Ciena – 18 Months

A look back at the last 6 months –

12 mos.

13 mos.

14 mos.

15 mos.

16 mos.

17 mos.

18 mos.

Well I’m a little late in this post, but my sweet sassy toddler has definitely been keeping me on my toes! This age is so fun (even though it’s challenging) and it’s true what my friends and veteran moms say about these early years – while some things get easier, others get harder. And while many days, this season in life with Cici is so fun and relaxed, (no marathon bottle/pump washing at the end of the day, or making sure she’s breathing when she’s sleeping), it’s easy for me to get worked up over her ever-growing list of toddlerisms.

Here are some things I always want to remember from this stage:

  • Since her first birthday, she learned to walk (4 days after she turned one) and literally has been unstoppable since.
  • She weighs 23 pounds and is maybe 30-31″ tall now?
  • She now runs, jumps (started with one foot off the ground but now small little jumps 🙂 spins, dances (even MORE than before if you can believe it!), and can tumble by herself. She also loves climbing the couch and bouncing everywhere like crazy!
  • She signs “more” and “all done” regularly and is saying more and more words. Her favorites over the past few months have alternated between “me”, “baby” (her doll), “nana” (banana), “woof”, and of course “mama” and “paba”. She also loves to say ball, bubble, yaya (Lola), Lolo, choo choo (one of her two favorite books), bath, bed, bow, “meh” (milk), meow, moon, beep (when she pokes our bellybuttons lol), bag, “Mae Mae” (Mason), and down. Possibly my favorite is when she looks absolutely distraught any time Ro leaves the room and sadly says “Paba? Paaabuh???” with her brows furrowed and hands up in a questioning stance.  She also tends to repeat words 2-3 times in a row (for emphasis, we’ve told ourselves 🙂
  • To say she loves her doll “Baby” is an understatement. We call her doll stinky dolly because when C sucks her thumb, some of the “hair” part of the doll ends up in her mouth too, and we have to give her stuffed animals regular “baths” to get rid of that little stinky smell 🙂 It’s so cute that she’s already obsessed with her dolls, especially since she already tries to mother them by feeding and soothing them. It warms my mama heart!
  • She has 12 teeth (4 top front and 4 bottom front), and apparently 4 in the back that I never knew about until she miraculously let me put my finger in her mouth the other day.
  • She does this thing when I ask her to smile, she pokes her finger in her cheek without smiling haha
  • Just like I figured, the days of eating anything/everything came to an end. She got really picky a few months ago, but her favorites include blueberries, corn, tomatoes, cheese, goldfish, and raisins. She won’t eat anything green unless it’s in a smoothie, but overall she still eats really well.
  • As much as I try to get her to like country music, so far it just hasn’t happened. However, she LOVES hip hop something fierce! Any time Migos or Drake comes on in the car, one finger is up and her head is nodding furiously. The typical pop and Disney standards are also favorites, particularly anything Bruno Mars or JT. She also still loves reggae (rasta baby!) Her dancing is so hilarious because she is SO animated and has sweet new moves every day, but her face almost always stays serious.
  • We’ve had quite a few trips and adventures in the last few months, and even more coming up. The day after Christmas, my mom, cousin and I drove down with her to Disneyland! It was absolute madness but one of my favorite Disney trips to date. We also took her to the snow for the first time, and had a little family trip to Pismo Beach/SLO. Next week, we’re taking our first long distance (plane) trip as a family of 3! We’re going to Yellowstone and I’m so excited! We’re also taking her camping for the first time later this summer.
  • A the end of last year, I lost my job and it was a blessing in disguise. I had 3 glorious months off to spend with Cici and take her to play groups, classes, park dates, and just soak up the calm before full-blown toddlerhood 🙂
  • While she’s always been a pretty cautious kid, her fears are becoming a bit more well-defined and recognizable. She’s pretty wary of bugs (and feathers?!) and even shakes her head and shivers if you ask her to look at one or be near one.
  • She loves dogs so much that she walked right up to a husky in Baskin Robins a few weeks ago and just hugged its head before I even had a chance to wonder if the dog was mean or nice. Thank God it just licked her back – everyone in the shop couldn’t stop saying “aww” and how sweet it was 🙂
  • She has been in a hitting phase lately, and I’m struggling to learn the best and most effective discipline method that works for us. I have however discovered that one of the main triggers for her hitting is asking for a hug/kiss 😦 She’s never been super cuddly which breaks my heart slightly, but she gets worked up even being asked for a hug, so I’m trying to teach myself to let her do her own thing in her own time.
  • She loves to be outdoors (what kid doesn’t?) and loves to help me in the backyard. Every day when we get home, she goes straight to her tools (watering can, little shovel and trowel) and helps me water the plants and tend to the vegetables. Then we relax outside with the bubble machine, music, and some snacks. It’s the best part of my day 🙂

