Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Looks like all fun and games, right?

Until someone gets home...
I don't curse often but today I did.  And will...#damndog

Here is the really tough part: it is my fault.  Yes, that dog can stick it where the sun don't shine, but I shouldn't have left her out of the crate.  We quit using it when we leave the house and knowing that Penny sits on the couch while we are gone, I just sort of turned my cheek to it.  I should have known better.  Dogs can't be without their owners.  They go nuts.  This we know.  So leaving her alone and to her own devices in our home was a bad idea. 

Bad idea, indeed. 

Here's the tragic part.  We went to Discovery Place Kids to meet up with a good friend and blog reader and she graciously donated her old food processor and blender to me.  Love her!  But then I returned home to an even bigger expense.  While I would have gone to meet Chrissy with or without the exchange of small kitchen appliances, I could have bought new kitchen appliances and still saved money since couches are not cheap to replace.

So any blog readers have a free couch they want to give me now?  Ok, kidding.  But no, seriously!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A day in the life...6 months, 3 weeks and 1 day

It's been over half of a year since Eleanor entered our lives.  Each day brings new and wondrous beginnings.  This week we seem to be piling on many "firsts" so I thought I would capture what our lives look like day to day.  This is just one day, and each one is unique around here.  Let's get started...

6am: I hear Eleanor stirring in her bedroom.  I grumble.  It is too early.  Go back to sleep child.  I toss and turn for several more minutes.

6:15am: Ok, ok, I'm up.  I brush my teeth before I go in to pull her out of bed and nurse her.  Upon entering her room I find this:
Somehow Eleanor has mastered sitting up on her own.  So yes, she has been able to sit up with no support for a while, but she has never gone from laying down to sitting up before without help.  She is not happy that she is "stuck."  I hope this doesn't happen in the middle of the night!

6:45am: We head downstairs and I drop Eleanor into her high chair, entertaining her with fragments of food from the fridge, a slice of orange, a strawberry, a banana, artichoke hearts.
I fry up eggs and make toast for Alex and me.  I preheat the oven to bake off the four loaves of bread that have been rising on the kitchen counter.  Too much bread!  Someone needs to take this starter away from me.

7am: Alex heads off to work, Eleanor and I retreat upstairs to play.
We rotate through toys until Eleanor tuckers out.  I pull her into my lap to read.  Right now Eleanor's thing is putting everything into her mouth.  The book goes in, her toys go in, my fingers go in.  And, OUCH! That's sharp.  What the...  Eleanor has a tooth!  A little white dagger sticks out of her bottom gum.  How did I not realize that before!  I promptly text Alex to let him know about this new milestone!

8am: I lay Eleanor down to sleep.  She fusses for a while but finally drifts off to sleep.

Back downstairs I decide the floors desperately need a cleaning.  I don't mop often, but today is the day.  Meanwhile, the pup is out back playing in the newly fenced in backyard.  I thought a fence would solve all my problems, but when she comes to the door covered in dirt I decide it has only made things more difficult.  I refuse to let her in to dirty my newly mopped floors.  Poor Penny has to play outside a while longer.

9am: Eleanor stirs.  WHAT! Yesterday she took a three hour nap for her dad.  Today she barely gives me 45 minutes!  Ok, ok, Mommy is coming!  We nurse and I decide we are heading to the gym.  It will save my sanity.  Without Childwatch I'm not sure how I will get through this day!
9:45: I savor each lap in the pool, counting off 1500 meters.  That's 60 times each way.  I leave the pool and head to the showers.  It is a luxury to shower without a ticking time clock.  That's how I feel when I try to squeeze it in during Eleanor's naps at home.

11am: Back at home I am desperately trying to entertain Eleanor keeping her awake until at least noon.  My go to entertainment- food.
I keep it clean with tofu and green beans.  She is happy to munch while I gobble down a slice of leftover pizza and french fries.  Clearly we had a healthy weekend!

11:45am: Eleanor goes down for nap number two.  I am expecting this one to be much longer than the first.  I settle into some blog reading while I finish off another piece of pizza and some leftover Bean Salad.

12noon: I quickly tackle a few work projects, pay some work bills, email a few folks, and then...

12:45: I hear a fuss.  No, no, no, no, no.  Not again.  I try to let her cry for a moment.  Maybe she'll fall back asleep.  What's the rule on this anyhow?  Do babies go back to sleep if they wake themselves up in the middle of a nap?

I go in there to attempt soothing her back to sleep.  Mommy just needs one more hour, I plead.  Alas, she is awake.  I nurse her and choose my next steps.
1:30pm: I borrow my friend's pool pass and take Eleanor to the splash park and kiddy pool.
We played for an hour, in and out of the sun and water.  She loved it, despite the pool being frigid.  It was a little deep for her to really play.  But it worked to amuse us and pass the afternoon.
2:30pm: At home again we play in Eleanor's room.  I read her Winnie the Pooh while deciding if a third nap is a good idea.  She is digging at her eyes at this point and I have no choice.

3pm: Eleanor naps

3:15pm: Alex is home!  We catch up on our days, I show Alex all the fun photos and videos from our day.

