Monday, January 31, 2011

What I've Got Right Now


I really appreciate everybody being so supportive of my last post. I can't tell you how much it meant to me to have so many people lifting me up during my little pity party!

I really am feeling so much better now. We have decided to stop TTC and just see what happens on its own. I am sad about it, but really the craziness of TTC is something I just don't want to deal with anymore. It was all I could focus on, and I felt like I was missing out on so many good things in my life.

I remember when I was in a very dark place of grief after Vivian and Annemarie died, and I couldn't think about anything else. Even though I was home, I missed out on so many things during Paprika's second year of life because my mind was just someplace else. I am so sad to say that- but it's true. I can look back at pictures and recall what was going on, but if I didn't have the pictures I don't think I'd remember.

I want to be here and focusing on the present and what is good now, you know...instead of thinking about what might be or could be or even might have been.

In the spirit of that, I took the girls to the beach today. It was glorious. We had the whole place to ourselves, and Paprika was so excited to be there.


I never thought I'd be raising two California girls, but here I am...and funny enough, I know it's where I'm supposed to be.


Paprika is fearless. I mean, she was running into the water (icy cold Pacific water) and jumping around like it was her own personal bathtub.


Ginger is really nurturing and has to make sure all her dolls and stuffed animals get enough food and water. This little tiger was her pet today and she had to make sure to feed him sand because he was so hungry. A few minutes later, she took him into the water and they both got drenched. She didn't care that she was soaking from head to toe, but she was so sad about the tiger. Ha!


This weekend I put together my little workshop for my jewelry business! It's actually our bedroom closet...which if you've seen our closet, it's really small. But all I really needed was a corner, and I didn't want to have to set up and take down everything all the time. I can lock the closet door so everything is safe from little fingers.

The only bummer was that I had to move out half of my clothes- but that's okay because I just moved out the half that I never wear! I'm going to donate them to charity, and so they'll help someone else instead of just taking up precious space in our house.


I know I keep harping on it, but it really does feel so freeing to have that TTC load taken off my mind. I will be so sad if we never have anymore children, but sadder would be to miss the good times because I'm so caught up in that. For awhile now I've felt like I was trying to force things to be a certain way. As if us having another child would make up for Vivian and Annemarie.

But the truth is that no one can replace them. It's really sad, but it's just life. I do wish I could become pregnant with identical twin girls again, and have the experience of raising them. I still have days when I am angry about our loss. But I have to remember that when I got pregnant with Vivian and Annemarie, it was a surprise. I wasn't expecting or hoping for twins. I wasn't taking any fertility treatments or going to a doctor to try to get pregnant. I had never even hoped for twins before I got pregnant.

So, I am ready to give up control and the idea that I can ever make things right with their passing. I just can't fix the loss of them, and I am surrendering to that and hoisting the white flag.

But what I can do is focus on the things that matter right now. The people who are here. And the beautiful days we are enjoying right now.

I don't want to live in the past, or even the future. Right now is what I've got...and I want to make the most of that.


So, today we did just that. We had a full day of beach fun. The girls had the best time chasing seagulls, building sandcastles, and getting unbelieveably wet and sandy on what felt like our own private beach (we were the only ones there).

It was a gorgeous day and I felt so happy to spend it with them.


Afterwards, I took them out for homemade ice cream at our favorite ice cream parlour. I had to order Ginger one, too (she's at that age now where she wants to eat exactly what Paprika's having). Of course, Ginger had half a bite and was done! Ahhh well. Good thing I caught her one bite on camera. Haha!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Big Things!


Back five years ago when I started this blog (can you believe it's been five neither!), I didn't know anyone else who had a blog. People didn't read other people's blogs really. It just wasn't the thing back know, in the dark ages.

But things have changed! Now everyone has a blog and blogs have become tools of marketing, and ways to launch businesses and big ideas. And honestly, I often feel left behind. Because my blog hasn't changed much in five years.

