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Monday, April 30, 2012

Landon: 11 Months

Look who's 11 months old today!

Oh, I just think he is the cutest little boy I've ever seen in my entire life! I could just squeeze those precious cheeks all day!

Landon's a snuggler! He's gotten much more squirmy and active as he's gotten older, but he's still pretty content to sit in our laps or be held. I love that because Avery was so independent that she didn't like to sit still for one second!

He wears a size 3 diaper and 12 and 18 month clothes. He wears size 4/5 shoes if we can keep them on his feet.

Landon loves to move, but he's still not walking. I'm okay with that; it's tough enough to keep up with him as it is! He crawls for real now (instead of army crawling) and loves to walk holding our hands. He'll stand up by himself every now and then but promptly sits down once he realizes what's going on. He climbs on EVERYTHING, so I really have to watch him.

He has 6 teeth (2 on bottom and 4 on top) and eats just table food now (with the occasional baby food jar in emergencies) and nurses 3-4 times a day. He likes his sippy cups, but he LOVES to drink out of a real straw. Oh, and he puts everything in his mouth.

He loves bath time and having his teeth brushed, and he goes to bed around 7 or 7:30 and sleeps for 12 hours a night.

Landon adores his big sister. She makes him laugh harder than anybody else can! He watches everything she does and gets so excited when she pays attention to him (which is pretty much all the time). They're starting to be able to play together a little more, so that's been fun to watch.

We just love this kid and his little smiley self!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Parks, Ranger Games, and Dang HOAs

I don't really have a lot to say tonight, but I'm avoiding doing anything productive (ahem, sewing, laundry, or VBS planning).

We've been playing at the park a lot recently. Avery's gotten SUPER adventurous (and I'm trying to be a good mom and let her learn to take risks without trying to protect her every step--eek it's hard to watch sometimes!), and Landon just wants to eat all the mulch. Although I did discover that he loves the smaller playground and will play in one of the mesh tunnel things as long as I'll let him! Unfortunately Avery only likes the "baby playground" in small doses.

Hanging out with Wyatt and Eli! (Notice Landon completely entertained in the tunnel behind the big kids)

She looks so big here!

Avery with her buddy Luke

Sometimes I just need a break from keeping the mulch out of his mouth...

We went to the Ranger game with a ton of kids/families from our church on Friday night. The Rangers totally blew it, but it was fun anyway. Avery got so scared of the home run fireworks, so that was weird. And Landon stayed awake the entire game. Yikes. He was happy though, so all was well.

Thanks, Matt.

Thanks, Emily.

It was next to impossible to get a good kid picture. My camera didn't even make it over to the big kids' section.

This girl is a dancing fool! Unfortunately for her, she seems to have inherited my rhythmic ability. But she sure is cute!

Self-proclaimed BFFs

Mom even came to help out with Lan Man.

I always wonder what the heck our HOA actually does since our neighborhood doesn't have fancy amenities or anything, but I found out when I checked the mail on Saturday that they do like to do neighborhood inspections. Apparently they frown upon dead trees in front yards and grass in flower beds. Guess what Matt and I got to work on during kid nap times today.

Speaking of Matt, he's grocery shopping for me tonight so I can be a bum. He's a gem.

I guess I should go fold some clothes or something. I'll leave you now with Avery's crazy hair day picture from Thursday and Landon's sweet smile captured by Avery, who is so stinking quick with a camera (and is actually getting pretty good with one!).

Peace out.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Picture Overload: Wedding Shower, B-day Party, L's Dedication, and Misc. Fun

Our weekend started early when Matt took Friday off work, and it was good timing for us to have finished our Whole30 Challenge since we had so many events at which to eat cake celebrate.

Brittany had a bridal shower on Saturday morning! I love showers. I even got to put my list making awesomeness to work by keeping the gift log. Just doing my bridesmaidly duties, you know.

Brittany with the amazing hostesses (some of my favorite ladies!), Darla, Debbie, and Carolyn

Moms and Grandmas!

Nana, Aunt Cristi, and Mom

Gift logs are serious business.

Sweet friends! Avery was very glad to have her friend Anne to play with at the shower.

Landon's BFF, Tucker, had his first birthday party on Saturday, too! They're just a month apart and are so cute to watch together. They recognize each other and just play and play. They both have such sweet little personalities, and I hope they stay friends as they grow up!

Playing with the birthday boy!

