Monday, December 29, 2008

Toys from HELL

I find it quite ironic that two of Jeremiah's Christmas presents that I was looking forward to him receiving and playing with the most have given me the most trouble.

First offender: TMX EmoI purchased Elmo from Toys r Us in August, on clearance for $15 when pre-orders for the Elmo LIVE were coming out. I didn't feel that Jeremiah would quite appreciate a toy that told stories and jokes at his age, and would have more fun with this (budget friendly) Elmo. I couldn't wait to take him out and see him roll, laugh, stand up, sit down. However, I was good and kept him in our closet til Christmas morning. Immediately upon Jeremiah opening him, we put in new batteries and waited for the magic to happen. You push his tummy, he does his thing. Or, in the case of THIS Elmo, every four or five PUNCHES he would roll and laugh, or maybe move an arm or a leg. I was PISSED. Even if I still HAD my receipt for Toys r Us, I would not be able to return him because the receipt would have breached the return date, broken or not. On top of it, they don't even carry this particular model any more because of the new Elmo Live. So, I called up Fisher Price today (ironically enough my second call of the day... but more on that later!) and without having to argue a single bit, the very kind operator put in an order for a replacement Elmo to head my way. She told me I could keep the busted one and turn him into a dust mop if I wish. Praise God! (Anyone want a dust mop that's red, fluffy and cute?)

Second Offender: Fisher Price Crawl and Cruise Musical Jungle

Jeremiah has had lots of fun playing with this toy at Braden's house, especially now that he is obsessed with balls. He goes nuts over them. When my grandmother mentioned that she still needed a present for Jeremiah for Christmas, I ordered this off of for her. Ever since it arrived last month I have been counting down until I could play with this with Jeremiah. I didn't start assembling it until last night because I wanted our Christmas tree out of the house first. Lets just say that the Toys r Us review for this being an "easy" toy to assemble is a LIE! A big fat lie. I kid you not, it took me an hour last night and another hour today (plus a phone call into Fisher Price) to figure it out. This thing is bulky. It has so many bumps, ledges, poky things, things to twist (in an odd fashion), screws to screw (that don't screw in easily), you name it. However, now it is assembled, minus one screw that refuses to go in. I don't care. For the 15 minutes that Jeremiah was able to play with it before bed tonight, he loves it. Lets just hope that he remains interested in it for a while!

Friday, December 26, 2008

We survived!!

Christmas is officially over! Part of me is always a little sad the day after Christmas because, as tired of snowmen and jingle bells as I am come Christmas Day, it means that the holidays are finished and we have nothing but dreary January to look forward to. I am NOT a huge fan of New Years for that very reason as well. I don't like New Years parties, because well, I am not really a party-going kind of girl. I hate staying up late, I hate crowds, noise, dancing, and getting drunk. And being cold. Louis tends to feel the same way as I do about New Years (minus the dancing and getting drunk part, haha). We have the perfect New Years Eve planned this year, just like last year- we are going to stay home, I'm going to make a fabulous dinner (most likely my baked ziti), and we are going to watch movies on our projector until the countdown comes on TV. And no, we will not be going to the Rose Parade. I went every single year as a kid. To a ten year old, waking up at 5 in the morning and sitting out in the freezing cold, sipping hot chocolate and eating donuts is an adventure. To this almost 26-year old mommy- HELL NO. I don't think I have fully recovered from the one insane New Years my sophomore year of college when Louis, my brother and his ex girlfriend and I all camped out on the parade route New Years Eve. That did me in. Most miserable New Years eve of my life. We weren't even awake for the parade. However, when Jeremiah gets older, we will be taking him. It's something every kid needs to experience.

Anyway, needless to say, Christmas was amazing. Spending time with our family is always a plus- when they are adorning us and our only child with presents- even better! Jeremiah was more than a little overwhelmed with all of the running around (we had 5- yes 5! celebrations starting on Christmas Eve straight through last night, including our own here on Christmas morning). He wasn't awake for the 11:00 p.m. exchange at my MIL's house on Wednesday, and refused to sit still for any of the other exchanges. However, he was enchanted with his "Santa" presents, which I didn't wrap. Those were the Fisher Price Baby Grand Piano (which he wouldn't leave at all during our exchange!), the play-skool swing and score musical t-ball set, Sesame Street rubber ball and Fisher Price laugh and learn vacuum. Our son made out like a bandit, receiving toys galore (toy cars and trucks seemed to be the more popular present), especially since a lot of my relatives gifted him not only his Christmas present but his birthday present as well. I don't plan on taking out all his presents at once; aside from his Santa presents, a new Fisher price musical table from my uncle, and this amazing Fisher Price crawl and cruise musical jungle from my grandma (which I ordered from Amazon for her and have been counting down the days til I could play with it with him!), one other toy will be taken out each week (or as they become developmentally appropriate).

