Monday, January 27, 2014

Home Additions

I received some really awesome things for Christmas, and have "inherited" some new furniture lately.  I would say my home decor style is rustic, farmhouse style, and all of these things have added special little touches that are perfect!  Some days it feels like we are quickly outgrowing this little space, but I do love it, and want to cherish it.  I will certainly miss this place when we move out someday.  Even though I kind of hope "someday" is soon!

First of all, my sister-in-law Diana made me a really cool lamp for Christmas.  I am slightly obsessed with old books, so this is the perfect lamp for me!  I love it!  I was too lazy to use the good camera and get a better picture since it's right in front of the bright window, but here it is:

 Next is a new kitchen table.  This is the table where my family ate growing up.  My Parents renovated their dining area, and it no longer fit with the style of the room.  So my parents passed this table on to me.  I love it!  They even sanded and re-varnished the top.  I had to fold down one side, because we have a tiny little spot for it in the kitchen and it wouldn't fit the other way.  But it's so cozy and nice.  It's perfect timing now that Scarlett is eating real food.  I'm excited to have a table big enough to sit together as a family for dinner.

Our last new addition is this toy chest.  Another creation of Luke's.  He even put the pretty monogram on it that matches the monogram on our bed.  It is perfect, and after Christmas, Scarlett really needed something for all of her toys!  It's in our living room, and it's big enough to fit a few blankets inside, too. 

I love all the pretty pieces that Luke has build over the years.  It's funny to think back to the time we were newlyweds and every piece of furniture we owned was second-hand.  And now Luke has basically built us our own line of furniture!  Maybe I can convince him his next project should be a copy-cat version of this PBK bookshelf/dollhouse for Scarlett's room!

Alternate View*Swoon!*

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Healthy Living

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I went through a period of time where I was very conscious of what I ate, and in turn, a lot of my health problems cleared up.  I'm not talking minor things either.

One example is my allergies, chronic sinusitis, and resulting bronchitis.  I had been on 3 rounds of antibiotics and multiple rounds of Prednisone in a 9 month period.  My doctor wanted me to call and schedule a balloon sinuplasty as soon I was done with classes for the semester.  Which, although he said was a minor procedure, I had heard horror stories.  Luckily, once I change my diet and started taking whole food supplements, my sinus problems cleared up within 3 weeks. It turned out that I had been filling my body with so many bad things, my body was overworked and it just started fighting everything off, and viewing everything as an intruder.  The sinus problems were my body's way of waging war with every thing - good or bad - that entered my body.

Another example is my hormonal problems.  I have never actually been diagnosed with PCOS, but I think I might have it.  Because I have very irregular cycles and don't ovulate regularly, if at all.  Which made trying to get pregnant basically impossible.  Within 1 month of starting my nutritional therapy I had ovulated, and within 6 months of not even trying for a baby anymore due to grad school, I was pregnant! (oops/yay!)  I did a short series on what I ate that I feel ultimately led to little miss Scarlett: Part 1 and Part 2.

I know I've talked about these things a million times, but I just want everyone to know about what I've learned because it really has changed my life!

...Except that in the past year, I have completely gone back to where I began.  It started with morning sickness and then pregnancy cravings.  Once Scarlett was born, I went back to school.  My eating was horrible last semester!  Possibly the worst that it's ever been!  I would barely eat anything during the day because I was so busy.  And when I did eat, it was always something I could fix very quickly.  We ate a lot of frozen pizzas and just plain JUNK last semester.

And guess what.  Not surprisingly, I am back to feeling terrible all the time!  I've been congested for 2 months, I've been having stomach problems, and just been feeling generally "down" emotionally, and very fatigued and lethargic.  And almost apathetic toward school and other responsibilities.  You might be thinking there's no way that food and toxins are all to blame for that!  But I beg to differ -- from my past experience, I know that food and toxins probably have just about everything to do with all of that!

So I'm making an effort to clean up my (and my family's) food and lifestyle! Again!  And if I'm able to squeeze it in time-wise, I'm probably going to blog about it all (again!)

