Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Call me a total sap, if you will, but I love this picture. I feel like it's a visual representation of what's going on with Sebastian right now. He's getting so big and independent, walking tall through the unknown to the bright future ahead. Yeah, yeah, uber-lame, I know. But still....it's a cool picture, eh?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lots of Changes...

The name of the blog, for one! Yep, finally got around to changing that. I know I've been AWFUL about updating recently, but I think this time I have a pretty good excuse. In case you haven't heard, we will be adding another spawnling to our family around March 16, 2010! We just found out that our new little one is another boy, so it'll be a house of blue for me! So far we're planning on naming him Oliver, but stay tuned!

Otherwise things are going well...I've been keeping busy with Sebastian and work, and Ken has been working hard as well. Sebastian is growing like a weed, saying a few words ("up," "more," and his version of "frog," when he wants his froggy pacifier), and running around like a little maniac. It's tiring keeping up with him most days, but he's such a character and so much fun that it's well worth it.

The little man has a grand total of eight teeth now, but in a kind of odd configuration. He has four on top, two on the bottom, and the bottom two first year molars. He looks ridiculously adorable when he grins, and seems to love making faces. He's also really into dancing lately. He waves his arms (like he's conducting!), bounces up and down, and wiggles his butt. It's hilarious to watch.

In any case, I'll definitely be updating more regularly in the future...just had to get back into the groove. Until next time!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Brobee!

Sebastian just LOVES his Brobee toy (from the show Yo Gabba Gabba) from his Internet Auntie Angel and Internet Cousin Braylen. He giggles and laughs like crazy when it plays the "Party in My Tummy" song!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Sebastian!

I can't believe our little boy is one today. It seems like such a whirlwind, yet I remember it like it was yesterday, the day he came into our lives. He was almost 3 weeks early, and I was induced because of preeclampsia, but my body was ready for him to be born (and so was his). After just 8 1/2 hours of labor (I was amazed at how much more tolerable it was than I was expecting), a few scares because of a dropping heartrate, and a close-call with operation room (I was about a minute away from being taken in for a C-section when his heartrate went back up and all was well), Sebastian made his appearance.

Our lives are SO much richer, more fun, and more crazy because of him. We never thought we could live with so little sleep, so much noise, and so many little toys scattered all over the place, but here we are. And we love every day. I'm not going to say we don't have our moments...being a parent is the hardest thing either of us has ever done. But it's also the most rewarding, the most fun, and the most heart-swellingly fantastic. They say that you don't know love until you look into your child's eyes for the first time. They say that having children is like allowing your heart to walk around outside your body. And those seem like cheesy platitudes, but they're totally true. Sometimes I look at Sebastian and I feel like my heart is going to break just at the joy that fills me to think that he's here. When he smiles at me, all the problems in my life go away, if even just for that moment. When he reaches up and puts his arms around my neck (he's just starting to do this, and it's adorable), I melt.

So I thought I'd make a list, memorializing this time in his life, of all the little things that Sebastian does that amaze, fascinate, thrill, and delight me. He is such a wonder. Because I know from experience, now, how fast a year goes, and I want to remember him just as he is today, for the rest of my life. Just a sampling, of course, as I couldn't even begin to catalog EVERYTHING. It would take a book. Or twelve.

