Monthly Archives: January 2009

Fitness Revolution!!!

Standard

My oldest sister, Samantha, is our family fitness guru. She has been a personal trainer for several years now and teaches all different sorts of classes at her gym, The Amarillo Town Club. I used to take her Trekk It class when we were at the same gym. It was a interval running class that we did on treadmills. She was a great teacher, but the gym closed the class (no idea why) and she moved on to bigger and better things. She has been a serious runner for quite a few years now. She has done a few marathons and half-marathons. She would have done more, but she has battled some injuries. Last summer, she was approached by the fitness director at ATC about becoming certified to teach a class called Body Attack. She did and now teaches a couple of times a week at 5:30 in the a.m. Crazy woman!

SInce I have been fighting the battle of the post baby bulge I have called on her numerous times for advice: diet and exercise tips. strength training schedule, etc. She has been encouraging me for a while to come and try Body Attack. She knows there is no way in hell I would ever go at 5:30 in the morning, but there are other BA classes later in the day taught by someone else. She even got me some free passes to her gym. She also let me borrow one of her training DVD’s a few months ago. I still have not watched it. They send her a new DVD every quarter with new choreography that she has to learn. She also has to video herself teaching the class to become/stay certified. She failed the first time. Samantha has never failed anything in her life. Ever.

So last Thursday night we went to dinner at her house. My dad was in town and wanted to see his girls and grandkids. Kev, Lex and the trio were headed to Dallas for the weekend so it would just be The Holder’s and The Neagle’s. We ate dinner and sat around and talked for a while. Samantha had to leave the room briefly to take a phone call. It was someone else seeking her fitness expertise. At this point the conversation between she and I rolled around to Body Attack. She was talking about how “stinkin’ fun” it is and the bonus that you can burn 900 calories in 60 minutes. What the? Did I hear that right. So, admittedly, my curiousity was piqued. She broke out her recent training DVD. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.  It can only be described as Richard Simmons met with a worhip team sprinkled with a little bit of cult activity. Let me explain:

First of all, imagine like a highschool gym or auditoreum with a stage in the center and an open floor. There were like 6 Body Attack leaders on the stage all dressed in matching athletic gear: black tight shorts and yellow tops. There are men, whose body hair is all shaved off, and women. They all have headset mics on. They speak with an accent because they are all New Zealanders. Something about this makes me think of Hillsong United, the big church in Australia where Darlene Czech (she sang Shout To the Lord) is from. For whatever reason they look like a workout worship team.

The house lights go dim and the stage is spotlighted. The entire floor of the room they are in is covered in people. Standing room only practically. This is the house of fitness Gods and they have come to worship. The music starts and it is like house techno dance music. The instructors begin dancing and hoping and springing and lunging and plyometricing and push-uping and you name it. They bounce and bounce (like Richard Simmons) with seemilgly endless energy. They even sing along with the music at certain parts and play air guitar and drums. They rotate in and out who is the leader for the different exercise segments. Whoever just led runs to side stage and the TV Screen splits so you can see them perform the modified move (easier one) of what is happening on stage. They are all sweating buckets and glistening and bouncing. They show the crowd and it is an ocean of sweaty bodies performing these exercises in unison and loving every minute of it. It’s like they all drank the purple kool aid …or gatorade in this case.

I sat in shock and awe. They all reminded me of the National Cheerleading Competition on ESPN. Some of the moves looked like cheerleading moves. There was just no tumbling. I thought, “If I show up to take this class I am going to humiliate myself.” After all, I am the girl that was gently asked to leave step aerobics because whenever the teacher zigged, I zagged. I was a danger to myself and others. At least with this there is no step or other equipment involved. Just your body attempting to overcome gravity.

