Hello Everyone + thank you for checking out my blog! This post will be directly to help me continue my giveback journey to the NICU at Memorial Hermann in the Medical Center. I have been donating cute and inspiring artwork for parents to pick and choose from to decorate the bedside of their child. I use my own materials and time to put together the art and then will deliver it to the hospital.
How you can help!
I am asking for any type of donations that can be made thru Amazon and mailed directly to me. These materials will be used solely for the purpose of creating art for the children at the hospital. This is all for giveback, and I do not profit any money in anyway.
Why do I donate?
We were in the NICU for 3 months, and saw many families come and go. I was able to create art for our twins at the time of their stay, and after our son passed in the NICU. I felt in my heart to spread more love to everyone. So I started to design art and leave at the front desk. I hoped to bring smiles to the faces of the parents who unknowingly know what to expect from day to day. The NICU is a place where it is very bitter sweet and drains families to be there for their children. We traveled back and forth everyday to visit the twins, and then Selena. I know that God has blessed me with a talent and I hope to keep spreading happiness thru my work. It's the least of what I can do to giveback and I hope that you can help me continue that journey!
Click the button below to check out the Amazon list ad see if you can donate anything for me to use to continue making art!
For those who don't know, our son passed away at 16 days old because of Sepsis. He was born at 25 weeks old and due to an infection Sepsis is what took his life. As parents we have decided to always remember our son thru giving back, and spreading awareness.
I have created a facebook fundraiser page and would love your support to help share and give back! Click below to read more and give a donation or share my fundraiser!
This has been a huge giveback for my husband and I to want to connect and also giveback in the ways we can. We may not have millions of dollars, but or story may help others! We hope to do what we can with what we can. God has blessed me with a gift and so I choose to share that art with others who will also benefit. Thank you Sepsis Alliance for teaming up with me and allowing me to be part of your mission!
In loving memory of Mark Anthony Aguilar II
As many of you know we had so much happened in the past couple years. However, 2018 was a huge year for milestones and growth! Emma + Selena have grown so much + are learning new things all the time. They both undergo special therapy weekly to help developmental + physical skills. As parents we are beyond proud of them both and can't wait to see what they learn in 2019!
Our first-born Emma, is two years old and has yet to say "mama" or complete phrases. With a speech delay we have had to really focus on new ways to communicate with her. She has learned sign language for different things like food, more, and want (just to name a few). Her baby babble has really increased which is great because it shows us her attempting. She understands a lot of what we say, but doesn't try to say ever repeat phrases later on. She will pick certain words to repeat and sometimes will repeat a new word that we are trying to introduce. Her therapist is always really impressed with the amount of understanding that she has learned and how she attends at during activities. She has given us major props for really working with her because she can see the improvements weekly. I have different projects for Emma to work on that I have made myself, picture flashcards, tons of books, and of course arts + crafts supply. This year I really want to focus on her behaviors and get potty training done! She has started small tantrums due to the frustrations of communicating what she wants or feels. This is I'm sure a normal 2-year-old thing, but we really try to focus on calming her and redirecting the behavior to a positive one. Learning as we go! Potty training is a whole other story. She was introduced to the potty at 1 and understands to sit + go, but won't stop herself from going in her pull up. We have tried different methods to help motivate her to tell us but so far rewarding her with a sticker has seemed to help her understand a bit more, but we have to keep her on a schedule. Really big goals for Emma in 2019!
Selena. Oh, our little Selena. You would probably believe me when I say that she is very strong. I mean she did fight thru the NICU and has continued to fight her prematurity status. When I say this little girl is all attitude and then some, we mean it. She has a really strong character + loves to do her own thing! She will not stop at the word of "NO" and that can only mean that she'll be super ambitious, right?! (Positive thinking!) In all seriousness she may have a tough girl outer shell but she has such a loving spirit. She loves to play chase with dad, sister and her fur brothers Bear + Balto. Loves to climb + play with every single toy and non-toy. Selena will laugh at the most random things + gets really excited when daddy wants to get her. This year we are also going to work on her speech delay and hand-eye coordination. Selena is definitely a lot like me (her amazing mother) but she has a lot to still catch up on.
