Friday, January 31, 2014

Basement Renovation: From Drab to Fab

We started our basement remodel about a year ago. It's amazing how different it is now! It was something we knew we wanted to do when we bought the house about 1.5 yrs ago, and things finally settled down enough for us to start on it. Well, there was that and the knowledge that we would have a third little kiddo in nine months, further decreasing our free time/ability to get anything productive done! Haha! So, it was time to get busy making it happen.

It started out as two separate, mostly finished rooms. To get to the back room, though, you had to go through the unfinished space. It was a bad layout and the rooms were poorly finished (office-grade carpet with no padding, sagging ceiling tiles, dingy fluorescent lights, etc), so we didn't use them for anything but storage. We think the previous owners must have actually used the rooms as offices, because there were no less than 4 different phone outlets, with multiple lines. We wanted a media room, though, like we had in our Georgia house. A room where Josh could put a big TV, surround sound, and all of his other fun big boy toys. ;) We were tired of having the living room on the main level cluttered with toys. With 2 small boys, it was in constant disarray. So, the "man cave," if you will, would also need to include room for toys for the boys. We wanted to set it up where we could enjoy the TV area with the boys right nearby to keep an eye on them. So, Josh (with help from a willing and eager Ethan) started by ripping down the wall between the two rooms to create one big room.


We were able to take everything down except a support pole in the middle. The only way to remove it would mean re-bracing the top, a very expensive job (as in more than the entire project cost), so we decided we would just live with the pole. :)


Hello, open room! Next, Josh cleared out all of the bracing, and began patching the walls back up. He hung new drywall pieces, reinforced the edges of the beam, and painted everything.


Next, the nasty carpet had to go. It was a lovely shade of green and all (um, yeah), but had no padding, and was actually glued to the cement.


Here we are before and after carpet.


The room felt 100% better already! Next, we painted it our favorite shade of green (LaFonda Wild West Green - Valspar 6006-4A). We actually love it so much that we've used that same color in every house we've had now! Then, out went the big fluorescent lights, and lots of new canned lights were installed. No more dark, dingy space. The ceiling tiles were also in rough shape and sagging in the middles, so Josh ran some new bars and we got new smaller tiles to replace them. Awesome!!


We covered the ugly pole with a wooden piece that glues directly onto it. Now it looks nice and we don't mind having it there at all. We still need to decide if we want to paint it white or not. And here are the finished pics...



Of course, the room was not complete without a 60" plasma smart TV and surround sound! You know what was even better? Purchasing that TV with credit card reward cards, so it was completely free! Then turning around and using all of the Sears points we earned from that purchase to get a new patio set for free, too! :) Josh ran all of the wiring behind the walls and ceiling tiles so that it would look nice. He also purchased a recessed outlet that fits into the wall, behind the TV, so that no cords would be showing. Love it!


I decided to use mustard yellow and teal as accent colors to the green. I love how they look! I purchased all of the pillows and blankets, and new lampshade, at Target. :) We also bought new, brown DuraBlend leather couches at a local factory warehouse. No use buying nice stuff with three little boys to tear them up!


And I love how my DIY canvases look hanging above the couch. Now we need some updated ones with Amos in them! These particular ones cost me more than $5, as I had to order these large 16" x 20" prints, instead of printing them at home.


Everyone is loving our new family space. It's where we go to watch TV and play, and pretty much hang out all day. It's great for keeping the loud, rowdy big boys downstairs, as far away from a napping Amos as possible! Haha! Now Josh can blare his music, or movies, as loud as he wants, too, after the boys are in bed!


