Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Decisions

Can I just say.... when it comes to babies, people get crazy! I mean, it all started while I was pregnant and total strangers would look at my coffee and be like "that's decaf right?!" Like, really? People feel like they need to be involved in decisions for MY baby and I admit, I don't quite understand where that comes from. Sometimes it gets really frustrating and I want to yell at people LOL. I value advice and certainly ask for it when needed but at the end of the day, I know better than anyone what is best for my baby. It's especially annoying when I have done research and have education on my side but people feel like they still know better because of what was done years ago. Honestly, it isn't my job to educate anyone but here are a few of the baby decisions I have made that have constantly come up and other people feel the need to question:

1) Baby Cereal in the bottle - No, I am not putting cereal in Aiden's bottle at night so that he can sleep longer. First of all if you didn't know, it's a choking hazard and second, he does not eat the cereal from the box. Also, we've noticed since starting solids that if we let him eat before bed he gets a tummy ache and actually sleeps less because his body is still learning to digest food. He gets gassy and uncomfortable so we are pulling back on the solids and taking it a bit more slow.

2) Juice - I am not giving my baby juice. He drinks breast milk and water and that's it. He enjoys apple sauce that I make him from sweet red apples and he really enjoys pears too. We have introduced prunes and he likes them. Banana so far is his least favorite. I prefer to just give him FRUIT and I don't feel he needs to drink sugary juice.

3) Baby Leap Frog / Baby Einstein - I know that when you go to the store and see all those baby toys with buttons for baby to push that make a bunch of sounds you think "that is so cool!" I know these toys claim to be educational and maybe they are. But for a child under the age of 2, it is really important that play be "child directed" in other words -- the toy should not be directing, but the baby should! Aiden has two toys that play music but besides that we are into blocks, balls, stuffed animals, and lots of board books and soft books. I love old school, wooden toys and toys that encourage him to develop problem-solving skills. Honestly, this Christmas if Aiden gets any electronic toys we will take them back or they will sit in his closet.

4) Bed Time Routine - Yes, Aiden has one! Some people think this is ridiculous but it really works. On nights when we have company over or for some other reason we don't do the routine, it takes him forever to fall asleep so I know it works. He gets a warm bath and we read his bath time peek-a-boo book. Then he gets lotion and a massage in the dark with his Praise Baby worship CD playing. Then we put on his feetie pajamas and rock in the rocking chair while he nurses. Usually, when I start to put his pajamas on he already starts yawning and rubbing his eyes.

5) Breastfeeding - I have encountered really mixed opinions on this and some people have even felt the need to tell me that Aiden should at least get one bottle of formula before bed. I know that formula fed babies go longer between feedings but it's only because it takes baby longer to digest. Here's the deal people -- Aiden is breastfed exclusively and will be until he is at least 1 years old. At that point, I may try to introduce whole cow's milk and continue breastfeeding him at night. Hey may even continue to be breastfed until he is 2 years old and NO I do not think that is gross! If you think it's "weird" or "gross" to breastfeed a child for the first two years or even 3, that really isn't my problem. It is really great for his brain development not to mention that extended breastfeeding decreases a woman's risk for breast and cervical cancers. Get educated!

I do not think that parenting is "one size fits all" and the most important thing is that every parent do what they think is best for their own baby. When a friend tells me about her decision to formula feed, I offer encouragement and support not judgment. This is NOT the freakin "mom of the year" contest is annoying when someone tells me "well you must not like sleeping" because I say that I am not giving my baby formula with cereal at night. Yes, I got this comment and it took all the strength inside of me (and some help from the sweet, baby Jesus) to not go on a rampage telling this person off and "dropping some knowledge" in the process.

We all just want to do our best at this mommy thing and I think that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Centaurs, Satyrs and Demigods Oh My!

Sometime last year, a friend of mine introduced me to a book series for kids called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" by Rick Riordan.

Let me explain, a few years ago my sister-in-law told me I had to read this book called Twilight. Now, I know that this is teen fiction she said but it's soooo good you will love it. Well, she was right, I LOVED reading Stephenie Meyer's melodrama about the young girl who fell in love with the hot vampire. I didn't go into it expecting a great piece of literature, I just wanted to read something for fun and pure entertainment. I like many others got completely sucked in and obsessed. After I was done reading the Twilight series I felt empty. I needed to experience that again! I needed a story that was so fantasy, such an escape from reality and an easy read so that I could relax with a cup of tea and take a break. So then, someone recommends that I read Harry Potter.

Again, I became completely obsessed and LOVED this series even more than Twilight. Now, let me just say that in my opinion, Harry Potter is written much more eloquently and is far more clever and "meaty" than Twilight. I cannot say any fantasy series I have read again has topped that and once I finished it, again I felt sad. So in comes my friend who assures me that this series about Demigods called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" is my "next Harry Potter".

