Friday, July 8, 2011

{A Needed Voice} *warning sad post*

I was a bit unsure of what to write about tonight. I have had a lovely week. I feel like I am on the right track for the move and my kiddos are as darling as ever! Win-win! 

So it might seem odd to write a depressing blog. But its on a subject that needs to be discussed on something I feel moved to share. So I will warn all my pregnant and TTC friends now to not read about this. I do not want to upset you. 



I am writing this blog on miscarriage. Tonight a friend shared a trailer to an awesome short film with me done on how to cope with grief involving miscarriage and stillbirth. I encourage ALL women whom have suffered either to watch this. I also encourage all family members of these women, whom want to know how to comfort them, to watch this. 


Miscarriage is painful. Very painful. It is a unique pain. Not quite the same pain as losing a grown child would be I believe, but painful in its own way nonetheless. I have had two miscarriages. I would be lying if I said that I am 'over' them but I am not. I do have peace about them, which is only due to my faith in God and his providence over my life. I know that it was nothing I did wrong, but it still hurts. I think it actually hurts more now than it did before I had Deirdre and Jonas. Every week or so I think about them. I look at my kids and I think about their possible siblings. I look at the baby clothes that I am giving away and think about them. And well it just hurts


I thought this was abnormal for a long time. I even talked to a therapist about it, but it turns out that I am not alone and this is part of the grieving process. So my other friends out there dealing with this, you are not alone. I still cry too. And five years later is still hurts. 


I have miscarried twins and a single pregnancy. One was a little after eight weeks and one was a little after four weeks. Both were unplanned pregnancies and therefore they were not talked about. I can count the fingers on my hand of people whom know about these. One was before I was married and one has been while I have been married. Both of them hurt when I miscarried and both of them felt just like my two healthy full term pregnancies before the miscarriage. 


I do not like to speak of these. One reason is because they both were unplanned and well people to tend to think or say "oh well it was for the best". Let me just put that out there, but that is the absolute worst thing you can say. I was never relieved when I miscarried. I was absolutely destroyed. Both times have been 2 of the 4 worst times in my life. While they were not planned, they were still my children. Children that I will not get to meet in this life and ....well that tears me apart at times. The only person I want to say to me that "this was for the best" is God the father himself, and even then all he has said to me during these times is "I love you" and given me peace. 


Really I think the best thing to do is to give the grieving mother a hug, to tell her sorry, and to tell her that you love her. But that's just me. Because I believe life begins at conception, not just implantation - or birth, I view my miscarried babies as well... babies. Just like I did with Deirdre and Jonas. While this might make it harder on myself to come to terms with, it also in a way makes it easier. I know that one day I will get to meet my children. I know that they are with their heavenly Father as blissfully happy as can be. And I know that they are already home with my lost brothers and sisters waiting to meet Craig and I.  And well that gives me peace.  A pretty powerful and indescribable shalom peace. A peace that truly could only come from my God. 


This peace and knowledge helps me push through those low days when I can't seem to get them off my mind. It helps me to move on slowly and devote myself to the two blessings that I have here with me. It helps me to continue to know that my God is a good and faithful God even when I cannot see it. It just helps. 


So please if you can, take a look at this film's trailer until it is released. Remember you're not alone and that what you're feeling is normal and valid. There are many places online that you can seek help from. Here is one: http://www.thehouseikeep.com/ and a good article on the miscarriage taboo: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/foundationnotes/Pages/jhene-erwin-overcoming-stigma.aspx


Much love and many hugs- Nicole



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Phew.

I sorta want to hit life's pause button right now! This week had flown and I have much to do. We move in 23 days. I have an entire house to pack and many projects to do. I also in turn have an entire house to unpack and set up afterwards! Plus I have just as many day to day responsibilities as I do now to contend with during this moving process. 


Oh how I hate you laundry and dishes. You have my permission to go on vacation until we move!


But while I am a bit stressed, I also am so excited. I just need to make a plan and ask for help. (I have made the plan though I just need to get on the help part) 


And thankfully I have that help readily available. I am very blessed to have a sweet mother in law to love on my kiddos when I need her. She really blessed me today and I just want to give her a huge hug. She will have many jewels on her crown in heaven from blessing others in this life. I am really lucky to have her! 


