Monday, September 26, 2011

One More Month to Introduce Solids!!

I realize that a lot of my posts have been "baby" related this month. Sorry to talk you all to death about my baby boy but he is changing so much and growing so fast and with the Fall season finally here and the holidays coming up, I am so excited about what all this means for Aiden :)

When Aiden turns 6 months, we are going to start introducing solids and I am so excited I just can't take it! I can totally understand why some moms start their babies on solids earlier, I have been tempted to mash up a banana and give it to him for a few weeks now... but I won't do it! After doing some research and talking with the pediatrician, we decided that we would wait until his 6 month birthday to start solids - yes, this includes rice cereal! It has been really interesting to see the response I've gotten from family and friends about this decision. Everything from "if you put some cereal in his bottle he will sleep through the night" to "look at how he eyes your food, poor baby is hungry!" But we have stuck to our guns and now we are one month away!

If you are interested, and would like to know why we decided to wait the 6 months to start solids, this article breaks it down pretty well. Kellymom is a great resource!

Again though, I can totally understand why moms choose to start earlier. Not only is it exciting to see your baby reach milestones but nursing is a big commitment and it can get exhausting. Incorporating solids into baby's diet is said to ease up those nursing marathons and then there is that hope that baby will sleep through the night. Honestly, I am not counting on this because I think it's just an "old wives tale" that babies on solids sleep better. Some of my friends have babies the same age as Aiden who sleep through the night but Aiden does not. He still wakes about every 3 hours to nurse... so he goes to bed at 8 and then wakes up to eat at 11pm, then 2am, 5am, and then is up for the day at 8am. It really is not that bad and I don't mind getting up with Aiden. The way I see it, my baby will sleep through the night when he is ready and I am not going to try all sorts of tricks to get him to adapt to MY schedule. My husband and I have learned to adapt to his schedule and his needs, not ours. YIELD TO AIDEN =)

Still, I am sure the Prince will enjoy food - he is already so aware of it! I've taken some frozen breast milk and mashed it up into a "slushie" to feed him with a spoon. He LOVED it! I also let him sit in his high chair and play with a sippie cup. It will probably be a while before he uses it (he just learned how to hold his bottle) but still, I feel like it gets him used to the "idea".

We have a Magic Baby Bullet and it looks so cool! I will be making homemade food for Aiden. Adults don't eat every meal out of a jar or can and neither should babies. I'm no expert but if a jar of carrot baby-food has a shelf life of two years there is just something wrong with that picture. I'd like to see you eat a carrot that has been sitting out for two years... gross! I will be buying fresh, organic veggies and fruits and making purees for Aiden. I can't wait to start!

I plan to introduce organic brown rice cereal first, with a little breast milk mixed in. Here is the recipe:
Rice Cereal


1/4 c. rice powder (brown rice ground in blender or food processor)
1 cup water


1. Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Add the rice powder while stirring constantly.
2. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly, mix in formula or breast milk and fruits if desired
3. Serve warm.

Seems easy enough right?! Ha, we'll see... but if he takes to it we'll add in some banana and then who knows? My plan right now is just to take it slow and make it healthy. I want Aiden to have a taste for healthy foods with simple ingredients. I know a little boy who loves Sushi and asks for that over McDonald's any day. I think that is awesome! (we won't be taking Aiden to McDonald's btw - Yuk!)


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Post Baby Body - Any Suggestions?

I really enjoy writing about my experiences as a new mom and my blog has been the perfect outlet. In general, I'm a transparent "open book" kind of person so pretty much what you see is what you get. I've been pretty open about all things related to mommy-hood and you can even read all about my boobs over on my Bravado Breastfeeding Diaries blog =) Ha!

One thing I've been kind of reluctant to write about has been my ever changing body image, specifically my weight ever since having my baby. I'll admit it, my previous posts about my body over on the Bravado blog have been sort of .. well... vague. Ughh, I hate that word. I mean, if you're gonna be vague just don't say anything. Either be direct or shut it up that's my motto.

I guess it's been kind of hard to put my thoughts together because let's face it, when it comes to my body image I am definitely insecure! When I stand at the checkout in Duane Reade and see magazines with new moms like Miranda Kerr (who is all kinds of gorgeous) I feel like -- "why don't I look like that?"

