Beck loves applesauce, so I was thrilled to find these.  He loves them just as much as I do! No mess, no sugar, no artificial colorings or flavors or preservatives...they're perfect for on the go snacks (or lunches in this case).  

By the time we got home from running errands, Beck was beyond ready for a nap, so I laid him down.  I kid you not, he fell right asleep.  No second glass of milk, no getting out of bed over and over, no playing with toys...he fell right asleep.  He slept for a good 2.5 hours, and munched on a pear while I got us ready to pick up Piper from girl scouts. 




It was a cold, rainy, gloomy day today, and I was craving chicken soup for dinner.  Unfortunately, the only soup my kids eat is ramen noodles.  Yikes. But, I was determined to make one dinner for us all, so I left out the onions and only used vegetables I knew Piper liked (broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, and carrots), thinking if anything she could just pick out the chicken (she doesn't eat much meat).  

She wouldn't even touch it.  I eventually convinced her to eat a few sugar snap peas, but she acted like they were coated with nail polish remover.  Sigh.  She ended up eating a pear and the rest of her crackers from snack at school today.  Picky picky Piper.  

Beck was a different story.  When I put his bowl in front of him, he said, "What is that? Ew!" So funny.  He repeated that a few times and then ran away from the table more than a few times, always coming back with a different item of food (goldfish crackers, applesauce pouch, cheese from the fridge), but I just kept taking it from him and putting it out of his reach.  Eventually I got him to taste some of the broth from my soup, and he loved it!  He ended up fishing out every single carrot from his bowl and chowing down on them.  He ate probably a third of what I served him, which I was utterly thrilled with.  He usually eats about that much of his favorite meals as well.  



Behavior wise, Beck was amazing today!  Zero meltdowns while we were out and about (and we went to three stores)!  So exciting.  He actually ate three meals instead of just snacks all day, which was awesome. I'm hoping he sleeps well tonight, as last night he was wide awake from about 2:30 AM till 4.  Not crying or anything, just wide awake ready to party.  

Tomorrow I'm going to try and make sure he gets more protein and less fruit. I noticed that's the first thing I went to grab for him, since he loves it so much. 



Today went really well overall, and has me really excited to get my family's eating habits on track!  I'm choosing to focus on Beck right now, since he and I are alone together the most (with Brandon being at work so often and Piper at school all day).  Plus he's young and still dependent on me to give him all his meals.  Piper has really enjoyed buying lunch lately, which I have absolutely no problem with because it means she's trying new foods.  Yesterday she ate grilled chicken! My daughter! Chicken!  I'll focus more on her eating when she is on summer vacation; for now I want her to taste as many new foods as possible so she is more willing to try them at home.  

I will try and do nightly posts this week as a little update and to also give you guys some meal ideas for your own little tornados.  At the very least, I'll be uploading photos of Beck's meals to Instagram (sophieplayshooky) under the hashtag #beckgoespaleo.  If you're not on Instagram, just click on that link and it'll take you to a website called Statigram where you can view all of my photos for this project. 

Fingers crossed for a peaceful night's sleep! :) 



My little tornado.



I have a two year old.

His name is Beckett, and his nickname is The Little Tornado, because that's exactly what he is.  He is a whirlwind of energy and destruction, and I love every little damn thing about him.  Even the destruction.  I may not love it in that very minute, but I love it after it's cleaned up, because it gives me a story to tell to family who live far away and don't get to witness the craziness that is my son.  It gives them a peek into his constantly-working mind...that mind that seems to want to touch and explore everything he can get his little hands onto.

Beck's been two since Halloween, but it seems like he's just barely realized this, and has some catching up to do as far as the Terrible Two's go.  Screaming.  Hitting.  Pouting.  Completely ignoring me.  All those and more.  I feel like I'm a pretty strict mom; I never give in to a tantrum (from either kid) and I certainly never try to distract them from the tantrum in order to get it to stop.  They scream as long as they want, while I let them know it's completely unacceptable behavior.  I'm not afraid to put them on a time-out in public.  They do not get rewarded for acting that way.  Ever.

We had a hard time with Piper...she was a pretty difficult kid up till probably age 4.  I'm dreading that with Beck, since he is already so much more of a handful than she was.  So, I'm looking at other ways I can improve the situation. The one I keep coming back to is diet.

