Letter to my son on his first birthday

Today it’s your first birthday! Behind there are those two years where we were searching for you in a thousand different ways. Fears, concerns, frustration and sometimes even despair. Today we celebrate that we have been together for 12 months, growing together, sharing beautiful moments that we will always treasure.

In a near future all of this will be engraved upon the very bottom of your memories and your heart. I doubt you will be able to remember them, that’s why I’d like you to know a few things so that when you’ve reached the age when you can not only read them but also understand them you will be able to appreciate them:

The day you were born was the most painful one I have ever lived in my life, but you know what they say out there is true, the moment I saw you and held you in my arms all the pain just vanished. Thank you so much for giving away so much love on just the first look without even barely known us at all, apart from what you’ve probably been told up there 😉

first-birthday-feature

When we finally got home your big sister didn’t know how to handle so much excitement. We had never seen her so happy and cheerful before. You are her favourite people, although she squashes you sometimes, hugs you to the point of almost make you choke yourself or kisses you  until she leaves you breathless. I know you kinda like it too. I can see how you look at her, how you search for her and need her. One day, not too far away, you will become the support of one another, you will trust one another, and that relationship, if you both take care of it, will never be able to get broken.

Thank you little E, though you were always be my baby, I won’t be able to call you so for too much longer, we are eternally grateful to you because in a world of so much darkness you have brought us light. Your name means Eternal, Constant, Everlasting. That’s what you are for us, along with your sister, an eternal blessing that reminds us of a family’s true worth.

You still have many adventures to live, you’re not running yet, even though you would love to and you’re very close to achieve it. You haven’t said your first sentence although there’s probably interesting conversations up in your mind. We look forward to sharing all those amazing moments with you, we pray daily to our Heavenly Father so that we can be the type of parents you need to keep growing up, developing and reaching your fullest potential.

With our dearest love,

Your family that adores you,

Sam, Eli & J

#WordlessWednesday – Who’s behind us?!

wise men-beach

Who’s behind us? 3 men riding a camel on the beach…it could only be, The Wise Men! 😀

This is my entry to the Spanish Version of #WW (Wordless Wednesday) Linky called #MiércolesMudo created by Naturalmente Mama. Just as it says in the name, it’s a post with only a picture/s with a short caption, not too many words needed.

It’ s easy to participate, you only need to publish a picture/s without writing anything to explain it. (that’s where “wordless” comes from) Then don’t forget to join the linky below and leave a comment in every blog you decide to visit. To understand how “MiercolesMudo” was born and its rules, you can click here. (*if you click remember everything will be written in Spanish) 😉

Happy Wednesday !!

 

Living arrows 3/52 – Falling asleep

I loved that quote that inspired this linky “Living Arrows” by Kahlil Gibran that says “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” cause it gives me the opportunity to share with you some simple but special moments of the lives of my two treasures.

Moments, like this one, that I don’t want to forget. The day when my 11 months old baby boy was so tired he fell asleep on his high chair for the very first time.

living-arrows-e-sleeping

If you have kids you will have probably experienced something similar to this. It used to happen to our 5 year old little girl when she was around that age.

living-arrows-j-e

We just think it’s so adorable! They’re so full of energy. They never want to stop playing, pulling your hair, jumping up and down or basically just being kids, but when they are exhausted like this they can’t help it. They start nodding with their heads. That’s what my little boy was doing as we watched him fall asleep. At least he didn’t have anything in his mouth! Our little girl used to do it while she was still chewing the food…lol 😀

So what was your #livingarrows moments this last week? Looking forward to reading them.

Living Arrows

#WordlessWednesday – At the farm…shall I brush it or feed it?!

sheep-j-farm

At the farm…shall I brush it or feed it?!

This is my entry to the Spanish Version of #WW (Wordless Wednesday) Linky called #MiércolesMudo created by Naturalmente Mama. Just as it says in the name, it’s a post with only a picture/s with a short caption, not too many words needed.

It’ s easy to participate, you only need to publish a picture/s without writing anything to explain it. (that’s where “wordless” comes from) Then don’t forget to join the linky below and leave a comment in every blog you decide to visit. To understand how “MiercolesMudo” was born and its rules, you can click here. (*if you click remember everything will be written in Spanish) 😉

Happy Wednesday !!

internet safety

How safe are your children online?

We recently saw an ad at the cinema that made us question how safe are our children online. Are they really protected? The truth is we still haven’t got to those dangerous teen years with our little ones but it is better to create good habits from an early stage we think.

