Thursday, July 18, 2013

Little Boy's Fish Themed 2nd Birthday Party

If there's one thing Little Boy loves more than anything it's water! Agua! Mayim! He can't get enough! So as soon as we knew we would be Stateside for his birthday, I started planning a little pool party for the kiddo! His two favorite "things" this past year were balls and fish, so a little fish-themed pool party seemed like the obvious way to go. I'll save you the suspense- it was a big success. Here are some of the details:

Invite- I took a picture of our aquatic stuffed animals on our play mat and then edited on PicMonkey.

Food- Our fish themed goodies were: Goldfish, skittles on a fish shaped plate, "fish in water" (swedish fish in blue jello), and a fish-shaped birthday cake. We also had fruit, veggies, chips and a beach-ball cake for M since it was a joined party.

Decor- This was pretty easy- pictures of Little Boy from the last year in the shape of a two, and foam fish cut-outs that I bought for 10 pesos (80 cents).

Entertainment- The pool! It was so easy and so perfect! We bought some extra floaties to have for people.  (We also bought a little blow up pool just in case but all the kiddos wanted to be with their parents in the big pool).  And a fish piñata to close out the party.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Little Boy's 2nd Birthday Day

Once again, Little Boy's birthday became a multi-day affair. On his birthday eve he got to open an awesome present from his auntie. On the actual day he got gifts galore from the family. All he asked for was a balloon and we were happy to comply! We had a leisurely breakfast and then went on a playdate. And the next day was his party! Lucky kid! That post will follow. Happy Birthday Little N!

already obsessed!

Destin with Two

Ahhh...the beach. It could be so relaxing, but this time it just wasn't. We had a rainy, rainy week in Destin, Florida and were mostly cooped up in the rental. We had a few hours of scorching sun that Baby B did not like at all, but we made the best of it. Little N still loved every minute!

A note on the drive: it took us about 8 hours to get to New Orleans, and 7 to get from there to Destin. All in all not bad. While we had to make many stops for snack/bathroom/running breaks, the kids did incredibly well.

New Orleans with the kiddos!

We arrived in New Orleans with not much of a plan except trying to do some wandering around (like last time), seeing some street performers and eating at Cafe du Monde. Upon arrival we asked the concierge at at the hotel and he told us the three most popular activities for kids are 1) the cool zoo (like a water park in the zoo), 2) the aquarium, and 3) story land. Since we had recently been to the aquarium and zoo in Guad we decided on Storyland as our kid-centered activity. We decided to visit Storyland in the morning and leave the French Quarter for the afternoon post nap. 

We had a quick breakfast at a diner down the street from the hotel and then drove to City Park. The park is huge and we could tell that there was a lot of exploring to do there, but we had limited time and a destination so we went directly to Storyland. In sum, N absolutely loved it! It was story book characters and structures that he could walk in/on/over. (We also realized that he doesn't know very many classic fairy tales yet so we need to get on that!) Adjacent to Storyland is a little amusement park called Carousel Gardens. Little N was too small to go on most rides but he did go on his very first carousel and very first ferris wheel ride. 

We had some snacks and headed to the hotel to try for a nap. That was a total fail! So we decided to just leave and head to the French Quarter for lunch and wanderings. We had a great lunch at the Acme Oyster House, then walked down to  have beignets and coffee for dessert. We enjoyed just walking around and  watching street performances, but finally the heat was just too much and we headed back to the hotel for a dip in the pool before dinner. Of course Little N passed out in the stroller on the way back! And Baby B? He was a trooper and let us do what we wanted to do. All in all a really great day!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Get it Now

When people used to ask me if I was loving having a newborn, I was pretty meh about it. Of course I loved Little Boy in that mama bear I'll do anything for you protection hug. But man, those newborn days were tough! I was lucky to get even 3 straight hours of sleep, and let's not even open the can of worms that were our feeding issues for the better part of two months. So I answered that I was loving being a mom or that he's a great baby but that was as far as I was willing to go. 

After several months I couldn't help but marvel at how lucky I was. Little Boy became such a happy, easy going baby. He charmed strangers and once his sleep got better we could really enjoy him. It was then that I was warned, with an ominous tone, "you'll see, all babies are different". Apparently I was too lucky with my firstborn so surely I had a nightmare ahead of me. Then I became pregnant again (despite all the warnings) and started thinking ahead, but of course all I could imagine was having the same experience again: not sleeping, lots of pumping, and a mix of love and exhaustion from being an all inclusive on call caretaker. 

Baby Brother is different. Different in that he is the most chill-relaxed little dude you will ever meet. The only fussing I ever hear is when he's having trouble falling asleep, which cues me to just bounce him a little more, or walk around, or nurse him to sleep. In the day to day we don't really hear crying, except when he's been "abandoned" in the car seat. He is that poster child for the cuddly newborn; just hold him and he's a happy baby. I get why people love newborns! Holding him tells me: have more kids! This is fun! 

Baby Brother melted into my arms at first sight. He was quite literally born knowing how to nurse. His sleep from about 6 weeks has been mostly really good (first wake-up around 4 a.m.) with just the occasional nightmarish night. He's a big baby that's heavy to carry around but that's really my only complaint. While I have a feeling he will be more of a handful as he gets older*, for the time being I am enjoying his babyhood. And reminding myself of how much I dislike being pregnant.

