first day school

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

Life with kids is HARD work

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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! 🙂

Happy Mondays #6: my 7 months old baby boy

When talking about kids, the phrase “time flies” it’s an unquestionable fact. Our four year old has survived her first week of school with an impressive “WELL DONE” certificate for settling quite well, since she didn’t go to their nursery so it was all new to her; and our 7.5 months old baby boy is continuing to amaze us with his development! 8 Kg (17 pounds) of joy and cheekiness!

baby growing

Let me just share with you a few of his achievements, he can: 

  • Grab the toys with his hands and pass them from one to the other.
  • Say Gu-gu, RRGGGHH and AAAAAAAAAHHH (he’s trilingual, you see…haha)
  • Sit down upright on his own and not fall back as it’s happened in the past..T_T
  • He will extend his arms if he wants you to hold him.
  • He doesn’t choke as often as he used to with his first solid food meals! Less mess, more filled tummies 🙂
  • And many more things of course, but just check this video to see what he’s able to do already!

We’ve got a potential gold medalist runner here! that’s just me being a proud mama, but we all love his “wiggle wiggle”!

What are your little ones surprising you with these days? Share it with us on a comment!

Petite Pudding

My baby’s first food session

Our baby boy is 5 months old already and this week we were invited to attend a baby’s first food session. It was a great experience and because before going there I felt quite lost about the whole thing I thought I would share with you bits of the information that they gave to us. Hope it gives you a rough idea of what to expect, but please, if you have the chance to go to one, don’t miss it out!

Our little J was born in Barcelona and things there work a bit different in many aspects of the health system. So there you have a pediatrician assigned to you that you visit regularly and he or she gives you the outlines that you’re recommended to follow. For example, in terms of weaning your baby they will share with you a list with the do’s and don’ts, which usually is very strict and regulated. I can’t remember everything now cause it’s been almost 4 years since then but let’s say you couldn’t give your child cereal with gluten if they hadn’t tried gluten free first. You weren’t allowed to give some fruits until a specific age and things like that.

But hey! we’re in the UK now and we’re excited to try a new method with our baby E! That is part of our experience of living abroad, cause if you stick to the same habits you might lose other things. Here it is quite simple and relax. Basically once your baby turns 6 months and shows the 3 signs that I will tell you in a minute, she will be ready to start trying EVERYTHING. Yep! Of course there are a few guidelines but in summary your baby can try everything that you eat in very small portions. The trick relies on the HOW.

So first, the 3 signs that tell you that your baby is ready to start eating solid food:

baby first solid foods

There are a few foods to avoid:

baby first solid foods to avoid

And here the important bit, the HOW, if you don’t want to go through two transitions, (milk – puree/ puree – solid) and go straight into solid there is a safe way to do it: finger food.

According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust:

  • Round food is not our friend. Cut them in quarters ideally.
  • Think long and thin. Anything smaller than a two pence piece can get stuck.
  • Save the hard stuff for later.
  • Take it easy tiger. Remind them to sit still and chew before putting in more.

baby finger food

These were shared at the session 🙂 [parsnip, carrots, pear, broccoli and banana]

Finally, let me share with you a meal planner that was given to us that might give you a few ideas of what to try. Oh! before I forget, no bottle water or tap water until they grow a bit more (9 months approximately) It is recommended to give them boil water after cooling it down, obviously. And you can extend your breast milk or formula milk for as long as you feel. I breastfed J until she turned 2, and I’m planning to do the same thing with E. She had barely no sicknesses and grew nice and healthy. 🙂

(*The number you see under the day is the amount of salt for the day)

baby first foods meal planner baby first foods meal planner

We think our baby E is not ready yet so we will probably wait a few more weeks to start but you can see here how he’s already enjoying trying a piece of pear for the very first time in his life!

baby first food

That’s our experience about starting our baby with solid foods. We are all really excited for this new stage but we need to remember that the main nutrition source will continue to be the breast milk, in our case, and it’s not a matter of “eating” it’s a matter of exploring new textures and enjoying himself with food and new flavours.

Are you in that stage already? Any fears or concerns? Share it with us. We can all help each other out! 🙂

 

Happy Mondays #4 :watch videos for kids on YouTube safely

FINALLY! We have found the right app for our 4 year-old to watch videos on YouTube safely. And that makes us very very happy.

