My Very First Mother's Day

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Feliz Dia De Los Madres to all the Mamas out there!

This year marks my very first Mother's Day. I received this sweet card from my Grandma in the mail yesterday and it not only melted my heart, but made it feel real. Yes, I realize I'm a Mama now, but the fact that Mother's Day includes me now feels kind of unreal!

You see, I always wanted to be a Mom.

I never wanted to get married, but I always wanted to be a Mom. As a little girl I didn't dream of big wedding dresses or play "wedding" with my dolls - although I think my Barbie did have a wedding dress, but it was more of a fashion study than anything...anyhow I digress. I did however hold my baby dolls and stuffed animals as if they were my infants and dreamed of having a child someday, which I attribute to the closeness between my mother and I.

My parents marriage was far from ideal and all I ever thought growing up was - Why trouble yourself with the whole marriage thing when you can just have a baby of your own? As I hit my late 20's I didn't stress about meeting someone to get settle down with, I worried that I was getting older, thus the chances of having a baby was getting slimmer by the moment.

Meeting my husband in 2009 was completely unexpected. Our first official date was at a wedding. He likes to remind me that he told me at this wedding that he was going to marry me someday and that I rolled my eyes and explained to him that marriage wasn't something that I was interested in. He just smiled and nodded.

Okay - so he was right...there, I said it! :)

The thing is - when you love someone so deeply and with all of your being you come to realize that the values that are important to them become just as important to you. I remember as we were reading our vows to each other in San Francisco City Hall, knowing that this was the best decision I had ever made - the best thing I had ever said, "Yes" to.  All the years I had said, "Marriage is just a piece of paper that ruins happy relationships," what I really was saying was, "Happy relationships never last and special people always leave or disappoint me, so why bother?"

So this grinch's black heart grew when we got married that day in 2011. It was a closeness, trust and unconditional love like I had never known.

Then my heart exploded when my son was born 3 months ago. It was a feeling of strength, a new-found respect for myself and what my body was capable of as a woman and a deep feeling that I had been born to protect this little human.

I think that's what being a mom is about. Yes, it's about giving birth to a child, but I've come to realize that becoming a mom has been a life long journey and I've just arrived. It is not what I dreamed it would be. It is a million times better. It is about realizing you know nothing. It is about me, it's about my husband, it's about Chico and it's about who we all are now that we are "one" as a family.

So "Happy Mother's Day" to you Adam and you too Chico - because I am the Mama I always wanted to be because of you both. I love you guys.

xx.

Emily/Mama

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Vol. IV: Education

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Learning.

Playing.

Talking.

Laughing.

Discipline.

Rules.

Games.

Friends.

Bullies.

Trips.

Books.

Music.

Art.

Dance.

School.

Education.

Growing up I moved ten times before I was 14 years old. This means I attended almost ten different schools before I entered high school. I have been a student at private schools, Montessori schools, Catholic schools, Quaker schools, public schools, year-round schools and even home schooled. I am also the daughter of educators. My father taught high school students who were second language learners. My mother was in early childhood education for years and continues to teach elementary school today. My grandfather was a photography professor at the University of Southern California and several other family members have been early childhood educators my entire life as well.

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To say education was a huge part of my life would be an understatement. I’ve always excelled academically. I was at an 8th grade reading level at age 7. I was an honors student in high school and received early acceptance to Loyola Marymount University where I later graduated with a BA in Chicana/o Studies and Studio Arts (photography).. I earned my masters degree from Pacific Oaks College in Marriage & Family Therapy with a specialization in Latina/o Families. I am so proud of these accomplishments. My schooling is a huge part of who I am as a woman of color, a mother and honestly just a human being in this world.

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Is education everything? Of course not. Is it bad? Is it good? Nothing is that black and white unfortunately. But I was given the opportunity to experience formal education and informal education and plan to make that choice for my son until he is old enough to do so.

