Monday, December 31, 2012

18 months!

You got so big this month and we got a preview of the months to come. Physically you grew a lot because apparently you are intent on being in the "correct" sizes shoes and clothes (22 and 18-24, respectively). This means that you can reach just about everything (albeit on your tippy toes)- from the kitchen counter to all the door handles, making you slightly more dangerous, to us and yourself alike.

We're seeing the beginning of some changes: you are still "bossy" and like to make sure we follow routines to the T, but now you've added a shaking head and protest multiple times a day. We can minimize this by preparing you for moving on to the next activity, but sometimes it's inevitable, especially when we have to leave a fun activity.

Overall you've gotten a bit destructive: sometimes it's funny when you're knocking over a huge tower of blocks, other times not so much. You've had an on and off case of mamitis. You have also mastered the Ikea allen wrench and have managed to partially disassemble our living room chair! And you seem intent on climbing up on anything and everything- a couple more centimeters and you will be big enough to do it! *

We've also had lots of fun enhancements to your personality: a new fake laugh that is so big and loud that it makes us laugh if we weren't already, stomping with your feet out of excitement, or going "brrrr-brrrrr" with your lips when you know you are being silly. Your dance moves have also gotten a lot more intricate and involve arms, butt and feet!

It seems you understand everything, even quite complicated directions, but complying is a matter of will! You will say lots of words once and then they disappear not to be heard again. You did start saying "bubble" quite consistently when asking for bubbles in your bath! One activity that you love is cooking with Mommy (and tasting at every step along the way). You still love reading books (more and more) and cuddling as always!

*It was one of those destructive days on your 18 month birthday that didn't allow a photo shoot. Oh well!

Friday, December 28, 2012

One more trip: Chile!

On a Friday afternoon, when Little Boy was taking his nap, M came down to chat: if we use miles, we can go on a trip to Chile! The catch: we would be leaving in 36 hours! Not one to miss an opportunity for travel, I started working on our packing list, tidying up the house, and gathering our suitcases. Sunday at 2 a.m. we woke up to begin our trip.

We waited until the very last minute to wake up Little Boy, and hopped into the taxi with a bleary-eyed, pajama-ed, sleepsack-ed kiddo and a couple of suitcases. Not one to miss anything, that was the last of the sleeping for all of us until our arrival in Chile several hours (and one almost missed connection) later.

The trip ended up being more of a family visit than a baby moon, but we did manage a couple days at the beach, and a few excursions around Santiago. Little Boy had a wonderful time and loved being the center of attention (as the youngest of the cousins)! It was a great trip for all: for me a break from housework, for M a break from studying and for Little Boy a break from us!

cramped on the small plane to Panama

 meeting his great-grandmother!

 fun in Santiago, Andes mountains in the background

 bump picture at the beach (29 weeks)

 Little Boy + beach = love at first sight

 loves being forward facing, and newly loving the iPad 

on the roomy (half empty) flight back

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Fair Fun

Every year Guadalajara hosts a large international book fair. Vendors come from all over the world, especially Latin America, and buyers come from all over Mexico for a week of literary fun. We had been a couple of years ago and made a mental note to come back once we had kids. While Little Boy was still too young for the lectures and activities, he was plenty old enough to soak in the excitement, marvel at the masses of people and look through some books. It was a great family activity and we agreed that if we had come earlier in the day we could have even spent a little longer there!

 choosing a book

 with his purchase

 at the kids's reading table

reading his new book over snack and a coffee

Monday, December 24, 2012

Making a breast feeding plan

When Baby Boy was still little and my mind would start to drift to a future sibling for him, I would dread the thought of having to establish a nursing relationship all over again. Truth be told, for several months this was all I could think of. Now, I am more concerned with other obstacles, namely the actual birth. However, I am under no illusion, that while I may know what I'm doing, my newborn might not. Trying to be more level-headed (and pre-postpartum hormones), I decided to make a plan for success.

1- Try to avoid separation from baby immediately after the birth. If my VBAC is a success, this will of course be much easier. If I do end up with another cesarean, I will be talking to my doctor about bringing him in for skin to skin as soon as possible either by me or M. (This is slightly complicated by the fact that I still haven't 100% decided on a doctor and hospital for the delivery).

