Focusing Inward

Focusing Inward

 

I’ve been silent mostly this week in terms of blogging and social media.  The anticipation of a life-changing event with other rather shocking epiphanies have ushered me into a contemplative state.  All of it has taken me to this desire to keep my focus inward- on my baby, on my husband and son, on my home, but in a way that is so very different than the person that I’ve become that has shared so much about us via this blog.  If life were an ocean and my family were navigating through it on a boat, I feel as though I was on the top deck with the captain, declaring our steps out loud as the flow of the waves carried us out on the sea.

 

Lately, I’ve retired to the lower level and I’ve withdrawn from being seen in order to take care of what’s going on on the inside.  I’ve ceased to question and analyze which direction the waves are taking us and I’ve simply been just preparing and caring for me and my littles as we sail on this ship into the horizon.  What will all of this mean for my blog and for me and my family in the next few months? I’m not sure I have all of the answers just yet.  I have somewhat of an idea, but I’m leaving it up to time to continue to reveal the next phase for us.  I would hate to jump ahead and try to attempt to figure it all out.  I just want to do what my instincts are telling me to do and that is to just focus inward.  I did, however, want to share ten things I’m thankful for with you all.  This will be brief, but with the state that I’m in, I believe it is much needed:

 

1)  My Maker and the Creator.  Though many have left me or have moved on from us over the course of this pregnancy, I realize that He has carried me through this all along.  I placed my trust in Him as the creator of this entire process and He has held me through it all.

 

2)  My husband.  He’s been riding the waves with me since the day we said we wanted to be man and wife, but over the course of this year, he has stood by me and has opened his mind to so many new things with me, especially concerning pregnancy and birth, and I’m grateful for how he has supported me every step of the way.

 

3)  My toddler.  He keeps me light and airy.  He does the cutest things when I really need to see or experience it, but probably won’t understand or even know what he did until he is much older.  I’m thankful for every hug and kiss that he has given. Every smile.  Every laugh.  He amazes me daily.

 

4)  I hate to call out names, but my friend Ericka.  She’s been my friend longer than an actual season and that means a lot to me.  With all of the changes in my life, it is nice to be able to say that I’ve been able to pour my heart out to at least one person who understands all facets of me where I don’t have to filter out some things because of extreme differences in perspectives.  She gets it on so many levels.  She’s a woman.  She knows who I am.  She’s real and she’s encouraging.  If this is something that will only last for another season, I’ve come to accept this as apart of life, but in the meantime, it’s been something nice to have these last several months.

 

5)  Having a knit/crochet group of women that I can get away and chat with every week.  So far so good with this group.  We leave the religion, politics and controversial issues at home and we bring our needles and our yarn.  The conversation is stimulating and the company of adult women has been great.

 

6)  Lizzi.  You should have known you’d be on this list, my dear. That one day that I talked to you meant so much.  That was a hard day and if there was one person that I knew I could reach out to because I felt like what I thought was a support system had just stepped on me, it was her.  She delivered in a very big way and, yes, it was over the internet.  Thank you, Lizzi, for being there!

 

7)  Crochet.  It’s become another love as you all know by now.  I finally finished that blanket and now I’ve been working on some matching place mats for our dining room table.  Fun. Fun. Fun.

 

Throw Blanket

 

Crochet Place Mats

 

8)  Being in the 35th week of pregnancy.

 

9)  Thankful to have arrived at a more comfortable point in the pregnancy.  Weeks 28-34 really did seem like they were a time of extreme growth.  Though movements are still strong, it does feel like the baby is a little more snug in there so it’s not as uncomfortable this week.

 

10)  Time.  If growing dread locks, miscarrying a baby and then getting to this point in pregnancy with a new one and so much more hasn’t taught me anything else, it has taught me that time is something I’m grateful for.  I’m not sure if you are familiar with the process of growing dread locks, but it is a very long process that requires patience as you allow them to form.  I’ve had mine for about 6 months now.  After miscarrying a baby earlier this year, it was definitely an even bigger struggle with relinquishing control and just trusting the process of pregnancy once we got pregnant with another baby soon after.  Having done it this long without any outside affirmations or consultations from the medical world has taught me a serious lesson about patience and time.

 

What are you thankful for this week?  How are things with you and your family?  I’ve missed everyone.  Looking forward to making my rounds and seeing what’s been going on with you all.

