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I got that sunshine in my pocketGot that good soul in my feet…

Wow, it’s been almost a year since we’ve blogged. Well, our lives have changed in so many ways that it would take a gazillion pages for updates. Let’s just say that MJ and I (Sere) have gone through some very intense times…we will definitely do a whole post on that when we are ready. Our new motto the past few months has been “new beginnings” and it is working out quite well thus far!

Ok, now to the reason for this post, our sweet little Diego Castiel is now 3 years old!!!

Happy 3rd Birthday Diego! 
Yes, this was his doing 😑 We celebrated his birthday yesterday and even though he’s been a threenager for a few weeks now.  What a whirlwind of emotions it’s been as I’ve been drafting this letter in my head…

Dear baby Plata,

You are now 3 years old… not 5 although you like to argue that you want to be 5. This past year has probably been the toughest year for us as parents. It has been a year of change and reflection and growth. And sometimes those things can be painful. You see, you’ve been one of the main inspirations for this growth. You have this incredible ability to really look at people and see who they are. This past year you have done some amazing things and we’ve learned that you are here for us just as much as we are here for you. It’s kind of a mind blowing realization. At times we feel a little bad because you soak up so much of what others are feeling (negative emotions on our part are reflected to us right away!) but then we see how you also soak up all of those great feelings. My favorite part of this past year has been your initiation to haverandom dance parties! And now you add instruments (really, I must learn how to play the guitar once and for all). 

I apologize if this is all over the place…I’m sure you understand. We decided to throw you a minions party because you have been obsessed. You can literally watch this movie three times in a row and be happy. I honestly loved the idea because you remind me of the minions. Especially Kevin which is quite perfect because he is your favorite. You are quirky and have weird ways of doing things. But it works, please don’t ever change that. You have a plan and you set your mind to it and nothing will stop you…which is super annoying when you want something that we don’t agree with. This will probably be a huge challenge for you as you get older. We’ll be there to help you out. 

This year you helped getting ready for the party. You helped me with the cupcakes which turned out to be a disaster. Now that I think about it, it was probably that extra “splash” of vanilla extract that didn’t help. Who are we kidding, we know mama is not a good baker. I accepted this when you spit out the cupcake into the trash can. But we tried. This is another aspect of your personality that we love. You will try things…even when they are scary. “I’m scary” you’ll say and hesitate for a little bit…but then you just do it with such ease and happiness. *sigh*


I held you last night when you were getting a little slap happy after your party and you were laughing hysterically…and like clockwork that feeling came back. Except this time it hit me harder. You are no longer our baby…

You are growing up so fast and I wish I could hold time still just to get some extra snuggles. But this time it was different because you are fully potty trained and have stopped nursing (we made it to 35 months- high five!) But seriously, this whole growing up too fast is breaking our hearts. 


And yet, it is so exciting to watch you grow. To watch you go out into the world and continue to build your relationships with the other minions and their parents. We are so incredibly blessed to have such amazing people in our lives. I really loved making all those shirts and getting your input. You told me how many eyes you wanted certain kids to have and which shirt should be for who…and then we practiced your letters as I painted the names on the back. You really love your friends and family. I hope you hold on to that forever. Your face would light up as you talked about your friends and you told me stories about them. You do talk a lot, sorry about that you get that from me lol.



I’m not sure what else we want to tell you. I mean, you really are such an interesting little person. And you challenge is like you won’t believe. But man, do we love you! As a parent it is such an incredible feeling to also know that if anything ever happened to us you would have so many people who would love you and watch after you. It is also an indescribable feeling to see you turn into your own “adult” person. You actually pushed me away because you wanted to stand by yourself to hit he piñata. Hello independence! Diego, you have been one of the best things that has ever happened to us. Thank you…for challenging us to be better people and to push us to do things that are hard but necessary. We can’t wait to see you hat this next year brings…who knows you might be getting your license for your 4th birthday! 

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oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, try everything…

Sere is on Fall Break and has one more day left…waaaahhh! Seriously, this week of much needed sleep and rest is exactly what we all needed. It’s funny because we had so many plans of all the cool things we would be doing and for some reason playing in the backyard sounded like more fun. We read somewhere that it’s because you are in a safe and comfortable environment that it makes you feel happier. Or something like that.

Well, Diego has been so much fun lately. It is amazing to see how much he is learning so quickly. He knows that the letter “M” is for mama and the letter “P” is for papa and the letter “D” is for ‘go-go’ as he likes to call himself.  Our favorite thing lately is hearing him “azul” when identifying his colors. He has a funny way of saying it that is super cute 😉 Our not so favorite part lately is when he gets mad and starts throwing all of his toys. We are working on teaching him how to efficiently show his frustration while still keeping everyone safe (mainly Sammy because poor dog always ends up getting the short end of the stick). So these past few months have been full of playing, exploring, spending time with friends and family, and watching the wheels on the bus (over and over again).

