Friday, December 23, 2011

2 Pregnancies. 2 Different Perspectives.

Peanut at about 4 months in utero. June, 29 2007

Baby sister at 18 weeks in utero. October 13, 2011

My two girls.  Both pregnancies far, as I'm currently 28 weeks along with the second, have been really easy and very healthy. I just got my glucose test results this week and I'm neither diabetic, nor anemic and my thyroid is great.  The two, however, couldn't be further apart. My perspective has completely changed.  

Between the two girls I've lost 4 pregnancies. One we had to terminate at 24 weeks and the last three were miscarriages between 6-10 weeks.  With P I never worried about anything. I had the confidence that only youth and ignorance can bring.  I assumed that because I had lived a very healthy lifestyle my entire life it was a guarantee to having a healthy baby.  Little did I know that although that may carry over in some areas it has very little to do in others.  Conceiving is a mysterious art and a combination of timing and genes of two people.  The miracle of life is a miracle. We are complex creations with a lot of systems coming together to make us work properly.

After all my loses I've worried about everything during this pregnancy.  I went on progesterone during the first trimester. Apparently it's quite common but that made me worry.  We had a CVS to rule out any issues at 11 weeks. I worried.  The 18 week ultrasound had both Dave and I bawling during the entire thing! It was during this ultrasound that we found out of baby #2's issues.  Before my second trimester blood work, that rules out other problems, I was in a stairwell crying for 20minutes. I was almost hyperventilating with fear and couldn't get myself to go in to get blood drawn. I was petrified of bad news. I had to call Dave and I wished he could have been there with me.  I worried during the glucose test. And it took until the 18 week ultrasound for me to stop worrying every time I went to the bathroom. I kept thinking I was going to see blood. 

I've had everyone and their mother tell me to stop worrying. Easier said than done after all I've experienced. I felt so much better when I saw the perinatologist. He said P was my saving grace. He has seen so many women in my same situation, except they had not had one successful pregnancy. These poor women were so traumatized he wanted to send them home with an ultrasound machine because they wanted to know how the baby was doing 24/7. It was understandable after all they had been through. Finally, I was talking to someone who completely understood where I was coming from!  

At this point, now that we've made it so far with this pregnancy, I am almost glad for my new point of view. It's given me empathy for people who have struggled to have children.  I've become educated in the process and how there is no one to blame.  Not conceiving is not an illness. It's just a part of life not many talk about. It's made me more tolerant of the normal discomforts of pregnancy. And mostly it's made me appreciate the child I have and the one I hope to soon have. They are both amazing gifts.  I thank P everyday for being my source of hope. And I thank the one in my belly for coming to join us. I tell her how much we are all looking forward to having her in our lives. Then P reminds me she is already in our lives, she's just inside me, but she's here! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pregnancy Wear-Garnet Hill

Garnet Hill had a sale recently.  40% off on sale items plus free shipping. I bought P a pair of shoes and I got the Mykonos Tunic for me.  It's not a pregnancy item but it works perfectly for this occasion.  At 28 weeks if fits great and I have lots of room to spare.  The best part is I get to wear yoga pants underneath. These are from Motherhood.  I got so many compliments on the top! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Favorite Online Toy Stores

This is the time of year with a never ending stream of catalogs.  Most of which I dislike but there's a few awesome ones, specially in the toy category.  Here's my current favorite four!!!

Uncommon Goods

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zara Style

I recently got this dress for P with the intent to use it for the holidays.  I love it but it seems to have more of a Halloween, Thanksgiving feel than Christmas.  We're using it for nicer events.  

Dress: Zara
Leggings: Zara
Coat: Lands End
Shoes: Passitos from Garnet Hill

Thursday, November 3, 2011

P was sitting next to me on the couch. She does this motion with her hands that's like passing one hand over the other but she does it against a cushion or something. This time it was against my stomach and in that instant I recognized the feeling. It's what I constantly felt IN my stomach when I was pregnant with her. What I always thought were her feet peddling were really her hands! The most surreal deja vu I've ever experienced!

Halloween 2011

 P wanted to be Aerial this year.  I could have gone out to Target and bought her a $20 costume and be done with it but I just couldn't. I almost did. Then I reconsidered. It's been a childhood dream of mine to sew my children's costumes.  Plus this year will be easier than next so I should take advantage!

