January 14, 2018

a major milestone-my baby girl got her license and a car

no matter what, you will never be prepared for the day your baby gets their license. even if you trust them, it still seems absurd that someone just checks off some boxes on a piece of paper (do they still use paper these days? or is everything on a tablet now??) and says that your child can now drive, by themselves, in a car, on a road with lots of other cars and other people's children on it. i mean, i remember when i got my license. i felt so adult. i wasn't, but i felt that way. i now know what my parents experienced the day i walked out of the california dmv with my (temporary, paper) license and thought i owned the road.

i've been driving with bry for a year now. she's actually really good and i totally do trust her! but, like, i've been in the car (or at least another adult has) when she has driven. i don't know what she's like when she's alone. what if she's awful? what if she's egotistical and thinks she's really good and is suddenly one of those asshat drivers who cut people off and don't use their blinker? and then there is the whole 'i trust her, but i don't trust other people's children who are on the road and think they're really good drivers' thing.

but i have to let go, right? (do i??)

i am really proud of her, though. she passed her driving test pretty much perfectly. she even had to come back the next day because the vehicle she took to the test has a backup camera that beeps and that's not allowed (???). she was not discouraged, nor did that make her nervous or sweat it. she just came back the next day and kicked driving in the butt again. now me; i probably would have been like, 'omg, that was it, that was my one chance. i'll never pass again!', or something dramatic like that.

and just this past week she got her very first car. too bad she can't drive it yet because insurance and gas with no job is not possible. but, she has her very own car nonetheless. my first car wasn't this nice.

but, i have to trust that she will be responsible and that we have set a good example for her. i cannot guarantee that a few curse words won't escape her mouth when some asshat cuts her off or doesn't use their blinker (whoops), but she definitely has been taught by some model drivers.

as far as how to take cool photos with your very first car, i don't know which generation taught her that...

congratulations bry!

January 12, 2018

hello 2018-i hate you

now before you go thinking 'my gosh, how pessimistic of her. it's only been 12 days!' let me tell you: so what?

i woke up to 2018 with a stuffy nose and sore throat. thought maybe it was allergies, so i went about my day feeling optimistic (because despite what some people think, i actually am an optimist). i even letter boarded '2018 i will own you'. made some small healthy eating changes, talked about some near-future goals with the husband, and took down all of our christmas decorations to get in the spirit of 2018; i.was.ready to own it.

as the day wore on i started running out of energy quicker than usual (which is typically by 11 am, but hey-mom life, amiright?). i laid down and rested the evening away and woke up feeling even worse.

and here i am on day 12 of 2018 and i am still sick my people. still sick.

goodbye healthy eating.

goodbye near-future (i am talking about like, literally supposed to be this week) goals.

goodbye spirit.

goodbye optimism.

i have been stuck in the house, most of the time in my bed, feeling awful. and on top of all of that, no work! and since my mom has a touch of something too, i have been home with the boys with zero energy to give my little sweethearts all of my love but still needing to entertain and care for them, when i could have been resting.

and the day that we had set aside so the boys could have a sleepover at my mom's so the husband and i could have a much needed date night was the night that i started feeling my absolute worst,

so yeah, 2018... i hate you (so far)

luckily i have a husband who is amazing and takes such good care of me and the boys. he's a total dream.

January 10, 2018

clubfoot journey-feeling stuck

joseph has been an absolute dream his entire clubfoot treatment. he tolerated his casts just fine (of course, getting the casts on made him cry a bit) and had no issues with his bnb. there were a couple instances where he got some red marks and a couple blisters looked like they were starting to form, but we quickly remedied those so they didn't. and then of course all the bruises i endured from bed sharing with him, but all in all, an absolute dream.

when we met with his new doctor last year (or whenever it was, i can't remember because... mom life) we discussed his treatment plan and how long he would continue in bnb. he suggested until he was at least four, but longer if he can tolerate them. so, since he had always been so tolerant, we thought he would just be in them until grade school (or, if it were up to me, high school to be honest), no question about it. how incredibly naive of us to think that he simply would just not want to wear them anymore. which is exactly what is starting to happen.

