Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our Marriage: 2 Years

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I can't believe how fast time is passing. Just two years ago around this time we were nearing the end of our wedding reception in beautiful Punta Cana, DR. Today we find ourselves in a not as beautiful place but surrounded with our most precious treasure, our boys (and my sister) :)

This past year was much better then last. Still, I'm sure it could have been much better. I foresee many new and exciting things heading our way and I thank God for our blessings.

I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them--it was that promise.”  ~Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
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Happy Anniversary my love, I look forward to spending the rest of m life with you. Besos!



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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Marriage is a Journey not a Destination

This week's topic on the First Year and Beyond link up is "What have you learned from the unexpected and how have you grown as a couple?"

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Many believe that once they have arrived at marriage the coming years will be a piece of cake. That's not true my friends. Marriage is a journey not a destination. It's a journey with many bumps on the road that some may experience early on, some later in marriage, and others may be lucky enough to have a very easy journey. Just like other things in life, example pregnancy. All pregnancies are different and we shouldn't expect marriage to be any different.

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In our first year of marriage I learned to accept reality, forgive, don't hold grudges, and move on. You have to understand that if you don't accept the reality of whatever situation you are going through is going to be very difficult to forgive and move on. And if you hold a grudge is going to be the same way. You are not always to agree on things and at times will see and want things differently. That does't mean you're marriage is in trouble, just that you as still and individual with your own mind.

Throughout the years people change. New situations are welcome in your life and you can't expect to be the same person you were when you got married. You need to be able to evolve in order to better understand and deal with those situations. Like having children and growing in family size, losing a job, moving, etc. There are many things that will happen throughout the years and it will change your relationship with your spouse, hopefully for the better. With each passing year the love between the couple should increase in intensity as well as the strength of the marriage.

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As a couple we have learned that if there are no hard times we won't grow or look from God. Most importantly you need to rely on God, put him in the center of your marriage and your family because with him all things are possible. Remember that as long as you and your husband have a strong bond no matter what comes your way you will be able to surpass it.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says


Love  is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

When you seek guidance in your marriage from God his holy word will make your marriage far better than you attempting to guide your own marriage!



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Estofado de Carne

One my goals in my 101 in 1001 list is to create a cook book from my most common and favorite dishes. And this dish definitely earns the privilege to be there. I'm a food lover and I grew up eating rice every day of the week and although I love my rice is nice to change it up once in a while. That's another nice way of saying that hubby is not down with daily rice dishes or too much carbs in one week. Being that we're Hispanics a lot of our foods includes rice and carbs. So I have to browse around a bit in Pinterest and one of my fave food blog skinny taste to get ideas. But I always find my way back to traditional meals whether they are Dominican or Puertorican meals. I have a dream that someday ill be half as good as my mother and mother-in-law in cooking. Especially those traditional meals I love so much. Today however, I'm taking it to South America :)

This is a Ecuadorean dish that my dear friend taught me how to make. It's basically beef stew but with lots of flavor and is cooked using their own unique seasoning. There's plenty of way of changing the flavor of beef stew just by changing the seasoning. But this is hands down my favorite and I decided to blog it to share it with the public and keep save it for future reference.

Estofado de Carne ~Ecuadorean Style

Recipes


  






















Ingredients:
Beef Cubes/ Steak cut up
1 1/2 Cup water
1/2 tbs adobo
1 sazón packet
1 beef bullion cube
1 med onion chopped
1 med green pepper chopped
4 small tomatoes chopped 
1 1/2 tbs achiote
2 lg potatoes cut in squares

*** my friend also uses what she calls an Ecuadorean sofrito but she says is not really necessary if you don't have it. I do find though that it makes a slight difference in taste when she makes this then when I do. 

Directions: 
1. Cut up the steak if is not already and wash it (I usually throw some white vinegar and let it set while I chop the veggies then I wash). 
2. Cut up the onion, pepper, & tomatoes and put aside
3. After washing the meat I add the adobo, sazon, and achiote then mix around. I mix everything in the pot that I'll be cooking the meat for simplicity. 
4. Add the chopped vegetable. 
5. Turn the stove on to med place the pot with meat covered to cook for at least 5 mins. This will start up the stew liquid. 
6. After the 5 mins are up the meat should look brownish in color. Then add the water, potatoes, and beef bullion and let it cook for 30 mins checking and stirring frequently. 
7. After 10 mins or so of the water boiling taste it and adjust flavor if needed by adding salt, adobo, or another bullion. Most likely it won't need to be adjusted. Keep in mind that it still needs 20 mins of cooking and adding these ingredients may make it too salty. 
8. After the 30 mins are up throw in the cilantro and stir. Turn off the stove and cover a few mins or until ready to eat. 
9. Serve with your favorite side dish, for me that's rice, and enjoy! 

