Wednesday, October 1, 2014

So many challenges, so little time

I kind of failed the Whole30. Ok honestly, it was super tough. After 15 days of sticking to the rules completely, I weighed myself. I needed something to keep me going, motivate me. I lost 9 pounds and 2 inches. Wow! That motivated me to get going again. But then hubby got a job offer and we HAD to celebrate with champagne. Then Labor Day weekend arrived and we decided to take the kids camping. Lots of good yummy snacky foods. I didn't go too crazy, just had a bun with my hot dog and some drinks. Whole 30 is hard, I felt like I really had to avoid everything, yet still be the cook in my house. Sometimes I feel like I am running a restaurant and not because I am making separate meals for every person, but because we eat at home SO much and I make sure to have fresh stuff like fruits, veggies, homemade bread, sauces, almost everything from scratch, but of course it's super simple. At any rate, the kids eat mostly what I cook, but Ruby has some exceptions as she is still so young and doesn't have all of her teeth.

I tried new things like making cauliflower tortillas, which are super labor intensive, but tasted amazing. Having a toddler hanging off your leg screaming, a 4 year old bouncing off the walls after school and the dog barking at everything that moves in the backyard makes it tricky to want to follow the 100 steps to make a cauliflower tortilla and learn how to use a cheese clothe in the process. I about lost my mind. One really cool trick I learned was how to make Zoodles with a julienne slicer. It was awesome and Didi had no idea they were not real pasta.

One downfall for me was the lack of planning. Like I said I always have sort of a general idea of what I will make for the week, but I also have our normal go-to items like fresh fruit and veggies, bread, milk, organic oatmeal and cereal, dairy, eggs, tortillas, meat. Basics to make meals out of. Ugh, I have been in a rut making somewhat the same meals for a while because I just haven't had the time or inspiration it takes to plan, shop, prepare, clean, chop, etc. We are just barely surviving over here with a 1 year old, 4 year old, jobs and the transition of the seasons trying to wrap up the yard work and prepare the house for colder weather. That one hour we have in the evening to ourselves is usually spent laying on the couch. My brain power is zero at that time. Weekends you say? I could use weekends to research, plan, prepare, clean, chop, cook? Yes, but it's been a bit crazy around these parts for this past summer and any sense of new motivation has been left to actually clean the bathrooms. Ok that and make the lunches for the girls at night.

We're coming around. Whole 30 left me with some awesome changes I saw in my body and also some non-scale victories. My chin strap on my bike helmet was no longer snug. I had a lot more energy and the aches in my joints almost completely disappeared. My skin looked amazing, glowing and my concentration was awesome. Why the heck was I able to focus so much better? Hmmm. And of course my pants fits better, the bloating was gone, which is caused by dairy and grains. But it was a lot. I felt like I had to give up too much at once and it was a lot of pressure and concentration that I just didn't have honestly. Raising two such young kids, stressed by work and hubby changing jobs, stress from my job, and sleep deprivation that I just need an outlet like a glass of wine or chocolate. I pretty much have no will power, ok, that's a lie, I do have some. LOL

I got a new scale, which propelled hubby and I to think of a new challenge. This new scale measures weight, body fat, BMI, and hydration. We are going to weigh ourselves weekly and at the end of 4 weeks, whoever lost the biggest percentage total is awarded one whole weekend day alone to do whatever they want. This seems trivial, but one whole day to ourselves to do whatever we want SANS KIDS is like a dream come true. Of course we could do this for one another, but we really believe in spending the very short weekends together. We also both have amazing amounts of guilt leaving one another for a whole day to take care of the kids alone. It's a lot of work alone when they are this young. So this little award takes away that guilt (ok sort of, of course I always experience that tinge of mommy guilt LOL). Something we earned!


We're going to take it easy and slow. I can't handle too many changes at one time as I learned from the Whole 30. We're both exercising a little more and making changes in the diet, but we're doing our own thing and making our own decisions about the changes we want to make. We'll see where it takes us in 4 weeks. Will I win?

Side note, I got my Garmin 15 yay!!! I have 8 months to train for my half marathon, here we go!!  More on that to come.

To all a great night,
La Sirena

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Let's Have a Cuppa

Ah, let's sit and have a cuppa tea or coffee together. Let's chat and laugh and catch up on what's been happening this summer. By summer, I mean the end of May, even though summer really doesn't start until the end of June with the equinox and all. I'm having a kona blend coffee, hot, with unsweetened coconut milk. Doesn't sound too tasty, but it's worth it to have a little burst of energy for the rest of the day. No more sweetener for me for the next 24 days. I'm doing the Whole 30, which is a 30 day elimination diet; no dairy, no grains, no sugars, no processed foods, no alcohol, and no legumes. I read half the book It Starts with Food, but then had to return it to the library. I ordered it from Amazon, but I decided to jump right into the diet. Ok wait, let's back up. I actually read that in June and then "jumped in" last weekend. I just ordered the book this weekend. I am a little behind, but that doesn't matter. I needed something for myself, a goal, new intentions I set during the super moon.


