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

So much Leche so little Time!!

via Instagram Ok so the topic is milk. I know I talked all this mess about how I was gonna give Chico unpasteurized milk and have it delivered from the dairy direct but honestly I'm too scared. I know it's a 1/1000000000 chance but if he died from ecoli or something I could have prevented I would never forgive myself. I gave him organic vit D and he loved it- too much. He drank a lot and was up during the night with a horrible tummy ache. I am thinking hemp milk but want to know what you guys use. I think mamas milk is dried up ps which is why I'm moving on.... #9mab

Dreaming of you since before you were here...

via Instagram I dreamt of you many times before you were even conceived. In those dreams I never saw your face clearly but I felt the love between mother and son; I would wake up tearful and overwhelmed by an emotion unlike anything I had ever experienced. Most of all I heard your laugh. It's nice to hear your laughter in real life now baby bear... as we live out my dream that came to life... ❤️

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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Chico's Monster Ball

[gallery type="rectangular" ids="1407,1409,1410,1431"] Planning your child's first birthday party has the potential to be really stressful and overwhelming, but I was determined to keep the focus on what the hype was all about - and that was to celebrate Chico's amazing first year of life!

I am very lucky that I have a mother-in-law who loves to host parties, a mother who is so creative that I can show her anything I like on Pinterest and she'll create it, and a husband who is an artist/painter.  Not to mention Chico's talented Ninos are photographers/videographers and took all these great pictures aside from a few I took on my phone.

When deciding what kind of party we would have for Chico I knew I didn't want anything too specific or themed. There literally was no color scheme, no theme...I just picked things I liked and prayed it didn't look completely insane on the day of the party. I just wanted the party to feel fresh, fun and light-hearted.

I was concerned about how I would keep the party focused on the babies and not have it be overtaken by the older kids. My plan was to put a bounce house in the front of the house with easy access to food away from the baby area. Adam painted a "Baby Monster's Only!" sign that we put in the designated baby area. I purchased several blow up pools and filled them with balls - making our very own baby ball pits. They were a huge hit not only with the birthday boy but the other babies too! I also had several bubble machines because bubbles are Chico's new favorite thing.

Having this designated area for the little ones was the best idea. We were able to relax, spread a blanket out and rest easy knowing that sugar fueled older kids weren't going to accidentally trample a little one.

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The entire party felt like a dream. I didn't have a big wedding, but I often hear brides say how, "the whole day was a blur!" Well I think I understand that concept now because the whole party felt like 20 minutes of an emotional blur! Chico had such a good time and was such a good sport. He skipped several naps and partied hard. I was nervous how he would react to everyone staring at him and singing happy birthday because he can get overstimulated with too much noise and attention. Knowing this about his personality I put him in his sling for singing and cake time so he would feel secure.  As everyone sang happy birthday to him he was amazing! He clapped and smiled and took it all in happily.

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Tentative at first, Chico just took in the cake I made him for a minute and after a little bit of encouragement from me he dug in. I was so happy that I took the time to make him a healthy, all natural cake that I could feel good about giving him. It was basically yummy banana bread with Greek yogurt based frosting (for the ingredients and instructions click HERE!).

Chico - I know you probably won't remember your first birthday aside from the pictures and stories we tell you about it so just know you had the best time. You got to see all your baby buddies, your friends and family were there and everyone had a great time and loves you so much.

xx.

Mama

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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

 

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries Vol. IV "Everything Shines"

  This post was written by my husband Adam. We are the first husband and wife team to be chosen as Sling Diarists for Sakura  Bloom Series - Vol IV: Everything Shines!

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"The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking." -Robert H. Schuller  (yeah, I started this with a quote) As a kid I was encouraged to dream of becoming such things as a Doctor, or a Lawyer. I was taught that the level of  "success" and financial stability would gage my happiness. I was taught to always "do better" than what my parents could do. The words "Do as I say, and not as I do…" were often heard around our house. I understand my mothers desire for me to succeed, but without guidance, resources, and with such vague direction, how could I possibly believe in myself enough to accomplish such seemingly impossible goals? I was overcome by anxiety and sleepless nights at a very young age, for the fear of disappointing my mother and the consequences at hand if I were to let her down. The older I got, the less I cared, and the less I dreamed. When thinking about "dreams" the first thing that pops into my head as a father, are the dreams I have for my son. My dream is to foster an environment where Chico has the opportunity to inspire his OWN dreams. To experience the innocence of looking at the world and really believing that ANYTHING is possible.  I want him to dream the way all kids should dream, without hinderance, and know that the sky is the limit! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I dream that one day men will realize how baby-wearing can directly influence a bond between them and their children and will not be self conscious or afraid of being perceived as effeminate. Its 2014 and gender roles are long past. We live in a world that is so "PC" that we often question what we can or cannot say, but for some reason it seems totally ok for women to approach me and say things like, "Oh what a good dad!". I can only ask myself, "Why?" Why is the standard for being a responsible father so low that someone would assume I'm a "good dad" simply for wearing my son!? Taking care of your children isn't something that should be praised, it's something that should be expected. My dream is to influence other dads to realize the importance of bonding with your child. As men we don't have the opportunity to nurse our children, so anything I can do to build a trusting bond with Chico, I'm going to do! That is why I took the six weeks of family leave when Chico was born even though I was ridiculed at work and treated like I was going on a six week vacation. That is why I woke up at every feeding and changed Chico's diapers, bounced him to sleep for endless hours on the yoga ball, and did not think twice about wearing him close to me when the opportunity arose. These are ways that I have bonded with my son, and although many men might think he will never remember any of that, I can look into my child's eyes and KNOW how much it matters. And no, I'm not trying to be "the best dad on Instagram", I'm not playing a role here, what you see is what you get. I'm just trying to give my son what I never had and always sought after, nothing else matters.

