Saturday, January 29, 2011

The First Christmas - Finally (GEEZ!)

Ok, so it's almost February and I'm finally posting picts from our first Christmas together.  Normally, I would probably let it go and move along but it was such a momentous occasion that I just had to post some picts to share with our family.  We had a little tree in our little place..and lots of presents (mostly for Xavi).  He didn't wake us up especially early excited to see what Santa left him...I guess we have a few years for that.  But we woke up excited because we had received the best gift possible...this little life, the new light in our lives. 
Our son. 
On Christmas Eve, we went for a walk on the beach and thought we could have appetizers at the restaurant right there...well, we had apps but took the rest "to go".  We weren't quite ready to dine in public with our squawking infant. We watched movies and opened one present.  On Christmas, we opened the rest and watched more movies, walked on the beach again. 

The shirt says it idea was to take pictures of Xavi in all his new outfits.  But changing clothes makes him so mad that I gave up after one set.  Wouldn't we all rather be naked?

Needless to say, we felt very blessed by the thoughtfulness of our family and friends on our first Christmas together.  Thank you for the gifts and love from all over the country. 

We were remembering that it was a year ago that we said our vows on a remote beach in the Galapagos.  It was a set to be the most special Christmas, one that would be very hard to beat, yet just one year later, one little boy did that easily.  We hope there will be many, many more to come.  I love you Mario. 
Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary. 

The First Flight...a trip "home" - Melendez Family

On Mario's birthday we flew to El Paso, TX to meet the rest of the Melendez family, including Xavi's cousin, Vince, who is exactly one week younger.  Xavi was a real trooper, fussing minimally during each leg of the flight (both ways).  It was our first "gear test" and good practice for when I go back to work. 

Grampa and Xavi first meeting
Gramma Nina, Grampa, and Xavi..what a poser, huh? Yes, those are dimples ;)

Xavi and Vince meet for the first time...

Cousins AJ and Elena holding the boys

Happy Birthday Mario and Carlos!

Luis and Lucy  (mother of AJ and Elena)

Mario and Luis are 14 months apart but were often mistaken for twins when growing up.  Now these brothers have sons that are a week apart.  It goes without saying that we hope our boys can grow up together...being mistaken for twins.  Here they are on first meeting...
Mario has Vince (left) and Luis has Xavi (right)..You can see Xavi "mad dogging" his papa..

And here he is laughing with his dad...papa is just so funny!

Mario and Xavi, Luis and Vince...matching facial expressions. 

We joked about the boys and the "conversations" that they had after first introduction. We made conjectures about their personalities and put words into their mouths...Xavi as the party, confident boy ready to plan all kinds of mischief.  All along talking Vince into different schemes and night "missions".  Vince was the voice of caution and shall we say, reason?  "Are you sure about this Xavi?...Are we going to get in trouble?...What if mom catches us? Maybe you should put a shirt on..."  Sounds like what it must've been like during the days of Mario and Luis, hmmmm. 
Vince and Xavi..planning and scheming already
The Melendez' live 2.5 hours from the mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico and so we rented a house for all of us for the weekend.  Families, baby stuff, groceries, beer, and Mama's salsa...we walked in the trails, watched Green Bay and Chicago win, drank beer, played pool, went sledding, and ate smores.  It was a fun time and it's always worth the "trouble" to pull it all together. 
Andy and Lucy (back row), Mario, MB w/ Xavi, Gramma Nina, Laurie, Elena, Laura, and Luis w/Vince

Xavi in his new fleece suit...enjoying the "exercise" (aka sleeping in the carrier)

Self inflicted photo trying to get the view in the photo

Auntie Lala, Gramma Nina, Luis, and Mario on the deck of the house

Laura and Vince, MB and Xavi "enjoying" the bear game (note the Bears colors on the boys)

The rental house with an awesome view...Laurie even "adopted" a deer that hung out in the yard

The view from our deck...amazing blue sky, crisp fresh air, and snowy mountains.

Uncle Luis and the boys...such a natural kid magnet.
We even got to see our Ponch.  He remembered us and kissed us as much as he could get away with.  He kissed Xavi and hoped he would get to come home with us too.  I cried saying good bye to him but feel good knowing that he is loved and is getting the attention he so desparately needs everyday. 

Our boy, Xavi, is lucky to also have so many people that love him so much and so many arms that want to hold him.  The moments we have together as a family are so precious and none are guaranteed.  We've learned to be in every minute as we really don't know how many more they may be.  Each hug may be the last and each visit may be a good just don't know.  Hold on to the good times and let go of the bad.  But most of all... love your family like tomorrow will never come. 
Love to the Melendez clan...Thanks for a  great visit!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Dogs

My kids before Xavi were the hairy, four legged variety. 

Sasha found me in March of 2000 and is probably around 14 years old. 

Diego found me in November of 2003 and is around 8 years old now.

