Monday, December 24, 2012

Very Jane

Really want to win one of these awesome gifts from the 2013 Very Jane Giveaway!  If you all are a fan of Etsy, you'll like Very Jane.  It's basically like a Plum District type thing, but for handmade things. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Learning Joy

If all I have to unwrap this Christmas are size 2 and size 5 dirty diapers, I'll still have more to thank God for than I deserve.  These two precious lives have given me so much.  I only pray I can be half the mother that they deserve.  Every day, I fall short, usually it has something to do with not keeping a level head or acting my age--sometimes I forget that I'm the adult in certain situations.  Today I feel guilty about every complaint I've ever made involving anything associated with parenting--the days I've forgotten to give thanks for the two gifts I never thought I'd be able to carry for 9 months, or hold in my arms.  I only wish I could keep them there.

I'm still far from wise, but I believe a parent's love is more real and pure than any other.   That is why it is an honor for us to be considered children of God.  Not only are my children gifts, but their existence alone allows for the ultimate gift: a greater understanding of God.  God sent his son to die in our place.  In that action, he sacrificed what he loved most, his son.  It's easier to see the beauty and sense in the trinity, now.  God the Father, Spirit, Son--3 in 1.  We hear it and sing it, but why is it significant?  I'm still learning why.  But if who we know as God the Father, the Almighty King, came down to Earth, it truly wouldn't mean as much than if his innocent Son, a lamb, was the sacrifice.  As a mother, I can understand that.  What a gift; it is perfect love--he gave what he held dearest.  He knew we would be more eager to accept his love this way.  Now I don't have to fear death because of what he did.  I still fear losing my children, though, more than anything. A parent losing a child becomes more real when we have children of our own, yes.   But our tears will never be as heavy with grief as theirs, only God knows their weight as he himself experienced this ultimate loss. 

We can say our condolences, empathize with tears, and pray for those families and even our own children.  We want to make it better, though.  We feel a sense of guilt as we struggle to find a way to improve the situation.  If we knew the families, we'd offer to cook them meals.  We'd find a way to make this holiday season somewhat "bearable", if that's even possible.  We'd want to help them focus on something else on Christmas morning, so that they wouldn't have to sit before a Christmas tree bearing unopened gifts for children whose souls are now a light shining brighter than the one atop the tree they decorated just weeks before today's tragedy.

I'm thousands of miles away, feeling helpless and with a heavy heart, though.  But I'm doing what I can with what I have.  I'm close enough to make a difference, still, because my children are HERE.  They are wanting to be loved, every single day that I have them on loan from their Heavenly Father.  When they are misbehaving, when they are brushing (aka pulling) my hair with a plastic doll comb, when they are begging for chocolate at the top of their lungs with their dinner still before them--they are asking for love.  It may not be at the top of their Christmas list, but it's the best gift I can give them. 

I can't buy them a thousand years on this Earth, even though that's at the top of my Christmas list, but I can love them today better than I did yesterday by learning to stay joyful in all situations, because, in the end, sitting down and having my hair pulled by a pink plastic doll comb hurts a lot less than the regrets I'd have if I missed these moments, if my sweet babies were gone tomorrow.

I love these kids so much.  Please, Lord, they deserve my joy every day, so give me a heart to love them like you love me, no matter what.  Thank you for another day of diaper changes, spit up-covered clothing, tantrums, and hair pulling.  I'm ever so grateful for every obvious and disguised beautiful moment, especially today.  Be with those who've lost a child, show them you are closer to them now more than ever before.  Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Colorado trip

Last year around this time (while still pregnant), I was convinced that I wouldn't be going anywhere with a 3 month old; we even told family not to expect a visit from us for the next holiday.  My only experience was with a particularly unique infant/toddler... my energetic Mirabel.  She didn't like sleep very much.  You all remember the posts: waking up 6 times a night, considering it a good night if I got to sleep a 4 hour stretch, etc.?  Well, Juliette is a lot easier than her sister was at 3 months (aside from not enjoying car rides much), so we decided it'd be fun to take a trip, by plane... a nice relaxing trip to beautiful Colorado.  Both girls did great on the plane.  No tears.  It started off great, really...
We even had a chance to visit The North Pole ;) (also known as a Santa Claus-inspired theme park outside of Colorado Springs)...