We all are :) 

The day my MIL became an Omi for the first time with Deirdre. She is so good to us and my kiddos!
And an Omi for the third time to my son Emil Jonas! 

Daily Verse or Quote:
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 
– James 1:5-6 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Curious Georges




Today was a good day. All of my days with my children are good, even if that particular day is trying. With two kids (ages 3.6 and 1.5 years old) you need to be able to make a quit exit from any public place when things start to go south. Thus far that plan has worked well for us and did so again today. 


I personally feel that it is unfair to expect young children to act like adults when you go out in public. So I do not expect my children to act that way and therefore I do not take them places where that type of behavior is expected. Sit down restaurants are one of those places. The few times we have gone, we all had a great time and the kids were phenomenal. Today at MacArthur Mall went well too...for awhile. So I had to leave early from an extended family lunch with my kids. It was stressful but that's ok. I mean it was already past nap time and it was hour late than we usually eat lunch, so truly they did better than I thought they both would. 


But anyway I digress, I suppose my point is that even if a day is not idyllic like yesterday and my plans get changed, I do not deem the day "bad". Every day is a gift from God and soon enough a new one has arrived, so why sweat the small stuff? 







Today, in addition to the mall, we all went with Craig's family to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk. Right now they have a children's exhibit open on Curious George and the art of Margaret and H.A. Rey. I loved it, the kids loved it, and so did Craig! We had a ball- minus Jonas not being able to drink his bottle inside. After we finished with the child part, we wandered the rest of the museum looking at the modern art and sculptures. I personally love art. I took two art history courses in college and one in high school. In every big city I visited in Europe, the art museum was one of the first places I went to. So to see my kids enjoying art was lovely. Deirdre and I also got to discuss art which was a real treat to see her so into it and interpreting it. 



So yes today was a good day. A blessed day. A day in which I choose to focus on the overwhelming positive points and ignore the few negative blips. Mere blips. 








Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Lagoon





As a little girl, from age 1 to 6, I lived on the bay. We went to the beach almost everyday year round- even if it wasn't swimming weather. I have, and always will have, a deep connection to the water. 


When I was young, I dreamed of having my own little lagoon to play and swim in with lots of little sea creatures to discover. And today after 20+ plus years of dreaming we found it and its on a river no less! 


While our "lagoon" is not a real lagoon by the geographic definition, it is our lagoon nonetheless. Shallow clear waters, shade trees, daisies on the shore, shells galore, periwinkles, and ton of little critters to discover... we were in heaven! 


So as in Soulemama's words today, I am blissed out! Today was idyllic and really the epitome of childhood bliss. What a wonderful blessed day we had to top of a great weekend! It really was like a dream come true for me, but most of all to see my children loving the water as I do and truly savoring one of God's magnificent gifts to us, made finding our lagoon worth the wait! 


Daily Verse or Quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”- Gandhi


I know, I know- I am casper but my skin is healthy! 

Can you tell he is teething? 

Fishing with Daddy! 


Shells and a new suit! 

Seriously to top it off the lagoon had tons of wild daisies! 


Where the periwinkles, minnows, and fiddler crabs live! 

Who needs pre-manufactured fun when you find a place like this??

Looking for whales!! She is convinced that they can live in rivers! 

Playing sweetly together! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Mighty Nest


As many of you all know this past year our family has been on a journey of transformation. Not only has it been familial (how we parent and school our children), spiritual (centering our daily lives on our God), but material as well. Part of that material transformation has required us to be more conscious and better stewards about the items we bring into our home as well as the ones we currently have (especially when they involve our children) This means that all of our toys and child feeding gear has gone under the microscope. While I try my best to not be an alarmist, it really is quite disturbing the amount of chemicals that go into any of the products that we use in our homes. Even more alarming is that many of those chemicals are or are suspected to be harmful. 

