Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Wishes

These are my wishes for Bianca in 2010:

~ That she always feels loved and safe
~ That she hits her milestones when she's ready, without us worrying if she's on schedule
~ That she smiles and laughs because she is truly happy
~ That her personality begins to develop
~ That she doesn't receive too many booboo's along the way

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year!

Goal: Healthy in Body

My goal to achieve holistic health definitely includes my body.  I have struggled with my weight and body image for the majority of my life.  For as far back as I can remember, my New Year's resolutions always involved losing weight.  I never had much success in this area.

I'm hoping that this year will be different.  Number 1, my husband makes me feel beautiful, so I have more confidence than ever.  Number 2, I want to get physically fit in order to be a positive role model for my daughter.  Number 3, I will be using this blog as a catalyst for change.

So here we are at Day Zero.  (Day 1 will begin tomorrow!)

My current stats:  5'3"; 173 lbs; BMI 30.6
Here are my "Before" Pics:

Farewell, 2009

" make an end is to make a beginning."  ~T.S. Eliot

Here we are on the eve of the new year.  God gave me a gift this morning.  I awoke to snow falling down.  The neighborhood was covered in white.  Everything looked so pure and at peace.  AND my boss gave me permission to work from home today!  I am able to spend my last day of the decade at home with my two Loves.  And while I will be working periodically throughout the day, I hope to spend the majority of the time in reflection, saying goodbye to 2009 in the best way I know how.  I'm so grateful for this unexpected blessing!

I'm also very grateful for many happenings in 2009, which turned out to be a year of transition for me.

~ In the New Year, I had only just discovered I was pregnant.  Carrying Bianca was such a wonderful experience.  I felt joyful, hopeful, and radiant.  Even though I got heavier, I loved the way my body looked carrying a child.  I felt beautiful for the first time in a long time.  My love for my husband grew, even though I never thought I could love him more.  I felt the miracle of life move within me.  It was an undescribable, amazing experience.

~ Of course, there were all the fun events that go along with a pregnancy, as well.  Keeping a blog, getting sonograms, picking out names, registering, celebrating with family and friends at showers.  Overwhelming at times...but definitely moments to remember.

~ Harry and I bought our home.  It was so much fun touring different communities and imagining ourselves there.  We ultimately decided on a neighborhood and visited the sales office three different times before choosing our model.  We signed the papers on a Sunday after church with Damian in tow.  We spent hours at the design center deciding what our new home would look like.  We bought new furniture.  We chose paint colors.  We created our sacred spaces.  There was so much excitement and anticipation throughout the entire process.

~ I turned 30.  Harry revealed to me that we were having a girl.  We took a trip to Vegas with Tony and Amanda.  Manda and I received facials and massages.  Harry took me to see a Cirque du Soleil show.  It was a wonderful escape.

~ I found out that Danny and Kylene were having a baby.  They announced the news on Mother's Day.  They told Harry and I in private first, because they wanted to make sure we would be ok.  Of course we were thrilled, as our babies would be three months apart.  Danny and I are four months apart, so it was simply perfect.

~ Stephanie and I started our Sacred Fridays.  Our friendship grew in deep and wonderful ways, despite the physical distance between us.  Our Girls Day with Manda became even more special, focusing more on quality since our quantity had diminished.  These friendships fed my soul in a way no others could.

~ I finally gave birth to my beautiful Bianca.  The day that little angel came into my life, I experienced a new, powerful, incredible love.  My heart literally felt like it was going to burst out of my chect and swallow her whole.  I looked at her and saw Heaven.  I looked into new eyes and saw an old friend.  Watching her grow over the past three months has filled me with a joy and laughter I didn't realize were missing before.  Being a mother is the most amazing experience.  I think this new role suits me well!

~ Of course, there was the wonderful maternity leave that followed her birth.  Eight incredible weeks of bonding with my Little Miracle.  Leaving my job behind and focusing on my life's work.  It was anything but relaxing since I was trying to unpack the house at the same time as taking care of a newborn and my husband, but it was oh so good.  I also discovered the wonderful shows on Nick Jr, my personal favorite being Yo Gabba Gabba.  It just makes me happy!