I ordered a leotard and a wig from the cheapest sellers on Amazon and then headed to the fabric store.  The original idea was to make her a fish tail of some sort. I bought enough boning to wrap it around her twice from top to bottom but fatigue and reason took over.  P was allowed to wear her costume to school for two days which meant  I needed to make a costume she could run and play in without tripping or getting tripped by other children.  Fish tail was out of the question.  Plus there is a sleek look to her sequin skirt just being long and straight. 

I love the challenge of making her costumes from my imagination vs a pattern.  Problem is I know little about sewing so my solutions may not be the soundest or most technical ones out there.  I get inspired from seeing other deluxe, stage costumes and working a simpler version.  Dave helped me make the sea shells more three dimensional by stitching each "ridge" all the way through instead of just one side of the fabric. I saw a mermaid bra top that had pearls sewn in and thought I'd do the same.  The clear "water drop beads" were much cheaper so I went with them instead.  Each one was hand sewn and almost each one came off after the first day of school!  I waited until Halloween evening to sew more on.  

We waited until Halloween to pull out the wig.  As expected her head itched after 20 minutes of it being on and she was ready to take it off.  I think she braved through the trick or treating only because she got so many compliments....starting with Crate & Barrel. P got to trick-or-treat through the store when we went to pick up my mom from work.  Of course everyone was saying how cute she was and how awesome her hair was!

I like to do a family theme with the costumes but this year I only had the energy for one.  I did think it would have been perfect for Dave to be King Triton, my mom would have been the perfect Sebastian and I with my round belly could have been Flounder.  But that was too and money.  

Much to my surprise Dave was engrossed in pumpkin carving. I had no idea how much he loved it.  I had to ask him to stop so we would have pumpkins left for Thanksgiving decorations.  
I did love watching Dave and P do their carving together.  P is starting to handle sharp objects quite well which is exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same time. 

Dave's cat creation was so awesome people asked me if we had bought it from a florist!

Every Halloween I'm so happy and proud that I made P's costume.  I've been dreaming of this since I learned to sew as a kid and I'm glad I'm doing what I've set out to do so long ago. I've always hoped the extra cost of making them vs buying them would be worth it. This year Dave and my mom told me P was telling everyone her mom made her costume. She was proud. Also, this year P has asked for a sewing machine for her birthday!  I think the whole process is making a positive impact. 

Seven years ago Dave and I bought this ghost/jack-o-lantern for our apartment. It was our first holiday decorative piece together.  It burned out this year and I couldn't throw it away without taking a picture of it.  He brings back lots of memories. 

The Halloween traditions wouldn't be complete without the "candy trade". Thanks to our friend Kiersten who always has brilliant ideas to raising happy, healthy kids, P only has 5 candies from her treating.  The rest she trades in for a toy of her choice (within reason) at Toys R Us. 

She got a pink dolphin the next day!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's NOT About the Bike

Over the summer P started trying to ride her bike.  First she got on her balance bike. She was determined to get it down, and she did in about 3 days.  She wanted to ride everyday.  She gained so much confidence she was going down steep hills and ramps and loving it. She learned to use her hand brakes and then asked for the pedals.  I was proud of her determination.

I had the pedals put on the bike. Suddenly it got hard and uncomfortable. She didn't want to ride it anymore.  She didn't even want to try.  This is a part of P's personality that I will have to work on. When she knows she can do something she has unbelievable determination. But, if she has even the slightest thought she can't she won't even try.  This is where the bike riding is not about the bike.  It's about her getting past her fear of failure.  It's about not saying "i can't" before even trying.  This is a huge building block for future success.

For three days I pushed her to try.  I told her she couldn't give up and she had to at least get on and give it a try.  She did get on but I could tell her expectations of success were determined in the first 30 seconds.  When she did try she rode her bike just fine and every single time it was fear that stopped her.  It's amazing how fear alone can make us fail.  

When P started trying to ride with pedals she was riding great for about 30 yards and then she pedaled in the wrong direction so the bike came to a quick stop and she fell over. I think that was the one act that set the tone for riding with pedals.  I really wanted her to push past her fears. I wanted her to try because she was so so close to realizing what she wanted to accomplish.  