Sebastian, on this, your first birthday, here are some things I love about you:
*I love the way your smile can light up a room.
*I love your dimples and the way you scrunch up your nose when you're smiling really big.
*I love how you raise one eyebrow, just like Mummo, when you're checking things out.
*I love how you toddle around like a drunken sailor, and yet still maintain your balance, even when we think you're going to fall over.
*I love that even when you DO fall over, you just pick yourself up again like nothing happened.
*I love that you have such a hard head and barely ever cry when you bonk it.
*I love how you hold on to one of my fingers, sometimes, when we're walking, but sometimes you just want to do it on your own.
*I love the maniacal look of glee you get when you chase the dogs and cats around.
*I love the "ma-ma-ma" sound you make when you're hungry, and I love that it comes from your learning the word "milk."
*I love that you love nursing so much. A boob man through and through!
*I love how you settle down and lie (mostly) still while you nurse, and look up at me or close your eyes.
*I love how your little hands pat my boob sometimes, like you're trying to coax the milk out faster.
*I love how you throw your hands in the air and wiggle to show us "all done," and look SO proud of yourself.
*I love how, no matter how we try to show you the real sign for "more," you still insist on just banging on the table or your high chair tray, saying "ma-ma-ma!" and knowing that we understand.
*I love how you look so carefully at your tray and pick up the food you prefer, and eat that first. Sometimes, when that's gone, you won't even look at the other stuff, and just demand more of the things you like!
*I love that you've had the pincer grasp mastered for months, but still sometimes just grab a handful of something and shove your whole fist in your mouth.
*I love how much you love fresh fruit (though I wish you'd love vegetables as much). Blueberries and grapes are your favorite!
*I love how you want to "share" everything Daddy and I have, and come to us with your little mouth open, like a baby bird, saying "ma-ma-ma!" to get a taste.
*I love how you're starting to really pet the animals, and how you look up with joy all over your face when they stay put and you can run your fingers through their fur.
*I love how you sometimes say "DA!" for "dog" and "AHH!" for "cat." Lyra does not love it so much, though, and usually runs away as you trundle toward her, mouth open, arms outstretched, and giggling.
*I love that you try to put everything in your mouth, even enormous things that would NEVER fit. You just open your mouth extra wide and try.
*I love the little "O" your mouth makes when you're surprised by something (like yesterday when you turned your sippy cup over and it was leaking water on your leg...you were SO surprised at the water trickling on you, you just looked at us wide-eyed and open-mouthed).
*I love how inquisitive and smart you are. If you want to do something, but can't figure out how, you try and try until you get it. This is especially true with opening and closing doors, putting things in and taking things out of containers, and finding "hidden" items.
*I love (and am often infuriated by) how relentless you are. No matter how well we hide our iPhones or the TV remote, which you adore, you find them eventually, and don't give up until they are yours.
*I love how you dance by shaking your arms and wiggling, especially to the "Blue's Clues" song.
*I love the huge cowlicks you have on the nape of your neck, which make your hair part like an open curtain. I love the little curls that stick out behind your ears.
*I love that your hair, at least right now, is strawberry blonde. I get comments on it all the time.
*I love your big, blue eyes. More than anything else, that's what people notice about you. People say all the time how beautiful they are, and how alert and happy you seem.
*I love your laugh. It is infectious and the most lovely sound I've ever heard.
*I love the look on your face when you play peek-a-boo or run-and-hide with Daddy or me. I love that sometimes you change directions and intercept us, and then laugh and laugh at your own cleverness.
*I love your little mischievous smirk when you know you're not supposed to do something and you're checking to see if we're watching you.
*I love how you aren't afraid of the camera, and smile and pose when you see it, a lot of the time.
*I love how much you love your Mummo and Pappa. I love how excited you get when we walk up the steps to their house, and how your face lights up when you see them.
*I love how you take big bites of banana right out of the peel and then walk around while you chew. In fact, you do this with most food, if you can....eating on the run!
*I love how fascinated and interested you are when you see something new.
*I love what a "good baby" you are, though I suppose you're not so much a baby anymore, eh?
*I love your four (with two on the way) teeth, and how you grin and I can just start seeing the top ones.
*I love how you throw a ball amazingly well already, and are SO proud of yourself when you do.
*I love that you have such a distinct and fun personality already, and I can't wait to see you grow and develop it further.
*I love your little toes, especially when you curl them or stand up on them to make yourself taller.
*I love your soft, pale, sensitive skin, even if it DOES show every scratch and bump you get (and you get plenty).
*I love that you're such a daredevil (though it scares the crap out of me sometimes)! You love being thrown in the air, swinging on swings, and going down slides. The higher, the faster, the better!
*I love your sense of humor and your chutzpah. You are bold, daring, and audacious.
*I love that I could go on and on with this list, because I keep thinking of more things I love. Most of all, though,
*I love YOU.

Happy birthday, to my big boy. Not sure exactly when you morphed from the little baby we brought home to the precocious toddler you are now, but I'm amazed. You are SO special and your Daddy and I love you more than we can say.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Help for Christian


I know many of you have been following baby Christian's story, and for that I thank you. He is making amazing progress, and I know that is partly because of all the positive healing thoughts coming his way. Well, you know I'm not generally the type to ask, but Christian needs a bit more than that right now. He needs funds.

Christian will soon be starting Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments, which have been proven to help children with brain injury to recover at least some function. They are truly amazing, and right now, are Christian's best hope for walking, talking, and playing again. Of course these treatments are expensive, costing about $100 per session. They are not covered by insurance.

