Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quick Update

...quick because I am forcing myself to take naps these days. It really helps!

Anyhow, I went to the doctor for 2 blood tests on two different days. Hormones were supposed to have doubled in 48 hours in that timeframe and they more than quadrupled, so we're kinda safe...for now. The appointment for detecting a heartbeat is set for January 31st at 10:45, I think (I didn't write it down, was carrying a fussy toddler when the doctor called).

I'm feeling pretty great, but I'm only 4 weeks. Hoping it stays this way :).

My family is coming into town for Christmas. I couldn't resist and told my mom about the pregnancy. We're waiting to tell Jose's family on Christmas day, though. (I'm bad at keeping secrets like this...)

In other news, my brother really wanted a snowglobe for Christmas with his favorite animals in it. I searched all over the net and couldn't find one...so here's one I whipped together following a few tips from Martha and also this lovely blogger's tutorial/tips.

Just wanted to share because, among all the excitement/hustle and bustle of daily living, there have also been some creative adventures.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Early Christmas Gift: AKA PREGGGGGGGO



...and birthday present. The baby will be due a few days before my birthday!!!!!!!!!

And it happened on the first try.

I promise this is the last pee stick you'll see in awhile ;).

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In case you were wondering...and a clarification of how OPKs work

So apparently the line on an OPK needs to be just as dark as the control line to be considered positive (a true LH surge which comes a day or so before the big O). The female body always produces LH, which is why a fine line commonly shows up on these tests.

I've been paying really close attention to everything my body does, in an effort to conceive without medical intervention. This is why I bought about 50 of these ovulation predictors :P.

Well, I had a feeling this would happen sometime this week, based on how I felt throughout the week. I am not temping, but I am reading the same signals I read/used when I got pregnant with Mirabel.

Thankfully, I was right. This is [finally] a positive test. Maybe in 2 1/2 weeks I'll see another positive test? :)

It's nice to know things are working as they should. Which is a complete blessing, considering my body has never been normal in the reproductive department.

Wow! It just occurred to me how awesome it would be to get pregnant that easily! And to think that's how it happens to most people.

Yes, I realize this is a lot of personal info for the average everyday blog about life, but this is what makes my life exciting. :D

Monday, November 21, 2011

OMG OMG OMG


My body might actually be working on its own folks!!!!! This is an ovulation test, not a pregnancy test... I'm so excited. Had to share here since I have some fellow PCOSers that read this blog! This is so exciting. I hope I'm not getting too excited over nothin'. It's a FRER. (Taken with my phone. Sorry it's blurry.)
NO MEDS, people!!!!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What I want for Christmas :)...


These are actually old photos, but at least I'm ahead of the game with a Christmas theme. These past few weeks have been interesting. Mirabel and I took turns getting pretty sick. The last sickness rendered me pretty useless as a mom for about a day. I actually had to wean her during the daytime because of a medicine I had to take. It was rough the first few days, but she's doing great now, and she doesn't even request a nursing session during her naptime! It's great. She's even sleeping better at night, as if she's realizing that she doesn't need to nurse to sleep. Last night was a little different, but I think it's because we had quite a few guests over late into the night for a Thanksgiving party (I believe the sleep issues had to do with over-stimulation).

She's starting to express herself a lot more. During the weaning week, it seemed she was having quite a few of these expressive moments, aka tantrums. I wasn't sure what to do. I felt like I was doing something wrong. After a bit of reading and praying, I realized that it wasn't that big of a deal, and that I just needed to tweak a few things here and there. I've learned not to take her bad days personally. Also, sometimes these meltdowns are just a result of needing to be held more (since I'm not nursing her, and she's always been very attached). So having more cuddle time during the day has helped. Also, she understands a lot more than I used to think. I have conversations with her during the meltdowns. It actually helps. I've even been able to talk her thru the screaming sessions in the cart, at the store. I explain to her that she needs to sit in the cart for awhile, and that she can get out in a few minutes. She understands, I think. But then she starts to scream again after 20 or so minutes of grocery shopping. Then I ask her to please say "out" and if she's able to communicate that to me without screaming, I give her a little break. SO far this is working, it might change today though ;). Just trying to keep up with all the changes. This is the most interesting developmental phase yet. We're still working on sharing. That's a little tougher...

And maybe it wouldn't be so tough if she actually had a sibling. Which brings me to the second major topic of the month: pregnancy. Nope, I am not pregnant. Not even close. I don't even know if anything is working. No sign of fertility; the clock isn't even ticking. This is why I have an appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist scheduled for December 13th. I'm a little excited, but also not looking forward to riding the infertility roller coaster once again. Hoping for a second miracle. Clomid didn't work that first time. I'm not sure what's next. I'm also a bit hesitant to use the stronger stuff, after hearing the correlation between drugs that raise estrogen levels and breast cancer. Adoption is always an option, too. I would like to have one more, though, then adopt. But God's plans might be a bit different, which is why I'm trying to keep him in the picture (instead of trying to plan EVERYTHING).

Oh, and Jose passed the bar! He's already been working for a few months, but it seems that ever since we found out the news he's had to work nearly 12 hours a day and even on weekends! Glad he has a job, though, which is another reason why we feel it's a good time to have another one!



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So TRUE


Just found this on Facebook. Took the words right out of my mouth.

Being a mom is the best and most difficult job. I love doing it and am so glad that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my little girl. She keeps me on my toes, but I like ballet :).


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friendships

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't yet met. -Yeats

Relationships inevitably evolve with time. But I had no idea that the way we form relationships can also change as we change. I care more about what I should and less about what I shouldn't, to put it simply. Acknowledging that people's judgements stem from their own insecurities has helped. But realizing that most people are looking for sincere friendships (or needing them) has influenced my interactions with new acquaintances even more.

