Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fall to Thanksgiving to Advent to Christmas

So I guess I'm not too good at keeping up with this blog. In addition to a huge list I've compiled of "New Year Resolutions," this has certainly made it! I will try very hard to keep it updated for those of you who I know are interested!

When I last left you, we were in the beginning of fall. While I never felt truly in love with autumn this year (possibly because it took SO long for the leaves to change), we had a really wonderful season. We made it to the pumpkin patch several times and the corn maze as well. Leah ADORED finding pumpkins and gourds and we have a huge pile at home that she loves playing with as well.

Autumn also brought with it a second pregnancy. I was pretty sure I was pregnant but decided to wait an couple extra days so that I could take a test on Kyle's birthday. Lo and behold, I got a positive test result! We were both thrilled and taught Leah to say, "happy."

Unfortunately, this story does not have a happy ending. I woke up the following morning with a miscarriage. It was absolutely devastating, and even now, 2 months later, I still have a very hard time accepting that it happened. To some, I may have only lost a few cells, but in my eyes, life begins at conception and I lost a BABY. It was a horrible week that followed, as well as the weeks that followed that one. Thank God (and I truly mean that) I have Leah. She got me through those weeks, and still does. To have such a sweet and beautiful angel with me helped SO much. And remember how I said we taught her the word "happy"? Well, she repeated it over and over and that was what frequently dried my tears and made me smile.

So of course, the logical question comes: are we still trying? We did. And to be honest, without getting into too much detail, I don't know that my body can get, or sustain, a pregnancy as long as I'm still breastfeeding. I think in this society, where breastfeeding up to and past 6 months is no longer the norm, it seems odd that a woman might not be able to conceive a year and a half after the birth of a previous baby. Yet, that is how our bodies are intended to work. It's been hard for me to accept that I lost a baby and just as hard to accept that I can't get pregnant right now. However, I will continue breastfeeding Leah (even if it is just for her comfort) because it is what's best for her and am working on accepting that God has a better plan for my life than I do.

What I can say, however, is that to any woman who has had a miscarriage: I am SO sorry. It hurts so badly. To a woman who has never had one: I pray that you never have to go through this pain.

At any rate, life continues on, and as I said before, thank goodness for Leah. Halloween came and went with a certain little Autumn Fairy. I made the dress, the crown, and wand, although none of the last two made it into this picture. She was still the sweetest Autumn Fairy I ever did see, though.

Soon, Thanksgiving was here and we headed up to Maine. We had a nice Thanksgiving and even got to go hiking in a *tiny* bit of snow.

And then it was Advent. My goal for next year is to get *almost* all my Christmas gifts done by Thanksgiving so that we can concentrate on actually celebrating Advent instead of just going through the motions. At any rate, we had a wonderful season. We cut down a beautiful Christmas tree, had so much fun decorating it, and just enjoyed the month of December.

And then it was Christmas! We went to the Christmas eve service at our church which was lovely, as always. Then, we got to spend the rest of the night just the three of us. It's always nice to spend time with extended family at the holidays, but it's also really nice to spend time with your immediate family. In lieu of a traditional Christmas dinner, we opted to have a middle eastern style dinner, in the spirit of what Mary and Joseph may have eaten (of course it had our own twist). We wound up with a fantastic marinated lamb, couscous with veggies, carrot and cucumber salad, homemade hummus, pita, and olives and onions. It was absolutely delicious!

Leah left some cookies for Santa, put out her stocking, we read a few Christmas books, and went to bed!

Santa certainly came by our house! All of us got some wonderful gifts, and it is always so much fun to see others opening their gifts.... especially when you have a small someone in the house! Leah got some wonderful gifts, including lots of books, wooden dolls, and blocks.

And now, here we are! Christmas itself is over, although I have decided that we are going to celebrate until Epiphany. The tree will stay up until then, the decorations as well. Maybe next year we will try and spread the gifts out, we will see. It's fun getting to make your own traditions. :)

At any rate, I hope that you have all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season! This year has truly been an incredible one. Hopefully I will get better at blogging and you will hear more from me. In the meantime, have a very happy new year!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Autumn... and some updates!

It has been SO long since I last posted... over a month! I suppose I just haven't felt inspired enough to post anything for the world to see. At any rate, today is a lovely rainy autumn Sunday and I thought that I may as well write!

Nothing too exciting has happened in the past month. Summer is over and I'm mourning it dreadfully. My girls (that I take care of), Leah, and I had such a wonderful summer. We made some fantastic new friends and were out constantly doing fun things. Picnics, walks, splashing in the creek, feeding the ducks, butterfly sanctuaries, swimming, peach picking... just to name a few! Now, however, Grace has started afternoon kindergarten and I can no longer get out of the house easily to do anything. Soon, Gigi will be starting preschool two mornings a week and my life will get even busier. Such is life, I suppose.

Leah is growing up so quickly! She now runs (as fast as she possibly can) everywhere and has permanently skinned knees. She takes off running on a regular basis and eventually trips and crashes on her knees. She then stands up, at which point I see blood pouring down her legs, and starts running again! The mother in me panics a little as I try to stop her (just to make sure she's really okay). Leah's reaction? She whines and tries to push me away as I'm grabbing her. She doesn't care AT ALL about her knees. Definitely a toughie. :)

Leah's favorite foods lately have been mushrooms, cantaloupe, and watermelon, although that's just naming a few. I've recently realized that she's definitely more of a salty than sweet kind of girl. I don't offer her cookies or anything like that very often, but when I do, she frequently tastes it once and is done... not that I mind! She loves her fruit, but will sooner eat a pretzel than a cookie. In fact, she's much like her daddy; she sucks the salt off her pretzel and then eats it! Quite amusing, actually.