Here are some things I'm going to try:
  • Limit foods and formulas that contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
  • Start using more "clean" and chemical free cleaning and beauty products. 
  • Stick closer to the foods I was eating in the posts I linked about.
  • Make as many meals ahead of time on the weekends as possible.  Last minute meals mean unhealthy meals.
  • Use essential oils in place of over-the-counter medications.
These are just the few of the things I'd like to try.  It's going to take a lot of planning ahead, but I'm going to take it one small change at a time.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Starting Solids

Last Saturday, we started Scarlett on solids.  We wanted to wait until she was at least 6 months, because that's what the doctors at the hospital had told us.  They said she needed to be getting all her nutrients through breast milk and formula until 6 months since she's so small.  Plus, they said waiting longer can reduce the risk of food allergies. 

Scarlett has shown a lot of interest in food for awhile now, though.  When Luke and I are eating, she just stares at our food like she wants to take a big bite too!  She also has not been the best at nursing, and loses interest in a bottle quickly sometimes, too.  So we decided that we'd start her on solids at exactly 6 months. 

Scarlett is also sitting on her own a bit now, for a few seconds at least.  So we decided to put her in her high chair for her first real "meal."  The high chair was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law.  They found it at an antique shop, and Julie put the cute whale fabric on it and added straps to hold her in.  Then she painted the little metal tray with sea animals!  I love it so much!  Scarlett sits there and just stares at and touches the sea animals. 

 After doing some research, and asking friends via Facebook, we decided to introduce one food at a time, one time a day.   We decided to start with a vegetable so she doesn't get used to the sugars in fruits before trying any vegetables.  And we decided to start with avocado because it's high in fat, and shouldn't contribute to allergies later on. 

I also decided a long time ago that I want to make my own baby food.  I thought it would be cheaper and healthier.  So I bought 3 avocados and pureed them all.  It looked pretty disgusting.
 Scarlett is looking at me like, "what are you going to do to me?!"

 She was really unsure during the first few bites.  She spit most of it out, and just really couldn't figure out if she loved it or hated it.

I usually think these messy-face pictures are disgusting.  Sorry in advance.  When it's your own kid, it's different though.  I think it's cute!

She definitely wasn't quite sure about it that day, but she has really warmed up to it!  Now I will hold the spoon out and she will practically dive for it.  She still has only tried avocado, but I'm going to try something new next week.

I'm doing the whole freeze-it-in-an-ice-cube-tray thing, and so far it has worked really well! 

We're only through half of the first ice cube tray in a week, so I'd say those are some pretty cheap meals!  I was a little worried about freezing the avocado, but it has stayed pretty fresh. 

I can't believe I have a 6-month-old who has two teeth, sleeps in her own crib in her own room, almost sits by herself, says "mama" (even though I don't think she knows what it means yet!), and eats food!  I just can't believe she's that old.  I still feel like she should be a newborn.  I wish time would slow down just for a second!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thoughts on Going Back to School

I am writing this post on the weekend, but by the time it's posted, I will have been back to school for a few days.

Going back to school last semester was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I know that sounds melodramatic, but it's true.  Scarlett was only 6 weeks old, and I feel like the clinic supervisor gave me a very intense clinical schedule considering I had just had a baby.  On top of that, my hormones were still out-of-whack, which meant my emotions were all over the place.  I felt stressed out, guilty, and depressed all the time.  On top of that, Scarlett was underweight, I was nursing and had to worry about pumping on my long days, my grandma had just passed away, my sister was planning to move away from the area, and it was just more than I was ready to deal with.  There were so many days when I thought about taking the semester off, or felt terrible jealousy of my friends who were able to be stay-at-home moms.

I think being a working mom will be very difficult, but I'm thinking being a grad-school mom might be even harder.  Because last semester when I came home at the end of the day, I was not done for the day.  I had lots of homework and lesson plans to complete all while entertaining/taking care of/feeding a baby.  I felt like I had no quality time to spend with her and it was killing me.

As the semester went on, it got a little easier.  I had a huge paper due on November 13 (it ended up being 22 pages long) and there were 2 weeks leading up to that when I feel like I literally had not a single moment of free time for her, and I was sleeping about 4 or 5 hours a night.  I felt like I was about to reach my breaking point during those weeks.  But then once that paper was handed in, everything got so much easier!  I realized that the semester had flown by!  I learned to stop feeling guilty.  I decided that I didn't need to get all A's as long as I passed all my classes.  And I decided to put spending time with Scarlett and Luke first, and school second.  Things got so much easier when I realized that's how my priorities need to be.  I have to put God first, my family second, and everything else after that.

