Friday, March 11, 2011

A big week for a big boy

This week was a week of beautiful weather here in Southern California.  Sunshine and warmth..Spring is in the air and even though we didn't have to survive winter's blizzards and freezing temperatures, the change does a body (and mind) good.  Plus, I really think that having a storage room and more "space" in our lives has lifted an invisible weight from our shoulders.  I could BREATHE this week and felt that unmistakable tug of satisfaction and happiness in my heart. 

With the exception of one night of less than 3 hours sleep...due to a mind refusing to take a break from the hamster wheel, we slept reasonably well, waking refreshed, and ready for each new day.  I began my exercise regimen anew, running and lifting weights, and had some precious moments with my little boy. 

I've begun to look forward to having "Miss Debbie" come everyday to "play" with Xavi.  He adores her and loves her "fancy" British accent as she sings and talks to him almost as much as I do.  She takes him for long walks in the sun and tries to convince him to nap (he's a big of a stinker where naps are concerned...30-40 minutes and he's up, ready to party and catch up on what he's missed).  He's learned how to take breast milk from the bottle and he's begun to take almost a whole feeding.  (But he still prefers the boob and usually lets us know when he's done with the whole weird fake nipple thing.)  They dance to the music in his room and he seems to love music, especially the latin ones with a good beat.

Xavi's new "IPod"that Gramma Momma gave him
It plays lots of cool songs and lights up like a disco
Asleep on Miss Debbie for a little cat nap
Almost as important, I can focus on my work without worrying, stressing, or crying.  Another huge bonus of having help?  My house looks better than it ever has...the small things I choose not to stress about getting done, GET DONE!  Debbie helps with small household chores and I've found...that it really is the "small" things that make the biggest difference.  No grand gestures are necessary (although appreciated...see Grampa's visit blog for more on that) but wipe the counters, sweep the floor, fold the laundry, wipe the mirror?  Ahhh, the stirrings of satisfaction and happiness? Starting to well up and fill up my "tank".  And with that, I find myself finishing things that have been on my list for a long time now, including organize the breast milk in the freezer instead of just throwing them in there haphazardly.  (I mean, that stuff is like liquid gold...and now it is properly containerized AND labeled!)  I think this is also why exercise has started to feel so good again...before it was just one more thing that needed to get done in an already full and exhausting day.  Happy momma indeed.

Relaxing in the hammock and sunshine
This was the week that Xavi graduated to going for stroller rides in the BOB without his car seat!  He, and both Debbie and I were ecstatic at this momentous occasion.  (He usually expressed his extreme displeasure when put in the car seat to go for walks...eeek!)  Now, when we go for a run, he hums with the bumps and watches the world pass by.  He will still let me know when he needs to be closer to mom and would prefer to be in the Moby or in the carrier (but facing out now!). 

Like tonight for example, I finally had the dogs leashed up, my Uggs slipped on, a poop bag in hand, and Xavi tucked in the stroller with a blanket for a short evening stroll.  He started yelling and kept it was so loud that i couldn't hear the neighbor talking to me as she stood next to me, exclaiming at how mad "she" (Xavi) was.  So, I picked "her" up and carried him for the rest of the walk.  I hooked the dog leashes to the stroller on my giant "mommy clip" and darnit...we finished that walk.  I only had to jerk Diego out of a few bushes as he tried to chase a cat or crow.  Poor Sasha wasn't able to do her business but did get all the way back up the hill without needing me to carry her, too. 

This was also the week that Xavi started napping in his "big boy" crib.  Up til now, he's napped in the bassinet by our bed as that is where he slept at night (well, until he needs to nurse and winds up in bed with us).  It was also the week that he took a ...drum roll please...3 hour nap all by himself, in his own crib.  I was beside myself, on edge just waiting for him to wake up any minute.  He did wake up to nurse twice (or be comforted that mom was standing by somewhere close...) but it sure was a big deal to me!

I realize that often when I post a blog I am a happy momma...but it hasn't been easy and I'm not always happy.  It's just that on the hard days, I usually "choose" not to post anything that day.  I write this paragraph not to be a downer...and don't get me wrong, I love being a mom and I love being everything to this precious boy.  Overall, I am a happier, more centered woman since becoming a mom, but that doesn't mean that there aren't days where it feels like "the wheels are falling off".  It is a strange feeling to have such a huge range of emotions and really not know myself at certain moments in the day.  It is strange to look so forward to having a beer at night (I mean, REALLY look forward to it ;)) excuse prior to this blog was that beer (particularly Guiness) is a galactogogue...meaning it helps me produce lots of milk (tee hee)!  I've had friends tell me that they have wine every night (at 9pm) since having a baby and in the corner of my non-mommy mind thought that "she could have a problem"...HA!  It's just that no one tells you about some of this stuff before you have a baby and more often than not, people either aren't honest OR they have the amnesia that I think necessarily accompanies most of the hard stuff in child bearing and rearing.  

