Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1 month!!!

Already a month old?!
Days are going by fast!! Taking care of two babies is a pretty demanding job! Sleepless nights, crying in stereo, changing twice the amount of diapers... I look back and I laugh at myself when I thought that taking care of Bowen was a lot of work! I am pretty tired now, more than I was before, but I am still ready for whatever my boys need. It is amazing how much more you can still do for your family when you think there is not that much energy left.

Griffin just recently lost his hair and now looks like a bald old man!!
Last time we went to the pediatrician, the nurse told me he had gained 2 pounds so now he weighs 9 pounds (or more). His eyes look pretty blue right now, bluer than Bowen's eyes when he was a baby. We'll see if they stay like that or will get darker. He looks a lot like his dad. His lips are a little bit smaller, but he has Jeff's nose for sure.

I see how much he has been changing during these first weeks. He is now more aware of what's going on around him. He looks at me and pays attention to what I say. Sometimes he smiles and I can see how cute his face is going to be. He pinches hard when his stomach hurts. He makes all kind of sounds non stop, specially during the night. 

He couldn't be any cuter. I love him so much! I love his chubby cheeks, little nails, hairy ears, long eyelashes, little nose, cleft chin, tiny legs, round belly... He is just perfect.

I am lucky. Very lucky. I have two beautiful sons that fill my heart with love. I hope I am a good mom for them. I hope we'll have many many years ahead of hugs and kisses and laughs.

Until next month little monkey!!! Love you much!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

18 months!!

18 months! My baby is growing so fast!
I wish he could stay like this for a while. I love his cute smile and bright eyes.
He has a fun personality but in the last months he started showing a different side of him that is not that adorable! He has been throwing more tantrums, testing limits, challenging us... and since his brother came, he is also looking for more attention and pretends he is crying like his baby brother. He knows his mama can't devote all her time to him now and has been showing his disapproval.

We have been going through some adjustments. One of them was changing his nap schedule. He had been taking just one nap after lunch, but having two babies at home, and not sleeping enough during the night, made me reconsider his schedule and change it so I could get some rest. so, now, he is taking two naps most of the days, although it depends on how tired he is and how early he wakes up. These two naps have helped a lot. I have enough time to take care of the little one, do things around the house and rest and Bowen is less moody and throws less tantrums.

There was a big improvement in his communication skills. He added a few new words to his vocabulary and understands and follows commands... (most of the time).
The word he knows for sure is duck. Although his pronunciation sounds more like "dutz". Other words he says are: cow, dog, cat, tatn (elefante / elephant) abba (agua / water) shashas (gracias / thanks), oo, oo, oo!! (peekaboo and sneezing) ooo ooo (owl sound), oo oo oo oo (rooster sound)... Sometimes he sounds more like a monkey than a baby!!

He has 5 teeth and one more coming out.
He is running, climbing furniture and learning how to take his clothes off.
He is also brushing his teeth  playing with the toothbrush.
One thing he really knows how to use is my iPad. In fact, he became pretty addicted and I had to hide it from him to control or put some end to his tantrums. The only thing he doesn't know (yet) is my password, but once I unlock it, he is completely under control. He knows which one is his folder, how to open and close different apps, how to go through different pages... It is crazy how well he uses his little fingers and how fast he learns. (I will write about his favorite apps in another post).

 Happy 18 months chiquito!!! Love you!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

About birds...

This post is dedicated to my husband...
In a recent post, I said we had the bird theme going on at home.... and maybe because I am from the south of Spain I tend to exaggerate about things... or maybe the way I express and interpret things is a little bit more flexible and not 100% accurate...
Anyway... Jeff said we are not obsessed with birds, and I agree, but I definitely like birds.
These are most of the feathers we have flying around the house...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Meet Griffin

Griffin Grey Williams. Our beautiful second son was born on April 28th at 3:25am.

During my first pregnancy, I tried to be as prepared as I could. I read all kind of articles, watched documentaries, videos... I thought I had everything under control and I knew I wanted to bring my baby to this world in a natural way without medication. At the end, things didn't happened as I planned since Bowen was breech and I ended up having a c-section.

This time, I didn't want to plan anything. I didn't read much about VBACs, or worry about things that could happen during labor. I just kept one thought. I wanted to give birth without having the epidural.

