Fall session has begun

Introducing Zaqarah Grace and the new Big Sister, Miss Elasia Hope.

Hi there! Summer's over and it's officially fall! Let's see...what's happened since my last entry... was it in April??? Geez Louise. Well here's the hilariously brief summary that boils down to two things:

- We moved to a different apartment on the other side of Manhattan

- We had a baby ... the wonderful Zaqarah Grace Gahagan (that's a whole other entry)

And now because my life contains two beautiful yet very time consuming young daughters I will not type anymore words right now, but post pictures.

love to all


Family Update and Springtime Pics

Hello world,

Things have been going wonderful - the sun is out, the flowers are blooming and my belly is getting larger. Elasia is the star of the show these days, though. She's been taking her first careful steps, saying more things everyday and just being ADORABLE all around. One of my favorite antics of hers lately is when she reaches out for your nose, squeezes it and says, "Honk!"

My parents bought her a toy guitar - here's her and daddy at one of their first guitar lessons.

And here's a "story time" shot. It's amazing how much this girl LOVES books! (And how many times we can read the same book over and OVER to her without her ever getting bored of it.)

And here's a sequence I tried to get of her walking - the flower was just adding arsty "spring effect"

That's all from this end, she's starting to complain and - shock of all shockers - she wants me to read her a book!

Her Birthday party

So Elasia turned 1 year old on March 22, 2007. It was a Thursday, so we didn't do anything "public" on that day. We had a wonderful family time together. We gave her a few presents and let her play with any toy she wanted to all day.

Then on April 1st we have our Indian food extravaganza. It was a lot of fun and thank you so much to everyone who came. Here are a few pictures my friend Lilly took of "Miss Thang" on her day.
Before we put on the "birthday crown"

Her first taste of CAKE

You can sorta see her whole dress here

More Cake!

The 2 of us

One of my favorite funny faces she makes

All in all it was a great celebration for my wonderful girl. It makes me so excited for the next baby!

for the grandparents!

Here are some more pictures just for you guys...

Bath time fun!

Her winter polar bear look

in a candy store in Mexico

playing peek-a-boo

Our little "sicky" spending some sleepy time with Daddy.

My Bee-Do

So this is the month that Elasia Hope Gahagan turns 1!!! It's incredible to think Adam and I have survived an entire year of parenthood and that Elasia is actually doing really well. I thought I would refect on some of her precious quirks and personality traits that have recently developed.

One of her new favorite past-times is to transfer Cheerios from one tupperware to another larger one. She asks to do this by her adorable version of "Can I have Cheerios please" which literally consists of the sign for "Please" and her saying "CHEE-weee-ooos". This ALWAYS leads to Cheerios all over my kitchen floor.

When given ANYTHING that can make a noise when you shake it (a rattle, a salt shaker, a bottle of multi-vitamins, an Altoids tin etc) she smiles really big, holds it above her head and to my cue of "Shake it, shake it" she proceeds to vigorously shake it while doing a little dance. This also works if she's in a great mood and isn't holding anything. I just stand her up, leaning on the couch or something and say "Shake it, Shake it" and she shakes her little butt. Sooo cute!

She loves to be chased. When she's standing by the couch or on the bed and Adam or I say, "I'm gonna get you.." she shrieks and squeals and laughs and tries her hardest to scoot, crawl, or roll away from us. Sometimes she gets so overwhelmed that she ends up freezing in place and giggling while we tickle her.

She likes to point at random things/people all the time. My favorite is on the bus and subway (especially when they're crowded) and some stranger finds my Bee-Do's little finger nearly up his nose.

There's SO much more, and those of you that have been around her know she can have you laughing in no time. She's my little comedian, and she's definitely an encouragement to keep having more. She's going to make a fabulous big sister.

Quick update!

We didn't end up flying to South Carolina due to the first Nor-easter of the season. Our travel plans are rescheduled to EARLY Tuesday morning. Ah well.

What to do...

