Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our Week...

Our week so far has been pretty low key, and I've loved it! I haven't taken that many pictures, but here's what we've got since the last update. :)
Two happy little souls "nuggled" up in Mimi's bed...

One unhappy little boy after he got caught drawing all over mommy's wall with dry erase markers...for the second time.
I almost feel guilty about this photo because I posted it on Facebook and then thought...oh my word! Am I one of those parents who is going to make my teenagers hold a sign and take a "shame" photo when they do something wrong?? Good gravy, I hope not.
Look at his sweet little face though...he didn't stay in trouble for long. :) 

Couch + Hummus + Online Movie + Napping Brothers = Happy Mommy and Sister Snuggles

We baked mini pumpkin pies for Daddy one afternoon. Random, yes. We had some mini crusts that were getting close to their date, and the only pie I had ingredients for was pumpkin. The kids loved them!

On Saturday, every single person in my family slept until 9:00 or after. I got up and had some much needed alone time. What an absolute blessing!

 Best hairstylist I know. Appointments only...walk-ins not welcome.

I read this on Facebook the other day and about died from laughing so hard! I texted it to Micah, and he thought it was hilarious too. I love my wine people, but I love my husband more. :)

My precious B.
First time Sushi eaters! They hated it, btw.

Made our weekly run to Sam's Club as a family. 

Is it a pillow? Is it a blanket? Why choose?

Princess Sophia. We are obsessed with all things princess, and Landry's sweet brother actually calls her by her princess names depending on what dress she's wearing. He is the best.

The paparazzi got me! Landry loves sneaking surprise photos. Glad it's blurry.
Unwashed hair, Micah's shirt, my favorite maternity pj pants from when I was pregnant with Landry (seriously, I can't let go of them!). :)
Hope your week is going well too!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Make THIS Monday!

In our house, we have been doing a lot of this...
and this lately.
So, my sweet husband was in desperate need of some red meat this week. We rarely have beef at our house because we tend to prefer chicken and fish, but this was absolutely amazing. We made a braised brisket, and I used it for 3 meals! It was so unbelievably easy, and Micah said it was the best brisket he has ever had. That is a BIG deal because both of our mamas make a mean brisket.
I really wasn't planning on sharing this recipe with you because I didn't expect it to be so good, so I don't have all that many pictures!
The detailed recipe for the brisket (plus pictures) can be found here. It's a Pioneer Woman recipe, and those rarely disappoint. I made a few changes, so here is my version of the recipe...
The Best Braised Brisket
Brisket (obviously) Any size...I used a 4ish pound piece and still had tons!
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon "Better Than Bouillon" Beef Base *Sold at Wal-Mart by the beef stock...or use beef bouillon, or beef stock or whatever PW's recipe calls for*
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves smashed
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
Mix all ingredients in a large baking dish (or disposable aluminum pan if you like easy cleanup!). Place the brisket fat side down in the liquid for a few minutes and then flip over where the fat side is up. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 18-24 hours. Pull the brisket out of the refrigerator and flip the brisket around a few more times to fully coat with marinade. Bake IN the marinade, covered, with the fat side up for approximately an hour per pound at 300 degrees. After that amount of time, mine still wasn't falling apart like I wanted it to, so I cooked it an extra hour or two. You don't really have to worry about it drying out with all the yummy liquid. When the brisket is done, remove the layer of fat (yuck, I know) and shred the remaining meat with two forks.
Eat this delicious meat with mashed cauliflower or potatoes. Or, try one of our two favorite uses of it from this week...

Braised Brisket Nachos
Chips (I love to use kinds without corn...Sweet Potato chips, Black Bean chips, etc.)
Black Olives
Sautéed Bell Peppers and Onions *amazing*
Plain Greek Yogurt (we use this in everything in place of sour won't notice the difference, and it's such a healthy swap!)

Brisket Breakfast
Leftover Brisket, chopped
Eggs (we use 9 for our whole crew)
Salt and Pepper
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Tomatoes or Salsa
Reheat chopped brisket in skillet and then remove. Mix eggs, milk, salt, and lots of black pepper. Scramble the eggs in the same skillet where meat was reheated (add extra oil or a little butter if needed). Scramble to your preferred consistency, stirring constantly. Layer eggs, brisket, cheese, and salsa or tomatoes on a plate. Enjoy!
I know this seems weird, but we all LOVED it.
Try it, you won't be disappointed!
I had so many of you email or message me last week asking questions about quinoa and the smoothie recipe I shared. I'm so glad you guys tried them and enjoyed them! If y'all have questions, feel free to ask in the comments section here too. I'll be sure to check them and respond, and then others that have the same questions can see the answer!

