After our cruise we ventured back to NYC, and it was a lot more relaxing then our first trip into the city. The first night we drove into the city during rush hour (I'm not sure what we were thinking) and soon enough little Emmy, my niece, starting having a breakdown. (It's okay Emmy, I almost had a break down too). So the whole family, in the back of our huge bus of an SUV started singing to entertain her.


after parking and paying like $50 for 2 hours (no joke. it's THAT much), we headed to Little Italy/SoHo and ate some real, legit NYC pizza. It was THE. BEST. PIZZA I have ever had in my life. No joke. I loved it. While waiting for a table Amos got to experience a real, inner-city playground hidden between two huge buildings.


The last day in town, we went into the Time's Square Area again to eat at Junior's, a famous spot. It had really good cheesecake and Amos loved posing in the front. After dinner, Ricky, Alissa (my sister-in-law) and I decided to stay in the city while the rest of the family took the babies back and put them to bed. We were going to take the subway/train home. That's when I really experienced New York, and it's such a wonderful, bustling city if you are running free. We shopped in Time Square, found a good coffee place, ate pizza again, and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. We finally got home, in New Jersey, at 2AM from the train, and Amos was sound asleep with Grandma.



I < 3 NYC - Part I


On our vacation we flew into Newark, and spent the day before we ported in NYC. This was my first encounter with the city, and I think it was a little overwhelming having to drive in and out of the city, and walk around with a little toddler - on a pretty humid day.

We ended up visiting 2 days after our trip, before we flew home, and that's when I fell in love - but this day the hustle and bustle was A LOT for a little family. It was cool to experience it though. We took the subway, visited Central Park, FAO Schwarz, the Shake Shack in the park (beats In N' Out) - soooo delicious. We also explored Time Square. I think the other districts/neighborhoods beat out Times Square, so it was pretty intense having that as our first encounter. After the cruise we visited SoHo and some other great, less (SIGN SIGN SIGN LIGHT LIGHT PEOPLE) places that I really enjoyed.

We walked so much, I honestly somehow injured the bridge of my foot in my supportless flats that ached the whole cruise! idk how these business women tromp around in heels all day long!
inspired by the rockstar diary's obsession.

whatever craziness appears in this photograph, multiply it by 100000 and that is the madness of Time's Square.

oh! and they reset the votes at top baby blogs and i'm way behind. it's silly, i know, but i'd love your vote by clicking HERE and then on the left owl. Thanks!


backyards and the Lord's fathering.


I never understood how deep of a sacrifice it was when family's sold their house and everything inside to move to the mission field. Willfully choosing a small flat in europe, or a hut in Africa seemed so glorious, adventerous. And of course, I'm sure it is. But once you have a family you realize it's one thing to find comfort in a small space, it's another to function as a mother with children in a small space.

We live in a one bedroom apartment 5 minutes from downtown San Diego. Amos' crib is shoved against the wall, blocking one and a half of our 2 bedroom windows. He doesn't have a play room. His toys are quarantined to a wicker basket directly next to our kitchen table. This is a luxury, to some, especially those in third world countries. I know this. Even so, often my flesh arises (especially since Amos started walking) that says, "I WANT A HOUSE!" or even a second bedroom. Not only do I want a house, but I want a dishwasher, room on my bathroom sink to do my makeup, and more than 10 inches of counter space for cooking. I want COMFORT. I want EASE. My flesh loves these things.

Then I remember that small trials, those that may seem silly to some, are actually being used to make me holy. They are a tool, by the Lord, to craft me into His likeness. I'm learning to find my satisfaction and comfort in Him, and not the amenities of today that the world tries to convince me "I deserve."

And so, for now, I continue to remind myself that God is using our limited space and cramped quarters not only for my good, but for Amos'. He is not "missing out" or "being deprived" of a full childhood - but that this is exactly what the Lord knew he needed to be created into the man the Lord desires. It's hard, sometimes, because I want Amos to be able to run around in the back yard with his big family dog and not just run back and forth in our living room - but, hey, that's what parks are for, huh?

With that being said, on our vacation we visited some family of family that live in a BEAUTIFUL HOME in New Jersey, with a super green and happy backyard. Amos had the time of his life, and the Lord reminded me of His goodness. He's giving me the desires of my heart, even if in smaller doses. ;)

Looking at robin's eggs with grandpa.


GLAM FAM and a boy in vans.


I haven't really written much about our cruise we took. I plan on doing a more thorough post, but I wanted to post some of the "portraits" we got from our 2 weeks on the ship. I'm not a big fan of the "formal" photography... and so I doubt I'll frame these, but it's so nice to have them as memories. Amos is just so FREAKISHLY adorable in his little bow tie, how can one not die at the pure sight of it? OH MY GOSH. Does he have to grow up? [Though I am certain, he will continue to be as adorable in a little bow tie for years to come.]

