Tuesday, March 29, 2011

made with love

here is a little snapshot of how judah looks in his baby sweater knit by my grandma...has come in handy on these last few days of winter weather!

i don't remember my grandma ever just sitting. oh, she sat, of course, but whenever she wasn't cooking, cleaning, doing dishes, or sneaking candy to the grandkids and actually sat down, her knitting needles seemed to magically appear in her hands. within seconds the soothing sound of the needles "click-clicking" would softly fill the room. to this day that sound brings me a sense of peace.
although my grandma made many, many sweaters, booties, blankets, dishcloths and large afghans over the years i never remember her "rushing". she never "stressed out". she truly put love and care into each stitch and looked actually more calm when she finished, not less. i really enjoy making things for other people, but rarely is it a "peaceful" experience. it is filled with expectations, disappointment, frustration, and deadlines. making things is one of the activities that were forced out of my life when i had to cut everything out during pregnancy and the rsv episode. i do miss the creative outlet, but i am NOT missing the stress and strain it put me under. if you need a refresher on simplifying (i never get things the first, second, or twentieth time:) this post is beautiful. i actually felt calmer just reading her list of questions. maybe when i master simplicity and peace in my home i will be able to pick up my "knitting needles" (or cricut, modpodge, paintbrush) and make something with love, rather than with stress.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

family of five

if you see this, you're following a van full of kids rockin' out to veggietales and will probably see it make a stop soon for a large diet coke from the mcdonald's drive through. the family inside isn't quite as perfect and symmetrical as these cutouts, but they are a family, and they're doing life together. no matter what.
if you're vehicle needs to brag about the cool people inside, you can create your own "little people" by visiting my friend liz here. she'll make one that represents your favorite people in the world. i love that our "typical" minivan stands out in the crowd (and the parking lot cuz i am forever forgetting where i left it:)

Friday, March 25, 2011

oats...not just for horses!

"breakfast-the most important meal of the day" is SO overused, but can't be overstated. it really does set the tone for your whole day. in what choices you make, your mood, and your metabolism. if it's so important, why not make it yummy? last week i started counting calories and moving more. this included eating breakfast every day. i feel so much better and look forward to my scrumptious meal each morning. i got this recipe from deceptively delicious and the whole recipe is 360 calories(without the optional ingredients) but makes 2 servings. so good it tastes like dessert! i thought i would be nice and share the recipe...you'll thank me:)

Deceptively Delicious Oatmeal

1 cup nonfat skim milk

.25 cup brown sugar

.25 cup pumpkin or sweet potato puree

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

.25 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 cup old fashioned oats

2 teaspoons peanut butter (optional)

dried fruit and nuts (optional)

pure maple syrup (optional)

1-in a small saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and spice. Bring to a gentle boil and stir in the oatmeal. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the oatmeal is soft and creamy. Stir in the peanut butter if using.

2-spoon the oatmeal into bowls, sprinkle with dried fruit and nuts, if you like, and serve warm with maple syrup.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

why didn't you TELL me?!

when i had my first baby i thought i was prepared. i had spent much of my life caring for little ones. my two younger sisters, cousins, kids in nursery at church, and most of my junior high and high school free time was spent baby-sitting. i read lots of pregnancy and baby development books. i even read child rearing books while i was pregnant. my husband and i were so excited to be parents. we had all the supplies. we'd done all the research. we had a "diaper genie"...we were set!

we opted for a "natural" delivery and after 30 hours of coaxing and labor we were handed our wet, beautiful, screaming, son. what a moment! it was full of love, relief, adrenaline, and everything changed. just like i thought it would.

that moment is the last time things went as i thought they would. the next 12 months were the most difficult and dark in my life. i had no idea what sleep deprivation could do to a person. how could i not be constantly in awe of the cuteness of my baby? what kind of mother resented her child? i was clueless as to how all these new pressures would effect my marriage and how very differently sonny and i viewed the proper way to care for an infant. no one, no one, no ONE told me how incredibly hard breastfeeding would be. i hated it!

i felt so alone. i felt like life would never be good again. colic, acid reflux, post-partum depression, isolation...i had read these words, but i had no idea what it would be like to live with them. i had only heard others talk about how my life would change for the better. how wonderful things would be. these things were true...they just weren't the whole picture. and i kept waiting, trying, wishing that i could be like those moms.

there were many factors that contributed to my state of mind and my baby was exceptionally difficult, but...i feel strongly that had my expectations been different and had it been "ok" to talk about some of these struggles things may have been better. when i saw this video i resonated with it so much. i love that this couple is not out to share their "horror stories" or "one-up" the struggle of another couple. they are simply being transparent and honest with what they experienced for the purpose of empowering other parents to triumph through the difficulties of parenting. i think it's a wonderful thing to be open and vulnerable with the struggles and failures one has had when entering this new world of caring for a baby.

i think it would be so helpful to tell expectant mothers that want to breastfeed for example, that it
is hard. it would be easier to use formula. but if this is what you want to do and feel is best for your baby than strap on your pack and start hiking. it's worth the view from the top, but boy oh boy you will get tired. you will be sore. you will want to turn back. you may encounter a bear or two. but you can do it. if you dressed and packed for a day at the beach but turned out to be climbing everest, i dare say you'd never make it. but if you go in knowing and preparing for the arduous task ahead, you've got a fighting chance. and oh, the reward of conquering something so great is unmatched.

january 12th 2011
second time around, expectations were much different

so if you're a momma and you tell stories about childbirth and the first year (who doesn't?!) remember to share the things that were difficult too. not in a way to "brag" about what you endured, but in a manner that will give more realistic expectations.

do you know a new or expectant mom? check on her. call her. come over and hold her baby. tell her it's o.k. if this isn't the greatest thing that has ever happened to her. that doesn't mean she doesn't love her baby or isn't a great mother. tell her she will feel normal again. she will have her body back again. she will want to be with her husband again. she will sleep again. tell her the first birthday party isn't for her child, it's for her:) she made it! it is one of the most challenging and amazing things she's ever done and we will celebrate her accomplishment.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


just look at this boy and he rewards you with a room lighting smile. he is just simply delightful. at his two-month docter's appointment he almost broke the infant scale with his 14.1 pounds. yes, FOURTEEN. my sweet friend rebecca contacted me to see if maybe i could get some use out of her one-year-old's clothes he'd outgrown, but when i told her judah was wearing 6-9 months she said that was the size tristan was in now and that plain 9 month pants fell off of him. i told sonny and he joked that judah will be passing clothes down to tristan! i wish it was a joke:)
besides blazing through clothes at a budget breaking pace, our little boy certainly makes life ith a newborn easy. he's already one of the family and we can't imagine life without him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

four years!

four years ago today noah was recognized as a varela the court. he was our son in our hearts long before that, but today is the day it became official. to read the cliff notes version of our adoption journey click here.

noah chose red robin as the place he wanted to celebrate his special day. we ate, opened presents, even had singing and a sundae. we are so thankful for this most precious of gifts.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

saturday project

you know those long wooden tubes you hear being blown through at the beginning of survivor or anytime there's a shot of australia? you may or may not know they are called digeridoos. sonny has had one for years and has become quite adept at making it sing. he thought making some would be a good way to spend a saturday with his boys.
they started with pvc pipe they bought and had cut at lowe's
then heated up and molded some beeswax for a mouthpiece
using some sharpies to pretty them up
click belo to hear their own Aboriginal tune

Thursday, March 3, 2011

happy hour

today was up into the 70's...
definitely a reason to say "whee!!!"
and we never need an excuse to take advantage of sonic's happy hour drinks:)

hope your day was happy too!