It is also possible for Christian to receive at-home treatments in between visits to the official HBOT center, but he needs a special chamber to do that, of course. Amazingly, one of the August moms found one on craigslist for $4000. After sharing Christian's story with the owner, she agreed to part with the chamber for $2500. Now, that's a spectacular deal, but it's still out of reach for Christian's family right now.

This is where you come in. If 250 people donated as little as $10 each, it would be paid for! If 100 people donated $25, we'd have it! I KNOW we can do this. Please, if you can spare anything, it will be put to good use. After we have enough for the at-home HBOT chamber, the remainder of donations will go toward the HBOT Center treatments.

Like I said, I don't normally ask for much. But Christian needs your help. Please keep him in your thoughts, as always. But please also consider donating to help him get this much-needed piece of equipment. THANK YOU! The link to Chip In is on the right!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Christian's Story


This is something I wrote for my August Moms' Group...wanted to share it here as well.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 is a day that the Quintero family won’t ever forget. That afternoon, 11-month-old Christian fell in the family pool and nearly drowned. His big brother Gabe pulled him out of the pool, and his mother Shauna frantically did CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive. Even at the hospital, they could not get a pulse, and Shauna was asked to come in and say goodbye to her little boy. During their last attempt to save Christian, Shauna touched her son’s leg, called out his name, and his heart started beating again! Amazing! Of course, this was not the end of the story, but rather the beginning of a long, hard struggle for Christian and his family as he fights every day to survive and recover.

But they are not alone. The Quinteros don’t just have their wonderfully supportive family and friends surrounding them. In this spectacularly small world where any person is just a mouse click or keystroke away from another, the Quinteros also have hundreds of people all over the world praying for them and for little Christian. But how is this possible? How has Christian’s story reached so many in such a short time? Maybe I should start at the beginning.

In November/December of 2007, a group of about 100 women were meeting each other on an online message board. We had all just found out we were pregnant with babies due in August 2008. There were women who were expecting their first child, and those expecting their fourth. Women who had been trying for years to get pregnant, some who had gone through countless infertility treatments, and some who had gotten pregnant easily or even by “accident.” There were women who had lost previous pregnancies, even had to deal with stillbirth. We came from all over the US, Europe, and even Australia. We were as varied in personality and circumstance as any group could be, but we were united in our love of our August babies.

As the months went on, we grew closer. We were devastated when our numbers were diminished as some among us had miscarriages and lost their precious babies. We were thrilled when announcements of twins came, and when other women found us and joined in. We shared our joys, our fears, our aches, our pains, and our complaints about spouses who just “didn’t get it.” We became a family. As time went on, we posted pictures of our growing bellies, shared gender ultrasound results, and discussed baby names.

And then, all of a sudden, it seemed, it was June, and babies started arriving. Paige was first, born so early, and we all furiously prayed for her as she fought in the NICU, and celebrated when she went home. July and August brought a cascade of babies, birth stories, and pictures of beautiful, wrinkly newborns. Some babies even waited until September to make their appearances. But we were all still the “August Moms.” By that point, we’d been together 8-9 months.

Many so-called “due date groups” peter out after babies are born. Moms get busy, don’t have time to get online anymore, or just aren’t interested now that their due dates have come and gone. Not so for our group. If anything, we became stronger after our babies were born. Instead of Braxton hicks contractions and swollen ankles, though, we complained about sleepless nights and cranky, teething babies. Instead of feeling kicks or seeing sonograms, we cheered about rolling over, sleeping through the night, and first teeth. We shared pictures, stories, and even videos of our little ones, and became even closer. We started calling each other our children’s “Internet Aunties.”

Many of us became “friends” on Facebook, and continued connecting. We had “meet-ups,” where members met each other in person. Some continue to get together regularly. And we kept posting on our message boards daily, asking questions, sharing advice, and generally doing what friends do. We had found caring, loving, loyal, and true friends on the internet. I guess stranger things have happened.

Then, as we were busy reading through posts and updates about first steps, plans for birthday parties, and other fun things, tragedy struck. One of our precious August babies, little M, died suddenly in her crib during a nap. She was just over nine months old. We were horror-stricken. We all felt so deeply for M’s mommy, and hugged our children all the tighter as those awful “what ifs” ran through our minds. But the group banded together through our grief, and rallied around M’s family. We sent cards, remembrance gifts, and messages of love and support. While little M is gone, she will always be an August baby, and her mother will always belong in our group. We love and miss them so much.