Lesson learned:

  1. When you have a dream you just have to go for it! It’s funny how passion really motivates people. Sere had an interview this week for the Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year. We normally don’t share these kinds of things with other people besides close friends and family because it makes her feel super weird and awkward and honestly just stressed out. But going into it she just felt “at peace”. Her passion for teaching Spanish and connecting with others was the complete focus that when she called MJ afterwards the only thing that she could say was “that was a lot of fun!” It also motivated her enough to want to update the teaching blog she started right before Diego was even in the picture. Haha. When passion drives your decisions and gives you a focus it helps you understand your role in a bigger world. She got a call that afternoon and we made it to the Top 5! We are saying “we” because it has definitely been a team effort, there is absolutely no way it can be done without the support of her family, friends and colleagues.  It’s kind of crazy how all of the anxiety goes away and the adrenaline rushes in when you are doing something that you  love.
  2. Which leads us to our next lesson learned: Our inner critical voices just need to be quiet. All of the excitement for this amazing opportunity brings about new and interesting things for Sere. And for MJ. And probably for Diego since he feels everything we feel. There comes a time however, when we all need to tell our own critical voice (you know, the one that tells us that there is no way you are going to win and that you are way under qualified for anything like that and omg what if you actually do get this, then you are going to really work hard, etc. etc. etc.) that it needs to stop talking because we aren’t going to listen. We sincerely hope that Diego learns this from an early age. That in order to go for your dreams you’ll need to understand yourself so well that you’ll know when you are getting in your own way. And overcome that in a healthy way.
  3. Which leads us to our final point…A hug can make anything feel better. For the first time ever we believe that Diego truly understood how he could help Sere feel better. She was crying (for all kinds of reasons) and when she explained to him that she felt sad and could really use a hug he gave her the most sincere hug ever. Then he offered her one of his favorite trains. That blew our minds, that our 2 year old son could really understand that someone else was sad and he could do something on his own. Granted, he threw a fit over something else a few minutes later, but that moment will stay with Sere for the rest of her life. Yes, we all get sad and cry and things don’t go the way we want them. In our personal lives, professional lives, in our relationships and in everything that we do. But a hug (and a Thomas train apparently) can make a huge difference in how we feel. I wish we could all be more like a two year old sometimes!

Since we are constantly uploading pictures of Facebook it’s kind of hard to pick the ones to upload here. So we won’t upload any this time, next time for sure! Ok, just kidding we’ll post one:

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Thanks for reading!

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Well I see trees of green and red roses too, I’ll watch them bloom for me and you

Today is a special day. Sere’s Tia Alta is celebrating her 70th birthday. One of the main reasons why we decided to take a trip to Monterrey this summer (which we’ll have to do an entire post on that later) was to see her and so that Diego could meet her. If you do not know who this person is, it’s hard to explain why she is so special to all of us. In a nutshell she was always the person who was  your #1 cheerleader. No matter what. The thing is that now as she is getting older her mind is not what it used to be. So in honor of a very special person our blog post today will consist of lessons learned thank to her. Hopefully one day Diego will understand what it meant to have Tia Alta supporting Sere growing up.

#1 See people for who they really are and celebrate them

One of the many reasons why we all love her so much is because she really took time to get to know us. It’s an amazing thing really, that all of the cousins always felt the same love from her. She was our favorite aunt hands down but we never felt like she had a favorite (although Sere’s brother might argue that one *wink wink*) She was always the one adult that when you had something to say, an idea or a thought she always validated you and encouraged you to keep going. I’ll never forget when we moved to the United States and I decided to take a go at the violin. I really sounded horrible. But she wanted to hear me over the phone and share my excitement. She saw that I had found something that made me happy and that made her happy. She couldn’t stop telling me how wonderful I sounded (all lies I knew at the time) but to her it was my excitement for finding something I enjoyed that sounded wonderful. She saw me for me and celebrated it.

#2 Tell people you love them

I was pregnant with baby Diego and cleaning out all of the memories from my childhood when I came across an entire box of cards from her. Birthday cards, celebration cards, random cards just asking how my life was going. In every single card she mentioned how much she missed me and how much she loved me. Out of all the regrets I have at 29 my biggest one would have to be that I rarely wrote back. And last time I hugged her I’m not sure she really understood how much I meant when I told her  I love her. I always think in the back of my head how she would tell all of us how great we were no matter what. No matter how stressed out she was from work or how tired she was. It was never a “thing” and nothing ever got in the way of her telling us how special we were to her. I think about this as we raise Diego every single day.

#3 Patience building takes a lot of patience

It’s funny how people tell me how patient I am. And then I smile because people always told me how much I looked like my Tia Alta and realize that this gene must have been passed down through her. I am not even half as patient as she was with us and still I feel like this trait has helped me tremendously in finding my passion in teaching. It helps me tremendously in my every day life with Diego. And it was a trait that I looked for in a partner because I saw how much love can grow when there is patience.

#4 Find and voice all the beautiful things

She really must have taken the same exact pictures of the red rocks in Sedona every time she visited us. And she really must have said how wonderful Diego was a thousand times last time we saw her. The thing about my Tia Alta is that there could be a tornado tearing up a field of sunflowers and she’d always find the way they blew in the wind so beautiful and comment on that. In this world that seems to be so filled with negativity and horrible things happening I can’t help but wonder why we can’t be more like her. Why can’t we find all of those things that are beautiful and share them with one another? I can’t believe she used to take all 3 of us on vacations completely on her own. My brother would throw the biggest of fits and I would stand there wondering how she could be so patient with him and then she’d say something about how he’s doing something new and how wonderful it was. I always admired her patience.

#5 All you need is love…

Super cheesy, yes I know, but seriously. Out of everything that I’ve learned from her is that you just need to approach everything with love. How I would have loved to share so much more of my life with her when she could still remember everything to tell her how big of an impact her love had on my life. That when I have a situation where I’m struggling I simply need to imagine what she would do and take a step back. How would she respond to someone’s negativity? What wonderful thing could she say out of this horrible situation we are in? It was her unconditional love that really helped me understand how to connect with other people, whether I knew at the time as a child or not it really doesn’t matter. Because the lesson is learned and we can all pass these things down to our children and to the people that cross our paths in life.

