Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

2010 was definitely one of the best years of my life, for many reasons. But, of course, a certain cute and captivating almost-8-month old little girl has a whole lot to do with it.

May your new year be blessed and filled with more love than you know what to do with (is that really possible? :).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

3rd Anniversary :)

We don't get very much sunshine around these parts, these days. But today was an especially sunny day, in every aspect. We celebrated our 3rd year as Mr. and Mrs. A, with our new addition dressed in a new pink outfit (that we picked up from Costco yesterday after signing up for our first membership :).

But before we embarked on our special day's adventure (aka taking a trip to a very delicious and local gluten free bakery, and dropping by a scrumptious bbq place to pick up our dinner), Jose and I exchanged gifts. I received the beautiful flowers above, along with a dark chocolate Toblerone (one of Jose's first dating gifts to me).

I loooove sunflowers (which is why he included those sunny golden flowers above), but roses are an important part of our special day, so Jose included them in the bouquet. He said the color combo reminded him of love and sunshine, and I agree. Roses are special to quite a few people, but a poem about them was included in a portion of wedding vows.

I like giving homemade gifts, but I wanted to give Jose something relevant to our anniversary. This gift didn't require much making, and I'd been wanting to do it for awhile now...

We wrote a portion of our vows; I finally got a chance to print and frame them. Jose's vows to me are on the left, my vows to him are on the right. The middle picture is pretty familiar, isn't it? ;) I had to laugh when I was putting this together. Take a look, my vows are about twice as long as Jose's. I just read a few days ago that women utter quite a few more words than men on a daily basis. I think that definitely applies to our marriage! :D

Jose thought of a fun anniversary idea. He said that, starting this year, we should record a "state of the union" meeting. He said we should discuss the high and low points of the year, so that we can watch the videos every year on our anniversary to see how we've grown as a couple. I love that idea!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Than 100 Reasons

Yesterday I came across something I really could not relate to.

I don't want to post the link here. I realize that people have a right to express themselves however they want, and I am thankful for that freedom. I also realize that there are some folks who really do not want children, and that is fine too. Because, honestly, there would be many more unhappy people in this world if more children were born to parents who didn't want them.

I'm not promoting anything (political) by saying that. In fact, if you check out my other blog posts, you'll understand my views on everything from family to children. But I still couldn't help but feel a bit put-off by the many claims made in that blog entry. How can anyone confidently make a list of 100 things that they like about never having a child, if they've never had one? They listed everything from having more money, to having a better marriage.

The irony of it all is this: I've found that my life and heart are both richer after having Mirabel. I've also fallen even more in love with Jose after having Mirabel. I've seen how he loves on her, and it just makes my heart melt. No, it certainly isn't always easy being a mom (or dad), but let me tell you, it is so worth it.

I could go through that list and literally offer a rebuttal for every claim. After reading it, I realized that I certainly have more than 100 reasons why I LOVE being a mother. There are definitely more than 100 things I love about Mirabel, too.

Instead of responding to that blog post, I chose to write a poem for Mirabel. True love of any kind can't be captured in a list, or even a poem. But this is just an outline, really. Kind of like what results when you attempt to trace a detailed painting. Anyway, here it is...

If I had to limit myself to 100 things or reasons,
I would take a lesson from God and run my fingers through the wispy strands of hair on your head, and try to count them
but then
I would miss the fine hairs on your ears
and the tiny creases on the soles of your feet, and their softness:
what walking around barefoot on the sand, or the dirt, or on uneven sidewalks will take away.

But I digress. 100 things...

I had to wait ten seconds for the test results, then I was certain you'd be mine. And in the split second following those ten, before you even had 10 fingers and 10 toes, I already had 100 reasons.

Time has always been the thief; memory its rival. But the minute you were born, I realized it was on my side, that only you could steal the better part of me (my heart), and that I'd formed a memory I'd never have to struggle to keep.

No, my freedom has not been taken from me. Instead, it was given to me after 40 long weeks, when I learned to put myself second. I gained a greater understanding of true beauty, then.

I have not lost myself. I have only lost what I never wanted anyway, the part of me that was afraid of loving this much.

As a result, I have far more than 100 reasons.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The weather outside is frightful

...that lonely tree is our Christmas tree. We put him on our porch after deciding, on the day after Christmas, that we needed the space in our living room. Maybe I should crochet him a sweater? ;) Mirabel seems to be enjoying the view from inside.

Snowed in

Right now...
We are snowed in! For the past 2 days, we've been restless, stuck inside.
BUT we are enjoying our time together. We've taken naps, watched movies, eaten good food, played with new toys, messed around with our (aka my) blog, changed the title...and why the title change? I've always thought homes with white picket fences in front were cute. We don't own a house, and we are always moving around, so this is our pseudo online home :). Behind the picket fence = what goes on in our lives (no surprise there). A new title for the new year. And a new header for the new season.

I'll be back with pictures of the blizzard. Yep, if you look up the weather in the Boston area, it'll say "blizzard". Our last blizzard, perhaps?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feeling joyful...and festive :)

Finally...I'm out of bed and cooking! Actually, just roasting some veggies, but it feels good to be back in the game. It looks like our first Christmas will be an enjoyable one after all.

Notice those 2 new ornaments? Well, the little snowman isn't new. I gave him to Jose last year (and he isn't hanging by a noose ;). The footprint? That's Mirabel's. We picked up a "baby's first Christmas ornament" right after Halloween. I think it was initially intended for a newborn's footprint, but I'm so glad hers still fits in the frame :). And the two people in the background? They're the presents too big to fit under the tree, gifts that keep on giving (and I'm not just referring to Mirabel and her diapers :P).

On another note, here's a nice poem someone shared recently. I think it's sweet and wanted to share it with you all.

Today I dined with great saints of the Lord. I cleaned their faces and washed their hands.
Today I tied the shoes of great warriors. Those who will defend truth and rely on His joy to be their strength.
Today I ministered to royalty. I dried tears and whispered truth in young ears.
Today I worshiped with the pure in heart. We danced unashamed; in awe of our creator.
Today I am blessed to be a mom. Capturing each moment, enjoying every giggle, and shepherding these gifts.
-Author Unknown

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Venting: Sometimes I feel like I'm failing this test