As for me, this past year has had to teach me a hard lesson of self-care. For those who don't know we lost our son in 2017. His loss really put me in a whirlwind of emotions. I will always grieve his loss and somedays it's harder than others but I have to stay strong. These emotions started to cause anxieties to germs, routine mishaps, and constant worries over little things. Mark has always seen me as an emotional woman but I think 2018 really took its toll on me mentally. At 27 years old I was diagnosed with shingles. Yup, shingles. It was not a fun experience and I still have their markings on my skin. UGH! The reason I got them was due to my high stress and very low immune system. Honestly, I was super stressed about the girls and them being on track with our therapy goals, making sure I'm doing every possible thing in my power to enable better learning skills, and then normal insecurities we face as women, wives and mothers. So yeah, I learned to really be self-aware and to take a deep breath mentally. This year I want to continue to focus on my health, mentally + physically but also try to grow myself as a blogger and entrepreneur in my illustrations. 2019 is a clean slate and will only be the year that I make it to be. I want to be happy and inspire others! I want to see my girls thrive and be a part of their every milestone! I want to see my husband happy, and confident in his goals and also in my mental state. I want no worries for him and want him to see that I am trying to better myself and give myself that self-love and care that we all need. These things will in all make me happy, and I am so excited to start this journey and share our amazing milestones with you all!
Christmas came so fast this year and now we are about to welcome in 2019! WOW! This year was huge milestones for our girls and we are so proud of them and how far they have come. With developmental and occupational therapies done weekly we have seen them both learn so much!
We hope that you + your family enjoyed the Holidays + we send blessings to you all for this New Year!
This Christmas we were excited to test out Nûby's Fruitsicle Popsicle Molds! Texas is never a winter wonderland, so we decided to make some cool treats for the girls to enjoy! The mold is brightly colored and hols up to 4 1fl oz. of any yummy mixture to freeze. The mold includes 4 easy and re-useable popsicle stick handles! They are perfect for little hands, and help reduce dripping. I love that they are so easy to clean and the perfect snack for my girls! We did a fresh strawberry cream popsicle and Emma loved it!
BPA FREE + Freezer, Dishwasher + Microwave Safe
Speaking of snacks, Emma has started to really enjoy peanut butter. At HEB I found some really yummy snacks that are peanut butter stuffed pretzels! She loves to enjoy that or we will get some whole wheat Ritz Crackers and sandwich some yummy peanut butter in between. Selena loves to eat the Ritz and peanut butter crackers as well! So to help keep snack time yummy + fun we got a new snack holder for Emma to use!
We love to try new toys from Nûby but we love most how they help developmental skills for our girls! The Build A Buddy toy is for 6 Months + and is an interactive toy. It has bright stimulating colors that are pieced to build a lion buddy. There are fun crinkles and squeaks to play with and different textures to feel. The idea of the build a buddy toy helps promote hand-eye coordination. Emma loved taking it apart and would laugh at the funny squeaks! Great toy for any child.
Also available on walmart.com
Tub time surprise! This Tub Time Turtle is a lot of fun for kids in the bath! Emma loved to play with it and even poured the water in the turtles shell herself. She loved the brightly colored turtle and loved the waterfall fun! The turtle would float when she wasn't playing with it, so it was always close in reach. The tub time turtle is for 18 months + but our Selena also has had a lot of fun with this toy in the bath too! Definitely a must have in the bath.
As our kids grow up, so do their needs! Selena has been getting more teeth, and also has been getting occupational therapy to help her development. Nûby has always provided great options for these growing babies to enjoy and also help their development! Check out these new toys and why we love them!
#1: Squeezy Teethe
This toy comes in a variety of playful characters! We chose the blue peacock and it is such a cute toy! The teether is intended for kiddos who are 3+ months. It is soft and made out of natural rubber. It has a textured body to help soothe those little gums and even makes a funny squeak when she squeezes it! I love that I can wipe it clean, and easily take on the go for her.
