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!
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.
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.
Little Selena is slowly coming up on being a one year old, but is still behind like she is only 6 months old. We have tried spoon feeding which is great, she is still learning new flavors and figuring out her taste palette. Our biggest transition is getting her prepared for cups, and learning how to hold her bottle herself.
We last tried a cup that was pretty set for a little ones who had the bottle nipple already leaned and is open to different styles. Selena had difficulties liking the change so we are now trying a new bottle that gives great features like the handles, and the two option nipples to help transition again at a later time.
Selena was able to comfortably drink her milk, and also try to hold onto the handles. She never got fussy nor did she refuse the nipple. This is a great bottle to cup option for any parent looking to teach their little one about holding and gripping. That was one of the biggest features I searched for in a cup but desperately wanted the bottle nipple too. So this was the perfect bottle to cup set I have found that she likes as well!
Selena has been doing really good overall. Her latest milestones are trying new foods with a spoon, and adjusting her from bottle to a cup. I know for Emma when she hit 1 yrs old, we automatically stopped giving her the bottle and pacifier. YEAH. Emma adjusted really fast, and although teething was a hard transition without a pacifier, Nûby provided alternatives for her to chew on.
We are hitting 8 months with Selena and have seen her take spoonfuls of bananas but what about switching her bottle? Technically her adjusted age is only 5 months old, so is this too soon for us to try? I rather introduce it and see what she is capable of as opposed to not trying at all. So the cup I chose to try was chosen specifically for Selena and here is why.
The cup I chose from Nûby is called the Non-Drip 3 Stage Grow with me Nurser. This says that it can be used for 0+ months..however it will just depend on the baby. Emma actually used this cup after we took the bottle away, and she loved it. It had the nipple that was similar to her bottle but also came with a second nipple that is normally used for sippy cups in the square shape. So this was a great cup to transition Emma in, and I wanted to use this one also for Selena.
I also wanted this cup because of the easy grip detachable handles. Selena has a really bad tendency to clench her fists a lot. She is currently undergoing physical therapy to help with that and other issues. I figured that this would help bring her hands to something to hold as she drinks, which would eventually teach her how to hold her cup. Amazingly in her first try she did exactly what I was hoping for, and held onto the handles.
The issue we had was her actually drinking anything. I started her feed at 3PM and she only drank one ounce from the cup. I figured that it was just her first try so it would take more adjusting and she would figure it out the next time around.
I tried the cup 2 more times that day and she took less and than none at all. I was concerned that maybe it was the nipple? Maybe her formula and rice cereal mixture was too thick to flow from the nipple. I tested it while cleaning it out and it seemed fine. So then I thought well maybe its just too thick for her and she isn't strong enough to drink from it? So we may have to wait till she is a little bigger to try again. This is why I said it will vary from baby to baby, because all babies are different and especially Selena. She is a 25 week preemie who has a lot to learn and grow still. I'm hoping with physical therapy she will start to show more progress and catch up quicker!
Emma and Selena both struggled with reflux. Thankfully after finding a good formula for Emma, her reflux settled out. Selena however has had to be switched to two different formulas, and still hasn't had any luck resolving her reflux. We sit her up, burp her, slowly feed her, and still no luck.
Thankfully Nûby has a Comfort 360 Plus + Starter Set available. This set is specifically anti-reflux and anti-colic. We started to use the bottles for Selena and since using the different bottle she has had better results in her reflux. This bottle is designed for upright feeding to reduce the reflux, and is BPA free. It is a bottle that she has adjusted to quickly and has enjoyed feeding from her new bottle. The advanced performance nipple to combat colic is a great feature.
I personally love the set too and everything that it includes! It comes with 2-5oz/150 ml bottles with slow flow nipples and a 360 straw, 2-9oz/ 270 ml bottles with medium flow nipples and 360 straw, and 2 naturalFlex pacifiers. It is a great set and I absolutely LOVE it and the benefits it gives my baby girl.
Today was a really hard and emotional day for me. Selena has been really difficult lately and she has now officially been announced that she is going through the "Purple Crying" phase. If you have never heard of this, join the club.
Mark and I watched a video over this right before we were able to bring Selena home from the hospital. The hospital is helping parents prepare for different scenarios and the "purple crying" video was one of them. I honestly didn't even take into consideration how real this was, because in my head I was thinking it was going to be a breeze like Emma. However I was so wrong. Selena is the complete opposite of what we went through with Emma.
I should have known, that every child is different but now it has officially set in that what we are dealing with is something hard to handle and cope with. Just imagine, your little one crying non-stop. Diaper is changed, you fed them, they are burped, you hold them, and absolutely NOTHING helps. She has gotten a lot better throughout the night but during the day, she is up all day crying. I have tried everything and nothing works. The only thing we are told is that it is just a phase that we have to ride out.
It's so hard when you are already tired, have another little one that you are watching, juggling the emotions of trying to help the baby stop crying but also not breaking down yourself. I get very frustrated because I want to do a good job, but I can't help her and so for me that means, I'm not being a good enough mother. It's hard to not loose my cool by just yelling and telling her to stop. It's hard to even admit that but I know I'm only human, and I have my downfalls as a mother. I know she doesn't understand and for all I know this time is confusing for her, and she is the one who is suffering. I pray so much. I ask God in the moment to give me peace, and help me help her. Purple crying is hard to hear, and hard to deal with, but I can't give up. Selena has a long way to go, and I know that she will hopefully get over this obstacle too, but until then I have to be strong for her.
When mark got home, I burst into tears. I felt like such a bad mom today. I knew that I needed to hold it together more, and I couldn't. Emma literally has no reactions to Selena. Even in the middle of Selena's worst crying, Emma will continue about her business as if nothing is wrong. I'm glad it doesn't because it would probably be ten times harder if Emma would start crying because of her sister. So thank you God we dodged a bullet on that one.
This was a hard topic to bring up, because it shows my flaws as a mother. I share my real emotions, and reactions because I know that I am not alone in this. I want to encourage the moms and the dads who deal with difficult kids to remember that we are their support, example, and always their go-to. We may not see that we are helping in the moment but I'm sure they feel comfort in not being alone. We have to love our kids daily, and by loving them we have to show them our patience, kindness, and ability to support them.
Today our little one Selena, has officially turned five months strong! INCREDIBLE. This 25 weeker baby has pulled through and has shown her strength daily. Selena has beaten the odds by leaving the NICU before her due date, being able to get off of oxygen support, and not having any serious health issues. (as of now)
Prayer, love and support has been by her side since DAY ONE. We are truly grateful. Today though she has also hit another milestone, which is being at her adjusted age of three months. You may think, "adjusted age?" Yup, because she was a preemie she has fallen behind two months and is barely starting to do what a three month old would be doing. Right now she can show that she recognizes us by smiling at us when we smile at her (mostly with daddy) and she has started to move her head back and forth to follow us or noise that she hears. She also kicks and moves her arms and legs a lot! These are all great signs of her development!
Selena has proven her strength and is still fighting to stay healthy and develop more daily. We are looking into programs that help her with developmental therapy and give us access to exercises and therapists to help her one on one. As parents we try our hardest to do what we can here for our little ones and sometimes that means seeking additional help. Mark and I are beyond proud of her and the progress she has shown. Getting her ready for the world to love, and for her to love the world.
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