How do people with multiple children survive when they are ALL sick? I just don't know, but I want what they've got. I think I've probably got to start doing a lot more praying, and a lot less relying on my own personal strength. I really don't have too much of that these days. Jose started out sick, and he is still hacking away at night unable to sleep. Then Mirabel got sick, and that was much worse. I felt so bad for her, she just refused to sleep. Now she is better, but is still waking up with cough attacks at night. Then Friday night (thankfully I'm the last one), I was shivering for a few hours, then sweating up a storm. I was hoping to sleep since Mirabel was having a good night, but a fever kept me up. I had bodyaches, sore throat, and a fever for 2 days. Then I got the congestion and 2 migraines. I had a feeling I was getting a sinus infection because of how much strange looking phlegm I was hacking up (sorry for the graphic description)! I went to the doc and he said he wasn't sure if it was a sinus infection or virus, so he said to just hold on to the meds until I got worse. Well, fast forward 2 hours past the doc appointment and my fever goes up to 101.6 (and it was my 4th day with a fever). It hasn't been that high this whole time. So I decided I probably have an infection. All night I've had a fever, and Mirabel decided she wanted to wake up 5 times to eat. She is not very happy these days. She loves her dad, but I think she knows something is up with me. She starts crying when she's with him and then she stops when I hold her. But I'm shivering cold most of the time, coughing, or blowing my nose so it's not easy to console her, or carry her around when I'm exhausted myself. Thankfully, Jose is done with his finals so he can help out more, but he is working on a probono project, so he'll be gone half the day today :/. I worry about how much motrin/tylenol I'm taking because I know it goes to the baby, but I'm only able to take care of Mirabel when I'm not feverish (it's one of those fevers that makes you want to hide under 10 layers of blankets, and even that's not enough). These antibiotics should start working soon, though. I just pray I don't get bronchitis again. I don't have the best lungs, thanks to asthma, and I usually end up on steroids when I get sick like this. Again, I'm more worried about Mirabel ingesting it. They say it's safe to take when BFing, but c'mon, there is no such thing as benign medication :(. I hope this is all over before Christmas!

On a positive note, it started snowing yesterday! Just in time for Christmas. It's beautiful outside!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The best part about Christmas

My cousin posted this link on her FB feed and I really enjoyed reading it. Wanted to share with you all. Can't help but feel proud to be a human being after reading that :).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lovely poem

It was a rough night last night, actually the past 2 nights have been rough. Poor Mirabel got her dad's bad cold and, with a fever that wouldn't break and a stuffy nose, she refused to sleep. She literally only slept 3 hours in a 24 hour period. Thankfully, her dad, seeing how tired I was, stayed up and held her upright for 4 hours so I could get some rest. AND the poor guy is in the middle of finals; he's yet to start studying for the toughest one that's on Monday.

This may sound silly, but even though times like this are stressful and would've probably made us argue before Mirabel was born, we are closer now that she is here precisely because of these moments, and in the toughest part of these moments. Instead of getting impatient at 2 AM because we're both sleep-deprived, we laugh and dance around in our PJs with dried baby boogers on our clothes, spit up in our bed (actually, mine and Mirabel's bed ;) and just pray that we maintain a tiny bit of our sanity. Instead of worrying about his Corporate Finance final on Monday and getting upset about how he has to sleep so he can study, Jose grabs Mirabel and lets me sleep. No complaints are made, all signs of frustration and concern are non-existent. For 4 hours, he does nothing but tenderly hold his baby in his arms. He can't sleep, because he doesn't want to drop her, I'm sure; he also isn't nearly alert enough to study. But he takes it like a mature, loving, selfless adult; a truly respectable man of God.

I don't know if it's the sleep-deprivation or if I'm just the cheesy, sentimental type. I think it's probably the latter, but I really enjoyed the poem below and wanted to share it with you all...

This poem goes out to the awesome Dads as much as it goes out to loving Moms, biological and spiritual. This is for all of you. I found it on this site. Enjoy.

For All Mothers

This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on metal bleachers at soccer games instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you see my goal?" They could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick children in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Meyer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's OK honey, Mommy's here."

This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled in the night and can't find their children. This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll never see and for the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes and for all the mothers who don't.

What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleeping to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

Is it the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident, a baby dying?

I think so.

So this is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn't.

This is for reading "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then reading it again, "Just one more time".

This is for all the mothers who mess up. Who yell at their kids in grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp their feet like a tired two year old who wants ice cream before dinner.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started to school and for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.

For all the mothers who bite their lips (sometimes until they bleed) when their 14 year olds dyed their hair green.

This is for all the mothers who lock themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won't stop.

This is for all mothers who show at work with spit-up in their hair and milkstains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.

This is for mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home or are grown.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on their children's graves.

This is for all the mothers whose children have gone astray and who can't find words to reach them.

This is for all the mothers who sent their child to school with a stomach ache, assuring that they would be just FINE once they got there, only to get a call from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up right away.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let go.

For working moms and stay-at-home moms. Single mothers and married mothers.

Mothers with money and mothers without.
This is for you, so hang in there. The world would be a terrible place without the love of mothers everywhere. You make it a more civil, caring and safe place for the precious children in our world.
Author Unknown

Monday, December 13, 2010

My hope for 2011 (Here we go again...)

I did it. I got a referral to see my OB (because we need referrals for that here), and I'm going to talk about my "options" during my up and coming appointment. I realize at this point I don't have many, since Mirabel is still nursing around the clock, and biology is complicated...but I think she'll be weaned by 1. So what's my hope for 2011? A positive pregnancy test.

I knew I wanted my kids to be close in age, but I didn't realize I'd want another one this soon. It is tough sometimes, especially since I still haven't slept through the night in almost 7 months, but I've gotten used to it. She is getting 4 teeth on top and another on the bottom; I feel like I'm losing my little baby :(.

Believe it or not, Jose has also been asking me when we're going to have another one because he also wants another one already!

I have no idea how long it's going to take, and I really don't even know what'll work the second time around. 3 rounds of Clomid didn't do anything the first time around...or maybe it did, but I didn't get a positive test until a month and a half after taking my last pill.

Even though it'll be a bit of a rollercoaster, I know it'll be easier this time around. I already have the one thing I've always wanted. The rest is just icing on the cake, and of course I'll love them equally, but it's still different this time.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Feeling Hopeful

Though I used to often wonder as a kid what it'd be like to have parents whose marriage wasn't destroyed by alcoholism and mental illness (things my dad struggled with when I was younger), the holidays were the one time I was usually pretty content with what I had, as far as family was concerned. I spent the early part of my life surrounded by extended family, so I wasn't unhappy.

What's odd is, now that I have a family of my own, sometimes I go back to wondering what it'd be like to go home to that kind of ideal place: where my mom and dad would be there together to welcome all of us , including their new grandchild. But we live in a broken world, so when I'm ungrateful and have unrealistic hopes, I try to change the way I think and hope for less selfish things that are more important. Thankfully, those hopes aren't impossible ones.

My dad has been sober for quite a few years now. It hasn't been easy for him, though, which is why I now respect him for staying away from alcohol and drugs. It wasn't always this way, hence my use of the word now. When I was younger, I didn't realize how much my dad struggled. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia aren't terms that most 7 year olds are familiar with (at least I wasn't). So I just chalked it all up to him not loving my mom or me enough, but at 26, I realize that's far from the truth.

