Sunday, March 31, 2013

Project 365 - Day 90

Silly Easter Bunny

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Project 365 - Day 89

Friday, March 29, 2013

Project 365 - Day 88

No pictures, please!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Project 365 - Day 84

Dear Nathan (6 Months Old)

Dear Nathan,

You are half a year old!  It's unbelievable to me that you have been in our life that long, yet impossible for me to remember what life was like without you.

You are so much fun right now - starting to really show a personality, which includes an insatiable curiosity about everything.  You love food.  So far, your favorites are pretty much any fruit we give you, sweet potatoes, and carrots.  You eat the greens, but you don't love them yet.  Hopefully you will in time.  You aren't saying too many real words yet, but you love to talk!  Mostly you say sounds over and over when you like them.  Current favorites are mmmmmmm, nnnnngoo, and linglingling.  That last one is usually said when you have your pacifier in your mouth.  It's kind of hilarious, actually.

Your skin goes through phases where it breaks out with the eczema for a few days, then we treat it and it goes away, and we have a few weeks of clear skin until it breaks out again.  Nothing as bad as that first outbreak, thankfully.

You are also showing lots of curiosity toward the dogs right now, which is great.  Kaylee loves the extra attention and Simon doesn't quite know what to think.  He'll come around, though.

Your favorite toys right now are your exersaucer and anything that talks or sings to you.  You love the crib soother that looks like an aquarium, which makes us think maybe we need to get an aquarium and some fish for you to watch.

Check out this comparison collage - 1 month to 6 months.  You've done a lot of growing, my love!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Project 365 - Day 73

The Rose

"The Rose"

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

I've been singing this to Nathan every night for the past few weeks.  I had forgotten about it until Jon and I planted the rose he gave me for Valentine's Day in our front flower bed, and then I remembered this song and how true it is.  He seems to like it, probably because of the melody repetition and the rhythm, but I'm hoping the words sink in too.  I want him to learn to live fully, to love deeply and to understand that, the same way the rose has to survive the bitter cold of winter, we sometimes have to survive difficult times in our lives in order to truly become the person we are supposed to become.  And that those difficult times are only for a season, and the spring will come. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Project 365 - Day 72

Losing Weight

I've lost 22 pounds since Nathan was born, but that's not nearly enough.  Before I got pregnant, I had lost 25 just through portion control, making good food choices, and exercising every day.  Now, I'm in terrible shape and my body protests every single time I try to exercise.  My feet are very sore from Plantar fasciitis (wear good shoes, boys and girls!) and I'm always exhausted from not getting enough sleep.  I have several friends who are having great success with a certain product line that you sell to your friends and then get them to sell to their friends, but I don't believe in using "products" to get healthy.  I want to do it the natural way, without the help of any kind of drink or powder or pill.  I've done all that before and it never did any good.  Well, I would lose weight, but then as soon as I could no longer afford the drink, powder or pill, or just didn't want to use them anymore, I gained it all back.

Jon and I are trying to focus on having a healthy lifestyle - for Nathan as well as for us.  And of course, if we are going to have to cut all eggs and egg products out of our diet, that will cut way back on eating out and other calorie-filled indulgences we are bad about giving in to at the moment.

I've been doing the Couch to 5k program for the past month and a half.  It's a 9-week program.  Today, I started over with Week 1.  When I started doing the program, I was in such bad shape that I could only walk at a speed of 2.5 and "run" at a speed of 3.0.  If you look at the treadmills at my gym, that's basically walking fast.  The jog speed is 4.0.  After working my way up to Week 4 on Couch to 5k doing those speeds, I thought it would be fun to try Week 1 over again, but this time actually walking 2.5 and jogging 4.0.  It was very difficult, but I got through it.  My legs burned and my shins felt like they were going to snap.  My feet were throbbing, but I kept going.  Overall, when the 30 minute program was over, I jogged for 8 minutes, which is way more than I have ever done.

I have struggled with my weight my entire life.  I've always thought of myself as "the fat girl," even when I wasn't all that big.  Being pregnant was extremely freeing because I was allowed to be "fat."  I didn't go overboard, I didn't eat everything in sight, but my largeness was beautiful then, because it had a purpose.  Now I'm back to just being "fat."  And that is a struggle every day.

