Friday, June 28, 2013

Rifle Paper Co. Giveaway

This giveaway is closed. The winner is Anna Kate, Entrant #1! Congratulations, Anna Kate! Enjoy!  Everyone else: stay tuned! I'll have lots more great giveaways in the coming weeks!

Hi guys!

To start this weekend off right, I thought I'd offer you a fun little giveaway from the fine folks at Rifle Paper Co.  Have you guys checked out their amazing products?  They have the sweetest designs on prints, journals, notecards...I want everything!  I'm planning on ordering one of their prints to put in our kitchen.  They've been generous to offer one lucky winner a set of their recipe cards and grocery list pad. The design is so pretty, and perfect for summer.  The list would look so cute on the fridge.

To enter, simply leave a comment here sharing what family recipe you'd put on your recipe cards!
One winner will be chosen at random on Monday, July 1st at 9:00 pm MST.

Good luck!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Family Photo Outtakes

Let's just start this weekend off right. With a good laugh at our family photo shoot outtakes. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let's Be Honest. Part 2.

Well, I told you I'd keep you updated on Project Bringin' Sexy Back 2013.  I won't typically write about exercise here (because, let's face it, it's not an interest of mine) but I DID say I'd update you, so here goes.

I like food. Actually, I like GOOD food. I love wine. I love chocolate. I love cheese and bread. I'm not really the fast food or processed food type; that has just never been an issue for me. I've never had a soda habit either. But I do like food, and I don't like diets that tell me I can't eat a certain food. Because I generally eat "real food" I don't think restrictive diets are for me.  I really try to keep everything in moderation, but I'm finding I need better discipline now that I have a post-baby body and I'm not 21 anymore.

Interestingly, my youngest brother Caleb has gotten REALLY into juicing lately. In fact, he's doing a two week juice diet, and only eating fresh fruit and vegetable juices. I don't think his primary interest was weight loss, but he has actually lost 10 pounds.  I talked to him a lot about my goals and my desire to get back into shape, and he encouraged me to try the juice fast, but ultimately I decided against it.  I have some concerns about fasting, but what it came down to was thinking back to when I was in my best shape.  Before our wedding, Kemi and I were working out 5-6 times per week.  I want to be able to have coffee still, have a glass of wine or cheese or chocolate here and there and not be restricted.  What WAS working for me at that time was running up to 3 miles a day, and doing a lot of weight training.  My other reason for deciding against a juice fast is because I primarily want to lose this weight not just for me, but to be at my healthiest for when/if we conceive again.  A juice fast may help me lose weight initially, but I fear that it will mostly be "water weight" and I am trying to make a long term change that I can maintain for as long as possible throughout a future pregnancy. Working on increasing my physical fitness through gaining muscle and doing aerobic exercise will likely be a more lasting change. SO!

The first step for me was to identify my weak points.  I generally have a healthy diet, like I said, but I have two areas I fail: first, when people bring treats to work. If there's a dozen donuts or brownies in the break room, I will always have one. Or two or three.  My other issue is snacking after dinner. I often will have a cookie or a glass of wine after I put Evie down to sleep. I don't think there's anything wrong with that in and of itself, but for me trying to lose a few extra pounds, I know I need to cut out the empty calories. So those were the first things to go.  Let's call that step Bringin' Sexy Back 1.0.

The second thing I started to implement (Bringin' Sexy Back 1.1) was to begin a little exercise. It's been almost impossible for me to workout with Kemi gone, so I try to do something after I put Evie to bed.  What I found I realllly like is this Barre 3 workout. Have you guys heard of it? It combines yoga, pilates and dance, and is really centered around women and moms. They unfortunately don't have a studio in AZ, but they do offer videos on their website. I've been doing this free one on youtube and really like it!

So far, I have lost five pounds with just these two small changes. I'm hoping to keep this ball rolling.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Family Plans Part 1

Kemi and I always dreamed of having a big family. We began dating when we were 19, and even then, in those late-night conversations when we were just getting to know each other we both dreamed of having lots and lots and LOTS of kids.

