Sugar Shock

Between 24-28 weeks, every pregnant woman gets the extreme pleasure of taking a test... a glucose test.  You don't have to study, but it still sucks.  For those of you who have yet to endure, let me paint you a picture.  You wake up in the morning, feeling nauseous, as usual, but instead of being able to chow down on your crackers, or cereal (or whatever you eat in the morning... chocolate cake?) you have to down... and I mean CHUG a 10 oz bottle of liquid sugar.  Oh, and try to keep it down.  No, it's not literally "liquid sugar", but pretty much.  They try to make it seem tasty by adding an orange or fruit punch flavor to it, but when you open the bottle, you can see the sugar crystalizing on the rim.  Just thinking about it is turning my stomach.

Once you get to the doctor, you have your blood drawn and they send it off to a lab to check your sugar levels.  My OB is pretty much awesome, and lets me take the bottle home so I can drink it 45 minutes prior to my appointment.  Some people have to take it upon arriving and then wait for an hour to have their blood drawn. 
So, I did all this... managed to chug the bottle, while fighting off Marco (who of course wanted a sip), went to the appointment, got stabbed in the arm and was told "If you don't hear anything in 3-4 days, you're fine".  It's the old "no news is good news" deal.  After 3-4 days, I had heard not a peep, so I figured all was well.  Not so much.

I get a call over a week later, where the nurse kindly explains to me that I have failed my first attempt at the test and have to come in immediately for a 3 hour test!  Why wasn't I informed earlier?  Well, because they misplaced my chart... of course!  Thankfully this happened while my mom was in town, so I didn't have to contain and entertain Marco for 3 hours at the OB. 
Exam #2:  I drag my butt out of bed at 7:30 and get to the OB by 8:15.  They didn't give me the drink ahead of time this round... probably didn't trust me to follow directions.  It went a little like this:
8:30- Draw blood from left arm
8:35- Chug liquid sugar
8:40- Deep breaths so as to not hurl
8:50- Read my book for a while
9:30- Draw blood from left arm AGAIN
9:35- Play suduko on my phone
10:30- Draw blood from right arm
10:35- Stare unkindly at other people's loud children... because my child never screams
11:30- Draw blood from right arm AGAIN
11:35- Finally released from misery and allowed to EAT!

So, again I got the line "If you don't hear from us in 3-4 days, you're fine"... and it's been well over a week.  Was a silly to trust them again?  Should I have called?  I'm hoping either "no news is good news" or "ignorance is bliss".  If one doesn't work, then the other should!  Either way, my next appointment is on Friday, so I'll be SURE to ask then.  That was a not-so-sweet experience.  Study up, pregnant ladies!  

2 Toys: Love one, hate the other

A toy review
Love it:
When people ask me what toys they can buy for Marco, lately my answer has been the same... books!  Granted, books are not technically "toys", but if he will play with them, and they will entertain him, that counts as a toy to me!  Toys seem to lose their novelty very quickly, and just become another thing to toss into and out of the toy chest.  However, I have noticed that Marco will actually sit with his books, turn the pages, walk around with them and asks us to read them to him.
My mom came last week and wanted to get him yet another toy... but instead opted to get him some books.  She found these books at Target for only $10.99.  

It's a box set of Sesame Street board books, with a total of 12!  That's less that $1 per book!  The box has a handle on it for easy carrying... we tell Marco he's "going to school" when he carries it.  The box also has a magnetic door that shuts firmly, so once the books are in, they're in... until your toddler pulls them all out again, (so maybe 2 seconds).  The books are small (only about 2 inches tall), but the stories are cute and colorful.

So far, Marco has pulled the books out and put them back into the box about a million times.  He loves flipping through the books, and gets excited to see all his favorite SS characters!  This was a GREAT buy! (Thanks Mom!)
To buy:
(I searched the Target site and couldn't find it... but that's where I got it, and it was cheaper than this site)

Hate it: 
Being a musician, I try to give Marco all the musical outlets possible.  He has TONS of musical toys... a piano, several guitars, bongos, egg shakers, claves, etc... My friend Jennifer added to his collection of instruments with the Fisher Price Alligator Xylophone.