I still blog about the same things I always have. This blog is basically my personal journal of our family...the little things that make up our days that add up to our lives.

It often isn't big or exciting. It is just LIFE (and sometimes death).


Lately I haven't been writing about what is really going on in my head. Why? Honestly, sometimes I wonder if I'll be judged. I wonder if so and so will read it and get it in their head that I am this or that.

But really, if so and so comes to my blog and is looking to judge me...well, I can't be bothered with that. I have to worry about me and not worry about the hypothetical (maybe inevitable) judgement that might come my way.

This blog is my voice, and if I can't say what I want to say on my own freaking blog, then when can I say those things? And if I can't say the things I want to say, I might just go crazy. And craziness is not something I want to usher onto my doorstep.


So, here are a few things I want to say.

The first is that we are trying to conceive (TTC for all those who know the lingo). It sucks basically. We have been trying for about a year now, and it's obviously not working. It's really stressful and yet I feel guilty for even wanting another child. I think I should feel grateful for the two living children we have and be willing to call it a day. But the truth is that since we were pregnant with Vivian and Annemarie, we have envisioned ourselves as a family with at least three living children. And it breaks my heart that it probably won't happen.

For the past six months we have been working with a doctor to try to get pregnant, and I am so tired by it all. I just don't want to stress about it anymore. The next step for us would be more invasive treatments, and I just don't want to go there. It's a lot of time, and money and heartache for an outcome that isn't even likely. It is more likely than not that we will spend thousands of dollars and still not get pregnant.


The past few months we have seriously been talking about adoption. We have researched domestic and international adoption. We even looked at the file of one child who was available for adoption and came quite close to saying yes. But we didn't. Right now I just don't think that path is the right one for us, although I'm not saying we wouldn't consider it in the future.


All of this TTC business has given me a case of the have nots. The have nots are what my best friend Ann calls when you constantly compare the worst in your life to the best in other people's lives.

It's no big secret that many people I know have become fabulously wealthy, famous, or successful in the past few years. I have friends who have sold scripts, who have launched successful businesses, produced big movies, started thriving legal practices, become partners at law firms, and created TV shows.

The struggling actress who used to hang out at my apartment way back when has just been nominated for her third Academy Award. Yup. Not to mention that most of the women I'm talking about also had babies, and got back into their Size 2s moments after the baby emerged from the birth canal.

It has all left me with a big case of the have nots. The big pity party that I so should not be having. I do not begrudge anyone their successes...I mean, I am not out there writing scripts, pitching TV shows or going to acting auditions, you know? For the most part, the successes have been because that is what these people have been focusing on. It's what they've been pouring their time and energy into on a daily basis. The culmination of years of hard work after facing a lot of rejection.

So, all this has had me thinking...where do I want to focus my time and energy?


I started thinking about all the kids I read about while I was researching adoption. Heartbreaking, tragic stories that left me sleepless. Stories I couldn't (and still can't) get out of my head. If we adopted one child...that is a great thing for that one child. But what about the thousands of others who are left behind?

So, that is when I got the idea to launch a business benefitting children in need throughout the world. My plan is to design and make personalized jewelry (I'm selling it on Etsy, of course)...and 50% of all the profits will go to help pay for life-saving medical treatments, food, clean water, and care for babies and children around the world.

I am going to work on the shop after the girls go to bed, so it won't impact my time with them...which was a big concern for me.

Since I started thinking about using my time and energy for good, I have felt such a weight lifted from my shoulders. I am still sad that we are not able to conceive. I just am tired of wallowing in it. I want to use my free time and my talents to improve the world, and so I am super excited about this creative endeavor. It is definitely a distraction that I really need right now and I am hopeful that something good (hopefully great) will come from this.

I am hoping to get my shop launched in the next month (or let's be realistic...within the next three months). Stay tuned. ;-)


Valentine's Day Cards!