I just got off the phone with my dad, and though he didn't outright say it, I know he is better.
His tone of voice gives it away. When he was struggling earlier, refusing any medical or emotional help, he sounded broken. I admit, it was tough to talk to him because I wanted him to be happy. I'm not the type of person who can easily cut themselves off emotionally--so I felt what he felt, just not to the extent that he felt it. To me, being happy seemed so simple, but I don't have what he has. I also haven't lost what he did, a wife and child.

My father has come a long way. He hit rock bottom when my parents divorced, and I didn't know that until my aunt explained the situation a few years ago. Though he is still healing and can't work because of his mental state, I've been able to witness his progress from across the miles. Becoming a grandpa brought happiness back into his life, too.

It may sound silly to the average person, but just hearing my dad talk about putting up Christmas lights at my grandparent's house, or decorating his Christmas tree, really brightened my spirits this morning and did for me what going "home" does for a person who comes from a non-broken family. My heart is warmed when I hear joy and hope in his voice because I know that he is very familiar with sadness. This is one of the things that makes me feel hopeful and content this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Santa pic

Mirabel loves people...BUT she sometimes freaks out when someone else holds her. This is why I expected the "posing with Santa" pics to turn out a bit sour. We were wrong! The girl was pretty fussy the entire time we were in line earlier this afternoon, but as soon as it was her turn to shine, she did just that. I'm not sure if she just loves being on camera, if she thought our attempts at making her laugh were pathetic (so she smiled out of pity for us), or if she really liked jolly ol' Santa, but we got a smile! A big toothy grin.

Sidenote: Now, this picture might look a little funny (thanks to me). At first I completely forgot to add something for Santa to sit on. I realized he was squatting in the air, which looked pretty strange, so I added a chair. Jose thinks the chair looks weird, but I think the Santa squatting in mid-air looks more odd. :P

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I love free stuff. I'm no longer a college student, but I still do a little dance when I see the word "free", especially when food is involved. No food today, but lots of free cute/crafty stuff from other sites! Just as good, maybe? I think so :).

Christmas images for scrapping can be found here
Free fonts can be found here
Free December desktop that can be personalized to feature your favorite photos can be found here

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

He's probably right...

We decorated the house (or our apartment, we moved back in yesterday) for Christmas. I, of course, felt that the blog should reflect the holiday. :D Jose believes I have a record for the amount of times a blogger can change their layout...he's probably right. Please bear with me :P. Thanks!!!

Mirabel dancing

Saturday, November 27, 2010


A few days ago we celebrated our last Thanksgiving as a law student couple, away from family, here in chilly Boston. The trees in our neighborhood are looking a little cold themselves, as they've shed most of their leaves. I can smell the snow coming. And soon we'll be celebrating our last white Christmas, it's bittersweet but mostly sweet.

Like every other year, Jose and I decided to stay here for Thanksgiving. Sometimes it can get a little lonely during the holiday season, when it seems like everyone is traveling to visit loved ones, but this year we really couldn't complain.

Two days before Thanksgiving, our new sitter was supposed to come over to watch Mirabel so I could cook. As a result of some unfortunate miscommunication, she ended up not coming. So Jose played babysitter that day, and I'm so glad he did because I couldn't have done it without him. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving completely together on Wednesday night. I don't want to say that it's our first official family Thanksgiving, because we were a family before then, but now we feel more complete. While I was sitting on the living room couch waiting for the ham to finish warming up, it occurred to me that even if we're not able to have any more children, I am very content with what we have, or I should say with who we had at our table this year.

...And I guess I shouldn't say table, since we had to celebrate Thanksgiving outside of our real home this year, and we didn't exactly sit at a table for dinner. We live in one of the university's oldest grad student apartments, and just a few weeks ago they checked our place for lead. Apparently, our apartment wasn't de-leaded properly, so they decided to go forward with the process the week of Thanksgiving. Harvard has a few extra furnished units so they put us up in one for the time being. I guess they don't expect students to eat, because they gave us everything except for a kitchen table :P. So we enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner on the living room floor, watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and taking turns stuffing our faces with one hand and holding Mirabel with the other. She is normally pretty giggly, but that night I caught her laughing at a TV character for the first time; she laughed out loud during the scene when Chevy Chase falls through the floor of his attic while wearing an eclectic outfit and tearing up over old family videos. It was cute.

Thanksgiving morning, we watched the parade, and Mirabel got a kick out of the Rockettes. She has so much energy, I think she wanted to join them. For lunch, we had turkey sandwiches with stuffing, and I was able to enjoy a gluten-free turkey/cranberry sauce/mashed potato sandwich for the first time, thanks to Udi's delicious gluten-free bread (they didn't pay me to say that, promise ;).

A friend invited us over for a Thanksgiving potluck, so that's where we celebrated the evening of Thanksgiving. It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed stuffing our faces even more then. It was nice to celebrate with friends, since our family had their own celebration back in Texas and we couldn't join them. After the potluck, we came home; Mirabel and I watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie while Jose sat next to us glued to his laptop, watching UT lose (yet again) to Texas A&M (sadness for us!).

Most years, Thanksgiving comes and goes and I'm left a little sad when it's all over and done with. It's easy to go back into work mode and forget about the things we were thankful for just the day before. 2 days have passed and I'm still feeling thankful this time around.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Finding the right balance

This summer Jose started sleeping on the couch so that he wouldn't be tired for his internships, since Mirabel was waking up quite a bit. She still isn't sleeping through the night, but on the weekends in the past he would sleep in our room and was actually able to sleep through Mirabel's wakeful periods. Now he's sleeping on the couch because it's so hot in our apartment from the radiators, and his body heat makes me even hotter. Sounds funny, but I've gotten used to having the bed to myself. I feel really bad about this, so last night I didn't tell him anything until almost 1 in the morning, when I'd been laying there for 3 hours unable to sleep because I was so hot. He ended up sleeping in the living room again.

This wouldn't be an issue if I was averaging more than 4 hours a night, but lately (I think it's due to a growth spurt) there's no such thing as a good night's sleep. That's actually been the case for 6 months, but it's just now taking a toll, with migraines and exhaustion. There are days I feel too tired come 6 PM, when Mirabel is also starting to get sleepy and wants to be carried around for the remainder of the evening. The other issue is work. Yes, working from home is definitely nice, but I mostly work during nap times, so I'm pretty much going, going, going all day and all night. I'm a food blogger for a company; I have my own personal food blog, but I also blog every day on another site. I cook quite a bit, that's my work. I love cooking, so I can't complain. But lately I've had to resort to cooking with a baby on my back...which is definitely not safe. So I'm looking into getting a part-time sitter to watch Mirabel while I cook so that I can sit down and take a break while she's napping.

