Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mowin' the Lawn

This week has had a lot of ups and downs.  Teething babe.  Prepping to sell our home and prepping to buy. 

We had the photos taken for the virtual tour of our house yesterday.  I have been cleaning constantly (just for everything to get messy again), but I went on this huge cleaning spree all day like never before.  We cleared out so much clutter that our voices echo throughout the house.  It's pretty amazing...  This was all following a day of yard work.

After the pictures were taken, we headed downtown to Depot Grille for a late lunch.  Our waiter mentioned that the weather was so great that he wanted to go play beach volleyball.  It's funny the things Eliot picks up on....  As soon as the guy said that and turned around, Eliot shouted, "Ball!"  He'll say that whenever anyone else says "ball," even if it is just casual and mid-sentence.  Half-way through lunch, a train came by.  Eliot thinks they're cool at first, but then he gets scared from all of the noise.  Isn't this a great photo of me?  No shower, after running around cleaning like a crazy person, and eating my first meal of the day at 3:00 pm.  Not a smart move, Katie.

We have also been working with our realtor in Chesapeake.  The Chesapeake MLS is not open to the public, so we had been looking at websites like Trulia and Zillow.  Well, we were pretty disappointed to find out that every single house we were interested in was either a short sale or already had an offer.  Since short sales also require bank approval, they take a bit longer, which could be OK, but almost all of those already had offers too!  So, basically what we thought was a realistic price range is not likely to happen.  I try to be conservative with money and I don't want to dig myself in a hole where we are working solely to make the mortgage payment without any money to save or put toward more "fun" things.  Chesapeake is so much more expensive than Lynchburg.  Instead of up-ing our price range to accommodate a "dream home," we're lowering our expectations some.  I'm not a big "status" person.  I just want something that is enough, in a good school district, and... has enough space in the backyard that can maybe someday have a pool with Chris's palm tree oasis. 

Eliot is still teething and goes from happy to sad in a flash.  He felt a bit warm today too (probably from the teething) and was so very clingy.  We gave him some Motrin and, man, within thirty minutes, he was running around the house and throwing blocks.  I was leery of giving him Mortin at first because his diapers were already "off," and I didn't want to make it worse.  He is mostly back to normal in that area now, though, and he really needed it.  And now he is out.  Maybe even for the night.  I hate seeing the little guy not feeling the best, but I think we're getting there.  Each day gets a little better.
He would not take his eyes off of basketball on TV for me to take a picture.  :)
And whether you're teething or not, you're still gonna get tackled in this house.  No sympathy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Boxes and Bats

There are boxes in every room.  I have been trying pack things up lately without too much success.  I have gone through a lot of Eliot's clothes and boxed up his old ones.  I even boxed up his 12 month sweaters.  Already?  Yeah, I know.  But the weather is so warm that he doesn't really need them anymore.

I feel a little less emotional about specific outfits and clothes with Eliot as he grows older.  I remember when Eliot grew out of his newborn-size dinosaur sleeper.  I was so sad.  I think those first, newborn sleepers have something special about them.

The packing makes me frustrated in the sense that I don't know how it will all get it done.  I don't even know how to begin prioritizing.  We have so much more than when we moved here.  And we've already sent a lot of boxes home with my parents.  It'll get done, though, and we won't be moving until July anyway.  Our first out-of-town move since we came to Lynchburg--and Farmville to Lynchburg was just one hour's drive and a two-bedroom apartment.  Hopefully this will be our last move too.

I am happy to say, though, that Chris and I feel content.  We have spurts of "I can't wait to get down there and enjoy the summer!" but we're also drinking in all that is Lynchburg.  As the sun set, I held Eliot in the backyard.  I pointed to the sky.  "Star!"  "Ar?"  "Yes!  Star!"  Bats swooped east toward the James River, probably chasing insects.  I would point to them and say, "Look, look, look!  Bat!"  Eliot would point too and say, "Ooo!" and "At!"  I assured him that they would come back again--and they did.  I remember sitting in the backyard with Chris when we first moved into this house.  We would watch the bats.  They're such a wonder and seem so special.  I love sharing these little bits with my son.  As cliche as it sounds, we can't box up these days and special evenings, so I keep these photographs close to my heart.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teething and Bikes Rides

It has been a while....  Things have been busy even though I don't feel like I've accomplished much lately.  Eliot has been "off" for a week now--fussy, refusing to eat solids, and lots of diapers.  Everything is something to cry about.  That isn't like him at all.  No fever, though.  Since this had been going on for a week and the diapers were concerning me, we went ahead and took him to the doctor.  The diagnosis:  teething (molars) and a possible lingering tummyache.