Samantha kept saying, “doesn’t this look like fun?” And to be fair, the people did appear to be having fun. I just can’t quite imagine myself in the mix. I am still just so surprised that this big time runner is loving life as a Body Attacker. She explained that because they train in all ranges of motion she is no longer getting injured like she was when running. That is a plus. Then there is the whole 900 calorie thing. Another plus for sure. As she said, “Who wouldn’t want to burn 900 calories?” I think she could read the nervousness on face. She started telling me about all of the little old ladies and old men that take the class. “Bob is in my class and he is 68!” Wow, so if a 68 year old can do this, surely I can. Then she said that Whitt (her husband) and Alan (my doctor and her friend) take the class. I didn’t need that mental image.

So, I am mulling it over. I admit, I am intimidated. Majorly. The treadmill/elliptical/bike/stair climber does not intimidate me. They can’t snicker at me behind my back. So I am thinking maybe tomorrow I will dust off the dvd she gave me and give it a try. I will let you know how it goes.

Here is a You Tube video I found of Les Mills Body Attack. It gets good about 1:00 minute in.

Advertisements

This has got to stop!

Standard

Wow, i know, two blogs in one day, but when I read this I had to say something.

I am not a Jessica Simpson fan, personally. She gets on my nerves and I don’t think she sings well. I blame her for Tony Romo starting to suck as a quaterback. The list goes on and on. And don’t even get me started on her dad. Or her sister. (Mowgli? Really? WTF?) But I am not blind to the fact that she is a stunningly, beautiful woman. She is very pretty made up or made down. She has a “rockin’ body” as my husband says and I think most women (myself included) would love to look like her even if just for a day.

So when I read this article and the accompanying photographs I was infuriated. It is absolutely ridiculous to insinuate that this woman is fat. I realize that the nice writer at US Weekly is trying to gloss it over by calling them “new curves”. When did curvy and fat become synonimous? Have we all lost our freaking minds? (I had actually seen a picture of her from the same event already on People.com. You can tell that US Weekly intentionally used photos that were unflattering.) As if the story isn’t bad enough I noticed there were like 500 comments. I scrolled down expecting to see commentary from people just as outraged as I was by this. There were some, but to my shock and utter dismay there were far more echoing the sentiment that she is overweight. Some of the comments are downright cruel. 

The irony of all of this is that while reading the article and typing this blog I am watching (listening) to Oprah. The whole show is about the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country. There are teenagers on this show that weigh as much as 400 pounds. There is no glossing over the fact that these teens are fat. Overweight. Obese. Whatever. They are broken, hurting, wounded and suffering. Imagine how helpless they would feel to know that Jessica Simpson, at 5’3″ and probably about 125-130 pounds is considered a fat ass by US Weekly. And at certain times, so is Kate Winslet.

My heart is broken. And I am furious. I am frustrated because I feel helpless to do anything to change this disgusting spirit that is so pervasive in our culture today. I battled a hybrid of anorexia and bulimia throughout my teens and early twenties. I survived by drinking Diet Dr. Pepper and eating nothing or very little. Most days I had a bowl of soup or spaghetti oh’s and then ran about 4 miles. I ate nothing else all day. Once out of college I started abusing laxatives and enemas.

The breaking point for me came when I met Michael and he became aware of my very secret struggle. He forced me to either get help or we could not get married. I am blessed that in one night of prayer and travail God mercifully and sovereignly delivered me. That is not to say that I have not struggled some since then. Often when things feel out of control for me I feel tempted. This was especially true right after I had Ephraim. I really did not know how much the weight I gained during pregnancy would affect me after. I thought the miracle of breastfeeding would cause the pounds to fly off quickly. It did the first few days and weeks, and then nothing. I plateaued and felt completely helpless. I really think I might have relapsed had it not been for breastfeeding. I knew I had to eat and eat enough to keep my milk supply up. I started weight watchers and lost a few pounds right away. I was encouraged. Then we went on two vacations and I began battling some old health issues and it kept me out of the gym. I soon realized that I really did not know how to lose weight in a healthy, successful manner. I had always worked out to maintain my current weight, not drop pounds. The truth is I have never really had to lose more than like 5 pounds before. Now I needed to lose about 30. I was terrified.

