Tag Archives: happiness

Te quiero Papi

10 Aug

Sometimes I get caught up in the everyday grind and forget to notice the small big things. Like what an amazing papi sig-o is to z-baby. I always knew he would be, but it’s a joy to see it in action. So just a quick post today to say, ¡Te queremos mucho, Papi!

Te quiero papi

Hecho por z-baby


Little surprises

19 Jul

Sometimes… actually most times… it’s the little things that put a smile on my face and make my heart soar.

Sig-o had to go away on an overnight trip this weekend, and I asked him to bring back a few things I can’t get around here. That in itself made me happy.

But he surprised me with one my favorite treats: litchis! It was so totally unexpected. Small but made me melt.


Not the prettiest I've seen, but sooooooo good!

Ahhhh, litchis! Or lychees. Or whatever. I love them. A lot. When we lived in Mexico, in my husband’s childhood home, we had a big litchi tree growing in the side garden. And I didn’t even know it. The avocado tree? Heaven. The banana tree? Worth the wait. That tree in the side garden? I’d never given it a second thought.

Then one day we were driving through town and I saw a guy selling litchis on the side of the road. I squealed in excitement but sig-o just rolled on by. “Al rato,” he told me, later. Later that day he came through the house carrying a bucket and yelling for me. He told me to follow him and took me to the side garden. And there it was in all its glory. The tree, ripe fruit filled its branches, just waiting. Waiting for me.

You’d think I’d won the lottery. We picked buckets full and I think that’s all I ate for days on end. I planted myself under a ceiling fan and ate… and ate. My fingertips hurt from peeling so many of them, but it was glorious. That is, until I got an inexplicable rash all over the outsides of my lips. It looked horrible and itched like crazy and hurt in the sweltering, summer heat. I finally had to go see a doctor but they couldn’t explain it and nothing they gave me helped. It eventually went away on its own, but my gorging on litchis had come to and end. The doctor seemed to think I’d probably had too much of a good thing. I was convinced it was poison ivy or something like it from when we were picking the litchis… but it didn’t matter. They were gone.

Fast forward a few years. We were living in the US again and I bought up a bunch of mangos at the farmers market. Soon after eating them, I got that same miserable rash on my face, only worse this time. A visit to the doctor again and some nosing around and I learned just how allergic some people can be to mangoes (the sap/oil in the peel and bark on the trees). And apparently I’m one of them. Because I tried it a few more times and it got worse each time. The last time I had a bite of mango was six years ago (six sad years). I really wanted some mango and asked sig-o to peel and cut it for me. He made the nicest fruit salad… and within minutes I could feel it starting. But this time it was in my throat, too, and my co-workers had to take me to the pharmacy to grab some Benedryl.

Only later did I put it together. Mangoes and litchis come into season around the same time in sig-o’s hometown. And prior to discovering the tree of all things good, I had been munching on mangos. Not the big mangos you usually see (petacon) or even the yummy ataulfo, but little bitty, yellow mangos that you pop in your mouth, peel and all. Delightful. And a nightmare for anyone allergic to them!

So now, I don’t buy mangoes. I don’t eat mangoes. I can’t even touch mangoes. I dare say I’m afraid of mangoes.

But litchis? Bring ’em on, baby! And that’s why sig-o’s little surprise meant so much. Despite my love for them, I somehow forget about litchis. Maybe because they’re in season so briefly and not easy to find. But sig-o? He thinks of me and that summer each and every time he sees them and buys them for me without fail. How could that not make a girl’s heart soar?

Camping, crabs, and dirt

11 May

Last week we took z-baby on his very first camping trip. Sig-o and I love to camp, but it had been awhile since we had actually done it — since I was pregnant with z-baby, in fact. So we were thrilled to finally share this piece of our lives with him.

We decided to stick close to home in case he didn’t take to it well, and camped at a nearby state park. This is what I call posh camping… and it was perfect for z-baby.

We told z-baby what we were doing and he helped us pack up. But when we talked about going night-night outside, he just looked at us like we had lost our minds. But he did have fun playing in the tent as we set up camp… he liked it so much we had a hard time coaxing him out.


