31 May, 2012

Feast of the Visitation: A year old story of a pregnant Elizabeth

Today is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.  The time in Scripture where the pregnant Mary sets out to visit her also miraculously pregnant cousin, Elizabeth.  At the sight of Mary, the infant (as we later know to be John the Baptist) leaped in her womb.


The readings for today's Mass include the Scripture passages where we, as Catholics, receive the prayers knowns as the Hail Mary and the Magnificat.  See for yourself! 

As an Elizabeth, this story, scripture passage, and Feast Day has always held a special place in my heart.  But even more so last year...

See, last summer I was at summer camp with 14 rowdy middle school kids.  I wasn't technically supposed to go on the trip, but last minuted ended up having to lead the group AND drive the 15 passager bus two hours away in the mountains.
Normally, I LOVE going to Covecrest for retreats, day trips, camp, etc but I was  16 weeks pregnant and on strict orders from my midwife to "be careful" as I had recently torn something while tubing and wake boarding and had been bleeding.  That ruled out river tubing, zip lining, rock climbing, ropes course, slip and slide, mud pit, and all the other fun things you go to camp for.


I was still in the "I'm starving all the time but nothing sounds good to eat especially not summer camp food" phase.  I was allergic to our moldy/mildewy/dusty cabin. I came down with a viral infection.  I had a fever.  I couldn't get out of bed for more than an hour at a time. The camp staff brought me meals. I even paid someone to go to Wal-Mart to get me more snacks. 

I was tucked in my corner of the bunk house TRYING to sleep while giggly screaming girls changed from muddy bathing suits to summer dresses with meticulously curled hair.  And I was in no mood to tell them they didn't need to spend an hour with a blow dryer or curling iron.  In fact, I was glad it kept them a little quieter. I digress...


One morning in the middle of all this mess, I was able to make it to the youth minister's prayer breakfast.  The priest led us a short reflection.  To my surprise it was the Feast of the Visitation.

!!!

A day that I had waited and longed for my whole life - to be pregnant on the Feast of the Visitation.

And here it was, catching me off guard. Exhausted. Sick. Overwhelmed. Surrounded my zealous middle schoolers....

It was all I needed to let the flood gates open.  I started sobbing right there in the middle of morning prayer.  It was the calming wave and sign from the Lord that I needed to get through the day and the rest of the week at camp.

That day was just a little more bearable with this sign from the Lord.

Then that evening the most incredible miracle of my life took place.

During The Feast of the Visitation Mass I felt my baby flutter for the first time! 



The whole world stopped.  It was everything I was longing for and more.  Peace came upon me like never before.

I knew that the Lord was with me, Mary was protecting me, and I finally had the proof I needed to know that our baby was healthy. I had the grace to make it another few days of camp mattresses, chicken fingers, and 99 degree weather.

God is good.

29 May, 2012

A Weekend in Nashville - Part 2 - Ice cream, Half-Marathon, and Grassfed Beef

Back in April, Eric, Evie and I drove to Nashville for a long weekend with two sets of friends.   In those pre-baby days we decided to run another half marathon...but in the days leading up to our trip my sport bra didn't fit, my shoes were too small, and I had the flu.  Oh and on the drive out to Nashville, Evie pooped in the carseat.  Read all about Part 1 here.

After the nutty trip through packet pick up and the race expo, we packed out little nugget back in her still-wet carseat and drove out to our friend Kathryn's house where we met up with her and Ashley.

We had a great time letting Gabe and Evie play.  It was love at first sight.  What do you think?




And Eric and Gabe played with buckets on their heads.  It's what the cool kids do, ya know?









We took the clan of husbands and kids and went to our very first vegan restaurant (they did have one item on the menu with real dairy sour cream [thank god]).  There were lots of things we'd never heard of, so it was great having die hard vegetarians explain the menu to us. And then...

Next door was the most epic (real diary!) ice cream experience of my life: Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. Move over Graeter's.  I found a new Ice Cream From Ohio Love Of My Life.  Jeni's has ethical ingredients and incredible flavors.  It was essentially what I envision heaven to be life.  Pretty sure Jesus would agree.  I had a salted caramel & gooey butter cake two scoop ice cream cup.  I still dream about it.

Pretty certain they found the decor on Pinterest.



After ice cream we said goodnight to this crew, and drove out to a farm on the south side of the city where we stayed the night with Katherine and Ryan, and my sister and Sam. 

Saturday morning was race day!   Katie, Kathryn and I were going to walk the race together, but about a quarter of a mile into the race Katie took off!  Kathryn and I walked most of the race.  It was long. Hilly. Hot. Sunny.

And boy am I out of shape.




 Two sit breaks and we still made it in just under 4 hours.  Not too bad for not walking more than 8 miles a week since before I got pregnant.


I put sunscreen on my arms and face, so I did not look quite as bad as Katie...but my legs are still rocking a pretty awkward running shorts tan.

After the race we headed back to Katherine & Ryan's for naps.  They were so generous to watch Evie all morning.  That evening Katie & Sam headed out for a night on the town since they'd never been to Nashville before.  Katherine, Ryan, Eric and I grilled out and spent quality time catching up.

