Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stuck on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving I got to spend in Arizona with my husbands family and it was great! We didn't do a lot but just spending time with them was great. We stayed with his Grandma Mary. I love her. Her and I are two peas in a pod. We love to talk, boy do we love to talk! Our conversations could go on for hours.
Grandma Mary and Troy

One thing we did do was go hiking on Silly Mountain, it was actually a lot of fun. I know, the first thing to your mind is:
Silly Mountain

"Who is this imposter?... Julia doesn't hike!"

And I don't. By no means do I have a desire to go hiking every week. But once a year is good. ;)

It was my idea to go up the mountain. I didn't want go through the Arizona Botanical Gardens... How many cactus's do I need to see?!

So we started our way up. I had Kelli strapped on my back in my fancy Boba carrier (I love my Boba!) and up we went.

Kelli Loves the Boba

Now as many as you know, you can't just go straight up the hill (which in my mind is silly) but you have to walk on a diagonal. So up we went. And we were doing great! I felt good I was excited to get to the top and see the the other mountains and the city from another view.

There was some rocky points, and even a cactus slap tab in the middle of the path. And I kept pushing through

But then I saw a snake.

He was just lounging on the path. Sunbathing. Not a care in the world. Troy says he was maybe 8 inches, but I stand by he was at least 2 feet long!

And I turned around. I started yelling "Done! All done!" And started walking down. Troy kept asking "are you really going to let a little snake stop you?"
And my answer every time was a faithful "Yes!"

So we turned around and started heading back. But then we say another trail. So we started going up that one. And we made it a little over half way. Until it was almost straight up on rocks.

Troy could do it, but I was hesitant with Kelli on back. So again we turned around.

Just before the rocks

We got in the car and drove back to Grandma Mary's. I was bummed we didn't make it to the top.

But it's the journey not the destination, right?
I started thinking about my life. About the times where it seemed really rocky. And how I would sit there and think "how am I supposed to get through this?"

About the cactus's that have been in the middle of my path and I have to find a creative way to get around it.

And yes, the snakes. The snakes that have made me quit and turn around. But there is always another path to try. And when that one fails we walk on a different one with the lessons learned. And we keep trying.

And eventually, some how. We might make it to the top.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Power of Shoes

Monday night is Horse Therapy night. I have a pair (OK they are technically my sisters. But I wear them and she doesn't.) of riding boots. So every Monday night I lace up my shoes and walk out the door. Monday I walked out feeling all confident with that "I know more than you" feeling.

And I paused on the drive way. And asked my self  "Why do I all of sudden feel all confident?" and then I looked down... "Really?" I thought. "Shoes, Julia?" But I smiled at my self and walked on.

Riding boots

But I kept thinking about it. I've never been much of a shoe person. Up until my junior year in high school I had one pair of shoes: tennis shoes. What else do you need? You can wear them in almost any situation. Then I bought a pair of boots and even had 2 pairs of tennis shoes!

I now have a nice variety of shoes: flip flops, boots, riding boots, crocs, and slippers.

My Shoe Rack

It's amazing how each pair has effected my mood. Or how they represent how I'm feeling.

Slippers are the "I have no intention of leaving this house, or doing hard work." If I'm all wound up or frustrated I wear my slippers. They calm me down, and remind me all is alright.


My flip flops are the flirty, running errands move. I admit, most of my shoes are just different color flip flops. When I was pregnant that's all I could wear. And during the summer (and maybe part of the winter) I usually just wear flip flops. I feel like I need to go to the beach and just lay down.
Flip flops waiting til summer.

Tennis shoes are "I'm on the move!" If you are trying to be more active or want the "I can't sit down" feeling. Just wear your tennis shoes. I feel like a marathon runner when I wear mine. Like I can run that 26.2 miles.... Accept I go maybe two miles.

My "running" shoes.

Crocs... I know they are not the most attractive pair of shoe. But I love them. They are so comfy. And great for your back. They're like my tennis shoes. I wear them if I want to keep moving around the house. I also call them my "swimming shoes" I always feel like I need to go to the community center and swim a mile. They're amazing around the pool.

I like them!

Then there are the boots. It's with the boots that I really feel a huge difference. I really feel confident, in every step, action, or answer I give. "I know it all." Is really what it feels like. But I don't know it all. And someone will call me out on a wrong answer, and it brings me back to reality. But I still feel pretty "large and in charge."
Well loved boots

So next time you lace up your running shoes or slip on the slippers. Think about how they make you feel.

You might be surprised.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Who's In Charge?"

