Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Flexibility 101, as taught by my 1 year old

With my cold leftover pizza on my left, coffee on my right and my son snoozing across the hall at grandmas house- I am sitting down and get to work.
Most likely I'm making notes, things like looking out for a package to arrive today. Appointments to be scheduled for Daniel and myself. Planning what needs to be done this week outside the house- and how leaving the house coincides with the weather and if it's worth the effort of bringing my baby outside at all. Do I need to go to the fruit stand? If I go, bring the overdue library books and pay the $3.30 fine.

Because when he comes back from grandmas, I'll be on the floor with him, letting him climb me like a jungle gym, putting on some music or the news to play in the background and fill the quiet. I'll bring the heater from his room and place it beyond the baby gate, to heat the floor and keep our feet warm since my feet are always cold when on the floor so I'm sure his are too. I'll bring out some blocks and his loud musical walker and then try to sneak in the kitchen to put things away or cut some pears to snack on. Then Danny will realize that I snuck into the dreaded kitchen out of his grasp. He'll bang on the baby gate with whatever toy he's carrying around, much like a prisoner with a tin cup and he'll let me know that I did not have his blessing to do something without him.
I'll give him the love and attention he demands, usually a cuddle on the couch with Cheerios, until he scoots down and toddles off to play again. Then I cut up the pear, pour something to drink, and go to the bathroom. Of course, out of his eyesight. If he sees, he acts as though he thinks that the bathroom is eating me alive. He'll stand at the overturned coffee table and yell, imploring me to show my face. I dread the day that he learns how to move this barricade aside because that will be the beginning of the end of solo bathroom breaks. I will never pee alone again.

He's a very tenacious baby. But then again I'm the same way. I want things to go my way and plan on the future, and here he is teaching me to put him before myself. Motherhood has taught me a lot, but I'm always relearning how to yield to others through his demands. And I'm so thankful that this important lesson is being taught by such a cute professor, through an immersion course designed to teach me to be flexible after all.

So tell me...
What lessons have you been learning lately?
Did you find yourself with an unexpectedly cute professor?

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Neglecting my Blog Baby

Before I had my son Daniel, this blog was my baby. Outside my relationship with Christ and my husband, The Newest Vazquez is where I focused all my creative energy and time, trying to raise this blog up to something that could, eventually, connect me with others around the world (and sure, be a possible source of income).
Well, I dropped my baby a long time ago. 

I picked it up a few times after Daniel was born, but at this point I haven't even looked at it in half a year. Mostly because I was ashamed of all the work I invested in it, only to let it slowly die. But it still exists, and while I have toyed with the idea of starting another from scratch, it saddens me that all the posts, photos and work I've invested would be lost and displaced. I love everything I've written, and want to keep it all in one place, even if it means it's combined in with a new kind of concept. I want to revive my blog baby.

I don't think that concept here (as it exists in Jan 2017) fits me anymore. I've outgrown it. In this phase of life, I am less interested in exploring NYC, traveling and writing about my "learning" how to be married (though I still am, marriage is hard sometimes). I'm no longer a newlywed trying to keep my pregnancies viable, still shell-shocked at living in a busy city after my country upbringing.

I've made an astounding switch to a MOM.

 I finally- for possibly the first time in my life- feel in control of my choices, location, and I care little about creating structured and topical posts on here. Life for me right now is full of sweet, stressful and rewarding moments of insight..... so I likely won't be doing any more of the highly formatted, researched and planned topics like I have in the past. 

No more "5 Tips to Great Posture" or "Coney Island Polar Bears". Even "First Week as "Mom"' requires a more effort than I am able to invest at this point in life- so while I love those posts, things will be much more casual and conversational.

An overhaul is in the works, I hope to see you soon!

So tell me... 
Is anyone still reading this?
Are you ready to hear some big news? Come back in a few days!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Daniel at 5 Months

