No Lo Tires a la basura

thumbnail_IMG_8806That saying which translates into “Don’t throw it in the garbage” is the story of my life!

I don’t know if it is because my mother is a Virgo, an immigrant or because she is just a straight up hoarder but I heard this saying every week of my life. My mother will save anything of value like, old towels, sheets, my report cards from 1st grade oh yea and a Shamu poncho from 1987 that smelled like Bacalao (Cod fish).

The bottom line is that I have a very hard time getting rid of stuff and once I purchased my first home, forget it! I had an attic and a crawl space for storage? Well I am going to keep almost everything then. I still have  a lot of clothing, shoes and handbags from the 90’s. Can you imagine!?  The good news is that I am an organizational freak! I label bins and place them according to categories (Xmas, Easter, Memorabilia etc). The problem is that now that I have kids, I need to throw my shit away! There isn’t enough room for my stuff, my husbands stuff (he still has his boy scout stuff, camping gear, fishing gear and more clothes than me) AND our kids stuff.

My daughter started PreK in 2014 at 2 1/2 and since then I have been keeping everything in a purple bin (purple is the color of her birthstone) and well I have been hoarding it. However as I mentioned, now that we are a family of 4 the house is getting a bit small so we really need to be efficient about what we keep and what we donate. Because trust me in this house nothing of use goes in the garbage-that is just a “saying” we give everything to those less fortunate.

So when I found out about this app called “ArtKive” I fell in love. It allows you to take photos of your kids art work and then make collage books or even tee shirts, accent pillows etc. I just started using it today because over the weekend operation DE-clutter went into effect. We are renovating our kitchen this weekend, you know Memorial Day weekend when normal people relax, yea well we are starting to renovate our kitchen because we like to torture ourselves. So at the moment my house is starting to look like a storage unit which makes my OCD kick into overdrive. Thank God for Klonopins! Anyways since I can’t control much this week or anything for the next month really I decided to go thru more stuff aka my daughter’s school art work and it feels great! I took photos of everything via the app and threw everything into the recycle bin!  I am hoping that once she sees her beautiful photo book of her artwork she will forget about the trauma of seeing her stuff in the trash. If not there is always therapy when she gets older. I am trying my best!

And yes I kept a handful of pieces the ones that really made me teary eyed.

How do you all keep your kids’ stuff/memorabilia organized?

 

I don’t want my kids to be scared of the world BUT

A. I grew up as an only child with a single Latina mother (you have no idea what the word overprotective means until you meet her)

B. I grew up in New York City where I HAD to always be aware of my surroundings

C. I have watched WAY too many Dateline episodes and spent too much time watching the Discovery ID Channel

So let’s look at the facts, according to the FBI, in 2015 there were 460,699 NCIC entries for missing children. Similarly, in 2014, the total number of missing children entries into NCIC was 466,949*. That doesn’t sound so intense when there is approximately 324 million people in the United States as of 2016 ** But that is also easier to say because my children are safe at home with me.

There are soo many things we can be scared of as parents and for me, the “fear” I feel started when I found out I was pregnant. I started to google like crazy and read about everything I was allowed to do and NOT do. I already struggled with anxiety so the last thing I needed was to read every baby book I could get my hands on at Barnes and Noble and browse the internet until 11pm at night. It also didn’t help that I almost lost my baby in the beginning of the pregnancy and that I became unemployed soon after. Too much time on my hands?

Do I live in fear everyday, NO but I am very much a realist and recognize that the world is NOT a safe place and believe it is my job to keep my children safe at all costs. I am very honest with my daughter and while I don’t want to scare the living shit out of her I do keep it REAL. I tell her what could happen if she doesn’t listen to her Mami but at the same time I do not keep her in a locked cage. Just my backyard which is fenced and patrolled by our family pit bull all while being recorded on our security cameras/DVR and I watch her. LOL

I have taught her how to make a call from an Iphone, my cell phone number, what Mami and Daddy’s full and real names are, our home address and prepared her for how strangers may try to approach her. I want her to understand what can happen and be prepared. This stems throughout every aspect of her life. I have taught her how to swim, to respect the ocean but at the same time I don’t tell her that she is going to drown if she goes swimming. I want her to grow up mindful but also be willing to try new things. It is NOT easy but I am trying to keep it sane.