But this isn't easy, for many reasons. Before Mirabel was born, I had my own idea of what it meant to be a successful mother. I thought I could easily balance it all without a problem. I have to be honest, when I am well-rested it all seems very doable. But the days are a lot longer and seem a lot harder when sleep-deprivation takes its toll. I've done some reading, and the doctor even suggested that I try the cry-it-out approach. But I can't do that. For Mirabel and myself, it just isn't the right thing to do. I think when she can talk I can certainly leave her alone and let her put herself back to sleep, because at that point I'll be able to reason with her a bit. But she is a very emotional/passionate baby right now, and I can see how her personality clearly changes after a bout of crying. She only cries inconsolably in the car seat; she is a very happy baby who spends more time smiling and laughing than whining and crying. That's why I don't think the cry it out method is for us.

This is why I'm willing to ask for help now. I realize now that I can't work, keep up the house, and be a mom without some help at least. I'm mad at myself for feeling guilty about this, because I know I shouldn't. A part of me feels that I should be stronger, suck it up, and just roll with the punches. But I'm struggling, and that's ok. One reason why I'm having such a hard time hiring someone is because I'm concerned about letting someone who doesn't love my child take care of my child. That sounds over-protective, but I've been hearing quite a few terrible stories about sitters who seemed legit, until the child they were caring for suddenly had to be rushed to the hospital because of something careless or heartless done to them. I know that the chances of that happening to us are slim, considering many kids (including myself) have/had sitters and are happy/healthy...but now that I have this baby that I wanted so badly, I'm finding it hard to let go. And I'm wondering if I'm just using my concerns as an excuse to not let go? I'll stop psychoanalyzing myself for now, but I'm just trying to understand where I'm coming from (funny as that sounds) because I don't make very much sense to myself these days.

But this is the reality: I'm trying to be the main breadwinner (at least until Jose graduates), the mom, and the housekeeper while waking 3-5 times a night. Eventually, something's gonna give, whether it's my health, job, or sanity...I haven't failed, I'm just a human being. Ok, I think I feel a little better after this self-talk. If you're still reading, bless your heart and thank you for hearing me out! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My little girl's growing up! Almost 6 months...

"You know you're a busy mom when you look forward to 'relaxing' on the dentist's chair while they're filling 2 cavities at once." That's how I jokingly responded to Jose when he asked how I felt about going to the dentist, a few hours before my appointment yesterday.

Of course, "relaxing" is the last word I could use to describe how I felt when I actually got to the office. I was a little nuts. The last time I left Mirabel alone was about 4 months ago, and that was just for 15 minutes. All hell broke loose, she screamed her head off and Jose had a panic attack. I wasn't worried at all about the pain from the fillings; in fact, I asked if I HAD to get Novocain shots, because I was doing everything I could to speed up the process and I figured the injections would slow it down. I know, I'm nuts. Surprisingly, they ended up giving me 4 shots, despite my efforts. And, coincidentally, the day I leave Mirabel alone with her dad is the day that they are running 1/2 hour behind. So I ended up spending 2.5 hours out of the house!

Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Mirabel had fun with her dad. I left her a little bit of milk, and...this is where it gets exciting: She DRANK out of a bottle! I kid you not. This means I might actually get to go on a date with my husband soon! For the first time in 6 months!

I have to admit, I am a little sad. Mirabel is at the age where she loves to play rough. Jose tickles her and she loves it, he bounces her on his knee, and rough-houses with her (in a baby-safe way, of course). I'm the more mellow mom. I just feed her and occasionally tickle her, and read to her, that sort of thing. But my little baby is growing up. She doesn't need her mom that much anymore. That makes me happy and sad at the same time :(.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What I wish someone would've told me

A friend posted this on Facebook. Interesting title. I had to check it out. What caught my attention was the word "success" in the same line as "breastfeeding". I'll be the first to tell you that I didn't feel very successful at all the first 6 weeks. This post is dedicated to all the soon-to-be moms who plan on breastfeeding, and moms that are scared of it, or even people who think it's strange. It's also dedicated to those who think it's completely natural (which it is), so it should come naturally and with ease.

Before I had Mirabel, I belonged to that last category. I figured it had to be easy. If kangaroos could do it without any problem, why couldn't I? But no one told me about the pain! And how it would make me jump off the couch like a kangaroo! The similarities end there; I certainly couldn't breastfeed as easily as one! For some it isn't so bad, for me it was horrendous. I think that's an understatement. I didn't post the entire experience on here, because I didn't want to just focus on how bad it was. But now that I'm over that hump, I'll explain all the obstacles. I honestly feel like I can do anything now!

If you're not a fan of TMI, then don't read on. You can't say I didn't warn you! But I have no problem discussing this openly. In fact, I wish more people had discussed it with me this openly beforehand, so I'd know what to expect... Books just weren't enough.

Chapter I: Oh, Colostrum!
I remember it. Thick and almost syrupy, but more opaque. It can cure any ailment, right?! ;) I remember only pumping 2 ounces and being oh-so proud! I was shocked that my body could even produce anything. I made sure none of it went to waste; I worked hard for every single drop!

And that massive breastpump. I have to be honest, it intimidated me. The plastic from the shileds irritated me so much that I had to lather them in lanolin and wrap tissues around myself before using it! I can look back and laugh now. I still pronounce Medela wrong, probably from the trauma ;).

Now on to the story...

Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to feed Mirabel right after she was born because they whisked her away to the NICU. I was sad, but I figured I'd be able to feed her later that day. I was wrong. Because she wasn't breathing very well on her own, they said I wouldn't be allowed to feed her at all that day :*(. Poor little 6 pound tiny baby wasn't allowed to eat, and my body wasn't making very much anyway. So from the beginning, it was a struggle.

Finally the second day I was allowed to feed her. But the nurses had already given her formula. I was bothered at first, then I was told she had jaundice so they had to push fluids. At that point I thought she would inevitably be a formula fed baby, because I still wasn't producing milk and the baby needed fluids and food. She was so tiny and looked so helpless, I just wanted her to eat. Again, I felt like a failure.

Let me just pause here to say this: If you formula fed/formula feed your baby, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. Your baby will still be a genius! I know many grown adults who were formula fed and scored much higher on the SAT than I did, and I was breastfed until age 2 ;).

Also, a lot of breastfeeding moms use formula at one point or another. I supplemented quite a bit in the beginning, because I would literally cry from the pain of breastfeeding. The only reason why I didn't give up was for personal reasons. The pain was an obstacle I was determined to overcome. Anyhow, everyone has their reasons, so please don't see this as a condescending post from another breastfeeding warrior. I understand. Been there, done that. And yes, I did take home the free formula from the hospital, and I even happily accepted the formula that the doctor gave me later on. Not ashamed.

One thing I've learned is that pain thresholds differ from person to person. For instance, I thought I was going to have a drug-free labor/delivery. I didn't. AT ALL. And guess what? I don't regret that in the least bit. After 21 hours of labor and 2 tears, I'm glad I got that dang needle in my back. In fact, I plan on asking for it as soon as possible, when the second one comes around. Mirabel is fine and so am I.