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Monday, June 17, 2013

First Year Of Marriage Hardships (Link Up)


Oh boy. Back down memory lane I go.

Last year, right around this time of year, I wrote a first year anniversary post that summed up my first year in newlywed land. I didn't give specifics about it because it was and still is very personal and heartbreaking to me. I did however wanted to let it be known that I wasn't living a perfect marriage at that time. 

This time around I will not be giving details either but let me ask you something. How far are you willing to forgive your spouse? 

Now there, think about it for a minute because you might find yourself eating your very own words like I did. 

Now let me make this clear my husband did not have an affair but he did came very close to it. Worse part is that I found out after we were married. Not only that but fairly early in the marriage. I'd say around week six. That right there was the beginning of many hardships that headed our way. Trust was lost. Hurtful things were said. And confusion and blame crept in. I asked god why he would allow us to marry just to tear us apart weeks into it. I analyze and analyze and analyze it even more because I still couldn't believe what was happening and why it was happening to me? To me? And this was only the beginning because things were just getting worse as the months passed by. I thought many times of just calling it quits. I didn't deserve it. Why should I deal with it. But God had other plans for us, me. This will be talked about in a different post but I came to the realization that he put a call out for me and since I wasn't answering he decided to break me down to the point were I would need him badly and answer his calling. 

We finished our first year of marriage and things started looking up again. And then downhill it went again and again. So not only did we have a hard first year but a beginning of a second too. And it was all because of trust. Once trust is lost you better hold on tight because you will be riding one hell of a roller-coaster. 

Slowly but surely we're working on it and just like I said last year my husband made a mistake. He's human, is to be expected but not accepted. Still he's a great person, father, friend, provider and I would be crazy to let him go thinking I can find better. Not in this millennium. I refuse to throw away 6 years of our relationship just because we had one bad one. One of my favorite quotes by Doug Larson is "more marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse". 
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So I tell you don't give up. Not now. Trust God, he has a plan. It may not be the same as yours but I guarantee you it'll be better then yours. 


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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

To an amazing father, my husband. He's more than just a great father. He is his boys super hero. I can never thank God enough for blessing my kids with him. We love you and appreciate you more than you realize. Besos! 

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Happy Father's Day to my brother and all the amazing fathers out there.


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Life as a working mom

I can't believe how fast time is passing by. My baby is already 5 months and it's been a little over two months since I returned to work. Seriously? Hard to accept for me. 

I can't remember how hard it was leaving Steven Jr when my maternity leave was over, which was only six weeks back then. But I'm sure it wasn't as hard since Hubby had lost his job and was able to stay home with him. He was a stay at home dad, not by choice of course hahaha but boy was I spoiled. He did the cooking, cleaning, took care of the baby, and still managed to pay some bills while I worked a part time and went back to school. Oh how lovely it was. How the heck did we managed that at 19? 

This time around it felt like it was going to be a little hard. I wanted to go back to work and start making money again yet at the same time all I wanted was to live the ideal life with my boys and have everyone in a schedule as routinely as possible. I'm still working on that by the way. 

I eased in to work by visiting 2x before my first scheduled shift. Each visits was done at different shifts so that the nurses that had taken care of me and AJ during our stay can see him and so that everyone else got to meet him. I honestly think that visiting helped a bit. I'm not sure why though. Maybe the environment reminded me that it was never a bad place to be at in the first place so returning wouldn't be a bad thing either. Whatever it was I'm glad it work for the better. 

Since I'm only working two days a week, each of 12hrs and the days are mostly grouped it makes it much better as well. I work for 2 or 3 days in a row then I have off between 3-5 days in a row and at one point during the schedule month I get 10 days off in a row. See, I told you it wasn't bad. Honestly, this would be the perfect schedule for a working mom. Unfortunately I'm not just a working mom. I'm also a nursing student that have lots of studying to do on a daily basis and that's where kaos enters my life. Managing my time between work, school/studying, household chores, cooking, breastfeeding, an infant, a six year old, and a husband (Whew! I'm exhausted just by writing that) is not an easy task. 

Some days you'll catch me doing school work on the computer while breastfeeding, which is not that easy when I need to feed from the right side. While others I study while he's napping. This is life, not everything can be perfect I guess. All you can do is try. I know in a few years the hecticness will be over and we'll be in a better schedule. I'll think back and realize that it was all worth it. More so because I managed to be there for my family as best and often as I could. Until then I'll just keep on trying. 