The funny thing is that I still got all A's this semester.  All that worrying for grades that really don't even matter all that much (although to be honest I am proud that I was able to do that with a new baby, and with my difficult research methods class that semester).  One of my clinic supervisors paid me the highest compliment I think she could have when she said, "You did a great job this semester!  If you hadn't talked about your infant at home, I would have had no idea.  You never let it make you late or effect your work at all."  That made me feel really good, because I never wanted to get special treatment as a new mom, and I never wanted the two worlds to mix.

So I got pretty good at not letting new mommy-hood affect my school and clinic work, but I'm sad to say that it took me the entire semester to realize I could prevent my school and clinic work from affecting the time I had with Scarlett.  Next semester I want to spend more time with her NOT feeling rushed or like I should be studying or doing something else.

This is turning into kind of a stream-of-consciousness post.  Anyway, onto this semester.  I have my school externship, and I can't wait!  I think I want to work in the schools, so I'm really excited.  My supervisor seems really sweet, and I think she will be great to work with (and I've had a couple not-so-great-to-work-with supervisors in the past, so that's a relief!)

Overall I am feeling so much better about going back to school this semester than last!  My emotions are more normal and in-check, I am excited to be in a school, and I'm more interested in my classes this semester than I was last semester.  I guess things are really looking up!

The best part is I only have 2 semesters left, and I'll graduate in August.  Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel helps too!  I'll be so excited when I graduate, get a job, and actually get paid (instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars) for all the work I put in.  And the amount of at-home work should be greatly reduced or even non-existent as well.

15 weeks until I'm 1 semester away from graduation.  Bring it on, spring semester, 2014.  Scarlett and I are ready for you!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

6 Months of Scarlett

I am probably posting this mostly for my own memories, but here are all the monthly collages of Scarlett.  Every picture is in chronological order (with the exception of 1 that I accidentally put in there twice), so I thought it would be fun to compare them all and see how she's changed!  Expect a similar post at 1 year!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


One of my and my mother-in-law's birthday presents from Luke's family was to go see Wicked when it was on tour in Cleveland a few days after Christmas.  I had seen it before, but it had been about 6 years, and I really didn't remember it, so I was over-the-moon excited to go again!

Luke's sisters had given us the CD of the soundtrack for our birthdays too, and I listened to almost nothing but that for a month.  I was singing the songs in my sleep by the end of the month.  Ha!  I barely even listened to Christmas music this year because I was too busy listening to the Wicked soundtrack.

Luckily the day we went it was beautiful and in the 40s or 50s, so we were walking around Cleveland in late December without even wearing our coats!  It felt very strange to me.

The show was, of course, amazing!  I decided it's my favorite show, which is saying a lot, because I have a mild (okay, not so mild) obsession with Phantom of the Opera.  I've seen Lion King on stage too, and I still think Wicked is better.  It has something for everyone: beautiful costumes and set design, a love story, beautiful music, comedy, friendship, it explores the nature of good versus evil, and it's all based around a classic story that so many people love.  I've seen it twice now, but wouldn't mind seeing it a dozen more times in my lifetime!

After the show, we all went to eat at a little restaurant beside the theater, and headed home for the evening.  It was such a fun day, and the perfect birthday present!  

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas in Columbus

I originally began writing this post the week after Christmas but didn't have time to finish it then.  I know Christmas was awhile ago, and it's kind of late to be posting this, but it was a fun memory that I want to remember!


The past few weeks have been insane! I feel like I didn't have time to breathe until the 26th of December.  Although I was insanely busy with school stuff until a week before Christmas, and then busy with Christmas preparations until the actual holiday, it was still one of the best Christmases of my life.  I just can't even describe how amazing it's been to celebrate Christmas with a new baby.  Everything has been so much sweeter. My heart breaks for those who are waiting for a baby during this time of year, because I know it hurts more than other times of the year.  But I have to say, for me it was worth the wait.  Having a baby during Christmas was even more amazing than I'd imagined.

