Memorables and Mentionables–From His 2nd Birthday Party

Truth be told, I was hoping for a simple and stress-free birthday party. But then again, when you have kids involved…is it EVER going to be simple and stress-free?

Party Theme. CHECK.

We’ve decided on the theme months ago. While on vacation in Orlando, we came across some Little Einsteins party supplies and immediately decided that they would be perfect. Miguel just LOVES The Little Einsteins.

Party Activity. CHECK.

Over the next months I’ve TRIED to think up ways on how to celebrate his 2nd birthday in the middle of Arizona’s August simmer (and the still looming monsoon season). The only thing I could come up with was WATER. Lots and lots of water. Miguel LOVES playing in, swimming in, and jumping in water.

I’ve thought up things that involved water in the toddler pool, water toys, water balloons…just NOT water coming from the sky (last year we got a pretty hard downpour that rendered the backyard useless on the day of his birthday party). Thankfully, despite some rain, wind, and yes, blowing dust up to a day prior, the weather cooperated. The sun shone brightly on party day.

Party WOW Factors. UN-CHECK and UN-CHECK.

I had grand ideas in the back of my head for some additional OOMPH for this party (I wanted to make a home-made Little Einsteins Rocket pinata, as inspired by this blog post; and I also wanted to create some melted crayons reshaped to form Rocket to place in the giveaway bags, as inspired by this blog post). Unfortunately, these didn’t quite materialize (maybe in another time, another place, another form…they will). Cool as the Rocket pinata and crayons might have been, they would have taken so much effort on my part, only to be destroyed in mere minutes at the party.

Thankfully (or more like, SUPER thankfully), our guests–both young and old–were über easy to impress…

Miguel WOWED at the simple party banner that had his favorite characters (Leo, Quincy, Annie and June! He made sure to name them all…)

Kids went crazy over these party blowouts I got (note to self for future…GET extras of these!!!)

My Mom’s labor of love cooking had guests–even non-Filipino ones–coming back for platefuls of dinuguan, kare-kare, her own version of pancit Malabon, and mami. And the kids and grown-ups enjoyed even the no-cook meals we added on (rotisserie chicken, store-bought lumpiang Shanghai, baked vegetable lasagna, and the dinosaur chicken nuggets from Costco…gosh those were such a hit!)

Outside, it didn’t take much effort for the kids to play with–and enjoy–the kiddie pool, slip and slide, and bevy of sprinkler-type contraptions Terrence had set up. They enjoyed it so much that we all forgot about the water balloons (a shame…because I was looking forward to those!!!)

And to think I was considering renting a giant water pool/slide for this party! Insane.

Inside, we all equally enjoyed the Carvel ice cream cake my sister bought for Miggz. There is an enormous lack out there of Little Einsteins cake decor. You can buy them…but I guess due to Little Einsteins being not-too-popular any more…the little supply of cupcake decorations and cake toppers bearing any resemblance to Little Einsteins come at a premium. My sister instead, had my brother DRAW Rocket on the ice cream cake. It was INGENIOUS!! And it came out great!

To think my sister ALMOST paid $80 to commission her co-worker to make a proper a la Cake Boss Little Einsteins cake!!

At the end of the day, we all DID keep it simple. AND fairly low-stress. I think it’s so easy to get carried away with going over the top for a birthday party that we forget what really matters: celebrating a milestone in your child’s life…

Seeing that smile, could all we’ve prepared have been enough?

I think so.

And NewMammas out there…if you think a simple birthday song and your son about to blow out his two-year birthday candles don’t have the power to move you to tears, you better think again.

I almost did.

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Here is a look back on that day, in photos:

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While You’re Two and Not Yet Thirteen

I will cuddle with you and shower you kisses. I will take your hand and hug you to pieces.

I will play with you, take walks with you. Run around in circles and chase after you.

I will sing you lullabies and teach you many rhymes. Read books to you and help you catch fireflies.

I will savor your belly laughs, frequent hugs and wet kisses. Look at the moon that reminisces.

I will count the stars that light the night sky, and see each one sparkle through your very eyes.

Happy 2nd Birthday Miguel. Mamma loves you to pieces.

Copyright 2011 | K. Guerrero a.k.a. NewMamma | All Rights Reserved

The First of Many, Many More Big Boy Haircuts

Here are some photos from when we took Miggz for his first BIG BOY haircut (and only his second EVER haircut!)

For a long time we liked growing his hair out…he has natural curls (like mine when I was a kid). But his hair was slowly becoming more and more of a nuisance than an asset (if you can call toddler hair those at this stage). His curls were just touching his shoulders before we cut them.

At the salon–where his Dad also cuts his hair–we honestly didn’t know what to expect. I actually came in expecting the worst! Not from the ensuing haircut, but with how Miguel would behave. I mean, the first and only time we took him for a haircut before this was at CoolCuts, and there were all sorts of kid-friendly distractions including a swanky fire engine seat and a selection of videos to keep the kids occupied–or distracted. Surprisingly, both the haircut experience AND the new cut went super smooth!!!

