Yearly Archives: 2012

Celebrating Christmas all month long

Being that this year is Sirena’s first Christmas we were determined to celebrate all month long!

The weekend after Thanksgiving we went to the famous Claremont Hotel in Berkeley for their Christmas festivities.  They had a HUGE gingerbread house on display (not to eat, dangit) and Christmas carolers getting us into the holiday spirit.

The next weekend we went to the 34th annual Charles Dicken’s Fair in San Francisco–it’s like a Renaissance Faire but just picture instead an old Victorian Christmas party.  We had a good time exploring but I think it would’ve been better if we either had more people with us or if Sirena was older.  But we were very glad we finally went and will definitely be checking it out another year when she’s older and can enjoy all of the fun kid’s activities.

Then the following weekend we went to Santa’s tree farm in Half Moon Bay with Grandma Dorothy to pick out a Christmas tree and meet jolly old Saint Nick (although Sirena was less than jolly to meet the man in red!)

Dorothy and I decorated the tree while Sirena slept.  Sirena was so excited about the sparkling lights and shiny ornaments in the morning.

There is nothing quite like having a Christmas tree in our home, lit up, presents underneath, and smelling oh-so-yummy.

And last but not least, the photo shoot we had with our girls for our Christmas card!  We bought a cute Dr. Seuss Christmas shirt for Sirena and it was the perfect thing for these photos.  The shirt is of Cindy Lou Who and the brown dog with reindeer antlers from How the Grinch Stole Christmas so we had Sirena holding a bag of reindeer food and put some ridiculous homemade reindeer antlers on Lola.

The best one of the bunch!

And here’s what the final product looked like:

We’re very much looking forward to spending the holidays in Long Beach with family and friends!

November visitors

November was filled to the brim (just the way we like it!) with visitors…

We were so happy to hear that Tio Derek and Laura were going to spend some time with us during their trip up north!

Highlights from their trip: Mitchell’s ice cream, game nights, walk through the cemetery (again!), Zachary’s deep dish pizza (drool)

Sirena sure is one lucky chickadee, having not one but TWO grandmas who are excited about seeing her and want to come up and spend the weekend with us!  They piggy-backed their visits so we had two weekends straight of grandma time…perfect.

Highlights of Nani’s trip: Lots of lounging around, playing with Sirena and Lola, movie night, fancy grandma/mama/baby dinner out at Jessie’s wine bar/restaurant

Highlights of Grandma Dorothy’s trip: meeting Santa, Christmas tree shopping, visit to Sirena’s Great Grandma Margie’s gravestone in Half Moon Bay, homemade pie from Pescadero

Sirena’s ABC book

I got a great idea for a homemade Christmas gift on the internet and just finished it so I thought I’d share!  I made an ABC book using photos of Sirena and other fun things she will be able to relate to to help her become familiar with the ABCs.  As you might’ve guessed, her buddy Lola made the most appearances in the book.

This is one of her Christmas gifts…shh, don’t tell her yet!  🙂

Click on the collages to enlarge the photos.

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: Six Months

Dear Sirena,

I don’t know how you do it but each month you succeed in exceeding our expectations and making this month the best yet!  You have become such a smiley, observant little mamacita who is interacting with the world more and more.  You have also reached some pretty amazing milestones this past month that are worth mentioning:

  • Hand-eye coordination: You’ve become a pro at grabbing things, passing toys between your hands, reaching out for things (including us which just about melts our hearts!)
  • Peek-a-boo: You’ve always liked the sensation of blankets, burp cloths, etc. tickling your face and we’ve always played little games like that with you. Just this week you have learned to grab the blanket from your face and we’ve started playing peek-a-boo! When the blanket’s on your face we say “Where’s the baby?” and you proceed to reach up and pull the blanket down and then you get excited when we say “There’s the baby!”
  • Pre-sitting: You are so close to sitting up, it’s crazy.  When lying on your back you are constantly lifting your head up (like you’re doing an abdominal workout) and when we sit you up you are able to prop yourself up for a little while before toppling forward. We can tell you want to sit up so bad…not too much longer!
  • First tiny tooth: Just this week I reached into the co-sleeper and you shoved my knuckle into your mouth to suck on it…and I felt a little (sharp) bump on your bottom gums!  So far you don’t seem to be in too much pain and we’re hopeful those teeth treat you nicely (and you treat mama nicely when she’s feeding you!)

I feel like you have bonded with us so much the past month, and there really is nothing quite like it.  You are such a light in our lives and we love you to pieces.



The six month rundown


  • Chewing on feet: You have been grabbing your feet for a while now but just the past two weeks you’ve been able to pull your little toes straight up and into your mouth! You mostly do it when you’re on the changing table which can make it somewhat difficult to change your diaper. But it’s so cute to watch you!
  • Dropping toys: This is another milestone in your development, learning cause-and-effect (and making mom and dad pick up your toys over and over again)
  • Mama’s song: I made up a song for you when you were only a couple of months old and you light up when I sing it which makes my heart so happy.