I'm pretty tall - 5'8 to be exact and on my wedding day 3 years ago I was 135 pounds. For me, that put me in a size 2 jeans, sometimes a 4 depending. This is my "skinny" weight. Granted, I have hips and a derriere so I will never be truly skinny, skinny. But that's fine with me... I am Puerto Rican and that's just how we roll :) Here is a picture of me from my honeymoon. I love how even though it's "from the side" my tummy looks nice and flat... ahhh these were the days:

Yea I don't know, I was just posing (not really
playing the video game) Lol!

A few months after my wedding, I put on about 10 pounds and remained pretty consistently at 145 lbs until I got pregnant. This put me at a size 6 in jeans which is where I feel the most comfortable. This is me at my pre-pregnancy ideal weight of 145:

A bit more around the middle and the legs but overall I feel pretty cute at this size.

Okay so then, I got pregnant... and throughout the pregnancy I was really good at not gaining too much weight. In general I am a healthy eater and always aim to just eat the simplest, most natural ingredients. I don't care about calories and I hardly ever weigh myself. I will take the REAL sugar over the fake aspartame stuff any day. At about 7 months pregnant, I had my maternity photo shoot and I felt fabulous. Here is a pic from that shoot with some tummy action:

7 months pregnant with Aiden :)

Up until this point, everything was smooth sailing and I felt great. Then during months 8 and 9 I don't know what happened to me! I started to just want to eat everything... especially cake! And anyone who knows me, knows I am not even a cake person. I love cookies and ice-cream but for some reason I wanted CAKE. My birthday was only a few weeks before I gave birth and I had two different cakes and ate two slices of each... yep, that's 4 pieces of cake! I also started to retain mad water... like, my cheeks swelled up and my ankles just went on vacation. Here is a not so flattering pic of me just 2 weeks before I had the baby:

This is my friend Nai (short for Naomi, well actually Noemi in Spanish) who would blow dry my hair for me and come over to do dishes or whatever I needed while I was preggo. She's awesome and I have a feeling I will be doing lots of manual labor when it's her turn =)

But as you can see my dear reader - puffy face, puffy arms... puff the magic dragon.. yea I don't know. Overall, I gained about 40 pounds during my pregnancy. And yes, a lot of it was the baby, placenta etc. and water weight that came off over my first two weeks postpartum... but a lot of it was still there and NONE of my jeans fit and I started to live in my yoga pants! I don't have pictures for this period of time because I did not allow a camera anywhere near me. LOL but here is a picture of me 5 weeks postpartum during a trip to the Botanical Garden. I love that the stroller is blocking my mid-section ... it's safe to say I was about 157 pounds here. Because by this point, I had started weighing myself on the Wii Fit.

I really do like this picture though :)

I know I shouldn't be so hard on myself... after all, I brought a child into this world right?! And it's the most happy thing I've ever experienced in my life ... but I am just admitting it right here and now -- I felt bad about myself and that coupled with postpartum hormones wasn't always easy to deal with. I can hear my husband now saying: "You're so Vain"... whatever Dude, you have no idea what it's like for a baby to take over your body! Anywell, I also need to mention that after having a baby, my skin was super loosey goosey and I needed to wear a girdle to feel good in my clothes. That's right I said it, a girdle!

So now, Aiden is 5 months old and I am happy to report that I've reached my pre-pregnancy weight of 145! Woohoo! I wear my size 6 jeans again and even a few size 4's. That's thanks to eating a balanced diet and breastfeeding.

So here's my problem -- the distribution is totally different now after I've had a child. I definitely carry a lot more weight around my mid-section and yep, I have cellulite on them thighs now. The only way out of this one is if I work out! But I am lazy... like, really, really, lazy. I'm good at eating right... I have no problems skipping out on dessert (though lately coffee ice cream has been my weakness) and I actually enjoy healthier foods. But when it comes to exercise I am just a lazy bum...

I have a gym membership and my gym is across the street from my office AND another one walking distance of my apartment. Trust me people, I have no excuses... I'm just lazy and I can think of about 1,000 things I'd rather be doing than running on the elliptical or lifting weights.

Finally, I come to the suggestions part --- do any of my lovely readers have suggestions on how I can tone up, get some exercise in a way that is fun and not so darn tedious? Have you done anything creative like a dance class or hypnosis? LOL! Help me before I go get plastic surgery!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Facebook Hiatus

It seems like social media has taken over the world. It has forever changed the way we interact, the way we represent ourselves and the amount of information we are willing to share with friends, family, non-friends, and total strangers. When Facebook first came about for college students, one of my professors actually suggested I join our school's network. It would be an easy way to get information about events at school and connect with classmates. I jumped on the bandwagon immediately and though it was very different from MySpace (which I was totally addicted to at the time) I loved the way it enabled me to share with friends.