just about a month ago joseph has been refusing his bnb. what was a fun nightly routine has become full of protesting and crying-sometimes even thrashing-just to get them on. we've been (mostly) diligent, not making too big of a scene and explaining why it is important to wear them, but he refuses. it is so hard watching your child shake his head to something that is so beneficial for him. it hurts my heart to know that he doesn't want to wear them, but that he isn't old enough to tell us why. i wonder: are they uncomfortable? do they hurt? does he get sweaty in them? can he not sleep on his belly anymore because of them? are they too heavy? what is it, my baby? what is wrong?

luckily joseph has an appointment soon and we can talk to dr. zionts about what to do next. we might be able to get him into an ADM or get more info about them, or we may end up just enduring this until the phase is over or he turns four (which isn't for another two years), but the thought of discontinuing use at four scares me. what if he relapses? and if that happened, would he need a tenotomy this time? and if he doesn't relapse right away, will he have complications later in life? we know his foot has been fully corrected and we have been obsessively diligent about him wearing his bnb (with very few exceptions here and there), but there is always that 'what if' that is hard to avoid when it comes to medical disabilities and complications in your child. and no matter how perfect treatment has been up to this point, as a parent you always wonder if what you have been doing is right. and then you question those few times you took the bnb off early or didn't put them on at all. you question the tightness of the boots-were they too loose? too tight? did i do everything right? but, we have to have faith that we did. we have to have faith and trust that the choices we made, the time he's spent in bnb, were right. we've done everything that we could and even then there are some things we cannot control. and that's just how life goes.

so, just two more years. just two.more.years mama. we can do this!

January 06, 2018

kids church activity bag

when my brother and i were little we used to come to church with a family who also had two kids. we were all around the same age, so with four littles running a muck, the parents had to find a way to entertain us. they brought a bag with them each week that had books, toys, crayons, etc. and we got to sit on the ground in the pew aisle coloring, reading and playing (sometimes, though, my brother would take off under the pews and go a few rows up, haha). that bag kept us (for the most part) quiet and entertained so they could focus on the service.

when bry was little and it was just the two of us, she usually sat pretty quiet, singing when we sang and listening to the pastor. sometimes she would sit with friends and they usually had books and crayons, so that kept her busy. but with the boys, they keep me on my toes and i just never really thought about putting together a bag. it wasn't until it go to the point when i had to stop going to church because i just couldn't keep the boys in the pews that i realized: i need to fix this. so i remembered back to when i was a child and thought, 'duh. i need to make an activity bag!'

i went to the dollar tree and gathered up items, grabbed the boys' bibles and put them in this adorable cotton on kids bag. here is what's inside:

i got them each a coloring book (the same kind so they wouldn't fight over them) and a box of crayons to share.

they also have some books to read and look through when they don't want to color anymore. joseph's soft bible (pictued) and oliver's bible are in the mix, too.

i included some wood alphabet blocks to play with. i am trying to find some bible character toys as well, but i am cheap so i haven't been able to find a good deal. (but let's face it; i want it, so when i'm done publishing this post i'll go online and buy the set anyway.)

i decided to go with all bible related items just for personal preference, but you could really add any theme or genre to it, as long as it's church and kid appropriate of course. i also plan to make these items things that they get to use and play with only in church, so it makes them extra special and something they look forward to each week instead of getting bored of them too quickly. i'll replace the coloring books when necessary and will switch out the toys every couple months, but they'll all be special for church.

what's in your church activity bag?

November 26, 2017

my miscarriage-an open letter to my unborn baby hazel mae

update!: i have created a new blog with this post featured in it. this blog will be separate from this one and will be my letters to hazel. you can view it here.

november 23, 2017

i woke up this morning with a hole in me.

it has been one week since you stopped growing and i feel as though this hole is getting bigger, deeper. right now you would be developing hundreds of brain cells a minute and your heart would be getting stronger and stronger as well. your nervous system and digestive system, all on it's way to being fully developed. you'd be about the size of a blueberry; i love blueberries. but this hole that is in me, the one i woke up with this morning, is a place where you should be, and you're not anymore.

