Friday, April 23, 2010

Maybe his pallet is too sophisticated for Mac and Cheese

The last few weeks have been trying. Evan has been difficult to put it mildly.

It's a constant struggle balancing my need desire obsession with calories. The nutritionist we saw for years told me upon release from GI clinic, that to continue to grow Evan needs to eat 1600 calories a day. That's a lot of calories.

Intellectually I know that kids this age wax and wane when it comes to eating, and that is normal. Since eating with Evan has never been normal it is hard to let go of my need to get calories in to his little body.

I use little tricks to get extra calories into him everyday, extra butter, olive oil, at 360 calories a bottle, Boost Plus is my best friend. It is really a tight rope act, fitting in snacks would add to the calorie count for the day, but with Evan's limited awareness of hunger, any snacking ultimately causes him to eat much less at meals. I'd love to get more fruits and vegetables into his diet, but they are so healthy, low calorie and filling. I'd rather he eat more high calorie items. Like chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream icing.

I understand that kids at this age will eat the majority of what they are hungry for in the first fifteen minutes of a meal, BUT, Evan eats SO SLOWLY that fifteen minutes adds up to about fifteen calories. So I make him sit there, until he eats what I think is enough, as I do mental calculations of the total calories for the day.

I do have to force myself to remember that a year ago he was still eating baby food, and I was pretty certain that he'd be heading to college with pallets of mashed sweet potatoes. I really should not complain. I really cannot complain. But after two hours of him sitting with one tiny little piece of french toast in front of him, or two tiny little pancakes, or four ounces of spaghetti, I'm pulling my hair out, he's frustrated, I'm frustrated, no one is happy.

Then he has breakthrough moment like tonight. FIVE lobster raviolis, Alfredo sauce, less than 30 minutes. (that's a ton of calories!!!) I do my happy dance and wonder. Lobster Ravioli? What other odd things should I be trying?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Get me a cut and a Harley this song and I am all set

Scott is to blame for this, and he will be only too happy to take all of the credit. I have a new passion. I'm addicted to a biker gang. Okay, it's fictional and it is a TV show. Sons of Anarchy. It's awesome! We just finished the first season on DVD, and the second season is not out yet, and it's killing me. I have to know what happens!

At the end of season one, this artist, covered the Dylan song Forever Young, and now I cannot stop listening to it. I know the Dylan song, I've heard it a thousand times, but it has never hit me like this. I want to listen to it on repeat, all day. I want to sing it to my babies, and have it be their anthem. Listen to it on Audra Mae's My Space page and tell me you don't love it. Read these lyrics and tell me you don't wish this for your kids, your loved ones. Maybe it is Audra Mae's voice, maybe it is the timeless nature of the Dylan lyrics. What ever it is, I love it!!!!

Bob Dylan - Forever Young
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.
Scott says if I don't stop playing this song he's going to start to get sick of it. I'm afraid he may hate the song before the week is through.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I like butterflies, picking strawberries, long walks at the beach and red pepper marinara shooters

We've been extraordinarily busy, after the post birthday party let down, we spent our birthday at the Wild Animal Park with our classmates from preschool.

It was a bit chaotic, something like 15 kids, 10 classmates and their siblings, but all of the kids were really well behaved, and everyone seemed to have a really fun time.

We specifically went to see the butterflies, and got a special treat, any kid who wanted to was able to hold a butterfly on their hands.

The boys really enjoyed our second trip to the Butterfly Exhibit this season. We may even try to get one last trip in before the exhibit closes.

This weekend was our March for Babies walk. We had a great team walking with us, including the boys' friend Tobin. The three boys "rode" (we did a lot of pushing and steering) their tricycles almost the entire three miles. We did have to make pit stops in order to add gas to our tricycles, put air in our tires, and check our oil. The three of them made it quite fun.

Since we were in Encinitas, and Solana Beach is so close, and in Solana Beach is Pizza Port, of course we had to stop in for lunch. We had the time, only because our little buddy Colin got sick and therefore his first birthday party was canceled. So sorry for Colin, but my boys made the best of it.

Ryan has a love of spicy foods, and he showed us all just how much, he poured, I mean poured red peppers on his tiny little bite of pizza and devoured it. Scott is trying to limit his shaking of the red peppers here, but no dice.

He also poured red peppers into the marinara sauce we used for dipping our beer buddies and did shooters. He also licked the plate clean but, this is not a post about table manners.

After Pizza Port we raced to our friend Zachary's birthday party. (yes, we were going to try to do a three mile walk, and two birthday parties in one morning!)

We only stayed an hour, and then raced home for naps. We ALL needed naps!

On Sunday we had yet another birthday party to go to. It was really fun, the boys ran around like crazy monkeys, hanging from bars and jumping on things.

But what I really love is this spontaneous show of affection Evan showed Ryan. It always makes my heart so happy when they just hug because.

I did not look in the goody bags before I let the kids dig into them in the car and this is what I found...Two very happy boys eating some chocolate.

