Living Our Story

Life is lived outdoors during Summer. Time spent in front of a computer is minimal and goes unnoticed. I am extremely thankful to find myself happy in my life's present season. The days are filled with activity so much so we are almost too tired to make it into bed at night. My children seem to grow as quickly as my garden in this sometimes sweltering heat. Their words, their activities and understanding of how this big crazy world fits together amazes me. Together we carry handfuls of tomato, cucumber, sweet peppers, corn and squash from the garden each day. My son reminds me how they all started as small seedlings just like him as my daughter fills her cheeks with the ripe fruit. My heart is full. In front of me I find a narrow pathway along the creek, small fish and polliwogs just below the waters surface. The rocky terrain of a somewhat treacherous bike trail and my husbands silhouette a few yards ahead.  Wet faces adorned with swim goggles and grins popping up from a cool pool. A waterfall so loud we resort to communicating with hand signals while wiping the mist from our sunglasses. A forest of trees more mystifying than any movie on the big screen. This is summer. I imagine myself adrift in these moments forever. I write in my head and rarely ever on paper or in type. There is very plainly more living to be had than there is time to report on it. We are living our story and I rather like this one. So for the moment I am going to step away from the keyboard and enjoy my little ones while they are still little. 
Happy Summer.

Toddler Talk

Listening to my children speak makes me happy and quite entertaining. Talking with them, encouraging them to tell stories and "use their words" is simple enough. I thought I would share some of my favorite JQ and Stellita words and phrases while they are still in that baby, toddler talk phase. Soon enough they will be correcting my grammar so I am going to enjoy this little bit of toddler-hood while I can. 

Things Joaquin "The Kid" (as he insists on being called) says at four and a half years old:
huge-mongous = humongous
fixie-dollars = fifty dollars
eleven-teen = eleven
fink = think
hang-gauber = hamburger
busy = dizzy
teef = teeth
auppissal = Octopus
 Both kids say Steh-wah = Stella
Lithia Park, Ashland OR.
I am consistently taken by Stella's use of words. Some things she says at just three years old:
weeto = huevito 
jammaz = pajamas 
foam = phone
fings = things
make-ed = naked
dat = that
 Lithia Park, Ashland OR.

Summer Time Epic Family Playdate

Just like that, Summer is at full throttle. The days are long and hot. The kind of days where you break a sweat without moving and collapse into bed each night and wake only when the morning light sneaks in through the window. The routines that come with school and ballet lessons are replaced with a single daily trip to the pool. To break things up we have enjoyed regular family playdates. Spending quality family time away from the everyday having a seriously good time. This means taking it a few notches up and having a side splitting, wide eyed day making memories. It helps our summer to be truly awesome and brings our family together. Top on my list for such an Epic Playdate is an exhilarating sailboat trip off the coast of Santa Cruz, California. My kids and I love the water but I have yet to share the joy of sailing with them. One that I have known since I was a child. We would start our adventure on land however. A bike ride to the farmers market to load up fresh baked goodness, berries and such. Off on our bikes, my Mr. in the lead. Stella stuffing her cheeks with strawberries in her seat behind me. My coffee spilling a bit at every turn.  My son grins at the dips and turns down the bike path to the harbor. Once on the boat and out of the slip we would pass a group of sea otters, maybe 30 or 40 floating and playing in the kelp. They watch us float by and its almost as if they wave or give us a "whats up" as we pass. Stella screams out "look at the babies!." We would enjoy lunch on the deck and the salty water would splash up sending the kiddos into fits of giggles. Maybe we even dare to hang our feet off. Thier still baby like toes curled up above the dark ocean water. They would learn to help raise the sail, what it means to "come about" and feel the power of the wind as it pushed us along the top of the water. Other families have taken the idea of "The Epic Playdate" and made it there own while spending meaningful time together as a family having fun! Such bloggers as Dooce who traveled with her family to Arches National Park to explore the breath taking natural landscape. You can see the video of that trip here. What would you do on an epic family playdate with your family this summer?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Mom Bloggers For Social Good. Joaquin's Birth Story