The neighbors saw her trying to ride and me pushing her.  I saw the looks on their faces. I could see what they were thinking. I was trying to get my 3 year old to ride a bike. What an accomplishment for me.  I could care less if P never rides a bike. I do care if she doesn't try.  If she doesn't get past this block in her head it worries me. This is the kind of stuff that determines whether she will continue giving up every time something gets hard.  Life is full of hard stuff on the road to amazing accomplishments.  I don't expect the neighbor with a drug addict/dealing son and a 7 year old who can't even read a fortune cookie to even begin to comprehend any of this.  Their judgment is still annoying.  

Dave even got in on the bandwagon and tried to motivate her to try.  We finally set the idea aside.  But every time we saw something related to not giving up we pointed it out to her.  We watched Kung Fu Panda.  Po didn't give up even though he was afraid!  Dragon Warriors don't give up!  Are you a Dragon Warrior P?  Yes I am!  We tried again.  At least she tried. To me, that's what counts. 

It's October.  P hasn't touched her bike in over a month.  She has conquered her fear in a few other areas so maybe we will try again... 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


 Hat: Target, Jacket & Pants: Lands End, Boots: Sorel
Once upon a time I had a daughter who never said a peep about what I dressed her in. It was fantastic!  When all the other daughters were voicing opinions and wearing crazy mismatched things in public, mine was always ok with her stylish and coordinated outfits.  Then, slowly but surely that little girl started to develop opinions.  I sense she's always had them but only recently has she gained the wisdom to vocalize them.  

Yesterday it was rainy and cold. Our first real day of fall/winter.  I finally got to pull out P's winter clothes. When I dressed her in navy, wide-legged cords with a cute cambray shirt she objected. "I don't like this! I don't like this shirt!".  I pulled out all the options that would go with her pants.  She picked out a stripped blousy shirt that I must admit was a better choice than what I had picked out.  I got her outer gear on reluctantly; double breasted yellow rain jacket with a hat and new,warm Sorel boots.  I saw the sour face but we were running late for school.  

On the way to the car she says to Dave "Can I take this costume off when I get home?"!!! Costume?  What costume?  I had to take a picture of her when she got home because I swear one day she'll look back at this and laugh at herself and her comment.  Costume?

Shirt & Leggings: Estella-NYC, Dress: Tea Collection, Boots: Land's End
Today's outfit was selected the night before. I wanted to go over it with her so that the morning would go smoother.  Turns out P is a girlier girl than I thought.  She wants to wear dresses. She doesn't want to wear pants.  Perfect, I bought her 5 pair of cords! Now I'll have to figure out a way for her to wear them.  I'm glad I bought lots of leggings and undershirts so I can layer all her dresses for winter.  Well, at least she continues to have a good sense of style. She does listens when I point out why something doesn't go with what she's wearing. And like I said, her choices are often better than mine.  I just liked it better when it was like having a doll I got to dress up everyday.  Now, someone pulled the cord on the doll and she started talking!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Summer She Jumped!

Every summer P has gotten more and more courageous in the water.  This was the summer she found the courage to jump into the pool.  It seems so basic but I believe it's a great leap of ability and courage on her part. I don't know when it actually started but I do know it was with Dave. With him she found the courage to jump off of him into the water and then from the edge into the pool.  It doesn't matter how deep the water is, she's jumping.  

I find it very interesting that I'm the one who pushes/encourages her to do more, to find her courage, to not give up but she always seems to find it on her own when she's with Dave.  When she was afraid to get back in the water it was me who talked her through it and asked her to find her courage.  But her first lap across the pool, width wise, was with Dave.  He doesn't like to push her or to get her to finish what she started. It's not something he was groomed with as a child.  I also know when she wants the easy way out she'll call for him. But after we've done some groundwork together I'll walk away and bam! She rises on her own! 

To be honest, I've been hurt and frustrated that I put the work in and Dave gets to see the grand results. However, when I see the big picture....she does better without me, I think it's a good thing.  What I'm seeing is I am laying down the groundwork and helping her find whats within her.  And when I'm gone she's finding it all on her own.  So, now I feel relieved that as she grows up, and her life becomes more her own, she'll fly without me.  To me, that's the greatest reward. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Orange County Great Park

Saturday had the potential to be a crazy busy day. Then the calandar cleared and we ended up tagging along with Dave to Irvine.  He had to do a light study very early in the morning down in Laguna Beach. So we stayed over Friday night in Irvine.  

