Feb 20, 2014

A Day in the Life

As most of you know, I am a stay at home mom to three precious boys: John who is 5, Matthew is 3, and Thomas is 1. I tried to document one of our days through pictures (and text!). I picked a random day since our schedules are pretty varied depending on the day being that John and Matthew are in preschool two days a week. So, this day in the glamorous life of Jen was on Wednesdy February 19, 2014.

...and here we go...

I got to sleep in today!! I try to wake up at 4:30 to hit the gym and shower before Brad leaves for work, but Wednesdays are my days to sleep in. Thankfully ALL sweet boys also slept until 7 which doesn't always happen. However I did wake up with a headache so I took care of that before getting T Bone.

John waited for me to change Thomas' diaper by reading one of the baby books. I am so proud of John because he is teaching himself to read so I don't doubt the could read that whole book by himself!

I often find Matthew at the top of the stairs when he wakes up. He takes a while to get moving when he wakes up so he is usually lounging for an extra couple minutes.

T Bone flipped through a book after a diaper change. He is now getting into books which I love! He will bring me books to read which is similar to John when he was a baby.

We head downstairs and the first place Thomas heads is the pantry. He knows where the good stuff is!

Our usual breakfast is french toast (the egg free kind since John is allergic to eggs) or a whole grain waffle with yogurt. Thomas also has fruit.

While the boys finish up breakfast I try to clean up the kitchen. Notice the word 'try'. Doesn't always happen especially on a day that they boys go to school and we are more rushed. One thing that never fails to baffle me is how many kid cups we go through in a day. Usually the top rack is full of kid cups!

Mr. Messy helps me switch out laundry after breakfast. He loves to help me but I am sure this will be short lived and he will follow in his brothers' footsteps in the laundry department.

A little play time before getting dressed. T Bone and John had 'races' on the donkey and a rocking horse while Matthew drove his car 'to Walmart to get a potato'. Haha!

Today is Aunt Allison's birthday so we call to say Happy Birthday (since she didn't answer her facetime call!). We decide Matthew is feeling well enough, and the weather is holding out, so we make plans to  meet her and my other sister at the park. We are so lucky that all three of us sisters are stay at home moms, have kids the same age AND live near each other. We try to meet up every Wednesday so the kids can play and the moms can try to have an adult conversation. Anywho, this means we actually have to get dressed so we can pack up and head out!
We make it to the park. Yes, it takes us about an hour to get 4 people dressed, pack up our bags and pack lunch for the park. Thomas is probably the easiest baby ever EXCEPT when it is time to get dressed. I think he gets jealous of the attention I am giving John and Matthew so he wants to be held or get in my lap the WHOLE TIME I am getting the boys dressed. Makes things a tad more difficult! But, we made it!

My dad is retiring next month and happened to be home from work. So he came along to play at the park with his favorite grandkids!

However, Grandpa did not pack his lunch (not surprising to me!) so we all went to Central Market for lunch instead. I hadn't been there before and they actually had good food and a big playset for the kids to play.

T Bone crashed in the car on the way home and stayed asleep as I put him in his crib. I really wanted to do some work on the computer so I broke my 'No iPad Wednesday' rule and let the boys play for a little while. They did not complain...and actually were a little surprised. John said it must be a special day. :)

I finally fold the crap load of laundry piling up in my dining room. The boys actually helped me sort and match socks which was a HUGE help!

T Bone wakes up so Matty B reads while I change yet another diaper. (Matty B got a little messy when he went to the bathroom thus the no-pants attire!)

We put away Thomas' laundry while we are in his room. And by 'we' I mean 'I'.

In the playroom and I think 'Ok, Brad will be home soon. This is the home stretch!'

Brad gets home right as Thomas is getting fussy from being bored, hungry, and thirsty all at the same time. Since we are having burgers for dinner, we hang out outside while Brad grills. Of course, this is the best time for some races and luckily Batman joined in for the fun!

Thomas learned how to climb the ladder to the playset and today was the first time he realized how fun it was to go down the slide...over and over and over again. Easy for Brad but I am too short to help Thomas at the top of the slide. Guess I need to get a stool for over there now!

We head inside for dinner and then go upstairs to put away laundry in John and Matthew's room. We also try to pick up their rooms a little but didn't quite get finished.

Bubble baths for all three boys!

See, Thomas is the sweetest baby ever! Always giving me hugs! (don't mind my crazy hair...it was SO humid outside and that really messes with my curly hair!)

This is Brad's fake smile because he is about to kill me at this point. Apparently I didn't fill him in on my picture documentation of our day so he thinks I am just taking pictures for the fun of it. :)

And my picture taking isn't helping in this situation: a squirmy upset baby who needs a diaper and pajamas!

T Bone is asleep. The boys watch a show with milk and a cookie.

John and Matthew are asleep and amazingly they didn't get out of bed once beforehand. They must have been worn out!