the morning we lost you is a day i will never forget. i woke up feeling out of sorts; somewhat anxious, a bit crampy, extremely exhausted and emotionally off-balance. i attributed it to pregnancy and morning sickness, got dressed, threw on my glasses (vertigo, i thought) and headed into work. the night before, i had driven to ross to get some more chai caramel tea latte, thinking to myself, 'i can't wait to get back home and tell joe (your daddy) that as i was driving to ross everything just felt so perfect. like everything has fallen into place.' i'm glad i forgot to tell him. the first half hour of work i was sluggish; my head felt cloudy and i couldn't concentrate. i needed to pee, so i headed to the bathroom. when i wiped there was bright red blood. immediately i knew this was it, you were leaving my body, but i called a couple friends of mine anyway. one was my best friend (you would have liked her very much) who had experienced a miscarriage, and one was our pastor's wife who was a nurse (she would have snuggled you after you were born; she's great with babies). both of them told me to take it easy and not to worry, that many women spot during early pregnancy, and to take the day off, go home and rest. not really sure what to think, i stayed at work and about ten minutes later i had to pee again. more blood and more cramping. worried, i paced back and forth in the office until i had to pee again about ten minutes later and there was even more blood and cramping. the first part of you was gone. i told your daddy we needed to go to the hospital and we headed there right away. i tried to stay calm and patient, not giving myself hope, but keeping myself in check, even though i knew i'd never get to nourish you past 6 weeks in the womb. we did some blood work, had an ultrasound (in which they found nothing), i got my rhogam, got the blood work results (hCG levels were 84 when they should have been in the thousands), signed some papers, and headed home; empty and sad, already missing who you could have been.

two weeks earlier we had found out we were expecting you. we had been 'not preventing' for ten months and were elated we were pregnant. you were our last. well, supposed to be. i already started buying things for you and even announced the good news to some of my closest friends and our immediate family. i also announced the pregnancy to an amazing group of ladies on facebook who were equally excited for us. your dad and i had already started planning and picturing what our lives would be like come july. we went and looked at a house, talked about how we were going to fit three car seats in the truck, what space we would make for you, what double stroller would work best for you and big brother, if i would be able to try for a vbac again or just schedule a cesarean. i had even called a couple places to see about establishing care, since i was only a couple weeks away from needing my first prenatal appointment. we'd even ordered pregnancy announcements for family and i'd photographed an announcement for social media. we dreamed about what you'd look like and revisited our list of baby names we had already made before your big brother joseph was even a thought. for those two weeks, our hearts had already found a place for you and our dreams had you in them.

we got back from the hospital with tears in our eyes, hearts heavy, my belly aching from all the space that was there now where you once were; even a space the size of an apple seed felt like a black hole of eternity. we parked the car, squeezed each others hands, unlocked the front door; all normal things we do every day, but somehow felt tedious and insurmountable. i went to check the mail, forgetting about all of the things i had already purchased for you. six packages. full of your things. onesies and pants and a sleep sack that said 'in jesus name AMEN', a pacifier that i was determined to make you attached to, that i couldn't justify paying for when we were pregnant with joseph (that would've been a waste anyway because none of my babies were binky babies, and you will never be too). how ironic; the day we lose you we come home to six packages for you. i've unpacked them and snuggled with them, kissed them and folded them. cried over them. but your things are tucked away neatly in a bag in hopes that we can use them for your future brother or sister. they sit at the foot of my bed, too numb right now to pack them away for good.

i felt silly having told so many people 'so soon'. just the day before i had shared you with all of the moms in my local mom group. all of them so very happy for us and excited to have a new baby join the bunch in the following year. for a moment i thought about all of the people i needed to now tell of this news, and felt bad for even having to put them through it in the first place. but then i realized that if our joys were shared just between daddy and i there wouldn't be anyone to walk this journey with us and lift us up in the tragedy too. i have also come to find that so many mama's share this same path as well and i feel so fortunate to be connected with them, even during this time. you see, not too many mamas feel as though they can share their pregnancy loss and oftentimes feel so alone. but if there's anyone who can understand and empathize with mamas who have lost a child, it's that 1 in 4 who are right there beside us. i know for me, it helps me heal sharing you with the world.

your daddy and i sat down the other night and wept over you. we made plans and named you. and even though those plans do not include being able to kiss your sweet forehead or hold your tiny body, or maybe even cup your small and wiggly little club feet (your big brother joseph was born with right clubfoot, so we just imagined you having club feet too) or watch you sleep and dream, we have new plans. we plan to remember you and think about you and love you every day. we plan to plant a tree for you in our front yard on the day you were to be born (july 6, 2018) so we can watch it grow and take root, envisioning it being you. i plan to get a tattoo for you like i did with your big sister and brothers-an american traditional style tattoo with your name. speaking of names, we have named you hazel mae. the only name i ever wanted for you, even if that want was only two weeks long. i knew from the moment i realized you were there that you were a girl; i felt it in my bones. we have hopes, too. we hope you know we love you so very much. big sister and your big brothers do too. and the rest of your family. there's even a whole community of mamas out there who love you along with us. we hope you could feel our love as you left us, and that you'll carry that love with you wherever you are. and we hope some day that you'll be able to feel our arms wrap around you and hear us tell you we love you so very much. in whatever form that is, however far away that will be.

