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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year


Happy New Year to all of you! A year ago, I never thought this day would come so quickly. Yet here it is and as I read over that post of what I wanted for this past year, I realize that I did accomplish it to a degree, but I know in my heart that I can do better. I'm praying I get that chance this year.

Last year on this day, my Grandpa died. That spurred in me a desire to truly know those around me. It also encouraged me to be more real; like honest, raw real with others. Which also meant being raw on this blog.

This past year has been quite a journey...

I talked about how I was bored with Christianity. I talked about politics, which is something I said I would never, ever blog about. I also went out on a limb and said that Christianity cannot be contained in a little labeled box.

I talked more in length about our adventures in cloth diapering. I participated in my first ever blog party where I first quietly mentioned my views on spanking.

I shared my 5 Tips For Tandem Breastfeeding or Breastfeeding while Pregnant. I celebrated birthdays and a first haircut

I talked about what real love meant. I experienced a 5 day long nursing strike and was relieved when she started nursing again.

My scariest, most raw moments as a blogger came just this past December in which I finally opened up about my journey into Gentle Parenting

Through it all, you have been there to love on me, encourage me, and support me. I am so grateful and each day I feel that love.

I'm looking forward to 2012 with you and I hope that I can continue to show that love through being open and real with all of you!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: Is it really December?




There is no way possible for me to make this one wordless as I want the girls and I to remember this always. It is December 28th, 36° out, and no snow on the ground. Absolutely unheard of! We are enjoying every second of it and I feel thankful that winter is that much shorter here this year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Peek Into Our Christmas


Christmas included...

Three of them and one more to go later on this week

A very sick little girl the night before our first Christmas. :(

A kind grandma who let said sick little girl still participate in her Christmas even though she could get the stomach flu

Lots of generous aunts, uncles, and grandparents

A new batch of dolls, strollers, and books

No snow on the ground (a rarity for this time of the year)

Sunshine

Our bellies stuffed full of yummy food

Most of all, love, laughter, and life

P.S. It wasn't until now that I realized I am missing half my ornaments and bows on the lower half of the tree. I blame it on the little 17 month old who like to de-decorate it! :)

What was your Christmas like this year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Let's Talk! {Part 3-Where I share my greatest failure as a wife}

We are still talking about the questions and suggestions you had for me in my second blog anniversary post.

A common theme, seemed to be looking for recipes.

MamaHunfy said, "I'd love for you to post some of your favorite recipes!"

One of my best friends from elementary school, Janel says, " I would love to hear more about the types of food you feed your family."

lbellomy says, "I'd like to see more about cooking."

I have a total of 4 recipes that I can find posted on my blog under my label recipes. Four. That's it! I did not realize I had so very few until you brought it to my attention. Incidentally, three out of the four recipes are for desserts. I LOVE to bake.

Cooking is a whole other story.

If there is one area where I have failed at as a wife, this would be it. It has caused many fights, lots of tears, and yes, I'll admit some anger.

When we first got married we were both in school full time and working full time. We hardly ever ate together. Instead, I would quickly grab some crackers and cheese and Chris would grab whatever he could find and that would be our dinner.

Image Source: Realsimple.com

Fast forward 4 years later and we had finished school and just had Zoelle and all of a sudden I had to cook. Or at least try. Except Zoelle was somewhat of a fussy baby and at that time I wasn't into babywearing as much as I am today so setting her down wasn't really an option.

Fortunately Chris loves to cook and is actually quite a gourmet chef making up his own recipes for things.

Over the last few years, I have found it very hard for me to meal plan. I go in spurts. For weeks I'll do fantastic and then I'll lose that energy burst and start meal planning at oh 4 p.m. Another secret about me is that I HATE grocery shopping. I'm not much of a shopper in general but searching for various things in the grocery store with three kids in tow is not my cup of tea. Either is grocery shopping by myself as I can't make decisions to save my life. Yep, see my problem here??

This is me except I LOVE to clean (figures right?) Image Source: Pinterest


So far our solution is to have Chris somewhat cook, or him and I to cook together, and on rare occasions I will cook.

But I have a desire to really truly cook. And I know, despite Chris being super nice about it most of the time, he too really wants me to cook.

Finding the inspiration is not a problem. I love to browse pinterest or blogs for new food ideas! Cooking shows are one of my absolute favorite shows to watch! It's just transferring those ideas into cooking that overwhelms me.