 

XoXo,

Sea Life Arizona- Review

Disclosure:  This is a Sea Life Arizona Review.  My family and I received complimentary tickets to attend this attraction.  We were not compensated in any way for our experience.  All opinions are my own.

 

Sea Life Arizona- Review

 

What can I say?  I was very excited when I was asked to review the Sea Life Arizona Aquarium.  When we first arrived, we were greeted by a handful of friendly staff that presented me with options to purchase some great coupon booklets.  I was also given a gift from their Fishmas celebration that they held earlier in the day.  Right before you start the self-paced tour, you can choose to take a few pictures with your family.  At then end, you are presented with the option to purchase the photos, choosing any pose you’d like, with a selection of sea life style backgrounds that come in a variety of photo packages.  We chose the one below:

 

Sea Life Family Photo

 

My husband and I had said in the past that we would want to take our son to something like this.  I hadn’t thought about if he would love it at this age.  He will be three years old in April 2015.  His response to it was even better than I expected it to be.  He wasn’t particularly interested in touching the star fish that we were permitted to touch, but I thought that was a great aspect of sight seeing that some kids might enjoy so I wanted to be sure to mention it.  My son was more intrigued with how things looked so he was happy to watch me touch the star fish instead.

 

Sea Life Arizona Star Fish

 

What I love about the aquarium is that it is truly a place that people of just about all ages can truly enjoy.  It is actually a great place for a toddler like mine to explore because there are so many different things to look at.  We enjoyed seeing all of the different species of animals that live in the sea.  One that I was familiar with is the eel, however I was pleasantly surprised to see the variety of eel that they had.  Take a look below!

 

Eel

 

For the most part, we walked through the aquarium at our own pace, looking at the well written descriptions and captions that told us about each section filled with sea life in the various tanks, but there was one point when we had arrived at the sea horses and an instructor came in and told us all of these amazing facts about them.  Did you know that some people believe sea horses have tremendous health benefits?  Because of this, they are often killed so that they can be crushed and added into beverages among other things.  Or how about the fact that the male sea horses are the ones that carry the babies?!  I thought that was pretty interesting as I was experiencing this wonderful attraction at 8 months pregnant with our second baby.

 

I highly recommend that this be in the line up for family trips at least once in a lifetime.  Aquariums are educational, fun and inspiring.  Many aquariums like Sea Life are helping to keep various species from becoming extinct and are providing resources to the masses to help keep the habitats clean and healthy for sea life even outside of the four walls of the aquarium.  Though my son was only two years old for this visit, I do plan to return when he is older so that he can experience the attraction on a different level.  I watched as school age kids were able to enjoy learning about the animals and were eager to share what they already knew with the instructor as well.

 

 

Have you ever been to an aquarium?  If not, would you ever take your kids to one?

 

XoXo,

 

If I Had a Daughter

If I had a daughter, first of all, I think I would be overjoyed!   I love my son with my whole heart, but I know that having a daughter would be different.  There would be this connection with her, maybe because we are the same gender but then also because she’s a different person.

 

If I Had A Daughter

 

Today I’m guest posting over at Coach Daddy with Eli and I’m very much excited that he asked me to write about if I had a daughter.  It’s perfect timing because I’m 34 weeks pregnant and I have no idea what we are having.  Though I would be a very grateful mother if we had either a boy or a girl, it was nice to think about what it might be like to have a daughter some day.  I hope you all will head over to read what I had to say about it here!

 

XoXo,

Letters to My First Born: 31 Months

Dear JR,

I’m sitting here 32 weeks pregnant with your baby brother or sister watching you play a Cat in the Hat game.  I just finished playing with you for a bit. It’s so funny because I never imagined that I would be playing video games with my two year old.  I always imagined that you would be so much older when that day came.  I also didn’t expect for you to have a routine bed time this early on.  For the past several weeks, you have been going to bed at 9pm.

Letters to My First Born 31 Months

Daddy and I were talking about your progress before he went to work today.  Overall, you know and say a lot more than we thought you would by this time.  Your thing these days seems to be counting and saying your numbers, randomly.  You do it when you are about to go to sleep or when we are laying in bed when we first get up.  We’ve noticed though you can say and identify numbers 30 and 40, you aren’t quite comfortable counting after 20.  I told your Dad it would just be a matter of time.   I could have sworn it was last month that I was showing you and repeating numbers 10-20 and you could barely say them.  Now you rattle them off every chance you get!

