Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ho Ho Ho

Well girls its that time of year again. This one is special because its our first xmas with Luci Lu.

Luci you are such a wonderful gift  and it is so incredible that with just 3 months you have shown so much strength and resilience. Your tio Xavi calls you our princess warrior and that you are my dear. 

Julis for so many years you longed for a sister and now here you are, truly enjoying having a partner in crime. It has been a wonderful gift watching you in this new role, your sweetness and fun loving ways make you a sister any little girl would be lucky to have.

Our first Christmas as a family of 4. What a wonderful gift.

And to top it all we had the pleasure of sharing this first xmas with tia Nena and Abuelita Vera who visited Quito  

We also had the pleasure of seeing you on stage for your schools end of year play. 

 Mija you love the stage and you shine on it.

Two of your favourite gifts this year. Walkie Talkies (real ones) from abuelitos and art supplies from Tita and Tio Andrew

We made some xmas cookies as well. 

 I am very proud of the fact that I am finally as good as I wanted to be in this cookie decorating thing.

Christmas is truly a magical time of year and love is the engine that makes the magic happen.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Museum and other Fun Stuff

Luci as you continue to grow you give us the confidence to take you out into the world.

This is a picture of your very first outing for fun my little buttercup.

We also went to the Science Museum with the Hintze family. 
Julis you loved it.

The dinosaur exhibit was a great deal of fun and of particular interest were the dogs that were up for adoption. We were sooooo close to adopting one.  

Check out Dad all decked out in an outfit you made him.

He was very grateful and set up this fun game for you in the backyard.

Today I am grateful for Lucis growing strength and Julis joy.
Besos chicas!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tio Xavi

A few weeks after you came home Tio Xavi came to meet you. We were so happy to have him visit us for the first time here in Quito.

It is customary for Juli to offer the bottom bunk to visitors and Tio Xavi was not the exception. Juli usually takes the top bunk on the visitors first and last night in Quito. The difference was that you were having so much fun with Tio Xavi, that you did something you had never done with any visitor ever: you chose to sleep on the top bunk every night he was here. Hooray for Tio Xavi who went for the gold!  Lets face it. he has always had super powers when it comes to kids.

Wait and see Luci, you will be sucked into the vortex that is having fun with Tio Xavi too when your
time comes.

In the meantime there was lots of apapachamiento.

While Xavi was here we got the call: Emma had gone into labor. In fact, she was in labor for almost as long as Xavi was here!  I joke, but it was close to 24 hours of labor. So yeah your Tia Emma might be tiny but she is one tough cookie!

But check out what all that effort brought forth: baby Oli!  Welcome sweetheart. 
We love you!!!

Today I am grateful for my girls bonding with their uncle, 
I am grateful for my beautiful niece and most of all I am grateful my baby sister has become a mommy, a role I am certain she will be absolutely wonderful at.

Friday, November 23, 2012

So Much to be Thankful For

You gotta hand it to the US, Thanksgiving may be my very favorite holiday.
Having a day to spend with family and count your blessing is sheer brilliance!

Julis this is what you were thankful for this year:

I in turn, am grateful that you are such a sensitive and loving big sister. 
I am grateful for Luci joining our family and 
I am grateful to have your Dads love and support.
It has been one incredible year!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It is hard for me to believe you are turning five. It is so cliche when people say I remember as if it was just yesterday yadda yadda yadda... but it is a cliche for a reason and I CAN remember the day I first met you. I honestly believe I may have been that happiest person on the planet that day!

So on the 5th anniversary of that wonderful first meeting this is how you started your day:

 We placed your gifts right next to you so you could open them without getting out of our bed, where we let you sleep on Sundays and on special ocassions. 

For your party this year you chose a pirate theme.

I am becoming more and more competent in the party planning department. 
This year I made the pirate cookies, printables and treasure chests for the take home loot.

 You rocked your pirate costume!

We had it at Little Monsters. It has some really cool play areas which include a car repair shop, train tracks, supermarket and bakery as well as an outdoor playground.

It was a lot of fun and the pinata your grandma brought all the way from Costa Rica was a hit. 
Actually more like a couple of hits since it was really tough to break!