It was an amazing thing how Diego said her name and made the connection that she was someone really important in our lives. I’d like to think that he also felt her love when her face lit up as she heard him saying her name. It warms my heart to know that on her 70th birthday she is surrounded with family who really loves her and will celebrate the wonderful person that she is.

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¡Feliz cumpleaños Tia Alta!

 

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All aboard…

July 2016 Canon Pics 117.JPGOur little guy is 2…well tomorrow morning he’ll be two. As he fell asleep tonight Sere couldn’t help but get all the feels (as usual) and cuddle him a little extra longer. No one ever explained that these feelings could come back for Diego’s 2nd birthday, we had thought it only happened when your first kid turned one. But alas, here we are wondering how it’s possible that time “flies by”. As MJ puts it in simplest terms we cannot believe that he’s becoming his own little person with a personality, like having favorites and stuff. It has been quite a year of growth (not really physical because he’s a little guy lol) for all of us. As you can tell we decided to go with the train theme because well, it’s his most favorite thing in the world right now. We think it’s super funny because apparently MJ really loved trains as a little kid 😉 So…here is our two year letter for you Diegs:

Dear baby Plata,

You think trains are the coolest thing in the world. You really love to put them together and make the “choo choo” sound as you move your little  hand up and down. Then you get this really goofy look and get this giddy laugh. We decided to have your birthday party on a Friday night this year because we had other birthday parties to go to during the weekend. We’re realizing that it might just be easier to throw one big party for you and all of your friends at once!

July 2016 Canon Pics 244.JPGSpeaking of your friends, here they are! Trying to get a picture of all of you together has been quite impossible lately. It has been the most amazing thing to watch you develop relationships with other people outside of your family. Although lately you’ve been acting a little crazy and we’re not really sure how we’re going to handle those “terrible twos” as people like to call them. But this past year you’ve learned how to walk, how to talk, how to play games (it’s hilarious watching you trying to play hide-n-seek) and you learned who people are. The really cool thing about you is that you really seem to understand how people work- you love to make connections with people at parties, the store, the park. It’s a joy watching you walk up to people and give them hugs (of course we are still working on making sure that they want a hug) and just showing your love. We are super excited to see how this part of you will play out as you get older. It’s also a little scary because we’re nervous this is the part of you that will break when someone doesn’t reciprocate the type of love you feel (which is bound to happen at some point).

July 2016 Canon Pics 277Which leads us to the next point…that we are realizing more and more that you are a highly sensitive kid. You feel things very deeply. You love deeply. You get so worried when babies cry. You pay attention to subtleties in your environment and pick up on all those little things. These are all wonderful qualities to your personality and mama will try to help you use them to your advantage. But boy, some times it makes things very challenging. When people you love have to go, you cry a lot. And we feel your sadness very deeply too. We’re all just a bunch of feeling deeply type of people. But that’s probably why mama wanted to work so hard to throw you a party. Because you noticed all the little things (even if that sounds ridiculous) and you really enjoyed the entire thing. It’s almost as if you really understood that people were at your house to celebrate with you and that made you super happy. So happy that you actually stayed up really late and wouldn’t go to bed!

For food we had your abuela make rice, beans, salsa, guacamole and bring carne asada. Yummm! All of your favorite things that she makes for you. We loved how carne asada had been your very first food that you tried- what a difference from that time!

July 2016 Canon Pics 111 Your grandpapa of course was thrilled to grill the meat. And yes, he brought his own train hat to celebrate with you.

Speaking of grandparents being awesome, we really don’t know how we could have survived your second year without them! Both grandmas absolutely adore you- and you know it! It’s so awesome to watch our parents really enjoy their time with you. As a kid we don’t really pay attention to how much parents enjoy certain things, but when we have kids and we get to see our parents do all these weird, silly things it’s super cool. They really love you and we are so blessed that they are close to us!

And we are super blessed to have people in our lives that help us as we figure the parenting gig. Seriously, it has been so helpful this past year to have other people that will tell you “no” when you really don’t want to listen to mama or papa. Or to have so many play dates where you get to figure things out. It has been so sweet to watch people grow close with you and get to know you. They all know that you will 1. find all the mops and brooms at their house and 2. give lots of hugs

We really enjoyed prepping everything for your party- and we have accepted that Mama just goes crazy with this stuff because this is how she deals with all the feelings that come up as you get older and because she’s on summer break and needs a creative outlet since she’s not teaching. It was so cool to see you come out to the yard and point to all the trains and get super excited. And then you wanted to eat a cupcake so you cried…and then you got super clingy and whinny…because you are a toddler. Nothing the ergo couldn’t fix though! We hope that as you get older you’ll still enjoy all of these little things. We were a little sad that not all of your family and friends could come celebrate with you- but we know that they all love you very much and would have really loved to have been there.

After we all had horchata cupcakes and paletas.  You played with all of your friends inside for a little bit as they started to head home. Then Tio Jose came over and gave you your gift- so cool! You stayed up until 11:00 playing with play-doh. You really enjoyed taking it out and putting it back in the “right” container. Over and over again. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of this more and more in the next few months!

