Friday, December 29, 2017

Month 8

Nico’s personality has started to come through. Every time he is playing with something and he drops it, or if you take it from him (and by you, I mean Benji), he throws a fit! The minute he gets whatever it was back, he gets happy.

He is Benjamin’s number one fan. He laughs at everything Benji does and communicates with him every way possible. He loves it when Benji gets in the crib to play!

He has recently discovered his tongue, so he likes to stick it out and makes all kinds of funny faces and noises. He is for sure finding his voice, and it is not a quiet one. He likes to babble a lot and carries on little conversations. He hasn’t said an official word, although he does say “mama” when he is in distress. 

He’s been waking up at 3am more consistently lately… could it be teething? Could be a growth spurt? Who knows. All I know is that he is super fast at nursing so we are up for about 15 minutes and then everyone back to bed.

He has turned into an excellent eater! His favorite savory food is pumpkin and his favorite fruit is apple sauce with cinnamon! He also loves puffs… he can pick them up one at a time and bring them to his mouth all on his own! Benji likes sitting next to Nico to feed him puffs... one at a time...

Although he is not officially crawling, he does get around by rolling. Just yesterday he was lifting up his little booty and scooting his knees, so it won’t be long before he starts chasing after everyone. 

Nico is such an easy-going baby. We had several folks over at the house for Christmas and he was happy as ever being passed from one person to the next. He gets super serious at first, but then starts handing out smiles and giggles to all! Just like in this picture!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Testing Boundaries That Melt Hearts

Benjamin is in that stage where he is constantly testing boundaries. All day every day. For the most part we have firm boundaries and he knows them, or quickly reacts when we remind him that he has crossed them. Bedtime, however, is a completely different ball game.

We have allowed bedtime to drag on. Maybe because it is the end of the day and we are tired and willing to do whatever it takes to make bedtime happen at a reasonable pace, at a reasonable hour and without meltdowns. We try to keep boundaries through bedtime but we are just not successful, therefore the 32lbs little person has control of about 75% of the process.

Bedtime involves things like "I need to pee" "I need water" "I need water from special cup" "I hot" "stand at my door" "scratch my back" "I need to poop" "I no want socks" "my pull up-hurts" "turn my light on"...

Last week Norm went back to work nights, which means that I am on my own to feed two children (and myself), do bedtime, finish work, clean up the kitchen and try to catch up in whatever needs catching up (which is a whole lot lately). Therefore, I cannot allow Benjamin's bedtime to be a 2 hour process.

Tonight, we did our regular routine: brush teeth, pee, bath, read a story (which was the toy store Christmas catalog...), say prayers and good night kisses. I left his room and it started:

B: "Stand at my door"
F: "Benjamin, I am not going to stand at your door. I am going to be in the other room. It's time to go to sleep"
I put him back in bed and step away. 

He gets up:
B: "I need water"
I get him the cup that's on his night stand 
B: "I need water in special cup"
F with a firm tone of voice: "This is the water we have up here, so if you want water, you can drink from this one"
I briskly put him back in bed, kiss him and step away. 

He gets up:
B: "I need water in special cup"
Without saying a word, I grab his hand, take him to his bed. Almost like a robot. Give him the same cup from before. Put him in his bed, kiss him and step away.

He gets up:
B: "Mami, come stand at my door"
I don't say a word. And in my robot fashion again, I grab him by the hand, walk him to his bed, lay him down, kiss him and walk away. 

He gets up:
I see him in the monitor so I get up to meet him determined to keep putting him back in the bed with little to no interaction until the point is proven.
I get to his room and he slowly comes to me:
B: "I sorry Mami"
F: speechless................... I get down to look him in the eye and say "what did you say?"
B: "I SORRY Mami!"

Then my heart pretty much melted.