Overdue by four days and after a midwife appointment at which I was told to hold tight for another week or so, my water broke. In reality and especially for a first pregnancy I realized I had more of a "due month" than a due date and although I was anxious to meet my sweet boy I knew he would come when he was ready.  I loved being pregnant. I felt humongous, walked with a waddle and giggle and had certainly gained more than any chart would recommend. But I was happy and in love with the little one I had yet to meet and the man I had created him with. I felt relaxed and having read almost anything I could get my hands on about midwifery, natural child birth and the like, I felt prepared. So says the first time Mom...
 It was 10:30 pm, Mr. and I lay in bed staring up at the darkness talking when I heard and felt a "pop" on the top of my belly. It wasn't painful at all, just like someone gave me a good thump on the pancita. I asked Mr. if he had heard anything as I sat up in bed. Of course he hadn't. I walked to the bathroom a few steps away still unsure of what had happened and then I realized as the water appeared on the floor, my water had broken. A bit alarmed at the sight of blood as well I asked Mr. to call the midwives. During a short conversation on the phone in which the midwife suggest I head to the hospital as a precaution and because of the amount of blood I experienced my first contraction. It had been about ten minutes since my water had broken. At the hospital the nurses where expecting us. Our midwife, Lisa had called ahead and we were escorted to the "maybe baby room". Here I was monitored as well as the baby and the nurse checked me. At about this time I started to feel nauseous. As the nurse was explaining that my water had broken, everything looked fine ant that I was about 4 centimeters dilated I threw up all over.I was completely caught off guard and was totally embarrassed I had hadn't even been able to make it to the trash. Humility is just one of the many things I learned to accept in childbirth.The nurse advised that we could go home or stay, it was really up to us. After all of my readying and research about laboring at home versus the hospital and the horrendous smell of vomit in my hair we headed home.
At home I showered and tried to relax and even sleep (it was the middle of the night). The contractions where slowly getting stronger so I wasn't able to sleep. I gathered a few things for my hospital bag and worked through some contractions hunched over the side of the bed. The house was dark and quiet and remember feeling calm, studious and happy. When the pain became almost unbearable I told Mr. it was time to head back to the hospital. It was 4 am. As we were leaving I started to feel nausea again. Something I hadn't expected and it alarmed me a little. After arriving at the hospital, a five minute drive from our home, we were directed into a delivery room right away. I was checked and told that I was 7 centimeters dilated. Mr.being the typical novice first time Daddy and a very loving husband called my parents who promptly drove to the hospital. It was 5:30 am. I had gotten sick a few times since arriving at the hospital so I was given a walking IV for fluids and nausea medicine. I walked the halls to help the labor along, puked in a bucket held my Mr.and grasping his arm or the wall railing during contractions. My Dad peeked in on us and Mr. chatted it up with the ladies at the nursing station. The contractions where getting more painful and so the nurses prepared the jacuzzi tub for me. I am immeasurably thankful to have delivered at a hospital that offered a jacuzzi tub to labor in. I dozed between contractions and watched Mr. sleep beside the tub. We had been up all night. After an hour in the tub and contractions that where getting closer together the midwife checked my progress once I was back in the delivery room. I was 9 1/2 centimeters dilated. The pain was overwhelming and I asked for something to manage it. I was given pain medication via an IV. Lisa, our