This is what works for me and my family. What works for you?

 

 

*The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

**Google

 

Mami, I don’t like girls because they are mean

The other day my daughter proudly declared that when she was going to be a Mami she was going to have 2 little boys. I asked her why don’t you want to have baby girls? Her response ” Mami, I don’t like girls because they are mean”..

I was left speechless, sad and then realized that she wasn’t that far off I just didn’t expect for her to come to this observation at such an early age! I myself never had great relationships with girls/women for several reasons:

1). I went to an all girls school until 8th grade

2). When my parents divorced I was teased at school by other girls

3). I had an evil stop mother growing up

4). The list goes on…

Yet, I still had and have a great group of friendships with women that I have had since childhood. So what kind of advice can I offer my child? Do I just leave it alone and keep it moving or do I try and reassure her that not ALL girls are mean. I mean I have seen my daughter in action, she likes to tell other kids what to do and at times lead the pack, is this why she is bumping heads with other little girls in school? Do I need to go to the library and check out 37,864 books on girl power and the amazing benefits of having girlfriends? Lord help me, just another thing to add to the list of parenting woes.

One day at a time..

17 things that Mami told me about being a woman..

latinas be like

  1. You have to always look presentable, sweat pants every day is a NO NO NO.
  2. Your husband will leave you if you let yourself go
  3.  You can’t get fat because men don’t like that
  4. You have to wear a faja every day but preferably not when you sleep with your husband
  5. You have to wear makeup every day ESPECIALLY after you turn 30
  6. You must clean your face EVERY night and use any and all wrinkle creams that exist
  7. You cannot let anyone see you with gray hair
  8. Your nails should always be painted and look good
  9. Your husband and kid’s clothes must be perfectly ironed because if not people will think you are a bad wife and mom
  10. You should always have dinner ready for your husband
  11. Don’t talk about stressful things right when your husband gets home from work, wait until after he has eaten
  12.  Your house must always be clean, like eat off the floor clean
  13.  Your closets and drawers should always be organized
  14. Always make the beds because you never know who might stop by
  15. Don’t let your kids be malcriados (spoiled brats)
  16. Learn how to make a proper cup of coffee
  17. Make sure you have a good job so you don’t have to depend on a man for money

This is how I grew up and I am pretty sure if you are Latina, your mom told you some of these things too. I for one felt like I always had to be perfect; be the perfect lady, wife, housekeeper, chef and once I had kids, Mami. As much as I have learned to let go a bit, I still have this list of things running thru my head and this is why I am always soo tired and cannot sit down for more than 10 minutes! Well that and because my kids don’t let me sleep 🙂 But as my Mami says, deal with it, no one said life was easy..

 

 

 

Enchiladas de Pollo en Salsa Verde

 

Ingredients for the Salsa

12-18 Tomatillos

1 Jalapeño (put in the whole thing if you like it spicy or just the tip to make it more mild)

1 medium sized yellow onion

Handful of cilantro

3 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Enchilada

4 chicken breasts

2 bay leaves

2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon of  salt

12 Corn Tortillas

Toppings: Mexican Crema, Queso fresco or Queso Cotija

*Recipe makes about 12 enchiladas

Bring to boil a large pot of water (has to be large enough to fit all of the tomatillos, onion and jalapeño you purchased). Peel and clean all the tomatillos and once the water is boiling, toss them in along with the peeled onion and jalapeño.  After 15-20 minutes the vegetables will be soft and you can take them out.

Put everything in the blender, along with the handful of cilantro and the 3 garlic cloves. If there is a lot of water left in the blender from when you transferred the tomatillos, jalapeño and onion take some out so the salsa doesn’t come out to watery.

IMG_8509Blend all the ingredients together until the salsa comes out nice and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. This will give you about 2 large mason jars worth of salsa.

IMG_8510Bring another large pot of water to boil. Add salt and the 4 chicken breasts, 2 bay leaves and 2 garlic cloves. Let this cook for about 20 minutes on medium heat. Once the chicken is cooked, take it out, let it cool slightly and start shredding the chicken. It is important to not let the chicken over cook as if it does it will be rough and dry.