We had a brief chat about listening to parents and going to bed and staying in bed when it is nighttime. He said okay, walked back to his bed, I gave him a kiss and stepped away. About 10 minutes later, he was out:

Quick reminder that toddlers are not evil and that they do have a good heart. I say that now... we will see how bedtime goes tomorrow night ...  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Month 7

Crazy. We are at seven months already! This poor little fellow has been dealing with bronchiolitis for a little while now, which involves coughing and congestion. So his standards are to have his mattress inclined at about 45 degrees, the cool mist humidifier on while he sleeps and Vick's on his chest and feet over night. Earlier in the month he had not 1 but 2 ear infections back to back. So that put a delay in starting solid foods (which are actually far from solid in texture and consistency). We seem to have gotten the hang of eating though. Basically as long as what he is eating is mixed with vanilla yogurt, we are good. So far he's had sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and green beans. He loves green beans! For fruit he loves pears!

He is quite vocal... he makes all kinds of noises and carries on conversations. He loves making his big brother laugh! He loves to pull hair as well as anything else that's in hand's reach - which seems to be pretty much everything.

We got him a bouncer from a neighbor - he loves getting in there and jumping up and down, pressing all the buttons and chewing on all the surfaces.

We are still going to music class on Thursdays and he loves that too! His face lights up and he flashes that contagious smile the second he hears the music class songs!

He is sleeping in his bed at all times now and he loves it when his big brother comes and plays in the crib with him.

Overall Nico is a happy baby, he loves to smile when he makes eye contact with people. Although, when he is not smiling, he keeps a super super super serious face.

He hasn't gotten to crawling yet, but he's not far from it!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Entry Way

This is what I envisioned our entry way to look like:

This is what it actually looks like:

At least we have a pretty and custom cushion... and a custom bench that we inherited from the Gwinnett house that Norm painted and made pretty! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Working From Home Dilemma

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse, all at the same time. Some days, some hours, working from home is fantastic and some days, some hours I am really wishing I could go away to an office and get my work done. 

Working from home means I have the flexibility to go to the store in the middle of the day and avoid the afternoon crazies. It also means I need to have the discipline to actually and not get sidetracked by laundry, lunch with friends, taking naps, watering the flowers or looking out the window at the neighbors. 

Working from home, especially with Nico not being at day care full time, means that I am often times up working before 7am and - almost regularly, especially this time of the year - up working until 10pm after the boys go to bed. It means that I have to schedule calls around his "schedule" (I use that term loosely) and on the day of the call hope and pray that he cooperates with his "schedule" so that I can call the customer without a screaming child in the background.

I know I am very lucky to be able to do my job from the house. Thankfully I have the discipline (some days more than others) to stay connected to the office and to meet my deadlines. 

Working from home has allowed me to find the right family/work balance. Even if that means I sit at the computer on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Today, I was able to go to Benji's school for his Thanksgiving lunch!

Working from home also makes things interesting when your office doubles as a play room and guest room. This afternoon I opened my drawer looking for a paperclip. All my paperclip holders were empty. There was not a single one to be found. And I needed one. Badly. 

Then I remembered that Benji had found them and had been playing with them (while I was trying to get work done, in which case, if the paperclips are entertaining him and I can knock emails out, then I'll just let him keep playing with the paperclips) ... he was saying that they were "money" and would put them in the piggy bank. So I opened the piggy bank and found them all.... I rescued some and went back to my task.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Things He Says: 3

This afternoon Benji and I went to check the mail and therefore we had to take time and play on the new swings that were built by the mailboxes.

After pushing him for a bit, I took a break and stood in front of him with my hands in my pockets. It was so cold!

Benji: Mami, push me!
Me: I will, in a bit.
Benji: Push me! Take your hands out pockets and push me!
Me: (as I was trying to process the command my 2.5 year old had just given me) ............. I will push you when I am done warming up my hands.

Here's a (very colorful) visual:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Some Things are Not Taught

A few weeks ago, Benjamin started asking to change from his “wake up clothes” to his pajamas for nap. I didn’t think much of it, we’d just go along with it – because if pajamas is what it takes for him to take a nap, then we will go along with that.