I'm adding details, a little at a time. Can you believe my luck finding this picture frame with my accent colors at Kohl's?? Perfect wording, too, for this perfect picture of all of my boys!! I literally smile every time I look at it. :)



So, we took an unused space of our house and turned it into the most warm, comfortable room yet! Josh did an incredible job, doing it all by himself! He's so handy...and all mine! I've mentioned before how he's stuck with me! ;) I can't wait to start on some of the other rooms (mainly the kitchen and bathrooms) and hopefully do some work with the other side of the basement, that is still unfinished, too! I have big plans for it that will hopefully work out! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Monday #39

Another successful week for the diet!! This morning, I'm down almost 10 pounds now! Not bad for just 3 weeks, with no exercising yet. :)

On Friday night, we decided to head out to dinner. We visited one of our favorites, The Chophouse. While their sweet corn tamale cakes are not diet food by any means, they are amazing, so we didn't pass them up. ;) I tried to go lower calorie with the rest of my meal, choosing the crab cakes, so that helped a bit. It was a nice treat after working hard all week counting calories!


Coming to my rescue!
On Saturday morning, I made another one of our favorites, pumpkin waffles. With a belly full of goodness, I ventured out to get my hair done. It had started to snow, but wasn't supposed to accumulate much, so I went ahead with my plans. As I sat there in the chair getting my hair done, I watched the snow continue to fall. Lots of snow. It came time to leave and I had to scrape a bunch of snow off of the van. The roads were looking less than desirable, as it didn't appear that they had been treated at all yet by that point. Not good. I made my way to the highway and joined the rest of the vehicles driving a whopping 35 to 40 mph the entire way to our exit. It wasn't going bad and I thought I was in the clear. Then I got to our neighborhood. Normally, the roads in our neighborhood manage to get cleared before the main roads. I have no idea how that happens, but it does. Not the case, though, that day. As I tried to get the van up the first hill, I started sliding. Ugh. Then my wheels just started spinning. Seriously? I was stuck. I tried to back down the hill and get a better start. No luck. A nice guy stopped to try to help, by pushing me. That didn't work. Then another nice guy stopped to help, and he tried backing it down the hill and going back up. Didn't work for him either. By that time, Josh had the boys loaded up in the 4-Runner, and was on his way to rescue me. So, along came my hero, who hooked a tow strap up to me and towed me home. Even if I had made it up that hill, I probably would have gotten stuck on another one. Once he had me safely back home, he went back out to tow another car that was stuck, then helped shovel an elderly couple's driveway so that they could get their van up their driveway. He's such an awesome guy! :) After all of the excitement, we decided it'd be best to stay in for the night, so I made some cheese pizza for us to enjoy for dinner. I tried a new crust recipe this time in the bread machine, and it was equally as delicious as the whole wheat recipe I normally use.

On Sunday morning, Josh made our usual egg bagel sandwiches, and some cream of wheat. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to church because nothing had been done with the roads, and we didn't want to risk it in the van again. The snow was packed so solid that it made for some very slippery conditions. Luckily, the temps rose later in the day, and by noon, the snow was finally melting off the road so that we could drive again! Just in time for a much-needed grocery store run.


Sunday: Mixed greens salad with grilled chicken strips
We decided to opt for something lighter for dinner. I buy an organic spring mix, and topped mine with a yummy cilantro lime ranch dressing, the chicken, sunflower seeds, asiago cheese ciabatta croutons, and a little shredded mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Monday: Crispy shrimp pasta, oven roasted broccoli
This was so tasty a couple of weeks ago that we wanted it again! :) A friend made this and added some diced red bell pepper to hers. That looked like a yummy addition, so I may try that, too.

Tuesday: Roasted potatoes, chicken sausage and peppers
I saw this one come across my Facebook feed, and thought it looked nice and easy and delicious. We'll give it a try and I'll let you know what we think! Skinnytaste is always a great resource for good, healthier meals.

Wednesday: Brown butter chicken and crispy sage (see recipe below) over a savory quinoa
This meal was very well received a couple of weeks ago, too, so we'll have it again. The chicken is incredibly quick and easy and the flavor is amazing. So simple. I threw some things together for the quinoa I made last time and it worked well, so I'll try to recreate that again. :)

ThursdayCream cheese chicken chili over rice
I've made this one a few times and I really love it. Served over rice it is extra delicious! It's a great, easy meal as you can just throw everything in the crock pot and let it cook all day! With Josh in class on Thursday evenings and home later than usual, it's nice to have something easy to make.

