The sadness of miscarriage, not wallowing in the pain, and thoughts of eternity

At 10 weeks, we had an ultrasound, but there was no heartbeat and the baby only measured 6 weeks. We had a few HCG tests to verify that levels were going down, so we knew the baby wasn’t alive.

It is very sad, but I’m glad it happened early, as it would have been more devastating if the baby grew much bigger and then passed away. Any type of loss is hard. I’ve spoken with several friends who have also lost a baby, so it is sad how common it is, but God is in control.

I am okay about it and I’m taking it as an opportunity to focus on healing, recovery, and improving my health and looking for God’s direction in my life. I started the Whole30 nutritional program and am on day 5 today. I’ve always loved food, cooking, and health. I have followed a similar diet in the past that eliminated dairy and grains, and I did it for about a year and felt great, but I fell into bad habits again.

If anyone is reading this and is interested in doing the Whole30 program with a group of about 18 other women, I created a FB group where we are supporting each other while going through the program. We are sharing our progress, recipes and tips as we go along. You can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/990424614371281/

Another area in my life that I am unsettled about is whether I should continue being a stay at home mom or go back to work. I do still have our internet business and it is doing okay, but it’s been stalled and I’m running out of interest in it. I have a very busy mind and it is hard for me to just be at home all the time and not be creating something or working on some project. I had an interview and was even offered one position, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I declined and haven’t done anything further with looking. I also am not settled about my youngest attending child care every day. My oldest loves school and I’m sure she’d do fine, but my 20 month old is still my baby and needs to be with me.

Right in the middle of considering going back to work and finding out details and having an interview and considering one option, I found out I was pregnant and then miscarried, so it really put all of that on hold and my mind is not even close to being back there to consider it again.

When I think about options in my life, there are always 2 ways to look at things. Am I looking at this option from my position on earth, wanting earthly things, more money, or am I looking at this from a view of eternity? As a Christian, this is not our home. We will live on this earth for a temporary time, and then we’ll be in heaven for eternity where the amount of money or gain on earth will not matter. It is so trivial. Of course, let’s be wise with our money and do our best with our time here, but let’s also be content with what we have and not always looking for more on earth. I will be honest, my reason for going back to work would be to make more money, so we could buy a bigger house, so I could pay for more activities for my kids, but also for personal recognition. I might be smart and gifted, but no one will know unless I get a real “job” and can show others my skills. All of that is okay, but I don’t need to do that and it can become self-centered, always looking at myself. My husband makes a good income and I am blessed to not have to work outside the home. I am blessed to be able to have started a business at home, since all businesses require some starting capital.

Some things in life require a trigger, some kind of deep hurt or pain to propel you toward something better. I want to use this pain for good. I’m praying for wisdom and practicing focusing my mind on heavenly things, so I can make these earthly decisions in light of where I am going, not just where I am now.

Moved to Texas and Baby #3

We moved to Plano, Texas the week of Christmas. We are renting a very nice big house. We lived in a condo before, so everything here looks so big. We have a back yard, how cool is that?

Everyone here is so nice, and we love the warmer weather. It’s sunny most of the time, unless there is a tornado warning. This city is much bigger than Ann Arbor, and there are tons of things to do, restaurants, shopping, parks, everything. There is a church and preschool on every corner.

We also found out that we are expecting baby #3. It was quite a shock and I still can’t believe it. I did have a blood test to confirm but also going this week to hear the heartbeat to completely confirm.

 

“Against All Grain” Paleo Meal Plan – Week 1

So, I got Danielle Walker’s “Meals Made Simple” paleo cook book because it had an 8 week meal plan with shopping lists and I like following lists, and need to randomly try new things with cooking, since it gets old.

PaleoFoodBook

I decided to buy exactly everything on the week 1 shopping list. (I made a copy of the page from the book instead of ripping it out.) I went to Meijer AND I decided NOT to buy everything organic. With the paleo diet, the most important thing is quality, as organic, local and natural as possible. I do try to eat many things organic, but I just can’t do it all the time as sometimes the prices are ridiculous or they don’t exist in organic at certain stores. So, here was my shopping list and Eva had fun helping me go down the list and search for each item. It was actually a lot of fun for her to help me out. We checked off each item as we found it.