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Growing up I never thought about being a father, wait, I take that back, I never thought about being a GOOD father. Why would I? I assumed I would have illegitimate bastard children running around the San Fernando Valley who hated my guts! Sad to say, not a far off assumption for a teenager who didn't think about living past his twenties. I was consumed by drugs and alcohol, and the older I got, the more real shit got. So I drank and got loaded to distract me from an unfulfilling life. Four years ago I got sober and I was given a second chance at life. Im lucky to have met my soul mate who became my best friend and wife. I was blessed with a baby boy who totally flipped my world upside down in the best possible way. You see up until then, my dreams were non existent. I was too afraid to dream because I was so used to low expectations. I thought as long as I could stay sober, support my wife financially, and enjoy living, I was a happy camper. The second I looked into that babies eyes and said "Chico, this is your papa…", witnessing him recognize my voice was like no high I ever experienced. Fatherhood is something I KNOW I am good at, because everything I ever wanted in a father is exactly what I dream to provide for my son today.

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The Library, Santa and the Park.

Big day for me and Cheeky! We found out about an awesome "Santa Story Time." over at the Monrovia library at the last minute and decided to give it a go! Chico loved everything about it! He was transfixed by story time and was more focused than other kids his age and older! I was super proud of him and know that all of our reading attributed to his laser focus! He even made a little friend - a little girl who was probably close to two years old. He scooted close to her and was trying to touch her hand and her hair. She was not impressed at first but then she put her forehead up to his and just stared into his eyes. He thought it was the funniest thing. I was like, "Um, excuse me, back off." Just kidding it was cute.

I wasn't sure how he'd react to Santa himself but he did really well - even when I placed him on Santa's lap! After meeting Santa Chico received a new book to add to his collection and we headed the little park behind the library. He and I went down the slide together and he went on the swings for the first time! It was so awesome to see him enjoy himself and be around other kids. We're definitely gonna have to hit up some more library story times at local libraries because I could tell he loved it - which makes me crazy happy because this was something my mom did with me growing up and it made a lot of lasting memories for me. My plan to turn Chico into a bookworm is going perfectly!20131205-000624.jpg

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Something You Should Know...

Something you should know about me is that I love and collect ornaments. I am lucky enough to have been gifted all of my childhood ornaments by my mom and consider them to be some of my most prized possessions. Your feed will be speckled with my favorites throughout the holiday season. This is for Cheeky's first Christmas on the outside. I love December.

Happy 9 Months Baby Bear!

11062941733_96b9fc6695_bDearest Baby Bear, Well Cheeky - you've been on the "outside" now for as long as you were on the "inside!" This feels like a huge milestone to write down for some reason. Waiting to meet you for 9 months seemed like forever. I saw you move in my belly, felt your kicks. I dreamed of what you would look like and how your coos would sound. For some reason I used to think that once you were 9 months old I would have this whole motherhood thing pretty much figured out.

But I may have jinxed myself...

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetThis month you have kind of been a cookoo bird. I think a lot of your insanity/moodiness/frustration is due to the fact that you want to do things that you physically aren't capable of yet - thus you become a cranky Chico. The one thing that you have mastered this month is standing (with the help of holding onto something of course!).

If you had it your way you would be standing all day and all night...Here you are at Suehiro staring awkwardly at our waitress. She didn't mind though - she actually asked to take a photo with you before we left and you kindly obliged. She liked you a lot and called you - "Kamikaze Boy" because of your headband. photoIf it were up to you, you would have me hold you upright all day long. When my arms get tired and I sit you down you often get so angry that you kick your legs and throw your whole body backwards! You have so much desire to explore, observe and discover. Unfortunately your body can't keep up with your aspirations buddy!Processed with VSCOcam with b3 presetThis month you had your first eye exam! We were worried that the doctor might find something wrong with your ojos because your Papa has really poor eye sight and has worn glasses since elementary school (so have I but for reading only). We had to have your eyes dilated but it was great news - your eyes are perfect! You did so well during your exam - it could have been a really scary experience but your Papa held you and did a wonderful job distracting you from getting overwhelmed. photo (8)Between your fussy days and fussy moments we have also had lovely days and moments sprinkled with laughter and cuddles. photo 4We have had fun little Little Tokyo trips (a family staple) filled with Suehiro, macarons & coffee. You always want to drink my coffee with me while I have you in the sling so I let you mouth the lid and pretend you are enjoying it too. photo 3Oh and exciting news - your top left two teeth popped out the other day out of nowhere! We were really surprised because you weren't showing any signs of teething aside from some drooling here and there. You look so grown up with your top teeth now...it kind of makes me sad and nostalgic for the days that you were all gums. You had the best gummy smile. It was even cute when you would cry because it was all gums!

