Happy Mother’s day!

Man, I am feeling burnt out lately. It’s just this stage with Madi that’s rough, I think. I don’t know if it’s common, but Karissa went through this too–around 5 months it’s like they’re stuck in their bodies, bored, immobile, and just sick and tired of it. Madi is super pleasant and happy until she’s not, and then suddenly it’s like a black cloud of inconsolable cries rolls in. I remember the few months with Karissa before she learned how to crawl being long and hard, and here I am again, only this time Karissa is going through it too. Boy, she is not a fan, haha. I tell her that we will be through it soon but I’m not sure that she believes me.

Anyway, I’m here feeling like my whole body just wants to melt into jello at the end of every day and then I’m up and at it again in the morning. We’re walking a bunch of times a day out of boredom (and because mommy has a heck of a lot of weight to lose) and I just really understand the meaning of tired. Almost anywhere we go someone says something like, “Oh, that must be hard,” “You’ve got your hands full,” or “Wow, you must be busy.” I don’t really feel like my job is hard or busy because I love my kids and I’m usually having a lot of fun, plus I am extremely lucky that I get to take care of my kids, but I do have to admit that it is exhausting.

So, Mother’s day is upon us, and I’m suddenly so very grateful for a day dedicated to moms. I don’t rightly know how I do it, I don’t know how other moms do it, and I don’t know how my mom did it, but kudos to every mom ever. We are a bold, hard, and probably underappreciated workforce. We’re the glue holding all the household crazy together–we’re crazy glue!

Well I sure am missing my mom these days as I am learning just how much motherhood is about getting to know yourself. I’m a year and a half in and I’m discovering parts of myself that I had no idea were there. I’m finding patience–like woah, I have never been patient but evidently having babies planted some magical patience seeds in me that are beginning to sprout, which is great because I really need them. I’m discovering a vast reservoir of understanding and empathy that I was unaware of until recently, so that’s been a great resource that I hope holds out. The most important thing that I’m learning in all of this is self-appreciation.

Our children will learn from the example that we set, so we should demonstrate that while we love them and they are important, sometimes we need to step back and love ourselves first. We need to show them that this is how healthy, functional people behave and how quality relationships are built. Even if it’s as simple as 5 minutes alone in the shower (which is my nightly ritual at the moment), it’s important to keep in touch with yourself. This sounds cheesy, but for Mother’s day I’m considering buying myself some cheap flowers and writing myself a love note. I feel like that would be a great therapeutic exercise for me, and would you even believe that I made it up myself? Sounds like some genuine Dr. Phil type stuff.

I remember back when I thought that being a mom would be all sunshine and roses (which it is, but with little interjections of poop and screaming throughout the day) and chuckle. So today I would just like to remind you to give yourself a little loving pat on the back for keeping the kids alive through another day–heck, they might have even gotten fed and bathed. Try to hold on to those great, indescribable moments, like the look of joy when they taste solid food for the first time, the first little giggles and smiles, and the look in your kid’s eyes before they give you a hug. Sure, it’s not easy when they’re laying on the floor screaming because you asked them if they wanted you to take their socks off and you aren’t sure what to do, but at the end of the day when I look at my angels I really feel like love conquers all.

Mother’s Day Print Cards

My sister is visiting, so she gets to help with a special Mother’s Day project today! I love my mom–my sweet, far away, Texan mom. Sadly, the distance means that she doesn’t get to see the kids. She’s seen Kari three times and Madi once, so we have to let her know that we’re thinking of her on this special holiday! This card didn’t turn out as great as I wanted it to, but it incorporated more people and was still a ton of fun.

Difficulty: medium

Supplies:
8 1/2 × 11 thick paper or cardstock cut in half
Paint
Embellishments (feathers, sequins, glitter )
A little helper or two

Steps:
1. On the front of the card, write your sentiments. I have also added a few decorative feathers and sequins as embellishments.