When making enchiladas I like to cook the salsa and chicken in the morning and then when its time to eat I put everything together.

When you are ready to eat….

Put about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a fry pan and lightly fry each tortilla and place it on a plate with some paper towel. At the same time, grab your salsa and warm it up in a pan.

 

Once you are done frying all of your tortillas, you can dip each one in the salsa.

 

Once the tortilla has been dipped in the salsa, place it on your plate, use a small handful of chicken, place it in the center of the tortilla and wrap it up. The ends of the tortilla should be placed face down.  Pour some more salsa on top, your cheese of choice and your crema (always heat it up before using)..

IMG_8513Another way you can serve this is by assembling your enchiladas on your plate and then pour the salsa verde on top, cheese etc. It really depends on how much salsa you like..

I make the enchiladas this way because my sitter who is from Jalisco taught me to make them this way. You can always , place each enchilada in a baking dish, pour the salsa on top, sprinkle it with some grated Oaxaca cheese and bake it for 10-15 minutes so the cheese melts. Do what you like 🙂

Whatever salsa you don’t use you can always freeze for next time!

Yes I am her mother, No I am not the F*&$ing Nanny!!!

Okay so since my daughter was born I have been constantly asked , like once a month if I am her nanny?! Does this happen to you guys too?  I want to bitch slap people when they ask me, I want to scream at the top of my lungs and say NO I AM HER MOTHER!!!!

The first time it happened I was in the kids section of Barnes and Noble, I was playing with her, speaking to her in Spanish and a nanny asked me how long I had been watching her. I felt my back shoulders tighten up, my whole body got really hot and I said, no, I am her mother to which she replied oh, well she is very pretty. For the rest of the day, it really bothered me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. All of my insecurities came up, did my daughter not look like me? Did I look like a hott mess that someone would think that I was the nanny, was it because I was speaking in Spanish, etc. Then I realized just because I looked like crap wearing my faded leggings, UGG boots and tee shirt didn’t justify someone thinking I was her nanny. Maybe it was more real than that, I mean how many people in my neck of the woods can really stay home with their kids, the world we live in is crazy and most people have to go out and work or want to get back to their career after giving birth. Most of the kids these days have nanny’s or go to some sort of daycare and in the Tristate area many moms who don’t work outside of the home still have a nanny of some sort. And if I did look like the nanny who cares? Nanny’s don’t all look a certain way, especially in Connecticut, some Nanny’s I see look great even if they are with the kids at the park or wherever; they are wearing a full face of makeup, have nice jewelry on and cute clothes! Why was I offended?

I still can’t really pinpoint why it bothers me so much but it does. I mean I was at the dentist last week with my daughter and the dental hygienist asked if I was her mother. I had an instant Ally McBeal moment where I daydreamed that I stood up and yelled in her face YES I am her MOTHER!! What is it with people constantly thinking I am my kid’s nanny. Is it because my last name is Perez or because I clearly look “ethnic” or is it because I speak to my kids in Spanish. Does society not think that someone like myself could afford to stay home with her kids or is more simple than that, there are not that many of us Stay at Home Moms these days? I am sure it is just a combination of things. The bottom line is that I want to get to a place where I simply do not care.

Where has the time gone?

IMG_0062I haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t had a second to breathe. Between planning and throwing my daughter’s 4th birthday party, to winter break, to going away and visiting family in Florida, to then planning and throwing my son’s 1st birthday to then going away with my husband for the weekend and then Easter and NOW spring break I am have been MIA. It just never stops, I feel like I am skating from here to there and the only time I stop is when I sit down which is usually around 9pm. Once I sit down I cannot get back up again. WTF?! This is my life. I love it and I loathe it at times. I am blessed. I hope to be able to write about all of the insane Mami moments that I have experienced in the past 3 months.

