Thursday, February 28, 2008

To vacation, or not?

My mom, step-dad and their clan (7 kids and baby granddaughter Sophia) are going on a vacation to Mexico. Exciting, right? They will be leaving before Easter and will be gone for three weeks. (What am I going to do without having my husband at home AND without being able to call my Mom? I am not sure...)

Anyhow, my mom recently suggested that Evelyn and I join them for part of their trip. At first, I was all for it. Then, the reality of what that entails hit me. Travel alone with a baby. Rush to renew my passport and get her one. Not be able to communicate with Jason as much. Keep both of us out of the sun (we are as white as they come!) And a myriad of other things.

I emailed Jason with the "proposal" of us going, assuming he would be hesitant to say the least. But, he was all for it! Due to our situation, we as a family won't probably be financially ready to vacation for a while - like years. He knows I love to travel and that we'd have a great time. Don't I have a great and supportive hubby!?!

So, here I am. Stuck with a really big decision that I need to act quickly on. I think I could make it all work. Apparently my local congressman is great with helping people expedite passports. I would have very little expenses, too, which of course is a plus.

I am THE most indecisive person. I sit and contemplate every little purchase and decision. A dollar is a lot to me, so I don't go making quick decisions,especially when it is regarding money.

So, what should I do? Seize the moment and opportunity and just "do it?" Or, lay low and just drool at the photos when they get back?

The warm sunny beaches of tempting!

UPDATE: I have decided not to go to Mexico. It is just too fast of a decision and we really CANNOT afford to go. But, thanks for the encouragement of those who said to "just do it!" It is fun to have people backing your whimsical dreams!

I'm Shedding

My postpartum hair loss has reached a peak... I thought until about a month ago that I was going to mysteriously be void of having the whole postpartum hair loss that I had read about in books.

Nope. It is here, and here in a larger magnitude than I thought possible.

Supposedly pregnant women don't lose any hair like normal people do who shed some every day. So, after pregnancy, you are supposed to lose all that un-shed hair. Like I mentioned, I read that this was going to happen, but didn't know how grossed out I would be when it did...

I have a large paddle brush that I use to brush my hair while I blowdry it after showering every day. The brush has seriously been FULL after I am done lately. Then, there is the hair on the bathroom floor and the hair stuck all over my shirt after I blowdry. On top of that, there is the hair I find all over the house, and on Evelyn, and Jason. The hair all over the house is what baffles me as my hair goes into a ponytail almost immediately after I am done drying it and remains that way about 23.5 hours out of the day... The worst part of this has been the KNOTS that have happened in my hair. Last week, I almost cried at the size of the knot that I brushed out. We're talking baby rodent sized hairball (okay, I might be over exaggerating a bit on that! :-) But, once again, how do knots form when my hair is pulled back at all times (including sleeping) and is brushed frequently?

How much more hair can I lose??? And, if I have to lose hair, can't I also lose the hair on my legs and underarms since I like to be rid of that? :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bouncing Baby

Evelyn has found the pleasure of jumping in her Johnny Jump-Up. Thanks to Auntie Andrea for passing it down to us! She was an even better bouncer yesterday for Grandma Sharon who came all the way to play with us for a while. But, I didn't get a good video of that bounce session. Enjoy her cuteness!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let's See...

Let's see...what's new, you ask?
  • I got sick. Again. Agh! I became ill with some stomach bug on Monday afternoon and was sick until Wednesday afternoon. More fever and overall crumminess, but this time lots of nausea was added! My great friend Tessa sent her hubby over on Tuesday with PowerAde and bananas. I have decided that "electrolytes" really do help! Then, Tessa made me delicious homemade chicken dumpling soup that night and sent it over! I have such great friends!
  • I am thinking seriously about switching to cloth diapering. I have started some reading - especially people's blogs about the subject. I am the most indecisive person, and since quite a bit of money is invested upfront, I know it is going to take me forever to decide which type and how many to choose from. Cloth diapering is not like it used to be! There are so many varieties of diapers, liners, and covers - too many! Will anyone volunteer to just make my choices for me? :-) I also am of course obsessed with getting the best possible price on things. So, I need to be assured that I pay the least amount for whatever products I decide to go with.
  • We met one of the newest babes on the block last week - Sebastian! I went to college with Alix and Derek and it was so fun to see them last weekend when they came into town. He is adorable! I realized in the shower getting ready that day (all of my deep thoughts come in the shower) that I have known Alix for 9 years this fall! It doesn't seem like I should know a college friend for that long!