I was the other day reading a blogpost on Digital Motherhood about how to keep your children safe in the Internet and Sarah gives quite good tips about it. For us, the one that stood out the most was the YouTube Kids app. Have you ever wondered how to set up some sort of filters on YouTube so your little one doesn’t end up watching some very dodgy content instead of Peppa Pig?!

youtube kids app

Well, that was our issue for quite a long time, since our little J started to become a little YouTube addict we were quite reluctant about the whole thing. I remember once, for example, she was watching an episode of My Little Pony when another video showed on the recommendations.I suddenly realized how all the little ponies were getting all high, smoking pot and doing all sorts of things. I took it out immediately! I was so angry with the whole situation because who could waste their time doing that type of thing?! Anyway, for me it doesn’t make sense at all. So we are very careful and always make sure that she is with one of us while she watches the videos.

watching videos

With this app you can at least lay back a little bit more, because the videos that are showed ARE for children. You can adjust the settings for preschoolers or for school age children and you can even limit the time they watch. We recommend you to try it if you’re child is into YouTube videos. Maybe you already knew about it, but for us that was the first time we heard about this app, and yes, it has made us quite a happy family!

Which other child friendly apps have you heard of? We will tell you our little list with our top apps for kids on another post! 🙂

What can my 4 months old baby see?

Having a 4, almost  5 months old can be such a fun experience. The other day we were discussing with the family the ups and downs of a baby boy and how they can’t speak up and complain about things apart from crying aloud. One might think that a baby’s routine of just sleeping-eating-nappy changing can be tedious and dreary but if you look closer you will notice that what he sees is much more than what we can see.

So, let me show you a few examples:

The blue sky

baby looking

Every time we go out he stares at the sky, the trees, the leaves, the wind, every little creature that moves around. How fascinating can be everything when you see it for the first time, right?

The baby wipes

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I never imagined a packet of wipes could be so entertaining but now every time I change his nappy he turns himself around and tries to grab them, squish them and put them in his mouth.

The sister’s smile

big sister

The look on his face, the sparkle on his eyes. I never saw someone getting so excited for another person. He adores his big sister, no matter how much she squishes him, how many kisses and hugs, no matter if sometimes she is too heavy on him, he always smiles back at her. When he sees her smile he laughs and it’s like his world is complete now. I absolutely love it!

The HAND

baby hands

Never a pair of hands could get the attention of someone so much. He can be a long time looking at them, playing with them, putting them in his mouth to the point of almost chocking himself! I wonder what is he thinking when doing that…

The ferocious lion

stuffed animal

His little stuffed friend makes him laugh and giggle every time we play with it. As soon as you hold him close to him he tries to reach out to it and, of course, put him in his mouth.

The extreme work-out

We are so so proud of our baby boy’s development! It’s interesting cause when you’ve got a second child you forget about charts, ratings and statistics and just enjoy his achievements at his own pace. With J we would always make sure that she was doing alright according to her age, weight, high, all these bibs and bobs. Now with E, every once in a while I will read something about ” My baby at X months old” and what he is supposed to be doing. But most of the time seeing him happy, healthy, and loved by everyone is our own chart that confirms that he is doing great.

There are many more small things that might seem insignificant to the eyes of a grown-up but are wonderful to the eyes of a baby. I wish sometimes we could see things the way they see it. I wish I could just be happy for the simplest moments. I try, we try, Sam and I, every day to do that, but it is so easy to trap ourselves with the chaos that is currently going on in society. Although thank God, we have our beautiful children to show us that we can see the world with the right eyes when we want.

Your turn! what is your baby into these days? Let’s share our baby stories so we can spread some positivity around! 🙂

 

 

Happy Mondays #2 – The best deal on baby accessories

Welcome to the second week of “Small Things that Make us Happy” . This week we wanted to share with you what has been, from our point of view, the best accessories buy for our baby, in terms of good value for money.

And without further ado… The Baby Musical Mobile.

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We are a family that lives within a budget so for us buying a whole nursery for our baby was completely out of range, but it’s ok, it requires more creativity from our part and a bit more of a search for a good bargain. At the end, we can provide our baby with everything he needs or, better said, with everything we want for him. Having said this, we were looking for a cot mobile. We looked it up in sites like ebay or amazon cause we usually find good deals in there, but the cheapest one we found was around £25. That is something we weren’t gonna spend since it’s not a real need, but rather just an entertainment for him to help him calm down when going to sleep. We kept searching: mothercare, toysrus, all of these places and nothing. Until one day we were doing some shopping at Quality Save and found this cute baby mobile, for just…WAIT FOR IT… 5 POUNDS!!! Yep. We thought maybe it was just a part of it and we needed to buy something else, but nop, it had the whole thing! Little cute animals, music, and an easy and secure way to attach it to the cot.