2. Paint your hand green, turquoise, blue, or purple–some peacocky color. In the center of the inside press firmly, leaving an imprint. Have anyone else participating do the same thing on top of yours in a different color, creating layers of “peacock feathers.” My sister, husband and two girls are doing this with me, so we have 5 layers.

3. For the body, take blue paint and paint the body off to one side–let him show off that tail! I mixed dark blue, light blue, and lime green glitter in with my paint.

4. Put some white paint for an eye–I just did a dot with my finger. Once it dries, Add a pupil with black paint or a sharpie marker. Add a beak with a little bit of yellow or orange paint.

5. Against the top of the peacock’s head add a little feather tuft using a blue, green, or purple feather.

6. Label your handprints and send to moms and grandmas!

Story of My First Daughter’s Birth

It doesn’t matter what you chose to do for your baby’s birth–cesarean section, epidural, pain killers, or all natural–giving birth is hard. For Kari and myself, however, I chose to go all natural. There are too many risks and potential consequences of intervention, and humans have been capable of birthing for thousands of years without drugs on standby. There was never even a question about it.

On September 15 I had a prenatal appointment. My obstetrician seemed to always be at odds with me, though this could have simply been in my head, and as usual seemed extremely pushy. I was 39 weeks pregnant, but I had refused a vaginal exam the week prior out of fear she would induce me early. “I like to sweep the membranes at 38 weeks,” she said once I told her that I didn’t want an exam, “so my patients deliver on time.” Whew, dodged that bullet. So now, at this 39 week visit, she tells me that I have to be ready to schedule an induction at the next visit. I went home irate and appalled. Running past 40 weeks is common with first time pregnancies and I was not going to be induced just because my doctor said I had to. I spoke with my extremely knowledgeable aunt and Bradley method instructor most of the day. My husband and I agreed that, if it came to it, we could schedule the induction and just not go. “They can’t force you,” he said. “What are they going to do, come drag you out of the house?”

That night, as I was sending my Bradley instructor a final e-mail around 11:30, my water broke. In the middle of typing a sentence I felt a sudden gush, stood up, and looked at the floor below me. I quickly typed something to the effect of “oh, my water just broke so I’m gonna go now.” We checked the fluid, still leaking, for any smell or color but it seemed fine. “Well, this isn’t how I wanted labor to start.” Labor beginning with your water breaking isn’t terribly common. Talking it over, my husband and I agreed that we were fine, there was no meconium, so we could wait for 24 hours for contractions to start before we needed to go to the hospital.

We were excited and sat up for an hour or so. Then my husband suggested that we both try to sleep (smart man). Unfortunately, it was too late for me. As we laid down contractions started. He fell sound asleep, but just as I would start to doze off an excruciating pain would shoot through my back. After about an hour of trying I gave up and got in the shower. Hot water on my back is the only thing that helped–I think I took about ten showers throughout labor. I got out slightly pissed off that my husband was asleep when I was in so much pain and tried to lie down again and sleep. No success. I think I started to whine so much that he finally got up to try and help, not that there was much to be done.

He made us sausage and eggs with cheese, and I ate between contractions (gotta keep up your strength). We called my aunt around 7 AM, or 9 AM Texas time, to get last minute timing tips and motivation. I was well into the very painful contractions by now. I struggled through the back labor, complaining the whole way. Towards the end I recall sitting on the toilet backwards, being miserable and exhausted, and telling myself, “You can do this, it can’t be stronger than you because it is you.” We stayed home for a long time. When we finally headed to the hospital they stuck me in an observation room, but I was totally out of it and in transition. They hooked me up to a monitor and I immediately said “ugh they don’t need this,” And took it off. I was falling asleep between contractions out of exhaustion. I finally got a room, went straight to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. A nurse came and scolded me–didn’t want my baby landing in the toilet, she said. We went back out and she checked my dilation and I began to push. When she was almost out her heart rate dropped and I had to force her out quickly. I was bleeding badly, so a shot of pitocin went right into my thigh and my newborn went onto my chest.