So that is where I'm asking you all for help. How do you meal plan? Do you have any ideas for me that will make me want to stick to meal planning? And to start cooking?? Anyone do freezer meals? If so, do you like it?

I'd really appreciate any help you can give me. My goal is to put this out there as a challenge to myself so that way this next year I can do a good majority of the meal planning AND cooking on my own.

You can find Part 1 of this series here and Part 2 of this series here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Oral-B Stages Party

I recently had the chance to host a mommy party sponsored by Oral-B Stages. In our kit we received Oral-B Stage 1 toothbrushes, Oral-B Stage 2 toothbrushes, Oral-B Stage toothpaste, and Disney Lavender body wash. In addition to all this, they provided us with a Winnie The Pooh movie and some delicious popcorn to make it a true party.



We decorated our home with balloons that have since provided hours of fun. We set out our supplies and we were ready.




The highlight for the girls was the Winnie The Pooh movie. It was all they could talk about for days and have talked about since. Along with still playing with their balloons.




For me, it was a great way to introduce healthy hygiene to my girls in a fun way and one they won't forget anytime soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Xiomara Running

I had to share with you this video of Xiomara running. She is so tiny that it is hilarious to see her run! It was taken on my cell phone so the quality isn't the greatest, but you still get a feel of how quickly she runs and how cute she looks!

Enjoy! :)



Friday, December 9, 2011

Let's Talk! {Part 2-Yes, I am crazy sometimes too}

I'm currently answering your questions or blogging about the things you have asked me to post when you commented on the blog anniversary post here.

Ruth said: "I like to hear about your personal stories - what's going on in your life so I know my craziness is not alone!"

Lest you think I am normal and that you are alone Ruth, let me tell you about the day I had today (which really was yesterday since I am currently typing this at 1 in the morning).

Wednesday night hubby and I decided to finally watch The Help. Good, good movie by the way and I encourage you all to see it. We ended up talking afterward and were up until 3 a.m. This makes me a crabby mama when at 8 a.m. Zoelle is in my room asking to crawl into bed with me for a morning snuggle. Meridian was curled up next to me sleeping? nursing? I'm honestly not sure as I was pretty sleepy still. I wanted her and I to keep sleeping but Zoelle wouldn't stop talking and trying to wake us all up. Xiomara was sleeping in her pack n' play and so I finally had no choice but to awake.

I found myself on edge all.day.long. I was crabby. I screamed. I was tested to the max right after I posted about working hard to become a gentle parent (doesn't it always work that way?). Of the 4 of us who were home the entire day, Xiomara was the only one who was consistently happy.

On days like this, I tend to really look forward to nap time. I was SO counting on getting some time to play with my new Kindle Fire, relax, maybe even read a book, along with work a little on the laundry I was in the midst of doing.

Exactly how I felt yesterday!

But then came nap time and my plan fell apart right before my very eyes. Zoelle didn't nap which isn't abnormal for her nowadays. But she also didn't do a rest time. Instead she kept talking to me, begging for my attention, which makes sense being that I was crabby and she just wanted her mama back. Meridian who normally goes right down for a nap, refused to sleep. So for 2 hours I had a crabby little girl who I tried to get to nap and just wouldn't nap.

By the time it came to supper, I was exhausted, even more crabby, and ready for Chris to get home. I had no supper plans and I refused to do anything but sit with my hood up on my hooded sweatshirt and play angry birds while the kids played around me. Chris sent me a text on his way home that said, "How do tacos sound for supper?" I texted him back, "I don't care...I've had a hell of a day and I don't plan on doing anything tonight".

I can laugh at that now, but at that moment I was dead serious.

Chris came home, cooked supper, and set before me a bag of my favorite thing in the world: Tootsie Rolls.


I finished out my night slightly happier thanks to Chris and a bag of Tootsie Rolls.

So yes, I have times of craziness and no, you are not alone Ruth.

Now I am off to bed so I don't repeat the same mistake I made today.

Images via Google.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Let's Talk! {Part 1-Our Journey Into Gentle Parenting}

When I decided to post my second anniversary giveaway, I did it with all of you in mind. I wanted to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog each day and I also wanted to connect with you on a deeper level. So I asked what you wanted to read about.

My friend Mandy said: "I love hearing about your journeys in gentle parenting, and your homeschooling. I'd love to hear more on those fronts."