You know a lot of the literature on human development argues that who you are by the time you are five is who you will be forever. I have no idea if that is so, but I can tell you this much, at 5 you are brave, tenacious, kind, fun loving, honest, silly and it has been my true privilege loving you and watching you grow.

We love you sweetheart and wish you many many more happy celebrations of the wonderful gift that is your life.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meeting the Abuelos

Even though your grandparents were here when you were born, they were unable to meet you.  In fact, your Grandpa missed you by only one day! So this year, they had double the reasons for coming to Quito in November.

Grandma held you and fed you to her hearts content.

It took Grandpa a few days to gather up the nerve to carry you, but he did! I am pretty sure you are the smallest baby he has ever handled.

You are a great sleeper. 
In fact, I have to wake you up for your feedings.  You only sleep in your crib when the sun is down. 

This is what daytime sleep looks like. 

I suppose we are to blame; after all, this is how you napped at the hospital - right on our chests. 
Oh well, we will worry about that later. For now, we will just enjoy it.

Even though at this age it all about eating and sleeping, we've also had a little bit of this:

And some of this too:

Today I am grateful you and your grandparents finally met.

I am also grateful for something I have no pictures of, but will forever be etched in my memory. 
For those moments, when everyone else is fast asleep and we get to steal some quite time in the dark. For it is then, that I can actually hear the rhythm of your heartbeat and my own, as I hold you tightly against my chest. 

So today, I am also grateful for the sleepless nights.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

You are a Big Sister now

Hey there my sweet Juli.

You may have just met your sister for the first time, but you have been a big sister since the day Luci was born.

It warms my heart to see how you lovingly prepared gifts for us to take to her in the hospital. And the way you ooohed and aaaaahed over her pictures.

Here you are sleeping with a sterilized face mask and hair cap from the ICU that Luci sent to you.

Also an extract of what Mrs. Jacque (your Pre K teacher) had to say about you and how much you already care for Luci:

"I am so pleased to hear that Luci is progressing so well.  Julia keeps us up to date on her baby sister’s development.  She shared with us that Luci is now out of her incubator and sleeping in a crib.  Julia has made a lot of connections with her sister and the unit that we are studying, Growing Healthy.  For example, Julia stated that in order for Luci to grow big and strong, she needs to drink her mommy’s milk and that is the reason you spend a lot of time in the hospital.  And, now that Luci has grown and is a bit stronger, she can now sleep in a crib.  Julia always speaks with great excitement about Luci and I am sure that she will be a wonderful big sister. 

Julia is doing incredibly well in our classroom and she is understanding a lot of English and continues to make strong attempts to communicate in English.  She is very excited about our Costume Parade coming up next week and she has even started planning her birthday party, haha.  Julia is a very happy and smart little girl and we are thrilled to have her in our class.  I look forward to seeing you or Jose next week."

Speaking of the costume party. You looked terrific dressed as Jasmin.
Your Dad and I thoroughly enjoyed trick or treating with you at school.

We are so grateful to all who helped us retain some semblance of normalcy during the past month.

To Tia Judy who jumped on a plane and was here the day after Luci was born
and who taught you how to take funny pictures with the Ipad. It was good to have someone like her around. You know with a cool head, a warm heart and a smile on her face.

To Grandma Emy who was here to greet you every day after school and basically did whatever you felt like doing. Including being your ballet partner.
For reals, you are the only 4 year old I know that will sit through an entire ballet show on F&A.

To Grandpa who prepared all our meals for a month and taught you how to play basketball, as he taught me when I was a little snot nose kid. 

And to Tia Inky who prepared all kinds of crafty activities for you and was lucky enough to be here when Luci first came home.

It certainly takes a village! 
Today I am grateful for our village.

I am also incredibly grateful for the way you have embraced having a sister. The more I spend time with the both of you, the more convinced I become of how lucky the two of you are to have each other. Your always proud mama.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your first 5 weeks

Dearest Luci your first 5 weeks of life were spent at the Hospital Metropolitano, in the Intensive Care Unit. I was at the hospital for the first five days as well, because of an emergency hysterectomy that had to be performed after the C section.

Once I was discharged (which I tried to delay as much as possible) the inevitable happened and I had to go home. Without. You. 
This was one of the single toughest things I have had to do in my life.  And it did not get easier with time. 

