Most of us have been on a flight where a baby or young child started crying. I have, and almost as soon as it starts I wonder when it’s going to end. And I am a mom! Sometimes the crying can take quite a while to stop. I was once on a 5-hour flight where three babies, all about the same age, took turns crying the entire flight! The older gentleman sitting across the aisle from me finally just put his fingers in his ears and put his head down on his tray!
Before my oldest daughter turned 2, she had earned a preferred flying status with two airlines. We live in the LA area and my parents live in Chicago, so we were making frequent trips to see them. As a new mom traveling with an infant, I found myself stressing out every time a flight date neared, but surprisingly we managed to get through our flights without any major crying episodes from our daughter.
Fast forward to traveling with 3 young children, it’s gotten harder, but not impossible. However, the last time that we traveled to Chicago was perhaps the hardest experience of all my flights. My then 1-year-old son was fussy and my two daughters complained of severe ear pain (due to the changes in air pressure). I tried to get through that flight as best as I could, but I saw the stares meant for me, saying, “why can’t he/they be quite!” I saw the iPods come out, the eyes rolling at me, and, yes, the occasional sympathetic smile. Thank goodness for the nice airline attendant who offered to hold my son while another flight attendant made him a makeshift toy out of a plastic cup….thanks Southwest!
I have begun to poll my friends who often travel with their young children on tips that have helped them make it through flights, so check back and see what they had to say. In the meantime, you can read on CNN how fussy babies are dividing airline travelers. How about baby free flights or do upset travelers just need to get over it?
I am embarrassed to admit that I have spent up to 3 hours at a time on Facebook. I have found myself starting an Internet search for a dinner recipe and ended up reading some sort of gossip news. Aye!
I find myself thinking of how friendships, motherhood and the workplace have changed since the Internet became so widely available. Many of us plan our social schedules, get recipes, buy clothes and even blog online. I found these articles on momcentral.com and nielsenwire.com to be very interesting because they address how women use the Internet. However, neither really addressed trends in Latina Internet use, so if you know of an article that does, please let us know!
As far as blogging is concerned, I am relatively new to it. I started blogging last year and have found the experience to be quite rewarding. One of my new favorite places to visit is The Top 100 Latina Blogs where the blogs are ranked by their popularity (we tend to stay in the the teens, thanks!). I also enjoy blogsbylatinas.com. Both of these blogs provide an extensive directory of Latina bloggers. You can find a Latina blogging about almost any topic that may interest you - coupon clipping, homemaking, crafting, poetry, the workplace - you name it and it's probably listed on these two sites. Enjoy!
What do you think about Quinceañeras? I love going to these traditional coming of age celebrations in the Latino community.
When my youngest sister had her Quinceañera, we traveled to México to celebrate with family and friends. Months of planning paid off in a beautiful way. My sister’s special day included a big tulle dress, a tiara, a Misa, a mariachi, a trio band, padrinos, lots and lots of food and, of course, a coordinated waltz of damas and chambelánes. It was such a fun and memorable day. Basically, it was like having a wedding without the groom! Most recently I attended my cousin's Quinceañera and she and her court entertained guests with a reggaeton routine - it was different and so much fun!
Although I celebrated my 15th birthday in a much simpler manner, my parents still made it very special. I was a bookworm, so when my parents asked me if I wanted a party or a new computer, I opted for the new computer. I think that my parents were happy with my choice, since we all know that having a Quinceañera can get quite expensive! However, I have owned quite a few dama dresses and I bet some of you have too! And we all know someone who has the oversized picture of a Quinceañera in their living room! So, what’s the best part of having a Quince? Is it picking the perfect dress or maybe practicing your waltz with your friends? Is it the gifts received or the party?
Finally, I have to admit that I really enjoy watching "Quiero Mis Quince" on MTV. Oh yes, you can't have a Quinceañera without some drama! Did you have one? Are you going to have one for your daughter? Do you think that this tradition may be dated or overrated?
It's like I just discovered glitter, but better! I get very excited when I try out new crafting techniques and I recently came across microbeads - my new obsession! Microbeads are such a fantastic way to add shimmer to your scrapbook pages and homemade crafts. Where have you been all my life? I know, that's so corny, but I am really looking forward to using mircobeads in upcoming activities in our crafting section of the website. They come in every color of the rainbow and in several sizes. Best of all, they are a very simple and inexpensive way to add dimension and flare to your projects. Make sure to check back and see what we are creating or embellishing with these little beads. Meanwhile, take a look at some of the ways other crafters are using microbeads.
I love to wake up early on Saturday or Sunday mornings, around 5:30 a.m. I put on my comfy clothes and I head across the street to the coffee shop (they open at 5 a.m.).
I order my favorite coffee, I have no problem finding an empty couch and then I sit. On some days, I find that I can sit and enjoy my coffee for a long time, other days I am a little faster and I am back home by 6 a.m., before anyone in my house is awake. Yes, this seems like a strange routine to enjoy, but I love the alone time. I feel like I can actually think about my day (or not) without any interruption. The world is still quite. I pick up the newspaper and actually read it, not just quickly glance at it. As busy women, we should all enjoy some little things here and there to help us relax. I have some friends that enjoy going for long runs or walks. Every other month some friends and I get together for a mom’s night. And I have to admit that there have been times that I have pretended not to hear one of my kids knocking on the bathroom door, just so I could have another quite moment to myself. Yes, sometimes we must do some unconventional things to get a moment to ourselves!