  • Bouncy chair: The time has come when you are over the bouncy chair. No longer does the bouncing movement and lullaby music keep you calm, you kickkickkick until your body scoots down and you make it clear, once your booty is halfway off the chair, that want nothing to do with it!

Monthly Photos

See past monthly photo posts in her mini armchair here: One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months ::  Four Months ::  Five Months

The many facial expressions of Sirena

Fall festivities

We have been thoroughly enjoying Sirena’s first fall holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving!

Our little pumpkin was an elephant for her first Halloween, thanks to her Aunt Judith and cousin Katelyn for the costume!!  And she was actually quite cooperative with wearing the whole ensemble on a number of occasions.

First trip to the pumpkin patch!

She needed some extra fiber in her diet and found the straw to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

She even let mama take the costume out for a spin.

The same weekend we visited the pumpkin patch we decided to make a visit to an historic cemetery that was just around the corner (what more perfect Halloween activity could you ask for??)  It was absolutely gorgeous and we’ve made the trip back a number of times since, it’s a great place to go for a long walk!

Mama’s birthday was actually the day we went to the pumpkin patch and cemetery…that night we celebrated like big kids and went to eat a four course meal at the restaurant Jessie works at.  We took Sirena along for the late-night meal and although it took her a while to get snuggled in and sleeping, eventually she snoozed on mama’s chest like a good baby.  And she wore her flamingo pj’s for the occasion!

And Thanksgiving, although not the traditional big ordeal, was a lot of fun with Auntie Jessie and some of her friends.  Sirena skipped out on the fixin’s (she said she was juuuuust fine with a glass of milk) but next year she’ll be ready!

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: Five Months Old

Dear Sirena,

You continue to grow-grow-grow right before our very eyes and this month especially has seen some big developments.  You had your check-up with the doctor and you weighed in at just under 18 pounds and you’re measuring 26 inches long.  You also got your second round of shots and you were such a brave little lady, only crying (bloody murder) when the nurse gave you the shots but you quickly quieted down when Daddy picked you up and then you nursed right away which also made you feel a lot better.

Some of the amazing big girl things you’ve begun doing this month…

First, the moment I’ve been waiting SO long for–you had your first belly laughs this month!  Your first chuckle was in response to Auntie Jessie’s shenanigans of course (can’t say we’re surprised because you do see her as your favorite playmate) and over the last two weeks you’ve been a lot more generous with those goofy, drooly, belly laughs.  You also began rolling to your side and you’ve even rolled onto your stomach a couple of times.  We haven’t seen you roll from your tummy to your back yet, but I’m sure that’s just around the corner.  This past month you’ve also transitioned to sleeping the night in your crib in your room.  Me and Daddy desperately needed some more uninterrupted sleep so now we aren’t woken up every time you kick your legs or start sucking on your fingers.  You still don’t sleep through the night, though (a typical night: you go to bed around 6pm, then I give you a dream feed around 9:30, you sleep until 1 and we give you back your pacifier, you wake up again around 3 for some milk, then you’re up-and-at-’em around 7) and we’re starting to get a little more realistic and instead of hoping you’ll sleep 8 hours straight, we’re just trying to wean you off of that 1am wake-up call.  Fingers crossed we can figure it out together, baby girl!

And last, but certainly not least…you have discovered how entertaining your furry sister, Lola, can be.  You enjoy sitting with me and watching Lola chase after the ball that I throw and then you chuckle when she gives you a big, warm, wet kiss on your legs.  And you make the cutest cough/laugh noise when you see Lola and want to get her attention.  You two are going to be the best of friends, I just know it.

It’s incredible how you can be such a tiny little person and at the same time seem like such a big girl with a big personality!  Every single day your Daddy and I talk about how in total awe we are of you.  Even five months in we still cannot believe that we made you and that you’re all ours.  And I hope you know that we consider ourselves very lucky, little lady.



The five month rundown


  • Nature: It’s amazing how quiet and observant you become when we go outdoors…you don’t even make a peep when we’re on our walks!  It is so apparent that you are as much of a nature lover as your mama and Daddy are.


  • Strangers: Last month you were just beginning to get a little weary of strangers…this month you’ve become a lot more hesitant when meeting new people!  We realized that, day in and day out, you only really see and interact with me, Daddy and Auntie Jessie so we’ve got to get out and socialize you more.  We also know that around 5-6 months is when most babies go through a stage of being afraid of strangers but we don’t want it to get too out of hand. Story time at the library and mom/baby groups, here we come!