I'm the kind of person that will hear a good quote and say "Oh that's going on my FB status!" I love uploading random pictures of funny things I see and since becoming a mom it has been an easy way to share about my son with family on the west coast... social media is kind of my thing. I am also on Twitter and Google+ but Facebook definitely takes up most of my time.

So lately I've been thinking about the way I interact with people and my real connections with friends. While I was pregnant, I experienced some big let-downs in friendships I thought would be lasting and it was literally like, as I was about to start a new chapter in my life God was showing me who would come along with me and who I needed to let go of. That was so hard at the time and I even felt betrayed and alone during what is already such an emotional time for a woman -- pregnancy! But now, I am so grateful for it! I am really protective with my son and I am glad that the people who have been a part of his life are people I can truly count on consistently. It isn't as many people as I thought but I am learning the importance of QUALITY over quantity.

So speaking of Quality... what about the friendship I offer to others? Is it quality? Am I giving it my best? I feel like especially with the new baby and learning to manage my time, it has been easy to get sucked into the whole "I just don't have time" or "I'm so busy" thing. Facebook has sort of made it easy to continue in this. I don't even have to remember my friend's birthday anymore! I decided that it's just time for a break from Facebook.

You see, since learning that my "friendship circle" (No, I'm not talking about Google+) has gotten a lot smaller, I want to appreciate and value that because man's rejection really is God's protection... and God has placed some pretty awesome people in my "circle". I want my friendships to be more than me "liking" your status... I wanna find the time and be a better quality friend.

Who knows when I'll re-activate my Facebook account but for now, if you need me - give me a call and let's actually talk =)

I'll end this with a great quote I read on a friend's blog that I am learning to live by:

"If it is important to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Aiden is 5 Months Old!

Mama going for a walk with Aiden Kyle

I am so incredibly blessed and enjoying every single moment of being the proud Mama to the most amazing boy - my Aiden Kyle. Aiden is 5 months old now and I am so excited because we have one more month to start solids! Woohoo! He is teething and it is really sad but we are learning how to best soothe him and he is doing well. He is 17 lbs 3 oz! Our very own Fatty McFatty :) He rolls over (both ways), grabs his feet and puts them in his mouth, reaches out for everything he can get his hands on and makes lots of two syllable consonant sounds. His "new thing" recently is that he enjoys throwing everything on the floor. It has become a fun little game -- Aiden throws, Mama Picks it up, Aiden throws, Daddy Picks it up, Aiden throws, Abuela picks it up and so on and so on. I am madly in love with my little boy!! It's kind of funny because when I was pregnant I had secretly hoped for a girl, but now I can't even imagine my life without my precious, sweet boy. I'm sooo happy God gave him to us!

My little dinosaur
Rock star PJ's!

Losing a Loved One: My beautiful cousin-in-law Gianna

In my world of blogging, there isn't usually much holding back when I sit down to type up a post. I don't do much editing, I sit back and let the words flow and then I hit "publish" before I have much time to think about it. Writing is an outlet for me, it is a form of expression and in many ways it is my therapy so I made a promise to myself to write, and write, and write and be honest because nothing we feel is "right or wrong" it just is. Right now though, as I sit here and put my fingers to the keyboard, I am at a loss and don't know how to go about this entry at all.

This weekend was a very difficult one for my family... we lost someone who we all loved so dearly and right now, it just seems like there is no shaking the sadness, the emptiness of life without her.

My cousin Raymond and I grew up really close. Our moms are sisters and we spent lots of time together as kids. We went to a lot of the same schools and played together, did our homework together, we grew up together. Ray and his siblings Amanda and Anthony were always more than just cousins to me. They were like my brothers and sister. I spent summers over at their house and my aunt was like a second mom to me. I am just one year older than Ray and we have so many good memories of our upbringing.

In 2008 I got married and less than 3 months after my wedding, my cousin Ray got married too! He married a beautiful young woman named Gianna and though I could not make the trip to San Diego for their wedding, I was so happy that he found his soul mate and made this step in his life. Gianna and I would talk over Facebook and I got to keep up with them in their photos and updates. When I heard that Ray and Gianna were coming to NYC for a visit, I was thrilled!

