Defining Love & Happiness

I planned to write a Valentine ’s Day blog about love, but I couldn’t. Instead I took pictures of my loves. I thought maybe I could find words by St. Patrick’s Day, but still, words did not come.  Instead I showed love with food on my husband’s and grandmother’s birthdays. I have been trying to find the words to write a lovely love blog, but I can’t.  I have been thinking about writing and how to write about love and happiness without sounding sappy or corny, and I’m bad at it. I’ve also been wondering why happiness is so boring. There are no great novels or wonderful movies about everyday love and happiness because it’s boring.  There’s always a happy ending, but what about the happy existence afterwards? All we ever want to see is the struggle up to the happiness.

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It is so easy to describe hate, anger, frustration. There are so many more words and combinations. But love is different. Love always sounds corny and cliché because we’ve heard it all before. There are only a handful of words I can use to describe the love I feel for my children, and that is no way the same as the love I have for my husband, or my mother and father, or my sisters, or my dog, or my friends, or even the love I feel for nature and animals, yet the language is the same. How can I describe it all differently?  I truly love all of these people and things, but in no way is that love the same.  I can go to a thesaurus and look up alternatives for “love,” but there is still no differentiation between kinds of love.

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Blush, brick, wine, burgundy, salmon, cherry, fuchsia, magenta, rose, maroon, pink, scarlet, rust. These are all distinct shades of red that are not interchangeable. A cardinal’s feathers are not the same shade or red as a glass of merlot. With colors it is obvious. We can see a difference.  But with feelings it is not.

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Why is it that we have dozens of names of colors and only one word for love?  There are actually no words.  It all sounds the same.  The language of love is boring, and likewise the language of happiness is corny. It’s actually very hard to be happy. It seems easy because we don’t have the same depth of language to express positive feelings. Everything sounds so cliche. When people are happy, they might seem brainwashed or in denial, especially during such volatile times in this world, in part because the common vocabulary used for happiness is much less varied than the weighted words of negative thoughts. It’s easy to explain how scared I might be of threats outside of my control, but difficult to explain how I can, at the same time, be happy and hopeful imagining my children making the world a better place. There are no shades of love and happiness to describe the in between time, the time when you’re scared, angry, blissful, and hopeful all at once.

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Then there are kinds of love. When I was a kid, there was a tree outside my home I climbed almost every day. I’d hide in the leaves for hours and read, or daydream, or eavesdrop on the conversations below. There was one spring when I’d sit up in my tree so regularly a family of birds nested just a few branches above me. When it was cut down, I was devastated. I went to my room and cried and cursed my family for killing my friend. It was a tree, not a person to talk to or pet to cuddle with, yet I was still so overcome with the loss my mom had to lie and say the tree men did it on accident and felt terrible just to calm me down. I am still sad that the tree isn’t there for my children to climb.

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How could that level of grief be caused by anything other than love? I loved my tree, I truly did. But how can I explain that love without sounding ridiculous when I have to use the same language I to describe the love of my children or the happiness my dog brings? I love my mother. I love my children. I love my house. I do not love all of these in the same capacity, but I am limited as to how to explain the difference.  I have been trying to find words to describe my different kinds of love and happiness without sounding like every other proud mom, wife, daughter, woman. I realize I am trying too hard.

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I will never find the words because I am no brilliant writer, but I can see the look of affection my children give each other the first thing every morning. I can smell the warmth of my small flower bed as I open my front door. I can feel the plush comfort of a blanket during a thunderstorm. I can taste my Mama’s pizzachene while hearing her sing lullabies to my babies.

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The problem with happiness is it can’t be described in a word or two. It is best described in a story, a photo, a color or feeling. Love and happiness are too good for words. True happiness and love transcends anything we can ever put into a language. I hope you enjoyed the photos that show my happiness!

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Baby Feet

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I am absolutely revolted by feet. The idea that there are people who have foot fetishes turns my stomach. The person who invented this is a damn lunatic.

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Feet are repulsive. I hate looking at them and I especially hate touching them. I know I’m not the only hater of feet. There are others out there like me who cringe away on beaches and in swimming pools.

But then there’s baby feet. Not just any baby’s feet, your baby’s feet. I know it sounds like a given, but even when you hate feet you love your baby’s feet. I didn’t think it was possible. My mom told me I’d be kissing my baby’s feet all the time. I told her she was disgusting. It turns out she was right and I was wrong. As gross as adult feet are, baby feet are that much more adorable. They are the sweetest part of a baby’s tiny body and oh so kissable.

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Whenever I hold my children, my hand naturally falls to hold a tiny foot. Daisy’s are so small, I can hold both in one hand. Her little tiny toes are smaller than peas and in constant need of kissing. Sometimes when I play with Jack I put my foot against his, and apparently the size difference is hilarious. The other day I put his foot against Daisy’s. It must have been the most amazing and funny things he’s ever seen. This time it was his foot that was bigger! He laughed and laughed while he touched her toes and tapped his foot against hers.