Love Hugs Kisses Valentine's Day 5x7 folded card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

I can't believe I have my Valentine's Day cards finished and it isn't even February yet! This is a first! I am making them this year on Shutterfly- so easy to do...and no clean up required! Haha.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goldilocks & The Three Bears!


When I woke up yesterday morning, I had it in my mind that we would surprise the girls with a trip to Disneyland. I have been wanting to go for a month (since the last time we went!), and I thought today would be perfect because it's a Monday in January. Nobody goes to Disneyland on Mondays in January!

So, I told Paprika as soon as she woke up, and she looked up at me with the biggest puppy dog eyes and said, "But what I really want to do today is play Goldilocks and the Three Bears in the backyard. I am going to be Goldilocks, you will be Mama Bear, Daddy will be Papa Bear, and Ginger will be Baby Bear."


So, that's what we did. We played Goldilocks many times, and I even got to be Goldilocks once or twice. Ginger was agreeable to play the role of Baby Bear. The only trouble was that she kept running off with the pretend porridge Paprika had set out in bowls.


The other fun part of the day was watering the plants in our backyard. I tell you...excitement! You really can't compare the fun of watering the lemon tree with the thrill of riding the teacups at Disneyland. Watering the lawn will win every time! Haha. ;-)


In other news, Paprika drew this picture of the solar system right before she went to sleep. I've been trying to take pictures of her DoodlePro drawings because they are so temporary, and once they're gone...they're gone! She has been really interested in the solar system lately and she was so proud of her drawing!


The End!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Innocent Wonder


The theme of this week's photo challenge at I Heart Faces is Innocent Wonder.

This picture was taken at "our spot" in our favorite park. Everyone skips over the war memorial, and oftentimes we are the only ones who visit this part of the park, even on a busy day. On this day, my daughter rubbed the soldier's tear from his eye, hugged him, and gave him the biggest kiss. I just love her imagination and her innocent wonder.

Santa Barbara Weekend!


We spent the weekend up in Santa Barbara. These pictures aren't from our trip - they are from last week, but I haven't had a chance to share them yet, and you know I can't do a post without pics!


We left on Friday and headed up the coast. It was the most gorgeous, bright blue skied day. After we dropped the girls off with Grandma Pat, Mr. Mustard and I went on a date to The Beachside, which is a cute restaurant overlooking the water. We got there at 4 o'clock and it was empty. We got an awesome table by the window, just in the best place to watch the sunset.

About 5 minutes after we were seated, they seated someone right behind us and brought her a booster seat. So, of course, I was thinking that among the next people to arrive in the party would be a three year old. And I so did not want to share my date with a 3 year old. Sorry!


So, then I asked the waitress if we could be moved. But she was new, so she had to ask another waiter. Then he had to ask the manager. Long story short, after about 15 people had convened to see if we could be moved to one of the gazillion other open tables, we found out that the booster seat was a footrest for an 80 year old woman with a foot problem.

We were definitely in the clear (no kids!), and I felt kinda sheepish for making such a big deal about the whole thing. Just a little.


Needless to say, it was an awesome date. I told Mr. Mustard I wanted to walk on the beach and take some pictures of the sunset (it was sooooo pretty and the lighting was just gorgeous). I thought he was kidding when he said that he forgot the camera back at his mom's house! But, he wasn't kidding. So, it was a beautiful sunset that will have to be saved in our memories instead of on my memory card!


That night we went to see True Grit while Grandma Pat babysat the girls. Paprika loves spending time with her Grandma Pat and they had some fun times drawing while Ginger took a late (very late) nap.


Saturday we headed over to visit some friends in Montecito. They have three kids - one girl just a little younger than Paprika, who Paprika adores. We had a great time just relaxing the day away and watching the kids play. Ginger was having the best time running with wild abandon - she is at that age where nothing frightens her and she doesn't want anything to stand in her way. So, Mr. Mustard and I took turns chasing her around, while Paprika had such a great time playing with new friends. It was a really fun little playdate, and I am so glad we were able to get together.


