Mothering With Spiritual Power

One of my 2013 resolutions is to read a new book each month.  I love books.  I dream of having a library with shelves full of the books that I've read and marked up (yes, I scribble in my books..).  But the sad truth is I have never made reading a top priority, and in so doing have wasted my free moments in other ways that tend to be much less fulfilling.  Recently I have come to realize the value of continuing my education.  It is a lifelong process that I know will benefit both myself and my kids.  A wise man once said, "You can't get water from an empty well".  Well it's time for me to prioritize filling my bucket! :)  Thankfully I have a stack of "to-reads" ready and waiting for me to tackle this year!  

This month, I chose a book entitled Mothering with Spiritual Power by Debra Sansing Woods.  It was a simple book, one that was filled with sweet advice and gentle reminders.  Although it didn't challenge me intellectually, it did serve as a nice "refresher" course for helping me refocus on what I want my kids to get out of their early years.  I've always enjoyed reading books that represent others' opinions on life, and particularly in the stage I'm at right now - that of raising children.  My parents have 7 children and did a (in my opinion), wonderful job raising each of us.  It isn't uncommon for people who know my mother to remark on some of the similarities we have.  However, although we have our similarities, we also have our differences.  We are two different people after all!  What may have worked for her as a mom, may not always work for me..  No parenting style is perfect, but some are better suited for me and my set of values and beliefs more than others.  In order for me to successfully form an opinion on how I would like to raise my kids, I like to see what other options are out there first!  Although I can't say that this was my favorite book in the parenting realm, it was heartfelt, and though basic in nature, the principles it touched on were very true and in line with my personal feelings and beliefs on motherhood.
A few of my favorite passages included:

"..the only way to really teach our children about love is to teach them about service.  After all, it seems to me that service is love made visible."
"If a few words thoughtlessly spoken can have such a negative impact on a child, what difference can a few words, carefully chosen each day, make for our children?"
"If we will listen closely to our young children, acknowledge and value the inspiration they share with us, and help them to understand the source of that inspiration, we will be helping them to lay the foundation for a life that is more likely to be lived in tune with the Spirit.  And what a wonderful gift this can be to our children - a gift that requires no grand gestures or fanfare but rather begins with the simple act of listening to our little ones and acknowledging the inspired wisdom they will surely share."
"..put yesterday to rest so we can awaken each morning to the gift of a whole new day - a day where we can focus on doing on best on just that particular day as we seek to raise and nurture righteous children."
"We live in a world where we could easily become confused on how best to show our children love.. The world would have us think that money can buy love, that by buying our children things - a car, new clothes, their own computer - we will be buying them the sense that they are loved.  But, the thing that our children need the most, more than anything we can buy them, is our time and undivided attention."

All in all it was a good, quick read.  One that helped refresh my goals and refocus my sights on what I deem to be of most worth in this life.  Thank you Debra for the soft and gentle reminders - sometimes they are exactly what a mom needs! :)


Baby C

On January 21, 2013, I checked into Albert Einstein hospital here in Sao Paulo to begin the induction process and finally meet face to face our sweet baby boy.  Ever since our first child, I have been having elective inductions 1-2 weeks early due to the high speed at which I deliver (after my water has broken 1 hour has been the maximum amount of time before the big baby debut!), and the sad but true reality that I am just not woman enough to deliver without my trusty epidural!

At 9:00am they started me on a low dosage of pitocin (sp?) and gradually increased the dosage until 1:10pm when I had dilated from a 2 to a 6 and was in sufficient enough discomfort to ask for my friendly drugs to be administered.  After my sense of feeling was completely gone, the nurse broke my water.  My husband and I looked at the clock.  1:20pm.  The nurse didn't leave my side as she was nervous as what to expect.  About 35 minutes later I told her that although I literally felt NO pain, I thought I was beginning to feel some pressure, though I couldn't be sure because that epidural was literally the BEST one to date!  She checked me again and exclaimed, "Oh, wow.  You're already at a 9!"  My husband and I exchanged semi-panicked glances.  He wasn't dressed yet, and I wasn't in the delivery room..  The nurse told him he needed to change and started giving him directions to do so, "You go out this hall, take a left, take the elevator to the 6th floor, then a right, then a left...."  My nervous laughter started to kick into gear as I realized that he may not make it back in time.  He went running and I quickly prayed for the strength to wait until he got back.  Before I could finish composing myself, half a dozen people were pushing me toward the delivery room as fast as they could yell to people to move out of the way!  As I was the only patient delivering for my doctor that day, she responded to the call very quickly and was there when we arrived.  My body was literally shaking uncontrollably with the urge to push.  I looked frantically at the clock - 2:00pm - knowing that that could be the delivery time if I wanted.  My doctor asked if I wanted to do a "warm up push" to which I responded, "No warm up needed, one push is all it's going to take!  I need to wait for my husband.."  I iron gripped the bed bars and tried to focus on the clammer going on around me rather than my natural desire and instinct to push.  At 2:11pm the door opened and I heard the blessed words I had been waiting for, "He's here!  Are you ready?"  Was I ever!  One push was indeed all it took, and my adorable Channing Luiz was placed on my belly at 2:12pm! :)
8lbs 3oz (3.8kilos) and 20" long, he was perfect and I was instantly smitten!
The proud (and relieved!) papa!
The amazingly wonderful head nurse,
& my fantastic doctor :)
Here is the picture collage/birth announcement we sent out within the hour after his birth.  Gotta love technology! 
A few hours later the whole clan arrived to meet the newest member of our family :).  To say they were excited would be a gross understatement!
We were fortunate enough to have my mom come out to help with the kids.  Thanks mom!!!
A popular tradition here is to pass out "lembrancinhas" to your visitors in the hospital and at home.  I opted to make my own and wrapped Hershey's bars with a cute label that had Channing's birth stats on the back.
Family and friends back in the US have been anxious to know how the whole experience measured up to delivering in the States.  Honestly, aside from the fear that my husband would be absentee for the big moment, it was the best delivery I've had to date!  The attentiveness of the staff on hand was impeccable!  They were constantly checking on me and wanted to make sure I was comfortable and all of my needs were met.  They didn't seem to be just "doing their job", they genuinely seemed to care!  When the anesthesiologist came in I harbored my usual fears of all that could possibly go wrong when the epidural was administered.  Without voicing any of my concerns or giving any hint of my anxiety, one of the nurses came over and placed herself in front of me, pulling my head down onto her shoulder, gently massaged my shoulders and breathed slowly in and out with me until the procedure was through.  It was an incredibly calming and tender moment that made me completely trust her and wish she had been there to help me through my previous 4 epidurals, because for me it is by far the worst part!  On top of the attentive and caring personnel, was the cleanliness.   Everything was constantly being changed and cleaned before I even felt it needed to be!  And the icing on the cake?  They never once came in during the night to take my blood pressure, poke at me or ask me silly questions.  I actually got some uninterrupted sleep and they did all the "other stuff" during normal waking hours.  Genius!!!  One of my favorite perks started out as a slight concern of mine - although my doctor is bilingual, the nursing staff all spoke Portuguese.  I was nervous about this due to my very limited medical vocabulary but it ended up making the experience that much more unique and special.  I wanted a little Brazilian baby after all   Through the good sense of humor of the staff (and myself), we laughed our way through the morning, and in so doing etched an unforgettable memory into all of our hearts!