Monthly Photos

See past monthly photo posts in her mini armchair here:

One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months ::  Four Months

The many facial expressions of Sirena

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: Four Months Old

Dear Sirena,

You have grown by leaps and bounds this month (I have a feeling I’m going to want to say that every month of your first year, but it’s true!)  We weighed you a few days ago and you were a whopping 17 pounds (you’ve more than doubled your birth weight…you and me are a good team, baby girl!)  Your hand/eye coordination is getting better by the day–you’re able to grab different toys and put them in your mouth (and sometimes your nose).  And in the last few days you’ve started to roll to one side and I’m sure rolling from back to stomach (or vice versa) is just around the corner.

The noises that you’re learning to produce are a hoot–your laughs are getting more and more pronounced as the days go by (sometimes they’re a squeak and sometimes they’re a “mmm” sound) and you make this hilarious, low grunting sound when you’re concentrating really hard on something (I can’t help but be reminded of Edward Scissorhands after he drinks orange juice, haha!)

This month has also brought on lots and LOTS of drool which can only mean one thing…teething is near!  You’ve also started chewing on your fingers which is also a good sign that teething is beginning.  It can still be months before any tooth actually breaks through but your body is preparing itself for that time which we are so looking forward to (ha, yeah right).

The last two weeks have been rough in the sleep department.  We were doing so well with you only waking up twice to eat but lately you’ve been waking up 3-4 times a night because you’re hungry or just fussy.  It reminds us of the sleepless newborn nights and we’ve heard that this is a typical phase 4 month olds go through so we’ve got our fingers crossed that the end is near.  It’s kind of funny the way you start stirring in bed–instead of whimpering or crying like you used to, you start grunting as you pull your one arm out of the swaddle and then you start thumping your heels against the bed over and over again.  In addition to laughing at your quirky ways at 2am I have to remember to see the positive in these sleepless nights–when we’re sitting there in the dark room after you eat, there truly is nothing more amazing than the deadweight of your little body laying on my shoulder as I rock you to sleep.

Love you tons,


The four month rundown


  • Aquariums:  We went to your Auntie Brianne and Uncle Brian’s wedding at the aquarium in Long Beach and you were absolutely mesmerized by all of the creatures in the tanks, it was so cool to watch you!
  • Television: This is not to say that we allow you to watch tv at such a young age but if it’s ever on your gaze somehow reaches it and you zone out! It’s crazy how hypnotizing it can be for such a young baby but we definitely don’t allow you to watch more than a few minutes at a time.  There will be plenty of time for you to watch tv, believe us!


  • Some strangers: This month is the first time we’ve noticed you being weary of strangers.  It’s not all people and all circumstances but occasionally you’ll get scared and your bottom lip begins quivering and then the tears start welling up…it is such a sad sight to see!  We’re trying to get you used to being around new people so that hopefully it doesn’t get much worse!

Monthly Photos

See past monthly photo posts in her mini armchair here:

One Month ::  Two Months ::  Three Months

The many facial expressions of Sirena

Trip to Long Beach for the wedding of the year!

In September we made another trip to Long Beach for the wedding of the year for our friends Brianne and Brian!  The drive to/from was a lot smoother than our first trip to Long Beach with Sirena, I think we (all three of us) finally got the hang of a long road trip with a baby.

Road trippin’

We had a play date with Sirena’s girlfriends Amelia and Sadie…


…spent lots of time with family and friends…

And then of course for the main event…Brianne & Brian’s wedding!  It was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and it was such a gorgeous evening.  Sirena donned her party dress and shoes and won the hearts of at least a few people.  She was so good during the wedding and reception, she made us so proud!  Kevin had the honor of being Brian’s Best Man and he had a great time filling that role.

I didn’t get many photos of the bride and groom! Here are the two I captured, can’t wait to see the professional photos!

We have been waiting for their wedding day for what seems like forever and it was so great that our little family was able to be a part of their extremely special day!!

Sirena’s Monthly Photos: Three Months Old

Dear Sirena,

Well, you’re officially not a newborn anymore!  It truly is amazing to see so much growth in a tiny human being in such a short amount of time and it just keeps getting better every day.  Some highlights…

The little noises you make are so entertaining (mostly “mmm” and sighing sounds) and you’re beginning to learn to get our attention through methods other than crying (hallelujah!)  Although you’ve had incredible neck strength since birth, you are holding your head up so well now that you don’t need any support from us whatsoever.  And you’re beginning to learn to wrap your fingers around things to grab them–your favorite thing to do lately is to grab the muslin blankie that’s laying on you and pull it up over your head for what I am sure will become a fun game of peek-a-boo in the near future.

In addition to being a huge milestone, your three month “birthday” was bittersweet too because it also represented the end of summer and the end of my maternity leave.  I was feeling anxious the entire week leading up to my first day back at work and that morning I felt a sadness in the pit of my stomach that I had never felt before.  Fortunately I get to work from home three days a week so I won’t miss out on too much of your precious growth this year and for that I am truly grateful.

