Leveled. And back up again.

04/29/2012 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Motherhood | 8 Comments
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So. I learned something new this weekend.

Adults *can* get hand, foot and mouth virus.

And it is horrible.

Take first-trimester nausea and multiply it by at least 10, then add flu-like body aches, dizziness, headache, fever, chills and a throat so raw it feels like it’s lined with razor blades. And voila! HFM, grown-up style.

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised to pick it up, but I was. After all, I’d remained healthy all winter while Sophie and Lily brought home illness after illness. We’ve seen most everything. Ear infections, RSV, norovirus. I figured I’d acquired some sort of mighty mom immunity.

Not so much.

The good news is that it the worst of it was over in about 24 hours. The better news is that my parents live around the corner and lovingly took us in on Friday. Marc had left at the crack of dawn for a fishing trip that had been in the books for months. My throat was a little scratchy and I felt warm, but I didn’t see any reason to keep him home. Within an hour of him leaving, I could barely stand up. It was all I could do to change Sophie’s diaper, feed the girls breakfast and stagger to the DVD player to turn on Dumbo.

Enter Mom and Dad. We had already planned to gather that day because my Nana was visiting. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drive the half-mile to their house. But I got us there. Lily scrambled upstairs to play, my Mom took Sophie and I passed out on the guest bed.

After a couple of hours of sleep and a bit of applesauce I felt better and was able to catch up with Nana while the girls played and napped.

Sophie had made a complete recovery after four staggering days of illness, but Lily started to become uncharacteristically lethargic between her typically charged spurts of activity at Nonna and Papa’s house. She also didn’t eat much that day.

And as the afternoon wore on, my symptoms flared back up. I couldn’t stand without briefly blacking out and I thought I would vomit at any given moment. My body ached like I’d been running a treadmill for hours.

At the end of the day I kept telling myself, just get the girls fed and into bed and you’re home free. You can do this.

And I did.

By the grace of God. I really believe this. Because there is no other explanation for the fact that my symptoms eased up just in time for Lily’s first cry of the night. I sprang from bed to get her, and I didn’t fall over.

I gave her some medicine and cold water and tucked her feverish little body in beside mine. And we slept off and on until Sophie woke us the next morning.

Mom and Dad took Sophie on Saturday, and I doted on Lily all day while we recovered together.

Here is one of the brighter moments of the weekend:

I’m happy (and RELIEVED) to report that everyone seems to be feeling better today. Lily’s fever is gone, and she’s regained her appetite. Sophie is up to her old tricks. And my only complaints are exhaustion and a sore throat.

So we went on a breakfast date, played at the park and took naps.

It’s experiences like these that remind me I really am a mother. And that — maybe — I might just be cut out for this job.


Hand and foot and mouth, oh my.

04/25/2012 at 11:11 am | Posted in baby sunshine | 10 Comments
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Poor Sophie. Little Miss has had a rough couple of days.

It all started with that tell-tell cry Tuesday night. The one that means something isn’t right.

Marc had just finished putting Sophie to bed and I was reading with Lily. In a matter of seconds, Sophie’s cry escalated into one of those someone-better-come-get-me-now screams. My heart sank. Marc rocked and rocked and walked and bounced and shushed her. After a little while, I couldn’t take it anymore. Baby cries are still a huge anxiety trigger for me. I squeezed Lily and told her that I had to go help her sister. She asked for her daddy to come snuggle. So Marc and I traded. And thus began one of the most awful nights we’ve ever experienced.

I rocked Sophie til she snored. Gingerly placed her into the crib. She screamed.

And repeat.

So I ended up “sleeping” with her in the big brown chair. She spiked a fever and fought her medicine. Then Marc dozed with her on the couch. She thrashed and whined and cried in her sleep. And every now and then, she’d wake suddenly with a scream.

Ear infection, I thought for sure.

So I was shocked at our appointment the next morning when the pediatrician said her ears were fine. Then she peeked into Sophie’s mouth, and boom. Blisters everywhere. And her fever was still going strong. But she had no rash on her hands or feet. The doctor says it’s a “nasty virus” in her throat. I say hand, foot and mouth disease — minus the hand and foot. Six of one, a half dozen of another, right?

Sophie's ONLY happy place yesterday

I’ve learned a few things that I want to share, in case any of you ever has to experience this:

– HFM affects kids up to age 5; it’s highly contagious. Adults are immune, says Dr. Google (but we’ll see about that.)
– The sores hurt like hell. For pain relief, we’re relying on a steady rotation of ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
– Sophie doesn’t want to eat because it hurts too much to swallow, so we’re chilling everything. She’ll take small amounts of cold formula, juice, fruit purees and yogurt. Popsicles and ice cream also are good. Nothing acidic. Just be sure it has calories, the doctor said.
– The drool is epic. I thought for sure new teeth were coming in. They’re not. She just doesn’t want to swallow because it hurts. Hello bib after bib after bib.

The good news? Last night was better than the one before, and her fever seems to have dropped. Still no rash. Hooray.

Now, to keep big sister from picking it up …

Eating healthy: grilled chicken salad

04/23/2012 at 7:44 pm | Posted in mangia!, weight loss | 6 Comments
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grilled chicken salad

I swear there is chicken on that salad. It’s buried in the middle. See it?

It’s not just croutons and egg white. Although those are two of my favorite parts of this salad. Here’s what else is on it: green leaf lettuce, broccoli, shredded carrot, tomato, raisins and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. And grilled chicken! Of course!

My favorite dressing with this salad is Ken’s light honey mustard. I try to use exactly 2 TBS, which is a serving. I’ve been surprised just how far that little bit of dressing can go.

The calorie count on this salad varies, depending on the quantity of each ingredient. But it usually comes in around 400. And it stuffs me full.