Friday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere and order something that sounds as healthy as possible. :)

Saturday: Homemade pizza
We've really been liking the plain cheese pizza. With crushed tomatoes and dried basil from our garden last year, the flavors are simple, yet delicious.


What's on your menu this week?

This super easy dish from Kevin & Amanda's blog is a winner! If you need something quick, easy and delicious, I suggest you give this one a try! It's pretty low-cal, too, which is always good!





Brown Butter Chicken and Crispy Sage
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
  • 1 to 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 oz pkg fresh sage leaves
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
Directions:
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, season them generously with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Melt the butter in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter turns brown and fragrant, add the chicken in a single layer and place the sage over the chicken. Set a timer for five minutes. Cook the chicken on one side without moving it, for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir and toss the chicken and sage, making sure to coat all of it in the brown butter, then flip the chicken to the other side to cook for a few minutes, or until cooked through. Serve atop a savory quinoa. I cook my quinoa in chicken broth instead of water, for extra flavor, and add sautéed onions and garlic.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Overnight Blueberry Almond Oats

Eating healthy and dieting doesn't have to mean unappetizing food, nor does it need to leave you feeling hungry either! Along with starting my diet, I made some changes to the normal meals I was having for breakfast and lunch. No more cereal and milk for me for breakfast. It's hard to find a cereal that is filling enough without adding a bunch of calories to my day. So, I started exploring some better options, and came across this recipe via Pinterest. Overnight oats. Cold oatmeal. Yeah, I'll admit that I was definitely a bit skeptical that this would be good, but I was willing to give it a try to see what I thought. I'm so glad that I did! I normally eat this every weekday morning now. It's an especially great option if you're usually on the go in the morning and don't have time to sit down to eat something. You actually make it the night before in a to-go container, so that all you need to do in the morning is grab a spoon and head out the door!

I made a few slight changes to the original recipe I found, and I've been very happy with the results.




Overnight Blueberry Almond Oats
(serves 1)

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt (I like both Chobani and Nostimo)
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tsp Pure Via turbinado and stevia blend (or a sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Directions:
Stir the oats, milk, yogurt, blueberries, and stevia blend together in a container. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator, stir, and top with the almonds. Enjoy!


*Nutritional Info: 272 calories, 74 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 13 g protein, 5 g fiber.
*These numbers may vary with differences between brands of ingredients


The almonds fit perfectly in the little cup to keep
everything together inside the one container!
It's funny because I'm not really a big fan of Greek yogurt. I use it for cooking, and because it's healthier than alternatives, but it definitely isn't something I like to eat on its own. Same goes for almond milk. I'm not interested in drinking a glass of it. But, put them both together with the oats, and it's actually really, really good! Perhaps it helps that I use the vanilla varieties of both, too. :)

I add the turbinado and stevia blend to give the oats some sweetness. If you want to skip that, you can, but I think it's good, and it only adds a measly 10 calories. :) It's twice as sweet as granulated white sugar, so you don't need to use as much. It also has less than half the calories of white sugar, too! Double win! You could also try brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or some other sweetener if you'd like.

I like to use Gladware snack containers when I make this. They come with a little cup that fits into the lid of the container. The sliced almonds fit perfectly into this container, so I can have them ready to go, so all I need to do is pop the cup off of the lid, and empty them into the oats! It's seriously easier than making a bowl of cereal in the morning. The container can travel well with you in the car, so eating on the go is a possibility if you need to!

I hope you'll give this one a try! It will change the way you eat oatmeal and is a really great option when the temperatures outside soar again! I can dream, can't I? ;)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Menu Monday #38

Another successful week for the diet!! This morning, I'm down 4% of my body weight already, and I have just a few pounds to go and all of the baby weight from this last pregnancy will be gone. Of course, I still have lots more to lose, but at least I'm getting somewhere finally. Josh is also doing well, and continues to drop his weight, too!


