PODCASTS // My Latest Obsession

I’ve been absent from the blog lately, in case someone out there has been waiting for a new post. No excuses. It’s been busy here and I let it slide. 

I just needed to get on here and write this out:

PODCASTS ARE THE BOMB. For real. Back when Cece was born – A YEAR AGO!! – I asked my brother for podcast recommendations to listen to during those middle of the night feedings. He suggested a couple. One of them stuck: Stuff You Should Know.

These guys make me happy. They pick a topic, research it, and then just talk about it. I can’t tell you how much cool stuff I’ve learned from Josh and Chuck over the past year. From things like earwax – way more interesting than I thought it would be – to the Lewis and Clark expedition. (That Lewis and Clark episode is one of my favorites.) You can listen to their podcasts on their website or on iTunes. 

A few weeks ago we went back to Iowa. It’s an eight hour drive. I don’t think I turned on the radio once. I plugged my phone into the auxiliary outlet in my car and listened to Stuff You Should Know. For eight hours. Both ways. 

Then just the other day my sister-in-law told me about another podcast called Being Boss. It’s two women who talk about being creative entrepreneurs. I don’t even have a business, but these women have me all jacked up and motivated! It’s been three days since Sheila (my sister-in-law) discovered them, and I’ve listened to eight of their podcasts. EIGHT!! 

They are inspiring women and I love what they are doing. If you feel like getting some motivation, you can listen to their podcasts on their website or iTunes, also. I listen to them while I fold laundry, clean up, wash dishes, rock the baby to sleep, and generally putz around the house. 

This is how jacked up these ladies have made me: I got up at 5:45 this morning, showered, ate breakfast, watered the garden, and finished a project before 8 a.m. Then my three-year-old woke up. I fed her breakfast, we let the chickens out, put clothes on the line, and then headed out of town by 9:30. I may not run a business, but I do run my house. They gave me my new mantra: Do the work. I also managed to wash all of our dishes by hand (no dishwasher in this house), clean the master bathroom – including mopping! – and start dinner before Shane got home around 5:30. 

I did the work. 

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Norah’s bum knee debacle

Well, today was interesting. It all started yesterday afternoon.

Norah was sitting at the table eating a snack. She told me she had to go potty and got off the chair. Then she grabbed her knee, said it was “frowny,” and asked if I could carry her to the bathroom. I did, and didn’t think much of it. 

Then she did it again. 

I sat her on the couch and took a look at her knee. It looked fine to me! She relaxed and watched a show. She spent the evening saying her knee was still frowny, and refusing to walk. 

At bedtime she even asked for medicine.

When she woke up, she still wouldn’t walk, or even stand up. I got ahold of a friend who is a retired physical therapist (isn’t it great to know people?!) and she came over right away. I’m talking 7 a.m.! She talked to Norah and checked out her knee. Then she recommended we take her to an orthopedist. 

Awesome. 

We called, and they were booked. So we headed to urgent care. If it was bad enough, they would be able to get us into ortho. 

She got another examination, plus some x-rays. All they saw was some minor swelling around her knee. The doctor said to basically just follow her lead. If she doesn’t want to stand and put pressure on it, then don’t. If she wants to get up and run, then do that. 

They did get us an appointment with ortho for next week. If she’s up and running then we can cancel. But so far, she’s still not standing on her right leg. 

The doctor said that kids love to run and jump. So if she’s sitting and refusing to run around, then something hurts. And if you know Norah, jumping is her thing. We don’t call her Norah Jean Jumping Bean for no reason!

She did so great at the doctor’s office! In the past, she screamed and cried the entire time. No tears, no crying this time! I’m impressed. 

Hopefully we’ll get some good news next week! In the meantime, I’ll be home, hanging out with my two girls – neither of which can walk πŸ˜‰ 

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Orlando Family Vacation!

The last week in February, Shane, myself, the kids, my parents and my brother took a family vacation to Orlando! We had been planning the trip for nearly a year. It was a celebration of both my parents’ 60th birthdays and their 40th anniversary. 

We had a great time, hitting up Universal Studios (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!), soaking up some sunshine, and getting to relax while spending time with family. 

When my brother and I met outside of our hotel rooms one morning, we just happened to both be wearing our Raygun shirts, proclaiming the awesomeness of Iowa. Seriously – it was a coincidence. 

Proud Iowans
Proud Iowans

I was so excited to go to Harry Potter World. I’m basically like a 12-year-old when it comes to Harry Potter. It did not disappoint! The first day we went to Islands of Adventure which has Hogsmeade. It was so cool to see the little shops with snow covered roofs. Unfortunately, a lot of the store fronts are fake, and the real stores are very narrow! But it was cool nonetheless. Butterbeer is delicious. As are chocolate frogs πŸ™‚ 

We stopped in Honeydukes and got some candies. We bought lots of overpriced merchandise! One of my favorite stores was Weaselys Wizard Wheezes. If you’re a HP fan, visiting Universal Studios is a MUST!! 

At Islands of Adventure, there is a Dr. Seuss World too. It was a great stop for Norah to burn off some energy and see some of her favorite characters. She’s still too small for most rides, but she did get to go on the carousel! 

Riding the carousel at Dr. Seuss World
Riding the carousel at Dr. Seuss World
Norah playing in the stream at Dr. Seuss World.
Norah playing in the stream at Dr. Seuss World.

We also spent a day at Universal Studios, hitting up Diagon Alley. I liked this park more than the other. It was bigger and there was more to see. I even liked Diagon Alley more than Hogsmeade! Shane is not a Harry Potter fan, so he took Norah to the Curious George Playground and Fivel Goes West Playground while the rest of us explored Diagon Alley. 

I knew staying on my diet would be tricky. I managed pretty well though! I ate a lot of rice and steamed broccoli – luckily most restaurants have this. One of my favorite meals was the half rotisserie chicken from Wolfgang Pucks at Downtown Disney. It was a plateful of awesome, soaked in butter. Mmmmm, butter. 

I ended up getting two migraines on the trip. The first one was on the first day. My guess is because we flew over lunchtime and I basically skipped a meal. Big no-no! The second was on the fourth day. I don’t know why. It just happened. I took my meds, and dealt with it.

Also you may remember from my Thanksgiving post that my brother has Celiac Disease aka he can’t eat gluten or he will be a hurtin’ unit. 

My dad turned 61 while we were there. We celebrated with a great lunch at Lombard’s in Universal Studios. 

Happy Birthday Dad!
Happy Birthday Dad!

The girls were AMAZING on the trip. Seriously! Based on Cece’s last hotel stay, we assumed we would be getting zero sleep. But she slept all night, almost every night! I may have had to feed her during the night twice. Norah was also awesome, as usual πŸ™‚ She just rolls with whatever we were doing. 

We also did some non-theme park stuff. Our hotel had a waterpark attached to it, so we spent the first day (the warmest day) doing that. It was Cece’s first time swimming, and she seemed to like it! Norah loves swimming. She’s basically a fish. 

Enjoying the Florida sunshine!
Enjoying the Florida sunshine!

There was a billboard right outside of our hotel advertising M&M World. After seeing it several times a day, the ad worked and we all ventured to said M&M World. It was awesome! Expensive, but awesome.

M&M World, aka Norah's idea of heaven.
M&M World, aka Norah’s idea of heaven.

 My favorite picture of the trip? Cece threatening my brother with a five-finger death punch:

Cece fist

 

My second favorite picture? My parent’s getting photobombed in front of the Universal Studios Globe:

Photobomb 

That was our vacation in a big nutshell. It was unbelievably helpful to outnumber the kids 5-2. I could not – and would not – have done it without all those extra hands! 

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My Lifesaver

In a typical day (as typical as they get around here), Shane is gone all day, leaving around 7 a.m. and returning by 5 or 6 p.m. Norah wakes up sometime in the night and ends up in our bed. Cece sleeps all morning, waking up around 10 a.m. 

We play. We eat lunch. Cece naps (hopefully in her crib). We might watch a couple episodes of Dinosaur Train. I try to get some chores done around the house. 

But inevitably, at some point during the day, Cece will start squealing. It’s high pitched and very loud. It could wake the dead. It generally means, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND ONLY ME AND IF YOU SO MUCH AS LOOK AWAY I’LL SQUEAL AGAIN!” 

What is one to do in this situation? I stick her in my Boba

 

 She chills out, barely makes a peep, sometimes snoozes, and I have my hands free! 

I actually have two Bobas. I bought one for Norah when she was just over a year old. We were going on vacation and I loathe taking strollers anywhere. I carried her EVERYWHERE on that trip! People kept asking if my back hurt. Nope! 

Cece’s Boba I actually won from a blog I follow – Tales of a Mountain Mama. Cece’s is a Boba 4G (Norah’s is a 3G). The 4G has a special infant insert that boosts the baby up so they fit better. 

So far, our Bobas have gone lots of places. 

To the top of Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse Monument

Hiking around the ranch.

At the ranch
Peek!

Virginia Beach. 

VA Beach nap
Boba naps are the best
VA Beach train
On kiddie rides in Virginia Beach

The Colorado Springs Zoo.

CO Springs Zoo
Feeding giraffes!

We also get to share babywearing duties!

Mom carrying NJ
My mom carrying Norah on a hike
volksmarch
Sharing babywearing duties on the Volksmarch to Crazy Horse Monument

I also just use it around the house to keep my sanity.

boba around the house
She ended up napping in here, because, who wouldn’t?!

So, if you have kids, get yourself a Boba. Or a wrap. Or SOMETHING to carry the baby in to free up your hands and make your life soooo much easier. Just make sure it’s a safe one, no “crotch danglers,” and no forward facing carriers. There’s lots of reasoning behind it.  Your baby will thank you. #WearAllTheBabies

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Toddler Lunches

Norah eating 1

I recently started doing something that has made my life much easier: meal planning Norah’s lunch. 

I grew up terribly picky. I ate a LOT of PB&Js and grilled cheese sandwiches. But only creamy peanut butter. And only grape jelly. And heaven help the person who put marinara on my noodles. 

Norah is not a picky eater – thank goodness!

However, I was stuck in a rut. She was eating an awful lot of PB&Js with a side of cottage cheese for lunch. And sometimes dinner. She wasn’t complaining, but I wanted to change things up and offer some diversity.

I poked around on the web, looking at other toddler lunch ideas. I wrote down everything I knew she would eat. It was a pretty long list! 

Then I wrote out her lunches for the week. I tried to incorporate a veggie, fruit and protein in each meal. I also meal plan for our family, so some of the lunches are based off leftovers from that plan.

Here’s what I did for this week:

Monday: Sliced hard boiled egg, toast with peanut butter, steamed carrots.

Tuesday: Turkey and cheese sandwich, sliced apples, steamed carrots.

Wednesday: Rice with mixed veggies, cottage cheese, pears.

Thursday: Quinoa chicken enchilada bowl, grapes.

Friday: Turkey and cheese on crackers, yogurt with granola, carrots.

Saturday: Butternut squash, toast with peanut butter, banana.

Can you tell I just made a big batch of steamed carrots? πŸ™‚ Luckily, she loves them! I think it’s because I ate carrots and hummus every day while I was pregnant with her. 

Norah eating 2

Monday’s meal went great. She ate everything, then asked for more carrots. While she was eating those carrots, I sliced an apple for myself. Then she asked for some of my apple. We are both bottomless pits. 

So, that was my stroke of genius for the week. I plan on typing up my list, and making a template for her lunches. Then I can stick it in a page protector, put it on the fridge, and write on it with a dry erase marker. 

Have you ever meal planned for your toddler? Do you have any other mommy hacks that made your life easier? Please share!

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