Now that the holidays are over, I realize just how much sugar my kids eat.  Pretty much every time we go to a store, they get a treat.  They got stockings and easter baskets full of candy, even though I tried to scale back.  They drink capri sonnes daily.  We go to Tutti Frutti once a week (although Beck doesn't usually eat his...not a big fan of ice cream).  I like to bake.  They have syrup on their waffles.  They snack on gogurts.  My point is that even though we've been TRYING to eat better and that over half my grocery cart is fruits and vegetables and protein now, the kids' diets are still suffering.

So, I'm embarking on a little experiment with my little tornado.  Starting today, I'm going to feed him only paleo/primal foods.  I'm going to keep track of how it affects his behavior, his sleep, and just his general health (poop, etc).  I'm also going to cut out refined sugars for the rest of the family.  It's definitely my weakness, and I'm ready to get over this addiction.  I'll find some paleo-friendly baked goods to make to treat ourselves too.  I'll start getting the kids stickers instead of a sucker at the store.  Or nothing.  That's even better.

I want to try this for at least a week, but we'll see how it goes. I know we have a BBQ to go to this weekend for Piper's girl scout troop, so who knows how much I'll be able to control there (I've been assigned to bring a dessert, for example).  But, I can try.

I feel like the behavioral issues are all connected to his diet: he's grumpy and ornery because he doesn't sleep, he doesn't sleep because his blood sugars are like a roller coaster all day, his blood sugars are crazy because he either ate too much sugar or just snacked all day on crackers and raisins, he snacked all day because I can't get him to sit still for a meal, he can't sit still because he's all hopped up on sugar and/or carbs.  It's a viscous cycle that all comes back to his diet.



I started this morning with breakfast...I made him a scramble with one egg, some diced ham, and cheddar cheese.  I also gave him some blueberries and raspberries.  Brandon makes this egg scramble probably every day while he's home, and Beckett always steals bites of it, so I was hoping he'd sit down and eat it.

Success! He at about half of what was on his plate.  Pretty exciting considering he didn't move from the table the whole time (usually he takes a bite and then runs around the house, takes another bite, runs somewhere else, until he's done eating).

I'll try and post throughout the week and let you know how my little experiment goes.  Wish me luck!




For those of you who aren't familiar with Paleo, it's basically this: 


Vegetables (lots and lots).
Protein (meat, eggs, fish, etc...grass-fed if possible)
Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc)
Fruit, nuts and seeds (sparingly)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shop Update!

Hello my lovelies!  

It's been awfully quiet around here the last couple weeks; so sorry about that.  I'm starting to feel like myself again which is positively thrilling me to pieces.  I still have a bad day every week, or I don't always handle stress the best way I possibly could, but I'm doing much better. I've actually been waking up BEFORE my alarm clock lately...something I can't ever remember doing before.  Yay for drugs*!

I have news though!  I've really missed having a store of some type, but a crochet shop is out of the question (my carpal tunnel is ridiculous and gets worse with every stitch I crochet).  I feel like having a shop gives me something to DO...something more than just being a wife and a mother.  It gives me something that is mine alone, that will either fail or succeed by my hand alone.  I missed having something like that to work on.  

So, I came up with another craft!  Anyone wanna take a guess?  If you're my fan on facebook, I broke the news earlier today...if you missed it, here's a hint:


Any guesses?  

Here's another hint:



Got it yet?  


Alright I'll just tell you.  



I'm making friendship bracelets!  They'll be sold in sets (like the one pictured and others) more than likely.  I'm so excited about this project guys!  The color possibilities are endless, and I finally found something that won't aggravate my carpal tunnel!  

I'm going to work my butt off these next couple weeks in order to be ready to open May 1st with a whole shop full of beautiful bracelets in all different colors and sizes (adults and kids)!  I'm hoping to start collecting some vintage jewelry to incorporate into the bracelets, as well as make headbands and even belts too! 

What do you guys think?  Are you as excited as I am?  Any color combinations you'd like me to make?   




*I'm on Prozac.  I was on it before; back in college before I had even met Brandon.  It was the first antidepressant I had ever been on, and I remembered it helping then, so I decided to go back to it.  I was put on Zoloft when I was pregnant with Piper, tried Effexor in Alaska, and Wellbutrin about six months ago.  Hated all of those.  Zoloft didn't do anything for me.  Effexor made me feel like I was a shell of myself.  Wellbutrin made me nauseous as hell.  So, I'm back to Prozac and feeling wonderful.  So far I haven't noticed any side effects, which is awesome.  I realize anti-depressants aren't the best things in the world for us, but I personally feel the benefits outweigh the possible negative effects.  I need their help to keep my sanity.  That being said, I don't plan on being on Prozac for the rest of my life.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Twenty-eight.



