lunes, 6 de mayo de 2013

Kind of a bitch...

I don't believe in bad luck, but if I did, I'd say all this month I've had it.

THAT'S how I was supposed to start this post, but due to circumstances that developed yesterday, I'm changing my train of thought. I'm changing the whole thing that I had already started to write...

God is so faithful. He is so stinking faithful... and sneaky, and out-of-this-world merciful. He does things for me that I don't understand - like loving me the most when I deserve it the least.

As I reflect on this last month, I realize I'm not there yet. I don't think there will be a time in my life - in many aspects of my life - where I would be able to say that I've arrived.  There are still so many things I need to improve as a mom, and as a wife... let alone as just Karla. Sometimes I forget I am also just me, not only Emerson's wife or Elizabeth's and Enzo's mom. 

This month has been challenging in ways that may be stupid for some people dealing with heavier stuff, you know, people who are actually dying. But for me, for my issues, it has been tough. It almost feels like God has been trying to tell me something. I don't know if I have gotten the right message, but I think He has been yelling, "Let go". 

I need to let go of many things, I suppose.  My pride to start with since I'm very proud and self sufficient, and my fears regarding my health, and the health of my children. 

El mismo Guapito

This morning I had a 3 mile walk/run on my own. I don't know how long it had been since I was able to walk alone, not having to be caring for Elizabeth going to the streets, or just walking at a 45 min/mi pace while entertaining Enzo. It sent me back to when we were living in Ohio, where my biggest responsibilities were feeding Dori, and prepare my lesson plans for my class. I actually told Libby this morning that I used to take a walk every morning, and that every time when I came back, I felt so refreshed. It was on that walk when I talked to God, and heard back from Him. Something like that happened today.

Yesterday, but especially this morning, I felt extremely humbled... and I don't mean to say that I'm not excited about what happened yesterday, and happy, but mainly, I feel humbled. My husband bought me a minivan.

That is very humbling for me for many reasons that I will let you know as I keep writing, but the main idea is this: I'm kind of a bitch.


This morning I realized -I guess God helped me realize- that I have become this weird being that I don't even like. As I tried to ask forgiveness from my family during breakfast, Emerson agreed the change was subtle.  So I'm guessing he knew I became this kind of person, but I'm glad he didn't say it before, I wouldn't have listened. I'm surprised because those changes don't happen in a week or even a month, but I guess it all started when Enzo was born. I'm always mad -if not mad, not happy-, and I just don't enjoy anything. I'm trying to get by. It's like I'm only in survival mode. I think I'm burned out...

The point is I've been self absorbed in my role as a mom so much that I forgot about my marriage, and myself. I guess in a way everybody goes through something like this, but I never knew.

This month it seemed that every day was so slow... we had wonderful moments the four of us together, but very stressful ones, too. I took it one day at a time, not enduring the situations, but trying to learn from them. Although sometimes I still wondered,  What can you really learn from your child screaming bloody murder if you already learned to hold your tongue, and are able to control your impulse to scream back? I guess there's still so much to learn from it because that hasn't stopped.

Los Perritos Nuñez

I am not saying this is over - I don't think so- but I'm fully aware of who is in charge now. This month my patience and my trust in God has been tested. My body is not my own. I am here for a short season that I call MY life, but my life is just but a tiny little star in the immensity of millions upon millions of stars God created. He has control over it. And I don't mean control as in He will kill me tomorrow, you know... I understand now -again- that God wants the best for me, and that He is for me. He is not here to get me. So when I say He has control over my life what I mean is that whatever happens in my days, for Him it doesn't come as a surprise. He allows that to happen. Not that He plans it all. I don't think He has authority over my daughter throwing a tantrum, because Libby has a choice that He gave to her as a gift. If He controlled every one of our choices, then we would all be His puppets, but He loves us so much to do that to us.

Whatever I'm going through has been under His radar. I need this. I needed this month to understand many things. We are still working on this. It sucks, though, that I haven't learned to rejoice in my sufferings. And if you happen to be reading this being someone who has never ever read that in the Bible, it is there... I don't think it means you have to enjoy going through a difficult situation, but living your life joyfully, knowing that those trials come to your life for a reason. Having hope that God wants to teach you something for your good. I haven't had that hope... I learned that this morning.

