Friday, December 30, 2011

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,....and two Dogs?

Rowan was born in 2010, the year of the Tiger.  I was told by a friend that this is a very lucky thing, as the Tiger is a strong, independent and powerful animal.  If I wasn't feeling proud enough to have my little Tiger, I was told that our next baby {we affectionately call him "Trouble"} will be a Dragon.  This, my friend said, was very good.  He said that I was extremely lucky to have {or be having} two boys, a Tiger and a Dragon - the two most powerful animals.  He also said, that Dragons and Tigers get along.  NICE!

Now, the Chinese zodiac calendar is not necessarily part of our culture or personal beliefs.  I find this kind of information very fun and interesting, and I love to hear about it!  That said, I wouldn't, say, make any important decisions or judgements based on these beliefs, or put too much emphasis behind them. got our curiosity burning a little.  So we looked up compatibility amongst the animals of the Chinese calendar, and based on this website, it looks like Dragons and Tigers do, in fact, get along very well.  And so do Dogs {Rogér and I are both Dogs} and Tigers.  For the Dog parent/Tiger child, it said "Easy Parenting".  Wahoo!  So true, right? 
What a roll we're on!

Until we got to the Dog parent/Dragon child relationship.....

"Problems will arise" 

That's what it says.  Looks like "Trouble" has been aptly nicknamed!  Ha!

We'll have to try not to hold his personality against him....he is a Dragon after all. ;)


What fun our little Tiger and Dragon are going to be!  Lots of adventures ahead of us with these two!

image source:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#WEverb11 - Signing Off

Well, as I kind of expected WEverb 11, has sped on ahead, leaving me in the dust.

I thought I might try to catch up, but honestly, it's pretty overwhelming to look at all the posts I'd still have to write.  I hope that doesn't make me a quitter ;)  Still had a good time for the first {almost} half, and I've enjoyed reading others' posts on reflection and future.

Thanks to everyone who helped put WEverb11 together and participated!!

Maybe next year I'll make it all the way through. 



Rowan turns 1

Now that the holiday and birthday craziness is over, I can finally get to my post on Rowan's first year!

A year ago, we brought our little guy home.

We can hardly call him "little" anymore, even though we do.  He's HUGE!  Partly because he's an eating machine!  He's moved on from his bananas only phase, and now he mows through almost anything you put in front of him....then asks for more.  Especially if its grapes or cake!

This year has been amazing.  It hasn't all been easy, although, we think we lucked out as far as Rowan's temperament so far.  He is pretty easy. 

But then, we kinda get a kick out of his tantrums anyway!  {maybe I'll eat those words later, but for now, I'll just admit it...his face gets so grumpy and cute!}

It really doesn't seem like it went that fast.  To me, anyway.  I know that's what everyone says and everyone expects me to say, but the time didn't fly any faster than any other year.  But now, he's doing so many new things and sprouting UP so fast, that I think the days and years are going to whip by.

Happy Birthday, Rowan!!

We love you and we're so proud of you :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

#WEverb11 Day 13 - Read

Day 13 - Read

What article or book changed your outlook on an issue or life?

I really don't read that much, besides some blogs and, yes, I admit it, I read The Hunger Games series, neither of which I would say really change my life outlook.

But as I mentioned before, Here, I read an article this year that really hit me hard.

It's written by a mother who's baby boy was born with Tay-Sachs, and its absolutely heart-breaking.  As I read, I tried to imagine {and at the same time refused to imaging} looking at Rowan the way this mother has to look at her son.

Every time I think about it, I ball my eyes out. {even now}.  But I can't really ever forget it either, or the perfect little face of her baby.

So I have a constant reminder of perspective. What is important. How to spend our time here together.

And that's why Notes From a Dragon Mom changed my outlook on life.

Emily Rapp and her son, Ronan, who has Tay-Sachs disease.
Image Credit: Alexandra Huddleston for The New York Times

#WEverb11 Day 12 - Thrive

Day 12 - Thrive.

What was your healthiest habit of 2011? What would you like to change or do differently in 2012?

Contributed by Tonya []

 Our healthiest habit of 2011 was trusting in ourselves to make decisions, whether they were big or small.  I think this is absolutely the most important thing we could have done for us and our little family.

