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.

Why I Hate Talking about Politics

We do not subscribe to cable or even own a television. I don’t say this to be prideful, I just am glad we eliminated that thing that wasted so much time and increased unnecessary anxiety in my life. We do have a desktop and a laptop computer so we could watch news online and sometimes we do. But, when we had a television, it was usually in order to flip on the news and see what was happening. And I used to watch a lot of news. What was the point of this? Because it’s important to be informed, right? Especially as Christians, we are told that it’s important to know how terrible the world is and to pray for our evil leaders, etc. There always have been and always will be rulers we don’t agree with in the world. I don’t need to see their faces every day and hear their words to know that they are there. I don’t need to know every issue that is being debated and have a list of evidences of why or why not I agree or disagree. This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions or believe that those things are important. I’ve just matured enough to understand what is outside the scope of my influence and I now refuse to waste my time thinking or talking about them.

I always vote. How can I vote if I’m not “informed”? Oh, you mean how can I vote if I’m not watching the news every single night and being angry at the people I don’t agree with and cheering on the people I do agree with? I find that game stressful and useless, so I’d rather just know a few simple facts about the candidates, which I can find quickly by reading a few websites and make a decision. The most important issue… is life. It’s pretty simple, I vote for candidates who are ProLife. I don’t vote for candidates who agree with murdering unborn babies. I don’t care to analyze any of the other issues. I don’t care who wants to marry who. I might have a few thoughts about guns, but I don’t care to share or take up much of my time analyzing these things that I can do nothing about.

I am not discouraging people from being involved in politics, but I will not be involved beyond voting. My job is to be a mother, wife, Christian, friend, daughter, and not an arguer of political ideas. I have removed that useless, stressful, previously self-imposed role from my life and I haven’t missed it for a second.

This does not mean that we will never own a television or that I will shelter my children from watching the news, quite the contrary, I think it will be important for them to have a period of time of learning about the political system and watching debates and learning how politicians speak and that time will come, but I won’t emphasize it as a life-long hobby, at least for myself right now.

Gracie is 4 Months Old and Why It Doesn’t Matter as Much

The second baby is so different from the first. Mothering a second baby is so different than mothering the first baby. With the first, my questions were: Will my baby smile? Will my baby really laugh? Will she sit up? Will she ever walk? Will she really talk and words will come out of her mouth? I’m not sure if those things will really happen! Now I know they will happen and they do. Of course, it is still amazing and precious the milestones that Grace reaches, but now I know that these miracles happen and I am not holding my breath until they do.

With Eva I knew exactly how many weeks old she was at each milestone. I would ask friends how old their (not first-born) baby was again and I’d expect an answer in weeks but when I got a lazy estimate, I’d be surprised and wonder how they could not know exactly. But, now I understand. I know Grace is past 4 months old, but I didn’t take a picture of her on the day she was exactly 4 months old and analyze every attribute like I did with Eva. Life goes on. Miracles happen all around us and it’s hard to take them all in.

Grace is such a precious baby. People call her the chill baby, because she just hangs out and watches. She is usually happy and giggling. She has her moments as all babies do, but I am blessed with an easy 2nd baby. She sleeps through the night and takes a long 3 hour nap in the afternoon usually the same time Eva does, so I am doubly blessed to have that block of time alone to work or read. She usually wants to be held all morning long and has cat naps on and off, and then the long nap in the afternoon.

Eva loves her little sister. Although the other day I was talking to Daddy about if we would have any more babies and Eva said very firmly that there were too many babies around here and we didn’t need any more! She likes to tell Gracie that she needs to share, which means that Eva gets everything and “Baby” can watch. We recently picked up a Bumbo chair from a consignment shop and Eva loves that Grace can sit there and watch her do things. I just love having 2 girls and can’t wait to watch them grow up together and hopefully be the best of friends.

Grace – 3 Months Old

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Grace is a very different baby. She has been sleeping through the night for 10-12 hours since she was 8 weeks old. I did not do a thing to encourage this. Eva did not sleep through the night consistently until after 7 months old, so this is amazing. She has a very calm personality. Of course she cries like all babies do, but I’m just amazed at how calm she is most of the time and easy to please. She loves to have someone look her in the face and smile and talk to her. She coos and smiles back and giggles and squeals. She kicks her feet and throws her arms around. She loves to suck on her fists and fingers. She has started to grab toys but is very clumsy and gets irritated when she can’t grab them or she has a grasp on them and just shakes them around as if she can’t let them go. Her hair is so blond and her eyes are so big and blue. When we go out with her she just looks around with wide eyes at everything and then eventually falls asleep without a peep. If I sing to her she has the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and just looks in wonder probably wondering how a person could make such interesting noises. Eva loves her little sister and if she cries she will tell her that “it’s okay” and “don’t worry, Baby”. Or, if I take a few minutes to respond to Grace, Eva will say “Mommy, help Baby!” She asks to hold her all the time and then says “Take picture!” which I always do.

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5 Tips for an Easier Labor & Delivery

I had very different delivery experiences with my 2 girls, and I did some things prior to my 2nd that I think helped me to have – what I would call – a perfect birth experience. It really helped me to read personal accounts of what other mothers did, so hopefully these are some ideas that might help another pregnant mother prepare. You could just say it was my 2nd child and that is why my labor was so quick and easy, and I think that is partly true, but I also think these few things helped as well.

  1. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea. RRLF is a uterine tonic. I couldn’t drink a lot of this as a hot tea during the summer, so I would make a large pitcher of it chilled with some stevia and drink it every day throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
  2. Do squats every day. Seriously. Of course you should get regular exercise and be active every day, but this is one of the best exercises to open up the pelvis and get your body ready to birth a baby.  Other helpful exercises to help baby get in a good position for labor (and help with back pain) are: downward facing dog and cat stretch. I tried to do these exercises almost every day.
  3. Clary Sage essential oil. I only recently started learning about essential oils and I do not know much. But, I did read about Clary Sage and decided to try it. I started using it a week before my due date. I diffused the oil every night before bed AND I rubbed an essential oil mixture on my belly every day that included Clary Sage and Lavender in a coconut carrier oil.
  4. Relax but keep moving. How is this possible? My labor switched on and started to get intense right away so I immediately got into the shower and tried to relax and let my body do what it needed to. I tried to not think too much about it and just let it happen. After the shower, I slowly got dressed and kept walking back and forth to get things together.
  5. Prayer. I prayed consistently every night throughout my pregnancy that God would bless our baby and that I would have a faster, easier labor than my first. Praying about it also put me in a positive mindset that this was going to be a better birth experience and I believed that.