Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Cracked Pot....

I received this story in an email yesterday from my Auntie Claudia and I loved it enough to pass it on.....enjoy. : )
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots,each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection,

and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?' 'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path,

and every day while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw.

But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just about 1 year ago to the day....

I was 35.5 weeks pregnant and soooo uncomfortable because we were having a heat spell in the Bay Area just like we're having now! Look at that belly! Can you tell that Zoey is balled up on the top right side of my belly in the bottom picture? That is where she loved to hang out and ooooh was it so painful to have her pushing up into my ribs. But at the same time, I loved being pregnant and I soo much miss the feeling of Zoey inside of me! Pregnancy is an amazing, wonderful thing...but parenthood is even better! : )

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Zoey LOVES her kitties! : )

Seriously people....what is cuter in this world than cats & babies? Especially cats and babies interacting and playing together?! Enjoy! : )

Monday, September 27, 2010

My new collage!

I've always considered myself to be a creative person, however I unfortunately don't possess an innate artistic the true sense of the word. I can dance and have great natural rhythm, I can capture beautiful, artistic photos and create personal colorful wardrobe/accessory combinations, and I can see amazing beauty in everyday life...definitely a creative gift for sure. But I cannot draw, paint, or compose with defined skill....something I truly long for. So in an effort to express my creative juices bubbling inside, I often love to find existing graphic beauty within magazines and collect images that represent my likes, loves, values, beliefs, dreams, etc...

This is my latest creation.....currently hanging above my bedroom window.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One of the best feelings in the world.....

is holding your sleeping baby in your arms - don't you agree? Especially now that Zoey is SO BIG and SO MOBILE, it's not as often that she cuddles up and drifts off to sleep while I'm holding her. But on Friday we were out running errands late in the afternoon and Zoey fell asleep on the car ride home (sure enough since she refused her 2nd nap at home earlier that day). She usually wakes up as soon as we pull into the driveway, but this time she stayed deep in a peaceful slumber as we parked, undid her car seat belts, lifted her out and carried her all the way upstairs. She looked so comfortable and felt so warm and snugly against my chest, that I let her stay sleeping there for about 10 minutes more while we both rested on the couch. I know for sure this is one of the feelings I will miss the most when Zoey is all grown up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zoey vs. the Bumble Ball!

LOL! Not only did the Bumble Ball serve as a wonderful, entertaining toy for Zoey, this had my parents and I cracking up with belly laughter! haha! : )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Funfilled Family Weekend!

Last weekend Zoey and I went back to Manteca to spend the weekend with my parents, and we also went up to Lodi on Saturday for a visit with my mom's side at my cousin Heidi's house. It was such a relaxing, fun-filled weekend, and I know Zoey had a blast playing and getting to know her relatives better. She also had lots of "food firsts" - she ate rotisserie chicken, brown rice, scrambled eggs, and even peanut butter toast! So cute. Happy times : )

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Silliness!

Oh man I crack myself up! haha!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I love Cheeeeeese!

Just like my mommy & daddy! : )

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Webster Street Jam!

I know I've blogged several times before about how much I LOVE Alameda, but I just have to say it again.....I LOVE where I live! Not only are we within walking distance to the beach, an awesome park, and a huge shopping center, but we also love the sense of community our town embraces, including it's friendly, diverse, child-friendly, pet -friendly vibe. Alameda rocks! And today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather to get outside and enjoy the Annual Webster Street Jam! Basically it's a fun-filled community street fair with lots of cool, crafty vendors, yummy food & drinks, activities for the kids, live music, and fantastic people-watching opportunities. It was a beautiful, relaxing, fun, happy afternoon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Go Giants!

It's a WONDERFUL time to be an SF Giant's fan...woo hoo! And Zoey is proud to be the owner of her very own Lucy Seal that we got from the Build-A-Bear workshop at A&T park in June. She loves her toy! Too cute.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Joy of Reading with Zoey

I L-O-V-E children's books. I always have, and I always will. The creativity, the imagination, the possibility, the innocence, the beautiful art and the simplicity of the stories = wonderful, endless hours of reading fun and literary pleasure.