Sunday morning we enjoyed a big tasty brunch and a loooong car ride home!  But not without another trip to Jeni's!!!!

And on our way home we had our traditional stop at Sonic and the Lodge Cast Iron outlet store, where this time we ran into...

I wish we hadn't had an event we were rushing home for, other wise we SO would have stayed and played!


24 May, 2012

A Weekend in Nashville - Part 1 - Boobs, Shots and a Poop-splosion

Somewhere back in my delusional pregnancy-brain I decided that I wanted to run another half-marathon.  Ashley, Kathryn and I had been talking about the half in Nashville for about a year and finally got serious about planning the trip.   We each signed up and paid for the half-marathon.  All our talking was FINALLY becoming a reality.

Then I had my baby.

Then I realized how difficult it is to run with 38 K lactating chest.

Then I realized my size 8W running shoes were Way Too Small.

Then I came down with a 10 day viral infection that kept me from even doing my 2-3 mile walks.

But we paid over $100 for this race, we already had the days off work and a free place to stay.  Eric and I decided we were going to Nashville regardless.

We headed out first thing on Friday morning.

I spent over two hours Friday morning at my doctor's walk-in hours, waiting on a steroid shot and prescriptions for cough medicine, antibiotics, and an inhaler.  I was going to do this race, darn it!  Then I sat in traffic for 45 minutes because of a fatal accident on the highway between the doctor and my pharmacy. Then I waited 45 minutes for my pharmacist to get their act together.

And then FINALLY we hit the road....with a baby who hadn't pooped in three days, who was teething, and who had woken up that morning having discovered her pterodactyl voice.  You can probably imagine where this is going.

Fortunately our sweet little girl slept, talked to herself and played with Sophie the whole way to Nashville. However...

About 30 minutes outside the city we heard it.

...And we smelt it...

...And then we saw it....

Evie had a car seat poop-splosion.  You know, the kind that goes up to the arm pits and down to the ankles?  That kind.  The kind that you wonder how this 17 pound bundle of joy could possible produce so much, um, discharge?  That kind.  The kind that you're not sure if you should laugh, cry, or vomit?  That kind.

We debated stopping to clean and change her or just pressing on to the Packet Pick Up & Expo.  The mess wasn't on her hands or near her face so we decided to race (no pun intended) for Downtown Nashville.  Of course parking was scarce and traffic a nightmare....and I REALLY had to pee.  We paid the hefty parking fee for a sketchy spot near the Expo, snapped the carseat into the stroller and ran - postpartum bladder and all - to the nearest bathroom.

I dashed in to pee (aaah, sweet relief!) and find a changing table while Eric kept Evie calm.  I noticed a HUGE marble changing table with a sink and trash can.  Perfect.  I snagged Evie by her arm pits, held her an arms length away from me, and carried her into the rest room.

As I walked back into the restroom a group of women saw the mess and without words quickly unpacked the diaper bag, set up the changing area and started wetting about 150 paper towels.   It took the team of us to get Evie undressed, wiped down, and changed.  Poor little poop covered teething girl was screaming!  Ugh.

Meanwhile, Eric took the carseat apart and washed it in the men's bathroom sink.  Unfortunately, he didn't have a personal pit crew helping him.  Instead, he was greeted with a dozen weird looks.

Damage control was done.  We profusely thanked all the women who helped tackle Evie and we were finally off to enjoy the Expo...and the rest of our trip to Nashville.

Stay tuned for Part II :)

21 May, 2012

Miscellany Monday {9}

Last night I walked in my apartment. Took out my contacts, brushed my teeth, and literally fell in bed.  Alarm set for 8.

I had to go to my parents this morning to pick up my baby girl because she fell asleep at my parents house in her party dress last night during dinner.

Poor girl was so exhausted, but I cannot complain.  She was a trooper and absolute joy during our insane weekend....

Thursday night Evie and I had dinner with my parents and nephew Zachary.



Friday Evie and I went shopping with my Mom and Zach.


Saturday I had a Confirmation while Eric took Evie to the Farmer's Market.  We had a 4th birthday party and three graduation parties for youth group kids followed by dinner at my parent's house.



Sunday we had brunch/surprise retirement party for my mom at my parent's house, followed by another graduation party (my cousin Steven's!), Mass, and then dinner with my cousin Kristin, who I haven't seen in about three years!



It's no wonder that little Evie fell asleep in her party clothes!

Today, Evie and I had a low-key day.  Lots of playing. Lots of bottle washing.  Lots of cloth diaper washing.  She and I snuggled and laughed.  Even though I was carrying her all weekend, I missed the heck out of our quiet play time the last 4 days.

---------------------------------

I hope to get caught up on some long over due blog posts this week...like oh, the rest of my Lent posts, our trip to Nashville, and some reader requested posts on cloth diapers!  And I got asked to do my first guest post in June!!!

miscellany monday at
lowercase letters

17 May, 2012

Evie: Six Months





Measurements:
Weight: 19lbs 14oz
Length/Height: 26.8
Eats: 750-950mL of breast milk / formula + 4-6 oz of pureed fruits, veggies, rice
Diapers: middle snap or unsnapped on cloth, size 3 in disposables
Clothes: 6-12 months (gap & old navy)  9 months (Carters, Target, & Gymboree) 12 months in any one piece sleepers


Firsts for Evie


April 12-15
Trip to Savannah


April 16
Sick Visit - Viral infection


April 26
Two Bottom Teeth!


