Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our sunshine

Tuesday, July 31st 
8.47 a.m.

On that day I became a mama. 

Your daddy became a papa. 

You became a son. 

We became a family. 


We dreamed of this for so long, and for a while we thought it would never happen, but it did. 

We could have never dreamed that it would be this good!

You are our sunshine!

source


Happy 6 months Micha!



Love, Mama

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thoughts on being a mama


This week it's all about Micha turning six months old. And not only are we celebrating that, I'm also celebrating being a mom for six months already (if you don't count those nine months that I carried the boy)! 

I thought it would be fun to make a list of what I've learned about myself being a mom so far.



I've always been a home body, and being a stay at home mom (with the exception of the two nights I work as a Barista) has been so perfect for me. I actually love living the (almost repetitive) day to day life, without planning things to far ahead. 

^ ^ ^ ^

With a baby added to the mix nothing stays the same for long. Whenever we thought we had this parenting thing figured out Micha would suddenly decide to shake things up and do things differently. 
Like once when he was around ten weeks old he slept from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning. 
We were all like 'Yeah baby, you're sleeping through the night' and we expected him to do that the followings nights as well. Well, that didn't happen! 
I've learned to enjoy the good moments and embrace that extra hour of sleep if I get it, because you never know what will happen next.

^ ^ ^ ^

I'm able to function even after six months of not having a normal nights sleep, who would've thought?

^ ^ ^ ^

Being a mom = being selfless. I remember about a week after Micha was born I just felt so overwhelmed and caught myself thinking 'I can't do this, I want my normal, simple life back'. It just hit me like a ton of bricks that my life didn't revolve around me anymore. And I'm so glad it doesn't, it's been so good for me!

^ ^ ^ ^

I've heard people saying that motherhood means having your heart living outside of your body, and it's so true! The love I feel for my little man is so great, it's almost frightening. I would do anything for for him.  

^ ^ ^ ^

Seeing my husband as a papa has made him even more attractive, 
but having a baby means being very intentional in taking time for your loved one. 
The first few weeks we had Micha we were so busy taking care of him that we forgot to connect with each other. It was when my sister said how important it was to take time for each other that we were reminded that we hadn't. 
It's something that we constantly need to work on, 
because being good parents for Micha means being good spouses for each other.

^ ^ ^ ^

I feel confident in our choices how to raise Micha. 
Before he was born we discussed how we would like to raise him. 
We were set on breastfeeding for at least a year, 
attachment parenting, cloth diapering, no crying-it-out and Baby-led weaning. 
Sometimes when we shared our thoughts about these things we would get comments like:
 'Just wait and see, you won't want to nurse for that long', 
'Crying-it-out helped for us, you'll end up doing it too', 
'Cloth diapering seems like so much work, you won't have time for it'. 
Whenever someone said something like that we would shrug it off, but I couldn't help thinking 
'What if they're right?' 
I'm so glad we stuck to our choices because things are going pretty well and Micha is happy!

^ ^ ^ ^

I need God's help to be a good parent. 
I need his wisdom to make good choices, 
I need his patience when mine is failing, 
I need his strength when I feel exhausted, 
I need his peace when I feel overwhelmed, 
I need his love to be able to love. 

With God's help I can be the mama I want to be!

Super blurry, but I love this photo!

And I love being a mama!


Love, Maria

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

26 weeks - 6 months old!!

Happy half Birthday to you, Happy half Birthday to you, Happy half Birthday dear Micha, Happy half Birthday to yoooouuu!!



Wow, baby boy, you are 26 weeks old and officially that makes you a half year old! 


I'm not sure if we should celebrate today or on the 31st, the date of your birth in July. I'm always confused on how to count your months seeing as not every month has a 31st.

You know what, we'll just celebrate today √°nd on the 31st!

^ ^ ^ ^



These last six months with you have been such an awesome ride. 

the day my water broke

You arrived exactly on your due date on the last day of June. I was certain you'd be at least a week late so I had planned to do a lot of last minute things before your arrival, but you wouldn't have it!



