Leon turns 2! Bucerias Beach Mexico

I can’t believe that it’s been exactly 2 years since I went home from the hospital. Leon was born on September 30th at 3:21 pm. He was 40 weeks and 6 days. The doctor’s induced me because he hadn’t grown in over a month according to his ultrasounds.

Not even 1 day old.

Not even 1 day old.

I wasn’t worried. I knew that he was going to come close to his due date and that he would be born in September. We never found out if he was actually a he! That surprise happened that very day he was born.

Two years old.

It’s crazy to think back, through all the struggles, the adventures, and yes, some mommy frustration and ultimately, GROWTH. Growth for the both of us and now we have this amazing groove.

Leon at 2:

  • Loves to play and can play alone for hours if you give him something to assemble or put together and take apart.

  • Loves water. Playing in it, spraying it, dumping it, putting water from one cup to the other, swimming in it, and of course, hates showering. He’s definitely my kid. ;)

  • His vocabulary is growing and growing and can even repeat sentences that are simple like “where are you?” and rightly knows his name is Leon. Can also recognize his written name.

  • He will take forever to go down stairs because, duh mom, jumping down is the only true way to go down stairs.

  • Loves to egg us on in games and asks for “more” when he likes a certain game. Usually if it involves him laughing he’s all for it.

  • Says, “awe” when he sees babies, animals, especially dogs. It’s the cutest high pitched “awe” you ever did hear.

  • He’s had precisely one hair cut since birth. It just keeps growing and growing. And it’s so beautiful.

  • Currently he’s getting potty trained and doing really well. Except when he does the pee pee dance and mommy or daddy don’t catch it in time.

  • Drinks water like it’s going out of style. Loves all things sweet, no surprise ;). Hates veggies but slowly getting them in. Can officially say “more cake” now.

  • Still goes to daycare and loves playing with other kids.

  • He shares easily and is a sociable kid when he feels comfortable enough. Is very confident in what he does want and doesn’t want, especially in social situations.

  • Loves Paw Patrol and we’ve seen the same two seasons like a bazillion times already on Netflix. When he wants to watch he says “lala guau guau”.

  • Loves anything that resembles a bus or big rig trailer. He currently sleeps with his two favorite Hot Wheels. He also doesn’t discriminate, he’ll play with the dollar store cars too.

  • Loves music and dancing to music. If it has a cool beat, or sounds a little electronic, he’ll flail his hands up and down as if playing a guitar in mid air or something. He’ll also stomp his foot to the rhythm and then if he really likes it, full on dance.

  • He’s a sweetheart and has begun to give us hugs and kisses out of the blue just because he feels like it. He also says “I la u” when prompted haha, which I try to get him to say to me all day long! It makes me melt each time.

  • Loves to play with daddy. Knows that daddy is fun and can always come up with games and when Aldo comes home from work, Leon scrambles to find a toy and give it to him.

Okay, I can go on and on but that’s Leon in a nutshell. He’s a really good kid and I’m truly blessed to have the chance to get to know him and grow with him. Thank you God for this gift that I wouldn’t have otherwise given to myself. That’s when you know God always knows best.

I just pray that I can be a good mom, keep my calm, and know that as you grow, I need to grow with you and not against you. I pray that I always appreciate your quirkiness and personality 100% because that’s who you will always be on the inside. I pray that I am able to love you but also let you be your own self. I pray that I don’t get in the way of your kindness, sensitivity, independence, and confidence because all of those traits can make the world a better place.

Over all, I just pray that you always give me such wonderful kisses and tight hugs.

Happy 2 years my boy!

My Heart is Broken.

If you don’t stand up for what is right, then you are no better than the person doing wrong.
— Annonymous
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If you follow me on social media, you've been seeing a lot of posts from me regarding the separation of families.

My heart is literally broken. And it breaks even more so when people have commented unkind words or words of apathy.

Let me tell you why this broke my heart: Because in a short amount of time a massive amount of families have been separated.  The rest is really superfluous to the main point. The only other time in modern history that this has happened is the Holocaust. 

And even though the president wrote an executive order to stop, many children have been SHIPPED TO OTHER STATES. Let that sink in.  Children have been separated, but it's another thing to ship children like animals to other states into the foster care system, which is beyond broken as we know, and deporting the parents. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?!

Even the Nazis had meticulous records of each and every person they held and killed. It was almost sickening however, no person was unknown.  These children, some don't even have the capacity to speak because they are literally 1.5 years old. 

My son is 1 year and 8 months. He can't say his name. He can't say my name. He can't even articulate what he wants. If they took him or if he got lost, he wouldn't even know where to begin in order to find me. Many children are in this exact position. 

