arizona sunsets


it's been a really refreshing week following our weekend that was like living in a quarantined hospital room. ohhhh, what a sweet way to bounce back.

amos and i flew to arizona to attend my grandmother's funeral, go through her home, and spend time with my dad, his wife debbie, and my sister and nephew. it was one of those treasured weeks you know are a rarity - snuggling with amos, my nephew, and sister in a large california king. riding in the backseat while my dad drove us around. staying up late after the boys had went to bed and talking about my dad's childhood. i wouldn't trade those moments for the world.

we are back now, and getting ready for our beautiful friend courtney to come live with us for awhile. my mother visits at the end of of april and in may my father-in-law is taking the entire valdez clan on a 9 day cruise to the Caribbean and a trip to new york to celebrate his retirement! i have a lot to look forward to, and my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude.

i also found out some SUPER, SUPER exciting news today i'll be sharing later on the blog. i'll be introducing all our lovely sponsors over on the right, so feel free to click around and check out the amazing shops and blogs featured.

and thanks again to al for guest posting for me while i was away.

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high on thrifting

i've been a little thrifting addicted. i mean, i need to stop. i don't know what it is. i think i got a new gutso or because of amos nap time change (from 2 naps, the first one at 11AM, to now his only nap at 1AM) which gives me way more free time in the morning. and i've found the good ones. you know the GOOD ones with all the treasures.

so i don't know. but a lot of little $5 purchases add up.

i appreciate the daily votes! i've stayed strong at #21. thanks partners!
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starting a new feature giving a glimpse of what we are seeing and feeling in our little corner of the world.


1 // 2 // life in southern california really is a dream at times. the ability to walk outside my apartment to perfect weather: never shivering, never too wet, and never sweating from humidity. it's crazy, that this has become our normal. my vitamin d is overflowing and i think it's a small gift from the Lord. seasonal depression and grey skies are something i've had a visit from a time or two, and i'm grateful my son can run in the sunlight and maybe have less acne when he's a teen then if he knew humidity. ;) i'm grateful
3 // not to say the rainy days are beautiful as well. we had some this weekend. they come a couple times a year, usually in a trio. the 3 days matched perfectly to our cooped up weekend with our beautiful and sickly boy. the raindrops remind me of home, the great midwest, the green trees dancing in the rainstorm - like getting a shower after being born into spring. it makes me miss the calming sound of windshield wipers on my way to school, and days recess was declared indoors because the blacktop was too wet.

the sun and the rain declare the glory of God.

take a peek into the north and the south. (my beautiful friends with beautiful thoughts.)

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spinal taps=no! the flu, & and a silly thing called fear.

well, hello. i know it's been awhile and i've been missing in action. it's been an emotional/overwhelming past couple of weeks and thus, i took an unintentional blogging hiatus.

this past wednesday my little started with congestion that lead to a nasty cough and a pretty high temperature. it started on wednesday, which i think leads me to believe he got it from another little kid during church. it's so hard when your child keeps getting sick in "daycare" like situations. the only thing amos attends is on Sundays for 45 minutes to an hour - the children's service, and then every other week I attend a mother's group at our old church that has childcare for the kids. About every third time he gets a cold, and this past time it was the flu. I know there's little way to avoid this, and especially because he stays home with me, he's more likely to catch something in the few times he is in the mix with other children, and over all it's good - because it's building his immunity. i think i am becoming more and more cautious about taking him into these situations (scanning noses, listening for coughs, etc.). i know mother's don't always know their children are contagious yet... even so, it can be so frustrating. at the same time, i don't want to limit amos' interaction with new and diverse children out of fear of illness. i have to remember the Lord is wise in His caring for him, and He is sovereign even over the smaller and larger sicknesses.

anyways, by Thursday evening he had a temperature, and by Friday evening it shot up to 104. i try to avoid Tylenol on both low grade, and normal fevers - and gave him some when it got to 104 and took him to urgent care. by this point amos was so lethargic (yet still responsive) and just laying around on us. he was VERY clingy (the most i've experienced since he was a newborn), and the doctor told us to watch him and if his fever didn't go down by Sunday to call.