Daniel at 5 months old is very different that him even a few weeks ago. I look at the photos taken when he was 3 months and 4 months old and can't even believe the change. Yep, I forgot to write a 4 month update.
He's been a little ham for a while now, laughing and smiling at anyone who gives him a smile, and this month it seems like he's become a little people-pleaser. When he wakes up is when he is happiest, often waking up instead of crying with an "AH!" or babbling until he decides that he wants company and gets worked up. He also has learned how to laugh this month, or the very beginning of it where he makes the "huh-huh" sound.
And he has found his feet! And, they are his favorite toy, not counting the attention of anyone around him. Since pants sometimes keep his legs down and make it harder to get them up, the minute they are off his feet are in his hands. Other times, like when I put him down to bed or when he is nursing he will sneak his left foot up and try to grab it. Which is hilarious, but not exactly helpful at those times.
He has learned that tummy time is not the enemy, and can actually be enjoyed... but still not for very long. And all the conditions have to be right, such as no tummy problems, intriguing toys, I have to be there and engaging him. But, this from a month ago is a huge improvement. He used to scream when on his tummy for more than a few seconds.
He's still getting mixed reviews as to who he resembles more. He has gone back and forth, but since birth he has started to get some more of my features. He has a lighter version of his fathers color and also has his fathers mouth- but has my eyes, nose and eyebrows. His eyes started out grey but are now hazel like mine. I'm betting they will settle on brown as he ages. And he has one eye different than the other, like his father.
Let's talk about his teeth. They still haven't popped out, despite him crying out about them for months now. Perhaps he's just touchy about mouth pain and being a 'big baby' but a two month old should never have to teethe, in my opinion. He likely has learned to handle it better but I did notice that this month was a lot easier, perhaps they took some time off of coming in or he might have learned how to handle the pain better. He is still putting everything in his mouth, and he gets really angry when he can't- the photo above is a perfect example. He get so frustrated and upset that this oball won't go in his mouth. But it's hilarious to watch his try to get it in there :)
While Daniel's favorite time of they day is when he wakes up and we play (or perhaps at mealtime?)- mine is when we leave the house for a stroll.

And finally, the weather is cooperating and he can actually leave the stroller and look around. Until it warmed up, I had his carseat covered and he generally napped. When he woke up he would soon after get upset about being strapped in, and we'd have to go home.

Now that it's warmer, I can walk to the park, and when he wakes up actually take him out, play with him, nurse him and even change a diaper if needed.

When he gets sleepy I can just put him back in the stroller and cover him with his sunshade and he'll fall asleep in a few minutes. If I'm being honest, this is the only way I can help him fall asleep consistently without crying. Ok, sometimes with crying, but usually a nice stroll will help him drift off after 5 or 10 minutes of being drowsy.
 Since I'm on the topic of sleep, I'll just say that I appear to be he favorite place to snooze, especially when away from home. He doesn't cosleep with us and does sleep in his crib... until he wakes and it's daylight (anytime after 5:30am). At which point he comes in bed with me and Tom moves to the couch. He was at 2 months old sleeping through the night (which means more than 6 hours straight) but hasn't since. We occasionally get a 5 or 6 hour stretch, but most of the time he sleeps at night for 2 hours. Naptime varies, but can be anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 hours. It really depends on the day and if he's overtired because of fighting naps.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Get Me Out of Here!

I'm going a bit stir crazy this week, and have what might be considered cabin fever. I haven't been out for a walk (with Daniel) in a week, and I'm missing the wonderful weather we had. I mistakenly said to Tom 'we can put away the heaters, it's springtime!" And then this week happened and I haven't heard the end of it.
What have I done to stay occupied (and keep my mind off the cold rainy weather outside?

-Mended our spare comforter, which had ripped open on one corner.
-Taken an inventory of all the food in our kitchen.
-Organized our entire kitchen.
-Updated Rosetta Stone and started lessons again.Well, okay. One lesson... four days ago.

All these things because otherwise I'm just sitting indoors, looking outside. And I really want to get outside again.

So tell me...
Where do you live?
How about you?
What do you do to keep occupied?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "G" in 2014:
Goals in Blogging
I'm just starting to tell people that I blog, and I know that for most people it's kind of something you raise your eyebrows at... Click the link to read the rest...
This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge:

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Finding the Time

Really.... do any of you know where it is?  I'm serious, have you seen it anywhere?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "F" in 2014:
When Tom and I were dating for about 2 months, he asked his parents if his girlfriend from Pennsylvania could come for a visit and stay over the New Years 2010 weekend.

Up to that point heard about a girl who their son met online. But never caught her name every-time it was mentioned. So they asked, "what's her name?" and Tom said "Farin". And then they said this gem "Oh, like Farina?"  Click the link to read the rest...
This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge:

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Exercises for Babies!

One thing that I enjoy (and Daniel loves!) is the baby exercises we do every day. These are some simple moves that have a few different benefits. They calm a potentially fussy baby, relieve some gas, strengthen his neck, leg and arm musciles and aim to teach him to roll, crawl and balance. Plus, he absolutely loves them!

Leg Strength and Gas Relief
RunRunRun! (or Bicycle).
This is usually where we start, especially if he's being fussy and we want to make him smile. Taking an ankle in each hand, we help him "run". He might keep his legs locked at first, so you can lift tap his knees and they will usually bend. Then "runrunrun!" 

