Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Oliver: 8 months

Our baby boy is 8 months today! Oh my, how time flies! And I realize how much of a cliche this phrase is, but really... time is just passing by SO quickly!
Oliver is a VERY challenging baby, and I say this in the most loving way possible...this boy keeps me on my toes and is incredibly active, especially now that he is mobile...nothing can stop him!
He is "crawling" and even though his technique isn't perfect yet, he sure can get around by rotating on his own axis and scooting back and's quite funny to see him reach his desired destination when we place him on the rug or the floor. 
He laughs, coos, smiles and talks up a storm; by now he says 2 or 3 clear words (mama, dadda and mas), I could swear I've also heard the word "teta" (boob) a few times but as the other words I am sure they're all involuntary babble that results in known sounds..but a mom can only hope her baby is getting closer and closer to actual talking.. right?..either way it's funny and cute all the same...
Oliver LOVES food.. and I mean ALL KINDS of food.. he definitely makes it known when he wants a piece of whatever you're having and he will not rest until you put it in his mouth; he loves chicken, yogurt, avocado, rice rusks and basically anything he can nibble on...he is my best eater by far! This month he got his first two teeth (bottom ones), which are so stinking cute! 
And now, the thing I write every month that I pray I never have to write again.. he STILL does NOT sleep through the night and what's worse, he STILL nurses every TWO HOURS even at night! A lot of people don't believe me when I say that my 8 month old cannot sleep for longer than 2-3 hours at a time.. I seriously don't know how we've survived this long on so little sleep.. it's so exhausting and I really hope we're nearing the end of this ordeal...
The lack of sleep has been the biggest challenge so far with Oliver; I really thought by now we'd be turning a corner in this department but I'm losing hope.  Sleep deprivation is EVIL; I swear the most awful thoughts come to my mind when I'm on the 3rd night feeding at 3am or 4am, I wonder WHY God thought I could handle another baby, I wonder if my life will ever be "normal" again, I wonder if I'll ever have the energy to do something other than sleep when I have a little bit of free time, I wonder if I would be happier if Oliver didn't exist, I wonder if I'll ever be a good mother to my other two kids... I wonder a lot of things... and then I sleep on it.. or at least I try!
But even with his crappy sleep habits, constant need for attention, clinginess, unending hunger and loudness, I wouldn't change my baby for the world.  He is such a happy little boy that has brought so much joy to our lives; the way he plays with his sisters, the way he looks at me when I hold him, the way he smiles when he sees daddy.. it all just melts my heart... he's SO PERFECT!

I will also add that we are still fully breastfeeding and he loves it as much as ever! He nurses like a champ and just loves his mommy's milk.  I'm hoping to make it to at least a year of nursing exclusively and then play it by ear.  Breastfeeding has been one of the best experiences of my life and it has inspired me so much as a mother; I hope to blog about my breastfeeding journey in the coming months since I still can't believe I went from an anti-breastfeeding person to a full on boob advocate.. it's crazy to even think about it!

So.. Oliver.. I hope you start sleeping soon and I thank God every day for you!  Happy 8 months, little buddy! We LOVE YOU!!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Movie review: "The Angry Birds"

This weekend we watched "The Angry Birds", one of those movies that is much anticipated but people are not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
We have a Finnish cousin (that's where Angry Birds are from) who told us about how important it was for Rovio (the company that makes Angry Birds) that this movie is successful since they are pretty much bankrupt so a lot went into it as a way to "save" the company and bring it afloat.
Right after I saw the movie, I read a review online that said that it "sucked" so I feel compelled to defend the movie somehow because it definitely DID NOT "suck".
I believe that the movie should be reviewed within the appropriate context and that is admitting that a lot of the puns, characters and jokes are exclusive to those who have at some point played the game of Angry Birds; so within the context of the game player, the movie is pretty good, funny and quite entertaining.
Not only is the story compelling but I also think it provides a great background about the animosity between the famous green pigs and the Angry Birds.  The viewer gets to understand why the Angry Birds are "angry" and who the pigs are, why they're after the birds and how it all unfolds between them.
I think the characters are very engaging and the writers do a great job bringing each of them to life according to their role in the famous game. The humor is light enough for kids and deep enough for adults; the animation is great, the plot is entertaining and the story has a happy ending, which is always great when you're dealing with a family movie.
With all the said, I do think the pace of the movie was a bit slow in the beginning but once the story took off, things turned out ok as it unraveled and despite a slow start the length of it was just right.
I will give this movie 2.5 out of 4 stars only because it could have been a little more "detached" from the actual game so that the non-players could feel more engaged and the general audience could be maximized, but we really enjoyed it.
Go watch it and help Rovio stay afloat! ;)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rants from this "Happy Mom"...

