Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Purse...

My friend Dianthe recently wrote a post highlighting her purse and changing it out for the new season. In it, she asks what is in our purse. Well, first of all, I wanted to highlight my purse right now:


I left the paper clip in there for size reference. For those of you who know me, this is quite a feat for me to shrink down to this size of a bag on a daily basis. Of course, I'm maintaining some level of "me" because this is a Coach. In my former life (before kids, and yes, even before my beloved), I set money aside every paycheck solely devoted to the purchase of shoes and handbags. You would think that I would have a closet gloriously filled with both, but alas, I have a few remnants of that time, 3 are my Coach bags, 2 Dooney & Bourke bags, 2 Prada bags, and a few evening clutches. I won't even get into the shoes!

This bag was gifted to me by one of my dear friends, Danika (gracias hermana!). I was so excited to receive it because this meant that I wasn't going to have to constantly switch bags, forgetting things in the shuffle. In it I have:

  • 1 pen refill that acts as a skinny pen
  • 83 cents in change
  • a couple of receipts
  • rewards cards to Buzz Brews, Three Dog Bakery Treat of the Month, Miyoshi & Red Mango
  • $10 cash (shocker! I usually only carry $5)
  • tiny lip gloss sample from Avon
  • 2 band-aids
  • security access card for work
  • two wallets...one for cards and the other for the important cards. I made the one on the left with some black and white oilcloth I picked up years ago from City Craft using a Valori Wells Sewing Card.

Actually, I need to highlight the one on the left. It took me about 15 minutes total to whip up that little guy. The intention of it was for the fabrics to be opposite, but I didn't quite "get" the cards instructions and had them backwards. This wasn't anything new. Also, the insides of the pockets are a little zig-zagged. Another classic Bianca mistake that actually gives special flair to it. The diagonals work really well for me. Before I had my black Coach bag, this little wallet would roam to all sorts of bags with me. I have the order of the cards memorized! I'm thinking I may have to make another soon, though because the striped fabric is definitely wearing thin.

There you have it. My tiny bag!

My weekend go-to handbags that double as diaper bags will almost always have the following: wallet, a pen, sunglasses, cloth diaper, wipes, travel kleenex, pacifier, note pad, extra pens for Mari to draw or write with, a needle & thread, reusable waterbottle, reusable grocery bag, lip gloss, perfume roller, hair tie, coupons for various places to dine out, breath mints and/or gum, an energy bar, loose change, earrings or necklaces, post-it tabs, anti-bacteria soap, and an emergency straw (what, you don't have an emergency straw?).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

HDMR: Fast Five

We like muscle cars and unrealistic car chasing scenes. It's no wonder that we enjoyed this film as well. I think what we enjoyed the most about this one, though, was the reappearance of our favorite characters from all of the other shows. This cast was PACKED with all sorts of star power. I mean, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel in a movie. It was so much fun. Albeit, a little awkward for the director to shoot, I'm sure. I liked how they worked that Hollywood magic to make them seem like a similar size, knowing Dwayne Johnson towers over him! Seriously, I know he's a big dude! In hind sight, it probably would have been more fun to watch on the big screen instead of on our regular ol' TV (yes, we still don't have a hi-def TV, whatever). If you like action, if you like adventure, if you like cars, and you don't really care about cheesy dialogue, then you will totally enjoy this movie. It's definitely a fun way to pass 130 minutes. My only gripe is that (spoiler alert) Jordana Brewster's character, Mia, is pregnant. She goes through some pretty intense scenes, and quite frankly, other than them saying she was pregnant, you never would have known that she was at all pregnant. No symptoms, no cautious maneuvers, she was still running around as if pregnancy is a walk in the park. For some it is, but still (really Bianca, because so much of the rest of this show is realistic and believable). Like I said, taking that out of the picture, it's a fun ride and I would definitely recommend the rental! I rate this a hefty slice of pie with a giant scoop of Blue Bell vanilla...a la mode, baby!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taking Care of Your Body

