Sunday, February 26, 2012

5 Days A Week, 5

onesie with cars: H&M :: navy blue sweatpants: baby Gap

hooded sweater and jeans: H&M

hooded sweatshirt and corduroy pants: H&M :: curious charlie doll: quill and ink handmade

sweatsuit: H&M

fire truck onesie: H&M

Rafael discovered some new things this week: how to screech loudly to hear his own voice; how to stick out his tongue; and his reflection in the glass door of the oven.

We traded in the carrycot for the stroller seat on his Teutonia because he was getting too big for it. But he is still lying flat and facing me.

Raffi eats two solid meals a day now. He loves butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, and apple. When I am holding him and take a drink of water, he pulls the glass to his mouth and insists on a sip. 

He is learning how to sit on his own, though this will probably take a little while longer.

He has rolled over twice from belly to back.

He has made two new 'friends,' Tobias (2 1/2 months old) and Florian (5 months old).

He is full of smiles and laughter, only getting grumpy when he is tired or hungry. And he still only wakes up once in the night, between 11 pm and 1 am.

On another note: Ramon and I are celebrating our 13th anniversary today! Thirteen years ago today we fell in love. I was 18, and didn't even believe in love back then. He proved me wrong.

So, I'm not only thinking about how blessed I am, but how blessed little Rafael is, to have parents who love each other so much and are so committed to one another, and to their family.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Five Dirty Secrets About Me

1. I buy and read In Touch.

I know, it's terrible. I always think, "Next week I'll be a better person and won't buy this ridiculous magazine." Then Thursday rolls around and I see those stars and those headlines and I can't resist. I can't really explain why. But it feels like a mini vacation for my brain.

2. I like horror movies.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been fascinated by horror movies. My best friend and I would secretly rent scary movies that scared the bejeesus out of us to the point where we couldn't sleep and were plagued with nightmares. Many years later I fell in love with and married a man who likes watching scary movies just like me. I love heartwarming films like Cranford, The Notebook, and The Fox And The Girl, but I also love nail-biting, shiver-inducing flicks like The Ring, Insidious, and What Lies Beneath. 

3. I spend too much time on the internet.

When Rafael goes to sleep at 7, and Ramon and I have eaten dinner, one of the first things I do is go online. I visit other people's blogs, search for great things on Etsy, and, mostly, get lost in the addictive, fantastic world of Pinterest. I know I could be using that time to get crafty and artistic, read a meaningful book, or even meditate. But at the end of the day, all I want to do is relax and escape, and the internet is such a perfect place to do that.

4. I use my fingers to add.

I've always been horrible at math. To this day, I still have to use my fingers to add. And even then, I don't always get the right equation. Embarrassing but true. 

5. I have a cleaning lady. 

She comes every Friday for two hours and makes me so, so, so happy.

P.S. I shared these dirty secrets purely for the sake of hearing that I'm not alone in these things!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

5 Days A Week, Week 4

sweater: baby Gap :: jeans: H&M :: train toy: Haba

entire outfit: H&M :: crocheted toadstool rattle (my favorite of Raffi's toys): little haiti pebble toys (a gift from Morwenna)

ribbed shirt: C&A :: wool leggings: H&M :: teething toy: Sophie The Giraffe

plaid shirt: baby Gap :: vest: and pants: H&M :: wooden beeping car: Selecta

knit jumpsuit: baby Gap :: wooden teether: Haba

Hello my friends!

Here's another post featuring Rafael throughout the week. It's become such a great ritual. Probably the most special part about it is that, when Ramon comes home, I have a picture to show him of his son from that day. Sometimes I shoot a little video to show him, too, and I always make sure to tell him about anything new Rafael has done.

Today Raffi was having a hard day, which meant we had a hard day. He's teething and had a light fever. It seemed no matter what he was doing...sitting, being held, playing, wasn't what he wanted. After a nap in the stroller this afternoon, he was doing a little bit better, and as always, bath time made him happy. There are moments when I get frustrated, and feel tired, and just wish he would play happily for a little while, so I could have a break from carrying and bouncing and comforting. But those moments pass, and hard days pass, too, and at the end of the day, when he is falling asleep, smelling of honey and baby, so warm and plump, I could care less what kind of a day it's been. Also, I always remember that he isn't being like this to annoy or exhaust me....he is uncomfortable or in pain, and doesn't have to words to tell me what's hurting or bothering him. Really, he's much worse off than I am in those situations.

This past Friday the handyman was here and helped me build together and install a few things for Rafael's room. It's not all complete yet, but it's coming together so nicely. I am really looking forward to sharing it all with you!

Hope you enjoyed a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rafael is 5 Months Old!

