SodaStream

I broke down and bought myself a SodaStream. I really don't like drinking water, but have come to like sparkling water. A friend of mine has one and raves about how much she loves it and uses it all the time. I must say, I'm hooked. I have started drinking more water than I normally do and it's just plain fun to make it!

If you're on the fence, I say go for it! I haven't tried the drink mixes that come with it because they are packed full of sugar. I have definitely found a new gadget I love, and I'm looking forward to trying some flavor conditions of my own with it!

(Also, I got the “Jet” and found the best price through Target with free shipping and 5% off with my redcard.)

 

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Wiggle Works

Last month, Maddie was invited to a birthday party of a girl in her preschool class (side note, this girl's parents have quickly become some of our closest friends here and we hang out with them all the time!).

Wiggle Works is a cute little place located inside a mall. They have a bunch of bright colors and inflatable toys for the kids to play on. Just take a look!

The kids had a great time and I can't wait to take the kids back. I saw recently on their Facebook page that they are moving to a different location in the mall, so they have a few new things and a bigger space! What a fun place for the kids!

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Alex * 5 Months Old

Alex is 5 months old! This little guy just melts my heart. He's such a sweetheart and my tiny snuggle bug. He loves his mommy and his smile just lights up the room.

The biggest things I have noticed from him this month are his babbling (this kid just “talks” all day long). I've taken a couple videos because he just acts like he's having a serious conversation.

The other thing is his hand control. He's gotten great at grabbing toys, holding them, chewing on them…he makes the funniest slurping noise when he's chewing on his hands.

He still rolls all over the place. He will roll from his back to stomach the instant you lay him down. He can roll back to his back, but he doesn't really know what he did. He still hasn't become very comfortable on his stomach enough to lay his head down. He just gets mad and rubs his face on the carpet.

This lack of love for his stomach is going to become an issue soon at bedtime. He loves being swaddled and at some point I am going to need to stop that and he's not going to like it. He gets drowsy most of the time just after you swaddle him. The tighter you get the blanket, the better.

He has been getting slightly better with naps and will fall asleep without the swaddle. But he usually needs to be very tired for this to happen.

The girls are still enamored by him, they hug, kiss, play and help with him all the time. Maddie loves to sing and dance to entertain him and he just lights up whenever his sisters are around. It's so sweet to see how much they all love each other.

Also, he's very fascinated with me while he eats. He pulls my hair, hits me in the face, grabs my glasses or necklaces, puts his finger in my mouth or nose, pokes me in the eye, scratches me…it is quite fun. :) Thankfully he eats pretty quickly so it's usually short-lived.

Happy 5 months little love bug!

 

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Bothell Landing

My friend invited me to a nearby park the other day. It was a gorgeous day, so we packed lunches and headed there after school. The park is right on a river and has original historical buildings near the park. There's a bridge that crosses the river onto the Burke Gillman Trail. We wandered, played and I can't wait to go back again!

 

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery

My mom came to visit us during her spring break from work. One of the fun things we did (that I had been wanting to do) was go to Chateau Ste. Michelle. It is only about 15 minutes from my house and since we had a nice morning, we went to visit and take a tour.

The grounds were beautiful. They have a small area with grape vines near the entrance (which I didn't take a picture of), but their vineyards are in another part of Washington.

The tour was quick (took about 30 minutes), informative and fun. This location bottles Riesling. The machines weren't running the day we were there, but it was still really neat to see.

There were lots of boards/displays to read (which I didn't spend much time doing because the kids were with…and because I usually just look at the pictures).

There were many barrels of wine being stored. It's amazing to think of the amount of wine they can store inside them.

They also do a concert series at the winery in the summer. There was a big sign of the artists that played in 2014.

After the tour, they lead you into a big room for the wine tasting. We got to try three different wines: Chardonnay, a summer blend and Merlot. Yum!

Then you can go into another room for a paid sampling or browse the gift shop and wine shop. I was going to buy some wine, but decided I would wait for now. I'd love to go back and do a more thorough wine tasting when I don't have three kids with me and then I will buy some!

The kids were all really good and I think they even had fun. Maddie was even listening because she was able to tell Chuck about it later. They offered crackers to the kids and grape juice. So if you take kids with you, that might be fun for them. The winery also has a couple of peacocks on the grounds. We did see them from a distance as we left, but weren't close enough to get a picture of them.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and a fun morning outing to do. I don't think I would go alone with the kids because well, wine sampling with your kids was a little awkward. But if you bring a friend with, it wasn't nearly as weird. :) I will definitely be back, though. And I think I'll make plans to check out the other winery across the street, too!

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Maddie’s 4th Birthday & Party

I'm about a month late writing about this. I couldn't skip it, so better late than never!

In the midst of our move, our sweet Maddie turned 4! She's turned into quite an amazing little girl and we are so proud of her. She's silly and caring and sensitive and helpful and smart and understanding and sassy and independent. Moving was hard on her. Leaving friends and family, her house and things she was familiar with. But she's been a great big sister and after some talks and snuggles, she has adjusted well.

She loves school, so I made sure to find her a school to start when we got here. We have since changed to a school closer to home and she loves every minute!

She's a singer, actress and a comedian. She loves putting on clothes to dance around and sing. Her newest love is singing and dancing in front of the mirror….usually in a million different outfits or a bathing suit. :) (I did the same thing at her age!) She also loves making up songs. They are hilarious, ridiculous and so very off-key. But she sings with such passion! It's just heartwarming!