~ Going back to work was tough, but an amazing thing happened.  My attitude completely shifted.  I finally felt like I belonged there.  I accepted the fact that God needs me in my current position, and instead of focusing on everything that was wrong about the job, I started to focus on all the positives.  My work mantra for 2010 is "Be Effective."  Now that I've been there a year and am comfortable in my role, I can finally start focusing on making an impact.

~ I am so grateful that Bianca is able to stay with my Aunt Dot while I'm at work.  I admit that I would much rather be a stay-at-home-mom, but since that isn't an option for us, I am so happy that she is with family.  Yes, it helps out Harry and I financially, but there is such a peace that comes along with it.  I don't have to worry during the day if she is getting the care or attention she needs; I KNOW she's getting it.  That comfort is priceless.      

~ I finally got the courage to walk away from my church.  I was saved in 1999, but for several reasons, I was never able to break away from the Catholic church.  One of the factors was me singing at Mass for 18 years.  They depended on me, especially my organist.  I felt so guilty about leaving.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I told my organist I didn't want to sing anymore.  I also told my mom that I wouldn't be attending St. Luke's anymore.  Surprisingly, both took the news very well.  I know God's hands were all over the decision.

I could go on, but that gives you a general idea.  Life is a series of peaks and valleys.  It's pretty obvious that I am in a peak.  And I just have a gut feeling that I'll just keep on climbing in 2010!

It's time to bid you farewell, 2009.  You were a  great year, and I know you will live on in my heart until the end of my days.

Happy Birthday!

We want to wish Bianca's Aunt Krissy a very Happy Birthday!!  We hope that you have a great day, and that this coming year will be the best one yet for you!!  xoxo

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

An inspirational force in my life is Jamie Ridler, the creator of Wishcasting Wednesday.  Today, she asked the question: "What do you wish for 2010?"

I suppose I have many wishes for the coming year, but my five main wishes are:
~ A new church home
~ More nutritious people in my life
~ A God-centered marriage
~ Better health
~ More laughter

I can't wait to watch them all come true!  As Jamie says, "There is great power in wishing together."

Why Blog?

I guess the better question should be, "Why Not Blog?"  After all, blogging is all the rage these days.  I just hope I can live up to the challenge, as I've never been able to blog successfully up to this point. 

My first failed attempt at blogging was in 2004, when I hoped to record my weight loss journey.  Didn't have much luck with it.  (The weight loss OR the blog!!)  Then I moved onto trying to write about the frustrations I was feeling while completing my Master's degrees.  Another utter failure.  I randomly posted to my MySpace blog when I was feeling particulary depressed about life, but I haven't updated it regularly in a few years.  I started keeping a blog when I was pregant (all the cool kids on The Bump were doing it!) and I've updated it periodically with random bits of goodness in the life of my daughter, but not as often as I would like.

So here I am, once again attempting to start a new blog.  I'm embracing the challenge because 2010 is going to be my year of ACTION.  I'm very passionate about holistic health.  I strive to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit.  I also want the people in my life to be holistically healthy.  I have made several vision boards showing myself in that state.  I have written countless journal entries on the topic.  And yet, I have remained stuck.  Stuck in an overweight body, stuck in unfulfilling jobs, stuck in unhealthy relationships, stuck in patterns that have kept me from living an authentically happy life.  Being stuck sucks.

But this coming year is my year of change.  I can feel it.  And I'm more determined than ever to get there.  Oprah Winfrey says, "Transformation doesn't happen unless you're willing.  It's your choice."  I am CHOOSING to be successful at change.  No, I may not reach my ultimate goals in just one year's time; however, it has to start somewhere.  And this is where I'm starting.

I subscribe to Debbie Ford's newsletter, and this morning she sent out a delicious nugget of inspiration called "2010: The Destination of Your Dreams."  She challenged her readers to choose the destination of our dreams, create a flight plan and then stick to it.  She also recommended choosing a co-pilot who will keep us on course when we get off track.  I am choosing Stephanie - one of my dearest friends - to be my co-pilot. 