Since the end of May, life has been a bit crazy, chaotic, challenging, yet also rewarding and altering all at the same time. It's in the hardest of times that I learn the most, not only about myself, but about my little family; the girls and Dan. There was a lot going on from Ruby starting day care, Didi changing schools, running the Boulder Bolder, saying good bye to Lacy for the summer, a bike accident, my mom coming to get treatment for her eyes, a vacation, and work changing so much for myself and for Dan. Just thinking of the past 3 months makes me tired, but I also feel an immense gratitude for the challenges we faced, because we emerged having learned so much about our core strengths, love, and support for one another, along with a renewed sense of compassion for ourselves and others. Last Saturday, Dan and I took the girls and drove to the top of Mt Evans. It was cathartic for us as it symbolized the largest mountain we had summitted this year ourselves. Mt Evans is the highest paved road in America, it was amazing to get to the top and say we did! We got through the past 3 months and have so much to show for it.


Now that the girls have settled into their new school, a new routine is in place, I felt it was time to start something for myself once again. The first half of the year I was training for the Boulder Bolder and right after that race, it has been difficult for me to sit and recap it. I am incredibly proud of myself for reaching this goal. The race was amazing, I had lots of energy and also lots of nerves. I will definitely recap it and explain my next race goal for 2015 soon. During that race though I realized that I can not take on my next race goal without losing weight. I need to lose 30 pounds before I can seriously start training for my next race. Since my race isn't until fall of 2015, I am taking it by baby steps. I haven't run in 2 months and my body is aching to get back to it. At mile 4.5 in the race, I had extreme knee pain, enough for me to fall over to the sidewalk. I was in tears, I may have been pushing myself too hard, but I also realized all the extra weight I am carrying from having two babies and not watching my diet is effecting my knee pain. That is not the only factor, but a good part of it.

I have been seeing this Whole 30 around the social media circuit and since I did something similar after Didi was born, I knew it worked well. When Didi was born she was allergic to the dairy proteins in my breastmilk and I couldn't have dairy. I dropped about 40 pounds in 3 months and I felt amazing. My energy was up and I felt healthy. Eventually however her digestive track matured and she could have dairy and therefore I started introducing dairy in my diet again. The weight slowly came back on, but of course there were also contributing factors. Looking at the Whole 30 diet, I knew it could be done. I always have that anxiety towards failure, but I am a goal reacher, so I know 30 days is not that difficult in the scheme of things.

Six days and counting now. I would say the only things I really miss are agave in my coffee, I like a sweet coffee and a drink Friday night. Either wine or a margarita is my vice of choice. I was usually eating a protein and veggies for lunch and dinner, plus a grain and dairy like cheese or yogurt, but it hasn't been difficult to turn down the noodles/bread/quinoa, etc. The only dairy I really like is cheese, so eventually I know I will have a craving for it. I would have eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, so not too tough adding a a protein like ham or bacon and dropping the oatmeal. I also added in more fruit, which has been a nice sweet treat. I am not a big fruit eater. I would rather eat an onion than a peach, weird I know.

After almost a week on the Whole 30 I have already seen some non-scale victories. I say non-scale victories because you are not supposed to weigh yourself for the 30 days. I weighed myself on day 1 and will weigh myself on day 30. I have been tempted though, but I won't! The non-scale victories thus far:
  • More energy - I haven't been thinking about 2-3 cups of coffee during the day. Sometimes I decide to have a tea, just to have a nice hot drink.
  • Less (if any) cravings - I was just telling Dan how I would eat breakfast such as coffee, agave, creamer (coconut or half & half), have oatmeal, then be so starving come 10am. I would actually eat lunch at that time and then would have a snack at like 1 or 2. One thing about eating more nutrient dense foods (veggies and fruits) and more protein, I have been staying full longer and not having cravings. If there are cravings, they aren't as crazy intense. Like last night, I really wanted some chocolate, but instead I had dried fruit (no sugar added) and almonds. It hit the spot.
  • I noticed a few shirts and pants fit better yesterday and today. 
I have been biking a little, it's been so terribly hot that it's been short rides. I rode one time to Didi and Ruby's new school, however since it is twice the distance, it's takes twice the amount of time (which isn't a bad thing, but it eats into the time for dinner and baths and bedtime). I took the trailer and Ruby really doesn't like wearing her helmet in the trailer (it pushes forward) so she cries a lot and for 10 miles round trip, that can drive a person batty. I want to try the trip with the stuck bike and Bobike (Ruby rides in front on handlebars), however there are some cons to this. The pros are that the whole set up weighs less than the trailer set up. The cons are that I have to ride mostly on road and no trails to get there. The ride used to be about 50% trail and 50% quiet roads, however since the flood took out the trails, there aren't any I can go on, just a little patch behind some stores, which really isn't helpful. They will fix them eventually, but I do fear getting hit by a car with the stuck bike and Bobike set up. I fear getting hit by a car with the trailer, but that thing is so big and I have so many lights and flags on it, it is hard to miss. We'll see.