Color coordination not intentional, but kinda cute

We sat around and relaxed, but found lots to do, too. There was a great little playground, and I’m not sure who enjoyed it more — z-baby or the dog.


No, you go first!

Then the camp hosts lent us some crab pots and we went crabbing for the first time ever. It was so much fun!

Crab pots

Crab pots

We didn’t have meat for bait, but we had some fried chicken. And we all know how much crabs like soul food… right?

Baiting crab pot

Baiting the crab pot... with fried chicken

So we baited them, tossed them in, and waited.

Watching crabs

Watching crabs at low tide while waiting to check the crab pots

And would you believe it? We caught our first crab!

Crab in pot

There's a crab in there!

We caught a few more that we tossed back because they were too small. By the time we were getting the hang of it, z-baby and the dog were ready to move on (go back to the playground, that is). But we did enjoy one crab as an appetizer that night!

Crab on grill


Z-baby and I also took a few nature walks. We focused on textures and looked for things that felt different — leaves, pine cones, thorns, marsh mud, moss. He wasn’t so sure about this at first, but picked out some pine cones on his own to take back to Papi.

Luna hiking

Doggie leads the way

Once he let his guard down enough to touch some new stuff, he must have been feeling adventurous. He waited, of course, until he was freshly bathed… and then he became one with the dirt.

In the dirt

Testing it out

Cars in dirt

Driving cars in the dirt

Dirt on hands

Showing off his dirt

And what could be a better way to end our evenings than with roasted marshmallows and smores?


Double yum!

The first evening it took z-baby a bit to realize we weren’t kidding about the sleeping outside part. But he got over it and had no problem with it. He even slept though our dog obnoxiously whining, growling, barking, and generally being a restless pain in the butt the e-n-t-i-r-e night. We knew it would be rough when some deer came up into our camp area before we were even in the tent. And then all hell broke loose when some raccoons came up and stole the backpack with all the dog food in it because someone (ok, me) forgot to put it up high enough where they couldn’t get it. Oops. She drove us so crazy that sig-o put her in the car to sleep sometime in the wee hours of the morning. And then we went to buy more dog food.

We had so much fun we stayed an extra night. It was a perfect get-away that we greatly needed, and some nice family bonding time before z-baby and I take off for a month-long trip to see family. Can’t wait until we get home and can do it all over again!

I just couldn’t stop

23 Mar

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, it was the first day of strawberry season around here. I was so excited for so many reasons.

First, this is just the kind of thing I loved to do as a kid, and I wanted to start the tradition with z-baby. Strawberries, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, watermelon… you name it, I’ll pick it. In Mexico my favorite things to pick were aguacates and liches (yum!). I’ve also been in a cooking mood, and there are so many things you can make with strawberries. Plus, Z-baby loves his outside time, but isn’t such a fan of getting dirty. I thought this would be a good way to get him to play in the dirt. The biggest reason of all, though, is that just thinking about strawberry season really put of lot into perspective for me.

When we moved here last year, I was still really struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. But I think I had forgotten just how much… Back then it had been on my list of things to do: “Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom and live here, I’m going to go do things like pick strawberries. In the middle of the day. In the middle of the week!” It felt so monumental, so… rebellious even. But I never did it. Strawberry season came and went. Then blackberry. Then blueberry. We didn’t even go cut our own pumpkin in the fall. In fact, there’s a lot of things that I just don’t remember from those first few months here. I was still that depressed. It wasn’t until later in the summer that I started feeling good, starting getting out and doing things, started enjoying myself, my z-baby, my new town. I was happy to get off the meds in later summer, too. But that didn’t mean that everything was miraculously better. I still had some anxiety. Not a lot, but I still had to go through a period of learning how to better manage it on my own. It was slow. But it felt normal. It felt good.

Now I’ve made it through my first winter post- postpartum depression. Winters used to be so hard on me. March, for some reason was the worst. I inevitably hit rock bottom every March. My doc suggested I use a light box this winter. And I was going to do it, had every intention of buying one. But I forgot. I was distracted by the fun I was having with z-baby. I did make it a point to get outside more and try and soak up as much sun as possible. And the climate around these parts is forgiving in that way, so maybe that helped. Are things perfect? Hell no. But I do feel a lot better than I’ve felt in a very, very long time.