We can assume that our neighbor doesn't say hello because they don't like us. But that's cynical. Maybe they're just really shy. (I'm slowly learning to give people the benefit of the doubt.)

I assumed this about a neighbor once. Then I decided to randomly, and rather loudly ;), strike up a conversation from across the street because I stopped caring about what they could offer me. Thankfully, it worked. It turns out that neighbor is kind and just reserved.

Then I wonder what other relationships I might be missing out on as a result of my negative assumptions and selfish expectations.

Though this isn't completely enlightening, I'm learning that I need to be the friend I'd want, and without the favoritism. But it goes beyond that. Being only that kind of friend would be selfish. True friendship is grounded in sacrifice. Putting someone else's needs before our own; loving like God loves us.

If someone lonely is struggling spiritually and they aren't able to be the kind of friend that I want, who am I to keep my friendship from them just because they cannot uplift me? Respect in friendships is a must, yes. But not being someone's friend simply because they don't meet your expectations of what a great/spiritually uplifting/well-rounded "kindred spirit" should be doesn't mean they don't have the potential, or even the need for that kind friendship from you.

John 15:13 There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friend.

I'm finding that verse applies to more than our physical life. It also applies to our daily interactions with strangers/potential friends.

Friendship is the ministry we are all called to. It doesn't require a PhD or red cape.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mad Hatter Meets Pee Wee Herman ;)

AKA My latest furniture re-do
Formerly an old blue dresser that wasn't
primed (so the
wood showed thru). Initially bought it back in Boston for $40. Transformed with extra fabric (I have too much fabric that I never know what to do with because I don't sew very well :P).
The letters were purchased for $0.98 at Hobby Lobby. Pretty inexpensive to re-do. Cheaper than buying a new dresser.
If you see green along the top edges of two drawers, it's because I didn't make the fabric cuts long enough (and I didn't cut the fabric straight enough :P, so I used green lace to hide the evidence.
I also learned that pinking shears are the best thing to use if you don't want to use anti-fray glue (or you're too lazy to look for it, if you do have it) <---- I'm guilty ;). I have a good excuse for that: most of this project was rushed and done at around 6 AM or during naptime.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Never stop learning

My daughter is one of the best teachers I've ever had. I love how she doesn't care what anyone else thinks. She will not hide her feelings; she is honest. She knows how to use her vocal cords. And of course, she is only 1.

Before becoming a mom, I had no idea that children were born with certain personalities. I thought a child's character could be 100% molded by their parents. That isn't the case. God gives them a soul, and our job as parents is to smooth out the rough edges; it's an honor given to us by an artist who knows what he's doing.

Having a baby really is like opening a priceless Christmas present. I love the gift God blessed me with. And he knew exactly the kind of kiddo I'd need to become a better person, not just a good mom.

If you would've told me that I wouldn't sleep thru an entire night for 16 months straight, I would've freaked out. I would've started trying to PLAN (which I have a tendency of over-doing). I would've said that I couldn't do it. Wow, would I have been wrong.

I'm no supermom. Jose and I tried a couple of different sleep-training approaches. We thought it might be time to do a little "cry it out". We'd go back in and check on Mirabel after a few minutes, or he would. I tried just not nursing her and staying with her, but that resulted in 45 minutes of crying and refusing to sleep for another hour even after giving in. Then we agreed that it'd be best if Jose attempt the sleep training, since he doesn't have any milk :) (maybe she wouldn't be reminded of what she's missing?). I trusted that Jose would do the right thing, and we both prayerfully approached this. Mirabel is our first and we really want to give her our best, and we never want her to feel insecurely attached. So with that, we let her cry for a little. I could hear her on the monitor. I couldn't take it, so I just prayed and stayed in the room while Jose went in to console her before he left for a few more minutes. After a few minutes of this, he decided to stop. I didn't blame him. He said she was shaking, the way she was shaking in a terrified way while we were on the subway in Boston.

We've learned that our kid has different cries. She has a tantrum cry, a tired cry, and a terrified cry (among others). This was a terrified cry.

So we decided to re-evaluate the situation and try a different approach. We discovered that some of her sleep troubles were related to tummy troubles. We listened to our gut, even though we felt pretty alone in our struggle (since most of our friend's have done CIO quite successfully).

Going back to the first paragraph, Mirabel has taught me a lot. She's taught me to not care what parents think when I'm trying to grocery shop and she's screaming in the cart because she wants to run around and examine everything on the shelves. She's taught me that parenting is a lot easier than we all think. That's just it, what WE think, not what everyone else thinks. We know our children better than anyone else. Because they are born with unique personalities, they require different parenting approaches. There's a reason why they weren't born with a handbook or user's manual.

I realize things might be completely different with our second. We could have a kiddo that is able to go to sleep on their own after just a little crying.

God wants us to ask him for guidance regarding our children, not compare our situation to our neighbor's. We should all be willing to support each other, despite our different parenting approaches. Yes, my child is not an infant and she is still nursing. Why? Because she wants to and I don't mind. Am I spoiling her? I don't believe I am. In fact, only in the US is it typical to stop nursing by age 1. But does this mean I'm judging anyone else who stops weaning before age 1? Absolutely not. I'm not even judging those who don't even attempt nursing. I don't know their story.

All I know is that I love my kid and I'm trying to do the best I can; I acknowledge that I'm going to make mistakes along the way. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I'll say that the moms I know out there are trying to do the same thing.