Then again, some women are able to birth their children without an epidural. I'm very happy for them. My mom did it with me and she was in labor for days. I don't know how she did it; I've come to conclude that it's possible my mom can tolerate pain better than I can. That doesn't make any of us inferior, it makes us individuals.

And for the record, I did try. I bought a $150 Hypnobabies CD, for Pete's sake. Every.Single.Day I practiced my hypnosis techniques. I devoted an hour to it on a daily basis, no lie. But when the time came for this baby to come out, self-hypnosis just wasn't enough. I didn't even feel the needle go into my back at all. The epidural only worked on half of my body and they didn't give it to me until the last 45 minutes (because my doctor was terrible), but I'm still glad I got it. I actually got to enjoy pushing Mirabel out. Maybe enjoy isn't the word, since I felt like puking pretty badly, but at least I wasn't in pain!

Chapter II: I wish they made epidural for THIS kind of pain...
I have to agree with one of the doctors I met with after I had Mirabel when she said that next to childbirth, breastfeeding can cause some of the worst physical pain a woman will experience. I went back to see that doctor 3 times. Each time for a different prescription for the pain. No, not pain meds, let me explain. Because Mirabel and I had to be on 2 doses of antibiotics before leaving the hospital, I was convinced yeast was the culprit. Who knew you could get a yeast infection up there? You can. After taking a dose of diflucan and still experiencing quite a bit of pain, I knew that wasn't it. Then the doc told me that I might have an infection, maybe mastitis, but I didn't have a fever. Then she said it could be MRSA and a yeast infection. Goodie. I made an appointment with an infectious diseases doctor, and later canceled because I decided that the doc was as clueless as I was.

I then spoke with 3 different lactation consultants. They all were convinced it was a latching issue, until I showed them my skillz :D. Then they thought Mirabel was tongue-tied, but that wasn't it. Then they thought I had raynauds! I knew it wasn't that, so I returned the $250 breast pump I purchased and bought another one, because I thought maybe the suction was too strong. Gosh, folks, the list really goes on from there. That list grew and grew for six weeks, until one day I happened to notice that I was no longer cringing during Mirabel's feeds! One of the best days of my life!

Chapter III: What does THIS little (or not so little) GIRL EAT?!!
I said goodbye to the formula. Eventually the breastpump found a home under my bed, and it's covered in dust now because I don't use it much these days. And that lovely nurse from a certain breastfeeding league who rudely chided me, then told me that my supply would go down because I was supplementing with formula? To her I say this: My daughter is in the 95th percentile for height and weight. She is bigger than all the babies her age that I've met so far. People actually ask me what I feed her. I smile, knowing the long story behind my breastfeeding experience, and I just say...MILK. My MILK. I feel like a superhero, people. I feel so good that my body can produce enough milk to feed my gentle giant of a baby! :) I call her Cuddles for a reason. I'm so glad I stuck to it!

Stick to it if you can! If you can't, don't feel bad. Breastfeeding, next to childbirth, is the hardest thing I've ever done. Even though I gave my daughter formula and took home the stash that they gave me at the hospital, I still consider our story a successful one--even if others don't.

Eating-posted for family :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Creativity and motherhood

This time last year, I was busy crafting away, crocheting this and that--preparing for the little one's arrival. Things are quite different this year. My hands are usually pretty occupied holding a little girl; tickling her pudgy feet; twirling her hair between my fingers; mixing up baby cereal in a little purple bowl with a matching purple spoon. I haven't touched my sewing machine in ages. I HAVE been scrapbooking, though (but, of course, I'm only scrapbooking pictures of little M these days :).

I've never enjoyed sitting still. Usually my hands are busy doing one thing or another, I think this is why I have so many blogs! It seems my daughter has taken after me in this area; she doesn't like sitting still either, or sitting down. In fact, most of the time she'd rather be standing. She has, somehow, learned how to scootch out of her bouncer, and she stiffens her legs/protests when I try to get her to sit, or when I sit while I'm holding her. This has made life quite exciting. I purchased an Ergo recently, and I have to say, it has saved my back/shoulders! She is over 20 pounds, so it was getting tough lugging her around in the sling and even the bjorn. So now you'll find me mixing flours in a bowl, in the kitchen, with little M on my back. She loves it. So long as she has something exciting to look at and I'm not standing still for too long. She's especially entertained when I dance to Christmas music while I'm preparing my baked goods, with her on my back. I walked around the mall with her like this for 3 hours!!! 3 hours!!! My calves are going to be humongous by the time she is one!

Anyway, I digress... so, as I was saying, most of the time I'm doing something with the little one. We still aren't sleeping very well, as she's starting to wake up at random hours and talk to herself, or kick me in the back when I've surrendered and let her sleep next to me. She's been a little grumpier during the daytime because of the lack of sleep, but she's becoming a better napper, which is definitely a good thing (she is not a happy baby at all when she is tired!). And when she is napping, I get a small break. I should probably take Jose's advice and nap but, of course, there are better things to do--like blog! (See where she gets her high-energy levels from! ;)

Most of the time I'm too tired to get out the craft materials and crochet/sew something exciting. I still cook because it's part of my job (...and we'd go hungry because my hubby doesn't much care for the kitchen). But other than that, I spend my "free time" just sitting down. Enjoying the silence. Blogging, even, just to get my thoughts and feelings organized.

So here I am again. Thinking and not sleeping. And it's occurred to me that even though I'm not actually crafting like before, I kind of am. I've found that motherhood requires quite a bit of creativity. Learning how to recognize the differences in tone in your child's cries, and how they relate to their different needs, requires paying serious attention to the details. Like sewing a purse, and not forgetting to back stitch (I've forgotten before!); it will fall apart if you fail to complete that simple step. And so it is with my child, or any other child for that matter. If I forget that she doesn't like being held a certain way, she will let me and the neighbors know! Such a simple thing makes such a big difference. Like the old saying goes, or at least I think it goes something like this, life is just a bunch of tiny moments sewn together. And each moment is significant. I realize that now more than ever.

Yesterday on our walk, Jose and I were talking about how significant the little things really are. Like changing diapers. I can't go out and save the world right now, because I'm occupied here at home, raising a child. Though some might view that task as a rather unimportant one, to them I say this: It ALL starts here. I get to change diapers; I am the lucky one. Not only because I never thought I'd get to change my own child's diapers, but because I get to spend that time with her. I know this doesn't make me better than anyone else, but I just want to say that it certainly counts. After a really long day, when we're both feeling icky and she smells like milk and cheese (Haha! The staple baby smell, I think), we both look forward to bath time. She relaxes in the warm water, kicks her feet around (soaking me, and by this point I'm probably already soaked with pee--since it seems she loves to pee when we're running from the changing table to the sink, where I bathe her)...she's giggling the whole time. Smile on her face says it all, as I use the washcloth to remove the little balls of lint from her little pudge creases... Yep, VISA, that is what I'd consider priceless. A moment that I can't scrapbook, or edit, or erase, like drawing a picture with a permanent marker. It's there, in time, existing as one of the best moments of my life. She may not remember that particular bath, but it's moments like these that are forming her unique collection of memories belonging to a past worth remembering: a happy childhood. And isn't that what so many unhappy adults are missing? Imagine how much better things would be if everyone had one. That's how I know this is my best [craft] project yet.