Since I've written a bit about homeschooling and more alluded to our journey into gentle parenting, I will share a bit about the latter.

I actually get butterflies in my tummy when I write about this because I know for so many people, how we parent is incredibly personal and a post in which one shares how they parent as a family, can often be perceived to come across as judgemental. That is not my intent. But I also do want to share because it was someone sharing with me that brought us to the journey we are in today.


Before I was a parent, I thought I knew exactly how I would parent. Someone gave me a rather controversial infant raising book, and I read it, thought it made sense and planned to use it, that is until we had Zoelle. As we began our journey as first time parents, our hearts cried out to God about how to handle the night awakenings, the seemingly endless feedings, and the scheduling that everyone told us we just had to do in order to have a happy baby. However, the more we prayed on it, the more uncomfortable we felt. We just kept feeling like God was telling us, "this time is so short, cherish it". So I threw it out and never followed it, with any of my girls. I can tell you today that I do not regret that decision at all! Instead I've tried my hardest to cherish the night nursing, not worry about putting my babe on a schedule, and just enjoy the moment. Sure we have had tough nights, but co-sleeping has made them better, and looking back 4+ years later I can only truly remember a few.

It was during this time that we became what one would call attachment parents. We co-slept, we extended breast fed, we wore our babies, we were anti/delay vaccinations. We researched everything and I mean everything before we made a decision!


As Zoelle grew, I would get the dreaded "S" question: Do you plan on spanking her? It was our intent not to do so. By this point, I had read extensively into whether or not spanking was biblical. I also had read the other side of the coin, again regarding a very controversial pro-spanking book. And again, everything in me was uncomfortable with what I was reading. The more we prayed, the more we studied the Bible, the more we felt from God that spanking was not a biblical mandate for raising Godly children.

Then she turned 2, and often the very hardest thing to change is to step away from how you were parented and step into your own parenting style. We messed up big time. Or rather I did. Anytime I spanked her I felt horrible. I knew that if this is what God wanted from me that He would not bring guilt with it. I also found myself parenting in fear (something I believe can happen very easily when one spanks). Meaning, I would find myself telling her, "Zoelle if you do ________, you are going to get a swat". This to me seemed to go completely against what 1 John 4:18 says about perfect love casting out all fear!

I spent hours praying, studying more of God's word on this subject, and exposing my heart to the Lord. God lead me to some incredible articles that I had never read before on spanking including this one.

To make a long story short, we have chosen not to spank our girls. I know the next question is, "Well then how do you discipline them?"

My answer to you would be with one word: LOVE


After searching God's heart and reading His word, I kept finding instant after instant where God would show love to His children. Grace to His children. Mercy to His children. Even when it was not easy.

And trust me, it is not easy. I readily admit I struggle with self control and parenting in a gentle parenting way has me relying on God more than I ever have before in my entire life.

It is hard. Plain and simple. But it's what God has laid on our hearts as parents and we intend to do it.

Oh and if you are reading this and you parent the exact opposite of me, I still want to be your friend. After all, different opinions are SO good.

So that is my heart which is what my friend Dulce asked of me when she said: "Just keep writing from your heart!"

*All image sources courtesy of Pinterest

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Weekend!

Happy weekend everyone! I spent the day yesterday with hubby all by myself (read: no kids were with). We shopped, I drank coffee while he drank a smoothie, we ate at fun restaurants, and I got my haircut (which was desperately needed)! All stuff we rarely do! It was a perfect way to jump start the weekend!




Did you do anything out of the ordinary this week?

P.S. Hope you all have an amazing weekend and don't forget to go enter into the $50 Visa Gift Card Blog Anniversary Giveaway, it ends Monday, December 5th!



Monday, November 28, 2011

The Joy In Each Day {A Post of Thanksgiving}

I have so much to be thankful for today (and always for that matter).



For this man who leads our home and loves all our girls with this over-protective fatherly love.




For these girls who delight me with their love, joy, and exuberance for life.





For the tender kisses.



For the crazy moments.





For the memories we are making.


I'm relishing and thanking God for it all, for tomorrow these memories will be gone and there will be new ones in their place.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Second Blog Anniversary & Giveaway

Last week I hit year two of blogging. What an amazing journey this has been.