A few weeks ago at a meeting I attended, a quote was shared that went something along the lines of "you're going to make mistakes as a parent, but there should be enough love there to cover those mistakes." I think that line sums up successful parenting better than any book or child psychology article I've ever read.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Imperfections

As a little girl, I loved dolls. I played "mom" but never really cared to have anyone fill the role of the father. I never really dreamt about being someone's wife. The idea of marriage seemed so far off and foreign... but, oh, I could not wait to be a mother. I used to say I wanted 10 kids (of course, this is before my little brother came along ;). One birthday I even remember receiving special diapers small enough to fit my dolls, and I was elated.

Funny thing is, until recently, I never had any idea how much that child's play impacted my way of thinking as an adult. I'm sure there are many ways to psychoanalyze this situation, and I have. But I'll just say that I've put too much pressure on myself to try to be "the perfect parent". The first person to point this out was my husband's uncle, who is a psychiatrist. :D

I'm not playing the martyr. Believe me, I have failed plenty of times. The funny thing is, it seems I failed the most when I was trying my best to not make any mistakes. I don't want Mirabel to look back on her childhood and ever doubt that I loved her--that's been my greatest driving force.

I'll get down to the heart of the matter. I'm tired. Really tired. But I've allowed myself to let my fear get the best of me, so it's really my own fault that I'm so tired. I've read so much conflicting data on the best way to get a little one to sleep thru the night. Not to mention, I'm bringing my baggage along with me, so I'm too scared to try anything. I've made so many excuses, but I've finally decided that I really do know what's best for my kid. Not the most enlightening discovery, but to me it is. I've doubted myself too much. Now I'm making a decision and sticking to it...because it's what's best for EVERYONE, not just my kid.

That's what I wasn't taking into account before. Mirabel still sleeps in our bed. Poor Jose has started sleeping on the twin mattress that was supposed to be Mirabel's!!! My desire to be a good mother should not conflict with my duty to be a loving wife. Jose has been so understanding, and he never complains. He knows my heart, and in the end he just wants us all to be happy, so he has never said anything. A discussion I was having with a friend over the sleep issue is what brought my role as a wife to the forefront, and I'm glad it did.

I don't mean to sound like a 1950s housewife. I'm not trying to say that it's my duty to make sure to keep my husband happy (LOL). That's his responsibility (and, thankfully, I'm married to someone who knows that). But marriage is a holy sacrament. If Mirabel sees how I let her sleep in our bed, instead of her dad, she will grow up to believe that husbands should come last.
A strong marriage creates the foundation for a strong family. Without it, everyone suffers.

Jose and I are happily married. I love him more now than the day we got married. I don't remember the last serious disagreement we got into, but I want our relationship to grow even more. I want to be that old couple in love, the ones who still hold hands after 50 years of marriage. But if I want that later, I have to do something now.

I'm not going to take the complete Cry It Out approach. But I'm also not going to let Mirabel sleep in our bed and munch at Mom's 24 hour Diner until she's 10. I'm also not judging anyone, though. There will be a few tears, but I will comfort her. I'm sure more of those tears will come from me. But this is what's best for EVERYONE.

I didn't even realize that I was idolizing motherhood. Because of how tired I am, I often fall asleep before thanking God for his many blessings. Jose and I started doing Bible readings together, but by the time Mirabel goes to sleep, my eyes are already pretty heavy. It's true that a strong marriage creates the foundation for a strong family. But God is supposed to be the one that keeps it all intact. I know he wants my attention, too.

So tonight starts my version of sleep training. I'm so tired of reading books/articles. In the end, we're just doing what works for us and makes us all better people, not perfect people.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keeping it Colorful

I think I'm settling in to an official life routine now. Jose started work last Monday (they told him only a week before that he'd be starting early :). That same first day of work he called me and said he'd be leaving for Boston in 2 hours! I wanted to laugh. He got home Wednesday, and now he's working Monday-Friday. Most mornings Mirabel and I spend time with friends/go to a playdate. This morning we attended a mom's support group hosted by our church. It was really lovely.

They're discussing a book called The New Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson. I've been meaning to read that book. Oh, so many books I'm "meaning" to read :). I had to laugh at one point in the discussion when the leader mentioned that you know you have a strong-willed child when you're shopping and the grocery cart doesn't travel in a straight line, because you're constantly going this way and that with your kiddo. Conversely, if you have an easy kiddo you can shop while eyeing everything on the shelves instead of your kid's next move.

Mirabel is full of life. That's how I like to put it. Her highs are high and her lows are low. So when she's happy, she'll smile and laugh and talk up a storm (in her own language, of course). But when she's unhappy... Everyone knows about it. Eyes turn at the store. The grocery cart practically tips over ;). There are things flying off the shelves, or she's screaming in the cart because I won't let her participate in the shopping.

Last week I visited a fabric store and the lady there was so anxious. Well, I think Mirabel might've had something to do with it. They had spools with different colored threads lined up like a rainbow in a cute case. What curious, lively child wouldn't want to play with such an arrangement? :) Oh, it was heaven for Mirabel. Not so much for the tattoo-covered hipster at this fabric shop, nope. She ran from behind the counter to where Mirabel was before Mirabel could even get her sticky fingers on a second spool. Of course, I was right there. And, of course, I was going to put them back the way they were. Moms develop a superpower of being able to scan a store's setup in a flash, so they can leave the store just how they entered it. It's because they know their tasmanian toddlers are going to get into one or two (or three) things during the shopping trip, am I right? ;)

You're probably wondering why I didn't just keep her in her stroller. Well, this store isn't stroller friendly; it's tiny. Also, there was a sewing class taking place (and there was also a sign explaining that all visitors needed to keep their voices down). I had to pick: Screaming or Playing with Spools. When I picked Mirabel up after the hipster expressed her fears about the spools, she began to scream (Mirabel, not the hipster). I ignored it and tried asking this young lady a few questions about the sewing classes they offered, since I was interested in taking one or two. She then proceeded to say, "I'm sorry, I can't talk over the screaming". I'll end it there. But this is just an explanation of a typical day with my kiddo. Of course, at home she's easy (because I've baby-proofed the whole place, so that she can explore every corner of the house--and she does).