Just the other day I remembered that my dad used to change into his pajamas to take naps too. He is the only person I have ever known, until Benjamin came along, to completely change out of the day’s clothes into pajamas and get in bed to take a nap.

It is so bittersweet to watch these little boys grow and show traits that are not taught. My heart breaks a little bit more every time I think about how my dad is not around to enjoy his new grandsons, however, my heart also smiles when I am surprised by my dad’s presence when I least expected it.

Here he is this past Sunday waking up from nap, in his pajamas! 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mr. Safety Man

Norm and I aren’t necessarily careless when it comes to safety, but we aren’t the safety police either. Certainly does not apply to me when it comes to driving at a moderate speed.

Figures Benjamin is turning out to be the Mr. Safety Man of our family… he tells us to buckle up if we are sitting in the drivers seat for more than 5 seconds. If you let go of the steering wheel, he tells us to “drive with 2 hands!”. If there is a stop sign remotely in sight, he will tell us to “Stop! Stop!! STOP!! Stop sign right there”. Same if he sees a red light.

The other day we were stopped at the red light and he could see the cars on opposite traffic going. Poor child couldn’t wrap his head around it “stop cars! Red means stop! Don’t go!” We tried to explain that they have green light and green means go, but his 2.5 year old brain could not wrap itself around that concept.

When we go too fast, he tells us to slow down. Although sometimes he becomes a rebel and tells us "go faster! go faaaaaassssssteeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr!"

At home he makes sure that the safeties are tied on the cabinets that have them (and by safeties we mean the rubber band that double loops around the cabinet knobs). He always likes to buckle up whenever he goes on the stroller and now does the same for Nico.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Month 6

This little Nicolas is like a tiny clock. I guess the fact that he was born on his actual due date should serve as foreshadowing. Today he turned 6 months old and his first tooth broke through! He will start eating solids now, but first his 6 month check-up and shots tomorrow morning...

Nico is growing like a little weed - he is a healthy chunky monkey - but not too chunky. He is already in 6 - 9 month clothes! He loves to eat, as a matter of fact, whenever we get "in position" to eat, he starts giggling and laughing... unless he is starved, in which case he starts crying the minute he sees me. 

We finally set up the crib in his room, which means he has been taking his naps there. He rally loves rolling from back to belly to back in his crib and sticking his arm through the crib rails. He still won't take the pacifier, so we have pretty much given up on it. We still have about 18 of them around the house from when he was a newborn, but how he just plays with them when he comes across them. He much rather suck on his two middle fingers on his left hand. That's the tell tale sign that he is sleepy. Followed by he rocking himself to sleep... loudly. 

He is a little heart breaker, handing out smiles left and right everywhere he goes. He is his big brother's number one fan!

Sitting up on his own is still not his thing, but he sure does get on all fours and rocks back and forth, which tells me that he is gearing up his little engine to start crawling! He also gets a leg work out with all the bouncing he likes to do!

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Crib and The Bed

A few weeks ago we finally "made the move"... we bit the bullet and transitioned Benjamin from the crib to a bed. We were so nervous before "the move", we would read articles online and hype ourselves up to the point that we were convinced that Benjamin was going to sleep in a crib until he was at least 4 and that w were going to have to buy a crib for Nico...

Thankfully that was not the case. We carefully planned it just right so that Benji took a nap in his sleeping bag one Sunday afternoon and when he woke up he helped us wrap up his big boy bed. And he loves it!!

Here he is sleeping the first night:

For the first three nights, I was the paranoid, over protective mom that brought cushions to put at the foot of his bed in case he fell. This only lasted a few nights probably because I realized that the half a foot fall wouldn't hurt him (if he did fall) or maybe because most of the nights, after he goes to bed I still have 53 things to do that I forget to bring the cushions.

So by Benji having a big bed (which will probably fit him until he is 12, considering he is so short), meant that Nico also got a new bed - the crib!

