Thursday, April 30, 2009

Show Off

This past Monday, we had the distinct pleasure of having Adeline with us for the day. She has made quite an impression on Linus and he loves to say her name and point out her picture on the fridge. I must say that Miss Adeline is, by far, one of the most easy-going two year-olds I've ever met.

At six months his senior, Linus thinks she's pretty special.
Older woman.
I know.

In December, he was all about a younger woman, so we'll have to see how it all pans out.

It didn't take long for Linus to start what we've coined his "Feats of Strength and Speed" for Adeline. Whoever said that wanting to impress a girl was a learned quality? I think not.

To begin, Linus spent some time flexing his muscles. Please take note of the vocalizations.

Then, he tried to win Adeline's approval by saying her name.

Finally, Linus whizzed past Adeline with his amazing speed. If you listen closely, you will hear a proud papa's comment about his son.

As you can see, Adeline was really impressed.

Girl crazy at 20 months? Are you kidding me?
I think we're in for it.
Big time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


This past Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect day to break out the bubbles. We did it up right for a loooooong time. I had fun with the manual setting on our camera, as well. I took over 60 pictures! As you can see, I had a hard time choosing just a few to share.

Amelie and Linus spent most of the time chasing the bubbles that Daddy produced.

Violet spent most of the time patiently getting the hang of the whole bubble blowing thing. Her perseverance is something I admire.

I know I'm partial, but could she be any cuter?
And this one too!

Linus' bubble blowing usually involved the eating of bubble solution. Yum.

Still at it.

The most handsome blower of bubbles I know. Yes, even in the wife beater.
Amelie decided to lounge while she blew bubbles.

Violet decided to join her to make it a lounging bubble party.

Linus decided to crash said party.

It was decided near the end of our bubble time that it might not be the best idea for Linus to "blow" bubbles in his Sunday best.
So off came the church shirt.
And the laundry fairy can attest to its stain-freeness.

It was the perfect way to top off Duncan's birthday weekend.
Man, I love my family!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On Mental Health (Part 1)

My mental health history is...interesting. I've recently made another marked improvement, probably in large part to a dosage increase of my medication, and have been considering how best, and how much, to share this part of my life here on Tulipa Murillo. This is a big reason as to why things have been so quiet around here. Other blog worthy things pale in comparison to this topic. I know there are more readers of whom I'm unaware. And since connecting my blog to Facebook, there are folks out there that I may not know too well that read the blog. So how vulnerable do I choose to be? I'm keenly aware, from personal experience, that we can take great comfort while learning of the struggles of others--by witnessing how others have worked out and made it through rough patches. And so I've decided to lay it all out. Raw and exposed. In hopes that my struggles will be a help, an encouragement, a blessing even, to others. So here goes.

First, for a little history. My junior year of college, the fall of 1996, I had what could be considered a bit of a breakdown. I continued to remain functional, got decent grades even, but was going out of my mind with irrational anxiety. While I was never suicidal, I totally understood Paul when he said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians1:21) Through meeting with a wonderful psychiatrist at the student health center, I was put on Paxil and encouraged to seek counseling. After about a month, the Paxil kicked in and I felt normal again. I really wondered if I would EVER feel normal again, hence the reason that I longed for the end of my life on earth. But the Paxil really seemed to do the trick. I remained on the medication for a year and then weaned off of it. It was clear, however, that within a few months, I was struggling again. The irrational thoughts and fears started again. I had a mini breakdown and went back on the Paxil.

And there I remained, at varying doses, save for a brief interlude on Prozac, for eight years. I was relatively healthy, would have small bouts with anxiety, but felt relatively well for years. I remained on Paxil, with the blessing of my ObGyn and my psychiatrist, through my pregnancies with Amelie and Violet.

