Today…My boys are 2 years & 6 months + 1 week

Andres & Santiago turned 2 years old and 6 months last Tuesday, June 9, 2015.  Time flies. Can’t believe Santiago is already 2. He’s talking up a storm, forming 2 to 3 word sentences and today I heard him count his blueberries on his own for the first time, uno, dos, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve (he skips 3 for whatever reason). Oh and my little sister Megan called me just a few hours ago, she’s pregnant. Unexpected but overall a good thing.

Looking forward to seeing her in August, she’ll be showing by then.

Since Santiago has been out of school, he started summer camp at Geneva Day School. He’s into his second week and he likes it OK. Oh and I’ve decided I’m definitely sending him to Spring Bilingual. I met his teachers a few weeks ago and went to a class and really liked it.  I think it’s the best decision as far as language and being in a safe environment where he feels comfortable speaking both English & Spanish. He’s speaking much more Spanish than English these days.

We had a big birthday bash for Santiago last weekend. He had so much fun at his party. I was worried he would be nervous and afraid since there were so many people but all in all he had a great time. He ended up with a ton of blue icing everywhere.

And Andres is eating more, he’s smiling more, and he’s moving around more. He can sit in the Stoke chair on his own now and barely falls forward. He’s still not strong enough to lift up his body on his own but he’s getting there. He’s starting to get Mamitis already…this will pass as it always does for all mothers out there.

I love my little baby munecas:)

Today…Santiago stole his friends food

The school year is coming to an end and I had Santiago’s end of the year meeting with his teachers yesterday. Santiago is doing great, he’s a great little nino, has come a long way over the past ano and the teachers love him.  He is talking a ton saying things like truck, pato, agua, bottle, more, I did it, mano, pie, oso, poto, and much more. His physical skills, like eating with a spoon/fork, running, jumping, are all improving. It’s amazing to see the difference from 1 year old to 2 years old, it’s like night and day. At this time last year he wasn’t even walking, now he’s my little maniac:)

So back to the meeting; the teachers asked me yesterday if Santiago really ate as healthy as he does at school at home. I of course said yes (I send him leftovers from dinner for his lunch).  They encouraged me and told me how great it was; however, Santiago will sometimes get a little jealous of the other kids food and while they are looking away during lunch reach over and eat the other kids food:) I had no idea. Poor little Santiago.

On another note, Andres is growing like a weed and moving around a ton by just rolling from one side of the room to the other. We started giving him food last week. He has eaten platano, camote, and avena so far. He’s a doll, super patient and just wonderful to be around. He makes everyone in the room smile. My sweet little Andres, Santiago can’t wait to play with you!

Today I…had a busy but fun day

It’s been great having our kitchen back. Though this week I only cooked 3 times, I was at least able to host Mothers Day and finally cook for my Mother in Law last Sunday.  This week was a bit busy with birthday parties and baby showers; overall a fun.

I realized today how easy I have had it with my two little ninos.  Though I’m not religious I feel they are both a blessing in my life and thank God, or that higher being for gracing me with such beautiful, loving, and easy little boys.  At the birthday party this morning chatter was filled with talk about crying babies, constant allergies, and blood in stool and I just listened not really having much to add, which made me realize how great my boys are:)

Work has been great as well. The most exciting thing I’m working on now is working with a women to implement and introduce a Health & Wellness Program which I’m super excited about. In addition to some cosmetic changes which are leading to a fundamental shift in our workplace culture, so that’s pretty awesome.

I’m working on everyday being grateful, everyday loving life, and everyday working to improve myself, my home and my family. Little by little. Off to organize my closet and Andres’s room. So much to do, so little time. You know all those important things:) Until next time…

Today…They almost finished my kitchen

It’s been 6 weeks since they started today and they’re finally almost done! We now have a fully functional beautiful new kitchen:) Yay!  A few small things they are coming back for next week, but besides that it has been an awesome experience from start to finish and we’ve had so much help along the way from abuela y su familia. Without them we would have been staying in a hotel for 6 weeks, rather than 4 days (we stayed in a hotel while they were working on our floors).

