Saturday, December 26, 2015

This Christmas

We've been able to enjoy Benjamin's first Christmas over the last couple of days! We started off the festivities by going to Mass on Christmas Eve. Being that we are parents of a baby now, we need to embrace activities such as Children's Mass where they act out the gospel and all. For whatever reason, or maybe because when you become a parent all your perspectives shift and you don't even realize it - Children's Mass wasn't that bad as it once was. Not even the 1 hour wait once we got there.

Nativity at St. Lawrence Catholic Church
On Christmas morning we woke up and opened our presents - after Benjamin had his bottle AND his breakfast. Here he is helping Mimi open her present:

Then he got to open his present!

But of course anything that can go straight into the mouth is more interesting. 


Pellet and Cali got presents from Mimi and Bobby too! Here is Pellet hogging one of his fancy tennis balls.

And Cali got a blanket, she modeled it around for us:

We got ready - which was a bit challenging considering the warm temperature of 80 degrees. I'm not complaining, I'll take the warm weather any time of the year! Being able to wear a "Summer" dress reminded me of our Christmases back in Peru when we were little... We headed to Augusta to spend the day with the rest of the family.

This child just might skip crawling and go straight to walking...

We had lunch and opened presents at Nonna's house. Grown ups still get excited about presents too!

After doing that, we headed over to Michelle's house to open more presents and eat sweet treats made by Grandma Tillie et all.

I don't think an explanation on who gave him this present is due. Godfather Juan at his best!

Can't be part of this family and not do goofy things... starting him young:

Dada again! Poor Dada wasn't feel all so great, battling a sinus infection (again)

Getting the grown ups to smile and look decent is sometimes more difficult than getting the infant to cooperate...

Those eyes... and that finger in that mouth...

We enjoyed each other's company, some delicious coffee and then it was time to head back home... We wish we all lived closer so we didn't have to rush through days like yesterday. But we are grateful that we live close enough to be able to spend days like yesterday.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Kroger Angel

Dear Kroger Angel,

I got to the register as you were cashing out. I picked that register because it was the one with the shortest (almost non-existent) line, I am pretty sure I had "about 15 items" like the sign said (give or take 8). You finished cashing out and stood at the end of the line, by the bags. I didn't think anything of it, actually, I looked at your small buggie with only 2 bags and imagined you were maybe waiting on the manager for something. There you stood idle with your white hair, short sleeved shirt (because it is 75 degrees in Georgia in December) and jeans - you must have been about 72 years old.

I unloaded my groceries from my big buggy onto the belt as Benjamin played with a roll of tape hanging from me on the kangaroo. This trip was playing out like all other 27 Kroger trips since he's been grocery shopping with me. I get him on the kangaroo, we get a big buggy, shop rather quickly as he babbles and I talk back to him.

My total came out to $93 and as I was pulling my card out of my wallet, Kroger Angel, you interrupted my transaction and said "Ma'am, I am going to pay for your groceries". My initial reaction, in my stubborn ways, was to immediately reply to you with "No, there's no need for that" and you quickly followed it by "I'm paying for them", as the cashier turned the credit card machine towards you and you swiped your Kroger Visa card. The cashier gave you your receipt, my receipt, and I stood in shock repeating thank you, thank you. You said "God bless you" and just like that walked out the store with your small buggy with only 2 bags. I wanted to say so much to you, but I could not get words out while my heart jumped as I held back my tears. After the cashier loaded my big buggy with my bags from home, she realized you had left your eggs behind so she took off running to catch you - I hope she did.

Kroger Angel, I have read about people like you out there in the world, who pay it forward and do random acts of kindness, however, I had never experienced it until you crossed my path this evening. I apologize if I did not seem appreciative enough, I was in shock. I am still in shock. I will never know what triggered your overwhelming generosity - did you already have in mind when you got to the Kroger that you were going to pay for the person behind you in line? Did you maybe see me walking quickly through the aisles with my hair looking crazy and face with no makeup talking to my baby? Did his sweet babble perhaps remind you of a child in your life?

Kroger Angel, you have touched my heart in so many ways - you have changed my life. Merry Christmas kind man. Merry Christmas.

Here we are at the Kroger this evening! It just so happened that while we were shopping, I had sent this picture to my mom... you can see Benjamin playing with the roll of tape. He was cranky because he skipped his afternoon nap, and because the four top teeth that are coming in all at once are making him a little crazy...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Month 8

It is overwhelming to sit and think how much Benjamin's little life has evolved in the last month.

He is crawling all over the place - and that is an understatement. Before you know it, he has managed to find the dog's tennis ball. You certainly can't leave him unattended on the bed - in the blink of an eye you can find him propped up at the end of the bed and looking down at the floor - about to dive head first. Due to safety concerns, he has been spending more time on the floor instead of on the bed - this usually happens on Sundays and Mondays, when the floors are at their best. 