P.S. I’m officially down 26 pounds and just about to crack a new “decade” on the scale that I haven’t seen since I can’t remember when. And I don’t feel deprived or starved. Never imagined this was possible. Ever.

Happiness is: a bubble party

04/22/2012 at 7:55 pm | Posted in Happiness is, snap happy | 2 Comments

On Easter Sunday, after all the excitement of our morning egg hunt and family lunch, all four of us fell into delicious afternoon naps. Sophie woke first, so I crept into her room, scooped her out of the crib and carried her outside. Just the two of us. The neighborhood was quiet.

She watched the trees sway in the breeze and grazed the grass with little fingers. I sat beside her, content and grateful.

Then, ever so gradually, kids, parents, grandparents started to fill our little cul-de-sac. I love this about our street. We are surrounded by friends.

Before long, a bubble machine made its way into our yard and chaos broke loose.

Wonderful, giddy chaos.

Art for everyone

04/20/2012 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Swell Stuff | Leave a comment
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Laura Loving Happy

It’s no secret that I adore Laura Loving. After we met at the Country Living Fair last year, I was hooked. Her work is bright, clever and cheerful. A generous partner in our Love to Zaria fundraiser, Laura is as kind as they come.

She and her business partner April Wilkins recently debuted a new line, Laura Loving Happy. The only thing I love more than the punchy, colorful designs is the fact that Laura and April are making fine art accessible for all. As it should be!

Laura Loving Happy

I’d be ever so grateful if you’d check out their lovely site, packed with gorgeous wall art, notecards, and my personal favorite, the Buddha tote. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook.

Let’s spread the happy!

Eating healthy: cherry chocolate trail mix

04/19/2012 at 8:42 pm | Posted in mangia!, weight loss | 4 Comments
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cherry chocolate trail mix

I can’t get enough of this stuff.

It’s bad.

But oh so good. And good for me!

Our nutritionist advised a single serving of nuts as a high-protein snack that would provide energy and help keep us feeling full between meals.

Marc is so good at it. He scoops out the exact number of nuts and drops the chocolate pieces back into the bag. I, on the other hand, usually serve myself a heaping portion and have been known to trade some of my peanuts for more dark chocolate.

My favorite brand is one that we found at BJ’s, and for the life of me, I can’t remember the name. They recently stopped selling it, so I found a close alternative at Whole Foods. This one is really growing on me … it has bigger (and more!) chocolate pieces.

Ah, the circle of life. Always looping back to chocolate.

Happiness is: this sweet face

04/19/2012 at 9:27 am | Posted in baby sunshine, Happiness is | Leave a comment

Even when they’re plastered with yogurt and oatmeal and who-knows-what-else, I want to eat these cheeks.

Can you blame me?


04/18/2012 at 1:00 pm | Posted in me | 12 Comments

I’ve been feeling a little off lately. So it’s time for a brain-dump.

Lucky you.

Here goes …

I’m sad that I’m not going to have another baby. I know our family is complete, and that brings me immense joy and a wonderful sense of peace. But every time I get my period, it feels like an ugly little reminder that my body won’t carry another child. I hope this feeling goes away soon.

I have dreams about cupcakes. And pizza. True story.

I also have crazy, terrifying apocalyptic dreams from which I wake up and have to orient myself to reality. And most recently, I dreamed that I’d joined the military and had a nervous breakdown during boot camp. Where is this stuff coming from?

As only I could do, I’ve managed to totally stress myself out about running. Pace, distance, times, races. It’s too much. So I’m trying to stop the silliness and just exercise the way I like to do it … by walking up a storm and running here and there if I feel like it. I also busted out an old-school aerobics step, and I can already tell a difference in my butt. (Butt butt butt. You’re welcome, spammers.)

Will I ever feel like I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew? You know, in life?

I can’t stop buying trash magazines. US Weekly, People, you name it. But every time I finish one, I feel yucky. Really must stop buying these.

My new standard for cleanliness in our house is “clean enough.” We’ve hit all new levels of sticky — especially in the kitchen — and I just can’t seem to keep up.

I also dream about cheeseburgers.

What’s on your mind?

Happiness is: baby birdies

04/17/2012 at 6:36 am | Posted in Happiness is | Leave a comment

Isn’t this amazing?

Marc discovered this little nest while doing yard work over the weekend. It’s nestled deep in one of our azalea bushes. Mama bird kept close watch yesterday evening, raising a ruckus from a nearby dogwood tree as we quietly lifted children to peek into the nest.

I could have stared at it for hours, watching his little body rise and fall with the tiniest breaths.

It really made me pause and reflect on how grateful I am for my two little birdies.

Brand new life. Simply awesome.

Steppin' Out: me and my little lady

04/15/2012 at 8:29 pm | Posted in me, Small Fry | 11 Comments

On Lily: head to toe Target and a lovely little vintage deer pin from her grandmother
On me: top/H&M, skirt/Loft, flats/Gap, necklace/Target

Oh hi, outfit-other-than-yoga-pants-on-a-Saturday. It’s so nice to see you again.

The last time I linked up with Steppin’ Out, I was pregnant and on a fabulous girls’ weekend in NYC. Not long after that photo was taken, my wardrobe consisted mostly of nursing bras and elastic waists. For moooonths. And then I couldn’t fit into any of my regular clothes. And then I hit an all-time low (high?) on the scale this past December.

But now, about 25 pounds lighter, I actually get excited for an opportunity to dress up. So when Lily and I were getting ready for a very special bridal shower over the weekend, we coordinated our outfits. Naturally.

It felt really good to wear a skirt that I hadn’t slipped over my hips since 2010. And the beaded coral necklace was a little reward purchase from Target.

Best of all was posing for this shot with my little lady. And not cringing when I look at it.

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