Thursday, July 29, 2010

Emerson, Hold My Hand

I’m referring of course, to Mr. Ralph Waldo.  The transcendentalists and their writings were my survival guide to High School.  I have always found truth and taken solace from the natural world and these writer’s words spoke to me.   Walden is phenomenal.  Civil Disobedience inspired me to be active in politics and to speak up for equal rights and the peace I believe in.  And Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the father of it all, his speeches and lectures were a guidebook to the starting point of finding beauty in the world.

I am attempting to return to meditation.  I have not been actively mediating and am out of practice. 

Practice? For Meditation?!  Don’t you just sit cross legged and hum or something?

Um, no.  No.  Quieting the mind so that you can achieve a peaceful awareness of the world around you is difficult.  It’s hard to shut your head down and stop making to-do lists.  Centering your thoughts is something that becomes easier the more practiced you are, but I am so mentally “out of shape” I am starting with some basic techniques to refocus. 


Visualization is one that I am turning to this evening.  I will use candle gazing to focus my attention at first, and then began to visualize an alternate place – my “happy place”. 

happyplace My happy place is warm, with sunlight peaking through leaves.  You can hear birds, and wind, and ruffling of brush.  It smells like dirt, and rain, and old wood.  It’s the world of Walden. 

Emerson once said

“Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

So tonight, I will focus on visualizing my happy place, and the uncut path.

Things I will contemplate:

  • Balancing what I believe to be best for my baby with what is fair to expect of myself
  • Finding peace in situations that I cannot control
  • How to return to a greener lifestyle after falling off the wagon

What will you contemplate?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

I feel like I am on the teetering point of ages.  I’m 23.  That’s young by most standards.  I am idealistic about the world, love exploring, I’m recklessly in love with my husband and I’m just starting my career.  I still get butterflies and nerves and I have verbal vomit and I don’t quite know how to fit in to all situations.  I’m trying to figure out my place in the world and I get antsy if I live somewhere longer than a year.

 Then, there is the fact that I’m a mom.  IMG_1881

 I don’t know why it changes so much, but it does.  I feel like some of my younger (ok, let’s just say it SLUTTIER) clothing is no longer something I feel is appropriate for me to wear out.  I have to think about things like writing a will, life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, child care, meals, etc.  Planning ahead is essential in taking care of Evelyn.  You can’t go anywhere without making sure everything she needs is packed.  On top of that, I keep the house while Doc is gone.  I’m an adult with big responsibilities. So shouldn’t I have the “settle down” instinct?  Shouldn’t I be ready to “grow up”, buy a house, paint my picket fence white?  Because I don’t and it makes me feel like a bit of a freak.

So, where the hell do I fit?  I’ve been wandering between these two ideas trying to make them fit.  And this is what I’ve discovered.  I’m a twenty something.  I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life yet, I’m finding my place in the world, and I have a zest for life.  Just because I’m also a mom, doesn’t mean I have to resort to nights watching TV in recliners and minivans.  I’m not ready to want the white picket fence. Part of being a “twenty-something” is not knowing – wandering.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m still wandering to experience and explore life.  And I can still be a twenty-something while being a mom.  I don’t have to know everything to be a good parent. 


I just have to love and nurture and encourage Evelyn’s own sense of exploration. 

IMG_1623 IMG_1620

AND I LOVE that she is so good at exploring.  She wanders and I couldn’t be more proud. Not all who wander are lost after all.

Score One for the Naturals!

Doc found this article this morning!  Read Here  That’s right!  Vaginal birth after C-Section is preferred for most women now.  Thanks ACOG.  Nice of you to catch up to the research.  Better late than never, but this is great news for women who have had C-sections and previously believed that an additional C-section was the only option they had if they became pregnant again.  I’m so excited as this means sometime in the future we might really see a change in the rate of VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean).  Previously, the only way most women could have a VBAC is homebirth, and it’s also one of the times I fully believe a hospital is the best place for a woman in labor.  So this gives some moms more options and hopefully will lead to more changes in favor of woman’s health that is research supported. 