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My father came to this country from Mexico and was put straight into Catholic school. The nuns were cruel and practiced corporal punishment often - especially when it came to my father and his brother - who broke the rules by speaking Spanish; although it was the only way they knew how to communicate. I can’t help but think that this shaped his choice to get a degree from Cal State Los Angeles during the Chicano Movement of the 1960's and become an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. This enabled him to help young people who found themselves in this country not knowing the language just as he hadn't. He may not have been the best father to me, but his students loved him and he was able to show them a kindness and compassion that he wasn’t able to show me at home. There is not much that he and I ever spoke of, but whenever I received a report card with good grades I could see the pride on his face.

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My drive, although partially affected by my need for my father’s approval, was really something that came from within me. I have always had a fire for learning and school is something that kept that fire burning. I always wanted to be the best and school was a place where I could be the best (or one of the best) and thank god for that - because growing up in my home was really fucking hard. School was a place that I looked forward to going to so that I could forget about my life and focus on reading (my first love), music (I was a flutist and total band geek), and later in college other passions like ballet, photography and community organizing.

I was also told that earning a higher education represented my freedom. Freedom from a man or unhappy marriage as shown to me by my mother, who was in school my entire childhood  while simultaneously raising me and working full time. Freedom from a system that isn’t tolerant or accepting of people of color or people outside the norm. I understood my privilege as an American (first generation) and the access to education that I had and what it would mean to turn my back on it.

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And so I went - straight out of high school to go to a private university. Completely oblivious as to what student loans really meant after school was over. Blindly thinking that I would pay these loans off as soon as I graduated and got a job. Two years in I dropped out. The financial burden was too great for me on my own and despite working two jobs and going to school full time - taking the bus all over the greater Los Angeles area to get to said jobs I was done. I was exhausted and felt like despite trying so hard, maybe school was only for the privileged. So I worked. And I was in a string of dysfunctional relationships. And I moved to different cities. And that life was just as exhausting and unfulfilling and I knew I had to go back. And so I went and finished my education with a new flourish and passion of someone who truly appreciated the cost, the commitment and the power of what a higher education could help me attain. I didn’t skip classes (I knew how much each class was costing me - and I believe at that time I figured it was over $100 per hour), I focused, I didn’t fuck around and it felt amazing.

So when I think of my “college experience,” sure it involves dorm life, navigating the world on my own, eating pizza and drinking beer but more so it is my journey of being young and naive, the devastation of thinking I was giving up and then growing up and taking life by the balls and getting my shit together. Did I get a job right after and pay off those loans. No. I am currently drowning in the financial debt of attending two private schools for my higher education. I may go to the grave with that debt.

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Will that stop me from encouraging my son to seek a higher education? Hell no! But I will show him how to do it in a smarter way - either community college for 2 years or a public college for undergraduate at least. Who knows - he maybe he’ll be a brainiac or amazing athlete and get a scholarship. Maybe he’ll be into the arts or music and go that route - point being there is a route for everyone. Every child is different. I don’t know yet what environment my son will thrive in. But once he shows me then I will put him where he will thrive. If he is an artist like his Papa then you better believe we’ll encourage him to attend the LA High School for the Arts (public). If he’s an academic I will find an amazing all-boys private school that focuses on whatever area is his passion. Depending on how much structure he needs that could also be found at a public school. But to say I know today what path I will guide him would be foolish.

Education means a lot of things but mostly it means school and formally being taught mixed with life in general. My job as a mom is to deal with the life part and to find a school I trust to do the formal teaching. I do not want to be both things for my son. He needs to learn from other people that aren’t his mother and father. We will be busy teaching him EVERYTHING else: Social skills like how to treat people and be a good person, helping him to form his view of the world.  Political, social and gender issues - in general how to be a worldly young man who is informed and who has an opinion on these things. We will explore, travel and have fun - because this is also how you learn and what makes up the character of a person.

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Traditional education is full of rules, tests, expectations, standards and discipline. But guess what? So is life. If I want my son to succeed in the world he needs to feel pressure and know the goodness that comes from it. I refuse to have him live his life in a bubble where he never knows stress. Stress shouldn’t be seen as negative or hurtful (more on that here from the amazing Kelly McGonigal - watch it - it could literally change your life- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU).

