We are happy to share that our family is growing and Zachary Jean is ready to be a big sis!
Photos by Duane Ramos
We are happy to share that our family is growing and Zachary Jean is ready to be a big sis!
Photos by Duane Ramos
Summer in the Bay Area doesn't always mean super hot weather, but it's definitely full of adventure and fun! This season is one of our favorites (not to mention that Zachary and I are both summer babies!). Although our summer might look and feel different than it does for other families, it doesn't stop us from dressing the part. Summer clothes are the best!
This summer we're excited to be partnering with Gymboree and their Local Legends Campaign to share how we make our summer adventures legendary. Their summer collection is full of bright colors and is a perfect fit for all the activities we enjoy during the summer. With Gymboree you are sure to find some awesome pieces for your kid to look great, but also comfortable to play in all day. The Local Legends Campaign has challenged us to share what our family does to make our summer memorable. I love this theme because I'm reminded of how amazing my summers were as a child, young and carefree. It brings me so much joy to be able to make new memories with my own kids. Below is a few of our favorite summer traditions:
My husband and I have been attending this festival since moving to the Bay Area in 2012. It's one of favorites because it's held at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Outsidelands is not your typical music festival. Much of it has to do with our summer weather. The park is surrounded by trees, and fog surrounds the nights. When the sun goes down, music blares and the lights turn on through the foggy trees. The park becomes a magical, mystical playground. Bringing our little dancer, Zac with us has only made the experience more enjoyable. This festival is fun for the whole family!
Summer is a great time to enjoy the great urban outdoors. We love taking walks around the City and surrounding areas to enjoy the scenery and window shop. Walking around, even in familiar areas, can sometimes feel like a vacation when you have nothing on the schedule and nowhere to be.
What better way to spend summer than at the happiest place on Earth?! Some of our family lives in Southern California, so we visit often. This year we made the wise decision to become Disneyland season pass holders. By the end of this year, Zac will no longer be the only child, so we wanted to make a point to spend as much time with her as possible before her new sibling arrives in October. Seeing her little face light up when we enter the park makes my heart melt.
We love a delicious chilled beverage in the summer. Boba is one of those drinks that make a summer day even better! Whether it's an afternoon pick-me-up or an ice blended dessert, it always hits the spot. One of our favorites is Boba Guys (see photos)
Head over to Gymboree to check out their summer collection and get ready to make this one legendary!
2017 came and went. While I'm still getting used to the fact that it's already the start of a new year, I am perplexed with how much has already happened in the past 2 months. As much as we wanted to ease our way into the new year, we've been busy working, attending various baby events, traveling, hosting visitors, celebrating birthdays and participating in a couple of photoshoots (for our little amateur baby model). Amidst it all, however, we've been challenged with the much anticipated toddler tantrums. That's right, everybody. IT HAS BEGUN.
Do you remember grade school emergency fire drills? The toddler tantrums in our household are much like that. Stop, drop, and roll! I'll give you a real life example: Zachary wanted to open something that simply does not open (a bluetooth speaker that was already playing music). She asked me to "open" it for her as if it were a box, with something inside. I tried to explain and show her that it doesn't work like that and it cannot be "opened." Zac literally tosses the speaker, drops to the ground, and rolls around fake crying. I have to admit that sometimes the cry has tears, but more often than not, she forces them out. It is quite the performance, actually.
Although that example was ultra-specific to something a toddler her age cannot understand, these tantrums can be triggered by things she does understand. Like wanting to chew on straws, spitting out her drinks, or opening drawers and cabinets after already being told not to do those things. Because these are all things she knows she shouldn't do, she looks me right in the eyes, mischievously right before she does them, probably thinking to herself, "I'm not supposed to do this, huh? Bwahaha! Watch me!"
Some days are rough when you are a stay-at-home parent. Especially when the tantrum consists of the unacceptable, occasional hitting. The frustration can be extremely draining when you are with your kid all day and night. On one hand I feel so tired of being upset with her, having to repeat myself over, and over again. On the other hand I feel bad for being mad at her because I know that she's a young and doesn't always know any better.
Because this has been going on for awhile, I've finally started to find things that work for us. I wanted to write this out in case anyone else finds these tips helpful.
1. Don't say "Don't"
This is something I learned from my teacher, Michelle when I took a kids yoga teacher training at It's Kids Yoga. When you say "Don't touch that!" or "Don't jump!", kids often don't hear the "don't", so they do the exact opposite of what it is you want. What kids need are reasons and instruction. So rather than saying "Don't touch that." you could say, "You might get hurt if you touch that." Instead of screaming “Don’t run!” Saying “Please walk so that you won’t fall down.” In our household, because she’s so young, I’ve settled with what I know she understands. Zac knows exactly what it means to get an “owie”, so one of the phrases I usually default to is, “You might get an owie if you touch that.” There’s nothing she hates more than an owie.
