Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gino is 3 months old

In the last month Gino has morphed from a sleeping newborn into a smiley, interactive baby. I love his 4:30 am smiles even though I'd prefer to be sleeping. If I've got to get up to feed him, at least he's happy to see me. 

He's been sleeping almost through the night. Usually 8:15-4:30, up for a quick feed and back to sleep until 7:30/8:00 am. His naps are sporadic. I haven't put any effort in getting him on a set schedule yet. He usually naps around 11:00 in the ergo, and in the afternoons for a couple hours in his mamaroo. 

He is however, finally in his own room for bedtime, and I'm transitioning his afternoon nap from the mamaroo to his bed as I type. I'm ready to purge the baby gear that resides in my living room. 

Gino continues to be a good little eater. I have no idea what he weighs this month, but he is already wearing six month clothes, so I know he's a growing boy. 

He has spent the last month sitting on the sidelines while we schlep his older siblings to their summer programs. He usually hangs close to me in our ergo, but has recently been riding in our strollers like a big boy and seems to enjoy his own space. It's been so hot that we just stick together when I wear him, so we both appreciate the freedom from one another when he rides instead. 

Tummy time isn't his favorite, but he puts up with it and is holding his head up quite well. He gets frustrated and rocks to the side but still hasn't rolled over--I know it's coming soon. 

   Gino loves conversations with GG pat

          Snuggles with GG Dottie

We took a couple trips to Santa Barbara to see his great grandmas, aunts and uncles last month. Gino loves his snuggles. I feel so fortunate that my children have the opportunity to know their greats. With both of my parents now retired, we hope to see lots more of them in the months to come. 

Here's to an eventful fourth month!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Touch a truck

We have a fantastic parks and rec program in our area. Every year they host "touch-a-truck"--an event which fills an area park with trucks of all sorts. 

For a three year old boy infatuated with trucks, this event is heaven on earth. 

          [ pregame lunch in the park]

My sister and brother in law joined us--it was hot out--and we were flirting with disaster choosing to go right at lunchtime, but Sal was in his element. 

I'm so glad we bent a little of our schedule to let him experience this event. After downing some sandwiches in the shade, we took off towards the trucks. 

    [ sal hooking straps on the crane hook]

There were cranes (the kids got to hook and give signals), emergency vehicles, construction equipment, UPS and cement mixers, to name a few. 

          [ next year's holiday card (?)]

But by far, the favorite in our household was the garbage truck. Hence the family picture in front of one. 

             [ checking out the Roller]

I love being back in America so that I can indulge in my kid's interests and take advantage of all of the things our wonderful little town offers. We will most definitely be going back for years to come.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kitchen facelift

After six weeks without a kitchen, we finally finished it last week. 

I'm in love..

And because I dig before and after shots, here you go...

The overhead cabinets blocked out light, NZ managed to nail his head on them every time he prepped food under them and I couldn't reach anything higher than the bottom shelf.

 They had to go ...

Since it's a small galley kitchen, we kept the footprint the same and utilized our cabinet space more efficiently, replacing my wall oven and cooktop with an all in one range. 

We removed the pantry which blocked light from the side door and opted for a built in side board with tons of storage to run along my dining room wall. Taking that pantry cabinet out also opened up the room for an open concept. 

My pantry resides in the sideboard, with tons of extra space for the kids to have a cabinet devoted to toys. This makes my minimalist side very happy-no more toys lingering in the living room after bedtime. 

I've got lofty plans of putting in a large framed mirror or chalkboard in the open space and decorating that area for the holidays since our house doesn't have a fireplace or mantel. 

A huge thanks to our contractor for being so patient with us and to NZ for busting his butt in China so we could enjoy a fresh kitchen upon our return. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

World's most expensive timeout

I debated posting this for a few weeks now, but if it can help anyone else avoid what we went through, it's worth writing about.

So here's the story. 

A couple of Fridays ago, just before lunch, Sal got lippy with me, and after being warned once, he was sent on timeout. We do our timeouts outside on the back lawn ( sorry neighbors!) so that no walls can be punched/ kicked or have boogers smeared during the meltdown. I grabbed Sal by the forearm and lead him out to the yard. When we hit the concrete, he dropped himself in protest and I reacted by pulling him up by the arm to drag him to his timeout spot which was literally only TWO FEET away.

As I pulled him up to try and get him back on his feet--there was a loud pop. 

And screaming. 

" you hurted meeeeeeee! Mama, why you hurted me?!"

His arm was limp. He wouldn't let me near him to try and figure out where he was hurt. 

And of course, it was noon when I dialed my pediatrician to get advice. How dare they take a lunch!!!!?!