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If I sound like a bit of a tiger mom maybe I am, but in reality I’m more like if a hippy, commune-living dad and a tiger mom had a baby. I was raised by hippies who were babywearers & homebirthers when that stuff was still taboo. My mom made my baby food and used cloth diapers just because she's a bad ass, thus her "badassery" rubbed off on me. My mom did the most amazing activities with me - art projects, baking, learning to sew, gardening, playing Swan Lake and Kraftwork records so I could dance to different types of music. These are the awesome things I was taught at home. And then come Monday my mom sent me to school to allow others to teach me English, music, math and science. Just as I was sent to a ballet company 3x a week to learn how to dance.

It may sound like I’m being facetious but I’m not - I say this only to illiterate my point that you cannot be everyone to your child. It’s not all or nothing. As a parent there are teachable moments in everything you say and do with your babies. Even when your child has a teacher you don’t agree with or another child who is teasing yours - THIS is a teachable moment. How will you prepare your son or daughter to deal with and move through such issues if you don’t allow them to experience them?

With all the schools, teachers and children I experienced in my life I had great experiences and terrible ones. My parents taught me how to deal with children who teased me and called me a “wetback” when I came home in first grade asking what that meant. They also showed me how adults handle things like this by going to the school and talking to administrators. Will my heart break if my son ever comes home and asks me a question like this? Of course - and I hope I never have to deal with something like this, but the reality is that if its not that then someone will tease him because of the way his father and I look, or because of the clothes he wears or the shoes he likes or the way he’s chosen to comb his hair that day. Trust me - it will be something.

But with our support my son’s going to be okay. Actually not just okay, he’s going to be great. Because the person he will become is so much more than what school he goes to - who he is - his spirit and heart will be one formed by the education he receives from me, his father, extended family, his Godparents, friends and the teachers we trust to teach him from 8-3 pm every day.

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This post is a part of the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Volume IV: Everything Shines. I am wearing Chico in the Essential Silk Baby Sling in Midnight & Sandstone.

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Musings of a Mama on a Bad Week...

I feel compelled to sit here and write because for the first time in a long time - I am alone. Adam has taken Chico out of the house so that I can just "be." I have been feeling a little...well... I hate to say it, but kind of "down" about my capabilities as a mom and what my life is like on a day to day basis. I swear I won't spend this whole blog post justifying my feelings because I have more days where I DON'T feel this way - but this mom gig is tough and sometimes I feel like my soul is drowning in all things baby.

My job is to take care of my son. My day revolves around my son. My conversations revolve around my son or baby related things. Something I read about babies - a new sleep technique, a new product, etc.

"Should we go somewhere today?" I will think out loud.  "Oh wait - you're teething and crabby, okay well we'll stay home all day then."

"Oh, you seem like you're in a great mood - let's get out of the house!" Leave the house, kid's asleep in the car - now I sit in silence waiting for baby to wake up. Plans foiled.

If I had to give myself a performance review for the last few days I would fire myself. I have been short tempered, lacked patience, haven't been able to get Chico to take naps despite my best efforts (that can go on for hours...) and on top of it I feel incredibly guilty for being - short tempted, lacking patience, etc.

Sigh.

After not being able to put Chico down for a nap yesterday I came out of the bedroom enraged.

"Take him! He won't sleep, I don't know what's wrong with him, if I'm doing something wrong - I feel like a bad mother!"

Adam reacted in a way that I heard as uber annoyed - "Oh come on - you know you're not a bad mom!"

Then I cried because I felt invalidated - "But I FEEL like a bad mom!"

We got over it. But I know something has got to change for me. I want to be home with Chico, but I need to be a human that isn't always consumed with a baby and being a mom. I wish I had things more figured out a year in and I also wish I could say every day is a walk in the park but some days are just so, so hard.

#realtalk

 

Size Medium?! You're joking!!

