Sunday, September 30, 2012

This Week in Photos

The past week has been a busy one with lots of grading and dissertation work to do, but I've tried not to get bogged down.  In times like these, I sometimes go into hiding.  I try to work constantly (which is impossible with a little one), so we end up hanging around the house and getting frustrated with one another ("Why won't you let me work so we can have fun later?"  "Why won't you play with me?  I will now close your laptop.").  So, instead, I'm trying to get the babe out of the house for fun opposed to holing myself up.  When we can't go off to do something fun, I just take the boy in the backyard; then we all feel much better.
Staring at birds in this last one.  :)
As usual, we went to our playgroup on Wednesday.  We met at a park this time, and Eliot had fun running around with his older friend, Asher.  Then when Asher left, Eliot kept running all over the place.  By himself.  Like, clear on the other end of the park to collect walnuts without me.  It worried me a little, but I wasn't going to chase him everywhere.  He is growing more and more independent, which is great--and difficult.

Thursday was Christopher's birthday!  He turned 27.  Another step to thirty is always a little overwhelming, but I tried to remind him of all of the things we have in the past that we don't have to go through again.  Like undergrad.  It was good back then, but I wouldn't want to have to go through four years (or three) of schooling again with so much more schooling ahead.  And Spanish.  I'm glad Spanish is over.  Yes, the language no longer exists for me--expect for when Chris asks me random words.  "What does 'fuego' mean again?"  Fire.  It means fire.  "Oh yeah."  For his birthday, we mostly relaxed (or I relaxed while he went to the gym), went to the J. Crew outlet (didn't buy anything...), and had a big, meaty feast of ribs for dinner (we generally just get meat for holidays and the man wanted ribs, so he got them--grass-fed, free-range, humane, yadda yadda).  That night, we enjoyed a bonfire in the backyard.

On Friday morning, I took Eliot to the library for story time for the first time.  I kind of felt like I was suddenly in a kids' show at first and I think Eliot sensed my discomfort, but I let go and he did too.  We sang the silly songs, he shook an egg shaker, and we were all happy.  I think I'll start trying to go most Fridays.  I might make it our library day.  Maybe afterward we'll check out books and play on the computers.  Later, we went to Party City to pick out his Halloween costume, but instead ended up buying him a small football for a dollar and a bunch of basketball napkins for Chris (don't ask).  Eliot is still costume-less, and I just don't know what to do.  Ah.

I had a lot of work on my brain on Saturday, but Chris really wanted to take Eliot to a soccer game on campus.  I could have stayed at home, yet I tagged along away to be a good sport.  First, we walked around the stadium since Eliot started yelling, "FOOTBALL!" as soon as it was in sight.  On to the soccer game, Eliot watched from the side and kicked the ball some.  The boy really loves sports.  I didn't want to be the kind of parent that pushes gender roles (especially sports); this is him, though.  He gets so excited completely on his own.

So, that has been our week.  We're meeting Chris's parents in Charlottesville today for lunch.  Then it is more typing for me, which I really oddly enjoy.  A lot.  Every day, I thank God for my place in work and school.  I feel like it is a perfect fit for me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Not your timing. Not your planning. But Mine."

I'm a planner.  I'm a list maker.  I'm a goal setter--I set deadlines for things that I don't need to and too aggressive of goals at that.  I have been getting better, though, at not fretting when life doesn't measure up to my unrealistic expectations.  That is what motherhood does to you, I guess (not that being a mother is continually a "let down," but instead that there are more people involved and more parts of life that you don't have control over.  and naps.  yes, more naps).

So when I didn't understand why my hopes for growing our family have been taking much longer than I expected and I waded through feelings of inadequacy due to our loss four months ago, I had to quiet myself.  I had to quiet my goals for things I can't control.  I had to stop blaming myself.  I had to sit and listen for that still, quiet assurance.  And I listened quietly as I drove down the busy road.

Not your timing.  Not your planning.  But Mine.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trying to Conceive After a Miscarriage

I probably shouldn't write this entry.  It feels too personal.

I didn't even realize it would happen, but I have fallen into a new discussion board category.  TTC after MC.  Before we started trying with Eliot, I had no clue about the weird world of odd abbreviations, like bd, 2ww, dh, and cm.  I remember trying to figure it all out from context (made no sense at all) until I found a list defining the terms.  I feel a conference paper coming on....