Jacki is a wealth of information and knowledge, but she's also inspiring. She isn't full of those cheesy quotes that, I'll admit, I like, but sometimes are annoying. She keeps it real. For example:  
"Please, friends, take your health seriously! Fix your diet! Exercise! You are NOT super human!"
I'd been boo-hooing to myself about my ankle and making all sorts of excuses to not workout. I mean, really, c'mon. I have the dang TV on. I even have it on the free OnDemand section, more often than not. I just need to scroll on over to the Exercise section and get moving. But NOOOoO! I want to run. I want foot to hit pavement and log miles. I like seeing the distance. I like the running endorphins. Who is this crazy person talking in my head? Oh, yeah, it's that tiny voice inside of me that was quivering with emotion because just 3 short years ago, I was in New York running a marathon!

I made a promise to myself that I would run, no matter the pain on Monday. Even if it was just a quarter mile, I just needed to get moving and get back on track. Luckily for me, I had some things going for me. Redbox sent me a code for a free movie. HOORAY! I weighed myself earlier and somehow managed to break the threshold that I haven't broken since 3 years ago!! REALLY! 3 years since I was last in this weight category!!! My little goal of 1lb per week is working! I wanted to keep it at, so a run would only help that.
And then it started sprinkling.
My head was pounding, dinner was ready when I got home, I needed to edit photos, visit mom, catch up with a friend, all of this nonsense that is my typical evening. My nephew was playing his final football game and I really wanted to be there, but with the girls schedule (or lack thereof, but I'm trying to get them on one), I wished him good luck and he understood. Even better when my sister told me that it may be cancelled because of lightning.

I snuggled Tesla-bug in our bed and she nursed for a bit. I was totally zapped and ready to nap, when I looked up. Don was dressed to go for a run. He had Mari ready and was preparing the stroller. So, I too got dressed. I threw on my shorts and my old marathon long sleeve tech shirt. It was humid. I thought, "Quick run, Bianca. You have to run fast to beat this rain. It's a short two miles!" I set the timer and off we went. And boy howdy did we take off! I logged that first mile in under 9 minutes! We had a short break at the stop light and at Redbox. (After all, they were the reason we were running to begin with.) It started sprinkling, but I didn't pay any attention. It felt GREAT! While we were waiting for the light to change, I did some squats and air squats with jumps. Mari had a wonderful kick out of it, commanding me to do more jumping. She's such a hardcore trainer, that one!

On the trip back, though, my lungs began to catch fire again. My throat was feeling it, but I pressed on. As we trekked across the concrete, though, I slipped a bit. My ankles were fine, but I swore I had mis-stepped. No worries, my initial body check still felt normal. I kept running, even though my pace had slowed dramatically. That was until we ran past crazy homeless man who was shouting Jet's "Cold Heart B!tch" song. Um, no thank you crazy dude. Keep those lyrics to yourself and out of earshot of my 3 year old who wants to repeat everything. I sensed Don speed up and his uneasiness. I kicked it in gear and my fight or flight response really kicked in. I don't know, but when I passed him, I got the super-duper willies! Yikes! Then, I really kicked up the run, and was running alongside Don. I was steady at an 8:30 mile pace uphill in the wet grass (the sidewalk wasn't wide enough) to get away from him. And then my imagination took me to The Walking Dead and all I could think was us desperately fleeing hungry zombies. What a horrific thought! But it got me going!

An hour after the run, my ankle started to swell, but it wasn't in dramatic pain. However, my back....ugh! My poor, poor back. I wanted to say I was suffering sympathy pains for my mother, but no, this was my doing. I somehow tweaked it and it became painful to sit, stand, or walk. Don ran off to the store to buy a new heating pad (mine finally bit the dust after, oh, 15 years). While he was gone, I took a hot bath with a Calavera Lush bath bomb and Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Yeah, I know, I've been reading that book for over a year now. Whatever. It takes that long when you only read two paragraphs every other week! I think I only have 3 chapters before I'm done, though! yaay!