My water broke on a Sunday evening and all of the Monday after that I was waiting for contractions, but they just wouldn't come. I guess you really wanted to be punctual. 



Finally on Monday night they started and on Tuesday morning at 8.47 we saw your sweet, sweet face for the first time. You made me work for it, buddy!


We had to stay in the hospital for two days and on Thursday we finally got to take you home. 

a few minutes old

my two favorite men at home!

^ ^ ^ ^

The first few weeks were so surreal, there we were, two inexperienced parents and a new born baby. What were we to do? 


Luckily we had a lot of help in the first week and when you were a week old your Auntie Alice came and helped out.

meeting your auntie Alice for the first time

But then, when you were three weeks old, all the helpers were gone, 
and we had to figure things out on our own.

^ ^ ^ ^

The only way we could get you to sleep for the first six weeks was rocking and holding you and you spent a lot of days and evenings on your papa's lap while he was watching the Olympics and the Tour de France.

Papa & son bonding time

After a while we got the hang of things and you started sleeping better, although you still wake up twice to nurse every night.

^ ^ ^ ^ 

You grew like crazy, and at every check up the doctor would exclaim how big you were, that's all your Mama's doing with her creamy milk! :)


milk coma's are the best!

Speaking of milk, breastfeeding you wasn't always easy, and still isn't, you're such a squirmy little thing!

^ ^ ^ ^

When you were sixteen weeks old you went to the hospital for a hernia operation, we didn't like it one bit, but you handled it like a champ!

cuddles after surgery

^ ^ ^ ^


We loved celebrating Christmas with you for the first time, what a special time that was! I even made you your own ornament to hang in the tree. 

first Christmas

^ ^ ^ ^

You've learned so many things in these short six months,  from rolling over, to sitting up, eating food, and laughing at our jokes. 

first food


mr. smiley


We can't wait to see what the next six months will bring!

We love you so much, Micha!

Love, Mama and Papa



Friday, January 25, 2013

Real Fashion

Fashion posts. 

Almost every blogger is doing them. 

I see bloggers posting beautiful, professional photos of themselves in the newest trends, 
so perfectly put together, even the mommy bloggers 
(I'm sure they don't look perfect every day, otherwise I'm certainly doing something wrong, ha ;) ! ). 

I love seeing what other people wear and a lot of the time these posts inspire me to search my closet and come up with different combinations. 
Or they help me figure out my own personal style. 

I truly enjoy reading these posts. 
(really, truly, cross my heart)

But...

sometimes these posts make me feel self conscious or not fashionable enough. 
sometimes I see these posts and just feel crappy about myself.


> I don't have the money to buy every trend that's happening in the fashion world. <

> I don't have time to make myself look perfect every morning. (I'm happy if I can get in the shower) <

> I certainly don't have time to make beautiful pictures of myself. <



Sometimes I feel jealousy creeping up on me and  I feel myself wishing I could be just like those bloggers. 

And I just hate that feeling.

Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely not their fault that I have these feelings. 


They're my issues and I have to deal with them.


^ ^ ^ ^

So, I've decided to try not to compare myself with others, and just be me!

I want to keep it real here, so while I don't have the most beautiful clothes or the best photography skills I'm going to do some fashion blogging of my own. 

With my own old, maybe-not-so-super-trendy clothes...

Here ya go!







Awesome huh? ;)


My 3 fashion must haves:
- Colored jeans (spices up every outfit)
-Comfy cardigans ( gotta keep warm)
- Belts (to pull it all together)

And since becoming a mama who breast feeds her baby there's one REAL life saver:

Button down shirts and blouses!
No bare belly's for me!




Linking up with Mama Style




Happy Friday, have a great weekend!



Love, Maria



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Little Sis

I grew up in a big family. There were seven kids, three older brothers, two older sisters, me 
and then my little sister, Hannah. 

Hannah and I have an age difference of  a year and a half, 
and as the two youngest girls we have always been together. 

Our bond is so special. 

(Not saying that my bond with my other siblings is less special, but today it's about Hannah.)


Doesn't Hannah (the blond one) look so much like Micha here?



Sister love!


We were each others playmates and allies against our older siblings. 

Our names would merge into one 'Maria-n-annah' when we were called in for dinner. I remember rebelling against that when I was a teenager.

We shared a room until our older siblings were leaving home and leaving their rooms for us to take over. We would sneak into each others room at night in the beginning because we couldn't stand sleeping alone!

Our bedtimes, toys and friends were shared, whether we liked it or not. 

Our mom dressed us in the same clothes, but always giving us a different color. For instance, Hannah would wear a pink shirt with blue shorts and I would be wearing a blue shirt with pink shorts. 
We looked adorable!

Bedtime prayers with mama


And when we would move to another city or country there was always a friend who would be there for us.

There were times that we would be adjoined at the hip, but also times we would fight like cats and dogs  
(probably about 'borrowed' clothing).

But our bond was unbreakable.

We were so lucky to have each other.

Best buds


Our teen years


And now that we're grown women our bond is still so strong. We both have our own lives, so different, but there's always room for each other. 


My wedding in 2006
Isn't she a stunner?

Shady ladies

And I'm so proud of Hannah, since she was a little girl she has wanted to be an archaeologist. We would be flipping through the pages of our huge pile of National Geographic magazines and she would point out to me, 'Look, this is what I want to do'. 

Few people can say that they're doing what they've wanted to do as a young child, especially if it's something as special as being an archaeologist, but Hannah can. 

And not only has she followed her dream and made it her passion, she's doing a fine job at it as well!

She specializes in Near Eastern archaeology and has been to digs in Syria and Jordan with her pink painted trowel.  

And she's able to look good at doing the dirty work as well! 
Not only brains, but also looks!

Pretty archaeologist


But I'm not only proud because of what she's achieved, I'm proud of who she is. She is a sweet, strong, beautiful (in and out) and patient woman, and she loves Jesus! 


I am so lucky to have you as a sister, Hannah!

Love!


I love you to bits!


Love, Maria





Linking up with Casey today!



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby-Led weaning - first week

So, we stopped pureeing Micha's food and got on board
 of the Baby-Led Weaning train...

I'm planning to document our journey into solid foods and 
do a post once in a while on how it's going.
(Exciting stuff huh? Mama, this one's for you!)

--------------------------------




So far the ride has been good! 
We're one week into giving Micha solids and he loves it! (as in: practically inhales the food I put in front of him.)

I still breastfeed him for all of his meals but in between I've been giving him different fruits and vegetables to discover and taste. 
So far he's had pear, avocado, banana, carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin.

In the next few weeks I'm planning to give him broccoli, potato, rice and something bready. 
(I'm not 100 percent sure about the bread though, I've heard the gluten in bread may cause allergies if you give it to them too early, any advice on that?)

I just received this book in the mail today, 
we're planning to use it as a guide to help us along. 

--------------------------


Here's a little video of Micha eating a pear. 
I'm speaking in Dutch and I say: 'Micha's eating a pear, all by himself'. 
And later in the video I say: 'It's difficult to hold hey?'




I can't wait to see Micha discover all the food,
 but I still love nursing him, so there's no pressure!



Love, Maria


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

25 weeks



One more week to go and you'll be six months old little guy! Wow, what an amazing six months they have been, but I'll save that for next week.





This week has been pretty big for you. We discovered your first tooth coming in, it's your bottom left front tooth!

Probably because of your tooth you haven't been the best sleeper this week. You wake up half way through the evening and in the middle of the night, next to waking up to nurse, and while usually all it takes for you to go back to sleep is your pacifier, now I have to sit with you for a bit and calm you down again.

I don't mind though, I just have to keep in mind: 'This too shall pass'. 

Not only the sleepless nights, but also the late night cuddles and all that goodness!


You're still doing a great job at sitting up, you last quite a bit longer without falling over!

Eating solids: you are doing so well! We're using the Baby Led Weaning method and you love it. This week you've had pear, avocado and banana. We're using your high chair now too and it makes you look like such a big boy!

Happy 25 weeks Micha!

I love you so much!

Love, Mama

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lately loving...

Lately I'm loving...



- This book: 


No idea why I just found out about it, but who cares, it's a good story!





- These recipes:


So good!






- These blogs:













- This show (of course) :


B. and I watched season three in one week, it's so so good! I don't think I've ever ugly cried this much because of a show. 
But the Christmas special, UGH!!
Can't even talk about it...






- This baby (who's sitting up!!)






- This day, Friday!! 
Whoohoo, it's weekend! I'm planning to savor every minute of it!


Happy Friday my friends! 

Love, Maria






Thursday, January 17, 2013

This guy!

I am a lucky girl.

I married the best guy in the world.

We met when we were only 14 years old, married when we were 21 and became parents six years later.

We've been through fun times and also not so fun times, but we went through them together. Our bond has never been stronger than it is now.


young (tan) and in LOVE



tying the knot

love in the sky


last vacation with just the two of us



yay!


my husband, now a daddy!

my matching men



This guy! He truly is my best friend and I thank God every day for him!

B, I love you to bits!

Love, Maria


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Living with Hope

Every morning I receive a daily meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society on my email. 

For me it's a perfect way to start the day. 
So often I forget to open my bible and instead open my email, and then 'BAM!' there's a meditation right in front of me to help me begin my day with God. It's a good thing!

You can sign up for free!

My favorite bracelet

Today this is what I read:

'' Living with Hope


Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.

All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. 
Let's live with hope. ''


This has been such a truth for me in the past years. When we were struggling through infertility there was absolutely no reason to be optimistic a lot of the time, things looked so dark for us and we knew that our biggest wish might never come true. It was so hard not knowing what our future would look like. 

But there was one thing that kept us on our feet:  'Hope'.

Hope and trust in our God who knew what we were dealing with, and who would see us through, whatever the outcome. 

Optimistic, no, not always. But I never lost hope.

Love, Maria

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

24 weeks

My Micha-boy, 

Who gave you permission to grow up? Twenty-four weeks old, only two more and you'll be half way to your first birthday! With every day that's passing you're growing more into a boy and becoming less baby. 
I love it but I hate it!



I love that you're able to play with your papa and me. You love playing peek-a-boo, you laugh hysterically when papa changes into 'the sniffing monster' and you get so happy when I grab a book to read or sing you a song. You love 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star'.

You're learning to sit up and are able to manage it for quite a while before toppling over, which you hate. 

You're a pro at rolling over on your back whenever I put you on your tummy, but you haven't rolled from your back to your tummy yet. I see you trying sometimes, but you just can't quite get the hang of it, you will eventually, don't you worry! 

You've been going to sleep like a champ lately, I can put you down awake for your nap or bedtime and you fall asleep by yourself. For this mama who used to have to rock you to sleep in her arms it's been such a gift! We're still LOVING the Puckababy sleepingbag, and I'm already getting nervous for the moment we'll have to let you sleep without it.

We're still cloth diapering you, and I absolutely LOVE it! It's so easy, and it's been a big life saver for my wallet!

And yes, there have been some challenges and not-so-fun things too. This week you've been a little bit grumpy during the day, even if you've a good nap. And while you've been so good at going to sleep, you still wake up twice to nurse between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., once at 9.30 p.m. and once at around 2 a.m. I know, it's quite normal, but I'd like it if you'd sleep through the night. I guess that will happen eventually, and secretly I kind of like our nightly get together, just you and me.

And then there's the whole 'putting-on-your-clothes-debacle' every morning. You absolutely hate it when I pull a shirt over your head. No amount of singing or animal noises will distract you, and the same goes for putting on your coat, you'll scream and yell like I'm torturing you! It's almost funny.... 
You can't stay naked you know, you'll freeze your tiny tushy off!

But, Micha, you are the light of our life. We thank God everyday for the miracle of you! 
Sometimes it's like I have a helicopter view of you and me and papa, and I'm looking at the three of us, and my heart just stops. And I think: 'You're here, and you're our baby, ours to love and to protect!' 

You are so loved!

Love, Mama

Friday, January 11, 2013

Food fest!


Here is a tutorial from Micha to you.


'How to eat an avocado'



This week we've started to feed Micha some solids and despite his grimaces on the photos 
he actually LOVES it!!  

He's been reaching for my food and water for a few weeks now, so we thought it was time to let him try it for himself. 

After his first taste of avocado I gave him some steamed pureed pumpkin the next day 
which he inhaled as well! 


We really want to try the Rapley method/ Baby-led weaning, in which you give your baby whole pieces of fruit or vegetables (steamed or cooked until they're soft of course) instead of pureeing everything, and letting him feed himself. (Yay for messy floors...ha!)

But for a first taste pureed food is the way to go for us!

How did you start your baby on solids? Any tips for this new mommy?

Love, Maria

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A dream


I have a dream, 

I hope that,  if I expose him enough to baking and cooking,  Micha will one day become a great chef and have his very own restaurant and I'll have all the free haute-cuisine food in the world! Awesome huh?

Dream big or go home, I say!


Exposing him! You can't start young enough, right? 


Just kidding, he may do whatever he wants to do!

----

But seriously,  that dream is something I would love to come true for myself. Maybe not the whole haute cuisine chef part of it, but if I could and if I dared to, I would love to own a little baking business or maybe in the long run a quaint little breakfast place. 
Somewhere people could come and eat a delicious home cooked breakfast, have a good cup of coffee, read a good book and feel at home.

But somehow I just don't believe it will ever happen. I make excuses...

'We don't have the money', 

'I don't have the skills', 

'I don't have the time', 

'No one wants this',

'What if it doesn't work out?', 

'I'm not good enough'

These thoughts are holding me back, and the worst part is that a lot of them are true.
We have so much debt from student loans for a study I didn't even manage to finish. So how could I spend even more money investing in a business I'm not even sure will work out?



I heard this question a little while ago and it really made me think.

Wouldn't that be awesome, knowing that the things you set out to do will succeed?
I would attempt to do so much more than I'm doing now! Doesn't that say something?

Maybe I should live my life with a lot more trust and courage, because if I never try, I'll never succeed, right?

---- 

And doesn't the Bible even say something about doing things and succeeding?


I wasn't planning to make any New Years resolutions, but I guess I'll have one for this year.

To stop dreaming and start trying!




Love, Maria




p.s. what would you attempt if you knew you couldn't fail?











Tuesday, January 8, 2013

21 + 22 + 23 weeks

Oh, my Micha boy, how I love you!  Quoting Lord Grantham from Downton Abbey: 

'You make me so happy, 
so very happy that 
I feel my heart could explode...' 

(Big fans of DA here!)

The last few weeks have been so much fun!  We've been letting you sleep in your own room for about a week now, and it's going a lot smoother than I could have imagined! You're sleeping quite well, you go to bed at 6.30 without any protesting whatsoever, and you wake up at about 10.p.m. and 2 a.m. to nurse. Papa and I are sleeping quite a bit better now too, so it's definitely an improvement!

We've been out and about quite a bit too last week and the week before, you handled it like a champ! Papa, being a teacher, had a two week Christmas break and we spent it well! 


Grabbing your foot, so typical you right now!

First there was Christmas with my family, we all spent a few days in a big farm house, it was pretty busy, but you only had one breakdown, I'm so proud! Then we went to papa's family, you did really well there too!

On New Years we spent the night at friends with our other friends and your little pal Ben, despite the loud fireworks at midnight you both slept like a charm! We had the best time there!

Ooh, our new rug! A belated Christmas present papa and I gave each other...

And finally we spent a few days at Opa and Oma's (my parents) place, to enjoy there company while they're still here in Holland! You loved all the attention you got.

Too busy to pay attention to your mama, so you!!


And now it's just the two of us at home again, and I while I miss papa being here with us during the day, I so enjoy spending my days with you! 

You're the love of my life, I can't believe I get to be your mama...

Love, Mama