Family Summer 2013 NYC Bucket List

Our Family

Our Family

With just a few weeks left before the end of summer I am desperately trying to make time and visit all of the places on my Family Summer 2013 NYC Bucket List. I have no idea how this summer has just slipped by so fast. In the Spring, as I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the summer I had numerous daydreams about all of the things I would do with my boys. Like visiting the Intrepid Museum or taking a walk on the very spirited Coney Island boardwalk. Living in a busy and over populated city like NYC affords you the luxury of ALWAYS having something fun to do. The challenge for my family has been actually getting up to do it! I find that after such a rushed and fast paced week we (mostly the grown ups) want to just stay in and relax. You know, that thing you used to do before adding kids to the house! Now who do we get out you ask?  Easy. Just mix 2 very active toddlers with serious cabin fever and the ever present ‘mommy guilt’ and BAM! We are out of the apartment looking for something to do.

Here is my NYC Summer 2013 Bucket List. I hope that as the summer days become more precious we can make it to every place on the list.

1. Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Prior to becoming a mom of two very active little boys I had absolutely no interest in the Intrepid Museum. But as I see how much they enjoy playing with their planes, watching real ones fly in the sky, and reading about them in books, I know a trip here will be one they’ll enjoy. The Intrepid Museum appears to be very family friendly and offers many family friendly activities and programs.

2. The Bronx Zoo

Yes, yes I know the Bronx Zoo is open year round. What makes this such an important item on the bucket list is their Dinosaur Safari. Children love dinosaurs and with this limited time Dinosaur Safari my boys can get a chance to dig for fossils, ride on a paleontologist (remember Ross from the show Friends?) wagon for a tour, and sing and dance at the dinosaur musical! The last day will be September 8th. To plan your trip visit the Bronx Zoo Website. 

3. Central Park Zoo & The Tisch Children’s Zoo

DJ feeding Llama Llama

DJ feeding Llama Llama

I took DJ here in the Spring on a mommy and DJ date and he had an awesome time. He spent most of his time (and my quarters) at the petting zoo. He really connected with the Llama who he thought was Llama Llama from one of his favorite books Llama Llama Red Pajama.

Took home a baby giraffe

Silly face with baby Giraffe!

Now that Aiden is walking around and really interacting with his environment I think he will have a fun time here too.

4. Coney Island Beach & Deno’s Wonderwheel

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DJ @ Coney Island Beach

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Aiden @ Coney Island Beach

When a lot of people think of the amusement park at Coney Island they think of Luna Park. But for those of us with little ones there isn’t much to do there. We took the boys to Coney Island Beach a couple weekends ago.  As we walked on the lively boardwalk we stumbled upon Deno’s Wonder Wheel Kiddie Park. This was the highlight of our trip. 20130811-062957.jpgWe purchased the 10 ride pack for $25 bucks and enjoyed most of the rides. Aiden fell asleep so DJ rode with his uncle Jamie who is 6 year’s old. I definitely recommend this to any family. Tons to do for both the grown-ups and kids. Definitely worth the 1.5 hour subway ride from Inwood.

5. Museum of Natural History

What can I say about this place. It speaks for itself! I have not been here since I became a mom, but I really want to take my boys here. Especially DJ since I know he will be talking about it for weeks, just as he did after visiting the children’s zoo this past spring. Personally i really want to check out the Whales Giants of the Deep Exhibit. I LOVE whales and know that I will definitely enjoy this exhibit.

6. Circle Line Cruise- Kids Cruise Series

I have always love boat rides and as many two year olds, so does DJ. As a teen I remember riding on the Circle Line and taking in the beautiful scenery and capturing beautiful photos of the sky line back when the Twin Towers were still there. I recently learned that they have a kids cruise line and immediately knew I have to bring the boys. The Kids Cruise Series last 75 minutes and offers beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty, live music and performances, and much more. They sail once a month, with only 2 dates left. September 21st and October 26th. We are planning on going in September.

Have you been to any of these places with your kids and have some tips you want to share? Do you have a favorite place you want us to check out? Leave a comment and let me know.

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¡Bendición Mami!

Mother’s Day in the US is only 1 day away. As I was on the subway this morning I found myself remembering many of the traditions that my mother passed along to us and how I am already beginning to incorporate my favorite one with my boys.

En la cultura latina it is very common to have children ask their parents for a blessing. In my family we typically do it as a greeting, so every interaction between my mother and her children begins with “Bendicion Mami“. She then replies “dios te bendiga mi amor” and if possible gives us a big kiss and hug. My mom has always been extremely affectionate with us. Often kissing and hugging us even as adults. I believe that the ritualistic aspect of asking for my blessing since I was a small child have made this an automatic action as soon as I see or speak to my mom.

As an adult with children of my own I still ask mi mami for my blessing every time we interact. There is something about this that feels so good, safe and loving. DJ is 2.5 years old, and every morning I ask him to ask me for his blessing, in the hopes that it can become a part of our relationship. I know he’s very young but I hope that after repeating the same actions daily, both he and his brother can feel the same way I do about it. It provides me with a way to feel closer to my mother. To feel her love from her daily blessings and from her embrace. I can only hope it does the same for my boys.