The birth of our first daughter brought so much joy, and, we thought, the start of the big family we always planned on having.

Celeste's birth in February was simultaneously the best and worst day of my life. And that is hard to admit.  February 12th, 2013 is forever one of the best days of my life because it is the day I met my second daughter, Celeste. It's also the day we lost her.

Kemi and I have always trusted God's perfect timing and plan with our family planning.  We know that God's plans for our life are infinitely greater than any we could plan for ourselves. We also believe that the desires of our heart are divinely inspired, and we hope that our ardent desire to have a large family is there in our heart because God Himself planted that seed.

After losing Celeste, we spoke with our doctor at length about the medical issues for our future  pregnancies. Because I had a premature birth and delivery all my subsequent pregnancies will be considered high-risk. What this will mean for me is weekly progesterone injections, a surgery to prevent premature birth early in the pregnancy, and six months of bed rest.

The normal excitement and anticipation of preparing to have a child is now mingled with fear and anxiety. I so desperately want Evie to have siblings to grow up with, but I sometimes find myself paralyzed with fear of another premature labor. I trust our doctor, and more importantly, I trust God. I do. But the humanness in me, the side of me that I find I am always fighting with lately, is absolutely terrified.

Thinking about becoming pregnant again, I think about the bed rest. Being put on bed rest for six months. I worry about what it will do to my relationship with will she feel when I can't pick her up and twirl her around? We dance together most nights after dinner. Will it change our relationship if all I can do is sit back and watch? What will it mean for Kemi, who will have to do all the grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, and most of Evie's care? Will it be too great a burden for him? He reassures me it won't. And I know he can do it, he's a wonderful partner, but still I'm worried how this will affect our family...we already have such a complicated life as it is.

I worry about what it will mean for my job.  My role will have to be a bit more passive, temporarily, and I don't want to let anyone down.

And honestly, I get angry that my naivety is gone. The way I felt during my pregnancy with Evie will never be back. I was so trusting that all would be fine, and was free to fully enjoy every kick, every hiccup, and cross the days off the calendar until my sweet baby arrived.  Now, I'm scarred. I can never go back to being able to fully enjoy the gift of pregnancy without fretting about every little cramp or pain.

When I confront these fears in myself, I know God can overcome them. I know I need to surrender myself to Him and let Him have all of me, fears and all.

I read something recently that really struck me. It was advice from one woman to another, and she said "don't not have another baby because of the infant stage, because it's so finite. When you think about having another child, think about how many people you want around the table for Thanksgiving dinner."

For me, this was huge.  As Oprah would say, it was an "Aha!" moment.  I have had such difficulty reconciling my desire to have a large family with my fears about what pregnancy now means for me.  I mean when you're a working mom, how many times can you be on six months of bed rest, you know? All I can do is totally abandon these desires to God, and let Him guide us. It's so, so, so not easy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Perfect Day.

Having a 15 month old makes everything just a little bit more complicated. Not less fun, just more complicated.  However, today was not one of those days. Today was just perfect! Evie was in such a great mood, and a total pleasure! Having Saturdays and Sundays with her that are like this are like gold to me. I look forward to the weekend because it's my opportunity to have a full day uninterrupted with my little sidekick. So days that go off without a hitch, and she's in a great mood, and everything goes smoothly? It's like winning the mom lottery.

It was so simple, too. we just hung out at the mall this morning with Delia and Sophia. Can you believe how big these two are getting?!

Nothing like hanging out with your cousin on a butterfly

Facetimed with Kemi. It's amazing to me that this guy can make her BELLY LAUGH from Florida.

And then something remarkable happened. 

Evie ate about a pound of broccoli for dinner. No joke. Yeah, it was that kind of day. What a win.