We had a lot of fun during the holiday season.  One of the most fun things we did was spend a weekend in Columbus with my sister and brother-in-law.  We drove down on a Friday night, just beating a snowstorm there. 

We spent the weekend catching up in their cozy new place.  On Saturday, Julie and Andy baby-sat while Luke and I had a fun date day. We went out to lunch and then shopping at all the fun stores that we don't have near our house.  I went to Cabellas, Sephora, LUSH, Williams Sonoma, etc, etc.  But my favorite store of the day, by far, was Pottery Barn Kids! I browse PBK's website all the time, but have never actually been to one of their stores.  I walked inside and just wanted to buy all the things!  Dolls, dollhouses, vintage kitchen sets, shiny Christmas ornaments, little furniture, Christmas was a girl mom's dream!  (and a boy mom's too, but I obviously spent more time in the girls' section).  

Later that night, we all went out to dinner at a place called Graffiti Burger.  It was delicious, and I will have to remember it next time I'm pregnant if I have a giant craving for burgers again like I did with Scarlett!.

It was gloomy and raining that night, but Luke and I really wanted to go to the Columbus Zoo to see their Christmas lights display.  We decided to go anyway, and I'm so glad we did!  It stopped raining right after we got there. Everything was so beautiful!  They had a big light show, a bunch of animal exhibits open, and a few million lights to look at as you walked through everything.  It was beautiful!  Scarlett was completely mesmerized!  I thought  maybe she'd be too young to care, but she loved it!  She kept fighting sleep because she didn't want to miss anything. It was just one of those nights that felt completely perfect.  It made me think about all the Christmas seasons we have ahead of us and all the joy that is in store.  I think I actually cried a few tears of happiness as we walked through the zoo as a family of 3! (I'm such a sap!)

Hopefully we can continue this tradition in the years to come!  And I definitely want to go back to the Columbus Zoo again this summer.  I highly recommend their Christmas Wildlights display to anyone in the area!  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

6 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,

You are 6 months old today!  Happy half birthday, baby girl!

I think you've changed more in this month than in any month before!  You weigh about 12 lbs, 3 oz. And can wear three different sizes of clothes right now: 3 months, 3-6 months, and 6 months, depending on the brand.  You are still in size 1 diapers.

Let's talk about a few of the ways you've changed.  First of all, you are "talking" so much more now!  You have currently mastered your "m" sound, and just jabber away all day saying "mamama mamama."  As your "mama,"  I obviously love it!  You are also still very into blowing raspberries, and seem to think the raspberry is a phoneme in the English language.  You incorporate it into your "speech" all the time.  You also like to communicate a lot through gasps and screeches.  As a future speech pathologist, I find all of this completely fascinating!

You are also sitting on your own for a few seconds at a time.  One of us always sits behind you to catch you once you start to topple over, but I think you are very happy that you have found a little more independence by sitting on your own.

You can also grab toys now and swing them around, play with them, and put them right in your mouth.  You can push buttons on certain toys.  It sounds so simple, but we are amazed by each new thing you do!

When we lay you on the floor, you love to kick your feet as hard as you can!  Everyone tells us that means you are going to be seriously on-the-go when you can walk in a few months!  To be honest, I am kind of enjoying the time now when you can't walk yet, and I can keep you with me and cuddle you as much as I want!

Just a few days ago we finally felt two little teeth poking through in the bottom of your mouth.  You have been a trooper, because I know they are really bothering you!  You've been a little more fussy than usual, and have definitely not been sleeping or eating as well, but that's about the only difference we've noticed in you.

You love to laugh! Sometimes you will get in silly moods, and just about everything we do will have you cracking up!  Surefire ways to make you laugh every time include: tickling your feet, playing peek-a-boo, and tickling your belly with our noses.

You have started to play with toys a lot more now.  And you sure got a lot from us, your grandparents, great grandparents, and aunts and uncles for Christmas!  Your favorite toys right now are your Sophie Giraffe, stuffed animals, and still anything that lights up, plays music, or rattles (okay, I guess that covers just about every toy you have!)  You have lost interest in your activity mat, but have rediscovered your love for your swing!  But now swinging is just a fun activity, whereas a few months ago it was a way to calm you down and rock you to sleep.  Your cousin Hadley recently lent you her exercauser, and you love it!  You also would probably consider Ellie (the cat) one of your favorite toys.  Luckily, she is the sweetest cat, and purrs and purrs while you pet her (with mommy's help, of course!)  You just crack up as mommy helps you run your hand down her fluffy back, all the way to her tail.  Also on your list of favorite toys: mommy's hair, jewelry, watches, scarves, and empty water bottles.