I’m so excited to see what the rest of this year brings, and to watch her continue to grow. She’s so so smart and she makes me so proud every single day. She cracks me up and just makes me feel so lucky – to be alive, to be a mom, to be her mom. I still can’t believe it sometimes.

Happy 18 months sweet Cici girl! ❤

Holiday Home Tour 2016


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (Well, almost). I sure loved getting our little home sweet home all dressed up for the holidays. It makes it so much more fun with a little one – watching Cici’s eyes light up when the tree is all lit makes my mama heart so happy.


I love these little arrow chalkboards for weddings! It was fun to think of a way to use one for Christmas 🙂


I love changing out the designs on this glass for each season – so cute and easy!


The green tint in the photo below is from the needles of our tree. Not trying to be artsy, but all I have is my fixed 50 lens now so this was the only place I could take the picture haha.


And all lit up…ain’t she a beaut?


Happy holidays from our home to yours! ❤

Dia de Cici


Welp. Over a month later, I’m FINALLY getting a chance to comb through Cici’s amazing birthday photos (taken by one of my dearest friends Ali – seriously how lucky am I?!) and posting about what I can only describe as the BEST possible first birthday party I could have ever asked for our sweet baby girl.

It was a day I’ll never forget (and I know she’ll never remember) surrounded by the people we love the most and who love Cici so much.

I settled on a Dia de los Muertos theme early on because Cici was born on November 1 and it’s such a unique theme for a baby birthday party (maybe morbid? haha) that I hadn’t seen done before. I loved all the color, love, and imagination surrounding the holiday, and it was so fun to plan.

The weather has to be mentioned because I was stressing out so much about potential rain threatening our outdoor party up through that morning. It ended up clearing and being a perfectly clear (and HOT!) end of October day to celebrate with our nearest and dearest.

So now onto the photo dump because I have too many favorites, and this is just narrowing down to my top 50 or so 🙂


My best friend couldn’t make it to the party unfortunately, but she made a couple adorable Snapchat filters for Cici’s big day! So cute 🙂


Now my sweet cheeky is 13 months old and a full-blown toddler! I’m so thankful we got to celebrate such a huge milestone and special day to celebrate her first year of life. ❤

Cici is ONE!


(It’s comical how impossible it is to capture her not moving towards me/smiling)

Holy smokes. The babes is one. year. old. I can hardly wrap my head around it, as 99.9% of moms say. Fair warning – this is going to be one epic, long and rambling post so if that’s not your jam (and I feel you), I would skip it.

I started getting SUPER nostalgic last month (even more so than usual, if you can believe it), reminiscing over my last few weeks of pregnancy – the relentless heat that was amplified by my enormous belly, watching and re-watching endless episodes of Gilmore Girls, and crying at Lorelai and Rory’s mama-daughter bond, hoping I would experience that with Cici from the start. I would drink my red raspberry leaf tea, bouncing up and down on my yoga ball, wrapping up the last bit of work I had to do before I went into labor. My due date rolled around, and still no labor signs. I got dressed, did my hair and makeup, and went to my friend Lauren’s house to hang out and just….waited for this little baby to appear!

