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A Little Bit of Sir Adry

December 20, 2014
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Adry discovered a new love of
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Calvin and Hobbes!
He in turn made my dad an (even more) proud grampa!
Dad loves Calvin and Hobbes. As a matter of fact he bought himself the entire collection from Amazon and that’s how Adry discovered it. Adry used to have me read it to him every time we went over to my parents’ until one day, after about a half hour or so, I told him I was tired of reading and wanted to take a break. Adry was determined to decode every word in that book of comic strips (like transmogrification) and read it all by himself… For a full 4 or more hours- no exaggeration- he sat and read Calvin and Hobbes, often giggling to himself, until he fell right to sleep.
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And now he reads it on his own when we go to visit.

What else did Adry do as we wrapped up another fall?
Well, he fell in love with his new sister of course. And even though the novelty of being a big brother has worn off, he’s just as enamored as ever and that makes me happy.
He’s also been terribly sick just about every other day. This must be a rough cold and flu season; I keep hearing of a bunch of children missing a lot of school! My poor kiddo has gone from whooping cough to throwing up to 105* fevers with blisters on his throat and ear infections… I feel like he was sick October all the way through mid-December. It’s NOT been fun for anyone.
Despite the germs he was able to sneak in a few more autumn days of playing on the playground with his friends after school.

Mom took him to and picked him up from school during the couple of weeks she stayed at my house when I had Ella. She snapped a couple shots of him at the park after school.
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And also one of him playing legos with Les’ little grand-nephew during the OSU-Michigan game.
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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella Belly 7 Months and 3D Ultrasound

August 30, 2014
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Another Ella update!

FIRST. The Belly.

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This is what I looked like at 7 months pregnant with Adry:
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Different angle, hard to compare… Still huge!

ALSO. I wanted to share some of the 3D ultrasound images we got.

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(MOM took this photo! She wanted to make sure everyone knew SHE WAS THERE!)
We went to First Expressions earlier this month and got a whole CD worth of images, but it’s not compatible with my MAC. I haven’t had a chance to use someone else’s computer to email the photos to myself, so I just scanned the few prints we had.

My Eleanor Joyce:

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I wasn’t expecting her to be so adorable! Not that Keith and I aren’t each just entirely smokin’ hot ;-); I just figured there were very few combinations of our features that would crank out a cute kid.

Dad said during the 3D ultrasound he immediately thought, ‘I KNOW THIS BABY!’
Sure enough, we went home and got out an album with my newborn photos and, apart from the pouty lip, Ella and I are extremely similar. So maybe just maybe I’ll have a daughter who looks like me!

Adry really enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what his little sister will look like.
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(MY BIG FIRST GRADER! We went to Mellow Mushroom after the ultrasound.)
He is SO incredibly excited and sweet and protective of who he calls his “Ella Bella”. He sings to her and cuddles with her and gives her hugs on a daily basis. He’s also been keeping a very accurate due date countdown- I’ve been impressed!

Other 7 Month Pregnancy Updates:

You may have noticed the heart monotor.
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It’s not a big deal other than it is really REALLY annoying.
It’s just monitoring, checking for any electrical problems, for 30 days. Mom and I both get frequent PVCs, palpitations, and a little tachycardic throughout the day. Mom also has a grandmother who died of Mitral Valve Regurg and it may be genetic, but the cardiologist said mine was mild and not a concern at all. She ordered another echo just in case, and put me on the monitor basically just to rule out any other issues. My follow-up appointment is in October, and I really don’t expect any news worse than I might have to go on medication to regulate rhythm. Might. Hopefully not!
Other than that, I could complain all day about the misery of this pregnancy, but the truth is we’ve gotten nothing but good, comforting news. Even though I’ve swelled out of my rings and I can’t squeeze my hand shut because of all the fluid, my blood pressure is perfect! And I OFFICIALLY do NOT have gestational diabetes! Which is just… so great, not only for Ella and I now during this pregnancy, but also for ME and my future health! The odds of developing Gestation Diabetes in subsequent pregnancies, or Type 2 Diabetes at a younger age, are lower.
I have 3 goals for Ella and I at this point: 1) Keep her in until her due date! All of these early cramps and contractions are scaring me. 2) Get all the baby things we need and get this apartment baby-ready. And 3) Try to relax and enjoy the rest of this experience as much as I can.

We can’t wait!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Christmas 2012

December 29, 2012
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Christmas was really great this year! Albeit I’m still mysteriously ill and I’ve really been slacking on the whole taking pictures thing, so once again I have to share my experience with a few poor quality phone pics.

