33/52: New Routines

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Sometimes I make it through the end of a day and I think, "I got this!" No major fights between the kids, we had fun, and the house is still in working order. But then the next day rolls around, and by 9am I'm near tears because everyone is fighting, there's not a single clean item of clothing, and I don't know how I'm going to stay sane until lunch time. The last 2 weeks have seen a bit more of those latter days, which is usually the case when we start a new school year. Soon, we'll find ourselves in a new routine and things will get a bit smoother (at least I hope!).

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014" 

7 Quick Takes | 9 Years, Zebras, The Fruits of Edel, and Infirmaries.

Linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes. Go see her blog for more 7QT's. 

1.) We celebrated 9 years of marriage this past week! One day I'll write out the story of how we met, but for now, I gave a cliff notes version over on Instagram. We started the day off with a coffee date, ran errands, went out to eat, then met up with a dear friend at the new Rick's Dessert Diner, followed by a beer at a local bar. Much of this past year was spent deprived of sleep, and I think this may have been the 2nd date we've had in a year (I know!), so the entire day was simple and perfect.     

(a fav photo from our wedding)

2.) Speaking of love stories, about 10 years ago when Ryan and I were still dating, we thought it would be fun to see if we could read each others minds. Are we the only ones that have tried this? We both decided that we would close our eyes and think of an animal....a few seconds later, we both shouted at the same time, "Zebra!" Isn't that weird...and also kinda cool? When we were describing the images that popped up in our minds, they were the exact same. It's okay if you think we're totally nuts. So zebras have always been part of our inside jokes and it's a memory we're quite fond of.

3.) Last month when I went to the Edel Gathering, I was looking forward to meeting (in real life) my friend Mary. Right before she was suppose to leave, her boys got sick and she had to cancel. Not long after, we discovered that she grew up in Sacramento, and would be visiting soon. Perfect! We would still be able to meet! Fast forward to yesterday and we met up at a park along with one of my friends (who will hopefully be coming to Edel next year) and had the best time. Mary is so delightful and just the sweetest. The fruits of Edel continue! 

4.) A new school year means another discernment process of whether we're being called to homeschool again or have the kids back in school. Over the summer we decided to keep Riley at (the very best) school she's been at for the last year and a half. Luke is doing a couple days of preschool this year too. I was really nervous about him doing a few hours of school per week, because he doesn't like to try new things, but so far it's going well. Also, because we're such amazing parents. we slept through all 3 of our alarms on the first day of school, and our kids were late.     

5.) I finished reading, What Alice Forgot, a few weeks ago and I loved it! It's a mix of chick-lit with some more serious themes about marriage. I could not put it down! It's about a woman (named Alice) who accidentally hits her head at the gym, and when she wakes up, she's lost the past 10 years of her life. The last thing she remembers is being madly in love with her husband, is pregnant with their first child, and her sister is her best friend. She comes to find out that she now has 3 children, is in the process of divorcing her husband, and the relationship she has with her sister isn't the same. There are so many great themes in this book and I kept thinking about what I would be like if I woke up and lost the past 10 years. I also read that it's going to be made into a movie next year. Highly recommend! 

6.) We celebrated Riley's birthday a few weeks ago at Disneyland. And do you know what happened??? Everyone in our fam ended up sick the week leading up to our departure. Ryan and I cleaned up a lot of nastiness that week...is there anything worse than cleaning up vom all over the car? The kids got better pretty quickly, and then the night before we were heading for The Happiest Place on Earth, the plague hit both of us. This was the only day we could go, so canceling wasn't an option. We loaded up on Advil, and prayed we'd make it though the day. Ryan felt a lot better, but by mid-day, I started to feel worse. I didn't want to leave the park, so we decided the Infirmary would be a good place to go. It was really nice! I took a 2 hour nap, and when I woke, felt 100% better. I can't decide what the moral of this story is...but just know that if you ever get sick at Disneyland, Mickey Mouse has got your back and will take good care of you in the Infirmary. 

7.) Doing anything fun this labor day weekend? We're planning on going with friends to their cabin...but considering our track record with sickness and fun trips, I'll let you know next week if we actually make it. Happy Labor Day! 


8 Years Later, Her Birth Story

Friday, August 29, 2014
It was an extra hot summer in San Luis Obispo and naturally, our condo didn't have air conditioning. I was 24 years old and married a little less than a year. Ryan was fresh out of law school and I had recently wrapped up my teaching job. For the first time in my life, my only real responsibility was to wait for our baby to be born.

It was August 16th, my due date. I woke up......and...nothing. I heard friends talk about Braxton Hicks Contractions, but I didn't think I was even having those. I spent most of the day walking around downtown SLO, getting coffee, and stopping in to say a prayer at The Mission. I watched other Moms push babies in strollers, and couldn't wait for that to be my life. The day was eventless, and by evening, labor didn't seem likely. I was still determined to do anything within my power to go into labor, so I/we continued to try all the things one does when they want to go into labor. Except castor oil, never tried that.

