Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We’re famous!

Okay, so that’s a far cry from the truth… but my little family was profiled on Channel 4 KOB news last night!  We were featured in a story on two bills that are currently under review with the legislature in Santa Fe, NM that could have a HUGE impact on gay marriage in the state.  We didn’t find out that we were selected to represent the gay community in the segment until around 4pm in the afternoon, so you can image our nervousness as the hours counted down to our interview.  The interview took place in our home and lasted about an hour.  We decided together that we didn’t want Grace to appear on camera with us but everything we discussed centered on her and how these bills would impact her little life as well as ours.

While we were very nervous (as you can clearly see in the video below), we are so glad that we made the decision to participate.  This morning as I was driving to work, I thought about the fact that not so long ago, discussing gay rights and sharing with the community that you are gay in such a public forum, often meant losing your job, being cut-off from your family and possibly physical harm.  Sadly, this still happens in many parts of the country every day, which is just devastating.  More than anything, I am thankful that these outcomes are not our reality.  This gives me hope for gay people that don’t have the support of their families, genuine job security and are left feeling unsafe in their communities.

My hope is that by linking a face and a story to the word “gay”, those New Mexicans who choose ignorance and stand in judgment will begin to realize that we are no different than them and that a family is a family.  We are all beautiful, we are all New Mexicans and we ALL matter.

Before sharing the clip, I do want to clarify one thing that was a bit unclear in the video and article.  Georgia and I were married in a symbolic ceremony on November 7, 2009 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Even when gay marriage gets passed in NM, we will forever consider this date our wedding day.  Our legal marriage followed in 2010 in Van Couver B.C. and was a first year anniversary gift to my lovely wife.  I figured that if a first wedding present is traditionally paper, why not get a marriage license. :)

Grace, when you read this post and watch this video years from now – please know that everything we have done to stand up for our family and everything we will continue to do, we do for you.  Love, Mama & Mommy


If you have issues viewing try this link: http://www.kob.com/article/11687/?vid=3921008&v=1

Posted at: 01/29/2013 9:46 PM

By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4
New Mexico lawmakers are expected to tackle the emotionally charged issue of gay marriage this legislative session.  There are dueling bills that would have wide-spread impacts if either is passed.
State Representative Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) introduced House Joint Resolution 3, which would allow New Mexico to issue same sex marriage licenses.  The bill also states that no church or religious institution would be required to perform a marriage ceremony or recognize the marriage for religious purposes if it conflicts with the church’s beliefs.
"I think it is critically important that the State of New Mexico acknowledge gay families and tell them that they are part of the social fabric of New Mexico,” Rep. Egolf said. 
State Representative Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell) introduced House Joint Resolution 4, which would change the State Constitution to define a marriage between one man and one woman.
"I just believe in the basic foundation of marriage between one man and one woman,” Rep. Espinoza said.  Espinoza added that she doesn’t believe in legislating what people do in their personal lives, but says she feels strongly about defining marriage.
Same sex couples in New Mexico are closely watching what happens in the legislative session.  Albuquerque couple Kristin Orozco Roybal and Georgia Roybal married in Vancouver, Canada and celebrated their marriage in Cabo-San Lucas, Mexico with friends and family.  But when they stepped back into New Mexico, the state did not acknowledge their marriage.
"Right now we have no legal rights whatsoever for anything,” Georgia Roybal said.  “Everything we do as a family-- we have to take so many extra steps.”
Recently Georgia gave birth to a baby girl, Grace. The couple is saving money so that they can pay the attorney and adoption fees for Kristin to legally adopt Grace.  The couple feels legalizing same sex marriages would ease the financial burdens they are going through. 
"This touches us, it's so close to our hearts,” Kristin said. “It’s our family."
Both bills have hurdles in front of them.
Rep. Espinoza has tried to pass similar bills banning gay marriage for years with no success, and the legislature hasn’t been able to pass a domestic partnership bill, much less a gay marriage bill, in its history.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Baby Led Weaning: a typical evening in the Roybal house

Our adventures in baby led weaning continue.  The babe is now completely over purées, which is somewhat of a bummer because I still have a freezer full of homemade, organic baby food.  The list of foods Grace has tried continues to grow and while she has done great so far, G is still convinced she is going to choke at every meal!  When we eat dinner she keeps one eye on her food and the other on Grace at all times.  When the babe makes the slightest of sounds, G is ready to go into full-on heimlich mode, haha!  With the 5 teeth Gracie now has, she eats like a champ.  Still, It’s pretty funny to watch G freak out about it.  I plan to write a post about the babe’s new diet (breakfast, lunch and dinner) soon, but I need to talk to my mom-in-law first.  To be honest, I’m not really sure what all she has for lunch during the week.


