Saturday, December 22, 2018

Minnie Outfits for Toddler Girl

So excited that we scored tickets for Disney On Ice - Mickey’s Search Party, coming to Minneapolis in March 2019! If you are looking to go to a Disney on Ice show, I highly recommend signing up for their emails, as subscribers are able to buy tickets pres-sale, so you can score the best seats -

I have heard so many parents say that this show is so worth it. To see the absolute joy of your children watching their favorite characters in awe is the best thing ever. It is also much cheaper than a trip to Disney.

I couldn’t be more excited for Isabel to see all the Disney magic.I had to find the perfect outfit for her to wear to the show. I spent hours searching to find just the right one, so I wanted to share my "research" with you all. These outfits would be great for going to a Disney on Ice show, going to Disney or just for fun!

Let me know which one you like better - red or pink! Items are linked below

Minnie Mouse - Red and Black Combo

Minnie Mouse - Pink and White Combo

Friday, December 7, 2018

SmartBeat - A Baby Monitor from the Future

When Isabel was first born, our baby monitor was my lifesaver. My brand new little baby slept in a pack and play right next to our bed. I could literally reach out and touch it with my hand, but I couldn't lift my body up to check her every two minutes like I wanted to, because of the c-section. I would sleep with the baby monitor in my hand, so I could check on her every 2 minutes and make sure she was okay. Every mom knows that first year, you worry about losing your baby when they are sleeping. Every time they sleep longer, you wake up in a panic because what if they didn't make it. 

Smartbeat Video Baby Monitor to momma's rescue! It tracks your baby's breath with a camera, alarming you if they were to stop breathing. Those of you who have been to my house know that our house is filled with cameras. I roll my eyes every time Javi brings home a new one BUT this is one camera that I am truly excited to have in our house!

I got to sit down with Erin Wagner, the marketing director of SmartBeat, see a demo and hear a little bit more about the SmartBeat story. The launch of their baby monitor was unexpectedly moved up to next week because they have had so many families contacting them - moms bringing home preemies from the hospital, or families of baby's with asthma that have been asking them to launch as soon as possible. Seriously, how awesome the peace that this monitor will give so many families!

Other amazing features the SmartBeat Monitor offers

-Follows your baby when they move in their sleep (355 degree pan/tilt)
-Sends a notification to your phone when your baby falls asleep and when they wake up 
-Shows you a chart of your baby's breathing and tells you their current breathing rate
-Sends an alarm if you baby stops breathing
-HD video and night vision

I feel so relieved that this time around, when there is a moment for this momma to sleep, I can hit the pillow without any worries and catch a few hours of zzzz's.

You can catch your own SmartBeat monitor in just a few days. They start shipping December 10th - just in time for Christmas. 

Check out this video for a look at the app - Meet Smartbeat - Video Baby Monitor with Breath Detection

Friday, November 2, 2018

Potty Training - What We Learned on Our Adventure

I by no means pretend to be a potty training expert. I just want to share my tips and
mistakes so that someone may be able to learn from them.

When I mentioned on my Instagram stories that we would be potty training over the
weekend, and that I was less than excited, people came out of the woodwork everywhere
saying “ha, good luck”, “praying for you” and things that were worrying me even more.
Yeah, potty training seemed like a big deal for me but I never realized how huge of a
change it was going to be for Isabel.

Let’s get to the mistakes first and that I’ll tell you what I may have actually done right.

First mistake - not dedicating 3 full days to potty training. If you are going to attempt potty training with the faster method, you need a
full 3 days, trust me! I had read an article that said preferably 3 but you could do it in 2.
I don’t recommend it. I needed her to go back to daycare in underwear because
"potty training weekend" is HARD and you don't want to have to do it again.
We made a pact that we “threw out those pull-ups” (we didn’t really as she will still use
them for bedtime) and we were not going to be going back. I think the second day was
the hardest and for us there was a lot more regression than there was progress. It would
have been hard for me to send her back to daycare on the 3rd day, knowing that she
was frustrated and not on board with potty training. Daycare has definitely helped us in
the adventure, but Isabel still needed lots of one on one coaching that 3rd day to start to
feel good again about potty training.

Second Mistake - Forcing her to sit on the potty. Every kid is different but I think the best way for most kids to learn will be to ask them
a million times a day “Do you have to go potty?” and let them answer “Yes” when they
need to. This will also make your life much easier when you have a child that knows
when to ask/tell you that they need to use the bathroom, as opposed to you having to
force them every 20 minutes. The second day, we had planned on going out to Target
to have Isabel pick out some new underwear as a treat for doing so well. I forced her to
sit on the potty before we were leaving (which is a nice habit to instill) but it totally
backfired in my face. She didn’t want to and after that she totally revolted against potty
training and was a wild child all night. Could that have happened on the second day
anyways, even if I haven’t forced her to sit on the potty? Maybe. But I would just say
skip forcing them to do something that they don’t want to do.