Horse therapy has started again! I always forget how much I really love horses. While I'm not as trained as the horse leaders, I always feel like I know what to do when I'm there. I'm a simple side walker to a client, but I always have fun interacting with the horse before and after the lesson. I keep hoping that they'll let me ride part of a lesson.

So I'm a side walker to Tabitha (name change). Tabitha is a happy, calm, quiet, not very pushy kind of person. Don't get me wrong, this girl does own a pair of sassy paints and will wear them. But she's very gentle. When I ask her to hit something she does it very gently for fear she will break something.

Lucinda, the horse only wears sassy pants. Or maybe sassy shoes? Lucinda is a strong, thick pony. And has one leader. Lucinda will only cooperate with her one leader. Yesterday they tried to have this tiny 8 year old lead her. Lucinda wouldn't move in the beginning, then she started nipping at the little girl. Then she stopped and started stomping her feet and shaking her head. I thought Tabitha might get  bucked off. Quickly her regular handler came up and took over. Even with her typical handler she'll still nip or try to do something she knows she shouldn't. But her handler just gives her a good whack, and that's the end of it.


When we first got matched with her I stared at the director thinking

"Are you serious?"

But I kept my mouth shut knowing they know best. And they did. It's turned out to be a great match. This extremely gentle girl is being forced to be assertive, forceful, and yes, bossy.

Every time we pull up at the barn I ask her one thing:

"Who's in charge?"

She chuckles and smiles and says "I am." 

She has to pull the reigns to get Lucinda to listen, not gently tug. She shouts the commands


"Walk on!"

No whispering, no "please walk on." What does this take?


I've seen a pretty confident girl go to extremely confident.  And she's taking that confidence outside of horse therapy.

Had she been put on a quiet gentle horse she wouldn't need to shout or pull. She wouldn't have to learn to be confident in her demands and having those demands be met.  It's been fantastic!

This program has been great not only for the rider but for me as well. As a simple side walker, I've learned to bite my tongue. To just enjoy the animals and the walk... And make sure Tabitha doesn't fall off the horse.

To learn more about the SPIRIT program go to:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Day For ME!?

My birthday is coming up!

People keep asking me what I want, and I just stare at them thinking:

 "What do I want?"

Confused at the whole idea that I could personally want something.

Not for Kelli, or Troy, or Thomas, or all of us. For ME.

I couldn't find a picture of just me... but Kelli is cute, so it works.

People have rattled off ideas:

"Clothes?" I have many clothes.

"A night away?" Not sure if I'm ready to leave Kelli.

"A date night?' Troy just had his birthday, maybe I'll take a night alone.

"A night alone?" I don' want to leave Kelli and Troy.

"A spa day?" Ok that I would take.

But as people have rattled these off I realized I really haven't gotten anything or done anything for ME since... I got married.  Except the occasional pedicure.

This is something I think all mothers and wives do. We get swallowed up by the children's needs and the house work, and the husband's needs, that we put ourselves on hold. How many mothers have canceled or postponed a simple doctors appointment to stay home with a sick child? Or to make it to the school play?

But when do we come back to ourselves?

When we've reached the breaking point? When there is no floors to scrub, or people to feed? When there is no bills sitting on the desk?

Some women have that amazing husband that will tell them:

"Go get your nails done, I got the kids." or "I'll scrub the floors, you've done a lot today."

For some it never ends. And we need to be able to say "I need a break." Even if the laundry is a mile high, or dinner needs to be cooked.

So what do I want for my birthday?

I don't know.

But I do know, that I want something for lil old me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nursing: My Story

While I was pregnant I made the decision I was going to have no plan when it came to delivery. What ever Kelli and Heavenly Father decided I was just gonna go with it. But, I planned on nursing. That's all I had planned on.

But it didn't happen.

Some of you know I'm not nursing. Some of you just found out.

For the men, or women who aren't mothers yet: nursing is hard! I didn't even realize how hard it was till I was trying to do it. It's not simply you pop your boob in their mouth and they go to town. You have to teach them to get their tongue in the right spot and open their mouth wide enough. Then you have to get them in the right laying position that works for them. It's complicated!

My friend Tiffanie and her cutie Dax, making nursing look easy!

I tried.

It was a week of hell, (ask Troy). Kelli was so jaundice that she would fall asleep trying to eat. Which resulted in her getting little to no food. Which caused me to produce little to no milk. I tried pumping, I did it every two hours. Just as the lactation consultant told me to do. I would pump for a half hour then an hour later wake up Kelli to get her to eat. Fight her for 20 minutes then she'd go back to bed, and I'd start pumping all over again. It was a nightmare.

I was going crazy.

Luckily my dear friend Misty called me. She's has 10 children and a huge breast feeding advocate. I expected the big "you can do it!" talk. But she simply said

"Nursing doesn't work for every mom, or every baby."