As for me? Well I was quite spoiled this year from my husband. Quite spoiled. I have been dropping hints that I would love a Garmin GPS for my car (which, by the way, we sold earlier this week! More on that tomorrow). I was fully expecting that to be my one and only present, since it was rather pricey. Well, not only did he get me the GPS, he also got me the greatest outfit, shoes, and BOOTS! I got compliments left and right yesterday. My husband has stellar taste. And he loved his presents from me =) I could go on about presents forever, but I will say that I am counting down til next weekend (hopefully) when Louis and I have a date to Outback! My wonderful brother and future sis gifted us with a gift certificate to there and promise of babysitting services, so pending my brother's Target schedule, we will have a night of relaxation and romance coming our way.

Anyway, my camera battery is dead or else I would post pictures. I'm off to delve into the world of "Twilight!" My wonderful Sister in law, Lisa, got me the first two books from the series, because I really want to have them read before I see the movie. Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One more day! (pictures!)

Tomorrow's Christmas Eve!!! Even though it's technically Jeremiah's second Christmas, I feel more like it is his first. Last year he was merely three weeks old and spent most of the day sleeping. Now he's bright eyed and bushy tailed, very curious about all the packages I have piled behind the television! (quick side note- he learned how to say BOY on Saturday and has been saying it constantly. Bless his heart!) I still have much left to do- finish wrapping Louis's presents; frost a batch of peppermint meltaway cookies (and make the frosting for them); and clean my house. Oh, and (pout) buy Louis's main present. The item on top of his wish list (a watch from Beach Bums) turns out to be nearly four times the amount that either of us thought it would be. He thought their higher-end watches were around $150, so I was going to get him a gift certificate for that amount so he could choose the one he wants himself. (He's just wayyy too picky). However, their regular watches, ones that look like you could have purchased them at JC Penny's for way less, START at that amount, and go on up to nearly $500. That's what I get for waiting to get his present the day before Christmas Eve! I think I"m going to end up purchasing him a Visa Gift Card for the original amount we were budgeting on so that he can choose another watch elsewhere. There's no way I want to brave the mall. I've had enough of driving around HALF AN HOUR trying to find a space- Saturday at the Cerritos mall to have lunch with Anna, and then today at the Quad (a shopping center in Whittier, not even a mall!). I'm going to run out to Ralphs tomorrow to pick it up.

So here is what our holiday is going to look like:
Christmas Eve:
*I have a Starbucks date at 11:00 with my wonderful elementary school best friend, Ashmi! I rarely see her anymore since she is attending medical school in San Francisco. I am thrilled to see her and have a (very quick) catch up
*3:30ish- off to my parent's house. Dropping off Christmas presents for the next day (so our car won't be loaded down!), having a late lunch/early supper of cold cut sandwiches and potato salad, and watching "Santa and the Three Bears." It was a TV special that I grew up watching and absolutely adore. I found it on DVD on Amazon for just 89 cents! The quality is about the same as it was when it premired back in the 80's but I still love it
*7:00- Christmas Eve service at Louis's old church, Calvary Chapel La Habra. I'm praying that Jeremiah will be okay! I'll have to bring lots of cheerios
*Immediately following the service- Christmas Eve at my mother in law's. Homemade tamales, rice and beans, plus the gift exchange. Their main Christmas celebration is Christmas Eve. we usually get home around midnight or later, but I'm PRAYING that we will get done earlier!

*Wake up, open presents, eat breakfast
*10:30: Meet at my mom's house for our final Christmas morning with my brother. His fiancee's family primarily celebrates Christmas in the morning, so it's our last year with him for that part of the day. The end of an era.... anyway we will be opening presents, and then...
*1:00ish- off to my Grandpa Harry's house. Our first Christmas without my grandmother. Last year on Christmas Eve, my grandfather nearly died and had to be rushed off to the hospital. He wasn't around for Christmas day and it was very sad and lonely without him... but at least he was still alive! Anyway, gifts and a Honeybaked Ham lunch will take place. And meeting my Aunt Nancy's latest guide dog puppy in training!
*5:00ish: Christmas Dinner at my Grandma Sally's. This is a veeeeeeery crazy celebration because all (30ish?) of us are over there. When we walk in the door people are literally throwing presents at us to open and dinner usually comes out of the oven right we walk in. Chaos, but I love it!

It will be a miracle if I don't die from exhaustion come Friday. But I have to keep remembering that we dont' know how many more years of running around on Christmas day we will have. My grandparents are the glue that holds the extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) together. When they are gone, it's almost certain that everyone will be with their own little families on the holidays. We have to treasure it while it lasts.

