Friday, June 29, 2012

Zach's Birthday Surprise

Back: Chad, James, Nakia, Zach, Cody, Domino (pug), Brenden and Dianya
Front: Yogi (pug), Jeff, baby Sophie and Veronica

On June 21st, Zach turned 36. Yep, a whopping 36. I "kind of" surprised him by inviting his best buds for some cake and ice cream. I say "kind of" surprised him because I just didn't tell him a small herd of his friends were coming over but still decorated the house as if a party were to happen. I was a bit chillax about it and it worked out great. He didn't really ask why the house was decked out with party garland and such. I just said that I wanted to celebrate with decoration even though it would just be us. He was cool with that and of course thanked me. He's such a sweetie. I bought a Fresh Market chocolate cake and some Greenwise vanilla ice cream. Dang it was good. so yummy. We sang him a Happy Birthday and he smiled.

Note: So I feel I should point out that 5 people in this photo are Geminis // June born babies (including me would be 6), Craziness.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

White Minestrone Soup with Fusilli

I made this soup the other day again for the second time. It was delicious!! Olivia gobbled it right up. Since it's now become a favorite in our household, I decided to post for all to take and make. Do it! I highly recommend making the fresh pesto.... oh so good on top. Enjoy y'all!

Here's the recipe! <----------this recipe has sausage in it but I made it with pancetta instead!!


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 1/2 lb pancetta 
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped, plus a handful of fennel fronds, chopped
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 bundle Swiss chard or 1/4 head cabbage, trimmedor cored and chopped
  • A pinch of nutmeg, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus its rind, plus more for shaving at table
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 can white beans (14 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 cup short fusilli pasta
  • 1/2-2/3 cup frozen peas (a couple of small handfuls)
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • A handful of basil, torn or shredded

 fennel and cabbage!
 fresh pesto!
 dinner is served!
gobble gobble

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Olivia and Her Little Dress

I decided to make a little dress for Olivia. My mother always made us dresses and I just didn't want to lose that tradition. I love to look back at photos where my sister and I were young and we had matching dresses with matching looks on our faces (like oh ma' are we done yet?). I totally get it now why my mom was so excited about dressing us up and taking photos. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Buzzing Around

BEST!! Birthday Beach Weekend in St. Augustine, FL (in 4 parts)

PART 1 // Instagram Life

PART 2 // Hipstamatic Fun Sun

 looking for papa
 rake that sand
 run around
 stop and sit
 there he is
 follow the leader
 here i am
 mother, daughter
water fountain

PART 3 // Old Time in Downtown

 PART 4 // Visit to the Ravine in Palatka

Friday, June 8, 2012

Geminis - Frank lloyd Wright

                          June 8, 1867 
Sun Gemini / Moon Virgo / Asc Sagittarius

Interesting facts about Frank Lloyd Wright: He had 7 children (one adopted), went to collage at age 15, he made 1141 designs, his house had a tree in the middle of it, left his wife and six children and took off to Europe with another woman, Mamah Cheney and he believed in god but considered him as nature.


If you haven't been to the Guggenheim Museum, you are missing out on a great experience. I love love this museum. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect. I was all about Frank, well I guess I still am! Zach and I watched an interesting documentary on him. Watch it and learn all about him!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Clearing Out and Letting Go

I've been thinking about writing this post for awhile now and decided today would be a good day for it. My birthday is in 4 days and I need to let this go. It's been more than a year thinking about and it's time to clear it out of my life (the pain and sorrow not the happiness of my baby girl being born) I'm home alone and catching up on some much needed R&R. Today I'd like to write about my experience giving birth to Olivia and how my birth plan went wrong.

I'm going to try and write this without it seeming all long and drawn out plus I'm not a very good writer so please bear with me. I'm writing this to help with my healing but also to create awareness in others (pregnant moms-to-be) that it's very important to have a strong voice with your birth plan. If you want a natural home birth then stand firm; if, of course, everything is going smoothly health wise. It's very important to trust yourself, your body and, of course, your baby.