In other food related news, my New Year’s resolution is kicking me in the ass… In the New Year, Georgia and I decided that we were going to make every effort to cook dinner on weekdays and eat at home as often as possible.  Now that Grace is eating what we eat, we both agreed that now more than ever, it’s important that we know what our little babe is consuming and what better way to do this than cook the food ourselves.  We also agreed that starting now, we’re setting the eating habits she will carry with her for the rest of her life, so preparing healthy meals as a family and eating at home together needs to be the norm. 

So far we are keeping up our end of the deal.  Georgia and I have only had weekday take-out twice since January first.  With that being said – cooking dinner at home every.single.night is HARD WORK!  While it can be fun, it is also time consuming and often a tiring process.  Here’s what our typical evening looks like…

5:30pm - 6:00pm: Georgia or I will pick up baby, depending on the day.

*Bring in the doggies and feed them dinner.*

6:30pm - 7:00pm: While one of us changes Grace and puts her in PJ’s, the other starts dinner.

*Throw in a load of laundry.*

7:00pm: Grace has an “appetizer” while we finish cooking.  If the babe doesn’t get something in her tummy by 7pm she is not a happy camper… this means we usually have to keep her busy with a little fruit, black olives or peas and carrots (these are her favorite pre-dinner snacks) while we finish cooking.

7:15pm - 7:30pm: This is the time we typically sit to eat dinner together.  Grace will eat with us for 15 minutes or so before she is ready to get out of her highchair and play!

7:30pm - 8:00pm: The mamas finish their food while Grace plays across the way in the living room or RUNS laps like a maniac in her walker around the kitchen.

8:00pm - 8:30pm: Georgia clears the table while making Gracie’s bottles for bedtime/breakfast, while I mop up the area where Grace ate; cleaning her highchair, the wall and whatever else is covered in food.  I LOVE the theory behind Baby Led Weaning but it is M-E-S-S-Y!

*Pop laundry in dryer and change Gracie’s diaper for bed.*

8:30pm - 9:00pm: While I pick baby girl’s outfit for the next day and finish cleaning up, Georgia gives Grace her bedtime bottle and puts her to bed.

9:15pm: Me and the wife reunite in the living room (exhausted) and watch television while checking emails and voicemails preparing for the day ahead.  This is usually the only time I have to blog at home, which is probably the reason I do most of my posting at work during lunch... 

10:30pm: We then climb into bed, watch 1-2 episodes of Friends and pass out ready to wake the next morning and do it all again… :)

It’s amazing all that you can do in just 4 hours time 
and as hectic as our new life with the babe is, we wouldn’t change it for the world. 

This new little life of ours often reminds me of one of my favorite quotes…

"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."
~Anonymous

4/52: My Girl

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby Bargains!

I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself “cheap”, but I am definitely a girl who LOVES a good bargain.  I think it’s safe to say that roughly 50% of my clothing (and the clothes I buy for G) is clearance and/or sale items.  As such, it has become my mission to do the same for Grace.

Between our baby shower and the adorable items we were “handed down” from my sister-in-law and one of G’s BFF’s, we had more Newborn baby clothing than we knew what to do with in those early months.  It was a good thing we did because with Gracie’s cleft lip she spit up 3x as much and needed to be changed often.  After around month 3, our clothing collection for the babe began to dwindle.  This is right around the time my mission to find baby bargains began!

This quest to SAVE money has transformed me into a seasonal shopper, a coupon clipper and a sale seeker.  Georgia laughs at me when I come home to share my latest finds and as much as she finds it hilarious that it is such a focused effort for me, she has totally grown to appreciate it!  When I recently returned from my 18-24 month sale shopping adventure, she suggested I share some tips on finding these types of deals.