Here’s the ad we’re talking about…

So “The Internet is like a magician hat” right? with all sorts of things in it. How can we protect our children from the harmful bits then? We think that when they’re little there are many ways to modify your children devices to make them Internet safe. One of the apps we’ve mentioned in the past is YouTube Kids where you can choose the type of content they have access to, according to age or even block the search option so just a grown-up can do it. It gives you some peace of mind because you never know what strange videos they can come across.

You’ve got also other options depending on your broadband provider or the type of device you’ve got. We for example have put some restrictions on the iPad because that’s mostly used by the children, and when I say children I mean mainly J, who is 5 years old, our 8 months old baby boy just chews the case..no danger in that! at least not online wise..haha

But you know what we noticed on this ad as well, when they say “parents don’t know what their children do” Oh well, let me tell you, if the boy is upstairs in his room by himself finding out what’s on that “hat” while you are on the living room doing something else no surprise you don’t know what “they’re doing” Sam and I think that it’s better to be safe than sorry and therefore need to create a safe comfortable environment where for example there’s no laptop or tv in the room, but it is always in a common area of the house so the not so child anymore can browse things online and we can be around, so if for any reason, something strange comes up we are there. It is also true that teens get curious about many things but the chances they will want to search for anything weird will probably decrease if we are around, don’t you think?

With this I am not saying we will be the shadow of our children and they won’t make their own choices. Agency is free for everyone and they can have access to anything in many other places that not our house, but even if we cannot control what others do we can make sure that our home is a safe place, a refuge for them from the nasty things of this world.  I think that’s what every parent wants for their children. That’s at least what we want, provide safety, protection and love in the house, online, offline and anywhere where we can possibly put our little bit.

What do you do to make them feel Internet safe? Any other suggestions or comments?

baby meals

What are my baby’s favourite solid food meals

A while ago we shared with you the best tips to know when your baby is ready for solid foods. It’s been a couple of months since then and our 8 months old baby boy has already decided which foods are the best, or “tastiest” for him, so we thought we should share them with you too. Just in case you might be running out of ideas…

So, we are weaning him off through the “finger foods” method, that means we give him the food in small portions, easy to grab and eat by himself. We have made purees every once in a while too, but most of the time it has been things he can eat on his own and breast milk, cause yes, I’m still breastfeeding him, and if possible, I will continue to do so until he turns 2, just like I did with J.

baby eating

Anyway…before I go deeper into breastfeeding, let’s go back to the meals.

Meal #1

Ham and cheese sandwich 

This is basically a slice of cooked ham that we roll up and cut it in half, some bites of cheddar cheese fingers, and a small piece of bread. We put everything on separate sides of the plate so he’s able to choose what he wants to eat.

baby meal

Meal #2

Homemade Fish and chips

Please, don’t, don’t think we go to a fish&chips place and buy him some, we don’t want to kill or baby! Homemade fish, usually cod, that I do in the oven or cooked in the pan with a bit of olive oil and oven chips, I put some mushed peas once but he didn’t pay much attention to them..

Meal #3

Macaroni cheese with Broccoli

I made this the other day, it was an absolute success. I boiled the broccoli along with the pasta and cooked apart the sauce with some cheddar cheese, a bit of butter and onion. When they were done I mixed them together. He loved it!

Meal #4

Omelette with natural tomatoes

I cut both things in small pieces that he will be able to swallow and he likes them quite a bit. I fry the omelette by the way and put the tomatoes aside on his plate. Sometimes I add some cheddar cheese bites.

Meal #5

Pasta Bolognese

I usually do it with my own pasata sauce, so everything is more natural for him. But I cook everything as usual, the only thing is that if I know he is going to eat from there I won’t add chicken stock and I will boil the pasta with just a bit of olive oil and salt.

eating strawberry

and his favourites bites are...

  • Fruits: strawberry, grapes and banana
  • Snacks: french yougurts, apple biscuits, leak and tomato cheetos
  • Meat: tuna, cod, salmon, chicken and ham

As I said before, when I know he is going to eat from our food I don’t add any salt to the ingredients, the same applies for sugar. I use full fat milk, if that’s part of the recipe and I usually breastfeed him before and/or after the meal, it is up to him.

happy baby

We are so pleased with his development in all ways that we feel very blessed and grateful for having such a strong, happy and healthy baby boy.

If you’re getting closer to that stage but are not sure if your baby is ready for solid foods you might want to read this.

Anyway, hope these meals give you some ideas! What are your little one’s favourites?!