I've worked so hard over the last couple of months and I don't have much weight loss to show for it.  Most of the 22 pounds I mentioned above was in the weeks after Nathan was born.  I want to lose 100 pounds total.  I want to be on the other side of 200 again.  I want to be healthy.  Not just for me, but for my family.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Project 365 - Day 71

Home Improvement: Extreme Yard Work!

Spring has sprung here in the South, and with it comes lots of yard work!  When we bought the house, there were some things we wanted to change, and now we have almost finished all these things.

First, we had 8 diseased and dying dogwoods (love the alliteration, right) in the front and side yards. The limbs were starting to snap off in a brisk breeze, so it was time for them to come down.  My dad and Jon worked for several hours to get the ones in the front down, and Jon and I did the ones on the side yard a couple of weekends later.
We bought and planted a gorgeous hydrangea bush. We used blue hydrangeas in our wedding, so I wanted to have one in our front yard.  It replaced the scary sago palm that we removed before we moved in.  The flowers were blue when we bought them, but something I never knew until Jon started researching them is that they will change color depending on the soil content.  So the flowers went from light blue to a really deep purple within about a week of being in the ground.  Jon researched and found that you can change the color back to blue by introducing aluminum into the soil, so he bought some special fertilizer and drove some thin aluminum spikes into the ground around the bush.  The flowers are slowing making their way back to blue now.  The purple is pretty, but we wanted blue since that was our wedding flower color.

In the spot where the other sago palm once rested, we constructed a fountain.  Jon did some research and then figured out how he wanted it to work.  We purchased a ceramic pot (50% off, luckily!) and he put together the pump and the hose.  He also sealed a small flower pot into the neck of the fountain body so that we didn't have to actually fill the entire thing up with water/rocks.  We dug a hole and put down a large tub, which we then covered with the grill part of a small grill.  Perfect for the pump hose to go up and into the fountain!  And with the rocks on top of it, you would never know it's a grill top.  :)  We bought some pavers to go around the entire thing and finished it off with the fairy statues we had on one of the tables at our wedding.  I love the result.  It's simple and not too flashy - and the sound the water makes as it trickles down is just wonderful.  There was talk about using some submerged LED lights to make it look cool at night, but that's an improvement/enhancement for later.

So this is the front of the house with the trees gone and the fountain in.  We also planted some calladiums and snapdragons in the front flower bed, and some wildflowers around the fountain and the hydrangea bush.  We still have some stumps to remove and we are going to put down some grass seed to try to get the grass going a little better, but all in all, I think it's looking pretty great!

And to replace the trees we took out...

A peach tree, planted between the front door and the window on the right side if you are looking at the house from the street.

And a plum tree on the other side of the house, near the window on the left side.

We also did a lemon tree in the side yard and are doing a lime tree in the back yard.

And last, but certainly not least, Jon planted this garden in the back yard with herbs and some small veggies.  If everything goes well, in a few years we will have tons of herbs, tomatoes, green beans, onions, cucumbers, spinach, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, blackberries, peaches, plums, lemons and limes.  And probably some other stuff that I'm forgetting!  Of course, the garden will produce this year - the trees will need a couple of years.  Either way, I'm excited.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Project 365 - Day 70

On my wall at work - a proofreader's warning.

Dear Nathan (Perfection)

Dear Nathan,

I have so many lessons I can't wait to teach you. So much I've learned (sometimes the hard way) that I want to pass on.  I am anxious for the opportunity to teach you things I think are so important.  And this is one of them.

Perfection is a fairy tale.  Nothing is perfect and nobody is perfect.  The sooner you learn that, the better you will feel about your life and the people in it.  

I'm not saying the world isn't a beautiful, wonderful place.  It truly is!  There are things to discover and people to know that will awe and inspire you.  You will marvel at sunsets, be fascinated with insects, and love with all your heart.  And all those things are good and wonderful.  But there is nothing on this earth that is perfect.  

