Thursday, September 30, 2010

When to Stop Nursing?

You may remember a few weeks ago, when I was distraught at the idea of Evelyn having formula during the day because I wanted to continue to breastfeed and nurse.  Well, that distraught feeling has left for seven reasons.  One, that she is doing wonderful with the mixture of breastmilk and formula. And the other six are the sharp little white teeth that she bit me with while nursing today.

SO – we are done nursing.  I know that you can continue to nurse through teething, but once was enough.  I do not really think I am up for “gently removing her and saying ‘no’ firmly”.  We’re good.  Evelyn can stop nursing and start using a cup.  Hello pumping.  I’m going to really miss the bonding that nursing provides, but I think that big ole chomp will stay in my mind for a while.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Lose My $&!@*( Cool

Ok.  Not Zen today.  Not Zen at all.

Today I went to the allergist in a desperate attempt to figure out what is going on with all of the horrible food responses I’ve been having lately.  I have had to miss a half day of school because something I ate for lunch sent me to the doctor ASAP.

So I’m finally going and hoping for some answers.

My answers suck.

The appointment basically went like this:

“Oh, you tested negative for shellfish and fish!  You’re still deathly allergic you just haven’t had them recently enough for antibodies to still be in your blood stream.”

“Oh, you had a reaction to what? Do you have seasonal allergies too? Oh, ok, well  because of food-inhalant cross-reactivity you can NO LONGER EAT:

  • Kiwi
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Milk
  • Bananas
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce

WHAT?!?!?!? ARE YOU %(#&% KIDDING ME!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!  DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MILK, CORN AND WHEAT ARE IN?  WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT?  I’m going to cry and go to bed.  Bad assess don’t whine and it’s not sexy but today…I’m having a pity party.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Nature Love: Fall in Love with Animals

Animals are one of the coolest parts of nature.  I remember camping with my family when I was a kid and being amazed when I saw animals in the wild.  Despite my lack of any zoology training, I know a lot of random facts about hundreds of animals (just ask my 83 students).  So on the first beautiful weekend in fall, you bet we went to the zoo!


We rode the train, which is Little Bird’s favorite new thing to do!  She loves riding with Doc and rocking back and forth while the train chug-a-chug-a-choo-choos around the zoo.

We decided to show up pretty early at the zoo.  Lucky for us, the penguins were very playful!  Here is Little Bird holding her hand up to the penguin whose beak is touching the glass.  Pretty cool! 


We were visited by three of the penguins and they hopped and waddled around just like the ones in Mary Poppins! Also, Little Bird is as tall as an African Penguin.



Evelyn walked around the penguin enclosure and looked in all the windows.  She watched them waddle and swim! What a different from a few months ago where she just rode in the stroller the entire time.IMG_2113

It was a day of wonder for her, and a day full of excitement for Doc and I.  We felt such joy watching her explore. Also, we were treated to a spectacle as the baby chimps played right next to the glass and the cheetah was walking around near the fence.  It was a beautiful day full of fun for Doc, Evelyn, myself, and Aunt Madison who came along too!

But the absolute best part, was walking around the zoo with our precious little one.  Our playful angel. Life is beautiful.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Parent’s Job

Teaching comes with many “extras”.  You are not only a teacher for your students.  This is one of the most rewarding and exhausting aspects of my career.  I love each and every single student despite any behavioral difficulties they may have.  The training we receive before we graduate with degrees in education helps us understand the “why” behind behavior issues so we can approach them as a problem to solve instead of seeing the student 1January as “bad”.  Every student matters - and I tell them that everyday.  I utilize the resources available to me to make sure that they receive whatever support and services I can help them acquire so they can be successful.  Yet there are still many parents that amaze me. 

I think about my deep love for my daughter.  Every single decision I have made since her conception has been with her best interest in mind.  My job is to love and protect her.  To nurture and foster in her a confident young woman.  To teach her about the world she was born into so that she can make informed decisions later in her life.  I will strive to always meet her needs.  7JulyI cannot imagine how any parent could view their child differently.  How can anyone not want to do all of those things for their child?  Is it truly possible for people to not care?

The part of me that believes in the good in people has to believe that all parents want that, but are simply human and fall from grace occasionally.  Perhaps I simply am sitting in a seat where the falls are more visible.   I try to remember that when my students tell me of their home lives or I come into contact with parents who seem to have overlooked the best interest in their child.  I have to believe that there is something truly wrong with a parent who is permanently fallen from grace, for no one in their right mind could truly be so disregarding.

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately – what is a parent’s true job?  Do people have such different ideas about it?  If you had to write an add for parents, what would your “PARENTS WANTED” job description entail?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zen With Honey

When a day has really taken a lot of energy from me, there is one thing that always resets my zen-o-meter.

A cup of Zen tea with a little bit of local honey.  This tiny cup of lemongrass infused bliss warms my hands and relaxes my mind. 

The world is calm. 

The night is quiet. 

            The baby is sleeping.

                       Doc is nearby.