 *Just when I think the wife could careless about the old blog,
she shows me she still reads it! Ha!*

Knowing how quickly kiddos grow from size-to-size and how expensive these teenie, tiny outfits can be, I too saw the benefits in sharing a few helpful tips.  Below are said “tips” along with photos from my most recent shopping excursion.  I hope my fellow bargain-shopping mamas find this post helpful.  I would love to hear which stores you find the best deals in (even online) and/or tips you have to save $! 

A penny saved is a penny earned… right?!

If I were to buy the following items at FULL PRICE, it would have cost: $120. 
I purchased all of this on sale for a total of: $51.80


Tip #1: The best time to bargain shop is when stores are changing from one season to another (like right now)!  With winter on it’s way out and Spring around the corner, most clothing stores are trying desperately to unload their remaining winter merchandise.  This often equals super savings on really cute outfits!

Tip #2: When looking through clearance racks, check all sections and all sizes.  Clearance racks are often messy and unorganized, which means that you can’t trust that the sizes you’re looking for are in the correct place… Nearly half of the adorable outfits I just purchased for Grace were found in the Newborn section.

Tip #3: When shopping for sale items, don’t hesitate to buy clothes for next year.  If there is one thing you know, it’s that your baby will just keep getting bigger.  So while the store may not have a warm winter coat that will fit her right now, they will likely have one in a bigger size (discounted) that she can wear next winter.  Win, win!

Tip #4: A lot of what you’ll find on sale is often mismatched outfits, i.e. a shirt missing the matching pants or a cute skirt minus the equally cute matching top.  It’s so easy to find solid colored tops and pants to pair with these types of items so I say – get it!  Especially when the item is $2 or $3 dollars like some pieces I’ve come across for Grace.   

Tip #5: If you’re looking for a cute holiday outfit (like baby’s 1st Thanksgiving), wait to make your purchase until 1-2 weeks before the holiday.  Most retailers mark this gear down as the holiday draws near and you can find some greats deals!  Who wants to pay $7 for a Christmas bib when you can get it for $2.50?

Tip #6: When shopping for baby bargains, leave your baby at home!  It takes time to find a good deal.  You often have to search through racks and dig through bins to find what you’re looking for.  Most babies don’t enjoy just hanging out while we do this… ;)

Did I miss anything?

Monday, January 21, 2013

1st Birthday Wish Box


My first crafting project for Gracie’s birthday party is officially finished and I’m so happy with the way it came out!  For weeks now I’ve been tossing around ideas for commemorating baby girl's first birthday.  I considered making a time capsule but decided against that idea when several friends went the time capsule route.  I also thought about writing the first of many letters that Grace could one day read but came to the realization that I already do that… it’s called More Than Words, maybe you’ve heard of it, hehe. ;) 

It wasn’t until a few weekends ago, as I was cleaning out our guestroom closet, that the idea of a “Wish Box” came to mind.  I’ve kept memory boxes since High School for all sorts of reasons.  I have several memory boxes commemorating important times in my life from travel to my wedding and I look through them any time I want to relive those special moments.  As I was looking through a few of my favorites it dawned on me that a wish box would be the perfect way to commemorate our little gals first birthday!


The plan for the Wish Box is to create cards that say something like, “my wish for Grace is…” and have them next to the box at her birthday party.  Once all of our family and friends have had the opportunity to write their special wishes for Grace, we’re going to pack her wishes, a little album of pictures and favors from the party along with a few special items from Georgia and I before sealing it up! 

Grace will be given her Wish Box on her 18th birthday and my hope is that she'll enjoy reading all of her special little wishes as much as I enjoyed making the box!  

I used Mod Podge to seal the photos once I finished all four sides.  One of the best things about this craft was that it was super inexpensive to make.  All you'll need is a box, pictures, Mod Podge, stickers/paint (optional), a sponge brush and scissors.  Below is a collage showing each side.  One of my favorite pictures is on side #1, in the bottom right corner.  It's a picture of Gracie stretching at one of her hearing tests when she was just a few months old.  Look at her holding that birthday cake like a big girl, ha!  