Beautiful Things...or, The Story of the $30 Candle

I love beautiful things. Always have.  Throughout high school and college, I took art classes, and now, although I almost never get to "do" art anymore, I still have an appreciation for it.  And that's what it's there for, isn't it? God has given us so much beauty in our life on Earth, and God uses it to give us a tiny glimpse of our life in Heaven.

Speaking of Heaven and heavenly things...Another beautiful thing I love (and a lot of women love!) is Anthropologie. I get so much inspiration walking through an Anthropologie store. It's like a museum for beautiful things.  I could truly spend hours in there, smelling candles and lotions, trying things on, imagining how this chair or that sofa would look in my living room, getting ideas for how I could display a stack of old books on the shelf in my bedroom, or some flea market pitchers in my kitchen...It's completely relaxing to me, but energizing at the same time, because I always leave buzzing with ideas.  I've told Kemi in the past that if I got a few hours out of the house, I would choose to get a Havana Latte from La Grande Orange and then walk around an Anthropologie store for an hour, alone. 

On one of these highly coveted, hard won trips to Anthropologie a while back, I was doin' my Anthro thing, smelling stuff and touching stuff, and I found a candle that smelled like...heaven.  But like all things in Anthropologie, it was crazy-expensive. A $30 candle.  My husband would have choked.  Do I know how many goats $30 can buy a family in Uganda? Of course. Of course I know these are just things. Just stuff.  And, in my single days, I would have probably deliberated about it for the entire hour I walked around that store, but I might, just might, have brought that beautiful thing that smelled like heaven up to the register and let the girl behind the counter wrap that puppy in tissue paper, bag it up, and send me home with it. And then I would have eaten Ramen for a week straight. Don't look at me like that...just think of how amazing my house would have smelled!

Now, I'm a mom. And being able to afford organic milk for my family is infinitely more important to me than a $30 candle. But there's still the part of me that misses those $30 candle days, you know? The days when you were only responsible for you, and overdrafting your bank account for a $30 candle was not known to anyone but you, the Ramen-eater.

In my single years, I used to spend a lot more time dreaming up ideas for things I wanted to make, outfits to put together, and things I wanted to paint.  In fact, before family life, I did a lot more dreaming. There was so much more time to just...think my thoughts! Ya know? Since motherhood especially, there's just a lot less time for those things.  Between the daily obligations of work, meal planning, grocery shopping, juggling schedules, scheduling childcare, and making time for quality husband-wife time and quality Evie-mommy time there's no time left! My head is just so full of schedules and to do lists that I rarely get to let my mind wander to think about "fun stuff." Do any of you mamas feel this way? I have found more fulfillment in my role as wife and mother than any other job I've ever had.  It brings me more joy than anything else, ever.  And yet, sometimes I feel like a little bit of myself has faded away and I need to get back in touch with that girl.  That girl, after all, is the girl my husband fell in love with. I want the fun, creative, imaginative, Corinna to not die. I want the beauty and joy of being a wife and mother to only add to that.  I have to remember I'm not just the Corinna who remembered to buy the organic whole milk for Evie and the Lactaid milk for Kemi. Who washed all the cloth diapers and got them ready for the week. Who can.not.forget to pick up toilet paper on the way home tomorrow night.  I'm also the girl that used to read books FOR FUN. That used to paint. That used to do her hair everyday and wear cute skirts and buy $30 candles.

So, how to remedy this? I don't know! I'm thinking I need to have a weekly "challenge" to do something that the "old" Corinna used to do...get a coffee by myself, go window shopping, pluck my eyebrows. You know. The luxuries in life.

 What do you guys think? Anyone else struggle with this sometimes?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Evie at School

Evie came with me to school today.  I occasionally will have a friend babysit Evie at school so that I can have her nearby. And let me tell you...

