All posts by lisamuccio

I'm a wife, mom, and wedding coordinator. I am passionate about marriages, families, and individuals succeeding and being their very best!

G’s Birth Story

This is G’s birth story as told to her in the journal I kept while pregnant with her.

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I woke up around midnight on March 15th with contractions. I spent some time in the bathroom and when I got back in bed started timing my contractions. They were feeling pretty intense. I couldn’t lie down through them so I sat on the edge of the bed. They were two and a half minutes apart. I got on my hands and knees on the floor then went back to the bathroom and that’s when I called your dad out of bed to tell him I thought I was in labor. He thought we should call Christina, the midwife, right away because my contractions were so close together. When I called I found out she was already at the birth center with another woman in labor. She told me to call back when I was ready to come in.

At that point I got in the shower and labored through contractions on my hands and knees while your dad timed my contractions and called my mom. They both thought we should go to the birth center. So your dad and grandma got together the last minute things and we headed there. I sat facing backwards in the front seat on my knees “hugging” the headrest while your dad drove crazy fast so I didn’t have to be in the car long :)

Once we got to Birthways around 2 A.M. we found out I was 4-5 centimeters dilated. We were so excited! Then I got in the tub and eventually your dad got in with me because it was easier for him to massage or put pressure on my back. A few hours later (around 5 A.M. I think) I was dilated to 6-7 centimeters. I told Christina I wanted her to give me a time that I’d have you by. She said I’d have a baby this morning and that I was progressing faster than the other mom. I was happy with how fast I was progressing but I was definitely watching the clock. Your dad told me to stop.

Well fast forward about 10 hours and I’m still at 6-7 centimeters because you would not get into the correct position! Your back was on my right instead of at my front. I was trying all different positions through the contractions and you just didn’t want to turn. We had people praying, and we were praying and doing all we could but nothing seemed to be working. I was trying not to despair wondering why God didn’t seem to be answering our prayers. I felt like I was in the biggest mental battle of my life, but your dad was right there with me fighting the hopelessness that was trying to overtake me. Finally, your dad and I went into the bathroom to labor for probably an hour or more and while in there he told me to just give in to the contractions. He said something changed in me while we were in the bathroom and later your grandma said so too. Josh said I started moving and vocalizing with the contractions; I wasn’t “scared” of them anymore. I was doing big hip circles through every contraction.

When we went back to the birth room I was laying over a birth ball on the bed, and all of a sudden I started saying over and over, “She’s coming. She’s coming.” I just knew you were coming. It was like in prayer when the Holy Spirit gives me something specific to pray and I know so strongly that it’s from the Lord that I just keep saying it over and over. I don’t know how else to explain it. That’s when my contractions got to the worst point and I was moaning very loudly. We had Christina check me and I was at 8 centimeters! She said we could break my water to help me dilate more. I said yes please! So I lay down on the bed and there was a big gush of warm fluid. The very next contraction I went to 9 centimeters. Why hadn’t we done this sooner?!

At this point I was begging Christina to let me back in the tub because I HATED having contractions while laying on my back. She said I could but only for a little bit. While I was in the tub I started getting the urge to push and the birth assistant said to try not to because I wasn’t fully dilated. That was impossible! When you’re body is pushing, you cannot stop it! So Christina came back into the room and had me get on the bed. I had just a lip of cervix left so she held it back while I pushed. Then she had me continue pushing until we could really see your head. That’s when she allowed me back in the tub to push. When we all first saw the top of your head we got so excited that you had hair, because we didn’t want you to be completely bald!

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Your dad got in with me and I just hung onto him while I pushed through every contraction. During each contraction your head would move forward a little bit more and I would try to support and help everything stretch down there. Your dad reached down to feel your head and he was AMAZED. I agree, it was so crazy to reach down and feel your head and know we were going to see you very soon! IMG_2265

It got to a point where it was stinging badly and I thought I was going to tear and Christina told me to push your head towards my back. That helped. But it still hurt during the contractions. Then all of the sudden Christina told me your head was out and I said, “Her head’s out?!” I wasn’t even able to feel that it had come out. So I knew on the next contraction the rest of you should come out easily. Well, I still had to push just as hard and long but you did come out! You were just floating in the water between me and your dad and the midwife said, “Reach down and pick up your baby, Lisa.” IMG_1236

