My Love

This time last year, I was in labor and was in my delivery room being coached to breathe and waiting for my little one to come. I would have to wait another 15 hours, but it didn’t matter.

I look at this picture and can’t help but smile. She was brand new, maybe a minute old. I’m so tired, but so excited. I am thoroughly peaceful.

I can’t believe how quickly the past year has flown by. Every day, I am so grateful for my Tiny Beast; her strength, her fluffy hair, the way she looks like me and my Dad. Everything.

When she was born, even with all that happened immediately after (and you can read about that here, if you want to catch up); I knew that everything in life would be ok. All that mattered was that I had her. After so many years of waiting for the right person and the right time, she was here and she was mine.

Having Isabella erased any anger I had. Every bad day just didn’t matter. Even my Dad’s death a few months before stung a little less. Looking into her big blue eyes, I knew (and know) that as long as I do my best for her, and keep her needs in mind, I can’t and won’t go wrong.

Every night, we snuggle her to sleep, and put her in her crib. I look forward to that time. I look forward to our weekend naps on the couch, snuggled under antique quilts, chasing the last of the sunbeams. She is truly my heart and my world and I can’t imagine my life without her. I am truly blessed to have her.

Here’s to many more years of love, happiness, and those big blue eyes.

To you, my love. Mommy loves you so, so much.

Best. Year. Ever.

Oh, 2013, you were pretty amazing.

2013 started off with friends and me being super pregnant.  The house would decide to revolt against us, resulting in a roof leak, the power box crapping out, and last minute home improvement projects (which really needed to happen anyway). Thank goodness for awesome neighbors who are super handy fix-it-all’s!

My due date would come and go, and I was pretty sure that Izzy had made a fort in my womb. She would eventually make her appearance on her terms in her own time. The labor would be strong and steady, and mostly unmedicated. She arrived with a ferocious scream, and upon seeing her, finally knew what love truly was. We would spend the first week in the NICU and Specialty Care at Children’s, but leave with what amounted to a detailed instruction manual on how to care for a baby.

We learned what parenthood was, and that we were an amazing team, despite the stress that is fueled by exhaustion and learning how best to care for a tube fed baby.

On the fun side, 2013 would bring Izzy’s first camping trip at 2 months old, and then 2 more camp trips. Not bad for having to lug a feeding pump and an oxymeter along with us, in addition to my breast pump and all the related equipment. We would hit the road for short weekend adventures to the coast, to parks and in-city adventures.

It brought a start to my home business, Big Dill Pickles. continued to craft, making books, quilts, and baby clothes. I spent many amazing hours snuggling Izzy, writing, as well as publishing a blog post for

We cooked many amazing meals, and hosted lovely dinner parties for friends.  Lastly, we paired up with a local (baby friendly!) brewery to host dinner parties, with the first one being a beer and bratwurst party for 100. 

On the work front, 2013 brought new work projects for me, long days and great new responsibilities, gaining a new team and letting go of the team I had worked with for a few years. I would start with a research group, and eventually work on dismantling a bariatric program, and helping to transition another program into my department. It was a year of change at my company!

Nick continued on at his catering company for the 6th year, cooking for many events, including events for local politicians, on up to someone at a big white house. He did an amazing job keeping me fed as well (I am pretty sure that in itself was a full time job, too).  Nick worked on multiple house projects, played harmonica and guitar for Izzy to keep her happy. He spends his nights teaching Izzy Spanish, a love of history and geography, and how to play soccer (she’s still learning that one!). 

So what’s on tap for 2014?
The big thing is Izzy’s upcoming surgery in a few weeks to close up her pallet. In theory, she should be able to start eating on her own. We’ll be working with the specialists to teach her to eat and make sure that we get ahead of any potential challenges to speech. 
I’ll be attending a food bloggers conference, and plan to do more with my art’s and crafts, and will put more energy into canning and pickling. We plan to work with the local brewery, Burdick Brewing (do check them out!), to do more food related events. I’m also looking forward to more events with South Park Arts.
We have some fun trips planned as well, the exciting one is a trip to Yosemite late spring/early summer, I used to go every summer when I lived in California, and Nick hasn’t been. I can’t wait to take the two of them on hikes and show them the spots that I loved so much. 
This year will be about going on adventures and exploring with Isabella and Nick and just having fun. 2013 was an amazing year, and I can’t wait to see all that 2014 has to offer!
What are your hopes for 2014?
All our best,
Raina, Nick and Isabella Grace.