So I said I'd be back Wednesday with a birthday post for Piper, totally forgetting that Tuesday, today, was my birthday.  My twenty-eighth birthday, in fact.  I'm feeling pretty.....odd.  

I don't necessarily feel old; I just feel weird.  I hate that I am getting closer and closer to my thirties and I still am only qualified for entry-level jobs.  I hate that I'm still 60 credits away from my bachelor's degree, when high school classmates either have or are working on their master's already.  I sort of feel like I'm wasting my life as a SAHM, and then I begin to hate myself for feeling that way.  This past week has been so fun for me...planning and throwing Piper's birthday party, making rainbow cake pops yesterday to bring to her class today, taking Beck to the playground for hours on end.  That is the kind of stuff I enjoy doing, but why do I feel like I'll be a failure if that's all I end up doing with my life?  

I wish I could get my degree in crafting and party-planning.  

But enough of this mopey business.  I've been moping all day and it needs to stop.  So, on that note, I thought I'd make some goals for this year...my 28th year.  This is my first year doing something like this, but I love the idea and feel like it'll give me some direction in this life that I'm living. These are ten things I'd like to do before my next birthday, and I'll check in periodically throughout the year as I check them off. 

1.  Crochet two afghans for the living room (preferably before winter hits).  We have a serious lack of blankets in our house right now and I can't see buying a boring throw blanket when I can make one that I know I'd love even more.  

2.  Run a 5K.  I am NOT a runner, but I've always wanted to be.  

3.  Go back to school OR figure out a new crafting business.  I feel like my life has become the kids, and I need something else that is mine alone.  

4.  Take a family vacation this summer.  Even if it's just down the road to Bismarck, I want us to go on a vacation together.  

5.  Wear less jeans.  I'm just now coming into my own style-wise, and I would really like to further develop that this year.  I want to move away from the jeans-and-perfect-tee towards dresses and skirts and adorableness.  

6.  Spend one day absolutely spoiling myself rotten.  I'm talking pedicure, lunch, shopping, and maybe a movie too.  

7.  Find more ways to encourage Beck's energy and excellent motor skills rather than try to stifle it.  I'm realizing more and more how awesome my little man is, and that I need to stop trying to force him to be someone he's not.  Who cares if he won't sit through an entire meal at a restaurant, or if he uses the kitchen tongs to pick up leaves in the backyard?  He's not a sit-down-and-play-quietly type of kid, and I need to stop trying to force him to be. 

8.  Spend more time reading with Piper.  I've always wanted to read to my kids every night, but it's something I've fallen out of habit with, and I hate that.  We do really well for a week or so, and then I just let the stress of day-to-day life get in the way and skip the story before bed.  Now that Piper is learning to read in school, I feel like this is the perfect time to really focus on this habit and do my part to instill a love of reading in her.  

9.  Be a better wife.  I realize this is kind of vague, but I really want to make an effort to do more for my husband this year.  Leave him love notes, put the kids to bed early so we can have a quiet dinner alone, take the kids out for the day to give him a break, etc.  I need to make more of an effort.  

10.  Find a way to be happy and make it happen.  This year has been probably the most difficult of my life.  I need something to change, and I need to make that change no matter what it takes.  



And that's that!  It's quite the list, but I feel like it touches on all the areas of my life that need improvement.  I look forward to seeing how much of the list I accomplish...hopefully all of it!  



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Piper's Rainbow Sleepover Birthday Party

First of all, let me apologize for my almost-month-long hiatus.  As my last post touched on, I've been going through a lot and am trying to find ways to be happier and deal with all this stress better.  The weather taking a turn for the better has helped, and I also got back on anti depressants so I'm sure once those kick in I'll be feeling a lot better.  I'm finding the days I force myself to be active and/or get outside are easier to deal with than the days I give in to the depression and sit around on my butt.  Things are looking up; I'm not back to my normal self yet, but I'm feeling a bit more positive, which is awesome.  

On to the birthday post! 

Piper's birthday is April 4th (she'll be six this year), so we threw her a sleepover party last night.  She only wanted to invite three of our neighbors, so it was really small and REALLY fun!  I was able to do a lot more for the girls since there were only four of them.  