Not sure if I told you, but I got into a bike accident in June. I was riding to Didi's old school to pick her up and head to swimming lessons. I had the trailer packed with dinner, swim stuff and of course Ruby.  I was in the bike lane heading south, then I rode over a small driveway curb to pop onto the sidewalk and I crashed. The cause was the old light system I had on my bike, the old generator was still on the bike as we had not yet removed it. It fell into the spokes, bending and twisting my front tire and my bike went crashing down to the right. My left thumb was crushed, bled under the nail, my right leg was torn up and bleeding and bruised. I was totally shocked. I layed there for a few minutes, then turned around to look at the trailer. Ruby was totally fine, the trailer didn't budge and didn't roll. That thing is built really well and is designed such that if the bike takes a spill, it should remain in place. It did just that and I was so thankful. The sad part is that I crashed in front of a houses on a well used road, at like 4:15 in the afternoon. Three cars drove by and no one stopped, no one even asked if I was ok. No one came out of their houses, nothing. It's pretty sad. I totally would have stopped. I have stopped before and asked people if they were ok. Geesh. At any rate, I made it back to my house and packed the van to pick up Didi and go to swim lessons. It took a month for Dan to fix my bike, it was so messed up from the crash. I was shaky the next few times I went out, but now I am fine. I love my bike(s).

We did go swimming a lot these past few months and one last time probably tomorrow. I can't wait for the weather to cool down, to take more hikes and ride more bikes. I think about the dream I have of owning one car one day and relying mostly on my bike. Could I do it? I think I could, it would be such a fun challenge! One goal and one step at a time though.

And the most important milestone that happened this summer? Ruby Alia turned 1 years old!!! She is such a joy in our life, always smiling, always babbling, always exploring. She is a little lovey, cuddly baby. Not walking yet, which I am thankful for as I soak up her last days of babyhood. She crawls like a quick little spider monkey and laughs when I fake like she is in trouble. She doesn't say any words, well, we think she is saying "hi" sometimes. She uses the sign "more" and loves to point and babble "eh eh eh ah ah ah" when she wants something. Sleeping great mostly through the night and naps everyday around 12:30-3:30 depending. She has 9 (!) teeth, where Didi only had like 4 or 5 at this age. She eats almost everything, but dislikes eggs, waffles, and avocado. She loves graham crackers, string cheese, all green veggies like peas, broccoli, green beans, and edemame. She really doesn't like white potatoes, but does sometimes like mashed sweet potatoes. She loves water and taking walks in her stroller or the backpack and especially likes going up and down the stairs. She scales those things like Spiderman. Her 1 year old pictures are scheduled for tomorrow, so excited. I will share when they are available. Oh little Ruby, we love you soooooo much, you complete our family :)


Off to enjoy this quiet time while Ruby is asleep and Dan and Didi are at the splash pad. What to do? What to do?
La Sirena

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hi

Hi there. How are you? Good? Good.

Me? Tired. Very very very tired. Didi has decided never to sleep again even though we have used tons of bribes, threats, prizes, sticker charts, rules, crying, begging, pleading. I may have even offered a bath in ice cream and eat as much chocolate as she wants. Nope, didn't work.

We took away all TV, all movies, all toys, gymnastics, bike riding, swimming, play dates. Nope, she didn't care. Still got up and won't sleep.

I tried reasoning, explaining how sleep is good, how sleep is important, makes us grow, feel good, feel happy, we dream, we share, we relax, we snuggle in. Nope, nada, she still got up. She still gets up night after night, after night after night.

Tired. Zombie. Mombie. And to think I assumed it would be the baby that kept us up all night every night. Little Ruby does have her share of awakenings every once in a while, usually right before Didi and then again right after to make sure I am up 4 hours straight per night. The worst is getting to sleep for like an hour, then be woken up for an hour, then sleep 15 minutes, then be awake 2 hours, to fall asleep again for 30 minutes, then awake again for an hour, just to realize it's now morning.

This has been going on for oh, about 6 weeks now.

In the bath tonight, as Didi was playing with her Princess Anna doll, she said "I want a Kristoff doll". A light went off in my head!!! Sleep!! THIS could be the bribe for at least one blissfull full nights restful beautiful wonderful sleep.

"Didi, if you sleep ALL NIGHT, in YOUR BED, without getting up AND stay in there until mommy and daddy come get you, we will BUY you a Kristoff doll!!!"

Didi staring down at Anna, contemplating this arrangement.