This past year, Steph started an exercise with a basket full of inspirational words.  Her mission was to pull a word from the basket and reflect on it, put it into action, or just let the word work in her life for a week.  Of course, this is a venture that she could have experienced on her own, but luckily for me, she invited me to join with her.  The words have impacted my life, but not as much as our Sacred Fridays have.  Even though she moved hundreds of miles from Maryland to be with her true love, I have never felt closer to her.  I can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for both of us!  Call it an instinct, but I just KNOW that 2010 is going to be a wonderful year on so many levels.  

And so, My Journey to Holistic Health begins.... 

First Taste of Applesauce

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Happy Holiday

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, and I do apologize. Honestly, I didn’t think anybody was reading this blog anyway, so I didn’t make it a priority. I found out over the holidays that people ARE reading, so in 2010, I will try to be more diligent about posting.

This sentiment is a little late, but I wanted to send out a big congratulations to my cousin Danny and his wife Kylene, who gave birth to Gavin Carroll, a precious 6 lb 12 oz baby boy, on December 17th. Welcome to world, Little One!

So Christmas has come and gone. This year, everything just seemed to get away from me. I didn’t send out cards (and anyone who knows me knows how terrible I feel about that), I put off my shopping until the very last minute (I even had to put money in card for our new baby cousin on Christmas morning because I didn’t finish shopping), we didn’t put up any lights (and I felt like the Scrooge of the neighborhood), I didn’t watch any holiday movies (I have usually watched “A Christmas Story” three times by Christmas morning) and in general, I just felt overwhelmed and unprepared. I’m really hoping that next year is better.

Our Christmas was pretty low-key this year. We went to 8:30 Mass. Bianca was dressed in a cute red and white dress and a bib that said “My Merry First Christmas.” We then went to my mom’s house to eat breakfast and open presents. The highlight was watching Damian open all his gifts. BiBi slept most of the time. We then headed over to my grandma’s house where my entire family (minus Danny, Ky, and Gavin) gathered together for food and quality time with each other. Of course, Katie, Lucy, and Da were anxious to open more presents! We were back at home by 7:00, and we spent the rest of the evening relaxing. I will have to upload some pictures of the day later.

On Christmas Eve, Harry decided to give Bianca a little treat. He gave her three spoonfuls of apple sauce! Dr. Fireman told us that she should start eating solid food anywhere from 4 to 7 months. She’s not quite there yet, so I was a little timid about giving her anything, but Harry thought she would be fine. I captured the incident on video. When I get home, I’ll have to try and upload it on here. She spit most of it out and made some funny faces, but she seemed to like the last bite. I’m thinking we won’t have a problem introducing her to solid foods once we get the ok from the doctor.

On Saturday, my mom came over and watched Bianca while I went to the Melting Pot with my girls Stephanie and Amanda. (We were celebrating Steph’s Big 3-0) Harry was in Salisbury for a basketball tournament. (Patterson won their first game 57 to 41!) Then yesterday, Mom and I took Bianca to the mall so I could spend my Christmas gift. She had her first ride in an umbrella stroller. Target didn’t have any, so we just used Damian’s old one. She did pretty well. She kept looking up at the ceiling. She can’t quite keep her head up all the time yet, so she was sorta leaning over as she rode. After about an hour, Mom took her to a bench and fed her, and then she fell asleep when Mom started singing to her.

Yesterday was an emotional day. It was exactly one year ago yesterday that Harry and I found out we were having a baby. It was such a joyous day. I found myself longing to be pregnant again. Then I found out that my friend Michele had a miscarriage. All I could do was thank God for blessing us with Bianca and remind myself that everything happens in God’s perfect timing. We will have another baby exactly when The Lord wants us to.

I’m back at work today, and as you can guess since I have time to write this post, I’m not doing much. There is hardly anyone else here. UMB is closed this week, but since I am an HHMI employee and not a UMB employee, I had to come in. With the lack of security guards, cleaning people, coffee cart employees, and all my co-workers, I must admit that it’s pretty creepy being in this building. Hopefully I can get out of here early.

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday. Four more days left until the New Year!

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For Everyone Who Thinks BiBi Looks Like Harry...

The Martins Have a Bug

Not the creepy crawly kind, but the kind that causes runny noses, sore throats, and coughs galore. All three of us are sick. Blah.

