Thursday, May 31, 2012

traveling with kids...

Summer is pretty much here and the travels begin! A few people have asked me for tips on traveling with small children, so here's my 2 cents... 

Since Natalia and Sebastian are not yet 2 years old, they travel for free but are on our laps the entire trip.  Not sure which is better.  My friend says definitely paying for a seat is better, she has purchased a seat for her son before, even though he is not 2 years old yet.  Sebastian and Natalia are usually good but there are always times when they get bored or over tired (or sick!).

Let me tell you about our most horrific flight yet. This past February we went from Charlotte to Los Angeles, about a 5 hour flight.  Sebastian was sick a couple of days earlier with a stomach bug and was throwing up all day.  We decided we would wait until the day of the flight to see how he was doing before cancelling our trip, since the doctor said it usually only lasts 24 hours.  That day Sebastian seemed fine so we decided to get on the flight and go enjoy our 10 day trip to the west coast.  We kept a close eye on him in the car, airport and airplane.  He looked great and was acting normal.  About 2 hours into the flight, Natalia turns pale yellow and starts looking very nauseous.  So I quickly flip her to face out on my lap and she immediately proceeds to throw up (exorcist style) all over herself, me and the isle.  Thank God we had an isle seat! Just when I thought it was all out, she barfed again.  OMG! I didn't know what to do! I was in shock.  We had concentrated so much on Sebastian that we totally forgot it was contagious and Natalia needed to be watched as well.  I ran to the bathroom to clean her (and myself) up and just as I was done changing her into the only extra outfit I had for her, she threw up again.  Ok, time to close the bathroom door and cry. Sal handed Sebastian over to a nice lady sitting next to him and ran to my rescue. I was so overwhelmed and felt so unprepared for this.  We still had 3 hours to go and she was pale as can be! Since we took Sebastian to the doctor, we kind of knew how to handle Natalia to stop it from getting worse.  I changed her clothes again, this time into Sebastian's extra outfit and headed to my seat.  She immediately fell asleep and I put a plastic bag close by, just in case she had a little more in her stomach that needed to come out.

Thankfully, the airplane staff was extremely nice and understanding and helped by getting paper towels, plastic bags and most importantly, some very powerful powder substance which takes away that awful vomit smell! Some close-by passengers offered to help as well.

The only good thing I can say about that episode is that I am now prepared for the worse.  Never leave without an extra outfit (or two!) and always have tons of baby wipes!

To answer the question of "how do I travel with two babies and keep them controlled?" it is probably impossible to keep them controlled at all times.  Even when they are well behaved, they suddenly reach for your neighbor's phone or watch or whatever they have that you don't, which can be very uncomfortable especially if your neighbor is not that friendly.

I came up with a list which I saved in my iPhone to make sure I don't forget anything when traveling.  I'm no expert, I'm still learning as I go.  But, my kids have flown 7 times, 2 of which flights were to the west coast, so I have a pretty good idea of what I need to take with me to keep them happy.

Things I make sure I have? Very simple:

Food; milk, water and some snacks.  Pick your kid's favorites.  FYI, you can always ask for water but they don't have milk on the plane.  If you are on a long flight, be sure you also have a full meal for your baby.  If he's hungry, he's cranky.

Toys; take their favorite AND a new toy, which will keep them pretty busy.

Extra outfit; you already know why.  I don't usually carry extra shoes, but Natalia did throw up all over her Uggs, so if you have the room, pack an extra pair or even just extra socks.

Extra diapers;  I always take way too many extra diapers, but I rather be safe than sorry.

Baby wipes; they are like little miracle workers!

Bibs; to keep your baby clean.  If you have a bib, you may not need to change your baby's outfit.

Antibacterial wipes; to clean everything you think your baby will touch (if you hate germs like I do).

If you don't mind, your phone will always help, kids love technology!

ready to go, looking great!

checking out the seats...

sound asleep and not feeling well :(

amazing how her stomach bug lasted only the duration of the flight! even sick, she is a diva!
Stay tuned for a post on our most recent trip to Chicage and some awesome photos I'd like to share!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the trying years

My babies are growing up so fast! They are now 19 months and the "terrible 2s" are fast approaching.  My husband and I decided to call it the "trying years" instead.  We don't like how "terrible" sounds and since Natalia and Sebastian are not two yet and are already trying our patience, we know the 2 thing is way off.  It's a good thing they have such sweet faces!