At work, my back was still screaming, despite taking an Advil. I scurried down to the little bodega on the first floor with hopes they would have a Thermacare heating pad. WHAT LUCK! Of course they did! They have everything in there, including Silver Oak wine, cigars, pregnancy tests, ice cream bars, lottery tickets, Hallmark cards, and well, any thing else you may need. I tore open the package and put it on. Within half an hour, I had some much needed relief! I made it through the rest of the day, but I will definitely be icing it before my next run and scheduling an appointment with my chiropractor to get adjusted!

All that to say, take care of your body. Listen to what it says! Maybe mine is telling me to give the running a rest and get back into yoga with intermittent runs.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Behind the Lens

If I'm not behind a sewing machine or in the kitchen, my next favorite place to create is behind a camera, happily clicking away. There's just something about capturing the right moment and freezing it forever. I like to do that with my memories, but having an actual photo really helps to seal that memory forever. I must admit, the first few times I was captured while "working" I was a little embarrassed, but now, I think it is fun. It is great to see how other's "see" me. 

soila-418



Bianca Tx Tech 2011-1







This is me working a pose. If I've "shot" you, and you are female, then you know this pose well.
Bianca Tx Tech 2011-2
It's no wonder we have our very own mini poser in the family. :)


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Corpse Bride

I was the awesome guinea pig for Mandi's Halloween make-up. She works some magic, let me tell you. She told me she had some grand ideas for me, one of which was the Corpse Bride.

Bianca MakupMandi Halloween 2011-11

I went over, we had an amazing dinner, a couple of drinks and next thing I knew, I'd been transformed. See, magic!

Bianca MakupMandi Halloween 2011-9

Bianca MakupMandi Halloween 2011-13

Bianca MakupMandi Halloween 2011-1

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Depression and Sadness

These past few weeks have been unfettered chaos. I keep waiting for that "normal" to show up, but normal as I know it has long since taken a vacation and I'm not quite sure if or when it will return. For the first time today, it dawned on me, as I sat at a red light sobbing, this is what it feels like to be teetering on the edge of ultimate fragile sadness. In the past, I've suffered from depression. I have spoken with therapists before, but I've never taken any medication. I always tried to approach things a more natural way and fortunately for me, that has worked. Not that being medicated is bad. If you feel that you may be depressed, then by all means, go seek professional help and see if you can get on a little something that will help you! During those times, I was wallowing in sadness, but I didn't really have a "reason" for sadness. I was just sad. Yeah, there were triggers and pressures, but nothing that caused me overwhelming heartache.

Seeing my mother in her hospital bed, a slight form of what I've known her to be, well, it is heartbreaking. Before I see her, though, I shake out all of the blues and I check it at the door of the hospital. Every minute I spend with her, I emit a thousand watts of positivity and love. Every fiber in me KNOWS she will get better, but that doesn't make it hurt any less when I see her hurt the way she's hurting.

And then there's friends and loved ones. 

Do you know, I don't think I've ever felt more special and more loved than I do during this time. We've been surprised with meals, with notes of support, with texts, with private messages, with telephone calls, with hugs, with cards....with love. Just when I think things are going to break me, I will look in my mailbox and see a handwritten card from afar. When I've had a particularly rough day (and there have been more than not), I'm surprised with homemade brownies or cookies. Oh, and the meals...the last thing that I've wanted to think about was what to cook (even though it is definitely cathartic for me to be in the kitchen), a precious loved one has taken the time to make us a meal or sent a gift card. Thank you! All of you, thank you! There's a big ol' lump of love that gets caught up in my throat, I'm so utterly humbled by the generosity!

This past week, someone made the comment to me, "Bianca, you always go out of your way to make people feel special." I marinated on that statement and thought of Mom. She lived the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. It is only natural I do my best to do the same.

Even though I have this sadness, it is comforting to know that I'm not alone. Thank you for all of your positive thoughts and prayers. They are working! Mom hears them and feels them. We feel them! Thank you, infinite thank you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Product Review: Baby Nasa Kleen

I will be talking about mucus and snot in this post. I can understand if you don't want to read any further. Thought I'd be courteous and warn you. Don't say I didn't give the warning.
When my girlfriend first told me about her Nosefrida, I was a bit eeked out. Intrigued, but still wondering how you prevented swallowing any of your kids snot.