Happy Monday! Feed your family some yummy brisket this week! 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Baby Bretton...

This post has been a long time coming! I have needed to sit down and do an update all about Bretton for a while, but I haven't been able to make myself find the time. This morning, it's time!
Bretton is the happiest little baby and has such a fun and silly personality already. He is extremely laid back, pretty much goes with the flow, and laughs all the time!  He is as cute as a button, and he makes me smile all the time. I am so, so glad God chose me to be his mama.

Bretton is small, and I didn't realize that until his last well-check appointment. He is only in the 5th percentile for weight. That is SO foreign to me because Collier has still never dropped below the 95th percentile since his 4 month check-up. Ha! I may be out of luck for these two August babies to share very many clothes.

I've mentioned on here before, without any detail, that Bretton has a lot of needs and a lot going on. Nothing has changed in that department, but I feel ready to talk about it now. When we adopted Bretton, I didn't expect everything to be roses. However, compared to the time required to care for a fragile baby like Parke, I expected Bretton to be a breeze. I was kind of wrong. Bretton has many needs that require many appointments. Those are not easy with two other littles; my time has been stretched and I've had to give up some things that I really enjoy doing with the bigger kids to make everything come together. Thankfully, it is nothing serious, just time consuming.
So, in a nutshell...
-Bretton has severe eczema and has to visit the dermatologist regularly. He is has special bathing requirements daily, multiple creams and potions to be applied twice a day, and is a sensitive sally about anything that touches him.
-Bretton has something called torticollis (super tight muscles on one side of his neck causing him to prefer looking and facing only one direction), and is doing regular physical therapy sessions each week. Thankfully, we have found someone to come to our house to do those, so that is an extreme blessing! On top of his sessions with the therapist, I am supposed to stretch and massage him between 5 and 7 times each day. I also have to be very careful about how he lays and make sure that his neck is not stretching the wrong direction. So, he is watched and messed with constantly. :)
-He is having a developmental evaluation soon, and he will possibly start developmental and/or occupational therapy once or twice a week as well for some developmental delays.
-Bretton was referred to Arkansas Children's Hospital for a neurological evaluation that will be done in early February. The doctor was concerned about his muscle "tone" and the way he jerks around instead of moving smoothly. I'm not totally concerned about this like I was at one point because I feel like he is getting better in that area since the appointment was made. We are keeping the appointment just for peace of mind, but I feel pretty good about it.
-Because of the torticollis, Bretton's head is "severely" misshapen and is requiring a helmet. We have gone to a few appointments for measurements and sizing, and he will get his helmet next Friday. Within the first week, he will work up to wearing it 23 hours a day. We can take it off to bathe him and wash the helmet once a day for an hour, and then it will be back on. We will have an appointment once every week or two to resize and adjust the helmet as he grows. I know we will be glad we are doing it, it's just another obstacle and time consuming item on my checklist each day.
Here he is last week being sized. He will be the cutest little helmeted baby ever. :)
So, it's just stuff...lots of stuff going on. When I cuddle Bretton and he gives me a big grin, it makes it all worth the wild days. I am so thankful for him, and I'm so thankful that he is in our family and getting the care he needs. I know that his biological brother that turned one the same month Bretton was born was not crawling. He also had big open sores on his face from untreated eczema. I can't imagine what Bretton's sweet little life would be like without the blessing of doctors and therapists that really do care about him and his well being. I know we will get through all of this and I will look back and be so glad we took the steps we did. Right now, I'm just a little frazzled trying to do everything the right way, be the mama I want to be to all three of my babies, be the wife I want to be to Micah, and have any second for myself in the midst of all of that. My mom is amazingly helpful, and we have a great babysitter that is pretty flexible this semester...they are helping me keep all the wheels turning, and I am so thankful for them!
Thank you, God, for the blessing of sweet Bretton. He is teaching me so much about your love for us, helping me practice being patient, and blessing my heart each and every day!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The middle man...

