Archie, we made it!

 

Earlier today I looked up Archie’s birth story. I had forgotten the exact hour and minute Archie made his way into the world. I know these numbers well for Xavi. But Archie? I just had a round number. It was late afternoon, just in time for happy hour drinks.

It’s not that I love him less, but the time goes so fast and my busy brain is slow to catch up.

 

One moment he was snuggled against me with his little red nose rooting for the breast and now he wriggles away in a flash.

At one Archie is such a joy. He alternates his crawls between an all fours crawl and a silly crawl where he drags one leg behind him. He cruises on anything and everything. He’s not yet walking but is getting braver with unassisted standing.

 

He bites harder than one would expect with 3.25 teeth. He is a fan of most foods we’ve introduced except egg. This makes breakfast interesting. He’s still having a mix of breast milk and formula. (I quit the pump before he was 10 months old.)

He adores Xavi and anything Xavi is playing with. He loves the swings and exploring his new neighborhood in our arms or the stroller. He claps along when I sing “if you’re happy and you know it.” He gives little high fives and hides behind blankets for peekaboo. Sean says his first word is “dada” but I think it’s “haaaaaii.”

 

I thought the first year sped by with Xavi, but it’s gone even faster with Archie. Siblings, always in competition.

Happy birthday, Archie!

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Xavi’s Fantastic Fourth Birthday

On ring bearer duty

On Monday night, just a few hours before his fourth birthday, I rocked Xavi in my arms like he was still a baby. His long, tanned legs and arms reaching well over my lap. He was crying softly and I had no clue why. We had done our normal bedtime routine. We brushed our teeth together, I read to him a bit (lately it’s been a few chapters of the Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels), we said prayers, had a little bit of water and gave each other bedtime hugs and kisses. I don’t know what made him so sad as he couldn’t really speak through the tears to tell me. All I knew was that I couldn’t console him as I had when I was a baby with nursing, rocking, songs and shushes. It almost made me cry.

Break from dancing (his favorite) for a picture

I couldn’t help but think how fitting, that on the eve of his fourth birthday he let me hold him like a baby again. This isn’t rare though, since Archie arrived, Xavi acts like a baby and jumps in to my lap a few times a week. But this was different. The tears and emotion weren’t faked.

Thomas hats for all the pre-schoolers

In the morning, the tears were gone and Xavi was back to his energetic self. He was super excited too because after talking about it for weeks, it was finally his birthday. He was four!

They see me rolling

Despite the momentous occasion, our Tuesday didn’t change much. Xavi and Archie still went to daycare. Xavi wore the same 3T birthday shirt he wore last year. He’s definitely grown, but more in height than overall weight. We took some mini cupcakes and party hats to share with his friends. After work, we came home and had dinner. We FaceTimed with my mom and Lori so they could watch him open some presents (train related, of course). He opened up some Cars toys from me and Sean. And then got the big gift, a new bike from my mother-in-law, Eula. He’s already taken the bike out a few times and I know he’ll make the most of the remaining months of nice weather riding in our new neighborhood.

***

Mixtape cover (November 2016)

As Xavi has grown from baby to toddler to pre-schooler, I keep coming back to this quote that struck me when I read Ruth L. Ozeki’s All Over Creation in 2014:

Time plays tricks on mothers. It teases you with breaks and brief caesuras, only to skip wildly forward, bringing breathtaking changes to your baby’s body. Only he wasn’t a baby anymore, and how often did I have to learn that? The lessons were painful.

I don’t think it’s ever going to stop feeling incredibly relevant.

Celebrating Xavi’s fourth birthday didn’t leave me with that same melancholy of the first, second or third birthdays.  I may miss baby Xavi, but I also have a very active and mobile Archie — still a baby, at least for four more weeks — to keep me on my toes. I’m also excited to see Xavi make friends in our new neighborhood, learn to ride his bike, starting school and keep meeting more milestones.

Archie cameo!

After Kenton’s funeral, Xavi wanted to play with the soccer ball that Kenton got specifically to play with him.

What made me emotional was looking at the photos from previous birthday celebrations and thinking about who we have lost in such a short amount of time. This is the first birthday where my father-in-law, Kenton wasn’t there to celebrate with us. For the first birthday, they came to LA to visit us, and we celebrated the second and third birthdays in Long Island at their home.

Blowing bubbles for Grandpa Kenton at the cemetery

So, yeah… I guess those lessons of watching your baby go from tiny newborn to little boy can be painful. Lately, it’s not the child growing, but what is changing around him that hurts.

Still, I can’t be too sad. I have a healthy, happy little boy who surprises me every single day with how much he’s learning.

Happy birthday, Xavi. I love who you are right now, but also can’t wait to see the breathtaking changes to come.

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Ninety-seven

Birthdays were always a big deal for Papá Chepe and late July meant celebrating in some way. There were the big parties just for him complete with the tamborazo. But he wasn’t above sharing the occasion and neither were we, his nietos and bisnietos. 