(28 weeks pregnant with Riley. Taken by Ryan)
I think it was near 8pm that evening when I heard a funny popping sound. Ryan heard it too. We looked at each other, and I'm sure one of us said, "oh shit*!" Our suspicions were correct, my water broke. It was really more of a trickle than a gush of water, nothing like what you see in the movies.The panic and regret started to set in..."why did I think this was a good idea?!?"

I called my (amazing!) Dr., and because I was gbs positive, I had to go to the hospital for antibiotics. There would be no laboring at home, which is how I envisioned my birth story would start (ha!). We also called our doula to let her know I was in the early stages of labor. She would meet us there when I needed her.

Getting checked in at the hospital made me nervous...I just don't like them (who does?). The labor and delivery unit however was warm and friendly, with the exception of the grumpy nurse that took my vitals. If this hadn't been my first baby, the grumpy nurse wouldn't have bothered me, but she did. She didn't like that I wouldn't put on the hospital gown. I hate those gowns, they make me feel like a sick patient. Next, a new nurse came to put in an I.V. This was a nightmare. She messed up twice and the antibiotic was extremely painful going in. Finally, it was time to check dilation....and I was at a big fat zero.   

 A few hours passed and contractions started to pick up. In preparation for the birth, we had taken bradly classes, and I read and listened to all the hypno-babies tapes (on my walkman!), but all of my new found knowledge wasn't doing much to get through the contactions. Things were getting a little too painful for my comfort so we called our doula. As soon as she got there, she immediately had us walk the hospital halls, bounce on the labor ball,  and labor in a hot shower. The best thing about our doula was her experience and emotional support.  

After a loooong, exhausting night, 7am rolls around and it's time to get checked. I'm feeling excited and motivated..."I'm doing this!" I thought. Then the nurse announces, "1.5 cm dilated." Nooooooo! Worst.Feeling.Ever.

If I didn't have a doula, I would have given up right then. But she coached me through the disappointment, and we carried on. We walked more, we labored in the shower more, we bounced on the labor ball more, and eventually I made it to 6cm. The nurses filled the labor tub and I got in. The warm water was a nice relief. 

Two hours passed in the tub, and I got checked again. 7cm. Nooo! Only 1cm in 2 hrs? And the contractions felt stagnant. "Just give me a c-section," I irrationally cried. I was in major meltdown mode complete with ugly tears and a lot of despair. Being awake for 22 hours isn't good for anyone, let alone a first time pregnant mom. Our doula saved the day again and saw me through. But we knew we needed to alter the birth plan a bit. I didn't have a physical birth plan written out, but the goal was a 100% natural birth. 

Since I was so close, the plan was to get a small dose of pitocin to help with dilation, and a shot of stadol for a little relief. It was a good decision. If I didn't have a supportive doctor and a great doula, I think they may have given me a c-section at that point. The stadol experience was strange. I would fall asleep between contractions, have a detailed dream, and then wake up 3 minutes later for the next contractions. Repeat.

The pitocin did it's job. It only took 30 minutes before I went into transition. It's hard to remember all the details of what going through transition was like (for the best), but I knew things were getting serious because my body started to involuntarily push. My dr. said I could stay in the tub for the delivery, but I was hot and having been in the tub for 3 hours, was ready to get out.

I got on the hospital bed and finally made it to 10cm.  I started off pushing all wrong, but a quick, informative pep talk from the nurse, and I figured it out. Pushing wasn't painful, in fact, it was a relief. Our doula was cheering me on and it wasn't until later, that I realized she was also busy firing away pictures with my camera...it was a bit of a shock to accidentally stumble across those images a couple weeks later (not to mention, I don't know where they are at the moment). Forty-five minutes later, my dr. said to reach down and pull her out...and I did! What I would give to be able to travel back in time and experience that moment all over again! 

She had dark hair, olive skin, and was perfectly content to be next to my skin. She was born almost exactly 24 hours after my water broke at 8:21pm and was 8lb. 4oz. She was an easy baby and in those first few months, I didn't understand why people said being a parent was difficult (Trust me, now I know! My boys were not easy babies!). And while I was madly in love with her, I suffered terribly with postpartum anxiety in the year that followed her birth. I hope to write about it soon. 

Next up, Luke's birth story. And you can read Dominic's, 100% medicated, epidural birth here: Part 1Part 2.  

*ok, I have to admit I feel a bit guilty using bad words on the blog. So sorry! Just because this is a true story, I thought it best to keep it real.  

32/52: A Peach Colored Nightgown

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We celebrated Riley's birthday last Sunday. After Mass, I took her to get a haircut, bought her a new dress, and then for her birthday dinner, she wanted pizza with root beer. Macaroons for dessert. Later that night, I couldn't sleep so I logged into my old email address for the first time in years and found the original email I sent out to our friends to announce her birth (this was before the days of Facebook). It brought back All the Feelings.

My grandma died unexpectedly not long after I found out I was pregnant with Riley. I cried almost every night of my pregnancy. Losing my grandma shattered my heart into thousands of pieces and not even the joy of being pregnant did much to help put them back together. But on August 17th, this beautiful baby of ours was born and it changed us forever. Her sweet entrance into this world and into our lives reminded me that with death there is also new life. Slowly, she helped mend my broken heart. 