I look back on my writing and I can see that I have grown much as a writer this year. My mom always told me that practice makes perfect, and in this case it really has. Well I'm not perfect but you know what I mean! :)


The friendships I started two years ago have grown deeper and I've also met many new friends. I've learned, changed, and grown along this journey.

For those of you following along since the beginning, I have changed in that I haven't done as many giveaways this year as in the past. The main reason for that is that I truly enjoy sharing with you. I want people to read my blog for what it is, not for the giveaways. I like the personal aspect of blogging and I feel in some ways, when one does only giveaways (or a lot of them), that is lost.

It's been a fun break to step back from that area of blogging a bit. I think most of you are okay with that too as my readership has grown. Don't worry, I'm not done altogether with giveaways, instead I just plan to be selective in the ones that I do.


Today because I really do enjoy the joy in giving and because I wanted to thank you for being here, encouraging me, and supporting me along this journey, I have a $50 Visa Gift Card to giveaway to one of you.

This is my first time ever using Rafflecopter for an entry, so feel free to let me know if you experience any glitches and if you like it! Also because it is Thanksgiving week, I will run this giveaway until Monday, December 5, 2011.




Friday, November 18, 2011

On Meeting Natasha

I got to meet me new niece Natasha yesterday. Sigh...I am in love. She is even more beautiful than the pictures I have seen of her.




She is my second little niece and I can say I am just as in love with her as I am India. She was so sweet, calm, and adorable!! I also loved that hair!!

Speaking of India, she also was there to meet her new cousin Natasha and it was so crazy busy I forgot to have someone take a picture of me with my two nieces, but we did make sure we got a picture of the 5 granddaughters or 5 cousins in order from oldest to youngest. With 5 girls under the age of 4, we were working fast and trying to get all to look at the camera at the same time. This was the best picture I got! :)


From left to right: Zoelle, Meridian, Xiomara, India, Natasha

I also got a picture with each of my girls holding Natasha and Chris holding her. Being that she lives states away, it may be awhile before we see her again, so I wanted to make sure I took pictures galore! In the meantime, I'll savor each of these pictures!

Are you an auntie? If so how many nieces/nephews do you have? Do you cherish each of them like I do my two nieces?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{Almost} Worldess Wednesday: Girl Time





This is my best friend of almost 15 years. We met when we were 13 and have been friends since then. She now lives states away from me, but whenever she comes home to visit, we make a point to have girl time. Love her like a sister and so thankful for her in my life!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reflecting on Xiomara

Dear baby girl,

It's November and November is National Adoption Month so I wanted to write a little letter to you.

I can't even begin to imagine what life would be like without you. Tonight as we were tucking all three of you in, your two sisters were both crying. I looked down at you, and there you were smiling with all that is in you that beautiful smile of yours back at me. I turned to your daddy and told him, "I know that no matter what is happening in our home, I can always look to Xiomara to put a smile on my face".

When we were waiting for you, we prayed that God would send us a little girl who was full of joy. That she would light up the room and charm everyone with her personality. That you do little peanut. That you do.


Snotty nose and all, we love you!

If you weren't here in our lives, it would be a lot dimmer. I wouldn't be feeling the pain of a fat lip from you head butting me? kicking me? in your sleep last night. :) I wouldn't get to hear you and Meridian squeal to each other as you fight yet again over another doll. I wouldn't get to see the pure delight on Zoelle's face as you give her those big smooches you do everyday to her!

And your daddy, he would not have that sparkle in his eye that I see him have every night when he looks across the table at you. As for me, who would I talk about to your daddy every night as I tuck you into bed and stare into your beautiful brown eyes? Whose little milk chocolate skin would I be able to massage each day just because I know she loves massages? Who would I be able to whisper to when no one else is listening but you, "You are so beautiful Xio. I love you. God has great plans for your life."

I'm so thankful that you came into our lives after two years of waiting. You were worth every second of that wait. Every agonizing minute of wonder. Every tear that poured down my face.

You were worth it.

You are worth it.

Adoption is worth it.

I love you Xiomara Marie.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best!

Is it their puzzles like my girls love? Or the art supplies? Or perhaps it is the art easel that my girls are getting for Christmas (shhh...it's a surprise)?

Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll". You'll get a Melissa & Doug 25% off coupon to use at MelissaandDoug.com just for voting!



There is no better time to shop at a discount then now during the Christmas season! So go vote today!

Disclosure: I receive a Melissa & Doug shopping credit for posting about this promotion.