Thanksgiving dinner was pretty great. We gave Baby Boy his bath, and put him in pajamas and a sleep sack, and then got prettied up ourselves. We left the house pretty late, and then there was a TON of traffic, but we still made it with plenty of time to spare. We met some friends there, and sat with a few other couples. The food was far from good- the vegetarian option was a really bad lasagna, but the wine was drinkable. And it was really loud, but Baby Boy still fell asleep in his stroller. The best part: a couple guys we met watched our kid so that we could go out on the dance floor for a short while! So it was a good night.*
(us before we left)
* I couldn't help but thinking that last year we didn't go because I was so tired and nauseous, and now we came with our 5 month old! Amazing what a difference a year makes!
My Grandmother, Baby Boy's Great-Grandmother, came all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to visit the kid; lucky bugger. We had a great relaxed visit, stroll(er)ing around town, visiting the Centro Historico, hitting up the malls and generally enjoying each others' company. That is all.
This month began with a giggle; it was not just a squeal or silent laugh, but a true giggle, one that sounded exactly like your giggle toy. It was the sweetest sound we could ever imagine! And as the month progressed it only got louder, more frequent and less held back. It is like you can't contain your happiness anymore, it just has to burst out!
You still eat all toys, love clapping, snapping, singing, dancing and in general being showered with attention. You also complain when said attention is lacking. You LOVE your daily walks, and especially love going out and sitting on our laps so that you can see all the big people and excitement going on around you.
Your constant interest in everything means that you don't really want to sleep anymore, especially during the day. After a short twenty minutes you lift your head up and start looking around for someone to save you from your crib.
You have figured out cause and effect: you now know to shake the rattles to get them to make noise, kick your piano for sound, splash in the water and bang the giraffe toy to get a squeak, and you delight in the results of your efforts.
And of course, your biggest milestone this month was rolling over, not by accident but with intention. It seems like after a couple weeks of fussiness (teething, growing, learning), overnight you became a big kid. You can almost sit on your own; you have a running commentary over every activity, you became Loud, and you are ready to be the real king of the house.
Mommy and Daddy are enamored with your every squeal (even though you still don't let us sleep at night) and we are so excited for what's to come! We love you beyond words!
We LOVE functional souvenirs almost as much as we hate chotchkies. Basically all those little figurines become clutter and junk as soon as they enter the home. But we still occasionally like a way to remember a place besides our pictures. So for your next trip, here are some ideas of functional souvenirs:
Clothes- rather than a T-shirt with the place name sprawled all over, go for something you will actually want to wear and then you're good to go. Some of our best purchases: a fleece jacket and wool hats from Nepal. And our custom-made T-shirts commemorating our China trip.
shirts commemorating our Nepal trek (we still wear them, though not at the same time)
Jewelry- this is one of the best! If you buy something you like, you'll actually use it. D has a dozen earring from various trips that get used frequently. Plus they carry that extra little memory of the place they came from. Classic: Indian bangles worn at our wedding!
photo credit: Noah Shahar
Music- nowadays this may be obsolete with iTunes and all, but we still love getting our hands on a local CD. Recordings from the Indian Bahai, the Sikhs in Amristar, and Tibetans of McLeod Ganj still get played on our iPods. There's nothing like a little Churi Churi to get your mood uplifted after a long day.
Homegoods- things for the home that you actually use are great! They serve a subtle reminder of the trip and make great conversation starters. Likewise they are not just takeing up storage space. Our faves: a tie-die tablecloth from Southern China, and candlestick holders from Rajasthan, and curtains from Mumbai.
The little stuff- it's only functional if you actually use it. But a nice keychain is a fun reminder of vacation days. A shot glass, if you actually drink shots. A pen, if you don't lose it. A notebook if it doesn't go unused.
So next time you're traveling, skip the figurine/ snow globe/ randomly shaped gadget, and go for something you can use! Your memories will stay with you and your souvenirs will have a purpose that doesn't involve paying for overweight luggage.
The last two weeks of October, the Panamerican Games were in town. There was commotion, but not too much because a lot of locals left town. There was traffic, but not too much because schools were closed and there was no carpool. There was excitement, but not too much because it's not the Olympics. Still, it was a fun time. We saw the Men's Cycling and Pelota Vasca. Here's a glance:
Men's Cycling, us in background
waiting for the next lap
intently watching Pelota Vasca (Mommy protecting Baby Boy from air horns)
Ok, this is the last of the series for now. Things to survive day-time with a little baby, just the necessities.
A chair- A.K.A. somewhere to put the baby. We have the FP Infant to Toddler Rocker and it has been a life-saver. The nice thing is that we could use it pretty much right away, and it was invaluable as a "put the baby close to me while I shower" chair in the early days. Now that he's bigger, the kiddo has figured out how to make himself rock and it's awesome.