I didn't take many pictures while on vacation. I actually never took out my SLR once, and barely made a dent in my iphone album. I really let myself relax. I didn't have to cook or clean, and I didn't let myself have the pressure of capturing every single moment - a particular plague that comes upon us moms.

These were some that I decided to bring home, and there are a couple from mine and Ricky's phone. It was such a peaceful, relaxing time. It really was a gift from God to our little family.

MASSIVE THANKS to my dad-in-law, Rich, for dropping FAT CASH to pay for each of our airfare and cruise tickets as a retirement celebration. He even had to pay for Amos to be on the boat. What a blessing! I am so thankful for family that values time spent and memories made.

Our first night at dinner. Food was AMAZING. still mourning the loss of their onion bread.
for those who have asked, my dress is from forever 21. for like 20 bucks. it was a great choice. i can now dress it down for church and what not.
Second formal night. The entire Valdez family. From top left: Michael (my brother in law), Jen (gorgeous sister in law, mom of little Emmy), Alissa (also gorgeous sister in law... do i have to stand next to those two!? COME ON.), me, ricky, Licha (my mother in law), Richard (my father in law), and then Emery and Amos.
Bow tie is from: the little gentlemen's closet on etsy. little boy ties/bow ties.
at the pool. amos finally got brave enough to jump into the pool.
HAHAHAHA. the best attempt at getting a grandparent/grandkid picture. Emmy was NOT feeling it.

Breastfeeding // POST I

Breastfeeding // Post I

When I found out I was pregnant, breastfeeding seemed like such a foreign practice to me. I knew I wanted to do it. I knew it was healthy and thrifty and overall good for my future baby. But the truth was, I had no idea what it would look like - having a nursing relationship with my child.

I was breastfed until my mother had to go back to work - naturally. I knew of some mother's who had breastfed in the early months. I had never really watched a baby grow up and go through the stages of nursing. I definitely hadn't seen anyone close to me breastfeed past the age of 1.

I thought it might be helpful to some moms, if you are out there, and if you stumble upon this blog, to hear about my breastfeeding journey. It's unique to both my personality and Amos'. It did not go as I expected, at all. And, most importantly, it was a delightful surprise. Nursing Amos has been one of the most rewarding aspects of motherhood - which I am sure sounds crazy to anyone pre-baby. It was crazy to me. I didn't get it - AT ALL, mother's exclaiming, "I cried when he finally weaned!". But now, I do, and I am one of it's greatest advocates.

To preface, I am in no way saying mother's who chose formula, or tried breastfeeding and it didn't work out for them, or breastfed for only a couple months are in anyway less of a mother to their children. I do not think they lack some special "mom-ness", while breastfeeding mother's somehow have that extra strength or whatever. I do think breastfeeding is almost always the healthier option, but so is feeding my child completely organic, homegrown goodness. Does this always happen? Of course not. We do what we can with the circumstances given us. I feel the same way about birthing (natural vs. drugs) and whatever else motherhood shall present us. Let's not judge, because we don't know the story.

With that being said, I am going to now unapologetically tell you about the ups (and downs) of my journey with Amos. It is unique to me, but it is still the real thing.

If you read my story, you'll know my birth did not go as planned. I ended up with an epidural, and therefore Amos was probably born a little more fatigued than nature had intended. By God's grace Amos latched on very well from the beginning. I feel this was the kindness of God towards me because the latter portion of my labor was pretty trying, as was my labor and delivery. Once Amos was on my chest, things seemed to go rather peacefully.

We decided to do the breast crawl with Amos, which I believe attributed to his effective latch (latch is a term for how the baby suckles at the breast) and nursing. We laid him face down on my belly, and he actually nuzzled/inched his way up to my breast. Yes, at only an hour old, Amos was able to do this. According to my doula, this is quite attainable for most babies... and I must say, Amos was born with great neck control. I don't know if he had not been able to hold up his head, if he could have done this. That'd be a question for an experienced midwife, I'm sure.

My only memories of the hospital, post-partum, were that of breastfeeding. Latching, re-latching, etc. I was told by a lactation consultant (one who specializes in breastfeeding) that if the latch hurts, or does not feel right, to slide your finger in the corner of their mouth, de-latch, and have them try again. I was told not to be alarmed if I have to do this a dozen or more times during a breastfeeding session. And so, I did this many of times. I think it helped both Amos and I establish the correct way to nurse.