I really needed a drink after that. By drink I mean a milkshake from Sonic ;). I got my sugar fix and drove off. My hair was standing on end, but I still felt that having a cute baby is better than having cute fabric, any day. I'd be so much lonelier without Mirabel. Yes, I'd have friends and more free time, but I wouldn't be quite as complete. This doesn't take back the fact that I do believe she is strong-willed. That personality trait will come in handy; she definitely won't ever be known as a push-over, that's for sure. For now, it's all about teaching her how to use that character of hers for good, while I guzzle down the milkshakes...

And enjoy happy hour (aka naptime. I saw that on a shirt once. "Naptime is the new happy hour." ;)

This is what I've been doing during happy hour.

Jam jar vase covered with fabric, for more color in the living room.

Mixed media collage. I love Christy Tomlinson's stuff. Granted, this doesn't compare, but her work inspired it :).

Pillow in the front. Also for more color in the LR. The back pillow was purchased at an antique store a few weeks ago.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Update on Life

Life has been full lately. Visiting with family, quality time with my dear husband (who, sadly and happily, starts work this Monday), and enjoying lots of warm weather. It's been a little rough too. We're still trying to figure things out--parenting is a constant learning experience and tantrums in stores are becoming a common occurrence, because we have a curious toddler who loves to touch everything. But at home, all is well. I've actually started crafting a bit more during nap time. These are two recent projects. Fabric flower headbands with a touch of a pink frilly feather; beneath that, a collage on wood made with mod podge, fabric, and scrapbook paper. Have I mentioned I like nesting dolls ;)?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Perfect

Found this shared on FB...tear-jerker. More here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

THRILLED!

These past few weeks have been a little rough. Poor Jose's eyes are bloodshot from studying so much. (He's been taking the Bar for the past couple of days.) I've been trying to stay out of the house/meet new friends to stay sane and keep Mirabel entertained and not missing her dad. (It's so sad. She would often stand at his office door by the end of the day and yell out his name/crying for him to come out...not understanding that he didn't actually want to be in there away from us for so long.)

But let me tell you, today has got to be one of the happiest days of my life. I am married to a man who's always got his head in the books. Yes, he's a hard worker, but he's been a student the entire time I've been married to him/while we were dating. Yep, he did graduate a few months ago, but the studying became even more intense after that. This test was/is brutal. He can usually feel like he's got the information down by the time bigs tests roll around. But he said this one was different (and I bet it was). Poor guy!

But today, we are both the lucky ones! No more studying, no more test-taking after around 5 PM today! Can you believe it?!!!! I'm thrilled. Seriously, I think I'm gonna go bake a cake or make some chocolate ice cream. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Freedom to Find Peace

Satan mounted his rebellion through the power of one idea: God doesn't have a good heart. Though it seems almost incomprehensible, he deceived a multitude of the heavenly host by sowing the seed of doubt in their minds that God was somehow holding out on them. After the insurrection is squelched, that question lingers in the universe like smoke from a forest fire. Sure, God won, but it took force to do it. Power isn't the same thing as goodness.
From The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge

It seems one of the biggest questions out there, among those who wonder whether or not God truly exists is: If there is a God, and he is all loving, then why is there suffering? I used to ask the same thing. Though I always believed, I never quite understood how a perfect God could allow so much imperfection and injustice. But after reading a couple of different thoughts/answers surrounding this question, it makes more sense.

If God stepped in all the time, that would get in the way of freedom. If he is truly good, then he wouldn't need to use force to attract people to him, like the quote above suggests. God also cannot contradict himself. If he is perfect, he cannot act in an evil way which is why he cannot cause of suffering. This means his motives have to be completely pure. In our freedom, we often choose to do wrong, though. Sometimes we even have good intentions, but mistakes are inevitable so long as we're stuck in our human bodies. But with God as our spiritual guide, we're given clarity, and the right decisions can follow.

Still, not everyone listens to his quiet voice, and suffering is usually the result of a decision made without considering perfect love (aka God). But some people don't want anything to do with him. Because of freedom, they have that right; God allows us to accept or deny him. As a result, there is a constant battle on Earth between good and evil; peace and suffering. So peace can only exist temporarily, and only in some places at different times. Of course, not all suffering is self-imposed or caused by sin. There are illnesses that bring pain to truly loving people. But the beauty of their situation is that if their hearts are in God's hands, they will know peace on this imperfect soil and in heaven.

In the end, isn't that what we all want more than anything? True peace that doesn't rely on the sun shining, perfect health, or flawed humans? Imagine the peace that comes with knowing beyond doubt that we are loved perfectly by a God who can do no wrong. I'm still working on fully embracing that truth. I think it's a lifelong thing. God isn't the one holding out on us, we're the ones holding out on him.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Color. Unconventional. Quirky. Eclectic. Home.

Can you guess what my favorite color is? :)...
Found the pillow on Etsy, the lamp at TJ Maxx, the frames at Goodwill (brown, spray painted them turquoise). I don't have a very traditional style. I really love color and cute things. I don't think I'll ever outgrow that.