20131115-134330.jpg I post this very "un-Emily" picture (I am not one to show the world my bod) for a few reasons:

1) I am wearing a pair of Medium yoga pants. Pre-pregnancy I had always been a Large. As a tall girl who was never stick skinny past the age of 14, I just figured Large was gonna be my "forever size." Guess not!

2) In my journey to lose weight and get fit I have not worked out ONCE yet I'm seeing tone and definition like I never had before (and I was a ballerina my whole life who also did sports in high school)!  Remember, this is AFTER gaining 50-ish lbs during my pregnancy!!!

Ladies I want you to know that it is possible to get your body back after pregnancy. It is also completely possible to have an even BETTER body afterward too! All of this without killing yourself at the gym - because you have time for that right moms?! Haha...keep striving for health everyone! It's SO worth it!!

xx,

Emily

Get Fit With Flores

 

Getting "It" Back After Baby!

Before & After Front Let me just preface this post by saying that I NEVER (like EVER) planned on showing these pictures to ANYONE besides my husband and my health coach when I first started this journey to health. I was incredibly ashamed of how I looked postpartum and what seemed like my inability to shed my baby weight.

But here I am - about three months since I started the program and I am proud to share my results with you.

Why? Because I hope to inspire other people - especially moms - to have the body and lifestyle that they really want. Sure - you need to be happy with yourself on the inside first, but the way I looked on the outside was beginning to make me feel pretty crappy on the inside and I knew something had to change. Too many times as mothers we are given the message that it is selfish and petty for us to focus on ourselves and/or physical imperfections brought on by pregnancy. When I looked unhappily at myself in the mirror I felt guilty for feeling the way I did - if I shared this feeling out loud would I sound ungrateful for the amazing little person I had just given birth to?

I remember being concerned about my weight gain and monitoring it during my pregnancy. My doctor told me I should gain 35 lbs. I believe by the end I was closer to 45-50 lbs gained and I worried. So many mothers told me not to feel this way and filled my head with the belief that my pre-pregnancy body would be just around the corner.

"It will fall right off since your breastfeeding!"

"You will be too busy to eat 3 meals a day, so you will loose your weight that way!"

"Oh just take the baby on lots of walks and that will take care of the extra pounds!"

"You lose 30 lbs by the time you leave the hospital."

Um, yeah not exactly. I remember weighing myself after I came home from the hospital and I was only 15 lbs lighter. And my baby Chico was only 8 lbs!!! I was devastated. I was barely under 200 lbs.

Those women had lied to me! I breastfed Chico around the clock (as anyone with a newborn knows!) and didn't find that I was losing anything. In fact - breastfeeding made me sooo hungry! It was like I was famished at all hours of the day! I was NEVER too busy to eat (and my awesome husband always made sure I had food) and I walked that baby all over my neighborhood daily. I lost some, but I was far from fitting into my old clothes...

before and after side

I wasn't sure what to do. I broke down and bought clothing in bigger sizes so I didn't have to wear yoga pants and maternity tops every day. I tried to tell myself maybe I could get used to my new body - after all - shouldn't I just be happy that I have a healthy and happy baby?

One night I stumbled upon an old friend on Instagram. He was a health coach now and his feed was filled with tons of before & after photos not only of himself and his wife, but tons of other people who he was working with. I remember excitedly showing my husband and pointing out that these people were NOT exercising to achieve these results - but simply changing their eating habits.

The long and skinny of it (get it? skinny of it?) is that my husband and I began the program. My program was especially designed for nursing mothers and Adam had his own program. Three months later and we are still going strong!

I have lost 25 lbs and 20 inches.

Adam has lost over 40 lbs.

We are so happy not only with the results, but how it has changed how we see food and health - and in turn how this has changed our family. We want our son to grow up  to have a healthy attitude about eating and to enjoy good, healthy food.

before and after back

There are three aspects about this program that make it work:

1) It is a Medically Based Eating Plan to Balance Blood Sugars. This is based on balancing blood sugars - not calorie counting or points. It will teach you to eat 6 small meals a day and you’ll get into a fat burning state which basically eliminates cravings and produces high energy. It’s amazing how you feel!  This eating plan is SIMPLE!