We lost him :)

I also learned that I'm kind of a hypocrite because I want my children to get involved with people, loving them, caring for them, just the way they are, but I don't even have friends. I'm not in contact with people on a regular basis. My family is my priority, yes, but I've been too focused just on them, and I don't think that's very healthy either. My days seem to last forever when Libby and Enzo are crying at the same time; Libby being rebellious and Enzo crying because he sees his sister crying. I cry with them, too. I cry because I can't do anything else. I feel something inside of me pushing me to scream at them, to make them stop. But in those moments when all hell is loose, I just love them all the more.

Nerve wrecking

And I cry, because I know Elizabeth and Enzo need as much grace from me, as I need it from God. If only they understood how much I love them...

I don't like what has been going on, but I know God takes care of us, and He will continue to take care of us. Just as He promised He would provide, He promises to take care of us. And that doesn't mean I will never get sick, just as it doesn't mean Emerson will never lose his job; but whatever happens, I know He will give us what we need. He has given me what I need this month.


So... by the time my mother in law came here - that was almost a month ago- Libby had been sick for a week since we went to MOPS. We had lots of fun with Libby and Enzo, and we took them to many places. I had to take advantage of her being here, since I could take Emerson to work every day, but I left the children home with her.

On Monday, Apr 1st, we went to the Children's Museum, only to discover it was closed on Mondays. We had lunches and all with us, so we decided to go to the big, big playground that is in Hermann Park. I took many photos of Libby on the slides, those were posted on the last post. 

Tuesday is still in the last post, we had a picnic with grandma.

Wednesday we went to the playground at Memorial City Mall. Man, she loves it there!! She runs and climbs, and acts like a wild monkey. I get tired after only watching her play. Plus, I'm always behind her, trying to teach her kind ways to interact with other children, which I honestly wish all moms would do.



Like the other day, a girl was pulling her arm, almost hurting her, and at the beginning I didn't know what to say because I thought this girl just wanted to play. But she began hurting Libby and my daughter looked at me like saying, "Help, Mommy!" And I told Libby, "Libby, tell her, 'Stop pulling my arm, please'". The girl got the message and left. 

But later, I saw the same girl hitting a boy, older than her. She was going at him non stop and she was angry. I asked her to stop. Then I asked the boy if she was his sister and he said no. I'm so sorry if this was none of my business, but I couldn't let that happen. What the hell was going on with this girl? And where was her mom? I know that the older they are, the less you have to watch them all the time, but still... Who cares if I'm a stalker, I'll be playing with my children and will be behind them even when they are 20.

So I told the little girl, "Stop hitting him. What you are doing is very unkind. Where's your mother? And you, boy, go tell your Daddy."

Hanging out
Smiling at the camera

Actually, yesterday, we went there again, and this time I raised my voice to a boy who was pushing Libby to make her fall from the stairs. I wish I could tell my daughter to stop being what I've taught her to be, and who I've praying she'd become, and just push back or hit back when they are mean to her. But I can't do that. It is not right to push back or hit back - I know that. All I've been telling her is that she doesn't have to let them hit her or push her because being kind doesn't mean you have to let them do to you as they please. I've told her she has to say, "Stop pushing me, please" or "Stop hitting me, please", and just walk away. She can care for them, she should forgive and try to keep playing, but if at some point they keep doing the same over and over to her, she doesn't have to play with them anymore. Why would you want to play with someone who mistreats you, let alone be friends with them? I don't know... I think too much about this stuff.

Libby is so funny because she knows when there's danger, and she is always looking at the children, and trying to imitate them. She is being more cautious now, and I guess that's a good thing. Azucena and I took turns watching Enzo, while the other one watched Libby. Anyway... She really had a good time there. She likes that playground so much that we came back on Thursday after Enzo had his 6 month old checkup. He was 27.5 in long and weighed 17 lb. Libby got some stickers and we played with them at the mall.