So, mentally and emotionally, we feel pretty good.

 In 2012, I would like Rogér and I to also find better ways to be healthy physically.  Neither of us has really put much time into fitness in the last year.  Of course, I'll have to wait a little longer for that still.  

Also, our eating habits need to change dramatically.  We are so tired at the end of the day, and I'm so frickin hungry by the time I get home that actually waiting to make a meal seems like it would be the death of me.  But our bodies are definitely suffering from our lack of balanced eating.  

Part of our "TRY" list, is to create a weekly meal plan.  I hope that will get us to muster up some good food.  

I perused Jen's "Adventures in the kitchen" for some ideas to help us with that.  If you have an quick and easy healthy meal recipes, PLEASE SHARE!!

 Image source:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 11 - Try

What 12 new things do you want to do/accomplish in 2012?

 We can think of a LOT more than 12 things we want to do in 2012.  But here's the first 12 that came to mind.

1) Take an airplane flight with the baby {or babies}.  Before we have to pay for his seat!!
2) Get back into Horseback Riding ....again
3) Make a weekly plan for meals, like The Hemborg Wife- just a plan, no one says we have to stick to it.
4) DIY sprinklers/front lawn {and maybe the back yard too!}

5) Take Rowan to the zoo!

6) Paint our house - carry over from last year, that will probably end up on the next year's list as well.
7) Visit Oregon - okay, we've done this before too, but we've never been to the specific places we want to go to next year.

9) Belay certification - This one is really only Rogér's.  I don't really care to belay.
10) Make a cement-top kitchen table
11) Pursue careers that are fulfilling
12) Come up with a name for our new little one!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

#WEverb Day 10 - Create

Day 10 - Create
Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking, home decoration, crafts, photography ... whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself?

Contributed by Tara and Eileen

Rogér and I both LOVE to make things. 

This year, it was a little harder to find time for our personal projects. So, while normally, I would post something crafty or something house related, today I'm going to share a makeshift tunnel that I "made" for Rowan to crawl through, using an activity mat and a blanket.


Hours of fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011

#WEverb Day 9 - Appreciate

Day 9 - Appreciate

In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude? How will you rally around gratitude in 2012?
It's easy overlook the things that should be appreciated, but there are so many ways in which we've felt absolutely grateful for everything we have.  In 2011, those things have never been more apparent.  Instead of a single moment, I'm going to attempt a list, which is bound to be incomplete, but at least it's a glimpse of where we've owed gratitude this year.

1) A healthy baby boy - Is there anything more you could wish for?  Pregnancy is riddled with fear and preparation for what might be.  As if I needed a reminder of that, I read this ARTICLE, which I wish I had never come across.{WARNING: Incredibly sad!  If you can't bring yourself to skip this read, recommended, then prepare to be overwhelmed with emotions.

2) Family and Friends - The good ones make all the difference in the world. 

3) Sustenance - Let's face it, we don't love our jobs, but we worked hard to get ones that bring in enough money for a relatively easy life.  Sure, we don't the latest tech gadgets, or the nicest house, or a maid {wishful thinking}, but we don't have to worry about a roof over our heads or putting food on the table.

4) Fertility - I never even dreamed I'd be so thankful for THAT.  But watching so many of our friends struggle to concieve, I'm constantly reminded that it doesn't come easy for everyone.  I've even found myself feeling guilty to have something so precious that some people struggle so hard to get.  I wish it was easier to share, but it's not like cash.  I can't exactly loan it to my Bestie in a time of need.

5) Each other - Neither of us is perfect, but we're good for each other.

Again, in 2012, I hope to continue to find gratitude in what we have and what we're able to do.  And if we ever get feeling sorry for ourselves, we need only turn on the news for an hour to realize how good we have it.

Image source: The PranaMama

#WEverb11 Day 8 - Choose

Day 8 - Choose
What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

Let me start by saying that parenting offered a LOT of big choices.  And without going into details, all of the choices that we've made related to that, we made because they were right for us at the time we made them.
Which leads me to our BIGGER choice...

To do what works for us and makes us happy, without letting fears of judgement or failure ruin it for us.

That means giving up a some control, some of our perfectionism, and also, some caring.  Yes, we have to not care too much....about things that don't really matter.