This week, back to eating at home, making dinner for my family, and spending more well-needed time at home reorganizing our lives and our stuff. It’s May and the year is almost half over, it’s crazy how time flies at lightening speed these days, tomorrow Andres will be 5 months and Santiago 23 months (only a month left to cumplir 6 mese y 2 anos).  Still debating what I’m going to do for these big acheivements. Anyways, I’m extremely tired and have fallen asleep twice while writing this.

Unit next time…

Today I…Explained to Isabel

Today I worked from Berta’s house. Little Santiago was off school today because he had stomach issues yesterday so he had to be symptom free for 24 hours before returning. It’s great because Mami Luz is back from Peru right now which makes a big difference in taking care of the kids. It takes a whole lot of women to take care of my two boys:) I feel like the luckiest girl in the world having so much help from Luis’s family. Andres & Santiago are so loved by all and get all the attention and love growing boys could need.  Santiago had a fabulous day with his Mami Luis and Abui. He played at the park, went to Cosco, took a little nap, played with Abuelo and then at the end of it, got to spend time with Mommy and Daddy. Andres was adorned by Mami Luz all day long with intervals from me breastfeeding, playing, and changing him.

Luis came home from work a bit tired. Yesterday Abuelo, Luis Sr., made a little boo boo in his construction work. He is building an addition off the side of their house and built the forms for four columns that will be supporting the house. One of the forms split after the concrete was poured and concrete was everywhere! “You learn from your mistakes”, he said with a smile on his face. So that was that, Luis was there helping him anyways and Alvin, my brother-in-law (Luis’s sisters husband), came to help clean up the mess.

Anyways, right when I was finishing up, Isabel came in with Luis and Luis was telling her that she couldn’t just eat meat. And then I chimed in as I always love to about food and fitness (though my fitness these days is abysmal), and told Isabel as I always do about how important it is for her to be healthy, to make healthy life decisions, to eat healthy and to be smart about her food choices.  Isabel is a sweet 7-year-old girl and her family already calls her “gordita”, which I don’t take issue with, I just think that there are more choices than for her to be “gordita” and that having weight issues at this age can only lead to a more complicated life moving forward. We’ll see the choices she makes moving forward, I can only say so much as her tia Melissa.

Picked out the paint colors tonight. Kitchen in the final stages of construction. Loving life and hoping for the rest of the week to go smoothly with me and my boys (Santiago, Andres, and Luis):)

Today I…Found Many Things to be Grateful For

Today I started the day off getting ready for work, folding laundry, breastfeeding, and then hearing that sweet little voice from the other room, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy…called Santiago.  I ran into the room to see a big smile on his face.  That smile makes me melt everyday. I love my little Santiago. Almost ready to leave, knock, knock. “Oooooh” says Santiago, wondering who’s there. We go downstairs and of course it’s the workers. Three weeks left with our kitchen project.  I must say Brothers Services has been awesome so far. Everyday they work, they clean up the work area impeccably. You would only know they were there because of the fact that we have no kitchen currently.

Anyways, off to school.  Santiago is getting accustomed to school again, which is honestly so great.  Not as many tears, not as much guilt. Then off to work.  Got a bunch done, despite the fact that my mother-in-law left for an hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, was a bit frustrating, but you live through it, you put things in perspective and you do what you need to do.

All-in-all, the day was pretty normal. Andres was as sweet as can be as usual, a few cries, but mainly smiles, coos and burps. He’s a sweet baby and is more and more alert everyday. Santiago wakes him up, especially when he unintentionally grabs his arm and scratches the skin off:(  Sitting hear, finishing up work, going to eat dinner hear at my MOL’s and then possibly off to the park and then home.

Loving my babies, my husband, my work, and my family. A lot to be grateful for:)

Today was a typical day

Today was a pretty typical day. I dropped Santiago off at school, he had a pretty good day yesterday and this morning I changed up our routine a bit. Instead of having to change him, I just put him in his school clothes to go to bed. It made my life sooooo much easier, should have thought about that a while ago.