Here's a picture of us when we were headed to the mall last week. I promise I didn't mean to dress us like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Sorry boo - I hope you weren't too embarrassed when we walked around the mall together. People kept saying how cute it was but you and I would just look at each other and with some major side eye. This is what happens when your mama is sleep deprived and you cry every time I set you down - quick decisions happen and the next thing you know we are dressed like two dopes off to a Sadie Hawkins dance.

Processed with VSCOcam with g2 presetphoto 2Even though we have some rough days, there are always days in-between that make up for the bumps. We may become impatient with each other but more importantly we have fun together and laugh A LOT. I think I mentioned that to you last month - Laugh Chico. This is something I already knew, but you have taught me not to take life so seriously. I am the kind of person who finds it relatively easy to be too serious and sometimes moody, but when I am in those sorts of funks you give me a toothy grin or a nice long belly laugh and I can't be moody anymore. Thank you baby. I'm pretty sure your Mama is growing in a lot of ways right alongside you. Te querio mijito.

xx,

Mama

Weekend Adventure with my little Family.

photo 2"Why are they so embarassing?!" -Chico We three have fun. No matter what we do we always find a way to have fun doing it, but one of our favorite things to do is to hang out in Little Tokyo. It has always been that place that I defer to when I want to go somewhere to eat, walk around and just get lost. My grandparents took me there all the time as a child and it feels nice to take Chico to do some of the exact same things I did.

photo 1A trip to Little Tokyo wouldn't be complete without grabbing a bite to eat at Suehiro Cafe. They are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year and I can't believe it! I've been going there since I was in elementary school and always order the #2 combo.

photo 4Chico also enjoys the #2 as he is a huge fan of chicken. Look at these two! The waitresses at Suehiro freaked out over Chico's headband. They were calling him "Kamikaze Boy" and even asked if they could hold him and take pictures with him.

photoYes, his new thing is staring awkwardly at people with a dead pan expression. Super uncomfortable to witness! :)

photo 3Not to anyone's surprise we wore Chico in the ring sling during our adventure. Couldn't imagine him exploring his surroundings any other way at this point!

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetOf course gotta pay homage to the Patron Saint of the Japanese herself - Miss Hello Kitty.

Sunday Funday complete! Good food, too many macarons, trinkets, coffee and as usual met lots of people who were huge fans of Chico. Because let's get real - he's really the star of the show these days.

Happy 8 Months Baby Bear!

11023653033_b595a9e684_b Dearest Baby Bear,

Hi lovey! This month you have shown tons of growth like  you do every month, but what stands out the most to me is your emotional growth. Yes, you continue to get heavier and longer and your wispy hair is starting to grow just a little bit over the tops of your ears, but the coolest thing I have been able to witness is that you have an awesome sense of humor. You have been laughing and smiling for a long time, but the difference is now you find certain things funny independently from me or your papa making silly faces or tickling you. I love watching the different things that give you a good laugh - usually Max or Mona walking by gets a good belly laugh out of you and sometimes it's a song you hear on "Yo Gabba Gabba." Other times it may be the way one of your toys falls when you chuck it or just the way I say a certain word to you can send you into a fit of giggles.

I have really loved seeing this because let me tell you Chico Bear - laughter is something that is gonna help you get through the hard times in life. Sometimes all you can do is laugh! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This month was your first Halloween! We decided against taking you out trick or treating and opted just to dress you up in your costume and hand out treats to all the kids that came to the door. Every time someone knocked on the door we would scoop you up so that you could answer the door and hand out treats with us.  You seemed to love it - you even smiled at some of the kids when they would say, "Aw, look it's a little tiger!" Your Grandma Sue and Great Grandma Marion came over on Halloween night to hang out with you too! They love you so much Chico.

You enjoy sitting with your Grandma and something about Great Grandma Marion just gets you giggling like nobody's business! You two yell and laugh - it's really something to see!

Next year we will take you door to door to go trick or treating yourself!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Your Papa was home for a few months because he hurt his back at work. Everyday we had so much fun together as a family - whether it was going to the mall, the zoo or just bumming around the house in our jammers. He was really sad to leave you when he went back this month. He told me he is afraid you are going to hit a milestone and he'll miss it; or that you won't remember the bond that you have. I told him that he's nuts.

The love that you two share is too strong to disappear just because he goes to work during the day!

I love the sweet moment when your Papa walks through the front door at 3:30PM every day. You whip your head around and stop whatever it is your doing and your face breaks into the BIGGEST grin! You usually flap your arms wildly and sometimes you even give out a squeal of delight! It's a sight to behold...OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell my little tigre, I love you bunches. Thanks for humoring me and letting me put you in your costume and take pictures in the hot sun. You would never know it from the looks of these photos, but you and I were both having a grouchy morning and I thought this was going to be a disaster. Luckily you humored me, so thanks boo.

xx,

Mama