  • Evelyn had her first taste of cereal last Sunday! We mostly took video - this pic isn't that great and definitely is not demonstrative of how much she liked it! I hardly added much rice cereal, so she was mostly just drinking breastmilk from a spoon. Yesterday was the second time she had it. I added much more cereal and she actually liked it even more. I am not in too much of a hurry to get her going on solids. She loves it when we are eating and always wants some, so I figured since her interest was there, I would give it a try.

  • We went out to eat yesterday after our pretty dismal (one attendee) open house. Evelyn wanted my water, so I let her put her mouth on my straw. She sucked up and drank a little water - loved it of course, too! She is so funny!
  • We took our first trip to the mall with Evelyn last weekend, too. A baby's delight - lots of new faces, things to see, sounds and lights!

And this was just a pic thrown in for fun because she is adorable and is wearing her "toasties" that Uncle Dawson gave her!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

At Daddy's Request: Pictures!

Evelyn displaying one of her new favorite passtimes - grabbing her toes! It is very fun to watch! She immediately rolls to her back if I place her on her tummy. She is learning more and more every day how to maneuver her body how she wants it. She also is playing more and mare every day with toys. She will feel for them and even grab her toes, roll to her side, and grab them. I know she'll be rolling to her tummy soon, too!

Not only is she a cutie, but this pic from last week shows her new talent - when she grabs her toes and rolls on her side, she also moves herself around. She is usually 180 degrees around a few mintues after I lay her down and off of her little play mat - as shown here!
Fun times with daddy last weekend! I am trying to play extra with her at night since she is missing daddy playtime!

We love you Jason/Daddy!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thankfulness and Choosing JOY

We are in a time right now that is hard. We often feel discouraged. I find myself frequently feeling down and depressed. But then, I call upon the Lord for comfort. I have always found wisdom and comfort in my Mom's words of speaking the truth to me: "Amber, your JOY is complete in the LORD." I have heard many a good sermon on this issue. That I can CHOOSE to have JOY in my life regardless of my circumstances. So, I have had to remind myself a lot lately that I need to get out of my circumstances and choose to be joyful and thankful and remain positive. I have SO many blessings.

Caring daily for Evelyn has really helped me in this area. For she, no matter her circumstances, is always ready to smile back at me when I shoot her a smile. Who can't be joyful when they have that cute face to look at! And, I always try to remember to enjoy every day of caring for her - for I already realize how fast she grows and changes.

So, even though our home is still sitting on the market and Jason and I spend weeks apart, I am choosing to be thankful and hopeful. God is a God of details and He has worked out so many so far. I try to remind us and talk about that with Jason each day. I think about how thankful I am that Jason does get to come home on the weekends - that he is not off in war. There are women out there that deserve our prayers who have made this sacrifice. And, I have been blessed to be reading live about Shannon's journey to Africa. She shares stories about her trip about people she is meeting who are suffering. But, they cling to Jesus and have HOPE and JOY despite their very dire circumstances.

Please take some time and read about Shannon's journey and the other bloggers that are in Uganda as part of the Compassion International trip. We sponsor a Compassion child in Ethiopia. It is a wonderful organization and I encourage you all to contemplate if you are called to sponsor one, too.

My mom has been encouraging me to memorize more scripture. I have taken her up on the challenge and am slowly doing so. What a blessing! I also think that I am going to challenge myself to change my prayer life. To pray more for others - for the people of Uganda, our soldiers who are fighting for freedom, and for the current and future leadership of this country. I know God is happy when we put others before ourselves.

This is kind of a random post... I wanted to really encourage you to read Shannon's blogs. I know God is working through that expereince. And, thank you for your prayers. I do have peace knowing our God is good and is already taking care of all of our needs - every little detail. Sometimes, we just don't look closely enough to see them.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Freezer Ready Bran Muffins

I am starting something new - contributing to Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer's wonderful Works-For-Me Wednesday bloggy carnival. Every Wednesday you can stop by Rocks in My Dryer and check out many people's suggestions of great things that work for them!

Shannon is in Uganda with Compassion International right now. Please check out her live posts - they are detailing her trip. So, this week's WFMW is being hosted by Don't Try This at Home instead! Go there for more WFMW tips!

Freezer Ready Bran Muffins

15 oz bran flakes
1 quart buttermilk
1 ½ C brown sugar
1 ½ C white sugar
½ C oil
½ - 1 C applesauce
4 eggs
2-3 tsp vanilla
5 C flour
5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
cinnamon to taste
Your choice:
16-24 oz frozen or fresh blueberries
16-24 oz frozen or fresh raspberries
2-3 C raisins

Get out your largest mixing bowl (mine was 4.3 L and was just big enough). Place your bran flakes in the bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Stir these until well-coated and moist. Add your sugars, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix dry ingredients into batter gradually until well mixed. Stir in your berries or raisins. Fill muffin cups 2/3 – ¾ full. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 18 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown. Refrigerate when cooled. Yields 4 ½ dozen muffins.