I'm going to start by saying Olivia was definitely a surprise. Zach and I were only dating a couple of weeks before we found out we were pregnant. Zach had already enrolled in a Master's Program at the University of Florida in Gainesville and I was working at a Graphic Design/Multi-Media firm in Orlando as an assistant. We reconnected at one of my art shows in Gainesville and hit it off. We've been long-time friends so it kind of wasn't a surprise that we'd meet up and make out (hehe). Anyway, so I'm working at this job, where it's the first time in 15 years, I have insurance. I'm notified that we are all covered with the pregnancy and birth. I was very diligent on being organized and prepared for this major event that was going to happen in the up coming nine months. Moving right along, I picked a midwife that was in my plan (the only one btw). I met with her and liked her. She was one midwife out of six or seven doctors in this office. I was informed to meet all the doctors just in case the midwife wasn't available. I did my rounds and only liked a few but really trusted in my midwife especially since she kept reassuring me that with my birth plan, I can have the birth I've been hoping for. All I really wanted was a natural, vaginal and non-abrasive (meaning: no episiotomy or Cesarean) birth. Oh' and I wanted to have Olivia on my chest, skin to skin once she was born. I should say that I never liked hospitals (In the past, it creeped me out when I'd walk around to see people, nurses and doctors walking in and out of rooms, birth and death being in the same building - very stressful to me) but I kept strong because everyone always told me it's the safest place to be but I wasn't really convinced. Anyway, so all my check ups were great and I felt great. The baby was healthy and kicking up a storm. At around 8 months, two things happened, my midwife casually tells me her mother has brain cancer needing immediate brain surgery at around my due date and my insurance informed me that only one day (or $500) will be covered. OH' NO! I was calm on the outside but inside I was just so upset that this news comes out of nowhere. I'm not really into surprises or big changes especially when I have my mind set on something... who is? This was a big setback for me but I was still very excited on having Olivia and making the birth as smooth as possible. I went to meditation classes, walked a lot and kept thinking positive thoughts. Just before my midwife left to help her mother, she told me "do everything you can to self-induce or they will induce you." So, I walked more, ate weird dishes that people recommended, had more sex, did more meditation but nothing, Olivia was very comfortable in that womb. I met with the new doctor, she was very nice and informative. She re-assured me that everything will be fine and she will be the one to deliver. We were scheduled to be induced Feb. 16th. I was very naive to this whole hospital business being that I've only stepped in one once in my life ("Business of Being Born" - watch the movie). That day turned out to be a day I will never forget. It haunted me for about 6 months after Olivia was born (Postpartum Depression).

We arrived bright and early. We got a room and started the process. We met with our scheduled nurse who checked me. All good. Then a couple hours later, we meet another nurse. The last nurse was at the end of her shift. So we get another one. All I remember was all these new faces checking me and coming in and out of the room. I was hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV. I felt like I was part of the machines. We finally meet the doctor who told us that she'll be going home at 5pm but will be back in the morning. She explained to us that Olivia will most definitely be delivered the next day. I was stunned that she was leaving but was so crowded by family and nurses to have any kind of intimate chatting plus I was so new to this process what can I really say. "No, you're not going anywhere! You are going to stay here and hold my hand because I need you to be sure everything will be fine!" In hindsight, I wish I did. I trusted her that she would be back in the morning to delivery baby Olivia. One of the biggest things I really wanted to do in my birth plan was be in water. I love water and I spent a good portion taking baths when I was pregnant. Water is just so relaxing. Well, that hospital had a bath tub but it was not easy to get in or out of (just a regular house like tub). The nurses looked at me like you want to get in there with a annoyed looking face (it seemed like it was an inconvenience to them and the doctor) but I really wanted to have nice warm water on me. When we prepared to transition from the bouncing ball to the bath tub. I looked down at the cloth on the ball. It was all bloody but the blood was shaped like an angel (see image below). I thought that was so cool at the time. My mom, sister and Zach all helped me into this little tub (with Zach in front of me and my sister behind me pouring water - it was very cramped). I enjoyed the water on my back. It was worth the effort. We finished up, walked back to the bed and got hooked up again. I dilated to about 5 cm at that time. I was breathing through the pain. I wouldn't even say it was pain, more like cramps and discomfort. My mom and Zach decided to grab something to eat while my sister and I hung out. So, it's just my sister and I doing some breathing and playing around. I should mention that all of us were definitely having fun playing charades, singing, taking pictures, texting messages, massaging my limbs and meditating up until this moment.

