Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Looking back

As much as I love looking forward to the future, it's also fun to look back to years past! I have been reminiscing the time in our lives when Miles was born. He will be 5 on Friday and he is eagerly waiting for his birthday festivities!

This is my favorite pregnancy photo. I was approximately 38 weeks pregnant with Miles and I love the bright and cheerful feel of this picture.

This is Miles the day we brought him home. His coming home outfit was so so SO sweet! It even had a little giraffe tail :) :) :)

 "Siblings by blood, buddies by choice"

My kids are buddies! They are almost 5 years apart and they truly enjoy each other! (Not all the time, mind you, Acilia is going through a phase where things annoy her, including little brother at times!)

Oh my soul! My children have my heart! I was sharing these pictures with Miles today and he started crying. He is my sensitive boy and the pictures made him cry, he said he wanted to be a baby again. I feel you buddy! I miss the baby stage too! My baby turning 5 is doing something to me that I have never felt before! I've always enjoyed watching my kids grow, this birthday is hard.

And, then to further torture myself, I pulled up some pictures of Acilia when she was 5, I am going to take lot's of pictures of Miles on his birthday and compare the two at the same age :)
Here is Acilia, enjoying her 5th birthday:

And, here are a few of my kids today, enjoying the snowy days of this long, gray winter!

I am so thankful for pictures! They are such a wonderful way to look back on a life well lived!
And now, is where I share, we are talking about whether or not to have a 3rd child. I believe if I keep praying about it, God's will will become clear. I've always wanted 3 children, it's always been important to me to spread them out by age so I can enjoy each baby individually and they can each experience their bitty baby days/years as one on one time with mom. I look at my kids and feel so very blessed, almost to the point where I feel like we have 2 wonderful kids, why change the dynamic of our family and have a third? We are an even number family, one child per parent so to speak, 3 kids would outnumber us! I know deep in my heart that if we don't go ahead with having a 3rd child, I will most likely regret it someday and furthermore I believe if we DO go ahead with a 3rd, we would never regret it. On the other hand, it's so hard to picture going back to the pregnancy phase (although I miss those little flutters and hiccups and the whole birth experience and nursing and and and...) and baby phase, the stroller lugging and the immunity building and the no sleep at night, and, and, and... I know I would love that child as much as my other two kids and our family would feel complete. I remember agonizing over the decision to have number 2 as well. Afterall, Acilia was unplanned and as tumultuous as that time was for me, it worked out and it truly felt like it was God's will for me to start motherhood when I did. I find it hard to decide when the "right time" is to have another child. So, I guess that's where I say...Stay tuned? :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hard on the heart

I usually find great enjoyment in watching my kids grow up. Each age has been more fun than the last age. Until now. My heart is heavy, I feel like I am getting the kitchen sink of growing up at a fast rate thrown at me, by not one but TWO kids! Miles is days away from turning F-I-V-E. It's still little if you think about it, (atleast that's what I keep telling myself) but it's that "cusp" of growing into the "big kid" and I look at him and hear him telling me I am not a baby anymore, and I believe him, because he's not! He's starting Kindergarten this Fall, we get to go to his new school in a week to meet the teacher and see the classroom and fill out the paperwork. It's real, he's starting "real" school and he's my last born! Then there is Acilia. Good Lord, she's been in a school that goes preschool-8th grade, so I never gave much thought to when "middle school" starts. Until now, she is starting at a new school next year, and guess what, it's middle school! Grades 5-8! M-I-D-D-L-E- S-C-H-O-O-L! Seriously?? My heart is aflutter with all of the big changes going on with my kids and the anticipation is killing me! I am looking at them, trying to soak up each second that I can, and it's slipping through my fingers like sand! It's insane, I can't keep up and if it weren't for BOTH kids going through it at the same time at different levels, it probably wouldn't be so bad, but it is, it's both kids, both of my BABIES and at this point, we aren't sure if we are having anymore babies, so for me, this could be it, the end of the "little one" phase. I'm not ready, I'm not ready,  I'm not ready, I'm not ready,  I'm not ready, I'm not ready,  I'm not ready, I'm not ready,  I'm not ready, I'm not ready,  I'm not ready, I'm not ready!
Seriously, I'm not ready. And it's happening anyway!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stepping out of my comfort

