Monday, May 30, 2011

Sneak-Peek: Rafael's Nursery

I was determined to finish Raffi's nursery before Summer begins. The thought of working on it when my belly has expanded to an uncomfortable size and the days are extra hot pushed me to get a head start. Last week the handyman came over and helped me put up curtain rods, shelving, and framed pictures. Rafael will be sleeping in a crib attached to my side of the bed as long as he wakes up for frequent night feedings, so the nursery will, at first, be a place to breastfeed, change diapers, and dress him.

My 'theme' for his nursery was 'Calm, neutral, comforting.' I used mostly white, with bits of red, brown, green, and grey. I love vintage images and children's books, so I framed some of my favorite illustrations and hung them on the wall. I am also trying to use as little plastic as possible, so most of his things are out of fabric or wood.

Here are some photos of how it looks now; there are still some things to be done, but the basic structure is there.










Hope you like it as much as I do!

xoxo country girl

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our Handsome Boy Rafael


This is our little son Rafael Manolo's profile, taken at 20 weeks. Even though it's a fuzzy picture, I think he is the most beautiful little boy in the world! I adore his tiny little nose!


After going through quite a few name options, we settled on Rafael Manolo a couple of weeks ago, and have not doubted our decision for a single second since. We usually refer to him as Raffi. 


Not only are the names themselves beautiful, they also have beautiful meaning. Rafael means 'God has healed,' which feels very appropriate seeing as how this pregnancy has helped to heal our pain after the loss of our first. Manolo means 'God is here' or 'God is with us.' Such a precious sentiment. 


There's a pregnancy questionnaire that I thought I would take part in once in a while, just for fun. Also, it will be nice to have a record of these things in the future!
  • How far along?: 23 weeks, 3 days.
  • Total weight gain: 17 lbs
  • How big is baby?: Approx 1 lb
  • Maternity clothes?: Since the 12th week already!
  • Stretch marks?: Unfortunately on my breasts; none on the belly, though.
  • Sleep?: It's o.k., not great though. I wake up every time I need to change positions, because I have a pillow between my knees.
  • Best moment this week?: When Ramon built together Raffi's bouncy chair! It was so nice to watch him put together something for his son.
  • Movement?: So much! This little boy is incredibly active. It's the most lovely reminder that he is alive and well.
  • Food cravings?: Fruit and milk.
  • Labor signs?: Thank goodness NO.
  • Belly button in or out?: It's getting flatter every day.
  • What I miss: Fitting into my sneakers and having smooth skin on my upper arms; they have little pimples now, which I've read comes from the hormones. Annoying!
  • What I'm looking forward to: Reaching the viability mark at 24 weeks.
  • Milestone: Ramon finally felt Raffi kick last night! 
xoxo country girl

Monday, May 23, 2011

Grown Up Stuff!


Today doors opened and closed. In my life.

Maybe small things to some, but to me, they feel BIG. Because I am learning to be a grown-up, learning to say NO to things I don't want and don't like, and learning to go after what I know will serve me and my family in the best way possible.

Today, this took form in me making an extremely uncomfortable call to my OB/GYN to say that I am switching to a different doctor in the middle of pregnancy; and also, after a looooong search, finally finding a nice man who will do garden work without robbing us blind.

It feels like I've been schlepping these two annoyances, bad doctor and demanding garden, with me for quite some time now. I realized today that the old me would have just kept going to the doctor I don't like who makes me feel uncomfortable and stupid, and would have hired the first guy to come look at our garden, even though his prices were outrageous and he kept adding new expensive ideas.

The phone call to my doctor was looming over my head. Sometimes I thought of backing out and sticking with her simply to avoid making that awkward call. But this morning I saw it inked in my day calendar and knew perfectly well that, once I did it, I would feel a million pounds lighter. "Her secretary will pick up anyways," I told myself, thinking I would be able to avoid direct confrontation. To my surprise, the doctor picked up, sounding grumpy and disapproving as usual. (Yes, I swear, even her 'Hello' sounds disapproving.) I told her I would have to cancel my appointment, and added that this was because I had found a new doctor. Long pause. Then her slow comment, "I see. Were you unhappy here?" Instead of saying yes (YES! YES YES YES!!! YOU MEAN ARROGANT HAG!), I simply stated that this new doctor of mine was the leading doctor at my hospital, and that I felt very comfortable with her. "I see," she said. "All the best to you. Goodbye." Goodbye! Forever and ever and ever!

I felt so free when I hung up the phone. I did wonder what she was thinking. If she hated me. If she was questioning why I had left her. If she was planning on calling me back and saying something nasty (the imagination is quite something). But mostly, I just felt free. I actually said "Woohoo!" and clapped my hands.

Then at 2 o'clock I had an appointment with a gardener who came recommended by Robert, the handyman who has worked for us for a few years now. Why I never thought to ask him for a recommendation before, I can't say. But after many frustrating meetings with men and companies coming over to look at our gardens and tell us how many thousands of euros it would cost to do what we wanted (mind you, two very small gardens), I finally asked Robert if he had any advice. So this friend of his stopped by, and after surveying our gardens and talking about what we wanted, he suggested a few things, and told me his hourly price. And when he left and I noticed I was smiling, I knew I had finally found our guy.

So now I'm sitting here feeling very proud of myself.