Mirabel really enjoyed all the rides, in fact, she even rode the tallest ferris wheel in the world (well, it sits atop a mountain, so it's technically the highest not necessarily the tallest).

Her dad got a little dizzy on this ride ;)...

Though we stayed in a home away rental for most of the trip, the first night we slept at a cozy resort and enjoyed stuffing ourselves at their buffet, for both breakfast and lunch.  Food was delicious, views were gorgeous.  We were even greeted by deer upon waking up the first morning we were there.  Couldn't ask for a better trip (so far!) ;).

We visited the Garden of the Gods.  So lovely.  Gorgeous cliff dwellings, that's what they're called, right Ali?  Not exactly mountains ;).  But in Texas, we would refer to these as huge cliffs, or maybe even mountains :D.

Then we made our way to our home away; this is the mountain view from our front porch.  We kept pointing out the mountains to Mirabel while we were driving around town.  After we got back home, Mirabel kept pointing out her window and saying, "Look at the mountains!".  I had to explain to her that those "mountains" were really hills.  This is the hill country, after all; definitely not mountain country :).

We even got to meet my blogging buddy and her sweet family. The kids really enjoyed playing with the decorative bronze figurines, they even made it into the picture ;).  Excuse the construction paper scattered all over the coffee table.  Mirabel is really into using her plastic scissors to cut paper into really tiny pieces, makes for a fun clean-up time!

Then 4 DAYS LATER... we made it to Manitou Springs.  A really cute town with so many fun shops. Though Jose was saying that we should've stayed there (since there was so much to see on foot), I told Jose that we probably would've spent more money.  I'm usually a bargain shopper, but I had a hard time sticking to a budget on this trip ;).  
Why did it take us 4 days to get here?  Because WE ALL GOT A TERRIBLE STOMACH VIRUS!  We weren't actually supposed to stay that long.  Our flight was scheduled to leave on Tuesday afternoon, but they refused to let us board because Mirabel was vomiting quite a bit and they were concerned that they'd have to stop the plane (three times before boarding).  So they rescheduled our trip.  It's a good thing, too, because it took us a little while to get back on our feet.  Actually, it took me a little longer.  Nursing while having a stomach bug and not eating can be quite rough.  I lost about 5 pounds, and I don't have much to lose as it is.  Thankfully we are all fine now and we made it safely home a few days later.  I prayed that Juliette wouldn't get it, thankfully she was spared.  And, again, I feel so blessed to have a baby that sleeps well!  She slept while I was the sickest; not sure how I would've made it thru otherwise!

All in all, we had a great time.  The bug didn't taint our overall experience.  I still would like to go back to Colorado.  I'd love to buy a place there!  The housing costs aren't too bad, either!  Plus, you get seasons!  Something I do miss.  There isn't much work out there for Jose, though.  Oh well, I guess we'll just have to visit again.  Next time, we'll try skiing :).  I figured, skiing with a 3 month old strapped to my torso would probably be a little too adventurous, and we definitely had enough of an adventure :D.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Avoiding Survival Mode