My earliest memory of having an "issue" while public speaking was my freshman year in high school. I believe it was an English class, I got up to give a presentation and my voice was shaking so badly it sounded like I was crying. I got about halfway through what I was saying and suddenly I was so paranoid that I was speaking about the wrong topic or did the assignment wrong, I don't remember finishing or how long I was up there, but I do remember when I went to sit down, I had a few classmates tell me "We felt so bad for you! It sounded like you were crying" that was it, it did me in. The rest of high school was spent avoiding speaking in front of the class at all costs, even if it meant failing an assignment.

Fast forward MANY years, I started college in 2008. I looked over the requirements for an associates degree and saw speech on the roster. My worst fear. So what did I do? I took it head on! It was the first class I registered for. It was a summer class, so I knew that it would be smaller than a Fall class and the instructor was rated highly. I started the class and made friends right away. We had to give a speech our first class, it was an "impromptu" in other words TORTURE!! Then the class continued with a speech once a week for the whole semester. The first few were rough, I got the typical shaky voice and the weakness in the knees and the blurry vision, but I did it! I got to a point where I almost enjoyed it! I left the class thinking I could speak in front of others, it wasn't something I loved, but it wasn't something that caused me anxiety anymore. I felt good.

Fast forward to now, almost 5 years later, guess what, I don't like speaking in front of groups anymore. I lost my "mojo" and it's not something I am comfortable with anymore! I can speak up in a group setting as long as it's spontaneous and conversational, but not "speech" like in any way. Even then my heart races and my voice changes a little bit.

So, imagine my surprise last week when TWICE in one day I was put on the spot to speak in front of a group! Goodness, talk about out of the comfort zone! First time came, I was in my sociology class. We are doing a book discussion, the instructor asks 1-2 people to sit in front of the class and lead the discussion each week. Thursday came and the people who were assigned to do it, didn't show up, so it was up to the rest of us, for someone to step up. I reviewed the chapters and found that I could easily speak about one of them, because it touched me in a way that I could offer some good perspective. Before I knew it, I raised my hand and offered. In the two minutes that it took to get situated in front of the class, my nerves kicked in. There was no turning back, but I found myself sitting in the front of the class, talking and then wishing I was blended in and not looking at dozens of eyes staring at me. I summarized the chapter, with a shaky voice. I don't think I took any breaths, because by the time I was done summarizing I was also completely out of breath and had to cough to get my oxygen back! Once that passed, I was fine and actually did ok leading the discussion. I left class feeling like I had accomplished a personal mountain.

Then later in the day, I was at Acilia's class Valentine party. I had offered to run one of the games, but I never do the directing. There was no one there to speak for me, so I ended up having to explain to the class of 20 kids along with the teacher and adult helpers how to play this game. YUCK! On the spot, out of the comfort zone, vulnerable again! I explained it quickly and efficiently and then again felt a good sense of relief!

It's hard to step out, but isn't that what life is all about? Doing the things that make you squirm a little bit? If we do things we are always comfortable with, we don't give ourselves a chance to grow and really experience life and what it offers. It's those moments that I feel the most enlightened. I spoke out in front of many people last week, and hey, I survived!! I don't plan to make a habit of it, but I am an adult and I should be able to do these things with ease. So I am glad I didn't let fear stop me. Maybe next time it will be a little easier!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Doula Workshop has come and gone

At this time last week, I was eagerly anticipating the Doula workshop. I was also silently anxious about having to be out of the house for so many hours over the span of a few days. The plan was 5-9pm on Friday, 8 am-8pm on Saturday and then Sunday 9-5. That's a lot of hours and I've never left hubby to tend to both kids for that long. Friday night was a great start to the weekend! We enjoyed Dinner (a wonderful salad, baked ziti and cookies!), introduced ourselves to each other, got acquainted with why it's useful to have a doula, there was a special guest speaker about Placenta Encapsulation (Don't know what that is? Don't worry, I will inform you later) and also learned just how important birth is. Afterall, it's not everyday that a woman gets to experience this miracle! It was a lot of great information, and we were so captivated, that the night didn't end until an hour after we were supposed to.

