Calvin’s 1st Birthday Party

      One year down! These past two weeks have been overwhelming but filled with joy. I can’t believe that my once newborn is officially a toddler. Why does time go by so fast? I just want him to stay tiny forever. Ruben and I spent the last few weeks preparing for Calvin’s first party and also reflecting on everything we’ve experienced this past year as parents. It’s been quite the adventure and we’re so excited to continue to watch Calvin grow.

     So here’s a glimpse into his first party! Of course, the theme was “Calvin and Hobbes”, Calvin is named after this comic. Ruben loved them growing up and that’s where we got the name from.  I also wanted a party that allowed the kids to use their imagination. I think everyone else was having fun but Calvin, he is cranky and sleepy! Poor kiddo wasn’t having it. I guess people were right about first birthdays being for the parents, ha!

    Anyways, I had tons of fun DIY’ing everything for his party along with the help of my friends. Ruben designed our shirts, cake topper, drew our Hobbes poster and guest book. He’s a beast at drawing! One of our great friends Adalis helped create props out of boxes for the kids. I found this idea on Pinterest since the theme of Calvin and Hobbes is imagination and adventures. She did such a beautiful job painting and creating them. Our birthday banner was created by my co-worker. She loves DIY projects! All other items I bought on Amazon! (my best friend) for super cheap. Play ball pin and tunnel was fifty dollars total, this was a must for me. For party bags, I wanted to keep it sensory kid friendly. I bought sensory balls, cymbal shakers, playdoh, play foam, bubbles, silly straws, and some candy. I found a great deals for all of these items. Our cake was designed by @cakesbymilagros best Dominican cakes hands down. So be sure to check him out if you’re in the NYC area.  I hope you enjoy these pictures!

If you would like more info on the items mentioned, let me know!

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A Marriage That Endures

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 My husband and I will make three years married this November. The last few years have felt like the longest years of my life! People weren’t joking when they said that marriage ain’t easy. I think that Ruben and I can agree in saying that this marriage has been hard work, with an emphasis on the word HARD. We’re a very honest couple, and we don’t shy away from telling people how we feel- and especially letting each other know how we feel.

For the last three years, I’ve cried, yelled, cursed, slammed doors, and have had every tantrum that comes with a wife who’s used to running when things get tough. Marriage teaches you a lot about yourself and reveals the things you hide from others.

But in this covenant, there is no hiding. I can’t pick up my bags and run, I can’t fake the funk because my husband knows me. He knows the good, ugly, happy, and sad parts of me- yet he has chosen to love me.

     The crazy part is… I hate running! I get all sweaty, I get tired, and it’s just not something I like doing. But when it comes to confrontation- oh man… I can run. I spent most of my youth running home just to avoid getting into trouble with my mom. At seventeen, I left home trying to avoid feeling the shame of failing to meet my mother’s expectations and when things got hard in relationships, I avoided them or ended them. At the age of 20, I left home again, in order to live a life away from accountability. Till one day I decided that I was tired of running from hardship, and ran straight into God’s arms.

I call this “the surrender”.

       But then I met Ruben, and we started dating. And I thought “ I love this man, I’m in a safe place and he knows everything about me. I’m done with running” ha! and hardship began.

Ruben and I were great friends before we started dating. He’s actually one of the people who spoke into my life when I ended my six years long “on and off” relationship, and became a Christian. Eventually, we started dating and he decided he wanted to marry me, but in between our dating life and marriage, came some difficult trials.

I was scared of getting hurt. I carried baggage from my old relationship, and I was trying to figure out who I was. I also consider myself to be a very independent, strong-minded woman- which can be great sometimes, and terrible in others.  But much of my past played a huge role in our relationship. When Ruben and I would argue, my response would be “I’m done”. If I didn’t “feel” right about our relationship “I’m done” would be my way out. Many insecurities came to light, that I had been holding on too from my past. Ruben then became very insecure about our relationship and himself. Which eventually all led up to us having sex before marriage- and that was one the biggest hardships we’ve had to endure as believers.