2. Child proof the house
I noticed that most of the times I’m frustrated with Zac is when it involves her safety and getting her hands on things she’s not supposed to, like climbing up stairs or opening cabinets. It occurred to me later that if I could prevent the frequent “No’s” (eg. no running, no touching, etc.) then I’d be a much happier parent and she, a much happier toddler. I eliminated the constant “no’s” by simply childproofing with things like baby gates on the stairs and kitchen, using electrical outlet sockets, and adding silicone pads to sharp corners. Of course, it’s not the only solution for dealing with busy toddlers, but it was a great first step.
3. Be patient
This one is an ongoing project of mine. It requires a lot of deep breaths, prayer, attention and understanding. Some people may or may not know that I work part-time from home in addition to being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Patience can wear thin when you are trying to meet deadlines and feeling completely distracted when your kid is in need of attention. I constantly have to remind myself that my child doesn’t even realize I’m working, so she’s not purposely trying to interrupt me. In fact, I’m probably disrupting her routine when I have to catch a team meeting or put in several hours at a time. So learning to just get through the hard days with empathy has been a process and a wonderful learning experience.
Lately I've been getting a ton of direct messages, emails, and comments about how I keep Zachary's eczema under control. I love getting messages like this, because it makes me feel even more united with other mommas, knowing we are going through so many of the same things. With that said, keep the questions coming because I really don't mind. Since so many of you have asked, I will explain how I keep Zac's flare-ups to a minimum. You can see what triggers her allergies in a previous post I've written here.
Although water is great for moisturizing skin, it can also really dry it out. Skin produces natural oils throughout the day and if you are constantly washing it off, the result can be drier skin. We give Zac baths only every other day to make sure her skin is well-balanced.
I used to buy "specialty" and/or organic soap, hoping it would help Zac's skin. I tried Aveeno Shampoo and Wash, Aquaphor Shampoo and Wash, Cetaphil for babies, Honest, Burts Bees, Babyganics, and other miscellaneous, random hippie stuff. The last thing I tried when all those products did not make much of a difference was, dun, dun, DUN... Johnson's & Johnson's Baby Head-To-Toe Baby Wash. It's super affordable and works so well for Zac. No wonder it's been around for so long! It smells great too!
As soon as Zac is out of the bath, I don't dry her off with a towel. I take her out of the tub, wrap a towel around her, take her over to our bed, pat dry just a bit and start applying moisturizer on her semi-wet skin. Applying the moisturizer on damp skin helps to keep the skin extra dewy.
You guys! This moisturizer has changed our life! It helped Zac's rough, dry and itchy skin even when it was at it's worst. This is what I apply when her skin is still damp from the bath. I am super liberal with it and apply it everywhere.
I mix either 1% hydrocortisone (you can find this over-the-counter at any Target or drugstore) or her prescription 2.5% hydrocortisone. I mix it with a bit of the nighttime balm and apply to those problem spots during flareups.
I only do this on occasion for extra irritated full body flareups. For example, if she ate something she is allergic to and is scratching everywhere on her body, I use the Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Oatmeal Bath. This helps to calm it down to help her sleep a little better. Luckily, I haven't had to do this in months.
Pretty much a given. We use FridaBaby NailFrida. Long nails cut skin and harbor bacteria. Keeping baby nails short helps to minimize raw, bleeding flareups.
These tips were not a prescription from her pediatrician. They are things I did on my own that has worked for Zac. I have heard great results from those who I have given this advice to, and I hope it's helpful for anyone who has been looking for a new regimen. Of course, it is important to talk with your own healthcare provider in regards to your own child if you have doubts or questions.
Christmas has once again come and gone. I had completed all my Christmas shopping (wrapped up and all) back in October and felt so accomplished. Here I am almost 2 months later, sitting next to a dried up Christmas tree and watching as the babe tosses around all her brand new toys she received as gifts as if she's had them forever. Over the past two weeks our mailbox had been flooded with Christmas cards from beloved friends and family, as a constant reminder for us to do the same. As we geared up to travel down to SoCal to spend the holiday with family, my to-do list consisted of one thing: send Christmas cards. We had planned on using some professional photos we had taken in September during one of our Hawaiian vacations. We figured it was a bit dated, but we knew there wasn't much time. When we touched down to my hometown, we busted out our laptops to draft up our card. Realizing that a dear friend down south happens to be a very talented photographer, with fingers crossed we sent her a text hoping she'd be available. To our surprise, she was! Without hesitation I Venmo'd her straight away and we were booked for December 23rd for a quick photo shoot at the Anaheim Packing District.
She was extremely professional, fast, and so much fun to work with! It was such a joy to see her in her element. After knowing her for so many years, and hearing of her growth in both her profession (speech pathology) and side hustle (photography), I felt so proud to see her in her creative environment. Not only was she able to capture memories of my family in a pinch, but they were even better than we had imagined. Not to mention a same-day edit! So, shoutout to Nikki! Can't wait to see you continue to advance in all that you do. You da best!
Here's a few from the shoot:
And thanks to Postable, we were able to send out our Christmas cards later that night. Thank God for technology! Here's what they looked like.
I hope that you all had a wonderful (and successful) Christmas holiday!