Posts Tagged ‘mornings’

28th August
written by Michelle


Dear Mija-

I planned on writing this letter last week when you actually turned two months, but Mama’s felt a little behind…on well, everything. But I think that comes with being a new mom. Don’t get me wrong I love being your mom, but it’s been an adjustment for sure. Our days feel full, but not productive. Our life and schedule have slowed down, but I still feel tired. And sometimes I feel like my whole day is focused on just getting you to take a nap.

           This month you had lots of visitors who came with extra arms to hold you and extra hands to help me. Your Nana and Papa came for a week at the end of July and then your Aunt Christine came last week to meet you. They rocked you, and talked to you and took lots and lots of pictures. They love you so much and wish we lived closer. I think it means we’ll just have to visit often.


So, the 6 week mark is no joke. People talk about some kind of wonder weeks or developmental milestones. I still don’t know what happened. But it was like one day you woke up and your sleepy newbornness wore off and you decided that you’re a real baby. You were extra fussy and I kept wondering what I was doing wrong. When you’re fussy usually I immediately blame myself: Did I eat something that made you gassy? Did I put your diaper on too tight? Did I not put you down for your nap early enough? Thankfully we have good friends who offered to bring over meals and come over to help hold you. And your Nana reminded me that you and I are still finding our rhythm.

Speaking of rhythm, Mija…boy, do you like to move! You like walking and bouncing and being held. When your Aunt Christine was here she would would do Zumba steps while trying to get you to sleep. But you still sleep best when we’re out and about. I am convinced when you’re curled up in your little sling we can take you anywhere: Dinners out, church, meetings, afternoon walks. As long as we’re moving, you are usually content.


After two weeks of trying really hard to put you down for a nap, I gave up. Ironically, some of your best naps have now been at a local coffee shop. One week we went there almost every day. Elena, you seem to really like it when we do errands in Antigua; walking from the bank, to the grocery store with motorcycles driving by and loud music blaring from the park, you sleep through it ALL. But why, when I try to to lay you down in your bassinet, nicely swaddled with white noise in the background, do you pop open your little eyes, “ha. Mom, did you really think that would work?”

So even though you’re not much of a napper, you are a champion nighttime sleeper. Which I guess in the long run really is better. So thank you.

Sweetie, you may be half Guatemalan, but I dress you like a California girl. Most days you wear just a onsie and a headband….because onsies are comfortable and headbands are cute! Sometimes, sometimes I may put pants on you, but I almost never put socks on you. I don’t really mind when people ask to hold you. Friends at church, or our neighbors and sometimes las señores where we buy fruit ask to hold you. But any time another Guatemalan holds you, they always look at your bare feet and exposed arms and exclaim, “ay, que frio.” How cold! I just nod, smile and silently disagree. I know they are not used to seeing a little 2-month old with so much skin showing. I think you’re probably just fine…but if you grow up having cold feet I guess you can blame me.


One of the best parts of this month is sometime last week you really started smiling- and it is the sweetest, toothless grin I’ve ever seen! I think you even have a dimple or two. I usually get really close to your face and say, “Hiiiii! Hiiiiiii, Elena” and then you give us the biggest smile. It’s one of my favorite things. I could sit and watch you all day when you smile.


oh and yes, you often sleep with our ipad… thank you, whitenoise app : )

Mija, I’ve never been a morning person, but watching you wake up may be the best thing that has ever happened to my mornings. You squirm a little bit and then your eyes pop open like you’re saying “Mom, let me out.” I reach over and undo the Velcro from your swaddler and you stretch your little arms high above your head, arching your back. Then you bend your legs up toward your chest and start kicking. Ahh, freedom. You just started cooing and making all kinds of adorable baby sounds. And you seem happiest in the morning nestled between me and Daddy in our bed.


I love watching you and your Daddy. And I think you especially like his voice. When you’re lying on your activity mat or on the bed and you hear Daddy’s voice, you turn your head and look his way. He usually repeats this with you: “Advinda que?” -Yo te amo. “Sabes cuanto?” -muuucho. It melts my heart every time.


Mija, usually when you’re nursing, I’m multitasking. I have one hand holding you and one hand holding my iphone. Let’s be honest, I check facebook, type emails and messages and scroll through twitter and instagram. But sometimes I put my phone down and just look at you. I look at your beautiful long eye lashes and your sweet lips that sometimes keep making sucking motions even when there is nothing to suck on. I watch you sleep and I stare at your sweet, chubby hands. I pray for you, Elena. I pray for the little person you are becoming. I pray for your protection and that you would grow up knowing how much your Daddy and I love you.