The quote of the day from Evan: "I love chocolate. It is the best ever!" (yes, that *is* my child)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ryan at Four

Oh Ryan, my love, my first born.

This year has seen so many changes in you. The constant, the one thing that doesn't change, is your heart. It is so full of love, compassion and kindness. It brings me to tears thinking about your ability to love and to show love. You are always concerned when some one else is crying. You try to comfort your brother when he is sad. You are thoughtful and considerate. You are well mannered. You are my Ryan.

Your language is rich and full. You love to tell me about your days at school. Your teachers tell me that you make sure that everyone is where they need to be. Not in a bossy way, but in a helpful manner. They love you at school, your teachers are a perfect fit for you. Kind, loving and firm when needed. I am so happy that they report you have a LOVE of learning and that you are a joy to have in the classroom. I'm so glad that school is turning out to be a good experience for you.

You loved stuffed toys, your buddies. Snoopy is your main love, but you have several others that you cuddle. I think you pick someone new every night to cuddle with, but Snoopy is a constant. You really love Dinosaurs and can tell me and anyone who will listen the difference between a Pterodactyl and a Quetzalcoatlus. You love to read more than anything else. If I let you, you would sit and read all day long. I love cuddling with you and reading but sometimes I cannot read another word! Your favorite author right this minute is Bill Peet and we have almost all of his books. I'm not sure which is your favorite, but you seem to bring me Smokey and Cyrus the most. You love blocks, trains, cars and trucks.

You have so many books memorized it is truly amazing. You have an astonishing memory for details. You are so observant I have to be very careful.

You love to make me and others laugh. You have an amazing sense of humor and timing. You think it is funny to make up funny songs and sing them while playing your guitar. You also love to make up stories.

You love to eat. You are not adventurous, but you love a good meal. Odd for a kid your age, you love steak. You are not big on sweets, unless it's M&M's. You've branched out into salads with homemade croutons. You love hot and spicy. You put crushed red peppers on you pizza and eat salsa by the spoonful. You also love to cook. You always want to help in the kitchen and you always ask me how your meals are prepared. It would not shock me to see you on Top Chef someday.

You say the sweetest things. "I love you Mommy because you make my heart happy." "I miss my Evan, I wish he were awake." "It makes me sad to go to the doctor with out Evan, I need him so I don't feel sad." You call me "mommy" or "mother" or "mom" interchangeably, it makes me laugh when you call me "mother".

You are emotional, yet very reserved in front of others, even shy. With us you are starting to show a little defiance/independence. However you like to please so your behavior is easy to direct in the proper direction. Your eyes are soulful. I look into them and see so much more than a four year old boy. And then you start talking about poop and I know you are a four year old boy. You love to make us "pwoud".

You are all boy, and love nothing more than to be outside all day digging, riding or running. You have amazing coordination for a kid so young. You've shown mad skilz in ice skating, bike riding, and soccer this year.

I cannot believe you have been in my life for four years, I cannot believe it has only been four years. I only have brief memories of what life was like before you. I cannot imagine what it would be like if you were not here. You brighten up each and every day. You fill my heart with so much love it is bursting. I love you boysenberry. I love you Ry Ry, Ryley, Ryser, Ryan bo-byan, muffin love, love bug, puppy, my baby boy.

Happy Birthday, my sweet.

Evan at Four

Evan. My love. My sweet.

You are my performer. My ham. You love to sing. LOVE to sing. You know more songs than a kid your age should. You sing spontaneously. It is hysterical. I love it when you burst into the Star Spangled Banner, or Oh, Canada, just because you are feeling it. When you sing Hallelujah I alternate between laughter and tears, it is just so wonderful. Your current favorite song is Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked. You make these facial expressions that kill me. You know how to work it by flashing a grin, or looking coyly out the tops of your eyes. It would not shock me to see you on American Idol, or Broadway someday.

You love sports. Hockey, is your favorite (yes!). You love to pretend you are a hockey player, basketball player, baseball player, golfer, tennis player, football guy (kicker or long snapper are your favorite positions) You crack me up because when you play hockey you are always Jack Johnson, and you tell your brother he is Drew Doughty. It is really amazing the way you picked up on those two players. I guess you are going to take after your Daddy and play defense. You are also very interested in playing Kayak Polo. You and your brother turn over your little table and pretend it is a kayak. Just a little longer and we will have you in a boat!

Most significantly this year you have started to eat. Yes, I said eat. You still eat PAINFULLY SLOW, but you are eating almost everything. You are my adventurous one. You will try anything. Which is interesting since you had such difficulty with food. I hope you don't grow up with food issues, but I really need you to start eating more! I hope by this time next year I'll be done saying "Eat Evan" every ten seconds at every meal.