If you decide to make a Wish Box for your little one (which I think you should!), grab a box of tissue.  Looking through a year of pictures will result in tears.  Happy tears – but tears all the same.

Did you do anything special for your baby's first birthday?  
I would love to hear all about it!  
 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sleep…

Is a wonderfully magical thing once you start having more of it – and its amazing how much you don’t realized you’ve missed it until you have it again!  Gracie is doing so well with the transition to her crib that I’ve put off writing this post for fear that I will jinx us… As I posted last week, we transitioned the babe to her crib on Friday January 4th.  The first night she did ok, sleeping in her crib until 2am, at which point she woke and we brought her back to bed with us.  The 3 days following were similar with her sleeping in her crib until around 2:00-3:00am before waking up and crying out for us.  During this process it dawned on me that we’ve been feeding her 6 ounces of formula before bed for months now and maybe she’s waking in the middle of the night because she feels hungry.  As it turns out, that’s exactly what was happening!  Once we increased Grace’s formula to 8 ounces, she had her first night of sleeping 11 hours straight!  Hallelujah!

I’m not a big fan of the term, “sleep training”, but I guess that’s essentially what we’ve been doing.  On day 5 Grace woke while G was putting her to bed (as opposed to waking in the middle of the night) and that was our first experience with letting her cry it out (CIO).  Her cry was more of a whine and within 10 minutes she laid down and fell asleep, which made us feel much better about letting her cry.  Had she gone any longer, we would have likely folded.  I think the fact that G laid her back down in the crib and immediately left the room as she was getting fussy helped to keep her from growing hysterical.  Every baby is different, but for Grace, the longer we stand next to her when she’s upset without picking her up – the more furious she becomes… 

We’ve been at this “sleep training” thing for 2 weeks now and what we’re doing seems to be working.  Neither I nor Georgia are “experts” by any means but I still wanted to share Gracie’s sleep update along with a few tips I felt would be helpful to any other parents out there, who like us, waited far too long to transition their baby to the crib (and are now suffering because of it)...

Here’s what helped:

- We purchased a “My Baby” sleep machine from Target that simulates the sound of a heartbeat along with several other sounds that are designed to sooth baby.  The heartbeat seems to work best for Grace.  Listening to it even makes me a bit sleepy, lol!

- Increase baby’s evening bottle by a few ounces to ensure she/he is full enough to make it through the night.

- maintain a routine and try to keep bedtime the same every single night.

- Plug in a soft nightlight so that if baby does wake in the middle of the night, they can see they are in a familiar place.

- If letting your baby CIO seems like it will be too hard on you, set a time limit.  Going into this both G and I agreed that we would not let Grace cry for more than 20 minutes.  So far we haven’t had to because she has self-soothed and fallen back asleep before reaching the 20 minute mark. 

Here are some things to keep in mind:

- try to avoid changing too much too soon.  In addition to moving Grace to her crib, we also tried to give her the last bottle of the night in her room instead of in our room as we usually did.  She couldn’t figure out why we were in her room to begin with, she wasn’t comfortable during her bottle and didn’t fall asleep as she normally does.  This made for a tough first night making the transition.  

- Do what feels right for your parenting style.  G and I love having our cuddly time with Grace when she has her last bottle of the night, so while some schools of thought argue that you "should" put your baby to bed while awake and let them fall asleep on their own, that wasn't right for us.  This may change in the coming months but for now we enjoy her falling asleep laying next to one of us before carrying her to bed.  

- Talk to your partner and make a plan that you both agree on 100% before going into this.  The last thing you want to do is disagree and get frustrated with each other when you have a sleepy, crying baby on your hands!

- Be patient and know that all babies are different.  Your little one may take longer than a week to STTN consistently (as ours did) and that’s ok.  Progress is progress, right?

- Celebrate the little things and don’t get frustrated if you regress in your progress.  Grace slept 11 to 12 hours for 4 days in a row and last night she woke up at 4am and cried for 15 minutes.  I slept through it but Georgia watched as she whimpered for a while and let her self-soothe.  I’m proud of you babe (you too, Gracie)!

Monday, January 14, 2013

We almost have a walker!