Finally added more to the walls! I found this great frame (bottom) at Hobby Lobby that documents every month of Mirabel's first year with a photo (because you can't have too many photos!).
Instead of hanging a family photo in the living room, I printed out that picture of our silhouettes (middle).
And...Katie Daisy. I love her work. I found some of her cards and decided to frame a couple (top).

I found a wicker chest on sale to store her toys in. I think it works a little better than the bright pink playpen :).

And because you want to feel like you're entering a fun, inviting home before you knock on someone's door, here's a recent craft: A button flower wreath for our front door...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More Progress

Now that we've settled into our daily routine, things are really smoothing out. After hearing about Mirabel's anemia, I became overly anxious and stressed out. The doctor suggested that I try to take one feeding away each day. But when your kid hates solids, that isn't such an easy task. I often found that when I tried to skip a feeding and offer solid food instead, Mirabel would scream so much, and show an even greater aversion to eating food. So I started nursing for about a minute or two before offering anything else, just to take the edge off. Then she calmed down enough to actually try something. Initially it was just a few bites, but I tried to stay hopeful.

Then I discovered how much she loved spoons. One morning I made her some cereal, and she ate a good amount of it with her Elmo spoon. It was messy, but it was progress! Then we decided to start eating dinner on the floor. Before, this didn't really phase Mirabel. Then, I guess because I kept trying to offer her food about every hour, she finally figured out that food is for eating when you're hungry. (What a concept!) So she ate dinner with us that night. The next day, she ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner with me too. It was one of the best days of my life! OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I didn't know what to do anymore. I felt like a terrible mom because of how anemic she was. But I also felt terrible earlier on when I tried to give her the iron supplement and she'd start to throw-up. Then I figured out that if I mixed it with juice in a syringe (the kind the pharmacists give you when your kid needs a prescription), I could get it down her throat fast enough without inducing any vomiting. Yes, she still fights us, but at least she doesn't gag anymore.

I feel like I've climbed Mt. Everest. Again, I know that sounds like an exaggeration. But I was just so worried that she might be deficient in something else. I was also worried that she would never, ever wean. She is still nursing, but now that she's eating more solids the idea of weaning her doesn't seem so impossible. And, yeah, I know there aren't grown adults who drink breastmilk (ha!), but I somehow felt that I would forever be a milk machine, and that I'd never be able to have another kid as a result. Oh yeah, and that I'd never sleep thru the night again (still not happening, but again, it doesn't seem like such an impossibility at this point. :)

Wow, I never thought I'd write a blog post like this haha!

Anyway, I was feeling pretty low before this pinnacle event took place. And I was also feeling low because I needed to begin establishing my roots here, but I wasn't able to focus much on anything else...until last weekend. We went to a great church. A church that I think we'll call our home church because the people were so sincerely inviting, and the service and sermon were both lovely. And the day before we visited this church, or maybe a few days before, I got an idea. Well, I'd had the idea for awhile but I was too much of a weenie to go thru with it until that day. I started a meetup group! Yep! The first day, only 1 person joined; now there are 23 members! It's a group of moms in the area with similar interests. Our first meeting is this Friday and I can't wait.

Yay! A social life; a social life that also involves other kiddos Mirabel's age! So happy mom and kid! Mirabel is suuuuuch an extrovert. She goes up to random kids and touches their hand, or just their shoulder. This is her way of being affectionate. She really loves people in general. She is also so much happier when she's around other people/kids, so this will enhance both of our lives. I'm looking forward to seeing how her extroverted personality will blossom as she grows up.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Love Letter

I may not always know what's wrong, but I'll trust the one who's always right because he gave me you.

I may not understand the reason behind all of your tears, but I'll find a way to make you smile, or simply hold you until they run dry (when I've run out of ideas).

When you're begging for attention by clinging to my leg as baskets full of wrinkled clothing morph into mountains of unfolded laundry--I'll still choose you. Each new day brings the same set of chores, but you change every day. (And I can trust you'll grow faster than piles of laundry, anyway.)

When we've both had a long day and you're screaming in the tub or fighting sleep, I'll remember that you taught me how to give the perfect hug. Nothing compares to those sweet, unexpected moments when your head of curls rests against my shoulder while your tiny arms wrap around me tightly. The truth is, you're not fighting me--just the nap or just the bath--but us? We are on the same team.

My little girl, I love the way your skin and hair still smell like baby. To me, I think they always will.

I love you, it's as simple as that. Never forget it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feeling like a failure :(

So we all know that bfing was a major struggle at the beginning. I was seriously on the verge of giving up because of how painful it was. Well, now it's a breeze; completely painless...except, breastmilk is pretty much the only thing my kid will eat.

BIG PROBLEM! Why? She is unbelievably anemic. So anemic that her hemoglobin levels are half of what they should be and the doctor said that if Mirabel's levels had just randomly dropped to where they are now, she'd need a trasfusion.

I tried giving her that nasty ferinsol, but she has such a sensitive gag reflex that she makes herself throw up if she doesn't like the way something tastes. She even throws up on those strawberry and vanilla flavored toddler drinks! I am so desperate. I've tried making the baby food myself, buying those gourmet organic ones, etc., but all she eats is cheese and blueberries (ok, maybe other fruits but that is it!). I even tried disguising the iron in chocolate breastmilk. Yes, I pumped and added chocolate syrup to my milk. I also tried grape juice. Jose taste-tested that one and he said the grape juice disguised the flavor well, but Mirabel still gagged on it???!!!