Back to her party. I met a couple new friends online (and an old friend) who have kids the same age, so they came as well as our wonderful friend, Kelly (who spoils our kids rotten…in a good way!) and her fiancé. And it so happened that my dad ended up being in town for the party. We were still in temp housing at the apartment, so we rented the theater room. I got some activities, snacks, popcorn…and we ordered pizza for lunch. We put a movie on the big screen and skyped with our moms. It turned out great! Here's a few pictures.

We are so happy her birthday turned out so well even with all we had going on. And thank you to those of you who were there and sent her gifts! You all made a four year old feel very special!

 

 

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Crockpot Fajita Soup

I had a request or the recipe. Since I changed so much, I figured I should do a post to show how I made it.

I have to say that I'm not usually very good about finding a recipe and modifying it. Especially the first time. Usually, I would try a meal following the directions and then change it up the second time. I guess I was feeling daring.

HERE is the original recipe I found on Pinterest.

These are the changes I made:

  1. Eliminated the chicken. I decided to make this a vegetarian meal.
  2. Instead of adding two cans of cream of chicken soup, I made my own “cream of anything” soup mix that I also found on Pinterest. I used vegetable bouillon for the mix. Then added the recommended amounts of mix and water for two cans worth.
  3. Used vegetable broth instead of water.
  4. Added a can of pinto beans.
  5. Added a bag of frozen peppers and onions.
The meal was really good and so very simple to make. I'm already counting down the days until I can make it again! This is definitely going to be a staple in my rotation of meals and I think you should try it, too.

 

 

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Alex * 4 Months Old

Alex is FOUR months old today. We just love him more each day. He's the sweetest, happiest, most easy going little baby. His sisters love him to pieces and he's the perfect addition to our family.

This month, I stopped nursing and although it was a hard choice, it has definitely been the right one for us. Alex has been happy and I have been able to get a lot done since I'm not tied to the couch with him. I also went out with some friends for dinner (and drinks) while Chuck watched the kids. I also took Maddie to a birthday party (and this may have been one of the only times I have done something with just her in a LONG time, if ever). He gets really excited when he sees his bottles. This boy just loves his food!

Alex has been sleeping through the night. He loves being swaddled and it usually puts him right to sleep. He has also been staying awake a lot more during the day and will usually take a decent afternoon nap around the same time the girls have their rest times. It's heavenly!

He really likes to roll over whenever I set him on the floor. He gets really upset because he can't roll back, but it takes hi only a few seconds to roll onto his stomach. I need to set something by hi so he won't roll over and get mad. :)

Alex has been playing with his toys a lot. He likes to grab at toys (or my hair) whenever he can. He's got quite a strong little grip to him! He's been getting his hands to his mouth a lot more and sometimes will grab his feet, too.

He's been doing a lot of babbling. He likes to coo at you and will sit there talking to his toys. He continues to like the game of sticking your tongue out at him and he will stick his out back at you.

One of my favorite things is getting him to laugh when you tickle his tummy, sides, armpits or neck. Baby giggles are just the sweetest noise ever!

 

So yet another month has flown by and we have loved every minute. I'm looking forward to him sitting up more and playing with more toys and I think it will be lots of fun when he starts eating solid food in a couple months!

 

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The End of a Nursing Era

As I sit here nursing what is likely my last baby for the final time, I realized a few things. I feel so lucky that I have been able to nurse all three of my babies. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I knew it was something I wanted try to do and I made it work. I struggled quite a bit with each of them at the beginning (Alex being the most challenging) and I started using a nursing shield with all of the kids and weaned off it with them all. I’ve become more confident with nursing in public, multi-tasking while nursing and the whole process.

I nursed the girls for around six months. This had worked for me. I stopped nursing around the time they started solid food, started sleep training and got their pacifier taken away. I know that sounds harsh to do them all about the same time, but it has worked for us.

With Alex, I had planned to nurse until six months as well. He’s been a great sleeper from the beginning, but hasn’t really been satisfied nursing. He enjoys it, but never seemed full. I started giving him bottles before bed a couple months ago and he would get swaddled and sleep through the night. This is when we knew that he needed more than I could give him. He would also seem very frustrated while he was eating. Maybe because he had to work to get his food, or there just wasn’t enough there.

In the end, we decided that it was time to switch to bottles and end the nursing. The past few days I have been weaning him off me and moving to bottles during the day. He’s done great and has been a happy boy. He naps longer and is happy much longer. This has given me the ability to get some much needed chores and tasks done around the house that I wasn’t getting to before because I was stuck on the couch with a baby attached to me.

I was a little hesitant to stop before he was six months old (he’s almost four months), but in the end, this is what was right for me, him and our family.

I also thought that I might have a hard time (be emotional) stopping because, well, my baby. My last baby. But I have confirmed that I’m not a very sentimental person (something I already knew about myself). I thought there would be tears or something. But I nursed him and fell asleep while he was eating. Pretty anti-climactic. And so typical of me. :)

I’ve been lucky enough to have this time with each of my kids, but I am anticipating the next stage of life with my kids. I am looking forward to being done with the baby stage and moving on, taking the kids on vacations and adventures and not being tied to bottles, nap times, all those things that can be stressful. Granted, I know this is a long way in the future, but it’s something I am excited about.

So there you have it. One baby closer to growing up. Me, I’ll be wearing some tight sports bras for a couple days and then looking forward to actual undergarments and fitting into my clothes again. And now that I can’t justify eating anything I want since I’m not nursing, it’s time to start watching what I eat again and work off the rest of this baby weight. Just in time for summer, right!? :) Oh, and wine. Don’t forget the wine. I mean, I have three kids four and under. Mama needs some wine! :)

 

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When Kids Use an iPad Camera

There were hundreds like this that I deleted. And both Maddie and Dannie are the budding photographers. From the eyes of a child, right?

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