Sunday, February 27, 2011

last few days

*Friday afternoon Chris took Cam out for a daddy date. They went to Chuck E Cheese, a couple golf stores, and to dinner. Kendall and I went to JC Penny's to get some new sheets. Not too exciting, but we REALLY needed new sheets. Ours actually have several holes in them and needed to be replaced long ago.

*Saturday we knew we had a day of rain/snow ahead of us, so we made a few plans. The morning consisted of a simple trip to Walmart, but it still got us out of the house. After lunch, we headed to my parents for the afternoon. Later we went to some friends' house for dinner and had some SUPER yummy lettuce wraps. So the the big storm day didn't turn out soooo long after all.

*Today we took two of my sister's girls for the afternoon. We went to the park, got frozen yogurt, and played. Then the whole family got together later for dinner at our place. We introduced them to Gourmet Pizza and actually got some decent conversation in, amidst the kids literally running around screaming and playing chase.



*I'm reading, "The Help" right now for my book club and am REALLY enjoying it.

*Baked cookies this weekend with Cam. He loves brown sugar and always wants a pinch. It reminded me of when I was a kid. We called my dad the, "Brown sugar monster", because he would LOAD up our toast with it and it was scrumptious. :)

*Bachelor: I think he will choose Ashley. It might be Emily, however I think he feels like it's too much to instantly become a father, as well as replace Emily's ex-fiance.

*Cam now has two social "playgroups" per week with the University of Redlands program we are in. I am SOO thankful for these and he has such a fun time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

horrible to AWESOME

This morning we got into the car to go to a birthday party. Kendall was ticked because she wanted some juice and I wouldn't give it to her. She threw a mini fit in the car as we drove off, sending Cam through the roof. He hasn't yelled like that in a long time. He wouldn't stop (which I realized later was making it so Kendall wouldn't calm down). I finally turned around and VERY, VERY firmly said, "Cameron, you need to stop right now. You are a big boy and I want you STOP." He immediately stopped yelling and started calming down (which calmed her down).

Amid sniffles, he then said, "Mommy, I'm trying to calm down." SO SWEET. Then, "Mommy, I am feeling very much better. I was crying because sissy was crying." My heart melted as he said several times throughout the trip how much better he was feeling and explained to me why he was crying. My, how we have come soooo far.

I was on cloud nine after his sweet words, so I went to the birthday knowing that even if he got overwhelmed and we had to leave, it wouldn't matter because he had made my morning already. :) But to add frosting to the cupcake, he did amazing at the party. Amazing.

Speaking of cupcakes, I let them eat theirs' on the ride home since we had to duck out early for Kendall's nap...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the 2's

2 small things that make me happy: brownie sundae (brownie underdone) AND plopping on the couch after the kids are in bed

2 big things that make me happy: thinking about how far Cam has come AND our house. We would love a one story someday, but I really do love almost everything about our home

2 biggest regrets: not becoming bilingual when I had oodles of Spanish classes to help me do it AND not allowing my mom "in" more during high school. I was the typical "How was your day?"..."Fine (end of conversation)..." type teenager. She's my best friend now and I feel like I missed out on not letting that happen earlier

2 greatest fears: Cam getting made fun of AND... Cam getting made fun of. This is by far the biggest, most worrisome thing to me in my life. Yes, I know that even "typical" kids get made fun of...but that fact doesn't help my anxiety

2 sources of accomplishment: My job as a high school guidance counselor. I adored this job and felt very fulfilled AND making Cam's lunch each day. Sounds silly, but I love picturing him opening his lunchbox each day and having a meal he enjoys that I made for him

2 sources of fun: Chris--still the funniest person I know and makes my life more fun AND getting to plan each day with my kids. Sometimes this can get difficult day after day, but I always love having a blank slate each day to plan whatever I want

Sunday, February 20, 2011

visit from grandparents

Yesterday morning I was able to meet with my online book club (it was started by a girl from my highschool whom both my sister and I are still friends with). It was really fun to get together and discuss the book, as opposed to online.

While I was gone, Chris's parents arrived to spend the day/night with us. When I got back, Chris, his dad, and Cam went BBQ shopping (ours had broken). Later we all drove up to Oak Glen. Cam was in heaven because it was snowing when we got there. After walking around for a bit, we got a few treats at the bakery and headed home.





