Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and Christmas Awesomeness

I hope that everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. We were going to be in California during Thanksgiving, but since Chris wasn't able to finish his Masters degree in time, we instead had a quiet Thanksgiving at home. I cooked a lot on Thanksgiving, but since I wasn't in the mood to deal with fighting a huge raw bird, I bought a cooked turkey from Trader Joes that just had to be throw in the oven an hour before. I won't do that again. It was not very good at all, but I guess I shouldn't have had high hopes. It was still a great Thanksgiving, and I don't ever want to take for granted (although I know that I often do) how much I have to be grateful for in my life.

Today we headed out to Kings Valley to Sunrise Christmas Tree Farm to look for and cut down the perfect Christmas tree. It was an awesome little farm, and I think that beginning next weekend, they will have a little petting zoo along with a few other things for kids to do. The kids had so much fun decorating the tree and pulling out our Christmas stuff (which I realized I don't really have that much of). The joy of children during the Holiday season is priceless, and I plan on enjoying every moment of this Holiday season.

Now on to my more random topic of the day. Nesting is in full gear folks. With a little under two months until the arrival of this baby, here are some ways that I know that I am nesting and a hormonal preggo lady:
*I have 90% of my Christmas shopping done. Although I enjoy shopping, I despise it during the Holiday season. I feel like making late night trips to Target, desperately searching for last minute gifts for people who don't really need anything to begin with is big Holiday ruiner for me. By shopping way ahead of time, I was able to put more thought into many of the gifts. I know that I potentially could have saved a lot of money by shopping today, but it is not worth the stress to me. I like the Holidays to be meaningful and low-stress, so having the shopping out of the way lets me put my focus on the more pleasant parts of Christmas.
*I was obsessed with getting a tree as early as possible, and we have already been listening to Christmas music for a week. I love Christmas, but I'm not usually this intense about getting the festivities rolling.
*I got pulled over two days ago and got my first ticket ever (well actually, I got two). I won't tell the whole story, but I would like to mention that I got a $140 ticket for not having my new address on my driver's license. Are you kidding me? Everything is totally current. Did you all know that you can get a ticket for not having your updated address on your driver's license? After being in the middle of a hard day to begin with, I became a sobbing mess after getting my tickets. I sobbed to Chris for a long time, and my sweet kids kept drawing me pictures to cheer me up, but once my raging hormone tears began to fall, there was no stopping them. I felt a little (actually a lot) insane in the membrane for awhile. I can think of a 1,000 ways I would rather spend $300. Hopefully my tickets will be lowered when I go to court.
*Okay, this one is a little weird, but my senses have kicked into high gear, and while at the beginning of pregnancy there are many smells that I can't handle (my kitchen, garlic etc...), at this stage, there are some smells that I love. I love love smelling lavender. I will literally sit and sniff my lavender essential oil bath salts that my friend made me for 5 minutes. I also found this random soap at the grocery outlet that is all natural that was made in Turkey. It is olive oil soap with Laurel, and I have to go smell it every once in awhile. It smells like dirt, and I for some reason am digging earthy smells right now. Okay, so I am admitting too much of my weirdness maybe, but I wasn't into smell as much during my other pregnancies. Are there any other smell obsessed pregnant women out there?
*My friend Adrienne came over the other day to show me how to make homemade yogurt. I am a changed woman, and I can not believe how economical it is to make homemade yogurt. It made me so happy to see my kids eating it up today. For how little patience I feel like I have lately, it is amazing how good I feel when I make things from scratch for my familia.
Okay... enough blabbing for one night. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Isn't it beautiful out there?? I suppose there is no better place to get a Christmas tree than Oregon.

Gabe is such a big boy carrying the Christmas tree the kids got to decorate in the play room.

Homeboy Chris busy at work doing his manly duty.

On a family walk on Thanksgiving down the street on our way to buy some apples at Twedts. I like my (for the most part) simple life.

You can see a little of my preggo belly. I feel like I am looking and feeling now how I usually feel at the very end of pregnancy, but I'm sure that chasing and lifting two other kids may have something to do with that :).