Since it's a series it will be kind of tough to review but I just finished the second book of the spin-off series and it was soooo good! This story is basically about demigods (half human / half god) from Greek mythology but with a modern twist. There is a camp where demigods are trained to fulfill their destiny and of course lots of adventures follow. Mount Olympus is at the top of the Empire State building!

As a kid, I loved learning about Greek mythology in school and though the author of this series puts all of this in modern America, he is incredibly true and accurate to the stories in Greek mythology. I found myself going down memory lane and enjoying the very same stories I enjoyed as a child. I grew an attachment to the characters and wanted to know what happened next as I finished each book.

I know I'm a total dork but I just LOVE fantasy stories. For a while it was vampires & werewolves, then it was wizards and the wizarding world, and now it's centaurs, satyrs and demigods... oh my! So yea, if you're into this stuff and want a fun read you MUST check out Rick Riordan's series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Would Like to thank all the Little People... and God, and my Manager

..... Oh my gosh I didn't prepare a speech! I'm blushing! I'm a fumbling dork trying to look cute in this couture gown and walk in these designer stilettos that Carrie Bradshaw lent me... ohh, wait - This isn't the Oscars?! Sorry I guess I got a little carried away... It's just that I checked my email this morning and discovered that I GOT AN AWARD!

Look, I never win anything okay! I mean, besides winning a bottle of chardonnay at a Bingo game in Aruba a few years ago, I never win anything. (Oh I still have that bottle). Anyway, I totally won an award for my blog! Courtesy of my friend Quiana; one-third of the Harlem Love Birds. Her blog is all about her life with her husband and beautiful daughter Nia in Harlem. Not only is it fun to read, her blog has literally been my encyclopedia for everything baby, cloth diapering, nursing, etc. I've learned so much from the Harlem Love Birds so go check them out.

Anyway, so the cool part about this award is I get to
answer some fun questions (the form below), then list 7 random facts about myself, and pass the award on to 10 other bloggers. So exciting! Here we go---

The form

  • Name your favorite song: Hopelessly Devoted to you from Grease
  • Name your favorite dessert: Chocolate chip cookies
  • What pisses you off: Dishonesty and Gossip
  • When you're upset, you: Rant to my husband, Rant to my mom
  • Your favorite pet: I'm a dog person
  • Black or white: Black
  • Your biggest fear: Anything happening to my baby
  • Best feature: My transparency
  • Everyday attitude: This is me - those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!
  • What is perfection: God
  • Guilty pleasure: The Bachelor / The Bachelorette episodes

7 Random Facts About Myself

1) I'm an Excel geek... like, I thoroughly ENJOY spreadsheets. It makes me happy to take a bunch of data and manipulate it so that we can find things out. Like, the percentage of this vs. that or how much we've spent so far, or whatever.

2) I read obsessively. I fight my sleep to read when a book is good. Then I get a little depressed when the story is over and it takes me a few days to get over it. LOL. So sad.

3) My husband and I met on My Space. What?! Don't judge me! Lol

4) I speak English, Spanish and bits of Italian.

5) Marc Anthony is my absolute favorite singer (that voice makes me melt) and if a song of his comes on I will stop whatever I am doing to sing along... especially if it's in Spanish!

6) I'm pretty good cook but I can't bake to save my life. I guess it's an Art vs. Science thing.

7) My Super Power -- playing TABOO. Don't challenge in that game... I cannot be defeated! Muuahahahahaha!

And now I get to spread the love! Here are my awardees:

Lace Garden

Hitting My Stride

Life With The Baxtrons

Mommied Life By Cynthia

A Word with Penelope

Odd Girl Out

The Mom Creative Blog

The Ulmers

The Fatherhood Guide

Kveller - Mayim Bialik

Yay! Thank you to all my fans and the academy for this prestigious honor... See? When it's time to accept my Oscar I will be ready :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rant: Bad grammar ruins my reading experience

I've never claimed to be perfect and I realize that we all make mistakes... seriously, I do! I also realize that in the world of social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) and blogging the rules are a bit more relaxed when it comes to grammar... but can I just say that when reading, it is incredibly distracting when bad grammar is used over and over?

The content may be great, the ideas being presented may be awesome but if the spelling and grammar is deficient, it makes appreciating those ideas pretty tough for me. It's kind of like receiving a nice gift in an unwrapped, beat up old box. (whoops!)

Again, I know that I am not perfect; but is it really THAT hard to use spell-check? I mean, depending on what browser you use, your errors can be corrected as you type. Plus, don't you find it embarrassing to post misspelled words? Gosh, I do!