now, to explain the next part of the story, i have to tell you amos isn't vaccinated. i know this is a very heated debate, and a very emotional issue - especially from parents whose children have gotten some of the more common "vaccinated illness" such as pertussis and meningitis. in deciding to not vaccinate, i have really had a hard time going back and forth. i am not convinced (and pretty much disagree) autism comes from vaccination, and a lot of my decision comes from a moral standpoint of the origin/creation of vaccinations. and if i decide to vaccinate amos one day (or he decides) then he can. but i can't go the other way around. so for now, breastmilk are his vaccines. ;)

if you have vaccinated, that is great - and i really pray your children have no ill side effects. if you didn't vaccinate, that's great too - and i pray your children don't have to go through a "vaccinated illness." either camp, i believe has to trust the Lord to protect their children and have grace (and mercy) on their parental decision. it's so hard. being a parent. i felt that weight this weekend. so many choices with such varied and unexpected outcomes.

and so on friday the urgent care doctor gave us a lecture about amos not being vaccinated (always happens) and therefore potentially having contracted bacterial meningitis. she told us if his fever doesn't go away by sunday he will need a spinal tap.

uhhhhhhh. i'm not sure why on earth she felt it necessary to tell a sleep deprived mother with a clingy, feverish child such a statement. it would have been kind to wait until we brought him back in (if it came to that) on Sunday. being that amos is not vaccinated (and even if he was) i have educated myself on what to look for regarding meningitis. but the mention of it as a mom holds her glazed over child took me for a spin.

just the mention of it really made the next couple of days really hard on me. for some reason, i got really, really paranoid in my heart. amos was the sickest i'd ever seen him - and now after riding it out and realizing it was just the flu - it doesn't seem as intense as it was in the moment. when you are forced to trade your normal, energetic, humorous toddler for a sleepy, crying, refusing to eat toddler - it's just really emotional (and scary).

i spent friday night crying to ricky about how much i love amos, and verbalizing these sudden irrational thoughts about him going deaf or dying. honestly, i am not a naturally anxious person, but it was really oppressive the sort of thoughts i was having.

i prayed for him, and meditated on psalm 34. i checked his fever every 15 minutes the entire weekend, searched his body for rashes, and bent his head down to his chest over and over. i was less fearful, after friday night of the side effects of meningitis, as that night i finally got peace from the Lord that it wasn't that - but then i got fearful of his flu symptoms running a longer course and having to make the decision to do a spinal tap or not. i mean, who on EARTH wants their child to go through a spinal tap. i could barely watch amos get x-rays or an IV, let alone watch nurses hold him down while they shove a tube into his spinal fluid.

ricky was very calm throughout the weekend, and reminded me that - worse case scenario, if his fever doesn't subside over 5 or so days - he will get a spinal tap and he can be treated or we can be assured it's nothing serious. i told him i wouldn't be able to go, and he'd have to take him - and just the thought was really overwhelming me.

it's interesting, when your kids get sick, the journey it takes a mother on. you leave your normal day to day - you lose track of time. you are just waiting for the symptoms to pass, for the normal toddler to return... the little trials you faced before they were sick - like crying for a cookie he sees, or a bite of your ice cream... disciplining their overly energetic antics (like standing on the furniture or hitting)... even the refusing the nap and teething spouts... when they are sick, and i mean, just laying there staring sick, all you want are those trials again.

over the weekend, i started having even more anxious thoughts:

wondering if i could handle bringing more babies into this world that you love so intensely, just to face the future of their own decisions to sin and be hurt and make mistakes... and even to be taken from me in some tragedy.

thinking through scenarios of what could happen to amos - how i would feel, how i would react, the pain it would bring.

and it's so unnecessary, these thoughts, but i think most of us go through them every once and awhile. our mother and father's growing ill, unable to remember, or a myriad of other things. husbands in car crashes. babies not waking up in their cribs.