4pm: We wake Eleanor from her nap to head out to a meeting.  We are the witnesses for our friends' will.  It reminds us that we need to make our own will.  Eleanor amuses us as she plays on the table while we sign document after document.
Her new thing is to blow raspberries (or zerberts).  I captured the best video of her doing this for nearly three straight minutes.  I'll share if I ever sit down to upload a few videos.

5pm: Off to the market to grab corn and watermelon for dinner at the Price's.  We have fellowship group every Tuesday.  I look forward to a delicious potluck with our dearest friends each week.  Tonight's menu includes taco salads, corn on the cob, and OMGoodness chocolate chip cookies.

6pm: Dinner
Eleanor is happy in her highchair munching on watermelon and my leftover corn cob.
We take a group walk after dinner to check out Shannon's new house.  I think we need to make a walk a regular happening after dinner.  Especially since it is light so much later now.
8:00pm: We are home.  I nurse Eleanor (yes it has been 7 hours!  How did that happen!)  Alex changes her diaper and puts her down to bed.  This is two hours later than her normal time, she is so tired and quickly falls asleep.  I question whether I should wake her at 10pm like usual to nurse again before I go to sleep.  It seems silly since it is only two hours away, however I don't want to mess with our schedule.  It seems to be working.  Eleanor has slept through the night (10pm until 6am) the past two evenings!  Hmmm...decisions, decisions.

9:00pm: I type out this post recapping the day.  I am about to zone out to Gilmore Girls or an Anthony Bourdain show and hit the hay.

10:00pm: Goodnight!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Six Months

Let me be clear, this little girl rocks my world.  I know (because I've asked) that all momma's are obsessed with their babies, but truly I am obsessed.  I could just eat her up.  And I tell her that daily.  I am the lucky momma of Eleanor Margaret.  I get to stare at this bright and joyful face every single day.  I am so blessed. 
Sure we have sleepless nights and cranky moments.  Yes it isn't all sunshine and roses in this house.  Many days are hard.  Really, really hard.  But then I look into those bright blue shining eyes, and at that big, bold grin and I smile.  I know that it is all going to be ok.  And our days are numbered.  Soon she will be a year old, and then two, then ten and then...oh, I'll stop there.  The days go by too quickly.  I am just trying to soak it all in. 
Eleanor, you are my Eleanor.  My sweet baby girl.  I am such a silly, proud mom.  I love you so much and I can hardly believe you are half a year old (+21 days...but who's counting?)  Yes, I'm a little late getting these photos taken.  I was searching for the perfect fabric for the backdrop.  I really wanted strawberries and couldn't find any local.  So I had to wait for my order to come in from Etsy.  And it finally came, and we finally have photos!
So baby girl is now six months old!  Where did the time go?  It has been half a year since that fateful day in November.  And ladies and mommas-to-be, it is true what they say, your memory of the pain quickly fades.  I would do it all over again every single day to spend just one more with Eleanor.  I just re-read my birth story and while I'm glad I have it recorded, it doesn't seem real at all.  I remember very little from the day of her birth apart from what I read in the story.  It is funny how time can change all things.  It has certainly changed our lives.
At 6 months old Eleanor is a very happy baby.  She rarely fusses except when tired or hungry.  And for her six month our lives literally revolved around whether she was tired or hungry.  We have been "sleep training" and working with different schedules to try to make it work for all of us.  I am happy to say that now (at six and half months) we have found a system that works.  Most of the time.  But for the last month it was hairy.  Some nights she slept in bed with us, some nights in her crib.  Some nights she was up every hour and others every 2-3 hours.  Rarely did we go more than three hours straight of sleep.  Very rarely.  We messed with her eating schedule.  We started nursing more frequently during the day.  Some days we nursed every 1.5 to 2 hours.  Oh, that was hard. 