"Didi, did you hear mommy? Do you want a Kristoff doll for Anna?!" (please god of all sleeping children, let this be our chance! Let this be that ONE special bribe that will make her stay in her bed ALL NIGHT so we can get some sleep for the LOVE OF GOD!)

"Didi, are you there?!"

Didi washing Anna's hair, "mommy I could wash Kristoff's hair and he and Anna could play with my in my room"

"YES Didi! That sounds like SO MUCH FUN! Sleep ALL NIGHT In your bed and you get a Kristoff doll!! Mommy and Daddy will buy you one!!! Ok, so what do you need to do to get a Kristoff doll?!" (please repeat what I just said, please god of the sleeping children, let this sink into her tiny beautiful head, please let that light switch go off that says "yes I will stay in bed to get what I want")

"Didi?"

"Yah, mama?"

"What did I just say?"

"I can have a Kristoff doll if I stay in MY BED ALL NIGHT" (I swear she looked up at me with a sinister smile, knowing this is a pivotal point in mommy's sanity if she doesn't get to sleep soon)

"Yes Didi, let's do this, make mommy very happy"

Now let's all pray to the god of sleeping children that she stays in bed all night. Because at this point I would do anything just to be able to sleep at least 4 hours in a row.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Only Thing Constant

Change. The only thing constant is change. It is always around us, nothing stays the same, or at least not for long. I've had such a good path over the past eight months with my work and caregiver situation for Ruby to stay home. I've been blessed to have her home for as long as I've had, almost her whole first year! Didi was in the center starting around 5 months and of course, my work situation was much different back then. I started working from home when Didi turned one, then there was no commute and much more time with her as she was so close by in a center in town. Having Ruby home has meant the world to me, but now starting Monday she will be in a center. She was supposed to be watched by my mom starting Monday, but alas plans change and we must either fight against the universe or go with the flow. At first I was sad and then mad, and I allowed myself to be because it's healthy to experience my emotions as they roll past. But my decision to keep moving forward, go with the flow and see what the best options were for us presented themselves. It feels good to be grateful for options and know how blessed we are as a family, there are others with no such options and I remind myself of that.

My job has changed tremendously over the past month, I am still doing my current job, but also taking over a portion of a coworker's job as she has been promoted. Happy for her, but sadly this meant way more work and responsibility for me. There is always that few months of learning a new position that is tough, the training, the questions, the newness of it all. The anxiety of changing jobs again, fourth time in the last 1.5 years in the same department. It was disheartening, especially since I knew I couldn't keep a busy baby turning into a busy toddler at home with a caregiver, who knows mama is just working down the stairs or the next room. It was time for her to go to a center, where she can be with other babies, play and experience more. I love these centers, so I know she is safe and having fun, I am reminded of that daily with Didi and how well she does.

Another change is that Didi will be saying goodbye to her current school starting the 1st of July and going to the school where Ruby will be. Didi went there as a toddler and she is familiar with it and happy to "go to school" with Ruby. She will be a big help for me, carrying Ruby's things, putting her lunch away, writing her name on the daily sheet. I look forward to it, it will be nice having both girls in the same spot, just have to get through a few weeks apart. The other school is twice the distance than Didi's current school, it's 5 miles away instead of 2.5 miles. This means no more morning bike rides to school. I can probably still do pick up though, it will just take a little longer, and it's all uphill on the way there EEEPPP!! I won't do it everyday, but maybe a few days a week. I used to do that ride with Didi a lot when she was there and some of the trails are destroyed from the flood in September 2013, I'll need to do some exploring over the coming weekends for a safe route. This is definitely something fun to look forward to.

In a way the universe guides us towards decisions we need to make, steps we need to take, and if we hesitate and don't want to move forward and procrastinate, situations happen that force us in the direction that is best for us. A kind of kick in the rear. I knew with my job changing I would need full time child care outside of my home. My responsibilities are much different now, it's a good time to make this transition. Ruby will be one, dropping the morning nap, not nursing as much and transitioning to cow's milk, almond, coconut milk, eating more table foods. This is just the next step in our direction, the path we should be on.

To all a lovely week,
La Sirena

Friday, May 16, 2014

National Bike Month!

Hi. My name is Sirena and I have a bike problem. I have loved bikes since I was little and my obsession presses on. One day I will tell the tale of what got me here, however since it's been a long day, you only get a taste of our adventures during bike month. As you may recall I had a goal of bike commuting for 6 months straight from May through October of 2014. As you might notice the date, I set that goal when I was 6 days away from giving birth to my second baby and clearly under the influence of some crazy hormones. Ha! At any rate, I have had to scale back my dreams because biking full time with a baby and preschooler is just not going to happen right now, between holding down a full time job, training for a 10K, and trying to keep my house in some sort of order plus make nutritious meals has kind of taken precedence over my planning and motivation to bike commute full time.

