Sunday, September 2, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

100% Pure Sunshine

Megan Joy, 3 months old

Friday, June 22, 2012

Conversation about Peaches

Conversation heard while eating peaches:
"Jack, I found da pit!"
"You don't eat da pit. It make you sick."
"I not eat da pit. Is yucky!"
"Tanks, Ben."


So grateful to provide my kids with a childhood where the most challenging part of their day includes avoiding the seeds in their fruit. Thank you, Lord!

 Ben (above) and Jack - identical, but completely original

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lots of Changes

Megan will be 10 weeks this week. It feels like it's going a lot quicker the second time around!

In addition to having THREE kids in our house and getting used to traveling with all of them on my own, we've been making quite a few changes around here. The biggest one is our eating. Seven weeks ago, Andy and I joined Weight Watchers. Such a great decision!

We had been talking a lot about taking better care of ourselves, but it was just so hard to make the first step. After hearing about how my older sister was nearing the Fifty Pounds Lost mark with Weight Watchers, we decided it was worth the investment.

Since then, we have lost 45 pounds between the two of us, 25 pounds of which was mine! (Of course, some credit goes to my good eater, who's helping me lose weight by breastfeeding :) My husband looks like he did when we were dating and yesterday, I wore a dress to church that I had bought for our wedding rehearsal! I still have a tummy, but gosh, parts of my belly are still numb from my c-section! Both of us have lost every week since we joined and I absolutely love how we're eating.

I tease that it's like having a part time job. It takes a little more time to research groceries, prepare them and then bring food with us when we go out. But there's no turning back now!

The first few grocery trips took the longest, as we had to read more labels and make better choices. Now we just get much of the same foods, from week to week. No fat, low fat foods are the best. And lots of produce.

Since Andy and I both have a set number of points we're encouraged to eat everyday (based on our height, weight and age, making allowances for the fact that I'm exclusively breastfeeding,) we try and save our points for things that count. I can have whatever I want during the day. But now I'm more choosy about saving that chocolate chip cookie for when I really want it, rather than indulging in whatever I want, whenever I want. Fruits and vegetables are zero points (well, except for things like black beans and corn on the cob, etc) so we eat a TON of them. As raw as possible. You wouldn't believe how much of our grocery bill is fresh produce - but we couldn't have chosen a better time of year to eat like this! My husband feels like one of the reasons he's continued to do so well on this program is the fact that he can eat as many vegetables as he wants during the day, which he appreciates.

One of the best things we've been doing is what we've come to call "Slice and Dice." After putting all three kids to bed on the night we've gone grocery shopping, Andy and I head into the kitchen for at least an hour in order to cut up ALL of the fruits and veggies we can, at least ones that won't spoil (like strawberries, cherries and kiwi.) I clean and cut colored peppers, green beans and sugar snap peas and put many of them into sandwich-sized bags to grab during the week. Andy chops onions for cooking and stores in containers in the fridge. Pineapple, cantoloupe, and watermelon all get cut up and stored into large containers for us to enjoy when we'd like. Spending this time saves us a TON of time during the week. Plus it's a great way to make the good food more accessible. When we're hungry, we try and look for something in the fridge, not the cupboards where you'll find more of the processed and fatty stuff. This has been a HUGE change for us.

We also pack our lunches every night. Even for me. Andy's bag is super heavy, but it's filled with two sandwiches, water bottles and a TON of fruits and veggies in bags. We've come to appreciate the natural flavor of vegetables again, even in their rawest form.

Dinner felt a bit daunting at first, but I'm getting better! Chicken stir fry and fajitas are a favorite for us, but even sausage, peppers and onions looks a little different nowadays. Instead of regular sausage, I buy chicken sausage. And we eat them on a thin roll (called Thin Selects, the same bread we eat our lunch sandwiches on.) Since meat has so many points, we don't eat as much of it anymore. I'm making more substitutions. I still cook many of our favorite meals, but I'll use low fat ingredients now or we just eat smaller portions. Our dinners now are made up of more than 50% veggies (usually sauteed with onions and garlic,) 25% meat and 25% starch. That's a HUGE change. And I don't add butter to cooked vegetables anymore. They don't need it!!

At first, I was scared by how much more expensive our grocery bills would be with all of this fresh (and expensive) produce. But it kinda feels like we're spending the same amount we did before, if not less overall. We're not buying as much food on the run anymore and we don't go out to eat as much. When we do go out for hot dogs, Andy and I usually get a chicken sandwich, split a salad and then we'll usually have some of the French fries with the boys. We don't plan on getting dessert every time. I buy ice cream sandwiches and keep those in the freezer for the times when I really need something sweet - they're only 4 points! The other 'guilty pleasure' of mine doesn't have any points at all... basically, anything dipped in fat free Cool Whip. Yup, I can eat a LOT of that.