Besides spelling, these are my main pet peeves:

* Use of prefix and suffix -- I.e. unappropriate --> NO, that is not the correct prefix. It is inappropriate and if you just used spell check you would see that. Oh, and kindless is not a word either. I think what you are trying to say is unkind.

*Than and Then -- No, these are not the same thing. Than indicates comparison and Then indicates time.

*To, Two and Too -- I'm going To the store. I'm going Too! I'm leaving at Two.

*They're, Their and There -- They're is a contraction! Their indicates possession and There can be used when referring to a place.

*Loose vs. Lose -- a) I always Lose my keys. b) I always Loose my keys -- sentence A is correct

*Could of / Would of -- Ughh! It's not "Could of" it's "Could have"

*Apostrophe usage -- I know this one can be tricky but I try to remember these two reasons to use an apostrophe: 1) for contractions i.e. don't and do not and 2) to show possession i.e. April's blog.

There are so many more but just listing these is giving me a headache! LOL I can deal with run-on sentences, fragments and comma splices... Really! I realize that writing is more about what you are trying to convey but sometimes when reading a piece every other sentence contains one of these pesky errors and it's annoying! Ugh!

This rant has been brought to you by April and her "isms" on a Thursday morning =) Thank you for reading -- ain't this been fun?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Getting into the Fall Mood

Right now I am sipping a pumpkin spice latte... my receptionist at work usually gets pumpkin creamer for the coffee around this time of year but she can't seem to find it this year. I sure hope it hasn't been discontinued. I am against spending $5 bucks on a cup of coffee but I had to walk down to Starbucks and splurge. I'm feelin' like Fall today and I've got Fall fashion on my mind.

I ordered myself a pair of brown riding boots and can't wait for them to arrive! I love riding boots probably almost as much as I love flip-flops but not nearly as much as I love Uggs. But besides that, I have no idea what to do about my wardrobe this Fall.

You see, I don't really have "a style" and I am the worst at accessorizing. I have lots of jewelry but I end up wearing the same - pearl studs, diamond studs, silver leaf, silver hoop, then pearl studs again over and over. It's rare that I wear a necklace these days if it isn't my Smart Mom teething necklace. I haven't worn a belt in years and I usually just throw on a black jacket with matching black scarf and call it a day. My style is umm... boring I guess and I want all that to change this year!

I was reading my friend's blog Lace Garden for inspiration and looking at the "Fall Essentials" listed on the different websites of my favorite stores. Here are some of the items I am trying to work into my shopping list:

Riding Boots - I have a decent black pair and a new brown pair. I'd love some in grey, let's see! I'm really not a "shoe girl" and I wear flats mostly because heels and I just don't get along. So riding boots are my fave!

Sweaters - I am a big fan of sweaters because they are comfortable. My goal is to come outside my box of usual earth-tones and simple colors. I would love orange, purple and emerald green sweaters.

Flowy tops - Again, really comfortable! I don't have very many and they are all solids. I want to work up the courage to wear some bold prints. My closet is full of solid color pieces ... I'll admit it, prints scare me!

Leggings- These keep me warm in cooler weather and look cute too. I just can't bring myself to wear leggings with just a shirt though. I feel like I'd be walking around with no pants! I need to wear at least a long tunic or a mini skirt with my leggings.

Scarves - I love solid color pashminas. I need to mix some prints in and I think I will be visiting the street vendors on 5th ave to get some scarves at a decent price.

The main thing I look for when shopping is comfort so I guess that has to change? Sigh.... I wish I could go on What Not To Wear so that Stacy and Clinton can set me straight. Oh well, wish me luck on my Fall shopping guys =)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Venting is often really gossip. And that is not okay

I love a blog called "Mom's Toolbox" it has been very helpful to me on many occasions. I had a post in my draft queue about this topic and I guess it's hard for me to put my thoughts into words because I am still healing.... so rather than screw things up with my own words, I thought I would share Amy's words. You can check out the Mom's Toolbox here.

Scripture: Psalm 101:5

I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.

I will not endure conceit and pride.

Observation: Gossip is not okay, neither is an inflated ego. And I will not take part in either.

Application: Over the last few days someone irritated me and I shared that with someone else. As much as it may have been just “venting,” it was also gossip.

If I have a problem with someone’s behavior then I need to be a big girl and either talk to that person about it directly or let it go. “Venting” is also often gossiping. And that is slandering my neighbor. And that is wrong.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for again calling this to my attention. What I did was wrong, as minor as it seemed to be at the time. Please continue to forgive me for my error.

Please guide me in going to you when I am frustrated and remind me to seek your guidance, not just complain to another. Venting is not okay when I say anything bad about someone else. True or false, it is gossip. And I don’t want to have any part of that, as you don’t want me to have any part of that.