Midwife explained to me that the baby was facing my thigh, not my tailbone as he should be. To get the baby to turn on his own I labored on my side a while. It worked. The baby turned and it was now time to start pushing. I had no "urge" to push. Not once. I simply pushed with the contractions as Mr. held one leg and a delivery nurse the other. The midwife was there the entire time. Talking to me, encouraging me. I delivered the baby's head after 45 minutes of pushing and a tremendous amount of pain. I was sure the worst was over. But after being unable to deliver the rest of the baby easily I panicked. What! Isn't the head the hardest part? Up until this point I had been able to calm myself. I was built to do this after all. My body was built to do this. Woman do this all over the world with very little if any help at all. Woman have done this since the beginning of time. I can do this. This had been my mantra. The pain medication I was given "takes the edge off". It did not make it go away. It dulled it and I was afraid. When the nurses and the midwife told me there would have to be one more big push to deliver the baby's shoulders I said, NO! No, no, no. I cant. Two contractions came and went and I did nothing. I didn't push. I panicked. The entire room emphatically answered back. Yes, you can! You have to do this! My Mr. looked me in the face, "you can do this!" And I did and not without the worst pain I have ever felt to date. Joaquin was placed on my chest and I remember him being wrinkled and bluish in color. He was beautiful. A nurse handed me a small oxygen tube and asked me to hold it under the babies face. I did what I was told. I had stressed my little guy out having him in the birth canal. After a few seconds of oxygen the baby began to cry. He was so small and had so much hair! Like a full grown person walking down the street amount of hair. The nurse asked to take the baby to an Isolette near my bedside to weigh and measure him. The announced his weight, 9 pounds 3 ounces. I began to cry. At that moment I was told also that the baby had low blood sugar and would have to be taken to the NICU, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I still absorbing this miracle of what had taken place was speechless. I remember saying okay and looking at my husband with wide eyes. Go with the baby I told him and they quickly left the room wheeling the Isolette down the hall.The midwife was busying about her job of tending to me. There where so many things happening. Some of my family arrived in the room missing my Mr. and the baby by moments. As soon as I could stand I was allowed to see the baby in the NICU. They had given him an IV and feed him an ounce of formula. Looking back and knowing what I do know I would have tried and nursed my son immediately. Even as the nurses put me back together. My baby boy needed to eat! They monitored him for two days until his blood sugar evened out. I nursed him in the NICU and there was no further need for formula after that initial ounce. He never lost any weight as most newborns do. This kid was born to eat! I remember being incredibly thankful for the my Midwife Lisa and the labor and delivery nurses. They were all so kind, attentive and knowledgeable. Even the counseling and couching, encouragement I received in my prenatal visits proved indispensable. We delivered this baby together, all of us. Expect the Unexpected I was told. Make an ideal birth plan and expect in NOT to go that way. My hope is that many more women are able to have the support, education and medical care that I and my newborn baby had.  I remain in awe of myself,  my children and of the men and women that devote there lives to helping nurture and care for mothers and babies around the world. As part of Save The Children's Annual State Of The Worlds Mothers (SOWM) report I am honored to recall the births of my two children this month. This post will be shared on The Gates Foundation Blog as well as as part of my association with Mom Bloggers For Social Good
Hanna Andersson