But I can't end this post without admitting my own personal gain from these experiences. Someone already said it better than I can...
The soul is healed by being with children.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why we haven't been sleeping very well

These sprouted the week before last, both in the same week! Finally got her to give me a nice big toothy grin :D.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Now and Then

As I'm writing this post, I'm listening to baby M (she'll be referred to as that from now on ;) babble in her crib, in the room next door. I guess saying "room next door" makes it sound like we live in a place with multiple bedrooms. Don't be deceived by the lingo, our place is a little bigger than a walk-in closet. Still, I'm content with where I'm at. Also as I write this, I really really need to use the restroom, but I realize that my free time only exists when baby M is either asleep or in a good mood. But, again, don't let yourselves be deceived by that last statement; it's not meant to be received as a complaint, I am more than ok with not having much free time.

So what is this post all about? A few days ago I got a random email from blogger letting me know that my old blog received a spam comment. Funny thing is, I completely forgot about that blog. But part of the reason why I love blogging so much is that you can document your life in stages. That blog contains posts that document one of the toughest stages in my life yet. It was my pre-celiac-diagnosis blog. Gosh, there are some really sad posts in there. Not sad in the sense that I was balling my eyes out while writing the posts, but sad because I can't forget how I was physically feeling when I wrote most of those posts. I started that blog right before Jose and I got married, and stopped writing posts shortly after we got married. I was so sick that I was having a hard time working. I also had my gallbladder removed around that time, and the thought of having a child seemed like an impossible one. I knew about the PCOS, but I was more afraid of not being able to even carry a child if I somehow miraculously conceived, because I was so ill.

So here is the blog, it's called Woven With Words. I was just starting to post recipes online before ending that blog, and, as you can see, they are not gluten-free. Yep, changing my diet really did change my life for the better. I'm not spending more time in the bathroom than in other places, for one; definitely a major improvement.

Anyhow, there are other things I noticed when re-visiting that blog. At that point, we weren't sure where we were going to end up (we hadn't received all of Jose's law school acceptance letters), and we were so strapped for cash because I was only working part-time. AND, as I already mentioned, even keeping the part-time jobs was tough. We also had a lemon for a car; never buy a VW Passat. Ours had an engine that constantly had issues because it would fill with sludge; we eventually learned that that particular model had issues.

Reading the posts on that blog really, really brought to light how blessed we are these days. We have a cute, squishy little girl who greets us with a smile (and 5 pound dirty diaper :P) every morning. We've been married for almost 3 years now, and we're celebrating 5 years of togetherness this coming November. I, thankfully, have a secure job with flexible hours that allows me to work from home (total blessing at this point in my life). And I AM NOT IN PAIN ALL THE TIME! I cannot tell you how depressing it is to be in chronic pain. It's like you just can't see any glimmer of hope, because doctors don't have the answers. Thankfully, I finally came across a doctor that did have some answers.

If anyone struggling here today randomly happened to stumble upon this blog and this particular post, I'm going to tell you something: It does get better! No, sometimes not the way you want it to, or in the timing you would like, but gradually. Hanging onto hope and getting by a few prayers at a time are the way to make it. Thankfully, my diagnosis wasn't that bad--celiac disease is treatable, but even if you're struggling with something that doesn't have a quick fix or easy diagnosis...miracles do happen. I know it sounds cheesy, but the little girl I was referring to at the beginning of this post is my biggest miracle yet. Hang in there and know that you are not alone!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Farm Living is the Life for Me ;)...

image from here

When Mirabel was having some digestive issues awhile ago, I started drinking goat milk, eating goat cheese and baking with goat butter. I didn't notice a difference at all, then I started noticing things got worse when I ate nuts. So I started drinking cow's milk again and things didn't change at all, until I just stopped eating nuts. I've been nut free for over a month and she is better! Who would've thought?!

It was tough being cow's-milk free, but there was one nice thing about it. I discovered that I looove chevre! It is so delicious. It's kind of like cream cheese but more yogurt like in flavor, or more cream cheesy in taste. I also like goat milk, in general. Goat yogurt is pretty tasty too. At first, the thought of drinking goat milk kind of weirded me out, but then I thought about it. That's when it occurred to me, "hey, goats are cuter than cows!". I know, not a very enlightening thought. But goat milk is awesome because it's easier to digest than cow's milk, and it is actually pretty close to human milk.

So that got me thinking. Jose and I have talked about (on an off/on basis) having a farm. Living a bit outside of the city and raising a few animals. Not a large farm. Jose really likes this idea. In fact, I once asked him what his dream job would be and he said that he'd love to be a farmer. We are both pretty ignorant to farm life, but he really enjoyed working on his garden in high school. Me? Well, I just enjoy eating the stuff that comes out of the ground ;). So I'd be happy to cook whatever he grew. And I'd love to have a goat farm and produce goat milk and goat cheese! Wouldn't that be so cool?! I know, it's late, it's been a looong week, and I haven't had much sleep these last few nights, but it's a fun thought! Had some friends over this evening and one of them grew up in a family that owned a goat farm, that's what got me thinking about I'm not totally crazy ;).

And isn't that little goat so cute??

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A quick note

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." -Lao Tzu

Stealing that quote from a friend. I don't know why, but reading it just now (in the dark with Mirabel asleep) - it makes so much sense. Yep, now more than ever. There are no words to describe how I feel about the little girl sleeping in the room across the apartment. I recently told Jose that even on my roughest days, it's never truly that bad, because I get to see her smile and laugh (and that changes EVERYTHING).

I am such a weenie. Before, when I'd hear a creak in the house, I'd freeze in my tracks. I refused to go see what the problem was. Now I respond in an instant. Anything that makes me think even just a little bit that my child is in danger gets a quick response out of me.

I always figured that becoming a parent would be a life changing event. I have to say that the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would do anything to keep that child safe from harm. I guess I just never knew that it would happen instantly. It isn't a progressive thing at all. The minute I saw the second line show up on the pregnancy test, without even thinking, I started coming last. The interesting thing is, it doesn't even feel like self-sacrifice. I can't imagine myself existing any other way. Does that make sense?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

terrible no good very bad day

Ever have one of THOSE days?
It's been more of a week for me...
So this morning I walked outside and saw that the front passenger window of my 6 month old car was completely broken. Someone lovely broke in and stole our GPS. Thankfully our insurance covered the window, but not the scratches left behind on the door or the GPS. This is what happens when you leave your GPS in the front window and can't afford a $1000 garage parking space in Boston.