What are some traditions or rituals that your mother or caregivers shared with you? And how have they impacted your interactions with you children?

Have you started any traditions of your own with your children?

Confessions of a working mom

Whether you work from home, work outside the home or you are a stay at home mom, balancing life as a mom can be challenging. Somehow, the hardest days are those from Monday-Friday.

In my case I work for a non-profit organization where I spend my days counseling mothers and providing them with valuable parenting and child development information. This part of my day seems to be the easiest part. I schedule clients…they come in and we talk…then they leave.

The fun begins at 4:40pm every weekday as I run out of my office, grab a cup of coffee and make a dash for the 4:48pm uptown train. Three trains later at 5:36pm I arrive at my stop, which is just 4 blocks away from my children’s daycare center. I have a short 24 minutes to get to the daycare, set up the double stroller, get the boys ready with hats and coats as I ask the daycare staff how their day went. I have to also remember to carefully take with me any artwork or projects that were done that day. I say carefully because Doran, my 2.5 year old always get upset when I accidentally damage in any way his artwork. Interestingly enough, once we get home and I display his precious work he is the one who ends up ripping it up. Seriously?!?! But hey, I will do anything to prevent a meltdown on the way home, so I don’t mind being careful.

Once both boys are in the stroller bundled up I try to take the faster way home but Doran goes: “nooo not that way Mami…we go this way” as he points to the opposite direction. I confess that I oblige because once again, I’ll do anything to avoid a crying, whiny, kicking toddler. 15 minutes later we arrive at our apartment building and I have a very tough decision to make. (sidenote: I moved into the same apartment building where my mother lives when Doran was 10 months old) Do I go visit grandma knowing that she will have dinner ready and can offer a little help with Doran as I feed baby Aiden? Or do I go home, just me and the boys, and pray that in between 6:30pm and 8:30pm I can have dinner ready, both boys fed and bathed and ready for bed by 8:30? Whatever decision I make I am somehow never satisfied. Going to grandmas guarantees food and a little help. But it means that I will be constantly trying to get the boys to focus on things other than mami’s telenovela on TV, It also means that by the time we are done eating, there won’t be time for much else other than to go home and  get the boys into their pajamas. If I am lucky daddy will be home to help, but on most nights I’m just not that lucky :-/.

If instead I choose to go home and brave it on my own I usually feed the boys something quick like frozen veggies with some kind of starch like pasta or potato, and a protein which is usually chicken breast (because it cooks fast). I then have to decide who needs a bath more. Although i will admit that lately I have been putting both boys in the shower together. All the splashing counts as a bath right?

This and a lot more happens every night in our house within a two to three hour window. By the time I put the boys down I’m so tired I fall asleep with them, and before you know it, it’s 5:30am and it’s time to do it again.

I often wonder how other mothers in similar situations manage the day-to-day? How can you successfully nurture two children, blog, work, parent, breastfeed, run a household,  have a slither of a social life, and still  have enough energy to style your hair and put on make up? Lol.

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Happy Birthday Inwood Momma!

Today is Wednesday December 12th, 2012. Which makes it the big 12/12/12. Today is also my 28th birthday.

Many people are excited because today marks the last of the repeating calendar dates that anyone in our lifetime will ever live to see. There will be lots of superstitious people playing the lottery and gambling on the number 12. Many newborn babies who will have a cool birth date on their birth certificates. As well as a flooding of all things 12/12/12 in the world of social media.

I am excited for a different reason. Although today is my 28th birthday, I am overjoyed about one of the gifts I have received. It is a gift that no one else could give me. It is a gift that I have been working hard for. Today I pumped a full 12 oz at work. What are the odds? 12 ounces on 12/12/12.

I am ecstatic! I have gone from increasing my pumped breast milk from .5 from one day to the jnext, to 1 full ounce. I have been working so hard to keep up with baby Aiden and it is finally paying off.

I will be posting a blog soon to share with other mommas and their families all of the things I have tried. You never know who can use the information.

In the meantime, happy 12/12/12 everyone. I am off to eat some cake!

Andrea
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Rome wasn’t built in a day

“Rome wasn’t built in 1 day”

The above quote is probably by far one of the most popular idioms in the English language. But that is the only phrase that has lifted my mood whenever I’m ready to throw a pitty party for myself. In a previous blog post I talk about my recent plunge in milk supply and my struggle to increase and pump enough milk for baby Aiden.

I am feeling much more optimistic today because I was able to pump 11oz. Now some may say that’s a lot. Others may say that’s not much. We must all keep in mind that every momma and child is different. I am sure that if I were to poll a group of moms, no two moms would have the same output of milk. For baby Aiden and me 11oz is still 7-10oz short of what he drinks at daycare. But 11oz is a 1/2oz more than yesterday and it’s 3oz more than last week and the week before. 11oz means that I will have to continue pumping one side while I nurse him on the other. 11oz means that we may have to use up the last of my freezer stash to ensure he has enough tomorrow. To me 11oz means that my efforts are paying off. And despite the speed bumps I will be able to continue to nourish my child the way I choose to do so.