Thank you for this reminder, Lord. And thank you for your forgiveness of my selfishness.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The List

Come on Ladies, you know "the list" I am talking about... the one you sat down in high school and made with all the qualities your future husband MUST have. Then you revised it a couple of times over the years, as you learned about yourself and made decisions about which qualities were negotiable and which were not. You meet a guy, you go on a date, and if you're anything like me you are like a Rolodex in your mind checking off each time he makes "the list". Sense of humor: check, Charm: check, Big Brown Eyes: check.

For me, I am totally Type A and controlling so my list was pretty thorough and I was in a 5 year relationship with my "high school sweetheart" who only had like 2 qualities on my list. I knew he wouldn't be "the one" I just kind of didn't know how to end it. Needless to say when I came out of that relationship and started "fraternizing" with the boys in college, I got really strict about adhering to my list. You don't make the list?! You are dismissed! Again, totally type A. I was kind of like Katherine Heigl in "The Ugly Truth" - neurotic you say? well, that's a mean way to put it but yea kind of.

I wish I could find the actual hard copy of my list ... I assure you I had one, but here are some of the items I remember being on it:

*Must be at least one inch taller than me

* Must be musically inclined (play an instrument, sing, or both)

* Must challenge me / have an assertiveness about him

*Must be funny and silly

*Must be outgoing

*Must love Jesus

*Must read well (aloud)

*Must write well (grammar and spelling)

*Must be ambitious and have career goals

*Must NOT be "ghetto" in clothing style, speak, or music. NO reggaeton on his play list.

*Must have a car

The list goes on and on... I had this "box idea" of how my future husband needed to be and I refused to waste my time on anyone that didn't fit inside of my box.

Cut to January of 2007 -- In walks J.J. to my crazy life... and the box is (what box?) ripped to shreds.
Isn't he adorable? I know, I know... ;)

For our first date, we went to the South Street Seaport to see the "Bodies" exhibit and spent about 6 hours together. It was easy, it was natural and we fit like a glove from the very start. I remember the "aha" moment I had on our 4th date; we were sitting in a Starbucks having coffee and he got up to get some napkins. As he walked across that coffee shop I just felt it in my spirit, like a burst all of a sudden - That man is my husband!

God knew exactly what I needed in a partner and of course, I THOUGHT I knew what I needed. We got married on October 5th, 2008 and I am so excited to celebrate our 3 year anniversary as husband and wife tomorrow!

J.J. is one of the two greatest gifts I have been given and although he actually does have the majority of the qualities on my "list", he also has made my life full on so many other levels, in ways I could have never foreseen or imagined for myself. He makes me want to be a better woman every day and he accepts me for who I am. Our connection runs deeper than words can describe and I know in my Spirit that he was ordained for me, destined to journey this life by my side and I am blessed beyond measure.

You see, the fullness of God's love -- the depth, the width, the eternalness is humanly realized in marriage. The bond of a husband and wife is a mirror of the bond between Christ and his church. I never fully experienced this Agape love until God gave me J.J. This amazing love has continued to blow me away as God has now given us Aiden :) No set of plans, No list I could ever write can compare or even come close to that!

I still feel like Katherine Heigl in "The Ugly Truth", except I feel more like this part of the movie:

Yep, I'm doing my Happy Dance =)

I am so grateful that God came in threw "my list" away. He knew exactly what I needed and I have never been happier. I'm looking forward to our date night tomorrow to celebrate!

J.J, I love you Papito!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Love Your Enemies "Frenemies"

You have heard people say, "Love your neighbors and hate your enemies." But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what's so great about that? Don't even unbelievers do that? -- Matthew 5

This text takes me back to the Cross... when Jesus was being crucified - put to death at the hands of his own friends, he prayed for them. Talk about betrayal! It hurts so much to feel betrayed, stabbed in the back by friends. But in the grand scheme of things, is it really so bad when friends talk about you behind your back? They could always give you up to police for a crime you never committed and watch you put to death. Jesus suffered the ultimate betrayal yet he still loved these people and showed them grace.... and he still shows ME grace every single day through my many, many flaws and imperfections.

So can't I just give the same grace that has been given to me? Just now, I prayed for some "frenemies" and it felt so great to ask God to bless them, to prosper them, to protect them... it gave me a peace beyond understanding. I know that God is teaching me so much about myself through this process. Iron sharpens iron after all :)

His love is like a tide that has swept over me and is healing me and I am so grateful. Love is a choice we make every single day and some days are harder than others... but I am committed to growing in love!

Slowly I am learning to let go of the pain and betrayal and leave it in God's hands. Justice will always prevail anyway.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! - Amos 5:24

Thank you God!!