Mom Bloggers For Social Good. Stella's Birth Story

What a wondrous ability we have been bestowed with. We woman, we mothers, we earthly beings. This miracle of creation. I remain in awe of myself,  my children and of the men and women that devote there lives to helping nurture and care for mothers and babies around the world. As part of Save The Children's Annual State Of The Worlds Mothers (SOWM) report I am honored to recall the births of my two children this month. 
From the first fluttering deep in my belly to the nursing of my sweet babes the first and every time. We are miraculous beings. Never have I felt more purpose on earth and connection with my body then during my pregnancies and during the labor and delivery of my children. I first shared Stellita's birth story here a week after she was born. Joaquin's birth story was written in a journal, before I started blogging and I have yet to share it here. Both days I remember with immeasurable joy and amazement. As different as my two children are so too are their birth stories. My labor was incredibly short with Stella, my second child. Four hours from when I woke with the pinch of contractions to her actual arrival qualifies as quick I think, no? I hesitate to say it was "easy" because giving birth just isn't, you mothers know. Frankly though once my water broke Stella was born within seven minutes and two pushes. And so goes the story of Stella Anita's birth. 

 via Save The Children
I woke with moderate contractions at 3 am. They were not contractions I could ignore and already about 5 to 7 minutes apart. Mr. and I quietly packed up a very asleep baby Joaquin and dropped him at my parents house a few minutes away. It was a week before my due date. My Mom and Dad met us in the night air in front of there house with smiles and wide eyes. Today would be the day! We left them with Joaquin and  headed up the hill to Feather River Hospital 30 minutes away. It was 3:45 am. My midwife, whom I like very much had gently lectured me that this labor could go very fast and to be "prepared". She mentioned that I may not have enough time to make the 30 minute drive to Paradise hospital where the midwives deliver babies. I may have to go directly to Enloe Hospital just a few minutes from my home where a Doctor would be overseeing my labor and delivery. Having had an extremely positive experience  with the midwife during my sons labor and delivery I convinced myself we had enough time to make the drive. We arrived at just about 4 am and I was bracing and breathing through now with every contraction. Although I new I was getting close and my contractions were getting really intense at about 3 minutes apart I had no idea how close. We got into a room and the nurse checked me stating I was 8 centimeters dilated. Everyone started scattering and darting and my Mr. seemed to disappear for a few minutes perhaps to spread the news? I tried to make myself comfortable. The quick feet and rustling about from the nurses did not effect my calm. I was going to meet my baby girl soon! Walking around the room and letting my belly hang down as I held the side of the bed, rocking side to side proved helpful. The midwife arrived and promptly checked me and asked if I felt the need to push. Um, really? No. I was fully dilated but had no urge to push.  While I wanted a natural child birth at this point and with my previous birthing experience I asked the midwife if I could have a pain killer of some sort. I was still experiencing an manageable pain level but was thinking ahead of what I was sure to come. She quickly told me that there was "no time" for it. "The baby was coming". I panicked just a bit. My son being only 17 months old at the time the memory of his rather painful and drawn out labor and delivery was fresh in my mind. After a few more contractions and moving to lie on the bed I asked her again if there was anyway they could give me something for the pain. Her reply was the same and this time she addressed my Mr. as well. Perhaps he had panic on his face too? Or rather she was looking for him to reassure? She was kind and yet direct and having complete confidence in my midwife I accepted her answer. I would do this completely natural and it would be okay, I told myself. I was scared.  Nauseous at this point I thought I was going to get sick. Maybe I even did get sick, my husband would most definitely remember that bit of detail. The pressure of the baby was very uncomfortable (like she was pressing down on my tail bone).Reaching the unbearable I announced I was going to sit up or stand to try and relieve the pressure I was feeling. Standing proved very helpful with my sons delivery as did walking around. There was a quick glance between nurse and midwife (the only other people in the room aside from Mr. and I). Just then as I turned my body to the side to get lift myself up my water broke and the pressure was instantly gone. I laid back down and as the midwife took her post an enormous contraction came over me. I had read and heard about the "need" to push but hadn't experienced it with my first labor and delivery. I never once had the "need" to push when delivering my son. I pushed when I was told to, with a contraction. Whammo! There was no way I wasn't going to push with what I was feeling this time. It was as if my entire body was working to push the baby out without me. The midwife was ready and with another overwhelming contraction Stellita was born. It was 7:12 am. She was tiny and pink and nursed within minutes. My eyes scanned over her admiring every detail. She had trouble staying warm for the first few hours so I held her skin to skin as much as I could and she spent some time in the Isolette under heat lamps near my bedside. I was immediately grateful for the attention and care she received from the nurses. I was in complete awe and remain so to this day. Stella is asleep a few inches away from me now as I write this. My almost three year old baby girl. She remains true to her birth story. Fiery and quick and I love her.I plan to share Joaquin's birth story, a very different experience and one that sealed my faith in midwifery and the care given in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), on Mother's Day as he is the one that made me a mother. Come back if you wish and please share with me your birthing stories.

This post will be shared on The Gates Foundation Blog as well as as part of my association with Mom Bloggers For Social Good. To close I'd like to share lovely Save The Children video featuring Jennifer Garner, Rachel Zoe, Alyson Hannigan and Jennifer Connelly reflecting on some first moments with baby.


Another week, another Friday and I would probably be at a total loss as to what I actually did if it were not in part for my iPhone photos. I realized as I attached these photos I have a duplicate but asi es mi vida ahora miso. I think you'll forgive me. I forgive me. Both mis bebes are growing as quickly as my garden it seems. They have stolen my heart all over again and I stand in utter amazement just as I did on the days they were born. If I do nothing else while on this earth I will be content to have in part created and seen these creatures grow. I am looking forward to the weekend, BBQ, bike rides and star gazing and mostly having Mr. home for a couple days, a short work week and celebrating his birthday on the 1st! Roadtrip anyone?! whoot, whoot!! By the way did anyone see the full moon last night? It was gigantic!
Linking to InstaFriday at LifeRearranged.