 hand massages
I just noticed the clock in the photo - 4:19pm (Olivia was born at 6:56pm)
sorry for the close up - but doesn't it look angel-like?

When Zach and my mom left, the doctor comes in and tells us she wants to break the water. Um okay... It seemed so fast but she says it was time and that I was 50% effaced and a solid 5cms. Monica texted my mom and told her. They finished up eating and were heading back. The doctor laid my body more flat and my sister was by my side. The doctor broke my water and ALOT of water poured out. I mean tons! That was scary to feel all this water coming out and it didn't seem to stop plus I felt the umbilical cord coming out! The doctor kept rolling me from side to side yelling at the nurse to place her hand inside my vagina which later I find out, she was keeping Olivia's head from pressing against her cord. I didn't know what was going on. The doctors voice started getting louder and the nurses started to pour in. I held my sisters hand and I could tell by her face she was nervous. The last thing I said to my sister was I was scared. After that, I was rolled out to emergency surgery. As Zach and my mother walk off the elevator, they see the nurses whisking me away. It must have been frighting for them to see. The surgery room was like being in Grey's Anatomy. All these surgeons asking me all these questions. I couldn't figure out who was talking to me. They placed a mask over my mouth where they started to gas me. The last feeling I remember was someone shaving me and placing cold iodine around my abdomen. I woke up in a very dark room all by myself. Zach walked in a couple minutes later and held my hand. I was crying and very sedated. I asked if Olivia was okay and he reassured me that she was doing great and that she is a very healthy baby. I was later rolled into the room where we would be staying for the next three days (remember insurance will not pay for the extra two days $$$). Olivia was rolled in right after me and placed in my arms after almost an hour of being born. I was sedated but happy. I loved looking at her but was so out of it. My eyes kept fluttering. I could feel the drugs. I was calm but I was not myself. My family was in shock but so enthusiastically happy to see and hold Olivia.

 mama's drugged up but happy
such a beautiful baby
couldn't stop staring at her
lots of hair
loving family

It was explained to me that I had a prolapsed umbilical cord. Olivia was pressed up against her cord which stopped the air passage. I stop to ask myself every time I think about this. Wouldn't the pressure of cutting the water sack cause the baby to bounce back, which in turn causes the cord to come out before the baby's head? Well, I really can't do anything about what has already happened but I can say that my natural birth plan was taken from me by the machine and it's controllers. It sounds bitter and maybe I am bitter. I think they have it all wrong with birthing children. Okay not all wrong but the "natural" side of birthing children. That element doesn't exist in a hospital. It's not natural to break someones water or induce them. It's not natural to place monitors and IVs in a healthy soon-to-be mom. I'm glad it's behind me and everyday I shed a piece of that trauma off of me. I definitely had to mourn my birth plan. I cried a lot. I cried that the memory of the day my beautiful baby girl was born was overshadowed by strangers poking at my vagina, cutting me open, leaving me in a dark room drugged up and left me to deal with the pain with a hefty bill. That is not natural!

I will say, I love my Olivia and my family so so much. My sister held my hand in a very scary situation. My mom helped me emotionally and physically with recuperation. Zach gave me stability throughout it with such love and affection. If I didn't have these important people in my life I just don't want to think where I'd be. I'm humbled by them and grateful to have them in my life.

my mother "nanita" with olivia
my sister "auntie momo" with olivia
 Love this picture! daddy with his baby olivia
mama with her sweet baby olivia

Ps. My sister Monica had a home birth about a year later and it was amazing! I'd like to share that story soon. 
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