This past year has been such a whirlwind of emotions with you Diego Castiel. On one hand we’ve been so excited to see how much you are learning but on the other hand it is crazy scary how fast you are learning all the things we wish you wouldn’t learn. It’s like when we finally get a chance to catch our breath you are already moving on to the next thing. One of the things we’ve noticed a lot in the past few weeks is how much you love music. You have no idea how this makes Papa feel. You should see the way his face lights up when you ask to play the piano or when you sing a song that he hasn’t really “taught” you. Or how Mama’s heart still melts when you call her “ma-ma” in a very sweet and loving way just because. We cannot wait to see what this third year will bring- we are getting ready for all the craziness but also for all the lovely moments that always seem to catch us by surprise. We wish you the best 2nd birthday Diego Castiel… thank you for making our lives so wonderful!

July 2016 Canon Pics 474.JPGAlso, you take your train pictures very seriously! No joke- it is impossible to make you smile when you are on “train mode”!

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The wheels on the bus…

It’s finally nap time on a 5:30a.m. day *sigh* The last couple of days have been like a roller coaster, actually the whole past year has been like a roller coaster of emotions. Welcome to life with a toddler. And welcome to life with a toddler when you are a highly sensitive person. *double sigh* I’ve been trying to analyze the issue of why  being home with my sweet little guy for the summer seems to be so challenging for me and cause so much anxiety. And I think after today’s meltdown mania at a play date I’m finally beginning to understand it a bit…

This is life with Diego:

  1. He’s very observant. he watches everything and everyone and seems to be very intuitive with how relationships work. This is great when he’s understanding that mama and papa are two very different people and he can get different things from them. This is not so good when he knows exactly what to do to get attention from a friend such as pretend crying. But he’s only (almost) 2…there’s no way he really “knows”, right? wrong. He knows. This is so challenging for me personally because I’m the same way. I know exactly what someone “wants” to hear and who should say it if we are in a group. This is fantastic when i’m teaching a classroom full of students who I can read very well. Not so fantastic when it’s just me and the toddler and we are trying to “out read” one another.
  2. He LOVES people. Loves to hug them and kiss them and be around them. People always say he’s so sweet and I completely agree. He has such a sweet little soul…but the world is not so sweet and this thought terrifies me. Not everyone wants to hug him back (which i completely respect and applaud parents who do not make their kids give others hugs, etc) and this is very hard to teach. He is constantly in other people’s bubbles (including my own) and is literally in your face about everything. He just really loves people…but how do i teach him that not everyone wants to be loved with so much intensity. It might seem like a topic that shouldn’t even be circulating in my head- but it is. Constantly. One day he’ll realize that the world is not as intense in how they feel and how will i teach him to cope with that? This causes me anxiety because i’m constantly feeling like that. My feelings (as a darn HSP) are always too overwhelming for most people…which is why I only say 50% of what I want to say. So whenever we are around anyone (including strangers at the mall) I have a very detailed conversation going on in my head of all the things i wish i could say…which leads me to #3
  3. With intense feelings comes intense thoughts. I see him thinking very hard. He’s working so hard to make connections and studying the world like nobody’s business. I really do love watching this. But it is so draining. His intense feelings and actions are so overstimulating for me. And that really hurts. How can your own child be too intense for you? And then it hits me like a ton of bricks that maybe, just maybe, he feels the same about me. The crazy thing about him being so emphatic is that he soaks up other people’s energies, including mine. It’s like a double whammy and before you know we are both crying over picking up the toys. And then it transfers to other areas for me and I’m spilling paint on the carpet, burning the bag of bagels on the toaster oven and losing my phone in the car. Over-stimulation. Bleh.

So, what’s the deal with this post when we haven’t posted

(computer dies, I pray that everything i just typed is not forever erased, and thank goodness for wordpress because they automatically save drafts)

anyway, the deal with this post is that i’m just trying to process this whole parenting thing. Nobody ever wants to talk about how freakin’ hard this is because, well that’s super sad. I am so blessed with an awesome husband who loves to help out and does a much better with Diego in many different ways. And a group of mom friends who totally understand me and my intense loving child. And it is still super hard. This parenting gig is hard for me. I can’t study it more to feel better prepared (although I try by  reading way too many things about child development) I can’t take a break and come back to it tomorrow because even when I do get breaks (and I get them very often because I really need them- thanks mom and in-laws for watching him so much!) i’m constantly thinking about him and all of “things” that come from being around him. The reason why I keep bringing up this whole HSP thing is because for the very first time in my life I am beginning to understand that there is nothing “wrong” with me. There is nothing that can “fix” me. Being a mom has led me to the path of this amazing self-discovery that is hardest thing i have ever done. Harder than having a class of 50 wild first graders because we can’t get enough subs! All of my issues that i’ve avoided dealing with in the past 29ish years come up to surface every time he is on the ground kicking and screaming and I have no idea why. As a recovering perfectionist I’m learning how “not enough” is not only toxic but a feeling that I’m transferring to my very observant empathic son. So, if you’re having a rough parenting day just know that this s**** is hard. You’re doing a great job, even if it feels less than ok.  Ok, now I can’t focus because the husband who so lovingly went to check on our son during his nap is walking around the house. *triple sigh*

Lesson learned: get to know and love yourself. This is the greatest gift a parent can give to their child (I believe). I hope that one day Diego can read this and see me for who I truly am and still love me and to know that I will always feel the same way about him. We love our kiddos regardless of any “hardships” or bad moments, they are what makes everything worth it. So why can’t we feel the same way about ourselves?