I saw you floating there and I was in shock. I reached down and lifted you out of the water. I was in complete awe of how beautiful you were. You had such big, beautiful blue eyes and you were so alert! I pulled you to my chest and leaned back in the tub and your dad lay next to me and your grandma was crying. We couldn’t take our eyes off of you. We stayed in the tub for probably 20 minutes just savoring everything. You were born at 6:53 PM. I birthed the placenta shortly thereafter and your dad just thought it was so cool. He got to cut your umbilical cord after it stopped pulsating and then he held you for the first time while I was helped out of the tub. You looked so tiny in his arms and on his big chest.

IMG_2273I got on the bed and began nursing you for the first time while the midwife stitched the 2 small tears I had received. Your dad was next to me and then everyone left so we could have some time just the 3 of us as a family. Your dad and I talked about the whole experience. We were in complete amazement of everything that had happened. Josh kept telling me over and over how proud he was of me and how amazing I was. Your birth definitely brought us closer together in a way that nothing else could. I was so proud of how amazing your dad did through all 19 hours of labor. He supported me 100% the entire time. He pushed on my back through every contraction. He told me he believed in me, that I am a strong woman, and that I was doing a fantastic job. I could NOT have done it without him.

IMG_2291After our time together as a little family, your Poppa was finally allowed in to see you. He’d been anxiously waiting all day. Then your Grandpa Sommers came in. Both grandfathers cried. Eventually everyone came in to see you and hold you. They commented on how alert you were and we said, “It’s because she wasn’t drugged!” I realized later what a natural high I had too. I was so joyful and talkative. I was laughing and making jokes. All of this after 19 hours of intense labor and no food. They had tried to get me to eat or drink something besides water during labor because I was getting weak, but I didn’t want to! I had 2 bites of peanut butter, a bite of cheese, and a couple sips of cranberry juice. So at this point I was ready to eat and I did!

After all your visitors left I went to take a shower with the help of the birth assistant, and Dad held you while they gave you a vitamin K shot. Then he dressed you in the same outfit I wore home from the hospital when I was born. Finally around midnight, about 5 hours after you were born, we buckled you into your carseat and left to go home. It had been almost a full 24 hours since we left the house.

Your birth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I felt so empowered and so strong and capable. I absolutely do not regret choosing to have you drug free and outside of a hospital. I know it was what was best for both of us, because things would have gone a lot differently if I was in a hospital with an epidural. It’s VERY likely I would have had a c-section and I would have never gotten to experience those first beautiful moments with you. God led us to go all natural, and he was SO faithful to give me the grace I needed to do it.
One of the meanings for your name is God is Gracious… how fitting :)

Divorce from your Child’s Perspective

Let me begin by saying it’s very possible and probable that there are persons who will choose to be offended by what I write here. Specifically, my parents, siblings, or other family members. It is not my intention in the least to hurt anyone. If I can make even one person rethink that divorce is an option, then it will be worth the trouble I could potentially stir up.

Divorce. It’s a word that is not allowed in our marriage. Josh and I made that promise early on. Never – and I mean NEVER is that word used as a threat against the other person. Divorce is not something we take lightly. With good reason. We both come from divorced families. We don’t want to put our children through the crap we had to go through. Or continue to go through.

Our stories are very different. Today I speak to you from mine, but please don’t assume I’m naive enough to believe that my perspective accurately portrays all divorces or that some divorces don’t seem like the best idea for the children. Obviously, if your children are in physical danger that’s a different story. However, too many people today convince themselves the grass is greener on the other side. Divorce will be better than staying with their spouse. And I’m telling you right now: It won’t. It will not be better for you or your children. You know what’s good for your children? Seeing their parents fight for their marriage, battling to make it stronger. Showing your children THEY are worth the fight. If you don’t love your spouse or even yourself enough to fight for your marriage, do you love your kids enough to fight for it?

When you choose to divorce your spouse, you are choosing a divorce for your whole family. I don’t care how many good reasons you can come up with as to why a divorce will benefit your family. You will never be able to foresee all of the pain and worry it will cause your children. It will absolutely affect the person they become in more ways than you can imagine. It will absolutely affect your relationship with them. Negatively.

But Lisa, you don’t know my story.

