Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ramblin' Rose

I am a Ramblin' Rose Blog Ambassador.  As evidenced by the beautiful logo to your right.  Earlier this summer I signed on to blog about my experience training and participating in the Ramblin' Rose Sprint Triathlon this summer in Charlotte.  I was so enthused I intended to sign up for at least two more of their events throughout the season.  This year I was determined, I would be a triathlete. 
Well summer came and went.  The event in July passed by.  Then August.  And today we are frightening close to September 22nd, my actual first triathlon ever.  As a "retired" distance athlete, it is easy to look at the mileage and scoff a little.  I think to myself, "I can phone that in." 

Swim: 250
Bike: 8 miles
Run: 2 miles

Individually I know I can complete those distances fairly well.  But combined, I have no idea what to expect.  Especially after a less than stellar training season and at least three weeks straight of no functional work outs. 

I have no idea what to do. 

I know that working out makes me a happier, healthier person.  This I understand from previous experience.  But I also know that I go through seasons in my life.  In my current situation, assigning workouts to my days creates extra stress and only serves to make me feel like a failure when I can't complete my assignment.  I have recognized this time in my life is not good for training and workout plans.  Trust me, I've tried. 

I check out the calendar.  Look at my impending races.  Then I am giddy as I schedule my workouts for the coming weeks.  I post my plan on the fridge, in my office, on my phone.  I set reminders.  And then I watch the days fall off the calendar as workouts are cancelled and work and home continues to take center stage. 

At the beginning of summer I decided I was just going to go for it.  I would make early morning workouts my thing.  I would wake up at 5am, head to the gym to catch a cycle class or run on the treadmill at 5:30 and be home ready to go for the day before the baby wakes up at 7am.  The plan was great in theory.  In reality, as a breastfeeding momma, it didn't work.  When I wake up in the morning my boobs are bigger than ever!  And I refuse to wake up at 5am to pump before heading to the gym.  As if waking up early wasn't torture enough.  So I scratched that idea from my mind and continued to fail miserably at squeezing in workouts.  Although honestly it's not that I don't have time.  I don't dare use that excuse.  Then I would have to chastise myself for the hours spent on Pinterest planning Eleanor's elaborate first birthday party.  No, I have the time.  I just don't have the desire.

I am sure that someday I will be interested in training and racing again.  This morning I tried to make one more valiant effort at starting a new fitness routine to get ready for the triathlon.  I woke up, dove right into my running clothes, waited for the baby to wake up, fed and changed her and dashed out to the car.  My plan was to head to the park for a comfortable 2 or 3 mile run and then play on the swings and playground for the morning.  I buckled her into her seat and turned around to grab the stroller and toss into the car.  But the stroller was nowhere to be found.  We have two.  Two jogging strollers.  And neither were in the garage.  I quickly dialed Alex and sure enough both strollers are in his car on its way to Statesville.  He offered to meet me half way but by this point I was over it.  I hauled baby back inside we continued with our normal morning routine.  Breakfast, bath and nap time. 

I am not sure that this is what Ramblin' Rose wanted when they signed me on as a blog ambassador.  I'm certain they wanted something a little more inspirational.  The "new mom who manages to fit it all in."  Honestly, that's the story I wanted when I signed on.  I wanted to impress you and make you see how totally awesome I am.  But I am sorry to disappoint.  I suppose I'm still awesome in my own least in my daughter's eyes.  But this is not me.  Not right now.  I don't know if I will still compete on race day.  I am still excited about the prospect of completing my first triathlon.  But I'm not sure that the glory will feel half as good if I knew I didn't train properly and put in the time and effort.  I think I would cross the finish line feeling a bit like a cheater.  Because I didn't work for it as hard as the other women...the real inspirations! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013


It's August 25th.  The last time I posted was 10 days ago! Blogging is clearly not a priority in my life.  Boo.  I miss the passion and excitement that used to consume my writing on Vegan Faith.  It is just mostly not there anymore.  I am always "writing."  But rarely do I take the time to get it from my head to the screen.  You've heard me wax on about this before. 

I can't tell if this is a season in my life.  Maybe once work slows back down, I'm adjusted to the new babysitter and routine, and we begin all of our fun fall activities, maybe then I will be excited to write again and capture life at the Kummerow's.  Until then, I am unapologetically taking breaks when I need to, and writing when the urge arrives.  Like now.

