...random experiences, observations and thoughts of my daily life as mommy...past journeys and dreams of journeys yet to be taken creating my life story as i go...


Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year!

resolutions, ideals, dreams, wishes, etc. to follow...for now i leave you with this photo taken 12/31/06 when sea was about story's age now...happy new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

day 137 blog 111 snow in san diego

yesterday we went to the snow at the park across from the children's museum in downtown san diego (click on this link if you want to see my photos/post from inside)...it was probably in the low 60's so our bundled up clothes are kinda a joke (excuse to wear them)...if i'd thought about it i would have taken more photos with the palm trees in the background to give more contrast to the snow...
this was really sea and story's first true experience playing in the snow so even though they only got a few minutes they were running, sliding, crashing, slipping, tumbling all over the place...
they made a small slope and provided saucers to slide down...sea took off too fast and spun around...
story wanted to do this all day...he's not even two and is already growing up and wanting to be so independent...

daddy got in a few extra slides with both of them together...

quick family shot...
i put sea in a sweater with penguins and "snow" since she doesn't have many opportunities to wear it...here she was making a mini "frosty"...
saying farewell to the melting snow...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

day 131 blog 110 xmas prep

story loves frosty...i don't have time to upload all the crafty things we have been doing to get ready for the holidays...so i thought a photo and video of him chasing after frosty would be cheery and simple...take the second to click on the video as he is VERY excited and cute...

video
i mailed/dropped off 119 xmas cards...most of which had a short personal note inside...and now i'm feeling pressure to update this blog since i told everyone to check here to see what we are up to...make a comment and say hello if you are just stopping by for the first time...or even if you just want to say hello...

hope to paste our xmas card and it's contents after everyone has received it...should give you a pretty good idea of our life...for now i'm finishing creating family photo calendars online and generally getting ready for my mom, sister and "hayno" (lady named hazelle we grew up with who filled in as my mom's mom) to come over and celebrate xmas eve tomorrow. we will cut out, bake and decorate sugar cookies, have a mid-afternoon meal and open a few gifts...then head off to manuel's family's house in ventura for xmas and the weekend.

i would still like to dedicate a post to my dad (his birthday was the 18th) and how we miss him but are incorporating him and memories of him in our daily life and holiday rituals...

so much to do i would rather be reading other blogs and others' anxieties, lists, activities instead of creating and procrastinating on my own...

off to get some stuff done!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

day 126 blog 109 xmas card swap revisited

so back in early november i joined an international handmade holiday card swap...these are 9 of the 10 i was supposed to receive (still waiting on one)...three from australia, one from new zealand, one from mill valley (near where i went to college), one from sacramento (near where my sister-in-law lives), one from new york (where we are visiting this summer), one from idaho, one from colorado (manuel has relatives there)...i'm forgetting someone...anyway, i thought i would include the card we made to send in the swap along with what we wrote (personalized to each but this one will give you an idea):
family xmas photo from last year...sequins (sea glued them with glitter glue)...
photo of her and her brother hugging on the left inside page and she made drawings for each card...here are two different ones...
i included a san diego post card on the back page to give a feel for what it looks like here and enclosed several photos of our family at the beach, xmas rituals, etc...
here is more or less what i sent as a letter inside:

>dear amelie, buzzy and freya,

we are excited to be your card swap pen pals! our mommy denise is typing this…our names are sea (age 4) and story (will be 2 in february). we look forward to learning more about you…I’ll tell you about us and ask a few questions you may or may not share in the card you send to us…I suppose I should tell you more about where we live. We could look up where you live on a map, but hopefully you will describe what life is like there. We live in san diego, california…on the western coast of the united states of america…san diego is actually quite a large city but it has a smaller town feel as there are many communities within this big city. we live about 15 miles north of the border of mexico and about 15 minutes inland from the beach. enclosed are some photos and postcards from our holidays and days at the beach.

we love the beach (named our daughter sea!) and we are lucky to have temperatures here between the mid 60’s and 70’s almost year round so we spend a lot of time there. our daddy works during the day but we are lucky to have our mommy stay home with us…we are part of a cooperative preschool where we go to different friends’ homes, parks, the zoo, the children’s museum and share songs, stories, crafts, potluck food, etc. together. several of our friends in that co-op are participating in this card swap and we look forward to comparing cards and stories! our mommy also loves to blog, so if you want to keep up with our lives and/or learn more about us you can read about our lives here: (inserted blog address)

what we will be doing for the holidays/family holiday traditions

before our mommy’s daddy passed away in 2006 our holiday routine was to spend xmas eve at our mommy’s parents’ home (1.5 hours away) and then xmas day at our daddy’s parents’ home (3 hours away).

the new tradition we have been working out for our family is to celebrate xmas eve in our own home along with denise’s mom and sister and a lady we grew up with who’s family is gone…then leave around 8 that evening and head to ventura (1 hour north of los angeles, on the coast near santa barbara) to spend xmas day and

the weekend with manuel’s family. some year I’d love to do a destination holiday and have both families get rooms in a cabin and spend the weekend in the snow somewhere instead of exchanging gifts.