One of the biggest reasons for my success (in my opinion) is the fact that Andy is doing this with me. We weigh in every Sunday morning. Both of us. Gone are the days when I would grab food to eat by myself, in private. 'Cause the scale don't lie. If I cheat over and over, it's going to show. And I can't hide it anymore. Our boys don't mind these changes too because they've always eaten like this! It's nice that Andy and I finally joined them. It's nice that we keep eachother accountable and help encourage the other when we get discouraged.

Seven weeks later, Andy and I are about 10-15 pounds from our goal weights. Unbelievable. Who knows? Perhaps we'll get there and decide to keep going!!! Woohoo!!! Thank you, Weight Watchers!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Months Old

Two months later and I still think we chose the perfect name for her. Megan means "little pearl" and her middle name is Joy. Yup. Perfect.

Megan is such a wonderful baby. We know when she wants something, for sure, but we are thrilled to have such a content and happy little one. She doesn't even mind when the boys fight to hold her and then squeeze her tightly in their arms. Just in the past few weeks, she's begun straining her neck to watch her brothers play and tonight, she was fussing until I moved her where she could watch them. So sweet.

Jack has blossomed into a wonderfully protective big brother. When she's crying, he'll ask to hold her. "Her want me," he says. And then while he pats her gently on the head or the back, he repeats, "It's okay, Megan. Okay, okay, okay, okay." And then just recently, he added, "It's okay, I'm here." Just makes me want to melt. So grateful her brothers accepted her so nicely into our clan.

She's definitely a keeper.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Few Pictures

My cousin Kevin married his new bride, Hannah on Sunday, May 27th. It was a great picture-taking day! Here's me and my family. Jack is in orange and Ben is in blue. Megan fills up that hole in the middle nicely, don't you think?
My sisters were SUCH a great help! Ellie cared for Megan the whole day, giving her up only for me to feed her a few times.
 Me and my two third borns, Marissa and Miss Bright Eyes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Wonderful Evening

Andy's cousin, Leah, had her baby girl this morning! Ella Grace was born on 5/25/12, weighing in at 7lbs, 9 oz and 20.5" tall. Leah did a phenomenal job and they're both recovering very well. Andy let me visit with them tonight while he drove around the block a few times with all three kids. So sweet. They were very upset, though, that they couldn't come up to see the baby. I promised them we'd have a playdate soon. I love the fact that Megan and Ella are only seven weeks apart!!

Scott and Leah are going to be GREAT parents!
 Such a sweet, sweet bundle.

On our way back from the hospital, we stopped to eat dinner at the marina. The kids and I watched the birds and boats on the water while Daddy got our food. My boys were in heaven! If we let them, they would have chased down every single robin, seagull and squirrel around. They did try.
 This is how Megan enjoyed the majority of the night. Asleep! At 7 weeks, she's becoming quite the chunker! I.love.it.
 "Ben, YOOK!" Jack says to his brother, pointing another seagull.
 Daddy and his boys, after a walk down the marina. Excuse the limited background. I was on the bench feeding the baby and couldn't get up to get a better view. Cute, nonetheless!
So grateful for these beautiful Buffalo nights and a family to share them with!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Retail Therapy

I took this cell phone picture at Delaware Park's playground to commemorate my very first outimg with all three kids... to somewhere other than playgroup or MOPS!
We started at Target, ate lunch at the cafe and then drove to the park to enjoy the playground. I felt like Super Woman! It's especially nice to be able to enjoy take my kids around while also letting them enjoy themselves. It's just wonderful.

Now I'm getting really ambitious. I've already invited a few friends to join us at the zoo tomorrow!

Thank God for healing!

Funny story. I was pushing all three kids around Target - the boys in the two-seater and Megan in the basket, sitting in her car seat. A girl about my age, shopping with (who I assume was) her mom, whispered to her mom and said, "Look, twins! And gosh, she's got another one in the car seat." I'm sure she didn't realize I could hear her, but it did make me chuckle. Did that seem like too many kids for one woman to have? I wish I was a fast-thinker; I would have loved to have said, "Yeah, and I've got seven more in the car!" HA!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Weeks Later

This morning, all three kids had their appointment at the pediatrician. It was Megan's one-month appointment and the boys' three-year appointment. We had been talking up the idea of getting shots, so the boys were actually disappointed they weren't scheduled to get one today! Dr. Pepe amused us, however, by giving them each a fake shot and then a real Band-Aid. So sweet.

Jack and Ben continue to hover around the 50th percentile for both height and weight. I was surprised, though, to learn that Jack is actually an inch shorter than his brother. I should have asked for them to be measured again, because I still don't believe it. But the boys were fantastic, very obedient with directions and interested to learn what Dr. Pepe had to say about their growth. When she asked what their favorite food was, Jack said, "Broccoli!" and Ben said, "Cheese!" Yup, that sounds about right.