This is awesome for woman wanting natural birth because I'm pretty sure it's hard to have an unmedicated impossible.  So yay!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Niece is 1/2 Year Old This Week!

I have a beautiful niece, little Isabel Grace.  She is gorgeous and has the intelligent, thoughtful face of her daddy.IMG_1063  Despite the striking resemblance to her dad, Isabel (Isa for short) has a softness in her features from her mother that you can find when you stare at her long enough, which is easy to do.  She is certainly mesmerizing.  I’ve only been fortunate enough to spend a few visits with this little angel, but she is wonderful and certainly a gift to this world.IMG_1593 She and Evelyn are only 6 weeks apart and you can certainly tell that these two beauties are related!  I hope that we stay close enough that when holidays roll around, Evelyn and Isa will get to see each other and play together.

That said I also hope that Doc’s schedule allows us to make it to family holiday events too.  We have really sucked at making it to family events lately because our lives have been so busy.  Somehow the addition of children really makes you realize how lax you have been in family visits.  Maybe it’s because Isa went from the first picture to the second in no time at all!

I always lived far away from my cousins and so I never had the joy of other children close to my age at family events.  I’m so grateful that Evelyn and Isa may get a chance to know that joy.

Isa is almost a half year old.  6 months!  Time has flown!  Happy Half Birthday Isa!  Your Aunt misses you and loves you!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friendmade Heaven

I love having items in our home made by either us or by friends.  One of my sorority sisters has really taken up quilting and her quilts are BEAUTIFUL!  You can check them out at Color Crazy. So with my daughter moving to a toddler bed on her 1st birthday, we asked her to make a quilt for us for Evelyn.  She’s going to make a quilt that matches the things already in Evelyn’s room!  She has a long list of projects, so we’re helping her out by giving her a lot of advance so she can get to the project before Christmas.  That’s right, I start shopping in June.  It’s a secret to finding great gifts.
So, Evelyn’s walls are a cream color and we can’t change that.  So we’ve made sure to brighten it up with bright colors.  Here are some of the things in her room right now.The pictures are slightly duller due to the fact that Evelyn was sleeping when I took them so I didn’t turn the lights on.
 IMG_1853IMG_1855 IMG_1854

 We’re going to add birds and a tree and pictures to the walls as well to make all of the colors really pop so that the room is bright and fun to explore.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Someday Somebody’s Gonna Ask You…


A Question That You Should Say Yes To

Once in your life

I’ve got a question for you!

Doc and I don’t have a song.  Nothing has ever really seemed to fit our relationship and despite the fact that many songs speak to us, we’ve never had "our song”.  I love the Old 97’s song “Question”.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to think about Doc and I deciding to stick together.  Many people know our engagement story, but a lot of people don’t know the first time Doc told me his intentions.  I think that moment was the one that sealed us together.

We were sitting on the old blue dumpster coach in Doc’s dorm room.  We had been working really hard on all of his medical school admissions paperwork and Doc and been accepted to OSU.  I remember thinking about him leaving Stillwater.  As much as I loved him, I knew that I could not afford to move to Tulsa and pay for my own stuff.  Tulsa was too expensive and I was terrified of what my life would be without him.  He was going to graduate in a few months and leave me.  I remember tears forming in my eyes as I thought about it.  I don’t remember the exact discussion that followed, but I remember Doc gently brushing a tear from my cheek and holding my hand and saying, “Listen.  I am going to marry you as soon as it makes sense to.”

That was the first moment that I realized that Doc never worried about what it would be like when he left to go to medical school because he had planned on taking me with him all along.  He never doubted for a moment that we would be together through all of our toughest journeys.  I worried about so many things, and here he had it all figured out. 

I think about those two kids in love and all of the changes we’ve been through and I think that’s why we’ve never had a song.  We change.  It’s one of the best things about us as a couple.  We have changed so much since we met and it’s only made us stronger.  We are the kind of couple that can change and grow and morph and still find that firey love for one another.