One of the last gifts my grandma gave me before she passed was an extra large, peach colored nightgown. It wasn't a maternity nightgown, but she knew that if she bought it big enough, it would fit throughout my entire pregnancy. Eight years and three babies later, I still have it. Sometimes Riley even wears it to sleep. Seeing her wear that nightgown is a reminder of the healing her birth brought to my grief stricken heart. It's a reminder that even though my grandma is no longer here with us physically, she lives on through my daughter and through a peach colored nightgown. 

Happy Birthday Riley!! Here's to all the Goodness and Beauty you bring to the world! 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014" 


Monday, August 18, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014"

I've got a few weeks to catch up on, and I plan on doing it all this week! 

We headed down south to visit my in-laws and while we were there, we went to Disneyland (blog post about that coming soon) and spent a few days at the beach. I grew up just a few miles from the ocean, and while I'm content not living next to the beach anymore, I do really miss the fresh salty air, foggy mornings, and the sunsets.    

Merci, Ya'll | Austin, Texas

Saturday, August 16, 2014
A few weeks ago I stepped off a plane, and hopped into our faithful Odyessey. I hate flying. Like, order-vodka-as-soon-as-I get-on-the-plane-and-spend-the-entire-time-convincing-myself-it-won't-crash-hate. Which made greeting my family in the minivan feel like finding a pot of gold. Even if Dominic was screaming. Still, jackpot!   

 Alright, let's talk about Texas.

I had this assumption I would return home well rested. That's what happens when you have a weekend away without kids, right? Not this time! But it's ok because there was a cocktail party with crazy shoes, 6th Street in downtown Austin (which really was quite weird), karaoke, dance parties, late nights, margaritas, good food, and beautiful talks about being a Mother. Especially about being a Catholic Mother. (Sara's post is my favorite recap of the weekend).

Many of the women who attended the Edel Gathering were bloggers, and this opportunity provided a chance to meet, in person. It sounds funny to say that, "in person." But I think it's safe to say that in this time and place, "meeting people on the internet" isn't all that strange anymore. It was awesome to see the connection between e-friends who now became friends in real life.

For the past few years, I mainly followed photography related blogs. It's only been in the last year that I came to adore, follow, and love blogs of women who shared a passion for their faith and families. So many women have shared their stories of conversion, their struggles in Mothering, and it has often been balm to my weary soul. Dramatic much? Maybe. But just knowing that there are other mothers out there, in the trenches of day-to-day life with small children, that has made this housewife feel not so alone. Or weird. This vocation of ours is beautifully sanctifying, and it's a joy to virtually discover this e-world of Catholic bloggers. 

But then a funny thing happened. In the weeks that followed, I couldn't help but feel this strange mixture of feelings. It was uncomfortable. It was like a mix of inspired, insecure, motivated and doubtful. With a little OCD thrown in. I couldn't quite figure out where it was coming from. I had just returned from this wonderful weekend, shouldn't I be on some type of Mom High?   

I prayed. I talked to friends. And then it started to make sense.

Here's the thing. It's hard not to feel just a little overwhelmed in a room with over 200 women. And I do mean overwhelmed in all the best possible ways. But I left wishing that I could have gotten to know people a little better. It's a good problem to have really. 

Which is where blogging comes into the picture.... and the topic of blogging, I realized, was also the source of a lot of those uncomfortable feelings. 

After Edel, I'd sit down at my beloved laptop to work on this little ol' blog and I'd start to think, "Why am I doing this? I can't keep up! Maybe I'm too much of an Over-Thinker to be a Blogger? I should probably shut it down and just refer to it as That One Time I Tried To be a Blogger. But I want to make some blogging friends. Why am I doing this again?" And so it went. 

And you know what I realized through all that Over Thinking? I really do like having this space to write and share pictures! It's fun! It's challenging! There may not have been enough time in two days to get to know 200 women, but the friendships don't have to stop at Edel. Through blogging, Instagram, Facebook, we're all getting to know each other a little better....until next year, when hopefully we can meet up again. Karaoke Round 2 is waiting for us.       


^^ Merci, Ya'll - I liked the way This Austin Crepe restaurant said Thank You :) 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014"

I was in Texas last weekend, and still haven't quite recovered. Piles and piles of laundry along with a lot of plain ole' disorganization have me feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. While I was gone, Ryan managed to put together the crib, clean the garage, organize the backyard, and generally keep things sane at the Seeley Casita. I was home a mere 48 hours before there was banana smooshed all over the couch*, fed my kids dry cereal for dinner, and legos were everywhere, which then caused multiple foot injuries. 

Sooo.....I barely managed to take any pictures this week. At least none that accurately depict the Crazy that was these past few days. And you may already know if we're friends over here about my glasses being snapped in half or that time I thought I could make it just a few more miles, but ended up running out of gas in a parking lot. 

*And you want to know a little secret? I clone stamped (aka removed) the smooshed banana in the couch in this photo.     

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design