The day Griffin was born, we went out to celebrate a friend and his daughter's birthday. That evening, my mother in law was coming home to stay with us until Griffin was born so she could help us taking care of Bowen while we were at the hospital.

A couple hours after she arrived, I told her I thought the baby was going to come that night. And boy I was right! A few hours later we were on our way to the hospital with contractions every three minutes.

Once we were at the hospital, contractions got stronger and stronger. It came to the point were I couldn't open my eyes and the only thing I could do was to focus on breathing and dealing with the pain. I was only 5 centimeters dilated when my body started shaking with every contraction and I couldn't control it or stop it.

We asked the nurse how long it would take to go from 5 to 10 and she said it could be like this for 6 more hours. As soon as I heard that I thought about the birthing class we took, I thought about those documentaries I watched... and I thought about my friend Mercedes. She told me once she had the epidural she could relax and enjoy the process with her husband. I thought I had nothing to prove. I didn't want to be in pain while waiting for my son. I wanted to be able to look at my husband, talk with him, and share this special time with him. I thought about the horrible stories people tell about csection and what a positive experience it was for me... I thought this time could be the same and maybe the epidural wasn't that bad after all...

I am glad I changed my mind. Once I had the epidural I felt immediately relieved. The pain was gone. I wasn't shaking anymore. I could breath, talk, laugh... and rest.

Pushing was also easier than I thought. I didn't know what I was doing or if I was pushing the right way but once the doctor arrived, I pushed 3 series of 3 pushes and Griffin was out!

I have given birth to two beautiful boys. They came to this world in their own unique way. My life and circumstances were also different. I didn't feel the same way during their pregnancies and I didn't feel the same after holding my babies for the first time. And I don't think it is a bad thing. I think it is good that each kid was different and special. I think it is good that I don't feel the same for both of them. I don't feel more or less for one or the other. I just feel different. Each one have their one love. They don't share the same love. I love them both with all my heart, but I love Bowen for being Bowen and I love Griffin for being Griffin.

After having Griffin in my arms, I feel our family is complete. Before being pregnant with him there was a question mark, like something wasn't done yet. I don't feel that anymore. I think we are done. Jeff, Bowen, and Griffin. Just perfect.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Butterfly Festival

This weekend we went to the Butterfly Festival at the Water Conservation Garden.

They had planned a lot of fun activities for kids and families and I thought it would be fun to join a couple friends and have our kids participating in the "Pollinator Parade"!! As you can imagine, kids have to dress up as pollinators to be part of the parade.

At first I was going to dress Bowen up as a bee, but then I thought it was going to be too typical. Also, just by looking at the name of this blog, you should know this family loves birds. We have the whole bird theme going on at home too, so Bowen couldn't be anything but a pollinator bird.
There are three pollinator birds: hummingbirds, honeyeaters and sunbirds.
They all look similar, but my favorite is the hummingbird.

So... I did a little bit of research and found this very easy tutorial on pinterest for the wings.

This is how I made Bowen's wings:
1) Measure the distance from the middle of the back to the fingers, and from the neck to the end of the back.
2) Cut the wings.
3) Cut the feathers.
4) Hot glue the feathers to the red felt.

The original tutorial attached the wings to a ribbon, but I was pretty sure he was not going to like that idea so I ended up sewing the wings to his tshirt.

When I glued the feathers to the wings I made a mistake and moved the feathers to a lower position. Because of this, I ran out of feathers and had to cut more. That's why the final product looks a little bit different than what you see in the picture above.

Well... after a few hours of cutting, gluing, and trying to keep my little bird busy so he wouldn't feel the need of "helping" his mom.... the wings were finished and ready for the "Pollinator Parade"!!

We had a lot of fun and Bowen enjoyed walking around with his buddy the "White Plume Moth".
Some people thought Bowen was a parrot, and I totally understand because his wings were very colorful, but come on!!! it's the Pollinator Parade!! I don't see any parrots pollinating flowers!!.. oh well... parrot, hummingbird, pride parade... it doesn't matter... I loved seeing him having fun, going up and down steps, touching flowers, etc...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Skills and Menu

During Bowen's 15-month check up, his pediatrician told me he should be already using utensils, waving and speaking.

It didn't take us too long to accomplish two of the tasks: waving and using utensils. Well, we are still working on these new skills, and he still needs a little bit of help, but it is an improvement!!