Well, I didn't have to wade through discussion boards long.  We got pregnant right away.  I would occasionally jump online to see if my pains were typical or cause for alarm.  Usually, the answer was "It's probably nothing, but GO TO THE ER RIGHT NOW ANYWAY!"  And I never went to the ER.  And it was always nothing.

Then when we tried for our second and it was taking longer, I was just a little concerned.  Just a little.  And then I got pregnant.  In this picture below, I was four weeks pregnant.  Eliot was cranky, tired, hungry, and trying to go swimming in the pond (not happening); however, I was over the moon happy and proud and keeping a secret.  I couldn't wait to tell everyone, but we decided to wait until after our 10-week ultrasound.  Baby didn't make it that long.  We lost the baby the next week.

Know what's funny?  Eliot and I both wearing those same shirts today.

Although we decided to take two "normal" cycles off of trying in order to heal up, I still kept getting my hopes up.  Maybe I was wrong; maybe I didn't miscarry.  Maybe I'm still pregnant somehow.  But then I saw that this wasn't the case.  My hope was crushed with new finality.  Chris didn't understand why I was so sad about this.  (Some women complain that their husbands don't seem to understand or sympathize during the process of a miscarriage, but discussing our feelings has never been an issue with us; Chris always wants to hear what I feeling and relates very well.  The miscarriage hit him hard too).  He did mourn the loss of our baby, but he saw my cycles returning to normal as a sign that we could move on and try again.  I saw it as affirmation that it was really over, something I should have already accepted.

Each month, I get my hopes up.  And each month, I have been let down.  I'm worrying that something isn't quite right.  So, to the TTC after MC boards I went.  I haven't found anything to be alarmed about personally, yet I just don't understand why it has been so much more difficult this time.  I know we're always changing.  You're never the same all the way after a pregnancy.  Maybe this is just how I am now.

Chris assures me that we are fine.  He says these things take a while.  It hasn't been that long, really.  And we did manage to get pregnant with a second--we just happened to lose it, which occurs a lot more than people realize.  This is all true.  At the same time, though, it makes me so worried that we will lose another one.  With Eliot and our second baby, I started writing letters right away.  I still have those letters in our second baby's special notebook.  I don't know what to do with them.  Do I rip them out and keep that notebook for our next baby?  Should I bury those pages?  Should I buy a new book?

It has been almost four months since we lost the baby.  I think about how we'd know the gender by now and that I'd only have about four months left.  I shouldn't have done it, but the other day I opened the package that held Eliot's "I'm going to be a big brother" tee-shirt in it.  I had never looked at it because we had lost the baby by the time the shirt came in the mail.  It was really cute.  It is size 18 months.  Will we be able to use it before he gets too big for it?  I wonder if the Etsy seller would let us exchange it....

It seems like everyone around me is getting pregnant without any problems.  So many people have babies without even trying.  When I learn that someone is pregnant, though, I do not feel jealous or angry or spiteful or anything negative.  Not at all.  I feel so overjoyed for them and excited.  I thank God for every baby I learn about.  I appreciate others' blessings more--and I am reminded of how huge of a blessing Eliot is.  I know this whole process would be immensely more difficult without Eliot.  Later, I do let out a little sigh that I cannot join in celebration with our own on the way.  But, maybe that is yet to come.  Maybe next month.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Leui of Dinosaurs

Eliot loves dinosaurs lately.  I do too!  I was so excited to take him to Escape from Dinosaur Kingdom in Natural Bridge, but then Chris learned that it caught on fire last April.  Arg.  We need to find the boy some dinosaurs soon.  Chris found this place called Dinosaur World, but it is three hours away--not exactly a day trip with a little one.

Instead we've been enjoying little trips around Lynchburg, like

running at the track
Eliot loves for us to count down, "Runners on your mark.  Get set.  Go!"  He shouts, "GO!" and takes off.  Chris is planning to enter him in another little kids' fun race, but this time, I don't think he'll need an adult to run with him....

cupcakes downtown
We rarely do sweets in this house.  I don't really buy or bake cookies--even though I'd like to--so a trip downtown to get a cupcake is a big deal for us.  I hadn't been there since I ordered Eliot's birthday cupcakes last December.  What a difference!  At his party, Eliot mostly dissected his cupcake; he didn't eat it.  This time, though, he carefully ate the frosting with a fork and then took bites of the rest.

football games
Chris ever-so-kindly took Eliot to the football game alone this past weekend so I could get some dissertation work done.  I felt bad that I didn't go with them (I did go last time...), but they had a blast just the two of them.