The ICU had strict rules. Only your Daddy and me could visit, which upset your sister a great deal. She really wanted to meet you. On top of that, visiting hours were restricted to 9am, 12noon, 3pm and 6pm for no more than 30 minutes at a time. 

The hospital is about 30 to 40 minutes away from our house, so I would leave in the morning and spend the day there. I would arrive 20 minutes before each visiting hour to pump milk for your meals and then we would get to be with your for short intervals.  I filled the time in between visits with literature about Down Syndrome, Premature Babies and every condition your doctors told me we had to watch out for. 

Here we are in terapia kanguro. 

During the first week I learned all of the staffs names. Every day I brought treats for the morning and afternoon crew. Ten days later, I knew most of the nurses personal stories and was already spending most of the day inside the ICU. No more visiting hours for mommy! I was allowed to bathe you, change your diapers, feed you through the tube, sing to you and hold you for most of the day. 

Still, leaving you every afternoon was heart wrenching. I walked back towards the car feeling completely spent. As I drove down to the valley, I thought  about how you were barely bigger than a 20 cc syringe and were being pricked, pinched and handled by so many people on a daily basis. All of this, in a sterile environment, full of beeping sounds and the construction noise of the major renovation that was underway in the hospital.  All alone in your little incubator. 
My eyes still swell with tears as I write this.
I would come home and walk into your beautiful nursery, look at the empty crib and say a silent prayer.

But then it was morning. And as I went up the mountain again, I thought about you. About how well you were coping. How you were growing. How active you were getting. How you started recognizing my singing.  How deeply you slept on our chests. Then, I would find myself speed walking towards the ICU,  excitedly anticipating the time I would spend there.

It was a roller coaster ride and this family loves roller coasters (as we explicitly stipulated in our marriage vows).

Meanwhile, on the home front, your Grandma and Grampa were lovingly taking care of your sister. Which afforded me and your Daddy peace of mind and left Julis with some very fond memories of picnics, basketball, bike riding and boardgame playing.
I do not know what we would have done without them. We are all very lucky to have them.

You progressed really well and three weeks into your stay at the ICU you were regulating your body temperature on your own, so you were moved into a crib. You were still tiny, as evidenced by that chupo which covers most of your face.  
I brought you some musical toys and placed some images on both sides of your crib for visual interest. 

Not long after you had been transferred to the crib, you overcame an infection which took everyone by surprise. From one hour to the next your activity level dropped considerably, your skin turned a bit gray and your breathing was difficult. The doctors moved quickly to identify the culprit, gave you antibiotics and just as quickly as it came, it left. By the next day your color was back, your were active again and you had your usual pink coloring. 

Now, all you had to do was start eating on your own and having seen what you had been capable of already, I just knew you would be coming home soon.

Your sister knew it too. She drew this map for you. 
So you could find your way home. 

One day before you were to leave the hospital, we were told you had anemia. Which is one of those conditions that can happen with premmie babies.  In the womb, mommies produce red blood cells for babies and when babies arrive early, they have to wait to be able to produce their own red blood cells. 

So the thing to do was to pump you full of new red blood cells, which should hold you over until you could do this for yourself.
Luckily this did not delay your coming home.

On October 27th we finally brought you home. I was as happy that day as the day you were born.
And your sister finally got to meet you.

Today I am grateful that you willed yourself into this world. 
That you had the strength to make it out of the ICU.
And for everything that has happened since Sept 21 which just makes this day so much sweeter.

Welcome Home baby girl. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Entre histogramas de luz e ISO's

Ocho días después de que llegaste a este mundo me pareció buen momento para llevar la cámara de verdad y tomarte algunas fotos. Recién tu mamá me regaló un lente Nikkor Macro 40mm F/2.8, que en pocas palabras es un lente para tomar objetos pequeños. Luego del lente, me regaló el sujeto a fotografiar :)

Ya sabes la vida del fotógrafo. Observar la luz, visualizar la foto, empezar a ejecutar. Seleccionar prioridad apertura o prioridad velocidad. Escoger el ISO. Muy importante decidir el White Balance (papá siempre lo usa en modo manual, definiendo la medida en Kelvins). Foto tras foto, toca ir revisando en la pantalla de la cámara el resultado que se va obteniendo y en base a él seguir tomando decisiones en la configuración de la cámara.