Things were just starting to get back to “normal” after little M’s passing, and we saw Shauna’s update. Her beautiful boy Christian had fallen in the pool. He was in critical condition. She asked for our prayers. We didn’t know anything else. The group flurried into action. Messages were sent, updates shared, and panicked posts started about how Christian was doing. There were frantic pleas of “Not another August baby!” One of the August Moms called Shauna to check on him, and filled everyone in. We were so glad to hear that he was getting more stable all the time but dismayed that his situation was still extremely critical.

That’s when it started. People started posting updates about Christian on their Facebook pages as we got them. We posted about Christian’s situation, and how he, his big brother Gabe, his father Manny, and his mother Shauna (who is also pregnant with Christian’s little brother or sister, due next year) needed all the positive thoughts and prayers they could get. Friends of friends, acquaintances, and coworkers responded in droves. Everyone was touched and moved by Christian’s story, and the prayers and thoughts for the little fighter and his family started. And they haven’t stopped since.

Shauna started a blog called Christian’s Journey (http://christiansjourney-shaunaq.blogspot.com/) to keep everyone up to date with the latest happenings in Christian’s world. It already has over a hundred official “followers,” and surely many more unofficial ones. I get messages all the time from Facebook friends asking how Christian is, and they’ve never met him or anyone in his family. Though, I suppose it’s a fact that I’ve never met Christian or his family either. But I know him, and I know them. I am his Internet Auntie, after all.

Christian has come so far, but he still has SO far to go. He just got a g-tube (for feeding) and a trach tube (for breathing) placed, and took his first breath on his own since the accident just yesterday. He is such a fighter! His parents are not deluded, though: they know they are in this for the long haul. Christian’s recovery is going to be lengthy and difficult, not to mention expensive. While they are, of course, devastated that their family has had to endure such tragic circumstances, they are hopefully comforted, at least somewhat, by all the people pulling for Christian.

There are those that condemn message boards and social networking sites like Facebook as frivolous time-wasters, not good for anything but gossiping, spying on old boyfriends, and sharing self-important status messages about what people had for dinner. But then there’s a case like Christian’s. Through the magic of the internet, Christian’s Internet Aunties have organized a worldwide network of positive energy, all aimed at Christian and his family. We know that they feel it, and that it’s helping. Here’s to that circle growing exponentially, and to Christian’s continued progress. We love you, buddy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Smart Boy

Sebastian has always loved blocks. But up until recently, he has mostly just gnawed on them. Then, a few weeks ago, he started actually playing with the shape-sorter like it's supposed to be played with! (It's actually mine from when I was a kid!) He opens the lid, gets out a block, closes the lid, and then works until he puts the block through the right hole. Then he opens the lid and starts again. He will do this 20+ times in a row.

Right now he's just proficient at the square and round holes, but the other ones will come in time. We actually have some blocks from a different shape sorter in with the orginial ones, so there are two slightly-different-sized square blocks. The green one goes in a bit easier, since it's smaller, but usually after a while of putting that one in the hole, he'll get bored and go for the bigger (and trickier) yellow square one. Way to challenge yourself, kid!

The green square actually fits through the round hole, too, if he gets it just right, as you can see in the following video:


We're just so amazed that not only is he walking, starting to say some meaningful words (we think), and definitely understanding us more (simple directions, labels, names, etc.), he's showing off his intelligence in just his play skills! SO cool! How did my little tiny baby get so big and smart all of a sudden?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Ironic?

(might have to click on the pic to read his shirt...)

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Walking Wonder

It hasn't even been two weeks, and Sebastian can now walk across an entire room, step over obstacles, and change direction! O.o In this video, he walks over to Daddy and then changes his mind and heads for the door instead. He plays with the door for a while, then comes back.

I can't believe how quickly he went from taking a few wobbly steps and lunging at stuff to really balancing and steadying himself to stay up and move places. He seems to want to walk more than he wants to crawl these days, and generally tries walking first, sometimes falls down, then crawls. Even when he's next to something he could use to cruise, he sometimes just lets go and walks. Ack, where did my baby go?!

(PS: He really does walk back to Daddy eventually....gets distracted by the door for a while but stay with him, he'll do it!)

Poor fiends...

Well, it's official. The baby is getting the dogs into trouble. Sebastian has started handing stuff off, and thinks it's loads of fun to give us things and pass them back and forth. He also, apparently, thinks it's fun to do the same thing (or attempt to!) with the dogs.