but they come. they come, and in some seasons you are able to easily dismiss them proclaiming over such fear the Sovereignty and Beauty of the leadership of Jesus.

and then other seasons, where your spirit seems emaciated, or it's just plain spiritual attack, thoughts like these, weaved with anxiety and lack of faith seem almost overwhelming. i found myself here, even if only for an evening or two, and it was horrible.

and thankfully, amos climbed out of the flu, like most babies do. he is back to his normal baby self. the past couple days have been a lot of readjusting to normal life, as i think he tasted what it was to be "spoiled" for a couple days. he sat and watched sesame street and wonder pets with his mom pretty much ALL day (as that's all he could muster to do, lay there) and was confused when he couldn't demand "eh-moh!" or "ming-ming!" and get exactly what he wanted. he set the record for time outs yesterday, and had to remember what it was like to play with his toys and read books (and not hit himself or the floor or his mom when he didn't get what he wanted). (sidenote: not that TV is altogether bad. if your child watches TV i am in no way judging you because my child doesn't watch TV. it's easy for me to watch hours of TV, and if i've learned anything - you tend to inherit your parents vices - so i'm trying to set him up for success.)

anyways, i feel like i could process more. like how my encounter of a spirit of fear (something i've had a battle with in different forms over the years - the main being demonic/terrors in the night) and how the following days amos woke up screaming and pointing to random corners of our house saying a word i couldn't understand. how after we prayed and plead the blood of jesus over our small apartment he suddenly calmed down, went to sleep and hasn't done it since. like these decisions we have to make as mothers, and how it's so INTENSE. they don't prep you. like how i need to detox from busyness and from connectivity and really engage Holy Spirit on a new level. to be His friend and hear what He's saying. how the Word is Christ, but the Spirit was why it was good that Jesus went away. like how i need them both.

and i will talk about those things eventually. for now, i'm going to wrap this up. it's pretty much vulnerable ramblings. the kind i would go on about if my best friend was sitting across the table with me at a coffee shop holding a latte and intently shaking her head in understanding. that kind of rambling. the kind that once you process you walk away saying.

my life is in His hands.
my son is safe and sound.
He is finishing the good work He began.
i've not been given a spirit of fear.
we will overcome.

so ya, i feel better. thanks friend. ;)

right before we took him to the doctor's on friday night - with a 104 temp. :(
waiting for dr. came back to life when we got there. is it just me, or does this always happen to you when you take your ill child in to be checked on? he always acts 10x better when we get there for the doctor. ha.
sleeping with a fever.

would love a vote from you today! thanks for sitting and listening. ;)

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Birth Story - PART 4. The Arrival.

it's been almost a year since i have written post 3 of amos' birth story. it's kind of depressing, actually - because it is left hanging, in the tension of a birth plan gone horribly off course and a huge needle getting shoved in my back. if you haven't read it you can start by reading here: part 1, part 2, part 3, + the add-in. (and my little laboring video)

it's crazy, after 16 months those moments are burned so deeply in my brain and into my heart. even in the midst of massive emotional turmoil, extreme pain, and sleep deprivation - the waves of seconds that swelled into hours that built up to the moment my little boy arrived are still in vibrant colors swimming around in my memory. even clearer than my wedding day - because i suppose, a wedding day isn't the day you fall in love. but this day, these moments, love and introduction collide and your world explodes.

i mean, there is nothing, nothing like becoming a mother. i feel as time has passed, and i have grown into this role thrust upon me - i can say it with even more honesty. there is nothing, nothing like becoming a mother. nothing.

to carry a being within your very own frame, bring them, a breathing soul, out from a deep place of pain, and then hold them at your breast (as all mothers do) for months as they become little, REAL people to stand and live on their own. i mean, it's absurd that the Lord has given such weak persons such grave responsibility. and that's why He is love, because He takes us on as partners and gives us the grace to lean on Him in the process.

