Dave · Kate · Leo

the state of things

It’s been about a month since I’ve posted, which is by far the longest I’ve ever gone.  The days have been busy, the hours short, and I either haven’t had time to blog or haven’t really wanted to say anything.  That paints a rather dire picture, but it’s really the opposite.  Our days are full of good things – a busy toddler, a growing baby, work, housework, new recipes, walks in the spring air, time at the park, running, and even small pockets for reading or just hanging out.  I’m doubtful I’ll be back here regularly for awhile – it’ll be sporadic at best – but here’s a few things that have been happening around here:

Leo: We’ve enrolled Leo in preschool for the fall!  We’re excited about this for him, mainly because he’s incredibly social and loves playmates.  The school is within walking distance of our house and we were really pleased with it at our visit.  We think he’s going to love it.  He’s incredibly excited about going, which has led to the next big thing: potty training.  We told Leo he couldn’t go to his new school until he was using the potty and about a week later he told us he was ready to wear underwear.  We jumped on that opportunity and, true to his word, he is ready for underwear!  For the most part it’s been a pretty easy transition.  He’s had few accidents, has used public toilets without fear, has put himself on the potty without our asking, and has even stayed dry through naps and the night (even though we still had him in a diaper)!  He has yet to poop on the potty, but we’re working on it.  We’re pretty confident that this, too, will be a matter of decision for him, but we’re trying to encourage that decision with multiple incentives (he loves fruit snacks so we upped the ante and bought Gushers – the ultimate fruit snack!), lots of praise, tons of conversations/songs about poop, and trying to watch him for signs of poop.  It’ll happen.

Kate: Kate’s nearing 6 months, which is just crazy.  She’s still incredibly happy and smiley and sweet during the day.  She takes a 45-90 minute morning nap, a 90-120 minute post-lunch nap, and a 45 minute late afternoon nap (although this one sometimes gets skipped depending on earlier naps and what’s going on).  She’s a bit of a wild animal at night, but we’ve been working to “break” her a bit.  Previously she was going every 3-4 hours at night still, which was wearing me out big time.  But with a little bit of letting her cry, we’ve moved to once a night.  She now eats at 7am, 10am, 2pm, 4pm, 6:30pm, 11pm (or whenever she wakes up).  We’ve had some really good nights lately, which gives us hope that we might be a bit “out of the woods.”  We started solid foods a few weeks ago but then had some poop issues, so we backed off.  We’ve started slowly introducing again – just last night – after Little Miss was throwing a fit at dinner time because we were eating and she was not (seriously, we tried everything and nothing made her happy… until Dave suggested maybe she was actually just wanting to eat, too).

Running: I didn’t run most of March because of injury and sickness.  I didn’t run most of April because I was too dang tired and I just didn’t feel like it.  I was pretty exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally, and running sounded like too much.  I needed something restorative instead of challenging.  Some days I walked.  A lot of days I slept in.  On days I ran I was getting about 6 hours of sleep in broken chunks, so sleeping in seemed like an obvious choice.  While it didn’t do anything to change my postpartum body, it was definitely the right choice at the time.  Since Kate has started sleeping better I’ve been running more.  Three changes have helped get me back out there: 1) a new route.  I’d been running my old route for the better part of 5 years and I was tiiiiiired of it.  I found a new route that is still well-lit and residential and – bonus – it’s extra miles.  2) I stopped caring about pace.  My preferred pace is always sub-9, but that’s just not happening right now.  Instead I’m just running whatever feels comfortable, which ends up being around 10:30 pace.  I’m fine with that, as pace isn’t (or shouldn’t be) my driving force for running.  And it’ll probably drop as I regain fitness anyway.  3) I’m listening to music or audio books while I run.  Normally I eschewed this since I run when it’s still fairly dark out, but lately I’ve been listening in one ear.  It’s helped to change it up for me and keeps my mind off “uggggh I feel out of shape.”

Dave and I: Here’s how I can best describe the transition from one kid to two: One kid (Leo) fit pretty easily into our already-existing lives.  We had to make a few adjustments but, for the most part, we could still do a lot of what we wanted, just with a kid along.  But with two kids it’s definitely more of us fitting in to their lives.  Our schedules and decisions revolve largely around the kids – what they need, if they can come, their schedule, etc.  I don’t think this is bad.  I think it’s totally necessary and will likely shift again and balance out as they get older.  However, it’s definitely meant some adjustment for Dave and I – adjusting our schedules, our energy, our expectations.  One thing that has been really good for us is carving out a 30 minute time slot in the day (for us 6:30am-7am) where we sit and talk.  We get Leo playing in his room or put on a show (Kate is still sleeping) and get some time to sit together and really talk.  It’s not long, but it’s enough for us to feel like we’re still married and still friends outside of kids and diapers and feedings and all that.  I’m so grateful Dave initiated this for us!

So that’s a general rundown on the state of things around here.  The days are flying by and we’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity we have to be this family of four and to watch these babes of ours grow and change right in front of us.  What a gift (and before we paint too rosy a picture, yes, also sometimes an exhausting, frustrating, I’m going to hide in a closet for alone time “gift”)!

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Dave

Dave’s birthday

On Wednesday Dave turned 32!  We kept our celebration pretty low-key, but Leo and I did manage to pull together a few fun things for Dave (mainly food).

First, a birthday banner made out of paper plates (inspired by Shannan).  I drew on the letters and Leo colored them with markers.  It was a fun project and something we can keep and reuse!

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Next, lots of food for the birthday boy!  We started Dave’s birthday week off with lasagna, one of his favorites.  Then for his actual birthday Leo and I made a bunch of Dave’s favorite foods – cheese crackers, cauliflower mac and cheese, baked oatmeal, and pb chocolate oatmeal bars.