I have learned a few things about Rafael this past month: he only gets really upset when he is tired; undressing him when he is fussy works like a charm to get him in a good mood again; humming 'twinkle twinkle little star' helps put him to sleep; sometimes he needs to cry before falling asleep, I'm guessing to release pent up energy, and I just need to lay there with him patiently and be there for him...he calms down at some point and falls asleep afterwards; he needs short cat naps throughout the day to stay cheerful; he is getting tired of the baby gym, his crib, and his baby bouncer. It's time for a new stage of toys, and maybe his high chair.

Raffi has eaten: carrot, apple, sweet potato, potato, and parsnips. 
He has tasted: cream, butter, coconut oil, coconut milk, water, egg yolk, and yogurt.
When I am holding him while I drinking a glass of water, he always insists on pulling the glass to his mouth and taking a little sip.

My favorite time of the day with him is the early early morning, around 5 or 6, when he wakes up. We go to his little room, turn on a dim light, listen to Jack Johnson or Jonathan Richman, and slowly, while we cuddle and play, the sun comes up outside. It feels like that hour of early morning belongs to us alone. It feels so special. 

I am enjoying the new freedom of being able to get around with him in his stroller instead of only in the Baby Björn. We take more walks and I am looking forward to being able to start jogging again in Spring. 

I am so happy to say that being a mother is even more wonderful than I ever dreamed. 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

5 Days A Week, Week 3

hat: H&M :: green onesie: Gap :: sweater: Mexx :: jeans: H&M :: toy: Jako-o

dachshund onesie: Gymboree :: organic pants: Jako-o :: teddy bear: Strolz

shirt: Gap :: vest: Gap :: corduroy pants: H&M :: small teddy: vintage

shirt: Gap :: jeans: H&M

blue and white striped suit: Next Baby Boutique (a gift from Morwenna) :: hooded sweatshirt: H&M :: wooden mushroom rattle: Selecta

Every day Rafael shows us something new. Lately he has begun doing something like sit ups when he is lying down, lifting his head and upper body to look around (mostly at the dogs). He kicks wildly in the water at bath time. He takes my face in his hands when I lean towards him. And he loves to talk. Sometimes he will look at me with such a serious expression on his face and talk to me as if he is explaining something very, very important to me, which maybe he is.

His hair is growing thicker, his body longer, his legs straighter. He is getting so big!

Tomorrow we have our appointment with the heart specialist. Pray with me that all is well.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

31-My Worst and Best Birthday

Here I am, today, 31 years old plus one day.

Yesterday it was my birthday and nothing much happened. No party, no guests, not even a cake. I actually had a pretty horrible day. 

At some point I sat (more like curled up in a ball) on Rafael's reading nook, and felt like crying. Then I saw Raffi playing with his baby gym, and it hit me: This is my worst, and best birthday. Because even though I felt alone and somewhat unloved, it was my first birthday with Rafael in my life. And that is the greatest blessing ever.

In the evening Ramon came home from work with a huge bouquet of roses. After telling him that my day had been a big disappointment, we decided that Saturday would be my birthday instead. 

So today, he made me a french toast breakfast. We took a lovely walk in the snowy forest. We enjoyed the day with our funny little man and our crazy dogs. It was great.

I would love to that you are an adult, how do you celebrate your birthday? Do you plan something yourself? Does someone (your partner, a best friend) plan something for you? Do you stay in? Do you go out? 

Thank you as always for your friendship and good company. Here's to another year in my blessed life. And it is...truly...blessed.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies

Because sometimes, in deep winter, you need double the fudge. For your nerves, for your soul, to keep up your good spirits.

These are so delicious, especially the first day, just cooled from the oven. Don't be mad at me. It's freezing cold here. I couldn't help myself. And this isn't something you keep to yourself.

I read the ingredients and instructions out loud while bouncing Rafael on my lap, and my husband made them. Team work.

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies....Find the recipe HERE at How Sweet It Is. 
I substituted white chocolate and dark chocolate chunks for the chocolate chips.

Weekend is almost here, peeps!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cabin Fever

After a strangely mild beginning to winter, we've suddenly been hit with deep snow and ice cold temperatures. Most people are complaining, but I think it's about time we had some snow. I think it's important for the trees, the animals, and the ground to have a good freeze, the way nature intended it for this part of the world.

The morning walk was impossible today; we turned back towards home after only a few steps.

Cabin fever set in. The dogs were restless. Thankfully Rafael and I had a lot to babble, smile, and laugh about. By the end of the day, though, we got pretty grumpy, too. We are so used to our walks in the fresh air every morning.

One helpful thing I have learned as a new Mommy is, hard days always end, and you always have a fresh start tomorrow. 


Monday, February 6, 2012

A Love Snippet

Yesterday we were braving the extreme cold in the woods, pushing Rafael in his stroller, and Ramon said, "When we get home I want a croissant with Nutella, and a glass of milk. And I'm going to sit on the couch and watch the ski race."