Saturday came. We were informed if we would like to have breakfast at the workshop, to come a half hour early. I got up and got myself ready, grabbed my $1 cup of coffee from McD's and headed to the workshop for day 2! I enjoyed oatmeal and a clementine. Day two was full of information! Pregnancy and birth 101, Prenatal contacts, First stage of labor, advanced comfort measures, which was presented to us by a chiropractor/acupuncturist/acupressurist. She showed us some acupressure points and we enjoyed trying them out on ourselves. We took a lunch break which was delivered from a local deli. I had an egg salad sandwich on wheat bread, it was tasty !! We jumped right back in with learning about the second stage of labor, putting it all to work (which means we were up and moving trying out the comfort measures we had learned on one another!) we had a special guest speaker come to talk about c-sections and VBAC deliveries,  we then took some time to "draw" an image of our "ideal birth" we took a dinner break (Chinese food!) and then regrouped to share our "ideal birth" pictures. We finished up the day with "Difficult Labors". This was when a special guest speaker came in to share her story of having a stillbirth.
Day 2 was long, physically exhausting and wonderful all the same!

Day 3 was nice to get started a little later at 9 am. It was much needed. We started with a 3 hour breastfeeding course by the fabulous Carol Chamblin. I learned so much just from that few hours of intent listening!
We moved in to a lunch break (sandwiches from Jimmy John's), then came back to Postpartum support, DONA ethics and certification, the "other" stuff which included yet another awesome speaker, a "new" doula, she's attended about 12 births, so she filled us in a little bit about what it's like to attend those first births. We then enjoyed a symbolic closing activity. The closing activity was sweet, on Saturday, the "long day" we spent some time making birth necklaces. The one I made had beautiful glass beads that were serene colors. I added a brushed silver bird charm because it seemed to signify "peace" and "calm" and that's what I would like to bring to the table as a doula. The closing activity was a little surprising, we were to turn to the person that was to our right and say something encouraging to them. That part was easy! What I found a little difficult, was giving away the necklace I made. I made it with intentions of wearing it to births. I was a little bit attached to it, to be perfectly honest!

We were each given a certificate and a group photo was taken!

I'm in the black and white sweater

Then we were sent on our way to start this journey we call "Being a Doula!"

I am so thrilled to have had the opportunity to study birth from the angle of a doula and I really really really look forward to putting my new skills to practice!!

P.S. Before I forget, What is Placenta Encapsulation? I had a hard time finding a website that I liked to explain the process, but I did find this blog post to be quite personable and informative :) Placenta Encapsulation

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Doula Workshop

I signed up for a doula workshop. I am super excited about this, because I adore women who are pregnant and I adore babies and I feel that becoming a doula, will help me to support these women that are going through a truly indescribable time! Not to mention, it's a perfect journey to my ultimate goal of becoming a lactation consultant!  

This workshop is highly sought out, so much so that people come in from out of town to attend. Here's the cool part, it's literally about 3 blocks from my house! The place used to be a real estate office and about a year or two ago, a new business opened up, all natural supplies for baby and a doula service! I knew the second I saw the "coming soon" sign that I was meant to get involved in this place and when I checked the website it turns out she runs a workshop twice year! It's going to be a LONG weekend! I am not used to putting in long hours outside of the home without my kids, but I am praying this will be enlightening in many ways and I will walk away with a lot of knowledge!! I anticipate it being a wonderful experience, so I am going with it!!

And the cool part is, the doula informed me she is eager to get my involved because "we need more good doulas in the area!" She already said she's got a class in mind of first time moms that are all due around May, which means, I could be putting my certification hours in within just a few months! This has been a long time coming! I started school when Miles was born, I became a CNA and have been working with a woman that is post stroke. Though I love working with her and I love having the time to be home with my kids, I am ready to get involved with moms!! This is my calling!