Thankfully at the beginning of the year I bought a Shape Magazine special issue that had a specific workout and meal plan for 21 days. I have been following it and it is working. I weaned Ephraim and lost a few lbs. from that. My goal weight is now getting close to being in reach and I am proud of how I hard I have been working to get there. I am pround that I am doing something to benefit my body, not harm it.

So when I read something like this I am incensed. I am mad at the magazine, but mostly I am furious at women in our culture (myself included) for doing this to ourselves. Because trust me ladies, it is us, not men, that dislike our “curves”. I showed Michael the pictures of her without saying anything. He said she looked hot. He didn’t like the outfit, but he loved the curves. It is amazing the way men and women see things differently. If I had my way anytime we have sex the lights would be off and I would be invisible. Not Michael. He finds the parts of my body that I find most unappealing to be the most attractive. I think he is crazy. He thinks I am.

My brother in law, Kevin, is famous for his love of curvy ladies. He went through a Sophia Loren phase a few years back. He saw one of her old movies and was immediately smitten. We all find his desire for the hour-glass babes to be quite funny considering he is married to a bean pole. A very beautiful bean pole. Kev often tells Alexis that he would love it if her body could stay looking just like it does right after she has a baby. Big ole boobs and a little extra to hold onto around the hips. She thinks he is insane. He loves her and the way she looks.

So here is what I am proposing girls. Lets decide to be different. Somehow, in some way we have got to right what has been wronged in this culture. If you are the mother of a daughter this is especially true. We cannot allow our sweet, impressionable baby girls grow up believing a LIE, really a spirit that is trying to kill us all. The bible tells us that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. It doesn’t have to mean literal death. He is just fine to kill our spirit, steal our joy and destroy our self image. He wants us to forget the promise of Psalm 139 that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I am preaching to myself here. I struggle daily with poor self image and negative thoughts directed at myself. Self-loathing would be an accurate discription. I grew up with an unhealthy environment in our home in many ways, one of which was to constantly compare and be compared to others. Siblings, friends, you name it. I have two excrutiatingly beautiful sisters. They are tall and quite thin. I am petite and definitely have the most curves in the bunch. They got the heigth, I got the D cup. I have always felt inadequate in their precense. I have to work to overcome that lie. It is bad enough to compare myself to those two, who eat right and exercise, etc. It is an attainable body image in other words. But when I look at pictures of celebrities and see how skinny they are and read articles where they claim to eat like a horse, not work out and barely fit into a size 0 because it is too big, it makes me heart-sick.

A few years ago the Lord actually made me fast these magazines (People, Us Weekly, etc.) He said that for me it was like a man looking at porn. It is unrealistic and sickens the soul. I didn’t touch a magazine like that for a really long time. I still don’t. But I do go to their websites and look at pictures. A spiritual loophole I guess, huh? I think that habit has just met an abrupt end.

Shortly after Ephraim was born, I read an article on msnbc.com about a recent survey of new mothers and how images and stories about celebrities that had just given birth and lost the baby weight uber quickly affected them. Overwhelmingly the women surveyed said it had a severe negative impact on them. The article went on to spill Hollywood’s dirty little secrets about how many celebs lost weight and the lengths they would go to. Some are exercising within hours of giving birth. Women, like J Lo, forgoe breastfeeding to immediately begin training for a triatholon. The article stated that most of the celeb trainers interviewed said they restrict caloric intake to about 1000 calories and work out for as much as five hours a day. I guess they have a damn good nanny if the kid is being breastfed and they are away for that long. I’m just saying ….When I read the story it made me feel better at first. I was not alone in my misery. But I still held that up as my standard. Completely unrealistic and unattainable. What was that doing to my spirit? Bruising it, crushing it even.