Having a good time at his 30-month well visit.
We survived the week last week with a sick Noah, who missed his first day back to preschool. Fortunately, Josh was able to work from home one day to help, and took off another to be sure he was ok. It was a bit scary when his fever rose up to nearly 104 degrees Monday night, but fortunately returned to normal the next day. I guess it was just a 24-hour stomach bug, but it really took the life out of the little guy for a bit! :( He did visit the doctor on Friday, for his 30-month well-check. He is doing great! He weighed in at 27 lbs 8 oz (23rd percentile), and measured up at 37 inches (71st percentile). His head circumference is 20 inches (85th percentile). It's kind of crazy to think there are kids out there with even bigger heads than Noah. Haha! It's crazy how old he is looking these days - especially after getting another haircut this weekend. Too grown up!!

On Saturday morning, I made one of our favorites, whole wheat banana bread pancakes. They aren't low-calorie (especially with the yummy vanilla maple glaze), but they do have some good ingredients, they're delicious, and very filling! I spent most of the day working on purging my office. I hadn't been through most of the stuff in there in quite some time, so it was due. I'm still working on it and it's amazing how much stuff I am throwing away now. I got some new storage boxes for my bookshelf and some other storage solutions for my desk drawers. It is looking pretty decent now, but I still have work to do there. For dinner that night, we splurged, and visited our local Johnny Brusco's for some hot subs. I got the eggplant parmigiana sub, hoping to save a few calories that way, but after looking it up, found out that it was actually worse (calorie-wise, not taste, because it was delicious!!) than the meatball sub that Josh ordered. Sigh.

On Sunday morning before church, Josh made egg bagel sandwiches again. My favorite! We came home for lunch and some relaxation for the guys (while Mommy stays busy grocery shopping, doing laundry, etc). The boys have been enjoying watching the Star Wars series with Daddy lately, so they caught up on another episode that afternoon.


Sunday: Almond crusted tilapia (see recipe below), brown rice, roasted asparagus
This was a new recipe I tried a couple of week ago via Pinch of Yum. It is awesome!! You spread some Dijon mustard on the tilapia filets, then coat them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and ground almonds. Pan fried in just a tad bit of butter and EVOO, and they are incredible. I like to serve my fish over brown rice, and with asparagus on the side. I drizzle it with a little EVOO, sprinkle with freshly ground salt and pepper, and roast for 12-15 minutes (depends on thickness of stalks) at 400 degrees.

This is a recipe I've been using for a couple of years now. It is so tasty and packed with yummy veggies!! It has a nice light sauce and it's super filling, but without a ton of calories. The boys did a great job eating this one tonight, so it will definitely be kept in frequent rotation now.

Tuesday: Seared pork chops, roasted butternut squash, toasted pine nut couscous with cranberries
I season my pork chops with a variety of seasonings (whatever I'm in the mood for - oftentimes I use sea salt, pepper, ground red pepper, paprika, and garlic powder), then sear them on both sides in a pan coated with a little EVOO. I finish them off in the oven, to be sure they are cooked fully. For my squash, I split it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, then place the halves cut-side down in my pan (which has been sprayed with Pam). I vent the squash's skin by piercing it several times, too. I roast it for 60-90 minutes at 400, until it is nice and soft. On the side, I also make couscous. It is seasoned with spices and includes toasted pine nuts, and I also add dried cranberries (which are reconstituted as it steams). This is a great meal that the boys love.

WednesdayMelt in your mouth baked chickentricolor rotini, roasted balsamic green beans and mushrooms
This is another tasty chicken recipe that the boys really enjoy. Thin chicken breasts are topped with a mixture of Greek yogurt, shredded parmesan cheese, seasoned salt and pepper. This is great served over some pasta. I tried this recipe for green beans a couple of weeks ago and I loved it!! I could seriously eat them like candy. You just coat the beans and mushrooms in a mixture of balsamic vinegar and EVOO, and roast in the oven! Top them with just a smidge of parmesan cheese and they are really delicious.

Thursday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato bisque soup, roasted chickpeas
It's going to be super cold, so I went for a bit of a comfort meal here. I like to use sourdough bread and provolone cheese. I still go for Amy's organic tomato bisque soup. It is the best!! On the side, I'll roast some chickpeas and season them with a little salt, cumin and garam masala. Delicious!