In the end Kari was healthy and wailing like the most beautiful and terrifying banshee that I’d ever seen in my life (you know that feeling–the sudden sight of your first kid and the overwhelming realization that you’re responsible for taking care of this amazing, tiny little thing). We’d spent all this time preparing for relaxing through labor, but nothing could have prepared me mentally for the 14 hours of straight back pain I encountered. I couldn’t get myself to focus on breathing properly–laying there and trying to visualize my peaceful place or enjoying a massage was totally out of the question. I felt like a failure as a Bradley method student, but we got through it without intervention or medication so I guess we were successful after all.

Easter Print Cards

I am very excited about Easter this year! This is the first year with both kids, and Kari is finally old enough to enjoy Easter eggs. I will be trying to fill them with alternatives to candy, such as socks, stickers, and little healthy snacks. We may also buy some more egg shaped crayons and chalk–they’ll be pulling double duty as Easter eggs. We are also going to be making cards for relatives near and far. All of my family is in Texas, so we are trying to send everyone little mementos and reminders that we love them.

Difficulty: Easy

Supplies:
8 1/2 x 11 Paper or cardstock, cut in half
Washable finger paint or colored ink pads
Other assorted crafting supplies–whatever your toddler fancies
A little helper or two

Steps:
1. In light, springy colors have your little helper(s) print hand and/or footprints inside the card, spaced out a little. These are flowers. Add stems, grass and leaves. Let your paint dry between phases.
2. Put a few brightly colored fingerprints in the grass–Easter eggs!


3. On the cover of the card place a gray, white, or brown upside down footprint. Add bunny ears, tail, and a face.
4. Add grass and Easter eggs around the rabbit.


5. Finishing Touches! This is the time for sentimental thoughts, glitter, stickers…be sure to label your hand and footprints!

My Miscarriage

Until now, only a handful of people have heard this. Now I feel like it’s time to open up.

When Matt first drove from California to Texas, I was over the moon. I had missed him so much, and we could finally be together. On our journey back to California we stopped for the night at a Best Western in Arizona (couldn’t drive straight through with a cat.) We ate terrible takeout, watched TV, and in the midst of the excitement, unwittingly made our first child together.

We found out when I was six weeks pregnant. As we left the clinic the nurse said, “congratulations!” Though I knew that Matt didn’t want to have kids and neither of us were ready to be parents, we just looked at each other and smiled. We were both very happy and incredibly scared. We didn’t have a home, I had just moved there, we were poor–heck, we weren’t even married. In spite of the fear, I was overjoyed. Of course we talked about our options, but getting rid of it was something that felt foreign–discarding our child out of inconvenience didn’t feel appropriate. We told both of our moms and used it as an excuse to get married at the courthouse a few weeks later. For a last minute honeymoon, his mom sent us to a nice hotel on the beach.

When we returned home, I had a prenatal appointment scheduled. I undressed, laid down on a table, and the doctor started to do a sonogram. After a minute she said, “There’s no heartbeat.” My heart just sank. Time stood still in my head and paralyzed my bones–she couldn’t be saying what it sounded like she was saying…but she took me into a second room full of more powerful ultrasound equipment and confirmed it. Then she took us into her office and sat with us as I cried my heart out, then told us that I had to have a D & C. She scheduled it for later that day.

We went home, Matt went to work, and I called my mom and cried to her. My mother in law took me to the hospital for the procedure, and my husband met us later. All I could do was cry. I had the procedure, went home, and a week later my insurance kicked in, so when I started bleeding, cramping, and shaking a few weeks later we went to a different hospital. My D & C had been incomplete, and my body had been forced to eject the missed material on its own. I was lucky I didn’t have an infection. The first hospital harassed me for a year and a half, claiming that I owed fifteen thousand dollars for a botched procedure that I was forced into. They were eventually paid by the state–the epitome of fraud if you ask me.

Nothing can prepare you for the emotional toll that a miscarriage takes.