    That significant moment only gave me more reasons to run. I wasn’t running because I didn’t love Ruben, I was running from shame. The shame of having sex before marriage when I had vowed to remain pure again until my wedding day. I was angry, and I felt like Ruben did not lead me away from falling into temptation. So I blamed him for all of it, not realizing that the reason why I was angry that my pride had taken a hit- I wasn’t this “ perfect” Christian. I was broken, and God was using this moment to expose much of the ugliness that I had tried to convince myself wasn’t there- but it was.

       But- by his grace, we made it to the altar. We got married… and yet I kept running.

We were both miserable. Our first year was a nightmare set on fire. But God has been in the midst of it all. He’s been present in the times I’ve said I would much rather be alone than married, he was around the times Ruben was knocking on our bedroom door while I wept inside. I know that this marriage has been able to endure hardship because of Him.  I think I’m able to understand the meaning of endurance because of my husband. He’s fought a lot for this marriage, he’ll always be fighting for it and God has shown me true and raw love. The kind of love that chases you as you’re running through the woods into the darkest place you can find and when you get there that person wants to go into the darkness with you until your ready to see the light.

      I remember once hearing a sermon called ” Jesus wants the rose.” Matt Chandler, who was preaching this sermon was telling a story about a time he listened to a pastor preach at a conference and the anger he felt about what he was saying. The pastor started by throwing a rose into the crowd and everyone had to touch and pass it until it got back to him. When he got the rose he held it up and said: ” who would want this?”. The rose was falling apart, damaged, and it looked worthless.  Matt Chandler said, ” I wanted to scream, Jesus wants the rose!”. He continues on with telling his audience ” He wants you!” He wants the rose that’s falling apart and feeling worthless. I remember weeping when he said that. After ending my longtime relationship I grew super insecure about myself and guys. Accepting love from people is very scary, it makes you feel vulnerable and fearful. And if you’re a runner like me,  you’ll start to run. But why are you running? Why are you so afraid of being loved? I think these are questions I often felt like God was asking me. I think for me it’s the part of being real and vulnerable and maybe having someone not embrace you and not endure with you. That is scary.

But God, he knew what he was doing when he allowed Ruben and I to get married. I think that’s the only part that brings me comfort. He chose us, and he is the only one that can keep us together. So if you’re very much like me and you’re still running… stop. God is trying to catch you, embrace you and love you. You know what’s crazy? God loves me more than my husband does, but he loves my husband just as much as He loves me. Because my husband is as broken as I am, we both are runners. I’m not sure I would want to spend the rest of my days running with anyone else but him. I pray that as we enter a new year into this marriage we would grow more in love, endure well, grow in patience and sacrifice more for one another.

You are not too much for anyone, not even a Perfect God. 

Stop running. ( note to self ) 

 

love, 

transparent city mama 

Bedtime Routine

Routine baby, routine!

I’ve had a few mamas asked about my bedtime routine with Calvin and sleep training. First I will say this, Calvin has been a great sleeper since he was born which made creating a bedtime routine easier. My first advice, find a routine that works for your family, my routine is centered around my husband’s work schedule and when Calvin is most tired. Think about your schedule, babies feeding times, when is he or she most tired? and what soothes baby?. Because I’ve been bottle feeding Calvin since he was born it was also easier to slowly remove night feeds, he was sleeping through the night by 4 months. Also, babies go through a sleep regression, which means at some point they revert back to waking up at night out of nowhere. During this period we kept our routine and it’s been working ever since.

So this is the routine that has worked for us:

  • 8:00pm – Last meal ( usually a heavy veggie like sweet potato, squash chunks, potatoes, green beans etc)
  • 9:15pm – Bath time ( this we aim to do bath time every other night, but as Calvin starts getting older we definitely want this to be part of our every night routine)
  • 9:30pm – change into PJ’s, lights off, Night light is on, and play lullabies. ( we’ve been playing the Hillsong baby lullabies since we started this routine, along with waterfall sounds and Super Mario bro lullaby. They all soothe him depending on his mood)
  • 10pm – sitting in rocking chair and feed last bottle, give him his wubnub Paci till he falls asleep and take him over to his crib.

He usually falls asleep within 15 mins and doesn’t wake up till 8 am ish. If he wakes up earlier we pat his booty and shush him quietly, he goes back to sleep.

On really bad nights ( teething nightmares, oh those nights are truly nightmares! ) we did our same routine but since he would wake up 2 to 3 times in the middle of the night we co slept with him. He got rest and we got rest! Everyone is happy!!

Things that did not work for me, the crying method. If you’ve endured this method for more than 5 minutes, OOF Your a trooper!. We couldn’t, I remember telling my husband for nights ” he needs to cry it out! Don’t pick him up!” And I couldn’t even last 5 minutes without getting up and putting him on our bed. But I will advice that during your days of sleep training baby, picking baby up should be your last option. But that’s my opinion, find what comforts baby most. Also, doing our routine earlier. I tired a 7:30pm bedtime, but with My husband’s work schedule he would never see Calvin and that was something he felt he couldn’t do. So we kept it at 10pm. Calvin needs daddy time too!

If your a breastfeeding mommy your routine will look a little different. I know removing feedings at night can be hard especially when your boob soothes baby to sleep. I’ve read from other breastfeeding moms that this transition can be rough, so be patient with baby and yourself. Sleep training is hard boob or no boo but you’ll get there. Some moms have shared that every week they removed one breastfeed at night until baby was able to stay 6 hours without a night feeding. Remember, you’re boob might just be a soother for baby at night when their crying. Try finding something else that will soothe him or her, paci, patting, music, rocking etc. These nights will feel long but once you can get into a routine it will be smooth. Babies are able to master routines quickly as long as your constant.

Love, 

Transparent city mama

BookRoo (Review)

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Growing up reading was not my thing, I didn’t like it nor was I good at it. I remember that my teachers would only get me to read if I would listen to the audio version of the book. Those were fun memories. Anyways, while I was pregnant I was already buying my favorite childhood books for Calvin. The Giving Tree was my first on the list! Guys, is it just me or does that book not make you cry! I can never get to the end without sobbing!

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@bookroo_love is a subscription for kids that helps them fall in love with reading by combining the excitement of opening gifts with discovery of new, treasured books. I really enjoyed opening each book myself, I can’t imagine a kid. So much excitement.

Bookroo offers three types of boxes, board book ( ages 0-3), picture books ( ages 2-6) and chapter books (ages 7-10). Every month is a new surprise for books! I personally loved each one of these books and Calvin loved the touch feel book. I’m excited to make these three books part of our reading time. Each one is so unique. The ” Planes, Trains and  Animobiles ” book teaches children about different animals and different ways of transportation, it’s funny and cute. Calvin loves when I add noise effects to each new animal we meet. The ” Eyes” book is filled with vivid colors, each page displays the detail in each animal’s eyes. Great book to teach babies to identify their eyes. My favorite of all is the touch and feel ” Animals” book. Calvin loves touching the different textures inside the book, this is also his first touch and feel book. Anyways, did you notice a pattern in each book? yes, they were all about animals. Every month you can look forward to a new theme. I truly believe this box is worth the subscription, I hope that Calvin loves reading as much as I do and this box will bring that excitement for reading.

New favorites delivered monthly!

 

<a href=”https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1068525&u=1826122&m=66323&urllink=&afftrack=”>Bookroo’s Junior Box</a>

My Journey; #worldbreastfeedingweek

        It’s been 4 months now, Calvin has been growing beautifully and gaining weight. He’s exploring more foods and his high chair never fails to be covered in crumbs and tiny fingerprints of leftover avocado. It’s been 4 months since I stopped pumping. My breastfeeding journey wasn’t easy, it’s one of those mother things I wish could have been different for me. But eventually I acknowledged my reality and after 7 months of pumping I transitioned out. I’d like to say that I became more emotional and physically health. But every so often that little lie in my head sneaks up.. ” you should have tried harder”. While Ruben and I were away on vacation we had a moment where we realized we were running out of formula and that was a big issue. We were in a different country and Calvin can’t just take any formula. And as I stood alone in the kitchen area staring at that almost empty can of formula I said to myself, ” if only I was breastfeeding, this would be much easier”. That’s the first time in a while that I felt like a failure, but if I’m honest I feel that way every time Calvin is pulling on my shirt and someone say ” you want boob ? “ or “oh he must be hungry” and I hear those words and dismiss them with a quick ” Yup” and smile. With this week being #worldbreastfeedingweek I’m sure I’m not the only mother watching all those beautiful mamas displaying their proud pictures of themselves feeding their baby! It’s a beautiful sight and one that many probably wish they could have. I’m sure I’m not the only mother struggling to believe that their decision to stop breastfeeding, never breastfeed or not be able to breastfeed makes them feel less of a mother. But my value as a mother or woman is not determined whether I was sucessful at breastfeeding or not. It does not determine my love for my son or whether I am fit to make good choices for him.

I think very often women (mothers) believe this lie that their journey has to be the same as every mother that meets the “standard” of a good mother, but what really is a ” good” mother ? Or what gives a woman more value than another woman ? I don’t think anything from this world can determine my value as a mother, my value alone comes from Jesus. I am worthy to be a mother because he saw fit that I would be Calvin’s mom. That my decision for not pumping anymore does not determine my love for him. I am a mother of great value and I consider myself to be a great mother because that’s who I believe I am. 

To the mama struggling this week looking at all the wonderful breastfeeding photos, your journey is just as beautiful as any other mom. Whatever your breastfeeding story is doesn’t define how great of a mother you are or how much you love you kids.

I shared my journey 4 months ago, every time I need some encouragement I read it. 

IMG_4192“I’ve been exclusively pumping and supplementing with formula for 7 months now This whole breastfeeding experience has been such a struggle. I remember after giving birth having to pump consistently so that I could bring milk back to Calvin at the NICU. Every drop was celebrated there. While pregnant all I ever heard was how formula shouldn’t be my first option ever. ( never tell any mom this please, it’s often the only option for many women for multiple reasons) The first time the NICU doctor asked me permission to give Calvin formula since my milk wasn’t coming down quick enough I refused it because of all these formula comments, two days later he asked me again hoping for a yes just so they wouldn’t continue pinching Calvin with needles to give him IV and it took that to get me to say yes. I felt shame that I wasn’t producing enough and just kept thinking about other people’s opinions. But my case was different, every baby is different. Then I remember latching Calvin to my boob and crying of the pain, every time I tried I cried. It was until he was two months when he had surgery that the surgeon made me aware that he was tongue tie and that was the reason it’s been so painful. So we clipped his tie and guess what? He wouldn’t latch and my supplies continued to be low. So I bought lactation pills, cookies, teas, oatmeal, pumped non stop and no matter what my milk still what’s enough. Calvin was growing and I wasn’t meeting his milk needs. Honestly, if I didn’t believe in the benefits of Breastmilk and Calvin wouldn’t have been premature, I don’t think I would have tried this hard for this long. So many times I tried to give up, I was emotional and exhausted, I felt like I failed Calvin as a mom. But man, I’ve had one heck of a team cheering me on, my husband, family, C.J’s pediatrician and mommy friends. I am so thankful for them. Calvin is finally eating well and I’m back at my normal routine, which means I can’t spend much time pumping anymore. So this month we are saying goodbye to Mr. Pump and embracing this new way of feeding. “
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To the new mama struggling with breastfeeding, you are a supermama no matter how you feed your baby. 