We went back to the doctor the next day and I was given two choices:

1. Give her a bottle

2. Go to the hospital

Well I chose the bottle. And some mothers might have chosen the hospital. But her health and my sanity was more important to me. After I gave her the bottle I decided I would keep trying. But she would just scream when I tried to nurse, so that was the end of that.

Bottle Baby

At every doctors appointment I got defensive as to why I wasn't nursing. I even told one doctor "Does it matter? I'm not. End of story."

Then I saw one of my doctors and got asked the same question. And I was getting really hot at this point. I was about to argue my defense but he simply said

"it's over rated."

While some of you might get bent out of shape over that statement, I needed it. I needed a medical professional to not attack me, to simply let me know it's ok.

Now some people go around saying that if you don't nurse, your baby is going to have a lower IQ, attachment issues, that the baby won't bond with the mother. All I have to say is that's a load of crap.

Does this future sassy pants love her mom less because she is bottle fed?

While yes formula stains more than breast milk. I know plenty of adults who were bottle fed and are smarter than you and I put together. But I digress...

So Kelli's a bottle baby.

The next hurtle was which formula. Kelli just threw up Similac Sensitive and Enfamil. Again Misty came to my rescue. She had a can of Baby's Only Organic shipped to my door (what would we do without Amazon?) And that's what I've been using. :) And she was strictly on that for 3 months.

Best formula EVER

Then another friend introduced me to the idea of donors breast milk. It sounds weird, I know. I'm picky about who I use. I ask about diets and medicines. And most of these women I get to know on a more personal level. One we hang out time to time, going to Target or Red Robin.

Others when I pick up we just chat for a while then we go on our way.It's been a great experience and it's something I would do again.

One of my donors nursing her cutie!

So what inspired this post after 6 months? A few weeks ago was Breast feeding week. And I was hurt, hurt I wasn't one of those proud moms who was doing what God intended to take care of their child.

But then I thought about it. I live in a world where I can use a bottle, and not watch my baby get sick or even die because they won't eat.

So I've decided to celebrate to day as Bottle Day.

Love these bottles

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What I've learned

I've learned a lot this past year and I thought it was about time I wrote it all down:

1. I have no self control when it comes to sweets. Hence why I have just put on weight.

2.I'm not meant to be that slim trim girl you see at Holister. And I'm ok with that.

3. Working, going to school, and having a baby is a lot to do. So do what you can in a day and be done with it.

4.Gerber makes horrible onesies

5. Carter's makes the best onesies.

6. Pampers diapers are the best

7. Huggies wipes are the best. I was sad that pampers wipes let me down

8. Get your self a good diaper bag. That was my one crazy purchase, and I love it.

9. Baby's Only Organic is the only formula a mother should ever use.

10.When your body says "you're not doing that today." You more than likely are not going to be doing that.

11. Babies sleep in cribs. Now, Kelli did sleep in a co-sleeper for one month. But had I had the space and the brains to get something BEFORE she had arrived. I would have gotten a bassinet. I tried taking a nap with Kelli over the last few months. And she didn't like it, I put her in her crib and she was out. Not to mention the idea that I could roll over my baby terrifies me. 

12. People like to label parenting styes, I'm always asked "what style are you doing?"
"The Kelli and Julia style" is my response. So do what works best for you and  your baby.

13. There is no such thing as too many hugs and kisses.

14. Every baby is different. While some love to be held others may not like it.

 13. I can't do everything. While I like to think I'm super women and can do it all, I can't. I have to swallow my pride and ask for help. And because I have been able to swallow my pride, I am able to get more done and Kelli gets to spend time with family. And maybe. Just maybe, I can be super woman. 
Because of all the help I can be super woman

Sunday, July 14, 2013

First Family Vacation

We did it.

Our first family vacation.  Overall it was a success with a few bumps in the road. We went to OC, Maryland for 2 days.

Day 1:

We woke up bright and early, loaded the car and drove. All in rain I might add, it's about a 3.5-4 hour drive that took us 5 hours. Which I think is pretty good with a baby. Kelli slept the first 3 hours the rest she was in the back talking. She was a great!

As I mentioned, it was raining, it rained the entire drive (made the Bay Bridge interesting). We checked in the hotel that was about 45 minutes away, and we decided to stay there till it stopped raining. When we checked in there was a problem with the reservation that resulted in the lady and the manager shouting at each other. Lovely, right? The manager refused to talk to the lady when she called back (because he hung up on her), I told the lady I would deal with. The manager was a pill, but I got the room.