We've had to find a place within ourselves that makes that possible.

We've been working on this for a while, and I don't think it was originally much of a choice.  It was more of a NECESSITY.  We had to get here, for our health and for our relationship.

We had to kind of "fake it, 'til we made it" sometimes, but now, I can honestly say, it's easier, and we're enjoying life and each other a lot more since we've been living without giving too much weight to what we aren't able to achieve, or to what others think, say, do, and EXPECT

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#WEverb Day 7 - Travel

Day 7 -Travel
Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?

We had a difficult time traveling this year, as I'm sure you can imagine.  We managed to get to Tahoe once in the winter, with 2 month old Rowan, San Luis Obispo once in the spring with 3 month old Rowan, Petrolia, CA in the summer, and Calabasas, CA in the fall.  I think my favorite part of these trips was the excitement building up to them and getting to see people who live a long way away.  For each trip, I remember thinking how great is was going to be to get away for a little bit and how much fun we would have bringing Cubbie with us.  But, in reality, it was mostly just hard.  We failed to consider how stressful hotel rooms would be when you check in at 11:30pm and keep everyone up all night with a crying baby, or how gassy a baby would be when you go to higher elevations, or how paranoid I would be when we got snowed in...what if Rowan suddenly got hurt or became ill???  We also seemed to have some poor teething timing.  A new place is hard enough without four teeth coming in all at the same time!  Needless to say, none of our trips were as relaxing as I imagined them to be. 

There are a few places we had hoped to go, that we never made it to.  We really wanted to visit Oregon.  Hood River, and Lake Oswego areas especially.  Scope 'em out as future homesteads, ya know.  More snowboarding trips would have been nice, or for me, ANY snowboarding trips.  Looks like this year doesn't hold much hope for that either. It also would have been nice to get to Holland to visit Rogér's family there, but that would definitely have been a stretch, considering our finances and the sudden fear of flying that crippled me this year.

Oregon and The Netherlands are on the list for next year...pending where life takes us.  And we've decided that instead of snowboarding trips, we'll focus on sledding trips for now.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

#WEverb Day 6 - Favor

Day 6 -Favorite
What was your favorite month of 2011? Why did it beat out all 11 other months?

Ooph!  Another tough one.

Well, I ALWAYS love November.  I'm not totally sure why.  It just seems cozy.  Although, here in San Jose, Fall isn't much different than Summer or Winter or Spring, I think of November as a time to cuddle up close to the fire while it rains outside, without feeling obligated to go out and do things.  We had a lot of fun this November as well.  We took a trip to Calabasas to spend Thanksgiving with the family friends who traveled all the way to Petrolia two years ago to marry us.  It was their first time meeting our little Rowan, and they always have a huge feast and a big pumpkin toss.

But I'm not convinced that I could name November as my favorite month this year, because January, February, and March were a blast with our new baby and Maternity/Paternity leave, and August was also tons of fun since we took a road trip to Petrolia and Rowan got to ride Thor, my mom's mini horse AND we found out we were pregnant with #2!  And all the months in between were just as exciting, watching Rowan grow and learn new things, and figuring this whole parenting thing out.

Monday, December 5, 2011

DYI Headboard Inspiration

I've been wanting to make a headboard for a looooooooong time now.  It seems simple enough, but for some reason I can't seem to jump into this project.

A recent FB post from an old friend who made her own headboard got me thinking again.

I was originally inspired by this Crate & Barrel bed, which I LOVE.  Knowing this bed is completely beyond a splurge, I thought I could replicate it with something homemade.

The problem is, I can't make up my mind!!! First, I wanted something plush and pin-cushioned.  Like these....

I have also toyed with the idea of windows/window treatments, and I always love old doors...

But looking around a bit, I found this rustic fence post headboard by Dana at House Tweaking.

 And I love love love this!

But thinking about two little boys jumping around on our bed, a cushy, plush headboard still seems like a good idea.   Having a California King doesn't help matters, since I can never seem to find enough material of anything to fit it.  I hope I can come up with and commit to something soon because our bedroom is in serious need of some style.

{My apologies, I originally had all the links to all the bloggers who posted these great DIY headboards, but I lost all of the info when my computer froze up and my post didn't save.}

#WEverb Day 5 - Befriend

Day 5 -Befriend
Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?