We had Ray and Gianna stay over at our place and we had such a great time visiting with them. I felt an instant bond with Gianna because that's just the way she was -- her heart was so full of love for others. We laughed together and talked about God and faith because that was such a huge part of Gianna's life. She loved being a Christian and her faith shined every second I got to spend getting to know her. I noticed a change in my cousin for the better and I felt grateful ... grateful that he had found this woman and that she had been such a positive influence in his life. He was happy and I was so happy for him. Here we were -- Newly married, twenty-something couples hanging out talking about our plans for the future, our hopes and our dreams.

In the summer of 2010 I found out I was pregnant and I remember sharing the good news with my cousin. I jokingly said "Get started on that baby making so that my little one can have a cousin to play with" and he surprised me when he said "actually, we plan to start working on that soon." I was thrilled! We talked about making a trip to San Diego and getting together more often... things didn't go as we planned.

By the summer of 2011 I had given birth to my baby and Gianna was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. When I heard the news, I remember saying "oh she is gonna beat this". My cousin didn't seem worried, he was hopeful and so was I. She was only 22 years old, she was beautiful and full of life... she was going to beat this cancer and have that baby and we would all spend years making memories as a family.

The prognosis did not offer much hope and when I did a google search on "renal medullary carcinoma" I was horrified. Gianna's cancer was already at stage 4 when she was diagnosed and it would take a miracle for her to be healed. We prayed, and prayed faithfully for that miracle and she fought for her life... this weekend the battle ended. Gianna passed away leaving my cousin heart broken. I cannot explain with words the grief that I feel, the pain, the loss and most of all the helplessness. My cousin lost his young wife of just under 3 years and I wish I could do something to ease his pain. I remember walking him to the bus stop for school in the morning when we were kids and I wish we could just go back to that. I wish life wasn't so hard and I wish this wasn't so unfair.

I know that God had a plan for Gianna... I know that she is no longer in pain... and I know that God will give Ray the strength he needs to move forward. It will be a long road ahead.

Every single moment we have is a gift and we are so blessed. I wake up 5 times a night for my teething infant and i am tired and sleep deprived and I am so blessed. I pick up after a messy husband and we get on each other's nerves but we are so blessed. I don't know why Gianna's life was so short and I don't know why my cousin Raymond has to go through this but I know that life is such a gift.

I just wanna end this by asking for your help. #1) please keep Ray in your prayers and the whole family as we come to terms with this loss and #2) most young people don't think about life insurance.. Gianna was only 23 when she passed and now the family is overwhelmed with the expenses. Raymond shouldn't have to worry about money at a time like this so if you are able to provide any help, donations are being accepted here --

"Life isn't measured in the breaths you take, but in the moments that take your breath away." -- Rest in peace beautiful Gianna Castro. We Love you.

Getting "New York Pizza" Ray and Gi's visit w/ the fam

California girl Enjoying the Snow

Raymond and Gianna at the Grand Canyon

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Cream Always Rises to the Top: Peace during conflicts with others

Let me explain... milk, undergoes a process called homogenization. During this process, the lighter fatty portions of the milk rise to the top due to lesser density. Very much like oil and water. The fatty portions are then skimmed and made into a separate product -- cream.

In the olden days (back when there was a milkman and stuff) the cream would sit right at the top of the milk bottle when you got it from the store. People loved to scoop it out and use it on fruit or their favorite deserts. Figuratively speaking, the cream is the more valuable of the two diary products. I had a teacher who used this saying often "the cream always rises to the top."

Throughout my life I've learned the true meaning behind this saying... and experienced the peace it brings when I sit back and just "let the cream rise". This isn't always easy to do. If you know me, you know that I speak my mind and tell it like it is! Some people like it, most don't but I just don't have it in me to "fake it". Regardless, it is at times challenging to sit back and not go on a rampage defending myself and my choices. And don't get me wrong, I am an advocate of defending oneself.. speaking up... I'm all for it! But there are times when it just won't do any good and as my mom would say "you have to let God fight your battles."

Whether or not you believe in God, we can all agree on one thing -- truth, goodness, LOVE will always prevail and be recognized in the midst of all kinds of drama. If you have good intentions, they will eventually shine through no matter who tries to steal your shine.

I was having a conversation with my mom yesterday and she reminded of this. She mentioned specific names of people I have had issues with in my past and said "what happened with him? what happened with her? what happened with them?" She reminded me that when people seek to bring falseness against you, or seek to do harm, they may succeed at first but in the long run the truth will always surface.