2) Long-term Curriculum to Teach You Habits for Success. This is a program that really helps to get our head in the game and transform from the inside out. I think we all know people who have lost weight and gained it back... this is a system that will help you deal with the triggers, behaviors, emotions that will really determine long term success. That’s why we don’t even call this a diet. This is a program that will make sure you don’t ever gain your weight back!

3) Free Personal Health Coach to Guide Your Journey! We all need the human element to help execute change. How did you learn to ride a bike? Did you just read a book and then hop on and start riding? You had someone running along side you, right?  We don’t transform by reading or learning alone... we need accountability, support and interaction.

Because I am so excited about this program and how it changed our lives in such a short amount of time I decided to become a Health Coach myself! This program is so easy and "do-able." I want other people (especially mamas) to know the feeling of getting "it" back - whatever "it" is for them - this could be getting your self-confidence back, your "sexy" back, use of your full wardrobe again, your health, your energy - YOU NAME IT!

If you're interested in getting fit yourself - check out our site HERE!

Here's to Health!

 

Saturday Afternoon Adventures

20130818-002159.jpgSaturdays are Adam's Fridays, so when he gets home on Saturday afternoons we usually try to do something fun and get out of the house. I thought today might be a wash because Chico has been suffering from a case of serious teething that has been going on for over a month now. He was crying all day and it seemed like I couldn't do anything to make him feel better. Luckily Adam suggested we go somewhere to distract Chico and it ended up being a really good idea. 20130818-003729.jpgFirst we hit up Cielito Lindo for some taquitos at Olvera Street. It's our favorite spot to eat there - hits the spot sometimes like nothing else will.

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20130818-003741.jpgPoor Chico. You can tell he doesn't feel great, but this was a vast improvement from how he was at home all day. He loves being outside and has always been a "people watcher," since infancy.

20130818-002250.jpgNext we went to Little Tokyo to walk around and shop. I forgot it was Nisei Week so it was really crowded with interesting characters, vendors and music. Several different people stopped us to ask about our Sakura Bloom sling and to tell us how happy Chico looked in it. We always get a lot of attention wherever we go with Chico in his sling.

20130818-002237.jpgChecking out the paper lanterns hanging up in the marketplace. Chico is fascinated by balloons and I think he thought he'd discovered a new breed of balloons made out of paper!

20130818-002302.jpgYummy coffee was had at Cafe Dulce. They sell Stumptown Coffee there so we bought a bag. Can't wait to have some in the morning! It was a fun afternoon. I love my little family. We always have the best time enjoying the little things in life.

Happy 4 Months Baby Bear!

8975868448_f5d0a960cc_b Dearest Baby Bear -

This whole Mama thing gets more and more fun by the day - and you are the reason why! You have developed into such a delight to be around! No longer do you cry for what seems to be no reason at all - you give a cry if you are hungry, tired, need a change or perhaps a burp, but other than that you are smiling, laughing, exploring your environment (best you can without much movement) and sleeping like a champ! When I say sleeping like a champ I mean that you now sometimes sleep longer than 4 hours at a time in the night - and this, my little bear is good not only for you, but for me too!

When I think back to the past month a few things stick out to me - one would be your new-found language skills and the other would be your interest and wonderful attention span when it comes to books and reading!

Every day you and I spend a lot of time "talking" to each other. It looks a little like this - I will say something or ask you a question and then you respond back with babbles that are in the same tone as what I said to you. It's so amazing that you are already developing such clear leaps in language as such a little person!

You and I read books every single day! You have some favorites - "Ten Little Fingers & Ten Little Toes," "Where is the Green Sheep?" and "Chomp Zoo," are just some of your favorites. Here's a little video of me reading Green Sheep to you.

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Can you hear how you are almost reading along with me? I know I'm your Mama, but I can't help but think you are a super smarty pants! I'm so happy that you enjoy reading because reading and books were my first love. I was read to by your Grandma Sue all the time which developed into my passion for reading and especially writing! I love being able to share this love with you already! You have no idea how happy this makes me.