PaleoFoodShoppingList

Here is a picture of what I got. I went to Meijer instead of Costco like I usually do, because I didn’t want to buy in bulk. I wanted to buy exactly the amount that was on the list and no more. And they do have a good selection of organic foods as well. I was happy to have only spent $118 for a weeks worth of food. I was surprised. This seems like a lot of food. BUT, then I came home and reviewed the meal plan and found out the plan is only for dinners! I was disappointed, but then felt that this was still a lot of food, and I can do leftovers for lunches, or just eggs or simple stuff for breakfast. I was hoping to not have to think about anything and just follow the list, so was a little sad.

PaleoFoodWk1

One thing I could not find was pancetta, which is an Italian bacon, so I just bought extra regular uncured bacon instead. A jicama was on the list and that is something I’ve never eaten. It’s a Mexican tuberous root, maybe like a potato? I’m not sure, but we’ll see how it is. Other new foods on the list were a fennel bulb and fish sauce! I’m looking forward to trying a week of “almost” paleo. I know the purists will say it is blasphemy since everything is not completely organic (gasp!), but I did my best.

By the way, I love this simple quote. Give yourself (and others) GRACE:

quote

 

Mothering 2 Girls is Hard & An Update on the Business

I’ve been MIA for 4 months, so thought I’d check in. Mothering 2 girls is really hard. At least for me. I feel overwhelmed a lot. I think it’s the noise. When I hear a baby yelling plus a 3 year old talking non-stop at the same time, my brain partly shuts down. I’m sure it’s my personality combined with being with 2 children 24-hours a day non-stop every day. Brain fog, bad memory, don’t know what day it is. Anyway, all the pain is worth it, on to the good stuff.

Grace is 11 months old, how did that happen? She was a very easy baby, usually relaxed, but now that she’s almost walking and very active, she’s very verbal, into everything, loves non-stop attention. I love my girls more than anything. They are amazingly beautiful, smart and happy. We just were in Spain for 2 weeks and strangers were always coming up to us or them and saying how beautiful they were and asking their names. Very sweet. Spanish people are so kind and generous. It was hard traveling with 2 young kids, but such great memories were made. I can’t wait to do it again.

Our business we started 4 months ago is doing great and just keeps growing. I want to blog more about the business, so that I can remember and look back, and perhaps to help others who want to work from home and create a real business that can scale without adding more hours to the day. Right now we sell 1 product in our e-commerce store and on Amazon. The goal is to create a line of complimentary products in our brand. We have our 2nd product in production. It’s a private label product which means after months of research and learning about this business model, I found a manufacturer who creates this product for me, designs a package and label with our brand, and ships it directly to our fulfillment center. I never have to see the product, or deal with any orders or shipping. With the first order, I do need to see it to make sure it’s of the quality I want, etc., but after confirming that the product is to my specifications, all future orders can be directly shipped from manufacturer to distribution center. Removing the work of fulfillment and shipping is just amazing. We ran this business from our smart phone in Spain while on vacation. It is the dream business so far.

I won’t share the product that we sell on here, because private label e-commerce has become a competitive environment online and even though we’re not creating new products out of thin air, we are selling something that already exists and we have worked hard to make our brand different, better, higher value, or have some slight difference that attracts our market to us and others might just want to copy this exact idea. If you know me in person then you already know what I sell and I’m happy to talk to any real-life friends or family about it, I just won’t publish it publicly online.

I want to talk about the money because that’s the point of a business, to make money. We started with a business account with $5,000 in it. That was our initial investment and we’ve had all profit and expenses go in and out of that and so far have not invested anything further, which is great. I want this to be a separate business entity. Obviously we made an initial investment, but I don’t want to pour my life savings into something and not know when it’s going to start making me money, so we made it separate from the start so it could live and die on it’s own and eventually I’ll take an income from it.

Our product sold an average of 13 a day the last 30 days. Our highest sales day was 31 units. Here’s a shot of our last 30 days of sales. Our profit after expenses was around $3,000 for the last 30 days, which is awesome for 1 product. We hope to duplicate that with the next.

