Saturday, December 29, 2012

bump : week 20

I've settled on the idea of cozying up somewhere warm for next week's photos - preferably with a bowl full of marshmallows on hand.  Being miserably cold isn't fun for anyone, and besides, I've been craving those little bags of jet-puffs!  I know for both Erick and I, it's hard to believe that baby is already halfway cooked, and maybe it's something to do with it being the second time around but, this entire journey seems like it's going at lightning speed.  Some days, I even forget that I'm pregnant (then I realize I could use a nap at three in the afternoon, and am brought back to reality - sigh.)  On a more exciting note, the second of January we're going in for our last scan before baby arrives!  Quite differently than last time, we still don't know yet if this little one is a boy or a girl.  We're definitely anxious to know who this tiny person inside of me is, but have been thinking we might like the idea of life's greatest surprise even better...

Would any of you be able to endure the suspense?  It's such a tough decision!

+  wearing  unisex stripe seed stich pullover in navy cherry tomato stripe by American Apparel
+  photos  taken by erick


Monday, December 24, 2012

spiced cupboard cookies with cinnamon glaze

Can you even believe I'm posting more cookie pictures?  Normally I wouldn't do that to you all, but what better last-minute Christmas Eve recipe than something warm and chewy.  We have done more baking this year than I've ever done in my life and it makes my tummy (and my family) so happy.  Dough had dried between our fingers, nutmeg spilled over the table, and the warm aroma of cinnamon and vanilla filled the house for hours.  All perfect ingredients coming together for this very special muma-daughter cooking date, if I do say so myself!  More photos, plus the recipe for my spiced cupboard cookies with cinnamon glaze are over on Gathered Heart for Katherine's seasonal 12 Days of Christmas Cookies series. Have you seen it yet?  It's dangerously delicious...

PS- thank you all for your lovely messages on my last post!

Sofia, Erick and I are truly grateful for all of your kind words, messages, comments and emails through the year.  I had no idea that this blog I originally created to document our daily life would open up so many doors to great friendships with beautiful people all the way around the world - I am smitten.  I love you all, and can't wait to see what the new year has in store for all of us.  


Saturday, December 22, 2012

all is calm

Presents have all been wrapped and placed under the tree, the candles burning have been blown out and we are contently, tiredly prepared. Such a wonderful feeling that is!  I sincerely hope each of your Christmas holidays are filled with love and joy, closeness with family, and an abundance of positive energy to propel you into the new year - now, off to get some much needed rest  xo


Thursday, December 20, 2012

remembering now : december 20th 2012

The Remembering Now Project, 2012

Catch the rest of the series here.

This day, exactly a year ago, we made sugar cookies just you and I.  You were six months old and too little to help, so I wore you against my chest. This year you are much bigger, able to laugh and cut out stars, to proclaim excitedly "coooookie!" and of course - taste the sweet reward for putting in all that hard work.  


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

bump : week 18

A simple start, and one that is quite a bit behind.  I'm actually 19 weeks at the moment, so consider this post a quick catching up!

Erick and I knew from the moment we found out about our second baby that we wanted to document each week - something I had neglected to do with my pregnancy with Sofia.  This time around we are not only taking weekly photos, but have sneakily been recording video that you'll have to wait until the end to see.  When I started this blog nearly three years ago as a first-time pregnant mom, I posted hesitantly and infrequently, still nervous while beginning to connect with the community around me.  I've grown so much in that time, and I've learned how difficult it is to really "put yourself out there".  To write from the heart.  To speak in your own voice.  To showcase your at times unkempt house.  To create images that push boundaries and challenge limits as a photographer.  And now, this... this ever-growing belly and running around to different (most likely prohibited) places in the city.  This is as real as it gets.

Through our beginning attempts at this series I've become well aware that being on the other side of the lens as the subject instead of the photographer is something I find incredibly challenging, and sometimes even downright irritating.  I just can't shake that silly awkward feeling! Luckily I have a husband who is the best possible person to make me laugh and feel comfortable in my most uncomfortable of moments - I know for certain that it's not the easiest job in the world!  Week nineteen will be following this post very closely, and we have many more photos to share.

+  wearing  reversible easy sweater in rogue boucle and shiny nylon tricot leggings in cobalt by American Apparel
+  photos  taken by erick


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

whole family : citrus mint tea

I'm aware that there are countless variations of this tea already floating around on the internet, so this is in no way an original concoction of mine.  However, this has been the most soothing pregnancy "cure all" I've found yet, so I knew I had to share it with all of you!  During the early trimesters I found myself queasy, and now I'm reaching the dreaded "heartburn" phase.  Thankfully the bite of the lemons and ginger, cooling mint, and the soothing aroma of satsuma tangerines has been the perfect solution.  PS- even if you're not expecting, this tea is the perfect winter companion.

