[Mommyhood Monday] The Story of Harry, Part III

In The Story of Harry Part I and Part II, we shared the back story on our fertility story.  Basically, I heard I may not be able to have kids, told Matt when we started dating, he was really awesome, we got married, eventually started trying to get pregnant and found it not coming so easily. We moved back to Texas from Vancouver, slowed life down a bit and pondered our options.

In Part II, I mentioned that fertility treatments were not an option for us.  To expand upon that a bit: as a couple, we were lucky that this was a required pre-marital topic of conversation.  Since my fertility was questionable, we talked about what would happen if we couldn’t get pregnant.  As I mentioned in Part I, in the 10+ years I had been given to consider my fertility I came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t get pregnant, then I was 100% called to adopt.  Did I want a sweet, soft baby with baby smells and baby sounds?  Of course I did.  But could I pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a baby that may not happen when there are children out there in need of love and a home?  I personally could not.  And neither could Matt.  And that was nice, to be on the same page.

Now this is a highly personal choice for every person and couple.  If I had not had years to ponder the possibilities, I know how quickly I would have continued to explore every other option.  In this day and age, we women are made to believe that we can do everything and we can do it whenever we want.  At a young age we are pointed to birth control in an effort to “control” our bodies and their natural functions (for our personal convenience or to mask the symptoms of other health irregularities).  Then, we go off of this medicine and expect quick results when we want it to do what we’ve told it not to do for a while.   And THEN we’re pointed to take more drugs and pay more money to get it to do that.  For every single person that’s experienced it, in any fashion, it’s sincerely tragic when it doesn’t happen.  For some, it calls you to question your womanhood and what you have to offer your spouse.  This was something I had always battled.   This is why Matt’s comment in Part I was so epic, “this world will not be deprived of a beautiful mom…perhaps only of beautiful babies.”  Throughout this time he reminded me of this, constantly.  So while we consider fertility to be a blessing…we also had to consider infertility to be a blessing.  All roads still led to a family and plenty of babies out there want one, too.  That was our personal choice.

So as we found ourselves home in Austin, we laid low and began to look toward adoption.  Because I turned down a job offer upon arrival in an effort to rest for a bit, my schedule was far less demanding than when we lived in Vancouver.  Now I was taking care of my nephews (my sister liked to refer to me as her “lady in waiting” in those days) and we were staying in, sleeping more, doing less.   Matt quit drinking caffeine and alcohol and boosted his Vitamin C, taking some of Dr. Shannon’s advice as a last-ditch effort, but I moved on from the daily tasks of charting and monitoring.

I was also fighting the urge to become bitter.  Accepting that God’s in charge doesn’t automatically prepare you for the emotions of His plan.   Embracing the idea of adoption was incredibly easy, but releasing myself from the idea of being pregnant certainly was not.  There were only three instances where I allowed myself to be vulnerable with close friends…to tell them how hard of a time I was having with our fertility test results.  Every single one of them found out they were pregnant within a matter of days.  For each of them I was thrilled and so truly happy.  That part came easy.  But facing a very likely reality that we would never get to experience this gift of biological parenthood, that was heartbreaking.  I didn’t let myself cry over it until I heard a pregnant couple complain about the inconveniences of morning sickness and food cravings.  That was too much for me.  I could be genuinely happy for you, but I was not in a place to sympathize with your pregnancy symptoms.  I excused myself and cried in the restaurant bathroom for 15 minutes.  That was my emotional low.


Can I just say that the Infertility scene in the “Up” life sequence made me “ugly cry”?  Still does. 

Then in early April (four months since we’d moved back), I suddenly grew very lazy.  I had super low energy and felt a little queasy.  I wrote it off but then tried to count back to my most recent cycle and couldn’t.  I was going to dismiss it for a few days more but then remembered that my dear Diana mentioned me wearing an A-line bridesmaid dress for her August wedding.  Since she was going to pull the trigger on that pretty soon, I went to the grocery store for my sister and picked up a test (without telling her).  I went back to her house and took it.


Back in Vancouver, a sweet nurse friend gave me about a couple dozen pregnancy tests when she found out we were “trying”.  I had gone through them during our efforts and taking them became a very sad experience.  I would wait until I was 5, 6, up to 10 days late…all negative.  This “positive” was hard-earned*.

I walked out of the bathroom, stunned, and showed my sister.  She had me turn around and take the other test in the box.  Another positive.  I panicked…”I’m on sabbatical…who will hire a pregnant woman…we’re not prepared for this!”  My sister reminded me of the logic that had carried Matt and me through so much, “everything happens according to a plan and you’re not in charge.”  Clearly.

I texted Matt, “Call me ASAP.”  He called me, out of breath, “Are you…?”  Apparently, unlike me,  Matt had not stopped counting the days.  He had been suspicious before I even thought it an option but didn’t bring it up for fear of dashed hopes. Such a faithful man.