So we may never have a song.  We might have a song de jeur.  Here is today’s:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Financial Independence

It’s no secret that college years are full of instant meals, hole-filled jeans, and painstaking hours at crap jobs for a lot of us.  I came from a fairly affluent family.  My parents were always able to provide well for me and my four brothers and sisters.  We lived in a beautiful home and had a very full life of adventures, family games, and late-night laugh fests. 

When I went to college, my relationship with my parents became very stressed.  They were funding my school and trying to communicate costs when they weren’t there to see what I was buying put a lot of strain on us.  So I decided to cut myself off.  A more financially comfortable lifestyle was not worth damaging my family in any way.  I used my college fund that had been set aside since I was a baby to pay for the tuition scholarships didn’t cover and got a job.

My first summer at school, I spent in Stillwater so I could stay close to Doc.  I paid for all my stuff through a $5.25 per hour job bagging groceries.  Doc would pay for food a few times a week and I would cook it and clean up so I was contributing.  The next year I worked full time at the Family Resource Center while taking 18 hours of classes.  It was rough, but my relationship with my parents improved, and I was able to spend some time supporting myself before Doc and I decided to partner up for life.

DSCF0055four years later and he still looks at me like that 

We have had help from Matt’s parents and my parents have surprised us with “just because!” gifts throughout the last two and a half years.  Our busy, hardworking periods were broken up by wonderful family vacations.  We have done surprisingly well with what we’ve had.  We’ve never needed to worry that we were not going to have money.  We’ve never had to write a bad check or make a late payment because we didn’t have money.  AND we’ve never felt like we were that destitute.

So now, I am starting my career (wow that is nice to say).  Thanks to the support from our families, our own determination and independence, and the fact that we have always felt wealthy in our lives regardless of what we’ve done without, we’re now able to truly be on our own!  Another step forward for the Fowlington Clan

Thank you to our friends and family who have made our lives rich when our pockets weren’t. 

Thank you to my husband, who understands me to the depth of my soul and has always treated my dreams as though they are his.

Thank you to my parents for encouraging my independence.

Thank you to Jenks Public Schools for giving me a job! Go Trojans!

P.S. Doc loves that I’m the sugar momma.  It’s wonderful to get to support our family for awhile and maybe spoil my husband for a bit before he blows my paycheck out of the water. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finger Foods Already?

I thought I was hard to keep up with!  Goodness!  Evelyn has really enjoyed the teething biscuits we bought for her.  I realized that she likes to feed herself and she has continued to try to take the spoon from me and chew on it.  So we looked up requirements for starting finger foods.  Most websites recommend starting them at 8-9 months but since Evelyn has been ahead so far, I wanted to see what made the ideal time 8-9 months.  Turns out,  Wholesome Baby Food has a great guide to feeding infants.  Evelyn has both the pincher ability (gripping between pointer finger and thumb) and she chews really well.  So we decided to try some chunkier baby food. 

Voila!  Carrots and pees that have been mildly blended so it includes chunks of food.  The carrots and peas have both been steamed so they are mushy.IMG_1844

Tasty right? 

Ok, it looks absolutely disgusting, but orange and green blended together turns out icky.  Evelyn liked it though!

So we tried something even more awesome today!  WHOLE PEAS!  That’s right!  She ate whole steamed peas!  I set them on her tray and she would pick themIMG_1848 up and try really hard (and sometimes successfully) to put them in her mouth.  Then she chewed them up and swallowed.  Also, notice her incredible balancing skills with that pea.

It’s incredible to watch her feed herself.  There are so many moments that I look at her and when she smiles I tear up with pride.  I’m unbelievably proud of this little girl.  She is beautiful and happy and constantly progressing at her own pace.  I am trusting her to tell me when she is ready for things and I am trusting myself as a mother to listen to her.