So, Eliot is mostly on the BRAT diet:  bananas, rice, apples, and toast.  The doctor suggested cutting out milk, but Eliot was not a fan of rice milk, so we'll see what we can do.  His diaper issue is probably also related to teething.  The kid has eight teeth already, but has never reacted this way.  I must say that I'm a bit relieved that it isn't the "terrible twos" coming early.

Eliot acting so strangely has made everything a little more difficult, but we've tried to press on and have some fun anyway.

One of my favorite things in the world is a family bike ride on a nice day.  Unfortunately, our bike rack broke, but it was probably time.  It was my parents' bike rack from when I was a kid.  We took that thing all over Virginia for camping trips.  It was probably almost 15 years old, and served us well.  We had been wanting to get a sturdy rack that attaches to a hitch, so on Sunday, Elizabeth watched Eliot while Chris and I drove back and forth to U-haul to get a hitch installed on the Jeep.  We figured a hitch would be quite useful in other ways as well down road.  On Monday, our new rack came in the mail.  A bike ride at Blackwater Creek it was!

Part of me thought that maybe Eliot was extra fussy because he was bored.  Or if he were sick, maybe I could distract him by playing.  I tried taking him outside to play a lot, which helped sometimes.  Here he is with our next-door neighbor pig, Boone.  In the picture below that, we see how playing outside still doesn't quite make things better all of the time.

Other than that, we've been trying to clean, do yard work, pack, and get ready for our realtor meeting tomorrow!  Also, I spent a lot of the week planning out and documenting our dinners on my food blog.  Kind of silly, but it was something to look forward to every evening.

Friday, March 23, 2012


This probably won't even get posted.  Maybe.  But my mind wrestles so much back and forth that I think I need to write in order to understand what I'm even thinking.  Within a day--no, minutes--I go back and forth between when we should start trying for a second.  And Chris agrees with every argument I make either way, so it is hard to decide.

I want my babes to be close.  Call me crazy, but I always loved the idea of twins.  So, Chris and I always said our babes would be two to two and a half years apart, hoping more for two.  In January, right before Eliot turned one, we tried.  That would be one year and nine months apart.  It didn't happen.  With Eliot, it only took that one month, so we thought maybe the timing wasn't right.  We decided to wait.

Sometimes I think it'd be smart to wait a few more months.  Other times I think we should wait a year due to school (we're both working on our dissertations).  And other times I think that it could be difficult, but only difficult for a while and then our pace would be set for life (in a good way, I mean).

Sometimes I get really scared of the newborn stage.  Eliot is so mobile and independent and sleeps through the night.  Could I really start all over again?  Could I really go back to the time when a walk to the mail box was eventful (p.s. my mailbox is right outside the front door)?  Then I remember Eliot's newborn days--the days that everyone warned me would be a nightmare.  It was beautiful.  Peaceful.  Calm yet terrifying yet natural.  I remember Eliot being a few days old and saying that I wanted to always have a baby around and started dreaming of being one of those moms with five or six or seven hundred kids.  While I'd love that, I think we're going to stick with two.

While I actually really enjoyed being pregnant, some of the insurance issues and (let's be honest) morning sickness and pains worry me.  Am I really ready to be pregnant again?  Will I ever truly feel ready to be pregnant again?  Probably not.  With Eliot, we were scared to take the plunge into trying.  We had been planning to start trying far in advanced, but when it came down to it, it was frightening to say, "This is it.  This is the end of the two of us and the hopeful beginning of the three."  And that was the most amazing, best decision we have ever made.  I'm sure it won't be that different the second time around.

So maybe there isn't too much to be scared of?  I am hoping to be done with my dissertation in the winter.  I've kind of decided that it isn't a race and I can go with the flow with less stress if I'm not trying to meet impossible deadlines that I impose on myself.