Anyway, on Saturday my cousin Paul held his annual Christmas party at his Huntington Harbor house, complete with a tour of the Christmas lights while riding his boat. The harbor is literally in his back yard, and all of the people who's houses are like that decorate the back of their house with lots of lights and decorations. It's beautiful. It was Jeremiah's first time on a boat... we bundled him up cozy in his new leather jacket and the mandatory life vest. Here he is with Daddy and Grandpa David on the dock, getting ready to hop on the boat. See how happy he is? He thought it was fun! This lasted for about 10 minutes.

Here Jeremiah is sitting on Great Grandma Sally's lap, on the boat. Starting to think... hey I don't like this very much! It's cold outside, it's way past my bedtime, I haven't had a nap all day and I can barely move! Anyway, if my computer weren't taking especially long tonight to upload pictures on here, I would include a few more. We ended up going inside the inner part of the boat, where the restroom, stove, bathroom and bed are with Jeremiah so we could de-layer him. We played with him on the big bed, letting him crawl around while we listened to the new Britney Spears album (Louis's favorite) on his cell phone. He conked out around 5 minutes before the tour was over. My poor baby!

Anyway, I best be off to do what I need to finish up. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Miss This!!!!!

(Picture borrowed from my wonderful cousin's MySpace! From left-right: Josh (Rebecca's cousin); Rebecca (MY cousin!!); Tawnee (Rebecca's cousin), and of course my adorable son.

This picture was taken last year at Rebecca's 14th birthday party. How sweet and small my 2 week old son was! The theme of her party was Christmas, so we dressed him in his holiday best. The hat was way too big for him. Look how cozy he is... I REALLY miss the newborn-ness of him. (Makes me want another.... badly!) Yet I am absolutely loving this age that Jeremiah is at now. He babbles ALL DAY LONG. And he's switching it up from his usual "lalala's" to include "mamamamamama," "babababa," and other cute sounds. He babbles in the backseat of the car. In his crib before he falls asleep. In the bath tub. EVERY WHERE. I just love the sound of his sweet voice! And I swear he's trying his hardest to say "I love you." I LOVE HIM TOO!!!

At least tomorrow I will get my baby-fill when I visit with Miss Sydney! I absolutely LOVE my cousin Paul's annual holiday party!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cold Feet

Dear Lord,
Thank you for my wonderful husband! He keeps me warm at night and lets me warm up my cold feet on his legs. Please let him know that I don't mean to turn into a monster at night if the blankets happen to come off my feet... or even just one toe... I really have no control over this. Most likely I am still sleeping as I scream at him and steal the covers.

It is FREEZING!!!! Even with our heater on I find myself shivering as I write this. It certainly doesn't make me motivated to wrap presents or make cookie dough to freeze for next week. I don't want to do ANYTHING but curl up in bed with my husband and place my icy toes on his warm legs. Because no matter how cold it is, my husband is always warm and toasty. Even if he's shivering he can always make me feel warm. Inside and out. I love my husband!

In other news....
A few weeks ago I installed a program on here that lets me track the location of the people that read my blog. Very cool tool in my opinion. I honestly have no clue who half of my readers are. I try to think "okay, which friend of mine lives in this city that just came up?" I guess half the fun of reading a blog is that you can anonymously be a reader and get to know somebody through their journals without ever having to meet (or talk) to them. I'm the first to admit that I like to peruse the bloglists of my blogging friends every once in a while, avid blogger that I am. I love to read. I love to read about other people's lives (especially those who are married and/or have children!). I love to get a perspective on somebody else's life/situation/etc. Thank you to those of you who faithfully read my blog, even if I have never met you before! I look forward to my bloglist getting longer and longer, so if you read my blog and have one of your own, please share! And comment. That's half the fun of having a blog is to see people respond to it. Anonymously or not, doesn't matter to me. I'm not one to beg and plead for Myspace comments. That I could care less about. Myspace isn't "real"; this is.

Just some food for thought!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Turning up the parenting

Ever since Jeremiah turned a year old, he has suddenly blossomed. Growing taller, chunkier, more talkative, and even more independent than ever before. With that independence has come an even bigger curiosity- causing Jeremiah to get into things he shouldn't more frequently (and ignoring my No's!) Opening and closing drawers, touching the TV, messing with the DVD rack. He thinks it's silly when I tell him "no." If he obeys the first time I say no and I compliment him for listening (positive reinforcement,) he sees this as permission to go back to doing whatever he was doing. Agh. He's only 12 months old...