I got a call back from the Audiology department this week. This is actually good news, but I haven't shared the bad news. The reason why I have to go in the first place is because Mirabel failed her hearing test TWICE in her left ear. The second test they did showed that she cannot pick up certain tones in her left ear. So the doctor says there is a good chance she is partially deaf in that ear. This is very sad, but thankfully she has some hearing and has enough to talk/babble. Our insurance will not pay for the $2000 hearing aid though.

The little girl is having major sleep issues. She is waking up 2-4 times a night and sometimes she'll wake up very, very early and just talk to herself. The good news is she actually isn't screaming her head off, but unfortunately she is always hungry and will eat like she's ravished. I'm thinking it's because my milk isn't enough anymore? But she only eats every 1.5 hours at most. And the thing is, she isn't eating for long periods. She gets very, very maybe she's just making up for it at night?

I really really need to count my blessings more these days!!! It's been rough...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Almost 5 months

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Like pulling off a bandaid

Last night, as I was making my usual rounds on Facebook :D, I came across this article rather indirectly. A few of my friends recently became fans of the blog, so I was curious to find out why. I skimmed the post titles until that one stopped me in my tracks. Broken and child in the same sentence--I knew it was going to be a tear jerker but decided to read it anyway.

I've had a couple of conversations with different folks throughout my life about childhood. Their childhoods, my childhood--all very different, and yet pretty similar in some respects. All of us wanted acceptance and stability. Basic needs that are rarely met these days, or so it seems. And before the conversation with these folks comes to an end, I usually say the same thing: "Dysfunctional adults are just hurt children." It sounds like such a hopeless statement, like an excuse for the vicious cycles of abuse and unhappiness to continue, huh?

But it doesn't end there, or at least it doesn't have to.

I later stumbled upon this article. The need to appear perfect--I agree that's a disease many of us suffer from.

It seems that as hurt adults, we only have one characteristic that distinguishes us from the children we once were. What's that? We've learned how to keep our bandaids on permanently. Anger, depression, or knowing how to perfectly appear perfect replace Johnson and Johnson in our world of invisible emotional bandaids. When a bandaid's been on for this long, it really hurts to tear it off. It almost become a part of our identity. But healing can only happen when it comes off. When the raw wound is exposed, healing begins.

I don't know about anyone else, but I make excuses to leave the bandaid on. What if it gets worse, and I have an even bigger infection to deal with? What if others judge me? Let's say I admit to struggling with a need to appear perfect, and I admit my struggles, but I'm still criticized for those struggles. Then I'll want to put the bandaid back on. If anger is my bandaid, what will be my defense mechanism when I take it off, if I'm judged for revealing who I am?

I am aware that there is a healer who will not judge me. He sees the bandaids and the wounds beneath them. But I'm just beginning to understand that fully. I can't imagine taking off the bandages without being able to trust that healing will come, and that I will be accepted for who I am.

I understand that many can't or don't want to view God as their healer precisely because they feel he will judge them, or because, sadly, his supposed "followers" have judged them already. But this is the truth: God will not judge because he, above everyone, knows that the bandaid isn't you, and that the wound beneath the bandaid was inflicted by someone who was also hurting. It's encouraging to know that when God sees us, he acknowledges the wounds and bandages, but he also sees our potential.

Why? Because when he sees us, he sees perfection; a new creation. There is a reason for this: It was by Christ's wounds, the ones he received in love by those who could not love, that we are able to experience healing in the first place.

Fully comprehending that is a life long process. I still have my fair share of bandaids. Ironically, many of those have to do with not having a father in my life, but I would have many more had I not known my spiritual one.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Now this is one strong mom! Read this and this.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My favorite animal

...well, one of my favorites :).

I recently started using one of those baby ring slings, and have to say that a simple piece of fabric has saved my life! Or just my arms ;). Mirabel likes it because it's not as constraining as other carriers, and she out grew her other carrier. I tried the beco butterfly and was thinking of getting an ergo but she can't stand being that tied up. The ring sling allows her to be more free...and I sometimes think she looks like a baby koala when I carry her around in it...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More to learn

Fall is finally rolling in. This afternoon we went for a walk and I was still cold, in spite of wearing a heavy sweater and pants. But it was a refreshing kind of cold. The breeze was just right; a little more sunshine would've been nice, but I'm trying to focus on the positive :).

These past couple of years that we've lived in Boston, I've been a bit of a hermit. Most of the time, Jose and I just spent time together on the weekends, and I'd usually busy myself with crafts when I wasn't working. But now I'm feeling the need to be more social, or maybe I'm just noticing that engaging more with the outside world really is an important part of having a healthy and balanced life.

As soon as we got back to Boston, I jumped on my computer and searched for local mom meet-ups. So I've been going from one meeting to the next, hoping to find a group that I feel I can "belong" to. I'm still lookin'. It's interesting how there are so many of these groups set up to help moms feel like they can still socialize with adults while caring for their little ones.

At one of the meetings, hosted by a doula and lactation consultant, one of the leaders mentioned that they initially set up their specific mom group to help mothers feel like they can reach out to their community to get support. She also said that things are a bit different now compared to when she was a young mom, because more families are separated by miles and neighborhoods are usually empty during the week, since many parents work. I could relate to the first observation she mentioned. We are definitely miles away from family. As far as the second thing she mentioned...well, where we live, we are surrounded by grad students. Their bedtimes are usually still in the very early AM hours, as opposed to 10 PM.

So you can see my reasons for wanting to meet other moms: all of us coming together for similar reasons. You'd think that we'd find some common ground, right? Hmmm... though everyone was pretty friendly, and most of the moms have similar issues that they're dealing with, I still notice that more common ground is required for friendships to form. I know that's pretty obvious...

...But I guess I was hoping that our coming together for the same reasons would be enough. We all want to feel like we're in this together, and that we support each other-since most of our families are far away. We could be pseudo aunts for each other's kids maybe? Oh, if only it were that ideal. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I have to admit that community just doesn't provide for me what extended family and sincere friendships can. Those friendships can certainly blossom out of these one-hour-a-week interactions, but it seems a little forced sometimes... and I'm remembering again why it is I have/had my hermit tendencies, and why I never really liked/got involved in "groupy" type of activities in the past...

Sometimes I just don't feel like doing the "hi, how are you? I'm from blah blah blah" thing. That's what I love about having family and real friends. Then I laugh because I realize that all friendships begin with these simple conversations. Still, friendships are the best when they happen unexpectedly. When you casually come across someone interesting and just so happen to effortlessly strike up a conversation with them--yes, it's a pleasant surprise and you actually feel refreshed after that initial meeting, instead of drained...

That's it, I think I've figured it out now!

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a room filled with the people that make you you? Or when you're surrounded by the familiar folks that see you and love that person anyway? Yes, that's what I miss. Not having to try. I miss it even more now as a mom, because I'm realizing how important that sense of security is in raising a child. Jose and I can definitely provide love and security for Mirabel, there is no doubt about that, but she deserves that and more. I know some folks say that it takes parents to raise a child, where others would say it takes a village. I believe it takes both, but unfortunately my village is scattered throughout the US. I know I can invite others in, but when you first have a's nice to already be surrounded by that special group of people, instead of having to go out and find them all over again.