I know many other moms out there are going through similar issues with breastfeeding. What are they and how have you over come them?

Please use the comment box to share your stories, challenges, and successes. You never know how many Momma’s you can influence.

Andrea

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Mommas nail salon open for business!

You ever feel as though aside from the hundreds of duties you are awarded as a mom the most time consuming and daunting task is that of a personal nail technician?

Well I sure do feel that way about my children’s nails. I remember reading about ‘baby essential items’ as we prepared for DJ’s arrival and made sure we had nail filers as well as nail clippers. But what no one told me was how often I would have to trim and file them. I find myself needing to clip nails at least every 3 days! I typically don’t go looking around to do it, but usually I get an unpleasant reminder. With baby Aiden I’ll begin to see scratches somewhere around his face. Then with DJ, I typically get very irritated when he gives me a pinch in the middle of his ‘I don’t want to go to bed tantrum’. You see when a two year old pinches you, most of the time it isn’t so bad. But when you add long nails to that pinch…boy are you in for a world of pain.

Last night after a long 8 hour day at work, 2 hours of commuting in a crowded subway train, 8 pumping sessions, sore nipples, a long walk home from daycare (with an extremely inquisitive an talkative 2 year old & wearing a 22 lb. 6month old in a Bjorn Carrier ), finally followed by an hour long dinner at grandmas house… I was beat! And seriously, who wouldn’t?? I found myself putting both boys to sleep on our recliner. Aiden nursing on my left as he laid on his Boppy pillow and DJ was resting in the fold of my right arm holding his baby doll Ayanna and drinking milk as I read 2 of his favorite books. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney and Subway by Anastasia Suen. Eventually they both fell asleep and I switched from my nutrition and nurturing mothering role into my role as Nail Technician. I trimmed 20 fingernails and 20 toes. Then filed 20 fingernails and 20 toes to make sure they weren’t too sharp. Whew! Did I mention this all happened on the recliner while they were both asleep, sweating and drooling all over me.

I tell you it was a long, long day. I know it wasn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mommas nail spa is now closed! Until this weekend of course, when we will have to do it all over again!

Andrea

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To quit or not to quit??

The last few days have been so emotionally and physically draining for me. My milk supply has been dwindling despite my Herculean efforts to maintain it.

A little history on me: I am a mom of two beautiful boys Doran Jr. & Aiden. I also work full time as a Social Worker providing parenting advice/counseling to a caseload of 150 NYC mothers who are raising their children in poverty. I have a loving and committed boyfriend who is an amazing father and despite it sounding like a cliche, he is my best friend. I am the oldest of three girls raised by an extremely resilient single mother. My family is very small but from there is where I draw all of the strength and motivation to do all that I do.

It is at times like these where I question how far I can push myself. How strong are my beliefs and dedication to my son? Should I give in???

Baby Aiden will be 6 months the 18th of this month. I have been exclusively breastfeeding him since birth. Since I work full time he is at daycare pretty much all day since he was almost 3months old. I have not really had any issues with my supply until about 2 weeks ago. Aiden is a chubby little guy who certainly eats a lot. He has been consuming about 16-20oz per day at daycare for the last couple of months. I pump 3x at work for about 20 minutes minimum. Sometimes more but always atleast 20 minutes. 2 weeks ago I started only pumping out 8 ounces and I started to freak out. I am doing all of the right things that are topically recommended in order to maintain and boost a healthy breast milk supply. I have been nursing on demand, co-sleeping, pumping in between feedings, sleeping (at least 7-8 hours/night even when it means that I neglect chores like the laundry and dishes), drinking a minimum of 68oz of water a day, skin to skin contact, warm baths, and I’ve even tried galactagouges. I’ve been drinking 3-5 cups of Mothers Milk Tea, taking fenugreek pills, More Milk Plus pills, and lastly I just backed a huge batch of lactation cookies. The cookies are as delicious as they are healthy but I have not really noticed much of an improvement. Today I was able to pump 10.25oz. Which is up 2oz from last week but still about 8oz short of what Aiden needs for tomorrow at daycare. He will have all breast milk tomorrow since I still have 16oz left of frozen Milk. But after I use that up, my precious stash that was over 120oz when I started work on 8/21/12 will be gone.

Now what do I do? What can I do? If this continues I will be forced to give Aiden formula and for me that’s a huge No No!!! I was able to exclusively breastfeed my 2 year old Doran until he was 10 months old and then had to supplement with formula. But that was because unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant with Aiden and the hormonal changes in the pregnancy caused my milk to lower. I still breastfed Doran until he was one though.

Now my poor baby Aiden. I know I am a great mother but I can’t help but feel that I have failed him. He deserves nothing but the best and that is my breast milk but I can’t do it. I don’t know what else to try. I dont know what to do! I feel like balling up and just crying but I know that’ll only make me more stress this causing me to have even less milk.

Mommas of the world, what do you recommend?

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