Thursday, June 6, 2013

Aaaaaand...we're back!

Faithful followers (if anyone still remains) - I decided today that my little blog has lain fallow far too long, and it's high time I share with you a few updates on dear, sweet Julian who is 18 months old if you can believe. 

I remain puzzled by how quickly the minutes, days, weeks and months have passed since having a child. Time seemingly sat still when I was younger - I'm sure most of you can attest. Now that we are older and life is more precious, time escapes us, robbing us like a thief. Some days I look at Julian and wonder where my little, squishy baby has gone. Seems like just yesterday Joe and I came home from the hospital, shrugged our shoulders with what to do with him first and prayed we wouldn't drop him. I look back at the first few weeks of his life and with a nostalgic smile, recall the sheer bliss of cradling my baby. As sleep-deprived, disoriented and bedraggled as we were, I do miss parts of those early days. To clarify, I don't miss the midnight feedings and getting three hours of sleep each night - no way. Today when I 'try' to cradle him, it looks ridiculous! I can barely hold him; he is too large to be cradled and is too busy trying to wriggle out of my hold (the escape artist that he is). I wish I could hit pause and slow life down... I really hope the next post I publish is before his 18th birthday.

So here we are with Julian: the 18-month old loving, charming, sweet and kind one whom we adore. You're walking, 'talking', learning to swim, 'reading', singing and continuing to enrich our lives in unimaginable ways. You make us better people.

Since the last time I posted, Julian started walking; received his first haircut; discovered basketball (he loves to score baskets - what a boy! Joe is so proud lol) and said goodbye to his pacifier early on without ever looking back. He weighs 26 pounds and stands tall at 33 inches; proudly boasts close to 11 teeth with incisors coming through; loves bath time and brushing his teeth (we even have a song: "Brush, brush, brush let's brush our teeth!"); plays the piano with Joe; understands words in English, Arabic and a few in French. He also met Mickey Mouse and was enchanted by Cinderella's castle; loves kale (but not quinoa); has made friends and broken a few hearts (lots of girls in music class to choose from); he is social and relishes being in the spotlight; he loves car rides to nowhere; jumps for joy when he sees 'maa' (mommies) and 'baaaa' (daddies); when asked, points to his ears, nose, feet and CEILING FANS (don't ask - he is mesmerized by them!) among other things. He loves to clap and play peek-a-boo and if you tell him "bye-bye" he immediately goes into his closet and picks up a pair of shoes (so practical that boy).  

Love you Julian.

Loves swinging at the park!

First haircut!

Discovering the pool for the first time. He was frightened at first but that quickly changed.
Loves the Adirondack chair at the doctor's office!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Julian the 10-Month Old!

Dear friends and family who dutifully follow our blog despite the infrequent posts these days:

Thanks for continuing to check back for updates and ask how Julian is doing. Life is - as you all can relate - C.R.A.Z.Y. I wish I had time to blog daily about Julian and what's happening in our world, but reality does not allow such luxuries. Plus you probably don't want daily updates on the mundane - just the significant highlights, so here we go... Grab a tissue, people, our little one is growing too quickly!

*First major highlight: Julian is STANDING! He started standing up at around nine months. I walked in to his nursery one afternoon after his nap, and there he was STANDING and gnawing on his crib rail. I ran to get my phone, and this is what I was able to capture. Tissue with you? Okay good. I had to edit the video; the original version was too long to upload.

*Our boy is also crawling! He was doing the army crawl (crawling on his belly) up until a few weeks ago; now he is a full-fledged crawler. We have baby-proofed our living room, which also doubles as his playroom (for now).

*He loves to eat. Eat what you ask? Just about anything although quinoa is pushing it. I just introduced yogurt to his breakfast routine, and so far so good! Here he is attempting to eat his bowl. Eat away honey, the bowl is BPA-free. Lol.

*At his nine-month appointment, our little one weighed 23 pounds, landing him in the 70th percentile for weight and 29 inches (82% percentile). 

Playing in my PJs!

*We've moved him out of his infant car seat and into a rear-facing convertible. Poor little guy was squished in his infant car seat, which technically should have lasted him until his 1st birthday but see percentiles above for explanation.

Big boy car seat

*On July 7th, we baptized our little prince at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Apopka. Godparents Annie Gennaro and Miguel Valecillos took part in the celebration, promising to watch over Julian.