Natalia is a little clown.  She is constantly trying to make us laugh about something silly she is doing, like walking around with a beach bucket on her head or trying to balance a spoon under her chin.  Sebastian loves hearing Natalia's giggles and tries anything to make her laugh.  He makes funny noises, claps, taps his feet, anything really as long as Natalia is laughing at him.  The love they have for each other is amazing!

The other day I went to the kitchen to get something and next thing I know Natalia is at the top of the stairs!  I don't know how she did it so fast and so quietly! She had the biggest smile ever on her face and was extremely proud of herself.  It was so hard to be mad at her or reprimand her because I didn't want to knock her spirits after such a big accomplishment.  They are both pros at going up the stairs now.  My brother Elvis suggested I teach them how to go down the stairs, just in case they sneak away again.  He did this for his 2 boys and it helped avoid stair accidents. I have been letting them go up and down while I stand close behind.  Natalia is getting really good at going down, Sebastian wants to walk down.  So nerve recking!

Teaching kids Independence is so important but it's really hard! It almost feels like you are telling them they don't need you anymore.  If I am sad about it now, how will I be years from now when they want to go out without me or when they refuse to be seen with mom and dad? OMG I don't think I can handle this!

I don't know if I am so attached to them because I waited so long for them, but all I know is I love them more than anything and want them to be independent but still be mama's boy and girl.  Is that too much to ask?  Sal feels the same way, like they are growing up way too fast!

Everyone says it gets easier. So we will patiently wait for that day.

In the meantime, here are some pictures.  If they are smiling, I'm smiling too.  They are so silly!


Monday, May 21, 2012

tip of the day - untangeled necklaces

As you may or may not know, I like things organized. Keeping things in the "right" place makes me happy and a little more sane.

A while ago I started thinking of a better home for my necklaces.  So I stole my husband's tie/belt hanger and happily used it to organize my necklaces.  I used to keep all my jewelry together until I started getting really annoyed every time I waned to wear something and had to spend 15  minutes untangling it.  This is a quick and easy solution to the problem.  I also keep my earrings, rings and bracelets in individual jewelry size Ziploc bags.

Below are some pictures of how I hang my necklaces. The orange rack is from CB2 and can be used for the same purpose, except it has to be screwed into the wall, unlike the hanger.  The small Ziploc bags can be purchased at Michaels or any other craft supply store.

Go get organized! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

best reward ever

My husband and I wanted to have a baby really bad.  But of course it wasn't easy for us because we were "trying to hard."  A lot of people told us to "stop focusing on making a baby and it will come when the time is right."  Not exactly sure what that means, but apparently we weren't ready for a long time.  However, since "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle," he gave us two babies.  I guess I was ready to be a mom, and have double the fun!

From the beginning I had a fairly easy pregnancy.  No morning sickness, no dizziness, no throwing up, no cravings, no nothing! I was actually a little worried about that, because I didn't feel "pregnant."  But, week after week my babies grew inside me and I had no issues.  Except for being small, 35 years old and pregnant with twins, so considered high risk.  I had ultrasounds pretty much every other week.  I didn't complain because that reassured me I was not dreaming, I was really having twins!

On October 18, 2010 I had a doctor appointment.  The doctor said I looked good and even though I was having slight contractions (not just Braxton Hicks like I thought) I was not in labor and told me to try and hang in there a few more weeks.  He was hoping for at least 35 weeks, and I was just 32 weeks. 

Well, my babies had other plans.  I went to bed that night and woke up around 2:00 a.m. with contractions.  I monitored the contractions for an hour or so and the pain was getting worse.  I was trying to breath to calm myself when my husband woke up and the chaos began.  When I got up from the bed I realized the pain was strong and might actually be labor.  After speaking to the doctor, we rushed to the hospital.  When the doctor examined me she said I was in labor and we were having the babies "as soon as the operating room was ready."

About an hour later, at 5:10 a.m. and 5:13 a.m.  my babies arrived.  Natalia is the big sister, weighing just 2 lbs 14 oz and Sebastian 3 lbs 15 oz. They were small, but healthy babies.  I knew they were ok when they allowed me to take pictures with both babies before whisking them to the NICU.  I was so thankful it was all over and my babies were healthy.