Brad and I finished up watching Jimmy Falon which we dvr'd. (I needed a break from Breaking Bad which I CAN NOT get into...and we are in the 3rd season!) So we head to bed. Before get comfy under the covers, I set out my gym clothes so I can wake up at 4:30 the next day to work out before I start another crazy day with the boys.

And there, in all its glory, is a somewhat typical day at home with the boys. I love these days even when we go through the spectrum of laid back to crazy all in one day (sometimes in a span of one hour!). Man, writing it all out makes me feel tired thinking about our day!

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Healthy Eating for Busy Moms- Guest Post!

Healthy Eating for Busy Moms
Everyone wants to eat healthy, but most of the time this never really happens. Unhealthy foods have been widely commercialized, making it readily available and cheaper than natural food products. Most of us fall into this trap because of hectic schedules, which leave us minimal time to prepare healthy home cooked meals. Moms, in particular, are considered one of the busiest people on earth, especially if they also have a job outside of the home. They usually fall into routines where taking care of themselves goes way down on their to-do list. Here are several strategies that can help mom’s make a sensible, healthy diet, while juggling household chores, family activities and career.

Make a menu plan
Meal planning is one of the best ways to keep track of you and your family’s daily food intake. This can give you the time to research healthy recipes and list all the necessary ingredients for purchase at the store. It helps keep grocery shopping efficient, which cuts down on unplanned shopping trips. Additionally, having a meal plan can also help in avoiding unhealthy take out food and expensive dining out.

Do not skip breakfast
This is probably the most common rule everyone should follow. Skipping breakfast is a big no-no, especially for busy moms. Breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day for several reasons.  It allows you to maintain proper weight, it keeps you nourished early in the day, and it controls and improves your mental performance. Some people assume that skipping breakfast means less calorie intake, but this is not an effective strategy. Breakfast-skippers are more prone to eat more at lunch and throughout the day, and this will cause more unwanted calories. Most moms, especially working moms, tend to skip breakfast because of so little time and too many activities. One of the best strategies to avoid skipping breakfast is to cook extra meals during dinner and reheat them the next morning. Oatmeal with fruit is also one of the easiest breakfasts you can make, especially if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Make ahead healthy snacks
Most of the time, snacks are the culprit behind unhealthy eating because they are readily available and cheap; however, it also plays an important role in avoiding hunger pangs and overeating. Juggling housework and taking care of the kids can be strenuous, especially if hunger gets in your way; however, most snacks that are readily available and cheap are unhealthy. There are numerous snacks that are healthy and filling, but sometimes it takes too much time to prepare them. It’s best to prepare your snacks beforehand so you can use the extra time for other chores. Healthy snacks include trail mix, almonds, fruits, cereal, yogurt and oatmeal.

Stock healthy frozen foods
Most families depend on unhealthy take out food because of insufficient time to shop and prepare home cooked meals. One of the best ways to ensure your family is eating healthy is stocking your freezer with healthy foods that can last longer, without compromising quality. Some of the healthy food choices that you can freeze include fruits, soups, breads, sauces, vegetables and meat.

Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are an attractive substitute for sugar because of low or zero calorie content; however, these can trigger cravings and hunger that can result in overeating and unhealthy food choices. If you want to stick to healthy eating, try to incorporate natural sweeteners instead of artificial sugar substitutes. Natural sweeteners include honey, molasses, maple syrup, date sugar and agave nectar.

Exercise daily
Exercise is probably the most neglected routine for all busy moms because they think it requires too much time, which they don’t have. This is definitely one of the wrong notions about exercise. A 30-minute exercise daily can do wonders for your body as well as your mind. If you can’t do it in one go, you can divide your fitness sessions it into 3 sets of 10-minute workout throughout the day. There are other activities that can be considered as workouts, including running or playing with your child, pushing a stroller or washing the car. Exercise can also aid in relieving stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps in pumping up your endorphin count, resulting in a feel-good sensation that improves the overall mood for the whole day.

Sleep more
We all know that most moms are sleep-deprived because they have too many things to do with so little time. Getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night can be considered a luxury, but this is definitely not enough. Middle-of-the-night awakenings because of an infant or toddler can be difficult, but there are some ways to maximize the few hours of rest you can squeeze in. Some tend to catch up on work when the kids are sleeping, but taking a nap at the same time may benefit you more than slaving away at chores that can be done later. It’s a good idea to dim the lights when a nap is available, or a soothing bath can also help relax your mind and your body. Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol a few hours before bedtime, as this can also cause sleeping trouble at night.

David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/

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Feb 18, 2014

Photo Favs

Last week I finished up a 4 week online photography class. This course taught me the basics of editing using Lightroom, which I got for Christmas. I really enjoyed the class and it was a good way to continue investing in myself. I still have a ways to go in regards to photography, but I thought I would share some of my favorite photos from the past month.

By the way, did you notice the I was in TWO pictures! It is so hard to get pictures of me because I am the only who takes pictures but I am so happy my hubby snapped a shot or two of me. I am completely hooked on photography classes so now I need to save up so I can take my next class. My goal is next year to be brave enough to try out the Clickin' Moms conference!! :)

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