Archive for June, 2013

27th June
written by Michelle

I never wanted to be one of those moms who fills your facebook and instrgram feeds with pics of our little girl.

However, I have a confession: I might just be one of those moms.

Motherhood has surprised me. I didn’t know it was possible to love a little person so deeply, so instantly and so profoundly.

We are adjusting to being a family of three, learning how to take care of each other in new ways. Little baby clippers and pink hats lay on the table, pillows once piled up on the bed often land on the floor and I’m pretty sure breast milk and spit up are on all of my clothes. But we’re making space and a home for our little one. We’re learning and going slow and being gracious. We have no schedule and little routine, expect for our daily sun time at 10am and 3pm. (10 minutes of little Vitamin D is good for mama and baby…and helps keep the jaundice at bay)

I’ve been learning to stay put, let my body heal, and let others fill in. Gerber has been husband and dad extraordinaire. It all started when he held our daughter for 6 straight hours after she was born, so I could sleep. And friends have come by to fill our fridge, clean our kitchen, hold our little one even when things aren’t put away and tidy.

Friends and family have brought us meals, stopped by with groceries and carried away our laundry. (yes, we’re doing newborn life without access to our washing machine and dryer #firstworldproblem, right? I tell myself a few months without one is better than having to carry laundry on my head, walk a mile to the local pila in order to wash clothes by hand.)

Now, the little person you’ve been waiting to meet:


Elena Gabriella Perez Acker

born on

Friday June 21st 8:35pm

7lbs 4oz 19 in long

She’ll be making an appearance on the blog, but I promise this won’t become a complete mom blog. Just maybe for the next few weeks.

Here are a few pics from our first week together. We are so in love with this little one.


{ first little manicure }

{ wat up?!? }

{ we have about 7 different types of baby carriers }

P.S. Next good nap she takes, I’ll write the birth story. Partly so I remember it and partly so I can share it with so many of you who I don’t get to tell it to in person.

21st June
written by Michelle


Being 39 weeks pregnant gives me a new understanding of waiting.

For most of my life I have had a negative association with waiting.

Waiting at the bank, waiting for the doctor to call back, waiting for a flight, waiting for a new job, waiting for a letter of acceptance or denial, waiting to see if he feels the same way. All have left me wondering, worried and impatiently, waiting.

But waiting for a baby to come is exciting. Waiting to hold her little body against my chest and watch her tiny fingers wrap around mine as I whisper “hi, I am your mommy.” That is worth waiting for.

If you’ve been around here for awhile you know I’ve written about waiting before, in this post and this one. I feel like a large part of my 20s were filled with elements of waiting. And not the exciting kind of waiting. No, the kinda of waiting that is marked by unknowns and fear. The kind of waiting that makes you doubt God and yourself and why life is not going the way you planned. And if you’re not careful it’s the kind of waiting that can paralyze you with worry.

But learning Spanish over the past 4 years  has given me a new understanding of the word “to wait.

Esperar: actually means to wait, to hope and to expect.

Maybe you’re thinking hey, those are three separate words how can they all mean the same thing? Stay with me. In Spanish they just do. And you can usually only tell by the context which meaning it is.

Take for instance:

Espero que todo salga bien (I hope everything goes well.)

Esta no fue lo que yo estaba esperaba (This is not what I was expecting)

Estamos esperando por el bus. (We’re are waiting for the bus.)

They say when you begin to learn a new language you also develop a new way of thinking about certain ideas and words. A new way to understand an unfamiliar culture, and perhaps a new way to think about your own.

The differences and meaning in Spanish are slight. Because you could say “Estamos esperando nuestro primer bebe” and mean “We are expecting our first baby” or “We are waiting for our first baby.” See, they both work.

Reading the bible in Spanish has also given me a new (dare I say it) appreciation for the idea of waiting.

In the English NIV translation, this verse reads:

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;

Psalm 37:7

Now how does the meaning change when I read this verse in Spanish?

7 Guarda silencio ante el Señor,
y espera en él con paciencia;

Salmo 37:7

Is it Wait? or Hope? or Expect?

Do I wait in the Lord with patience? Do I hope in the Lord with patience? Or do I place my expectations in Him? Maybe the answer is yes. All three.

Do you feel like waiting, hoping and and expecting are connected? Do our English definitions sometimes disconnect those words?

I have a new understanding for what it means to be waiting, to be hoping and to be joyfully expecting the arrival of our little girl.

Baby girl, we’re ready for you. Any day now is just fine.

{ photo credit }

17th June
written by Michelle

{Today is Guatemalan Father’s Day. And I imagine if our little girl could talk this is what she would say to her Daddy, her Papi}

Dear Papi,

I know you already love me. I like when you lean your iphone against mama’s belly to play our song. I will dance with you and probably fall asleep in your arms. I like when you sing to me and make goofy faces. And I like when you talk to me and whisper, “You’re my baby daughter.”