#2: Stacking Cups
Occupational therapy has opened our eyes to how important choosing our toys are. I try to find toys that will teach and help their development thrive! I love the stacking cups because they are full of color and have great uses of play! Firstly she can use these in during bath time or during regular playtime! The bottoms of the cups have different shaped cutouts that release water from the bottom. When not being used in the bath she is able to utilize her hands to "tale-out" and utilize her thumb and pointer finger at the same time. This is a technique that she is slowly learning to do more, and so it is pivotal to help her through play!
#3: Gumball Teether
This may be pretty obvious of why we love this toy...but Selena is in NEED of toys to help soothe and relax those gums! This little ball is really cool and reminded me of an old toy we had growing up! The brightly colored spikes are textured differently to help give different sensations to her sore gums. It's intended for kiddos who are also 3+ months, and is made of soft silicone. It's small for on the go, and super easy to clean!
All BPA Free
Transitioning the girls early on is a key component of their development. Nûby provides amazing products time after time. I love using their products in these key milestones of growth and development. We have started a new style of cup for Selena to drink from and Emma has found another great cup for her fast happening toddler-life!
#1: 2 Handle 360 Wonder Cup
Selena has had no issues with different sippy cup styles, however when we introduced the 360 Wonder Cup she had no idea what to do. I stayed persistent and left her that as her only option to drink from. Trial and error lasted 30 minutes, and then finally she understood what to do. She instantly became a pro and loves drinking from her 360 Wonder Cup. The cup is perfect for everyday use, and on-the-go! They come with lids and are super easy to wash out and clean! They don't leak and hold up to 8 oz of any drink. I love the durability of the cup and ease of her holding and drinking from it. This is a great cup to introduce to them and help them learn new ways to drink and help train them for that next step..drinking like a BIG KID! A must have cup for sure!
#2: Thirsty Kids Flip-it Boost
Emma has become a pro at all cups now, thanks to Nûby! So I love trying to find fun colored, and cute cups to keep her on trend and make drinking time always FUN! This cup is another great cup for moms on-the-go and for toddlers who have a fast paced way of life! Emma is always running around and loves to take her cup with her. She tends to drop them, and misplace them around the apartment. As a mom I look for ease when it comes to breakdown the cups and clean, and for hygiene coverage. This cup offers a top flip cover to protect the straw from being exposed. So being able to have her easily flip it back and forth is great! It is great for her to easily carry and hold while running around! The cup can hold up to 12 oz of drinks and includes a straw with a TOUCH-FLO valve. The no spill feature and durability of the cup also helps ensure less mess while she runs and drinks on-the-go! Great cup and highly recommend!
Nûby Oral Care Set
With all of Selena's new teeth coming in, we have to make sure to give her the best oral care! Nûby has a great oral care set that is a 4 stage system. It comes with different brush heads to help soothe, and clean those new teeth and freshly ruptured gums. It helps promote good oral hygiene at a young age that is pivotal for their development. Selena has enjoyed her gums being brushed, and those little teeth. It gives me peace of mind that we are taking care of her all around, and not forgetting those new baby teeth! Emma also used this 4 stage system and is now a pro at brushing her teeth. This oral care set is great for your kiddo to grow up into and to help you give them that oral care they need.
As children our imaginations wonder into worlds only we understand. As parents we try to create those worlds into reality by showing our kids how to play, create, and even dress up! I love to see Emma play on her own and watch how she laughs and smiles. I know she is only two years old, but this is the time to truly engage her in imagination and limitless creativity.
I love to find different ways to keep Emma intrigued by playing pretend. We have pretend food, tea set, doctor tools, fun instruments and even clothes for dress up. These are all great ways to help your little one interact alone, and also with others. She has learned to serve play food and pour pretend tea in little cups. She loves to count the pizza slices as she serves and will even sing Happy Birthday while blowing out pretend candles. Making music is another fun activity we do with her and Selena! They make music and we dance, and play along with them.
Get creative and find ways to explore your kids imagination. Having fun and being a little over the top sometimes, will just enhance their experience in playtime. I love to act silly and truly engage with Emma. I know she has more fun when she sees I am fully involved with her and our fun activity! Have fun and happy playing!