Citrus Mint Tea

1 lemon, juiced
1 satsuma tangerine, juiced
8-10 fresh mint leaves
1-2 peeled and sliced pieces of ginger
2 tablespoons maple agave (optional)
pinch cinnamon (optional)

Simmer all ingredients over a low flame for 10-15 minutes, then strain into glasses.
Store tea in an air-tight container in the fridge and reheat as needed.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

grateful, saddened, my loves

Clutching tightly to her hand, she leans in to give a kiss and I can only wonder if they've began to sense each other.

Now more than ever, I am reminded how fast both of my children are growing... one is nearing her second year of life, while the other is almost half-way done in his or her journey inside the womb. Life is so fragile, so precious, and we are blessed beyond belief that both of these souls are safe, warm and protected. My heart has been broken over the last days after hearing the tragic news in Connecticut.  Many prayers were said in our house, and more will continue -- too many innocent lives were taken, and hopes and dreams of countless families were ripped away unexpectedly. It scares me silly that I can't be present every second of every day to protect my children from danger, especially after hearing this. All anyone can ever do is hold your loved ones close, have faith, and focus on the moments we do have together. Life is too short to not enjoy this very minute.

What a sad time it is in the world...


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

in the city : star lounge coffee

This is our usual Wednesday- a trip north to the city, late breakfast with pancakes and eggs to share, new cafes, time spent walking outside, no concrete plans at all. Today I was in search for the best coffee in the city and was smitten with our choice of Star Lounge Coffee Bar.  I would have never been able to find this hidden gem without the help of my friend Jenny, so here most sincerely, is my thank you.

I felt it necessary to add Sofia didn't actually get a true taste of my latte, just a bit of the chocolatey foamed milk on top.  Such a curious little one we have...


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

starting anew

I have previously celebrated the coming of the newest year by setting goals,  sitting down and reflecting on memories passed, and- of course- thinking undoubtedly that this "was going to be the best year yet!" While I still feel it's incredibly important to give myself some form of direction to propel into the new year, I also have realized that some of the best intentions I had set were often stifled by negative thoughts or past experiences and failures, keeping me from a truly clean slate to work from.  Have any of you ever felt the same?

Taking Time To Recollect

Before attempting to jot down my newest intentions for 2013, I will be taking the coming weeks much slower, perhaps setting aside time to really examine what didn't go right in 2012.  A cup of my favorite tea, a candle lit, the quiet calm of the morning-- all should be enough to encourage a few moments of reflection.  It may be seem counterintuitive to the positive resolutions and happy memories I have, but I don't think of it that way. While I agree it isn't the most pleasant thing to remember the times I might have gave it my all and failed, it's still completely beneficial to bring up those feelings harbored away somewhere, and to acknowledge them.  After all, once the negativity has left, I can see all of the countless, wonderful things that have happened to our family in a much more clear and vibrant light.

Free Yourself From Negative Thoughts

The great thing about acknowledging feelings is that once you've given them the time of day, that's really all that they need, nothing more. There's absolutely no use holding on to mishaps, and oh how good it feels to finally be free of them!  Once a few years back, a kundalini teacher of mine had expressed the importance of a routine purge of negativity. We would write down what was holding us back, honor those feelings for a moment, and then (quite literally!) burn them to ash.  Now, even though I took this symbolic action to heart and sat on the ground of my backyard and set my troubles scribbled on pieces of paper to flame, whatever action would help you release- a good cry, a long bath, a walk outside- is a personal choice left only to you.

Set Intentions with an Open Heart

At this point, I will often feel heaps better knowing I can manifest my intentions for the new year without any past insecurities holding me back. I've since moved unfortunatley far from my teacher, but today as I was reading around the web about friends and family creating their own resolutions for the new year, I was reminded of this practice of "soul cleansing" beforehand.  This year, I will set my intentions with an open heart, careful not to overlook those times my feelings were hurt, when I made a poor decision, or times I was unhappy with myself; whether or not we realize it, or minds will subtly hold on to these moments and they can keep us from flourishing.  I will be free of those empty, nagging thoughts and completely aware of every last blessing we've been given.

This year, I'm excited to say I'm starting anew.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

bump : a thank you

Thank you all so much for the warm welcome on our littlest growing member of the De La Rosa family - we are so lucky and blessed, that is for sure!  Lots of time has been spent the past few weeks celebrating with friends and family, though a certain "weight" has been lifted now that it's truly out in the open.  (Ahhhh...)  Erick and I knew right away that this go-around, we were going to try everything we could to have the birth we wanted, so we've switched our prenatal care from a standard OBGYN practitioner to one of the only midwife groups in the state.  Although it is becoming more common, midwives and water births are still extremely difficult to come by.   In Illinois specifically, there are only two birthing centers in a 50 mile radius willing to offer this to us - and one of these didn't take our healthcare plan.  It's crazy how many long nights were spent researching on the web and phoning out to different practices, but I am so happy with our choice, and especially fond of our midwife, Lia.