When we first gave it to Marco, his face lit up and he loved that he could hit the bars with a mallet or press keys like a piano.  I loved it too... until I began to better examine the instrument and realized that there are many musical mistakes that are unnecessary and make me think that the manufacturers are lazy to not have done a little research before mass producing this product.  Now, these are things that wont bother most people... but I'm a music NERD... so it bothers me... a lot.
First, there are 6 bars/keys... that means it goes from Do to La.  This is awkward.  How hard would it have been to add two more keys to the body of this alligator so that it would complete an entire scale?  Ok, so if they couldn't complete the whole scale, then why go to La?  It would make more sense for it to complete at Sol... Do to Sol makes sense... Do to La, not so much.
Second, when you are looking at the alligators face, assuming that is the front, the first key on the left is the highest pitch.  This is incorrect!  On a piano, or a REAL xylophone, the low pitches are on the left, moving higher as you move to the right.  I don't think it would have cost them any more money or time to flip the order of the keys.
Third, there is only one mallet, and the cord connecting the mallet to the instrument is very short.  The fact that there is one mallet is a problem, because it teaches children to use only their dominant hand, when a musician needs to have both hands equally developed.  The cord being too short makes it difficult to reach all of the keys and you have to hold it just right in order to do so.  I'm sure it's made short as a result of some code of safety, so I'm not too upset about that one.
Overall, I think it has the potential of being a cute, entertaining and musically "sound" toy... but it falls flat.  Speaking of flat, as a personal complaint, my Do key is flat (of course).  But the truth is, Marco doesn't care about my complaints... he likes it anyway.
To buy:*S%3F&GUID=7c3ce16e1290a02652d0fe10ffb4568b&itemid=300457243631&ff4=263602_263622#ht_500wt_1145
(I could only find it online at Ebay, although I bought mine at Target as well.)

Daddy Love

As Marco grows older, I have noticed a small shift.  The shift is so very slight, that from the outside, you may not even see it... but I do.  He has begun to favor Dad over Mom!
A part of me is saddened by this, but only a very small part.  I knew that it would begin to happen, and that it was meant to happen.  I also knew that if it didn't happen, it would be a problem.  But I can't help wanting to be numero uno forever.  Who doesn't?!
When he was a newbie, he wanted nothing to do with Dad.  He wouldn't mind being held by him, but he would melt in my arms.  He would instantly be soothed by just my voice or a caress on the face.  Even as he got older and more independent, he would still come to me in a calling competition, or want me when he woke up startled at 3am.  It didn't hurt that I was his primary source of yummy goodness for so long... the boob is a powerful thing!
But now that he's on to more important things, like eating all kinds of foods, playing with all kinds of toys, walking around and talking (in his own language), he's also not so dependent on Mama.  Don't get me wrong, we're still best buds... we spend all day playing and laughing and cuddling... but when Papai ("dad" in Portuguese) gets home... all bets are off!
Often times, when he knows it's getting to be about that magical hour when the door opens and his Papai is standing with the sun on his back, he'll sit right by the door to wait for him.  Or, now that he's tall enough, he'll actually attempt to open the door!  He whines and cries if he leaves the room and he's left behind and he follows him around the house like a little shadow.
It's monkey-see-monkey-do at my house.  Papai takes a shower, and Marco will open the bathroom door, and jump in the shower with him... fully clothed!  Papai drinks from a cup, but not without giving Marco a sip (or ten).  Papai lays on the couch with his feet up, and Marco follows suit.  Papai picks up his guitar to play a bit, and Marco comes to strum a few chords.  Papai sits at the piano to grace us with a tune, and we hear Marco tinkering with the high notes.  It's endearing.
(of course the pic is blurry, because as most babies do... he moved right when I snapped it and I couldn't get him to do it again!)