I remember people saying, "If you wait until [you're ready] or [the timing is perfect], it will never happen."  I think there is something to that; I also think it is good to consider everything first.  I have felt conflicted for months (and months and months--maybe a year, even).  I could have sworn I was pregnant in January, but I wasn't.  I feel sad when I think of my possible due date or when we would have found out the gender or that I'd be coming close to the end of the first trimester already, but that is OK.  It wasn't the right time for whatever reason.  So, maybe we'll wait a few months or until fall or until next spring.  I don't know.  Sometimes I worry just a little that it won't work again too and that Eliot will be an only child.  If that is the case, that is fine too--Eliot is the most amazing little boy who fills my heart and life more than I ever dreamed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beneath Our Favorite Tree

Our lives have turned up-side-down (in a good way) beneath our favorite tree.

Two weeks before I got pregnant.
Two and a half months old.

Can you believe how big (and tall!) my boy has grown?  And I hate to embarrass Chris, but he has been working so hard to lose weight and you can really tell between the two photos--even though he was really sticking his stomach out in the 2011 picture.

I would say that Eliot seems to be almost completely better.  You know he isn't feeling well when he refuses to play basketball.  Yesterday, though, he was mostly back to his happy self.  We took advantage of our Y membership and headed to the pool--it is indoors and heated.  Eliot had not been in a pool or lake since last summer, so it was all new to him again.  And he was scared.  After about five minutes, he was splashing and pointing to the buoy that he called a "ball".  We need to get him pool-ready for the summer!

Today Chris did some yardwork.  And worked out.  And I played with the babe.  Then we headed to Target to get some shirts for me....  I am at a total loss in clothes world.  All of my clothes from last season are too big.  The ones from before I got pregnant are too small.  I swear they must have shrunk (or I have different standards as to what is too "tight" after wearing comfy, stretchy clothes while pregnant and afterward) because I weigh 10 pounds less than before I got pregnant.  I live in tank tops and tees, and some of those are badly stretched out from nursing.  Anyway, I always have such a hard time finding clothes that aren't too young yet not too old yet actually fit.  I think I have weird proportions or something--and perhaps a total lack of style.

We picked up a lawn mower for Eliot while at Target and he thinks it is the coolest thing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


While I don't know for certain what is bothering Eliot, I think that I can say his tummy is not too happy.  Without revealing too much information and grossing everyone out, I'll just say that he had either six or seven soiled diapers (I lost count) yesterday when he generally has one, maybe two.  The day before, he hadn't had any, so it is reasonable to think his fussiness has been mostly related to his stomach.  Poor guy.
We spent a lot of time doing this--walking up and down the street.
Eliot must be practicing for Halloween.  He kept wanting to go up to all of the neighbors' doors.

This week, I am tracking all of our dinners on my food blog, ktnoms.  All of the dinners are vegetarian.  We aren't "official" vegetarians, but we don't usually buy meat.  So, we pretty much only eat meat when we eat out (maybe once a week) or are guests at someone else's house.  To be honest, this "only meat out" policy is probably a pretty bad one since we can't control where that meat comes from, but it is rare and perhaps a "treat" of sort.  And refining one's diet is a continual process.  I know that one day we will probably need to become something close to vegans for health reasons.
Here was last night's dinner:  Southwestern stuffed spaghetti squash, a staple in our house.
I don't generally make a menu for the week.  Instead, we make meals from whatever we have and go to the grocery store every couple of days for whatever we have in mind.  However, on Monday, we went to the store to buy everything we'd need for the week and I think we'd save a lot if we stuck to our plans.  Less waste and all of that.  Not to mention, it will lead to less conversations like this, "What do you want for dinner?  I don't know....  I feel uninspired."

You know, that could be why Eliot's stomach is upset....  Over the weekend, his diet was a little different than he is used to since we were on the road.  It is difficult at best to eat well on the road.  We tried and even got sandwiches from Magnolia on the way out to avoid stopping for fast food, but it is hard to eat perfectly when traveling with a babe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Underneath that cherry blossom tree, oh yeah

Well, we made it back Sunday night!  Around 7:30 pm.  We left around 2:30 pm.  The drive is only three and a half to four hours....  We had to take a detour, missed an exit, and on and on.  It was so tiring, but Eliot was really good in the car.  Chris's mom was in town dropping his sister off at college, so she came over for a little bit.  Eliot was happy to see her and even cried on and on when she left.