This month you did some fun stuff and met some important people.

First person you met this month was your Tia Mimis. She is your Mama's cousin and best friend. She has been waiting to meet you for a long, long time. Probably even before you were born. When she met you, she held you and tears came to her eyes. You seemed so peaceful in her arms and during the time she stayed with us you and her cuddled and bonded. You laughed and cooed in her arms and it was so awesome to see. Her brother and my cousin Pepito (Tio Jose) also stopped by to meet you and he fell in love. We attended your cousin Isabella's 3rd Birthday Party and you got to meet her, Talan and Aurora! They all took turns holding you, giving you kisses and hugging you. It was awesome. I helped you to hit your first pinata too! You are officially Mexican now Little Bear!

We went on a nice relaxing family trip to Cayucos and Morro Bay (see your onsie) and stayed with Aunt Chic. It was her first time meeting you and she fell in love! She even held you with the assistance of the Boppy Pillow which is huge because she usually doesn't hold babies due to her arthritis. We just hung out, ate good food and did some antique shopping. I held you in your carrier through the shops and you were so good! Who knew a 3.5 month old would be so alert yet quiet while antiquing? It was also your first time at the beach! We didn't take you directly to the sand because it was kind of chilly, so instead we walked out onto the pier in Cayucos. You were not happy about this! It was incredibly windy and you started growling something fierce! As we walked further down the pier your growls got louder and it because abundantly clear that you were NOT into this little walk! So we snapped a quick photo and hightailed it back to land! Sorry booboo, guess you hate gusty wind!

We also went up to Carpenteria for your Nino John and Nina Gaelyn's baby shower! Your soon-to-be pal, Oliver (or Ollie as we are already calling him) is going to be born next month!! We are so happy for your Ninos and for you too, because something tells us that you two babes might have a lot in common (aside from awesome parents!).

8975949596_e744a13974_bYour eyes are still a beautiful grey color, but in the sunlight we are starting to see flecks of brown. 8975939444_ed39aedec6_bHard to see here, but you are holding onto your favorite toy - a plastic ball with space for small fingers to grip. You also love to bring it to your mouth and stick your tongue through the holes!8974733243_f4f5969090_b

Fly Little Hummingbird, Fly!

xx.

Mama

Newsflash - Baby's Sleep Increases!

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This is the face of a well-rested little lad who slept for a 7 HOUR 9 MINUTE chunk of time last night! Now if only Mama had slept that whole time we might be on to something! I put him down and then cleaned and organized the house for 3.5 hours before realizing I should probably sleep too. It's just so rare to have moments like this to complete tasks that I kind of go crazy.
I went through all of his clothes and took out all the clothes that don't fit anymore. It breaks my heart that he hasn't worn all of it, although I have done a really good job of making sure he wears most everything at least once. I feel so wasteful, but I just remind myself that we will be set for baby #2 someday so it's not a total loss.
We are going on a mini little getaway this weekend for Adam's birthday so I also packed for the baby. It was difficult because we are going to the Central Coast where the temperature can change 10-15 degrees in 30 minutes! I think I did pretty well without over-doing it.
xx.

Porch Living.

via Instagram http://instagram.com/p/ZhLyaJIcVH/
We spent the early evening on the porch as a family - watering the lawn, reading to Chico, trying new holds in the Ergo and watching YouTube videos of Cheeks from his birth and first few weeks of life. I really am living the dream. I am so unbelievably grateful for the life that we are living. I can't wait for summer nights spent as a family on the front porch, which is saying a lot because if you know me, you know that I hate summer.
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We have plans to up our porch game with some new furniture.  Martha Stewart's line of products for Home Depot is really off the chain. The first few weeks Chico was born we used to walk to Home Depot and just sit in the different patio furniture. It was our way of feeling like we were getting out of the house but still relaxing. :)
I can't wait to lounge in these!!
love seat seat
Here's to summer nights!
Check out this silly little video I took of my two favorite people. It was supposed to capture a loving moment between Papa and Son, but Chico decided to surprise Adam...
xx.