So, Elasia has had a 102.1 fever since yesterday with no other "sick" symptoms. Well, that's not exactly accurate - she's been very sweet and cuddly and clingy which is not her typical "I-have-to-explore-the-WHOLE-world-right-now-and-i'm-definitely-NOT-napping" personality. Oh, and she doesn't have much of an appetite. In fact, she only wants to eat these multigrain Keebler Club crackers that I've managed to get her addicted to. (Don't be fooled by the word "multigrain", it's only there to quiet my conscience. There's not more fiber or less fat then the regular, buttery, void of nutrition Orginal kind. If anything, they have more sugar. But, hey, they're "multigrain"!)

So it gets tricky because there's only so much you can do with 1 hand, and the hand keeps switching. And then, what I can do with one hand can't be within 2 feet of her reach because she automatically thinks it's for her, grabs whatever it is and puts it in her mouth. This isn't the most ideal scenario for ...oh...chopping vegetables (knives don't make great teething toys)...washing dishes...getting dressed...or anything else constructive that I had planned for today. I can, however, do stuff on the computer, but after a couple of hours I feel like my brain starts to leak out of my ears.

So, what do I do? I'm loving all this cuddle time with baby, but I (and Elasia)leave on Wed night to South Carolina (to visit Deb and her new babies) and there's oh-so-much to do before then. How am I going to do this with TWO kids?! I don't get it.

Adam prayed for Elasia this morning and she is doing better than she was last night, but I think I'm going to call her pediatrician to rule out any infection I can't see (ear, urinary tract, etc). Ah the adventures of motherhood.

Mexico Lindo!!

Hi there! Sorry it's been a little bit...(well, I'm actually not "sorry" but I do kinda wish I posted before we went away). Our happy little family just got back from Mexico last night. We're currently still in California (headed back to the arctic NYC tomorrow). We were in Ensenda (in Baja California, MX) for a church leadership training time and the brief summary was - WOW. (pictures coming)

First of all, it's a whole new experience going international with a 10 month old and being pregnant. And yes, I never actually considered Mexico to be entirely "international" until this trip. Oh friends, it is VERY MUCH a different country. All the little details that make it a very different and wonderful country seemed to have slipped by me when I went to Mexico all those times as a single person. It just seemed like an extension of southern Texas (with better tacos - no offense Texans, but you have to admit it's true): everyone speaking Spanish, salsa and chips at every meal and lots of friendly people. But it was with a small child and having one on the way that "not being able to drink the water" made a much bigger deal than it use to. So what if I get a little "Montezuma's Revenge"? It'll pass. (Ha! Pun wasn't intended.)

But I couldn't afford to get sick with a baby inside, and I had to watch everything Elasia put in her mouth. I can't say I was "stressed" or psycho about it all, but I'm just not used to being so "on top" of things all the time. It gave me a taste of what it's going to be like as a "mommy in the nations" and I love it! It was fun watching Elasia clap to the Spanish worship songs. I was amazed by how adaptable babies are. Everything was "normal" for her.

In the sickness department we were successful - the worse we pulled away with are a couple of runny noses from the temperature fluctuations and broken hearts for a country that until this trip had only been a passing thought. God really changed our hearts for Mexico and it's amazing people. He's going to do (and already is doing) such powerful things there and Mexico is going to be a blessing to the nations. And God just drilled deeper and deeper how important it is for us to build His kingdom His way and that even with the best intentions, when we try to do what He wants our own way, we can really mess things up. But He will always bless His ways - obedience is better than sacrifice.

As real and deep and sincere as all this is, truth be told - I'm really excited to get my Puerto Rican self back to the East Coast, no matter how ridiculously cold it is in NYC right now. I miss our church family (ha, and it's only been a week!), and our city, and all that is life over there. I will be dreaming about the greatest fish tacos I've ever had and praying for the beautiful believers there, in the trenches, advancing the kingdom of God daily.


So, here's quick little PG-13 thought for the world. (If you're 13 or younger and reading this - I'm telling your mom!)

Okay, yes, we're pregnant again. (Most of you have found out via my husband's lovely comment). Well, we're very excited about this little surprise. But honestly, how surprised were we really?