bubbles in the yard
There are simple, fun things that I just don't think of sometimes, like bubbles.  Chris's parents bought Eliot a "bubble wand," and he loved chasing the bubbles all around the yard.  Our little dog, Dexter, did too.  Gotta get that kid some more bubbles....

collecting leaves on fall walks
Some of the trees are really changing in Lynchburg....  I don't like it.  I know what happens next (winter) and I want endless summer.  However, it has been nice to step outside and not feel like death's hot breath is upon me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Style Attempts: What to do with Fine, Straight Hair

I haven't gotten my hair cut in a year almost to the day.  I always go back and forth as to whether I should cut it short or not; however, I never do because short hair makes me look younger.

This seems silly to go on and on about, but my hair is thin, straight (though slightly wavy in the back), and difficult to get to to anything.  Before Eliot came around, I would spend at least 20 minutes a day curling it.  If I really tried, I probably could do that still, but the curls don't really stick anyway.

Here are a few no-time remedies that I have discovered for people with fine, straight hair who still want to look a like they haven't given up on life (which I do if I don't do anything to my hair).

Simple Gibson Tuck.  This twisted bun is quick and easy.  If I can do it, anyone can.  It just requires a hair tie and a few pins.  I'm really bad at pinning my hair, so sometimes I have to re-do it in the middle of the day, but I can do it without a mirror in just about 30 seconds.  Here is a tutorial.  And here is a similar one that is a little more "advanced," I guess, that I have tried a couple of times (sorry no photo!).

Simple braid.  Most days, I end up doing a simple, loose braid and resting it over my shoulder.  I think it looks a lot better than throwing it in a pony tail and takes just a moment.

Spray-in waves.  I recently bought some spray-in waves for $5 by Garnier Fructis.  Just spray in and scrunch!  It's not the curliest ever, but it does provide some extra thickness and waves.

Hair pretzel.  I posted this a while ago, but here is another simple up-do.

No-heat curls.  Of course, don't forget about no-heat curls!  I don't usually do this because I rarely shower in the evening with enough time for my hair to dry at night before bed.  p.s. Can you believe how bald Eliot was?  Man!

I'm always looking for new ideas!  I do need to at least trim my hair up and also cut my bangs--they are hardly bangs anymore.

Do you have any quick remedies for boring hair?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ten Nights of the Mattress on the Floor: The Transition Away From Co-sleeping

I have written before about why we decided to co-sleep and also our sleep battles in attempts to transition Eliot out of our bed.

This is going to be very long and boring if you aren't interested in transitioning away from co-sleeping.  However, I have found many posts on other parents' and toddlers' transition to be helpful, encouraging, and insight.  So, here is our case study of sorts.

Eliot has always seemed like an easy baby to me, but sleep has been our biggest challenge.

To be honest, Chris, Eliot, and I all enjoyed sleeping in the same bed together.  When I would try to transition Eliot to his own bed, it was mostly because I felt pressure from other people and like people thought I was weird.  There are a lot of benefits to co-sleeping, and having Eliot so close helped when we were nursing and then later for both bonding and a sense of security--I was less worried about him in the middle of the night because he was right there.

I love love love having him with us, but I'd be lying if I said we weren't beginning to feel crowded in our queen-sized bed with him, two dogs, and occasionally a cat. Eliot, like most toddlers, is getting to the point that he tosses and turns throughout the night.  His kicks are strong!  Also, despite my instincts to smother him with nurturing love, I need to also encourage independence when he is ready.

I had planned to see if Eliot was ready to transition out of our bed at a year and a half.  Why a year and a half?  Simple.  He hated his crib, but was OK with his toddler bed (if he wasn't alone in it...), so I thought I'd wait until he was fully old enough for a toddler bed. Without going into too many details, I had tried transitioning Eliot into his bed in his own room numerous times without even a glimpse of success.  I knew we'd have to try something different.

This is what we did instead....  I came up with this idea that I would find a cheap, car toddler bed for our bedroom.  Eliot LOVES cars.  Surely, he would take to a car bed right away.  However, after a quick search online, I learned that car beds aren't just $40 or so like I thought.  Chris said it sounded like a good idea, but why not just put Eliot's crib (which is converted into a toddler bed now) in our room and see how that goes?  Easy enough.  Except for that his bed wouldn't fit through our doorway without taking it apart.  Instead, we just put the mattress in our room next to our bed and put mats and pillows around it in case he rolled off.