There are a few things holding me back. For one, Ruby has just been too small to put into the bike trailer. I know I can, she can hold her head up and wear a helmet, but for some reason I keep going back to the idea of getting a seat for her that would attach to my handlebar area or possibly right behind me. The idea of putting my 10 month old in a trailer on the back of my bike kind of scares me. However I just need to get used to the idea and do some practice runs around the neighborhood. There is a particular part of highway I get scared of on our bike commute, even having Didi back there, it seems so far away from me!

 

I think part of the problem too is that I am absolutely in LOVE with cargo bikes. I SO want one and day dream about getting on, it has slowed me down from moving forward on the bike trailer. We test rode a bunch in Boulder at the Cruiser Boutique. I tried a Gazelle with a bucket on the front and it was fun, but definitely not good for long rides in town. Then I tried a Yuba Mundo and just died! It is the BEST Bike ever. I could totally see having one of these, with a Yepp Maxi on the back for Ruby, a trailer bike for Didi and then some stoke handlebars on the back of my seat for Didi if she was tired of riding the trailer bike. It would be so perfect. But alas they are $1600. If I was super dedicated, I could definitely sell my van or the truck and invest at the moment. We have a little saving going now, I should be able to get one probably by next summer yay!!

Gazelle Bakfiets
Yuba Mundo with Electric Assist, notice the stoke handlebars for her to hold
Yuba Mundo with Yepp Maxi seat. This set up would be PERFECT for us. Ruby would go in the seat and I would have Didi in a trailer bike to ride behind me. When she gets tired, she could sit in front of Ruby and hold the bars around them.
Bike commuting takes commitment and I am so ready for the wonderful challenge. I have done it before sans kids. Right now, with Ruby being so small and also on two naps a day still and somewhat of a stricter schedule of when the girls need to eat, be in bed, be at school, and me working full time, it's just not going to work right now. However there are some awesome things we are doing in the mean time!

First, let me introduce you to my Bike Beast. Gosh I love this bike. I don't have much "bike" knowledge, so the down and dirty is that it is a 21 Speed Diamondback. I've had this bike for about 6 years now.

 

Before Didi was born and we lived in Louisville (CO that is), I only had the basket on the front and the rack on the back for my homemade panniers. Since Dan made them we called them "Danniers" ha ha ha. After Didi was born and we moved to Longmont, we got the Schwinn Joyrider. It's not available anymore and I have no idea why not. This bike trailer is AMAZING. It is like a tiny couch and has two trunks. It also doubles as a jogging/walking stroller. I love this trailer so much, it has seen many many many miles over the years. I have added a blinking red light to the back and I am working on a fluorescent green flag.

Didi started riding in the trailer around 13 months old. That is about the time Dan added this coffee cup holder. LOVE. I have this little speedometer, its not that accurate. Not sure if you can see it, but I have a phone holder. Love it, as I can play music and keep track of distance/time on Map My Run. 


Just this summer Dan added this little trunk. He originally bought it for his motorcycle, but it was way too small, perfect size for a moped or my bike! It locks too. I usually put my purse in it, Didi's lunch for school, packages from shopping, etc.


May is National Bike Month and there are so many fun activities going on in town. I feel so grateful that this town is bike friendly and bike oriented. We are now members of Bicycle Longmont. They hold so many fun events for bikes and I am excited to be a part of them this year. I might even get to volunteer a little since Ruby is getting older and I can be out a little later and away from her a little longer.

For National Bike Month I have been bike commuting Didi to school a few days a week. In the first week I did it four days, then my knee was on fire. Coupling 10K training three nights a week plus all that biking kind of blew my knee out. I went on my 6 mile run this past weekend and knew I needed to pull back the biking, just until I reach this running goal of 2014 on Memorial Day. Yay! I am so excited to reach this goal so I can increase my biking more and more and more.

These are a few pics from our first Bike Commute in May. I rode Didi to school in the morning, I leave around 6:45 or 7 in order to get back by 8 to start work. I work from home, so it works out well and Dan watches Ruby and feeds her breakfast while I am gone. Didi loves it so much and wants me to pick her up on the bike. I can't right now as I am still working out the Ruby situation.




Another fun activity we did was Longmont Bike Night. What a great evening we had, it was our first ever. They meet every Wednesday night at 6:30 and ride around Old Town Longmont. One of my favorite memories was biking with my mom, I hope Didi remembers our bike nights too. 


The kids got a little bike night safety lesson. Didi was so enthralled watching all of the other kids, all ages, wearing bike helmets, talking about bikes and safety. She's in the purple pants below.


We met at the flagpoles in the park and we got to speak to so many nice people. There was a family that had three kids and they were using a kid bike seat for their 2 year old, which I asked them a ton of questions. Then the Dad had a trailer bike and Didi tried it and fell in love! She really really wants one and we are on the hunt for one now. 


