⭐️ how magical it was to be pregnant with you, my firstborn son, at Christmastime.
⭐️ how I convinced Daddy to paint your nursery in our rental apartment. To this day it’s the only room he’s ever painted.
⭐️how I went to see a WWII movie with my in laws the day before my water broke (Dec 4). I hate war movies, so I don’t know why I went; probably because I was 39 weeks pregnant and it involved sitting. I actually ended up leaving the theater because it was so upsetting. I swear the stress of it put me into labor the next day.
…There was also a mishap with your nursery glider. It never came. That also could have put me into labor.
⭐️how that night of Dec. 4, I called my mom crying. She was scheduled to fly in after my due date, but call it intuition, or pregnancy hormones, I had a hunch you were coming early. I begged her to get on the soonest flight possible. My intuition was right because 10 hours later, my water broke.
⭐️how after 2 hours of pushing, I anxiously asked my sister (who was in the room), “is it STILL the head?!” … you had a big head. 😂
⭐️how I didn’t cry like I thought I would when you came out. I knew I loved you, but I also felt like I was meeting a stranger.
⭐️how that first night, your Daddy grabbed the hospital bassinet (which was essentially a plastic bin), and placed it next to him on the pull out couch. He wanted to sleep right next to you so he could hear every coo and noise you made. It was the most precious sight to watch his first moment of being an overprotective Dad.
⭐️the moment when the nurses first came to show me how to clean myself postpartum; the bathroom door was open, and I caught your Daddy looking at me with tears in his eyes. As soon as they left, he whispered, “I’m so sorry; I’m sorry you have to go through this.. I had no idea.” I had just given birth to you; my body was broken; but your father looked at me with more love in his eyes than on our wedding day.
⭐️craving an In-N-Out burger REAL bad after leaving your first Dr. appointment.
⭐️a flurry of people in and out of our apartment that first week. How as a first time mom, I was so proud to show you off.
⭐️ how I sang “Silent Night” to you instead of more traditional songs like “Twinkle twinkle little star”. #Christmasbaby. To this day, Daddy still sings Silent Night to you (in Portuguese) before bed.
⭐️ how after you were born, I stood next to your crib and weeped listening to the album titled, “Sleep Sound in Jesus”, because that’s what my mom used to play for me when I was a baby. It was truly a full circle moment.
Lastly, I’ll always remember what it felt like to become your mother. Completely transformed; and simultaneously restored. Like I was coming back to who I had been all along.
After traveling for over 2 weeks, we came home to our plum tree bursting with fruit. Before unpacking any suitcases, I went outside to harvest these beauties.
I had a lot of feelings running through me. We had just returned to California after over two weeks on the east coast, visiting family we hadn’t seen in 18 months. It was the first time in a while, that I was not excited to return home. Don’t get me wrong, California is a beautiful place to return home to, but it’s also 3,000 miles away from family.
As I plucked the fruit, I thought, I am this plum. When I moved to CA at 23, I was plucked from my tree and became a different form. I still have my plum components, but I’m also not *only* a plum. I’ve had stuff *added* to me; I’ve become a wife, a mother, dare I say, a liberal? 🙈
But returning back to the east coast, I felt like I was returning to my tree. The place where I was nurtured, where I grew.
Being there and feeling all those feelings was so comfortable. It was so welcoming. And when it came time to return home, I didn’t want to leave my tree again.
I don’t know what the future will hold.
I don’t know why I felt compelled to compare myself to a plum. All I know is I’m a writer and apparently this is what we do. We write because it’s how we work out our thoughts and feelings and ideas.
If you made it this far, thank you.
And if you just want the muffin recipe, that’s ok too. 😅
COCONUT PLUM MUFFINS
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2 cups good quality flour (like King Arthur)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used FAGE 2% milk fat – I think)
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp. coconut extract ** don’t leave this out, it makes the muffins in my opinion
8 small plums, or 6 medium plums
Sugar for dusting
Separate the dry and wet ingredients. Don’t forget to add sugar to the dry ingredients!
Wash the plums and chop into pieces (discarding the pits).
Slowly stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients in the large bowl, until just combined. DO NOT OVER STIR as it will make the muffins too dense.
Gently stir in the plums, with just a few turns; then fill the muffin cups.
Sprinkle with a little raw sugar if desired, for a crunchy top.
Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
As I watched my daughter toddle down the sidewalk, I thought, “her shadow will not always be this small.”
Then, it hit me. Neverland.
Peter Pan, the boy who did not want to grow up. Peter Pan’s youthfulness would not be, without proof of his shadow. He ran away to Neverland, so he would never have to see the reflection of the man he had become.
I wonder when my own reflection changed. Maybe it never has. Maybe our shadows stay forever young, like Peter Pan. All we have to do is unlock the drawer; and step into the light.
It’s a Wednesday morning, I’m sitting in Starbucks, and I am writing. Funny how free time now seems like such a luxury! Kendrick took Gio to his gym class this morning, and I have a hot cinnamon shortbread latte next to me.
I can’t believe in less than 8 weeks we’re going to welcome a new member to our family. I know it’s been a while since I posted, so let me back up and start at the beginning.