Now I say all that to explain what went through my head when I read the simplest of statements in a newsletter Sunday afternoon: “The u-pick strawberry farms may open for the season tomorrow, but you’ll have to call to be sure.” Immediately, I was like, “Yes! Strawberries! That sounds like fun!” And then I remembered last year’s proclamation and the failed follow-through. And that’s why when I woke up Monday morning, the first thing I did was grab my phone and call to see if they were really open. And that’s why I threw on some clothes and took off with z-baby and headed to the fields even before sig-o had left for work that morning. I know I’m a different person now than I was just a few short months ago, and I wasn’t going to put off another strawberry proclamation again.

So how was the event? Z-baby picked three whole strawberries. Then he felt the sandy dirt on his hands and decided this was not the fun he thought it was going to be. He took off his hat and tossed it over a few rows. He carried the buckets. Until he got distracted by two little girls munching on berries as they picked them. He watched them for a long time and then picked one out of his bucket and chomped into it. And then spent the next 5 minutes spitting and wiping his tongue clean. Then he kicked the buckets. Then he dumped all the berries out of them. Then he picked at the leaves. Then he found his real calling. He kicked the dirt. And he loved it. Me? I filled my bucket in an almost delirious trance, talking half to z-baby and half to myself the whole time about how beautiful the berries were, how good they smelled, all the things we could make with them. The sun was hot but the day was cool and berries were perfect and the dirt smelled as good as the berries and the leaves were scratchy in a nostalgic and not too annoying kind of way. And then I filled another bucket. I just couldn’t stop. It was like meditation, the movement, the senses. I finally stopped when berries were falling from both buckets. I thought about getting more buckets, but thought it wiser to stop for the day… if for no other reason, so I can come back again soon and do it all over again.

Happy Monday: things that make me happy today

28 Feb

After z-baby was born and I went back to work, I dreaded Mondays like never before. They were so anxiety-ridden and painful. But I recently realized that I don’t dread Mondays anymore. In fact, they’re kind of a celebration around here. I may have piles of laundry blocking my path through the bedroom and dirty dishes lining my countertops… but I get to be home with my little baby big boy and decide when and if I’ll ever get around to it all. Yeah! I cherish the gift I’ve been given to be a stay-at-home mom for now, and give thanks to the universe making it possible. The Vaca Loca therefore officially declares Mondays “Happy Mondays” a day to celebrate the little (and big) things that make us happy.

  • Z-baby, who just turned two, with all his kisses, tantrums, giggles, and unending curiosity…
  • The absolutely gorgeous weather we’re having here today…
  • A beautiful park to play the day away in…
  • Watching z-baby play toilet paper futbol…he’ll kick anything!
  • Finally sending off yet another (and hopefully the last!) INS application for sig-o. This is the big one — citizenship — so we’ll have to have a big celebration when it comes through…
  • Blogging again — happy times!

Cuteness abounds

30 Jul

I love my little z-baby. Sometimes I feel like I could just burst from his cuteness. Like…

…when he gingerly pats me on the back as I carry him around.

…when he trys to wake me up in the mornings by poking my eyes out and giving me a dental exam.

…when he stops in the middle of nursing just to applaud.

…when he hears his papi come in the door and raises his eyebrows and scrunches his mouth into a tiny “o”.

…when he tries to hug the dog.

…when he winks his little double-eye wink.

What can I say? Life is good.

Birth Story

26 Feb

Well, it’s official — z-baby is one! I thought there’s no better time to reflect on how this year started and share my birth story.