When I was a little girl my mom used to walk us down to the Manteca Library, pulling us along in our little Radio Flier red wooden wagon. I was always ecstatic for these weekly outings, and I could barely contain my excitement as we approached the familiar, welcoming brick building and Library Park. I would rush inside and become immersed in and captivated by a beautiful world of pictures, words, imagination and opportunity. The hardest part for me, however, was that fact that mom would only allow us to check out 10 books at a time. Only 10?! Really mom? Dang it - what a difficult decision making process for a bookworm little girl like I was. But luckily I knew that the selections I had to leave behind that particular week would be waiting for me on the following visit.

Reading to our children is not only a wonderful way to encourage their language development, but it also presents a fantastic opportunity for family bonding. Just as I recall countless positive memories involving books and snuggle time in my mom and dad's lap, I hope to recreate the same type of special, intimate memories for Zoey. We read to her everyday - before each nap and bedtime as a way to "wind down", and also at any opportunity where she shows an interest in books. Granted she still often enjoys eating the books more than listening to the stories at this point, but she is quickly getting better about siting still as we read to her, patting the books with excitement and engaging in the tactile experience of reading page by page. She loves books, almost as much as I do I think. Hopefully she'll become a little bookworm herself, just like her mommy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Out of the darkness......

I literally feel like I've just emerged from a tortuous, evil black cloud of death and doom. Seriously, that's how sick I was. I don't want to over-exaggerate and say that I felt like I was going to die, but honestly.....I almost did. Or at least I felt like I just wanted to end all the pain and summering, all of the nausea and wrenching torture my body was going through. But thankfully I lived through it, and starting last Sunday I slowly felt the seeds of health and wellness beginning to re-sow themselves within my broken body.

It's quite interesting how sinking down to a personal "rock bottom" forces you to look nowhere else but up - out of the pit of despair into something, anything more positive and hopeful than your current state. And ironically, I now feel happier, more grateful, more optimistic about my life than I have in months. Yes, we all face our own personal challenges throughout everyday life, and the outside world continues to stack external roadblocks and restraints on our shoulders. Whether it be financial or economical burdens, health issues, relationship challenges, career stressors, work-life balance is not always a walk in the park for the majority of adult human beings.

However, I feel like this illness gave me an opportunity to develop a refreshed, renewed worldview, a clearer, more optimist viewpoint on my life and my existence. I realized that honestly, I don't have it that bad after all. And to be frank, I am a pretty lucky woman at that. I have an amazing family, a challenging and interesting job with a supportive employer, a pool of wonderful friends and colleagues who support me everyday, a home to call my own and a roof over my head, food to nourish my body, and a beautiful healthy baby girl and a rock-star husband who give me unconditional love everyday of my life.

So at this point I will even venture to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU nasty virus/bacteria/germy ickiness that infected my body! Thank you for helping me to wake up, to break out of my funk, and to develop a more positive mindset and a healthier attitude.

Thank you for allowing me to realize how happy, and how lucky, I truly am.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Our Labor Day Weekend

As I walk the road to renewed health, I luckily started to feel better enough to enjoy both Sunday and Monday of my Labor Day weekend - thank goodness! It was a wonderful holiday weekend - filled with a visit from Grandma Backes, lots of Zoey laughter, sunshine, homemade pico de gallo and cheeseburgers, REST, and happiness. : )

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How time flies....

My baby girl is almost 11 months old - where does the time go?! I seriously can't believe we're already planning her 1st birthday party - wow! I was nostalgically looking at old photos today from Zoey's first few months of life and while it does seem like this past year whizzed by, it also feels like an eternity ago that I had a newborn baby as little as Zoey was. She was just 5 lbs, 12 oz when we brought her home from the hospital (she was born 3.5 weeks early), and now I'd venture to guess she's pushing 23-24 lbs! It is so hard to remember her being so little preemie peanut. : ) Here are a couple pictures of Zoey on her first few days home from the hospital last October 2009, and a couple recent pics of her at 10.5 months. How much she has changed!