Capture

So far, most profit is going back into the business in order to scale and expand. I decided just this month to take out only $500 a month, which will cover Eva’s part-time preschool starting in the fall.

The challenge now is balancing being a full-time stay at home mother to 2 amazing girls, and running a business that can easily scale. I have lists of ideas and leads for other products, but I have to be disciplined to not be absorbed by it. I can’t fulfill every good idea. Start with one and then go to the next.

Where have I been?

celebrate

Life has been busy. I started 2 businesses. One was just helping my Dad to start up a business that he is running for himself. I helped him set up the legal documents, website, advertising, etc. The other is a business of my own that I’ve been researching for several months. I’ve always wanted to work from home with my own business where I make the decisions and I (hopefully) determine my own success, so now is the time. (Well, probably 5 years ago was the time, but no point in entertaining regret.)

I actually have been working from home the past few years, but I was working for another organization, paid by the hour, and there were a list of things that I did not enjoy and I couldn’t do a thing about them. Now I am creating something new, and it is fun! I have been researching/obsessing/evaluating business ideas and plans for several months now. I had one business model I was going to follow for a while, but then somehow, I’m not even sure how exactly, I fell upon this other idea that I now know is the right thing. I’m not going to say exactly what it is yet, because I’m just starting and don’t want to share too much, but hopefully I’ll elaborate more in the future.

The business I’m creating I didn’t even know I could create. I didn’t know I was allowed to without some special authority. I thought I had to be “someone” who did those things. But, I’m learning that is not the case. I’ve learned about all the legal requirements and how, in some ways, things are much easier to do than I thought. The perfect thing about this business is that I can start as small as I want and I can control how much it scales. More to come on that…

About my two girls

Well, Eva turned 3 in January and we had a big party and she’s been talking about parties ever since. Pretty much every day she has her own “party” and sets up her animals and tea set and says “happy birthday”. So, the party lives on! We bought Eva a big-girl bed. A twin size with new sheets and everything. She had zero issues transitioning, so no big deal and she still sleeps great. I kept her in her crib as long as humanly possible, but Grace really needed to move to the big crib and was getting too small for the bassinet, so we made the switch really quick when Grace was ready.

Grace is 7 months and crawling everywhere. She is the happiest baby. Everyone calls her the chill baby. When we go out, everyone wants to hold her because she just sits and is calm. What a blessing to have such a calm and happy baby!

We had a long tortuous winter as normal. (I hate snow and I especially hate the cold.) But, it has started to melt and spring is coming. Every year I imagine when we’re going to move somewhere warmer.

We started going to a new church! Eva is in an amazing preschool class and Grace is her totally-chill self in the nursery! Eva loves it and even asks throughout the week if we are going to the “new church” today. They have an Awana program that we might put her in next year.

A Curse of Motherhood: Why I am Now an Idiot

Before I had children, I considered myself intelligent, sharp, easily able to notice details, find solutions to problems and remember the names of my friends.  Since I have birthed 2 children, and it’s only gotten worse with the second, I know nothing. I can’t remember what day is it, I can’t remember if I ate breakfast today, or that I might need to cook dinner tonight for my family. If you are my friend and I have forgotten your name, I am sorry, because apparently my brain has decided that is not important information at this time in my life. Birthdays? No way, people don’t have birthdays, that is hilarious, and definitely not something my brain would ever remember.

The week before Christmas, I decided to make cookies for, like, every person that I know. All the neighbors, all friends and relatives nearby. I decided I would quadruple the recipe and attempt to smash 4 times the ingredients into my mixer, because that was normal.  Needless to say, half of the batter was mixed in the bowl and the other half oozed out over the side and made Eva laugh hysterically. I had the normal response, cry and then attempt to take turns mixing ¼ of the explosion and then stirring it all together by hand. Yum.