For this working mama's guilty heart, there is absolutely nothing better. I'm feeling so thankful for my staff today. They ADORE my kid. It makes me feel so very lucky to work in such a supportive setting where Evie has so, so many people who love her. I mean, they fight over whose turn it is to play with her during their lunch breaks. I know these ladies will be in Evie's life for a long time to come.  Feeling pretty blessed by that tonight. 

And can you even BELIEVE the sweetness between Evie and her cousin?! The way those two love each other is something else.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let's Be Honest. Part 1.

Well, if I'm being completely honest...I have an extra 15 pounds on me.  Here's what happened: after we lost Celeste, Kemi and I stopped caring for awhile. We ate Ben and Jerry's most nights for dinner, on the couch, passing the carton back and forth, talking through tears late into the night.  Ben and Jerry's Phish Food will forever take me back to those first few days.  And I didn't care. Didn't care to shower, didn't care to brush my hair or change out of the black sweatpants I slept in. Every night.  Just didn't care. In fact, I didn't want to shower. I didn't want to change from how I was that day I held my girl on my chest.  Grief does strange things to the mind.
Anyway, as it turns out, I gained 20 pounds. Now, I know this is totally normal for a post-baby body, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that. I don't have the newborn to carry around to show that I just gave birth, so sometimes I have to consciously remind myself that, four months ago, I was six months pregnant. When I had Evie, I told myself that it took 9 months for my body to change, so I was totally ok with it taking at least 9 months for it to change back.  Well, it didn't completely change back because five months after Evie was born, I became pregnant with Celeste. Six months later, I lost Celeste, got swallowed by an ocean, and here I am. Not to mention that with Evie, I got to breastfeed, which really helps to get that body back in shape. With Celeste, my milk came in three days later like a mean joke, and then went away after two weeks and more than one embarrassing "wet shirt" incidence at work.

So, now, here I am, 15 pounds over my pre-Evie weight.  And the story is this: I wouldn't be concerned, except this is not a normal weight for me.  And I'll be honest, I'm struggling a bit with it. I don't fit into 75% of the clothes in my closet, making it hard at times to feel attractive. But my real concern is health-related.  You see, if Kemi and I are blessed to conceive again, I will be put on bed rest at 15 weeks.   According to my (amazing) doctor, that means get in the car in the morning, go to work, sit at a desk, get in car, come home, sit/lay down, and go to bed. Repeat.  If any of you know me well, you know that is just not my style. I don't sit still.  So, bed rest will be hard enough for me mentally, but it will also be hard physically. I will not be able to exercise, at all. So for me to feel healthy enough to conceive again, I'd really like to be back to pre-pregnancy weight first, with the assumption that I will probably gain it all back plus some during our next pregnancy due to lack of activity.

So, I am going to try to lose it, and I'll take you along with me.  Wish me luck! I'll post more this week about my plan of attack ;)

New Design, and My First Giveaway!

A WINNER! We had 16 total entries (four of you got an extra entry for posting the giveaway on your Facebook!) and using the Random Number Generator (thanks, Anna Kate!) I entered numbers 1-16, and got number 5, Kellie Soper! Congratulations! I hope Ted enjoys these when the time is right! And the first few months sure go by fast...he'll be eating solids before you know it!

As you can see, Track 8 got a facelift! Thanks to Erika from The Fairy Blogmother for being verrrrry patient with me and for a great redesign!

I thought now would be the perfect time to launch my first giveaway.  You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote about the Little Green Pouch. Well, we've been using our set of 4 pouches for a few weeks now, and really love them! My new favorite recipe for Evie? Avocado, spinach, banana, frozen blueberries, whole milk yogurt, and chia seeds.  She gobbles it up! It's funny because avocado was the very first solid food we introduced her to, but now it's one of the only foods she won't touch. Unless of course, it's blended up into a smoothie and she doesn't know it's there! It's been a great way to sneak in some plant-based fat for her.

The cutest feature of these pouches, IMO!