The doctor said I have to work on weaning her. I have tried a lot. Seriously, this kid is unbelievably stubborn. I will offer her food instead of milk but she just shakes her head no and turns her head away. Then she screams and screams. We've even tried taking her outside. Sometimes she will accept some food, but she will only eat up to a certain point and then cry and cry until I nurse her.

I know I'm not the only one who's struggled with a toddler who doesn't like solids, but I've never met anyone whose toddler relies primarily on breastmilk for their nutrients. And breastmilk hardly has any iron.

I found a natural iron supplement. I'm going to give it a try; iherb says it's tasty (well, the customers do). I'm just praying it passes the Mirabel taste test.

I feel like a failure for many reasons. The first one is that I had really bad anemia when I was pregnant. I took the iron supplements, but I didn't start taking them until well into the pregnancy, when my levels were already so low I had issues just walking down the street without feeling like passing out. It also gave me horrible stomachaches. I did take it anyway, and thankfully my levels were normal at the end of the pregnancy, but still, I'm sure my anemia took its toll on her little body. The other thing, I don't know why breastfeeding has always brought so many problems!!!! I know formula is iron-enriched, and I don't know a formula fed baby who hates food. Yes, I realize the benefits of breastfeeding are long term, but if it's so natural and wonderful then why does it have to be so challenging? And why does it not contain enough iron?!

I really needed to get this off my chest (no pun intended :P). I am just so anxious and worried. I'm praying this supplement helps, because I don't want Mirabel to have to suffer :(. God forbid that her levels drop any further and she needs a trasfusion or suffers cognitive delays :(.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ideas?

So here's our bedroom. The framed photos were free images from the Graphics Fairy. Frames were from Walmart, spray painted 2 of them white. Night stands are from Home Goods. Dresser from Craig's List (painted). All other misc items (lamp --ha not pictured, crystal type stuff) were gifts. Other little knicknacks purchased at the thrift store. I was never really a fan of black...until my mother in law gave me this bedspread when I moved in. I thought it was pretty and Jose liked it, so I decided to give our room a more gender neutral theme. We both like nature, heck, who doesn't like nature? So the nature-y theme it is. I like those vintagey bird egg paintings above the bed. Oh, and the "Mr and Mrs" signs hanging on the right and left sides of that black frame (with our vows) were Etsy finds. The names are engraved on tree stumps! Oh yeah, and the green pillow is a Cambridge find; found it at a Tibetan/Indian shop back in Boston. Might add more pillows. Any more ideas on how I can spruce up the room a bit more?



Speaking of pillows, our living room is begging for them! I've just been to lazy to sew some pillow covers. This place is so naked! I just bought the basic furniture on Craig's List. Every item purchased was under $50! Hopefully it doesn't look like it too much ;). I need to add more to the walls, I think. Maybe get some curtains later. Again, pillows are a must. Oh yes, and I need to find something cute to put the toys in other than a playpen. But the playpen is also blocking a fun outlet with a bunch of cords (that Mirabel would otherwise chew on/play with if it was exposed)...I think the toys and the frilly pink playpen are my favorite part of the whole deal ;).

But oh, the light! The natural light makes up for so much :)!!



Monday, June 20, 2011

360

Our lives have taken a complete turn. Definitely for the better. We actually get quite a bit of sunshine here! :) Our living room no longer feels like a dark and lonely cave. Now it's a light and bright place, frequently filled with visiting friends and family. Why? Well, we're a lot further south now (Texas) and we are no longer 2000 miles away from family.

Jose and I actually got to go on a date for the first time in a year about a week ago! It wasn't anything fancy, just a quick tea/coffee run and brief trip to a new, cool grocery store (it's funny how so much of what we do revolves around food :D). The best part was that Mirabel loved staying with my parents for that short hour. She was all smiles when we walked in the door. Next time, dinner!

I've been kind of quiet on here. Been busy settling in. Unpacking was an adventure. We also had to restock our kitchen and buy a few other basic household amenities. Though we aren't home owners, I have to say that living in a house is much more relaxing. It's nice to not have to worry about who you're bothering at night when your kid is screaming. Oh, and decorating is fun too! One man's trash is another man's treasure, that's our mantra. Craig's list, thrift shops, your neighbor's recycling bin...it all goes 'round here ;)!

Back to that later. There are more exciting events worth discussing at the moment :). Mirabel did take her first steps before her first birthday, but now she's running everywhere. She's always been the type of kid who HATES sitting still (or being bored, this child requires constant stimulation). She once preferred being carried to being locked up in a stroller. The car seat was even worse (...until a portable DVD player/Elmo saved the day. We used to vow we'd never own one [dvd player, not Elmo :P], but I'd like to keep my hearing.).

Now that Miss Mirabel is walking/sprinting/skipping/dancing, being in a grocery cart (or even being carried) is just torture. There are too many cool and exciting things to grab! Oh, and if it's something like a scented candle that she can sneak her fingers into and then nibble on (yep, that happened, and we bought the candle after :), or if it's a big ol' bike resting right next to an equally large sign--she'll want to touch it (or knock it over, or [even better] eat it!).

In fact, the other day we were shopping and she knocked over a bike AND a sign. I turned to look at something for literally 1 second and the next thing I know I've got a cowboy telling me that I need to watch my kid or she'll hurt someone. Nope, he didn't say SHE might get hurt, instead, he said she might injure someone (even though you and everyone else here in TX, Mr. Cowboy, are like 6.5 feet tall and she's not even 3 feet). ::Sigh:: Oh, and she screams too. So if I try to pick her up and pull her away from any potential danger, she will stiffen up and scream. Then the looks follow. I've become THAT parent with THAT kid. Please be kind to us; it's a lot harder than it looks, OK Mr. Cowboy?!

