Friday, May 31, 2013

Ebble's Favorite Things: May Edition

So May was a pretty "exciting" month. Here are a few of my must-haves - from mono entertainment to yard work.

1. Maeve Binchy's final novel, A Week in Winter, was my favorite book this month. It made me want to visit Ireland.
2. Hanna Andersson pajamas. Because they are footless, they have lasted longer than all our other jammies (some babies - Everett - are freakishly tall and outgrow the footie PJ's quickly). They will also be good for the typical Spokane hot summer nights, which rapidly turn to frigid summer nights.
3. Butter London nail polish. The color above is currently on my toes! I like this brand because Everett does a lot of sucking on my fingers at this age. I don't have to worry about those harsh chemicals getting into his mouth. This is basically the most natural nail polish on the market.
4. Baltic amber teething necklace. Supposedly, when amber is heated by the warmth of the skin, it releases a pain-relieving, analgesic chemical. People swear by them for teething babies. I put this on Everett when he seems bothered by gum pain. Not sure if it's just a coincidence, but it might be working.
5. Retractable clothes line. Now that the weather is warming up, we have been hanging some of our laundry out to dry. Cloth diapers dry super fast in the sunshine (not to mention any stains get bleached out). We bought our retractable clothesline from Lowe's, and our birdie laundry clips from Put a bird on it! Lowe's has this cool thing where you can pay for your product online, then pick it up at the customer service counter once you get a confirmation email. Seriously, what's not to love about Lowe's? It's like Target for men.
6. Giant pack of gardening gloves from Costco. Get 'em!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mano a Mano (Mono)

It's been a while, and for a reason. Remember this photo from my last post?

You see how I look like hell? Well, that's because I felt like hell. I had just run 12 kilometers, a distance I had not accomplished since 2011, and I assumed this is why I felt so terrible. During the race, I had to stop a few times to walk because I kept getting dizzy. The weather was hot for early May, so I figured it was a bit of dehydration. However, four days and a hot dog later, I still felt like hell. My throat was hurting, I felt dizzy all the time, and I was overwhelmingly fatigued.

I was worried because I have felt this way in the past. These symptoms were side effects of a medication I was taking that had my doctor thinking I might have suffered from a mini stroke. Said medication is now part of a lawsuit.

The doctor did a few tests to see what could possibly be causing these symptoms...

Surprise! You have MONO.

So I've been laying on the couch and staring out the window for almost 2 weeks, too exhausted to get up and grab the remote to turn on the television. Here's the tricky part...I have a 5-month-old. There is no room for being lazy and relaxed when you have an infant. Period. Even when you have mono. He still needs to be fed, changed, bathed, cuddled, and kissed (on top of the head only).

And I know you are all wondering, Everett is 100% fine. I confirmed with 2 doctors that breastfed infants don't really catch mono. One more reason I'm glad I persevered despite the madness in the beginning.

So how did I get mono? You tell me, because you obviously gave it to me when you drank out of my glass that one time. Or maybe I was slutting around like my friend G in college (sorry G, but we all know you're a slut). Or maybe I caught it making out with a sailor during Fleet Week like my friend K.  

However crazy this may seem, I think it has been a blessing in disguise. Lately, I have been feeling like my life is slowly spinning out of control. It is as if I am running next to a merry-go-round, trying desperately to keep up, but never quite managing. The first day I was home, I was laying on the couch with Everett playing on the floor next to me. He would look up at me with his big brown eyes, coo, then we'd smile at each other.

Eleven days after my appointment I still don't feel like myself, but I feel grounded. Jeff took Everett and me to a greenhouse the other day (my first outing as an invalid), and my soul felt rejuvenated. When was the last time I was able to literally stop and smell the flowers? [I think it was that time I made the mistake of smelling daisies...seriously, never smell daisies because they smell like a college boy's dirty laundry basket.]

Anyway, even though I am physically exhausted, even though I have consumed 9 liters of Gatorade in the last week, and even though typing this makes me dizzy, I am thankful I finally have some time to focus on my health. And since I can only stare at the things which surround me in my living room, I have had plenty of time to focus on the love I have for my family.

Signing off! I'm going to take a nap now.


Friday, May 10, 2013

5 Months - Milestones

This was a month of many firsts for our household. For me, the biggest milestone was finishing Bloomsday. I haven't seriously run in over a year - what with being pregnant, a new mother, and all that comes along. I haven't been feeling well these last few weeks (more on that later), and the morning of the race turned out to be hotter than I expected. However, the experience was incredible, and I am continuously in awe of the human body and what it can accomplish with the right mindset.

And Everett finished his first Bloomsday! Jeff's mom and our family friend K came to Spokane and walked the race with E and his fancy stroller. They are pretty hardcore walkers (not the ones with the trekking poles...yet), and had to navigate around the 40,000 people in front of them. To top it off, that day was incredibly hot, so Everett wasn't on his best behavior. They ended up carrying him for much of the way. Poor souls.

Check it out. We even got matching t-shirts!