And please let me be clear - I am not talking about sitting back and doing nothing either! I'm talking about prayer, forgiveness, letting go and claiming PEACE because life is just too short to dwell on negative things. Make sure your intentions are good and your heart is in the right place and for goodness sake, don't worry so much! The cream will always rise to the top :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Evenflo's "In-Law Feeding Frenzy" Ad

There has been lots of controversy surrounding a video that Evenflo put up on You Tube, and you know I have to weigh in on all things controversial so here we go...

For those who don't know, Evenflo is a company that makes bottles, breast pumps, car seats etc. and I even have one of their single electric pumps. I feel like I should start by saying that I like the pump and though I now use a hospital grade double pump since returning to work, the Evenflo pump gets the smaller jobs done and it fits discreetly in my purse. Now... back to the video...

It is called "How to Survive the In-Law Feeding Frenzy" and I wish I could post it here but Evenflo has since taken it down and with good reason - it is as my friend C would say ... LAME. The video features a nursing mom who is under pressure from her in-laws to let them feed the baby. The mother-in-law enters the room and says, “Breastfeeding again?” and wonders if anyone else gets to give the infant milk. For almost three minutes, the new mother sneaks around the house so she doesn't upset anyone, eventually running away to the bedroom with her husband so she can pump some milk to give her in-laws a feeding chance. When the couple re-enters the kitchen with "the liquid gold," the father-in-law grabs the bottle and unknowingly uses the breast milk for his coffee.

My thoughts on this? Boooo! Evenflo is basically saying that the mom in this ad should go pump to accommodate the in-laws. While this scenario is quite common and I have heard lots of similar stories about families in my breastfeeding community, this ad is in my opinion condoning it all while actually discouraging women to breastfeed.

In the early days, I would pump so that other people could feed my baby. I was healing and I needed rest and since baby was still learning, a few improper latches did a number on me. But once we got the hang of it I established a rule -- If Mama (me) is in the house, then baby is breastfed. The ONLY time baby Aiden gets pumped milk is if I am not physically there. Everyone who chooses breastfeeding knows that it is crucial to milk-supply to nurse baby as often as possible. We also know that breastfeeding -- not just the milk but the actual act of breastfeeding-- is what is best for baby... so when did it become necessary to worry about what is best for anyone else?

Evenflo could have depicted the mom telling her mother-in-law "YES I am breastfeeding again, would you like to burp the baby when I am done?" But I get it, they wanted to be funny. Personally I would have found it funnier if the mom said "Back the hell off!" but that's just me :)

I am disappointed in this video just like many other breastfeeding moms but I also see how they were trying to convey that their product could be helpful in such a stressful situation. Unfortunately, they chose the wrong way to handle it.

As a new mom who is exclusively breastfeeding (after a pretty crazy journey) I know how it feels when family and people in our inner circle "get offended" by choices I make for my baby. If he cries and I grab him, they are offended, if I don't ask them to babysit or hold the baby, they are offended, if I don't take their advice, they are offended ... but at the end of the day my job is to do what I think is best for my baby and I can't worry about offending the whole world. I'm not going to let my baby scream hysterically just because you are holding him and I don't want you to be offended. Forget that crap, I am going to hold and comfort my baby. Sorry Charlie.

And if I was the mom in this ad, you better be darn skippy that it would have gone down in a TOTALLY different way. Okay kids, my rant is over ... I'm glad they took the video down.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carmen Juanita Garcia de Rivera

Doesn't that name sound like something you would call a Starlet on Univision or Telemundo? Haha, it's a beautiful name and it belongs to a beautiful woman - my grandmother.

I won't go into much detail, but my grandmother is fabulous at 81 and the amazing caregiver and wife to my grandfather who is 91 and suffers from dementia. She shows me every day what it means to be a loving and faithful wife. I tell my husband all the time that he better be nice to me, or else he's off to the nursing home when he's old! LOL - kidding. My grandma is so devoted to her man and has demonstrated what it means to "love and to cherish in sickness and in health".

Right now, she is in the hospital and the doctors are still running tests but there is some swelling around her heart. I just wanna ask you all to say a little prayer for her... my grandpa misses her and needs her to be home and to tell you the truth, I just couldn't bear to see something happen to my grandmother.

I'm a firm believer in honoring the people we love NOW while we still have them and I guess I just felt like taking to my blog to say that my grandma is the most beautiful, kind, wise, funny, crazy woman I know and I am seriously blessed to have her. She is the coolest grandma ever - she is even on Facebook! Come on, you know that's pretty cool.

Help me pray that she gets better soon... I Love my Wela!

My Grandma and Grandpa

Wela being silly as usual