I also made some homemade skin lotions for gifts this Christmas and I printed a nice label to put on the tins. I forgot to list one key ingredient and I wrote the wrong year on the expiration date. Who cares! I’m done wasting labels! No one will notice that it supposedly expired 6 months ago! And if they do, I won’t care or even remember! So, if you get one from me, you’ll know how much anxiety and forgetfulness went into making it. Prior to children, I never would have made mistakes like this. Typos? Forgotten words in writing? Never! I handed out some to some ladies at our church, and I tried to give one to a lady twice because I didn’t remember that I had just given her one 5 minutes ago. Yes, it’s that bad.

I used to love to cook and try new recipes. Now we eat eggs for dinner a lot. Oh, we already ate scrambled eggs 3 times this week? Well, I don’t remember anything about that, so it doesn’t count!

Tell me it gets better and the brain does eventually return to its prior state of health. It’s possible I had this same problem after having Eva and it got better, but clearly, I don’t remember that transition.

I love my children dearly, but I really miss my mind.

The Proverbs 31 Virtuous Wife is an Entrepreneur

I have read this passage many times but I recently read it again and was newly inspired. Proverbs 31: 10-31. The virtuous wife is kind, strong and helps the needy. But, she is also a wise business woman and very hard worker. She wakes very early in the morning and works physically hard with her hands by making things to sell in the market. She takes her profits and buys land and a vineyard to further her business. It says she considers a field before buying, which shows that she takes time to research her idea and is wise about her choices before proceeding. She prepares food and clothing for her family so they are not in need. She is not afraid of future hardships (snow) because she has already considered all options and is ready. She is entrepreneurial because she has various sources of income and is not idle but is continually looking for ways to expand her profits and support her family physically as well as financially.

Proverbs 31:10-31 NKJV (BibleGateway.com)

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who[a] can find a virtuous[b] wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

What We Did in 2014

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I’m glad I keep a blog and use Google Calendar religiously because I most definitely would forget half of my life if I did not keep notes of it somewhere. Random events from 2014:

  • Bought our first home
  • Found out that I was pregnant with our 2nd girl
  • Worked from home for a non-profit which closed so that job ended
  • Started my own business! (more on that later)
  • Had a ton of midwife appointments and thyroid blood tests
  • Eva took a swim class and music class
  • Had baby Grace in 3 hours record time at home
  • Eva completely potty trained in a few weeks
  • Had major back pain for a few months, chiropractic and going back to the gym helped
  • Had a wonderful visit with Eva’s grandparents & aunt from Europe
  • Eva dressed up as a princess for Halloween and has been dancing with her tutu ever since
  • After losing my income, read tons of books on business and entrepreneurship and developed some ideas for 2015

How I Met My Husband

I am posting this on December 20th, because my husband and I were legally married on that day in 2006. We then planned our wedding ceremony for May 26, 2007, 5 months later, and that now is the date that we celebrate our anniversary. We went to the court in Lynchburg, Virginia, and were legally married, because it would make a few other legal things easier since Danail was not a US Citizen at the time (he is now) and since we knew we were going to be married, we got the legal part completed so we could plan other things.

Now, on to the story of how we met. I met my husband in the spring of 2005 in an Entrepreneurship class. We both majored in Finance and he went on to graduate that spring, but I took another 2 years until I graduated in 2007. I always say that I met him just in time, because he soon graduated and moved near Washington DC to work in finance right after college.

There were 2 funny situations that happened that brought him to my attention. I had a very funny, extremely extroverted roommate who knew almost everyone, and she loved to very loudly say hello so-and-so to whoever she would pass by. And if that person did not respond, she would say it again more loudly, pretty much yelling at them to say hello. She knew my husband before I did so he was one of the lucky ones that she would yell hello at when he’d walk anywhere near us. I wasn’t as extroverted so I just said hello and nothing more, but I remember he was very tall, handsome and I loved his voice with his strong accent. I had no idea what strange country he was from (Bulgaria). He probably told me at that time, but I was so ignorant of where it was, I probably forgot immediately.