You’re right. But I know mine. And I beg you. Please don’t make your child suffer the heartache that comes with divorce. Choosing sides. The pressure to make sure both parents feel equally loved – always trying not to show one parent or one family more attention than the other. Probably more than anything else, I’ve  felt the strain and the pressure of trying to please everyone. My dad. My mom. My stepdad. My (now ex-) stepmom. It’s just not humanly possible to please everyone. And honestly, it’s just not fair to do that to your kid. It has totally influenced the person I’ve become today. I am by nature a people pleaser, and I fight it all the time. All. the. time. I hate it.

Divorce from your Child's Perspective

I did not choose divorce. You did. And when you chose divorce, you chose to make me choose. You chose to make me choose between holidays with your family or the other – vacation time, school breaks, weekends, birthdays, weddings, graduations. Every time I choose I am forced to hurt someone. When I accept one parent I am by default rejecting the other. And that just sucks. I have to feel the guilt and regret of hurting the people I love most in this world.

I think sometimes my parents tried to hide the hurt. At other times they couldn’t help but show it. When someone hurts you, you want them to know. I don’t blame them for that. But it was their choice that put us all in this position. And if you choose divorce I can guarantee you will be putting your kids in that same position. Essentially, you will be forcing them to hurt you… And that will hurt them too.

There are moments throughout my life that replay in my mind – actions of mine that completely unintentionally hurt my parents. And they mar what should be happy memories of my life’s most significant events. I’m sure there were times too when my parents were hurt and never showed it. I’m always left to wonder if my actions, my choices are hurting someone I love.

Has it gotten better through the years? Yes. Have I learned how to navigate life with 2 families? Yes. But once the path of divorce has been chosen, it is chosen. You cannot escape it. The after effects will last until you leave this earth. Even once your kids are grown, there will be grandkids. Your children will once again be forced to choose.

I want you to know that my life is not some terrible, horrible thing. I am very blessed. The Lord can take the bad and use it for good. He certainly has done that in my life. I have a wonderful stepfather and wonderful step- and half-siblings who all would not be in my life had my parents stayed together. And I am so very grateful for them. I can’t imagine my life without these people. I’ve never known any other life. I’ve never known a life where there was one mom and one dad and one family. But oh, how I long for it. And OH, how I will fight for that for my children! Because I’ve seen the other side, and I will tell you the grass is not greener. It is a rotten brown where a few precious flowers have sprung up. If I were you, I’d stick with the lawn I have. A little maintenance on your part is a lot better than uprooting your kids and dumping them in an empty lot.

Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins

And they are healthy! Boom! How did that happen? I have no idea. I have tried to make pumpkin muffins and bread so many times before and they were never pumpkin-y enough. or moist enough. Or they just lacked flavor and Oomph, ya know? I had resigned myself to paying for a Starbucks Pumpkin loaf because nothing else that I made ever hit the spot.

Enter the Spelt Pumpkin Muffin.IMG_7743

Ta-daaaa!

It is the best pumpkin muffin I’ve ever made. So soft and moist. Perfect flavor. and light. (If you want dense, go for the Starbucks loaf).

So here’s how it happened. I stumbled upon the 100daysofrealfood blog. Check it out. Good stuff. All about cutting out processed food. I’ve made the whole wheat muffins twice. And they’re good, but whole wheat is a strong flavor. My kid eats them and loves them though, so I’ll keep experimenting. A healthy snack is a healthy snack. Plus, with an iced coffee, it works. But when I saw the pumpkin muffin recipe that calls for Whole Spelt flour I was intrigued. Milder flavor, she says? Oh yeah! These muffins taste better than any pumpkin recipe I’ve tried using all purpose flour. And instead of sugar – honey!

I’m eating deliciousness, and it’s not bad for me!!!

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Here’s the thing: I added my own extra little topping. It’s like the icing on the cake. The muffin would be incomplete without it. (Personally, I think all muffins should have a topping. Don’t you?)

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This little beauty is topped with Trader Joe’s honey roasted sliced almonds and a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar. Not healthy? Whatever. I’m all for eating sugar in moderation. If this isn’t moderation, I don’t know what is!

So you probably have a few questions, like what is spelt? Basically it’s an ancient whole grain. Been around forever. It’s a type of wheat.