My Very First Mother's Day!

20130510-104319.jpg Feliz Dia De Los Madres to all the Mamas out there!

This year marks my very first Mother's Day. I received this sweet card from my Grandma in the mail yesterday and it not only melted my heart, but made it feel real. Yes, I realize I'm a Mama now, but the fact that Mother's Day includes me now feels kind of unreal!

You see, I always wanted to be a Mom.

I never wanted to get married, but I always wanted to be a Mom. As a little girl I didn't dream of big wedding dresses or play "wedding" with my dolls - although I think my Barbie did have a wedding dress, but it was more of a fashion study than anything...anyhow I digress. I did however hold my baby dolls and stuffed animals as if they were my infants and dreamed of having a child someday, which I attribute to the closeness between my mother and I.

My parents marriage was far from ideal and all I ever thought growing up was - "Why trouble yourself with the whole marriage thing when you can just have a baby on your own?" As I hit my late 20's I didn't stress about meeting someone to get settled down with, I worried that I was getting older, thus the chances of having a baby was getting slimmer by the moment.

Meeting my husband in 2009 was completely unexpected. Our first official date was at a wedding. He likes to remind me that he told me at this wedding that he was going to marry me someday. I like to remind him that I rolled my eyes and said to him that marriage wasn't something that I was interested in. We both remember him smiling and nodding.

Okay - so he was right...there, I said it! :)

The thing is this - When you love someone so deeply and with all of your being -  you come to realize that the values that are important to them have become equally as important to you. I remember as we read our vows to each other in San Francisco City Hall, I knew that I was making  the best decision of my life - that this was  the best thing I had ever said, "Yes" to.  All the years I had said, "Marriage is just a piece of paper that ruins happy relationships," what I really was saying was, "Happy relationships never last and special people always leave or disappoint me, so why bother?"us

me

So this grinch's black heart grew when we got married that day in 2011. It was a closeness, trust and unconditional love like I had never known.

Then my heart exploded when my son was born 3 months ago. It was a feeling of strength, a new-found respect for myself and what my body was capable of as a woman and a deep feeling that I had been born to protect this little human.

I think that's what being a mom is about. Yes, it's about giving birth to a child, but I've come to realize that becoming a mom has been a life long journey and I've just arrived. It is not what I dreamed it would be. It is a million times better. It is about realizing you know nothing. It is about me, it's about my husband, it's about Chico and it's about who we all are now that we are "one" as a family.

So "Happy Mother's Day" to you Adam and you too Chico - because I am the Mama I always wanted to be because of you both. I love you guys.

xx.

Emily/Mama

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You are 3 Months Baby Bear!

3mo Dearest Baby Bear,

3 months? Feels more like 3 years! No, no - not in a bad way Baby Bear - we just have done so much and you have grown so much, that it's hard to believe you can learn and change so much in just one months time!

During the past month you have learned all sorts of new tricks! You can grab onto toys and bring them to your mouth like a champ! Your new favorite thing is to play on your "jungle gym" as I call it - you lay on your back and look up at flashing lights, music and spinning objects that dangle from the gym. You crack up so hard while your playing in your gym. Sometimes it looks like you are playing a drum kit! You kick hanging monkeys with your feet, punch a hanging rattle with your right hand and with your left hand try to grap the spinning toys. DOUBLE BASS DOUBLE BASS! This further proves my prediction that you are going to be very musical someday!

The other fun thing that you do now is babble and chat with me. I will ask you something and you respond by chatting and laughing. We do this every morning for a good bit of time - that's usually when you are the happiest. Yes Little Bear, sometimes you can be quite a grouch! It's funny, one moment you are laughing and the next minute you look so grouchy! Your Grandma Sue thinks that maybe you are going to be really serious and think your Papa and I are pretty ridiculous (which we are). I think that you might just have a really great poker face.