Best friends!  For now... :)
With every week that passes, I'm a little more joyful, but also a little bit more sad. I love the way babies smell. I've been smelling poor Juliette's head non-stop; she must be totally weirded out by me, the baby head sniffer.  I know it sounds a little strange, but something about the oil they produce is just so yummy.  Before I know it, that baby smell will be gone.  I still hold Mirabel close and try to take in as much of her baby fragrance as I can, but it's not nearly as strong as Juliette's.  Yes, this is turning into a very odd post...
I remember reading Mirabel books when she was Juliette's age, hoping she would look at the pages in anticipation of what was going to happen next.  (Maybe even secretly hoping she'd learn how to read before age 1, because you always think your baby is a genius.) Now she won't sit still long enough for me to finish half of a book ;).  I couldn't wait until she enjoyed playing with toys.  I couldn't wait until she rolled over, or even crawled (which she never really did :).  Now I'm just trying to savor every one of Juliette's baby moments.  
Both my babies really like(d) to be held.  Mirabel, not so much anymore, as she's quite active and independent.  Juliette still loves it, though.  I can't remember the exact day Mirabel stopped cuddling with me for longer than 5 minutes, but I can remember things like when she took her first step or stopped having diaper blow-outs (best day ever!).  The sweetest moments pass by ever so quickly, and without notice, it seems.
This is why I'm enjoying every minute I spend on the couch, inhaling my tiny one's baby smell from head to toe, while safely avoiding the cottage-cheese smelling area around her chubby neck.  It takes a lot to slow me down.  The day Juliette was born (Mirabel too, actually), I was still doing laundry!  I don't know if it has as much to do with being proactive as it has to do with being hyper (I never took naps as a kid; Mirabel inherited her crazy sleeping patterns from me). 
But now that I know what it feels like to watch a baby grow into an independent little girl in the blink of an eye, I'm enjoying the slower moments.  I don't rush things any more.  So when Juliette wants to be carried, I let everything else wait because I know she won't wait for me to grow-up.  I'm still living life in fast forward it seems, as she's growing up too quickly already, but I'm happy to let the more insignificant things go.
I try to apply this same way of thinking on the really hard days.  Like when you're in the toy aisles at the store and your toddler is screaming, begging to stay, while your infant is insisting (quite loudly) that they need to be fed right then and there.  Oh, those are fun moments, too!  But they won't last either.  One day, I'll wish Mirabel was more interested in toys sold at full price.  And I'll certainly be wishing Juliette still had a tiny newborn cry once she enters the terrible 2s, blood-curdling screams and all.  That's if I still have my hearing at that point ;).
When I look at these two girls, I feel like everything is in its right place.  Not literally, of course, as there are probably toys in the refrigerator (there's one in the fridge right now, folks!).  I guess it's safe to say that I'M in the right place right now, emotionally speaking.  I can't tell you how many awful things I've heard about transitioning from one kid to two.  I'm here to tell you it really isn't that bad.  I was warned about "survival mode" and we've been able to avoid it, particularly that mindset. Yes, there are days you'll ask yourself why there's a cute guy with a curdled milk stain on his pajama sleeve sleeping on the floor of your toddler's nesting doll-themed bedroom... And there are days you'll look in the mirror and wonder how you managed to leave the house looking like THAT without accepting the pocket change or stale granola bar offered by the kind stranger that crossed your path this morning (...on your way to the park down the street, carrying more bags than you really need, because it never fits in the diaper bag despite the supposed million and one secret compartments...).  You define the bag lady, but you're okay with it.  That's what it means to emotionally be in the right place, as a mom at least.  
But there's a difference between bags and baggage, whoever you are, don't forget that or you'll lose yourself.  How to avoid the confusion, you ask?  Well, this is how I try to do it.  Can't go back to sleep after being woken up 30 minutes after your head hits the pillow?  Now's the time to enjoy the silence with a prayer, and you'll need plenty of it.  If it turns out I get woken up at 4:15 AM (after a long sleep stretch that is truly worth celebrating) and the little one goes to sleep but I can't, sometimes I use that time for... ME.  
Like the Dos Equis guy might say, I don't alway make dinner at 4:30 AM (and sometimes I do, honestly) but when I don't, I try to spend some time doing other productive thing like putting on make up, even if I have forgotten how to apply eye shadow (which will lead to my husband asking why there's pollen on my eyelids--true story).  And even if your husband thinks you look like a clown, he will still appreciate your efforts.  WHY?! Because you ARE married; don't forget that either!  Remember that love has many languages.  You may have enjoyed poetry pre-babies, but nothing says "I love you" quite like changing a diaper does.  In fact, the heavier the load, the more he/she loves you. Really.  
Ah, love.  That's what this is.  From the baby head sniffing to the diaper changing and sleeping on your toddler's bedroom floor.  Real love. Learning to recognize and savor it in every moment is what helps create the foundation for a family and a solid life, whether you have kids or not. (The ending of this post may or may not reflect a tad bit too much OWN TV watching - aka the Oprah channel...)  
Now I'm sure we're all in agreement that baby head sniffing should be banned in all 50 states...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Life with 2