Why is it good for me? Because it’s not processed and refined like a white flour so you’re body actually gets nutrients from it.

And THAT is the purpose of food. To give our body nutrients. When food is delicious, AND my body is actually benefitting from it, I am a very happy girl :)

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RECIPE

yields 12 muffins

  • 1½ cups whole spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 -2 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds (honey roasted or plain)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.
  2. Using a whisk or fork mix together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, honey, and melted butter. Incorporate the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a little at a time using a spatula (or spoonula). Mix together until well combined. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Do not overmix.
  4. Scoop the batter into the muffin pan so it’s evenly distributed. (
  5. Top with sliced almonds and cinnamon sugar. You may want to use 2 tsp of cinnamon sugar if using plain almonds.
  6. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 – 20 minutes.
  7. Enjoy with an iced coffee! Store at room temperature or freeze for later.

 

Flip Flop Themed Pool Party

12 Year old birthday parties… oh the awkward middle school years. Actually, I think my awkward years lasted through high school. Wait. This thought JUST came to me: What if I’m still in my awkward years and no one has told me!?!

I’ll examine that later.

So this here is a short little inspiration post for an after school party.

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My sister is 12. Yeah I know – big age gap. She started Kindergarten the same year I started college.

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Anyway, for her birthday she had a bunch of girls come home with her one Friday after school. My mom owns a Ford Excursion so check off transportation for small army of screaming tweens. We had individual servings of snacks and drinks waiting for them when they arrived.

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Snacks

Layered Chip Bag: 4 different snacks layered in one bag. Kettle corn is on top, but hiding underneath were pretzels, Doritos, and maybe some Sun Chips or Lays. Totally your choice. Make it good. We trimmed brown paper bags with some fancy scissors and mom found the flip flops at a party store. Enter double-sided tape. Done.

Veggie Cup: This was a big hit. NOT. We tried to be healthy, but with no parents there to make them eat their veggies, they of course did not. A little bit of ranch in the bottom. Sliced cucumbers, carrots, and cauliflower. And they totally coordinated with the flip flops on our snack bags!

Drinks

Limonada: (Spanish for Lemonade) Kidding. There was nothing Spanish about it. Unless you count the straws. They look like they could be from some touristy destination in Cancun or somewhere. Want to add instant fun to your lemonade? Add some syrup options. We had raspberry, but blackberry is my all time favorite in Lemonade. Ah-mazing! You can pick these up for under $5 at Sam’s Club or order them online.

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Activities

Most of the activities were outside. It IS a pool party after all! They played volley ball and basketball until they got sweaty enough to jump in the pool. However, there was one activity my mother and I slaved over.

Fabric Flip Flop Craft:

Step 1) Buy a bunch of cheap flip flops in different colors and sizes and an assortment of fabrics. We tried to pick a mix of solid and patterned that would all mostly coordinate.

Step 2) Painstakingly cut fabric into strips approximately 1″ by 5″

Step 3) Return flip flops and hope to find another use for fabric strips when girls are too busy playing outside all night to ever do the craft!

Lesson learned: Planning lots of crafts and activities for kids (or even ourselves) is great and fun, but sometimes we underestimate the value of “just playing outside” or “just being with friends”.

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I Said Yes

Five years ago from today Josh asked me if I would “give us a try”. I still remember sitting across from him outside a local coffee shop with only the light from the window to illuminate our table. I can remember the plaid shirt he was wearing and the outfit I had on – a twirly skirt – perfect for the swing dancing “lessons” we had just come from that had become all the rage on our college campus.

He had asked to talk with me earlier that Sunday afternoon. I knew what was coming… and yet I didn’t. I never could have known the vision that he would share for our relationship and how true he would remain to it years later.

As Josh shared his heart with me that night, he emphasized his desire to not stand in the way of my dreams. He wanted a relationship, but he didn’t want that to pull me away from the things God has called me to do. He knew of my desire to minister to women. He knew that I, along with 2 others, had just started planning a conference for the girls on our campus. And he knew that it was only the beginning of all I want to do.

As Josh spoke, a hundred different thoughts were flying through my head, but one word just kept coming up over and over. Treasure. “Treasure,” I thought. “I have found a Treasure in this man,” and “This man is to be treasured.”