Lo que se observa en el monitor de la cámara no es exactamente lo que luego se verá en la pantalla de la Mac o en la foto impresa. Por ello una forma más precisa de "leer" el resultado es revisando el histograma de luz, en el cual podemos ver la foto en virtud de la luz captada, incluyendo de forma separada el histograma en RGB.

En la medida que disparaba con la cámara y revisaba el histograma y definía el ISO, dejé al lado la fascinación por lo temas técnicos y observé en la pantalla algo que me llamó la atención.

Al día siguiente tu pediatra Oswaldo nos confirmaba el diagnóstico. Vaya forma de hacer honor a tu cumpleaños! 21.

Una nueva etapa en nuestra vida, para la cual mamá y papá ya nos estamos preparando muy en serio. Prometemos haremos lo mejor que podamos para darte todas las condiciones que te permitan enconratrar tus grandes pasiones y explotar todo tu potencial.

Tu seguí poniendo lo mejor de tí, que nosotros, incluyendo tu hermana, haremos lo mismo por tí. Te queremos mucho!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lucia se escribe con "L" de Luchadora

Bienvenida Luci!

Suelo pensar que soy un tipo con suerte en esta vida. Aveces me he tratado de convencer que tengo algo de talento. Tu Luci, me enseñaste el poder de la voluntad.

De forma muy sigilosa te nos estabas muriendo mi querida Luci. Falta de oxígeno y nutrientes te habías congelado en el tiempo hace algunas semanas. Habías decidido detener el crecimiento de tus brazos y piernas para proteger tu cerebro y órganos. Seguías pateando fuerte dentro de la pancita de mamá - haciendo más difícil saber lo que realmente estaba sucediendo.

Pero estuviste a pocas horas de simplemente no poder más.

Solía pensar que era un tipo con suerte.

Una serie de eventos se combinaron de forma increíble para que hoy estés leyendo este post (cualquiera que sea el día de hoy que lo estás leyendo).

Teníamos cita a la 1:30pm para verte a través de un ultrasonido. La primer alarma se encendió cuando no se pudo hacer porque estabas dormida. Pasaron un par de horas, inclusive me fui con tu hermana a casa a dejar mi auto a casa porque tenía pico y placa (era un jueves). Luego subí con Julia de regreso a Quito hasta su escuela a recoger el auto de mamá e ir al laboratorio. Mamá había comido dulces y esperado pacientemente y nada, tu dormida.

Nos fuimos. Regresamos porque pateaste algo. Nos fuimos de nuevo, mamá estaba cansada. Pateaste de nuevo con más fuerza esta vez, y a pesar del tráfico del final del día, regresamos gracias a que tu insististe en moverte. Cuatro horas después del plan original te teníamos en pantalla, y saltó la segunda alerta.

Eran casi 32 semanas de gestación, pero tus extremidades eran como las de una niña de 27 semanas. Tu cabeza y estómago de 29. "No es para preocuparse pero si para ocuparse" dijo el ultrasonidista.

Nos preocupamos y mucho. Pasamos (tu mamá y yo) una noche fatal. No logramos ubicar al ginecólogo porque estaba de viaje y simplemente no contesto los mensajes.

Al día siguiente tu mamá consiguió una cita con otro ginecólogo en un hospital en Quito (Metropolitano) el cual nos queda lejos de casa y jamás se nos hubiera ocurrido ir, tomando en cuenta que tenemos otro hospital a un par de kilómetros de casa.

Caímos en el consultorio de Juan, un tipo que nos cayó super bien de entrada, por su personalidad y profesionalismo. Tanto que los dos pensamos en cambiarnos de médico, pero no nos dijimos nada.

Empezó una serie de preguntas y análisis correctos y minutos después Juan discutía tu caso con otros dos médicos. Entonces llegó la pregunta contundente: ¿A qué hora comió por última vez? La pregunta no era vana curiosidad. Juan necesitaba sumar 6 horas a lo que tu mamá le diría para poner el bisturí en sus manos.

La forma que lo explicó fue sencilla: "Lucía tiene mas chance de sobrevivir afuera que adentro". Algunas horas después Oswaldo (a quien le tenemos mucho cariño por la forma que trató a tu hermana de su meningitis) me lo decía con una frialdad que escondía los ojos llorosos: "Cuando vi el cordón umbilical supe que era cuestión de horas."