(Brandon's not in any of these pictures cause he was at work :(  He'll be home for her actual birthday though (and mine too! Mine's the day before Piper's) so we'll have a family party then).  

Piper wanted a rainbow theme, and she wanted to play dress up as well.  I ended up going to the Airman's Attic on base (it's like a thrift store for the lower ranking people on base, but everything is free) and getting each girl a pair of heels and a purse.  Over the past few weeks, I picked up random little goodies for their purses; gum, nail polish, eye shadow, bracelets, colored hair extension clip on thingies, etc.  It was so fun thinking of cute little "grownup" things to put in their purses!  



The decorations were so easy, and definitely made a big impact!  I bought a roll of streamers in every color of the rainbow and just went to town on the dining room.  I hung them in front of our dining room window to create a backdrop for the food table, and made a rainbow with them on one wall (and also on the front door).  I also hung a bunch from the chandelier.  I purchased a bouquet of balloons and just split it up and let them float all over the room.  I also got four mini-bouquets of rainbow colored daisies (one for each girl) that they got to take home after the party.  


I bought red plates, orange cake plates, yellow forks, green napkins, blue cups and a purple table cloth to stick with the rainbow theme.  For snacks, we had skittles, m&ms (I picked out all the brown ones), jelly beans, carrots, grapes, pineapple, and colored goldfish.  I also bought a few cans of pringles (different colors), and they had grape and orange soda to drink.  The girls made their own mini pizzas for dinner, and munched on popcorn with a movie at bedtime.  


After the girls went to town with their goodies in their purse, I had them play bingo since Beck was still sleeping (he would have been all over their cards if he had been awake).  I picked up this Hello Kitty bingo set on clearance at the BX on base for like $2!  The girls loved it, and it was a great activity that I didn't have to monitor too much so I could chit-chat with my friend Jackie (Jazmyn, Leilanii and LJ's mom).
  

Beck woke up from his epic three hour nap finally, so we all headed into the living room for a dance party! I cranked up the music and they had a blast spinning in circles and shaking their booties.  Even LJ and Beck got in on the fun!  


Speaking of LJ and Beck, can I just pause for a minute and tell you how absolutely THRILLED I am at these two little boys?  Last summer, they could barely stand to be together for half an hour at a time before the pushing and screaming at eachother started; last night, they were actually sharing a coloring book!  I wish I could have gotten a picture of them huddled over my iPhone watching Dora on Netflix...it was the sweetest thing ever.  The boys are 11 days apart and I'm just so happy they have eachother to play with (now that they get along hahaha)!  



After dinner, the girls headed upstairs to play in Piper's room for a bit.  Then, it was cake time!  Piper wanted a rainbow cake and then picked out this cotton candy frosting.  I was planning on frosting the cake white (to contrast with all the colors of the cake), but when I frosted the cake blue I realized this was even cuter!  I wrote Happy Birthday and then made a couple clouds (just iced the clouds with the same tip I used to write the words, and then made the frosting "fluffy" by dabbing my finger all over them).  So cute!  


 She got almost all of the candles out with one breath!  


And here's the inside of the cake!  It came out so awesome and colorful.  I kind of wish I had used a little of every color in each layer (instead of red, orange and yellow in one and green, blue and purple in the other) but I still think it came out cute.  There are tons of rainbow-cake tutorials on the internet, but I just kind of winged it.  I used a white cake mix and split it into six equal portions, then poured the colors in one at a time into two different 9 inch round pans.  



Just a quick shot with my little boy in his party hat :D  I wish the front facing camera on the iPhone 4S wasn't so grainy!  



Opening her presents :) I can't get over how much she's grown this year!  
  

This is a picture of her on her birthday last year!  So crazy.  


Once it was bedtime, we realized the girls all had the same unicorn pillow pet! So funny.  They all snuggled up on the couches (I don't know how Jazmyn and Piper fit on the loveseat lol) and fell asleep around 11PM I  think.  So much giggling.  


All in all it was a great party.  Piper had a blast, and I'm thankful everything went so smoothly.  I love throwing parties like this, and I love it even more now that she can tell me how much she appreciates it!  The above photo is a screen shot from my facebook status last night; I teared up when Piper told me how much fun she had!  

I'll be back on Wednesday with a little birthday post to my not-so-baby girl.  Hope you all have a relaxing weekend!