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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fudgey (Spinach and Carrot) Chocolate Cake

Yesterday was a killer! I felt like I was back in the first couple of days of flying solo even though my mom was here helping! Yes, it was crazy. Both kids screaming and crying at the same time, neither going to sleep well, Gabriel pushing every button I have and Brenik just being more needy than usual. I chalk it up to Gabriel cutting his 2nd 2 year old molar and Brenik just being a baby but also I'm guess pre-teething. Even though there are known 'reasons' for the extra drama and attitude, it doesn't make it any easier. Unfortunately it just seemed like that was the trend with most of my mommy friends all around the country. I haven't check yet as to what the moon was like last night or the night before, not that I believe in those things but do find it kinda strange how we were all looking forward to bedtime and chocolate.

After the boys were in bed I posted this picture to Instagram...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The 4th Trimester

 "We make what is a temporary and treatable illness that is quite common among pregnant and new mothers even worse, and put the future of those moms and their children in jeopardy." - It's Time For Everyone To Get The Facts About Postpartum Depression

This 4th trimester has been a doozy for me. Why is it that women are allowed 9+ months to grow a human yet are expected to be 'back to normal' and taking on the world by the end of the 6weeks postpartum rest and recovery prescribed by healthcare providers? I am currently only 11 weeks postpartum in which during the first 8 weeks of that time I dealt with a gnarly infection, had a repair and could only urinate by standing in a shower up until recently, yet daily from myself and others have felt the pressure to suppress and 'suck up' the crazy mix of emotions, stress, anger, anxiety, devastation, and sadness that's stewing within me.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Day in the Life Of...

We're starting to find our new crazy around these parts and I desired to document it to look back on. The days are busy and packed, sometimes full of fun and other times sprinkled (or drenched) with tears, but at the end of the day we count our blessings and give thanks to the Lord for it all.

Our days are molded around Gabriel's nap time because when he's rested we're all in a better place. Now that Brenik is starting to get a routine nailed down we work around that as well but he's still flexible since he can and does sleep through car rides and errands. 

I thought it would be fun to document what a day can look like for us because one day these moments will just be a fleeting memory. Just even from Gabriel's time of infancy I have a hard time recalling what a day looked like. Some days are totally cray (yes, I still say cray... at least when blogging) but wonderful, when other days are crazy and just too much. The following day is a Monday and by no means how every Monday goes or even every day. This is simply a look at what Monday the 20th of October looked like. I don't wake up at 4am every morning nor does Brenik always need so much assistance with sleep, laundry is typically pretty nuts daily, and yes the kitchen needs to be cleaned multiple times a day every day. Yes, we bake a lot, no Gabriel isn't always so emotional, yes Chris does come home and interact with Gabriel right away, no I don't always get out by myself (that was the first time). As you can see, this is just what this day in particular looked like.

Like said there are SOME things that we try to keep consistent daily and that would be wake up, nap, and bed times. Not only is keeping these time consistent good for our kids but always wonderful for me when it comes to getting through the day. I cannot stress enough how important it is to us to keep this part of our schedule more or less nailed down- my sanity often depends on it. 

Here's our day...

4:15am Chris wakes up, this morning I woke up at about 4:30am to work out. I finally got to start exercising again and though most of my workouts are about 30 minutes this particular day the work out was closer to an hour and I didn't see being able to fit that in during nap time or desiring to go at it after the kids went to bed so I tested out working out in the morning. Verdict: not awesome, however it was great to get an early start to the day! I got to take a shower, eat breakfast in peace, start cleaning the kitchen (Chris usually loads the dishwasher before work and I unload and finish the cleaning that didn't happen the night before. We try to clean up before bed but it doesn't always happen.), change out laundry, make the bed, read my Bible, and tidy our bedroom.

7:10am Brenik wakes up, gets nursed, diaper changed and played with. This is our routine after every wake up. Gabriel is usually my first up waking between 6am and 6:30am but of course the morning I get up early he sleeps in. 

On "normal" wake days this is typically when we get ready to go out and do errands if they need to be done. I LOVE that our Target now opens at 8 because I'll put Brenik down for his first nap in his carseat and we'll head out the door to do our shopping. I try to time it so we don't get home until Brenik's wake up time after his first nap (10am-ish). 

8:10am Gabriel wakes up at the same time I'm putting Brenik down for his first nap, I literally closed Brenik's door as I was opening Gabriel's to get him up for the morning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yokosuka Curry Festival

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When you think Curry, what country do you think of? India of course, but Japan would not be a laughable answer. Oddly enough Yokosuka, Japan is a HUGE curry city, nicknamed 'Curry Town.' There are several amazing curry eats in Yokosuka as well as a couple large Curry events through the year that attract people from all over the country. One day Chris and I looked out our balcony window and were blown away by the mile long line (single file, no pushing or cutting because it's Japan) outside the Japan Navy military entrance. We thought it was maybe an open house day or something along those lines (the US base hosts 'Friendship Day' once a year where anyone can visit the base) but later learned there was a curry competition going on where each battleship served a different curry and the public voted. Yes, all the Japanese destroyers came back into bay for a curry competition, this is how serious they are about their curry. 