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Fill the darkest night with a brilliant light…

I’ve been meaning to do a 1st birthday post all about Diego’s big day…for the past 2 months! I love that his birthday is in the summer and not during the school year, because it allowed me to devote all of my time and energy into planning his party. Now, before I talk about all of the crazy things I feel like I need to preface this by saying that I understand how ridiculous some of these things might seem. I did spend way too much time and energy into this party…and it would’ve been just as fun if we had bought everything at the party store. But for those of you who don’t know me…well, I do this with everything. I love to spend hours on something knowing that other people are going to appreciate it and enjoy it. This past year has been one of the most exhausting and amazing years of our lives because of our little guy and we really wanted to celebrate that. So, yes…I know I am crazy, my husband knows I’m crazy and Diego will one day know that I am crazy when it comes to things like these. I also know that this is part of what makes me “me” and I am so blessed to have people in my life who truly appreciate it.

So, Diego turning one was a pretty big deal! We survived the first year of parenthood and our son seemed to be ok! We really wanted to capture that little twinkle he has in his eye when he smiles so big your heart just melts. I’ve always had an obsession with stars and never understood why…until the day that Diego was born. I had read this somewhere a quote about how when you look into your child’s eyes it’s like looking out into the universe and that just explained exactly why I have always loved stars. It’s like when I looked into Diego’s eyes for the first time I could see all the stars in the universe. And thus his theme of “twinkle, twinkle little star” was decided.

This is the twinkle I am talking about. Shines extra bright when he has a big goofy smile on his face:

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So after the theme was decided we went crazy into planning mode! We wanted to have a really baby friendly party and invite all of his Babymooon friends because they had been such a big part of Diego’s first year and Sere’s sanity. After working for months this is the result of Diego’s 1st birthday…

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Dear Diego,

   We want you to know that the reason why you are here in the first place is because Mama and Papa fell in love… we celebrated your first birthday with that same idea in mind. That we loved each other so much and when you were born our love just grew and grew even more. We had talked about you for years but never imagined that you would be so incredible. This past year has been the most amazing year of our lives and we want you to always remember that all you need is love… Love conquers all.

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We chose “twinkle twinkle little star” for your birthday because we see how bright you already shine. You have no idea how much happiness you have brought to this world. Your grandparents simply adore you and have shown so much love towards you this past year. Your aunts and uncles have also shown a side that we had never seen in them as siblings- you can see how all of their hearts are so full of love. We want you to remember to always reach for the stars and to dream big not matter how little you are!

In preparation for your big day we did all kinds of silly things. We really wanted to find matching outfits….but they seriously did not sell any good “star” shirts for Papa! He did not want to wear some silly shirt 😉 Mama spent hours making crafts and thinking about how much you had grown in just one year. As the day came closer and closer all she could think about was how amazing your birth was and how proud she was that you were born at Babymoon Inn. That was a big step for us as new parents- to not go the “traditional” route and go to a hospital. But to this day, that was the best choice we could have made. Something inside of us (our gut feeling) told us that you were meant to be born in a quite and relaxed environment and we made sure that happened. So with each minute that Mama worked on a craft she thought about all of the things that had happened during your first year. Your birth…your first bath…how helpful crazy grandma had been during those first couple of weeks (and continues to be)…how our doggies got freaked out every time you cried….the witching hour from 3-5 where you cried non-stop unless you were being bounced on the exercise ball…the time you pooped all over Mama and it got all over the changing table and the carpet…your first giggles… your play dates with your baby friends…swim classes…how crazy your Auntiroo was about you and how involved she was even though she was far away… the sweet cuddles during our nursing sessions.. your little toes that looked exactly like Papa’s…your first words (which was Mama btw)…oh so many memories!

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And the big day came! We had your party and Grandmama’s and Grandpapa’s house because it was big enough to fit all of your friends! We had a lot of people come and celebrate with you. It was on a Saturday on your actual birth day. Mama had to go for a walk with you in the morning at the time that you had been born 5:45 a.m. and take some deep breaths because she didn’t want to be crying the entire time during the party. You snuggled and looked at the rising sun with a big grin on your face. Almost as if you knew that it was your special day!

There were a lot of babies at your party! The best part was that you had been hanging out with them since you were a tiny little thing and it has been so much fun to watch you all grow together. You also spent the whole summer celebrating their birthdays as well- which was super fun! As you were all crawling all over the place, Mama could only think about your first time going to Inn Mommies when you were only 6 weeks and all of the babies just stayed on the carpet making new baby sounds. What a year of growth, that’s for sure!

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We had the photo back drop where we took a lot of pictures and not one had all the babies staying still enough! But it was fun to see all of you grab the stars that Mama had made and playing with all of the toys in the living room. Your cousins were also there and had fun writing little messages. Your guests also wrote little messages for your time capsule (some were really funny!) and signed a book for you. Don’t worry you’ll get to read all of your little messages on your 18th birthday 🙂 We also had a frame decorating station so that your friends could take a frame as a party favor (we have some pretty talented friends!)

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For food we decided to start a birthday tradition for you and make beef empanadas from scratch…that was a lot of work! But totally worth it when we saw everybody eating them with such gusto! We really want to make these every year for your birthday and have you help us when you are old enough. Your Auntiroo and Evan helped with the fruit kebabs and your crazy grandma made some delicious salsa. You really enjoyed eating the empanadas- but you’ve enjoyed eating everything since 6 moths (except for tomatoes- just like papa).