Because she's got all that energy, Mirabel is a lot happier here. She's actually got plenty o' space to run around, and even an actual back yard. She doesn't care if it's 105 degrees out, Mirabel loves being outside and going on walks. There will be drops of sweat dripping down her face and she'll still be smiling. I also found out that she loves to play with toy cars. I've got a tough little woman on my hands. Oh, but she is sweet, too! She picks up her doll and holds it in a cute cradling position then gives it a bottle. She also cuddles anything soft, holds it up to her neck, gives it a squeeze and goes "awww". A tough and gentle woman when she wants to be, but I can't say she won't hurt a fly (don't forget what Mr. Cowboy said ;).

We checked out a boot store over the weekend. I couldn't resist. I saw the pink boots. I didn't buy them, though. I've learned my lesson; their feet grow so fast! But I did snap a pic (and there she is pulling on the shirts):

It feels good to finally be settled in. The boxes are unpacked and this place feels more like home now. Back to an old topic: I'm on a mission to decorate on a budget. So far, our room is set; the living room and play room still need work but I don't mind having the empty spaces. After 3 years of Boston apartment living, I actually kind of like it (I love running around in here more than Mirabel, I tell ya :).

The pics of our room are around here somewhere. I'll post those later. A friend of ours gave us some chairs before we left Boston. Here's a before/after pic of that project. Spray paint (from Walmart) and upholstery fabric (on sale, 40% off!) did the trick, for the most part. As you can see, my upholstery skills need a little work, but the chairs were free and I couldn't resist starting another project (actually, I can't resist anything free, who am I kidding?)! It was fun. Gained experience and love the fun, cheerful colors :)!


Hope you all are enjoying the summer so far :)!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Closing Time

I think that was actually my high school graduation song. It was that or Here's to the Night by Eve 6. Anyhow, we're done here! Wow! I'm still in a state of disbelief. It's not that I didn't think Jose would graduate :D, of course he would! It's more that I can't imagine what it's like to not be a student's wife. The whole time Jose and I have known each other, one of us was a student. It will be nice to have relatively free weekends now; no more having to set a big portion of our time aside for studying. Yessss!!! I think that's one of the things I'm most excited about. :)

But (and I think Jose will laugh at me for saying this) I'm a tad bit sad. Just a tad. Every time I move, I feel like I leave a piece of myself behind. Yes, I'm looking forward to living in a larger place with Central AC. Yes, it'll definitely be nice not having to deal with snowstorms and random power outages in the dead of winter. And yes, I will love not having to drive down primarily one-way streets that go this way and that to accomodate the layout of ancient buildings (I adore historic buildings, but driving on these crazy streets is another story...). But I will miss the beautiful Spring and Fall days. I'll be a little sad to leave behind the memories we've made here. This is where we grew the most as a couple; where I found out I was pregnant; where our first kiddo took their first steps; where we met some great friends. Then I remember that progress requires moving forward, and that inevitably means leaving some things behind.

Now we can begin establishing a foundation for our family, or firmly planting our roots. That will be strange for me, considering I've moved a billion times throughout my life (exaggeration ;). I'm very, very excited about that. I'm also a little intimidated at the thought. Then I realize we can still travel, so there really is no need to get antsy. When we feel the need to get up and go, we can pack a few things up and take a road trip with the kiddo(s). (Yeah, I like that. I actually love that idea. Wow! No more having to dread the exhausting packing/unpacking and moving process that takes place every few years.) There are also airplanes and trains. Love those too.

Sunday we'll leave Cambridge on an airplane; Jose leaves Tuesday in our carito. He'll then drive down to Austin with his dad. I'll be flying back to TX with my mom. This has been a hectic week, with the graduation and hosting our families. It will be nice to finally be settled down together next Saturday. I think that's when it will all sink in.


Friday, May 20, 2011

More Digital Scrap


...I have a scrapbook that I started for Mirabel, but it's just too messy and time-consuming to cut things out. I've resorted to doing it digitally. And that only happens every once in awhile now. But I had to do one to document her first birthday and the day she took her first steps. Technically, her first 2 steps were the 13th, but she took quite a few more on her actual birthday. She's still getting the hang of it but she can walk half way across the living room now :). Yay!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dresser Before and After

We bought an affordable dresser on Craig's List a few years ago. We purchased it for its size; it's fairly tall and wide. It's also a nice piece of solid wood furniture. Only thing is, "nice" isn't exactly the word I'd use to describe the way this highboy used to look. It was pretty ugly, actually. But it was an antique, so I couldn't throw it out. I thought a few coats of paint could transform it.

Jose wanted to throw it out, though :P! I asked him if I could have some time to give it a make-over around Mother's Day weekend. He still thought it was ugly and that it couldn't be beautified, but he knew how much I wanted to give it a make-over, so he said yes to giving me the time (aka watching Mirabel). I also convinced him that we should do it before our big move, since it would be a pain for him to lug it up and down the stairs by himself without help from the movers.

I couldn't have done it without the help of Sarah from Lollies Abode (and also my husband, who sanded the monster down)! She is a furniture make-over master. All her projects always look so fun and beautiful! Thanks for the tips, Sarah, they sure helped! Now, here are those before and after shots I promised to share with you :).








Saturday, May 14, 2011

1 year ago today...

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Psalm 139:13-14
video

I think I've said all I can say about how full of joy this year has been for us. We have grown closer together as a couple, trying to raise a godly little girl without help over the past year. The first three months were definitely the toughest, and we still hadn't gotten into our routine, but we survived it. We also survived the first sickness, nights of crying, etc. But we were also blessed to witness our baby's many smiles, giggles, and even hugs. She took two tiny steps yesterday on her own. Though they were tiny, they seemed so big. She is officially becoming a toddler.