They had the Longmont EMT bike patrol (?) help block streets and help with any accidents. It felt so safe and official. Here they are, I was so thankful for them.


I think one of the best things about bike night is this bike set up with music, picture below. Geesh, I need to personally meet Mr. Bike Night, oops I don't know his name. I think it is so awesome what he has done for our biking community. That rocket has speakers and is LOUD!


Didi and I participate in Bike to School Day. She is so cute bringing her Carebear (my Carebear from the 80's!). I asked on our school Facebook page if anyone wanted to Bike Pool, but no takers..........yet. I am still on it and will hopefully get some families to Bike Night soon!


Tomorrow we are headed to Lucky's Market for the Bike Swap and Kid's Bike Rodeo. Bicycle Longmont is holding the event. We are going to take a look at the bike trailers for Didi and also bring Didi's bike to ride around with the kids. So excited!


My name is Sirena and I am addicted to bikes.
Have a great weekend,
La Sirena

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ruby's Birth Story for Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the amazing moms out there. We all come in so many different shapes, sizes, cultures, families, lives, backgrounds, and so much more, but there is one thing that binds us: Motherhood. The one things in my life that has been the most challenging, yet the most rewarding and amazing experience I have ever been through. I feel as if I have been a mom for the age of the universe, I just needed my little loves to be born onto the Earth to unleash the mom I am today and the mom I will be shaped into as the years pass.

I wanted to stick with a little tradition and share Ruby's birth story on this Mother's Day. I shared Didi's birth story on Mother's Day in 2010. Ruby's birth is very different from Didi's, maybe read through Didi's in order to really see why they are so entirely different. For Didi's birth I had expectations, hopes, and dreams all accompanied by inexperience with the birthing process. When all was said and done, I was left a little traumatized, discouraged about birth, and sad. A sadness that things didn't go the way I had planned.

When I got pregnant with Ruby, I knew her birth would be healing. It would take me away from the experience I had with Didi's. I would put more trust into the doctors and in myself to make the decisions that were best for me and my baby. I needed to heal from the inside out, I needed to be wholly there to know that births do not always go as planned. So I scheduled a C-Section, against everything I believed in before, but knew this was best for me and Ruby. And so you have Ruby's sweet little birth into this world on Monday July 8th, 2013 at 7:47am. Weighing in at 8.9 pounds, 21 inches.


I was scheduled for an early morning C-Section on Monday July 8th. I slept great, one last night in my own bed comfortable and relaxed. I was nervous, but didn't allow the anxiety to kick in. I knew in my heart everything would go great and my little girl would be in my arms that morning. I awoke early around 5am, showered and packed the rest of my things in the overnight bag. I was excited because I had such a cute bag to bring to the hospital. I had cute nighties packed, yummy smelling lotion, lavendar oil, and of course my journal. It may seem superficial, but I knew from my last experience, I needed some special things to calm my nerves, things to wear to make a new mom feel pretty after a surgery and while nursing a wee babe. Dan showered and got ready as well. I wasn't allowed to eat. When it was time to go around 5:30, I awoke Mom and Stef, who were there to take care of Didi. I let them know we were leaving.

The air was cool, the sky was very light cornflower blue and the sun was starting to really shine through with pink and pale yellow. Dan packed the bags into the van. I was ready. I was so excited and my heart was filled with love to know that I was meeting my second daughter for the first time. I'm not going to lie, I was absolutely content with the decision to have a c-section, especially after the first experience and going through the gestational diabetes. Not that I have to justify my decision, but I did consult with midwives in Boulder and also a second OB/GYN in town about a possible VBAC and it was not recommended. To be honest, I just couldn't go through the hope again like I did with Didi's birth to be completely exhausted and in surgery again. I wanted to be fully present and awake and alert for the birth and to enjoy holding my daughter for the first time, nursing her immediately and loving on her. I was allowed to do so with Didi, but after several days of labor and a surgery, I didn't feel fully present.

When we arrived to the hospital, I breathed deeply as I stepped out of the van. I looked up and noticed the high thin clouds, pink from the sun coming up. There were two crows sitting on a lamppost in the parking lot. No other birds, they were there watching and I was nervous because I tend to watch omens and thought it may have been a negative omen. I didn't let that take away the joy and anticipation I was feeling. I thought, if it is a bad omen, then I am alright with it, I am flexible to adapt to the needs of the moment. Later that evening I looked up the crows meaning, some believe seeing two crows means "peace and joy", I also looked up the spirit animal association, a good omen found here:

"The crow is a spirit animal associated with life mysteries and magic. The power of this bird as totem and spirit guide is provide insight and means of supporting intentions. Sign of luck, it is also associated with the archetype of the trickster; be aware of deceiving appearances. If the crow has chosen you as your spirit or totem animal, it supports you in developing the power of sight, transformation, and connection with life’s magic"

They checked us in at the ER doors as the hospital was not yet officially opened, we moved into my room for the stay. I changed into the gown, got the IV, and we watched a little TV. Dan enjoyed some coffee and breakfast. I was getting a little nervous, mostly about the epidural. The time had passed that they were supposed to bring me into the operating room, the doctor was running late. I was so ready. The monitor on Ruby said she was doing well, heart beat normal and no contractions at the time. It was time and they wheeled me back to the operating room, which I fully expected to be the same one I was in as Didi's. It wasn't.