Recently I have gotten into the habit of checking my Facebook "memories" every morning and reminiscing about past years when my kids were younger and things were less complicated. There are days when a single picture brings back so many memories and I think of that saying about the hard times being what take you from "one happy snapshot to the next".. it is SO true!

Lately I've been thinking about my kids growing up and how much harder it is on me than it is on them; I find myself doubting my answers or struggling to find the right words to say when they come to me with a problem. I beat myself up over not being a good enough mom for them or feeling like I can't provide them with all the support they need at any given moment.  While I am sure all moms have their "moments", sometimes I feel so alone in this ordeal, I feel overwhelmed with "life" as it happens and I am often afraid of the future...

Olivia had a rough school year; third grade proved to be a challenge for her and not academically speaking.  While she performed very well in all her subjects (consistent straight A's in all terms), I feel like her emotional maturity just wasn't there; she never bonded with her teacher (who is a rather "dry" woman), had some issues with kids bullying her, was overwhelmed with silly homework (don't even get me started on this point) and had an incredibly hard time fitting in with some people. A generally well behaved child, she was called into the office a few times to be "counseled" by a rather useless guidance counselor who I think did more harm than good. 
She came home crying a few weeks ago saying the school was giving out some random art awards and she was sad because she didn't get one; she proceeded to tell me she was tired of the "same kids" always getting the awards. At 8 years old she pointed out the fact that these "same kids" happen to be related to school staff, or the sons/daughters of those who have more money, or those whose parents are "always hanging out at school"...yeah.. she's smart observant like that! What is a mom to say? Do I break it to her that sometimes life just isn't FAIR? Do I encourage her to try harder so she can get an award next time? Do I tell her those awards don't really matter? Or do they?  These are the moments when I really dread her getting older and suffering like that.. it's hard to explain...

Then there's Gaby and her lack of understanding of her sister's need to be independent. Olivia keeps wanting to separate herself from the "I'm Gaby's sister" idea and Gaby is having a hard time with that. She still wants to dress like her sister, hang out with her sister's friends and maybe even attend the same parties/events her sister is invited to. She has such a strong personality but still can't get away from the fact that most of her growing up has been done under her older sister's shadow.  This is the first year where they have both specifically requested their birthdays be celebrated independently even though they are one day apart and the only one willing to bend that request is little Gaby, who isn't so little anymore either...
Remember that time I said Olivia came home crying because she didn't get an art award (yeah.. I just wrote about that on this same post!)...well, the second half of that anecdote is when Gaby very pragmatically added "yeah, but sometimes they have to pick random kids that never get anything so the favoritism isn't so obvious"... she also said "I know that because I was that random kid once!".. WHAT?!?!? How could she even come up with comments like that? Really Gaby? wow! Do I deny her observation and trivialize her feelings?... what's a mother to do? Is it really THAT obvious?

...and because this post turned into some random ranting that almost doesn't make sense, I have titled it "Rants from this Happy Mom". I literally had to write it up and THEN title it because there's just so much going through my mind. I want this school year to end, I want to enjoy the summer with my kids, I want to forget about the fact that the passing of time and the growing up is inevitable and I also want to keep learning from them and keep hoping that one day, maybe.. jus maybe.. I will have half the answers they need to have a happy life where the lessons learned are not so harsh and the getting up hurts less than the falls... 

Here's a picture that recently came up on my "memories"... how fitting!?!? 

Happy Blogging!