It feels like there is always something going on and before you know it, just as you really start to unwind from a long week, you have to get ready to start a new one.
The past few weeks have been like that around our home. Even though we have not enrolled our little kids in many activities, school and our personal commitments seem to pack our schedules. So, I love lazy days like today. It’s always fun to realize that we have absolutely nothing to do or a place to be on a particular day. How do you relax with your family? What’s your favorite thing to do together? We enjoy having movie parties in our living room. Since my husband tends to have a pretty busy work schedule, on our "lazy" days he takes our two girls on individual "dates" to lunch or dinner - the girls love this special time with daddy. Yes, it was a good day, but planning for the upcoming week will have to happen before Monday....right now, I am going to watch a movie!
Do you volunteer in your community? Have you incorporated community service into your life or your family’s life?
I am always interested to learn the reasons why we are motivated to take an active part in our communities. Is it because we feel an obligation to do so or because we just plain love to do it? When I think about the Latinas that I know who are making a difference in their community, I can say that most of them were inspired by someone else who was also actively involved in the community.
This was my experience. As a 7th grader I began attending an after school program in Chicago called Metro. It was there that I met Latinas who were in college or who had gone to college. I knew that I could do as they had done. These young women were the volunteers and tutors in my program, and I admired them so much. Years later as a college student, I admired the many ways that my Latina friends were involved not only on our college campus, but within the local Latino community. However, my parents would often ask me why I volunteered and why it was so important. Was it going to make a difference? I hoped so. As an adult, I have continued to stay involved, but in different ways. It just feels right.
How has your desire for community involvement evolved? Do you think that as a Latino community this is something that we try to foster in each other?
I recently came across this story of an 11 year-old boy labeled a hero by paramedics and firefighters. The story struck a chord with me.
Young Oscar Rodriguez survived a very serious accident in which the bus he was riding from México to Los Angeles, California rolled over on an Arizona interstate. Despite his own injuries he translated between injured Spanish speaking passengers and English speaking firefighters and paramedics. Wow!
I began translating for my mother and father on almost a daily basis from a young age. I made phone calls for my parents, read their mail and always went on errands because I knew English and they spoke Spanish. Although I currently translate much less for them, stories like this remind me of my translating experiences. I am grateful for having had them, the good ones and the harder ones. I have known so many people who were essentially an important connection between their family's Spanish speaking world and the mainstream English domain. Did you translate for your family, friends, or perhaps neighbors as a child? What was that experience like for you? Dr. Marjorie Faulstich has extensively explored the work that child translators do for their families and communities, check out her site out to learn more.
Have you tried going “green” in your home? Did you made the change at once or has it been more gradual? My family’s quest towards making healthier choices with our diet came first, but it’s only been a few years since we decided to be more eco-friendly with the cleaning products and other household items used in our home. The change started after reading an article on the potential harmful effects of plastic products containing BPA. I immediately went to my kitchen and threw away the majority of our kid’s plastic sippy cups, replacing them with eco-friendly ones. This got to me thinking that if I cared about the plastics in our home, I should also care about our cleaning products. The next time that I went to the grocery store I looked for non-toxic and eco-friendly counter top cleaner and dish soap.
However, I found it difficult to convert to other more eco-friendly products, like laundry detergent and disinfectant for my bathroom. Somehow I kept thinking that because they were labeled “eco-friendly” or “green” they were not as effective. I have been proven wrong, however! Going green has not happened overnight in our home, and we are still working on it, making small changes along the way. If you are trying to go green in your home, how have you done it? What changes have been the easiest/hardest to make?
Ok, why is it that so many Latina mamás, tías and especially abuelitas want the babies in their family be “bien gorditos” or “chubby”?
I first noticed this trend on my many visits to México while growing up and even among my family in the US. The larger babies, or “gordito” babies, were seen as being very cute and they were most certainly an abuelitas pride and joy! So, I can imagine that my mother must have been a little disappointed with the fact that my three young children have always been slender. My mother recently visited us and commented that my 1.5 year old son was too small and needed to be “mas gordito.” My son is a healthy, average sized toddler, according to the height and weight charts at the pediatrician's office, so are my two older girls. So, this got me thinking a little bit more about my mom’s desire for a larger “gordito” grandson.
I came across a comprehensive guide titled Gordito Doesn't Mean Healthy: What Every Latina Mother Needs to Know to Raise Happy, Healthy Kids. Authors Claudia Gonzalez and Lourdes Alcaniz discuss how this cultural idea of seeing larger “gordito” babies as healthier comes from the fact that at one point food was scarcer and the larger babies had a better chance of survival. They also address a variety of health issues for concerned parents, including the disadvantages and advantages of the Latino diet and they present the Latino food pyramid. It’s the first book completely devoted to addressing the growing obesity epidemic in Latino children and how the cultural ideal of a “gordito” bebe has contributed to growing Latino health issues.
The book is available in Spanish and English. A must read!