I finally received a callback and was told to bring him in right when they reopened after lunch. 

We went in, and I'll admit, I was sweating bullets. I had worked myself up over that hour and a half wait thinking they'd probably have CPS question me since Sal wouldn't stop saying," mama, why you hurted me. That's not berry nice!" I felt awful, and hearing his pained little voice magnified my regret and sorrow that much more. After all, did I really need to enforce the timeout two feet from where he collapsed?

Thankfully, the pediatrician told me that he sees this type of injury often. 

Phew. I'm still in the running for mother of the year....

He explained that Sal had a nursemaids elbow. He could do a reduction and get it back in place in the office. 

Easier said than done. 

The pediatrician " wasn't sure" if it went back in because he didn't feel it pop. He sent us home with Advil and said he should start using it within a few hours.

A few hours later--still wouldn't use his arm at all and cried if we came near him.

So, Saturday, I called the on call pediatrician to seek advice as to where to take Sal. He suggested the emergency room, as he wasn't sure an urgent care would be well versed on elbow reductions. Off Sal and I went to the ER with hopes of enjoying a root beer afterwards. We saw an ER doc, who ordered X-rays. She also felt it was nursemaid elbow, and attempted a reduction on a now very traumatized little boy. Again, no pop. Again, " I'm not sure it went in. He should be better in a few hours". 

"Come back if it's still hurting tomorrow."


Sal and I headed home ( with a stop for root beer, of course) and to no surprise, he still wasn't using his arm

Sunday morning, I was in tears. I had hurt my child, and taken him in to find relief, and he still wasn't better. I reached out for advice from my former boss. He advised that I go back to the ER and demand an orthopedic evaluation. At this point, Sal's elbow had been out of place for 36 hours. It needed fixing ASAP, by someone competent in this type of injury. I marched myself and Sal back to the ER, paid yet another $100 copay, and was basically laughed at by the on duty ER doc. He said that kids do this all the time, and that there was no need to call an ortho in on the weekend. He said he'd reduce it--to which I gave a hefty, " you're not touching him" and walked out with Sal in tow. 

Thankfully, Sal had charmed the nursing staff the day before, and one of them recognized us and said, " Sal, you're back?!". She came in and talked to me and told me to hold tight. She was able to get the original ER doc that we saw Saturday to come in and see us. She agreed that another attempt by a non orthopedic doctor would be a bad idea. She sweetly called the on all ortho, and tried to get him to come in to help us. Unfortunately, the ortho felt that it'd be best to have us see a pediatric specialist since his elbow had undergone two failed reductions and was probably quite swollen inside. Sal was splinted and assigned a nurse case manager who expedited a next day referral for us to see a pediatric ortho down near LA.

Long story short, we went to LA on Monday and saw the sweetest pediatric specialist. Sal had more X-rays, and she agreed that it was definitely nursemaid elbow and sweet talked Sal into letting her touch his arm. She talked Cars and lightening McQueen with him as she rotated his palm upwards. He cried, but she kept talking to him about Mater, Sally and even Fillmore as she popped that elbow back in place. I didn't hear it thanks to the screaming three year old in my lap, but she did, and Sal told her that she "hurted him and broke his bone", "because it crackted". We had to stay til he demonstrated that he could use it--which was about 30 min and many bribes later. 

By the next day, he ditched his splint and it was like the last 48 hours never happened.

Pretty sure our ER bill will remind us just how expensive that timeout ended up being in a month or so.

Lesson learned. Don't lift your kid by the forearm.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

She speaks!

Big news in the Zentil house.

Nick came home to meet with our contractor this morning and I happened to be here with Carla and Gino when he had to go back to work.

And whaddya know?

Carla uttered her first sorta-sentence as he left....

"Bye bye, dada" 

Melt. My. Heart.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gino is 2 months old

                                                        Two months old

I feel like we've hit the point where Gino's unpredictable newborn-ness has begun to wear off. Most days, he's formed a loose schedule that I'm feeling good about. Finally.

Lately, he's been waking at 4:30ish, and we've been feeding back to sleep until about 8:30 ( "we" as in "he"--not me--I wish!). This gives me a chance to get my big kids fed, dressed and started on their day. At 8:30, Carla goes down for nap, while Gino officially starts his day. He gets fed again, dressed for the day, and spends time on his activity mat or practicing his belly time. Sal loves to "help" with these activities, so it's nice to let the two boys spend this time together without having hurricane Carla rip through. 

                                                         Big. Little. Love.