Silly stickers

On Friday, we took the to the Aquarium. I had't heard good things about it and no wonder... it sucks!

I mean, not that I'm an expert in fishes and stuff, but I felt it was a ripoff to pay ten dollars/person for not a great exhibition. We really liked the big white cat, tough. There's always time to risk your child in order to get a good picture, eh?

Kitty, kitty...

She was becoming really upset at lunch, and I had to take her to the bathroom in order to talk to her, that helped. Lately she is becoming more and more rebellious. I don't know... I think that we shouldn't spank her all the time, but Emerson is also right in saying those kind of attitudes are disrespectful and they deserve some serious action, other than me trying to get her understand she chose wrong. The truth is she knows she can get away with saying she is sorry... Attitudes like kicking away while trying to put a diaper on her, or trying to throw the sippy cup when you take away her food tray, or just hitting stuff when she gets mad, willful disobedience.

I look at other parents, not trying to compare myself, but I can't stop thinking that we might be exaggerating. It looks like children get away with anything, and I wonder if I'm not abusing my child... not in a physical way, but trying to make her do as I say all the time. Then I remember that's what obedience is, right? Parenting is tough... Nobody has the right answers all the time, every child is different, and we do with our children as we think best. Only God knows what the future holds...

On Saturday we went to the Woodlands to eat at Olive Garden and we took a walk on the waterway. We took some photos after that because all of us were dressed up really nicely.

So long story short... after my mother-in-law left on Sunday, all hell broke loose... Libby threw up big time on her bed Sunday afternoon, and I had to give her only Gatorade for four hours the next morning. She could eat only bread and carbs. All that week was kind of difficult because she was crying almost all the time, and Enzo was crying because I couldn't hold him for being holding his sister ;(

Bye, Nana. 

The nurse said it looked like it was a stomach virus. Thankfully Enzo didn't catch it. We didn't go to MOPS or BSF that week, we actually never left the house because it was cold, and I couldn't run because of my leg. She was still with a runny nose, and she was obviously tired, more than usual.   

Only bread for the two of us :)

After that week of slowly getting her back into her diet, she woke up with a mild fever, but nothing serious. The nurse said there was nothing we could do. Two days later, though, Enzo woke up with a 101.4 fever. I had to take him to the doctor, but they couldn't find anything obvious. His white cells were higher than normal, and he was put on antibiotics. Now I had to be holding Enzo all week long, but Libby understood pretty well that I was taking care of her brother. 

Day after fever
Sick Enzo

In all this, we had wonderful family moments. Libby enjoyed riding with Daddy on his bike. She says bike, cake, a weird kind of please, agua, nice, mice. She can sound the whole alphabet with the exception of E and X. She even knows them in order. Enzo can sit up on his own for the most part. He still falls back every now and then, but he's getting better and better every day. 

Blowing kisses to Mommy

Riding with Daddy

While both of them were sick, we watched shapes videos, and letters, and all kinds of shows, but mostly Baby Einstein because that's the one Libby likes the most. They also like Caillou, but I don't play it often because he's a very whinny child. Libby is very smart with her shapes, she knows them all, and she runs to get the library book every time she watches the video just to follow it. A teacher's pet just like her parents :)

Watching shapes

Following her show

Breakfast with brother
Playing with sister

We also went to the doctor again for my follow up ultrasound, and I'm doing okay. I will need another "surgery", though. My veins keep bulging, so they have to take those veins out. That day I couldn't find a parking spot near the building and had to park somewhere else. I was pushing Libby on the stroller since she fell asleep - she was supposed to be walking with me-. Enzo was on the sling, and I was also carrying the car-seat because I was going to need it inside the office. Libby had to be "attached" to the stroller and Enzo to the car-seat. All that walking under the sun took me back to Ohio when I walked on the snow to get to the library, basically because we didn't have a car. My life used to be more simple. It's really true that the more you have, the more distracted you can get from what's really important in life. A lady even offered me a ride, but we had just got to our building. 