and now back to the story:

i received the dreaded epidural with no problems. i was so disappointed, not as much in myself - as i knew deep down i had done everything i could to endure. i had been in labor for 32 hours. i hadn't slept for 45 hours. and i was fighting passing out, and making it through contractions induced by medicine- those that came in at a peak and left at a peak for 10-15 second "rests" in between. i knew i couldn't go any longer. i was disappointed in the turn of events. that's where my emotion was directed. this was not as planned. this wasn't very fair. and i wasn't understanding why my body was battling the process.

once my medicine kicked in, my blood pressure dropped (naturally, as you can imagine would happen when medicine that paralyzes your bottom half is administered) and the anesthesiologist said he wanted to give me adrenaline. at this point, my calm and collected husband takes center stage.

he, at first, calmly asked, "will that effect the baby?"

to which the doctor responded, "oh no, not at all. it won't even get to the baby..." (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! that is absolutely false. so ridiculous.)

ricky then stood up out of his chair, and i remember this so clearly, and says to the doctor (and all the nurses, and anyone who would listen)... "No. No! We have been fighting with you and your staff since we arrived at this hospital. We did not want medication, and we were practically forced into doing that which we did not want to. We did not want pitocin, but you said we had to get it, over and over. That pitocin lead us into the epidural, which we did not want, and now this epidural is trying to take us into another drug. we don't want it. "

the anesthesiologist looked at ricky and simply said, "ok." - as if it wasn't a big deal either way - which shows how unnecessary some interventions are. my blood pressure eventually went back to normal as my body adjusted to the medicine of the epidural.

soon after that confrontation, i knocked out - the type that ushers you into an immediate deep sleep - the deepest sleep my body may have ever seized. in the bed of rest the epidural had created, my exhausted mind curled up and relaxed.

i woke up about an hour and half later, around 4:30 AM to be checked on my progress. though my body couldn't feel it, the monitor told me i was still going through intense contractions and hopefully there had been progress. by this point "c-sections" were being mentioned every time a nurse or doctor came in. things better start moving along, or they would need to get him out (due to meconium stain and water breaking 35+ hours ago, longggg past their 12 hour deadline). I was at 8cm and 80% dilation, which was exciting because things were happening.

after this checkup, i put on our ipod and listened to jason upton. i remember this moment so clearly, as it was one of the most peaceful times in that hospital room.

during the entire morning, i was readjusting my position to try and help readjust amos' position to get him moving down. my heart rate kept decelerating (which i believe was normal) and they kept insisting on putting an oxygen mask on me (pretty frustrating)...

By 10AM I was checked and found to have made some more progress, though small, by being at 9cm dilated and still 80% effaced. The slow progress confirmed what my doula has been telling us that Amos was either OP or OT, turned to the right or left, or turned toward my belly. We began to try and move me around even more to get Amos to turn properly. By this time the doctors were giving us strict deadlines on my progress. If I was not in a place to push within 30 minutes, I would need a c-section.

At this point we enlisted everyone to pray, via text, and started calling Amos into a proper position.

By around noon, I still hadn't progressed, and we kept convincing the doctors to give us a little more time ("30 more minutes, please, and we'll see if he's moved.") and they kept reluctantly agreeing. I was feeling my contractions again, but nothing was compared to prior to my epidural so it seemed rather easy.

At 1 PM, the doctor could feel Amos and confirmed he was facing to my side and could not come out unless he turned. We prayed and prayed and prayed!

By 2:45 Amos had turned, but decided to turn face up which would make my pushing/delivery much more difficult, but we rejoiced that we were given more time to deliver him naturally. I felt such relief at this point because he was finally in a position, that we knew of, that could lead to him coming into the world!

By 3:30 PM I FINALLY started pushing, and to be honest, pushing with an epidural is just the worst scenario ever. A woman was meant to fully feel her contractions and push with them, not "kind of" feel them. I wish I would had been able to find a better position, as I think it would have made it go faster, but the Lord took care of us anyway - even in the last position I ever wanted to push in - my back.