Earth Day Opportunity

JQ on a field trip to a local soil farm
Just like Valentines Day and Mothers Day it isn't at all bad to have an actual reminder on the calender to recognize someone or something. Earth Day is no different. Some of us need that extra little incentive to perhaps reevaluate an aspect of our life. Look at Earth Day as an opportunity. Whether it be how and what we eat, where we spend our hard earned dollars or what type of footprint we are leaving on the earth this is a chance, a reminder, an opportunity to change for the better.  As a Mami I am consistently planting seeds in the minds of my little ones. The importance of empathy, respecting the Earth, or philanthropy my purpose, my job at this time in my life is to instill these things in my children by example. We are lucky enough to live in an area that for the most part is very "green" both as a community and environmentally. We have one of the largest municipal parks less than a mile away. We can easily make our way to natural food stores, green waste, and soil farms. Our city was once named one of the most bike friendly in the country!So like almost everyday, we will be outside on Earth Day. Being outside and in natural landscapes has always been important to me. I am fortunate to be able to share that with my children and help them to respect and enjoy it as well.
Al igual que el Día de San Valentín y Día de la Madre no es del todo malo tener un recordatorio de lo contrario, el calendario de reconocer a alguien o algo. Día de la Tierra no es diferente. Algunos de nosotros necesitamos ese pequeño incentivo extra para reevaluar quizá un aspecto de nuestra vida. Mira Día de la Tierra como una oportunidad. Ya se trate de la forma y lo que comemos, donde pasamos nuestros dólares ganados duros o qué tipo de huella que dejamos en la tierra, esta es una oportunidad, un recordatorio, una oportunidad de cambiar para mejor. Como Mami estoy plantando constantemente semillas en la mente de mis pequeños. La importancia de la empatía, el respeto a la tierra, o la filantropía mi propósito, mi trabajo en este momento en mi vida es la de inculcar estas cosas en mis hijos con el ejemplo. Tenemos la suerte de vivir en una zona que en su mayor parte es muy "verde", tanto como comunidad y el medio ambiente. Tenemos uno de los mayores parques municipales de menos de una milla de distancia. Fácilmente podemos hacer nuestro camino a las tiendas de alimentos naturales, desechos verdes y granjas del suelo. Nuestra ciudad una vez fue nombrada como una de las más bike friendly en el país! Así como casi todos los días, vamos a estar fuera en el día de la Tierra. Estar al aire libre y en los paisajes naturales ha sido siempre importante para mí. Tengo la suerte de poder compartir con mis hijos y ayudarles a respetar y disfrutar de ella también. 
My little ones are often (very often) barefoot in the yard. We get dirty. We touch, smell and observe things in nature. The understand food comes from plants and trees and also from the store. They freely pluck tomatoes and peas and broccoli from the yard. Stella sings to the moon and stars at night and we eagerly what a blue jay devour a worm in the morning. and two and four they don't know about pollution and the bigger picture but they do know we don't throw trash on the ground. They know worms are good for the garden and plants need clean water and sunshine to grow. I am thankful for this small reminder on my calender to do more in the way of living a cleaner, greener lifestyle.

Mis pequeños son a menudo (muy a menudo) descalzo en el patio. Nos ensuciamos. Nos tocamos, olemos y observamos las cosas en la naturaleza. La comida Entienda proviene de las plantas y árboles, así como de la tienda. Ellos libremente arrancan los tomates y los guisantes y brócoli en el patio. Stella le canta a la luna y las estrellas en la noche y con entusiasmo lo que un arrendajo azul devorar un gusano en la mañana. y dos y cuatro que no saben acerca de la contaminación y la imagen más grande, pero sí saben que no se tire basura en el suelo. Ellos saben que los gusanos son buenos para el jardín y las plantas necesitan agua limpia y el sol para crecer. Estoy agradecido por este pequeño recordatorio en mi calendario para hacer más en la forma de vivir un estilo de vida más limpio y verde.

Now through April 30th Beautorium is offering up to 20% off site wide. Try natural beauty products and celebrate Earth Day!  Save up to 20% on Great Natural Beauty Brands



Its become my Friday ritual. Reflecting on some of this weeks events via my Instagram photos. This week I realized as long as we are together, we really would be fine regardless of where we find ourselves. Be it Baltimore, L.A., Emeryville, Ventura or Chico I've really, really got everything I need. I am not as attached to our material things as I once might have been. The Adventure is much more fun...

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