Another time recently, when Michael and I were trying to devise a budget and learn to live within our means, the Lord questioned me about the clothing I covet. He reminded me that for a celebrity who is a milliionaire to buy $200 jeans is like me buying $20 jeans. It is within their means to do so. It is not in mine. I am not saying that it is sinful of me to own expensive clothes. It is wrong for me to buy them if I cannot afford them. It is wrong to covet.

I don’t know how, but I am going to change the way I think. I am not just going to change what I say like we all do when sitting around chatting about things such as this with our girlfriends. You know what I am talking about. We have that “girl power” Sisterhood of the size____(fill in the blank) pants moment. We all say this is what real women look like and we are proud of it yada yada yada, blah blah blah … If we are ever going to take back what has been stolen from us and from our children we have to change our minds, our thoughts and our actions first. I am starting today.

And no, this does not mean I am a Jessica Simpson fan now. Every time I see that clip of her shaking her boobs in that ridiculous pink Cowboy’s jersey and mouthing “ROMO” I want to punch her in the face!

Addendum

Standard

I had to add some other pertinent information to my previous poop story. Ephraim woke up from his nap about 11:00 and while I was in feeding him Michael came in from class. He poked his head in the room and was immediately distracted by something he saw. It was more poop. On the wall down from the changing table. It was that bad.

Honey, I should have let you take the car (aka the great poop fiasco)

Standard

You know what they say about the best laid plans, yep i experienced that this morning. Today marked the beginning of what was to be the equivilent of turning over a new leaf in our household. Those of you who know me well know that I am nothing if not a procastinator of epic proportions. So you will not be suprised to learn that Michael and I delayed our New Years “resolutions” until January 26. Why this particular date? Because Michael officially started Nursing School this bright winter morn. (He had some classes last week, but his Monday ones did not meet b/c of MLK day.) We decided to use this as a jumping off point for some other changes like going to bed earlier and for me it involved pushing back Ephraim’s morning nap and heading out to the gym first thing instead of waiting for him to wake up from his first nap (usually around 10:30) and then going.

You see I took the great advice most new moms are given “sleep when he sleeps” to heart. He wakes at 7:00ish and then goes back to sleep about 1 1/2 hours later. Again, those of you who know me well know that I am a night owl and that I love to sleep late. Not really conducive to having a baby anymore. I cope by going back to sleep when Ephraim does in the morning. I know …right!

I have known for awhile that this is something I need to change and have been “gently prompted” to do so by my husband, so today was the day. The plan was that when Ephraim woke up I would feed and dress him, eat breakfast and get my gym gear on and head out by 8:30 or 9:00. Simple. He woke up at about 7:30 (normal time) and I retreived him from his crib. I noticed while giving him his bottle that his sleep sack felt damp. Further investigation revealed that his diaper had leaked though and his pj’s were wet as well. While changing and dressing him Michael came in to say goodbye and asked if he could take the car (rather than his work truck) this morning. I reminded him that E and I would be leaving right after breakfast so I would need it.

Sidebar here: Last week while at Target I decided to comparison shop and found that the Target Brand diapers are significantly cheaper than the Pamper’s Cruisers that I buy. I have used Pampers his whole life based on Alexis recommendation. First, the Swaddlers (which they also used at the hospital) and then the Cruisers. I decided to try the Target Brand because some people who used to go to church said they are just as good as Huggies. I never used Huggies but I figured they were comprable to Pampers Cruisers. I wanted to see if the $7 price differential was justified. Rest assured, IT IS! I am not saying that Pampers have never leaked. I tried the regular Pampers when he was smaller and they didn’t have the flex grip sides. They leaked. Also, when he was smaller and laid on his side to sleep they would occasionally leak, especially if I forgot to point his penis down in his diaper (those moms of boys know what I mean). But for the most part i have been extremely pleased with the Cruisers and have recommended them to other new moms. I just hate to pay $20 for them if i could something just as good for $13.