**If you’ve liked this post don’t forget to give us a shout on our Facebook Page, or tweet us a Hi! OR even get a little bit nosier and sneak on our Instagram 😀

bepanthen review

Time for Bed! #BepanthenBedtimeChallenge Review

Having a bedtime routine is important for everyone, but if you have two children under 5 years of age is just fundamental. I think that since our 5 year old started school full time we are actually getting better on that. We are being more consistent and follow some patterns that work for us. Previous to bedtime they have a bath, after that they eat their dinner and then I let the older one play for a little bit until is bed time. We have actually got to help our little girl to sleep all through the night! but we’ll tell you how on a different post later on.

Now we wanted to share with you our experience with Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment as an entry for #BepanthenBedtimeChallenge (sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/Bepanthen or www.bepanthen.co.uk)

happy e

I’ll have to be honest with you, I am terrible at being constant on putting creams and lotions to my baby but I am lucky enough that he doesn’t get nappy rash that often. I thought this time I would give it a try and follow the guidelines everyday for his bedtime routine during 2 weeks. First couples of days didn’t notice any difference. One day for example, he went to bed with a nappy rash and in the morning it was gone although not completely clear. So I decided to keep using it to see if it would really make a difference. The second week I started to notice that his bottom seemed better and I didn’t need to use any other lotions during the day. In my opinion, that is the asset of this nappy cream barrier, that if I use it as part of his bedtime routine on a daily basis I don’t need to put anything else on him during the day and I have a “happy nappy-rash-free baby” most of the time! 🙂

Have you tried Bepanthen before? What is your bedtime routine like? Tell us what works for you!

 

trilingual

What is raising trilingual children like?

Are you planning to raise your children trilingual? Would you like to give your offspring the opportunity to speak and understand more than one language?

Multilingualism for us is one of the assets we could provide to our family free of charge, but not free of effort, must admit.

Before you start doing it you might like to read our own experience as a multilingual family. When we decided to go for it I read everything I could about the subject so in the aim of bringing some light we would like to share what is raising trilingual children like not from a professional point of view but from a family who’s living it every day.

Having said this, please, keep in mind every home and situation are different but at least you’ve got one more to consider with this post.

My husband is Brazilian, so Portuguese speaking, I’m Spanish speaking and we live in UK, so children, well our 5 y.old, baby is only 7 months old, speaks English as well. It wasn’t always like that though. When we first married we used to live in Barcelona, a Catalan speaking city in Spain. One thing we had decided even before getting married is that we would teach our children our own languages. Main reason of that time: so they could be able to communicate with our families. I also wanted to teach them English but since it’s not my mother tongue I wasn’t completely confident about it.

j_e_football

no language barrier when it comes to football…Forca Barca!

When deciding what approach we would choose we came across the OPOL method. It stands for “One Parent, One Language”  Each parent consistently speaks only one of the two languages to the child. We thought that, either living in Barcelona or moving to UK, it could be the one that would work best for us. Since it allowed us to communicate easily with the children.

But it wasn’t about talking only…

We thought it would just be a matter of patience and speaking but raising trilingual children is much more than that. The first year our little girl was exposed to Catalan and above all Spanish. She grew and developed according to her age. Then we moved to UK when she was 18 months and English became her third language. I don’t think it delayed her speech but it obviously had some impact on her, as it did in all of us as well.  We even took her to the Ear specialist because we thought she couldn’t listen too well (this was when she was 2) it turned out to be her hearing was just being “selective” and she was just ignoring us whenever she wasn’t interested on what we were saying… -cheeky girl! I know- she was perfectly healthy and I was very pleased with the doctor who encouraged us to keep talking to her in our own languages. In his own words he said “This is an amazing opportunity you’re giving her in many senses”

What else apart from speaking then?

birthday girl

The Portuguese speaking side of the family 🙂 (just part of it)

Reading books in your own language or translating them as you read them, travelling to visit family, regular Skype conversations with them, teaching traditions from your home country and learning the new ones from your adopted one, and most important, being consistent, at home and outside, regardless of who’s around, regardless of the situation, all those things have been part of this process and without them our child wouldn’t be able to understand the three languages and speak “almost fluent” in all 3. She just turned 5 and started school full time but before that she attended a local nursery three times a week. She still mixes them a bit but she knows what language to speak with who. Hubby and I speak Spanish with each other so I would say that it’s the dominant one but we are working on that so she can speak Portuguese with him and doesn’t reply in Spanish. She replies in English who anyone that speaks to her in that language. And now that my husband’s family live closer she is improving her fluency with them also.

Giving her more than just the opportunity to communicate

Our main reasons to raise them multilingual where: family and better future and job opportunities. As time has gone by I’ve come to realised that it is also a fascinating growing experience that expands their minds and makes them more aware of other cultures, other languages, different backgrounds. It opens up their understanding of the world. She wants to speak Chinese because she said “There’s a lot of people who are Chinese, and how am I going to be able to speak to them mummy?” One of her best friends is Russian and able to speak some French so they’re always trying to learn new words from each other!