Before you worry about Eliot getting up in the middle of the night and hurting himself, our room is very safe for him.  The worst he could do is open some dresser drawers and pull our clothes out.  Also, I am a terribly light sleeper.  I knew I'd wake up before he got into trouble.

Night one.  I played with Eliot on the mattress some before bed.  He put his head down and we pretended to sleep.  I told him it was his "big boy bed".  At bedtime, I got him to sleep in our bed because I had some work to get done.  I wasn't sure how much of a fight this process would be, so I needed to finish my work first.  Around 11:30 pm, I gently placed him on his toddler mattress.  He didn't even wake up.  Usually, he'd always wake up when I tried putting him in his toddler bed.  He woke up at 1:30 am and stood at the end of the mattress.  He looked confused.  I picked him up, put him back down, and he fell asleep immediately.  He did the same thing at 4:43 am, but I figured he had done an amazing job so far and just brought him in bed with us.  Plus, I missed the little guy. 

Night two.  This time, I lay with Eliot on his mattress at bedtime.  He tried to get into our bed, but I held him close until he fell asleep, which took about fifteen minutes of cuddling.  Generally, he sleeps with his arms wrapped around my arm and I had noticed him reaching for something to hold the night before, so I put a sock monkey in his arms before I snuck out of his hold and got into my bed.  He got up at 2:09 am, but I was able to get him right back down again.  Early in the morning, he got up again.  This time, he didn't go down as easy, so I tried laying with him.  When I got back in my bed, he pointed to our bed and cried.  I was too tired to fight, honestly, so I brought him back into our bed.

Night three.  At this point, I was feeling so optimistic and pumped, but night three threw us a curve ball.  We had gone to a football game and Eliot fell asleep in the car.  I managed to get him inside and lay him on the couch.  He went right back to sleep.  I left him on the couch until 10:00 pm and took him upstairs to his bed.  He woke up, but I got him back to sleep.  Around 1:00 am, he got up (like usual).  This time, though, I couldn't get him back to sleep in his bed.  He was really upset, kept pointing to our bed, and tried to run out of our bedroom.  So, we just let him in our bed since it had been an unusual evening.  I had been feeling confident, like we had won, but, you know, I figured that this is a transition, so there was bound to be setbacks along the way.

Night four.  This night, I let Eliot fall asleep in our bed.  I did work until around 11:00 pm before moving him to his bed.  Eliot immediately woke up and would not stay asleep on his mattress.  I tried laying with him and getting up when I thought he was asleep (he jumped up right away); I tried sitting next to him and comforting him by rubbing his back (he jumped up as soon as I stopped).  I was going to keep fighting, but Chris told me to just bring him to bed.  I had stayed up decently late working and really should rest.  I was so frustrated.  It's like we were moving backwards!

Night five.  Chris had this idea that we should sleep downstairs on the sofabed and watch TV late.  Surely, Eliot would just fall asleep.  It didn't work that way.  Eliot kept crawling down to talk to our rabbit and chase the cat.  So, around 10:00 pm, we all went upstairs to bed.  Eliot fell asleep right away.  I moved him to his bed, and he slept just fine.  Around 2:11 am, Eliot woke up.  I put him back down.  He got back up.  I lay with him for 20 minutes; I thought he was asleep, but he jumped back up.  I tried one more time.  This time, he got up and lay his head on our mattress.  I was certain that he was going to fall asleep standing up.  Maybe I should have left him there, but I was too tired to deal with it.  I brought him in bed around 3:30 am.

Night six.  We stayed up late watching a movie, so Eliot fell asleep almost immediately about 10:00 pm.  Shortly after, I put him in his bed.  At the same time, Chris opened our bedroom door with the hall light on (!!!).  Eliot stirred some, muttered a baby version of "Whatever," and went back to sleep.  Phew.  He woke up in the early morning; I put him back down; he got back up; I let him come in bed.

Night seven.  Same as the other nights, Eliot fell asleep in our bed.  I put him in his bed....  He slept until the early hours of the morning and got in our bed.

Night eight.  Eliot fell asleep in our bed, was transitioned over, and slept until the early morning. 