This weekend we took an impromptu trip to Highlands, NC to visit our friends.  They were vacationing from Wisconsin.  Fun fact: Jody and Casey are the reason Alex and I met.  When they moved from Missouri to Wisconsin to lead YMCA Camp Edwards I followed them for work.  That summer I met Alex and the rest is history. 
Fun fact #2: Their little boy George was born the same exact day as Eleanor.  In fact, our due dates were the same (November 16th) and our little ones both came 10 days early, weighing in at almost exactly the same: 6 pounds 8 ounces, and 6 pounds 9 ounces.  How funny!
We had a wonderful time, although it was a very quick trip.  We returned home in time for dinner at Brittney's to watch the last episode of The Bible with a group of friends.  Now I'm truly exhausted.
In other fun news, Alex and I finally got out for a date night a few weeks ago.  The Panthers were playing the Bears for the first game of the pre-season and so we stole away for some tailgating and football fun.
Sadly the Panthers third string beat our third stringers.
But honestly I was having too much fun to care.

So wow! It's already the last week in August.  We are already experiencing Fall-like weather.  And school starts up tomorrow for the kiddos.  Where did summer go?  On the queue for this week...sign more teams and coaches for Girls on the Run, send Eleanor off to a brand new babysitter, try to work out (I do have a triathlon coming up in just weeks!), make time for God EVERYDAY!, love my husband, and stay sane.  I can do this!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Night of Worship

Last night I went to Grace Covenant Church for a night of worship.  When my friend Brandy invited me I quickly said yes.  We were already planning on a girl's night together and why wouldn't we go to the event? I didn't give it much thought, it sounded like a good idea.
Brandy picked me up at 6:15pm and we hit terrible traffic on the way to Huntersville.  I joked that we should just get off the highway and go out for ice cream instead.  On the way down we diverted ourselves from the torture of stand-still traffic by lamenting over family, kids, husbands, work.  You know, the usual girl talk. 

Finally, just after 7pm we pulled into the parking lot and rushed into the sanctuary where music and worship had already begun.  I quickly began to sing praises, and while family, kids, husbands and work can all cause stress in life, I am so thankful that God has blessed me with all of them.  There is so much to be grateful for and I relished in the opportunity to praise God openly and unrestrained. 

Coming from a traditional church background, throwing my hands in the air and dancing to Jesus music isn't exactly comfortable for me.  When I was recently talking to my girlfriends about this, one of them commented that when we attend secular concerts don't we dance and sing loudly and lift up our hands?  True.  So why are we so shy about doing these acts when we are worshiping God?  True. 

So last night I let my hands float into the air and punched forward singing very loudly (sorry Brandy) all the words and praises to God.  I closed my eyes and heard the voices around me exclaiming God's glory and righteousness and for just moments I thought I could taste heaven.  And I imagined this would be what it is like.  Unrestrained.  Unapologetic.  Unashamed.  Open and honest worship.  To God.  Because He is worthy.

At one point, with both hands raised in the air toward God I had a flash of Eleanor in my mind and the way she lifts her two arms up toward me so I will hold her.
She has no problem reaching out to me because I love her and care for her.  She has confidence in my love and knows that I am safe and so she reaches out to me for comfort and protection.  In the same way I was reaching out to God last night so I could be lifted into his loving embrace.  I want to feel his comfort and protection.  The Lord says to come to him as little children.  And last night the meaning of that scripture became so real to me.  I thought about Eleanor and how dependent she is of me.  How she needs me and she loves me.  And I wondered if I need and love my Father in heaven just as much? 

Being so self-aware and analytical about everything makes it hard to worship.  I am always over thinking every single step, move and word.  I don't easily get wrapped up in moments because I am busy scrutinizing the details of it all.  Last night I tried hard to let myself just go.  To just be wrapped up in the Father's love and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit.  To not over-think how long my arms had been in the air, or how terrible my singing voice was affecting all those around me.  I tried to allow myself to give over to the spirit and allow God to work in me and through me.  I so badly want the presence of my Lord with me every day and always.  And I want to relinquish control over so many details of my life.  I want this life to be lived for Jesus.  Not for the sake of my own glory, but for His.  And last night I was able to taste the sweetness of a life well-lived.  A life that brings honor and glory only to Him above.  I am so grateful for the experience of worship last night.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eleanor is 9 months!

There is something about reaching this nine month milestone that is leaving me uneasy.  Maybe it's because she has officially been out as long as she was in, or maybe because she is turning into such a little girl, but I am becoming all sorts of nostalgic for my tiny little baby.