Describing this past month as hard is accurate.  But it was also an amazing amount of fun.  We watched Eleanor grow and learn so much this month.  She surprised us by pushing up to all fours.  She started off by pushing up into a plank position.  I was excited the first time we saw her do that.  But when she tucked her knees under and started rocking her booty back and forth I was overwhelmed with pride.  I know every mother watches their kiddos bridge these milestones, but it makes it no less exciting when it is your own child. 
Her next trick was sitting up on her own.  Or did that come first?  Either way she mastered both of these achievements this month.  Now she is a pro and rarely topples over.  She loves to sit up and play with toys that make noises.  She loves sitting up in the bath tub all on her own as well.  That was one of our best days when we realized we no longer needed the infant tub but could just set her in the big tub.  Bath time has never been so much fun before!
We took a big trip this month to the beach with friends Andy, Brittany and Matthew.  Eleanor wasn't a fan of the sand or cold ocean waves.  We set up a large tent and let her jump happily in her bouncy seat for hours while we laid in the sun and soaked up the ocean air.  While at the beach we also discovered a new favorite of Eleanor's: the baby swing.  We found a park and she smiled joyfully while we pushed her in the swing.  We now try to stop at a park daily to let her swing.
While we were at the beach we also hit another major milestone.  We were sitting on the couch in our condo and I was munching on a ripe banana when I decided to just pop it in her mouth.  I know they recommend to wait until at least six months for Baby Led Weaning, but I felt that five months and three weeks was plenty of time to wait.  Eleanor was definitely ready.  She had been deliberately watching us eat and drink for weeks and was very excited to try it for her self.  So on that day she got to munch on a banana and we have never looked back.  Solid foods have been really fun for us.  We try different foods almost every day and even feed her right off our own plates.  She eats many meals with us, and others while I'm cooking in the kitchen.  She loves pretty much everything she has tried including lemons and broccoli!  Since eating is a wonderful passion of mine, it has been so much fun to watch her explore food.
That about covers our month.  It has been my favorite so far.  But of course I say that every month!
Such a big girl!
When people see Eleanor they are instantly in love.  Her winning smile and chubby rolls are enough to melt any heart.  She is such a social baby and really flirts and shows off for people.  I would guess that she is making the days of many strangers all the time.  People are drawn to her and love her so much.  I have prayed since I was pregnant that she would have a heart and real passion for others and I hope that her personality now carries into her childhood and then into her adulthood.  I hope and pray that she is always this happy and bubbly and friendly.  I want her to be full of love and compassion for others.  If that smile is any indication of Eleanor's future I would bet my prayers will be answered!

Happy six month birthday baby girl!

Friday, May 24, 2013

May Challenge Update

While I don't talk about it much these days, I have managed to stay fairly active.  I set a goal in May to complete four workouts a week to help me get into shape for triathlon training.  So far I have kept my goal fairly well...
Last week was kind of a bust.  I actually had all my workouts planned but then life happened.  Eleanor was in the hospital and after no sleep on Friday and the 5k Saturday morning I had no energy to follow through.  So I skipped both my strength and the bonus last week.  I keep telling myself I am going to count the 5k alone as a bonus workout and night in the hospital as a test of my personal strength so it counts.  But in reality it doesn't.  My challenge is a bust!

But I'm keeping with it.  This week I have completed 3 of the 4 required workouts.  Tomorrow I am biking 20 miles with the Coolbreeze group and if I feel peppy maybe we'll go for a hike in the afternoon to round out the bonus work out too.  I'll wait until the end of the month to decide if I still get my reward despite not finishing my workouts last week. 

Since I only have a week left to go until the May challenge is over, I am looking up triathlon training plans to get me started in June.  Training for a triathlon is time consuming and requires double workouts (bricks) and lots of time on the road, on the bike, and in the pool.  I am excited but also nervous about fitting it all in.  Of course it will be easier once Alex is home during the day (2 more weeks till school is out!).  Then I won't have to work around nap schedules anymore!

Any suggestions for triathlon training plans?  I'm looking at Swim Bike Mom's ebook now.  I like her flexibility and she is just so funny!  Once I have my training plan figured I will be sure to post here. 

I am already so excited for my first triathlon and it isn't until September, so I'm thinking of putting a few other races on my calendar.  Maybe another Ramblin' Rose event.  I'm thinking Winston-Salem, so we can stay with my in-laws.  There is also the Lake Norman Excursion which is a 5k run followed by a 40 mile bike ride.  I am excited for that event in July.  Any other races out there that maybe I should look at?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

220 Cafe and my first scallop

Last night I had the pleasure of dining with some of my best friends.  While it was work related, it was an excellent excuse for a girl's night. 

I picked up my bestie Melis and we headed to Statesville where 220 Cafe hosted our race team for dinner.

I ordered a round of appetizers for the ladies and so I enjoyed my very first taste of scallops.  Yes I realize this is a vegan blog.  No, scallops are not vegan.  If you are new here, I confessed I am no longer vegan, and I am working on changing the blog to be a more accurate title to my life.  It is hard work to change your name.  I'll get there.

So back to the point, yum.  But not as yum as I imagined.  Alex and I love watching food shows.  Our favorites include Master Chef and Top Chef, and scallops are always a main staple on these shows.  I enjoy shell fish most of the time, but it isn't so great I just can't live without it.  That is how I felt about scallops too.  It was good.  But if I go another 29 years without, I may not be disappointed. 

However, this is in no way a reflection of the quality of food and service we received last night!  Everything we ate was flavored to perfection.  Nearly the entire table ordered their special, an amberjack fish plate.  It looked amazing.  Melis had their Crab Croquettes.  I took a bite and it was also delicious.  I ordered the veggie salad which comes with beets, mushrooms and goat cheese.  So good.  I also had the Cream of Green bean soup and it was also so tasty. 