Megan, just more than five weeks old, tipped the scales at 11 pounds and 7 ounces. Not bad, mommy, not bad! That's the 75th percentile for height and 95th percentile for weight. I don't think my boys have EVER been in a high percentile like that - chaulk it up to yet another difference in having just ONE baby versus two!

I have had all three kids on my own for a few weeks now, but I feel like we're just starting to find our groove. Our new routine. Megan is a wonderful eater (as evidenced by her progress today) but it takes a while for her to eat. Those are the times when the boys tend to find trouble. Last week, they flooded the bathroom with water from the sink and the other day, they threw the entire contents of their bedroom into the hallway. Nothing horrible, but it does make extra work for mommy! The hardest part lately has been the fact that Jack is regressing with potty training. Thank God, he's only PEED in his pants versus poop; and it's only when we're home. But I am so sick of doing laundry and changing sheets, it's ridiculous. He normally goes in his pants (getting his sheets wet, too) just before naptime. Sometimes multiple times. They say it's because of stress, the new situation, and you should simply change his clothes without emotion or fanfare. Then go crazy praising when he does go on the potty. So that's what we've been doing. And it's been a week. It's only been about once a day now, but even that feels like too much when he's rarely had an accident before since the beginning of February. We're getting there.

I, personally, have been feeling a TON better. Recovery after the cesarean felt a little tougher this time, probably because I've pushed myself to get better faster than my body was ready. But I'm finally feeling stronger. Much stronger. I've taken the kids out on my own, but only to playgroup and MOPS. Those are the only two places yet where I'm comfortable being able to feed the baby knowing the boys are safe. And I actually have energy during the day to clean! It really is such a joy. It had been so frustrating to watch the mound of clothes get higher and higher, only to feel pain and discomfort when I'd try and put a load in. Now, when the mound of laundry is getting higher, it's because I'm too lazy, not too uncomfortable! ;) And I'm making dinner again. I am so so grateful to have joined the land of the living. It feels like it's been a long time!

The other big change around her is the fact that Andy and I joined Weight Watchers. This Sunday will mark Week Four. I still can't believe my husband was the driving force behind this decision, nor can I believe he's continued to show so much initiative! He's lost more than 11 pounds so far and I'm only ten pounds from my "before baby" weight! It is tough to know how much weight I've lost because of Weight Watchers and how much I've lost because I'm breastfeeding, but either way, I'm still losing! I feel great. It does take a lot more effort to plan and prepare meals, but I am so proud to be making such a positive change for me, my husband and my family.

And so we continue on! Three kids, three and under... and still surviving. I'd say that makes for a Mother's Day worth celebrating.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Boys' Birthday

Jack and Ben turn THREE on May 5th! We celebrated their birthday with family this past week. So proud of my little men.

You've gotta take advantage of every opportunity to take another family photo :) Ben's on my lap and Jack is holding Megan. I am sooo in love with my little family!

Monday, April 30, 2012

L-O-V-E

Ben, Jack and Megan: my three biggest accomplishments

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Newborn Photos

When Megan was only six days old, my sister and I took her to see our favorite photographer and friend, Bethany Chase, to have her newborn photos taken. She did such a beautiful job! Here are some of my favorites. I'm still trying to choose which one(s) I want to use for her official birth announcements. Thanks again, Bethany, you're the best!







Friday, April 20, 2012

The Next Generation

Two of my college roommates, Alicia and Amy, came over this morning to meet Megan for the first time. What a lovely visit! My other roommate, Robyn, lives in California and we're looking forward to her visit this summer! Between the four of us, we have five boys and four girls. Such a great bunch!

The four of us girls met in the fall of 1999, our freshmen year at Houghton College. It's humbling to realize just how much has happened since then! We were all in eachother's weddings - in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 - and try to get together whenever we can. It made my heart so happy to see a few of our kids play together on a morning like this. Or at least be playing next to eachother ;) God is so good.

I couldn't believe how willing six of those kids were to take a group photo this morning, but you'd better believe I was ready to take advantage of it when they were! We obviously had to use the self-timer for the photo of the three of us - as talented as our kids are, we thought this was more reliable than asking one of them to take it for us!

Camden, Jack, Ben, Megan, Grace and Marissa

Alicia, me (and Megan,) and Amy

So grateful for such great friends!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Easter!

Very happy Big Brothers, Ben and Jack, help to celebrate Megan's first Easter. Our Lord has risen!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Smitten

Our entire family has become completely smitten with this little angel.
Our Megan Joy.
Such a blessing to our family.





Sunday, April 8, 2012

Megan's First Day

Megan Joy Sauer was born via c-section on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012. She was 8 lbs, 4oz and 21.25" long. And let me tell you, she is quite a beauty. Truly living up to her name, "little pearl."

Here is a "photo collage" of her first day. I will try and add captions in the coming days. But for now, SLEEP is the operative word!