This little nose picker is what some might call our problem child, but he's also the sweetest, most cuddly child we have.
He has me wrapped around his boogery little finger, and I just can't get enough of our little Collier.
Collier was 2 in August, so he is um...29 months now. :) He weighs a whopping 40 pounds and is wearing some size 5's in shirts. He wears size 6 diapers, size 3 pants, and size 10 shoes. When we are out places, sometimes people think he is older than Landry (before they start talking). He has the chunkiest thighs and cheeks, and I could squeeze him all day long...some days I do!
He is the spitting image of Micah, but lately Micah has been saying that he has some of my facial expressions. Especially when he's mad, which I don't know how Micah would know that since I never ever get mad. ;)
 We changed Collier's crib over to a toddler bed, and he loves going to sleep in his new "AWESOME bed!" He sleeps all night and hasn't tried to get out yet without us telling him.

He has been in big boy underwear for two weeks straight now with only a handful of accidents. We still do a diaper at nap and bed time, but sometimes he wakes up with them dry! He is getting to be such a big boy, but he is still such a baby at the same time. Love it.
He is smart as a whip, and catches on to things so quickly. He has known his letters and numbers for forever, but he can spell his and Landry's names now and even write some of his letters. He knows more shapes than Landry does, and it's so funny because I have to look at the answers on some things that he already knows (rhombus, trapezoid, pentagon)...he's a sponge!
He is a PROUD big brother, and loves to show people Bretton and say, "Look at my baby! He's so cute! He's just beautiful!" :)
Every morning when he wakes up, he comes down and announces, "I'm awake! I sleep good! How ARE you mama?"
He is an ornery little stinker, and his new sneaky trick when he is doing something he shouldn't is to say, "Mommy, you need be right back?" He wants me to leave the room so he can start or keep doing what he isn't supposed to. He will even get detailed and give me suggestions of things I could go do, "Mommy, you need be right back? You need fix you hair?" "Mommy, you need be right back? You need fix you coffee?" Smart and sneaky...a dangerous combo!
He is silly, he is funny, he is BUSY, he is handsome, he is hungry, he is cuddly, he is rough, he is stinky, he is loving, he is smart, he is perfect.
I LOVE this boy that melts my heart daily. He is my biggest challenge, but a huge blessing that I thank God for all the time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

All about our girl...

My little baby Landry is a few months away from turning FOUR, and it is making my heart hurt but making me so happy all at the same time. She has always been fun, but she is getting to be FUN now. We can talk about things, laugh about silly things the boys don't understand, dress each other up, and do all sorts of girly things together...for real now. She is such an absolute blessing, and I cannot imagine not having this spunky little girl in my life. I think back to the moment that I found out I was pregnant and cried like a baby. Then, the night we found out she was a girl, I came home and cried even more. I didn't think I was ready for a baby, and I definitely knew I was having a boy. I could handle a boy...I had two brothers, several nephews...I thought I would be more prepared to handle that. But God obviously knew exactly what I needed when he gave me Landry. She is a hoot, and just the bit of spunk that I need in this house full of boys.
Landry will be 4 in April, so she's 3 and however many months that brain hurts.
I don't have any height or weight stats on her right now, but she's definitely on the small side and has been passed up by her little brother. She loves to be my helper with the boys and is really great at following directions and doing things I ask (when she wants to). She is full of sass and talks back regularly...we are working on that, but Micah thinks she came by it honestly for some reason. :)
I love to the moon and back 5 billion times.
I love writing down things she says that I don't want to forget. Here are a whole bunch of my favorites from the past few months:
-Micah took her to Target one night and let her pick out anything she wanted from the $1 section. She picked out a princess notebook. A few days later, she was scribbling in it and I asked her what she was working on. She said, "I'm writing peaches in my notebook." (Speeches)
-"Mama, why are you eating? You're already all the way grown."
-"Collier, stop talking to life is full."
-"That's enough Bretton! That's enough crying for one day!"
-Landry: "We have too many kids in this house!"
Me: "Ok, who should I get rid of?"
Landry: "DEFINITELY one of the boys."
-"Mama, you know Neighbor-Ham from the Bible? You know...Daddy said he was a father with lots of sons. NEIGHBOR-HAM...remember?"
-While we were staying in the hotel on the 4th floor last week, she looked out the window and squealed like the little princess she is, "Daddy! We can see the whole world from here! The ENTIRE thing! I love our new home!"
-"No, I'm not the boss...I'm the SISTER, so they have to listen to me."

-Landry: "Mom, I'm eating something in my mouth."
Me: "Ok, what is it?"
Landry: "I think it's called throat water."
-Landry: "When I'm big, I'm going to marry my Daddy."
Me: "Sorry, you can't because he's married to me."
Landry: "Well, you're not the best dancer, so he's going to have to marry me instead."
She always has something smart to say, and she is an absolute mess. I'm thankful she is mine, and I can't wait to share what the boys have been up to with you soon! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Make THIS Monday!

