Friday, February 17, 2012

The Terrible Twos

By Liv

Having a two-year-old can be difficult. After reading that first sentence, you didn't doubt that I was lying to you because that's what everyone says. "Oh you just wait"... is a famous line I've been hearing since I first announced I was pregnant and every time I have something good to say about my journey in parenthood, it's inevitable that someone pipes up with this famous intro to a horror story about some awful milestone I'm about to hit. I'm always very happy to reply at a later date that whatever worry that they instilled in my subconscious didn't actually come to fruition. And honestly, I don't really understand why so many women feel the need to frighten other women about their new chapter in life.

In contrast, I try to always devote my chit-chat time with other Mamas with positive and empowering stories. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? If someone expects the worst, there's always the chance of the self-fulfilling prophecy where the woman actually makes that happen in her own life. I'd like to not be the woman who instilled any negative feelings in other Mamas, that's for sure!

The truth is, everything in life can be difficult at times. But in the realm of being a parent, the twos have most definitely not been the hardest for me. Yes, all these new found skills that Stella has acquired can be frustrating for her and for me but these skills have by far been the most useful, too.

Here are some of my favorite things about having a two-year-old:

1. She can dress & undress herself. I love seeing her little sense fashion develop!

2. She is always trying to "help" me with one thing or another. Whether it's with laundry, dishes or putting on makeup, she's always being helpful. Even though this often means more of a mess for me to clean up, it's really comforting to know that at some point, she'll actually be helpful :)

3. She can play by herself. This is a life saver for a stay-at-home-mom. This means that I get to take a shower by myself or fold the laundry and put it away before I'm needed!

4. She is much more adventurous with her food choices. Stella hasn't always been the easiest child to feed. With her food sensitivities and preferences, this has been a huge hurdle for me to jump over.

5. She speaks in full sentences and is much easier to communicate with. I no longer have to guess what it is that she wants. She just tells me. And for a child who is pretty particular about almost everything, this is quite a blessing. She can specify what color cup she wants, exactly what type of juice she needs in that cup, etc...

6. She is potty trained. Everyone knows I'm obsessed with cloth diapers. Even when we lived overseas without a clothes dryer, I still loved using cloth diapers on Stella. Now that she's potty trained, I realize how nice it is for her to have the independence of being able to tell me when she needs to use the restroom. I'll be honest, though, I'm excited for the new baby to arrive so I can pull out my stash of cloth dipes :)

7. I can reason with/bribe her. When we go out and I need her to be very good (say, during my Midwife appointments, etc), I can promise her a lolli-pop if she's a good girl and sits quietly. This realization that she can handle the delayed gratification was fantastic!

8. Her personality is quite clear and it's possibly one of my favorite little personalities in the world. Sometimes, I wonder if she's serious, but then I ask her and she replies, "Of course, Mama!"

9. Bedtime and Naptime is much easier. And I can convince her to stay in bed until the designated time (7:15am) by bribing her with a treat when she wakes up in the morning.

10. Most of all, I love that she seems to completely grasp the concept that she has a little baby sister arriving soon. She hugs/tickles/sings to my belly every single day. She tells me all of the things she's going to do with baby sister when she arrives: teach her how to have milk, sleep, play with her toys and "hop on pop". I can't wait for that day!

Realistically, I know being a Mom isn't all butterflies and rainbows. There are definitely days when I'm physically and emotionally drained, but the days when I am thankful very much outweigh the draining days!

Enjoying Valentine's Day again

By Liv

Ever since the day we met, I've always told Nick that Valentine's Day is one of my least favorite days of the year: all the consumerism, over consumption and needless worry over a silly day. I very much dislike cut flowers (you just have to throw them away in a few days, anyways) and am not a fan of chocolate. So, Nick followed my cues and almost every year did nothing for V-day, which was fine by me.

Now that Stella is old enough to appreciate Holidays (you should have seen her excitement over Christmas, which is by far one of my LEAST favorite holidays ever), I realized that there was fun to be had in some of these holidays - even if it meant just enjoying a few small things with my little bambina.

And in remembering the lovely days when my own Mom was still around, I have very fond memories of waking up Valentine's morning and having a huge gift basket filled with toys, candy and other goodies from my Mama. Jess and I used to love these mornings and I want more than anything for Stella to have memories like these to share with me. So I put together a little basket - just like my Mom used to do - and put a few small things in it for Stella.

Of course, the one thing I knew Stella really wanted was a cupcake. Being gluten/egg/dairy free makes cupcakes a little more difficult but I wasn't about to be discouraged even after driving around town on the night of February 13th scouting out all the gluten/vegan bakeries for a special treat for Stella. Unfortunately, everyone was sold out, so I headed home and whipped out my trusty baking supplies and put together a delicious batch of orange cream cupcakes with orange flavored frosting - tinted pink with a little raspberry preserves :) The cupcakes were a hit, as were all the other goodies she found in her V-day basket.

I'm so glad I have the opportunity to share these holidays with my new little family and I look forward to sharing them with Stella's little Sister soon :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stella's modeling photos for

By Liv is a website that sells items for children/babies and Mamas. The funny thing is that the main reason I even know that Zulily has modeling positions open for children is because I'm on their website (buying stuff) far too often – ask Nick.

Of course, every parent thinks their child is the most adorable thing ever created, and I'm definitely one of those parents. But apparently someone at Zulily thought so, too, so they invited us to their corporate headquarters to have Stella model for them.

We had a lovely time hanging out in their "green room", which was basically a kids' toy room filled with the coolest toys in the world. Stella was a doll and although it was hard to coax a smile from her, both her stylist and photographer loved her. Here are a few photos from that shoot.

I'm not sure if Stella will ever model again – I will leave it up to her. She says she liked it and would like to do it again, so if the possibility arises, I just may be posting some more photos!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Hernandez girls (and their men) take on the Seattle Aquarium

By Liv

Imagine two 2-year-old Hernandez-spawn running free at the Seattle Aquarium: one wearing bright red shoes that squeak with every step, the other in a bright blue tutu and fast-paced run. This is what you get:

 Cousins don't shake hands! Cousins gotta HUG!

 Hernandez-Mclurken Family

 Teaching the girls to hold hands was the best idea yet.

 Accosting the poor defenseless sea creatures.

 Stella said, "Those amemomees were shiny!" (she meant slimy, I hope!)


 They couldn't wait to see the seals.

 Daddy's little girl.

Seren was much more interested in playing with Stella's hair than watch the fish :)