*And yes by the time I've gotten around to publishing this post we've hit the four month sleep regression and our first bout of teething- indeed more of a handful. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Houston: Astro's Game + Museum of Fine Arts

Seeing as it was Baby B's first visit to the US, and it was summer time, we decided to take the kids to their first baseball game. We headed to Minute Maid park, bought our tickets and headed inside. After finding our seats, we ordered some food and enjoyed the first three innings in relative calm. By then we needed some other activities so we walked around, got the kiddos souvenirs to commemorate their first game, filled out surveys and managed to see a couple more innings in the interim. When it was way past nap time, we headed out and called the game a success!

Another day, this time with Auntie V in town, we all headed to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The boys were extremely interested, particularly Baby B. We saw a nice portion of the exhibits and then were off for some Texas BBQ lunch.

24 Months!

Our last monthly update is here! My little boy is two! A couple things from the last month: The language explosion has continued and we've expanded to three-syllable words. In particular you like describing opposites (chico/grande, atras). My personal favorite words right now are lalai (layla=night), mamaya (mañana) and toym (tachtonim=underwear). The other thing you've begun doing is "yoga"; you know one pose like a downward dog with one leg up that you do at fairly random times. We've begun swimming lessons and you absolutely love to "nadar" with your "Mis"; it puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day! We just can't believe how lucky we are to see you grow and discover all that life has to offer. And now for a little round up. 

This Year:

You became obsessed with Daddy's car!
You started brushing your teeth!
You went from walking to running to jumping!
You visited the Holy Land!
You built towers!
You collected dozens of gingis (tree berries)!
You went from signing to talking!
You loved going to the zoo and children's museum!
You met your Great Grandmother in South America.
You did lots of baby gymnastics!
You loved playing soccer with Daddy!
You started playing on the play ground!
You loved going to events with niños!
You went trick-or-treating for the first time!
You started loving hats!
You became a big fan of books!
You started putting together puzzles!
You became a big brother!
You stopped wearing diapers!
You started learning to swim!
You gave us endless kisses, hugs and cuddles!

You are thoughtful and kind. You love your little brother and watch out for him. You like being funny and the center of attention. You are both cautious and fearless at the same time. You love people. You are a creature of habit. And you are a bundle of energy. We can't wait to see what the future has in store for us!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Their First Baseball Game

Both kiddos recently went to their very first baseball game! It was no Fenway but the AC'ed Minute Maid Park to see a game that actually turned out to be really good against Milwaukee (even though we only stayed just over half way through). We got there just a little early to buy tickets and walk around a bit. Little Boy just loved the lights, sounds and overall commotion of such a large stadium. We found our way to our seats and then ordered some food. The anthem, and then eating snacks and lunch easily took up the better part of three innings. Then we made our way to the bathrooms, and explored some other parts of the stadium including getting a commemorative certificate for their very first Astros game! We got to see one more inning as Little Boy was enjoying his free bag and towels and then it was way past naptime and we had to head home. All along Baby Brother was perfectly behaved sleeping in the carrier and then taking in the lights himself. It ended up being a really fun family outing and we can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

4 months!

My little baby is actually quite literally a big baby! You are 4 months old and over 18 lbs putting you off the charts, but inside you are my sweet and sensitive baby. You love being held, smiling, and hanging out with us! And when I look into your beautiful eyes all I see is an innocence I will do everything to protect for as long as possible. You love things that are soft- like your cozy blanket to nap, and little rags or soft toys to grab.

Even though you are a very relaxed kiddo, you're still kicking like crazy, day and night, and love to "stand". As a result, I've been swaddling you with your feet out; it's pretty funny but you like it and your arms still wake you up so we're going to stick with it a while longer. You've started babbling here and there- like you have something to tell us. And your squeal of joy is just adorable!

You can't take your eyes off of anything flashing (like the lights from the internet modem), so we try to avoid them as much as possible. You've been doing pretty good push-ups during tummy time, and have been half turning, making us think that a roll over is impending. You're still loving your fists, especially putting them in your mouth. You've begun grabbing objects, like the hanging toys on your floor mat (and holding on to them with all your might). We can't wait to see what lies ahead!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Houston: Discovery Green + Menil Collection

When June rolled around and M's semester was over, we headed north to Houston for a few weeks with the family and a change of scenery. To keep us in a nice routine, we planned daily activities out of the house. Our first destination was Discovery Green. After messing around with the parking for an inordinate amount of time, we had a walk around. Little N absolutely loved the water feature, as expected, and we wrapped things up with snow cones on the grass. A perfect little summer excursion.

 downtown Houston

 (convention center)

Another muggy day, we headed out early for a visit to the Menil Collection. The museum was small enough that it was just right for exploring with the boys. The guards were a little overbearing but we hear that's a common complaint. Other than the main building we also walked over to see a lighting installation. The time-worthyness of that one is still up for debate. We ended with a much anticipated visit to Trader Joe's and enjoyed our treats all the way home.