Happy little fellow!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Things He Says: 2

Benjamin says some many crazy things day in and day out that it is impossible to keep up with all of them... here are a few that I've been able to grasp:

As he is petting Cali: I like Cali... she is like a pony
He puts his feet on her: Pepe ride this donkey


Every morning he helps Norm make coffee. The other day Norm made a shake for breakfast instead of making coffee.
Benji says to Norm as Norm stops the blender: Are you going to make real coffee now?


Norm had cooked a roast, so as he is getting it in the fride:
Benji: Look at that party!
Norm: What did I tell you this was called?
Benji: A booty!!!
Norm: No! It's a pork butt!
Benji: (pauses) ............. (then as he reaches for his behind): this MY butt!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Flowers for Mami

Tuesdays are tough days for me because that is the day I go into the office - in Atlanta. So I wake up super early, drive for 2.5 hours, run around like a crazy woman at the Garden meeting with people and doing Garden things, drive for 2.5 hours, out of which about 35 minutes involve sitting in traffic and get home right at dinner time. Tuesdays are tough both physically and emotionally because I miss my babies! I seldom get to see Benji in the morning and at night I am home just in time for dinner and bedtime.

Yesterday I got home to the best surprise. Benji greeted me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! "This for you, Mami" he said. As if that wasn't enough, the story that followed left me grinning up until now.

Norm was at the store with the boys and they went past the clothes. So then it starts:
Benji: Get shirt
Norm: Do you want to get a shirt??
Benji: Get shirt, surprise Mami
Norm: you want to surprise Mami! Let's get her flowers
Benji: Yes!!

So they went over to the flower section and Benji picked out the most beautiful bouquet. I'm so in love!

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Long Month Ahead

We used to dread Halloween Night when Pellet was around. Because although we'd turn off all the lights and sit in the room furthest from the front door, it never failed that Pellet would still freak out with the noise on the street. Not to mention the rebel children that insisted on ringing the doorbell.

Last week, the neighbor across the street put up a lovely Halloween decoration:

As they were setting it up, I mentioned to Norm that it is going to scare Benji. Norm dismissed it saying that Benji will see it during the daytime and he'll be fine. 

Well..... that afternoon we came home from school and Benji got out one of his cars and was riding it down the sidewalk. Suddenly he stopped. And then it started:

Benji: What's that?
Fern: (as I noticed people walking down the street, I honestly didn't think he had noticed the decoration) They are neighbors!
Benji: What' that black thing?
Fern: oh, that's a Halloween decoration (what else was I going to say - that is a big scary monster and those people shouldn't have put it up considering there are at least 6 toddlers living on this block?)
Benji: I don't want to see it..... 

He gets on his car and starts driving it towards the house. Stops and looks at it again:
Benji: That scary mami. 
Fern: You think so? It's just a Halloween decoration Benji, it's fine!
Benji: it has mouth.......... it walks?!?
Fern: No, it doesn't walk. It just moves its hands up and down

As he stares at it from across the street:
Benji: it has little hands...... I go back to my house

He starts riding his car back home.
Benji: it Harroween?
Fern: yes, it's a Halloween decoration
Benji: I don't like that.................

We got back home and he was fine. Until it was time for dinner. As he walked towards his chair, he walked pass the front window and got a glimpse of it. He came running back to me in the kitchen:
Benji: it scary.... 
Fern: what's scary?
Benji: Harroween....... I don't like Harroween..... Harroween not my favorite

Looks like October is going to be a long month. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Month 5

One more month and he'll be ready to start eating solids... oh that's so bittersweet! Meanwhile, let's keep enjoying the current stages.

Nico's personality is starting to show more and more. Although he can get quite serious, he can be pretty cheerful and seeks out conversation. He is so good at making eye contact and following noise and objects. He reaches out for toys when you place them in front of him. And he loves his feet. He does such a great job at grabbing them!

Just like his brother and his Daddy Norm, he is super ticklish. And along those lines, he loves to smile. Everyone that meets him has something to say about how much he smiles and what a pretty and contagious smile he has. His Mother's Day Out teachers tell us that every single time we both drop him off and pick him up. Melts my heart!