I think a lot of us think of the pouches as being just for babies, but I've heard from lots of moms that their older children love them too. At our school, I've seen many of my elementary aged students bring fruit pouches to school as a snack! They're not just for kids, though...In a mad dash out the door on Monday morning, I "stole" one of Evie's frozen smoothie pouches for a quick breakfast in the car!

So, as you may have guessed, our first giveaway is for a set of four Little Green Pouches!  When LGP contacted me, I was thrilled! And, in response to one of my only concerns about the pouch being a bit big for younger babes, they said they are actually working on a smaller size! As an entrepreneur mom myself, I am proud to support small businesses run by moms, trying to make life better and easier for other moms.

If you're not familiar with the Little Green Pouch, be sure to check out their site here. If you're the lucky winner, the site is a great resource with TONS of recipes for purees to make for your little one!

Now, for the giveaway!
I am thrilled to partner with Little Green Pouch to offer one lucky reader a set of four pouches, on us!

There are two ways to enter:

1. Follow Track 8, then leave a comment sharing what recipe you'd put in your pouch for your little one!

2. Share this giveaway on Facebook, and leave an additional comment telling me you've done so!

One winner will be chosen at random on Monday, June 24th at 9:00 pm MST.

*Entries only open to residents in the U.S.
*The opinions stated in the review are my own. I did not receive any free products to review, I just love these pouches!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From Celeste

Lately, I think Celeste has been giving me little presents from Heaven.

Yesterday, a good friend dropped by the school with flowers and a card and said she just felt Celeste telling her to bring them to me and to tell me how close she is to me always. Of course, that old familiar lump immediately made its home in the back of my throat and I started to cry, but this time, for the first time, there was sweetness in it.

Then, tonight, I made Evie her bottle and snuggled into the couch with her to feed her before bed.  After a few minutes of drinking it, she took it out of her mouth, looked straight into my eyes, and the sweetest, most giant smile crept slowly slowlllly across her face. She stayed that way, for a full minute or so, just grinning at me, without a sound. It was the sweetest thing, and really unlike any of her other faces or other smiles. It was just such a tender, sweet moment with her, I couldn't help think maybe Celeste had something to do with it. It made my heart feel light for the first time in four months to think how Celeste will always be with Evie and will watch over her and pray for her. Evie is lucky to have such a special advocate in Heaven.

Anyway, I'm feeling blessed that tonight for the first time, I can feel a little bit more alive.  Keep praying for mama and papa, Celeste. We need it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day DIY Gift Idea

I wanted to try to make Kemi something for Father's Day and found this idea on Pinterest.  You could make something similar for any would be really cute for a baby's first birthday or a wedding photo given on an anniversary.  I followed the directions through this tutorial, and it was really simple!

First, I printed out the pictures onto card stock.  It took a few tries to get them printed in good quality, and the right size.

Next, I bought these really simple white boards from Michael's.  They were in the section that all the wood stuff is.  All I did was spray paint them black, throw on a coat of mod podge, and then pressed the pictures into place, making sure to smooth out any bubbles and wrinkles.

Then I used a fine sanding block I bought at the hardware store and sanded the edges of the paper to rough it up a bit.  Definitely don't skimp this step! This is for sure what made the pictures look cool and a little bit aged.

Finally, do a last coat of mod podge, and make sure you do thin coats. I did one really thin coat vertically, let it dry, then did another thin coat horizontally.  The first time I did it I used way too much mod podge, and the ink on the photos got runny.

Not to get toooo schmoopy, but oh, the way that man looks at his babies. Total awe.  He's a good one, guys. Kemi and I were looking at these pictures tonight and couldn't believe how BIG Evie's baby picture looks next to Celeste's. And Evie was tiny...only 6 pounds, 2 ounces at birth. Next to Celeste's one pound, one ounce, Evie looks enormous! We're blessed, that's for sure.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

Kemi is loading the leaning tower of dishes into the dishwasher. I'm in the living room playing with Evie.

