Friday, April 30, 2010

bella makes a friend. 5 years ago.

bella has made a friend. technically, she had no choice. this was an arranged friendship, 5 years in the making. it all started when we moved to hawaii. this is where joel and i met "our couple". our husbands were work husbands, and at first, we bonded over how silly they were.
when they had their first baby, we celebrated with them. we loved that little girl, like she was our own. i may have even threatened to steal her a time or two. we were "jushy and jo, and where's duke?".

joel and i started talking about having kids ourselves around that time. a few months later, no luck. but my friend announced that they were expecting number two! we were so excited for them, naturally, and when their second little girl came along, we couldn't be prouder! they had become our family; living 4,000 miles from home will allow you to get closer to people than you could ever imagine.

when we started infertility treatments, she was right there beside me, encouraging and praying for me. her kids helped get me through times where i doubted that i even wanted to be a mommy anymore. they taught me that it would be totally worth it when it finally happened.

when she came to me, saying she was pregnant for the third time, she prefaced it with "please don't be mad at me!" WHY on earth would i be mad at her!? we were the closest of friends, and i LOVED her children. i thought of her as an amazing mother who completely deserved to have plenty of children, because she would raise them right-to be productive human beings who were beautiful and respectful, and everything i would hoped my children would be.

and i was pregnant too.

even though our plan was to not tell a soul for another 2 weeks, i was so excited that we would be pregnant at the same time, i turned to her, and could almost not contain myself. i'm not sure either of us could have been more exited for each other. until we found out we were due on the same day!

skip ahead almost a full year. we have since both moved away from hawaii. us to georgia, and them to colorado springs. right now though, we are sitting in a hotel in atlanta, with our babies, who were born two days apart. who are the same size. and are the best of friends.
bella is pretty excited about it. natalia......she's warming up to it. =)

Monday, April 26, 2010

i'm going bald.

yep. that's me. going bald. i noticed my hair was falling out, but it always does, so i just figured it was shedding per usual, to make room for that thick, luscious silk that is my hair ::rolls on floor, laughing:: ok, yes i have coarse, curly, ridiculous hair, BUT it has always been thick. yesterday, as i am getting ready for church, i notice a bit of a "thin" spot. on both sides. (at least something is getting thinner....just not the something i would have chosen, but beggars can't be choosers!) i recently switched to organic shampoo and have noticed that i can't go more than 12 hours without my hair starting to get a little......."slick" looking, so of course, this is my first thought as to the likely culprit. or it could be this:

yes, my child is quite the hair puller. she grabs a chunk of my hair and holds on for dear life. if i'm not paying attention, she might even do a pull up or two.

but i am assuming the most likely reason is stress. could it be that "someone" ::nudge, nudge, wink, wink:: won't stay asleep for more than 20 minutes at a stretch during the day, and 3 hours or so at night? or could it be the poo water that has taken residence in my home some 4,500 miles away. either way, i'm hoping that once both of these issues are resolved, we will start to get some hair back! in the mean time, i might try mixing up the shampoo, taking some more vitamins, and getting some more sle......oh who am i kidding. i have a feeling there is no sleep in my near future to oh, the next 18-25 years.

here's to the stresses of motherhood, wreaking havoc on my girlish figure AND my hair.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

i've never been a cheese ball. but babies change all that i guess.

my child is a ham. i guess she gets it honestly. but seriously, she poses every. single. time. the camera comes out. this is a new thing. but she thinks it is absolutely hilarious. probably because mommy is rolling on the floor laughing, almost peeing her pants. this is from our most recent photo op......

more in bella news-she started scooting recently. like, moving several inches at a time. it's exciting and scary at the same time! i know the next step is crawling. i feel like she is too little to be doing half the stuff she is doing!! i want her to slow down!! but at the same time, i am so proud of her. i find myself waking up, so tired, like, angry tired. then hearing her "talking" and giggling, and seeing her little face, i just can't help but smile.

some days, i am overwhelmed by the fact that my time is no longer my own. i literally can't do anything on a whim, not by myself anyway. and sometimes that drives me crazy. some days, i can't even remember what that was like. spontaneity? what's that? i haven't even gotten a good workout-not once-because every time i drop her at the child watch there, she cries, nay, SOBS, until i come back and pick her up. in the nursery at church, she is an angel. at the gym? she becomes possessed by little baby demons. i mean, i guess if you are going to be good, you may as well be good at church right? guess i'm going to have to have that "God is everywhere" talk sooner than i thought...........

but she really is my pride and joy. even in moments where i get so frustrated because i am covered in spit up, i walked into the hitch on the back of the car, the dog is whining, the baby is crying, it's hot and i lost joel (yes, all that happened today. at once.), i still look at her and think, "can life get any better than this?" i know, retch to the side now....... but, I LOVE IT!