I worry a lot about being a good mom.  Sure, I have helped raise children, but this is different for me because I am writing my own instructions instead of following someone else’s.  Every time she smiles at me or crawls to me or giggles, I feel like she’s saying “Good Job Mom!” and I feel relieved.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why I Am Afraid of Eating

Don’t get the wrong idea.  I don’t have an eating disorder or a fear of getting fat or anything like that.  I have a fear of my throat swelling shut and not being able to breathe.  I am one of many who suffer from developed food allergies.  Unlike some allergies, you cannot build up an immunity by exposing yourself to small amounts.  Every exposure often makes your reaction worse than the time before.

The last time I went to the hospital, it was because I ate food that had been cooked in the same pan as a dish containing a few shrimp.  One bite was enough to make my lips break out in hives, my skin start itching, and my throat to start swelling shut.  After being rushed to the ER and immediately taken back (nothing says ‘you in trouble’ like being put in a bed in the hallway by the triage nurse) and pumped full of drugs that made me feel absolutely horrible, I now carry an Epi Pen with me wherever I go.

Every time I eat at a restaurant that serves shellfish, I’m terrified.  There are health codes to protect people with allergies, but all it takes is one person not paying attention in the kitchen and I’m screwed.  Sushi and hibachi places are particularly scary.  Food preparation surfaces that are not cleaned between each set of food can send me to the hospital.  There are also many items that I am not allergic to, but can no longer eat, like fish.  Many fish are prepared and packaged in the same facilities that process shellfish.  I bought salmon once and while preparing it, my hands and arms broke into hives.  So no more fish.  Even if someone near me orders a shellfish dish, my skin starts to itch.

It was scary before, but I dealt with it.  Now that I am alone with Evelyn often, I’m terrified. 

I don’t trust food I didn’t make myself.  When I eat at restaurants that serve shellfish in any of their dishes, I will take a small bite and wait fifteen minutes before I eat anymore, just in case.

I find myself commonly thinking about where the nearest hospital is.  This might seem excessive, but I now have a new fear.  I am developing more allergies.  I can’t eat bananas anymore.  I get hives on my tongue.  I feel like eating is dangerous for me. 

Some ask what the benefits of making my own baby food are.  The truth is, I am trying to make sure she isn’t exposed to foods that are common allergens or things I have problems with until after she is one year old.  Some studies suggest this may help, others say it doesn’t make a significant difference, but I will do ANYTHING I possibly can if it MIGHT help Evelyn avoid allergies, even if it just prolongs the development of some of them.

Maybe one day they will come up with a permanent cure or treatment for food allergies.  Until then, I will have to continue missing out on dinners with friends and family who go to sushi restaurants or seafood dominant eateries.  I will continue to read every ingredient list on every package of food I buy.  I will continue to be afraid of eating at new places.

As far as food allergies go, shellfish and bananas are nothing.  They are relatively easy to avoid.  There are people who have far more dangerous and scary allergies than I do (milk, wheat, soy, peanut oil, etc) and I feel for them.  I have only experienced the feeling of having my airway constrict and knowing it will keep me from breathing if I don’t get help fast twice and it is haunting.  I can’t imagine those who experience it more frequently, or the fear the parents of children with food allergies must have.

I just hope Evelyn lucked out and my random food allergy genes will leave her untouched.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Steps in the Right Direction