Kemi: "There's a tambourine in here."
Me:   "In the sink?"
Kemi: "Yes."
Me:   "Oh. Ok."
Kemi: "Cool."

There's a new normal in the Ndolo house, guys.

Blueberries and peanut butter sandwich. Mealtime at our house.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


In case you couldn't hear the screams from your house, I was blessed to win the Freshly Picked giveaway that Anna Kate hosted on her blog this past week! I had been lusting after these adorable baby moccs for MONTHS, and had even been googling "Freshly Picked giveaway!"  So how funny that a blog I was already reading ending up having a giveaway for them.  I am so thrilled! Now to decide which color....


On the one hand, the platinum pair would go with everything, and I love the metallic....


But the practical side of me wants the Weathered Brown color, so that any future baby we might have, regardless of gender, could enjoy the buttery softness of these precious shoes.  Oh, decisions, decisions!

AND, I've been following @freshlypicked on Instagram, and rumor has it, they'll be coming out with some new colors soon. I might just have to sit on my hands until then :)

By the way, this is me right now:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Four Months

Romans 8:28
I know He has purpose in even the things I cannot understand.

I have to rest in that. I have to let that be my comfort today.

Today marks four months since our sweet girl went to Heaven. It is also what would have been my due date. It's strange, last month's anniversary was Mother's Day, and this month, my due date.  It's been a hard couple months.

The past four months feel like a million years and the blink of an eye, all at the same time. There are moments when my grief feels like such a heavy fog over me that it seems it will never clear away.  More often though, it's the little day to day things that make the lump form in my throat.  Tonight, I was looking through old photos for a project we're working on, and I found pictures of Evie the first time I held her. I can't help but think Celeste would have looked an awful lot like that.  It stings that I don't get to bring her home from the hospital. It makes the hot, fat tears fill my eyes to think that we would probably already be home with our little girl by now. We'd be introducing her to Evie. It pains me that Evie doesn't have Celeste to grow up with.

Last night, I rocked Evie to sleep, and sang her our songs. "You are my Sunshine" and "A Bushel and a Peck." The same songs I have sung to her since she was born. The same songs we rocked Celeste to sleep with for the first and last time. And every night that I get to rock Evie to sleep and sing to her is a gift. I treasure it.  And each morning I go in to get Evie from her crib,  and as soon as her eyes meet mine I tell her "we get another day together, baby girl!" Because it is remarkable. It really is a miracle, and I know that I wouldn't marvel at one more day with Evie if I hadn't had only one day with Celeste.

I know my heartache can change my life for the better, if I let it. It can soften my heart, if I let it. I worry everyday that it has changed me in a way that isn't good. That it has made me a different mama than the one Evie came into the world knowing.  And I don't know what the truth is. I hope, with time, that my heart can be softened and the Lord will make me more of what He desires for me to be.

I don't know why my daughter is in Heaven when it feels as though she should be here with me. But I do know, in the deepest part of me, that God has a purpose in everything, and His plans for me are good. It is a balm to the wounds of our heart to hear how Celeste's story has been healing to other mothers grieving the loss of their infant. Or how pictures of Celeste's tiny feet have saved babies from abortion.  Or how others have found hope in their worst times through Celeste's intercession. We praise God for the ways He can use our worst for His glory.

Celeste, I love you. I love you I love you I love you. I would have done anything to keep you with me. I miss you every second of every minute of every day.  Pray for us, sweet baby.  We can't wait to hold you again!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sure Beats a Tampon

Yesterday, Evie was playing with a spatula while helping me move the wash to the dryer. I turned on the dryer, wondered what the clanking get it. She also microwaved a doll this week (our new kitchen has the microwave down at Evie to come on the kitchen remodel!)  So I was thinking...right now she's really into putting things in other places, hiding things, finding things, opening things...ya know. So I got to thinking about how I could give her something to play with that would allow her to put things in, open things, find things, etc.