And so we nursed. I pretty much left him at my chest, skin to skin, the first couple of days. I'd switch off between each time he cried for hunger, which was pretty much anytime he cried, I put him at my breast. I slept with him there, as I barely dozed sitting up in my hospital bed. From the beginning Amos HATED being put down. He screamed in his hospital cradle, and would only be contented in someone's arms.

I wonder now, if in the beginning I had let him fuss for a bit, if he would have grown more accustomed to laying by himself. Who knows, really, being a first time mother and your natural instinct is of course to comfort a baby that has just met the world for the first time. So comfort I did.

Amos isn't nursing here, for anyone traumatized by such photos - but he is sleeping while sending out pictures to family. also, i know that it looks like a second baby was raptured from the hospital cradle... it was just ricky's photo-op idea. ;)


The things I remember most about my first weeks home consist, almost entirely of nursing. My mother had told me, "You'll feel as if he's connected to you." and "All you'll do is sit." My mother is quite matter-of-fact, and she was right. I had thankfully bought a REALLLLLLY comfortable nursing chair, and pretty much set up camp. Amos nursed, and slept, and nursed. Ricky took him for a bit, my mom took him for a bit, until - 30 minutes later, he'd cry his cry for milk. I honestly didn't mind it much, being that my labor was so difficult I really did need the rest. Sitting around was good for me.

From what I can remember, my milk took almost a week to come in. That's rather common, from what I've heard, with difficult, long labors. Amos lost weight and had to see a doctor, but right before that appointment my milk came in and he started gaining.

The hardest part was Amos' refusal to be put down. The first weeks I literally sat in my chair, blankets all around me, and all around Amos and nursed him in the chair, and slept with him there. I'm sure laying him in a crib is much safer, but it was really distressing on what to do, being he would cry and cry in his crib. I would try to transfer him while he was asleep - and he would cry and cry. So we lived in that nursing chair. I remember nights where I would feed him, and then my mom would take him and hold him in the chair, so I could lay down on the living room floor and get some sleep. It was hard, but I had a lot of support from both Ricky and my mom.

i'm obviously not one of those women who look awesome days after birth. i look more like an inflated cherry, but you know - all for the glory of a babe. ;)
Amos 4-5 days old.

0 - 8 WEEKS:::

I eventually decided to nurse Amos on my side while laying down during the night. I had absolutely NO intention of co-sleeping, whatsoever. We had a wonderful crib set up, in our room, and that was what I had planned on doing. I guess you learn, once you become a mom, nothing is going to go as you expect, so control freaks better brace themselves. ;)

We continued to try and put Amos in his crib. I researched the cry-it-out method, baby-wise and all these question forums on the internet. While Amos was nursing, I was most likely googling something on my iphone. When does it get easier? What do I do if he hates his crib? Why is his poop still black? Information is always comforting for me. After reading up on stuff, I really did not feel comfortable having amos cry for such a long period of time at such a tender age. I also prayed a lot and really felt peace about co-sleeping, though at first I was super ashamed about it. Weird, I know, but I did. It seemed so unconventional at the time.

Now that I look back, I think this was by far the best decision we made as a family for this season. God is so gracious, and He knew it would be the best for both Amos and Ricky and I. We eventually bought a co-sleeper (nudges up against the bed to where he can sleep in his crib right next to us). He didn't even sleep in there until later on, as he would not allow us to transfer him until about 16 weeks.

I put this section as 0-8 weeks, because I believe that is the most demanding and difficult portion of breastfeeding. It may extend to 12 to 16 weeks for some mothers. During this time, Amos nursed on demand every 30 minutes to an hour. He was still learning HOW to nurse, and therefore not as effective nor quick as later on. I was still learning HOW to nurse also, so there is a major learning curve during this portion. It hurts also, as your nipples are still pretty tender (the shower! OUCH!), you are still recovering from the delivery, AND your letdown can hurt. I think, if your baby is destined to sleep through the night, they tend to not do it very consistently in the early weeks.

Amos at 4 weeks.
Amos at 8 weeks.




my husband's grandmother just turned 89. isn't she the most beautiful 89 year old you've ever seen.

happy birthday grandma virgie! we love you

sugar firsts.

while we were on vacation, amos was able to partake in some extra special privileges. we were on a cruise for 10 days with my husband's family - and there was plenty of goodies to be tasted.

here amos is tasting his first ice cream cone. after this he was a goner. pointing and asking for "I-SKEEM!" everytime someone was walking around the deck with one in their hand, or at dinner - before his entree even arrived. he was a fanatic for vanilla, and thankfully since arriving home he hasn't been asking for it. ice cream will be a very, very special occasion privilege. :) it's good to enjoy treats, as long as we know they are sometimes foods, not all the time foods.

i hope i'm instilling healthy boundaries and good balances in amos' life. who honestly knows how to do that anyways?!