How did she get to be so big?
She is so completely sure of herself, independent and courageous.  She is fully mobile and will follow us to every room in the house now.  She loves to crawl under things and get "stuck."  She smiles and babbles.  I catch her "talking" to her toys and hands.  Her favorite words are "Gah, gah" and sometimes we hear daddy or momma (although she has no idea what she is saying.)  When she babbles something we always make up real words and phrases for what she says.
Up and down, up and down.  She is climbing all over  and on everything.  The coffee table, the side tables, the chairs, the changing table, and even the wall.  Anything she can lean on and get her hands up on.  She hasn't tried to balance on her own yet but we are not too far off.
This month we don't have many new milestones.  She was already pulling up, crawling and all of that last month.  But in the last 4 or so weeks she has really refined her skills.  She no longer falls (at least not very often) and she moves with lightening speed.  We caught her doing the "slap-drag" one day (crawling with one leg in front and scooching her booty forward) but that was all.  She hasn't really done it since.  Sometimes she will attempt to crawl with her feet on the floor (think downward dog style) but again, it's not that often.  She has that perfect little baby crawl down to the tee.
It absolutely melts my heart when she crawls right up to me and into my lap.  She nuzzles my neck and gives big open mouth kisses, although we don't think she knows what she's doing yet.  However, there was one evening when we were sitting at dinner with friends and Alex had popped Eleanor onto his shoulders to entertain her.  Brittney called out to Eleanor saying "Give your daddy a kiss!"  Sure enough she leaned forward and set a big ole' open mouth kiss on his head.  It was so funny.  We laughed hysterically and sadly Alex didn't get to see it for himself.  Brittney repeated her request to Eleanor a second time and sure enough she complied, smooching daddy on the head again!  Probably one of my favorite moments!
This girl is all fun.  I have been cursed by others, saying the second one will be a nightmare since Eleanor is such an easy baby.  I correct them and say that this is only fair after the terrible pregnancy I was given.  She is making up for all those nauseating days!
Eleanor's smile lights a room.  She is generally a happy baby and only fusses when someone is about to steal her from my arms, or if she is tired or hungry.  She is still quite the momma's girl, but also loves her daddy dearly.  Just yesterday I caught her on video squealing with delight when Alex came home from work and entered the living room.  There is so much joy in one tiny little body!
While she tends to prefer her momma, she is definitely independent.  She will play happily alone on the floor for at least an hour without disruption.  When we are at playgroup I hardly have to attend to her at all (except when her diaper leaks!)  I typically gab and socialize with girls while Eleanor crawls over the other babies and steals their toys (yup, that's my girl!)
She loves her friends and always has a fun time playing with Harper and Aubrey as well as the big girls at our little playgroup.  It is so exciting for me to see her interacting.  I can start to see more of her personality blooming every day.
We are still rocking Baby Led Weaning.  To date, the only purees Eleanor has ever really had was some applesauce.  She didn't approve because she couldn't feed herself.  Oh, and she has also shared smoothies with me.  I can't get her to suck out of a straw yet, but I use my thumb to stop-up the straw and then let it pour into her mouth.  She loves it, but always grabs for the straw.  We typically have a green monster mess all over both of us!
Breastfeeding is still going great.  As of today we are down to just three nursing sessions a day.  We cut back to four about two months ago when we were fully sleep-trained.  Once after she woke up in the mornings, once after her morning nap, after her afternoon nap, and then right before bed.  But now that we are using a babysitter more regularly (and I hate pumping) I nurse her when she wakes up (6:30-7am), when I pick her up at the sitter's (around 2 or 3pm) and then right before bed (6:30-7pm).  I'm worried we are weaning too much too soon, but she seems satisfied and it is working for me.  It even works when I have late meetings and Alex puts her to sleep without a bottle.  Then I just come in and do a dream feed when I get home.  I feel very lucky that she is adapting well and we can continue breastfeeding but not pumping.
And sleep is also quite amazing!  She sleeps 11-12 hours at night, usually going to bed around 6:30 or 7pm and waking around 6:30-7am.  A few nights ago she slept from 5:30pm to 8am!  Whoa baby!  She typically takes two naps a day, each about an hour or an hour and a half long.  Occasionally she opts for just one nap and will make it a giant three hour stretch!  It mostly depends on our day and where she is when she naps.  She is just so adaptable and is happy regardless!
She loved playing with the blinds during our photo shoot this month.  It is getting increasingly more difficult to photograph her during our photo shoots.  Yet on the other hand, she rarely takes a bad photo.  She is a ham for the camera and really turns it on.  She knows exactly what she is supposed to do when she sees a camera and works it!  I have created a monster!
This baby is my pride and joy and lights up my world.  I will be the first to admit that it is hard to not put her before everything else in my life, including Alex.  I have to be very careful to make sure Alex has not lost his rightful place as first in our family.  Eleanor and I are two peas in a pod, but that pod is Alex and he cannot be forgotten.  I don't often mention him in my monthly updates, but I have been wrong not to.  He certainly is the glue that holds us altogether.  He is so attentive to our needs and loving and caring.  And he's an absolutely amazing father.  Eleanor is so lucky to have him, and so am I!
Turtle, Turtle!
It's been nine amazing months since this sweet girl entered our lives.  I can't imagine anything greater in the whole world than being her mom!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Girl


Can somebody please remind me what a blog is?  What is Vegan Faith?  Is that a place? 