Thing is, though, the dogs are not allowed to have anything to do with Sebastian's toys, lest the kid only have bits of mangled plastic and decapitated stuffed animals to play with. The dogs get in big trouble if they put any part of a baby toy in their mouths, complete with stern voices saying, "Dognamehere, LEAVE IT." Usually, Gandalf is the perpetrator. Ella is far too crafty to take any toys while we're anywhere nearby, and does it under cover of darkness or while we're otherwise occupied. Far too many Little People have already met their gnarly end in a dog's chompers, so we try to be really diligent about enforcing this rule.

Gandalf has a particular love for Sebastian's froggy friend pacifier. It's actually pretty cute, becuase he does not ever try to actually destroy it, rather will carry it around and put it next to him while he sleeps, cherishing it, if you will. Still, though, eww. The dog does not need to be lovin' on the baby's stuff with his drooly dog-mouth.

So imagine Gandalf's joy when Sebastian started willingly handing his froggy friend over! Sebastian sees Gandalf lying or sitting somewhere, or even just passing by, and pops the frog out of his mouth and passes it right over to Gandalf's waiting mouth. Then Gandalf gets in trouble for taking it. Poor fiend!

We think it's kind of hilarious, though, how Sebastian seems to totally anthropomorphize (yes, I totally used that word in my blog...I am a geek, after all!) the dogs. He tries to put toys/books/what-have-you in their "hands" while they're sleeping. He tried several times (with all four paws, in turn) to give Ella a toy once, finally giving up and putting it in her mouth instead. At which point the poor pup took it and promptly got reprimanded.

We try to tell Sebastian not to give his toys to the animals. But they are part of the family too, I guess, and in his mind, no different from us. I don't know if the animals should take that as a compliment, or if we human family members should be insulted. Hmm...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Some Walking Videos

Even though we didn't manage to capture his first official steps on video, here are a few from his first day of walking:



And then some not even a week later. He's getting MUCH more stable and steady!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Walking!

It's funny, Sebastian seems to do things all of a sudden. Like when he started sitting up, one day he wasn't really even tripoding with his arms very well, and the next day he was sitting up totally unsupported, straight back and reaching for stuff with his hands. It's like he figured out he could do it, and then just did.

Same thing happened with walking on his own, apparently. He's been cruising (using furniture to move around) since 8 months, and getting faster and faster. For the past month, he's been walking holding on to one finger. He won't even hold two hands...if you try to take the other one he lets go of the first hand. Well, yesterday, he was in our bedroom, standing and looking out the window. Then he turned around and walked like 5 steps to me sitting on the bed. Like it was nothing. And he was so proud of himself! Grinning and laughing like a loon.

Since then, he's been doing it constantly. Like he figured out he could get from place to place on just TWO limbs, so why was he going to use four like a chump?! I just think it's hilarious that he went from not wanting to even try it to walking on his own in a day. Crazy! Of course we're so proud of him! He's still pretty unstable and wobbly, and has a tendency to go a bit too fast and faceplant on occasion, but I have a feeling he'll figure out the whole balance thing in no time. And what a great Father's Day present for Ken! His own little independently mobile man!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Best Birthday Present Ever

Well, Ken got me my 30th birthday present a few days early. We took advantage of the Father's Day sales and got a Nikon D40 digital SLR camera. I've been lusting over one for ages, especially since I take so many pictures of Sebastian these days. My parents chipped in too, so the present is a joint one...and so appropriately, too, because we'll all benefit from it in the end!

I love it. It is, seriously, probably the most excited about a present I've been since I was a kid. I couldn't wait to get it out of the box and snap a few pictures. Of course I was alone with the kiddo all day, so I still haven't had much of a chance to pore over the manual, but I'm amazed at how different the pictures look already, just on auto settings, from my (decent digital Elph) point-and-shoot.

I can't wait to dive into digital photography with both feet, and really figure out what I'm doing. It doesn't hurt to have such a ridiculously adorable subject. Of course I'm a tad biased, but those blue eyes get me every time. So, without further ado, here are just a few pictures I snapped today, without really knowing what I was doing. Not bad, eh?
Hooray for new toys. Double-hooray for those new toys allowing me to capture, in even more living color, the joy and wonder of seeing the world through new little eyes. Here's to years of new things to explore and document.