Checking out Tucker's awesome gifts!

Tucker's mom, Karen, made the cutest Cookie Monster cake and cupcakes! She did such a great job with the party!

Matt's parents came in town and took us out to dinner on Saturday night. We tried a local Italian place called Tuscan Slice, and I cannot believe I hadn't been there before. It was fantastic. The pizza is delicious, and the tiramisu is to die for. If you live near Waxahachie, you have to try this place. I don't know how the Olive Garden down the road is still in business.

This boy was HUNGRY. We finally just gave him a whole piece of pizza.

Landon was dedicated on Sunday morning during the worship service at church. It was so special to stand next to our parents in front of our church family as we made a public commitment to raise Landon in a way that honors the Lord. And he slept through the whole thing. Good thing we got pictures.

We had a fun afternoon and evening just hanging out around the house. The kids went to bed early, so Matt and I had a little date out on our back deck, complete with a fudge sampler platter and coffee.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Whole30 Challenge: Final Thoughts

Well, we did it! Sort of. We started the Whole30 Challenge at the beginning of the month, but about two weeks in I told Matt that I would finish the whole month but the last week would probably be hell in our house because I could only handle one more week of it. He agreed to stop at 21 days.

He's a wise man.

And he's even wiser for agreeing to call it off a day earlier when we had no food to pack for lunch at the zoo, thus necessitating a stop at Chick-fil-a. Oh please, don't act surprised that that was my first un-Whole30 choice.

But I say "we did it" because, although we didn't go the whole thirty days, I would still consider this challenge a success.

You know why? Because it has changed the way we view food and how we fuel our bodies.

So here are some of my thoughts on the challenge and what lies ahead.

We'll start with the good:
  • Weight loss. Matt started at 265 lbs (he says he was 275 over spring break; he started working out again before the challenge) and I started at 137. We each lost a significant amount of weight. Matt's down to 259 (6-16 lbs) and I'm down to 131 (6 lbs). I can't remember the last time I weighed 131. But it's not even about the number; both of us have noticed a drastic change in the way our clothes have been fitting us (read: getting baggier by the day).
  • We feel better. Well, Matt especially says he feels like he has more energy. I don't really feel that different, but I like feeling skinnier!
  • Our kids loved it. Avery's a pretty adventurous eater, so she loved eating different types of food. It was also easier to feed Landon table food because I knew exactly what we were eating (like no extra preservatives, sugar, etc.). I also feel like kids will eat what you serve them, so by making fruits and veggies the norm, that's what they'll get used to and enjoy eating.
  • More time in the kitchen. Each meal became an ordeal because there's a lot more prep work involved when you can't use convenience foods. It was kinda fun though, and I really got used to spending the extra time cooking/preparing meals.
  • Real food is good. We already love sweet potatoes, avocados, and eggs (staples of Whole30), so it wasn't like we were forcing ourselves to eat stuff we hated. We also learned that romaine lettuce makes a fantastic taco shell and hard boiled eggs are an awesome snack.
  • It redefined "full." We didn't even realize how much we were overeating before this challenge. I also learned that I do not have to have dessert every night. Dessert should be a treat. I actually don't know when it became a norm for me, but I'm glad to know that I can change that norm!
And here are some of the negatives:
  • More time in the kitchen. With a two year old and a ten month old, time is valuable. There were some days that I just wanted to scream, "WHY CAN'T I JUST MAKE MYSELF A FREAKING SANDWICH?!?!" But I got over it.
  • Food obsession. When your menu choices are so limited and you have to know every ingredient in everything you put in your body, it's easy to get obsessive over your food. There's gotta be balance.
  • It's hard to pack lunch when you don't have leftovers. (That one's for Matt.) We usually eat leftovers for lunches, but we pretty much ate everything we cooked for dinner at dinner. 
  • It's expensive. Buying fresh produce and lots of meat is more expensive than buying processed food. It just is. And while I didn't think we ate that much processed food, the fact that our grocery bill doubled this month tells me otherwise. However, I am willing to spend more money now to ensure that we're eating better quality vs quantity.
  • No flexibility. Yes, the challenge is only (supposed to be) thirty days long, but it's hard to eat at a restaurant and stay Whole30. Fortunately, we only had to do that once.
  • The first week. It's a beating. It's basically a detox and your body responds as such. I woke up the first few mornings shaking because I felt so week. I was eating plenty of protein and fats, but I think my body was almost in shock. That's a little scary to think about.
So where do we go from here?