to prepare for the holidays we go to a local xmas tree farm down the street from our house and cut down our own tree (we try to choose it together as a family)…we try to do this right after we get back from spending thanksgiving with our families…hopefully tonight!…put up lights outdoors on our house and bushes (daddy did this yesterday during his lunch break…we put up light “icycles”…more common probably in southern california where we don’t get real snow), decorate the tree together…I’ve enclosed some photos of things we put on our tree…usually sea puts her favorite stuffed animals and dollies but we often have a “sea” theme with strings of shells and a starfish on top as the star. story has a train set we want to put around the tree…we each have xmas stockings we will hang on the fireplace (my dad’s mom made them…they are cross stitch and needlepoint with our names on them)…let’s see what other rituals we have…we have been taking a photo with santa (kids) every year and frame this in a wallet sized frame that hangs on the tree with the year we took it. we also display all the xmas cards we get (sent out over 100 last year) in a string across the front windows…yours will go there, too! we send out a photo xmas card every year…this one you got of us was taken january of this year so for our 2009 card we will put that photo on the left, one of the two kids in the middle (maybe the one with santa hats?) and then try to take an updated family shot in front of our xmas tree for this year as our 3rd shot. If you want to get our annual card and letter, drop us a line and we’ll send you one!

questions for you

sea loves the wiggles. she talks almost daily about visiting australia to meet them. we went to the cook islands for our honeymoon and made some wonderful friends from australia. they live in st georges basin nsw 2540…where is that relative to where you live? If we remain pen pals it would be wonderful to visit you someday! you are always welcome to visit us…we have plenty of room for your family to stay with us if you do…questions I have: what is life like where you live? daily? what do you do for the holidays? how old are you? who lives in your house? do you go to school? what holidays do you celebrate? anything else “different” about living in australia…is there anything I could send you from the u.s. in a care package? Candy, stickers, books, etc…what are you guys in to? Looking forward to your card!

Love, sea and story and their mommy denise and daddy manuel"

here are some more close-ups of the cards we received...this one drawing has a lot of detail!


the people from new zealand sent their money, stamps, flags, flowers...

day 126 blog 108 too much xmas card

this photo was taken january of this year...right after we sent our non-xmas holiday photo cards out...so i loved it enough to include it in this year's card...only i just printed them out...along with our recent photo card, 2 page holiday letter, sea's drawing and sea's reflections on xmas...yes, i nearly sent out a book...manuel asked me if anyone else did this or if i thought it was a little excessive...representative of the too much we have going on here in our house...and he is right...what to cut out? can't i appreciate these little things about my children without feeling like i have to send them to everyone? how do you balance the overwhelming love you have for your children and all the adorable moments you share with them without screaming about it to everyone? i'm going to post the holiday letter contents in a few days (once people have received them) so you can see what i'm talking about....hope to assemble these packets and mail them today...we've been without internet for 3 days so that has been a mixed blessing...i've been going to bed at 9ish! still so behind on everything...truly hope to post thanksgiving, xmas decorating, xmas parties, etc. photos before the end of the year...and read up on your lives...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

day 121 blog 107 sunshine sabbath school singing

video
i don't know if any other bloggers have trouble moving past a post...like after i wrote a memorial type post about my dad on the anniversary of his death i couldn't think of anything else to say...or like i was leaving him behind if i wrote anything else? i think you have to lose someone that close to you to understand...anyway, looking at the last post i wrote (which wasn't that interesting)...but that photo of story hugging sea...what to write?

i'm up early getting the children ready for sabbath school (corollary of sunday school only on saturday)...i've been co-leading there for over a year...love how interactive the class is with all the kids doing something most of the time, moving, singing at the top of their lungs, filled with happiness, love...for each other, Jesus...the innocence, simple joys...

this video was taken at thanksgiving time at manuel's parents' church in oxnard. the children are singing "climb up sunshine mountain"...love sea's cororful outfit and tights and story kinda getting in on the mix...they both LOVE music, singing, dancing, moving...

Friday, December 11, 2009

day 120 blog 106 xmas letter brainstorm

i've been writing our "holiday letter" in my head for weeks now...keep adding and leaving out things...as confident as i can be in some areas i can be very insecure and obsess over not doing some things perfectly...this being one of those things...i really wanted to get this last photo of sea and story hugging in our holiday card (read about the photo shoot and julie here) but it didn't make it...i'll write a blog post with the completed letter as it should catch many of you up with out life...

i'm motivated to write something briefly today because one of the most inspirational bloggers i've been following, amanda, of i am mommy, wrote a post on the importance of making comments on others' posts and she included a note about me that was very flattering, but, well, i don't feel like i've been quite the mommy i'd like to be recently (blame it on holiday busyness?)...i'd love to blog a post on why she means so much to me, but, well, don't want to do it now just for a "comment for a comment" sake...so i'll get around to that after posting photos from thanksgiving (yes i'm that far behind), holiday coop preschool days, visiting cousins, more of sea's drawings...i can't even remember all the things...if i can average 2 a day for the last couple weeks of the month i'll be caught up to a post a day...

looking forward to meeting many of the new people that have stopped by...enjoying finding your blogs! thanks again amanda...now to go write that holiday letter and not obsess over it too much...

