Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer...that's a wrap!

Today our summer officially comes to an end and, as usual, I have mixed emotions because summer is always our time to bond as a family through fun activities, trips and much needed time off. 
This year our summer was very hectic, so much so that I didn't get to blog about our weeks as they happened (as I usually do) and I barely had time to even document anything at all. 
But because I plan to print out this blog some day, I have decided to do a quick recap about summer 2016, which was very eventful and amazing to say the least...so here it goes...
June was busy! School ended and we were on a plane to Panama the next day; we spent a month there and we met with my dear aunt Laurita who came from Venezuela to spend time with us; the girls really got a chance to practice their Spanish and Oliver basically learned how to crawl, stand and play alone all in that month...


We spent A LOT of time at the pool, which is always nice when it's that hot...


Lots of family time in Panama...


During that month, Gaby and I took a few days to travel to Lima, Peru to visit our friends, the Wadsworth family and Gaby's best friend Lucienne. We had such an amazing time in Lima and are forever grateful to our dear friends for being such great hosts.  Gaby had a wonderful time with Lucienne and I am so happy I made her dream come true by taking her to visit her dear friend. 


Gaby lost her front teeth and she got lots of money from the Tooth Fairy, which she quickly spent buying herself stuff in Panama...


We celebrated Oliver's first "4th of July" (our 3rd consecutive 4th that we celebrate outside of the US, ironically enough!). Oliver was sick that day but he still smiled for a couple of pictures...


On July 5th, we welcomed our new nephew Sebastian, born to my brother in law and his wife in Zanesville, Ohio. 


On the same day, Iggy turned 40 and we had a nice get together with some friends in Panama...


After we came back to the US, we spent some time at the beach and lots of time in the pool...


The girls celebrated their 7th and 9th birthdays with friends and had way too much cake that week!


The week after the girls' birthdays, Gaby's friend Lucienne came to visit from Peru (how lucky are these girls to see each other so often!?!). They spent a couple of days playing and enjoying themselves...


On July 28th, we found out we're having a niece! My sister and her husband are expecting a baby girl in early February and we are so excited to welcome her into our family.  The gender reveal was both emotional and exciting....


The girls attended tennis camp and Oliver joined in the fun!


In early August, Iggy, Oliver and I traveled to Colombia to attend the wedding of a very good friend of mine.  We spent a few days in Barranquilla and Cartagena and had a great time, met up with friends and strolled around in Colombia. The girls stayed with my sister, who graciously cared for them while we were away...


After we came back from Colombia, we all traveled to Ohio to meet our nephew and visit our family there. The girls had a great time with their cousin Isabella and we enjoyed seeing all the family together...


I got to hold our new nephew Sebastian and enjoyed the newborn cuddles for a few days...


 My mother in law got to see her 5 grandkids together for the first time...history in the making...


...and with that, we end our summer on a high note and we're incredibly happy to have spent so much quality time together doing what we love the most. We thank God for all the blessings, adventures and memories He has gifted us during this time and we're looking forward to a wonderful school year that kicks off tomorrow!
Every summer day was a blessing and was not taken for granted... so, summer...that's a WRAP.. you were SO GOOD to us! :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Oliver: 10 months

