Monday, October 6, 2014

Julian Apple Days



Julian es un pueblo que se encuentra dentro del condado de San Diego, y aproximadamente, a una hora y cuarto de Chula Vista.

Julian comenzó a hacerse famoso allá por el 1870, en la época de la fiebre del oro, gracias a sus minas, aunque actualmente es especialmente conocido por sus manzanas y tartas.

Había leído en redtri.com que se iba a celebrar en Julian el famoso Apple Days Festival, que se podían coger tus propias manzanas de los árboles y que los niños podían montar en ponis, así que aprovechando que la abuela Marianne estaba de visita, nos fuimos todos de excursión.

La primera parada fue en The Smothers Family Bakery donde Jeff y Marianne se comieron sendos platazos de tarta de manzana con helado de vainilla.


Luego dimos un paseo por el pueblo y entramos en un par de tiendas de curiosidades. De los ponis, ni rastro. Con las ganas que tenía de que Bowen se montara en uno!! Eso sí...al menos vimos una llama!


Almorzamos en The Bailey Wood Pit Barbecue un riquísimo sandwich de pollo con salsa barbacoa. Los niños se portaron estupendamente. Griffin es un amor y Bowen estuvo practicando los números, el abecedario y dando besos a papá y a la abuela. 


Después de almorzar y antes de marcharnos, hicimos parada en un huerto de manzanas. Había que pagar $10 por llenar una bolsa con manzanas, así que, como nos pareció un poco caro, decidimos entrar solamente para dar un paseo. Bowen estuvo alucinando. "Apple" es una de las palabras que ha aprendido, y vaya si hizo buen uso de ella!!! Estuvo recogiendo manzanas del suelo, contando las manzanas que tenía en las manos y repitiendo constantemente "apple...apple...apple" 


Griffin también tuvo su pequeña primera toma de contacto recogiendo manzanas y seguramente estuvo tomando nota de todo lo que hizo Bowen para poder hacerlo él cuando volvamos el año que viene.
Momentos maravillosos como éste son los que quiero recordar por el resto de mi vida. Los ojos de mis niños iluminándose con cada cosa nueva que descubren, sus primeras palabras, pequeños gestos de cariño... ¿Qué más se puede pedir? Yo me doy por satisfecha.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Best Apps for Toddlers



Bowen was 1 year old when I started sharing the ipad with him. I got a protective foam case from suchacase so Bowen could hold the ipad and use it without breaking it. This case is the only one I've tried so I don't know if there are better cases out there, but this one is great.
The thick foam case has protected the ipad and its screen extremely well. I thought the screen could end up breaking since it had no protection, but nothing has happened so far, nor even when Bowen has thrown the ipad to the floor or when it has landed flat on the screen.

I started using the ipad just to show him a few videos during lunch time or before going to bed.  I wanted him to see/experience things he couldn't see at home with me, so our first videos were documentaries about animals. Those didn't get his attention for too long. 

Then, I found a couple apps that had videos that were fun, attractive and that were also going to teach him something useful: BabyTV and Baby First. 
You have to subscribe to get the full version with all the videos, but we didn't buy it. There are plenty free videos available and Bowen didn't get bored. His favorite shows are Baby U, Harry the Bunny and Charlie and the numbers. 

We also used youtube. These are some of his favorite videos:


Having an ipad was a life-saver when I traveled to Spain alone with Bowen (14 months) and pregnant (5months). It kept him entertained during the long flying hours and it also gave me a break so I could "rest" a little bit (if you get any rest when you are traveling with a toddler on your own... ha!).


Bowen loves the ipad. It has also made things easier for me when I had to keep him busy while I was taking a shower or nursing baby Griffin, and it also made long road trips more manageable. 

I know people are concerned about how much time our kids spend in front of a screen, but I don't think using the ipad can be compared to watching TV. I guess it all depends on how you use it. Most of the apps I download are educational. I sit and play with him, teach him how to use it, talk about it, and then give him some independent time. I have seen a big improvement in his vocabulary since he started using apps and it amazes me how fast he is learning other skills through these games. Of course, we still have regular toys, puzzles, books, construction blocks that we use everyday.


These are all the apps we have in our ipad right now. Some are too simple for him now but he still uses them. 

From 12-15 months:

From left to right: Contrast Color, Black & White, Roly Poly, Animals, Monkey, Shapes & Colors, Soothing, Giggle Gang, G'night Safari, ScratchSketch, Puppy Play and Xylophone.

My favorites apps from this group are: Monkey, Goodnight Safari and Puppy Play. 
The giggle band also made lunch time a little bit easier.
Best thing: They are all free.

From 15-18 months:


From left to right: Baby First HD, Baby TV HD, Preschool Games, Where is my Baby, Animals, Peekaboo Kids, Puzzle for Children, App for Kids, Talking Pocoyo, Lotto 1, Animal World, Kids Learning, Things that Go Game, First Vehicles, Bilingual Child Spanish, Mini Book, Learning Games, Play with Larry, and Where is Harry.

This group has a lot of great apps. Bowen loves counting numbers, making puzzles, matching pairs... Lots of fun! Most of them are free but I paid for the Mini Book app. This app is not only cute but totally worth it.

 From 18-21 months:


From left to Right:  Baby First Words, Kidpedia, Where is Puppy's nose, Peekaboo, Spatter & Spark, Potty Animals, Potty Time, On the Potty, ABC Keyboard, ABC Alphabet, Alphabet, First Words Sampler, and Homer.

One of the best apps in this group is Homer. I don't have the full version yet, but I will buy it once Bowen is ready for it. The free version offers a lot of activities and it is really well done.

Another app I think is totally worth it is the Baby First Words. I love the graphics and sounds. Bowen has learned so much using it!

I also like Alphabet (the one with the picture of a robot). Bowen is learning how to type and trace words, the alphabet, and, this is crazy but, by doing this, he is also learning the sounds of the letters and a couple times I've heard him sounding out a word! pretty cool!

So, what about you?
Do you let your son/daughter use the ipad? Do you know any other interesting apps?








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
or
Rice and veggies (mushroom, zucchini, carrots...)
or
Mashed potatoes and meat
1 yogurt (organic: pear, banana, mango or vanilla)

After nap Snack: 3:30-4:00
Cheese
Crackers
Cheerios

Dinner: 7:00
Meat (chicken or beef) and potatoes (mashed or fried)
or
Potato omelet
or
Grilled Fish
or
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.
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