Monday, December 7, 2009

day 116 blog 105 2009 holiday card choices

my neighbor julie is a really talented photographer and artist...check out her site and don't miss her art journals and online classes...we had a photo shoot with her on sunday and these are just a few of the incredible shots she took...still trying to choose for our holiday card...




day 115 blog 104 sea kitty drawings

it has been rainy, windy, cold, gray all day...sea has been making drawings most of the day...her favorite thing to draw (today) is cats...tonight i'm going to go through the awesome photos my friend julie took and choose some for our holiday card...i'll try to blog some of the contenders tonight once sea and story are sleeping...for now, i'm thinking of writing a creative non-fiction children's book and having sea illustrate...




Sunday, December 6, 2009

day 114 blog 103 "no"'s

story started saying "no" yesterday. i remember once sea learned that word we were in for quite a ride of wills leading right in to the "terrible twos"...so this is quite the milestone. he has been saying a lot of new words recently. i need to just blog about them whenever i think of it. like today he was carrying around a mickey mouse stuffed animal and said "nose" while pointing the mouse's nose..."no"s..."nose"...

on the topic of "no"...i am no longer participating in nablopomo...i found out about the blog a day for 30 days idea on the second day of the month...so i was always afraid i never quite qualified during the month of november...so i decided to give it a shot for the month of december...until tonight...we were deep cleaning the house and then running errands and when i put the kids to bed late story was over-stimulated and singing, squirming, until almost 11...i think i fell asleep before him...when i woke up i chose to take a long, hot bath instead of checking the time to see if i had time to squeeze in a quick blog post just to get one in (i really hate doing that...the past 3 or so blogs have been just to do a post a day)...so sure enough it was after midnight and i felt relieved! yay! now i can just blog when i feel compelled or have something meaningful to write about instead of because i feel that i should...

so many things i want to blog about when i have time...we've been receiving handmade cards from around the world and it is so fun to hear about people's lives from all over, imagine them working on the cards and contents, look at their photos...i will do a post on this including our card and inserts and then a photo of the cards we received...i think we've gotten about 2/3 of the 10 we are expecting...several of the moms have blogs i look forward to following...may even become pen pals with some of the swap participants...

my friend julie is going to come over tomorrow to take photos of our family by our christmas tree for our holiday card. drop me a comment if you want me to send you one. so of course i have to reflect over this past year and plans for next year for the letter...and i got the idea from the card swap to "interview" sea on what christmas means to her...will paste that on the back of her art i'm going to include...some days she will make like 20 drawings complete with little stories about how the people/animals interact...i LOVE this...could do several posts just on her art...

snapfish is having a 35% off holiday promotion until the 10th and there are so many "photo" gifts i need to work on in the next few days...our holiday cards, calendars for like 8 family members (with photos from this past year)...so i'm relieved i don't "have" to blog every day...

when i come back i hope to post photos from thanksgiving, picking our christmas tree, decorating our tree and lots of random little things of sea and story together...give me a few days and i'll be back...still hoping to make catch up my days and blogs by the end of the year...

Friday, December 4, 2009

day 112 blog 102 xmas tree

we got a 7 foot tree last night at ikea for $20...apparently in past years they also give you a $20 gift card when you recycle it at IKEA...and they plant a new tree for every one cut down...sorry my posts are so sparse...we decorated the tree last night and today i'm cleaning after being gone...then off to a work party with manuel tonight, family photo shoot and birthday party this weekend...hope to update with lots of holiday photos soon...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

day 111 blog 101 dancing

no photo...just a visual in my head...sea just woke up half asleep while manuel and i were going through her old clothes (making 3 piles: 1)give away to his sister missy, 2) save for story and 3)save for a quilt for sea)...so he is dancing around in the front room with her nestled on his shoulder, in his neck...singing in to her ear...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

day 110 blog 100 down time

only 3 minutes left in "today"...put sea and story to sleep around 8:30 and story literally didn't fall asleep until after 10? i was so exhausted and frustrated i fell asleep until now...going back to bed but wanted to get in a "post"...more tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

day 109 blog 99 time with story

m just got home from a "mission" with sea...i've had alone time with story...now to take him to bed...

Monday, November 30, 2009

day 108 blog 98 last day of nablopomo...xmas prep

this photo is in the running for our 2009 xmas card...only problem is it was taken january of this year so technically we need to take a current photo for this xmas...so i'm thinking of doing this photo, one of the two children together in the middle and then one photo of our family from THIS xmas as the third photo for this year's card...will take a photo of the final product...but for now i have a long list of things to do...like finish the last of 30 posts in 30 days (i started nov 2nd so even though i have posted 30 posts in 29 days i don't think i qualify for the prizes?)...i'm talking about nablopomo (national blog posting month)...i'm going to join the blogroll for next month, too...just found out today, the last day of my november blogging that there even was a blog roll and i was never on it...i need to take a course in these blogging things...i did join three groups on the site: 1) comment for a comment 2) mommy bloggers and 3) the meaning of life...from this i determined:

1) i need to seek out bloggers with similar interests/values/focus as myself...i had trouble relating with many people on the first group although i am going to give it one more shot tonight after i finish this post as i really like the concept of getting yourself out there and getting more feedback and giving feedback to others asking for it at the same time...to be honest i only browsed through a few of the 38 members so i'm hopeful i'll find more to relate with tonight

2) never even checked out the mommy bloggers...i have many friends and fellow bloggers who meet this criteria so if i'm looking for mommy bloggers to follow i'll follow comments i like on other mommies blogs...that is one thing i have learned from being a mom...there are a LOT of different styles of parenting out there and i need to seek out people more like myself to stay centered and feel understood

3) i really like the last group, dedicated to writing about meaning...i'm actually quite obsessed with the topic...i wrote my master's thesis on meaning in life, happiness (daily subjective well-being and life satisfaction for those of you studying these things in psychology) and self-concept...my theory was that people who have integrity or consistency between what they value, who they believe themselves to be and how they live their life would be happier and find their lives more meaningful...i can tell you more about my findings and how i have changed this somewhat and the balance between figuring life out and living it...but hey, isn't that what many of us who blog often struggle with all the time? so back on point, i found a couple bloggers who often write posts on meaning and was grateful for this group...lindsey, when i'm caught up i still owe you a review or post on what i appreciated reading back a ways on your blog...

in the meantime i can barely make my own to-do lists and stay on top of daily life...i'll get to writing meaningful posts perhaps during this next month's challenge on giving something to someone every day? i think that will be a good way to get outside of myself, be less absorbed, appreciate other people's perspective...

i'm going to visit the comment for a comment group and post that i'll be participating in nablopomo for the month of december...maybe i'll even catch up with my goal of blogging every day for the rest of the year (10 extra posts)...i have a lot of photos from back months...

for now i need to get working on my handmade xmas cards for the swap...today i bought xmas letter head for the personalized letter i will write each of the 10 people from around the world (may post a letter as a blog post as some of the info is interesting)...printed out photos of our family from last xmas along with our traditions (oh, more for another post), photos of us at the beach, bought san diego postcards so the families can see what the area we live in looks like...of course i also wanted to send each of them candy and stickers and whatever else for a care package but i'm already taking on too much to even get these 10 mailed tomorrow...i'll take a photo of the finished product but basically i'm going to make the cards and sea is going to color them, put stickers on and write "happy xmas" inside along with a heart and her name...i also had address labels made with characters of our family from expressionary (you still have time to order them...they send them out like the day after you order them...click on "paper people" to see the way to personalize the characters for your family)...and i've addressed the envelopes and bought xmas stamps...i still feel overwhelmed to finish and get these in the mail tomorrow so more later...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

day 107 blog 97 heading home

again, little time...packing...check back tomorrow night and i'll fill in the last 3 posts with photos and details...today's highlight included over 4 hours at the ramate ("ramatay"...spanish pronunciation)...a swap meet, flea market of sorts...got lots of stuff including hand knit sweaters from ecuador (with smiling suns, llamas, cacti, etc.) for sea and story...they both had a blast on a pony ride, munching down fresh coconut and lime snow cones, strolling around with poppy...looking at toys, birds, kids, eating more snacks...i also got some used black converse shoes for story, a furry froggy knit hat with matching gloves, a couple richard scarry books for both children, tighty whiteys for story, colorful tights for sea, extra moisturizing conditioner...these are the things that come to mind but it was quite fun, relaxing, productive and surprisingly warm and sunny about 75 degrees with the ventura cool ocean breeze...tomorrow i'm finishing up our handmade xmas cards and letter for the card swap...but for now i'm off to finish packing and head home! hope your holidays were as enjoyable as ours...look forward to catching up in the next few days...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

day 106 blog 96 meaningful posts

i don't even have 5 minutes for today's post...still at my in-laws and chasing wee ones who are nearly ready for bed...feeling pressure to have a "meaningful post" i realized this is the perfect opportunity to link to other bloggers i enjoy who do often write very meaningful posts...here are two...i'll give my commentary when i have more than 5 minutes but wanted to leave you with something:

1) lindsey at a design so vast

and

2) heather at the extraordinary ordinary

check them out...read several posts back...

Friday, November 27, 2009

day 105 blog 95 visiting grandparents

i'm only allowing myself 5 minutes on here...yesterday we spent thanksgiving with my mom and sister (manuel, sea and story) at uncle dave's house...this is where we went every major holiday when i was growing up as a child...he lives one house down from the house we went to most of my life...in redlands...(photos after i get home) then last night we arrived at manuel's parents' house. so here are some ideas that have been running through my head...

i gave up...

my hang ups over hydrogenated oils, excessive starch and white flour, high fructose corn syrup, margarine...learning all the princess' names, watching too many dvds, barbies, violent videos...

i gained...

four cousins having a blast together...sea and ayva trading off tricycles and bikes and pedaling as fast as they could down the sidewalk...story squealing in glee watching in the stroller, skye holding his hand a proud older cousin...them chasing, spinning swinging, sliding at the park...sharing snacks, sharing stickers, making forts, playing house, playing with dinosaurs and puppies...playing outside in the mud, holding squirmy puppies, reading each other stories, glad they had their auntie denise to teach them games and play together...so i'm glad i've gotten a better perspective about our visit and let go of some of my worries...now i'm drinking very weak coffee with hazelnut creamer and enjoying every sip...

more when i get home..