Yesterday we made it to the one month mark!  I'm happy to report that not only are we alive, but we are all happy and fairly well rested, considering the circumstances...and all the fears I had were basically over-exaggerated ones.  The house is clean and Mirabel still feels loved, thankfully.  But we do wear a lot of wrinkled clothing, and sometimes dinner is a little boring or burned ;).  Honestly, it's easier now than when I was pregnant.  It was just a really rough and painful pregnancy.  The delivery, however, was pretty easy, and the recovery even better.  I'm not going to lie, I was sore for a few days (and the cramps are much worse the second time around) but I don't even feel like I've had a baby...other than the fact that I don't fit into most of my pre-pregnancy pants and my stomach looks like a deflated balloon with a few stretch marks (couldn't avoid those this time) haha :D.
Juliette adds balance to our family.  Her personality is so unique; she is so sweet and cuddly.  She loves to be held, so usually I'm wearing her in some way.  Like her big sister, she isn't a fan of the car seat.  But she is much quieter about expressing dissatisfaction than her much more vocal older sibling ;).  She has her good days and bad days in the car seat, but outside of the car seat she is pretty easy most days (unless I drink milk or eat ice cream--avoiding those).  She doesn't cry when I change her diaper, clothes, or even when I give her a bath--which still takes us all by surprise.  She is quiet at night too, sleeping a nice, solid five hours the first stretch.  Some nights she is more vocal and makes grunting noises; she sounds kinda like a baby goat/lamb/dinosaur when she's half awake/half asleep.  Speaking of sleep, I'm still forcing myself to take daily naps.  I never did that after Mirabel was born, which is partly why the adjustment period was harder the first time around.
All in all, I feel more complete.  Juliette adds to this feeling, but it also has to do with feeling more connected.  When Mirabel was born, we'd just moved (temporarily, for the summer) to Houston from Boston and we didn't have any friends or a church in the area.  I feel like I was thrown into a pool without knowing how to swim.  This time, we had family going in and out, and friends from church and my mom's group preparing meals for us and dropping by to visit.  I was concerned that I wouldn't feel like socializing much after the baby was born (before she was born), but quite the opposite was true.  I actually felt better after visiting with people and looked forward to having friends over.  We went back to church a week after Juliette was born and we were greeted with open arms (open arms ready to hold a newborn :).  All four of us are a family, but we also have extended family among our friends.  That's what's adding to this solid feeling we're enjoying, and what's made the transition easier.
..And here are some photos taken from two different photo sessions, by two different friends.  Both equally talented and generous :).  I didn't even expect to have newborn photos done, but with two offers, I couldn't resist :D.  So happy I had them done :).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Introducing...Juliette Vera Ancer

Wednesday around 2 AM, I started having contractions; I'd been very restless all night, actually.  The contractions lasted until 6 AM, then they stopped when I decided to get out of bed and work on breakfast, dinner, and laundry.  Great! I was used to this dance... I wasn't sure if Wednesday would be THE day, but I wanted to leave the house prepared :).  My bags were already packed; I try to think 2 steps ahead (but I can't believe I almost missed my own labor...details to come haha!).