Sex + no form of contraception = babies, usually (and I'm not even a math person!)

We knew that:
1) Even though we're breastfeeding there's still a chance of getting pregnant
2) We've always wanted our kids close in age
3) Having had a great first pregnancy and labor (yes, you really can have a "great" labor. "Great" is so very relative, of course), the thought of another kid right away didn't freak me out as much as I thought it would.

So, we just lived our happily married life and when I was all of a sudden REALLY tired and my monthly "friend" never came, we bought a test. And Viola! Positive! When most people find out, they are tentative to respond until they see that we are truly ecstatic about it, then after some comment about the closeness in age of the two, they're happy for us.

Well, my least favorite little "joke" we've gotten - not once but TWICE - is (from people that are pretty much strangers too!!), "What? You guys don't have a TV?" Are you kidding me?! A TV?

COME ON PEOPLE!! How lame does your sex life have to be that you'd rather be watching TELEVISION than having an intimate moment with your spouse?! ESPECIALLY when you've got a small child and your moments alone together are precious few. A-hem...so anyways, I'm done ranting about the audacity of some people in this world, but let this be fair warning to all you perfect strangers in NYC - if we happen to chat on a bus or subway sometime and you bust out with this "no TV" nonsense, I may flip out on you.

And..uh..well...for the record - no, we really don't have a TV. ;-)

To have Faith or not to have Faith

So I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is very sure that faith is something for people who's personalities lean toward that - people who are naturally inclined to "religion" etc. She concluded that she, being more rational, was not the "type" of person to have faith. I didn't want to say anything too quickly (ah lessons I've learned the hard way - and am still learning), so I told her, after laughing at her, that I'd get back to her with a real answer.

So in this quiet moment, I've been trying to think about what I should say. Well, not so much what I should say that would make me right, but what does she need. Mother Teresa had such a nack for that, you know? Sometimes she didn't answer questions directly, but what she did say profoundly impacted her interviewer and their life was changed. Now, why did she have to go and die on me, eh?

I just remembered one of my favorite commentators on faith, C.S. Lewis, and if you can bear with a long-ish excerpt from his fabulous book Mere Christianity I think we can find some gold here.

(When referring to his old view of faith) "I was assuming that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so. For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anaesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside of me. I start thinking I am going to choke amd I am afraid they will start cutting me up before I am properly under. In other words, I lose my faith in anaesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.

....or take a boy learning to swim. His reason knows perfectly well that an unsupported human body will not necessarily sink in water: he has seen dozens of people float and swim. But the whole question is whether he will be able to go on believing this when the instructor takes away his hand and leaves him unsupported in the water - or whether he will suddenly cease to believe it and get in a fright and go down.

That's the ticket. Faith is deciding to believe what you KNOW to be true, even when my wishy-washy emotions begin to doubt. I have moments when I feel so utterly "less" than I need to be as a wife, mother, friend...the list goes on and on. But I KNOW to be true that God has given me "everything [I] need for life and godliness". Faith is the decision to believe that and to view my world through those lenses. And, you know, I start to act differently then. My decisions, laced with a confidence that comes from a source outside of me, end up being the "right" ones. It's people who have removed themselves from their humanity, who have summed up their lives to a science, that see faith as "brainwashing". I know my fraility too well to not have faith. It's those who want to live by what they KNOW is true and not just by what they "feel" who are rational enough live by faith.

Okay. Next post will most likely not be so deep. I think Adam has run out of distractions with Elasia, and I should be getting her to bed anyway. bye.

Hello World!

So, here's a post just to get started. Right now Elasia (my 9 month old) is about to strangle herself with her new favorite toy - a long cable that connects the computer to the speakers, so this will be short.

It's been unseasonably warm here in NYC and I can't say that I mind. It's rainy today and I can't shake the "funk" that's growing in my heart and head, so rather than ramble on here, I'm going to save my daughter's life, take a nap, and read some Bible. I might venture out to the store, but other than that, I've met my "productive" quota for the week and am determined to be absolutely lazy today.