Not long after my husband told me that he still didn’t want to have kids–I couldn’t believe it after how excited he had been. I wasn’t given any choices and I felt like I had lost a child, but one that I never even got to meet. A baby I never got to touch or love. That feeling of emptiness and loneliness is overwhelming. I was extremely depressed, so much so that I couldn’t function for a long time. I ate and chain watched TV just to distract myself from the empty feeling inside. My husband was pissed off at me, my mother in law didn’t want me there, and I had just come from Texas, where I was sure my family didn’t want me either. I have this sick thing inside of me, like a sad monster: whatever negative energy it senses being directed towards me it amplifies and feeds on. I felt the animosity towards me and the painful things that were said to me and became emotionally crippled under the weight of it. I was suffocating alone.

I tried to move on, but I was hurting and my husband wouldn’t let me talk to him. I tried to tell myself that it was okay, there was a reason for the loss. I wasn’t ready to be a mother yet, maybe there was something wrong with the baby. I wanted to be better, stronger and healthier for next time. I knew in the back of my mind, though, that my husband didn’t want a next time. He wanted me to go to therapy, and when I tried to process my feelings by talking to him–the only way I knew how–he would snap and scream at me. Finally he started suggesting marriage counseling.

Christmas came, so we packed up and drove to Texas to see my family. We had fun, we felt better getting to go on our trip, and on the way home we made another child. Whoops. I was so afraid that we would lose another child, but we didn’t. Anyway, two years and two full term pregnancies later here I am with my two incredible babies asleep next to me.

That loss was devastating, and I still cry when I remember. Kari really helped me heal a lot, and I wouldn’t have had her if my first pregnancy had reached full term. So I guess all things happen for a reason, even if we don’t understand them.

Butter Pecan Fat Bombs (grain, gluten, egg, soy free)

I should preface this with a disclaimer: frequently I do not really measure my recipes, most of the time I am eyeballing it. I made these with hope one morning, but never expected how fantastic the results would be. Butter pecan ice cream is my absolute favorite flavor, and these are definitely an acceptable healthy alternative.

Adding some heavy cream would be a wonderful way to make them more creamy and less buttery as well (thanks, Aunt Janie!)

Butter Pecan Fat Bombs

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 24 Pieces
Author Kristy

Ingredients

  • 4 Ounces Salted butter
  • 4 Ounces Unsalted butter
  • Crushed pecans
  • 10 Drops Liquid stevia Or sweetener of choice to taste
  • 1/4 Tsp Vanilla

Instructions

  1. Line mini muffin tray with liners or use silicon molds. An ice cube tray works as well. Fill your trays with crushed pecans.

  2. Melt your salted and unsalted butter together on the stove. Add sweetener and vanilla.

  3. Pour over pecans. Place in refrigerator or freezer to set.

  4. Store in refrigerator. They should easily pop out if tray when pressed on one side. Enjoy!

Once Upon a Time

To start off, I want to tell you about my family and how we came to be, but this is a long story with quite a few parts.

It begins, as it often does these days, with the internet–a text-based game, to be precise. Yeah, buddy, that’s where romance is born. I wasn’t so great at the game, I’m sure many can relate when I say that watching a million lines of text fly by wasn’t easy or fun for me. I may be a nerd, but evidently not that kind. Anyway, here I befriended my now husband, then mysterious and funny guy that rarely spoke in chat.

I don’t remember why we started talking, but once we did we became fast friends. We had a ton of the same interests and he was fun to talk to. We spoke frequently, about anything and everything. I was at a fairly low point in my life–certainly not the lowest, but I was lonely, bored, and stuck at home–so having an interesting new friend in California was exciting. I was happy to have a kindred spirit to talk to.

I remember the moment that I realized that I was in love, and I recklessly told him. Surprisingly he said that felt the same way. He asked me if I wanted to talk on the phone, and I knew as soon as I made that phone call that my heart was no longer my own.

