35 notes for my 35th birthday

Monday was my 35th birthday. To commemorate the start of another year of life, I’m giving 35 snippets on life, things I like, and whatever else is too short to really warrant a blog post.


1
The first card I received for my birthday was delivered last Wednesday. It was a butterfly painted in water colors by Papá Chepe. On the back he wrote “feliz cumpleaños” and signed his name. It was perfect. I might’ve cried. Following his stroke, he’s had to relearn to write with his left hand.

2
Sean got me a silly card about farting. Don’t worry, the romance is still there. We just share the same immature sense of humor.

3
Xavi’s card featured Thomas and Friends and had stickers. I let him keep the stickers.

4
For some reason he puts his stickers on his sock-covered feet. He’s silly like that.

Bubble time

5
Sean and Xavi gave me a comal. I forgot the old one on the stove back in LA. Sean said this one had the best reviews. All the other ones “got hot too fast” or “burned [owner’s] tortillas.” I’m baffled that a comal can get a bad review. These people have to be doing it wrong.

6
I used to be a big fan of taking the day off on my birthday and doing something like going to Disneyland. Not this year. It’s the second week of the semester and our office is still pretty busy with welcome events, orientations and the like. Plus, there’s no Disneyland nearby.

7
Family members in LA called to wish me a happy birthday. Again, Papá Chepe’s birthday greetings were most touching. He sang “Las Mañanitas” to me. It was beautiful. (The photo above is from the day we left LA.)

8
I’m a little bummed I wasn’t in LA for my birthday, but not upset to miss the triple-degree heat.

9
No one at work knew it was my birthday.

10
I ordered myself a necklace from MALA by Patty Rodriguez. It hasn’t arrived yet. I’m such a slacker on buying birthday gifts that even when I treat myself the gift is late.

11
Sean has started blogging again. He’s calling his posts about the stay-at-home-dad life S.A.H.D. State of Affairs. Don’t worry. He’s not really sad unless Xavi skips his nap.

12
We’ve started the process of trying to get Xavi in to speech therapy through early intervention. Since we’re in a new state, we basically have to start all over again. I have a lot of feelings about this, but the people we’re working with are quite kind.

13
I finally finished Late-Talking Children: A Symptom or a Stage? by Stephen M. Camarata. It’s a good guide for parents on how to navigate the system. It’s also simultaneously worrisome and reassuring. Of note: Camarata never mentions bilingualism. Thus supporting my doubt that bilingual kids are more likely to have speech delay as has been stated a few times when I’ve written about Xavi’s speech delay.

14
According to Goodreads I’m 4 books behind target to reach my goal (75). Boo. Must download more audiobooks. Or maybe I should count the books I read to Xavi. Note: I love that the librarians put together an easy list of books about trains for kids like Xavi who are obsessed.

15
I found out recently that LA Public Library cards can expire. That’s not cool. At least the university library has ebooks and audiobooks accessible through OverDrive. Yeah, plus one for being at an Ivy League institution!

16
I’ve had a few fish out of water moments. One: At a secondhand kids store I put down my name after purchasing a toddler bed and table for Xavi. I spelled out Mosqueda for the cashier. She tried to pronounce and I corrected her as I’ve done many, many times over my life. Her response to the correct pronunciation? “That’s beautiful.” Rather innocuous, but it was just so strange. I’ve never heard anyone describe my last name as beautiful.

17
Technically I have two last names, but the second is much easier to spell and for ease and not to confuse folks I keep it to Mosqueda. This way I can avoid folks thinking Mosqueda is my middle name and calling me Ms. Campbell. That sounds so weird!

18
Fish out of water moment two: The waitress at a Mexican restaurant in Ithaca was totally confused when Sean ordered mole. Yes, it was on the menu under the chicken dishes. Either she was new and didn’t know the menu very well or she thought it was pronounced like the animal.

19
The tortilla section at WalMart was full of Old El Paso taco shells, taco bowls and other products. There were NO corn tortillas. I nearly cried. I have a tortilla press and can get the masa to make my own, but I’m also kinda lazy.

20
I bought less than a pound of queso fresco for almost $7.50. It doesn’t even taste like queso fresco. Luckily, when my mom visited in late July she brought lots of supplies. I have some frozen queso fresco for emergencies.

21
When people find out I’m from LA they’re really curious about why I’d move to Ithaca. I know the winter is going to be rough, but I came here for the same reason they did, to advance my education/career.

22
They ask a lot about how I like Ithaca. Although I’ve been here two months I haven’t had much of a chance to explore. Plus, I can’t really assess the town when a sizeable chunk of the population was gone for the summer. Xavi and Sean have explored lots of parks and kids activities.

23
I do say that I’m surprised by the noisiness in our neighborhood from traffic and the neighbors across the street. My neighbors in LA were pretty noisy but by the evening it quieted down. Here we still have large trucks or emergency vehicles drive by (we are at a major intersection).

24
We went to a park that was 20 minutes away this weekend. I told Sean, “Oh, it’s far,” after I had mapped it out. Ithaca is messing with my sense of what is close and what is far.