2- Bring nursing pillows and breast-pump to the hospital. Trying to position several flat hospital pillows did not really work out very well last time. Also, if I have another sleepy baby I will make sure to a) ask that he be undressed for feedings and b) pump as often as possible. We will also clarify that when I ask for "no formula", I also mean "no glucose water" (love Mexico).

3- Having my gear accessible and ready to go. My issues with blocked ducts and eventually mastitis, all started because of ill-fitting bras. Obviously by now I have a stock pile of nursing bras. I'm also planning on having breast pads, nipple cream, and pumping accessories ready to go, as well as lecithin and possibly fenugreek supplements in my pantry.

4- Call the lactation consultant as soon as necessary. I keep her business card in my wallet. Enough said.

5- Finally, keep my motivational bookmarks handy. For me, the nutritional superiority of breast milk is my top motivation for making a nursing relationship work. One of the perks of having a husband in medical student is that we keep up with the latest research and I have several articles to remind me why the initial investment of time and sleep deprivation is worth its weight in gold.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Preparing for Baby Brother- The Big Brother

Our Little Boy is going to have his world turned upside down starting in the new year. On the agenda:
1- We are hiring a housekeeper/nanny that will be mostly full time.
2- M will be starting a surgery rotation and gone long hours of the day.
3- Little Boy is moving to his big boy bed, and his room is going to change a bit to accommodate this.
4- We are starting to potty train, hoping for the best, but expecting a regression when we get to...
5- Baby Brother arriving.

To prepare the kiddo for all the impending changes (that we are trying our best to stagger), we have started to talk about babies and big kids. Our Little Boy is going to be a big kid in the house. Our first significant success was in introducing a baby doll. Little Boy absolutely adores his baby, and gives it lots of hugs and kisses, insisting that they sleep together in bed (along with his doggie).

The Boy and his baby

The second thing we're doing is reading and talking about babies. Our favorite book has been My New Baby, but we don't read the words to it (they make no sense), just look at the pictures and talk about babies and big kids. Little Boy has also taken to pointing out babies in other random books (like a music book with a baby on the Bach page).

Lastly, we are preparing TOGETHER, as a family for all these changes. That means that Little Boy has  come to all of my prenatal appointments. (It doesn't seem he likes them very much, but this way he gets to see Baby Brother on the ultrasound). We've been sorting his clothes and organizing his bookshelves together in preparation for the furniture moves. And we've been doing lots of pre-potty training activities, including learning how to climb the step stool to wash our hands.

I must say that I am slightly nervous about all the changes to come, but hoping for a little luck and lots of patience to guide us through this next phase.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Nursery

*This post has been in my drafts since May! Since we're going to be changing up Little Boy's bedroom, I thought I would finally take some pictures of his nursery at the very last minute. Better late than never, right?

Finally, many months after we decided not to have a nursery, and then kicked the kiddo out of our bedroom, and made M an alternate office, I could finally use the decor I made ages ago, and put together the nursery. It took me about a week of moving the furniture around every other day until I came to the final configuration, keeping it roomy while blocking off potential hazards (like the only plug in the room). Then it was a few finishing touches- extra art, hanging the mobile, making a new wardrobe curtain, and it was done. The idea was to infuse color, particularly blues and greens, with a dash of red into the stark white walls and doors (which we don't want to paint). Along the way, we accumulated a few special items, and so each wall got a mini-theme: The original animals in blue and greens on the main wall, a little farm theme by the window, and clowns above the changing dresser. So with all that said, here is Baby Boy's nursery:

 Coming into the room, straight on we have a twin bed with a bunch of pillows, mostly from Costco, that used to live in the guest room. The striped pillow cases are new additions from Chile.

Close up of the top shelf: gifted frame and jellycat elephant, plus mini-frame with clowns (still empty inside). Underneath are framed postcards from World Wildlife Fund. 

 Second shelf: the shelves are Ikea Lack, the lamp is Ikea Lykta, and the frame from our local dollar store.

Close up of the Noah's Arc mobile. It was a gift and Baby Boy loves to look at it while getting dressed after his bath. The blue blackout curtain is also from Ikea (not sure what it's called).