I'm growing up!

xoxo country girl

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Perfect Sunday


:: kiki cooling off in the creek ::


:: blue skies and lush trees ::


:: boston exploring the creek bank ::


:: a fallen tree with its feet in the water ::


:: a father in the making ::


:: little yellow leaves found on the forest floor ::


:: robert geranium, an important ingredient in 'baby come tea' for women hoping for a baby ::


:: sanicula, a precious plant with healing properties ::


:: belladonna, a plant used as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison ::

Such a wonderful day! Sunshine, hiking in the green wood, splashing in the creek, spotting wild herbs, and coming home to eat watermelon and stretch out in the garden. The blessing of living so close to nature!

Thank you for all the beautiful memories and thoughts you shared in the comments of my previous post, The Gift of a Childhood in Nature. It's crystal clear that a close relationship to nature is one of the most precious gifts a parent, or any person for that matter, can give to a child. Whether in a garden, park, forest, field, or on the briny beaches of the coast, there is so much to be discovered and learned. If there is anything I love more than experiencing the beauty, mystery, and rhythms of nature for myself, it's reading other people's passionate accounts and fond memories. 

I've just ordered the book 'Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder' by Richard Louv and cannot wait to dive into it. 

In the meantime, today I reached the 23 week mark of pregnancy. One more week and I will have reached 'v-day,' the viability mark, which means that the baby, if born, has a chance of surviving. This may sound like a morbid or pessimistic thought to some, but to me, it will be a relief and a cause for celebration.

Here's my latest bump pictures! Our little son is kicking, punching, and squirming all the time now, and it's the most wonderful feeling.


xoxo country girl

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Gift of a Childhood in Nature

Lately, for some reason, we've been waking up at 5:30 every morning. No alarm. Just waking up and getting the day started early.

After a small breakfast together, my husband got ready for work, and I curled up on the couch with the dogs and my laptop, and checked my emails. One of them was the newsletter from Shelburne Farms, an inn and working farm on 1400 acres in Vermont. I've never been there, but I daydream about it often...visiting in the fall, when the leaves are turning on misty hiking trails and there are autumn delicacies on their seasonal menu. I love reading the latest news....they write about the new baby farm animals that have been born, cheese making, restoring the roads and trails after winter, and about the cook who is using rhubarb and asparagus grown on the farm in his spring menu.

Today's newsletter mentioned that they would be holding a screening of a film called Mother Nature's Child, which is a documentary about the deep importance of exposing children to nature. As I watched the trailer, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Here I am, living in a small town, surrounded by fields, forests, and creeks, ribboned together by the four seasons....and I can share all of this with my little son!

I began thinking about my childhood, spent wandering the tide pools, beaches, and cliffs of Bolinas in Northern California. About how all of my free time was spent outside. I remembered making (and eating) mud pies in the drive way of our home, going mushroom hunting under low pines with my father, picking blackberries from wild tangled hedges that lined the dirt roads, and how the loudest sounds were made by waves and birds. Surely, although I was unaware of the significance at the time, these experiences helped form my love for nature. No matter what hardships were going on at home, I could escape to the great outdoors, and that is not something all children have.

I thought about my adoration of the nature here. The way living with the seasons has won my heart. How I can't imagine living without them anymore. I thought about the many beautiful things I have seen. So many countless discoveries, so many moments of sheer joy, just being in the fresh air, alone with the trees and birds and my dogs, finding nests and caterpillars, frog eggs and butterflies. I cannot wait to share these things with my son, and will be forever grateful that I can.

I promised myself I would not let fear of ticks and germs get in the way of my child's nature romps. Bug spray, sunscreen, and out we go!









What role has nature played in your life? In your children's lives? Does fear of kidnappers keep you from letting your kid go out to build dams, fly kites, catch bugs, and float newspaper boats for entire afternoons? I think about that and am angry that some devious people have spoiled the carefree experience children should be having out in nature. I want my children to be able to gather buckets of berries without being afraid of strange men in bushes (or better said, without me being afraid). There are so many activities I am looking forward to sharing with my kids in nature, but I also know that there is something magical about being out on your own, just the children, exploring, jumping from high places a mother would never let you jump from, talking nonsense and throwing rocks, sliding down ravines on sheets of cardboard and daring each other to eat bugs and worms.

I really hope my children will be lucky enough to experience all of that and more, safely and happily.

xoxo country girl

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Inspiring Ideas!

Ever since discovering the magic that is Pinterest, I have been addicted. I go on about once a day to see what fantastic ideas, inspiring interiors, beautiful destinations, adorable fashion, and mouth-watering recipes have been posted recently. Today I want to share some of the fabulous ideas I have found with you, which come from my pin board titled 'Pure Genius.'


cd sleeves as cookie packaging :: via here


ziploc bags decorated with permanent marker :: via here


houseguest survival kit :: via here


cupcakes in a jar :: via here


ribbon organizer on hanging pants rack :: via here


top homemade marmalade with cupcake liners :: via here

Are you INSPIRED?

I am!

xoxo country girl

Sunday, May 1, 2011

International BabyLost Mothers Day


Today we celebrate the bond between mothers and their babies who left this world too soon. I want to take this chance to embrace all of my fellow BabyLost mothers who have experienced the pain of loss, and whose little angels are watching them from above. The love shared, though for a short time, is truly never forgotten! You are a mother and always will be.

xoxo country girl

For more information on the organization, click here.

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