He sat on his Daddy’s lap as suggested by Lisa, the hairstylist (Te and I were both like, “really?” at this lady). She obviously knew what she was doing because there could not have been ANY other way for Miggz to both feel safely comfortable and mildly restrained. Miggz didn’t like that wrap-around cloth at all!! But thankfully, we were all able to keep it on him with little protest. We brought along his portable DVD player, which helped with the distraction part. He also warmed up to the hair trimmer and scissors quite nicely. I think he actually liked the whole haircut process!

We all LOVE the result.

But I don’t think anyone else loved his new haircut more than this Big Boy…who now looks AGES away from being a toddler, and just a day shy of being a little kid.

I LOVE him!!

Sniffle Tools

Miggz has had the sniffles these past two days. Poor boy. He’s got a runny nose and fluctuating (but thankfully) low-grade temperature. Te and I have been able to keep him comfortable and mostly asleep through most of yesterday, though every time he starts feeling even a teeny bit better he gets a little jolt of energy and just starts being his usual self again.

I don’t know how Te and I could have survived the past two years without the following two tools, which we continue to use today whenever Miggz gets sick…

The Graco Bebesounds NasalClear Nasal Aspirator (Babies R’ Us, $20). This thing has got to be the best invention out there in the world of nasal aspirators. First of all, it’s battery-operated, so it’s already a million steps ahead of those aspirator bulbs they give away at the hospital or at your baby shower. Those bulbs simply take too much effort when suctioning out baby snot because most of them don’t fit tiny baby noses. What drew Te and I to this product is the fact that it had two attachments, one of them a normal-size aspirator head and the other a much smaller, skinnier head, and that is actually all we’ve used. The size of the smaller head fits comfortably into a baby’s nose, allowing for much easier, safer suctioning. The fact that it’s battery-operated makes things a LOT quicker, which always is a good thing for a parent’s sanity and a baby’s comfort level.

My one gripe about this product–because it’s mechanical–is the sound. It emits a whirring sound, so if a baby is fussy about sounds this may not work. The Graco Bebesounds model compensates for that by actually having the ability to play 12 different tunes to help distract baby while in use.

A NewMamma's best friend...the Graco Bebesounds Nasal Aspirator

A few other points about this product…

– I like that the aspirator head and the container components are washable, which means you can easily clean and dry them after each use.

– When needed, I use this product in conjunction with some Little Noses Saline Drops for Dry/Stuffy Noses. This saline drops safely softens dry stuff in baby’s noses, making suctioning more possible and productive.

When he was littler, Miguel didn’t mind us much using this on him (probably because he can’t protest much…LOL). There were days when I actually thought that he liked it. Now that he’s bigger, he hates it a LOT when we try to get in his nose. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. It still works for us. Definitely much, much easier than the aspirator bulbs.

Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer (Babies R’ Us, $50). We have every kind of thermometer known to man. Before we received this as a gift from my aunt, we used an ear thermometer a lot…it’s just way easier to use than the underarm kind, even if the underarm one was digital. The underarm thermometer is just so hard to keep in place long enough to get a proper reading (not really a problem if your baby stays still…mine doesn’t). The ear thermometer was fairly easy to use too, but for some reason the one we owned always seemed to give an inaccurate reading. I never quite trusted it. So comes this one–the temporal artery kind. It’s great…you simply remove the cover, turn it on, and swipe it across the forehead to get a reading. The best part is you don’t have to wake a baby up just to get a temperature. I know I can trust the reading too because it’s the same one they use at the hospital/doctor’s office. With this kind you don’t have to worry about a squirmy, wriggly toddler refusing to take his or her temperature taken. The process takes seconds and you’re done.

The temporal artery thermometer should be in every NewMamma's arsenal of baby items.

The temporal artery thermometer gets high marks for ease of use and accuracy. The only con for me would be the price, so we are glad we got it as a gift.

I am glad we have the above items to get us through days when Miguel is sick. Sick days are hard enough, especially with a baby/toddler. The tools you use should make things as easy and comfortable as possible for both you and the baby.

Rejuvenation Proclamation

Two months ago, in early June I got to get away with my awesome girlfriends from New Jersey. I met up with fellow New Mammas Cathy, Jen and Relenie, along with Rachel and Joyce (all godmothers to Miguel) in Cabo San Lucas, at the Riu Santa Fe Resort. It was such a chill vacation…a well-deserved break that allowed us six to re-connect, relax and rejuvenate.

It was the first time I was flying all by myself, and the first time I was leaving Miggz and his Dad behind. Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive. For the impending lonesome travel. For being in a different country than my son and hubby. But I was super excited too!! It’s been months since I last saw my girls, and I so needed this vacation. For my sake and my sanity.