*Julian and I went on our first ROAD TRIP to visit his nana (my mom). We also stopped in Miami for a quick day-visit to see titi CP and tio/padrino Miguel.

With grandma!

Titi and tio

Julian loves playing with tio Miguel!

With titi CP!

And now for the best part...Julian LAUGHING! He is such a happy baby. The silliest game or form of interaction sends him into a fit of giggles. Here are some heart-melting moments caught on camera:

Swim time = happy time!
"I got this, Mom, I got this!"
Fun with daddy!

At the park!

Self-portrait albeit a little dark

Until next time my faithful followers, which will likely be once Julian heads to college. Just kidding. I hope.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Julian's big-boy update!

Today, Julian is 6 months and 3 weeks...

*At his six-month check-up on May 30th, he weighed 20 lbs. (90% percentile) and is 27.5 inches long (85% percentile).

*He is quite the squirmy, wiggler having recently rolled over! He loves wiggling around on the activity mat and moving all over.

*He loves playing with bright-colored toys and deftly transfers objects easily from hand to hand.

*Definitely teething...Joe discovered his two bottom teeth are 'cutting through' - slowly but surely.

*He has also found his voice, he squeals and sings and screeches, leading you to believe you will never be able to hear again. I think I've lost partial hearing.

*We've been introducing new vegetables as much as we can. He has enjoyed the pureed-version of sweet potatoes, split peas, avocado and zucchini. Bananas make a daily appearance at breakfast time. 

*Baby Julian eats four times a day (7:30, 11:30, 3:30, 7:30) and is in bed by 8:00p.m. He sleeps until about 7:00 in the morning. We make sure he takes two two-hour naps each day (morning and afternoon).

*We also started taking him to My Gym in Lake Mary - a children's gym that encourages physical activity and social interactions. Babies truly seem to be enthralled by other babies; I love watching his reaction when he sees other babies.  

*He loves to laugh at anything and everything. It's heart-melting and is a sweet reminder that the littlest things in life are truly the greatest gifts.

Now for some pictures and videos!

Yep, pretty sure he's the most beautiful baby!


Sampling zucchini puree
Split pea puree

Still hungry and maybe a little bored

With daddy at the doctor's office
Mommy and me

Just before the vaccinations

Swinging at the gym

Discovering pom poms
The claw grab - love this photo

 Video from the gym

Flying in daddy's arms

More flying

The art of squealing

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Celebrating our six-month old! Wait, WHAT?

My how life has changed... it's been more than two months since my last blog post. Every day I tell myself, "I need to blog so I can keep everyone updated." But the actual desire is outweighed by the reality. There is no time to boast about Julian's latest development or broadcast to the world how smiley he is (unless you are on Facebook and then you get daily updates.) :-)

As of today he is 6 months old. Already half a year old and every day he develops new abilities and changes by the minute.

We were given the go-ahead at his four-month checkup to start him on solids. Like a true gourmand, he hated the blandness of rice cereal and oatmeal but was more inclined to savor the taste of bananas and sweet potatoes. Joe bought me a Beaba baby food maker for Christmas, which I will be trying out this week.

Julian's also started teething. He's been teething for a while now - all the indications are there: excessive drooling, chewing and sucking on anything and everything from our hands to his burp cloth. If it's within his reach, it's in his mouth.

Also at his four-month checkup, he weighed 17.1 pounds and 26.25 inches and was still within the 90th percentile for height and weight. Big boy! By now, I'm sure he's at least 20 pounds (if not more) and probably 27 inches (if not more). Pretty soon we'll have to move him into a larger car seat, but I'm hoping I can prolong that transition (highly unlikely).

We also have a singer on our hands. Julian seems to be finding his voice, squealing, screaming, singing and wailing all day, every day. It's the cutest sound but we recently realized his intermittent coughing is probably caused by all that screeching. His poor esophagus is most likely scratched!

Enjoy some pics until the next update, which hopefully will be before he starts college... :-/ No, seriously, it should be next week after his SIX-month check-up.


Too cool for you

Tummy time and discovery

Dinner time!

A picture of the video monitor...what a guy all sprawled out

Ready for bed!

Sitting up almost unassisted...almost

Future musician

Camera is more interesting than Facebook

Cackling like his father...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Funny Bunnies!