Little did I know the next day would be the beginning of the rest of my life – as Cici’s mama. After she was born, the first few weeks were just a blur, as most first time moms can attest to. I always tell my friends that even though newborn babies sleep upwards of 20 hours a day, I felt like I couldn’t wrap my head around reading a paragraph, let alone the boat loads of paperwork that the hospital handed to me. I loved that little bean with every fiber of my being, but I kept wanting her to be a few months old so she wouldn’t be as fragile. Now looking back, while I do realize my concerns were valid, I would just soak up that time as much as possible – her little newborn photos break my heart with their sweetness – that full little head of black hair, the pursed lips, the cheeks that were just starting to fill in and would grow exponentially within the next few months 🙂

I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. There was so much I didn’t know, and that I was learning as I went. I would cry at the drop of a hat, and I was frustrated that the hospital spent so much time focusing on getting me to pump from the start, and not helping me with getting Cici to latch. I pumped and fed her from a syringe for the first few days of her life and realize how ridiculous that was (no shame to moms that do this), I just thought that was the only way to know how much she was actually getting. It actually backfired and she lost so much weight those first few days and got a pretty bad case of jaundice. We were at the hospital every day checking her weight as they pricked and prodded her for blood work. If it wasn’t for one very sweet and persistent lactation consultant, I don’t know if I ever would have attempted actual breastfeeding. As soon as I did, her weight skyrocketed, and I was producing milk like gangbusters! My breastfeeding journey lasted 9 months and ended with a mean first-time bout of mastitis (ouch), but it was such a sweet and special time that I will never forget, bonding with my baby girl.

I remember looking down at my flabby stomach (of course I didn’t get stretch marks until AFTER I gave birth!), my unrecognizable boobs, and nether regions that just felt foreign to me. But I was happy. Those love hormones were surging through my body, and I was energized, in love, and hungry…always hungry. Ro would make me fresh squeezed orange juice from our orange tree every day those first few weeks, and friends and family nourished me with food, love, and open ears and hearts to listen to my concerns. Cici and I would meet Amanda and Mason for playdates, go on long walks in the crisp winter air, and just nurse, sleep, repeat. I caught up on so many shows and movies in those first couple months, until all of a sudden out of nowhere, Cici was an actual baby, and not just a potato! A baby who needed stimulation and constant attention – well, that never really changed 🙂

I don’t think Cici ever really napped in a crib for the first few months – it was either in the car, stroller, on the boppy after a feeding, or maybe the swing – and definitely the baby wrap carrier after a couple months! It was a hazy but magical time. I remember I would always order our groceries online (even that felt overwhelming), and going to pick them up, Cici would fall asleep in the car seat, but start screaming bloody murder every time we hit a stop light. I remember those first couple weeks when Ro was home with us, I only wanted to ride in the back seat with Cici – I was crippled with anxiety if I wasn’t. And we would always go to Jamba Juice after our doctor’s appointments. It was just such a wild, primal, emotional, and cozy time.

Then after a month or so, I was just so happy and full of energy – but at night time, anxiety would hit. Would it be a good night (of sleep)? Would I be able to take a shower at some point? Would Cici scream for two hours straight while I tried to rock and shush her to sleep for what seemed like eternity? I’m so happy and thankful we started on a night time bath routine early on, and ultimately let her cry it out when she fussed. It was heartbreaking, but she sleeps like a rock star now and I know that’s why. I remember that first night when she slept in her crib at exactly 3 months old, and we were so nervous watching her on the monitor. She just stared up into space for 20 minutes, cooed to herself, sucked her knuckles, then fell asleep. It was magical! And it felt like I could breathe again. But we won’t even go into the Snuza breathing monitor and the few times it went off in those first few months and the subsequent anxiety that caused!

3 months in, and I was absolutely terrified to go back to work – there was no way I could leave my sweet baby each day. I just wanted to stay at home with Cici forever! But by 4 months, I was ready 🙂 It was still hard to leave for work early on, but it was easier knowing my sweet mama was the one caring for Cici the majority of the time. I felt like 90% of my hair fell out from months 3-5, and I was so self-conscious about it for months on end. I just recently started feeling like myself again after a a good cut and color.