Nos fuimos dos veces y te encargaste de patear para hacernos regresar. No estabas dormida, estabas a punto de dormir para siempre. Pero pateaste fuerte. Naciste, y respiraste fuerte. Lucía, mi amor, Lucía se escribe con "L" de Luchadora.

Con lágrimas en los ojos te digo, me has enseñado sobre el poder de la voluntad. Con un par de días de vida me has enseñado lo que en 35 años no había aprendido.

Te doy las gracias y te admiro. Desde ya te amo con todo mi corazón y espero no pares de darme lecciones en esta vida, me encanta aprender de ti!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's not all about speed. Well, it is sweetie!

Recientemente hemos encontrado espacios para compartir juntos en torno a algo que nos encanta a ambos: el deporte, más específicamente el ciclismo.

Mientras a mi me tomó unos 14 o 15 años llegar a tener mi tercer bicicleta, tu a los cuatro años estrenaste tu tercer bici. Hasta el momento es claro que ha valido la pena; también te tomó solo cuatro años aprender a montarla sin ruedas adicionales y ahora hasta estas empezando a disfrutar de la pista de BMX del parque La Carolina en Quito.

No puedo evitar sentirme muy orgulloso cuando me pides que te ayude a lanzarte del borde de la pista, y más aún cuando te caes e inmediatamente te levantas, me miras y me dices: "no me dolió", como más bien queriendo decir "estoy bien, déjame seguir montando por favor". 

Mas sorprendente aún es que hoy por la mañana me pediste si podía correr en el condominio, para así tu correr conmigo. Te advertí que iba a correr rápido, por lo que al poco tiempo te cansaste y entonces fuiste por tu bici y trataste de ser más rápida que yo (eventualmente yo corrí 6kms a 12kph lo cual fue mucho para ti y terminaste echada en el césped!)

Tu deseo de mejorar y ser más rápida te ha llevado inclusive a sorprendernos con tus decisiones a la hora de comer. De tu propia iniciativa nos pides frutas, vegetales y hasta nos dimos el lujo de poner el tarro de dulces a una altura donde tu lo puedas alcanzar, pues ya usas el criterio adecuado y solo ocasionalmente decides comer algún dulce. 

¿Hasta donde te llevará esta pasión y disciplina que esta brotando en ti? Ciertamente es muy temprano para saberlo. Podría ser solo algo pasajero o bien podría en unos años estar lleno de lágrimas al verte participar en un evento de alto desempeño. También sueño con poder competir en La Soledad en la categoría de padre e hija, algo que ya acordamos hacer. 

Por ahora simplemente lo seguiré disfrutando tanto como tu lo haces. Te seguiré llevando a la pista de BMX y a rodar cuantas veces quieras. Adoro ver tu entusiasmo, pasión y disciplina a tan corta edad. Y sobre todo, adoro ver tu obsesión por ser la más rápida. Porque sí, digan lo que te digan, se trata de ser el más rápido! 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lucia's Nursery

Dear Lucy, I am still 10 weeks aways from our due date, so chances are I am not done nesting; but aside from a few finishing touches your nursery is ready.

As our readers may remember from the last post, we re purposed our guest room and this is the result of the transformation.

 These are your sleeping quarters. 

One of my favorite things in the nursery is the effect of the white birch tree decal against the gray wall, which I got at along with the owls, butterfly pillow, sheeting and the prints on the wall. The crib is a hand me down from Juli, the rest of the furniture was custom made by Baby Lula.

This is the guest part of the room. Its an extra long trundle bed.  So when we have overnight guests we can move the crib into our bedroom, place the bookcase where the crib is now and pull out the additional single bed to comfortably sleep two people in the room.

 The changing table will convert into a dresser as soon as you no longer need it. 

I painted the letters made out of chipboard and re purposed some old coasters with scrapbooking paper to mount each one and make your name.

This is the view from the rocking chair. I can't wait to rock you to sleep, sing and read to you here.

And of course a nod to one of your Dads passions and one of his deep held beliefs :D

I hope you enjoy this space, as I know I will and that we both enjoy sleep filled nights - hey! no harm in wishful thinking ;)

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