We stayed in the hospital for 48hrs.  The kids visited each day and doted on their new baby brother as much as possible.  Princess P adored him from the start and is constantly smothering him with kisses!
We packed up and headed home Wednesday afternoon with our little bundle in tow :)
It has been a smooth adjustment back into real life and I am loving just eating these kids up while they're still young.. I know by now that these moments pass all too soon... I am truly one insanely blessed mama! :)
How many people does it take to get a passport worthy photo of a 5 day old? Gma holds the backdrop sheet, daddy gets the baby, and mom takes on the camera and all the crazy "look at me" sound effects. The result: a perfectly forward facing infant with eyes open!  We took our homemade shot to the US Consulate yesterday to apply for his Passport.  Thankfully they accepted the picture because that was HARD!!!
Baby C is now a week old (as of yesterday) and has already gained high status points by my kids as the "cutest member of our family".  No one can argue that this little man isn't showered with love! :)
Miss B wrote him the sweetest song ever!  With a little encouragement I convinced her to let me record her singing it for him.. :)



Ahh Christmas.. Is there a better holiday in the world to celebrate with kids? If there is, I certainly haven't found it! The only thing that could have possibly made this years' Christmas any better would be if it had been 70-something degrees instead of 90. But I'm swollen and pregnant and spoiled so what do I know?

On Christmas Eve Day we got together with some other fellow American friends and the kids acted out the nativity.  The Mr entertained the youngens with stories while the older kids placed dibs on characters and costumes.
Handsome H was a sheppard.. he isn't wearing his headdress in this shot (probably due to the heat!), but he sure sported his sisters bathrobe with confidence and style!
Miss B split the role of Mary with her friend.  She was post delivery Mary, while the other was heavy laden. :)  Oh the pride she takes in motherhood!
You can kind of see Handsome H's headdress in this one.. aka my bathrobe.
Mary and Joseph :)
Sir L was a wise man.  He wasn't thrilled about his options in clothing, but he did humor us for a few seconds before ripping it off again. ;)  Princess P refused altogether.  Oh well, there's always next year right??
The whole clan.  Or, at least the ones who liked their costumes..
After we sang carols as a family and watched the nativity story on DVD that night, the kiddos were off to bed and mom and dad got to work!  Due to a few accidental ornament breaks our tree looked fairly naked this year.  I have since resolved to purchase non-breakable ornaments for next year!
Behind the couch we hid their "gold" gifts (we gave each kid 3 gifts to represent the 3 that Christ received - the gold gift is always the best!).
Miss B was up at about 5am giggling excitedly in my ear.  I had to restrain her in bed for the next hour and a half before I could convince the hubster to give in and let me help her wake up the remainder of the kids!  I didn't get too many pictures due to the fact that I only have so many hands and needed to monitor the madness and take video as well, but suffice it to say that there were plenty of squeals, giggles and eyes wide with wonder with each paper tear and reveal. :)
Miss B has since put on a multitude of puppet shows!
No, a toothbrush was NOT his "gold" gift, but really.. who else gets THIS excited over  anew toothbrush in their stocking?!  Love this kid!
A new bike for Handsome H.  He is SO ready to take off those training wheels.. he just doesn't know it yet ;)
Princess P with her new baby doll (in hopes that she'll let me hold mine every once in a while when he arrives!).
She took herself on a scooter ride while pushing her baby (and tennis racket) around the house.. just to be sure no one took either of them away while she was gone.  Silly girl!
Miss B showing off her roller blade backpack:
And Sir L went straight to work with his new T-ball set!
The boys got roller blade backpacks too :).  Balance is something that is quite fragile in our home apparently!
All in all, it was as parentally rewarding and fun as any mom could hope for!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!!!