Mauricio is an amazing husband, but I must say, he is a superb father!  No job is too stinky, too dirty, too snotty or too messy for him.  He has always changed all kinds of dirty diapers without a fight... ok, sometimes a little fight.  He does Marco's bath-time routine every night without fail... and loves doing it. I know that their relationship is so strong because Mauricio is such an awesome "hands-on" father... and I'm so blessed that he is my husband!
So, I'm ok with the shift (just keep repeating that)... after all, I don't want to raise a pair of Momma's Boys!  I know that now with #2 coming soon, I may not (rephrase: WILL NOT) have 100% of my attention to offer Marco 100% of the time... and it's comforting to know that not only is he ok with Mauricio, he's happier than a clam with him!  I am also comforted to know that Mauricio will raise my boys to be independent, wonderful, loving, selfless, God-loving men. And how can I be upset, really, when looking at the two of them together makes my heart swell and spill over every time.

Fraidy Cat

Three common household items Marco is now deathly afraid of:

1. My Blender
Yesterday I decided to pull it out for 2.2 so that I could blend part of my banana cake.  He stood at the gate (we have the kitchen blocked off), with a very worried face and proceded to cry the entire time it was turned on.  He kept pointing at it and shaking his head.  Mau picked him up and brought him to it and he clung to him with fierce intensity!

2. Our Vacuum Cleaner
This one is pretty funny.  He wont actually cry while it's on, but he does have a very perturbed face on the entire time.  He watches it like a hawk and points at it, as if to tell us to "put that thing away".  I have to sit on the couch and hold him while Mau vacuums.  The other day, Mau didn't put it back in the closet immediately upon finishing... instead he put it in the hall way.  Marco wanted to go into his room, but refused to pass near the vacuum.  He kept looking around the corner to see if it was still there, and eventually got so frustrated that he broke down and cried until we put it away.

3. The Air Mattress Pump
The pump doesn't come out too often, but when it does, oh boy!  Marco knows where we keep it... in the guest room closet.  He also knows not to go near it.  This one is by far the most terrifying for him. We have tried to show it to him, while off, and let him touch it.  We tell him to give it "Pow Pows" (a spanking), to show him that he's in control of it.  But once that switch is flipped, it's all over.  He literally SHAKES with fear!  Once we left it on the floor of the guest bedroom for a few days and he would walk over there and peak behind the door, to see if it was still there.  Then he'd come back over to me whining and crying.

This is all so strange and funny to us.  Our son is normally really easy going and collected.  He has no problem being alone, in the dark, left with strangers (at church, relax!), or anything else.  You may say, well he's afraid of loud noises... but that isn't really true either.  He wasn't at all phased by the loud fireworks during the 4th of July!  Just thought this was too funny not to share!

I've Dumped The Bump

It's true.  For those of you confused, not my baby bump... The Bump is a website for pregnant women, new mommies and moms of toddlers.  Every engaged girl has heard of The Knot... well, once you're married you graduate from The Knot to The Nest, and once you get pregnant, you scoot (or waddle) on over to The Bump.

I found The Bump when I first moved to South Carolina, in my second trimester with Marco.  Since I had quit my job, I had nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do.  Truth be told, I'm not a great house keeper (gasp!), so that didn't keep me occupied for long.  I came across this site and began to gradually become obsessed and addicted to it.  I confess, "Hi, my name is Nicole, and I'm a Bump-a-holic".  I loved being on this site.  Not only was it informative and sometimes supportive, but mostly it was snarky, and competitive. I quickly learned all the abbreviations, and there are MANY, and even had to get myself to not say them in real life (or IRL, for bumpies).
I continued to Bump all throughout my pregnancy and obsessively throughout the first 6 months of Marco's life.  It was easy back then.  While he was nursing, I'd balance the laptop between the boppy and my knees.  Oh, but then Marco learned how to reach.  So, even though he was eating, he was trying to hit the keys.  Once he was about 6 months, I could no longer Bump and feed simultaneously... but I could still Bump during nap times!  So, I did.  It was easy then... he took 3 naps a day, so although I'd Bump for a little while, I still had time to do other things.  Then he cut down on his naps.  Now, he only takes one a day... although it's sometimes 2 hours, I just don't feel that I have enough time to do all of the things I want/need to do AND spend time on The Bump.
So, needless to say, I haven't been Bumping at all lately.  It makes me sad because I really got to know some of these women.  And it's one of those things you don't want to admit, but I did make some real friends there... even though we've never actually met!  These women shared with me their beautiful (and painful) birth stories, and also felt joy over mine.  They supported me with breastfeeding questions, diaper questions, solid questions... (shall I go on?).  I became Facebook friends with many of them, and enjoy seeing pictures of their growing darlings.  They comment on my growing boy and understand the exact stage I'm going through, and feel my pain!
To all my Bumpies who are my FB friends or follow my blog, I do hope you'll forgive my long and permanent absence.  It's not you, it's me.  Maybe I'll be back one day (and then I wont know anyone on there).  For now, I'll continue to enjoy your lives through FB and your blogs.  Thank you for all of the support.  You made my first year a lot less stressful!