I was convinced these pains were just typical BH contractions because they stopped and there wasn't much happening until around 5:30.  Thankfully, family was visiting earlier in the week, so Mirabel was entertained and I was able to get a good nap in.  If there's one thing I learned since Mirabel's birth, it's to take as many naps as possible, whenever you can!  You never know when your next restful night will be with kiddos around.  I wanted to stock up on sleep because I knew Juliette would be arriving within the next few DAYS.  Yep, days.  I didn't think she'd be here until this weekend.  

Jose was going to stay home, but I told him to go in; I wanted him to really be able to enjoy being home when the baby arrived and not have to worry about work piling up.  So he left.  All day, I felt a little different, but I figured my body was just gearing up.  I called the doctor at around 5, after talking to my mom about what I was experiencing, and she wanted me to go to L and D and get checked out.  I thought both the doctor and my mom were just being overly cautious.  I wasn't even planning on taking my hospital bag.  I guess I was in complete denial?  I just didn't want to get my hopes up.  I was also anxious about leaving Mirabel alone, I even shed a few tears about it in the car on the way to the hospital :(.  Then I realized I was giving her a gift, a new sister to play with!  I felt less guilty when I thought about it that way.

Jose came home around 6:30 or so to take me to the hospital.  He also felt we should bring our bags and the car seat.  He was convinced I was in labor.  At this point, I was getting contractions again, but they were only coming every 6 to 10 minutes; I still wasn't so sure.  They were getting stronger, but not strong enough to stop Jose and I from exchanging jokes back and forth in the car... That is, until he hit a speed bump during a pretty strong contraction.  I quieted down then.

BUT I still didn't want to get all the bags down from the car when we arrived at the hospital.  Jose was so sure we'd be admitted; I thought they'd send us home until at least midnight (see how my mind was slowly changing about this whole thing? ;).  After all, my first labor WAS about 26 hours long.  I was hoping for something under 20 hours with this one.  I thought that was a reasonable expectation.

We take the elevator up to L and D and the doctor on call is paged.  Apparently, I was already 3-4 cm and 70% effaced.  The day before at my appointment, I was barely 1.5 cm and my cervix was very posterior, so you can see why I felt it'd still be some time before Juliette made her grand entrance.

The doctor wanted me to be examined again in an hour, just to see how things were progressing.  We walked the floor and that did some good.  I was admitted after being told I'd hit 4.5 cm and that my cervix was finally cooperating! Yay, body!

I was reaching the next stage when I decided to jump in the shower.  The hot water was amazing and helped so much.  I stayed in there until my skin was nearly blistered from the hot water lol.  Jose was concerned about the water temp, since my skin was so red from the intense heat...  Let me tell you, I totally wanted a water birth at that point.  But hospital regulations, GBS, and water births don't exactly mix.  Maybe next time...  This labor was moving so quickly that before I was under the influence of any medication, and during this active second stage of labor, I was already talking about having another one!

I dismissed that thought at around 5 cm.  The pain was nauseating and radiating down my back and legs.  I decided it was epidural time.  I was shaking and things were moving fast; this was it!  I thought I still had at least another 4 hours of labor ahead of me, though.  I was also dreading another tear and an overwhelming transition--all from a previous bad experience with what seemed to be a never-ending labor, hence the decision to get the epi.

You'll be surprised to hear that in under 2 hours, I'd gone from 5-10 cm!  The nurses weren't even going to check me, but I pressed the little red call button when I suddenly felt like something was coming out of me on its own.  That something was actually SOMEONE I'd been eager to meet for 38 weeks and 4 days :)...

Juliette Vera arrived about 20 minutes later, at 12:59 AM on August 16th.  She entered the world warm and wonderful, weighing 7 lbs 1 oz and measuring 19 1/2 inches long.

I actually got to hold my new baby girl and inhale her delicious newborn scent!  Yummy, better than cupcakes!  There weren't any nurses or doctors there to rush her off to the NICU.  I got to experience that wonderfully euphoric feeling that comes with holding a tiny new life.  