Grace is showing more and more signs every week that she is ready to walk!  This video was taken this past weekend at my mom (aka Nani’s) house.  My mom has a musical walker that belonged to my niece, Mia and when we set it up in front of Gracie she took off!  You would never have guessed that this was her first stroll in the walker.  She took two spills but got right back on her feet and kept on going.  That’s my girl!

As excited as I am for Grace’s first steps, I am also a bit nervous that she’s going to hurt herself.  G started baby proofing a few weeks ago, putting bumpers on sharp edges of furniture that is down at Gracie’s level.  I imagine we’ll have to up our baby proofing efforts once she is officially on the go, which could happen in another month, or in a week for all we know…

Grace starts stage 3 Gymboree this weekend, so hopefully we can further develop her walking skills in class.  We’ve signed her up for a month of classes, which is 4 sessions.  I’m excited to see what develops. 

If you’ve ever wondered where I get my overly animated video narrating skills, just listen to my mom in this video… ha!  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

10 Months of Gracie

I wrote this post on the 7th but we didn’t get around to taking Gracie’s 10 month pictures until today… slackers!


In less than two months our little babe will be ONE YEAR OLD!  I think this is finally setting in for Georgia and I because it seems to be the only thing we can talk about these days.  It’s like we woke up a few weeks ago to this big girl who stands, eats the same food as us, calls us by name and looks to be ready to walk soon!  In addition to growing like a weed, she has also started to show so much personality.  Grace cracks us up every single day with her antics!  If she wants something (or does not want something) she lets us know… aka she has learned how to shake her head “no” and thinks it’s so funny when she does it!  She puts on little performances from her highchair to make us laugh and has become very generous with her sweetness.  She is always handing out big slobbery kisses; plenty of cuddles and long hugs. 
  
The big to-do this month was transitioning Grace to her own room.  She spent her first night in her crib this past Friday and is doing pretty good so far.  I don’t think either of us went into the transition with any expectations other than, “let’s hope we can lay her in the crib once she falls asleep without waking her” and that too has gone smoothly.  There was a lot of prep that went into the move including rewashing the bedding, taking safety precautions like installing a breathable crib bumper and digital monitor as well as purchasing a sound machine.  That may seem like excessive prep but if it helps us sleep easier at night knowing she’s ok, I say it’s worth it, right?  

She slept in her crib 12 hours straight last night.  So far so good!  


Here is a bit more of what our Gracie girl was up to in month TEN ~

* She has learned how to bark like a dog!  When we ask, “Gracie, how does a doggie go?” She responds with, “woof, woof”!  We have the poor girl barking all day, ha!

* She is standing unsupported for longer periods of time.  G is convinced that she is going to walk within a month… we shall see.

* We always joke that Grace has abs of steel because she has been able to sit up from a laying position without help and has done “baby crunchies” since she was tiny, the girl is strong!  Because of this, diaper changing has become nearly impossible.  She wants to stand, we want her to lie down… it’s a struggle.  

* When you ask her, “where’s mommy” she will point to Georgia and she points to me when we ask, “where’s mama”.  This was by far one of my favorite developments of the past month!

* She’s a dancin’ machine!  The dancing started about 3 weeks ago and it’s the funniest thing ever.  My aunt gave Grace a singing/dancing reindeer for Christmas and that little thing gets her waving her arms and bouncing to the music like crazy.  I’m going to do my best to get it on video soon!

* Throwing things is a favorite activity these days.  When she’s playing she will empty her toy box by launching everything in it over her head and also enjoys pushing the food off her highchair when she is done eating.  It’s messy but fun!


* She is getting very good at entertaining herself.  In the mornings, Georgia will put her in the play yard with toys and she will play on her own for 30+ minutes.  Since that’s all the time G really needs to get ready in the AM it works out great for me. ;)

* Some new foods she has tried this past month include: spaghetti sauce, spicy humus, pesto, cherries, corn, pancakes, snap peas, peaches, string cheese, zucchini, tortilla, pineapple AND chocolate cake (thanks to auntie Missy…).

* Just this past Monday we introduced poultry to Gracie’s diet and she thought it was YUM!  We are holding off on feeding her red meat until she’s 14-18 months but for now she will get to enjoy plenty of delicious chicken and turkey meat.