Dave always seems to surprise us with either simple random knowledge or with random knowledge of amazing places.  And Saturday he didn't disappoint.  After he finished work he took us to a park he had been talking about. 

Now, when Dave "talks" about something it's not like he talks about it frequently or even in a solid sentence or paragraph.  He drops phrases here and there at random moments or at moments when I'm in the middle of something so it doesn't quite make it to the forefront of my mind.

Well, I'm certainly glad I just went along for the ride and didn't investigate, question or complain about where Dave was taking us. I just went. And let me just say that The Orange County Great Park is AMAZING!!!! We just got to see a tiny portion of the park but I'd love to go back and see the farming and garden and racetrack.  

We did get to see the best part!  The balloon ride!  P loved the whole place. The playground, the carousel and the balloon ride. It was an amazing day!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Today was one of those rare days when it's just P and me and we have no plans. The day evolved but we had a couple of breakthroughs.  First, P is the one who directed what we did and second, we actually cleaned up as we went along!  It usually takes a lot for her to clean up but today she went along with it without a fight or delay.

P pulled out the games and puzzles out of her game drawer after breakfast. First time she's shown an interest. First we played the fishing game. 

You have to collect either the same color or number on the fish until you fill your boat up with 4.  You fish and if you catch the wrong fish you put it back.  It never mattered where I put my bad fish back, or if P saw it. This time she saw I picked up one of her orange fish and saw where I put it back. When it was her turn she went and grabbed it! Too smart!

Next we put a puzzle together. Amazed she seems to figure out the harder pieces first.  I need to stop telling her how I would go about putting it together and let her do her thing. 

Then, we played with her stacking alphabet boxes.  It's been at least a year since she pulled that out! After stacking it I asked her to find certain letters.  She got some but didn't get others. Then, it surprised me to see her looking at the letters on the boxes and drawing them on paper!  Woohoo! She's getting it and she's showing an interest. 

We finally started cleaning up.  She wanted to paint or stamp as I had first suggested. I asked her if we could clean up some mess before starting an art project. We cleaned, she sort of played and cleaned. I did some stuff on the computer.  We cleaned, we played, on got on the computer again. Finally outside. She played, while I cleaned the back yard a bit. Finally we painted. 

I had some lanterns left over from her last birthday.  We decided we could paint them orange and turn them into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.  

When we finished painting we cleaned it all up! Again, a first! Then we made lunch, salad and quesadilla for me. For her it was salad, quesadilla, apple sauce, probiotic drink and turkey and cheese!  Growth spur? Then she took a nap after lunch.

It's almost 5pm. She's still napping. Neither one of us has gotten out of our pjs. it's been a remarkable day.  I pray we will have days like this till the day she leaves for college.  I really really love my time with P!  I remember it being so hard when she was a baby and then a walking, curious toddler.  The dynamic of being around her has changed. I have a buddy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cover that Bum!

My mom brought me back undies for P from her trip to Colombia!  Every time someone visits from our homeland they ask me what I want.  I always say the same: undies for P!  Why can't I buy underwear for my kid in the States?  

Well, I have an issue with American underwear for girls.  Just about every brand does not cover the bum and private parts enough.  Some even look like they belong on a Victoria Secrets model.  We're talking underpants for a toddler for Pete's sake!  Cover all the parts!  

At this point in P's life her privates belong to me and I'm not willing to share them with anyone.  Also, I don't want to constantly tell her to put her legs down. She's a child having fun. She should do what she wants, climb what she wants, straddle what she wants.  Boys don't have to worry about it why should girls at this age when an awareness of sexuality is not even there.  To solve the problem I buy her boy shorts underwear for girls which I can only find at H&M. Or I ask for foreign underwear.  Isn't it a little shocking that the standard in the rest of the world covers at least half a butt cheek and half a vagina more than here?!

Now, here is where I become more "liberated" or European.  I hate underwear lines, even on a 3 year old.  When P wears her jersey pants or any soft pants or leggings I don't have her put on underwear.  You should hear the questions I get asked at school by her teachers.  I don't get it. Yes, she has no underwear on!  Can you see any of her parts? No? Ok, well those regular underwear that the rest of the girls wear well I see half a vagina when they're sitting cross legged in a dress. So where is the indecency when she doesn't wear underwear with something that doesn't expose a thing?  The expectations in this country are weird.  