The first few months of Tesla's life, we thought we were going to escape the runny noses and congestion like we did with Mari. Mari's first two years of life were spent in a perpetual state of congestion, upper respiratory infections, and what not. We were heavily reliant upon those nasal aspirators that we received from the hospital. We were so happy to have gotten an extra one just in case. When we were in the hospital with Tesla, once again, we picked up an extra one. Unfortunately, it wasn't as powerful as the others that we had. Not sure why, but oh well.

Here lately, she's been sneezing out thick congestion, that I can only describe as life sized slugs. How she has that much mucus is beyond me, but I am more than certain she is uncomfortable with it all. Our aspirators just weren't cutting it. So when my BFF mentioned coming across the Baby Nasa Kleen at Whole Foods, I figured, why not. Her own little one was going through a similar struggle. She showed me everything that was included in the kit and I was able to see how it all worked. What would it hurt? The convenience factor, plus being less expensive than the other, had me sold on giving it a whirl.

I took it home, cleaned it, then handed it to Don to use on Tesla. I hadn't been feeling well, and I knew I didn't have the suctioning power as him, since he was healthy. After a few tries, he was telling me it was a dud. He was ready to go back to the struggle with the bulb syringe. Well, when I had to stay home with her, the congestion was overwhelming and I had no idea where the bulb syringe was. (I later found it amongst the other precious things our imp of a 3.5 year old likes to hoard.) I sterilized my mouth with some mouthwash, and went to town. Wow! That's all I can say. wow. It didn't take very long and boy howdy, was there a lot that came out. Even though there was so much, it only half filled the tube. I yielded just as much out of the other nostril and opted to repeat on each one. After I was done, she gave me a look of gratitude and curled in to rest a bit more.

I cleared out the tube by blowing everything into a napkin, during the process. When I was done, I cleaned each part and replaced the filter.

So here is how it works and the parts of it:

  1. Mouthpiece - What goes into your mouth
  2. Plastic tube - About a foot and a half of flexible/pliable tubing
  3. Plastic chamber - This is actually 3 inches wide and one side has a screw on lid that connects the tubing to it. The other side has ridges to screw on the nasal nozzle.
  4. Nasal nozzle - Made up of medical grade silicone and safe for the baby. It has a small enough tip to fit comfortably in your little ones nose, but could fit into an adult nose and a toddler nose.
  5. Filters - These sponge like filters fit at the base of the plastic chamber where the tube connects to it. They are about the size of an m&m and are what prevent you from inhaling any snot. Included in the kit are 20 filters.
  6. Traveling case - You also get a nifty travel case to keep it all in. 
That's it. Pretty simple tool, but highly effective. I think what happened with my husband is that everything was too thick and he couldn't get anything out. In that case, you should use a couple of saline drops to help loosen it up, then suction. I would highly recommend this product if you are in search of something to help ease up the congestion. I could see this being helpful to those whose little ones haven't learned to blow yet, either. Cost, $10 at Whole Foods. They did not carry the replacement filters.

**I was not approached by Baby Nasa Kleen to mention this product. Nor was I asked to mention Nosefrida. These opinions are my own.**

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Open Letter to my 2nd Born: Happy 7 Months

Dear Little Miss Tesla Jane,

You bring such a smile and joy to my life. You are probably the absolute most headstrong, laid-back baby I've ever known. You are so absolutely precious, definitely a gift from above to our family. You are so inquisitive of the world around you and I am quite impressed with how far reaching your glance takes you. You notice things far beyond what I would expect your immediate gaze would take you. You can't seem to get enough of it.

This past month, you have done amazing things!