love, 

Transparent city mama

Traveling with a Baby

IMG_1005This past week our family took a trip to Punta Cana, DR. It was our first family trip with Calvin and I was a bit nervous about bringing a baby on a plane. I think as a parent you start imagining all the things that can go wrong, I mean who really wants to be on a quiet plane and have their baby screaming and crying? No one. lol, So my first tip is, book an early flight. Most babies take naps early in the morning and the hope is that the motion of the plane would make them sleepy. When booking your flight I would suggest getting a seat near the aisle, it gives you easy access to the bathroom just in case the baby needs a diaper change. During check-in time you should also note that you are allowed a carry on and a diaper bag. If you decide to take your stroller on your trip, your stroller is to be checked in but you will not be charged. We checked in one luggage and our Grand DockAtot ( We did have to pay for this because it’s a sleeper and big.) If you own the Deluxe size, you can just take it as carry on.

   So how should you carry baby on a flight? One of my mommy friend’s suggested I use my Ergobaby carrier, it’s more comfortable and better support and you want to get rid of as much baggage as possible. I packed our stroller, my Wildbird sling, and the Ergobaby just for different options to carry Calvin around.

   Our flight was at 7:45am, as soon as the plane took off Calvin went right to sleep. He goes to sleep pretty fast with any motion, his reaction was funny. It looked like he got scared and pulled close to my chest and forced himself to sleep! Ruben and I were dying laughing. Here are a few things I thought were a must for the flight.

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Blanket ( #target ), Paci ( #wubbaNub ), Noise blocker headphones ( #Banz ), Security Blanket. 

A blanket can be useful because of the temperature on the plane, I didn’t dress Calvin in a long sleeve onesie since our flight would be short and our destination was hot, so I figured a blanket was needed. I brought along his favorite comfort blanket and his WubbaNub. (He loves it! I’ve tried so many pacifiers and he won’t take none. ) The Banz noise blocked headphones, I love them but Calvin hates them. lol, I love them because they do block out noises and help babies sleep in loud places. Calvin would keep them on when he was much smaller, now, not so much. If you do have a smaller baby I would suggest investing in a pair. I took Calvin to a concert with these headphones and they were everything.

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Skip Hop ( changer), Wipes ( Pampers) , Aveeno ( Sunscreen), Babyganics ( teething pods), Boon ( Health and Grooming Kit), Mustela ( Eczema Lotion) 

For basic baby care products, I packed all of these. I really love the Skip Hop changer bag, we got it for our baby shower. It comes with pockets to store wipes, diapers, and baby bottom cream. The changing pad is also plastic and removable. I love that you can just take it with you without having to carry your diaper bag to the bathroom, especially on a plane.  I packed Tylenol, body and face sunscreen, baby bug spray, lotion, teething pods, our health and grooming bag, diapers and of course clothes. I packed around 8 items of clothes for 5 days.

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HappyBaby products can be bought at @Target

FOOD! / snacks are very important. I tried to pack as much as I could. We brought a can of formula ( which did not end up being enough), and all of our HappyBaby snacks. I really love this company, they’re organic and they have so many different food products. I packed puffs and teether crackers, oatmeal cereal, and pouches. I’m not a fan of store baby food ( just my preference) I’ve been making Calvin’s puree food since he started solids. However, I would have been crazy to take frozen food with me, so I settled for their pouches. I really like that the pouch is clear so I can see what’s inside, they have so many different veggie and fruit combinations and they’re organic. If you looking for a great baby food company, I would recommend Happybaby.

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Fisherprice ( game control), The first years ( cup stacks) , @Bookroo_love ( book), Fisherprice ( feet piano) 

TOYS! Pack all of babies favorites. It’s like bringing a piece of home with them. These made our trip easier because we could entertain Calvin when we were at the beach/ pool or eating out. He loved playing at the beach with his cup stacks, we have so much fun putting them on his head. He giggles all the time trying to figure out what’s on his head.