(Just a quick update: I’ve done a slew of different blood tests, a round of steroids, a round of antibiotics, and my symptoms have persisted. Full body flu-type aches, no fever, and pressure in my neck/ears/head. Next up: CAT scan and connective tissue test. Ibuprofen has been my best friend, yet it’s totally inadequate. My feelings on the whole thing range from ermergerd what if I’m dying from a brain tumor *panic*! to *sadface* what if this pain will never go away… to I will figure this thing out and everything will be okay *ForcedSmilePositiveThoughts* to meh I don’t remember what healthy feels like, who cares. Right now I don’t care.)

We spent Christmas Eve Eve at Grandma Martin’s house. Keith’s Grandma in Lima.

Keith’s dad, Keith’s brother, and Keith wearing Grandpa’s overalls

Grandma Martin is an incredibly talented seamstress and I will never get enough of her homemade gifts. Ever. Among some other great things we got to bring home this blanket she made for Adry:

It’s just perfect for him.

The next day we went to Christmas Eve service at Cypress, which was just… so awesome.

Honestly, I am totally spoiled. I grew up in a tiny little Nazarene church where the congregation was (and still is!) my family, so I never felt like Cypress was my church… it was just the place I attended. 15 years later, all growed up with a kid of my own, when I visit other churches I feel all aaaaaw I miss Cypress! and I hate missing Cypress services. Now I’m thankful Cypress is my church! It’s just radiating with talent from wall to wall- the sets, the videos, the speakers, the MUSIC. Talent just continually breeds talent in that church, and it’s always so neat to see that people have poured their hearts and souls and hard work into the church for God and for love and for people. Not to mention the constant outreaches we do abroad and in the community, continually making a difference.

Credit: I swiped this video off of Miss Chris Harder’s Facebook

Christmas morning we woke up and enjoyed great family time and a gift exchange.

Keithy got some socks (that he totally needed haha) and I got hypnotic poison perfume! Which I was excited about! Later on Mom and Dad Martin came over and the scavenger hunt for our “big present” commenced! We had no idea there would be a scavenger hunt or a “big present” that our parents and Grandma Martin went in on together. Later on Mom made the comment, “Weren’t you wondering why you got so little before Keith’s parents came over!?” and I realized I hadn’t noticed at all. I had been completely content and got the most enjoyment from watching my family open the presents Keith and I had gotten for them. It’s just an added bonus blessing that we have families that love us so much that they got together to get us something we could have a lot of fun with!

So anyway, they hid 9 clues and little presents around the house leading us to this:

A flat screen TV! We’d been using a clunky hand-me-down TV box with a small little screen. A 46″ definitely transforms one’s entertainment experience. The boys can actually play 2-player Halo!


And it’s definitely super enjoyable to watch our new blurays with our first bluray player on the new TV. I feel as though I am finally living in 21st century Amurica!

Anyway, after our big present the family partook of an excellent Christmas brunch prepared by The Food Woman.

On Christmas night Keith and I took the kid to the Martin household where we exchanged more family time and gifts with Uncle Phil, Scott and Tarah, and ate more wonderful goodies made by Keith’s parents.

Keith and I are very blessed. I love our family. We had a very merry Christmas.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal


November 30, 2012
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The past month has been really hard.

At the beginning of the month I came down with a mystery illness that still hasn’t been diagnosed… It started off as minor fatigue and discomfort and gradually turned into full body aches and pains, sometimes so terrible that I couldn’t get a shower because the change in temperature and pressure of the water hurt so badly. I took ibuprofen like candy and survived without missing a day of work, but I definitely started to get nervous. So far my doctor has done a few general blood tests and all I know at this point is that my inflammatory test was high and I’m on Prednisone for awhile. I think it’s at least starting to make me feel better, but I would just like to know what’s causing the inflammation. I refuse to google health stuff because I KNOW google will tell me I have cancer. Every symptom is a cancer symptom, and I am cancer-phobic. But just from general health knowledge already in this brain of mine I know the inflammation could be anything from an allergy to an incurable -itis of any sort to HIV to, well… cancer.

I remember that several months after Ben and I split I came down with terrible terrrriible body aches without any other flu or cold symptom that just would NOT go away. It felt like I was popping Dayquil by the hour, and eventually I spiked a pretty decent fever… 102 or 103. Everyone was all, “you’re just fighting a virus! No worries!” so I seriously went on living daily life with a crazy fever that I controlled with flu meds…… until the day I broke out in a full body rash and Mother rushed me to the ER where I discovered I had an allergy to an antibiotic I had been taking.