She has also become a pro at giving hugs and kisses. She blows kisses to anyone and everyone, saying "muah" as she does it. She adores her daddy and kisses him at every opportunity (we don't see him too much as his work hours have been crazy). One night, she woke up around 4 in the morning, leaned way over Daddy, put her nose to his and said, "HI!" I was so afraid that she was wide awake, because her eyes were wide open and she was smiling away. Daddy said, "Hi. Go back to sleep." I laid her back down, and she fell right back to sleep. She had woken up only to say hi! What a sweet heart.

I have become completely obsessed with knitting. I have at least half a dozen projects at any given time and am happy to say that I've already finished several Christmas gifts. I've fallen in love with cabling and have made some gorgeous scarves with fantastic cables! I keep looking at them and can't believe that I actually made them! I'm currently working on a stuffed bunny for Leah (hopefully a Christmas gift!) and some legwarmers for her as well. This is my "real" first time working in the round with double pointed needles. While I can't say that I love the dpns, I'm very proud that I'm figuring it out all by myself!

I will leave you with some pictures from the past few weeks and the promise of an amazing recipe for pumpkin cookies in another post. ;)

Here we are, petting the farm animals with a dear friend after picking peaches!

Leah loves chasing animals (especially squirrels and robins!).

And she clearly can talk to animals, as she is obviously having a serious conversation with our dog, Jendi.

My gorgeous girl, smiling in the tub.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moments I love...

My girl off playing with the big girls' doll house...

Enjoying a "Yummy Organic" mango tango lollipop...

Watching her practice her balancing...

Helping Mommy fold laundry...

And being naughty but oh so cute...

I adore my little girl... more and more every day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A busy weekend

We went to the Blueberry Festival this weekend, which is always enjoyable. It's a little pricey to get in, but it gives us something different to do and the money goes to a good place. Leah's favorite part was definitely the petting zoo. They had ducks, pigs, cows, goats, and sheep (to name a few!).

I also wound up being super crafty this weekend, too! I bought some new yarn and made a hat for Leah. It came out so cute, although she doesn't want to wear it (not even to model!). It was so easy, though, and has a lot of space for extra creativity! Here is the link for the pattern.

I had yet another craving for muffins (I love them!) so I decided to make lemon poppyseed muffins. In the end, they didn't turn out too lemon-y or poppyseed-y, but they were yummy! I toyed around with the recipe using vanilla yogurt, coconut oil, applesauce, and agave instead of some of the regular ingredients, and they are very tasty!

I also made raw chocana pudding, which was my first "raw" dish. It was okay... nothing amazing, but not bad, either. I used the recipe from Mothering Magazine and doubled it. It wound up being 1 avocado (Florida), 1 banana, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup agave syrup (instead of honey), 2 tbs. coconut oil, and 2 tsp. vanilla. You throw all that in the food processor, blend until it reaches your desired consistency, and finito! It is very sweet and I can see how, if made the right way, could probably fool someone into thinking it was the real thing. I didn't really like the taste of the avocado, though, so I'll have to try it again sometime with a Haas. Overall, pretty good (even better after being in the fridge for 2 days!).

The other neat thing I did was something I'd been meaning to try for months. I have been using soap nuts for a while now for my cloth diaper laundry. You can click the link to find out more. Basically, soap nuts are nuts from a tree that you can use as soap! I am not totally sure if I want to keep using them for my diapers (since they are all natural, there is no whitening agent), but I really like them overall! Anyway, you can make all kinds of things with the soap nuts, so I decided to make handsoap. It was very easy: I just boiled about 4 cups of water with about 15 nuts for about 15 minutes. I then let the liquid cool and added a few drops of tea tree oil (anti-fungal and smells yummy!). Now, the liquid is in an old soap pump I had saved. It washes well, although it feels different than you would expect because it is purely liquid. I was quite excited, though!

And lastly, because I love my daughter so much, and she is so adorable, here is a video of her being cute/showing off her animal sound skills (and she knows many more!).

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Some rainy days

I am more than happy to say thank goodness for the rain! While I love summer and its sunny days, it was getting very sad to see the grass become so brown and crunchy. However, this does mean that I get stuck inside with 3 kids which is not so fun. I am one who hates being stuck inside all day!! We were supposed to go on a field trip on Tuesday for a picnic and playing in the creek, but got rained out. So... what am I to do with 3 kids and two rainy days? Go to the craft store and stock up, of course! So, with that in mind, this is how my Tuesday and Wednesday turned out:

For anyone with a little one, beans are a fantastic toy! It is a wonderful tactile experience with minimal mess. Yes, beans get thrown everywhere, but it's not "messy"... and you'd be amazed at how long they can spend playing!

Some yarn dolls (the little white one was for Leah!).

Magical floating butterflies, courtesy of Childhood Magic.

Little wooden dolls that we dressed up!

Saturday is the girls' mom's birthday. Their gift was to paint a frame that we bought at the craft store and put a (beautiful) picture of each girl in them. We wrapped them with leftover fabric and yarn/ribbon from the doll making. Gorgeous!

Somebody wishing it was sunny... :)

This last picture was tonight's dinner. It is definitely a favorite in our home (once a week!). It is such a simple and healthy pizza. We buy whole wheat naan from Wegmans, cover it with Newman's Own Peach Salsa (if anyone has a peach salsa recipe, please share!), chopped tomatoes, red bell peppers, onion, canned mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes and you get, well... perfection! :)