Juliette ate for an hour and then fell asleep for 8 hours... and she still likes to sleep.  I'm in shock, really. Not sure how long it will last, though ;).  Believe me, I'm trying to stock up on the Zzzs as much as I can :).

(Side note: Jose changed his mind about her middle name at about 37 weeks, thankfully it didn't take too long to come up with another name we could agree on. ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

36 Weeks (Almost)

Things are heating up around here, not just because we're hitting the triple digits.  I'm down to the single digits as far as counting down the weeks to Juliette's birth goes!  I'm so ready to meet her, and so ready to have my energy back :).

This pregnancy has been significantly harder than my first.  Funny thing is, getting pregnant was the easy part this time.  I know that pretty much raising this toddler on my own during the week is a big part of it; Jose's back to working his 12-13 hour days.  And it's fun chasing her around when it's time to change her diaper, and I'm struggling to just stand up before I can even consider how I'm going to catch her (it's a funny site)... But in spite of the exhaustion, 3 A.M. leg cramps and hot flashes combined with backaches, etc., I'm super thankful that Juliette is healthy.  I can breathe now that we're almost at 36 weeks (this Saturday), okay maybe not literally (I get so out of breath so easily!), but Juliette can breathe on her own!  

I'm excited to see how Mirabel accepts Juliette.  Mirabel adores babies and hugs each one she sees.  She loves them, really...until I touch them :).  Then the tears begin; real tears, like my love was transferred to someone else.  But yesterday she told me she wanted a brother!  Hopefully she's anticipating the arrival of a sibling, even if it's a sister.  She knows there is a baby in my belly, but she also pokes at other folk's bellies, including her dad's, and says "baby" ;), so I'm not sure just how much she understands.

Things are so much different this time around (on to the positive).  We have a home instead of a 900 sq. ft. apartment in the arctic ;), Jose is out of school, we are more financially stable, have a great network of friends, are established in a great church, etc.  So many people are excited to meet Juliette.  My two sweet friends are throwing me a "Baby's Blessing" celebration the first Saturday in August.  I hadn't heard of this type of thing until one of them mentioned it to me as an alternative to a shower. She initially offerred to throw me a shower but I felt uncomfortable accepting gifts since I went overboard buying Mirabel clothing/toys/etc, and she's my second girl.  Basically, a few friends will come over to hang out, eat, and work on a scrapbook that they'll fill with prayers and blessings for Juliette.  I love this idea; I hope Juliette appreciates the scrapbook when she is older.

These last few weeks I'm just trying to enjoy my only baby, and my little free time :).  I've been trying to take daily naps during Mirabel's naptime, and that really helps.  Today I didn't feel quite as exhausted.  Our dinners are pretty boring these days, as I get tired and hot standing in front of the stove.      Usually my energy is gone by noon, since we try to get out before it gets too hot. I recently discovered that Mirabel really likes visiting plant nurseries.  The mosquitos love us, but she loves the water fountains and cheesy garden decor.  There are some great places here in Austin.  I think I've gotten bit about 10 times this week, just from 2 nursery visits.  

A few weeks ago, my mom told me about Fairy Gardens.  I had no idea what they were, so I researched them online and came across a blog that had tutorials on how to make one, and even how to make the "fairy furniture" out of stuff from your back yard.  Along with plant nurseries (and bees, she tried to touch one the other day!), Mirabel LOVES little things.  We go to the craft store and she picks up the little balls that fall off of the fake flowers and collects them in her little, sweaty hand.  Pennies, buttons, rolly pollies--anything small, she loves.  So a fairy garden for Mirabel sounded like a good idea, and I wanted to make one too ;) but I'm just using her as my excuse.  That's why we went on a few plant nursery field trips, and even a trip to the craft store since their mini furniture is on sale this week.

It doesn't look like much, but there was a lot of sweating involved in making this.  Mostly because it's so hot and I feel like I'm always on fire these days.  But I'm turning my porch into a fairy's haven, so far I have two other fairy gardens going up.  I've also got a collection of dish gardens, miniature roses, and succulents all on my front porch.  I don't know why but I can keep mini roses alive but not herbs!  What's up with that?