I really recommend this little restaurant in downtown Statesville.  It is quaint and locally owned (by women at that) and wonderful.  To boot, they are a big sponsor of Girls on the Run so of course I love them...although this post was no way in part of their sponsorship agreement, just my own personal thoughts and my decision to give them a great shout out for all they do in the community and for their delicious food they serve! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oh Happy Day

Oh happy day!  It's amazing what a little bit of sleep and a little sunshine can do for the soul.  My happy baby is feeling all better, and from our follow up appointment yesterday we learned it was Roseola.  Not particularly worthy of a hospital stay.  We did see the PA again yesterday and came to a mutual agreement that a different pediatrician, one with more experience working with unvaccinated children, would be ideal for our situation.  Honestly, since my experience on Thursday, I feel like we have actually had a very positive experience with our pediatrician office.  Forcing a little communication on Friday (and having Alex there to support me) did wonders for the relationship. 
Since my cutie has been feeling all better since we returned from the hospital, we opted to get strict with schedules and sleep and Make.This.Work.  So we put our research to use and created our ideal schedule for Eleanor:

7am- wake up, nurse, play time
8:30-9am- morning nap (1-1.5 hours long)
10:30-1pm- wake up, nurse, play time
1pm- afternoon nap (1.5-2 hours long)
2:30pm- wake up, nurse, play
5:30- begin bed time routine:
     read books
6:15-6:30- bedtime
9-10pm- nurse (dream feed)

When we put her down for a nap or for bed time, we sing her the same songs each time, lay her down and wait until she is comforted and walk out of the room.  If she begins to cry we wait 2 minutes and then walk back in the room to comfort her.  We will soothe with Shushing and rubbing her belly or back.  When she is calm we leave the room.  We do this again after 5 minutes if she is still crying.  So far she has been out by the second 5 minute interval.  And on a few occasions she has gone right to sleep after laying her down!  Success!

Notice that I didn't include any night time feedings after her 10pm dream feed.  We cut them out starting Sunday night and have had great success.  For the past week or so, I could tell that she really wasn't eating, rather just pacifying herself with nursing.  The first night we cut it out she woke a few times and fussed and we continued to do our 2-5-5...intervals.  I let Alex off the hook and did all the night time wakings and still felt like I got great sleep.  She didn't fuss that much!

Our second night (last night) I heard her wake up around 1am.  I waited the 2 minutes and before I could go in she quieted back down.  She did this a few more times but I never had to get out of bed.  I fell back asleep and woke up at 4am (on my own), 5am, and 6am.  I tossed and turned because I am not used to sleeping all night long, and because my boobs were so full!  But Eleanor slept on.  Finally she woke up around 6:30 this morning and I got up to nurse her. 


Now I realize that this could be a fluke.  This could wax and wane over the next few weeks, and still over the next year.  But we did it.  We slept through the night! Almost.  But it counts and I'm so excited!

In completely unrelated news, I broke my blender yesterday.  Boo!
I was so disappointed.  My food processor recently bit the dust as well, so now I'm left without any means of quickly chopping or processing anything.  It cramped my cooking since I needed to make bread crumbs for our dinner.  I was finely chopping toasted bread by hand when I had an epiphany.
Mason jars fit perfectly on most blenders.  Try this. 

So I successfully made bread crumbs but am now in the market for a new blender and a new food processor.  Not happy about these future purchases as I was really hoping to also get a fancy new camera soon.  I hate when my "big purchases" wish list grows to a materialistic quantity, but that's where it is at right.  I would like a new road bike.  But I also really want a mountain bike.  Not to mention the clips and tri-suit I mentioned wanting.  And I need new running shoes.  And for that matter, probably a new swim cap (small purchase...but still).  I'm sure I could think of many more.  And I hate being like this.  Wanting stuff.  Yuck.  For now I will be grateful for nights of great sleep and warm weather and the hope of summer lurking in the near future. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

What A Weekend

I am exhausted.  (Long pause) To dive into this weekend's events may take a very long time.  It was full of so much good, so much bad and so much work.  It is still only Sunday morning and yet I feel that it should already be Monday.  Longest weekend ever.

Of course it started early on Friday.  Since Alex took the day off to help me care for Eleanor it felt like the weekend already.  As he was getting ready for work that morning and I was rocking Eleanor in her room, I decided work was just not going to happen for Alex.  I needed to work a full day Friday and there was no way Eleanor would cooperate.  She was being hyper-needy.  Which is ever so cute, but not good for productivity.  Usually Alex's work would come first on a normal day.  I can make up hours whenever, he certainly can't go in at night and teach.  But this weekend was the Girls on the Run 5k presented by Iredell Health System and I could not take the day off.
I did arrange my schedule to accompany them to Eleanor's morning pediatrician appointment, a follow-up from the previous day.  Despite my frustrations with her peds, we kept the appointment because she was a sick baby and finding a new doctor on short notice didn't seem like a great solution.  We saw the PA Friday morning and with Alex's support we discussed our concerns.  She was open to the conversation and assured us that she would also talk with the doctor's about their attitude toward our choices.  We did, however, move forward and have blood drawn to check for bacterial infections.  I'm not sure I mentioned it on Friday but Eleanor had been running a temperature of 104 degrees since Tuesday night.

After the doctor appointment I went about my work and left Alex at home with a very crabby baby.  Around noon the PA contacted us with some news about Eleanor's blood work.  Her white blood cell counts were ok, but were producing immature new cells.  She felt concerned enough to "book us a room at Levine's" as Alex likes to put it.  We threw ourselves into crisis mode.  Could Eleanor really be sick enough to be admitted into the children's hospital?  What was I going to do about the 5k?