Looking to left, there's the crib plus a couple more pieces of wall art that I made using Wordle. One has all the places Baby Boy traveled in-utero, the other just family related words. The door to the left of the crib is a bathroom.

 Looking right, there's just a window above the twin bed and my farm art. The closet we use as storage so it is always closed. We have a bookcase with tension rod as Baby Boy's wardrobe. 

Here's a close up of the farm stuff: the two greeting cards I found in an old box in my parents' house, and the key holder I painted when I was about 10!

 This is what it looks like most of the time though! Top to bottom: accessories, clothes, blankets and pjs,  prefold diapers, storage of clothes in next size + travel stuff.

 Our changing area is just an office credenza. It is locked because it is still full of office stuff! On top we have a couple Ikea Fabler boxes with cloth diapers and a Cooshee changing pad. Above it a vintage clown organizer that was used when M was a baby! The pockets hold baby toiletries, cloth doublers, covers and wipes.  

Finally a close-up of the clown mobile. We picked it up on our trip to San Miguel de Allende, and the kiddo loves it!

So that's the tour. It's one of my favorite rooms in the house and I love how bright and colorful it came out even though we were working with white on white. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Belated Hannukah!

Better late than never. We went on a VERY last minute trip to Chile and came back home half way through the holiday. While I was way less diligent this year, since it was Little Boy's second Hanukkah, we managed one candle lighting while away, and three more when we came back. 50% for the win!

The nice thing was that we could talk a little bit about the holiday traditions with the kiddo (through this book), and then when we lit the candles and played dreidel he had some idea of what was going on. Per his love of cooking, Little Boy loved helping us make latkes and sufganiyot (donuts)! I can't wait for next year when we can hopefully incorporate the more intricate story, crafting etc. (And for the sake of fairness we will need to be diligent about candle lighting again, because God willing it will be Baby Brother's first Hanukkah!)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Week of Pumpkin Recipes (all eggless)

*I'm going to depart from my usual topics to share just a bit of our cooking adventures. Baby Boy is just obsessed these days with cooking, so we've been doing a lot of it and keeping busy! A couple of weeks ago, we bought a huge pumpkin at the market: this was the result. (dun, dun, dun)

Day 1:
Making Pumpkin Puree
After coming back from the market with a decent sized pumpkin, M helped me cut it up and I went on a steaming and blending run. It's pretty easy: steam pieces, scoop out of skin, blend in food processor. It took about 5 batches but we ended up with about 14 cups of home-made puree (that's about 8 cans worth).
Since we didn't have much time before dinner, I went with the quickest dish I could think of: pasta sauce.

Pumpkin Pasta
I loosely followed this recipe:
I didn't exactly measure but replaced: butter with olive oil, shallots with regular onion, fresh garlic with powdered (because of a kid distraction I left it out and then later added the powder), chicken stock + milk with starchy cooking water + a bit of sour cream, no parsley because I was lazy and we were hungry. The verdict: pretty good!

Day 2:
We needed to get some baking going, but I was low on butter and wanted to make sure I used an eggless recipe so that my Sous-Chef Baby Boy could enjoy the results of his efforts (adding ingredients to the bowl, "mixing").

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
I followed this recipe:
I halved the recipe, replaced butter for the shortening, and had to hand-chop some baking chocolate because I was out of chocolate chips. The verdict: delicious!

Pumpkin Potatoes Au Gratin
I followed this recipe:
Just looking at it, I knew I would have to make a few adjustments. Because I was using raw potatoes, I knew I needed enough liquid to reach the top of the casserole dish, otherwise the top layer wouldn't cook. So on the top I spiced the potatoes with nutmeg, salt, pepper, tiny bit of garlic, and crushed red peppers. Then I poured on a mixture of mostly milk with a bit of sour cream to thicken it up making sure to infuse the cracks. I topped with a touch of parmesan to crisp up the top. I baked partially covered and mostly uncovered. The verdict: really good!

Day 3:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
We tackle the seeds! I used this tutorial:
The verdict: perfect! We added them to a mixed salad- yum, yum!