I will never forget in 2007 and 2008, when I my daughter was one year old, discovering that every single bottle that we used had BPA in it. Every single one. At the time, I had no idea what BPA was or what its effects were (and I was a junior in college so not being educated wasn't an issue). All I knew was that my brilliant environmental engineer sister-in-law told me to toss them so they must be bad. 

When Jonas came along in 2010 I still was not really on the bandwagon. I knew BPA was a no-no but everything else seemed fine. I mean it should be illegal to put harmful chemicals into products that our children use... right? Its the USA for crying out loud, not China! Well once again I was wrong. So after more recommendations from the brilliant sister in law and doing some hunting on my own, I learned what products are safe and responsible on the market. 

But the story doesn't end here...! 

Sadly I had a hard time finding a site or store for that matter which carried the safer products. In addition, I was quite put off and disillusioned by most stores whom carried suspicious products now and in the past. It was pretty obvious to me that they really did not have our kids' best interest at heart. Then enters the Mighty Nest


When I first found their site I was in heaven. Seriously. They had all the safe and cool kid products that I was looking for... in one place. They also carried kitchenware, clothes, and toys! However what I love the most about them are the information and reviews that they provide on every item. No more searching and calling companies to see where they manufactured their product, or what is in it- the Mighty Nest puts it all right out there for you. Total disclosure and no hiding. 

So by this point you might be asking yourself, are they paying me to say this about them? NOPE! I just love them and I want to share them with you so that you do not have to pull your hair out when looking for a good place to buy safe products. Plus to top it off, I also just won a Kinderville set in a contest. Before I entered the contest I had already ordered from them twice (Lifefactory and Klean Kanteen sippy cups), so this new free stuff was just a lucky accident and tremendously helpful since it was free (and we all know that sadly safe products tend to cost more- its worth it). 

So here is my unsolicited review of the goodies I received. I plan on ordering more Kinderville sets as well because they are so wonderful and my kids adore them! 

When I first saw the new Kinderville products I was a bit suspicious. I have been against all plastics when it comes to my kids since I had been burned by them in the past. But upon taking a closer look, all of Kinderville's products are silicone! Silicone is a great substitute to plastics and they are BPAphalate, and lead free. In addition the added benefit of silicone is they they cannot break (like glass) or dent (like stainless steel). Plus they are very easy to clean and the kids think they're fun because of the nice colors. If you were addicted like I was to the cute melamine divided kids plates, then these are a safer and cute alternative. 

By far my three favorite items (while I love them all) are the Bigger Bites Silicone Storage Jars, the Little Bites Silicone Freezer Trays, and the Ice Pop mold

The storage jar is fabulous for snacks. What I love it is that Deirdre and Jonas can remove the top too. Plus there are no leaks and the jar is insulated. For our picnic I steamed veggies and put the in the jar to take with us and 40 minutes later they were still warm- an added benefit! 

The freezer tray would be great for making and freezing our homemade baby food, if we still did that! So I have been using it a  mini snack tray for Jonas. He loves it and since it comes with a lid, whatever he has left over I and slip back into the refrigerator and get it out later for a snack. Plus since it is deeper, it is harder for food to spill out! 

By far Deirdre's favorite is the ice pop mold (no pictures yet sorry). The first night we had it I made a pop for teething baby Jonas and it was a life saver!!! The mold has a lid and it does not leak as all. It took about 90 minutes for the pop to freeze solid. Plus the shape of the mold is the real winner. Since it has a funnel shape, kids can push the pop up by themselves and the  juice doesn't slip all over them- seriously! This has been a struggle for us- with many stained clothes, and now we have found the the perfect mold and pop! It makes for a special summer treat and activity to make your own pops with your kids and have them experiment with fruits and flavors. So far our favorite is peach lemonade! 

So all in all, we love the set. I have no complaints, and trust me I am hard to please. If you are in need to some great and SAFE kid kitchenware, give kinderville a try from the Mighty Nest. They have a GREAT return policy, so if you are not a fan you can get a refund, which makes me even more convinced that they care. Also their blog is a great resource on healthy living and consumer safety. I read it weekly and I am amazed at how much I have learned, like that BPA is linked to male infertility- eek! 