Anyhow, here's our first fairy garden.  Mirabel couldn't wait to get her hands on those little pots and pans...

It's hard to tell, but that's a piggy figurine behind the wishing well (it looks like a ghost :).  I would've loved to use some really cute moss, but it's just too hot here for that.  So I used Elfin Thyme, I think that's how it's spelled. It's thyme that grows like ground cover and it tolerates the Texas summer heat :)... because I know you were wondering why I didn't use moss ;).

I know I won't have much time to do this sort of thing once baby #2 comes along, but every time I see a baby I get excited that I'm having one, so I know I got pregnant at the perfect time!  Yes, there's a lot of anxiety about what it'll be like to raise two little girls close in age, but it's not impossible.  I know I'll be tired the first few months but time flies, and who knows how much longer Mirabel will appreciate things like fairy gardens and rolly pollies.  They are little for a short time; on my tough days with back to back tantrums (Mirabel's not mine, promise ;) I have to tell myself that.  Now we're going to have someone else to love and our house is really becoming a home.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Juliette's Colorful Nursery (done on a budget)

So initially we were going to have Juliette in our room, in her own crib.  Then we decided that since Mirabel is still in our room, but in her own bed, I should probably prepare a room for Juliette and then sleep in there with her, so that Mirabel doesn't think she's being replaced by her new little sis (that and I don't want to leave Juliette all alone when she's first born, and I'm too tired to walk across the house multiple times a night ;).  We're worried about some jealousy issues, as she doesn't even like me hugging her dad!  

There's a twin bed in the room but it isn't featured in the pics...that twin bed is for me :D.  Anyway, here's Juliette's Matryoshka/Nesting doll-themed nursery, and my room for the next few months after her birth, or until she sleeps thru the night :).

Sorry for the bad lighting.  It's been really cloudy and rainy over here.  No complaints about the rain, though!  We've been in a drought, so any trickle of water from the sky brings a sigh of relief.

Found these little picket fences at Hobby Lobby for like $1 and hot glued flowers on them, then cut out nesting doll images from left over fabric and glued them onto the picket fences.  The pink lamp was on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $10 regular $50!  
Bedding and Bedskirt (Fabric found on sale at JoAnns.  With all the coupons, ended up getting it all at about 60% off. I didn't want to make a bumper b/c I'm paranoid :D)
Valance in the larger window across from crib:
Wanted something lightweight to hang above the crib, so we spray painted these embroidery hoops white then decorated them with nesting doll fabric.
These three little windows looked boring so I literally just hammered some fabric under the window panels and just used steam-a-seam to finish off the edges, because I was too lazy to sew them at this point :P.  I figured that dresser I re-did awhile ago would match the crazy nursery colors.
If you're wondering what's in those black frames by the windows...more nesting dolls of course.  Free clip art images found online and printed/cut out and placed on scrapbooking paper.  Framed on black $3 Walmart frames. (Sorry for the blurry image.  I think my lens is dirty. :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This one goes out to the one I love :)...

At only 26, he's a father of 2 and a husband to a high maintenance woman who loves him very much, even when he doesn't want to take a picture ;).

He's not just a father; he's a dad.  The best dad I know, actually.  I feel blessed to say that.  He puts family first and never lets go, even when times get tough.  Literally and figuratively :).  Believe me, Mirabel really wanted to jump in that water.  She even asked us to take off her shirt.  

He's got a good head on his shoulders and he's level-headed.  He may be tough at work, but at home he knows how to have fun with his number one fan and he makes sure to spend time with us, even if that means losing sleep.