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Now…the cake. Yes, it doesn’t look the prettiest but you really loved it! It was supposed to be a “healthier” version of a cake with organic ingredients and all of that good stuff. It was a banana bread type of cake. It was pretty dense but it was tasty. You really didn’t seem to mind:

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Yep. You ate almost the entire star cake by yourself! The best part was that you really loved it when everybody sang happy birthday to you. Probably because Papa had been singing happy birthday to you for months before your party. You always clapped at the end too, so cute!

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After cake we put you in the pool to finish cleaning you up 🙂 It was really hot but you have always loved the water so you had a great time! As you get older we will definitely be having a lot of water themed birthday parties. And that star swim suit was not bought specifically for your party- you already had it!

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  After most of your friends left Grandpapa and you took a really good nap and when you woke up we opened your presents! You are so lucky to have so many people that love you. We had asked for donations for different “funds” and books so we didn’t end up with a house full of toys. You got so many books and a lot of people donated for your “outings” fund which meant that Mama and Papa took you to all kinds of places!

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As the night ended and we cleaned up the house, Mama took the last of her placenta pills to help with the emotions. She had saved these specifically for this day. We had made it sweet baby Diego!

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Happy 1st birthday little star! You won’t remember your first year of life, but to us it has meant everything. We made a wish and you came true!

Love always,

Mama & Papa

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Brighter than a shooting star, so shine no matter where you are….

So, summer has come and gone…in the blink of an eye! It really felt like we had just cleaned out Sere’s classroom and there we were setting everything up again. It was one of the most amazing summers, so it was very hard to start getting into a routine again. Maybe we’ll do a “fun” summer update later and also include a “1st birthday” blog post, but for now let’s get to the nitty gritty.

Sere had a breakdown last night after realizing that out of the whole day she only was able to spend about 2 hours with Diego, and 1.5 of those hours were spent fighting with him to go to sleep because he was so tired. 😦 We should probably preface by explaining some big changes going on in our lives at this point and maybe everything will make more sense. MJ has been going to therapy to work out some stuff that has been building up throughout the past couple of years, not graduating and the lack of motivation has really brought up a lot of other things that we feel are extremely important to work through instead of simply ignoring it. After MJ did not graduate last December Sere also realized that in order to do her best at this parenting thing she also had to do her best with this “living” thing. So, back to therapy she went because that’s what works. After several months of working things out and really digging deep, we’ve come to realize that providing this extra support for each other has been one of the best decisions we could have made. We are beginning to understand why we are the way that we are, how that plays into our relationship and how that could affect the way we parent our super sweet baby Diego. It’s hard to come to face with those demons, it’s scary to know that maybe there are things about yourself that could really potentially damage your child without you even meaning to and it’s so unbelievably terrifying knowing that your partner does not “have” to go through this with you and is choosing to do this. Fast forward however many months since December and things are still hard (seriously, nobody ever wants to talk about how hard anything is!)  but they are getting better. Sere has learned that she is a highly sensitive person (big shock! but it’s really a thing and it’s helping her understand the world so much better) and MJ has learned that it’s ok to feel certain things, especially if they are negative feelings (we are all human after all). Putting our strengths together we are focusing on building each other up so that we can be happy and honest and real with everything. This in turn has somewhat made the parenting gig a bit easier in a way. Sere is back at work officially and MJ will be taking his last class and watching baby Plata.

Back to last night… we had picked up Diego from daycare (because we still want him to go on Fridays since he’s doing really well) and it’s pouring outside which already makes Sere feel certain things, especially since all the stress from the first day of school had been building up all week. MJ goes to Hungry Howie’s to pick up our pizza and they messed up our order so it’s going to be a while. Sere and Diego were back at home playing and walking (he’s walking now!) and it was great until he starts getting really whiny because he’s so tired but doesn’t want to fall asleep. And as soon as Sere realized that they had been home for only 30 minutes, the tear show began. Now, if you know us you know that Sere absolutely loves her job and is pretty good at it, so to say that she should just fix everything by “staying home” is not really helpful. So she cries and Diego hugs her and she feels like the world’s crappiest mom for crying in front of her baby and then realizes that it’s good for him to see some real emotion so then she explains to her one year old why she’s sad (maybe he’ll become a therapist like his Auntiroo!) and so on…until he finally gets sleepy enough and falls asleep in her arms. MJ gets home and that’s where the good stuff happens.

We had one of the best conversations we’ve had in a while…about how we are expected by society to have done certain things by a certain age and how insufficient that makes people feel. We missed our opportunity to travel the world without kids- but have we really? We missed the opportunity to become something…great…someone that will change the world. Sere’s been feeling a lack of motivation to get excited about teaching mostly because she had so much fun hanging out with Diego all summer. There’s some real sadness to the end of the summer that she hadn’t realized she felt until yesterday. There was a video she watched at work from Kid President about superheroes and how they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things, which is super awesome but Sere hasn’t felt that she’s done anything extraordinary…and then MJ said “isn’t something extraordinary simply finding the great in the ordinary…like realizing how amazing our son is when he’s taking steps or how amazing it is that we can create a human life…” That’s some food for thought right there. Then Sere looked down at her White Mocha that he had gotten for her because he remembered that whenever it rains she really loves drinking a venti white mocha…that little thing made her feel extraordinary. The problem with having expectations or certain standards (from society or wherever) is that the focus is shifted from the simple ordinary every day things, and into something that makes you miss those extraordinary moments. If you’ve made it this far we appreciate you reading 🙂 This is really just a way for us to document our journey together…and this one conversation on an ordinary Friday evening brought up so many extraordinary realizations about our relationship, our lives and what we wish for our son as he enters his second year of life. This is our one “lesson learned”, this whole summer has been one big lesson on what love and support look like for us and the challenges that lay ahead. How can we find the extraordinary in the every day ordinary moments? Thank goodness we have our sweet little Christmas Hamiltonian (a.k.a Diego) to teach us and to guide us through this part.