We were pregnant.  We were going to have a baby.  There were many challenges to face and come through, but the seemingly impossible had become possible.  Through no rhyme or reason but solely through the grace of God (though we do strongly believe He did some work through Dr. Shannon).

I will always remember my very first doctor’s visit, specifically when my doctor did the dating sonogram and I saw our baby for the very first time.  I cried and mentioned to her how ever since my diagnosis at 17, I had prepared myself for this to never happen.  She responded with, “It’s maddening what some doctors put young girls through…you didn’t need to go through that for so long.  There’s so much we don’t know.”  I’m pretty sure she thought I was crazy when I told her that I was thankful for it.

And I am.  How else would Matt and I have tackled such critical conversations early on?  My questionable fertility led us to better habits, an incredibly healthier diet, and, most importantly, a surrender to the Lord’s plan for us.  The word “control” finds ways to sneak itself into the lives of the most faithful and we were certainly no exception.  Even in our boasts of obedience to His will and our acceptance of His plan, we were still blindsided.   How sweet is that! (And how foolish is boasting?)  Now our hearts have been opened to adoption and the calling still remains.   This is not to be written off, it is not to be tossed aside or forgotten.  But we got to start our family with Harry.

Look at me, making progress in Harry’s story!  The next one is the last of this series and it’s the motherload…his Birth Story.  (Only 14 months later!)

Peace and Blessings to you as you start the week…make it a meaningful one!

*I am highly sensitive to the fact that our “hard-earned” positive is still laughable compared to the thousands and thousands of couples who go through longer periods of fertility woes, miscarriages, and those who never receive the positive test result.  I very much believe that the journey for each couple is different, not to be weighed against each other or competed against.  We received a beautiful gift and however any future gifts should present themselves (biologically or by other means), our lessons learned were to never assume where God’s plan is taking us and, no matter where it leads, to never stop counting our blessings.


[Top Ten Tuesday] Last Ditch Bucket List for My Roaring Twenties

You guys, I have exactly TWO MONTHS left in my twenties.  Unlike some I am actually thrilled for my thirties (many thanks Charlotte from Revenge and Jennifer Garner) and can’t wait to see what’s in store.  But I still have 60 days and why not make a Bucket List?

This will probably be considered incredibly lame by many (I get a thrill with a 9PM bedtime after all) but hey, you can make your own bucket list and I’ll think it’s fabulous.

10.  Run 3 miles.  Laugh at the tiny number all you want.  I am NOT a runner.  My form, my patience, my feet…they’re all off.  But everyone who commits to it ends up loving it so there must be something there.  That and sometimes I’m a little jealous of Matt’s early morning runs.  It charges his day and puts him in a great mood, without fail.   A good workout in the morning does that for me as well but something is missing.

9. Sew A Pillow.  I already own a sewing machine and I have sewn before.  But I’m scared…scared of messing up or ruining fabric I love.  But something tells that if I don’t get to it, the lovely fabric I have piled up will be donated by my husband to someone who is not too scared to use it.

8. Paint. My sister and I have a Groupon for a painting class that we need to use, so this is kind of an easy one.  My mom just happens to be one of those incredibly talented people who can pretty much do whatever she wants.  “I love this photo…let me make it a painting!” ” Need a colonial costume for 1776?  I’ll take care of that!” (Yes, those happened.)  I didn’t inherit this talent but I did inherit an interest in all things constructive so hey, why not.

7. Read 3 Books. One book will be spiritual.  One book will be career development.  One book will be a classic.  None of them will be Harry Potter or Toddler 411.

6. Get the Four Generations of Howeth photo. Harry’s a super blessed babe to still have his paternal grandfather and great-grandfather living.  Our shameful confession is that with life being as hectic as it’s been, we haven’t gotten to introduce the two just yet.  Funny how a 4 hour drive seems just-that-much-further when you have a babe.

5. Buy Something Fabulous on Black Friday.  I have no idea what but it will be fabulous and most likely impractical.

4. Knit a Blanket.  Knitting I am much more comfortable with and though no expert, I could swing a blanket.  I have about 10 different patterns bookmarked so, let’s do this.

3. Finish Christmas shopping in November.  This should be on my list every year.  But this year I have a baby turning 1, me turning 30, and Matt’s birthday all in the first week of December.  I’m looking at you, Amazon, to help me make sure this one happens.

2. Create “Awkward Mommy Happy Hour.”  I like this the more and more I think about it and hear positive feedback and dernit, it’s going to happen.  Stay tuned, mommies…time to put on the clothes we don’t want to ruin with spit up, wear impractical shoes, and practice being non-awkward.

1. _________________.  Can’t decide on this last one…gonna need some thinking and some feedback.  Should it be daring and adventurous?  Should it be scary and something that pushes me out of my comfort zone?  Share any suggestions you’ve got!