Yay!  This prompt was suggested by my best friend, Jen!  Go Jen!!

Wow, the amazing part is, that I don't think we have made any new friends.  {great, thanks for making me look bad, Jen ;P}. I mean, we've met people, through day care, other friends, horse leasing, etc., but I really can't think of any new real friendships that we've made. Except for the new "friendship" with our baby boy, if you count that, which I guess I'm going to have to, since he's the only one I spent any significant amount of time forming a relationship with this last year {and I thought we were doing a pretty good job of not isolating ourselves as new parents. Ha!}. 

Of course, that "friendship" has impacted our 2011 a LOT.  I would say, it's also changed many of the friendships we already have.  We obviously lean a lot more on our friends who have kids, for advice and whatnot.  And hanging out with friends now either requires that they are open to having the baby around, {Luckily, most of them are excited to see the little guy, maybe more than to see us ;)}, one of us staying home with the baby, or finding a babysitter {which is an adventure we've yet to begin, although a few relatives, friends, and relatives of friends have taken him for us on occasion}. 

I suppose we might want to consider branching out a little in the coming year.  Although I always love to add new friends, I also want to make sure it's not at the expense of our current friendships.  It can be hard to maintain our current friendships amidst the turmoil.  We've tried really hard not to let our friends feel abandoned by us. But still, we're waaaay behind on inviting a lot of them over for dinners, or out to lunch, or just stopping by to visit them, and in some cases, their newborn babies! I even forgot one of my best friend's birthday this year :( If it makes you feel any better, I also forgot my own birthday, as well as our wedding anniversary. So, if we've let any of you down, we so sorry guys!!  We really love you and you're always in our hearts, even if you're not at our dinner table!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

#WEverb11 Day 3 - Learn & Day 4 - Haiku

Day 3 - Learn

What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?
 Good Lord!  I don't know if I can list all the things I've learned this year from "The School of Life", or in our case, "The School of New Parents".

The first thing that comes to mind is that I've learned that everyone is going to have a different opinion on everything related to pregnancy, delivery, and child raising, and that in the end, most of those decisions don't really matter, as long as your choices revolve around love and work for you.
We've had quite a few moments where we were standing alone {but at least together} in our decisions.  Sometimes in surprising scenarios, like at the Kaiser Permanente birthing class - We were the ONLY ones there who were choosing an epidural birth, and you should've heard what people had to say about it!

I've learned not to feel uncomfortable with my own choices, and not to speak from a podium about them either. I try to be very conscientious not to impose my choices when giving advice to my friends who are pregnant, new parents, or TTC. 
Another tid-bit I picked up this year, which I really believe in, is this:

"It's not what you do, it's what you do afterwards."

When I read that quote from a poster somewhere on the internet, I realized that I've always felt that's true.  When I'm questioning something I did, or something someone else did, those words are what I think about.
Day 4 - Haiku

Sum up your year via Haiku

Not gonna lie, this was a struggle.  If it's not a true Haiku, well, sorry. I always hated writing poetry...

2011 Haiku

New life in our hands
Finding peace of mind, learning
Busy days, less sleep

#WEverb11 Day 2 - Listen

Day 2 - Listen

What song did you listen to in 2011 to completely change your mood?  Think about ways you can you add more music to your life in 2012.
It's hard to choose one song that changed my mood in 2011, but I'm going to have to choose...{Rogér is going to hate me for this}.....
The Band Perry -   If I Die Young

I don't particularly like this song.  In fact, now when I hear it come on the radio, I promptly switch the channel.  However, it helped me cope with a very strange feeling that I had for about the first half of this year - constant paranoia of DEATH. 

I don't know if that's a normal postpartum phenomenon or not, but I swear, after Rowan was born I was plagued by it
I was so scared that something would happen to Rowan, or to me, or to Rogér that I almost couldn't perform daily functions.  I was scared of driving, flying, snowboarding, even being in our house - I thought the dryer would catch fire.  If Rogér was a little late from work, I was calling him every two minutes to make sure he was okay.  If he didn't answer the phone...Oh My God, I was frantic.

I worried that this paranoia would consume my life.
But THANK GOODNESS it went away!  Probably around when Rowan hit 8 months....although I can't really pin point it. For the most part anyway.  I'm still a little more aware of danger and take a little extra precaution.