25
I miss our old churches, both St. John Vianney and St. Augustine. I miss the option of an afternoon mass, air conditioning (at least at SJV) and the music.

26
I miss my favorite cereal and yogurt from Trader Joe’s. The nearest location is in Syracuse (which I learned is pronounced like Sara-cuse not Si-ra-cuse). I stocked up on items when we were in Long Island over Xavi’s birthday weekend. My old co-workers also sent me a care package with TJ’s snacks. I miss them too.

27
I missed family and LA most on the day my mom flew back to LA. She visited for ten days in late July and early August. In between flights I texted her that she should get some reast. She said she couldn’t even sleep because she was so sad to leave Xavi. Ugh.

28
While my mom was here we took advantage of the free babysitting. We watched Inside Out. It was entertaining, but nowhere near my favorite Pixar movie. It did make me wonder about Xavi’s core memories that are shaping his identity.

29
Speaking of no longer having access to free babysitting, I was surprised to see Ithaca as one of the top 10 most expensive cities to raise a family in the US. The list came from a report by the Economic Policy Institute on What Families Need to Get By. Here I thought I was moving to an area with a lower cost of living, but not so if you factor in taxes and child care. I recommend doing the side-by-side comparisons.

30
Any disjointed post or photo dump should include recent favorites. I won’t include things I pay for because I’m not about endorsing stuff. First: Super Mamás Podcast – Bricia and Paulina Lopez, two sister and new moms living in LA. Bricia’s little boy is about 4 months old and Paulina has two girls (about 1 and 4, I think). The two sisters speak about striking a balance between using the knowledge they might have gained from their traditional Mexican families along with newer or modern parenting approaches. They have great guests who discuss mom issues I hear less about in other parenting podcasts such as what it’s like to be a teen mom, a singly mom or being a full-time working mom who also has side hustles as an entrepreneur. The podcast is pretty new and they’re only 9 episodes in. However, I’ve already come to look forward to their new episodes. Coincidentally, both sisters delivered their babies at the same hospital where I delivered Xavi. So when they recounted their birth stories I could imagine the same maternity ward. Even better, most of their guests are from LA and they have that LA Chicana/Latina accent I miss.

31
Another Round Podcast with Heben and Tracy – They just make Tuesdays better. I’ve “known” Tracy Clayton through PostBourgie.com and #thatsite for many years. I knew she was hilarious in written form, but her humor and stories are just as entertaining via podcast. Heben Nigatu is also a writer for BuzzFeed and together they make a great team. It probably helps that they have great guests such as Roxane Gay and Lianne La Havas. In the most recent episode they featured small children giving advice on how to be a big brother or sister. I might’ve cried thinking of (a) how awesome it is to have siblings and (b) how I want Xavi to have that experience.

32
Sherman Alexie’s Twitter feed is hilarious. I want to favorite every single tweet. He also started a podcast about a year ago with long-time friend and fellow writer, Jess Walter. On A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment they read works in progress, chat with other writers, answer listener questions about the process and discuss things such as the role of grief in their writing process.

33
OverDrive and public library memberships. OverDrive makes it easy to search for and download eBooks and audiobooks from various public library systems. I rarely buy books these days for myself (Xavi still gets new books) because I just don’t have much space. I borrow from OverDrive through the university and local library system.

34
Radio Ambulante is my favorite podcast in Spanish. Well, it’s the only podcast I listen to in Spanish. It’s hosted by writer Daniel Alarcón and features stores by journalist throughout the public radio world. I need more podcasts in Spanish, but for now Radio Ambulante will do.

35
Turning 35 years old means I’m now of advanced maternal age which could factor in when/if we try for another baby. I didn’t have a rough go of it the first time around at 32 years old, so I can only hope that a few years doesn’t make a big difference.

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Grading 2014 me

In my 2014 goal post I wrote:

For 2014, I want to do more:

Running. I miss it. I have a jogging stroller and mainly open weekend mornings so I should be able to get out there. It should also help me lose a little bit of weight without being restrictive about my diet — which I’ll have to do eventually if I want to get back to pre-pregnancy weight.

Reading. Inspired by Punk Rock Mom, I’m taking up an A-Z challenge to read at least one book by an author from every letter of the alphabet.

Writing. Let’s see if I can knock out two blog posts a week about more than just baby/new mom life. I know that’s not interesting to some people. And I do have thoughts about culture, politics, education, etc.

I got one out of three done.

Second half of the year in books. I still have a week to go, but I really like the perfect 6x6 grid. #goodreads #books

Reading Grade: A+
I read 72 books and did two A-Z challenges, one by author and one by title.

Running Grade: C-
I ran more in 2014, but not enough to give myself credit for that one. However, I did work on my fitness and get back to regular exercise when I took a free class through work. BHIP was overall pretty awesome. I made significant gains and even though it wasn’t running focused, I was able to actually run a mile after thanks to all the strength training and cardio. I’m sad it’s over and the class is no longer free. (Review/reflections to come.)