Eventually it stopped raining, so we decided to go to Assatague Island. Here there are a wild Ponies. Troy was so excited to see them. To his dismay we only saw one.

The One Pony

This was Kelli's first time at the ocean. And she didn't like it.

In her defense the water and sand were cold.

No Thank you!
Next we went to Ocean City. Since the water was too cold we decided to just do the board walk.

Kelli has been sitting up well, so we decided to try the stroller. She sat up just fine, and I wished I hadn't done that because I was ready to cry in the parking lot. Time goes by so fast! 

We saw some really cool little stands set up. This one man was painting what ever was requested to music. Another man was painted gold, on a gold bike and would stand like a statue, but once he got a tip he would dance and pretend to ride his bike, and squeaked.  He didn't talk, he squeaked. Across from him was a man weaving Hawaiian palm leaves into hats or roses. I got a rose. :)

Then we were done. So we went to Olive Garden for dinner, back to the hotel room, and crashed. We all slept for 12 hours. It was heaven.

Instead of dragging a pack n play a friend let me borrow this tent!
Day 2:

We got an early start with the sun shinning. We packed up and went straight to Ocean City. We didn't do the beach long for a few reasons:

1. I hate sand.
2. We didn't want Kelli to get burnt.
Troy trying to convince Kelli the ocean is fun

So we were at the beach for 2 hours.Then we headed to Assateague Island again, this time we saw three ponies! You can't stop on the side of the road, so we just saw them as we drove by.

Troy really wanted to get Kelli in the water. So we found a water park that we went to.
Kelli was still not crazy about water. She cried in less she was held. We put her in her float, and that worked for about two minutes.

To wrap it up we did the lazy river; Kelli slept on Troy's chest. Poor thing had just been traumatized.  Then we changed in those disgusting bathrooms and started heading home.

At the pool Kelli snatched the money right out of Troy's hands. Uh oh!

We stopped at TJ's family restaurant about 45minutes from home. Here Kelli sat in a high chair for the first time, again I almost cried.

Once we got home I realized I was a lobster and Troy was not far behind me. Kelli got a little pink, despite our best efforts. 
The color of my skin


Saturday, July 6, 2013

'It's Not Like He'll Remember."

A Woman With Opinions is undergoing some remodeling, but I had to do this post.

I haven't blogged about how my dad is doing for quite some time. And frankly that's because I don't like talking about it.

The family was cleaning today and we came across dad's nails spilled across the floor. Someone wanted to keep them and then another person wanted to get rid of them and made the comment "It's not like he'll remember." (Dad was not in the room.) Once the words left their mouth they knew  they made a bad word choice. People got hot. But we love the individual and they were forgiven.

Nails on the floor

It's heart breaking.

But it's also reality. And something we are reminded of every day.

My dad suffers from Alzheimer's disease and it's hard to watch.

Let me clarify that he's no where near as bad as you might think when you hear the word "Alzheimer", he knows who his family is and regular friends, and can navigate his regular walking paths, make his lunch,and can still read and understand all his engineering and astronomy journals.

But the man who raised me, who taught me to ride a bike, slept on the couch so his daughter terrified the monster would come get her could sleep with her mom, a published electrical engineer, helped build XM radio, lectured at George Mason University, and who has done countless projects. Is not here.

The man who has his daily routine, (and is not too happy if it gets messed up), someone who repeats the same stories, asks the same questions, and can't remember what happened last week is here now. And it's hard, and heart breaking. He can't remember when he taught me to ride a bike, and I remember like it was yesterday telling him "I want to ride a two wheeler."

Awesome Rock Chair

And I want to cry when he says "I don't remember."

But Heavenly Father gives us these small moments, when he's totally there. When he remembers I'm the daughter who loved the bike rides, and taking TVs apart. He'll make these witty comments and jokes. And can clearly explain why the moon is so bright, and can follow the conversation jumps at the dinner table.

Conversations with Abraham Lincoln

And it's like nothings wrong for that brief moment.

So he went to the neurologist this week. And there is a Alzheimer genetic marker. And he has it, this does not set ones fate, but it does have a heavy influence. (I find it interesting that the Alzheimer marker is on Chromosome 21, same as Downs Syndrome.)

So my mom made the comment that my siblings and I should make the decision if we want to get tested. One decided then and there they're going to do it, the other and I sat there unsure. Which is unusual for me, I've always been protesting "Knowledge is power."

Yet to know what state my life could end is terrifying, to find out I could not remember who my husband and kids are, do I want to have that on the back of my mind the rest of my life?

But I could also be proactive.

So I really don't know what I'm going to do. Either way, I hope that I won't let it run my life and will be able to face it with my head held high.