I first noticed a difference yesterday when I went in to get him up from his nap. He sleeps in a sleep sack and I had put him down without his pants on. Just his shirt, diaper and socks. When I unzipped the sleep sack to change him his diaper was unfastened on one side. At first I thought I had forgotten to diaper him before putting him down, but then I realized it had just come undone. He was dry so no big deal and i thought maybe he pulled it lose himself somehow. Then, when he woke up this morning wet I figured the diapers just weren’t as absorbment and the Pampers and made a mental note to get some more Pampers later today. End of sidebar, sorry it was so lengthy.

After his diaper change I dressed him for the day. Usually he just stays in his pajamas until he gets up from the first nap, but since we would be leaving for the gym right after breakfast into shirt and pants he went. I would wait to put shoes on him until we were about to leave. He seemed a little perplexed by the change, but rolled with it. I fed him breakfast and then made my own and ate it. I left him in his high chair with some Cheerios to snack on while I started to get ready. I put my contacts in and came back to check on him. I could smell that he had pooped as soon as I got 2 feet away from him. I teased him about being smelly and mentally debated whether to get dressed first or to change him now. I opted for the later. Good thinking.

We went to his room and I laid him on the changing table. His nose is till boogery so I reached for a wipey and realized the warmer was empty. Praise God for realizing that when I did. I even joked with him that it was a good thing I knew it was empty before attempting to change him. I refilled it and pulled his pants off and tossed them aside. When I looked down his left leg was smeared in poop from thigh to his sock foot. YUCK! The crappy diaper had leaked (no pun intended). Before I could do anything he crossed his ankles and got poop on his other sock too. Acting as quickly as possible I pulled his socks from both feet. I must have used quite a bit of force because whenI did poop rocketed across the room and onto the floor. Then he starts wiggling his legs and gets the right leg, previously unsoiled, covered too. It was a poop fiaso. All you new moms that are still breast feeding have no idea how nasty those little ones diapers can be once they start eating formula and/or real food. Poop is disgusting, period. No matter how small a body it comes from.

I literally pulled what felt like an endless stream of wipes from the warmer and piled them alongside said crappy diaper. I cleaned all his little crevices created by his chubby rolls as best as I could as well as his twig and berries (as Michael calls them). I knew he needed a bath after this type of blow out. I decided to use the kitchen sink. I scooped up his naked body, took him to the kitchen and bathed him. He seemed completely confused by the days events thus far. He is, like most Babywise babies, very accustomed to his schedule. I had already thrown a major wrench in it by dressing him when I did this morning. There is no telling what this type of disruption will cause.

So needless to say since it is 9:30 and I am blogging away that we have not made it to the gym this morning. He is napping (hopefully) and I am still in my pj’s about to enjoy a second cup of coffee. I am awake though and in the den. Not in my bed enjoying a little more sleep. It is progress I guess. Baby steps.

I just texted Michael and told him I should have let him take the car.

Hair today, gone tomorrow … (aka My Weave)

Standard

Or really gone last week. As many of you know, about 2-3 months after giving birth to Ephraim and the first 20 or so extra pounds of weight that I gained had been shed (I gained 55 total) I made a fatal error in judgement. I needed a change. I wanted to look different than I had during the whole pregnancy. Because weight-loss seemed unattainable, especially instantly, I decided that I would chop off my hair. I wasn’t going to go super short or anything, just something simple and light for summer. I looked for pictures everywhere and finally decided on this …

110205_ritchie_0305

I am going to chalk this decision up to severe sleep deprivation and body dismorphic disorder. I will grant you that it is a great haircut. It looks fabulous on her. She weighs 12 pounds. I weighed, well lets just say A LOT more than that. Also, she had not recently given birth and still been holding onto twice her normal volume of hair. Seriously, my hair got so thick while pregnant that it was a struggle to get a rubberband to loop around it two times. I have really thick hair anyway and it is also course and naturally curly. What the HELL was I thinking …. probably that a CHI iron is a miracle worker. It is not.

