Tuesday, July 12, 2011


after you have a baby, you look forward to their milestones. and people ask you about them. for a while now people have been asking if she laughs yet. after the first few months of a mostly crying baby, i was really looking forward to some laughter!

the first little laugh came just after memorial day weekend, when she was about 3 1/2 months old. we had just come back from a trip to dallas and were unwinding. joseph and i were lying down on either side of eliana, cooing and making faces at her when she laughed! we looked at each other, surprised, and he asked me, "was that...?" finally!

i thought that the floodgates were now open and that she'd be laughing then all the time. but that didn't happen.

over the past few weeks, she has been laughing more. mostly she responds to us tickling to her tummy with kisses. i don't know if all parents hear their children's laughter the same way, but to me, when eliana laughs it sounds like pretty little bells ringing. it makes my heart feel full.

the last few days of june, about a month after we first heard her laugh, eliana and i were at the grocery store together. i had her strapped to my body in a baby carrier as we perused the aisles. i was checking out some different bread, comparing labels, when all of a sudden i heard her laugh. surprised, i looked at her and saw that she was looking at some kids in the same aisle. these kids were trailing their mom, but had stopped and were wrestling over something. apparently, eliana thought that was funny!

i can't tell you how happy it made me to hear her spontaneous laughter, not just because it represents a milestone in her development, but because it gives me a little insight into her personality. she's going to laugh, that is, she's going to have a sense of humor. that moment was just the beginning. like looking through the peephole to a room filled with light. it makes me cherish the "firsts" and look forward to everything else to come.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

pocha mama moment

yesterday the baby and i met with a potential nanny. V, a young immigrant woman from guatemala, was highly recommended to us by my friend.

V seemed to be a very sweet-tempered person, patient and good with the baby. her primary language is spanish, which i appreciate because i would really like for our baby to learn spanish. while joseph and i both speak it, we communicate almost entirely in english.

during our meeting, V and i communicated exclusively in spanish. we talked about things like where to find diapers and wipes, how often and for how long the baby naps, how much she eats, and what her favorite toys are. there were definitely some gaps in my spanish baby vocabulary. "cómo se dice wipes?"

i let V take the afternoon feeding, and after the baby had finished, she asked me, "le sacas el aire a la niña después de comer?"

i thought it a random question. why would the baby need to go outside after eating? but i said, "no, pero si quieres, podemos ir a la yarda de atrás."

as i start to usher her to the backyard, she stops me and says, "no creo que me entendió." she asks me again, "le sacas el aire a la niña después de comer?" and she began to pat the baby on the back.

i laughed. to burp. not at all what i had understood! but i guess it's another verb to add to my pocha spanish vocabulary.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

mother's day

this year i experienced my first mother's day as a mother.

one month ago, i was two and a half months into motherhood and not at all feeling like i was doing that great of a job. at that time, crying was still my baby's primary form of communication, which frankly left me feeling a bit frazzled all the time. i generally imagined mothers to be much more in tuned with their children and, you know, able to address their basic needs. in other words, i was feeling a bit like a fraud.

then, at the end of the actual day, i had this surreal moment.

joseph and i went to mass that evening. at the end of the liturgy, the priest asked all of the mothers in the church to stand for a blessing. joseph nudged me to stand, and i did, looking around at all the other mothers--old, young, and in-between, of various ethnicities, many with their children by their sides. i had my baby swaddled close to my body in a carrier, and, as a i stood, i felt very consciously ... like a mother.

the priest prayed for us, and then some of the students of the congregation handed us each carnations.

this was something that i had witnessed at mass on mother's day every year all of my life at the different churches that i've attended--the mothers' blessing, the carnations. and as i stood, my mind raced as i silently exclaimed, "i'm getting a carnation!"

being a mother is obviously much more than a carnation on mother's day. i'm still learning (my baby is a good teacher!). but, in the meantime, i will take all the blessings i can get.


Monday, June 06, 2011

two years

two years ago today, joseph and i got married.
i spent much of the day today at home with the baby. i take care of the basics like feeding her, changing dirty diapers, and soothing her. but we also play with various toys, i read to her, and try to make her smile. (my daughter is more generous with her smiles lately).
though those things don't seem like much, by the time joseph got home, i had barely managed to put on any makeup, and i had baby spit up stains on various parts of my outfit. in other words, it was a far cry from how nice i looked on our wedding day.
nevertheless, he came bearing roses and was glad, as he always seems to be, to see me and the baby.
these days, our life together is not as romantic as it was on our wedding day, but it is marked by moments of happiness and wonder as we nurture our little family.



this is how happy he still makes me after two years of marriage.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

extreme makeover

after a long hiatus, i've been thinking lately that it might be time to start writing again. when i was last writing regularly, i was single and in graduate school. years later, i'm now employed (thankfully!), married, and have recently had my first child. in other words, my life has gone though an extreme makeover. just when i was getting the hang of being a graduate student, i became a professor. as i was becoming accustomed to being single, i met and married my husband. as we were settling into our lives together, we became parents!

this blog is still about my "journeys," but it also bears in mind the love in my life that initiated all of this change (first comes love, then comes marriage, etc.). actually, when i really think about it, it was love that started me on my journey in academia--love of learning, teaching, and community. now i guess i'm being pushed to love in different and deeper ways.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the season

when i was an undergraduate (a million years ago), i remember the frenzy that accompanied the end of each fall quarter. dead week, final exams, final papers. then catching a ride from the bay back home to the central valley with a friend. and i would be stunned to find that christmas had already arrived there. the neighborhood houses donned twinkling lights. at mass, they would be lighting the final candle on the advent wreath. and i would always feel a pang of sadness that i had missed most of the season.

as a young girl, i attended a catholic elementary school. christmas was never lost on me then. there were the hand made ornaments we completed in art class. there were the christmas carols we would sing at mass in the weeks before christmas, sometimes caroling at a retirement home or in a neighborhood. the christmas pageants when i would dress as an angel or a shepherd (as i got older) for midnight mass. and, of course, the gifts and family gatherings on christmas day. :)

the newness of this christmas, my first as a married woman, is exciting. joseph and i bought a tree last week, something i had never done before! i almost had an anxiety attack when i saw all of the ornamental possibilities for a tree, but i was able to buy a couple of boxes of basic ornaments. we have a beautiful (if simple) christmas tree in the living room of our home and stockings with out names on them. we're celebrating advent in a church that we love, and now christmas is almost upon us.

i'm 34 years old this year, and i still vividly remember christmases from when i was a child and young(er) adult. it already feels like a lifetime of memories, and yet i know that joseph and i still have a lifetime ahead of us. the thought is sometimes overwhelming. how does a person hold all of these moments in her memory, in her heart? i suppose that, too, is a miracle of the season.