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Swinways ( Baby float) Amazon ( Gate Bag)

These two items I would consider necessary, I bought this float for Calvin to protect him from the sun while being in the pool and also for his own safety. If you’re going on vacation and you will be going to the pool, you can always ask the hotel if they provide floats for babies/ kids. The gate bag was suggested by our friend, she shared that she experienced damages on her stroller when she checked it at the gate and lost parts of the stroller. I bought this bag on Amazon and it was really great. Our stroller still had some minor damages but it was in one piece.

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DockATot is heaven sent

If you didn’t know most hotels offer cribs for babies. So be sure to ask your hotel if they have cribs. I think choosing a family-friendly hotel is probably a great option for a family vacation. For our trip we brought our DockAtot Grand along, Calvin loves sleeping in it and its super comfy. Although our hotel provides a crib for us, he ended up sleeping with us in his DockAtot. The bed was actually big enough for us three for the first time. ha! The DockATot is a baby product that I love and if you’re traveling with a small baby I think it’s worth investing in especially if you are co-sleeping. It’s safe, comfortable and you can take it with you anywhere. I would also suggest getting a travel bag for it, I wish would have had one for this trip to avoid the headache of it getting damaged at check-in.  I’m so thankful they sent us over a travel bag for our next trip! Thanks, DockATot! ( sponsored) 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these tips and that your first trip with a baby is wonderful! If you have more tips, please be sure to leave a comment below and subscribe to my blog if you want to follow my journey!

love,

Transparent city mama. 

 

 

Baby Wearing Love

I’m away on vacation with our little family. However, I wanted to quickly share my baby wearing faves! I shared these products on my IG page for my #productcrushwednesday series last week. Hope you love them & Check them out!

I can’t share enough how important I think babywearing is, did you know that studies have shown that babies grow healthier through physical touch? I’m so grateful for carriers because they allow me to share a special bond with my son. He’s close enough to kiss and feel his heartbeat. Since Calvin was premature I didn’t have physical contact with him till a week after giving birth, I got to hold him when I gave birth and they quickly took him away to the NICU. I was so emotional and desired to physically have skin to skin with him. I read so much during my pregnancy and this was one of the things most specialist and blogger moms spoke about. Another benefit about skin to skin is giving your baby the opportunity to breastfeed. Although Calvin had a lot of issues latching on, one of the reasons my supplies was so low was because of a lack of contact I had in the beginning with him and him not being able to latch correctly. So to any new mama reading, hold your baby as long as you want. But I’m sure you’re doing that anyway. Who wouldn’t! Anyways, I’m so thankful there are so many different baby wearing products for every stage! These are my fave.

Each one of these babywearing gears are so different but serves the same purpose, to carry baby close to kiss and hug. I’m currently using the @ergobaby and @mywildbird.

The Ergobaby was the first carrier I got gifted to me for our baby shower. It’s the Ergobaby 360, I love using it when I have to take long trips with Calvin. It gives me support, comfort and I can use it multiple ways, front, back, facing forward, side, It was perfect when we went hiking. I started using this a little later once Calvin met the weight requirement since he was a preemie. They do sell a newborn insert for smaller babies and it comes with a head cover for baby.

@sollybabywrap is a baby wrap, I used this wrap when Calvin was much smaller. I wore it around the house to get stuff done. Calvin would sleep for hours in this wrap. I would recommend it for newborn babies, gives you lots of skin to skin with baby. The material was so soft and it made me feel safe carrying him around with it.

@mywildbird the baby sling. I bought this sling for the summer. I wanted something lightweight and comfy. It’s been my favorite sling so far this summer. I’ve taken it to our pop art museum adventures and walks to the park, and I’m currently using it in Punta Cana. If your a breastfeeding mama you can also use it and feed baby in it. I love this company also because their slings are made by stay at home mothers! How beautiful is that?

Hope you found this post insightful! Let me know what’s your favorite babywearing gear!

love,

Transparent city mama.