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When I return to dry your eyes… I will sing this lullaby

This mother’s day is extra special for us because it’s our very “first” time celebrating Sere being a mom. Although she argues that last year should have counted because she was already pretty pregnant 😉 It’s an amazing feeling to have a little human who calls you “mama” or gives that smile only to you. Diego has been or biggest blessing and has changed our lives in ways that he’ll never be able to understand. And as we sit here having such a lovely picnic with the most perfect weather I can’t help but want to write. So, in order to capture the essence of what today means here is our Mother’s Day version lessons learned:

Top 5 things I’ve learned about motherhood this past year

  1. Give yourself some credit!- I remember last year thinking of all the uknowns, would we end up at a hospital instead of the birthing center, would he be healthy, what would the first night at home be like, would he cry a lot, would he “sleep through the night”… and so on. All of these thoughts were constantly in my head and as we went through each stage I found that as soon as one question was answered then I had three more! The best thing that Diego has done for me as a person is he has forced me to slooooow down and really just believe that doing my best is more than enough. So the laundry didn’t get done…that doesn’t mean that I am a bad mother. Yes, some people might not agree with my decisions but this past year I’m slowly learning how to give myself credit for making the decisions that I believe are the best for our family. Diego has pushed me to really believe in myself and to find my voice. I’m learning how to say “this is good enough” and how to say “no” to things that often overwhelmed me.

 

  1. It takes a village- God was really working his magic when we found Babymoon Inn. Not only did I find the empowerement I needed to believe and trust my body to birth my son in the most beautiful way, but I also found my “tribe”. It has been the most comforting feeling to know that there are other moms having the same struggles and sharing the same joys as I am. I cannot begin to imagine how lonely it must feel to not have a group of people who are there to support you! We also are so blessed to have our own little village within our families. I remember the day that my grandma met Diego for the first time and I saw how excited she was that I was breastfeeding. She poured her heart into helping me latch him and then began sharing stories of her breastfeeding journey with several of her kids. I had never seen this look in her before but it felt so good to have someone with so much wisdom be there to help me. She’ll probably never know how much that moment meant for me and how it helped me on those tough nights that Diego would not latch. Our family has been so involved in so many ways andI love the fact that Diego really gets to spend time with his grandparents and other family members. I can see how each person helps him grow in a way that I could not do by myself. It is also so wonderful to be able to ask for help and to have it readily available.

 

 

  1. It’s hard…but so worth it…but really, this is really hard!- Ok, this one really bothers me. And will probably continue to bother me for the rest of my life. You always hear how “hard” it is going to be but everyone finishes that sentence with “but it is so worth it!” While I am not disagreeing with how worth it being a mom is I really would just love for people to be 100% honest and tell you hard this is. It is so hard to be sleep deprived…you make so many more mistakes when you are sleep deprived and you are in this weird fog that nobody else seems to understand. Being a mom will really challenge your relationship with your partner. I wish someone had really been honest with me about this. It has been so incredibly hard to continue to work on my relationship with my husband when I am so tired and exhausted after those rough nights when Diego will not sleep and I have a long work day ahead. Having a little one is not always all happy memories… you constantly worry that every decision you are making will affect this little human that when someone says that it’s so worth it and you question it you feel like the worst person in the world. Not only that, but it feels like people are dismissing your feelings of hardship. It’s hard. Period. Just agree with me and give me a hug (and some cofffee!) and it’ll be fine because I don’t need to say that it’s worth it out loud every time I’m struggling.

 

  1. Nobody knows what the heck they are doing- My mom always said that I would never understand certain things until I had a kid and whille I do agree with that I’m starting to realize that I still will not understand a lot of things. Being a mom does not magically help me understand other people’s decisions because we are all different. What I’m beginning to learn is that nobody has any idea p-=3ß Diego addes his own words (probably wanted to write blah blah blah) what they are doing. People share their thoughts and ideas with you and then ask what you think or what you are doing and it is so refhresing to have conversations with others when you both admit that you have no idea what is going on. Sure, we bedshare and I’ve read all that I can about the good and the bad. Does that mean that I feel like I know what I’m doing when it comes to the way that my baby sleeps, heck no! I have no idea why Diego falls asleep like an angel some nights and he’s up 5-6 times other nights. Once I learned to let go of the need to know it has made me a much happier person. That and I have the right to say “I have no idea what I’m doing but I doing what I feel is right for me”.

 

 

  1. All you need is love- This is probably the hardest one for me to explain. I’ve lived with anxiety pretty much all my life and having a baby made me have this sort of breakdown that was really unexpected. I always knew I would love my baby but I never expected this love to spread like wildfire. After having Diego and settling into motherhood I began to analyze everything about our lives and then I started really digging deep within myself. Seeing his sweet little face every morning has created this sudden urge to make myself the best version of myself for him. Yes, I know that I am a good mom and a good teacher and good wife…but what about the demons in my head that no one every wants to talk about? What about what happens when nobody is looking and I’m having an anxeity attack without asking for help?… when I look at my son I think about those things and I know how much it already affects him. Everything began to feel like if I don’t fix this now then when will I? And so slowly but surely this immense amount of love I have for him has shifted the way I am dealing with things, how I’m really dealing with them. It’s what has driven me to get the help that I need. It has been the most challenging part of motherhood- really dealing with my issues so that they don’t end up transferring to him. It is a really uncomfortable thing to do but most days I find myself feeling so liberated by accepting the fact that all I can do is do the best that I can. I think the reason why people always revert back to “it is so worth it” is because this intense love you feel for your child is what fuels your desire to keep going. It is what fuels your courage when the going gets tough and it is what pushes you through the toughest of times. If I want our son to learn anything from me is this- where there is love anything is possible.