That being said...3 hour sleep nights aside; forgotten in the sunshine of the day and with the first smile from's been a big week for my big boy.  And I will retire tonight, a happy momma. 
Another great sunset with Catalina Island in the distance

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gramma Momma 2.0

Grampa came on Sunday early morning and Gramma followed on Wednesday early early morning. We had five whole days together...and she squeezed Xavi as much as he'd let her.  She was here when he was first born, but he has grown so much.  (now 15.6 lbs and 26.5 inches, 21.5inches and 8.5 lbs then)

First squeezes...

Watching the guys work

"kiki" time (that's naked time for you non two year olds)

Diego is still determined to come along for the ride..
He misses Gramma and Grampa too (Tazzie too!)
You know how whenever you get sick, the only person that you wish to be there, the one person who can always comfort you and make you feel better just by being there...Mom! (well, for me anyway)  And she came when I needed her most..made chicken soup and willed us to get better.  So we did!  Xavi felt a bit like that early in her visit...except this time it was his mom that he clung to. (That's ME!!!)  But by the end of the visit, they were old pals and he had a smile just for her. 

Self inflicted on "our" bluff

Xavi in his doggie jammies...Gramma in her pretty jammies

Feeling better and warming up

"This lady is hilarious!"

My momma, isn't she cute?
 Dad was usually the first one up, making coffee, relaxing, reading.  He listened for Xavi to wake up (between 6:30 and 7 like clockwork) and begin to talk.  Every morning he tells us all about his eventful night sleep and wonderful dreams..and in a very loud voice.  So Gramps knew when he was up and knew we'd be out shortly to greet him with a smile. 

A cloudy night for a sunset...still breathtaking to see the breadth of the ocean

Shenanigans while Gramma was babysitting...
riding Sasha as if she were a small horse (not necessarily "Frowned upon.."

A face any momma could love...

Sasha recovering from the close call with the little pink animal

One of his special Gramma smiles
Gramma hugged and squeezed him, even through a pretty good temper tantrum.  It was fun watching a "pro" at work... I certainly was glad she was here to help.

Temper Tantrum in action

Making a deal to get a cookie IF he takes a good nap...
or something fun like that
We walked and soaked up the sun.  She exhorted us to continue with the projects and gave me the gusto to get going on a few things...and made sure we completed putting up the curtains in each bedroom to help Xavi nap more soundly.  We found a camping site for them when they come in July...we'll keep our fingers crossed for a beachfront RV site with a fire pit just for us!  Xavi may be walking by then...???!!!! yikes...I said.

Xavi loved the bright colors of this tshirt...mesmerizing.
She wore this the morning that Mario left for drill in his camoflauge. 
70s all over again, man.  (no photos of that :))

The last walk on Capo Beach

Getting a treatment from the cute intern
They are both pretty cute, huh?
Catching some rays...reading and relaxing

Getting warmed up in his Adidas track suit

We watched the sun set, had lunch at Fisherman's Wharf on the San Clemente Pier, and felt the sand in our toes. 

To felt like I was the one soaking up the sun, the warmth.  Their visit filled my "tank", but my heart felt like it had a little leak...they left a vacuum that is hard to fill being so far away.  I can only look forward to the next visit..and the next...and the next.  Loving each moment as if it is our last.  (And sending lots of texts and pictures in between.)
Bright eyed and bushy tailed for 4 am...on their way home

Sunshine, on my shoulders, makes me hap-py.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A visit from Superman - aka Grampa

Last week we were lucky enough to have my dad come stay with us for a whole week and he helped us with so many different projects...I've nicknamed him "superman", but not for the first time in my life. 

Xavi met Grampa for the first time in his "Team Grampa" jammies. 
Grampa was in his "Guiness" jammies.

Xavi was a little cranky as he was getting a fever...
he was cozy and representing Grampa's alma mater in his Wisconsin outfit!