I know you have been praying for me. Please keep doing that, I will need it. When I fall down, I will probably cry. And when I am scared I will want to be in your arms. But help me to get up. Tell me I can keep going. Will you teach me how to ride a big-girl bike? Mama, says we should start with a bicycle…not a motorcycle. And that I have to wear a helmet.

I know you will always think I am beautiful, just because I am your daughter. And I like it when you tell me, but also tell me why. Tell me why I am a beautiful and what makes me special. You will probably also tell me when I am not being nice.  I need that, too. You will help me grow and learn how to be kind.

Daddy, you are brave and strong and I want to be brave and strong like you. Help me jump rocks and learn how to dive in the pool. Show me that brave people sometimes have to wait their turn and have a good attitude when you lose the game. Tell me sorry when you hurt my feelings or get mad at me. And I will try to do the same.

I think we will have lots of fun, you and I, going out for ice cream and driving in your car. I will probably ask you lots of questions. Will you tell me about the house where you grew up? And how the first sound you remember hearing every morning was the sound of your mom making tortillas by the fire? I want to hear the story of when you escaped from Kindergarten and how you used to climb trees and hide way up high. I will probably ask you to tell me these stories a hundred times. You might get tired of them, but I won’t. And will you take me to the coffee fields where you used to help your grandma pick coffee? And will you show me the streets where you walked to deliver paper in Guatemala city?

Please show me how to love other people and how to be kind and how to stand up for those who other people make fun.  Will you teach me how to play soccer? And how to eat my caldo with a tortilla in one hand just like you? And when we go to the park and I yell, watch me from the swings, will you come and watch me even though you’ve probably seen me jump off the swings a million times before.

I will ride on your shoulders when I get tired of walking and will hold your hand when crossing the street.

One day when I get older I will probably not hold your hand in front of my friends. And I might roll my eyes when you say a dumb joke and embarrass me. But the truth is, I will probably need you even more during these years. Make time to listen to me. And hug me. And try to remember all the names of my friends. When I come home from school crying, I bet you will want to fix it, but I think mommy already taught you that sometimes I just want you to sit on my bed and listen to me. That’s it.

I know I will probably make you mad. I might scream and yell and say mean things. And you might not know what to do with me sometimes. I think all Dad’s feel that. Just remember I still need you.

I will always need you in my life.

Daddy, I know you love Jesus and I know that Jesus doesn’t just speak English. Will you read me the Bible in Spanish and take me to places where I can see that Jesus really does love all of the children of the world- red, and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Will you show me what you believe and give me space to figure out what I do?

The truth is you will be the first man I love. Your approval and opinion matter the most to me. But one day you might have to let me go. You might see me hold another man’s hand and move away, but know that I will pick a good man, someone strong and kind like you. And even when I am big and all grown up, please don’t forget I was yours first.

You know, I don’t want to be your princess or your baby, I just want to be your daughter. And no matter how old I get I will still grab your hand and I tell you, I love you.

I think I am the luckiest girl in the whole world. I get to be your daughter. And you get to be my Dad.

Feliz dia del Padre! Te amo, Papi.


Your Daughter



{photo credit:}

16th June
written by Michelle

I really have very little to complain about. In terms of how pregnancies go I’ve had a pretty easy go of it this time around. {don’t hate me}. Except for some minor battles with pesky parasites (more a reflection of the country I live in, not the pregnancy) I’ve been pretty healthy. However, I have had a stuffy nose and/or a cold on and off since about week 20. Apparently, increased congestion is common in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Something to do with swelling in the mucus membranes???

(warning: if you’re slightly grossed out that I just said mucus membranes then you might want to stay clear of the blog for the next few weeks as I share more of the birth, baby and after-birth process. Just sayin’ I warned you : )

Usually if I came down with a cold I would just pop a few Sudafed and Advil, drink some tea and go about my day, but being pregnant and wanting to stay medicine-free as pushed me to look for more natural remedies.

Here are 9 Natural Home Remedies I have found helpful.

(and these work just the same even if you’re not pregnant)

1. Breathe right strips- At first I thought these were just for old people who snore…but let me tell you they really do help. They don’t really provide healing per se, but are wonderful when you can’t breathe through your nose and are trying to get a good nights sleep.

2. Better than a NetiPot- My dad has been a long time Neti Pot advocate and I used to be better at using it. But I never fully liked the old genie looking pot that you pour into your nose. I always ended up with more on the bathroom counter than coming out of my nose. But then I was introduced to the NeilMed Sinus Rinse. It’s a simple squeeze bottle and basically does the same thing- rinses out your sinus cavity with warm salt water- but easier to use. If you’re not going to buy this, then just a simple saline nose spray works wonders, too. Especially if live in a dry climate. Best thing is you can use it before, during or after a cold. Your sinus’ will thank me.