So I made the appointment, took my pictures in of Nicole’s chic bob and here is where the saga and trail of tears and money begins. The cut was okay. Not great, but ok. I came home and figured if I played with it some I would like it better. I paid the $40 to my stylist (who had been doing my hair for about 2 years) and left. I met Alexis for lunch and we both agreed that my hair needed to be thinned out. It was looking to mushroomy. I also felt that I needed to add some highlights just to give some added demension. I made another appointment. I left a little bit happier and $55 bucks poorer. Something still was not right. I realized when some well intentioned woman at church commented on my “cute mom bob” that I had to immediately begin the process of growing it out. As I mentioned earlier, the CHI iron is not a miracle worker alone so I would have to blow dry my hair straight first and then flat iron. Wearing it curly was impossible. My head looked like Sputnick. I also realized that my round brush was too big to use so I made a trip to Sally’s Beauty Supply to get a new brush … or three. I probably spent about $35 there. Then I decided I also needed a new blow dryer that was ceramic and had tourmaline (what the???) so I could reduce my drying time. I was the mother of a new baby you know. A few less minutes of drying time was worth its weight in gold. That was another $50 or so.

 

My first attempt at blow drying the new do without a round brush.

My first attempt at blow drying the new do without a round brush.

 

Trying to grow out the bob

Trying to grow out the bob

 

 

 

 

About 2 months later I called and scheduled another appointment. All I needed was color for my roots and the ends snipped. It was July 18. I remember that day both because it was Ephraim’s 5 month b-day and because it was the day my hair was cut into a mullet. A mom mullet if you will. You be saying to yourself, “She is exaggerating.” You would be wrong. I knew as watched the previous mentioned stylist clip away that it seemed like an awful lot of hair for just the trim I had requested. I felt that nervous feeling where you think, “Should I say something?” but I pushed the thought away. I reminded myself that in the past I have been so phobic about receiving a bad haircut that I have questioned every move the stylist would make and often times keep them from doing a good job. It helped calm me that my older sister, Samantha, was there to get her hair cut too (by the same stylist) and she kept chatting with me and holding Ephraim. It was a distraction that kept me from realizing I had been butchered. I could tell when the woman begin drying it that something was wrong. After it was dried and flat-ironed I could see there was way more weight and volume in the crown than in the middle. I asked if she could thin it out a little to help. She did and attacked me with the razor to “texturize” it. It made a bad situation immediately worse. That one is on me I guess. I was so distressed when I left the salon that I actually forgot to pay her the $60 I owed for cut and color.

I got in the car and tried to reassure myself that once I got home and played with it, it would be okay. I called Alexis and asked her to come look at it. She walked in and said, “It is kind of a mullet”. My worst suspections were confirmed. I called my friend Natalie who had mentioned before that her hairdresser had gone to LA and learned how to do extensions. I called the girl, Jenni Rea, and explained what had happened. She had me come in the next day for a consultation where she would explain the procedure and then look at my hair to see how many “bundles” of extensions I would need to fill in the sides. She also said the bundles were $200 apiece. I went for the appointment and she combed through my hair and began asking questions about who had cut it and what I had asked them to do. She recognized the name of the stylist and new her by her reputation for being a great hair dresser. She could not figure out the cut. She kept asking me, “What exactly did you ask her to do?” I said, “I told her that I had not liked it short and was growing it out. All I wanted was a trim. She asked if I wanted long layers and I said yes.” That seemed unreal to Jenni when you consider that the layers cut into the top were only about 2-3 inches long. And the hair was so over texturized that it appeared frizzy. She confirmed that I would need at least 3 bundles of extensions. I went home and prepared myself to explain to my husband why I needed to spend $600 dollars to fix my hair. I simply told him that weighing 20+ pounds more than before and adjusting to my new role as a mom was enough. My self esteem simply could not take the blow of walking around with a mullet. To my amazement and delight, he agreed. Even he knew I had a mullet.