Went to and worked from my suegras house today with little Andres.  Mid-day went to pick up the iPad that was stolen from our house last August.  They found it last September and it was finally ready for pick-up in March, it has just taken me a few weeks to go and get it. Andres was great all day long, Santiago came home relatively happy. He had another good day at school and he actually went to bed pretty early, 8pm (normal bedtime is around 9:30).  After he went to bed, I breastfed Andres for a bit, 9pm rolled around and I watched my first TV show this week, The Big Bang Theory, and now I’m here. The days are passing volando and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with everything…Work, kids, life…but what working mom doesn’t. It’s a balancing act and I keep saying this but I really do need to get that workout back in my schedule.  It will happen, I just need to focus and get back into it. So many goals, so little time and so little space. Just need to breath, take a step back, relax and things will come together.

Another day awaits…

Today I…

Today I decided that I was going to start to record my memories, my days, to learn to become a better writer by practice, to leave something for my kids and their kids.  Today I decided to write. Santiago is now 22 months and Andres 4 months. The time is passing volando and I can’t keep up.

This morning I had to wake Santiago up to go to school and oh what a disaster, have you ever heard that saying “don’t wake a sleeping baby”, well, I have learned why several times this year. He’s a maniac when he doesn’t wake up on his own.  Santiago refused to let me change out of his moose sweatshirt that is way too small (it’s for a 12 month old), the sleeves only reach to the middle of his forearms.  I finally achieved my ultimate goal of removing his shirt, only to be followed by 10 minutes of continuous crying, running around and begging for his sweatshirt back…I gave in.  He went to school looking like a cute little fool with his sweatshirt that has a big moose and is two sizes too small and his little hat his abuela bought him over the weekend. After that he was a happy little camper, smiles galore, what baby isn’t happy after they finally get what they want.  All the while Andres was patiently waiting in his crib cooing and awing, just waiting for it all to be over.

Off to school, the drop-off was actually pretty uneventful, thankfully; though, as we approached the campus, dije a Santiago “Vas a divertirte hoy dia, vas a jugar con los amigos, vas a ver tus professoras” and he always responds shaking his head “No, mami, no.”  We parked and I took Santiago and Andres out of the car and Santiago hung onto me for dear life until I handed him over to Ms. Faby.  Long story short on why Santiago won’t be going back to his current school…Month of March, one of the teachers had an emergency and had to be covered by multiple subs during her absence, then Santiago & I fell down the stairs, I busted my back and he busted his lip and since then Santiago has pretty much been en contra de la escuela, hoping he’ll get back into the swing of things soon.

Off to work, mostly uneventful, worked from my suegras house, Berta. I have a pretty nice set-up. Berta takes care of baby Andres, I work in one of the bedrooms, and when Andres needs to lactar, she brings him over to me, I feed him and then when he’s done give him back. She’s a god-send (more about religion and god later, still not sure about everything, learning and growing).  Anyways, we’re starting a health and wellness program at work and I talked to the woman who is likely going to be planning and implementing everything; I’m super excited to work with her.  Other than that, just building a new ecommerce site to compliment our current business, everything’s going pretty smoothly and then tomorrow off to the warehouse.

I talked to Mamu, my grandma, mid-day. She’s not doing so hot, Papa is in the hospital, he’s 97 and having some gastrointestinal problems. He should be getting out tomorrow but Mamu is pretty depressed about the whole thing. She’s 89 and overall in pretty good condition; though extremely depressed at times.  She was crying, but always finds something nice to say about whoever she is talking to.  She told me today that I was like her daughter, that Luis was the best guy, the best husband, and that I am very lucky to have him.  Then she told me she loved me.  Mamu is such a special person and I’m so happy to have her in my life. Our Saturday visits for the past decade have made my life so complete. Though the weekly visits have diminished to bi-weekly because she doesn’t feel well quite often, every time I call and talk to her and see her, it puts a smile on my face. My Mamu & Papa will forever be the parents I never had…

Santiago came home feliz de la vida, gave me a big hug & kiss, even though apparently he spent the day sitting in his chair with his shirt and hat held tight for three hours straight, not really wanting to move or get up.  That didn’t phase him though, he was running around, eating nuezes (his favorite) and sitting with his abuelo, while I was breastfeeding and working, I’ve become a pretty good multi-tasker since the first.