Day 4:
Black Bean Pumpkin Enchiladas
This is the recipe I followed:
The main change I made was making them with rice instead of chicken. So I cooked the rice in the tomato sauce and all the spices and left out the jalapeno out to make it more baby friendly. I used just under 1 cup of rice (uncooked) and when it was ready, added black beans and half the sauce to make the filling. I also changed up the cheese to adobera for a little extra punch of flavor. The verdict: yum!

Day 5:
Pull Apart Pumpkin Cinnamon Bread
I followed this recipe:
I knew we were headed for trouble once I saw the dough situation. It was way too sticky and I ended up needing to add quite a bit of flour. This of course changed the balance and I don't think it rose quite enough. The filling was delicious but an enormous amount compared to the dough. All in all it was tasty but way too sweet. The verdict: ok.

I know that this is a little post-pumpkin season for most people north of the border, but hopefully not totally out of touch! It was a fruitful cooking week, and I am already looking forward to the next round of pumpkin cooking with all my frozen puree. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Elementary School Visit

Little Boy's aunt works in an elementary school, and one morning we went for a visit. The kiddo absolutely loved seeing all the kids play at recess, eat in the lunch room, and explore the classroom full of potential toys. He had a perma-smile the whole time we were there, and loved the attention from both the "big kids" and the adults. While I had to decline a tour of the attached preschool, since we don't actually live there, without a doubt, for my boy, it was the highlight of our trip!


 lunch (in awe)

the classroom

didn't want to leave

*Excuse the blurred out pictures, but since they aren't my kids I thought it was more prudent to leave them out. I think you can still get a nice impression of our visit. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Preparing a Birth Plan: Reality Check

When I hit the third trimester, it was time to start seriously thinking about a birth plan. We had a serious discussion with my OBGYN about a VBAC and what he said was both positive and yet not reassuring. The positive was good: he would attend a VBAC and seeing as we want more children agreed it was a good idea to attempt one. The worrisome part was harder to hear: he does not have a lot of experience with them.

The explanation that followed made perfect sense with everything I know about the middle to upper classes of Mexico. Most of his patients desired minimal pain (an epidural as soon as possible) and prefer to go with a repeat cesarean rather than deal with the unknowns/pain of labor. They also tend for the most medicalized options so to speak and do not generally care for an informed labor, putting their faith fully in God and the doctor. Reality check indeed.

I was at an impasse and needed to form a plan: How do I realistically envision the birth? What do I need to set up or research beforehand? Should I stay with my doctor or change to a different one? What process will best enable my vision to become a reality?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

USA trip highlights

Our trip included lots of family time and shopping time. Even though it was freezing for my Mexican kiddo (and myself for that matter) we did manage some fun toddler-approved activities.

At the park:

Reading new books:

Testing out a new water bottle:

Walking to the grocery store:

Downing an adult-sized mango lhassi:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy Labor

Here's what this book says: Labor is painful. You should get an epidural. There are other drugs you can get but they probably won't be good enough and then you will get an epidural. There are other methods of coping. Some of them work, but you should still get an epidural. For example laughing gas, but it's too cheap to charge insurance companies, so we don't offer it. Birth stories: it's unpredictable and even hippies get epidurals.

If I was only going to read one book on labor, this would not be it. The book "Easy Labor" is written by an obstetric anesthesiologist, so it's no surprise that it advocates a medicated birth. That said, I did like the detailed break down of the medical procedures that could potentially be offered and am glad to have this perspective in mind because it is definitely the reigning attitude at any of the hospitals we will end up in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Registry Complete!

We had two motives for our recent trip to the US:
1- Visit Little Boy's grandparents and other family
2- Shop for Baby Brother: one of our biggest tasks on our master list

I outlined a few weeks ago the items I was hoping to acquire, and I can happily say that we got all of those taken care of, (although nothing from my luxury list to date). If you were wondering about the stroller situation, we ended up going with this one:

City Mini Double GT

We also got some bonus items for Little Boy to prepare us to tackle some of the other items on our prep list, namely: twin bed sheets, another potty, and a baby doll!