I travelled from Phoenix to LAX, then LAX to San Jose del Cabo going there. Coming back I did San Jose to San Diego, then San Diego to Phoenix. It was weird having to stop over airports that are fairly close to Phoenix airport-wise. The lowest fare I could find gave me layovers that are at least three hours each. I didn’t mind it though. Time flew by at the airports quicker than I had expected. What felt even weirder for me was traveling without a stroller and a baby, going to the ladies’ room not for a toddler diaper change, but to freshen up (imagine that!), and having luggage that is loads and loads lighter than what I’ve gotten accustomed to carrying around in the past two years. Travel was such a breeze sans diaper bag/milk bottle cooler/baby toys, and I’ve forgotten what that felt like.

All a girl needs for long lay-overs: a book, a mag, an iPhone, and some chocolate!

Our days in Cabo didn’t disappoint. It was four glorious days of girls bonding with the sun, the sand and the sea. We had no one but each other to share the toils and triumphs of our current lives. To say we had fun would be an understatement.

We had a blast.

I’ll let the photos tell the story of our time in Cabo…

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This was all my luggage coming home…a carry-on suitcase, my LV Palermo, and a little blue present for Miguel. In my heart and mind though are many wonderful memories shared with these girls, and I cannot wait for our next getaway.

Wherever, whenever that may be.

My luggage was light, my heart and mind full of many wonderful memories from Cabo.

Three Goals for August

In no particular order…

  • Potty train Miguel
  • Wean him off the milk bottle
  • Get him to sleep in his room

I’d be happy if I get even one done by month’s end.

#SupermomMode

Gift Ideas for a Two-Year-Old

I am all for wish lists. It saves gift-givers the time, money and frustration of having to think of what to get that special someone, whether it be for a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or other special occasion, AND it ensures the receiver of the gift will absolutely LIKE/LOVE/WANT that gift! No wasted energy. No wasted money. No wasted stuff. Completely practical. In the words of Ron and Hermione…it’s “BRILLIANT!”

I wish my family gave me a list of what they want during birthdays and Christmases especially. Before I had Miggz I enjoyed taking the time hunting for the perfect gift (or set of gifts). The time factored into the thought made for the value, the sentimentality of the gift itself. It’s the thought that counts, after all, right?

Unfortunately over the years I’ve come to the realization that it’s not always the thought that counts. People like gifts that fit into their style, their persona…gifts they can look at…gifts they can flat-out use. There’s only a few, few people out there who subscribe to “it’s the thought that counts.”

And unfortunately too, unless you think of what to get someone months and months in advance, there is just no time anymore to hunt for that perfect gift.

Since we moved to Arizona I’ve tried to instill the practice of creating wish lists in my family (to some raised eyebrows, I bet). I feel like this concept is still new to them, even to my dear hubby. I can hear him lecturing me now…”you should be happy with whatever anyone gives you.” I know that. But happy doesn’t always equate with things that don’t fit, things that are not your style, and things that end up in the bottom of the drawer, the garage or in storage.

So yeah…I am ALL FOR WISH LISTS. Compile one throughout the year. Create them with all budgets in mind. And hand them over freely–NOT to the open world–but to whoever is nice enough to ask. They’ll thank you even before you can thank them.

This weekend I got asked five times by five different people what Miguel wants for his birthday. To those five people…I hope this list helps =)

  • Thomas the Train – Wooden Railway. Miggz has the basic (starter set) for this, which only recently has he started getting into. Right now he likes putting the track pieces together, like a puzzle. Some ideas are:

Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway – 8 Inch Ascending Track

Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway – Ascending Track Risers

Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway – 6 Inch Straight Track

  • He likes anything with Buzz Lightyear on it…shirts, shoes, toys. You name it! I know this because he always picks out his shirts with Buzz on to wear first. I think he also likes Woody but likes Buzz better.
  • He likes fire engines. He likes to say “fire engine” a LOT, and always plays with the two pieces he owns that are fire engines…a wooden block fire engine puzzle piece, and his Red the Fire Engine die-cast toy.
  • Little Einsteins! He LOVES the Little Einsteins…and would be thrilled if he got ROCKET for his birthday. I wish they sold these in stores. I was able to find him a Rocket toy on Amazon, one he can play with in the bath. I hope he likes it…
  • He likes toy cars/trucks/buses where you can open the doors, windows and trunks for him to store smaller toys in. I am having trouble finding one…if you find one, let me know!!!
  • Crayola Color Wonder Markers and Paper. Or even just the Paper.
  • Clothes/Shoes. He wears size 2 clothes now, and has a good number of size 2 shirts in his closet. I’d buy him size 3 clothes for future use, and just size 2 if they are shorts/summer clothes. For shoes he is just about ready to outgrow his size 6 shoes so size 7 for shoe-gifts.

As far as what WE want to get him, we are thinking one of those Radio Flyer trikes (and a helmet…LOL!)

If you have any other ideas on what we can get him…post away!!!

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