I am so glad that I am your mom.

With all my love,


19th July
written by Michelle

This past week has felt full, but not busy- if that makes sense. Full of kids and classrooms, learning new names and exactly where to catch the bus; full of afternoons in language school with too many new Spanish words; full of trips to the market to buy vegetables that I can’t pronounce and visits to the local tiendas where you can find everything from eggs to hand soap to hot sauce to toilet paper. No joke

Full and busy are not mutually exclusive, but I do think they hold different meanings. And I can say that only because most of my past year or two has felt busy, really busy! Busy and rushed and hurried. Contrary to these past few weeks that have felt, well…full, but not busy. I use the word full because my days do feel full; literally from 5:30 in the morning until about 6 or 7 at night. If busy is characterized by rushing around to take care of the present needs while also half-heatedly attempting to plan and prepare for what’s next; then full is defined by simply paying attention to the task at hand and nothing more. It involves waiting, patience, and…for however frustrating it may feel for this efficient-task oriented-productive-girl…slowing down. Ironically, sometimes the fullest days often involve moving slower and doing less. I am learning that sometimes doing less  can be a good thing.

Now don’t give me any credit for figuring out some new quasi-improved way of living life. I would not have ever chosen or had the discipline to necessarily change how I do day-to-day life. But when you put yourself smack center in a culture that values people, manana and siestas it’s kind of forced upon you. So, I am embracing it.

Well, most of it. I have yet to embrace my new morning routine and the un-godly hour that my alarm clock goes of. See why below:

New Morning Routine

5:30 alarm goes off
5:31 press snooze
5:35 moan a few times, snooze again
5:40 actually get out of bed
5:45 start hot water for tea
5:46 get ready
6:15 out the door with tea and breakfast in hand
6:16 10 min walk down 7th Avenida
6:30 catch bus toward Santa Lucia
6:45 get off bus & take a tuk-tuk up the hill
6:50ish arrive at school (lots of room for -ish in Guatemala)

All that before 7am and I’m not even a morning person! Maybe this is the secret to a full day. Get up before 6am?!? I’d still like to argue that I could have a lovely, full day and wake up at 7 o’clock no, 8 o’clock.

With that said, tomorrow is the start of another full week…and a horribly, early morning!

note: i’ve been working on updating the photo page on my blog (well, my cool, tech savvy friend is actually working on it) but in the mean time here’s a link to my flickr page where I’ll be posting photos if you want to see snapshots of life down here.


12th December
written by Michelle

Mornings are not my favorite time of day. My roommates and family can attest to this. For me mornings are usually accompanied by a consistent snooze button, some whining, and (I am embarrassed to admit it) some occasional moaning. Somehow I came to believe the fallacy that once you’re an “adult” you will naturally and happily just wake up, bright and early every morning. Oh, was I wrong. I feel like by most measures of adulthood I count as a “real” adult, but I have yet to figure out how to wake up early in the morning and enjoy it. I mean who really wants to get out of bed when it’s dark and cold?

Because I tend to sleep in as late as possible, this means that my mornings tend to be a bit rushed. I feel this looming pressure (i.e. the 1st period bell and 20 sleepy-eyed faces) to hurry. So I scramble around the house, leaving cupboards open, throwing clothes on my bed and using one hand to put on make-up and another to blow dry my hair (yes, I am an incredibly good multi-tasker : )

Finally, with my 2 bags slung over my shoulder, my keys in one hand and my to-go cup in the other, I make it to my car. phew. In a weird way sitting in my car brings a sense of comfort. I have almost no interruptions. I don’t talk on the phone. I don’t even listen to music. For those 12 minutes on the way to work I sit and think and pray and….my favorite part, drink my tea.

This morning I was in a hurry (no surprise) so I grabbed a tea bag from our smorgasbord of tea assortments in the cupboard and dropped it in my to-go mug. In a quiet moment once inside my car I noticed the little red tea tag dangling from my mug. It read the word “JOY.”

Hmm. I wish it were always this easy to have joy in the morning.

Tazo Tea makes a Joy tea that only comes out during the Holidays. I love it. I think it seriously increases my joy and happiness in the morning. Who knew?

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