Thursday, November 26, 2009

day 104 blog 94 baking a pie

yesterday sea and story helped me bake a pie...i'm running late today on thanksgiving so my posts may be sparse this weekend...more later...







Wednesday, November 25, 2009

day 103 blog 93 mommy interview


i'm going to try this again...my friend jenni is taking a child development course at uc berkeley (i miss living near there!) and asked if she could interview me for a reflection paper she is writing. i tried to include these photos but was having trouble with html...

ok, now on to answer your questions:

  1. How did your pregnancy affect you?

Hmm…my pregnancies seem so long ago now…I could get out many, many journals from that time period and answer specifically if you want more in this area…I think overall I felt glowing, happy, healthy, pretty even…towards the end I felt somewhat fat but never reached a point where I just wanted the baby out and was “over” being pregnant…people in general were a lot nicer, more helpful, smiled at me more when I was pregnant. My hormones were all over the place and I got more emotional easily but really I think pregnancy balanced my hormones more than not, which was surprising to me.

I think I was also surprised to be pregnant even though both pregnancies were planned. I tend to be impressionable or easily believe hokey things…like a girlfriend in high school swung a needle over my hand and told me I would never have children (supposedly she did this same thing to other “moms” and it was accurate on saying “2 boys, 1 girl” or whatever that mom had…now that I’m thinking about it, this is probably the same old wives tale trick to see what sex a pregnant mom will have? So maybe it saying I wouldn’t have children just meant I wasn’t pregnant at the time?) anyway, for years I had this secret fear that I could never get pregnant or at least would never carry a healthy baby to term so I was pretty scared during the first pregnancy and a lot more relaxed during the second one. I was lucky that both were overall very easy, healthy pregnancies.

The one thing I remember the most about being pregnant is that I had more anxiety than any other time in my life. Afraid of the unknown of caring for a child, hoping the child was ok, not knowing what I’d be like as a mom, afraid of screwing up…I had anxiety dreams where I “left” the child or did ridiculous things I knew rationally in waking life I would never do. I think I was just trying to grasp how my life would change and the not knowing was driving me crazy…

  1. What influence did your pregnancy have on your relationship? on your mate?

I wouldn’t say my pregnancy had as much influence on my relationship or my mate as having children did. I think manuel really wanted to connect to both babies when they were inside me…we looked at drawings of the growing baby in “pregnancy week by week” and he was there for several ultrasounds and heard the heart beat, sang and talked to both babies through my tummy but he didn’t feel as connected to the babies until they were born. I would “hold” both babies throughout the day and was actually sad about giving up carrying them with me every second once they would be born (I realized how much deeper and more intimate my love for them could be once they were born but I’m just saying how I felt while I was pregnant)…manuel would probably say I was a bit more emotional and dramatic and high maintenance during pregnancy but I tend to be that way anyway, so not anything that different there…

I did get a little more obsessive about diet and tried to micro-manage my pregnancy with record keepers of what I was eating, vitamins, exercise, doctor’s appointments, writing down every little thing. I think that drove manuel crazy and he didn’t think it was necessary but it was very “me” and he wasn’t surprised or that concerned by it…

  1. How did your life change during pregnancy?

with my first pregnancy I was still working two jobs…waiting tables and teaching quite a bit…I was finishing a semester in northern California when manuel got a job near his parent’s home in ventura…so he moved in with them in oct 2004 about the time we found out I was pregnant…then I got a teaching job near him, moved down and two weeks after I started he got his dream job 3 hours further south in san diego (he is a public defender for the county)…so then I had to finish that semester and live alone with his parents until a few weeks before sea was born. It was somewhat challenging living with them but overall they were supportive and gave me my own space…I did enjoy taking a lot of walks along the beach there in ventura…I also attribute a lot of sea’s love for music to the 6 hours of driving (listening to a lot of music) back and forth to san diego to see manuel in those last months…

with story my life didn’t change that much…at that point I was already a stay-at-home mom and knew what to expect in a pregnancy so my anxiety was mainly about sibling rivalry and how to balance the needs of two children…

  1. Describe your response to the birth process itself.

SEA: I still get sad thinking of the birth of sea…I had been having increasingly high blood pressure readings near the end (probably in part the anxiety I was talking about) and two weeks to the day before my due date I went in for a routine appt whereby the dr declared I officially had “preclampsia” due to several other symptoms like my urine and blood work and they needed to admit me to the hospital and take the baby out right then. It was a Friday afternoon appointment and my hospital bags were not packed…I did have my “birth plan” all written up but of course most of that had to be thrown out the window with their plans of inducing…I guess I’m a bit of a control freak and I felt like the control had been taken away from me…I didn’t feel empowered to give birth myself…or trusted nor that I could trust my body to do what it needed to do. Really I wanted to go against medical advice and just leave and give birth naturally when my body thought it was ready. But I couldn’t take the risk of jeopardizing my daughter by doing that so I gave in (crying uncontrollably)…