I made arrangements to cover for me during set-up that evening at Lowe's Corporate Headquarters.  It wasn't easy.  There was a ton of communication happening, everyone had to pitch in to make it work.  I was on the phone pretty much from noon until 9pm that night arranging everything.  It was exhausting.

While I went about work, Alex started packing bags and finding a dog sitter.  We knew they wanted us to stay overnight so Eleanor could be observed.  We were packed and ready to go and on the road to Charlotte at 3pm.  It took quite a while to get all of our arrangements in place.  We drove separately, knowing that regardless I would have to leave in the wee hours of the morning to be back in Mooresville for the 5k.

Alex beat me to the hospital and checked Eleanor in.  I was close behind and we settled in for the evening.
I set up shop and continued working while doctors and nurses came in and out to check on Eleanor.  They all agreed that she looked well enough.  They didn't run any more tests since our pediatrician had already done a urine sample, a nose swab and blood work.  We waited as one by one test results came in.  The urine sample was negative for UTI or any other infections.  The nose swab came back negative for any viral infections.  So we just continued to wait.  I am very thankful they didn't feel the need to run an IV or fluids.  While she wasn't nursing much, she still seemed well hydrated.  In fact, she seemed pretty happy even.
Except for being at the hospital, it might have seemed like a normal day for us.  Me on my computer, Alex watching TV and Eleanor playing with her toys.  Of course she was more tired than usual, and a little grumpier, but her demeanor was pretty great overall.  We questioned many times why we were even at the hospital.  I think in many ways our caregivers at Levine's also questioned the decision to send us here overnight as well.

Around dinner time they did give us the option to return home with a shot of antibiotics.  We would have to follow up on Saturday and our only option would be to take her to an urgent care.  Our second option would be to just stay overnight at the hospital.  It seems like a silly decision but we opted to stay at the hospital.  For starters, we were already settled in.  We had already arranged everything back at home and at work to be gone, and to visit an urgent care would cost us another sizeable copay.  They handed us a couple of meal tickets for dinner and brought us blankets.  We got comfortable for the night.

My story is becoming very lengthy so we will just fast forward through a sleepless night (hospital beds are not the most comfiest).  We swapped turns sleeping with Eleanor in our arms.  Finally around three in the morning I was awake and not going back to sleep.  I got ready to leave and just hit the road early, heading home to shower, take the pup out and eat some breakfast.  I left Eleanor in her daddy's care while I put on my work hat for the day.
The day started out perfectly.  While we were expecting thunderstorms, the rain held off in the distance as we set up for the Girls on the Run 5k.  While the wee hours of the morning crawled by, time went into warp-speed once we were at Lowe's and setting up.  Before I knew it the girls and their families had all arrived and it was just minutes before the 5k began!
It was an awesome event (as always).  It never ceases to amaze me that all these girls accomplished their goals.  And it is not lost on me how lucky I am to have this job.  Several times throughout the morning I caught myself choked up.  When the 5k began and the girls took off I coughed back tears.  And when I finally stopped moving for five seconds to take in the past 24 hours and the whirlwind of a weekend I had had, the tears could hold back no longer.  I turned and gave my friend Brittney a hug and finally told her where Eleanor was.
It wasn't long after that I talked to Alex on the phone and he told me they checked her temperature and Eleanor no longer had a fever.  And by the time the 5k was over and we were cleaning up he was already home with her, safe and sound.  Her blood culture results all came back normal and we still have no idea what caused the fever.  I have heard many of those tests can be inaccurate.  But today she is still doing well, although a little more docile than usual.

I was exhausted on Saturday.  Alex made me lunch when I finally arrived home.  His mom drove down for the afternoon and we all decided to get out of the house and walk around the Race City Festival downtown.  The rest of the day it was quiet.  The gloominess of the sky aided our ability to relax and rest at home.  Around seven that night I was fast asleep in bed.

Fast forward again to this morning (Sunday).  The gloom is still resting in the sky, and we are quietly resting at home.  We skipped church, something we never do.  Alex is also very sick today and Eleanor and he are both napping as I type out this post.  After 12 solid hours of sleep last night, I am feeling recovered from this weekend, but still thankful for the quiet morning.  And very thankful for my happy baby who is feeling much better!
Future GOTR Girl!

Friday, May 17, 2013


I am about to make a very controversial public confession and I don't really care for any feedback.  I know that sounds pretty harsh considering I'm the one putting this out there in a public way.  However, this is a very personal choice, and one every parent makes for their own children.  The reason I am addressing it now is because I want to be clear that this is in fact a choice.  You as a parent have a choice.


We are choosing for now not to immunize Eleanor.  I just threw up in my mouth a little as I typed that for fear that every reader just turned their snotty nose up at me.  And those who didn't, just shuttered in their chairs in disgust that I would even discuss this.  Discussing vaccinations is as politically-incorrect as discussing...well, politics.  Or religion.  But if you know me, I quite enjoy discussing religion (or, faith, that is), so I'm going to swallow hard and move forward.  Today we're discussing this.