At my quinceañera in 1995 we celebrated his 75th birthday with a cake and a song. I actually stole his birthday, so it was only fitting. In 2014, At Xavi’s first birthday we had a cake and piñata for Papá Chepe. It was extra special that year as we were happy to have him survive the stroke and be recovering well at home. I wasn’t there for the 95th and 96th. I sang Las Mañanitas over the phone and sent gifts. Last year it was a polo with the university logo. My dad sent me a picture of Papá Chepe at the small gathering/party family they had planned wearing it. He looked nice. I didn’t know that would be my last chance.

Yesterday, July 29th, would’ve been his 97th birthday.

I spent most of the day amidst boxes as we are moving again (locally). But there were moments I spent outside under the trees and enjoyed the breeze on the steps of our new building. It reminded me of how much Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni enjoyed afternoons under la mora – the mulberry tree – in our front yard. The breeze and shade felt best there. If you were lucky you’d get to relax in the hammock and get a paleta when the paletero came by. He also would’ve smiled with amusement watching Xavi ride his Thomas train down the walkway. He definitely would’ve laughed when Xavi took the slight curve too fast and fell into the grass (he was okay).


I really wish my celebration included some of Papá Chepe’s favorites: la Marcha de Zacatecas, his omnipresent Tejana, a 40 oz bottle of Miller Lite High Life, and birria. But that can come later. For now, I’ll just recall all the amazing birthdays I got to celebrate with him. There were a lot. And for that I can only be grateful.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Papá Chepe!

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Carlos & Luz: 40 years of making it look easy

july231977

I wasn’t there 40 years ago when my parents exchanged vows in front of their family, a huge wedding party, and many more friends. Their union was blessed in Assumption Church in Boyle Heights. The church itself had a role in bringing them together as they met as part of the active youth group.

2016 September

I didn’t hear them say the words that first time. I came around a few years later and since then, I’ve seen how they’ve lived those vows. And I took it for granted that they had a strong marriage. They made it look easy while also raising four children, taking care of their parents, maintaining relationships with family and friends, and being involved in school and church activities.

It’s not until I got married and then became a parent that I’ve really understood how hard they’ve been working at living those vows.

2016 October

So, on their ruby anniversary, I’d like to simply say congratulations and thank you. I must sound like a broken record, but I will never stop being grateful for getting you two as parents.

Happy 40th Anniversary!

Previous posts marking my parents’ anniversaries:

30
32: This one has a lot of photos I scanned including one of my favorite photos of Papá Chepe.
35
36: They looked SO glam at my wedding

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Adjusting two years later

May and June were a trip. Literally. Early in May, we went to NYC for Eric and Sandrine’s wedding. Sean and Eric grew up together and have been friends since first grade. Naturally, the wedding was full of old friends and tons of fun. A few weeks later we were back in New Jersey for Charlotte and Andy’s wedding. Again, we reunited with many good friends Sean met through and old job and on a football team in NYC.


Finally, on June 16th we attended Andrea and Jon’s wedding in Battery Park Gardens. There were great views of the Statue of Liberty and ferries. And again, more great friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Sean is a popular guy with lots of friends in NYC.

The weddings were all a ton of fun whether we had the boys with us or not, but a few things kept coming up:

a) There were a few friends who didn’t know we no longer lived in LA. This wouldn’t have happened if Sean and I hadn’t taken a hiatus from blogging. Right?

b) We kept having to try and answer the question “So, how do you like Ithaca?” without whining about missing friends and family.

I can deal with snow in April, humidity and rainstorms in the summer and a paucity of decent Mexico food. The distance from family and still not having many friends here makes it hard to say, “We love Ithaca!”

I miss out on a ton in LA. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I have un chingo of tías, tíos and primos. We are close too and in LA there was always something to celebrate (birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, graduations, etc). Also, I’ve been missing out on the current baby boom despite adding my own 2016 baby. I’ve only met two babies from the 2016-17 crop. There are three I haven’t met. One (my niece!!!) is due in August.

I know I’m not the only one who misses California. Just a few days ago we surprised Xavi with a trip to the Sciencenter. On our way there he kept wanting to know if the surprise place was California where he’d see tía Lori, grandma Luz, grandpa Charlie and some friends. He loves the Sciencenter but I still felt guilty that we can’t take him to California more often. At least Archie is too tiny to unintentionally guilt trip me. I do enough of that when I think of how he hasn’t had the same interaction with grandparents, tías and tíos that Xavi had as a baby.


And then there’s just feeling bummed about our social life. In February, Sean got me the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. He knows me well. I was impressed and happy until I realized that in order to play Selena Lotería I’d need to go to a social activity or have friends over for a game night. And bright red MAC lipstick? I had no occasions at time for getting all fancy. Ni modo.

See?! I told you I was whiny.

But there are perks. We are driving distance to NYC and Long Island. This means that we were able to attend all three weddings for longtime friends. If we lived in LA we wouldn’t have been able to afford the back-to-back trips. Xavi and Archie do have a grandparent and a loving uncle nearby.


There’s a bittersweet silver lining. My father-in-law, Kenton, passed away in January after battling cancer for several years. When we lived in California he was well enough to travel, but that changed in recent years. Being a 5-6 hour road trip away meant we got to see him about once a month and thus he got to spend more time with Xavi and got to meet Archie.

So, I can’t whine but be thankful for the way things work out.

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