He loves the dogs! Whenever he sees them (mainly Cali) he cracks up laughing, like belly laughing. Along those lines, he also recognizes people. The other day we came home and he was in his car seat on the couch as I let the dogs outside and fed them. At one point I came back into the living room and he saw me. Oh my! His arms and legs started spazzing out and he smiled huge from ear to ear! Melted my heart.

He is starting to figure out that crying (or whining, because he only cries for real, like with tears, when there is something seriously wrong, like hunger) is a great attention getter. We have to be conscious to not run to him the minute he starts fuzzing. 

He holds his bottle at every feeding. He loves getting his ears cleaned, not so much getting his nose cleaned. He sleeps like a champ and wakes us up around 5:30am every morning with the sweetest little voice that we hear through the monitor. He is starting to figure out how to drink from the zippy cup and now feeds himself scrambled egg (which requires unbelievable amounts of patience to watch). He expresses himself by grunting and shutting his eyes and making fists. 

You can already see his two bottom teeth - now he has the top 4 coming in at the same time. Poor thing! Last week he kept waking up slightly around 9:30pm crying and complaining.

This little guy is awesome. He has our hearts!

This month's photo session was quite challenging - he moves so much! And his attention is on everything all at once. It was impossible to get him to sit still - buried in many blurry pictures, I was able to find this one, which I think pretty much captures what this 9th month ahead of us is going to be like. Let's just say that next month's photo session is going to have to involve the photographer (me) and a helper (anybody else).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Meeting Santa

Today Benjamin got to meet Santa! It is amazing how literally everything changes when a little baby enters into your life. Growing up, I have always been indifferent about Santa. Yeah, I knew he existed and as I got older I started to figure out that Santa always came to my grandma's house right when we were outside in the park playing (growing up in Peru, Christmas is in the Summer). Today my mom was telling me that because we grew up in the 80's in Peru when terrorism was at it strongest in the country, visiting Santa (or any other type of social event that gathered any kind of crowd) was nonexistent.

But thankfully, today Benjamin got to visit and meet Santa!

First we got ready and put on the outfit his godmother gave him! It fit perfectly. He looks great in green!
When we got to Santa's place, we had to wait in line. But there was only 1 person in front of us - we had the luxury to do this on a weekday as opposed to a weekend like the rest of Atlanta. Sometimes working in the service industry does pay off!

Finally we got to Santa. Benjamin stared at him while Santa spoke in a gentle voice.

Then we got to walk around the mall for a bit and enjoy our time together

We ended up at the Pottery Barn - where he found a couch with upholstery buttons. #fascinating.

And this is how we wrapped up the afternoon. Meeting Santa for the first time is exhausting! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bathed and Ready for Christmas

I am embarrassed to admit that I can't pin point the last time these guys got a bath... I think it was shortly before Benjamin was born because I have vague memories of trying to hold a leash while Norm bathed them and being quite helpless in the situation - like literally unable to help.

Finally today all the stars lined up and Norm was able to take them to the vet for a grooming session. Bath, ears, nails, brushing. They came back with their Christmas bandanas looking (and smelling) beautiful!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sharing the Same Space

Benjamin is now spending more time on the floor as he starts moving around and starting the first signs of crawling. This means that Baby is now all in Pellet and Cali's business. For the most part Pellet and Cali handle it well... they each have their own pet peeves. For example, Pellet doesn't like for Benjamin to touch his feet. Cali, can't let Benjamin sit on the floor with out her sneaking at least one lick.

These are pictures from the other day as we were spending time on the floor and learning to share the space.

Cali finally laid down after making several rounds and sniffing and licking baby a few times.

For the most part, Pellet doesn't care.

The time is close... full crawling position is already being sighted.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Exactly to the Year

Today, exactly a year ago, we took these pictures to announce that Baby Aldredge was going to be a boy!

Today, we celebrated Thanksgiving as a family of 3 for the very first time. This little guy has brought so much (not just joy, but so much of everything) into our lives. We will be forever thankful to our Lord for blessing us with being his parents.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Who Does That?

Both yesterday and today, Benjamin has decided to go to the bathroom as we start his dinner. Yesterday we had to stop so he could "finish", then we changed the diaper and came back to eating. Today was a bit different. 

I should have caught on when it didn't take him as long to "finish", so I didn't think that he had gone to the bathroom. After a little while of him acting very weird, I figured I'd lift the table from his seat to smell him. I didn't have to smell him, I saw it. So I quickly took him to the changing table and called Norm to help me on my way - this was going to require a bath. 

This was my view when I laid him down. Who does that? How do you overflow your diaper like this

His face should have been a warning that poop was going to take over and reign for a bit. 