It comes up today because I feel extremely bullied by my pediatrician about our choice not to vaccinate.  And I fear that their predispositions are clouding judgement when it comes to treating Eleanor.  I can't count how many times today I heard "because she isn't vaccinated..."  and I am concerned they may overlook symptoms and jump to conclusions because they are being short sighted.

Today's experience has led me to the decision to switch doctors.  I believe we are going to seek out an alternative medicine pediatrician or even a family doctor whose sole intent is not to have every patient in the office immunized.  That may seem like a harsh statement, but unfortunately it could possibly be very true

In the article linked above, popular tactics used by pediatricians to force vaccine schedules include fear and condescension.  I believe we face both of those each time we enter our current pediatrician's office.  So today's rant isn't really about our choice to not vaccinate, so much as it is about our right to the choice.  And I suppose our pediatrician has a right to her opinions as well, but when it distracts from proper and sensical treatment I have to be weary. 

I am terribly upset by the way we were treated today.  Not outwardly rude, but passive aggressive.  And I really did feel that I was talked down to and my questions were not heard because of the deafening roar of pharmaceutical companies pushing a one-size-fits-all program.  I am and always have been open to the advise and expertise from our doctors but when I am made to feel inferior because of my beliefs or choices it is hard to view information unbiased.  I wish that a conversation could be had that would open up the floor to both of our points of view and still leave us mutually respecting and agreeing to disagree.  But as is the case, it is their practice and their choice.  And thus it is our choice to leave.  I suppose I shouldn't be so put-out except we specifically had this conversation before Eleanor was born and were reassured that our choices would be respected by this office.  And while I can't say they have ever outwardly proclaimed that our choices are irresponsible, that is how they have made me feel.  And I certainly don't need anyone other than myself making me feel like a bad mom (as evidenced by Wednesday's post.)

Raising a child and making choices for their life is a tough job.  The decisions we make our infinite.  What diaper cream to use?  What school to send them to?  Do we let them cry it out?  Should we spank?  So many days I find myself looking into Eleanor's eyes and shaking my head, saying "I don't know baby, I just don't know."  Parenting is scary and difficult.  And making these choices is part of that.  Having guidance given by caring individuals is helpful, but being made to feel inferior is not.  Ultimately I have to make the choice that is best for my family and right now that choice is to surround myself with supportive individuals.  Not "yes" men, but people who will respectfully discuss not just the facts but the emotions and common sense and all the other factors involved in decision making.  As a parent I encourage you to find these types of people to surround yourself with as well.  I am hoping it will make this parenting job just a little less stressful.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Oatmeal Love

Here's how my brain is working as I sit here to type out a post:

"Don't talk about sleep issues, don't talk about sleep issues, no one wants to hear about your sleep woes.  You've said it enough...they get it.  You aren't sleeping.  You are not the only mom out there with sleep issues.  Let it rest (no pun intended)"

Alas, here I am talking about sleep issues.  But seriously, let's talk about something else. 

Like coffee--ahem, decaf coffee.  I've read the reports.  It's not good for you.  And the trace amounts of caffeine have no affect on my energy levels at all.  Yet somehow, drinking that dark nectar makes me feel human again.  I can't quit coffee.  Decaf, of course.

Breakfast is my happy place.  And if that breakfast is accompanied by a cup of decaf and a glass of OJ it is even happier.  My go to breakfasts are french toast, veggie omelets, egg sandwiches and of course oatmeal.  I take my time with breakfast, usually eating before Eleanor is awake, or letting her bounce in her chair while I savor each bite.  It is a fresh start to the day and helps me to wake up and face it.

While I enjoy french toast or eggs, oatmeal has always been my go-to.  I eat it four or more times a week and it never gets old (except when I was pregnant). 

my usual oatmeal includes:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
microwave on medium-high for 3 minutes

stir in:
1/2 mashed banana
2 tablespoons raisins

top with:
1 tablespoon peanut butter

other favorite toppings and stir ins include:
coconut flakes
pumpkin puree
nuts (of any sort)
"baked" apples (which are really just microwaved)
other dried fruit
honey or agave if I don't have bananas to sweeten
ground flax seed
chia seeds

things I hate in my oatmeal:
fresh or frozen fruit of any kind (except apples--and except blueberries-sometimes)
granola (what's the point it just gets all soggy)
when I have to make it with all water and no almond/soy milk

best oatmeal discovery:
overnight oats (duh!)

newest oatmeal discovery:
mixing TVP (textured vegetable protein) into my oatmeal.  I typically mix in 1/4 cup oats and 1/4 cup TVP for additional protein and you can hardly taste or recognize a difference. 

other oatmeal loves:
baked oatmeal--I can make one big casserole and reheat all week for breakfast
By the way...oatmeal is never fun to photograph!