As, for what I'd like to incorporate into my playlist in 2012....hmmm...well, I've enjoyed the Metallica Mornings {as I've coined them} on LIVE 105.5 {Bay Area}.  And that reminds me, because of Apocalyptica, that I'd like to listen to more string instrument renditions of rock songs, like I did when pregnant with Rowan. 
If you're interested, here's a couple bands to put in your Pandora that will spark similar music:

When I asked Rogér this prompt question, he just answered...."'Every day I'm Shuffling'.  It makes me want to dance."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

#WEverb11 Day 1 - Choose one word

Last year, I participated in a blog challenge called #Reverb10.  This was a personal challenge, so I used my other blog, bloem, to post my responses.  
See my #Reverb10 posts here.

This year, there is no #Reverb challenge.  However, there were so many people who wanted to participate again in 2012, that KimberlyMichelle, created a similar challenge called #WEverb11.  
See the details and join in here.

This year, I'll be posting here in order to try this challenge as a family.  Not to say I don’t have my own goals, aspirations, opinions (obviously), but I think it will be interesting to take on this challenge as a family.  Of course, most of what you see posted will still be my words {Rogér has yet to embrace the blog world}. I’m also starting off a few days behind and probably will continue to be behind. 
Anyway, we’ll give it a go.

Day 1 - Choose one word.
Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

2011 - LOVE

 My goal word for 2011 was CONFIDENCE.  I lost a lot of that
over the last few years, and especially during the process of becoming
a wife and a mother.  For me, marriage was a difficult transition which 
was not made easier by the criticism and unacceptance of me, 
our marriage, and our choices by my soon-to-be "family".   
I realized that for the last few years, I had
become accustomed to and accepting of mistreatment, manipulation, 
and lack of appreciation.  I had become a timid shell of myself.

While I’ve done what I felt I needed to do to
separate myself from the negativity that I had been absorbing for so
long, I still had {and have} a lot of healing to do. 

The prospect of becoming a parent added to the
pressure to find my CONFIDENCE.  I was filled with fears about pregnancy, 
raising a child, finances, dealing with family, 
and losing even more of myself. 
Being a new parent is hard enough, without feeling like 
you’re not worth anything to begin with.

I felt that I needed to learn to LOVE myself in order to be capable 
of raising our new little family with LOVE.

#Reverb10 helped get me there, by forcing me to reflect on a lot of 
things about myself.  So did the birth of our son, Rowan.  
I expected to be mortified by the decisions I would have to make for a child, but
I actually have found a lot of CONFIDENCE  in being able to make 
difficult choices for my pregnancy, my birth options, and Rowan 
without letting others’ opinions make me feel inadequate.  I've also found that 
having a child hasn't forced either Rogér or I give up our own identities.
Of course, we've had to make some changes, but we still find ways 
to do things we like to do, and we're having a great time doing things as a family.
I feel that we've only become stronger, healthier, and happier in the last year.
A lot of that is thanks to great circle of friends who 
help keep our heads screwed on straight. 

That’s why I’m summarizing last year with LOVE.   
I found it again; in myself, in Rogér, in Rowan, in our life together, 
and in all the family and friends that support and encourage us.   
We are truly blessed with LOVE, and 2011 helped me remember that.

2012 word – BALANCE

This coming year, I’m choosing the word BALANCE.
We have a lot going on, as usual, but ever-expanding.  

There are so many things to get done on the house, many of which are still
lingering from before Baby, and many of which were surprises since
Baby. Weekends that we swear we’re going to get a house project done,
we end up spending with friends – not a bad thing, but we may need to
learn to say  “no” {in a nice way} every now and then too. 

We still are trying to maintain a healthy habitat for our animals, despite much
more limited availability of our time and money.  We are trying to
juggle Rowan’s needs, work, play, health, and now, preparing for the
new little one that’s growing in my belly. 

I am hoping, though, that we get a little more comfortable 
with the juggling act, because it’s only going to get harder.  

 I want for us to be able to enjoy this journey, but also get our “to-do’s” 
crossed off, and keep moving forward.

 What words would {or did} you choose to sum up 2011, and look forward to 2012? 
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