Because Bowen is learning how to feed himself, I have also changed a little bit the way he eats his food. I would say that 70% of what he used to eat was pureed food. The pediatrician told me his weight was below average so I thought that he would be getting more nutrients and food through purees than if he had to eat solid food. It was easier for both of us, he was finishing his meals faster, and he was eating a lot more vegetables and fruits in one meal.

Now, we are pretty much doing the opposite. Most of what he eats is solid, except yogurt and fruit. I am not a fruit person and the easiest way for me to give him fruit is through purees. I still try to introduce him to different fruits and flavours but lately he is refusing to eat even fruits that he liked before like blueberries, red grapes or watermelon.

So, in case this could give some ideas to other moms, or at least make them feel like they are not the only ones struggling, this is how we do it around here!

Breakfast: 7:30-8:00am
6oz whole milk
2-3 tablespoons of cheerios
toast with butter
6oz pureed fruit (banana, strawberry, mango, pear, apple, kiwi...)

* we eat pancakes, eggs and sausage on the weekends

Lunch: 12:00
Pasta with ricotta cheese and tomato sauce
Rice and veggies (mushroom, zucchini, carrots...)
Mashed potatoes and meat
1 yogurt (organic: pear, banana, mango or vanilla)

After nap Snack: 3:30-4:00

Dinner: 7:00
Meat (chicken or beef) and potatoes (mashed or fried)
Potato omelet
Grilled Fish
Lentil soup
1 yogurt (organic: pear, banana, mango or vanilla)

* This is just an example of how/what we eat at home, but not the only thing...!!
* I introduce Bowen to new flavours and give him fruit to try every day.
* He doesn't like milk much, but I am hoping he will drink more with time.

Friday, March 21, 2014

First Day of Spring!!

 We went to Balboa Park, hoping the Botanical Building would be open and we could take some cool pictures. Unfortunately, it was already close when we got there so we had to find some other places to explore.

Bowen loves balls, right? well... he also loves steps... and water.
He doesn't get tired of going up and down steps. Sometimes he walks... and falls, and others just slides like a seal. He is also very persistent and if sees water, he just wants to jump in without thinking about it twice.

He was putting his hands in the water and then licking his palms and clapping.

Because of the water and the steps... and because I am 34 weeks pregnant and my back was hurting from running after him, picking him up, etc... I decided to take him to a "safer" place where I wouldn't have to end up jumping in a pond to rescue him. So, we went to the Spanish Village.

This is one of my favorite places in Balboa Park. It is a little square surrounded by colourful art galleries. It reminds me a little bit of downtown Sevilla because of the tiny stores and beautiful potted plants. The only thing is missing, and that would make it perfect for me, is a tapas bar and a couple orange trees in bloom.

Bowen had a blast. He spent most of the time here running... and running... and running....

It was hard to take any good pictures of him, but I managed to keep him in one place for a couple minutes.

After all, our first day of Spring wasn't what we had planned but it worked out great! He climbed steps, played with water, watched the ducks swimming, ran, explored new places and "talked" for a while with beautiful Zara, a new friend we ran into!

Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Spring decoration '14

Time to change one more time the "decoration" around the house!
If you have read previous posts about this subject, you already know I don't decorate much, but there are a few things I like to reuse/change to reflect the different times of the year.
This is what I drew on the chalkboards for Spring. I looked for inspiration on Pinterest. You can check what I pinned here.
I also used one more year my very bright Easter Bunny Wall Art and the same Gallery Wall I had last year.

Monday, March 17, 2014

4D Ultrasound

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful mysteries in life. Everybody should have a chance to experience how it feels to grow a human being inside of you. This is my second pregnancy and still amazes me feeling my baby moving, kicking, stretching... I wish I could see what he is doing, if he is sleeping, sucking his thumb, yawning, opening his eyes... That's why ultrasounds are so exciting for me.
Unfortunately, if you have a healthy pregnancy, you don't have that many chances to see your baby.
You have an ultrasound on your 20th week and maybe another at the very end to check that things are going well. Of course, it all depends on your doctor or your personal circumstances, so maybe other moms can see their babies more often than I did. For example, I saw Bowen pretty much every week at the end of my pregnancy because he was breech and I guess they wanted to check and see if he was still in that position or not.

I love that technology these days also let us see how our kids look like while they are still in the womb so I couldn't wait to have a peek!! Why waiting until they are born when you can already see their cute faces?