That night, Kendall decided to give Chris and I about 2.5 hours of sleep. She was up from about 10:00-2:30 (then a nice yell out at 5:00 to wake us up for good). Not sure what the deal was as she was a happy camper every time we went in. Normally we wouldn't go in, however having guests meant that we didn't want her yelling so loud. They actually didn't even hear her that much, but oh well. :) What a stinker.

We woke up to a blanket of snow outside, cementing our plans to head to Palm Springs today to get some nice weather. Chris's parents left before church. It was quick trip, but a fun visit!

Friday, February 18, 2011

update

*Yesterday was a busy day. After our speech session at University Redlands, I quick dropped the kids back home with Chris and headed over to a seminar given by Cam's old preschool teacher, Gaby. It was very good...made even better by my conversation afterward with her.

Looks like we are going to pursue a different direction next year for Cam. She said there is an excellent special ed kinder class taught by a great teacher. It's only 3 hours a day, and we could even look at mainstreaming Cam a few hours a week after a while. Depending on how well the year goes, we could either repeat kinder in a general ed class the following year, or move him to 1st grade (that being the BEST case scenario). I left feel really encouraged.

I then headed to Claim Jumpers to meet the girls from my Tmoms table. We had SUCH a fun night and I even stayed out to the shockingly late hour of 9:30...yikes! :)

*Today Kendall and I went to Fresh and Easy. I paused at the entrance to get a coupon, when all of the sudden the automatic door started closing and smacked me in the head...giving me a headache. Not very happy about that.

*Purchased about 20 lbs. of chicken as we are ready again for another big chicken bake around here.

*Very interesting called, "I Used to be Fat". These kids lose about 80 pounds in one summer. Crazy. Not sure how healthy it is, but it is very cool to see such drastic transformations, not just in their appearance, but in their self esteems.

*Making a meal Ana recommended on her blog tonight. Very excited. Since Chris's weight deadline with Ana's husband is next week, I'm going to try and make it a little lighter (turkey bacon and using part milk with the cream).

*I think we'll go feed some ducks today and take advantage of this sunny day...seeing as tomorrow won't be so sunny. :)

*Cam's new response to many things right now is, "Absolutely!" (pronounced, "absolooootly"). This morning when I dropped him off at school, I heard him tell a friend he didn't want to play because he wanted to go talk to the teachers (something he is more comfortable doing). I knelt down and said, "Cameron, I would like you to talk to your teachers later and play with Natalie right now." "Um... absoloootly, mom!!". :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

me and meat

I've never been a big meat eater. A steak, pork chop, piece of chicken, etc. tastes much better chopped into little bites and in a sauce or on a sandwich. I just don't find there is a lot of flavor to a hunk of meat on my plate. When Chris and I go to a steakhouse (which is not often), I typically order a salad and a baked potato. This not only cuts down on my meal cost, but it leaves plenty of room for the most important part...dessert. Yes, I've had steak at a nice place like Ruth's Chris. And while it is amazing...for a steak...I would still rather have a good pasta dish.

Tonight I made some delicious meatball sandwiches. Wow! Chris gave them an 8.5, but I would rate them higher and feel they were definitely worth the hassle that meatballs can be. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

birthdays and a little perspective

Yesterday Cam and I went to his first birthday party for a girl in his class. I saw a bounce house as we drove up, which I thought would be perfect. He was pretty hesitant when he looked in the backyard and saw everyone. He kept telling me he was, "a little bit scared". I tried to get him to jump, but he only lasted a couple minutes. So we sat by ourselves for a little while and had a snack. As I sat there, I started feeling envious of the other parents, who could just waltz into the party, plop on a chair, and watch their kids run off to play. This has never really been my reality.

But then I shook myself and realized how ungrateful I was being. Here we were at a party full of people Cam didn't know. He wasn't upset. He wasn't crying. He said hi to a few kids. How could I not be thrilled with this!? He's a little hesitant...who cares! He was doing amazing for Cameron. :) And about 15 minutes later, he actually went into the bounce house, on his own, and jumped for a long time with the other kids. Overall we had a great first birthday party. :)

p.s. Happy Valentines Day! Here is a pic of the kids in their new clothes from Chris's parents. They sent them both cute little Valentines packages with new clothes, candy, and a new Thomas train for Cam. Thanks you!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

muffins


I've had a few friends ask me for my veggie muffin recipe. I always tell them that it changes each time and I just alter your basic muffin recipe you can find in a Betty Crocker cookbook. Well, I finally figured it out and wrote it down. So if anyone is interested, here you go!