Yesterday, as we were walking home from the park, I told Jose something that I think summarizes how we feel about being parents. No, we don't have much free time; no we don't go on dates these days; no we don't even get a break when the sun sets, but we have gained far more than we've lost.

It was a sunny and beautiful day yesterday; it was the perfect kind of day to spend at the park. We didn't stay long, but we got to go down the slide with Mirabel, let her play in the sand (or eat it ;), and we even got to ride on a teeter totter with her (believe it or not, we actually fit)! Jose was on one side of the teeter totter and she was on the other side with me. To give you a visual representation of what's happened in our lives over the past year: Jose and I were only able to balance each other on the tetter totter because Mirabel was sitting on my side. Without her, we wouldn't have been able to play. She has brought completeness...

If she wasn't in our lives, we probably would've spent most of our day indoors--Jose agreed. Sure, we might've planned a quiet picnic, but the rest of the afternoon would've been spent watching a movie or reading, or even blogging ;). But instead, we spent it as a unit; one complete and content not-so-quiet family. We experienced life; I think we're experiencing it even more with this sweet girl in our lives. We're feeling the sun, sticking our toes in the sand, getting dirty, and playing like little kids all over again. And that aching feeling--the longing and the wanting--the feelings we associated with the sadness of not having Mirabel in our lives...they're gone.

And that's why I don't mind that the other less important things (like time to fix my hair ;) are gone.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Complete

Odd picture to share, but this is my grandmother's hand. One of the most loving hands I've ever held; hands that have also held and comforted me...comforted me with love and scrumptious food, like this homemade corn tortilla :).

My mommy and me

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."
Agatha Christie

A few years ago, I had to drop off a few gifts at the post office so they would arrive in time for Father's Day. To my surprise, it was fairly empty. The month before for Mother's Day, it was packed. The postal worker who took my packages said that it's usually pretty slow around Father's Day, and we both agreed how sad that was. She said it was because so many fathers just haven't stepped up to the plate. I understand that, but thankfully that isn't the case in my family anymore. Mother's Day is a completely different story. And I admit, I even have more women to think about around Mother's Day than I have gifts to buy for father figures around Father's Day.

My grandma and me

I've been blessed to be loved by many amazing mothers, aunts, loving friends, etc. So many women who are mothers at heart, and who love beyond biological bonds. But it's true, now that I'm a mom I have so much more respect for these women. Wow. Being a mom REALLY is hard work.

My godmother and me

I love that Mirabel's birthday falls around the same time as Mother's Day, she truly is the best Mother's Day gift. Oh, she can be a handful, like today when she screamed and screamed because she's been sleeping poorly/skipping naps/staying up late like a college kid. But those squishy legs that I love to squeeze, and the belly with the little folds! I love them all. I can't imagine loving anyone more; I feel whole, and my heart has truly grown. All the cheesy cliches apply.


I would describe this past year as the most joyful one of my life. I feel richer, though we do have less funds because diapers will do that ;); I feel at peace, though I have not slept through the night once since her birth; I feel whole, though a bit scatter-brained from the not sleeping thing ;). I don't want to be anywhere else. I remember the feeling of wanting to be a mother. If this was it for me, even if I never became a chef, or some kind of artist, or some kind of creative professional (oh, the many crazy things I want to be when I grow up ;)...I am satisfied with who I am today. Not because of anything I've done, but because of who and what I have in my life. I have love in abundance and I'm no longer hungry or longing for anything.

This Mother's Day I'm most thankful for my family, near and far, because I wouldn't know what it means to be a mother without them.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

1 (one :)



Technically, she won't be 1 until next Saturday, but we chose to celebrate with friends today at the Boston Children's Museum. Since Mirabel is the first grandchild and she doesn't have any cousins, I really wanted to give her a fun party here with the friends she's made over the past few months of getting together for play groups. That and...you only turn 1 once, right?! And when it's your first little one turning 1, a little one that's also your miracle baby--the one that, just 2 years ago, you thought you'd never be able to have--well, that makes things even more exciting :).

Last night was rough. I've been sick over the past week, going from one steroid to another (asthma always gets triggered when I get a cold); then I got Mirabel sick. She had a slight temp last night and stuffy nose, and she wanted to make her discomfort known by refusing to sleep until 3 AM. She screamed every time we tried to get her to go down, so we had to turn on Elmo to calm her down. She LOVES Elmo. And Mr. Noodle. My mom bought her these 3 DVDs of Elmo's World and she never gets tired of them. So that's who kept us company last night, he's the only one that kept her from screaming: Elmo.

And Elmo was the star of the show today, at the party. The party we were afraid we were going to have to cancel. But thankfully we managed to wake up on time, pick up the food, set up the party room (with the help of an awesome assistant provided to us by the Children's Museum), and have lots of fun, so it was pretty smooth sailing. It started off a bit bumpy, but after a dose of Tylenol and some time in the playroom at the museum, she was good to go.

She smiled the whole time her friends sang her the "happy birthday" song, she had a great time on the little wooden baby sized teeter totter, and she even ate a little bit (she loves chocolate cupcakes!). Here are some photos!

On her official birthday, we plan on going to the toy store and picking up a few age-appropriate toys. She's outgrown the ones she has; we want to find some that are a bit more stimulating. Should be fun, I love toy shopping much more than clothes shopping!!!! Unless I'm shopping for baby clothes ;).


 

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