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's on My Mind

*I have gotten my feelings hurt over a couple of different incidents in the last couple of days, and I have been trying to follow the advice my friend Tonya gave me (that she received from a good friend). When you want to vent, you can vent 3 different times to 3 different people (which is easy to do considering I have 4 sisters before I even start counting friends), and then you have to drop it and try to get over it...end of story. I found that this is really helpful. Venting is good, but sometimes when I vent too much, I end up getting more worked up reliving the whole scenario again and again. If I get my venting over with and commit to being done, it is much easier to get my head and heart in a more forgiving place. The thing is.... life is too short to waste your precious time and energy on things that don't really matter, because often the things I get hurt over are not that important in the grand scheme of things. I can sometimes make myself physically sick when I worry about something, and that does not help me be a good mom/wife in the present. I so wish that I was a little less sensitive, but while I continue to work on that, I can at least work on letting go of things a little faster. Have you ever noticed people who are always dwelling on the negative and making little things into big drama? I don't want to be one of those people. I also realized that I am not very good often times at taking my feelings to Heavenly Father to help me heal. I need to be better about that. We are not meant to heal on our own.
What do you all do to help shake things off that bother you? I have to say that I think my pregnant hormones automatically put a few strikes against me. I feel a little more negative/tired/cynical when I am hormonal, so I look forward to a more normal Kara (which will happen when..... since I will be nursing for a long time??).
*Day lights savings time really sucks. My little guy who used to wake up at 6:00, now consistently wakes up between 5:00-5:30, and sometimes earlier. On the positive side, it definitely makes it less painful to wake up early to go walking with my neighbor when I am already up :). I am in such a better mood when I exercise in the morning, and I come home in a happy mood. That is how I need to start my day. I am not so much of an early morning person, but I am realizing that as life gets busier and busier, I will have to make exercising a priority in the morning or it probably won't happen.

*I am happy to say that both of my kids dress themselves almost every day. Sometimes their outfit choices are unique, but most days I don't even fight it, because I want to reinforce the fact that my kids can dress themselves!! Gabe usually ends up with his underwear and pants on backwards, but he doesn't seem to mind, so I guess I shouldn't since I'm not the one with the wedgie :).

*We are taking a break from Sofia's preschool in the winter. Sofia loves her preschool, and although it is a great preschool, it involves a ton of work and coordination from the parents (it is a co-op preschool). For awhile I was feeling kind of crappy like, "What of parent am I not to be able to even handle doing preschool?" My mom was here last Friday and saw how hard it is to get Gabe out of the door in the morning after him waking up at 5:00 (he is a homebody who loves playing at home), and the whole process that includes insane parking, walking with both kids, finding something to do with Gabe since there isn't a ton of time to go home, and then dealing with parking and a tantruming Gabe as I try to peel him away from Sofia's classroom, and all of the volunteering in the classroom and childcare swapping I do with other parents when they are volunteering. My mom (the mother of 6 children) asked me how I planned on adding a baby to that chaos in January. It was so good to hear permission and validation from someone who has raised 6 children, that I was maybe trying to do too much with a new baby thrown into the equation. Thanks mom. Sofia loves preschool, but I will take the kids to an art class once a week so she still has something special, and I can do fun stuff with her at home. I also will be taking a break from teaching in the winter, and I am really feeling like it is best for my family right now to simplify as much as possible so we can all make a smooth transition to new baby Becerra.

*My kids continue to be as cute as ever. Yesterday, I was mean to Gabe when he was trying to wrestle with me and accidentally kicked me in the face. He ran off to his room to cry (he likes to pout in private). Sofia immediately ran to his room to try to comfort him, and I heard her saying, "Are you okay Gabe? You just made a mistake didn't you? We all make mistakes Gabe, but it's okay Gabe, we can all repent." I sat in the other room laughing and amazed. Whose child is that?? Not that we don't try to teach her good things, but I feel like she is more spiritually in tune than I am half of the time. My kids love each other so much, and that is one of the things that brings me the greatest joy. I hope that even when they fight, that they will always love each other this much.
*Speaking of living in the moment, I need to stop this long post, I have a little boy who wants some book reading and snuggling.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quick Book Reviews

I have read a lot in the last couple of months. Sorry not to share more detail, but with the pregnancy brain and hormones I am experiencing right now, aren't you just impressed that I am reading at all :)??