"Take a picture, please. I need to blog about this"

We have also had tons of picnics outside. I take Libby and Enzo on the stroller and I run three miles around the trail. After I'm done exercising, I take her to the slides so she can play a little bit and then we eat there, or we come back home. If we go to the trails we usually leave at 9 am, and come back at 12 pm. I give them a bath so that they can rest refreshed. I'm wiped out by 1 pm. That's pretty much why I haven't been able to finish this post. 

Going to the slides depends on the weather and how I see her that day. We have also had picnics in the "backyard". She loves sitting on her bunny chair. But mostly we go out to the slides, and lately she's been walking on the way back. It takes us up to an hour, but she walks the 1+ mile back home :)

We also have a basil plant that hasn't died. We used to have one that lasted for a long time, but then the pesticide people from the complex sprayed it. The next one we bought didn't work out so well. This one is producing good size leaves, and Libby waters it almost every day. 

Enzo is more and more aware of stuff going around him, and he is not taking lots of naps. He takes two at the most. Sometimes he just gets one long nap, at the same time Elizabeth gets hers. He enjoys the water sooo much. I'm actually gonna ask Emerson to register him for swimming lessons once he has the age for that. He eats a ton, did I say that already? He eats like half a gallon of food a week. He likes the exersaucer and playing with his sister. He is always following her with his eyes.

"Hmm... tell me more about it, Daddy"

Enjoying a bath

What else??  We had pizza two days in a row that I didn't cook, and I felt terrible, but I let go faster this time. I don't know... My pride stops me from relying on God most of the time. Oh, by the way, we came back to church after 9 months. The pastor said something about doing stuff on your strength versus God's strength.  Most of the time I think I do things for the glory of God, but I don't think I do. 

And I feel proud of my accomplishments because I think I'm great, instead of thanking God. Nothing wrong with being happy for what you can do, but I mean, a bad kind of pride.  Then, when I can't keep up with my own expectations for myself, I feel exhausted. I've felt exhausted for a long time. I don't even think God expects so many things from me or even that much. 

Little Caesar's for dinner

La pianista

We also went out to the country. Enzo was already taking his medicine and Libby was okay. She threw up at the restaurant a little bit, but it was because she was coughing still and had phlegm.  And she also threw up another time when we were coming back from Emerson's coworker's house because she was sleeping and the phlegm got stuck in her throat. Great... lots of vomit lately. 

We had breakfast at Chappell Hill Bakery that day, and we went to a farm, and then we visited a new brewery, and  we had a awesome weekend, pretty much. You don't really realize how awesome it is to be completely healthy until you are not completely healthy anymore. I've learned to enjoy every single day, and I haven't worried about dying in a long time... it's been more than a month, actually :))  

This month was so difficult for me in many aspects, but it taught me great stuff. Everybody was sick, but I didn't freak out. It bothers me because it's not the same as when we are not sick, but I knew it  all would go well at the end. God loves me so much in spite of me. I'm so glad He loves me that way. 

Weekend in the country

A week after the whole month of sickness, I finally got sick. It was long overdue. The last time I had a cold was two weeks before Enzo was born. I felt awful. I didn't take any medicine because Enzo is nursing, plus I don't like cold medicine because it doesn't really help you with anything. 

That same week (last week), Emerson had to be in training all week long, and he got home after 7 pm almost every day. I don't know how many times I cried because I felt horrible, my nose was awful, I was congested, I couldn't sleep well, and I was taking them to the slides anyway in 80° F  weather. I was out when they were out. I couldn't gather up enough energy to write anything. 

I was awful as a person that week, the whole month, like I was telling you, kind of a bitch. And then on Friday Emerson gets home earlier because the training was over, and he says he wants to take Libby to the slides she loooves, the ones in Memorial City Mall. We go there, he makes the wrong turn and we end up in a Honda dealership. He says he needs to go to the bathroom, and I keep on chatting with my sister on Facebook. Both children were asleep in the car, so I was like,  "Whatever, Emerson... Go pipis, and let's go to the slides".

I just wanted to get there, you know, I had checked out from home. I was out after being home all week long, and we were going to the mall - to watch Libby play- but we were out. I love when I take her there, because I dress up, I put on makeup. It's like going out from my everyday world. And if you haven't been a mom of two children with no car, I don't think you'll get it.