Anyway, call them granny panties. Call them what you like. For now, my daughter wears imported underwear that cover all her parts!

Broken Oven

Last week I made strawberry shortcakes with P.  I got the recipe from Orangette and it recommends keeping the dough frozen until you're ready to bake.  The day after I made our first batch the oven stopped working.  It's gas; the stove works but not the oven.  I have to find a repair man quick because me without an oven is like me without an arm.  I literally feel handicapped in the kitchen. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School 2011

Today was P's first day of school! She's in her second year of pre-school.  I think she'll have another year before heading off to kindergarten.  

This year I'm actually a bit worried.  Her school went through some changes and there is a new director.  She has yet to talk to the parents and let them know if there are any changes to the philosophy or direction of the preschool.  I can tell they want to go more towards a disciplined and educational route vs the developmental philosophy of where it was before....although no one has come out and said it to the parents. 

I have a strong belief that children learn best through play at this age.  Yes, they need to be structured but not at this young of an age.  I worry they may make P learn how to write and know her letters though workbooks and a structured setting. If this is the case I know she will rebel and I worry this will define a negative attitude towards learning.  This is my worst case scenario and I pray it does not come to pass.  And if it does I pray I may be ready to make good choices for her and to place her in a better setting.  

My idea of school has changed dramatically over the past year.  Before P entered school I thought it would be a place I'd send her to daily where she would get educated, both socially and academically. However, I would not be that involved. In other words, I was mirroring what my parents did.  Once she was in school I thought that it's not just about the education and the teachers but the families you become integrated with.  They are and will continue to be a huge part of the "village" that raises the kids.  

Now, after one year of school and being very disappointed by the Catholic system that took over after the last director was booted out, I have a new thought.  Basically, no one will ever know my child like I do. School is a place where she will get her basic education and hopefully a little more.  However, I will be the one to take her knowledge, experiences and wisdom to another level.  My choice of school is based on who her classmates will be: ie, what is the economic level, education, expectations and parenting style of most of the other families.  School is more about who she's associating with than developing her IQ and smarts.  The basic book smarts she can get anywhere really. But the true thinking is really up to me to foster. In most of the books I've read about childhood education they all seem to agree.  I pray that along the way she will get great, inspirational teachers who will help develop positive ideas on her role in the world.  But I've definitely changed my perspective on the whole thing and am focusing on what I can do to inspire her rather than hoping a system, school or director will. 

So, with that said, I'm excited for another year of school and another year of experience in the educational system.  I wonder how I'll feel next year.  Mostly, I pray P will always continue to love to learn.

Good Smells

We were at swimming class one day when a mom walked in smelling so good I had to ask her what she was wearing.  She couldn't remember but said it was her lotion not perfume because she never wore any.  She did remember that it was a patchouli and orange smell but she couldn't remember the brand.  The smell has stayed with me ever since.  It was soft and elegant without being over whelming.  

Yesterday while we were at Whole Foods I figured out a way to make my own lotion.  I regularly buy shea butter from a company called Now Solutions.  Shea butter doesn't have a smell. Well, it can actually smell a bit greasy but it does wonders for my skin.  I add a little essential oil to my pot and whip it up with my beauty stick so I can have a little essence of rose or ylang ylang.  Yesterday I saw patchouli and tangerine essential oils so I bought both and mixed them into a fresh pot.  It smells lovely! I'm in heaven and so is my skin. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Balance Bike

The pictures above are of P learning to ride her balance bike last week.  The small slopes in our front yard were perfect for her to get a feel for coasting.  But you can see she's not comfortable.  I was so proud of her. She kept doing the slopes over and over again despite clearly being outside of her comfort zone. Every day last week she asked to go out and ride her bike.  She's been determined to get control of it and to get her pedals on!  I'm so proud of that determination and the understanding that practice is what makes perfect.

Below are pictures of P from today. She started riding ramps a few days ago but had yet to gain her confidence and the ability to use her hand brake.  Today she got both!!! And again I loved that she kept wanting to ride the ramps "I just want to make sure I got it mom!".  The best part for me was seeing that sense of accomplishment she was feeling.  Nothing in the world beats that! Nothing!  And that feeling is what will drive her from today until the day she dies!!!