Something is up with Eliot, though.  Either the car ride threw him off or he is teething or feeling sick because he has been so fussy and wants to be held all the time.  He doesn't want to eat much either.  He even took a two-hour nap, and he was a bit happier after the nap--until we went downstairs.  He doesn't seem warm, though, so I'm just hoping for a better day today.

The only time that he was happy was when we were playing outside.  I tried to take advantage of that....

Check out that hair in the back.  Totally a duck tail.
Our dogs are such barkers that they even bark at us.

When we got home Sunday, we saw that the cherry blossom tree had bloomed.  Finally.  All of the other trees around town boasted their flowers weeks ago.  And the tulips had popped up too.  We were certain that our tulips had been duds, but now we have some greenery poking up through the dirt.  I'm so relieved to have spring!

Our house looks great in the spring.  And in the snow.  Ah, it makes me not want to move.

We spent a bit of yesterday piecing the house back together from the trip when we could and also submitting final grades.  Today perhaps we will work on the yard.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


We have had an eventful weekend.  Chris signed up from the Shamrock 8k (which is a tad under five miles), so we headed to Chesapeake for the weekend.

I love watching Eliot as he grows socially and begins interacting with other kids.  On Friday, he and cousin Matthew played with trains some.  Matthew taught him how to put trains on the track, which was first because Eliot doesn't have any trains or tracks--I figured he was a little young.  But he got it!  Then we met up with Lesley at the park where Eliot played with Kingston and Weston.  Of course, more parallel play is to be expected at this age, but Eliot did have fun following the kids around (when he wasn't chasing after people's dogs) and banging sticks on trees and offering snacks to Weston.

This morning was an early one for the race.  We all got up at 5:30 am, and I was really nervous about how Eliot would handle the whole thing.  He usually gets up at 8:00 am.  And then the buckle on my parents' stroller broke.  Oh man!  I came well prepared with milk, juice, water, snacks, and a packet of baby food.  Eliot didn't want any of it.  And he didn't fuss either.  He just want along with everything like it was no big deal.  I was very proud of him and he didn't even get a nap until 9:30 am in the car followed by breakfast out and then a real nap around 11:00 am.

And of course I have to say how proud I am of Chris.  He came in at 38 minutes, which was a pace of 7:46 per mile!  He placed 516.  Out of 9,000.  Even better time than when he ran the VA four miler a year and a half ago!  I know I'd be one of those people shuffling in at the end.  Ten minute miles are good for me.  And I have never ran more than three miles.  Ha.

After the race, we all attempted to take a good, long nap, but only Eliot was successful.  Then he ran around in my parents' backyard with the ball.  Eliot's vocabulary really seems to be growing.  Before, he had mastered about six words that he would say frequently and then there were another five or so that he would say sometimes.  Now he is repeating words that we say without any coaching.  Sometimes he remembers the word later on and says it again; sometimes it seems to be filed away for later use (and perhaps needs more reinforcement), but he is definitely growing.
Tomorrow we are having a family breakfast and then it is back to Lynchburg.  And back to submitting final grades.  We don't have too much as far as "events" in the calendar now.  So much had been planned looking forward to the race!  I guess we'll have to find a way to get the calendar moving again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Appomattox Court House

It feels like it had bee a long while since we had an adventure.  Eliot turned fourteen months on the fourteenth, so we decided to make the day eventful with a trip to the Appomattox Court House.  We have been living within thirty minutes of ACH for seven years (it is between Farmville and Lynchburg), but have never gone.  Not once!  We wanted to take Eliot someplace with lots of space to run and it seemed like a good place.

It was.  Lots of running happened.

In fact, Eliot started running everywhere as soon as he got out of the Jeep.  He wanted to do his own thing so much that Chris had to carry him on his shoulders to get him any place else.

It was very hot for March, but I'm not complaining.

While the hat was too big, we couldn't help but try one on.