You are in constant motion. Physically and verbally. You run around, literally run, and your mouth is giving running commentary. Your vocabulary is astonishing. You use words like "askew", "amazing", "spectacular" "concerned", "appropriate" and "disappointed" in proper context. It cracks me up when you bust out a "big counter". You use phrases that are equally funny coming out of the mouth of a four year old. (I can't remember them just now, but I will add some when I remember/hear them.)

You are also the boy to most likely bust out the "I love you" for no reason other than you felt it at the moment. You also say things like "I want to hug you" or "I want to kiss you" It makes my heart melt that you feel so much love. You love to give me your impish grin face, especially when you are up going potty in the middle of the night. That face is usually followed by an "I love you." You certainly know how to play us, because even if it is the third time in an hour that you have to pee, it's hard to be angry with That Face.

You are so passionate. You LOVE everything. When you like something, it is LOVE. Currently your list includes, black speakers, microphones, lady bugs, the Statue of Liberty, American flags, the Stanley Cup, and of course...Cacti.

You are really a polite kid. You say please, thank you and I'm sorry about that almost all of the time. You are concerned for your brother, and always want to make sure he has what he needs, as long as it is not what you want.

You are also a very sensitive boy. You want to please, and you want others to be happy. You constantly ask me "Are you happy?" or "Are you happy with me?" You have also inherited your Mom and Dad's competitive nature. "Did I win?" is a common question around here. You get upset when someone raises their voice to you, but you do your best not to cry. It is quite adorable. Your lower lip gets shaky and the tears well up in your eyes, and all hearts around you melt.

Your laugh is infectious. You laugh with your whole body. I love to hear the sound of your laughter. It is the sound of true joy. I hope you always find something to laugh that deeply about, every day of your life.

Your teachers love you too. They think that you might be running the school before long. Politician, performer, class president, all things that you may become. You show a kindness for your classmates and want to know what is going on with them. You show a GREAT enthusiasm for everything. You go big or go home. Your verbal abilities have sometimes made it tough especially in the early days, most of the kids didn't know how to keep up with you and your language. I know how they feel!

You are so bright and engaged. You learn things at lightning speed. You are definitely pre-reading, you know your letters (upper case and most lower case) you can identify numbers up to ten, and you are working very hard on the sounds those letter make. You also have a few sight words...making me most proud is that Hockey is one of them! You have memorized so many books, it makes me smile from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes to hear you "read" all by your self.

Your memory is sometimes frightening. The details you can remember from a year ago, or even longer shock me. Sometimes I don't know what you are talking about and it takes me quite a few minutes to figure it out.

You and your brother play so well together, you have such a closeness. You also fight like cats and dogs. You have your own way with each other, a twin thing? or a brother thing? Either way it is rooted in love.

Evan, Boysenberry, E-Diddy, E-dog, Evie, Evan Evan bo bevin, punkin pie, punkin muffin, love bug. I love you so much it makes my heart hurt. My life was so empty before you filled every single space with your joy, with your PASSION. What would I ever do with out you? I did not know joy, or love, or passion, until I met you.

Happy Birthday my sweet.

Fourth Birthday parties down, how many more to go?

Back six months ago or so, the boys and I were having a discussion and the topic of their birthday cakes from last year came up. It always shocks me just how much they remember from year to year. They both remembered that Ryan had a truck cake and Evan a guitar cake, a red guitar. I decided to see what they would say if I asked them what they wanted for cakes this year. Evan immediately said, "A CACTI!" Ryan was more thoughtful and pondered the question for a while and then he determined that a puppy cake would be best for him.

Here is where I should have remembered that I am NOT a professional cake decorator, and I have never worked with fondant before, I was not great at three dimensional projects in art class, and I am NOT Duff Goldman.

After hours of baking, kneading, coloring, rolling, cursing, pulling hair, and hand wringing.
This is what we ended up with.

My first attempt at the cactus ended in all of the rice krispy treats falling off. I determined that the copper fittings Scott used were too slippery and there was nothing for the treats to hold on to. So appropriately for this household we wrapped the entire cactus in hockey tape. That did it.

With Snoopy's Dog house I had structural issues. The top part of the cake was too heavy for the base, even though I had reinforced it with dowels, and it all started to collapse, about three hours before the party. In this picture you can see the retrofit Scott engineered. Basically the bottom cake is toast, Scott built a platform, and attached four PVC pipes to it the top cake sat on top and I had to make more frosting to cover up the wood pieces.

With cake disasters narrowly averted. We were on to the PAR-TEE!

We had dozens of kids, their parents, friends, and family, somewhere around 60 in total. It was a bit chaotic, but what in our lives isn't?

The Helen Woodward Animal Center came out and brought animals for the kids to learn about, and even touch. They also provided a craft and we would have had games too but at this age the kids were more interested in some OTHER things in the backyard.

And while learning about a Bunny, a boa constrictor, a dove and a guinea pig are awesome. Climbing on rocks

The most important thing is the boys had a wonderful party and enjoyed their day so much. They went to bed tired and happy boys, Mom and Dad were just tired.