At any rate good night my friends. Enjoy the photos of our fun picnic by the lake and give your kiddos (big and small) an extra hug today. We are so blessed to have them. 














Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sick Babies and No Sleep

I do not have the energy to blog tonight. I was going to write about our family's Eco-friendly and Waldorf journey, but I seriously am about to pass out.

Jonas is sick -or- he is teething so badly that he is making himself sick. My heart literally shatters into pieces when my children are hurt or sick. It is even worse when I cannot make it better, and that is where Jonas is tonight (and has been for 2 days now).

So I am going to try to sleep while he is asleep for the first time in more than 24 hours. However I must say that even though I am cranky, tired, and weary as well- I would not trade this for the world. Never.

Also let me just put this out here but this does not make me want to never have anymore children either. It really unnerves when people say this to me when my children act like well...children. Each child is different, a glorious gift, and a blessing all their own. I mean I am not always pleasant to be around, heck I am downright mean when I am sick. Why should I expect a child who just leaned to speak, to act more pleasantly than a grown man when they are sick? Shesssh. (Can you tell that I am weary?)

At any rate, I covet your prayers tonight. Pray for us and for wisdom. We are going to the doctor's tomorrow to see what this might be and hopefully get some answers! In the meantime enjoy some newborn Jonas photos.

Bonne Nuit!




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

::right now::

::right now:: A weekly Soulemama tradition. 




right now, I am ...
:: marveling that it is almost July. One month until we move into our new home. One month, one month...
:: revisiting memories of my summer pregnancies as I rejoice with my sister and brother (in law- but I'll keep them) about their new little life that will be a girl. Their daughter. My niece. The cousin of my children. 
:: plotting plans for our new home. New rooms and places of love and refugee. And yet I still realize that its not about the new 'things' we have but the love and memories that we will share there- which is what really matters. 
:: finishing the old toys round-up and purge. The twinge of mothering guilt stings less and less each day as I discover that my children do not miss them and are better for it. 
:: stopping myself from running off and spending the new money on lots of new toys, instead getting one heirloom toy , table, bedset, and a rug! 
:: wondering if the baby bluejay that adopted me this evening will make it through the night. Shalom. What will be, will be... by God's grace. 
:: loving my sweet precious daughter whom came home early at 10pm tonight from her overnight stay with Omi because she "missed me and daddy and babyey Jonas Bonus". As I tucked her into bed and gave her lion kisses with my arms wrapped around her, she told me that "this feels much better, this is the right place to be". Oh dear heart and soul be still and savor this. Breath her life in and keep this moment forever. 
:: listening to the cicadas hum. Ah yes this is the song of summer. 
:: thanking the Lord for providing us with a free bed and mattress for my baby Emil Jonas, who is moving into his big bed in a months time. Thank you Nicole Carroll. You and your family are blessings from the Lord to us and our church. 
::weeping as I realize my baby Jonas isn't a baby anymore. They're tears of mixed emotions. Happiness that he is experiencing new parts of God's world. Sadness because of my realization that he will never need me as much as he once did anymore. And immense all encompassing gratitude that the Lord has given me such a beautiful gift, deemed me worthy to receive it, and kept him from harm thus far. 
:: feeling very connected to the needs of my family right now. Mommy needs to hold a bit more this week and clean a bit less. 
:: loving my daughter's heart for those in need. She still prays every night for her friend with CF and his Mommy. 
:: hoping that she keeps her sweet caring spirit with her all her life. 
:: wanting to go back to my mother's house and to the beach. I love the beach. The ocean is just what I needed this weekend! 
:: thinking about the fun musical time we get to have with family tomorrow night- and wishing Craig could be there! 
:: reminding myself that this period is a part of my God's perfect plan and is purposeful. 
:: making lovely home school plans for the Autumn...while I drink more lemonade
:: wishing you a lovely summer's eve and a beautiful start to your weekend!  




Sleeping. The poor baby was tired. I must have the touch! 



The silicone dishware giveaway I own, love the MightyNest! 

Spoonflower fabric that I designed and had print. Yep, I am a fabric designer ;) 

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