Veggie Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3/4 milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pureed broccoli

Mix all together and bake at 350 for 15ish minutes, or until done. :)

I usually put a few chocolate chips on top 1/2 way through the baking process. Then they don't sink in the dough and the kids think the whole thing has chocolate chips. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

cameron james

My mom often reminds me that our life with Cameron will be full of valleys and mountains, valleys and mountains... I'm so happy because I feel like we have been on a mountain for quite some time now. He's been doing amazing at drop off each day at school. He's going on two weeks straight of not seeming overwhelmed whatsoever, even when we walk into a class full of loud, active kids. He's also been more interactive with kids, which makes me tear up just thinking about it. Today, he said a couple things that just made me want to squeeze him they were so cute.

As we were driving home from school:

Me: Cam, did you play outside today?
Cam: Yes
Me: What did you play with?
Cam: Lot's of things
Me: What things?
Cam: You don't need to ask me anymore
Me: Ok...um...what was your favorite thing about today?
Cam: Mom, you don't have to ask questions. Just drive.
Me: Point taken :)

As we walked into the McDonald's play area:

Cam: (yelling) Hey kids, you are too loud!!!!

I proceeded to explain that it was a play area, and they could be loud if they wanted. It was quite funny. :)

Here is my little guy this afternoon playing on the couch. Boy do I love him.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

soooooo good

If it weren't for calories, I think Chris and I would have pasta with some sort of rich, cream sauce every single night. So I was excited to find a low fat version of Fettucine Alfredo in this month's Food Network magazine. It was amazing! We both agreed that it was actually better than any full fat Alfredo I've ever made. Wow!

Low Fat Fettucine Alfredo

12 oz. fettucine
1 tbls. butter
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. flour
2/3 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tbls. low fat cream cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Saute garlic and lemon zest in butter for about a minute over medium heat. Whisk in flour and salt. Add milk and stir until it starts to thicken. Add cream cheese and cheese and stir until creamy. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Add, with sauce, to drained pasta.

Speaking of cooking, the kids and I made chocolate chip cookies today. This was the first time we've baked together (normally it's just Cam and I). It was a little more rushed and messy, but very fun. :)



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

school

Sometimes I miss the days of my biggest worry being over whether my kid was taking long enough naps. Every stage has it's difficult decisions to make. Now we are in the school phase for Cam. While it's not 100%, we are pretty sure we are going to wait a year to send him to kindergarten. In addition to the unique things he struggles with, he is A) A boy and B) Doesn't turn 5 until Aug. 30. The majority of people (teachers included) we have talked to have suggested holding off for these two reasons.

I must say that waiting another year will take a HUGE burden off me. I was getting more and more concerned about how he would do in such a large class as well as other issues kindergarten brings up for him.

Related to the school topic for us is private vs. public. I had always assumed my kids would go to public, however I've come to realize that the decision needs to be determined by each of our kids and their personalities. In addition to liking the Christ centered focus, it might work best for Cam to be in a smaller classroom environment (like in a private school), however I wonder if public schools would offer him more support in the long run.

When it comes to jr. high and high school, I'm a firm believer that friends are EVERYTHING when it comes to kids heading in the right direction. Yes, personality plays into it, but I almost think the friends they choose are of equal importance. Some say that there are, "bad kids in public AND private". True. I would argue that the chances of kids falling into a healthy crowd might be more likely in a private school. However both those arguments might not hold water if you are talking about a kid who is confident, self assured, and strong in their faith. Public might be a great fit for them. So again...it just all depends on how our kids turn out and which environment we think will be best for EACH.

