On Appreciation

OK, OK. I’m going to try a little experiment. I’m going to tell you about the core people in my life and what I adore about them. Who they are and why I appreciate them. Let’s get started –

Juan – aka, my husband. His intellect. His innate ability to lead. The way he can feel other people’s emotions. His super huge heart. His honesty. And the natural way he can make anyone laugh. He is a funny dude.

Margarita – my MIL. How she always, always wants to help me or be part of the solution. The way she shows how love can be communicated without language. The love she has for her children and family, and how important they are to her.

Jeff – my dad. His huge heart. The way he looks at Annie and talks to her. How’d he give me the last dollar in his wallet if I needed it.

Angie – my aunt/surrogate mother. The way she loves wholly and unconditionally. How she seeks to always include me in her life and the craziness that is my family…despite my hardened heart toward most of them.

So…I need to percolate on this for a bit. But from here, I’m going to try and build out my own core values and expand it to my family. We’ll see where it goes. Some initial thoughts are:

1. Do what you say you’ll do (honesty/integrity)

2. Laugh often (humor)

3. Show that you care (love)

4. Have consideration for another’s feelings, be kind (respect)

5. Give back what you get from others (charity/appreciation)


Tulip Festival

We had the pleasure of hosting my mother in law this past week, and it rained every. single. day. she was here. Despite our bad luck with the weather, we did take advantage of a well-known event here in Washington – the Skagit County Tulip Festival. Never in my life have I seen beauty like this. Growing up between corn and soybean fields, this was quite the treat. I especially enjoyed Annie’s reactions when she touched and smelled the flowers. Her Tita (Grandma) had fun, too. Here are a few pictures from our adventure.


My happy little family.


I’m pretty sure Tita had the most fun of all. Annie adores her so much. It melts my heart.


I took these pictures with my fancy new camera! Love this one.


Quite the contrast from soybeans and corn, wouldn’t you say?




Big News

Remember that list I posted a few weeks ago?

Well, we can cross a few items off that thing. For starters, I got j-o-b! Wahoo, no more Baby Einstein for this girl. (I kid, I kid). I’ll be working for Allstate Insurance as a regional communications consultant and I couldn’t be more stoked. While it means less time with Annie bug, I know I’ll be a better mother for having the intellectual challenge everyday. My first day is April 22, so I have a few more weeks to snuggle her close.

Our next project is finding childcare, although I may have struck gold on that one. We think we can swing a nanny, so I’ve been interviewing candidates since I found out I got the position. One girl, who is my age and getting her PhD seems to be the perfect fit, but it’s still too soon to know for sure. More to come later.

Oh, and I also found a therapist! Yay me! 

Kicking ass and taking names.


Easter Baby!

I’m kinda getting addicted to photography. Especially when it involves Annie. It’s saving money, too. I’m embarrassed to say that we spent $450 on her three month pictures. Pictures that I didn’t even get to keep the rights. These pics below cost a total of $30, the carrot and paper lamps were on sale at Pier One. Oh, and I ordered a few prints off Shutterfly for $15.

What do you think? Do they look mom-designed or professional-worthy?



Week 1: 10 things that bring me joy

I’m going to start a little series on things that make my life awesome. Because I need to be reminded that it is. So let’s get happy, people.

1. Annie’s big, cheesy, light-up-the-room smile. My heart actually stops when she smiles at me like that.

2. Her yawn. Whether it’s those tiny little yawns before naptime or a deep-from-the belly one before bedtime. She always makes this little growl-like sound after each one. And it’s so.damn.cute.

3. Justin Timberlake. I got his new CD today. Pretty much the highlight of my month I think.

4. Freshly manicured nails. Getting a regular manicure is one of my few self-care must-haves.

5. A clean kitchen sink. OK, so maybe I have a little OCD, but I sure do love it when my kitchen sink shines.

6. That one, brief moment when all the laundry is done.

7. The smell of spring in my home. I’m trying out a few new candle warmers this week. OMG the “honeymoon” scent is amazeballs. I want to eat it.

8. Sunshine. Enough said.

9. Yoga with my love bug. We are having SO much fun together in yoga class. The best part is bringing our exercises home. A little something to add to the entertainment if you know what I mean.

10. My PEPS meetings. PEPS stands for “Program for Early Parent Support.” It’s a support group for first-time moms, basically. I’m so thankful for this social outlet. And for the budding friendships.

My birth story – day three.

“Yeah…you’re only about two centimeters. BUT you’re 75% or more effaced, and that’s good!”

I close my legs.

“I’m totally fucked, aren’t I?”

“No, Miranda, don’t say that. You’re off to a good start, and you’re working hard, but this isn’t the worst of it. You need to prepare yourself.”

“What am I supposed to do, then?”

“Go for a walk today. Walk…walk as much as you can, try to walk while you have a contraction. Drink a glass of wine tonight to relax. Take a hot shower or bath. Let Juan massage your back. Watch a movie if you can. But whatever you do, don’t over-exert yourself. Make sure you eat. You can do this, I know you can.”

I look at Juan in disbelief. “You’ve got this, baby,” he said, with an encouraging smile. Another day in the twilight zone. Fanfuckingtastic, I thought.

What I did on day three is sort of a blur. I imagine it’s due to the sleep deprivation and the sheer intensity of the contractions. My psyche doesn’t want to remember.

I recall taking a walk that day. It must have been 90 degrees outside. Juan and I walked, hand in hand, around the neighborhood loop. I felt like a laboring rhinoceros stranded in the desert. I was sweating bullets, walking about five steps a minute. With each contraction, I lost my ability to stand unassisted. I had to grab onto Juan and put all of my weight against him. It took every ounce of energy I had to make it around that loop.

Inside the house, I paced as much as I could. When a contraction started, I would get up and walk, immediately. From the formal living room, through the kitchen, around the dining room and into the sunroom. Back and forth. Counting in my head, thinking, “If I can just count to 100 it will be over.” I took a shower. And damn it felt good. Those midwives call hot water the “aqua-dural” for a reason. Juan would hold the water over my back as a contraction started, and I could better tolerate the pain for those few minutes.

Overall, on day three, I was lost in a misery-filled twilight land. I hated myself for doing the natural birth thing. But I had, I just had to prove that I could do it.

“One down, 100 more to go.” I was in mile 18.

Darkness fell. My body, my mind and my heart all said this would be the last night I’d be pregnant. I rubbed my belly and talked to Annie. “I’m going to see you soon.”

In the middle of the night, things got interesting. My contractions started feeling good. They went from pulling up and down to a downward thrust comparable to the sensations of sex. This couldn’t be happening. I was losing my mind. I ran for the toilet.

“Damn it feels good sitting here,” I thought. Not that I had to pee or poop. I just enjoyed the secure feeling of sitting on the toilet through each contraction. If I let out a little pee in the process, at least it would go where it needed to go. Little did I know I was actually pushing. It just felt good!

After a few rounds on the toilet (heh) I drank a full glass of wine. It relaxed me enough to lie down. I managed to sleep through a few contractions, then go sit on the toilet through the rough ones.  I did this several times throughout the night.

My doula arrived bright and early, around 7:00 a.m. the next day.


This can’t possibly end well.

Being a stay at home mom may or may not be working in my favor. Recently I’ve become addicted to Pinterest, the gateway drug to JoAnn’s. I used to walk through that store thinking everything was junk and clutter. Now it’s like a treasure trove of crafty, chic trinkets and thingamajigs all calling out for me to buy buy buy. Time to hide the credit cards.