Eat Your Toes
It's exactly what it sounds like. After running, we bring his legs together and by the calves guide his feet to his mouth. Babies are so flexible, so this is something that he'll do on his own eventually anyway. But, in addition to giving him a bit of exercise, it is Very Effective at producing a toot. And, when you get a toot every time you bring his feet up to his mouth, it's quite hilarious.

With his feet back down on the bed, tap the bottoms and make him kick or stomp up and down on your hands. This is another crowd pleaser, as he loves it and smiles like crazy, which pleases us to no end. 

Sitting Up
Honestly, these are sit ups. You hold his hands in your hands, and help slowly pull himself up into a sitting position. You can either hold it for a few seconds, do a few more sit-ups the same way... or have him try his hand at balancing himself. You will likely have to help him balance by holding his hands, but we've found that he's gotten increasingly better at holding his frame by himself for a few seconds to a half minute.  

Rolling and Crawling
-I don't know if this is common, but our son has very strong legs but hasn't even attempted to roll yet. He outright hates tummytime, but that's mostly our fault because we didn't want to anger him more during the colic days and ignored it for a spell. But, the next exercise kind of tricks him onto his tummy, and helps him learn how to crawl and propel himself forward.

While on his back, take each forearm in your hands and act as though he is in a boxing match. Gently doing this will help him roll back and forth along his back, and at a certain point you take one arm and roll him over, keeping his arms up in front of his head (so he is now in the crawling position).
At this point, if he isn't like ours and hasn't figured out that he is on his tummy against his will, you put his hands up in front of his face, and then put your hands behind his tucked in legs. Encourage him to push against your hands by tapping the bottoms of his feet. He should push them out, and therefore propel himself forward. 
Whatever you do, be sure you are gentle and err or the side of caution. 
Take the exercises slow and the strengths and weaknesses of your baby into consideration. And of course you can take these to your babies doctor and ask what they would recommend or change for your baby.

So tell me...
Did you have an exercise regimen for you baby?
Are there any other 'moves' that you would recommend?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "E" in 2014:
Entertaining Guests
I have always admired people who throw extravagant dinner parties. Creating a beautiful menu, with the plates matching the tablecloth, and everyone having a grand old time.

Not always reality, am I right?... Click the link to read the rest...
This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge:

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016


D is for decongestant and allergy medicine. Because I'm participating in the A-Z Challenge and simultaneously sick, I'm merging the two.

See you tomorrow for the letter E.

Here's what I wrote for the letter "D" in 2014:
Dream Vacation
Recently, my co-workers created one of their office lottery pools. They were having a conversion about what they would do if they won the lottery, and although I never opt in with them, someone asked me what I would do. ... Click the link above to read the rest...
This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge:

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.

The cherry blossoms that bloom around Washington D.C. are fairly well-known... for good reason.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival happens every spring, in Washington D.C. It is to commemorate the Japanese cherry trees that Japan gave to the United States in 1912.
The entire Tidal Basin area is laid out so that as you walk among the blooms you find yourself passing several monuments and statues.
There is a 300 year old stone statue, placed to commemorate the signing of the Japan-US Treaty of Amity and Friendship in 1854. One year later, a stone pagoda was gifted as well.

While the best views in my opinion are from the Tidal Basin, you can make your way in a loop around to the museums, various monuments and even to the White House and Capitol. But... expect crowds.

A few tips:
  • Try to attend during the Kite Festival, which is scheduled and posted here. You will see kites being flown in the National Mall and at the Washington Monument. 
    • You can bring your own kite, or buy one while there from the many kite sellers. Great activity for kids!
  • If there were ever a moment I wanted a 'selfie-stick', it was at the White House. 
    • I just stayed away from the mass of people and sent in my tall husband. And don't even bother trying if you are bringing a stroller or anything other than your own body. 
  • Do what we did when it comes to parking..... don't drive to Washington D.C. 
    • Drive to a nearby metro station and park there. Then enjoy the very clean and quick ride into the center of the city. We drove to the Branch Avenue station and it was a half hour ride. It will be a bit more crowded than usual, but I definitely recommend considering it. Parking is free at Metro-operated lots on weekends and federal holidays.

     National Park Service- Cherry Blossom Festival
     Wikipedia- History of the National Cherry Blossom Festival
     Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Forecasts
     National Cherry Blossom Festival website

So tell me...
Have you visited Washington DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival?
Where do you live, and is there a place near you that showcases these trees?

Here's what I wrote for the letter "C" in 2014:
Candid Camera- NYC Subway
"Some people travel to and from work and never look up from their iPhone. Today I'm posting all the photos I've taken on the NYC Subway, that you might've missed otherwise.

I have a long commute, so grab a coffee and get comfy.
Also, Tom kind of photobombed one of the below photos. Do you see him?" 
Click the link to read the rest...
This post was brought to you by the A-Z Challenge:

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