To end this on a positive here in Boston these past 2 plus years has really taught me to appreciate my relationships a lot more. We'll be going back to Texas in just a few months, and thankfully that's where Mirabel's grandparents live :). I'm just thankful that we will be going back, we won't always be just the new mom and baby at the meet-up group.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Watching our bunny grow

...been doing some of this lately. What I like about digi scrapbooking is that there isn't a mess to clean up afterward :)!
images from here

Monday, September 6, 2010

1 year ago today

I found out that this little bitty below was going to be mine :)...
and here she is at almost 4 months.

Friday, September 3, 2010


If you love fish, you'll love Gloucester. It's a fairly small town right along the Atlantic, with a few beaches and plenty of fish restaurants, including my new favorite: Lobsta Land! I can't decide whether I like it more because of the name or the actual fish they serve ;). We visited about two weekends ago and I inhaled the cod. So good, so fresh. No fishy taste whatsoever. I ordered it without the butter sauce and it was still delicious, with just a little lemon and salt.

...these two lobstas got away, and the one in the background was attempting to escape too, I think ;).

After visiting Lobsta Land, we stopped by a castle built by the guy who invented the remote control (with all that money, he had to invent something a castle, of course :P). It was gorgeous. Amazing ocean views. Check out the photos from our trip below...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A busy life

Looking at Mirabel, you wouldn't guess that something was/is wrong. She even had the nurses fooled with her smiles and grins. But 2 days ago, things started looking a little her diaper. Streaks of red were appearing in every single diaper. Worried, I called the doctor and explained to her that Mirabel had recently taken antibiotics, and I was concerned that the meds might be the culprit. So we went in and the doctor, upon examining her and feeling her belly, was convinced it was related to a milk protein allergy. So I went off cow's milk about 2 days ago. The doctor said goat's milk was ok, so I replaced cow's milk with goat's milk.

Yesterday was fine, no blood streaks in her BM. Then I started noticing flecks/streaks of red again today, followed by a small clot in her post-lunch diaper. That, on top of the fact that she was producing dirty diapers after every single feeding, had me very concerned. So we went to Children's Hospital Boston; I wanted an answer right away.

We just got back. The children's hospital doc said the same thing. I brought up the antibiotic thing, and that I was concerned Mirabel might have C.Diff from taking Amox., but the doctor examined the soiled diaper and said it looked like a textbook case of milk protein allergy. She said that since Mirabel has no other symptoms, and that she's in the age group when food allergies become an issue, she's convinced Mirabel has a milk protein allergy. The doc also said that Mirabel could outgrow this, but she might also have a stronger allergy to milk protein that she doesn't outgrow. She also mentioned that Mirabel might've already been developing it and that the antibiotic just made it show up faster because of the change in gut bacteria. Time will tell. For now, I'm just supposed to be on diaper watch...which I definitely will be.

We were taking a walk at a nearby park when I stopped to change her diaper; that's when I saw the clot. I immediately started to freak out. In my mind I imagined all these horrible things, including losing her. Then I realized that the worst kind of suffering isn't our own physical suffering, but seeing others we love suffer and not being able to do anything about it. Jose saw that I was really bothered by it, and he reminded me to say a prayer for her. I did, but that didn't stop my heart from hurting. The kind of love I have for this baby is beyond measure, and I know many moms feel that way. It is the most amazing and scary thing. Seeing her suffer, or even thinking about it literally causes me more pain than anything else.

Then I realized that's exactly what God did for us. He let his son suffer for us. Being a mom has opened my eyes to God's perfect love in a whole new way. That's part of what makes having that title, "mom", such a blessing...

Then I think about my mom; I understand her love for me more as well. She was so overprotective of me growing up, and I was always so annoyed by it. But now it makes more sense than ever :). My grandma has also been a worry-wort throughout my life...and I'm sure her mom was the same way. Mom, grandma and great-grandma. Such noble titles, and each one carries more beauty and responsibility than the last, at least I think so.

About a week ago, my great-grandma passed away; Mirabel's great-great grandma, if you can believe it! She was going on 99 years old this coming January. People said she was always kind to everyone, she had a warm heart and positive attitude toward life. She had 15 children and lost one of them. Many years ago, my grandmother also lost a child. These women have come face to face with the worst kind of pain, and yet they lived on loving and giving...and, thankfully, my grandmother is still here to share her heart with Mirabel. I only hope that when I'm their age, I'm half as loving and giving no matter what kind of loss I've faced...even if it's the loss of one of my children.

Of course, I'm not thinking about that right now...but walking out of the hospital I saw a mother pushing her child in a stroller. It wasn't a baby who was crying after a long day, not even a toddler who would rather be walking alongside his mother, but a child who had every reason to cry and who probably wanted to walk alongside his mom... but couldn't. He had cancer. Let me tell you, in that moment that mom was the strongest woman in the world.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The plane ride back to Boston...

Was an unbelievably easy one! Oh my goodness, I could not believe my ears...pure silence the whole 3.5 hours we were on the plane. Of course, the fact that all Mirabel wanted to do for 3/4 of the trip was eat and sleep did help...but I was shocked that she was awake during the landing/elevation changes and didn't shed a tear! The only thing she did to attract attention to herself was burp really loudly at the end of the flight :). She then proceeded to grin at everyone who laughed at her impressive belching abilities. My mom purchased some homeopathic pills to calm her and we gave her a few before the flight, I wonder if that had anything to do with it? Either way, I was a happy mommy. I was even surprised that she slept the whole night without a problem, the nap and change in scenery didn't seem to bother her.

My little jet setter is growing up so fast. Today, I placed her changing pad on the bed (because we don't have her changing table set up here yet) and for just a moment I turned away to grab her diaper/wipes. When I turned back, her head was hanging off the pad! Thankfully, the changing pad was on the middle of the bed. She literally scooted herself from the center of the changing pad to the very edge! I put her back and while I was changing her she kept doing it! Basically, while she's resting on her back, she digs her heels into each side of the changing pad and then pushes up, like frogs do when they jump from one place to the other. It's like a new form of crawling :D! I'm definitely gonna have to keep my eye on her at all times now, she hasn't done this while on the bed yet but I won't be surprised if she gives it a try's so funny because she had a smile on her face while she was doing it. She hates being still. In fact, sometimes she just cries because she wants us to walk around with her. I know she's gonna be one of those kiddos who runs all over the place...and I have a feeling, as soon as she starts to walk, she isn't gonna be so quiet on the airplane anymore ;).

Thursday, August 12, 2010


In my family, it's tradition for little girls to get their ears pierced. Believe me, it wasn't easy to watch :(, but she is happy now...and lookin' cute with her little studs :D.

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