This week has been the perfect ebb and flow of relaxed, yet busy.  I have been finishing up my Christmas list, working on the last of my wedding and family sessions of the year, taking some quiet moments to jot down a few new features for the blog in 2013, chasing my always on-the-go 18 month old, yet somehow, still managed to sneak in an hour long bath tonight- unheard of!

What were you up to this weekend?


Friday, December 07, 2012

hey, baby!

Can you even believe it?

After months of hoping and dreaming for a house filled with little ones, our family will be meeting its newest member in the warmth of the springtime. We are all completely over the moon with excitement! Oh, my... a family of four!  It's so fun to even say that.

I am grateful and humbled with the pregnancy journey, now venturing into my second trimester with a healthy (kicking!) baby in tow.  I have slowly been regaining some of the lost energy from the first few weeks, and little bub has been craving lots of freezing cold ice chips, smoothies, milk, raw veggies, and the occasional doughnut.  My heart has exploded into a million pieces in the moments Sofia asks to "kiss the baby" and runs to my belly to give baby "big hugs".  I know in my soul that she will be the best big sister, her insistent need to help me with whatever I'm doing is proof enough in itself!

Documenting this journey is so special to us both, trust me when I say we have some amazing things planned  xo


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

california treasures

The sweetest friend has sent me thoughtful treasures all the way from the coastline of California.  It was such a wonderful mail day to open a package from Carissa, seeing her carefully chosen pieces of her home state for Sofia to discover and enjoy.  Seashells, sand, saltwater taffy and gorgeous hand drawn map to show exactly where it originated - we couldn't be more grateful.  I'm looking forward to the day we can get our little ones together and sit over a cup of tea.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

interview : my little loves

This week I am so happy to share another sponsor, one whom I deeply hope to meet in person one day, and gosh... where do I even begin with Bekah?  She is such a strong, beautiful woman and a long time blogging friend of mine, a true kindred spirit.  Bekah, her husband Marc, and their beautiful family lead a natural, genuine, completely love-filled life where they share stories over at My Little Loves that are honest and true.  Out of the countless reasons I find myself drawn to her space, this is my most favorite part of visiting.  So many people can easily lose their authenticity through an internet persona they've made for themselves, but I feel like I know Bekah... you know?

I had the pleasure of getting to know this beautiful mama a bit better, here were some questions asked...

- - -

What is it about blogging that you love?

I love the clarity I get, jotting my own thoughts out. I often start a blog still collecting my own thoughts on something and writing helps me to make sense of them. Community has to be another wonderful part. I have enjoyed getting to know many through blogging. One of my best friends is someone I met through my blog. 

Family seems such an integral part of your life. How have your children and husband influenced your writing? 

My family is everything to me. I actually started my blog so that I would remember. On my hard days, I would have something to come back to and remember where my focus is. I am driven to be authentic and my blog helps me stay true to myself.

You chose the most beautiful names for your daughters, Ocean and Luna.  Tell us more about where those ideas came from.

Marc and I always wanted nature-inspired names for our girls. Marc was the first to suggest Ocean, I initially hated it (I know...) but eventually fell in love with it. We decided on Oceana for a more feminine name but we call her Ocean. For Luna, it was the the opposite, I suggested, Marc hated and then fell in love with it. I think their names are perfect. Knowing that in nature the Ocean and Moon are inextricably linked. And how they describe the girls so well. Ocean, you cannot tame her. She is my wild child. She is also unpredictable but she is wildly beautiful. Powerful. Luna, Luna is constant. She is calm and sweet. She glows with a quiet tenderness. She will be my emotional baby.

Any projects or new things you're working on?

Yes! I want to share...but it is in the early stages. I am working with my friend Doc Waller who hosts the show "On Beauty". We are going to do some fun stuff and I will share as soon as I can.

If told to use only three words to describe yourself, which would you choose?

I always feel awkward doing these so I asked Marc what three words would describe me and he said: Beautiful, Dedicated and Wise.

Photo Credit: Alan Matthews Photography


Saturday, December 01, 2012

preview : alexa + mike

Editing the photos from Alexa + Mike's wedding today -- this was a true favorite for me!


in the city : glazed and infused

When we're feeling indulgent, our go-to doughnut shop in the city would be Glazed and Infused.

We've been here more times than I'm comfortable admitting, and I don't plan on letting up anytime soon.  A quick trip from anywhere in the city, this little shop is located in the South Loop neighborhood with easily accessible street parking nearby.  If you go, you need to try the bacon maple long john: every bite is like bacon and pancakes merged into one.  It's heaven!

Follow along with our favorite food travels, In The City

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