(also - can you imagine, without my epidural i would have still been fighting through my contractions throughout the entire next day!!! i would not have made it, and the Lord was kind to have let me 'give up' that night. i would have definitely not had enough energy to keep through them for 15 more hours AND push.)

i remember pushing the clearest, as i pushed for 2 hours and 45 minutes. i remember so vividly as ricky held one of my legs, and a nurse my other - as amos slowly (and i mean slowwwwwwwly) made his way out. i asked over and over again with such stress in my voice, "am i doing it right? is he coming?!" - i just did not understand what to do to make it go faster. minutes turned into hours and i was sucking out every bit of energy i had gotten from that hour and half nap.

and in the midst the nurses and doctor and ricky encouraged me, and we made it through. i'm not sure how much longer they would have let me push before they intervened, but i am SO thankful to God Amos was able to be born naturally without any intervention (c-section, etc.) for his delivery. i don't know how we did it, but we did.

and there he was - facing up and seeing bright light for the first time in all his existence --- out into the world and on my chest. 5:42 PM. my son.

this part was very much a blur. he was not crying and was pretty docile looking - they immediately had ricky cut his chord and sweeped him away. i was terrified, but they assured me he would be okay - he had just come from a very difficult labor and needed some time. (i have since attended a home birth where the baby did not cry nor do much for almost 10 minutes, and they peacefully rubbed her back and waited for her to open up her lungs. how different hospitals are verses mid-wives/home births. i wonder if that moment of fear was necessary, but now these details seem so insignificant as i have a healthy little boy).

when he was given back to me moments later it was as if the huge wave, crescendoing and building for over 2 days released and covered our little family. i looked at ricky, and he looked at me, and we stared down at our little white, blonde haired boy. his little almond eyes, swollen from his journey, peered open and we saw their blueness in the hospital light. his arms moved jerkily, as if still pushing against the fluid within my womb - and his fingers stretched out to feel the air rush in between them. this was his beginning.

here he was - skin and bones, a beating heart, he had survived 2 days of feeling the pressures of my body try and bring him forth. i had survived. we had made it through. and we would make it through. carried and propelled by the grace of God. He had brought me here and would faithfully bring us to the end.

these moments were the calm after the storm. amos' fresh skin against my own. he was alert and within the first hour crawled up my belly and latched onto my breast. he fed well from the moment he started. the ease i didn't feel since our process had begin, even within my pregnancy, entered the room like a sweet scent. he ate well. he was healthy and whole.

this was our new life.


(read the play by play of the birth here, written from the perspective of my doulah.)

coming soon: our first days in the hospital, coming home, breastfeeding, and what i would change next time around.

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(would love a vote from you today, thank you.)


FAQ // thrift SUCCESS

Shirt, shoes, and purse all thrifted. OH THE GLORIES!*
[correction! shoes from ms. tips vintage.]

I had a great morning thrifting (Amos made it through 3 different stores + Michaels!) and I've spent Amos' nap doing things around the house and some computer tasks that needed to be done. I'm excited for Ricky to get home this evening, as I have a family craft planned.

*PS those pictures are not from today, because trust me - i woke up early and threw on a sweatshirt (with lace on it, at least) and my hair into a pony. early morning thrift store trips with a toddler look scary. i posted this because 1/2 my outfit was thrifted. WOOOOOOOOOOO cheap stuff!!!

*PSS I'm embracing the camera here.


I'm adding a FAQ to my blog, with some questions I have received from readers (and a couple I added in case someone ever wanted to ask!). Before I posted it as a tab, I wanted to post it for everyone. Does anyone else have any questions? Leave them as a comment or email me at seetheskyline@gmail.com and I'd love to answer them for you!

What type of camera and lenses do you use?

I most often use my iPhone4. For my real photography needs (and you can tell the difference!) I use a Canon EOS 40D with a Canon 50mm lens - the cheapest version. I also use a Canon zoom lens, 28-90mm. We found our camera on craigs list for a sweet deal. I also use a Holga once in awhile.

What is your parenting philosophy?