I unbuttoned the onsie to find out that underneath those two circles was a nice thick layer of poop. There was no way on earth that I was going to get that shirt over his head without involving poop going in his eyes and mouth. So, just like at the operating room, I called "scissors!" Norm took off running to the kitchen (because in the midst of all this, Benjamin was moving and grabbing his legs and trying to roll around). Norm quickly came back with the scissors and we cut the shirt. Yes, we cut the shirt. Straight down the middle - good thing it was already on the small side. Then I carefully took it off one arm at a time. 

Now we had a baby with a nasty butt. Norm had already drawn the bath but there was no way on earth I could put him in a tub of water that was going to quickly become a tub of poop (there was so much poop all over his areas). So we went to the bathroom and I grabbed him by his armpits as Norm poured water on him to wash off the obnoxious amounts of poop. Benjamin was having a blast! He was doing his little happy dance floating up in the air and laughing. 

Finally we got the situation under control to where I could continue on with a normal bath.

Only to get back to the changing table and find poop had managed to fling onto the wall. Good thing we got that washable paint for the nursery! 

After all this adventure was over and Benjamin was finally in his PJ's, we went back to his chair to finish dinner. I am pretty sure he was traumatized because he wouldn't eat. He actually managed to get the (quite violent) hiccups. Perhaps this adventure made him tired because we went back to his room, put his wearable blanket on and he was out by the time we finished our prayers. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Baby Food

Why is baby food so tasty? I have no idea... it has no salt, it has no seasoning and it is either steamed or blanched. It is straight up chicken and sweet potato. Pureed. Frozen in ice cubes. Thawed. Mixed together. I don't know what it is about it, but I do know that when I fix chicken and sweet potatoes, adult style, is #1. so much more labor intensive and #2. not as tasty as when I make it for Baby.

Even peas! I don't like peas, but when I mix Benjamin's peas with yellow potatoes and chicken, they are delicious.

I remember feeding Juan Ma many years ago when he was about Benjamin's age - I actually looked forward to feeding time so I could eat whatever he didn't. Now I find myself in the same boat when I feed Benjamin... scraping his little bowl clean.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Month 7

Here we go again! One more month down. So much has happened this last month! But first, NEWS FLASH: Benjamin's first tiny tooth debuted yesterday morning! It is one of the bottom teeth and currently just a tiny little (sharp) bump!

Ok, back to the beginning. This month started rough with the croup which apparently is super a super contagious (nasty sounding) cough and normal in infants in daycare... it was followed by a throwing up fit which weakened him significantly and we ended up in the urgent care. After that he went through a week that he didn't want to eat anything but fruit and yogurt. So we tricked him and started mixing the fruit with the veggies (and by now with the chicken) to get him to eat it. I sure hope he does not turn out to be a picky eater like Norm... oh my head goes crazy just thinking about it.

Now that all that is out of the way, we can tell all about how he now sits without support and is super mobile. He doesn't crawl yet - although we have caught him a couple of times holding himself up on his hands and knees - but he sure manages to reach for everything and can be across the room in the blink of an eye.

He holds his bottle pretty much each time. He has mastered the sign for "milk" and the minute you sign it (or the minute he sees a bottle) he does his happy dance.

He has also discovered his hair. He spends good bits of time grabbing it and pulling it.

He is now a pro at falling asleep by himself. Most of the nights, after the nightly routine of milk, food, bath, and prayers, he is asleep within 10 minutes of getting put down in his crib and he sleeps solid until at least 5:00am. Naps are a different story - some naps require rocking, others require patting on the booty and others require nothing.

This month to come will bring exciting things like a visit from Mimi and Bobby, as well as his first Thanksgiving (already bought the outfit, pajamas and bib(s)). And more family visits through Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

How to Halloween

Let's just say that with Norm's and my lack of participation in Halloween over the last 10 years and with Benjamin being new to this world, we did not Halloween right today.

Since we got the dogs, Halloween has involved a very dark house from 5:00pm until at least 10:00pm. The idea of people knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell and making the dogs go crazy irritates us.

This year, having Benjamin, I figured I'd get some candy and go sit in the driveway to catch trick or treaters before they approach the house so the dogs don't see them and want to eat them. Well, at about 5:15pm, Benjamin and I went out for a mini walk on the stroller and then sat in the driveway until about 6:20pm. Nobody came. And Benjamin fell asleep.

At that point, it was getting much colder and he was going to wake up hungry. So we went inside, I ate some candy and proceeded with our yearly Halloween routine to turn off all the lights.

Just a bit ago, I got online and saw all sorts of pictures of families all dressed up having a blast. In the meantime, Norm is at work, Benjamin is sleeping and I am playing Candy Crush Soda Saga. We have one year to figure out how to Halloween again.

