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.


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