Between a new baby, Mario's three degrees and Navy reserve service, and my full time job...there just hasn't been much time for fun, let alone certain home projects on top of the daily "chores" like laundry, dishes, and cooking.  But we live in a tiny little's basically one room that houses our music, dining, TV, office, Xavi play ground, and kitchen areas plus two bedrooms and a bathroom.  We absolutely love is bright, sunny, cozy, has a great view, and outdoor space that includes GRASS and TREES! But it does get messy easily and storage has been an issue.  There is ONE closet in the cottage (and not a big walk in is a small coat closet with one shelf) and no garage.  So, we moved in knowing we would have to be creative and live simply. 

Anyone that knows me also knows that I have a knack for organization and creative storage...especially once I've gone through and ruthlessly gotten rid of anything not currently in use OR of considerable value.  I thrive in neat, orderly environments and was confident that I could get our "ship" in shape, have things humming in no time.  We spent a couple grand at IKEA and Lowe's getting closets, shelving, and baskets.  And before Xavi came I worked and worked on getting things in order.  The list just kept on going...I did the best I could but still look around and see...well, I need to find a way to put that pile away, make that corner look neat, etc.  Now, I realize that I may have a bit of perfectionism in my blood but I just couldn't finish that list, especially once my little Xavi arrived.

Handsome like daddy.  They were dressed alike this day. My boys!
 Mario spent too many weekends rigging an outdoor storage area to hold our bins of "stuff" Christmas decorations, school notes and books (that are still needed), Olympic memorabilia, surfboards, wetsuits, camping stuff...blah blah...@*#t I've been about to just heave rather than deal with the issue of storing it all.  He tried to make it waterproof and sun shaded to protect the "stuff" from damage.  I call Mario, "McGyver" because he can rig anything if he just has a bit of rope, duct tape, and a caribiner.  (He once rigged our hammock with a tent over it between two trees by a river in the dark!)  Our nice neighbor even tried to help him, but this year has been the rainiest on record in Southern California...probably because our stuff never was water proof and that's just the way it goes, right? 

So, I am soooo happy to announce to all the rest of Southern California that we will be going back to the usual weather pattern of little rain and lots of sun because....WE HAVE A DRY, CLEAN STORAGE PLACE. 

Our landlords had a space that wasn't being used and allowed us to cut a hole in the block wall, add a door, and wah-la, store our "stuff".  So we rented the equipment, Dad sawed the hole in the 8 inch block (that had been poured solid due to earthquake reinforcing) and Mario swung the sledgehammer that brought it all down.  Xavi tired of being in the house with me (cried and cried) but was happy to be with the guys doing "manly" work...also known as going to Home Depot.  It may sound ridiculous that a stupid storage space would make me so happy..but it did and does. 

Getting ready to make a big hole...

And a big mess!  Clearing the room here...

And Dad didn't think he would get dirty...yikes!
But it all got cleaned up...I'll have to get a shot of it all done and looking nice.

Then Dad fixed our lighting in the living room, tightened the bolts and seats on our dining room chairs (that had been threatening to buck Mario off for the past month), leveled our refrigerator so that the door didn't go slamming against the wall (sending my nerves over the edge every time), put batteries in our outdoor thermometer, built me a window bench seat that has storage underneath, assembled Mario's work/school "station" (also from IKEA), rehung our instrument shelves, fixed the media cabinent door so that it doesn't fall off when opened, and hung the new room darkening curtains on rods in each of the bedrooms. With each project completed, Mario and I breathed deeper and easier having a load taken from our minds (and lists). 

putting up some track lighting...

Let there be light!

My new window seat with storage! 

Grampa and Xavi on the patio in the sun

I am so happy and feel so grateful that I have a dad that can not only fix anything, but truly wants to help, jumping in where he sees a need, without question or begrudging.  My job is to help him stay healthy so that Xavi can go to "Grampa camp" and learn how to drive a skidsteer (aka "the Machine" from our little girl days), and how to serve others.  So, I made sure he had good food, plenty of water, a few adjustments, an acupuncture treatment at Mario's clinic, and his supplements.  (Plus, a donut or two as special "treats" and of course, coffee!) 

Getting a treatment at the can see Dad's face in the background.
 (Couldn't very well show a picture of his nipples now could I? )

He even had some time to do some reading, hold Xavi, go for walks with us, and enjoy a beer in the evening. 

Catching some rays...Xavi needs shades. 
No, this is not a's his nap sack.

Look at that boy...he's wearing shoes!!!  size 2 already
And a snazzy Adidas sweat suit with his surfer baby hat.

View from "our" bluff...having a nice walk.
We love you Dad.  Thanks so much!  We are grateful for the space you created in our lives.  Space to relax, to raise our son, to spend our free time having some much needed FUN, and space to store our "stuff"...on shelves, not shoulders. 
The last and best sunset of the visit...We love you Grampa!