Well,those are just some rambling thoughts of mine since the subject of school seems to be on my mind a lot lately. As a sidenote, I was fortunate enough to choose/fall into a good group of girlfriends in high school. I thought I would share one of our favorite activities (I think this was 9th grade), trying on prom dresses and taking pictures. We thought we were soooo cool. :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

*Chris went to a T-ball coach meeting on Saturday. He will be coaching Cam's T-ball team this year. :) Last year a friend of ours did it, which was awesome. He was great with Cam and very understanding. Since he couldn't do it this year, Chris decided he wanted to do it so we knew for sure we had a coach who could be good for Cam.

*Yesterday we had my family and another couple over for the game. We had such a fun afternoon. It's so nice being with family (either side), who know, love and understand when we have to rush Cam upstairs when he gets upset at a baby crying. It's just so comfortable. The kids had a fun time playing all over the house, decorating cookies, and playing outside. I didn't watch one minute of the game, but I never intended to anyway. :)



*Tonight Cam pooped in the bath. He rarely does this, but he knows he isn't supposed to. In his defense, he did pull out the plug so his poop would go down the drain before I got up there. :)

*Dinner tonight: Spaghetti. I added a very small amount of heavy cream to the sauce. It added some good flavor and creaminess.

Friday, February 4, 2011

outing with daddy

Today Cam and Chris had a daddy afternoon. Cam was very excited about it. The first stop was to get his haircut. A friend of my mom's told us about a great place and they only charge $8. Cam did great and looks very handsome. :)



They next went to the golf store. Chris had a gift card and decided to buy Cam a child's club. He isn't totally into it, but Chris will take him out next week and I'm sure he'll enjoy hitting the balls around for a short time.

After the golf store, they went to Claim Jumper for dinner (thanks to another gift card!). The past few times they have gone to dinner, Cam has insisted on getting a child's plate. Previous to this we would always just pack his dinner. After realizing that he never ate the whole thing, we decided it was kind of a waste of money (especially at places like Applebees, where they literally give you Kraft Macaroni and Cheese). In order to make him OK with not ordering off the menu, I decided to swap that with a tasty treat for his dessert. I was at a playgroup this morning and brought home some cute Valentines treats (thanks, Jessica!). These were just what was needed to make him plow through his homemade dinner and forget all about the child's menu. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

thoughts from a magazine

Chris and I often ask one another, "If you could do anything you wanted today, what would it be?" (this question often pops up during a loooong day with the kids). My answer is almost always, "I would lie by the pool reading a magazine." The pool part isn't for a tan, because for some reason, I care very little about that now that I'm older. The pool part is simply a relaxing atmosphere, accompanied by my favorite relaxing activity, reading a magazine.

I don't subscribe to very many, so I like to check out a few every now and then at the library. Here are some interesting things I learned from the latest issue of Health.

*You should replace your toothbrush once a month (sorry, not going to happen)
*You should disinfect your remote control every couple days (good idea...but probably won't happen)
*Germs can't live in the freezer
*Cell phones carry 500 times more bacteria than a toilet seat (yuck!!)

I love to read recipes in magazines. My crock pot currently is simmering with a chili recipe I found in a Woman's Day. This may sound dumb, but I have a big pet peeve when it comes to articles about healthy snacks. Here is an example:

Below is a picture of a suggestion for a healthy snack. Looks good, right? However when you read how to make it, you realize you can only put a 1/2 TEASPOON of Nutella on each slice of bread. Does that look like 1/2 a teaspoon? Looks like a lot more to me!! Seems like pictures of a recipe rarely match the ingredients (the healthy ones anyway).



One more...does this look like 1/2 a teaspoon of whipped cream on top? How about 1/2 a cup!!!



I know, there are bigger things to worry about in this life, but this one just gets to me. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

videos

Yesterday was our first video session for the, "Takes Two to Talk" program we are going through at the University of Redlands. Basically they videoed us playing with Cameron for a while, all the while gauging what speaking level he would fall in for the program. It went super well. Chris and I were talking afterward about how we would have dreaded something like this a couple years ago (three strangers in a room, all talking to him at some points, etc.). It's almost like he ate up the attention.

Next week we start the parent seminars. Next fall hopefully he'll be accepted to their clinic, which is one on one speech therapy twice a week (which would be grand!). We both feel really good about this program and what it will do for Cam. Kendall and Nana had a great time at the park across the street while they waited for us. Speaking of videos and speaking of Kendall... (the end is when she really starts to jabber)