A little background: This was our second pregnancy. I lost the first at 14 weeks. We were devastated and it took us well over a year to recoup some from the experience. We had planned on trying to get pregnant again in the fall 2008, but z-baby surprised us in July (I was on the pill!). It was a long, very anxious pregnancy. We were nearly paralyzed until we got past week 14, then we relaxed a little, but not much. We had a doppler like the ones they use at the ob and listened to the baby every night. Every night. We were with a specialist due to severe bleeding I had at around 17 weeks, and then I was put on partial bed rest for several weeks off and on. The worst part of the pregnancy, though, was the morning sickness. OMG. From about week 8 to the delivery room. I had to go to the ER for fluids, and I stayed sick. We took Hypnobirthing classes early on to help us manage the anxiety and get us ready for the birth. That was probably the best thing we did the whole pregnancy — the hypno practice made a huge difference for me. I was due March 4, but we didn’t make it that far…

In the wee hours of February 22, I got up one of the many times that night and went to bathroom and lost my mucous plug. I was so excited I woke my husband up and made him look at it. Poor guy. I went to work that day and had a normal day at the office, but I noticed in the afternoon that z-baby wasn’t moving as much. They told me his movements would slow down, but this seemed like too much (he was a very active baby throughout the pregnancy). So I called the doc as soon as I got home and they told me to drink a glass of orange juice and lay on my side and count his movements. They wanted at least 4 and he moved 3. They said I could come in or keep and eye on it. Sig-o was working that night and my gut said he was ok, so I stayed home in bed with my dog and listened to hypno tracks on continuous play. The next morning I did the same orange juice test and again only 3 movements. So I called and got an appointment for 1pm.

We had a new doctor at our appointment and she first had a hard time picking up the heartbeat so they did a brief non-stress test. Not good — every time I had a contraction, his heart rate would dip significantly. So they sent me on over to the hospital and told me they’d likely induce me today. I called family and told them to stand by. We went to labor and delivery and it took forever to get through all the paperwork. They started another non-stress test which was supposed to last 3 hours, but the doc and midwife on call came back in 20 minutes and said it was to be a c-section — now. Sig-o was out in the hall talking to family and had no idea what was going on. They said if they could get there fast enough I could have an epidural, but after 10 minutes I was going in regardless. The doc got there fast enough and brought in the loudest team of assistants I’d ever heard. I finally had to yell to get them to stop talking and tell them “I’m trying to do hypnobirthing, here, damn it!” I don’t think that was in the scripts… By that time my mother-in-law had come in but still no sig-o. I sent her out to get him as they started my epidural and he raced in at some point like the classic dad-to-be, flipping out. They wheeled me out and he was trying to do a script with me but he was so bad at it that I had him stop and did it on my own instead.

I was sick in the delivery room (true to the pregnancy til the end!), and then it all went very fast. They had the baby out quickly (though they had a hard time and had to cut me open even more to get him) and he wasn’t moving his arms or legs. He was “floppy” with a low Apgar score (sig-o kept telling me he was “sloppy” — so cute). I couldn’t see him because there were so many people around him. Finally they brought him to me and let me kiss his head and they all ran out. I sent sig-o with z-baby to the transition nursery. He visited me once or twice during recovery, but I was in there alone almost the whole time. I didn’t even mind though, I just wanted updates on the baby.

As it turned out he was fine. His face was pressing up against my cervix and so every time I had even a mild contraction, the strain was putting him into distress. In the nursery, his blood sugar did drop and they gave him formula which made my husband go into a blind rage, I’m told (z-baby wouldn’t take a bottle [shocker — he still won’t] so they put a tube down his throat). But everyone hid all this from me at the time. By the time I made it to my room, there was a room full of people waiting on me. They would take turns going to see the baby and I would look at the pictures on their cameras. He was in the nursery for over 6 hours and then I finally got to hold him. As they wheeled him in, I stripped down and told them to undress him and we nursed and it was wonderful and none of the other stuff mattered.

In the hospital I didn’t sleep. For like 4 days. Then I slept a little, but not much. Both my husband and I were delirious (both happiness and sleep deprivation). Everyone camped out in my room (there were 4 people in there all night long besides the baby, sig-o and me!) and I couldn’t get rid of them, though I tried!!!! I got off to recovery on a bad note because of that but was still so happy that my baby had made it into this world without a problem. I was in awe and still am…he’s already a year old and the awe doesn’t diminish. It may change and different things amaze me, but it’s still there.

Happy Birthday!