a scenic detour

"The shortest distance between two points is under construction." ~Noelie Altito


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time to make a switch

Dear followers,

I have decided to switch over to a self-hosted wordpress blog.  That means you won’t find my posts here anymore.  You can see my newest posts and updates at www.ascenicdetour.com and once you get there, you can follow along via RSS, with direct links to Feedly, and Bloglovin’.

You can also keep in touch by liking my page on facebook or following along on Pinterest or Instagram @a_scenic_detour.

Hope to see you there!


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october

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.  ~Carol Bishop Hipps

Oh, how I love October.

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I haven’t forgotten about my little blog.  Life is happening around here.  Priorities are pulling me in all directions and my brain’s been clouded and stormy, a messy jumble of stories to be shared, but the words can’t seem to organize themselves into anything coherent.  For now, they will have to remain untold.  October is waiting…


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the best of summer 2013

I have a zillion photos saved on my laptop, phone, and on my camera’s SD card.  Yes, a zillion.  In this digital age, it’s possible to take a hundred photos and weed out only one that is frame-worthy.  Then there’s the question of what to do with all those other pictures.  Even if they aren’t the “best” photos, they might still be good.  As a first-time mom, it’s really hard to delete any picture of my kid.  But truly, I can’t save all of them and who (besides me) will want to look at them anyway?  I realized several months after Evelyn was born, and I had managed to accumulate 1,000 photos of her on my phone, that I needed an intervention of some kind.  Or I just needed to figure out what to do with all of them.  So, I’ve come up with my own little method for saving pictures.  For her first year, I reserved the right to take as many darn pictures as I want…and save as many as I want.  Since her first birthday, I’ve been trying to come up with a system that is manageable.  Here’s what’s been working so far.

Each time we have an outing, event or other photo opportunity, I take as many pictures as I please.  When I have some time to myself, I plug the SD card into my laptop and begin the pruning process.  I get rid of photos that are blurry, have bad composition, or duplicates (often created when I use the rapid-fire setting).

Once I’ve chosen the photos I want to keep, I save them into a folder on my computer.  At this point, I have folders labeled by the season and year (for example, Summer 2013).  After they are saved, I highlight all of the new pictures and then rename them based on the date or event.  Renaming them in a batch will give all the files the same name, but with a number after it (for example, Memorial Day (5)) so that they will all stay together within the folder.

Now, all the photos are saved on my computer, but what if it crashes and I lose everything?  For that, I use flickr.  For $25 a year, I can have unlimited storage of my photos.  I suppose if the fit hits the shan and the internet no longer exists, well, my pictures will be gone.  But if that happens, I’m thinking we’ll all have much bigger problems to worry about.  So, I save them in sets labeled by the event or season, depending on how many pictures I have.  I’m still working on dumping all the pictures from my phone onto flickr.  It’s a tedious process, but once I have it done, it should be pretty easy to just dump them on a weekly basis.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still like to have some of my pictures printed out so that I can physically hold them in my hand.  So, each year, I will be creating a family yearbook of sorts with the highlights and best pictures from the past 12 months.  Last year I created one that was basically Evelyn’s first year.  I used one of the more popular online scrap-booking sites, but was very disappointed to find that after spending literally HOURS working on the book, it disappeared after I ordered a copy of it.  So, if I ever wanted to order another copy, for whatever reason, I would not be able to do so…and that really ticks me off.  So, this year, I will be looking for a different program to use.  I have downloaded a few to try and will play around with them to see which one I like the best.

So, that brings me to the reason for this post in the first place, to feature some of the best from this summer.  I can’t believe how quickly this summer has passed by!  We just completed our final camping trip of the season and Fall is in the air.  Time to say goodbye to Summer 2013…

Memorial Day – She loves marching bands!

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Aww…there’s nothing quite so cute as daddies and daughters.

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Can’t take credit for this one.  My friend Lisa, of Charlie the Cavalier, took this one of a brief moment when our cherubs (along with Sarah of The Clerical Error‘s little girl)  were not crying or stealing food from one another.  Why is the song “Ebony and Ivory” running through my head?

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A trip to Knoebel’s

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Much to my chagrin, she LOVED this group of singers/performers at the park.  We watched the ENTIRE show.

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Strawberry picking…

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Evelyn and her great-grandma

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4th of July, baby!

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Evelyn loves to go for walks in our neighborhood, and she especially loves searching for gnomes in this neighbor’s landscaping.