So what is raising trilingual children like? An amazing, hard-working but very rewarding experience. You will face funny situations and not so funny ones but at the end everything will be alright, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end… 😉

 

big sister

8 things you will only experience if you are a big sister

This blogpost is based on real events, although if you ask the little brother we will deny any evidence of it.

Here 8 things that you will only experience if you’re the big sister based on my own experience as a big sister and now our first child’s experience.

#1 You are suddenly considered an “almost” full grown-up

big sister

no matter if you’re 5 or 13, if you’re only months or years apart, from the moment you become the eldest you are responsible for your brother’s sake ALWAYS.

This takes me to #2 The blame is always on YOU or at least most of the times…

blaming you

When little E (our baby boy who’s 7 months old) pulls J’s hair (our 5 year old) we never say ‘E stop pulling J’s hair’ It’s actually more like: ‘J why did you put your hair so close to his hand??!’

#3 It will be 10 times harder to impress your family

gymnastics

So you’re doing all sorts of acrobatics BUT your little brother is suddenly able to hold his toy with one hand, that’s it, you’ve lost it! He got your parents attention for a good while!

#4 Baby brother has to be a part of the game regardless of time and circumstances.

siblings playing

When playing with your Barbie doll he will be the giant monster that invades the mansion or when you’re with your friends or cousins and you want to go somewhere he will have to come with you.

Which makes me remember my teen years and #5 when your little brother is not so “little” any more he then will become your chaperone.

giphy-3

His will is not questioned on this matter if you’re going on a date your parents will make him go with you. Nothing less appealing than having your little brother around, right?

#6 You will be able to comfort him like nobody else does

siblings comfort

This applies when you’re still little and you’re able to make him laugh with your silliness or when you grow older and you’re able to connect with him and say the right words to make him feel better.

#7 You will be able to understand each other by just a look

siblings look

As years go by, complicity between you and him will be so strong that words won’t be necessary to laugh at a joke or understand a situation.

#8 He will become the best friend you never asked for but you cannot live without.

siblings sleeping

Siblings relationships are fascinating, when being young you can fight, laugh, cry, all at the same time. When you grow up it’s not much different to that… The truth is that beyond time, age or distance there’s a special bond. I can see it with our children and I’ve lived it with my own brothers. When I was little I always wanted to have a big brother, I used to complain for being the eldest. I wouldn’t change it for anything now. Being the big sister is the best!

What would you add to this list? There are so many things!

Cuddle Fairy
Mumzilla
first day school

After her first week of school we’ve learnt that…

Life with kids is HARD work

tired

Not that we didn’t know this but now, going through a tight schedule from Monday to Friday we realize it can be very exhausting. I thought having a few mornings to myself would be great…I was so naive! it is great, indeed, but it’s also time consuming and I need to be very careful to use my time wisely. (by the way, while writing this I still have all the dirty dishes to wash…see, my priorities there..LOL)

Waking up early every day helps 

Since our four year old has started school we are all waking up early enough to have time for having breakfast together, a shower (myself) and even watching some videos or playing some games. It’s nice to feel you’re following a routine and it’s working well.

Short goodbyes, happier faces.

school first day

When dropping her at the school gate is better to give her a quick kiss and hug than extending it for too long. If we don’t do it, she gets clingier and starts thinking that she’s going to miss us too much and so on..

2 laundries better than 1

before after school

I just learnt that today when I noticed that tomorrow she won’t have any white polo shirts to wear on! oh! and laundry related, think I will have to use some product to keep them bright white otherwise by the end of the year she will be wearing “grey shirts” LOL

Don’t bomb her with questions right after school

So I’ve noticed that she’s more willing to openly share with me how her day went if I bring up the questions while having a conversation, doing something that amuses her. For example, while being at the park, just say so “what games did you play?, who did you play them with?” Then she will start telling me even other stories without me interrogating her like a police officer!

school uniform

Always encourage her to see the bright side

Not every day of her first week has been perfect. She had a couple of days that she didn’t want to go anymore and cried, but we’ve been talking to her a lot about how good is for her to go to school, make new friends and learn loads of “important stuff” as she says it. It’s working, so we will keep up doing it.

As you can see LIFE is complicated, whether you’re 4, 33, or 7 months…the good thing about it it is that we have one another, and can help each other out so we all keep learning and growing.

How did it go for you all? Hope you all had an amazing start of school, work, or whatever! 🙂