Milestone #2: for the first time in like 3 years, I ate a hot dog.

Look at me, I'm 5 months!

At 5 months old, Everett knows his actions influence the world around him. If he sees something, he can move it; if he moves it, he can feel its texture with his hands and mouth. His curiosity deepens each day, and he is constantly learning how to interact via his hands and mouth.

He is now exclusively sleeping in his crib (the first night putting him in there almost tore my heart out), and he no longer needs to be swaddled to fall asleep. On April 14th, he rolled from his stomach to his back for the first time. On May 9th, he rolled from his back to his stomach for the first time. 

He holds his head up by himself, and sits up and stands with assistance. He loves singing, reading books, hanging out in the baby carrier, and playing with toys. His favorite toys are his feet. He loves Jeff and his cousins, and smiles a lot when he sees them. 

Also, he's adorable...

And we love him.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fit (or not) for Bloomsday

Bloomsday is this weekend! Cue guilt complex...I got put in the "Yellow Group." This means I am assigned to start with runners who anticipate getting stellar finish times. Since I haven't worked out in 2 months, and since I haven't run further than 3 miles since pre-prego days, I might end up starting with the clowns back in the walking group (I call them clowns because many are dressed in costumes).

My body might not be in race shape, but healthy eating this week is necessary to keep my muscles gelatinous, yet healthy. Here is a fast, nutritious recipe that will blow-ur-mind.

Farro Salad

  • 10-minute farro from Trader Joe's
  • crisp cucumbers
  • 1/2 red onion
  • tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • feta cheese
  • 1/2 bottle balsalmic viniagrette
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Cook farro according to instructions on package. Chop your vegetables while the farro is cooking. Once farro is done, strain in colander and run under cool water. Mix farro, veggies, feta, dressing, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

My favorite thing about this salad is that it keeps in the refrigerator. Most salads do not make good leftovers, but this one takes the cake. 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mommy Politics

Whether democrat or republican, libertarian or independent, partisan or non-partisan, political agendas disappear when your baby is in need. You may need healthcare to cover vaccinations, or maybe you can't afford the only formula that does not cause severe allergic reactions in your child. OR maybe you are sitting at your desk, doing your business, and suddenly your breast pump stops working.

So that last thing? Yeah, it just happened to me, and it was terrible. It is hard to explain the exact emotions caused by this unfortunate event, but I will try.

As a working mother, you have a lot of guilt. Every hormone - and every God-fearing Christian for that matter - says I shouldn't leave the house each morning and stay away from my child for the next 9 hours. I feel torn apart every time I leave his sweet, smiling face, and I suppress tears at night when I put him down for bed after only getting 2 hours with him. Well guess what folks, here's your reality check: these days, having one income and living comfortably do not go well together. On one income, we make enough to get by on spaghetti and canned goods, but we make "too much" to be eligible for WIC, Medicaid, or food stamps; so we either eat, or pay our mortgage. With two incomes, we have enough to pay bills, eat healthy, and have a little left over to feel comfortable treating Grandma to coffee (or buying a new pair of Enzo Angiolini boots). Quality of life for all of us would be terrible if we were stressed and penny-pinching all the time, so I zip up those fancy boots and click my way into work every day.

Despite all of this, there is one thing I can control and contribute: I can make sure Everett has good food while I am gone. I can pump.

Up until now, I have made lots of excuses for spending money, "It's okay if we buy those Hanna Andersson pajamas because we are saving so much money breastfeeding!" However, we are slowly approaching the end of that reasoning, as the 6 month mark is fast approaching, and solids are in our near future. Then, when your $300.00 pump suddenly dies, you have to ask if it is worth the investment of getting a new one. And of course it is! But I really wanted new Marc Jacobs! I texted Jeff, had an anxiety attack, then did the only logical thing I could think of and walked out of my office.

I think the gal in the office down the hall was a little baffled by my presence in her doorway. I was leaning against the threshold to her personal space and plainly stated, "My pump just broke." It must have been some divine power which inspired me to see her, as she quickly relayed to me that, thanks to Obamacare, our insurance is now required to cover the cost of a pump.

Yes, I had to jump through hoops, and I had two subsequent anxiety attacks from my pursuit of said coverage, but there is no need to relay those anecdotes here. Just know that it involved me standing around Target for 3 hours with milk dripping down my front, and that I was massaging and hand-expressing a clogged duct into a bowl between my legs the next day. None of that matters, because I can still feed my baby.

As I drove home with my new pump riding shotgun, I saw a bumper sticker that said, "Socialism: I work so you don't have to."

No, sir.  
I work so I can feed my baby. I am also helping my coworker feed her twin babies, who will starve if they do not have formula to supplement.

You can insert your claims on how terrible Obamacare is, and how it will ruin our society. However, I am finally seeing payment for what I have invested. I work hard, I work my ASS off, and have done so since I was 16. It's about time I get acknowledged for the work I do, and can partake in the generosity of my beloved home and country, the United States of America.

Precious cargo on board.

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