April 27-29 
Trip to Nashville


May 3
Swing at the Playground



May 4-6
Trip to the Cabin



May 5
Used a sippy cup for water


May 6
Tried a Nilla Wafer


Milestones



Rides in the stroller without carseat


Outgrew baby bath tub


Rolls over from back to front (finally, we have a roller!)


Eats: pears, apples, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and peas


Passes toys from hand to hand


Holds bottle for a few minutes


Can find pacifier in crib, though she gnaws on it instead of sucks


More controlled finger movement - can pick or scratch at a toy or other noisy surface


Turns to voices and noises, but has difficulty if they are behind her


Tries to hold on to us when she's being carried


Holds body up, bounces, turns, throws hands up when in ExerSaucer


Now has an excited squeal not just a frustrated grunt!


Getting closer to sitting up on own


Has own grown the BeBe Pod (legs are too chubby / throws herself back too hard)


Starting to learn her name


Likes/Dislikes
Likes to see herself in the mirror


Likes Bath time! Splish, Splash! I think we have a water baby on our hands


LOVES Sofie the Giraffe


Likes sitting in her ExerSaucer and watching the world outside


Likes having her diaper changed


Dislikes eating peas (can you blame her?)


Dislikes not getting enough attention


Dislikes loud noises like other people sneezing (especially me or my Dad)

Other
Evie will graduate to her big kid carseat soon.  We're not ready to give up the bucket seat, but she's almost out grown it!


I asked the pediatrician about Evie having a difficult time with her afternoon nap and bed time, and she said it's probably because she sleeps 10-12 hours at night and because she's not getting held enough during the day now that she doesn't feed as often. She suggested we have purposeful snuggle time in the afternoons and evenings - and to savor it!


She was quite the traveler this month. She did great! We had a few rough patches at night, but given the lack of routine, the new places, and the long car rides we can't complain!


Has a pouty lip so big that a whole flock of birds could land on it.


She definitely takes after me: pensive, shy to new situations, observes the room.


Most of her liquid intake is formula these days. We try to work in 200-400 mL of defrosted breast milk if we can.


When I got sick this month I was on so many prescription drugs that I decided to use that time to ween from pumping. I'm down to once every few days just an ounce or two to get relief.  It was more heartbreaking than I ever expected. 


I've emotionally replaced pumping by making homemade baby food.  My need to create for someone is my love language.


Her day-to-day schedule is pretty much the same as last month, but we've added solids to her post nap routine.


She sleeps through the night 2-3 nights a week. Gets up for a quick feeding 3-4 nights a week.  And maybe has one "bad" night a week. By "bad" I mean she's up for an hour or so.  



What they say...
"You either get a sleeper or a napper, not both"
"She's totally a little Elizabeth"
"She has Eric's eyes"
"She's only six months?"
"Why are those giraffes like baby crack?"
"Still liking cloth diapers now that she's on formula & solids?"
"Is she always this happy?"


We are...
Finding it hard to believe we have a six month old.
Wondering where we are going to store all the retired baby gear / put the new stuff.
Loving our playgroup and playgroup parents.
Thankful to Anne for teaching us about disposable cloth diaper liners ;-)
Ready for the summer, the pool, and other fun adventures!
A little help, please, Mom.

16 May, 2012

What I'm Loving! {7}


I LOVED Celebrating Mother's Day with my sweet little family. My Dad brought me flowers! Evie made me a little card and Eric gave me a gift card for a mani/pedi! Hooray!

Our Internet had been cutting in and out for sometime. We're not sure if it was the service or the hardware.  Either way, we are LOVING our new router and new service. For the same price per month we've doubled our speed!

We are LOVING our Sam's Club membership.  We've more than paid for the membership in our first trip. Sam's Club brand formula is half the price for twice as much.  Evie tolerates it well, so I'm happy!  Also, brand name Zyrtec is less than Publix brand.  And my vitamins are an extra 100 count for the same price as Target. We also snagged some pork roast, a 3 pack of organic milk, and a sack of avocados.  I feel like I stole something.

I am LOVING the good deal we snagged on Kelly's Closet this week.  Spend $29 and get a $21+ value diaper for free.  We needed more detergent and liners, which totaled $31.  We haven't used the new diaper yet (it needs at least 2 more washing) but this new to the market brand looks like it'll hold up as well as my favorites.

Speaking of liners and diapers, we are LOVING that Anne told us about diaper liners.  They are making formula/solids poo manageable.  It's essentially like a paper towel meets dryer sheet. It catches the poo and you flush the whole mess away.  They are worth every single penny.


I am LOVING that our nephew Zachary is in town for the week while my brother and sister-in-law are at a destination wedding in Mexico.  We can't wait to play!