It's Saturday night; baby is asleep and Joe and I are watching T.V., enjoying a respite for the night from feedings, diapers and baby talk... Life has certainly changed for us and my hiatus from blogging obviously reflects the inherent change.

Where shall I begin? As of today, Julian is 15 weeks old! Exciting and sad at the very same time. He continues to amaze us everyday with new coos, sounds, smiles, expressive looks, giggles, stronger movements - and most impressively, how much joy and love he brings into our lives. Hard to believe just a few months ago, I was typing about the latest kick I would feel in my stomach or how many pounds I had gained to date in my pregnancy. Now our days are filled with sobering amazement at this little life we created while also injecting a bit of daily levity with baby talk a la Mireille and Joe. We laugh at these made-up words that mean absolutely nothing but still make us laugh. And make Julian laugh! We basically add an '-s' to most things and talk with a lisp. I know - total NONSENSE - but it's so freaking cute. We say, "Funny bunnies! Is your name Funny Bunnies Gennaro?!?!?" Try it - with a lisp lol. It's cute. Then we say, "Julian, go to sleepS." Note the '-s'. Or I say, "I loves you" or sometimes I modify it and say it with a speech impediment so it sounds like, "I wuvs you." Lol. Then there's 'burpies, sleepies, stinkies...' It goes on and on and oh how I cherish this secret dialogue we have. One day we'll have to start speaking to him properly so he doesn't start school with non-standard words and incorrect subject-verb agreement! No son of mine will have poor grammar, okays?

And while our vocabulary of baby talk continues to flourish, so is Julian! He is a growing boy, and I mean GROWING! It's no wonder I had a big belly - he's a big boy. (This would explain why I ate the volumes of food I did.) He weighs ~15.5 pounds (estimate). At his last appointment on 2/8/12, he weighed 14.4 pounds (so not even three months old at the time!) He is also in the 90th percentile for height and 85th percentile for weight. I have completely retired his newborn to 3 months clothes as he is now wearing 6 months (and in some brands, 9 months clothing!) His next appointment is on 3/26 and that will be his four-month wellness check-up. He'll get another round of vaccinations at that point. He was diagnosed at his last appointment with acid reflux. It's been an ordeal, managing constant spit-up and we did have an isolated incident that involved a little blood in his regurgitation, but thankfully, all is under control. And with a little help from baby-safe Zantac and a switch to Enfamil A.R. (designed specifically to combat spit-up), we are happily seeing some relief.

Another major transition was my return to work on 2/20. I took a total of 13 weeks maternity leave, and I cannot believe how quickly the time flew. I enjoyed every minute with Julian and was sad beyond belief as my leave waned. The first day back at work was emotional, but I kept it together. I dropped Julian off that morning at my mother-in-law's and gave Julian a big kiss. I got teary-eyed as I said my first of many daily goodbyes. He smiled at me, and I made sure I left before it became too difficult to part. When I got to work, I was greeted by smiling faces and dear friends, both of which were a welcomed diversion. Jessica surprised me with a 'welcome back' package filled with chocolate, tissues, water and a sweet card (thanks Jess - you're a sweet girl.) The day seemed to go by quickly, as I spent most of my time catching up on email and socializing with the crew whom I hadn't seen in a long time. To date, I've officially completed two weeks at work, and I must say, juggling both worlds is tough. I wake up every morning at 6:30 (gulp - if you know me pretty well, you know I am NOT a morning person and I rarely woke up before 7:30 pre-Julian, so this is a marked surprise). I feed the baby, change him, and get him ready so Joe can take him to the in-laws. Then I rush to get ready and make it to work *on time*. When we get home, we whip up a quick meal or rely on simple dinners to get us by, clean up, bathe Julian, feed him, read him some bedtime stories, and say good night. We have maybe an hour or so of TV/computer/relaxation time before it's time for bed so we can do it all over again the next day. Julian just moved into the next stage of nighttime sleep, so he is sleeping 10 hours at night. This is a welcomed transition as it will provide us with additional downtime before we go to 'sleepS' ourselves (see, it's addictive.) I must say, putting him on a schedule was by and large, one of the best pieces of advice I received while preparing for his arrival. I truly believe it was instrumental to achieving restful nights of sleep for him and us. More on that in another post.

Now on to some fun images and video to share! 

Here's a first for my blog: VIDEO! This is the makings of a mama's boy...