And this is the kind of post you get when I'm trying to think of something other than sleep deprivation!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sleep Woes

"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14 (NAS)

I took this verse straight from my morning devotional with Proverbs 31.  In fact, I haven't even finished reading it before I had to open my blog screen to jot down thoughts. 

Last night I prayed as I rocked Eleanor at 3am.  My prayers were needy and harsh and begging for sleep.  I prayed that when I lay her back down that she wouldn't wake up.  I prayed and prayed.  And then stopped myself.  I didn't want to pray that prayer, because I knew she would wake up when I laid her down.  If I prayed for it and it didn't come true then I would be even more frustrated, but more than that, my faith in God may dwindle.  I was praying for a Genie in a bottle.  So I prayed prayers that were easier, less specific.  "God grant me patience, that when she wakes up I won't be frustrated."  See, there, now if I wasn't patient, I could blame that one on myself, not God.

My prayer life is lacking.  My confidence in God is lacking.  My confidence in the power of prayer is lacking.  Last night I reminded myself that it is alright to pray "Sun Stand Still" prayers (Joshua 10:12) and to have confidence in the Lord and so I prayed mightily that Eleanor would not wake up (for the millionth time) as I lay her down.  "Sun Stand Still!" I professed as I placed her down in her crib...

"AAAAaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!" Came the immediate wail.  Fail. 

I cried silent tears as I patted Eleanor on the back willing her back to sleep.  I finally gave up, walked out of the room and threw myself down in bed knowing that Alex would be up to save the day.  He has more patience and grace than I could ever muster. 

I don't believe there was much sleeping going on for either Alex or Eleanor last night after my surrender.  But he kept it to the guest room and the baby room so I could sleep.  Now, hours later, I feel like an awful mother because it has become the father's role in our house to be up with the baby.  I remind myself, if that works for our house, it is alright.  But I feel like a failure as a mom, and I wonder how much it really can be working for Alex.  After all, he is the one up past ten grading papers, and up before the sun taking the dog out and getting ready for work.  I feel lazy and useless because I can't find the patience to deal with night wakings.  It's been six long months since I have slept through the night and I am losing steam.

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Mother's Day

I want to stop for a moment to acknowledge my very first Mother's Day.  I have much to say, but not m(any) photos to share of the actual day.  Not to sound trite, but I just didn't want to stop the day for a moment to capture a photo.  Of course I always regret this.  Now I wish I had a few snapshots of this beautiful day.

The weather was perfect, the day was wonderful.  I woke up a little grumpy--likely sleep deprived.  But after church the day pretty much soared.  I felt honored and cherished and loved.  My phone blew up with text messages from friends wishing me a happy first Mother's Day.  Alex showered me with love and sweet gifts.  Eleanor was such a good baby all day.  And we spent the whole day with friends, other moms and their wonderful families.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.  Or a more amazing family.
So here's the run down of our activities on this amazing weekend:


Alex and I woke early to volunteer for the Run Wild 5k.  We worked the registration table.  I had a really amazing time and it was nice to be hanging out, working with Alex.  No baby.  We had a babysitter come to the house at 5am!  Around 10am we left the 5k and headed to Jetton Park for a quick three mile run.  It is only the second time Alex and I have run together since Eleanor was born!

We came back home and I took my second shower of the day, only to get sweaty once again with my first ever mountain bike ride.  My friend Jennifer took me out to the state park and we rode three solid miles on windy, rooty trails.  (note that I completed all of my workouts this week, including the bonus!) It was short but so much fun.  Now I'm torn between a new rode bike or a mountain bike...if I were even in the new bike market (I wish!)

Since there are no photos to show for the day, I will wrap this up quickly.  Alex and I headed out to the winery for a glass of wine and a swing on their porch with baby Eleanor.  It was a beautiful day and fun to be outside.  At home we cooked dinner and ate cupcakes.  A perfect day.

After church Sunday, Katie and Adam invited us to lunch with them.  We enjoyed Taps' delicious brunch menu and scored a table on the patio to enjoy another day of fine weather.  TCBY was offering free frozen yogurt for moms so of course we headed their next.  We took Eleanor for a walk and then headed to our friend's home to drink mimosas in the sun.  We followed that up with breakfast for dinner (count that...3 breakfasts in one day, wish I had photographs!) and then more time with friends.  Tim and Jill brought their kiddos over to play in the yard to savor every last bit of the sunshine.  Man I wish I took pictures!

Either way, it was a joyous day.  Celebrating all the many moms out there!  Of course there is one mom in particular that needs a special shout out own mom!  A beautiful, compassionate and caring woman who I respect and adore more and more every day.   I will admit, being a mom myself now, I believe I have even more love and respect and adoration for the woman that she is, for the time that she has given me, for love and life.  For raising me and teaching me and being there for me.  I will never know all the workings of her heart over the years as she cried tears of joy and tears of sadness for us kids, but as a mom now, I can understand a little better.  Thank you mom!  For everything.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


These days are just getting away from me.  They are flying by, and if I don't get with it I am going to miss May altogether!  Let's chat about this crazy month:

First was Alex's birthday on May 5th.  If you were to ask me I would claim there is no way his birthday has already happened.  I feel like it was a blur and I blinked and it was over.
Then we celebrated Eleanor's six-month birthday...but I use the word "celebrate" very loosely here, because it also kind of came and went in a blur without any special attention!
Now this week Alex and I are heading up the registration tables at the Run Wild 5k in Huntersville, and on top of that I'm still working hard to plan the Girls on the Run 5k on May 18th.  Whew!  That is a ton of work!
Eleanor has been a good little helper though, and we are utilizing our babysitter a ton this month!