That's why he deserves this big piece of pecan pie cake, among many other things. :)

Happy 26th Birthday and Father's Day, Jose :).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Juliette Pearl

We got a great deal on these 3D/4D images!  I only had it done because I received a $50 off coupon in my inbox :), nice surprise.  Jose gave me a wonderful mother's day massage package to this pregnancy spa for Mother's Day, and I loved it, so we decided to go back for a quick ultrasound session.  It was great because Juliette was awake and so animated the entire time.  We got about 60 images, but I think these are my favorite.  She looks so much like her sister, except her lips are a little bigger--she got that from her dad :).  But they have THE SAME nose; I laughed when I saw it.  

We decided on a middle name: Pearl.  There were a few others I really liked, but this was one of the few we could actually agree on.  We decided on one earlier on, but Jose changed his mind.  He wasn't coming up with ideas so I created a list and made him sit down with me and choose one :). It sounds vintage, and that's what I like about it.  It's classic and still fairly uncommon but not weird.  Yes, a bit old lady-ish to some, maybe, but I think that's what I like about it.  It's a lot like the other common old school names, except not quite as common... yet ;).  My mom chose my name when it was uncommon and now there are so many little girls named Sophie/Sophia!  Jose really likes my middle name and wanted to go with it: Francesca, but I decided that I wanted her to have her own name :).

Anyhow, here are the images...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mirabel's 2nd Birthday

Happy Birthday, Mirabel :)!

Mirabel's birthday was actually somewhat of a week long celebration. The morning of started off with showing her these new set of wheels (great Craig's List steal; perfect condition and 1/3 the price!). She was instantly a fan, if you can't tell by the smile on her face. Forgive the use of flash and ugly lighting. Jose got to see her expression before heading off to work, and in between checking his emails. ;)  Later on, we stopped by the pet store and picked up her fish.  Not sure if you can tell what's in the background (on the awkwardly placed coffee table below the windows--we put it there to avoid collisions during wrestling matches and dancing sessions)?  My mom bought her a Discovery Kids fish tank lamp last Christmas.  You turn it on, and the fish swim around.  We decided it was time for a live fish, so we bought her a girl beta.  We thought we should call her "shoosh," since that's how Mirabel says fish, but we decided on Mrs. B, instead.

Then we headed off to one of our favorite parks.  Mirabel is a very active kid, but put her on a train and she is silent the whole ride!  Fun for her and me!  It's so relaxing, and it wasn't too hot.
We actually invited a few friends to join us for a picnic lunch, too, since it's right by "the water".  So that was fun.  I bought Mirabel an ice cream before the train ride, but she didn't care for it and decided to fill up on blueberries instead (she has certain brands that she likes ;).  She also doesn't care much for cake, so I wasn't sure what to do about her special birthday dessert...
Thankfully (yes, this is evidence that she's, in fact, related to me), she loves cookies.  I think it's a texture thing.  She prefers crunchy to fluffy, I suppose.  So I baked her some cookie pops, sticking with the theme of her party, I tried my best to make them look like her favorite character. (This wasn't easy, it took hours upon hours--his pupils were too small at first, giving Elmo a creepy beady-eyed look until I finally figured out what was wrong; it wasn't cute, but thankfully, at least it was an easy fix.)  I also made some cupcakes for the rest of our party guests.  Mirabel approved of the chocolate frosting, at least :).

So the Saturday following her birthday was her party.  My mom did a great job of decorating the whole house and we also decided on getting a bouncy house.  Very happy we did that.  It arrived before the party started and Mirabel bounced in there for nearly an hour--she ended up taking an early nap right after.  She still had energy to bounce in it with her dad later on that day, though :).
The photo of the pies came out super blurry.  But anyway, I figured that pies would also be a good idea to serve, since this kid is obsessed with berries and fruit...
...She liked the pies :).  Not sure if you can see the berry goo all over her face in this picture?
...And she also likes running around barefoot. This picture totally captures her personality; doll in one hand, lawn mower in the other.
She really does love Elmo... (She's giving him a kiss here.)
I think it's safe to say she had a good time, since she was still smiling when the party came to a close :).

Happy kid, happy parents.  It's been a good year.  Looking forward to more!


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