The last two years Chris and I have visited the Curry Festival in Mikasa Park near the base. Last year we happened upon it on accident on our way to Monkey Island for Mother's Day (we ironically ate curry from Nirvana beforehand) but this year we made sure we put it on the calendar! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ofuna Kannon-ji Temple

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At the end of our 2013 stint in Japan when riding the train to the airport we briefly saw what we noted as a 'white Buddha.' We had never seen anything like it and decided right then and there we'd visit that place next year. 

Next year was this year! We of course knew what we saw wasn't actually a white Buddha but at the time we had no idea what else to call it so please don't judge us as being insensitive. We later looked it up and learned what we had saw is actually called Kannon. A Kannon can be a part of a Buddhist temple like a Buddha god but is the east Asian goddess of Mercy. 

For us not being Japanese or Buddhist we couldn't tell the difference between a Buddhist temple that has a Buddha and one that has a Kannon (maybe there is no difference because the statue) but we did appreciate the impressive architectural beauty of the 82 foot while statue. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Brenik Arli- One Month

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Well, we made it to a month old (read, I made it to a month). I don't say this lightly because it was pretty hairy at times. Brenik has been a complete rockstar and has been as self sufficient as he possible can be for an infant. The transition to two littles has been a lot hard on me than I expected though a lot of that has to do with how slow of a recovery I've had, I'm actually awaiting a doctor's appointment to discuss a repair. My limited physical abilities have shorten my patience leading to reactive parenting rather than responsive parenting which has of course lead to days spiraling out of control emotionally for everyone involved. We're getting there little by little with high highs and low lows at times but we are getting there. Enough about that, let's get back to talking about Brenik.

Brenik entered the first Wonder Week right as Chris went back to work. I didn't know about Wonder Weeks with Gabriel but have since learned that they are predictable stages of mental growth that bring about extra fussiness and clinginess for about a week or two depending on which leap. The first week strikes at around 5 weeks from due date which for us was right around 3 weeks of age. This was a rough week to say the least, I felt overwhelmed to begin with now flying solo and then my easy-go-lucky newborn was all of a sudden fighting sleep to the extreme and only wanted to sit in my arms and nurse all day. I remember sitting with Gabriel in my arms days on end nursing without a care in the world but this time around I had Gabriel to take care of in addition to baby- those days of sitting around and doing nothing but nursing were far behind me. I read that during this week (and all Wonder Weeks for that matter) mothers do a lot of baby wearing. I ordered a Solly Baby Wrap but it wasn't here yet. I have an Ergo with an infant insert but didn't care to wear it. My neighbor loaned me her Moby Wrap so as a baby screamed and a toddler wouldn't keep his hands off the keyboard I tried to watch a YouTube tutorial on how to use it but as you can imagine that didn't end well. That whole day actually concluded in my throwing the towel in early and calling Chris to come home. What concluded Wonder Week that makes up for all the crazy is that Brenik smiles quite frequently at me now! Even in the middle of the night when he shouldn't be flirting with me I can't help but giggle at those open mouth smiles. In those couple seconds you forget about the tears, stress, and still existing pain from delivery.

Monday, September 29, 2014

ECing: Two Year Recap

A little over a year and a half ago I first blogged about our new adventure of EC (elimination communication). For those who do not remember, do not know, or are new around here it's essentially boiled down to as 'early potty training.' Now, true ECers or super crunchy mamas might scoff at me for calling it that but honestly that's the easiest way to describe it without going into it. To describe ECing by going into it the idea is that babies are born with the natural instinct to not soil themselves; this being supported by how common it is for babies to urinate/poop when their diaper is off. The socially recognized idea for this happening is that it is caused by the cold air touching the bum and genitals but in the ECing world this is not the belief. Have I lost you yet? I've often heard ECing be referred to as 'parent training.' I get it, I spent probably over an hour a day for months sitting on the bathroom floor as Gabriel got some toilet time. But think of it this way, your child communicates to you when s/he's hungry, tired, or bored right? Well why wouldn't your child communicate with you when s/he needs to use the bathroom? If a child can walk to the fridge to tell you when s/he is hungry why couldn't s/he walk to the toilet to tell you s/he needs to use the bathroom?  If you think of it this way, then it's not parent training at all, its just identify and listening to how your child communicates their needs.

Though not very common in practice here in The States (how many of you have actually heard the term ECing?) it's basically standard practice in every other part of the world. Did you know that the age at which children stop using diapers is much higher in the US than many other countries? Did you know that the age at which children stop wearing diapers began growing exponentially with the introduction of the disposable diaper? And though the pull-up is advertised as a way to help kids potty train and transition to underwear when it was introduced the average age at which children potty train went up again?* Many countries in the world don't have the luxury of using disposable diapers thus instead they focus on elimination communication, learning the body language and cues of their child that are presented at the time of needing to pee and poop as well as providing verbal cues for those actions.

As you are probably already piecing together, this is a hot topic, what parenting topic isn't? I want to stop here before I go any farther and say that by no means is ECing for everyone and which ever way you choose to go about transitioning from diapers to the toilet and at whatever age that happens is totally fine by me- it's your child and I'm not here to tell you how to do your job or make you feel guilty, I'm just simply sharing my experience because it's unique to our culture and I've had people interested in what we've done. There is no right or wrong here. I also want to admit that though I'm going to try and EC again with Brenik, I'm not as optimistic about it going as successfully as it did with Gabriel. This time around I'll also have a toddler so I don't feel like I'll have the adequate amount of time each day to commit to ECing.


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