When your baby has Acid Reflux

acid-reflux-in-babies

The day after my daughter was born I realized that she always had this white foam around her mouth. As a first time mom I obviously freaked out and when I asked the pediatrician why my baby had this I was given this look, like oh boy I don’t want to tell her why and instead was told, keep the baby upright for 30 minutes after feeding her and she will be fine. Once we got home and all our baby would do was cry we soon realized we had a “colicky” baby. So now here I was a crying mess who wanted nothing to do with my baby and on top of it all she did was cry and barely sleep. Before I knew it she was also moving her head around like the exorcist baby. I was horrified! What was I going to do, I would speak to my pediatrician who insisted everything was fine but I knew something was wrong. I kept getting so much conflicting information like “oh, just eat less acidic food, don’t eat that much dairy” but guess what before I knew it I was barely eating because I was so terrified that what I was eating was making my kid scream and then there was the depression. Long story short, after 6 weeks of HELL and videotaping my baby during one of her episodes I was finally told that maybe she had silent Acid Reflux (my baby would not spit up, it would come up to her throat and then she would swallow it) and that I should stop eating dairy and soy. I finally felt vindicated because I had already self diagnosed her because all I could do was google her symptoms.I knew it was Acid Reflux. I stopped breast feeding because I couldn’t nor was I willing to cut down on these foods so that I could keep breast feeding so I put her on Similac Alimentum formula and started to see 2 local pediatric gastroenterologists. We also started putting cereal in her bottle as per the gastroenterologist’s direction. The first night we did this our baby slept 4 hours, I woke up to make sure she was breathing because she had NEVER slept that long. It took about a month and a half to find the right medicine for our baby and the right dosage as much is determined on your baby’s weight.

Here are the things I learned during the 18 months that my daughter suffered from Acid Reflux:

1). A lot of babies suffer from it, some more than others regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or c section.

2). Despite what I read and was told what I ate did transfer into my breast milk.

3). Keeping her/his head elevated when they slept was crucial. The Fisher Price Rock and Play is a gift from God!

4). Do what works for you and your family, if you believe in giving your baby medicine then do it! Whatever works.

5). If giving your baby medicine isn’t your type of thing, go and see a Naturopathic doctor. I did after my daughter turned 1 and we did muscle testing. I put her on a restrictive diet and her Acid Reflux all but disappeared. Her clogged eye duct also went away!

6). Your insurance may pay for your babies special formula so look into it!

7). Your baby can still have Acid Reflux after she turns 1. I was always told that the percentage of babies who suffered from this was very low after 12 months. Well not in my case!

8). Starting solids at a young age (3 months in my case) can help a lot.

9). When you are ready to introduce solids to your baby try and give them natural unprocessed foods. Start reading labels and you will realize how much crap that you can’t even pronounce is in every day foods-even the ones you find at Whole Foods. Read the ingredients of sandwich bread and you will be horrified!

10). Teething sucks when your baby has Acid Reflux; the extra saliva doesn’t help their digestive system.

11). “Crying it out” makes the Acid Reflux worse

12). Going to see a gastroenterologist is so worth it. Many pediatricians do not know how to treat this effectively. If you disagree with their advice on how to treat your baby you don’t have to go back.

13). Gaviscon is amazing!

14). Just because 1 of your children suffered from Acid Reflux doesn’t mean the others will. I swore that I would not get pregnant again because just the thought of having another baby with reflux could make me go crazy! Luckily my son had a very mild case and it was manageable by keeping him elevated at night.

Finally, much like parenting, treating kids with Acid Reflux in my opinion is a lot of trial and error. Some things that work for some will not work for others. Long story short- this too shall pass Mami’s.

To anyone reading this post who has a baby with reflux, I am willing to answer any questions, just contact me.

 

When you lose your shit on your kid

My daughter turns 4 next week and with each day that passes she becomes more and more sassy. She talks back, has an opinion on everything and swears I am her slave. I remind her daily that I am not.

She has always been a skinny little girl, she had horrible reflux as a baby that didn’t go away until she was 18 months old so she never ate that much. When she turned 2 years old she basically stopped eating everything and her diet consisted of only 5 foods. If it weren’t for Pediasure she would still be 19lbs.  To sum it up I have to bribe her or nag her to eat or just starve her in between meals so that she will eat.