There’s no fever this time, but still… I don’t want to just keep treating symptoms until things get out of control! I want to know what I have. Now. I’m impatient. And nervous.

So anyway. Thanksgiving was wonderful but I felt very sick and was in survival mode. I didn’t get any pictures. It’s my bed time, so I will have to update some more later! I have to wake up in the morning to be with the cute BBs, like these two:

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Mommy Moping

December 15, 2011
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Okay. so. I used to absolutely love my physical appearance. I kind of thought I was small and adorable and probably had too much self confidence, haha. And my favorite part of myself? My tummy. I never had a flat tummy (or butt) no matter how skinny I was (and I was super skinny. Like 95 pounds soaking wet) and I think that’s why I loved it so much.

Because I actually HAD a belly and it was shaped and toned.

and I find now that one of my greatest obstacles to eating right and losing weight is knowing that my tummy will never recover from going from this:
to this:
(8 months. I kept my belly button ring in for as LONG as I possibly could! hah)
(9 months)

( Click: Months 3 through 7 )

I don’t care if I lose a million pounds and get back to doing 100 sit ups and leg lifts a day. It’s just not going to happen. Too much skin that was stretched to its limit. I’ve actually considered saving for a tummy tuck post childbearing years so that I don’t feel so defeated. Any other stretch-marked mommies feel my pain!?

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

“I guess normalcy isn’t really our style.”

October 11, 2010
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September 26 AP 269– Survival. The twenty-sixth was a Sunday. Everyone was going to church and coming back to my parents’ place for a big lasagna lunch. Aaaand I woke up feeling like DEATH. I mean death. Dead dying death. Remember how I told you that that past Friday I thought I was coming down with the flu? Oh man. I hurt and ached so badly all over my body that I could not get out of bed. My fever had spiked to a good 102 ON fever reducers. I had ZERO cold/flu symptoms; I just had extreme miserable aches and pains and chills and a fever. So what did I do? I got up and got Adry and myself ready for church, dang it. I couldn’t miss lasagna lunch, OMG! Plus, I had invited Nick and his boy to tag along and I know he loves it when I am breaking out in fever sweats that soak through my clothes. I couldn’t let him miss out on that.

So I made it. I made it through church. I fever sweated through my clothes. Hot. I ate lasagna and tried to look and act alive. I took care of my boy. Either that or I stared off into space while Nick watched him, I’m still not sure. I think I was in fever delirium. I DO remember texting Nick after he left, while I was half dead, and apologizing for being a horrid mother.

September 27 AP 270– Finally discovering the source of and solution to my terrible illness! I woke up on Monday too sick to do anything at all. My head was so hot that Adry said, “OW, Mommy’s hot, gross,” when he hugged me. (Sometimes you get to hear the brutally honest truth when you mother a tactless toddler. ūüôā ) My fever and aches and pains were getting worse, not better, after four days. Atop of all that, I spent the day hovering over a trash can with terrible nausea, which is just about the most painful experience when your body is exhausted from having a fever for such a prolonged period of time. I felt so sick that I was pretty sure I was dying and I didn’t even care. I would have welcomed any form of unconsciousness.

Finally. Later at night when my nauseated, dehydrated self finally managed to stumble out of bed to use the restroom for the first time that day I noticed I had a rash on my neck. I pulled my shirt down. Rash on my chest. I pulled my shirt up. Rash on my entire stomach and back and shoulders and arms to my elbows AND legs to my knees. My nose and lips and cheeks were red and swollen.

I showed my mom and we immediately headed to the ER. They took one glance at me in triage and made me first priority. Every room was full and they got me in the next available one as soon as it opened up. Within five minutes of stepping into triage they were sticking me with needles trying to find a vein for an IV. Since I have the best veins ever, I warn the nurses: “Every time I have to get stuck I get sick because no one can find my veins and they have to dig around.” And they ALWAYS assure me: “Oh, honey, don’t worry. ¬†I am a one-stick nurse.” ¬†And EVERY TIME they dig around and then they fail. ¬†And EVERY TIME they bring in the one nurse who usually successfully sticks people, and THAT nurse fails, too. EVERY TIME. Once they had to bring in an Anesthesiologist to do my IV. ¬†You know, an Anesthesiologist– someone who went to school for half their life solely to learn about administering drugs through needles into the blood stream. Anyway, this time they brought in a paramedic who wasn’t afraid to rough up my arm to get my veins to firm up. He might as well have karate chopped me and then rubbed me with sandpaper, which is totally cool by me because that is SO better than needle digging. ¬†And he stuck me successfully and took my blood and hooked me up to all kinds of steroids and loopy-inducing drugs in no time.