There you have it.  90% of my Bucket List and only 60 days* to make it happen.

*This is me acknowledging that the completion of 50% of this list will be something to celebrate. Make it 20%.

Summer Awkwardness

Without any warning, I took a break this summer.  Our marriage needed some TLC, my babe always deserves my attention, and we had a lot going on.  We had a long summer – filled with the completion of a thesis(!), work, the birth of our incredibly precious and beautiful niece (our very first!), and Harry’s Baptism.

Harry’s Baptism was such a sweet occasion and he is one lucky babe to have our dear friends Melissa and Matt as his Godparents.  He rocked a bonnet and kept a good face the entire time.  Let’s face it, this kid is only unhappy if we mess with his sleep schedule or we don’t give him enough food.  He’s his father’s son.


The picture above failed to capture H in his bonnet, which means you’re totally missing out.

Truth be told, this summer was a difficult one.  Harry is the happiest babe we could have ever prayed for and he is our sunshine and delight every single day.  But I’m pretty sure that with a few different factors, I managed to slip into a low place that I’m just beginning to emerge from.  A place that had me going to bed super late and sleeping less, watching way too much TV (Confession: I finished the entire series of Felicity in a little over a week…that’s EIGHTY-FOUR episodes…not proud), and being fairly anti-social.

The emotions of becoming a mom are so fascinating to me.  The biggest effect was awkwardness.  I’ve always had awkwardness as a part of my make-up but wow, it has multiplied over the past 10 months.  I can be in a room full of people I know or a room of strangers, both of which never phased me before, and I want to just run home and work on a project or finally start The West Wing (let’s face it, I’m overdue).

I hear this is not abnormal for new moms.  I joked with my sister that I should start an “Awkward Mom Happy Hour” where we just practice being sociable again.  There would be topics we are not allowed to talk about: poop, sleep patterns, milk supply, baby food, and baby milestones being on the banned list.  But, in order for that Happy Hour idea to work, I’d have to schedule another Mommy Happy Hour that focuses on that list.  If I’ve learned anything about community these past several months, it’s that all moms need other moms to discuss these pivotal child-rearing topics.  Maybe I’m not joking anymore?

So we’re back.  This little blog post is dedicated to my lovely Kate who demanded an update.  Apparently leaving Harry’s Birth Story unfinished was just plain rude. My apologies. Part II coming on Monday!

[Mommyhood Monday] I Throw My Hands Up in the Air Sometimes

Mommyhood is hard.

I’ve always been very comfortable with babes and I’ve been blessed to be around an abundance of mommies who all had something incredible to offer me as a role model.  I’ve also always been comfortable with a crying baby – both of these things leading me and us to be pretty patient and confident in the decisions we’ve made for Harry.  This of course comes coupled with faith, knowing that the best intentions in parenting require a healthy serving of grace, humility and a sense of humor.

But there’s so much we don’t have any say in.  There are so many things that happen in his life that we hope to prepare for but at some point, we have to raise our hands up and trust.  And that’s hard.  I’ve known a couple moms who were overly anxious – worried about every little detail in their child’s life and no matter their child’s age, they still think they know what’s best.  Based on how much effort and thought and how I scrutinize every single detail on the topic of baby food alone, that has to be…exhausting.

Yet I know I’m prone to it.  I know I’m prone to over analyze and over think it and if I don’t throw my hands up and trust sooner than later, I never will.  Yes my son is only 6 months old but it was just an hour ago that he was born, right?   As a mom we’re told to soak it all in because it will fly by.

I soak and I soak but I just can’t soak hard enough.  I can’t take enough pictures…he’s incredible at letting me but none of them portray just how precious his smile is, just how joyful his laugh is at all times.  No journal entry can capture the depth of love I have for this babe.

So I throw my hands up and trust.  I trust that life is beautiful and that if I were gone tomorrow, this babe would know that I’d do anything for him.  And I trust that it would be enough.  We are blessed with such a community and family that I trust my son would never be in need.  Maybe he wouldn’t have a real food diet and maybe someone else would give up on cloth diapering for him but…he’ll still be great.  He’d still have that million dollar smile and, God and family willing, he’ll always know how special he is to us.

So in these moments where I worry about him being fed real food exclusively and I agonize over the fact that someone else lets him watch the TV already…I pledge to throw my hands up.  I pledge to be content in the decisions I’ve made as our decisions, not anybody elses.

And yes, I’m about to go be the creepy mom who stares at her babe while he’s sleeping.  Don’t judge me…I’m just soaking.

Declaration of Howeth

Last week was rough.  It was just one thing and then another.  Luckily, I have been blessed with a babe who smiles on cue.  And not just a little smile – a huge, nose scrunching smile that owns me.

To dive into this week I’ve been working on my “About Me” page.  As usual, I’ve made things more complicated than necessary.  So why not start here.