All is well with the world.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Organizing Odds and Ends: The Pantry

There is something in my kitchen.  It’s angry and ugly and totally not something I want anyone who comes over to see.



Ugh!  There is no reason to why anything is anywhere!  There are containers hiding behind containers, things dangling from shelves, piled on-top of each other.  It is NOT FUNCTIONAL!

So back to Real Simple Magazine’s organizer ideas.  I need to try organizing this differently.

I must organize my pantry in a way that makes sense to my brain so that it actually stays organized.

So here goes!IMG_2074

Step 1: Empty pantry onto kitchen table.






Step 2: Organize contents.  I decided to organize everything based on cuisine and the meals that I use it for.  One day, I’d like to organize more ingredients by type and cook more from scratch, but that doesn’t work for me now.  I’d also like to put everything in super cute clear containers with adorable lids and labels.  That’s not something I need to worry about right now either.

Step 3: Reload.IMG_2075

I filled my top shelf with baking goods.  I only use these on special occasions, but I know that everything I need to check to see if I have for baked goods will be on the top shelf.  



Next I put “meals in themselves” on a shelf.  Syrup is an additive to oatmeal that Doc uses, so it goes with oatmeal.  The peanut butter and unopened jelly go together and soups for sick days are stacked on top of each other for those days you are “too sick” to make “real” soup.IMG_2078

Now we are on to things I use all the time!  “Mexican food” staples are on one side, “Italian” on the other.  This is the only shelf with things hiding behind the front.  The reason is, I have several types of pasta and can sort through them when I need to, IMG_2079but I know where all the pasta is when I can see the Italian foods are all in the same place.

The final shelf is snack items.  They are all on the bottom to root through when hunger strikes.

The whole point to this organization overhaul is this: I had to group stuff by meals instead of by type of food.  This will actually serve me better right now.  I realized something while typing this.  I have been organizing all my stuff as if I was my mother.  I know how my mother organized things and how she wanted things when I was a kid.  I never thought there was another way. Now that I’m moving on to organizing my way…let’s hope it stays clean now!

Family Tree

Lately, I have been working on trying to incorporate family into Evelyn’s life.  She is so blessed to have TWO of her aunts and one set of grandparents living in the same town.  She gets to see them several times a week and I love that she will know them well growing up.

But she has such an amazing extended family outside of the ones that live here.  I want her to know about them.  I want her to recognize their faces.

One thing I have decided to build and work on is a family tree.


There are many WONDERFUL wall decal trees you can purchase!  You can also paint your own tree on a wall (if you aren’t renting).  I chose a tree that I purchased from a store to put on the wall.  It looks glossy in the photo, but in person in looks matte.

The tree is awesome!  It completely matches the quilt that Color Crazy has been working on.  But what I love most about this tree is the extension I have planned.

There is already one picture in Evelyn’s “Family Tree”.  This is a beautiful family portrait of the Fowler Clan that was taken in May. 


I plan to cover the area near the tree with pictures of different sizes of Evelyn’s family.  I want her to know their faces and see that they are connected to her everyday, even if her Aunt Diane and Uncle Scott, cousin Isa, Uncle Matt and Aunt Trisha, cousin Jake, Uncle Michael, and Grandparents Fowler cannot see her everyday, she can see their faces and know that they are an important part of what made her parents who they are and mean something very special to us.

Also, note the cardinal on the photograph!  Little birds everywhere :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Organizing Odds and Ends: Keys


If you are like me at all, your purse gets messy CRAZY fast and your counter/table is cluttered by all the crap you throw on it…like your keys.

Real Simple is one of my favorite magazines.  It has great ideas for meals, organizing, etc. and one of the recent issues talked about ways to organized based on whether you are right or left brained.

One point they made was that right-brained people (like me) don’t do well with storage that isn’t where we throw things.  For example, I throw my keys on the table right inside our door.  I do NOT take them into the living room and put them in a box.  This wouldn’t be a big deal except I throw EVERYTHING on that table or under it when I come in the door with Evelyn.

So they had this ingenious solution!  Put your organizers where you throw things, and for those right-brained people – make it artsy.

Great advice!  So the above picture is my new key holder.  I bought a collage picture frame, then removed the glass from two photo slots and replaced it with cork board I cut with an exacto-knife.  Add a bumblebee pendant I had in my jewelry box and all of the leftover keys that don’t go anywhere and now we have a functional storage device that looks cool and has a personal touch.  Plus, I actually use it!

De-cluttering is a new endeavor of mine.  I’m trying to simplify my life.  Little things used to fill me with joy and make me happy and now I have so much going on I am too distracted to notice.  Plus, I don’t think it should ever take more than 5 minutes to tidy-up a room, and we are definitely past the 5 minute limit.

So here’s to organizational tools that bring you back to that zen place of happiness you know and love!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hello, Healthy!

mattandiPhoto credit to Andrea Murphy Photography

Doc is in town again!  Wahoo!  Not only does this mean that I have help around the house – or with our Little Bird – or that I don’t have to worry about sleeping alone in our bed – oh no!  I also get to do something I have missed immensely for the last two months….