I can't look at my baby without thinking of all the other babies who don't have their mamas and daddies to hug them.  Even if it's because I gave him regular Cheerios instead of the chocolate Cheerios.   Or rejoice in the fact that he plays and dances and is a happy baby when we chase him through the house.  No, these children, instead, have been separated and SHIPPED OFF to other parts of the country.  As if there was never going to be a possibility of the families being reunited. 

I don't care what your political views are, but families come together and they should go together. Detain them together. I wouldn't care if I was detained in a shack as long as my family and my child were with me.   I wouldn't even care if they sent me back to my home, as long as we were together.  

I am just in awe that today, in modern times, we are seeing a similar pattern of apathy and hate that led to the genocide of many.  Including many, many, many children.  You don't recover from something like this.  You remember it and hold it in your heart for a long time.

But we can help.  We can donate. We can donate to lawyers who are on the ground doing something.  On the ground bringing those 8-month-olds, 2-year-olds, and 15-year-olds back to their homes with parents who love and want them.  Because children need THEIR family.  Children NEED their moms and dads.  

Help by clicking on these organization links:

DONATE TO TOGETHER RISING WHO IS ON THE GROUND DEFENDING THESE FAMILIES.
DONATE TO UNICEF TO HELP THESE FAMILIES.
DONATE TO HELP WITH SUPPLIES FOR THESE CHILDREN WITH BABY2BABY.

Help.  Help all you can because that is what these children need from us. If you are on the ground close to a center, help. If you can donate clothing, help. If you can translate, help. If you can take in a family while they await their trial, help. If you can share this post, help.

Let us reunite families, like all of the families that I post on here. Let us keep families strong and united.  Stand for families, not for unjust laws. Stand to help, not add to the noise. Stand to fight for what is right, not look the other way.

Stand. Help. 

Update on life...

Hey everyone! If you've been around for a while, you'll notice that I haven't been posting a lot lately.  This usually comes in waves when work is really busy, when I have a lull in work, or when I'm just not in the writing mood.

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I remember I used to mix in a lot more personal on this blog and since it is mine, I'm going to start that up again.  I am hoping to mix in a little reflection and share snippets of my life.  I could start a separate blog but then that would just be super confusing.  I do however, have a blog dedicated to my religious journey, which you can read at The Lost Lamb.  It's mostly about God and my faith as a fairly new convert to the Catholic religion some 5 years ago.  

But on here, I'm just going to share what is on my mind as well as my photography.  

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Currently, this is where I'm at:

  • Baby vampire teeth are coming in... I don't know the official name but you know which ones I'm talking about.  And man, have we been having a lot of nightly wake-ups and bouts of crying that comes out of left field.  But today I saw the little buggers poking through so it seems like we've passed the worst.  For now.  
  • After 1.5 years, I am finally feeling normal as a woman, mother, wife, and just person.  I feel like this should be a post all in itself because it's been a rollercoaster - I'm so grateful for my husband who has been so patient with me and always by my side.
  • I'm working on a couple of side projects at the moment and have let my photography kind of go by the way side, but I'm happy for the (few) events we'll be covering this year! Whoo hoo!
  • You guys, living by the beach is awesome.  I feel like I'm bragging but let me just say that if you wish to live by the beach, or on a mountain, or where ever, make moves.  You are not stuck and you don't have to be stuck.  We made moves, and trust me we were afraid, but we're here.  Living that beach life.  You can do it.  This also feels like I could do a separate post.  
  • I'm excited for the beach sessions coming up that I have! If you haven't already, check out the McKay (pronounced Mac・kai) that I recently blogged.  If you're visiting this area, let me know and we'll catch up and get some coffee and take some killer photos.
  • Making new friends is awesome.  I'm an introvert by nature and actually like being alone.  But I also live for those one-on-one connections with people and since moving, I haven't really had that here.  Finally making friends and getting out and having some good ol' girl time was so needed.
  • I bought new pens, I know this is so boring, but they have changed my planner life.  I'm a pen junkie, anyone else? 
  • Today I went to the beach and drank my coffee there looking and listening to the big blue space in front of me.  I need to do this every morning because I feel like I've slept a million hours, all by just looking at the ocean.  Incredible.
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That's all guys.  I know my life isn't exactly the most exciting.  It's a normal life and full of hard adulting and some pretty good belly laughs, mostly at my son because he's a toddler and does some really funny stuff.  Check out my Instagram to see him dance, and do funny stuff.  But I rather have my little boring and normal life than be faking the funk.  Anyone else feel like social media is all about the "influencer" now? So boring. 

Anyway, what's your life been like lately? Normal too? 

Leon 1 Year

Dear Leon,

I hope that one day, when you are older, you will read this with a full heart.  A heart that has learned to live, love, and change the world for the better.  If not, that's ok too.  Because who ever you are when you read this, is exactly who you are meant to be.  