The project I came up with was really, REALLY simple. I saved an egg carton, and grabbed a handful of leftover plastic easter eggs.

Then I filled each egg with random stuff I already had on hand.  I tried to use things that had an interesting texture or sound, and used a lot of different colors. You could of course use just about anything, but not all my little "surprises" were safe for Evie to play with on her own, so I just made sure to supervise. If you want your little one to play this independently, obviously use items that won't pose a choking hazard.

Then I decorated the top with some random Valentine's Day stickers that were leftovers, just to add some cute.

There's nothing genius or revolutionary about this project.  It was 100% free, and I was able to throw it together in five minutes or less. What IS awesome is it kept Evie entertained for, drumroll...45 minutes! No joke. And that was only the first of three times she played with it.  That's a success in my book!

"Obo!" (Open)

I hope you all have success with this project for your little ones.  Any other ideas for contents? I'd love to hear them...I'm sure our egg carton will need some "refreshing" soon! Add your ideas in the comments!

Oh, and the best part? Sure beats entertaining your kid with a tampon...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Keepin' It Real Mondays

I LOVE blogs. I mean I realllly love them...I subscribe to 31 different blogs. No joke! I don't get a chance to read everyday, but when I do get to open my reader and catch up, it is my favorite way to relax. Reading blogs is what reading magazines used to be, I think!  Such a great way to get inspiration, peek into other people's lives, get new ideas, recipes, crafts, the authors and subject matter are endless.

There is one thing I have noticed about most blogs, though. Most bloggers tend to only write posts about the cool/inspirational/cute stuff going on in their life. And with good reason! I do this too. There are a lot of days that I just don't have much to write about, so I don't. You don't see the boring stuff in between the posts, because, well, it's not all that interesting.  The thing is, Some people read blogs and get down on themselves because they think their life doesn't look anything like the blogger's because they forget that they're only seeing a teeny tiny (and cute and perfect) piece of that person's life.

So, while there's nothing wrong with only writing posts about the fun and cool parts of our life, I thought in an effort to keep it real with you, and to show you a peek at the not-so-cute parts of my life, and to remind us mamas how we're united by the craziness, I'd do a weekly "Keepin' It Real" post. So for this week....drumroll.....

I gave Evangeline a tampon this week to entertain her for five minutes so I could finish putting on my makeup.

Evie weirdly loves drinking seltzer water lately!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thank You and a New Look

I cannot thank you each enough for your kind words and support. This blog has been a great therapy for me since Celeste died.  I am thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and fears, but I am most thankful for the times that those thoughts resonate with someone many cases, someone I have never met.  It is so remarkable, and really shows the common thread that we share in our humanity.

Sometimes I wonder if my posts are just too scattered.  I write frequently about Celeste, but I also really like to write about Evie, our family, projects we are working on, and mom stuff.  One of my main reasons for keeping a blog is to be able to look back on what we were doing during certain times, what I was thinking/reading/feeling/etc.  So, I've decided...whatever. If my posts are scattered, then they're scattered! But I will still be chronicling things around here, probably mostly about our family, DIY/home projects, and a bit of "lifestyle" type stuff...products I like, interesting articles I've read, things like that.

So, to that end, Track 8 will be getting a little facelift in the next two weeks.  Stay tuned, and let me know your thoughts!

And, to make you smile, a little of this babydoll:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Suffering Unleashes Love

Today, the story of Celeste's life is being shared again. This time, as the cover story on Life Site News. We are so incredibly humbled by the way that Celeste's story has had such lasting effects.  At the same time, it is  hard to relive that night over again.  When the suffering is too great, and the memories of that night are too hard, I try to unite my suffering to our Blessed Mother. I remind myself that she too felt that deep-down heaviness in her heart at the thought of the fate of her child's life.  She too was with her child through death.  I have a relationship with our Blessed Mother that I never would have, had I not lost my Celeste.

I have never shared most of the stories of how Celeste's life changed the world. I'd like to a few of them now with you.