Now we are back in LA. We are all a little worn out. Ginger doesn't sleep well when we travel, and when she is tired she gets grumpy...and when she gets grumpy, she lets us all know loud and clear! I laid her down for a nap about three hours ago, and she is still hopefully she is resting up and will be back to her sunny self in no time.

I think it must be hard to be a 19 month old, with no control over what you're doing, where you're sleeping, and still trying to figure things out. Mr. Mustard thinks we have entered "the terrible twos"- which if that is the case, I guess she is just a little advanced! ;-) I like to think of them as the "transitional twos" - when she is transitioning from being a baby to a little girl. It is a time of big changes - walking, talking, many things going on. No matter what, whether it's terrible twos or transitional twos...she is still (and always) my precious little girl!


Friday, January 21, 2011

The Surfers!


Today Mr. Mustard was at home for part of the day, so while Ginger was down for her nap and Paprika was at preschool, I slipped off and had some time by myself at the beach. Sometimes when my mind starts to get heavy, it feels so good to go to the beach and watch the surfers.


Before I know it, I am feeling back to my old self. Refreshed and recharged. It is a lot less expensive than going shopping, or even having coffee at Starbucks. The ocean is free. It costs nothing to sit on the beach and listen to the waves. But, oh, it is so good for the soul.


I think I love watching the surfers so much because there is a little Gidget inside me, just waiting to get out! I have only been surfing twice. Once when my old roommate took me and Mr. Mustard when we were dating. And the second was when I was a summer associate at a big law firm and we took the day off to go surfing!


Don't ask me why I am holding up the peace sign in this picture. I really can't explain it, except to say...yes, I am a dork!

When I left the house today, I almost didn't bring my camera. The light wasn't great and I knew I wouldn't have my favorite subjects to photograph (Paprika and Ginger, of course!) But last minute, I threw the camera in my bag because one thing I am not going to allow myself to become is a perfectionist, especially when it comes to photography. Capturing the moment is so much more important than making sure the light is right or the background is perfect.


Speaking of that...even though we did a gazillion Christmas gingerbread projects, we still had one kit leftover and unused from the holidays. I was a bit of a gingerbread hoarder this year! Well, I was thinking I would just save the kit for next year, but Paprika insisted that we break out the kit now and build the house anyway.


So we did just that. The girls had a blast putting it together.


And they were so pleased with how it turned out!


Even though it is late January, we had a moment of holiday spirit! So fun!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Art and Drama!


Paprika's at that age where everything is a chance for make-believe. People have told me that there is so much drama involved in being the mom of a girl. I don't think they mean the kind of drama where you play act all day in a world of fantasy...but that's what happens in our house.


Paprika's story du jour is Sleeping Beauty. Every night before bed, she wants me to read her the story of Sleeping Beauty (we have two versions). Her favorite part is when Sleeping Beauty gets lured to the spinning wheel and pricks her finger. She says to me, "Mom, can we get a spinning wheel so I can prick my finger?"


Needless to say, there is a lot of play fainting, falling on the ground, and pretending to be asleep going on. Ginger is trying to figure it out. Ha!


Paprika loves drawing. She probably draws about a thousand pictures a day. Okay, maybe not a thousand...but at least 20 or 30.

Her new favorite thing is to draw costumes and dresses. Here is a a Snow White dress she drew recently. Notice she didn't forget the accessories! Ha!


Here is a quick family portrait she whipped up the other day. Are you wondering who that little one in the top left hand corner is? It's the hamster she wants me to buy her as a pet. That is soooo not happening! (I have a big aversion to rodents of any kind - even super cute ones).


Last but not least, here is a picture she drew of herself as a soccer star. She has been begging to start soccer for months, so we are doing it. Her team's season starts in a few weeks. We bought her a practice jersey off Ebay (purple, of course!) and some almost new cleats (pink...ha!) So she will be set when the day to play comes! Notice in her picture how she is carrying her doll around while she plays soccer. That cracks me up!