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Do other baby mobiles look cuter, fancier and do more stuff than this one?? Maybe…BUT, this made us so happy! It’s been one of those purchases that you get amazed of its quality and price. Our little E loves it, we love it! and our pocket LOVES it too!

I wish I could share a link to the product online but I haven’t been able to find it myself, so if you want to have a look you’ll need to go to Quality Save. Have you found any other good deals on your baby stuff? tell us about it! 🙂

Where has this year gone?!

A year has gone by already!! Actually it’s been 11 months since our first post “Moving to Manchester” where we were full of hopes, uncertainty and so many adventures ahead of us. So let’s share with our family, friends, and all the welcome guests that may come across this blog our most cherished insights of our first year living abroad:

Entrepreneur Spirit. Nothing better than overcoming doubts and fears in order to jump into a big ocean of professional opportunities. Since we launched TuBa Advertising we’ve lived so many experiences! We’ve learned, we’ve tripped and we’ve grown in so many ways. No other position could have helped us more as a family to increase our creativity, confidence and social skills.

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Moving out of our comfort zone. Do you want friends? don’t wait for them to come knock on your door because that won’t happen, unless they are missionaries from the LDS church! (the one we belong to) It took us a while to understand that if we want to feel involved we need to stand up and start talking to people ourselves…and you know what..it works! actually you feel better for just trying it and you feel even better if you truly get to connect with someone and the conversation starts to flow..We still miss the laughs and good times with our friends back home..but that will happen again, at some point.

Ooohh…where we really that close to this place?! Seriously, we CAN’T believe how quick and easy is to get to some places now that we have our little old shattered but fairly precious Ford Focus. A good deal with Sam’s ex-boss in the right time. After the death of one of the rear-view mirror, and one or two shocks and surprises we must say we are fully used to the English way of driving. But I always wonder, why do they have these road junctions where it feels illegal to turn right but it’s NOT..everyone does it!

Choosing the right. After the last holidays Sam took off from work we were notified that his residence application had been denied and he could no longer work in the UK. What a disappointing and frustrating situation that was for our family, when we thought things started to move in the right direction. But we decided to turn to the One we know who could give us the RIGHT guidance, so after much praying, fasting and consideration, Sam informed his employer about the situation and they truly appreciated, -obviously!, who wants to get a fine from the Government!- We chose the right way, and because of that other opportunities have risen and now I’ll be working part-time in a very exciting position, which will allow us to apply again for Sam’s residence and we will still have to time to boost our own business!

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Where is our family?!Oh well…that is a tricky question to answer now. We have “vovo” (Julia’s grandfather) staying with us while he is searching for a job in the UK, half of the other Costas are in Barcelona and the rest in Brazil. From my side, all of them are in Barcelona, the good thing is that at least they are together and can enjoy each other’s company more frequently. It’s a pity how the promises we made before leaving Spain about how often we were going to visit each other seem almost impossible to keep now. Circumstances, changes in both family situations have been our stumbling blocks, back when we meet again it’s going to be SOOO GOOD!!

Anyway, Sam has already told me that this post is way too long, so we better finish it here before you fall asleep with our what we think to be the most exciting situations but are truly kinda ordinary..:S..haha

But, hey do you want to know the song that has been in our minds this last week since we watched for the second time Les Miserables? The Finale part…oh yes…and not because we feel miserable like they were but because we feel triumphant as they did!.

 

Nursery: a new stage in our family!

It’s been a week since Julia started nursery and we have to admit that her adaptation has been, to our surprise, quite quick! She went through these settling sessions where she basically stayed there for a longer period every day.

First day: Sam and I went with her and stayed for an hour. She played around and had some fun, obviously happy and still because we were right there!

Julia is going to nursery 2014-02-26 11.13.46

Next day: oh what a surprise! Sam has to work so I am the one who actually has to drop her off and leave her on her own for the first time with a bunch of nice strangers! T_T. I explained to her, the best I could, that I was going to come back and that it would only be for a little while, She didn’t seem to agree with that and suddenly felt like going to the toilet…and yes, it was true, she really needed to go, it wasn’t a trick to get me stay longer..oh poor her, after that, she was washing her hands with the help of one of the key workers, and I took advantage to start my way off. As soon as I closed the door I heard her screaming, crying and yelling MAMAAA, MAMAAA!!OMG!…that just broke my heart, I felt horrible with myself and with the idea of “how in the world I could leave my child with these people that I’ve barely just known!!” So I went home, called Samuel, cried for a while and make myself understand that it was the best for her and for all of us, that it was time for her to socialize, do fun things and make some friends. I prayed, and then I prayed a bit more…that helped me calm down. I was the grown up, I am the one who could understand the reasons! After two hours I went to pick her up and she was playing nicely. WHAT A RELIEF! The Key worker was wonderful putting herself in my shoes and we decided to extend a bit longer the settling sessions.