At the doctor getting checked and still managing to pose!

"Seriously Mom, let me sleepS!"

My beautiful baby boy!

Well, hello...

He loves his Baby Bjorn bouncer! Look at those long, lean legs!

"Mommy and me" time

You guessed it...His first Valentine's Day!

You sure are, honey! Already I know no one will be
good enough!

He loves to smile!

Time to say goodnightS before tomorrow's day of feedings, play time, naps, diapers and chats with funny bunnies starts all over again... I promise to write more frequently. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Two Months Later...

I can't believe it. 

It's been two months since our little prince arrived. Needless to say, Joe and I have been busy adjusting to parenthood and preoccupied with three-hour feedings, diaper changes, nap time, play time, bed time, storybook time, bath time, crying time and the rest of the blessed accompaniments that come with such a role. This would explain my long absence from the blogosphere. Although I think about blogging every day and sharing the minute-by-minute details of our lives, it does get a little challenging when you're sleep deprived and haven't showered all day. Invariably, blogging, at this point, is put on hold (even if you have an idea for a very witty blog post and can't wait to talk about your little one.)

So after a good night's sleep and a nice long shower, I thought I would provide my faithful followers a brief recap of what's been happening these last two months and our blissful lives with Julian...

*He turned 8 weeks this weekend (January 21st)!!! Already he has grown so much. Aside from no longer being considered a newborn, he has also started to SMILE. It's quite possibly the sweetest thing to witness. He is also very alert. He seems to be the curious type, gazing at inanimate objects and looking at us intently as we engage in endless baby talk with him. I'm sure every proud parent is just that - proud and happy to boast of their child's development. :-) Who can blame us?

*I won't venture to guess his weight. His two-month check-up is this week and we'll find out his weight and height. As of his one-month check-up in December, he was already 11 pounds and had grown an inch and half since birth. I will share his 'vitals' after our appointment. 

*He is sleeping in his crib in his own room. When we came home from the hospital, we had him sleeping in a bassinet in our room. This way we could keep an eye on him and watch over him as he slept (I can't tell you how many times I would check if he was breathing. Truth be told, I still do that.) Not to mention, his proximity made late-night diaper changes and feedings easier. At six weeks, he had already outgrown the bassinet, so we had no choice but to move him into his crib. At that point (expectant and new moms pay attention to this trick!), we adopted the 'double swaddle' technique (suggested to me by a friend on Facebook) and made the Sleep Sheep his new crib-mate. The Sleep Sheep plays different soothing and 'sleep-promoting' music similar to a sleep machine. Since babies are used to many noises in utero, complete silence can be unsettling and may make it harder for them to fall asleep. Both techniques help Julian sleep better - during naps and at night. I still check on his breathing via my handy video monitor courtesy of my good friend Jade. I can't tell you how many times during the day and of course at night I look at the screen to make sure he is breathing! <--- Call me paranoid and maybe crazy, I know. 

*Probably the most remarkable development is that he is sleeping EIGHT HOURS AT NIGHT. Yes, EIGHT HOURS. I credit this commonly elusive feat to the techniques and principles of Babywise. Most people (our families included) think we're crazy for 'imposing' a feeding and sleeping schedule on our baby, but no one else but us has to endure late-night feedings (as in 4am feedings). The cornerstone of the Babywise technique is to promote a full night's sleep through parent-directed feedings and naps. I know it sounds harsh, but it does work and having a routine with an infant is exceedingly helpful. Plus, if this approach encourages a full night's sleep, I'm all for it. Sign me up - twice. This monumental achievement just happened recently at exactly 8 weeks. Wow!

*He has already outgrown '3 months' clothing. We have started dressing him in '6 months' clothes. It's a good thing I had stocked up on clothing in this size because he quickly moved right into this range. It's incredible how quickly he has grown! See for yourselves...

Look at those eyes!

Look at that sweet face!

Such a happy baby!!!

I think he looks very Middle Eastern in this picture...

Ready for his first trip to Target lol!

Fencer's pose (almost)!


And there's me... Every week for the last 25 weeks of my pregnancy, I posted a picture of my growing belly. I'm happy to say my belly (for the most part) is gone. I still have a little pooch but I'm working on it. I'm trying to do a new workout routine called "Brazilian Butt Lift". More on that in the next post!