Check out some links for some play necessities!
Hangers are pivitol in showcasing dress up options! These are from Nûby and are perfectly sized for childrens garments! With Halloween coming up, be sure to check out every store for discounted costumes and accessories to keep on for all year round play! Target has really cute stuff in their dollar section. I have found unicorn ears, bracelets, masks, and much more!
This Tuggy Teething Ball by Nuby is a perfect toy to help soothe and entertain her. It's for kiddos 3+ months and older, and is 100% silicone. It is super easy for her to grasp and hold. It has textured surfaces that help soothe their gentle gums. It has been a great addition to her collection of toys and she finds comfort in it every time.
Now that Emma is a little person and loves to eat food, it makes my day of cooking exciting and exhausting all at the same time. She luckily isn't too picky and eats a lot of what I cook for the family. I love to try new ingredients to cook, and create yummy dishes from scratch. So we need essential pieces for our girls to help with ease, and clean up. These are 4 MUST HAVE Items to try out and introduce in your eating routine!
Perfect for Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner
Fun Drinking Cups
Sure Grip Miracle Mat
3D Silicone Bib
Click-it Grip N'Sip Cup
Wow, July has come quickly. With that being said let me catch you up to date on our lives!
We welcomed twins last year in July at 25 weeks old. At 16 days old our son, Mark Anthony II passed away from Sepsis. As parents our lives were shaken up and the loss hurt us more than we could imagine. However we had his twin sister, Selena who was still in the hospital fighting to survive, and at home we had their big sister, Emma! She was just about to turn one years old, and we had to make sure that they both had their mommy and daddy to lean on.
Right now we have two one year olds. Yup, you read that right. Emma is one and about to be two in August; while Selena just turned one years old this month! Our hands are full. The girls are doing wonderful. Selena has continued to prove her strength and is learning how to do things daily. She undergoes physical and occupational therapy 4-6 times a week. She has been completely healthy and hasn't had any new delays. At one years old she has her two bottom teeth coming in, knows how to sit up, and is learning how to grasp things better. She is behind in crawling, holding things up high, and has some difficulties using her arms. However we are doing our best to continue helping her everyday to learn and practice these things. Doctor approved for us to start introducing her around immediate family due to no school. (less germs) Which means now Emma gets to play with her cousins, and see her tias and tios. It's been a great transition to see them all and have the girls be involved.
Mark and I are still coping daily. Our sons loss will always be hard for us, July will always be a month for us to remember everything we went through. However we try to focus on the positive side. July was a huge milestone for Selena. She made it. ONE YEARS old. Our baby girl is strong, and is trying her best to figure it all out. Our son is celebrating not only his one year, but also his sisters, as he watches over us in Heaven. I know I'll see him again one day, but until then...mommy and daddy miss you baby boy.
Selena and Emma watched the movie Coco and fell in love with the music, colors, and characters. If you haven't seen the movie Coco, it is a really cute movie that is based in Mexico around Día de los Muertos. It had a special meaning because their brother passed away last year. The music and songs made for this movie truly touched our hearts, and that is why we chose to do this for Selena's first birthday party!
We had so much fun creating a true fiesta for Selena and our family. I had an aunt help me get some cool Mexican decorations from Amols in San Antonio! Coco was not available anywhere in store for decorations, so we had to really get creative. I hand drew all the characters for the goodie bags and happy birthday banner. I also had my aunt help turn plain colored bags into small piñata style bags. We had a beautiful cake made by El Bolillo Bakery. Our pizza and wings were provided by Sicliy Pizza and the location of the party was at We Rock The Spectrum!
Everything came out great and more importantly all the kiddos had a lot of fun! I was able to see Emma run around and have a ball! We were happy to spend the time with our family and also included Mark Anthony. His ashes were behind the cake. A small gesture to always have him included, especially on his first birthday in Heaven.
Thank you to our family who came to celebrate our miracle baby's first year of life. We love you all and appreciate everything you have done for us and especially been patient with this journey. We know that Selena and Emma are truly blessed to have the family they have.
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