Lately, she has been horrible, like scary child that no one wants to be around. She wakes up at 5:30am every day(she usually wakes up at 7am) doesn’t eat enough throughout the day which in turn just makes her a miserable and grouchy little B. She stopped taking naps this past summer because if she does nap then she won’t go to bed until 10PM. Call me selfish but at 8pm I want my kids asleep and quiet because quite frankly after that time I can barely get up to pee let alone wrangle my kids. So basically my daughter has been wreaking havoc on my entire household for the past month and I am OVER IT. So what did I do? I completely lost my shit on Monday night. Yes and I scared her and I feel very guilty.

Since then I have been reflecting  on what could be affecting my daughter’s attitude and I believe its several things:

  1. She isn’t sleeping enough
  2. She isn’t eating enough
  3. She wants more of my attention (hello jealousy)
  4. She needs more time outside

Now that my son is in his I want to walk phase but I have no idea what I am doing, I have to pay a lot of attention to him because if I don’t he will crack his face open. Yes, I realize I exaggerate. It is so difficult to divide myself into pieces, I have to be a mom to my daughter, son and rescue dog and a doting wife(hahaha), run the house, pay the bills, call the contractors, be a good daughter (I am an only child and my parents are divorced), volunteer at school, blog, cook, clean. I CANNOT do it all perfectly I just can’t. This is why I am trying not to beat myself up for unleashing on my toddler. Should I have kept it together absolutely but I am real person, not a robot. So I am cutting myself some slack.

One thing that I started doing since our blow out is to change my delivery. I am saying the same things to her but in a more loving way which is hard to do if you are Hispanic. Atleast in my case, my speaking tone is yelling to an average person. I am trying to drop everything when my son sleeps so we can spend more time together and I am making more of an effort to let her play outside despite her never ending cold. Taking it day by day. What do you do when you flip on your toddler?

Birthing Stories

leobirth

I was at a Sprinkle this weekend (a baby shower for a second/third child) and as usual when you get a bunch of mothers together everyone starts to share their parenting stories; in particular our Birthing Stories. While I wish I would have heard these stories before I ever got pregnant the truth is so many of us don’t talk about what really goes down in the Labor and Delivery room with our childless girlfriends. Right after my daughter was born I pretty much told everyone I knew that the whole process was HELL and that my daughter would be an only child. But I forgot one thing, our bodies are wired to forget. Everyone says it but it is true! That is why so many of us have multiple children, that and because our birth control didn’t work!

While everyone’s journey is different here is a list of stuff that will likely happen whether you push the baby out or have a c section:

  1. you will fart or shit during labor; sometimes in someone’s face
  2. no matter how hard you try, your partner will probably get a glimpse of your bloody vagina and/or intestines
  3. you will have multiple people stick their fingers up your whole vagina, think cleaning the turkey on Thanksgiving
  4. your epidural may not work or stop working
  5. your epidural may be soo strong that you can’t feel your legs for a day
  6. you may puke throughout the whole labor
  7. you could be in 2 hours of labor, push 2 times or push for 2 hours and be in labor for 24hours +
  8. you may feel like your legitimately dying
  9. you may get so swollen that you will look like a bee stung your face
  10. your vagina may tear a little or a lot
  11. it will hurt to pee regardless
  12. you will have to wear the UGLIEST underwear on earth with sanitary pads that resemble pillows for a few days or even weeks
  13. by the time your labor is over you will have ZERO shame and will feel that it is totally acceptable to walk around naked everywhere because really who the fuck cares after what you just went thru
  14. your tits will look like water balloons
  15. your tits will hurt
  16. your nipples may resemble oreo cookies and/or pancakes
  17. you will probably allow a nurse who you have never met before stick a suppository up your butt because the thought of pooping after labor is the most horrifying thing ever
  18. you will feel like a super hero who can do anything

If you didn’t go thru this, Congratulations! If you went thru this and/or worse I feel ya.

All I could think of during both my labors were how on earth do women do this in the middle of the jungle/desert with no help or drugs. My respect to all of those women who have no choice and/or decide to do it 100% naturally. There is a reason women have the babies.

To all my badass Mami’s out there you are my heroes!