It was a smaller room, it was cold and had a window. I sat on the bed and the anesthesiologist came in, a foreign man, very nice and was laughing and joking with the nurses. I am sure it was to calm the patient. The doctor came in and she was very cheerful and said "you're having a baby today!". I got really excited knowing I would be able to kiss Ruby so soon. I looked out the window, the sun was fully up now spreading it's bright summer light. The anesthesiologist asked me to sit on the side of the bed, it was time to get the spinal block. I was nervous, I was really nervous to have something put into my spine. An older nurse had me hold both of her hands, she looked into my eyes, said everything would be ok. I was SO thankful for her warm hands, her eyes to focus on, her love and concern for her patient. I felt protected and safe. The spinal was in and before I knew it I was laying back on the table. The doctor was in, making small talk about her up coming summer trip with her daughter, another nurse came in and the anesthesiologist was monitoring me. Dan came in then. I felt an instant happiness.

In order to stay calm and focused I continuously started singing this song Ruby Love from Cat Stevens. I honestly have no idea if I was singing it out loud. I can't remember, but I can remember the waves of love and calmness that enveloped my body and mind. My little Ruby would be here soon.

Ruby my love
You'll be my love
You'll be my sky above
Who'll be my light?
You'll be my light
You'll be my day and night
You'll be mine tonight

The blue screen went up, it was time. Within minutes the surgery started and I could feel pulling, then the crying! She only had her head out and she was crying immediately. It was an amazing and wonderful sign. She was a lively one. The doctor was laughing because she said that rarely happens, just a little head poking out and crying right away. They pulled her out and I looked over as they placed her on the little bed to clean her up. I was so happy, the mother hormones kicked in immediately. I felt my whole body lurch toward her. They wrapped her up right away and got her to me. They are very kind and mother friendly at the hospital in town, so they believe in getting mom and baby together as soon as possible to bond and nurse. Dan was holding her then too as they fixed me up for the recovery room. It was taking a little longer than I had expected and I will spare you the details.

In the recovery room, they weighed Ruby and measured her. They also gave her apgar scores of 9. She was picture perfect and wanted her mama. Poor papa started to feel really dizzy and sick, he ended up passing out and they revived him and gave him some food. He blamed it on the low blood sugar early morning, but I do believe it may have been the whole event. Ruby was placed on my chest and we nursed right away. She took to it as if she had been nursing before. It may have helped that I did have previous experience with Didi, because Didi did not take to nursing at all in the beginning after her birth. Didi learned, but it took a few days. This little Ruby, a good eater from hour one and still is.


After being in the recovery room for a few hours, we headed back to my room. It was such a beautiful morning, with nothing more to do than lay in bed, nursing and loving my new baby. She was so sweet and knew her mama right way, grabbing onto my fingers, staying close and warm. We hung out together us three as a family and relaxed and recovered. Then the family started to come by as they allowed visitors. Didi was BEYOND excited for her baby sister. This smile never left her face the entire time. She still loves her baby sister, her "little one" as she calls her. Her "sweety" and "darling", I don't know where she comes up with these names, but she just loves her Ruby.


The crows absolutely ushered in a transformation for me. My fear and sadness from the experience of Didi's birth dissipated once I had Ruby in my arms. Not to take away from the experience I was meant to have with both girls, as they both transformed me, challenged me, and made me into the woman and mom I am today. I have more focus, more compassion and the understanding of unconditional love is exalted for me to a whole new level. My goals in life revolve around how to make not only my life more positive, more loving, more wholehearted, but also for my girls and family. To wake up every morning as their mom gives me purpose in life I never knew I had, but always knew I would have. It was written in the stars and in the depth of my soul.


This weekend as I was looking up the words to Ruby Love by Cat Stevens, I found the translation for the rest of the song he sings. I'm not sure of the language, maybe Arabic? But at any rate, I thought it was so sweet to the see the translation. It fits perfect for my little Ruby Love. 


 Ruby glikya (Sweet Ruby)
Ela xana, (Come by once more)
Ela xana konta mou (Come once more close to me)
Ela proi, me tin avgy (Come by at dawn)
Xrisi san iliaktida (Golden like a ray of sun)
Ruby mou mikri (My little Ruby)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Staycation Recap

My job provides me four weeks a year vacation, which is really nice and generous. I can definitely see taking more than a week at a time though because one week is just not enough. It takes at least three days just to wind down from work and get out of the routine. We had big plans of remodeling/redecorating the den, laundry nook, and guest bath during our staycation, however those plans were quickly put aside realizing we needed some down time. We did take on a little project of painting Didi a big girl room. We had been promising her for about a year now, ever since we painted and decorated the nursery before Ruby was born.