As on all our visits, we were overwhelmed with the generosity of friends and family friends buying our kiddo(s) gifts for no particular reason. This was probably my favorite from this trip:

Coming home with all this new gear brought us to an acute understanding of why families get bigger cars! It was a bit of a struggle, but we managed to fit everything in for the ride home and hopefully will not be doing too much air travel with all this "stuff" for a while.

How's your shopping going?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Second Time Around: The Second Trimester- Part 2

Week 22- Feeling and seeing Baby from the outside!

Week 23- Starting to have a legit bump. People close to me mention I'm fat. ;) First twinges of sciatica popping up. I'm realizing I am more nervous about this pregnancy than I first realized. It has been a week of nightmares (I never have any when I am not pregnant) and I'm understanding that I won't be able to fully relax until I have a healthy baby in my arms.

Week 24- Sciatica hits big time. Feeling fat. Baby Brother is a mover and shaker and this ultrasound is no different. It takes some maneuvering but the doc manages to see everything and we're still having a boy! Time for a mega to do list.

Week 25- Sleeping a little better. Viability is good- now this kiddo needs to bake as long as possible. Keeping busy with lots of activities and trying to get started on the to do list. Nervous about the GD test.

Week 26- Happy for the distraction..we're off for some shopping! Passed GD test with flying colors- yay! A week as a single parent (i.e. lifting: in and out of crib, in and out of car, in and out of highchair, etc.) and my sciatica is unbearable.

Week 27- Home again! Lots of rest makes the back better. Realizing pushing the stroller is a major trigger for sciatica. Lots of comments on the tummy. Definitely bigger than I was the first time around and already feeling pretty stretched out. Ready to "graduate" to the third trimester: baby getting close but still so far away.

27 weeks

Friday, November 23, 2012


We're skipping Thanksgiving this year but the mood of the season still makes me grateful for so many blessings:

Baby Boy bringing us endless joy

A healthy pregnancy so far

A new computer

Spending lots of time together as a family

Eating eggs

Pictures reminding me of so many great moments

The internet for keeping us connected (and informed)

My plants that are still alive

Our neighbors that are nice, friendly and quiet

Living in a place that is sunny all year round

A husband that takes care of me and the kiddo

New recipes that work out

Nap time


Feeling hopeful about our future

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Traveling with a Toddler while Pregnant... not recommended. Can it be done? Absolutely. Was it fun? Not at all. I already wrote quite the manifesto on traveling with a 1 year old, so here I'll just add a few small tidbits for the pregnant woman contemplating a solo trip with a toddler.

Our flight on the way back to the US of A was happily uneventful. The flight landed smack in the middle of lunch time and so we spent about half of it eating. Then we did a little aisle walking, where Little Boy made friends with some of the passengers, and per his expertise acquired a key chain memento! Waiting in line in immigration was way up there on worst parental experiences with an overtired kiddo and a really long wait. Even the miraculous lollypop did nothing for us. By the time we made it to baggage claim the kiddo zonked out in the stroller and had a little cat nap while I installed his car seat and we were on our way. He continued his mini nap on the drive home and all things considered it was a success.

During the week we did lots of fun stuff (separate post) but the rough part was the more routine stuff: meals, naps, car trips etc. The kiddo was extremely well behaved considering the new environment but life must go on and in order to make time for everything my break-time (during the Boy's nap) became my errand-time. The cumulative tiredness was particularly bad for my sciatica.

The way back? Oh goodness, I don't wish that experience on anyone. We did pretty well at the airport, although security was less than helpful in getting us through with all our stuff in tow. I particularly enjoyed the comment "just pick him up", when I am clearly 6 months pregnant and had both my hands full with other bags, because obviously when you are a parent you are supposed to have a third hand to pick up your toddler.

We had a solid hour before boarding and so we made our way to the club. Thank goodness. The quiet, the clean bathrooms, the snacks, the limited options for the kiddo to run away out of sight, made the wait manageable. Of course when we made it to the gate, the flight was delayed so we still had a wait.

Our one moment of peace: devouring snacks and discovering M&Ms at the club

Once we boarded, the real fiasco began. I think it goes without saying that when you are pregnant, your lap child has a particularly small amount of room in an already tight seating arrangement. Couple that with waiting on the tarmac, an overtired child that could not find a comfortable position to sleep in, and sun blaring in through the window and we had a lot of crying, whining, standing/sitting/rolling/kicking on my lap. I could not have been any happier when that flight was over.