A carrier- because unless you have a full-time maid, sometimes you need 2 hands to get stuff done around the house. Up to 3/4 months we used the Moby, which I LOVED. It keeps the baby nice and close; he slept while I did stuff, and it was a lot nicer than the stroller when he was a tiny little thing. Now we use the ERGObaby carrier, which I also love. The most important feature is the hip belt that takes the weight off your shoulders. (For reference we do have a Bjorn type carrier with no hip belt and I could only use comfortably it for very short periods of time).
Stroller- because you won't always want to carry the baby on you. Good for walks- from around 2 months the kid became very interested in trees/nature, and so he has his own seat at restaurants before he can sit up (personally I'm not a fan of carseat on the chair/table contraption). We use ours - the Baby Jogger City Mini- every day! Decide what features are important and go from there. In our case I need big wheels for the crazy Mexican side walks, a big sun canopy for the Mexican sun, and relatively light-weight stroller because pushing a baby up a hill is work enough.
Fabric- burp cloths, wash cloths, blankets. You're going to be wiping lots of drool, spit-up etc, plus Baby is going to go on the floor a lot, and you want to be able to layer to keep Baby warm easily. So you want lots of these. We have about 15, 12, and 8, respectively, plus the 8 swaddle blankets I already mentioned, which can also be used as burp rags/nursing covers/blankets. I think you can probably do with a little less, maybe 12, 8 and 6, and still not have to do lots of laundry but as you know variety is the spice of life.
Playmat- We have two: the Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean Adventure play gym, and the FP Discover 'N' Grow Kick & Play Piano Gym. Our kid loves the latter- the piano is awesome. I would say from about 2 months on, this has been a life-saver in that I can leave him playing for a few minutes and he is totally entertained! Also, foam pads if you have tile floors like we do. Playing on the floor is a must for letting Baby explore.
Books- Mostly for your own sanity, I would get several. We read every day and the older he gets the more Baby Boy enjoys the books. Even though you can technically read a baby "anything" just so that pick up on words, sentence structure and language fundamentals, children's books with colorful drawings seem to keep his attention best.
Toys- there are a lot of options out there, choose what you like. Our one stand out toy that Baby Boy really loved from about 6 weeks on and is still totally enthralled with is the Lamaze Jacques the Peacock.
Monitor- I would throw this in as an optional item. I use ours very infrequently since our house is not that big, but I will set it up for nap time if I need to be on a different floor and there's noise to the point I might not hear the kid.
Just like in previous years, the Guadalajara Centro Historico was adorned in skeleton statues for Dia de los Muertos. This year they were sports themed to celebrate the Panamerican games. The beautiful November weather meant the downtown was full of people admiring the statues. Here are some of the best statues, with a few gratuitous Centro picture thrown in the mix:
Project Go Back to Sleep is still in progress. The good news is that the kid goes to bed at 7 pm and gets up at 7:30 am. The bad news is that he's up 3-4 times during that time period. I have talked to everybody and their mother about it. There are a few suggestions I still need to try out. If anything works I'll be writing about it. Pizza is not a vegetable. I like pizza; I will even tell you that it's pretty nutritious (cheese and bread complete each other to make a more complete protein, like meat almost). And it is yummy. But seriously, this kind of lobby shenanigan annoys me, a lot. I LOVE the weather here in November. 75 and sunny, with perfect blue sky every single day. Lots of time outside= not lots of time blogging. Sorry.
The Panamerican Games were it town. I should write a post about it, but it might take a while. See above ^.
Our cleaning lady fiasco continues. The latest candidate didn't do a few tasks and left 45 minutes early. I've lost track of how many we've tried.
It is the end of the semester. The hubster has some major exams. I am trying to see lots of friends now. Why? Because we are staying in town for the holidays! This is only the second time that we will not go Northward during break. (The first was to give birth). I'm afraid I might be bored with a lot of people gone and M busy with studying, but it should ok.
And finally: We buy lots of Groupons. Well maybe not lots, but we've bought a few. $1.50 for a movie ticket; $1 for a Yogenfruz; $3 for a pizza. Our latest: all inclusive beach resort!!! So even though we're not flying home, we do have vacation coming up!
In addition to the sporting events, there was a fan fest set up near downtown for the public at large to celebrate the Panamerican Games. A large screen showing various events was set up, along with booths selling Mexican handicrafts and distributing tourist information. Each night there were musical performances, which we had to forgo due to our new bed time. However, we did make a short visit to see the set-up.
So we wanted to go to an event, but didn't have the foresight to buy tickets early. This means that we were left with: Pelota Vasca (Fronton, or Basque Pelota). Basically two teams of two people hit a ball against a wall using a wooden racket.
It was cool for about a match but we actually enjoyed the break between matches more, when we got to see the 3 mascots come out: Huichi (for the Huichol people that are indigenous to the area), Gave (for the agave that makes Tequila here- see more HERE and HERE and HERE), and Leo (for the lion on Guadalajara's coat of arms).