These muffins store great in the freezer. I personally like to place six in tinfoil and then place them by the dozen in gallon ziplock bags. I take out 6 at night and they are thawed by the next morning for breakfast!

I am hoping to make more of these and banana bread now that I am home full-time. Send them off with Jason in the morning instead of granola bars. It works for me! Now, I just need to know how to keep my muffin pans looking better...the rust and blueberry stains are overwhelming! :-)


I called Walmart again today for good measure. And, they have my hat! Hooray! I am picking it up tomorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lost and nowhere to be found

We ventured out to Walmart today eventhough it was -20something degrees out. It is supposed to snow a bunch in the next couple of days. I picked cold over snow.

I bundled us up. I am a freak and get out the gloves around 50 degrees and scarves and hats around 40. I wore my new hat from my Dad and Jeanne. I took it off and after a WAYYYY too long shopping trip, was driving home when I realized my head was rather cold.

I called Walmart twice, no one turned it in. I am sad. I really liked and looked cute in that hat. And, it has a now very lonely matching scarf in the closet.

I lost my hat at Walmart in college (the Walmart in what is going to be our new hometown). Someone turned it in. I still own that hat. I am glad that we are moving to a town where people return lost hats at Walmart instead of steal or ignore them.

I should go to bed. I am a nightowl by breed. But, since Jason and I go to bed together every night, he keeps me on a normal person's schedule. Last time he was gone, I was up every night until about 1 a.m. It is 11:16 p.m. I think I need a snack - the tummy rumbles. And, I need to do my "production" as Jason calls it still - vitamin taking, bathroom going, contact removing, and teeth brushing. Eye-makeup removing has gone by the wayside since Evelyn was born. I had to cut something out.


Terribly. Terribly. Sick.

I have never been so ill in my life (that I can remember at least). I was so incredibly sick that I would have rather had another natural childbirth than have the flu again (Evelyn is only 5 months - I TOTALLY remember the pain - and vividly!) The reason I would rather have another baby is that then at least 1)the agony is shorter and 2)you have people there helping you.

I started to feel a little under the weather before bed on Saturday night. Sunday I woke up with a fever and had to go back to bed. I got up the energy to bathe Evelyn, shower, and pack both of our suitcases as we had planned to go with Jason and stay at the B&B with him. I figured if I had to be sick, I would rather be with him.

I did okay until the last hour of the drive when I started to feel super crummy and feverish again. I also had started to cough a lot.

The feeling of being hit by a truck appeared somewhere in there and I was so miserable that I barely slept. I was so miserable the whole week that I don't think I slept hardly at all until Thursday night. I called the doctor here in our home town and the nurse said that if I was in town I should probably come in to get some medicine that would take a day off of the flu. I figured, "I am a tough cookie. I will survive." By Tuesday morning I was in tears and was convinced I was on my death bed. I barely had the energy to sit up, let alone eat and be the sole caretaker for my little Evelyn. And, to make matters worse, I was not at home. Jason left work and took me to urgent care Tuesday afternoon and I came back with a $50 (ouch) perscription for the flu and also one for the sinus infection that the flu was causing.

I thought that after two doses of medication I would be feeling even a little better by Wednesday. Nada. Nope. Just an even more raw nose/mouth area from the post-nasal drip. I went as far as to shove tissue up my one nostril while I slept to keep from dripping on Evelyn! I also had to resort to asking strangers for help. I had the B&B owner's son who had stopped by the B&B go and buy me a sandwich. I was too weak to even make anything. I also had to call our Realtor that we are looking at homes with to go and buy me some Powerade. I don't usually like to ask for any help, but having a baby taught me that sometimes you just need to ask. Jason was busy working long hours and I was stuck in a place where I hardly knew anyone and had none of my usual support system.

And, as if things could not get worse, Evelyn woke up crying and burning up on Thursday morning. Poor little thing. I stripped her down and dug up enough strength to try and sing-song talk and sooth her as I tended to a sick baby that day. I cried as I could not bear thinking of my precious little daughter even having the slightest amount of this horrible flu.

I have truly never felt so horrible for so long. By Friday morning I finally had some relief. We made it home that night around 5:00 and had a very low-key weekend.

It is almost 5:00 on Monday night and I am still not feeling close to 100%. But, I am much more functional. Evelyn seems to be doing pretty well, too. Thank the Lord that she did not get severely sick. We still have matching barky coughs and we're both particularily congested at night.

Aghhhh.... I guess flu shots are a really good thing. That is, if you are exposed to a strain that is covered in the shot!