Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Adding Images and Text to Candles

It's really easy to add a personal touch to plain white candles and customize them for any event. I'm sometimes wary of projects I find on Pinterest because they are often a lot harder and more expensive than they appear. There's a reason there's a whole website devoted to Pinterest fails. Not these! Follow these simple instructions and you'll have candles that look a lot more fancy than plain, white candles. And the total cost for me was zero.

I'm getting ready for Autumn's Baptism on September 13th, and wanted to add something to the white candles that I was going to put in a candle holder that my Mom bought. More accurately, I wanted to buy fall colored candles, but didn't want to spend the money, so I searched for a way to upcycle them.


Step 1
Chose an image or wording. I chose both,, so they weren't all the same.

Step 2
Cut white tissue paper to fit the paper in your printer and tape it, glossy side down, to the paper. Make sure the matte side of the tissue paper is facing up, to be printed on.

Step 3
Print image on paper and cut it out.



Step 4
Wrap wax paper around candle and use your blow dryer to heat it up until it brightens. The image will be fused to the candle at this time. One reason you don't have to worry about this project being a pinterest fail is because it takes more heat than you realize, and you can always go over it again if it still seems to be on top of the candle instead of fused to it. 



Step 5
That's it! They would also make great gifts.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

August, 3 Month Update

I am convinced that Baby A has inherited my Mom's easy-going, happy, demeanor. She is such a delightful baby; an absolute joy. Other than a few times which I can count on one hand, she never cries for more than 5 minutes. When she does get a little fussy, it means something. Usually, that she is hungry or tired. She sleeps through the night and when she wakes up, she starts babbling and makes cooing noises.



Last month, we took her on her first vacation, to spend three weeks with her paternal grandparents in Oregon. We had some great times. Baby A is pure joy and things like seeing her on a pony for the first time were so amazing. But the loss of Mom is ever-present, looming. I can't shake the feeling that life would be ideal now if I just had Mom. It's painful to see mother-daughter relationships that are strained or stressful. When I think of how great Mom was and try to hold those qualities close, well...I miss her even more. "We wouldn't be like that" I think, and it pains me. 

I don't believe in the idea of catharsis. Not just because I can't stand Freud, but because intentionally trying to upset yourself so that you can heal and move past something is just silly. And in a therapeutic setting, it can be downright detrimental. However, there may be something to at least the idea of allowing yourself to be sad because I didn't "let" myself get too upset while pregnant for fear of hurting the baby. And now here it is, stronger than its been in awhile.

My Dad points out that I'm Mom now, and I don't want to be this way for my little girl. I want to be how my Mom was for me: energetic, happy, kind, patient, fun and 100% in my world. I'm doing what I can in the wake of the greatest loss I have ever experienced, and will report on some of the work I'm doing with a therapist in one future blog post instead of in every blog post. This posting is starting to seem too much like the last. 

I don't want the loss to be the focus, just as I don't want this sadness to prevent me from enjoying this precious time with Baby A. She is such a blessing to us, and I consider her quite a miracle. I have the feeling time with her is fleeting even while in the midst of it, just like I did on outings last summer with Mom. Enjoy it, soak it up I tell myself as I take in the smallness of her and study her smile. Her eyes smile when she does and I feel a warmth that's almost tangible. 


Bye A, have fun!
Butterscotch
And so in that spirit, I am going to try to focus on what we do have, not what we don't, at least for the purposes of this blog. And I'm going to try and update a little more frequently so I don't ever forget what this special time was like.

Her involuntary movements are slowing and she's more in control of her arms and legs. She's just starting to reach for things, but doesn't quite have control, she's mostly batting at them. She's on the verge of being able to giggle but hasn't just yet. She's sleeping through the night and has been ever since Nathan left for Oregon two days ahead of me. It was my first night alone with her, and she fell asleep at 9pm. I waited up to feed her, but when she didn't wake, I moved her from her cradle in the living room to her co-sleeper in our bedroom. I figured she would wake me up soon after I fell asleep, but woke up at 5am in a panic. I checked on her and was relieved to see the rise and fall of her chest. I fell back to sleep, and she woke me up after 6am. Turns out, Nate's nighttime "baby duty" had consisted of him rousing her for one feeding a night for quite some time. 

Some things about this age that I never want to forget:
  • When we wake up in the morning around 7:30 and she falls back asleep on my chest after a feeding for a few more hours.
  • The sounds she makes when she's drinking out of her bottle.
  • That she loves looking at trees on our walks, and the moon.
  • Just how big her smile is.
  • How she furrows her brow.
  • Feeling her fall asleep on me while I'm in the recliner/rocker.
  • Her cooing - lots of oohs and ahhs, and how she moves her mouth.
  • When she gets sleepy, she sucks her thumb, and plays with her hair with her other hand.
  • How happy and content she is, and how she delights in small things.

Routines we're establishing:
  • Singing. I sing You are my Sunshine to her multiple times a day, but we save Amazing Grace for bedtime (I'm still learning the words).
  • Play. Morning play time under her gym.
  • Outside. I spread a blanket or put her in her snug-a-puppy bouncer and she watches me water our newly-planted garden (a little late, I know), planes or birds.
  • Talking. I talk to her all the time, even when changing her diaper.
  • Baths. Every three days so her skin doesn't dry out. She seems to enjoy them and has just started "touching" the water.
  • Reading. I just joined a book club and read her my books, for now.
  • Prayers. I grew up with: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. I'm changing the second verse to the more common May angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light.
  • Crafting. She's not much help just yet, but I think she likes watching or being close to me while I hold her in her Ergo 360.
  • Walks. We walk 3 miles every night and she has never once fussed.



Is it just me, or is she getting cuter with each passing month?