Night nine.  I had a really horrible migraine, so I didn't bother trying to put Eliot in his bed.  I just wanted to sleep off the headache.  He seemed extra restless this night.  He has been getting his canines in, but I noticed the next day that another set of molars might be popping in too.
Our cat is not happy about the transition.  She has always been under the impression that the crib was HER bed.  Now she sleeps on a bath mat in the bathroom and steals his mattress for her many cat naps.
 Night ten.  Eliot fell asleep right away.  He had been teething really bad, so I gave him some Tylenol before bed.  I put him in his bed around 11:00 pm.  This time, he woke up some in the transition, so I lay with him for about ten minutes.  He slept until 4:00 am, which is the latest he has stayed in his bed without me putting him back down.  I did notice that he tossed and turned a bit, so I think (and hope) that he woke up a little and was able to get himself back to sleep.

In summary, at this point, Eliot falls asleep either in our bed or with me laying with him on the mattress.  He generally sleeps until the early hours of the morning.  I have decided to try putting him back down once, but I can't spend all night fighting it; I was growing too exhausted.  So, I try once and if he gets up again, he is allowed in our bed.

I'm hoping that eventually Eliot will sleep the whole night through without me needing to put him back down or pull him in our bed; however, if that doesn't happen for six months or longer, I am totally fine with that.  I remember climbing in my parents' bed frequently in the middle of the night.  They finally told me that I needed to start staying in my own bed when I was about seven.  This is a process.  I feel good about how we are doing this.  Whenever I let him cry, I just felt horrible about myself and we never got anywhere.  It works for some people (which is great and I totally respect people's decision to use that approach), but it's not for us at this point.

Part of the deal was to see how Eliot did for a week.  Then we'd get him a car bed.  While he has earned it, I'm not sure that a car bed would make much of a difference; he is doing fine how he is.  However, he does need a quilt or comforter.  I never bought him one for his crib (just a few baby blankets) because he never needed one! 

I know what it is like to be afraid in the night.  I remember being in my bed when I was six and wanting to scream for my mom, but I was afraid if I called "mommy" that mummies would think I was saying "mummy," and they'd come get me.  I was always scared when alone at night growing up, even in high school.  Heck, when I came home from college, I would try to go to sleep as fast as I could because I felt someone staring at me.  I know this all sounds silly, but I hope that I can help Eliot feel supported (not coddled) so that he will confidently take steps toward independence.

Honestly, I sleep better with him in our bed than with him on the floor.  I spend a lot of time leaning over and watching him in the dark.  I do miss him, so maybe I am weaning myself too.  This is such a big step for us that I am completely happy where we are for now.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dear Eliot: 20 Months

Dear Eliot,

As we are entering fall, it amazes me to look back on who you were at the beginning of the summer to the boy you have grown into now.  The past few months went by so fast, yet here you are, so different and looking like a boy.  Maybe it's the hair.

You are so, so smart.  You are talking all the time.  You are brave.  You are social.  You are observant.

Your little baby mind blows me away.  This month, you have grown to be more interested in patterns.  When playing with cars, you organize them side-by-side with alternating colors--purple, blue, purple, blue.  You remember things that I don't even think of.  One time, we went to see your great-grandma (Mewmaw).  In the sun room, you found a train puzzle, but we wouldn't let you play with it.  A few weeks later, we went back.  You kept insisting, "Choo choo!  Choo choo!"  Then I remembered the puzzle--after all that time, you still wanted to play with it.

You are incredibly observant and see things far away that I don't notice.  There are times when we are outside and you see a bird far away.  You point and say, "Bird."  One time we were in a restaurant and there was a picture of a cat on the other side of the room.  You pointed it out and said, "Cat."  You are always looking for things you recognize and telling us about them.

You are trying to form sentences so hard, but it all comes out as jibber jabber.  You'll get there eventually!  However, you seem to pick up a least one new word every day.  I love hearing you talking and trying to sing and communicating what you want.  One of the funniest games we play with words is waiting to hear what you say when you first wake up.  Sometimes it is car, other times is cat, occasionally it is ball, and then other times you growl while pointing to your dad's iPad (you want to play Jurassic Park).  I like to think that you are telling me what you were dreaming of.

Lately, you like mimicking sounds animals make.  If the cat meows, you do too.  If the dogs bark at the door, you run and "ruff" along with them.  And, funniest of all, when you see a baby, you say "baby" and make a fake baby crying sound--and then you laugh about it.