Looking forward to another day tomorrow, another day to start something that I wasn’t able to start today…maybe tomorrow I will jump at the chance to finally workout, it’s been too long.

Why isn’t Isabel Bilingual?

One thing that I am very aware of is that raising a bilingual child in a predominantly English speaking world is challenging and it is going to take a lot of effort and time for us to succeed.  I was reading 12 things parents raising bilingual children need to know and have experienced many of these just by observing my neice, Isabel.

Isabel was essentially raised by her Spanish-speaking Peruvian abuela. The same abuela who has taken care of Santiago for the past 15 months, before we sent him off to daycare in September.   Abuela speaks only Spanish, yet after Isabel went to school at the age of two, she decided that English was what she was going to speak.  She understands and speaks a few words but is by no means fluent.  So when looking at this article, I can relate and am on a mission to figure out the right steps to take to succeed in raising Santiago to speak both Spanish & English.

The first point the author discusses is “It doesn’t happen by magic“.  It’s important for me and my husband and whoever is trying to raise their children bilingual that there is a lot of effort and emphasis that needs to be placed on the second language if the child is truly going to e bilingual.  Along with this you need to be extremely consistent, “Consistency is crucial” and “Plan Ahead“.  I keep thinking about laying out a plan, and in the next week I plan to in one of my future blogs.  Without a plan, you really don’t know where you’re going.

The fourth point talks about Paying Attention to Exposure Time and recommends that the child should be exposed to the language for at least 30% of their waking hours.  Along with this point is spending that Extra Time reading, talking, and taking vacations that involve the second language.

The author points out that There will be doubters, Don’t listen to bad advice, and It’s not always easy, and Your child might answer you in the “wrong” language. These are important tips, essentially this means follow your heart and your plan and if it works out it works out, if it doesn’t seek advice from those who are experts in the field and don’t give up if your child just doesn’t get it.

The last four points: Your children will gain an array of benefits by becoming bilingual, You will never regret it, and You will be Proud are the most motivating points for me.  Some of the benefits to being bilingual include the delay of dementia, the improvement of a child’s working memory,  the improvement of the brain’s executive function,  the improvement and betterment of multi-tasking, and being more open-minded and sensitive to others, among other benefits.  Although it’s a lot of work and effort, I’m sure most successful and even unsuccessful parents can say that they have never regretted it and are extremely proud.

Back to Isabel.  After reading all these tips, there was never a path laid out for her, it was at whim.  Her abuela and abuelo spoke Spanish to her but when she didn’t understand (because her mother and father, though both Native Spanish speaking people never made a concerted effort to speak Spanish), they would convert to English to appease Isabel.  I’ve learned from that and now plan on having a plan and having a serious conversation with Berta & Luis Sr. to pave the way forward for Santiago and little baby (soon to be born).

I really enjoyed reading these tips and am looking forward to planning and sharing my path to raising bilingual babies. Soon to come…

Bilingual Babies – Spanish, English or Both

I’m a 31 year old married mom with one sixteen month old, Santiago, and one baby on the way (#2monthstogo), Andres.  The past 16 months have completely changed and reshaped my life.

Apple Picking at Laraland Farms
Apple Picking at Laraland Farms

My husband, born and partly raised in Peru, moved here when he was 8, a few years after his parents were able to make their way here.  His first language was Spanish, but his main language is English.  We speak English together, he speaks English at work, and after 6 years together, he started speaking Spanish in our home, to our son.

My experience with language is back and forth, up and down. I studied Spanish all through middle and high school.  In college I switched to Italian and then reverted back to Spanish. And then to top it off I went into the Peace Corps and lived in the DR (Dominican Republic) for a little less than 2 years and became pretty fluent.   I now get to practice my Spanish on a regular basis with my mother and father in law.

It's a Plane
It’s a Plane

This is blog is intended to be my journey and experience in attempting to raise my two little boys (and any future kids) bilingual.  So far, so good, but “Ago” isn’t speaking yet, other than “agua” he points and babbles a lot!  We’ll see how it goes…