At that time Josh had no big ideas for what he wanted to do in the future. And I was bursting with them – BIG ideas. I think of how intimidating that could potentially be for a man. Josh was not intimidated by my dreams – he only encouraged them. He still does. He challenges me to take the steps, big or small, that will lead me to fulfilling my purpose on this earth. God knew I would need that, and Josh does a fantastic job of it – not only with his words, but with his actions. Josh has dreams now too. BIG ones :) and he goes after them! I am inspired to go after my dreams as I watch Josh wholeheartedly go after his.

Everybody needs an encourager in their life. A dream builder. Someone who will believe in them. There will always be people to tear down your dreams – including yourself at times. You’ve got to have that person who will cheer for you, challenge you, and speak life into your dreams.

So as I sat at that little wrought iron table in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a man who desired to encourage the potential inside of me, I knew without a doubt that I had to “give us a try”. This man was too much of a treasure to pass up.

Joshua Muccio, thanks for asking :)
At some point in our dating relationship we changed our mantra from “Let’s Give Us a Try” to “Let’s do this, and let’s do it well!” And we are doing it!

Comments

Hello all. I’d like to apologize. For some reason I was not getting any of your comments on my posts and so I seemed to be ignoring you. That is not the case. I’m sorry it appeared that way. 
Here are a few pictures of my precious GEM…

more to come…

Our Ski Trip to Steamboat

Just wanted to share a few photos from our trip to Colorado. I tried to post from my phone while I was there and encountered some glitches so maybe you’ll see that post later… or not.
We had a fantastic time! We went with Brandon’s family. It was relaxing for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with G while the others hit the slopes. However, on the last day Brandon’s parents babysat G so that Josh and Brandon could teach me how to ski. I mean, how could you go to the Rockies during ski season and not at least attempt it? I had a great time. Fell a lot, but laughed through it all :) Here are few photos from the trip…

 

 

 

 

 

How to Keep your Freshly Painted Nails Lookin’ Pretty

Why have I never thought of this before? I am always messing up my nails after I paint them. Never again though! I’ve discovered a brilliant solution… without trying to. Effortless brilliance – has a nice ring to it, does it not?

Here is my effortlessly brilliant solution: PAINT ONE HAND AT A TIME. Yep that’s it. Paint one hand. Let it dry. Paint second hand. Let it dry. While one hand dries, just use the other.


I think this idea deserves two thumbs up – but only one at a time ;)

Seriously… I feel like it’s so simple surely someone else must have already though of it. Have you? Is that how you keep your manicure lookin good? Or is there some other trick I don’t know about?

lovelisa

Unexpected Spring Blossoms

My tulips are blooming!

Josh bought me the tulip bulbs a week or 2 ago and we’ve been watching them grow, patiently waiting for flowers to appear. We were so busy all weekend, I didn’t pay them much attention. Yesterday afternoon I was pleasantly surprised to see them blooming!

Healthy Fruit & Nut Couscous

I just have to share this recipe. It’s about as healthy as you can get and it is SO good. No added sugars, whole wheat couscous, plus dried fruit and nuts. It makes a great breakfast, but you can eat it anytime and probably even use it as a side dish in a meal. I enjoy it because it’s kind of like an alternative to oatmeal, but BETTER! (mostly because the cous cous is like chewy little pasta balls :) Yum!

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat couscous
  • Dried apricots (unsulfured)
  • Almonds (or any nuts you prefer)

Prepare the couscous according to the package directions. I make 1 cup which equals 2 to 2.5 cups when cooked and can be used for a couple days.

Toast the almonds. You can do this in a dry skillet on the stove, but I do it in a toaster oven for about 7 minutes. You’ll know they’re toasted when you can smell them. (I also toast a bunch at one time and store them in a container)

Chop the dried apricots and almonds and mix into the couscous.

For one serving of couscous I use 2-3 apricots and 4-6 almonds. I just keep the prepared couscous in the fridge so I don’t have to make it on the stove each morning. Then I mix in the fruit and nuts each morning so I can change it daily! You can eat this at any temperature, but I like it best when it’s hot.

Enjoy! 


Other variations to try:
dried cranberries and walnuts
cashews and dried strawberries
fresh fruit
try incorporating 2 or 3 kinds of fruit with 2 or 3 kinds of nuts

lovelisa