I plan to write about this more, but I have (non-intentionally) grown into the method of "attachment parenting." I didn't read any books, but over time realized that is what I feel most comfortable doing as a mother. I believe mothering should be a natural overflow of the personality God gave you. If a mom thrives on schedules and a lot of order, that is what the Lord knew her children needed. If your a little more "go with the flow", your child will benefit under your laid-back nature.

Nursing on demand, co-sleeping (half the night) lots of holding, baby wearing, baby lead food introduction, etc. was what worked with Amos as a baby and I as a mom. It's not the perfect way for everyone, and there are a lot of times I wish he slept all night in a crib - but this is what we do. :)

Where do you attend church?

We are part of a family located in City Heights in San Diego called All Peoples. If you are in the area, come visit!

What is your job?

I am a shop owner and graphic designer over at See the Skyline on etsy. But most of all, I'm a wife & a mom. (oh, and a blogger too!)

Can you design something for me?

Yes! I am open to any design requests. I have worked with 2 major organizations as a graphic designer, and have designed for friends, brides, parents, and more! I have experience in tee-shirt design, web banners, web buttons, logos, book covers, pamphlets, wedding programs/menus/invitations/save-the-dates/etc, custom maps, album art, and more! Feel free to email me at seetheskyline@gmail.com and I can give you a quote.

Can I advertise on your blog?

Yes, of course! Head on over here to find out more.

Where did you work/live before San Diego?

I grew up in Belleville, Illinois - a small town right outside of St. Louis, Mo. I lived for a brief while in Plymouth, Michigan with my best friend Brittany and was a part of their local house of prayer. I then moved to a small town (barely a town!) in East Texas to work with a ministry called Teen Mania Ministries and attended the Honor Academy. I worked as a graphic designer and small group leader there. I then moved to Kansas City, Missouri to be apart of the International House of Prayer and worked on staff doing graphic design and PR work for TheCall. During this time I met my husband Ricky, got engaged and moved to San Diego to plan a wedding and get married 6 months later! Here I am. :)

Where do you shop for Amos?

Find out where a lot of his clothes come from on this post.

What diapers and baby products do you use?

I wrote a big post about that here.

Why do you blog?

Rambled on and on about that here.

Who made Amos' first birthday and birth video?

Amos' amazing birthday video and birth video were created by my brother-in-law. You can email him to inquire about video work (he lives in San Diego county, but is willing to travel!) at mmuniz84@gmail.com.

It seems like you travel so much with Amos, even when he was very small. How do you do it?

All the tricks of the trade are found on this post I wrote.

Feel free to email me any other questions you have! I'd love to chitchat -- seetheskyline@gmail.com.

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*thanks for the votes! we are holding steady on page 1. 
i'm so grateful for your support.

high on thrifting since 2nd grade.

So, I don't usually do these linking up things, but I just LOVED this concept because I've been a thrifting mad woman lately. Mostly because it gets us out of the house, and only ends up costing less than $20 (more like less than five bucks). I grab an iced coffee (I'm back on a coffee kick, and I wish I wasn't) - and find treasures. I get in routines of what I'm looking for. Lately it's been: books for Amos, shirts/shoes for Amos, and crafting supplies.

This week I got some sweet items. I'm in a city with more thrift stores than I could even visit in a year - and I'm learning the good (and cheap) ones. We have a downtown goodwill with an entire loft bookstore with a children's area and it is INCREDIBLE. We hang out up there, and read books at least once a week. I like it better than the library because Amos can be loud.

I snatched up tons of books for Amos - I didn't even get to gather them all up to photograph. There is some sort of bible story set I got my hands on, and there's 2 or 3 more not pictured. I also found a clipboard I want to hang with an illustration on it, a sweet tray (trying to change the color theme of my kitchen), and a antique wire basket to organize our bags of coffee beans.

And then of course 3 shirts for Amos at about a quarter a piece - and a power range tee, which is funny because Amos has never in his life seen power rangers, but I like him in yellow, and he needs some graphic tees in his wardrobe. Poor guy is drowning in stripes.

and here is my coffees in their baskets. and don't buy that dunkin donuts mocha mint coffee because it is disgusting.

and that's all of today, folks!

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