One thing my mother-in-law and I seem to do well is shop.  I can peruse the aisles and racks of stores in Tulsa or online boutiques and find absolutely nothing.  Then, I can go to Lawton, OK and make out like a bandit!
While out and about, my mother-in-law and I shopped for a few more items to add to my professional attire.  I made it through student teaching with 2 pairs of trousers, a pair of jeans, and a few tops as I was losing pregnancy weight during that time and didn’t want to load up on clothes that wouldn’t fit me for long.  Take a look at my new purchases!
I acquired this lovely jacket.  My torso is not that long, so it sits a bit more at my appropriate waistline.  It’s a different looking piece for me, but hey! Branching out!  I also picked up these fine numbers below.  The hippie shirt actually came in white with gray and that’s what I picked up.  As far as the other two shirts, I think the shirts are very teacher appropriate and I can throw a jacket or cardigan over them easily.  Also, this is one time I can definitely say I think I looked better than the models in these outfits…
purchase1 purchase3 purchase2
I had a great time shopping with my MIL and feel a little relieved now that I have some clothes to start the year off with. 
*Note: as my job isn’t 100% official yet, I have kept the tags on.  Due to some weird board approval stuff, I won’t “technically” be approved until after school starts, but they feel confident enough to put me on payroll, so I’m trying to stay confident as well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Young, Sophisticated Make-over?

So, time for a fun totally unlike my normal blog topics post!

I am about to start my professional job as a middle school teacher.  I want to look put together and professional when I teach but also my age.  I don’t want to dress like I’m thirty-something when I’m only 23, but I still want parents to respect my education and expertise.  So who can I look to for inspiration?

How about my one of my favorite actresses? I am reminded of Ms. Anne Hathaway’s wardrobe in Bride Wars.  When I watched that movie, I remember thinking, “Huh, she totally has my sense of style, she just actually dresses like she knows what the hell she’s doing.”  And funny enough, she plays a teacher in that film.  So I have realized that this is a great place to start.  Her clothing is all very teacher appropriate and yet still young looking.   I think this would be a good style for me to head towards.  So I’m looking for layers!  Cardigans over dresses like the above picture that mix bright and neutral tones are perfect for the workplace.greendress

And then there is this nice little green number.  Look familiar to anyone?  I definitely have a red trench dress just like this!  I need a good bag for sure to mature my look a bit.

Then of course, I want to update my casual look as well.  I’m tired of looking sloppy.  So I want to start bluecasualmaking sure I buy clothes that actually fit and show off my figure.  I may have had a baby but I am still hot stuff!

The main problem here is finding bright jewel tones! 

I’m so sick of all of the browns and camels and grays that are all over the place at stores like Anne Taylor or Loft.  They generally have one jewel tone item and that is just not enough to fill a wardrobe!  So maybe shopping will actually take some time, but I want to look professional.

Now some of these looks are borderline the age range I am looking at.  So how does one make Anne Hathaway’s style younger? They mix in some Emma Watson of course!

Hello, Young and Fabulous!


100th Post

I started this blog as a way to motivate myself to stay busy and fill my life up.  Here is my first post, for those who weren’t around for it and to remind those of you who were:

Pick Up the Pace

It's summer. Doc works 12 hours everyday. And until the fall, I have an open schedule. So it's time to stop sitting around all day doing a few chores and complaining about how I have nothing to do. It's time to pick up the pace! So, for the rest of today: make a list of things that need to be done before school starts, clean house. Tomorrow, I start picking up the pace.

I certainly did pick up the pace!  Since July of 2009, I have taken adventures in increasing our green lifestyle, pregnancy, motherhood, teaching, etc.


I have filled my life up and I have full faith that it will just keep getting better. 

One of my running themes has been to set goals and evaluate them later.  I think a 100th post warrants goals for the future.  So here are my goals.

1. Increase my inner peace – back to yoga and meditation!  I will need it to whether the coming craziness.

2. Take my family on at least 1 outdoor outing a week.

3. Visit my family frequently – My family might live in town now, but my in-laws are spread out and I really would like to try to visit them more often.  It is important that Evelyn know both sides of her family.

4. Create more Fowlington traditions and convince Doc to legally change our name ;)

5. Fun and fancy date nights at least once a month! By fancy, I just mean something other than “just dinner”.

and Finally

6. Finish my book (see my other blog)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

High Chair Alternative

I don’t like traditional baby high chairs.  They are bulky and fluffy and take up way too much space at a table.  Not to mention, they are generally not overly pretty.  However, my Cadie Bird is now too big to sit in her Bumbo chair at the table because she can flop it over.  So today, I bought the alternative to a big bulky high chair.