I thought that surely Eliot would be ready for a nap in the car or when we got home.  I was tired from all the heat myself!  I was wrong, though.  The boy still stayed up until 9:00 pm!  That babe has the heart of an explorer and the endurance to keep at it.  Not an hour goes by that I don't think my heart could explode of love, happiness, and pride.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dear Eliot: Fourteen Months

Dear Eliot,

Today you are fourteen months old! This second year with you seems to be going by even more quickly than the first. I try to hold on to every day, phase, and moment with you. It is easy to become lost in our day-to-day routines; I forget where we are in the month and week sometime, but I love all of our time together.

This month, you experienced some extremes in weather. You had your first real snow and then we enjoyed some beautiful spring temperatures. This winter has been so mild that I thought we might make it through without a snow, but I was hoping that maybe you could have just one good snow. Well, it happened! I read some places that we got up to eight inches, but it seemed more like four to six. Something like that. You didn't like the cold snow at first until we made snowballs for you. Then you thought it was awesome and also liked helping your dad with the snow shovel.

Just a few days later, the weather turned warm again and we have continued to enjoy our tri-weekly bike rides, walks, and almost daily trips to the park. You are so funny at the park. You just want to gather sticks, run around, and watch people play basketball. One day at the park, you sadly lost one of your shoes. I don't mean that it simply fell off and we couldn't find it, but you kicked it off of a bridge and into the creek! We tried to get it, but it floated away. It was your first pair of good sneakers and your first Chucks. At least we still have the other one and a new pair is coming in the mail.

You are definitely an expert walker (and runner) now. You don't even do "T-Rex" arms anymore--you completely have your balance. You do fancy foot work too, such as walking backwards and you think it is funny to walk on your tippy toes and heels.  You've also started to climb things more too. You climb up on the chair, on the couch, and on your toys. Fortunately, you know how to get down too. You can even get off of our bed without any help (but I always watch you). I can't believe how strong  you are.  You move the rabbit's cage just for fun.  Your dad has some weights out that he uses and you can lift the five pound weight.  That always worries me a bit.

Your vocabulary is slowly growing as well.  You say mom, dad, dog, good dog, cat, kitty, duck, ball, that, and baba.  The cutest of all, though, is that you say "aw" while petting the animals.  You are such a big animal-lover!  About a week ago, we went to a store with stuffed animals by the cash register.  I told you that I'd buy you one if you could correctly identify an animal.  You pointed to a big, yellow duck, saying, "Duck!  Duck!"  You hadn't really said duck before (just "quack, quack"), so I was very surprised.  Needless to say, you got the duck.

Cognitively, you are developing too.  You love to play with and organize shapes.  You like to pull all of your blocks out and clean them up again.  You place circle and square blocks into their correct holes.  Sometimes I show you a few blocks with pictures of animals on them and ask you where a certain animal is.  We have been going over elephant, dog, cat, and cow.  Most of the time, you get it right and choose the right block.  We are working on your creative side as well.  You love to color with crayons and when we hold you up to write with chalk on the kitchen chalk board.  This summer, I am sure you will be coloring the sidewalks with chalk.  I love watching you explore and create.

It is also interesting to see you make connections.  You generally make the right animal noises for many of your toys, including dinosaurs, monkeys, cows, ducks, lions, tigers, and sheep--and I'm sure there is more that I am forgetting.  Also, you understand what things are "used" for.  You take our keys to the front door and reach for the door knob with them.  You point the remote control at the TV.  You try to "fix" things with your screw driver.  When your dad lifts weights, you mimic him with the same motion with your toys.  You pretend to talk on the phone.  You think putting lids on containers is the funniest thing ever.  You are absolutely adamant about your right to use the swiffer to sweep the floor and also wipe the floor with paper towels.  The list goes on and on, but I can tell that you get things.  You understand more than I realize so I keep trying to work with you on things even when I don't think I'm making progress or you're too young.  You surprise me every day.

And, of course, your favorite thing in the world is still balls.

Eliot, you have been with us for a year and two months.  Even now, your dad and I find ourselves gushing, "He is so precious."  We hold ourselves back from poking and kissing you in your sleep.  When you were born, your dad said that he was afraid he would grind his teeth down because he grits them when he sees something cute.  He still grits his teeth out of love, Baby.  You are the most amazing blessing our life.  We are crazy about you.  Maybe that is why we still have you sleep in our bed.