However, I do not want to be one of those mothers that uses the excuse of "he's only __ months/years old, he's just a little boy!" to waive any inappropriate behavior. As a teacher (and a big cousin!) I have seen first hand what can happen when a parent (or guardian/influential family member) chooses to spare the rod and spoil the child. It's not pretty. The three offenses I listed above are my three main "rules." If Jeremiah disobeys them, I immediately pick him up and move him while telling him "no" if he doesn't listen the first time. I think Jeremiah threw one tantrum (two at most) before turning 12 months old. Ever since his birthday, however, when he doesn't get his own way about something, out comes the tantrum! ESPECIALLY if he sees my cell phone (honestly, what is their fascination in it? Is it because he sees me use it several times a day? Because it has buttons? Occasionally makes noise and lights up?). Mostly I've been leaving him alone to let him work out his frustration and ignoring him during a little episode. I honestly do NOT know how to deal with tantrums and I'm praying to God that I'm doing the right thing. I also want to start implementing time-outs when he's around 15 months old. (Too young? Not soon enough?) I still need to read up and research on this whole new turn of parenting toddlers. I have two books on my Christmas wish-list: "Raising Boys" (can't remember the author but he's a Christian family writer) and "What to Expect- the Toddler Years." Before I gave birth to Jeremiah I had read the "what to expect the first years" cover to cover and could tell you exactly how to care for and raise a newborn, and would refresh on every new month as he was going through it. Well, between all of our celebrations and the upcoming holidays I haven't exactly had time to read lately!

If you are a mother of toddlers, especially little boys, any and all advise on disciplining would be greatly appreciated, especially in the area of time outs! Or even if you aren't a mother and simply have opinions on the matter, I'm wide open to suggestions and tips. My mother thinks time outs are a fabulous idea. She already puts Jeremiah in his high chair for a few minutes if he repeats an offense 3 times under her care. He's starting to learn. I don't even dare mention any sort of discipline with my mother in law, who thinks that 99 percent of her 6 year old nephew's obnoxious behavior is excusable because he's "just a little boy." Discipline of any sort for Jeremiah, her only grandson, would be thrown in my face- and yes I'd be called a bad mother. So frustrating.

In other news, Jeremiah, purely by accident, split my upper lip last week. The three of us were lounging in our bed one morning, and eagerly trying to come give me a kiss, he whacked his skull my lip, next to my tooth. The split lip turned into a canker sore, which spread to three different canker sores. Plus overly chap lips. Every inch of my mouth hurts... a lot. It hurts to talk, it hurts to kiss Jeremiah (and my husband). To eat, to drink... you name it. Chapstick is starting to help the chapped lips. Normally when I have canker sores they go away on their own in a few days, but not this time. I finally got some over-the-counter canker sore ointment from Target tonight, plus some peroxide to rinse my mouth with and an even stronger lip ointment. It's pure bliss for the full hour that it works. If things aren't better by Friday I'm going to break down and go to the doctor.

I finally got Jeremiah's thank-you cards out in the mail today,and tonight I started tackling Christmas cards. I got our portraits back today. I'm about 70 percent done with the Christmas cards. I want to get an address book because I am sick of scouring my email and text messages for everybody's addresses. I don't send out mail very often, but when I do it would be nice to have everything hand-ready. Even though snail mail is becoming a lost art.

So far Jeremiah has been really good about not getting into our Christmas tree! He loves looking at it with me but for the most part pays no attention to it while he plays. I can't believe that Christmas eve is one week from tomorrow!

Going to try and track down my husband now, goodnight everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, Christmas Tree!!

To me, it just doesn't feel like the holiday season until our Christmas tree is up. I LOVE Christmas trees! The way they look, both pre-decorated and decorated. The feel. The SMELL. Mmmm. I love roaming through Christmas tree lots in search of the perfect tree. And then the fun part- decorating! Louis and I, unfortunately, did not really enjoy decorating our first (and only) "very own" Christmas tree back in 2006, the first year we were married. We purchased the tree on his birthday (the 14th- TOMORROW!) but put off decorating it til the night of his big birthday bash at our apartment. Between me having to work at Target that morning, and running a million other errands for the party, we hastily threw the decorations on the tree, crabbed at each other a bit, until I finally relented and let him put our Star Wars C3PO ornament as our tree topper. We are going to buy our tree as soon as Louis finishes up at a service call (and when Jeremiah wakes up from his nap! Currently babbling himself to sleep). Tonight I fully intend to turn on some holiday music, light some candles and enjoy a romantic evening of decking my tree with my husband. And, if that wretched un-festive droid happens to make his way to the top of our tree again this year, then so be it. You live, you learn, you compromise.

Although I'm determined to find a tree topper on clearance after Christmas this year!

Jeremiah didn't really pay any attention to Michelle's Christmas tree during our playdate on Wednesday. Neither does Braden, who is just about the same age as Jeremiah. Their tree is in their living room, where they play most of the day. I'm crossing my fingers that Jeremiah's indifference to Christmas trees tides over to our house as well, because our tree is going in the exact same spot! The presents, on the other hand, will NOT be going under the tree until Santa comes on Christmas Eve. Lets just say that I do NOT want to risk having to wrap things twice!