I have yet to take Eleanor's six-month photos and post a full recap of the last month...but I'm getting there.  Perhaps we will tackle it tomorrow now that the sun has decided to come out and play, I can get some good shots. 

I will get with the game soon and catch up on all these thoughts running rampant in my brain.  But for today...let me just tackle one major to-do.  I NEED VOLUNTEERS!  Would you like to help us out at the Girls on the Run 5k?  Sign up now!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May Challenge

Because who doesn't love a good challenge?

And because this girl needs to get off her butt...

Here goes:
So the game plan is four weeks along.  Call this my pre-training training plan for the triathlon in September.  This challenge is meant to get my body used to three different sports each week: swimming, biking, and running. 

This is a loosey, goosey kind of plan.  No distances, no time goals, just do it.  Swim, Bike and Run.  Each week.  Plus a little strength.  If I get in the pool it counts.  If I lace up my sneakers and take a few strides it counts.  If I sit on a guessed it, it counts.  If I lift a free weight.  Yup.  It counts.  And if I complete a bonus workout...anything else, an extra swim, bike or run...or anything else (except walking...I don't think I will count that) there will be a little treat at the end of the week.

I typically fail at challenges so this month I'm taking it easy on myself with a very loose plan.  I am also offering incentives to myself for completing this challenge.  Here they are:

Each week, if I complete all 4 workouts and a bonus: I am treating myself to fro-yo on Saturday afternoons.

If I complete every workout (except bonus) for the entire month: (that = 4 workouts a week) the first week in June I am purchasing clip-in pedals and cycle shoes.  Woo-hoo!  It may not be such a treat when I take them out for their first spin and come crashing to the ground because I don't know how to clip out...but the purchase will be a rather awesome treat!

If I complete every workout + a bonus workout each week: I am also going to purchase a tri-suit so I don't look like such a novice out there at my first triathlon!

Since we are already smack dab in the middle of week one, I should mention I have successfully completed a swim (1000 yards at the Y Monday) and a run (2.5 glorious miles in an impending storm Tuesday night).  I am already off to a good start and feeling wonderful about a new fitness regiment. 

The plan the rest of the week includes a rest day tomorrow, then I will hit up a cycle class at the gym on Thursday afternoon and a strength class Friday morning.  Then on Saturday, after the 5k I'm volunteering at, maybe I'll be inspired to run a 5k as well.  We'll see!  I really want that tri-suit.  Or maybe some of my buddies will take me mountain biking for the first time ever!  (If it ever quits raining!)

Would you like to take the May Challenge with me?  Or at least follow along to help hold me accountable?  And don't forget, I'm looking for friends to participate in the Ramblin' Rose Charlotte event in September!  Let me know if you are interested.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Birthday Boy

Here's a post full of photos, and I'm not even going to talk about Eleanor once.  I promise.  This post is all about the handsome man behind the baby.  My husband.  Alex turned 32 yesterday.  And this post is all about him!
I should mention first though, that all these photos are compliments of the beautiful, talented Whitney! Check her out for your family photos too!  She did such a wonderful job!
Back to this guy...

Birthday celebrations for us haven't been as glam as years past.  Yesterday we celebrated Alex'a 32nd year with church, lunch with his mom, and then he had class at church.  Not very celebratory, but it was a nice family day.  Sometimes it is just a focus on one another that makes the difference, not what you do.

Lately my focus has been all over the place.  Work, Eleanor, Money (bleh!).  I don't spend as much time thinking about Alex like I used to.  So yesterday, despite being tired and worn down, I made sure to put him first all day.  I shut the computer.  I looked him in the eyes.  I made him coffee and breakfast.  Little things.  I wish I would be more intentional every day because our connection is so much better when I put him first.
I am so incredibly thankful for Alex in my life.  I am so blessed to be his wife.  I am not sure how I was ever so lucky.  He is patient and kind and helpful.  He is strong, and faithful and loving.  He believes, he worships and he praises.  He is an amazing dad, playful and fun with Eleanor.  And also so involved and generous with her.  He is a great dog-owner.  It's true.  He makes sure Penny is well-taken care of and spoiled and I admire that.  And he is the best husband.  He makes sure I get plenty of "me" time, he takes care of me, he is selfless and he honors our marriage.  I could say so many things about him, but the best of all is that he loves me.  He cherishes me.  He makes me feel like the most special woman in the whole world.  He is wonderful.
He is also super funny, fun to be around, and unique.  And I wouldn't trade a single day with him for anything in this world.  Thank you Alex, for being my man and Happy Birthday!  I love you!