Wonderfully Made

Look at me!  Aren't I amazing?!  This body of mine can do some pretty cool stuff.  Are you ever in complete awe by God's perfect design?  I mean, really... women are the coolest super heroes EVER... we MAKE other humans!
As I sit here and type, my body is busy busy busy.  Deep inside my belly, a baby is being formed.  There are little arms sprouting from a torso, and on those arms are hands, and on those hands are fingers... and on those fingers, yup, nails!  It's incredible!  From absolutely nothing, a baby is being formed.  With God's help, all of it's organs will not only be there, but will be functional.  With God's hand, it will have distinct features, that will separate it from anyone else... including it's own sibling.  I'm flabbergasted!  Sometimes I wonder, really, how different can this baby look from Marco.  It's made by exactly the same two people.  But, when he/she comes out, we will know... no two are ever alike!
Not only am I busy forming a baby, but I'm also busy keeping a baby alive!  My body has the supreme task of feeding 2 babies!  I am going to continue to nurse Marco until #2 arrives.  I decided it would be best for my body to transition smoothly, rather than stopping and starting again only a few months later.  It blows my mind that my body knows to continue milk production for Marco while #2 is in utero.  I love it!

Now, God, if I could just make a teensy suggestion, that would be great.  These are some additions I think would be extremely beneficial to every mother.  I believe that when a woman is pregnant with their first, they should sprout an extra set of arms.  Now, this should only happen the very first time.  If not, could you imagine what Michele Duggar would look like after 19 kids (and counting)!  YIKES!  But, it would be wonderful to have just ONE extra set.  Maybe a retractable set... like Inspector Gadget... "go go gadget Mom Arms!"  If I had an extra pair of arms, I would be able to take my baby out of the car AND grab a few grocery bags.  I could eat while I feed him (that would be amazing)!  All around I think I'd be more efficient!

My last suggestion, you know, because I don't want to tell God how to do His job or anything, would be a pouch.  Yes, like a kangaroo pouch.   I've ALWAYS thought this should be an essential for ALL women, mothers or not, but now that I'm a mother, definitely!  Really, we wouldn't need to carry a purse!  That'd be great!  Kangaroo's are so cool... they can have one baby outside, one inside the pouch and one in utero all at the same time!  That sounds good to me!  Plus, what baby wouldn't want to be cozied up to their mommy like that?  Mmmmm, that just seems so yummy!  I used to wear Marco in the Moby wrap all the time, in the kangaroo hold, and it made me feel like I was pregnant again.  Only better, because I could kiss the top of his little head.

I'm not crazy, I know there would be problems with both of these additions.  First of all, with an extra pair of arms, I'd be expected to get more done around the house!  Mauricio would probably want me to cook and wash dishes SIMULTANEOUSLY!  I really don't need another reason to do extra work!   And with the pouch, let's be real.  I can't promise I wont put snacks in there!  And then what happens... crumbs!  And how in the world will I get crumbs out of my pouch?  Stand upside down?  Vacuum it?  So, in the end, I conclude that I am wonderfully made and God's plans waaaayyy surpass my own.  He has the plan, and of course, it was a perfect one!
In Psalms 139:14, David writes: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.  I know that full well."
After becoming a mother, experiencing the joy of pregnancy and the miracle of birth, and now having the extreme privilege of watching my son grow, I too know that full well.

12 Weeks, 2 Days

Weight: 125
Heartbeat: 164

I had my second official OB appointment on Wednesday, at 12 weeks/ 2 days.  It was a simple one, just blood pressure, weight and heartbeat.  The Dr was able to find the heartbeat immediately.  The doppler just touched my stomach and there was that beautiful "chug chug" sound.  It's amazing!  Upon listening to that glorious sound, my heart automatically swells.
So far this pregnancy has been much easier than Marco's.  I have had morning sickness everyday, but only before I eat.  That's not so bad.  With Marco I had it before I ate, after I ate and sometimes in the afternoon. I had designated "pull over" spots all along the way to work, and always drove in the right lane.  Sometimes I'd leave my students in the middle of a warm up and run into my office to hurl into the trash can... isn't that lovely?  None of that this time!  Whew, I dodged a bullet!  Because, really, I don't think I could handle changing all of Marco's RANCID diapers if I was as nauseas as I was last time.
I've only got a few more days of my 1st trimester, the worst, and I'm really looking forward to this next step.  I can't wait to have my belly back and wear my cute maternity clothes!  LOL.  It's silly, but I thought I looked pretty good pregnant.  Here I was at the end of my 2nd trimester, last time (duh)... about 24 weeks.  Not too big!  Like my socks?

I was telling Mau last night that I can't believe how much I love Marco.  He makes my life a million times more enjoyable!  And now, we're having another.  My heart is going to explode!  God has abundantly blessed me in this life.