Maybe like one hour later I was fever free and my rash was slowly starting to go away. Wow. I cannot explain to you what kind of a relief that is after four days of Hell.

By the way, I was having an allergic reaction to some antibiotics I was taking. One of the nurses said she thought she might add it to my medicine allergy list and I told her that I thought maybe that was a good idea. She also said that I might want to consider not taking them anymore, and I told her that was probably a good idea, too, and I’d definitely consider it. I promptly went home and threw my prescription bottle in the trash can. Then I felt that wasn’t good enough, so I took them back out, cursed them, stomped on them, threw them against the wall, called them fowl names, and then I threw them back away. Actually, I didn’t do any of that because I was exhausted, but it was a nice thought.

So, yeah! My first allergy!

September 28 AP 271– Being able to wake up and get out of bed happily and healthily after a full night’s sleep.

September 29 AP 272– Pandora radio. Dad and I blast Pandora throughout the house nearly every morning and through the afternoon. It’s amazing how music can so easily shape the mood of your day.

September 30 AP 273– Living in moments of complete adoration for Adry and mother-son time. I’ve been struggling with motherhood throughout this whole separation process. Straight up. For all the things I will not be able to provide for Adry (stability, consistency, growing up in a whole family, having his mommy and daddy together [as a child, and even now as an adult, I always felt the safest and the most at peace when both my parents were present and loving/taking care of each other], the list goes on) I feel like a failure. And because of that I have distanced myself from my son because I can’t seem to reconcile my failure with the fact that he still needs me as his mother. And all of the sudden I have been launched into this new world where I am trying to reshape my dreams and aspirations and goals and free time activities, many of which do not revolve around him for the first time in my life. It makes me feel self absorbed and like a bad mom, which makes me distance myself from him further because I feel guilty.