Except then they wanted to send all of the gate check luggage to the baggage claim! Instead I stood on the tarmac (while a bus full of passengers waited) and insisted on getting my stroller. We've already done the "no stroller while waiting to get through immigration" shenanigan before, and I was not having it! It's amazing how fast the situation can get fixed when you won't get on the bus. Not my finest moment, but definitely worth it.

Luckily, getting through the airport was mostly uneventful and the kiddo had a short nap on the very long drive back home through rush hour traffic. Lest you think it wasn't worth it, I should reiterate that the trip was great overall! We had a lot of fun, but I want to keep it real, it wasn't all rainbows and unicorns.

  1. If you can in any way get another adult to travel with you- do that! 
  2. Minimize the luggage, and in particular the carry-ons. The less you have to wrangle and keep track of, the easier it will be to focus on your Tasmanian devil and the better it will be on your back. 
  3. Maximize snacks. It was absolutely incredible how much this kid ate before, during and after our flights. 
  4. Try to utilize a club membership or one time pass for long waits. 
  5. Make sure you know how your gear works ahead of time: installing car seats, folding strollers, etc, to keep moving along as quickly as possible. 
  6. Try to plan flights for morning or meal time, whenever your toddler will be easiest to manage (and definitely not during nap time, unless they are the type to fall asleep anywhere).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hoddie Season

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I just LOVE a baby in a hoodie. A toddler in a hoodie is pretty good too! It's been cooling down, which I don't love, but at least we have some cuteness to make up for it. :) Happy Monday!

* Today is Mexican Revolution Day (actually tomorrow) so we're bumming around the house.
** Looking at these I just realized Baby Boy has a whole lot of navy blue in his wardrobe. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Master of Acquisitions

OR: How my kid gets stuff...
OR: Are you sure you're my kid?
OR: Ask for what you want, you just might get it!

My kiddo has this incredible quality- he is audacious, if nothing else. He goes up to strangers and asks for what he wants. And almost always gets it!*

Last week when we were at the park, a mother was giving her boys potato chips. My boy walks up to her, says a high-pitch hmm, nods his head and looks up with his puppy eyes. "Do you want one?"; nods yes. Turns around to face me, grinning from ear to ear with potato chip in hand.

This week- same park, different mother: the kiddo walks away with a teddy graham.

Currently, we have two inflated balloons in our house. One of them came from a baby shower. We did not attend this baby shower. We just happened to walk out of a restaurant as a woman was leaving a hotel lobby with three balloons. Little Boy points up at the balloons and looks at the woman. "Here have one!" We check with her: "are you sure?" "Of course, I have two kids at home, he can have this third balloon". It has been over a month and the balloon is still hanging out in our play room.

Last weekend we went downtown for some exploring. In a public plaza, he walks away from us to make his request, and a three year old girl gave him her pink balloon. He has been semi-obsessed with this latest conquest all week.

Is there a point to this post? Maybe. Maybe we need to remember that sometimes all you have to do is ask. That people are mostly pretty nice and friendly. That we should give strangers the benefit of the doubt. Or maybe Baby Boy just has skillz.

*I should note that these are just examples with perfect strangers. He's in a whole different league with people he knows!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Our First Mexican Birthday Party

Our first kiddie birthday party here in Mexico resulted in quite a bit of culture shock. While we've gotten used to the fiesta mentality for adults, it's hard to digest the magnitude when it comes to a toddler turning only 2 years old!

We started with crafts: Baby Boy was in love with the sparkles that he "glued" on his mask. Then there were 2 bouncy structures and a doll station to play in (dolls, high chairs, clothes, strollers etc). Then a team of party workers that ran games for an hour and a half. Then of course food. And we didn't even get to stay for the cake and the piƱata because it was past our bedtime.

The boy with his finished product

Decor themed to the nines

2 bouncy structures

The party workers (in pink) running games
All in all we had a good time but both of us definitely came home overstimulated and tired. Will Baby Boy ever have one of these parties? Only time will tell.