I put a lot of research into every decision I make (causing wedding and baby registries to take 25 times longer than they ever should).  This applies to everything from the food my family eats to our belief system to my personal politics.  I don’t like to offend people – I definitely have strong beliefs and can stand by them with gusto, but I LOVE dialogue and have great respect for who other people are and how they got there.  So, to just put it all out there…

I’m a 29-year-old – born and raised Texan – first generation of Colombian parents married 43 years – married to my Starbucks sweetheart – mother to my “cooler than I’ll ever be” 6 month old baby boy – The University of Texas Alumnus – nonpartisan (to a beautiful fault) voter who thinks everyone’s voice matters – DIY-er – high fructose corn syrup hating – Real Food diet beginner (see previous) – cloth diapering – Roman Catholic (and really, really very proud to be) – former Vancouver-ite (*tear) – Canada loving – cheesy prone – techno hating – opinionated AND indecisive – incapable of holding a grudge but often too cowardly to face the past – neat freak with a messy closet – sweet potato and watermelon obsessed – singer who can’t carry a tune – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome-r –  love fashion but love yoga pants more – occasional sewer and more often knitter – always regretful insomniac – lover of all things golden, grey and mustard yellow – ADHD diagnosed –  sushi loving – onion loathing – reader of books written for persons of all ages – sports fan – wannabe rock star.  I like my eggs over medium and my orange juice pulpy.  I don’t like to buy food from the center aisles in grocery stores or anything that has ingredients I can’t pronounce (other than Quinoa…I don’t think I’ll ever get that right).  And, yes this is important…I think “More than Words” by Extreme is the best song of all time.   I don’t care if you judge me, my husband definitely does on that point.

That should do it for now.

Organizing the Chaos

If I am going to be consistent with blogging (as I fully intend to be) then I need a sense of order.  Beginning next week, I will debut the five different focuses for each weekday.  I’ll miss some days on occasion (guaranteed) but this will allow me to organize the thoughts in my head.  It also prevents you from seeing a runaway blog entry that overstimulates or goes on and on.

I think this will tackle one of my biggest problems – over-thinking it to the point of paralysis.  Cross your fingers and throw some good thoughts my way, will ya?  In the meantime, I may send out a few posts in order to create the good habit.

Now I’m off to brainstorm and map things out and create handwritten lists with boxes in front of each item so I can put a check-mark in it upon completion.  I’m not ashamed to admit that doing so brings me such dorky joy.  And yes, I have written down items already completed but not yet documented just so I can check them off.  Again, no shame.

In the meantime, a couple gems for you. First is me and my buddy on our first Mother’s Day together.  This picture illustrates his personality perfectly – such an amazingly happy babe!   And check out his hunky dad…they’re my greatest treasures.



Peace be with you and yours!

Shunting Bad Fault No. 1

I’m a perfectionist.  When trying to start something new, I sit and debate and practice and brainstorm and try over and over and at times, postpone any kind of production.  This mostly applies to my personal projects and objectives. For example, I have lost numerous Words with Friends games because I try to put the perfect word/play out there  but am never satisfied and therefore I don’t play and I inevitably forfeit the game.    My latest personal discovery is that I was content with losing by my own fear or failure than taking the chance to play the game and not be perfect and possibly even win.  Thank you, Zynga, for creating a game that by playing it has so eloquently illustrated one of my biggest faults.

The first and foremost way that my ADHD has manifested itself in our home is the presence of so many projects that have not been completed.  This drives Matt insane .  He has commented on how great Pinterest is for someone like me but also how terrible it can be…so many projects to start and NOT finish.  The best example of this is the ottoman I began re-upholstering one year ago.  Don’t get Matt started, he almost tossed it on several occasions and stopped only when I promised it would be done in a month’s time.  Now we’re about 45 minutes of work away from completion and even if (nay, when) it’s not perfect, I will be so proud when it’s done.  As for this blog, I’ve worked on parts of it and written so many drafts trying to get it started just right.

Ugh.  No more.

To combat my perfectionism, May 11th is the best date to start this blog that I have restarted at least 7 times.   The date has no significance to me whatsoever (no offense, May 11th birthdays and anniversaries) and it’s not the ideal day of the week but I need to throw that thinking out.  My perfectionism can still come in handy – my attention to detail, my stubborn determination to achieve the goals I have set (all natural 18 hour labor anyone?). But I want to be held accountable for the things I set out to accomplish.   Maybe nobody reads this – but it will be out there, for the world to see and maybe even every once in a while ask, “hey, what happened to that fabric that you were excited to find and create your long desired patterned curtains?”  If someone asks me that a month from now, I’ll pay you $5.

I’m channeling Nike marketing for my new personal mantra.  “Just Do It.”

I’m pretty sure Matt will be thrilled.