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We’ve been praying every day for Julia to adapt quickly, Sam gave her a blessing on her first day, and with the blessings of our Heavenly Father putting the right people in our way and touching Julia’s heart, after a few sessions she’s completely settled in! She loves it. Well, when we ask her if she wants to go to “school” she clearly says NO, hahaha, but what kid wants to go to school anyway! 😉 She is actually having a very good time there, doing painting, playing around and basically becoming a BIG GIRL.

I wouldn’t say to anyone “Your kids need to go to nursery if you want them to socialize or blah blah..” but on the other hand, I wouldn’t say either that they need to stay at home with you 24/7.  Parents know their children, they know what is going to be best for them, what is going to help them grow and achieve their full potential. For us, it was nursery time already! and we are all growing along with Julia on this new stage. 🙂

New family traditions: Halloween and Bonfire Night

These last days we have had the opportunity to add new traditions to our small family. First we celebrated Halloween, and even though we are aware that it’s a celebration that is getting bigger and bigger in many countries we never experienced a Real Halloween. So we bought a pumpkin, of course! 2 pounds in Asda, that was nice! and while Samuel was working, Julia and I started our Pumpkin Session… the result? You can see it in the picture… a nice quite simple and smiley veggie!
halloween

I must admit that I was hesitating about publishing our masterpiece after seeing some really professional pumpkins on Facebook but we did have fun, so that’s what matters 🙂 The next day, on the 30th we did Truck or Treat…yes, I didn’t spell it wrong, it’s just our ward’s version of the Trick and Treat held at the parking space of the chapel, where the members pamper their car boots with Halloween decoration and some games for the little ones and the families. And after going from one car to another, the adults get to munch and mingle while the kids play some games inside the chapel. It was really fun and a good missionary opportunity to bring new friends to church. Julia absolutely loved it!
halloween

halloween

After Halloween comes The Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated on November 5th, and even though its history and origin is religious based between confrontations among Catholics and Protestants we lived the experience enjoying a nice family time together watching the Fireworks at the Trafford Centre. It was packed! So full of people that you feel as if you were in a big concert or something like that… We have to say that Julia didn’t enjoyed it as much as we did though, she still gets scared of the noises that fireworks make but it has improved since last year when she didn’t stop crying at San Juan celebration. Anyway, we bonfire nightreally liked it. It was a worth-watching show of music and lights. It kinda made me get a bit emotional because it made me think on how we are getting closer to our 6 months mark of being away from the place we still call home. Five months of hard work, sacrifice and sometimes loneliness but also five months of growing spiritually and temporally, meeting new people, having fun as a family and living experiences that we wouldn’t live if we weren’t in this country. So yes, at least for now, we will continue to dress up in October and making some noise in November!

Just another Sunday…

in our lives. What do you do on a Sunday with an almost 2-year old little one when you have 10 hours after going to church just for you and her to be at home?? Yep, that’s basically the big sort of “challenge” Julia and I face every week since Samuel started working at the restaurant. Since then, weekends are not the standard “Saturday-Sunday” anymore, now you call weekend to a “Tuesday-Wednesday, Monday and Thursday…” and so on, if you know what I mean..

So what are the things we like to do?

DSC_0260Take a nap! Yep, that’s a nice option, since I usually go to bed quite late on Saturdays waiting for Sam to get home from work. Sleeping is free, relaxing and it keeps you “busy”!

But we don’t take 10 hours nap,so after that, Julia loves to watch her favourite movie in her whole world, Gru (Despicable Me2) AKA, “Ghu” as she calls him. She loves the little minions! I actually do as well…;) She can watch that film twice in a row! That gives me at least a couple of hours to be on my own, and I cannot afford to miss those opportunities! While she’s entertained I usually read whatever falls into my hands, news, articles, scriptures,…but I like to watch some series as well, good thing I have internet in my mobile phone, I couldn’t compete against her over the laptop!

I also take sometime on my Family History…ok, to be honest, I started today, again… BUT, I want to commit myself to be more consistent in that though. In fact, Sam and I have talked about the idea of writing like a “Family Diary” sort of thing. We think it could be very helpful and interesting for ourselves and for future generations to read about our experiences, after all, you don’t need to be a celebrity to do such things!

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Anyway, the rest of the time Julia and I just hang out together, play around, read some Animal books, she loves them! and we basically enjoy the time mommy-daughter, because, if you really think about it these are precious moments that won’t come back again.