Your dad is a wonderful man.  He is funny and smart and gentle and patient.  He is not perfect.  He will make mistakes as he learns how to be a dad.  He will sometimes hurt your feelings by accident.  He will sometimes make you angry because of the boundaries he set or the rules he enforces.  He is not perfect, and it is unfair to expect him to be.

I love you with my entire heart.  There truly is no way to describe that kind of love.  I will always be here for you, no matter what.  I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure you have a happy, healthy childhood and would literally risk my life to save yours.  But I'm not perfect.  I will make mistakes.  I will hurt your feelings and make you angry.  I will become frustrated (and have already) and will probably say things I shouldn't to you sometimes.  I am not perfect, and it is unfair to expect me to be.

You are a sweet, beautiful baby.  In the past 5 months, you have shown us that you are smart, funny, and very social.  You love to laugh and are sometimes very deliberate in your attempts to make us laugh.  You are growing and developing in amazing ways and I can't wait to see who you are going to become.  But you are not perfect.  You will make mistakes as you grow up.  You will upset us and make us angry.  You will do things you shouldn't, and will be reprimanded for them.  You will probably, at some point, get a bad grade in school, or be disciplined there for something you did that was against the rules.  You are not perfect and it is unfair to expect you to be.

All this is not to say you shouldn't try.  You should always do your best in everything you try to do, because that's what good people do.  You should strive to do things as completely and as accurately as possible, and you can even strive for perfection, but you should always keep in mind that it is okay if you do not achieve perfection.  If you follow the rules (and as you get older, the laws) of our society, and if you do your absolute best in everything you attempt, your father and I will be happy, and we will be so proud of you.  If you try your hardest and you fail, we will still be proud, because you tried something that was so difficult for you and you went into it knowing it was a long shot, but you were brave enough to do it anyway.  And sometimes  you will discover that you try something you think is impossible and you WILL achieve it.  We will be proud when that happens too.

I have known so many people who were raised to be "perfect," and it ended up causing some serious problems as they grew into adulthood and realized that they can, in fact, fail.  I want you to always understand that failure is not the end of the world.  If you tried your best and failed, you've learned something.  If you didn't try your best and failed, you need to try harder the next time.  Either way, we are always here to love and support you.

But please, don't expect perfection - from us or from yourself.  You will be disappointed.  People are not perfect.  It's one of the wonderful things about us, really.  All our flaws make us who we are, and those beautiful, wonderful imperfections are what we end up truly loving about each other.  And that is the most important lesson I could teach you - to embrace your imperfections and understand that, no matter what, we will love you.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Project 365 - Day 67


We have had a tough time lately, but now that we finally know why, we are ready to move forward and make it better.  A few weeks ago, Nathan started getting a bad rash on his face, neck, and body.  It was super itchy and was clearly making him miserable.

The pediatrician said it was eczema, and after hearing about Jon's allergy history (deathly allergic to milk as a child) he referred us to a pediatric allergist.  Allergy testing sucks, by the way.

They tested for 14 common allergens, including dogs at my request.  I was terrified he was allergic to the pups.  See the test in the picture?  I was absolutely floored when the doctor told us what #4 was.  Eggs.  So our little sweetheart is allergic to eggs, a fairly common preschool allergy, I've since learned, and one that won't become so serious that it could be fatal.  They didn't even give us an epipen because he wasn't having any kind of respiratory reaction.  The good news is, controlling the eczema is not going to be too difficult.  We have been giving him baths every night in Aveeno Oatmeal bath for babies and use Aveeno baby eczema lotion all over his body.  We will not being using steroid treatment because I don't want to put that on my baby's tiny body unless we absolutely have to.  But a tiny bit of hydro-cortisone cream when it was really bad and the Aveeno lotion seems to be clearing everything up nicely.  His skin isn't even really dry anymore, where a week ago it was raw, blistered, and looked like the worst sunburn you have ever seen.

So I'm looking up egg-free recipes for his 1st birthday cake and learning how we can keep eggs from his diet completely.  Until this clears up - if it does - I don't want any exposure.  Most of the time, it does go away before the child even starts school, but I'm not taking any chances.  Luckily, no allergy to dogs or to milk.  That's a relief, at least.