Manuel arrived with all of my loony requests including relaxing music he burned onto cds…I remember as we were getting close to having sea trying to guess what song would be on or if it was some sign of whether we were having a boy or girl (we were surprised)…

The induction was pretty standard and progressed nicely…I had hoped to have a natural birth but was exhausted (emotionally mainly) and gave in to an epidural…which didn’t work, so I had to have two…by the time they wanted me to push I just wanted to sleep…because I wasn’t in any hurry to get this baby out and didn’t really think she was in distress, I “pretended” to push for an hour or so while I just relaxed…finally, as the sun was about to come up, july 23, 2005, I started pushing and as sea was coming out manuel said “she has a lot of blonde hair” and I said “no, you must be mistaken…even I, who had blonde hair as a child was born with dark hair…” and he kept arguing with me…”no, I can see her…” “how do you know she is a girl?” etc. I guess he just thought a lot of blonde hair and associated it with a girl…sure enough!

Funny part of that story…according to almost ever old wives tale I was carrying a boy…all the people at work, strangers on the street, our entire family except my dad…all thought we were having a boy…so I remember one of my first reactions was “HA! They were all wrong! I can’t wait to tell them!” and then I was torn between wanting our extended family (moms, dads and siblings) to come in right away and meet her and wanting to have alone time with just her and daddy…I think we got a little alone time before they came in…after losing my dad 10 months later I’m glad I got him involved as quickly as we did…

STORY: with story I was determined to have as “natural” of a birth as I could short of having a home birth (which at this point I would consider if we ever have a third)…I was afraid of having preclampsia again but this pregnancy went even easier with less high blood pressure. So just before my birthday (3 weeks before I was due) I started showing a lot of signs the baby was coming…effaced, dilated, carrying low, etc. I had a routine appointment on my birthday, feb. 15, 2008 (just about 2 weeks before I was due…when sea was induced) and when I told the dr. it was my birthday he said “you could have this baby tonight”…later I realized he meant to check myself in and have some pitocin or something jump start the process so I went back and clarified that though I thought it would be interesting or funny or whatever to have a baby on my birthday, I wasn’t prepared to TRY to do that…in fact in no way ever wanted to be induced if I could help it…so then he knew we were on the same page and even though he thought the baby was coming any day, story, held on until the morning of feb 27…I woke up early for me about 7 and turned to manuel in bed and said “the baby is coming today” and he kinda grumbled and tried to roll back over since I had thought that for weeks…only I was in active labor and I said “no, I’m sure this time” and I started dancing around trying to get my mind in a place to handle the contractions…I remember thinking “I don’t know how people ‘labor’ at home”…I had hoped to stay there as long as possible but had this urgent feel I just needed to get to the hospital…so I called my dr. to tell him I was coming (originally he said to check in at triage and they would let me know if I should come in and at this point I decided that wouldn’t be necessary…I was coming…) it took about an hour to eat, grab bags, say goodbye to sea (this was the hardest part for me…knowing I would never come home again to just her and knowing it was breaking her heart to be apart from me but yet being in too much pain to spend as much time processing this as I would have liked)…by the time we got to the hospital and got hooked up I was 8 centimeters dilated! Story arrived naturally (no pain meds) about 2 hours later…9 lbs 3 oz…I had painful back labor but was grateful to have nurses and manuel take turns massaging, helping me in different positions, hot showers, walking around…overall just more control over the labor the way I’d hoped…and this time I was fully awake and fully aware and able to completely experience the joy of holding story on my chest right after he was born…I remember crying with joy and not wanting to let go of those precious moments of closeness…truly I felt euphoric, a natural high that lasted for some time…

5. How did you expect to feel about the baby and its arrival and were your expectations met?

I could spend a LONG time on this question…my friend cara was asking me questions related to this. For me this really came down to my identity pre-baby and my identity newly with baby and my identity now. All VERY different, mind you…which can be either difficult to wrap your mind around or just a good thing the way one can adapt to what you need to adapt to. I have always been pretty self-sufficient, independent, hardworking, type A etc. personality…I thought I would just sort of slip a baby into this busy lifestyle and maintain my same sense of self. Wrong. I was changed almost as soon as my first baby arrived. I had even less control than I thought in some areas (sleep, colic, not knowing what to expect and having to adapt to so many different things and “figure it out”) and other areas I thought would be so difficult came naturally to me…hmmm can’t remember what these were…maybe like bathing with the baby, nursing, co-sleeping without fear of smothering her…but for me I had to wrap my mind around where I ended and the baby began. What were my needs/desires? What were hers? Could these co-exist or did I need to change my schema/values/perspective? Overall I had to change I think….but in a good way. I consider myself an “attachment parent” but not because I knew anything a bout this or did research before having a baby. Just because once I started getting into a rhythm that felt natural, I realized a lot of other parents under the AP umbrella did these same things (extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby wearing are the main ones that come to mind)…but I didn’t have a lot of role models for this so I had to make friends like me and find groups online and join playgroups and mommy-and-me yoga groups etc. to find my niche or other like-minded souls…which for me was important in clarifying my own values and expectations…

I feel like I’m not completely answering this question…to start, I expected to have a lot of anxiety about being a mom…and I did…I was worried I was doing it all wrong and screwing sea up already…not there for her enough, not spending enough time “being” in the moment appreciating her or just holding her or sleeping with her…worrying I should get more done, read more parenting books, e tc. And then worrying I wasn’t relaxing and enjoying those early baby days…I’m trying to think what other expectations I had…I think in a distant place I tried to push out of my head I was worried she would consume me and I would lose myself…instead I gained a richer “self” that was actually clearer for me…like I could see myself through her eyes in a way I could never see myself if that makes sense? So in some ways she helped me form an identity I had been searching for…

I guess even though I had been a work-a-holic and loved teaching and was somewhat worried about being a stay-at-home mom, I really was never a career woman afraid of giving up that aspect of myself. So the transition to being a SAHM was really more about being busy in different ways instead of going crazy at home (we got out a lot…even in the first few days after she was born)…

  1. Once the baby was born, how did it affect you? your mate? your relationship?

This question and its answers is a work in progress. Every age is a new stage to go through. Both for me and for manuel and for “us”…we definitely have less “us” time but I feel like we were friends for 6 years before dating and then had 7 years before marriage to travel the world and eat out and hang out and relax etc. so I don’t have regrets that we didn’t fit in enough before children. I would like our AP style to result in very secure children who will be happy to see their parents happily going out on dates and doing things with just the two of them (sea is at that point but story still breaks down when we leave him so I don’t enjoy going out too much w/o kids at this point).

I remember vividly when sea was born and manuel was driving us home and I sat in the back seat next to her and he looked at us in the rear view mirror and said something dramatic like “I feel like I’ve been replaced” and I told him I could never love anyone as much as him, it was just a different type of love and he understood and probably felt the same way…we jokingly say we love the children “too much” or so much we can’t believe it…had a friend who told us he couldn’t believe how much he loved his baby when she was born and this love grew every day and he couldn’t believe it could ever be stronger but somehow it was and I can totally relate with that.

Overall I think our relationship has suffered but we both feel so blessed and like we are growing in to our roles as a family and will regain our intimacy and alone time when story gets past this separation anxiety phase.

  1. What kind of prenatal education or care did you receive?

I took the classic “lamaze” type class at the hospital where I gave birth (Kaiser) and also faithfully went to all the prenatal visits (mainly just checking urine, weight, baby size)…the class was a good balance between what to expect in a hospital setting and options for being induced, pain relief, c-sections, etc. and how to try and have a natural drug free birth (my preference)…I also thought Kaiser was pretty reasonable about allowing people space to have their birth plans and preferences as much as possible in a hospital setting…I think birth is more normal than hospitals and books like “what to expect when you are expecting” make it out to be…they tend to focus on the worst case scenarios and the problems with giving birth where women have given birth naturally in so many cultures and throughout history…sometimes too much knowledge can just scare you instead of trusting the woman and her body to birth…I did take some “birthing from within” courses towards the end of my second pregnancy…lisa, a good friend of mine lead them in a one-on-one setting and it was great to talk about my fears, crazy emotions, stressors, etc. and even draw some of these out before giving birth…I would highly recommend her or this process…

  1. What advice would you offer to someone who is thinking about having a child?

If possible, be sure you are ready…on an intuitive level. You are never completely ready. You could always have more money, more time, more experiences, more perspective, more knowledge, etc. but just feeling you are in the right place for yourself and your family I think is key. Once you are getting ready to have a child, the best advice I can give is:

1) trust your instinct, heart…you’ll get a lot of conflicting advice and read a lot of books, etc. but you will know what is best for you and your baby and usually only when you need that knowledge

2) enjoy every stage…I missed a lot of opportunities to just hold my baby tightly, rock her, sleep with her, appreciate her colic or little whimpering sounds because I a) shared her with all the other people who wanted to hold her; b) was afraid of teaching her she needed to be rocked or something to fall asleep; c) was worried I should be doing something instead of sleeping; d) was too consumed with the problems in the present to see the bigger picture of how someday I would miss these little things about her and she would be FINE

3) have a lot of photos taken the first week your baby is born…I was too consumed to do this and the baby changes SO much in a short time…worst of all for me (the picture freak) is I frantically got a photo of every person who walked through the hospital room…each tenderly holding my baby…and none of them thought to return the favor for me. I still cry I have no real photos of myself holding sea (or really even that many of story) those first few hours and day or two in the hospital…oh, and get one of you and your husband holding the new baby, too…

4) having children is the best thing that has ever happened to me. That should tell you something!

  1. What were some of the myths you were told about pregnancy?

So many I can’t even remember them all…goes back to my advice to go with your heart…at some point I just started saying “ok, thanks for the suggestion” and then didn’t even record the advice in my head because I disagreed with so many people…there are so many ways to parent and so many pros and cons to each way…I think you have to weigh it all out and do what works for you…overall I say trust yourself and your body and err on reading and preparing less than you think you need to…most of my learning came from experience and just letting myself “be” in the moment with my child. I’m feeling all teary-eyed…thanks for the opportunity to let me share all of this! I ADORE my children and am so grateful I am their mommy. My life is so blessed and enriched having them…let me know if you have any other questions! And check out my blog for more of a feel for daily life…you can go back to the very first posts when I was waiting to have story and see more about pregnancy…

  1. from my recollection, you are a vegetarian. did you change your diet while you were pregnant?