Third Mistake - Not preparing enough. Besides not planning for 3 days, I also didn’t prepare enough for the time we would be
spending locked in our house. For everyone's sanity, you are going to want things to do!
I wish I had more juice, treats, toys, rewards, things to do on hand for the three long days
we spent potty training. Watching long movies is not a good idea since they won't be
thinking about what their body needs but we did watch Daniel Tigers potty episode
(Season 2, Episode 1) once/day.

Ok, now what we did right... Every child is different but for us this is what worked pretty well. We waited until she
was ready, actually probably even a little past that. Isabel was already successfully using
the potty a few times a week and was always interested in checking
out the public bathrooms whenever we were out.

Saturday morning when Isabel woke up, I went in her room and told her “Yay, today
you are going to practice using the potty and we are going to have a potty party. No
more pull ups for you, you are a big girl now!” She thought about it for a second and
then said “No.” So I told her “Guess who’s going to learn to potty train with you? Daniel
Tiger!” Then she was excited. It doesn’t have to be Daniel Tiger, but we did love this toy,
but I recommend having a doll or action figure or something that your child can learn to potty train with. Every time Isabel sat on the potty, so did Daniel Tiger. When Isabel wouldn’t
listen to me about something, I would tell Daniel Tiger to do it and why we do it that way.
Daniel Tiger would get excited about Isabel’s wins and we would get excited about his too.

We told Isabel that we threw away all the pull-ups, because she was a big girl now.
The first day we had her run around with no pants on and watched her like a hawk for
any sign of needing to go to the bathroom. Then we had her sit on the potty and when
she went potty in the potty, we got really excited and had a few rewards for her - she got to stamp a smiley face on her hand and get 1 fingernail painted each time.
On the second day we added underwear, because you are always trying to add something
to make it fun again, but if you can wait until the 3rd day to add underwear, that would
probably be best.

We never got mad when Isabel had an accident but we would immediately put her on the
potty and say "Oops, pee goes in the potty, remember?". I read not to say "that's okay"
because then it is not affirming that they need to be going to the bathroom in their potty.

Find what speaks to your child. On Sunday, Isabel told me that she went potty in the potty
like a princess. We had been telling her she was such a big girl but as soon as she said that it switched. Talk to them in their language. If your child likes superheros, tell them how superheroes use the potty!

Be ready to have patience. They will test your patience over these 3 days but also for the next 2- 4 weeks. Using
the potty while out and about is a new adventure too and you probably want to plan a
little more time to be in your house for a whole month, because they practice makes
perfect and practicing at home is easiest.

More Resources:
Our Daniel Tiger Potty Training Doll
Smiley Face Hand Stamp
Princess Potty Book
Potty Training Article

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Birth Story

Isabel was due May 3rd. That day came and went… My good friend had invited me to a Cinco de Mayo party a month before and I told her “I’m sorry, I hope I don’t make it to your party. I hope I am home with a newborn baby but if I’m still waiting, I’ll come.” So of course, May 7th, her Cinco de Mayo party comes around and I’m still pregnant... not exactly what I had pictured. I decide it will be good to get out of the house. So I got out of bed, got out of my PJs, got ready, pulled up my big girl panties and went to the party.

There was a smorgasbord of food and drinks, most of which was off limits for prego. I ate a salad and parked myself in the same chair the whole time. People commented that I looked uncomfortable and tired. It didn’t bother me. I was uncomfortable and tired. We were only there for an hour when I started to feel sick. We had to document that I made it to her party though, so we ran outside to photograph it. A few snaps, a hug, and Javi and I headed home.

Look at that bump! Not sure stripes are the best choice when you are that big.

As soon as we got home, my water broke.  I told Javi we need to call the hospital to see if we should go in.. He said “just wait, let me take a quick nap, we could be up all night.” Uhhh, no way Jose. We called and headed into the hospital. They confirmed that my water broke and that I was 4 cm dilated. It’s 5pm and we head to a laboring room.

The first nurse that I had was more than I could have ever wanted. I had pictured how I wanted my birth to go. Most women do, but I had spent a lot of time picturing it. I was afraid of being in labor for 18-24 hours and in the birthing class we took, they scared me away from having an epidural because it usually slows labor down. Since I was not planning on having the epidural, I needed to be prepared with how I would deal with pain and I did a lot of research. I brought a folder in my hospital bag of pain management techniques for each stage of labor. The first nurse I had seemed like a freakin doula. She was pulling out the essential oils, putting me in the bath, having me bounce on an exercise ball. By midnight, I was 10 cm and ready to push. Everything was going as planned. They called and had a pediatric nurse bring in the hospital bassinet cart and the other gadgets they would need for when new baby arrives.

That image of the bassinet cart is forever in my mind. The nurse brought it in and set it all up. There was a blanket and a hat. There was a light to warm the baby and a screen to monitor the baby. It was so surreal. In only a short amount of time, there would be a baby in that bassinet, under the light, our baby. How would it all happen? The time was almost here. It was like I could see my dream becoming a reality right in front of my eyes.

It didn’t happen that way. Isabel was not born for another 10 hours. At midnight my favorite nurse’s shift ended and my next nurse was the exact opposite of the first. It could have literally been her first day working solo in the labor and delivery wing… I labored for 6 hours, opted for the epidural as I ended up having back labor (probably because Isabel was backwards), and they gave me pitocin to speed up the contractions. The pitocin didn’t work. Isabel never dropped and 2 hours later a new nurse started her shift. At this point, they decided I was going to need a c-section. I had not planned for that. That was not in any of my research. I had not wanted it to end that way.

Luckily one of the doctors I had seen in the clinic, just the week prior, was working that morning. Almost crying, I said, I know I probably can’t pick my own doctor but do you think she could do the c-section? I got to have the doctor I wanted. That was a small win in my book. She came in and talked to us about how the c-section would work and why it needed to be that way. 10 minutes later we were prepping for the surgery.

As if it hadn’t already been a whirlwind, now I was going to have a c-section. Javi couldn’t come in for the first 5 minutes, so I was all alone. I started to cry. The anesthesiologists tried to cheer me up, making jokes about how he had a crush on his Spanish teach in high school. Finally Javi got to come in and I felt better. The c-section took so much longer than I would have thought. They got Isabel out and Javi went with her to clean her up and do all the tests. It was so awkward that I was just waiting there, still in surgery, with no updates…. Like hello, anyone want to let me in on how the baby is doing?!

They brought her over and laid her next to me. I felt terrible from all the drugs in my system. The sleep deprivation, I hadn’t eaten more than a salad in the last 20 hours. I was shaking, I felt nauseous. I asked them to take Isabel away. I needed to concentrate on myself and getting through this.

I don’t remember moving back to a regular room after the c-section. I don’t remember getting to hold Isabel for the first time. I wish I could remember those things but I have other memories of holding her those first few days. Isabel was born on Mother’s Day. Thank godness. If I had to spend Mother’s Day without my 5 day overdue baby, I would have been miserable. Javi asked every nurse that we had that day if they had kids and thanked them for spending their Mother’s Day taking care of his wife and his new baby. He was smitten with his little family. I was too.

An hour after, it didn’t matter that nothing went as I had planned out in my head. I soon found out that nothing with babies ever goes as planned. Her birth was a perfect introduction of how our life would be from here on out.

Weeks later, I kept replaying it in my head. I was disappointed that I had the epidural and that my body couldn’t birth Isabel “like it should have.” I wondered if I had done something wrong and I needed to grieve what had happened. It seems silly, both of us were healthy and I was so lucky to receive this amazing gift from God. You have so many emotions though after having a baby, you never know what you’ll feel.

Now almost 2 years later, writing this all out, I’ve already forgotten so much of our birth story and am so glad I took the chance to write it down. I have finally stopped wishing that my story had been different and accepted it just the way it was.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Itching to Teach Your Kids Spanish but Don’t Know Where to Start?

We have been working on teaching Spanish to our daughter and she learns so fast! But as a non-native Spanish speaker, it can be mentally draining for me. I’m not kidding you, as fast as I can learn it, she learns it. If my Spanish was better, she would be learning so much right now. Like come on mom, pick up the pace!

You don’t need to speak a second language perfectly, or even that well at all. You can expose your
child to a second language at any level. Starting early is key because that’s when you control their
environment the most. Babies learn languages with amazing speed and teaching a language to a
child has many other benefits like increased creativity, patience (yes please!) and the ability to learn
even more languages.