There were days when my "kids" were the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning and I loved them whole heartedly.  Sasha and Diego pretty much went everywhere with me and have been my constant companions.  Both were great running partners and I hope Diego will help me get back in shape when that time comes.  Sasha is now a bit old  and sometimes unsteady on her feet.  She has very selective hearing and probaby doesn't see that well...but she always reminds me that it is time for our walk or for dinner if I keep them waiting too long.  But she has always been my angel...more like a cat than a dog except I am sure she would say she was a person, not a dog.  Diego is our buddy...wanting to be everywhere we are, even if it's just to wait in the car.  We call him "cozy mozy" because he loves to cuddle up next to anyone that looks remotely comfortable...finding the smallest of nooks and crannies to work himself into.  He likes to sleep under the covers, often right next to Mario. 

Xavi has brought out different reactions in both dogs...Sasha can be momentarily interested if he is on the floor or in his seat on the floor.  She will come up and sniff him with her ears perked and tail raised...but then, she goes on about her business (sleeping, sniffing, and looking for a play on occasion).  If Xavi is napping and they both come out of the bedroom, I know that he is waking up and making noises...they are just coming to tell me.  Sasha is more likely coming to tell me so that I can make it stop so she can get back to sleep OR to keep that "little pink animal" from ramping into full on yell. 

I totally had to trick into staying this close...

Keeping a safe distance from all commotion...but still happy to be part of the pack.

Diego has assumed the role of guardian.  I mean, he was always in a protective service role, meaning property perimeter control or doorbell reinforcement.  But now, he keeps a very close eye on Xavi and although he never gets intrusively close or shows too much excitement outwardly over the boy..he is always on hand.   Matter of fact, he follows us from room to room and sets up "post" between us and the door.  He sits with his back to us, facing the if he were our secret service protection detail.  When Xavi is crying in the bedroom, he will come running out as if to say..."the boy is up, what are my orders?"  Take a look back at many of the pictures on this blog and you'll likely see Diego somewhere close by.  Now, Xavi even smiles at Diego...his first puppy.

Here, Diego is getting "cozy mozy" on Xavi's Boppy nursing pillow. 
I was burping Xavi and so he climbed right up. Xavi got mad then.
 Ponch is a pure bred Queensland cattle dog that Mario's had since 2006.  Ponch loves to party and hug..he was becoming my go to buddy, helping me on all my errands...but unfortunately he was naughty and had to go live with gramma and grampa for awhile.  It might have been more than a handful with a new baby and three dogs...maybe after some training he can come back home.  He will get to meet Xavi this week when we travel to visit with the Melendez family in El Paso and Ruidoso, NM.  More to come on that visit...

I do have to admit that when people told me that my dogs would mean less once I had a baby, I scoffed at the suggestion.  And they don't mean less...I still love them and can't imagine not having them.  But it IS different...I guess how I feel for them simply pales in comparison to the incomparable love I feel for Xavi. But they still get us out of the house every day...twice...and I'm very thankful for that. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Parents

Once Rachel and Gabby left, we were on our own.  And in a felt so good.  We loved having company and help, but now was our time to connect as a new family.  Mario and I were closer than we ever have been..often looking at each other incredulously over what we had done...we made a human being that was ours to care for, to love, and to nurture. 

Of course we also had to adjust to a daily schedule on our own and we had to communicate more than we ever had before.  Xavi had found his voice and was using it.  I changed my diet completely and took out wheat, yeast (meaning beer which I craved my entire pregnancy), sugar,dairy, spicy foods (onion, garlic, chiles), acidy foods (citrus, tomatoes), coffee (decaf even), chocolate, and bitter foods (arugula, etc).  What else is there?  NOT MUCH...but it was worth the sacrifice to not hear him fuss every night. It pained me to know how uncomfortable he was...even though he still cries when he has to fart which we both think is hilarious.  (Yes, very mature of us, right?)

We went to the beach. We went out for dinner at a friends house (everyone else got paella, I had plain chicken and sweet peppers and rain check).  We watched movies (at home) and went for walks in our neighborhood.  It was raining a lot and we spent a lot of time indoors. 

Mara and I at San Onofre Beach

Chris grilling up lunch/dinner for us

Chris trying out his hand at holding a baby...first time ever.
 Xavi grew from 8.5 pounds to 11lbs to now almost 14 lbs.  He was 21.5 inches long at birth but is now about 24 inches long.  Everyone says he is a big boy...but he still seems so tiny to me.  I carry him in a sling most of the day and am still experimenting to find the right one.  I think he'll be happier when he can hold his head up all the time (he tries now...but has a bit to go) and can check everything out.

 He loves bath time and doesn't cry until I dry his head/hair off.  He is such a little boy with dirt (from where?) under his fingernails and lint in his toes...probably could use a bath more than once a week but whatever.