You have begun to love books as well!  I probably read at least 6 to you each day, because it is one thing that really entertains you if you start to get fussy from boredom.  Your favorites seem to be all Dr. Seuss books, lift-a-flap books, 10 Little Ladybugs, the farm book from Grandma with the pop-out animals, and the book from Great Aunt Viv that has your name on every page (that book has a picture of a baby and mommy on every page, and you love to try to grab their faces!)  I try to limit all your time on digital devices like the iPad, phone, or TV, but when you are really restless I make an exception for the Peek-a-Boo Barn iPad app.  You love it!  You get to open the barn door and see which animal is inside.  You have kind of figured out how to open the barn door yourself! (Okay, it's probably a coincidence, and just you grabbing at things, but I like to think you're doing it on purpose!)

You did so many fun things in the past month!  You went to Columbus for the weekend to visit Aunt Julie and Uncle Andy, you sat with Mommy during the Christmas Eve service, you went to church and started going to the nursery for the first time, you celebrated your first Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with friends and family (and more presents than you know what to do with!), you celebrated your first New Years Eve (you made it until 10:00 PM) and New Years Day with a new friend (Kest), and you've spent lots of cuddle time with Mommy and Daddy while we've been off work/school for the holidays.  It has been a pretty excellent month if we say so!

Here's what you looked like this month:

We love you so much! It is already hard to remember what life was like before you were here.

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014 Goals

I originally decided that I wasn't going to set any New Years resolutions. But after 2014 had already rolled in, I kept thinking about things that I want to work on.

For some reason, the word "resolution" just seems to set me up for failure.  I can never stick to resolutions!  And if I make it to 2015 without sticking to all of my resolutions, I'll feel like I have not accomplished anything.  So instead, I'll simply call them goals.  Things I would like to accomplish, but it's okay if I don't.  I guess it's just semantics, but the word "goals" sounds much better to me!

First of all, I would like to set a goal of blogging at least once a week (obviously I missed the first week of 2014!).  Three or four years ago, once a week would have been cutting back.  Like, a lot.  But lately life has gotten so busy and writing and reading blog posts has really been put on the back burner.  I am so sad that I am months behind reading all of my favorite blogs!  I want to try to be better at reading and commenting on blogs, but also at writing in mine.  I miss it!  On Friday nights like tonight, Luke plays basketball at the church, so I think that will be my blogging night. Scarlett has just been fed and is totally passed out beside me, I'm in my pajamas, a movie is playing in the background, and a candle is burning.  I'm so relaxed, and my mind is just filled with things I want to spill out onto the pages of my blog!  I thought I'd just sit down and churn out as many blog posts as I can while I have some rare me-time.  anyway, if I make Friday night my blogging night, I should be able to write at least one post a week, and hopefully a lot more than that!

Another goal I want to accomplish is to read at least 1 book per month in 2014, for fun! Again, 12 books in a year would have been greatly cutting back for me in the past.  But I haven't read a book for fun (not including pregnancy/labor and delivery/baby books, which I would consider more as reference books than fun reads.  Oh, and kids books which I read about 6 per day to Scarlett) since grad school started.  I miss reading for fun so much, so I decided to make it a priority in 2014.

I also want to start making at least 2 cook-ahead meals every weekend.  My schedule this coming semester is going to be pretty heavy, at least during the beginning of every week.  Last semester Luke and I ended up eating frozen pizzas and quick, easy, unhealthy meals way too often.  I now realize eating well is going to require a little bit of planning ahead.

A few other things I want to work on this semester include: being better about being on time, spending more quality time with Luke, lose more of my pregnancy weight, stay off my phone and iPad when I am spending quality time with Scarlett, and work on my procrastination issues.

That sounds like a lot, but I figure if I try and fail at a lot of these things, I will still make progress and be better off than if I had never tired at all!