But every once in a while I will find myself and a moment of clarity in the midst of the chaos I feel, and I can just focus on Adry, being his mom, and enjoying my time with him. And just loving the way he looks up and bites down on his lower lip a little when he truly smiles, and how he puts his hand on my cheek and pulls my head toward his when he has something really important to say. Oh, and how he squirms a little in embarrassment and gets all sheepish if he notices I’ve been watching him play or sing and he didn’t know it.

~~~~~~By The Way. I am really beginning to come together and refocus on what I want and who I want to be. It’s still a struggle, but less of one than it was when I wrote these appreciations. It gets better every day. I’m finding my passion for family and being a mom again. It is decided: I am SO designed- every fiber of my being- to be in a committed relationship for life and to be a mother. There’s nothing else in the world I want more than this. I want a partner. I want more kids. I want a stable family unit and a consistent routine and family traditions. That’s just who I am. No more swearing off marriage for me, and I’m feeling good about it.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

HELP! Skin Crisis!

August 27, 2010
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My face has looked like a premenstrual teenager since I gave birth to my (now) toddler.

Before Baby:


And After Baby:

(This is ME, a few days postpartum. [You are jealous of my frazzled postpartum hair, right?]  Bad, and unedited, photo quality, but you can see the lovely chin breakout.  My skin has not changed since that day!)

I have tried salt scrubs, sugar scrubs, Proactiv, vitamins, and every over-the-counter face wash known to man.

I’ve never had OMGperfect skin, but this new skin is dry and oily at the same time (wth). ¬†My arms and back are suffering big time as well, and I never had this problem before. ¬†My hair is also dry dry dry and I have tried natural shampoos and conditioners as well as expensive salon stuff. ¬†Has any other mother gone through this!? ¬†I need advice!

Dang YOU, hormonal changes!  You gave my nice skin, hair, and nails to my SON and left me with NOTHIN.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Appreciation Project. WhatWhat

August 24, 2010
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I LOVE making sure I appreciate something every day. ¬†This has been a fantastic project. ¬†But it will be good to get back to my regularly scheduled program next year… when I just journal about whatever I feel like WHENever I feel like. ¬†I love you, Appreciation Project.

August 19 AP 231РThrough my doc office I was able to get an affordable fix for this little pesky health issue I had. Though now that health insurance in in my near future I feel much more comfortable.  As a matter of fact, I think I may go eat a bowl of ice cream and take up smoking.  Maybe minus the smoking part.  By the way, did you know that cancer uses fructose to divide and spread?  Did I already say that?

August 20 AP 232– Indian fashion. So, I was sitting around at the Tomato Festival feeling jealous of the girls walking around with this skin tone and these sorts of outfits:

And their jewelry and how it looked SO beautiful against their skin:

Getting Ready for a Wedding in India: Bridal Jewelry

(Bridal Jewelry)

And Indian Saris? Guh. Beautiful.

And henna? I love it.

So I suppose, since even IF I dressed in a sari and wore that gorgeous jewelry and decorated myself with henna I would STILL have my not-very-pretty yellow-red skin tone, I can appreciate beautiful Indian women and their fashion.

August 21 AP 233– Not just Mom’s Sunday lunches, but her PREPARATION! Sure, Food Woman can cook up a storm and make it yummy, but what makes Food Woman especially… special… is her detailed preparation: the day she spends cleaning the house and choosing table cloths, napkins, center pieces, place settings, etc. ¬†This Saturday I helped Mom prepare for Sunday lunch, and let me tell ya’- I know now how hard she works every week to put a smile on people’s faces and make them feel special. Thank you, Mom.

August 22 AP 234– My new personalized header and background by T.Matt Sanders!

August 23 AP 235– When someone really sees me. After we spent the evening hanging out together Dad called me at 1AM last night to see if I was still awake. ¬†I was. ¬†I told him I was really depressed and lonely. ¬†He said, “I know.” ¬†I asked, “How did you know?” ¬†He said, “I could tell by the way you acted tonight.”

I thought I had put up a pretty successful front as usual.  Nope. Dad knows.

August 24 AP 236– Adry told me HALF of his letter sounds last night! I SO love watching him learn and grow! ¬†I know I’ve mentioned that a time or two, but it never gets old. ¬†Ever.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

A Twinkie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

August 3, 2010
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July 29 AP 210– Ice cream/chocolate. Lying in bed eating the fudge coating off of a drumstick while watching trash TV (ahem, Weeds) is the cure-all for a stressful day. ¬†Sure, sure- some may eat an apple, work out for three hours, and then read the bible or maybe even an inspirational book… ¬†but sometimes a girl’s gotta eat fudge and watch trash TV. ¬†Don’t pretend you’re above it- I know you’ve done it, too.

July 30 AP 211– Netflix Watch Instantly.

July 31 AP 212– When my son has SUCH a fabulous time at Mama and Papa’s that when I call him he is practically squealing with delight telling me aaaaaall about it.

August 1, AP 213РLetters, comments, messages, prayers, encouragement, support, and love. It means the WORLD.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  Please continue praying for us.

August 2 AP 214– Sore muscles from a good workout. A good kind of sore: the kind that means you worked your muscles in ways they’re not used to working, NOT the kind that indicates you worked too hard without stretching. ¬†However, my stretch after tomorrow’s workout is going to feel Oh So Nice.

SIDENOTE: So, I’ve been taking fish oil capsules along with multivitamins for years. ¬†The kind that say, “NO FISH BURPS!” on the bottle, but what they REALLY mean is “OKAY, MAYBE YOUR BURPS WILL BE SLIGHTLY FISHY, BUT IT’S BETTER THAN DYING OF BREAST CANCER OR HEART DISEASE, RIGHT!?”

Okay, so, I get these constant mini news updates from a widget on my Droid, and yesterday I read, “Fish oil increases risk of stroke and cardiac death.” ¬†Awesome! ¬†So now every time I pop one in my mouth I think to myself, “Well, I could die suddenly of cardia arrest, but at least I am reducing my risk of cardiovascular disease! ¬†Ya win some, ya lose some, right?”

Oh, not only that, Harvard Health is all, “You know that multivitamin you take? ¬†The one that says it may reduce your risk of breast and other cancers? ¬†Yyyyeah, well, it actually increases your risk of prostate and colon cancer… AND breast cancer… (apparently effectively reducing AND increasing your risk).” ¬†So now they suggest your forgo the multivitamin and just take a vitamin D supplement.

Seriously. ¬†Next they’ll be telling us, “Okay, actually those Twinkies we’ve been telling you are awful for your health n’ stuff? ¬†Yyyyeah… ¬†apparently daily Twinkie eaters have double the cancer mortality rates and have a higher life expectancy… ¬†Soooo, forgo the vitamins, eat a daily Twinky. ¬†And always bring a towel. ¬†Sorry for the confusion.”

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal