Costa Rica Shopping List Part 1

Saturday, June 30, 2012

We're going to Costa Rica in January!  My interest in this region was piqued 10 years ago when I wrote an essay about eco-tourism in Costa Rica for my Ocean Geography class.  CR sounded amazing, but I was far too wussy and comfort-seeking to ever go somewhere that adventurous- with giant bugs, rainforest wildlife, and sparse eco-lodging.

Ironically, we think right now is the perfect time for this adventure, toddler and all. Everytime I take a vacation with Siena, whether it's across the country or 4 hours away to Santa Barbara, I am always pleasantly surprised at how adaptable she can be.  I walk away from the trip a more confident mommy, better able to problem solve and go with the flow.

Plus,  I've changed a lot since college.  I now long for more "authentic" (anthro classes taught me to hate that word, but oh well) travel experiences.  I am fascinated by nature, God's beautiful creation, and would rather surf and hike on a vacation than shop and eat.  I repeat, I've changed A LOT. 

I also realized that as soon as Sisi turns 2, we will have to pay for her plane tickets in full.  Well, that lit the fire under my booty to get to Costa Rica before her next birthday!  I booked the tickets and plan on paying for the entire trip with Petal and Thorn profits.  So you bet while I'm stitching hats and curling petals, I'm daydreaming about the Caribbean Coast, where we'll be staying. 

First up on my shopping list, a cute one-piece swimsuit with cutouts, although not side cutouts that will display my lovehandles. I'm talking about cute front cutouts and simple detailing around the bust to make the suit special (and unlike something my nana would have worn.) As a pear shape, anything to draw the eye upward to my more in-shape upper half is a good thing.  I also hate wearing rash guards so I need a one-piece to save my belly from wax-burn.

I thought these suits were fun, festive and flattering. Question: Why is it that one-pieces with cutouts sometimes come across as way more sexy than bikinis?  They cover much more skin than the 2-pieces I'm used to wearing.  I'm pretty small busted, so I assume none of these will look too va-va-voom on me.

Which is your favorite? 
One Piece Swimsuits with Cutouts


Instafriday 6/29/12

Friday, June 29, 2012

life rearrangedIt's instafriday time again!  Linking up with Jeanette at Life Rearranged to tell the story of my week via cell phone pics. We headed up to Big Bear Mountain for the rustic wedding of my good friend from high school.   I was reunited with my high school clique and lots of acquaintances I haven't seen in years and years. 

 One of the grossest things I've ever witnessed- Pesto stealing the poop from Sisi's diaper as I was changing her, and then eating it as fast as he could.  Gaggggg!  I immediately washed his mouth out with wipes and gave him a bath.  Hopefully he learned his lesson!  
Another beach day!  I caught a few waves but it was really crunchy and blown-out by the time we finally got there.  Baby's nap schedule always trumps my surf schedule. The sacrifices we make for our kiddos :)
 Surprisingly tasty- avocado and fruit popsicles! A great way to get some good fats and nutrients into your kiddos.
We attended our first ever toddler storytime/playtime at the public library.  Sisi kept pointing at the yellow cubes on the bead maze and saying "cheese."  :)
 My abstract version of a California poppy- a custom design for a flower girl named "California".  I love recreating flowers. I try to keep them somewhat realistic but also stylized.  The tassel stamens add a playful touch.

Have a wonderful week!  Go seek the sun and enjoy the summer!


Breastfeeding? All Done!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My breastfeeding journey has officially come to an end. This post chronicles that journey so I can look back on it later. 

The first latch:  I was in my bed, still high from the excitement of the birth.  My midwife basically tickled Sisi's cheek to open her mouth, and shoved her on like a hoover vacuum.  Looking back, I wish they had just let Sisi rest in my arms for a while and try to latch on her own.  Perhaps then her latch would have been more natural and effective, but oh well.

The first 5 days: Horribly painful! My midwife and doula both watched me feed her, and from where they stood, everything looked fine. But after a few days I was starting to crack and bleed.  I had to brace myself for every feed, and dreaded all 12-14 feeds per day (!!!). 

Day 5: I was depressed, hurting, and concerned that Sisi wasn't eating enough, so I went to a wonderful lactation consultant at Milkalicious.  She put one finger in Sisi's mouth, let her suck for a second, and exclaimed, "You poor thing!" to me.  She knew instantly that her latch was off.  Sisi was basically grinding me against the roof of her mouth.  That's not how it's supposed to work :/ She also wasn't drinking effectively- the consultant said it was like drinking out of a bent straw. 

She gave me a nipple shield to train Sisi to latch right. The shield took away almost all of the pain, and allowed my poor gals to heal.  After 6 weeks with the nipple shield, her latch was perfect.  Nipple shields can be awkward and annoying at times, but they saved breastfeeding for me.

Seeing the lactation consultant was the best decision ever.  I told Joe that next time, I will have a consultant come to our home within 1-2 days of giving birth, no matter what. Even if things seem peachy keen.

Months 1-3 :  Constant milk-fest.  Sisi drank anywhere from 10-14 times a day, but was sleeping clear through the night, so I dealt with it.  Sisi's horrible napping (or lack thereof) replaced breastfeeding as my #1 gripe of new motherhood.  Breastfeeding was becoming somewhat easy and natural.

Months 3-5 1/2:  Sisi was 95th percentile for weight, but was still wanting to drink 10 times a day.  This didn't seem right.  It hit me that I had been using bf to quiet her down when she was fussy, and that she probably wasn't as hungry as I thought.  Her cry would send me spiraling down that hole of anxiety and depression, so I did anything to appease her.  Babies cry for lots of reasons, not just hunger, and I had to learn to pause, breathe, and analyze what was making her cry.  I began stretching her feeds out a little bit to make breastfeeding more manageable for me.  She learned to wait and soothe herself.  I learned to read her cries better. 

Months 51/2- 12:  I began following the Dream Baby Guide schedule, which brought us down to 3 or 4 feeds a day, and 1 at night if she really wanted it.  She started napping wonderfully, and sleeping well most nights. This is when motherhood became normal and fun for me.

I also started topping her off with a few ounces of formula before bed because my supply was dipping due to feeding her such filling, nutrient dense solids.  At 9 months my breasts stopped letting down for the pump. I'd pump 3 times a day and get 1/2 and ounce.  Big bummer!  I upped the formula more to make up for the drastic dip in supply.

Months 12-16:   We switched from formula to raw goat's milk.  Goat milk is more similar in constitution to breast milk, therefore easier to digest.  It does have that weird goaty smell and aftertaste, but Sisi didn't seem to notice or mind at all. Around this time, she began preferring the bottles, and would sometimes beg for the bottle instead of the breast.  I tried to hang on to bf as long as possible, and made sure she nursed at least once or twice a day, although I doubt she was getting very much milk from me.

Month 17:  One morning I tried to nurse her and she turned her head away and said "duddle (bottle)". I decided that was it.  We were both ready, and neither of us had any anxiety about ending it.  It's been a few weeks since I weaned her, and I haven't had any engorgement at all.  No cabbage leaves necessary!  No bandaging around the chest.  Everything's pretty much back to normal in that region.  And that is that!


Someplace Tropical...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I never had much time to day-dream before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  My mind was always over-occupied with flowers, contracts, taxes, church activities, house-hunting, family drama, etc.  Now I've given myself permission to lead a much simpler life, and while Sisi reads books or plays in the sand, my de-cluttered mind is able to wander.  Lately, it's been wandering someplace tropical...

We stayed in Tub Kaak, Thailand a few years ago, and I will never ever ever forget the beauty of this pristine beach tucked in the jungle.  I did nightly hypnosis scripts in preparation for my natural birth, and I was told to imagine the most blissful, safe, comfortable place I've ever been, and this was it.  This picture right here.  Just me, Joe, and a margarita.

Right now I'm planning a trip to someplace tropical for this winter.  There will be jungle, and there will be sand and surf and cocktails.  There will also be an almost 2 year old with us, which could make it a little less relaxing than Thailand, but probably 10 times more memorable.  I find myself daydreaming about it often. I'll share more soon!


Siena is 17 Months!

Monday, June 25, 2012

My sweet girl turned 17 months.  She is looking much less like a baby and more like a little girl.  Compare this picture from just 5 months ago to these 17 month pics, and you'll see what I mean!

Here's my rolly polly baby at 12 months, pictures taken by Trista Lerit Photography. 
And here she is now, full of energy and curiosity, walking like a pro.  And the pig tails!!! Such a toddler, right?

I call this photo collage "Joe Face".  She totally flashes her daddy's facial expressions, especially the bottom lip pout. 
Sisi at a glance:
  • although she only says 15-20 (understandable) words, it's enough vocab to get her point across most of the time.  it's nice to know what she wants and needs without the trial and error!  if she says "wa wa" we know she's thirsty, "ducky" means she is tired and needs her blankie, and "all done" means she's full. 
  • our breastfeeding journey is officially over.  there were no feelings of anxiety on either of our part, and it seemed like a natural time to end it.  i have a post in the works about my breastfeeding experience in case anyone is interested.
  • i thought i'd seen tantrums at 11 or 12 months, but now i've seen REAL tantrums.  the longest one lasted 45 minutes.  i tried to stay neutral, calm, sympathetic, and give her plenty of space to thrash around.  i had to remind myself that tantrums are a perfectly normal part of development, and they are a bell curve with a natural rise and fall. when she was through, she conked out for 2 hours.  i on the other hand quietly sobbed to myself and ate chocolate.  it's so difficult to be stoic when your kiddo is falling apart, i guess i needed that release, too.
  • we're starting to see the beginnings of imaginative play- feeding her stuffed animals, taking them on stroller rides, acting out the pages of her books as she 'reads' them.  makes my heart sing!
  • i've heard more than a few times that she looks just like me from the nose up, and joe from the mouth down.  except those random blue eyes that came from neither of us.
  • she's still pretty quiet and observant.  she's mellow and fairly predictable, at least in this phase. when it comes to nature, she is adventurous but still cautious.  she loves to be chased by the waves and feel the wet sand. she loves rolling around in rocks and leaves. 
  • she had her first bee sting last week.  she cried for 5.5 seconds, and then was over it.  she's a trooper!
My sweet Siena, you are simply marvelous.  I love you more and more every day. 


Instafriday 6/22/12

Friday, June 22, 2012

life rearranged
It's time for instafriday, where I link up with Life Rearranged and show off my cell phone pictures from the week.  Apparently, there in an instagram app for droid now, so I might start using that to take pics.  But I'm always hesitant to join new social media thingys.  Do you use instagram?  Is it awesome?

It's been busy in the Petal and Thorn shop! These nest ring pillows are the cutest.
When I bought my silhouette cameo cutter, I vowed to never buy another greeting card.  If I just make cards for every occasion, that saves a few bucks a pop, and the machine will pay for itself in a year or so.  That's my logic.  (Yes, I used nail polish on this card, then went ahead and did a few coats on myself and Sisi's big toes.)
 My dear friend Marysia was married last weekend, which gave me an excuse to rock the bumpit AND the no heat curl :) 
 Her wedding was simple, charming, and very crafty... just like her. 
 She looked gorgeous, and I was honored to create a special hair flower for her made of layered silk, tulle, lace, and chiffon...

I saw this orchid purple nail polish on my friend Jenny, and just had to copy her.  The color is Essie Play Date.
 We had a bbq on Father's Day at Joe's parents' house. They have a ginormous yard to explore.
This tote bag is the perfect size for transitioning out of a diaper bag.  I get so many compliments on it, but instead of saying thank you, I immediately tell people it was 30 bucks at TJ Maxx.  I do that all the time, it's like a reflex!  I'm proud of my bargain hunting skills, but people don't always need to know how cheap my stuff is.  I'm so tacky sometimes. 
 Speaking of tacky, look what I found at the local floral supply store?  Just in case you need fat-lady-in-a-bikini ornaments. 
I was checking out at Barnes and Noble, when I look down and see Siena hijacking my latte!  Thankfully, it was mostly watery milky slush by then.
Kumquats thinly sliced taste delicious in salads.
 My childhood best friend Julie is in town, which is always a treat.  Her parents' garden is one of my favorite spots on Earth, and the location of my photo session with Jasmine Star. Now Sisi is old enough to begin exploring it herself, although there are still so many nooks and crannies she'll discover when she gets older. The house next store is up for sale, and I seriously considered buying it just so Sisi would grow up next to that garden.

I *just* got back from a playdate at the fake beach, and still have sand between my toes as I write this.  Now I'm going to make some kumquat iced tea and paleo baked something or other.  I'm in the best mood- must be all the vitamin D I just got.

Also, check out my new post on the Paleo Plus One blog about how I know the paleo diet is working for me! 

Have a joyful weekend! 


Paleo Blog Launch

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm super passionate about the paleo diet. It's been kind of a life-changer for me and my little family of three.  I wish I could shout it from the rooftops to everyone I know! 

I've written a few paleo bits here and there on this blog, but I figure anyone reading Petal and Thorn is probably more interested in ribbons, sparkles, cute babies, sleeping puppies, etc. so perhaps this blog isn't the best tablet for my paleo musings.

Joe and I decided to start a husband and wife paleo blog called Paleo Plus One.  We hope it's a valuable resource to anyone curious about the primal diet and how to implement it in a real family in the real world. Joe and I are soooo different.  He's a big time paleo nerd who relishes every scientific detail.  He writes beautiful, poetic, philosophical posts.  As for me, I honestly have very little grasp on the science or philosophy, but I  love writing quick posts about the daily struggles, cheats, triumphs, favorite recipes, and all the emotional stuff. Should be a fun ride!  Visit us here :)


Bye Bye Onesies!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There comes a time in every baby's life when onesies become irrelevant.  Sisi still wears them from time to time, but I know the onesie phase is quickly coming to an end. I found this wonderfully simply tutorial on turning onesies into bubble dresses/tunics from my favorite sewing blog, Make It and Love It.

You basically cut the bottom off the onesie, make a bubble skirt, gather it using a basting stitch, and then sew it to the onesie.  For all the details and step by step pictures, check out the Make It Love It post. 

 I was ambitious and cut up 3 old onesies hoping to make 3 dresses, but only had the energy  to do one. I used an unwearable t-shirt of Joe's (paleo diet = grease stains galore!) for the bubble part.

Since I hate to measure or use straight edges, I just eyeballed everything and went scissor happy.  It turned out wearable, but hilariously uneven (especially when she turns around!)  Someday I will invest in a nice cutting mat and rotary cutter. For now, I'll just pretend it's from Naartjie, that crazy kids store with all the assymmetrical hemlines. 

Bonus points for adding a cute flower out of the leftover t-shirt material.

 Machine sewing is still really stressful for me, and I had to use the seam ripper and redo the whole thing once.  But even so, I was able to complete this project AND blog it in a few hours. Sure, I could have bought one at Target for 8.00, but then I wouldn't have learned about basting stitches or helped save the planet by upcycling old greasy t-shirts. :)

EDIT:  My  friend came over when Sisi was wearing this last night, and she LOL'ed over my crazy hemline, so don't think I'm just being modest on this blog!  I figure babies can pull anything off, but it's not so cute when teenagers are forced to wear wonky homemade dresses made by their moms.  I have plenty of years to get this sewing thing down :)


Instafriday 6/14/2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

life rearranged

Have a peek at my week, through my droid...

I mentioned before we have an aphid problem.  We chose the most "green" way to solve it.  Buy  1500 ladybugs on amazon to eat said aphids.  I know ladybugs are cute on their own, but 1500 of anything becomes just creepy.  I made Joe unleash the critters as I almost gagged.

 From the garden to the tabletop.  Don't assume we're great suburban farmers or anything- that lettuce is the only successful produce we've grown.  I guess all the vegies that have died in that planter allowed that lettuce to burst forth. Thank you, sacrificial vegies!
Enjoyed a playdate with church friends!  Aime made a delicious lunch and spent at least an hour blowing up this kiddie pool for Sisi and Aurea (who I'm forcing to be Sisi's best friend.) 
 Joe is AWESOME and built an epic 8 foot sandbox for Sisi.  He also lugged all 30 bags of sand (50lbs each) to the backyard without a wheelbarrow.  With a sprained knee.  Such a manly man!

I suppose I do feed him well... "pizza" frittata, sake steamed mussels, bacon-wrapped meatloaf :)

That's all I got right now.  Have a beautiful weekend!