i know that this will hurt for a very long time, maybe even forever. but i also know that the hurt will lessen, be easier, possibly just be used to it. and i know that there will be months that will go by where my heart won't be heavy and then one day i'll be walking down the street and the sky will turn another shade of something or a song will come on or the air will smell sweet and i will crumble. but baby i don't want you to worry about us. we will be okay. we will get through this. i know this because i've known you.

you are a blessing, hazel mae. i love you.

November 13, 2017

birthing affirmations-for cesarean mamas

when i was pregnant with bry, i didn't have very many resources or positive support in having a healthy birthing experience. we went to the child birth education class that the hospital provided, which gave us some very textbook advice on what to expect during child birth. but beyond that, i didn't have anything to meditate on. needless to say, i did not have a supportive and positive birth experience with her and ended up with a cesarean. as a result, i suffer from a lot of post traumatic stress because of it. 

oliver was a repeat cesarean, but even then i didn't know about the advantages of a positive mindset while giving birth; especially when having a cesarean birth. and while i don't regret that his birth ended up being a cesarean, i wish i had been more at terms with the outcome at the time. 

it wasn't until i got pregnant with joseph that i discovered birthing affirmations. joseph was a planned home VBA2C, so i really relied on these birthing affirmations to get me through pregnancy and prepare my mindset for birthing my baby naturally. and even though i got really far into my labor with joseph, he ended up being a repeat cesarean as well. (not because the birthing affirmations failed me, but because i was tired, he was stuck and i was ready to get.him.out of me. read joseph's birth story here.)

because i've had three cesareans, my state has very strict guidelines for being able to attempt a vaginal birth. i would have to find a doctor willing to see me for prenatal care and work in, or have privileges in, a hospital that has 24 hour anesthesia available and is willing to do a TOLAC. i definitely qualify for a TOLAC, but currently do not have any available doctors anywhere near me who allow this. because of that, i am almost certain that our next baby-whenever that may happen-will be delivered via cesarean. this really brings up a mix of emotions for me. we all want a positive birth experience, however we decide to deliver or whatever the outcome may be, and birthing affirmations are a great way to achieve that. and while there are loads of birthing affirmations out there available for purchase or to download for free, cesarean specific affirmations are just not available. so i decided to create my own; for my future baby and for all of you cesarean mama's out there. 

i turned to my trusted nest group to help come up with these. the phrases came from mamas who experienced a cesarean and found these phrases to be helpful or wished they'd had them to meditate on. i hope you can find comfort, support and strength in these cards. 

to download a free printable file, click here

please note: i am not a professional and do not design for a living. i used a template from picmonkey, available to me with my paid premium membership. these affirmations are free for you for personal use only. please do not copy or sell these, and as always, as a courtesy, give credit whenever you share. 

November 09, 2017

diapering journey

long time cloth diaperers over here. we absolutely love the convenience of saving money and think cloth diaper bums are adorable. with all the fun prints available, it can definitely become addicting. we built up a pretty good stash this time around! but let me be real with you: having postpartum depression and anxiety while cloth diapering is rough. with a wash routine of every other day, to every two days, i felt like i was drowning in laundry on top of all of my other laundry that i was doing daily. or, i would forget to wash the diapers until day four or five (or maybe even a week at times) because we had such a large stash and never ran out, and then i'd be really upset with myself for forgetting.

then i decided: screw it. we're switching to disposables. as much as i hate throwing a diaper out, i really need to take care of myself and not get so overwhelmed with a simple household task. so i jumped online, ordered some diapers with 2-day shipping, and had them delivered to my door; because who has time to go to the store to get diapers when one can't even wash them? me!

i feel free. it feels so good to not have to worry about washing and stripping and hanging cloth diapers to dry anymore. so i did one last strip and wash, sunned those babies out, and packed them away for the next baby. no guilt. 

let's all live a guilt-free mamahood, ladies!

oh! and what's your favorite brand disposables? we love seventh generation. share with me below!