Friday: Homemade pizza
I haven't decided on toppings yet, but would like to maybe try some roasted veggies.

Saturday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere and order something that sounds as healthy as possible. :)


What's on your menu this week?





Almond Crusted Tilapia
(makes 3-4 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, plain
  • 2-4 tilapia filets (totaling ~1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
Directions:
Place the almonds and breadcrumbs in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground into a crumb-like mixture. Place this crumb mixture onto a plate or in a shallow bowl. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Spread 1 Tbsp of the Dijon mustard on both sides of each tilapia filet. Press the tilapia into the crumbs to get it coated on both sides. Do this several times to be sure it is covered well. Place the fish into the frying pan and cook for several minutes on each side, until the outside is browned and the fish is fully cooked. If it is browning too fast on the stovetop, you can finish it off in the oven instead.

*Nutritional Info (per serving): 517 calories, 14 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 36 g protein, 4 g fiber.
*These numbers may vary with differences between brands of ingredients

We really liked this dish! I normally prefer salmon to tilapia, but with the spice of the mustard, the crunch of the nuts, and the subtle richness of the butter/oil, this was fantastic! It went very well with the rice and asparagus, too. This is an easy meal that you will want to try.

I'll be back soon with some of the other tasty things we've been eating!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Menu Monday #37

So, I've taken nearly an entire year-long break from my weekly menu posts. I actually stopped them last year because I was pregnant, and menu planning became very hard due to my lack of desire to eat much of any substance aside from cereal early on during the pregnancy. Since it wasn't public knowledge at the time, I just kind of stopped posting instead of explaining it here. Sorry about that! Now that my dear little Amos is 4 months old, it's time to get back on track with our healthy eating. Josh and I started our "diets" last week. We're using the My Fitness Pal app to track all of our calories. So far, so good. One week in and we're both down about 5 pounds! Woo hoo! So, I'd like to share the meals that we're eating for our dinners again, and from time to time, I'll add in some snacks and breakfast ideas, too!

We've resolved to make 2014 a better year. We want to eat better, spend better, and just be better. We're on the right track with our meals, and I'll soon be taking a look at our budget and taking steps to reduce some of our extra spending. We also took a big step this past weekend and visited a local church as a family for the first time. Sadly, though both Josh and I grew up going to church every week, we stopped doing it when we went off to college. We did attend a church during our last year at UC - the church that we were married in that summer. However, once we moved to Kentucky, we never found a new one. In our defense, Josh worked a lot of Sundays when he was at both Toyota and Kia, so it would have made it hard to attend regularly. We've put off choosing one to try long enough now, and it's time to get back to church. We decided to check out the church where Ethan and Noah attend preschool. It's a Methodist church, so we thought it might be a good compromise, as I am Lutheran, and Josh is Baptist. It was a nice service and the boys enjoyed the children's ministry that they offer. I'm hoping that we have found someplace that we can call home now!

As for the food...on Saturday morning, in trying to keep with our healthier meals, I made waffles (with my new waffle maker - thanks, Mom!) topped with lots of tasty strawberries. Yum! For dinner, I made my favorite whole wheat pizza dough in the bread machine, and we topped it with some crushed tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and dried basil (we dried some from our garden last summer and crushed it into smaller pieces). Simple, yet delicious!

On Sunday morning before church, Josh made what has become our customary Sunday breakfast...egg bagel sandwiches. Eggs fried hard and a little mozzarella cheese on a yummy bagel. I love them! We usually have some Cream of Wheat, too, but skipped it that day.


Sunday: Mixed greens with grilled chicken strips, sunflower seeds, ciabatta bread croutons, raspberry vinaigrette dressing
Since we splurged after church and ate out, we needed something lighter for dinner. :) The boys had leftovers.

Monday: Crispy shrimp pasta (see recipe below), oven roasted broccoli
This was a new recipe and it was excellent! It was so easy to get a nice, crispy shrimp with just a little bit of flour and EVOO/butter mixture. The sauce is nice and light and has great flavor with our homemade Cajun seasoning. For me, roasting broccoli is the only way to go. I top mine with a little EVOO, freshly ground sea salt & pepper, and shredded parmesan. I could seriously eat it like candy!

Tuesday: Caribbean jerk pork tenderloin with sweet peppers over brown rice, sautéed cabbage
This meal has become our traditional New Year's Day meal for good luck. Since we were out of town this year, we didn't make it, so we decided to make it this week. You simply pour a bottle of Caribbean jerk dressing/marinade over your pork, slice up the peppers, and top with some pineapple slices. Bake for 60-75 minutes (depends on thickness of loin) on 350 degrees. It is tasty served over some rice, to soak up all of the juice. The cabbage recipe was a new one Josh tried last year and it was really good. I've never liked cabbage any other time he's made it, but this recipe I actually really enjoy!

Wednesday: Honey mustard baked chicken, roasted sweet potatoes with honey and rosemary
This is another new recipe. It looks super tasty in the pics, so I hope it is excellent! I haven't made sweet potatoes this way in awhile, so it will be nice to revisit them. They are excellent and pack in the nutrients!

Thursday: Brown butter chicken and crispy sage over quinoa, side salad
This is yet another new recipe from Kevin & Amanda's blog. It looked too good to pass up, so I hope it's as delicious as it looks!

Friday: Homemade pizza
I haven't decided on toppings yet, but would like to maybe try some roasted veggies.

Saturday: Out to eat
We'll go somewhere and order something that sounds as healthy as possible. :)


What's on your menu this week?


I found the following recipe at Kevin & Amanda's blog, and tweaked it a bit to work for us. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we did!!





Crispy Shrimp Pasta
(makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz tricolor rotini pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • dash of freshly ground sea salt, to taste
  • dash of freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Prepare the shrimp, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the flour over the shrimp, and toss to coat the shrimp. Sprinkle 1 more Tbsp of flour and toss to evenly coat the shrimp. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook on each side, flipping once, until golden brown, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Set these aside once fully cooked. Pour the chicken broth into the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, whisking the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the cream, whisking constantly. Cook the sauce over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes. If it isn't thickening, you can add an additional Tbsp of flour. Add the cajun seasoning, and additional salt and pepper, as desired. Add the drained pasta and the shrimp to the sauce, stirring to combine. Serve while hot!

*Nutritional Info (per serving): 510 calories, 46 g carbohydrates, 18.5 g fat, 34 g protein, 2 g fiber.
*These numbers may vary with differences between brands of ingredients

We loved this dish!! It had the perfect amount of sauce to lightly coat the pasta, and it wasn't too heavy either. The shrimp crisped up perfectly and Ethan was a big fan of them! I love serving roasted broccoli with seafood, so it worked well as a side.

I'll be back soon with some of the other tasty things we've been eating!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Amos's Four Month Check-Up


Age of Baby: 4 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 13 lbs 8 oz (down to the 20th percentile), +15 oz from last month
  • Length: 25.25 inches (up to the 61st percentile), +1.25 inches from last month
  • Head circumference: 16.5 inches (up to the 39th percentile), +1 inch from his 2-month appt
Amos recently moved up to a size 2 diaper and is currently wearing 3-6 month clothes. Some of his 0-3 month clothes still fit, but they are starting to get a bit snug.

Immunizations:
  • DTaP
  • Hib
  • PCV13
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
Doctor's Visit Summary:

Amos's visit went very well today. He is right on par developmentally and his doctor loved how alert and happy he was. His weight has dropped a bit again in percentage, but his doctor was not concerned, as he looked good visually. We decided that we're going to try dropping one of his doses of Nexium, down to just one dose a day, to see how he does with that. Hopefully, we'll be able to discontinue the medicine in another month or two, especially once he starts solid foods. His doctor said that age will be the biggest factor. As he gets older, and his system develops, he shouldn't have this issue anymore. I think I'll drop the morning dose because it will be so nice to not have to wait 30 minutes in the morning to feed him after he wakes! :) He also suggested that we start some Vitamin D drops since he's exclusively breastfed, to be sure he is getting enough Vitamin D, especially during these winter months. Overall, he was very happy with his progress, and we'll be back in 2 months for another check-up.