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My mom recently bought him dinosaur feet slippers. He stomped around the house roaring and growling at anything in his path. A few days later we stopped in the store for clothes and Jack spotted little pink dino slippers that matched his. He grabbed them from the shelf yelling “Daisy! Daisy!” and I couldn’t leave without them. Their matching dino feet must have been the second most hilarious thing he’s ever seen.

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At some point seeing Jack compare his feet to his sister’s hit me. His feet were once as small as hers. I could hold both of his in my hand. Now only one fits. I still kiss his tiny toes and hold his little foot, but those feet get bigger and bigger every day. I don’t know when his feet will no longer be cute to me, but that day will come (probably with athlete’s foot).

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Being a parent simultaneously freezes and quickens time. Some days Daisy is only four months old and Jack is only two years old. I worry so much about them meeting their developmental milestones. I try so hard to teaching and engaging with them making sure they are where they are “supposed” to be.  Plus I feel like I’ve known them forever. Life has adjusted to them, and I am in a comfortable space of understanding their needs. Then suddenly only becomes already. Jack is already two! I was just throwing his first birthday party and then all of a sudden I was planning the second. Daisy is already four months old. Didn’t I just take her home from the hospital yesterday?

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It’s both beautiful and heart wrenching watching them grow. Daisy is realizing she can move on her tummy if she kicks her legs hard enough. The other day Jack figured out how to climb the playground “rock wall,” something he couldn’t do two months ago. I want them to stay little, but I love seeing them discover new things. I’ll enjoy their littleness while I can. It feels slow but time is going quickly, and those baby feet won’t be as cute as they are now. I never thought I’d want to savor my time kissing a foot, but here I am soaking in every toe filled kiss in.

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Welcome Miss Daisy

View More: http://momentsbymarie.pass.us/daisy_nbView More: http://momentsbymarie.pass.us/daisy_nbView More: http://momentsbymarie.pass.us/daisy_nb

She’s here! She’s home, healthy, and oh so beautiful! I can’t believe she’s mine, that I made someone so pretty and sweet.  Giacomo adores her too. Before I had her I was so afraid that he would be resentful or upset because of the new baby and/or because of my surgery. I underestimated him for sure! The first thing he does in the morning is give her a kiss (if I’m lucky, I get one too, but she is #1 to him). I did cry, though, looking at how tall and grown he looked next to her. It didn’t help that he is so tall (he isn’t even 2 yet and is in 3T clothes). It’s so bittersweet, watching him grow, and now I get to have the emotional rollercoaster of mommyhood twice over with my little Daisy girl.

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When I first saw Daisy, I was in complete awe. I couldn’t believe that I made someone so perfect. I couldn’t hold her in my arms for a long time (the wait was much longer than when I had Jack), but I was able to touch noses with her little button nose, kiss her sweet soft cheeks, and laugh as she blew raspberries from her perfect plump lips. I know every mother thinks so, but I just couldn’t, and I still can’t believe how beautiful she is.

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My Daisy girl has been here a month and a half. But I feel like it’s been much longer. I feel like I’ve known her forever. I think because now I am constantly going. I’m pretty sure Jack and Daisy are in cahoots. Once one stops fussing the other needs my attention. It is tiring for sure, but never boring. And on those rare occasions where they both have naps in sync, the time is all the more blissful.

Mommyhood part 2 is much different. I remember spending most of my time with Jack holding, rocking, and soothing him, and on the rare occasions when he did sleep, I just watched him. It was a very sweet time, and it does not exist at all now! Not that I don’t want to hold Daisy all day and watch her sleep, but time is divided now. I have to put her down to play with Jack, and I have to make him wait when she fusses. I think he has adjusted better than I have. Jack has learned patience and he has not one ounce of jealousy in him, so I can tend to Daisy when I need to and he will wait for me to play with him. I also learned that my baby can cry for longer than a few seconds so I can finish feeding or changing my toddler.

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They are better at handling my divided time than me. I wish I could split apart and tend to them both all day. I’m sure that’s something all 2nd time moms think. But I knew this was coming, and it’s why I wanted to have children close in age. I knew they’d be better at adjusting than me because they are so young. I’m just anxious for the time when I have adjusted!

I took to using a baby carrier for Daisy. I tried with Jack but it didn’t work, I think because I didn’t have a “good” carrier. The one I have now is much more comfortable and made with small framed people in mind, so it’s much easier to use. Plus I get more done, and it’s a lot easier than lugging out the double stroller. The only downside I see is that Daisy isn’t as visible for pictures. (I know that sounds silly, but you know how I love my photos!) This weekend we went pumpkin and apple picking. I have some adorable shots of Jack but Daisy was too tucked away for pictures. (In reality, I wouldn’t have taken her out of her stroller for a picture, I’m just being whiney).