So yes, tomorrow my wonderful husband turns 27 years old. It's such a reminder that we are getting older when we have to pause and think about how old we ourselves, our spouses and even our siblings are! Tomorrow morning I fully intend on letting Louis sleep in, even though it's technically my turn =). Then we're going to have breakfast at Jacks, his favorite diner by his new shop. Following this I am taking him to JC Pennys so he can use his present (gift card) and choose something nice to wear, then it's back home to relax and get ready for his family, my parents and *hopefully* my brother and Lindsey to come over. About a month ago, I tried out a recipe from a cookbook my grandma Arlene had given me (Easy meals with 6 ingredients or less). Louis absolutely LOVED the chicken enchiladas I made! He said they surpass my spaghetti and meatballs, which is his all-time favorite meal. Guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow night =) Finally a new dish to serve on his birthday! I swear, for a while it felt like every time we had his family over for dinner I would be making either spaghetti and meatballs or baked ziti, which is essentially spaghetti in the oven. Time for something new =)

Tomorrow is my wonderful cousin Rebecca's 15th birthday party. Her birthday is on the 17th. I am rather disappointed that I am not able to attend my *practically* "Little sister's" birthday party (mostly because I want to meet her boyfriend and give him my stamp of approval!!), but I promised her that she could spend a few days at our house during her Christmas break. She still hasn't gotten back to me on the dates, but I'm hoping that it will work out for next weekend. Our cousins Paul and Rayna are having their annual Christmas party, complete with taking their boat around Huntington Harbor (aka their backyard) to see the Christmas lights and I really want to take her. I know that she and her family wouldn't be able to go unless I take her. Woodland Hills is rather far from Huntington Beach, and with her dad's condition he wouldn't be up to the drive or the boat. Besides of how fun it always is, and what amazing food is always served, Rebecca has yet to meet 1 1/2 month old Sydney Ann! I haven't seen the cutie since she was 6 days old. I can't wait to give her another squeeze.

Well, I'm off to finish decorating my house! Yes, the decorations have been sitting on my dining room table for nearly a week. I'm halfway done now. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas- Celebration or Chore?

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. My parents (mostly my mom) always made a huge deal out of Christmas. Her house is always decorated to the max, complete with a huge outdoor display. Cookies are baked by the dozen, including other desserts such as fudge and date nut bars. Everything- the decorating, the baking, shopping for and decking the tree, even wrapping presents- is done a a family. Christmas movies and TV specials are watched all month long, and the Christmas music comes on somewhere in mid-November. Before the extended family started getting so huge, everybody would gather at my mom's house or my auntie Linda's house on Christmas Eve. Now that gathering has dwindled down to just my parents, brother (and his wonderful fiance!), grandma, and auntie Linda. Christmas Eve is when my in-law's have their big celebration, so I haven't been around on Christmas Eve since our second year of dating. The big culmination to the holidays is on Christmas Day with a HUGE gift exchange in the morning, lunch at my Grandpa Harry's house, and dinner with all 26 of us at my Grandma Sally's house.

I think my mother has passed on her "Christmas Nut" gene onto me. The first Christmas I was engaged (we didn't get married until nearly 3 years post-proposal so I could graduate from college and complete my teaching credentials), my mom and I shopped for Christmas decorations for my new home. I have two huge bins full of decorations now. This is only my second year being able to put them up because last Christmas, we were living at my parents. I LOVE shopping for presents. The decorating. The baking. The wrapping. The Christmas movies (Louis just came in to see if I was done blogging so we could watch "Home Alone." Last night we (well; he- I fell asleep at the beginning!) watched "Elf." He's such a trooper, since I know this isn't a favorite tradition of his). Today Louis hung the lights on our house for the very first time, and I pulled out the decorations. It was like seeing my old friends.

Anyway, as much as I absolutely LOVE this time of year, I always get SO stressed out with everything going on. No matter how much I get done in advance, just like with party-planning, there is always SO much left to do. I am pleased to say that every single present I have purchased is wrapped right now. I am almost done with my shopping (minus my poor husband. I also have to come up with something for his birthday one week from today!) I have so many things that I want to do every season, and do my absolute best to do, but usually wind up with my brain spinning and head aching come Christmas Eve. I'm the kind of girl that likes her plate FULL and is always up for a challenge. I absolutely LOVE every part of the holiday season but there are SO many times, especially the two gosh-darn AWFUL years that I worked at Target, where everything feels like a chore. I get too busy to stop and smell the roses. I am bound and determined not to let them happen this year. Whether or not all the cookies get baked, the packages perfectly decorated, or the tree completely decked, I want to be able to take a few steps back, cuddle up in front of our Christmas tree (which we are buying on Saturday) with my husband, and reflect on the true meaning of this holiday season. I'm determined to make Louis's birthday a casual affair rather than freaking out, trying to get the house in perfectly decorated order before his whole family comes here (again). I have been trying to decorate my house all week but just didn't have the energy to pull out the boxes until today. All of the decorations are unwrapped and on my dining room table, waiting to be dispersed through the house. Perhaps tomorrow? I'm determined to take things a little bit at a time.