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Fun on the lake…

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Before you start talking smack, just know that I do realize how pasty white I am.  I’m ok with it.  This is my year-round color.  And when I’m old and gray, I’ll be less wrinkly than all you sun-worshippers.  ;)

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County Fair

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Camping with the family…

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Summer, we had a good run, but bring on the Fall!


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staying grounded

We’re in a state of transition around here these days and it’s kind of making me crazy. Michael has finally wrapped up his master’s studies, and he’s waiting to start his new job.  Evelyn has started daycare and seems to be adjusting pretty well.   I fluctuate between picturing the worst case scenario and imagining all the fabulous possibilities for our future. I lose sleep thinking about them. I worry and I daydream…

…and then Evelyn says, “Mommy, I poop” and I’m right back in the moment. “Mommy change it.”

Oh, how she’s great at keeping my feet planted firmly on the ground and reminding me where my attention needs to be. Worrying and daydreaming are kind of pointless when there’s coloring to be done, books to be read, and snacks to be served.

She’s starting to develop her own sense of humor, laughing at things that she thinks are funny, rather than just laughing because we laugh.

Thank goodness she’s so stinking funny, because it’s hard to take things too seriously when the little person across the table from me is bathing herself in yogurt….or putting trash cans on her head…

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What keeps you grounded?


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ch-ch-ch-changes

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Things are about to turn upside down around here. Michael is going back to work and Evelyn will be going to “school” this week.

What seemed like a detour on our journey has turned into well-worn path. When Evelyn was born, I had every intention of sending her off to daycare when my 2 months of maternity leave were over. Instead, I kissed her goodbye and left her at home with her daddy. Now, 18 months later, he has finished his master’s coursework and is going back into the workforce and Miss Evelyn will be away from us on a daily basis. It’s going to be hard for me to think about her with people other than her parents and forming attachments, but I know it’s a healthy thing for her to do.

Today, I spent some time with the staff who will be working with her, so that I could explain her breath holding spells. As I was telling them not to walk on eggshells with her and to treat her like they would treat any other child, I broke down crying. This road has been harder on me than I let on, maybe even harder than I realized myself. I couldn’t control it and I felt foolish to be crying in front of strangers.

It occurred to me that we are just not normal. That probably doesn’t sound the way I mean it, but as I sat there, showing these ladies one of Evelyn’s cloth diapers, explaining how to use it, describing her breath holding spells and asking them to do their best to avoid feeding my child sugar and gluten, then bursting into tears, I realized that we must seem totally bizarre. We’ve settled into our own version of “normal” at home, but to outsiders, we probably seem like total weirdos.

I don’t know what our new version of “normal” will look like. Michael will often be away from home now, the household duties will have to be reallocated. Things are going to change in a huge way and I’m not sure how I am going to handle it. Typically, I embrace change. This time, I feel pretty uneasy. Time will tell, I suppose. As in all major shifts, it takes time to adjust to the new.


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toddlers in the kitchen

On Mondays I usually struggle through work and have boundless energy at home.  Usually by the end of the week, it’s the other way around.  Today, a wild hair inspired me to try our very first cooking activity with my girl.  Chalk it up to Monday.

I’ve always dreamed of having my daughter in the kitchen with me, learning how to cook.  Of course, if I had a son, he’d be cooking in the kitchen with me too, but there’s just something special about a mother and daughter, together in the kitchen.  Since she’s been born, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the day that we could do artistic and culinary projects together, but until now, she’s been too young.  Some might argue that she’s still too young.  Tonight, I was feeling brave.

I decided we would make playdough together.  I used to make it all the time when I was a preschool teacher, so I was only slightly intimidated about trying it with a toddler.  I’m happy to announce it went better than I’d hoped.  We both had a blast.

There are a ton of learning opportunities to be found in playing with playdough, or any kind of dough for that matter, and making your own creates even more learning experiences.  Cooking involves measuring and counting (math), cause and effect (science) and pouring and stirring (hand-eye coordination).  Manipulating the playdough itself helps to strengthen little hands and fingers (think about all the squeezing and pinching and rolling) which gets them ready for writing later on.  It’s also a great time to introduce all kinds of interesting new vocabulary words (squishy, slimy, soft).

Did I mention I was also in the mood to use my camera?  It’s been awhile since I featured a pic-heavy post.

First I helped her to pour in 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt.  She looked at it for a few seconds.  I told her it was ok for her to touch it and she started to play in it while I gathered some other ingredients.