I had no idea what having a preemie meant until I had them. They had to stay in the NICU for 3 weeks until they learned how to eat, swallow and breathe all at once.  Most preemies hold their breath while eating because they don't have the coordination skills it takes to do it all at once. 

Leaving the hospital without my babies was probably the saddest day of my life.  My heart literally hurt having to go home without them.  I always pictured the day I would take my babies home from the hospital, and this was not the picture I had in my mind.

Three weeks later Sebastian came home.  One day after, Natalia came home.  My husband and I had no idea what to do with them now that we were 100% responsible for them.  Somehow, we managed.  Sleepless night after sleepless night we fought through to stay awake during the day to give our babies all the love and care they needed.  Honestly, I was so excited to have them that sleep wasn't that big of an issue.  Some nights I actually looked forward to them waking up at 3:00 a.m. so I could spend some quiet time with them.  I learned to feed them at the same time, which kept them happy.  After about 5 months, both babies were sleeping through the night and mommy and daddy had the rest they needed.

Even though everything I just told you about takes a lot of energy, patience and love (among other things) I wouldn't change it for the world! Still to this day, I put my babies down for the night and as soon as I do, I feel empty without them.  I can't wait for morning time so I can play with them again.

I can't tell you about the joys of motherhood without telling you how thankful I am to have my wonderful mother.  I have always loved, respected and admired her, but I sincerely have a new found respect for her now that I have my own children.  She is an amazing woman and I owe everything I am to her.  I love you mom!

Being a mom is not an easy task, but it has been the best reward ever!

my mom and I

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

simple summer style

Summer is almost here! I love warm weather and enjoy dressing for it.  Once summer kicks in, it will be really hot and humid here in Charlotte, so I took advantage of this nice 70 degree day to wear a maxi skirt and layered tank.  Bright colors are all the talk this season, so I wore a neon yellow tank with a bright blue one under.

Don't be fooled by thinking you have to spend a lot of money to look fashionable.  I tend to mix inexpensive pieces with others that are a little pricier.  But not always.  The outfit you see in the following photos is from forever 21 and old navy.  The skirt, earrings, ring and bracelet are from forever 21, both tanks from old navy, sunglasses Marc by Marc Jacobs and the sandals are from the Jessica Simpson shoe line.

Use the hot weather as an excuse to braid your hair.  Braids are so in right now and are super easy to do.  Since messy braids are a total hit, you don't need to worry about your braid being perfect either. 

This outfit is childproof also! wardrobe malfunctions here!  All you moms out there know what I mean.  Hope you like it!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

ten years

Yesterday was our 10th wedding anniversary. It seems like it was just yesterday we met.  Some people find our story fascinating, so I will share it with you.

Sal and I met in Las Vegas. I was in Las Vegas for spring break with two other girls.  It was our first time in Las Vegas and we were super excited to be there.  We went to pool parties, fancy dinners, clubs, did some shopping, a little gambling and lots more! We were there five days and wanted to take advantage of our time there so we did as much as we could.  We went to bed very late and got up early.

One night, we went to a nightclub which was then called "Ra." We left Ra and were walking through the hotel lobby when we first locked eyes.  He was with a few other guys.  They immediately approached us.  I can't remember all the details because all I could see was Sal.  I don't know what it was, but I really liked him.  He tells me he felt the same way.  He was on the phone with his brother and told him "I think I just found my wife".  Our group joined and we all hung out together for a few hours.  While all our friends drank and partied, Sal and I drank water and had a very long conversation.  It was amazing.  It was then we named our son Sebastian.  We found out we both loved that name and really wanted to use it when we had a baby boy. Crazy coincidence!

Bad news was I only had one day left in Las Vegas.  He didn't hesitate to ask me to dinner that evening and, of course, I said yes.  That was our first date.  He also offered to drive us to the airport, which I also accepted.  He walked me all the way to the gate!  As we said goodbye, not knowing what the future held for us, he stared at me until i blushed and said "i want to remember this moment perfectly." Tears filled my eyes as I got on that flight.  My friends joked "you will be over him by the time we land in New York." To which I replied "I don't think so, this is different."