  • You are fully mobile! You are a crazy crawling baby!
  • Not only are your crawling, but you are pulling up on everything.
  • Not only that, but you are now cruising along! 
  • You really like to crawl across the living room and head butt my legs and feet. 
  • You do this at night when we are sleeping, too. (or trying to sleep)
  • You are so proud of yourself when you feed yourself, too!
  • You love carbs. You go nuts for toast! 
  • You definitely go bananas for bananas. 
  • The rest of the stuff: mango, applesauce, sweet potato, acorn squash, butternut squash, pears, peaches, grapes, and rice, you are indifferent. You will eat it, but don't go crazy for it. 
  • You don't have teeth yet, but you do like to chew on everything. 
  • You have gigglefits like you wouldn't believe. They don't happen too, too often, but they do happen and wow, what a joy they are. We've all been pretty stressed out the past few weeks, and you have been an amazing source of happiness.
  • Oh, and paper...I don't know what it is with you and paper. Your sister had a similar love affair. 
  • And pulling my hair.
  • You are babbling more, doing your best to try to communicate with us. You don't sign at all, but that's ok. I can pretty much infer what you are trying to mean.
  • You still adore opera and classical music. Frequently, I find out pounding your tiny fist against harder surfaces in perfect rhythm. amazing, indeed.
  • You will sit perfectly still listening to books and stories. You, however, have no interest in television or movies. Smart gal! 
  • Your hair has grown a little more and it is a light dark brown with bits of blonde in it. You still have hazel eyes, too. 
  • You are in the 95th percentile in height, weight, and head size.
  • You still have tiny, tiny feet.
  • You have attended your first concert (Incubus), you've gone on a few road trips, and have assisted us on photo shoots. 
  • The love you have for your sister melts my heart. Already, you two have such a special relationship, just as it should be. 

Life with two has been challenging, but infinitely filled with joy! We give thanks to our Lord everyday for our blessing; chiefly for you and your sister.

We love you, Sugarbaby!

San Antonio 2011-14

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beanies by Stacie Winner!

Congratulations Mandi! You are the lucky winner of a brand new pair of custom made slippers by Beanies by Stacie!! Hope your toes stay nice and toasty (I nearly spelled toes-ty, ha ha!)

Please email Stacie with your size, color preference, and address, referencing this giveaway.

Thank you all for entering the contest! Stay warm this winter!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Milk Mothers & Other All Natural Things

We all know that breast is best when it comes to our child. There are other benefits to nursing as well. You lower your risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. We have also been able to save money since we don't have to buy formula.

With Mari, we had to start supplementing her meals around 5 or 6 months. She had some form of breastmilk until 9 months. This time around, I was sure to stockpile my reserve when my milk first came in. Of course, we blew through that pretty quickly. Pumping at work just doesn't yield the same volume as when I'm around her. On the weekends, we only have to hit up the stash when Don is giving me a break. Even then, I try to pump as soon as possible.

This week, she will turn 7 months old. During that time, she has only had 2 oz of formula around the 2nd week of her life. The rest of the time, she's been nourished with breastmilk. BUT! I was very, very lucky to have generous friends who were willing to share their unused supply. One gal had to stop her nursing relationship early, and gave Tesla the 100+ ounces she'd had frozen. We have used that supply over the past month and a half to make her cereals and food. My other friend has given us oh so much, that we have been able to extend this journey a couple of months longer. I like to lovingly refer to these beautiful mothers as Tesla's Milk Mothers. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mandi & Stephanie!

There's nothing wrong with having to supplement either. It was just the choice that we had made for our little ones. I think if you can go as long as you can, then that's amazing! Great job! I do lament, though, the loss of our nursing relationship. I know my supply is dwindling and we will soon have to supplement. That doesn't mean that I will give up automatically. I still plan to continue pumping until she reaches 9 months or my supply is totally gone. And thank you concerned folks who have offered up advice to increase my supply. I've tried it all except a prescription.

Back to the topic at hand, though. When I mentioned to someone that Tesla had milk mothers, they appallingly looked at me with disgust. I found it interesting that we, as a society, accept giving cow's milk to our young, but something as natural as breastmilk seems a foreign concept. Then again, I was part of that group not long before I had children. Then, I decided to learn more.

Anyway, all that to say, I'm incredibly grateful for my friends and for the gifts they've given.

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