The next incident where we ran into each other was an almost car accident. I have to admit that I was a little bit of a crazy driver in my 20s. I drove fast. I was a good driver, so I never had any accidents, but I drove too fast back then and now I drive like a grandma. Anyway, I was driving my black Buick Regal into the class parking lot and I almost ran into him in his little car. What struck me was that he was driving an 80s (I don’t know what year) Plymouth Horizon that looked like this:

horizon

This was hilarious to me because this was the same exact car that my grandmother had and it was the car that I learned to drive on. I drove it when I was 17 to my job at the local grocery store in NY. I don’t know anything about cars, so I will sound ignorant when I try to explain this but there was some valve that would constantly pop off and the car would stall out. So, I’d randomly be driving and have to pull over, pop the hood and close some valve or something, then get back in and keep driving. And he was driving that same car when I almost ran into him. This was a memorable moment because his car brought back all those memories.

Since I hadn’t actually hit him, we just exchanged greetings/apologies from the windows and kept on our way. Later in class I apologized for almost running him over and I told him about this car and we really laughed about it. So, that was our first conversation that day. It was close to the end of that semester so we didn’t even ever talk again and he graduated and moved to DC to work.

A few months later in the fall of 2005 I got a random message from him asking if I remembered him, the guy I almost ran over in the parking lot. He then said that he was coming back to visit our school for homecoming and could he give me a call? I said sure and gave him my number, but I never expected him to call me. He called me the next day and asked if I wanted to meet him to go watch the football game. I said I’m not into football, but sure I’ll go. We didn’t end up going to the football game, but instead sat and watched a tennis match and I learned that he was a skilled tennis player and loved the game, and neither of us were interested in football.

He had planned to stay there the whole weekend and was staying at a friend’s house, so we ended up spending the whole weekend together doing random things. I have short memories of going to a movie, eating ice cream, and walking around and meeting several of his friends. He seemed to have a lot of friends that were girls (probably because he was so cute). I think we even went to church together that Sunday before he had to drive back to DC, which was a 3 hour drive from our school. We kept in touch and had a lot of long phone conversations and then eventually started visiting each other every few weeks. He’d drive back to school to see me or I’d go to DC for a weekend to see him. I have a lot of nice memories from our “long-distance” dating time. I loved where he lived in Arlington, it was so close to the city and so fun to wander around with him. I remember that we’d buy a $5 foot long sandwich from Subway and share it. He lived in the tiniest apartment room and he paid $500 rent in one of the most expensive areas near DC. He used to buy this raspberry flavored iced tea that he called juice. He had never heard of iced tea, didn’t know what that was when I told him.

He was on a work visa for 1 year so he could not stay at the job he had in DC, so after that 1 year he moved back to our college and enrolled in a masters program, so that he could extend his student visa to stay in the US. At that time, I had a full time job at the college, and when we became engaged, we decided to complete the legal marriage so that he could have the benefit of free tuition as a spouse of an employee at the college and then we had our wedding ceremony a few months later. That all happened in Virginia and then in May 2007, I graduated with my degree in Finance, quit my job and the next weekend we moved to Michigan and had our wedding ceremony and started our new life. I can’t believe it’ll be 10 years next year since we met.

Why I am Done Reading Health Blogs… For a While

If you’ve read any of my blog, you know I’m interested in nutrition and the importance of eating healthy real food. I have (in the past) been subscribed to multitudes of health blogs and followed the research on the paleo diet, auto-immune protocol paleo, the Weston A. Price foundation, organic foods, Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, so on and so forth. I’ve reached a threshold that I can’t take any more information, at least about health. I am in information overload. I stopped following all but one single blogger that blogs about many more things than just food. I feel that I know enough to live a healthy lifestyle most of the time and I can’t do any better right now. There comes a point where the health-food craze becomes almost a religion and people get overly zealous and judgmental and I don’t want to come near that.

I think this blog is going to turn into a different direction in the future and evolve as I am evolving and growing as a person. Even though I have 2 active children at home, I am always (when I’m not consumed with them) reading and researching and praying to improve myself so I can be a better mother and person. I have not been very organized with goal-setting, especially with trying to keep myself accountable in a public setting like this blog, but that’s something I’ll be working on. Hopefully I will be sharing what I am learning.

I have not posted in a month or so because I was tired of everything I was saying but I think I’ll start again and say something different. Writing is therapeutic. It clears thoughts from my head. It helps me learn by first thinking something, then writing it down, then reading it again (and again). It’s 1am so I think I’ll go to sleep now.