Every parent we talk to advises us to enjoy each and every moment with you at this age because it goes by so fast.  Every day I make sure to take some time to just study you and your little fingers and toes, your chubby cheeks and thighs, your beautiful eyes and hair just so I don’t ever forget how amazingly tiny you are right now.

Love you muchísimo,


The three month rundown


  • Foot massages: You are a lucky girl in that you get a foot massage every night during our bedtime routine–I lather up and put my hands up to your face so you can smell the lavender lotion and you always pause and get an excited look on your face like you know what’s coming.
  • Long walks: When we used to go on long walks you would immediately fall asleep on our chest in the Ergo carrier but nowadays you are so much more alert and wanting to check out your surroundings so you stay awake for almost the entire walk.  Very soon you’ll be big enough to have facing outwards in the carrier and I know you’re the kind of kid who won’t want to face inwards anymore once that day comes so I am enjoying the precious time you lay on my chest as much as possible.


  • Cameras: Every time I bust out the camera you immediately get a solemn look on your face and just stare at the silver & black machine in your face.  This makes for getting a good shot of your new smiles difficult but don’t worry, you’ve got one persistent mama!

Monthly Photos

See past monthly photo posts in her mini armchair here: One Month :: Two Months

The many facial expressions of Sirena

A week of firsts

Even though it seems that every one of the blog posts recently have been about “Sirena’s first [insert something cool here]”, we had one full week of pretty exciting “firsts” that deserves its own post…

First trip to the zoo

I’m sure the words “Oakland” and “Zoo” together don’t conjure up visions of really cool animals but, surprisingly, the Oakland Zoo is quite the zoo!  We met up with my co-worker Debra and her 18 month old son Cruz for a visit to the park and we’re so glad we went!

Getting ready for her first safari

The gang ready to see some animals!

Sirena and Cruz, the little buddies

Happy mama, daddy and baby

Kevin, Debra and the kiddos walking through the park

We saw so many cool animals!  Like a mama and baby giraffe…

Me and my baby with the mama and baby giraffes in the background (awww…)

And a lion!  Apparently this guy never comes out into the open and we happened to be there in the 2 minutes he left his little enclosure…lucky us!

That zebra musta been real scared

Pumba was there

And so was this handsome fella

And this crazy monkey who was putting on a good show for us

We visited the fruit bat enclosure and got up-close-and-personal with some kinda cute/kinda creepy creatures.

Sirena wasn’t too impressed with the bats as you can see here

After all of the animals it was time for a break!

Is he not the cutest thing ever?

A tired and very full baby getting burped by daddy

Family photo outside of the flamingo enclosure

The Oakland Zoo is a gem in the middle of this big city and we would highly recommend it!

First college campus tour

We took Sirena on her very first college campus tour at UC Berkeley (it’s never too early to start, right??)  I have been wanting to go for a long walk on Cal’s campus since before my maternity leave started and I was so glad we finally did it.  Too bad the weather wasn’t spectacular that particular day but that didn’t keep us from having a good time.

It was chilly that day so we put on her going-home-from-the-hospital beanie and it made her look like a brand-speankin’-new baby again

Lola didn’t have to wear any sort of hat with that gorgeous fur coat of hers

Lola going for a stroll with good ol’ “Pappy” (Kevin and I are weird, what can we say?)

This face can only mean one thing…dirty diaper!

And what better place to change a dirty diaper?  On the bench in front of some old building on the campus, of course!

I couldn’t resist taking this picture, it looks like the Invisible Baby or something (I know, I’m a dork)

One of my favorite things about this campus is The Campanile

Sirena with The Campanile in the background (if she ends up going to Cal I think it would be awesome to take a similar picture of her standing in this spot on her first day there. Gah, I’m such a mom.)

First concert

We made it back to Stern Grove for one of the free summer concerts and once again it did not disappoint!  Jess and I went to a Stern Grove concert my first weekend living in San Francisco in 2009 (see post here) and Kevin, Lola and I went with some friends last year (see post here) and I had been looking forward to taking Sirena to see the band Ozomatli before she was born. We met up with Jessie who snagged a great spot right in front and hung out with some of her friends that afternoon.

As new parents we naively brought S to the concert without having thought through how to protect her tiny little ears and we were prepared to sit away from Jess and her group to keep S far from the speakers but luckily the Red Cross booth had ear plugs that we could use and they seemed to do the trick!

Happy baby getting ready for the concert to start!

Ma and Pa enjoying a baby-free moment while Aunt Jessie was dancing with S

Mama dancing with Sirena

Here are two short videos of Sirena dancing with me and dancing with Aunt Jessie (notice how deep asleep she is in both videos even with all the ruckus going on)!