I did some research and read a few reviews on yelp and the place I liked the most was Sonohealth.
Sergio, the technician, is really nice and makes you feel at home. He is warm, friendly and sincere. He comes across as someone that really cares and doesn't have to fake it. First time we had our ultrasound done, we couldn't see Bowen's face very well because of his position, so he invited us to come back a couple weeks later and try again. He spent the time he needed to make sure we were happy and he didn't charge anything for the second visit.
Because of how wonderful Sergio was, we decided to go with Sonohealth again and share our second pregnancy with him.

We got a DVD with a recording of the 20 minutes session where we can see Griffin's face and body and where he explains what we can see in the ultrasound, a CD with pictures and also 16 color prints.

This is the result!
* (I am not expecting twins, just one baby! I put Bowen and Griffin's ultrasounds together to compare and see the resemblance)
They both have daddy's lips for sure and look pretty similar, right?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Growing Charts, Milestones and Feelings of Inadequacy.

Our last visit to the pediatrician was a little bit overwhelming. 
He pretty much told me that Bowen should be already using at least 10 words, waving, using utensils, brushing his teeth... I told him I was wondering if growing up in a bilingual environment he would start speaking a little bit later. I think a kid that hears the word "cat" 100 times a day in only one language could probably "learn" that word faster than a kid that hears the word gato 60 times and cat 40 times a day... He told me that most of his clients are bilingual and they don't have a problem learning the language. He also said that if he wasn't speaking soon, by 18 months, we would have to talk with a speech specialist to see what the problem was.

I don't think Bowen has any problem. I think he hears and understands very well what I say to him. I don't feel the need of checking with any specialist yet. I think he is just fine. He is just not ready to use words.

The doctor was pretty surprised when I told him that Bowen wasn't saying goodbye either. I spend most of the day alone with Bowen. Every now and then we go out to run some errands, or to play at the park. I don't think he didn't really have enough opportunities to practice saying hi or goodbye. I guess I should have been doing that with him at home... but I thought it was kind of silly to be repeating actions and words just so the kid would memorize them.

He hasn't been brushing his teeth either. His first tooth came out when he was 12-13 months and he has been only enjoying those 4 little cuties for a couple months! Should I really had been brushing his teeth from day one? Should I had been already teaching him how to hold the toothbrush and do it on his own?

I always felt like I had no idea of what I was doing with him but I always thought I was doing OK. This is my first son. I have been watching him and learning day by day from him. I found out what he wanted and how he felt by spending time with him, by trying new things, by making adjustments and also, by sticking to what my instinct was telling me was right.

As soon as I left the doctor's office I felt totally overwhelmed. For the first time, I felt I was a bad mother. I felt I wasn't doing enough for my son. I felt it was my fault he wasn't speaking yet, that I should have spent more time with him and less time working or doing other things around the house. I hated that feeling. The feeling of failure.

After thinking about the doctor's words for a couple days, I decided to continue doing my thing. I know that I have to work and make some adjustments in our routine, but I am not going to let a growing chart or some milestones make me feel like I am a bad mother.

I haven't been with other moms that much, so, all these months that Bowen and I have been on our own, have also kept us apart from other's peoples thoughts and opinions about the way we do things around here. 

Sometimes it is hard to be around other moms and kids and hear comments about how much more their kids do or say, how much taller their kids are, how much independent they are, etc... I don't really care if my kid is not the tallest kid in the play area, I don't care if he doesn't know how to say helicopter yet, I don't care if he doesn't feed himself yet using a spoon, I don't care if he is still wearing shoes for 1 years old when he is almost 16 months...

I know this is just the beginning. It is probably going to get worse once he starts preschool, and it will probably get worse and worse through the years. Too much competition. I don't like that feeling. 

My Bowen is going to be always the best for me, no matter how tall he is, how smart he is, how strong he is, how cute he is.  He is a very special boy just the way he is and I will always love him for who he is.

I will also try to stay away from making those sort of comments to other moms. I'll remember how hurtful those words can be and will keep in mind that putting another mom or kid down is not going to make me feel a better mom or Bowen a better person.

I will keep my eyes and ears open to what is around us, learning from my mistakes and changing what needs to be changed. I will do that, but I'll make sure I stay away from nasty comparisons and feelings of inadequacy.

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