For about 2.5 weeks - since Hurricane Irma, to be exact - he decided to start waking up in the middle of the night to eat... sometimes he'd wake up more than once, just to cry or to fart. Yes, he'd wake up, fart and go back to sleep in the middle of the night. Since about two days ago, he's started sleeping through the night again, which makes us all happy.

He is a pro rolling over from his back to his belly. He hasn't mastered belly to back just yet, although sometimes you'll catch him after he's rolled onto his back as he lays staring up blankly wondering what on earth just happened.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

This Pa Broken

For the last few months, Benjamin has been chewing on his pacie (also known as Pa). We weren't going to buy him a new Pa when the last one got gross, but we broke down and did since things were still a bit of chaotic in our lives with Nico's arrival.

We noticed the other day that the current Pa was all chewed up and getting gross. On Friday morning (my birthday), he pulled the Pa out of his mouth and said "This Pa broken. Go in trash".

He walked downstairs and gave it to Norm and told him to throw it away. So Norm did.

In my very paranoid ways as first timer, I wanted to go buy him a new one just in case. But folks knocked some sense into me and I didn't... surely we were going to survive.

Bedtime could be a living hell, or it could be fine. It was just a matter of time to find out...

Bedtime came and as I was getting Benjamin's pajamas on, he asked for Monkey (which lived hand-in-hand with Pa...) and he asked for Pa. I reminded him that he had told us Pa was broken and had asked for it to be thrown out. He paused and did a fake cry. I quickly reminded him again and immediately without skipping a beat changed the subject. It's amazing how we develop super powers like that when we become a parent.

Nighttime has been going great... naptime has been tougher, today he didn't sleep. Which means that everyone's world became miserable come 5:30pm.

The ironic part of this story is that my mom has always told the story how when I was about 2 years old, I grabbed my pacie and threw it away in the bathroom trash - all on my own. And that was the end of the pacie for me. This is pretty much the only reason why I had a tiny hope that Benji wasn't going to go crazy asking for his Pa after he threw it away.

It is becoming more evident that we just may be raising the male version of me which ought to be fun.

Here's an appropriate picture in memory of Pa:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Things He Says

Because I can barely remember what I wore yesterday (and chances are they are the same clothes I wore the day before), I want to start writing down all the quirky things Benjamin says to help us remember how his little 2-year old brain works.

My mom wears a watch.
Neither Norm nor I wear a watch.

The other day Norm was cleaning out his night stand drawer and found one of his watches. Benjamin saw it, picked it up and gave it to Norm and said:

B - Daddy, this yours?
N - yes, that's my watch
B - that your watch? Like Nonna?
N - yes, like Nonna
B - Daddy, you wear it!

About an hour later, Benjamin was playing and Norm was in the kitchen. Benjamin comes up to Norm and says: "Daddy, you have watch. Like Nonna!"

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Month 4

This little guy turned 4 months yesterday!

He is still as serious as ever - for the most part - although he has started cracking a smile here and there. Except at bath, he is quite ticklish, so at bath time he is all giggles! Big giggles!

He is quite aware of all his surroundings. He follows people across a room - it is pretty neat to watch him turn his little head as his target moves. He has started reaching out for things and quite often is he able to grab and hold on to his rattle, or stuffed friend, or blanket. He is quite strong and won't let go of easily!

He is a champ at falling asleep by himself. He is still not fan of the pacie, but has since discovered his three middle fingers. So he sucks them and goes to sleep - quite often all on his own. Very seldom do we have to rock him to sleep. I am pretty sure that with Benjamin we were still doing the 5 S's come 4 months.... And speaking of sleeping, he is still sleeping all night! An average of 12 hours, he looks quite chunky so I don't think he is missing out by not getting that midnight feeding. No complaining from this end!

He is not a fan of baby wearing... which is disappointing (and inconvenient), but I keep trying to see if maybe one time he will last in the carrier for more than the squirming 20 minutes I usually get.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse

It is so amazing when a plan comes together last minute - things always seem to work out. As an event planner, I cringe when we don't have a plan, but deep down inside I always know that with or without a plan things are moving forward and we just better go with it in the moment to make them happen.