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I let her dump in the cream of tartar (2 tbsp).

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Then I poured in 1 cup of water and let her go to town with the whisk.

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Next, she chose a color (red) and we counted 10 drops as I squeezed them into the flour mixture.  She also wanted some blue, so I squeezed in 5 drops of that and we ended up with a nice purple.  Finally, I poured in 2 tbsp of cooking oil, while she stirred.

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Now it was time for her to wait a little bit while I whisked out the final lumps and cooked the mixture on the stove.  (Stir over medium heat until the mixture forms a ball.)  She had really liked playing in the flour, so I put some on a cookie sheet and let her explore.  The cookie sheet helped to contain the mess.  Well, ok, it only contained the mess a little bit.

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Finally, the playdough was ready!  We had to let it cool a little bit before playing, so we washed our hands and I cleaned up most of the mess.

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Squeeze!

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The best part of our little activity?  When she held up her playdough and said, “It’s amazing!”

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chemical pregnancy (and the problem with testing too soon)

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I was never really a big believer in love at first sight. Love takes time to grow and can’t be truly experienced upon first glance. At least that’s what I thought…until I saw two lines on a pregnancy test. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, I knew I loved that little person the instant I saw that test.

A few weeks ago I had a chemical pregnancy. On Sunday morning, I got a positive pregnancy test. The blue + sign was very faint, but definitely present, so I rushed out to the store to purchase another test…just to be sure. Sure enough, the pink lines revealed the same result. I was pregnant! Evelyn would be a big sister! Michael and I were immediately excited, even though we were also a little cautious. On Monday, I called my OB/GYN and they ordered the blood work. On Tuesday, when I called to get the results, a nurse told me that my HCG was only 10. She said that anything higher than 5 is considered positive, but it was lower than they wanted to see. Immediately, my heart sank. She told me they would test again in a few days to see if the number was higher. She said it would be best to wait until Friday or Monday if I could.

I wasn’t sure how in the world I was going to wait that long. I started to search the net for stories of successful pregnancies that started out so low. They weren’t easy to find. I read stories of women whose numbers slowly raised, only to end in miscarriage after several weeks of loving that tiny life. I wasn’t sure if I could handle that roller coaster. I wanted a resolution…I wanted this to either end now or carry through until my baby was here. I had decided that I would go back for more blood work on Friday instead of waiting all weekend and I had an extra pregnancy test I was planning to use on Thursday morning, just to see if the line got any darker (or lighter).

I’ve never been an early tester. During my years of TTC, I knew plenty of women who couldn’t wait to test, sometimes as early as 8 days past ovulation (DPO) (normally, a period won’t show until about 14 DPO). I may have gotten impatient once or twice, but I couldn’t handle the stark white expanse that occupied the space where a line should be and most pregnancy tests will be negative if used too early. I’d rather just wait for Aunt Flo to show up. The tests I happened to buy this time were the ones that claim to give you a result up to 5 days before your missed period. As I read the box more carefully, it said that because the tests were designed to detect very small levels of HCG, the chances of a false positive are higher, particularly in women nearing age 40. Fabulous. My hope for a viable pregnancy was fading fast.

See, the problem with testing too early is that “chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.” In other words, most of us have probably been pregnant at one time or another and didn’t even know it. Our periods came as usual or maybe we had a little “scare” when it arrived a few days late. If I had waited just 3 days longer, I would have never known.

So, in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Evelyn woke up with a fever. I got her out of bed and we meandered downstairs to snuggle in Michael’s chair. I set her up with some water to drink and then I decided to go ahead and use my last test. At 2:30 am, this was as close to FMU (first morning urine) as I was going to get. I waited a few minutes and cautiously looked at the stick. There was the faintest line, just barely visible, and much lighter than the one from just two days ago. All I could think was, “It’s ok, baby. I love you, but you don’t have to hang on for me. It’s ok to go home. I love you.”

I rocked Evelyn for a little while and had a bit of a cry. I knew that this just wasn’t meant to be, but that didn’t make it any easier. Evelyn’s fever seemed to lift and she finally fell back to sleep. When I woke up later that morning, Aunt Flo made her appearance and that stick in the trash can stared back at me with its stark white face. Maybe I had imagined that faint pink line in my early morning stupor, maybe I hadn’t, but it was white now. Not even a trace of a line remained, but the love was still there. Because once you see that line, there’s no going back.

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