What's worse than living in Greenville, SC?  Being pregnant in Greenville, SC!  For this FL girl, there are countless foods that I grew to love that are just not available here.  Sure, we've got your typical chains... Chilli's, Friday's, Ruby Tuesday's, Chipotle... but not what I want.  I am pregnant... I should be able to get what I want!  I don't think that I'll miss SC food... I can't envision myself ever saying "I wish I could get a ______ back in Greenville".  That's just not going to happen!  But, oh my, do I say it about Miami and Orlando establishments All.The.Time! So, since I can't eat what I want, I'll write about it!
If I were in Miami, the first place I'd hit up would be Futuro Supermarket.  Yes, it's a hispanic market, but also has a little cafeteria/window.   This little hole in the wall (on Miller and 137) has the BEST croquetas and pastelitos.  Seriously, the BEST!  The croquetas are crunchy on the outside and hot on the inside... mmmmmm.  And the pastelitos... so sugary and flaky.  I'm drooling.  This place is so good that my step brother, Danny, used to call it "The Spot", as in "that food really hit the spot".
Next up on my list would be a Brazilian pizzeria called Papichi.  Brazilian pizza is not like your traditional pizza.  It's made on a very thin crust, like a pita.  I always get the one with shredded chicken and catupiri sauce.  If you do not know what catupiri is, you MUST find a Brazilian store and get some.  It's like a creamy cheese sauce.  OMG, so good.  Let's put it this way, if they're out of catupiri, I will leave the restaurant.  THAT is what I want!
Then I'd cross the street to the Brazilian market, (another hole in the wall), and buy some coxinha.  Coxinha (pronounced Ko-shee-nah) is like a papa rellena but filled with shredded chicken.  I can't describe, but I love it!  I can actually get this here in Greenville, but it's super far and EXPENSIVE!  This chick that owns the Brazilian place here totally over charges.  It's BS! So, I'd rather wait and get them from Miami... they taste better too!
If I were in Orlando, I'd start my tour at Tijuana Flats.  This is my FAVORiTE Mexican place.  They have the most delish tacos and a taco salad that is amazing.  The taco salad comes with an avocado ranch dressing, that I could seriously drink from a cup!  They also have a sauce bar, that ranges from light and sweet, to so hot that you have to sign a waver to try it.  My favorite is the lightest, called "Smack my @ss and call me Sally" (I don't make this stuff up!)  Although Tijuana Flats is a chain, it hasn't made its way up to SC or down to Miami, but oh how I wish it would!
Then I'd go to Crispers... also a chain but neither in SC or Miami.  This is a wonderful soup/salad/sandwich place, kinda like Panara, but owned by Publix.  And we all know that Publix is the best ever!  There they have a Citrus Chicken Wrap that has orange slices, apple chunks and almonds with cold chicken and an amazing dressing.  It's really tasty and healthy (well, something's gotta be on this list)!
I'd then make my way to Jeremiah's Italian Ice... sing with me "Jeremiah was a BUUULLfrog"!  This is the perfect summer treat!  Once we were almost home and I looked at Mau and said, "Jeremiah's", and he made a u-turn in the middle of the street, across traffic, to go back!  Yes, it's that good!  I always get the strawberry lemonade.  Mmmm, so refreshing!
So, that's all for the exclusive restaurants, but then of course there are some very popular chains that Greenville is not a home for.  Like, Cheesecake Factory.  Come on!  This was my "go to" restaurant in Orlando.  "Where should we go?" "Cheesecake is always good!"  But, no, it's not here... the closest one is in Charlotte (1.5 hours away), and believe me, we've been tempted to make the drive.  Everything on that menu is great... I've never had something I didn't like!  But my favorite is the Louisiana Chicken Pasta.  It's a little spicy because it has peppers, but so good.
Greenville also does not have a Bahama Breeze... or as I like to call is "Bahama Breezes".  Although I don't like everything at this restaurant, they do have an appetizer that I sometimes get a hankerin' for.  It's a spicy shrimp with Cuban bread.  When you're done eating it, your whole mouth is on fire.  It's a good burn!
In conclusion, if I want to go to any fast food restaurant imaginable, I'm in the right place, but for what I want, not so much.  Luckily for me, I'll be in Naples and Miami for a week in 8 days!  So, Mom, if you're reading this... you've got some work cut out for you, because this pregnant lady is HUNGRY!