About a month after Celeste died, Kemi returned to work. One of the events they were performing at that weekend was for young adults.  Before the night began, a young man who was supposed to be giving a talk came to Kemi and said he hadn't prepared anything in particular, but felt moved to simply read my blog post about Celeste's birth story. He had read it, and felt that that was what he was being prompted to share that evening. Kemi gave him permission, and that night, to a crowd of thousands of young adults, he read my words about the birth and death of our daughter.  Kemi and the band played, and after the evening was over, something incredible happened. A young woman approached Kemi, and asked to speak with him.  She shared that she was pregnant, and had planned to have an abortion. Hearing about Celeste's life changed her mind. She had called her parents minutes prior to tell them about her pregnancy.  She explained to Kemi that she had been so fearful to share the news with them, knowing how disappointed and angry they would be. What she experienced was quite different. Her parents reacted with love, reassuring her it would be ok, and they would get through it as a family.

As if that weren't enough, another young woman approached Kemi after that. She explained that a few years prior, her sister, whom she was very close with, had died unexpectedly. She spoke through tears as she explained that she had never forgiven God for it. Hearing our words about Celeste's life and death changed her heart. She realized in Celeste's story that all these years she had been longing to have her sister back, God had been trying to point her eyes to Heaven, and change the desires of her heart.

Maybe ten years or so ago, a very holy and wise friend of mine told me that "suffering unleashes love." I don't think I ever understood it. That is, I don't think I ever understood it until I lost my daughter.

Celeste's life and death continues to change lives. When Kemi told me about these young women whose lives were changed because we lost our daughter, my heart broke all over again. My eyes welled, my nose stung, the old familiar lump took its place in my throat, as I relived that night.  It's still so raw, and so tender for my heart to go back to that night. And yet, in my own brokenness and hurt, all I could think and pray was thanks be to our God who allows miracles. Who can use broken and hurt people like Kemi and I, and a one pound, 22 week baby girl to change lives.  Who has plans that in my humanness I don't understand. Because sometimes He is a God of unexplainable things. He changes lives through death and He allows suffering to unleash love.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Tiny Boss

Living with a one-year old is like living under the oppressive thumb of a tiny, tyrannical dictator. If you aren't now nodding your head in agreement, then you must have never lived with a toddler. Let me explain.

Recent Acts of Terror:
1).  It's dinnertime, and she doesn't want the miniature version you made her on her tiny adorable plate with the bunnies on it. She wants your dinner. From your plate. You finally concede, and give it to her. She throws it on the floor, looks you in the eye and says "uh oh." 

2).  Pooping in the bathtub.

3).  Shoving her adorable chubby fist in your face while clutching a half-eaten, slimy cereal bar. "Aaah!" "Aaah!" She's sharing. She wants you to eat it. You HAVE TO EAT IT.

4).  Her favorite word is "No."
"Good Morning, baby girl!" "No."
"Time to take a bath!" "No."
"Evie, I love you!" "NO."

5).  During dinner she sees you chewing, and pokes her little finger into your mouth. "Aah!" she yells at you. "AAAaaahhh!" You open your mouth (as you've been ordered to do) and show her that you're eating the same thing as her. She sticks her tiny adorable fingers in there and screams when you won't let her EAT THE HALF-CHEWED FOOD OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. Oh glory.

6).  Another new word is "up." "Up!" She demands. So you pick her up. "NO!" She wants down. So you put her down. "up." "UP!" So you pick her up. This could go on for hours.

And here's an update on the little one's weekend.  She was escorted about town to many important events. Namely, the library and Sprouts.

Her Papa serenaded her. She was delighted :)

Trying (to no avail) to figure out what this kiddo wants to eat!

Funny thing is, Kemi surprised me on Saturday morning by telling me we were taking off that afternoon for a one night hotel stay.  What did we do? Talked about our little girl the WHOLE TIME. Sure love that crazy little Fascist.