Friday, April 23, 2010

growing up, it happens every day

"Growing up its something you can measure
Growing up, it happens every day
being young is something you can treasure
but life is good when you're growing up"

bella is growing up WAY too fast. and that personality of hers is as big as it can be. a few days ago she started scooting/crawling. it almost looks like she is swimming when she does it, which is hilarious. she ends up with her arms straight by her sides and her feet pushing her butt up into the air.

i get so much joy from just watching her play and grow every day. there are moments where i do wish she was a little older or a little younger (like 20 minutes into my workout when she starts screaming. or when her face is covered in snot and slobber and she is crying and chewing on my finger because her little gums hurt so bad), but most days, i try to enjoy the very moment we are in. like this moment. she is napping. finally. and i have enjoyed lunch, rearranged my bedroom, edited some pictures, and am now sitting here blogging. this is the precious "me" time that makes "us" time SO perfect.

on a "me" note, i think i am going to try my hand at crafting pictures for etsy. hoping i have the inspiration to make pictures that aren't for bella. i'll post pics later. also hoping i break even so i don't feel like i wasted a bunch of money. =)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

green isn't just for the frogs.

now if you have followed this blog from the beginning, you know i have posted about this before, but this is a pretty important topic for us. we are even raising our baby green! so in honor of earth day, i'm going to share some ways we choose to go green.

cloth diapers-i know that i push these like crack, but it's because they are A-MAZING. and oh so simple. obviously there is less waste-disposable diapers can take years to decompose in dumps, not to mention the fact that they are full of poo. but they are so cute and user friendly, as well! there are even hybrid diapers you can use disposable liners with that are biodegradable, flushable AND compostable! they save money and, while they do take a little time to wash, are so good for baby's bottom-i mean, imagine wearing fleece undies!!

we drive a hybrid. ok, who doesn't anymore? well. lots of people. ok, well we drive a hybrid. it's pretty awesome. and it loves the earth.

i breast feed. now, i know this isn't directly "green", but in a way, it is. i don't use disposable liners, formula cans, the plastic from the little scoops, not to mention all the washing of bottle. (please don't misunderstand me, i don NOT judge mommies who choose to bottle feed/formula feed. this is just one thing i do that is green-ish, so i'm putting it in here)

we use all energy efficient appliances in our condo. washer, dryer, dishwasher, fridge. you get the point.

we use reusable bags and our own mugs at starbucks (and other fine coffee houses).

when bella is old enough to eat solids, i will be making it myself from locally grown, organic foods. not only is it green, it supports local farmers. and i'll store them in recycled baby food jars (so if you saved some for me, thanks for doing your part to help!)

i'll stop pushing my agenda now. =) i just wanted to share some ways that we choose to reduce waste and our carbon footprint. i'm not making any political statements, but i do want to encourage you to reduce, reuse and recycle!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

mommy guilt is a know.

mommy guilt. i hate it. i had heard of it, but i thought it was silly-a way to make yourself feel better for not getting up early enough, having a messy house or not cooking dinner....again. but i have become a mommy, and have become a believer.

my mommy guilt started the night bella was born. i let the nurses take her into the nursery. that's right, scold me now. i didn't spend every moment of that first precious day with that little, bitty baby. i chose to eat my big bacon classic, with large fries and a dr. pepper from wendy's (oh the calories!!!!). mostly because i hadn't eaten in 48 hours. or maybe it was that i threw up 36oz's of fluid while delivering. or MAYBE, and most likely, it was that i just pushed out an almost 9 pound baby!

the next night didn't get much better. bella decided she didn't want to eat for almost 9 hours, and the nursery nurse ever so impolitely informed me that "if she goes to sleep, she will NEVER wake up". really, night nurse from you know where? i guess no one has ever told her that many babies don't eat much in the first 24 hours. she gave me a good lashing that night, guilting me into.....well.....i'm not really sure what her aim was. she wanted to give my baby formula, she wanted to make me cry, and maybe she wanted me to feel like a terrible mother. well, i hope it made her feel better that i, after having no sleep and being incredibly sore, sobbed loudly until my nurse came in to comfort me. of course it was at 4 am, so everyone was home sleeping, and i was all by myself. but i came out victoriously-my baby ate, not formula i might add, and guess what!? she is still going to sleep and waking up just fine, thankyouverymuch. but, i digress.

back to mommy guilt. it seems that every decision new mommies make (or don't make) leaves us plagued with guilt. breastfeed or formula feed. cloth diaper or use disposables. and what's this about crying it out? did i clean that toy well enough? am i using the right bottles? but my baby sleeps BETTER on her tummy! some of these issues obviously are more serious and controversial than others, but they all are along the same idea. i make a decision that is best for my situation. there are different ways of thinking based on when YOU were born, or when your KIDS were born, and most importantly, whether or not you even have children. but for some reason, it seems someone always wants to make you feel like you are doing something wrong.

i felt like i was immune to this at first-i chose to breastfeed, cloth diaper, make bella's baby food (when i introduce them at 6months, no less) and feed her an organic diet with no sweets until she is one, and then very sparingly afterwards. i use sunscreen, bath products and lotions from all natural products, and ever bought her dolls made from organic cotton. i thought, i am doing nothing wrong, how could i feel any guilt? but then i felt bad that she didn't like joel (at first, now she is a daddy's girl. of course), that i didn't spend enough time with duke, that i slept on the couch for the first 6 weeks (i didn't want to disturb joel, since he was working, but that also meant he felt neglected).

and then, i felt bad that i chose to sleep with bella. (i need to say, i took every precaution while she slept with me, and studied it like it was my job). but it seems everyone wants to know how you are sleeping, constantly. "great!!" i say. "bella sleeps through the night! goes to sleep at 7:30 and wakes up at 4:30, then goes back to sleep until 8!", "wow! how do you do it? is she sleeping in her crib?" everyone would inevitably ask. "no, actually. she sleeps with me." [insert eye roll here] and then it starts....."don't you know the dangers?!" "she will sleep in your bed forever!!" "why would you do that!?" and of course, i began to feel very defensive about it. i had done my research. i KNEW that there were actually no increased dangers (i don't smoke, drink or do drugs, which are the factors that lead to parents rolling on their child. and we slept without blankets), and i also knew that by doing this, we both slept better and bonded even more. i realized that i would cringe when people would ask me about her sleeping. so i folded to the pressure.

i put her in her crib at 14 weeks. she hardly slept. i knew transitions took time, so the next night, back to the crib. still, she woke up every hour. this continued for the next 3 weeks. i got no sleep, she got no sleep, joel got no sleep. "how is this better?" i would ask myself every night. but i kept it up, because "it's what's best". i wish i could say that she is starting to sleep through the night again, but the reality is, the best sleep we all get is at 2 or 3 in the morning when i bring her in to bed to feed her and i fall asleep. and she falls asleep. and joel stays asleep. and i wake up 2 hours later, to find that my little bundle is still sleeping so soundly. i sneak her back into her crib and an hour later......well. you know where i'm going with this. as a matter of fact, she is still laying her beside me, playing with my leg, at 9:00, because she refuses to go to sleep.

i will continue to punish myself this way, until she finally gets it and sleeps all night long. that night, i will celebrate. but tonight, i sit here. feeling the guilt that comes with being a mommy. the guilt that i allow other people to put on me. that i allow myself to feel.

Monday, April 19, 2010

something about home.

i don't know how serious bloggers do it. i have no aspirations of making this a legitimate thing, but i follow some blogs that are obviously well thought out and executed. they are mostly mothers whose babies are the same age as mine, and most of them work as well. i stay at home and can barely find time to go to the bathroom, let alone sit down and construct a rough draft AND an edited version of my thoughts for all the world to see (which at the present moment would consist of......rachel. one strong! i am not ashamed by that, thanks for reading friend). they are witty, thoughtful, insightful and honest. i am finding a hard time getting out one coherent thing across.

so, please forgive my scattered brain.

this past weekend we went home for a few days. one of joel's good friends and former roommate from college was getting married. we had to miss several weddings while we were away, so we wanted to make sure we got to this one, especially since joel got back from haiti sooner than expected. we stayed with family and had a really wonderful time. friday, we took full advantage of the sun and spent the day outside, at the lake. bella got to don her new bikini and matching hat, though it was just a little to cold to get her new swim diaper out.

saturday, we spent the morning with the nelson family, and headed out to indian trail to hit some yard sales! i'm starting to get in to it, but still the only thing i ever get is baby stuff. we actually got some pretty good finds, and had fun getting the little cousins together afterwards. saturday night, we dropped the baby off at my grandma's and headed out for the wedding. we realized this is the first wedding we have attended where one or both of us weren't IN the wedding party.

had one too many? no, just caught off guard.

much better.

and, the boys finally reunited. sadly, no krispy kreme donuts made it to the party

finally, sunday we got up and headed home, but not before making a loop around our old stomping grounds. we had heard the campus has changed, but i hardly recognized the place!! glad those alumnus funds are going to some good work!

today, it was a little hard to wake up this morning, but it was totally worth it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

new life, new meaning

just another day in paradise. para- what?! um, duke, we're not in hawaii anymore.

no. we are clearly not in hawaii anymore. in august of last year, we moved back to the lower 48, and headed straight for G-A. home of the bulldogs, falcons and braves. sweet tea, pulled pork and watermelon. chilly winters, where 2 inches of snow shuts down the town. hot summers, almost too hot to go outside, unless it's straight to the pool! 4 seasons. road trips. and of course....HOTlanta!

it's not a tropical island in the middle of the pacific. but i guess the meaning of paradise has changed a bit.

as i write this, i am sitting amongst baby clothes and spit rags covered in spit up. there's spit up in my hair, slobber on my shirt. baby toys are scattered around me, and every time i see the little red dots on the baby monitor go up, i cringe, because bella has fought sleep for the past 4 nights. but this has truly become my paradise. seeing the joy that she gets when her daddy walks in the door, or when she cracks up because the dog is running in circles. it's not all fun. i have had my moments. life, along with this little girl, has thrown it's share of curve balls. but part of my joy is overcoming obstacles and feeling like super mom!

the meaning of paradise has gone from being a newlywed on a tropical island, starting a life, to 5 years later, with my best friend, creating life. and the meaning has become more profound. less about sunsets and beaches, picnics and palm trees. and more about building bonds and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

so now, i will use this blog to share the struggles and triumphs of raising my silly little monkey.