I mean, I've been gone so long, it nearly slipped my mind entirely.  Sitting on the couch tonight with a snoozing baby and a clean kitchen, I started to ponder how to fill my evening.  It's quiet.  My to-do list is checked off for the day...oh wait, there's this little ole' thing I used to spend my time doing.  It's called blogging.  And I have been very absent for nearly two weeks now. 

So I'm back.  I'm ready to get out of my own head.  And use this space for a little cathartic writing.  And to dump so photos off my hard drive. 

Ready for it?
I have the happiest baby on the planet!

But she is no longer enjoying my singing.  Unfortunately.  Used to be, our favorite thing to do in the car was blast Adele as loud as we could stand and sing at the top of our lungs (and yes by we, I mean me.)  Lately I turn Adele on and she immediately starts to cry.  What gives?  It can't be my singing voice clearly.  Trust me, you want to be my best friend and ride along with me and sing Adele at the top of your lungs too.  You can't resist!
Eleanor is showing off her pincer grasp above!  And those pearly whites.  Lately she is obsessed with her own hands and my teeth.  She loves to watch me brush them each morning. 
Eleanor looks like such a little girl in this photo above.  It kills me.  Not so fast child, stay young.  Forever my baby.  Please.

I think we finally found a new babysitter who is worthy spending time with my precious baby girl.  I mean that in the nicest way possible, but folks, I am being super picky.  This little girl is my world.  That and of course her daddy.  But if I can't be with her all day every day, it sure has to be a special person to make the cut.  I am praying this one works out because I was borderline crazy for the last few weeks!
Take a close look at these photos.  The two first ones were from over a week ago.  The two bottom ones are from today.  I swear Eleanor went from baby to little girl over night.  Same outfit, but completely different face.  Maybe it's the shoes that is making her look all grown up.  Or maybe she's just growing up.  Have I mentioned yet how very much I love her?  So even when she's asleep upstairs during naps and at night, I stalk my own Instagram and phone just to see pictures of her.  Like right now, I can't be with her, so instead I'm writing about her.  Gah!  Cannot get enough!
And those shoes!  Thanks Ashley for letting us use them.  They are so cute on her.  I never want to take them off.  (She even napped in them today!) 

Ok, I thought I would write about more than just Eleanor tonight.  Apparently my brain is stuck on her.  Tomorrow will likely be an Eleanor post too...her 9 month update is long overdue!  And then maybe we will get back to me.

Have a fun night friends! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Weekend Visitors.

We had the most beautiful weekend with Alex's sister and niece.  They took a little road trip from Chicago to see Eleanor, and us.  It was relaxed.  We didn't plan much.  Actually we didn't plan at all.  We just enjoyed each others company.

Karina, Alex's sister, is a role model for me.  She is genuine and sweet and caring and warm.  She exudes so many traits that I look to as a model for how I want to be in Christ.  She is a loving mom whose children respect and adore her.  She is a woman who honors and cherishes her husband and I can learn so much about how to be a wife from her.  Her center and her rock is the Lord and her guide book is the Bible.  I admire who she is and her commitment to her faith. 

Both of Alex's older sisters are amazing, faithful and beautiful.  I believe I am so lucky to have them in my life.  With Karina in town, I eagerly soaked up all our time together.  And it was such a treat to have Emily, Karina's daughter, here to meet Eleanor for the first time.  Yesterday morning I was sad to see them go.  Their presence is uplifting and so the rest of my day was just so-so.  They are already so missed.

Who in your life inspires you to be greater than you are?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Share

Argh, I want to write.  But I feel so busy.  Yesterday slipped away.  And today quickly is too. 

I want to work and knock off my to-do list.

I want to play with Alex who is home for his very last day of summer.

And I want to shop because it is tax free weekend.

Oh the choices.  Didn't we just talk about my inability to make decisions?

And I want to write.  I want to share about a great conversation I had with Alex after an amazing run this morning.  It was about balance.  And about how I don't have any.  Duh.  I want to share the wonderful day I had yesterday.  Helping out a friend (which really helped me out), grabbing coffee with another, celebrating a long and vibrant life of a friend that ended this week, and dinner out with the a group of friends.  Yesterday I spent the entire day with my closest friends.  I didn't get much done.  My to-do list sat unfinished.  But I was with the people I am closest to in the world.  And life doesn't get much sweeter than that.

Last night we sat outside on a patio as we ate.  I got up to use the restroom inside and walking back toward the door I stopped for a split-second to take in the view of our group through a window.  We had just left the viewing at the funeral home.  As I took in the view out the window I realized how intensely grateful I am for everything I have.  For my baby girl and my loving husband.  For the best friends a girl could ask for.  For people who love me unconditionally despite my inability to make decisions and find balance.  I am so incredibly thankful. 
So that's all I'm going to write today.  I am going to plug through this to-do list until the babe awakes and then I think it's off to make the best of this happy Friday!