My 1st Official Mother's Day

I am a firm believer that most, nearly ALL holidays have been created to generate massive amounts of money and play off of people's emotions.  For this very reason, we celebrate only our birthday's and anniversary.  That's right... you read correctly, no Christmas, no Easter, no Halloween, and no Valentines Day (gasp!).  And no, we aren't Jehova's Witnesses.  So, pretty much we celebrate Christmas with family but do not dwell on gifts; Easter is not about the bunny who lays eggs (what?) or baskets of chocolate; Halloween is not recognized at all; Valentines Day... don't get me started on THAT Halmark Holiday!  Oh, and spare me, I already know our children are going to have horrible childhoods and will be deprived of wonderful memories... yeah, so?
But, sometimes it's hard to play by my own rules.  Call me hypocritical.  I really wanted to be recognized this Mother's Day, being that it was my first ever!  But, by recognition, I do not mean that I need a store bought present or some fabulously expensive piece of jewelry, (although, I can't lie, I wouldn't return a fabulous piece of jewelry!)  I had the PERFECT Mother's Day, in the company of my beautiful baby boy and amazing husband.
Mauricio let me sleep in till 10:30, at which time, he came in to the room with Marco and a beautiful picture frame of Marco and myself.  On the bottom it said "First Mother's Day, May 9, 2010" and he got Marco to sign it!! His FIRST signature!!  This was a complete surprise for me.  I had no idea he had put that together and I loved how thoughtful it was!
So, then I told Mauricio that I had a massive hankerin' for breakfast foods... eggs, waffles, bacon, and loads of syrup.  And, how can he say no to the pregnant mother of his child(ren) on Mother's Day?  So, we all got dressed and went in search for the best breakfast.  Unfortunately, we weren't using our heads. Greenville, 11:30 on a Sunday on Mother's Day?  GOOD LUCK!  Seriously, we drove around for an HOUR looking for a place that had less than an hour's wait.  Finally, after driving so long, Marco was cranky, so we went back home and Mauricio made me some waffles.  Hey, it was better than NO waffles!
Later on we went to Anne and Mo's house for a Mother's Day lunch, where we were with some of our friends.  We had a nice time hanging out there and got to eat a wonderful meal.  We were able to leave Marco, and go to the movies with our friends to see Iron Man 2.  Yep, I left my baby on Mother's Day!  But, we never get to go out and do "grown up things", so I didn't feel bad leaving him for a few hours.  The best part... I got to have a whole bag of popcorn... ALL to MYSELF!  How awesome!
What is the "perfect" day?  It certainly isn't driving around for an hour while hungry, or not being able to see and spend time with my OWN Mommy.  So, ok, it wasn't the text book "perfect" Mother's Day... but spending the day with my baby (minus 2 hours) and my husband... that's pretty perfect!

Nice, Kind and Gentle

These three words, (nice, kind and gentle) have been seared into my brain.  Just like that... in that exact order.  Mind you, not because I needed the reminder as a child, I was NOT the problem child.  This phrase came into existence when my little brother, Jorge, who is 13 years younger than me, was a toddler.  Oh, Jorge was such a cute baby, but very rambunctious and kinda rough.  He never intended to hurt anyone, but always did.  So, my father came up with this catch phrase of sorts, "Jorge, be Nice, Kind and Gentle".  To a toddler, this means nothing, but as the years went on, and we continued to drill it, he began to grasp it.  In fact, at the age of 4, he was so drilled that one day my father said, "Jorge- Nice, Kind---" and he was interrupted my a 4 year old smarty-pants "yeah, yeah, nice, kind and gentle, OK!"  LOL.  What a character!
So, now that I'm a mom, I've been finding myself saying these words to Marco.  Marco, who is only 10 months!  The baby who thinks the word "no" is funny.  But, I'm hoping, that like with my brother, these words will begin to mean something eventually.
Now, I got to thinking... not only should toddlers, kids and teens learn this lesson, but what about us?  I know most of us moms have no problem being nice, kind and gentle with our bodies... but what about our mouths?  This is our downfall.  For some reason, I feel God has really been laying these 3 words heavily on my heart.  He said "Nicole, you want your baby to be nice, kind and gentle... but are you being these things to him?  How about to your husband?"  Uhhh, don't you hate it when He pierces you in the heart?!  But it's so true!  How can I expect my child to be portray these characteristics with his body and his mouth if I am not exemplifying them in my house?
Ladies!  We NEED to watch our words!  How many times have we used sarcasm to seem funny or non-chalant and in turn cut someone down?  Has this happened to you?  It has to me!  Like this... baby screaming in the back seat, I turn to my friend and say "aren't babies SUCH a blessing?".  Wow, that shames me!  Could my 4 month old understand me?  No... but a 4 year old would!
For those of us moms with young babies, even if they don't understand what is coming out of our mouths, we need to begin practicing now.  There is nothing more obnoxious than a sarcastic 4 year old... and where do you think he/she learns it from?
What kind of mom do you want to be?  I know that I want to exemplify the fruits of the spirit... easier said than done, right?  I mean, why stop at nice, kind and gentle?  In Galatians 5:22 it says "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control...".
Love... I want my babies to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am in LOVE with them.  I never want them to feel like they're a burden or something to be ashamed of, but LOVED.  We show our children abundant, unconditional love, and then they can see how much MORE their Father in Heaven loves them!
We are showing our sons and daughters what a picture of a woman is.  Is a mother someone who is always stern, someone with hands on hips, rolling eyes and sighing?  We've all said it about our own mothers... "I will NEVER do this like her".  And, it's inevitable, our children will say it about us too.  But, I'd rather hear "I will NEVER be disorganized the way she was" than "I will NEVER treat my children the way she did".  BIG DIFFERENCE!  I want my son to know the way a loving wife and mother behaves, so that when he is in the market for a wife, he may choose wisely.  I want my daughter (if I ever have one) to understand the role of a wife and mother and become a happy one.  We are shaping our children- beginning at birth.
My prayer for you, moms that will one day be, new mommies, and veteran mothers-  That God may put the desire in our hearts to be more LIKE Him.  That he will begin to reshape and reform our minds to THINK like Him.  That the words that come out of our mouths are for lifting up and not tearing down.