Breastfeeding has worked out pretty good too. I thought it would be hard and confusing for my body to produce milk so irregularly with my working schedule and we have definitely encounter some issues along the way but I feel lucky to have made it this long so far. I'm praying for breastfeeding to continue as smoothly as it has been because I just love doing it. It's so natural to me and it fills me with so much joy that I can provide nourishment for my baby this way. Not to mention the bond that we have formed. 

So how much do I pump? Well, as much as I dislike pumping while I'm at work I aim for at least 3 pumping sessions every 3-4 hours. I try to feed right before leaving home and then again once I arrive. When things don't go as smoothly I fit 4 pumping sessions in a 12 hour shift every 3 hours. That rarely happens though. I think that due to the fact that I work in a Pro breastfeeding environment full of women they are very understanding to my pumping demands. Motherhood this time around is like a piece of cake. 

I'm a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason and at the right timing whether it takes you weeks, months, or years to realize it. Many times I was worried with how this would turn out, but luckily all the pieces landed on their right spots. I consider myself a very happy gal despite my failures at certain things. The best part of life is though, that you get new opportunities with which new day at succeeding :) 

Happy Saturday!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Goldfish


Last weekend we headed down to Jersey to visit one of hubby's cousin who was having a birthday party for her three year old baby girl. We got there pretty late in the afternoon but just in time for games and cake.

It just so happened that that dear cousin was giving out goldfish pets as prices. (What on earth?) I saw them spread around the cake table and I thought it was part of the decoration. But when my son came running in saying "mom! mom! I won, I won. I get to take home a goldfish". I was in a bit of shock and I knew there was going to be some conflict knowing that his father would never allow him to take home a fish in a bowl full of water in his brand new truck. Especially when we had an hour and a half drive back home. And just like I predicted many tears were shed when it was time to go. My son was not having it. He wanted to take his fish home and that was it. And his father was not having it either. Oh boy. 

Finally, at what seemed like an hour later we came to an agreement. The fish would go in a Ziploc bag in the front seat with me as well as the fish bowl. Thankfully everyone came out winning and just like that my big boy became the proud owner of his first pet. A goldfish. I mean yes we have a family dog but is not his own own you know. This goldfish which he name Goldie by the way stays in his room. He's responsible for feeding him and helping with the water changes. I hope this is the beginning of learning responsibilities for him. But for now, he's just enjoying his Goldie. 

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Solids Dilemma

At 4 months the pediatrician told us we could start AJ on solids. She said that just oatmeal cereal would be good enough for now and that we should give it to him once a day. Preferably in the evenings. I was a little hesitant about this and I guess she noticed because soon after she said that if we decided not to start him on cereal we had to give him vitamins. He was already taking Vit D and now she wanted to put him on iron, what?!

I didn't want him to be put on any thing else so I decided to give him the cereal. I was only doing 1Tbs once a day mixed with 1oz of breastmilk. The third week in my baby got constipated and I worried, obviously. I call the peds office and was left speechless. The nurse told me that according to his age he should be breastfeeding  between 4-7x per day and  that he was old enough for baby juice and that rule of thumb is one ounce per age (4 mos 4 ounces) and suggested I really start fruit and veggies solids. I keep thinking I'm not ready for this. He's not ready for this, he's only going to be 5 months in a few days. $ breastfeedings? Are they serious? I spoke with my sister-in-law to ask her how she introduced solids to her now 2 year old and at about what age. You see, I always thought solids were introduced at 6 mos. And for the life of me I cannot remember when we started Steven Jr. on solids.

I was a young mother with Steven and I usually did what my mother and mother-in-law told me to do. Beans at 3 mos? Sure, why not? Okay I'm exaggerating a bit but seriously. They knew better than me so I too their advice. Now I'm a grown woman. An adult. A mother of two and a wife. I need to make my own decisions when it concerns my kids and our lives. So why don't I know what the right thing to do is? I feel stuck.

As I spoke with SIL I realized one thing. My worry is not that AJ is still young, because he's only a month away from turning 6 months. My worry is that I don't want my milk supply to decline because my goal is to make it to the year breastfeeding. And it's been proven that milk supply declines once solids are introduced. That's where my problem is. Being only almost 5 mos is still too young for my supply to decrease. Make sense?

So what is the verdict? I plan to trick my body into believing that I'm still doing 8 feedings a day by pumping after a solid meal instead of skipping a milk feed. Call me crazy but by the looks of it I'm like in denial or something. I'm not really to give up that special bond between the two of us. I'm proud for making it this far so far but I'm just not ready to call it quits if the decision is in my power. I'm going to continue building up my back up stash and introduce a veggie then a fruit every 4 days and see how that works.


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