We've talked about doing a Paleo lifestyle or a modified version of it, but that didn't really seem feasible for our family. I was so excited to find 100 Days of Real Food. It's a blog about a family who took a 100 day challenge to just eat real food (not highly processed or refined). She posts some great stuff, and it's been really educational for me.

Eating "real food" seems very doable for us, and it fits with our goal to cut out the processed convenience foods from our diet.

Yes, that means I'll have to pay lots of attention to ingredients. Yes, that means cooking with coconut oil instead of vegetable or canola. Yes, it means I'll spend more time in the kitchen.

We're also switching back to organic milk (while cutting back on consumption of it). I'm cutting back on sugar. We don't have to eat so much bread.

Don't worry, this isn't about to become some crazy food lady blog or anything. I think we're pretty realistic in our understanding that there will be plenty of times that we won't be eating "real food," and that's okay.

We're also not throwing out everything from our pantry (i.e. white flour) on our road to eating real. It'll be an ongoing process to change our eating habits, but we're up for it.

As long as I can still eat a dang cookie every now and then.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Five: Sewing, Rainy Day Zoo Trip, and CHICK FIL A

Happy Friday everybody! It's an especially happy Friday here because Matt took off work to hang out with us all day long!

1. Last night I went to a friend's house so we could have a little sewing party. Okay, maybe "party" is too strong a word when it comes to sewing, but we saw a tutorial on Pinterest that we thought we could tackle for our baby boys and thought it'd be helpful to work on them together because some tutorials are just confusing.

Here's the picture of the t-shirt rompers we were attempting:

And after we had no idea what the crap she wanted us to do for the legs, we decided to cut off the bottom part and just make baby t-shirts! They turned out pretty cute for being a project salvage, but I think I'll actually try the project again and just make more little shirts! Landon's getting a little too big to wear rompers anyway (I have a weird pet peeve about little boys wearing rompers when they can walk.).

2. I caught this blog post by one of my favorite musicians (Derek Webb) when a couple of friends posted it to Facebook recently. It's about the marketing of Jesus and the things we categorize as "Christian." It touches on a lot of the little annoyances/frustrations of modern Christianity, and I think it is worth the read. He speaks so much truth in the post, but one of the best paragraphs was this one:
i simply do not believe that god can only use and speak through things that we rubber stamp as “christian.” nor do i believe that jesus wants us to live in fear, especially fear impressed upon us by those in our culture claiming to do so in his name. nor do i believe in our subculture’s system of false security, that god wants us to put our faith and security in marketing terms rather than in jesus, whose spirit both gives and animates our powers of discernment. exercising our discernment liberates us to live in the world god has made and engage with his creation without fear or dependence on meaningless words.
Check out the whole post here. (As a sidenote: His mention of "safe" Christianity reminded me of Francis Chan's balance beam illustration, which you can watch here.)

3.  How about those Rangers?!? If you know me at all (or have followed this blog for any period of time), you know that everyone in our family (down to the little ones!) is a complete Texas Rangers fanatic. Yes, that means even before they were good. And honestly, I kinda miss the days that they sucked because ticket prices were cheaper and then the stadium was so empty you could just move to whatever seat you wanted after the 2nd inning. But now that they're AWESOME it's fun, too. At 11-2 we have the best winning percentage in baseball, and while I know the season is young, it's exciting nonetheless. AND David Murphy is on the All-Star ballot this year! I just adore him and am so glad he's finally getting some credit for his consistency. We already looking forward to going to the game next Friday with our church kids and families. Go Rangers!

4. Since Matt was home today we started off the morning with a family stroll. It was fun to be out in the neighborhood while we watched everybody heading off for school and work. We came home to blueberry banana smoothies before we headed off to the zoo. The rain ended our zoo trip a little early, so we had lunch at Chick-fil-a on our way home. Yes, Chick-fil-a. We stopped our Whole30 Challenge today (I'll post my final thoughts soon) and I have never enjoyed a chicken sandwich and banana pudding milkshake more. And tonight Matt and I are going on a date while Avery and Landon hang out with Grandma and Grandaddy!

5. My awesome in-laws are coming in town tomorrow, I'm going to Nick and Brittany's wedding shower in the morning, and Landon is being dedicated at church on Sunday. Yay for great weekends!

Hope you have a great one, too.