You're calling me a rabbit? I'll take it!

After gaining my "freshman 15" in college, I realized that I really needed to start paying better attention to my choices.  I was drawn to the University of Alabama Recreational Center for exercise, but ultimately I needed to take a look at the food pyramid more closely.  The all-you-can-eat campus buffets meant pizza, hamburger, french fries, chinese, italian, and you can't forget a bowl of ranch on the side of everything!  Yup, I knew I had to change.

Fast forward to now, I can proudly say that I often times look forward to a good salad!  Why is that?  Well, let me share a quick story before I tell you the secret to how I enjoy my salads.

During the summer as a teenager, Mom used to drop me off at the LJCC pretty frequently.  I'm proud to say that I was a J "brat"--I would hang out at the pool, gym, or lobby with friends until the day was over.  I enjoyed it, but sometimes being a J "brat" meant hanging out with kids who were so bored that they would get into trouble.  Hence where the brat title came from.  Mom and I came up with a plan to keep me occupied and out of Ms. Betty's office.  I could invite a friend to come with me and (with her parent's permission) we could walk to Bruno's (just over a mile away), get a salad from the salad bar, and then walk back.  Don't ask me why--but I have very fond memories of doing this--and I'm sure mom only let me do it a few times.

Do you ever get a giddy feeling inside when you get to a salad bar?  My brain screams "look at all these awesome toppings you can put on your greens!!"  I know some of you must be able to relate to me.  Am I going to put sliced eggs, nuts, mushrooms, tomatoes, olives, baby corns, beets, or cottage cheese on my salad today?  Whatever you want is what my body gives me permission to do.  Of course, I realize that everything in moderation is what I have to decide.  Especially when it comes to dressing.  If I'm going to glop a lot of ranch or blue cheese on my salad, then my healthy choices are shot--but if I can decorate my greens with other things that I love the taste of....well, I love the taste of them!  Why do I need salad dressing?

Have you figured out my secret yet?
I keep the tasty ingredients in my fridge that I love to decorate my salad with!  As long as I'm going to make myself a healthy lunch, I might as well enjoy it.  I like to keep jarred marinated veggies such as kalamata olives, green olives, hearts of palm, and banana peppers,  Fresh veggies often include tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, and onions.  Each have such distinctive tastes and I really enjoy savoring them with the spinach/spring mix that I want to get into my system.

If I can plan ahead, I try to have a protein with it: grilled chicken, chicken salad, pimiento cheese, cottage cheese, or eggs.

On my way home from Parent & Baby Yoga, I realized I had lots of tasty toppings ready to eat today.  Once Sol was down for a nap, I put my delicious salad together.  I added a small amount of flax seeds and hemp oil to the top and voila--a filling lunch!  If people think I'm a 'nutty rabbit' because of this, I'll take it!  I feel good about myself and in return that makes me happy.  Win-win for Caleigh!

What tasty toppings do you like to put on your salad?? 

Don't think you have time to put together your salad?  My co-blogger Brittany has another great suggestion to eating healthy--Salad In a Jar!

Bedtime Fun

Tonight is a bath night for Mr. Sol!  When he isn't exhausted, he really enjoys being in the warm water.   David and I rotate bath night responsibilities so that we each get one-on-one time with him.  We bathe him every other night because we understand doing it every night will dry out his skin.  Plus, the child isn't active enough to need to be bathed every night!!  

One evening, recently, we enjoyed sitting on the front porch before beginning the bedtime rituals.
Have I mentioned how much Sol loves his Azaria?!?  She brings such happiness to him!  Whenever she is close by, he reaches out to touch her.  I'm working on showing him how to rub and pat her instead of grabbing at her fur.  He gets it sometimes, but other times he just wants to grab on and give her a big hug!  It really is precious.  I need to snap a picture of how big he smiles when she is around.

While we've been able to let Sol sit in his bathtub for a few months, sans the insert, I may be putting it back in this evening.  The past couple of baths, he has been trying to push himself out of the seat--and I don't want for him to go under water unexpectedly!!  We cover him with a wet rag to keep him from getting cold.  He has started sucking the water out of it recently, so I've pulled out some of his bath toys to distract him.  He loves being able to put the foam letters in his mouth!!  I didn't do a lot of research, but was given an Aveeno Bath Basket before Sol was born.  We've really enjoyed using the Aveeno Body Wash!

We snuggle him up in his towel and take him in for a more thorough drying on his changing table.  His Baby Einstein toy is a great distraction at the changing table.  It also encourages Sol's fun parents to let loose and sing and dance with the music!!  We always apply lotion.  Our favorite is the Stress Relief Lotion that is part of the gift set.  We also like the Calming Comfort Lotion and the Daily Moisture Lotion.

Can't forget his diaper!!  We were gifted a supply of bumGenius diapers from Sol's buddy, Daniel.  We have really enjoyed them!  I highly recommend them, but will leave the details for another post.

You know we have a growing boy who needs to eat!  We give Sol a 4-oz bottle of breastmilk every night before bedtime.  As I've mentioned in a previous post, I think it's better to make sure Sol gets 4-oz and doesn't have to work for it either.  Giving him the bottle also gives Daddy a chance to feed him every other night!  We love our one-on-one time with Sol and are happy to share responsibilities.