Part of the reason I'm also determined to slow down is so that I'm not so beat on Christmas Day. Like I mentioned earlier, our Christmas Eve is spent at my MIL's house. Louis and I started the tradition last year of going to Christmas Eve service at his old church before heading over there for dinner and presents. We are usually up until nearly 1:00 a.m., but I am going to try to talk my MIL into opening the presents earlier because of Jeremiah. And because of our crazy day on Christmas day. My mom wants us to go to her house in the morning when we are done with our breakfast and presents at home, because it's the last year that my brother will be around on Christmas morning. Starting next year he will be having his own traditions with his new wife and her family, who celebrate on Christmas morning. We will still see him at each set of grandparents house later in the day, but its our VERY last year with all of us (including Jeremiah and Louis!) under the tree, in our pjs, just like growing up. This makes me sad. Happy because I'm going to be gaining such a wonderful sister, but sad that this chapter of our life is coming to an end. No more everyone sitting in the exact same spot. No more Joey spilling his OJ on the carpet like he does every year.

Stressed out about the holiday season? Don't be. Don't be like how I used to be every other year, in near tears on Christmas Eve with your hair standing on end. Take the time to remember the reason for the season! What gets done gets done. What doesn't.... well they didn't have gingerbread men at the first Christmas, anyway! Happy 2 1/2 weeks til Christmas, everybody! Thanks for reading this very LONG post!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Pics

I was finally able to log into my Sears account this evening, so as promised here are our Christmas pics! This picture is the one that we are going to be including in our Christmas cards. The family portrait with the same background is the one that I ordered the freebie 8x10 for; in all honesty I like the way we look in the blue background better but didn't like the way that background looks. I thought this one was more festive; our photographer is very much in love with the blue one and insisted we took some shots with it. Oh well! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jeremiah LOVES to Worship Jesus!

Ever since Jeremiah was a month or two old, my mom would hold him in her lap, raise his arms and say "We praise Jesus! We worship the Lord!" Today, out of the blue, my mom had him in her lap and said that phrase- and he lifted his hands completely on his own, with a huge smile on his face! Oh I so wish I had the camera. It just blesses me so much to see how God touches the spirits of even the littlest children. You may argue that Jeremiah has just learned to mimick an action that he has been taught his whole life; my mom and I choose to believe otherwise. He also LOVES it when I pray before we eat dinner together.

We also asked him "Where's Jeremiah?" and he raised his hands as well (something he picked up completely on his own!). My boy is so bright. He's starting to pick up on more and more things, mimicking, (this can be good and bad!!) and being able to follow simple commands or requests (although he doesn't always listen to NO!)

Today we went to Sears and took our family Christmas portraits. I wasn't as happy with the way they came out as I have been with our prior sessions, but we still managed to get a really cute one of Jeremiah by himself, and a group shot that I was fairly okay with. We had a $4.99 package coupon for 36 prints of the same shot in various sizes, so of course we used that. It turns out though, that if you use that coupon (or the regular $9.99 package deals) that each a la carte sheet is $19.99 thereafter versus the regular $7.99. Looks like we're not going to be getting any additional poses! We had an additional coupon for a free 8x10, and while normally they make you get the freebie of the same pose when getting the portrait package, Andrea (manager and our photographer) made an exception today because of how many photo sessions we've had lately. The free 8x10 we chose was our family portrait. I wanted to get that in wallets as well to include in our Christmas card, but I wasn't willing to fork out $20 vs. $8.00 for it. Looks like our relatives will have to make do with a pic of our lil man =) I wanted to post the proofs on here but the Sears website is down right now. So instead, enjoy a few of our favorite shots from Disneyland!
Arriving at the park

First character of the day!The merry go round was FUN!
With his "Year of a Million Dreams" ears... yeah he wasn't crazy about them
Daddy still had to buy Jeremiah his own embroidered ears =) Waiting for Small WorldPaws off my son, Captain Hook! Jeremiah took two decent naps, thank God!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You've Come a LONG Way, Baby!

December 2, 2007

December 2, 2008


I couldn't have asked for a better first birthday for Jeremiah. Every single minute of this special day was as magical and amazing as the place we spent it and as precious as the little boy whose first year of life it was commemorating. At 4:11 p.m., the exact time that Jeremiah entered this world, I started to cry. We were standing in line for the Finding Nemo submarine ride (his favorite ride of the day), and the kind lady standing behind us took a picture for us.

Our very first family portrait
Our family EXACTLY one year later! Complete with our free "Year of a Million Dreams" ears

Anyway, as promised, here is my labor and delivery story, written around a week after I got home from the hospital. More details about Jeremiah's trip to Disneyland and a very picture-heavy post coming probably sometime tomorrow. Thanks for celebrating with us!