2018 was a year of growth for our family, in more ways than one. In May, we moved into our first house. It still feels crazy saying that. Then, two months later, we found out I was pregnant. It was a strange feeling of excitement, but also partial annoyance that just when things started to feel “settled” and like we had this whole parenting thing down, our world would be turned upside down again. Gio was 19 months old and in that “bliss” stage. Plenty of other parents had warned us that when he turned 18 months, our ‘itch’ for another baby would come on. I didn’t personally feel that…instead I thought, “things are great right now! I don’t want to mess that up.”
Alas, God always laughs when we make our own plans. Sitting here now over 7 months in, I realize that I am ready for this. I’m ready for the sleepless nights again. I’m ready for the newborn cuddles. I’m ready for Gio to become a big brother. 🙂
How we found out I was pregnant
This pregnancy started off with me eating pickles out of a jar. True story. Before I even knew I was pregnant, Kendrick found me in the kitchen eating a pickle. I remember him giving me that sideways glance and asking, “are you pregnant?”
I laughed out loud exclaiming, “NO!” He smirked a bit and said, “OK; but I’ve never seen you eat pickles from a jar.”
He walked out of the room and I pulled up my PMS tracker app on my phone. On the app, it will show little red dots on the days when your period is expected. Those little red dots were filled in for the week before… which meant, I was a week late. I scratched my head, truly confused about how this happened. Wellll, I know how it happened, but it still didn’t totally make sense to me. At that moment, I was puzzled, but honestly not that worried. It had only been a couple months since I had stopped breastfeeding Gio, and I figured maybe my cycle was off.
I closed the app and tried not to worry about it. I’ll wait a few more days I told myself, then if it has not come, I’ll take a test.
Fast forward to three days later, and I’m waiting in line at a small grocery store with a sandwich and pregnancy test in my basket. Kendrick knew that I was buying a test, and we agreed that I would wait until he got home that afternoon to take it. This had been the initial plan with Gio, but I had been too excited to wait for Kendrick and took it on my own before he got home.
This time, I went into the bathroom alone, peed on the stick, and set it on the counter and closed the door. I walked out to the living room where Kendrick and Gio were sitting. I gave him a nervous smile, still not exactly sure what I wanted the result to be. In two minutes, our world would (possibly) change. Part of me wanted to delay that reality as long as I could, because at this point I was fairly certain I was pregnant.
Well, you can guess what happened next. We all walked back to the bathroom, including Gio, and opened the door to our fate. It was positive! We were now a growing family of four.
The rest of my first trimester wasn’t too different from my pregnancy with Gio. I didn’t get the dreaded morning sickness, which I was SO thankful for; but Kendrick noticed that I seemed more emotional and hormonal this time. (his words, not mine….haha)
The rest of the summer passed quickly…my mom came out to help in August, so that Kendrick could go to Brazil and celebrate his grandma’s 100th birthday. We had a wedding at the end of September, which my mom came back for and we spent a couple nights alone up in wine country.
Then it was October and Fall was upon us. We both decided we wanted to find out the sex of the baby again, and scheduled it for Halloween day. I also knew I wanted to plan a trip with just the three of us before baby number two came. I had been to San Diego with my family when I was nine years old; that was actually the first time I came to California and I hadn’t been back since. As I was researching hotels, I remembered the name of the resort I stayed at with my family. I looked it up to see if it was still around, and it was! It’s called Paradise Point Resort and located in Mission Bay; close to the airport, and close to lots of touristy spots like the San Diego Zoo. I won’t go into details, mainly because I don’t have time, but we loved our experience there. The resort has everything you need, and the rooms are super spacious, modern, and comfortable. We bought the most basic room with a King size bed, but had a huge bathroom, a sitting area with a couch, and a round table, a large walk-in closet, and a private back patio with a couple adirondack chairs.
I am so, so glad we took that vacation together. It was truly memorable in so many ways and such a special time that I will forever look back on. It was actually on that trip that I first felt the baby kick; AND I had a dream that baby was a girl. The night after I had the dream, we were watching the sunset on the beach, and as the sky turned pink, I thought, “yup, it’s a girl.” ❤
A few days after we got home from San Diego, it was finally time to find out the gender of baby #2! Kendrick was certain it was a girl, and I was pretty sure as well but still had doubts.
We took Gio to our ultrasound appointment with us, and Kendrick and I both wore pink for our prediction of the gender. We were right!
We revealed the news at our friends house later with a combined Halloween/Gender Reveal party. I popped a black balloon which had pink powder inside. Here’s a picture of us before sharing the news! (If you’re wondering what my costume was, I was the “Lady in the Yellow Dress”, a play on the “Man in the Yellow Hat” from Curious George. Gio was Curious George (aka a monkey) but wasn’t wearing his costume yet.
This has turned into a very long post, I’m sorry!! That’s what happens when I forget to document almost my whole second pregnancy. I’ll leave off with these few pictures we took in early November when I was 21 weeks along. A mom friend of mine, Suzy, (of Suzy Coleman Photography) took some family photos for us and also managed to sneak in a few shots of just me and baby girl 😉