When we got home, he sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. I took Rafael with me to the kitchen, fed the dogs, and then saw the paper bakery bag with the croissants in it.

I put one on a plate, placed the Nutella jar, a napkin, and a butter knife next to it, and filled a glass with milk. When I brought it to Ramon, his eyes were big.

"To what do I owe this treatment? I don't think you've served me anything in ten years!" (This isn't true of course, but I have to admit that, since having Rafael, I'm not quite as good at pampering my husband.)

He smeared the croissant with Nutella and started eating. Big flakes of buttery pastry started sprinkling down everywhere. At first I thought of reprimanding him, but then the little dust buster caught my eye. I grabbed it and started vacuuming his chest and thighs. We both laughed.

He said, "I wish we would have more moments like this."

And I said, "We will. We'll have a whole lifetime of them."

So, as you can see, Valentine's Day came early to our home.

And I was reminded: husbands need attention, just like doggies and babies do.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

5 Days A Week, And Raffi's New Reading Nook

shirt with striped arms and hot air balloon: Gap :: jeans: H&M :: yellow elf stuffie: Jako-o

v-neck with moped print: Gap :: striped body suit with hood: H&M :: wooden teething caterpillar: Haba

grey and red striped sweatshirt: Gap :: jeans: H&M :: book Hallo Kleiner Hund!

cotton body suit with doggy print: The Organic Baby Company :: giraffe teether and squeaky toy: Sophie Le Giraffe by Vulli

striped sweater: ZARA kids :: jeans: H&M :: F is for FOX pillow: robin and mould on etsy

First I want to thank you all for the amazing notes you left for me after my last post. I can't tell you just how wonderful it has been to read them all and feel my body and mind relax with each message of encouragement and advice. Your stories are so comforting for me. Thank you!! I am so glad I wrote that post, because the responses I received from all of you have been an enormous comfort to me!

So, here is my little/big boy (I always call him my big boy, even though I know he is actually still so little), throughout the week. Maybe you noticed, starting on Wednesday his sitting area changed. That's because we took the big armchair that was meant for breastfeeding out of his room and replaced it with a cozy little mattress, plump with clusters of pillows. I noticed that I was always nursing him in bed anyways, and soon he'll be sitting up and crawling; I wanted a space for our quiet time together, for reading (I read to him even though he doesn't understand yet), cuddling, talking (well, me talking to him for now), looking at our hands and into each other's eyes, and impromptu cat naps. It was important to me that it's relatively flat, so that once he starts rolling around, he won't hurt himself.

His room is becoming more and more functional and we are in it a lot throughout the day now. It was becoming somewhat of a storage room, a place where I wrapped presents, or had piles of gifts and clothes and empty boxes. Finally I came to the point where I realized I want Rafael to be comfortable and happy in his room from the beginning on, so that when he starts sleeping in it, it will be a familiar and welcoming place for him. 

Soon I'm adding a set of children's table and chairs for when his older cousins come over to play, and we'll be installing a little library for his books in the hallway outside of his room. I'm really excited to share these with you all once it's finished. 

For now, here is Raffi in his tiny reading/cuddling nook:

This corner, just like all of his room, will be evolving over time...there is still some decor missing. But I thought I would show you our new, comfy little nest, even if it's not really finished.

Thank you all again for making this place so special...a place where I receive so much love and positivity! I hope I am able to give back somehow!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rafael's Heart

I've been grappling with the decision of whether to write this post or not. At first I didn't want to because I was too upset and didn't want to go through putting it all down into words. But today I realized that this blog wouldn't be a completely honest record of my life, and Rafael's life, if I didn't.

First of all, Rafael is probably fine. He is joyful and energetic, and is developing as he should be. This made it all the more shocking when I took him to the doctor last Tuesday for a check up and found out that he has a heart murmur.

We've been to two doctors with him; both say it is most likely that he has a small hole in his heart. Both also said that, usually, little holes like his heal on their own over time.

We're taking Raffi to a children's heart specialist on February 13th for a heart ultrasound to find out exactly what is causing the heart murmur and if something has to be done or if we can just leave it be and have it checked regularly.

We've been told that this type of heart defect is relatively common and shouldn't worry us too much. But to be absolutely honest: these past few days have been a blur of panic for me. I couldn't sleep, and couldn't think straight. So overwhelmed with fear and horrible thoughts. I have relaxed a little; it was incredibly exhausting to constantly worry, and I didn't want to waste time and energy being negative when I should be giving Rafael all of my undivided, positive, loving attention.

But I don't think I will be able to fully relax until we've been to the heart specialist. And the thought that we might get bad news when we go keeps haunting me.

In the meantime, I'm just trying to stay positive and enjoy every moment with my son, who is happy and sweet, and oblivious to the hole in his precious little heart.



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