Some easy ways to add Spanish to your kids life
-Songs in Spanish (Spotify/Pandora/YouTube)
-Programs in Spanish (Change any Netflix show to Spanish by changing the audio options when you
are on the show description page)
-Books in Spanish (there are so many out there, just check amazon! I hope to do a blog post soon
on our favorites)
-Speaking Spanish
-Spanish Immersion Daycare/School
-Go on vacation to a Spanish speaking country (<<< obviously MY FAV and will help us keep up
Isabel’s Spanish as she gets older)

Sometimes it’s exhausting but it’s all worth it, for us. Spanish is an important part of Isabel’s
Mexican heritage, we love speaking Spanish at home together and I know it will help her
academically and hopefully even professionally one day. Isabel speaks mostly Spanish now
because that's what she's exposed to, but she picks up English words everywhere so easily.
I'm telling you, kids are so efficient at learning languages.

Tu puedes hacerlo tambiƩn!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Be There

I started writing about a different topic this week but as Isabel’s 2nd birthday started creeping up, it was the only thing I could think about. When she turned 1, I couldn’t believe how fast the year had gone by but I was too busy to think about it. I was planning her birthday, getting her 1 year pics taken, and changing her eating schedule from 6 bottles a day to actual meals with big girl food, plus a few bottles in between.

(photo credit - Avi Paiz Photography)

This year as her birthday creeps up, I’m not too busy to feel all the feels that a year has passed by in what feels like a minute. As she reads a book in the living room by herself or goes to bed on her own, I have all the time in the world to think about it. And thinking about it makes me want to cry my eyes out because time this year just passed by SO FAST. She makes me want to slow down time and take it all in.

So I will try the best I can to slow down time. I will sit and play with her more often. I will give her a morning of my full attention. I will cuddle with her on the couch as we watch Daniel Tiger together. (Seriously, before kids, I thought "those moms" that watch TV with their kids were so weird... and now I am one of them)

But when time still passes by, just as fast, I will need to tell my brain to “knock it off”. I don’t want to be sad. My daughter is learning and growing so fast and I would never want her to stop learning or growing. When those thoughts creep back in, I am going to tell myself, “Be there”. All I can do is try to me more present when I am around her. I’m not going to beat myself up about needing to pick up the house when she is there or about having a night out with friends. My mind is a powerful tool and sometimes I need to come up with my own little “mantra” to make sure that I am using it for good.

So I guess this weeks blog post is a reminder to me. To “be there” and to tell myself to “be there”. I can’t promise I won’t cry once or twice when this little one turns 2 but that’s okay too.

Look at this almost 2 year old...

By the way, Isabel’s 2nd birthday party theme is farm animals! Stay tuned to see pics of the big day. I should make my husband wear overalls with a cowboy hat right?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

8 Mom Hacks to Becoming a Happier Momma

Each child is so unique and each momma too. Here are some of the hacks that have worked for me but they are by no means universal. Because some moms need to have a clean house to feel stress free and some kids need more attention…

1. Coffee! Because how the heck are you supposed to make it through the day without the help of something strong.
 2. Your house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean. Pay someone to clean your house once/twice a month (worth every penny ladies) and spend 30 minutes scrambling to clean the whole house before you have guests over. My husband and I also tackle the main level for 10 minutes every night before we go to bed so the house feels cleaner and I feel accomplished.

3. Don’t compare your baby to other babies or yourself to other moms. Every baby and every mom is unique. Babies grow in different areas and at different speeds. And moms, don’t waste your time trying to be something that you aren’t.

4. Feed your child Easy Mac or PB&J every once in awhile… or a lot… because who has time to spend 45 minutes cooking a healthy meal only to have your child scream that they want yogurt instead. In our house we shoot for one healthy meal a day(and if she went to daycare, let’s hope it was lunch).

5. Talk to your partner. Communicate when you are having a rough day or just need some help with the chores. Tell your partner to communicate with you when he needs something as well, because when you are a mom it’s too hard to notice the subtle cues that he’s trying to show you.

6. Don’t have too many toys out at once, you’ll just end up cleaning them up EVERY night, until your kids are old enough to clean up their own toys… when is that again? Keep most of the toys stored away out of sight and you can rotate out a few at a time.

7. Recruit help. From your parents, from your partner, get your groceries delivered. Don’t try to do it all by yourself.

8. Wine! Or TV or Instagram or whatever you need to relax. Because raising those little ones is mentally exhausting, especially when they start talking back…

I’ve always wanted to be a supermom. One of those moms that you look at and you wonder, how do they do it all? But, you know what, every mom is a super mom. Look at that tiny person that you’ve created. That little one that amazes you every day. You created that. Their hair, their manners, their words, their bellies, their laughs, their spunk, their personality… you were and still are a huge part of that, and only a supermom could do that.