I was right. We dated long distance (he lived in Las Vegas, I lived in New York) for a year and 2 months.  It all happened very fast.  We met in March, he met my parents in April, I met his in May.  He asked my parents for my hand in July and proposed in December.  We got married 5 months later, in May 2002.  Our wedding was in Long Island, New York, with 200 of our closest friends and family joining us to celebrate.  A few days later I moved to Las Vegas, and a few days after that we departed for a week long honeymoon in Hawaii.

Our marriage has been great.  Like most marriages, we have had our share of ups and downs, happy times and sad ones, struggles and lots of kissing and making up. But most of all there has been mutual forgiveness.  Yesterday, lots of people congratulated us and then went on to tell us we should be proud because 10 years is unheard of these days.  It seems people get married for the wrong reasons and end up being part of the statistic we all want to avoid.  Yes, 10 years is a long time but, it is very far from the "til death due us part" we promise when we decide to get married.  It takes hard work from both sides to make it last that long.

If I could give a few words of advice, I would say communication is #1.  If you don't tell your partner what's bothering you, how will they know? Second, I think you should always have a solution available to the problem you are bringing up.  It is way easier to fix a problem if you can tell your partner how you would like it fixed.  This does not mean you are making all the rules.  Be open to your partner's suggestions and come to a mutual solution.  Don't just say "i hate that you take your clothes off and leave them on the floor" instead try, "next time you undress, can you please put your clothes here? That way I won't trip on them".  Hopefully that will work and avoid an argument.  Third, never go to sleep angry at each other.  Pillow talk is probably the best uninterrupted conversation you can have with your partner.

I'm not saying you will never argue or that my husband and I never argue, that is close to impossible.  I'm just saying these tips may help in a few unimportant situations that may cause unnecessary arguments and lots of stress to the relationship.

So now that I am done playing marriage counselor (LOL), here are a few pictures from our wedding day I would like to share with you...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

blankey anyone?

Everyone has a "security blanket". 

Some children find comfort in that one special item.  They love it so much they can't ever leave it behind! Usually, as soon as they realize they don't have it, they will let you know.   Children that are old enough may tell you nicely.  If you have a toddler, you might get crying, kicking or screaming, which usually works faster.  Once you make the object available to them, they are "all better."

Well, I think we all have that one thing.  Sure, adults may not call it a "blankey" or a "lovey" but, let's face it, we all have some item we keep close to us just for comfort.  The purpose of a "blankey" is really to support psychological comfort to a child.  But, if you think about it, that is also the purpose it would serve an adult.  Like I said, not a blankey, but maybe you have your grandmother's hair pin or your grandfather's watch, or an old picture of the one person you run to when you have a problem.  I would consider any of those items a comfort object.

In my opinion,  there's nothing wrong with carrying an item around if it makes you feel better.  I'm all in for that same feeling.  I have a religious prayer card in my wallet, which somehow makes me feel safe, even though I don't read it that often.  I probably should.  Anyway, back to my security blanket subject...

Sebastian got a plush duck from his aunt and uncle when he was a baby.  Natalia got the same one.  Sebastian is totally in love with this duck and has taken ownership of both.  Natalia doesn't seem to mind.

I wish adults could look this cute holding our comfort item...

meet "quack"

chillin with quack

watching tv

ready to eat

dinner for 2

car ride

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

arm candy

I rarely leave my house without arm candy.  No, I'm not talking about my'm talking about my bracelets.  I have been collecting bracelets of all kinds for years and love mixing them to create a unique look. I have purchased them everywhere from Soho NYC to Dominican Republic to Forever 21 to Bloomingdales. They all work wonderfully together!

Over the weekend I went to a baby shower lunch for a friend.  I wore a feather printed brown dress and paired it with wedges and, of course, a stack of bracelets.  I mixed lots of mint green, brown, pearl and rhinestone bracelets.  I also wore a ring with a giant mint green stone.  When I wear a busy print outfit and so much jewelry, I like to keep the earrings basic, so I wore a pair of diamond studs.

I would describe my style as comfy, boho chic and sometimes classic.  Basically this means I am able to run after my twins without having a waredrobe malfunction!

Let me know your thoughts. Hope you like it!