Cici got much more predictable as time went on, and we were consistent with our routine. People would give us a hard time about leaving early from parties, or snicker any time we said we had to be home by 6. It seemed a bit ridiculous, but it meant Cici slept, and we got some time to ourselves before we went to sleep. As slowly as those first few months went by, after month 6, time just flew by in the blink of an eye. It was unreal. Cici is now a rough-and-tumbling, vocal, feisty little gal, who somehow is independent yet still wants my undivided attention at all times. I feel like I know that baby inside and out and we just are so in sync. I truly believe our hearts and brains are on the same wavelength; I pick up on her emotions and thoughts right before they unfold. I just want to kiss and cuddle her at all times, and she gets (understandably) annoyed, but I know deep down she craves it just like I do 😉

It has been the best, scariest, most joyful, nerve-wracking, beautiful, soul-splitting and rose-colored year of my life. I absolutely cannot believe I was pregnant and gave birth to this perfect ball of sunshine, and I get to keep her forever. Cici is the love of my life, and I’m eternally grateful God picked me to be her mama. I pray we have many years together, and that we maintain this rock-solid bond we’ve built throughout her first year. I am the luckiest mama in the universe, and I just want to shout it from a mountain top! I LOVE YOU, MY CICI GIRL! ❤

Ciena – Eleven Months


Eleven Month Highlights:

  • I think you’re between 21 and 22 pounds – I could also be totally making this up; haven’t had you officially weighed in months, but that’s what your Lola says you’re weighing these days. You’re wearing 12 month clothes for the most part, and still in size 4 Pampers.
  • You FINALLY got your first tooth! Hallelujah!!! Thought I’d never see the day haha – it made you a little irritable but EXTRA cuddly which I appreciated 🙂 But it’s never easy seeing you with a fever, or less spunky than usual.
  • I always underestimate the size of food you can eat – you are literally eating adult-sized chunks of food now (all soft, of course!) Your appetite has evened out and is pretty normal now, and you really really love pasta, cheese, and Trader Joe’s fish sticks 🙂 You’re doing 4 bottles of formula a day  now, and I’m going to transition you to whole milk within the next month (which is crazy to think about! But thank God because we all know how formula can quickly deplete your bank account : )
  • It is so sweet how you love to clap and get so happy when you do. You also love pointing to different things and having us tell you what they are. You also started actually throwing things (like, overhand) which is funny and different than your normal toss of anything/everything from your high chair.
  • You are on the move, girlfriend! Not walking yet, but I feel like you’re so close. You are so quick in your walker, and cruising along every piece of furniture. You are also climbing over EVERYTHING! Your scoot/smoosh is getting faster, since you never really wanted to actually crawl. It’s so funny because you drag your left leg, and so your left pant legs are always dirty from scooting – hey, free floor cleaning! 😉
  • You love to dance, it is so sweet. Now you shake your butt and tap your foot and put one hand out and wave it around. The cutest!
  • We had a wonderful (seriously, amazing) family staycation to Monterey earlier this month. It couldn’t have been more perfect. We went to the aquarium, Carmel, the beach, did a surrey bike ride, and had lots of good food and you loved every second!
  • You are certainly chatty sometimes, and said your first official word this month – papa (LOL) Even when i ask you to say mama, you say papa. But I think you say mama as “baba” so it’s easy to confuse the two. You LOVE to say “pa” now when you see your papa, it is too cute. Still workin’ on getting you to  officially say mama; all in good time. You also love to say “woof” and are obsessed with dogs.
  • You are seriously so smart, connecting things like giving me your toys when i ask you (this baffled me and I’m shocked it wasn’t a fluke!) I totally get why people make fun of parents for thinking everything their child does is extraordinary – it’s easy to underestimate the intelligence and capabilities of your baby so when they do something, it’s like WOW OMG you’re a baby Einstein!!!

I cannot believe you’re turning ONE in a month! 😦 I’m so excited for your birthday party (Dia de Cici!) and all the fun things coming up this month. For our anniversary, we’re taking you to where we got married for a steam train ride! And you’re getting your ears pierced and going to lots of pumpkin patches and going trick-or-treating, so fun! But please time slow down a little bit…just a little bit!