Like I mentioned, I believe I started going into labor sometime around 9 on Saturday night (Dec. 1st). I was watching TV with my mother and my contractions weren't getting all that closer together but they were getting stronger and stronger. By the time Louis came home and we were watching "Christmas Vacation" in our room, the pains were getting pretty bad- like I had to use my lamaze breathing for them. Nevertheless, I was able to roll over and go to sleep. Until around 3:30 a.m. I woke Louis up, and we were talking about how the baby might come that day and he helped me try to go back to sleep but it just didn't work. Around 5:00 I decided to take a shower to see if it would help things, and to see if they contractions would go away if I moved around. The shower felt great but the contractions kept coming. So, we began to get ready to leave!

We had to wake up my brother because he was parked behind Louis and we needed his keys. My brother was so out of it that he gave me his watch instead. Then he asked where we were going at that hour and I sarcastically said "Dinner with family and friends! " He was confused so I told him we were going to the hospital. He said "I thought you were going tomorrow! Let me sleep 5 more min. til I have to get up to go to church and I"ll move the car." I told him to get up. He got mad and said I could wait half an hour for him to LEAVE for church! I stormed off upset, figuring we could probably wait. I tried to make our bed, but not even 2 min later a BIG contraction came, I ran into Joe's room, screamed at him "MOVE YOUR CAR NOW!" and he FINALLY got the hint! So it was off to the hospital we went, around 6:30 a.m.

Or, rather, to Vons to pick up some Lunchables for Louis!

We got to Queen of the Valley around 7:00. I was already 3 cm. dilated and 60 percent effaced. I was admitted to my delivery room by 8:00. It takes a while for them to get your paperwork in order (even if you pre-registered), monitor your contracitons for a few min (2-3 min apart!), and get your IV's started. Our nurse Lynette was such a sweetheart! I was rather dissapointed that Dr. Lee was off for the weekend, but Dr. Bohari turned out to be pretty good =) They asked if I wanted my epidural right away and I told them I wanted to wait it out a little longer until I was further into active labor (4-6 cm.) I was progressing at a cm. an hour until around 10:30, which is really quick for a first time birth! I was most comfortable in the rocking chair or on the toilet (don't ask, it just works). When Lynette checked me around 10:30 I was almost 6 cm. I still wanted to tough it out because the contractions weren't nearly as bad as I expected- they DID hurt but it wasn't like I needed to curse or scream or any other stereotypical labor stories. In fact, I had only hit Louis once at that point because he kept going on about his Keebler Elf crackers while I needed to hold him during a contraction. Right after Lynette checked me I got one more BIG contraction and thought "Screw it, why suffer?" So in came Dr. Chu for my epidural.

I was originally horrified of having a needle stuck in my back- but honestly having the IV put in hurt a lot more! It wasn't bad at ALL! He even upped my dosage from 12 to 14 because after 20 min. only my left side was numb. That did the trick! I could barely feel ANYTHING! It was so odd being paralized from the waist down. I could feel a little bit of pressure or movement during my contractions but that was IT. Louis would look at the monitor and tell me that I was having a big big one, where the numbers were at points up to 180, but I couldn't feel them at all! It was pure heaven. We watched TV, Louis took a few naps, I rested. Louis gave me the baby's birthday present, too- a Snoopy stuffed animal from Knotts Berry Farm in rememberance of when we first started going out and Louis used to work there. That made me cry! I was cuddling Snoopy a LOT during the waiting period.

I stayed at 6 cm. til around 3:00. They kept giving me Pitocin to up my contractions because the epidural slows them down, but from aroud 3:00-3:30ish I went from 6 cm. all the way up to 10! I was ready to push at 3:45. I pushed with Lynette for about 15 min I wasn't even sure that I even WAS pushing because I couldn't feel anything, but she assured me that my baby was descending! The Dr. came around 4:00 and my angel was born at 4:11, only needing about 5 pushes. A very fast, painless delivery! My husband watched the whole thing. As for me, my eyes were closed in concentration as I was pushing. I felt the dr. pulling and tugging at my baby a little big, and then felt a HUGE roller-coaster sensation but didn't even realize he was born until he yelled "it's a boy!" I was in such amazement at the gorgeous being that my husband and I created. I started to cry tears of joy for around 5 min. as Louis and I watched Jeremiah get cleaned up. Yes, I let Louis hold the baby first as I collected myself, and I felt that Louis deserved to hold him first since I felt him inside me for nine months. Words can't even begin to describe what I felt the very first time that I held Jeremiah. He was SO small, SO sweet, and SO precious! I still can't believe that this little critter is all mine.