This age has gotten a bit easier because you seem to understand almost everything I say.  I can ask you to get things for me and you do.  I ask if you want food, and you reply "Food!" excitedly.  You do cool tricks too, like making the right sound when I ask what noises animals make.  Sometimes, though, you understand, but do not want to do what I ask.  Whenever you are in the bath and I ask if you are ready to get out, you shake your head and do a belly flop (dangerous!), like you are trying to make it extra hard to get out.  It works, too.

We have slowly been working on transitioning you to your own bed.  I have to say, I think I will miss you in bed more than you will miss me.  When we go to sleep together, you rub my arm and hum like you are singing me a lullaby.  It is so sweet.  I actually sleep worse when you are in your own bed--which is just your crib mattress on the floor next to our bed.  I watch you all night from above.

You have been interested in playing with and alongside friends for a while, but now you almost demand to be played with most of the time.  Before, I could set up your train and walk away.  Now, you pull me by my hand and have me help you play.

I love watching you get excited about things.  Your favorite movie is still Cars, and every morning, you still bring me the tv remote, demanding, "CAR!"  One time, we accidentally left a NASCAR race on tv for just a moment.  You freaked out and had to watch it.  So, we put it back on.  The announcer mentioned that it was one of the driver's last race.  Your jaw dropped and your paci fell out like you just couldn't believe it.  I know you didn't do it on purpose, but it was really, really funny.

This affection for cars, though, has not diminished your love for sports.  You hit the ball off of its tee in the backyard so perfectly.  You kick the soccer ball better than me.  You instruct someone to hold the football for you on the ground so you can kick it.  You even have us drop the football for you to punt it--and you hit it most of the time!  You like hunching down for someone to count down, "On your mark.  Get set.  GO!"  You yell, "Go!" and take off running.  You're really, really good at sports!

The other day, we went to Johnson's Farm in Bedford for apples and to see the animals.  We go there every September, and we have been taking photos of you beside a height-measuring board.  As we compared photos from this year to last (and the one before when I was pregnant with you), we were so amazed by how much you have grown!  We're so proud of you!

When I look at you in your autumn clothes, I let out a little sigh because you look so grown.  You're so handsome and adorable, like a little boy, not a baby.  You're so much fun at this age.  I look forward to you continuing to grown, but at the same time I wish we could just stay where we are.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On the Farm

Every September, we go to Johnson's Farm for apples and quality time with goats.  Also every year, we come away scheming with ways to acquire a farm.

I know it sounds silly, but I love goats.  And chickens.  And the idea of having a huge garden.  It all reminds me of growing up and playing at my grandpa's farm in Virginia Beach.  Walking with the goats.  Collect the hens' eggs.  Clipping the geese's wings--and trying to steal their goslings.  Feeding the sheep.  Begging my dad to push me hard on the tire swing just one more time. 

For years, I have dreamed of starting a rabbit sanctuary where we would adopt bunnies from the humane societies (they are one of the least-adopted pets).  I'd give them a home and love on the farm and then adopt them out to well-informed rabbit lovers--people that want more than an "Easter bunny" for a couple of months.
We'd plant peach trees and sunflowers.  We'd have an area for bonfires.  We'd camp out in our tent at the back of the field.

And maybe when Eliot grew older and could help out more, we'd get a couple of horses.

I always leave Johnson's Farm wanting these things.  I often would come home and look up land and farms for sale in the area.  Now that my grandma has moved to an assisted living community, her house is open.  She lives on seven and a half acres--the farm that I think back to from when I was young.  We could buy it if we wanted to, and Memaw so desperately wants her home and land to stay in the family.

When I was about seven, I peeked through a peep hole in the barn to watch a baby goat being born.  I'll never forget that sight--no one else was around, just me, momma goat, and her two new babies, slick from the womb and panting.

The reality is, though, that a farm is a lot of work.  I think I'd love it, but I don't know if I have the energy to devote to keeping up a fence, seven acres, and looking after animals.  And I am so terrible at getting anything to grow.  The truth is that the house is smaller than our's right now; we'd need to at least add on an addition and the whole place needs renovating and cleaning.  Not to mention that the schools are not so good.  Private school is expensive and I don't know if I am well-equipped for homeschooling.  It is located on a curvy, busy road and the house is not set far back from the traffic.  Many, many times, people have driven through my grandma's yard on accident.  One time, a drunk driver hit her car, which then ran into the house.  The road is not safe, and there is some talk of the city eventually widening it.  There are so many obstacles.  I don't think it'll happen, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming from time to time.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Eliot had three baths yesterday.  I like to keep things clean and orderly, but with a toddler running around (and I am trying not to blame it on him being a boy), I have slowly learned to let go.  There will be times that I watch dirty feet creating tracks across my hardwood floors, but messes can be cleaned up. 