Today Oliver turns 10 months, which means we're so much closer to his 1st birthday and also nearing the end of the baby years in our family.. it is a sad and happy feeling at the same time so we're enjoying him as much as possible...
Oliver is SUCH a sweet baby.. I can't handle how cute he is sometimes and how affectionate he can be even at his young age. 
This month was HUGE for Oliver, especially in the sleep department (I can't believe I'm actually saying this!).. he FINALLY sleeps through (ish) the night! It was a long road but we finally made the decision to "sleep train". We were traveling for a month and the sleep situation kept getting worse and worse; he'd wake up every 45 minutes at night (sometimes waking up even 12 times per night!).. We were so exhausted and it came down to us even crying of desperation because we didn't know what to do..he just wouldn't settle. 
So on the night we came back from our month long trip, we decided to just let him cry to sleep, following some version of the CIO (Cry It Out) method. As controversial at it is, I will gladly admit the method worked for us and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. He cried on and off for about 20 minutes the first night, less than 5 on the second night and not even a whimper on the following nights. It has now been 2+ weeks and he has been sleeping up to 7 hours at a time and going to bed without any issues.. I feel like a new woman and I'm glad we took the plunge! I hope he keeps sleeping the way he has and even longer stretches!
This month Oliver also visited the beach for the first time; he really enjoyed the sand and the warm water and it was so cute to see him crawl around without fears!
Oliver can now pull up to standing more firmly, he cruises around furniture, climbs stairs and is as mobile as he can be even though he's nowhere near walking, which I'm TOTALLY ok with! Ha ha!
He also babbles and talks up a storm even saying a good amount of words very clearly.  He follows simple commands, mimics sounds and movements, interactively plays with his sisters (or whoever!) and eats like a MANIAC! (with his two tiny teeth). We're still breastfeeding full time even though he eats all kinds of food in crazy amounts...this boy really loves food! :) He also mastered the skill of drinking with a straw and loves drinking water and juice boxes...
He enjoys music and starts shaking as soon as a song comes up; he laughs so much and his latest "thing" is grabbing his head when we say "oh no!"..it's so cute!
He currently weighs 23 lbs and is 30 inches long; wears size 12-18 clothes and is into noisy and rattly toys.. such a big boy!
Here are a few pictures of the newly 10 month old boy! ;)


Sunday, July 17, 2016

9!

Today is Olivia's 9th birthday! My little lady is at the last of the "single digits" and she couldn't be happier about it even if she tried! 
Olivia is SUCH a wonderful person and can light up a whole room with her beautiful smile; she truly is my best friend and is so much like me in so many things. The more she grows, the more affinity we find in each other and that makes me so happy. 
Olivia is so inquisitive and has some good antenas for ears...nothing gets by her.. really.. NOTHING! I really love that I can have mature conversations with her and get pretty good feedback about particular situations or scenarios; she really rocks!
Olivia is also incredibly friendly, sweet, very family oriented and such a joy to be around! I love the way she views life and how energetic and positive she is; I wish I could be more like her!
At age 9, Olivia is into art, Legos, music (her favorite artists are Meghan Trainor and Taylor Swift), singing karaoke, going to the movies and all things iPad! 
Aside from it being Olivia's birthday, today is also the day I celebrate the anniversary of becoming a mother; which is by far one of the biggest and most fulfilling accomplishments of my life. My kids have taught me so much and I know this is only the beginning.  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be a mother to my two girls and cute little boy and every time they celebrate another birthday, I can't help but thank God for these amazing gifts that keep on giving!

Happy Birthday, Olivia! You're so awesome!


Here's a little collage of Olivia through the years! She has grown so much!!!


Saturday, July 16, 2016

7!

Today is Gaby's 7th birthday and she has grown into SUCH a great girl.
I came across my Facebook "memories" from today and they brought me back to this day 7 years ago when I was frantically broadcasting my labor and then happily announced the arrival of our second daughter, the one we also thought would be our LAST child (ha!). She was so tiny and cute and she resembled her older sister; some people went as far as saying they looked like "twins". 
But even as a baby, Gaby was SO unique; she displayed her very own and funky personality from the start and even though she has matured and evolved with the years, the core of her spunkiness hasn't changed much!
Gaby is our "toughest" child; she is stubborn and has more self awareness than
 any adult.  She is self reliant and incredibly independent in every aspect of her life. She isn't afraid to be herself and her genuineness is amazing... I really love the fact that she is her own person even at the young age of 7! 
In the past year she has developed a bit of a "middle child syndrome", which even though usually carries a negative connotation, it's actually a good thing.  According to research, middle children tend to be more cooperative and trusting in their friendships; they are more independent and outside-the-box thinkers. Research also supports the idea that middle children are true leaders and more empathetic towards others; all of these are qualities that Gaby definitely possesses and I am glad she's so mature that she has been able to use her environment to her advantage. 
At 7, Gaby is into Legos, Barbies, fashion accessories (especially cat ears!), Shopkins and cat print clothes and pajamas. She enjoys music and singing and loves spending time with her friends and family. Gaby also loves swimming, math, reading and eating sweets...she is funny, she is creative, she is inquisitive and most of all she is HAPPY!
I am so proud to be Gaby's mom and I can only hope she stays so sweet through the years!
Happy 7th Birthday, Gaby! We love you!!!


Here's a little collage of Gaby through the years!