Half an hour later we brought in the relatves. Nobody got to hold him til the next day though because he had to be rushed up to the nursery to begin his shower and shots.

Monday, December 1, 2008

One Year Ago

One year ago today was my last day before officially becoming a mommy. I remember it being a relaxing yet exhausting (and eventually painful!) day all in one. I know I have been slacking off on posting my journals from this time last year, but in all honesty I needed a little break from my blog. So instead of copying what I wrote last year, I'll write about what I remember =)

I remember that on November 30, 2007 (a year ago yesterday) I went in for my final round of fetal monitoring. It was a very rainy day and there were several pregnant mommies either waiting for a room to deliver their baby in, or like me, have fetal monitoring done. I was the lucky one of those mommies, though, because all those other mommies were there for abnormal and premature contractions; I on the other hand was rather overdue and ordered to have fetal monitoring done! The nurses wanted to keep me and have me induced that afternoon. I remember feeling so alone and SO scared after hearing that, even though I was secretly crossing my fingers that it would happen. They had Louis fax over my medical records (they were in his car) and called my dad and asked him to load my bags and my birth ball in his car to bring on over. As much as I was hoping to be admitted to the hospital, I didn't want to get my hopes up and didn't come prepared at ALL. However, after the nurses conferred with my doctor, he ordered me to go home and get some rest; I was in the VERY early stages of labor but still not dilated (1 1/2 cm), effaced (50%) or "dropped" (-2 station) enough for him to feel comfortable doing an induction on me. He told me to come back in three days as planned, on Monday, December THIRD, for our originally scheduled induction.

So home I went, and was able to go see my old orchestra and choir perform their annual Christmas performance that night! My mom and dad knew what was going on with my labor though and watched me like a hawk the whole night, especially since I had a (few) painful contractions during the concert, but nothing worth going to the hospital over. My grandma mentioned to me while we were eating dessert after the concert that she hoped I had the baby soon, though, because she was sick and tired of my bad mood! HA! I guess I wasn't that pleasant to be around towards the end of my pregnancy. Hey, by the time Jeremiah was actually born, I was 10 days over due, huge, achy and just plain SICK of being pregnant!

The next day (today) was a Saturday. I spent a leisurely morning and afternoon at home. The contractions were still irregular but frequent, and not painful, but I could tell they were becoming stronger. I had two WONDERFUL phone conversations with some very old and dear friends of mine, Ashmi (elementary school best friend!) and Emily (high school best friend!) I hadn't spoken with either one of them in quite some time, and it definitely added a special touch to that day. I also went and got myself a pedicure, which was no easy task considering I could barely move. However, I was insistent that my toes be nice and sparkly when delivering my son or daughter. It turned out to be the pedicure from hell; the person that did my nails rushed me out of there without checking to make sure my nails were totally dry, and half of them were ruined by the time I got home. And I SO didn't have the energy (or desire) to drive back and have them redone. Oh well! As it turns out, my poor feet were frozen during my whole labor and delivery and I wore socks the entire time.

Anyway, I do remember blogging around 8:30 p.m. that night, pondering the possibility that Baby Castillo MIGHT come on his or her own the next day, the last chance before Induction Day. Little did I know that I would go into labor roughly 20 minutes afterwards! Louis came home shortly after (he was running a surprise errand for the baby!) and we went upstairs to watch "Christmas Vacation." That's when things started getting REALLY uncomfortable for me. My contractions were coming closer together and they HURT. However, I was bound and determined not to be one of those mommies who got sent home for going to the hospital prematurely. I pulled out my "What to Expect..." book, read about my symptoms, and decided to follow its advice and try my best to go to sleep. Sure enough, by roughly 3:00 in the morning on December 2, I couldn't sleep any more! Tune in for my labor and delivery story tomorrow evening, when we get back from Disneyland! We are taking Jeremiah there for the first time to celebrate his first birthday in style. Even though I was just there two weeks ago, I'm so excited to go again! Especially seeing everything through the eyes of my wonderful son. No Splash Mountain for me this time, but that's okay. Spending the day with my lil man is going to be even better.

Jeremiah's birthday party on Saturday turned out to be a lot of fun. No matter how much I plan and prepare for something in advance though, there are always SO many last minute details to take care of the day of the event. That part drives me crazy. The attendance wasn't nearly what I expected, but we were surrounded by those that love and care for not only Jeremiah but Louis and I as well. It turns out that my cousin and his family from Phoenix WERE planning on coming to Jeremiah's party after all. My crazy uncle had no idea about this, haha. Although on their way here from Palm Springs, their car broke down and they weren't able to make it. I got some pretty cute shots of Jeremiah and the rest of his party, but I'll post them later. I think I left my camera in his bedroom, and I don't want to risk waking my sleeping boy! As for me, I'm going to continue clearing our house up from Thanksgiving, and get it all ready for CHRISTMAS!!