We started off the Staycation with a Saturday brunch and Easter Egg hunt. Being that we don't celebrate Easter, it was just a nice excuse to get together for a family meal and celebrate Spring and the Easter Bunny.



Sunday we headed to Glenwood Springs to stay overnight in a hotel and then swim at the Hot Springs the next day. One of my most favorite places in the world, a beautiful mountain town with delicious food, tons to do and be entertained by, a new hotel with indoor water park to explore and of course the hot springs.

Ruby in her travel chair attached to a coffee table, waiting for dinner.

Dinner was delicious pizza, out of routine, laying around and relaxed!

All this stuff for one night!!!
The hotel was wonderful, Hotel Glenwood Springs, located right at the base of the Fairy Cave's gondola. It had an indoor water park for the kids, the pool only went up to about 3.5 feet, there was a short slide that was a "tiger" for the littlest kids, a big blue slide for the adults and bigger kids, basketball hoop, and a hot tub. We reserved a King Suite, which had a bedroom and a TV lounge room separated with french doors. We wanted to be able to put the kids to bed in their own room, which worked for about half the night. Ruby did great sleeping in her Pack'N'Play, for which I was thankful. Didi got a little freaked and went in to sleep with us in the king size bed later that evening.

Both girls did great on the drive, which is 3 hours from our home to Glenwood Springs. Didi got a little antsy to get out of her seat, but we helped that with a quick stop for lunch in Eagle on the way there. On the way home, both slept about 2 hours because we swam all morning and early afternoon.

The hot springs pool is awesome, I love hot springs, so refreshing and renewing. The water was perfect and both girls LOVED it! Didi floats around in her "boat" and Ruby loved to splash and splash.




We got home Monday night and put both girls to sleep and crashed ourselves. Tuesday my cousin Lacy came to watch the girls while I worked on cleaning and prepping Didi's room. Dan worked on his motorcycle all day. That night we put together a little fire in the backyard, Didi LOVES a campfire. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.




Wednesday Lacy came again to watch Ruby, while Didi was in school and I could get serious about painting. I got about 70% finished Wednesday because Dan helped roll the walls and ceiling too. That night we enjoyed another fire outside and had a blast. It was SO nice to not be locked into a routine and relax on bath nights and be a little flexible on bed times.

Thursday we finished up painting Didi's room and Dan installed new blinds, accordion style, with light blocking foil inside. We also got them for Ruby's room and the den (eventually they will go in!). Didi was SO excited about her new room. She chose the color pink and then Dan and I have grey paint left over from the nursery, so we painted two walls that color as well.

Here are some before photos:

The window on the left has been sealed shut since Didi was born. We used to have neighbors with two yippy yappy super loud dogs that barked all night and day. They are gone now! So we opened up the window. In this picture, Didi had her blow up bed out, she likes to "camp" sometimes.



And for the after pictures!

In the left hand corner, we put up a small table, for which I am looking for short stools. It will be Didi's "art and work" table. Her coloring books, workbooks, crayons, and markers will be put on the table for her to use anytime.

Her bed is now under the window that used to be sealed. I LOVE the light in this room now with this extra window open. The room feels so much larger, airy, and sunny.


Soon to be art table.

We have a yellow Japanese butterfly kite to hang in this open space. You can see it in the "before" pictures.
Dan and I wanted to make Didi a head board. She has been sleeping in her bed with no head board, but with two tall pieces of bare wood. I took her to Hobby Lobby to pick our fabric for it. She picked the softest fabric ever, a pink and white polka dot fleece. Dan had the wood cut already and then we hot glue gunned a 2 inch piece of foam. Then Dan stapled the fabric on and attached it to the wood braces on the bed. Yay! It totally doesn't match anything, well the room is kind of eclectic, but who cares? It is HER room and she chose most of the color, fabrics, and decorations. I love it!


Finished head board!
Thursday afternoon we ate at Efrains and drank delicious margaritas, after which I took the best 2 hour nap! On Friday, we finished moving everything into Didi's room and then rested most of the day. I read and Dan worked on his motorcycle. We picked Didi up early from school and relaxed and watched a movie. Saturday we played in the morning and then Didi went to a birthday party in the afternoon, while I took another lovely nap. Sunday we went to Costco for a few things and also bought a new TV with our tax refund. It was a great day. I also found matching jams for the girls. I about died because Ruby is now wearing 12 month jams, so we can find some matching clothes. I never thought I would be one of those moms but I totally am!!

I mean just look at these two tiny precious little beings!!! These girls light up my life in every possible way.
To all a lovely week,
La Sirena