Speaking of poker - we went on our first family trip a few weeks ago! The 3 of us went to Las Vegas for your uncle Patrick and aunt Sophie's wedding. It was the first time you got to meet a lot of family - you met your Grandpa Adam, Great Grandma Mary, Aunt Loretta, and your cousins Sierra and Jonah! Sierra wanted to hold you right away and you looked huge in her arms!

I will tell you a funny story about Vegas. We bought you an adorable little sailor outfit (including a sailor hat!) to wear to the wedding. When we arrived at Cesar's Palace you started screaming and I couldn't figure out why you were so upset. I picked you up out of your car seat and you had pooped all the way up your back, all over your car seat and of course your all white sailor suit. You kept looking at your Papa and I with this look that said, "Guys, I'm so sorry - I feel miserable!" It was quite an ordeal!

Love you so much Baby Bear - here's to another month of love, laughs, antics and growing!

xx.

Mama

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You and Papa hamming it up during your photo shoot.

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Chico's Outfit:

Yellow & Grey Bow Tie Onsie with Vest - Noah's Boutique on Etsy - Cool thing about this? The onsie has snaps on it and you can order different ties, suspenders, vests, etc to snap right on to create different looks. We actually ordered this for the wedding but it didn't come in time. It's okay though, you would have just pooped on it anyways. ;)

Blanket - This was Mama's Baby Blanket a long time ago. Grandma saved it and brought it over when you were just born. PRetty cool that we can share stuff right Cheeks?

Can a "flashback" be only 6 months ago?

Screw it - it feels like 6 years ago! Here's some ridiculous photos from a fun day we spent with our pals John & Gaelyn back when I was about 7 months pregnant with Chico. We went to our favorite Japanese Photobooth spot for shits and giggles. I like the shot where Gaelyn is making fun of me and holding her belly. Why? Because now she is 7 months pregnant with her own little boy! SUCKER!

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You Are 2 Months Baby Bear!

chico official 2mo Dearest Baby Bear,

Well, you are 2 months old now! Time flies when you are pooping, eating, sleeping and pooping some more! It feels as if so much has happened during the past month. The most exciting milestones that have happened are that you know smile and laugh!

When you were first born you would sometimes twitch in your sleep and it would appear that you were smiling, but according to my baby books it was a reflex and not an intentional grin. The books said that when you smiled purposefully, I would know. Well it's true! One day when I was talking to you (about who knows what) you broke out into a big grin and a strange gurgle that I knew was a laugh. Every day since you smile and "laugh" more and more. It changes your entire face and I am so glad I was able to capture it in this picture of you (taken on the day you turned 8 weeks).

Other things that have changed for you is that you are awake much more! You seemed to always sleep during the day that first month, but now you seem to always be up and alert during the day! So much for trying to get anything done around the house - especially because you like to be held in my arms as opposed to your swing, your bouncer, the car seat... really anywhere that isn't ME! Luckily you really enjoy being in your wrap (1 of 3 I have for you) and that gives my arms a break - you are getting heavy little boy!

Your Papa went back to work last week and he's having a tough time. He misses you so much and gets sad during the day thinking about how much he wishes he was at home with us. Those first 6 weeks of your life were awesome for your Papa and I as husband and wife because we got to be around each other AND you 24 hours a day. It was one of the best times of my life. We are adjusting and I'm getting used to being your primary caretaker during the day. It isn't easy without Papa's help but we are hitting our stride.

Our biggest accomplishment this month is probably breast feeding. We both seem to really have the hang of it now and it's as if we're old pro's. I say "we" because breast feeding can be a difficult, frustrating and painful experience for both parties. These days breast feeding is none of those things - it is a beautiful, relaxing, bonding experience that I look forward to. You seem so healthy - growing fast mentally and physically and I know it's due to the fact that you are exclusively breast fed. It makes me feel proud that I can sustain you all by myself. It's pretty mind blowing when I see your legs getting chubbier and your body getting these adorable fat rolls and I think - "Wow - I'm doing that for him!" This may sound strange but I'm sure other Mama's understand what I mean.

Here's to another month of fun and growing together my love...

Your Papa and I love you very much Baby Bear!

xx. Mama

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