Visiting Hours Are Now Over

We have had quite a busy summer this year.  Thankfully, it's kept me busy and entertained.  We have enjoyed having the company of family and friends, one right after the other, for the entire month of July! It all began after our trips to Miami.

First up were my in-laws... all of them!  We had Vovo' and Vovo, Rosana and Otavio, as well as Titia Mi and Tio Alfredo, come for 3 days during July 4th weekend.  If you know my sister-in-law, you know that she LOVES to keep busy... so we did.  We took Marco to the Greenville Zoo for the first time, and he was both curious and impressed by all the large animals.

Here's Marco with Titia Mi walking through the mist.  He kept getting the shivers every time they'd go through:

Here's Marco with Mau, at a photo opp on the bear:
The next day was July 4th, and there was a festival downtown.  We all went down to Falls Park, and actually walked in the river.  Marco didn't just want to get his feet in though, he wanted to JUMP in, head first if we'd let him.  He got all muddy and dirty, but had a blast.

Here he is testing the water with Mau:

Marco was able to take a little nap in his stroller so that he could stay up to watch the fireworks... at 9:45!  I was worried that he'd be afraid of them because it was very loud, and we were directly below them.  But, my little warrior was not afraid at all!  In fact, he kept pointing to "la luz" and was in awe of them.
Here he is:

We had such a great time, but it couldn't last.  Unfortunately, most of my in-laws could only stay for 3 days, but my Mother-in-law got to stay for TEN WHOLE DAYS!  It was really wonderful having her here.  She spoiled us with some good cookin', helped me take care of Marco, and enjoyed the pool and park with him. She even babysat for us so we could go out for our 3 year wedding anniversary... that was a special treat!

When she left, we only had one day of break before the next visitor arrived.  My bestie, Jen, came to visit for 4 days.  I've been trying to convince her to come for over a year.  It's always either her asking me to go to Orlando, or me begging her to come to boring Greenville.  Finally, she caved!  We had a really nice time hanging out, going downtown, hitting up the pool, and loving on Marco a bit.

Here we are, bravely climbing the rocks at Falls Park:

And here's Jen, sharing some snuggle time with Marco before bed time:

When Jen left, I had a 5 day break before my next visitor arrived.  My little cousin, (who's not so little anymore), came for an entire week.  Mariah was promised a trip to see me this summer if she kept her grades up throughout the second half of last year.  And I'm so happy that she did!  It was awesome getting to hang with her and getting see the woman she's growing into.  Aside from the typical downtown, shopping, pool, bouncing babies dates, we also worked on her college acceptance essay.  It took forever!  Marco started walking while Mariah was here, and of course, she takes all the credit! She also got a really good taste of what it's like to have a baby... and I'm glad she did!  I hope that we can make her visits into a yearly tradition!

Here's Mariah with Marco on the bridge at Falls Park:

On the same day that she left, my brother Migue and his fiance' Alaina came for a visit.  They were doing a drive-by.  They had a wedding to go to the next day about an hour from here, so decided to stop off for the afternoon and spend the night.  It was great having them come and showing them around our little city.  Alaina took Marco off my hands completely, and I could tell he was having a lot of fun with her.

Here we are at the EVER famous Falls Park Bridge (what a surprise!)... Marco's passed out in the stroller!:

For now, visiting hours are over.  We loved having everyone come and stay with us, but we're also ready to get back to our normal lives.  But, not for long... my mom and Cesar (Aba and Abo) will be visiting in just a few weeks!