I called and scheduled the appointment. She ordered the hair and on the afternoon of July 29 Jenni Rea glued someone else’s hair into mine. The company she trained with is called Great Lengths and they pioneered this particular type of extensions. I asked a lot of questions about the hair. I had assumed it came from women who grew their out and then sold it, like people do for  Locks of Love. She said this hair all came from India. Women there grow out their hair and then go to the Hindu temples and offer it as a sacrifice to one of the Hindi God’s. The temple then sells the hair to Great Lengths and it goes through a process of dying it and other stuff and then is sold. Oprah featured it on a show earlier this year. It took about four hours to put the extensions in and then she had to explain to me how to take care of them. It was very high maintanence. I had to use a special brush to brush through it 3 times a day. Whenever it got wet I had to put this special spray onto the bonds to prevent them from breaking down. It is better to dry the bonds immediately rather than leave them wet. On and on. Other than that, treat it just like normal hair. I could wear it curly or straight because the hair is naturally curly. I could also color it too. The better care I took of it, the longer it would last, somewhere between 4-6 months.

Well friends, it has officially been 6 months and the extensions came out last week. It was brutal. They first put some solution on the bonds to break them down and pull them off with a pair of pliers … literally. Then it was combed out with a fine tooth comb. OUCH!!!! My head was so sore. I think I understood in part what black women go through with their hair. Anyway, this post got way long. Here are some pics. I don’t have any good mullet ones because I refused to be photographed for the most part.

 

The mullet (wet) the night before the extensions went in.

The mullet (wet) the night before the extensions went in.

 

 

Extensions in

Extensions in

 

 

 

 

 

All Me!!!

All Me!!!

Some of my extensions. We'll call them souvenirs.

Some of my extensions. We'll call them souvenirs.

So if you total this all up, one bad decision to cut my hair in the first place, combined with a really bad day at the salon. cost me pretty close to $1000. Not to mention what it cost me in tears and frustration. You may be asking yourself if the $600 (without tip) for the extensions was worth it. Every Penny!

Where the heck have I been?

Standard

So it was brought to my attention by sister, Alexis, that it has been almost two months since I have blogged. I checked and indeed it has been quite awhile. I hope that since the last post I made was about Ephraim falling off the changing table that no one assumed there was permanent damage! Little man is doing just great. We did have a rough patch over the holidays but he is back in fine form now. So, Since my last post was in November I will do my best to catch you up on the past  8 weeks.

First, Thanksgiving. We spent the day with my family and Michael’s. Everyone came to my moms for lunch and the Cowboys game and ended up staying well into the evening. For the first meal it was Michael, me, Ephraim, my mom, Michael’s mom (Kay), his brother and his family (Matt, Stacey and Taylor) and his sister Amanda. My sister, Jessica, was also there. Michael’s dad died six years ago so since that time his family has been grafted into mine for holidays. We feel really blessed that our families get along so well and hey, it makes deciding on whose families turn it is this time really easy. My sisters were with their husbands families for lunch, but everyone met up at Mom’s later that night. Here are some pics:

 

My contribution ... A Harvest Cake!

My contribution ... A Harvest Cake!

 

Our little family. My hair was bad that day. I look like I am in a beauty pagent.

Our little family. My hair was bad that day. I look like I am in a beauty pagent.

Ephraim (sans shirt) feeding himself sweet potatoes.

Ephraim (sans shirt) feeding himself sweet potatoes.