Check it out!


Notice that Evelyn is sitting in a chair that attaches to a normal kitchen chair.  It can evolve to a booster seat as well.  You can elevate or lower the height with little extenders.  In this chair she sits at a reasonable height to the table so she can still see everything that is going on.  And she LOVES it.


The tray swivels out and can be removed and placed in the dishwasher.  There are also safety straps on the inside of the chair that keep Evelyn from trying to crawl out.


The chair has straps that adjust and attach to the back of the chair and the bottom so this chair fits on just about all standard kitchen chairs.  I can set it up on the ground as well if I am letting her eat a snack in the living room while we visit with relatives.  It’s also small enough to travel with us should we need to take a high chair along to grandma’s house. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adventure is Out There!


Evelyn is EVERYWHERE!  She can crawl, stand, scoot, and even stand for a few seconds now.  One thing she isn’t lacking in the slightest is personality.  She loves to explore and interact and make funny faces. 

Today, she grabbed the nipple of a bottle of water she had and it sprayed her in the face.  She was stunned, then she smiled really big and tried to do it again.

I love how happy she is to explore!  It makes me feel like my baby feels very safe and happy.  True, on teething days she clings to me for comfort.  But I like having her depend on me.  She is growing up so fast and I’m so proud of her already.

I want a big family, but I am beginning to think twice about how many of them will be biological children of mine, or even children of mine.  Evelyn will soon be able to walk and go on adventures with Doc and I.

Pregnancy is wonderful.  Newborns are wonderful.  But I don’t think I realized how much of your life is frozen when you are pregnant.  I don’t think I’m quite ready to hang out on the sidelines of cycling, hiking, camping, rafting, etc. again just yet. 

For now, I am just excited to have Evelyn and the opportunity to show her the world. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Part of this balancing act includes a career, which requires childcare.  How do you pick someone to spend 8 hours a day with your child?  You have to give up control.  They won't do cloth diapering.  I am willing to give up that.  I AM worried about the food.  I do not want to give up controlling the foods my daughter eats.  That might be a problem.  So here is what I am looking for in a childcare center.

How many staff members are there? I'd like to see no higher than 1 to 6.
Can I bring my own food? I have food allergies, so I am making sure to really test Evelyn's food out for at least her first year, one of my primary reasons for making all of her baby food.
Free play vs. walkers?  I don't want Evelyn "in" a toy all day.  She loves to explore.  I want her to have that option.
All day vs. part day? Can I pick her up when I leave work at 2:40 or am I supposed to wait until 6...cuz that isn't going to happen.

Any other things I should look for?

Wishes for My Future Relationship With My Daughter

  1. That you will always feel you can tell me the truth and know I will still love you.
  2. That you will be like me and that won't be an embarassing thing.
  3. I hope I can keep my mouth shut when you don't need or want my advice anymore.
  4. I hope to never rush you into decisions or life choices for my own reasons.
  5. I hope we are the mother/daughter couple who wants to take vacations together when we are older.
  6. I wish that you will look back on your childhood and think that it was amazing.  That you will feel like you got to be a kid.
  7. I wish that you will not need me, but want me around in your life.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I have a very full life.  I am infinitely greatful for the relationships and experiences I have been priviledged to.  Now my life is about to get even fuller!  It looks very likely that I will have a job as a Math/Math and Science teacher at a local middle school starting August 4th.

I want to be the best mother I can, the best wife, the best teacher, etc.  But I'm a little scared.  I want my life to continue to be full, not fragmented.  Spreading myself out is kind of daunting.  I'm a little worried that I'll end up being mediocre at everything.  Can I really have all of the things I want?  Can I have a career and be a wife and mother?  Can I do it inspite of Doc's demanding obligations in rotations? 

Fingers crossed.  I hope I can.  So I'm beginning the balancing act.