The night before Daisy was born I wrote them each a letter telling them how much I love them. Up until a minute ago, both of my babies were sleeping, something that rarely happens. But now I hear Daisy, so I guess blog and journal done for now. I should have been cleaning my house, as it is a complete disaster, but instead I thought a few minutes of journaling and blogging would be nice because I hope one day both Daisy and Jack can read the letter I wrote and look through my blog and see how much I love them.

Know ALL the signs of a heart attack (Not just the typical signs)

This Thanksgiving, I didn’t realize how thankful I really would be for my family. I was prepared to feel blessed for my new baby, but not prepared for the overwhelming relief and thanks that my father is still alive today. The day after Thanksgiving, my father suffered a massive heart attack. He had to be airlifted to Deborah Heart & Lung Center for an emergency procedure, but is now resting and feeling better.

My dad did not have typical heart attack symptoms, so I want to spread as much awareness as I can about what to look for if you may be at risk for a heart attack.

I took this from the American Heart Association’s website. You can also get information here.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. 
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. 
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

My dad did not have the “movie heart attack.” He had the other, sneaky kind. I wanted to share my dad’s story of atypical symptoms because if he would have ignored how he felt, he would not be here today. My was driving himself into work when he started having jaw pain. He tried to ignore his symptoms thinking it was a bad toothache, but he began to feel weak and started sweating profusely. Assuming he had an infection and a fever, he called out of work en route, but the person on the other line recognized the symptoms and told him to get to a hospital.

Being my dad, and not the average person, he drove himself to the hospital, parked a quarter mile away, and walked into the emergency room while having a heart attack. While in the ER, he suffered another attack, worse than the first, and the decision to transfer him was made. All the while, my dad was making jokes, teasing my mom, and laughing. Even now he thinks more about making everyone smile instead of worrying about him.

The doctor told him that if he would have just went home and gone to sleep, he would not have woken up. If he didn’t talk to that particular person when calling out, who knew jaw pain and sweating was a sign of a heart attack, I would not have my father today. He had two stents put in, and will have another in a few weeks. In the meantime, he’s trying his best not to be over active and just resting.

My post-Thanksgiving blog was supposed to be about apple pies and corn cake, with a nod to how thankful I am for my family. It is amazing how life can completely change in an instant. One second you are in your p.j.’s writing a blog while texting funny memes to your sister, and the next second you’re throwing on whatever clothes you can find so you can get to the hospital in time to see your father before he is airlifted to Deborah Heart and Lung for an emergency procedure.

We’ve all heard it before, we’ve lived through it, we’ve learned, but once the dust settles we will always forget that our lives are fragile.  I am so thankful that my dad called that particular person, that he had the sense to go to the hospital instead of to his comfortable bed, that he is alive. We all feel so touched by the outpouring of support and prayers so many people have given us. Thank you all so much! Be thankful and be blessed, and kiss all your loved ones!

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Happy Birthday Nancy!

Maria, Nancy, and Me <3
Today is my oldest sister’s birthday. Nancy is 8 years older than me, which is a relatively large gap. The other day I found this BuzzFeed that really nails our relationship:

 
 
For the most part, it’s all true. We never ever fought growing up, she was very motherly to me when I was a kid, and as we get older we get closer. I must have been such a nuisance to her growing up. She was always babysitting me, and I was not the most pleasant child. I’m sure I didn’t listen, I was mean, I was annoying, I was a picky eater (so taking me with her to eat must’ve been a hassle), and a brat. But she took me with her everywhere and dealt with me. And can’t ever remember Nancy being mean to me. Ever. I don’t think much has changed. I’m probably still a brat and still annoy her, and she still endures me.
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Yesterday we had dinner at her house for her birthday, and I took my nieces on a wild goose chase for an Alex and Ani bracelet for their mom. They had saved up money to get her one for her birthday, but of course the closest store with the bracelets was closed. We did find Wind & Fire bracelets, which look very much the same. Jenna picked our the slot machine bangle for her mom. How fitting 😉 Her girls also made her lots of gifts, including rainbow loom bracelets, beautiful pictures and these adorable clay figurines Angelina sculpted.
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Most people don’t know it, but I get some of my crafty side from Nancy. About 15 years ago, it was Nancy’s bright idea to go to ceramics class every Tuesday. We went to that class for a long time before life got too busy, but I started going back about 2 years ago. It was also Nancy who taught me how to use chocolate molds to make handmade candies, and from that came my love of baking and decorating. Every now and then she’ll ask me for help with a craft project, and I always try to remind her that she actually is the crafty one. She just pretends she isn’t.
 
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That will be harder now that she was the organizer of my niece’s school play. Nancy not only organized the play, she and the other mom’s also designed and created all of the sets and costumes. She did such a fantastic job with the play, and Jenna did a wonderful job with her role as “The Flower Selling Villager.” 
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Happy Birthday Nancy! I hope you had a wonderful day! 
  

 

Texas Craft House

blood, sweat, and glitter y'all