 

The day after Thanksgiving we went and picked out our tree. We always get a real tree, although we seriously reconsidered it this year. We actually went and bought one at Hobby Lobby and then decided to return it. I figured we would just have to keep an extra close eye on E around the tree. He did great. The first tree we bought and brought home turned out to have a severely crooked trunk so we returned it and got an even better and bigger tree for the same price. (Shout out to Sutherland’s!). Usually Christmas is my very favorite time of the year and I can’t wait to deck the halls and all that. For some reason it just didn’t feel that way this year. Maybe it had to do with 70 degree weather. Anyway, here are some pics from around our house at Christmas.

 

The Den Fireplace

The Den Fireplace

 

Fireplace in living room

Fireplace in living room

 

The living room all decked out

The living room all decked out

 

Our Tree

Our Tree

 

Ephraim and his obsession

Ephraim and his obsession

As many of you know, Ephraim was briefly hospitalized right before Christmas. He got the dreaded stomach virus that blazed its way across the whole country. It was brutal. He started throwing up on Thursday, December 18. I tried to keep him hydrated and took him the doctor. She prescribed Zofran for the nausea and told me to keep fluids in him. He refused a bottle with pedialite so we had to try and administer it through a syringe. He kept throwing it up faster than we could give it to him. We ended up in the emergency room on Saturday, the 20th. They made Michael and I leave the room while they put in an IV and a catheter. It was awful. We could here him screaming from the hall, but they said it was better that he not associate us with the experience. We came in after and he practically leapt into my arms. They gave him fluids, ran tests ( all clear) and sent us home. He did good the next day (Sunday) and we really thought we were in the clear, but he started barfing again Monday morning. At that point, I was done. Feeling totally defeated we called his pediatrician and she said he needed to be admitted into the hospital so we could rehydrate him. We found out then that he also had double ear infections. So we got to spend a glorious 2 day stay at Baptist Saint Anthony’s hospital in Amarillo. They kept us until December 24th and then discharged us that morning. Praise God we did not have to spend his first Christmas in the hospital. I know there were many families that were not so lucky.

We always spend Christmas Eve with my family at my Mom’s house. My sisters and their families are all there. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I love my family!

 

Ephraim and his cool present from Aunt Lex and family

Ephraim and his cool present from Aunt Lex and family

img_1045

Hawks and the shirt we got him. So, so true!

img_1043

Boaz in his big truck!

Boaz in his big truck!

 

Holland and her daddy

Holland and her daddy

We spent the first part of Christmas morning just “us” as a family. Ephraim was still pretty weak and tired from his ordeal, but he liked his new toys. I look forward to many more Christmas Eve’s putting kiddos to bed and Mom and Dad staying up setting the stage for Christmas morning. Michael and I still have not made a decision about whether we will do the whole Santa thing or not. I figure we have some time. 

 

Barely awake and what the heck is going on?

Barely awake and what the heck is going on?

 

Toy take down

Toy take down

img_1084

His face says it all ... "Enough with the pictures!"

His face says it all ... "Enough with the pictures!"

Onto Christmas with the Neagles. We joined up with Michael’s family later in the morning. Ephraim was fried, so he napped through present opening and cousin Taylor was more than happy to open his presents for him! Thanks T!

img_1095

Amanda, Taylor and Grammy

Amanda, Taylor and Grammy

 Later that evening, after some long naps, we were all back at my Mom’s for dinner. My mom makes the absolute best turkey and dressing ever! It is so good. We dream of it all year long. It is nice that we get to have it back to back for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all stuffed ourselves. The kids played. And the little ones took baths in the kitchen sink and then crashed into bed. It was a great day!

Feeling better!

Feeling better!Uncle Michael and his best buddy Boaz

Nothing better that a chubby naked baby!

Nothing better that a chubby naked baby!

Boaz let me do his hair!

Boaz let me do his hair!

Bronwyn and India and their endless play!

Bronwyn and India and their endless play!

 So that is about it for December. Michael was able to take almost two weeks off. Ephraim and I felt so spoiled having home all day. It tooK E about 3-4 days to fully recover, but once he did he has never slowed down. He has crossed some major milestones this week, but I will save that for another post. This one was too long already!