Leo also colored Dave a picture and we compiled a list of things Leo loves about Pa.  Leo contributed some entirely on his own and some items with my prompting.

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Leo definitely understands birthdays a bit more now, so he was pretty excited to celebrate (might have something to do with special birthday treats…).  He’s in luck, because February is a crazy birthday month for us.  Between my family and Dave’s family we have the following February birthdays:

  • Dave
  • 3 nieces
  • 3 sisters
  • 1 brother
  • 1 mom

In fact, we have an intense birthday week, with a birthday on the 9th (my sister), the 10th (my brother), the 11th (a niece), the 12th (Dave), and the 14th (Dave’s sister)!

Do you have one month that is birthday-crazy for you?

Dave · trips

getting away

This past weekend my sister came down from Lansing and stayed with Leo so Dave and I could get away for awhile.  This was a combination getaway – to celebrate our 5 year anniversary in December (because with a newborn we won’t be going away), as a last getaway before baby girl arrives, and as a getaway date because we haven’t had one in awhile!

We left Saturday morning and headed up to Grand Rapids.  We didn’t have huge plans for the weekend – originally we thought we would spend a lot of time outside walking around downtown or parks, but the weather was a little cold and wet for that.  Instead, we just enjoyed doing whatever and being on our own!  We went to Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop for lunch when we first arrived and it did not disappoint!

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pretzel roll, havarti dill soup, tomato saffron soup, and a goat cheese-mozzarella-white cheddar-rosemary-olive oil and sea salt panini

We sat in a coffee shop.  We walked around a mall.  We read magazines in Barnes and Noble.  We saw The Butler at a discount theater (good movie, would be even better without Oprah).  We had delicious Mexican food for dinner and ate way too much queso.  We slept in.  Dave overcaffeinated himself.  We had a leisurely breakfast and read books.  We walked around Target.  We talked and talked and just hung out.  It was perfect!

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Thanks, Jill, for watching Leo for us!!

Dave · recipes

banana chocolate chip muffins

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins or Dave’s Favorite Muffins Ever (recipe adapted from here) – gluten free and vegan

  • 6 brown-spotted ripe bananas
  • 1/2c. + 2T. milk (any kind – we use almond)
  • 3t. vanilla
  • 1c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4c. truvia baking blend (or 2 1/4c. brown sugar)
  • 6c. oat flour (I make my own by grinding oats in the blender)
  • 4 1/2t. baking powder
  • 1 1/2t. baking soda
  • dark chocolate chips (shake in as many as you think it needs)

Cream together the bananas, milk, vanilla, applesauce, and truvia until bananas are well mashed and ingredients are well mixed.  Add in flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon into greased muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 2 dozen.

We’ve been making these muffins on a regular basis.  Dave is in deep, deep loooove with them.  Direct quotes from him: “This is what has been missing in my life” and “It tastes like Christmas!”  He’s just a little obsessed with them.  Leo chows them down, too.  They’ve also been great for having Leo start helping in the kitchen.  Right now we just pull the step stool over to the counter and he watches while I mix things together – and samples chocolate chips.  Soon I know he’ll be able to help measure and pour, which will be a lot of fun (and messy!), too.

Hope you like these as much as we do!

Dave · Leo

family bike ride

On Saturday afternoon Dave and I decided to take Leo for a bike ride to the soft pretzel shop.  It’s been awhile since we’ve biked and Leo loved being back in the trailer – makes me think we should make more of an effort to take even short rides with him!

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behemoth delicious soft pretzel + cheese sauce = happiness
love Leo's little happy face!
love Leo’s little happy face!

It was probably only 5 miles total but when we got home I was so tired!  It took me about 2 hours to recoup my energy.  I’m definitely not used to biking.

Other events of the weekend: two more meals in the freezer (chickpea sundried tomato pesto burgers – recipe coming this week – and bean and quinoa chili), the regular housecleaning and chores, a church “date” (Dave and I have decided that with Leo in the nursery church feels a lot like a date), solo running, and Sunday afternoon football.  All in all, a really great weekend!

What was notable about your weekend?

date nights · Dave

date night

Last night Dave and I escaped the house for an impromptu date night (a friend had a free night and offered to come over which was awesome!).  We hit up Applebee’s for some dessert, 100% because we had a gift card to use.  I got the chocolate lava cake and Dave got the apple chimi cheesecakes.  We finished our plates and walked out with money still on our card (return trip?).  I felt uncomfortably full because I was uncomfortable even before dessert – baby girl was not sitting so pretty.

Here’s the wild side, guys: we left at 6:59pm and arrived home at 7:58pm.  We’re crazy, I know.

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We could have stayed out longer but a certain toddler that we share the house with doesn’t exactly sleep in just because we stole a date night (and since his fever this weekend still hasn’t been sleeping so great at nights or naps).

Still, 59 minutes of solo time with that guy?  The best.

Dave · guest blogger · Leo

guest post: boys day

When Kim’s in the office, it’s “Boy’s Day” for me and Leo. In the past, this has basically meant one big party – doing lots of fun stuff together, eating chocolate in the morning, and having a blast.

We still enjoy our time, but lately it’s become a biiiit more tedious.

Leo has now fully entered his testing boundaries stage, which is completely normal and at times completely exhausting.

In the morning, it was all I could do to wrestle a bit with him and then we had a 30 minute battle over yes-you-need-to-eat-that-for-lunch. The afternoon picked up as we headed out for fro-yo and the train museum.

He’s a good boy, and I think that deep down he wants to act like it, but there are times that kid is a STINKER! Then disciplinarian Pa hits the scene, and there is great wailing and woe.

We’ll get there. Eventually.

In the meantime, Kim and I joke about how being parents ages you, like those before and after photos of presidents.

before
before
after
after
after
after

Watch for the wrinkles.