We have only had one car since we've lived here. Well, the first year we lived here we didn't have a car, but later the church congregation bought us one. We couldn't afford a second one until we moved to Houston, once Emerson had a job. But I had "nothing" to do. I learned to entertain myself inside the apartment, reading, running, coking, blah, blah. But my children keep me busy... I guess all children are like them, but I wish I had half their energy... 

So Emerson comes back, and opens the minivan we parked exactly in front of. What is he doing? We are not looking at the car... Can't we just go to the slides?

--There, that's your car.
--What do you mean that's my car?
--Well, what do you think? That's your car. Take the keys.
--You want me to check out the car, like, you want me to see it?
--Karla, that's you car.
--Ugh... We are not buying a car, what do you want me to look the car for? It looks nice...
--Karla, I bought YOU a car. This is YOUR car. I bought it for you on Wednesday. I told you I needed to go to the lab, but I came here and bought this car for you. You need it. I'm so sorry I didn't do it before. You can go out now and take the children to the park. 
--Oh... Is this actually MY car?

I always imagined Emerson would do something like this. I didn't think it was going to be so soon, though. I thought we had decided not to buy another car just yet. I pictured him, however,  more like getting home with a car wrapped in a huge, huge red bow. I imagined I would jump, and cry in excitement, like those people on TV that are told they won something. You know, like Miss Universe, something like that. Instead, I kept quiet. I was happy, but I didn't think, "Oh, great, I finally have a car."

What came to my mind first was that I didn't deserve a car. After this whole month, and specially after this last week of being an awfully joyless person, I definitely didn't deserve to be rewarded with a minivan.  God had provided my husband with a job, and my husband bought me a car. Why would God give me this? Doesn't He know I've been awful?

Then I thought about my own child. I'm talking about Libby right now since she's the one who gives me the most headaches - behavioral wise... Most of the things I do for her, and also for Enzo, I do because I love them. It has nothing to do with the fact of them being deserving or not. The truth is most of the time Elizabeth doesn't deserve to have ice cream. She is rebellious, disobedient, she is beginning to lie, she pouts, complains, and I could go on and on. However, I take he for ice cream, or the slides, or the library because I love her. I try to show her that I love her no matter what. I discipline her, but it's not all about do, do, do... I want her heart to change. 

Enjoying the sun

I'll let my devotional from You Version finish my post... it's no coincidence this was my reading for the day...

Romans 2:4 "God's kindness is intended to lead yo to repentance"

When our kids disobey, we sometimes feel justified to respond in anger, guilt  or sarcasm. It may make us feel better for a moment, but it rarely produces the results we are hoping for. We can be "right" in our assessment of the situation and still be "wrong" in how we respond. We are called to treat our kids with respect, even in the mist of conflict, because this is how God responds to us in rebellion.

Rather than seeking to punish or prove we're right, the motivation for discipline should be to move our kids towards holiness. God allows us to learn important lessons by giving us consequences, but He does so with kindness, tolerance, and patience. This is the kind of discipline that leads to repentance. Being kind, tolerant, and patient even in the face of disobedience or rebellion requires your kids to focus on their mistakes, rather than you response.   

So... I felt humbled and thankful for that car. I felt freed from being stuck in the house, and I smiled. I shut my mouth and didn't say anything about not needing another car or being proud about Emerson telling me my face looked like I needed to get out of the house more often. You don't go through life rejecting minivans!! Plus, I DO need to get out. 

I thanked God. This car means a lot to me, specially because of the time it came at. I really needed it. God knew that. He knew that and He gave it to me, in spite of me being kind of a bitch. But see, He doesn't see that in me. He loves me, He gets me. He actually wants to help me. That kind of love has no way of payback. I'm undeserving of that kind of love and mercy. And it is exactly that what convicted me, and you know the rest of the apologies on Saturday during breakfast. 

So Libby, Enzo and I have been thanking God everyday for our new car, and for the DVD it has. We went to the Library on Monday, and we didn't have to drop off Daddy at work, which meant not having to get them up at 6 am. 

It was freaking awesome!!

"Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen..."

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