3. Eucalyptus Oil and Steam- A friend on instagram posted this simple remediesand each time I was really congested it provided instant, although not long standing relief. Heat up water, just below boiling and pour it into a glass bowl. Add 2-3 drops of Eucalyptus oil and place a large towel over your head that is also big enough to cover the bowl. Then  just breathe in and out through your nose. It’s normal to cough a few times. Imagine how it feels when you walk in a steam room. Gotta let your lungs get used to all that steam. (side benefit: it’s great for the pores on the face, too) I bought my Eucalyptus oil at a little local store called “Tienda de Dona Gabby” but since it would be a long trip for most of you to come to Guatemala, you can find it at Whole Foods or at this online store: Mountain Rose Herbs

4. Astragalus- I had never heard of this one, but my midwife swears by it and actually makes her own tincture. It’s an immune boosting herb/root that you take as soon as you feel a cold coming on. When I started coming down with a cold while in California, I emailed my midwife and this was what she recommended. My husband and I drove to Whole Foods on Christmas Eve, just before closing and bought one of these bottles. You can find it a little cheaper on  Amazon.You take 2 pills 3 times a day until you’re feeling better or a week has passed. It could be just the placebo affect, but I really think it helped me get over the cold faster.

5. tea- you know I tend to be of the mindset that tea heals all. And Guatemalans tend to agree. Best comfort/scratchy throat tea mix: Bring a handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped ginger, juice from one lemon (here we use limes because we don’t have lemons, but that’s another post) to a boil. Let it steep for 5-8 min and then use a strainer to pour into your favorite mug. Add honey to taste. I bet this would be great iced too. But I haven’t tried it.

6.  Pressure Points for Sinus Relief- Watch this video- nuff said. No seriously, if you’ve ever had one of those pounding, congested sinus headaches this gentle, pressing on your sinus points really does lead to some immediate relief and drainage. Give it a try. I did this right after the steam treatment.

7. sleep, sleep, sleep- I guess this should be a no brainer. But if pregnancy has taught me anything it is the value in naps, rest and getting extra sleep especially when you’re sick.

8. onions- i know people who swear by the whole, put half an onion by your bed. It’s worth a try. It’s never worked for me, but to each his own.

9. foot reflexology-- I am not a 100% convinced that this works either, but this post provides a pretty clear diagram of how it could help. And to be honest anytime I can convince a certain someone to massage my feet I am a happier person. If you’re a foot rub kinda of gal, then you may just love this one, whether or not your sick : )

Hope you’re feeling better, less congested and happier soon!

{like all medical advice you find on the web, always ask your doctor or midwife to see what’s right for you}


14th June
written by Michelle

High Five for Friday

It’s Friday and I am linking up with Lauren Elizabeth’s High Five for Friday, which I saw on my friend Meredith’s blog: Elevensies. Both are worth checking out.

Now for my 5 things:

1. I am officially on maternity leave! And I must admit it feels pretty good. Secretly or not so secretly I would be happy if baby girl waited a few more weeks to come. I know, I say that now and I am probably going to be complaining come 41 or 42 weeks— but maternity leave (without a newborn or any other kiddos) feels a bit like a mini-vacation : ) I can’t remember the last time I forwarded all email, checked everything of my to-do list and turned over keys, folders, summer schedules, classroom plans, etc. I plan on soaking it up while I can.

2. Monday is Guatemalan Father’s Day- It’s always June 17th- the date doesn’t change like it does in the states. When I asked G what he wanted for Father’s Day he said “A day with his girls.” (insert: awwwwwwww) Why he is so sweet?

3. Walking and doing errands is slowly getting harder and well, slower. Cobblestone streets and little parking around town don’t make it any easier. However, I thoroughly enjoy my “front-of-the-line” pass that I get at every bank in town. It’s like the bigger my belly is, the quicker I get ushered to the front. If you live in Guatemala you know it’s common to wait in huge colas, anywhere from 10-40 min just to go to the bank and if you’re like us you probably have to visit 3 different banks just to pay rent, electricity and any other monthly deposits.  I tend to use this pregnancy perk and enjoy it for as long as I can.

4. I love having visitors and last week my dear friend and her husband came to visit us and explore Guatemala. Having friends in town always makes me go out and appreciate where we live. Thanks Dee and Mike for staying with us, being a part of our life and even taking our dog out :)

5. Two words: TED Talks Since I’ve been home a bit more and trying to rest and I would probably fall asleep if we watched a whole movie, I’ve been enjoying TED talks- 20 min of fascinating information and stories. Just watching it makes you feel smarter. My sister sent me this one: The linguistic genius of babies and my brother shared this one awhile ago: The way we think about charity is dead wrong (a must for anyone in the non-profit world). What are some of your favorite TED talks? Do share- I could potentially have 3-4 weeks here at home.

Happy Friday!

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