Writing Grade: D
Maybe if I spent less time reading, I could’ve written more. I didn’t give myself an F because I wrote as much as I wanted to write. I’m not sure how to motivate myself to write more if I don’t feel like sharing my thoughts. For example, I have like 3-4 drafts about being a mom that are unfinished. I have my outlets and right now that’s okay for me.

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The inevitable 2014 goal post

Happy new Year! Feliz año nuevo! (Don’t forget the tilde on the n!)

NYE 2013 was just as low-key as NYE 2012. Sean and I joined up with siblings, cousins and some friends for dinner and games at Adrian and Alexis’ new-ish apartment. Xavi crashed way before midnight.

For 2014, I want to do more:

Running. I miss it. I have a jogging stroller and mainly open weekend mornings so I should be able to get out there. It should also help me lose a little bit of weight without being restrictive about my diet — which I’ll have to do eventually if I want to get back to pre-pregnancy weight.

Reading. Inspired by Punk Rock Mom, I’m taking up an A-Z challenge to read at least one book by an author from every letter of the alphabet.

Writing. Let’s see if I can knock out two blog posts a week about more than just baby/new mom life. I know that’s not interesting to some people. And I do have thoughts about culture, politics, education, etc.

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Assessing 2012

C

I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago and started thinking about the health and fitness goals I set for 2012. I didn’t even remember them, nor did I ever explicitly post them on the blog. They were part of the monthly goal posts I wrote early in the year. I found my goals in my notes and wrote self-assessments in brackets. I used the same format from the citizenship section of my elementary school report cards (outstanding, satisfactory, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory).

Eating
– 5 servings of fruits/vegetables per day [Needs improvement.]
– More water, limit Diet Coke habit [Needs improvement, satisfactory for the Diet Coke aspect.]
– Eat out <2 per week (ideally 0) [Satisfactory.]

Fitness
– Strength 2xs a week [Outstanding for 2/3 of the year, unsatisfactory after August.]
– Yoga – use Groupon [Unsatisfactory.]
– Cross training 1 time per week [Satisfactory for 2/3 of the year.]
– Wear a bikini and be comfortable doing so [Unsatisfactory, not attempted.]

Running
– PR in all race distances [Satisfactory; I only ran three official races and PR’ed in the marathon and the 18-mile distance.]
– Minimum of 4 runs per week [Satisfactory until April thanks to marathon training; outstanding during 5-week run streak]
– Reach weekly and monthly mileage records [Outstanding, I think. I know I did break my weekly mileage record, but am not 100% sure about the monthly record.]

Weight loss
– Get back to goal weight (ideal <130)
– Fit in to khaki pants and H&M dresses again
– Return to WW, follow plan
[Unsatisfactory on all of these. I’m at the highest weight I’ve been since ’09 and just removed the pants and dresses from my closet.]

Propose & collect data [Big fat unsatisfactory]

I didn’t do so great. Maybe a C grade? At least I know what I need to work on — along with other stuff.

target sucker

I did do better on other non health & fitness goals. I planned a wedding with Sean and our families without going crazy (or making them crazy). I also got my Target spending habit under control. I’d get an A- or satisfactory in those areas.

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Twelve firsts for 2012

Chilling in 100+ degree weather

Got married to Sean surrounded by 250+ family members and close friends. I did wear shoes most of the time. [Posts]

The only runner that matters to me

Ran a sub-4 marathon… The rest of the year was unimpressive on running, but I did get in a 38-day run streak and started regularly strength training. [Post]

Aerial station at La Cienega/Jefferson

Rode the newly opened Expo Line from Culver City to downtown LA. It’s nice to have the option to take the train downtown to concerts, games, etc.

Backlight con Rosario

Finally got around to that Blogotitlán reunion with people I’ve “known” since 2004. I met Elena and Gustavo (plus wife and adorable daughter) and saw others I hadn’t seen in a while (David, HP, Nathan (and Rosario), and Adriana. Oh yeah, we ran the Carlsbad half marathon or marathon in the middle of it. [Post]

Shadows

Let go of a longtime goal and finally did what I should’ve done years ago: quit grad school. [Post]

Swoon.

Visited Joshua Tree with Sean for our anniversary. [Post]

The family (sans tía Eva)

Celebrated Mamá Toni’s 90th birthday with the family. [Post]

Second Line through the French Quarter

Attended a wedding in New Orleans, complete with a second line through the French Quarter. Only regret is that my first trip to NOLA was less than 48 hours. [Post]

After the Simpsons table read

Attended a table-read for The Simpsons. [Post]

Actually got in to the track competition during the Olympics thanks to Leo Manzano. It also helps that Sean is Jamaican and insisted that we watch all the sprints where the Jamaican men and women dominated… which was a lot of races. [Post]

Diver waves to kids in the Pacific exhibit

Took on my first post-grad school full-time job… in the same office. The new job included getting paid to go to Disneyland and the Aquarium of the Pacific. [Post.

Westbury

Spent Christmas with my in-laws in New York.

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