For my first "Make THIS Monday" post, I'm sharing two recipes. I've already shared one of them on Facebook, so I figured those friends needed to see something new. :)
These are two of our favorites, so I hope you enjoy!
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa
4 ish cups cooked quinoa
1 can or box organic cream of chicken soup
3/4 c Greek yogurt
1 can sliced mushrooms (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
Steamed broccoli (2-3 heads or 2 steam bags)
Salt and pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all together and pour in a greased 9x13. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Top with seasoned salt and a little more cheese...bake 10-15 min longer.

**I really never make this the same way twice. The tomatoes and mushrooms are totally optional. You could add Rotel, a mixture of any cooked veggies, and really make it your own.**
The second recipe I am sharing could be breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. It is so versatile, and super duper healthy! It's our favorite green smoothie recipe, and we make it all.the.time.
Here is what you need to make 2 large or 4 small smoothies:
Big handfuls or spinach or other greens
PLAIN yogurt
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional, but my favorite thing ever)
4 cups total mixed frozen fruit
1 cup cold water
Your favorite sweetener (optional) *You won't need it if you use sweeter fruit* I like agave or liquid stevia. :)

I always use frozen strawberries, and then we switch up the other fruit. We use banana, pineapple, mango, other berries, peaches...tons of options.
Make sure when you buy frozen fruit that the only ingredient listed on the back is the fruit. Sugar is added to so many things these days, and that is definitely not what you want in this healthy recipe.

If you don't know about chia seeds, google them. They are amazing and PACKED with nutrients. I sneak them in our diet everyday by sprinkling them on a salad, mixing in yogurt, hiding in peanut butter, mixing in juice, etc.  

PLAIN yogurt. Make sure it is plain and not don't need the extra sugar in this recipe.

This is my new favorite spinach has so many different varieties of greens, but you won't taste a single one in this drink!

Layer the ingredients in the blender starting with yogurt, fruit, chia seeds, water, and then pack that baby full of spinach!

Then blend it for several minutes to get a smooth consistency. I hate nothing more than getting a big chunk of spinach stuck in my straw. Yuck.

Yummy, yummy, yummy! The kids love them, and they have no idea they are healthy. :)

And, the worst part of making smoothies is always cleaning the stinkin' blender. I've found a quick way of cleaning, and I've figured out if I do it right away it makes it so much easier.
Rinse the blender right after you pour your smoothies. Then, fill the blender 1/2 full of warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap.
 Turn the blender on high and let it run for a few minutes until it's really frothy. Rinse the blender well, and you're ready to go the next time you're in the mood for another delicious smoothie. :)
I hope you like these! Let me know what you think if you try them!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's coming...

I'm getting with it this week, and I'm planning on doing blog updates on each of the kiddos. I've also had a few of you that I'm friends with on Instagram or Facebook ask that I share some of our healthy recipes on here, so I'm planning to do that. My goal is to stay organized and update once a week with a new recipe that I cooked the week before. We shall see. We're about to jump full swing into therapy and other fun stuff for Bretton, so my time will continue to be stretched. I AM going to post about all of Bretton's happenings in his update later this week.
Until then, here is a random assortment of pictures to clear things out...
The view from my lap one morning. I am TOTALLY blessed with lots of snuggles.

Tons of doctor visits and entertainment while waiting with this little man.

Bretton's first time flying.

"Collier, have you been playing with markers?"
"No mama."

If I put this basket here, and climb into Bretton's crib, I can get two feet closer to the TV.
He's clever...and ornery.

Sweet brothers.

Dinner out with Dado, Nana, and my 90 year old Papaw. He's so great, and he loves talking with the kids. It is hard that he doesn't remember them, but we don't see him nearly as often as we should. He asked this time, "Lindsey, are these all your kids?" :) Love this picture.
Papaw has been able to meet Bretton several times now, and this is the grandfather that Parke was named after his dad. He never knew about Parke because it was just too confusing for him, but I'm so glad he has been able to know the other kids. Every time he sees Collier, he talks about how he had blue eyes and blonde hair like that when he was little. I'll take a mixture of my Papaw and Micah in a sweet little son any day! :)  

B hated real food, but we tried.

Little miss sunshine. She is the best.
I'll see you tomorrow with my first, Make THIS Monday post. Sharing a recipe I know you'll love (because a bunch of you have already tried it). Ha!