-I have mixed feelings about this book. It is definitely a quick read and interesting, but I would say that I prefer a couple of the books below if you were going to choose which to start with. It is about a college student who was kidnapped (fictional), and confined in a small room of a shed for several years. During the years, she bears a child from the kidnapper, and the book is actually told from the voice and perspective of the 5 year old son. I don't want to ruin too much, but the book is mostly about their escape and it speaks to me about the love of a mother. Like I said, it is good (and a bit depressing), but read "The Help" first if you are looking for a good book.

-Good old Dr. Sears... you gotta love the dude. Although Dr. Sears can be a fairly predictable dude at times (baby wearing, nursing, good nutrition etc...), this book actually had some very good info in it. Obviously we all know that eating a lot of processed crap would logically affect children's behavior negatively, but it was very interesting to read about what processed foods to do the brains of growing kids (and actually change its' composition). We also hear a lot of high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils being no no's in foods, but I wondered more about other additives and preservatives. It was good to get a list of other additives not to feed kids and some of the specific reasons why. I also really liked how Dr. Sears says that before ever prescribing medicine for a kid for disorders like adhd, he insists on a complete diet and lifestyle change to see how much of the problem behavior is caused by poor health. I feel like we are pretty healthy, but we have a ways to go until I am happy with my family's nutrition. For those of you who have "bad eaters" who are used to a lot of junky foods, it may be harder to change bad habits, but it is not too late. A lot of people talk about how eating healthy is more expensive than eating poorly, but Dr. Sears claims that you will save money in the long run not having to deal with the life long Dr. bills that come with bad health. Good nutrition/health is a wonderful gift to give to our children, and I want to do a better job.

-This was one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. I was worried at first as it is pretty long, but I wanted to spend every spare second I had reading it. The book explores what the lives were like for different black maids in Alabama in the 60's (the book is fictional but realistic). The author gives the best detail and voices to each character. Please oh please read this book and let me know what you think. Loved it!!

-This was another great book. I was skeptical at first wondering if I would like a fiction novel based off of Old Testament characters (Dinah and the wives and posterity of Jacob), but it was actually really interesting. I liked the perspective it gave of what life could possibly be like for the wives of Jacob. I read this one awhile ago, so it is not as fresh in my mind, but it was another stay up late at night read.

5 Years Old!!

I have a five year old. It's true. Sofia actually just informed me that she is almost 6 now. Why are they so anxious to grow up? I swear being a grown up is not that cool :). Here are some things to remember about Sofia right now:
*She is really tall. She is almost always way taller than most of her little friends and playmates.
*She is such a nurturing little gal. I know that she is going to be such a big help when the baby is born, and I have a feeling that I am going to need it! She is always mothering Gabe, which is sweet but I'm sure that it will annoy him someday :).
*This girl has the kindest heart. The other day Gabe last his one allotted piece of Halloween candy for the day because he wouldn't listen to me. Sofia immediately said, "It's okay Gabe, I'll pick something out that I can share with you." She is constantly doing things like this, and she is concerned about how others are feeling.
*Girlfriend has a wonderful zest for life. Yes she is loud and pretty much has no concept of using an indoor voice, but there is no denying that she is a happy girl.
*She is destined for great things. I don't know what her future holds, but I know there are great things to come for this girl.
We love this girl so much and our family wouldn't be complete without her.

My brother and his family stopped by for some birthday fun.

Most of the girl cousins. I love fall here, The leaves are so beautiful right now. Not so excited about having to rake them all up though :).

Sofia opening this beautiful blanket that Grandma Sharon knit for her. Isn't it amazing??

Sofia doing an art project with cousins. I made clear gelatin for the kids, and they played with it and shot colors in with medicine droppers. Fun, but a little messier than I thought :)

Sofia dressed up as Little Bo Peep for Halloween.