So we had decided that we were in love. We even told our families, how odd does that sound? It’s funny to me now, but back then I was stuck living with my parents, unable to drive, and feeling perpetually unwanted. When I told my parents my dad facetiously told me to move to California. Matt and I would go on hikes in our respective locations and send each other pictures of wildlife and scenery the whole time. We woke up every morning and talked and spoke at night before going to bed. I knew who I wanted to be with, but an unwavering part of me also knew that I would never get to see this man face to face. It felt hopeless.

I guess I didn’t know quite as much as I thought I did; when winter came we decided that we had to finally see each other. I flew out to meet him (to the dismay of my family, so sure that he was an axe murderer) a few days after Christmas. We spent two weeks together, the latter half of which I spent sick in bed. We hiked, went to the beach, roamed the mountains. A few days before I had to fly back my sinuses cleared up enough to spend two nights camping together. He had secretly bought a ring and slipped it onto my finger before I knew what was happening. We had a great time, but unfortunately my trip was over, and after we exchanged tearful goodbyes I flew home.

All I could think about was how to close the distance. Being back home was torturous when I knew what I wanted for the first time in my life. Thankfully, a month later I once again found myself boarding a flight destined for LAX and spent another two weeks there. This time when I flew back I felt better. It was hard to go, but I knew that I would see him again.

I guess we seemed so silly and sad that once spring break came around his mom told him that he really needed to just drive out, pack my stuff, and drive me home to California, and so by George that’s what happened. He met my family, we packed the car and my cat, and took off for the west coast.

Valentines Cards

Today we’re making cards for family for the next upcoming holiday! I have a 16 month old and a 3 month old, so the cards are very simple for now, just crayons and paint. Kari actually participated happily, which surprised me. She scribbled on the paper–I had six papers out–and slapped red paint onto the page for me.

Difficulty– Easy (depending on your participants)

Supplies:
8 1/2 x 11 paper or cardstock cut in half
Washable finger paint or colored ink pads
Any other crafty supplies your toddler might enjoy (glitter, glue, foam shapes, crayons, sequins–the possibilities are endless!)
A little helper or two

Steps:
1. Let your child/children color the paper, write, etc.
2. Have your child make a handprint on the inside of the paper. Decorate the handprint if desired.


3. On the cover, use two footprints in the shape of a heart to adorn the card. I am using my 3 month old’s feet to make hearts.
4. Write a cute phrase on the front of the card. Add embellishments–here I added stickers and ribbon.
5. Add any finishing touches, such as names and dates. Make sure you label the prints for relatives!

  

Welcome

I’m a stay at home mom. I didn’t even think that I could have kids and yet here I am watching my 16 month old toddler wobble around while she babbles at my 3 month old. Being a parent is the best thing in the world. I wake up to kisses, get to read, sing, and change diapers all day, and go to sleep with a giggling goofball. It’s not all roses–I also deal with the tired tears in the afternoon and tantrums–but it’s pretty great. On weekends we hang out with daddy. On holidays we go on family adventures. When it’s warm we hike and play outside, and when it’s cold I get cuddles and cocoa.

My role, in theory, is simple: I get to play homemaker and spend time taking care of my family. I’m responsible for their well-being as well as nurturing growth and development. It isn’t easy or glamorous, and it’s certainly a lot easier in theory than it is in practice, but it certainly is rewarding. I haven’t been doing it long, but it seems to me that parenting is primarily guesswork–just wing it and hope it goes well. Throw enough at the wall and eventually something will stick. My job is to try and make sure these girls flourish, but I mostly days I feel like it’ll be a miracle if we all make it to bedtime.

So anyway, here I am, simply sharing my perspective and hoping that someone can benefit from it. I am here to share what I’ve learned–and am still learning–through trial and error.

Join me on my journey as I ride the rollercoaster of parenthood. I’ll share my experiences with different parenting topics such as nutrition, breastfeeding and co-sleeping, explore a variety of arts and crafts that my two kids and I attempt, and will use my family as guinea pigs as I experiment with recipes to share. I look forward to sharing our family adventures!