Bedtime wouldn't be any fun without a book!  When he isn't fussy, we enjoy reading to him and showing him the pictures.  We zip him up in a SleepSack as it is highly recommended that you not put blankets in the bed with infants.  It's helpful having a couple.  Some are heavier than others, so we are trying to keep him in the lighter one these days.

  When I put him to bed, I have three prayers and four lullabies that I sing to him.  By the time I get to the last lullaby, he has usually found his thumb (amen!) and is happily going to sleep.  Love our bedtime rituals.  Good night Sol!!

Many thanks to Sol for playing and chatting on his mat while I blogged.  Oh, and Azaria for keeping an eye on him!

I'm gonna pump you up...thanks to Medela pumping products!!

To breastfeed or to not breastfeed?  That's a daunting question many new mothers face.   I knew from the start that I wanted to breastfeed my baby and I'm very lucky it has worked out well.  Not only is it cheaper, but it also encourages mother-child bonding.  I'm not going to lie, that first month was a you-know-what.  There were a few times that I questioned why my boobs hurt.  That only created stress since breast cancer is genetically linked to me.  Stress aside, I adjusted to my girls' new purpose and found that this bond even creates an endorphin high for me.

I've found a handful of breastfeeding mothers who choose not to pump.  I am definitely not one of them.  While I love that time with Sol, I also like that I can get out every now and again and not worry about feeding him--just leave a bottle of breast milk! 

I like to keep at least four 4oz bottles in the fridge.  We feed him one each night for his last feeding.  I keep the extras handy in case there is ever a day that I get sick and need not feed him until I'm well again.

Then there's my freezer stock!  I use these whenever I take Sol to the JCC babysitting.  In the back right, you can see there are a few of the Medela freezer bottles--but I learned very quickly that I prefer the Lansinoh bags.  They offer more space AND they're cheaper, too!  I know that when Sol starts full time daycare, I'll be rotating these into his schedule and then restocking with new, fresh breastmilk.

A tip for all my mommy friends who are pumping:
Just do it!
I heard of gals' making their own pump bras , but it took me a little while to join the bandwagon.  I went back and forth between do I purchase a special bra or just use one of my old ones?  I don't need to shed a lot of light on it--just tell you, it's easy if you have an old sports bra you don't have to use anymore.  Cut the slits and have at it!

On Saturday, I received my first testing product to review!  So excited!!
Thank you, Medela, for providing me with the Quick Clean Breastmilk Removal Soap!  The following remains my opinion:
Our pediatrician told me that he and his wife cleaned their bottles very similarly to how they clean their regular dishes.  While I've kept my pumping and bottle products separate from our other dishes, I've done the same.  When I received this item from Medela, I got excited at the opportunity to not need to scrub bottles and pump products anymore!

 The instructions say to rinse off the items and then put them in the sink with lukewarm water and three squirts (to every gallon) of water that it takes to cover the items.  Soak for 5 minutes and then put on rack to dry.  Easy enough!

Well.....once the items were dry, I noticed there was still residual breastmilk spots and lines on the inside of the bottles :( big deal, BUT I will continue to use my scrub brush.  I would love to just throw the items in the sink and not do much more, especially once we start full time daycare, but I can't swear by this product.  So, I'll enjoy this product until we run out; but Sol hasn't had any reactions to my using our regular dish soap, so I'll keep with that.

One Medela product I do so appreciate is my breastpump!  Thanks to my both of my sister in laws, I am well taken care of...
Today, all of the lactation specialists claim that just about all women will get a free breastpump because of OBAMACARE.  Not!  I won't go into those details, but I know I (along with a few other women) did not have that success.  So,  I ordered all new parts to go with my Pump-N-Go and have found that the used pump works just fine!  I do prefer knowing who has used them, though.  Probably would not have bought a used one online, even though the milk should never technically go through the pump.

What breastpump items do you find are a must for new mommy's?

So thankful for my Daddy

While Sol took a little catnap this morning, I started to blog about why today is important to me.

 Today would have been my Dad's 63rd birthday! 
It was 10 years ago today that we took this picture together while celebrating his last birthday.

My day started with a lot of thoughts and emotions...

I miss his laugh.
I miss the way he enjoyed challenging me when we were listening to music, "Caleigh, can you tell me who sings this song?"
I miss his voice.
I miss seeing him mow the yard in the strategic patterns that he felt were so important for good lawn care.
I miss his snoring.
I miss him encouraging me to kick, overhead throw, or catch the soccer ball (prevent a goal!).
I miss the way he walked through the house.
I miss him sharing historical events that I really didn't care about, but he found profound and wanted me to know about.
I miss his British (or is it Tennessee-an, as someone once asked!) accent.
I miss hiking, camping, and vacationing with him.

I miss being able to call him or see him whenever I want.

Life isn't the same without him.

I will forever cherish the 21 years I did have with him.  The memories that were made, the tendencies that were developed (don't tell me your driving route is faster, because my dad tested it and gosh golly darn shucks, it makes me think of him by going that way), and the relationships that I have with his family and friends.


Dad would have enjoyed watching the US World Cup game if he had been here today.

While you watch the game, I hope you'll take a minute to think of him and of the good times you shared!