At least Harry and I can medicate ourselves into an oblivion. Poor BiBi just has to suffer. She has been sleeping with the humidifier on and we've been putting Baby's Vicks Vapor Rub on her chest. Other than that, all we can do for her is suction out her tiny nostrils with a bulb syringe...which she hates. Hopefully we will all be healthy again soon.

In other, more happy, news....I don't have to go to court for my accident anymore! I am so excited! My lawyer called me last night to tell me that the case was settled outside of the courtroom and is now officially closed! I am just so glad to have that all behind me. It's been over a year of worrying, and knowing that it's finally over gives me so much peace. I truly feel lighter this morning. (Or perhaps that's just the cold medicine! lol)

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

No, Sir, I Don't Like It!

Well, Bianca didn't really enjoy her first experience with the snow. I took her outside, and she initially didn't react much. Then she started making not-so-happy faces. Then she started gasping every time a snowflake hit her face. Just before she started to cry, I took her back inside, and all was well again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lots of Firsts

The past couple of weeks have been full of excitement. Last Tuesday, Bianca had her 2-month doctor's visit. She is 23 inches long and weighs 10.5 pounds. I asked Dr. Fireman about the bumps on her face, and he thinks dry skin is to blame. He recommended that we start using Aquaphor on her face. We went out and bought some that night. I really don't like it. It is super thick and sticky, and even though it does appear to be working, I don't think it is working well enough. My friend Jackie recommended using Lansinoh. She said it worked like a miracle on her own daughter's face. I think I may try it.

The most awful part of this visit to the pediatrician was watching Bianca get her first set of vaccination shots. She was given three total, and she had to drink a liquid. She did not like the needles at all. She turned bright run and screamed in pain. I felt so bad that she had to go through that and there wasn't anything I could do to help. She eventually calmed down once I was able to hold her. She started crying when I laid her back down on the table to get her dressed, and I truly felt terrible. The doctor said she would be fussy for two days. She was fussy alright....but it was more like seven days before she got it out of her system. After the appointment was over, I had to go to work. Dropping her off at Aunt Dot's house was so hard for me. All I wanted to do was be with her and comfort her. Days like those remind me how much I would prefer being a stay-at-home mom.

Wednesday my car had to be towed to the shop, so instead of going to work, I worked from home. It was wonderful getting to spend the day with Bianca. I think I did a great job of balancing both work and taking care of her. I really wish every day could be that way.

Thursday was Bianca's first Thanksgiving. It was a busy day. After her bottle, we gave her a bath and dressed her in the cutest outfit. We went to church, then to her Nana's house, and then to her Mom Mom's house for dinner. Bianca met her cousin Harley for the first time. It was cute watching them together. Bianca was still extra fussy, so Harry and I ended up coming home pretty early. We talked about how grateful we are for our daughter and our new home. We have everything we always wanted, and that's a great feeling.

Friday was Black Friday. Harry and I both had off, so we were able to sleep in. It was so nice. We didn't do much shopping, but we did stop at Dick's and Costco's. The rest of the day, we just relaxed as a family.

Saturday, we went to Breakfast with Santa at St. Luke's and Bianca got to meet Santa for the first time. She was dressed so cute in an outfit that Aunt Carol got for her. She did really well on Santa's lap, but she had no clue who he was.

That night, we decorated our first Christmas tree as a family. Even though summer is my favorite time of year, there is something magical about the holidays. This year is extra special for obvious reasons, but our Little Miracle is clueless. I can't wait until she understands. Of course, it's my hope that she will be just as excited by the true meaning of Christmas as she is about material presents.

Today it is snowing for the first time this year. (Dawn - I'm sure that sounds funny to you now!) Bianca is sleeping at the moment, but I will most likely take her outside later just so she can experience it. Here is a picture of her looking out the window when it first started.

I recently found out that my friend Michele is pregnant with her third baby. I am very happy for her, and I honestly found myself feeling a bit jealous. Even though it is probably way too soon to be thinking about it, I would love to have another baby. Of course, Harry reprimands me every time I bring it up. He said that we need to take care of Bianca and give her the love and attention she deserves first before adding on to our family. I know he's right, but I can't help but daydream. I had an easy pregnancy, an easy delivery, an easy recovery, and an easy baby. Who wouldn't want to do it all over again?