After breakfast, I sent Eliot outside to play.  He had way too much energy.  After an hour of baseball, he was full of dirt and sweat, so I gave him a bath.

Eliot loves playing in the bath.  The only thing that could get him out was a promise that he could brush his teeth.

After lunch, he surprisingly wasn't messy.  We had veggie pigs-in-a-blanket, grapes, cashews, and some chips, so I guess it was a rather clean meal.  However, he had a particularly messy diaper, so after I cleaned him up, he had another bath.

After a nap, Eliot was full of energy again, but it was raining.  I grabbed an umbrella, put him in his swim trunks, and we splashed in mud puddles.  Then Chris gave him a mini-bath in the kitchen sink.

In the evening, we headed out to campus for Eliot's first football game.  He did really well for a while, and I think he enjoyed having concession stand food.  In fact, he liked it so much that he spit his drink out all over himself and me.  Sigh.  This was not even worth giving him a bath when we got home, but, you know, it is all part of the game.

I don't know if boys are really that much more messy than girls.  I think toddlers are just explorers in general.  I try to get over it, though, and look for fun instead of ways to avoid messes.  I hope that as Eliot grows older, he'll say that a little rain never got in our way of a good time; instead, we just went out to splash in it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Last Beach Trip

I haven't written in a long, long time (for me, at least).  Part of that is because I always want to have the right photos accompanying my entries.  And then sometimes I think of writing, but don't; then I'm glad that I haven't written because whatever I wanted to say is off-topic.


We recently returned from our last beach trip of the season.  We went back to Chesapeake a lot more than we ever have--and more than we meant to.  First it was just a visit.  Then on the way to Myrtle Beach.  And then we were summer storm refugees!  And then we went back for a race.  And then another race.  I feel like we've been on the road all summer!

I am so much more social in Chesapeake than Lynchburg....  I got to hang out with Kimmy a few times (and watch Star Wars).  Chris went with Josh (Kimmy's husband) to an ODU football game.  And then Josh held Eliot up-side-down a lot.

This trip, though, was Christopher's big half marathon.  He has been training so hard and battling shin splints for years.  I told him that I didn't want him to do the half marathon.  I thought he'd hurt himself.  And I didn't want him to NOT be able to do the mileage and get discouraged.  However, about a week and a half before the race, he got fitted for the right shoe.  He has been going in to get fitted for shoes at running stores for years, but this time someone really, really took the time to talk to him, watch him run, get second and third opinions.  Chris walked away with a shoe type he never had tried before.  And his shins have been hurting less and less!

The day of the big race came.  We got up at 5:00 am.  My mom got in bed with Eliot and watched him for us while we were gone.  I dropped Chris off and parked the car.  And walked about two miles to the starting line.  I found Chris!

I think he was nervous, so I think me being there helped out some too.  Then he ran!  And I walked to the finish line (another mile and a half).  While I waited the two hours it would take for him to finish, I took pictures of seagulls and sat on the beach.  Finally, I knew he was getting close.  Everyone had been edging me out of view, so I stood on a handicap ramp to peek through the gaps between people's legs.  I saw him run by!  He finished the 13.1 mile run in two hours and nine minutes.  He placed 2,444 out of over 10,000 people.  That is crazyyyy.  I was so proud of him! We somehow found each other and walked back 12 blocks to the car.  As I drove us back to my parents' house, there were still lots of people running the race.  I know I would have still been out there--if I hadn't quit already.

On Monday, I had a meeting and we had lots of work to do, but we were able to meet Lesley at the beach on Tuesday afternoon for about an hour.  The waves were nuts and the red flags were out, so we didn't really swim.  Eliot and Weston still had fun playing in the sand, sharing crackers, running on the shore, and kicking in the water.
It is hard to believe that Eliot is the same little boy from May--the one that cried at the sight of the waves.

So, now we are back.  I'm trying to soak up as much warmth and summer fun as I can.  I know our lake days are numbered.  I'm looking forward to settling in for fall and not driving all over the universe.  However, I am not looking forward to what happens after the leaves fall:  winter.  Why can't the seasons be summer, fall, summer, spring, and then more summer? Maybe this year we will take advantage of the indoor pool at the Y more.