The plan for Eclipse Day was:
I was going to experience the Eclipse with Natasha and her girls in Columbia
Norm was going to work
Michelle and Juan Ma were going to be in Savannah

As of about 48 hours ago:
I had a conference call scheduled for 11:30am so I wasn't able to go to Columbia.
Michelle and Juan's trip to Savannah got cancelled because whoever Juan was meeting with cancelled (she probably realized it was Eclipse Day and was not going to stick around for a 2pm appointment)

And as of this morning:
Norm was getting out from work at 1pm.

So after multiple texts throughout this morning, we came up with an alternate plan to drive up to McCormick, SC - where they were going to have totality - for the Eclipse. Augusta was 99.9%, however, that .01% is quite significant, so we decided to make the 40 mile drive.

Benji stayed at school and the rest of us, including Nico, piled into my car and we took off. We weren't exactly sure where we were going... we were just driving up to McCormick. As we got closer, Michelle discovered that there was a county airport nearby... so that's where we ended up.

No crowds. No traffic. Just us 5, a broken down car, two propeller airplanes and two other families.

We got there about 1:40pm and immediately put on our glasses and started looking up at the sun.

I fed Nico... because even though he now eats every 3.5 hours or so, it seems like he is always eating...

Then we changed his diaper and I got an ant bite

At about 2:20pm, a huge dark cloud went by so we just waited... surely it was going to get out of the way by 2:40pm....

As 2:40pm approached, everything around us changed. I do not know how to describe it because I've never experienced anything like it to compare it to... not only did the sky started getting darker, but it was a weird sort of light... almost like twilight, almost like dusk, sort of hazy, sort of reddish. The breeze picked up, the temperature dropped, the crickets started chirping, the cows mooed and the roosters crowed. We just tried to capture it as much as possible. Meanwhile through our special glasses, the sun kept getting smaller and smaller as the moon took over.
Disclaimer - we put glasses on him for fun.
He stayed in the shade - facing opposite from
the sun
And suddenly the moon was directly in front of the sun, we were able to take our glasses off and admire nature in its entirety. It was unbelievable, the ring of light around the moon was perfect. 

In what seemed to be nowhere near long enough, the sun got super bright again and it was time to put on our glasses back on. As soon as the temperature started rising, we got in the car and headed back. 

Yes - all of our necks will be sore tomorrow. Time to go take some Motrin and do some neck stretches. 

Been Happening

Life moves fast with two little boys, a dog and both Norm and I working full time. In brief, this is what's been happening over the past - who knows... month? months? These are in no particular order...

Benjamin has taken to washing the dishes. He has also discovered that the possibilities are endless when he brings the chair from the dining room to the kitchen counter - until of course, Mami or Daddy Norm catch him pulling all of the silverware out of the drawer and then the fun is over.

Benjamin has been playing pretend a whole lot - here he is pretending to feed soup to Nico. Nico seems to enjoy it... he kept licking the spoon.

Juan Ma has been in town, taking a break before heading back to his senior year at NYU. Senior. Year. #isheoldorarewe

Nico is just cutest as ever!

He found "his tools" at Michelle's house and decided to clean up the kitchen. Gloves and all. 

Yard work is an integral part of our lives and we enjoy it, so we don't mind it. Neither does Benji. Especially when it involves dirt, power tools and water!

Nico sat on the green chair for the first time - he really likes it!

Nico started going to his school! He really likes that too!

Until one day when he ran a fever for about 24 hours... we were all miserable. Thankfully it was nothing.

Benji got to wear his firefighter rain jacket to school. He was so excited!

My mom and Pablo have been in China for what feels like 42 days.

Benjamin found a chuyo (that's what we call the knitted hats with the ear coverings in Peru), he put it on and said "Ho ho ho. It's Christmastime! Go find presents"

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!