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Happy mother’s day to all of those who have taught me, inspired me and continue to support me in this journey. Diego and our little family are so blessed to have so many wonderful women to lead the way!

P.S. the lyrics for the tile are from the song “Lullaby” by Josh Groban- instant tears since we dedicated it to “baby Plata” like 7-8 years ago 🙂

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Whatever the Weather We’ll Stick Together Forever Cuz You’re the Only One…

Happy 3 year anniversary to us!

As we reflect on the past 3 years we are beginning to realize that maybe in the grand scheme of things the most important lesson is that love truly does conquer all. Such a cliche, we know… but these past 3 years have been amazing yet challenging in many ways. When you marry someone you not only marry the person they are at that moment but also the person that they will become. The scary part is that you don’t know who they are going to become or how they will change. And while communication really is key and all of that jazz, when love is the foundation for every decision you make it all becomes pretty simple. Yes, we are all human and there are many reasons why people drift apart.

A kid really has changed our marriage to say the least. Not in a bad way. Or in the amazing “everything is beautiful” way that everyone tries to portray. It’s hard work. It’s hard to work to remember to love day after day… after long nights of staying up or dealing with the stresses of every day life. That couple that you once were changes over night and you become different people. Motherhood has definitely changed Sere (for the better and some times not) and fatherhood has most certainly changed MJ. We’ve been given this incredible task to parent this (strong-

willed child as we are beginning to learn) beautiful child and are loving it. But there are times when we stop and miss and mourn our “old” selves that we once were. It feels selfish but it’s necessary to process through those feelings.

Here’s the beautiful part that we’ve learned (especially in this past year). As we change we begin to fall in love all over again with this new person. (Ha, here’s the cheese that we always bring to our posts) When Sere watches MJ play with baby Diego and gets him to laugh in only a way that he can, it’s like Sere is meeting this new person he is becoming for the first time. Or when Sere is patient with baby Diego because he is being stubborn it’s like a quality she didn’t have before begins to emerge and he gets to see it for the first time. Those moments are easy, falling in love is always easy. And when the not so easy moments happen, we’ve learned to go back to that place that led us to that moment 3 years ago. That love as a foundation can help you get through those times that many people don’t like to talk about. That thought of “is this coming from a loving place?” and then go from there.

3 years and 1 kid later and we are beginning to understand that maybe there’s an even bigger plan than what we had imagined.

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I’ve got such big plans for you…

I should most definitely be asleep right now. The baby is asleep and I do have to work in the morning, plus I also have duty. But, my mind won’t settle down. MJ and I just got back from a concert, Twin Forks. It was pretty awesome. I haven’t had a wristband on my wrist from a concert in God knows how long, and it really has nothing to do with becoming  a parent.

It’s funny how people constantly told us “your life will be over when the baby is born” because we are finding quite the opposite to be true. Who would’ve ever thought that we’d be out at a concert on a Tuesday night?!?! If anything, Diego has helped us come out of our little shell. Heh.

Anyway, the reason why my mind probably can’t settle is because I am finding myself in awe of how great Twin Forks was! Really though, it’s rare that I’m ever super hyped about a band, but I haven’t enjoyed myself like this in such a long time. Maybe it’s because I feel like this music has helped define the latest stage in my life. We listened to Twin Forks throughout the pregnancy… on our drive back from San Diego (on our last little get away before the birth) we jammed out the entire way home and sang the songs over and over again. Something about seeing MJ singing along with the sun shining through the window made everything more beautiful. I know, I’m such a sap.

Then there was the laboring part. On our way to the birthing center we also jammed out to Twin Forks. In between contractions I sang to the songs and listened to lyrics in a more meaningful way. The folksy sound somehow soothed me and allowed me to take deep breaths. There was a point in my labor where I just felt stuck and the lyrics to “plans” came really stuck out. We have had such big plans for this baby…

If we keep working we can make it out of this place,
I can keep on working for as long as it takes,
Cause I’ve got plans for you, ooooh.
I’ve got plans for you.
I’ve got such big plans for you

Seriously, this mentally helped me get through each contractions. So silly, right? Hearing this song tonight kind of helped me bring everything together. The funny part is that Diego also loves this music, he’ll smile and fall asleep to it. And I feel like I can actually sing some of these songs (if you know me, you know I’m a horrible singer). But what really melts my heart is hearing MJ singing any of these songs to him. I love them both so much it makes me a little crazy sometimes.
I am so glad we took the time to enjoy ourselves and go on a date tonight. To spend some time together doing something that pre-Diego we probably wouldn’t even have done. This whole parenting gig has been quite challenging in ways that I can’t even explain, but what a beautiful thing to have something like tonight.
That’s a love that can’t be broken…
And an even more beautiful thing to have a sleeping baby when I’m so tired! Sometimes you just have to stop and write though.
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