Hey! Get your heads out of the gutter!!!!

…okay that too…


COOKING! Oh how I missed cooking!  The aroma of crock-potted marinades and fresh citrus dressings on salads ~ oh delightful steamed vegetables and market spices!

Tonight, we had BBQ baby back ribs, broccoli, corn, spinach and strawberry salad with walnuts and lemon poppy seed dressing, and it was incredible!

I love sitting together as a family after a long day of work and sharing some quiet time together eating delicious, healthy, food.  I love working hard and relaxing with the two people who fill my life with joy.


To top off a wonderful family dinner -

We had a surprise visit from my Sister-in-Law Diane, and our niece Isabel!


She has grown so much and it is amazing how active she is!  We haven’t seen them since June and it was wonderful to get to see them even if it was only for a little bit!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Running Its Course…

Babies get colds.  Babies at daycare get colds.  Teething babies get colds.  Our outdoor adventure plans for labor day weekend were put on hold this weekend because Evelyn has colds, and has one right now.

A baby is very limited in medication they can take for colds and even more limited if their momma is paranoid about medicating things.

So here are some “green” and “organic” ways to help children/yourselves through a cold!

Encourage good drainage:

Drainage stinks to experience, but is essential to clearing baby colds out and helping them feel better.  Evelyn is napping in her stroller or car-seat more right now so that the mucus can drain from her head and she will feel less miserable when she is awake.

Encourage drinking:

If she wants to nurse 8 times a day, she can nurse 8 times a day.  Fluids help us get better, and they help baby too.  I have been offering her warm water and juice as well, but with a stuffy nose drinking for too long is not interesting right now.  She also hasn’t been eating quite as much food, which is fine as long as she doesn’t refuse to eat altogether.


Humidifiers and steamed rooms help a ton to loosen that mucus and move it on out!  I will run the shower to steam up the bathroom and we have steam room playtime!  Note: don’t let baby get too hot, especially if they are already running a fever.

If All Else Fails, Show ‘Em the Love!

Evelyn is normally pretty independent during playtime, but for the next few days, if she wants to be held all day, I’m holding her.  Sometimes, you are just sick and miserable and nothing really helps.  If holding her can help her relax even a little bit or even just feel a little bit better, at least I can do something!


A cold doesn’t mean you have to take your baby to a pediatrician.  It is stressful and scary as a mom to watch it, but knowing when it becomes a real issue is important.  If your baby has:

A fever, coughs up blood, struggles to breath, turns blue in the lips, refuses to eat or drink, stops peeing/pooping, is extremely lethargic, etc. take them in!  This is not an all-inclusive list and you know your baby best.  If there is something that really concerns you and is out of the ordinary, it is worth calling about.  However, if your baby just has a snotty nose and coughs a little bit, is cranky, eats less, but still plays, giggles, smiles, and gets into things…you’re probably okay to wait it out.

IMG_2034Even with her runny nose, Evelyn is up and around! 

Tip*: If you are concerned, try calling a nurse line before you take your kiddo in.  Most clinics have one if you are a current patient and even some insurance companies provide them.

Sick Mommy Note: Breastfeeding means that I cannot take most things for this cold either, so she and I are in the same boat.  I’ve been saturating myself with hot water/tea/peppermint.  Allergies are not helping, but who can really be THAT upset with the weather we’re having?  It’s beautiful out.  Cold or no cold.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trying Not to Feel Like I am Giving Up

Disclaimer: Understand please that this post is about my personal experience with breastfeeding and is in no way meant to belittle or demean any mother who has chosen a different path.  I believe we all follow our instincts to be the best mother we can, and this is simply a post about me trying to follow my instincts for mothering this specific child.

I generally really love that I am still breastfeeding Evelyn.  I know it is what is best for her, and that the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends a MINIMUM of one year of breastfeeding.  My original goal was 6 months, and I met that goal with flying colors and decided I would make it to a year.

Now I am really struggling.  I only have one period during the day that I can pump at work.  Evelyn has two feedings while she is at childcare.  It doesn’t add up.  To make up for it, I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night every night and pumping to generate that extra feeding she needs for school.

90 students, a month of work, and Doc being gone a lot has led to me being at a very difficult point.  I cannot continue to deprive myself of sleep and still work 10 hours a day while managing our home, bills, etc. 

So I’m trying to find a solution.  My best hope is that I can supplement one of her feedings with formula while she is at school, and continue to feed her breast milk the other times until I can wean her onto whole milk at 1 year.  I have no idea if she will even take the formula.

I would love to find a solution that didn’t require me to give up on something I am not ready to give up on yet, but I cannot think of anything. 

I was so dead set on not giving her formula at all.  Not that formula is evil, but if the MINIMUM recommended by the AAP is one year, I feel like I should at least be able to do that.

I feel like weaning her now would be giving up, since I set a goal of 1 year, and will not be reaching it.


I just want to be the best mom I can.