And then a few key things occurred. The first thing was that I found out I was pregnant in January of 2007. Another thing was our change in health insurance so I could be at a different, closer-to-home, hospital for any future pregnancies. Anyone who was around for my pregnancy with Linus knows what a blessing that was! But with an insurance change came doctor changes too. Also, there were new findings in terms of using Paxil, and SSRIs in general, during pregnancy. There had always been a slight risk of a non-fatal heart defect. But now there was a known risk of pulmonary hypertension. This risk, while also slight, could cause the need for a heart and lung transplant for the baby. This was something that nobody, not my new ObGyn, my new psychiatrist, nor Duncan and I, wanted to play around with. Remaining on Paxil no longer seemed worth it.
Thus we began the process of weaning off of the Paxil. Even though I was already pregnant, the risk was present if I continued taking Paxil beyond the twentieth week of pregnancy. Since I was nearing week twenty, it was crucial, in everyone's mind, that I get the Paxil out of my system. So we began a quick, too quick, weaning process. Like two weeks quick. I tanked emotionally. I was a complete wreck. The main source (for me, there's always a main source) of my anxiety was Violet's (very minor) tear duct surgery. It involved general anesthesia and I was CONVINCED that she would have an adverse reaction and die. I was envisioning life without her. Her funeral. Morbid, I know. But this is what irrational anxiety does to someone!
I found comfort in (and still refer to it often) Psalm 139:16. " your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them." In other words, all of us have a certain number of days here on earth that was determined before we were even born. There is nothing that anyone can do to change that!

Unintentional, yet very important tanget:
This doesn't mean that death is easy or that it should be taken lightly. In fact, we weren't created to die. Death is a result of sin (Genesis 3:19, Romans 6:23) Therefore it is bad and hard and a curse. We all die, obviously. And this is because we are all under the curse of death, due to sin, because of the Fall. (Genesis 3) However also in Romans 6:23 it's stated that "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." This eternal life doesn't mean that our earthly, physical bodies will live forever. Rather that our souls can live forever if we have a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
THROUGH JESUS is how we gain eternal life.
Not by doing good works.
Not by being nice.
Not by "being good."
End of unintentional, yet very important tanget.

So, back to my story. I should also add that my new psychiatrist put me on Wellbutrin. This is a more depression-specific med and therefore didn't do much to touch my anxiety. It was my only option, however, because of the risks involved with SSRIs. Depression has been a struggle of mine over the years as well, but it's always been secondary to the anxiety.
Violet made it through the surgery without a hitch. I was relieved, but still had a sense of something looming over me. I was then able to focus my anxiety on my pregnancy. And was it ever anxiety-enducing! I was diagnosed with complete placenta previa, with a high risk of placenta accreta (due to my two previous c-section deliveries) at 27 weeks. This remained the focus of my anxiety until Linus was born. It was plenty, I tell you! If you really want to know all of the details, or if you need a refresher, you can read parts I, II, III and IV of my account of pregnancy with and delivery of Linus. It's compelling stuff, I tell you!

I guess this has become a series, because I've certainly written enough for one post. In a future post, I'll share about the main source of my anxiety over the last year and half or so. You can hardly wait, I'll bet!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Duncan's Birthday

This past Saturday was Duncan's 35th birthday. Two nights before, I surprised him with a dinner out with friends. It was a blast!
As for his actual birthday? What he really wanted was to spend it as a family.
The girls and I went out when they woke up (anytime after 6am these days) to get bagels. When we got home, we did what we always do on a birthday morning in our house: opened presents!

Amelie's present was the biggest surprise. She told me she wanted to make Daddy a baseball stadium. So she and I worked together to create this baseball game, complete with bases, players, a bat, and a ball. Quite ingenious, I'd say!
Duncan and the girls gave it a try while I got breakfast ready.
Then we headed to Quiet Waters Park for the morning.

We found a tiny little beach near the boat rental area.

I think Linus could have stayed there all day.

Good thing we're going to the beach in the middle of May!

Violet ate her lunch leaning up against a tree.

After lunch, we did a tad bit of grocery shopping and headed home. In the afternoon, Duncan and Amelie went to the bike shop to buy one of Duncan's presents. I had scoped it out, but Duncan needed to choose the rack and panniers he wanted for his bike. These should make biking to work much easier!
Later on, we had a dinner of meatloaf, french fries, asparagus and strawberries. And of course we had German chocolate cake for dessert--with homemade frosting! I'll never buy the canned stuff again!!
It was a wonderful day celebrating the most amazing man I know. Here's to many more, my love!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Peek at Things to Come

This was taken a few weeks ago on a warm afternoon. It made me SO EXCITED for this summer! Linus LOVES being outside as do his sisters.
I look forward to a lot of digging and running and playing and laughing!
I look forward to water and sand and bubbles and fireflies!
I look forward to Ritas dripping all over the place and sticky kids.
I look forward to going to the pool and dirty feet and Crocs every day and mosquito bites!
Err, ok, so I took it a little too far with the last one.
I'm just so excited for warmer weather! And I'm looking forward to all of the memory-making we'll do in our backyard. Can hardly wait, I tell ya!