Here is Benjamin at his school yesterday - they had a parade of costumes! He got on the swing for the first time... he loved it... a swing set just might be on his Christmas list along with matching pajamas for the entire family. Oh wait, that one might be on Norm's list...

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Things You Learn

Recent happenings at work have me pondering on the phrase "you live and learn". We say this all the time, across all type of situations. But do we ever stop, as things were happening, to observe and actually learn?

Although the happenings at work were not pleasant and the outcome was certainly not my desired outcome, I have been able to learn a few things from them.

1. Make decisions relatively quickly.  Of course some decisions are heavier and more difficult to make than others, but overall, consider the pros and cons and move quickly. Otherwise, as time passes while you are "thinking about it" or "considering it" situations can get murky and complicated.

2. Always trust your gut. This is quite counter-intuitive for me to say and a very difficult lesson for me to learn because my brain pretty much always trumps my gut. But when the gut is involved, there is that persistent voice inside your head (yes, we all have this voice inside our heads, I'm not the only crazy one) that keeps nagging and nagging - listen to it, because it will win, regardless of how much logic and reason you try to apply.

3. Be yourself at all times regardless of the situation. Sometimes this means that you will be passed over for someone who knows how to put on a show in front of the decision makers. This will be difficult to come to terms with in the moment, but at the end of the day you will have a clean conscience and peace of mind that when you do earn your spot that you will have earned it fairly and cleanly, even if it took you longer to get there than the actor.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stop the Germaphobia

We have never been germophobes. Ever. Until Norm came down with strep throat last night. I am pretty sure we have lysoled every surface possible - twice.

The fear of Baby catching it and getting sick makes us somewhat crazy.

So until he is no longer contagious, I will continue to sleep in the other room, both Benjamin and I will continue to blow kisses at Norm from across the room and we will continue to have conversations like this:

F: did you go to the garage?
N: yes
F: (lysol door knobs and switches)

F: did you throw something away?
N: yes
F: (lysol entire trash can)

F: what did you do today?
N: I was miserable, I laid on the couch
F: (lysol entire couch - and the love seat just in case)

F: (lysol door frame)
N: I haven't touched that
F: just in case

You get the point.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Breastfeeding Journey

I didn't think we were going to make it past one week, let alone six months. Breastfeeding for six months was the initial goal when Benjamin was born, goal which quickly turned into "let's make it one more week" (some days the goal was "let's make it to tomorrow"), until we hit about the eight week mark when both Benjamin and I finally got the hang of it.

Breastfeeding was not easy for us. It was very challenging, both emotionally and physically draining. I don't think my determination and perseverance have ever been tried as they were during the first few weeks of this journey. I am ever so grateful for my coaches which ranged from co-workers to long time friends to the lactation consultants and the great ladies from La Leche League. I remember during those first weeks reaching out to everyone that had experienced breastfeeding in some shape, way or form. I spoke with folks that never were able to feed their babies breast milk and went straight to formula. I spoke with folks that their babies never latched and they pumped exclusively. I spoke with folks that had model babies and never had an issue. All of these conversations and sharing helped me overcome the difficulties I was experiencing. Each lady I spoke with helped me understand a different aspect and helped me realize that I would not be a better or worse mother regardless of the feeding path we ended up taking.

I am so grateful that we were able to overcome the lip and tongue tie, the thrush, the mastitis and the couple of plugged ducts. I am so grateful that I was able pump when I went back to work in spite of my crazy and long days.

Now at six months, we are still going strong (well, I guess it is more like two fifths (2/5) strong) with him nursing only in the morning and at night. We have made the move to formula during the day and he had no issues with it (mainly because he likes to eat everything in sight).

So for all you moms to be out there: although breastfeeding is nature's law, it can be very challenging. Be open to this possibility.

For all you new moms experiencing a difficult start to breastfeeding: reach out, reach out, reach out if you need help. Don't do it alone. Get a support system of women with different experiences. Talking to them will help guide you on your path. Read, read, read and learn, learn, learn. Both La Leche Leauge and KellyMom were my crutches. And most importantly, take it one feeding at a time.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

At the Table

It's never too early to start developing good habits. So the days of eating on the green floor seat on the kitchen counter are over. We now have this little booster seat, that was a shower gift, set up on a chair at the dining room table. Today Benjamin ate at the table for the first time. Like a civilized human.

Here is Norm getting him situated:

Ready to eat!

Eating. Cali and Pellet were so intrigued by this new process. Since Benjamin is pretty much at their eye level, they were all up in our business. But they finally settled down. Pellet laid at the feet of his chair and Cali sat next to us and stared.

When we finished, the bottom tray doubles as a play tray. So since he is into banging his hand and toys, he loved smacking the chains on the tray!

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2015

Family Picture 2015

Christmas Picture 2011

Christmas Picture 2011

Family Picture 2009

Family Picture 2009
Thanks for reading! Come back Soon!