Picture of Baby:

Here is Amos's 4-month picture in the 12-month onesie, and a picture of him at today's doctor's visit.


And here is a comparison of all three of the boys at four months, just for fun. Ethan and Noah were still significantly bigger at this point (Ethan was 26.5 inches long and weighed 14 lbs 8.5 oz and Noah was 25.75 inches long and weighed a whopping 15 lbs 8 oz). I still see a lot of Noah in him most of the time, but occasionally, I am seeing Ethan now, too. Amos has some very expressive faces like his biggest brother!

Ethan, Noah, and Amos (each at 4 months)

Accomplishments this Month:
  • Laughing
  • Jumping (with assistance)
  • Grasping objects
  • Rolled from back to tummy
Amos is really interacting well with us now. He can't keep his eyes off his brothers if they are in the room with him. He loves "talking" to us, too. He's making all kinds of talking noises/cooing, so maybe he'll be an earlier talker than the other two? He laughs at us now, as well. I love that sweet sound! He loves to stand and jump, and only requires our help for balance. He has strong legs just like his big brothers did! When he's in his bouncer, he really gets those legs kicking everywhere. He has also started to play with the toys that are attached to his bouncer. He'll bat at them and grasp them to hold them now.

Click here for a super cute video!

Though I haven't been able to witness it yet, Amos did roll from back to tummy, because he did it in his crib one night! I was surprised to notice it when I checked the monitor that he was on his tummy! Haha! Daddy also lucked out and was able to watch him do it another night, too.



As you can see, he really loves hanging out with his big brother, Ethan!! It melts my heart to watch them interact!


And I certainly love snuggling with my little man, too! ;)


I wish I could report that Amos was still sleeping through the night, but he's not. :/ But, he's not doing bad, so I'm not complaining! He's been getting up once a night (anywhere between 2 and 7 am, but normally between 4 and 6 am) almost every night now for the last few weeks. So I guess I did jinx it after all! Sigh. This past month, he is still averaging around 14 hours of sleep a day, with most of those hours being at night! With the holidays, he has been sleeping in later since we didn't have to get up for school. Then he takes either one long nap (usually 2.5-4 hours) in the late morning/afternoon, or 2 shorter (1-2 hour) naps (one in the morning, and one in the afternoon). Sometimes he still needs a short nap in the evenings then, too (no more than 45 minutes). I still don't have him following any routine, but it seems to be working for him. I've continued to nurse him every 2-3 hours during the day for 10-20 minutes, and that often puts him to sleep, so that's when he naps!

Amos did a great job traveling again on our recent trip to Ohio for Christmas. He slept a good portion of it, and was happier this time when he was awake! That was a relief. We're hoping he continues to be a happy, carefree little guy! :)



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Wednesday One: Week 1

It's time for year #2 of the Wednesday One! :) I'm so glad that I did this last year. Those pages will print into a great book for us to keep through the years. Since I haven't gotten around to making any other photo books for the kids yet (someday it will happen, right?!?), at least I have this!

I changed up the design for this year. More fun, clean and modern. This year will be the year of the hashtag, since my dear sister loves it so much. ;) Haha! Not really, but Amos's shirt that he wore on New Year's Day inspired me on that one. I thought it'd be fun, so we'll see how that goes. :) I'm sure I'll be sick of them by the end of the year! LOL! So, here it goes...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013: "One a Day" Photos in Review

Here is our year in pictures!


And a fun flipagram, too! :)

We've had a wonderful year. 2013 brought us a new member of the family! Amos has been a wonderful baby and we are so happy to welcome him to our clan. We look forward to making another year of memories together!

The Wednesday One: Week 52

The final week of pics for 2013!!

The Wednesday One: Week 51

Oops, I guess I got caught up in the excitement of Christmas and missed posting last week!!