I’ve been vegetarian my whole life so that never changed…I did become a little more obsessive about balancing enough of all the nutrients I thought I needed at different times (depending on what I was reading…a lot of it in a pregnancy journal I got that made recommendations)…of course that didn’t stop me from still having a sweet tooth and eating a lot of sugary items…I never had any particular cravings (pickles and ice cream or whatever the cliché pregnancy preferences are) but I did eat a LOT of food…took advantage of “eating for two” and felt like I was feeding my baby through the increase in calories…I was more concerned and careful with sea and with story I just ate what I felt like and tried to be healthy overall. I’m curious now how that may affect some of their food preferences…story will try many more things than sea…I was waiting tables in an Italian restaurant while I was pregnant with her and ate a lot of the same foods over and over…pizza, pasta, garlic, tomato based foods…she has a sensitivity to a lot of carbs and gets a digestive reaction to eating anything with garlic in it so I wish I’d eaten more of a variety of foods during her pregnancy…and of course less sugar for both of them since they are sugar crazed like their mommy…

  1. how different was your second pregnancy comparing to your 1st?

They were both very similar…I thought I was going to have another girl they were so similar. And of course everyone thought I was going to have a boy again (they were right the second time…I guess I’m just tall and long-waisted so both pregnancies I carried the baby in a similar way)…I didn’t have morning sickness with either (ok, one DAY I felt nauseous while carrying story)…I was healthy and happy and no problems overall. The only major difference was I got diagnosed with preclampsia at the end of my pregnancy with sea and didn’t have that with story. I had high blood pressures on and off with both (some of this I think was attributable to all the tomatoes I ate, some to anxiety)…I definitely had less anxiety about the pregnancy with story…I thought he would be born healthy where with sea I was worried about miscarrying, then about her being deformed or not making it after birth…with story I was just worried about sibling rivalry and how to balance the needs of two children…I had anxiety about delivery with both…the unknown for sea and also the unknown as far as going in to labor naturally with story…fear of handling the pain and wanting to do it naturally with both…the added difficulty with story was how to handle not having my dad there to meet story…I thought I’d be so depressed about it I would be distracted and unable to concentrate on the labor…wrong…pain dictated little else to occupy my mind during active labor…but I did put a photo of my dad that his secretary made into a pin that said “shalom” on it (something he said a lot to people) and pinned it to my bed…thought about him a lot afterwards…wow…long answer for starting out saying “basically the same”…I guess I meant physically I felt the same/lack of negative symptoms/healthy etc.

  1. how did Sea react to your 2nd pregnancy initially?

She was barely 2 when we told her she was going to have a sibling…she didn’t really “get” it for a long time. I was going to buy her a doll to “practice” what it would be like to share time with a baby, watch mommy care for the baby, etc. but when I tried to “act” this out it felt very un-real and I decided I would rather savor my time alone with her since I couldn’t fully prepare her anyway. She was ambivalent once she started to “get” she was going to have to share with someone…sometimes she would be excited and other times she would act out aggressively and hit her dollies (one time she even took her doll in the other room and hit her while I wasn’t looking…which worried me even more that she truly just wanted to hurt the baby more than she wanted attention!) then when story was born she was really upset when I first saw her in the hospital. We had never spent that long apart and I think she missed me on one level but also finally understood how MUCH she was going to have to share. I believe she kissed story upon meeting him and then hit him soon after…that’s what I mean by ambivalent…when we left the hospital she cried again and said she wanted to send him home to somebody else’s house. She cried for 30 minutes in the car outside of our home before we went inside for the first time. It was heart breaking but now she loves her “brudder” and they get along quite well!

I loved answering these questions…wanted to get all this down somewhere…thanks for helping me organize my thoughts…keep the questions coming if you have more or want clarification on anything!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

day 102 blog 92 card give away

i just came across a give away for custom greeting or thank you cards and want to win! i could use them for thank you cards from the holidays or kids' birthdays...go visit kimberly's site and post here if you want to try and win...i'm curious to read more on her blog...she has 10 children and homeschools...

Monday, November 23, 2009

day 101 blog 90 home, mimi and family

we moved in to our home one year ago today...here in this photo story is only about 6 months old, sea barely 3...holding the little white tiger, goggin, i was telling you about...i also wanted to write a quick note about my mom, "mimi" as sea calls her...story just started saying her name yesterday and i remembered these photos of her holding him from about the same time a year ago...we take an annual photo of each child at the picture people...sea with a little pink monkey and story with this rabbit...so we can measure how much they grow as the animals get smaller...



making thanksgiving plans to be with as much family as possible, figuring out our own holiday plans and getting a xmas tree/stringing lights etc. this sunday and then trying to create and send off handmade cards with stories, postcards, photos of our life for the card swap...if i have the time and energy i'll blog about our friend ella's birthday party that we went to yesterday later tonight...and fight the html to blog the interview that goes along with the photos from yesterday...