* She has grown out of nearly all of her 9 month clothing and we’ve transitioned her closet to a 12 month section and an 18 month section on the opposite side.  It still makes my heart ache when I have to fill bins with the clothes she has grown out of. :(

* The babe adores her walker.  She spends about an hour running around the house in it every evening and has even started following us down the hall all the way back to her nursery.

* Purées are on their way out.  Between being spoon feed mush and feeding herself grown-up food, there really is no contest.  She is down to one purée a day and I’m sure we will be done with purees all together in the near future.


I’m thinking this will be the month that we pierce baby girl’s ears!  We haven’t put if off for any specific reason other than we just haven’t thought much about it.  I would love for her to wear earrings at her birthday party and I want her little ears to have plenty of time to heal before hand.  Is it weird that I’m totally nervous to do this?!

Happy 10 months my little lovie.

Friday, January 11, 2013

{This Moment}

{This moment} – A Friday ritual.  A single photo capturing a simple, special, extraordinary moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
    

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sleepless in New Mexico


Oh, where do I begin?  Grace turned 10 months on Monday and up to this past weekend she had yet to spend the night in her crib.  As in never… not a single night.  Our sleeping arrangement with Grace began as most parents do.  We brought her home from the hospital and she spent her nights in our room, in a playyard next to my side of the bed.  All was well for the first few months.  She was sleeping solid and only waking occasionally for feedings. 

Around the 3-4 month mark, when most parents begin transitioning their little babes to the nursery, we were preparing Gracie for surgery.  At 4 months she underwent cleft lip repair, which required her to be fed using a special bottle every 2 hours.  Following the operation we were back to square one feeding our little gal as often as one would feed an infant.  This, of course, required that she sleep near us.  Our new feeding schedule went on for several weeks and was then followed by a 2nd procedure to remove her sutures.  Once all of her medical procedures were behind us, we had an overwhelming desire to have her as close to us as possible.  It was a traumatic experience for all involved and we decided together that she would remain in our room.

Now from this point forward the details get a little fuzzy.  There were off and on conversations about if, when and how we planned to move baby girl to her room but nothing actually happened… Grace was a great sleeper and that put the move-out on the back burner.  She was a heavy sleeper, which meant we were still able to relax in or room and watch TV, use the bathroom, get ready for bed, etc. without waking her AND she slept through the night.  It was glorious while it lasted.

Our nights were all smiles and butterflies up until Gracie was around 7 months old.  As she grew bigger she became a much lighter sleeper and also grew to hate her playyard.  It became difficult to put her down for the night in her bed and you can forget about her STTN in it.  This was right around the time we took our family vacation to LA and co-slept with baby girl at her uncle Dean’s house.  Let’s just say the babe got a weeklong taste of co-sleeping and she liked it.

Things have been pretty tough on us since then.  Grace slowly became a full time co-sleeper and crawled off the bed not once, but TWICE!  Yes my friends, she fell off the bed a second time (while we were sleeping) since my post a few weeks ago and it left me panicked.  All I could think was, what’s next… a broken arm?!  Our most recent “plan” was to transition her to the nursery on January 1st and while we didn’t make the 01/01 deadline, she did spend her first night in her crib this past Friday and has started the night in her crib every day since. 

The transition has NOT been an easy one.  The longest she has lasted in her crib since Friday has been 6 hours and she has yet to make it from the 2am bottle back to the crib.  We’ve tried everything… a nightlight, a sound machine, mesh crib bumpers, super comfy and clean linens, you name it – we’ve got it going on in her room.  We even attempted the cry-it-out method last night when she wouldn’t let us put her back down after the 2am bottle.  The 2-hour battle that ensued ended with her vomiting all over Georgia.  It was an ugly night that involved a crying baby, throw up and two moms ready to strangle each other…

This parenting thing can at times be a shit storm of uncertainty, stress and sleep deprivation.  Any and all advice is welcome.

* I am happy to report that as I put Grace down tonight she woke up, began to cry and proceeded to sooth herself back to sleep.  She has been sleeping since – 2 hours and counting…
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