I am in awe of how much you have grown.  Sometimes you look so big I can't even believe it and other times you look so small I feel like you are still 6 months old, withmore hair. 

You like to talk with your hands, especially when I say 'no' and you try and state your case with your hand raised and your fingers touching.  Sometimes when you're cranky you skip the defense and just go for the gold and try to cry your way out.  Either one is cute, because, well, you're a baby.

I am encouraged by your ability to learn something new every day.  

You aren't walking yet and I kind of worry but at the same time I know you'll do that when you are good and ready.  Mostly because I believe you're a strong willed baby and know what you want.  Even at one year.

I love how affectionate you are and show your emotions accordingly.  I can tell you will be sensitive to your emotions.  And for that I am grateful.

Your excitement upon seeing dad when he walks in from work makes my heart skip a beat.  You love when he tickles you and plays until you literally knock out from exhaustion.  I love that makes you laugh until you can't handle it anymore.

I love when you scrunch your nose and smile at me.  And how you play with water.  

But most of all I love who you are right now at this point in your life.  A very smiley, happy, playful, and inquisitive baby.

Just know that my life is forever changed because you are in it now.  I love you and wish you the best on your birthday.  A day that deserves to be celebrated! 

Leon 9 Months Puerto Vallarta

I had written a beautiful card to Leon and it got erased! But this happens when I know I was meant to write a different post.  Lately it feels like motherhood has become more routine and less crazy, when will I ever shower, sleepless days.  Which has been wonderful! Leon keeps getting bigger and I keep thinking of when he was smaller and couldn't even hold his head up.  

Did I kiss him enough then? Because I feel like I can't stop from hugging him and kissing his cute chunky cheeks.  Especially when he laughs when I do it.  I love watching him sweat as he walks the entire L of our sofa and crawls all over the place screaming in pure joy that he is mobile.  I love when he kicks the water while at the beach because he gets excited.  And the laugh and excitement he gets every time his dad walks through the door is priceless.  It's like everyday he is more himself.  Not sure if that makes any sense.  

Little by little we're finding out who he is.  He's shown us that he's sensitive, inquisitive, a social butterfly, and loves to smile at everyone he comes across.  He's been extending his arm out and I can't get enough at how it squishes his cheek.  He does it with such an energy!

Soon he'll be pointing to things he wants.  Soon he'll be walking.  But for now, I'm going to try an enjoy this phase because so far, it's been my favorite.   

We had in mind to do these photos with his big huge lion stuffed animal that my husband's parents got him when he was only 2 months.  We had a fun time and glad we were able to get a few shots :).  

Living the dream

I grew up in Southern California and when you grow up there, the beach is where you spend your summers, winters, falls, and springs.  All year round the beach is a beautiful place to stroll, go for a swim, and enjoy beautiful pacific ocean sunsets.  And the cool laid back vibe is pretty great.  Which is why it's no surprise that I said often, "When I grow up, I want to live on the beach."

Well people, I grew up! I live 4 blocks from the beach now.  Like my husband has said since we  moved here a couple weeks ago, " When  you have a goal in mind, you gotta set the gears in motion to make sure it gets checked off."  Our family goal was to live so close to the beach we could walk.  Took baby steps by settling in Tepic Nayarit first.  Which was 3 hours away.  And now, we are 15 minutes walking.  

Bucerias is one of the most prettiest and cleanest beaches in this area.  The town is quaint and has all of the essentials for tourist attraction.  Lots of Canadians and Americans live here year round.  And the water is lukewarm all year round.  

It has been my life's dream to live by the beach.  And we have finally achieved our/my dream.  I couldn't have done it without the undying support of my husband.  He's always so positive and makes moves so that we get closer and closer to our goals.  

So I say to you: Go for your goals, no matter how small or big or maybe trivial they may seem to some.  There is no magic to it, just get started and make moves so that little by little, you get to where you want to be.  And being where you want to be is where you achieve HAPPINESS.

P.S. Have your wedding down here, it's got the most beautiful sunsets you ever did see ;).  Perfect for destination weddings!

6 Months with Leon

Motherhood.

Never thought I'd say that and I am glad to know what it feels like to be a mother.  I would go so far as to say that it is one of the most complicated words to define.  However different each mother would describe it, I know for a fact, that there is nothing more amazing than watching a little human grow.  Live and experience everything for the first time.  Even watching them sleep is marvelous.  

Pure love.  That is the only way to describe what being a parent is.  I am blessed to marvel at such a beautiful being.  

And we took these as a celebration of his 6 months! Which flew by so quickly and yet we are eager to get to know Leon's personality more.  

Thank you Leon, for teaching us what being a parent is about!