Once Carla wakes, Gino eats again while the bigs have a snack. Then it's off to school/ park/ errands for the morning. I've been wearing G in the ergo for these activities, and he usually fusses a bit at first and racks out after a few minutes. So long as we aren't getting in and out of the car a million times, he usually sleeps through our outings. One thing is clear though- he is NOT a fan of car seats or riding in cars. He's sure to let us know each and every time.

After morning errands etc, it's another feeding and some floor time while I get the big kids fed lunch and down for naps. All three kids nap about 2-3 hours in the afternoon. Gino often sleeps 2-5pm, which again, gives me time to devote to the other two after they wake from naps. 
From 5-7pm, my house is a freaking circus. If you visit, wear a hazmat suit. There's sure to be a box of crackers scattered and ground into my carpet by my little hurricane, and small leaves/pine cones/shit that belongs outside dumped out of one of Sal's umpteen garbage trucks ( all of which act as land mines) when making your way over to sit on my snorted on sofa. There may or may not be a child standing in the table, helping herself to something she shouldn't be in--like my peppermill or a brand new container of raspberries. 

                                         If I ever offer you a!  
                      It's likely been dumped on my floor and repackaged a time or two.
We've started Gino's bedtime routine along side the big kids at 7:00. They go down at 7:30ish during summer, and he's usually fed and asleep for the night between 8:00/9:00 until 4:30 the next morning....then it starts all over again.

Gino weighed 10lb 14oz at his 8 week visit and was 23.75" long. He's already able to wear some 6m onesies and has the most beautiful blue eyes which continue to get lighter. Maybe it's a touch of Vendrame coming through?

                                  Will they be as blue as grandpa Jet's baby blues?

He still loves to sleep inclined, but we have been transitioning to sleeping flat for nighttime and his early morning nap. Nick and I will be losing our little roommate to his own room in the next week. I can't say I'm sad about his move across the hall. 
It's time. 
It's been time. 

We will ALL sleep better this way.

Other notable events in Gino's second month included being babysat by auntie Steph for an entire afternoon and a trips to Yosemite and Santa Monica to meet family & friends. 

                           Spending the day with longtime friend, Liz & family

He was a busy little boy!

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Turns out one of my kids has a food allergy. It was bound to happen sooner or later---I say this only because many of my fellow moms have children with allergies, so what's the likelihood all three of mine would escape infancy unscathed? 

Also, what's with the increase in allergies in our children these days? I don't remember kids in my elementary class not being able to have cupcakes or being told we couldn't have peanut butter sandwiches at school. 

Anyways, back to my kid. 


We had a rough few weeks of up all nights and when he did sleep he grunted so loud it even kept NZ up--which says a lot about the decibel level of his grunting. I chalked it up to colic, because again, statistically speaking, how would I be lucky enough to never have to deal with colic? He also had a mad case of acne. His entire face, chest and back were covered in a rash. 

In talking to one of Sal's classmate's moms, she suggested I have his diaper tested for a dairy/soy intolerance. 

Later that night,  I consulted Dr. Google and concluded with all my non medical school education, that we were dealing with a dairy/soy intolerance. 

Then came panic. 

What on earth will I eat if I can't have my Greek yogurt for lunch or a slice of baby bel cheese for snack?! I love cheese. Love love love it. What about my Taco Bell bean and cheese burritos?! 

Say it ain't so!

I started reading packaging labels and was floored to discover that my favorite breads, cereals, crackers all contained soy or dairy. 

We saw our pediatrician last week and she said to go ahead and continue the dairy/ soy free diet and in a few months we will try to reintroduce dairy and see how he reacts. 

After a few trips to the store, I've found items I can eat. Fruits, veggies, beans, hummus, naan, basically vegan except for the eggs. I purchased a vegan protein powder that's delicious and I'm supplementing with that. 

         Before & after cutting dairy/soy

I have to say, a few days into our switch, Gino started to sleep better at night and has had far less gas and grunting. His diapers went from being dirty after every feed to maybe every other feed. His face cleared up after a week and he just seems happier overall. It will take another week of being off dairy before it's all out of his system, but I'm hopeful that we have  found the solution. 

Going dairy and soy free has proven beneficial to me as well. I have more energy and feel healthier. I've been walking more with the kids and started working out with Jillian Michaels' 30 day shred DVD (pretty sure I won't be shredded in 30--but I expect my endurance to improve). My skin is clearer and my bloated feeling is gone. I'm hoping to hit my pre-Carla weight within the next month, as I'm already at my pre Gino weight this past week. 

I'm still looking to create a dinner menu of dairy/soy free meals so please share any recipes or links you may have. My sister in law shared a few so I'm off to a good start but always looking for more!

And to my beloved cheese.....farewell till we meet again!