JR at 31 months

Though Mom is nearing the end of the pregnancy, you seem to be uninterested in it these days.  This is quite normal for your age.  I still wonder some moments how you will be when the new baby gets here and I still show excitement when we see babies.  We watched a birth last month I think it was and you thought the squeals the Mom made were actually pretty funny.  I’m not at all worried about how you will process the birth at home. I just want you to continue to feel loved and secure as we transition with the new addition to our family.   Truth be told, just like we did with you,  Mom and Daddy will just take it one day at a time.

Loving you always,

Mom

Family Time and Me Time

We ended this week on such a great note.  I had some tough moments so that was pretty exciting for me.  This week it has been so hard to get comfortable when sitting and all since the baby tends to move in extremely awkward positions!  It’s nice to know that right now he or she is most likely packing on the weight and with that comes more restriction so maybe it will get better in the coming weeks as I get closer to the end.  I finally got a moment to sit down and write so I won’t delay me sharing about my week any longer!

 

This morning, to start our day, we went to the store to buy a whole bunch of things we needed for the house.  I really enjoyed the time out with the family.  We have a Sam’s Club membership so it was nice to be able to buy in bulk lots of the things that we needed.

 

My husband is really working on getting his health in tact.  He has been working out again at the gym and now he actually works out a few times a week with someone from work.  And while we were at the store today, he made sure we bought a lot more of everything we like to put in the nutrininja!  We got frozen blueberries and strawberries, spinach and bananas.  I’m glad Sam’s Club had a large bag of frozen strawberries.  It’s not strawberry season right now so I refuse to pay more for them and they don’t even look so great.  I usually cut up the bananas and put them in the freezer too.  My husband loves his smoothies cold!  I also add plain yogurt to mine for the protein and calcium.

 

I was invited to visit Sea Life Arizona!  I was excited about that.

 

Family Time and Me Time

 

We visited Sea Life Arizona today (Thursday) and it was an amazing experience.  Review coming soon on the blog!  I was so happy that it wasn’t too far for us to get there.  It was only about 25 minutes away.

 

Me and Hubby Working Out

this photo is from over a year ago!

 

Hubby got me a new phone!  It’s an upgrade from what I have and it really is better with taking pictures and holding app space.  Bloggers know how much easier life can be with a good smartphone!

 

After we got back from Sea Life, I took a trip to the store on my own so I was able to stop at Hobby Lobby and Walmart.  Always thankful for the me time that I get in various ways throughout the week!

 

While at Walmart, I was excited to check off most of the items from my list of things I need for our freebirth.  Believe it or not, we don’t need a lot of supplies.  It felt so funny being in the baby section buying clothes again that were that little.  For one, it’s been a while since JR was that small and two, we don’t know the gender for sure and they didn’t have a huge selection of gender neutral clothes to choose from.  I only wanted to get a few things anyway and then once baby gets here my husband will probably go back to the store and get more things that are gender specific.

 

I was so happy to be able to buy all of the yarn that I needed for the throw blanket I’ve been working on.  I ran out of yarn so I was on hold from finishing it!  Could this be why the last few days have been so…crochet less!  I refuse to say empty.  Crocheting is not a habit.  :)  But I did miss my hobby very much.

 

LivingDining Area Blueprint

 

Concerning my yarn purchase:  you know how just about all of you with any prior experience with yarn suggested I buy the same lot number when purchasing my yarn?  Well, when I went to the store, none of them had the same lot number!  So, I talked to a woman at Hobby Lobby who said to just get the same color and if it’s not the same, I could always bring it back.  I didn’t bring my blanket to the store so I thought I was going to be guessing my way around the aisles, BUT I did bring the yarn packages so I had the names of the colors so I just bought those even though the lot numbers weren’t the same.  I was so excited when I got home to see that the colors do indeed match my blanket for all 7 colors!

 

letters to my first born 29 months

 

JR didn’t get to bed at 9pm tonight!  I laid him down at 9, but because he took a few quick naps in the car today while we were out, I think that made him not as sleepy as he normally is.  It’s ok because he did end up falling asleep on his own at around 11 and I plan on letting him sleep as long as he wants tomorrow morning and then get back into our routine again tomorrow night.  The fun we had today was worth it!

 

How was your week?  Thankful for anything special?  Feel free to write up a list of ten things and share it with us at the linkup!

 

XoXo,

 

Relinquishing Control

As I am settling into this 8th month of pregnancy,  I continue to visit more hypothetical birth and pregnancy scenarios that could arise. The reoccurring theme throughout this pregnancy seems to come up after I learn about each and every thing, which appears to be about relinquishing control.

 

I grew up with a young, single mom.  This translated into me getting an early start at taking care of myself in a huge way; assuming more responsibility and control in my life as a youngster than some may be used to obtaining at such a young age. I certainly believe that I would have had plenty of time to learn these things as a teen and young adult, in hindsight, but with a single mother working outside of the home and who for most of our early years, was dealing with a lot of pain that kept her focus primarily inward, this wasn’t a reality for me as the eldest child.  I bring up this tidbit about my childhood only to say that taking control and having things be in my hands has been second nature to me since some of it happened very young.  I worked at the earliest age I could and would buy my own things especially when my mother couldn’t or threatened not to.  This created a sense of provision in me and it formed a mindset that I had to take control in order for this or that to be taken care of.

 

Relinquishing Control

 

This continued into my marriage.   In the first several months of our marriage, I was working still at my full time job that I had gotten 3 years prior, right out of college. Four months into our marriage, we had gotten pregnant with JR and several months into the pregnancy, I found myself on an early leave of absence.  This started my time as a stay at home wife.  Our finances were challenged to the max and I soon realized that the reassurance that I had in taking care of myself by bringing some income into our home was no longer in my hands as my husband became the only breadwinner in our home.

Mommy and JR at one month old

 

When we moved to Arizona, my need to relinquish control continued.  In the beginning of our marriage,  we talked about all of our finances together and it put a damper on things because money was so tight that some conversations would start or end with me being frustrated because my husband spent a few dollars here or there that didn’t seem wise in my mind.  And then, finally,  I had to let the finances go. My husband completely took them over.  This took away the knowledge needed in order to figure out how we would make ends meet and my need to figure out what we were going to pay each month.  It wasn’t easy. Just like leaving work to take care of my family, knowing we’d be living on one income, wasn’t easy. Or when we slowly started to lose everything because of a serious drop in our income when my husband lost his job.  That wasn’t easy either.

 

Mommy and JR on the swings

 

This moment in this pregnancy brings me back to all of this.  And everything is starting to come full circle.  When I look back on the various situations where I thought I was in control, I really wasn’t.  In reality, I was just a worrisome maniac with some emotional baggage from having parts of my childhood stripped away.  Having thought that I was truly in control in so many different areas of my life over the years, it took us losing just about everything we had except each other for me to realize that I never really had control in any of these circumstances in the first place.  And so, learning more about pregnancy and birth has taught me something similar about what being in control really means in this process.  There are many aspects of pregnancy and birth that is a mystery and are truly enigmas in the formation of life.  I can see how this would be fearful to some, but then I think about things like “do we know what age that we will die?”  “do we know how we will die?”  “do we know if we will miscarry some babies as opposed to others?”  There are many unknowns about life that people just have to deal with.

 

32 weeks

 (Though this picture is blurry, I think it’s my favorite pregnancy photo thus far!)

 

Taking control or giving others control over an area that truly can’t be controlled by any of us, doesn’t necessarily keep us from surviving.  We do survive sometimes and so do our children.  As a worry wart all these years who thought I was in control, you can see that I survived because I’m here and able to tell my story.  But survival isn’t always the most important thing.  Loss is difficult so we might think that survival is everything in specific moments which is why many of us try to usurp control that we can never have, but thriving and destiny mean so much more.  These are two things that are totally out of my control.  I don’t know what the future holds and I don’t believe things happen by chance. I do believe in a Creator who orchestrates things be it good or bad. My ongoing lesson has been to learn how to navigate in my true place in this life and as long as I stay in that place, I can find contentment and thrive as my destiny is realized.  I’m grateful for this journey that has had much to show me about relinquishing control in so many facets of my life.

 

Are there areas that you feel as though you’ve had to relinquish control in your life?

 

XoXo,

Indie Birth, Pregnancy and Family

I’m actually posting this later than I normally do, but I had a really busy day of doing laundry and just trying to get my family and home together.  I’m a little tired but I’m relaxing as I write this post while my dinner for tomorrow finishes on the stove.  This week has been really great.  I have much to share with you all!

 

1)  I’ll start with today.  I’m thankful for an extraordinary husband who will come home after working a long day and after he eats wash all of the dishes!  He definitely doesn’t have to do that and if he didn’t, I would completely understand.  Today he worked and after he went to the gym, which is something he’s been wanting to get back into, he came home and had a large meal and without saying anything to me, he just did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.  It was a huge help after a long day of laundry and running after J.R.

 

2)  I’m thankful for wonderful people like Maryn at Indie Birth.  If you’ve been following my pregnancy journey here at the blog, you might remember that I’ve mentioned her in a few posts and I mean how can I not?  It is seriously because of what this woman shares that I’ve been truly able to start the journey of owning my pregnancy and birth.  The faith came from the Creator and the information began to stream in from her and her valuable resources.  What I love about Maryn is that she is completely open and warm.  She shares information with women so that they can make their own choices.  She realizes that everyone is at a different place and though she has her own personal preferences and beliefs based on the evidence about health and birth, she does not push that on people.  Does this type of personality sound familiar?  She creates a safe place that women can go to and just learn information.  It’s all available at her site via podcasts, consultations, self-paced curriculum and blog posts.  I’m very enamored by her if you all can’t tell already and she lives in Arizona!  And get this! I talk to her personally on Facebook.  It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that I have direct access to someone as knowledgeable as she is.

 

3)  So I’m thankful because I know Maryn and I’ve been given the opportunity to be in contact with even more women like her and myself because of her, but also, I’m thankful that Maryn offered to send me some great herbs for my pregnancy.  I plan to make some great infusions with them.  These herbs include nettles, oat weed and more!  They have lots and lots of nutrients and minerals that I need right now so I’m pretty excited.

 

4)  I’m thankful for awesome blog friends who talk about Doctor Who.  I finally watched some episodes today.  BBC had a series of them on this evening. The episodes I watched were with David Tennant and were from 2012.  The first one I watched had Agatha Christie and reminded me a little of one of her books I’ve read when I was younger And Then There Were None.  I couldn’t tell you what it was about or how it ended.  I read that so long ago, but this episode was a spin off of her style of murder mystery writing.  What are my thoughts? I thought Doctor Who was rather strange only because it is unlike anything I’ve ever watched, really.  I’m still not sure I understand it. It’s sort of like one of those things you watch by accident and then you say, I want to see another one because I want to understand why this or why that.  Maybe one of you who wasn’t hooked immediately will understand what I mean.

 

5)  I’m thankful for making it to 32 weeks!  Yes, I can’t believe I’m in the 8th month now!  I’ve been feeling great these days.  Once in a while I could use a nap because my sleeping patterns can be rather strange sometimes, but that’s it.  My appetite is huge but that’s to be expected. :)

 

Indie Birth, Pregnancy and Family

Blurry picture taken by tired hubby.  I didn’t want to ask for a redo too many times.  Sorry guys! 

 

6)  Tomorrow will be a much needed day of rest after a long day of cleaning and cooking.  I’m thankful for that.

 

7)  I love my button head.  I’m thankful for the times that we can break up the day just about every day and go outside to play.  He cracks me up when he runs around and smiles.  Just watching him helps me to see the simplicity and wonder in life.

 

Family

 

8)  I love that J.R. has an official bed time now!  Each night for the past two weeks or so now, he has gone to bed at 9pm.  The trade off is that he doesn’t nap anymore.  For now, that isn’t so bad.  Ask me how I feel about that when the baby is born.   Perhaps I will switch things up though if I need a nap and he isn’t napping.  I’ve learned that I could get him to nap simply by getting him up earlier in the morning.

 

9)  I’m grateful for quality time with my husband now that J.R. does have a bed time.  I don’t think I saw this coming so soon.  I was so used to J.R. being up until we would lay down for bed most nights, that this was such a nice surprise.  Like right now, hubby is watching BONES while I sit here and type this blog post.  Once I’m all done, we will probably watch something together.

 

10)  Last but never least, I’m thankful for the things that I have now that I looked forward to for months of not having it this year.  It’s been a tough year and I don’t think I will ever forget what we didn’t have and will be forever grateful now for the things we do.

 

How was your week?  What’s new?  If you want to share ten things, feel free to join us in the linkup this week!

 

XoXo,